BACK TO SCHOOL IN WASHOE COUNTY — Today is the first day of school for Washoe County students, and after an interim year in the position, Traci Davis, the district’s new superintendent, says she and her staff are ready for the 63,000 kids heading back. Davis has been meeting with each department in the district, from bus drivers to administrators over the last few weeks, to make sure everything is in place for kids when they return this week. Davis is excited about the prospects for the year ahead. Davis says the district still has around 80 teaching positions open, so if you’d like to get involved, check out their website at www.washoeschools.net.
SPEAKING OF SCHOOL STARTING — Every year students get their list of the school supplies they’ll need for the year. This past weekend the supply stores were packed with parents scrambling to get those supplies. Sean Burke, owner of Parent Teacher Aids, says they expect parents to be collecting supplies through the first week, and it’s more than just what’s on the list. One of your child’s most important tools is a smartphone. Free apps like ‘InClass’ and ‘myHomework’ can help your child organize an entire schedule. Once school starts, it doesn’t get less stressful. According to the American Psychological Association, one in four students experience extreme stress during the school year.
JEB BUSH IN RENO WEDNESDAY — Jeb Bush will visit Reno Wednesday. The former governor of Florida will appear at the Hyatt Place across from the Reno-Tahoe Airport at noon, with doors opening at 11 am. This will be the third time Bush has visited northern Nevada. The event is free to the public.
RTC CLOSES VICTORIAN AVE IN SPARKS IN AUGUST — The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County is reminding everyone that they are closing Victorian Avenue in Sparks until the end of the month for some improvements before the Best of the West Nugget Rib Cook comes to town. RTC’s Joe Harrington says they do have a short detour around the closure. To get updated on the project, take look at their website atwww.rtcwashoe.com The project is expected to be complete by August 31, but may be extended after the cook off if there’s a lot rain between now and then.
LAKE TAHOE TAGGING INCREASES — Since the start of summer, police in Lake Tahoe have seen more graffiti vandals tagging parks and on historical landmarks, and are now asking the public to share what they know about the incidents. Most recently, on July 26th, taggers defaced the bridge near Lam Watah Trail and the historical markers along the trail. Locals removed the paint themselves. Douglas County Sheriff Sgt. Pat Brooks doesn’t think it’s gang related and hopes witnesses will come forward with more information.
SECOND USFS FIRE FIGHTING FATALITY – U.S. Forest Service officials say a wildland firefighter was killed late Saturday afternoon in the Lake Tahoe area. Michael Hallenbeck, 21, from Sacramento, was struck by a falling tree and died from his injuries. Forest Service representatives say the incident happened Saturday afternoon during the initial firefighting efforts on the Sierra Fire in a remote area between the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the El Dorado National Forest. A second firefighter injured in that incident was treated and released from a local hospital. Hallenbeck is the second California firefighter to die battling wildfire this year, as a series of lightning strikes ignited blazes in the drought-parched Sierra Nevada over the weekend.
WEST NILE VIRUS POOL FOUND IN PERSHING COUNTY — The Nevada Department of Agriculture’s (NDA) Animal Disease and Food Safety Laboratory confirms a West Nile Virus positive mosquito pool has been discovered in Pershing County. The mosquitoes were collected south of Rye Patch Dam at the end of July. One other West Nile Virus positive pool was previously identified in Washoe County.
HOT AUGUST NIGHTS A SUCCESS FOR RENO & SPARKS — Hot August Nights wrapped up Sunday, and Reno Police are calling it a success. Only five arrests were made over the entire week-long event, with charges including minor in possession, drug use and littering. Police say arrests were down significantly from last year, when they arrested 14 people.
NEVADA HOSTS LONGEST U.S. OFF-ROAD RACE: “VEGAS TO RENO” — In just 4 days, hundreds of off roaders will race across the Nevada desert in what’s billed as the longest off-highway race in the United States. The General Tire “Vegas to Reno” race, a 30-hour, two-day marathon begins Aug. 14th just south of Beatty and ends Aug. 15th in Dayton. The 545-mile race, now in its 19th year, is put on by the “Best in the Desert Racing Association.” The route is a combination of maintained gravel, rough dirt roads and washes on public lands through Nye, Esmeralda, Mineral, Churchill and Lyon counties.
NEVADANS TOP FOR FOOD ALLERGIES — Nevada is among the states with the highest overall prevalence of food allergies. Dana Morris of Food Allergy Research and Education says adult-onset food allergies are growing. The most common food allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts. For years it was suggested that parents withhold allergenic foods until one year of age, but new research says that may be counterproductive. A study more than 600 children considered at high-risk found that only 3% of kids who regularly eat peanuts had a peanut allergy by age five, compared to 17% of those kids who avoided peanuts completely.
SUSANVILLE DODGE FIRE STILL SPREADING — The Dodge Fire continues burning north of Susanville. It has burned 10,570 acres, it is 65% contained and it continues to spread. Firefighters estimate containing the fire by Tuesday. Investigators say the fire started a week ago during a tree-cutting operation. No structures are threatened, but the fire is burning in protected Sage Grouse habitat. There has been difficulty getting resources to fight the fire because there are so many other fires burning in California.
POLICE LOOKING FOR SPARKS HOTEL ROBBER — Sparks Police are looking for a man who robbed the Fairfield Inn on Brierley Way in Sparks early Saturday morning. Officers say the clerk at the Inn was approached by a black man, about 5’5″ tall, thin and wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt with a black nylon covering his face. The robber reportedly tackled the woman clerk and held a box cutter to her, while demanding money. Police say a patron interrupted the robbery and the suspect ran off with an undetermined amount of money. The clerk suffered minor injuries.
TMCC POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR NAMED TO POST — Governor Sandoval has appointed Fred Lokken, Political Science Professor at TMCC, to a higher education commission covering 15 western states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education is one of four U.S. compacts of cooperating states and territories, organized to support colleges and universities. Besides teaching at TMCC, Lokken is a frequent government and elections expert guest, appearing many times in local media, including on News Talk 780 KOH.
STATE SENATOR DEBBIE SMITH RECEIVES AWARD — State Senator Debbie Smith of Sparks has been given the “Capital Caregiver Award” at the National Conference of State Legislatures Summit in Seattle. The award recognizes her work to support family caregivers in Nevada. Smith was a leading voice supporting the passage of the “Care Act.” The new law, passed by unanimous vote and signed by Governor Brian Sandoval in May, takes effect on January 1st.
RENO SPARKS INDIAN COLONY MOVES — The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Chairman’s Office, and other key Administrative Offices have relocated to 34 Reservation Rd., in the heart of the Reno Colony, starting today. Chairman Arlan Melendez says the colony’s infrastructure is expanding and growing to meet the needs of the community. The renovation of existing structures that once housed the Tribal Health Clinic is part of a 16,000 square foot, $3 million construction project. They’ve also installed a solar project to generate a significant portion of electricity with the help of NV Energy’s “Solar Generations,” incentives.
RENO HOUSING FOR POOR HARD TO FIND — Affordable housing in Reno is getting hard to come by. Pat Cashell who manages a homeless shelter on Record Street says there are about 9 available units for every 100 people in the shelter. He says the state is last in the country for affordable housing.
NEVADA’S CANCER REPORT CARD IMPROVES — When it comes to fighting cancer, Nevada is getting a much better report card from the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network. Higher taxes on cigarettes, which are blamed for one in four cancer cases in the state, restrictions on underage use of tanning beds, and improved access to health insurance all helped improve the state’s ranking. Next goal: more smoking cessation programs in the Silver State.
PUBLIC WI-FI SAFETY STILL A CONCERN — The convenience of public wireless networks may come at a high cost. Nearly half of the respondents to a survey on Wi-Fi safety admitted online activities that could put their personal information at risk. A quarter of adult Internet users access public Wi-Fi at least once a week and are vulnerable. Tips: Don’t access e-mail, credit card or bank accounts on public Wi-Fi. And if you must shop online, use your cell signal, which is more secure than Wi-Fi.
NEVADA SCHOOLS MAY BE RUN BY OUTSIDERS – Eight charter school management organizations from 5 states (including Nevada) have expressed interest in running 78 chronic under-performing Nevada schools that may be assigned to the Governor’s proposed Achievement School District. The goal is to turn at least six of the state’s lowest-performing schools into charter schools. An organization will be picked to start managing the schools by Fall 2016.
WILL NEVADA POT ARRESTS INCREASE? Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks is no fan of marijuana. He predicts more marijuana arrests, not fewer, as medical marijuana dispensaries start to open around the state, and especially if recreational use is legalized. According to Hicks, Colorado now has underage people smoking pot at double the national average. Alcohol distributors are heavily involved in the effort to legalize recreational marijuana use in Nevada and have contributed more than $87K to the campaign to pass it. Why? Because under the initiative they’d have a monopoly on the legal business for the first 18 months.
WATER CONSUMERS CONTINUE TO CONSERVE — Customer response to a request for a voluntary 10% reduction in water use has again resulted in good news for the local water supply. Water demand for Truckee Meadows Water Authority for the month of July was 16% lower compared to July 2013. Since May, 1.25 billion gallons of water have been saved by TMWA customers over the first three months of the conservation campaign.
NV ENERGY SCAM ALERT — NV Energy says scammers pretending to work for the utility are calling to try to squeeze money out of its customers. The scammers are also using a method of making their number appear like the utility company is calling. The company does not call customers and solicit payments for ANY reason. Customers at risk of having their power interrupted receive notices by mail.
CARSON SHERIFF K-9S GET LIFE-SAVING VESTS! Carson Sheriff’s K-9 Unit is sporting a new piece of gear. Staff at Sierra Veterinary Hospital that care for the dogs rallied the community to raise money to buy state-of-the-art bullet proof vests for all five dogs in the unit. Deputy Brett Bindley says the dogs have a dangerous job and the vests could save their lives. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided the vests. Since 2009 they’ve provided over 1500 bullet- and knife-proof vests for law enforcement dogs throughout the country.
HOME PRICES & SALES KEEP ON RISIN’! Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors says the median sales price for an existing single family residence in July hit $291,990; an increase of 17% from July 2014 and a 5% increase from June 2015. Home sales in Washoe County are up 12% from a year ago.