Angius: ‘The ink is dry’ — agreement to save fish hatchery executed

An agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department has been signed and executed. Rainbow trout will once again be raised at the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery for release into the Colorado River.

PHOENIX, ARIZ.– The deal to restore rainbow trout stocking to the Tri-State area has been signed, sealed and delivered. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) executed an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) today that will reopen the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery to sports fish and in particular for rainbow trout.

The agreement had been approved by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, but hadn’t been fully executed until today. The AZGFD has agreed to pay for half of the estimated $776,000 needed to install a new water pump system to supply Colorado River water to the hatchery’s stock ponds. The agreement will also ensure that trout will be trucked to Lake Mohave on a temporary basis until repairs are complete. The water line has been inoperable for years, but was never fixed due to the perceived cost of repairs, which the USFWS first estimated to cost between $3-$9 million.

At the time, there was no rush to fix the line because a back-up was readily available, however, as the level of the Colorado River started to drop, the back-up line became less reliable.

The fish stocking system crashed on Nov. 21, 2013, forcing the USFWS to conduct an “emergency stocking” of 11,000 rainbow trout when the low water level made it impossible to draw fresh water. Even with their attempts, officials at the hatchery still lost 20,000 fish due to a lack of water movement through the system.

The first response by the USFWS was to abandon the trout stocking program in its entirety. When USFWS announced that the decision had been made to close the sport fish program after 52 years of operation, local officials, including Mohave County Supervisor Hildy Angius became alarmed at the impact the decision would have on the economy of the Tri-State area. She embarked on a very public campaign to reverse the USFWS decision, meeting with officials in Phoenix and Washington D.C. She even testified before a congressional subcommittee last year on legislation that would have forced the USFWS to restart the fish hatchery program.

Angius’ efforts paid off late last year when it was announced that an agreement had been ironed out. The first-term supervisors was very happy with today’s turn of events.

“The ink is dry,” said Angius. “This is a huge win for Mohave County and goes to prove that this board (of supervisors) will fight for what we believe in.”

U.S. Sen. John McCain was quick to credit Angius for her steadfast committment to the fight to reopen the fish hatchery.

“I would also like to thank Mohave County Supervisor Hildy Angius,” McCain said. “There has been no greater advocate for fixing the Willow Beach Fish Hatchery than Hildy and an agreement would not have been reached without her tireless work.”

For their part, the USFWS will oversee the actual repairs to the pipeline and raise rainbow trout for stocking in the Colorado River for five years. The fish hatchery will supply two million triploid rainbow trout eggs to AZGFD annually for five years and supply 160,000 Apache trout eggs to the Department for 10 years.

Today’s execution of the agreement drew praise elected officials from Washington D.C. to Phoenix to Mohave County.

“I am very pleased that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission have finalized an agreement to begin restoring rainbow trout stocking operations at Willow Beach,” said McCain. “This agreement is vitally important to the angling community in Arizona, which supports approximately 1,700 jobs and generates $75 million in economic activity along the Mohave County/Clark County stretch of the Lower Colorado River.”

“We are proud to finalize a cooperative agreement providing vital assistance to an important industry in Arizona, and grateful to Senator McCain for his staunch support of returning trout propagation to Willow Beach,” AZGFD Commission Chairman Robert Mansell said. “With this agreement, Arizona will retain its reputation as one of the finest sport fishing destinations in North America.”

“Today’s agreement to restore rainbow trout stocking at Willow Beach is a win for jobs, Arizona’s economy and sportsmen throughout the country,” said U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, (R-Arizona). “Countless individuals stepped up and deserve thanks for speaking out after trout stocking was arbitrarily terminated.”

“I’m proud that our collective efforts will protect trout fishing in Mohave County for future generations and I was honored to play an important role in saving this worthwhile program,” Gosar continued.

239th Anniversary of Garcés expedition into Nevada to be celebrated in Laughlin

   LAUGHLIN, NV– Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph A. Pepe, of the Diocese of Las Vegas, will be the guest of honor Wednesday at a special ceremony that will mark the 239th anniversary of Father Francisco Garcés expedition into what is now the present state of Nevada.

An historical marker is now located along the Needles Highway, directly across from the Big Bend Conservation Area (a former Boys Scout Camp), about two miles south of Casino Drive. It roughly marks the area in which it is believed that Garcés actually crossed the river on Mar. 4, 1776, which is outlined specifically in the explorer’s diary.

Wednesday’s celebration will include a ribbon cutting ceremony at the historical marker. The Bishop will also bless the site in remembrance of the Franciscan fryer, who not only was an important missionary and explorer of what was then called New Spain, but is also widely credited as the man who gave the Colorado River its name.

The Saint Thomas More Society of Nevada, a society of Catholic attorneys, worked very closely with the state to have the historical marker erected. State officials believe that there was an original marker located elsewhere along Needles Highway, but believe it was lost during various road construction projects during Laughlin’s boomtown years. Nonetheless, the new historical marker is believed to be located much closer to the actual Garcés crossing in 1776.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. (PST). It will be followed by a prayer service at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on El Mirage Way, starting at 2:30 p.m. A reception on the Church patio will conclude the events.

Silver Rider will provide special bus service from the parish parking lot to the ribbon cutting.

California murder suspect killed west of Quartzsite

Victor Silva, 27, of Marin County, Calif. surrendered to Arizona authorities following a high speed chase on Interstate 10 that started in California. Another suspect was shot and killed

EHRENBERG, ARIZ. — A high speed chase on Interstate 10 that started in California, ended in Arizona with the shooting death of a homicide suspect and the arrest of another Saturday night. The two men were wanted on murder charges in northern California in connection with the death of an 84-year old woman last week. Detectives with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, north of San Francisco, who arrested one suspect on Saturday, had learned that the two remaining suspects might be traveling in a rented vehicle near Indio, Calif. and notified the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Later Saturday night, Riverside County sheriff’s deputies spotted the rented vehicle west of Blythe and began to pursue it. Officers with the California Highway Patrol also joined the pursuit, but the suspects refused to stop. Instead, they began to fire their guns at the officers and other motorists.

Several miles before they reached the Colorado River, the California officers notified their colleagues in Arizona and asked for their assistance. An officer with the Quartzsite Police Department was the first to make it to Ehrenberg, which is 13 miles west of Quartzsite, on the Arizona side of the river. He managed to lay down a spike strip near Exit 1.

La Paz County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Curt Bagby said, the suspects allegedly shot at the Quartzsite officer as they passed the area, but the officer was not injured. The spike strip, however, proved effective as the suspects’ vehicle became disabled about a half-mile further down I-10, where deputies with the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office, officers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Quartzsite Police Department began to pursue the suspects on foot into the desert. Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputies and officers with the Blythe Police Department also joined the search.

According to Lt. Bagby, one of the suspects eventually surrendered, but the other suspect refused to comply with law enforcement and brandished a weapon. A deputy from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office opened fire on the suspect, who was fatally wounded and pronounced deceased after lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful.

The La Paz County Sheriff’s Office investigative unit is working with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the incidents.

The surviving suspect, Victor Silva, 27, of Greenbrae, Calif., was booked into the La Paz CountyJail in Parker on several felony charges and will await extradition to California for multiple felonies including homicide.

The name of the deceased suspect is being withheld until his family has been notified.

“The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office is still attempting to identify witnesses or victims of the multiple shootings that occurred during the pursuit along I-10,” Bagby said.

If you or someone you know has information that may help law enforcement please call the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department at (760) 863-8990 or the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office at (928) 669-6141.

BHC teen tries to evade police after racing on Highway 95

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.—An Arizona teenager faces felony charges after getting caught racing on Highway 95 and then trying to evade police officers who spotted him. Abraham Diaz, 18, of Bullhead City, was with a group of vehicles speeding south on Highway 95 at more than 80 mph, near Mohave Community College Friday night at about 11:30 p.m. when an officer spotted the group and activated his lights and sirens.

The actions by the officer prompted most of the vehicles in the racing group to slow down, but not Diaz. The officer continued to pursue his vehicle south on Highway 95 and then onto the Bullhead Parkway, where Diaz turned off his headlights and continued at a high rate of speed. The pursing officer ended the chase for public safety reasons.

A short time later as the officer was returning to the area where the chase had started, he found that an officer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety had stopped Diaz.
A police department spokesperson said Diaz admitted to trying to evade the police officer earlier in the evening. He was arrested and booked into the Mohave County Jail in Kingman. He’s been charged with unlawful flight from a pursing law enforcement vehicle and reckless driving.

Metro officer involved in traffic accident Monday night in BHC

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– An on-duty Las Vegas Metro police officer stationed in Laughlin faces possible citations for their involvement in a traffic accident Monday night on the Bullhead Parkway. No one was injured in the accident near Desert Foothills Boulevard, shortly after 7:30 p.m. Police were already at the location due to another accident that had taken place less than 20 minutes earlier. That accident involved a car and a wild burro.

According to Bullhead City Police Capt. Tad Appleby, police officers were directing traffic around the first accident scene when a red pick-up truck slowed down as a standard precautionary measure. The Metro officer was travelling behind the pick-up in his patrol vehicle and apparently did not recognize that the pick-up had slowed down and rear-ended it. The accident was witnessed by several of the police officers already at the scene.

Metro was immediately notified of the collision.

“Metro has been more than fully cooperative in the investigation,” Appleby said. “Citations are pending the outcome of the investigation.”

No citations will be issued in the first accident. The driver of the vehicle was not injured, but the burro sustained critical injuries, which required it to be euthanized.

Laughlin to take a larger role in future Regattas, BHC Council to pursue stronger partnership with casinos

     BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– The Bullhead City River Regatta will move forward for 2015 with a larger investment and input from the Laughlin Tourism Commission (LTC). On Monday, the Bullhead City Council voted unanimously to negotiate a sponsorship agreement with the LTC that will include a number of improvements, designed to not only make the Regatta an even larger success, but to also safeguard the city against future losses.

Among the new provisions of the proposed agreement with the LTC is a promise from the casinos in Laughlin to pay up to $60,000 toward any loss experienced by the city as a result of this year’s event.

“We feel the event is very important for both sides of the river,” MJ Smith, LTC Executive Director told city councilmembers. “We put huge value on the Regatta and what it brings to town.”

Smith and various executives from the casino properties in Laughlin recently met with Mayor Tom Brady and city manager Toby Cotter to discuss their involvement in this year’s River Regatta. Smith characterized the meeting as very productive in so much as the properties wanted to help easy the burden on the city.

She said, the LTC didn’t want to leave the city with the feeling that it was “taking money out of the pocket to fill some potholes… and putting it into Regatta.” As such, the casinos agreed to provide some coverage for losses if there are any.

“This gives you an insurance policy where the event is not such a burden on you as a city,” Smith added.

The offer from Laughlin surprised Brady when he first heard about it. He said that after his meeting with the casino operators, he was not optimistic about the city’s chances of partnering with their sister community on the Nevada side of the river. He did not think they would come back with any ‘meaningful offer.’

“But when they did, my heart jumped,” Brady said. “They want to be equal partners.”

The budding partnership was also welcome news to the man Brady succeeded as Mayor and who was a driving force in the establishment of the River Regatta in 2007.

Former Mayor Jack Hakim thanked Brady and the city council for moving forward with the Regatta and its new budding partnership with Laughlin. He indicated that it was back in 2007 that he and then Community Services Director Karla Brady, the current mayor’s wife, first inquired about a partnership with the casinos. Back then, Hakim said, Laughlin wanted to take a wait-and-see attitude and decline the offer. Since then, Hakim declared that the city has showed Laughlin that the event can be quite successful and they’re now willing to take on a larger roll.

Opponents of the Regatta also took the opportunity on Monday to express their desire to get the city out of the special event business.

“I’m a little nervous about an event that can only be put on by a government,” said former Bullhead City public information officer Steve Johnson. He suggested the event be temporarily halted until an association of some type could be organized to take it over.

“Laughlin is a for-profit operation,” said Candy Mason, a Bullhead City business owner. “They’re over there to make money.”

“The City of Bullhead City is not a for-profit operation,” she added. “You guys have no business being involved in something like this.”

In the end, the city council opted to pursue the partnership with Laughlin for this year’s event and then determine how much of a role the Nevada-side of the river will play in future Regattas.
This year’s Bullhead City River Regatta is slated for Aug. 8.

Ft. Mohave boyfriend charged with murder in connection with infant’s death

FORT MOHAVE, ARIZ.– The boyfriend that was caring for his girlfriend’s infant son while she was at work last fall has been formally charged with murder in connection with the little boy’s death. Today’s arrest of Tyler James Kirkpatrick, 20, of Fort Mohave, ends a four-month long investigation in the death of 15-month old Kade Kryska. Detectives with the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office took Kirkpatrick into custody this morning at his apartment in the 1500 block of Courtney Place.

The sheriff’s office started their investigation on Oct. 21, 2014 when they were notified by administrators of Valley View Medical Center about a possible child abuse case. The hospital is required by Arizona state law to report such incidents to law enforcement. In this case, baby Kryska had been taken to the emergency room by his mother. She told doctors that she can home from work and noticed her son was having trouble breathing.
The infant was airlifted to Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he passed away two days later. The Clark County Coroner’s Office ruled the death a homicide after determining the baby died as a result of blunt force trauma to his head, causing a traumatic brain injury.

The mother later told investigators that she had worked all day and left her son in Kirkpatrick’s care. He is not the child’s biological father.

The case was turned over to the Mohave County Attorney’s Office in November and additional investigation eventually lead to indictments for first and second degree murder by domestic violence, as well as for child abuse.

When detectives arrived at Kirkpatrick’s residence this morning, the suspect reportedly locked himself inside his bedroom and would not come out. The detectives were eventually able to talk him into surrendering without further incident. He has since been booked into the Mohave County Jail in Kingman.

No other charges have been filed in connection with this case.

MV school board votes to start process for closing school

Mohave Valley Elementary School opened in 1966. It's being targeted for closure due to a $450,000 budget shortfall next year.

MOHAVE VALLEY, ARIZ.—Although still divided, the Mohave Valley School Board voted tonight to start the process to ‘close’ the school district’s oldest school. On a 3-1 vote, the board voted to direct school district administrators to hold a public hearing next month on the possible closure of Mohave Valley Elementary School (MVES), which first opened its doors in 1966. The hearing will be held on Mar. 12 and at that time the board will vote on whether or not to proceed with the planned closure.

Although she had promised not to vote to close any school, board President Rose Vera is the only board member that changed their position from previous meetings, which had resulted in numerous 2-2 tie votes on the subject. Vera claimed the board really isn’t closing the school, but rather moving the students to the district’s three other campuses. The Mohave Valley School will still be used for professional development and other administrative functions. The school’s cafeteria and bus barn will also continue to operate. Vera joined fellow board members Lisa Fulton and Dr. Emmett Brown in voting to move forward with the closure. Board member Jason Evan remained steadfastly opposed to the proposal.

Arizona law requires the school district hold a public hearing prior to closing a campus. It also requires the district to mail letters to all parents informing them of the public hearing.
In addition to beginning the process of closing Mohave Valley Elementary, the board also approved school district superintendent Whitney Crow’s plan to reorganize the three other schools to band all the different grades into specific schools. Preschool, kindergarten, first and second grade students will attend Fort Mojave Elementary school. Grades 3-5 will be taught at Camp Mohave Elementary while sixth graders will join seventh and eighth grade students at Mohave Valley Junior High School.

The decision to close one school and ‘grade-band’ the districts remaining campuses allows the district to make up for a project $450,000 budget shortfall next year. Declining enrollment is to blame for the reduction in state funding.

While the vote was strictly expected to center on the organization of the district, Brown successfully lobbied his colleagues to add a provision to the motion passed by the board to use $150-$200,000 in next year’s budget to go directly to supplementing teacher salaries. Crow had indicated that administrators were already looking into that possibility.
The board’s decision to close MVES was not well received by members of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, whose members make up roughly one-third of the student enrollment at MVES. While taking direct aim at state lawmakers in Arizona, tribal chairman Timothy Williams used the meeting to announce that the tribal council has decided to take matters into their own hands.

Using their own resources, primarily from their business interests—most notably the Avi Hotel and Casino in Nevada, the tribe will be creating its own educational system, including a new school exclusively for tribal members. He estimated it will take at least two years for them to establish their own school and curriculum. He suggested it should be open and running no later than 2019.

Williams said it was a difficult decision for him personally because he attended MVES as a child, but his frustration, as well as that of the tribal council, with the state is forcing the tribe to take action.

‘Tri-State On Patrol’ to start 7th season next Thursday

Troopers with the Nevada Highway Patrol in Laughlin have been regular stars on the popular tv2 show "Tri-State On Patrol" since its inception in 2008.

LAUGHLIN, NV.– The seventh season of the only locally produced police-oriented show in the Tri-state area will begin on Feb. 19. ‘Tri-State On Patrol’ features local law enforcement officers while they carry out their duty to protect and serve the public.

Produced by tv2/KLBC since 2008, Tri-State On Patrol will start off it’s new season with police action from New Year’s Day 2015. The snow was gone but the Bullhead City Police Department got busy right after midnight.

“It was a uniquely busy night,” said Sam Medrano, producer. “Our camera was there for the very first DUI of the year.”

The purpose of Tri-State On Patrol is not to showcase those that break the law, but rather to highlight the job that local law enforcement encounter every day. Local police agencies, who are the stars of the show, are more than happy to participate in the program and have done so for years.

“We believe that by participating in this television show, we give residents and visitors a passenger’s seat view of what our officers do on patrol,” said Bullhead City Police Chief Brian Williamson. “Allowing citizens a look at how we conduct business strengthens community and police partnerships and understanding.”

The Bullhead City police department is one of several agencies that allows Tri-State On Patrol crewmembers to ride-a-long with police officers on any shift. Other agencies that are also featured on the popular show include: the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, Kingman Police Department, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Arizona Game and Fish Department, California Highway Patrol, and the Nevada Highway Patrol.

“‘Tri-State on Patrol’ is a great opportunity for Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers to give residents a better understanding of our profession as they view real-life situations,” said Nevada Highway Patrol Lt. Novelt Mack. “Seeing Troopers in action on the roadways helps to solidify the need to practice better driving practices and to not drink when driving; all of which helps to provide a safer environment for the motoring public.”

The newest episodes of ‘Tri-State On Patrol’ air on tv2/KLBC, starting Thursday mornings immediately following ‘The Morning Show with Bruce Clark,’ at 8 a.m., Nevada time (9 a.m., Arizona time). The Thursday episode is repeated several times Friday-Monday. Check your local listings for times.

‘Tri-State On Patrol’ is also available online from the tv2 website, www.tv2klbc.com. The newest episode is uploaded on Thursday and stays online until the following week’s show. Something new this season will be the show’s availability for ‘on-demand’ viewing from the tv2/KLBC YouTube channel. Visit the tv2 website for more details.

Son accused of killing father in Laughlin last year

LAUGHLIN, NV.– A Michigan man has been extradited to Nevada to face murder charges in connection with the death of his father last year in Laughlin. Thomas Supranovich, 52, of Saginaw, Mich., is scheduled to appear in Laughlin Justice Court tomorrow, where he’ll make an initial appearance on the ‘open murder’ charge that he is facing.
Investigators with the homicide section of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department believe that Supranovich murdered his father on the morning of Sept. 20, only days after his father had him served with eviction papers. Metro had been called to the home of Demetry Supranovich because another son, who lives in Colorado, had not heard from his father and was concerned enough to call police.

When Metro officers went to the residence to check on the elder Supranovich’s welfare, they found him deceased. Thomas Supranovich claimed he had just returned himself and found his father on the couch naked and even told investigators that he hadn’t seen his father since that morning when he purportedly gave him some breakfast.

According to a Metro spokesperson, the son was allowed to leave after being questioned by police. It wasn’t until later that they discovered that his story was not panning out. The Clark County Coroner’s Office determined there was no way the older Supranovich could have eaten anything for breakfast as there was nothing inside his stomach.
Investigators also discovered that the son had withdrawn thousands of dollars from his father’s bank account, through a debit card.

Over the weekend, police in Michigan arrested Supranovich on an outstanding felony warrant from Nevada. He was returned to the Silver State yesterday and is being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas.