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KUNR Today: Western snowpacks in good shape, Nevada tribes push for local voting locations

An image of Sierra Nevada snowpack in Lake South America in Sequoia National Park in 2017.
National Park Service
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Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.

Holidays brought much-needed snow across the West
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

The Sierra Nevada outside Reno saw record-breaking snowfall last month. Snowpacks from Idaho to Colorado to Utah are at or above average for this time of year. Cody Moser is a senior hydrologist with the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, who said this is a huge help for a region suffering from a severe and prolonged drought.

“The last three weeks of December were very good in terms of bringing above average precipitation and snow to much of the region,” Moser said.

Moser said more snow is expected in the coming weeks. If this trend continues for the rest of the winter and into the spring, it will be great news for the dwindling Colorado River system and its two main reservoirs: Lake Mead and Lake Powell.

Four more tribes are looking for voting stations
By Gustavo Sagrero

Four more Nevada tribes are hoping to apply for polling places to be established on their reservations. Among the tribes, residents sometimes have to travel up to an hour away to vote in person.

While voting by mail is an option, reservations often don’t have the same kind of mailing infrastructure as other communities. The Native American Rights Fund is helping the tribes apply for these voting stations. It says the recent emphasis on voting by mail, and legislation restricting that form of voting, has had an adverse effect on the voting rights of Native communities.

New judicial appointments in Nevada
By Gustavo Sagrero

A new year means new judicial appointments in the state of Nevada.

Justice Ronald Parraguirre will be the new Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court. As the administrative head of the Nevada Judiciary, Parraguierre hopes to continue cutting down on the backlog of cases that many courts have faced nationwide, due to the pandemic.

Lynne K. Simons has also been announced as Chief Judge for the Second Judicial Court based in Reno. Simons began her work on the district court bench in 2015 but since then has fulfilled a variety of roles within the courts as well contributing to educational projects.

Biden administration announces aid to meat processors
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

The Biden administration announced Monday it would use $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan to help small and independent meat processors.

A few top meat processors control most of the hog, poultry and beef markets. Early in the pandemic, big plants slowed down, decreasing prices for livestock and increasing consumer costs, but big processors profited.

Now, there’s a bipartisan effort to increase competition. Biden’s plan includes hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, grants and support for smaller producers.

The funding also includes job training and bolstering side industries, like cold storage. Beyond that, federal plans include cracking down on unfair competition among producers.

Eldorado National Forest roads are closed until April
By Gustavo Sagrero

Dirt roads in Eldorado National Forest will be closed until at least April. This is part of a seasonal effort to conserve soil, and protect watersheds in the area. If the roads were left unprotected, water quality could be affected, according to the Forest Service.

CES gadget show shortened to 3 days; some big tech stay away
By The Associated Press

Organizers of the CES tech convention in Las Vegas say it will run from Jan. 5 to Jan. 7, one day shorter than originally planned.

The Consumer Technology Association says Friday it's still holding the event but shortening it as a safety measure. It's requiring participants to be fully vaccinated and to wear masks.

Large presenters have withdrawn from the show citing upticks in infections from the omicron variant, including major social media companies and gadget manufacturers. T-Mobile's CEO was scheduled to deliver a keynote address. It will now be online. Organizers say thousands of exhibitors are still coming in person.

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