KUNR Today: Open primary, ranked-choice ballot measure raises $2.2 million in 2022 first quarter
Read or listen to the news headlines for Thursday, April 28, 2022.
Nevada Assembly leader named new US Attorney in Las Vegas
By The Associated Press
Nevada is getting a new top federal prosecutor following the confirmation of Democratic state Assembly leader Jason Frierson as U.S. Attorney in Las Vegas. Democratic U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen hailed Frierson's confirmation Wednesday. They noted the position had remained open since the February 2021 resignation of Nicholas Trutanich.
Federal prosecutor Christopher Chiou served as interim head of the office. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Nevada has some 120 employees in Las Vegas and Reno. Frierson's appointment comes a little more than a week after Spencer Evans was named the new special agent in charge of the bureau's Las Vegas field office.
Open primary, ranked-choice ballot measure raises $2.2 million in 2022 first quarter
By Tabitha Mueller
A proposed ballot question would overhaul Nevada’s election system by establishing open primaries and a ranked-choice general election. Backers recently announced a sizable fundraising total of more than 2 million dollars in the first quarter of this year.
The funds represent a significant investment in an initiative largely aimed at giving Nevada’s nonpartisan voters, who make up more than 28 percent of registered voters, a greater voice in the election process. Those voters are excluded from voting in many major races during the primary under the existing system.
The so-called "Better Voting Nevada" initiative faced a legal challenge but a judge recently ruled in favor of the ballot measure proponents. The ruling is being appealed to the state Supreme Court.
The in-state group backing the initiative says they have collected more than 90,000 signatures. They need roughly 140,000 to make it on the ballot.
Read the rest of this story at The Nevada Independent.
COVID-19 cases increase slightly in Washoe County
By Lucia Starbuck
COVID-19 cases in Washoe County have slightly ticked up. There were an average of nearly 24 cases per day over the last week. That’s up from the average of about 16 daily cases the week before. Health District Officer Kevin Dick explained what the county is seeing.
“Overall, we’re still at fairly low numbers of cases, but we think it’s important for people to recognize when we are seeing some increases. We were anticipating we’d be seeing some increases with the BA.2 variant,” Dick said.
Last week, Truckee Meadows wastewater samples collected by UNR researchers showed omicron BA.2 accounted for more than 99% of the COVID-19 variants detected.
Washoe County also surpassed a grim pandemic milestone this week. 1,200 people have died due to COVID-19.
A new report shows the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States surged last year, and that includes a sharp rise in some Mountain West states.
The Anti-Defamation League says it counted more than 2,700 incidents of harassment, vandalism and assaults targeting Jewish Americans. That's the highest count on record.
In Nevada, there were 36 incidents – a 64% jump from the previous year. Most were cases of harassment, and many took place in schools, said Jolie Brislin of ADL Nevada.
“We saw students being attacked in Washoe County schools. We had students put ‘Heil Hitler’ on their arms and go up to other students, and really try to intimidate them,” Brislin said.
Brislin said the increase in anti-Semitic cases is due to several factors, including the divided political climate and the rise of online hate.
The Palms Casino Resort is making history as the first in Las Vegas to be fully owned and operated by a Native American Tribe. It was closed for two years, but now the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is in charge.
Visitors will notice the upscale décor, the variety of restaurants, and even the high-tech, luxury movie theater which greets visitors with graffiti from local artists. General Manager Cynthia Kiser Murphey said what the Band of Mission Indians wants visitors to notice is a cultural quality.
“A tribe is a family and it’s our responsibility to honor our tribe. Why? To honor the seven generations past and create opportunity for the next seven generations. So, it is our responsibility to make that work, to bring that to life, and it’s really an honor to get to do that,” Kiser Murphey said.
The tribe has been able to re-hire more than 50% of former Palms employees.
Fentanyl has been showing up in Washoe County Detention Facility
By Gustavo Sagrero
Fentanyl is finding its way into the Washoe County Detention Facility. Chief Deputy Ralph Caldwell spoke at the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting this week. He said over the past three months they’ve had four overdose incidents, with one of them being fatal.
Their current attempts at stopping fentanyl entering the facility include the use of body scans and strip searches, in certain instances, during the intake process.
The staff has been trained on how to administer naloxone. Caldwell said they’re also learning how to decontaminate any spaces that have had fentanyl present, working alongside HAZMAT and fire professionals. Currently, there’s an optional treatment program for people with a history of alcohol and opioid use.
McKinley Arts and Culture Center hosts senior art show
By Nick Stewart
An art exhibit celebrating the creativity of senior citizens is currently being displayed at the McKinley Arts and Culture Center near downtown Reno.
The Senior Artists Exhibit and Show will feature more than 50 senior artists and is part of the celebration of Older Americans Month in May. Some of the artwork featured at the event includes sculptures, woodwork, fused glass, photography, and even needlepoint felt.
The City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission partnered with the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee to make this event possible. The artwork will be displayed through early June.