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Feb. 01, 2008

Back Then


36 years ago this month

First Nevada Title Co., specializing in Nye County real estate transactions, opened offices in late January in Pahrump Valley. It is the first such business in southern Nye County.

The company's resources include complete records of Nye County real estate transactions for the past 25 years as well as current records updated daily.

Weyerhauser Mortgage Co., one of the largest home financing agencies in the nation, has agreed to finance home construction in the Calvada Valley development, pending approval by FHA officials of the developer's water and septic system. Federal inspectors were slated to make their investigative trip to the area the last week of January.

Calvada's plans ultimately call for conventional community water and sewage systems, but, with temporary water systems and private septic units being used during the early years of its Pahrump Valley development, these temporary systems are those the Federal inspectors will be reviewing and studying.

30 years ago this week

The Nye County Commission has determined the Chicken Ranch brothel just south of the Pahrump town boundary constitutes a nuisance and has ordered that it be closed. However, Walter Plankinton's attorney is expected to gain a temporary restraining order delaying any closing of the brothel.

Judge Smart did issue a stay on implementation of the 60-day jail sentence facing Plankinton. He was arrested in October 1976 for operating a brothel in the town limits of Pahrump and found guilty in the court of Justice of the Peace Dow Chenoweth.

The Nye County Commission granted a 15 percent increase/adjustment in salaries to county justices of the peace.

They accepted a bid that will bring Beatty television signals for ABC, CBS and NBC and agreed to turn over the Nye General hospital clinic to the management of the Central Nevada Rural Health Consortium.

The commission also discussed "parcel mapping," in which every piece of land in the state must be cataloged by a numbering system.

Ray Wulfenstein was elected president of the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce, a position he held the first two years of the three-year-old organization's existence.

Elected to fill the vacancies on the executive board were newcomers Frank Clayton, Bruce Edenfield and Ron Floyd. Curly Taylor was reelected.

Wulfenstein is reported to have said that the fourth year of the Chamber should be the greatest yet, with a secretary in place to type up the Chamber's correspondence.

20 years ago this week

Atop the hill leading to the Beatty Water and Sanitation District office sat a Quonset hut with wood window sills of faded purple paint and four revolving red lights. Above the hut was a gaudy wooden sign that somewhat proudly announced, "Belles of the Ball."

It was a whorehouse.

What happened? Had the town lost its mind and passed an ordinance that somehow slipped by the Nye County Commission, legalizing prostitution within the city limits?

Not exactly -- the Quonset hut was real but the rest were props for a Warner Brothers adventure-comedy, "Homer and Eddie," starring Whoopi Goldberg as Eddie and Jim Belushi as Homer.

Telephone hook-ups in Pahrump Valley increased at a healthy 10.3 percent rate in 1987. The growth rate suggests that local population may now be over 7,100.

The 1987 figures also show a robust growth in Round Mountain with a residential hook-up increase of over 20 percent. Business phone hook-ups in Pahrump increased from 388 to 409. Some estimates of Pahrump Valley population are much higher than the 7,114 offered here, but it isn't clear what data are used to determine the higher estimates.

The 20th anniversary of the Amargosa Opera House will be saluted in February with a special postmark cancellation to be offered in the lobby of the Amargosa Hotel in Death Valley Junction.

The Amargosa Opera House had long been closed when Marta Becket and her husband, Tom Williams, became stranded in Death Valley Junction while on one of their show tours 20 years ago. The decision was to give up the touring life, defy all odds and bring the live artistry of Miss Becket to the edge of Death Valley.

10 years ago this week

With shoppers browsing grocery aisles just a few yards away, the Nevada State Bank branch inside Smith's Food and Drug fell victim to Pahrump's first bank robbery.

A few minutes before 6 p.m. a young Hispanic man walked into the bank, reportedly carrying two pistols and a blue canvas bag. He vaulted over the counter, pushed one of the tellers and demanded money.

The teller emptied a cash drawer into his bag. The suspect ran from the store about a minute later with what investigators from the Nye County Sheriff's Office originally estimated to be $10,000.

When the county commissioners meet in Tonopah, they'll not only hear that they do have the authority to reapportion their districts to more closely match current true population patterns in Nye, they'll also hear how it can be done.

The plan to equalize as much as possible the commission districts in terms of current voter registration numbers would enlarge Tonopah Commissioner Bob Davis' district so that it encompasses Beatty. Chairman Dick Carver, whose current district is the area east and north of Tonopah, would expand to include the area south and east of Beatty including Amargosa, Crystal and the Nevada Test Site.

As much as half the class of 1999 at Pahrump Valley High School may not be able to pass a new exit exam instituted by the state legislature, which will determine who gets a diploma.

PVHS Principal Jerry Hill told school board members that the mathematics portion of the test is particularly hard. He missed several of the sample questions himself.

"It's a high-stakes exam" he said, "and it is very difficult."

High stakes is right. Current juniors will not be able to get a diploma without a passing grade on the exam, which will be administered for the first time in April. Although the state is expected to adjust the minimum score downward to increase the number of students who pass, Hill indicated that many of his students are woefully unprepared.

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