A year of events in the community | RecordCourier.com

A year of events in the community

by Jo Rafferty

The past year has been a busy time for folks in Carson Valley, a place many residents and visitors regard as an active, flourishing community where people can still enjoy some old-fashioned fun.

As Maren Young, 74, of Gardnerville, said at the first annual Carson Valley Christmas Season Kick Off at Heritage Park, Nov. 30, “I feel like I’m back in my childhood, and I’m a great grandmother. This is the reason why I live here.”

“It’s like an old-fashioned Christmas,” Maren’s husband Dick, 75, said of the evening consisting of roasted chestnuts and hot apple cider, lighting of the pavilion and entertainment by the Carson Valley Middle School band and Carson Valley Community Theater group.

This is just one example of what Carson Valley and the towns of Minden, Gardnerville and Genoa and outlying communities of Markleeville, Woodfords and Topaz are all about. The following is a synopsis of some of the happenings that took place in 2005:


n Winners were announced in an essay contest sponsored by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Gang Resistance Education and Awareness Training program. Sheriff Ron Pierini offered $100 first prize and $50 second prize to the best essay from elementary, middle and high school grades. Winners were: First place, Alyssa MacDonald, Douglas High School; Gabi Rose, Carson Valley Middle School; Brittany Boyd, Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School; Jorden Chizek, Meneley Elementary School. Second place: Chloe Trudell, Carson Valley Middle School; Jacie Paulsen, Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School; Sierra Bertolone-Smith, Minden Elementary School.

n Sierra Crest Academy’s Susanne Marcum, 13, a seventh-grader, was a finalist in her grade group in the Creative Communication Writing Contest, a national competition based in Utah that featured 300-word entries from hundreds of students across the country.

n The last two weekends in January, the Carson Valley Community Theater performed a dinner theater production of “Moonlight Mayhem: A Show To Die For” at Sharkey’s Casino. The show featured two scenarios, the on-stage area where the cabaret show “Moonlight Mayhem” is being performed, and the backstage area where the audience not only gets a glimpse of the antics that happen behind the scenes, but also discovers each actor’s motive for murder.

n The Dance Workshop Dancers presented “‘Twas the Month After Christmas.” The musical gave a glimpse of what Clara wanted as she tired of the Nutcracker’s never-ending Christmas season. Clara ran off to Broadway where she sampled current shows.

n The Douglas County Historical Society’s annual Gallery of Trees “people’s choice” winner was Beta Sigma Phi, Laureate Nu Chapter with the “Think Pink” Breast Cancer Awareness tree. The tree was decorated with pink breast cancer ribbons, pink pine cones and several dozen “blown” eggs painted pink then decorated with pink glitter, sequins, feathers and netting plus yards and yards of pink ribbon garlands.

n The first-ever Spring Fashion Show Extravaganza was hosted by the Sierra Nevada Active 20-30 Women’s Club No. 730 at Caesars Tahoe Convention Center on Jan. 23. Nine of the models were Douglas High School students, including Diamond Barker, Leah May, Sarah Green, Alivia Durgan, Melanie Tingle, Brook Bertson, Danielle Blum, Mary Sahlin and Kastania Rasmussen. All of the proceeds from the Fashion Show Extravaganza went to children’s charities in Douglas County.


n The cold air and swirling snow outside the Douglas County Senior Center wasn’t enough to keep one hearty 102-year-old, Harriet Cox of Minden, and 21 other seniors, age 90 or older, from attending the 90-plus Birthday Celebration on Feb. 16. The senior center had 66 members in their 90s, up from 10 in 1995.

n Brenda Robertson was named “Citizen of the Year” by the Minden-Douglas Elks Lodge. Robertson was selected for her lengthy service as an active volunteer in local charitable organizations relating to children’s programs.

n The Topaz Post Office in Northern Mono County, California, celebrated its 120th anniversary. This vestibule of communication has been a vital part of the survival of the Antelope Valley since it was established Feb. 20, 1885.

n Carson Valley Middle School seventh-grader Julia Miller entered the VFW Ladies Auxiliary sponsored Patriot’s Pen essay contest. She was crowned a state champion and earned more than $1,775 from VFW posts around the state.


n The Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center opened several new exhibits that feature women in history, agriculture, historical timelines, family life and culture. The exhibits depicting life in the county from pioneer days to present opened March 1.

n Medals and ribbons were handed out to the 208 proud student scientists whose creative projects were on display at the 2005 Meneley Elementary School Science Fair on Feb. 24. Winning the awards qualified the students to compete in the Western Nevada Regional Science and Engineering Fair in Reno, during which four Meneley students won awards.

n Douglas High School’s speech and debate team hosted the Marty Cronin Memorial Spring Craft Fair in memory of speech and debate coach Marty Cronin. Cronin, who coached the Tigers squad for many years, died in February from complications of cancer.


n Six Douglas County 4-H members were guests at the Nevada Legislature on March 10 -12 in Carson City. The seventh through 12 graders were a part of a statewide 4-H program of 60 youth “Capital Days” that takes place bi-annually when the Legislature is in session.

n Marty Cronin’s coaching legacy continued. The Douglas High School speech and debate team competed in the 16-team Sage Brush District Tournament, one of the largest high school debate tournaments ever to take place in Northern Nevada. Five Tigers qualified for the national forensics competition that took place in Philadelphia June 12-16.

n Twenty four students from Pau-Wa-Lu and Carson Valley middle schools and Douglas High School, traveled to the Nevada Senate Building to seek support and recognition from the Legislature for student efforts to stop youth tobacco use. The group, joined by students from around the state, gathered on national “Kick Butts Day,” April 13.

n World T’ai Chi Day, celebrating the ancient martial art, took place April 23. Ginny Cardenas and her students from O2 Wellness Studio in Gardnerville honored the day with a T’ai Chi demonstration at Minden Park.

n Seven Douglas County School District students and employees received $1,000 scholarships at the April 12 Douglas County School Board meeting through the FACT Scholarship Program. The purpose of the program is to encourage classified employees and high school seniors to become applicants for future teaching positions within the district.

n Topaz Lodge and Casino hosted a retirement party for Chief Bob Gable and Operations Chief Vic Wilson on April 21. The event, a surprise to the two men, became more of a roast as East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts Chief Tod Carlini, got up to speak. He praised the two men for their combined 35 years of service.

n Project Santa Claus and the Douglas County Public Library combined efforts to deliver books to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet during “Christmas in April.” More than 200 children received books.


n People participated in three Multiple Sclerosis Society’s MS Walks called “Miles of Smiles,” along three-mile courses in South Lake Tahoe, Reno and Carson City. Nikki Villoria, a senior at Douglas High School and certified first responder, served as a volunteer who provided medical assistance at the fund-raising walks.

n Robert Estrella thought of the idea of giving the “H” on the hill a face lift and had rallied the community to do the project. When hopes for the community project were quashed by the new property owner, it was decided the contents of the collection bucket, $88.51, should go to the Topaz Ranch Estates Volunteer Fire Department.

n The Genoa Courthouse Museum opened with several new exhibits and an expanded gift shop. Items carried by Valley settlers were added to a display case in the lobby, the “Fearful Crossing” exhibit. A Pony Express room is filled with photos, paintings and descriptions of riders who delivered the mail in 1860-61.

n Nevada Civil War Volunteers wearing Union blue and Confederate gray took part in the Genoa Courthouse Museum’s opening day ceremonies. Soldiers informed museum visitors about firearms and items used by soldiers on both sides.

n “Dragon Pawns” author had Pau-Wa-Lu students review manuscripts of his new book. William Hill sought the advice from Bronson Crisan and Sammy Gaudreault on how to make his fantasy magic thriller more appealing to young readers.

n The Topaz Sagehens and Town & Country Homemakers awarded scholarships to Douglas seniors Bianca Gillespie, Alesha Grant, Courtney Kemp and Collin Kamholz at a luncheon.

n After a one-week delay due to inclement weather, the Farmers’ Market opened May 25 for the season at Lampe Park. Twenty vendors and crafters provided plenty of items for busy outdoor shoppers.

n Douglas County 4-H Livestock Youth brought home several blue ribbons after participating in the Nevada Junior Livestock Show and Sale in Reno.

n “Magical Carson Valley” is the slogan behind a new advertising campaign sponsored by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Authority. The campaign, which features billboards, magazine and television advertisements, rolled out in late May.


n Esmeralda Avenue was filled with food, fun, crafts and cars during the 16th annual Minden Street Festival. In conjunction with the festival, the Northern Nevada Inliners Chapter hosted the “Rappin’ To Minden” car show, which featured the largest gathering of inline motor-powered vehicles in the state.

n The Genoa Home and Garden Tour offered visitors a glimpse inside many of the area’s most beautiful homes. More than 300 people participated this year. The event was a fund-raiser for the Carson Valley Pops Orchestra.

n Nearly 140 watercolors, oils, pastels and acrylics paintings by 70 local artists were on display at CVIC during the Carson Valley Days weekend celebration. The art show was sponsored by the Carson Valley Artists Association. Reiko Hervin’s watercolor won the People Choice’s award.

n TRE Volunteer Fire Department hosted a fund-raising barbecue, dance and raffle. The event raised more than $5,000 for the department.

n During their community project, Meneley third graders in Kristy Reck’s class went on a pet supply shopping spree with money donated by Wells Fargo Bank and the Nevada Public Education Foundation. The students presented nearly $200 worth of pet food and toys to Douglas County Animal Shelter representative Diana Furness.

n The 2005 Summer Family Concert Series returned with the band Playa Papaya playing in Minden Park

n More than 40 volunteers kept busy during the Topaz Ranch Estates Community Cleanup Day. The workers filled dozens of trash bags and removed a stove and other items that were illegally dumped.


n Six Young Chautauquans brought history to life during a “Chautaquans Under the Tent” performance at Mormon Station. The performers dressed in vintage costumes and portrayed famous people from a by-gone era.

n Carson Valley Middle School student Julia Miller placed fifth in the national competition of the Veterans of Foreign War’s Patriots Pen essay contest. Miller received a $4,000 U.S. savings bond for her effort.

n 4-H Happy Heelers celebrated the hot weather at the Youth Fair with a dog show at the fairgrounds. Several contestants and their pets qualified for the state fair in Reno next month.

The Town of Genoa last weekend turned into the 16th-century village of Genovese, a place filled with royalty, nobles, peasants, scalawags and more than 2,000-21st-century visitors.

The sounds of Mumbo Gumbo filled the air at a crowded Minden Park during the 2005 Summer Concert Series.


Members of the Douglas County Historical Society honored the memory of Shirley Giovacchini by naming the Genoa Courthouse Museum school room after her. Giovacchini served as director of the museum from 1987 to 2000. She died in 2001.

Bargains were in abundance for nearly 1,000 shoppers at St. Gall Catholic Church’s Awesome Annual Rummage Sale. The sale generated nearly $50,000 in revenue for the church and community.

Taste of Gardnerville, a fundraiser for the Douglas County Historical Society, took place in downtown Gardnerville. Participants were able to sample the cuisine at 10 local restaurants.

The Chrysler 300 Club International came to town. Auto enthusiasts, who drive 300 letter series Chryslers nicknamed Beautiful Brutes, put on a car show at JT Basque Bar & Dining Room and Sharkey’s Casino.

Douglas High School senior Diamond Barker was crowned Miss Teen Nevada at the 2005 National American Miss Nevada Pageant in Las Vegas. Barker advances to national competition in Disneyland on Thanksgiving weekend. Barker returned from the national pageant in Los Angeles with the third place teen division trophy.

Ellie’s Wild West show at Corley Ranch raised funds for the construction of Ellington Manor, a complex designed for residents with mental and physical challenges.

The Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center’s new exhibit “Ranching Heritage” explores the Valley’s ranching history. The exhibit in the downstairs agriculture room displays individual ranch family’s history and photographs.

Douglas County Historical Society celebrated the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center.

Esmeralda Avenue and Lampe Park were filled with vintage cars and car enthusiasts during the Valley Cruisers Car Club Main Street Event. Nearly 250 cars and trucks were on display at the show. The Valley Cruisers donated funds raised to community groups.

Steam-powered engines built in the 19th century smoked and tooted during the Carson Valley Antique Tractor Show at Bill and Dorine Ramsden’s property. More than 1,000 visitors got a history lesson while viewing the operational engines, antique cars, vintage farm equipment and memorabilia at the show’s 10th anniversary.

The final performance of the year for Concert in the Park 2005 at Minden Park featured the Michael Powers Group. The same night, across from the park at the CVIC Hall, a spaghetti feed raised almost $3,000 for Melissa Aalgaard, who was seriously injured in an auto accident.


Cowboyup 4 Kids featured food, fun and an all-star country music jam. This benefit for the non-profit Carson Valley Children’s Center in Douglas County took place on Sept. 11 at Nelson’s Take Five.

The Town of Minden and the Minden Business Group sponsored the Carson Valley Street Celebration on Esmeralda Avenue in Old Town Minden. This 21st annual event featured arts and crafts, food and live music.

Nearly 800 meals were served and more than $10,000 was raised during the 38th annual Topaz Lake Volunteer Fire Department Barbecue. Some of the proceeds went to the Katrina Disaster Relief fund.

Some sank, some caught the wind and a few even made it to the finish line during teacher Meredith Swanson-Jessup’s annual sailboat race at Lampe Park. The Gardnerville Elementary School sixth graders built colorful boats of all shapes and sizes.

Nearly 800 volunteers participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life fundraiser at Lampe Park. The event raised $54,000 in donations to help fight the disease.

The Douglas County Public Library in Minden honored “Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read” with an exhibit in its showcase. Twenty five books, including the Bible and dictionary, were included in the exhibit of objectionable reading.

The Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit Between Fences opened at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center. Five displays and 100 photos were part of the exhibit.

The Carson Valley Open Studios Art Tour 2005 offers the opportunity to meet artists, watch them at work and purchase their artworks. The tour began with a reception and continued at venues throughout the Valley.

Genoa’s Candy Dance was a success, according to Town Manager Mike Brown. Vendors weathered Friday’s wind storm and opened on time Saturday for shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. All 4,200 pounds of candy were sold by Sunday afternoon.


The Corley Ranch 2005 Harvest Festival was open every weekend in October. The festival featured a corn maze, kiddie land, pumpkin patch and live entertainment.

East Fork Gallery hosted its annual Scarecrow Festival and the Family Support Council ‘s Costume Patch took place at Minden Park.

The Farmers’ Market closed, marking the beginning of fall. Produce purveyors pulled up stakes for the last time this year.

The Civil War came to the town of Gardnerville for the second year, with flags, cannons, participants and visitors enjoying a trip back in history. Old Town Days is an annual event at Heritage Park.

The Markleeville Artists Autumn Open Studios Tour was a success Oct. 8-9. The event was a tour of more than a dozen artists’ private studios.

Carson Valley Pops Orchestra performed its show, “A Fifth of Beethoven and a Splash of Ol’ Blue Eyes.” The free concert was presented by the Town of Minden, the Carson Valley Pops Orchestra Association and donations.

The Douglas High School Fighting Tiger Marching Band brought home nine trophies from two competitions in Reno in early October. At the Nevada Day Parade on Oct. 29 in Carson City the band received the band judges’ award for the 15th year since 1988.

Carson Valley Inn hosted the benefit Bunco for Breast Cancer. G.E. Energy volunteers raised more than $16,000 in the Bunco for Breast Cancer fundraiser to benefit the Cancer Resource Center at Carson-Tahoe Hospital.

The annual ’50s ‘Rock-A-Thon’ Car Show & Swap Meet took place at Heritage Park in Gardnerville. The event included a hobby car show and awards, a swap meet for car-related items and food provided by the Valley Cruisers Car Club.

A Candlelight Vigil to remember victims of domestic violence took place at the Lampe Park Pavilion. The Vigil takes place every year in October, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Students at Sierra Crest Academy got a first-hand lesson on river conservation. An outdoor classroom participated in Conserve the Carson River Work Days on Park Ranch Cattle Co. land, once part of the Dangberg Home Ranch.

This was the first year for a ghost walk in Gardnerville. Douglas County Historical Society presented the Haunted Gardnerville Ghost Walk at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center.

Kids & Horses Therapeutic Center held its second annual Pumpkin Patch Fun Day Fundraiser at its Minden headquarters.

Meneley Elementary School students answered the question, “What bugs you?” during the 2005 Invention Convention. They had to create their own inventions, with the top ten projects heading to Reno for the Young Inventors’ Challenge at Lawlor Events Center in March.

The Douglas County Historical Society’s Cemetery Tour, in its 10th year, made a record amount this year. The event brought in almost $900 to benefit the county museums, and was attended by 200 people. The prior highest amount was $360.


It was good time to get some Christmas shopping done in Carson Valley, with several craft and gift fairs taking place. November shopping was kicked off with craft sales at the Carson Valley Community Food Closet, the Carson Valley United Methodist Church and the Fall Boutique in Topaz.

An original melodrama written by a member of the Douglas County Historical Society came to the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center Nov. 11-13. “Whistle Stop,” a melodrama about the railroad days of old Minden, played to sold-out audiences at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center.

Veterans, family members of those in the military, seniors and school children gathered at the Douglas County Senior Center for a Veteran’s Day event. Students and a teacher from Gardnerville Elementary School and the Whittell High School band and choir entertained the crowd of about 200.

A record crowd at the Carson Valley Kiwanis Club’s Turkey Bingo raised a record amount, $3,300, to go to Valley children’s programs. Although only 100 people showed up for the afternoon session, once they reached 290 in the evening, members had to start turning people away.


The Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center presented its Holiday Gala on Dec. 4. The event included a Cookie Walk and the Mad Hatter’s Tea.


The Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce Parade of Lights took place, with many floats making the ride from Lampe Park to Minden Park. Reporter Jonni Hill had the privilege of riding on the Town of Minden float, the first-place winner in the county category.

The Town of Genoa had its own Christmas celebration. Nearly 100 residents attended the lighting of the town tree at the main intersection and listened to lifetime resident Roger Falcke tell the story of how the fir tree was planted in memory of his mother, Hope Falcke.

A Meneley Elementary School fourth-grader Gabby Muñoz painted a picture for an art contest. Her artwork of Baker and Taylor, the two cats that lived at Douglas County Public Library in Minden in the 1980s and 1990s, is featured in the Baker & Taylor, Inc., 2006 calendar.

The area’s biggest food drive of the year is came to the Carson Valley Inn on Dec. 16. Channel 2’s Share Your Holiday Drive-By Food Drive included loads of entertainment from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the RV parking lot at the inn.

Since 1999, Rita Hill and her team of volunteers have worked to make sure that no one dines alone on Christmas Day. St. Gall once again hosted Christmas dinner.

Jacks Valley Elementary School students raised $550 through class projects to buy toys for Douglas County’s needy children.

Gingerbread creations from a sports stadium to a farmhouse were on display at Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center. Seven gingerbread houses received awards at a gingerbread house contest.

Carson Valley Middle School student Catie Davis earned a first-place award for an essay she wrote for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Patriotic Essay Contest, Patriot’s Pen. The eighth-grader will now go on to state competition.

The Chatty Hatters of the Red Hat Society voted to raise funds to buy toys and other items for the Northern Nevada Emergency Children’s Shelter. Members met at Wal-Mart on to choose the gifts to be given to 14 children, some from Douglas County.

Merchants at the Genoa Victorian Christmas Faire did “incredibly well,” according to Barbara Florman, who featured antiques and gift items at the event. Other merchants were equally pleased with the customers, who seemed to be in the buying mood.

The owners of Genoa Bar are all set to turn out not just the lights, but the electricity, at the 150-plus-year-old bar. Patrons can enjoy an evening during which the juke box, lights and slot machines will be turned off and tunes will be played the old-fashioned way by trumpeter Ray James, beneath the light of an oil lamp chandelier.