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KUNR Today: Tribes getting federal funds for housing, Cali. expands COVID-19 boosters to all adults

An image of California Governor Gavin Newsom receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom receives the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, April 1, 2021.

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

Progressives say Nevada redistricting maps split Latino vote
By The Associated Press

Progressives say a congressional map proposed by Democratic leaders in the Nevada Statehouse splits the Latino vote. Lawmakers on Saturday are working to redraw political maps during a special session. The redrawn map would bolster Democrats’ advantage in southern Nevada swing districts, but split Latino residents among three districts, leaving none with 40%, even though roughly 4 out every 10 Nevada residents identifies as Hispanic or Latino. The proposal is angering progressives who argue it dilutes minority voting power by splitting Latinos. A Democratic-majority state Senate committee advanced the proposed maps for further consideration on Saturday evening but left the door open to potentially amend it.

Tribal governments getting federal funding for housing
By Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

Federal housing authorities are sending more than a million dollars each to four Native American tribes in Nevada. Two tribes in New Mexico received grants, too. It’s the latest payout from the American Rescue Plan, which incorporates nearly $2 billion in federal support for tribal governments, but Brian Melendez isn’t impressed.

"We’re barely scratching the surface of the neglect that has occurred here," he said.

Melendez is president and CEO of Tribal Minds, Incorporated, a progressive think tank. He said federal and state officials have failed to support Native communities for decades – and that’s led to long-term problems, like mass homelessness.

"There is an absence of infrastructure; there is an absence of the mechanisms for them to sustain themselves," Melendez said.

Melendez said if the government really wants to support Indigenous people, it needs to focus on improving communication all the time, not just during a crisis.

US judge won't reconsider tribes' bid to block Nevada mine
By The Associated Press

Two Native American tribes have failed again in their bid to persuade a federal judge in Nevada that a lithium mine planned near the Oregon line is on sacred lands where their ancestors were massacred in 1865. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du ruled that additional historical accounts the tribes submitted still fall short of evidence needed to temporarily block digging. She refused a request by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and the Oregon-based Burns Paiute Tribe to reconsider her earlier ruling denying their bid to block an archaeological survey. Nevada Lithium Corp.’s construction is scheduled to begin next year about 230 miles northeast of Reno.

Reno-Sparks housing prices stay stable in October
By Kaleb Roedel

Housing costs in Reno-Sparks have been on the rise, but prices in October stayed relatively stable.

The latest report from the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors said the median price for a single-family home across greater Reno-Sparks came in at $540,000 last month. That’s up only 2% from September, but still nearly a 19% increase from last year.

Realtors cite a lack of available supply as the main driver. In fact, the 540 homes on the market in October represented less than one month of inventory at the current pace of sales.

California, Colorado and NM expand virus booster access
By The Associated Press

California is among three states now allowing coronavirus booster shots for all adults. The move comes even though federal health officials recommend limiting doses to those over 65 and younger people with certain underlying health conditions or whose jobs are high risk for the virus. California, along with Colorado and New Mexico, instituted their policies to try to head off a feared surge around the end-of-year holidays when more people are gathering inside. Colorado and New Mexico have among the nation’s highest rates of new infections. California now joins them in the “high” tier for transmission after being lowest in the nation earlier this fall.

Ivermectin study retracted after serious errors
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

A study that appeared to show ivermectin could potentially treat COVID-19 was retracted in October when the authors realized they made serious errors.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug that’s used to deworm sheep and cows. A version of the drug for humans is meant for other parasites, but it is not a proven COVID-19 treatment.

Mark Dowell is an infectious disease expert and a county health officer in Wyoming. He said there’s a lot of misinformation on social media, but that isn't all.

"There are health care providers in Wyoming that are touting ivermectin as either a preventative treatment to keep you from getting COVID or as a main part of your treatment for COVID," he said.

Dowel said if a patient relies on ivermectin to treat the disease, it can delay time-sensitive medical treatment that is proven to work, like monoclonal antibody therapy. Dowell said getting vaccinated can also prevent patients from getting seriously ill from the very start.

Thousands of military families struggle with food insecurity
By The Associated Press

It’s a hidden crisis that's existed for years inside one of the most well-funded institutions on the planet and has only worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. As many as 160,000 active-duty military members are having trouble feeding their families. That word comes from Feeding America, which coordinates the work of more than 200 food banks around the United States. The group estimates that 29% of troops in the most junior enlisted ranks faced food insecurity during the previous year. In response, a robust network of military-adjacent charitable organizations such as the Armed Services YMCA and Blue Star Families has developed an infrastructure of food banks near major domestic bases.

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