News of trucks bringing weapons-grade plutonium into Southern Nevada earlier this year drew a glitz of gasps from Las Vegas residents and legislators who knew nothing of the shipments.

The radioactive material came from South Carolina and was authorized by the Department of Energy to be stored at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) 65 miles (per its site) northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

About_Rotating_1.jpg

 

Legal attempts to remove the plutonium and stop future shipments have met with resistance as the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 allows the US government to control the development, regulation, and disposal of nuclear materials and facilities in the United States (Wikipedia).

Plutonium is a man-made radioactive element created by the destruction of uranium, a naturally occurring radioactive element. Both have been used as fuel sources and to make nuclear weapons.

Plutonium is known as an “unstable” element, in that it will decay until it eventually reduces to a stable element. During this decay, radiation is emitted.  The radiation particles (specifically alpha and beta) will usually not penetrate the skin, however if ingested, absorbed or inhaled, could enter the human body and deposit in organs, affecting nearby tissues. Since its half-life, or rate of decay, can take years, organs in the body, such as lungs, liver, and bones can be exposed chronically to the radiation. This may result in radiation illness, cancer or death.

Signs of radiation illness include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sores/skin burns
  • Frequent infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Weakness
  • Internal Bleeding
  • and more….

Currently there have been no reports of illness due to its storage in Nevada and the US government has assured the state that the storage facility is safe. However, potential seismic activity or an act of terrorism could lead to a potential leak and/or contamination, and with the infamous desert winds, radioactive material could be blown to nearby towns and inhaled or ingested by residents.

Per the NNSS site:

THE DAF (DEVICE ASSEMBLY FACILITY) IS A COLLECTION OF MORE THAN 30 INDIVIDUAL STEEL-REINFORCED CONCRETE BUILDINGS CONNECTED BY A RECTANGULAR COMMON CORRIDOR. THE ENTIRE COMPLEX, COVERED BY COMPACTED EARTH, SPANS AN AREA OF 100,000 SQUARE FEET.
SAFETY SYSTEMS INCLUDE FIRE DETECTION AND SUPPRESSION, ELECTRICAL GROUNDING, INDEPENDENT HEATING, VENTILATION AND AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEMS WITH HIGH-EFFICIENCY PARTICULATE AIR FILTERS, ALARM SYSTEMS, AND WARNING LIGHTS. IN OPERATIONAL AREAS, PAIRS OF BLAST DOORS, DESIGNED TO MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF AN EXPLOSION, ARE INTERLOCKED SO THAT ONLY ONE DOOR MAY OPEN AT A TIME.

And some reports say the plutonium may be shipped out of state to nearby facilities and not remain in Nevada.

I won’t hold my breath ...oh wait…maybe I should…..

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in Health
Thursday, 05 December 2019 19:49

State Government now threatens to run amok, too

When I was Nevada controller, my deputy James Smack had an inspired idea.

On the Transparent Nevada web site of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, he searched pay levels of state employees with “controller” in their job titles.  After eliminating air traffic controllers, he found he was ninth and I was tenth.

We knew his pay was higher than mine because our salaries were dictated by statute.  What was surprising was that eight state employees with a controller job title made more than us.  They were all employed in the colleges, universities and Desert Research Institute.

This illustrated that non-academic pay in Nevada higher education is above market levels, as we already knew.  Full-time academic pay is also high because it competes with only the bloated levels at other colleges.  Throughout academe, full-time faculty and administrative compensation is very high, while that for part-time (adjunct) faculty is very low.

I don’t raise this matter to complain that our pay was too low.  Even if it should be higher, no one forced me to run or James to take his job.

However, Nevada local government pay, especially in the two large counties and in public safety, is unduly high due to very powerful unions.  In higher education, the problem is the board of regents is as weak as local governments.  Thus, costs – and taxes – continue to rise due to ever-increasing staffing, especially in administrative areas, and very high compensation.

Total compensation for Nevada state employees is closer to private market levels and in the mid-range for state employees around the country.

Now, however, state employees can bargain collectively for compensation.  So, we can expect their compensation and staffing levels to soar too – unless governor Steve Sisolak and his successors make good use of their statutory power to restrain the results of collective bargaining.  I commend my former regent colleague the Governor for insisting that a gubernatorial veto be included in the legislation allowing state employee collective bargaining.

I also commend his two other recent thoughtful actions on related fronts.  First, reining in the excesses, overreach and illegal actions of state boards and commissions, especially those regulating occupations.  Second, taking on the use by such agencies and others of outside lobbyists to get more funding from the legislature, often contrary to the governor’s proposed budget and usually at very high fees.  (They also spend too much staff time lobbying an d on public relations.)

All these costs contribute to raising our taxes.

And to making state government ever more opaque and less accountable.

Government at state and local levels, just as much as the federal government, has shifted from limited and enumerated powers, spending restraint, and resulting accountability to unlimited powers, wanton spending and tax increases, and an uncontrollable administrative state.

While state and local governments may not yet have developed the really sinister Deep State “intelligence,” spying and police powers now being exposed in Washington, they are working on creating such a nationwide swamp with extensive police powers.

None of this should be surprising, because it’s all in the nature of government and public employee unions.

The people who run and staff public agencies, just like those in the private sector, want more pay, power, perks and prestige.  And less work for each of them to do, less accountability and fewer restraints on their actions and prerogatives.  They’re only human.

This leads them to seek ever higher pay rates and benefits, more people to work with and for them, and higher expenses and capital budgets.  And especially less accountability to voters, taxpayers, governors and legislatures.

People in the private sector have the same instincts.  This isn’t a matter of better or lesser folks in either sector.

The difference is that in the private sector there are inherent restraints, especially on spending, pay and staffing levels.  Businesses can’t just raise their prices willy-nilly, as governments do taxes, because they’ll lose sales, customers and revenues.  And their powers are restrained by law and government.

That’s why, in general, the private sector works better than government, which keeps metastasizing and burdening us further.  Government and public employee unions are, by their very natures, predatory upon the public, interest and taxpayers.  And little restrained.

 

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Ron Knecht is a contributing editor to the Penny Press - the conservative weekly "voice of Nevada." You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column which has been reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion

"Republicans never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity." — Chuck Muth

 

Last weekend was the big GOP Nevada Central Committee Hoedown in Winnemucca.

 

I can report that my fellow columnist and friend Chuck Muth (who wasn’t there) is absolutely correct—at least insofar as Nevada is concerned—that Republicans “never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity.”

 

The first negative out of the meeting was the re-election of State Chair Michael McDonald.

 

Forget anything else negative we’ve ever written about Mikey.  Only one thing is relevant and it is this:

 

If Bill Parcels or Bill Belichick had McDonald’s won-loss record, they’d be coaching in Canada if at all.

 

In the last election, his leadership managed to ring up losses in every statewide election except one.  And all of those losses came because of Clark County which is where Mikey is from.

 

That, however, isn’t nearly as irritating as a rules change which, summed up, instructed what passes for leadership in the party NOT to release contact information for central committee members both at the county and state level.

 

And you should have heard these phony guardians of democracy explain their position.

 

One lady—we’ll not use her name to protect the guilty—had the nerve to say that she did NOT represent Republicans and she didn’t want to talk to JUST anybody.

 

What does this woman think a county central committee is supposed to do?

 

And the really strange part is that this woman comes from a county where you could almost count the residents on your abacus.  If she couldn’t handle being open to contact from her county, how in the hell could she presume to make informed decisions about the future of the state?

 

The problem with these so-called Republicans is that they are like mall cops.  They want authority but they don’t want to give you a meaningless badge number.  Anybody on any quasi-public committee who doesn’t want to give out their contact information should immediately be fired.  Especially when you consider the party’s official position on openness and transparency.  From the 2016 platform: Based on these principles, this platform is an invitation and a roadmap. It invites every American to join us and shows the path to a stronger, safer, and more prosperous America.

 

And the platform goes further: The President and the Democratic party have abandoned their promise of being accountable to the American people.

 

What part of accountable don’t these folks understand?

 

I see a bunch of go along to get along sycophants totally unworthy of any party position—especially the Republican Party.

 

Frankly, to all those who do not want their contact information made public…quit the party and join a book club—assuming you can read.

 

And these are the people who strongly back a President—as they should—who gave millions of documents to Robert Mueller so Mueller could conduct a witch hunt which turned up NOTHING.

 

Did these people do anything correctly?

 

Yes.  They dispensed with a very expensive caucus designed so that clowns like Bill Weld, Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh could get their 15 seconds of fame.  And this guy is the fake Joe Walsh.  The real Joe Walsh is older, wiser, sings and plays the guitar much better.

 

And probably actually does have an accountant who pays for it all.

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column, reprinted with permission. 

 

 

Published in Opinion

A 6th case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in Clark County, Nevada. The Southern Nevada Health District has declared an “outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases” following new cases of the virus being reported.

This summer has been a wetter season in the Southwest, most likely causing an uptick in mosquito activity.

States throughout the country have been reporting cases of West Nile virus as well, with the highest occurring in Arizona (42 cases as of 7/23/19 per CDC).

 

wnv-activity-07092019.jpg

 

West Nile Virus Disease Cases* and Presumptive Viremic Blood Donors by State – United States, 2019 (as of July 23, 2019)

State

Neuroinvasive

Disease Cases†

Non–neuroinvasive

Disease Cases

Total

cases

Deaths

Presumptive viremic

blood donors‡

Arizona

42

15

57

1

16

Arkansas

1

0

1

1

0

California

2

0

2

1

1

Colorado

0

1

1

0

0

Iowa

0

2

2

0

0

Kentucky

1

0

1

0

0

Maryland

0

1

1

0

0

Missouri

1

0

1

0

0

Nebraska

1

0

1

1

0

Nevada

1

0

1

0

0

New Jersey

1

0

1

0

0

North Dakota

1

0

1

0

0

Oklahoma

1

2

3

0

0

South Dakota

0

1

1

0

0

Virginia

0

1

1

0

0

Wyoming

1

0

1

0

0

Totals

53

23

76

4

17

*INCLUDES CONFIRMED AND PROBABLE CASES.
†INCLUDES CASES REPORTED AS MENINGITIS, ENCEPHALITIS, OR ACUTE FLACCID PARALYSIS.
‡PRESUMPTIVE VIREMIC BLOOD DONORS (PVDS) ARE PEOPLE WHO HAD NO SYMPTOMS AT THE TIME OF DONATING BLOOD THROUGH A BLOOD COLLECTION AGENCY, BUT WHOSE BLOOD TESTED POSITIVE WHEN SCREENED FOR THE PRESENCE OF WEST NILE VIRUS. SOME PVDS DEVELOP SYMPTOMS AFTER DONATION.
PLEASE REFER TO STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT WEB SITES FOR FURTHER DETAILS REGARDING STATE CASE TOTALS.

What is West Nile virus?

West Nile virus was originally discovered in the 1930’s in the West Nile district of Uganda.  It is believed to have reached the United States in the late 1990’s.

It’s in the family of Flaviviridae in which the disease is vector transmitted, such as by ticks, or mosquitoes, and can infect mammals as hosts. West Nile is in the same family as Zika, Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, and Japanese Encephalitis.

Culex genus/species of mosquitoes are the usual culprit.  They feed from evening to morning, hence are more active during those times.

How is West Nile transmitted?

A mosquito contracts the disease while feeding on an infected bird and then can transmit it to humans.

 

WNV-transmission-cycle.jpg

 

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus infections?

80% of those infected do not exhibit symptoms.  Some however, may elicit the following if they have mild illness:

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Joint  pains
  • Weakness
  • Rash

Rarely (1 in 150 people) may become seriously ill with neuroinvasive symptoms.  These include:

  • Headache
  • Neck pain/Stiff neck
  • High fever
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Since mosquitoes are the primary vector, avoiding them is paramount to limiting infection.  We recommend the following:

Clean up areas of standing water around the house such as kiddie pools, puddles, buckets as they provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Wear light long sleeve clothing, pants tucked into socks/shoes when outside.

Use DEET or insect repellant that can also be sprayed onto clothes when planning to be outdoors.

Be aware that many mosquitoes are active from dusk till dawn.

If bitten by a mosquito, contact your local medical provider if you have any of the aforementioned symptoms.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in Health

A Hepatitis A outbreak has now been declared in Clark County Nevada.

According to the Southern Nevada Health District, 37 cases have been reported since the start of this year.

Drugs and homelessness have contributed to the outbreak but it can be spread by eating contaminated food.

Per the CDC, 20,133 cases, with 11,595 hospitalizations have been reported in multiple states including Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida and Arizona to name a few. According to the CDC, California and Utah have declared their outbreaks’ over.  191 deaths have been reported since the outbreak began in 216.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver.  Its caused by a virus (Hepatitis A virus) that is most commonly ingested. Poor hand washing and/or contaminated food are likely culprits.  It’s transmitted by the fecal-oral route, where food or drink contaminated by fecal matter enters another person’s GI tract.  Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A has been reported during activities involving oral-anal sex.

Hepatitis A can live outside the body for months, so unclean dining areas can be contaminated and transfer to food.

Those who are immunosuppressed run the risk of dying from the infection.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

  • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Fever
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Dark Urine
  • Joint Pain
  • Clay – looking stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Hepatitis-A.jpg

 

What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A.  Most hepatitis A infections resolve on their own.

We usually recommend rest, fluids, and offer medications to help with nausea and vomiting.

For liver injury we avoid medications and alcohol that can worsen liver damage. The liver will usually recover within months after hepatitis A infection.

There are vaccines for Hepatitis A included in the childhood vaccination schedule.  Those older who weren’t vaccinated as a child can get the vaccine from their local provider or health department.  Many states require all health care and food workers to be vaccinated.

The best form of prevention however is good hand washing, dining area hygiene, and cooking food thoroughly.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.  The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in Health