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KUNR Today: COVID-19 Exposure In Washoe County School, Haaland Named Keynote Speaker At Tahoe Summit

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is sitting at a desk with her name plaque and a microphone in front of her.
Courtesy of House Committee on Natural Resources
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U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will speak at next week’s Lake Tahoe Summit.";

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.

Nevada’s Latest COVID-19 Surge Mirrors Rise To November Peak
By The Associated Press

Health officials in northern Nevada say current coronavirus trends mirror those that led to some of the worst of the pandemic. They warned Tuesday about the possibility of closing schools or limiting business capacities again if the steep trajectory of new cases doesn’t begin to flatten soon. The Washoe County Health District also confirmed on Tuesday the first COVID-19 death of a fully vaccinated person in the Reno-Sparks area, a man in his 80s with multiple underlying conditions. Nevada’s test positivity rate has risen from a low of 3.4% in mid-May to 16.3% on Monday. It’s reached 17.1% in Clark County and 15.4% in Washoe County.

Parent In Washoe County Knowingly Sent Student To School With COVID-19
By KUNR Staff

Washoe County health officials said a parent knowingly sent their child to school after receiving a positive COVID-19 test.

According to reporting by the Reno Gazette-Journal, the incident may have exposed as many as 80 children at Marce Herz Middle School to the coronavirus. The district has not said how many students are now excluded from in-person instruction, but unvaccinated students must stay home until August 20.

The parent has also tested positive for COVID-19 and has refused contact with the school district and health officials.

Study: Some Fires Need To Burn To Limit Wildfire Impacts
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

A recent study in the journal Ecosphere predicts a decade-long burst of intense wildfire followed by a gradual decline in both the number and size of fires, but that depends on letting some blazes run their course.

Wildfires in recent years have been destructive on an unprecedented level due to a combination of hot and dry conditions and a buildup of fuels from fire suppression, but not all of that destruction is bad.

Maureen Kennedy is a professor at the University of Washington and lead author of the paper. She said when a fire burns through fuels, that can mean fewer fuels for the next burn.

“If we can find a way to restore that pattern of recurring low severity fire, we might be able to become in the state where we can live with fire, where we can coexist with wildfire again,” Kennedy said.

The study’s findings contradict the U.S. Forest Service’s recent announcement that it would temporarily halt its lower-intensity burns meant to clear out overgrown forests.

Nevada Officials Hit Impasse Over Coyote Killing Contests
By The Associated Press

Efforts by the Nevada Department of Wildlife to develop a policy on coyote killing contests are failing to progress after commissioners last week said they lacked faith that hunters and conservationists could reach an agreement. The years-long debate about contests reemerged in March when the Clark County Commission called for a ban. Department of Wildlife commissioners warned last week that inaction could land the issue in the state Legislature. Tournaments have been banned in at least eight states, including Arizona, Colorado, California and New Mexico. Advocates argue contests cull the coyote population to manageable levels. Opponents distinguish between population control and contest killing and argue healthy landscapes need predators.

Tahoe Business Groups Advocate For $5 Million From American Rescue Plan
By Isaac Hoops

Tahoe business leaders are asking El Dorado County to set aside a portion of the area’s federal coronavirus relief funds to help small businesses affected by the pandemic.

In a letter sent to the El Dorado Board of Supervisors, the Tahoe Chamber of Commerce is requesting $5 million from the American Rescue Plan to fund a grant program.

The proposal lays out a program similar to one developed last summer that would help businesses and nonprofits pay for eligible expenses.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Named Keynote Speaker At Lake Tahoe Summit
By Isaac Hoops

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will be the keynote speaker at the 25th Lake Tahoe Summit next week. The virtual event will focus on the preservation of Lake Tahoe for future generations.

This is the first time in over a decade that a sitting interior secretary will be the keynote speaker for the event.

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.
Isaac Hoops is a former student reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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