The Reno / Tahoe region was represented by several athletes at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Our local Olympians competed in alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, and snowboarding events. We saw Olympic veterans like Daron Rahlves and Julia Mancuso, along with first timers Tim Jitloff of Reno and Errol Kerr, who trains at Alpine Meadows but represents the Jamaica Ski Team. In summary, we witnessed some great performances, with skier Julia Mancuso making Olympic history and bringing home two silver medals.
2. Harry Reid Re-Election
Despite the polls right up to election day saying he was going to lose, incumbent U.S. Senator Harry Reid beat challenger Sharron Angle by a comfortable margin in the November 2010 mid-term election. To win a shot at Reid, Angle rode tea party support to pull out a surprise win over front-runner Sue Lowden in the Republican primary in June. With accusations flying in both directions, it was one of the nastiest campaigns I've ever witnessed.
3. Governor Jim Gibbons Loses Primary Bid
Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons made history by being the first sitting governor in Nevada history to lose a primary election and run for a second term. He was soundly defeated by Brian Sandoval, a long-time Nevada politician who resigned from a lifetime appointment as a federal judge to seek the governor's office.
4. Brian Sandoval Becomes Nevada's First Hispanic Governor
Besides beating the incumbent governor, Brian Sandoval will be making more history when he becomes Nevada's first Hispanic governor. Considering that the Hispanic population in Nevada is around 25 percent, you wonder why it's taken so long.
5. Nevada Leads the Nation in Unemployment and Foreclosures
This dubious distinction started in 2009 and continued right on through 2010. In November, Washoe County's unemployment rate was 12.8 percent and Nevada's overall unemployment rate was 14.3 percent. On the foreclosure front, one in every 99 homes in Nevada is in foreclosure. For metro areas nationwide, Las Vegas led the pack. Reno-Sparks is eighth.
6. Wolf Pack Beats Boise State
In the biggest big game in years, Nevada's Wolf Pack football team beat Boise State in a home game at packed out Mackay Stadium. Nevada came from behind to tie it up 31-31 in regulation play and won 34-31 with a field goal during OT. It was Nevada's first win over Boise State since 1998 and Reno celebrated for days. The win gave the Pack a 12-1 overall season record (lost to Hawaii) and 7-1 in the WAC. On January 9, 2011, Nevada will play Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
7. New City Manager for Reno
In May, the Reno City Council appointed his Chief of Staff Donna Dreska as interim manager while a search for a permanent replacement was conducted. Dreska initially said she did not want the position on a permanent basis, but after some apparent arm twisting by Mayor Bob Cashell, she was hired in July to replace Charles McNeely.
8. Former Governor Kenny Guinn DiesOn July 22, former Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn died in an accident at his home in Carson City. Guinn served two terms as Nevada's 27th governor and was one of our most popular and well-respected politicians. According state Senator Bill Raggio, as quoted in the Reno Gazette-Journal, "We've lost one of the greatest Nevadans we've ever had. It's such a tragedy. He's probably one of the best public servants se've ever had."
10. Nevada State Budget
The ongoing erosion of sales tax and gaming revenues continued in 2010. These factors have contributed to further belt tightening by local governments in Washoe County and across the state and will be the #1 issue to be dealt with during the 2011 session of the Nevada Legislature. Depending on who you ask, lawmakers will be dealing with a shortfall of somewhere between $1.5 and $3 billion. It's not going to be pretty and I think Nevadans are going to be mighty unhappy when they realize what state services will no longer be there. It will be interesting to see if Governor Sandoval is able to make this work and still stick to his no new taxes pledge. Maybe he has painted himself into a corner.
11. Nevada Gets a 4th Seat in Congress
According to the 2010 Census, Nevada's population grew by 35.1 percent from April 2000 (1,998,257) to April 2010 (2,700,551). With the U.S. House of Representatives fixed at 435 members, the formula for divying up the pie gives Nevada one more seat and one less in a state where the population fell. The new district will undoubtedly be carved out in the Clark County area of southern Nevada, home to the bulk of the state's residents. After the budget, this is the most important task facing the 2011 Nevada State Legislature.
12. October Rainfall Sets Record
It started raining in October and basically stayed wet through the end of 2010. A rainfall record of over 2.20 inches was set, topping the previous 2.14 inches from way back in 1945. It also started snowing in the Sierra, with a series of storms creating the heaviest snowpack and best early season ski conditions in decades. The year ended with a frigid blast from Alaska bringing more snow and below freezing daytime temperatures all the way down to western Nevada's valley floors. At the end of 2010, precipitation was way above average in local drainages - 209 percent at Lake Tahoe, 194 percent for the Truckee River, and 197 percent for the Carson River drainage.