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KUNR Today: Washoe Co. seeking childcare providers, Decision to be made on protections for rare toad

An image of the Dixie Valley Toad, with scaly skin that looks yellow with black and orange spotting throughout.
Patrick Donnelly
Center for Biological Diversity
Dixie Valley Toad

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.

Gov. Sisolak to deliver State of the State speech at Allegiant Stadium Wednesday
By Kaleb Roedel

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak will deliver a State of the State address Wednesday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The speech, which begins at noon, will be livestreamed to the governor’s YouTube page and on KUNR's broadcast frequency.

According to Sisolak’s office, the governor will lay out his priorities for strategic investments using federal and state dollars as the state continues its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petitions filed to recall Washoe County commissioner, school board trustee
By KUNR staff

Members of Washoe County’s Republican Party have submitted petitions to recall the chair of the county board of commissioners and a school board trustee. The Reno Gazette Journal reported that petitions have been filed to recall county commissioner Vaughn Hartung and school board trustee Angie Taylor. The recall efforts are being funded by Reno resident Robert Beadles. Both recall efforts would require thousands of signatures and cost tens of thousands of dollars to verify.

Washoe County seeking more child care providers amid shortage
By Kaleb Roedel

Washoe County is asking entrepreneurs with child care experience to consider becoming a licensed daycare provider. The request comes as Washoe County faces a child care shortage that has grown during the pandemic. Since COVID hit, the number of licensed providers in the county has decreased by 7%. Over the past nine years, it's dropped by more than 33%.

The county is looking for child care providers interested in running an operation out of their home or opening a new center. Brand new providers may qualify for a one-time grant to reimburse start-up costs.

A recent study by the Nevada Early Childhood Council showed the current child care capacity under the age of 5 in Washoe County meets only about 45% of the estimated need.

Senate hopeful headed to Mar-a-Lago slams Dems over Jan. 6
By The Associated Press

A Republican front-runner in Nevada’s U.S. Senate race is attacking Democrats and the media, saying they exaggerated the magnitude of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as he deepens his ties to former President Donald Trump. Adam Laxalt is scheduled to make two appearances at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club this week in Palm Beach, Florida, before speaking on a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Laxalt and other Republican Senate candidates are reinforcing their ties to Trump despite intra-party rifts that have arisen since Trump falsely claimed former Vice President Mike Pence could have overturned the 2020 election.

Interior to remove indigenous slur from public lands
By Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

The U.S. Interior Department is releasing a list of proposed names to replace a derogatory anti-Indigenous word on public lands. Federal officials plan to remove an offensive term previously used by a Sierra ski resort from more than 600 geographic features.

This story will not include a full pronunciation of that word out of respect for Indigenous communities.

Tribal advocates have been pushing to remove it for years. Helen Fillmore is a member of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. She told KNPR’s Native Nevada podcast the word was a reminder of the violence Native women endured during colonization.

"It’s also an ongoing barrier, I would say, for being able to be a part of our homelands and to carry out our traditional practices like they should be," Fillmore said.

For example, the department proposed renaming a creek in Elko County, Nevada to Wally Creek or Goshute Valley. Members of the public will be able to weigh in on the changes. The department has removed offensive words from use before, including slurs targeting African Americans and Japanese Americans.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to decide protections of Dixie Valley toad by April 4
By Kaleb Roedel

In less than two months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide if Nevada’s Dixie Valley toad warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. The upcoming decision comes as Ormat Technologies begins building a geothermal power plant at the rare toad’s only habitat, Dixie Meadows, a hot spring wetland in Churchill County.

According to The Center for Biological Diversity, there are concerns the power plant could dry up the hot springs and cause the toad to go extinct. The center has been fighting for the toad’s protection for five years.

As a note of disclosure, Ormat is a financial supporter of this station.

Tahoe agencies launch ‘Save our Snow’ campaign to raise climate change awareness
By Kaleb Roedel

Several Lake Tahoe agencies have launched a campaign to increase the awareness of the negative effects of climate change on Lake Tahoe’s snowpack and winter tourism.

Led by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, the “Save Our Snow” campaign is aimed to motivate people to take action to reduce their own carbon emissions by one ton per year. The campaign includes a carbon reduction calculator and offers carbon-reducing actions people can take in their daily lives.

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