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KUNR Today: Drought Causing Water Conservation, Cannabis Consumption Lounges Still On The Table

A close up image of marijuana and a pipe used for smoking it.
Alexa Ard
KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local morning news headlines for Friday, May 28, 2021.

Drought Conditions In Douglas County Result In Water Conservation Efforts
By Isaac Hoops

As portions of the U.S. West are experiencing some of the worst drought conditions in more than a century, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners is encouraging a water conservation resolution.

The Carson River, which is the main source of water for the county, is experiencing a low water flow for this time of year.

The county is encouraging residents to help with water conservation efforts and observe voluntary water schedules.

Vaccine Clinic For Latino Community To Be Held At Reno Church
By Natalie Van Hoozer & Isaac Hoops

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be held at Little Flower Church Friday and Saturday to serve Reno’s Latino community.

The event is a collaboration among several community organizations. It will be hosted by a group of students at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine in partnership with the Nevada Public Health Training Center.

“Really, what we wanted to do is provide a place for the Latinx population, for the Latinos, to feel comfortable to come and get vaccinated––for it to be easy for them to know that we're going to have all of the information in, in their language, you know, they don't have to bring ID,” said Diana Sande, communications manager of UNR’s School of Community Health Sciences.

The group held its first vaccine clinic at a Latino church earlier this month, and it resulted in the distribution of more than 450 vaccines.

The event is open to all and will be held at the Little Flower Church Friday from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday from 2-7 p.m.

Cannabis Consumption Lounges One Step Closer To Becoming Reality
By Paul Boger

Nevada lawmakers may soon pass a measure allowing for the creation of public cannabis consumption lounges.

When Nevada voters approved recreational cannabis in 2016, the wording of the measure only allowed for its consumption on private property. That means, many tourists who have consumed legally-purchased pot in a casino or out in public have unintentionally broken the law.

To fix that issue, the Assembly approved AB341. The bill allows pot merchants to attach a lounge to a dispensary, or independent license holders can open what is essentially a bar and sell single-use products.

The measure will now head to the Senate, where Democrats will need to get the support of two Republicans to send the bill to the governor.

Site Has Been Chosen For Elko Veterans Cemetery
By Isaac Hoops

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen a site for the National Veterans Cemetery in Elko.


Elko has been under consideration for a veterans cemetery for almost ten years. Back in 2011, the VA’s Rural Initiative determined Elko was in need of a burial ground. Currently, the closest veterans cemeteries are more than 200 miles away in Fernley or Salt Lake City. 


With the site now chosen, this cemetery will serve more than 4,000 veterans. In 2020, Senator Cortez Masto introduced the bill that authorized the transfer of land from the Bureau of Land Management to the VA.

National Parks See 40-Year Low In Visitation Last Year
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

The National Park Service estimates it lost about $125 million in 2020 and saw about a 28% drop in attendance.  Acting director Shawn Benge testified in front of Congress this week. He blamed the revenue loss, in part, on the Trump administration’s decision to waive entrance fees in the early days of the pandemic, but this year is a different story.

“We expect that there will be significant increases in vistations in many parks, as COVID mitigation measures are reduced, vaccination rates rise and Americans increase their travel,” Benge said.

He said the park service launched a mobile app in April to help visitors plan their trips and to discover some lesser known national parks that may be closer to home. The agency has also implemented reservation systems for some of the country’s top destinations, including Glacier and Yosemite, with the goal to ease congestion.

PG&E To Ante Up $150M For Botched Outages, Recent Wildfires
By The Associated Press

Pacific Gas & Electric is getting hit with a nearly $150 million bill for neglect that caused Northern California wildfires during the past two years and mismanagement of blackouts designed to prevent the utility’s crumbling power grid from causing more damage. The one-two punch was delivered Wednesday. California power regulators are fining PG&E $106 million its mishandling of power outages in 2019. That's on top of $43.4 million in settlements PG&E will pay to government agencies in three counties ravaged by wildfires ignited by its equipment during 2019 and last year. It's the latest fallout from utility misconduct that has been wreaking havoc for years.

California Giving $116 Million To People Who Get Virus Shots
By The Associated Press

Vaccinated Californians will be eligible for $116.5 million in prize money. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the massive pot of money Thursday as part of an effort to encourage more people to get their shots. The state estimates 12 million eligible Californians have not yet been vaccinated. Ten people will win $1.5 million each on June 15, the state's planned reopening date. That's the largest prize announced so far in any state. Another 30 people will win $50,000 each, starting on June 4. And the next 2 million people to get shots will each get a $50 gift card.

Natalie is a freelance journalist and translator based in Reno, Nevada, who reports in English and Spanish. She also works for the nonprofit SembraMedia, supporting independent, digital Spanish-language media in the United States.
Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Isaac Hoops is a former student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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