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KUNR Today: Sierra snowpack above normal, Sisolak signs executive order to slow rising health costs

An image of two people measuring the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.
Andrew Innerarity
/
California Department of Water Resources
Anthony Burdock left, a Water Resources Engineer in the Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit, and Sean de Guzman, right, Chief of the California Department of Water Resources Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Section, are seen during the measurement phase of the first media snow survey of the 2022 season at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The survey is held approximately 90 miles east of Sacramento off Highway 50 in El Dorado County. Photo taken December 30, 2021.

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.

Water content of California snowpack far above normal levels
By The Associated Press

California's mountain snow holds 160% of the water it normally does at the end of December. That's according to officials from the state Department of Water Resources, who measured the snowpack on Thursday in the Sierra Nevada.

The measurement marks a strong start to the drought-stricken state's traditionally wet winter season. But it's still too early to determine whether California will see enough rain and snow in the months ahead to put a dent in the drought. The state recently concluded its second-driest year on record.

Nevada Gov. Sisolak signs executive order to slow growth in healthcare costs
By Kaleb Roedel

The executive order sets a benchmark for how much the cost of healthcare services should grow in a year. It also requires healthcare providers and insurance companies to work together to meet these goals.

Gov. Sisolak says the order helps ensure that healthcare costs do not grow unchecked and create undue hardship for patients. He adds that this is one step forward in the state’s efforts to address rising healthcare costs.

New WCSD bus routes start Monday
By Michelle Billman

The Washoe County School District has new bus routes taking effect Monday due to a critical shortage of bus drivers. The district released a reminder Sunday explaining that most students in middle and high schools who ride a bus will be waiting for their bus in a different location. District staff will be supervising all stops and some locations may have large groups of students waiting.

The district is asking drivers to use extra caution since students will be walking to different locations.

Teachers' union sues to withdraw measures from Nevada ballot
By The Associated Press

A Las Vegas teachers' union is suing to withdraw two of their own ballot initiatives from the 2022 election.

Two political action committees backed by the Clark County Education Association filed a lawsuit against Nevada's secretary of state arguing state law allows them to withdraw ballot initiatives after submitting signatures.

The groups last year submitted signatures for two tax measures and used them as bargaining chips in the Statehouse to push lawmakers to increase mining taxes to fund education. Their efforts to withdraw them afterward were complicated when the secretary of state said the constitution prohibited her from doing so.

Western governors call for expanded fentanyl treatment
By Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

Buprenorphine is used to treat patients who suffer from opioid addiction. It helps them avoid relapse by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, but it’s hard to find a doctor who will prescribe it, because they need a waiver from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, so the Western Governors’ Association is asking Congress to remove that extra requirement.

They also want the federal government to develop an awareness campaign aimed at reducing the stigma around substance use disorders and other mental health conditions. Advocates say that would save lives by encouraging more people to seek treatment.

Northern Nevada tribe sues BLM to protect habitat of rare desert toad
By KUNR staff

Tribal leaders in Churchill County are suing the Bureau of Land Management over its approval of a geothermal energy project. Nevada Current is reporting that the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe claims the BLM violated several federal laws when it approved the Dixie Meadows geothermal energy project. Tribal leaders say it would damage a nearby spring that they consider sacred and would endanger a rare desert toad.

Teen suicide rates in West among highest in nation
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

In Utah, Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor died by suicide in November. Tichenor, just 10 years old, reportedly endured bullying and racism. That type of harassment is a leading risk factor for suicide among adolescents.

"There's huge, systemic things that are leading to discrimination, not only on the interpersonal level where, for example, this student was experiencing bullying from classmates," said Yvonne Lei, a University of California medical student who traced a decade of data for people ages 18 to 28 who experienced racism, sexism and ageism. She found a strong association between this discrimination and mental health issues.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, there is help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255.

Nevada vs. Wyoming basketball game postponed
By Michelle Billman

Tuesday’s basketball game between Nevada and Wyoming has been postponed. A press release from Nevada said the delay is due to COVID-19-related concerns within the men’s basketball program at Wyoming. The game was supposed to be held in Reno. If it can’t be rescheduled, officials say it’ll be declared a no contest.

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