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China Spring gym dedicated to Lawrence Jacobsen

by Merrie Leininger

The new China Spring Youth Camp gym was named in honor of Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen, R-Minden, Saturday in a ceremony that also honored others who put their efforts into building the camp.

Sheriff Ron Pierini attended the event and said the district court judges and others who were heavily involved in getting the camp off the ground were acknowledged.

“It was a real tribute to Jacobsen and those who have been involved and how far it has gone in about 20 years; it has come a long way. From shacks to now, a successful program,” he said.

Pierini explained that in the early 1980s, District Court judges Howard McKibben and following him, Norm Robison, recognized a need for an residential treatment program for juvenile offenders that was more restrictive than probation, but was less severe than the Youth Training Center at Elko.

Originally, the Douglas County School District donated trailers that were used until they were falling apart on the 40 acres south of Gardnerville, donated by Stoddard Jacobsen.

Robison was cited as someone who put in a lot of labor-intensive hours at the site.

“They knew it could be a successful if they could get proper facilities, and that is when they went to the Legislature,”Pierini said. “Judges Gibbons and Gamble now have made a lot more improvements. It is extremely beneficial to students there.”

Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Scott Cook also noted Robison’s part in getting Lawrence Jacobsen involved.

“Robison made the decision to close the camp because the trailers were just falling apart and that’s when he and Jacobsen conspired on getting the first funding and he’s been involved ever since,” Cook said. “Without (Jacobsen) getting money from the state, I won’t say it would have been impossible, but it sure would have been a lot more difficult. He’s been the supporting legislator.”

Rep. Joe Dini, D-Yerington, was also present and acknowledged for his part in bringing funds to the camp.

Kiwanis Club of Carson Valley donated $2,500 to help buy new equipment for the gym, said camp Director Steve Thaler. He said the Kiwanis club has always been there to help with funds.

“It went well. There were probably over 100 people there. It was a nice dedication to a gentlemen who did a lot for the camp,” Thaler said. “From the beginning, Kiwanis has been there, too. They have always been real good supporters, among other community service supporters.”