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KUNR Today: Drought Threatening Livelihood Of Ranchers, Adam Laxalt Planning U.S. Senate Run

Hay stacks rolled and left throughout an open field. There is a tractor in the background, as well as several hills covered by foliage and trees.
Flickr Creative Commons

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.

Severe Drought Threatening Livelihood Of Region’s Ranchers And Farmers
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

It’s been an almost biblical summer so far. There have been swarms of grasshoppers eating crops in Montana. A massive new wildfire near the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation is burning up forage for cows. And now, a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting that hay and alfalfa production in some states in the West will be down by more than one-third compared to last year.

But there is a silver lining. If ranchers do need to sell some of their cows earlier than usual, they will get top dollar for them. The price of beef is at a near record high due to soaring demand as the U.S. continues to recover from last year’s economic freefall.

Western Water Projects In Infrastructure Deal
By The Associated Press

The sweeping $1 trillion infrastructure bill approved by the Senate last week includes funding for Western water projects that farmers, water providers and environmentalists say are badly needed across the parched region. The Senate voted last week in favor of the legislation that seeks to rebuild America’s roads and highways, improve broadband internet access and modernize water pipes and public works systems. The bill’s future in the House is uncertain. The federal funding would come as the West bakes under a decades-long drought that is straining water supplies.

Sen. Tom Cotton: Laxalt Key To GOP Flipping The U.S. Senate
By The Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton told a crowd of about 4,000 Nevada Republicans that Adam Laxalt plans to run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. He and other Republican luminaries revved up a crowd gathered at a rural Nevada cattle ranch on Saturday, reminding the party faithful that wresting back the Senate in the 2022 midterms could hinge on Nevada. Florida Gov. Ron De Santis canceled his appearance on Friday because of a possible tropical storm. Nevada’s Basque Fry event is increasingly becoming a key stop on the early presidential primary circuit, drawing rising stars hoping to strengthen their name recognition and endear themselves to voters.

Battle Over Masks, Vaccines Roils California Recall Election
By The Associated Press

The fight over mask and vaccine mandates moved to the center of California’s looming recall election, with candidate Larry Elder promising to swiftly roll back sweeping government orders. Democrats labeled the leading Republican as a science skeptic who would endanger public health. Elder told reporters during an online gathering that if he replaces Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in the Sept. 14 election he will suspend any mask or vaccine mandates in place for state workers "right away.” Elder said he believes vaccines work and he has been vaccinated himself but believes it should be a personal choice, not a government mandate.

California’s Asian Population Soars, New Census Data Shows
By The Associated Press

California’s Asian population has grown by 25% in the past decade. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday shows California now has more than 6 million people of Asian descent. That's more than the total population of most states. California’s white population plummeted by 24% between 2010 and 2020. It confirms California, Hawaii and New Mexico are the only states where whites are not the largest ethnic group. Hispanics passed whites in California in 2015 as the state’s largest ethnic group. California’s Hispanic population grew by 11% over the past decade to 15.5 million people.

Vegas Physician Chosen By Toy Company As Barbie Role Model
By The Associated Press

Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz is a Las Vegas physician, wellness advocate, lifestyle blogger and now a Barbie doll. Toy company Mattel chose her as a role model for one of six new Barbies honoring women the company identified as heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. The 31-year-old Cruz is a Filipina-American mom who grew up in Nevada and played with Barbie dolls as a child. She now works at Intermountain Healthcare in Las Vegas. Mattel credits her with fighting racial bias and discrimination during a rise in anti-Asian-related crime by collaborating on a video hashtagged #IAmNotAVirus. Cruz began blogging during her medical residency at Loma Linda University in California. She now has more than 112,000 Instagram followers.

Apple Orchard Planted On Reno Campus In Memory Of Late Grad
By The Associated Press

An apple orchard has been planted at the University of Nevada, Reno in memory of a UNR graduate who died of brain cancer last year. Jessica Younger Dickens grew up in an agricultural community in Northern California. One of her final wishes before her death was finding a place on campus where food could be grown to help other people. More than 120 semi-dwarf cider and table apple trees were planted in her honor in April at the new Jessica Younger Dickens Memorial Orchard. A separate pollinator garden is planned on campus outside the medical school where she worked.

The photo included in this story is licensed under Flickr Creative Commons.

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