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KUNR Today: Pandemic Could Wipe Out Gains For Nevada Children, More People Take To The Forests

An image of a forest
Alexa Ard
KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Monday, June 21, 2021.

Record Number Of Visitors In U.S. Forests In 2020
By Paul Boger

New data from the U.S. Forest Service shows more people than ever visited national forests last year. A recent agency report says roughly 168 million people visited a national forest or grassland in 2020. That's an 18% jump in visitors over 2019, with dispersed recreation sites seeing the biggest increase.

According to the agency's National Visitor Use Monitoring program, the service will use the information to determine how best to manage conservation with visitor demands.

New Report Shows Pandemic Could Wipe Out Recent Gains For Nevada Children
By Paul Boger

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation may provide a small glimpse of the pandemic's effects on Nevada's children. The foundation's annual Kids Count report ranks Nevada as 45th in the country for child well-being. It uses a number of metrics to calculate the score, such as economic well-being, educational achievement and access to healthcare.

What it found was that during the pandemic, Nevadans fared worse than the national average, with children experiencing housing instability, food insecurity, limited access to health care and families experiencing pervasive sadness.

The state was making progress in many of the report's key metrics over recent years, including a major decline in teen pregnancies, increases in reading and math scores, as well as decreases in the state's drop out rate; however, the latest data show the last year has the ability to wipe out much of that progress.

Carson City Approves New Deal With Police Union
By Paul Boger

Carson City Supervisors have unanimously agreed to a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with the Carson City Deputy Sheriff’s Association.

First reported by the Nevada Appeal, the deal guarantees yearly raises for employees who meet expectations and lifts the 300-hour cap on annual leave. The move is projected to increase the sheriff's budget by $2 million over the next five years.

California Weighs Extending Eviction Protections Past June
By The Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers are negotiating whether to extend the state's ban on evictions for unpaid rent. Both federal and California eviction protections expire on June 30. Newsom has proposed using federal coronavirus aid to pay off all the unpaid rent that people owe. But it will take time to distribute that money. Some tenant advocacy groups want the nation's most populated state to extend eviction protections until the unemployment rate for low-wage workers reaches pre-pandemic levels. But the California Apartment Association says landlords can't afford to wait much longer because many have gone without rent checks for more than a year.

Anti-Science Tweets Precede COVID-19 Outbreaks, Research Shows
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

New research shows that partisan, anti-science tweets came ahead of COVID-19 outbreaks in the region.

University of Southern California researchers used machine learning to sift through millions of tweets from early last year, and they found that when there was an increase in anti-science partisan tweets, it was followed by a surge in COVID-19 cases in states like Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

Conservative states tended to have more politics-linked, anti-science rhetoric during the pandemic. It was mainly hard-line conservatives denouncing science in the Mountain West, but there’s some anti-science liberals there, too, according to lead author Kristina Lerman.

“Maybe the kind of cultural beliefs people have in this place is more stressing independence and less reliance on experts and authorities, which makes people gravitate more towards anti-science views,” Lerman said.

Lerman said there are caveats to using social media for research, and her current study can’t predict exactly where future outbreaks will happen. She also stressed that no state is homogenous, but we need to understand large online trends so we can spread helpful science in a way that avoids politicization.

DMV Reporting Increase In Stolen Vehicles
By Paul Boger

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles is reporting a sharp increase in stolen vehicles recovered at its offices this year. The Department is warning consumers to be extra careful in private party vehicle sales.

The DMV has, so far, recovered 27 stolen vehicles in 2021, many of them in Las Vegas. The recoveries are worth more than $1 million in total.

Golden Knights Rally To Win Game 4 Of Stanely Cup Semifinals
By The Associated Press

Nicolas Roy scored on his own rebound 1:18 into overtime and the Vegas Golden Knights rallied for a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night, tying the Stanley Cup semifinal round playoff series at 2-all. Robin Lehner got the start over Marc-Andre Fleury and stopped 27 shots, and Brayden McNabb also scored for Vegas. The Golden Knights turned the tables in Game 4 by rallying from a one-goal deficit two days after blowing two one-goal leads in a 3-2 overtime loss. Paul Byron scored on a breakaway with 1:05 left in the second period, and Carey Price stopped 17 shots. Game 5 is Tuesday night in Vegas.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Madelyn Beck is a regional Illinois reporter, based in Galesburg. On top of her work for Harvest Public Media, she also contributes to WVIK, Tri-States Public Radio and the Illinois Newsroom collaborative.
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