Silver Dollars & Wooden Nickels: Sen. Ensign unwraps a wooden nickel

The Nevada Appeal's "Silver Dollar" and "Wooden Nickel" feature recognizes positive achievements from the capital region and, when warranted, points out others that missed the mark.

Wooden Nickel: As the year comes to end, it's not surprising to see Nevada represented near the top of another dubious top 10 list.

This time around it's embattled Sen. John Ensign, who is on the list of the top10 ethics scandals of 2009 compiled by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C. The organization is a non-profit legal watchdog group formed to hold public officials accountable for their actions.

The group listed the Nevada Republican based on Ensign's conduct involving his affair with his campaign manager.

Silver Dollar: Well, in this instance, we sprinkle our silver dollar with glitter and turn it into a gold star for Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes.

After his first year on the job, the Carson City School Board recently gave Stokes a glowing performance review - "very satisfactory, bordering on superior."

Wooden Nickel: From foreclosure rescue to unauthorized credit charges and bogus charity telemarketing, tough economic times spawn a rash of illegal schemes to bilk people out of money.

Consumer protection officials warn that those who want to cheat people are always devising new ways to do it, so beware of giving anyone personal or financial information unless you are certain who you're dealing with.

Wooden Nickel: The latest state taxable sales figures (for October) just reinforced what most of us have been thinking - let's get 2009 and its gloomy economic performance over with.

Taxable sales in Nevada plunged 17.8 percent in October compared with the same month last year, marking the 12th straight month of double-digit declines, according to the state.

Sales fell 15.2 percent in Carson City, 40.8 percent in Churchill County and 15.9 percent in Douglas County.

Gov. Gibbons said the latest report continues "to illustrate the effects of high unemployment rates, cautious consumer spending and an overall decline in business activity."


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