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Attempted Murder Charges Avoided/ Angry 86’d Man Returns To Torch Casino/Sprinklers Save The Nugget

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Howard Copelan



A Utah man is avoided at least for now dozens of attempted murder charges but is in jail on a $50,000 bond after trying but failing to burn down the Nugget Casino in Wendover Monday night.

Russell Bond a 56 year old truck driver from Hennifer, Utah turned himself into West Wendover Police after returning home and confessing to his family that had tried to destroy the casino.

wrecnewAccording to reports there may have been careful planning in the arson attempt.

Upon entering Bonds’ hotel room emergency personel found unignited containers of gasoline as well as sever fire and smoke damaged property.

According to witness there was a loud bang coming from Bond’s hotel room. Shortly later a man fitting Bond’s description was seen running from his room as the Nugget’s automatic fire fighting system came on. While over 50  rooms sustained moderate to heavy water damage the fact that the fire was extinguished in the room despite the presence of gasoline filled bottles is a tribute to modern hotel design. The Nugget had recently undergone remodeling and police speculate that a similar attempt at arson even five years ago could have had much more tragic results.

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click for Newmont Notes

At least in the initial charging Bond was lucky. It is often the case that crimes of arson that attempted murder counts are added to the arson charge.

Once inside the room emergency personnel observed fire and smoke damage to the furniture, as well as locating gasoline containers. The state fire marshal’s office sent an arson investigator to assist in documenting and investigating this incident.

In the meantime officers learned that the room was registered to a Russell Bond from Hennifer Utah. And with the man’s identity also came the possible motive for the attempted arson. Nugget security personnel recognized the name as a subject that they previously had removed from the property. According to police shortly after being 86’d Bond obtained three one gallon containers of gasoline. One of which he apparently emptied and ignited in the room. The other too failed to ignite thanks to the sprinkler system.

centraAt about the same time A family member of Bond had contacted the police department in reference to this investigation after becoming suspicious when Bond made statements to them in the early hours following this incident. Bond agreed to return to West Wendover to speak with investigators.

elkofairAfter an interview was complete Bond was taken into custody for arson. The only injury reported was a burn to Bonds leg which did not require immediate medical treatment.

Fire and smoke damage was contained to the one hotel room; however water from the fire suppression system caused damage to at least 56 other rooms. A dollar amount of damage has not been received as of this time.


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Rural Nevada Fire Fighters Take On Pacific Coast Infernos

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Howard Copelan



While this years fire season in Nevada is light, about 200 Silver State fire fighters are lending a hand in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California with about half that number coming from White Pine and Elko Counties.

In addition to Nevada firefighters from as far as Australia and New Zealand have arrived in the West as massive wildfires raging in the Pacific Northwest  state taxed resources and led officials to put out a wide call for help.

11914151_856370741084433_1598341411_nIn Washington, a series of fires raging in the north-central part of the state that earlier killed three firefighters has now grown to become the largest in state history, fire spokesman Rick Isaacson said Monday.

The lightning-caused Okanogan Complex of fires was measured overnight at slightly more than 400 square miles. That’s a bit more than last year’s Carlton Complex blazes, which also were sparked by lightning and burned in Okanogan County.

The Okanogan Complex grew by more than 26 square miles Sunday and is expected to spread even more in coming days.

wrecnewIn Washington, resources were so strained that officials earlier took the unprecedented step of seeking volunteers to help fight the flames. Fire officials over the weekend began providing basic fire training to volunteers who have machinery such as backhoes and bulldozers so they can help dig fire lines.

In California, crews increased containment of a wildfire burning through timber near a popular Southern California ski resort, though hundreds of mountain homes remained threatened early Monday. Several water and retardant-dropping aircraft were making runs over the blaze near Snow Summit resort in Big Bear Lake, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.

centraFirefighters working through the night held the blaze to about 100 acres. It was 50 percent contained.

In Idaho it has taken more than 800 firefighters, five helicopters, 26 engines, nine water tenders and eight dozers over the past few days, but the Soda Fire is near containment at last. Crews have the fire almost completely contained, though it has burned 283,686 acres—a black scar so large, it’s visible from space. The fire ripped through ranch and grazing lands, crucial sage grouse habitat, and the home of hundreds of wild horses. The Bureau of Land Management reported that 27 wild horses perished in the fire.

The Soda fire sparked on Aug. 10, and the cause is still unknown. According to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, the remaining crews will patrol the area, look for any smoke and start rehabilitating containment lines. The rest of the firefighters will be reassigned to the many other fires blazing in the west. Conditions are expected to remain dry and stable through Tuesday, Aug. 18.

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click for Newmont Notes

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Baccarat Drop Forecast China Stock Crash

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Howard Copelan



Months before this crash of the Chinese stock-market signs China’s economy was headed for a fall might have been discerned in the sudden and dramatic decline in baccarat play among Chinese rollers at Las Vegas casinos.

According to Gaming Control Board analyst Michael Lawton, the total amount bet on baccarat had been sliding, increasing just three times year-over-year in the last 12 months.

wrecnewIn March alone baccarat play fell over 30 percent. Baccarat now makes up 15 percent of total gaming win in the state and nearly 38 percent of Game and Table win.

This spring the Chinese government began a massive crack down on graft and corruption which either put many baccarat players in jail or made them much more cautious about taking gambling junkets to Las Vegas.

With the perfect vision afforded by hind sight the drop in baccarat play presaged this week’s crash in the Chinese stock market by at least four months.

China’s stock market was riding high in mid-June, but troubles began when the market went into a slide that took it down by 30 percent in early July. Shares lost more than $3 trillion in market value. Over half of the companies listed in Shanghai suspended trading.

centraFinancial firms stepped in, and mutual fund executives injected their own capital into the market. Brokerages made a cumulative $19.3 billion investment in a blue-chip fund to effect stabilization. Firms with IPO designs in Shenzhen and Shanghai postponed those plans and returned capital to investors.

China’s securities regulators also implemented a series of stimulus measures in an attempt to avert the crisis. Pension funds were allowed to invest 30 percent of their net assets in equities. State-owned and state-affiliated firms were directed to buy shares, and had to provide assurances that they would not dump those shares, meaning the government was barring investors from selling the shares they owned. Rules for trading stocks with borrowed money were relaxed. Banks were allowed to loan money to companies using stock as collateral.

elkofairFor a moment, it looked like the Chinese government’s stimulus measures paired with the actions of financial firms had paid off, wiping away bearish sentiment. There were hopeful signs of a market recovery, and the arrows were red again. The Shanghai Composite was up 16 percent from its lowest point in July. Retail investors were a little less worried.

That didn’t last. The bulls ran with their tails between their legs. The halo around the red Chinese flag in the world of finance lost more than a few lumens.

zapterThe drop off in recreational gambling could have indicated that long before the crash an aversion to risk was growing among the Chinese. And while that aversion could have a long lasting impact both on the world financial markets and on the Las Vegas Strip, Nevada Casino industry will survive.

The income generated by baccarat really saved the gaming industry back in 2008 and 2009, since then the industry has recovered enough as not to need baccarat as desperately as it did.

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Salt Flats Get Ready for World of Speed

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Howard Copelan



With just two weeks to go to World of Speed conditions on the Bonneville Salt appear to have greatly improved as this high speed motorcycle crew can testify thanks to sun sun and more sun.

If the sun remains World of Speed could take off on time and schedule!!

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click for Newmont Notes

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WREC Board Election Results

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Howard Copelan


Incumbents Orlin Kidner and Howard Wright and new comer  Robert Wilcox were elected to three-year terms on the Wells Rural Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors.

Kidner has served on WREC’s Board since 1994 while Wright has served since 2000. The open seat was created by the retirement of Mary Wright, who has been a Director since 1981.

wrecnewThe election report will be presented to the Board at their September meeting and the new directors will start their terms at the October Board meeting.

Unlike investor-owned utilities, WREC is a cooperative that is controlled by a democratically elected Board of Directors chosen by the very people WREC serves. In other words, every person who receives electricity from WREC has a say in how the company is run.

centraThis year’s election saw a 15.5 percent return of all ballots sent, a slight increase from last year’s election. A total of 4,103 ballots were mailed to WREC owners on the last Monday in July. Of that total, 635 were returned to attorney Gary E. DiGrazia’s law office by the election deadline of 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 19.

The work of Election Committee volunteers Bob Selby, Jean Spratling, Judy Bradshaw, Neil McQueary and Patty Whitlock is very much appreciated said WREC Director of Communications Garrett Hylton


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The Clean Team

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Howard Copelan

Cheer 1.1

photos Robin Nelson

West Wendover High cheerleaders held a car washing  fundraiser in the Montego Bay parking lot onday.  They stayed busy washing cars for donations to their team.  All the girls were hardworking and cheerful even when faced with the challenge of washing three extremely dirty ambulances for the Wendover Ambulance Service.  They worked hard as a team to get the ambulances bright and shining again in no time at all  When asked how they did such a great job so quickly one of them replied “We are the clean team!”  Thanks for doing a wonderful job, West Wendover High cheerleaders!


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click for Newmont Notes



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Smiths Donates Big To WWHS Lady Wolverines

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Howard Copelan

Aaron Lund and Chris Roberts of Smiths with WWHS Principal Craig Kyllonen and a check for $2,500 to the Lady Wolverine Volleyball team.

Aaron Lund and Chris Roberts of Smiths with WWHS Principal Craig Kyllonen and a check for $2,500 to the Lady Wolverine Volleyball team.


click link for Newmont Notes WEN08282015A03

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Forecast Not Great for World of Speed/ Save the Salt Returns to Battle?

Posted on 21 August 2015 by Howard Copelan



Wednesday forecast does not breed a lot of confidence that “World of Speed” will take place next month.

With a little more than a week before final decision to either hold the event or cancel it the ten day forecast is predicting cloudy skies with chances of thundershowers.

forcastAlso known as micro burst the highly localized thunderstorms if one or more hit the salt flats in the coming week race organizers my have no choice but to pull the plug on the “World of Speed”.

Already last week the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association warned racers that while the group was optimistic that “wpr;d of Speed” would take off it was an extremely cautious optimism.

wrecnewFor the first time in 20 years bad weather caused the cancellation of the Salt Flat’s premier racing event Speed Week two years in a row.

A little under 200 cars are expected to race in World of Speed a much smaller number than the 700 Speed Week draws.

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.

centraAlready unusually late spring storms drenched northern Nevada for almost two weeks this May supporting ranchers claims that rural Nevada is headed toward a wet cycle.

Those 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.

brinedump“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 in 2014 was blamed for a 10 percent drop in total gaming win July 2014, Gaming numbers for July 2015 are expected to be released next week.

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.

elkofairBegun 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.

Ely Horse Races-2In 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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Park Service Sweetens Deal On Great Basin Snack Bar to $175 K Annual, Still No Takers

Posted on 21 August 2015 by Howard Copelan


With no serious takers to manage the concessions stand at the Great Basin National Park, Rangers extended the application deadline and sweetened the deal according to a press release this week.

“The National Park Service) is soliciting for proposals in response to a business opportunity to operate food & beverage and retail services at Lehman Caves Visitor Center located within Great Basin National Park.” read the release. “A Prospectus was issued on June 4, 2015 that outlines the details of the business opportunity and how to apply. The Prospectus has been amended to reduce the concession franchise fee from 5% to 1.5% and extend the deadline to October 14, 2017.”

Ely Horse Races-2“It is really a great opportunity,” said Ranger Steve Mietz. “Last year it grossed of $175,000 in revenue. Of course there are expenses but with the reduction of the franchise fee from 5.0 to 1.5 percent it could be very profitable.”

According to the National Parks Service webpage, Concessioners fill a vital role in helping the National Park Service (NPS) carry out its mission. Private companies are drawn to working with NPS in order to offer services to park visitors, which are not provided directly by the government. Concessioners specialize in these operations and are thus able to provide quality services at reasonable prices. By welcoming the private sector as a partner in park operations, the National Park Service broadens the economic base of the region and communities surrounding the parks.

elkofairIn concert with other NPS divisions, the Commercial Services Program administers more than 500 concession contracts that, in total, gross over $1 billion annually. NPS concessioners employ more than 25,000 people in a variety of fields during peak seasons, providing services ranging from food service and lodging, to whitewater rafting adventures and motor coach tours. As stated in the Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998, concession operations “are consistent to the highest practicable degree with the preservation and conservation of resources and values of the park unit.”

centraThe downside of being a concessioner particularly for Great Basin is of course the isolation. The closest community is the hamlet of Baker and the closest town is Ely 100 miles to the west. The current concessioner is retiring.


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Wendover Woman Elder Abuser?

Posted on 21 August 2015 by Howard Copelan

Kristina Ramirez

Kristina Ramirez

A West Wendover woman found out she was on the wrong side of a new law when sh called the cops on an older female relative..

Kristina Ramirez, 36, of West Wendover was arrested on August 17, after officers responded to a local apartment complex on a report of a domestic incident. Upon arrival it was alleged that Ramirez had pushed an ex roommate down to the ground which cause minor injuries, then fled the scene. The 63 year old victim refused medical treatment.

elkofairRamirez was later located at a different location when she called in to report this same incident, also claiming to be a victim. After interviews were complete Ramirez was determined to be the primary aggressor and taken into custody on suspicion of domestic battery (Both parties had resided with each other constituting a domestic) and elder abuse (due to the age of the victim).

The law was changed less than a decade ago and has been criticized as being unfair to the younger where any participant in a physical altercation with an appoint over the age of 60. The added charged of elder abuse is a mandatory $2,500 bail and a mandatory $2,000 fine.


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