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KUNR Today: Sierra Red Fox Gets Endangered Species Listing, Nevada Diver Brings Home Bronze Medal

An image of Krysta Palmer diving into a pool
UNR Women's Swimming & Diving

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021.

Nevada County Bid To Honor Trump Goes From Road To Buildings
By The Associated Press

Lawmakers in rural Nevada who decided 3-2 not to name a road for former President Donald Trump last month now are considering putting his name on their county court, jail and sheriff’s office. Debate is scheduled Thursday on a bid to name the Lyon County Justice Complex in Yerington after Trump. The commission chairwoman's proclamation praises Trump for filling federal judge positions, enforcing U.S. immigration laws and, in its words, solving the the Western Hemisphere's humanitarian crisis. Lyon County voted 69% for Trump last November to 28% for Democrat Joe Biden. Biden won Nevada and the nationwide vote.

Sierra Nevada Red Fox To Be Listed As Federally Endangered
By The Associated Press

Federal wildlife officials have decided to list the Sierra Nevada red fox as an endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday it estimates that fewer than 40 of the slender, doglike carnivores remain in an area of California stretching from Lake Tahoe to south of Yosemite National Park. The agency says it decided not to list a distinct population of the foxes in the southern Cascade Range of Oregon. That also includes a Cascade segment in Northern California near Lassen Peak. Threats to the foxes in the Sierra include wildfire, drought, climate change, inbreeding and competition from coyotes for prey.

Some Areas Of South Tahoe Closed Due To Animals With Plague
By The Associated Press

Officials are closing some areas on the south shore of Lake Tahoe after some chipmunks tested positive for plague. The Tahoe Daily Tribune reports that the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Kiva Beach and their parking areas will be off limits through Friday. During that time, the U.S. Forest Service will be conducting vector control treatments to those areas. An El Dorado County spokesperson says the chipmunks that were tested had no contact with any people. Forest Service officials expect the facilities to be open again by the weekend. According to the El Dorado County Public Health, plague is naturally present in some areas of California.

Two Cases Of Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever Reported In Tahoe Area
By Michelle Billman

El Dorado County health officials are reporting two cases of an illness called tick-borne relapsing fever, or TBRF, over the past two months in the greater Lake Tahoe area. Both individuals had stayed in cabins with rodent infestation and have since recovered. The condition is a bacterial infection that causes recurring fever, headache, and other symptoms. Soft ticks that feed on rodents carry the bacteria.

According to the agency, when rodents build nests in spaces like attics or within walls, they attract ticks that can then bite people in the dwelling. Most infections occur among people visiting rural mountainous areas at higher elevations during the summer.

Wildfire Smoke Not Deterring Campers
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

Camping season and wildfire season overlap, but smoke doesn’t appear to scare off many campers on public lands. That’s according to a new report out Monday.

The non-profit research firm, Resources for the Future, compared campground data in the West to wildfire, smoke, and air quality data over a ten-year period. It found that campground use declines in response to fire and smoke, but by very little. For example, average occupancy rates only dropped by 1.3 percentage points when smoke was bad. Researcher Margaret Walls is concerned that campers are being exposed to poor air quality.

"People are learning more, there's more stories about the health effects, so it'll be interesting to see if that changes," Walls said.

Walls said one reason visitors aren’t willing to cancel camping plans may have to do with how competitive it is. Reservations at popular spots are hard to come by and most have a limited season.

Nevada Diving Alum Krysta Palmer Wins Olympic Bronze
By Michelle Billman

University of Nevada alum Krysta Palmer has made U.S. women’s diving history by winning a bronze Olympic medal in Tokyo over the weekend. Palmer is the first American woman since 1988 to medal in the individual 3-meter springboard competition.

Palmer grew up in Nevada and was a diver at the University of Nevada, Reno and is now an assistant coach there. Her final dive to clinch the bronze was a forward two-and-a-half somersaults two twists pike.

Michelle Billman is a former news director 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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