Michelle Bliss

News

Michelle 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.

When she's not covering a local story, Michelle is often working on other nonfiction writing projects, which have appeared in literary journals like River Teeth and Ninth Letter. Outside of writing, Michelle enjoys watching Hokie football games, eating at diners, and hiking with her husband Scott and their three pups: Katie, Cooper, and Mosey.  In April of 2014, Michelle and Scott welcomed a new addition to the Bliss family: a baby girl!

Ways To Connect

The Nevada legislature is more than halfway through its 120-day session. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss caught up with Fred Lokken, professor of political science at Truckee Meadows Community College, to discuss what he says is one of the most unproductive and dysfunctional sessions in state history. 

Lokken has been studying Nevada politics for 24 years and says that with Republicans in charge of both the Assembly and Senate, this session has brought to light an embarrassing amount of infighting.

Governor Brian Sandoval's tax plan has cleared the Senate. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the proposal now heads to the Assembly where it'll face tough opposition.

Only four senators voted against the proposal, while 17 came out in support. That's more than the required two-thirds majority vote needed, and it's a margin that surprised even Governor Sandoval.

www.fws.gov

The bi-state sage grouse, found only in Nevada and California, will not be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

All of the stakeholders involved in saving the Mono Basin sage grouse from extinction offered the same message at Tuesday's press conference in Reno on how the bird has avoided the need for federal protection:

"This collaborative partnership is a model for effective, long-term conservation," said Tony Wasley, director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

The Nevada Assembly has approved a measure requiring parental notification before a minor can receive an abortion. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that lawmakers passed AB 405 in a 24-17 party-line vote on Friday.

The bill would require physicians to send written notification to the parents or guardians of a minor seeking an abortion. It also requires a 48-hour wait time before the procedure.

Regional Transportation Commission

The controversial Southeast Connector roadway project received final federal approval this week. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the thoroughfare will eventually connect South Reno to Sparks, easing congestion on Interstate 580 by offering an alternate route to many job sites, including Tesla's gigafactory.

At a press conference held by the Regional Transportation Commission Thursday in Reno, RTC Chair Neoma Jardon said this is more than just a new road, it's a job creator.

A detective and former president of the local police union has been named the interim chief of Reno Police. Jason Soto steps into that role Friday when Chief Steve Pitts retires. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

Soto has served the department for 18 years, working closely with Pitts and spending several of those years as chief polygraph examiner.

City Manager Andrew Clinger says that work, along with Soto's experience leading the union, has uniquely prepared him to take the reigns during this time of transition.

Sandoval Orders Drought Forum

Apr 8, 2015
gov.nv.gov

Governor Brian Sandoval has issued an executive order to create a panel for studying and combating Nevada's severe drought. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that Sandoval announced the order Wednesday during a press conference at Washoe Lake State Park.

The order will create a Nevada Drought Forum designed to study and analyze state water use and potential areas for water savings. Sandoval's order also requires a water audit of all state-owned facilities.

David Parks

Therapies that are meant to turn young gay people straight could soon be banned in Nevada. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Democratic Senator David Parks is sponsoring a bill that would outlaw psychotherapists and social workers from providing what's called "sexual conversion therapy" to patients under 18. He says the practice is unethical and unscientific. Ron Lawrence, a marriage and family therapist in Las Vegas, agrees.

A bill under review by Nevada lawmakers would require all businesses in Nevada to offer paid sick leave to employees. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Under Senate Bill 259 all workers would earn at least an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours on the clock. That benefit would kick in after a worker has been on the job for 90 days. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford sponsored the measure and testified at a Senate committee meeting Monday.

Alexa Ard

Len Downie spent 17 years as the executive editor for the Washington Post. During that time, the paper won 25 Pulitzer prizes. And before that, he helped supervise the Post’s coverage of Watergate as deputy metro editor. Now, Len is a professor of journalism for the Cronkite School at Arizona State University. He was recently in Reno, visiting the Reynolds School of Journalism here at UNR and stopped by our studios.

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