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Nurse runs for mayor against Keener

ELKO – Elko nurse, mother and Navy veteran Marcey Logsden is looking to add “mayor” to her resume.

Logsden, a registered nurse at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital, filed to run for mayor against city councilman Reece Keener Tuesday at city hall with her son, Bridger, by her side.

“I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe in,” Logsden said, explaining this would be her first time running for any political office. “It takes a lot to scare me.”

“I’ve held a few leadership roles in my nursing career,” Logsden said. “I work hand in hand with the doctors. I’m not afraid to talk to people.”

Logsden moved to Elko in 1985 with her family. After graduation, she served in the Navy as an aviation electrician mate for nearly four years.

In 2003, she received her nursing degree from the College of Southern Idaho, and traveled within the United States and abroad working as a nurse.

“I’ve actually worked all over the world: Papua New Guinea, Iraq, Dubai, Idaho, California and Colorado. A lot of places,” Logsden said.

“Working in Iraq, I worked with a lot of special forces people,” she added, however she considers Elko her home.

“I always come back here,” Logsden said.

Logsden said she is also aware that if she were to be elected, she could become Elko’s first female mayor.

“With how everything is going in Elko, I thought it was time to do something,” Logsden said. “A woman’s perspective in the mayoral seat would be instrumental in opening up the eyes of everybody and saying ‘we need to entertain other commerce,’” Logsden said.

“I’m not afraid to tackle the hard challenges at all,” Logsden added.

Having a mayor in the health care profession would benefit the city, explained Logsden, saying she has experience in several nursing departments including labor and delivery, emergency medicine, and critical care. She now works at NNRH as a clinical document specialist.

“We’re all caregivers and we care about the community, making people happy and healthy,” Logsden said about her colleagues in the nursing profession.

Logsden spoke at the Feb. 13 city council meeting and advocated for a medical marijuana dispensary for local cannabis patients. She said that she is also interested in helping patients manage their own health care.

“We want to see a shift in health care and see people take care of their own health care,” Logsden said, adding that the medical marijuana debate “affected me personally.”

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I have mine, but I’m pretty much there for the choice,” Logsden said. “I want to know what other people think and feel because I won’t put myself up here, everyone else is going to put me up here.”

Logsden said she supports local businesses, but said she believes “we could be a lot more than we are. I know we could make it really awesome.”

“The dispensary is not what I’m here for, it’s other stuff I’m passionate about, but the dispensary could be an immediate source of revenue into the community.”

Logsden said her campaign can be found on Facebook as “Marcey Logsden for mayor 2018.”

She explained that people will learn more about her interests and beliefs, especially her research into medical marijuana.

“Please don’t be offended for those who look at my stuff. I post a lot about cannabis, because it seems to be the way of the future as a nurse. I research everything and I want to know what my patients are doing,” Logsden said.

“I’m pretty transparent, so people can ask me any type of questions about it,” Logsden said.

Filing for city and county offices continues until March 16.

Barrick Nevada AUOps superintendent Frank Carr consults with an analyst at the Analytics and Unified Operations Center in January. AUOps was completed in June 2017.

Digital innovation drives progress for Barrick

Through a focus on digital technology and automated processes, Barrick Gold Corp. is embarking on what could be the next bench in mining history with a focus on its Barrick Nevada operations.

“The mine operators here in Nevada have a history of innovation,” said George Fennemore, growth manager for Barrick Nevada before a tour of the more than 150-year-old Cortez District in January. “What we are doing now is simply the next step in a long run of innovative thinking.”

Barrick Gold Corp. has invested millions into the digital transformation of Barrick Nevada since partnering with Cisco Systems in fall 2016. In 2017, the company laid the foundation for digital transformation through a series of pilot projects, primarily focused on Cortez, according to Barrick’s year-end results. The pilot aims to increase efficiency and save money to help sustain mining operations in Northern Nevada.

If successful, said Barrick communications manager Leslie Maple, digital applications could be implemented at Barrick operations around the globe.

The effort involves operating Cortez and Goldstrike under one management team, and providing data analysis through the Analytics and Unified Operations Center, or AUOps, at the Barrick Shared Business Center in Elko.

“Part of the digital transformation is mainly to get the right information to the right people at the right time,” said Emrah Yalcin, digital implementation manager at Barrick Nevada. “So what is the motivation behind the AUOps or, in general, digital transformation? Barrick is, like most other companies, we want to generate additional free cash flow.”

Barrick leadership recognized the potential in continuing to develop its resources in Northern Nevada but observed the challenges presented by maturing mines and aging infrastructure, Fennemore said.

“You really do have mining in transition,” he said. “I think that’s what triggered all the digital and automation in the work that we do.”

The company’s mills at Cortez and Goldstrike are decades old, Fennemore said, and building new ones could cost about $1 billion each. To run properly, the mills must run a blend of high-grade and low-grade ore together, and the material could come from any source in Barrick Nevada — from Cortez’s or Goldstrike’s surface or underground operations. Data capture and analysis at AUOps helps the Barrick team understand how to maximize the efficiency and lifespans of the mills already in existence.

As Barrick Nevada works toward bringing the “digital visualization” to reality, AUOps is just part of the program that will include digital technology at surface, underground and support operations.

Digital tools to be incorporated include smart technologies, machine learning, predictive analysis, data analytics and automation — including the implementation of automated underground drills and the use of autonomous haul trucks, which Barrick plans to test in surface operations in the near future.

The projects, according to a year-end report, “allowed the company to validate the viability of its digital solutions and their potential economic returns in a controlled environment with rigorous oversight.”

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Gambling mom sentenced to one month in jail

ELKO – A Spring Creek woman was sentenced to 30 days in jail in district court for leaving her baby in the car while she gambled in a casino.

Jamie Lee Benson, 29, pleaded guilty to child neglect or endangerment, a gross misdemeanor, in Elko District Court on Nov. 13. She was sentenced Feb. 26.

Judge Nancy Porter gave Benson a suspended sentence of 364 days in jail with credit for two days served and placed her on probation for three years.

The conditions of the probation require Benson to serve 30 days in the Elko County Jail, take parenting classes for a toddler or preschool-aged child within the first six months of her probation, and abstain from alcohol, marijuana use and gambling.

Benson declined to make a statement on her behalf during the sentencing hearing.

Benson was arrested on March 9, 2017 by Elko County Sheriff’s deputies, who said she left her 14-month-old child unattended in the back seat of an unlocked and running vehicle.

Benson was found by a gaming machine inside Dottie’s Casino in Spring Creek. She told deputies she stopped to purchase cigarettes and had been inside for approximately 25 minutes.

According to the sheriff’s report, further investigation revealed Benson had been inside the casino for about one hour. They also reported that the car’s heater was “turned all the way up and the interior of the vehicle was extremely hot.”

At the time of the arrest, the child was transported to Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital and placed into the custody of the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services.

Attorneys seek forgiveness for missed deadline

ELKO — Seven deputy district attorneys and five public defenders in Elko County might not get to negotiate for raises or changes to vacation time for fiscal year 2019 if county commissioners decide not to forgive the Elko County Public Attorney Association’s late request for collective bargaining.

Not having the negotiation could detract from service to justice, said deputy district attorney Jeff Slade, because experienced public prosecutors and defenders “can walk away from the county.”

The association negotiates the criminal lawyers’ employment agreements with the county. By seven days, the group missed the state statute deadline of Feb. 1 to request discussions about terms that require the budgeting of money.

As a result, the county’s labor and employment attorney notified the association that “the County will not engage in negotiations related to economic issues for FY 2019,” according to a Feb. 14 letter from the Allison MacKenzie law firm. The letter states that the parties can still proceed with noneconomic negotiations.

Slade appeared before the county commissioners during the Feb. 21 meeting and asked the board to consider the association’s letter as timely. He used the public comment period to make the plea.

“Just because you have the right to do something, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do,” Slade said.

He related the situation to a court case that tried a child abuser during which a deadline was missed, but the prosecutor did not take advantage of the error and won the case anyway.

“I hope you will vote to forgive us for the seven days that we were late so we can go forward with meaningful negotiations this year,” Slade said.

The association requested that an item be placed on the commissioners’ March 7 agenda.

The county’s counsel sent a notice that the commissioners are “not at liberty to discuss the issue outside of negotiations,” according to a Feb. 28 email. Commissioners will meet in a closed session March 7 to receive an update status and discuss labor negotiations, according to the posted agenda.

“The next step in open session is presenting the request, and the commission will look at whether to approve the request or not approve it,” said Elko County Manager Robert Stokes, who declined to comment further. “A lot of various rules and statutes are attached, and we have to be careful.”

Without collective bargaining, Slade said, the 12 association members might miss out on the opportunity to discuss specific employment terms that could incentivize experienced professionals to stay in the county.

“We will not be able to negotiate any increase in salary or whether they get vacation days or anything like that,” he said, explaining that the lawyers understand when raises are not an option because of county budgetary constraints. “This year, we won’t even have the opportunity to find out.”

Slade added that no one in the association realized the full ramifications of missing the deadline. For fiscal year 2017, the group also submitted a late notice, Slade said, and the county “didn’t make any issue of it.” This year, he said the county’s “cheap-shot” actions seem “hostile.”

Stokes said he could not respond to those remarks.

“We’re just hoping they will do the right thing instead of being so hyper-focused on what they can legally do,” Slade said, assuring that the association won’t ever miss the deadline again. “There has got to be a better connection here between keeping good employees and treating them with the kind of respect they deserve for the work that they do and less time being treated hostilely.”