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KUNR Today: Reno holding public forum on Neon Line District, Man charged for 2020 Dayton Fire

An image of Reno City Hall, with large white block letters that read “Reno City Hall, One East First Street.”
Jana Sayson
KUNR Public Radio

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021.

Reno holding public forum to discuss controversial Neon Line District
By Noah Glick

The Reno City Council is postponing discussion on elements of the controversial Neon Line development agreement. Council was slated to discuss two items about the development in downtown Reno at Wednesday’s meeting, but City Manager Doug Thornley has requested to pull those items, in order to have a public forum about the project next month.

That forum will take place Monday, January 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the National Automobile Museum in Reno.

A recent investigation by ProPublica showed that Jacobs Entertainment, the developer behind the project, had been acquiring and demolishing several low-income housing options during the region’s affordable housing crisis. Jacobs’ told the news outlet that the Neon Line District would include up to 3,000 housing units.

California man sentenced for burning historic Dayton depot
By Kaleb Roedel, Noah Glick

64-year-old Kurt Robert Selzer will spend up to 81 months in Nevada State Prison after pleading guilty to first-degree arson. He set fire to the Dayton Railroad Depot in June of 2020. Selzer must also pay $25,000 in damages.

Lyon County District Attorney Stephen Rye said in a statement that the historic building was one of a kind and is irreplaceable. He added that the prison sentence shows “the courts and community takes these crimes very seriously.”

Congress still grappling with PFAS
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Congressional lawmakers still aren’t sure how to tackle PFAS, a group of man-made chemicals known to cause illnesses, cancer and damaged immune systems in children. PFAS chemicals don’t react much to things like water and fire. That’s great for non-stick pans, water-proof outdoor gear and firefighting foam, but their durability also means they hang around in our water, our food, and even our bodies.

Research shows trace amounts are already inside most people in the U.S., if not all of them.

“There are over 4,700 PFAS compounds that have been synthesized and the number is growing," Princeton University Professor Peter Jaffé recently told lawmakers.

Panelists called for better identification of various PFAS chemicals and their sources, and the main ways they get into our bodies.

Battelle Memorial Institute has a technology that they say cleans PFAS out of water, and is working with federal agencies to test it; however, they say more research is needed to clean solids like dirt or replace PFAS in products like firefighting foam.

Sen. Cortez Masto joins legislation to support U.S. entertainment industry
By Kaleb Roedel

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is looking for new ways to help support the U.S. entertainment industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

She has joined Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn in introducing the Music Under Severe Income Crisis, or MUSIC, Act. The legislation aims to expand a grant program that provided economic relief to live entertainment venues in Nevada and beyond. Specifically, the act would add support and service companies that work with live event venues and performers. It would also offer aid to convention and trade show organizers impacted by pandemic closures.

U.S. looking to tribes to help solve climate change
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

The federal government is looking for novel solutions to combat climate change – including from Native American tribes. And, fossil fuel development was at the center of a recent congressional hearing.

A handful of tribes in our region rely on oil, gas or coal development as a big source of income and jobs. They include the Southern Ute in Colorado. Tribe Chairman Melvin Baker told lawmakers on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis that he aimed for a holistic approach to climate change — one that includes fossil fuels.

That’s why the Southern Ute are considering building one of the nation’s first net-zero power plants. It would run on natural gas and use new technology to capture 97% of carbon dioxide.

“The project is truly an innovative way to supply affordable base load power to the grid while providing solutions to climate change,” Baker said.

Committee Republicans showed support for the idea, but California Democrat Jared Huffman was unconvinced that storing carbon dioxide actually works.

“No one has yet been able to figure out a way to safely and reliably store it so that it doesn’t get into the atmosphere. There’s just reason for skepticism,” Huffman said.

The tribe will make its final decision on building the plant next year.

Marvel star Jeremy Renner says he’s building a Lake Tahoe fire station
By KUNR staff

A Marvel movie star says he plans to help fight fires in Northern Nevada. Accordingto the Reno Gazette Journal, Jeremy Renner says he is building a fire station at North Lake Tahoe. The Oscar-nominated actor has a home near Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe.

Renner, who plays “Hawkeye” in Marvel movies, says he is also creating defensible space businesses to help protect the community.

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