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Notice of Tribal Election

Notice of Reno-Sparks Indian Colony 2017 Tribal Election

Election Date:
Saturday, November 4, 2017

Polling Locations:
Multipurpose Room
34 Reservation Road
Reno, NV 89502
&
Hungry Valley Recreation Center-Lower Level
9075 Eagle Canyon Road
Sparks, NV 89441

Poll Times:
7 a.m-7 p.m.

Open Seats:
4 Tribal Council Seats

 

I-580 Southbound Off-ramp Open: Construction Update

Below please find the project update for the week of September 18 and anticipated traffic control for the week of September 25, 2017.

New pavement on Glendale Ave./Second Street at I-580.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I-580 Southbound Off-ramp Open
The Second Street off-ramp from southbound Interstate 580 is OPEN. The ramp has been closed since Sept. 6 as crews reconstruct Second Street in the area. Drivers will see improvements immediately when they exit onto the new, smoother surface on Glendale Ave./Second Street.

Final Paving
Paving of the final top surface of the roadway is anticipated to occur the week of October 2. This operation is temperature sensitive and may be completed during the day. Drivers are encouraged to use an alternate route and should expect minor delays throughout the project area. Turning movements will be restricted.


Utility work continues on Second Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I-580 Southbound Off-Ramp CLOSED
The southbound off-ramp from I-580 to Second Street will close 24 hours a day, seven days a week through approximately Thursday, September 21, 2017.  Businesses including Walmart and the Reno Sparks Indian Colony Smoke Shop remain open.

Traffic Control week of September 18, 2017
•    Restricted turning movements at Rock Blvd.
•    I-580 Glendale Avenue/Second Street southbound off-ramp is closed.
•    Lane closures on Glendale Ave. between Galletti Way and Kietzke Lane.
•    Night time work continues from 7 pm to 5 am.
•    Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction from McCarran Blvd. to Kietzke Lane
•    Speed limits may be reduced in certain construction zones.
•    Bicyclists are advised to use alternate routes around the work zone.
•    Traffic control is weather dependent.

Utility work continues on Second Street

Flashing Red Signal at Rock Blvd
There is one travel lane open in each direction: north and south on Rock Blvd. at Glendale Ave. Turning movements are restricted and there is a flashing red signal condition at the intersection.  Flashing red signals are treated the same as stop signs. The signal will be fully operational after the team installs median islands, paves open grade and places permanent striping. These operations are in process and will be complete in early to mid-October, depending on weather. Please use caution through the intersection.

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Below please find the project update for the week of September 4 and anticipated traffic control for the week of September 11, 2017:

New signals and concrete intersection at Rock Blvd.

 

I-580 Southbound Off-Ramp CLOSED
The southbound off-ramp from I-580 to Second Street will close 24 hours a day, seven days a week through approximately Thursday, September 21, 2017.  Businesses including Walmart and the Reno Sparks Indian Colony Smoke Shop remain open.

Traffic Control week of September 11, 2017

  • I-580 Glendale Avenue/Second Street southbound off-ramp is closed. Please use alternate route.
  • Lane closures on Glendale Ave. between Galletti Way and Kietzke Lane.
  • Night time work begins from 7 pm to 5 am.
  • Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction from McCarran Blvd. to Kietzke Lane
  • Speed limits may be reduced in certain construction zones.
  • Bicyclists are advised to use alternate routes around the work zone.
  • Traffic control is weather dependent.

 

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New pavement on the south side of Glendale Ave./Second Street.

 

The I-580 northbound on and off ramps and the southbound on ramp at Glendale Avenue/Second Street are OPEN.

Beginning Wednesday, September 6, the southbound off-ramp from I-580 to Second Street will close 24 hours a day, seven days a week through approximately Thursday, September 21, 2017.

Businesses including Walmart and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Smoke Shop remain open.

  Traffic Control week of September 5, 2017

  • I-580 Glendale Avenue/Second Street southbound off-ramp is closed. Please use alternate route.
  • Lane closures on Glendale Ave. between Galletti Way and Kietzke Lane.
  • South Rock Blvd. is closed at Glendale Ave. Detour in place. Rock Blvd. is scheduled to reopen after the Labor Day holiday.
  • Night time work begins from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction from McCarran Blvd. to Kietzke Lane
  • Speed limits may be reduced in certain construction zones.
  • Bicyclists are advised to use alternate routes around the work zone.

Traffic control is weather dependent.

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Crews pour concrete at Glendale Ave. and Rock Blvd.

I-580 Northbound Glendale Ave.
Off-Ramp to Open Ahead of Schedule
The project team will open the Glendale Avenue/Second Street off-ramp from I-580 northbound late Friday evening, August 25 around 9 pm. Glendale Ave. will remain under construction and drivers are encouraged to use extra caution in the work zone and expect minor delays and congestion. The remaining ramps (southbound and northbound on-ramps) are anticipated to open August 31.

Burning Man Drivers can expect increased traffic toward the end of this week with the arrival of Burning Man attendees. Please pay attention and watch for workers, obey traffic signs and laws and slow down in construction zones.

 

Traffic Control week of August 28, 2017

  • I-580 and Glendale Avenue/Second Street southbound on-ramp and northbound on-ramp are closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Marked detours are available via Mill Street and Rock Boulevard.
  • Lane closures on Glendale Ave. between Galletti Way and Kietzke Lane.
  • South Rock Blvd. is closed at Glendale Ave. Detour in place. Rock Blvd. is scheduled to reopen around the Labor Day holiday.
  • Night time work begins from 7 pm to 5 am.
  • No free right turns at northbound Kietzke Lane to eastbound Glendale Ave.
  • Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction from McCarran Blvd. to Kietzke Lane
  • Speed limits may be reduced in certain construction zones.
  • Bicyclists are advised to use alternate routes around the work zone.
  • Traffic control is weather dependent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Street Project Update
This week the project team began removing the old asphalt from the I-580 ramps west to Kietzke Lane.  The team is working on the south side of the roadway and is scheduled to pave the week of August 21. After paving the south side, crews will move east towards Galletti Way and then move to the north side of the roadway between Walmart and Kietzke Lane for removals around August 31.  When crews are working on the south side, the I-580 southbound off-ramp will be closed. I-580 and Glendale Avenue/Second Street southbound on-ramp and both the northbound on and off-ramp will be open.

Rock Blvd. Update
Crews are working to make the final concrete pours at Rock Blvd. around August 25. Once the concrete reaches strength, between 8 and 10 days, the team will install median islands, complete the signal system, place striping, and open the roadway.  We sincerely appreciate the patience of the community and businesses on and around Rock Blvd.

Burning Man
Drivers can expect increased traffic toward the end of this week with the arrival of Burning Man attendees. Please pay attention and watch for workers, obey traffic signs and laws and slow down in construction zones.

Traffic Control week of August 21, 2017

  • I-580 and Glendale Avenue/Second Street southbound on-ramp and both the northbound on and off-ramp close 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the end of August.
  • Lane closures on Glendale Ave. between Galletti Way and Kietzke Lane.
  • South Rock Blvd. is closed at Glendale Ave./Second Street. Detour in place. Rock Blvd. is scheduled to reopen around the Labor Day holiday.
  • Night time work begins from 7 pm to 5 am.
  • No free right turns at northbound Kietzke Lane to eastbound Glendale Ave.
  • Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction from McCarran Blvd. to Kietzke Lane
  • Speed limits may be reduced in certain construction zones.
  • Bicyclists are advised to use alternate routes around the work zone.
  • Traffic control is weather dependent.

Business Support
Please support your neighborhood businesses in the project corridor. Sign up to receive project updates at GlendaleProject.com and you are eligible to receive a $25 gift card to a participating local business of your choice!  One gift card distributed every week during construction.

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Beginning Monday, August 14, Interstate 580 ramp closures and surface street lane shifts will take place as part of the NDOT construction. This construction may impact residents and visitors coming to and from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony.

See the map below which shows the suggested detour routes as the southbound on-ramp exiting  the Colony and both the northbound on and off-ramp between I-580 and Glendale Avenue/Second Street will close 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

However, the southbound I-580 off ramp getting into the Colony will remain open during this time.

Also, major construction will continue on Second Street/Glendale Avenue between Kietzke Lane and Galletti Way. The road will remain open to traffic, but both directions of traffic will first be shifted to the north side through the road work zone.

Colony to Allow Passive Recreation in Hungry Valley

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Council will allow certain uses by the public of the 13,343 acres the tribe recently reacquired under the Nevada Native Nations Land Act.

Allowed & Prohibited Use Hungry Valley Map

With a priority on better land management, the RSIC Tribal Council passed a resolution which allows for nondestructive, peaceful uses of the lands such as hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, day parking of vehicles in designated areas, geocaching, and cross country running, without the need of a permit.

“We want to establish good relationships with the whole community,” said Chairman Arlan D. Melendez. “Though we expected a longer time frame to transition the management of the land with the Bureau of Land Management, our goal is to inform and work closely with our neighbors as we manage our land in Hungry Valley.”

In addition, the RSIC leadership restated unacceptable activity on the land including: dumping, target shooting, random discharge of firearms, hunting, camping without a permit, camp fires and other fires, use of fireworks, disturbance of cultural sites, or use of alcohol.

Furthermore, the Colony will allow all-terrain vehicles (e.g., quads, utility terrain vehicles or motorcycles) only to pass through the land on a designated route to outside use areas, and for the period ending Dec. 31, 2017, will allow these all-terrain vehicles on certain established trails within a designated areas in the Hungry Valley addition adjacent to Spanish Springs.

A map with those designated areas will be posted soon on the RSIC website: www.rsic.org and at the existing kiosks on those lands.

We appreciate the patience and understanding of the general public as we take necessary steps to allow the land to recover and heal due to overuse from multiple activities,” Melendez said. “We have identified a number of priorities and our staff will be working on these so we can better manage our land.”

This management plan includes designating emergency access and evacuations routes,

completing an exterior boundary survey in coordination with BLM, installing information
signage, inventory of environmental and cultural resources, and development of a
transportation plan.All uses will be considered again by the Tribal Council before Dec. 31, 2017.“Our resolution allows us to monitor the land usage, reevaluate and modify or extend this policy,” Chairman Melendez said.

National Museum of the American Indian Director Visits Reno-Sparks Indian Colony

The Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has been charged by Congress with building a National Native American Veterans Memorial, and on Monday, veterans and had a chance to comment on the pending design and construction.

Native Americans have served in the United States military in every major conflict since the Revolutionary War. In recent decades, they have served in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group.

So, the museum has begun preliminary plans to construct this memorial in the next four years to give all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States.

The NMAI and the advisory committee are currently conducting consultations to share plans for the memorial and to seek input and support. Regional events, like the one being held at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC), bring together tribal leaders, Native veterans, and community members.

RSIC Tribal Chairman Arlan D. Melendez, a Marine Corps veteran, co-hosted a consultation for the memorial at the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Care Center on May 1.  Veterans, their family members, professionals whom work with veterans and members of the community attended.
The service and sacrifice of Native American veterans, including American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, spans nearly two and a half centuries of American history. During World War II, over 44,000 Native Americans served in the U.S. military. Hundreds of Hopi, Navajo, Comanche, and other Native language speakers—Code Talkers—played a crucial role. More than 42,000 Native Americans served during the Vietnam War.

Today, the U.S. Department of Defense estimates more than 24,000 American Indian and Alaska Native men and women are on active duty, and more than 150,000 veterans self-identify as American Indian or Alaska Native.

An advisory committee for the memorial has been formed, led by the Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne) and Chickasaw Nation Lieutenant Governor Jefferson Keel. The group, composed of tribal leaders and veterans from across Native America, is assisting with outreach to communities and veterans and advising on plans for the memorial.

In the fall of 2020, the museum will launch a juried competition to select a design for the memorial. The National Native American Veterans Memorial will be located prominently on the museum’s grounds on the National Mall, between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol. The dedication ceremony is planned for Veterans Day 2020, to unveil the memorial and honor the immense contributions and patriotism of Native Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Nominations to Serve on Secretarial Election Board Needed

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Council is soliciting nominations of Colony members to fill three positions on the Secretarial Election Board. The Board consists of a Chairman (most likely Robert “RJ” Eben, the BIA Western Nevada Agency Superintendent), two BIA personnel, and three Colony members.

This Election Board is separate from the RSIC Election Board. The Board will only be active if the Tribal Council makes a formal request to the BIA to hold a Secretarial Election.

The Secretarial Election Board’s main functions include deciding appeals on whether someone is eligible to be a registered voter for this election and deciding challenges to the election results, and several pre-election actions such as establishing deadlines and posting election results, and may include assisting the BIA with sending correspondence to members.

Minimum qualifications for these positions are that the individual must be an enrolled Colony member at least 18 years of age.

If you, or someone you know, are interested in serving on this Election Board, please send a written request to Arlan D. Melendez, Chairman of RSIC no later than April 25, 2017. The three individuals to fill these positions will be selected by the Tribal Council.

New Hungry Valley Borders

In accordance with the Nevada Native Nations Land Act, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Council, along with Tribal Police and Hungry Valley Fire departments wish to remind all community members that the RSIC now has jurisdiction of the 15,354 acres in the Valley.

If you see or hear illegal activities—shooting, dumping, alcohol use, or off-road vehicle activity outside designated routes and areas, please call the tribal police at 323-2677 or 240-9775.

Allowed & Prohibited Use Map
Nevada Native Nations Act – Public Law-114publ232




 

 

Tribal Member Opens Alluring Beauty

For years, Johni Bill has wanted to help people with an issue she encountered as a teen—skin health. Now, as the owner/operator of Alluring Beauty, Bill is not just providing aesthetician services, but she is a role model for other budding entrepreneurs.

“I’m still learning, but I am really excited,” Bill said. “Becoming a business owner is a big step for me.”

Her business, located at 1962 Pyramid Hwy, in a shared space with the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s Smoke Shop V, focuses on waxing, tinting and eyelash extensions and Bill plans to offer facials soon.

Since high school when Bill herself dealt with problem skin, she has explored the field of cosmetology and has had an interest in being a hair and makeup artist.

It was this ambition which led her to a Jan. 30 grand opening of her open salon.

“Johni had a vision and has stepped forward to be one of our small business pioneers,” Chairman Arlan D. Melendez told the crowd of about 20 which gathered for the celebration. “When you really think about self-determination, a term that we talk about a lot in Indian Country, Johni is showing us a real example.”

Bill said that she does feel a little pressure, but she is excited to show other people that operating a business is a worthy, attainable goal for anyone at the RSIC willing to work hard.

“There are a lot of laws and rules, and that is a good thing,” Bill said. “Creating a business plan and a safety manual took a lot.”

According to Steve Moran, the director of the RSIC Economic Development and Business Enterprises Department, one of the goals of the RSIC Tribal Council is to offer more help to tribal members who want to go into business for him/herself.

In addition to providing information about local resources which can help an entrepreneur secure funding, write a business plan, file for a business license, and the like, the Colony has partnered with other agencies to hold workshops to assist small business owners.

In the case of Alluring Beauty, the RSIC’s operation of a business incubator—retail space for multiple users-—allows the tribe to offer low start up costs to help Bill get her business started.

Chairman Melendez said that because Bill has the tenacity to be independent and not totally dependent on the tribe, she is fulfilling an important role for the entire community.

“We recognize that we need more small businesses,” Melendez said. “That will take leaders in our community and we congratulate and thank Johni for taking on that responsibility.”

Alluring Beauty is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m., until 7 p.m. Bill can be reached at 775/722-4880.

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal member Johni Bill celebrated the grand opening of her new business located at 1962 Pyramid Hwy, Suite B, next to Smoke Shop V. Specializing in aesthetician services like waxing, tinting and eyelash extensions, call 722-4880 for an appointment.

 

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Gives Nearly $500,000 to Washoe Schools

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC) commemorated its first revenue sharing payment to the Washoe County School District with a ceremonial “big check” handover today at the Colony’s health center.

“We are proud to publicly reinforce our commitment to educating all Washoe County school children,” said Arlan D. Melendez, Chairman of the RSIC. “Our leadership is committed to the academic advancement of not just our Native American students, but to all area youth.”

This nearly half-a-million-dollar contribution is the final step in a 15-year-project between Washoe County, the State of Nevada and the RSIC.

“This collaboration was designed to benefit all parties, most importantly our children,” Chairman Melendez said. “Thanks to the success of our retail operations with our increased tax revenue, the entire region is enjoying new community amenities, increased urban development, private partnerships and of course, revenue sharing for education.”

In accordance with Assembly Bill 299 which unanimously passed the Nevada Legislature in 2005, the RSIC proposed to share sales tax revenue from its retail project near Highway 395 and East Second Street to benefit the Washoe County School District. Using tribal tax revenues and a 1995 tribal municipal bond, the Colony purchased multiple properties and amassed 22-acres just east of its downtown land base. However, because the properties had been the site of several industrial businesses, the RSIC partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Nevada Division of Environment Protection, to remove soil contaminated with pesticides, petroleum hydrocarbons, metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lead, and nitrogen.

After the environmental cleanup, the RSIC worked with the Washoe County Flood Control Project, the Washoe County Public Works Department, the Nevada Departments of State Lands, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Wal-Mart to construct a quarter-mile floodwall and levee along the south bank of the Truckee River between 1-580 and the Glendale bridge.

Furthermore, the Colony also worked with the Nevada Division of Public Works to design and construct a state-of-the art facility for the Department of Corrections. Upon completion, the Colony and the State Lands swapped the former Northern Nevada Restitution Center (2595 E. 2nd St.) and the site of the new facility (225 Sunshine Ln.).

This dynamic, multifaceted public-private collaboration sprung from a need to expand health services to the RSIC’s 1,143 tribal members as well as the Northern Nevada Urban Indian population.  Besides diversifying the Colony’s tax base from sole reliance on tobacco sales, the RSIC retail operations accounted for the construction of a $20 million health center.

In fact, last July, the RSIC celebrated its seventh year of operation of the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center, a direct result of this multi-agency collaboration. The 65,000 square-foot health center not only provides medical care for the RSIC tribal members, but for an additional 6,000 Northern Nevada Urban Indians.

 

Access to National Crime Database Coming to RSIC

Eleven Native American tribes, including the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, are getting access to national crime information databases already used by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

“The RSIC will benefit enormously from the program,” said Edward Reina, RSIC Tribal Administrator. “Indian Country law enforcement has struggled for decades, to gain access to and have the ability to enter criminal justice information into a national data base, a practice enjoyed by every non-Tribal law enforcement agency in the United States.”

The Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information or TAP, will provided a state- of-the-art biometric/biographic computer workstation to the RSIC that will allow tribal police to process finger and palm prints, take mugshots and submit records to national databases.

Furthermore, the RSIC will also be able to access the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Service systems for criminal and civil purposes.

In addition, TAP will provide specialized training and assistance to RSIC staff.

“Not only is TAPS helpful from law enforcements ability to enter criminally linked information, but also our human services, housing, education, and human resources will be able to make criminal history inquiries,” Reina said.

Throughout Indian Country, criminal background checks for potential employees, volunteers as well as people of interest takes weeks and often months to receive.

With TAP, reports will take minutes or a few hours to retrieve. This will expedite the processing of emergency foster care placements, volunteers that work with children, applicants for housing, and the like.

Each of these capabilities enhances protection of children and families, and adds an important resource for law enforcement.

“Central to this program is our ability to share information between law enforcement agencies throughout Indian Country,” Reina said. “This is particularly critical in this era when information sharing has neglected the importance of Indian Country’s criminal intelligence information.”

TAP is a shortcut as it allows tribes to bypass state and local agencies and go directly into federal databases according to Alfred Urbina, the attorney general for the Pascua Yaqui Nation.
The Pascua Yaqui Nation was one of the first tribes to participate in the program.

“There has always been a gap on information sharing with Indian Country law enforcement and other agencies,” said Edward Reina, who is also a retired police chief. “This (gap) was highlighted in our application to the DOJ as we have the unique geographic location of the RSIC, which is the urban (Reno) and rural (Hungry Valley) settings.”

According to Reina, because the RSIC has two land bases, law enforcement requires a unique approach to sharing information.

Furthermore, Reina said that the RSIC’s application for TAP also emphasized our community’s interaction with the larger metropolitan area because of the Colony’s business enterprises.

“Only eleven agencies were selected to participate in the program,” Reina said, “so we are fortunate to be chosen.” TAP enhances tribal efforts to register sex offenders pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA); to have orders of protection enforced off-reservation; to protect children; to keep firearms away from persons who are disqualified from receiving them; to improve the safety of public housing, and to allow tribes to enter their arrests and convictions into national databases.

TAP supports tribes in analyzing their needs for national crime information and includes appropriate solutions. TAP, which is managed by the DOJ Chief Information Officer, provides specialized training and assistance for participating tribes, including computer-based training and on-site instruction, as well as a 24/7 help desk.

“Since its launch in 2015, this project has not only helped law enforcement locate suspects, rescue victims and extradite captured fugitives, but it’s also made it easier for civil courts to enter and enforce orders of protection for domestic violence victims,” said Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates.  “I’m proud that our Justice Department is continuing to act as a responsible partner with tribal governments in this landmark effort, which strengthens both sovereignty and safety for American Indian people.”

This access is vital as Native American women face the highest rates of violence and sexual assault in the United States, but orders of protection, restraining orders courts can issue to protect victims of domestic abuse or harassment, are unenforceable. “If law enforcement officials on and off the reservation can’t confirm restraining orders exist in other jurisdictions, legally, nothing can be done,” said Alfred Urbina, the attorney general for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona,  one of the first tribes to participate in the program.

In the fall of 2015, the department selected a dozen tribes to participate in the initial user feedback phase of TAP.  This partnership focused on testing the department’s technology solution and training support and it also enabled tribes to identify and share best practices regarding the use of national crime information databases   to strengthen public safety.

Phase two of TAP will grant access to national crime information databases and technical support to the RSIC as well as the following tribes:   Metlakatla Indian Community, Annette Island Reserve, Alaska; Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico & Utah; Pueblo of Laguna of New Mexico; Yurok Tribe of California; the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota; the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona; Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota; Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana; the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin; and the Makah Indian Tribe of Washington state.

The Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART), and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funded the second phase of tap as each provided $1 million in prior fiscal year funding towards the expansion, which will be used for the 11 kiosks. The Department of Justice Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) provided technical assistance.

“TAP enhances protection of our children and families, and adds an important resource for law enforcement,” Reina said. “As the RSIC is one of the first Indian country law enforcement agencies to begin an era of information sharing with our partners outside of Indian Country, this program recognizes that Indian Country law enforcement is integral to the protection of, our community, the State of Nevada and the United States. ”

For more information on TAP, visit www.justice.gov/tribal/tribal-access-program-tap

For more information about the DOJ, tribal justice and public safety issues, visit:  www.justice.gov/tribal

For more information about the Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs, visit https://www.indianaffairs.gov/

Editor’s Note: Information for this story was provided by the United States Department of Justice Public Affairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit of Holiday Giving Sweeps Community

If the old adage “It’s better to give than receive,” is correct, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony might be one of the best places to be this holiday season.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of our community,” said Michelle Leon. “When everyone is so willing to pitch in and make others happy, it’s a win-win for all of us.”

Leon’s summation is not only accurate, but rooted in scientific fact.

According to a recent study by psychologists at the University of British Columbia, human beings are all happier, especially young children—when we give rather than receive.

Author Lara Aknin, a professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, has found that the joy of helping others is an inherent part of human nature.

“Positive social behavior, include giving time volunteering, giving money to causes or giving gifts and other resources, all correlate to happiness,” Aknin said.

Leon, a certified health educator at the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center, is the co-organizer of the RSIC’s gift giving program, Angels for Elders.

Leon and her health center co-worker, Lynn Rodriquez, a patient transporter, came up with the idea to brighten the holidays for elders with Christmas gifts.

“Because of my job, I get to know some of our elders pretty well, and sometimes they confide in me that they might struggle sometimes,” Rodriquez said. “A lot of our elders live on fixed incomes and many don’t have family, so I thought we should do something about that.”

Leon and Rodriquez quickly identified 48 elders who wanted to be part of Angels for Elders.

Those participants provided a wish list of three gift ideas he or she wanted, and even quicker, the RSIC community responded positively.

“Immediately, we had a lot   of staff members at the health center that wanted to give presents to our elders,” Leon said. “When word got out to employees outside the health center, we were easily able to match elders and gift givers.”

However, the actual act of giving out the gifts will be doubly rewarding for Leon and Rodriquez who will personally deliver the presents before Christmas.

“That will definitely be one of the highlights,” Leon said. “We are really looking forward to fulfilling the wishes of our elders.”

Michael Ondelacy, the assistant director of business enterprises and economic development, said he had already caught the Christmas spirit, but when he heard about the opportunity to make the holidays better for RSIC elders, he jumped at the opportunity.

“This was really fun,” Ondelacy said. “It feels good to help, especially since my elder asked for such practical gifts—a sweater, gloves, and the like.”

Leon and Rodriquez confirmed that none of the gift requests from the elders were extravagant.

“Everyone wants usable, everyday-type items,”

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Broad smiles, squeals of glee, and the look of wonderment are common during the holidays and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Human Services Department is out to ensure that every child has a Merry Christmas.

To that end, Adriana Botello and her staff once again teamed up with the Marines Toys For Tots Foundation to distribute brand new toys to children throughout the Colony and in Hungry Valley.

“We want to make sure every child receives a toy for Christmas,” Botello said. “Partnering with Toys for Tots coordinator Ken Santore and his volunteers is one of our highlights of our year.”

According to Santore, since 1947 Marines have been making Christmas wishes come true for children. Last year, Reno Toys For Tots raised and locally distributed over 86,600 toys for children.

Santore emphasized that all the toys collected by Reno Toys for Tots stay within Washoe County.

He said that his local team works very hard to make Toys for Tots a success, but without the help of concerned citizens and business leaders, the program wouldn’t be successful.

One of those businesses is Toys”R”Us.

Toys”R”Us is proud to work with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, a premier community action program, to bring joy to less fortunate children across the country every holiday season. As the largest retail partner in the history of Toys for Tots, Toys”R”Us, has raised nearly $48 million and collected 4 million toys since 2004 thanks to its generous customers.

“Certainly, we need the resources of Toys “R” Us, without the toys, we wouldn’t have this opportunity, plus, we also want to thank our RSIC Tribal Police Department for assisting in the home delivery of toys,” Botello said.  “We are appreciative to Chief Daryl Bill and his officers for making a difference in our community.”

Botello was also quick to acknowledge to the RSIC Tribal Court and the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center for their involvement.

“Our point of contact at the health center was Lawana Martinez who organized a food drive and collected toys, too,” Botello said.

She added that because of these RSIC departments efforts, in addition to providing gifts for the children, many of these needy households received food donations. Botello said that the tribal courts made goody bags for the children as well.

Furthermore, in addition to the human services and the police department, other staff members from tribal court, the Chairman’s office and the tribal administrator’s office, joined in the giving by wrapping over 150 gifts generously donated by Toys”R”Us.

“Certainly, our goal was on giving our needy children a brighter Christmas, but giving to others feels so good and helping children allows you to have that great feeling of putting others first.

Botello said it was an honor that the children allowed adults to enjoy their happiness.

“There is no greater reward and it is such humbling work,” Botello said. “It is an absolute privilege to be part of such a great community.”