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KUNR Today: Fighting invasive plants at Lake Tahoe, Mi Familia Vota Nevada staff resigns

An image of Lake Tahoe taken from an aerial drone
California Tahoe Conservancy

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021.

Herbicides in Lake Tahoe? Invasive plants provoke debate
By The Associated Press

Officials in Lake Tahoe are weighing whether to use herbicides for the first time to contain the growth of invasive plants and prevent them from clouding the lake's waters.

Property owners and scientists want local officials to approve a trial program that includes herbicides, but they're facing opposing from groups like the Sierra Club, which believes walling off the lagoon where the plants are thriving from the rest of the lake would better address the problem.

The Reno Gazette Journal reports that the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board will decide in January on whether to approve the 3-year trial program.

COVID-19 testing important, but not everything
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Experts are again urging people to help “flatten the curve” as cases of the Omicron variant surge. Testing is key to this, and President Joe Biden recently announced plans to expand access, but some experts are saying we shouldn’t fixate too much on tests right now.

In our region, some states have expanded COVID testing with community sites or free at-home rapid tests, but finding tests, and fast results, might not be easy right now.

"Testing, and particularly rapid testing, has been held up as this almost panacea for ending the pandemic, and I think we need to, instead, think more balanced about it to understand that it's a really important tool, but it's not a replacement for anything," said Susan Butler-Wu, who studies clinical testing for infectious diseases at The University of Southern California.

There are questions about how effective rapid tests are in detecting the Omicron variant. Butler-Wu said focusing on behavior is wise: wearing masks, getting vaccinated and boosted, and just being mindful of how you’re potentially exposing yourself and others to COVID-19.

Judge tosses challenge to Las Vegas school masking mandate
By The Associated Press

A federal judge has refused to block the mask mandate imposed by the school district for metro Las Vegas and dismissed a lawsuit filed by two students’ parents.

U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey on Wednesday ruled that the parents didn’t establish a viable legal basis for their lawsuit’s challenge to the Clark County School District’s mandate for students and staff. The parents contended that the mandate violated their parental rights and that they were left out of the process in which the policies were adopted.

The judge said the “perceived wrongs” cited by the challenge didn’t violate any constitutional rights.

Mi Familia Vota Nevada staff resigns, citing ‘degrading work environment’
By Jazmin Orozco-Rodriguez, The Nevada Independent

Over the past few years, Mi Familia Vota Nevada has played a major role in increasing civic participation among the Latino community and providing public health information and access to the COVID-19 vaccine. But at least 18 staff members resigned this month, citing their work environment and saying they were unhappy with a lack of investment and support from the organization’s national leadership, which they described as toxic.

National Mi Familia Vota leaders provided a lengthy statement, saying they can’t fight on behalf of their communities without uplifting their own staff. Officials from the national headquarters said the resignations began after an investigation into some of the practices by the former managers.

Read the full story at thenevadaindependent.com.

Nevada men’s basketball conference opener delayed by COVID; Pack adds game with No. 6 Kansas
By Kaleb Roedel

The Nevada men’s basketball team will play its conference opener later than planned, and that’s because of coronavirus concerns.

The Wolf Pack was slated to tip off its Mountain West schedule at San Jose State on Wednesday. On Monday, however, the conference announced that San Jose State has COVID-19-related issues within its program.

This is the fourth game this season for the Pack that has been impacted by COVID. In its place, they’ve added a non-conference game with a high-profile opponent. On Wednesday, Nevada will play at Kansas, which is ranked 6th in the country.

The Wolf Pack will then open its conference schedule on Saturday at home against New Mexico.

Missing several key players, Nevada falls in bowl bid
By Noah Glick

The Nevada football team ended its season with a bowl loss Wednesday, falling to Western Michigan 52-24 in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.

Nevada was playing without its starting quarterback Carson Strong, its top six wide receivers and head coach Jay Norvell, who left the team earlier this year for a job at in-conference rival, Colorado State.

The Wolf Pack ended the season with an 8-5 record, and next year will be led by newly-named head coach Ken Wilson.

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