VIRGINIA CITY - Debate and dissent took a back seat for just a moment at Storey County's commissioners' meeting last week when Penny LeVee, administrative specialist for the county's planning department, received a standing ovation.
"She made it easy to do business at the building department," said Dean Haymore, administrator of Storey County building and planning. "She's been making my job a pleasure for the past 12 years and now there is a big void here."
Lee has long, dark hair and an easy smile. Soft-spoken, unassuming and cordial, she said she was overwhelmed by the reception she received at Tuesday's meeting.
"I'm very grateful for all the friendships I've enjoyed working for the building department and planning commission. Dean Haymore has been a great employer," she said. "He's a good person, has a lot of vision concerning the county's direction and has done much to encourage economic development here. With so many different businesses moving into the new industrial park, it's been interesting. I've seen it go from bare land to an area with a lot of promise."
Originally from Torrington, Wyo., LeVee attended the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Northern Colorado. She graduated with degrees in literature and anthropology and taught English in Reno-area high schools for eight years. But when she and her husband, Richard, moved to the Virginia Highlands, she wanted to work closer to home.
There were no teaching jobs so she took this position. She said it's a decision she has never regretted, but now needs more time for her family, writing, music and volunteer work.
"I'm working on some historical manuscripts and I might try fiction writing, or do volunteer work with children," she said. "I used to volunteer as a storyteller and conduct singalongs through the library system in Carson City, Virginia City, and Reno and I want to continue working with the Nevada Fire Safe Council.
The council is a state organization helping homeowners protect their homes and land from fire.
LeVee has one grown daughter, Misha, who works managing an office in Portland. Her husband Richard works for Sierra Pacific Power Co.