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City to seek bids for phase II Cedar Street work

ELKO – If all goes as planned, the second phase of the Cedar Street Reconstruction Project will begin this spring to upgrade the pavement, water lines, storm-water drainage, sidewalks and the streetscape, along with adding meter pits.

“We hope to start around the first of April and be done by mid-September,” Elko’s director of public works, Dennis Strickland, said Wednesday.

The Elko City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to send the second phase out for bids, which Strickland said he hopes are in the range of $1.5 million to $1.6 million. Carter Engineering of Elko has completed the engineering for the project.

“We will open bids on Feb. 23, then have a recommendation to the council on Feb. 27,” Strickland said.

The city has roughly $1.3 million available now for the project and expects additional revenue in time for completion, including $250,000 in property taxes, $300,000 from the quarter-cent sales tax, and $50,000 from an NV Energy franchise agreement to bring the total to roughly $1.9 million.

“If we open bids and don’t have very good bids, then we will have to postpone it,” Strickland told the council Tuesday, commenting that a busy construction season is expected this year.

Strickland said Wednesday the city would still need to spend more than $100,000 and closer to $150,000 that is not included in the project bid for quality control and assurance.

The city already completed the first phase between Sixth and Second streets, and the second phase will be from Second to D streets, which he said will be the “lion’s share” of the project. The third phase would end the project from Sixth to Ninth streets.

Strickland said the first phase accomplished needed flood control, and phase II will improve storm drainage by slowing and cleaning up the water. The reconstruction project is modeled on a 10-year storm event to capture 75 percent of the water in such a storm.

The second phase will improve streets, water lines and drainage where work hasn’t been done in 40 to 50 years, and the project work should last 30 to 40 years or longer, Strickland said.

“New storm-water regulations require us to discharge cleaner water to the Humboldt,” he said.

Water-meter pits will be installed to give residents the option of continuing to pay a flat rate for water or paying a metered amount. They were also included in the first phase of the project.

Strickland said there haven’t been a lot of residents installing meters in the first phase section, but “I feel there is substantial savings over time,” if residents convert to meters.

The landscaping is part of the project to improve the looks of the neighborhood. The work will be done between the curb and sidewalk and include removing old elm trees and replacing them with “more appropriate streetscape trees,” he said.

Spring Creek brings in new golf pro, restaurant

SPRING CREEK – Spring Creek’s golf course and restaurant are coming under new leadership, possibly in time for an early start to golfing season.

Rick Longhurst and Cooks and Cooks LLC were each awarded two-year contracts approved by the Spring Creek Association board of directors at their regular meeting Wednesday night.

Current golf pro and restaurant owner Jason Jerman is taking a general manager position at a golf course in Hayden, Idaho. He announced his last day will be Feb. 4.

The SCA offered two contracts that expire Dec. 31, 2019 to separate the golf pro duties from restaurant management, something Longhurst said he was happy to see, although he had done both in the past at Ruby View Golf Course in Elko for 29 years.

Longhurst retired in 2011 from Ruby View and was the director of golf at the Winnemucca Golf Course from 2012 to 2016.

“I see some great things out here and I’m excited to get my feet wet again,” Longhurst said. “I like the way you’re doing this in separating the two because now I can just put on my PGA hat and do the things I’m good at.”

Longhurst, a Class A member with the PGA for 45 years, said his years of experience at four other golf courses would be an asset to Spring Creek.

“My expertise, I think, is public relations, customer relations, and tournament operations,” Longhurst said. “If approved, I’m excited to take over the golf operations here.”

Jessie Bahr, SCA president and general manager, said the goal was “to build on what is already there” started by Jerman, with marketing strategy aimed to bring in more youth and other people to the golf course.

The restaurant and bar operations left behind by Jerman received interest from two parties: Cooks and Cooks and a group of partners represented by Shecky Overholser of Elko Realty, who filed a letter of intent with the SCA after the proposal’s deadline of Jan. 16.

Overholser requested a one-week extension on the proposal, explaining his group, including, Jeffery Antonicelli and Karl Young, were not aware of the deadline until Jan. 17, but wanted to inform the SCA of their intent to keep the Jerman’s name and use the equipment and his recipes for “a seamless turnover in operations.”

“It comes to us a little bit late, but we bring a solid business acumen to the table and seamless transition where we’re acquiring Jason’s equipment, recipes and menu and expanding those hours of operation with Rick and the golf course,” Overholser said.

“I think it’s an excellent opportunity to help Rick succeed and help the restaurant succeed, but it’s got to be done together,” Overholser said.

Cooks and Cooks owner Ericia Cook and general manager Sarrah Urbahn explained their previous experience in the area with catering events at the Horse Palace and for local mining companies for more than a year, with additional experience at the Spring Creek golf course during tournaments.

Cook’s Fire Oven & Grill will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and is looking to open in early March with a start-up menu and quick foods for golfers, Urbahn said.

In April, the restaurant will offer their extended menu, including an all-you-can-eat weekend brunch with a soup and salad bar and a mimosa bar.

Cook said the restaurant would collaborate with Longhurst and coordinate hours and service with golf tournaments.

“We know how to handle big events,” said Sarah, adding they cater weddings and would be open to working with bridal shower and baby shower events at the Fairway Community Center.

“As a board, we’d like to see you draw people in here,” Bahr said. “It would help us build a marketing plan for the year.”

Urbahn said they are considering plans to install a pellet-fueled fire pizza oven outside the building if it is feasible, Cook said.

Because Overholser’s group missed the deadline, some board members said they understood their position, but could not overlook the missed deadline or extend it for them.

“Cook’s proposal is complete,” said Tract 300 director Pat Plaster. “The other being late, unfortunately, is an issue with me.”

“My biggest thing is the deadline,” said director at large Molly Popp. “There are deadlines for a reason,” adding that she was in favor of seeing Overholser’s group continue with Jerman’s.

“If we extended deadlines, [it sets] a precedence,” Popp said.

“I’ve been there too. I’ve missed a proposal by a day or two,” said director at-large Jake Reed. “They would not let me put in for it. It’s tough to say, but that’s what happens in real life.”

Marianne Kobak McKown / Elko Daily Free Press file 

Sarrah Urbahn and Ericia Cook at the 2015 Elko Area Chamber Casino Night Christmas Party. Cook’s Fire Oven & Grill will be open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., in Spring Creek.

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Coeur 2017 silver production sets company record

CHICAGO — Silver equivalent production for Coeur Mining Inc. reached the highest in company history at 39.4 million ounces in 2017, according to fourth quarter production and sales results released early January. Coeur’s full-year gold production was 383,444 ounces, 7 percent higher than in 2016.

Production growth was driven primarily by the Palmarejo mine in Mexico, where 2017 silver equivalent production increased 64 percent compared to 2016. The company also runs operations in Nevada, Alaska, South Dakota and Bolivia.

At the open pit heap leach Rochester mine in Pershing County, Coeur placed 16,444,270 tons in 2017, including 4,171,451 in the fourth quarter with an average recovery rate of 92 percent.

The Rochester mine produces silver and gold. For the year, the average silver grade at Rochester was 0.53 ounces per ton, and the average gold grade was 0.003 ounces per ton. Fourth quarter silver produced totaled 1,361 ounces, and gold totaled 18,995.

Coeur Mining has operated the Nevada mine since 1986 and celebrated 150 million ounces of gold poured in June 2017, according to Elko Daily Free Press archives.

Year-end stats reveal changing law enforcement focus

ELKO — Drug arrests decreased from 2016 to 2017, but specific types of drug offences increased over the year, according to comparative numbers from the Elko County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff James Pitts presented the 2017 year-end report to the Elko County Commissioners Jan. 17, saying “Our stats there are pretty busy for the year.”

Although drug arrests are down partly due to the state’s legalization of marijuana, the department reported an increase in the seizure and purchase of prescription drugs. The narcotics team seized 194 pills in 2017, up from 96 the previous year.

The task force also intercepted about 100 grams more heroin in 2017 than the previous year, while meth was down slightly.

Overall, drug arrests in 2017 were down to 55, a decrease from 141 in 2016. Felony arrests also decreased.

Patrol operations saw an increase in animal calls, with 428 more in 2017 than the previous year’s total of 2,432.

The rural deputy, however, had fewer animal calls last year: eight instead of the 11 in 2016. The rural deputy reported 26,026 total activities in 2017.

“Those guys are staying pretty busy out there in our rural areas,” Pitts said.

The jail logged more bookings in 2017 with a total of 3,622, and had a daily average population of 166 people, up from 163 the previous year. Three years ago, when the jail extension opened, the population was 140, according to Elko Daily Free Press archives.

“The jail is still hopping and staying busy,” Pitts said.

Although there were no murders reported in 2017, the department’s three detectives investigated 197 total cases, including 29 sexual offenses, 77 assault and battery, and 23 fraud/embezzlement.

“We did have a busy year,” Pitts said. “We did have quite a few things go on.”