Sheriff’s Message, Week of June 18th
We live in an absolutely blessed county. Each week, its beauty and wondrous landscape is revealed to those who take the time to just bask in all of its glory. While all agricultural fields in production at this time of the year never cease to amaze me, the planted corn along the highway each year is one of my favorite. It serves as a constant reminder to the time of year. It definitely looks like it will be “knee high by the 4th of July.”
With the 4th comes the same concern every year: FIREWORKS. It is a misdemeanor crime in the City of Fernley, City of Yerington, and throughout unincorporated Lyon County to “sell, offer for sale, discharge or set off any rocket, squib, firecracker or other fireworks” without a permit. The next question people ask is about sparklers, especially when Wal-Mart sells them. Unfortunately there is no clear answer to that question. People on both sides of the argument can make valid points as whether they are fireworks by definition. The Sheriff’s Office position is that we will not seize or cite individuals using sparklers on private property. However, the use of any flammable device that causes a wildland fire or house fire could be charged as arson.
For those that have not watched the Walker River Mason Valley Desert Engineering You Tube video dated 6-22-17 capturing what is really happening, you will be amazed at East and West Walker Rivers doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. They are flooding land that wasn’t designed to be built upon. More importantly, they are recharging the aquifer, which hasn’t been done to this extent in decades.
The heat wave this week did cause increased river flows. At the height of these flows, SAR notified citizens along the rivers in Smith and Mason Valleys to be more observant while our VIPs did continuous river checks on six Mason Valley bridges for two straight nights. A bridge plug caused by a floating tree was a serious concern. Several cottonwood trees were uprooted and floated downstream as ranchers and work crews quickly removed them before they cause real damage. We are not out of its public safety threat yet, as the river will continue to rise and lower over the next several weeks. We have been fortunate not having any loss of life on either the Carson or Walker rivers.
Lyon County will now get an additional four state parks with approximately 12,000 acres and 28 miles of East Walker River access. The Pitch Fork, Rafter 7, Nine Mile and Flying M Ranches are being given to the state. While there is limited county benefit, it will impact the Sheriff’s Office budget. We expect to send our single southern deputy further south into these remote areas for OHV and other motor vehicle accidents; lost and injured recreationalist; private property trespassing; and vandalism at historical sites. We are looking at strategies to minimize those fiscal impacts.
Discussions were held this week with staff for the City of Fernley, Lyon County, and other community stakeholders on building a senior and community center that targets youth. While still in the initial planning stages, these types of centers are a great crime prevention strategy for any community.
And finally, I will be out of town next weekend. Therefore there will be no weekly message. Have a blessed and safe 4th of July celebration and as always, keep the faith.