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Truman, Air Races and Comstock
by Harry Spencer
Aug 24, 2012 | 2269 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Richard Davies will continue his presentation at the Sept. 21 G.O.D. club meeting at the Tamarack Junction.
Courtesy Photo Dr. Richard Davies will continue his presentation at the Sept. 21 G.O.D. club meeting at the Tamarack Junction.
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Members of this area’s G.O.D. (Good Old Days) Club were treated to an intimate look at former U.S. President Harry S. Truman at their August meeting.

The talk was delivered by Dr. Richard Davies, UNR Professor/Historian/Author. The noon crowd at the Tamarack Junction was enthralled with the first of a two-part program. Davies will deliver the second part of his presentation at the Sept. 21 noon meeting at the Tamarack.

This month’s portion of the program was entitled “An Uncertain Apprenticeship” and it dealt with the many travails that Truman suffered before he became a politician and eventually the President of the country. Davies used a PowerPoint to accompany his talk, which included many never before seen pictures of Truman at various stages of his career.

The professor’s talk was based upon extensive research and personal interactions with Mr. Truman. On the G.O.D Club postcard promoting the event, it was hailed as a polished insightful presentation about a “common man’s” journey. Truman was the ultimate common man, who had a very checkered career before he entered politics. He had been highly unsuccessful in business ventures and drifted almost accidentally into local politics.

His leadership skills at handling people, which he honed in World War I, probably did much to accelerate his career. Almost at the beginning, he became involved with political boss Tom Pendergast, an individual who had one of the most famous political machines in the country. In fact, when Truman was persuaded to run and win in the U.S. Senatorial race, he was known as the “Senator from Pendergast” rather than the Senator from Missouri.

When the Democratic Convention was held in 1940, Truman was the most unlikely candidate to be chosen for the vice presidency. In fact, he was a compromised choice between two other highly regarded but polar opposite men in the party. As he confided to his wife Bess, after a rare meeting with Roosevelt, “The President will probably not live to complete his fourth term.”

In September, Davies will discuss Truman’s Presidency, which has grown in stature over the years.

As for myself, I can easily recall the death of President Roosevelt which occurred when I was a freshman at the University of Nevada. I did not pay much attention to President Truman because politics was not my cup of tea at that time. However, he probably saved my life when he authorized the dropping of the atomic bomb when I was in basic training. I shall ever be in his debt for that.

AIR RACES.

The re-branding of the Reno National Championship Air Races, was a price that had to be paid for getting the State’s $600,000 grant, one that will enable the races to be held this year, September 12-16.

The new official name for the annual event is “TravelNevada.com Reno National Championship Air Races and Air Show Presented by Breitling.” The new moniker is a mouthful at best and reminds me of the late Senator Bill Raggio’s off-times comment, “Never use one word when 10,000 will suffice.”

This past week, Air Races CEO Mike Houghton gave the Reno Sparks New Car Dealers Association a clear picture of the fiduciary status of the event. He also highlighted the safety changes that have been put in place for this year’s races. The car dealers were interested because for many years they have supplied complimentary vehicles to be used during the races.

Houghton stressed the fact that everything possible was being done so that last year’s fatal crash would not be replicated. He said further that although this year’s insurance premium is high, if the races are held without incident, the price of the premium will likely go down next year, which is the 50th anniversary of the event.

COMSTOCK MINING.

Although the topic was “Macro Global Economy,” an economic boon for Northern Nevada, it was the highlight of Corrado De Gasperis’ President/CEO of Comstock Mining Corp., Inc., featured talk to the Wednesday meeting of NNDA in Carson City. The bulk of his presentation was about global financial interaction, accompanied by PowerPoint and video.

The possible impact for northern Nevada would be the creation of a local Mint to turn the gold into coinage. Gold coins sell for a much higher price than the raw bullion. This would have the effect of keeping many more jobs and a great deal more money in the local area. As Corrado stated, “I don’t like to send the bullion out of state.” According to figures that have been posted, his mining operation on the Comstock will result in the mining and processing of some $5 billion worth of gold.

As we discussed last week, there is a certain segment of the population in the Silver City area that has opposed the mining venture. Perhaps my good friend, Jim Clark of Virginia City, defines the conflict best in a Letter to the Editor of the Comstock Chronicle. In his letter, Clark noted that Comstock was performing all of its operations on its own property. In writing of his support of the project, he created the phrase “speculative assumptions.” This referred to things that somehow take precedent over common sense. The group opposing the mining, which is now underway, is known by the name, Comstock Residents Association. In spite of the opposition, the Planning Commissioners of Storey County granted permission to Comstock to proceed with its endeavors.

The audience for Corrado at Wednesday’s meeting was a robust several hundred with NNDA (Northern Nevada Development Authority) officials such as Alan Jurkonis, President, and Rob Hooper, Executive Director, taking the podium prior to De Gasperis.

Harry Spencer is a Reno freelance writer.
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