Soaring with eagles

At 73, Phil McKinnon has been flying airplanes since 1946.

The 20-year-Carson City resident called me on Tuesday to talk about the Experimental Aircraft Association here in Carson.

The Association's Sierra Chapter has 100 members, Phil said, and they are getting ready to crank out their newsletter again.

"It is the largest aviation club in the world," Phil said. "There are hundreds of chapters through the U.S. that cater to people who are interested in building their own airplane or those who restore old airplanes. The group welcomes pilots, non-pilots and their spouses."

The association chapter is responsible for the Young Eagles program, which provides a first airplane ride for children between 12 and 16 years old.

"The program has flown well over a million young eagles," he said.

The Carson City Airport Open House is June 7-10. Typically, the Experimental Aircraft Association hosts its breakfasts on the third Saturday of every month.

About 60 Rotarians trooped through the newsroom on Tuesday during their noon meeting at the Nevada Appeal.

As they were led on a tour by Publisher Peter Starren, and during a discussion on why and what we decide to write about, a guy with a camera piped up and asked why we weren't writing a story about the tour.

"I answered, 'How do you know we're not writing a story?'"

As it turns out, the photographer was Norman Subotky, who moved to Carson just under four years ago. A Rotarian since 1981, Norman said he enjoys Carson's friendliness.

"I feel a real sense of community here that I haven't felt living in larger cities."

Carson High School graduate Jennifer Helgren was honored by the University and Community College regents last week.

Jennifer received the Regents' Scholar Award for undergraduates. She graduated from UNR with a degree in psychology and a minor in addiction counseling and prevention.

Jennifer graduated from Carson High in 1998 and is the daughter of Judith Cullen and Dave Helgren of Carson City.

Two new bylines are appearing in the Appeal's pages as Megan Downs and Dylan Riley join the writing staff from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Megan graduated from UNR last weekend and is a second-generation Carson Valley native.

No stranger to Nevada newspapering, Megan has worked for the Sparks Tribune, the Reno News & Review and, of course, the Sagebrush.

The daughter of Scott and Brenda Downs, Megan graduated from Douglas High School in 1999. Her family homesteaded the Johnson Lane area in 1955 and Downs Drive carries the family name. Her sister, Brianne, is studying psychology in her sophomore year at UNR.

"I'm just curious about the world around me and I care about helping people and I think this is a way of helping people," she said of her decision to choose journalism as a profession. "I have a love of writing and the language."

Dylan comes to the Appeal with not just a reporting background but a genetic one as well.

He is the son of Associated Press capital reporter Brendan Riley and Sharon Cocanour. Dylan has worked at the Reno News & Review, the Sagebrush and KOLO-TV.

Dylan was born in Carson City but moved north and is a graduate of Sparks High School. He is an English major at UNR.

"I like to write," he said when asked about journalism.

Former Sagebrush editor and UNR graduate Jeremy Dutton has joined the Nevada Appeal's desk team.

Jeremy lived in Goldfield for 10 years before moving to Las Vegas, where he graduated from Cheyenne High School.

As it turns out, Jeremy's dad, optometrist Ron Dutton, was one of my dad's government students at Clark High School. Weird.

Kurt Hildebrand is acting city editor at the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at 881-1215 or


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