Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada on July 29, 1981 · Page 17
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Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada · Page 17

Reno, Nevada
Issue Date:
Wednesday, July 29, 1981
Page 17
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Local , Reno Evening Gazette Wednesday, July 29, 1961-15 AMUSEMENTS 22.23 COMICS 18. SPORTS 17-21, TELEVISION 23 Vega MGM q u 5 ett 1 y ir eo pe mi Rdlan Mitan Polo, anyone? By RODNEY FOO Gazette staff writer As Gov. Robert List was publicly declaring he'll help in the effort to salvage the skiing program at University of Nevada-Reno, it was noted that the Lists' son is himself a skier. . Is the son's interest a factor in the governor's pledge to help? "I really don't know," said one UNR athletic watcher. "All I know is that 'up the hill' they're relieved that the boy isn't a polo player." The folks who manage the College Inn at UNR take pride in the 150-room hotel and so do a lot of guests, including judges who stay there while attending National Judicial College courses. Judges receive a questionnaire in advance of their arrival in Reno. One question: "If accommodations aren't available at the College Inn, may we help you make reservations elsewhere?" The jurists usually list a motel near the UNR campus. The other day, notes Johnnie Via of College Inn, a most interesting response came in. Wrote Judge Stephen R. Lea of Phoenix: First choice: College Inn. Second choice. MGM Grand Hotel-Reno. Said Mrs. Via: "I think we're doing a bit of all right, rating over the MGM." When Jan Harrington Fleischer of Reno won . third place Monday in the International Toastmistress public speaking contest, none could have been happier for her than another woman named Jan. Jan Kennedy Bedrosian, now of Washington, D.C., was a Reno resident in 1978, the year she represented Northern Nevada-California in the international speaking competition. The former Reno Evening Gazette reporter was one of six finalists for international honors. Now an information specialist for the Bureau of Land Management in the U.S. capital, Jan Bedrosian recalled the "intense pressure of the toastmistress international competition." Her husband, Tod Bedrosian, former Nevada assemblyman and before then, a Gazette reporter, is now a public information aide in Washington for a California congressman. How do the Nevadans keep up on news from Reno? "Oh, we've got this little old Armenian lady in Sparks. We call her our top mother and she's a one-person clipping service!" Amid the newsprint and ink Jan Fleischer has been given for her speaking accomplishments, one Nick Colonna called. "Hey," urged Nick, "don't forget us guys." What Nick C was referring to is the Toastmaster side of the public speaking enterprise. The big news on the male scene is that the Sierra Sunrise Toastmaster Club's Jim Joelson has become the first Reno man to reach International Toastmaster speaking competition level. Joelson has won on club, local, division and district level with speeches directed to freedom of speech matters. The public information officer for the Nevada Department of Economic Development will compete at Phoenix Aug. 19-22. This note just in from one of my most vigilant news watchers: Mary Gojack not only is the first person declaring herself in the race for the northern Nevada congressional seat, she's also got the first campaign sign erected. But wait! Closer inspection of the sign at Rock and B Streets in Sparks shows it's not an early sign, but a late one. It is left over from her U.S. Senate run obviously overlooked by her 1980 sign crew. Contributed by Fred Hinners Nevada Outdoor Adventure QUOTABLE NEVADANS: A chef has got to care about his food or why the hell even try to be a chef. Absent caring, one ought to go work in a beanery. Dick Roseman, Nevada Hotel chef, Battle Mountain LAS VEGAS The MGM Grand Hotel quietly opened its doors at noon today to greet a small pack of gamblers and the curious, the first customers since the Nov. 21 fire that killed 84 and Injured 700. Fifteen minutes after the opening, a few gaming tables were filled with customers, some of whom were hotel guests who arrived earlier today. Harold Hock of Houston, visiting a relative in town, said curiosity helped attract him to the remodeled casino, glistening in red-and-gold with huge billowing chandeliers. Clutching a gin and tonic, Hock proclaimed the hotel "the most beautiful" casino in the city. "It's the best place I've seen. They've got the prettiest girls and the best-looking equipment," Hock said. Robert Mancini, a visitor from Cleveland, said, "This place is beautiful. I think they've done an outstanding job in getting done so soon . . . and it should pack 'em in." Hock, like many others, had believed the casino was scheduled to open Thursday, but acting on a tip and his curiosity, he came to the hotel today and found it open. Mancini, pulling on a quarter machine, said he also stopped by the 26- Events added to air races Wing-walking and a Spitfire demonstration are among the additions to the Reno National Championship Air Races scheduled Sept. 18-20. Jerry Billing, a retired RAF flight lieutenant, will fly his 1945 Supermarine Spitfire Mark IXT for the Reno crowds. A Spitfire Mark XVI, owned by Woodson K. Woods, will be on display in the pit area. Meanwhile, Bill Barber Aerobatics will perform wing-walks and transfers each day. The air races feature four classes of racing aircraft. The Unlimited, fighter planes used in WWII, will compete in three races each day. Reno is the only race course to have Unlimited competition this year. The other classes Include AT-6 trainers, Biplanes and Formula One aircraft. The four classes will be vying for the largest purse In air racing history more than $250,000. The Canadian Snowbirds will open each day's show. Other entertainment also is scheduled. Advance season tickets are available at the Reno Air Race Office, P.O. Box 1429, Reno, NV 89505. story resort because his wife "figures when they open up any new place there will be loose slots." The hotel-casino officially opens Thursday morning, but it began accepting guests at noon today. The hotel, consisting of 2,089 rooms, is booked solid, said MGM spokesman Hank Covelle. The hotel has not scheduled any functions to mark the reopening, said publicist Alan Akerson. The hotel is keeping a "very low-key" attitude toward the opening, Akerson said. Within the hotel, the only allusion to the reopening was a small banner stretched above the hospitality desk that read, "Welcome to the Grand Event." MGM officials estimate the remodeling and installation of new fire safety equipment has cost about $50 million. Meanwhile, the Clark County Fire Department responded en masse Tuesday when the fire safety system at the MGM Grand Hotel transmitted word of a fire. Eight city and county units responded to the alarm. Smoke from a welders torch was picked up by the hotel's $5 million life safety system which automatically contacted the fire department. It was recorded as a false alarm. The 140-yard-long casino area was brimming with activity this morning as last-minute details were being at tended to. Previously empty bars were being stocked with liquor and ice, while the sound of construction workers pounding nails could be heard throughout the area. The smell of fresh paint was everywhere. A group of bellhops formed a line to greet the first guests hours before their expected noon arrival. Interspersed among the chandeliers were new fire sprinklers connected to a central computer designed to detect fire or smoke anywhere in the hotel, including automatically notifying the fire department. The November fire began when an electrical short in the wall of a restaurant serving station touched off an inferno that charred the football field-size casino floor and sent deadly smoke through guest rooms. The fire not only caused rumblings from the highest levels of state government to the corporate offices of MGM, but affected the economic well being of Clark County as well. Pat Pine, county director of budget and financial planning, estimates that Clark County lost $1.7 million due to the MGM's closure. The county's general fund budget is $122 million. Earlier this year, the county had to trim its budget by $2.2 million and Pine admits the MGM's room, liquor, and business license revenues could have "alleviated" those cuts. The tragic fire spurred changes in the state fire codes to recoup the image of the Nevada gaming industry that had been stung by fires at the MGM and Las Vegas Hilton, an arson fire that killed eight people. After months of deliberations, the Legislature approved SB 214, which requires all buildings more than 55 feet tall to be equipped with sprinklers, fire alarms, and smoke detectors. Sprinklers also would be required in showrooms or any other room more than 5,000 square feet. The corporation faces more than 300 lawsuits that seek more than $2 billion in damages. The corporation has sought "retroactive" insurance to cover losses stemming from the fire, said John F. McCaffrey, executive vice president of the insurance firm Frank B. Hall & Co. McCaffrey said in February MGM made initial payments to raise its liability insurance coverage at the time of the fire from $30 million to $200 million. The fire became an embarassing topic at the annual shareholders' meeting that was held in December at ' Reno's MGM Grand Hotel. Three shareholders jousted with MGM Chair-, man Fred Benninger and other corporate officials about the fire and dominated the three-hour meeting. Agriculture gulps water supply EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of stories on Nevada's water problems. By TOM GARDNER Associated Press staff writer Nature apparently never intended for Nevada to support much plant life. Aside from a few hardy scrub brushes, a little range grass and an occasional tree, any part of this desert environment that is green in August gets that way from constant care, knowledge, luck and an incredible amount of water. Backyard gardeners know that water is the difference between a red tomato at the end of the summer and a withered plant. A far greater challenge faces the state's farmers and ranchers. They must coax their livelihood from thousands of acres of arid land. It takes more than 80 percent of this state's most precious commodity water to support the crops and livestock that provide the state its third largest Industry. Of about 4 million acre-feet of water used in the state each year, 83 percent or 3.3 million acre-feet go to produce the hay and potatoes and melons, the cattle and the sheep that provide a living on the state's 2,000 or so farms and ranches, according to James P. Hawke, state water planner. "This isn't as bad as it sounds," Hawke tells the homeowner who is being asked not to water a browning lawn. "Most of this water is silted, the salinity is high. It would take a lot of effort to treat it for municipal use, but it's fine for irrigation." As an example, he points to a Carson City golf course that uses water containing nitrates high above the amount considered safe for humans. The greens and fairways thrive on them. Irrigation water in other parts of the state contain high amounts of sulfates and fluorides that might be harmful to humans, but not to plants. Since irrigation is so important to Nevada farmers, it receives a lot of attention from the state. The last Legislature approved spending $75,000 a year for the Desert Rsearch Institute to study drip irrigation the most efficient method of watering crops, but an expensive one that has not gained much popularity. "Drip irrigation is more for specialty row crops like selected vegetables, fruit trees and shrubbery," according to Dr. John C. Guitjens, professor of irrigation engineering in the Plant, Soil and Water Science Division of the University of Nevada-Reno College of Agriculture. "Putting the drip lines in ground near the plants requires a great deal of skill. All water used in drip irrigation must be run through a sand filter. It must be extremely clean not to plug up the drippers. Besides, it's expensive," Guitjens said. By far the most popular types of irrigation in the state are flood watering the use of canals to carry water to the crops and some form of aerial spraying. The former is most suitable to level land. The latter requires additional pumping, meaning higher electric bills. Both waste a lot of water through evaporation. Since 1977, testing at the University of Nevada field laboratory near Austin has been attempting to determine the most efficient combinations of plowing, irrigation and seed types to produce the best alfalfa crops with the least amount of water. "Nevada is subject to periodic drought and seasonal water availability," said Dr. Edward H. Jensen, professor of agronomy at the UNR College of Agriculture and head of the trial work. "A need exists to use irrigation water more effectively because of i i in i t vn r's hp ' Jzh' wTn-- -cir 3Ljr yr-. , rfefr : Gozene file photo reupie use an irrigauon canai in i-anon to swim ana cool aown during hot these limiting water situations and also now because of high energy costs." The need for efficient irrigation methods is being felt this year as short water supplies combine with soaring electricity rates to plague the state's farmers and ranchers and threaten their $200 million-plus industry. "The spring runoff is already 40 percent short of the estimate by the snow survey." said Thomas W. Ballow, executive director of the state Department of Agriculture. "This hot, windy weather we've been having has really hurt." Ballow agreed with other agriculture experts in the state that crops already in the ground should not be severely harmed by the short water supply. He expects the first real signs of the dry summer to show up this fall when farmers begin reporting acreage planted to winter wheat and barley. "If I were a farmer and I came out short on water supply, I would postpone planting and see what the winter would bring," he said. Ranchers, too, are having their problems. "Springs providing livestock water have dried up in northwestern Humboldt County and some cattle have luring hot summer weather. died. We expect quite a bit more of this and are urging ranchers to keep a close eye on their springs," Ballow said. Most ranchers depend almost entirely on snow runoff and occasional rain instead of irrigation to water vast meadowlands for cattle, and these pastures are drying up this year, he said. As water from the state's wells and irrigation ditches continues to be siphoned off into the fields and the cost of electricity to run the pumps climbs, farmers and researchers are looking beyond the dry summer of 1981 for more efficient long-range means of irrigation. Even further down the road, and far less certain, is the potential impact of the MX missile on Nevada's water supply. With nearly all of the water currently available in the state allocated, the question of where the water will come from to slake the MX' huge thirst is a major concern to farmers and ranchers. , One study concluded that losses as high as 55 percent of a rancher's normal income could occur through loss of grazing units, possible disruption of the cattle grazing during construction and competition for water resources. Next: the water situation in southern Nevada. Sun Valley water conservation asked Residents in Sun Valley are being asked to conserve water until a pump which supplies almost 50 percent of the valley's water can be repaired. The pump, which broke down about 10 p.m. Monday, had been running for three months and overheated from constant use, Bill Berrum, general manager of the Sun Valley Water and Sanitation District, said Tuesday night. One of three main pumps, it is being rebuilt and should be reinstalled by Friday, he added. Berrum asked that people avoid watering their yards and go lightly on indoor usage until then. During the day, the district's water supply drops severely between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. During the night, the pumps normally refill the district's storage tanks with 2.2 million gallons of water. That amount is "absolutely necessary" for fire protection. Additionally, in case there were a power outage and the pumps did not work, the stored water would last only about one day, said Berrum. Without the third pump, the tanks will not start each day at full capacity and Sun Valley's water supply will diminish during the week. Regents study conference call meetings By PAMELA GALLOWAY FAY Gazette staff writer The University of Nevada System Board of Regents Monday will consider a new policy allowing them to hold special meetings by telephone. If the regents change their bylaws regarding quorums, Chancellor Robert M. Bersi says, the need for extensive and costly travel to special meetings could be eliminated. Nothing in Nevada's open meeting, law, Bersi told regents in a memo to be presented at the meeting, prohibits the board from conducting meetings via telephone as long as the public has an opportunity to listen to the discussion and the vote, and has been notified in advance, he said. The move is unrelated to efforts by regents last spring to push a measure through the Nevada Legislature allow- ing them to hold secret meetings on matters relating to lawsuits and financial investments, he said. That bill, AB 641, also would have allowed regents to make investment decisions by telephone. Opposing that bill were representatives of the Nevada news media and public interest groups. It was killed in May. Bersi said he is requesting the revision because when a quorum is needed quickly to vote on one or two items on an emergency or special basis, it has been difficult and expensive for regents to travel to Reno or Las Vegas for "a 15-minute meeting for some thing perfunctory such as the bond issue last week." Regents were called to a special Las Vegas meeting last Tuesday to approve $40 million in bonds for construction of sports pavilions at the Reno and Las Vegas campuses. Bersi said obtaining a quorum for that meeting had been difficult. At least five of the nine regents must be in attendance to establish a quorum. Five regents showed to vote on the pavilions. "No one would ever want to conduct a full meeting of the board under such circumstances," Bersi said. "I don't imagine we would use this two or three times a year, frankly." The chancellor also said he did not envision nine regents talking to each other on nine telephones in nine locations. Presently, two regents live in Reno Chairman Bob Cashell and Frankie Sue Del Papa. One, Dorothy Gallagher, lives in Elko, The other six live in the Las Vegas area. Bersi said two or three meeting rooms in Reno, Las Vegas and Elko would be set up with public broadcast speakers. Regents and the public, after having re-, ceived "due notice," would gather in those public locations. Ms. Del Papa was among the regents who did not attend the Las Vegas meeting last week. She criticized going at public expense to a meeting that was "a formality, a rubber stamp. "I am a strong supporter of the open meeting law," she said.

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