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December 17, 2017

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Local news briefs for February 5, 2001

Man enters plea agreement

A Las Vegas homeless man accused of beating another homeless man to death with a piece of wood in August has entered a plea agreement.

Donnie Joe Carter pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the Aug. 8 death of Kirk Schaefer, 30.

Carter will be sentenced to six years in prison by District Judge Valorie Vega on March 15. He will have to serve at least two years and four months of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Schaefer was found by police in a desert area behind a building in the 2700 block of Maryland Parkway. He was suffering from head injuries and died at University Medical Center about five hours later.

Girl signed adoption papers

YERINGTON -- A 17-year-old girl signed adoption papers in Fernley giving her unborn baby to her aunt just hours before the aunt murdered the mother and child, according to court documents.

Erin Rae Kuhn, 31, of Sacramento is charged with murdering Kathaleena Louisa Draper of Las Vegas and her baby last June at a Fernley motel.

Kuhn, a medical technician, is accused of surgically removing the full-term child from the niece's womb with a kitchen knife.

The adoption papers were notorized in Fernley, 30 miles east of Reno, according to prosecutors' notice of intent to seek the death penalty.

According to police, Draper had gone to live with Kuhn in Sacramento and intended for Kuhn to adopt the baby when it was born. But the deal went sour and Kuhn was returning her niece to Las Vegas when they stopped in Fernley.

Kuhn allegedly removed the child from her niece's body, then dumped the child's remains beside a road south of Fernley and took the mother's body back to Sacramento, where it was found beside a road.

Air Force cites operator error

Air Force investigators have determined that the Sept. 14 crash of an unmanned aircraft on the Nellis range near Indian Springs occurred because of operator error.

The RQ-1 Predator, a $3 million medium-altitude aircraft, went down about 7 miles north of Indian Springs after the controller inadvertently cleared the primary control modules random access memory. With the memory cleared there was no way for those in the ground control station to communicate with the plane.

Without input from ground control the plane stalled and crashed, accident investigators said.

Predators are reconnaissance aircraft equipped with three electro-optical cameras with zoom lenses, and they can stay in the air for over 24 hours at altitudes of up to 25,000 feet.

Man's severed arm reattached at UMC

A construction worker who severed his arm in an accident a week ago has had his limb reattached thanks to a seven hour microsurgery procedure at University Medical Center.

Surgeons from the University of Nevada, School of Medicine used the relatively new microsurgery procedure to reattach muscles, nerves, arteries, veins and vessels to make sure that the worker's arm was saved.

The arm was severed when a piece of equipment rolled over the man, cutting his arm off at the elbow.

Surgeons used sutures smaller than a human hair to reattach the arm, UMC spokesman Rick Plummer said.

UMC is the only hospital in the region that has the capabilities to preform microsurgery.

Recreation area's attendance dips

Lake Mead National Recreation Area's visitation was down in 2000, as nationwide National Park visitation was down about 2.2 million visitors.

National Park service statistics show that over 9.35 million visited the Lake Mead Area in 1999 compared to about 9.07 million in 2000, a difference of about 278,000.

Entrance stations and entrance fees were put into operation in 2000, requiring $20 for an annual pass or $5 for a five day pass. Park officials say that the entrance stations may have played a part in the lower number of visitors, but there are many other factors that affect visitation.

"Undoubtedly the cost of gasoline effected our visitors somewhat," said Dan Yeager, Lake Mead NRA chief of fee management. "There is also the question of the entrance stations. Many national parks notice a slight decrease the first year entrance stations are used. Invariably those decreases are reversed the following year."

Grant to go to Huntridge

CARSON CITY -- A state grant of $100,000 is going to the Huntridge Theatre in Clark County for additional restoration work, the state Commission for Cultural Affairs said today.

The commission Friday awarded $2.1 million to 19 projects to preserve historic buildings in Nevada.

Historic Preservation Officer Ron James said the Friends of the Huntridge Theatre Inc. have promised this will be the last time a state grant is sought. He said work is near completion on the restoration of that building.