Lucia Starbuck

Report for America Corps Member

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member with Report for America focusing on community reporting and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is from Reno and graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in cinema and media studies. Local community issues are her passion, including the affordable housing crisis, homelessness, a lack of access to healthcare, protests and challenges facing vulnerable communities in northern Nevada.

Lucia contributed to KUNR’s coverage of hateful expressions, including anti-Semitism, at the University of Nevada, Reno, produced in 2019, which won a regional Edward R. Murrow award in the Best Continuing Coverage category and first place in the Associated Press Television and Radio Association (APTRA) broadcast contest for Continuing Coverage. She co-created and contributed to a series about the Reno Rodeo’s 100th anniversary called Spurs & Mud: A Century of Rodeo, which won first place from APTRA in 2019 for Best Sports Coverage. In 2020, she was awarded the Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer Award from the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Sign in front of assisted living facility
Lucia Starbuck / This Is Reno

Arbors Memory Care is an assisted living center in Sparks for seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia. In the span of about a month, 14 residents at the facility died from COVID-19. KUNR’s Anh Gray and Lucia Starbuck discuss what led to this outbreak.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:23 p.m. | June 23, 2020

Nevada Sees Another Record Day Of COVID-19 Cases
By The Associated Press

A building that says, 'Reno Events Center.' There is a man walking in front of the building and a line of people near the entrance.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

During the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 300 houseless individuals have been sleeping at the Reno Events Center, but the makeshift shelter is slated to close at the end of June. Washoe County and City of Reno officials are working on securing a place for those staying at the facility to sleep next.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:32 p.m. | June 16, 2020

Nevada Reports Highest Single-Day COVID-19 Case Jump
By Lucia Starbuck

A row of orange lockers.
Ty O'Neil

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a directive on Tuesday, which will allow K-12 schools and facilities to reopen, with restrictions, for summer activities, effective immediately; however, those facilities are not required to reopen. KUNR’s Michelle Billman talked to our reporter Lucia Starbuck to break down what we know at this point.

On the right is a tractor being operated in focus. On the left is a man who is blurry, standing next to three shopping carts filled with stuff.
Isaac Hoops / This Is Reno

Houseless individuals are more at risk of contracting COVID-19, and this week, authorities in Reno and Sparks swept through and cleared out two different campsites, dispersing unsheltered individuals into the community.

The Mountain West News Bureau’s Noah Glick checked in with KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck, who covered these cleanup activities for our media partner This Is Reno, to learn what impacts these actions may have.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:08 p.m. | June 9, 2020

Nevada Reports Highest Spike Of New COVID-19 Cases
By Lucia Starbuck

Law enforcement standing by on Virginia Street. Rioters running in different directions as tear gas fills the street.
Ty O'Neil / This Is Reno

As a warning, this story includes graphic images and videos containing violence that may be disturbing, along with inappropriate language.

Organizers of the Black Lives Matter protest on Saturday afternoon in Reno have denounced the violence that took place later that evening after the peaceful protest had ended. 

Lucia Starbuck was on the scene reporting for This Is Reno, and witnessed the events that unfolded at City Hall. She recounted what she saw with KUNR’s Anh Gray.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

8:24 p.m. | June 2, 2020

More Than 176,000 COVID-19 Tests Performed Statewide
By Lucia Starbuck

There's a sign near a sidewalk that says, 'Lakeside,' and there's grass and trees in the background.
Screenshot / Google Maps

Coverage of novel coronavirus is supported by the Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D., Project for Visualizing Science, a science reporting project from the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Editor's Note: On the morning of May 7, KUNR aired the following story and reported that there have been 86 confirmed COVID-19 cases at Lakeside Health and Wellness as of May 6. The data came from a Nevada Department of Health and Human Services database. After the story aired, the number on the database was updated on May 7 to 81 confirmed cases at Lakeside Health and Wellness.

KUNR reached out to the state health department for clarification and received the following email response: "Thank you for your email and question on the Lakeside Health and Wellness case information. The total of 81 is the confirmed case count. There was a reporting error that has been caught and corrected."

Thirty-seven people in Washoe County have died from COVID-19. More than half of those deaths are linked to one facility.  KUNR’s Anh Gray and Lucia Starbuck discuss what they’ve learned so far about the novel coronavirus outbreak in Washoe County.

CDC

Coverage of the novel coronavirus is supported by the Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D., Project for Visualizing Science, a science reporting project from the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Public health officials are using contact tracing to track and isolate people infected with COVID-19 or those who might have been exposed. This is a routine public health surveillance tool that can be effective for infectious disease control, but the workforce needs to ramp up in order to respond to the coronavirus. In this report, KUNR's Anh Gray and Lucia Starbuck team up to explore the challenges with contact tracing and how the Nevada National Guard will be stepping in to fill some gaps. 

There's a woman in the forefront. In the background there's a crowd of people. Some are holding American flags.
Lucia Starbuck / This Is Reno

Across the country, groups have taken to the streets in recent weeks protesting so-called “stay-at-home” orders meant to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. They argue the measures that are supposed to keep people safe are actually doing more harm to the economy. KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with Lucia Starbuck who’s covered the local protests for our media partner This Is Reno.

A white sign that says, 'For Rent 1 Bedroom Suite,' in red letters. In the background is a blurry tree and building.
Kurt Bauschardt / Flickr Creative Commons

Despite Governor Steve Sisolak’s moratorium on evictions, some tenants in Nevada are reporting that they’re being harassed or bullied.

A pink building with the word office on top of it. In the background are motel rooms and a staircase.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR

Hundreds of thousands of Nevadans have lost their jobs due to nonessential business closures meant to limit the spread of COVID-19. To protect them from housing insecurity, Governor Steve Sisolak ordered a moratorium on evictions, but there’s confusion on who is protected. Both tenants and landlords for weekly motels are concerned about what the future holds.

Glass doors with papers taped to them that say, "Closed to the public until further notice please call: 800-509-7762."
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting houseless individuals who are in different stages of recovery for substance use. Foundation for Recovery is a drop-in center in Sparks that provides resources for people in recovery from substance use. But this clinic, like others in the region, had to close its doors due to the novel coronavirus.

A row of different shaped and colored tents along a fence with tall casinos in the background.
Lucia Starbuck / Our Town Reno

Friday, the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Board will decide if ex-military barracks in Stead can be used as emergency housing for the houseless during the COVID-19 pandemic. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano and Lucia Starbuck discussed how people without stable shelter are feeling, and what's being done to protect this vulnerable population.

There are two black bears, one is cub and the other is larger and older. There is tall, green grass in the front and blurry trees in the background.
Neal Herbert / National Park Service

The Nevada Supreme Court recently overturned a lower court’s ruling on a defamation case filed by a biologist who works for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, or NDOW. The suit was filed against the manager of a Facebook page that’s critical of NDOW’s policies regarding the treatment of bears in the Eastern Sierra. The state supreme court struck down the biologist’s defamation case, so now it’s headed back to Washoe County Second Judicial District Court.

A landscape photo with a paved road on the left side and gravel, sagebrush and hills on the right side.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR

The Truckee Meadows Public Land Management Act, formerly known as the Washoe County Lands Bill, is back before Congress. It would allow federal land in Nevada to be sold to local government for development and conservation projects. The proposal has received support from the cities of Reno and Sparks, as well as Washoe County, but it has also faced public criticism.

Dora Uchel standing in front of the Jot Travis Building. Uchel is wearing a caucus observer button on her shirt that reads "Bernie For President 2020 Observer."
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR

Nevada’s caucus isn’t accessible for everyone. Many voters with disabilities said they have faced unique challenges when trying to participate in the election process, including caucusing. Nevada's Democratic caucus was on Saturday, February 22, and some voters voiced the obstacles they experienced. 

A panoramic photo. There are several rows of long tables with people sitting down and talking.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR

Presidential hopeful and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders came in first place in Nevada’s Democratic caucus over the weekend, but at least one precinct in Reno, Nevada had Spanish translation issues.

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