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Avoiding Door to Door Scams
Local Engineer Brings Step Son's Invention To Life In Washoe Valley
Master Plan Deserves a Look
Rally For The Valley Area Plan Meeting
Regional Planning Commission Workshop Notes
Special RPC Meeting on the Development Agreement
HOA? No Way!
Why We Love Washoe Valley
Avoiding Door-To-Door Scams
This article was provided by our friends at the community website
www.galenareno.com April 11, 2007. To
avoid getting into some sort of trouble, I removed the salesmans name and
company. Just beware of all door-to-door sales.
Door-to-Door Magazine Sales Scam!
They are back in the neighborhood again so watch out! A neighbor sent in the
following information from Friday, 3/30:
I had a 20 year-old kid come by the front door today who introduced himself as a
neighbor's son and said he was a UNR theater student fundraising for a summer
internship in London. Anyway, he said his name was ******** and worked through a
company called ******. After he left the door, I had a sneaking suspicion and
found him/his company on a couple of websites: This has a picture of the Sales
Team - the kid who was at our door is listed as **** although he looks a bit
Then I found this link: ******.htm which mentions ********* (his name).
(end of neighbor's email)
This same company, *******, was in the neighborhood last summer and I bought
into the sales pitch. The fella gave me the same pitch about living in the
neighborhood and fundraising for a UNR trip to London. He even told me that his
mom walks the family dog all around and he was surprised I didn't know her. I
checked out his story with folks at UNR and they said it was bogus and then I
looked on the internet as well and found out the company and it's former company
under another name have a history of uncouth business practices. Also, on the
company's own website they state that their sales teams are independent
contractors and can in no way state or imply that they are college students
trying to do some fundraising. It's hard to believe the company doesn't train
these people to use the college student fundraising pitch since it is the same
line that ripped-off consumers in many other states say was the sales pitch that
the nice-looking kids sold them. Anyway, this door-to-door magazine sales is a
TOTAL SCAM because:
1) They are not university students - they are independent contractors trying to
make a sale so they make money
2) They are not fundraising for a school trip - they are trying to make a sale
so they make money
3) They are not your neighbor's son/daughter - they are brought into the
neighborhood by the company
4) Even if you do receive the magazine you ordered, the price you paid is much
higher than you would pay the magazine directly for a subscription.
Since these are independent contractors from a business, they need to have a
current business license to sell door-to-door. If they come to your door, ask
them to show you their business license. As of this morning (4/3/07), the Washoe
County Business Licensing office states that ****** does NOT have a current
business license. Therefore, you can call the Washoe County Sheriff's Department
at the non-emergency number - 328-3001. If they find the salesperson, they can
pick them up, check for warrants, etc. and "run them out of town".
Local Engineer Brings Step Son’s Invention To Life In Washoe Valley
A tiny, ultra bright LED that weighs less than a dime can make any latex balloon
containing either air or helium, light up, flash and even change colors. It’s
called a Balloominator and it was invented by Douglas Oxborrow, a Sparks high
school graduate, and brought to life by his stepfather, Siegfried Goepner, in
his Washoe Valley workshop.
Oxborrow says he was stuck in traffic one night – inching his way home when he
came over a hill and saw all the lights on the front row of cars at a dealership
“I thought – that’s really an attention getter,” he explained. “What if you
could do that and put it in a balloon and have a light flashing inside!”
He told his step dad, an engineer for a Reno television station about his idea.
Goepner says he thought, “Wow! What a brainstorm!” and he immediately began
thinking about how he could make the idea work.
“First, I needed to find LED’s and batteries that would last awhile,” he
explained. “Then I had to find a way to implement this in an encapsulated unit.”
The unit couldn’t get too hot, it had to be light enough to float in a balloon
and it had to flash.
Goepner set to work, every night for four or five hours after getting home from
his TV engineering job.
“It took me about two weeks to come up with something and I sent it to Douglas
who was really turned on,” Goepner explained.
They continued perfecting the unit for months, and then began looking for a
manufacturer. They found one and they were off and running.
Now available in red, blue, yellow, green or white, Balloominators are hot
sellers at party stores and from on line vendors.
“I bought some Balloominators for a 4th of July celebration at the lake,” one
customer said. “All of us had a red, white and blue balloon with us when we went
to watch the fireworks display. All the others on the lake were THRILLED when we
turned on our Balloominators that were in our balloons. We had our own patriotic
display right there on the water.”
Another person wrote, “Your Balloominators were a total hit at the baby shower!
They made our centerpiece come to life!”
“I used your Balloominators at my annual Octoberfest party this year,” wrote one
party planner. “I put them in white balloons and had them floating in my hot tub
– everyone loved them!”
“My wedding reception was the talk of the town with your Balloominators!”
another said. “They made my special day even more elegant than I ever dreamed.”
The Balloominator has even started a new Halloween tradition. “Trick or Treating
with Balloominators in orange balloons helped me keep track of my children and
keep them visible to traffic while crossing streets!” one mother wrote.
The 1¼ inch re-usable Balloominator emits no heat and shines at maximum
intensity for four to six hours. They can continue to flash or glow for up to
sixteen hours on one set of batteries. Two sets of batters are included with
each packaged unit. Balloominator balloon lights are compatible with sealant
used by professional balloon decorators.
The Balloominator can either flash or emit a constant light – you decide by
determining which way you insert the battery.
“To use Balloominator balloon lights, you put them into a balloon before it’s
inflated,” Oxborrow explains. “After the balloon is inflated and the balloon is
turned upright, the Balloominator will slide down into the neck of the balloon
where it can be held into place with the tiny o-ring that’s provided. Twist the
base of the Balloominator in the neck of the balloon to turn it on and off.”
Balloon lights! What a bright idea!
For more information on Balloominators, visit www.balloominator.com.
Trails Master Plan Deserves a Look
Don’t look back 5 years from now and wonder why someone didn’t do something in
2006. We take open space and public trails for granted here in Washoe Valley as
they are everywhere and plentiful for all types of recreation. Many areas around
the valley that are undeveloped are private land even though they are
indistinguishable from public land to the casual observer. Washoe County is
putting together the final touches on a Parks and Trails Master Plan that will
guide the county for the foreseeable future on what is accessible and what
Even though we don’t see big mass production housing developments in Washoe
Valley yet, there is still a steady increase in homebuilding on previously open
space that is increasing the crowding of residents who came here for elbow room.
It is human nature to want space but to maintain that space by limiting where
others may go. I know of at least one family that moved from one area in Washoe
county because of the loss of public access and is now fencing off what was
public access on their new Washoe Valley property.
Yes, private property rights are very important to us Nevada individualists. But
the ability to enjoy Nevada open spaces is also ingrained in the lifestyle of
the Nevadan. The argument is that over 95% of Nevada is public land. But some of
the most enjoyable Nevada outdoors is right here butted up against our
communities in the Carson Range (on the west side of the valley). There aren’t
many places in Nevada where you can enjoy a pine-wooded experience. In the
mountains on the west side of the valley are park-like settings with granite
outcroppings resembling natural sculpture gardens, verdant creeks and aspen
groves and a couple of alpine lakes, some on public land and others not. Access
to these wonders are on established trails and roads through various parcels of
public and private land.
As more residents arrive, there is more traffic on these thoroughfares. The
private landowners and their neighbors note this and feel their privacy and
quality-of-life is being diminished. Many cite the increased danger of fire and
vandalism as an excuse for the closures. It is my experience, however, that many
underused areas are used for unsavory behavior and these problems are diminished
when the general law-abiding public begins using the areas and providing a
watchful presence. In other words, it is not as much fun to party and have
illegal campfires when middle-aged couples are walking their dogs in the area.
At any rate, the no trespassing signs go up and another trail is closed.
One exception may be if the trails are “historic”. If a trail has been used for
many years by the public, it may be deemed a public easement even if it is
across private property. Up at Tahoe the owners of the “Ponderosa” theme park
tried to close a road on the property to public use. Local residents took the
case to court and won on the argument that the road was a stagecoach route from
Carson City to Incline Village. While this may run counter to the notion of
private property rights, it upholds the capitalist notion of “buyer beware” when
you buy a property both of which are arguably values that are related.
A trail that may fall into this category is on the west side of the valley and
some residents have asked the county to withhold that trail from the county
trails map and the county has agreed (West
WV CAB Meeting). The hills on the west side of the valley have been swarmed
over since the 1860’s by miners, loggers, flume and water companies and been
used by trail riders from the local ranches and dude ranches up until the
present time. Should the rest of us let that access disappear for all time when
we may already possess the right of access?
How much loss of access is acceptable to maintain everyone’s quality of life?
There is a metaphor where you put a frog in a frying pan and slowly turn up the
heat. The frog doesn’t notice the slow increase until it is too late. This could
happen with public access. Paradoxically, many people who philosophically want
continued growth in the Truckee Meadows for economic reasons also seem to be the
ones that want to keep the public out.
Community Meeting regarding the status of the South Valleys Area
Tentatively set for July 19 @ 6:30 p.m. at the Pleasant Valley School.
Planner Eric Young will present the area plan as it currently reflects
input from the community.
Meeting details not yet confirmed.
LOOK FOR IT! A public notice will be posted locally and mailed to property
owners three days before the meeting, confirming the place, date and time.
It has been more than one year since the E & W Washoe Valley and Pleasant Valley
groups working on the area plan update have had any input. After hundreds of
hours of work, our plan was put on hold over a year ago.
★ Have we been cut out of the planning process?
★ What has our plan evolved into since our initial input?
★ Will our intentions for a strong plan to protect our resources,
community character and lifestyle be honored?
★ Has influence from land speculators changed those intentions?
Every resident who cares about keeping Washoe Valley a beautiful rural valley
with wildlife, recreation and the lifestyle we now enjoy must attend this
Mark your calendars and check this site for updates as the meeting date
editors note: Planner Eric Young wrote
me and mentioned that: "We will be showing the
proposed maps, proposed text (polices goals, character statements), and in
general looking for reaction and input. "
See also: South Valleys Area
Planning Commission Workshop Notes
by Carol I. May 4, 2006
This is the meeting on May 1st referenced in the article immediately
I went to the meeting -- got there a little late but in time to participate
in a small group with a variety of individuals which created a "spirited"
discussion. But when we kept it to broad terms -- we really agreed on a
We agreed that development should be infill in the "footprint" of the
"Sphere of Influence" but realistically growth would be outfill as well.
Growth should include planned communities so individuals can live near where
they work to prevent lengthy commutes and save energy. So homes and retail
should be near one another and Double Diamond received favorable comments
from many at my table -- but not from me because I think it is too dense. I
do agree that the offices and businesses along Double R Blvd and the retail
centers both on S. Meadows and the Walmart area are convenient.
Open space was valued by all at my table as was preserving wildlife and the
necessary water to support both development, wildlife and open space.
Water was a topic of great discussion.
My table was outraged that public input on the "footprint" was being sought
so late in the process -- as were others.
There was far more agreement than disagreement from the city dwellers and
the rural folk than one would imagine.
Special Regional Planning Commission Meeting on the Development Agreement
On Monday, May 1st (this coming Monday), the RPC will host
an "Open House" to garner opinions and strategies from the public for carrying
out the mandates of the court-ordered "settlement agreement". This agreement
will lay down the plan for how Reno, Sparks and Washoe County split up and
develop Washoe County including Washoe Valley. Will Washoe Valley continue to be
a picturesque, rural, pastoral counterpoint to the mass development of Reno and
Carson City or another opportunity for mass production home-building
corporations and Wal-Mart? Here are some quotes from the Agenda:
1) PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE on proposed amendments to the 2002 Regional Plan
submitted jointly by
Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County pursuant to the August 23, 2005, settlement
agreement in the
matter of Reno's annexation program, and possible modifications to those
Please note: The open house is in a "walk-around" format. The public is
to attend between 4 and 6 p.m. and spend as much time as they wish. The balance
of the agenda will begin at 6 p.m. Public parking is available on the top floor
new parking garage on North Virginia Street, just north of Lawlor Events Center.
Please note: The public workshop is designed to encourage dialog among all
attendees on the proposed amendments. With the assistance of impartial
and staff resource persons, attendees will discuss the proposed amendments in
groups and have an opportunity to report the substance of their discussions to
rest of the attendees. This portion of the agenda will last from approximately 6
See the entire Agenda
here (pdf). Try to get to this very important meeting.
HOA? No Way!
by Christina N.
The other weekend while walking my dog I had to clip her leash on to cross a
busy road. I never have to do this. She runs free, I try to keep up. Simple as
that. But this time when I hooked on her leash I had a vision in my head of what
it must be like to live in a suburban shake n' bake neighborhood under the power
of a Home Owners Association instead of where I live, a rural valley surrounded
by natural parkland (and a few scattered rednecks with shotguns).
Most certainly my freedom-loving pooch would have to have a leash on before we
left the driveway, our house would have to be painted beige or a variation of
beige, our grass cut to an exact 1/2 inch, our cars unseen in the garage, no
laundry enjoying a fresh breeze and worst of all, no garden gnomes. As I thought
of this I had a slight panic attack and envisioned a
Wrinkle in Time scenario with rows of
duplicate houses and rows of children bouncing balls in unison.
Why would people live in a place that is as confining and rule-abiding as their
work? Home is comfort and escape, not a place to worry about whether your
neighbors have the regulated number of flower boxes in their windows.
The panic attack began to ease up a bit when I took a look at my own neighorhood:
junk cars and trucks in people's yards, piles of wood waiting to be chopped,
rusty swingsets, slobbering German Shepherds and homes in hues of blueberry,
mandarin, pine and lemon. I unclipped my baby from her leash and watched as she
ran free into the hills. Far away from the HOA.
Why We Love Washoe
By the editor February 7th, 2006
We were just married, living up at Tahoe, on the north shore,
living in my family’s vacation home. We needed a place of our own and my family
needed to make some real rent money. Wanting to be as close to the vacation home
as possible, we started looking “over the hill” in the Reno/Carson area. I
thought the housing appreciation up at the lake was absurd and so I hoped to
pay, for example, $150,000 for a $150,000 dollar house .
We were surprised that the appreciation was spilling over to
western Nevada. The middle class was moving out of Tahoe, cashing in on their
appreciation and Californians were starting to discover the area, inflating
housing prices. Luckily, RGJ.com had just started listing the MLS listings on
the web and I saw our house in Washoe Valley. “Where is that“? So we called.
Surprisingly, we could still get our $150k house in New
Washoe City which turned out to be one of the closer neighborhoods to the north
shore. I don’t know why the prices lagged behind, but we’re glad they did. Our
house was built in 1973 and needed a lot of work, but it is on a hill and has a
killer view and a nicely terraced lot. The house was one of those “kit” vacation
homes that came precut on a truck with exposed beams and lots of windows so the
“bones” were good. There are no $150,000 houses anymore but, luckily, so far
that is about the only change since we moved here.
Now several years later it is still amazing to look out and
see the Carson Range shooting straight up from the valley floor. We can see from
Mt. Peavine northwest of Reno to Jobs Peak south of Tahoe. We still have a lake
view and the expanses of public land in the valley still give it a pastoral
look. I realized that to a lot of people in the east our home with its classic
western views and activities would be seen as an ideal vacation spot- and it is
our home year round!
Where else can you live that on one side of
the valley, you have the classic high desert with miles and miles of trails to
ride, hike and drive? You can go cross country not only to a ghost town, but to
the “living” ghost town of Virginia City. Enjoying views, rock hounding,
photography and sports are just a few of the activities. On the other side of
the valley to the west we have the classic Sierra environment with trails
through pine forests to alpine lakes and high mountain meadows. There is even a
fishing pond at Davis Creek Park and a public mineral pool at Bowers Mansion. In
between, there is an uncrowded lake with sandy beaches, dunes, wildlife and
state park campgrounds, picnic areas and other facilities. Throughout it all are
signs and stories of a fascinating history.
In spite of the occasional “Washoe Zephyr” We are often struck by the quiet and
solitude in the valley with the widely spaced development and large lots. We
have more peace and quiet than we did “up in the mountains” at Tahoe! We think
this elbow room and peace makes the natives of the valley very agreeable people.
We have thought about moving to some other part of the
country but can’t think of a better place. Not only in the local aspects I have
described but what other area has so much access to such diversity of
environment and also so much access to civilization? We are a short drive to
shopping, big-name entertainers, the state capitol, San Francisco (for a city
fix), airport, skiing, boating and centrally located between the two big job
centers in the region. Weekends are stressful from too many choices!
Washoe Valley is a special place in a special area. We should
all think that over and realize that no matter what our situation, we live in a
nicer place than most and it is worth the effort to maintain the quality of life
here not only for us but for everyone in western Nevada.