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KUNR Today: Election deniers convene in Vegas, October 1 committee seeks contributors for memorial

A memorial sign reads "Vegas Strong," as stuffed animals and flowers surround it. Two small children have their backs to the camera and are linked arm-in-arm as they look on.
Courtesy of Clark County
/
A temporary memorial near the Welcome to Las Vegas sign in November 2017.

Read or listen to news headlines for Wednesday, July 13, 2022.

Election deniers convene in Las Vegas
By Bert Johnson

A host of prominent election deniers held an event in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 12. Failed Republican candidate Joey Gilbert lost the recent governor’s primary to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo by more than 10% – but he started lying about it before the results were even finalized.

Gilbert was invited to attend a so-called Patriot Rally by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a far-right extremist group. At the event, he repeated false claims of election tampering, even though a statewide recount confirmed his defeat earlier this month.

He appeared alongside Mike Lindell, a wealthy backer of former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” — a series of false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

October 1 committee seeks contributors for memorial
By Lucretia Cunningham

The committee looking to establish a permanent 1 October memorial in Las Vegas has put a call out for both volunteer and paid contributors. The committee is looking for contributors in three categories. The call for evaluators, or those who’ll ultimately decide on the final design proposal, closes at the end of this month.

Professional artists looking to work on the project can also throw their names into the hat. Finally, anyone looking to submit creative ideas can do so until the end of September. Punam Mathur consults the committee and said they want to extend the call beyond Las Vegas.

"We want to make the welcome mat as big as we possibly can, which is really important when you consider there were 22,000 people in attendance at the concert, the majority of whom did not have this zip code as their home address," Mathur said.

More than 60 died, and hundreds of others were injured after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in October 2017. The committee said the memorial will celebrate the resiliency and compassion of the community. Applications can be submitted on the 1 October Memorial Committee’s mobile app or website. 

Preventative fires credited with saving Yosemite sequoias
By The Associated Press

A Yosemite National Park ecologist says a famed grove of giant sequoias have survived their first wildfire in more than a century because of intentional burning to remove undergrowth beneath the towering trees.

Garrett Dickman said Tuesday that small, intentionally lit fires over the past 50 years had essentially stopped the Washburn Fire in its tracks when it hit the Mariposa Grove.

The fire now covers about 5 square miles but was 22% contained. A fire official says the blaze has been on the outskirts of the famed Mariposa Grove and officials don't believe it will advance toward the world's largest trees.

Pay for federal firefighters to increase
By Bert Johnson

Federal firefighters are getting a raise this month, and it could provide some relief for agencies struggling with low morale. Firefighters with the Forest Service and Department of the Interior should be getting bigger paychecks on July 25. That’s according to a Forest Service spokesperson, who explained they’re already getting retroactive payments going back to October.

The raise – which could be up to an additional $20,000 a year – was included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law last November. Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto supported the additional funding because she said federal agencies need more money to retain and recruit personnel for fire crews.

“They're not seasonal firefighters anymore,” she said. “They're fighting these fires all the time, unfortunately, because of what we see with the climate change.”

Base pay for some federal firefighters is just $15 an hour, which can make it hard to pay rent during a regional housing crisis.

Eastern Sierra education program providing wildfire information
By Gustavo Sagrero

A fire and fuels education program will be held for the public on Monday, July 18. The goal is to understand a little bit more about what fire management programs are doing in the Mammoth Lakes and Bishop areas.

Janet Hatfield, Whitebark Institute Forest Health program manager, will give a breakdown of how they’re working to restore 56,000 acres of the Inyo National Forest.

This is the fourth in a series of educational opportunities by regional government bodies and the Citizen’s Wildfire Education Academy. Learn more here.

Hug High junior and local Girl Scout wins scholarship to study in Bosnia and Herzegovina
By Jose Davila IV

Local Girl Scout Syarra Goldstein recently won a year-long scholarship through the federal Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad program. Goldstein is also a junior at Hug High School in Reno, Nev. She will be using the scholarship to live and learn in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a youth ambassador next academic year.

The Washoe County School District will support Goldstein in earning her high school diploma with honors at a local high school in Sarajevo. At Hug, she led the school science bowl team and worked as a stage manager for the Hug Harlequins theater program.

Jose Davila IV is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

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