Archive | March, 2014

NV Supremes Mum On Jackpot Molester Life Sentence Appeal

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Howard Copelan


Michelle Lyn Taylor before arrest in 2009

Taylor now

Taylor now

More than a year after it was filed, the Nevada Supreme Court has yet to respond Michelle Lyn Taylor’s appeal of her life sentence for molesting a 13 year old Jackpot boy four years ago, said the woman’s appellant attorney Donald Bergerson.

“We filed the Habaes Corpus in January 2013,” Bergerson said Wednesday in an interview with the High Desert Advocate. “So far we haven’t heard anything.”

click link for appeal: show_temp

Bergerson also discounted rumors that the woman had been transferred into federal custody or had otherwise been removed from the Florence McClure Women’s Prison in Clark County.

Taylor was sentenced to life in prison in 2010 in a case the gained the interest of the country primarily because of heavy punishment and the emotional performance by her trial attorney Alina by Kilpatrick at the woman’s sentencing.

In one of the most eloquent and impassioned speeches ever heard in an Elko County Courtroom the Elko Public Defender pleaded with Judge Michael Memeo not to impose the mandatory life sentence on Taylor for forcing a boy to touch her breasts three years ago in Jackpot.

wrecfraudWhile obviously deeply moved with her plea and confessing dismay at why no plea bargain was ever offered to the Twin falls woman, Memeo had no choice but to sentence the 34 year old Taylor to the only sentence allowed by the legislature– Life in prison with the earliest possible parole after ten years.

When hearing was first posted on the Advocate’s web page the video went viral garnering over 100,000 views.

sentencing hearing:

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Taylor was convicted of lewdness with a minor under 14 in November 2009 after a week-long trial.

According to Kilpatrick the woman had been offered no plea bargain and that the jury had not been informed that the life sentence would be imposed on Taylor should she be found guilty.

In 2007 the Nevada Legislature removed any discretion from a judge in  the sentencing of lewdness with minors and set a blanket mandatory life sentence for all offenders convicted of the crime.

Since then well over 95 percent of defendants originally charged with the crime plead guilty to a lessor charge with a greatly reduced penalty.

Lightning-halfpage“Why you were charged with these crimes particularly, I don’t know,” Memeo said at the time. “Why plea bargains are offered to some and not to others, I don’t know. I do know that you were charged and found guilty for this charge by a jury and this is the sentence. Good luck.”

Memeo was known as being  generally opposed to the plea bargain process because he has said allows for unequal justice and different outcomes for essentially the same crime or a harsher sentence for a lessor crime and a more lenient sentence for a severe violation.

Underscoring that argument Kilpatrick brought up example after example of Nevada women originally charged with much harsher much more venal cases of child abuse who did not receive any where near the sentence her client must now serve.

“If she was charged with murder,” Kilpatrick said. “She would be facing a 50 year sentence.”

All sides of the case agree to the details.

elisonadIn February 2008 Taylor was in an apartment with a friend’s 13 year old boy, kissed the youth told him to fondle her breasts and asked him to have sex with her.

“That was it,” then District Attorney Gary Woodbury said in an interview with the High Desert Advocate. “That was all the investigation found.”

The District Attorney did say that initial plea negotiations were begun but were quickly stopped when Taylor said she would refuse any plea bargain that included her having to register as a sex offender.

However even Woodbury said that the mandatory sentence did not fit this particular crime.

firad“Don’t get me wrong, this woman was convicted of serious crime,” Woodbury said. “When plea negotiations broke down we had no choice but to charge her and once convicted the judge (Mike Memeo) had to follow the sentencing guidelines. The people to blame are the legislators who passed this law.”

“This is what happens when the legislature passes a blanket law and takes the discretion out of the courtroom.”

Taylor began her life sentence immediately after her sentence was handed down.

Taylor has always claimed she was intoxicated and doesn’t remember what happened that night. She told jurors during her trial that she roughhoused with the boy, but didn’t force him to touch her inappropriately.

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Rainbow Hippies To Return To Nevada?

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Howard Copelan


25,000 or so often naked flower children could be coming back to eastern Nevada for the 43rd annual Rainbow Family Reunion in the beginning of July according to the groups ‘unofficial’ website.

nudesEstablished in the early 1970’s the Rainbow Family is loose connection of hippies and other counter culture types that meet annually in a national forest somewhere in the United States in the beginning of July. According to rumors on the groups unofficial Facebook page this years gathering will be held in either Utah or Nevada. The last “Family” gathering in Utah was in 2003 near American Fork in the Ashley National forest. The last time the Rainbows came to eastern Nevada was over a decade ago at the Great Basin National Park and the last time they ventured into Elko county was 25 years ago to the Jarbidge area.

The Rainbows complained that they were harassed and so shabbily treated by Elko county law enforcement that they would never return a promise that then Sheriff Jim Miller greeted with joy.

Deputies reported several drug related arrests and confiscated small amounts of marijuana, black tar heroin, hallucinogenic mushrooms and other controlled substances during the 10 day long event. However for a gathering of well over 10,000 people there were virtually no reports of any crime either at the site in Jarbidge or from the nearby towns Rainbow Family members passed through on the way to and from the site.

wrecfraudThe same was true of the Gathering held some 15 years later at Great Basin.

Despite the lack of violence, the Gatherings have not been without controversy.

According to the wikipedia report, the environmental impact of the Rainbow Family is often significant, easily overwhelming the meager resources available at most National Forest campgrounds. Members of the Rainbow Family have previously used nearby medical facilities and have left significant bills unpaid, as well as costing local animal control agencies who treated parvovirus amongst the dogs at the Rainbow Gathering in 2006. Though the Rainbow Family removes its trash after a gathering, the Forest Service has criticized their cleanup efforts as being only “cosmetic” and “not rehabilitation by any stretch of the imagination.” Cleanup crews have had to bury compost piles and cover fire pits.

Lightning-halfpageHowever the Rainbows received high marks for their clean-up efforts after the Utah Nationals in 2003. “The Rainbows did a good job of cleaning up the site and following through with their commitments to restore the site,” stated Stephen Ryberg, district ranger for the forest’s Evanston and Mountain View districts. “Things went well from a resource standpoint.”

Summit County health officials also had a positive assessment of the site, said Bob Swensen, environmental director for the agency.

“My opinion is, it looks as if no one had been there,” Swensen concluded. “I’d have to give them an ‘A’ for their cleanup.”

In Montana in 2000, then governor Marc Racicot declared a “state of emergency” because of the alleged coming environmental destruction of the Rainbows on the National Forest. A year later, Dennis Havig, the District ranger from the nearby town of Wisdom, commented that “There were 23,000 people here and you can find virtually no trash. There’s an aspect of diminished vegetation, but you’d have to look hard to see the damage. The untrained eye isn’t going to see it.”

elisonadAt the California National Gathering in 2004, in Modoc County, after public health officials reported speaking with their counterparts in Utah, opted to take preventive measures apart from law enforcement, which the Utah individuals found to be the source of many of the problems encountered at their event. The Public Health Department reported that the Forest Service officers were observed being confrontational and antagonistic towards the Rainbows at the Gathering site, which “did not facilitate a cooperative response from the Rainbows,” the report states. “The explanation that was given is that this was an illegal gathering because no permit had been signed. However, even after the permit had been signed, this attitude was unchanged.”

In addition to conflicting reports concerning clean-up after the event the biggest complaint against the Rainbows is one from merchants who operate near the parks over the dearth of spending from the Rainbows.

Money is not used (or not encouraged) at the gatherings and camps set up kitchens to feed people wither free of charge or in a barter system.

The only other complaints at least from the Jarbidge and Great Basin gatherings came from other tourists some of whom found the casual nudity encouraged at the gatherings disconcerting.


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Girl Scouts Get Police Back Up

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Howard Copelan


Girl Scouts pictured holding cookies left to right Fatima Aguirre 9 years old, Samantha Salazar 9 years old, Lizbeth Salazar 8 Years old, and Vanessa Torres 12 years old.

Wendover Girl Scouts got some heavy duty back-up in their cookie drive this year in the person of West Wendover Police Officer David Avilez.

cookiemanOfficer Avilez and the girls spent several hours in Smith’s Grocery store last week peddling their delicious wares.

Avilez said that it was awesome to see the girls shy selling at first but then come out of their shells by the end. “I thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend time with the girls and helping them laugh and have a good time while they did some real good Girl Scout work.”

Troop leaders and cookie sales facilitators Lucia Wilkerson and Lupita Landeros said that they love to see the girls build self-confidence while having fun doing it.

Girl Scouts and Brownies have been selling cookies since 1917 to raise funds. Girls who participate can earn prizes for their efforts. There are also unit incentives if the unit as a whole does well. As of 2007, sales were estimated at about 200 million boxes per year.

Girl Scouts sell cookies to relatives, friends, neighbors, and others in their town or city. In recent years, because of safety concerns, an increased emphasis has been placed on cookie booths, where girls sell from tables in public areas under the supervision of adult troop leaders, rather than door-to-door. Many councils offer the option for customers to sponsor boxes of cookies to be sent to U.S. servicemen and women.


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Lint Pickers Remove 2 Tons Of Debris from Lehman Caves

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Howard Copelan


Thirty-seven volunteers from Nevada, Utah, California, Idaho, Canada and Australia gathered the weekend of March 21-23, 2014 in Great Basin National Park to help clean Lehman Caves during the annual lint camp. Participants picked lint from cave formations and walls along 600 feet of passage and treated algae accumulations near lights. In addition, volunteers carried out over 4,000 pounds of old trail debris, particularly sand, that had covered formations. They used brushes and dust pans and dumped the sand into five-gallon buckets, which were carried or wheeled out one or two buckets at a time.

Superintendent Steven Mietz said, “The lint campers’ volunteer work is invaluable to preserving the world-class Lehman Caves formations.  While providing a vital service to the park, the volunteers also get a unique, up-close and prolonged experience of the cave that few visitors enjoy.”

elisonadNine-year old Rebecca Croswhite echoed that sentiment, “I can’t wait until the next lint camp!”

The interagency effort was also supported by the Western Cave Conservancy, a group dedicated to protecting caves in the western US. Half the participants were under age 25, and some of the participants were fulfilling school community service projects. The NPS Cave and Karst Program Manager, Dale Pate, also assisted with the restoration.

Ben Roberts, Chief of Natural Resources, said, “Volunteers with a wide range of experience, from long-time grotto members to families new to caving, were able to make a lasting contribution to cave conservation. Many features in the cave were uncovered after decades under trail debris including rimstone dams in the Lodge Room near the King and Queens Bathtub. Thanks to the volunteers’ hard work, visitors will be able to enjoy these features now and into the future.

The park is planning to hold another lint and restoration camp next year, continuing to engage park visitors in new and different ways to celebrate the NPS Centennial.


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New Ely Mayor Promises To Clean Up City

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Howard Copelan

Ely’s new mayor, Melody Van Camp, promised to ‘clean up the city’ to make it more appealing to tourists.

Van Camp was selected on a 3-2 vote of the Ely City Council to replace Jon Hickman who died last month.

The owner of a local sewing store, Van Camp said that her number one concern was of several old buildings in and around the center of town that have fallen into disrepair.


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West Wendover Police Blotter

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Howard Copelan

Name: BAKER, STEPHEN M Birth Date: 12/03/85 Arrest Time/Date: 20:08:00 03/22/14 Arrest Location: Wendover Nugget Offenses: WARRANT ARREST Total Bail— $3,740

Birth Date: 12/03/85
Arrest Time/Date: 20:08:00 03/22/14
Arrest Location: Wendover Nugget
Total Bail— $3,740

Name: CABRERA CASTILLO, KEVIN A Birth Date: 08/07/83 Arrest Time/Date: 23:53:00 03/22/14 Arrest Location: 100 Wendover Blvd Offenses: DUI, ABOVE LEGAL LIMIT, R/SBH; DRIVE W/O DRV-LIC; FAIL DECREASE SPEED OR USE DUE CARE Total Bail— $20,390

Birth Date: 08/07/83
Arrest Time/Date: 23:53:00 03/22/14
Arrest Location: 100 Wendover Blvd
Total Bail— $20,390


Name: COLES, STEPHANIE Birth Date: 12/04/89 Arrest Time/Date: 05:57:20 03/25/14 Arrest Location: PILOT TRAVEL CENTER Offenses: ARREST FUGITIVE FROM  ANOTHER STATE ON CM Total Bail— N/A

Birth Date: 12/04/89
Arrest Time/Date: 05:57:20 03/25/14
Total Bail— N/A

Name: REIS, SANSHAE Birth Date: 01/31/91 Arrest Time/Date: 06:35:00 03/23/14 Arrest Location: Nugget Casino Offenses: DOM BATTERY, (1ST) Total Bail— $3,000

Birth Date: 01/31/91
Arrest Time/Date: 06:35:00 03/23/14
Arrest Location: Nugget Casino
Offenses: DOM BATTERY, (1ST)
Total Bail— $3,000


Name: RODRIGUEZ-ORTIZ, JOSE G Birth Date: 01/17/88 Arrest Time/Date: 06:59:13 03/26/14 Arrest Location: ECSO LOBBY Offenses: COMMITMENT Total Bail— N/A

Birth Date: 01/17/88
Arrest Time/Date: 06:59:13 03/26/14
Arrest Location: ECSO LOBBY
Total Bail— N/A

Name: SALAZAR, SARA Birth Date: 01/07/84 Arrest Time/Date: 22:29:00 03/24/14 Arrest Location: 1795 BUTTE ST Offenses: BENCH WARRANT (2) Total Bail— $3,250

Birth Date: 01/07/84
Arrest Time/Date: 22:29:00 03/24/14
Arrest Location: 1795 BUTTE ST
Offenses: BENCH WARRANT (2)
Total Bail— $3,250



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Wendover Man Makes Elko’s Most Wanted

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Howard Copelan



The Elko County Sheriff’s Office is looking for Lopez, Roberto Rodriguez of Wendover. Roberto Rodriguez Lopez is wanted on a felony warrant for Possession False ID.

Roberto Rodriguez Lopez is described as a Hispanic male adult born October 27, 1983. He is 5 feet 06 inches tall and weighs approximately 160 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone having information regarding the whereabouts of Roberto Rodriguez Lopez may contact the Elko County Sheriff’s Office at 777.2514, Elko Dispatch at 777.7300, Secret Witness at 738.4357, or your local law enforcement agency.


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Will Montego Bay Bandit Encourage Copy Cats?

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Howard Copelan

Anthony Vera shortly after his arrest last week in Tucson, AZ. He is currently in the Pima County Jail awaiting extradition to Nevada.

Anthony Vera shortly after his arrest last week in Tucson, AZ. He is currently in the Pima County Jail awaiting extradition to Nevada.

Will Tony Vera’s “success” in robbing the Montego Bay and eluding capture for more than a month spur copy cats looking for the big score at a plump Wendover Casino?

Montego Bay Bandit Anthony Matthew Vera was captured near Tucson, Arizona late last Thursday afternoon.

“The West Wendover Police Department, in a collaborated effort, with the United States Marshals’ Office, Northern Utah J.C.A.T Team, State of Utah Department of Public Safety, State Bureau of Investigation Division, and the Tucson Arizona Police Department, located, and took Anthony Matthew Vera, into custody without incident in the Tucson Arizona area late in the afternoon of March 13th, 2014. ” wrote West Wendover Police Chief Burdel Welsh in a press release.



Vera along with Elbert Woodson pulled off a brazen robbery of the Montego Bay Casino five weeks ago.

According to West Wendover Police reports Anthony Vera wearing either face paint or a mask approached the Montego Bay’s cashier’s cage two weeks ago Wednesday, jumped the counter, grabbed a cash box and fled the casino with an undetermined amount of cash. It is unknown whether Vera was armed at the time.

It is unknown just how much money Vera made away with although the sum is probably larger perhaps much larger than the “greater than $650” amount originally released by law enforcement. The $650 mark permits the theft to be charged as a felony.

According to sources close to the investigation the robbery may have been an inside job. The photo used by police in their wanted poster comes from the files of casino workers and that Vera’s identity was provided from an unnamed source who was either involved in the crime or who had knowledge of it. That source was later identified as a woman who for unknown reasons was traveling in the get away vehicle and was allowed to leave shortly after the chase began around the Grantsville exit by the UHP.

Elbert Woodson the wheel man in the Montego Bay caper is now in the Elko County Jail on a $45,000 bail bond.

Woodson had been held at the Tooele county Jail in Utah until he was extradited back to Nevada last Friday which incidentally was also his birthday.

elisonadWoodson was captured within hours of the crime after a high speed chase on I-80 and subsequent crash in rural Herriman, Utah.

“The suspect vehicle continued toward the Salt Lake Valley and one person exited the vehicle near Bangerter Highway, south of Salt Lake City International Airport. The person exiting was later identified as an adult female.” Welsh wrote in press release last week. “She was later interviewed by, investigators from the West Wendover Police Department, and the State of Utah Department of Public Safety and the State Bureau of Investigation Division. The female’s identity is being withheld, pending prosecutor’s review of the case.  The female is currently listed a as witness. Ongoing investigation may determine if she was a party to the criminal activity.”

The fact that the woman has not yet been charged coupled with the information that federal law enforcement has been called in on the case could indicate that in addition to the robbery charges facing Vera and Woodson there may be an additional charge of kidnapping.

Kidnapping across state lines is a federal crime with a possible penalty of life in prison. While it is still unclear of the woman’s role in the robbery the threat of a life term could be used to elicit information from Woodson.

Until Vera ran off with a cash box full of money no one in over 75 years had successfully robbed a Wendover Casino and spent more than a couple of hours as a free man.

wrecfraudOf course the robbery did not go off completely without a hitch. Vera’s wheel man in the heist, Elbert Woodson, was nabbed after he crashed the get away car about two hours after the robbery on the outskirts of Slat Lake City.

Still Woodson might qualify for the silver medal if robbing Wendover Casinos was an Olympic sport since the no one before him ever made it that far in the over 75 years since the first slot machine was installed in Wendover.

Wendover’s heretofore astonishing success in thwarting bandits has less to do with its law enforcement, albeit the agencies which serve the town are professional as can be, than the Utah/Nevada border town’s extreme isolation.

There are just three roads out of Wendover and it is 120 miles in any direction before another city.

“There is no place to run,” said the late local lawman Earl Lacey in a 1990 feature story in the High Desert Advocate about Wendover invulnerability to would be robbers. “Sure people have tried but even back in my day we had radios. If we couldn’t run ‘em down, we would call ahead and either the NHP or the UHP or Elko, White Pine or Tooele Sheriffs would set up a road block. Even the smartest crook couldn’t get around that.”

If Vera wasn’t smart he certainly was lucky.

Vera had his first piece of lucky by not being accosted either during or after the robbery.

Lightning-halfpageHe waltzed out of the casino jumped into the waiting car driven by Woodson. The bandits second stroke of luck cam when for unknown reasons neither the UHP trooper nor the Tooele County Sheriff’s Deputy normally on duty in Wendover gave chase to the fleeing robbers. The robbery was called into the West Wendover Police dispatch almost immediately after Vera fled the scene said West Wendover Police chief Burdel Welsh, and as matter of course was immediately relayed to Tooele Dispatch for the Utah agencies.

Instead it would be another hour and more than 80 miles east of Wendover that the two men came under pursuit from a UHP trooper near Grantsville.

In addition to the bragging rights the fact that Vera did kind of get away if only for five weeks might give other would be criminals ideas that Wendover casinos might not be as robbery proof as was once imagined. And it would not be beyond the realm of possibility that one or two would be robbers in the near future will try to emulate Vera and try to go him one better.



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13 West Wendover Council Hopefuls On November Ballot

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Howard Copelan



Most voters in Elko County like voters across the United States will see a very orderly ballot come November. Most often there will be two names to choose from or in the cases where third parties are running, at most four, names and just one vote to make. On the other hand there is the West Wendover ballot, where voters will see 13 names and make three choices for the city council.

By the end of Friday’s filing dead line 13 candidates tossed their hats into the ring including two incumbents. John Hanson, Jeff Durham, Izzy Gutierrez, Donnie Andersen, David Serafini, Casey Snyder, Matthew Chavez, Mike Miera, Nick Flores, Dave Wiskerchen, Roberto Trujillo, Jasie Holm and Johnny Gorum are all making a bid for one of the three open seats in the election. Gutierrez and Gorum are seeking re-election.

The relative free for all of the West Wendover ballot has been harshly criticized in the past and will probably be harshly criticized again after election day. But until the peculiar local election law is changed by the city council it will stay in play.

elisonad“I said it before and I will say it again,” said former West Wendover Mayor and current candidate for city council Donnie Andersen. “We need a primary election here just like everyone else. With so many people running just 10 votes can change the election results one way or another.”

According to the Elko County Clerk’s office there are about 700 registered voters in West Wendover and elections usually draw about 500 of them to actually cast votes. While in the last vote two years ago there were just six candidates vying for two seats the contest four years ago featured 14 hopefuls for three seats and just one then city councilwoman Emily Carter won a majority of the votes cast.

The ability for a candidate to win a seat with a simple plurality rather than a majority of the ballots means that in crowded races such as the upcoming one in November candidates need not appeal to the electorate at large but instead marshal one electoral sector. The are several voting blocks in West Wendover some of which overlap.

With a large LDS presence in town the “Mormon” vote plays a large factor in every election. LDS candidates have experienced some success in past elections. At least to some extent however the is also a strong anti-Mormon presence in the electorate that offsets the Mormon vote.

wrecfraudAs seen in the last election the long dormant Latino vote has made itself known at the ballot box.

For over thirty years West Wendover’s Latino population has hovered between 55 to 65 percent of the population. Yet invariably come local election time Spanish surnames were a rarity on the voter rolls and Latino candidates were rarer still on the ballot.

According to the latest census figures Wendover Latinos make up over 55 percent of the city’s total population, own over 35 percent of its small businesses and own about a third of all homes. However despite being in the majority just three self identified Hispanics have sat on the city council and just Mike Miera and Gutierrez won a seat in their own right. The dearth of Latino presence also extends to city jobs. There are no Hispanics among the city’s top administrators and department heads. Hispanics are also absent in the city’s front office and while a handful have been hired in the police force and public works department the number of Latinos working for the city is in no way proportional to their presence in the community.

The lack of local Latino political clout grows more apparent when it is compared with that of other ethnic groups. It would be almost impossible to imagine a city with 55 percent African American, Irish Catholic, Italian, or Polish majority with so little representation in local government.

But in 2012 West Wendover Latinos came out in force and helped elect two Hispanic candidates Saul Andrade and Gerrado Rodriguez to the city council. Along with previously elected Izzy Gutierrez Latinos formed a majority on the council.

The reason why all three candidates were successful than previous Hispanic candidates may have less to do with having a name ending in a vowel, but rather their own beginnings.

Lightning-halfpageWithout exception all three councilmen grew up in Wendover. They are ‘home boys’ in the strictest definition of the term and thus they share a history and a story with every other Wendover resident whether Latino or Anglo. None of them claimed to represent the “Mexican” minority but rather campaigned on what their vision of Wendover was.

“I don’t think there is a big difference,” Andrade said at the time. “We all want the same things for our community.”

In addition to the LDS and Hispanic and various other voting blocks Wendover casinos often make it known just which candidate is preferred by corporate offices. Especially is crowded races this kind of influence cannot be underestimated.

Name recognition may be the biggest factor on a crowded ballot. With that in mind incumbents such as Gutierrez and forum would appear to have a leg up as well as previous office holders like Andersen and Miera. But with half a year to the November ballot lesser known candidates have plenty of time to introduce themselves to the city and make a case for their election.


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Gold Headed For Supercycle? Bad News Is Good News For NV Miners

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Howard Copelan



As tensions heat up in Europe and Asia some analyst are predicting that the price of gold may be ready to enter a surge that could take the metal to the $2,000 an ounce mark.

According to commodities analyst Gary Wagner gold may be headed for a two perhaps four year long “super cycle” that could push the price of the precious metal even beyond the highs of $1,900 an ounce last seen three years ago.

Wagner has been a technical market analyst for over 25 years. A frequent contributor to STOCKS & COMMODITIES Magazine, he has also written for many financial publications including Futures Magazine as well as Barron’s.

wrecfraudAccording to his commentary “Chart This” on the Kitco Precious metals website, Wagner said that even before the current crisis in the Ukraine gold had already bottomed out of it year long spiral that devastated the Nevada mining industry in 2013.

Trading then at around $1,100 an ounce hundreds of workers were laid off by area mines which instituted other cost cutting measures as well.

Some locals feared a return to the bad old days of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when the market crashed to well below $400 an ounce triggering a local recession that devastated the economy.

At the turn of the millennium hundreds if not thousands of jobs were lost and rural Nevada was plunged into deep recession because of the gold death spiral. Experts were predicting that gold would never again seen the $700 an ounce mark of the late 1970’s, and the odds were long against the precious metal would reach again the $450 sweet spot that made gold ming profitable for Nevada mines.

Those fears are in vain Wagner predicted and added that the signs are that gold is not only ready to return to record levels it may even eclipse them.

Even before the crisis in the Crimea gold had already returned to the $1,300 an ounce mark indicating that the market had recovered and that the sell off had stopped.

Lightning-halfpageAnd now with the current political crisis the precious metal should recover its former highs and perhaps exude them Wagner said.

There are several reasons to be optimistic he explained first gold is regaining its luster as a safe haven for investors that was tarnished a year ago by the unexpected drop.

More practically is that gold knows no border. Should the Ukrainian crisis continue without resolution the West is sure to impose more economic sanctions and restrictions on trade with Russia. A sure way to sidestep those trade restrictions is instead of using dollars, euros or other currency is to make them in gold.

Even if such trading is illegal it is a lot easier to hide the source of gold than it is to track hard currency as the Iranians proved in the last few years as they circumvented their own sanctions from the West.

In addition to political unrest in Europe there is also an economic crisis brewing in China. A few weeks ago the first corporate bond default occurred in China. China’s financial system has been suspect for quite some time. If the Chinese financial system gets shaky, it would likely be a mixed bag for gold. It could limit consumer demand from the largest gold consumer in the world—China. However, it could also prompt safe-haven demand for gold worldwide.

firadThat demand could also see an upswing this year from the other east Asian economic powerhouse of India which is expected to loosen its restriction on gold trading this year.

All that bad news is good news for the Nevada mining industry and the Nevada economy. Both for current projects such in the Carlin Trend and new ones such as Long Canyon Mine.

Even before the slide in the price of gold ended, Newmont Mine official insisted  of that work on the Long Canyon Mine project 30 miles west of Wendover would continue unabated.

“Of course we have had to adjust and reevaluate,” said Newmont Mining executive Mary Korpi. “Some projects have been put on the back burner but the Long Canyon project is not one of them.”

Newmont commitment to the project will probably not dissipate no matter what this year since it is still in the permitting/exploration phase and with the earliest construction start date estimated for mid 2015 any fluctuation in the price of gold this year is essentially irrelevant for the Long Canyon project.

That is not to say that could change. The price of gold could fall dramatically or on the other hand it could just as easily rise.

elisonad“Unlike other industries gold mining really has no impact on the price of gold,” Korpi added.

Everything else does. From agricultural production to industrial output the gold is perhaps the one commodity that is influenced by the great and the small, except when it is not.

When the metal fell in the late 1990’s it was considered a permanent market correction a result of the peace dividend and the fall of the communist system.

Instead of dealing in the precious metal trade between east and west would be based on dollars or credit cards rather than bars of gold.

That thinking was true until suddenly it wasn’t anymore. The price began to increase coincidentally with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and also with surge of the Chinese and Indian economies.

Gold traditionally rise with political and economic uncertainties however with now almost the entire world connected instantly it is incredibly difficult to predict just what event or events will either spur or shrink demand.



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