KUNR Today: Legal Battle Over Lithium Mine Continues, South Lake Tahoe Getting Ice Hockey Team | KUNR

KUNR Today: Legal Battle Over Lithium Mine Continues, South Lake Tahoe Getting Ice Hockey Team

Jul 22, 2021

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, July 22, 2021.

New Reno Event To Honor Local Black Community Members
By Jayden Perez

Local organizers are holding a new event in Reno this weekend called Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Summerfest. The festival will feature music, food and art. It’s also designed to create discussion around human and civil rights.

The Northern Nevada Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee will host the Summerfest. The committee is made up of government officials, along with members of multiple organizations including the Reno/Sparks NAACP. KaPreace Renae Young, with UNR’s Center for Student Engagement, is also on the committee.

“I think it’s important that we understand that we don’t have to limit ourselves to celebrating a person or a culture just based on a day that was designated for them, or on a month that is given to them, so us having this event in the summertime shows that Black history is present all times of the year,” Young said.

The event will include the painting of a mural featuring Black men and women who have served the local community.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Summerfest will be held Saturday afternoon at Pat Baker Park from 1 to 4 pm.

Arbitrator Agrees To Some Police Union Requests For Benefits, State May Appeal
By KUNR Staff

An arbitrator has sided with the Nevada Police Union over the state of Nevada regarding certain benefits for law enforcement officers.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, law enforcement has requested pay increases and other incentives based on seniority and education.

The state is looking to appeal the decision. Stephanie Klapstein is a spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Administration. She told the newspaper that the state doesn’t have the authority to provide the funds because the legislature did not authorize them before the session recently ended.

The police union also requested that they should be able to limit access to body-camera footage, but that was denied by the arbitrator.

Nevada Judge Issues Formal Stay Of Execution Pending Appeals
By The Associated Press

A Nevada judge has issued his formal stay of execution for a convicted killer of four people whose lethal injection would be the first in the state in 15 years.
 

The written order issued Tuesday followed a June 28 ruling by a federal judge in Las Vegas that stopped the state’s plan to put Zane Michael Floyd to death until at least Oct. 18. Appeals also are pending before the Nevada Supreme Court and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
 

Floyd's attorneys argue the state's never-before-used lethal injection plan would amount to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. Senate Considering Path To Citizenship For Farm Workers
By Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

U.S. Senators discussed a potential path to citizenship for undocumented farm workers Wednesday.

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would create a path for farm workers to gain citizenship in the U.S., and bolster protections for them. Some Republicans fear it could add to an increasing influx of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, even though it would take years for farmers to get citizenship through the bill, but most supported changes the act would make to the H-2A visa program, opening it up to year-round visas and providing more stable pay.

Shay Myers farms on the Oregon/Idaho border. Visa farmers were delayed at the Mexico border for 90 days after Myers needed them. He lost his entire asparagus crop.

“I had to go online and give it all away to any food pantry or family that was willing to come and harvest it,” Myers said.

It’s a work-intensive crop, and the first of many Myers sees leaving the U.S. without effective immigration policies.

“Since 1994, over 90% of all asparagus production has left this country. I still grow asparagus but I can’t for much longer if we don’t have a workforce and an immigration policy that works,” Myers said.

Some estimates show at least half of farm workers don’t have legal documentation. They often face poor or abusive working conditions, but without them, food production in the U.S. struggles.

Judge Hears Fight Over Lithium Mine On Nevada-Oregon Line
By The Associated Press

A judge in Nevada is considering legal challenges to government approval of a mine at the largest known U.S. deposit of lithium. U.S.
 

District Judge Miranda Du said Wednesday she'll decide by the end of the month whether to grant the conservationists' bid for a temporary ban on any digging at the site near the Nevada-Oregon line because of potential harm to sage grouse and other wildlife.
 

She also agreed to an expedited review of a new request from a Nevada tribe to join the legal battle. The tribe is seeking a similar restraining order based on its claim the mine would disturb sacred tribal burial grounds.

Endurance Athlete From Nevada Dies Near Summit In Yosemite
By The Associated Press

A Nevada man has been found dead in Yosemite National Park after failing to return from a weekend hike. The National Park Service says the body of 61-year-old Fred Zalokar of Reno was found and recovered on Tuesday near the summit of Mount Clark.
 

The Reno Gazette Journal reports that Zalokar was an accomplished endurance athlete. Park officials say Zalokar was day hiking on July 17 to the summit of 11,522-foot Mount Clark using an off-trail route from Bunnell Point. He had planned to return to Yosemite Valley.
 

The park says the death is under investigation and no further information is available.
 

South Lake Tahoe Getting New Hockey Team
By Jayden Perez

South Lake Tahoe will soon be home to a U.S. Premier Hockey League team this year.

The Lake Tahoe Lakers will play in the Premier Pacific Division of the league at the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena. The team’s ownership group also owns two other teams, the Charlotte Rush and the Charleston Colonials.