Archive | September, 2013

Alleged Heroin User Spends Less Than 4 Hours in Jail After Rainbow Casino Arrest

Posted on 27 September 2013 by Howard Copelan

Munsee, Elizabeth 092513A Utah woman who allegedly was operating a heroin clinic in her room at Wendover’s Rainbow Casino was out on bail less than four hours after being booked into the Elko County Jail, Wednesday.

According to police reports Elizabeth Munsee, 44, of Taylorsville, Utah was arrested on  three counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful use or possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a hypodermic needle. Her bail was listed at $12,596.

wrecsocialmediaadShe was nabbed at around 4 pm when West Wendover police responding to a tip from Rainbow casino workers arrived at her room with WWPD drug dog ‘Teke’ who immediately alerted his human co-workers that drugs were there.

Immediately after Teke’s exuberant display Munsee took out illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia and surrendered them to investigators.   There was at least one pre-loaded syringe containing suspected black tar heroin as well as two other types of illegal narcotics given to investigators.

Munsee was arrested and transported to the Elko County Jail, about a two how drive. According to the time stamp on her mug shot Munsee entered the jail at about 7:30 pm

She made bail and was released by 11:09 pm.

According to jail personnel Munsee’s bail was in the form of a bond purchased in Elko.


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UT Identity Thief Nabbed At Nugget

Posted on 27 September 2013 by Howard Copelan

Christopher Pace

Christopher Pace

A Utah man who turned his Wendover hotel room into an ID forging factory was nabbed Friday at the Nugget casino according to police reports.

Christopher Pace, 41, of Sandy Utah is now in the Elko County Jail on a $120,000 bail bond following his arrest on six counts of Identity Theft.

According to police reports, Pace turned his hotel room at an undisclosed Wendover casino into a forging factory shortly after he checked in.

Staff alerted local police to Pace’s suspicious behavior, police obtained a search warrant and found what was described as “extensive amounts regarding to the manufacture of false identification”.

wrecsocialmediaadPace however was nowhere to be seen but Utah man left his own id behind as he went to try his luck at the Wendover Nugget.

He was interviewed and subsequently arrested and transported to the Elko County Jail.

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world and responsible in the loss of billions of dollars a year.

Dealing in cash, checks and booze and serving thousands of credit card using tourists every day casinos, including those in Wendover have been described as an identity thief’s paradise both to steal from and to find new victims.

To thwart would be ID thieves Nevada casinos are in the forefront of developing new and more sophisticated methods to track and catch ID theft.

Sometimes however for all the gadgets invented to steal and to catch a thief the surest are old school– such as an alert casino/hotel employee who notices something a bit off in a guest.



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White Pine Recall Is Now Up To Precedent Setting Judge

Posted on 27 September 2013 by Howard Copelan



The fate of the White Pine County Commission recall drive lies in the hands of a retired Nevada District Court Judge with a reputation for setting precedent.

Senior Nevada Judge Charles Thompson is expected to rule this week on various motions related to the recall drive against County Commissioners John Lampros and Mike Lemich and the defamation suit the commissioners subsequently filed against recall organizers James Adams, Timothy McGowan and Cheryl Ann Noriega.

According to White Pine County Clerk Lin Burleigh the are several motions and several options before the judge.

“From what I understand he can throw out the defamation suit, keep the defamation suit or throw out the defamation suit and then order the recall process to begin all over again,” Burleigh said. “Obviously the recall supporters would prefer the last.

wrecsocialmediaadLast week the Advocate reported that recall supporters have asked the courts to extend their October 8th deadline to get 821 signatures needed to force a recall election of White Pine County Commissioners John Lampros and Mike Lemich.

“From what I heard it is looking pretty bad,” said one source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They had some success in the beginning but a lot less now. Some people said they would sign it but are afraid they might get sued.”

The fear of being sued was in reference to a defamation suit filed by Lemich and Lampros against recall organizers James Adams, Timothy McGowan and Cheryl Ann Noriega over what the suit described as blatant falsehoods the three wrote in the recall petition statement.

“I don’t know if this has ever been used before,” said Ely attorney Richard Sears who represents both men. “But the statements in the recall petitions were so obviously false that both my clients felt they had no choice but to file the lawsuits.”

ConnectMore-halfpageApart from the merits of either the defamation suits or the recall petition the lawsuits themselves open some very interesting and complex legal issues. First of all there is the question of constitutionality and the separation of powers. Recall petitions are part and parcel of the electoral process for either the executive or legislative office holder. By going to the courts to rule on whether a claim on a petition is true or false rather than the voters, Lampros and Lemich may have broached a border that isn’t to be crossed.

On the other hand if Sears is correct and the claims made in the recall petition are patently false the authors could be held responsible whether they are successful in forcing a recall election or not.

And it may not only be the authors.

“I really haven’t looked into it.” Sears said. “It would be an interesting point if anyone who signed the petitions could also be named in the defamation suit.”

That speculation found its way into a counter suit filed by the recall organizers that the defamation suit was a Strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) suit.

According to Wikipedia: Strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

LiveRudePokerwLogosThe typical SLAPP plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat. The difficulty is that plaintiffs do not present themselves to the Court admitting that their intent is to censor, intimidate or silence their critics. Hence, the difficulty in drafting SLAPP legislation, and in applying it, is to craft an approach which affords an early termination to invalid abusive suits, without denying a legitimate day in court to valid good faith claims.

Accprding to recent cases Thompson is neither afraid to to break precedent not to set new ones and he often rules for the underdog.

In 2008 he ruled in favor of then Democratic Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinch and order the dark horse candidate be allowed to participate in the presidentil debate against the wishes of political heavy weights Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.

More recently  in 2012 Thompson Clark District Attorney Steve Wolfson from prosecuting a felony drunken driving case after finding “that a true and extreme conflict of interest exists” between Wolfson and the defendant, a former client.

The dueling lawsuits may have also turned prospective signers off from joining the petition.

Even before the lawsuits were filed getting enough signatures to force a recall was considered no mean feat.

Filing for a recall is one thing, getting enough valid signatures to force a recall election is quite another.

wwhsbannersAccording to County Clerk Lin Burleigh recall supporters must garner at 821 signatures of White Pine County voters who actually vote in the 2010 election.

While not impossible the task is far from easy and perhaps made even more difficult because unlike the privacy of the voting booth the names on a recall petition are public record.

“They will have to get the signatures and after they submit them we have to verify them,” Burleigh added. “ My staff is ready but if they do not get the amount during the time allowed there will not be a recall election.”

While the process is intended to be difficult, should the recall drive be successful simple math suggests it would be very hard for either commissioner to win a recall election. If the two commissioners were force into a recall election both men would have to carry more than two thirds of the electorate that did not sign the petition to win, an obstacle perhaps even larger than the one now facing their opponents.

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Sign Of the Times! Pedal To the Metal! 80 mph On I-80!

Posted on 27 September 2013 by Howard Copelan



For the first time since Richard Nixon occupied the Oval Office it is now legal to drive 80 miles an hour on Interstate 80 from Wendover most of the way to Salt Lake City.

The new limit and its accompanying signs went up over the weekend replacing the old 75 mph’s which replaced the 65 mph limit about ten years ago. The 65 mph limit replaced the 55 mph limit set in 1974 in response to the Arab oil embargo against the United States.

The Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act was a bill in the U.S. Congress that enacted the National Maximum Speed Law. States had to agree to the limit if they desired to receive federal funding for highway repair. The uniform speed limit was signed into law by President Nixon on January 2, 1974, and became effective 60 days later, by requiring the limit as a condition of each state receiving highway funds, a use of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

The legislation required 55 mph speed limits on all four-lane divided highways unless the road had a lower limit before November 1, 1973. In some cases, like the New York Thruway, the 50 mph speed limit had to be raised to comply with the law. The law capped speed limits at 55 mph on all other roads.

ConnectMore-halfpageWhile the law was intended to save oil the end result was negligible. While experts assured Congress that the slower speed would save about 15 percent of oil supplies in reality the savings were between 1.0 and 0.5 percent.

A major reason for the disparity between the projections and the facts was simple, most drivers broke the law. According to study after study compliance with the 55 ‘double nickel’ speed limit was at best 20 percent even in heavily trafficked urban ares and fell below 10 percent on rural stretches of the Interstate system.

But while the double nickel did not save gas it did create a whole new source of revenue for states in the form of speeding tickets. For the 14 years the double nickel was in effect billions of dollars poured into state and local coffers in the form of fines and bail forfeitures.

In 1988 Congress allowed states to increase the limit to 65 mph on some sections of the Interstate despite heavy opposition both from some states who feared the loss of revenue and also from automobile safety groups which argued the 55 mph limit saved lives.

wrecsocialmediaadAccording to the National Research Council, there was a decrease in fatalities of about 4000 lives in the first year after the law took effect. Later, the National Academies wrote that is, “a strong link between vehicle speed and crash severity supports the need for setting maximum limits on high-speed roads,” but that, “the available data do not provide an adequate basis for precisely quantifying the effects that changes in speed limits have on driving speeds, safety, and travel time on different kinds of roads.” They also note that on rural interstates, the free flowing traffic speed should be the major determinant of the speed limit because, “Drivers typically can anticipate appropriate driving speeds.” This is due, in part, to the strong access control in these areas but also is an acknowledgement of the difficulty of enforcing speed laws in these areas.

During the time the law was enacted and after it was repealed automobile fatalities decreased, and this was widely attributed mainly to automobile safety improvements, owing to an increase in the safety of cars themselves. This decrease in fatalities from automobile accidents makes figuring out the actual impact of the law difficult.

In other words if the relatively low speed limit is almost universally ignored how can it be credited with saving lives?

wwhsbannersThat reasoning also helped propel the compleat repeal of the national speed limit in 1996. Western states such as Nevada and Utah quickly moved to increase the limit to 75 mph and in the spring of 2013 Utah announced that it would return sections of its Interstate system back to 80 mph of 40 years ago including I-80 from Grantsville (exit 99) to Wendover, on the Utah-Nevada border; I-84 from Tremonton to the Utah-Idaho border; I-15 from Brigham City (North interchange) to the Utah-Idaho border; and I-15 from Santaquin to North Leeds.

While 80 mph speed limit has returned the price of a gallon of gas is higher than the mid-70’s even accounting for inflation. A gallon of gas in 1974 averaged 53 cents a gallon of $2.94 in today’s dollars. However since fuel efficiency has risen from less that 15 miles per gallon to well over 30 m.p.g. on average it is actually cheaper to make the Wendover Salt Lake drive and now just as fast.


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Salt Lake Man Tasered In Casino Fight With Cops

Posted on 27 September 2013 by Howard Copelan

Fuofua Nua

Fuofua Nua

A Salt Lake who intervened in a fight at a local casino is now in the Elko County Jail charged with one count of battery on a police officer.

According to police reports Wendover police were called to the Nugget Casino Friday night regarding an unidentified Salt lake man who had been fighting with employees. When they arrived they found the unidentified man held down by casino staff and the man was still described as “combative”

While police were taking the man into custody his family arrived and explained that their relative was off his medication. One of the relatives, Fuofua Nua explained a little too forcefully.

wrecsocialmediaadAccording to reports Nua began fighting with police who eventually tasered the 24 year old Salt Lake City man. An ambulance was called for the officers, Nua and for his relative who started the fracas earlier.

After being treated for the tasing Nua was transported to the Elko county jail and booked on a $2,500 bond for assaulting a police officer. His relative was taken by ambulance to a Salt Lake area hospital for treatment and observation. His name is being withheld pending a decision for the Elko District Attorney on whether to press charges.


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5 Hurt, 2 Critical In I-80 Crash

Posted on 27 September 2013 by Howard Copelan



Five people were hurt, two critically, when two SUVs collided outside of Wendover Sunday.

Just after 3 p.m., a couple from California had just entered eastbound I-80 from a rest stop and tried to go across several lanes of traffic to get to the median to do a U-turn to head west, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. The vehicle, however, cut off an oncoming SUV that smashed into them, said Utah Department of Public Safety spokesman Joe Dougherty.

A 69-year-old woman from one SUV and a 37-year-old man from the other were flown to University Hospital by medical helicopters. The woman was flown as a precaution and the man was in serious condition, Dougherty said. A 70-year-old man in one vehicle and another man, 34, and woman, 59, in the other vehicle were taken by ambulances to the same hospital. Their conditions were not immediately available.

The 69-year-old woman in the first SUV was cited for failure to yield, Dougherty said.


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Nugget Border Bash Wows!!!

Posted on 27 September 2013 by Howard Copelan


Hundreds of hot rods, classic cars and motorcycles converged last weekend in Wendover for the first of what will be many end of summer parties hosted by the Nugget Casino



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Birth Announcement: Lidia Eliana Iglesias

Posted on 27 September 2013 by Howard Copelan


Lidia Eliana Iglesias was born Tuesday at 4:06 am, 9lbs 21 inches long to Alvado and Camille Reilly Iglesias in Reno, Nevada. A former Wendover resdent Mrs. Iglesias is a 2003 graduate of West Wendover High School.

The new grandparents are Jamey and Gordon Richarson of West Wendover and Rob Reilly. New aunt and uncles are Payton, Mackay and Caitlen Reilly all of Wendover.

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Temporal Whiplash

Posted on 27 September 2013 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Every once in a while we are struck by how things have changed.

And every once in an other while we are struck by how they stay the same.

This week we got temporal whiplash.

It started off from a phone call from our son.

He had just finished a patrol on the West Bank with his squad in the Israeli Army and he wanted to wish us a Happy Holiday (we will get to that later).

After we said our good byes, we remarked how truly wonderful it was to live today.

When we were in his shoes 30 years ago, phoning home meant a tank ride to Beirut and usually a fire fight with Syrian Army regulars.

We did not phone home much.

Now we can reach out and touch our loved ones anywhere in the world immediately.

Kind of cool isn’t it?

And yet some things are still the same or have gone back to being the same.

Once again the speed limit to Salt Lake is a sane and reasonable 80 mph, just like it was the year before we got our first driver’s license.

Call us self centered but we secretly believed that whole 55 mph limit was not to save gas or lives but to mess with us personally. (To be honest we have seen how we drive and they might have a point.)

Then again we celebrate the birth of our dear friend Jamey Richardson’s first grandchild. First for her but babies have been born and celebrated since before the dawn of civilization.

A bit of the old and the new at the same time.

Which gets us back sort to our spate of holidays, the Jewish High Holy Days. We knew it would be difficult when we got our calender last year and noticed that almost every one fell mid week this year in September. Which means that out of the 21 working days of the month we only could work on 13 of them and had to publish our paper early three weeks out of four.

We keep them because our ancestors kept them so that too is a bit of new and old and the same time new.

Until 150 years ago our ancestors lived pretty much the same lives. Apart from a mass migration every 700 years or so most people were born, lived and died in the same village their parents lived and their parents lived before them.

At the very most the average person might have traveled just 50 miles in his entire lifetime.

While boring there was something to be said for this pedestrian life. Always surrounded by family and friends most men and women were never alone or lonely or far from home.

That all change first with steamships and trains and then airplanes and automobiles.

Even the poorest could travel distances unthinkable a generation or two before.

And we became a world full of strangers.

That was until facebook.

Staying connected with family and friends is as effortless today as it was 200 years ago.

The more things change.


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WWPD Sweet New Rides

Posted on 18 September 2013 by Howard Copelan



The West Wendover Police Department now has the best rides in the state of Nevada.

Last week the WWPD took possession of its new fleet of seven brand spanking new top of the line 2014 Ford Explorer Interceptor SUV police vehicles.

Starting with a manufactures suggested retail price of just under $30,000 base price. West Wendover apparently went all out on options according to a WWPD press release the West Wendover fleet is valued at almost $320,000 or over $40,000 for each vehicle.

Only one other police department, Las Vegas metro boast this model.

borderbashEach vehicle is equipped with state-of-the art emergency lighting and traffic siren system, RADAR, in-car video with GPS technology, anti-theft protection, two-way radio, and back-up collision warning.

Also included is an upgraded electrical, suspension, engine and drive train that are designed to withstand the rigorous and demanding workload that is inherently placed on police vehicles.

A new graphics design was also incorporated with a West Wendover City seal and a 3D version of a West Wendover Police Department badge.

The new fleet will be replacing seven aged sedans that were turned over to the dealer as part of the lease agreement.

wrecsocialmediaadPurchase of the new fleet was proposed last year by outgoing Police Chief Ron Supp and then Acting Chief Sandra Gunter approved for this fiscal year beginning this July.

Sport utility vehicles are quickly replacing cars as the vehicle of choice for police forces across the nation.

Demand for specially equipped SUVs is growing faster than for of sedans, which have been stalwarts in police fleets for decades. Utility vehicles in recent years have become more efficient and are roomier and safer than sedans.

Major police forces, including the California Highway Patrol, have added SUVs to their fleet, and many more — including the Nevada Highway Patrol — are expected to follow suit in coming years.

ConnectMore-halfpage“It’s not a fad,” said Jonathan Honeycutt, Ford’s fleet brand marketing manager, in a telephone interview. “This is where the industry is moving.”

Ford’s police version of the Crown Victoria — Ford stopped taking orders in 2011 — was the dominant choice for law enforcement agencies. When it was retired, other auto makers saw the chance to seize a greater share of the market.

Ford expected its Explorer-based police Interceptor SUV to comprise about 30 percent of its police fleet sales. But in recent months, that number has approached 70 percent.

Through July, Ford has actually sold 7,288 police SUVs compared to 6,046 Taurus-based police sedans.

wwhsbannersGeneral Motors Co. offers its Caprice and Impala as police sedans and the Tahoe as an SUV; Chrysler has its Charger sedan and Durango SUV.

GM expects Tahoe sales to increase in 2013 compared to 2012. Tahoe sales to all government customers including police agencies was about 13,000 vehicles last year, GM spokesman Jim Cain said in an email. Total sales figures for the GM sedans were not available. Chrysler sales figures were not immediately available.

The Dearborn automaker expects demand to grow even more following today’s announcement that it will offer its patented 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine as an option in the Interceptor SUV.

The move toward SUVs represents yet another transition among police vehicle fleets.

In the past, police cruisers were typically rear-wheel drive, body-on-frame sedans with V-8 engines. Ford’s Crown Victoria, discontinued in 2011, was the best example of this.

But as automakers began to shift away from rear-wheel drive cars with large engines, the options for police vehicles with those attributes has declined.

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