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KUNR Today: California hits 70,000 COVID-19 deaths, Tahoe getting federal funds to fight wildfires

An image of a firefighter with a chainsaw cutting down debris.
Joe Bradshaw
Bureau of Land Management
This firefighter works on the Caldor Fire near South Lake Tahoe this summer.

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.

Justice Department awards $1.2 million for Nevada police training
By Noah Glick

As the national debate continues over police reform, Nevada is getting more than $1.4 million to help train police departments.

The U.S. Justice Department last week announced that it was awarding more than $33 million to help advance community policing across the country. In Nevada, $1.2 million dollars will go to the Nevada System of Higher Education to fund a regional de-escalation training center. The rest will go toward de-escalation grants for the city of North Las Vegas.

City of Reno gathering input on proposed stormwater fee
By KUNR Staff

The City of Reno is hosting a virtual meetingtoday to gather public input and share information about a proposed utility fee for repairs related to stormwater. The Reno Gazette Journal is reportingthat the city needs about $440 million in the next two decades to deal with backlogged projects.

Under the proposed fee, Reno residents would pay an extra $5-7 each month. A current fee that residents pay on their sewer bills would end. The costs would cover infrastructure for flood-reduction, and businesses would pay on a sliding scale.

California coronavirus death count tops 70,000 as cases fall
By The Associated Press

California’s coronavirus death toll has reached another once-unfathomable milestone: 70,000 people. The mark recorded Monday by Johns Hopkins University is the highest in the country. Texas is about 3,000 deaths behind. The milestone comes as California is experiencing the lowest rate of new infection cases among all states. That leaves California in a much better situation as it enters the colder months. Cases began ticking up last October, and by January California was the country's epicenter for the virus. California’s health secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly tells The Associated Press he doesn't foresee the state repeating such a surge and that new stay-at-home orders aren't expected.

Tahoe getting federal funds to help in wildfire prevention, recovery
By Noah Glick

The Lake Tahoe Basin faced several threats and challenges due to the recent spat of wildfires in the region. Now, the U.S. Interior Department is committing more than $348 million to help in recovery.

More than $50 million will go toward projects that address hazardous fuel reduction and wildfire prevention. Funding will also go to help with capital improvements, trails and habitat conservation.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says the investments will help support jobs and local economies, while also improving recreation opportunities in rural and low-income communities.

The money comes through the sale of public lands in southern Nevada, under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act. Five percent of revenue generated also goes to the state's general education fund.

Acknowledging stolen land isn't enough, says Indigenous anthropologist
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Monday was Indigenous People’s Day, a day to recognize the brutal history of white settlers' treatment of Native Americans, but Native anthropologists say that just mentioning land was stolen isn’t enough.

The Association of Indigenous Anthropologists wants a hiatus of “land acknowledgements.” Those are statements about how a business or university's land once belonged to Native groups.

Richard Meyers is the upcoming president of that association and works at Oglala-Lakota College in South Dakota. He said acknowledgement is good, but it can also be a fall-back that lacks real change.

“It doesn’t really dig at the heart of the matter of what’s going on, what are the inequities and the injustices, and instead, ‘Let's just give this 'saving face' moment,’ ” he said.

Meyers said South Dakota State University has gone further, putting money earned from its land ownership towards Native student education, but he said we need to give tribal and Indigenous groups power to make decisions over the land.

Nevada QB Strong is Mountain West offensive player of week
By The Associated Press

Nevada quarterback Carson Strong has been named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week after throwing a career-high six touchdown passes in the Wolf Pack’s 55-28 win over New Mexico State. Strong completed 25-of-32 passes for 377 yards before leaving the game midway through the third quarter after Nevada had turned a 7-0 deficit into a 52-7 lead. It was the 11th time in his career the junior from Vacaville, California has thrown for 300 yards and the most touchdown passes by a Wolf Pack quarterback since Mike Maxwell threw seven twice in 1995 against UNLV and Louisiana-Monroe.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
Madelyn Beck is a regional Illinois reporter, based in Galesburg. On top of her work for Harvest Public Media, she also contributes to WVIK, Tri-States Public Radio and the Illinois Newsroom collaborative.
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