Archive | September, 2014

Driver Killed In Crash During Rural Nevada Race

Posted on 30 September 2014 by Howard Copelan

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Philip Bowser, 71, was killed Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in a crash near the finish line of the Silver State Classic. Bowser died when his 1997 Porsche 998 rolled and burst into flames north of Hiko on one of the final curves of the race.

By HENRY BREAN – LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

A driver was killed Sunday in a crash near the finish line of an unusual race that shuts down a rural Nevada highway twice a year to let car enthusiasts drive as fast as they can.

Philip Bowser, 71, of San Jose, Calif., died when his silver 1997 Porsche 998 rolled and burst into flames about 120 miles north of Las Vegas on the final curve of the Silver State Classic Challenge, which runs along state Route 318 in Lincoln, Nye and White Pine counties.

Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said Bowser was entered in the 150 mph division so he was trying to complete the 90 mile course at an average speed of 150 mph.

Bowser’s daughter, Amy, was riding with him as his navigator. The 44-year-old Reno woman escaped the crash with minor injuries, Lee said, but she was unable to get her father out of the car once it caught fire.

Bowser’s brother also was entered in the race and was on the course when the crash occurred, Lee said.

The competition was halted after the accident, but racing resumed about three hours later before being canceled altogether by stormy weather about 3 p.m. Sunday.

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Fatal crashes are comparatively rare during the Silver State Classic. Lee said he knows of only three other deaths in the 27-year history of the competition, including a crash in 2011 that killed a driver and his navigator.

That’s not many “considering what they’re doing,” Lee said. “They take a lot of precautions.”

Race organizers essentially rent out the highway from the Nevada Department of Transportation, turning it into a private, closed course from about 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on race days.

The Nevada Highway Patrol doesn’t patrol the road during the race, and any crashes that occur are not counted in the state’s highway accident statistics, Lee said.

NDOT district engineer Kevin Lee said organizers must apply for a permit and follow several requirements aimed at protecting the public and the roadway. They also have to pay $4,500 to cover the cost of road crews and department managers sent to work the race and put up a $10,000 refundable bond to cover any damage to the highway.

He said race organizers maintain radio contact along the route and monitored the race from the air to look forany problems or any unauthorized vehicles encroaching on the highway.

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The event is held each spring and fall, and it’s open to anyone older than 18 with a valid driver’s license and a “roadworthy vehicle,” according to the race’s website.

Cars run in a variety of speed classes from 95 mph to 180 mph. There is also an unlimited division — as in unlimited speed — for “full race-equipped cars” and “very experienced drivers” older than 21. The current course record, set in 2012, is 217 mph, and that’s an average speed over the entire 90 miles.

According to the website, the course offers “long straights, twisty sections and dips, which for faster participants may result in a brief airborne experience.”

The race starts just south of Lund in White Pine County, and finishes just north of Hiko in Lincoln County. Drivers race against the clock, not each other.

Sunday’s race drew more than 130 entries, Lincoln County’s Kerry Lee said.

White Pine County Sheriff Dan Watts said his department helps secure the course and provide emergency response, but one year he took things a step further. About six years ago, he rode along as navigator in a Corvette in the 150 mph division.

“It was a blast,” Watts said, but the race is not for everyone. “You have to trust your driver and your equipment.”

NDOT’s Kevin Lee said as many as three different promoters used to run similar races on other lonesome highways around Nevada, but those events have faded away over the years, leaving only the biannual competitions on Route 318.

Messages left for Silver State Classic Challenge officials were not returned.

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Race organizers told the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office that Bowser was a regular competitor in the challenge.

A May 2012 photo on Bowser’s Facebook page shows him standing next to a silver Porsche on what looks to be a stretch of Nevada highway. The car is plastered with the number 91 and the words “Old Fart Racing.”

In September 2013, Bowser wrote on Facebook that he was headed to Ely to take part in the challenge and that his daughter would be riding with him. “Amy will be my navigator in the 150mph class,” he wrote. “Can’t wait to go fast!”

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Majority Leader Reid’s Abuse of Power Says Sessions

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Howard Copelan

Calls For Restoration Of Senate’s Historic Role

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        U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, delivered the following prepared remarks Wednesday, September 17, on Majority Leader Reid’s tactics to control the Senate, limit open debate, and erode individual Senator’s rights in representing their constituents: “It brings me no pleasure to make the remarks I am compelled to make today.

  The Senate, the legislative body heralded by the late Robert Byrd as the second great Senate in history—the first being the Roman Senate—is being eroded beyond recognition by Majority Leader Reid and those who support him in that process.

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Once again here we are, at the 11th hour, being asked to vote for a spending bill that no member has had the opportunity to meaningfully analyze, scrutinize, or investigate. Once again, we are being asked to fund the entire government in one catch-all bill with no opportunity for a single amendment, improvement, or meaningful consideration. No opportunity for the American people to know what’s being passed and to hold their elected representatives accountable for their actions. Once again, this huge bill is being rushed through under threat of government shutdown, so our Leader can send his members home to campaign. That’s the purpose really, to vote once, go home, and campaign. Sad to say, it’s politics first.

  We have not voted on a single appropriations bill in the Senate this year. Not one of the 12 appropriations bills required to fund the government has come before the Senate. Committees are bypassed, secret deals rule the day, and millions of Americans are robbed of their ability to participate in the legislative process.

  It’s been so long since we’ve followed the regular order, it is necessary to provide a basic civic review.

  Each year, Congress is supposed to pass adopt a budget resolution, which outlines the spending goals for the upcoming year. Then, based on spending levels contained in the budget resolution, individual committees are to report out authorization bills based on the expertise and experience of the members serving on those committees, shaping where the spending is supposed to go, laying out priorities and objectives for our Federal government to serve its citizens.

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  Then, the Appropriations Committee is tasked to produce appropriations bill for each area of the budget, which are to be individually considered, debated, and amended on the Senator floor.

Each year, the Senate is supposed to consider individually the 12 appropriations bills. This gives each member, and their constituents, a chance to review and analyze each part of the budget and offer suggestions for saving money, improving efficiency, and better serving taxpayers, which we are failing to do. We don’t have a dime to waste.

  But under the tenure of Majority Leader Reid, the budgeting process has been dismantled. We’ve only passed one budget in the last 5 years. Our committees stand by idle, and the floor is run not for the purpose of legislative debate but as an extension of the Democrat campaign committee.

  The Senate has ceased consideration of appropriations bills altogether, relying more and more on autopilot resolutions and catch-all continuing resolutions and ominous omnibus spending packages. When I first came to the Senate, almost every single spending bill was debated, amended, and passed in the Senate. Now we regularly go year to year without debating a single stand-alone spending bill on the Senate floor.

  One of the worst tactics by which Majority Leader Reid has suppressed Senators’ rights and blocked open debate has been a technique called “filling the tree.” Under this tactic, he uses his majority rights to keep Senators from offering amendments, as representatives of their states and the American people. Blocking amendments prevents the body from working its will, prohibits legislation from being improved, and protects Senators from being held accountable by voters on the great issues of the day. It keeps the Senate from being the critical sounding board for the issues of the day.

  Our Majority Leader has used this tactic—filling the tree—90 times during his tenure. To put this in perspective, the six previous Majority Leaders filled the tree only 49 times—combined. Senator Reid has filled the tree almost 40 more occasions than all of the six previous Majority Leaders did cumulatively over their tenures. This stops amendments from being voted on.

He has shut down one of the most important functions that Senators exercise to defend and advance the interests of their constituents.

  But it doesn’t stop there.

The Senate is supposed to be Washington’s cooling saucer. That is why, on many important and controversial matters, 60 votes are required to adopt a measure or to confirm a nominee.  And, importantly, to change the rules requires a 2/3 vote.

  This 2/3 vote threshold is critical, because it ensures that the rules actually have meaning—that they apply when either party is in power and cannot be changed on a whim. To change Senate rules requires a broad consensus across the entire body. This protects the rights of individual senators to be heard on the issues of the day. It is the key component of the Senate’s heritage of discussion and debate.

Yet, Leader Reid, in an exercise of brute political force, changed the Senate rules by a simple majority vote. He ignored the counsel of the Senate Parliamentarian—the preeminent protector of the Senate’s practices and procedures—and in one stroke changed the nature of this august body, perhaps forever.

  Today, under Harry Reid, and the Democratic senators who empower him, Senators cannot even consider important legislation; they cannot offer amendments; and they cannot even fully debate issues of the day.

  Huge bills are rushed through in the waning hours of a session.

  Systematically, the rights of Senators to provide equal representation to each state is being dismantled.

  But it gets worse yet still.

  As we all know, President Obama has promised that after the midterms he would issue an executive amnesty to 5–6 million immigrants who are unlawfully here. This executive-ordered amnesty would include work permits for millions of illegal workers, along with photo ID’s and Social Security numbers, and it would include more guest workers for large corporations.

The President and the immigration lobbyists meeting secretly in the White House are trying to implement through executive action the same disastrous policies that were rejected by Congress through the House of Representatives. Once the public learned what was in the Senate amnesty and guest worker bill, they declared: no, no, no. So the President is conspiring to go around Congress, and what does Mr. Reid say—what does the Leader of our Senate say? He tells the President to “Go Real Big” and to bypass Congress with the biggest amnesty you can do.

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Majority Leader Reid has blocked this Senate from considering the House plan—legislation passed by the House and sitting at the desk—to stop the President from executing this unlawful act. He is determined, completely, to ensure this executive amnesty happens and to do whatever he can to do see that it does. The principles that govern our political system, separation of powers and public debate, are of no importance.

  But, colleagues, as we know, Reid only operates with the support of his Conference. We saw this vividly when I made a motion that would allow us to take action to stop the executive amnesty and every Senate Democrat except the junior Senator from West Virginia voted with the Majority Leader to enable the President to go forward with his unlawful amnesty decree. It’s unbelievable.

  And to this day, not one Senate Democrat has spoken up to support the House plan to stop the executive amnesty or demanded that Mr. Reid bring it up for a vote. Every member that supports Senator Reid is as much a supporter of President Obama’s unlawful amnesty as they would be if they were sitting in a room helping him sign the order. This is the time. It’s either stop it now, or it may be too late to stop him. And we need to vote on it, and people need to be held accountable. Every American needs to know where their Senator stands on the President’s unlawful assumption of power to violate plain law of the United States to carry out a political agenda he has that the American people reject. It’s just that simple. It’s about power and it’s about politics—it’s not about what’s best for America.

All of us owe our constituents a full, open, deliberative process where the great issues of the day are debated with their scrutiny and we receive their input, with our rights respected, our responsibilities honored, and our Senate strengthened in the process.

  The democratic process is messy, sometimes contentious, and often difficult. But it is precisely this legislative tug of war, this back and forth, which forges national consensus. And people have to stick their necks out and say what they believe on important issues facing America. It is the process our founders utilized to discover the truth. While secret deals may appear to keep the trains running on time, they also keep them running, too often, in the wrong direction. Only through a renewed open legislative process, carried out in the full light of day, can we clean up this government, forge real national consensus, achieve accountability in Washington, and allow our Senators and Congressman to be there on the front lines to sink or swim on how they perform. We are not guaranteed political office; the American people don’t work for us. We work from them. And it returns power, thereby, to the everyday citizen. It is time for us to restore once again the great Senate of the United States.

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Good Time At Wendover Fall Fair

Posted on 29 September 2014 by Howard Copelan

Picture from Kimberley Thorn, 1st Grade Teacher West Wendover Elementary School

Picture from Kimberley Thorn, 1st Grade Teacher
West Wendover Elementary School

Last week Fall Fair in Wendover was also catering to family fun this year, with some Sliding and Bouncing house, and game stands. Many Art and Crafts booths also had a good crowd throughout the day.

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Elko Most Wanted Gonzalez-Mesa, Roger Keith Mains

Posted on 19 September 2014 by Howard Copelan

Gonzalez-Mesa

 

GONZALEZ-MESA 2003 case out of the Elko PD (ROGER KEITH MAINS photo not available at this time)

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Eight Children And One Adult Injured Viewing A Science Demonstration

Posted on 19 September 2014 by Howard Copelan

Fire Tornado

Last week a team of CSB investigators deployed to the Terry Lee Wells Discovery Museum (The Discovery) in Reno, Nevada, where a flash fire on September 3 injured children and adults viewing a science demonstration.  Nine people – eight of them children – were transported to the hospital for evaluation of burn injuries, and one child with more serious burns was admitted to the hospital for treatment.View of “fire tornado” demonstration

CSB investigators spent two days interviewing witnesses and museum personnel, examining the site, and reviewing relevant documents and safety procedures.  The Discovery’s leadership and personnel cooperated fully with the investigation and expressed their desire for positive changes to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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Our investigative team determined that the incident occurred during a “fire tornado” demonstration where salts of different elements were combusted in a dish in the presence of alcohol-soaked cotton balls, while spinning on a lazy Susan-type rotating tray.  This produces a tornado-like colored flame that rises in the air.  The incident happened during a version where boric acid was to be burned in the presence of a methanol-soaked cotton ball.  When the cotton failed to ignite it was realized that it had not been adequately wetted with methanol.  More methanol was added to the cotton from a four-liter (one gallon) plastic bottle.  Unknown to personnel, the cotton ball was likely continuing to smolder, and it ignited the freshly added methanol and flashed back to the bottle.  Burning methanol then sprayed from the bottle toward the nearby audience of adults and children visiting the museum.

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This unfortunate incident is similar to a number of others that have occurred around the country during lab or classroom demonstrations where methanol has been used as a fuel for combustion.  In 2006, high school student Calais Weber was severely burned, and others were injured, at an Ohio high school during a similar demonstration of a chemical “rainbow” that involved combusting salts with methanol.  Calais’ burns were so serious she had to be placed in a medically induced coma and required multiple skin grafts.  Calais’ ongoing ordeal was described in a poignant video we released in December 2013, called “After the Rainbow.”

In 2012, more students and a teacher were burned, and some were hospitalized, in a methanol-based experiment at a middle school in Liverpool, New York.  Then in 2014, a high school student was severely burned by a methanol fire during another rainbow experiment gone awry.  And there are many other examples.

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Methanol igniting on the day of the incident Methanol is an essential chemical and an emerging energy resource with a multitude of important industrial and environmental uses.  But in the cautionary words of Greg Dolan, CEO of the Methanol Institute, which represents the manufacturing community, “Like gasoline, methanol is a toxic and flammable chemical and should only be handled in appropriate settings, and that would certainly not include museums and classrooms.”

Methanol readily emits heavier-than-air flammable vapors and the liquid has a low flash point, meaning it can ignite at room temperature in the presence of an ignition source.  This creates an unacceptable risk of flash fire whenever any appreciable quantities of methanol are handled in the open lab or classroom in the presence of pervasive ignition sources, such as open flames, heat sources, or sparks.  There is also a significant risk of flashback to any nearby methanol bulk container, as was the case in this last incident in Reno, Nevada.

Similar concerns have been raised by the Committee on Chemical Safety of the American Chemical Society, which this year called on schools and teachers to immediately end all “rainbow” demonstrations involving methanol or other flammable solvents on open benches.  In the words of ACS safety experts, “The ‘Rainbow’ demonstration performed on an open bench using a flammable solvent is a high risk operation.”  There are well-known safer alternatives to the rainbow demonstration where no methanol is used, only wooden sticks soaked in chemical salts dissolved in water.

The recent incidents of methanol fires in schools are just one example of what can happen when lab demonstrations are adopted and used – with the best of educational intentions – but without a thorough review of the hazards and the development of robust safety procedures.

Today I am calling on all schools, museums, and science educators to discontinue any use of bulk methanol – or other similar flammables – in lab demonstrations that involve combustion, open flames, or ignition sources.  There are safer alternative ways to demonstrate the same scientific phenomena, and many teachers are already using them.  Any use of methanol or other flammables should be either avoided completely or restricted to minimal amounts, which have been safely dispensed at remote locations.  Bulk containers of flammable liquids must never be positioned or handled near viewing audiences, especially when there are potential ignition sources present.

As scientists and engineers, we share in the enjoyment of both teachers and students in creating and watching chemical demonstrations.  However, safety must be the absolute priority in all such endeavors.  We have seen too many kids and adults suffer tragic injuries to do otherwise.

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Erik Holland Eureka: Art Show Starting October 11 at The Court House Gallery

Posted on 19 September 2014 by Howard Copelan

Eureka Painting

Reno artist Erik Holland has spent most of a week over the past several months plein air painting all over Eureka, self-described as “the Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Road in America”. He is preparing for a one-man show that will open at the Court House Gallery there on October 11, with an artist’s reception from 3-7 pm.

“I first saw Eureka in 1979 when I came west from Chicago and took US 50 across Nevada,” Holland says. “I was fascinated by everything I saw. I remember walking all around Eureka on that trip and thinking, ‘I’m going to live here some day’.”

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Six years later Holland returned to Nevada after a sojourn in California and took a job as a reporter for the Battle Mountain Bugle. “I spent three months in Battle Mountain,” he says, “and that was enough for me to fall completely in love with Nevada.”

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It has been a most rewarding love affair. As he devoted himself to painting Nevada, his reputation has grown. He was up early, home late, and painting every minute in between. “I painted 25 buildings in Austin,” he says, “and 25 buildings in Ely. Now it’s Eureka’s turn.”

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“The people here have been amazingly friendly. I’ve been painting all over town and people come out of their homes and businesses to say hello, and see what I’m up to, and get to talking. There’s a welcoming attitude here that’s made my stay very pleasant.”

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Holland studied art at the Art Students League of New York, and the Chicago Academy of Fine Art. He got his start selling paintings on the street in San Francisco, and painting murals in Alaska. He recently published his first book, Outback Cartoonist, supported by a grant by the Nevada Arts Council. He is the “mayor” of NadaDada Motel, during which artists rent motel rooms in Reno and make a show.

He markets his plein air and studio paintings through special events, galleries, and online. He offers workshops and classes, and teaches at Rainshadow Community Charter High School.

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Crèche Exhibit Seeking Handmade Nativities

Posted on 19 September 2014 by Howard Copelan

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Celebrating its 10th year, the Elko Regional Interfaith Christmas Crèche Exhibit is calling for handmade and handcrafted nativity items to display.

  Each year the Exhibit likes to highlight something different. For example last year was the complete Madonna and Child art collection of Helen Halls. And in 2012, it was tree toppers. This year the Exhibit would like to showcase handmade nativity items.

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  These items could be anything from a quilt or fabric wall hanging to wood, metal, or ceramic figurines, to painted or drawn art, or made from non-traditional materials such as chocolate.

“Any items depicting the full or part of the nativity story and/or Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus would be acceptable,” says Jim Cooper, chairman of the Crèche Committee.

Additionally, Cooper encourages everyone get involved; youth and children’s groups, women’s and men’s organizations, church and civic organizations, as well as families and individuals.

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Although the exhibit will be featuring the handmade and handcrafted items, all nativity or nativity items are welcomed for display during the exhibit.

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The Exhibit, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, with this year’s theme, “Precious Saviour, Dear Redeemer!,” will be December 4th through 7th, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elko West Stake Center, 3001 North 5th Street, in Elko.

For more information: 778-3535 or 738-7748, crechecommittee@elkocreche.org, www.elkocreche.org, or facebook.com/elkocreche.

Newmont Sept.2014

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Drugs And Larceny At Casinos

Posted on 19 September 2014 by Howard Copelan

Conway, Cheri

Conway, Cheri

Thomas, Kraig

Thomas, Kraig

 

On August 29 2014 officers were called to the Peppermill casino to take a theft report. At that time it was determined that a patron had medications and cash stolen from a purse. The purse had been recovered and returned to the owner when the missing items were noted. A suspect description was obtained through review of video surveillance.

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Officers were later summoned to the Montego Bay casino where a female was located that matched the description. This female was identified as Cheri Conway. After further review of video surveillance and interviews with all persons involved Cheri was taken into custody for alleged unlawful possession of a prescription medication and petit larceny.

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On September 01 2014 officers responded to the Red Garter casino on a report of illegal narcotics found in an abandoned backpack. While meeting with security the officer found that two patrons had returned to look for the backpack. One of these patrons identified himself as Kraig Thomas. After interviews were complete Kraig was taken into custody for the alleged unlawful possession of illegal narcotics/paraphernalia.

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On September 05 2014 officers were called to the Rainbow casino where security staff had located a possible suspect involved in a theft. Salvador Vera, an employee of Peppermill properties had been suspected of taking items from a storage facility owned by the Peppermill. Salvador was located by the officers and taken to a security office. After interviews with casino employees and review of surveillance footage Salvador was taken into custody for grand larceny and embezzlement.

Newmont Sept.2014

 

 

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BREAKING NEW NNRY WINS FIRST ROUND. Will Ely Rail War Kill The NNRY?

Posted on 12 September 2014 by Howard Copelan

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The collision between the Ely City Council and the Northern Nevada Railway continues in slow motion this month as both sides cross the Rubicon from disagreement to all out war.

The scorched earth strategy however is leaving many of the Ely residents wondering if anything will be left of the historic railroad to salvage no matter which side wins.

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Earlier this month the Northern Nevada Rail Road board petitioned senior Nevada Judge Bob Rose to intervene and reverse the removal of its chairman Ely Banker John Gianoli and Stephen Leith from the board.

Shortly after that suit was filed the railroad’s offices were raided by Ely City Councilmen Marty Westland and Bruce Setterstrom and the railroad’s financial records were copied and downloaded to a portable device for the city’s contracted forensic auditor.

In addition to the raid the Ely City Council continues its efforts to replace all other long serving Management Board members with those of its own.

centraphoneBut as the battle for control of the railroad continues in city hall and now the courts many in Ely are wondering if there will be anything left of railroad to be claimed as a prize of war.

“For 30 years people not only in Ely but all of White Pine County and all of rural Nevada have donated their time and their money to improve the railroad to make it an international tourist attraction,” said one area businessman. “If that forensic auditor does not find a smoking gun proving out and out criminal fraud the city council has a whole lot of explaining to do.”

So far audits of the railroad have found far from stealing from the railroad, its employees particularly Executive Director Mark Bassett have lent the organization money when they should not have.

In fact it was those improper loans to the railroad the council first used as its reason to assert its control over the railroad and ‘clean house’.

What is troubling may Ely residents is that after the “cleaning” there might not be much of a house left.

For 30 years since the railroad was created and about half that time under the direction of Bassett, the Nevada Northern Railway has built an international web of supporters both in government and from private corporations and individuals. That support whether in the form of governmental grants, private donations or out right gifts turned what was once a nice collection of obsolete engines and cars into one of the few operating historic railroads in the world and a significant money maker for Ely. Without that on going support many locals fear the Nevada Northern could easily revert to a quaint pile of junk.

wrecaquaThat could happen especially if the council not only replaces the entire board and if the new board fires Basset.

“You are talking about years if not decades of carefully cultivated relationships being destroyed in one fell swoop,” said one current director. “Who on the new board will know who to talk to the next time a grant request comes along or an endowment is up for renewal? People like to know who they are dealing with and it is not like there is a shortage of good causes to donate to.”

In the worse case scenario that criminal fraud is found in the forensic audit, funding to the railroad would dry up immediately. However even if nothing serious is found the bitter relationship between the city council and the railroad could give many previously generous donors reason to look elsewhere to give their money.

As predicted the railroad board pointed its finger squarely at former employee and current city councilman Marty Westland as using his position to wreck revenge on the rail road.

eelsionNNRR Board members and Bassett have long accused the Ely City Council and most particularly Westland of using the audit issues to get back at the organization and Bassett, the man who fired Westland several years ago.

In the suit a long list of Westland actions both before and after he was elected to the city council in 2011 where he inserted himself into NNRR operations is enumerated including the setting up a rival corporation, using the NNRR logo, writing up unfounded safety violations, and interfering in a grant application that may have cost the rail road over $10 million.

In an interview with the Advocate Westland openly questioned whether some of the expenditures listed in a  $72,000 loan Bassett made to the rail road could be justified and should be paid back.

But while the $72,000 loan and an additional $95,000 from Bassett to the NNRR raised a justifiable red flag to the corporations auditors Westland’s troubled history with Bassett and the NNRR management board begs the question if the brouhaha over the audit is real or an excuse for revenge.

In the last city election the self described reform movement took the majority on the Ely City council. What is striking about the reform movement was that very few if any of its candidates lived in Ely for more than 10 years if that.

“That the real shame of it all,” said one long time Ely resident. “These new guys come into town raise hell, break everything and then leave and we who have lived here all our lives have to pick up the pieces.”

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No Planes, No Gains? Wendover Gaming Win Falls In July

Posted on 12 September 2014 by Howard Copelan

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With the Wendover Airport closed to gambling junkets for half the month, Wendover casinos in July reported a almost nine percent decline in gaming win.

According to Air Port Manager Jim Petersen the major commercial runway at the Wendover Airport underwent repairs and improvements for the last two weeks of July and the first week of August.

“There were no casino flights during that time,” Petersen said.

click link for report  mrrjuly14

The absence of the fly in traffic had a direct effect on the casinos’ bottom line. According to the report released last week, Wendover clubs reported an 8.94 percent drop in total gaming win to $12.56 million from the same month last year.

“Win” is a gross figure, with no operating costs or other expenses deducted. And it’s casino revenue only _ separate from hotel, restaurant or bar revenues generated by the resorts.

While win indicates a casino market’s profitability another statistic “play” is an indicator of how casino workers are fairing. With some casino workers dependent on tips for up to half of their total income, play, the amount of money wagered by gamblers is a good indicator of how much casino workers received in tips and how many gamblers are actually in the casino.

centraphoneSlot win was down 11.3 percent to $10 million. Slot play was down 9.9 percent to $181.3 million. Slot hold declined from 5.61 percent in July 2013 to 5.52 percent this July.

On the tables win was up 1.8 percent to $2.6 million. Play was down 5.5 percent to $12.1 million while hold increased from 19.5 percent to 21.1 percent.

Until July Wendover casinos had been posting modest gains and even finished the fiscal year slightly ahead of the one before. July figures indicate not only how fragile the tourist economy is but also how vital the fly-in program remains to the Nevada/Utah border town.

But while July was bad in Wendover, it was even worse for casinos in the rest of Elko County.

Total gaming win for the balance of the county dropped by 12.76 percent to $7.4 million.

Slot win was down 13.1 percent to $6.6 million. Slot play was down 3.3 percent to $102 million. Slot hold declined from 7.2 percent in July 2013 to 6.47 percent this July.

Table win was down 9.4 percent to $763,000. Play was down 0.1 percent to $3.5 million while hold dropped from 24.2 percent to 21.96 percent.

For the rest of the state, Nevada casino revenue increased less than 1 percent in July from the same month last year, at least partly due to continued gains on the Las Vegas Strip.

Casinos won $931.8 million last month, a 0.65 percent increase from July 2013. Strip gaming revenue went up 4.83 percent to about $536 million, continuing the growth it has seen all summer.

eelsion“Baccarat had a very strong month on the Las Vegas Strip, which really accounted for a majority of the increase,” said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the gaming board.

Downtown revenue, meanwhile, dipped 2.8 percent to about $38.3 million. Other areas suffered worse declines: Boulder Strip gaming revenue decreased 9.78 percent, while South Lake Tahoe revenue decreased about 22.5 percent.

Casinos in Reno also saw their revenues drop by 2.28 percent to about $47.8 million.

Baccarat remained a significant source of growth for the state — it brought in 13.87 percent more revenue than last year. Slot revenue, on the other hand, dropped 2.86 percent.

Online poker revenue improved year-over-year by about 11 percent, climbing to $958,000. In June, it brought in more than $1 million for the first time.

Clark County largely mirrored the individual game numbers. There, baccarat revenue increased about 16 percent and slot win decreased about 1 percent.

The state reported that it collected $52.2 million in taxes based on July’s winnings, which marks a 14.73 percent decrease from last year.

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