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Ormsby House Hits 10 Years of Dormancy


Today is a momentous anniversary. It was 10 years ago today, September 21, 2000, that the owners of the Ormsby House announced that they would be closing the hotel for a major remodel. They had been trying to keep the place open while they remodeled it, they even publicly said it would not be closing as late as August 2000. But at every turn in the construction they ran into setbacks. leaking pipes, crumbling walls, outdated electrical systems. They finally decided it would be best to just shut the doors and let the place be overrun with construction workers. Nine months, tops, and they would be ready for a grand re-opening. The actual closure came on October 29, 2000. That night at midnight they locked the doors for the last time.
In theory this remodel plan would have been a great idea. But in practice–well, everyone in Carson City now knows how their great plans turned out. Ten years later and the exterior has been remodeled into a beautiful showcase for downtown Carson. But the interior is still gutted, and the pace of work is probably on record as the slowest construction job in the history of Nevada. I’ve documented, in painful detail, the growing pains of this project over the last eight years, and it’s a bittersweet mix of frustration that they won’t work faster and joy at what they create when they finally do gets their butts in gear.


This was not the first time the Ormsby House had closed. Us old timers remember when the owner, Truett Loftin at the time, declared bankruptcy and closed the doors early in 1993. The place stayed boarded up and shut down for two whole years before reopening under new owners in 1995. But that was not the end of the troubles, as a string of bankruptcies, foreclosures and auctions haunted the property all through the late 90s. Bob Cashell was brought in as general manager, and actually did a decent job of trying to turn the place around, doing the best he could with what he was given. He left after the closure and went on to be mayor of Reno. The new owners finally came in on September 15, 1999, Al Fiegehen and Don Lehr.

One thing that you can certainly say about the owners is that they are dedicated. Nobody else would have stuck with the project for this long; the stress of it probably would have killed lesser men. But at the same time, the energy in any organization comes from the top, and the Ormsby House has no energy. If they had dedicated everything that was necessary to the project, they might have hit their 9 month deadline. Add in a few unforeseen snags and we could give them a year. But for the project to drag on for 10 years, and for work to be dribbled out as such a slow pace, the blame for that can only be placed on the owners. As I speak there are people working at the Ormsby House; I saw their trucks parked outside this morning. But it’s probably a crew of five or six guys, doing one specialized little job, while the rest of the place sits empty. You can’t tackle a project that big by nibbling at it a little at a time, or else you get what we have now, a ten-year project with no end in sight.

So I have no doubt the Ormsby House project will drag on for even more years. Eventually one of the owners will die, or both, and what happens to the project then is unknowable. If they really wanted to get the hotel opened they would throw every construction worker in Carson City at the place, and turn it into a 24-hour construction zone until it was finished. But they won’t do that. They’ve had 10 years to do that and it’s never been done. So I don’t see it starting now. The Ormsby House will remain a gleaming white albatross at the heart of town, maybe one day in the distant future finally re-opening. If we’re all still alive to see it.

The Nevada Appeal has been online long enough to have built up a decent archive of news stories, and most of the original stories about the Ormsby House can still be found. In my digging I found these articles about the closure, history documents now.

Also my Ormsby House Renovation Gallery contains a full documentation of the exterior work on the building, so you can see that they really did do a fantastic job of fixing the place up.


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Day R. Williams scored top of his law school class in Evidence and Constitutional Law, and he wrote for the Law Review. He is known as a fine legal writer. Day has practiced solo for more than 20 years in Carson City. He has handled contract disputes, personal injuries, bad faith by insurance companies, probate, estates and trusts, appeals, and a murder case. Day has tried cases and appeared in court in Carson City, Reno, Minden, Yerington, Ely, Fallon, Pahrump, and Las Vegas, and he has argued before the Nevada Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was a driving force in the first citizen-initiated grand jury in Nevada’s history.

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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!

Tickets can be purchased at Bella Fiora Wines, Cactus Jack’s, Carson Jewelry & Loan, Carson Nugget, and Horseshoe Club, where you will receive hand stamps, glasses, and maps.

Sponsored by the Carson City Downtown Business Association, our goal is to carry on a local tradition, hosting an event which showcases a monthly Downtown celebration. It’s a Saturday stroll with a glass of wine through historic downtown Carson City where boutiques, local shops, galleries, restaurants and casinos, pull out all the stops to awaken your taste buds and tantalize your senses... experience a Downtown taste sensation!.

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UPDATE: NV Energy reports power being restored to the south and east of Dayton Valley Airpark. As of 11:17 p.m. there were 936 customers without power.
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UPDATE: As of 10:50 p.m. there's been more reported outages, back up to 1,672 customers south and east of Dayton Valley Airpark.

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UPDATE: As of 9 p.m. 942 NV Energy customers remain without power south of Dayton Valley Airpark.

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Since 2009, Western Nevada College has actively sought ways to be sustainable in the operation of its campuses. Through continuing efforts and a commitment to use green energy, that vision is rising to new heights.

Black Rock Solar, a nonprofit corporation in Reno that specializes in expanding the use of renewable energy, just completed installation of 666 panels atop the Bristlecone Building on the Carson City campus. At 180 kilowatts, the project is Black Rock’s largest roof array to date.

The Carson City Chamber of Commerce welcomed Terri Baijounas, Farmers' Insurance newest Carson City agency owner, with a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday. It is the chamber's newest member and latest business to open its doors on John Street.

Baijounas, who has been affiliated with Farmers Insurance for 34 years in Nevada and California, set out on her own in May of this year with a branch as an agency owner.

If you're looking for a camping and fishing trip after this week's NV 150 Fair at Fuji Park, my suggestion is a special location that is not too far from Carson City, south of here off of Highway 395.

If you're not familiar with Lundy Lake, Calif., you are probably asking yourself, "What is Lundy Lake and where in the heck is it?"
 Well, if you're interested, here is some information to whet your appetite:

Today’s NV150Fair, celebrating Nevada's Sesquicentennial celebration, has something for everyone and admittance and all shows this day are FREE. Parking can be found at Casino Fandango with shuttle buses running continuously to take you there. Here's what's on tap today.

11 am – Be part of the history!

The Nevada Department of Transportation will begin a $800,000 project to construct turn pockets for enhanced safety and mobility on U.S. 395 south of Gardnerville Sunday, Aug. 3.

Proposed 2015 health insurance for individual and small group markets in Nevada are now available online, state Insurance Commissioner Scott J. Kipper announced Thursday. The proposed rates are for plans sold both on and off Nevada’s health insurance exchange.

Nevadans who wish to view proposed health insurance rates for plan year 2015 can go here. The Division has made proposed rate information available in two different formats.

Carson City sales tax is up 7.8 percent in May this year as compared to May 2013, according to figures provided Wednesday to the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.

"We attribute that to all the new retailers that chose to open their doors here," said Chamber Executive Director Ronni Hannaman.

Here’s a brief synopsis from the Chamber:

Furniture Sales – Up 24.8 percent; Sporting goods were up by 101.2 percent; General Merchandise stores were up by 37.5 percent and food and beverage stores showed an increase of 16.1 percent.

A 23-year-old Carson City man was arrested Wednesday on felony drug charges, a Carson City sheriff’s deputy said. Troy Lee Lindsey was booked on the felony charges after officers found two baggies of suspected methamphetamine in the man’s shoe.

According to the arrest report, a Carson City Sheriff’s Office Special Enforcement Team officer observed the man make a sudden turn on North Roop Street to East Washington at 9:26 p.m., nearly causing a collision between himself and another vehicle.

Many celebrations are scheduled statewide in the month of August. These Nevada 150 events celebrate all things Nevada and bring awareness to the 150th Anniversary of Statehood. The following events are held Aug. 1 through Aug. 14.

Thunderstorms are moving into the Carson City region, prompting an alert from the National Weather Service in Reno. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect until 10 p.m. for Carson City, Carson Valley, Dayton and Virginia City.

Firefighters have also responded to reports of lightning strikes seen in areas south and east of Carson City. As of about 1:30 p.m. Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center said there have been reports of lightning strikes and smoke near Carson River Road and near Stephanie Way but but nothing confirmed as wildfire.

Fruit trees throughout western Nevada blossom in the spring and will produce ripened fruit in mid-summer. As the fruit develops, the black bears in western Nevada are sure to take notice.

Armed with a sense of smell that is 2,100 times better than a human’s, black bears can tell when it is time to venture down the hill into places like west Reno, Washoe and Pleasant Valleys, Carson City and the western edges of the Carson Valley including Minden, Gardnerville and Genoa.

The fourth graders worked at the computer screens for hours, fingers dancing over the keyboard and figures on the screen spinning, growing and changing colors. And, their parents were happy. The students weren’t playing games; they were designing and building things like a whistle, buildings, hot air balloon, cars, DNA models, bracelets, airplanes and more, using a 3-D modeling and CAD design program.

Project Americans Coming Together local director Carla Wilson, and event coordinator Joy Evans will hold an informational meeting and auditions for two local original productions designed to bring both national and local history to life.

This meeting will be held on Friday, August 1, 2014, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints located at 411 N. Saliman Road in Carson City.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A package of Northern Nevada lands bills — six introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-2) and one by Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-4) unanimously passed the House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday.

The bipartisan support clears the way for the legislation to be brought to the House floor in September as a non-controversial suspension bill, according to a news release from Amodei's office.

The compromise agreement was made possible after adjustments to the legislation were made to a version passed in January.

UPDATE: Carson City sheriff's officials confirmed an adult woman was flown by Care Flight following this morning's crash at Fifth and Roop Street and a child was taken by ambulance. Their conditions are unknown and their identities were unavailable.

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UPDATE: Care Flight has taken one victim to the trauma ward of Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno following a pedestrian accident this morning at Fifth and Roop streets. A second victim was taken by ambulance. Reports to dispatch were that a woman and child were hit by a pickup at the intersection.

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A Reno man was booked Tuesday into Carson City Jail on a felony charge of probation violation. Timothy Ryan Gillenwater, 25, was stopped after a Carson City sheriff’s deputy observed the vehicle he was driving speeding 50 mph in a 40 mph zone and twice crossing the white travel lane divider, according to the arrest report.

Officers could smell a slight odor of alcohol from his breath and observed four opened and empty beer cans in the back seat of his vehicle, the arrest report states.

As July closes so does Nevada Department of Wildlife's month-long BEAR Logic campaign, designed to teach residents and visitors how to live and recreate in bear county. This week NDOW advice provides tips if people should have a bear encounter.

Keep in mind that bears exhibit stress behaviors that indicate their anxiety and preference to avoid conflict with you. These are not necessarily signs of an aggressive bear.

— Moaning and woofing while avoiding direct eye contact with you.
— Clacking of their teeth and smacking of their jaws.

A few months ago, Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell was out of the state when he received a message from his city hall office that a secretary from the Navy wanted to arrange a meeting with him.

Crowell, a Navy veteran who served in the Vietnam War, suspected the meeting might be about recruiting. He was delightfully wrong.

This year, the United States celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first visit to these shores. The "Jazz & Beyond: Carson City Music Festival" is excited to provide two exciting Beatles events in honor of that occasion.