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KUNR Today: UNR parting ways with athletic director, Google investing millions in Nev. data centers

U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen is standing at a white podium putting her hand to her chest and speaking into a microphone with an American flag and a Google sign in the background.
Courtesy of Jacky Rosen via Twitter
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U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen announced this week that Google is investing $30 million into two data centers in Nevada.

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Thursday, April 21, 2022.

UNR seeking new athletic director
By Michelle Billman

The University of Nevada, Reno has announced that it is parting ways with Athletic Director Doug Knuth. UNR President Brian Sandoval released a statement Wednesday saying that the school “is moving in a new direction with Intercollegiate Athletics.” Sandoval is appointing Bill Johnson, the vice president for advancement, to serve as the acting athletic director starting next month. Johnson has experience as a former collegiate basketball player as well as in administration and coaching for intercollegiate athletics.

UNR plans to start a national search for a permanent replacement immediately. Sandoval said he wishes to thank Knuth for his leadership in achieving many program milestones.

As a note of disclosure, KUNR is owned by the Board of Regents to the Nevada System of Higher Education. 

Google to invest $30 million for two data centers in Nevada
By Lucia Starbuck

Google says it plans to put $30 million into Nevada this year. It’s part of the company’s goal to invest billions in offices and data centers across more than a dozen states in the country.

In Nevada, the money will go toward expanding Google’s data centers in Storey County and Henderson. Data centers hold computers and IT for high-tech companies.

U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen made the announcement at an event with Google in Southern Nevada earlier this week. The senator said the investment will “boost innovation and create jobs across Nevada.”

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

Several Mountain West cities, including Reno, among worst in nation for short-term air pollution
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

The Mountain West is known for wide-open spaces and big blue skies, but that hasn’t protected cities here from high levels of air pollution.

Several cities in the Mountain West are among the nation’s worst for short-term air pollution levels, according to a new American Lung Association study.

That includes areas around Reno, Nevada; Salt Lake and Logan, Utah; and Coeur d’Alene and Boise, Idaho. And, yes, increasing wildfire smoke does play a big role.

Will Barrett works on clean air advocacy for the Lung Association.

“And, actually, this year, we see 9 million more people in the United States impacted by deadly particle pollution, and a lot of that is caused by the increase in wildfires that we’ve seen,” said Barrett.

However, some areas in the Mountain West also topped the national list for ozone pollution, like parts of the front range in Colorado, Salt Lake, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque, among many others.

Barrett says air pollution can lead to poor health and early death. He also says the Lung Association found those most affected by harmful air pollution were lower-income groups and communities of color.

5 Nevada governor hopefuls meet in GOP forum, hit Lombardo
By The Associated Press

Most of the five leading Republican candidates for Nevada governor who gathered for a campaign forum in Las Vegas offered dire assessments of the state’s tourism-dependent economy, rising crime and struggling schools - and asked for votes for their visions to fix them. Several also blamed Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the consensus GOP front-runner, for skipping the Wednesday event. It featured North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, Gardnerville surgeon Fred Simon, Reno venture capitalist Guy Nohra, former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and firebrand northern Nevada lawyer Joey Gilbert.

Lee told the partisan audience of about 100 people that any of the five who attended deserve to be elected, but not Lombardo or the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Michael Clark can run for Washoe Commission District 2
By KUNR Staff

In a court ruling this week, a judge found that Mike Clark, the current Washoe County Assessor, can remain on the primary ballot. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Clark is a Republican running for the District 2 seat on the Washoe County Commission. He’s running against Republican incumbent Bob Lucey in the GOP primary.

Earlier this year, Clark changed his party affiliation back to Republican after the state’s automatic voter registration system, run through the DMV, designated him as a nonpartisan. In the race for District 2, there is also a Democratic candidate, Keith Lockard, and a nonpartisan candidate, David Michael Banuelos.

Nation’s largest homebuilder purchasing Western water resources company
By Alex Hager, KUNC for the Mountain West News Bureau

America’s largest homebuilder is buying a water resources company with holdings throughout the Colorado River Basin.

D.R. Horton builds tens of thousands of homes each year, but in the southwest, there’s often a limited supply of water for new development. After buying Vidler Water Resources for $291 million, they hope to tap into the company’s existing portfolio. Kyle Roerink directs the Great Basin Water Network, a conservation group in Nevada.

“This symbolizes and signifies what a lot of folks are saying is that there are a lot of private interests trying to acquire more and more water resources across a drying landscape,” Roerink said.

Roerink said the rising cost and shrinking supply should force some serious questions about the future of development in the region, and governments need to consider whether extending suburban sprawl into regions with limited water is in the public interest.

Nevada awarded $1 million to implement new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
By Lucia Starbuck

Nevada will receive $1 million to implement the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The money is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The department is awarding $105 million to 54 states and territories.

The funding is expected to be used to increase capacity for calls and to ensure that they’re properly routed to local crisis call centers. The money can also be used to build the workforce to respond via text or chat.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is transitioning from a 10-digit number to three, starting in July.

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