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KUNR Today: New network aims to connect water stakeholders, Nevada gets $89 million for transit

A river snakes along a grassy area with mountains and sky on the horizon.
Courtesy of the University of Nevada, Reno
The Truckee River upstream from Pyramid Lake

Read or listen to the news headlines for Thursday, April 7, 2022.

New network aims to connect a variety of stakeholders on water issues
By Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

As our region grapples with ongoing drought, a new network of water users and land managers could be a model for other states in our region.

The latest research indicates drought conditions could be the new normal in the Mountain West, which means historical trends won’t be very helpful in planning water use for the future, but a new program at the University of Nevada, Reno could be a model for how to frame those conversations and make sure no one goes unheard.

Anne Nolin teaches at the university. She said Nevada Water will bring together all of the groups that use water, provide it to cities and towns, or have water rights in the state.

“It includes them in a way that is about learning from them, rather than explaining from a science perspective to them,” she said.

Nolin said they plan to give tribal communities a seat at the table, too. By combining Indigenous knowledge with modern science, the network could address problems that already exist in the driest state in the country. Nolin said for the plan to work, they’ll need to create mutual trust among all of the group’s members. If they can manage that, she said the network can help mitigate problems around water use.

Nevada getting $89 million from federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law 
By Michelle Billman

Nevada is receiving more than $89 million for public transportation projects as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Overall, the law is investing more than $20 billion in modernizing and expanding transit systems nationwide.

Reno will be getting $11.6 million and the Las Vegas area is getting $59 million. Just over $4 million will go to the Lake Tahoe region. According to a statement from Senator Jacky Rosen’s office, these funds will help transportation agencies modernize their fleets, including transitioning to technologies that use clean energy.

Exhibit in Reno depicts Holocaust survivor stories
By Michelle Billman

An exhibit sharing accounts of survival during the Holocaust is now open at the Northwest Reno Library. The “How Did You Survive?” exhibit displays the stories of 50 people who lived through the Holocaust. Many of them are residents of Nevada.

This programming is sponsored by the Nevada Governor’s Advisory Council on Education Relating to the Holocaust and also includes movie screenings, story times, and virtual reality tours of the Anne Frank house. The exhibit will be open until the end of May. Learn more here.

New Mexico approves inflation relief funds for residents
By Emma Gibson, Mountain West News Bureau

New Mexican lawmakers approved sending economic relief to about 1.4 million residents to counter rising costs in the state. That mirrors other efforts across the Mountain West.

The high cost of fuel drove New Mexican lawmakers to approve payments to its residents. The bill includes two tax rebates totaling $500 to $1,000 for income tax filers. It also provides relief for non-tax filers. State Representative Christine Chandler is a sponsor of the bill.

“We should not be viewing this economic household relief as simply focused on vehicles but it is the wide array of economic challenges that our citizens are facing right now,” said Chandler.

In February, U.S. senators from Nevada and Arizona introduced a bill to suspend the federal gas tax. The governors of New Mexico and Colorado have voiced their support of the bill.

Nevada official: Missing Indiana couple found after man dies
By The Associated Press

A sheriff's official says an Indiana couple missing for about a week has been found in a remote mountain area of southern Nevada, but the husband was dead and the wife was taken to a hospital. Mineral County Undersheriff Bill Ferguson said 72-year-old Ronnie Barker and 69-year-old Beverly Barker were found with their car late Tuesday afternoon after being stuck for about a week in the Silver Peak area of Esmeralda County.

Ferguson said search and rescue personnel from Mineral County, one of several counties involved in the search, located the couple, and a military helicopter airlifted the woman to a Reno hospital. The couple had been traveling from Oregon to Arizona.

Hearing Friday for Nevada man jailed in kidnapping, killing
By The Associated Press

A rural Nevada man accused of kidnapping and killing an 18-year-old Fernley woman last month is scheduled to go before a judge Friday to be arraigned on the murder charge and determine whether he should be held in jail without bail until trial.

Lyon County prosecutors filed an amended complaint Tuesday charging Troy Driver of Fallon with first-degree murder, kidnapping, destroying evidence and other charges in the death of Naomi Irion of Fernley. He's been jailed on $750,000 bail in Fernley since he was arrested March 25 for kidnapping. Irion's body was found four days later in a remote, high-desert grave just across the Churchill County line.

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