Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.
Sparks seeing record high prices for single-family homes
By Noah Glick
Prospective home buyers in northern Nevada are facing record high home prices, at least in the Sparks area. The latest data from the Reno-Sparks Association of REALTORS shows the median price for the Sparks/Spanish Springs market reached $504,000 in September. That’s up from the month prior and is the highest since July’s $500,000 mark.
The median home price for the greater Reno/Sparks area remained at $530,000 for the fourth-straight month, but that number is still up 20.5% from September 2020.
COVID-19 metrics declining, as Washoe Co. drops to "high" risk level
By Noah Glick
The state of Nevada - and Washoe County - are seeing an overall decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations, but in Washoe County, the test positivity rate suggests broad community spread of the virus.
According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16.8% of tests in the county are coming back positive. And Nevada's dashboard shows a test positivity rate of 11.3%. Both are much higher than the 5% rate recommended by the World Health Organization before governments reopen.
Statewide, things are looking better though. According to the state dashboard, about 8% of tests are coming back positive, and more than 54% of eligible Nevadans have completed their vaccination.
California developer acquires Tahoe Biltmore for $56.8M
By The Associated Press
A California developer has acquired the 75-year-old Tahoe Biltmore Lodge & Casino at Crystal Bay along the California-Nevada line on the north shore of Lake Tahoe for $56.8 million.
The Newport Beach-based real estate firm EKN Development Group said in a statement it will continue to operate the 113-room hotel and 100-slot casino while finalizing plans for further development of the 15-acre site. EKN said it intends to develop the property “into a branded marquee destination for both locals and visitors to Lake Tahoe’s vibrant North Shore.”
The Nevada Appeal reports records at the Washoe County Recorder’s Office show EKN acquired the property last month from Boulder Bay LLC.
Washoe Co. receives grant to purchase flood-damaged homes
By Michelle Billman
Washoe County has received a federal grant to buy flood-damaged homes in Lemmon Valley.
The funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover the cost of five properties that were impacted by the flooding of Swan Lake in 2016 and 2017. The county is required to match the funding by contributing roughly $345,000.
The Board of Commissioners approved the grant Tuesday. The plan is to demolish the homes so that the area has open space to mitigate flooding in the future.
Washoe Commission delays vote on proposed fee for public records requests
By KUNR Staff
Washoe County commissioners have delayed a vote on a proposal related to public records requests that would allow local officials to charge for the cost of labor. The Reno Gazette-Journal is reporting that the proposed fees would range from roughly $20 to $50 an hour, depending on what level of county employee is involved in the workload.
One recent request for 300,000 emails was cited, with county officials saying it would have taken 5,000 hours to complete the request. Nevada law stipulates that governmental bodies can charge for actual costs of public records requests, which might include paper, postage, and ink.
The agenda item has been tabled and will be picked up in a future meeting.
Effort to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Nevada advances in one rural county, stalls in another
By Jazmin Orozco-Rodriguez, The Nevada Independent
For the first time, Mineral County celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day this week. It’s a significant move for a county in rural Nevada, where Native communities still face obstacles to getting recognition, even as Indigenous Peoples’ Day is increasingly celebrated across the nation.
In the past, Mineral County, home to a portion of the Walker River Paiute Tribe’s reservation, has only celebrated Columbus Day on the second Monday of October, but this year, the rural county joined the state’s urban centers in honoring the local Paiute community.
The Mineral County Board of Commissioners recently voted unanimously to proclaim Monday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day after Walker River Paiute Tribe Chairman Amber Torres asked them to take up the issue.
In neighboring Lyon County, commissioners didn’t get that far. The topic sparked debate, but commissioners ultimately couldn’t agree on a proclamation and will take up the issue at a meeting next month.
Nevada election official to keep tax measures on 2022 ballot
By The Associated Press
Nevada’s Republican Secretary of State doesn’t plan to remove two tax measures from the 2022 ballot that Democratic lawmakers bargained to be withdrawn.
In a letter first published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Barbara Cegavske wrote that state law required she include the sales and gambling tax measures on the ballot. Democrats bargained with the petitioners to withdraw the measures months ago, worried that their inclusion could allow Republicans to frame the election around taxes.
Cegavske's stance is at odds with a opinion issued by the Attorney General's office and sets the stage for legal battles over whether to put the measures on the ballot.
Note: A previous version omitted the test positivity rate, as posted to the state of Nevada's COVID-19 dashboard. That has since been added.