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Ely Mayor’s Railroad Coup Fails, Gridlock Now Status Quo

Posted on 09 October 2015 by Howard Copelan

railroadEly Mayor Melody Van Camp was thwarted in her effort to replace the Rail Road Board in a marathon six hour meeting Thursday night.

But while Van Camp failed to remake the board she also left the current one in a kind of political limbo, still serving but with their terms expired.

It was only last week the Railroad Management board Chairman John Gianolli and members Roger Bowers and Randy were informed that Van Camp would be seeking to replace them with candidates of her own choosing.

wrec1015The mayor’s move caught most everyone off guard especially after the recent city election.

The management board and the city council had been at loggerheads for well over a year complete with dueling lawsuits over control of the historic railroad.

The most vocal critic of the management board was former councilman and former railroad employee and now ex-City Councilman Marty Westlund who alleged that criminal fraud might be going on at the railroad.

This June Ely voters repudiated City Councilman Westlund in the election that swept most of the good ol’ boys out of power and put a new slate on the council.

Westlund was defeated by Kurt Carson. The other council incumbent Tammy Carlgren was also soundly defeated by  Pat Robison. In the open race for Dale Derbidge’s seat Jolene Gardner defeated. All three winners ran with the support of the Railroad board.

wenutrallyThe only incumbent to survive the thrashing was Mayor Melody Van Camp. Van Camp victory was the only solace anti railroad supporters could take but it could also mean a bitterly divided city council not only on the railroad but on perhaps every single issue on the city agenda.

Those three new councilmen proved to be the bulwark of the nation railroad crusade in Thursday meeting. More than a half a dozen times they voted down replacements to the board while the mayor refused to re-appoint the incumbents.

In the end the stalemate is now the status quo the railroad board members will remain the same but serving on expired terms. The kind of gridlock could have repercussions in the railroad’s ability to secure public grants and or financing.


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Utah Woman Beats Shoplifting Rap But Is Jailed On 27 Felony Drug Counts

Posted on 09 October 2015 by Howard Copelan


A case of shoplifting turned into a major drug bust at the Montego Bay Thursday night.

According to police reports OWWPD officers responded to the Montego Bay casino on a report of a female shoplifting in the gift shop. Officers identified Jordan Dente of aged, 29, Layton, Utah.

Dente was accused of taking merchandise from the gift shop, however after interviews were conducted and the property returned, the managers of the establishment opted to not pursue charges. Dente however had a warrant issued for her arrest from Clark County Nevada. Dente was taken into custody for the warrant without incident.

wrec1015During a search incident to arrest the officer located several hypodermic needles, a small bag containing a small amount of substance believed to be heroin along with several prescription tablets (Diazepam) that were stored in another small plastic bag. Dente was not able to produce a valid prescription for the tablets.

Dente was charged with 27 additional felony offenses including 16 separate counts of distributing a controlled substance and 10 counts of possession of hypodermic needles and one outstanding warrant.

centraShe was  transported to the Elko County Jail. 

The drug distribution charges each carry a $5,000 bail and the needle charge carry a $1,000 bail which adds up to a total of about $100,000.


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Sarah Isaacs Wins Again!!!!

Posted on 09 October 2015 by Howard Copelan

sarah photoSarah Isaacs took first place in the Ely tournament with a score of 91. Three strokes behind Elko, the West Wendover team took 2nd place with a score of 448. At Sate Sara will tee off in the first group at 10:00 am on Monday. Her group will include Incline, Battle Mountain, and Wells. Teams that will be at State are Yerington, Incline, Battle Mountain, White Pine, Wells, Tonopah, Sierra Lutheran, Round Mountain, and Mountain View.

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Elko DA Won’t Charge Wendover Date Rapist

Posted on 08 October 2015 by Howard Copelan


A suspected date rapist will never be charged following a decision from the Elko County District Attorney office that there was either not enough evidence or that the evidence was contradictory to obtain an arrest warrant let alone a conviction.

The decision may have surprised West Wendover Police who had portrayed the case as a virtual slam dunk for the prosecution this June.

Then the West Wendover Police Department announced there was a suspect in the date rape of a woman at casino.

wrec1015“All we are waiting for is the DNA test results for a positive ID,” said WWPD Lt. Donald Lininger at the time..

According to Lininger the woman reported to friends in Salt Lake that she had blacked out during a getaway to Wendover.

“Her friends suspected she had been slipped a date rape drug and urged her to go to a local hospital emergency room.” Lininger said. “The examination confirmed that she was sexually assaulted and the toxicology report also confirmed she had ingested Gamma-Hydroxy butyric Acid.”

Commonly known as GHB, in addition Dextromethorphan, commonly known as Ecstasy combined with sleep-aid drugs.

“It was fortunate that the victim went quickly to the ER,” Lininger said at the time. “GHB quickly dissipates in the body and with no evidence it is very hard to prosecute of sexual assault. With the presence of GHB confirmed we have a solid case.”

Not solid enough however for the Elko District Attorney.

“The surveillance tapes of the incident did not indicate that the woman was unwilling victim.” Lining explained.

zapterIn some jurisdiction however the very presence of GHB is enough to charge for date rape if the victim presses charges. That behavior may have also been the result of the drug. GHB is often taken or administered because users find that it enhances their experiences of being in a club, party, or rave; small doses of GHB can act as a stimulant and aphrodisiac. GHB is sometimes referred to as liquid ecstasy, lollipops, liquid X or liquid E due to its tendency to produce euphoria and sociability and its use in the dance party scene.

Preventing date rape drugs may get easier in the future as a pair of Israeli scientists claim to have developed a chemical sensor that detects whether a drink has been spiked with the most common date-rape drugs.

Professor Fernando Patolsky and Doctor Michael Ioffe of Tel Aviv University, both chemists, say their detection system, which is still under development, works in real-time, and has 100 percent accuracy.

centra“You just dip it into your drink, it might actually look like a stirrer in the final production, it’s tiny, very tiny,” said Ioffe

.The WWPD released this flier to prevent date rape


1. Stick with your friends.

2. Make a plan before you go out. Set up checkpoints or code words to make it easy for you and your friends to stay connected.

3. Hold on to your drink—even when you go to the bathroom.

4. If your drink is out of your sight, even for a few seconds, get a new one. Spiking a drink with a date rape drug can happen quickly.

5. Don’t accept a drink from anyone—unless you can watch the bartender pour it.

6. Don’t share drinks.

7. Don’t drink from punch bowls or open containers.

8. Don’t drink anything that tastes strange.

9. Avoid clubs or parties that charge men but let women enter and drink for free.

10. Always keep your cell phone charged and on you. You never know when you’ll need it.

11. Make sure you always have a ride home or a plan to walk home with a friend or roommate.

12. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right to you, leave and get to a safe place immediately.

If you feel that you are in danger, or need Police assistance call 911

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Girls Golf Wins Round Mountain With Personal Bests And Team Record

Posted on 08 October 2015 by Howard Copelan


On a very windy day in Round Mountain, Nevada the West Wendover High School Girls golf team blew by the competition to capture first place in the October 1st Northeastern Nevada Girls Golf Match.

wenutrallyThe Lady Wolverines were led by individual champion Sarah Isaacs who shot 89. Sarah was aided by personal best scores from Sydney Boatman – 113, Stephanie Collazo – 114 and Miriam Rodriguez – 141. The continued strong play by Team Captain Shelby Hansen – 110, Sara Vera – 110 and Mayra Vite – 123 was also instrumental in the team setting a school record composite score of 422.

Coach Jennifer Lopez

Coach Jennifer Lopez

Coach Jennifer Lopez was demonstrably pleased with the showing of her team and is looking forward to further success down the road. The ladies next play a match in Ely, Nevada October 8th followed by the state tournament, also at White Pine County Golf Course, on the 12th and 13th of October.

Much of the success of girl’s high school golf here in West Wendover is due to the junior program developed by former Toana Vista Head Professional Reid Goodliffe and continued by current Head Professional Mike Propp.

These summer clinics, lessons and practice sessions are introducing the game of golf to kids as young as five and six years old. Teenagers who attended these programs a dozen years ago are now bringing their children to the golf course and participating in these summer camps.

With the help of Mike Propp, assistant professional Matt Nadeau and coach J Lo, West Wendover girls golf is in good hands for the foreseeable future.


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WWHS Football Wins 2 Straight, Boys Soccer Still Undefeated Playoffs Near

Posted on 08 October 2015 by Howard Copelan

WWHS Wolverines in their 70-8 thrashing of Silver Stage.

WWHS Wolverines in their 70-8 thrashing of Silver Stage.

The boy’s soccer team is still reigning undefeated with a victory against White Pine this past week.  The Girl’s team, however lost their game against White Pine, but expect to rebound in their upcoming games.  Whittle is playing both soccer teams this Friday 6:00 PM and Yeringon this Saturday at 2:00, both at the West Wendover High football field.  The wolverines will be tested at the game against Yerington, as they were the only team to have managed to tie the boys.

wenutrallyGirl’s Golf is still doing great this season taking second place at the Round Mountain Tournament.  Golfer Sarah Isaacs is still dominating the league, taking first place again.

Football won last game by forfeit, as Quest Prep did not have enough healthy or eligible players for the trip.  The team will travel to Quincey, California this Friday, with a JV game 5:00 pm and varsity at 7:00 pm.

Volleyball Varsity won their tournament in four matches at Battle Mountain last Saturday, while the JV team lost.  They will take on the number one team in Division 2A North as they play host to Yerington.  The tournament is a double-header beginning at 11:00 am.

Cross Country traveled to Twin Falls last week and gave it their all.  They will travel to Winnemucca this Friday.


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Soggy Utah Salt Flats Still Draws Artists & Musicians

Posted on 08 October 2015 by Howard Copelan


While the Bonneville Salt Flats were a bust for racers this year, the other worldly vista was still booming as a back drop for everything from commercials to music videos and of course movies.

Except for a few individual racers the Salt Flats were all but closed this year due to excessive rains for the second year in a row.

According to the SCTA web page the amount of water dumped on the famous race was simply was too much to drain or evaporate before the start of the event.

The last time rain caused the cancellation of Speed Week was in 1994 but according to what few records were kept and the memory of old time Nevadans this year’s cancellation could be  harbinger of several more in the coming decade.

Heavy rains both last year and this past spring caused a layer of mud to flow down from the surrounding mountains onto the salt flats, covering roughly 6 miles of the area usually converted into a race course.

wenutrally “It’s disappointing but it is not the end of the world,” said Wendover Mayor Mike Crawford. “Some local businesses will take a hit but I would not say any will shut down because of the cancellation. Anyone who has lived here more than 25 years knows that there are good years and bad ones for Speed Week of any other events on the Salt Flats. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s they were talking about canceling Speed Week forever because we had several wet years in a row. Then we had 25 dry years. I guess people got spoiled but there is no reason to panic.”

The cancellation of Speed Week may have Wendover casinos millions in gaming win according August’s gaming win report.

Released last the Gaming Control board reported Wendover casinos made $13.9 million in total gaming win down 5.0 percent from the same month last year. Wendover Casinos had been on a three month roll of increasing gaming win including one of their best July’s in even years with a 14 percent increase.The cancellation of Speed Week in 2014 was also blamed for a 10 percent drop in total gaming win July 2014.

Still Bonneville is a draw to visual artists and photographers. While the racers were bemoaning the cancelations a Utah based group called the piano guys released music video shot last month on the Salt Flats.

centraIn the video, The Piano Guys perform a cover of “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover.

The back to back cancellations of Speed Week and perhaps the World of Speed has given new life to the “SOS” or “Save the Salt” movement.

Begun after multiple cancellations of racing in the late 80’s and early 90’s SOS pitted racers against the mine operations on the salt flats. A deal was struck in the mid-1990’s where the mining companies agreed to dump waste brine back on the slat flats and for 25 years friction between the two groups was kept to a minimum. That animosity could return. While racers point the blame at the miners, miners return the favor and while not as flashy as million dollar race cars they do have a point.

In the 25 years of excellent racing conditions Speed Week has grown from a couple of hundred race cars to about 700 vehicles and if no cancellation had taken place this year and last the number could well have exceeded 1,000. The wear and tear of that many vehicles and crews on the very limited area of the salt flats by so many machines and men could have contributed the deterioration of natural resource.

A future compromise could include future restrictions on mining and also limit the number of racers.


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WREC Wells & Carlin Rallies

Posted on 08 October 2015 by Howard Copelan


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Girls Golf Wins Round Mountain With Personal Bests

Posted on 02 October 2015 by Howard Copelan


Sarah Isaacs

Sarah Isaacs

The Wolverine Girls Golf team took first place in the Round Mountain tournament. Sarah Isaacs scored 89 which is a personal best for her. She took 1st place in undvidual play. Her teammates Shelby Hanson scored 110 and took 8th place , Sara Vera scored 110 and took 9th place, and Syndney Boatman scored 113 and took 10th place. All scores helped contribute to a first place win. Not far behind were Estephani Colloza who scored a 114 Mayra Vite a 123 and Miriam Rodriguez’s score 141. All scores were a personal best. The next tournament is in Ely on October 8th.

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Local Pedicab Service Hits Casino Road Block

Posted on 01 October 2015 by Howard Copelan

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 2.07.37 PM

Pedicabs or bicycle powered rickshaws will not be coming to Wendover as soon as expected according to Salt City Cycle owner Lewis Gasper.

“We have had some problems getting the casinos on board,” Gasper said Tuesday. “They have to get the okay from corporate but we still plan to come.”

The major issue Gasper said was whether the pedicabs would be allowed to wait for fares on casino property or have to wait off property or to be called like a regular taxi.

“Whether or not the pedicabs can queue up in the casino parking lots or not is between the pedicab company and the casino,” said WWPD Lt. Don Lininger. “Most casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have taxi queues and  I guess so do some hotels in Salt Lake but we never had that them in Wendover.”

“The police have been super supportive and so has the city,” Gasper added. “We will come out to Wendover even if we have to pick up fares on the street.”

centraThe West Wendover City council changed the local law to allow for and to regulate pedicabs at Gasper’s request. And According to the Slat Lake businessman the business plan is sound.

“The casinos spend $700,000 a year operating their shuttle service and the town also supports a taxi company.” Gasper explained. “We think Whenever could easily handle a pedicab service. We were out there a couple of months ago just to check out the terrain and see if we could handle the hills. It looks great.

With the pedicab service and a new liquor store set to begin construction  it was hoped that West Wendover may be coming out of a more than decade long decline in the number of small businesses.

While there were signals that West Wendover could report a significant gain in the number of local business for the first time since 2003 that increase will have to wait until next year.

wrecnewLast year city offices report a net gain of one business to 174. Local businesses are 103, non-local 71, according to city figures/

However with the resurgence of the gaming industry and with the prospects of the Long Canyon Mine things might be looking up for the Nevada/Utah border town.

The new liquor store will be located between the Red Garter and the Desert Discount Liquor Store on Wendover Boulevard. The pedicab service is expected to also begin operations just in August.

There could also be a new casino/hotel on the horizon with the purchase of the defunct Rusty Palms by local entrepreneur Steve Perry.

In the past five years West Wendover has seen a number of relatively large retailers also leave town such as Park Furniture, Bargain Barn, Serendipity and Blanchard’s Furniture. Two years ago it saw the closure of one of its two full service banks, Nevada Bank and Trust.

While generally depressing there are some signs of green shoots. A clothing store and a discount general goods store open where the video store once operated.

zapterA dozen years ago that West Wendover earned the title of Nevada’s fastest growing city by more than doubling its population from over 2,000 when the city incorporated in 1991 to well over 4,000 in 2001.

The economy on both sides of town should also begin to look up with the construction of the Long Canyon Gold Mine still scheduled to begin in early 2015.

Literally a mountain of gold ore lies in the once long over looked Pequop Range now in advanced exploration.

The mine has the potential to radically alter the economy and the lives of eastern Nevada, residents of Wendover and Wells. Estimated to need 500 workers during construction and 250 miners once operations are ready, the Long Canyon mine could add at least 1,000 people to the area and that may be just the tip of a gold boom in eastern Elko County.

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