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KUNR Today: Controversial election item pulled from Washoe Co. agenda, Reno homeless number grows

A row of over a dozen tents lined up along a fence on dirt and rocks. The tents are beneath an overpass, and two yellow school busses are driving on the overpass.
Lucia Starbuck
Our Town Reno

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022.

Washoe County pulls controversial election item from Tuesday’s agenda
By Andrew Méndez and Michelle Billman

The Washoe County Board of Commissioners announcedMonday that it has pulled a controversial item from its agenda for Tuesday. Last week, Commissioner Jeanne Herman introduced several proposed measures related to the county’s election process. They include having the National Guard present at every voting site and using stealth paper ballots as the primary method for voting in the county.

Multiple organizations, including the Nevada State Democratic Party, voiced several concerns, saying the measures would be an attack on democracy and lead to voter suppression.

Ultimately, the district attorney’s office determined that the agenda item violated Nevada’s open meeting law and, therefore, cannot be discussed during Tuesday's meeting. The item may be resubmitted in the future.

RHA received over 2,700 applications for affordable housing in 3-week period
By Andrew Méndez

Amid skyrocketing housing prices, the Reno Housing Authority received more than 2,700 applications for affordable housing during a brief, three-week opening of its waitlists, most of which are now closed.

While the RHA received an abundance of interest, the authority advised applicants to apply for other housing programs because there is no guarantee of housing.

According to a news release, the RHA says local applicants will receive priority. Despite certain application pools now being closed, the authority still has openings on its waitlist for individuals 55-years or older looking for two-bedroom living accommodations.

Approximately 4,000 households are provided services through the RHA each year. More than half of those clients are older or disabled individuals.

To learn more information, visit renoha.myhousing.com.

Reno homeless population on street nearly doubles in a year
By The Associated Press

The number of homeless people living on Reno-area streets has almost doubled over the past year as home prices continue to soar to record levels and the lack of affordable housing intensifies.

The Reno Gazette Journal reports county data shows the number “unsheltered/unknown” homeless individuals jumped from 342 in January 2021 to 656 last month. Catrina Peters, a Washoe County data and policy specialist, says part of the increase is due to stepped-up outreach that is capturing more numbers of homeless in the county database. But the affordable-housing shortage remains a driving force.

The area’s median home price recently topped $600,000.

Expanded legalized gambling leads to record gaming revenue
By Emma Jacobs, Mountain West News Bureau

Commercial gaming has changed significantly in the Mountain West since the pandemic started, with some states newly legalizing it.

Commercial gaming revenue in the U.S. broke records in 2021 at almost $53 billion. That’s 21% higher than the previous record in 2019. Nevada revenue grew by 12% in that timeframe, generating $13.4 billion last year.

Colorado raked in 50% more over those two years, the largest increase in the region. On the other hand, New Mexico’s gaming revenue went down by 11%. The American Gaming Association says this was due to the state’s lingering COVID restrictions.

This commercial revenue data from the association does not include tribal gaming.

NDOW, partners complete new trail near Lockwood Park
By Michele Ravera

Nevada’s Department of Wildlife and multiple partners have finished a new trail that gives people more access to the Truckee River in Sparks.

The project improves an underused area of state land that links with Washoe County’s Lockwood Park trails.

Equipment, materials and labor were donated to add a footpath, two bridges and fencing to the site. This will allow fishing and recreation along more of the Truckee River and was designed to have low-impact on wildlife.

According to NDOW, the area is near the Lockwood Park trailhead. Community members can park there and then take the Lockwood Loop for roughly 300 yards upstream.

Report: Extremist-linked killings on the rise
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

A new Anti-Defamation League report documents a rise in killings at the hands of extremists. They committed 29 murders last year, up from 23 the previous year.

The Mountain West played host to the only incident with five or more deaths back in December. The shooter was linked to the so-called “manosphere,” a collection of toxic masculinity subcultures.

Mark Pitcavage wrote the report. He said documenting extremism across the region is getting harder.

"Local news has been an extremely important source of information for me, and, so, whenever I see developments like the crisis in newspapers, I look at it with great dismay," he said.

Some parts of our region are news deserts, and Pitcavage said that means the public and specialists like him have even less information on extremist movements.

David Wise returns home with a third Olympic medal
By Michelle Billman

Reno native David Wise returned home Monday, greeted by fans at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport who were there to congratulate him on a third Olympic medal. Wise received a silver medal in the men’s freeski halfpipe final in Beijing. He’s also won two gold medals in previous years.

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