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KUNR Today: UNR In-Person Commencement This Week, Several Nevada Med Students Staying In State

An aerial image of the campus of UNR.
Alexa Ard
KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Monday, May 10, 2021.

UNR Holding In-Person Graduation Ceremonies Starting Wednesday
By Michelle Billman

This week, the University of Nevada, Reno will host in-person commencement ceremonies for its 2020 and 2021 graduates. There will be eight in-person ceremonies starting Wednesday and wrapping up Sunday at Mackay Stadium. A total of more than 8,300 degrees will be awarded.

University President Brian Sandoval said the ceremonies will be more socially distanced and more controlled than in the past. Face coverings are required and attendees will need to fill out a health assessment on-site. This is the first time commencement will be held at Mackay Stadium, which was built in 1966.

As a note of disclosure, the Board of Regents to the Nevada System of Higher Education owns the license to this station.

Entry Tickets For National Parks Going Fast
By Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau

If you want to visit Glacier National Park, starting Memorial Weekend you’ll need a ticket to drive through the most popular entrance, but there's a problem.

“The tickets are selling out very quickly,” said Gina Kerzman, a spokesperson for Glacier National Park.

Tickets for June have already been snatched up, but more may become available. Other national parks from Zion to Rocky Mountain are implementing a similar system.

Phil Francis is the chairman for the nonprofit Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. He said it’s a good thing to manage visitation for parks across the Mountain West, especially during the pandemic.

“It's a better chance that people can maintain their social distance following the CDC guidelines. It provides for [a] better visitor experience," Francis said.

While some parks saw a dip in visitation in 2020, Francis said he expects more people to get out to parks this year, now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available.

California Proposes To Steer New Homes From Gas Appliances
By The Associated Press

California’s energy policy and planning agency wants to transition new homes away from gas-powered appliances. The California Energy Commission released a draft building standards code Thursday that would require new homes to be equipped with circuits and panels that support all-electric appliances for heating, cooking and drying clothes. While the code doesn’t explicitly forbid gas, the commission hopes it will lead builders to construct all-electric structures as part of a growing effort to eliminate fossil fuels from buildings, which account for about one-quarter of the state’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Vegas Teen Finds Deflated Balloons So Desert Tortoises Don't
By The Associated Press

A Las Vegas teenager has been hiking the hillsides of southern Nevada to collect deflated Mylar balloons before desert tortoises find them and mistake them for edible flowers. Christian Daniels tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal his Desert Balloon Project aims to clean up the desert, raise awareness that what goes up will come down, and urge people to stop releasing Mylar balloons. Eating colorful Mylar can be a deadly mistake for desert tortoises found in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts and listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Washoe Co. Sheriff’s Office Releasing Video Series Highlighting Suicide Prevention
By Michelle Billman

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is releasing a series of videos exploring the topic of suicide throughout May to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month.

In the first video, Sheriff Darin Balaam explains that back in January, his office lost two employees to suicide just 20 days apart. This video series will address how to talk about suicide with loved ones, how to identify warning signs, and how to ask for help.

The campaign focuses on the story of just one local case, that of 14-year-old Brandon Mateo, who died by suicide in February of last year. Mateo’s mother, Shannon, openly discusses his death and its ripple effects in the videos. Deputies and detectives also discuss how they are still impacted by this particular investigation.

These videos will be released on Fridays this month on the social media channels for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, including its YouTube channel.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call Crisis Support Services Of Nevada at 1-800-273-TALK. That’s 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the word “CARE” to 839863. For emergencies, call 9-1-1.

UNLV Medical School Graduating 50, With 18 To Stay In Nevada
By The Associated Press

Officials say 18 of 50 new doctors graduating as the inaugural class of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine plan to stay in Nevada for their residencies. Special mention was made during ceremonies Friday at the Thomas & Mack Center of the goal of increasing the number of active physicians per 100,000 residents in Nevada. It's currently 45th in the nation. Medical school Dean Dr. Marc Kahn says keeping graduates in the state is important, and data shows that doctors are likely to stay where they serve residencies or fellowships.

Michelle Billman is a former news director 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.
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