Officials happy that holiday atmosphere was calm |

Officials happy that holiday atmosphere was calm

by Merrie Leininger

In the days following the big New Year’s Eve celebrations county officials are happy with the relatively calm atmosphere and are making resolutions for this year.

Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini estimated there were 45,000 people in the Stateline casino corridor Friday night, which he said was about the same as last year.

“It was slower at the beginning when we shut the road down at 9 o’ clock and it didn’t top out until 11:30 p.m. It was one of the earliest times we’ve cleared the road. I was home by 3 and usually I’m not home until 4,” Pierini said.

He said most of the revelers were very well-behaved.

“One of the things all the staff said was the attitude and demeanor of participants was more easy-going and less combative,” he said. “One squad claimed about 150 pictures were taken of them (with the revelers.) The attitude could not have been better.”

He said the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office arrested 67 adults and nine juveniles, which is about half the number arrested last year. He said most of the arrests were for public intoxication.

“We were extremely pleased with the outcome of the entire event,” Pierini said.

He said a lot of the credit goes to the casino security guards and to everyone who sat on the New Year’s Eve planning task force.

“I think all our work made us prepared for most anything that came up. I think it paid off. We had an additional 150 personnel and it was more of a comfort zone that we had really planned it and if there was anything at all, we could handle it,” Pierini said.

The most exciting incident that occurred was on the South Lake Tahoe side when an unknown man climbed a stoplight pole, took most of his clothes off, and caused the stoplight to fall off the pole.

Pierini said some of his officers are posted around the utility poles in Stateline in order to prevent such an incident.

He said they didn’t experience any Y2K-related problems while at the Lake.

Two minor problems were reported with county computer systems, but Communications Director Dick Mirgon said the impacts were minimal. Information systems personnel were in most offices to monitor the computers’ turnover to the new year, which was uneventful.

Mirgon said the program that handles dog licensing for animal control produced new licenses dated 1900, but the problem was quickly fixed. In addition, emergency dispatch records that are automatically transferred to the mainframe computer were being dated 1978, but the glitch was expected to be repaired soon.

The transition went “remarkably well,” said Mirgon. “It was an incredibly boring New Year’s.”

Mirgon experienced the new year while monitoring the Stateline celebration.

“This was one of the most peaceable years we’ve seen in many years,” he said. “It seemed like people were there to celebrate and have a good time, and that’s what happened.”

– New Year’s Eve 2000. Pierini said he is now looking ahead toward this year’s celebration.

“The questions we have for next year is do we modify things a little bit? There very well might be more people because Y2K kept some people away. I’d rather be prepared. I don’t see us forming the task force until fall of next year to see what we can do to make it better and see what kind of resources we will need,” he said.

There were very few problems throughout the county.

“On New Year’s Eve, we only had one DUI at the Lake. In the Valley, it was fairly quiet. There was nothing in entire county that we don’t usually deal with,” Pierini said.

Over the whole weekend there were five DUI arrests, which is up from three arrests last year.

– East Fork Fire and Paramedics. Fire Inspector Terry Taylor said it uneventful in the Valley over the weekend.

“Things were quiet over New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for the fire district. The year 2000 came and went with a minimum of harm to our citizens and the fire district is very pleased about that,” Taylor said.

He said the volunteer fire stations were staffed, just in case, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. New Year’s Eve. At 12:01 a.m. Jacks Valley and Johnson Lane firefighters were called to a Christmas tree fire in a backyard.

At 3:40 a.m. the Johnson Lane firefighters were called out again for a small fire in an outbuilding.

The small dusting of snow also caused a few problems Sunday morning.

“That morning a number of motor vehicle accidents started off the day in an unhappy sort for people, but after that, things calmed down,” he said.

The district experienced no Y2K-related glitches, Taylor said.

– Public access. The DCSO’s monthly television show on Channel 26 public access Thursday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. will feature Sheriff Pierini discussing the New Year’s Eve celebration. According to the show’s host, Sgt. Lance Modispacher, video of the event will also be included.

The DCSO is still searching for a name for the show. Anyone with suggestions can call Modispacher at 782-9931. The public can also call the live show at 782-6288 for questions or comments about the topic.