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KUNR Today: Nevada Economy Continuing To Rebound, Sequoia Still Smoldering From 2020 Fire

An image inside the Nevada State Assembly.
David Calvert
The Nevada Independent
Members of the Assembly during the floor session inside the Legislature on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Carson City, Nev.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, May 6, 2021.

Biden's Ambitious Vaccine Goal Could Mean Funding For Rural Areas
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

President Joe Biden has set a goal to get at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of adults by the Fourth of July. That will mean additional funding and support for rural communities in our region.

Part of the Biden administration’s efforts will involve supporting vaccine education and on-the-ground outreach in rural communities. In our region, rural areas are estimated to have some of the highest vaccine hesitancy rates in the country.

Shawnda Schroeder is a rural health expert. She said every education campaign needs to be matched with easy vaccine access.

"So, if you finally reach someone at the point at which they're ready to utilize care, but you don't have the care there for them to access, you've not done anything. You've actually frustrated the individual at the point at which they were finally ready," Schroeder said.

In its announcement, the Biden administration said it would push local pharmacies to offer more walk-in appointments, and that it would also increase the number of mobile units in rural areas. The idea is to meet people where they are.

According to Nevada's dashboard, more than 46% of people 16 years and older statewide have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Rosy Forecasts Give Nevada Lawmakers More Money To Budget
By The Associated Press

Nevada's Economic Forum has released forecasts that suggest a quicker-than-expected economic recovery will provide lawmakers additional tax revenue for the state budget. The five-member panel projected Tuesday that Nevada's tourism-driven economy will continue to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic and generate a record-high $9.1 billion in general fund revenue over the upcoming two budget years. The projection is significantly higher than the forum expected in December amid uncertainty about COVID-19 vaccines. It will allow lawmakers to decide whether to restore cuts made to the state budget at the height of the pandemic.

Minden Officials Say They Will Not Change Controversial Town Siren If New Legislation Passes
By KUNR Staff

Officials from the town of Minden say they will not abide by proposed legislation which would prohibit what are called “sundown sirens.” Historically, the alarms would sound when people of color were forced to leave town after sunset.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reportstribal leaders in the area have been trying to end the town’s twice-daily alarm for decades.

Minden officials say the siren, located in the town’s volunteer fire department, is used to commemorate first responders according to a 2007 ordinance. Tribal leaders told the newspaper that these alarms represent a dark past, and they feel that their concern has not been taken seriously.

Mountain West Officials Push Back Against Biden's Proposal For Critical Race Education
By Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

This week, public officials around our region denounced President Biden’s proposalto encourage critical race education in K-12 schools.

Critical race theory has been around for decades in academia, but it’s recently made its way into the conversation around public education. Scholars of the framework say the recent backlash misconstrues its purpose.

"Race and racism are often used as a political football," said Reiland Rebaka, a professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He said critical race theory simply acknowledges that race and racism exist and shape our society. Without it, Rabaka said students are set up for frustration.

"Major moments in American History and culture aren’t going to make sense to you without understanding race and racism," he said.

Last week, a law banning critical race theory from public schools went into effect in Idaho. In Wyoming, State Superintendent Jillian Balow denounced the Biden administration proposal to incentivize critical race education.

"This is an alarming move toward federal overreach into district curriculum and should be rebuked across party lines," Balow said.

The Biden administration’s proposal would incentivize curriculum changes, not require them.

Grassroots efforts to keep critical race theory out of public schools have cropped up elsewhere in our region, including in Utahand Nevada.

Court Upholds California Governor's Use Of Emergency Powers
By The Associated Press

A California appeals court has upheld Gov. Gavin Newsom’s emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic. Three judges from the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento on Wednesday overturned a lower court saying Newsom overstepped his authority. The case emerged from a lawsuit by two Republican state legislators. They said Newsom issued emergency orders in what amounted to one-man rule. Newsom did everything from halt evictions to allow marriages to be conducted by video or teleconference. The appeals court agreed that the governor acted within the broad emergency authority granted him amid crisis. The legislators said they would appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Giant Sequoia Still Smoldering From 2020 California Wildfire
By The Associated Press

A giant sequoia has been found smoldering and smoking in a part of Sequoia National Park that burned in one of California’s huge wildfires last year. The National Park Service said Wednesday that the cause appears to be the 2020 Castle Fire, which burned more than 270 square miles in the Sierra Nevada. Officials say the fact that areas are still smoldering and smoking from last year's fire demonstrates how dry the park is. They say that with such little snow and rain this year, there could be additional discoveries as spring transitions into summer. Much of California and the U.S. West is deep in drought, which could mean another difficult fire season.

Maggie Mullen is a fifth generation Wyomingite, born and raised in Casper. She is currently a Masters candidate in American Studies and will defend her thesis on female body hair in contemporary American culture this May. Before graduate school, she earned her BA in English and French from the University of Wyoming. Maggie enjoys writing, cooking, her bicycle, swimming in rivers and lakes, and most any dog.
Savannah comes to Wyoming Public Media from NPR’s midday show Here & Now, where her work explored everything from Native peoples’ fraught relationship with American elections to the erosion of press freedoms for tribal media outlets. A proud citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, she’s excited to get to know the people of the Wind River reservation and dig into the stories that matter to them.
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