“It’s Been a Good Ride” - Pete Olsen

  • 2023-01-06, 05:51 AM
  • Anne McMillin, PIO Churchill County
“It’s Been a Good Ride” - Pete Olsen Retired Commissioner Pete Olsen

Outgoing Churchill County Commissioner Pete Olsen is humbled to have had the opportunity to serve the community over the past 12 years, eight of those as commission chair, saying it has been “a good ride,” but emphasizing that he has done nothing by himself. At his final commissioners’ meeting on December 21, he praised county employees as hard working and dedicated public servants. “They always answer the call and take time to work for the community.”

Olsen cites no two better examples of this than the 2017 flood mitigation efforts and the Covid response of the last three years. “During the Big Dig of 2017, there were no squabbles through all the moving parts and agencies involved to make sure our community wasn’t flooded.” Numerous federal, state, county, and city agencies and officials, worked shoulder-to-shoulder alongside farmers and private citizens, to create the Big Dig, a trench 17 miles long through the desert to direct flood water around the City of Fallon and populated areas of the county.

Olsen credits the county’s Covid response efforts, again with numerous local officials and agencies pulling together in the unknown atmosphere, to provide the best services available to keep the community safe and healthy. Churchill County’s efforts were far ahead of most in the state to the point of being able to offer testing and vaccines in adjacent rural counties.

Other accomplishments by Churchill County over the last dozen years also make this place better for its citizens including the clearing of the Carson River and building the weir in early 2017 that combined to offer a permanent solution to the threat of the Carson River flooding. As a result, federal flood maps are being reworked to remove the need for expensive flood insurance for many residents and businesses in the City of Fallon and Churchill County. The opening of the William N. Pennington Life Center greatly enhances the services offered to the local senior population and provides a place for generations to gather. The new law enforcement center and jail which opened in 2017 is a better, safer facility for both staff and the incarcerated along with more capacity to accommodate the growing community. The new facility is ADA-compliant and offers better visibility and security measures for all who use it. Thanks to the work of CC Communications, there is fiber optic cable available to 90% of the community, something no other rural county in the country can boast. The creation of the Rafter 3C Arena provides a dual-purpose facility for emergency operations and economic development, as the facility draws events here, the opportunity for new hotels and restaurants was also created. The new Central Nevada Health District consolidates the public health offerings in several rural counties and the City of Fallon at the local level thereby offering better health services. And the latest success story recently passed a milestone with the county working with our federal Congressional delegation for the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act to provide enhanced training opportunities for NAS Fallon while ensuring public access to much of the federal lands in the county. As part of that legislation, Churchill County becomes eligible for recreational funding as part of the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.

Commissioner Pete Olsen has played a critical role in all of these efforts and is currently excited about the upcoming new District Courthouse that is being designed and will be constructed over the coming years. He said that there is a huge need for a new courthouse for a variety of reasons. “The current courthouse has small jury boxes, and it is difficult to hear people in the courtroom itself due to its poor design,” he said. The waiting area is so tight that victims and perpetrators and their families are just a few feet apart as they wait to go into the courtroom. With the increasing demands on the judicial system over the last several decades, including the fact the current courthouse is not ADA-compliant, the need for a new facility is clear. The new courthouse will centralize security for both the District Court and Justice Court, reducing costs.

Olsen said he also is looking forward to seeing the new fire trucks when they arrive, hopefully later this year. The new trucks will replace nearly 30-year-old vehicles that have exceeded their life span, though they have been expertly maintained and repaired by the volunteer fire department to keep them serving this community.

As for Olsen’s plans, he and his family have been spending time together over the holidays. He and his wife Tami look forward to spending time with their many grandchildren in the new year. A trip to Europe is also in the books for 2023 and he will, of course, keep farming one of the several local milk-producing dairies in the county.

The community is invited to attend a farewell reception for Koenig and fellow outgoing Commission Chair Pete Olsen being held Wednesday, January 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rafter 3C Arena.



Anne McMillin, PIO Churchill County



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