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KUNR Today: Juneteenth Officially A Federal Holiday, Nevada Offering Cash Prizes For The Vaccinated

A graphic image with check boxes
Courtesy @GovSisolak
Nev. Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Thursday a $5 million raffle for people who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Friday, June 18, 2021.

Juneteenth Celebrations Scheduled Throughout The Region This Weekend
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Juneteenth celebrations are scheduled throughout the region this weekend. That's after President Biden signed a bill Thursday marking the day Union soldiers delivered the Emancipation Proclamation to Galveston, Texas, where Black people were still enslaved despite President Lincoln’s two-year-old executive order.

In Wyoming last year, Ambreia Meadows-Fernandez launched a petition to make Juneteenth a holiday in her state — but discovered it already is one. Few people knew.

"That the holiday was on paper but hadn't had any practical acknowledgment or celebration, turned out to be reflective of the ways that holidays that belong to various marginalized groups are devalued," Meadows-Fernandez said.

Advocates hope this milestone won’t obscure the work ahead.

"We want to make sure that we can get support across the table from others for some of the civil rights issues that are facing us," said Jeannetta Williams, president of the NAACP in Utah, Nevada and Idaho.

Williams said that includes passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

Nevada To Offer $5M In Cash Prizes To Boost Vaccine Effort
By The Associated Press

Nevada is distributing $5 million in cash prizes to residents who have been vaccinated as part of an effort to encourage more people to get shots. Just don't call it a lottery. Governor Steve Sisolak said Thursday his “Vax Nevada Days” initiative gives skeptics one more reason to get vaccinated. His announcement of what he called a raffle adds Nevada to a growing list of states offering incentives to revive flatlining vaccination numbers. More than half Nevada's residents 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine and almost 43% statewide have completed inoculations.

COVID-19 ‘Delta Variant’ In Nevada
By KUNR Staff

A strain of COVID-19 noted for its fast rate of transmission has started to gain a foothold in Nevada. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the “Delta variant” was confirmed in nearly 20% of recent coronavirus tests in the state.

Public health officials say the numbers may be skewed due to the state’s low number of cases; however, the rapid transmission rate is concerning for those who are not vaccinated.

Nevada Senators Applaud U.S. Supreme Court Ruling On ACA
By Isaac Hoops

Nevada’s two Democratic U.S. Senators are hailing the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act as a victory for residents of the Silver State. In separate statements, Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen applauded the court’s 7-2 decision to uphold the Obama-era healthcare law.

The pair of Democrats says the law has proven integral in helping low and middle-income residents gain access to care. Nevada was among the first states in the country to adopt many of the provisions found under the ACA, including expanding Medicaid.

Las Vegas Weighs Tying Growth To Conservation Amid Drought
By The Associated Press

Cities in the U.S. West are preparing for considerable growth in the coming decades despite a historic drought and shrinking water supplies. From Phoenix to Boise, officials are working to ensure they have the resources, infrastructure and housing supply to meet growth projections while balancing conservation. Their efforts are constrained by the fact that some cities are surrounded by federal land. U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada wants to remedy the issue around Las Vegas by strengthening protections for some public lands while selling others to commercial and residential developers. Opponents argue that approving these kinds of “swaps” isn’t sustainable, particularly in areas that rely on a shrinking water supply.

PUC: Region Needs To Work Together To Solve Increasing Energy Demand
By KUNR Staff

Energy officials in Nevada say the region must start working together to address the West’s growing electrical needs. The Nevada Appeal reports a new report adopted by Nevada’s Public Utility Commission says the state dodged a bullet last year when extreme heat pushed the state’s power grid to the limit.

The report finds Nevada relies on an electrical market increasingly interconnected with California. The commission calls for the incorporation of multiple power companies to work alongside NV Energy to meet rising demand.

Rodeo Returns To Reno
By Isaac Hoops

The Reno Rodeo’s return marks one of the first major in-person events for the area since the start of the pandemic. Mask and social distancing were not required for the rodeo’s kickoff this week, although officials are asking non-vaccinated spectators to follow CDC guidelines and to wear a mask.

The rodeo was among the scores of sporting events, festivals, concerts and live shows canceled last year. Organizers expect as many as 140,000 spectators over the next week and a half.

Isaac Hoops is a former student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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