Debating state of our state song

“Home means the sage and the pines.

Out by the Truckee, silvery rills,

Out where the sun always shines,

Here is the land which I love the best,

Fairer than all I can see.

Deep in the heart of the golden west

Home means Nevada to me”

—Bertha Raffetto, 1932


If you live in Reno and are over 80, you may think “Home Means Nevada” is a stirring song.

But many people in the rest of Nevada, especially in Southern Nevada — with three-fourths of the state’s population — never have seen the Truckee River, which runs from Lake Tahoe down through Reno. And unless the dictionary is your favorite book, you won’t know a rill from a thrill.

Yet this corny, impossible-to-sing song on Feb. 6, 1933, was selected by the state Legislature as Nevada’s official state song.

Isn’t it time that citizens induced their legislators to pick a new state song that represents all of Nevada, really rhymes and is something folks want to sing?

While chuckling about the idea, Neena Laxalt, the vice chair of the Sesquicentennial Commission, expressed a willingness to research what states are doing with their songs and suggested commissioners could take a look at a new state song for Nevada. Member Bob Brown added he thought it would be a good idea.

“I like ‘Home Means Nevada,’” Laxalt said. “It reminds me of being a kid. The true test of being a Nevadan is knowing the words to the song. People are even having ‘Home Means Nevada’ played at funerals.”

But she concedes that there are a lot of people who don’t like the song and that it doesn’t fit for Southern Nevadans.

“Maybe we should add another section about Las Vegas?” she quipped. “I would throw the idea about a new song out there.”

A decision on a new, or second state song, would be made by the Legislature, which meets next in 2015, but the commission’s backing of a new song might induce state lawmakers and the governor to buck tradition.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said he would not mind if a group like the Sesquicentennial Commission looked to complement it with a second song.

But Sandoval loves “Home Mean Nevada” and said he has heard it sung by schoolchildren in Las Vegas who love it, too.

“There is that one line (out by the Truckee’s silvery rills), but people love the song,” said Sandoval as he recited portions of it aloud.

Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey, R-Reno, also chuckled about changing the state song, contending the state has far more pressing needs. But if someone can come up with a better song, more reflective of the entire state, then the state Legislature should look at it, he said.

“Maybe we should have a contest,” he added. “But there are far more geographic inequities in Nevada than the Northern Nevada references in the state song.”

Assemblyman Randy Kirner, R-Reno, is more conservative, preferring to stick with tradition.

“I like the state song,” he said. “It’s like the national anthem. It’s ours.”

Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, also is a traditionalist when it comes to the state song.

“It is good to hold on to some older things,” said Denis, who majored in music in college and performs in musical theater.

He added that the song is not that easy to sing, but children around the state still learn to sing it. He also has heard The Killers’ version and thought they did a great job.

“If we changed to a more modern song, there would always be someone who would say we are wasting time when we have more pressing matters to consider,” according to Denis.

“Home Means Nevada” was written in less than a day by Reno socialite Bertha Raffetto.

Raffetto was a writer, poet, singer and Republican activist who penned the words and piano music.

She later remembered she had been asked by the Nevada Native Daughters to sing a song about Nevada at their annual picnic. She decided to come up with something new.

Raffetto started writing a Nevada song early that summer and then stopped when guests arrived for a long visit.

So on the day before her performance, she had no song.

“From 10 a.m. that Saturday until 4 a.m. the next morning, I wrote without stopping. Then happy and satisfied, I laid aside the first verse of my song and retired.”

That August afternoon she sang her song for the first time. When she finished, she said a “distinguished-looking elderly gentleman” approached to praise her.

He was 93-year-old Roswell K. Colcord, the governor of Nevada, 1891-94. Colcord declared immediately that “Home Means Nevada” should be the state song.

Raffetto would sing the song 187 times in three months and never received a penny for her efforts.

Every state but New Jersey and Virginia have official songs, and some have several. “Carry Me Back To Old Virginny” used to be Virginia’s state song, but it has been given “emeritus” status.

With a few notable exceptions, official state songs are old, unfamiliar songs whose words only school kids know because their teachers force them to learn them.

But Colorado in 2007 approved John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High,” a fitting song in a state where voters legalized marijuana.

Washington State has two official songs, including Woody Guthrie’s “Roll on Columbia, Roll on.” It also has an “unofficial state song,” the 1960s pop hit “Louie, Louie,” a song a lot of college students then thought contained obscene lyrics.

2 in custody after chase
Two people were in custody after a chase involving Nevada Highway Patrol and Nye County Sheriff"s office deputies ended in southwest Las Vegas. Las Vegas police blocked off Rainbow Boulevard north of Tropicana Avenue around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Law enforcement personnel prepared to tow a black sedan as part of their investigation. It's not certain what precipitated the chase or where and when it started. Check back for updates.
Police Officer's Vehicle Was Taken During Shooting
Video from body worn camera footage released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Wednesday shows an officer realizing his police vehicle has been taken during the chaos of the Route 91 shooting. It was later recovered at Sunrise hospital with the keys in the ignition and nothing removed. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
See Kitty Hawk’s flying car cruise over Lake Las Vegas
Kitty Hawk takes their flying car for a ride in the company’s hidden test facility in Lake Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Las Vegas police wild pursuit through busy Las Vegas streets
An intense chase near Downtown Las Vegas ends after gunfire is exchanged as the suspect flees on busy streets and ends up near an elementary school. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Man shot strolling through park
A man was hospitalized early Tuesday morning after being shot while walking in a central Las Vegas park. Las Vegas police say the man and a woman were in Molasky Park just after midnight when the man was shot. The pair ran to a nearby supermarket where a security guard called for help. The man was hospitalized and as of 3 a.m. was in stable condition. Police have yet to identify the shooter and no suspects are in custody.
Police investigating shooting at east valley apartment complex
No one was injured late Monday night after someone fired shots at a vehicle at an east valley apartment complex. Police responded just before midnight to the Hamptons Apartments, 3070 S. Nellis Blvd. Someone fired shots at a vehicle that was leaving the complex, and struck the vehicle. Another bullet struck a nearby apartment building. The shooter or shooters remain at-large.
Hundreds Attend Slides, Rides and Rock and Roll in North Las Vegas
Hundreds attended the inaugural slides, rides and rock and roll event in North Las Vegas Saturday. The event featured a car show, water slide park and live music. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It's All Rainbows At The Center's New Cafe
The Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) introduced its new coffeeshop, Little Rainbow Cafe, in June. Rainbows are everywhere, even in the lattes and toast, and employees wear t-shirts with the quote "Be a rainbow in someone's cloud." Owner Ben Sabouri said the concept is "built around the idea of, you know, be kind and treat everybody the same." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a Rainbow Latte at the The Center's Little Rainbow Cafe
The Center, a community center for the LGBTQ community of Southern Nevada, has a new cafe. Little Rainbow Cafe serves up a pride-inspired signature "Rainbow Latte." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed trying to cross Sahara
A pedestrian was killed Friday trying to cross Sahara Avenue near Maryland Parkway about 5 a.m. A sedan struck the pedestrian while the person was outside the crosswalk between Maryland Parkway and Pardee Place, according to Las Vegas police. Police also said the driver of the sedan remained at the site of the crash. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. This is the 75th fatal crash that Las Vegas police have investigated in 2018.
Man shot multiple times
Las Vegas police are investigating after a man was shot multiple times early Friday morning. The shooting was called in about 3:20 a.m. at the Harbor Island Apartments, 370 E. Harmon Ave., near Koval Lane. The man was hospitalized and is expected to survive, but police are still searching for the shooter.
Former Military Police Corps Officer Celebrates 100th Birthday
Summerlin resident Gene Stephens, who served as a military policeman in WWII and escorted then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and President Roosevelt during the war, turned 100 on July 13, 2018. He credits his longevity to living a normal life, exercising regularly and eating three square meals a day. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Motorcyclist suffers serious injuries
A motorcycle rider was seriously injured Tuesday night after a crash on Charleston Boulevard. The crash was reported just before 10 p.m. near Durango Drive, according to Las Vegas police. The motorcyclist was hospitalized with unknown injuries but is expected to survive. Las Vegas police are investigating the cause of the accident.
CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara Has Lunch With Students
New Clark County School District superintendent Jesus Jara continued his listening tour by having lunch with students at Red Rock Elementary School as part of the district's summer lunch program. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, children under the age of 18 can find a free lunch at 104 different locations across the valley through the summer months. Jara highlighted the free program and the importance of eating healthy during his visit. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Timeline Leading Up to Scott Dozier's Execution
Scott Dozier is set to be executed by lethal injection the night of July 11 at Ely State Prison. Dozier was convicted of the April 2002 killing of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller and was given the death penalty in Oct. 2007. In 2016 Dozier asked in a letter to District Judge Jennifer Togliatti requesting that he “be put to death.” A three-drug cocktail of midazolam, a sedative; the painkiller fentanyl; and cisatracurium, a paralytic, is expected to end his life. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Program Helps Mothers Battling Addiction
Jennifer Stanert has battled drug addiction on and off for the last 21 years. It caused her to lose custody of one of her children, Alec, after she gave birth while high. A new program at Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican Hospitals aims to connect mothers like Stanert with community resources and provide case management services while still pregnant to get connected to lactation and parenting classes, group peer support and education on neonatal abstinence syndrome. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Felon caught with guns in Mandalay Bay room 3 years before Las Vegas shooting
A felon was caught with guns in a Mandalay Bay hotel room three years before the October 1st mass shooting. Six weapons were found inside Kye Aaron Dunbar’s 24th floor room in November 2014. Four were semi-automatic. One was a scoped rifle pointing toward the Strip, according to court documents. Dunbar was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for unlawful possession. The case just came to light in a lawsuit accusing Mandalay Bay of negligence in connection with the Oct. 1st shooting.
Illegal fireworks in the Las Vegas area garner complaints
Clark County received nearly 25,000 complaints over the Independence Day holiday on a new illegal fireworks site. Reports from the site led to at least 10 illegal fireworks busts across the valley overnight. As of Thursday morning, the county is still compiling the total number of citations issued.
House fire displaces 2 people
Two people were displaced after a house fire early Thursday morning. The fire, at 963 Temple Drive in east Las Vegas, was reported just after midnight, according to a battalion chief from the Clark County Fire Department. Crews from the North Las Vegas and Las Vegas fire departments also were called in to help. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
"Red White and Boom" July 4 Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Full video of the Fourth of July "Red White and Boom" fireworks show at the Stratosphere as seen from the 8th floor Elation Pool. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite. (7-04-18) (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Crowds Enjoy Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Revelers enjoyed watching fireworks displays from the Stratosphere's 8th floor Elation pool on July 4. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed in Henderson
A pedestrian trying to cross St. Rose Parkway at Bermuda was hit by a vehicle on Tuesday night and later died. The crash was reported around 11:30 p.m. Las Vegas police responded initially, but handed over the investigation to Henderson police once it was determined the accident happened in their jurisdiction. Las Vegas police did respond to a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle on the Strip. The person, who was hit by a BMW near Fashion Show mall, suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.
USPS owes $3.5 million for using Vegas Statue of Liberty on stamp
The United States Postal Service has been ordered to pay $3.5 million to a sculptor after using the Las Vegas replica of the Statue of Liberty in a stamp. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Officer Brent Horlacher shoots at Jessie Murillo
Las Vegas police video of an officer-involved shooting on June 29, 2018. Officer Brent Horlacher, 28, fired a single shot at suspect Jessie Murillo. Murillo was not injured. The radio audio is of the officer who fired the gun and the body camera video is from a different officer. Radio audio excerpts are added to the video and are not the precise times the audio was spoken.
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
UNLV professor cautions dangers of distracted walking
An alarming number of adults do not cross the street safely according to a study conducted by professor Tim Bungum of the School of Community Health Sciences at the UNLV. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas-Review Journal) @brokejournalist
Car left in remote desert 21 years is recovered for late owner's children
Showboat casino blackjack dealer Mark Blackburn died outside of White Hills, Ariz. 21 years ago. His 1980 Datsun B310 wagon remained in the remote desert until a network of volunteers recovered the car for his children. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Resort on Mount Charleston Sold for $4.8 million
North Carolina couple and hoteliers Deanna and Colin Crossman have purchased the Resort on Mount Charleston for $4.8 million. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like