The most recent Lincoln County Coalition meeting was held on June 27 at the Panaca Town Center. Community members and visitors gathered to share information and discuss various issues in the county.
Little Books Little Cooks is going on now for preschool-aged kids, 3-5, teaching parents and kids how to cook and eat healthy meals. Held in Alamo at 2 p.m. every Thursday at the Senior Center and at Caliente Elementary at 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday. This is offered for free.
Sgt. Chase Dirks from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department talked about drug awareness events they want to do for the senior citizens in the county. The department also is interested in doing a scam and identity theft awareness along with it. Dates have not been set, but they working to coordinate it. The sheriff’s office has been talking to the hospital, courthouse and banks about the lockdown procedures to make sure people understand what to do in a lockdown situation and that everyone is all on the same page.
Mayor Stana Hurlburt with the City of Caliente stated the city received a $22,000 rural business grant to do an analysis of business readiness for the mountain bike trail system. She and Holly Gatzke have started the process of providing information to businesses to help them prepare and take advantage of new opportunities that will come as mountain bike riders begin coming to the area.
Construction of the trails is underway. Caliente’s portion design should be finished about mid-July. Hurlburt stated, “It will be a knock down, drag out project that should get finished pretty quick.” They hope it will be done about September. There will trails on the hills behind the town swimming pool and a full-size skills park below the pool area. State parks and BLM are also working on their portions.
Marcia Hurd with the Lincoln Authority of Tourism (LCAT) talked about the Gravel Grinder that was held on June 17 and the great turnout for that. She also talked about intellectual property the group has established in the form of the P-man or Primitive Man logo and the slogan “Get-Primitive.” These items will be trademarked as LCAT’s official county tourism brand.
A “Tuff-Mudder,” marathon or holding some other big event in the county was suggested – talking about how the area is a prime place for a triathalon-type event, with swimming, biking and running. Hurlburt agreed and mentioned it’s definitely something that will happen moving forward.
Janie Rippetoe with mental health asked about the case management for locals who get out of jail and also what happens when they have calls for people that are homeless or those that have mental health problems. There may be opportunities for mental health to work with inmates prior to them being released, so they can be better-prepared and receive the help needed to re-integrate into society.
Ben Rowley talked about the mental health first-aid training that was brought up last month. He talked to Mary Duff with the NyECC about bringing some trainers to train personnel here to then be able to provide the same training to community members as needed. He asked that if anyone is interested in becoming a trainer, let him know.
Cherry Florence, Principle at Caliente Elementary School, and also representing the school district, talked about the lunch they are currently providing with Family to Family. On Monday through Thursday, at 12:30 p.m., they hold a free lunch for kids 18 and under and $5 for adults at the elementary school. They average about 73 meals a day.
She talked about the back to school BBQ on the first Saturday in August. All proceeds from that go to help the DC trip the 6th grade class takes yearly.
The Department of Education is coming out with their new app “Safe to Tell” for all students in the school system in cases of bullying, drugs, anything which will come into effect this upcoming year. Florence also talked about a training to be held in both Alamo and Panaca on August 17 for school personnel and first responders. This is so everyone can get on the same page and know what to do in emergency situations. This is provided by Pool Pac. Lastly, Florence mentioned that the next school board meeting is the July 2 at 6 p.m., and the next fiscal year budget will be discussed.
Wade Poulsen with Lincoln County Water District (LCWD) mentioned that he, Connie Simkins and Commissioner Brackenberry met with the Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and talked about several subjects including public lands. Poulsen mentioned there is going to be a fundamental shift within public lands and a change in policy will be made in this administration. They are trying to work on more ways to encourage people to enjoy public lands and loosen restrictions on development.
The wild horse and burro overpopulation was another topic. The BLM spends $80 million/year feeding wild horses and they’re hoping to change that policy. Zinke hopes to begin deregulation of the public lands to allow development of the natural resources and strengthen economies.
They also talked about the Basin and Range National Monument. Poulsen mentioned LCWD made comments on reducing the size of it, because currently they have 1.5 million acres that nothing can be done to it. They want to reduce that to about 50,000 acres. He encourages all to go to regulations.gov and give comments on the Basin and Range National Monument and other issues important to you.
Christy Blood with LC Workforce talked about a job opportunity with the mountain biking trails. See the “What’s New” section for details. She then talked about their new fiscal year beginning in July. They are currently reaching out to potential employers and employees in the county to provide opportunities to receive assistance with job placement and training. They hope that through this people can gain both an education and a career. They want to help locals and businesses. Those interested can call the Workforce office at (775) 726-3800.
Linda Rollins, a Veterans Advocate with the Nevada Division of Veteran Services, talked about their veterans attorney assistance meeting and said that there were at least 30 there, which is what they were shooting for. They were very excited about it and grateful for the help in getting word out. She mentioned an Honor Flight for women veterans, where women who served in the U.S. military are flown to our nation’s capital to visit the memorials dedicated to their honor, service and sacrifice. The next flight is in September. She asked to help find local women who served and get the word out. The cost per veteran is $1,000 and donations are appreciated. Lastly, she mentioned that veterans can get a State Park Pass for $30 if they bring their discharge papers.
YOUTH SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION
Rowley talked about the drug free communities grant and introduced Victoria Blakery with the Nevada Department of Education to discuss the results of surveys recently done in county schools. Results are available to the public at reports.nevadaschoolclimate.org. The survey asks questions about students’ physical and emotional safety and how they’re treated.
She shared some results that jumped out to her. At PVHS, the 12th grade students (the ones who just graduated) reported they were happier across the board than their 11th, 10th and 9th grade counterparts. The 10th graders (soon to be 11th graders) at PVHS saw a drop in their feeling of physical safety over the previous year – going from 84 to 62 percent. However, reports of cyberbullying dropped from 76 to 48 percent at PVHS. Blakery said that last year’s Alamo sixth grader positive ratings were about 20 percent higher in all categories compared to the other middle school classes, showing that group of students feel welcomed and accepted.
At Lincoln County High School, the survey indicated that cyberbullying is more of an issue than physical bullying. She also said the school had fairly low scores on students being respected by adults at the school, with more than half the students indicated the teachers don’t understand their problems. There is also a difference between how boys and girls feel they are being treated at the school – with the females for the most part rating their treatment higher than the males. At Meadow Valley Middle School, positive scores are trending upward as the grades increase, with the eighth graders scores increasing especially in their social/emotional competency. Blakery said there’s a strength at the school where the students feel that teachers care about them and notice when they are missing. The biggest safety concern at the school is a fear is that someone may be stealing from them, and their empathy scores are low. Lastly, Meadow Valley bullying rates are higher than other schools. She also mentioned that Pioche Elementary School had the largest percentage of students that felt like kids were treated differently based on their family income.
Rowley asked if there are any connections between kids feeling safe and their likelihood in engaging in dangerous activities. Blakery responded that physical safety is strongly related to school achievement. Graduation rates have dropped because of lack of safety felt.
Blakery shared several other results that jumped out to here. Again, all results for Lincoln County are available at reports.nevadaschoolclimate.org.