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COA sees clean-up take hold

SPRING CREEK – The Committee of Architecture is looking to tighten up rules on metal storage containers, the number of outbuildings, and setbacks for Spring Creek homeowners as the year draws to a close.

The COA introduced discussion on four items in its September meeting that would clarify some rules and regulations for property owners.

One proposed changed is for removal of any noxious weeds on a property regardless of percentage covered. Currently, they must be removed if they are covering more than 50 percent of the property.

Another discussion is whether to allow or disallow pre-fabricated steel container boxes, such as Con-ex metal storage units on properties. The number of sheds or outbuildings allowed on a property and the setback from homes for sheds and outbuildings is also being looked at by the COA.

“Nothing has been finalized on these items,” said Amie Shields, COA secretary. “There has been discussion on clarity on what these rules are. Should we include noxious weeds in the wording for weeds? Can a property owner on one acre have 10 [Con-ex] structures in the front yard, etc.?”

The review of rules and regulations comes as the COA prepares to wrap up the year’s property reviews after a new system was implemented that notified homeowners about violations.

“In the past, the SCA has been unable to put in systems to enforce the [Declaration of Reservations] and the COA rules,” Shields said, adding that in the last 19 months, the COA has been able to review rules and help property owners comply with them.

“With the new review and follow-up system we are trying to quickly resolve issues by working with property owners,” Shields said.

Out of 2,094 violations cited by the COA, 670 of them were for inoperative, unregistered or unlicensed vehicles, 534 were for weeds or landscaping, and 441 were for unsightly exterior conditions.

About 90 percent of violations were corrected, Shields said. Most of the success of reviews came from the removal of inoperable vehicles, she added.

“We saw a lot of cases where there were multiple cars removed from properties,” Shields said.

Overall, the response to this year’s property cleanup was positive for the COA office, said Shields, thanks to a consistent enforcement policy.

“Change can be hard, especially since there have been no systems in place for years,” Shields said.

For residents with difficulties in resolving violations, the COA worked with homeowners on a case-by-case basis and launched the Neighbor 2 Neighbor program for those who are elderly, disabled or on a low-income.

“There have been residents helping with their neighbors on various issues including painting and removal of trash from properties,” Shields said.

The COA reported they had accrued $22,000 in fees and fines which are imposed at the fourth stage of notifying a property owner of a violation, however the money is not immediately collected, said Shields.

“Those who are in stage four typically do not pay until they are through the full process and legal,” Shields said.

Money that is paid goes back into the Spring Creek Association’s general fund, Shields said.

In 2018, property reviews will start in March or April, said Shields, but the COA can receive reports of violations anytime.

Overall, informing homeowners has been the key to the response the COA received this year.

“I believe education and working with these property owners is key to long-term cleanup success,” Shields said.

Q & A with Bill Nisbet and Ann Nisbet of the Elko Community Concert Association

ELKO — Bill Nisbet is the president of the board for the Elko Community Concerts Association, and Ann Nisbet is the treasurer. They have been volunteering with the organization since the 1979 season.

Bill grew up in Pomona, California, and played the B-flat clarinet when he was in school. He moved to Elko in 1959 after attending Pomona College for wildlife conservation. Bill worked as a water surveyor at an engineering office for 50 years for Water Matters LLC before retiring. Bill performed on the B-flat clarinet with the Elko Community Orchestra for 15 years.

Ann was born and raised in Elko. She went to school locally and moved out of state to study home economics at Iowa State University. Upon graduation in fall 1963, Ann returned to Elko and continued her profession as a homemaker and volunteer musician. Ann still performs with the Elko Community Orchestra on second violin.

In a recent question-and-answer session, the board members discussed the history of the Elko Community Concerts Association, their involvement in the artist selection process, and how residents can get involved in the future events and memberships with the Elko Community Concerts Association.

What is the history of the Elko Community Concerts Association?

Bill: In 1946, and the 1946-1947 season, was the season right after the war, Ann’s mother was a musician at the right place and at the right time for promoting community concerts in Elko. Laura Wilson was the chairman that year, and, of course, her and Ann’s mom were very good friends. They found out about the possibility of a culture committee. The chamber of commerce was sort of the under writer of it all.

Ann: At that point, the booking agency [for artists] was out of New York called Columbia Artists. Things were pretty tight after the war in the first place, so there were artists that needed to be seen. People who were out of these cities were not getting any exposure to these big artists who became famous after becoming known on the community concert circuit. It was an outreach from Columbia artists to reach into communities for exposure to audiences, as well as jobs for artists. My mother was really involved. I remember falling asleep as a very young child at some of those concerts. Those seats were not comfortable to sleep in.

Bill: The concept was that there were national booking agencies with lots of artists, but they didn’t get away from the big cities often. So, how could they go across the whole continent and bring music to the towns at a reasonable rate? This gap right here is about four years from 1972 to 1979. That’s when the high school auditorium burned down. So, there was no place for us …

Ann: … to perform. We lived through that last year by performing in a multipurpose room in Schoolhouse No. 1. That was at Eighth and Court [streets]. That was not quite right, so we decided not to book anything for several years. Then, after the auditorium was built, we had a reliable and good performing hall. It’s always been in the Convention Center since we had the Convention Center. Before that, it was the high school gymnasium.

Bill: It had a capacity of about 200 to 300 people with a small balcony.

Who runs the Community Concerts Association?

Bill: We’re all volunteers. We don’t get any salary. We get the crumbs left over if the guest artists don’t eat all the food provided.

Ann: That’s never happened.

Bill: We used to have a more deliberate nomination and election for our board of directors, but it seems as in recent years we just sort of say, ‘Oh, you’ll serve again next year, won’t you?’ and assume everybody will keep going. There’s three or four names here that have been added in the last few years, and two or three long-timers that will yield soon to somebody else. It’s almost our turn to yield pretty soon.

How does the board of directors decide what artists to bring into Elko?

Ann: The board does a really careful and deliberate job of choosing presentations with each season, and from season-to-season, so there’s a variety of things. We may choose one classical artist one season or a solo artist.

Bill: The national representatives for the booking agency bring with them a video clip as well as their own personal descriptions of the event. We then run through a brief review of 20 to 30 artists or attractions, whether it’s a single individual, duo or quintet.

Ann: We just meet at our home for the board meeting to choose for the following season. This season is pretty good. We’ve got dance, and already had the guitarist. We try to choose unique-sounding artists and attractions like the Breaking Winds [Bassoon Quartet]. Who wouldn’t want to come see them with just the name alone? Then, we’ve got Two on Tap for tap dancing. We always choose performers that we feel would appeal to the community and sell memberships. It’s always a negotiation of time and money with the artists and what’s available at the time. They’re all professional musicians. They’re all on tours, or for segments of seasons.

Bill: Here’s an idea of our list of performers over the years. Our artists’ rate budget started around the $2,000 range in the 1940s and now it is up around $30,000. We always seek people in the community to help out, and so we’re always looking for new memberships all the time. We cannot always rely on people walking up to the window that night to buy their tickets. That’s why we budget for the whole year and artists in advance. That’s why we sell memberships for the next year in the spring for next fall, so we have the money in advance to book the artists and auditorium. That’s how we know what our memberships are and what subscriptions we have.

What should people know about the Community Concert Series?

Ann: We have not asked for grants or anything, but we do have a reasonably successful patron program. These are businesses and individuals who have paid extra money.

Bill: Dinner patrons.

Ann: Yes. They offer meal deals for the night of the concerts. Each restaurant decides what they want to offer the night of the concert. It’s a partnership with the community concerts. It’s just a few select restaurants in town listed, and we really appreciate that. … We also offer single event passes and subscriptions for businesses as supporters and patrons. Then, the passes can be distributed to their customers, vendors, or staff by the business or patron. We just like to have an audience.

[From the printed programs], people know what else is going on in the music community. It’s disseminating information in a place where you have an audience. We try to announce them so people can hear about what else is going on in the music community. I found that if people have something to stick on their wall or write down on their calendar, that they are more likely to go to it and remember what’s happening.

Bill: Typically, we take a break in the middle of our year to not overkill the other musical things happening in our community. The schools are always filled with Christmas-themed music, and cowboy poetry time, as well as January is not a dependable travel month for some of these artists with the roads and flying. We decided let’s skip those months and start again in February.

Ann: One nice adjunct in the past few years is the fundraiser project from the high school string project. They offer refreshments at intermission.

What are the favorite parts about what you do?

Bill: It’s nice to hear people after a concert say, “Oh, I didn’t know they could do that.” It’s something new, or they were skeptical about it, and they found that they enjoyed the discovery of what they heard by enlarging their own exposure to it. Most of the artists are carrying recorded samples, and that’s kind of a gauge to see if people snatch it up because they want some more music before they leave.

Ann: Each concert does not have to be our favorite, but they’re all amazing performers. We’ve had Chinese acrobats for heaven’s sake! There’s great music every time. That’s the goal of community concerts as an evening of entertainment. Some of the best comments are those that say, “Man, that concert was worth the whole price of the season.” When I’m in there hearing these, I turn around and say to them, “That’s when the rest of the concerts are free, aren’t they?” It’s a perspective that they just felt that a particular concert really resonated with them. That’s what we hope. That any of the concerts would resonate with the people who didn’t expect it.

“We cannot always rely on people walking up to the window that night to buy their tickets. That’s why we budget for the whole year and artists in advance.” — Bill Nisbet

Western Shoshone police outline charges on Ike

ELKO – Te-Moak Western Shoshone Law Enforcement announced the list of charges against Elko Band Councilman Felix Ike that led to his arrest Nov. 15 at the Elko Indian Colony.

In a statement from press information officer Richard Thunehorst, Ike faces charges of disobedience of lawful order of the court, violation of a temporary restraining order, abuse of office, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.

“These are all violations of the code of federal regulations of the Court of Indian offenses,” Thunehorst said. “Per internal policies we can not release any additional information in regard to pending cases.”

Ike said last week he was wrongfully arrested at the Te-Moak offices when he and another councilwoman, Penny Stevens, attempted to retrieve documents for Te-Moak tribal chairwoman Lydia Johnson.

A warrant was issued for Johnson’s arrest and incarceration Nov. 6 by the Court of Indian Offenses stemming from a Te-Moak Tribal council meeting held on Nov. 3.

The document states Johnson was in contempt of a restraining order issued against her. It is unclear if that order is related to the one mentioned in Ike’s charges.

Johnson has yet to be arrested.

This article has been updated for the correct name of the press information officer. 

Marianne Kobak McKown / Elko Daily Free Press file  

The total removal of any noxious weeds, like this dried Scotch thistle, on Spring Creek homeowners’ property may be required by the Committee of Architecture, which is looking to tighten up rules and regulations.

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Reno doctor gets 10 years in 'pill mill' death case

RENO (AP) — A northern Nevada doctor was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison for his guilty pleas to involuntary manslaughter and drug distribution charges in a “pill mill” illegal painkiller death case.

Dr. Robert Rand apologized during sentencing Monday in U.S. District Court in Reno, saying he was sorry for what he called terrible harm he caused to the family of Michael Yenick.

Edward Yenick, the father of the 33-year-old former University of Nevada football player who died in 2015, rejected the apology.

He branded Rand a “monster with a stethoscope.”

Judge Miranda Du ordered Rand to serve an eight-year sentence for the drug charge at the same time as his manslaughter sentence.

Rand will serve another three years after prison on supervised release.

The judge also fined Rand $25,000 and ordered him to pay $12,000 in funeral expenses to the Yenick family.

Rand’s lawyer, John Ohlson, protested that Rand expected a prison term of less than seven years when he pleaded guilty in July to recklessly prescribing the painkillers that killed Yenick and to prescribing more than 23,000 oxycodone pills to painkiller distribution ringleader Richard “Richie” West.

But prosecutor James Keller argued for significantly more prison time because he said Rand failed to accept full responsibility for his crime and show proper remorse.

The government dropped several other charges against Rand as part of the plea agreement, including a count involving the death of a woman.