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Stories from the KUNR newsroom and regional partners related to the 2022 elections

KUNR Today: Barton Health Reopens, Tribes Lose Bid To Block Digging At Nev. Lithium Mine

A sign in downtown South Lake Tahoe that says, “welcome to the city of South Lake Tahoe, California.”
Paul Boger
KUNR Public Radio
Barton Health and Lake Tahoe Community College are located in South Lake Tahoe. The area was placed under a mandatory evacuation order on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, due to the Caldor Fire.

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021.

Barton Health Reopens Some Services In South Lake Tahoe
By Lucia Starbuck

With residents returning to South Lake Tahoe, Barton Health has reopened some of its services. Effective immediately, Barton Memorial Hospital is open 24/7, including the emergency department, and urgent care is also open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

Barton Medical Offices will continue with virtual and phone visits. Patients are being asked to use MyChart communication for all medical service lines.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project

Lake Tahoe Community College Postpones First Day Of Class To Give Evacuated Staff, Students More Time
By Lucia Starbuck

Fall classes at Lake Tahoe Community College in South Lake Tahoe start Monday, Sept. 20 — a week later than planned due to the Caldor Fire.

It’s been a bumpy month for staff on campus. The college went virtual two weeks ago due to poor air quality, and it closed completely last week after the area was put under a mandatory evacuation order.

President Jeff DeFranco said most of his staff were forced to leave their homes and local students also had to evacuate. He said school was pushed back to give them more time to resettle. 

“At one point, it was like a gut punch. We’ve dealt with just these huge crises, just getting through COVID, and then it’s coming back and hitting us, again, with the Delta variant. I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I just can’t believe we just can’t get a break here,’ ” DeFranco said.

The school is back open online for services like counseling and class registration.

Economists Urge Recurrent Stimulus Checks, Extended Unemployment Benefits
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Two key provisions of the COVID-19 safety net have ended: eviction protections and a boost to unemployment benefits.

A Denver business owner launched a Change.org petition last year urging Congress to send out regular checks. It’s now on track to become one of the website’s highest performing petitions as it nears 3 million signatures.

Meanwhile, several Mountain West states ended their boost to unemployment benefits early to encourage people to get back to work.

Haider Khan studies economics at the University of Denver, and he’s one of more than 150 economists who signed an open letter last year urging measures like recurrent stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits.

“Just assuming that people are not working because they have this little bit of extra cash is largely, I think, a misdiagnosis of the problem,” Khan explained.

Khan said less money to desperate people amid COVID-19-related health care issues and partial economic shutdowns will have a ripple effect.

Tribes Lose Bid To Block Digging At Lithium Mine In Nevada
By The Associated Press

A federal judge in Nevada has denied tribal leaders’ bid to temporarily block digging for an archaeological study required before construction can begin for a lithium mine. The tribes say the project is planned on sacred land near the Oregon state line where their ancestors were massacred more than a century ago. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du refused their request late Friday for a preliminary injunction blocking the trenching at the site of the largest known lithium deposit in the U.S. Lithium is a key component in electric vehicle batteries. Demand for the mineral is expected to triple over the next five years.

Laxalt Hints At Legal Fights Ahead Of 2022 US Senate Race
By The Associated Press

Republican Adam Laxalt is raising fears of voter fraud and talking about preemptively mounting legal challenges more than 14 months before the 2022 midterm elections. Laxalt, who is running in Nevada’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, is one of many GOP candidates that remain committed to the false narrative that the last election was stolen. During a radio interview, Laxalt attributed Republicans’ failure to combat election fraud to filing lawsuits too late in the cycle. Laxalt, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has said the November 2020 election was “rigged,” but courts and election officials in Nevada repeatedly defended the vote as secure, accurate and fair.

Renegade Burning Man Festival In Nevada Desert Winds Down
By The Associated Press

Authorities say most of the thousands of people who showed up for a “renegade” Burning Man festival are leaving the Black Rock Desert area. Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he estimates at least 15,000 people came to the unofficial event. He said visitors had to contend with high temperatures, little shade and smoke from wildfires. One man was hospitalized after falling 50 feet while parasailing. There were three arrests including for driving while intoxicated and assault with a deadly weapon. The actual Burning Man was canceled by organizers for a second straight year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Danna has been with KUNR Public Radio since 1995. She started as a weekend announcer, then full time jazz host and in 2008 became the local host for NPR’s Morning Edition.
Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning journalist covering politics, focusing on democracy and solutions for KUNR Public Radio. Her goal is to provide helpful and informative coverage for everyday Nevadans.
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