Headlines from 2002

Highlights --

School bond passes

Voters approved the $3.75 million bond to build a permanent addition to Bordewich-Bray Elementary School. It was the second school bond to pass in as many elections.

School board President Bob Crowell was delighted with the news.

"Good message, good people and a great community," he said the night of the elections.

The addition will replace five portable buildings which were destroyed after they were found to be infested with toxic mold last year.

Classes will also be moved from the Bray Building into the new school. The Bray Building will be used to house student support services, currently at Seeliger Elementary School and the preschool program which is now at the Gleason Complex.

Although the Bray Building will no longer be a part of the school's campus, the school will retain the name in honor of longtime Carson City teacher Mildred Bray.

A bond oversight committee was formed in early December and members are working to select a construction manager.

Construction on the addition is set to begin in June when school is out for the summer.

College raises the roof

College officials raised the roof in September -- the roof of the Jack C. Davis Observatory.

The 2,800-square-foot building is expected to be open for public use in January.

It will house one 10-inch and two 16-inch reflecting telescopes. Another 4-inch refracting telescope will be housed in a robodome outside for solar viewing and research.

The idea took shape in January 2000 with a $100,000 donation from the Nevada Gaming Association for Educational Excellence.

It has since grown to a million-dollar facility.

The pinnacle of the fund-raising efforts came when astronaut Buzz Aldrin held an open house and presentation April 28, 2001.

Then an appropriations bill from the U.S. Senate kicked in $300,000.

"That took us from a really nice facility to one that is out of this world," said Helaine Jesse, dean of institutional advancement. "It's so awesome."

The observatory, named for the college's first president Jack C. Davis, will serve not only the students at the college but students throughout the school district.

Software will be available allowing teachers to access the observatory from their classrooms and eight telescopes will rotate through the schools.

It will also serve as a weather center for Carson City and surrounding areas with up-to-date weather information available over the Internet.

Controversy --

To walk or not to walk

A tentative plan was drafted in December to prohibit students who do not pass the proficiency exam from participating in graduation ceremonies.

The policy, while commended by many, has also drawn much criticism.

Opponents say it denies students -- who have worked hard to complete all other requirements -- a common rite of passage.

Barbara Myers, state school board member, spoke out against Carson City's policy and brought the issue to the Nevada Board of Education in October.

"Graduation is a ritual -- a culminating event," she said. "It's not for the kids, it's for the grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles. What does commencement really mean?"

The state board tabled the motion.

Some Nevada school districts allow students who have not passed the exam to walk in graduation without receiving a diploma.

However, Carson High School Principal Glen Adair and his supporters maintain that graduation ceremonies should be reserved for students who have completed course requirements including the proficiency exam.

"Using walking in graduation as an incentive for students to complete all their requirements and to pass the proficiency exam has been beneficial to Carson City," Trustee John McKenna said. "To remove that incentive is an invitation to mediocrity."

A final draft of the policy will be discussed in January.

Lowlights --

Former Dayton High School coach sentenced in sex abuse case

Former Dayton High School basketball coach Desi Navarro, 27, was sentenced Dec. 2 to five years probation for having sex with a 16-year-old player on his team.

Navarro pleaded guilty in September to one count of having sex with a student as part of a plea agreement during a hearing in Lyon County District Court in Yerington.

The district attorney's office dropped two additional counts of a school employee having sex with a student in exchange for Navarro's guilty plea.

Navarro was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old player on his girls varsity team on at least three occasions from October 2001 to February 2002 -- once in the girl's bedroom and twice in a car -- as part a complaint filed in Dayton Justice Court on June 13.

A law passed in 1998 makes it a felony crime for any adult employed by a school district to have sex with a student, although the legal age of consent in Nevada is 16.

Drive-by prank

Three teenage boys drove by the bus stop at Fifth Street and Pasture Drive in a burgundy Chevy Blazer at 7:50 a.m. on Sept. 5.

One of the passengers allegedly grabbed a pellet gun from inside the vehicle and fired blasts of air three times at two children waiting for the bus to Fremont Elementary School.

The children notified a parent who called police, initially reporting it as a drive-by shooting.

It was determined to be a pellet gun but parents and school officials did not consider it a harmless prank.

"A gun is a gun," said David McClelland, father of two boys at the bus stop, one of whom witnessed the shooting. "This is very serious. This is a real weapon and the kids take this to heart."


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