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There was plenty of excitement in 2019, but when the Storm Area 51 event came to the area, the eyes of the nation, and perhaps beyond, were on Lincoln County.

LCR

Around 75,000 copies of the Lincoln County Record were printed and distributed in and out of Lincoln County in 2019. Meanwhile, the Record’s website, LCCentral.com, received around 54,000 visitors who viewed nearly 140,000 pages of content on the site during the year.

In other words, despite the county’s small population, there was plenty to read about last year. Here’s a look back at some of the most-read stories of 2019.

Accident leads to drug arrests

In January, a middle-of-the-night traffic accident led to the discovery of a large number of methamphetamines and stolen credit card information from one of the suspects involved in the accident.

Sergeant Guy Davis of the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) in Alamo reported that on the morning of Jan. 8, an unnamed man and woman from the Las Vegas metro area, driving a 2015 white Lexus SUV, were involved in a northbound single-vehicle rollover on U.S. 93 near mile marker 20 about three miles south of the Maynard Lake narrows.

Other motorists began calling 911 after seeing the couple hitchhiking around midnight.

NHP troopers responded, found the vehicle to be unoccupied, and then located the couple walking south along the roadway, apparently uninjured in the rollover.

Davis said the couple at first denied being connected to the vehicle. “But later,” he said, “identifying information was found inside the vehicle that tied the two pedestrians to it.”

Troopers then arrested the pair on the charge of providing false information. In addition, the woman was found to have the methamphetamines and a substantial amount of stolen credit card information in her possession.

Original owners return to run restaurant, cabins

In February, plans were underway to reopen the former Windmill Ridge Restaurant and Lodge in Alamo. Former owners Kris Higbee and Kim Turley leased the property from the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada, to whom the property was donated in January 2019 by the Frias Charitable Trust in Las Vegas.

Higbee’s daughter Milly Walch partnered with Higbee and Turley, and the trio reopened the business June 25 as Timbers Lodging & Grill.

Body of California man found in Cave Valley

Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee reported the body of an adult male was found in the middle of a road in Cave Valley, March 17.

The man, later identified as 54-year-old Steven Hutchinson of Blythe, CA, was found that evening by some people traveling through the area.

Cave Valley is in the upper northwest corner of Lincoln County and extends into White Pine County.

More bodies found

The bizarre occurrence of bodies turning up in the Lincoln County wilderness continued with two discovered within weeks of each other.

The body of an adult female was found on the Kane Springs road Oct. 5. The body was later identified as 33-year-old Jamie Feden from Bethel Park, PA. A man was arrested Nov. 15 by police in Pittsburgh and allegedly confessed to “smothering a woman to death somewhere north of Las Vegas” in late September.

In an unrelated case, the body of an adult male was found Oct. 26 near the Union Pacific Railroad just north of the Lincoln County line. Lincoln County’s Sheriff Kerry Lee said the man was identified as Pedro Cabrales Dias, 32, of Henderson.

Shuttered Mountain View Hotel may be razed by county

In April, officials discussed potentially demolishing the Mountain View Hotel in Pioche.

Once an elegant establishment, the hotel has fallen into such a state of neglect, it has been deemed “unlivable.”

Closed for decades, the building was scheduled to be put up for tax auction by the Lincoln County Treasurer’s Office later in the month.

However, at the county commission meeting, the board decided to pay the back taxes on the building, take it over, and then decide what to do with it. Treasurer Shawn Frehner said the back taxes amount to $2,254.11.

Since that time, a local group has organized in an attempt to save the building. In December, grant money in the amount of $5,000 was awarded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington D.C. for preliminary work to be done on the structure.

Wadsworth named coach of the year

Accomplishments in high school athletics continued in the county. One example is Lincoln County High School’s baseball team. After coaching his team to its fourth consecutive state championship, coach Raymond Wadsworth was named the 2A All-State Coach of the Year.

Several players were voted to the 2A All-State and All-Southern League teams. Alex Vincent, Mason Thornock, Kobe Walker, McKinley O’Connor and Dean Ottley were All-State First Team selections.

Vincent, Thornock, Ottley, Walker and O’Connor were also named to the All-Southern League First Team. Second-team selections included Kamdon Lewis, Kobe Kelley, Mathew Hafen and Talon Phillips.

Travel Channel’s ‘Ghost Adventures’ airing episode set at Mount Wilson Ranch

In June, Mount Wilson Ranch was featured in the Travel Channel series “Ghost Adventures.” Months earlier, crews visited the ranch to shoot an episode, with some local residents helping out as actors.

The show features paranormal investigators Zak Bagans and Aaron Goodwin, along with A/V techs Billy Tolley and Jay Wasley. In each episode, the team travels to a “haunted destination” where it meets with locals, eyewitnesses and experts to piece together the haunted history of each site.

The channel announced on its website: “Zak and the crew land outside of Pioche, NV, to investigate a mysterious ranch known for its concentration of supernatural energy and countless reports of extraterrestrial activity.”

The program first aired June 22 with several re-airings following in June and July.

Several earthquakes felt in county

Reminders that Lincoln County is an active earthquake zone were felt in July. Several tremors were reported early in the month.

A presentation from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology gives Pioche a two to three percent chance of having a magnitude 6.5 or greater earthquake happen in the next 50 years. The presentation estimates such a quake could do $5.6 million in damage.

The Lincoln County Emergency Management department encourages county residents to make efforts to be prepared for all types of emergencies, including an earthquake.

For a list of information and resources, visit https://lincolncountynv.org/departments/emergency-manager/

New Panaca Market owner excited for new chapter

Picture this: you’re tired of your current job, so you pick up an application at a store that you used to work at in high school. Fast-forward a few months … and you’ve bought the store.

Welcome to Mason Stackhouse’s life.

“[My old job] was great,” he said, “but you work somewhere for 14 years and you just need a change.”

Stackhouse originally worked at the store from 1979-1981. Back then, the mercantile was owned by a man named Bryce Dotson, whom Stackhouse held in very high regard.

After a 20-year absence from the county, he returned and started working at C.O. Bastian. But, the time came for things to change, and after a conversation with previous owner Nathan Katschke, the Stackhouse family became the next in a long line of people to own the Panaca-based store.

Alien Invasion

Interest in storming Area 51 was at a fever pitch in September. Emergency responders planned for the worst and hoped for the best after a Facebook event went viral and millions indicated they would converge on Lincoln County and storm the Nevada Test and Training Range military base. National and international outlets picked up on the story with articles and television spots coming in daily during the weeks prior to and after Sept. 20.

Business owners George Harris of the Alien Research Center in Hiko and Connie West of the Little A’le’Inn in Rachel planned festivals. County emergency planning officials prepared for tens of thousands coming to the county.

In the end, the massive crowds didn’t come, and the original Facebook poster, Matty Roberts, backed out of the Rachel event at the last minute. Members of multiple news organizations attended, from Fox 5 out of Las Vegas to Reuters, and even a small crew for “Ancient Aliens.” Also in attendance were many streamers and YouTubers trying to make a name for themselves.

The media was only outnumbered by the number of law enforcement officials. With representatives from more than 20 branches on alert, the state was prepared for any eventuality. At the center of this was Sheriff Kerry Lee, who was directly involved in the response.

All in all, “The crowds have been good. No law enforcement negativity,” said Lee.

The sheriff’s department estimated there were 3,000 people between the two main sites, many of which never made the pilgrimage out to the well-guarded gates.

Many questions linger, such as whether this will become an annual thing and whether the state will reimburse the county for the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on emergency response.