State gets $21 million in federal emergency money

(Appeal Capitol Bureau) - Nevada has received more than $21 million in federal money for emergency services in both the north and south this winter.

A total of $7.3 million was included to cover the damage and other costs from record snowstorms that blanketed Reno, Carson City and the Lake Tahoe Basin during December and January.

In addition, $13.99 million was awarded to cover costs from the flooding in Clark and Lincoln counties during January.

Both grants were issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Interim Finance Committee voted Friday to accept and authorize disbursement and expenditure of the money.

The committee also authorized the Department of Emergency Management to release a $100,000 grant to Lincoln County to help cover costs of a 2002 fire outside of Pioche. The fire left Lincoln County owing $447,000 to BLM, Clark County and the Nevada Division of Forestry. The state money will pay the 25 percent matching fund amount needed to qualify for a federal grant reimbursing $331,000 of that total.

Between the two, that leaves Lincoln to pay only $11,000 of the bill.

Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, agreed the county had made every effort to find the matching funds but is financially unable to raise that much money.

Sand Harbor ramp open for season

INCLINE - After closing early last year because of a low lake level, the Sand Harbor boat ramp opened yesterday for the upcoming season.

The ramp closed July 12 last year, forcing boaters to seek other launch sites around the lake, of which there were few, including Cave Rock on the South Shore and Obexer's Boat Company on the West Shore with its 40-foot ramp in 18 feet of water.

The closure last year came on the heels of the five-year drought that has affected the area.

The Nevada Division of State Parks made the decision to close the boat launch, which normally operates year-round, after the lake level dropped to 6,224 feet.

State Parks requires a minimum lake level of 6,225.35 feet for launching.

The past six months has seen a reversal in the weather, as the basin has been inundated with precipitation since October storms and record snow falls in December.

"We are happy to finally open the ramp to everyone," said Park Supervisor Richard Keller. "We have been getting a lot of questions on its status, and we didn't want to open up until we were sure it was safe to launch most boats."

The ramp is expected to remain open to motorboats throughout the summer season because of the higher snowfall averages. Caution is still advised when using the ramp due to low water conditions.

For more information, call 831-0494.


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