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Articles Page
Also see the Outdoors, WV History, and WV Garden Tips for more articles!

NOTE: CAB Meeting articles have been moved to their own page here.

Avoiding Door to Door Scams
Local Engineer Brings Step Son's Invention To Life In Washoe Valley
Trails Master Plan Deserves a Look
Rally For The Valley Area Plan Meeting Notice
Special 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 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 older now:

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 flashing.
“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


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 isn’t.

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.

submitted article-ed

Community Meeting regarding the status of the South Valleys Area Plan.
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 meeting.

Mark your calendars and check this site for updates as the meeting date approaches.

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 Plan Page

Special Regional Planning Commission Workshop Notes
by Carol I. May 4, 2006

This is the meeting on May 1st referenced in the article immediately following-ed.

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 lot.
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 proposed amendments...

Please note: The open house is in a "walk-around" format. The public is welcome
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 of the
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 facilitators
and staff resource persons, attendees will discuss the proposed amendments in small
groups and have an opportunity to report the substance of their discussions to the
rest of the attendees. This portion of the agenda will last from approximately 6 to
8:30 p.m.

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 Valley
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, 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.