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KUNR Today: Rural Nevada Counties Push To Reopen Early, U.S. West Braces For Water Shortage

An image of Lake Mead
Kyle Simourd
CC BY 2.0
This image of Lake Mead, taken in 2006, shows how water levels can decline, and ultimately, that affects electricity generation at the Hoover Dam.

Here are the morning news headlines for Monday, Apr. 19, 2021.

Rural Sheriffs Sign Letter Blaming Biden Administration For “Illegal Immigration”
By Paul Boger

Nine Nevada sheriffs have signed onto a letter blaming President Joe Biden for what they describe as “criminals, drug dealers and gang members” coming into the U.S. illegally. The National Sheriff's Association sent the letter with signatures from more than 270 sheriffs nationwide. It urges the Biden Administration to “secure the border.”

National crime statistics have found the arrest rate for undocumented immigrants to be far below natural-born residents. Despite that, the letter was signed by the sheriff of Carson City, along with sheriffs in Churchill, Elko, Douglas, Lyon, Nye, Lander, White Pine and Eureka Counties.

Hearing Set On Bid For 1st Execution Since 2006 In Nevada
By The Associated Press

A Nevada judge has scheduled a hearing next month on a bid by prosecutors to set an execution date for a man convicted of killing four people and wounding one in a Las Vegas supermarket in 1999. Zane Floyd’s attorney said Thursday that Floyd has not given up appeals and will fight in state and federal courts against efforts to carry out the death sentence. He's claiming in federal court that execution by lethal injection would violate Floyd’s constitutional rights. Meanwhile, Floyd has a May 12 hearing in state court. He would be the first person executed in Nevada since 2006.

Rural Nevada Counties Want To Reopen Well Ahead Of June 1
By The Associated Press

Several rural Nevada counties told a state coronavirus task force they’re ready to relax restrictions and reopen businesses now, well ahead of a June 1 date set by the governor. Presentations Thursday come amid a recent increase in the state’s COVID-19 positivity test rate in some parts of the state. In Las Vegas, the Clark County Commission chairwoman said Wednesday the region can meet the governor's goal to fully reopen. But, Washoe County postponed presenting its plan to the task force. Its chief health officer pointed to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the Reno-Sparks area, but says there's a need to balance safety with economic factors.

U.S. West Prepares For Possible 1st Water Shortage Declaration
By The Associated Press

U.S. water officials are projecting the man-made lakes that store water used throughout the American West will fall to historically low levels and trigger an official shortage declaration for the first time. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released projections this week forecasting that less Colorado River water will fill Lake Powell and Lake Mead, which would force cuts to Arizona and Nevada. By November 2022, the agency projects Lake Mead could drop to levels that could threaten the ability to generate electricity at Hoover Dam. The April projections don't have binding impact because federal officials use the forecast released each August to make decisions about how to allocate river water.

Far-Right Domestic Terrorism On The Rise, Data Shows
By Robin Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

The Center for Strategic and International Studies tracks national security issues. Its new dataset indicates the Mountain West saw 23 domestic terrorism plots or attacks in a five-year period from 2016-2020. That’s the same number of incidents recorded in the region for the entire 15 years prior.

Colorado had the highest number, followed by New Mexico.

"The main threat we're seeing is coming from individuals. It's coming from loose networks or small groups or just individuals who have become radicalized," said Catrina Doxsee, who worked on the report.

Doxsee said individuals are more difficult for government and law enforcement to monitor, and she’s concerned because the U.S. government does not publicly track and release data on domestic terrorist attacks and plots.

The report also noted there’s been an increase in current and former law enforcement involved in domestic terrorism.

Generator Sets Grand Opening For Temporary Space
By KUNR Staff

The Generator Arts and Maker Space is set to open in a new, albeit temporary, location. First reportedby the Reno Gazette-Journal, the artists collective, perhaps best known for producing Burning Man installations, is now located at 250 Bell Street in Downtown Reno.

A grand opening celebration is scheduled for May 1. Generator staff say they hope to move into their more permanent location off Oddie Boulevard later this year.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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