2017 in review: Water turns to fire

The new multi-million dollar law enforcement center opened its doors in December.

The new multi-million dollar law enforcement center opened its doors in December.

The Lahontan Valley News takes a look back at 2017. Today the LVN looks at the highlights from August-October.


The National Weather Service in Reno issued a heat advisory for most of Nevada during the first week of August. Fallon, Fernley and Silver Springs would see temperatures soaring into triple digits.

The Lahontan Valley Claybreakers had three teams win state championships at the 2017 Nevada Youth Shooting Sports Association State Shoot.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars recognized three teachers at its national convention in New Orleans, La., as their teachers of the year. Fallon’s Steve Johnson represented educators from grades 9-12.

Pvt. 1st Class Brittany Sears and Spec. Cindy Robles have reported to Fallon’s 609th Engineer Co., as the first two combat-trained soldiers assigned to a Nevada Army National Guard combat unit.

A fire ignited on a hay truck in the area of Middlegate Station and was contained and controlled said the Bureau of Land Management.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s “AG for a Day” tour stopped in Fallon on Tuesday to paint the latest picture of what he and his team are doing from the AG’s office.

A 14-year-old died during a single-vehicle crash on Tarzyn Road.

The state has confirmed a human case of West Nile Virus in Churchill County after a patient was treated and has since been released from Banner Churchill Community Hospital.

The Fallon Police Department and the Naval Air Station Fallon explosive ordnance disposal team removed three shell casings from Churchill County High School’s vocational building.

The Churchill County School District Board of Trustees reviewed the 2016-2017 assessment results. Data came from the End of Course, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and NWEA MAP (Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress) tests.

A veteran with 31 years of military service, Brig. Gen. Zachary Dozer of Reno assumed command of the Nevada Army National Guard Sunday from Fallon native Brig. Gen. Michael Hanifan, who held the position for four years.

The fourth annual community-wide reunion took place throughout Fallon and Churchill County for all classes, students, teachers, support staff, family and friends.

Congressman Mark Amodei visited the Churchill County Board of Commissioners’ meeting to provide a federal update and answer questions. Amodei also visited Naval Air Station Fallon for an update on the Fallon Range Training Complex (FRTC) modernization proposal.

The 32nd annual Fallon Cantaloupe Festival & Country Fair began in August as a prime opportunity for all ages to have a blast learning about Nevada agriculture at the state’s longest-running agricultural celebration. Katie Taylor and Joel Mincer were named this year’s Cantaloupe Festival King and Queen.

Officials with Banner Churchill Community Hospital broke ground on Aug. 15 on a $10 million Emergency Department expansion.


Strong, blowing wind moving north along Nevada state route 361 ripped the roof off the Middlegate Motel and caused other damage.

An estimated 600 participants marched through downtown Fallon waving and throwing candy at hundreds of excited viewers at the annual Lions’ Club Labor Day Parade.

Victory Baptist Church hosted a special “First Responder Appreciation Day.”

The new Cyrq Patua Solar Plant grand opening celebrated the $25 million, 10-megawatt solar facility near Hazen becoming fully operational for nearby markets.

A couple hundred people gathered in the City Hall courtyard in honor of 9/11, recognizing all those who perished, were injured or sacrificed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

September is National Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month and the Churchill Community Coalition, New Frontier Treatment Center, Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention and other local organizations teamed up to create the meaningful and inspiring event that drew about 75 attendees.

The Reno Air Racing Association and the armed forces in Northern Nevada teamed up this year for military day at the 2017 air races at the Reno-Stead Airport.

The Tungsten Fire in the Clan Alpine mountain range 60 miles east of Fallon was fully contained.

The director and founder of the U.S. Nuclear Energy Foundation said in Fallon it will take a grassroots effort to convince politicians to open a nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain.

A change of command at the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center included fond memories, reflections and tears as Rear Adm. Daniel L. Cheever relieved Rear Adm. Gregory N. Harris.

In honor of National Recovery Month every year, the Churchill Community Coalition, New Frontier Treatment Center and others join forces to host a day in the park filled with activities.

The Churchill Community Coalition received a $125,000 grant to combat youth drug abuse.

Both the city of Fallon and Churchill County thanked hundreds of volunteers and agencies for their community spirit posed by a record snowfall in the Sierra and the potential for flooding in the Lahontan Valley during the High Water 2017 Celebration.

Churchill County High School celebrated Homecoming Week, beginning with a parade.


The Churchill County School Board of Trustees had the Elementary School Improvement Teams present their school performance plans.

Church bells in western Nevada tolled for the 59 victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. Both Fallon’s Holy Trinity Episcopal and First Southern Baptist churches had prayer services, while Churchill County School District conducted a Las Vegas blood drive.

More than 70 people gathered at Fallon’s Wolf Center to celebrate rural Democratic values. The Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus sponsored the event with speakers, candidates and food.

The first Greenwave Hall of Fame induction honored 35 athletes and two state championship teams.

The Board of Churchill County Commissioners unanimously approved two motions to help with housing and community development initiatives.

Following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, Josh Berney joined local business Berney Realty on Williams Avenue.

Six rural districts including Churchill County showed double-digit increases in high-school graduation rates. The Churchill County School District graduated 74.35 percent, an increase of 14.55 points. Pershing County graduated 100 percent, an increase of 16.67 points.

The School Improvement Teams from both Churchill County Middle School and the Churchill County High School presented their School Performance Plans to the Board of Trustees.

Churchill County Commissioners decided not to allow marijuana establishments to operate in the county. The action does not affect the city of Fallon.

The Fallon Chamber of Commerce Fall Job Fair attracted more than 20 area firms and more than 100 people looking for employment, almost half the attendance of the spring job fair.

Eight female athletes across the country were chosen to test their strengths in one of the most physically challenging obstacle courses on television — and Emmily Butz of Fallon was among those hardcore contenders.

A&K Earth Movers, Inc. celebrated 60 years of business in Northern Nevada. The family owned and operated business started in 1957 as a general engineering contractor; today, the company employs 200 to 250 employees.


A Fallon man has been charged with attempted murder. Churchill County Sheriff Ben Trotter said Matthew Marcelli, 25, allegedly shot Christina Gonzalez, 48.

Churchill County was hit by a decrease in game and table win in September. That category fell 20.69 percent but table games make up just a tiny part of Churchill’s overall gaming win. Slot win totaled $1.59 million compared to just $63,000 from the tables.

Statewide taxable sales notched a 3.3 percent increase in August over the same month of 2016, a total of $4.77 billion. Churchill County had a banner month, growing total sales 17.2 percent to $25.9 million.

Churchill County Commissioners heard at their regularly scheduled meeting that a decision could be made by June 2018 if Fallon will be named the top location for an underground laboratory to conduct research on enhanced geothermal systems.

Fallon Elks Lodge 2239 held its annual Veterans Day Dinner on Nov. 11 at the Elks Lodge. There were about 40 veterans and guests present.

The annual Veterans Day ceremony at Lahontan Elementary School honored the Battle Born’s only two female combat soldiers who are serving in the Nevada Army National Guard as members of Fallon’s 609th Engineering Co. Students at Numa Elementary School honored the veterans of the community during a special Veterans Day assembly.

With at least 20 Native American tribes in Nevada, children and students gathered at the Churchill County Library to learn about the remarkable culture, as part of recognizing National Native American Heritage Month.

The Bureau of Land Management presented an overview to Churchill County Commissioners to reseed areas burned by several big fires in Churchill County during the summer.

An event-filled day celebrated the Depot Casino and Restaurant’s 30th anniversary of operation.

The Nevada Veterans Coalition remembered two servicemen whose remains were recently identified.

The Nevada Department of Education named Pilar (Crooks) Biller, an art teacher at Damonte Ranch High School as the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year, and Rachel (Novak) Leach, a sixth-grade teacher at Silver Stage Middle School as one of four finalists. Both Biller and Leach graduated from Churchill County High School.

Churchill County High School students and staff will start off 2018 with a boost in campus security, as 26 cameras will be installed throughout the school during winter break.

Pioneer High School teacher Don Bland and Lahontan Valley News Editor Emeritus Steve Ranson have been honored by the Nevada Association of School Boards with two of their top awards. Bland was named the 2017 Innovative Educator of the Year while Ranson was honored with the Media Award for Outstanding Education Reporting in a county with a population less than 100,000.

Thanksgiving was brighter for more than 100 Churchill County senior citizens. American Legion Post 16, along with volunteers from Naval Air Station Fallon and the community, prepared, packaged and delivered holiday dinners as part of the Meals on Wheels program.

Churchill County will receive a portion of a $2 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief program.


“The Nutcracker” is one of Fallon’s longtime annual Christmas traditions, enduring on its 26th year when curtains opened

The Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) approved $660,600 in grants for rural tourism organizations to promote their destinations.

Churchill County’s new $17-million state-of-the-art facility Law Enforcement Center (LEC) was dedicated.

Dawson Frost, a senior from Churchill County High School, earned the U.S. Senate Youth Scholarship.

Both boards of the Truckee Carson Irrigation District and Churchill County Commission received an update on the 2017 water year from the general manager of the Carson Water Subconservancy District and a glimpse of what the future holds for water and growth along the Carson River corridor from Dayton to Silver Springs.

Nevada State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, a Republican who announced his candidacy for governor in September, made the rounds in central Nevada with appearances in both Fernley and Fallon.

The Bureau of Land Management offered a tour last week of its Indian Lakes Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corral northeast of Fallon to update the care of horses and announce an improved website for horse and burro adoptions.

Christmas wreaths, each with a red ribbon, lined row after row at both the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley as part of the Wreaths Across America, a special day to honor veterans in all 50 states and overseas.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Chapter 2002 and its auxiliary recognized Churchill County students for their participation in both the Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy contests.

Sheriff Ben Trotter has announced he will not run for a third term as the county’s top lawman. He will run for Justice of the Peace.

Churchill County Comptroller Alan Kalt retired.

Teachers throughout Churchill County School District are experimenting with programs and opportunities to enhance student education, as fulfilling learning diversity is one of the major goals within the district.

The William N. Pennington Foundation awarded the city of Fallon a $4.5 million grant for the construction of a new Fallon Youth Center at Venturacci Park.

Businesses or organizations that provided outreach during the holidays included New Millennium, Fallon Ford-Toyota, Wishing Tree and Toys for Tots.

The general manager of the Carson Water Subconservancy District asked Churchill County commissioners to submit a letter to his board requesting a flood flow study below Lahontan Reservoir.

The Fallon New Year’s Eve bonfire celebration was held at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.


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