Posted inNews


Nevada picks a funny time to seek tourists from China
Nevada wants its fair share of the Far East travel market—and, with that in mind, tourism-building missions from the Silver State are planned for spring and early summer.

“Japan and China are very lucrative travel markets that Nevada needs to enhance,” said Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, who also chairs the Nevada Commission on Tourism. The quote comes from a faxed press release that arrived just shortly after another such press release—this one from the Washoe County Health Department regarding severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

“Specific areas of concern are mainland China, Hong Kong …”

The Health Department seeks to remind people that such common symptoms as fever and cough do not a SARS case make.

“If you have not traveled to the affected areas or have not had contact with a SARS case, do not be concerned that you may have SARS.”

Are people really this paranoid about a virus that seems, so far, pretty contained and not terribly dangerous to Nevadans who aren’t bent on pitching tourism to the Far East?

Consider this remark overheard at Lawlor Events Center on Easter Sunday. A woman walking up the steps to attend a large nondenominational church service there dodged several friendly ushers who were determined to shake her hand.

“I don’t want to shake any hands,” the woman explained to her friend. “There are just so many diseases going around.”

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Posted inDennis Myers Memorial


Armpit of the armpit?
Three years ago last month, columnist Gene Weingarten dubbed the Nevada community of Battle Mountain the “armpit of America” (“Why not the worst?” Washington Post, Dec. 2, 2001).

Some tourists say a motel in Battle Mountain is working hard to live down to the appellation. allows people to post comments about their experiences on the road, and one Las Vegas resident reported this: “I stopped in Battle Mountain on my way to Reno from Salt Lake City. I had always been interested in the little town of Battle Mountain, seemed like a quiet place to rest. I went to the Big Chief Motel and purchased a room. When I entered the room the smell was not a pleasant one. I then proceeded to turn on the lights and found dog droppings on the floor in the corner. I brought this to the front desk’s attention and they asked me to clean it up.”

Another reader said the stay at the Big Chief made her feel like a felon: “We broke down in Battle Mountain, and needed a place to stay quickly, and we had some friends that were waiting for a ride back to Salt Lake City … which happens to be at least 5 hours away. The front desk staff was rude, and watched us all night and day until we left. We were so threatened by this. I will never stay here again unless I want to feel like a criminal!”

Kim, a woman who identified herself in a telephone interview as the Big Chief manager but declined to provide a last name, said she was not aware of the Web entries.

“There are so many people who make the Web pages but don’t let us know.”

She declined to have the entries read to her.

“That’s OK, I’m not interested because if they have any comments, they can contact me here.”

Interestingly, the Big Chief is the highest-rated motel in Battle Mountain on, apparently because it is the only place in the town that has drawn any reader comments at all.

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...

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