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KUNR Today: Winter storm causing travel impacts, Biden administration pushing for more solar

An image of multiple cars crashed in a snowstorm along Interstate 580
Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue
Many cars crashed in Washoe Valley during a winter storm on Sunday, December 26, 2021.

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Monday, Dec. 27, 2021.

Winter storm caused 20-car pileup in Washoe Valley
By Noah Glick

A 20-car pileup in Washoe Valley Sunday sent multiple people to the hospital, as white-out conditions and strong winds made for dangerous driving.

I-580 has been closed for several hours, and the Nevada Department of Transportation said the highway remains closed in both directions from Eastlake Boulevard to the old US-395 exit.

For the latest on road conditions, you can visit nvroads.com for Nevada and quickmap.dot.ca.gov for California.

Nevada could lose millions in ticket tax revenue if Raiders make 2024 Super Bowl
By Riley Snyder and Jannelle Calderon, The Nevada Independent

When the 2024 Super Bowl kicks off in Las Vegas, the game will end with a clear winner and loser, but if the hometown Las Vegas Raiders make it to the game, there will be another loser — Nevada’s budget.

Amid the rosy economic projections from the recent announcement, ticket taxes from the game itself, likely worth millions of dollars, would not be collected if the Raiders made it to the Super Bowl in 2024. That’s because of the structure of the state’s Live Entertainment Tax. It's a 9% charge on ticket prices for any facility that provides live entertainment with a minimum occupancy of 200 seats or individuals.

The tax exempts professional sporting events if the team is based in Nevada. To be clear, a Super Bowl in Las Vegas will undoubtedly result in a boost in sales tax and other ancillary tax revenues as tens of thousands of people descend on the city.

Read the full story at thenevadaindependent.com.

Some flights canceled at Reno-Tahoe Airport
By Noah Glick

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport is reporting some flight cancellations from Reno Monday morning.

At least five flights have been canceled as of 7 a.m., including four from Southwest Airlines and one from United Airlines. Airport officials have said they expect longer lines and limited parking.

You can check your flight status at renoairport.com.

Biden administration opening public lands for solar power
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

The Bureau of Land Management is looking for companies to build giant solar farms on about 90,000 acres of federal public land in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The areas were designated as suitable for solar development nearly a decade ago under the Obama administration.

It’s part of President Biden’s push towards more renewable energy in America. The administration says solar can power nearly half of the country by 2035.

Earlier this year, Biden said solar development creates jobs.

“You know, I’m talking about union jobs, not 15, 20 bucks-an-hour, [but instead] 45, 50 bucks-an-hour [with] benefits,” he said.

But the push towards more solar could also alter desert habitats. A peer-reviewed study earlier this year suggests solar panels can reduce populations of the rare Barstow Wooly sunflower, while increasing the population of a more common native plant in the Mojave desert.

State judge strikes down key parts of Nevada’s ‘ghost gun’ ban
By Sean Golonka, The Nevada Independent

Provisions of a state law passed earlier this year prohibiting the possession and sale of unregistered ‘ghost guns’ were recently struck down by a state district court judge.

The ruling was in favor of Dayton-based firearms manufacturer and seller Polymer80. It declared that key portions of the law are unconstitutionally vague because they fail to establish clear standards on what a ghost gun is.

The ban was established by Assembly Bill 286, which was considered one of the most prominent gun violence prevention measures approved by the Legislature this year. Starting in January, the law would have prohibited a person from possessing, purchasing, transporting or receiving any “unfinished frame or receiver” of a firearm, or assembling any firearm not imprinted with a serial number.

So-called “ghost guns” are fully functional firearms that can be made at home using parts and kits, and they do not have a serial number.

Read the full story at thenevadaindependent.com.

Mono County adopts resolution to hire new public health officer
By Kaleb Roedel

As COVID-19 cases rise across the country, one California county is boosting its efforts to tackle health issues by hiring a new public health officer.

Mono County says Dr. Caryn Slack will partner with state and local health professionals to consult and enforce laws and regulations to protect the health of Mono County residents. Slack, who has been a board-certified family medicine provider for nearly 20 years, starts her role on January 3.

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