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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
April 3, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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April 3, 1997

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10 Thursday, April 3, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette Editorial I Home, Homestead on the Range By Robert Lewes Last place I expected to read this was in the Washington Post, the national weekly edition of which we continue to get to keep up on activities in the Beltway. Not exactly what one would expect to read in a publication of the eastern establishment. For much of the last two centuries, homesteading has been associated with primarily the rural west. In fact, it was the way most of the West was settled and the way many of our towns of today were initially formed and developed. And in a throwback to the homestead era, a vast sprawling mass of the Nevada bigger than Las Vegas and Reno combined- Nevada' s two major urban areasuis going to be placed on the auction block this week, offering bidders a chunk of the Silver state for as little as $50 an acre. Interestingly, much of today's Nye, Esmeralda, and Clark Counties originally resulted from either large land grants or homesteading by the early settlers in the area. In fact, the ownership of many of the large farms and ranches in the Amargosa, Fish Lake, and can be traced to original homesteading of the area. However, if this modern version of homesteading sounds appealing. It could be a deal for you. And it just might be, but there's one small catch- the land available is remote, very remote to say the least. There are no roads, no power, and very little water, which at times in the desert can be more precious than all the gold buried beneath the ground. "This is cowboy property eight to ten miles off the nearest freeway," broker John Blom explained at a recent meeting with potential bidders in Las Vegas. The government gave the roughly 1.4 million acres to a railroad company to expedite completion of the transconti- nental railroad back in 1896. Almost a hundred years later, in 1995, the land-rich and cash-poor Santa Fe Railroad sold their excess high-desert land to a real estate company, the Nevada Land Resource Co, of Reno. The 101 parcels involved, ranging from 155 - 714 acres, are scattered across 340 miles of desert from the east of .erie to the town of Wells, most of them within a relatively short drive---or horseback ride--off Interstate 80. This is roughly west of the northeastern area out of state made famous by Hollywood actors Bing Crosby and Jimmy Stewart, who ran cattle on their vast rural Nevada spreads during the fifties. "We feel there is a property available for everybody," said Julie Schneider of LFC Communications Ltd, which is marketing the land for the owners. In addition to the personal pitches, prospective bidders also received a slick brochure with detailed instructions for making an offer on the properties. Minimum bids for the parcels containing 640 acres--one square mile--range from $29,900 in Churchill County to more than $1,110 in Elko County. John Houston, director of Nevada Land Resource, said the company received inquires from as far away as Hong Kong, England, and Germany. For some bidders, the proximity of the railroads or the interstate offers retail or industrial potential. For others, the sheer remoteness of the northeastern Nevada area was in itself the lure. "There are checkerboard sections," Houston said. "A square mile all to yourself and it touches other corners of square miles that touch absolutely nothing." If that's your thing, this could be the opportunity of a liietime. No nasty neighbors to contend with, no fences, no by R.P.L urban traffic or congestion; in fact as we said earlier, there are no roads, no power, and very little water, but there's lots of wide open spaces if that's what you are looking for. While reading about them in an article in the Washington Post might be somewhat unusual, land auctions in rural Nevada are not. For example, a little more than 100 years ago this month, the entire townsite of Hawthorne was auctioned off to provide for a new central Nevada rail stop for the Carson and Colorado Railroad. THERE' S A LOTof history to be found hidden in these Nevada hills, and the Nevada Commission for Cultural Affairs, appointed by the governor and funded by the Legislature, provides funding to preserve historic sites and structures for the benefit of present and future generations as cultural centers. This year, 17 such organizations from around the state received a total of $2 million for this purpose. While the majority of this year's recipients are from northern Nevada more space around the principally Carson City, Reno, and Virginia City, Tonopah, Boulder City, Caliente,and McGill also shared in the awards. Unlike many rural county governments, Nye County in particular, the state Legislature appears to be rolling in money, blessed with an excess of cash. When it's tallied up in June, the state budget will show a handsome surplus in the quarter-billion-dollar range. Singled out by some of the more miffed southern media for his legislative dash for cash was our own 36 th Dist. Assemblyman Roy Neighbors, the Tonopah Democrat who can only be accused of making sure that his constituents get their fair share of the legislative largesse. And out-numbered by his legislative counterparts from both Las Vegas and Reno, Neighbors, the retired Nye County manager, succeeded in getting $600,000, one of the largest this year, for museum repairs and the establishment of a mining park in Tonopah, the Nye County seat. But Roy wasn't alone in reaching for the legislative cookie jar, Clark County rural Assemblywoman Gene Segerbloom, also a democrat, picked up $407,000 of the big ones for exhibits at the Boulder City Museum. Does all of this go to prove, as some northern legislators have suggested," there just ain't no culture in Las Vegas?" FOR AS YOUNG a country as America is, we seem to be a nation hopelessly addicted to anniversaries. Before this month is out for example, we will have observed the second anniversary of the senseless terrorist type bombing of the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 innocent victims, including a number of women and children. After spending the last two years in federal prison, the alleged master-mind of the terrorist-type attack, Timothy McVeigh will finally get his day in court, although judicial jurisdiction of the controversial case has been moved to Denver to insure a fair trial for the defendant. While the tremors of the shockwave which radiated from the incredulous act of terrorism radiated across the nation, they were also, felt dangerously close to home as Terry Nichols, formerly of Las Vegas, was arrested along with McVeigh as a co-conspirator in the bombing of the Okla- homa City Federal building. Never did know Nichols, but we met his ex, Lana Padilla, when she was partners with a friend of ours, Key Bignotti, in the real estate business in Las Vegas. Padilla, who authored the book "By Blood Betrayed," continues to live in the area with the couple's now 14-year old son, Josh, but is not granting any interviews at this time, partly because of a gag order imposed on the case, and due to her travel schedule to Denver as a witness in the McVeigh case, and also in the prosecution of her ex-husband, the father of their youngest child. If convicted McVeigh and Nichols face the death penalty for the April 19,1995 bombing that killed a total 9f 168 people. In the federal case, the alleged co-conspirators are charged only with the deaths of the eight federal workers killed. However the state of Oklahoma continues to have a hold on them for the remaining 160 civilian victims of the blast. There are those who continue to contend that the Okla- homa City bombing was done out of a warped sense of revenge for the controversial actions of federal agents in the Waco (Texas) assault on the Branch Davidian religious cult, also on April 19,1993. That ominous date, which claimed the lives of 80 mem- bers of the religious cult, is also the date commemorated in history for the shots fired at Lexington and Concord that triggered the Revolutionary War in 1775. Some frank talk about newspapers and their demise Let's talk about newspapers, particularly small rural newspapers. The death of a newspaper is a terrible tiff ng to see. A piece of the eommtmity dies with that newspaper. This would seem to be the case with the Prospector, published in Goldfield. Owner/publisher Ken Jackson died and with him gone there is no one to continue with the paper. Now, the Prospector filled a void in Esmeralda County. No other paper really covered the territory. Certainly.not with the personal perspective that only a local paper can give. The Gazette tried to cover Goldfield and Esmeralda but this was a big project with very little return. Commissioner meetings were impossible since the Nye County Commis- sion meets on the same day. Our coverage of the Esmeralda commissioners, when we had it, was supplied by third party individuals. We'll continue to supply as much coverage as we can and perhaps, with the loss of the Prospector, try to be more cognizant of that community's needs. (There are rumors that some individuals are going to try and resurrect the Prospector. If this should come to be we will be the first to wish them the best of success). Some folks think the Gazette is just a Pahrump newspa- per, That'snot true. We try hard to give as much regional coverage as possible. It's a tall order and we often miss a good story in this large coverage area, but we try our best. Why did the paper change it's name from Death Valley Gateway Gazette to the Pahrump Valley Gazette? It was strictly a business decision, not an editorial one. We were experiencing some pretty tough economic times. Some- thing had to be done about it. Up north they called us a "Pahrump" paper, while in Pahrump they called us a NORTHERN EXPOSURE by Dave Downing "Tonopah" paper. We rather liked this, editorially, because it showed we were doing the job we intended. The fact of the matter was that we were failing to get enough advertising and the major adver- rising base in this county is in Pahrump. The time had come for us to identify ourselves with the Pahrump area. While still trying to provide regional coverage, our advertising has jumped by leaps and bounds. Each newspaper in Nye County has a somewhat different slant on the news coverage of the area. To read each paper is to get a different point of view in this coverage. Each is a fine newspaper. Some like one, some like another. At least there is a choice -- and that's what makes multiple newspa- pers such a gret thing. There are three newspapers available in Pahrump, this one, the Pahrump Valley Times and the Valley Observer. Up north there are two papers available, this paper and the Tonopah Times-Bonanza. Is there competition among these papers? Of course there is. Newspapers tend to become dull and boring without such competition -- another great ad- vantage to having more than one paper to choose from. At the same time we certainly wish all of our competitors .SUCCESS. It is discouraging to hear of a part-time employee of another newspaper referring to our paper as a "rag." I would never call his paper such a thing. In fact, I have a very high respect for that paper. Then, I guess I have to consider that this is not a professional newspaper person saying this but a part rime amateur photographer. This newspaper has won numerous awards for it's work. While it's true the paper tends towards snappy headlines, controversial editorials, etc., this is a style. We choose that style because it sets us apart from our competitors and offers area readers a different look. In the meantime, Goldfield and Esmeralda County have lost their newspaper. They must now rely on "one of us" to pick up the pieces. We at the Gazette promise to do the best we Call. But, there's nothing like having your own community newspaper. We can't fill that void, only mourn the loss. t 0 Csi\>