Pretty Wendy's 50-year excursion in Nevada's Never-NeverLand
Expanded from the 9-29-2002 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 4-3-2011 AND 10-23-2018

On Oct. 1, 1952, Wendy Helvey, fresh from Omaha, Neb., applied for and was hired to work in the offices of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 401. At the time, the union was located in downtown Reno and had about 125 members.

ALIAS SMITH & JONES — Wendy Jones, left, Nevada State Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, and Stan Jones at a recent campaign event.

Wendy met a young sheet metal worker named Stan Jones and married him three years later. Stan Jones went on to become Nevada Labor Commissioner.

Stan and Wendy have two sons, John of Wasilla, Alaska, and Stanley of Sparks. John's son, Travis, recently graduated from the University of Alaska with a degree in architectural engineering. Presumably, he will work only on union jobs.

Local 401 moved a couple of times over the decades, finally to its current location at E. Fourth Street and Coney Island Ave.

The membership now stands at about 600 and Wendy is still there, the living memory of the institution. The union was chartered in 1905, so she's been part of it for more than half its existence.

Wendy Jones now dispatches the grandsons of some of the young electricians she met in the 1950s.

The union will celebrate its good fortune in hiring her with a private luncheon this Tuesday. A reception open to the public will be announced in November.

Stan and Wendy Jones are two of the finest people you will ever have the good fortune to meet.

They stand tall among those who can rightly say they built this community — both figuratively and literally.

Come Tuesday, call your congratulations to (775) 329-2566 or fax 329-5101.

You may e-mail Wendy at

Better yet, send flowers to Wendy Jones at 2713 E. 4th St. in Reno.

FOLLYTIX '02. After last Monday's face-to-face on the premiere of Sam Shad's newly renovated Nevada Newsmakers program, Reno mayoral candidate Bob Cashell apparently decided not to again debate his opponent, Mike Robinson. Insiders tell me that Cashell's polling shows him so far ahead that he doesn't want to bother.

I had fun going head-to-head with casino shills Greg Ferraro and Jim Denton on last Tuesday's installment. I'm scheduled again for this Wednesday, Oct. 2. The political debaters will be Sparks Assemblymembers Debbie Smith, D, and Don Gustavson, R.

I especially look forward to another guest on the program, Lord Vader hisself -- gambling industry juice squeezer Harvey Whittemore, the most powerful man in Nevada.

Nevada Newsmakers airs Monday through Wednesday on KOLO TV-8 at 11:00 a.m., followed by reruns the same day at 9:00 p.m. on Reno-Sparks-Carson-Douglas cable networks. In Washoe County, that means Charter Cable channel 12.

APPLY TO BECOME A CHARTER MEMBER. Tuesday, Oct. 1, is the deadline to apply to serve on the new City of Reno Charter cable citizens advisory committee.

You'll need to get down the Reno city clerk's office at city hall either Monday or Tuesday. Don't wait for the mails. The phone number is (775) 334-2030. The Reno city clerk's office has informed me that the city will accept the applications both by fax or e-mail. Perhaps they will fax the paperwork to those who call tomorrow. Only those residing with the Reno city limits may apply.

Washoe County formed a similar body about a year ago. Washoe's franchise with Charter expires on March 31, although contract negotiation may not be completed by then.

I urge those of you who live in the county to apply with the county should a vacancy occur. At minimum, provide your input to the panel. I understand that it consists of five members, each appointed by one of the five county commissioners. You may contact John Balentine or call (775) 328-2280.

Those living within the Sparks city limits, please urge the council to appoint a Rail City panel. Their Charter Communications franchise expires in about three years.

Keep an eye on for updates.

WHY PEOPLE TRASH THE MEDIA. Last Friday, I sent an e-mail to CNN's Crossfire noting that both Democrat Paul Begala and Republican Susan Molinari had perpetuated the myth that Saddam Hussein tried to assassinate Bush the Father in 1993. President Clinton bombed Iraq over those reports.

A short time later, the plot was debunked as non-existent. The story that the plot was mythological was carried by major media worldwide. Tribune columist Dennis Myers stands alone as the only writer I know who has remembered the facts this year.

We seem to conveniently forget what does not serve the policy goals of the moment. Yesterday's Reno Gannett-Journal carried a story by one Ron Hutcheson of the Knight-Ridder chain news service. The headline read "Bush: Saddam 'tried to kill my dad.'"

Hutcheson's story notes that "in 1993, Kuwaiti authorities disrupted what they said was an Iraqi assassination plot against former President George Bush as he visited their nation."

Note the language. That may have been what they said at the time, but the plot was later revealed as bogus. The KR "reporter" conveniently failed to report the pertinent facts. He was apparently satisfied with stopping the clock with the first 1993 story, but nonetheless covered his ass by using cryptic language. His curious usage implies that he knows better.

CNN did not use my e-mail on the program. Major media rarely want to admit inaccuracy, especially when the truth is unpopular. I revealed in this column in 1991 that Saddam had access to the U.S. Global Positioning Satellite System, via which he could have aimed his SCUD missiles during the Gulf War. No one was interested in the story.

The Washington Post finally printed a one-line item six months after the war's end.

Just before the Gulf War started, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the oft-quoted "gas attack on Saddam's own citizens" never happened. The Chronicle asked experts to analyze the available data. Whatever killed the people in the northern village in question, it was not poison gas. The story got no national media attention. I brought it before several major market newspaper editors. They did nothing.

Going to war based on Dubya's propaganda will come back to bite us on the ass big time.

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors


© 2002 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and He hosts Deciding Factors on several Nevada television stations. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988.

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