Men in orange: Inmate work crews help clean graffiti

Four men clad in orange from beanies on their heads to jumpsuits down to their ankles piled out of the work truck and opened the back of the covered bed.

The men pull out rollers and a bucket of tan paint. Their motive: to work covering the recently tagged walls, their unlabored breaths forming white clouds in the just-past-dawn air, their paint letting off the same white wisps on the walls . . .

January 4, 2013 — Originally published in the Nevada Appeal. (All rights reserved)

PDF copy (clip) — Men in orange: Inmate work crews help clean graffiti

Four men clad in orange from beanies on their heads to jumpsuits down to their ankles piled out of the work truck and opened the back of the covered bed.

The men pull out rollers and a bucket of tan paint. Their motive: to work covering the recently tagged walls, their unlabored breaths forming white clouds in the just-past-dawn air, their paint letting off the same white wisps on the walls.

“We do nasty little jobs,” said Don Quilici, outside work crew coordinator. “We cover it as fast as we can or we clean it and we try to match the paint if we can. We can even sand fences.”

Quilici, a broad-shouldered man with a trimmed yet rambunctious and mostly pepper beard, motioned to a wall defaced by a series of letters.

“This is what I see,” he said, the wall on one side and the back of a grocery store on the other. “I don’t see artwork. I see trash.”

The taggers had been out en force as the calendar turned to 2013, despite the biting cold.

The graffiti is more properly defined as tagging, rather than the elaborate images in multiple colors the word graffiti can evoke. Quilici held up his hand, his fingers almost pressed together, indicating that the gang related graffiti is less than a single percent of what the work crew finds and covers.

Josh Emborsky was happy to be out in the cold.

“I get to get out of the jail,” Emborsky said. Emborsky, who has been on the crew for a month, is looking forward, just a little, to warmer weather.

“I’ve never actually seen artwork yet,” he said, motioning to a crude smiley face, “this (stuff’s) stupid right here.”

While Emborsky has only been on the crew for a month, the veteran of the group, Farron Cook, who has clocked three months so far, said he sees the same graffiti over and over.

“It’s all the same stuff,” he said. “Stupid little tags.”

Although it is the same tags over and over, he still enjoys covering tags more than anything else the work crew does, such as sweeping sidewalks, cleaning culverts, painting curbs, weeding and other jobs.

“A lot of work at the cemetery, going down to the park and picking up dog poop and trash, whatever the community needs us to do,” Quilici said.

He keeps a log which can help investigators and the district attorney’s office to link a tagger to a series of incidents, rather than just the one caught red-handed.

“If I do this, deputies can do work that they should be doing,” Quilici said. “For me, this is fun.”

Quilici is a civilian, although he has been working with inmate work crews for a long time, Sheriff Ken Furlong said.

Quilici himself is not paid by the city but rather with the funds generated by the jail’s commissary, where inmates are able to buy certain items during their stay in jail.

The graffiti program, started about a year ago, was an evolution that started with an offer to start a work program out of the jail, Furlong said.

“I allowed the team to start responding to graffiti,” Furlong said. “I realized there wasn’t a coordinated response to graffiti, really, that annoying tagging on the corner.”

After meeting with various city offices, Furlong gave the crews permission to clean up graffiti everywhere without needing to first ask for permission. The graffiti abatement is a three-pronged approach, with alternative sentencing, public works and the inmate work crews, who do a 100 to 1 ratio of the work, “hands down,” he said.

“If the public doesn’t see it, we’re doing our job,” Quilici said.

Quilici said he has yet to have an inmate run away. The inmates all have sentences of a year or less. If their sentences were longer, they would be serving with the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Cook said he too, like Emborsky, likes to be outside. “It’s not bad. It’s just nice to be out.”

It doesn’t hurt that he likes their boss, Quilici.

“Don’s super cool,” Cook said. “I wouldn’t have a better boss to do this.”

Working on the crew has its upsides: fresh, albeit often times below-freezing air, time away from the jail, work to occupy the time, a boost in self-esteem. Once in a while residents will come up and thank the inmates for picking up trash, weeding or other maintenance. Much of the time, when the crew faces the public, they get nasty stares.

“We get looks like we’re murderers and rapists a lot,” Emborsky said.

“They think that we’re out to hurt people and stuff,” Cook said. “Out at the park, there’s people who know we go out there and say thank you.”

The looks rarely progress to words, he said. “Nobody really says much.”

The crew, packed into two-door Chevy truck donated by Southwest Gas, goes out four times a week, often first starting with the early morning graffiti rounds. Quilici drives his crew of inmates on their route.

“We call it the loop, areas that are constantly getting hit. We check everywhere we can.”

The inmates get out their rollers and cover the graffiti in blocks.

“We always try to make it look as nice as possible,” Emborsky said.

Making it look as nice as possible does not come cheap. Because each gallon of paint is costly, the program looks for the community to donate leftover paint rather than footing the bill for a new can, a costly prospect at the average cost of $30 per gallon.

“That’s expensive,” Quilici said. “A lot of it we paint over. A lot of it we clean.”

When anyone asks Quilici which colors the program will take, he replies that they will take any color that can be mixed in a five gallon bucket. Every gallon donated is $30 saved. When one resident donated nine gallons of leftover house paint, she didn’t think it was much. For Quilici, it was a big deal. She had just saved the program $270.

The program is looking for donations of house paint. They can be brought to the sheriff’s office or the crew can pick them up. Pick-ups can be arranged by calling Quilici at 775-721-6619.

To report graffiti, one can call dispatch at 887-2007 and to report a tagger in the act, Quilici advises calling 911.

Taking charge: FASTT program provides mental health services to low-level inmates

Sheriff Ken Furlong said getting help for mental health patients was something that had been pushed aside for a long time in Carson City.

Saying it was an issue that “needs to be resolved,” the sheriff and other community leaders have partnered with the state in a new program . . .

February 17, 2013  — Originally published in the Nevada Appeal. (All rights reserved)

PDF copy: Taking Charge (FASTT) Clip

Sheriff Ken Furlong said getting help for mental health patients was something that had been pushed aside for a long time in Carson City.

Saying it was an issue that “needs to be resolved,” the sheriff and other community leaders have partnered with the state in a new program.

The Forensic Assessment Services Triage Team, or FASTT, is a partnership between the state and local governments to bridge a gap in mental health services from when someone is arrested on a low-level offense to after they are released but fail to engage the state’s mental health services.

“With these low-level cases, they’re in and out so quick, that’s why we call it FASTT,” said Dr. Joseph McEllistrem, the Carson City Jail’s director of forensic health services.

“Many of these people are known. They’re known to law enforcement, they’re known to the mental health service system, but it was the breakdown between the two systems, or not a formal relationship between them, that really is the crux of it,” Richard Whitley said.

Whitley is the administrator of the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services and the administrator of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Division.

Whitley has been one of the key players in so quickly organizing the FASTT program, Sheriff Ken Furlong, Partnership Carson City’s Kathy Bartoz and other participants said.

“The people that would qualify for the FASTT team intervention are going to be most readily identified by the arresting agent, the booking officer or the forensic health services team at the jail, because they’re now not seen by a judge for at least three days,” McEllistrem said.

McEllistrem said once someone who is in need of intervention is identified they fill out a referral form.

“We do that just to get some buy-in from them. Tell us what’s going on, help us quickly identify your needs. While they’re filling that out, Lisa Treinen is contacted.”

Triage Assessment Coordinator Treinen, along with psychiatric caseworker Kathleen Buscay, come to the jail and meet with the referral and do a clinical interview. Their findings allow David Ramsey, the jail’s nurse practitioner, to write prescriptions and to make sure clients make their first, and continuing, appointments with Carson Mental Health Center.

“In less than 24 hours, someone from Carson Mental Health and the FASTT team coordinator are on sight interviewing (the inmate,)” McEllistrem said. “Before they leave that interview, they have identified their needs, they have set an appointment with Carson Mental Health and developed a treatment plan.”

So far, 41 people have been interviewed, five people have voluntarily enrolled in the program.

“There are very few names I don’t recognize” from previous contacts, Treinen said. “These are people whom we know.”

McEllistrem has been seeing the same for many years. He is a clinical psychologist and known by most in the jail simply as Dr. Joe.

“We have been dealing with how to integrate community collaboration between mental health providers, law enforcement and family,” McEllistrem said. “We kind of knew if we would integrate these groups, we could really reduce the number of crisis calls.

“It was always reaching a crisis point before we were intervening.”

MIND THE GAP

The problem everyone saw was the gap. When the jail released a low-level offender, usually arrested on a misdemeanor, an appointment had been made for the Carson Mental Health Center but the person rarely made it there. While the person was an inmate, he would be getting the proper medications but as soon as the jail bars closed behind him, he was left to his own devices. The gap in services had to be bridged.

An October meeting between state and local leaders was called to discuss the issue.

“They mobilized so quickly,” Whitley said. “I think it’s because they were seeing the problem anecdotally and individually. They knew the problem. We put a number to it and said, we’re a partner in this and in some ways, it was probably the state mental health system acknowledging the problem, quantifying it for ourselves and going to an existing forum in the community and saying, we’re in. We need to be a part of addressing this problem and it did move very quickly, I think.”

Bartoz praised Whitley’s bottom-up approach. “He’s allowing the community to take charge of our issues.”

Before, Ramsey couldn’t write prescriptions for longer than an inmate’s stay. With the FASTT program, he can write prescriptions to last a few more days, just long enough for the client, as Whitley calls them, to get to his appointment with Carson Mental Health.

Getting to the appointments, for many clients, can be more complicated than just continuing to take their medication. It’s about their life skills, some of which many members of the community take for granted.

“This isn’t just about people being mentally ill,” Bartoz said. “It’s about them not having the skills they need to function in society. It may be they can’t navigate bus systems or have a difficult time with their social interactions skills and turn people off, don’t get hired. It’s people who are having a hard time functioning.”

Those bridge medications, between the care they receive in the jail and the first appointment with Carson Mental Health, are a key part of the equation.

“David Ramsey will write bridge medications,” McEllistrem said. “Once we verify the appointment with Carson Mental Health, if they’re on meds, we want to keep them on their medications when they leave us, which in the past we weren’t able to do because there was no guarantee of follow-up, which was too dangerous. Now we’re able to supply these bridge prescriptions.”

Whitley sees bridging the gap in services to be part of his duty.

“I think it’s negligent if we don’t take an action to connect our systems because this is where the failure is occurring,” Whitley said. “These are our clients, so the fact that they were clients for out-patient mental health and now are coming into the criminal justice system, the question really is for us, on the mental health side, how is it that our services are failing and the client is having intervention from law enforcement. Unless we ask that question we can’t get at what we could do differently.”

Furlong, an enthusiastic partner the whole way through, said he, too, thought case management and proper hand-off are the key. Often, once a person was released from jail, they were really released not into the world or even back into Carson City but into “a dark hole.”

“That dark hole was really the problem. They went right back to the street,” he said. “Case management is a critical issue when it comes to mental health. We weren’t doing well at handing it off after they left the jail.”

SILOS OF CARE

Part of the new way of doing business is to break down the silos of care that existed, to build links and bridges and other sundry forms of transportation between service providers.

“We’re breaking down silos,” McEllistrem said.

The FASTT team is made up of people, of faces. When someone comes in contact with the law and is being held at the jail, the FASTT team member, either Treinen or Buscay or both, will meet with them before they are released. When the client comes back to Carson Mental Health, they will be seeing the same, familiar face and reconnecting with someone they’ve already met.

“Once you make that first contact, you take the mystery away,” McEllistrem said. Taking that mystery away, allowing a continuance of care, is one of the facets of the program.

“Before, it was Band-Aid care.” McEllistrem said. “Deal with the crisis, put a Band-Aid on it and you move on to the next case that’s burning on your desk. We just didn’t have that ability to follow up and insure somebody’s able to access the care they needed and said they wanted. In the end, it sort of already existed. We’re just pulling them together and having a team follow them through the system so they don’t fall through the cracks, so they don’t miss an appointment, so they don’t stop taking their medication. The barrier to successful treatment is really going to be addressed by the FASTT team.”

When it comes to the actual costs of the program and the expanded care, on Whitley’s end, it’s almost nothing.

“We’re just moving personnel” and duties, he said. “We’re formalizing the hand-off.”

Bartoz was more enthusiastic. “He’s taken existing resources and by moving them around and getting people to collaborate, get them all moved to the front-end of this problem, by doing the in-jail assessment, we have probably increased the success rate of these individuals three-fold without any additional money. It was just a matter of moving people around, getting them out of the silos, getting them out of their cubicles and saying, I’m putting you over here.”

A similar program is ongoing in Reno, with the hope to expand statewide.

UP AND RUNNING

Whitley came to Bartoz to help bring the local players together to bridge the gap in services he saw through the data his office had analyzed.

“What we did with Carson City was we looked at the jail data and our mental health data for Carson City to see how many people in the jail had been clients of mental health and really let data drive where we needed to put services,” Whitley said. “What was unique, I think, was the sheriff being such a willing partner and being willing to share the data.

“We had a meeting first with the sheriff (because) we’re concerned that we’re seeing a lot of people who are getting out of jail, not getting plugged in to mental health systems …” With the draft report on the overlap between mental health patients and frequent visitors to the jail in hand, Whitley called Bartoz.

“We’re kind of a like a wedding planner,” Bartoz said of Partnership Carson City. “We bring all the resources together. He called us on (Oct. 17) to see what we could get done and, coincidentally, we had a steering committee meeting (two days later).”

Whitley came to the meeting and presented his ideas and then the snowballing group contacted McEllistrem.

The concept is not novel to McEllistrem, who had seen an earlier implementation of the Crisis Intervention Training program come and go as funding came and went.

“We’ve been here before,” McEllistrem said. “We’ve done this before. We could never maintain it or sustain it. We’re reworking a program from the past but now we have the support of the state.”

The Crisis Intervention Training program, too, is being brought back into full swing come March, when the first training is planned. Much like the FASTT program, the CIT program aims to bring those who need help into contact with the Carson City’s mental health resources, although its aim is broader.

“CIT is not just mentally ill. Your crisis could be schizophrenic but this person’s crisis is they just need shoes,” said Sgt. Daniel Gonzales with the Carson City Sheriff’s Office.

The problem has been here for a long time, Ramsey said. At 63, he’s been in and around the medical field for 20 years. He went back to college at 43, graduated, and then bounced around before finally finding himself at the Carson City Jail.

“This is kind of great,” Ramsey said. “Ever since we lost our mental institutions, those people were basically turned out onto the street and a big percentage of them ended up in jail. County jails have been the new mental institution. That’s how it’s been, so this is kind of a step in a new direction, which I appreciate.”

Whitley was impressed by Furlong’s own willingness to emerge from his silo. Furlong was the first sheriff to attend the meetings between the state and the local governments on the issue.

“He’s been directly involved,” Whitley said. “I thought it would be more challenging.”

“This has come together quicker than any dealing I’ve had with the state in 30 years,” Bartoz said.

Freedom Ride: Group travels across U.S. to honor veterans

ELKO — The thunder rolled into Elko Wednesday night with a police escort and roared out of town Thursday morning with honk, a smaller escort and a single salute.

The Freedom Riders, on the National Veterans Awareness Ride, were treated to dinner Wednesday night at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Gasper J. Salaz Post 2350. The VFW, American Legion Post 7 and the POW/MIA Elko Awareness Association all helped to put on the dinner . . .

May 18, 2012 —  Originally published in the Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO — The thunder rolled into Elko Wednesday night with a police escort and roared out of town Thursday morning with honk, a smaller escort and a single salute.

The Freedom Riders, on the National Veterans Awareness Ride, were treated to dinner Wednesday night at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Gasper J. Salaz Post 2350. The VFW, American Legion Post 7 and the POW/MIA Elko Awareness Association all helped to put on the dinner.

National Veterans Awareness Ride National Coordinator Jerry Conner makes sure the ride goes smoothly.

“It’s organized to the minute,” he said.

When Conner addressed the assembly at the VFW Post, he said he was amazed by the reception Elko put on.

“If we get this kind of help along the whole U.S., we’ll be safer and 10 pounds heavier by the time we get (to Washington, D.C.,)” he said. “We’ve got the whole damn town of Elko out here.”

The American Legion, POW/MIA Awareness Association and the VFW donated the food and their time to put the dinner on, American Legion Commander James Macpherson said.

Anyone who wants to join the ride can find the schedule at www.nvao.us.

Why we do it

The riders started Wednesday morning in Auburn, Calif., and headed to Reno’s Veterans Association Medical Center. They greeted every veteran and took the in-hospital vets on a walk, or a push in a wheelchair, around the neighborhood, spending the time to get to know them.

“We did a walk and roll,” said Mike Kline, 64, a veteran of the Vietnam War from Iowa.

“Sometimes we’re the only visitors (the vets) get for a whole year,” he said.

The group will ride to Washington D.C., by Memorial Day and go to the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

“The fact that I could stop and thank the vets, that’s why I got involved,” Kline said.

Kline, who was drafted into the military and served in 1964 as a medic in the 25th infantry division, added a thousand miles to his normal ride from Iowa to California and the capitol by taking a southern route.

“I rode from Iowa down to Texas,” he said.

In Amarillo, Texas, on his way to Auburn via a southern route, he was riding with a group of five other veterans. They stopped at a local restaurant and talked with an elderly couple.

By the time the group went to pay for their dinner, more than $200 for the six of them, they found the elderly couple had already paid the tab, presumably just because they were veterans going on a cross-country tour to visit with other vets.

“We were just amazed that somebody would do that just because we’re vets,” he said.

In Reno, Kline visited with Carl, a vet with a paralyzed leg.

Kline went to the trailer the group hauls behind them and gave Carl a National Veterans Awareness Ride hat.

“The sun was shining so hard,” Kline said. “He was so shocked or happy or overwhelmed, I’m not sure what the right word is. You would have thought I’d given him a million dollars.”

How much the simple act of kindness meant to Carl, an embossed hat to keep his sensitive skin from burning beneath the spring sun, is why Kline rides.

Buzz

No one knows Paul Neeb by his first name on the ride. They all know him as Buzz.

For Neeb, from Ann Arbor, Mich., it’s the eighth time he’s done the run.

Neeb, 75, volunteered for the draft for the Korean War because his brother was there.

“The war was just winding down, so I didn’t get to go to Korea,” he said.

Neeb looked around the lobby at the veterans milling about, some eating their continental breakfast. “I don’t have the same hardships of these Vietnam vets,” he said.

Buzz’s time in Reno was spent with a 90-year-old woman who was a nurse during World War II.

“We talked for 15 minutes,” he said. “They’re so happy to have someone to talk to them. It can get pretty damn emotional.”

Each ride is dedicated to a vet who has died. This year the ride is dedicated to Neeb’s old friend Craig, whom he rode with.

Neeb had lunch with Craig’s widow and picked up Craig’s old riding vest.

He will wear the vest for the length of the ride and Craig’s widow will fly to the capitol and leave the vest at the wall, trying to find some kind of closure.

“It’s going to be hard when we get there,” he said.

Filling the void

While many of the Vietnam veterans felt the sting of coming home to an unwelcoming country, they had each other.

Carol Scamara, from Sonora, Calif., felt it from both the military and civilian sides.

“When you came out of the conflict, you didn’t tell people where you were,” she said.

The sense of belonging she, and other veterans, feel on the ride is part of the reason she goes.

“To go on something like this, where you’re just accepted,” is something she needed.

“It fills a little bit of a void,” she said.

It’s not just the veterans of the Vietnam era who want that belonging.

When Carol visited the Reno VA medical center Wednesday, she met with a veteran named Jerry in the breakfast room.

“Don’t let them leave without me,” he told her, referring to the riders.

Jerry couldn’t leave without his vest though. The nurse fetched the vest and put it on him.

“He said, ‘Now, I’m ready to go,’” she said.

Jerry looked down at his legs.

“I’m out of uniform,” he said.

“I had to put the pin (a small metal National Veterans Awareness Ride ribbon) on his vest,” she said. “It brought us all to tears. He just wanted to belong.”

Carol and her retired Marine husband Larry are on the ride for the first time.

“(Larry) turned 65, so that’s what we wanted to do,” she said.

Larry is conscious of his age, both old and young.

“I need to go now because, health wise, if I don’t go, I may never,” he said.

But it isn’t just his maturity he’s conscious of.

Larry joined the Marines when he was 17 and went to Vietnam at 18, he said.

Carol chimed in: “He graduated as a sophomore in high school” when he joined at 17.

Larry’s first tour was 18 months, in 1969. He went back for two more tours.

Larry went on to have a career in the military and finally retired in 1986.

“I’d always heard about the rolling thunder,” he said. “My friend went two years ago and talked about how it was a life changing experience.”

For Larry, it will be his first time visiting the wall. He will be leaving a poem for a dear friend who lost her brother, he said.

The poem isn’t the only thing he’ll be leaving; the Scamaras have been picking things up along the way since they started Tuesday.

“The wall stirs up the past,” he said. “It stirs up a lot of guilt. Lots of friends were killed.”

Larry himself would have been killed had it not been for a soldier who replaced him on patrol.

“He was shot and killed,” he said. “He had just gotten there a month before.”

———

Freedom Ride: Group travels across U.S. to honor veterans as a PDF

http://elkodaily.com/news/local/group-travels-across-u-s-to-honor-veterans/article_688013fe-a0f9-11e1-b726-001a4bcf887a.html

Burning Questions: course teaches how to investigate a fire

ELKO — The facts, at the outset, were few. A fire had charred the ground, although the cause was unknown.

A lady was camping out of her Jeep Cherokee, hanging out right next to the burn drinking whiskey from a bottle with her small dog on a pink leash.

She even managed to intimidate some of the firefighters . . .

May 22, 2012 — Originally published in the Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO — The facts, at the outset, were few. A fire had charred the ground, although the cause was unknown.

A lady was camping out of her Jeep Cherokee, hanging out right next to the burn drinking whiskey from a bottle with her small dog on a pink leash.

She even managed to intimidate some of the firefighters.

“She freaked us out,” said Elizabeth Gameros, a volunteer firefighter with Storey County since 2007.

The lady wasn’t really crazy and the fire didn’t get out of control because it was set by firefighters as part of a week-long class in fire investigation.

The northern Nevada area is bereft of enough fire investigators and Greg Liddicoat, who was leading the class, wanted everyone to succeed.

Investigating fires is a system, not magic. It is structured so that every fire investigation goes the same way, every single time.

“It’s a systematic methodology,” he said.

Liddicoat said he wanted the students to come away with one thing, more than any other. He wanted them to be able to do a fire investigation the same way time and time again.

“Once you learn it (the system), it becomes easy,” he said.

If they could teach that to their fellow firefighters, fellow police officers, fellow deputies and coworkers, they had probably learned the system right.

“I love this,” Liddicoat said. “I’ve been doing it for 33 years.”

The crazy lady kept on sitting in her chair, her dog wrapping itself around the legs of one of the students who was trying to figure out what she knew and saw and whether she started the fire or could lead him to who did.

Wading through the ashes

The role-playing scenario was part of the fourth day of the fire investigation class. It was meant to take the ducks out of the water and put them in the ashes of a brush fire.

Don Unruh was one of those ducks, or more aptly, one of the deputies with the Elko County Sheriff’s Office, taking the class. Because part of his job is to interview subjects, he wasn’t allowed to do the talking. It was his forte.

Instead, he would be getting down on his hands and knees and searching, often with a magnifying glass, through the remains of the fire.

The class has changed Unruh’s entire outlook on his job.

“I wish I could apply this to cases I’ve already had,” he said, referring to the methodology of the class.

The class, Unruh said, was about investigation, but investigation through a system, often of documentation.

“Document, document, document and map the points,” he said.

“I’m going to apply the methods, procedures and documentation” as a deputy, he said.

The class forces the students to think about even the “tiniest details,” he said.

“It really enforces the need not to shoot from the hip,” he said.

Unruh will be applying the methods he’s learned as an often-times first responder to fires.

“We’re usually the first or second on scene,” he said.

Goodbye, comfort zone

Unruh soaked up the instruction and the methodology and so too did Gameros. She, on the other hand, had to interview the crazy lady and exit from her comfort zone of heat and light and ash to whiskey, people and a small dog.

The crazy lady who freaked Gameros out was actually Liddicoat’s wife, playing crazy for the day, to help the students deal with a real-life scenario.

“It’s good to role-play to get used to dealing with these people,” Gameros said.

Gameros liked the class just as much as Unruh and said she, much like him, will be able to go back to her department and teach the system and methodology she learned.

She already teaches CPR and first aid and now she can add fire investigation to the list.

“I want to help out the (Storey County fire) department,” she said.

If nothing else, the class has been an incredible experience for her.

“I’ve learned so much in the past week,” she said. “The hands-on element is amazing.”

Arsonists, negligent parties beware

“We’re really short,” Elko City Deputy Fire Chief Mike Hecht said. “We’ve only got three (investigators) in the whole area.”

The class will produce more investigators, though it may take up to two years before these students can graduate to investigating fires on their own.

The students must go with one of the current three investigators to a series of fires and get their task books signed off on, Hecht said. The complexity of the fire determines how many more they must go on.

“We won’t have to pull (an investigator) from Battle Mountain or Winnemucca,” he said.

Hecht was co-teaching the class.

Arsonists who don’t want to end up in jail aren’t the only ones who need to realize that fire investigation is a serious matter.

By the policies of most agencies, most fires need to be investigated, Greg Liddicoat said.

“Where the fire starts determines who picks up the bill,” he said.

Fire investigation, and the classes, have been evolving and growing stronger because of the increased costs of fighting fires and the necessity of finding out who will be paying for them.

And if the fire is human-caused, the party may very well be liable for the cost of the fire fighting.

“It’s not getting cheaper,” Liddicoat said. “Negligence can lead to a bill,” he said.

———

Burning Questions: course teaches how to investigate a fire as a PDF

http://elkodaily.com/news/local/course-teaches-how-to-investigate-a-fire/article_b50fcfc4-a424-11e1-903e-0019bb2963f4.html

New law requires off-road vehicles to register

ELKO — Off-highway vehicles are ubiquitous in Nevada, from dune buggies on Sand Mountain to hunters retrieving their kills.

Come July 1, Nevada residents who want to buy an off-highway vehicle, such as an all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile, will have to register it within 30 days after purchase. Residents who already own OHVs will have to register them with the Department of Motor Vehicles by July 1, 2013 . . .

June 23, 2012 — Originally published in the Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO — Off-highway vehicles are ubiquitous in Nevada, from dune buggies on Sand Mountain to hunters retrieving their kills.

Come July 1, Nevada residents who want to buy an off-highway vehicle, such as an all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile, will have to register it within 30 days after purchase. Residents who already own OHVs will have to register them with the Department of Motor Vehicles by July 1, 2013.

OHVs purchased out of state after July 1, 2012, will have to show that Nevada sales tax has been paid on them before they can be titled and registered, according to the Department of Motor Vehicle’s website.

Aye, there’s the rub

“The original genesis is because people were buying (OHVs) out of state with no title and no sales tax,” Off-Highway Vehicles Commission Chairman Paul Jackson said.

An ATV that costs $6,000, at a sales tax rate of 7 percent, costs an extra $420 in sales tax.

OHVs bought before July 1, 2012, will not be required to show proof of paid sales tax in the state.

The commission, which is appointed by the governor, has been working for six years to ready the registration regulations, Jackson said.

With an estimated $2 billion spent in the state on OHV recreation, something was needed to administer and maintain the networks of roads.

“That’s billion with a B,” Jackson said.

The fee, around $30, will exclusively benefit OHV trails through maintenance and signage, he said.

OHVs, after July 1, 2013, must be registered once a year.

The forms to register are on the DMV’s OHV website at dmvnv.com/ohv.

The OHV Commission’s website, with information on the subject, will be live on Monday at nvohv.com.

“No one knows how many OHVs are in the state,” Jackson said.

The regulations Nevada has created will allow people with Nevada OHVs to use their vehicles in states that have similar OHV registration programs, according to the Nevada DMV website.

The blanket fine for failing to register, for new OHVs after July 1, 2012, or for older ones July 1, 2013, is $100.

File by mail

“It’s important for dealers to become licensed OHV dealers,” DMV Public Information Officer Kevin Malone said.

The packet for OHV dealers is on the DMV’s OHV website.

All registration, if not done through a dealer, will be handled by mail, Malone said.

OHV owners should not come into a DMV office because all of the transactions and interactions will be done through the mail or online.

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New law requires off-road vehicles to register as a PDF

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