By Mark Waite
KPVM-TV owner Vern Van Winkle may not have been successful landing a contract with the town of Pahrump to produce a tourism video, but Nye County Commissioners almost without so much as a word Tuesday awarded him a $21,800 contract to produce a video for the Nye County history project.
The project is funded using nuclear waste oversight money.
The video will trace Pahrump’s history from the Yount family’s discovery of the valley to the Pahrump Ranch, how human needs for electricity, phone services and roads were slowly met, the arrival of Preferred Equities Corporation in 1968 and the development of projects like Mountain Falls.
The project description states, “high definition video will be used to make the project a masterpiece for display.” The project calls for producing 100 DVDs. The 26-minute video will be given to the Pahrump Museum, Pahrump Library and Pahrump Chamber of Commerce to be put on display and sold.
Van Winkle suggested future videos on the Johnnie gold mine and Amargosa township.
The Nye County History Project began in 1987 with oral histories about people in the county. That led to books on the various towns.
After a hiatus, the project began again four years ago with oral histories of past and present Nye County residents and more books. Those histories have been archived in county libraries and are available on the Internet.
“We’ve probably done more than 130 oral histories. We’re still in the process of doing some,” historian Bob McCracken said. “They’re being very well received on the Internet. Because of the history project Nye County has probably had better cover of its history with its oral histories of its residents than any county in the country.”
McCracken was awarded a seventh change order worth $190,000 for his work on the Nye County history project last May. That involves publishing three more books, producing and printing 10 oral histories, recording video of Nye County and getting reimbursement for expenses. That brought his total contract cost for the project to $486,293.
The project is now going video.
Last November, Gold Creek Films was awarded a $28,000 contract to produce a 26-minute video on “The Last Great American Gold Rush,” covering the history of Tonopah to Goldfield, Beatty, Rhyolite and into Death Valley. In December, Beatty Graphics was awarded a $12,249 contract to place a link on the Nye County website where readers could view each oral history, a charge of $1.50 to scan each of the 8,166 pages.
Van Winkle wasn’t even present for the county commission vote. It was a much different situation than when he appeared in front of the town board last October, when 26 people spoke in his favor. But the town board preferred a video produced by a California company, M Creative Group, which produced an uproar.
Numerous other contracts were approved Tuesday.
On the consent agenda, BEC Environmental Inc. was given a third change order worth $46,000 for oversight, impact assessment, planning and other professional tasks related to renewable energy. The work will include planning for transmission lines, assistance with the National Environmental Protection Act and coordination with government agencies. That increases the company’s combined contract to $586,000. It is funded out of the nuclear waste oversight budget.
Commissioners under the consent agenda approved a fee schedule from Farr West Engineering to study the possible acquisition of Pahrump Utilities Company, for a cost not to exceed $50,000. The work includes an engineering and environmental evaluation of the utility company. It includes a phase one environmental assessment, a review of permits, real estate and water rights, a capital improvement plan, financial review and management considerations.
Also on the consent agenda, a change order was approved with Charles Abbot and Associates Inc., which operates the Pahrump Building and Safety Department, to extend their contract for as-needed engineering services two years through April 6, 2014. In April 2010 commissioners authorized up to $100,000 for the work, but only $72,200 has been spent so far.
Commissioners also authorized $10,000 for the purchase of 4,000 gallons of bituminous emulsion material for road maintenance, part of which Public Works Director Dave Fanning said will be used on repairs to Charleston Park Drive requested by Commissioner Gary Hollis.
The county will apply for a $300,000 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant in support of renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. The county received $200,000 for what was then known as the Brownfields Job Training Grant in 2007, which produced 69 graduates. In 2010, the county reapplied without success.
In the biggest contract awarded on the consent agenda, A & K Earthmovers of Sparks received a $901,400 contract as the lowest bidder to build improvements to the Manhattan water system. It includes laying 2,000 feet of 10-inch pipe, 1,600 feet of eight-inch pipe, a 250,000-gallon tank, telemetry upgrades and other work.
A $102,907 invoice from Tyler Technologies for the 2012 Eden financial software maintenance agreement was approved on the consent agenda. The Eden system was installed in September 2010.
Commissioners provided $25,000 as matching funds for a Desert Research Institute project updating the Pahrump Valley groundwater flow model on the consent agenda.
Nye County released the performance bond posted by Corrections Corporation of America for completion of off-site improvements on Mesquite Avenue and Panorama Road, around the federal detention center, which opened in October 2010.
Commissioners will apply for Federal Transit Administration Section 5310 grants for $95,983 to purchase two vehicles for the Esmeralda County senior nutrition transportation program; $48,578 for two Dodge Caravans for Smoky Valley and Gabbs programs and $159,007 for operating costs of the senior nutrition transportation program, which requires an $83,007 county match.
Spending items not on the consent agenda, included a project touted as long overdue by Commissioner Joni Eastley, piggybacking on a contract with U.S. Imaging Inc. to record 16 millimeter microfilm of Nye County records from 1990 to 2002. The $80,484 contract is paid for out of the county recorder’s office technology fund.
Consultant Robert Anderson, of the Washington D.C. law firm of Akerman Senterfitt, was given another $20,000, raising his contract to $50,000, for his work representing Nye County’s interests in the writ of mandamus against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over the Yucca Mountain license application.
Roxanne Flanagan was awarded a $12,000 contract for maintenance and improvements to the New Dawn case management database implemented by the district attorney’s office in 2009. The case management system is being used for criminal cases but civil files need to be integrated into the system. It also has to interface with Nevada Highway Patrol and sheriff’s office electronic filing systems.
A $2,822 agreement was approved with Utilities Inc. of Central Nevada to supply water to the new impound lot.