Clock ticking on judicial appointment |

Clock ticking on judicial appointment

Gardnerville, Nev. — While no deadline exists for the governor to appoint a new judge for the Ninth Judicial District, Friday will be 30 calendar days since he received the names of the three nominees. That's important because if he doesn't make an appointment to the seat in 30 days, he may make no other appointments to public office until he does, according to Supreme Court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer. The three candidates include Genoan Tom Gregory, Carson City resident David Sarnowski and Reno resident Douglas Rands. Gov. Brian Sandoval has the final decision on which of the three will replace Michael Gibbons, who was selected to serve on Nevada's first court of appeals. The Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection made its choice out of 13 attorneys on Feb. 25. In order to be considered, attorneys had to have two years of residency in the state and 10 years of legal experience. There is no requirement that applicants live in Douglas County, but anyone selected would have to move here in order to stand for election. For applicants biographies, visit Retired District Judge Dave Gamble has been serving in the seat since Gibbons was appointed.

Velia Martinez

Velia Martinez died April 10, 2005, at Barton Memorial Hospital. She was born Dec. 13, 1926, in Lansing, Mich., and was a 27-year resident of South Lake Tahoe. She is survived by her sons, Jamie Martinez, Isidro Martinez and Isavro Martinez, all of South Lake Tahoe, Jose Martinez of Washington state, Sergio Martinez and Juan Martinez of Reno, Nev., and Abel Martinez of Carson City, Nev.; daughters, Odila Quintana of South Lake Tahoe, Emerita Ramirez of Carson City, Maria Rosalba Marquez and Carolina Martinez of Reno; four brothers, three sisters, 35 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Miguel Martinez, in November 1996. Visitation will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday in the McFarlane Mortuary Chapel, 887 Emerald Bay Road, followed by a Rosary at 7 p.m. in St. Theresa Catholic Church. A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, also at St. Theresa. Interment will be at Happy Homestead Cemetery.

West Shore ambulance service not settled

Residents of the West Shore of Lake Tahoe have an emergency on their hands – or at least they will, if something isn’t done soon. On Tuesday, Fifth District Supervisor Dave Solaro spearheaded the creation of a citizens committee to explore ambulance service options to the West Shore. The ambulance dilemma was one of the main items on the agenda at the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting at Tahoe Paradise Park on Tuesday. Currently, the communities of Meeks Bay, Rubicon and Tahoma are under service with the North Tahoe Fire Protection District. But NTFPD is raising its fees in June – from $38,000 per year to $113,000. If West Shore residents decide they want to keep NTFPD, they must somehow come up with the money. One idea is a sales tax, which would go before voters in June. Another option is increased parcel fees. Or, West Shore communities could contract with Lake Tahoe Ambulance in South Shore. “Contracting with South Lake Tahoe is not really not an option for us,” said Edward Miller, president of the Meeks Bay Fire Protection District Board of Directors. “There are distance and weather concerns. You can’t say to people who call 911 that it’s going to take two hours for an ambulance to get there.” Solaro and Second District Supervisor Ray Nutting will be working with West Shore communities to plan their next move. “Ultimately it will be up to these communities as to what the final outcome will be,” Solaro said. “But we’re here to help.” Solaro indicated that one solution could be for a contract with South Lake Tahoe for ambulance service, using NTFPD as a backup during times when the roads are closed due to snow.

Tahoe Truckee School Board weighs drug test issue

TRUCKEE – After hearing from students, educators and a doctor during its Sept. 21 meeting, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Board of Trustees began to back away from a proposal calling for mandatory random drug testing of student athletes. “What I’m hearing is that this isn’t going to work very well,” said board member Suzanne Prouty after nearly two hours of public discussion. The board initially delayed discussion of the subject because Jim Abbott, assistant superintendent, had invited late-arriving guests who were to give some insight into the issue. Once Abbott’s panel – which included principals, coaches, a medical professional and a county education employee – had arrived, their presentations portrayed the proposed drug testing as financially taxing, socially questionable and “barely legal.” “Personally, I’m not in favor of it,” Dr. Ed Heneveld, an emergency room physician at Tahoe Forest Hospital said of the testing. “There’s some benefit, but then you weigh cost verses benefit, appropriateness verses benefit, community support verses benefit.” A representative from the Placer County Department of Education, Tad Kitada, told the board that he could not find sufficient data regarding student drug testing because the concept is relatively new; he said he had yet to locate a school in California that had instituted a mandatory testing policy. The school district is basing its push for drug testing on the findings of a recent survey. The California Healthy Kids Survey, an anonymous survey issued by the state’s Department of Education, showed that student’s within the district had an above average appetite for alcohol and drugs. Participation in the survey required written permission from students’ parents; about half the students in the district did not take the survey. The meeting also saw students speak out against the proposed policy. Some students felt it was unfair to test only athletes. “It should be all the students, all the coaches, all the staff,” said Katie Kyler, a senior at North Tahoe High School. “No one should be excluded.” Kitada explained that it was against the law to impose mandatory drug testing on students because it would be considered a search (which requires probable cause), but that the United States Supreme Court had cleared the way for testing athletes in 1995. “Student athletes go in knowing they’re not going to have the same level of privacy as other students,” Kitada said. Mark Martinez, a student-journalist with Tahoe-Truckee High School’s newspaper, The Wolverine, told the board he had been interviewing classmates about the possibility of drug testing and the response had been less than positive. “A lot of kids will quit the team and keep doing the drug,” Martinez said, suggesting the boards’ proposal could blow up in their face. The strongest show of support for the implementation of such a policy came from North Tahoe High School’s principal, Rod Wallace. He said he thought the testing would curb the area’s drug problem among students, and that the procedure would get eventual support from the community. “I think the positives outweigh the negatives,” Wallace told the board, explaining that the potential of being tested might dissuade drug use. “It gives the kids another chance to say no. It takes the pressure off the kids.” Board member Mel Cone suggested that efforts focused on athletes would positively affect the entire student body. Did athletes, he asked, serve as moral-guideposts for their peers? “Who do you look up to?” Cone asked one Truckee student. “I don’t think we have role models in our school. We’re all around the same age,” answered 12th-grader David Brooks. “I’m not gonna look up to someone in my grade.” Brooks also echoed Martinez when he told the board that drug testing would more likely deter students from participating in sports than from experimenting with drugs. “I can see where you guys are coming from with this, but eventually…,” Brooks paused, “… you’re not gonna have any sports teams.” Besides the apparent lack of support being shown for drug testing, the board was also discouraged from implementing the policy after finding out the tests would do little to flesh-out alcohol use. “I thought we would be targeting kids who are drinking heavily,” Prouty said. By the end of the night, members of the board decided more information on the effectiveness of drug testing needed to be gathered. Prouty also said she would like to see “community buy-in” before supporting the policy. Board member Cone seemed to capture the night’s collective sentiment best during his closing comments: “Individuals cannot control other individuals, they can only control themselves. That’s my philosophy.”

Martinez Art and Affair of the Heart

Valentines come from the heart, and so it is for Edw (pronounced Ed) Martinez. Every year he sends between 300 and 400 valentines – his own creations – to friends, acquaintances, the famous and the infamous from London to Las Vegas. An accomplished artist and associate professor of art at the University of Nevada, Reno, since 1968, his Valentine tradition started by accident in 1973 when his art students began to moan about an assignment. To motivate them, he did a quick demonstration. “I was doing gestural, abstract art at the time so I quickly did a heart,” he said, adding one of his students called it a “hairy” heart, and the name stuck. Then they asked him to do another. “The hearts have always had the line imagery Originally I sent them as a gesture of friendship on campus. If I want a favor, I’ll design a heart,” he said with a smile. Martinez has been both journalist and teacher. He calls himself a typical ’60s artist and jack-of-all-trades, but specializes in printmaking and drawing. And time has aged his face but not his eyes, which light up like a 10-year-old’s. He is easy-going, open, and laid back. The Valentine tradition has grown over time and while Martinez is generous with his gift. His Valentines are not for sale. You can’t get one unless you’re on “the list.” The simple hearts, distinctive by their design, have been the object of custody battles in divorces and can be found on the walls of almost any room in many Reno homes. “Bill Stremmel (a Reno resident who at one time owned Stremmel Volkswagen) said I am probably Nevada’s most collected artist,” Martinez said, adding it’s a distinction borne of the fact that he’s been sending hundreds of valentines a year for more than 30 years. The tradition got off to a rocky start, earning a level of suspicion in those early years because at first Martinez didn’t sign them. “People thought they were being stalked,” Martinez said, adding that sometimes the card was seen as a sign of infidelity. “One woman finally told me she didn’t want to receive my card I was crushed.” The husband of one recipient thought that because the lines slashed through the heart, the Valentine was a death threat. He called the FBI. “I guess the FBI said, ‘Well, it’s Friday afternoon and couldn’t it wait until Monday,’” Martinez said, noting that the couple attended a dinner party that weekend in a southwest Reno home where they found the same kind of hearts framed in the host’s bathroom. Originally from Vallejo, Martinez is a sixth-generation Californian and the descendent of a Mexican military officer. The family received a land grant from the Mexican government and settled in the Contra Costa County area in the 1700s. His grandfather, (great or great-great, Martinez isn’t sure which) Ignacio Martinez, was the third mayor (alcalde) of San Francisco. “I looked him up (in a history book) once and they called him haughty and despotic,” Martinez said with a laugh, then added that in his later years he became known for his hospitality and generosity. He is buried in the cemetery behind the Mission San Jose. Martinez has displayed his work all over the country including Boston, Philadelphia, Cinncinnati and the New York School of Design. His work is included in numerous public and private collections and Gov. Bob Miller gave him the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Art in 1998. He holds a bachelor of arts in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, a bachelor of science in education from Illinois Wesleyan University and a masters in art from the University of Iowa. He has lived in Virginia City for more than 30 years with his wife Kay and together they have two grown sons. Ted teaches physical education at Storey County Middle School and Patrick teaches the fifth grade in Reno.

Douglas school budget hammer falls tonight

After months of debate and discussion, Douglas County School District Superintendent Carol Lark has settled on a list of recommended budget cuts to be submitted to school board members 5 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, at Douglas High School. “It is my intention to recommend that the board approve the entire list at this meeting,” Lark said. “They may choose to take something off and add something else.” The list includes more than 30 items totaling about $2.8 million worth of cuts for the 2009-10 school year. The school district must finalize their budget by May, before knowing exactly how the state budget will be worked out in the Legislature. “I do not recommend that it (the list) be prioritized simply because we are still dealing with the unknown,” Lark said. “We will not know the true outcome until the legislators make their decisions.” Also unknown is the effect any federal stimulus money will have on the district. “We only know what we read in the paper about the mitigation and stimulus money,” Lark said. “If, and when, we have a real target, I will then bring the list back to the board with my prioritized recommendations.” Leading the list in value is a “holiday premium,” a one-month period during which the district would not pay from its general fund to the employees’ self-funded health insurance program. The measure would generate a one-time savings of $500,000, but would also apply to dependents of employees in the program. At a previous meeting, Chief Financial Officer Holly Luna said extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. “You’re not going to get me to say that it (the self-funded program) is healthy enough,” she said. “But is this something you do in extraordinary times? Yes.” Although middle school sports have been removed from the list, athletics might still suffer some reductions. The elimination of transportation for nonleague games would create a one-time savings of $100,000. The elimination of field trips would save $72,000. Personnel in many departments would also be affected by the proposed cuts. The custodial division looks to take the biggest hit with a reduction of five full-time equivalents worth $216,000. A reduction in elementary school computer aides, two by attrition, would save $113,500. The attrition of two gifted and talented teachers would save $76,000. Although regular classroom teachers appear to be safe, substitute teachers would take a pay cut. More than $70,000 would be saved if pay for substitute teachers was dropped from $104 a day to $94 a day and from $52 for a half day to $47 for a half day.

Vikings edge Panthers

The South Tahoe High boys soccer team dominated the action for 78 minutes Wednesday night, defeating the North Valleys Panthers 2-1 in Nevada 4A soccer in Reno. Sophomore Enrique Avina put the Vikings on the board in the 31st minute when he buried a ball off of a nice cross by Chris McKean. Avina found the back of the net in the second half as well when Larry Martinez made a series of crafty moves to get the ball in the middle of the box. “Enrique has been doing a great job finishing for us,” Viking coach Joe Winters said of Avina, who has scored five goals in the past three games. “He’s really been in the right place at the right time.” Facing the Vikings entire second string, the Panthers notched their only goal of the match in the 78th minute. With the win, the second-place Vikings improved to 6-2 to stay ahead of 5-2-1 Reno. Carson High, which suffered its first loss of the season to Reno on Wednesday, is in first with a 7-1 record. “The door is certainly open for us,” Winters said after hearing Carson had lost. “It really gives us an opportunity. Things should be real interesting down the stretch.”

Vikings edge Panthers

The South Tahoe High boys soccer team dominated the action for 78 minutes Wednesday night, defeating the North Valleys Panthers 2-1 in Nevada 4A soccer in Reno. Sophomore Enrique Avina put the Vikings on the board in the 31st minute when he buried a ball off of a nice cross by Chris McKean. Avina found the back of the net in the second half as well when Larry Martinez made a series of crafty moves to get the ball in the middle of the box. “Enrique has been doing a great job finishing for us,” Viking coach Joe Winters said of Avina, who has scored five goals in the past three games. “He’s really been in the right place at the right time.” Facing the Vikings entire second string, the Panthers notched their only goal of the match in the 78th minute. With the win, the second-place Vikings improved to 6-2 to stay ahead of 5-2-1 Reno. Carson High, which suffered its first loss of the season to Reno on Wednesday, is in first with a 7-1 record. “The door is certainly open for us,” Winters said after hearing Carson had lost. “It really gives us an opportunity. Things should be real interesting down the stretch.”

Complete election results from Douglas County

Incumbent County Commissioner Mike Olson was at a Genoa Town Board meeting as the votes were counted on Tuesday night. Not long after the board retired, Olson learned that he’d lost a close race to challenger Barry Penzel, 10,757 to 10,087. Olson received only 670 votes fewer than Penzel, closing a little of the gap that he had to overcome from the primary. “Barry’s a good guy he worked hard and did a good job,” Olson said. “There was not a lot of angst and anger in that campaign. The people of Douglas County had a tough choice to make and they made it. I think I contributed to accomplishing some good things for Douglas County we’ll see how they pan out.” Penzel thanked both the people of Douglas County and Olson for running a good campaign. “I’m very grateful and I’m humbled by the experience,” Penzel said. “I’m looking forward to working with commissioners, and I’m anxious to find out what the residents’ priorities are so we can align them with the county. This is a great opportunity to move the county forward in a cooperative way and I’m really anxious to get the process going.” Incumbent commissioner Doug Johnson won a third and last term in the election by defeating Planning Commissioner Frank Godecke, 11,609 votes to 9,503. “You’ve got to be a little humbled,” Johnson said. “With 55-45 percent, there’s still a good portion of Douglas County that’s not on my side. I’m sure I’ve made some decisions that irritated a few people.” Johnson, who will be only the second commissioner in Douglas County history to term limit out, said he spent the last four days distributing 1,600 door hangers and that he felt voters’ opposition. “I could feel that people disagreed with me on deciding factors,” he said. “Out of all the elections this was the toughest. I was stressed out all the way through this.” Johnson thanked the people of Douglas County for their vote. I’m real proud and real honored to be re-elected,” he said. “I never, ever thought I’d do this in the first place.” Godecke said his first foray into politics was a positive one. “This has been a really fun experience,” he said. “I’ve had a great time getting out and meeting people. Even though I’m a native and I’ve lived here all my life, there were a lot of people I didn’t know out there. I’ve enjoyed every bit of it, except for this last part. I wish Doug all the best in his last four years.” Incumbent school board members Karen Chessell and Teri Jamin both hung onto their seats, while Neal Freitas defeated John Louritt for the seat being vacated by Randy Green. East Fork Justice of the Peace Tom Perkins defeated challenger Wayne Fazzino 12,474 votes to 6,113, clinching a six-year term on the bench. East Fork Swimming Pool District incumbent Gordon Gray survived the election. Janine Petrick-Sullivan and Alisa Ashbaugh won seats on the five-member board. Indian Hills residents Chris Johnson and Ronald Lynch won terms on the general improvement district board. Gardnerville residents Lloyd Higuera and Mary Wenner will serve on the town board. Minden Town Board members Steven Thaler and John Stephans will return for another four-year term. Former county commissioners Bob Allgeier and Barbara Smallwood will serve on the Minden Gardnerville Sanitation District. Final results were released by Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer at 9:36 p.m. First results were not released until 8:30 p.m. when Washoe and Clark counties finally closed their polls. “I was surprised at how fast the polls closed here and how fast the poll workers got their cartridges in,” he said. The 91.5 percent turnout was not enough to break the record turnout set in 2008, but it came within a percentage point. President Mitt Romney 16,264 *Barack Obama 9,288 Gary Johnson 275 Virgil Goode 73 U.S. Senate *Dean Heller 16,629 Shelley Berkley 6,947 David Vanderbeek 1,137 None of these 1,056 Rep in Congress *Mark Amodei 16,841 Samuel Koepnick 6,904 Michael Haines 807 Russell Best 348 State Assembly District 39 *Jim Wheeler 17,459 David Schumann 5,464 County Commission District 1 Greg Lynn 19,161 County Commission District 3 Doug Johnson 11,609 Frank Godecke 9,503 County Commission District 5 Barry Penzel 10,757 Michael Olson 10,087 Board of Regents *Ron Knecht 12,194 Michon Mackedon 7,215 State Board of Education *Dave Cook 11,662 Donna Clotz 7,822 School Board Trustee Area 1 Karen Chessell 10,879 Ron Santi 7,962 School Board Trustee Area 4 Neal Freitas 9,999 John Louritt 8,412 School Board Trustee Area 5 Teri Jamin 9,985 Laurence Lippman 8,777 East Fork Justice of the Peace Tom Perkins 12474 Wayne Fazzino 6,113 East Fork Swimming Pool District Janine Petrick-Sullivan 7,351 Alisa Ashbaugh 7,102 Gordon Gray 6,900 Carl Schnock 5,683 Dave Nishikida 5,621 David Oren 4,720 Robert Cutts 3,145 Indian Hills General Improvement District Chris Johnson 743 Ron Lynch 692 Jimmy Weaver 548 Charles Swanson 531 Kingsbury Grade General Improvement District Natalie Yanish 650 Robert McDowell 536 Jodie Nelson 489 Greg Felton 478 Ed Johns 334 Marla Bay General Improvement District Ann Barnard 41 Roy Pike 35 Ronald Borsos 13 Round Hill General Improvement District Glen Smith 186 Wesley Rice 156 Michael Pook 80 Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District Bob Allgeier 1,943 Barbara Smallwood 1,908 Jerry Smith 1,769 Tahoe Douglas Fire District Larry Schussel 1,370 Greg Felton 1,361 Steve Seibel 1,300 Lawrence Howell 1,111 Tahoe Douglas Sewer Distrit Richard Gardner 402 Diane Imbach 374 John Peel 364 Michael Riley 363 Tom Kennedy 227 Bedford Holmes 199 Town of Gardnerville Mary A. Wenner 1,081 Lloyd Higuera 1,053 Jeff Schemenauer 710 Marco Caldana 437 Town of Minden Steven Thaler 1,011 John Stephans 958 Howard Herz 531 State Question No. 1 *Yes 10,983 No 13,244 * Denotes statewide winner

Douglas schools try to close $1 million gap

MINDEN, Nev. – Douglas County School District leaders are asking all employees for a 2.5 percent reduction in pay in order to bridge a $1 million gap in next year’s budget. “We’re looking for concessions. That of course has to be negotiated. We hope we can get there,” said Chief Financial Officer Holly Luna. “We know other school districts have had to do it. We’re willing and responsive. We’re required to have a balanced budget regardless of what happens with negotiations.” If agreements with unions aren’t reached, Luna said, the district will begin layoffs. “We’re taking a look at all areas,” she said. “Nothing is off limits.” Some layoffs may happen either way. Even with concessions, the district must eliminate 17.5 teaching positions due to declining enrollment and the loss of one-time federal funding from the EduJobs bill. The latter measure has accounted for approximately $860,000 in this year’s budget. “We’re hoping we can do it through attrition, retirements, and transfers to other districts – that’s obviously our goal,” said Luna. “We don’t want to add to the pool of unemployment. We have some of the highest unemployment in Nevada, and we think adding to it creates a spiraling effect.” Approved by school board members on April 10, the 2012-13 tentative budget shows a $50.4 million general fund for next year, comprised of $47.9 million in expenditures, $436,333 in contingency funds, $113,879 as reserved ending fund balance, and $1.9 million as unreserved ending fund balance. Although projected weighted enrollment for next year is down to 5,940.8 pupils, the tentative budget was built on this year’s weighted enrollment of 6,053.8 under the state’s hold harmless provision, which allows districts with declining enrollment to use the previous year’s enrollment in calculating per-pupil funding. Of course, if student population declines over a long period of time, per-pupil funding inevitably decreases – the drop is just delayed a year. “This decline is not as massive,” said Luna. “We may be getting to that point where enrollment flattens out, which would be very beneficial.” The 2012-13 final budget will be presented to school board members 5 p.m. May 16 at Douglas High School.