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KUNR Today: Nev. high school graduation rate dips, Controversial sheriff runs for re-election

An image of Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Friday, Nov. 19, 2021.

Nevada graduation rate slightly decreases in 2021
By Lucia Starbuck

Graduation rates for seniors in Nevada slightly decreased in 2021. That’s according to data released by the Nevada Department of Education. Statewide, just over 81% of seniors graduated.

Storey County School District saw the largest increase, with a 12 percentage point growth. Storey, along with four other rural school districts, exceeded a 94% graduation rate.

Several Northern Nevada counties saw decreases, such as Washoe, Elko and Douglas. Lander County had the lowest outcome, with only 67% of seniors graduating.

Statewide, the graduation rate for students who identify as Black or African American increased, while all other races and ethnicities decreased. The largest decrease was among American Indian or Alaska Native students.

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

Redistricting in West hurting Latinos, advocates say
By Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

The Democrat-controlled Nevada legislature finished the redistricting process on Tuesday. Utah, Colorado and Idaho all approved their updated districts earlier this month, but Emily Persaud-Zamora with Silver State Voices, a nonpartisan community engagement group, said Latinos got left behind in Nevada, because they were split among more congressional districts than before.

"We did walk away with frustration that the largest community of color in Nevada is not being accurately represented," Persaud-Zamora said.

Experts at Common Cause say redistricting has been a mixed bag for Latinos around the West. In New Mexico and Colorado, the process was more inclusive, but in Utah, politicians overrode community feedback.

Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverly to seek second term
By Lucia Starbuck

Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverly announced this week that he will run for a second term, according to multiple media outlets in the region.

During his first term, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was the first law enforcement agency in Nevada to deploy technology that allows first responders, in addition to dispatchers, to hear 911 calls in real-time. Coverly led evacuation efforts for the Tamarack and Caldor Fires as well.

The sheriff has also faced controversy. Last summer he made national headlines after telling the county library to not call 911 after they proposed to make a statement in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Scant fraud reported among U.S. rental assistance programs
By The Associated Press

Unemployment agencies across the country were bombarded with fraudulent claims during the pandemic. But so far states have reported few fraud attempts among their rental assistance programs. Congress has approved $45 billion to help eligible tenants pay their rent during the pandemic. More than $10 billion has been spent through the end of September. California officials say they caught 1,800 fraudulent applications out of nearly 500,000. Utah says only about 1% of its applications have been fraudulent. Other states like Texas and Florida won't say if they have had any fraud. They argue revealing it would harm their security.

Reno nabs federal grant for aging bridges
By Noah Glick

The city of Reno is getting a $7 million federal grant to support upgrades to Arlington Street bridges in downtown Reno. The money will be used to help replace two aging bridges on the street.

According to the Regional Transportation Commission, the Arlington Avenue bridges were built in the 1930s. They have been categorized as structurally deficient by the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Tahoe Christmas tree permits sell out almost immediately
By Nick Stewart

This week, Christmas tree permits in the Lake Tahoe Basin sold out in just over an hour. This is the second year permits were sold online.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, 1,500 permits went on sale at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. By 9:15 a.m., all permits available for purchase had been sold. The Forest Service says they were expecting permits to sell quickly, but the selling rate was astounding.

Despite the quick sellout, Christmas trees may still be purchased from private farms in El Dorado, Nevada, and Placer counties.

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