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About 10 Truckee River rafters got lucky.

12noon Saturday:

A big family river-rafting outing on the Truckee River went terribly wrong near Riverhaven and Falling Water in west Reno today. Several family members in inner-tubes were tossed in to the still very cold waters of the Truckee. But Reno Fire-Rescue was on scene very quickly and over the course of an hour they were able rescue them all.

The Truckee River looks like fun from a-far. But it kills people just about every year when it’s running high after a heavy snow winter.

Climate Change triggering occasional forced outages for Tahoe area customers

Trying to stop this sort of tragedy….
Wikipedia photo

NV Energy may Shut Off Power for Safety to Reduce Risk of Wildfire in Lake Tahoe Basin
Changes in the climate and environment are contributing to an increased risk of wildfires in NV Energy’s service territory. In response to these changes, and to help protect our customers, equipment and environment from wildfires and extreme weather, NV Energy is implementing a number of measures which include, for the first time, Public Safety Outage Management (PSOM).   

During a PSOM event, NV Energy will shut off power in extreme fire-risk areas when certain environmental conditions are met in order to help prevent power lines and other equipment from causing a wildfire. These areas include the eastern/Nevada side of the Lake Tahoe basin and NV Energy’s northern California transmission territory, which serves other local utilities. NV Energy will also work with other utilities’ proactive de-energization plans that might impact our customers.

“The safety of customers, our natural resources and our electric system is NV Energy’s number one priority, and we are working to harden our electric grid to help reduce fire risk through efforts that include increasing vegetation management cycles, replacing wood poles with metal and installing wildfire alert cameras in high fire-risk areas,” said Kevin Geraghty, NV Energy senior vice president of operations. “While those are long-term strategies to help reduce the impacts of climate change, PSOM is something that can be done immediately in response to environmental conditions to help prevent wildfires and protect our community.”

No single factor will drive a PSOM event. NV Energy will work with a weather analytics expert to closely monitor several factors to determine whether to employ a PSOM event, including but not limited to: weather conditions, the amount of vegetation that can be used as fuel, wind gusts and speed, the location of existing fires and information from first responders.

NV Energy has been working closely with customers, local emergency agencies and government entities to determine how to best minimize the impact of any PSOM event. Additionally, NV Energy will contact impacted customers directly at least 48 hours in advance, if possible, of any PSOM event and provide ongoing updates through a variety of channels including news media, social media and nvenergy.com.

“We appreciate the support we have received over the past few months from the fire, police, and local emergency personnel in the high fire-risk areas as we work to implement this new process to protect the communities we serve,” said Geraghty. “Our outreach to stakeholders will continue as we work to communicate as much as we can with all impacted customers to help them understand PSOM and to be prepared for a possible event.”

In May of 2019, Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law Senate Bill 329, which calls for NV Energy to submit a natural disaster protection plan and outlines what types of measures the plan should contain, including proactive de-energization of power lines.

For more information on NV Energy’s wildfire risk mitigation efforts, including PSOM, please visit http://www.nvenergy.com/wildfiresafety.

In an era of mass shootings citizens and first responders must be better supported…

Governor Sisolak signing bills to hopefully curb gun violence in Nevada.  Archive photo

Governor Steve Sisolak has signed more legislation that tries to tackle the growing surge of mass shootings in the country, and certainly in Nevada. Banning the sale of “Bump Stocks,” training public school employees to detect problem behaviors that can lead to gun violence, proper and secure storage of firearms and a state program to financially compensate victims of gun violence.

From Governor Steve Sisolak:

I’d also like to thank the other leaders we have here today — Speaker Jason Frierson, Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo, and Commissioner Justin Jones — as well as all the community activists who have poured their heart and soul into curbing gun violence in our communities.

For the last 20 years we have lived with the reality of school shootings. And in October 2017, Nevada experienced the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history when a gunman opened fire on a concert in Las Vegas and, in a matter of minutes, killed 58 people and injured over 400.
This past session, Nevadans stood together and took bold action to try to prevent these tragedies in the future.

Assembly Bill 291 takes a comprehensive approach to preventing mass shootings and school shootings by establishing an Extreme Risk Law, requiring responsible storage and banning bump stocks.
Extreme Risk laws can help prevent mass shootings, school shootings, suicides, and more. That’s because perpetrators of mass shootings and school shootings often display warning signs before committing violent acts.

For example, students and teachers reported that the mass shooter in the February 2018 Parkland, Florida tragedy showed threatening behavior. His mother had contacted law enforcement on multiple occasions regarding his behavior and he was known to possess firearms. However, without an Extreme Risk law on the books, law enforcement couldn’t intervene.

In response to that tragedy, Florida passed its own Extreme Risk Law. Interventions in other states with Extreme Risk Laws have already prevented a number of potential tragedies. Extreme Risk Laws also empower families to give someone they love a second chance to get the help he or she needs in a time of crisis.

Tragically, a Nevadan takes his or her own life by firearm every 21 hours. AB 291 will also require Nevadans to store firearms responsibly to prevent access to firearms, especially by children. In up to 80% of incidents, shooters obtain their guns from home, their relative’s home or from friends.
This bill will also ban bump stocks, something I pledged to do when I was campaigning for governor. As Las Vegans know, the 1 October shooter used a bump stock to increase his efficiency in killling 58 people.

Not only are we here today to try and prevent future tragedies like 1 October, we’re also here to provide more assistance to victims, survivors, and those whose job it is to help them in their darkest times. As already mentioned, October 1, 2017, our state faced the unimaginable. Since then, we’ve learned many important and difficult lessons about how we can better serve victims. We can’t overstate the important role our first responders played that night – law enforcement, medical professionals, and also those who work directly with victims and survivors to provide mental health services, legal assistance, and help navigating the victims compensation program.

It’s time to update our state and county emergency plans to include these critical victim services, and Assembly Bill 534 does just that – including to focus on the victims from the beginning will better allow our emergency response framework to help survivors and communities heal.

The 1 October tragedy also highlighted the services available to victims throughout the state. One of our primary programs – Nevada’s victims of crime compensation program – has paid out over $3.7 million to date to help victims and survivors from the tragedy, and the bill updates and transitions the program to enhance these services as we move forward.

I would like to thank the many victims’ advocates who worked on this legislation, including those present today: Michelle Morgando with the Victims of Crime Compensation Program, Ross Armstrong with the Division of Child and Family Services, and Tennille Pereira with the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center.

A mass shooting shakes a community to its core and affects everyone — not only victims and survivors, but those whose job it is to respond to the scene and conduct instant emergency care as well as the emotionally difficult work of identifying the deceased and notifying their loved ones.
This work can take a toll on one’s mental health. That’s why I’m signing an important bill today, Senate Bill 463 that authorizes a county coroner to create a program to promote the mental health of their employees including any person traumatized while providing services in response to mass casualties, and a program that provides bereavement services to the public.

Expanding access to mental health care is a top priority and this bill allows local coroners to provide much-needed mental health services to their team and their community in the wake of a tragedy.

Gov. Sisolak making medical care make more sense…

Governor Steve Sisolak

From Govenror Sisolak:

I’d like to thank Senator Yvanna Cancela and Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton for their leadership on some incredible, game-changing health care bills this session, and I’d like to thank UNITE HERE and Culinary leadership D. Taylor, Geo Argüello-Kline, and Ted Pappageorge for joining us.

The Culinary Union had an incredible legislative session. You all worked tirelessly to advocate for important bills that will improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Nevadans — bills I was proud to sign into law, like ending surprise billing and increasing transparency for asthma drug prices.

Today, I’m honored to sign even more Culinary priorities into law that will expand access to health care for the working families of this state.  Senate Bill 378 creates the Silver State Scripts Board, which replaces the current Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee that oversees which prescription drugs are eligible for coverage under Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, or CHIP.  This bill also allows the Silver State Scripts Board to explore ways to reduce prescription drug costs to both patients and insurers.

Another way to reduce health care costs is to make sure we have the right amount of trauma centers in each community based on need.  Hospital trauma centers are vital to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of residents and visitors.  But a flood of trauma centers that don’t rely on a comprehensive needs assessment undermines our current system and can drive up health care costs.  We need to ensure Nevadans get the care they need when they need it, while protecting patients from expensive care the community doesn’t need.  Assembly Bill 317 shifts the responsibility of deciding whether to add an additional trauma center from the local level to the state. It requires Nevada to identify trauma care shortage areas and determine the need for adding new trauma centers. Counties will then determine where to best locate those centers.

Finally, Assembly Bill 361 strengthens enforcement mechanisms for ensuring that medical students in clinical rotations in Nevada are students in good standing and are enrolled at an accredited medical school.

These three bills will improve the quality and affordability of health care throughout the state, and I’m honored to sign them into law today. 

I want to close by saying this: the hardworking men and women here today are the reason I am so proud to call Nevada my home, and I will always fight for the working families of this state.

Voter eligibility rights strengthened as Gov. Sisolak signs AB 345

Governor Steve Sisolak
Voting made easier

Bill signing statement by Governor Steve Sisolak

In 2018, the voters spoke loud and clear that they’re in favor of making it easier for all eligible Nevadans to vote. This bill I’m about to sign will do just that.

Assembly Bill 345 is a voting rights package that codifies electoral best-practices that will empower Nevadans with greater access to their right to vote while securing our elections.

This bill expands Nevadans’ access to the voting booth through a number of ways:
– Implements automatic voter registration, which overwhelmingly passed by a vote of the people in 2018.
– Allows county and city clerks to designate vote centers where anyone registered in their county or city may vote, regardless of their specific polling location.
– Extends deadlines so that voters can register online up to the Thursday before Election Day.
– Creates the ability for Nevadans to register on the day of an election. This will combat voter suppression by preventing Nevadans from being turned away because of clerical errors or missing arbitrary deadlines.
– Allows anyone to request absentee ballots for all elections, rather than having to request every election. This is a huge benefit for our military and civil service members and their spouses deployed overseas as well as citizens with disabilities, and the elderly. Sadly, we are seeing other states across the country passing sinister voter suppression measures meant to block certain voters from exercising their rights and making their voices heard.

I’m proud that, once again this year, Nevada is bucking a disturbing national trend and, instead, leading the way in voting rights and election security. The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, and with this new law, we are continuing to expand access to the polls for all eligible voters in Nevada so they can play a part in our democracy.

Reno-Sparks Summer tourism volumes expected to be up…but only slightly

Tourism forecast looks good but not a lot of growth…

The three months of Summer are forecasted to draw only single digits of growth over this time last year according to those who track those numbers.  The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitor’s Authority predicts only modest increase because weekend hotels and motels are pretty full.

Here’s the story in “This is Reno.”  Click here.

Nevada Education Funding Reflects Student Needs, Not Bureaucratic Habit

Governor Steve Sisolak

Gov. Sisolak remarks at SB543 signing
Grant Sawyer Bldg, Las Vegas, NV

Good morning, and thank you all for being here. I’d like to thank Senator Joyce Woodhouse and Senator Mo Denis for their leadership on this incredibly consequential and complex legislation that will completely change the way we fund education in this state.

Nevada’s current education funding formula, known as the Nevada Plan, was put into place in 1967, more than 50 years ago. Nevada’s population is nearly seven times what it was back then, and Clark County alone was a fifth of its current size in terms of population.

Our school districts look much different today, not only in terms of population, but also in terms of demographics. It’s clear that Nevada’s current funding formula is no longer serving the needs of all students and educators, and it hasn’t been for many years. That’s why this session, we moved to overhaul Nevada’s decades-old funding formula to ensure that our education dollars are equitably distributed to our public schools and all of our students are getting their fair share.

Senate Bill 543 creates a new, modernized funding formula called the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan specifically named to reflect its design for our education dollars to follow the students and taxpayer dollars to be spent in a targeted manner to make sure all of Nevada’s children have access to a quality education.

The Pupil-Centered Funding Plan has four guiding principles: it was designed to be transparent, student-centered, classroom focused, and modernized to reflect geographic diversity.  Nevada’s K-12 education funding plan should be transparent, so it is clear to everyone how much money from multiple sources – state, local and federal – that Nevada is directing to K-12 education and how every dollar is being spent.
Each and every student in our state is unique and has different needs. The new funding plan is student-centered because it recognizes that there is a cost difference in each student’s path to a quality K-12 education, and it accounts for those differences in the allocation of resources.

The new plan is classroom-focused by placing more of our dollars with the student in the classroom.
And the new plan takes a modernized approach to education funding to reflect our state’s geographic diversity. Nevada is a vast state, and a one-size-fits-all solution will not adequately serve the needs of our students and educators.

It took a lot of work to get us here today, and I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish in such a short time. This is certainly the beginning, not the end, of an extremely consequential process, and I look forward to working with school districts and legislators in the interim as we implement this new funding plan.

No more small “p” public records…among other things…

Governor Steve Sisolak
Putting capital “P” in Public Records….

Gov. Sisolak signs 8 bills, including measures to strengthen public records laws, fund museums, and boost school safety

Carson City, NV – Governor Steve Sisolak has signed eight bills, including a measure that will strengthen the public’s access to public records, an appropriations vehicle to fund museums across the state, and a funding bill that includes nearly $13 million over the biennium for school safety, student mental health, and school violence reduction.

Senate Bill 287 reforms Nevada’s public records law by increasing penalties for State agencies that fail to comply. The bill imposes fines on state agencies for noncompliance ranging from $1,000 for the first offense to $10,000 for the third and subsequent offenses within a 10 year period. The bill also tightens up requirements that an agency notify the requester of the estimated timeline for receiving the records.

Senate Bill 501 appropriates funds for several museums and other culturally-significant institutions throughout Nevada, including the National Atomic Testing Museum, the Reno Rodeo and Livestock Events Center, and the Springs Preserve Foundation.

Senate Bill 528 is an appropriations vehicle that includes, among other things, $12.9 million for school safety, student mental health, and school violence reduction initiatives over the biennium. This includes $2.7 million to hire school social workers and other mental health professionals, $5.5 million to provide more resources to school police officers, and $4.7 million for social, emotional, and academic development programs in schools. 

Additional bills signed by Gov. Sisolak today, June 13, 2019:

AB128

AB537

SB84

SB161

SB388

For a full list of bills signed by Gov. Sisolak this legislative session, click here.

Governor Sisolak signs more bills affecting Nevada citizens

Gov. Sisolak signs 75 bills that raise minimum wage, guarantee paid sick leave, and secure collective bargaining for state workers

Carson City, NV – Today, Governor Steve Sisolak signed 75 bills, including landmark measures from the 80th legislative session that raise Nevada’s minimum wage, guarantee paid sick days for Nevada workers, and secure collective bargaining rights for state employees for the first time in Nevada history.

Assembly Bill 456 raises the minimum wage in Nevada by 75 cents each year beginning on January 1, 2020 until it reaches $12 an hour. This bill represents the first significant change to Nevada’s minimum wage in over a decade.

Senate Bill 312 requires businesses that employ 50 or more workers to allow workers to accrue earned paid leave, up to 40 hours per year at a minimum.

Senate Bill 135 gives state workers a seat at the table for the first time in Nevada history by empowering them to collectively bargain, a commitment Gov. Sisolak made in his State of the State address.

Gov. Sisolak signs bill creating Cannabis Compliance Board

Gov. Sisolak signs bill creating Cannabis Compliance Board

Carson City – Governor Steve Sisolak signed Assembly Bill 533, which creates the Cannabis Compliance Board, one of the governor’s top priorities for the 2019 legislative session. “Our marijuana industry is now a key part of our state economy, and to make sure it stays that way, we must hold it to the highest standard while empowering the industry to continue thriving,” Gov. Sisolak said. “Nevada’s first-ever Cannabis Compliance Board will ensure this critical part of our state’s economy is positioned to become the gold standard for the nation.”

Earlier this year, Gov. Sisolak appointed a seven-member advisory panel on the formation of the Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB), under Executive Order 2019-03. Assembly Bill 533 is a reflection of the advisory panel’s work over the course of the session. The CCB will consist of five members appointed by the governor and will be modeled after the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which oversees Nevada’s highly-respected and well-regulated successful gaming industry.

The CCB will be a comprehensive regulatory board that will include expertise in a range of fields, including financial and accounting, law enforcement, medicine, regulatory and legal compliance, and cannabis, generally. In the coming weeks, the governor will begin the appointment process for the five members of the CCB. A prerequisite to appointment to the CCB is that potential members be devoid of financial or other conflicting interests, which may affect the impartiality of an individual’s service as a regulator.

Assembly Bill 533 also establishes a Cannabis Advisory Commission, to which the governor will appoint experts in direct and marijuana-related fields. These individuals will have the freedom to consider a number of outstanding issues regarding cannabis, including inclusion, addiction prevention, training programs, consumption, dram shop laws, and other important questions. Advisory Commission members, as part of an advisory board, will be able to share their expertise even as members of advocacy groups and companies operating in the cannabis economy. Their recommendations will not bind the CCB, but will inform the CCB and its decision making.

Establishing the CCB is part of Gov. Sisolak’s multi-pronged approach to reforming and strengthening Nevada’s legal cannabis industry and ensuring the economic opportunities it creates are available to all Nevadans. This session, Gov. Sisolak proposed an amendment to Senate Bill 32, which he signed into law last month, that increases transparency in the marijuana licensing process by subjecting certain information about license applicants, as well as the methods used to issue licenses, to public disclosure. That information is now available to the public on the Department of Taxation’s website.

Gov. Sisolak has also signed multiple bills that aim to remove economic barriers to legal cannabis users and individuals with prior cannabis convictions. Assembly Bill 132 makes Nevada the first state to ban employers from refusing to hire job applicants who test positive for marijuana during the hiring process. This bill contains notable common-sense exceptions for certain professions, such as public safety and transportation. Assembly Bill 192 provides for a process by which individuals may petition to have their criminal records sealed if their conviction was for an offense that has later been decriminalized, such as a marijuana conviction.

 

Police Chief Brian Allen retires – Police Chief Pete Krall takes the reins…New Fire Chief too!

Sparks Mayor Ron Smith congratulates outgoing Police Chief Brian Allen on his retirement.  City of Sparks photo

Incoming Police Chief Pete Krall (L) and retiring Police Chief Brian Allen (R) City of Sparks photo

Retiring Police Chief Brian Allen gets a standing ovation send-off into retirement.  City of Sparks photo

It was a heartfelt as well as tearful farewell that Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen retired after 27 years as an officer of the Sparks Police Department – the last 7.5 years as Chief of Police.

Allen’s very emotional thank-you to the City of Sparks, his fellow officers and other emergency responders filled the council chambers as he, at times, forged on through his tears. Chief Allen said Sparks has always had great employees in every department, not just police. He heralded his wife as a consummate life-partner without whom he would not have had the career and the wonderful life he’s had. Chief Allen also proudly announced that his son will soon become a police officer. And with that, a sustained standing ovation from the City Council and the packed council chambers, all wishing Chief Allen many, many years of enjoyable retirement. Now “Citizen Allen” says he plans to remain very supportive of the Sparks Community and that he’ll be actively involved, as always, in keeping Sparks a great place to live.

New Sparks Fire Chief Jim Reid is sworn in by Mayor Ron Smith.  City of Sparks photo

Following the retirement of Police Chief Brian Allen,  Mayor Ron Smith swore in Sparks’ new Fire Chief Jim Reid who succeeds outgoing Fire Chief Chris Maples, a more than 20 year veteran of the department.  Reid also has had a lengthy career with the Sparks Fire Department.

Big smoke-maker of a junk yard fire in East Sparks…Franklin south of Gregg

Sims Metal Management off Franklin and E. Gregg, Sparks (Google Maps)

Sparks Firefighters knock down the flames that produced smoke visible all aroud the north Truckee Meadows

Fire broke out within this mountain of wreckage.

Crane operators gave firefighters better access to what was burning.

Although the fire was put out quickly, a fire watch will likely be required to make sure it doesn’t re-erupt. Sparks fire officials say no specific cause was determined but added that these kinds salvage yard fires can spontaneously combust from merging or mixing chemicals along with hot temperatures which we had today.

City of Sparks Summer Swim Schedule

Sparks Swimming

Sparks Marina Park – Location: 300 Howard Drive, Cost: Free. Recreational swimming is permitted in the designated swim area at the north beach only:
• June 8 – Aug. 11, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Aug. 17-18 and Aug. 24-25, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Aug. 31 – Sept. 2, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The public is encouraged to keep the Sparks Marina a safe, inviting place for everyone by observing the following:

• Do not distract the lifeguards while they are working. Questions should be directed to the Alf Sorensen Community Center at (775) 353-2385.
• In the case of an emergency, call 911.
• Children under eight years of age must have an adult with them in the designated swim area at all times. Keeping your child within an arm’s length is a good policy to follow.
• Toys, rafts, noodles, etc. cannot be used in place of swimming ability or for water safety purposes.
• Groups of 25 or more must make a reservation.

Deer Park Pool – Location: 1700 Prater Way, Cost: Youth (under 18 yrs.) – $3; Adult (18 yrs. – 54 yrs.) – $5; Senior (55 yrs. & older) – $4. Family (up to 6 members) – $15.

Recreational swimming in the heated, zero-entry pool at Deer Park is as follows:
• June 8 – Aug. 11, weekdays 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and weekends 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Aug. 17-18, Aug. 24-25 and Aug. 31-Sept. 1, 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Sept. 2, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A ‘$2 Tuesdays’ promotion is offered for all ages at a reduced rate of $2 per person.

Swim lessons are conducted at Deer Park pool in two-week sessions (eight lessons), June 10 – August 1. Lesson times are 9:45 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 11:15 a.m. Pre-registration is required.

Take advantage of the Super Summer Swim Pass and Summer Youth Pass valid at Deer Park pool and the pool at Alf Sorensen Community Center, 1400 Baring Blvd. Cost: $168 ($140 for residents of Sparks) includes four children and two adults; Summer Youth Pass – $48 ($40 for residents of Sparks).

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