Public Comments Longer than Council Meeting

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Burton Weast announced the formation of Mesquite Works, a coalition of local business leaders that will form workforce development programs in the local area at the Jan. 12 City Council meeting. Weast is serving as Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Burton Weast announced the formation of Mesquite Works, a coalition of local business leaders that will form workforce development programs in the local area at the Jan. 12 City Council meeting. Weast is serving as Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

The Mesquite City Council took only nine minutes to conduct its business Tuesday night, Jan. 12. Public comment periods before and after the official meeting took 26 minutes. Some call that a good night.

The most time was given to Burton Weast who announced the formation of Mesquite Works, “a non-profit community organization with the goal of coordinating and providing workforce training opportunities in Mesquite.”

[Disclosure: Weast is a freelance reporter for the Mesquite Local News.]

Weast explained the idea of forming the organization came from the economic development incentives committee the city council formed a year ago. One of the significant obstacles to recruiting new businesses and improving the success of current businesses in Mesquite was the lack of workforce development.

To that end, Mesquite Regional Business Inc. President George Gault and others set about uniting local business leaders into Mesquite Works. Weast was named as chair of the Board of Directors because of his experience on a workforce board in the Portland, Oregon, area.

Weast said “between $100,000 and $200,000 had been routinely budgeted by Workforce Connections in Las Vegas for Mesquite area job training but no one had ever applied for the money so it was used by others.”

He also explained the newly formed organization has held two full board meetings since the end of last year. Meetings are also scheduled with high-level officials from the College of Southern Nevada and Nevada State College to develop training programs in Mesquite.

“I want to particularly thank Assemblyman Chris Edwards (R-AD19) who has been very helpful in setting up the meetings with the college presidents,” Weast said. He added Edwards has been working with MRBI, Mesquite Works and Aaron Baker from the city “on pursuing some of the $2 million that was set aside for workforce development as part of the Faraday Future legislation” recently passed in a special session of the Nevada State Legislature.

He listed other goals and concluded that “we are off to a good start and Mesquite Works shows what a community can do working together.”

A list of the Mesquite Works Board of Directors is included at the end of this article.

Andre Carrier, right, Chief Operating Officer of Eureka Casino, and Bill Sylvestre, Eureka’s Chief Financial Officer, attended the Mesquite City Council meeting Jan. 12 when gaming and liquor license changes were approved for the new Eureka Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Andre Carrier, right, Chief Operating Officer of Eureka Casino, and Bill Sylvestre, Eureka’s Chief Financial Officer, attended the Mesquite City Council meeting Jan. 12 when gaming and liquor license changes were approved for the new Eureka Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

In other business, the city council approved of ownership changes for gaming and liquor licenses from Rancho Mesquite Casino, more commonly known as the Eureka Casino, to its new Employee Stock Ownership Plan. It was unanimously approved by the council without discussion. Andre Carrier, chief operating officer of the Eureka ESOP, later thanked the councilors and mayor for their support of not just the Eureka but the new Rising Star Sports Ranch Resort that’s currently under renovation at the old Mesquite Star location.

“You can see our construction is well under way and we are now taking our first advanced reservations,” Carrier said. “We’ll begin our formal PR efforts at the end of January. The project is on time. We couldn’t be more thankful to the city and our partnership with them in this great effort. We’re hopeful we’ll bring a lot of new eyeballs, unique visitors, and a whole new generation to the best town in Nevada.”

“We thank you,” Mayor Al Litman said in response.

The Rising Star is scheduled to officially open in December.

The council also approved a contract with Horrocks Engineers Inc. for engineering services for the Virgin River Flood Wall preliminary design on the east side of the city. Public Works Director Bill Tanner estimated it will take three to four years to complete all the work necessary to build a wall that will divert potential flood waters from the Virgin River away from homes that were damaged in previous floods.

Charging $5 per participant for the Buzzards MC, Mesquite Grand Prix special event scheduled for Jan. 30 was approved by the council. The race will be held near the I-15 Exit 112 on undeveloped land the city owns.

Mike Benham and Roberta Franco presented awards from the first Parade of Lights held in early December in Mesquite that helped gather hundreds of pounds of food for local charities. The Mesquite Police Department won the award for the most food gathered and the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue won for the best parade entry.

The Mesquite Police Department and Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue were honored at the Jan. 12 City Council meeting for their winning participation in December’s Parade of Lights that helped gather food for local charities. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

The Mesquite Police Department and Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue were honored at the Jan. 12 City Council meeting for their winning participation in December’s Parade of Lights that helped gather food for local charities. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Mesquite Works Board of Directors: Burton Weast, Axxiom Resources, chair; George Gault, MRB executive director, vice chair; Rich Green, Mesquite city council, treasurer; Darlene Montague, College of Southern Nevada, secretary; Wendy Kinney, Do It Best Manager; Christy Davis, Virgin Valley High School counselor; Ryan Yost, Eureka Human Resource manager; Israel Hernandez, Mesquite Gaming HR director; Whitney Badger, Express Employment branch manager; Kim Woolsey, Primex HR administrator; Nick Montoya, City of Mesquite Athletic Services Division director; Rob Wursten, Falcon Ridge Golf Course general manager; Dave Bennett, Fidelity Title Co. manager; and Penny Vallone, Cappallapa Resource Center director, Moapa Valley.

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