You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
top story
Choraliers prepare for Carnegie Hall

ELKO — Sixty-eight high school students are invited help carry out the mission of Carnegie Hall to “foster the future of music through the cultivation of new works, artists and audiences” this spring in New York City.

Voices of Elko High School Choraliers will ring out at the historic New York City concert hall in April as they perform at the National Youth Choir during the Festival at Carnegie Hall with WorldStrides, a U.S. educational travel organization. A total of 200 students from around the U.S. are scheduled to perform.

The choir — composed of ninth through 12th-grade boys and girls — earned the invitation by attending previous festivals, including the 2017 national choral competition in Hollywood where their performance made them eligible for the New York trip.

The EHS Choraliers have been invited four times in the past but have been unable to attend because of scheduling.

“Everything fell into place to go this year,” said instructor Karen Rogers, who has been teaching for 30 years and is an EHS alumna.

Student fundraising and work, and community donations are financing the trip. The choir is about 75 percent of the way to its goal of approximately $240,000, and is still accepting donations.

“People were so generous,” Rogers said of community members’ donations during the Snowflake Festival in December.

Recent contributions include a $500 check from the Elko Downtown Business Association, presented Jan. 25 by Lina Blohm; and a $500 donation from Kinross Gold Corp.’s Bald Mountain operation, presented by HR manager Christine Whetten, who said that hearing the Choraliers perform at an Elko Area Chamber of Commerce event gave her goosebumps.

“It’s exciting to see young students like this going and performing on a huge stage. It will help them in the future as they are future leaders,” Whetten said. “One of our values is corporate citizenship, and that is being involved in the communities we are operating in and supporting them in the capacity that we can.”

top story
John Collett takes visitors up close and personal to ranches

ELKO – Authenticity is important for giving a ranch tour, says “Cowboy” John Collett.

During the “Day at the Ranch” tour set for Jan. 31 during the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Collett tells stories about his childhood, living and working on a cattle ranch during his summer vacations. He believes those stories are important when taking dozens of people to see ranches in northeastern Nevada.

“My stories are real. They actually happened to me,” Collett said, explaining his experience with horseback riding and haying with teams of horses. “It’s not some city slicker that made things up.”

Collett’s “Day at the Ranch” tour will visit four ranches at the base of the Ruby Mountains this year, getting a feel for ranching in Northeastern Nevada.

Although Collett sold insurance for more than 30 years, being a cowboy in his early life was still close to his heart. It was during the early years of the Gathering that he saw an opportunity to relive the happiest days of his childhood.

“I went to different functions and I heard people say they wish they could see a ranch. So I asked them, ‘Would you like to go see one?’” Collett said, explaining that his insurance clients who were ranchers helped with those first tours.

“That’s how it started. The word got out to ‘get a hold of Collett, ‘cause he’ll take you out and show you a ranch,’” Collett said.

Collett made arrangements with the Glaser Ranch to bring visitors to see buckaroos showing off their roping skills and their saddle shop. Soon he saw an opportunity for the tours to expand and benefit the Gathering’s audience with the Western Folklife Center’s help.

“There are so many people who want to see ranches and they don’t really understand the poems that well because they haven’t experienced it,” Collett said, and he suggested the Folklife Center make it a ticketed event.

Starting out with about 8-10 people, the tours soon increased in popularity. In the last eight years, the groups grew to 55 and Collett found a way to accommodate the large number, many of whom take the tour every year without fail.

“I was able to get Coach USA to donate the buses for free, which is a $6,000 to $8,000 donation,” Collett said.

Over the years, Collett estimates he’s been to about 15 or 20 ranches in the area “from Ruby Valley to Independence and all over the place.” He noted how willing the owners are to give visitors the ranch life experience.

The tours also allow for a quick education in how a ranch operates and survives, Collett added.

“I know the questions to ask them about some of the challenges of being a rancher,” Collett said. “We try to get them to realize that ranching has a lot of variables. In order to be on a ranch, you’ve got to love it. You’re not really on it to make a lot of money.”

Collett partners with cowboy and pharmacist Roy Elsner to warm up the group on the bus, telling stories during the drive to ranch.

“I try to get people involved by letting them share stories,” Collett said. He also allows for spontaneity and encourages the group to become acquainted with one another.

“I tell them, ‘This is a great time to meet these people on this bus, because you’re going to be going through the gathering and seeing each other,’” Collett said.

Collett sees the gathering as an opportunity bring hospitality to visitors during the gathering and make them feel welcome, even hosting an Airbnb at their house during the Gathering.

“My job is to try to make people feel at home, give them a few real experiences of what’s happened, and to coordinate it,” Collett said.

Collett plans to recall his youthful cowboy mishaps again this year to the audience on the tour bus, or as he calls it, “a lot of potential catastrophes” on the Bruneau River, but he emphasizes that it will not be in verse.

“I’m a storyteller, not a poet.”


Wild horses on Elko County rangeland

Trump to deliver 'State of Union'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s guests for his State of the Union speech Tuesday include an Ohio welder who will benefit from his tax overhaul plan and the parents of two Long Island teenagers who were believed to be killed by MS-13 gang members.

The speech is scheduled at 6 p.m. Pacific time today.

An Albuquerque police officer who convinced a pregnant woman he found using heroin to let him adopt her unborn child will also attend as a guest of the president.

Officer Ryan Holets and his wife were praised last month for adopting the baby girl they named Hope.

Among Trump’s other guests are David Dahlberg, a Southern California firefighter who saved 62 children and staff members from a wildfire that had encircled their camp; and retired Cpl. Matthew Bradford, who was blinded and lost his legs after stepping on a roadside bomb while deployed in Iraq. After surgery he re-enlisted in the Marine Corps, becoming the first blind, double amputee to do so.

The guests will be seated in the box of first lady Melania Trump. Many have been selected to amplify the speech’s theme, which White House officials have said is “building a safe, strong and proud America.”

The president’s address to Congress last year took an emotional turn when he introduced the widow of a Navy SEAL killed in a raid in Yemen.