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Through Our Own Eyes: A Native American youth art exhibition

ELKO — A dozen Native American student artists took a field trip to the California Trail Interpretive Center to hike the trails and see the display of their work, which has been seen by more than 10,000 visitors from all over the country.

In the past four months, visitors have purchased 32 of the 49 pieces created by the students from Owyhee’s Combined School. Park Ranger Alex Rose said most art exhibits are considered successful if 30 percent of the art is sold, but the student art exhibit has more than doubled that, selling 65 percent of the pieces.

Rose approached Kit Julianto, the art teacher at Owyhee, with the idea. He wanted to shine a light on the culture and talent of the people of Duck River Valley. Rose had co-curated two similar exhibits in Wyoming with students of the Wind River Indian Reservation when he worked at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper.

Julianto returned home to Owyhee to invest in his own people after graduating with his bachelor’s degree in fine arts. For the past couple of years he has challenged his students to create works from “their own point of view.” He requires them to write about the topics that they choose, to ensure that their art has meaning. He doesn’t want them to copy from others, but to “be original” and “think of things they like to do and talk about.” His students’ art reflects this. Using acrylics and canvas, they express their culture and worldview in traditional and contemporary styles.

Sequoia Roubideaux, 14, sold his painting, “Horse Fields,” for $300. His piece depicts two horses on a field of blue and red. Blue symbolizes water and red fire, two elements important in his culture. Sequoia chose horses because of their importance to his people, the Paiute, in traveling. Although Sequoia does not have a horse of his own, he does like to ride when he can. He has no specific plan for the money.

Terry Don Howard, 16, sold two pieces. “Paradise Valley People” features the face of an old Shoshone woman. Her worn face and white hair give witness to her struggle to keep old traditions alive. Because of women like this, Terry was able to give thanks for lunch in his native language. Below the woman, a traditional powwow dancer stands separating two distinct buffalo. The brown buffalo represents the traditional, while the purple buffalo represents the modern.

Terry’s other piece, “The Woman Who Sings to Birds,” uses colors to express the four elements: earth, fire, water and air. The painting shows a woman in the midst of a green prairie, birds flying in the air above her. In the distance, an isolated teepee stands against a horizon of blue and red. The woman holds a bundle of sage and a rosary. Terry said it symbolizes the relationship between Christianity and “the red road.”

Terry was able to meet the buyer of this piece, Karin Schubert. While speaking, she became emotional as she expressed how the artwork had touched her.

“I am the woman who talks to birds,” she said. “I am in there.”

She encouraged Terry to “never stop.” Terry said that there are no plans of making art his career, but “I want to keep doing it (painting) until my hands can’t do it anymore.”

Connie Jacobs, the Trail Center’s manager, told the students: “I can’t tell you the number of smiles I’ve seen coming out of this place, and those who weren’t smiling were thinking.”

She said that part of what they do at the Interpretive Center is “sharing cultures.” She and Rose hope this is the beginning of a tradition at the California Trail Interpretive Center.

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NDOW, BLM clear trees for sagebrush

ELY – The Nevada Department of Wildlife and Bureau of Land Management are reducing catastrophic wildfire risk and improving wildlife habitat on thousands of acres of public lands directly south of Ely, by removing trees.

The agencies are nearly three years into the South Steptoe Valley Watershed Restoration Project that restores sagebrush and other communities, mostly by selectively thinning encroaching pinyon pine and juniper. Methods consist largely of hand or mechanical thinning, and chaining. Seeding and monitoring follow. The result is a natural appearing mosaic of grasses, brush and woodlands.

The project goal is to treat up to 54,000 — or a little more than a quarter — of the 200,000 acres within the watershed. The agencies have already treated 12,300 acres and plan this year to treat 11,000 acres. The treatments complement similar actions underway by the Forest Service on neighboring Ward Mountain.

Agency staff and contractors perform the work. To date, the project has provided 110 people with seasonal employment, all of whom used local services. More than a third stayed in local motels. The project this year will employ 60 people.

Two arrested for burglary attempt at Ormaza warehouse

ELKO — Two men were arrested Saturday morning for an attempt to burglarize an Ormaza Construction Co. warehouse on Silver Street.

Witnesses on the scene saw two men in hoodies tampering with the building at 225 Silver St. and signs of forced entry. Officers arrived on the scene and proceeded to yell into the warehouse for the men to surrender to arrest.

Jeffrey L. Stanley, 37, of Orlando, Florida willingly came out with his hands up to be arrested, according to Lt. Mike Palhegyi of the Elko Police Department.

However, officers on the scene heard additional footsteps inside the warehouse. When the second man did not appear, a K-9 officer was called in.

Vernon D. Nelson, 37, of Elko was found inside the warehouse by the K-9 officer, curled up inside a plastic pipe, according to Palhegyi.

Stanley and Nelson were arrested shortly after 6 a.m. on charges of first-degree burglary with bail set at $20,000 each.

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State sees flaw in water company's appeal

SPRING CREEK – An appeal by Great Basin Water Company could be in trouble, according to a document filed by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.

In a response filed Oct. 19, PUCN Assistant Staff Counsel Samuel Crano recommended that the petition be dismissed by the commission because it failed to meet requirements for reconsideration and rehearing set by the Nevada Administrative Code.

Crano also said the water company’s appeal did not show that the PUCN’s “order was unlawful, unreasonable or based on erroneous fact.”

On Oct. 5, GBWC filed for a rehearing and/or reconsideration of the PUCN’s order to reprice customers’ water bills stemming from a water meter reading issue in 2016.

The commission has the option to either consider a draft order or choose not to take any action on the petition. The PUCN commission meets Nov. 8 and has until Nov. 14 to either formally approve or deny the petition.

A party that disagrees with the PUCN’s final order has 10 business days to file a petition for rehearing. The PUCN has 40 days to grant or deny a petition, and if no action is taken, the petition is considered denied.

GBWC also has the option to appeal the denial in district court.

President of GBWC, Wendy Barnett said in a press release a day after the appeal was filed that the company “[took] responsibility for the situation; however we do have some questions about the order.”

On Sept. 21, the PUCN rejected the water company’s original petition, docket No. 16-12006, that stated they were “consistent with its tariff” in resolving water meter reading and billing issues with Spring Creek water customers.

The company was then ordered to reimburse customers affected by the incorrect readings at $3.47 per 1,000 gallons between January and October 2016 within 60 days of the order, and told to improve customer service relations over the next three years.