Past Headlines 09/08/06 |

Past Headlines 09/08/06

Headlines from a year ago:

Sailing the skies

From 800 feet up, Katie Griggs watches the fog fracture and dissolve among the hotels and office buildings of downtown Reno on Thursday morning. She inhales as her altitude drops nearly 100 feet in a matter of minutes, and the sea of houses below her grows larger.

People emerge from their homes to begin the day only to find her 93,000- cubic-foot hot air balloon scraping treetops less than 100 feet off the ground.

Legal bills triple in open meeting case

When Attorney General George Chanos sued the Nevada Tax Commission saying they violated the open meeting law, the commission had to hire outside lawyers to defend its actions.

The firm of McDonald Carano and Wilson contracted to do the job for $150,000.

But the commission has already billed the state for $263,000 – $113,000 more than the original contract – and want permission to charge up to $450,000.

Rare Sand Mountain butterfly on increase

A survey showing higher-than-expected numbers of a unique Nevada butterfly has revived a debate over whether it needs protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Some experts now conclude the listing of the Sand Mountain blue butterfly may not be necessary.

But conservationists say the listing is the only way to save the butterfly from extinction. It’s only found at Sand Mountain near Fallon, whose huge sand dunes are popular among off-road vehicle enthusiasts.

Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to conduct a year-long review of whether the butterfly should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Officials said the step was justified because off-road vehicles have destroyed much of the dune vegetation, Kearney buckwheat, that the insect needs to survive.

Now, UNR researchers said a first-of-its-kind count found a thick concentration of butterflies in areas where the vegetation still survives.