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KUNR Today: Debate On Nevada Water Rights, Unique Date Led To Surge At Vegas Wedding Chapels

An image of a wedding chapel in Las Vegas
Wedding chapels in the Las Vegas area saw hundreds of people getting married on April 3 of this year, 4/3/21.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2021.

Nevada Farmers And Conservationists Balk At 'Water Banking'
By The Associated Press

Rural water users in Nevada are panicking over a proposal to create a market for the sale and purchase of water rights in Nevada. A Monday legislative hearing about so-called “water banking” proposals pitted state water bureaucrats against a coalition of farmers, conservationists and rural officials who were unconvinced by arguments that the concept would encourage conservation. Nevada State Engineer Adam Sullivan said water banking would encourage conservation by offering water rights holders an option beyond using, abandoning or selling their allocations. Opponents argued creating a market would lead to water being exported from rural areas and potentially financial speculation.

Study: Sewer Samples Signal Pending Rise Or Fall In COVID-19
By The Associated Press

Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno say they have developed a model to help predict if confirmation of COVID-19 cases in a local community will significantly rise or fall in the week ahead. Scientists say data sampled from sewers and wastewater treatment plants last year showed a correlation to the number of positive tests for coronavirus in Reno-Sparks that would follow in about seven days. The researchers monitored sewers and treatment plants for concentrations of the virus that causes COVID-19. They say an increased presence in samples preceded a formal uptick in confirmed cases because most people don't get tested until they feel symptoms.

Washoe Co. Launches New COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Tool
By Michelle Billman


Washoe County has launched a new scheduling platform for residents 16 and older to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine. This platform will only schedule appointments at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.


Health officials said in a statement Monday that the appointments are available starting the week of April 12. Residents 18 and older will be allowed to choose the brand of COVID-19 vaccine they want through the platform. Those who are 16 or 17 years old can only select the Pfizer vaccine because Moderna and Janssen are only available for those 18 years or older. Only a limited number of vaccine doses are available and the supply is subject to change. 


Statewide, the average number of new daily cases over the past 14 days is just below 200 while an average of 3 new deaths per day has been recorded over the same time period. Nearly 21 percent of the state’s population aged 16 and older is now fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Interior Department Creates Unit To Tackle Missing And Murdered Indigenous People
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Congress has appropriated $7 million towards the effort. The Unit is tasked with helping state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies better track and investigate the murders and disappearances of Indigenous people. It builds on a Trump administration task force created last year by adding new leadership and support positions.

The Interior Department said there are currently more than 4,000 unresolved disappearances and homicides in Indian Country, but the actual number is estimated to be much higher.

“The creation of the missing and murdered unit is a step towards justice ultimately for these victims. It’s giving them the attention they deserve,” said Lynn Jones, a criminology professor at Northern Arizona University.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs will manage the new unit. While that agency is notoriously cash-strapped, the boost in money from Congress will fund the hiring of unit leaders, victim specialists and analysts. The team will be scattered across seven cities in the U.S. Including Billings, Mont. and Albuquerque, N.M.

George Floyd Death Leads States To Require Cops To Intervene
By The Associated Press

When a police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd in Minneapolis, other officers at the scene didn’t intervene, even while he said he couldn’t breathe and then stopped moving. That lack of action, seen in videos being replayed in former Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, sparked nationwide protests against racial injustice. It has also led several states to compel police to intervene in misconduct. Since Floyd's death, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, and New Jersey have passed laws requiring police to intervene when they see a fellow officer engaged in misconduct. Oregon is considering strengthening its law, and efforts are underway in Maryland and Washington state.

Amid Outcry, States Push Mental Health Training For Police
By The Associated Press

Lawmakers in several states are proposing legislation that would require more training for police in how to interact with someone in a mental crisis following some high-profile deaths. The proposals in places like California, New York and Utah lean heavily on additional training for officers or updating standards. But none of the laws appear to address the root question: whether police should be the ones responding when someone is mentally ill. A 2015 report says people with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed during a police encounter than others. A law enforcement expert say training in mental health response hasn't changed for over 25 years and needs updating.

Tesla Appeals Federal Order To Delete Musk Tweet About Union
By The Associated Press

Tesla is asking a court to set aside a federal agency's order that a Twitter post discouraging union organizing be deleted from CEO Elon Musk’s account. The National Labor Relations Board found that a May 2018 tweet by Musk unlawfully threatened employees with loss of stock options if they decided to be represented by a union. The board ordered that the post be deleted. The March 25 board ruling also orders Tesla to reinstate an employee who was fired for union-organizing activity. Tesla's appeal was filed Friday at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Unique 4/3/21 Date Draws Lines For Vegas Wedding Licenses
By The Associated Press

Soon-to-be newlyweds lined up out the door of the marriage license office in Las Vegas ahead of a unique date to tie the knot: 4/3/21. A spokesman for the Clark County Marriage Bureau said Friday that nearly 700 couples had obtained licenses for the Saturday date. The clerk’s office even marked the occasion with keepsake marriage certificates. County Clerk Lynn Goya says specialty dates are always popular. More than 1,800 couples were married on Dec. 13, 2014. But July 7, 2007, was the most popular date. Goya says nearly 4,500 people got married in and around Las Vegas on 7/7/7.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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