2020: A year in review | RecordCourier.com
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2020: A year in review

Compiled by Kurt Hildebrand
Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump rally in a peaceful protest at Minden-Tahoe Airport on Sept. 12.
Ron Harpin

January

The first lawsuit of the new year was filed against Douglas County for commissioners’ approval of a development agreement with Park Ranch Holdings by an Orchard Road couple over the alignment of Muller Lane Parkway.

Genoa resident Pat Prudhel caught a record 14-pound, 9.5-ounce trout measuring 33 inches long. 



Rancho Sierra, a 239-single-family home subdivision on  80 acres off the end of Tillman Lane was approved. 

A new elementary school grading system didn’t get a passing grade from parents and teachers, but Douglas school officials are hopeful they can help bring parents and teachers onboard for the new standards-based grading system. 



February

A master plan and zone change for property located near the Douglas County line was approved 3-2 by county commissioners. The action eliminated a high-rise casino-hotel, a 2,100-seat theater and 400,000-square-feet of retail shopping space on the property located north of Sunridge. 

Dotty’s parent company hit the jackpot on Thursday when the Douglas County Liquor Board approved restricted gaming licenses for three separate casinos located in a former Minden car dealership.

It was the day before Valentine’s and a score of Douglas High School students spent their lunch spreading the love.  

Subcontractors are being sought to work on a Stateline events center, according to a legal notice appearing in The Record-Courier. CORE Construction is seeking companies to do $17 million in concrete and steel work on the events center. 

Organizers of a petition drive to overturn approval of an agreement between the county and Park Ranch Holdings said they’ll continue to gather signatures despite a lawsuit filed by Park Ranch Holdings. 

Two Gardnerville girls Cheyenne McCormick Miss were named Outstanding Teens representing Douglas County. For the third year, no one was named Miss Douglas County at the pageant.

Douglas County Democrats favored former Mayor Pete Buttigieg over independent Bernie Sanders on Saturday based on results obtained by The Record-Courier. 

After five years as Douglas County Superintendent of Schools, Teri White notified officials she was retiring. White was named Nevada Superintendent of the Year by the Nevada Association of School Boards last year. 

March 

While Carson Valley native Andy Aldax will always be remembered for the award that bears his name, he served Carson Valley in a variety of ways throughout his life.  A funeral service was in March for the lifelong rancher. 

A proposal to implement a four-day school week was rejected by school board trustees on Tuesday evening. Superintendent Teri White said the board also voted against changing school start times for secondary school students. 

The 2020 Census starts its work this week, and the question isn’t whether the population has grown, but by how much?  

Effects of the coronavirus outbreak arrived in Carson Valley on St. Patrick’s Day as businesses closed doors and restaurants are reverting to take-out only.

The schools may be closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but that doesn’t mean teachers are idle this week as they prepare work for students.

April

A woman in her 30s was the first Douglas County resident reported to have the coronavirus.  The woman lives with her family, who are being monitored for symptoms and tested should they develop. 

A Gardnerville daycare closed for 30 days after operators were notified that someone who entered the business tested positive for coronavirus.

Instead of in-person Easter Services this Sunday, many Carson Valley churches will be taking to the ether. 

The last time the Carson Valley 20-30 Club canceled its annual Easter egg hunt was front-page news in 1939, when an outbreak of the mumps was raging through the schools. 

After five months delving into the theft of $1 million in tires from Douglas County’s motor pool, grand jurors concluded that there was insufficient evidence to indict anyone. 

In a 3-2 vote, Douglas County Board of Commissioners approved funding a 132,000-square-foot Event Center at Stateline.

Three C-130s from the Nevada Air Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing, the “High Rollers” lumbered over Carson Valley as residents gathered at a distance to watch.

May

With ballots starting to arrive in the mail, election information will be flooding out into Douglas County for the June mail-in primary. 

A man attempting to flee deputies in an $80,000 red Audi tried to flash a fake FBI badge to get them to back off. It was the first of two chases that required deputies to literally knock vehicles off the road in two days.

Douglas County Human Resources Director Keith Lewis was selected as the next superintendent of schools by unanimous vote of school board trustees.

A week after the state closed down a Gardnerville antique store, it will reopen under the same precautions the owners said they’d implemented in the first place.

A petition seeking to put a development agreement moving receiving area from Topaz Ranch Estates to Carson Valley was deemed insufficient.

June 

Three-quarters of Douglas High School’s valedictorians and salutatorians plan to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, next year.

Graduates of the Douglas High and ASPIRE Academy Classes of 2020 will literally be in the passenger seat, but after receiving their diplomas, they will be ready to take the wheel.

Highway 395 will be closed for the second Saturday in a row, this time for the annual Carson Valley Days Parade. 

Challenger Danny Tarkanian won the District 1 County Commissioner race by 17 votes.

Nevada law does not allow a development agreement with Park Cattle Holdings to be overturned by a referendum, a judge ruled.

July

Carson Valley agriculturalists have been making hay while the sun shines over the past weeks, recognizing that irrigation season is just about over. 

While most Douglas County school parents would prefer their children returned to a regular school day, most also support putting in place some sort of safeguards against the coronavirus.

As many as 1,000 homes were threatened by Douglas County’s second largest fire in history as the 18,000-acre Numbers Fire blazed across the Pine Nuts this week. Fish Springs residents reported at least a half-dozen homes were lost in the fire.

With the general uncertainty posed by the coronavirus, Genoans decided Wednesday to cancel the 2020 Candy Dance for only the second time in its history.

Two Douglas big box stores were among those cited for failing to enforce coronavirus requirements. The Topsy Walmart and the Jacks Valley Home Depot appeared on a list issued by the Nevada Department of Industrial Relations on Thursday as receiving $8,675 fines.

After five hours of presentation, debate and public input Douglas County School Board trustees approved sending a plan to reopen the schools that combines in-person and distance learning to the state.

The Edwin L. Wiegand Ranching and Agricultural Heritage Exhibit opened at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center.

A letter from Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley to the Douglas County Library Board regarding the inclusion of #blacklivesmatter in a diversity statement made national news.

August

Douglas Nevada Online had 1,000 students, making it the newest and second largest school in the district.

With an estimated 1,200 total demonstrators expected in Minden this morning, precautions have been underway on both sides of Buckeye Road.

After taking the temperature of the public and experts, Douglas County school trustees decided to leave screening to parents.

Connor James Chmura was born in the parking lot of the Gardnerville Chase Bank.  

Smoke did what the coronavirus couldn’t with Carson Valley students staying home and distance learning on Thursday instead of going to school.

Library Board Trustees voted 3-2 to conduct a $30,000 investigation into the circumstances that led to the inclusion of #Black Lives Matter in a proposed diversity statement.

September

A gravel pit above Johnson Lane was the subject of a letter written by Douglas County commissioners opposing the project at Painted Rock Mine.

Forest Service campgrounds across California were closed for the second time in 2020, this time due to extreme fire danger.

The Van Sickle Station Ranch and Dangberg Home Ranch conservation easements total  approximately 1,792 acres.. 

Carson Valley Inn Marketing Director Bill Henderson had a 35-year love affair with Douglas County that lasted until his death from pancreatic cancer on Labor Day.  

Minden-Tahoe Airport saw the equivalent of crowds in six hours that attend Candy Dance over two days. While no official crowd count has been issued for President Trump’s arrival, the rumor at the Sheriff’s Office is that they stopped counting at 28,000.

Californian Jarrad Daniel Dominguez, 41,, who was under the influence of methamphetamine when he crossed the centerline on Highway 50 and killed a Carson City father of three, was sentenced to 6-20 years in prison.

October

People have already started dropping off their mail-in ballots with the Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer’s Office Ballots started arriving in the mails on Monday across the county. 

Dame Helen Mirren, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, drove herself to Minden on Thursday morning to cast the ballot she received in the mail. 

Second-generation Douglas school administrator Rommy Cronin-Mack was honored by the Nevada Association of School Boards. 

November

County commission hopeful Mark Gardner easily turned back a last-minute challenge from Libertarian Charles Holt to win the District 3 seat.

A 60-mile stretch of Highway 395 between Indian Hills and Bridgeport is the scene of three deaths in two separate murder investigations over less than 72 hours.  

The first real snowstorm of the season brought 14 inches of snow to a spot near Sheridan Acres in the foothills, and a foot of snow to Wellington. 

A wildfire driving by howling winds claimed the life of Walker poet Sallie Joseph and destroyed an estimated 80 structures on Nov. 17.

Douglas High School Class of 2004 graduate Colin Kvasnicka was named Douglas County’s 2019-20 Distinguished Educator.

The Douglas County Planning Commission sent the 2020 Master Plan update to county commissioners with their recommendation for approval after 25 hours of hearings.

A visiting judge upheld Douglas County commissioner’s 2019 denial of a slaughterhouse on a former Centerville dairy. 

After spending most of the contagion with fewer than 50 cases, Douglas County suddenly saw a 264-coronavirus case increase two days prior to Thanksgiving. 

December

Carson Valley residents shifted from formal events to making their own Christmas fun by decorating their homes and gathering for impromptu parades.

The first 190 homes of 2,500 approved with the Park Holdings development agreement passed county commissioners when they approved an update of Ashland Park in Gardnerville. 

Events surrounding the annual Share Your Christmas Drive-by Food Drive were scaled back, but the response broke records. KTVN Channel 2 reported 284,107 pounds of food and $108,749 in donations during the Dec. 11 event.

A specific plan for an Agrihood on Park land north of Minden was approved 3-2 by Douglas County commissioners.

A traffic stop the Sunday night before Christmas resulted in a Douglas County Sheriff’s sergeant being shot in the cheek. The outlook for Sgt. John Lenz’ recovery is good.

Around 450 cars lined up packed with children to visit with Santa Claus at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center in Gardnerville. 

Mother Nature brought a belated Christmas present in the form of moisture during the last weekend of 2020.

A $1.3 million contract for the final design of Muller Lane Parkway was approved by Regional Transportation .