Archive | June, 2014

The Dark Side Of The Rainbow– Assaults, Theft, Rape & Robbery/ Thousands Passing Thru Wendover & northern Nevada

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Howard Copelan

Tony Myers

Tony Myers

With thousands of hippies, gypsies and homeless passing through Wendover, Wells and Elko on their way to the Rainbow Family gathering in Heber city this week and next local law enforcement are advising citizens and businesses to keep their cars and their doors locked and to report any strange behavior, aggressive begging or shoplifting to the police.

“Most of them are nonviolent and really are just passing through,” said West Wendover police Chief Burdel Welsh. “But anytime you have a gathering of that number of people you are sure to attract bad actors.”

Established 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 the group’s unofficial Facebook page this year’s gathering will be held near Heber City in Utah’s Uintah National Forest. Anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 people are expected to attend.

fandagoThe love fest has however already gotten off to an inauspicious start with an attempted murder at the Heber campsite and an arrest for assault with a deadly weapon in Wendover, both involving Rainbow Family members.

Lelilani M. Novak-Garcia

Lelilani M. Novak-Garcia

According to police reports Lelilani M. Novak-Garcia was charged with one count of attempted murder and was booked into the Wastatch County Jail for a July 23rd stabbing of her companion.

The victim whose name has not been released was a 45 year old man from Salt Lake City suffered multiple stab wounds and was transported to the University of Utah Medical Center.

Officers from the U.S. Forest Service and the Sheriff’s Office again worked together to search the Rainbow Gathering Site— systemically scouring the entire area.

Eventually, Novak-Garcia, who was hiding in a tent, was located by officers, arrested, and taken into custody without further incident. She was booked into the Wasatch County Jail on one count of Attempted Murder, a second degree felony. She is currently being held on $20,000 cash only bail.

wrecaquaThree days earlier another Rainbow family member identified as Tony Myers no know physical address was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after being thrown out of a Wendover casino.

According to police reports West Wendover police were called to deal with  a man in the west Montego Bay casino parking lot that was throwing rocks at employees of the casino.

Casino staff told police that the man, identified as  Myers had been removed from the Peppermill casino by security officers. Myers then walked towards the Montego Bay casino where he began to allegedly throw rocks at the casino employees. Myers then crossed Wendover Boulevard to get back onto the property owned by the Peppermill while causing the disturbance with the employees. When the officer contacted Myers it was determined that Myers was also under the influence of alcohol.

Myers was taken into custody for trespassing, intoxicated pedestrian on roadway and assault with a weapon (the rock being used as an improvised weapon). None of the rocks thrown struck any person or property.

Lightning-halfpageIn addition to violent crime some Rainbows are known to aggressively panhandle in groups reportedly surrounding a ‘mark’ and relieving them of all their cash. Others have been know to enter usually small convince stores en masse and either shoplift the overwhelmed clerk or intentionally damage items with the intent to collect them later from the trash after they have been thrown out.

According to the organization’s websites, the stated purpose of the Gathering is to allow like-minded members of utopian, bohemian, hipster, and hippie cultures to meet together to further their ideals.

The practical impact of the Gathering is the potential increased strain on community resources. While many members of the Rainbow Family are upstanding citizens, a small segment of their population have reportedly caused significant and detrimental impacts on nearby communities.

For instance, reports of previous Rainbow Gatherings show some past attendees engaged in criminal activity, including aggressive panhandling at stores and gas stations, trespassing, shoplifting, public urination, and nudity/lewdness. In addition, these reports show some attendees have left local emergency room and hospital facilities with unpaid medical services totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars before leaving the area a month or so later.

nuggetsbjuneBut for all the mayhem caused by some Rainbows on the way to the Gathering what goes on at the Gathering could be at least as bad.

While Rainbows are loathe to report anything short of murder to law enforcement anecdotes abound of sexual assaults, thefts, robbery and a variety of other crimes.

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.

Family members claimed that they were so harrassed by law enforcement , they would never return to Elko County again.

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Water And Politics Mix In WP County Clerk’s Race?

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Howard Copelan



Water and politics could be mixing in White Pine County this year.

Usually the race for County Clerk is a staid affair of dueling resume of who is the most qualified for the job.

White Pine County voters got a taste of that in the GOP primary and narrowly put Nichole Baldwin on the November ballots by 16 ballots to face off against Democrat Debra Ann Rivero.

And while the White Pine County Clerk’s duties have absolutely nothing to do with water or the water war still raging between rural Nevada and the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) the water issue could decide who is the next County Clerk.

Baldwin is a long time White Pine County girl with deep ties to the region’s ranching community. Rivero is not only a transplant from the Clark County but also a former employee of the detested SNWA. Note in the original posting Baldwin was misdescribed as a “life long” resident. She is not.

fandagoAlready the issue may have made itself known in the race. At the annual Snake Valley Festival in Baker, Baldwin was invited to march in the parade while Rivero had to watch from the sidewalk.

“I think any candidate’s position on the water could be an issue in this year’s campaign,” said Great Basin Water Network Director Abby Johnson.

While river past employment has not made her popular in Baker it remains to be seen just how it will affect her campaign county wide. Unfortunately for the candidate this years string of successes by opponents of the SNWA in and out of court may not help her.

Ever since the SNWA filed on all the water rights of rural Nevada over 25 years ago it appeared a foregone conclusion that eventually it would get its pipeline to drain rural Nevada. It beat back lawsuits, won administrative rulings and until this year the question was not if the pipeline would be built but when.

Even the most ardent supporters of the fight were disheartened and while still not popular more than a few locals began talking about making a deal with the SNWA and several actually began working for the authority.

Then the SNWA began to lose. First it lost a major ruling in Nevada District Court that all but annulled the Nevada Water Engineer’s approval of the pumping plan. Then it lost the political support of Utah governor Gary Herbert and last but not least the LDS Church hierarchy after a quarter of century of sitting on the sidelines publicly sided with their ranching brethren in Snake Valley.

wrecaquaSuddenly the rural water movement was if not reborn saw its moral and its support skyrocket. Instead of being looked at as romantic fighters for a lost cause the Great Basin Water Network became David versus Goliath. The name David means beloved in Hebrew and As all politician know everyone loves a winner, losers not so much.

Instead of being a former employee of the inevitable winner, Rivero through no fault of her own is now the former employee of a loser and that could rub off on her in November.

The other race where the water issue may have an influence is the one between Gary Perea and Mike Lemich for county commission.

While Lemich in his long presence in county politics has consistently opposed the SNWA, Perea is less of a supporter than a leader of the fight.

While in the past voters for whom the water issue the choice between the two would be six of that, half a dozen of the other. This year with the wins at his back Perea might also benefit more at the polls.

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Scam Artist Trys Bilking Casino, Fails, Jailed

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Howard Copelan

Gene Cody Barrett

Gene Cody Barrett

A Salt Lake scam artist was hoisted by his own petard Monday when he tried to bilk the Peppermill out of the cost of a new computer.

Gene Cody Barrett sits in the Elko County Jail on an over $21,000 bail after his plan to griff the Peppermill went south.

According to WWPD reports Barrett then a guest at the hotel left a broken lap top computer at the Security office for safe keeping and when it was returned to him claimed that it was in perfect working order when he left it. Barrett demanded a cash settlement and left the security office. According to West Wendover Police Lieutenant Donald Lininger security had been tipped off by an anonymous caller that Barrett had intended to scam the casino.

wrecaqua“He has several outstanding warrants from Utah too,” Lininger said. “Unfortunately none of them are extraditable.”

Instead of writing a check Peppermill security called the police who arrived while Barrett was away.

While the officers were being given this information Barrett returned to the security office to finish his report. As officers began to question Barrett, he ran. While running through the casino Barrett threw chairs and barrier poles in the path of officers in attempts to slow them down. While doing so Barrett also threw a pole at an officer striking him in the leg. From running a non-violent griff that action became assaulting a police officer.

Lightning-halfpageBarrett ran out of the casino into the parking lot where he attempted to hide between cars. Officers were able to find Barrett and took him into custody without further incident.


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Passing League Play Starts July For WWHS

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Howard Copelan



Wolverine Head football coach Bob Loncar is kicking off the 2014 season in July with a Passing League

“The passing league is a 7 on 7 league that is used to develop centers, recievers, quarter backs, backs offensively and secondary and line backers defensively.” Loncar explained. “Each team has a number of downs on offense as well as defense to work on routes, passing, timing, and meshes as well as coverage. All players are invited to participate as it is an opportunity for lineman to run routes and receive passes. The league plays in Elko on Tuesdays stating July 8, 15, 22 and 29 at 7:00 pm MST. Practice begins on July 1 at 6:00 pm on the WWHS Football field.”


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Baker Celebrates Snake Valley Water Fest

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Howard Copelan



Baker, Nev. was the setting for the sixth annual Snake Valley Water Festival, June 20-22, 2014. The Festival is a community gathering to celebrate community and keep water in Snake Valley by raising money for Great Basin Water Network (

A highlight of the weekend is the parade, dubbed the shortest parade near the loneliest highway. It’s so short they go around twice. But this year with hot local elections, the parade stretched to include a slew of White Pine County candidates along with goats, Ely’s brass band, old Jeeps that still run, and giant farm equipment. GBWN’s “Water is Our Future” entry featured some of the Valley’s children atop fresh bales of hay.

The Great Basin Beer Tasting was new this year and featured beers brewed with Great Basin water. The water theme was woven through the festival with parade entries, souvenir water bottles and home-grown Snake Valley calendars for sale, and a massive water fight for kids of all ages.

fandagoThe east coast-based Trotta Ronstadt band with James Dalton entertained on Friday and Sunday, and conducted workshops throughout the weekend. In the shade outside Baker Hall, musicians and poets entertained an attentive audience, sipping on lavender lemonade, while others perused the books, jewelry and handcrafts.

A community BBQ at the Border Inn preceded the live auction, to continue the fundraising. Sunday’s Snake Valley Slither, a 5 or 10 k run or walk, attracted only locals and visitors, no snakes.

“We are pleased that more people turned out to have fun and support activities to raise money for the water fight,” said GBWN president Abby Johnson. “Local support is crucial to our efforts and we thank everyone for helping the Water Festival succeed.”

The mood at this year’s Snake Valley festival in Baker, Nevada was alsodefinitely be different.

“We have had some very significant victories this year,” Johnson said. “So yes we are feeling very optimistic still I have to keep reminding people that while we have on a couple of battles the war is far from over.”

In a stunningly strong decision, Senior Judge Robert Estes of the Seventh Judicial Court of Nevada declared the State Engineer’s decision “subjective, unscientific, arbitrary and capricious”, and “unfair to following generations of Nevadans” and “not in the public interest”.

baldwinthanksEstes resoundingly rejected the Nevada State Engineer’s allocation of some 84,000 acre feet per year of groundwater in four rural valleys that the Southern Nevada Water Authority planned to pump and pipe to Las Vegas.

Estes’ ruling requires the State Engineer to recalculate reassess the water available for appropriation from Spring Valley to assure that “the basin will reach equilibrium between discharge and recharge within a reasonable time”, and to “recalculate the appropriations for Cave, Dry Lake, and Delamar Valleys to avoid over appropriations or conflicts with down-gradient, existing water rights”.

In addition to the Estes decision SNWA opponents scored a political victory of a sorts when Utah governor Gary Herbert In an 11th hour decision reversed himself and said he would not sign a controversial water-sharing agreement with Nevada that was strongly supported by the SNWA and strongly opposed by Utah ranchers and more recently by the LDS church.

“At the end of the day, when it comes down to those people who have the most to lose — it’s their water, their lifestyle, their livelihood — I can’t in good conscience sign the agreement,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

Finally this year and fresh off their big win in court, White Pine County, Great Basin Water Network, the Goshute and Shoshone Tribes, and their allies took the fight to a new level, requesting that the Federal District Court of Nevada “void the validity” of the Bureau of Land Management’s  Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) and “suspend and enjoin any operation on the right-of-way” pending full compliance with federal environmental laws and trust obligations to the Tribal Plaintiffs.


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Fire Working Family

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Howard Copelan


Earl, Pops and Steven Cassorla of Roller Coaster Fire Works

Earl, Pops and Steven Cassorla of Roller Coaster Fire Works

Having lunch with Earl Cassorla is an experience. Soft spoken and erudite, Earl appears to be the average respectable middle aged businessman who has sober and respectable opinions about just about everything.

That is until we get to the subject of his business– fireworks.

While Earl’s knowledge of the subject is truly remarkable the change in his demeanor is astounding. A twinkle grows in his eyes and his hands literally dance in expression.

This is a man talking with passion about his passion.

No, more than that this is the kid in the candy store.

Better yet this is a guy who owns a fireworks stand.

wrecaquaAs the fancy of little and big boys turns to fireworks in the coming weeks many will make pilgrimage to Battle Mountain Nevada, the new Mecca for things that go boom in the night and make beautiful albeit fleeting pictures in the sky.

There inside Roller Coaster Fireworks they will meet their kindred, brothers Steven and Earl Cassorla who finally yielded to their dream eight years ago to run the greatest fireworks stand in the world.

The brothers dream was born over 40 years ago in Rochester, New York.

“Like all boys we loved fireworks,” said Earl. “And like a lot of little boys we made plans to have the greatest fireworks stand when we grew up.”

If not the greatest, Roller Coaster in Battle Mountain is still pretty good with aisle upon aisle of wonderful explosives guaranteed to satisfy the most ardent aficionado.

Lightning-halfpageBut the Cassorla brothers journey from 4th of July Rochester to year round Battle Mountain was neither smooth nor in a straight line. Middle class boys from upstate New York simply did not go into the fireworks business, they became lawyers and engineers.

And that is what the Cassorla brothers did. Steven went to the law and Earl is the electrical engineer. Yet even while they were fulfilling expectations in the classroom the brothers could not get fireworks out of their systems.

“When I was about 14 I went under the fence at the local baseball stadium show,” said Steven. “I wrote the name of the company putting on the show on my jacket and tried to blend in with the crew. Yeah, I was caught by the owner’s son. He took me to the old man and said “Hey dad, we got another one”.  The guy looked down at me and asked me if I liked fireworks. I quickly nodded yes.  Then he asked me if I wanted to dig holes and I nodded yes again.  He gave me a job and that is what I did for the following four summers.”

    Steven eventually got his class B fireworks license meaning he joined that elite fraternity of professionals who put on public displays around the country on July Fourths, boy scout jamborees, weddings, NYE’s, and even shooting for President Reagan’s second presidential victory party.

fandagoIn addition to shows Steven and Earl began attending conventions of fireworks enthusiasts.  In 1988 they produced a new premium firecracker called Roller Coaster Brand which is wholesaled around the country, yet still something was missing.

“It was Earl who came up with the idea of opening a retail store” Steven said.

And in 2001 the brothers left their ‘real jobs’ and opened a store in Battle Mountain, Nevada once described as the “Armpit of America” by the New York Times, but adored by nearly all of it’s scantly 5,000 residents who enjoy small town life.

Although the town in Nevada’s High Desert may not be everyone’s cup of tea on the outside, inside Roller Coaster is paradise.  Anything anyone could want from mild to wild are on the shelves of the store in a remarkable pean to what is quickly becoming a bygone era; the back yard fireworks show.

passingleagueOften it was a multi generational bonding where father son and grandson bonded regardless of politics or even social standing in that uniquely male obsession with making things go boom.

The Cassorla brothers for their part have kept this multigenerational tradition alive. Every morning the brothers 99 year old father reports to work at their Battle Mountain store.


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Under The Rainbow

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Twenty five years ago in a brilliant piece of reporting (hey we won an award for it) we infiltrated the Rainbow Gathering as an Israeli tourist who spoke no English only Hebrew and very broken French.

We reasoned it would be highly unlikely that there would be any Hebrew speakers there, and likely there would be somebody who took French in high school or college and it would explain our awful accent.

We were right about a dearth of Hebrew speakers but only very lucky regarding finding someone who spoke French. Like the rest of Americans the Rainbows have an aversion to learning foreign languages.

Indeed that became our story.

For all their claims to a new age of thinking and universality, the Rainbows were overwhelmingly White Anglo Saxon Protestants from the middle or upper classes with really stupid names like Harmony, Peace and Fruit Basket.

Fruit basket was a naked guy who we met while he was riding a bicycle that had no seat up hill. Truly it was an incredible feat.

But no less incredible than what people will share when they think the guy at fire can’t understand a word they are saying.

But most of what they were sharing was pretty boring.

A couple may have chucked their house for a tent but they complained that the tent next door was nicer.

One may reject monogamy and join a group marriage but cheat on the group with someone (s) else down the trail, the group gets really mad, chucks your things and gets a divorce.

Apart from the truth that you can take the people out of the suburbs but you can’t take the suburbs out of the people we also learned that underwear was a really good idea. Granted this was less than 20 years after the hay day of the hippie movement but gravity is a cruel mistress that some appendages simply cannot defy for long.

Most of the hippies were part timers who after the gathering would return to their relatively normal lives and their relatively normal jobs.

They were just funny.

Then there were the those for whom abject poverty was a way of life soothed by drugs and alcohol.

They were just sad and they were going to die and soon.

They were kept in their own little corner of the camp and watched very closely by the Gathering security force because they stole things.

There really isn’t much to steal at a Gathering and somehow that made it all more pathetic.

What does it say about you if your net worth can is counted in cans of tuna?

If a new way of thinking ever emerges to change us all, it won’t come from the Rainbow Family.

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Mary Lacy 1931-2014

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Howard Copelan


Heaven called our loved mother, grandmother, sister and friend, Mary Jane Robinson Lacy, home on June 21, 2014, on the first day of summer and longest day of the year, her favorite day, in Salt Lake City.

Mary was born in Auburn, Illinois on July 2, 1931 to Gilbert and Bessie Woolary Robinson.  Mary was born a twin with Margaret Joan Robinson Zorn and they were loving sisters and best friends.  She married her high school sweetheart, Earl Lacy, Jr.  April 1, 1948 in Elko, Nevada.  After marrying, she and Earl lived in Carbon County.  Together they raised eight children.

In 1965, Earl and Mary moved to Wendover, UT where Earl was a Wendover, Nevada sheriff.  Mary worked at the Jim’s, State Line, Silver Smith, Montego Bay, and Red Garter Casinos before retiring.  She worked as a flight attendant for State Line Flights.  She had many friends and enjoyed having conversations with everyone she met.  Everyone loved Mary and she always had a story to tell.  She enjoyed playing cards with her friends and grandchildren, while she insisted she had a royal flush.

Mary loved and found great joy in traveling with her senior citizen friends.  They traveled to many places of wonder and had experiences that were life changing.  A forever thanks to Juha Saastamoindn, Melvin Stewart, Pat Fasthorse and Ruth Spillman and family.  Their trips made a difference in her life.

Forever missing her love, humor and wit will be:  Children, Earl III (Glenda), Randy, and Robin (Terry Parker), Wendover, UT; Rick (Ginny), Lorelei Barrera (Mike), Green River, WY; Ron (Francis), Lyman, WY; Terry Linares (Kenneth), Grantsville, UT; 25 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild; sisters, Norma Boyer, Green River, WY; Betty Willhite, Springfield, ILL; and Sister-In-Law Alice Barker (Sheldon), Beaver Dam, AZ.  Survived by many other family members.  Waiting to meet her were her husband, youngest son Claude Scott, Grandson DeLon, Great Granddaughter Abigail Grace Rudy, her parents, her sisters Margaret and Wanda and brothers Jerry, Joey, William and Kenneth, and nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to give love and forever thanks to Earl and Glenda, Robin and Terry, and Randy for their special loving care during the last years of Mary’s life.  They truly sacrificed to keep her home and provided the best care and love.

Services will be held Saturday, June 28th, 12:00 Noon at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel in Wendover, UT.  Friends may call between 10:30 – 11:30 A.M.  Interment, Wendover Cemetery.

The family suggests, in lieu of flowers, make a donation to a charity of choice.  Mary is loved and will forever be missed by family and friends

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Blood Drive In Wendover

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Howard Copelan



Thanks to local Karen Sheperd, the Red Cross was again in Wendover Monday drawing blood. 

About 40 people Voluntered to donate blood. However some were turned away due to a rule change.

“The rules are always changing, and someone eligible one day might not be a few months later.” explained one blood drive worker. “But this did not discourage our local donors, who came willingly. It is for a good cause: saving lives.”

The local businesses also help by providing some drinks and fruits to replenish the blood loss.



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SCHOLARSHIPS (continued from previous editions)

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Howard Copelan




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