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KUNR Today: Amodei calls debt ceiling vote 'political game,' Washoe Co. hospitals remain strained

An image of Congressman Mark Amodei
Nevada Representative Mark Amodei, Republican, represents Nevada's 2nd Congressional District

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

Rep. Amodei: Debt ceiling vote is 'political game'
By Noah Glick

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to pass a bill that would temporarily raise the debt limit, and allow the U.S. government to pay its debt for another couple of months, but Republicans, including Nevada's Mark Amodei, voted against that measure.

After the U.S. Senate last week voted to raise the debt ceiling, the House followed suit with its approval Tuesday. Amodei said the vote is inherently political.

"Let's be brutally honest: When the Republicans were in the majority and we needed to raise the debt, then the Republicans voted for it because we have to govern and we're responsible because we're in the majority. And, so, the Democrats are in the majority, proposing these multiple trillion-dollar things, [and] it's like, 'Hey, you're a majority in the House, so go for it.' It's a political game. You want the real direct answer? It's a political game," Amodei said in an interview with KUNR.

Amodei added the tone and direction for these decisions are made by party leadership, which is one reason why he thinks people are frustrated with Washington.

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decrease in Washoe County
By Lucia Starbuck

The Washoe County Health District is reporting an average of nearly 115 daily cases over the last week. That’s down from the roughly 313 daily cases that were reported on average in mid-September.

During that recent peak, there were more than twice as many people hospitalized as there are currently, but Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said health care workers are still stretched thin.

“While it’s encouraging that we have fewer COVID patients, our hospital system does still remain strained as we are continuing to have other health care needs and take care of patients that may have deferred some of their medical care,” Dick said.

Dick is asking the community to remain vigilant with the holidays around the corner, along with concerns about this year’s flu season. Washoe County has the highest vaccination rate in Nevada. About 64% of residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada, or view the stateand Washoe County COVID-19 dashboards.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

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Elko County School Board ends early after parents refuse to mask up
By KUNR Staff

The Elko County School Board meeting ended abruptly Tuesday after some parents in attendance refused to wear a mask.

The Elko Daily Free Press reportsthat the board chair asked the parents to mask up twice. After they refused, she paused the meeting fewer than two minutes after it started. The recess was intended to last five minutes, but the virtual live feed never resumed.

The board was set to appoint five new board members at the meeting, which has been postponed.

Amid heated debate, Reno City Council votes to move Neon Line development forward
By KUNR Staff

Things got heated during Wednesday's Reno City Council meeting, while council and developers discussed Reno's new Neon Line District.

The Reno Gazette Journal reportsthat Councilmember Jenny Brekhus accused city manager Doug Thornley of working with project owner Jacobs Entertainment to help acquire properties needed to complete the development. That accusation led to pushback from Jacobs Entertainment, council and Mayor Hillary Schieve herself.

"One thing that I want to make clear, the assumption from Councilwoman Brekhus is completely inappropriate, so I want to make that very, very clear," Schieve said.

Council ultimately voted to allow city manager Thornley to finalize the agreement, which sets performance benchmarks that must be met in order to qualify for fee deferrals.

New maps show COVID-19 impact across Indian Country
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

When the pandemic reached Indigenous communities in March 2020, case data was incomplete. This week, new maps show COVID-19’s impact across American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

The maps evolved from data journalism by the news outlet Indian Country Today, and in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, the maps are now available online to the public.

"Native American communities have a number of underlying conditions that have led to the highest hospitalization and death rates from COVID, so that is another reason why it's so important to be able to look at this data in real time, so that we can get federal resources and state resources to the places that need it most," said Allison Barlow, director of the center.

Underfunded health systems have left Indigenous people especially vulnerable to the virus. Despite those health inequities, American Indian and Alaska Native people have the highest vaccination rates in the country.

Appeal challenges slaughterhouse planned for Carson City
By The Associated Press

A former member of the Carson City Planning Commission has appealed the panel’s approval last month of a special use permit allowing the construction of a slaughterhouse. The Nevada Appeal reports Maxine Nietz filed the formal challenge last Friday with the Carson City Board of Supervisors. Nietz cited concerns echoed by many others about the odor, waste and potential pollution of the Carson River by the slaughterhouse planned by Carson Valley Meats. It's proposed for U.S. Highway 50 near the Carson City Airport. The closest homes include a mobile home park to the west. Nietz told the Nevada Appeal that Carson City is not a rural town.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
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.
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