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KUNR Today: Nev. allots $5 million to free community college options, BLM skips some grazing reviews

A Truckee Meadows Community College sign is placed on a grassy lawn with a student walking by.
Gustavo Sagrero
KUNR Public Radio

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Thursday, March 24, 2022.

Governor Sisolak sets aside $5 million for free community college options
By Lucia Starbuck

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak says he’s setting aside $5 million toward free community college programs. The money is from federal COVID-19 relief funds.

The governor didn’t provide specifics but says it will help launch recommendations made by the state’s Workforce Development Committee. It was created last year to ensure that training programs in the state align with current workforce demands.

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

Report: BLM skipping environmental reviews for grazing permits on millions of acres
By Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

A new report shows the Bureau of Land Management has been skipping environmental reviews for grazing permits on millions of acres.

The report comes from the nonprofit Western Watersheds Project. Researchers tracked how often government employees completed mandatory analysis for grazing permit renewals. They say permits were renewed on more than half of available public lands in the West without any analysis last year.

According to Josh Osher, the problem comes from a loophole designed to give the bureau time to catch up on a multi-year backlog. He says the number of environmental reviews has been going down ever since.

“There’s clear evidence that the lands under the bureau’s protection are unhealthy due to grazing, and the Bureau’s land managers are just willfully disregarding the law,” said Osher.

Osher says the problem comes from a lack of funding in Congress and the bureau’s unwillingness to address grazing problems, like the harm to wildlife habitat.

The bureau did not have immediate comment on the report’s findings.

Investors sue Las Vegas lawyer embroiled in $300M Ponzi scam
By The Associated Press

A Las Vegas attorney who was shot and wounded before his arrest by FBI agents for heading a $300 million Ponzi scheme is facing a class action lawsuit. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday that several investors who say they lost tens of thousands of dollars are suing Matthew Beasley. The plaintiffs alleged they were persuaded to invest in a company and assured investors 10% to 20% returns every two months.

Beasley pleaded not guilty earlier this month to a charge of assault on a federal officer following an FBI standoff at his home. His defense attorney did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the lawsuits.

Driver who caused mass casualty crash in Las Vegas was on drugs, alcohol
By Lucretia Cunningham

Clark County’s coroner has released toxicology results for the driver involved in what police said was a mass casualty event in January. An autopsy released this week reports that 59-year-old Gary Robinson died of blunt force injuries. Police say he was going more than 100 miles per hour when he sped through a North Las Vegas intersection in late January.

Toxicology results show Robinson was positive for cocaine, PCP and had levels of alcohol in his system to cause impaired judgment at the time of the crash. Robinson’s passenger also died in the collision.

Seven people, including four children from one family, were also killed; six more were injured.

Judge confirmed as 1st Latina on California Supreme Court
By The Associated Press

A San Diego appeals court judge who is the daughter of Mexican immigrants has become the first Latina confirmed to the California Supreme Court. San Diego appellate Justice Patricia Guerrero was approved by a 3-0 vote Tuesday by the state’s Commission on Judicial Appointments. She fills the vacancy left by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar.

Guerrero grew up in the agricultural Imperial Valley and has worked as prosecutor, law firm partner and Superior Court judge and sat on the 4th District Court of Appeal. Guerrero was confirmed after a hearing with no opposition. Supporters praised her legal writing and ability to find consensus with other judges and said she was exceptionally qualified.

California Gov. Newsom and wife earned $1.5 million in 2020
By The Associated Press

Tax records show California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife earned nearly $1.5 million in 2020 and paid about $480,000 in taxes. Their income was down from $1.7 million the couple reported in 2019, which was his first year as governor. The couple’s joint federal tax return showed they paid a tax rate of about 32%.

Newsom earned about $201,000 as governor in 2020, but most of his income comes from winery and restaurant businesses that he put in a blind trust when he became governor. His wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is a documentary filmmaker.

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