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KUNR Today: Grazing sheep help decrease wildland fuels in Carson City

Dozens of sheep grazing on a hillside with a dirt path running through the middle.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
The Carson City Parks, Recreation & Open Space Department used sheep for its Fuel Reduction Program in Carson City, Nev., on April 13, 2021. Starting April 6, 2022, the Forest Service will also be using grazing sheep to reduce wildland fuels in Carson City.

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

Grazing sheep released in Carson City to help reduce wildland fuels
By Kaleb Roedel

With the wildfire season ahead, Forest Service officials in Northern Nevada are making efforts to reduce hazardous fuels. That includes using flocks of sheep. Starting Wednesday, roughly 700 sheep will be released in the hills of Carson City to eat cheatgrass and other non-native vegetation. Officials say this is a cost-effective and efficient way to reduce wildland fuels.

The first group of sheep will enter Carson City on the north end of town behind Western Nevada College. The second band will graze the area behind Greenhouse Garden Center on South Curry Street. Officials are asking dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash in the sheep grazing areas.

Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation awards $1 million toward forest management projects
By Kaleb Roedel

A nonprofit in Truckee is working to minimize the risk of wildfires ahead of the upcoming fire season. The Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation has awarded $1 million in grants to nine local agencies with forest management projects. These include plans for reducing forest fuels, creating defensible space, and growing the forestry workforce.

The grants make up phase one of the foundation’s $30 million Forest Futures Campaign. This is a 3-year plan to help the Tahoe Truckee community better prepare for wildfires and invest in forest health and infrastructure.

Report: Nevada ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for economic momentum
By Kaleb Roedel

Nevada’s economy ranks as the best in the country for economic momentum, according to the Federal Funds Information for States. The report ranks states based on their growth in personal income, jobs and population.

Over the past year, Nevada’s employment increased nearly 10 percent, more than double the national average. The state’s personal income also grew by 10 percent, while its population rose 1 percent.

Unemployment in Nevada, however, is still high nationally. The state’s jobless rate is 5.1 percent, while the national average is 3.8 percent.

Rural Nevadan accused of kidnapping now charged with murder
By The Associated Press

Prosecutors say a rural Nevada man accused of kidnapping and killing an 18-year-old woman abducted her in Fernley last month before he fatally shot her and buried her body in a remote high-desert area.

Lyon County District Attorney Stephen Rye filed an amended criminal complaint Tuesday adding first-degree murder and other crimes to the kidnapping charge already facing 41-year-old Troy Driver of Fallon. He’s accused of kidnapping Naomi Irion of Fernley on March 12 and killing her on or before March 25. That’s the day Driver was arrested on the kidnapping charge. Investigators found her body four days later in a grave in neighboring Churchill County.

Indigenous leader says more federal help needed for opioid epidemic
By Emma Gibson, Mountain West News Bureau

Federal lawmakers Tuesday heard from tribal and border patrol representatives about how the opioid crisis is impacting Indigenous communities. The CDC found in 2019 Native Americans had the highest drug overdose death rate of any racial group.

Chuck Hoskin, Jr. is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and one of the hearing witnesses. Through various settlements with opioid distributors, he said the Cherokee Nation will put at least $15 million towards drug treatment facilities, but he said more is needed for mental health care and other programs.

“We need the federal government to fulfill its trust obligations to tribes and fully fund these vital programs to help our tribal citizens recover from addiction,” he said.

Like tribes, urban Indian health care is underfunded. Another witness said laws need to explicitly include the organizations that care for Indigenous peoples in those areas.

A Border Patrol union leader said stricter border policy is needed to limit the flow of drugs across the southern border.

Father, son arrested in Japan get US prison for Ponzi scheme
By The Associated Press

Two former investment executives arrested in Japan have been sentenced to five years in a U.S. prison for their roles in a $1.5 billion international Ponzi scheme with 10,000 victims in the U.S. and abroad. Junzo Suzuki and his son, Paul Suzuki, apologized Tuesday before each was sentenced, according to court records and their attorney. The judge scheduled a June 28 hearing on a possible $141 million in restitution.

Prosecutors compare the case involving Las Vegas-based MRI International Inc. with the biggest-ever U.S. fraud cases. A federal jury in Las Vegas found co-defendant Edwin Fujinaga guilty in 2019 of heading the scheme. He’s now 75 and serving 50 years in a U.S. prison.

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