The Trouble with Great-Grandpa Luis

olivera

Chasing family history can be fun, but it can also be difficult and even a little surprising. For instance I’ve been trying learn why my great-grandfather Luis Jose Olivera left his family in Scotia, California, and returned to the Azores.

It could be that I’ve finally found the reason and it is not a happy one. It appears he was in trouble with the law and may have been compelled to leave the country.

From the 1938 ‘Modesto Bee and Herald-News,’  datelined: “Merced, August 9 – District attorney F.A. Silveira yesterday filed complaints charging eight dairymen with violation of a quarantine order of the department of agriculture issued August 1st against the movement of milk taken from reactors into market channels.”

The final paragraph of the story reads: “The dairymen named are Joe Lawrence, Antone G. Pimentel, George Silveira, Antonio Silva, Saverino M. Souza, Joaquin Olivera, Frank Roberto, Joe Oliveira and Augustine Ferreira.”

A number of times during my searches for great-Grandpa Luis, I’ve found his name and my Grandpa Joaquin Luis Olivera to be confused with one another. It has happened to me a time or two, when people referred to me as ‘Thomas Darby, Jr.,’ when they actually meant my dad, whose full name was ‘Thomas Junior Darby.’

(I’ve also found instances of Lou, Louis, Joe and Joseph.)

Great-grandpa’s troubles seem to start five years earlier though, when is appears he was implicated in a ‘swindle case probe.’ I found the story in the January 28, 1938 edition of the Oakland Tribune.

Evidently a dragnet had been established to keep the alleged ringleader from getting away. In this case V.L Coffelt and L.W. Garcia were arrested by the District Earl Warren’s office.

It completed the roundup of officials and agents of the ‘Pittsburg Building and Loan Association’ and the ‘Lusitania Corporation, Ltd.,’ who were accused of participation in a swindle of some Central California residents.

According to the article, Coffelt, vice-president of the Pittsburg company and secretary of the other, was captured on the Altamont Pass highway after eluding police sent to Los Angeles. As for Garcia, described as “an agent for the interlocking companies,” he was arrested in Mariposa and returned to jail.

Two other men, also described as agents, Jack Freitas and Rufino Fernandez, were taken into custody at Fernandez’ Oakland home. Earlier that day, G.R Searl, secretary of the Pittsburg and president of the Lusitania, was arrested at the company’s headquarters, while agent Frank L. Smith, was handcuffed in Sacramento.

All were charged with grand theft and booked ‘for investigation,’ to prevent release on bail until witnesses, many of them unable to read or write, can identify them. All, with the exception of Coffelt, were taken to Hayward and questioned by the D.A., Warren.

So how does my great-Grandfather fit into all this?

Evidently, Fernandez told investigators that he acted as a ‘salesman,’ for the companies and that another company, ‘General Explosive & Powder Company,’ was brought into the case by Joaquin Olivera, of Niles. Meanwhile, Police Judge George H. Hickman, secretary of the powder company claimed no knowledge of the stock fraud scheme.

Fernandez also told officials that he ‘worked on’ Olivera and Antonio Silva to invest $7,000 and $6,000 respectively into the Lusitania Corporation.  He then admitted he directed Freitas to take Silva and Olivera to a couple of women’s homes to tell them about their investments and the great returns they were getting on the money.

Problem is, there were no returns and the women, smelled a rat, but not before handing over their savings to Freitas. Emily Pine gave the alleged con-artist over $6225 and later using the same ruse, bilked Antonia Gonsalves and her three daughters, Laura, Adeline and Louise, out of $1,500.

By all appearance, my great-grandpa was cleared of any charges brought against him and he even went on to become a complainant in the case against the company officers. But by then he was a marked man and under the watchful eye of the law and a second brush with the legal system sent him packing for the old country.

The chase continues.

Two Brothers Arrested in String of Vegas Robberies

In fairness, this news article is about two young men I have known since they were in grade school. Imagine their mother’s heartbreak, seeing one of her two eldest children in the television news, wanted for committing a violent crime.

That is how this story came to be known by me.

Las Vegas Metro police arrested two brothers in connection with a string of violent purse snatchings. Raymond and Brent Cline are suspected in at least four incidents in the northwest valley.

In a robbery on January 5th, one of the men ran up behind a woman about midnight as she returned home and entered her garage near St. Rose Parkway and Bermuda Road. He grabbed her purse and dragged her across the driveway before she let go.

During another robbery, a woman was injured as one of the suspects ripped her wallet from her hands. In a third one, one of the suspects entered a grocery store within the area of Centennial Hills and Ann Road.

He then exited the business and approached the victim in the parking lot at which time he robbed her of her wallet. The suspect then ran and entered a vehicle which then sped off.

In September 2010, Brent Cline was charged with unlawful use and possession of drug paraphernalia. His older brother, Raymond was arrested in November 2011 for petty larceny.

Both men are in the Clark County Detention Facility awaiting hearings. Meanwhile Metro Police continue to investigate the robberies.

Personal Mail Arrives

Today, I got my first piece of ‘personal’ mail for 2014 — not a bill or an ad, but a real letter. I’m so tickled pink, that I could hardly wait to share it with you.

It comes from my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Van Zanten, whose now 100-years-old. And with the note comes a nice photograph of her inside the card.

scan0004

It reads:

“Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you very much for your beautiful and thoughtful Christmas Cards sent to Mom. As ones’ visited, they would take time to read them to her. She was one happy Lady receiving and hearing from you! As we get older many tasks we had taken for granted we are unable to do now. For years Mom enjoyed sending cards but unfortunately at her age and poor eyesight she is unable to continue. I promised her that I’d contact you all with a card thanking each and every one of you for thinking of her with your loving cards and notes. Mom greatly appreciated hearing from each of you and wanted to wish you all a very happy an healthy New Year 2014. When time allows please send her another line or two catching her up on your news. There is always someone around to read your cards/letters as she enjoys you keeping in touch with her.

Love to all. Valeria, Maurya and Darol.”

Excuse me, I have mail to answer.

The Art of Surviving the Flu and Writing

“Starve a fever and feed a cold.” It’s the only thing I could think of, besides dying, when I came down with the flu five days ago.

Since then I’ve found my self struggling to complete even the smallest of tasks, including getting out of bed or answering the phone. This illness has left me zapped and I lack the want to do anything – including write.

But it is now day five and I have to change things around. I must sit up right at my computer and tap out some sort of message before I fall over into bed, to suffer more fevered dreams and hallucinations.

The weirdest dream involved a radio friend of mine. She was in a large bed and I was in the bathroom.

When I came to the side of the bed, I asked if I could cuddle with her. She told me ‘no,’

She was on the far side of the bed, so I climbed onto the bed and lay down on the opposite side. When I awoke, my friend had changed her mind and was laying against me.

Then I woke up for real, only to discovered our lab was sleeping against me in the same position I though my friend was laying.

The first night actually began early Sunday afternoon. I had a severe tickle in my nose and figured it was wild hair that wiggled with every breath I drew.

Later that evening, my shoulders and head started to ache. It was at this time I concluded something bad was happening inside my body, so I took immediate action: hot lemonade with a shot of rum, several layers of clothing added by three or four heavy blanket, followed by sleep.

It’s worked before.

By early morning, I was freezing, but sweaty, exhausted from tossing and turning and ready to go step in front of a bus. I didn’t think the last part would really help, since I already felt like a bus had hit me.

Sleep – it’s basically all I did that day into the next.

By the end of 48-hours much of the general aches and pains had subsided. The only lingering effect remaining was a serious case of malaise and that headache.

Still, I couldn’t muster the energy to write. Instead I lay in bed creating stories and articles in my head, hoping that I’d recall them once I felt better.

But like many of the strange dreams and hallucinations I’ve had over the last few days, I find it hard to recall what I had planned so perfectly in my head.

Lastly, I haven’t had a flu shot since 1985, when I was still in the service. After that one, I decided never to have another because I was so sick I could hardly stand-up and I lost 15-pounds in less than a week.

Plus, I have tried several cures including those which are simply ‘wives-tales,’ to true homeopathic remedies – and nothing has resolved my suffering.  Plus, I don’t like going to the doctor and getting antibiotics because I think they’re over-prescribed and the reason the 24-hour bug lasts longer than 120-hours these days.

So I’m going to do what my old man would’ve done – pull myself up by the boot straps, roll-up my sleeves and get moving. As for the writing part – well – I’ll let you judge that for yourself.

Latest VA Suicide Figures Released

“Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans,” screams the headline from CBS News. But there is more to the story than the report first admits too – and while one suicide is one too many, the report is better than you think.

The Department of Veterans Affairs released its ‘Suicide Data Report 2014.’ The study’s author, Janet E. Kemp, RN, PhD, used data from the VA and 23 states to look at the issue of suicide and the military veteran.

The Census Bureau estimates there are 21.5 million veterans in the United States, with 19.3 million male veterans and 2.2 million women vets. However, the 23 states studied contain less than 50- percent of the U.S. population in 2012.

Included is data from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Interestingly, the state with the second largest population, California is not included in the study.

Veterans, ages 18-24 enrolled in the VA’s health program, killed themselves at a rate of 80 per 100,000 in 2011. This means two veterans a day in this age group, commit suicide, down from the 22 per day in 2010.

The study also shows suicide among civilian men, 35 to 64, increasing by more than 27-percent. On the other hand, the suicide rate dropped over 16-percent for male veterans in the same age group..

For women 35 to 64, who served, a 31.2 percent rate was found while the rate for civilians was slightly higher at 31.5 percent. The greatest percentage of suicides among female veterans resulted from both poisoning and firearm injury, while men tend to use a firearm in most cases.

If you are currently active duty military or a veteran and are experiencing emotional difficulties, call the VA’s Suicide Prevention Office at 1-800-273-8255.

Del Norte’s Memorial to WW II Veterans

Near the current entrance to the Jed Smith State Park campground, a memorial stone sits 20 feet from Highway 199, north of Crescent City, California. Hundreds drive by it daily, never realizing it’s there.

Following World War II, a push to form memorials to its veterans was made. Small memorials were established all over the country, but one in particular has national significance and it’s been there since 1949.

The memorial is like no other. This is because the ‘National Tribute Grove,’ includes 5,000 acres of old-growth redwood forest.

Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur, a former Secretary of the Interior, said “Instead of stone or concrete, this monument is made up of living trees, survivors of centuries of combat with storm, drought, fire and flood.”

At the start of the war, the land was owned by the Del Norte Lumber Company.  The ‘Save the Redwoods League’ contracted with the company to buy the land as ten, 500-acre parcels and asked Americans to give to the cause.

The 5,000 acres purchased with these donations are almost half of the park. The names given with the donations were published in the ‘Golden Book,’ with one copy to be kept in the state and another in Washington, D.C.

Adopting the grove as a national project, the ‘Daughters of the American Revolution’ took up the goal of purchasing the final 500-acre parcel, raising over $26,000 through thousands of 10 to 29 cent donations.

The state of California matched the DAR donation dollar for dollar to make the final purchase. Located on the only part of the grove along the highway, the monument was placed so that anyone traveling 199 would see it.

The monument was unveiled September 15th, 1929, during a dedication ceremony. Mrs. Roscoe C. O’Byrne, the DAR President General, gave a speech about the importance of the trees to the veterans and to America.

“We recognize that conservation is of vital importance to this country,” she said. “Unless we conserve, we shall be among the nations that have not. Preservation of this grove is a lesson in conservation to every American. We should apply this lesson not only to our trees, but to our very national life.”

She concluded, “In loving memory of the men and women of our country who served in the world war, we dedicate these trees to their courage, to their fidelity and to their sacrifice. May this ‘Land where our fathers died’ never be despoiled by the enemies of democracy.

“May these trees stand through the centuries as living symbols of the enduring strength of a free people, a great nation, our own United States of America,” she concluded.

Project Shoal

On August 5th, 1963, the treaty banning atmospheric nuclear testing was signed by the U.S. and Russia. However it didn’t halt the testing of nuclear testing underground.

The Project Shoal site near Fallon became one of two test sites in Nevada used for such testing.

An Atomic Energy Commission office opened in Fallon. A Dr. Robert Frosch, working out of that office, said the area was chosen for its closeness to the epicenter of 1954 Dixie Valley-Fairview Peak earthquakes. The aftershocks of those quakes were so extensive they were still being recorded in 1963.

He told the ‘Fallon Eagle-Standard,’ “The primary purpose is to obtain seismic signs from a nuclear explosion in an area where natural earthquakes occur, in order that we can compare the seismic signatures from the two sources occurring in the same area and thus having the same characteristics.”

He added it was imperative to find ways to discover underground Soviet tests and to distinguish them from earthquakes.

On October 26th, 1963, an atomic bomb was detonated underground in the mountains about 20 miles southeast of Fallon. The 12.5-kiloton nuclear device was about 80 percent as powerful as the one dropped on Hiroshima in World War II.

The government spent more than $5 million on the project. Before the detonation, four miles of land surrounding ground zero was withdrawn from public use by the BLM at the request of the AEC.

At GZ, a head frame was constructed and a shaft was drilled 1,211 feet deep. From the bottom of the shaft, a 1,000-foot tunnel was drilled through the solid granite rock.

There also were buildings, machines and vehicles there to measure, document and calibrate the blast forces, a first aid trailer, a mobile radio-assay lab for counting alpha and beta activity, personnel decontamination trailer, a weather trailer and a mobile laundry trailer for decontaminating clothing.  Along with this were 18 remote gamma detectors.

Precautions such as off-site surveillance from five to 50 miles from ground zero began in July 1963 to find a baseline of radioactive contamination and continued on the day of the test and afterward. There was no reported rise in radiation at any point.

On the day of the test, the public was invited to watch from about four and a half miles away on State Route 839, which is known locally as Nevada Scheelite Mine Road. A parking area had been made along the highway and next to the road leading to GZ for observers and for those driving on the highway who had to be stopped jus’ before the blast occurred.

At six, the morning of the detonation, the Federal Aviation Administration began broadcasting warnings every half hour for aircraft to avoid the airspace to 12,000 feet and 50 nautical miles southeast. The bomb was detonated at 10 a.m., and about four seconds later, a loud roar filled the air and a dust cloud 1,000 feet tall began to rise over desert.

A magnesium flare marked the moment the blast went off, but it was a couple of seconds later when those in the parking lot were jarred by a severe ground shock. A seismograph reported a reading of about 4.7 on the Richter scale.

The earth bulged, but no crater was formed. Instead a shaft, nearly 170 feet in diameter and 460 feet high was created, with rock fractures extending out in all directions for hundreds of feet and several tons of radioactive rubble believed to contain two kilograms of unburned plutonium-239 with a half-life expectancy of 24,000 years filling it.

Although no radiation leaked into the atmosphere during the test, the ‘Fallon Eagle–Standard’ reported December 17th, 1963, drillers had found temperatures of 600 degrees and radiation that peaked at 40 Roentgen per hour. A final radiological safety survey, conducted in 1964, found all radiation levels were not above natural background levels.

The area was cleaned by scraping the surface and mixing the contaminated soil with clean soil and burying that soil under several feet on contaminated earth.  Decommissioned in 1964, it would another six years before the land was once again returned to the BLM and open to the public.

Woman Hospitalized after Shooting in Carson Medical Facility

A woman has life-threatening injuries after she being shot at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center in Carson City Sunday morning.  The shooting happened jus’ before noon on the 3rd floor.

The shooter, 88-year old William Dresser, walked into his wife’s room and shot her in the chest with a handgun. Authorities have not released what she was originally being treated for.

dresser

Correctional officers were guarding a prisoner a few doors away when the shooting happened, and are credited with helping subdue Dresser. The woman has been flown to Renown for her injuries.

The hospital was on lockdown for about two hours while officers investigated. None of the other patients were threatened and hospital staff worked to make sure they were as safe as possible.

This shooting comes about a month after suicidal gunman opened fire at Renown last December, killing one person, critically wounding two others and sending police on a door-to-door search within the facility amid the chaos.

Dr. Christine Lajeunesse and Shawntae Spears were injured in the attack, while Dr. Charles Gholdoian died after being shot in the upper torso. Investigators say Alan Frazier, from Lake Almanor, left evidence at his home indicating the shooting was planned.

The shooting came nearly two months after a 12-year-old boy opened fire at an area middle school, killing a math teacher before taking his own life. Two other students were treated for their injuries at Renown, the largest hospital in northern Nevada.

Renown has also treated victims of other recent tragedies, including a deadly incident involving a truck versus a train near Fallon, a crash at a Reno air race in 2011 that killed 11 people and a rampage at a Carson City restaurant the same year that killed three uniformed Nevada National Guard members.

Meanwhile, Dresser has been booked into the Carson City Jail on charges of attempted murder with a deadly weapon. Authorities say they believe this was domestic violence incident.

Vegas Woman Stalked by Serial Killer

To Sarah Pisan, excited about her new job as a gas station manager in Las Vegas, Nevada, Robert Generoso had the car, the look, the money.  She jus’ didn’t want to date him.

But Generoso persisted.

In 1980, the 19-year-old Sarah had three children and was busy with her new job.

“He started coming in on a daily basis,” Sarah says, “and then one day he asked me out. He didn’t want to take no for an answer.”

“I finally looked at him, and said, call me sometime. And he said okay, and he took off and he left,” Sarah says, “and probably 10 minutes later — the phone went off in my booth.”

“I’ve been looking forward to this day for a very long time,” she heard.

The call freaked her out so badly, that she decided to skip the date.

Shortly after, Las Vegas Metro police called her mom in Bullhead City, south of Vegas. They told her Sarah’s friend and coworker, Cheryl Ann Daniels had been killed and her body dumped in Hell Hole Canyon.

“She said I just got off the phone call with metro police,” Sarah recalls, “and they’ve linked you to a homicide.”

The killer had left behind his wallet and in that wallet were Sarah’s name and address. She almost went on a date with the killer and when she didn’t he tried to kill her at her work.

Her life was changed forever.

Generoso, whose real name was Stephen Peter Morin had been killing for over ten years and was a master of disguise; he had changed his name and appearance many times.

The police made Sarah leave her job and the area in order to save her life, convinced she would be dead within the week otherwise. So she moved to Texas.

“He found me, and I knew at that point that it really didn’t matter where I went,” Sarah says.  “The only places I had a choice to go to he already knew.”

Though never convicted for Cheryl’s murder, Morin was executed by lethal injection March 13th, 1985, for the 1981 murder of Carrie Scott. Morin was later convicted of the killings of Janna Bruce in Corpus Christi and Shelia Whalen in Golden Colorado.

In the early morning hours of December 11th, 1981 in San Antonio, Morin shot and killed 21-year old Carrie in front of her place of employment. She interrupted Morin in the process of stealing her car.

Later that day, Morin abducted Margaret Palm from a local shopping center. Morin and Margaret drove to Kerrville where Morin ended up boarding a bus to Austin.

Margaret survived the ordeal.

He was busted in Austin ending a four-year FBI manhunt.  At the time of his arrest Morin was a suspect in 37 violent crimes from coast to coast.

As for the former Las Vegas resident, Sarah lives along the coast of Southern Oregon. She also penned the book, ‘Sarah’s Story: Target of a Serial Killer,’ in 2013.

The Singularity of Google

The word ‘Google’ which is the name of a famous search engine, is a play on the number ‘googol’ – the equivalent to the number one followed by 100 zeros. But, really, what is ‘Google,’ all about?

Google was jus’ an ‘Internet search engine,’ – in 1998 — but today, you’d be surprised at what they’re in to. Not only is it the biggest player in internet advertising today, it sends balloons into near-space, outfits  cities like Topeka, Kansas with underground cables, runs your smartphone and tablets and is taking on the wearable tech sector with such items as Google Glass.

Recently, Google purchased a military robot maker, Boston Dynamics. It’s the eighth robot maker Google has snatched up.

The deal indicates the Internet giant and pioneer of self-driving cars is serious about a robot-filled future.  In March 2012, Google file for an application to operate self-driving automobile in Nevada, maintaining the technology is not supposed to replace drivers, but help them.

So far, Google isn’t sharing much about the purchases augmenting it’s newly-launched robotics division. Meanwhile, Google has quietly invested in such companies like ‘Buttercoin,’ a marketplace for virtual currency ‘Bitcoin,’ and ‘Wittlebee,’ a child’s clothing specialist, ‘Kabam, a social gaming start-up; ‘Fitstar,’ a firm looking to create fitness apps, and ‘Nextdoor,’ a local social networking platform.

Add to this, investments in the health sector with companies like ‘23AndMe,’ a biotechnology firm ofering rapid genetic testing, allowing customers to take a swab of their own DNA and have it checked, quickly, for genetic-based diseases. And members of Google’s “X” team, a group working on top secret research projects, were having meetings with officials from the US Food and Drug Administration to discuss their plans.

Google has also acquired Nest, the maker of the energy-saving ‘Learning Thermostat’ and ‘Protect’ smoke alarm for $3.2 billion, headquartered in Palo Alto, California. The merger will help Google gain a toehold into the design and manufacturing of sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled, self-learning, programmable thermostats and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

“Google will help us fully realize our vision of the conscious home and allow us to change the world faster than we ever could if we continued to go it alone,” Nest CEO Tony Fadell blogs. “We’ve had great momentum, but this is a rocket ship. Google has the business resources, global scale, and platform reach to accelerate Nest growth across hardware, software, and services for the home globally.”

Lastly, Google has been tied directly to the National Security Administrations’ Internet data-mining sweep through the use of small tracking files or ‘cookies.’ Experts say given the widespread use of Google services and widgets, most Web users are likely to have a ‘Google PREF cookie’ even if they’ve never visited a Google property directly.

That Unexpected Find

While out and about a day ago, I decided to stop by an old book store in Sparks. “The Book Gallery,” has been on North Rock for most of the last quarter century.

Once inside I started browsing the ‘Mystery’ and ‘Western’ section of the story. I’m always looking for a book I haven’t read by Louis L’Amour, Elizabeth Coel or Tony Hillerman.

Barring my ability to find anything by the three authors above, I generally turn to the ‘Classics,’ searching for books by Jack London or O. Henry. And every once in a while, I’ll find something that I had no idea I was looking for.

children's book

Case in point: A small book of poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson. What makes this so unique to me is that the book, “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” was published in the year 1900, six short years after his death.

The binding is in very good shape, though it does show signs of being handled. But it is the lithograph art work through out the book that makes this four-dollar purchase so remarkable.

For me — this is a wonderful find.

Retired Nevada Assemblyman Dies


Former Nevada State Assemblyman Bernie Anderson has died. The Washoe County Democrat represented District 31 and was a retired Reed High School teacher.

He served from 1991 through 2010, in several key positions including chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and was a staunch supporter of children and education. His family says he had been hospitalized in Reno since December 26th for pulmonary problems.

Services are pending. He was 71.

LBJ visits Northern Nevada

It has been 50 years and $20 trillion since President Lyndon Johnson announced his War on Poverty to bring education, health care, and jobs to the underprivileged and downtrodden so they could live the American Dream. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation that outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women, ending unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public.

Four months after signing the legislation, LBJ visited Northern Nevada, speaking at Powning Park in downtown Reno. In his opening remarks beginning at 9:57, the morning of October 12th, 1964, he referred to Governor and Mrs. Grant Sawyer, Senators Alan Bible and Howard Cannon, and Congressman Walter Baring, all of Nevada, thanking them for their help in passing the bill.

Mystery at the Museum

A valuable mineral specimen stolen in April 2013, from a mining museum at the University of Nevada, Reno was returned anonymously, 24 days later. The mineral, worth about $30,000, was left on the steps of the building.

The specimen was inside a crate, wrapped in a plastic bag and didn’t appear to be damaged. The mineral is prized by collectors because of its long slender bladed crystals with a brilliant gray and black metallic luster.

It’s not especially rare, but the specimen is unusually large, weighing in at 25 to 30 pounds. It mysteriously disappeared from a display case inside the Keck Museum, which houses more than 6,000 mineral samples and fossils along with historic mining tools and equipment.

Interestingly enough, the museum is located inside what is considered one of the most haunted buildings on UNR’s campus – the Mackay School of Earth Sciences. Built in 1908, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The resident spirit is believed to be that of Katherine Duer Mackay, the first wife of John Mackay’s son, Clarence. Many believe much of the Mackay building’s spooky activity is centered on a large painting of Katherine, located in Conference Room 302.

However, both staff and students report objects being moved from one place to another and lights turning on and off by themselves through out the day and night. One former student even claims to have seen the figure of John Mackay in one of the buildings windows one evening as she crossed the quad.

How the specimen disappeared and then returned remains under investigation.

Majority Fail Nevada’s Drivers Authorization Card Test

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles estimates 75 percent of applicants have failed the written test needed for the card under a new law that made the state the 11th nationally to offer driving privileges to people in the country illegally.  Applicants must correctly answer 80 percent of 50 questions to pass the test and are also required to pass a driving exam to receive cards.

Thousands of illegal aliens jammed DMV offices to get the cards, forcing some offices to turn applicants away. In Las Vegas, about 300 people were in line at most offices when doors opened and in Reno and Carson City, offices began turning applicants away three hours before they closed.

A law passed by the 2013 Legislature and signed by Governor Brian Sandoval allows illegal’s in Nevada without citizenship status to get the driver authorization cards. Backers of the bill say because many immigrants in the country illegally drive anyway, the law will make roads safer because it requires them to take the tests and have insurance.

Between 1935 and 1941, Nevada’s counties were the license issuing agencies. That changed however when the state took over the function July 1st, 1941, with the actual DMV created 16 years later.

Here are the current Nevada Driver License Sample Test Questions:

1. If an officer believes you are driving under the influence:
a.) you can refuse to be tested for the presence of alcohol or drugs.
b.) you can refuse to be tested only if it is your first offense.
c.) you cannot refuse to be tested for the presence of alcohol or drugs.
d.) none of the above.

2. When can a motorcycle operator use a complete traffic lane?
a.) only on rural highways.
b.) only on city streets.
c.) on all highway and streets where motorcycles are allowed.
d.) never, they have to share a lane.

3. When sharing the road with commercial vehicles such as tractor-trailer rigs and buses, you need to:
a.) understand it takes more time and space for them to slow down and stop.
b.) remember that commercial vehicles have substantial blind spots.
c.) signal for turns or lane changes well in advance.
d.) all of the above.

4. The major cause of traffic accidents in Nevada is:
a.) speeding.
b.) failure to yield right-of-way.
c.) following too closely.
d.) driving under the influence.

5. When you hear the siren or see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle, you must:
a.) slow down until it passes you.
b.) drive to the right side of the road and stop.
c.) motion the emergency vehicle to pass you.
d.) continue at the same speed, but pull to the right.

6. Stopping distances on slippery roads are:
a.) about the same as on dry pavement.
b.) a little less than on dry pavement.
c.) 2 to 10 times greater than on dry pavement.
d.) none of the above.

7. You may use a center turn lane:
a.) as a travel lane to pass other vehicles.
b.) to make a left turn into another street, road, or driveway.
c.) to make a right turn onto another street, road, or highway.
d.) all of the above

8. Pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections have the right-of-way over vehicles.
a.) true
b.) false

9. A flashing red traffic light:
a.) means stop until the light turns green.
b.) means slow down and proceed with caution.
c.) has the same meaning as a stop sign.
d.) warns you to clear the intersection.

10. You should buckle your seat belt and make sure your passengers do too:
a.) when it’s raining or snowing.
b.) when you are getting ready to drive, before you start the engine.
c.) when a police officer stops you.
d.) only when you’re going on a long trip.

Answers:
1. c.) you cannot refuse to be tested for the presence of alcohol or drugs.
2. c.) on all highway and streets where motorcycles are allowed.
3. d.) all of the above.
4. b.) failure to yield right-of-way.
5. b.) drive to the right side of the road and stop.
6. c.) 2 to 10 times greater than on dry pavement.
7. b.) to make a left turn into or from another street, road, or driveway.
8. a.) true
9. c.) has the same meaning as a stop sign.
10. b.) when you are getting ready to drive, before you start the engine.

Plaque Honoring Galaxy Crash Stolen

The plaque honoring the 70 people who died in the Galaxy Airlines flight 203 crash near Meadowood Mall, has been stolen from Reno’s Rancho San Rafael Park. The two-foot-by-two-foot brass plaque was removed from a large rock to which it had been bolted.

The Lockheed L-188 Electra 4-engine turboprop was returning to Minneapolis from a Super Bowl trip sponsored by Caesars Tahoe.  It crashed shortly after takeoff from what was then called the Reno-Cannon International Airport, January 21st, 1985, killing all but 17-year-old George Lamson Jr.

Lamson, now 46 and a Reno resident, was recently featured in the CNN documentary “Sole Survivor.”

The problem was that an access door was left open by the ground crew. The vibration upon take-off led to a chain of events in which the crew became confused and basically forgot to fly the airplane.

The crash is partly the reason for the Cockpit Resource Management training program which is required today.

So far the Washoe County sheriff’s office says there are no suspects or leads in the case.