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West Wendover votes to allow recreational marijuana sales

WEST WENDOVER – Recreational marijuana sales are on the way to final approval in this city that has already agreed to a medical marijuana dispensary.

West Wendover City Council voted 3-2 at its Nov. 20 meeting to prepare a draft ordinance allowing recreational sales. First reading will be at the Dec. 4 council meeting and second reading on Dec. 18.

“It’s not about being excited about marijuana. I’ve been the biggest cheerleader for any new business in town,” Mayor Daniel Corona said at the meeting. “I am sorry this has divided us.”

The mayor reminded the council marijuana sales will provide 38 jobs.

Earlier this year, Corona vetoed a council move to block recreational marijuana sales in the city.

Council member Jasie Holm made the request to bring the recreational use issue back to the council. The move was supported by the council’s newest member, Kathy Durham, who was sworn in earlier in the meeting, and by Ismael “Izzy” Gutierrez.

Councilmen Nick Flores and Gerald Anderson voted against the motion. One of the councilmen who had previously opposed recreational use, John Hanson, was defeated in the November election and replaced by Durham.

Durham said the marijuana issue has been dividing the community, but she said the voters had spoken. She said she hoped the council could move forward and get on the “train that’s coming” so the city can regulate pot from “seed to sale.”

“I don’t approve of recreational use,” said Anderson, who alleged yes votes had “been bought and paid for.”

Flores told the council he thought that when they approved medical marijuana sales, the idea was that they would “get their feet wet” first with the medical dispensary before considering recreation sales.

“I just don’t feel recreational sales is the way to go,” Flores said.

Deep Roots Harvest is already planning a more than 10,000-square-foot building in West Wendover to serve as a medical marijuana dispensary, so the company is likely to be the recreational seller. West Wendover City Manager Chris Melville said the state has authorized Deep Roots for a recreational license.

“We want dual use so probably that is how the ordinance will be written,” he told the Elko Daily Free Press on Nov. 21.

Melville also said he believes at this point West Wendover has shown it is ready to accept recreational sales, but there will be a public hearing before the final ordinance to allow people to speak.

“There was not a peep from the audience last night,” Melville said.

He said that according to the state there will only be one more license for recreational sales allowed in Elko County besides the one for Deep Roots Harvest.

If the council passes the proposed ordinance on second reading, recreational sales would be allowed beginning in January, but it will be months before actual sales will happen.

Deep Roots Harvest, which is leasing three acres from the city in the industrial park, will be providing building plans to the city next week, Melville said. Construction and state inspection will follow before the doors can open.

Not until summer

“Deep Roots estimates it will be open in the summer of 2019,” Melville said.

Deep Roots wrote to the council back in April that the company didn’t see enough medical marijuana sales potential to support a medical-only facility. The letter stated that “it is imperative to operate as a dual-licensed medical and retail facility.”

The letter also stated that a dual-purpose facility would generate substantial tax revenue.

Just because West Wendover will be a place to buy marijuana for recreational use doesn’t mean, however, that customers can legally smoke pot in the West Wendover hotels and casinos or parks or any public place. Transport of marijuana across state lines from this city on the Utah border also is illegal.

Marijuana purchased for recreational use “is meant to be consumed at home,” Melville said.

Meanwhile, another company, BRLS NV Properties V LLC, which bought 10 acres In the West Wendover Industrial Park to become a cultivation and production facility, is preparing building plans, Melville said. This company would be selling products wholesale and would not be a dispensary.

(This article was corrected from the original version to state that the recreational marijuana proposal was requested by Jasie Holm.)

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Fabric arts on display at Western Folklife Center

ELKO – What do you get when you exchange a canvas, paint and brush with fabric, needle and thread? How about a distinctive art form that is in a category all its own?

“Stitching Art: Contemporary Quilts and More” is on exhibit at the Western Folklife Center’s Wiegand Gallery through Dec. 8, displaying the fabric art of six women who pooled their skills and talents into dozens of quilts.

An open house to meet the ladies is set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 24 and includes a demonstration by Sharon Gilmore-Thomas at 1 p.m.

Crazy quilts, round-robbins, traditional wedding ring quilts and more are on display at the Wiegand Gallery. However, it’s the variety of the styles and intricacy of the work that prompted the Center’s artistic director Meg Glaser to invite Gilmore-Thompson to curate the exhibit.

“We don’t often get to highlight fabric arts as part of our work here at the Western Folklife Center,” said Glaser, “but it clearly falls within our mission of highlighting folk arts in the West and quilting is a big part of folk arts throughout the world, not just the western states.”

Gilmore-Thompson, who lives in Lamoille, picked up quilting after moving to the area from Carson City 35 years ago. As she developed her skills, she traded her standard sewing machine for one that is 16 feet long and that is much easier to use for her larger projects.

She also met others who enjoyed quilting as much as she did. Mable Beatty, Donna Chism, Holly Bruning, Karleen Bundy and Shirley Davis joined Gilmore-Thompson to form a quilting circle where they could learn from each other while piecing together round-robbins and work on solo projects.

But because the quilts are normally thought of as something to be used as a bedspread, the women who pieced together their quilts said they did more than simply sew pieces together. They artistically expanded their fabric canvases and created designs and patterns with thread and needle.

Using embroidery to enhance her quilts, Bruning stressed that although she uses a machine to do much of her stitching, she said it gives more detail to the overall design of the quilt.

Visualization also takes over, Burning said, adding that not only does the process keep going, it adds more complexity to the work.

“It leads you to adding more things,” Bruning said. “It opens your mind to put these different things together.”

For Gilmore-Thompson, she said she definitely has had more inspiration with a larger machine and a design wall that she uses to plan her work. Once her ideas and inspirations come together, she said the quilt then takes off.

“Sometimes it takes a little while to decide what’s going to enhance this the most,” Gilmore-Thompson said, “but once you start going on it, you can’t stop because it’s so much fun. The process gets you excited.”

The exhibit showcases thousands of hours of work from the women, but seeing it go from the coziness of a quilting circle to a gallery showing that will be seen by thousands of visitors is not easy to comprehend at first, said Bruning.

Essentially, it’s going from tossing around ideas over a cup of coffee to having people stand in awe of the work, she explained.

“As our project is done, we show them to each other, but the way it’s displayed today, it’s like ‘wow, look at what I did,’” said Bruning, who had not had her work previously exhibited. However, she is enjoying the ride.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun putting it together.”

Although not immediately thought of as art alongside painting, sculpture and photography, fabric art is worth taking a closer look at, said Bundy.

“It might spark an interest they’re not really aware of,” she said. “And you don’t have to have a pattern. You can use your imagination, likes and desires.”

The exhibit may also show visitors that there are no limitations to what can be created in fabric arts, added Chisim.

“You can see quilting that’s not traditional,” she said. “[It includes] cross-stitch and needlepoint and all the other stuff.”

For the women, the true satisfaction of the work comes when the project has finally been completed and all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy it, said Gilmore-Thompson.

“It just fills your heart with joy when it’s done,” she said. “You go ‘oh my gosh! All those hours were worth it!’”

Former Elkoan gets jail time for lewdness

ELKO – A former Spring Creek man accused of inappropriate contact with two children was ordered to serve two months in jail on reduced charges in exchange for a guilty plea in district court.

Kalvin Pedersen, 20, of Centennial, Colorado, pleaded guilty Tuesday in two separate matters to open or gross lewdness, and was given a suspended maximum sentence of one year in jail on both counts. He was placed on three years probation by District Judge Nancy Porter.

As a condition of his probation, Pedersen was ordered to serve 30 days in the Elko County Jail on both gross misdemeanor counts consecutively.

He was also ordered to follow other conditions for his probation, including having no contact with the victims or victims’ families, and receiving specialized education and treatment for autism.

He must also have constant supervision with children under the age of 18 and register as a sex offender.

Pedersen was placed into custody and booked into Elko County Jail following the sentencing.

Pedersen was charged in March 2017 with lewdness with a child under 14 years of age, a category A felony, alleging that he touched a 7-year-old girl “in a wrong way” in an empty classroom at an LDS church. A few weeks later, another criminal complaint was filed in Elko Justice Court alleging he had inappropriate contact with a 12-year-old female on five occasions in a private residence.

Originally, Pedersen pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea on April 5 to guilty in a plea agreement that reduced the felony charges to gross misdemeanors.

The penalty for the felony conviction was 10 years to life in prison and a $10,000 fine.