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KUNR Today: Two Of Gov. Sisolak's Top Aides Step Down, Washoe Co. School Board Welcomes New Trustee

A photo of the exterior of the Washoe County School District administration building.
Paul Boger
KUNR Public Radio

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

Two Top Sisolak Aides Step Down
By Paul Boger

Two of Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak's top aides announced Tuesday they are stepping down.

Sisolak's Chief of Staff Michelle White and Senior Advisor Scott Gilles announced their departures from the administration fewer than three years into the governor's first term.

While Gilles plans to leave this week, White says she will stay on with the Governor's Office through the summer in order to give Sisolak time to name a replacement.

In a statement, Sisolak thanked the pair for their support and guidance. Neither White nor Gilles gave a reason for their departure.

Rodriguez Selected As Newest WCSD Board Trustee
By KUNR Staff

The Washoe County School Board officially has its newest trustee. Joe Rodriguez was selected to replace Andrew Caudill, who left the board for a job out of state.

The Reno Gazette Journal reports that Rodriguez is a former Nevada Air National Guard member who also served in Afghanistan. He was selected after two rounds of interviews for six finalists.

FBI Reportedly Probing Fiore’s Campaign Finances
By KUNR Staff

FBI agents are reportedly questioning witnesses in an investigation into Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore's campaign finances.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports federal agents were in Las Vegas City Hall last week, questioning staff and members of the city council, including those close to Fiore.

Federal agents searched Fiore's home earlier this year after the councilwoman repeatedly made comments suggesting she violated campaign finance laws. In addition to the city council, Fiore also serves as Nevada's Republican National Committeewoman, a role in which she is responsible for GOP fundraising in the state.

As a matter of policy, the FBI does not confirm or deny investigations.

EPA Adding PFAS To Drinking Water Contaminants List
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

They are a group of man-made chemicals that stick around for a very long time, including in the human body. They’re called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS. A lot of household products contain them, including non-stick pans, rain jackets, and candy wrappers, and some can cause health problems.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to include PFAS in its list of water contaminants, and that lays the groundwork for potential regulation down the road.

"This is a really promising move from the federal level because before, whether or not you had data on these chemicals on whether they were in your drinking water, [that] depended on local government or state governments taking the charge to actually require testing," said Anna Reade with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The EPA is proposing to monitor for some PFAS in our drinking water. Reade said this will give us a better idea of how prevalent they are.

Nevada Business Leaders Confident In Economic Rebound
By KUNR Staff

As the economy rebounds from the impacts of the pandemic, business leaders in Nevada are more confident in the state's outlook than they have been in more than a decade.

The findings come from the latest quarterly survey of business leaders conducted by the UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that confidence is at its highest level since 2008.

The survey looks at five components, including overall economic outlook, hiring and capital expenditures.

Oil Production Ramping Up On Federal Public Lands
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Oil production is ramping up on federal public lands despite President Biden’s promise to end new drilling. Approvals for new projects are on pace to hit their highest levels since the Bush administration.

This boom is being driven by rising crude prices after a massive slump during the pandemic.

During his campaign, Biden promised to end oil and gas permitting on millions of acres of federal lands, but environmental groups say he isn’t following through and that’s exacerbating climate change.

“These changes are already manifesting in our region and for us to continue to throttle forward with more climate-polluting oil and gas development in the face of those changes is climate suicide,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Interior Department says these projects were already in the pipeline before Biden took power.

MLB Commissioner Calls Vegas “Viable” for A’s
By KUNR Staff

The commissioner for Major League Baseball says Las Vegas would be a "viable alternative" as the Oakland Athletics explore the city for possible relocation.

The A's current home in Oakland, is considered antiquated by modern standards. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the team's brass have made at least three visits to Las Vegas to consider relocation.

The team has also been in negotiations with the City of Oakland about developing a new stadium project.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Maggie Mullen is a fifth generation Wyomingite, born and raised in Casper. She is currently a Masters candidate in American Studies and will defend her thesis on female body hair in contemporary American culture this May. Before graduate school, she earned her BA in English and French from the University of Wyoming. Maggie enjoys writing, cooking, her bicycle, swimming in rivers and lakes, and most any dog.
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