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Ranch Standoff Ends in Clark County as Ties to Harry Reid Confuse Justification for BLM Actions

The Bureau of Land Management announced on Saturday morning that they will stop the roundup of cattle by rancher Cliven Bundy. This decision comes a week after ranchers began gathering the cattle from land near Bunkerville, Nevada.

The BLM released a statement saying:

“Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.”

About an hour after BLM released this statement, Bundy urged supporters to block the free until the cattle were released. This led to an afternoon standoff between protesters and police that began around 1 p.m. Protesters began to block the Interstate 15 northbound freeway shutting it down for nearly 4 hours. Many protesters were also armed with weapons, and refused to budge until the cattle were free. Police then began to act as a barrier between protesters and BLM officials. SWAT was also on the scene. No arrests were made. Around 4:30 p.m. the BLM decided to release the cattle they confiscated from an enclosed area where they were being kept. Officials say nearly 400 cows were released.

The BLM released a new statement saying they released the cattle to help restore order and avoid violence.

Senator Harry Reid and representatives Steven Horseford and Dina Titus also released statements saying that they support the decision made by the BLM, and urged protesters to leave the scene peacefully.

It has been a nasty battle between Bundy and the BLM this week, that even resulted in Bundy’s son saying he was tased by a BLM official during a protest.

Meanwhile, Nevada governor Brian Sandoval spoke out against the bureau’s “disturbing” confinement of protesters to a “First Amendment area” on the public land; the federal officials have since allowed them to gather on the land as long as they don’t interfere with the seizure of cattle.

“No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans,” Sandoval said.

The Blaze’s Dana Loesch reports on possible ties to another prominent Nevada politician: Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

Part of the BLM’s justification for enforcing its authority over the land is that it falls within the boundaries of a protection area for desert tortoises, a threatened species. But, Loesch writes in her blog, exemptions and accommodations for land falling inside the boundaries have been made in the past for wind- and solar-power projects, as well as a top Reid donor named Harvey Whittemore (Whittmore is currently serving time in prison for illegal campaign contributions to Reid’s campaign.) She asks why similar accommodations can’t be made for Bundy.

As the situation continues to unfold, Bundy’s daughter has offered a plea to onlookers.

“Wake up America,” Bailey Bundy Logue told KSL-TV. “Look what our ancestors fought for and we need to stand up for that. We need to realize what’s happening. They are taking everything away from us. This isn’t only about one family. This is about everyone’s family. This is martial law and it’s in America and so what are you going to do to have it stay out of America?”

Neil Kornze has been running the Bureau of Land Management since 2013. Previously, the native Nevadan worked on public lands issues in Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office.

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Organic Poultry Plant to Create Over 500 Jobs in Hawthorne

A new organic poultry plant in Nevada will create between 500 and 1,000 jobs this year.
Meatingplace.com reports Green Energy Nevada, LLC. has been approved to open the facility in Hawthorne, Nevada, and the first trainees are expected to begin work by mid-May.

The $20 million organic poultry meat and egg production plant will initially focus on creating jobs for veterans, disabled workers and the unemployed.

Below is the press release from the Mineral County Economic Authority:

Hawthorne, Nevada, known as America’s Patriotic Home, has a great new company to help diversify the economy of this small town in western Nevada. “The company brings to our community badly needed new jobs, a new industry for Nevada and an economic boost not only to Hawthorne, but all of Nevada,” said Shelley Hartmann, Executive Director of Mineral County Economic Development Authority, a partner in Highway 95 RDA.

America’s Patriotic Home will soon be home to the first large scale pasture raised organic egg and meat production facility in Nevada. The pasture raised organic egg and meat industry will, within a short period of time, will be a leading segment of the $50 billion organic product industry.

Green Energy Nevada, LLC., an innovative company with proprietary processes for green energy, environmental, and ecological solutions has received final approval from the Mineral County Board of County Commissioners and the Planning Commission to move forward with producing pasture raised organic products in Hawthorne, NV within three months.

A large scale pasture raised, organic poultry operation is timely. Studies released by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and from focus groups with consumers and distributors defined opportunities for the pasture raised organic poultry markets in Nevada. Green Energy Nevada, LLC is focused on becoming the exclusive supplier of Nevada Grown pasture raised organic poultry products. “We believe by developing a reliable supply chain filled with healthier products and most likely at lower prices as well as proximity and business structure in Nevada. Such an alliance will be a tremendous boost to Nevada’s economy.” said Arvind Nair, Chief Operations Officer, Green Energy Nevada, LLC.

The company is projecting an initial investment of $20,000,000.00 into the Hawthorne community and will create 500 to 1,000 jobs in 2014. “Veterans, disabled workers, under-employed and unemployed area residents will be our initial hiring focus” said Nair. As a relatively new industry to the area, Green Energy Nevada has developed an employee training curriculum to meet or surpass USDA rules and certifying agencies criteria for this type of operation. Although, the company will provide the mandatory training at no cost, they realize a five weeks training program could cause economic hardship to the applicants. Currently the company is seeking assistance or available grants through State and or Federal programs to offset economic hardship for the applicants.

“We are pleased and excited to announce this agreement with Mineral County and the City of Hawthorne” said Domenick Fugarino, Chief Executive Officer. “Green Energy Nevada, would like to thank all of the individuals who helped us bring this idea to fruition including Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, who heard about our company during a parade honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Ms. Bonnie Lind and Mr. Todd Valline of GOED and Mrs. Shelley Hartmann and Mr. Bob Shriver of the Highway 95 Regional Development Authority who worked diligently to ensure our company will remain in the State of Nevada and locate in the Hawthorne area. We would like to extend a special thank-you to all the elected officials and their staff of Mineral County, the members of the Mineral County School District and faculty, and the residents and business leaders of Hawthorne. Once again the company stated, “thank you all very much for the warm welcome and support. From the associates of our company, and a collective “Yes Ma’am” to Commissioner Tipton’s order of “Get To Work”.

Green Energy Nevada, LLC., is planning a special graduation ceremony for the first group of employee trainees during Hawthorne’s Armed Forces Day celebration the 17th of May, 2014.

 

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The International Car Forest of the Last Church in Goldfield, Nev.

Chad Sorg Calls His Art Display The International Car Forest of the Last Church

Some artists work with paint, others with clay. Chad Sorg’s challenge was to make art with cars, buses and trucks. That task was triggered when the Reno artist was driving through Goldfield several years ago and spied a vehicle sticking out of the ground. He explored further and found its creator: Mark Rippie, a longtime resident of this former gold boomtown. Rippie explained that he wanted to create an “artists’ playground” with dozens of old junkers stacked or embedded in the ground serving as canvases.
Sorg was intrigued, and moved here in 2011 to live in a trailer on the land and create art.
The result of their collaboration: More than 40 rusted, aging vehicles spread over a half a mile, some planted, some stacked, all in juxtaposition to the barren desert. Sorg painted most of the vehicles, and other artists accepted invitations to add their own touches to the project. There’s a portrait of politician Ron Paul on a blue hatchback, its hood buried in the ground. Huge ants and a skull cover an upright white sedan. A rust-colored station wagon, its nose angled into the ground as if it came flying off a cliff and plowed into the dirt, features one word on its driver’s door: whoopsy.
Sorg named the display, which is a few hundred yards east of U.S. 93 on the south end of Goldfield, the International Car Forest of the Last Church. The name is a combination of the idea of a national forest that people could visit and a reference to Rippie’s website called the Last Church, which espouses a theology that eschews organized religion. Visitors who want to know why it’s there won’t find an explanation. There’s no sign listing the artists or describing the work. And there are no signs providing directions from the highway, but a burned-out bus stands like a beacon on a ridge above the rest of the vehicles. The source of the old junkers is unclear but, in the Nevada desert, such vehicles aren’t exactly hard to find.
There is no confusing this display with the famed “Cadillac Ranch,” a display of a dozen Cadillacs standing upright in a field outside Amarillo, Tex., or “Carhenge” in Nebraska, a copy of England’s famed landmark made out of a few dozen old vehicles.
And outdoor art scenes are not unique in Nevada, either. Land sculptor Michael Heizer has moved tons of earth in art projects near Overton and in Lincoln County, and the Goldwell Open Air Museum in Rhyolite features statues and outdoor installations. Rippie envisioned his car forest as a free attraction, something to draw people off the road. He wanted to top the number of vehicles at Carhenge and get in the Guinness World Records. Although it’s unclear if such a record exists, Sorg believes the car forest is the largest of its type.
What do the locals have to say about the display? In the land of live-and-let-live, they shrug.
Sorg describes the work as a cross between land art – large work done with the earth – and outsider art, a term used to describe nontraditional work often by self-taught artists. In this case, Sorg is the artist, Rippie is the outsider. Sorg is a trained artist who has owned an art gallery. Rippie has a checkered past, with a history of scrapes with law enforcement and other residents in Goldfield.  But Rippie had a vision, a backhoe and land, so Sorg went to work. “I saw what he saw,” Sorg said.
After moving to Goldfield, Sorg became the president of the chamber of commerce and a tireless promoter of the historic mining town, population 259, and the car forest. Still, it hasn’t become a major attraction, and its future is up in the air. And Sorg, who said he wanted to live out his life on the property, and Rippie are no longer collaborating. Their relationship had begun to sour and ended after they staged an “End of the World Party,” which featured a bus burning. Afterward, and for no stated reason, Sorg said Rippie kicked him off the property. Sorg returned to Reno. And Rippie, 67, is no longer on the scene either. He was convicted last year on federal gun charges and in November sentenced to two years in prison. Sorg, who maintains a Facebook page dedicated to the car forest, hopes someone will buy it and preserve it.  “It was a great thing to bring to the world,” Sorg says. “I’d say roadside attractions like this remind us that there are still mysteries in the world.”

Goldfield News

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Rhyolite May Be Booming Again Soon

The gold-rush ghost town of Rhyolite may be booming again — audibly, at least. Joe Strobbe, technical manager of WESCO, a Utah explosives company, came before the Beatty Town Advisory Board Jan. 13 to explain his company’s interest in utilizing the former Barrick Bullfrog mine site, adjacent to the historic mining town. Strobbe said WESCO has been contacted by a company in the Netherlands about welding disparate metals together in a process using explosives. This process will involve hanging very large tubes (approximately 20 feet in diameter) from cables. The explosions, each involving 100 pounds of high explosives, will take place inside the tubes. He said that the plan is to fire off five of these explosions at the same time, and to arrange them so that some of the force they release into the air would be cancelled by each other. Each event would involve 500 pounds of explosives, and this would probably be done five or six times a day to meet production quotas. Asked whether the explosions would have any effect on the historic structures in Rhyolite, Strobbe said that the blast would be comparable to a sonic boom and well below the 180 decibel level that causes structural damage. Since they would be air blasts, they would shake the ground less than the blasting that was done underground when the mine was active. Speaking to the board and attending Beatty residents, Strobbe said, “Our big concern is how it’s going to affect you.” He said that the topography is advantageous, since the site is higher in elevation than the town of Beatty, and the blasts would travel upward. There are also mountains between the mine site and the town. (Ladd Mountain and a large man-made hill are also between the blast site and Rhyolite.) LaRene Younghans was concerned about the upward blast, saying that the site was on an approach to the Beatty airport. Crystal Taylor was similarly concerned about the effects on tourist traffic along the highway.

Strobbe said that it is standard practice to monitor and watch for breaks in traffic when setting off explosions. He also said that the duration of the blast was a second or less. He said that you would see a white cloud from such explosions, but that it was not smoke, but steam at 7,000 degrees. The company is also looking at possible sites in Arizona and northern Nevada, but Strobbe said he had come to Beatty first because the site has several advantages. For one thing, it is near a highway, and it is also near Las Vegas, to which the clients from the Netherlands can catch a direct flight. That company would spend several million dollars developing the site.

He said the operation would employ 8-10 workers at the blast site and perhaps 4-6 more in a shop where preparatory and other work would be done. He explained that workers handling explosives cannot have a felony criminal record, and they have to undergo drug tests several times a year, beginning with a hair test. He said the explosives would be stored according to government safety and security standards. He also said that they would use electronic detonators, containing a computer chip that would allow their detonation to be timed down to the mili-second. “Anyone who stole them would not be able to set them off without another $15,000 in equipment,” he said. The company plans to set off a test blast sometime in February, which should give them and the community a good idea of any effects on the area. He also said that they would fine-tune the process as they went along to make it better.

Goldfield News

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Harry Reid Celebrates Start of 231-mile One Nevada Transmission Line

Officials said Thursday the completion of a new 231-mile electricity transmission line in Nevada will strengthen the regional power grid and help tap renewable energy sources including geothermal in the northern part of the state and solar in the south.

The high-voltage One Nevada Transmission Line, dubbed the ON Line project, stretches across 844 tower structures from NV Energy’s Harry Allen Generating Station outside Las Vegas to a new Robinson Summit Substation west of Ely.

It began service earlier this month, energized to 500 kilovolts with an initial capacity of up to 800 megawatts.

“This vital project will deliver hundreds of megawatts of clean renewable energy to the grid,” U.S. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement. Reid, who noted that hundreds of workers helped build the line, took part in a christening ceremony Thursday in Moapa.

The federal Energy Department provided a $343 million loan guarantee to Great Basin Transmission South for the project in 2011. Completion was delayed for a time to solve wind and vibration issues.

Great Basin Transmission South, an affiliate of New York-based LS Power Group, owns 75 percent of the project. NV Energy, Nevada’s dominant electric utility, owns 25 percent.

The companies said that NV Energy has rights to all of the line’s initial capacity until LS Power completes other potential project phases, collectively known as the Southwest Intertie Project.

Thursday’s dedication followed the completion last month of the $5.6 billion sale of NV Energy to a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., a Des Moines, Iowa, subsidiary of billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

NV Energy is the parent company of Nevada Power Co. in Las Vegas and Sierra Pacific Power in northern Nevada. The two companies have some 1.3 million electricity and natural gas customers, including 2.4 million of the state’s 2.7 million residents.

Goldfield News