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KUNR Today: Nevada COVID-19 Metrics On The Rise, Nugget Patriarch John Ascuaga Dies

An image of the Nugget Casino in Sparks
CC BY-ND 2.0

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, June 29, 2021.

COVID-19 Cases, Test Positivity Rate and Hospitalizations Increase In Nevada
By Lucia Starbuck

Officials are reporting an average of 243 daily cases over the last two weeks. That’s about 100 more cases per day than what was being reported at the beginning of the month.

Statewide, the test positivity rate, or the percentage of COVID-19 tests returning positive, is 4.9%. It was 3.4% two weeks ago. Hospitalizations have increased as well. There are 355 Nevadans hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19. There were roughly 250 hospitalizations in mid-June.

The state’s vaccination rate is continuing to slow down. Slightly more than 5,700 people are vaccinated per day in Nevada. In mid-May at the peak, more than 25,000 shots were administered per day. Nearly 45% of the state’s population 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada, or view the stateand Washoe County COVID-19 dashboards. Lucia Starbuck is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Sheriff Joe Lombardo Kicks Off Campaign For Nevada Governor
By The Associated Press

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo has launched his campaign for Nevada governor. The two-term sheriff who leads the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is among a group of Republicans who want to unseat Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in the 2022 midterm elections. Lombardo said Monday that he was running to end “one-party rule” in Nevada and previewed the campaign platform that Republicans plan to use in the 2022 midterm elections. He says he would block teaching critical race theory in schools, establish an “election integrity commission," defend the Second Amendment and veto any tax increases.

Miss Nevada USA title Won By Transgender Woman For 1st Time
By The Associated Press

For the first time in the pageant’s history, the title of Miss Nevada USA has been won by a transgender woman. Kataluna Enriquez was crowned the winner Sunday at the South Point hotel-casino in Las Vegas. The 27-year-old Enriquez won the Miss Silver State USA pageant in March, a preliminary competition for the Miss Nevada USA pageant. She beat 21 other candidates to represent Nevada in the Miss USA pageant that will be held on Nov. 29. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Enriquez first took part in transgender pageants in 2016 when she was working as a model.

Judge Blocks Nevada's First Proposed Execution In 15 Years
By The Associated Press

A federal judge has postponed until at least October what was to be Nevada's first execution in 15 years. The judge said he would issue a formal injunction in Las Vegas later this week to at least temporarily prevent the execution of four-time convicted murderer Zane Michael Floyd. The judge said after a five-hour hearing Monday that he agreed with arguments by Floyd’s public defenders that they need more time to determine the constitutionally of a never-before-used sequence of drugs officials want for the execution.

Nevada Receiving Federal Grant For Apprenticeships
By Jacob Solis, The Nevada Independent

Nevada is one of more than a dozen states receiving federal grant money for apprenticeship programs. U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh announced the near $4 million federal grant during a recent roundtable discussion at the College of Southern Nevada.

The money comes as part of a broader 15-state, $130 million program to spur job training amid the country’s pandemic recovery. Allocated to the Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation, the grant money will support apprenticeships in health care, manufacturing and information technology.

A large portion of that money will likely head to the state’s community colleges, which Governor Steve Sisolak has touted as necessary engines for workforce development. That includes an effort in which he led a legislative push to study the role of such workforce development programs at community colleges.

Read the full story at thenevadaindependent.com.

Businessman And Former Nugget Casino Owner John Ascauga Dies At 96
By KUNR Staff

Prominent businessman and former casino owner John Ascauga died Monday morning.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reportsthat 96-year-old Ascauga transformed the Nugget in Sparks from a coffee shop with a few slot machines into a major hotel casino.

California Bans State Travel To Florida, 4 Other States
By The Associated Press

California has added five more states including Florida to the list of places where state-funded travel is banned because of laws that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community. Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta on Monday added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia to a list that now has 17 states where state employee travel is forbidden except in limited circumstances. Lawmakers in 2016 passed the law banning non-essential travel to states with laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The state law has exemptions for some trips including travel that is needed to enforce California law.

Before joining The Nevada Independent, Jacob interned for Nevada Public Radio, where he covered the 2017 legislative session, and Reno Public Radio, where he was on general assignment covering everything from immigration to traffic to the Northern Nevada housing crunch. During that time, he also worked for UNR's student paper, The Nevada Sagebrush, serving as editor-in-chief from 2016 to 2018.
Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
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