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KUNR Today: Several GOP Chairs Oppose Nevada 1st Primary Bill, Reno Arch Crosswalk Celebrates Pride

An image of a rainbow-painted crosswalk beneath the famous Reno Arch.
Courtesy City of Reno Twitter

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

Early States' GOP Opposes Nevada As 1st Presidential Primary
By The Associated Press

Republicans in the four early presidential nominating states are jointly opposing a Democratic push in Nevada to make the Western state the first to hold a primary. GOP chairs Jeff Kaufmann of Iowa, Stephen Stepanek of New Hampshire, Michael McDonald of Nevada and Drew McKissick of South Carolina say in a statement issued Tuesday they want to preserve the historic schedule, which has led off with Iowa’s caucus followed by New Hampshire’s primary. The move comes as a bill that would push Nevada up from the third-in-line caucus state to the first-in-the-nation primary sits on Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak’s desk. Sisolak supports the effort.

Only 3 Employees Relocated To Bureau Of Land Management Headquarters After Move
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

When headquarters for the Bureau of Land Management moved from Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction, Colo., about 40 bureau employees relocated, but the agency told Colorado Newsline, only three of those employees landed in the new headquarters.

The federal agency’s move out West was a controversial one. The Trump Administration said it was meant to get decision-makers closer to the land and resources they oversee.

George Stone is with the Public Lands Foundation and a former B.L.M. employee. He said the reorganization never made sense.

"A lot of headquarters functions involve budget coordination, national policy, for example, and these are the kinds of things that go on in Washington, D.C. When you try and scatter these functions throughout the West, the coordination collapses. It just does," Stone said.

For that reason, Stone’s organization believes the agency should be headquartered in D.C. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of Colorado lawmakers are hoping that the headquarters will stay put.

The Bureau of Land Management did not respond to a request for comment in time for this report.

Nevada Settles With Church Over COVID-19 Capacity Limits
By Paul Boger

State officials have approved a $175,000 legal settlement with a Nevada church over last year’s COVID-19 capacity limits. The amount approved by the Nevada Board of Examiners Tuesday will go to cover Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley’s legal costs.

The church sued the state last year after Governor Steve Sisolak placed a flat 50-person limit on indoor religious services. Lawyers argued the state gave casinos preferential treatment because they were allowed to base capacity limits on fire codes. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the church in December.

Indigenous Americans Suffering Highest Rate Of COVID-19 Deaths
By Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

Indigenous Americans have suffered the highest rate of COVID-19 deaths, according to data from the CDC, but those numbers could be an undercount. Since the start of the pandemic, journalist Jourdan Bennett-Begay said the official death tolls coming from tribes haven’t matched what she was seeing on the ground.

"I kept looking at the data and I was like, this isn’t right," Bennett-Begay said.

So Bennett-Begay and a group of reporters with the Indigenous Investigative Collective started asking local, state, federal and tribal health agencies for more data.

Some of those agencies wouldn’t share their numbers. And the team found they also weren’t reliably sharing them with one another.

"I mean it kind of just looks at the lack of investment in our health and public health infrastructure in Indian Country," Bennett-Begay said.

The investigation found another problem: Indigenous people are frequently misidentified as another race or as “other” on death certificates. Because there was no unified strategy for tracking Native people’s coronavirus deaths, Bennett-Begay said we’ll probably never know the exact toll of the pandemic on Indian Country.

Hantavirus Case Reported By Carson City Health Officials
By The Associated Press

Health officials in Carson City are advising residents to use extra care around areas where rats and mice may have been living after discovering a person had been infected with the hantavirus. Carson City Health and Human Services on Tuesday said the case is the first ever reported in Douglas County. The person apparently developed Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome after spring cleaning. The rare disease is a severe and sometimes fatal respiratory infection. The health agency provided no other information on the person or their condition, citing privacy laws. The virus is shed by mice and rats and people often get it after cleaning infested areas.

Reno Paints Arch Crosswalk In Honor Of Pride
By Paul Boger

The city of Reno is acknowledging PRIDE Month with a temporary rainbow-themed crosswalk under the Reno Arch. The temporary crosswalk will remain in place through July and is meant to serve as a tribute to Northern Nevada’s LGBTQ+ community.

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