2004 from cottonwoods to viruses | RecordCourier.com

2004 from cottonwoods to viruses

Record Courier Staff Reports

The year 2004 kicked off with a Gardnerville Ranchos school being closed for mercury and wrapped up with news that residents could see a big increase in their property taxes.

Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School topped the news in January when it closed for more than two weeks after a student brought mercury to school.

But it was not the only newsworthy thing to happen in January.

Douglas County got a new leader when Jim Baushke was sworn in to fill Steve Weissinger’s position on the board of commissioners. Meanwhile, on the development front, a judge rejected the approval of timeshares at Genoa Lakes after residents took their complaints to court.

In February, the effort to get a new senior center began. It would end when voters overwhelmingly rejected it during the September primary.

March saw the dedication of Heritage Park just in time for the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the conception of the Town of Gardnerville.

In April, federal officials stunned off-highway vehicle enthusiasts when they cited mammoth fossils as the reason for closing 2,000 acres in the Pine Nut Mountains to off-road vehicles.

Financial troubles at the Douglas County Historical Society came to light in May, when officials said they had about four months funding left before they would have to close both Carson Valley museums. A $25,000 grant from the county in June tided the museums over until the end of this year. Museums Director Mary Ellen Conaway resigned in December.

In June, Judge Dave Gamble ruled that county commissioners short-circuited the master plan in approving a development in Clear Creek.

July saw not only fire, but also contagion when the first cases of West Nile Virus were discovered in Carson Valley. While no humans were affected, birds and horses were found with the disease.

After a long hiatus, one of two Minden air tankers put out of service by the federal government was certified to fly again.

It was a toss-up whether the top story in September was voters’ first experience with touch-screen voting or the felling of the ancient cottonwoods on Lester Stodick’s former Gardnerville ranch to make way for Stodick Estates.

October saw long lines for both flu shots and the newly opened In-N-Out Burger.

In November voters chose a new county commissioner and two new school board members. All three will take office next week.

Land owners in northern and western Carson Valley learned their property taxes would increase anywhere from 20-60 percent in December as the county’s assessed valuation topped $2.3 billion.