LVN begins its Top 10 stories of 2014 |

LVN begins its Top 10 stories of 2014

Lahontan Valley News staff
Rick Lattin, a member of the Cantaloupe Festival committee, shows the Hearts of Gold melons. The Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair decided in November to merge into one event.

Today, the Lahontan Valley News looks at the top stories of 2014 as determined by the editorial staff, readers’ input during the year and impact to the overall community.

7. After seven years of working as two separate organizations, the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and the Churchill Country Fair are merging … again.

This is the No. 7 story of 2015.

The two summer events had ended their partnerships because of disagreements between the two boards. The newly formed event will be held on Labor Day weekend and will take the best from each festival and combined activities, attractions and events for all ages. In addition to the fair, the Lions Junior Rodeo is also held that weekend, and the Lions Labor Day Parade will still snake through Fallon on Monday, the fourth day of the festival.

Rick Lattin, a member of the Cantaloupe Festival, said the new Labor Day event will be stepping away from the negative past that it had and will bring positive activities to ensure the community supports it.

“Both of these events are planned around agriculture and celebrating the history that it has provided for the development of our county,” Lattin said.

County commissioners also asked for the two boards to resolve differences to become one again.

Both events have struggled over the years and more so this year with several out-of-area events planned for the same weekend.

Sue Frey, an organizer with the Country Fair, said with the event now on Labor Day, she hopes to open opportunities for more children who are involved in 4-H and FFA to participate in events in the fair.

8. Untimely deaths rocked both Fallon and Fernley beginning with two separate carbon monoxide poisonings resulting in three deaths.

Fallon’s Rachel Hendrix, a Nevada State high school rodeo champion who graduated from Churchill County High School in 2013, was found dead in late January in the living accommodations of her horse trailer in southern Utah. She was attending Southern Utah University in Cedar City on both academic and rodeo scholarships.

The Iron County Sheriff’s Office said Hendrix died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

The boyfriend, Wayce Pulham, notified the Iron County Sheriff’s Office saying Hendrix would not respond. Mitchell said Pulham was transported to a hospital in northern Utah with carbon monoxide-related symptoms.

From there, authorities notified the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office.

Two Fernley 16-year-olds, Alondra Rivera and Zack Dwyer, were found in a car parked outside her house in early January when they were found unresponsive shortly before midnight. Lyoun County Sheriff deputies said they were breathing in deadly carbon monoxide fumes, which was determined as the cause of death.

Officials investigating the deaths said a strong smell of exhaust permeated inside the vehicle.

A memorial grew throughout the following day at the teen’s home.

Justin Edgemon was killed in March when his vehicle collided with a hay trailer

The 36-year-old Fallon resident, who left behind a wife and daughter, was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering fatal injuries. According to a Nevada Highway Patrol press release, Edgemon’s blue Ford Focus was traveling eastbound on U.S. Highway 50 when he hit the rear of the trailer at about 5:57 a.m. four miles east of Fallon.

Edgemon, a Churchill County High School graduate, was involved in rodeo and competed in many ranch hand rodeos throughout the state.

A Marine Corps pilot died when his jet crashed March 1 east of Fallon in the Monitor Range.

Capt. Reid B. Nannen, 32, of Hopedale, Ill., was assigned to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF. Navy officials said Nannen’s F/A-18C crashed on a training range about 140 miles east of Naval Air Station Fallon. The Marine jet was on loan to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center.

9. In April volunteers and archaeologists from the Bureau of Land Management cleaned up graffiti left by vandals at Hidden Cave earlier this year.

Hidden Cave and other archaeological sites are about 8 miles east of Fallon. This is 2014’s No. 9 story of the year.

The cave, which dates back 21,000 years, was targeted with red and orange spray paint and gunshot between Feb. 22 and March 2, when authorities noticed the damage. The BLM also found graffiti on an information kiosk and restroom at the trailhead.

A Fallon man admitted in District Court in late October to vandalizing the historical landmark Grimes Point.

Justin Wayne McGilton entered his guilty plea on one count of placing graffiti on or otherwise defacing a protected site. The felony charge carries a penalty of one to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine. By law, it also carries a mandatory sentence of 10 days in jail, a fine between $400-$1,000, 100 hours of community service to abate the graffiti and a suspension of a driver’s license between six months to two years.

McGliton will be sentenced Jan. 6.

In addition, six other suspects have been arrested and face charges stemming from the vandalism at Grimes Point along with McGilton.

Churchill County Museum Director Donna Cossette said the museum and BLM have worked together for 30 years to provide tours to both Grimes Point and Hidden Cave.

10. Although the sighting of several mountain lions west of Fallon affected a small segment of the county’s population, the fear factor rose during December judging by the comments left on the LVN website and Facebook.

This story galvanized and entire community to be on the lookout for wanted cats, and because of the immense interest, this is LVN’s No. 10 story of 2015.

Residents reported seeing mountain lions roaming close to homes near the Carson River and in the country near Powerline and Harrigan roads thus prompting warnings from the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office and the Nevada Department of Wildlife for residents to protect their livestock, family pets and children.

One deputy spotted a mountain lion on Dec. 2 near the Fallon RV Park and shot it, but the cat got up and ran off. Sheriff Ben Trotter said deputies then searched by the river for several hours looking for the mountain lion.

The following week a country resident fatally shot a mountain lion on his property near Powerline Road, and a game cam captured another mountain lion roaming behind a house near the river.

Trotter said Monday no new developments have developed although a resident spotted a mountain lion last week on Harrigan Road.