KUNR Today: Dean Heller Announces Run For Nevada Governor, Washoe County Reaches 800 COVID-19 Deaths | KUNR

KUNR Today: Dean Heller Announces Run For Nevada Governor, Washoe County Reaches 800 COVID-19 Deaths

Sep 21, 2021

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021.

Republican Dean Heller Announces Run For Governor Of Nevada
By The Associated Press

Republican Dean Heller says he is running for governor of Nevada. The former U.S. Senator told a crowd of supporters in Carson City on Monday that it was time to replace Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak with a conservative leader who wouldn't impose coronavirus mandates.
 

He blamed the incumbent Democrat for high unemployment and crime rates and said the first thing he would do is issue an executive order requiring voter ID in all upcoming elections. Heller's remarks on voter ID laws and support for abortion restrictions signal his preparedness to push issues galvanizing the Republican base.
 

800 Washoe County Residents Have Died Since Start Of Pandemic
By Lucia Starbuck

The Washoe County Health District is reporting a grim pandemic milestone. There have now been a total of 800 COVID-19-related deaths in the county.

100 of those lives were lost within the past month and a half, mostly among unvaccinated residents. Those who were vaccinated had underlying health conditions.

There have been 43 COVID-19-related deaths in Washoe County this month alone.

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

Destructive TikTok Trend Impacts Four WCSD Schools
By Lucia Starbuck

A destructive social media trend has affected schools in Washoe County. A TikTok challenge has students across the country stealing and vandalizing school property, filming it, and uploading the videos online.

Washoe County School District Superintendent Kristen McNeill said on Friday that two high schools and two middle schools were impacted, and the district will need to replace the stolen items.

“That money comes from our district’s budget, and instead of going back to schools, to handle such things as textbooks or other types of resources, I now have to use that money in order to replace school property,” McNeill said.

McNeill is asking parents to monitor their children’s social media pages. She also said the district will be investigating the incidents to the fullest extent of the law.

Reno Fire Department To Receive Nearly $7.5 Million Hiring Grant
By Lucia Starbuck

The Reno Fire Department will receive a nearly $7.5 million grant to hire firefighters. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said Monday that the 20 additional personnel will address staffing shortages and speed up response times.

The senator sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the spring advocating for the Reno Fire Department to receive the assistance.

Funding For Wildlife Bridges And Tunnels In Infrastructure Bill
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

The proposed federal infrastructure bill would allocate $350 million dollars to build more wildlife bridges and tunnels across highways.

There are a lot of big animals in our region. Elk. Deer. Moose. There’s also more and more people.

“And when animals and humans meet on the road it usually does not end well for either,” said Matt Skroch, an expert in wildlife migration for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Skroch said there are a lot of collisions with animals out West. For instance, in Wyoming, they make up 20% of all accidents. Across the country, he says these collisions cost drivers, passengers and insurance companies an average of about $8 billion a year in health and medical costs.

“And at least one to two million large animals a year are killed,” he said.

But the infrastructure bill has a provision that would give federal money to state, local and tribal governments to build more wildlife bridges or tunnels across highways.

It’s the first time the feds have dedicated resources to this issue. Studies have shown that these crossings help reduce accidents and save lives. The U.S. Senate passed the bill in August. It’s now awaiting a vote in the House.

Nevada State Parks Free On Nevada Public Lands Day
By Lucia Starbuck

Entrance fees will be waived at Nevada’s state parks on Saturday in celebration of Nevada Public Lands Day. This also includes free camping on Saturday night, along with boating. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak established Public Lands Day last year to encourage Nevadans to explore the state’s natural landscapes, wildlife and historical buildings.

The proclamation was signed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which showed going outdoors can be crucial for physical and mental health. Additionally, all Lake Tahoe Nevada State Parks have reopened after closing due to the Caldor Fire.

Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort To Open This Winter Despite Damage From Caldor Fire
By Lucia Starbuck

Sierra-at-Tahoe says the ski resort still plans on opening this winter despite sustaining damage from the Caldor Fire.

Most of the resort’s structures are still intact, but the blaze destroyed a maintenance shop with equipment inside and a ski lift for beginners, along with causing damage to trees. Resort officials said they’re still assessing the damage.

The Caldor Fire has destroyed more than 1,000 structures.

Cargo Concert Hall In Reno Reopening
By Lucia Starbuck

The Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno is planning on reopening its venue for concerts. The Cargo Concert Hall has been closed throughout the pandemic, except for private events.

The first concert is slated for October. Attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result received within 72 hours of the show. Everyone will be required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.