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KUNR Today: Scuba team completes Lake Tahoe clean-up, BLM increasing wild horse fertility efforts

A view from the water line at Lake Tahoe shows a diver underwater lifting a tire to hand it to a person reaching for it from a boat.
Courtesy of Clean Up The Lake
A scuba diver with the nonprofit organization Clean Up The Lake removes a tire from the shoreline at Lake Tahoe, Nev./Calif.

Read or listen to the news headlines for Thursday, May 12, 2022.

Scuba dive team completes 72-mile cleanup of Lake Tahoe
By Nick Stewart

This week, a cleanup of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline was completed by a scuba dive team that collected 25,000 pounds of trash. After 81 days of diving over the course of one year, the nonprofit organization known as Clean Up The Lake has completed the project to remove trash from all 72 miles of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.

Along with recovering items such as engagement rings and wallets, the divers came across some unusual objects such as entire lamp posts, 1980s film cameras and large pieces of boats. With the group finishing its work, sponsors of the project have commissioned artists to create a sculpture out of the trash that was collected and eventually display it at the South Tahoe Events Center.

The group plans to do additional work at four other lakes this year, including Fallen Leaf Lake in the Tahoe Basin and June Lake in the Mammoth Lakes region.

US casinos had best month ever in March, winning $5.3B
By The Associated Press

Inflation may be soaring, supply chains are snarled and the coronavirus just won’t go away. But America’s casinos are humming right along, recording the best month in their history in March. The gambling industry’s national trade group reported Wednesday that the country’s commercial casinos won more than $5.3 billion from gamblers in March. That’s their best single-month total ever.

The previous record month was July 2021 at $4.92 billion. The numbers don’t include tribal casinos, which report their income separately. They’re expected to report similarly positive results later this year.

Vegas Strip resort surprises 5,400 workers with $5K bonuses
By The Associated Press

Joyous bedlam erupted at an employee appreciation and awards buffet at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas when the resort chief executive announced that all 5,400 people who work there will receive a $5,000 bonus. Nine-year cafeteria cook Edgar Rives declared it amazing and a big surprise as he hand-slapped and hugged dancing co-workers. The 55-year-old El Salvador immigrant and U.S. citizen says his wife will decide how to spend the money. Executives from property owner Blackstone Real Estate Americas and resort President and CEO Bill McBeath credited employees with dedication and working through the coronavirus pandemic. Company representatives say the all-employee bonus will cost a total of more than $27 million.

BLM increasing wild horse fertility efforts
By Kaleb Roedel, Mountain West News Bureau

The Bureau of Land Management is increasing its efforts to limit the number of wild horses and burros, and most are in the Mountain West region. The BLM estimates there are more than 82,000 wild horses and burros roaming the western U.S. That’s more than three times what it considers a manageable amount. Now, the agency is awarding up to $20 million over the next five years to contractors that can humanely gather the animals and treat them with fertility control. They would then be released back to public lands.

Holly Gann Bice is with the advocacy group the American Wild Horse Campaign. She said this would be a better way for the BLM to manage the animals.

“It would mark a significant shift towards humane on-range management of wild horses and away from cruel, costly helicopter roundups,” Gann Bice said.

Nevada has more than half of the nation’s wild horses and burros with over 46,000. That’s more than three times what the state’s land can sustain. New Mexico also has more than three times its manageable level, and Colorado has more than double.

Investigation finds impacts of Indian boarding schools on Native communities 
By Emma Gibson, Mountain West News Bureau

Editor's note: As a warning for those impacted by the trauma of Native American boarding schools, this story discusses some of what happened there.

The Interior Department released a report Wednesday looking into federal Indian boarding schools and the impact on Native communities. About 400 boarding schools were part of the federal government’s plan to assimilate Indigenous children and eradicate their cultures. They operated from the early 1800s until about 50 years ago.

The report said the schools gave the children English names, cut their hair, and made them perform military drills. Tsicyaltsa, or Deborah Parker, of the Tulalip Tribes is the CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

“Our children had names,” she said. “Our children had families. Our children had their own languages. Our children had their own regalia, prayers and religion before Indian boarding schools violently took them away.”

The report also identified at least 53 marked and unmarked burial sites. Tsicyaltsa called on lawmakers to support a bill to create a commission to find and analyze boarding school records.

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