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KUNR Today: Interior Sec. Addresses Indian Boarding School History, Regional Unemployment Rates Vary

An historical image of the Stewart Indian School in Carson City, Nev.
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An historical image of the Stewart Indian School in Carson City, Nev.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, June 22, 2021.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Addresses The Troubled History Of Boarding Schools On Indigenous Youth
By Isaac Hoops

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says the federal government will take steps to reconcile the legacy of the country’s Indian boarding school policy. Haaland is set to announce the federal government's plans for reconciliation to the National Congress of American Indians mid-year meeting this week.

In a recent Washington Post editorial, Haaland wrote more must be done to educate the public about the century-and-a-half period during which Indigenous children were taken from their homes and were forced into white-run boarding schools.

In Northern Nevada, many children from across the Great Basin were sent to the Stewart Indian School in Carson City. The former boarding school is now a museum and cultural center dedicated to preserving the history of the school and the students impacted by the legacy of forced assimilation.

Secretary Walsh To Visit Nevada To Discuss American Jobs Plan
By Isaac Hoops

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh will travel to Nevada this week to tout the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan. Walsh is expected to meet with workers and business leaders in Las Vegas Tuesday.

Walsh will also meet with Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak to discuss how the administration’s plan to invest in workforce development and infrastructure will impact Nevada.

Unemployment Rates Vary Significantly Across Region
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

The latest data show Utah and Idaho have the lowest unemployment rates at around 3%. Montana and Wyoming are the next lowest. All four of those states are under the national average.

Jeff Waddoups is an economist with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His state has the region’s highest unemployment rate at nearly 8%.

“In Nevada, we are very, very heavily weighted toward tourism and hospitality,” Waddoups said.

Waddoups said those industries are just going to take a longer time to recover. Unemployment rates also vary greatly within states. In Idaho, for example, one rural county’s unemployment level is twice the state average.

There’s also a caveat: New Mexico and Montana won’t have May’s data for a few more days.

Nevada’s May unemployment rate is at 7.8%, which is above the national average of 5.8%.

Condemned Nevada Inmate Asks US Judge To Stay Execution
By The Associated Press

A convicted murderer facing lethal injection in late July in Nevada is asking a federal judge to delay his execution and review the constitutionality of the never-before-used procedure and sequence of drugs that state prison officials plan to use. Zane Floyd's plea for a stay of execution will be heard Friday by a U.S. District Court judge in Las Vegas and the judge has indicated a willingness to grant it. Floyd was convicted in 2000 of killing four people at a Las Vegas grocery store. His attorneys say the drugs and procedure the state wants to use will be unconstitutionally inhumane.

Residents Underestimate Wildfire Risk, Research Shows
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

In the town of Bailey, Colorado, southwest of Denver, researchers have been surveying residents about their wildfire risk. Half said they have more than enough defensible space surrounding their property, but according to wildfire risk assessments, only 17% of them actually do.

Joe Burgett is the fire chief for the Platte Canyon Fire Protection District, one of the groups involved with the research in Bailey. He said people all over the Mountain West often don’t realize what’s dangerous to have near your house.

"Everybody likes to have that nice cushion on their lawn furniture. Most of those are all made of some type of plastic or petroleum product, and they're flammable," he said.

Burgett said while residents may underestimate wildfire risk, they were also hungry for more information. 60% of respondents said they were interested in meeting with a wildfire professional.

Eight Washoe County School District Students Awarded National Merit Scholarships
By Isaac Hoops

Eight students from Washoe County Schools are National Merit Scholarship winners. The students will receive annual scholarships to the college or university of their choice ranging from $500 to $2,000 over the next four years. Five of the eight students say they plan to attend the University of Nevada, Reno next fall.

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