THE VC SLIVER BRICKS, WINNERS OF THE LEGO REGIONAL FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION, GET A $9000 AWARD FROM SWITCH TO GET THEM TO NATIONALS.
COMMUNITY CHEST GETS THE POTENTIAL FOR AN $8000 AWARD FROM BLOCKCHAINS.
MARK TWAIN RESIDENTS GET APPROVAL FOR A BEEKEEPING AND AQUAFARMING OPERATION.
THE COUNTY HAS ESTABLISHED AN INTERDISCIPLINARY EFFORT TO DEAL WITH THE SOCIAL AND MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS OF OUR STOREY COUNTY RESIDENTS
……….AND CONFIRMATION THAT THE ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WE ARE $45 MILLION IN DEBT FOR AT TRIC IS SUB-STANDARD WHICH MEANS WE HAVE TO FIX IT AND PAY FOR IT AGAIN.
I have to say straight out, this was a great meeting. There were several really wonderful community focused agenda items all of which highlights the talent, caring and potential of the residents of Storey County. It made me proud as I listened to some of the accomplishments and plans of the people who truly make Storey County a great place to live.
During Staff updates, Stacy Gilbert, Executive Director of the Storey County Senior Center, said that there are free radon kits at the Center for ANYONE who wants one. She also reminded everyone that the “senior needs” focus groups are scheduled and to please attend to give your inputs:
February 21, 5 – 6 PM: Lockwood Community Center
March 12, 6 – 7 PM: Virginia City Highlands Fire Station
March 21, 5 – 6 PM: Mark Twain Community Center
- April 4, 5 – 6 PM: Storey County Senior Center, Virginia City
Eric Schoen, Executive Director of the Community Chest, wanted to thank the Fire Department for helping out and filling and placing sandbags around the building during the recent melt. He said it was scary there for a while and they came thru…..as the always do. He also announced that the Rosanne Cash fundraiser is almost sold out and that there are only about 24 tickets left. If you want to see this wonderful performer please hop to it and get your tickets!
Eric also reported that the Community Chest has been selected by Blockchains LLC to be the recipient of their “block shot” award. This gives the recipient $50 for every blocked shot during the Wolf Pack games…it can add up to a total of $8000-$9000. Happy to see Blockchains getting involved in supporting our community.
Hugh Gallagher, County Comptroller, gave a brief rundown of some of the bills being readied for the Legislature. No real “news” just a list.
SIDENOTE- The County pays Bum Hess and the Porter group to do the lobbying. While I don’t expect Porter to come to these meetings routinely since they do the D.C. work primarily I do expect that Bum Hess be present to give these updates….he lives up the hill from the courthouse and can roll in to do it. Why is Hugh giving this update? What are we paying Bum for?
Deputy D.A. Loomis gave an update on two Open Meeting complaints. One was filed by Ms Tonya Brown for failure to include her 50 pages of “evidence” she provided during her public comment in the minutes. The AG’s Office ruled that there was no violation since only Commissioners can introduce documentation.
The other complaint was from Sam Toll, Editor of The Storey Teller, who asserted that the PowerPoint presentation during the Pipeline proposal discussions had not been provided to the public ahead of the meeting. The AG ruled that there was no violation since the public saw the presentation at the same time that the Board of Commissioners did.
County Manager Pat Whitten gave an update on the hiring process for his replacement. He said that there were 18 applications and 17 will go to the next step of getting interviewed by the two panels. He said that all 18 had been phone screened for several things, not the least of which was that they had to move to Storey County, that there was no Employment Contract and that they were to bear all costs to get here.
He summarized some of the qualifications as 5 held Masters Degrees, 2 held Ph.D’s, and 3 were from out of state. The next steps are to do the interviews and then send the top 2-3 to be interviewed by the Commissioners on March 19th. This final Commissioner interview is a public session so we can all attend.
The first of the wonderful agenda items was a presentation by Switch of $9000 to our very own Lego First Robotics regional winners….THE VC SILVER BRICKS. The team won regionals and were fundraising to get to Nationals. Commissioner Carmona reached out to Switch about helping with that funding.
The Switch representative said that Switch has been involved with the Robotics activities around the nation for a while and that they were delighted to find out that we had several teams here in Storey County. Here again, a great way for TRIC companies to help our community. Bravo.
SIDENOTE- I have seen these kids in action and the competitions are no cake walk. Highlands resident Nicole Frens is the coach for the VC Silver Bricks as well as the proud mom of two of the team members. Another Highlands resident Patti Poston has done every job there is as part of this wonderful effort and coordinates the competitions among other things.
THEY NEED JUDGES! Please consider doing that. You will learn a lot but mostly you will contribute a lot to these kids and have fun doing it. If you are interested please reach out to Patti Poston at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next up was another licensing deal with AT&T for them to put up a tower with the other communications tower on the Jeep Posse leased land. $1900 a month.
SIDENOTE- Per the Jeep Posse and Pat Whitten the last time this came up in a public forum in 2014, they get half if not all of this revenue since they hold that it is their property….that they lease from the county. The Jeep Posse is a private men’s club of county insiders who don’t allow women members. The county supports that. At the last Commission meeting Pat Whitten also said that the revenue split for the Verizon tower on County land leased by the Posse will get determined later.
But I digress.
Hugh Gallagher reviewed the 2018 Financial Audit. He reminded us that the audit wasn’t an audit of budget performance, altho that is a factor, but that it is a measure the County’s financial stability. While there were numerous mentions of departments being over the approved budgets all of the overages were explained and one was due to an error on the auditors part.
There were three agenda items related to TRIC deeding small portions of an area to the County so that the county could then turn around and give it to NV Energy as an easement. These items were approved.
SIDENOTE- The most interesting part of these transactions was the statement in the documents which said “ Amsterdam Court is not built to county standards. As such, Storey County and TRIC agree that the improvements on the parcels are not subject to the infrastructure cost reimbursement by the county”.
This means we don’t have to pay Roger for a crap job on the roads in the parcels since they do not meet our engineering standards. For Roger to have built roads that don’t meet our engineering standards he either got a big fat variance or the county gave him a pass and didn’t make him conform to safety and engineering standards and didn’t do any inspections ….or did them but turned a blind eye.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Recall that the county owes Roger Norman about $45 million dollars for building the infrastructure out at TRIC. The County didn’t have the money at the time, and still doesn’t, so he said he’d build it then hand the county the bill. The $45 million also includes $25 million for his building of the portion of USA Parkway which we gave him, he resold the NDOT kept that money and for which we still owe him $25 million dollars.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I have reported in past articles that the input from the residents at TRI was that “the roads are crap.” The roads that we paid Roger Norman $45 Million for are crap. Basically dirt roads with three inches of asphalt on top. The reason I bring this up, and will continue to bring this up , is because what we have at TRIC is a road infrastructure that is not up to county standards…..all of the roads….and yet we owe Roger for building them and are now also responsible for fixing them since they are our responsibility. The cost of repairing or rebuilding those roads will be substantial and the tax revenues from TRIC will go to doing that as well as the other maintenance and support required. That expense along with the tax money giveaway for the pipeline, the abatements, and the potential slowdown in building and tax revenues we were told to expect at the last meeting and we’ll not see much coming out of TRIC for the rest of the county for some time.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Oh, and wait till Blockchains wants to sell/develop the large chunk of land that they own. Will the county be stupid enough to cut the same deal with them as they did with Roger? OR will the County smarten up and realize that all of that is a developer expense and that we should not be paying for ANY of it?
But I digress……
Item # 16 =BEE KEEPING! The Commission approved a request by Mark Twain residents Aaron and Stacy Grimes for a beekeeping and aqua farm structure for raising fish. They were approved for 10 hives. There was one resident who opposed the approval because based on his research the number of hives was too much for the area available to “feed” the bees. He also had concerns for any children who may have bee allergies with the increase of bees in the area. His concerns were taken into account by the Planning Commission as well as the County Commissioners.
The Grimes had originally asked for 20 hives and got 10. Additionally, they have to have an onsite water source since bees drink a lot, there is a prohibition on Africanized bees and there will be an annual impact review.
SIDENOTE- It sounded as if both sides had done extensive research on this. I have always been afraid of bees……but I love bees on general principle. Given all of the recent articles that have been out about huge bee die-offs and the deadly implications….I am happy to see this if for no other reason than someone is trying to make sure the bees are there for the food supply. We are a rural county and altho I don’t know that beekeeping is right for all communities I think that we have the ability to allow for this as well as the aqua farming in many places. Happy to see that it passed. Happy to see that folks can have a variety of “ home” businesses. Now, let’s hope the bees and fish survive our climate….
Lastly, the agenda item regarding a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Senior Centers, Community Chest, the Sheriffs Office, the Fire Department and the County to come together to address the behavioral health needs of our community, especially the most vulnerable such as seniors and children. These organizations find that they are often dealing with different facets of issues with the same person. They have always informally co-ordinated activities and/or interventions but this will formalize that work and there will be funding available to help expand more co-ordinated services.
SIDENOTE- I am SO happy to see this. Being such a small county we have the ability to have the best service and support systems available given the talent and determination of our community groups. Eric Schoen from Community Chest has shown what is possible with the medical clinic, family counselling, before and after school care and other services. Stacy Gilbert from the Senior Center knows and understands the issues that our seniors face and has been the source of the only meal many of them get every day. Fire and Sheriffs departments interact with all of the same folks that Community Chest and Senior Center work with so it makes sense that they all work together to provide a more complete outreach and support system.
HAPPY to have county money go to this. HAPPY to see Thrive Market contribute to the food pantries, HAPPY to see Blockchains contribute to Community Chest. HAPPY to see Switch get involved in education.HAPPY to see this effort..the right thing to do for all the right reasons.