Michelle Billman

News Director

Michelle Billman (formerly Bliss) moved to the Silver State from North Carolina where she led the award-winning public radio newsroom in Wilmington. During her time down South, Michelle earned two regional Edward R. Murrow awards for her coverage of local politics and the water contamination scandal at Camp Lejeune. She also completed her master's degree in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Here in Reno, she's garnered four news awards from the Associated Press Television and Radio Association, which covers 13 Western states, for her reporting on the use of equine therapy for stressed out adults, how one organization in Truckee is helping athletes with life-altering injuries, and efforts by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony to preserve their sacred cultural practices.

When she's not covering a local story, Michelle works on other nonfiction writing projects, which have appeared in literary journals like River Teeth and Ninth Letter

Ways to Connect

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

A tribute video for the slain police officers in Dallas has gone viral. Our News Director Michelle Billman reports that it features a poem performed by a member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Let's take a listen.

University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

The University of Nevada School of Medicine has changed its name to the University of Nevada, *Reno* School of Medicine. Let's turn to our news director Michelle Billman to learn why.

The change sounds like a teeny tweak, but it signifies a major shift away from UNLV in southern Nevada, which is developing its own med school. Spokeswoman Anne McMillin says it also reflects a growing presence in northern and rural Nevada.

Marcus Lavergne

Several agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, have banned off-roading for vehicles in western Nevada because of high fire danger. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Billman reports.

The ban is a response to the ongoing drought and tinder-dry vegetation. Charles Moore is chief of the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. He says under the rule, vehicles are only allowed on existing paved, gravel, and dirt roads, not anywhere else.

TMCC

The new president of Truckee Meadows Community College has been in office for two weeks now. Our News Director Michelle Billman has the details.

Karin Hilgersom wants to continue capitalizing on the things TMCC is doing well, like working with area employers to tailor classroom lessons to industry needs.

She also wants to expand the school's partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno to grow accelerated learning options for TMCC students.

Chris Vega/courtesy of ThisisReno.com

Electric carmaker Tesla has received and sold about 20 million dollars in transferrable Nevada tax credits as it starts tapping into a hefty incentive package that lured its battery factory to the state.

Tesla confirmed Monday that it sold the credits to casino company MGM in an arrangement first reported by ThisisReno. Bob Conrad runs that online news site and he's also a KUNR contributor.

Brittany Hogan / CC BY-SA 2.0

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down an abortion law in Texas. Our News Director Michelle Billman checked in with local advocates on both sides to hear their thoughts on the controversial ruling.

The court voted 5-3 in opposition to portions of a Texas law that required abortion providers to have admitting privileges with a nearby hospital and to meet the standards of surgical centers in the state.

Washoe County Sheriff's Office

While fighting the Hawken Fire in south Reno this week, a helicopter for the Regional Aviation Enforcement Unit, or RAVEN, was almost hit by a drone. Our News Director Michelle Billman spoke to the pilot to learn more about the scare. 

Doug Russell with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, which runs the RAVEN unit, was flying at nearly 90 miles per hour when a drone came within 50 feet of his aircraft.

Alexa Ard

Because of a new state law, two of the four open seats on the Washoe County school board were decided in Tuesday's primary. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Billman explains.

Candidates who get more than 50 percent of the primary votes are declared winners and don't have to go to the general election. That happened for Incumbent Angie Taylor in District E and newcomer Scott Kelley in District A. 

Taylor was appointed to the board at the end of 2014 and says her leadership since then has sparked real change.

justgrimes / CC BY-SA 2.0

Some state races will be decided in Tuesday's primary. That happens in Nevada when all of the primary candidates for one race are from the same party, and it means that with low voter turnout, very few people will actually have a say about who some of their elected officials will be.

“A primary is not a general election. We’re going to likely see at best  9 or 10 percent of eligible voters," says political analyst and TMCC instructor Fred Lokken. "How can you make a decision in that atmosphere?”

After losing by a mere 11 votes back in 2014, Republican Lisa Krasner is running for Assembly District 26 once again. Because her challenger Jason Guinasso is also a Republican, the race will be decided in Tuesday's primary. We recently profiled Guinasso, and so now we'll be focusing on Krasner. Our News Director Michelle Billman has more.

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