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Happenings in Rural Nevada
by John Smith
May 29, 2011 | 601 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If I didn’t know better, I’d think there was something in the water:

Horse laugh: The smartest move at the state Legislature — and how many times do I use “smartest” and “Legislature” in the same sentence during the year — is to shelve AB 329, which redefines “wild life” in Nevada to exclude wild horses and burros.

Horse lovers have loudly argued that the proposed law would have the force of enabling ranchers to block wild mustangs and burros from water holes. Advocates for ranchers, and by that I mean rural legislators, counter that the legislation would clarify the proper role of the Bureau of Land Management to provide for the federally protected species.

As usual, the ranchers’ allies offered a law that not only figured to fail, but has made them the laughing stocks of the livestock set. Until the ranchers start to appreciate that those wild horses they loathe are loved by millions outside Nevada, they’re bound to continue to be frustrated.

And only wealthy wild horse advocate Madeleine Pickens, a person who travels on private jets and lives in a fashion most of us only read about in pop novels, could get away with saying something like this:

“If AB 329 passes, the Nevada State Legislature will demonstrate to everyone that they are completely out of touch. Nevada’s wild horses are both a national treasure and a symbol of the spirit that made Nevada and the American West.”

True enough. But until the horse huggers and ranchers find some common ground, both sides had better watch where they step.

Tri-Net funds: For the past 13 years the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office has come to rely on state funding for the Tri-Net and regional gang task forces that help enable small departments to do important police work. Now, Robert Perea of the Mason Valley News reports that funding is in jeopardy.

It’s a matter of getting what you pay for. Or in this case, getting what you don’t pay for in the form of a lack of coordinated policing of gang activity.

In Lyon County, $90,000 the sheriff’s department receives goes a long way.

College days: In Elko, the Daily Free Press reports Great Basin College just graduated more than 400 students. That’s a record at the college, which is under enormous pressure to cut its budget.

I wonder how many of those graduates will go from Elko to Carson City to express their opinion of all those possible budget cuts.

What the Chuck: Conservative political commentator Chuck Muth says super-conservative Sharron Angle’s prospective Congressional candidacy promises the “potential for a bitter multi-candidate race for Republicans.”

But Muth is the same guy who likes to snipe at successful moderate Republicans such as state Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea and U.S. Rep. Joe Heck for not being conservative enough.

Raising Cain: Godfathers Pizza founder and Tea Party favorite Herman Cain continues to push his presidential potential to voters and has already made trips to Nevada.

If he runs, does this mean we’ll get free pizza?

That’s more than most candidates, ahem, deliver.

Sidewalk Stagger: In White Pine County, Ely Times City Editor Patrick Timothy Mullikin recently offered readers an interesting story raising the issue of public drunkenness in the mining down. County Sheriff Dan Watts told him that inebriates swaying down the sidewalk weren’t his concern.

The headline read, “Sheriff says ‘sidewalk drunks’ not on his department’s radar.”

If they were on the department’s radar, would that mean the deputies were driving on the sidewalk?

John L. Smith writes a weekly column on rural Nevada. He also writes a daily column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Contact him at 702 383-0295 or at

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