Tree lighting kicks off Yuletide season

The city of Fallon finished decorating the downtown Christmas tree last week. Tree lighting is Friday at 6 p.m.

The city of Fallon finished decorating the downtown Christmas tree last week. Tree lighting is Friday at 6 p.m.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

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A longtime Churchill County native who grew up on the family farm in the Soda Lake area and then saw much of the West as a military spouse is this year’s honoree to light the city’s Christmas tree.
Tree-lighting organizer Judy Pratt said Betty (Mitchell) Rogne will light the tree 6 p.m. Friday at the Maine Street fountain. The city obtained the tree from Snowy Peaks Tree Farm in Foresthill, Calif., near Auburn. This marks the 92nd year Fallon has a traditional tree-lighting ceremony.
According to Pratt, the 95-year-old Rogne grew up in Fallon, but after World War II, she met Robert Rogne and they married on Feb. 19, 1945. At the time, he was serving in the U.S. Navy, and once they married, the couple relocated to Marshall, Minn.
The Rognes began to grow their family with the birth of twin girls, Linda (Dodge) and Nancy (Soule). Robert also left the Navy and joined the U.S. Air Force with their first duty station at Smokey Air Force Base near Salina, Kansas. There, a son, William Robert (Bobby) was born. Their final duty station took the family to March Air Force Base outside of Riverside, Calif., where two sons, Fred and Dean, were born.

Steve Ranson / LVN
The Churchill County Museum has last-minute gifts for the Christmas shopper.

The Rognes moved to Fallon, and they had four more children: Terry, Donald, Kathy and Karen. Pratt said Betty Rogne felt her best years were raising her nine children. Once their children became older, Betty worked in the school kitchen and also drove school bus for 27 years.
Bobby, Fred and Dean continued the family tradition of military service, and they all joined the Army. Bobby and Fred served in Vietnam in the 1960s, but Bobby and three other crewmen died when their UH-1H helicopter crashed into the tree line in heavy fog.
According to Rogne’s narrative, her family considers her a rock star.
“Still, at 95, she takes care of her acre, irrigates, digs ditches (without help, because she and she alone can do it right), cooks, and has the best green thumb around.”
Pratt said a choir from the Heroes Club will serenade the crowd with holiday favorites, and after the tree lighting, the Lahontan Valley Concert Choir will perform “A Candy Cane Christmas” beginning at 6:30 the Fallon Theatre. The city of Fallon is also planning to light up the sky with fireworks.
City events
Friday — Open house at the Fallon City Hall and the Douglass House from 4-7 p.m. Christmas tree lighting, Maine Street, 6 p.m.
Saturday — City Hall courtyard, 1-3 p.m. Santa’s Wonderland with cookie decorating, ornament making, letters to Santa station, free photos with Santa and more.
Dec. 12 — David John and the Comstock Cowboys, 6 p.m. at Barkley Theatre/Oats Park Art Center. Tickets $5 each and are available at Fallon City Hall from Dec. 3-10.
The ChArts Store at the Oats Park Arts Center will be open for Christmas shopping before, during and after the show.
Convoy of Lights
“Ten four, Rubber Ducky … the Convoy is on the way!” By popular demand, the High Desert Grange and Toys for Tots are partnering once again to bring to Churchill County the second annual Christmas Convoy of Lights.
According to Suzann Gilliland Peterson, these two organizations are joining forces for the purpose of creating a fun opportunity to donate to the Toys for Tots program and to bring the spirit of Christmas to our community. Mark your calendars for Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. as the night the convoy makes its way from the Churchill County Museum north up Maine Street and east on Center Street to end just past Leah’s.
Entry fee is a donation of toys or money to support the Toys for Tots program. Entry deadline is Dec. 2. Entry forms are available at V Titans 143 S. Maine St., 775-294-6569. Or you may request an entry form from the High Desert Grange at V Titans is accepting all completed entry forms and donations.
Prizes will be awarded for Best Display of Toys, Best Display of Lights, and Biggest Donation.
Craft Fairs
• The Elks Lodge, 93 E. Center St., is having a crafts fair on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
• A craft fair will be held at the William N. Pennington Life Center, 952 S. Maine St., on Dec. 4 from 9 3 p.m.
Admission is $1. Children under 10 are free.
First responders
The first responders of Churchill County are having their Holiday Food Competition on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the Fallon Walmart.
During this competition, people are encouraged to give any food item to the agency of your choice. The agency that receives the most food in weight wins.
Agencies competing are the Fallon Police Dept., Churchill County Sheriff’s Office, Search and rescue, Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribal police, Fallon-Churchill Volunteer Fire Dept., Nevada Highway Patrol and Banner Churchill Community Hospital EMS.
Wishing Tree
Wishing Tree is still short of gifts for the area’s children.
Co-organizer Dawn Ballard said CC Communications Independent Telecommunications Pioneer Association (ITPA) and Churchill County Social Services work together each year, and with cash donations, she said volunteers buy toys and clothes.
To contact Ballard, call 775-217-8773. She said the last day to donate is Dec. 15.
Send monetary donations to ITPA, P.O. Box 1390, Fallon, NV 89407.
Homebound seniors
The Fallon Rotary Club’s annual Christmas drive helps our community’s seniors. Bring items for our local homebound seniors to Kent’s Supply Center, 290 N. Maine Street.
Please drop off unwrapped gifts by Dec. 14.
Needed times include toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, lotions, toothpaste, toothbrushes, laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner, crossword puzzles, word searches (large print), magnifying glasses, wet wipes, dish soap, disposable undergarments, canned food, throw blankets, small laundry baskets and anything else you think our seniors may need.
Staging begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Churchill County Fairgrounds parking lot. A Convoy route map will be provided.
For more information, contact Gloria Montero at 775-427-8210.
Toys for Tots
Members of the U.S. Marine Corps reserves and retirees are gathering both gifts and monetary donations for the annual Toys for Tots.
Toys for Tots boxes will be displayed at a number of local businesses and also at the Navy Exchange at Naval Air Station Fallon. Once an order comes in and filled, then the Marines will have the family pick up the toys.
The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and to distribute those toys to the less fortunate children in the communities the campaign is being conducted.
The Marines and their volunteers will also collect toys for distribution for children in Fernley, Silver Springs, Gabbs and Lovelock. The Carson City Marine Corps reservists collect and distribute toys in western Nevada.
Toys for Tots trucks will be stationed at Walmart on the weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. collecting toys. To bring more awareness for program, the second annual Convoy of Lights will roll through Fallon along Taylor and Maine streets on Saturday, the day after the annual tree lighting. The High Desert Grange and V Titans will also be involved with the Convoy of Lights.
For information contact, 775-666-5211.
Churchill County Museum
Dec. 19 — From noon to 3 p.m. on Dec. 19, the museum has its Holiday Open House.
 This free family event will feature snacks, crafts and a performance by Tintabulations Handbell Ensemble.
Dec. 31 — Join the museum at the Pennington Life Center at 8:30 pm to ring in the new year. This fundraising event includes dinner, dancing, auctions and a champagne toast. Tickets are $65 each or $480 for a table of eight.
For tickets or information, visit the Churchill County Museum or call 775-423-3677.


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