Full-throttle pet lovers Babe Ruth all-stars See Pets Place, Page 10A
try to stay alive See Sports, Page 1B
Also Inside • Region in Brief: 3A • Crime Beat: 3A • Calendar: 4A • Birth Announcements: 4A • Today in History: 4A • Puzzles: 4A • Advice/Comics: 4B
Sparks Tribune Daily
your community newspaper since 1910
50¢ • VOLUME 101 NUMBER 202
WEDNESDAY, JULY 21, 2010
Sales are up, prices down Sparks and Spanish Springs saw more home sales in June, but median prices are down 6 percent from 2009 Tribune Staff
SPARKS — Early summer has seen a jump in home sales, the Reno/ Sparks Association of Realtors reported Monday. Sparks and Spanish Springs had 494 sales of existing single-family homes in the second quarter of 2010, an increase of 14 percent from 2009 and a 32 percent increase from the previous quarter. The median sales price for these transactions was $168,000, a decrease of 7 percent from last year and a 2 percent increase from the first quarter of 2010. In the month of June, Sparks (including Spanish Springs) saw 188 sales of
existing single-family homes, an increase of 12 percent from June 2009 and a 30 percent increase from the previous month. The Sparks median sales price for an existing single-family residence in June was $168,250, a 6 percent decrease from last year and a 2 percent increase from the previous month. “As anticipated, we saw an increase in the volume of closed sales during the month of June, many by buyers who were attempting to get in under the June 30 deadline to close deals in order to qualify for the tax credit,” said Ken Amundson, 2010 president of Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors.
“It wasn’t until the midnight hour that Congress extended the deadline to those buyers who, through no fault of their own, were unable to meet the deadline. As a result of that extension, buyers who qualified for the tax credit and were under contract by April 30, now have until Sept. 30, 2010 to close the transaction. “Although we are remaining cautiously optimistic about the number of transactions in the pipeline and some price stabilization,” Amundson continued, “we need to continue to closely watch the year-over-year numbers and see continuing trends in leveling median sales prices before we can
truly say we have reached the bottom.” All sales numbers are
for existing stick-built single family dwellings only and do not include condo-
Tribune/Debra Reid Sparks and Spanish Springs home sales are up but, in general, recent home prices are down.
minium, townhome, manufactured, modular or new home sales. The existing condominium/townhome median sales price for the 2010 second quarter in Sparks was $60,000, no change from 2009. The existing condominium/townhome median sales price for June in Sparks was $65,000, up 9 percent from last year. RSAR obtains its information from the Northern Nevada Regional Multiple Listing Service (www.nnrmls.com) and includes sales of bankowned (foreclosure) properties. For more information visit www.rsar.net.
Evans Avenue store must wait on alcohol permit because of concerns over nearby rehab efforts By Sarah Cooper email@example.com
RENO — In a nowbusy corner of downtown Reno, Devinder Dhillon wants to open a grocery store. But a matter of alcohol is getting in the way. Neighbors around the future grocery shop at 330 Evans Ave. are concerned about the grocery store’s proximity to the Reno Sparks Gospel Mission alcohol rehab facility, prompting the Reno City Council to delay granting Dhillon a packaged liquor license. Dhillon and her husband plan to include a liquor section in their facility. The proposed shop sits with its back to the mission.
“Please don’t put liquor stores in our backyard,” Peter Vogel, executive director of Catholic Charities (formerly Catholic Community Services), asked the Reno council at its July 14 meeting. Catholic Charities operates the St. Vincent’s Dining Hall, which also sits in the proposed grocery store’s backyard. “I have a lot of concerns with this,” Vogel added. “There are a lot of them who are our most vulnerable citizens … these people need a chance to recover.” The council decided to put off the decision until its Monday meeting when the councilman who represents that ward, Dwight Dortch, could chime in on the mat-
Reno Balloon Race still needs sponsors
ter. Dortch was absent from the July 14 meeting. Dhillon’s request was postponed once before when Reno City Council members agreed to move it from the June 12 meeting to the July 14 meeting. “We are law-abiding citizens, we want to open our store,” Dhillon said. Several in the Evans Avenue neighborhood agreed. The Dhillons went around to the nearby apartment complex and asked residents to sign a petition, voicing their need for a grocery store in the area. The effort netted 35 signatures. Tribune/Debra Reid In addition, they operate “They should put a liquor store inside the (homeless) shelter so I don’t have to walk so three other convenience far,” quipped Scott Barger while drinking behind a Sparks convenience store. Barger, left, stores in northern Nevada Daniel Duda, Arturo and Mike McClean said they avoid the Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission shelter because alcohol is not allowed. See Permit page 2A
NV officials ready for feds to pass jobless benefits
Event seeking $50,000 in new corporate support Tribune Staff
RENO — With the 2010 Great Reno Balloon Race just more than one month away, coordinators are trying to find 28 corporate sponsors to help cover the costs of the event. Event manager Dixie Craig said Tuesday that while the event is not in danger of cancellation or charging admission, the additional sponsorships are needed to make sure the event is stable for this year and 2011. Corporate sponsorships cost $1,700 each, adding up to a $47,600 Great Reno Balloon Race need. “It is a rather big chunk of money,” Craig said. “We
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have some other things in the works we think will help offset it but this number is us not counting on those other things.” The balloon race costs between $300,000 and $350,000 to put on, Craig said, and relies completely on sponsorships and donations. This year saw $35,000 in revenue disappear with the loss of three major sponsors. When the event started in 1982, she said there were 32 founding sponsors who funded the entire show. Now, she said, there are just five founding sponsors — IGT, the University of Nevada, Reno, and the Peppermill, Silver Legacy and Sands hotels — that provide both money and in-
State’s 14.2 percent unemployment rate is the nation’s highest; the Senate could vote today on the extension to help roughly 94,000 Nevadans Tribune File/Debra Reid A participant helps launch a hot air balloon during the Reno Balloon Races at Rancho San Rafael Park.
CARSON CITY — Nevada employment security officials say they are prepared to restart claims for extended jobless benefits once legislation is passed by Congress. The Senate could cast its final vote today. But officials say it will take time before everyone eligible begins to receive benefits. Claimants will receive letters in about a week of
the bill’s passage notifying them of their potential eligibility. Officials say the letter will include detailed instructions to prevent people from long waits on the telephone. The state on Monday reported Nevada’s jobless rate rose to 14.2 percent in June, a new record high. Nearly94,000Nevadans are receiving unemployment benefits. About 40,000 lost their benefits when federal extension programs expired in May.
kind services to the event. As a result of the decline in large-scale giving, donations and smaller sponsorships have become vital to the event, which is completely free to the public. And with just six weeks before the event, there is not enough time for some of the promotional benefits that come with the $10,000 sponsorship level, so Craig said they are aiming to find
corporate, family and nonprofit sponsors. Corporate sponsorships enable companies to get their name in front of the event’s 150,000 attendees, according to a release from event organizers. Family and nonprofit sponsorships cost $899 and include balloon rides each day of the event.
Sunny with a high of 95
Sunny with a high of 97
Sunny with a high of 99
See Balloon page 2A
Sparks Tribune Daily
2A • Wednesday, July 21, 2010
SWAT team at Reno home that caught fire Associated Press
RENO — Firefighters, guarded by police SWAT teams, battled a blaze at a home in an upscale Reno neighborhood where sheriff’s deputies reported shots were fired when they tried to serve an eviction notice Tuesday. Washoe County Sheriff’s spokesman Armando Avina said at least one man was in the home when the fire broke out. Authorities had no contact with the man after that, but he was believed to still be there late Tuesday afternoon despite significant fire and smoke damage to the home in a gated community near Lakeside Golf Course. SWAT teams from both the sheriff’s office and Reno police surrounded the home to make sure no
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one shot at the firefighters, he said. He said the home’s windows have been boarded up. Firefighters doused the blaze into the afternoon, concentrating on the attic. Police were waiting until it was out before entering the home. “They are going to be sending in a robot with a thermal imager to see exactly what we’ve got in there,” city spokeswoman Michelle Anderson said. She said safety concerns slowed their efforts but that the fire had been contained to the single structure with no damage to neighboring homes. Deputies reported shots were fired when they identified themselves at the door about 10:40 a.m, Avina said. Several neighbors said they heard gunshots or small explosions before the fire sent flames 50 feet into the air. “I heard a bang, a boom and shortly after that I heard sirens,” Susan Huckabay told the Reno
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Gazette-Journal. She said she didn’t know the people who live in the burning home, but said the house was “under distress” and the owner faced foreclosure. The newspaper reported that its foreclosure database indicated the property was in foreclosure as of July 1, but Avina said he could not confirm that. The Washoe County Assessor’s Web site shows the house is listed as owned by Lake Shores Trust. It was listed as sold for $267,100 on July 1 with a taxable value of the property listed as $354,000. A stretch of McCarran Boulevard, a major thoroughfare that circles the city, was closed for more than four hours before reopening about 4 p.m. Side streets around the home remained closed, but residents who had been evacuated were allowed to return to their homes.
BALLOON from page 1A
Crowd costs are some of the event’s highest expenses, Craig said, particularly as attendance grows. The number of tables, chairs, dumpsters and portable restrooms needed grows as the number of spectators at Rancho San Rafael Park grows. “The worse the economy gets the less money people have and the more likely they are to go a free event,” Craig said. The number of balloons is also affected by the amount of sponsorship money. Normally, organizers aim for about 100 balloons. So far this year, Craig said she has enough money for 83 balloons but will add more if more sponsors are found. The organization
Ad counters ‘extremist’ attacks on Angle By MICHAEL R. BLOOD Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle is using a familiar face to answer Democratic claims that she’s a dangerous extremist: Her own. In a new TV ad airing in Nevada, Angle is seen speaking calmly to a mostly elderly audience about the dangers of debt and runaway deficits. She echoes President Ronald Reagan and warns that “government is the problem.” The ad appears intended to subtly counter attacks by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democratic allies casting Angle as a loopy tea party conservative who would abolish Social Security and Medicare. The ad attempts to show Las Vegas viewers a different Angle than the one depicted by Democrats. works to trade promotions for hotel rooms for pilots, but cash is needed for other perks and to cover the cost of propane for the balloons’ tanks. In 2009, propane costs totaled $11,000 and Craig expects the price to be a little higher this year. “(Pilots) fly the event because they love Reno, they love the event,” Craig said. “We’re one of the top 10 in the nation.” While organizers are intent on keeping the event free, a minimal donation from each spectator would eliminate any money concerns. “If every person in attendance gave us $1, just one $1, we would not have any issues at all,” Craig said. For more information or donation opportunities, visit www.renoballoon.com.
Nevada in Brief Fallon man pleads guilty to child porn charge RENO (AP) — A Fallon man has pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography. Thirty-four-year-old John Williams entered his plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Reno. He faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced in October. The Nevada U.S. attorney’s office says Williams was arrested following an undercover operation that was part of a nationwide effort targeting sexual exploitation of children. Authorities say an FBI agent discovered someone using the name “Radboy” had posted more than 15,000 child porn images on a network. The agent contacted Radboy online and was given instructions on how to download images.
PERMIT from page 1A
and have been selling both alcohol and convenience store items for more than 13 years. Still, concerns continued to swirl regarding whether or not the area near the Freight House District needed another place to buy alcohol. According to Reno Deputy City Attorney Randy Munn, Dhillon’s other stores have been cited three times when undercover police caught employees selling alcohol to minors. The Dhillons’ ability to sell alcohol was suspended for two weeks as a penalty. The citations meant the family needed to go before an administrative court judge for a ruling before they could start asking the city for a packaged liquor license. The judge ruled in the Dhillons’ favor. According the family’s lawyer, Byron Bergeron, each of the offending employees were either disciplined or fired. Reno city code was on the Dhillon’s side as far as the rules for a packaged liquor license. It states that, “An alcoholic beverage package license shall entitle the holder to sell all alcoholic
Authorities say the Internet address Radboy was using was tracked to Williams’ home in Fallon. Williams was arrested in March after police searched his home.
Gibbons names widow to husband’s commission seat
CARSON CITY (AP) — Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has appointed Erlene Flanagan to replace her late husband on the Storey County Commission. John Flanagan died at his Virginia City home on July 13. He was 71. He was not seeking reelection and had planned to retire at the end of the year. Gibbons appointed Erlene Flanagan on Tuesday. She will fill the seat until Dec. 31, when her husband’s term would have expired.
beverages at retail in packages only and only for consumption outside the establishment where sold.” Munn explained further. “People are claiming that this is next to a church (the Reno Sparks Gospel Mission) so the license cannot be approved,” Munn said. He explained that, in fact, bars and other such places that sell alcohol for consumption on their premises must say away from churches and schools per city code. “However, in this case it’s not the sale of alcohol for consumption,” Munn said. “That part of the city code prohibition would not be applicable. … It is a council’s call now.” According to Dhillon, more than $150,000 has been invested into renovating the 330 Evans Ave. location where she and her husband are paying $7,500 per month for rent. The store is about 4,800 square feet and Dhillon claims that between 10 and 15 percent of store’s revenues would come from alcohol. While Dhillon said she wanted to open the store as soon as possible, she did not have a firm opening date set.
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S ee S portS , p age 1B By SaRah CoopeR See Balloon page 2A State’s 14.2 percent unemployment rate is the nation’s highest; the Senate could...