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Keener to run for mayor

ELKO – City Councilman Reece Keener announced Wednesday his intention to run for mayor in 2018.

The announcement comes as several key offices in the city of Elko, the county and the state will be up for election this year. The primary election is June 12, and the general election is Nov. 6.

Keener said he contemplated his run for mayor over the holiday season and that he would vacate his seat on the city council.

“It’s a big responsibility,” Keener said about the office of mayor.

Keener also said he would not run against Mayor Chris Johnson if Johnson were eligible to run for another term. Johnson was elected mayor in June 2011 after serving as a councilman, and is ineligible to run again because of term limits.

Other seats up for election this year include sheriff, two seats on the city council including Keener’s, and two county commission seats, along with county clerk, district attorney, recorder and treasurer.

Cliff Eklund was elected to the county commission in 2014 and was unsure if he would run again for the District 2 seat.

“I kinda am leaning toward running ... unless my wife says ‘No,’” Eklund said, explaining that public service affects the entire family.

County commissioner Delmo Andreozzi said he is leaning toward running for re-election for his District 4 seat, but is still talking it over with his wife and family, too.

“It’s a great honor and privilege … to be in public office,” Andreozzi said. “At this point, I’m still talking it over with my wife. When you run for office, you take the whole family with you.”

City Councilman John Patrick Rice agreed with Andreozzi, saying that his decision is weighed with his family. However, he is considering running for a third term.

“I may, but it’s still a personal decision,” Rice said. “People have spoken to me about running once again, and I’m encouraged by that. There are a few more things that I think I’d like to accomplish.”

Because of term limits, Rice said he is “still eligible to run for one more [term]. I will only have served 11-and-a-half years.”

Nevada voters approved term limits in 1996, but a ruling by the Nevada Supreme Court in 2014 stated that a council member – someone who is elected as mayor or to the city council – cannot serve more than 12 years.

City Clerk Shanell Owens said that because of the law, and because the election cycle for city offices changed from June to November, Johnson has served more than 12 years.

Johnson couldn’t be reached for comment by deadline.

Explaining how the law might apply in Rice’s situation, Owens said if Rice decides to run for re-election and wins, it would be his last term in office.

The filing period for candidates to seek city or county offices is March 5-16. County office candidates file at the Elko County Clerk’s office, and city candidates file at City Hall.

Federal and state offices

Twelve federal and state offices will be on the 2018 ballots as seats come up for election this year.

The U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Dean Heller since 2011 is up for election.

In the U.S. Congress, the 2nd District of Nevada will be on the ballot. Mark Amodei has represented the district — which includes most of Lyon County, all of Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Pershing, Storey and Washoe counties, and Carson City — since 2011.

Gov. Brian Sandoval reaches his term limit this year, having served two consecutive two-year terms, and voters must fill the gubernatorial seat.

Also up for election are the offices of lieutenant governor, held by Mark Hutchison since 2014, and secretary of state, held by Barbara K. Cegavske since 2015. Both offices serve four-year terms.

Voters also must elect a new state treasurer, controller and attorney general. All serve four-year terms. Nevada’s current treasurer, Republican Dan Schwartz, and attorney general, Republican Adam Laxalt, have announced their bids for governor. Ron Knecht is the state controller.

Assemblyman John C. Ellison’s position as the representative in the State Assembly, District 33, also will be decided by voters. Assembly members serve two-year terms. Ellison has served as assemblyman since 2010 and said he plans to run for re-election.

“I never worked so hard in my life as I have for the state,” Ellison said. “We care about it; otherwise, we wouldn’t be doing it.”

In the Nevada Supreme Court, seats C, F and G will be on the ballot. Justices Michael Cherry, Michael Douglas and Lidia Stiglich serve on those seats. Justices serve six-year terms.

Metal/nonmetal fatalities at record low in 2017

ELKO — Fatalities over 2017 in the U.S. metal/nonmetal mining industry totaled 13, an all-time low, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

“Every number, no matter how small, represents a person and their family – as an industry, we don’t forget the loss of our colleagues,” the Nevada Mining Association stated. “2017’s safety statistics are a noteworthy accomplishment, especially given the millions of hours miners in Nevada and throughout the U.S. worked in the hard rock mining industry, and serve to intensify our focus on making sure every miner goes home safely every day.”

Ten years ago, there were 33 fatalities; and 100 years ago, there were 983 fatalities, MSHA reports. In 2015 and 2016, 17 fatalities occurred each year, according to a Dec. 31, 2017 report.

The metal/nonmetal industry includes mills, sand and gravel, surface and underground operations for metal, nonmetal and stone.

Of last year’s metal/nonmetal deaths, one occurred underground because of fall of roof or back. The remaining deaths happened on the surface, with six on powered haulage, three because of falls/slide of material, two because of machinery and one because of electrical. Two of the metal/nonmetal deaths occurred in Nevada in 2017.

“It is important for miners to stay vigilant because there is rarely just one person responsible for an injury or death,” said Dr. Thomas “Ted” Boyce, president and senior consultant with the Center for Behavioral Safety LLC. “When a mine operator develops a culture where individual workers feel empowered to point out problems and raise concerns about each other’s safety AND management judiciously acts on these concerns, injuries and deaths are prevented.”

The U.S. coal mining sector lost 15 people to fatal accidents in 2017, up from eight the previous year.

Mormon church president Monson dies at 90

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Thomas S. Monson, the 16th president of the Mormon church, has died after overseeing the religion for nearly a decade. He was 90.

Monson died Tuesday night at his home in Salt Lake City, according to church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

Monson spent more than five decades serving in top church leadership councils — making him a well-known face and personality to multiple generations of Mormons.

A church bishop at the age of 22, the Salt Lake City native became the youngest church apostle ever in 1963 at the age of 36. He served as a counselor for three church presidents before assuming the role of the top leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 2008.

As president of the nearly 16 million-member religion, Monson was considered a prophet who led the church through revelation from God in collaboration with two top counselors and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The next president was not immediately named, but the job is expected to go to the next longest-tenured member of the church’s governing Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Russell M. Nelson, per church protocol.

Monson’s presidency was marked by his noticeably low profile during a time of intense publicity for the church, including the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns of Mormon Mitt Romney. Monson’s most public acts were appearances at church conferences and devotionals as well as dedications of church temples.

Monson will also be remembered for his emphasis on humanitarian work; leading the faith’s involvement in the passage of gay marriage ban in California in 2008; continuing the religion’s push to be more transparent about its past; and lowering the minimum age for missionaries.

Mormons considered Monson a warm, caring, endearing and approachable leader, said Patrick Mason, associate professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University in California. He was known for dropping everything to make hospital visits to people in need. His speeches at the faith’s twice-yearly conferences often focused on parables of human struggles resolved through faith.

He put an emphasis on the humanitarian ethic of Mormons, evidenced by his expansion of the church’s disaster relief programs around the world, said Armand Mauss, a retired professor of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University.

“President Monson always seemed more interested in what we do with our religion rather than in what we believe,” Mauss said.

Well-known Mormons mourned Monson’s death Wednesday and remembered his life of service. Romney, entertainer Marie Osmond and conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck were among those tweeting memories and condolences.

Romney said in a statement that he’ll remember Monson’s compassion for the downtrodden. Osmond tweeted a picture of her embracing Monson, saying he was always there for her family. Beck recalled Monson’s kindness and humility.

Condolences also came in from Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who said of Monson, “Service was his motto and humility his hallmark.”

The Mormon church was founded in 1830 in upstate New York by Joseph Smith, who claimed he was visited by God and Jesus while praying in a grove of trees and was called to found the church. Members are known as Mormons because of the religion’s keystone scripture, the Book of Mormon.

A World War II veteran, Monson served in the Navy and spent a year overseas before returning to get a business degree at the University of Utah and a master’s degree in business administration from the church-owned Brigham Young University.

Before being chosen to join the faith’s governing Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Monson worked for the church’s secular businesses, primarily in advertising, printing and publishing including the Deseret Morning News.

Monson married Frances Beverly Johnson in 1948. The couple had three children, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Frances died in 2013 at the age of 85.

Throughout his life, Monson was an avid fisherman who also raised homing pigeons, specifically, roller pigeons who twirled as they flew. He was known for his love of show tunes, Boy Scouts and the Utah Jazz.

Monson’s legacy will be tied to the religion’s efforts to hold tight to its opposition of same-sex marriage while encouraging members to be more open and compassionate toward gays and lesbians as acceptance for LGBT people increased across the county.

One of the most memorable moments of Monson’s tenure came in October 2012, when he announced at church conference that the minimum age to depart on missions was being lowered to 19 from 21 for women; and to 18 from 19 for men. The change triggered a historic influx of missionaries, and proved a milestone change for women by allowing many more to serve.

The man expected to take Monson’s seat, the 93-year-old Nelson, has been a church apostle since April 1984. Out of respect for Monson, his successor will not be officially named until after his funeral services.

In keeping with tradition, the successor will choose two counselors from the Quorum of the Twelve to join him to form a three-person “presidency” that is the top of the religion’s governing hierarchy. If he elects not to keep Monson’s two counselors, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter Uchtdorf, they would go back to being regular members of the Quorum.

Being one of the president’s two counselors doesn’t push them to the front of the line to become the next president. That is always reserved for the longest-tenured member of the Quorum. Once Nelson assumes the presidency, that distinction will fall to 85-year-old Dallin H. Oaks, a former Utah Supreme Court Justice who was named to the quorum in May 1984, one month after Nelson.

Monson’s death also means there are now two openings on the Quorum, which will likely be filled at the next church conference in April. The other opening was created when leader Robert D. Hales died last October.

Rick Bowmer 


Elko Daily Free Press file photo  

City Council incumbent Reece Keener answers questions during a candidate forum in 2014. Keener has announced his intention to run for mayor in 2018. 

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Public invited to take part in GBC task force teams

ELKO—Great Basin College will launch four task teams to gather input and make recommendations to GBC President Joyce Helens in four related areas of the college.

The public is encouraged to participate in the task teams, which will focus on moving the college in a positive direction.

The kick-off meeting for all four teams will be 2 p.m. Jan. 11 in Greenhaw Technical Arts building, room 130.

All community members who reside in GBC’s area of outreach are all welcome. Task team meetings will be made available to outlying areas via interactive video at all GBC site locations in Battle Mountain, Ely, Pahrump and Winnemucca.

The team topics have been refined, as suggested by Great Basin College staff:

1. College revitalization: What comprises the “college experience” among the markets we serve and how do we strengthen that?

2. College athletics: What are our community and student expectations?

3. GBC Latino student population: How have we prepared for the tremendous growth in this student population?

4. New programs: What are the needs in the geographical areas we serve that warrant expansion or creation of new programming?

The four task teams will meet individually January through March. Recommendation from the task teams will follow, with anticipated implementation by the fall.

To participate on a team, contact Mardell Wilkins at 753-2265 or email by Jan. 11.