Washoe County

A sign with an American flag that says, “Vote here/Vote aquí,” stuck into the grass next to a tree. The background is out of focus.
Trevor Bexon

Lawmakers in Nevada approved a bill to send every registered voter in the state an absentee ballot ahead of the 2020 election. However, where will one’s ballot be sent if they are experiencing homelessness? KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck talked to Heather Carmen, the Assistant Registrar of Voters for Washoe County, about how to send and receive a ballot if you don’t have stable housing or an address.

A photo of a lined piece of paper with math equations, with a pen resting on top.
BackOnTheBus / Flickr Creative Commons

Lee en español. 

Last week, José Piceno started his fifth year as a math teacher at Sparks High School in Washoe County.  

High schools in the county are operating with a hybrid model this fall, meaning some coursework is in-person and some is online. 

Our reporter Natalie Van Hoozer talked to Piceno about his experience returning to the classroom. 

A photography class. Students are sitting down and looking toward a stage with lights and cameras.
Leo P. Hidalgo / Flickr Creative Commons

Hunter Rand works as a video production and broadcast journalism instructor at Spanish Springs High School in Washoe County. He’s only been a teacher for one school year, so the pandemic has already impacted a significant portion of his teaching career.

KUNR reporter Natalie Van Hoozer spoke with Rand to explore how he’s been preparing for school starting back up.

Two people hold signs. One says, “I can teach from a distance but not from a grave,” and “Please don’t kill my wife.”
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Many Washoe County teachers and parents protested the reopening of schools before the Board of Trustees’ first in-person meeting since March. Despite the teachers’ pleas, the board confirmed that school will be starting in person on Monday, August 17.

Two women hold signs that say, “It’s time to use our outside voices children are not guinea pigs!” and, “Keep our educators off ventilators.”
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Public schools in Washoe County are slated to reopen on August 17. In response, many teachers protested outside of the health district and school district buildings yesterday. They want the return to the physical classroom to be postponed, and they’re asking for increased safety measures when schools reopen. 

A sign on the ground that says, "Ban Chokeholds," covered in spotted shade from a tree.
Ty C. O’Neil / This Is Reno / Nevada News

Black Lives Matter protests have erupted across the country, and in Nevada, and with them, demands for police reform. In response, lawmakers in Nevada have approved a bill meant to change how law enforcement officers in the state handle arrests, but activists say there’s more to be done.

School board members meeting on a Zoom call.
Screenshot / Washoe County School District Via Zoom

A looming decision on whether or not the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees would honor their plans to return to in-person learning in the fall was determined late Tuesday night. Students, teachers and supporting staff will be going back to school in person this fall.

Red and blue lights flashing on top of a police car.
AARON ANDERER / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The City of Reno held a virtual town hall on June 22 with top county law enforcement officials to discuss a study on policing in Washoe County. The study was completed back in 2018 by the Guinn Center, a nonprofit, bipartisan organization. Town hall participants examined what work has been done to improve community policing since the study was released, along with what work remains to be done. KUNR’s Jayden Perez spoke with Nancy Brune, executive director of the Guinn Center, to learn more.

Two people sitting across from each other in front of a curtain. A sign language interpreter is on a screen to the top left.
Screenshot / City of Reno Via YouTube

Top law enforcement officials in Washoe County spoke during a town hall on Monday, June 22, about some of the steps their agencies are looking at to improve community policing as the national discussion on law enforcement reform continues to unfold.

There is a red ball in the forefront, a tricycle and playground house in the middle, and a tan building in the background.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR

Washoe County has officially opened the doors to Our Place to Grow, a shelter for unhoused families with children in Sparks. Units for women will be opening soon as well. The county provided $2 million for the facility, which is run by the homelessness advocacy nonprofit called Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality, also known as RISE. KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck spoke with the executive director, Benjamin Castro, about what sets Our Place to Grow apart from other shelters.

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.

Civil Unrest In Reno: May 30 Through June 3

May 30, 2020
The exterior of Reno City Hall. Police tape and a dumpster are surrounding the entrance. Broken windows are boarded.
Bree Zender / KUNR

4:55 p.m. | June 3, 2020

Acting City of Reno Manager Jason Soto is directing the Reno Police Department to craft a new formal policy where officers must intervene when they see other officers use excessive force.

A medical student administers a COVID-19 swab test through the window of a car.
Brin Reynolds / University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

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.

In mid-march, The American Association of Medical Colleges recommended that medical schools suspend clinical rotations because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A medical student performing a COVID-19 swab test through a car window. Another medical student is holding a bag to place the test in afterward.
Brin Reynolds / University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

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.

The COVID-19 pandemic has moved the education of students at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine online. To help during the crisis, more than 70 of them are now volunteering throughout Northern Nevada.

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.

Nurse holds COVID-19 Sample Kit
Bree Zender / KUNR Public Radio

If you’re starting to feel sick, what do you do? Sore throat, exhaustion, trouble breathing... No doubt at that point you’d have COVID-19 on your mind.

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.

Several tents are being dismantled.
Stephanie Serrano / KUNR Public Radio

137 tents that were turned into homes by people living on the streets of Reno were removed by law enforcement on Wednesday, March 4.

Editor's note: this story contains adult language. 

A microscopic picture of COVID-19
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases / Flickr, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

An official from the Washoe County Health District said the county doesn’t have adequate staffing to respond to a possible outbreak of coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Census taker walking up to the front door of a residence.
U.S. Census Bureau

The 2020 U.S. Census kicked off this month and Census Bureau representatives are bolstering their recruitment efforts in Nevada.

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