Silver Dollars & Wooden Nickels |

Silver Dollars & Wooden Nickels

Nevada Appeal Editorial Board

The Nevada Appeal’s regular Silver Dollar and Wooden Nickel feature recognizes positive achievements from the Capital region and, when warranted, points out others that missed the mark.

Wooden nickel: Mother Nature’s been short-changing Northern Nevada with a lack of moisture, so we have only wooden nickels for the ongoing drought situation. According to results of the most recent snow survey in the Sierra, the mountain snowpack was about 61 percent of its usual depth across the 400-mile-long range.

The U.S. Agriculture Department has declared almost all of Nevada a natural disaster area because of losses caused by drought during the past year. The designation allows farmers in all but two Nevada counties to qualify for disaster benefits.

That’s good news for agricultural communities, but the best news of all would be for Mother Nature to wake up and give Old Man Winter a nudge and start a late-winter rally of snowstorms in the Sierra. The ski resorts need some help as well.

Silver dollar: For news that work on the $45 million leg of the U.S. 395 bypass from Highway 50 east to Fairview Drive is on schedule for completion this summer.

Although the project’s final section connecting the bypass with Highway 50 west at the base of Spooner Summit leading to Lake Tahoe has been delayed until 2014 because of insufficient state funding, it’s heartening to hear the current phase is on track to open later this year.

Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell said he hopes the project will receive funds from the proposed federal stimulus package. We’ve got our fingers crossed too.

Wooden nickel: We wouldn’t even part with a wooden nickel for those running scams to bilk residents out of money. The latest scheme, involving a con man with an erasable ink pen, caused a Douglas County resident to lose $400.

The man went door to door claiming to be collecting money for a sport program in the area. After the resident wrote a $5 check with the pen she was handed, the man erased the amount and made it out for $400 and successfully cashed the check at a local bank.

The sheriff’s department advises residents to check out groups before making donations. As a detective noted, “If you want to write a check, use your own pen.”

Wooden nickel: The state jobless rate continues to climb, causing hardship for thousands of Nevadans. Statistics released this week show an additional 16,000 residents joined the ranks of the unemployed during December, sending the unemployment rate up a full percentage point to 9.1. Carson City came in at 9.4 percent and Lyon had the highest percentage in the state at 12.1.

– Editor’s note: Do you have a suggestion for a Silver Dollar or Wooden Nickel award? Send your idea to editor@