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KUNR Today: Heller Won't Say Biden Won Election, Ford Invests In Northern Nevada Battery Recycler

An image of scientists working in a lab
Courtesy National Renewable Energy Laboratory
U.S. Dept. of Energy
Researchers at NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility work on a recycling reactor to rejuvenate battery electrodes for reuse.

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

Heller Refuses To Say Who Won 2020 Election
By KUNR Staff

Former U.S. Senator and current Republican candidate for governor of Nevada Dean Heller says he knows who the president is, but he won’t otherwise say who won the 2020 election.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, he has instead repeatedly claimed that there are problems in the electoral system, despite evidence that shows fraud did not affect the outcome of the race.

Heller, who kicked off his gubernatorial campaign this week, also previously served as Nevada’s Secretary of State. He lost his senatorial relection bid in 2018, partly due to his ties to former President Donald Trump and his vote to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

Western Governments Crack Down On COVID Misinformation
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Some state and local governments in the West are beginning to crack down on misinformation about COVID-19, as hospitals are overwhelmed with mostly unvaccinated patients.

Las Vegas area county commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday calling misinformation a “public health crisis,” and in Idaho, the state public health department is going to ban certain users from commenting on its Facebook page. They include anyone who threatens healthcare workers or repeatedly posts misleading information.

“It’s an interesting approach that will, hopefully, keep the right messages out there and keep some of those incorrect messages from being distributed,” said Brian Labus, a public health professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas resolution faced pushback from some members of the public during Tuesday’s county commissioner meeting. They called it an infringement on first amendment rights.

Many of the West’s hospitals are facing an unprecedented surge from COVID-19. The region has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. Both Montana and Wyoming recently activated National Guard troops to aid overwhelmed hospitals there.

Former KTNV Anchor Gerard Ramalho Joins Growing Field Of SOS Candidates
By Paul Boger

Former Las Vegas news anchor Gerard Ramalho says he plans to run for Nevada’s Secretary of State as a Republican. Ramalho announced his candidacy via social media Wednesday, saying he plans to push for voter ID and would move to end so-called ballot harvesting.

He joins the growing number of Republicans looking to replace outgoing Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who is serving her second and final term. They include former state assemblyman and congressional candidate Jim Marchant and Sparks City Councilman Kristopher Dahir.

Las Vegas attorney Cisco Aguilar is running for the Democratic nomination.

Missing Indigenous Women Getting Less Coverage, Urgency Than Gabby Petito
By Kamila Kudelska, Wyoming Public Radio

Over the last decade, over 700 Indigenous people have gone missing in Wyoming, but none of those cases have garnered the same media attention or urgency from law enforcement as the case of Gabby Petito.

Lynnette Grey Bull is a Northern Arapaho tribal member and leading voice on Wyoming’s efforts to address missing and murdered Indigenous women.

"It's kind of heart wrenching when we look at a white woman who goes missing and is able to get so much immediate attention," she said.

Read the full story at wyomingpublicmedia.org.

Ford Invests $50 Million In Carson City Battery Recycler
By Paul Boger

Ford Motor Company is investing $50 million in a Northern Nevada battery recycling company. The deal with Carson City-based Redwood Materials is part of the auto giant’s continued push toward vehicle electrification.

Redwood Materials specializes in creating a “closed-loop” system to recycle and re-manufacture electric vehicle batteries. The company claims the process repurposes nearly 95 percent of the materials from older batteries.

Founded in 2017, Redwood was already in the midst of a significant expansion. Earlier this year, the company tripled the size of its Carson City facility and announced plans to build on 100 acres of land at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center.

Reno City Council Makes Whips Illegal Downtown
By Paul Boger

It’s now illegal to carry or use a whip in public in Downtown Reno. The city council unanimously approved the ordinance Wednesday, making unlawful use of a whip a misdemeanor. According to the Reno Police Department, officers responded to more than 170 whip-related calls in the last year.

In a previous meeting, city leaders complained the whips intimidated residents and visitors. Critics of the new law say the measure unfairly targets the unhoused community.

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