Capitol flag flying again high above Carson City |

Capitol flag flying again high above Carson City

Kelly Connolly Crane Service of Gardnerville raises Bill Norton of YESCO up to the top of the flag pole Wednesday morning.
Adam Trumble / Nevada Appeal |

Flag day celebration set

The Nevada National Guard is set to host its 19th annual Flag Day and U.S. Army’s 242nd birthday celebration at 10 a.m. June 14 at the Veterans Memorial on Capitol grounds.

This year’s ceremony will feature keynote speaker Carson City Mayor Robert Crowell, a retired U.S. Navy captain and Vietnam War veteran. The event is free and open to the public and will include the Sparks Heritage Museum’s 36-star, 1860s-era American flag; a historical flag presentation from the Nevada Air National Guard; a bagpiper; the local chapter of the Sons of American Revolution; and a cake marking the U.S. Army’s birthday.

Brig. Gen. Zachary Doser is set to give the U.S. Army birthday speech. The U.S. Army is two years older than the U.S. Flag. A resolution of the Continental Congress authorized 10 companies of riflemen on June 14, 1775, giving birth to the U.S. Army. Two years later, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act and adopted the stars-and-stripes design as our nation’s flag. In 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed an act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day.

After four months, the American flag is once again flying atop the Nevada Capitol.

State officials had been unable to fly the American and Nevada state flags above the Capitol since gale force winds broke the cable that raises and lowers them.

Facilities Supervisor Jon Vietti said the problem was getting a crane tall enough to reach the top of the flag pole on the Capitol dome. The top of that pole is more than 170 feet above the ground. Experts from Young Electric Sign Company, YESCO, tried in March but winds quickly put a damper on that effort, causing the bucket on their lift to sway violently.

But measurements they took at that time made it clear their lift couldn’t reach the top of the pole anyway.

“We were about 10 feet shy of making it with YESCO,” Vietti said.

Finally, on Wednesday, they were able to get a crane from Kelly Connolly Crane Service of Gardnerville. Operators Joe Delucchio and Russ Kauffmann brought in a crane capable of reaching more than 200 feet in the air. With a lift from that million dollar piece of equipment, Bill Norton of YESCO was able to reach the top, replace the old pulleys and rollers and remove the broken cable. Then he threaded a new cable into the flagpole. With the help of Tim Stenger, of Buildings and Grounds, connecting the bottom of the new cable to the motor, the repair job took less than two hours.

“We’re super proud we can have it up there before Flag Day,” said Vietti.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said he too was proud to see the flag flying atop the Capitol dome in time for June 14 Flag Day.

Vietti said it has been just more than seven years since the cable was replaced but the pulleys and rollers weren’t replaced. Those pieces of the electric system date back to 1979 when the Capitol was remodeled and the new flag poll installed on the dome. The old pieces were seriously damaged by years of work.

Renting the crane, Vietti said, cost the state about $4,500. That’s far less than the initial estimates of up to $10,000. The charge for Norton’s services, he said, comes in at just $85 an hour for a total of about three hours preparation and work.

One of the problems with the system, Vietti said, is the strain on the cable from pulling the large, bulky flags across the rollers and into the flag poll when they’re taken down. It’s hard on the flags as well — they have to be replaced about eight times a year.

Vietti said those flags were replaced with much lighter and more durable nylon flags and the cable system itself will be put on a regular maintenance program to keep everything working properly.

In addition, he said he’s still working on an automatic system that will lower the flags when the winds exceed about 35 mph.

Vietti said since they had the crane available, they decided to do phase one of repairing the leaky dome on the Capitol annex. Stenger and a contractor used the crane to make a careful inspection of that smaller dome so the repair project can be designed.

“We really try to save the state money in every case we can,” Vietti said.