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KUNR Today: Delta Variant Confirmed In Washoe County, Heller Eyeing Run For Nev. Governor

An image of former U.S. Senator Dean Heller
Courtesy Dean Heller
CC BY-SA 2.0

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, June 24, 2021.

Cluster Of Delta Variant Identified At Hunsberger Elementary School In Washoe County
By Lucia Starbuck

Health officials have identified three clusters of the Delta COVID-19 variant in Washoe County. The health district released information Wednesday confirming 17 known cases of the new strain of the coronavirus in the county.

One cluster was discovered at Hunsberger Elementary School, where two students and members of their household tested positive for the Delta COVID-19 variant.

Originally identified in India, the variant was first reported in Washoe County earlier this month. Health officials say it is highly contagious and predominantly affects younger people.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada, or view the state and Washoe County COVID-19 dashboards.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Report: California Governor Overstated Fire Prevention Work
By The Associated Press

A Capital Public Radio investigation says California Gov. Gavin Newsom vastly overstated wildfire prevention work completed by his administration. The radio station reported Wednesday that state fire officials treated less than 18 of the 140 square miles Newsom touted as priority projects in 2019. The report also says the state's fuel reduction efforts and wildfire prevention funding fell in 2020. The governor's office did not respond to requests for comment. The state's top fire official says he takes responsibility for the governor sharing inaccurate information. Newsom took office in 2019, months after the deadliest fire in state history and as the state sees drier and hotter weather.

Nevada Officials Working Through Issues With COVID-19 Vaccine Raffle
By KUNR Staff

Nevada officials are working through issues with the state’s COVID-19 vaccination raffle. Vax Nevada Days offers cash prizes for Nevadans who have received at least one shot.

Residents can check online at Nevada WebIZ to make sure their name is in the state’s database, but as KTVN reports, some vaccinated residents aren’t seeing their names.

State officials said everyone who receives one shot will be entered, and if Nevadans can’t find their record it might be under a different phone number or email address.

Heller Appears At GOP Events While Weighing Run For Governor
By The Associated Press

Former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller is testing out a potential run for Nevada governor next year, speaking to rural county Republicans at two events this month alongside announced candidates. Heller, a Republican who lost his reelection in 2018, spoke at a June 12 dinner in Elko hosted by the county Republican Party along with other Republicans running for the state’s top office. One attendee says Heller acknowledged he is considering a run for governor. He made a similar appearance last weekend at a GOP dinner in Churchill County. The former senator has kept a low profile since losing reelection in 2018 to Democrat Jacky Rosen.

Nevada Reinstates Pre-Pandemic Unemployment Requirements
By Lucia Starbuck

Nevadans filing unemployment claims will, once again, have to meet all pre-pandemic requirements. The change comes as the emergency regulations created during the early days of the pandemic expire.

Anyone filing for unemployment insurance must now seek and accept full-time work if offered. The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation must also ensure an applicant was employed for at least 16 weeks before filing a claim.

The state is also rolling back benefits based on the amount of severance, pension and leave paid to a worker ahead of their termination.

Claimants who need help with resume building, job referrals or information on job hiring events can find information here, and a list of job trainings and opportunities can be found here.

Wind Powerful In Mountain West, But Wind-Powered Energy Isn't Yet
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

Our region, along with the Pacific Northwest, have some of the most powerful wind resources in the country, but according to new federal data, most of the wind capacity built since 2011 is in the middle of the country.

Wind energy in the U.S. has seen a lot of growth in the last decade. That has to do with a significant decrease in the cost of building wind farms, and states requiring more renewable energy.

"Once it becomes affordable, and much more competitive to produce electricity with wind, then you start looking for the places where you can make the most money doing it," said Rob Godby, an economist at the University of Wyoming.

That includes places like eastern Wyoming, and the eastern plains of Colorado and New Mexico.

Pacificorp recently announced plans to build more wind farms in Wyoming and Idaho, as well as battery storage in Utah and Oregon for solar energy. The proposal is just one part of the utility’s extensive plan to retire most of its coal-fired power plants.

UNR Will Receive Nearly $2.5 Million For Energy Research
By Lucia Starbuck

The University of Nevada, Reno, will receive nearly $2.5 million to conduct research on energy. The money is part of a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to strengthen resources for research in underserved areas.

Transportation In Tahoe Expands Evening Services And Revises Routes
By KUNR Staff

The Tahoe Transportation District will expand evening services and route access starting this weekend. First reported by the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the revised routes will increase access to transfers and transit throughout the Tahoe Basin.

All rides will continue to be free, a change made last year. More information on rides can be found here.

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