By Lisa J. Wolf

Eureka Sentinel Correspondent

COMMISSIONER UPDATES

Commissioner Sharkozy attended a Firewise meeting on March 26 in Reno; the Crescent Valley Fire Department meeting Tuesday the 28th; Wednesday the 29th the Medical Clinic Advisory Committee meeting in Eureka and a Cortez water hearing at the Opera House; a Newmont breakfast meeting April 5 in Elko about the Long Cyn mine by Wells.

Commissioner Etchegaray attended the Newmont meeting on the 21st and the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority meeting on March 31.

Chairman Goicoechea attended the NACO board meeting in Carson City on March 24 and then was in Washington, DC the following week and had “good meetings” and met with Secretary Zinke. Meeting with five of six congressional representatives, Goicoehea said there’s “some movement on sage grouse,” horses and grazing and thinks “we’re gonna see a lot of stuff.” He attended a Sagebrush Ecosystem Council meeting on April 5 which saw “a couple of significant changes to that plan again,” getting the “power-line stuff taken care of and the cellular power stuff.”

The Ecosystem program funded four projects in the state including the highest ranked credit project: Eureka Livestock at 3Bars, “a mecca for the Sage Grouse,” which got funding to do targeted grazing, fencing and continuation of conservation practices already in place.

SENIOR CENTERS

Millie Oram, Senior Centers Director, reported Eureka served 712 meals in March, an average of 31 per day and Crescent Valley served 558, an average of 24 per day; and together the Centers deposited $7,650.65.

ROAD DEPARTMENT

Assistant Public Works Director, Raymond Hodson, related they have been blading in Diamond Valley, Monitor Valley and on the JD Road and have installed several culverts including two on Sheep Creek Road to help with drainage as well as on 16th Street and Roberts Creek Road. They’ve been mowing in Fish Creek and are filling cracks ahead of the street maintenance project. In the North End, culverts have been installed on Cortez Road and they’ve been blading in Crescent Valley and hauling off gravel building up on the streets and are blading at Maggie Creek. The Road and Shop Crew all attended Red Card training.

PUBLIC WORKS

Hodson reported all water systems are working. Five Crescent Valley Volunteer Fire Department and one Beowawe fire fighters are attending a BLM sponsored 30 hour basic wild land fire class at Barrick’s Dean Ranch. Jim Wilkins trucking will be sending up a crusher at the Eureka Landfill April 17 to process material for the EPA in support of this year’s cleanup activities.

Hodson said the Sentinel Museum saw 264 visitors in March and April. The NDF hi track D6 dozer arrived in Eureka for a possible MOU with NDF for use of the dozer for the fire season. The Public Works crew has been finishing the bathroom and cook shack remodel at the ball field and are spraying for weeds around town, the water tanks and sewer ponds.

MEDICAL CLINICS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Garney Damele, Chair of the MCAC, went over the Request for Proposals for clinical services. Two entities responded to the county’s request for information, William Bee Ririe Clinic and Renown in conjunction with Nevada Health Centers with separate contracts being proposed for Eureka and Crescent Valley. The Eureka model proposed by the MCAC includes core staffing of one physician and physician’s assistant for Eureka, one front desk and an after hour nurse hotline. Since the Duckwater Tribe is interested in being included, they are considering adding an additional midlevel with coverage provided to Duckwater for three days a week with a core of 5 days a week of coverage in Eureka.

In addition they’re considering a telemedicine component as they’ve been told that’s the “future of rural Nevada.” They’re also considering a physician that would rotate between the Eureka and Duckwater clinics. In addition, the RFP includes a pharmacy 8 hours a day 5 days a week.

Three physicians have indicated interest in moving back to Eureka so long as the contract is not awarded to Nevada Health Centers.

The MCAC is considering a success-based contract so if there are four providers they get a certain dollar amount per month; if they have three providers, the dollar amount is reduced on a sliding scale and the County doesn’t have to fight on penalties.

Beutel noted NVHC was covered by the federal tort claims act which reduced their need for coverage for medical malpractice and any kind of tort claim.” Beutel saw in the draft paperwork a $1 to $3 million aggregate malpractice insurance coverage requirement and said “many more millions of dollars is necessary for medical malpractice” and suggested they reach out to POOL PAC to get an understanding of appropriate coverage limits.

Lisa George, Jerry Millett and Chairman Rodney Mike of the Duckwater tribe came to share their thoughts. Chairman Rodney Mike of the Duckwater Tribe said, “We’re real excited about this concept that’s developed here; and we really want to see this wheel really get rolling. As you know Duckwater is really rural. You guys are lucky: you’ve got a major highway, we don’t. So, attracting a physician out in our area has been really difficult; we can find a needle in a haystack better than we can find a physician.”

Mike said, “When this concept came up people got excited in our country” and said the Tribe “can help sweeten the pot” and “could probably aid in some kind of vehicle to go back and forth okay; if not, at least fuel, something along that lines; we can probably give a place for the physician to stay down there while he’s down there.”

In addition, Mike said they can make available a diabetic coordinator who can come to Eureka and give classes as well as an individual who teaches diabetics about nutrition and self care.

They also have a full time mental health worker whose service they could share and a pharmacy and purchase pills and medicines at a discount “so we can probably pass that savings on to your folks too.” While “the distance is a little bit of a problem, but we’ve done it for years: our kids have come to school up here forever; we’ve always had a good relationship with you guys up here and we want to continue to do that; and we definitely want to invite you guys to come down and visit our facility.” Mike related they “just built a brand new facility” and have a nice building. “We just gotta put a doctor in it.”

For the pre-award meeting May 15, the proposed providers will come in and have the same questions to respond to and the Duckwater were invited to participate. Proposed providers will be required to demonstrate their telemedicine capabilities and will tour the Eureka medical facility. The RFP submission deadline is Friday, June 2 at 5 p.m. to be opened at the Commission meeting on June 6.

A separate RFP for Crescent Valley will be prepared.

Beutel recommended when talking to NVHC about the site tour to let them know they may have to vacate the premises on or before July 1st and questioned “if they would have to leave, is that within their wheelhouse to even pull it off.”

Beutel asked whether the MCAC has talked to NVHC about medical records and Damele said WBR said “they would just start over” with a new patient record. Beutel suggested working out the medical records issue in advance with NVHC so the issue of medical records availability to patients is clear and records are not destroyed.

Jim Ithurralde said, “The only thing I’m gonna say gentlemen is we gotta get this right because if we don’t this room is gonna be full of 100 people.”

The RFP will become an attachment to the contract with the providers.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Natural Resources Manager, Jake Tibbitts, on March 31 attended the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority meeting where John Ruhs, BLM Director, was present and highlighted that the BLM has a checklist when filing for a public water reserve. Tibbitts got a copy of the checklist developed in the early 1980s which requires the BLM to fufill items on the checklist before filinf for a public water reserve.” Tibbitts said public water reserves filed on recently in Diamond Valley don’t meet their criteria and wants to request . Tibbitts “all of these checklists for this recent adjudication, because I believe they probably weren’t done.”

One of the first criteria is whether a prior right on the source exists and “all these have prior claims,” and many have certificated rights so “most of these would already throw it out.”

Tibbitts said Ruhs was also asked about BLM filings under vested water rights under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and “they didn’t know any of those existed.” Tibbitts is going to send the BLM public affairs officer “the 20 or 30 of them that I know of in the State of Nevada that they filed on; so we may have some traction with the current Administration and BLM and our State Director that’s now going back to DC.”

BLM’S LUPA GOES FORWARD

Tibbitts related that that Judge Miranda Du’s order on the Sage Grouse appeal of the BLM’s Land Use Plan Amendments was that the ROD was partially remanded back to the BLM to prepare a supplemental EIS. Only three counties were found to have standing, one of whom was Eureka County, with the others being Humboldt and Washoe. The ROD was not vacated and continues to move forward, allowing the BLM and FS to continue with implementation. Tibbitts said, “It will go back to the drawing board on some supplemental” with some saying “this is a throwing the counties a bone kind of thing.”

Tibbitts felt there “may be some opportunities through this official remand.” Goicoechea was present in Washington when Secretary of the Interior Zinke presented to the Public Lands Council and said the DOI would be pushing changes in the sage grouse management plans to focus more on sage grouse population numbers than just habitat and went on record saying “you will be pleased with the changes.”

Goicoechea’s signed declaration outlined it was Eureka County’s landfill, power lines, subdivisions of homes, farms with alfalfa fields and irrigation systems, hay barns and important portions of Diamond Valley now classified as priority habitat management area “so that may give us some space” to show “that those areas that are truly not habitat” and “get those carved out of the land use plan amendments because right now where you’re sitting is habitat according to the maps.”

Tibbitts also addressed AB298, the bill from the SNWA allowing 3M plans to be used to determine and approve applications conflicting with existing water rights. Tibbitts noted that all those who stood up in support of the bill were primarily southern Nevada entities. The Laborer’s Union testified “this is a way to end up getting the water needs to Las Vegas so we can build more houses and have more businesses; so it’s very clear that the intent of this bill is to be able to build a pipeline to move water from rural Nevada to southern Nevada.” General Moly was the only mining entity that supported the bill. Tibbitts said the bill is designed to undo the Supreme Court decision “that’s provided guidance about prior appropriation doctrine and you can’t approve an application that conflicts with an existing right. This will undo that and it’s pretty scary.”

Tibbitts said, “You could hear the train coming down the track: it’s getting railroaded pretty quickly.” He anticipates it will pass the Committee and Assembly and called it “a poison pill bill” and counseled focusing “on the Senate side to see what we can do.”

With the bill’s proponents arguing that 70 percent of Nevada’s economic output comes from southern Nevada, Tibbitts thinks the Governor “may have a hard time vetoing a bill that has a lot of these entities lining up in support of it.”

Beutel said, “Got to get ready for the Raiders.”

Tibbitts found troubling that “there’s no benefit anymore for any entity, whether it’s a mining entity or a municipal entity to work out details before; they simply just come forward with their application and say what they’re gonna do; they don’t have to involve the water rights holder whatsoever. If this bill passes; it can be rammed down the throats of prior rights holders.”

Eureka County Commissioners approved:

Expenditures in the amount of $1,021,042.57 which included Yucca Mountain expenditures of $5,874.65; a pass through to the School District of $5,952.26; room tax to the Nevada Department of Taxation of $49.23; to the Nevada Division of Minerals for $140.00 and to the Nevada State Controller for $343,375.53 and a special payment from of $19,346.94;

Merit increases for hourly employees effective July 1;

Giving elected and appointed officials a 3% raise;

Setting the Public Hearing to adopt the tentative budget and tax rates for May 22 at 1 p.m.;

Providing notice to employees that, effective July 1st, Human Resources services will be accessed through the Comptroller’s office, upon termination of the contract with Nevada POOL/PACT Human Resources, effective June 30, 2017;

Ratifying grant application to Nevada Aging & Disability Services Division for Transportation Services Grant #07-000-10-BC-17 in the amount of $22,500.00, with a County match of $3,055.00;

Authorizing the EMS Coordinator to make application for a sub-grant, in the amount of $14,300.00, from Nevada Division of Public & Behavioral Health, Public Health Preparedness, for improvements to the MCI (mass casualty incident) bus;

A request from Don Roahrig, newly elected Humbug of E. Clampus Vitus (Lucinda Jane Saunders Chapter #1881, Elko), to place a historical plaque on the railroad car located at 11 North Main Street in Eureka;

Providing notice to employees that, effective July 1st, Human Resources services will be accessed through the Comptroller’s office, upon termination of the contract with Nevada POOL/PACT Human Resources, effective June 30, 2017;

Authorizing the EMS Coordinator to make application for a sub-grant, in the amount of $14,300.00, from Nevada Division of Public & Behavioral Health, Public Health Preparedness, for improvements to the MCI (mass casualty incident) bus;

Out-of-state travel to California, Arizona, or Utah for two Public Works staff to attend surplus equipment auction(s) in order to purchase a used semi-tractor, pursuant to NRS 332.146;

A letter of resignation from Giovani Minoletti for the Recreation Board;

Appointing Rich McKay to the Recreation Board;

Ratifying comments sent on Roadside Fuel Breaks Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project EA;

Submitting comments on the McEwen Gold Bar Project Draft EIS.