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“Pinto Fire” in Eureka and White Pine County Mostly Contained

Posted on 25 July 2016 by Howard Copelan


The fire that approximately burned 1,912-acre in Eureka and White Pine counties, is now 80-percent contained.  Full containment is expected by Tuesday evening, July 26, said a BLM official.

The fire is burning in priority sage grouse habitat, consuming pinion-juniper, brush and grasses.  There is no threat to private property.  Firefighters are implementing a full-suppression strategy, using all available resources to protect life and property, and resources.  Firefighter and public safety are the top priority.

The fire was first reported at about 12:15 p.m., Thursday, July 21.  The cause of the fire is unknown. 

Size:  1,912 acres

Percent Contained:  80%

Current Resources:  1 Type 2 Hand crew; 1 Helicopter; 11 Engines; 1 bulldozer; 1 water tender. 

Total Personnel:  73

For more information, go to or contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District fire information officer, at (775) 289-1842 or

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Attempted Murder, Battery, Drugs, New String of Burglaries

Posted on 24 July 2016 by Howard Copelan

New Domestic Battery, Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs…says Lt. Don Leninger 

Also Attempted Murder, Embezzlement, String of Burglaries, around Elko

Arrests 1

Arrests 2

Brooke Andrew 33, Provo Utah, Driving Under the Influence

On July 13, 2016 officers observed a vehicle driving without headlamps turned on after dark. A traffic stop was conducted and Brooke was identified as the driver. Through interviews the officers began to suspect that Brooke was driving while under the influence. A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) was summoned to the area to speak with Brooke. After performing some tests and observations Brooke was taken into custody.

Brooke also had a warrant for her arrest for a previous DUI charge. Brooke was transported to the Elko county jail without further incident.

Raymond Chavez 24, Tooele Utah, Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs

On July 14, 2016 officers responded to an unwanted guest at a residence. Raymond Chavez had been asked to leave a residence by the owners. Raymond did not comply, police were summoned to assist. Raymond had been brought to West Wendover by a friend, who would not provide him transportation back to Tooele.

Raymond was also suspected to be in possession of a phone belonging to the resident. During a search for the phone a prescription pill bottle in Raymond’s name was located. Inside the bottle were tablets that were not prescribed to Raymond. Raymond was taken into custody without incident for being in possession of prescription medication other than his own.

Fessy Alexander 29, Elko Nevada, Domestic Battery

On July 14, 2016 officers responded to the Montego bay on a report of a domestic incident. Upon arrival Fessy Alexander and her boy friend were identified as the persons involved.

Through interviews it was found the Fessy and her boy friend had been arguing in the casinos. At some point Fessy allegedly struck her boy friend. Fessy was taken into custody without incident. No medical attention was required by the victim of this incident.

Sergio Esparza 24, West Wendover Nevada, Domestic Battery

On July 16, 2016 officers were flagged down by a female who wanted to report a domestic battery. This female approached officers with visible injuries to her face. She explained to officers that her boy friend had struck her after he accused her of cheating on him. The victim had her phone taken away from her and destroyed when she attempted to call 911 for help. During the altercation the victim was also grabbed by the neck causing her to lose consciousness. She was able to escape the residence and flag down an officer who was patrolling in the area after regaining consciousness.

Sergio Esparza was identified as the suspect in this incident by the victim. Sergio had fled the area prior to police being able to make contact. Sergio later contacted police to turn himself in. Sergio was booked for Domestic Battery with a strangulation enhancement, as well as coercion.

The victim was taken to a Salt Lake City hospital for evaluation. She is expected to recover from her injuries.

Javier Rodriguez 22, West Wendover Nevada, Battery and Injury to Property

On July 16, 2016 officer responded to a residence to take a report of a Battery. Upon arrival the victim told officers that he was painting a fence when the neighbor became upset over paint going into their yard.

Javier Rodriguez was identified by the victim. Javier was suspected to have been consuming alcohol. Javier initiated an argument with the victim over the paint and allegedly punched the victim. Javier then fled the area after punching a vehicle that also belonged to the victim.

Javier was later located an taken into custody for Battery and Injury to Property.

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Judge Order Most Documents In Bundy Case To Stay Sealed

Posted on 24 July 2016 by Howard Copelan

Clive Bundy

Clive Bundy

A federal magistrate judge in Las Vegas cited prosecutors’ concerns about threats of violence in a ruling that keeps many documents secret in the Nevada criminal case involving rancher Cliven Bundy and a 2014 armed standoff with government agents.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen said she found a “credible risk” that public disclosure of documents turned over by prosecutors to attorneys for the 19 defendants might be used to intimidate or influence potential witnesses.

Chris Rasmussen, attorney for Peter Santilli, one of the 19 defendants in the case, said Monday he’ll appeal the ruling.

The order, issued last Friday, doesn’t apply to materials collected from the internet and other public sources.

It rejected arguments by most of the defendants — and by media including The Associated Press, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and other Nevada newspapers that grand jury transcripts, FBI and police reports and witness statements to investigators should be made public.

Attorney Margaret McLetchie, representing the media, said the public shouldn’t be comfortable that documents are sealed. But she said the order “at least makes it clear that items publicly available can’t be treated as confidential.”

Leen’s order pointed to a ruling by a federal court ahead of the 1997 trial and conviction of Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building that killed 168 people.

“The news media and public are spectators, not participants, in the process of adjudication,” it said.

Leen said she was swayed in the Bundy case by 22 examples cited by prosecutors in Las Vegas of “actual and potential threats, intimidation and harassment to victims, witnesses and law enforcers” dating to 2014.

“Cumulatively, the 22 examples are sufficient to establish a credible risk,” said the judge.

Bundy, four of his sons and the 14 other defendants in Nevada have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, obstruction, weapon, threat and assault charges that could get them decades in prison in the tense gunpoint standoff against government agents and cowboy contractors. All 19 are in federal custody. Trial is scheduled in February.

The Las Vegas case is separate from a criminal case headed for trial Sept. 7 in federal court in Portland, Oregon, stemming from a 41-day armed occupation of a U.S. wildlife refuge this year. Bundy sons Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy and five other defendants in Nevada were among 26 people accused in the Oregon case. Seven have pleaded guilty.

Judge Peggy Leen (Judge Peggy Leen photo courtesy 2015 Speaker Panel Coalsp)

Judge Peggy Leen (photo courtesy 2015 Speaker Panel Coalsp)

About The Judge: Judge Peggy Leen was appointed United States Magistrate Judge on January 16, 2001, and was

reappointed for a second term on January 16, 2009. A Nevada resident since 1968, she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, graduating with a degree in political science in1976. She received her J.D. from the University of San Diego Law School in 1979. Judge Leen has extensive experience as both a criminal and a civil trial lawyer, trying felony jury trials as well as mass disaster, toxic tort, radiation and employment cases in both state and federal court. As a member of the Clark County DA’s Office she prosecuted capital and other murder cases as a member of the major violator’s unit. Judge Leen is the only female lawyer

from the State of Nevada who has been elected a fellow of the International Society of Barrister’s, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the American College of Trial


Fandango Clouds2 - 2016

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Oasis Fire Now Contained

Posted on 24 July 2016 by Howard Copelan

Winnebago Fire as it reached almost 1,600 acres. (photo courtesy of the Elko Interagency Fire Dispatch)

Winnebago Fire as it reached almost 1,600 acres. (photo courtesy of the Elko Interagency Fire Dispatch)

The Winnebago Fire (photo courtesy of the Elko Interagency Fire Dispatch)

The Winnebago Fire near Oasis(photo courtesy of the Elko Interagency Fire Dispatch).

The National Interagency Fire Center reports the Wally Fire is fully contained as of July 20, 2016. It burned 1762 acres. Just Tuesday, Firefighters were reporting 75 percent containment of a 2.5-square-mile wildfire that officials say may have been sparked by a vehicle on Interstate 80 in northeast Nevada. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Chris Rose said Tuesday that no injuries were reported, no structures are being threatened and the interstate remains open near the fire about 30 miles west of Wendover.

The fire was discovered Saturday afternoon next to the highway in open range near the community of Oasis and State Highway 233.

Rose says about 225 firefighters were aided by air tankers and helicopters fighting the fire in grass and pinyon juniper brush.

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BLM Extend Comment Period On Nevada Race Through Monument

Posted on 24 July 2016 by Howard Copelan

Basin and Range National Monument

Basin and Range National Monument(photo credit BLM )

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is extending the public comment period on a proposal to run part of an off-road desert race through a new national monument in Nevada amid complaints the agency rigged the process to approve the route over the objections of conservationists.

The agency has extended the deadline from July 31 to Aug. 3 for the Best in the Desert Race. Thirty-seven miles of next month’s 650-mile race would run on existing dirt roads within the Basin and Range Monument that President Obama established last summer northeast of Las Vegas.

The agency will have two weeks to consider the public comments and issue a decision. But that’s just two days before the race is to begin Aug. 19.

Conservationists claim it’s part of a ploy to prevent them from filing any legal challenges.

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Dead Woman Found Near Lake Mead Murder

Posted on 24 July 2016 by Howard Copelan


The body of a woman who was found at Boulder Beach, in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area,  Monday July 18th, at about about 8 a.m. was declared an homicide. Her body was found with multiple stab wounds and cuts. Parks spokeswoman Christie Vanover said the investigation on last Monday shut down the middle section of the popular beach area that is used for special events but that the rest of the park stayed open.

Now the Clark County coroner’s office has identified her, this wednesday, as 61-year-old Kathleen Mary Ploutz. Metro Police are investigating the slaying.

Officials said it appears to be an isolated incident but won’t say if an attack actually took place where she was found, in the middle section of the popular Boulder Beach area that is used for special events.

Vanover said Lake Mead remains open.

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Former Marine Gets 25 Years For Oil Fraud Scheme

Posted on 24 July 2016 by Howard Copelan


Federal authorities say a former Marine has been sentenced to 25 years in jail for a multimillion dollar Nigerian oil fraud scheme. The Justice Department said Tuesday that 65-year-old Anton Paul Drago was convicted in March of wire fraud, failing to file a federal income tax return, lying to federal agents, theft of government funds and falsely submitting claims to Veterans Affairs.

The Las Vegas man had been accused of setting up a Nigerian oil investment scheme between 2004 and 2012, telling investors their money would go toward a crude oil operation.

Drago, who also known as Evan Fogarty, had served in the Marine Corps and for decades falsely claimed a disability to receive thousands of dollars in monthly VA benefits.

He’s also ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution.

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One Dead In Eureka County Crash

Posted on 24 July 2016 by Howard Copelan


Eureka crash (Photo credit Nevada Highway Patrol)

Eureka crash (Photo credit Nevada Highway Patrol)

Eureka crash (Photo credit Nevada Highway Patrol)

The Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal crash that occurred in Eureka County on Thursday. Sergeant Alex Perez say that a driver was traveling south on State Route 278, near mile marker 76 when he collided with a truck towing a manufactured house and crashed down an embankment.

NHP troopers say 52-year-old Scott E. Floyd died at the scene, while the second driver, 28-year-old Matthew Erickson was not hurt.

The crash is still under investigation.

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Posted on 24 July 2016 by Howard Copelan

Where the Election Stands


Lee Hamilton

The next few weeks in politics are a little like the All-Star break in baseball. With the Republican and Democratic national conventions upon us, it’s a good time to step back and assess this year’s election. Which carries bad news for both parties.

The Republicans face a steep electoral challenge. If Hillary Clinton carries Florida (where polling shows a very close race) plus the District of Columbia and the 19 states that have voted Democratic in each of the last six presidential elections, she wins.

Yet victory for Donald Trump is hardly out of the question. He’ll have to retain the support he already has from white voters — especially working-class whites in swing states — and try to make some inroads among non-white voters. He’ll also need to hope that any third-party candidates take more votes away from Clinton than from him.

Trump floated through the Republican primaries by tackling the anger and discontent that course through this year’s electorate. His talk about a broken system and his emphatic, brash style appeal to a lot of people. His ability to dominate news coverage without spending much on advertising has been extraordinary. And even though he’s passed through a difficult period for his campaign, the polls have grown quite close.

On the other hand, the Republican Party is splintered and off its game. Its leaders are having a difficult time with a Trump candidacy. A sizable number of GOP stars are finding excuses not to attend the convention, which is remarkable. Conventions are where parties fire up the faithful and gird for the general election; to find elected officials staying away is clearly a problem. And any revolt at the convention will be messy — though fortunately for the GOP, the months from August to November are an eternity in politics.

Yet the Democrats should take no comfort from this state of affairs. For starters, below the presidential level the party is struggling. Since 2008, Democrats have lost 69 seats in the U.S. House, 13 Senate seats, 12 governorships, and over 900 seats in state legislatures. Nor do they have much of a bench. The two most prominent Democrats this year, Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, are both senior citizens: Clinton is 68, Sanders 74. Despite President Obama’s relative youth, his years in office did not usher in a new generation of national Democratic leadership.

And while Clinton’s path to the presidency may be wider than Trump’s, that doesn’t mean she’s a strong candidate — at least, not for this particular year. She’s put out carefully thought-through, even impressive position papers on a wide variety of current issues that get very little attention in the press. At a moment when voters clearly want change, she appears to favor incrementalism as the way to get things done in Washington.

And despite the FBI’s decision that it wouldn’t bring criminal charges on her handling of emails when she was Secretary of State, the issue is clearly dogging her. She went into this election facing a lot of voters who simply didn’t trust her, and that has only gotten worse. In politics, you cannot talk someone into trusting you — you have to earn it, inch by inch.

Moreover, if Trump faces tough arithmetic in the electoral college, Clinton faces her own difficult equation: It is extremely hard for a political party to win a third consecutive term in the White House. It happened 28 years ago, when George H.W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan. The last candidate before that was Franklin Roosevelt, in 1940.

The British vote on Brexit is a reminder that resentments and anger can fly under the radar. And Washington, where there’s money everywhere you turn, is a ripe target for “take-our-country-back” populism. The anti-establishment, anti-Washington mood captured by both Sanders and Trump should make both parties uneasy.

But then, so should the course of this election, which has put a premium on sound and fury at the cost of true engagement with the issues confronting the country. On that score, we all lose.

By Lee Hamilton

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

Who Are We To Vote For This Election Year?

We thought we were Republicans, as the Democratic Party has been so far from our views for so many years. But now the Republican Party as adopted a platform Monday that some are calling “The most socially conservative in recent memory”. It reinforces opposition to same-sex marriage, formally opposes bathroom choice for transgender people and opposes public funding for Planned Parenthood. This is going backward for so many people, and they are losing our vote for it.

We still cannot bring ourselves to vote for Hillary Clinton, after Benghazi and after far to many years of Obama foreign policies, and the kissing a…of Iran cronies and other radical muslims.

It is a sad day to not have a decent candidate that we would like to vote for.

It is a sad day in America when one party wants to go back from America’s social progress, and the other party endangers its troops, and shame America around the world.

By C. Copelan

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Geri Wopschall Around the County

Posted on 22 July 2016 by Howard Copelan


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

Nobody grows old  merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles your soul.

White Pine County Commission Meeting

July 13, 2016

  Burton Hilton, County Assessor, informed the Commission of a change in the State Constitution that could effect the property tax. Hilton and 16 other Assessors are inquiring as to how this will effect the properties owners. At this point the new assessments do not look good for the taxpayers.


  The commission voted to propose a Mutual Aid Agreement with the City of Ely. This is the same agreement used with the surrounding counties. Mike Coster stated we do not need an agreement, NRS 414.120 covers the agreement, it mandates the assistance between emergency service departments and payment for expenses occurred when helping another emergency department. The only way out of helping another entity is if the department is busy elsewhere or with the permission of the governor.  In comparing the two, the Mutual Aid Agreement provides for payments after 24 hours on an emergency and for special equipment, the NRS provides for payment of actual expenses on each assistance (cost recovery). The NRS allows payment.

NRS 414.100 needs to be read and understood. (It is my feelings, that public officials should be aware of laws and ordinances that effect agenda items. I will attest to the fact NRS’s are not fun to read, but very informative.) There was some misinformation put out about volunteers being covered by insurance when assisting another Agency. They are covered and always have been.

  Vote – 3 to send the agreement, Coster voted no, it is not needed, Carol McKenzie wasn’t able to be attendance.


  Basin and Range National Monument. This is a Proclamation by President Obama make a monument of 702,000 Acres in Nye and  Lincoln Counties. White Pine will be a gate way to the monument. This can and will effect the people of White Pine with limits and cost to access this land. Laurie Carson would like to support the White Pine people in the use of this land with all right and access. The original idea for this was to protect the city and the roadways into the city. But the amount of acreage far exceeds what is needed.

  There is a motorcycle race that goes through this area and may be stopes from using the roads going through the national Monument.


  County Road 1185 will have to be surveyed do to a possible law suit. The problems along this road may be in Eureka county and not White Pine. The original markers cannot be found. There were 25 markers and now they can only find one. So this area needs to be re-surveyed to see which county the problem lies in. The cost of this could be $10,000.

The Commissioners approved the expense.

Laurie Carson   293-3134

Mike Coster       293-2933

Richard Howe    287-2851

Carol McKenzie 238-5384

Gary Perea.         293-7356

Geri Wop

JULY  Calendar:

23, 30  – Renaissance Village open 10-4 p.m.

AUGUST  Calendar:

5 –   FUN FRIDAY CHILI COOKOFFSculpture Park    4-7 p.m.775-289-8877

6 – 7 ARTS in the PARK at the County Park  Sat, 10-6p.m./Sun.10-4 p.m.775-293-0012 

12 -13 White Pine RODDERS car show County Park Fri. Noon-6, Sat. 10-4 p.m.

18 – Chamber/Elks Lodge Dinosaur Races & Mixer 5 p.m.775-289-8877

19 – Ranch Rodeo Fairgrounds 10-5 p.m.

19 – Ely VFD/Cattlewomen’s  BBQFairgrounds 4-8 p.m.

19 – 21 County Fair Upper Fairgrounds

20 – 21 White Pine Horse RacesLower FairgroundsPost time 1 p.m.      

27 – Farmers Market Renaissance Village 10-2 p.m.

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