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Carson City’s Concert Under Stars features 3 headliners

For the first time in 11 years, the Concert Under the Stars will feature three main acts: Poco, Firefall and Pure Prairie League.

"I'm thrilled," said organizer Karen Abowd. "These are the legends of country rock. The community is really excited about this."

This year's concert, which supports The Greenhouse Project, also comes with a bigger venue at the Eagle Valley Golf Course.

"We outgrew the footprint at the Brewery Arts Center," Abowd said.

Last year's concert had 14 tents — which seat eight — along with a VIP table and general seating.

"We had to turn people away," Abowd said.

There will be 22 tents available, along with two VIP tables on the green, this year.

"It's a perfect venue," Abowd said. "It's really opening up opportunities for us."

About 16 tents have already been reserved and include a catered buffet, two bottles of red wine, two bottles of white, beer, soda and cocktail service.

Abowd is president and co-founder of the Greenhouse Project, which provides about 2,000 pounds of fresh produce annually to service organizations throughout Carson City.

"The concert is a big deal," she said. "It goes a long way to funding the operational costs of the greenhouse."

The project started with a greenhouse on the Carson High School campus and includes an educational component for students throughout the school district. It has since grown to include a second greenhouse at the Carson Tahoe Hospital and a third location is being considered at Mills Park.

"Our educational outreach continues to grow," Abowd said. "The alliances we have to provide food for those in need continue to grow, which is an unfortunate reality. It's really grown to a place I never envisioned."

Tickets are on sale at CarsonCityGreenHouse.org.

VIP tickets on the green, which include dinner and are limited to 44 seats, are $175. They're available only by calling Cafe at Adele's at 775-882-3353.

Gold Circle tickets, which include reserved parking, are $75.

Reserved tickets are $49 and standing-room only are $30.

Organizers are seeking donations for the silent auction during the concert. Items should be experience-based, such as destination travel or large-group dinners.

Volunteers are also needed for parking, set up, cocktail service and perhaps electrical work.

To help, contact Abowd at karenabowd@hotmail.com 775-232-8626.

Recipe: Braised Short Ribs, by David Theiss

I wrote in a previous article:

"Short ribs are always beef, taken from the brisket/chuck area, and approximately 8" long with either 3 or 4 bones still connected. Your butcher then cuts them into your choice of short ribs. Whole long bone ribs are referred to as English Cut Short Ribs. These ribs are usually cooked by braising them and then slow cooking to break down all the connective tissue. This long and slow process is a great cooking method for the winter – warming your house and filling it with a delicious aroma. This will be another article…"

Well here is that article.

Short ribs, typically not a tender cut of meat, can be "fall off the bone" tender with a little planning and a method called braising. Braising, with French origins, is a method of cooking using high and low heats. The meat is initially seared at a high temperature then finished at low temperature for a long, slow cook. A liquid is usually used to impart that flavor in the meat (like broth). The first step uses high heat to create a crust around the outside giving the meat a roasted, caramelized flavor; and the second step is to ensure tenderness and absorption of the flavor from the liquid it's cooking in. Slow cooking and a lower temperature breaks down all the tissues to create an incredibly tender and flavorful entrée. Your grandmother probably cooked short ribs a lot as they were a cheaper meat years ago, but as with any other commodity, the demand for great meaty ribs has made short ribs a lot more expensive these days. You'll find these delicious ribs in upper class restaurants more and more. (Charlie at Adele's makes a fantastic short rib).

Short ribs are readily available in most places where good meat is sold. When purchasing these ribs look for meaty thick ribs, with a good marbling of fat. All will have a bone, but you want to be sure to have more meat than bone. Ask your butcher to cut these in about 2-3 inch sections as they cook better and absorb more flavor while being cooked. I personally like a red wine and herb flavor on my short ribs as I'll suggest to you in this recipe, but you can add many of your own personal favorite ingredients, as this is a versatile meat. Try these on a weekend you're home, it fills your house with wonderful aromas as well as warms your appetite. Enjoy!

Braised Short Ribs

4 Pounds of beef short ribs cut into 2-3 inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 yellow onion chopped

3 carrots cut into ½ inch pieces

1 cup red wine. (Dryer is better but any will work)

2 cups beef broth

3 cloves of garlic whole

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 sprigs thyme

Instructions

In a large pan suitable for the oven (if you don't have a pan for the oven you can use a baking dish, just make sure you cover tightly with foil) add olive oil and heat over a hot stovetop while seasoning the meat with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, use tongs to carefully place the short ribs in the pan, about 1-2 minutes per side, as all sides need to be seared. Remove meat and add onions into pan, along with carrots and garlic stirring for 2 minutes. Then remove the mixture and reserve for finishing. Add the wine, beef broth and thyme in the pot, stirring and deglazing the pan. Bring to boil. When boil starts, turn off heat and replace the short ribs in pan with a lid on top and place in the oven at 250 degrees for 2 hours. At that time replace the onion, carrot, and garlic mixture in pan around the meat and cook for 1 more hour. Remove from the oven, let rest for 15 minutes and then serve. A base of freshly mashed potatoes goes well with short ribs. Skim off the fat that has risen to the top and serve with sauce ladled over the meat.

David Theiss is owner of Butler Meat Co., serving Carson City for 46 years.

‘Winnie the Pooh Kids’ coming to Carson City

The Brewery Arts Center's Performance Hall will soon turn into the Hundred Acre Wood.

That's the home of A.A. Milne's children classic's characters who will all be on stage for Disney's "Winnie the Pooh Kids," a musical based on the 2011 animated feature film.

The story involves Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and other pals who try to rescue Christopher Robin and learn about teamwork and friendship along the way.

The Wild Horse Children's Theater production is at 7 p.m. on March 22-23 and 29-30, and at 2 p.m. on March 23-24 and 30-31. A special daytime performance for school groups, daycare centers and preschools will be on March 27.

Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 student/seniors/members, and $5 ages 4-12. Children age 3 and under are free accompanied by an adult and don't occupy a seat.

Tickets can be purchased at http://www.wildhorsetheater.com or by calling the Wild Horse box office at 775-440-1170.

To reserve seats for the special March 27 performances, call 775-440-1170 or email pat@wildhorsetheater.com.

The Nevada town with worst luck but the most unique name

When it comes to agricultural scams — of which the town of Metropolis, Nev. is the best known — few others can measure up to the promotional fervor that surrounded the hamlet of Tobar, once located about 20 miles southwest of Wells.

The town was founded as a Western Pacific Railroad construction camp in 1908. It soon gained its name in the most unusual fashion. One of the first businesses to open in the camp was the Rag Saloon.

To advertise the establishment, a crude directional sign was painted and nailed to a stake near the railroad tracks. Others who saw the sign mistakenly thought it was the name of the town — and that's how Tobar — or To Bar — came to be named by railroad officials.

According to the late Elko historian Howard Hickson, by 1910, the community had some 16 homesteads who were all dry-farming. Within a year, Tobar had a population of 75 with 20 dwellings and a post office.

In 1914, a Salt Lake City real estate broker, A.B. Hoaglin, began promoting the town with slick — and less than truthful — brochures and flyers that proclaimed Tobar as an agricultural Garden of Eden that "offers the biggest business opportunities in the West."

Printed materials described Tobar as the place "Where the Big, Red Apple Grows," and made outlandish statements regarding the region's suitability for growing wheat, potatoes, oats, alfalfa, vegetables and fruits.

In his advertisements, Hoaglin claimed 50,000 acres would be cultivated and the community would soon have a population of more than 3,000 people.

Some 40 to 50 families were persuaded by the hyperbolic promises to settle in Tobar. By 1916, the town had a two-story hotel (the Hotel Tobar), a boarding house, two saloons, several stores, a school and a newspaper.

Like nearby Metropolis, the area, however, did not have great agricultural potential and very little rainfall. A lack of viable crops as well as an extended drought that was followed by an invasion of jack rabbits — the same curses that doomed Metropolis — combined to cause the town's rapid demise.

In 1918, the U.S. Post Office changed the name of the town to Clover City, but the railroad refused to accept the new name, which resulted in some confusion. Finally, in 1921, postal authorities bowed to the railroad's pressure and changed the name back to Tobar.

Regardless of its name, Tobar was a monumental failure. By the 1920s, most of the farmers had abandoned the region and in the 1930s the hotel closed. The post office shut down in 1942. Four years later, the railroad abandoned the town and the Clover Valley Store closed, which was Tobar's last business. Nothing besides a few foundations remain today.

According to Hickson, perhaps the town's postscript was an incident that occurred near the site on June 19, 1969. A train carrying bombs to be shipped to Vietnam exploded a mile west of the old townsite.

And with that, he cracked, "Tobar went out with a bang."

The site of Tobar is located 14 miles south of Wells on U.S. 93. At that point, turn left and continue four miles to the site.

For information, go to http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/nv/tobar.htm.

Rich Moreno writes about the places and people that make Nevada special.

Recipe: Southwest Chicken Hash, by Adam Romo

The Cracker Box opened its doors on May 10, 1980 and since then has cracked more eggs and brewed more coffee than anyone can count. Owner Jerry Massad's goal back then: Serve the best breakfast around. Now, nearly four decades later, the "Box" continues to serve up piping hot, hearty, and made from scratch breakfasts and lunches seven days a week. Favorites include the Soon to be Famous home-style spuds, squeezed to order juices, the Original Joe Moore, Eggs Benedict and House-made Hash. The menu has also grown to include freshly made salads and healthy fish entrees.

While Jerry remains majority owner, he handed over the reins to the kitchen to Adam Romo 15 years ago. Adam joined the Box after working in several well regarded Los Angeles area kitchens. While keeping the core menu true to its original concept, he's added creative daily and weekly specials. Adam says he loves working in the open kitchen and being able to chat with customers. Those conversations often lead to customer inspired dishes. While Jerry's House-made Hash is a longtime favorite and always sells out quickly, Adam has created a twist on it with his Southwest Chicken Hash featured here:

Southwest Chicken Hash

1 roasted chicken

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 pasilla peppers, skin removed

1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed

1 white onion

1 tablespoons paprika

2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon onion powder

1 cup chicken stock, plus more for finishing

4-5 potatoes, cooked and diced

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Start by cooking your potatoes. Chopped potatoes tossed in salted boiling water does the trick, cook until tender. Next roast the pasillas: you can do this in the oven/broiler, however Adam likes to do it on the stove top to get a good char. This will also aid in removing the skin. Remove the skin and core, then dice, and set aside along with your chopped onions, jalapenos, and garlic. Pull meat from the chicken (light and dark meat alike) and dice up to your preferred size. In a large mixing bowl (or pot if you need) mix all ingredients, including chicken stock. Drizzle with olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. All that's left to do is cook it up with a little butter or cooking oil to get it a little crisp. Top with cilantro and eggs of your choice and enjoy!

Don't be afraid to throw this tasty concoction in a tortilla with a squeeze of lime for a fun taco twist!

The Cracker Box regularly tops numerous "Best of" lists, including being voted Best in the West by readers of AAA's Via Magazine. The Box is open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Adam Romo joined the Cracker Box team in 2004 from Los Angeles. Born and raised in Southern California, he began working in restaurant kitchens when he was just 13 years old scrubbing pots and pans in a group home cafeteria. After graduating high school Adam went on to work in a popular bakery, a Santa Maria style barbecue company where he earned open wood grilling skills and eventually a caterer for Sony Studios. When he's not at the helm of the Cracker Box kitchen Adam enjoys tinkering with his cars and playing bass in his band.

Doc Durden’s ‘West Fest’ coming to Virginia City

Doc Durden, the "Big Boss," is an Old West cowboy actor and president of Foothill Productions based in Virginia City. He's putting on a Wild West Festival this Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26. The hoedown will be held in the Virginia City Fairgrounds arena, with two stages simultaneously providing non-stop entertainment all weekend.

The fun kicks off Friday night with a concert of tuneful singers and musicians, then plays all day Saturday and finally lets up Sunday afternoon. This gathering is the kind of entertainment western lovers young and old will cotton to. The show features some of the best entertainers around these parts and includes musicians, singers and gunslingers, bullwhip handlers, cowboy poets, old west actors and reenactments.

Headliners are VC's favorite best known entertainer David John of the Comstock Cowboys, the Frank Garrett Band and Derek Spence who gives a George Strait tribute. Special entertainment includes the Greg Austin Band; a tribute to Johnny Cash by young Carson Chandler; a tribute to Patsy Cline by the Comstock Sweetheart Makala Taylor; and Kim Harris, of the famous Dangberg Ranch in Minden, in character as Calamity Jane. There will be precision bullwhip prowess by Lisa Snow and fancy gun handling by Victor Garcia. Adding to this lineup will be two renown cowboy poets: Tony Argento Jr., and Harold Roy Miller (Horsebard Roy).

Plus there will be four Old West reenactment teams: The Foothill Vigilantes with Harold Bucksnort; the Horse Thief Canyon Desperadoes led by Ross Mortinson; the Nevada Gunfighters; and Old West Legends. They're all skilled gunfighters and showmen. Though they don't give in to blusterations, they can sure sling those blue lightnins. The whole kit and caboodle of entertainment should be a fun time for the entire family.

3 Carson bands perform at Jazz Extravaganza

It's "big-band jazz times three" when the Mile High Jazz Band, Carson High Jazz Band and Carson Middle School Jazz Band present the 16th annual combined Jazz Extravaganza concert at 7 p.m. March 19 in the Bob Boldrick Theater at the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St., Carson City. The Extravaganza is sponsored by the Mile High Jazz Band Association and the Carson City Band Association as a benefit for Carson City school instrumental music programs.

Tickets prices are $10 general admission and free for youth age 18 and younger. Tickets can be purchased in advance from Carson High and Carson Middle School music students at the Nevada Day Office, 716 N. Carson St., online at http://www.milehighjazz.com or at the door. In addition to tickets, ads in the concert program are available beginning at $30 for one-eighth page. For information, call the Mile High Jazz Band at 775-883-4154.

This year, the Extravaganza will feature three big bands, vocalist Jakki Ford and an intergenerational combo performance. The traditional grand finale, combining the forces of all the musicians, will be "A Little Blues, Please" by Sammy Nestico. Refreshments and raffle prizes will be on sale in the lobby.

"We're so happy to perform with the high school and middle school jazz bands again," said David Bugli, Mile High Jazz Band leader and pianist. "These award-winning student ensembles are impressive and deserve community support."

The Carson High Jazz Band, directed by Bill Zabelsky, and the Carson Middle School Jazz Band, directed by Nick Jacques, attend and compete at jazz festivals each year and perform at community events throughout Carson City. The bands are zero-hour classes designed to teach students about jazz, the music that began in America and spread throughout the world.

The Mile High Jazz Band, a professional big-band, plays regularly in Northern Nevada, including monthly performances and quarterly Jazz and Poetry events in Carson City. They present the annual Jazz and Beyond: Carson City Music Festival each August.

This concert is funded in part by a grant from the Nevada Arts Council. For information, call Mile High Jazz Band at 775-883-4154 or see http://www.milehighjazz.com.

Blue Sky Mining Company

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Nevada’s intriguing stone beehives

Scattered across Nevada are a handful of 19th century charcoal ovens that resemble nothing less than giant stone beehives. These stone or brick domes were once used to convert wood, often pinon pine, into charcoal that could be used in mining smelters.

Best known of the state's charcoal kilns are the Ward Charcoal Ovens, 12 miles south of Ely. There, you can find six 30-foot-high domes built in 1876 to produce charcoal for the smelters at the nearby mining camp of Ward.

Valuable ore was discovered in the foothills of Ward Mountain in 1872. Within three years, Ward had grown into the largest town in eastern Nevada, with a population of more than 1,000.

By 1877, Ward had boomed to 2,000 people and a city hall was under construction. The flush times, however, were short-lived. Mining began to decline and within three years the town had only 250 residents.

Mining continued on and off for the next few decades — in fact, the area was reopened most recently in the 1980s and is currently being mined.

The charcoal ovens were built a few miles from the town. Using native rock, the builders constructed these unique cones that are about 30 feet high and 27 feet around at the base. When filled, each could contain some 35 cords of pinion pine stacked in layers.

The dome shape allowed for the wood to be kindled easily and the heat was controlled by opening and closing small vents at the base of the ovens. The massive ovens were abandoned during the 1880s.

Over the next century, the intriguing stone buildings were used for a variety of purposes, including as stables and emergency lodging for itinerate sheepherders and cowboys.

Local legend says that one oven even served as a bridal suite. According to the story, a gambler decided the oven was a perfect place for a wedding night. He had the walls whitewashed, hung curtains and installed appropriate sleeping accommodations.

The gambler and his fiancé, however, apparently quarreled before the marriage — perhaps over having to spend a night in a drafty old stone charcoal oven — and canceled the wedding.

Eventually, the ovens were acquired by the Nevada Division of State Parks, which oversees the site. Today, you can find the ovens, a handful of campsites and beautiful surroundings.

While the Ward kilns are among the most accessible of the state's charcoal ovens to reach, there are a handful of others scattered around the state.

Another set of relatively accessible ovens can be found 14 miles north of Pioche. There, at a place called Bristol Well, are the remains of three stone kilns, originally built in 1880.

The Bristol Well kilns were constructed of local shale and sandstone, which gives them a rougher appearance than those at Ward.

Silver and lead ore were discovered near Bristol Well in 1872. The camp developed slowly; by 1880, a five-stamp mill and smelter had been constructed, along with the three ovens. It wasn't until 1890 that Bristol Well had a post office and could boast 400 residents.

By the mid-1890s, however, the town was in decline, and had almost disappeared completely by 1905. Today, only the kilns remain.

Full or partial remains of kilns that can be found tucked away in remote corners of the state, include: a stone oven west of Eureka, overlooking the Diamond Valley; a couple of ovens near Panaca Summit, off State Route 319; and several that are above the mining town of Tybo, east of Tonopah.

For information about the state's charcoal kilns go to:

Ward Charcoal Ovens: http://parks.nv.gov/parks/ward-charcoal-ovens

Bristol Wells Ovens: http://lincolncountynevada.com/exploring/wild-westing/ghost-towning/bristol-well/

Panaca Kilns: http://www.blm.gov/visit/search-details/274377/1

Tybo Kilns: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tybo_Charcoal_Kilns

Eureka Kilns: http://www.rainesmarket.com/the-fishcreek-war.html

Rich Moreno writes about the places and people that make Nevada special.

Mile High Jazz Band presents ‘Hang Ups’ Tuesday in Carson City

The Mile High Jazz Band with vocalist Jakki Ford will be joined by several poets and readers on Tuesday, March 12, 7:30-9:30 p.m., for an evening of big-band music and poetry on the theme "Hang Ups." Each poem will be followed by a related big-band tune. The event will be at Comma Coffee, 312 S. Carson St., across the street from the state Legislature building in Carson City.

Admission is $5 at the door and free for age 18 and under.

The program will feature Rita Geil, Krista Lukas, Susan Sara Priest, Timothy Rhodes, and Amy Roby reading their original poems and selected works by other published poets. "Hang Ups" will include humorous and serious selections to entertain people of all ages.

Mile High Jazz Band performances are funded, in part, by a grant from the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, and by private donations.

For information, call 775-883-4154, or visit MileHighJazz.com.