Author: Thomas Mitchell

Statehood celebration a time to reflect on the past

To mark Nevada’s 150 years of statehood, the Sesquicentennial Commission has created “a year-long series of festivities and educational events which will highlight our state’s rich cultural heritage …” Yes, Nevada was Battle Born in the waning days of the bloody Civil War — Oct. 31, 1864. It played a significant role in an important period, helping determine that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” But we have little concept today of what daily life was like for those hardy Nevadans 150 years ago. Luckily we can still get...

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Fate of seven public land bills in Reid’s hands

A package of seven Nevada public lands bills — collectively known as the Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act — recently cleared the House Natural Resources Committee on a 29-14 bipartisan vote. The package is expected to be approved by the full House, but its fate in Harry Reid’s Senate, where House bills go to die, is murky. Among the seven bills in the package is the long-awaited Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act, which would allow the town of Yerington to buy 12,500 acres of federal land adjacent to the Pumpkin Hollow copper mine for an...

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PILT funding should be restored by summer

PILT is not Western welfare, protests Rep. Mark Amodei. PILT is a federal obligation, insists Sen. Dean Heller. Payment in Lieu of Taxes is how Congress, since 1976, has attempted to provide relief to counties with large tracts of non-taxable federal land so they can provide police and fire protection, education and other public services. In the final hours this past week of hammering out a $1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to fund the federal government through September, Western congressmen discovered there was no money for PILT, which can amount to more than 10 percent of the budgets of...

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Restoration project could impact Nevada water

The Glen Canyon Institute, headquartered in Salt Lake City, describes itself as dedicated to the restoration of Glen Canyon and the Colorado River to their natural states prior to the construction of Glen Canyon Dam and the filling of Lake Powell. The non-profit organization says its focus is educating the public and decision-makers while advocating science-based public policy. While the institute’s primary focus is on Arizona and Utah, one of its ideas for changes would have significant impact on Nevada, where the Las Vegas water agencies continue to press for access to groundwater from four valleys in rural Nevada....

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Ethics law too vague to be useful

Imagine if the traffic laws were written in the same manner as Nevada’s public ethics law — using a “reasonable person” standard. Thus the speed limit would be what a “reasonable person” would perceive it to be depending on traffic and road conditions. You might think 85 mph reasonable but the trooper who pulls you over is thinking 55 is more reasonable. Don’t fret, if your speeding was not “willful,” you don’t have to pay a fine. That’s one way to look at the recent 5-2 Nevada Supreme Court ruling in the case of Sparks City Councilman Michael Carrigan....

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