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Bill would raise pay of Nevada Capitol Police

Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, D-Las Vegas, has introduced legislation that would mean a substantial raise for Nevada's Capitol Police officers.

AB143 would require those officers be paid the same as Highway Patrol troopers and provided the same opportunities for advancement.

That has been proposed in the past but Gov. Brian Sandoval removed it from the proposed budget in part because of the cost during the recession. That cost was estimated at $400,000 over the biennium in 2015 but would be higher now. The bill doesn't yet have a fiscal note.

Capitol Police are a grade 36 compared to NHP's grade 39. Each grade is worth nearly 5 percent more.

Capitol Police officials say the pay difference enables other agencies, both state and local, to steal officers, making retention of good officers difficult.

The problem stems from the historic origin of the Capitol Police officers who were originally unsworn security provided to state buildings by Buildings and Grounds. In fact, their budget still comes from a cost allocation assessment paid by agency rents to have office space in those buildings whereas NHP and other public safety officers are primarily paid out of general or highway funds.

Now, Capitol Police are required to meet the same training standards as other law enforcement employed by the state — POST 1 certification.

"This bill requires the Director of the Department of Public Safety to treat peace officers of the Capitol Police Division in the same manner as peace officers of the Nevada Highway Patrol for purposes of classification, compensation and advancement," according to the bill's digest.

Another casualty of the recession was the elimination of the Capitol Police clerical staff, replaced by a contract employee but that isn't addressed in AB143, which was referred to the Government Affairs Committee for study.

Marchegger named Gatorade runner of the year, signs with Pack

Sierra Lutheran's Jared Marchegger has been named as the 2018-2019 Gatorade Nevada Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. Marchegger has also signed to run cross country with the University of Nevada men's cross country team and will run as a freshman during the Wolf Pack's men's cross country team's inaugural season in the fall of 2019.

The Gatorade award is based on athletic and academic achievement as well as character on and off the field. Marchegger is eligible for the Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced this month.

The 6-foot, 130-pound senior raced to his third consecutive Class 2A individual state championship this past season with a time of 16:51.5, leading the Falcons to a second-place finish as a team at Boulder City's Veterans Park. Marchegger's time was the fastest among all divisions.

Marchegger also won the Small School division of the Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Regional championships.

Marchegger is also one of the top long distance runners in the state in track. Last year at the NIAA 2A State Track Championships won titles in the 3,200 relay and 3,200 and placed second in the 800 and 1,600 to held lead Sierra Lutheran to a second place finish.

A talented musician, Marchegger has volunteered as an altar server at his church and has helped build and maintain bike trails in his community.

"Jared goes above and beyond what we ask him to do, with enthusiasm," said Sierra Lutheran coach Steve Kubel. "At every practice he pushes himself to improve, and despite occasional injuries and his congenital scoliosis, he continues to be motivated."

Marchegger has maintained a 3.81 GPA in the classroom.

As a part of Gatorade's cause marketing platform "Play it Forward," Marchegger has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He's also eligible to submit an essay to win one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.

Marchegger recently signed with Nevada with his family and coaches present. Another one of Marchegger's coaches, Matt Pendola summed up Marchegger: "grace, guts, and gratitude."

Reno airport freeway ramp preserved in plan

RENO — The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Nevada Department of Transportation's inclusion of the preferred alternative option to retain the I-580 southbound direct connector ramp to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport in the Spaghetti Bowl Project.

NDOT and the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority (RTAA) have worked together to retain a southbound I-580 direct connect ramp to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) as part of NDOT's Spaghetti Bowl Project preferred alternative. Federal approval of NDOT's preferred alternative presented in a combined Final Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision is expected this summer and will incorporate the option of retaining the southbound I-580 direct connector ramp.

"We have fast-tracked the environmental review process for future major improvements to the Spaghetti Bowl and metro interstates," NDOT Senior Project Manager Dale Keller explained. "Since 2017, NDOT has hosted roughly 200 public and stakeholder meetings, including with the Airport Authority. The vital citizen and stakeholder input we have gathered through this process will help us build the best interstate improvements to keep the Truckee Meadows safely connected for decades to come."

Public input played a major role in retaining the ramp that provides vital access to RNO. Today's announcement highlights the importance of participation in a public hearing process, Marily Mora, president/CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, said.

"Eighty-five percent of the public comment received on the Spaghetti Bowl Project sought the inclusion of the Interstate 580 southbound freeway access ramp to RNO," Mora said. "We truly appreciate our community, tenants and public officials making their voices heard and for NDOT working with us in a spirit of partnership to save the ramp."

NDOT incorporated feedback and extensive technical evaluation to ultimately develop three proposed interstate design concepts recently presented for public review and comment as part of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The refined preferred alternative identified through this public participation process is scheduled to be presented for federal approval this summer. Following approval of the combined Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision, the freeway improvements may then be designed and built in phases over subsequent years and decades. The first phase, called the Spaghetti Bowl Xpress, tentatively scheduled to begin construction in 2020, will realign eastbound Interstate 80 lanes between Wells Avenue and the Spaghetti Bowl and widen the eastbound I-80 to southbound I-580 Spaghetti Bowl ramp to two lanes.

With the Reno-Sparks population anticipated to increase 27 percent by 2040, interstate travel delays are projected to jump 53 percent if no improvements are made. But, with NDOT plans to reconstruct the Spaghetti Bowl, add additional interstate lanes and enhance 16 interchanges on more than 12 miles of metro interstate, interstate trip times are projected to be faster in 2040 than today.

Information is available at 775-622-5555 or by visiting ndotspaghettibowl.com.