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Commissioners appoint Chris Wilson temporary Sparks Justice of the Peace.
Media Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Nancy Leuenhagen

Reno, Nevada. Feb. 11, 2014. The Washoe County Board of Commissioners held its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Feb. 11, and took action on items including: appointed  Chris Wilson as temporary Sparks Justice of the Peace; accepted $140,350 in donations for the District Attorney’s Office McGee Child Advocacy Center; confirmed nearly 2,000 acres around Winters Ranch in Washoe Valley is now protected by the Bureau of Land Management; approved a two-year extension of the free microchipping program by Animal Services; and approved the reconveyance and sale of Sky Ranch Park in Spanish Springs.   

Sparks Justice of the Peace vacancy: Item 21. The Washoe County Board of Commissioners appointed Chris Wilson as a temporary Sparks Justice of the Peace due to the early retirement of Judge Susan Deriso. Wilson will serve through the end of 2014 to fill the temporary vacancy. Wilson has been a Deputy District Attorney for Washoe County since 1998 where he has prosecuted more than 3,500 criminal cases in Justice Court and over 1,600 criminal cases in District Court. Wilson thanked the Commissioners and said “I will do everything in my power to do the job right.” Wilson is a Major in the Nevada Army National Guard, resides in Sparks and will begin his job as a Sparks Justice Feb. 24. The other final candidates were Chester Adams, Tony Almaraz, Brooke Santina Keast and Larry Sage.

McGee Center receives $140,350 in donations: Item 6. Commissioners accepted $140,350, including $30,000 from the Knights of St. John, in donations for the District Attorney's Office McGee Child Advocacy Center remodel. The remodel of the Center is designed to ensure the health and safety of the child through a neutral, child-centered environment and to minimize trauma and provide advocacy to the child and non-offending caregivers as well as to support effective investigations. "The $30,000 that was raised is earmarked to go to the reception area to make it more child friendly when people enter the center and more welcoming," said Jeanne Walpole from the Knights of St. John. Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick acknowledged many of the partners for their help, including Assistant County Manager Kevin Schiller, the Sheriff’s Office, and Nicole Hicks and Julie Skow from the DA’s Office. Other organizations that have donated to the Center include the Mathewson Charitable Lead Trust One ($25,000); the Mathewson Charitable Lead Trust Two ($35,000); the Hart Foundation ($15,000); the Bretzlaff Foundation ($25,000); Michael Bolton Charities ($10,000); Joey Gilbert, Esq. ($250); and Carlee Ferrari ($100).

Protecting land in Washoe Valley: Item 19. The Board received confirmation that nearly 2,000 acres of land in Washoe Valley known as Winters Ranch has been officially preserved for public open space through a transfer to federal ownership under the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Jan. 17, 2014. “It has been a 15-year effort to acquire the historic Winters Ranch lands which lie between Washoe Lake and Davis Creek, and Bowers Mansion Park to the west,” said Planning and Development Division Director Bill Whitney. “The land includes the forested hills above those parks and large areas of pastureland on both sides of the freeway with water from creeks and springs to keep it irrigated.” Whitney said the Nevada Land Trust headed up the multi-agency effort and coordinated with all the partners involved in the preservation of the large historic ranch where Mark Twain once stayed. Other partners include the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Forest Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Washoe County Commission and multitudes of local residents who supported the preservation of this open space in Washoe Valley. “The land is now protected and that makes a lot of people throughout the County happy,” said Chairman David Humke.

Animal Services extends free microchip campaign: Item 9.G.4. Commissioners approved a two-year extension of the County’s Regional Animal Services highly successful free microchipping campaign. Washoe County pet owners may now microchip their pets for free at Animal Services through January 2016.  “The campaign was an enormous success,” Animal Services Director Barry Brode said. “We exceeded our goal by well over 2,000 pets and decided it would be in the best interest of our community to continue offering free microchips for another two years. We encourage all pet owners, even those who think their pets never leave home, to take advantage of this free service.” Brode also said in many cases missing and lost pets that are microchipped are returned to their homes without ever having to be brought to the shelter, therefore reducing stress for the pet and the family. For more information please visit

Reconveyance and sale of Sky Ranch Park: Items 15 & 16. Commissioners approved a Reconveyance and Sale Agreement for Sky Ranch Park in Spanish Springs to Pyramid Urban Achievers, LLC. The Park consists of two parcels: one was dedicated to Washoe County, and the other purchased by Washoe County in 1982. Since then, the population in Spanish Springs has grown tremendously, transforming this former rural community into a densely-populated urban area. Washoe County has since constructed four additional parks (Eagle Canyon, Lazy 5, Desert Winds, and Gator Swamp) in Spanish Springs to accommodate the growth and to meet the recreational needs of the community. Sky Ranch Park is primarily used for youth sports which are not compatible with the busy intersection, and with numerous budget reductions the County no longer has the staff or financial resources to maintain the property. Pyramid Urban Achievers anticipates future redevelopment or economic development pursuits on the parkland. While the property transaction could take up to one year based on the terms of the agreement, no athletic groups will be displaced as part of the property transfer.  All proceeds from the sale will go back into Park District 2C for further park development in the Spanish Springs community.