News

Julia Ritchey

With the Iowa caucuses behind them, presidential candidates must now turn their attention to the next few battleground states like New Hampshire and Nevada. In a nod to the importance of the rural vote, several candidates have made stops in Elko this election season. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey sat down with veteran Elko Daily Free Press reporter Marianne McKown to learn more about the issues that matter most to these voters.  Below are shortened excerpts of their conversation.

A Local Take On Solitary Confinement For Minors

Feb 1, 2016
Ken Mayer / FLICKR.CC / ATTRIBUTION 2.0 GENERIC

President Barack Obama recently issued an executive order that bans the use of solitary confinement on juvenile offenders in federal prisons. Reno Public Radio’s Marcus Lavergne got a local expert’s take on this change. 

In most cases, juveniles locked in solitary confinement cells will experience limited contact and long periods without much natural light. This can be for days, weeks or even months.

Brett Levin, CC by 2.0

Elko is extending its ban on medical marijuana shops despite comments from residents who want it lifted.

Elko Daily Free Press reporter Marianne McKown says most people who attended the meeting last week spoke in favor of the dispensaries.

“Pretty much everybody who got up said that they were for lifting the ban on medical marijuana,” she says, “because it’s already hard enough to find doctors; we shouldn’t eliminate being able to get our medicine.”

courtesy andyhedges.com

Elko's 32nd annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering wrapped up this weekend with song, dance and spoken word. Our reporter Julia Ritchey was there and talked with a Texas performer who's among the younger generation trying to keep this folk tradition alive. Below are excerpts of their conversation.

Andy Hedges hails from Lubbock, Texas, where at the age of 14 he began playing guitar and collecting traditional cowboy poems and folk songs introduced to him by his father.

Rainshadow Community Charter High School

The 113 students at Rainshadow Community Charter High School in Reno will get to continue their courses this spring despite the school's teetering finances. The Washoe County School Board voted Wednesday to keep the facility open--at least for right now. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Billman has the story.

In order to avoid a large deficit this spring, the school has proposed slashing salaries by 16% and cutting three positions. The changes will keep the school just slightly in the black, but there are risks.

Sergei Scurfield / Flickr, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

Nevada has seen steady economic recovery for the last five years, and now has the lowest unemployment rate since 2008. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

Unemployment has fallen to 6.4 percent, down from a high of 13.7 percent in 2010. Jobs have increased for 60 straight months, and small business employment is up to nearly its pre-recession peak.

Bill Anderson is Nevada’s chief economist, and he says a lot of this growth comes from filling in those jobs that were lost during the recession.

FDA Bans Toxic Chemicals, But Is It Too Late?

Jan 29, 2016
University of Nevada, Reno

Our newsroom recently received a puzzling press release from a national organization called the Environmental Working Group. It says that next month, the FDA will start banning certain toxic chemicals from being used in some food packaging such as card-box pizza and microwave popcorn bags.

These chemicals are called PFCs, or perfluorinated compounds, and they’re used to make products that can resist heat, grease and water.

Banning them sounds like good news, right?

Julia Ritchey

Cowboys and cowgirls have convened in Elko for the 32nd annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering, celebrating the oral traditions of the Old West. Reporter Julia Ritchey is there and has more.

From spontaneous jam sessions to spoken-word performances, the event draws nearly 6,000 people and has become a major boon to the local economy.

“These next three days are the busiest days all year for us,” says Jessie Deleon, a bartender at the Duncan Middle Creek Bar & Gallery in downtown Elko.

Growth Puts Strain On Local Housing Market

Jan 28, 2016
Dan Moyle/ Flickr.cc / Attribution 2.0 Generic

The housing market is facing an inventory shortage, while buyers are struggling to find affordable pricing. Reno Public Radio’s Marcus Lavergne has more on the housing dilemma in Northern Nevada.

With economic growth pulling more people into Washoe County and the outlying region, realtors are having a tougher time finding homes that suit their buyers.

John Graham with the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors says the market has less than three months of housing inventory. The national average is around six to eight months. Fewer houses means higher prices.

Reno, Washoe Fire Divorce (Finally) Settled

Jan 28, 2016
Carla O'Day / ThisisReno.com

Washoe County and the City of Reno held a press conference Wednesday to announce that they’ve reached a settlement over the region’s so-called fire divorce to deconsolidate fire services. Bob Conrad from ThisisReno was there and has the latest update on this story.

Washoe County will pay the city nearly $450,000, and both say they’re ready to put the matter behind them. They also stress that this settlement will save taxpayers from the costly litigation.

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