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KUNR Today: Affordable Housing Incentives For Tahoe, Automated Robots Soon Delivering Food At UNR

An image of an autonomous robot rolling on a walkway
Isaac Hoops
KUNR Public Radio

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.

Incentives Approved For Lake Tahoe Housing
By Isaac Hoops

Lake Tahoe residents will be offered incentives to help boost affordable housing options.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency unanimously approved the rule, which will allow residents to add an accessory dwelling unit to their property, despite lot size. It also fixes rent at what the agency deems affordable rates and adds incentives for units near transit centers, with the goal of lowering vehicle use.

Previously, accessory dwelling units were only allowed on properties of one-acre or larger.

Indoor Mask Mandate Issued For Mono County
By Isaac Hoops

An indoor mask mandate will go into effect for Mono County beginning Friday. The mandate will follow CDC recommendations and require everyone to wear a face covering indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Officials say the number of COVID cases there have quadrupled since California reopened mid-June.

U.S. Lawmakers Advancing Bills To Revitalize Indigenous Languages
By Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

The pandemic has taken a toll on the work of Indigenous language programs. At a recent Congressional hearing, Leslie Harper of the National Coalition of Native American Language Schools said many lack the resources to move to online instruction.

"And with great grief, yes, I report that many more of our master speakers of our languages have passed away this year," Harper said.

Harper was speaking in support of two bills. One would ensure continued federal grant funding for these programs, while the other would create a national resource center to support them. On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs unanimously approved both.

Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said the resource center will be similar to existing centers that support foreign language instruction.

"The Native American Resource Center will share promising practices and resources that support Native language use, revitalization and instruction," Schatz said.

Both bills can now be considered by the full U.S. Senate.

Vegas Mayor Says She Got COVID-19 Despite Vaccination
By The Associated Press

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman on Wednesday disclosed that she tested positive for COVID-19 last month despite being vaccinated earlier in the year. Goodman said her symptoms were mild and that she had quarantined for 10 days. Goodman disclosed her illness during a city council meeting as she explained why she missed the July 21 meeting. KTNV-TV reported that Goodman was not wearing a mask during the meeting. Nevada instituted an indoor mask mandate last week because of the growing spread of the virus. A vocal opponent of shutdowns that she said harmed businesses, Goodman on Wednesday asked people to get vaccinated.

President Biden Pledges No Nuclear Waste Will Be Sent To Yucca Mountain
By KUNR Staff

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak says he’s gotten assurances from President Joe Biden that there will be no new shipments of nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain. The Nevada Appeal reportsthe feds also promised to remove plutonium illegally shipped to the state during the Trump presidency by 2026.

Every Nevada governor has opposed the nuclear waste dump since it’s designation as the country’s only nuclear waste repository in the late-80s.

Food Delivery Robots Roll Into UNR Campus
By Isaac Hoops

Students and staff at the University of Nevada, Reno can soon order food and snacks on campus and have them delivered by automated robots.

The fleet of 20 Starship Technologies robots will begin deliveries the first week of the fall semester. Users can place orders through an app and watch their delivery be brought to them in real time.

“There's so many different facets to just delivering food. There are associates at Starship that do work on campus, so there are opportunities for students to get their feet wet or get experience internships, things like that. I think it just brings a really cool technology piece to campus,” said Heidi Rich with Nevada Dining.

Rich said the robots will be able to deliver from many of UNR’s dining options. The small, white boxes on wheels are already in the testing stage on campus.

Savannah comes to Wyoming Public Media from NPR’s midday show Here & Now, where her work explored everything from Native peoples’ fraught relationship with American elections to the erosion of press freedoms for tribal media outlets. A proud citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, she’s excited to get to know the people of the Wind River reservation and dig into the stories that matter to them.
Isaac Hoops is a former student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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