It's that time of the year, the last few days of 2007, when I feel the compelling need to take a quick look back at the year's events. The south county had a few exciting events, several fires, horseback visitors, an historic helicopter landing on the football field of the Smith Valley High School, milestone anniversaries and the loss of several good friends and family members including California Highway Patrol Officer, Douglas Scott Russell and Marine Sgt. Phillip Bochs. Longtime resident, Ben Dykes, celebrated his 90th birthday with family and friends at Topaz Lake.
Annual events like the 40th Topaz Lake Barbecue, the Sagehen's yearly rummage sale and their boutique in the fall, a very successful Topaz Lake fishing derby, which got off to a great start with unseasonably warm Jan. 1 weather but, didn't see its usual finale on the 15th of April because Topaz Lodge had a fire on the 3rd of April that closed the lodge doors until the 2nd of July. The Topaz Lake Fishing Derby has been sponsored by Topaz Lodge and Casino for more than 50 years.
With an influx of bear sightings all over Douglas County this year, the south county had its share of uninvited guests as well. Multiple bear complaints were lodged with Nevada Department of Wildlife as well as the death of one bear when a frustrated TRE resident took matters into his own hands and shot the intruder. Multiple mountain lion sightings were reported but, not to be outdone by his bigger cousins, Tiger the cat gained notoriety as a "polecat" when he spent three nights at the top of a power pole on Andesite Road. After much effort on the part of Ole Chavez, friends, neighbors, Roberta Cooper, her daughter Debbie Darling and Nancy Clark and finally a successful attempt made by Sierra Pacific Power employee Jim Richardson, Tiger was lowered to the ground and dashed home to the loving arms of his favorite upright, 13-year-old Melanie Thoman. A happy ending indeed.
Several major fires threatened the Antelope Valley with the lightening caused Larson Fire in June followed by another lightning caused fire in July, the Sleeping Elephant fire, which would have devastated TRE. If it hadn't been for the defensive attack, both on the ground and a couple of well placed slurry drops which stopped the fire's advance as it attempted to encircle the new fire station, Topaz Joe's and the landmark A-frame Arden Square, TRE might have met the fate of so many that lost everything in the Angora Fire.
On the first of August, the Topaz Lake Volunteer Fire Department and the Topaz Ranch Estates Volunteer Fire Department consolidated under one command, now known as Topaz Volunteer Fire Department. The consolidation has made for greater efficiency in handling emergencies in our south county.
Congratulations to the first tenant of Arden Square, Alice Raymond. In less than a month Quilter's Quarters can celebrate its first anniversary. And in March, Urgent Care will have served the south county for two years. Iggy and Squiggy's Junction Bar celebrated a 25-year anniversary on Memorial Day.
Another anniversary celebrated last January was the 60th anniversary of TRE residents, Patricia and George Flesner. Congratulations, you will be celebrating 61 years on Jan. 10.
So, as 2007 comes to an end, the words of Garth Brooks from one of my favorite songs of his, "The Dance:"
"And now, I'm glad I didn't know, the way it all would end, the way it all would go.
"Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, But I'd have had to miss the dance."
Keep on dancing and keep on keepin' on in 2008.
-- Jonni Hill can be reached at email@example.com or at 782-5121, ext. 213, or after hours at JHILL47@aol.com.