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Outgoing 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, shoulder-to-shoulder alongside farmers and private citizens, worked 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.
He 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 efforts were far ahead of most in the state to the point of being able to offer testing and vaccines in adjacent rural counties.
Olsen said several accomplishments by Churchill County over the last dozen years make this place better for its citizens:
Olsen is excited about the upcoming new District Courthouse that is being designed and 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.
Add new demands on the judicial system over the last several decades, and the fact that it is not ADA compliant, and the need for a new facility is clear, Olsen said.
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. These new trucks replace nearly 30-year-old vehicles that have exceeded their life span and have been expertly maintained and repaired by the volunteer fire department to keep them serving this community.
Olsen and his family are spending time together over the holidays and he and his wife Tami look forward to spending time with their many grandchildren in the new year. A trip to Europe is also on the books for 2023 and he will keep farming, as one of several local milk-producing dairies in the county.
A community farewell reception for Olsen and fellow outgoing Commissioner Greg Koenig will be held Wednesday, January 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rafter 3C Arena. All are invited to attend.