LAUGHLIN — The August meeting of the Laughlin Town Advisory Board brought forth a plethora of news, happenings, and possibilities for the city, all of them positive.
A recent article in the Laughlin Nevada Times on Town Manager Brian Paulson incorrectly stated that 9,000 acres of Clark County land which had been leased by NextEra for solar development was under review by the Army Corps of Engineers for a longstanding issue. That issue has been cleared by all concerned and the land should be back on the market by year’s end for lease to a yet to be determined renewable energy company. Several have expressed interest, according to Paulson.
Laughlin Economic Development Corporation Strategic Adviser Bob Bilbray spoke on the issue at the meeting, indicating the land is undergoing re-appraisal. The lease will aid in Gov. Steve Sisolak’s plan to bring the state’s renewable portfolio up to 50% by 2030 and achieve much desired development of the land from local perspectives.
The LTAB hosted a full agenda with a four-person quorum; board member Kathy Ochs was absent.
Topics ranged from land development and wet infrastructure on Casino Drive to upcoming events through the Chamber of Commerce.
American Legion Commander Pamela Walker, during the public comment section, sought the board’s endorsement for a veterans resource center in Laughlin on five acres of land already available at the American Legion Post 60. Walker said the proposed center would serve Nevada veterans who currently must cross the river to Bullhead City for assistance. The center would alleviate that burden on the Arizona Veterans Resource Center in Bullhead City and provide much-needed assistance directly to Nevada veterans. Walker explained that the center would have desks, a training room, showers and a community kitchen, and would serve veterans “from local to homeless.” She also said it would have a transportation center to aid veterans in getting around. There are more than 1,000 veterans in Laughlin, according to Walker.
On a point of concern, Ashlyn Bilbray-Sainz brought up last month’s two-story house fire in Laughlin on Rialta Lane when the Bullhead City Fire Department responded with its ladder truck. The topic has come up in the past as well that Laughlin’s Clark County Fire Department stations have no ladder truck for fighting fires in tall structures.
She expressed a common concern that Laughlin is unprepared for fire at one of the multi-floor casino properties and the fact that the town is dependent on Bullhead City for the ladder truck.
Minutes later, while giving his monthly report to the TAB, Clark County Fire Chief Gregory Cassell said that such fires are very rare and that the mutual aid agreement with Bullhead City provides Laughlin with a ladder truck when needed.
“We have to have their assistance,” Cassell said, adding that mutual aid agreements are “very common in America these days.... Henderson also has such an agreement with Laughlin.”
The chief explained that Laughlin did, in fact, have a ladder truck in the past but that the recession of 2008-09 decimated the budget and the ladder truck was one of the things lost. The department has no immediate plans to purchase another ladder engine, he said.
Some great news came from Lt. Jeff Hewes of LVMPD-Laughlin during his report. Hewes stated violent crime in Laughlin is down by a whopping 66%. He also said that calls are down 21%, and property crimes are down by 10% with only 63 bookings for the month of July.
Cassell and Battalion Chief Thomas Touchstone addressed recent fire activity. They stated that both Stations 76 and 85 received more calls last month than previous months with Station 76 handling 137 responses and Station 85 with 100 responses, up from 87 the previous June.
The Big Bend Water District has a new representative. Chaunsey Chau-Duong is passing the torch to Jason Bailey, who will be filling his old job. Duong said he will remain at the agency, but that Bailey will fulfill many of his previous tasks. Bailey gave the report for the district, stating that they pulled 399 acre feet from the river this year which is down from last year’s 473 acre feet of water pulled. He said that this year was “cooler” than last year, requiring less water to be reclaimed from the Colorado River.
Will Douglas, of the University of Nevada Extension Service, addressed the board, expressing his joy for the many kids who went to 4-H summer camp this year. He said that they had such a good time that one boy was disappointed that he only had a couple more years to go until he was too old for the summer camp, Douglas said he is looking to add some more for next year’s camp. He called the summer camp a “huge success.“
Douglas said that the extension office is adding more adult programming to its curriculum.
Jackie Mazzeo, executive director of the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce, was next to report to the board, thanking vector control for “knocking down the caddisfly population this year” along the river. Mazzeo reported that the most recent “Freedom of Expression” fundraiser hosted at the Golden Nugget brought in $3,500 for art supplies for area art programs.
She said the fourth annual Tri-State MEGA Mixer is coming up on Sept. 6 at the Aquarius Casino Resort. More than 70 free vendor slots will be available this year for any organization that wants to attend. The event is free but there is a $10 donation for the dinner that the Aquarius will be serving that night. Those proceeds go to the the Aquaris “Feed a Family” program.
Mazzeo said that the 22nd annual Community Achievement Awards will be held Oct. 26.
Mazzeo said that the chamber has 262 active members.
Another event coming up is the fourth annual “Duel in the Desert,” Oct. 9-13. It is part of the “Best in the Desert” off-road racing series. More information can be found at BITD.com.
Richard deClercq, program director for Clark County Parks and Recreation, announced the winner of the Seniors Survival Program as Kent Davis. DeClercq gave a roundup of upcoming activities for the seniors starting with Trivia Night on Sept. 13, then announced the first-ever “South County Showdown.” Starting on Friday, Sept. 20, there will be check-in for teens for the “Over the Line” 3-on-3 softball challenge at Mountain View Park, for which the first place winning team gets $1,000. Second place takes $300 and third place gets $200. Then on Saturday, Sept. 21, there will be a free concert in the park from 6-9 p.m. with live music from The Union Drifters. Food trucks will be on hand, and a good time is expected for this first outing of the “South County Showdown” on Sept. 20-22 at Mountain View Park in Laughlin.
The adult cornhole 10-week league begins Sept. 12 inside Gnats Landing starting at 5 p.m. The Wii bowling league is on Tuesdays again at Spirit Mountain Activity Center.
For all Clark County Parks and Recreation activities happening in Laughlin, go to email@example.com.
LHS/Bennett Elementary Principal Dawn Estes is a very busy woman this time of year. She reported the Laughlin schools got through their “first-day nightmare” and that the school is still struggling to overcome the effects of the 2008 recession which brought about “cuts, cuts, cuts.” Estes said they have had a $100 per-student cut this year to meet the mandate by Clark County School Supt. Jesus Jara to cut $38,000 from its budget. Estes said that the schools have lost 10 licensed teachers over the last decade and are down one for this school year.
She said the Laughlin Junior/Senior High had 348 students register for the school year, 13 below where it ended last year. The K-fifth grade at Bennett Elementary School had 325 students enroll this year, up from the projected 321 they had anticipated.