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Interior secretary lauds Las Vegas water chief Mulroy

She wasn’t there to hear it, but outgoing Southern Nevada Water Authority chief Pat Mulroy got a warm send-off Friday from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at the annual meeting of the Colorado River Water Users Association at Caesars Palace.

During her keynote address to the group, Jewell called Mulroy “one of the true architects of the modern law of the river” and led the audience in a round of applause for the longtime general manager of both the authority and the Las Vegas Valley Water District.

Mulroy, who addressed the same group on Thursday, is scheduled to step down on Feb. 6 after more than 20 years as one of the strongest voices in the complex and often contentious world of water politics in the West.

Jewell drew a knowing laugh from the audience when she recalled her first-ever meeting earlier this year with the woman known by some as Nevada’s water czar. She said Mulroy “quickly educated” her on how careful Las Vegas is with its water, “despite the high-flow shower head in my hotel room and all the fountains I was seeing everywhere.”

Earlier this year, Mulroy landed on the short list of candidates for secretary of Interior with a nudge from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., but the job ultimately went to Jewell.

— Henry Brean


After reporters tried in vain two weeks ago to get Gov. Brian Sandoval to say something funny about drones coming to Nevada, the governor showed on his own Dec. 11 that he does have a sense of humor.

During a meeting of the state Transportation Board, member John Fransway, listening from Winnemucca, said he could hear Transportation Director Rudy Malfabon but “I am having trouble hearing the board.”

Sandoval, the board chairman, cracked immediately: “There are many people envious of you.”

Throughout the meeting, Sandoval, whenever he had a chance, found fun with his and fellow members’ statements.

This meeting was convened at a time when temperatures in Carson City stood at 2 degrees. Temperatures in nearby Douglas County that morning fell to 10 degrees below zero. A snowstorm hit the area over the weekend.

But Sandoval and fellow members Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Controller Kim Wallin were dressed impeccably and showed no signs of having gone through any storm.

Sandoval, as usual, had every hair in place and looked more like actor Clark Gable, sans mustache, than a mere governor.

— Ed Vogel


What would happen if Colorado’s Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Nevada’s Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval switched jobs for a day? It happened last week — sort of — with no repercussions beyond a few laughs.

On Wednesday, Hickenlooper presided as chairman over the opening of a two-day meeting of the Western Governors’ Association in Las Vegas at the Mandarin Oriental. But Sandoval was absent for most of the first day. Instead, he was in Denver, attending a two-day meeting of the Education Commission of the States.

“I’ll speak for Gov. Sandoval and myself,” Hickenlooper said in opening remarks. “I’ve always wanted to be the governor of Nevada. Actually, let’s put that off the record; it could make my re-election a little more difficult.”

He got a few belly laughs from the crowd.

When Sandoval arrived later, he told Hickenlooper not to worry — that he saw to it that everything was fine in Colorado.

“I just told him I was holding the fort down in Denver,” Sandoval said.

— Laura Myers


One of the jokes heard around the capital city last week is that the only way Democrats would support naming a mountain in Nevada after President Ronald Reagan is if the mountain were Yucca Mountain.

In case you don’t remember, conservative activist Chuck Muth was infuriated recently when Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., blocked his move to name a peak on Frenchman Mountain east of Las Vegas after Reagan.

Titus, who beat Muth in the 1996 race for state Senate, figured it would be better to name the peak after Maude Frazier, a former school superintendent and one of the UNLV founders. Her reasoning was the mountain should be named after a Nevadan.

But some saw her move as a way of sticking it to Muth.

Since Reagan was president when Yucca Mountain was chosen in 1987 as the sole site in America for storing high-level radioactive waste, maybe it isn’t that bad of an idea to call it Reagan Mountain?

— Ed Vogel


Well, Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler didn’t make the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, but close.

Last week, he topped the list of the “50 dumbest things right-wingers said in 2013.”

What did he say — as if you didn’t know?

“Yeah, I would,” said Wheeler, when asked if he would vote to reinstate slavery if his constituents wanted it.

Of course, Wheeler, a Republican from Gardnerville, has since explained he wasn’t really serious and that he was just trying to make the point that he is beholden to the voters who put him in office.

Tell that to Rolling Stone.

— Laura Myers


Nevada’s sesquicentennial celebration is making progress toward reaching its goal of holding 150 events during the year of the state’s 150th birthday, which is Oct. 31, 2014.

Kara Kelley, executive director of the Nevada 150 Commission, reported during a Thursday board meeting that 115 events already have been approved and other possible events are pending approval.

Carson City even is planning a Sesquicentennial Fair in the summer. The Nevada State Fair, dormant since 2011, also might be revived for the end of August in Reno. And Las Vegas Helldorado Days, May 14-18, will be geared around the 150th anniversary theme.

She added that 1,732 silver sesquicentennial medallions (which cost $100.50 each) have been sold, along with 1,300 copper medallions (which sell for $15).

Kelley said a design for a second sesquicentennial medallion should be given to the board for its approval during a meeting early in 2014. Four different medallions will be sold to the public during the anniversary year.

Bud Hicks, a member of the commission, said the organization now has $290,000 in the bank to cover its costs.

— Ed Vogel

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com, 775-687-3901 or on Twitter at @edison vogel. Contact reporter Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj. Contact reporter Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350.

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