Our Opinion

Time-shifting siren a good compromise


Sen. James Settelmeyer may well have been joking with Republicans at a Town Hall meeting when he suggested moving the time the evening siren sounds from 6 p.m. to comply with a new state law.

But a week after making that suggestion, the town of Minden and the Washoe Tribe issued a joint statement saying that’s exactly the compromise they reached, moving the evening siren to 5 p.m.

The Minden siren started sounding at 5 p.m. Friday instead of its traditional 6 p.m.

The change in time was part of a deal worked out between Washoe Tribe Chairman Serrell Smokey and Minden Town Manager J.D. Frisby.

The two men started negotiating over the siren not long after Smokey’s August 2020 letter asking the town to silence the siren.

Those negotiations took a break when the big coronavirus surge hit in November, but resumed after the Legislature added an amendment directed right at the siren last spring.

The Washoe associate the siren with ordinances approved by the Douglas County Commission in the first two decades of 20th Century ordering them to be out of Minden and Gardnerville by 6:30 p.m.

Under Assembly Bill 88, the siren could have been subject to being shut down beginning Oct. 1.

It’s possible the town could challenge the new law on the basis that the Minden siren was installed in 1921 by the volunteer fire department, without any mention of the sundown ordinance approved in 1917.

But the agreement between Frisby and Smokey eliminates the potential cost of any litigation on all sides.


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