Fire chars 3 acres in Lyon County

(Staff report) A human-caused fire that charred 3.3 acres near the historic mining town of Como Tuesday night was controlled at noon Wednesday.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, according to the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center.

The Como fire, on the backside of Rawe Peak in Lyon County, was reported at 4:41 p.m. Tuesday.

Sierra Pacific Power Co. secured downed power lines which were preventing firefighters from reaching certain areas. Once that was done, crews were able to get the blaze under control.

Two hand crews from the Nevada Division of Forestry and one Bureau of Land Management engine will stay on the fire overnight.

About 8:30 p.m. Tuesday the bulk of the fire suppression resources were released.

Containment was reached just before midnight Tuesday.

State OKs contract for emergency services in Vegas

The Nevada Board of Examiners on Wednesday approved a $7 million contract with WestCare Nevada to free up beds in Southern Nevada hospital emergency rooms.

Mental Health, Developmental Services Director Carlos Brandenburg told the board patients who are seriously mentally ill but have no physical injuries are taking up far too many beds in emergency rooms. He said the problem won't be relieved until a new state mental hospital opens in April with 150 beds.

WestCare contracted to provide up to 50 beds to get those patients out of the emergency rooms.

"It's a temporary service until the new hospital comes on line.

The new facility, under construction, will open with 150 beds. An addition to take it to 190 is also under construction.

In addition, Brandenburg said the 2005 Legislature approved a new 30-bed observation unit to monitor and evaluate mental patients when they are taken into protective custody. He said there are 77 beds in the old hospital.

He said lawmakers also approved funding for 180 residential placements.

"Often, the problem is a need for housing," he said. "That's why they end up in the emergency room."

One dead, 1 hurt in shooting outside Vegas casino

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Police were investigating a shooting outside a popular casino that left an elderly woman dead and her husband injured.

The shooting happened Tuesday about 10:45 a.m. during a botched robbery in the parking lot of the Suncoast casino in the northwest part of the city, police said.

The man approached the couple's car, pulled a gun and opened fire for reasons unknown to authorities. The shooter managed to elude police after fleeing.

Police said Wednesday he may have fled in a silver Dodge Magnum station wagon.

The victims were taken to University Medical Center, where Julie Miller, 68, of Henderson was pronounced dead.

Her husband, Ronald Miller, was treated and released for a gunshot wound to the arm. On Wednesday, he told KLAS-TV that his wife was complying with the gunman's demands when she was shot.

"She had the money in her hands, and she says, 'Here, take it. Take it all.' He said that it wasn't enough."


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