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KUNR Today: Nevada Responds To Chauvin Guilty Verdict, Bishop Manogue Sees COVID-19 Outbreak

An image of Bishop Manogue Catholic High School in Reno, Nev.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2021.

Nevada Leaders Offer Reflections On Chauvin Verdict
By Paul Boger

Elected leaders, law enforcement officials and advocacy groups in Nevada are among those offering reflections on former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd.

Many, including Governor Steve Sisolak and U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, hailed the verdict as “the right decision” and a step toward justice.

Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam used the opportunity to underline his office’s commitment to building trust and respect throughout the entire community. He said "officers who tarnish the profession” should be held accountable for their actions.

Other groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said the verdict highlights the need for the state to do more to curb future police violence.

Sisolak Signs Reopening Directive
By Paul Boger

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has finalized plans meant to fully reopen the state by June 1. Sisolak signed Emergency Directive 44 Tuesday. The order transitions the authority to institute coronavirus mitigation efforts from the state to counties and school districts beginning May 1. It also updates the process for approving large gatherings and events.

The state's other coronavirus mitigation measures, with the exception of the mask mandate, are now set to end on June 1.

As Youth Sports Come Back, Some Worry About 'COVID Clusters'
By Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that after-school activities are creating COVID-19 clusters and contributing to the rise in cases. With youth sports resuming all across our region, some are looking at how to keep communities safe.

Melissa Marx teaches public health at Johns Hopkins. She said she's not surprised by the COVID-19 clusters.

“We know that the strain of the virus that we are seeing more in the United states is the one that's easier to transmit,” she said, referencing the variant first spotted in the U.K.

Marx is also the head coach of her son’s soccer team.

"It’s important for kids to play sports, I think, and it's good for them to be active and it's good for them to have social interaction, but not at the risk of getting sick and getting other people sick,” she said.

Marx said it’s ultimately up to coaches and staff to create a safe environment for the players and their families, and she recommends they enforce wearing masks. She said if players and coaches don’t take protocols seriously, the country could continue to see an increase in cases.

Bishop Manogue Moves To Distance Learning Amid COVID Outbreak
By Paul Boger

Bishop Manogue Catholic High School in Reno will move to distance learning for the next week. In an email to parents, school leaders said they will move to distance learning Wednesday, April 21 until April 29.

School leaders say nearly 30 people at the school have recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The school was also notified by the Washoe County Health District the outbreak may include some COVID-19 variants. All athletics are canceled as a result.

Nevada Reports Above Average Number Of New COVID-19 Cases, Deaths
By Paul Boger

Health officials reported 381 new cases and nine additional deaths in Nevada Tuesday. Both are well above the state's two-week rolling average of new daily coronavirus cases and deaths.

Nevada has seen a steady increase in nearly all COVID-19 metrics since the state started relaxing coronavirus mitigation efforts last month. The test-positivity rate remains at 5.9%.

Ordinary Flora, Fauna Need Protections, Too
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

We often hear about efforts to support and conserve rare species, like the Spotted Owl or Joshua Trees, but new research finds that some very ordinary plants and animals deserve our attention as well.

Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder monitored plants and pollinator species in a Colorado mountain meadow for more than five years. They found a complicated web of interactions, with so-called generalist species at the center--that is, species that interact with a bunch of other kinds of species. Those included insects like flies and flowering plants like the common yarrow, which has a little platform of white flowers.

Julian Resasco led that research. He said those kinds of plants and insects persist across longer seasons and across a wider geography.

“They kind of act as these linchpins or anchor points that are really important for supporting a lot of biodiversity of plants and pollinators,” he said.

Ultimately, Resasco said they could help stabilize an ecosystem and help rarer species as the climate changes.

Nevada Lawmakers Plow Through 100s Of Bills Before Deadline
By The Associated Press

Nevada lawmakers on Tuesday passed dozens of bills through the state Senate and Assembly and diverted several others back to a key committee in order to ensure their priority proposals survived past a crucial deadline. Unless granted exemptions, bills were required to pass through a first chamber by the end of the day Tuesday. Bills to make “doxxing” a crime, allow veterinarians to practice telemedicine and prohibit cat declawing passed through the first chamber. The state Assembly amended a bill proposing a ban on “ghost guns” and the Senate passed bills about HIV criminalization and security deposits.

Elko High School Doing In-Person Commencement
By KUNR Staff

High school seniors in Elko County will accept their diplomas in-person this year. According to the Elko Daily Free Press, district leaders announced the return to an in-person commencement ceremony this week.

District leaders were given the green light under the state's COVID-19 reopening plan. Counties are scheduled to take over coronavirus control and mitigation efforts May 1. The state is slated to fully reopen June 1.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Stephanie Serrano (she/her/ella) is an award-winning multimedia bilingual journalist based in Reno, Nevada. Her reporting is powered by character-driven stories and is rooted in sound-rich audio. Her storytelling works to share the experiences of unserved communities in regards to education, race, affordable housing and sports.
Madelyn Beck is a regional Illinois reporter, based in Galesburg. On top of her work for Harvest Public Media, she also contributes to WVIK, Tri-States Public Radio and the Illinois Newsroom collaborative.
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