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Spring Creek lifts ATV ban

SPRING CREEK – Spring Creek residents have been given the green light to ride off-road vehicles on roads, but with some additional rules.

All-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes, dune buggies, golf carts and snowmobiles are permitted on paved roads, dirt roads, the shooting range and campground at a maximum speed limit of 15 mph if the vehicle is within 500 feet of a home or neighborhood, “which is the majority of roads in Spring Creek,” according to the Spring Creek Association’s OHV operator requirements.

OHVs are still banned from greenbelts, amenities, parks and property owned by the Spring Creek Association.

All traffic laws will apply to off-road vehicle use and valid insurance is required for the vehicles, along with a driver’s license.

Other stipulations include wearing a helmet, using headlamps during the day, and obtaining a legal lighting permit for nighttime use.

The ban was lifted on OHVs effective Oct. 25, with the board approving the motion to 4-3.

The question of allowing OHVs onto Spring Creek roads was discussed by the board a year ago, said SCA President and General Manager Jessie Bahr.

Before the board’s regular meeting last week, Bahr opened a discussion on social media that showed a divide in opinion.

“I think there’s a pretty good split in what folks want to see,” Bahr said.

Sheriff Jim Pitts explained that in 2014, Elko County’s passed an ordinance to allow off-road vehicles on county roads, but Spring Creek opted out of the ordinance and upheld the association’s ban.

The county’s ordinance followed state requirements, including having a vehicle license and wearing a helmet, Pitts said.

“There are things in place. It’s not a free-for-all to ride these on the roads,” Pitts said.

Vice Chair Paddy Legarza, representing Tract 400, said she saw both sides of the issue, but expressed her concern about the safety of children who rides in OHVs and said she thinks there “will be an uptick in accidents” because of motorists who drive over the posted speed limit of 35 mph.

“I live where Palace crosses Parkridge, and that speed limit might as well be 50 or 55 because that’s what people do,” Legarza said.

Keeping the ban “is not to punish people or to say no, but maybe to save a life someday,” Legarza said.

Chairman Joshua Park said he also saw both sides of the argument and thought the county ordinance should be enforced by the association and made known to homeowners.

“I think the county code is what we should live by,” Park said, “but we need to make sure the people who are going to be doing this understand what the county code is.”

One of the 12 residents who spoke during public comment was Tract 200 Vista Grande resident Charlie Ekberg, who said he recommended keeping the ban in effect because his home is on “the ATV front” near Khoury’s and the gas station, and he has witnessed people driving without helmets and “pulling wheelies.”

“I’m deathly [afraid] one of these kids is going to get hurt,” Ekberg said, describing the dust and noise from ATVs that comes into his home.

“Off road means off road,” Ekberg said.

Steve Mello, who lives in Tract 400, said he opposed lifting the ban and “allowing ATVs into another roadway.” He cited a lack of respect by ATV drivers for other homeowners.

“When you have an ATV going down the road with no regard for public safety, I have an issue,” Mello said.

Steve Cummins said his ATV is insured and he uses it to pick up his mail. He said it “doesn’t make noise, I don’t get off the roads, I don’t make dust and I don’t harass people,” and he hoped the board could make the distinction between those who abide by the laws and those who don’t.

“I really hope everybody looks objectively at the ones who violate the law and our association rules and try to do something with them, but not penalize the ones who are actually abiding by state and county rules,” Cummins said.

Jim Jefferies, director from Vista Grande Tract 200, was in favor of lifting the ban and thought it would provide an opportunity to educate younger riders to wear a helmet and be aware of their responsibility behind the wheel.

“I think we’ll get more cooperation from the parents and the kids,” Jefferies said.

Pat Plaster of Tract 300 said she feared for the safety of mothers pushing strollers down the street because of “kids in their pickup trucks.”

Director At-Large Molly Popp said “banning the ban” would allow for more law enforcement and more rules, and that the SCA could create a new policy.

Park said before casting his vote that he supported lifting the ban “because we are not keeping the people that are abusing this from abusing it,” explaining that keeping the ban wouldn’t alleviate dust and noise problems.

Jefferies, Park, Popp and Plaster voted in favor of lifting the ban. Legarza and at-large directors Tom Hannum and Jake Reed voted against.

Save Lamoille church's stained glass

LAMOILLE — Over its 112 years, the Lamoille Community Presbyterian Church has overcome damage from weather, woodpeckers and wasps thanks to the faithfulness of its congregation and the surrounding communities.

Today, the congregation is reaching out for help to preserve the church’s stained-glass windows. Through a fundraising raffle for Tuscarora-raised beef, members hope to contribute to the $25,000 needed for the project.

The original windows went into the church when it was built in 1905 in Lamoille at the crossroads of Halleck and Elko. Silica for the glass came from West Virginia and a Los Angles company fabricated the pieces, commissioned by the original pastor Rev. George Henry Greenfield and wife Eva in memory of their fathers.

The panes — which depict Jesus at the door described in the book of Revelation and Jesus at Gethsemane — arrived in Elko by rail, then traveled by wagon to Lamoille.

“You can see that it was basically built around the windows,” said Jim Connelley, a retired Mountain City-area rancher and former county school board member, who has been leading church restoration projects since 2011.

Since installation, the two “sermons in glass” were reinforced once, in 1977, according to a history written by Linda E. Stapley in honor of the church’s centennial in 2005. Recent evaluations, however, show that the windows are deteriorating and need further repair.

“Of course, we don’t want to lose them,” Connelley said.

Experts from Willett Hauser Architectural Glass, a Minnesota-based stained-glass window restoration firm, quoted the congregation a fee of more than $25,000 to repair the two large windows. Fixes will include re-cementing each piece and adding a structural aluminum perimeter.

The church also features two round stained-glass windows above the church entrances and four on opposite walls of the nave.

“The 9 by 14 foot stained-glass windows in the Lamoille church are as beautiful today as they were in 1905, when craftsmen first set them in their tracery,” Stapely wrote, adding that the original windows probably cost about $500 each. A modern appraisal places their worth at about $300,000.

To fund the restoration project, the congregation is conducting a raffle for beef, donated by the Van Norman Ranches in Tuscarora, and cut, wrapped and frozen by Wolf Pack Meats in Reno. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. First place wins half a grain-fed beef (a $1,500 value); second place wins a 75-pound box of grain-fed beef (a $500 value); third prize wins a 15-pound box of grain-fed beef (a $100 value). The drawing will be held Dec. 10, and participants do not need to be present to win.

Tickets are available by calling Connelley at 778-9800 or 934-7699 or at the following locations: Northeastern Nevada Museum, 1515 Idaho St.; Elko Area Chamber of Commerce, 1405 Idaho St.; J.M. Capriola Co., 500 Commercial St.; Car Doctors, 936 W Main St., Lamoille 4-H clubs; Western Folklife Center, 501 Railroad St.; The Star Hotel, 246 Silver St.; and IFA, 390 30th St.

The church ran a similar fundraiser in 2011, raising more than $100,000 for a new roof, fire escapes, parking lot improvements, paint and plumbing. Now faced with an amount that is more than the small congregation can afford, members are looking to friends and supporters for help.

“So, once again,” states a letter addressed to friends of the church, “we are asking for support from the community to complete this very necessary project to ensure that this iconic 1905 country church will continue to comfort and inspire all who visit.”

If fundraising is successful, the Lamoille Community Presbyterian Church — one of the most photographed churches in Nevada, Connelley said, “then it will pretty well be ready for another 112 years.”

SSR Mining releases names of lost workers

BATTLE MOUNTAIN — SSR Mining released the names of the two workers whose lives were claimed at the Marigold Mine in Valmy on Tuesday, and federal mine safety regulators are investigating the accident.

Safety superintendent Pete Kuhn and open pit operator Omar Bernal were killed when a van they were riding in was run over by a haul truck, Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere told The Associated Press Wednesday.

Seven other trainees in the van were taken to a hospital where they were treated for minor injuries and released, according to the SSR Mining statement.

The driver of the haul truck was hospitalized for treatment of shock, Louviere said.

“MSHA has several personnel onsite and an investigation has begun,” she said in an email.

The SSR Mining statement said the company is cooperating fully with the investigation and plans to conduct its own operational and safety review.

Mine operations remain suspended and will resume only once management has conducted a site assessment and employees are briefed to ensure a safe mine restart, according to the release.

“All of us at SSR Mining are deeply saddened by these tragic events,” said Paul Benson, SSR Mining president and CEO. “Our immediate focus is on supporting the family and friends of our colleagues during this difficult time. The investigation is going to take some time to complete and we are doing all we can to support those efforts. We would also like to thank the mine rescue team and all those who responded to the incident for their invaluable help.”

Marigold Mine in Valmy reported the accident at about 2:15 p.m., according to Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen.

SSR Mining, a Vancouver-based company, changed its name from Silver Standard Resources in August.