Nevada governor reacts to terrorist attacks
Gov. Kenny Guinn said today Nevada’s state government won’t shut down in reaction to terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. He said state offices will remain open “unless there is something else that comes forth.”
Guinn met with state emergency management officials this morning to make sure everyone was working together. Nevada’s chief of emergency management, Frank Siracusa, wasn’t there, however. He and most other state emergency directors are in Idaho for a meeting on subjects including the potential for terrorist attacks in the U.S.
Guinn said a major concern is weather forecasts calling for lightning and thunderstorms this afternoon.
“The skies are shut down for all of us,” he said, adding that if a major lightning storm hits the area and firefighters are grounded, it would be difficult to fight the resulting fires.
“It can be devastating if we have a heavy lightning storm,” he said.
Guinn said there have been no threats or reports of impending terrorist activities in Nevada but that Hoover Dam is closed and security has been heightened at Nevada’s major airports.
When the attacks were reported early this morning, Capitol Police called in off-duty officers and parked vehicles at the walkway and drive entrances to the Capitol complex, establishing a protective perimeter. Sgt. Brad Valladon described the moves as “precautionary,” adding there have been no threats received in Carson City.
“A lot of unknown vehicles park next to the building,” he said. “We’d prefer they didn’t today.”
In addition, the state mailroom was warned to pay special attention to packages as a precaution.
Guinn later pulled those vehicles out of the driveways. Chief of Staff Marybell Batjer said he “didn’t want to give anybody the impression we were worried about terrorist attacks.”
Calls to Nevada’s congressional delegation in Washington D.C. were answered by message machines. All offices were closed when the Senate and House office buildings were ordered evacuated.
A spokesman at U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons’s office in Reno said they haven’t been in contact with the congressman since the offices were evacuated.
The Nevada offices of the congressional delegation were closed as well.
One of those concerned is Batjer, who served as a top aide to Colin Powell earlier in her career and worked in the Pentagon.
“I’m very concerned,” she said. “I have a lot of friends in Washington.”
But she said she was holding off making a lot of phone calls until things settle down a bit.