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Rowena 'Ro' Smith files for city council

ELKO – Calling herself a “civil servant,” Rowena “Ro” Smith filed for city council on Wednesday, joining three other candidates running for two vacant seats.

Smith became the fourth candidate behind Bill Hance, Chip Stone and Jenna Secrist, who each filed last week.

The seats will go to the two candidates who come in first and second in the race.

The vacancies were left by current City Councilman Reece Keener, who gave up his seat to run for mayor, and John Patrick Rice, who decided not to run for re-election.

A registered nurse at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital and resident of Elko for four years, Smith said she had been elected to a city council in Wisconsin and was president of a library board, also in Wisconsin, that used federal funds to purchase computers, videos and books.

“I’m a firm believer in giving back and being active,” Smith said.

Smith said she supported law enforcement, having a son who used to be on the Las Vegas Metro Police, and she volunteers at the Elko County Sheriff’s office.

If elected, Smith said she would meet with the Elko Police Department to find out “what they need and what their concerns are because if you don’t have law and order in the town there’s mayhem. Crimes go up and home values go down.”

Smith cited veterans as another group close to her heart, explaining that her father was a veteran in the Vietnam War, serving two terms.

Smith said her insight as a health care professional would make her a good fit for the city council because “it makes you sensitive to people’s sufferings, not only in the health field but in a socio-economic field.”

“Health care can be beneficial. We don’t only look at it only in the physical aspect, we look at everything holistic,” Smith said, “because if your emotions break down, your body and your immune system breaks down.”

“A healthy community is a thriving community,” Smith said.

Filing for city and county offices runs until March 16.

Elko students remember shooting victims in school walkout

ELKO – About 200 Elko High School students braved snowy conditions Wednesday morning to join other students across the country for National Walkout Day.

Teens filed out of their classrooms just before 10 a.m., joining thousands of other students at high school and college campuses across the country.

The walkout marked the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida when a gunman opened fire and killed 17 students on Feb. 14.

In Elko, students converged around the Eagle for 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed in the shooting that also left 17 people injured. Some held signs printed with names of those killed in the Parkland shooting.

Concerns for safety by the Elko County School District prohibited the public from attending the walkout. People were asked to stay on the sidewalk and not step on school grounds during the 17-minute walkout.

School Resource Officers and teachers monitored the perimeter around the school, with some teachers staying with their classes.

A moment of silence was conducted shortly after 10 a.m., and students applauded three times for various speakers within the group.

At 10:17, an announcement was made over the public address system by school staff to conclude the memorial for the Parkland victims and dismiss the students back to their classrooms.

Retired teacher Jane Zugazaga watched the gathering from the sidewalk along with about six other people. She held a sign that said, “Enough” and explained she felt it was important to be at EHS for the students.

“They are why I’m here. This is what gives me hope,” Zugazaga said.

EHS Principal Tim Wickersham watched the memorial from the sidewalk near the Eagle. He described the memorial as “very moving” and said he was “very proud” of his students’ efforts.

“These are our kids: young Americans on the cusp of adulthood, and they’re learning how to do the American thing,” he said. “I think that’s something we try to instill at these kids at school. I’m really pleased with the way they turned out today.”

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Khoury’s breaks ground in Carlin

CARLIN – Armed with gold-colored shovels, a large group braved the snow and cold at 11 a.m. March 14 to break ground for a new Khoury’s store on 10th Street.

“This market is going to have everything,” said owner Sam Khoury. “There will be a deli, bakery, produce section, coffee shop and meat section.”

The 16,000 square foot store will have a full service grocery with fine wines, liquors and a movie rental service. This is the fourth store the Koury family has built in Nevada. The Carlin store is scheduled to open around the end of September.

“We will probably need around 35 to 40 employees,” said Gus Khoury.

The new shop will be one of the largest employers in town.

After the groundbreaking the ceremony was moved to the senior center due to the weather.

Many were in attendance at the event, including Assemblyman John Ellison and Elko County commissioners Cliff Eklund and Rex Steninger.

“This is very exciting for everybody here in Carlin,” said Mayor Dana Holbrook. “I don’t know if you are aware that this is Carlin’s 150th anniversary this year. On the Fourth of July we are planning on having an old-fashioned Fourth of July party. We are really proud of our history. We are also proud to have a new store.”

Addressing the Khourys, Holbrook said “You guys are going to be part of the Carlin family and we are going to be looking forward to the next anniversary celebrating with you guys.”

CEO of Associated Food Stores Neal Berube took the podium and had a few words to say about the new business coming to town.

“I work for the Khoury’s because Associated Food Stores is owned by all of our retailers. We are excited to see them expand again. It’s awesome to have family businesses in the community today.”

AFS has been working since 1940 to serve and support independent retailers and fight against national chains. They have members in eight intermountain states.

The Khoury owners thanked the community for the opportunity.

“Sometimes I feel like the people of Carlin are more excited than us,” said Sam Khoury. “I want to thank all of the people involved, including Nevada State Bank.”

After the speeches Khoury family members Mimi, Jamil and Jehad went up to cut the cake before the luncheon was served. Jamil and Jehad are going to be in charge of the Carlin store, following in the footsteps of their elders.

The Khourys also have two grocery stores in Spring Creek and one in Winnemucca.

Snow, rain break Elko precipitation record

ELKO – It’s been a dry water year so far, but that may be changing.

Elko set a precipitation record on Wednesday with nearly three-quarters of an inch arriving in the form of rain and snow. That was enough to break a record for the date that has stood for more than a century.

The total .74 of an inch measured at Elko’s airport shattered the old record for March 14 of .51, set in 1889, according to the National Weather Service.

Eureka also posted record precipitation with .66 of an inch.

Elko’s newfound moisture boosted the water year total to 3.9 inches. That’s well below the average of 5.47 inches for this time of year, but more rain and snow was on its way.

Much of Elko County remains under a winter weather advisory until 5 p.m. Thursday.

The National Weather Service lists a 40 percent chance of more snow on Thursday, 60 percent on Friday and 60 percent again on Saturday.

Motorists are advised to watch for icy conditions. Current road condition reports are available from the Nevada Department of Transportation by calling 511 or visiting

The extended forecast is in flux, but as of Wednesday evening the weatherman was calling for a slight chance of snow on Sunday and more precipitation by the middle of next week.