Nevada Correspondence – March 2018

In this edition:


Carson Valley, Elko, Ely, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Lincoln County, North Lake Tahoe, Pahrump, Reno, South Lake Tahoe, Sparks


Carson Valley


On the morning of February 2nd last month, “Punxsutawney Phil,” the legendary weather predicting groundhog saw his shadow.  This, according to folklore, means we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter.  However, here in Carson Valley, my pet guinea pig “Leo” did not see his shadow the morning of February 2nd. To us that means spring is right around the corner!

So my thoughts naturally drifted towards all of the fun ways to really get out and see Carson Valley, as the season begins to change.

Soar with the Eagles

                       Aerial view of Carson Valley (foreground), the Carson Range, Lake Tahoe, and the Sierra Crest on the horizon

Down on the ground here, it is hard to get a good idea of just how big the entire valley really is.  One of the best ways to see it all at one time is to take a glider ride with Soaring NV in Minden.  Just imagine having a bird’s-eye view of everything around you.  And you might even soar with an eagle or two, all with no sound of an airplane engine to ruin the peace while quietly gliding over paradise.

Run with the Horses

                                                            “Shorty” by JT Humphtrey -Wild horses grazing in the Pine Nuts

Once back on terra firma, you’ll be anxious to explore some of the areas you saw from the sky.  You would have glided near the Pine Nut Mountain Range on the east side of Carson Valley where you might have noticed some bands of wild horses.  If you want to get closer to the wildlife there, I know just the man to take you.  JT Humphrey, legendary wildlife photographer and tour guide.  You can book a tour with him into the Pine Nuts to see not only wild horses, but eagles and owls as well.  Humphrey says that he has always been interested in wildlife and the outdoors. Not just viewing them, but protecting them as well. You can also get JT Humphrey’s Tour Itineraries here.

Ride ‘Em Cowboy … and Cowgirl

Now, after you’ve seen the wild horses, you might be in the mood to spend some time with domesticated ones, and even take some lessons to brush up on your riding skills.  Chappell Ranch offers riding classes for children and adults, for one day or the whole weekend.  Kim Chappell has been in the horse business for over 20 years. Chappell says that character building, confidence building and self-esteem are all aspects of the programs that happen naturally when working with horses.

Be Your Own Tour Guide

There’s so much more to see in Carson Valley that you may just want to take off on your own and be your own “tour guide”.  You can take a self-guided tour with the help of a “Discover Carson Valley” map (download), or you can pick one up at the Carson Valley Visitor’s Authority. Sometimes it’s nice to travel at your own pace. Then you can pull over and visit a monument or an historic site to make a random and unexpected discovery. This map will help you do just that.  And since there is so much to see and do here, you’ll probably want to tuck it away in a file to use again for a future visit to Carson Valley.

What Else Is There to Do in Carson Valley?

So now you may ask, “While I’m visiting Carson Valley in March, what events are going on?”   Well of course the Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby at Topaz Lake continues through April 15th. And Topaz Lodge is always a great place for a relaxing and tasty meal, as well as a place to stay over-night … or two.

“Where should we stay if we have an RV or Camper”?  How about the Silver City RV Resort in Minden? They are conveniently located on Hwy 395 in beautiful Carson Valley, and are one of Northern Nevada’s premiere RV campgrounds.

“What is a good choice for a breakfast and/or lunch spot?”  Well, since you are probably considering taking a glider ride, one of the best places to have breakfast or lunch is at the Minden Airport at the Taildragger Café.  It is a personal favorite of mine.  Great food, big plates, colorful characters, and it won’t break your bank! If you’re in a hurry to get back on the road (or back up in the air) they do takeout, too.

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait to get out and get going, discovering and re-discovering our legendary place in Nevada’s history.  You are welcome to join me: just put on your jacket and walking shoes, and I’ll meet you out on the trail!

— Kim Harris



Sheepherder’s Ball

                                                                       Photo credit: Elko Euzkaldunak Club Facebook page.

Elko’s Basque Scene is alive and well. On March 10th the Elko Basque Club is hosting its Annual Sheep Herders Ball at the Basque Clubhouse on Flagview Drive. Dinner starts at 6 p.m., and Basque favorites will be served. Music by Jean Flesher and Mercedes Mendive will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12/person. Bring your appetite and dancing shoes for a great night.

Get Your Green On

The Western Folklife Center is having a Saint Patrick’s Day Party on Saturday March 17th. Our local band Southwind will be playing Celtic music, the bar will be serving Irish drinks, and Irish food will be served, too. The celebration starts at 6 p.m. at 501 Railroad street in downtown Elko. This is a free event and family-friendly, so bring your whole clan down.

                          A Basque rancher (Photo by Linda Duffarena)

Gallery notes

The Northeastern Nevada Museum’s Halleck Bar Gallery has a great exhibit of photographs by Linda Dufferena: “Spurs & Bota Bags: A Retrospective — 40 Years of Ranching in the Nevada High Desert.” The exhibit documents and celebrates the distinctive Basque ranching and sheepherding culture of Northwestern Nevada.

Edible Elko

Elko has a new restaurant worth checking out. Garibaldi’s Mexican Restaurant just opened up on Idaho Street. I went for lunch last week and was pleased. I tried the taco/enchilada lunch special and enjoyed every bite.

— Doug Clarke



Feel Good at Tsaa Nesunkwa, Ely’s New Marijuana Dispensary

                                       Tsaa Nesunkwa is the only marijuana dispensary in Eastern Nevada. (Photo by Matt Weiser)

Bring cash and valid identification to Tsaa Nesunkwa, Ely’s new marijuana dispensary, and leave with a custom-selected product to smoke, eat, drink as a tea, or use as a tincture.

As you step inside the small tiled space attached to the Chevron gas station on Ely Shoshone tribal land along Great Basin Highway, soft music welcomes you. Sign-in, take a seat in the lobby by the flickering flames of the electric hearth in one of the bright green chairs, and you will soon be buzzed through to the shop.

The Ely Shoshone tribe operates Tsaa Nesunkwa (pronounced zaah nuh-soon-gwa, which translates in English as “to feel good.”) through a compact with the state of Nevada under Senate Bill 375. Signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval in June 2017, Senate Bill 375 recognizes the authority of tribes to grow, sell and market marijuana in a state where the drug is legal for medicinal and recreational purposes.

Opened as a medical marijuana dispensary last October, Tsaa Nesunkwa expanded to recreational marijuana on Dec. 2. State law requires purchases at the dispensary to be used within Nevada’s borders.

“We encourage people to use this responsibly,” said Joseph Stark, a manager at the dispensary. “This is medicine, not to be taken advantage of. I always tell people ‘moderation.’” The store reserves the right to refuse service to anyone who appears intoxicated.

                                        Education is foremost for the dispensary’s manager Joseph Stark. (Photo by Matt Weiser)

By law, product sold at the dispensary must be grown in Nevada. Stark sources from growers in Las Vegas, Mesquite and Reno. The Ely Shoshone tribe has plans to begin growing its own marijuana at a new growing facility nearby on the reservation under an agreement with the city.

The store is staffed by five “budtenders.” Like a skilled wine sommelier, budtenders get to know their customers and make recommendations based on an individual’s preferences and needs.

“We ask, ‘What kind of high do you want?,’” Stark explained. “We’re trying to find something that appeals to your body, how you react.”

Budtenders take time with each customer. The store’s atmosphere is friendly, relaxed and professional.

“If someone wants to learn about marijuana, this is the place to come,” Stark emphasized. “We pride ourselves on education.”

Customers include locals and tourists, adults of all ages. Some seek relief from back pain or anxiety. Others are planning for a date night.

“We have a lot of people who want to go camping and take a nice sativa on a hike, to have more energy.”

                      Budtender Lorrie Vostic helps a customer. (Photo by Matt Weiser)

The dispensary is open daily from 11 am until 6:30 pm, and business is steady. This spring, Stark expects to extend hours from 9 am to 9 pm. He looks forward to expanding the business.

“This helps the tribe make a stand on their own independence,” Stark says of the dispensary. “Because we are our own sovereign nation.” The tribal council has plans to use dispensary profits to improve houses, roads and educational opportunities.

Prices for product range from $12 to $500. Military discounts are available with identification. The store also sells growing supplies, t-shirts, glassware and other accessories. Customers can purchase up to one ounce of product at a time for recreational use, and up to two ounces for medical use with a prescription.

“We have great vibes,” Stark said as he greeted customers by name. “We always have a happy attitude. We take you through a small learning course and we explain in detail everything that will happen.”

New Movies, Historic Building

   Ely’s Central Theater–big screen in an historic, Art Deco setting. (Photo by Alexa Mergen)

Just a block off main street sits Ely’s Central Theater, a treasure of Art Deco design and a hub of entertainment for locals and visitors. First run movies change every week or two guaranteeing something for everyone. Fresh popcorn popped in coconut oil and topped with real butter can be washed down with soda (free refills!), beer or wine.

Owners Don and Shirley Purinton have operated the theater for four years, managing all details from concession sales to cleaning. They purchased the theater after retiring from positions with the phone company and the school district and have poured heart and soul into modernizing the customer experience — updated sound system and digital projection, efficient heating, new screen, and tasty snacks — while preserving the historic charm.

                                                Co-owner Don Purinton’s popcorn is a crowd pleaser. (Photo by Alexa Mergen)

The theater originally opened in March 31, 1941 and has operated almost continuously. When the Purintons purchased the building it was on its way to becoming a storage facility. Don and Shirley have steadily restored interior and exterior details. Recently, a patron donated custom-made handles for the entry’s double doors. The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“People need to have things to do,” Shirley said, in between selling tickets for a packed Sunday matinee showing of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” in February. Shirley, who grew up in Ely, saw movies at the theater when she was a child.

          Central Theater co-owner Shirley Purinton sells tickets. (Photo by Alexa Mergen)

“A lot of people love the theater. They come here because of the big screen. And it’s cheap.” It’s common to see a full parking lot on a weekday evening and to find kids’ bikes piled by the lobby doors on a weekend afternoon.

The Purintons keep ticket prices low so everyone can enjoy the theater experience. Kids’ matinee price is $5. Evening adult admission is $8. Discounts apply for active military, senior citizens and high school students with identification.

The family-friendly feel includes a “cry room” just off the lobby. “We have three seats inside,” Shirley explained. “You can take your baby in there and still see and hear the movie.”

Upcoming movies include “The Greatest Showman,” “The Post,” “Peter Rabbit,” “Fifty Shades Freed,” and “Black Panther.”

Ely’s Central Theater is located on 15th Street. Tickets are available online and at the box office. Credit cards accepted. Shows run nightly at 7 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm.

Turkey Vulture Stretch Welcomes Birds to Ely

What big bird merits an annual fun run in its honor? The turkey vultures of Ely. When they return to the city in March, residents and visitors lace up to run and walk a 5K race through downtown. This year’s race, the fourth, will be held Saturday, March 17 at 10 am.

“It’s a good event to get out of the winter blues and get outside and enjoy the community,” said Nancy Herms of Ely Outdoor Enthusiasts (EOE), the group that organizes the 5K Turkey Vulture Stretch. “I always thought that we needed a turkey vulture festival.”

                                                      Walking the Turkey Vulture Stretch through Ely (Photo by Nancy Herms)

Attendance for the event averages 50 children and adults. Top three finishers among the women, men and children are timed and recorded. Everyone who registers receives a t-shirt. The EOE donates a  portion of proceeds to a local cause that encourages physical fitness.

Nevada’s turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) spend winters farther south, possibly as far away as South America. With a wingspan as wide as six feet, unfeathered red heads and bright white feet, the birds’ presence is unmistakable as they gather in a committee in the trees of the City Cemetery or soar the thermals as a kettle in the open skies of White Pine County. Perched birds open their wings to sun them, hence the “stretch” in the name of the race.

The turkey vulture is the only New World vulture found in Nevada. Turkey vultures typically raise two chicks a year with both parents caring for the young. Throughout the United States, the bird is legally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The generic term Cathartes means “purifier.” As carrion feeders, the birds play an important role in the ecosystem by disposing of carrion that could otherwise become a source of disease. And, though Ely runs in honor of the turkey vultures, the birds themselves are ungainly on the ground and require great effort to become airborne.

The 5K Turkey Vulture Stretch starts at the County Park across from White Pine Middle School, near the duck pond. To guarantee a T-shirt, pre-register by March 6 for the race through this link. About 75% of participants pre-register. Same-day registration starts at 8:30 am and is cash only. Organizers request that you leave pets safely at home.

— Alexa Mergen


Las Vegas

Michelle Johnson Sings at the Smith Center

Vocalist Michelle Johnson has been dubbed “Las Vegas’ First Lady of Jazz;” however, she is equally at home in all musical genres. She will present her one-woman “SPOTLIGHT: My Journey from Backstage to Centerstage” at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center on Friday, March 2 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $22.

Johnson’s show will highlight the multi-talented songstress’ experience as a Broadway actress, session singer, and backup singer for artists including Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Sheena Easton, Gladys Knight, and many, many more.

NASCAR Weekend attracts Race Fans

It’s that time of year for NASCAR racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), March 2-4, but this year there will be a second race weekend in September.

To start off the three days of racing Friday-Sunday, will be the popular NASCAR Hauler Parade with a police escort on Thursday, March 1 from 6-7 p.m. traveling from South Point down the Strip to Sahara, then going to I-15 and out to the raceway via the freeway.

The first tripleheader of the year race weekend will begin on March 2 with the Stratosphere Qualifying and Stratosphere 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, followed on Saturday by the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xinfity Series, and capped off on Sunday with the Pennzoil 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series presented by Jiffy Lube.

Three-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion Antron Brown will serve as the celebrity pace car driver for Sunday’s big race. Brown will pace the field for the 267-lap race, which is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time and will be televised live on FOX. In addition, two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion Matt Hagan and five-time Top Fuel event winner Leah Pritchett will be part of the race-day festivities at 1.5-mile speedway.

Mint 400 Off-Road Race follows NASCAR

The Mint 400 will return to Las Vegas March 7-11. While the race is out in the desert with start and finish line in Primm, Nev., fans can enjoy the display of off-road vehicles, parts and accessories downtown on Fremont Street on Thursday and Friday, March 8 and 9.

Peng Zu at Sucoast celebrates Grand Opening

The newest dining experience at Suncoast – Peng Zu – opened in December and officially celebrated its grand opening with a celebratory Lion Dance and restaurant blessing last week. The restaurant located along the casino’s wall of restaurants evokes a casual noodle shop atmosphere and has a bright and cheerful design. Truly eye-catching are the 50 authentic, screen-printed parasols from China suspended overhead as a ceiling feature. The restaurant’s back wall features a wall-to-wall custom art installation designed with imagery and symbolism representing joy, longevity and good fortune.

Experiencing a tasting, the food is prepared fresh to order and very delectable. Asian favorites comprise the menu with appetizers, soups — especially the nutritious Peng Zu Soup — wok fried specialties, noodles, house specialties, rice and vegetables, combination specials, and desserts.

The restaurant’s name celebrates the legend of Peng Zu – a figure said to have lived more than 800 years. Suncoast’s all-new signature restaurant encompasses the inspiration of using cooking, herbs and spices to promote long life and good health, especially the magical Peng Zu soup recipe, a specialty dish served nightly.

Nevada Casino Memorabilia On Display at State Museum

Last week, the Museum of Gaming History (MoGH) exhibit debuted in the main entry hallway at the Nevada State Museum in the Springs Preserve. The exhibit is comprised of three large sized display cases filled with Nevada casino ashtrays, matchbooks and playing cards.

The exhibit will run through September 2018 and may be extended. A second exhibit phase is already planned showcasing items from the five casinos featured in the 1960 “Oceans 11” movie: Flamingo, Riviera, Sahara, Desert Inn and Sands.

Mini-museums are now also located at the El Cortez, Plaza, Neon Museum and Mob Museum. MoGH will participate in the Nevada Museum Showcase on March 21, which brings together 20 different museums from across the state.

— Jackie Brett



On the Road from Las Vegas to Laughlin: Laughlin

This is Part 3 of a series. Read Part 1 (Searchlight) & Part 2 (Cal-Nev-Ari)

 Now that we’ve made it to Laughlin, let’s start exploring the hotel properties!

There is no better place to start than Don Laughlin’s Riverside Hotel & Casino!  As you are aware, if you have traversed this way before, Don Laughlin made this town what it is today.  The Riverside is a reflection of his progress along the way, with its many casino areas hooked together throughout the property.

But, let’s begin with parking. There are 3 parking areas for you to choose from, depending on where you are going on the property.  Each is easily accessed by stoplights.

                                               Riverside North Tower parking lot

If you are staying in the North Tower, where smoking in the rooms is allowed, you should park in the north side parking lot.  This is extremely helpful if you are checking in or out.  You can leave your luggage in your vehicle to check-in and be able to retrieve it and walk a shorter way to the elevators after you receive your room assignment.

If you are staying in the South Tower, which is the non-smoking tower, you should park on the south side of the property and park the farthest east (closest to the river) since there is an entrance through the non-smoking casino area straight to the elevators for this tower.

                                              Riverside South Tower parking lot

The area is recognizable by the long bus parking spots or the tourist buses themselves.  When you enter from this side you will not have to pass through a smoking section!  This way is a longer walk to the registration desk, so you should definitely check in without your luggage first to save your arms from baggage hauling.

If you are just going to see the Classic Car Collection you would also park on the south side of the property, but closer to Casino Drive and the Valet area.  There are actually 2 showroom entrances (main floor and off the 3rd floor) for the Auto Museum which showcases classic cars, vintage motorcycles, old slot machines, and pool tables. They have hundreds of cars and articles to view.  They also have a gift shop that you pass through when leaving the showroom on the 3rd floor.  It is a self-guided tour, so you can take your time, relax and enjoy the attraction and the views of the river.  This is really worth the visit if you are staying in the hotel.  You can definitely kill an hour or more going through the exhibits.

                                                                                        The Riverside Auto Museum

The Classic Auto Showroom on the main floor is open 10 – 10 daily.  The Main Showroom is accessed from the South Tower on the 3rd floor.  It is open at 9 a.m. daily and until 10 p.m. (Sun.-Fri.) and 11 p.m. (Sat.)  Both exhibits are free if you show a players card!  (The players cards are free at the Casino Promotions desk.)  If you do not have a players card the price is $2 per person.

Tips for the Classic Car Collection showrooms:  1) Go and get a players card BEFORE you go to the Classic Car Collection for free admission. 2)  While they allow children into the exhibits for free, they have signs advising anyone under the age of 21 must be accompanied by an adult.  They will give stern warnings when you enter since they want to avoid damage to their classics and property and because some of the vehicles are on loan to the museum.

                      Pedestrian bridge between the Riverside Hotel and Casino West

Some people are not staying at the hotel and just want to stop in to gamble or go to the restaurants.  Those people can still park in either of the above parking lots; however, if walking is not an issue for you, you can park in the parking garage (especially if it’s summertime!), which is across the street from the hotel.

The parking  garage is useful if you are just going to Riverside Casino West, which is connected to the garage.  Riverside Casino West is in the building next to the garage on the lower level.  It has a large bar, slots and a snack bar.  You can enter through this level and take the escalator or elevator to the second floor to access the restaurant and pedestrian bridge.  (There is also an elevator in the garage to take you to the second floor.)

                                             Casa Serrano Mexican restaurant

If you like Mexican food a good choice is the large, open and airy Casa Serrano on the second level. Try to get a table by the window for a great view while you are dining.  They have an extensive food menu and free chips and salsas before your meal.  The food and margaritas are usually very good, albeit a little pricey, and the restaurant is open at 10:30 a.m. during the week and at 10:00 a.m. on the weekend.  They normally close around 9:00 p.m. each day.

Tips for this restaurant:  1) If you do not see any listed ask if they have any discount specials.  They have lunch specials (during the week only) from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.  On occasion they have offered 10% off your bill if you spend $20+ in food and drinks during the week.  2) They can get very crowded on the weekends, especially around the brunch hour since many local families come here to eat.  3) They do not split checks for groups of people.  If you do talk them into doing this, double-check the pricing to make sure your bills are correct!

                                                                                       The Riverside Bowling Center

From the second level, you can walk across the enclosed pedestrian bridge (you drove under it coming into town) to get to the hotel and main casino areas.  The second floor has their 42,000 square foot bowling center with lanes, a snack bar and pro shop.  They also have a Race and Sports book and bar next to the bowling center. The center can be accessed from both the North and South Towers. Other places on the second floor to explore include their bingo room, movie theaters, Don’s Celebrity Showroom, spa and salons, the prime rib room, gourmet rooms, and the Hideaway Lounge.

There are a couple of down escalators from the second level. The first escalator is right next to a sports vendor at the end of the pedestrian bridge and drops you into the corner casino and large bar area. You should use this escalator if you are staying in the North Tower.Conven-iently located by the elevators that take you up to your room is a Cinnabon /Seattle’s Best Coffee, Pizza Hut Express and Dreyer’s Ice Cream.  Perfect for a late night snack in your room!  (Buy an ice cream cone and ride the elevator up and down, and watch the other tourists drool while you eat it!)

The other escalator farther along the second floor walkway brings you down into The Watch Man (a watch store) and Registration area.  Use this one if you want to avoid going through a couple of the smoking casino areas and to avoid some of the crowds.

                                                                                                  The Watch Man

Tips for this hotel:  1) The non-smoking South Tower has the best views of the river.  The elevators from this tower drop you into the non-smoking casino area, which has a newly remodeled bar, a Fatburger’s and the Sidewalk Café.  2) The North Tower has larger rooms with balconies you can access, but, is the older room tower.  3)  They do allow pets to stay at this hotel.  This is 1 of 3 hotels on The Laughlin Strip that has pet rooms.  Check with reservations to find out their requirements including size, type and additional charges.  4)  If you make your reservations on the internet they run a special if you are staying 2 consecutive nights that includes two Riverside Buffets and a 2-for-1 ticket on the Riverside Boat cruise.

                                                                                      The Riverside’s Sidewalk Cafe

(More on Riverside in April)

— Pauline Cimoch


Reminisce at the Riverside with the Lovin’ Spoonful

American rock band The Lovin’ Spoonful will bring their hits to Don’s Celebrity Theater at the Riverside March 8-10 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30.

The Lovin’ Spoonful is well known for a number of hit songs in the 1960s including “Summer in the City,” “Do You Believe In Magic,” “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” and “Daydream.” The New York City band was among the first American groups to challenge the domination of the British Invasion bands in the mid-60s. Between mid-1965 and the end of 1967, the group was astonishingly successful, issuing one classic hit single after another. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Lil’ Mo and the Dynaflos will Rock at the Tropicana

Lil’ Mo and the Dynaflos will bring their high energy show to the Pavilion Theater at the Tropicana on Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

The group was formed in Los Angeles around 2004 at the World Famous Derby Club when “Lil’ Mo” Morris Everett and Cliff Quan discussed their love for Doo Wop music. Everett was a veteran of previous vocal groups and Quan was a rockabilly guitar player in the The Hellzaboppers band. Their upbeat, rockin’ band blends the styles of 50s, 60s, Doo Wop and R&B. The current lineup consists of four vocalists and four musicians.

Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee  “Urban Cowboy Reunion” at the Riverside

Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee will appear together in Don’s Celebrity Theater making for an Urban Cowboy Reunion March 21-25 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $38.

Gilley and Lee began working together in the late ’60s. Gilley’s love of music was developed by him sneaking up to club windows to absorb the haunting sound of Louisiana rhythm and blues. Lee’s interest in rock ‘n’ roll had him leading a high school band called Johnny Lee and the Roadrunners. For 10 years, both artists worked together on the road and at Gilley’s Club in Pasadena, Texas. The soundtrack from the 1980 hit movie “Urban Cowboy,” which was largely shot at Gilley’s, catapulted the two to fame. Gilley experienced his first success with “Room Full of Roses” released in 1974. Lee released “Lookin’ for Love,” which was the No. 1 country record in 1980.

Chris Stapleton is next Laughlin Event Center headliner 

Kentucky-born Chris Stapleton is a singer, songwriter and guitarist. He will be center stage at the Laughlin Event Center on Saturday, March 24 at 8 p.m. At the 51st Annual CMA Awards, Stapleton was awarded Male Vocalist of the Year for the third-straight year. Tickets start at $95.

As a vocalist, Stapleton’s music styles include country, Southern rock and bluegrass. He was the lead for two music groups including The SteelDrivers from 2008-2010 before going solo.

In 2015, he released his debut double platinum studio album “Traveller.” His second studio album was “From A Room: Volume 1” released in May 2017, which garnered him CMA Album of the Year and a Grammy Award for Best Country Album. In December 2017, he released “From A Room: Volume 2.”

On the songwriting side of the business, prolific Stapleton has co-written six Country No. 1 songs including Kenny Chesney’s “Never Wanted Nothing More,” George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright,” Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer,” and Darius Rucker’s “Come Back Song.”

— Jackie Brett


Lincoln County

Pioche Fire House added to National Register of Historic Places

Add another building to the National Register of Historic Places in the town of Pioche.

The National Park Service announced new listings in February, including the Ely Fire Station and the Pioche Fire House, adding to the more than 300 historic sites in Nevada.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Henry Brean noted that the two firehouses were built in the late 1920s. He wrote, “The Ely City Hall and Fire Station, about 240 miles north of Las Vegas, has housed city government offices for almost 90 years and served as headquarters for Ely’s fire department from 1929 to 1999. The Pioche Fire House, 175 miles northeast of Las Vegas, housed that community’s fire department from 1928 until 1954, when a larger, more modern station replaced it.”

At the same time, the park service officially accepted a special report by the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office on historic fire stations across the state. The report provides a history of firefighting and fire station architecture in Nevada and establishes registration requirements for historic stations, making it easier for community members to nominate their eligible firehouses to the National Register.

Brean further noted, “This report directly led to the historic listings for the firehouses in Ely and Pioche.”

John Christian, general manager of Lincoln County Telephone, said he knows the local firemen have “worked hard to keep the long-time unoccupied building painted and looking good.”

Connie Simkins, who grew up in Pioche, remembers the firehouse as being “a light green building that was up the street from Tilly’s.” She also remembers that “the Pioche Labor Day Committee, during the 1950s and 60s, used the building to construct their floats.”

Long-time resident Mike Fogliani, himself once a volunteer fireman in Pioche, said he remembers that in his youth, “the fire chief, Tuffy Klein, lived in an apartment in the basement. When the siren, located on the County Courthouse, as it still is, would sound, all he had to do was just run upstairs and open the double doors.”

He noted the inside of the building was not large, “just a big garage with just room enough for one engine and just enough room to get by it. There was some room at the back of the building and the stairway leading to Mr. Klein’s apartment.”

Since the Pioche fire department was established in 1864, there was no doubt a time when the fire engine was horse drawn, but where the horses were kept Fogliani did not know. Motorized fire engines probably did not come into use in Pioche until a little before World War I.

The firehouse had a bell on top of the building, still there today, and it could be rung with a cord to sound the alarm.

He said he remembers the fire station, “at first had a Ford fire truck, then later added a second Mack fire engine.”

Fogliani also noted that, “Tuffy Klein had two nephews who would often visit during the summer when school was out during the 1950s. They were fairly close in age to me and my brother and we would play around the engine in the fire house. Tuffy would let us boys go upstairs with a soft cloth to polish the engine, polish the bell or siren, sit in the seat, but not play with any of the buttons. The steering wheel, we could touch.”

When Fogliani was a volunteer fireman, and also owned Tilly’s Market, “Whenever the fire siren would go off, I would just lock up the store and run over to the fire station. Or I might just yell at somebody across the street to ‘watch the store,’ and I’d run off.” All the neighbors would come out to watch.

Fogliani says he wishes he knew more about the history of the old firehouse; what stories it could tell!

Nevada residents who wish to nominate historic fire stations in their community to the National Register are encouraged to contact the state historic preservation office in Carson City. A copy of the report can be found on the preservation office’s website at:

— Dave Maxwell


North Lake Tahoe

Spring is kicking off in a big way with Snowfest, a week-long North Lake Tahoe festival filled with family-friendly activities spreading from Kings Beach to Truckee. Fireworks shows, ice sculpting contests, parades and the 30th Annual Gar Woods Polar Bear Swim are just a few of Snowfest’s best events taking place March 1-11. Here are some other highlights to help conjure up the snow gods:

March 1: Kick-off party at Gar Woods and Selfie Scavenger Hunt in Tahoe City– People who take selfies at Tahoe City businesses may enter to win an ultimate Tahoe City Summer Event Package. Then later, join the Snowfest kick-off party and queen coronation at Gar Woods. A $35 donation includes wine, beer, appetizers and Wet Woodys from 5-8pm and live music with Groove Foundry.

March 3: 2nd Annual Snowball Drop– Following the parade in Tahoe City, head over to the Winter Sports Park/golf course for the Snowball Drop! In this, you can purchase “snowballs” (aka “ping pong balls” for $10 apiece to win against other snowballs. Afterwards, the principals of local schools have a real snowball fight.

March 4: Fat Cat’s 2nd Annual Hot Wing Eating Contest– Think you got what it takes to eat a ton of hot wings dipped in scorching hot sauce? Test your palate at the hot wing contest at Fat Cat at 3pm following the Dog Pull (to be held behind Plumas Bank at 1pm).

March 7: Wine n’ Ice at Truckee River Winery– Once again, watch amazing local artists carve incredible ice sculptures as you sit back with a glass of wine and listen to DJ Chango. The party goes from 11am-7pm. It’s a $10 donation to get in on the fun and all ages are welcome.

March 9: Bridgetender’s Ribfest and Winter Whiteout Party at Alibi Ale Works in Truckee– You may want to go to one or the other since ribs and white clothing don’t really mix, but both of these events are guaranteed to bring loads of fun.

March 11: 14th Annual Dog Race at Tahoe Donner Ski Resort– End your 2018 Snowfest experience by checking out this entertaining dog race at Tahoe Donner, where pups of all shapes and sizes pull covered wagons through a snow-covered track.

For a list of all events including the Kings Beach and Tahoe City parades, fireworks, and details about the Gar Woods Polar Bear Swim, visit

Diamond Peak is also keeping the winter spirit alive in Incline Village with all sorts of events up on the mountain. Bust out your neon onesies for Retro Ski Day on March 11, and ski for free on March 23 if your birthday happens to fall outside of the winter ski season any day between April 16 and December 13.

On March 25, the whole community usually comes out for Diamond Peak’s annual Dummy Downhill. To be held for its 18th year, staff builds a huge jump on its Show-Off run in front of the base lodge and then launches dummies built by local teams off of it. Awards are given the most creative dummy, longest distance, and more. You don’t have to be a skier to enjoy this event, and you will see plenty of action.

Ready to boogie? The Crystal Bay Club Casino has a great lineup of live music this month including Truckee Tribe (March 17), Yonder Mountain String Band (March 22), G. Love & Special Sauce (March 29), and Tainted Love on March 31. Get ready to dance a night or two away and perhaps try your hand at the craps table.

                                                                   English muffin sandwich at Pep’s Place in Tahoe Vista

Located in Tahoe Vista, Pep’s Place is a great pit stop in central North Tahoe or if you’re headed out of town towards Highway 267, and it’s one of the only cafes open in a 5-mile vicinity from Tahoe Vista to Tahoe City during the winter months. Owned by a former manager from Gar Woods, Pep’s Place serves delicious coffees, breakfast sandwiches, and locally-made muffins and breads. My favorite is the English Muffin sandwich: it’s like a breakfast burger made with avocado, butter lettuce, tomato, Havarti cheese, egg, and sausage or bacon on a decently-sized roll. Mmmm ….

Also, don’t forget to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day if you don’t want to get pinched. If you feel like partying with your fellow Irish on March 17, grab a drink and authentic Irish fare at The Paddlewheel, Crosby’s Pub and Grill, or Brewforia. Located next to the Village Ski Loft in Incline Village, Brewforia will have an entire menu of Irish-inspired dishes along with whiskey tasting, music, and games.

— Kayla Anderson



Pahrump’s Granddad of Festivals: a long-standing tradition

The one thing I loved about the town of Pahrump is that  there always seems to be something going on, especially when the temperatures come down in September. When the cooler weather comes, the town becomes like an ant hill and there is buzz of activity.

Whether it’s the farmers market on Saturday, in the middle of the town at Draft Picks sports bar or some kind of rodeo at the McCullough Arena. And when Pahrump is in festival mode the whole town gets into it. It seems all the different parts of Pahrump comes out to celebrate, young and old.

The first Pahrump Fall Festivals centered around the horsemanship of early ranchers and that tradition is still part of today’s Fall Festival. (Photo by Horace Langford Jr.)

Out of all the festivals in town, the Fall Festival is the biggest one of the year and historically is the first one. The four-day festival is held annually on the third week of September, starting on a Thursday and continuing until Sunday. This festival goes back to the town’s roots, which is Western in nature but more on the ranching and farming side.

Pahrump has a ranching history, and therefore it is appropriate that it celebrates this history with a rodeo. If you love fast bucking bulls and broncos and cowboy action then this festival is for you.

The celebration is held at Petrack Park at the center of town off of Highway 160 and Basin Avenue and has over 50 years of history. It is currently organized by the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The history of the Fall Festival

The first ones were a celebration of a good harvest, and people just formed a circle on some land with some trucks. That served as an arena, and then they would see who the best riders were.

Photo by Horace Langford Jr.

Those were the earliest festivals. Then they became more organized and centered around gymkhana and rodeo events.

Lisa Hamrick, daughter of Tim Hafen, who was a large cotton grower and one of the founders of modern Pahrump,  grew up in the seventies and eighties and remembers that there were  a lot of contests for kids back then.

“I remember there being a cowhide contest,” she said. ”That race is simple. A kid would lie on a cowhide and would be pulled behind a horse. It was a lot of fun.”

Long time resident of Pahrump and a long time mail carrier, Betty Lacomb recalls going to her first Fall Festival 50 years ago.

“People came out to have fun,” Betty said. “There were gymkhana events for the kids, cowhide races for the kids and trailer races for the adults. I even remember there used to be a horse track and they had quarter-mile horse races.”

She said the festival was small, for there were only 350 people out here when she moved here.The festival was only a day long.

Photo by Horace Langford Jr.

The horse races may be gone, but the festival remains and is stronger than ever.

From these early beginnings, the event slowly evolved into a standard rodeo and what we have today. Although today’s rodeo is a professional rodeo, many local cowboys from Pahrump still sign up for it. Some tell me the festival is too big and has lost its home town feel. I disagree; you just have to look harder for it.

What I like about today’s festival is it still keeps some of its small town flare by having the local 4-H put on chicken poop bingo and other contests for the kids. The Pahrump kids make the festival. And local bands still provide the entertainment.

Photo by Horace Langford Jr.

The vendors

In today’s festival there are some  200 vendors that come from all over to display their wares. The local politicians come out to drum up votes, and there are games and a heck of a lot of good food. Many of the vendors are still from Pahrump, and the town’s restaurants are also out there selling food.

The Fall Festival draws nearly 75,000 people from all over to the town. It packs the town for the 4-day celebrations, selling out all 418 rooms. So if you need lodging you have to book early. Hotels full? Try one of the RV Parks. For more info on lodging click here.

A parade, too!

The festival also has  a parade and an arts and crafts show. The parade is on Saturday and will have a variety of bands and floats from the town. The art show is a mix of local artists and even students.

The festival is best enjoyed by just hauling a camp chair over to the lush green grass at the park, sitting down and cracking open your favorite beverage, while taking in the local sights and sounds. Enjoy.

— Vernon Hee



Hike of the Month: Rancho San Rafael Park and Evans Canyon

                                                                                              Rancho San Rafael Park

For a great taste of northern Nevada history combined with a superb outdoor experience, visit Rancho San Rafael Park , off North Sierra Street less than 2 miles from downtown Reno. The Wilbur May Arboretum is worthy of an afternoon by itself, with an impressive array of over 4,000 plant species, including a special native garden and wetlands area. Then there’s the May Museum, with a permanent collection and special exhibitions (many kid-friendly). There are playgrounds, picnic areas with barbeques, ponds, and a dog park.

Finally, for a more vigorous experience, there is an extensive network of hiking and mountain biking trails which can be accessed via a tunnel which passes under McCarran Blvd. from the park and winds up at Evans Canyon in the lee of Peavine Mountain. Alternately, you could drive up Sierra Street to the Reno Sports Complex and start your hike from there. Park near the disc golf course (free and open to the public) and visit the Basque Monument, a moving ode to the area’s Basque sheepherders and families. It’s thrilling that by walking only a half hour north from the casino corridor (or a 5 minute, 25-cent ride on the Sierra Spirit bus), you can be in this wonderful slice of Nevada open space!


It’s no secret that Reno is attracting more and more attention in the national arts and culture scene. Exploring the Midtown District is one of my favorite activities, and should be on your agenda for any visit to Reno. I love to hang out at Center and Cheney, where an awesome group of new businesses has sprung up, including Noble Pie Parlor, Pinion Bottle Company, Midtown Eats, Death and Taxes, Bibo Freddo, and Mountain Music Parlor.

          Mountain Music Parlor on South Center Street in MIdtown

Renee and Don Louderback have a passion for teaching, presenting, and passing along America’s great heritage music. They renovated a 1906 historic house in Midtown at 735 S. Center St. and created Mountain Music Parlor, an inviting old-timey space where friends gather to share their love of music. The house was formerly the site of the famed Maytan Music store from 1959 until the 1980s and was severely damaged in a fire before the Louderbacks got their hands on it and restored it, toiling to repair and replace lath and plaster walls, old-fashioned tiles and fixtures. The Louderbacks specialize in teaching and performing grassroots music; they offer lessons on all sorts of traditional instruments, jam sessions, kids workshops, performances, and a folk music shoppe. This month’s featured performances include Edgar Loudermilk (bluegrass) on March 8 at 7:30, and Ciana (Celtic) March 9 at 7 pm.

After the concerts, hit up Bibo Coffee next door for some screamin’ gelato or espresso and baked goodies!


Other places to hear traditional music in Reno this month include the Bartley Ranch Come in from the Cold Family Entertainment Series. March features Suspect Terrane (bluegrass), Richard Elloyan (western music and cowboy poetry), Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra, Sage Creek (bluegrass), and Reno Swing Set. I think the name says it all: we are hoping for some cold to come in from. Come on, Miracle March!

The Pioneer Center is hosting a free Italian Festival on March 10, with pizza, gelatto, music, and crafts and other hands-on activities for all ages.

There are all kinds of St. Patrick’s Day activities including the Leprechaun Race, Leprechaun Crawl and live entertainment at one of Reno’s many Irish pubs — or perhaps you may want to try out a new family-friendly St. Patty’s Day custom.

March 10 is the monthly “Hands ON!” 2nd Saturday event at the Nevada Museum of Art, with free admission, tours and activities for adults and kids.

We are excited about Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, the Broadway Musical, coming to the Pioneer March 16-18.

Although we aren’t sports fans, it is worth noting that Reno now has not only its own professional baseball team (the Aces), but  pro basketball (the Reno Bighorns, affiliated with the Sacramento Kings) and soccer (Reno 1868 FC, affiliated with the San Jose Earthquakes), with games throughout the month.

— Amy Meeks


South Lake Tahoe

                                                                       The MS Dixie II sternwheeler touring Emerald Bay

In terms of snowfall, this winter has been rather lackluster, compared to a year ago when the Lake Tahoe basin was buried in snow well into spring.

Maybe we’ll receive a good old-fashioned “March Miracle” to rejuvenate the snow pack and keep the skiers and boarders happy.  Nevertheless, the lack of snow hasn’t actually been a damper on activities at South Lake Tahoe. If you look on the bright side, the hiking and biking trails were able to stay open, and ski resorts were making enough snow to satisfy all the winter travelers.  And, as usual, there are all sorts of other entertainment in and around town.

                               Under Construction: beaver dam on Edgewood Creek

March is the transition month when people still want to have fun in the snow but their minds and attitudes start to shift over to spring plans.  Tahoe is the perfect place for both types of activities: go skiing in the morning, then spend some time on or around the lake in the afternoon — perhaps on the M.S. Dixie II. The lake is like glass, and it is usually the only boat on the lake.  Get two incredible perspectives, one from atop a mountain at Heavenly Resort and then on the lake aboard the old sternwheeler out of Zephyr Cove , all in the same day. Experiencing the Tahoe trails is another benefit of a dry winter: a lot of the trails at lake level are clear, offer great sites, and wildlife abound, even in winter.  A recent discovery of a beaver dam on Edgewood Creek just above Edgewood Resort was a special treat.  So much to see and do all over the place.

The winter season may start to slow down in March, but the nightlife keeps going full steam ahead, especially on the weekends with great entertainment at the clubs in Stateline, Nevada.  St. Patrick’s Day is March 17. and this year it falls on a Saturday, which means party time all over town.  Eat, drink and be merry at McP’s Taphouse Grill at Stateline; the Irish pub will be pouring drink specials and serving up some great food all day long. Then, after getting a belly full, head on over to MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa and get a good belly laugh when stand-up comedians Jeff Ross and Dave Attell hit the stage together on St Paddy’s day in their Bumping Mics tour.

Oh, one more thing that is great about March at Tahoe South is the great deals the hotels offer.  Because things start to slow down, the rates at local businesses go down as well, especially during midweek.  It’s the last hurrah of winter up here, but the spring season ain’t too shabby either.

— Brendan Packer



Along with the spirit of the Irish coming in on March 17, there are plenty of other opportunities to spend time with friends and family and usher in springtime.

If you want a blast from the past, check out Starship featuring Mickey Thomas at the Nugget Casino Resort on March 3. Known for hit songs such as “Jane,” “We Built This City” and Oscar-nominated “Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now,” Starship is aiming to bring your favorites back for this special 1-night performance celebrating the best 1980’s and ‘90’s rock hits.

                 McAvoy Lanye

If you are looking to find inner peace and don’t mind enjoying a beer afterwards, go over to Great Basin Brewing Company on March 7 for its Balance and Brews event, to be held at its 1155 South Rock Boulevard #490 location,  which includes a 1-hour yoga session and Great Basin beer. A couple of days later, Great Basin will also be celebrating Stout Week with a special release of its new Scytale on March 9.

If you are a fan of mysteries, check out the Left Coast Crime convention at the Nugget March 22-25. Sponsored by local readers and authors, this 4-day event is hosted by Crime on the Comstock and will feature Guests of Honor William Kent Krueger and Naomi Hirahora, Ghost of Honor Mark Twain (represented by McAvoy Layne), and Toastmaster Todd Borg of the Owen McKenna Lake Tahoe mystery series.

On that Friday morning before the Great Basin party, be one of the first 100 guests at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers’ Grand Opening party and get a free box combo and gift. The new Raising Cane’s is at 470 North McCarran Boulevard right off of I-80 close to the Sparks Marina. Its doors open March 9 at 10am!

If you are into wine and want to indulge your creative side, check out the Paint N Sip at Carolina Kitchen & BBQ Co. On March 23 at 5:30pm. Gallery on the Go will be teaching its guests how to paint a “Wildflower Garden” — just in time for spring. Tickets cost $26 or $30 day of and is limited to 20 signups. Carolina Kitchen is located at 950 Glendale Avenue.

                                                 Sunflower Roll at Hiroba Sushi

Last summer, everyone’s favorite sushi restaurant, Hiroba Sushi, moved from Reno to Sparks! Now located at 1495 Prater Way, Hiroba still offers free sake Monday-Thursday, great AYCE prices, and unique sushi rolls. The staff is super nice, the environment is fun, and the food is delicious. If you like spice, check out the Guapo roll and follow it up with the Sunflower (filled with a variety of fresh fish, veggies, and rolled with a bit of banana). Follow up your meal with green tea cheesecake or a freshly cut orange with plum wine drizzled on top.

— Kayla Anderson