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The Barbwire's Silver Anniversary
Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Remembering another local school murder
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 11-14-2013 Sparks Tribune

Updated 11-15, 11-16 and 11-17 and 11-21-2013

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows.

— Leonard Cohen

Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living. — Mary Harris "Mother" Jones

The relentless news coverage of the recent killings at Sparks Middle School ignored a previous school murder.

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


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Watch for show times. Help us get the word out.

Support the project at

Updated 8-30-2011
Reruns on Carson-Dayton 226

Additional programs
on Boulder City cable. Go to and then
go to the BCTV link.

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


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On May 4, 1972, Libby Booth Elementary Principal Virgil Ouren, 33, met in his office with a teacher, an administrator and a secretary.

Ouren was shot three times with a 22-caliber pistol, twice in the head, once in the lower back, killing him instantly.

Reno police said the meeting concerned a personnel problem.

A guard was placed on Superintendent Marvin Moss after subsequent telephone threats.

A man matching the description of sixth grade teacher Samuel Grinstead Knipmeyer, 53, was seen running from the building carrying a gun.

He fled, abandoning his wife and daughter.

The FBI tracked him through Mexico, California and finally to Bend, Oregon, where he worked as a courthouse janitor.

He was arrested on October 26, 1977.

The closest the rest of the media came to any historical context regarding the recent case was the story of a teacher who talked a kid into giving up his gun at Pine Middle School a few years ago. (Shots were fired in a hallway but no one was hit.)

This underscores two serious problems with the free press charged with keeping this country a representative democracy: Editors not pushing inexperienced reporters to ask the right questions. And reporters in always-understaffed newsrooms not going out far or in deep.

I can count on less than one hand the working reporters who were here 41 years ago. I was here but not writing a column and I forgot, too.

Several local teachers remember the incident. One grew up on the same street as Ouren in Hannaford, North Dakota.

Knowledge of the Ouren case might have opened important new lines of inquiry.

What was learned from 1972? What policies were put in place?

Would they have applied to the recent incident or have they been forgotten over time?

With all the lust for information immediately following the Sparks shootings and all the rumors reported as a result, why did no one — media, cops, administrators — ask the right questions?

As usual, the crack Tribune investigative team spared every expense nailing down this story —>a 20-second websearch.

The greatest media sin is that of omission, whether from corporate pressure, inexperienced staff or failure of institutional memory.

Which is my principal motivation to re-establish a community television channel.

The answers are out there if we just ask the right questions.

TV OR NOT TV? Here are the frontrunners for the first shows of my new live TV season.

1. Wild horses: Icons or canned goods?

2. Support 'em or scuttle 'em? Raise taxes for schools or bulldoze them and tell families to look elsewhere?

    Shutting down public education will permanently balance our stingy state budget.

    Ominously, a school tax was crushed by voters in bellwether Colorado last week.

3. Should we push Apple to make an i-Gun (Barbwire Oct. 24) at least as secure as an i-Phone?

4. Should all U.S. Winter Olympic Team members simultaneously come out of the closet and dare Vlad the Impaler to ban our athletes from Russia?

Please forward your suggestions or vote on the above.

I encourage you to donate to the cause at Barbwire.TV/

ADIOS PEGGY PIERCE. A memorial service for the revered assemblymember starts at 3:00 p.m. this Saturday at the McKinley Arts & Culture Center at Keystone and Riverside Drive in Reno.

People have volunteered labor, food, beverages and decorations.

If you'd like to help, contact Bob Fulkerson 775-348-7557, or Vanessa Spinazola 775-786-6757.

Pierce, D-Las Vegas, succumbed last month to cancer at age 59.

Rest well, brave lady. You did important work.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno.


FIGHT BACK. Support the new season of Barbwire.TV and the return of a community television channel to these parts.

If last year's elections didn't convince you of the need, the 2013 legislature certainly should have.

Join up. You may donate at ReSurge.TV or contact me.

This is important.

Thank you.

"Media is the plural of mediocre."
                              — Jimmy Breslin



Keep sending comments supporting legendary Nevada photographer Don Dondero (1920-2003) for the Nevada Press Association Hall of Fame.

His life's work appeared worldwide, including the Tribune and most probably every newspaper in Nevada.

Enlist in the campaign to install Big Don.

Please send me your memories and endorsements via e-mail or to P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

The Barbwire got the late Reno Gazette-Journal columnist Guy Richardson elected last year.

Let's go for a repeat.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)






Andrew Barbano is a 45-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

We just come to work here, we don't come to die.
— Internationally acclaimed labor folksinger Anne Feeney

The most dangerous job in America

NOV. 7, 2013, UPDATE ON HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION WORKERS KILLED AND INJURED ON INTERSTATE-80 on Tuesday, Nov. 5 — The first reported dead was Vicky Stenovich, 53, of Spring Creek in Elko County. She died at the scene. Arthur Lucero, 47, of Gardnerville, Nev., was transported to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno where he later died. Mario Ramos, 50, of Reno was also transported to Renown and is in stable condition. Karen Martin, 50, of Battle Mountain, Nev., was transported to Battle Mountain Hospital with minor injuries.

All the workers are members of Laborers' International Union Local 169 employed by A-Core of Utah.

The driver of the auto involved, Candace Gittins, 69, and her husband Dallas Gittins, 75, both of Fort Bragg, Calif., were not injured. Both were wearing seatbelts. The High Desert Advocate reported that she failed to slow down in the construction zone. The incident took place 38 miles west of Elko, halfway between Battle Mountain and Elko, as Mrs. Gittins was driving east. The Nevada Highway Patrol stated that she failed to reduce her speed for slowed traffic as she approached the well-marked construction zone and swerved to avoid vehicles ahead of her, thus hitting the workers and a parked construction truck. All of the workers were on foot. The accident took place just after 1:00 p.m. PST, 22:00 ZULU/GMT.

As of the close of business on this date, no arrest has been made. Results of the investigation will be forwarded to Eureka County District Attorney Ted Beutel who will decide on any prosecution.

NEVADALABOR.COM EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: This was a horrendously bloody scene, a construction project turned into a combat zone. Sister Stenovich was launched and died instantly. Brother Lucero was dragged 50 feet on his face. The driver reportedly came to after crashing and said "what happened?"

Many members of the highway crew had worked together for years and all are in serious need of counseling which is now being provided. Some may refuse to return to the job. Staffing the construction site is now up in the air.

Stay tuned for updates. And if you are so inclined, consider saying a prayer for the dead, the survivors and their families.

Death on the job: Nevada workers remain cheap and disposable

In an unrelated incident also on Nov. 5, a worker at the sprawling distribution facility in Fernley, Nev., east of Reno, was killed when a forklift overturned on him.

In Las Vegas, a Cirque de Soleil performer remains hospitalized after he fell during the acrobatic show's "cage of death" routine at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.

The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week announced the results of a four-month investigation into the June 29 death of 31 year-old French acrobat Sarah Guillot-Guyard. The agency cited Cirque de Soleil for safety six violations and proposed $25,235 in fines. OSHA also cited MGM for three violations and proposed a whopping $7,000 in fines for the mega-casino. Both the dark sun and the imperious lion told Reuters that they would appeal.

Also last week came news that the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration has cited Newmont Mining for negligence in the June death of Corey Vasquez, 43, of South Fork. He drove his front loader into an open hole where a protection barrier had been removed. The amount of the proposed fine has not been announced. Given U.S. law, expect another wet noodle and another appeal for the usual reductions to absurdity.

A worker at MGM's Mirage Hotel-Casino on the Las Vegas Strip died Wednesday, Nov. 6, after he fell while trimming trees. Clark County Coroner's Office officials identified him as Arturo Mendez, 31, of Las Vegas.

Once again, workers in America have been shown to be cheap and disposable. Welcome to Bangladesh. See The Barbwire of April 25.

National Workers Memorial Day of the Dead
You're not worth much dead or alive
Impose the death penalty on co
mpanies knowingly causing worker fatalities
Do you think your life is worth more than $566 a year?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from
the 4-25-2013 Daily Sparks Tribune
UPDATED 5-7-2013 with Robert Reich commentary

...and more ammo..

Nevada Day Required Reading
The Lady in the Red Dress
The Barbwire's classic Nevada Day column written in 1983
The compleat history of the Silver State in 500 words

Sparks Tribune 10-31-2013 and previously

Barbano on the Barbwire plots new TV season
Barbwire Special Web Edition / 10-21-2013

Barbwire: Nevada not really a state
No, we were not Battle Born in Kenya
Top 10 reasons Nevada lives in the 19th Century

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-17-2013 Sparks Tribune

Low-income penalty: Nevada socks it to the working poor
BARBANO: Nevada is one big company town
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

State of Health
National health care comes up against a very sick state. WHAT'S IN IT FOR US?
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

USA at crossroads: New Deal or new Confederacy?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-10-2013 Sparks Tribune
UPDATE—>Bill Moyers: Shutdown is simply secession by other means

We Don't Need No Education
The continuing Barbwire series

...and more ammo yet

The Post-Dated Recession: Pay me now or pay me later
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-6-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

The Post-dated Recession
By Joshua H. Silavent / Daily Sparks Tribune / 5-3-2011

Union decline and rising inequality in two charts
by Colin Gordon
Economic Policy Institute / 6-5-2012

Used in
journalist Mark Robison's extensive Hard Labor: Nevada unions tout role in helping workers, firms, economy (Sunday 2 Sept. 2012 Reno Gazette-Journal, page one, Reno Rebirth section of the print edition). Union men Jim Burrell, Paul McKenzie and Guy Louis Rocha did the movement proud. Not included in the RGJ online edition.

The Barbwire Labor Day column
Reno Gazette-Journal / 9-3-2012

Nevada Press Assn. Better Newspaper Contest
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years in a row.

The winning entries
Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck

Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's/cabellyup, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
We Don't Need No Education
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Copyright © 1982-2013 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 45-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors, CWA 9413 signatory

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