Fallon nursing program gains funding, commission talks flood mitigation
The Churchill County Board of Commissioners met Wednesday to discuss Western Nevada College’s effort reactivating the Fallon campus’ Rural Nursing Program, resulting in $10,000 to bridge the program’s funding gap.
A current grant will eventually end ,and WNC Fallon Director Sherry Black reported the community had nearly raised the $50,000 required — including donations from anonymous individuals, $10,000 from the Banner Churchill Community Hospital Auxiliary, $10,000 from Banner Health and $10,000 from the hospital itself.
“Ergo, why I am sitting in front of you,” Black said.
Black discussed the nursing program’s history — losing it to budget cuts then gaining support for its return. She emphasized the program’s high success rate as well as how students are incredibly grateful not to have to travel 50-60 miles for their education. She added Banner Churchill and the Highland Village of Fallon have been very supportive with clinical spaces.
Commissioner Bus Scharmann said the program increases college enrollment including perquisites; Black said Fallon enrollment is up 7 percent.
“The nursing program went away in 2012, and it was devastating to the campus,” Scharmann said. “Everything at the college is affected by the nursing program … This really may be the final step in that revitalization of the campus.”
The commissioners thanked Black, Banner Churchill CEO Hoyt Skabelund and WNC President Chet Burton for their hard work and dedication.
Burton said WNC and the Restore Our College Campus Committee (ROCCC) have been committed to high-value programs including welding and Jump Start to better serve students and the communities they’re in.
“It’s a win-win,” he said.
Black said another eight nursing students are starting in the fall, so the program will have 16 total enrolled. She said the program is also producing certified nursing assistants and emergency medical technicians.
“Thank you, with gratitude,” she told the commission.
The commissioners also approved $1,000 (same as last year) to go to the Lahontan Valley Claybreakers for their 2017 trapshooting season. Organizers Pat and Wayne Whitten were present, and Pat said the group focuses on gun safety, adding she was excited about 10 new shooters including girls.
County Emergency Manager Mike Heidemann provided a flood mitigation update.
“We have a lot of water. We have some more. End of report,” he said smiling.
Heidemann discussed the Lahontan Reservoir levels, Bafford Bridge channel, tractor equipment, silt buildup, National Guard planning, mosquito abatement tactics, FEMA reimbursement and additional workers.
“They’re doing a fantastic job but they are tired,” he said of the workers, adding additional people have been requested.
Heidemann said he hopes Mother Nature cooperates.
“How warm is it gonna get? How fast is it gonna melt?” he said are top-of-mind questions right now.
Commissioner Pete Olsen said bad news is likely going to keep coming, emphasizing recent rainfall this month is adding to the issue.
The commission also approved the following:
County employee insurance renewal including a zero-percent increase for medical and vision and 3 percent for dental; Human Resources Director Geof Stark said he was extremely pleased with the small county fiscal impact for the coming year.
Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan Adoption (including the county, city and Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe) conditionally approved by FEMA (reviewed every five years); Olsen said this obviously isn’t something to drop the ball on right now.
County building official stipends for construction administration duties related to the new detention and senior centers.