A proposal to search for a county manager was rejected by a vote of two to one at last week’s Pershing County Commission meeting. Commissioner Carol Shank argued in favor of the position that she said could streamline county management and improve community relations.
But, County Commissioners Shayla Hudson and Larry Rackley voted against the proposal but the idea could be reconsidered later if tax revenues increase due economic development.
“If we had extra money to pay for a county manager, we should be putting that money toward pay raises for our employees,” said Rackley. “We have a lot of employees that are underpaid when you compare them to other counties. There’s five counties out there, similar in size, that do not have a county manager. They get their work done and we get our work done.”
Hudson said she supports the idea but considers the position unsustainable right now.
“If in a few years, we have the unsecured tax coming in, then look at it,” she said. “I can’t in good conscience approve this at this time.”
Tina Gallagher of Frontier Community Coalition said opioid overdose response training is available for the use of naloxone to reverse potentially fatal drug overdoses and save lives.
Gallagher warned Pershing County leaders that “everything is laced with fentanyl” including marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other street drugs in “all three counties.”
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that, like other opioids, can cause potentially fatal overdoses. Symptoms include slow or no breathing that can cause loss of oxygen to the brain, coma, permanent brain damage and even death according to the National Institutes of Health.
“I am going to immediately roll out some training to show how naloxone is administered. I’m working with Sheriff Allen to get his staff trained and supply them with naloxone,” Gallagher said. “Now that school is coming out, parents need to know what overdose signs and symptoms to look for…I am a licensed distributor of naloxone so if they want to come to my office at the Lovelock Depot, it’s always free and I always have it on hand.”
Gallagher said she can show people how to administer naloxone in about five minutes but more complete training on the legalities and how and when to use naloxone takes about one hour.
The commission approved a request to use the Courthouse Park and the community center kitchen to store and serve food for the Summer Lunch program that in the past served free lunch to about 90 children per day according to Frontier Community Action Agency officials.
Children up to 18 years of age are qualified for the program that will start on June 13 and end on August 19 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. on Monday through Friday at the Courthouse Park.
EMS Coordinator Marti Nolan said the ambulance service has been “super busy.”
“Since May 14, we’ve had 11 calls and since our last meeting on May 4, we’ve had 25 calls,” she said. “About half of them were critical.”
There are two new members of the Lovelock Volunteer Fire Department and EMR training will be underway for LVFD volunteers in about three or four months. Nolan said the fire department has also been busy with fires including “a few in town.” Fire Chief Rod Wilcox was injured and not available to provide the report, she said.
The board approved an application for the annual state Emergency Management Planning Grant (EMPG). The $24,000 grant funds half his salary, a satellite phone, AlertSense program, the emergency operations plan and equipment for the fixed and portable Emergency Operations Centers according to Pershing County Emergency Management Director Sean Burke.
The annual EMPG grant requires a $24,000 match by Pershing County, Burke said.
The county could also be eligible for grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in support of rural highway safety response programs.
“We’re here to protect our community and spend a lot of time on the freeway protecting the 40 million travelers that come through,” said Mike Heidemann of the LVFD. “I’ve been a proponent of NHTSA funding for rural areas that respond to highways. The comment period ends May 24. I could write one but I think it would be better coming from elected officials to support some of these grants and maybe we could bring that up to NACO and the state level.”
Heidemann reminded special event organizers to keep park access open for emergency crews.
“As you all know, we have had incidents at the park and usually they are during special events,” he told the board. “It’s important to let them know that just because we have a special event, that does not mean that there is not a fire zone. It is still red.”
The board voted to approve the donation by BLM of a 2006 Type 3 International Brush Truck to the LVFD. The vehicle will improve off-road access for LVFD fire crews to isolated brush fires.
The board approved a proposal to allow sheep and goats to graze in a fenced area around the Grass Valley Community Center. The privately-owned herds will provide organic weed control.
“There’s a gentleman who lives near the community center who’s wanting to put his sheep and goats outside of the parking area so they could eat the weeds around the community center,” said Grass Valley Advisory Board Chairman Linda Workman. “He was going to install an electric fence to keep them off the gravel area.”
County Safety Director Cheryl Haas said the state has not hired a Community Health Nurse for the state health clinics in Lovelock and Winnemucca.
“They still do not have any idea if, when or if ever they are going to have a Community Health Nurse,” Haas told the board. “They are going to have a skeleton crew in Carson City. There’s no update on that. We don’t really know what’s going to happen. It doesn’t look promising.”
A flu vaccine pod has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, October 7 at the community center.