Sparks | KUNR


An image of indigenous students gathered in a gymnasium, holding signs that read "Honor Us," and "We are still here"
David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.

A pair of BEARPAW brand shoes placed on a rock in front of Lake Tahoe.
Courtesy of BEARPAW for NNBW

Here’s the latest business news from around Northern Nevada, with Business Beat from the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

An image of a dog jumping over a hurdle during an agility exercise.
Courtesy / Zoom Room Reno

Here’s the latest business news from around Northern Nevada, with Business Beat from the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

A brightly lit room with two rectangle tables pushed together to create a square. There are baby blue-colored rolling chairs around the table and multicolored paper planes on the wall. Two tractors are visible outside the window.
Courtesy of Q&D Construction / ©

The Our Place shelter in Sparks began moving in families experiencing homelessness about a year ago. There is space for roughly 140 women and 40 families, and the facility is at, or near, capacity every day. KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck checked in with Washoe County Human Services Director Amber Howell to learn what strides the facility and its residents have made and what challenges they’re still facing.

KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Sparks City Council Ward 1

Oct 16, 2020
KUNR 2020 voter guide for Sparks City Council Ward 1. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

In this race, two millennials look to represent the heart of Sparks. Incumbent Donald Abbott, a business owner, was first elected in 2016 as the youngest Sparks City Councilmember ever and considers the creation of the Sparks Senior Citizens Advisory Committee as one of his top accomplishments. Wendy Stolyarov owns Bighorn Communications, a firm that works primarily with labor groups, and previously ran for mayor in 2018. She includes housing, wages and equality as her top priorities.

Spark’s Ward 1 encompasses southwestern Sparks, including Downtown Sparks. Municipal races in Nevada are non-partisan.

A woman stands behind a podium to ask members of the Community Homelessness Advisory Board a question at a public meeting.
Stephanie Serrano

Soon local women, children and families experiencing homelessness will have their own shelter to stay in. The Washoe County Board of Commissioners has approved nearly $15 million to fund the Our Place Homeless Housing Project in Sparks. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano reports the shelter will have 265 beds.

Bree Zender

The the LGBTQ-rights focused nonprofit, Human Rights Campaign, recently released a study concerning how inclusive city policies and services are to folks in the LGBTQ community. The report rates cities around the country on their non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership's public position on equality.

Yama Rongomas

Over the weekend, The Nugget Casino Resort hosted its annual Best in the West Rib Cook-Off. As Reno Public Radio’s Yama Rongomas reports, the event brings together families from across the country.

Marcus Lavergne/Reno Public Radio

On its 30th anniversary, the popular Reno-Sparks annual car festival, Hot August Nights, is back for the weekend. The event attracts people from all over the world to a place a place of car enthusiast camaraderie where they can view vast classic car collections and sell their wares. Our reporter Marcus Lavergne went to one exhibition at the Livestock Event Center and put together this audio postcard:

For more on the  Hot August Nights events happening this weekend head to:

Julia Ritchey

Sparks' Mayor Geno Martini says despite steady economic gains, he’d like to see the state revisit its cap on property taxes to help cash-strapped local governments. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

Giving his annual state of the city address on Monday, Mayor Martini says Sparks is venturing forward with what he calls renewed enthusiasm and an eye toward prosperity.

Public Memorial Announced For State Sen. Debbie Smith

Feb 22, 2016

  Funeral services have been announced for Nevada Sen. Debbie Smith, who died yesterday at the age of 60.

A public memorial will be held this Sunday, Feb. 28, at noon at Sparks High School. The family is asking in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation for brain cancer research.

The Sparks lawmaker was first elected to the state Assembly in 2000 and won a seat in the Senate in 2012. She won several lawmaker of the year awards and was the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In the next two decades, the City of Sparks is expected to grow from about 93,000 residents to 120,000, which makes it a really good time to update the city's master plan. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

The master plan will shape a uniform vision on maintaining and improving critical services like transportation, public safety, and utilities. Some components of the current plan haven't been updated in 25 years, and a lot's changed in that time


Esther Ciammachilli

Businesses and real estate around the Sparks Marina took a hard hit after the recession and both have been slow to regain momentum. That, together with some high-profile ecological issues, has left many in the area with mixed perceptions about the health and vitality of this lake community. For our series, Beyond Tahoe: Exploring Our Waterways, Reno Public Radio’s Esther Ciammachilli reports.

Lisa G. is known as the Mayor of the Sparks Marina. She’s the owner of Marina Paddle Fit, one of the only businesses currently open there. Lisa takes great pride in this lake.

Julia Ritchey

  Developers broke ground on a new multi-use development in downtown Sparks today (Monday). Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there and has more.

The mixed-used community by Silverwing Development will include more than 200 condos and 8,000 square feet of retail space in the historic Victorian Square.

The project represents a $35 million investment in downtown Sparks and has city officials, like councilwoman Julia Ratti, touting a new era for their long-neglected city center.


Another person in Washoe County is infected with West Nile Virus. That makes two confirmed in the last week, as well as one horse in Washoe Valley. 

The Washoe County Health District reports the latest individual lives near Hidden Valley in east Reno and was hospitalized for several days with the neuroinvasive form of the virus. This form can access and infect the nervous system and cause symptoms such as fever, muscle and joint pain and headache.  

Jocelyn Lantrip: Food Bank of Northern Nevada

Approximately 48 percent of students in the Washoe County School District qualify for free lunch at school, but hunger can be risk during the summer months when these meals aren't available. 

Transportation officials are celebrating a $16 million federal grant that they'll use to better connect bus lines from downtown Reno to downtown Sparks. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss attended Tuesday's press conference at Reno's 4th Street bus station where discussion of the project spurred a larger conversation about the compounding transportation needs in Washoe County and nationwide. 

Senator Dean Heller says Nevada's goal of enticing Tesla Motors to build a $5 billion battery plant near Sparks could be thwarted if voters approve the ballot initiative for a 2 percent margins tax this November.

The Republican lawmaker says he'll voice his opposition to the margins tax strongly because of how it would raise the corporate income tax. He says the initiative would hinder one of Nevada's major advantages in the race among multiple states to reel in Tesla.