BLM reports Coeur Rochester in compliance with signage

LOVELOCK —  Although the matter of the temporary restraining order sought by Coeur Rochester Mine against Rye Patch Gold has been temporarily decided, some issues raised during testimony remained unsettled.

One of those issues was signage used by Coeur Rochester and whether or not employees/contractors of RPG had sufficient notice of the active mine site.  There was also testimony that some of the signage was only recently been added.

SPJ asked the Bureau of Land Management if Coeur Rochester was in compliance with signage requirements.  The response was delayed due to absences over the holidays of key personnel at the BLM.

Janet Hook responded to the request for information.  Hook is the BLM representative who inspects Coeur for compliance with federal regulations.

Hook explained it is not customary for the BLM to focus on the perimeter fence during mine inspections.  Instead, mine inspections are focused on the facilities to include the pit, heap leach pads and associated cyanide systems, waste rock facilities, etc.

She added the entire perimeter of the plan of operations has not been walked, but fences and appropriate signs have been encountered where expected.

Hook noted Coeur Rochester has not been cited or warned for failure to provide signs informing the public of the active mine site.  Further, appropriate signs have been noted at each of the primary access roads and some of the minor two-track roads where a gate had been installed in the fence.

Coeur and RPG are engaged in a legal battle over the mineral rights on more than 8,000 acres of the Coeur Rochester and Packard Mine.

The dispute erupted when RPG filed mining claims on property currently mined by Coeur.  The move by Rye Patch was made possible due to the failure by Coeur Rochester to pay $75,000 in federal maintenance fees on its claims, which were due on or before August 31.

On September 1 the claims were closed and the mineral rights became available for any member of the public to claim.

The legal dispute is currently in the 2nd Judicial District Court.

Time ticking for new cell phone law

Just a reminder, SB140 (Senate Bill 140) texting or talking on a handheld cell phone will go into effect October 1 .  Officers will give verbal warnings (the education process) from Oct. 1 through December 31, and then citations will be issued beginning Jan 1st .

After January 1, fines will be $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense, and $250 for the third offense.

Remember this is a primary violation, so law enforcement can stop you solely on this.  Just like speeding, following to close, running a stop sign, etc.

The law states that you cannot manually type or enter text into a cellular telephone or other handheld wireless communications device.

It also states that you cannot use a cellular telephone or other handheld wireless communications device to engage in voice communications with another person, unless the device is used with an accessory which allows the person to communicate without using his or her hands.

EXEMPTION:

  • A person who is reporting a medical emergency, a safety hazard or criminal activity or who is requesting assistance relating to a medical emergency.
  • A paid or volunteer firefighter, law enforcement officer, emergency medical technician, ambulance attendant or other person trained to provide emergency medical services who is acting within the course and scope of his or her employment.

BLM issues decisions for Twin Creeks Mine Vista Pit expansion

WINNEMUCCA — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Winnemucca District, Humboldt River Field Office has approved a Newmont Mining Company plan to expand the existing Vista Pit at Twin Creeks Mine.  The Twin Creeks Mine is 35 miles northeast of Winnemucca in Humboldt County, Nev.

“The BLM is pleased to complete the environmental analysis and Decision Record that will allow the expansion for this project.” said Michael Truden, Humboldt River Field Manager.

The BLM issued a Decision Record and Finding of No Significant Impact to allow activities planned under the modified Proposed Action which includes:

·         Expanding the Vista Pit.

·         Continued expansion of a waste rock and a heap leach facility.

The total surface disturbance for this expansion would be up to 580 acres of combined public (223 acres) and private (357 acres) land.  The surface disturbance is within the existing plan boundary and will be on ground that is already disturbed with a haul road, portion of a heap leach pad, and other ancillary features.

Spotlight on small business: Local resident introduces Initial Outfitters to Nevada

WINNEMUCCA — When local resident Shari Hansen was first invited to a friend’s online party for Initial Outfitters, she was hesitant.  A self-described tomboy, at that time she didn’t wear a lot of jewelry.

However, she kept an open mind and attended the party. It wasn’t long before she was hooked and interested in bringing Initial Outfitters to northern Nevada.  Now an independent consultant for the company, Hansen is promoting Initial Outfitters as the place to pick up the perfect gift or to treat yourself.

She said the catalogue offers a wide range of jewelry in many different price ranges – from $8 – $1,000 depending on your taste. The jewelry is offered for everyone from little girls to women. The jewelry is also versatile so that a plain t-shirt can be dressed up or makes that little black dress just stand out.

The catalogue also offers vinyl lettering for cars, thermal totes, baby bloomers, umbrellas, spa wraps, book covers – and all of it can be personalized or not.

Those interested may host a party at their home, with special discounts for the hostess, but there are also basket party options and online options so friends from everywhere can participate.

The important thing for Hansen is that everyone has a good experience, and that’s important to Initial Outfitters, as well.
She explained the company is consumer oriented, and as a Christian-based organization integrity is integral to the business plan.

Hansen described her relationship with company personnel as positive and wonderful – especially with co-owners Jim and Alicia Storbeck.  She said the two are warm and accessible.

The company entered into an understanding with Charlie’s Lunch, a nonprofit company that raises money to help feed poor children in third-world countries.  As part of the agreement, 100 percent of the sales of thermal totes goes to the program.

Humboldt General’s remodeled emergency department returns home

WINNEMUCCA —The Emergency Department at Humboldt General Hospital was back in its original location as of Tuesday morning, August 30.

Patients should now access the ER via Mizpah Street, following the hospital’s original signs for parking and admittance.
Those who experience extreme difficulty accessing the original location once on campus should call 911 and the hospital’s EMS personnel will lend assistance.
The ER moved from its current location to the hospital’s Physical Therapy Department on July 18 so that construction crews could complete an extensive remodel of the ER space.

Tuesday morning, staff members and patients were back home in the beautiful new quarters with a long list of improvements and upgrades.

HGH Inpatient Manager Jacqueline Dalley said the switchover was made possible by the hospital’s nightshift nurses who “really pitched in and did the majority of the move.” Dalley said by the time she arrived at 5 a.m., the bulk of the equipment and furniture had been moved over. “We’ve just spent the morning organizing,” she said.

Dalley said while the ER’s temporary quarters were difficult at times to work in, she praised all ER team members for their skill and professionalism amid the adverse circumstances. “As a group they did great,” she said.

The new and improved ER includes a private check-in area as well as walls between beds in order to heighten patient privacy. The nurses’ station also has been moved and remodeled in order to allow for a more commodious and efficient work environment.

The Emergency Department also now connects to the new physician clinics as well as the hospital’s administrative offices with its own enclosed lobby. This much-improved emergency waiting area will serve our community well into the future.
As always, the Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For minor accidents and injuries, patients are encouraged to visit Humboldt General Hospital’s Walk-In Clinic, located in Suite C of the newly finished medical office building. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. For more information on The Walk-In Clinic, please call (775) 625-7000.

SPJ Reader Question: How do we go about looking into consolidating our law enforcement agencies?

SPJ Reader Question:  How do we, the citizens, go about requesting that the Council and Commissioners conduct and evaluate (from an outside reputable source) to determine the costs, benefits and savings if we were to consolidate the two policing agencies?

SPJ Responds:  We put your question to both County Administrator Bill Deist and City Manager Steve West.  They replied as such.

Deist replied the request would have to be made at a joint meeting of the Commission and Council.

West replied that on two different occasions during the past 25 years the issue of consolidating the PD and SO were studied extensively by the County Commission and City Council jointly.

On both occasions, he said, the research indicated the savings would be only one – possibly two – administration positions.

After research on both occasions, the boards voted unanimously not to pursue the effort.

In addition to the cost savings, the two boards also looked at the potential problems that arose in different communities as a result of consolidation.  He noted the City of Ely, as an example, has raised serious issues with the White Pine County Sheriff’s Office over cost and level of service.

West reiterated several issues raised by SPJ readers on the topic – including the philosophical debate about whether it’s best to have a chief law enforcement officer elected by popular vote, or a chief law enforcement officer who was chosen based on qualification and experience and who is answerable to an elected body for his/her actions.

Additionally, as was noted by SPJ readers, when county and city law enforcement agencies are combined, the (city) elected body loses control over its law enforcement agency.  They must then pay for services they usually have no say in, but that’s true for the county as well who must pay for the service of the sheriff’s office and have no say in the level of service provided (because it’s a separate office with a sheriff who’s elected and not answerable to a board of elected officials).

While it has been some time since the city and county have considered this issue, Mr. West said he felt strongly the issues raised during the previous studies on the issue remain the same.

Readers, what say you?

Chamber treated to tour of HGH expansion

WINNEMUCCA — Chamber of Commerce members were treated to lunch and a tour of Humboldt General Hospital’s new addition on Tuesday (July 12) during the monthly membership luncheon.

Final touches were still being made even as community members toured the facility (shown).

HGH Administrator Jim Parrish addressed the Chamber and said, “We will have more access to health care than this community has seen before.”

Parrish reported there are about 1300 rural critical access hospitals in the country, and two different grade scales put HGH in the top 30 of those hospitals.  He added it was certainly one of the best financed.

Parrish said the expansion focused on function – as opposed to glamour.  He commented, “It was as well done as any I’ve seen without being over the top.”

There are nice finishes and wall coverings.  The art was provided by local artists.  However, as the goal was to provide expanded health care, the thing to brag about was the new telemedicine technology that will allow patients to consult with doctors from all over the US.

While technology will provide patients with more options, much of the expansion was intended to facilitate the old-fashioned practice of putting patients together with doctors and other health-care providers.

To better meet that goal, the addition includes a Walk-In Clinic to serve people for minor ailments if they don’t have a regular physician or are unable to schedule an immediate appointment with their physician.  Parrish said the clinic is currently receiving 650 visits per month.

In the past, people might have ended up in the emergency room if they did not have a regular physician, which drives up the cost of the care.

In addition to the Walk-In Clinic’s doctors, HGH recently hired three nurse practitioners to staff the clinic.

In terms of square footage, the biggest element of the expansion was the addition of the physician’s offices.  While there were some fears the new offices would go empty, and the big building would sit empty, that has not been the case. Seven of the eight doctor’s offices have been filled.  The eighth is being reserved for the residency program, which will bring doctors-in-training at UNR to HGH.

The residency program is still being organized, but Parrish said by 2013 they expect to have four doctors completing their residency at HGH.  That will include two second-year residents and two third-year residents.  The residency program is partially funded by a $560,000 grant.

When asked what would happen with the offices vacated by the physicians who moved into the new addition, Parrish said those offices were being rented by visiting physicians/specialists.

One of the aspects of the addition and remodel HGH is particularly proud of is the increase in patient privacy.

The addition comes with new admitting rooms, so everyone isn’t privy to everybody else’s private medical concerns.  Additionally, the ER is currently being remodeled and one of the new features of the remodel will be private admitting.

Parrish remarked of the old ER, “It looked like a bus station in there.”

The expanded HGH was more than a decade being realized.  A succession of Hospital Board Trustees came and went, but the vision for the expansion remained in place.

As Hospital Board Trustee Mary Orr noted, what they lacked for a long time was the funding.

She credited the leadership of Parrish for taking the hospital from being nearly in the red to having cash on hand to pay for the project, which cost $10.4 million.

HGH still has $25 million on hand.  It should be noted the addition is only the first of three phases planned for the future, which includes an expansion of the long-term care facility for the elderly.

State Forester issues fire-danger warning

CARSON CITY  – Nevada State Forester and Fire Warden, Pete Anderson, issued a warning today about fire danger throughout Nevada.

Western Nevada has experienced numerous wildfire ignitions over the past few weeks posing an increasing danger to the public as vegetation continues to dry.

“Wildfire prevention is an individual responsibility and maintaining wildfire awareness is critical during the summer months,” Anderson said. “I encourage all Nevadans to use extreme caution with fire and any potential ignition sources in order to prevent a catastrophic event from happening. No Nevadan wants to experience the tragic loss of life, property and natural resources that has occurred in the southern U.S.”

State, local and federal fire agencies provided the following facts and recommendations:

  • Despite the wet winter and spring there is still potential for wildfires, especially at the lower elevations
  • Since May 1, 2011, the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center has dispatched 56 fires in western Nevada
  • The largest fire was the Nixon fire, which burned 11,207 acres
  • All but two fires have been human caused (common causes of human-caused fires are juveniles, abandoned campfires, unattended burn piles, fireworks and target shooting)
  • In the past ten years, a third of the human caused fires on public land in Nevada are caused by target shooting
  • No open burning is allowed until after fire season.
  • The Nevada Division of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service are evaluating the fire danger on a weekly basis and will implement fire restrictions as soon as the established criteria are met
  • Everyone is urged to exercise caution when working, traveling or recreating in wildland areas
  • Homeowners are urged to complete defensible space around homes.

Contact Anderson at 775-684-2501 for additional information.

BLM issues right-of-way for hiking and bike trail

WINNEMUCCA – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Winnemucca District, Humboldt River Field Office has issued a right-of-way to Humboldt County for the Winnemucca Mountain Bike and Hiking Trail on Winnemucca Mountain.

The trail system will consist of nearly 7 miles of interconnected trails of differing skill levels.

Humboldt County obtained Question One grant funding for the project and has an agreement with Great Basin Institute for the trail construction, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

“The citizens of Humboldt County will see the benefits of this community asset for many years to come,” said Tom Fransway, Humboldt County Commissioner. “Without Question One state funding, this recreational infrastructure would not have been possible.”

“The BLM is pleased to be a partner in the trail project,” said Mike Truden, Humboldt River Field Manager. “The creation of recreational trails is consistent with the BLM’s multiple-use mandate.”

“The partnerships and collaboration that has transpired to make this project a reality is so positive for Humboldt County,” said Di An Putman, Mayor of Winnemucca. “The Winnemucca Mountain Bike and Hiking Trail is one more avenue that provides an economic potential as well as an enhancement for recreation and healthy lifestyles for our residents. The BLM has stepped up to the needs of the area to allow a use of the land that will be maintained and enjoyed by all of us.”