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KUNR Today: Airport Fire burning east of Bishop, Tribes fighting restrictive election laws

A sign with an American flag illustration and arrow says “Vote here” and “Vote aqui.”
Erik Hersman
Flickr Creative Commons

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.

Blaze called Airport Fire burning east of Bishop
By KUNR Staff

Editor's note: This web post published Thursday morning and is not being actively updated by KUNR staff. For the latest updates on this fire, go to Calfire's website or follow the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit on Twitter.

Calfire is reporting a fire burning east of Bishop in Inyo County. The Airport Fire started Wednesday afternoon and has since grown to 2,800 acres. As of 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, there was zero containment on this blaze.

The Inyo County Sheriff's Office has ordered evacuations for Big Pine east of Highway 395, the White Mountain Research Center and the Owens Valley (Caltech) Radio Observatory. An evacuation site has been set up at the Bishop Senior Center at 682 Spruce St, in Bishop.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The latest information can be found on Calfire's website.

WCSD families invited to provide input on potential zoning changes
By Lucia Starbuck

The Washoe County School District is asking families to provide input on potential zone changes that could take place during the 2023-2024 school year.

Due to a new elementary school and housing developments, nearly a dozen schools may be impacted, many in the South Reno area. The Zoning Advisory Committee meeting will take place Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Kendyl Depoali Middle School in Reno.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Federal bill aims to pause student loan interest for medical, dental students
By Lucia Starbuck

A federal bill wants to put a pause on student loan interest accrual in an effort to increase the healthcare workforce.

The bill is called Resident Education Deferred Interest Act and was co-introduced by U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada. It would allow medical and dental students to put a pause on loan repayment and interest accrual while doing residencies or internships.

Hospital staffing is a critical issue across the state, according to the Nevada Hospital Association.

Tribes fighting restrictive election laws across region
By Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

Four Native American tribes are asking a judge to block restrictive new election laws ahead of the November midterms. It’s part of a larger battle over voter access in Native communities.

Montana passed laws to eliminate voter registration on Election Day and limit ballot collection, but tribal governments say that will disproportionately impact Native voters, who often live far from the polls.

Jacqueline De León is with the Native American Rights Fund, which represents the tribes. She said a judge blockeda similar Montana law because it violated the state constitution. In Nevada, tribes successfully sued to expand voter access on their reservations.

"We’ll continue to file lawsuits where Native Americans are being discriminated against, and we'll either force compliance, or will hopefully spur a change," De León said.

De León is a member of the Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico. She said some legislatures in Western states are trying to make it harder to vote. A Utah bill aims to end mail balloting. In Arizona, some lawmakers want to get rid of drop boxes.

Nevada town in canal fight seeks another chance in US court
By The Associated Press

A rural Nevada town wants another chance to try to prove the U.S. government’s plans to repair an aging, earthen irrigation canal are illegal. Fernley says in a new motion filed in federal court in Reno that the government ignores the fact the project would eliminate leaking water residents have used for more than a century to fill their own domestic wells.

Judge Miranda Du dismissed Fernley’s lawsuit in December. She said the harms it claimed under the National Environmental Policy Act had no legal basis because their interests in the water are economic, not environmental. Fernley’s lawyers say they want a chance to better explain why they're concerned about both.

COVID-19 cases continue to decrease in Washoe County
By Lucia Starbuck

Daily COVID-19 cases are continuing to decrease in Washoe County. There has been an average of roughly 147 COVID-19 cases per day. That’s a dramatic drop from the more than 1,000 cases that were being reported at the end of January.

“We’ve come down very, very quickly, just as we went up very, very quickly with omicron,” Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said.

Dick said while cases are trending down, the county is still experiencing high levels of transmission, according to CDC guidelines.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada, COVID-19 testing, or view the state COVID-19 dashboard.

California companies' pollution credits risk climate aims
By The Associated Press

California companies that must pay to emit greenhouse gases have saved up so many pollution credits it could hurt the program's ability to reduce emissions.

California runs one of the world's largest carbon markets, known as cap-and-trade. It requires companies to buy, trade or sell “allowances" equivalent to how much they plan to emit, and the state makes fewer available over time. But the companies that participate have collectively saved hundreds of millions of credits and observers say that could undermine cap-and-trade's ability to spur emissions reductions. The program is a key part of California's efforts to drastically lower emissions by 2030. State officials who oversee the program say they have tools to deal with oversupply.

Former Nevada chief justice and ex-Lt. Gov. Robert Rose dies
By The Associated Press

Robert Rose, a former Nevada Supreme Court chief justice who served 18 years on the state high court after previously serving as lieutenant governor, has died. A Supreme Court spokesperson says Rose died Monday at age 82.

Gov. Steve Sisolak praised Rose, saying he “gave so much" to Nevada throughout his life. Rose served three stints as chief justice after joining the high court in 1989 and before stepping down in 2007. Before becoming a judge, Rose served as lieutenant governor while Democrat Mike O'Callaghan was governor. Rose ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1978, losing to Republican Robert List.

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