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Carson District Judge Signs Off On New Political Boundaries, Making Only Minor Changes To Special Master Maps

CARSON CITY – Carson City District Judge James Todd Russell approved a set of maps outlining Nevada’s new political boundaries today, making only modest changes to the lines drawn by a panel of three court-appointed special masters.
Russell, who ended up in charge of the redistricting process after legislative Democrats and Republicans could not come to an agreement in the 2011 session, signed off on the four congressional districts as proposed and made minor changes to several state Senate seats to correct what he said was an irregularly shaped state Senate 8 seat now held by Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas.
The changes to Senate 8 also resulted in modest changes in the percentage of Democrats and Republicans in Senate District 9 held by Sen. Elizabeth Halseth, R-Las Vegas, Senate District 6 held by Sen. Allison Copening, D-Las Vegas, and a new Senate 18 district created in Clark County with the population shift from northern and rural Nevada to the south.

Democrat attorney Marc Elias, left, and Republican attorney Mark Hutchison look over the new maps in Carson City District Court today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau

Russell also changed the proposed boundaries of Assembly Districts 34 and 37 in Clark County to return Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, to his District 34. Horne had moved and was unintentionally drawn out of his district.
Russell made the changes after consulting this week with the special masters in advance of today’s hearing.
Attorneys for Democrats and Republicans reserved judgment on whether they will appeal the new political boundaries, required as a result of the 2010 Census, after reviewing the changes. The new political boundaries could potentially be challenged both to the Nevada Supreme Court and the federal courts.
Republican Party attorney Mark Hutchison had argued for changes to Senate seats 6, 8 and 9 to make them more competitive for Republicans, but Russell made only minor changes to the districts.
Democrat Party Attorney Marc Elias had asked for no changes to the maps drawn by Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover, Las Vegas attorney Thomas Sheets and former legislative Research Director Bob Erickson.
Elias said he could propose a laundry list of changes to the maps to improve Democrat political changes in the 2012 election, but that absent any serious errors that needed fixing, the political demands of the two parties should not be accommodated by Russell.
Russell said he tried to address the concerns of rural Nevada, which saw a Senate district drawn all the way into Clark County to reflect the population shift, but could find no way to do so. He noted that both the redistricting plans proposed by Republicans and Democrats moved the district into Clark County as well. The map as drawn by the special masters encompasses less of Clark County than the plans proposed by the parties, Russell said.
“We tried to accommodate these people . . . but there’s no way to work it out,” he said.
The rural district could have been kept whole only if the Legislature had voted to expand its size from the current 21 Senate and 42 Assembly seats, but it did not do so. The state constitution allows the Legislature to be expanded to as many as 75 seats in total.
The congressional maps, which include a new fourth seat due to Nevada’s population growth over the past decade compared to other states, has a central urban Las Vegas District 1 that is 42.8 percent Hispanic.
“I think overall we can live with the congressional maps, particularly based on the court’s decision to accept the special masters’ finding that there was no white block voting that precluded minorities from being elected or choosing candidates of their choice,” Hutchison said.
Elias said he does not believe the new congressional districts violate the federal Voting Rights Act and so no federal court challenge looks likely.
“It doesn’t seem to me that there is any basis at this point for a federal court action,” he said. “We’ve said, literally from the first day here, that the Voting Rights Act does not compel the creation of a majority-minority congressional district.”
Russell said he also considered the idea of returning the redistricting process to the Legislature in a special session, but rejected the idea. A two-week special session would have cost about $550,000, he said.
Gov. Brian Sandoval is the only one with the authority to call a special session of the Legislature, and he had previously rejected the idea, saying he had confidence in the court process to resolve the impasse.
Russell also found that the districts as drawn do not violate the federal Voting Rights Act.
The Nevada Supreme Court still has a hearing scheduled for next month on the issue of whether the Legislature has the responsibility to draw the state’s new political boundaries, not the courts.
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Audio clips:
GOP attorney Mark Hutchison says Republicans can lives with the new congressional districts:
102711Hutchison :15 of their choice.”
Democrat attorney Marc Elias says he does not believe there are federal issues with the new districts:
102711Elias :16 majority-minority congressional district.”


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On your “Must Not Miss” list, is the popular Downtown Wine Walk – held the First Saturday of every month from 1- 5pm. For just $10 (which supports the Downtown Business Association) you’ll receive a commemorative wine glass and endless reasons to sip, stroll, and shop, the afternoon away, through Historic Downtown Carson City. Bring your wine walk glass with the Carson City Logo on it and pay only $8. Don't forget the after Wine Walk raffle prize party, 5:00pm, at the Cabaret Lounge, Carson Nugget Casino!

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Top Stories

On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Robert Crowell presented the Spirit of Enterprise Award to U.S. Congressman Mark Amodei at the Carson City Chamber’s Soup’s On! luncheon Tuesday.

The award is presented to those congressmen voting for pro-business legislation sponsored by the U.S. Chamber. This is the congressman’s third Spirit of Enterprise award from the U.S. Chamber confirming his continued commitment to business.

Photo provided by the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.

There was early action on the softball diamond as Carson hosted McQueen Tuesday. McQueen needed little to no time to take the advantage in the top of the first going up 4-0 after a couple wild pitches and a plethora of good at-bats by their Lancer offense.

It was a cold one to say the least at Ron McNutt field in Carson City Tuesday, but that didn't slow down the Carson Senators as they rolled over the Lancers. After a scoreless top of the first inning, Carson needed no time warming up in the cold weather picking up three runs early in the bottom of the first with a couple of singles, a sacrifice fly and a booming double by Jace Zampirro.

Here is this week's fishing report for rivers, lakes and streams in Nevada, northern California and the Sierra. This Saturday, April 26, 2014 is the opening day for fishing in most California waters. Remember to keep your fishing license in view, the thermos filled with coffee and tight lines all the way.

Students and staff at Eagle Valley Middle School need the community's help. Thursday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., the generous owners of Pizza Factory 3120 Hwy. 50 E., #3, will donate 20 percent of the entire day's earnings to the EVMS parent teacher organization.

The donation will help with purchase CRT testing snacks for the entire student body. The community is asked to come in, call in or carry out pizza, sandwiches or pasta and help raise funds for Eagle Valley Middle School.

A Carson City man was sentenced Tuesday to a minimum of 40 months in prison for the injuries he caused when he hit a man in the head with a liquor bottle during a fight.

UPDATE: Two people are in critical condition after a crash Tuesday on Highway 50 at Ambrose Lane in Dayton, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

NHP crash investigation details learned so far indicate a 2004 black Audi four-door vehicle making a left turn from Ambrose lane onto Highway 50 pulled in front of a red 2007 Wabash tractor pulling a trailer, said NHP Trooper Dave Gibson. The tractor struck the Audi in the drivers’ door with its front pushing it off onto the South shoulder.

A 41-year-old man was jailed Monday on a felony charge of vehicle burglary and a lesser charge of domestic battery after an argument over taxes and paperwork escalated with his former common law wife at her place of business.

David Alexander of Dayton was being held at Carson City Jail on $28,137 bond. According to the arrest report, Carson City Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a casino in the 3800 block of South Carson Street in reference to a domestic battery.

Nine projects have been awarded grants through the 2014 Lake Tahoe License Plate program, which generated around $350,000 last year from the sale of special plates through the DMV. Grant recipients were announced Tuesday by the Nevada Division of State Lands.

Grants are made available annually for projects that preserve and restore the natural environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

In 2014 the standard business driving mileage rate is 56 cents per mile. IRS adjusted that down from the 56.5 cents per mile in 2013.

If the business had four or less vehicles, it is OK to use the mileage rate instead of actual expenses. However, each vehicle’s tax basis (cost) is to be reduced by the depreciation component — 22 cents per mile. That will be important when the vehicle is sold.

Two men were arrested Monday and face multiple felony charges after they allegedly stole a vehicle and then went to Kohl's where they stole an Xbox and then led Carson City sheriff's deputies on a brief chase.

Jacob Andrew Pacheaco, 27, and Danny Maxfield Jr., 37, were arrested separately, with Maxfield jumping out of a moving vehicle, suffering injuries which required him to go the hospital.

The Carson City Symphony, directed by David Bugli, continues its 30th season on Sunday, April 27, 2014, 4 p.m., with a concert, "Sagebrush Celebration," at the Carson City Community Center's Bob Boldrick Theater, 851 E. William Street in Carson City. Featured guest soloist is violinist Andrew Sords in his third appearance with the Symphony, playing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto.

The latest edition of Capital Crossfire explores drones and their future in Nevada. Join Karl Neathammer and Shelly Aldean with guests Steve Tackes, a senior partner of Kaempfer Crowell Law and Karl Hutter, COO of Click Bond, a local manufacturing company in Carson City as they discuss new developments in the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“Drones”) and the regulatory challenges associated with their use.

CARSON CITY, NV – Nevada's First Lady Kathleen Sandoval will join Superintendents Pedro Martinez and Richard Stokes, Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong, and Michael Dermody, founder and chief executive officer of Dermody Properties at the Governor’s Mansion, Tuesday, April 22, at 10 a.m., for a press conference to launch the Strong Start Nevada initiative in Northern Nevada. The event takes place in the Nevada Room at the mansion, 606 N. Mountain St.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a telephone scam involving grandparents of college-aged students. The scammers recently bilked a Douglas County couple of $4,000, said Sgt. Pat Brooks. In Carson City, people have been targeted in the past with a similar scam.

The way the scam works is a caller phones a relative, usually a grandparent, and informs them their grandchild has gotten into trouble with the law while on spring break. In the most recent case, the grandchild was said to be in trouble with the law in Nashville, Tenn.

What’s Shakin’ in Northern Nevada along the Sierra Front? According to Western Nevada College Geology Professor Winnie Kortemeier, plenty. She will present a free slide/lecture presentation on earthquakes on Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m., as part of WNC Earth Week activities.

Dr. Kortemeier will focus her remarks on earthquakes in our area.

“Nevada is one of the most tectonically active states in the U.S.,” she said. She will discuss why this part of the state is so active, “and what you can do to protect yourself in your home if a damaging earthquake should occur.”

Carson City sheriff's deputies arrested a man Sunday after he allegedly tried to take a cell phone away from his mother who was attempting to call 911 for help after he became violent with her.

The Gardnerville man, Blane Allen Frazier, was arrested to the area of Highway 395 and I-580 freeway at 3:58 p.m. He faces a felony charge of preventing a victim from reporting a crime and lesser charges of domestic battery and open container.

The Carson City Shade Tree Council's annual Arbor Day event this year is being held this Saturday at 10am. Join us and our sponsors for a fun-filled 5k fun run/walk at the Riverview Park in Carson City.

Riverview Park is located at the end of East 5th Street, next to the Korean War Memorial. There is parking and facilities to accommodate the whole family.

This past weekend we celebrated Easter, a holiday filled with family, renewal and hope for the future. The hallmark of the holiday, for kids, is the Easter egg hunt, where they run as fast as they can and look for eggs with hidden treasures inside.

Carson City Supervisor Karen Abowd gives a recap on the actions taken by the Board of Supervisors at its April 17, 2014 meeting.

At the meeting Supervisors again approved an ordinance allowing for a 1/8-cent sales tax for public infrastructure projects including: