Categorized | Advocate News

Geri Wopschall Around The County

Posted on 05 January 2018 by Howard Copelan

Philosopher Camus wrote “Always go too far, because that’s where you will find the truth.”

White Pine County Commission  Meeting

December 20, 2017

   Public Comment

BJ Almberg- The water rights the county had requested for the use at the mines, were approved. BJ said that they had to jump through many hoops, but it was approved.

Stephanie Woywood – We need a Level Playing Field and I would go along with 30 rooms, but we should have 50 room restriction on the gambling ordinance. The hotels provide more jobs and Revenue.

Jason Woywood  – I am with the Prospector Hotel, we are in favor of the room requirement for non-restrictive gambling. 30 rooms is okay but 50 rooms is a plus. The three operators in Ely provide hundreds of jobs and over  $55,000 in taxes. To have a slot parlor with one employee a shift is against all Nevada game licensing. The city put in a 50 room requirement and for us to undermine that is just ridiculous.

Mike Coster – (letter) I opposed the “extension of lease” sought for a hanger known as hanger to an agenda item 3. c. e. NRS 496.080, FAA Grant assurances, along with other reasons were  given.

Discussion only to review the appraisal of Assessor’s parcel 0 1 0 – 270-27 + 010 – 320 – 0 6.

These two parcels are on the east and west sides of Highway 93 near the airport. The two Parcels of land totaling 760 + Acres and owned by White Pine County. The first property is valued at $96,000 and the second property is listed at $1,006,000. These two parcels the county is considering leasing to a solar farm.

Richard Howe wanted to know if this solar farm would interfere with the airplanes approach to the airport. The FAA has very strict rules for anything that could interfere with an airplane approaching an airport.

( I have looked up and copied the FAA restrictions and I agree that the solar farm will be in compliance and will be a safe item around the airport)

The reason for putting a value on this property is to establish the rate of lease.

Discussion / action / possible approval of the White Pine County Commission to officially endorse Marsy’s law for Nevada either as an individual commissioner or as a board.

   This law is set up to notify victims of a crime when a perpetrator is released from jail.

Perea “ I am very opposed to this, my concern is about the liability it puts on the County. Could the County have its own ordinance to serve this purpose?”

Wheable “ I am in favor of notifying people, but the mandate coming out of this could be very expensive to the County. I want to support it but I feel I need to know more about it”

Henroid “ We already notify people.”

Howe “ I think we should hold off on this until we know more.”

No motion

Discussion only about the evaluation process for County departments in 2018.

   Part of the discussion was to have a special meeting where the department heads met with the commissioners and the Commissioners have forms to fill out. The rest of the discussion went around the County hiring a County Manager who would be handling all of this.

Discussion / reading of Bill number 0 8. 0 9. 2017, Ordinance 476, an ordinance adding Chapter 4 section 2 regarding the number of Slot Machines, Games, Gambling Devices, Race Books or Sports Pools that are operated in played for Value within the county.

  This ordinance was changed to match the City’s Ordinance of 50 rooms to have an unrestricted Gambling License. Only two of the Commissioners are allowed to vote on this, because three commissioners are connected to establishments that have gambling. The contention between Mckenzie and Howe has been Mckenzie wants less than 50 rooms. The ordinance should be changed to 30 rooms. Both Howe and Mckenzie agreed that 30 rooms would be okay for the ordinance. The final reading and decision on the ordinance should come the second week of January.

( I wonder what effect this will have on the City.)

Discussion/First Reading of Bill number 1 2.2 0. 2017, Ordinance for 83 and ordinance amending title to regulation an ambulance runs to Ely State Prison.

   This opens up the ability for EMTs and the Warden to determine the proper procedure per incident.

McKenzie “ I feel that leaving the decision up to the response team is a good idea and would have a good sense of comfort.”

Frances “There is a concern about liability. I would like to look into this further.”

Wheable “I have several concerns about liability, but I would rather that we not make runs to the prison at all. I feel the prison should provide this service. We care about the prisoners and our EMTs, but I do believe we incur a liability.”

Bybee “I would like to have some input from our volunteers that will be involved, as far as their comfort level.”

Discussion/Action/Possible Approval  of an intergovernmental agreement for road maintenance between White Pine County and the City of Ely.

5/0 Approval

Megan Brown, Aquatic Center

Decisions / Action / Possible Approval

To review bids received for White Pine County Aquatic Centers wading pool play feature and award the contract to the responsive and responsible bidding company.

Vortex was awarded the contract for a 6 foot 7 inches play feature for the wading pool. The price will be $55,680.

Discussion/Action/Possible Approval of the modification of Aquatic Center / White Pine County Ministerial Association rental agreement.

   It appears no students attend the afternoon classes, so they would like to reduce the amount of time that they rent it to half a day in the morning.

5/0 Approval

Lance Gale,  Airport Manager

Discussion /Action /Possible Approval to move forward with putting the abandoned airplane at the airport up for sale.

   This airplane has been parked at the airport for 10 years, the engines are in Nebraska with James Adams. We need to wait until the engines are back from Nebraska. We should be able to get $5,000 to $7,000. There may be $4,000 due in back fees.

   The owner has signed a letter of intent to give the plane to the airport, now we have to get him to sign a bill of sale.

Howe “We need to get it signed over to the County and get the engines returned before we make a decision on this.”

Wheable jokingly suggested that the plane be used to fly County officials to Carson City or other meetings they must attend.

( The manner in which the engines are shipped back to Ely, was not discussed. I am sure there will be a cost involved in this.)

Discussion/Action/Possible Approval do declare January 25, 2018 as Yelland Day in honor of James Henry Yelland.

Yelland was the first Airman to give his life from White Pine County in World War II. This will be the 100th anniversary of his death. Yelland’s niece (100 years old) lives in Utah and her family is going to try to get her here for the celebration.


5/0 Approval

Discussion/Action/Possible Approval for a temporary extension on the lease of the 2nd South hanger recently leased to Murry Hewko.

   Mister Hewko has been a long term leasor of this hanger. His lease was up approximately one year ago (October  2016), he was not notified that it was up and he has continued to pay for the hanger to date. Mr. Hewko is in the hospital with cancer treatments. He would like to continue leasing the hanger. The delaying of the bid process would give Mr. Hewko the chance to bid on the hanger also.

Bybee “I feel we should postpone putting this up for bid until January or February out of compassion.”

Wheable “ By the time we finish the advertising and start getting bids it will be the end of January , 1st of February before anything is decided.”

Bybee “ We didn’t notify him that his lease was up and he has been paying the lease religiously. I think right now he has his back up against the wall and we need to show some compassion.”

Perea “ The main thing I’m concerned about is giving time for Murry to get his things out of the hanger.”

(It has been stated that this needs to go for auction, is going for bid the same? When the County gets bids, they usually are sealed. An auction is usually bidding in person, with the possibility of upping one’s bid.)

No motion made for the extension.

Kathy Ricci, Human Resources

Discussion/Action/Possible Approval to begin recruiting for a Firefighter I-II AEMT for vacant position effective December 13th 2017 with the resignation of Merrill  Harrison.

5/0 Approval


New tourism and outdoor recreation preliminary plans.

   The Great Basin Trail Alliance, in coordination with the US Forest Service, Ely ranger district, desire to develop a master plan for trails in the ward Mountain area, south of Ely, Nevada. The development of this plan coincides with resurgence in the local community to become more competitive in outdoor recreation tourism market, including non-motorized trails. In this vein, the vision of the trail system requires accessibility from town to enhance tourism spending while offering a high-quality product with the diversity of opportunity to compete in this already crowded tourism field.

   This Five-Year Plan provides the Great Basin Trail Alliance a roadmap for achieving its lofty goals as well as some best management practices that we can use as an organization to help them move forward. This master plan includes the following objectives / deliverables:

1. An assessment of the existing network that identifies opportunities already being provided, areas of a possible improvements and a baseline for identifying gaps in the network that need to be filled. This could include re-alignment of existing trails are planned trails to improve the user experience.

2. Focusing on the missing gaps in the network, a long-term plan will be developed that provides conceptual Trail locations as well as Trail management objectives. Estimates for miles and construction cost estimates are also provided. This portion of the approach to detailed enough for future NEPA work, if necessary, as well as future Grant applications. Trails will also be prioritized to help the organization Focus effects.

3. Given that the organization is fairly new to building Trails this plan should also provide some general guidelines / recommendations on various approaches that have proven successful with other similar organizations. This will include construction strategies and fundraising that has proven successful in other areas.

   Based on the existing network, topography, land pattern and recreation settings 3 district zones were identified. These are the Ice Plant Front Country Zone, the Ward Mountain Campground Zone, and the Powderhouses Backcountry Zone.


Ice Plant zone – located directly out of town the trails in this 900 Acres Zone are fun and offer experiences for multiple skill sets and abilities. They are great for the after work, get in some quick exercise, and relieve some mental stress ride or run. There is also opportunity for risk, Challenge, and skill development as well as opportunities to engage local youth. The routes in this own or hard to follow without a local guides since none are signed and intersections are not evident or straight forward. Most of the trails are agency provided and in their travel system however some existing trails are not official .  There is no start to a trail system or place where new visitors can be directed.

Ward Campground Zone – the recently renovated Ward Campground offers exceptional facilities, multiple Campground loops and  established trailhead. This makes for an excellent Trail destination for those syncing to camp and ride or hike and at the same time as close to town. The terrain  and location of this 2400 acres zone offer variety to the greater trail network. A multi-use loop trail system with various lengths  and difficulties is already in place. Unfortunately, the majority of these trails are based on old roads and provide little recreation value. They are wide, steep and quite frankly boring for the user.

Powerhouse Zone – The largest, at 3070 acres and leasted developed Zone, located south of Highway 6 and sandwiched between the other two Trail zones, this area offers the best opportunity for close to town Backcountry and remote experiences. This zone also provides a great opportunity for connections between the other two zones greatly expanding the opportunities for real long excursions. These connections also create an ability to add onto the trail system in the future.


In order to make the trail system more navigable to new visitors the entire trail system needs to have functional and straight forward  signs and intersections. Currently signing is limited especially in the Ice Plant Zone. The Limited signing that is present is ambiguous  and doesn’t do much to help direct the trail user. Signs should be installed on wooden post to add permanence instead of flimsy carbonites. While the Ward Mountain Zone is better signed, the lettering system is confusing and should be re-thought. Cost  estimates provided per zone includes the purchase of materials and installation. It is assumed that each intersection signs will have a post with two signs.


Ice Plant Trail System 

Total Cost – $223,019.00   Total Miles -8.5

Ward Campground Zone

Total Cost – $377,220.00   Total Miles -14.5

PowderBerry Zone

Total Cost – $559,872.00   Total Miles- 18

Total Cost Estimates- $1,392,133.  Total Trail Miles of work – 41 miles

   The cost of this program will be met by fundraising, grants and prison labor.

   I would love to see this program progress, I may even drag out my ATV. It sounds quite exciting and I do hope the community and County get behind it.

Geri Wop

January Events

5  Northern Nevada fresh food distribution  3:00 735 Ave N

12-13 Fire & Ice

Cancelled at Cave Lake State Park  775-289-3720

13  NNRY    Birthday Party for engine 93   1:00

13  Horseshoe Tournament   10am  Cave Lake State Park 775-289-8877

19-20  Sheepherders Ball   Border Inn  775-234-7300

20  Birkebeiner Ski Race   Ward Mountain    775-994-5722

27  Rotary Ice Fishing  Derby   8-3 pm   Cave Lake State Park   775-293-2072

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