KUNR today: WCSD limiting bus service

WCSD to start limiting bus service due to driver shortages
By Michelle Billman

The Washoe County School District announced Monday night to families that transportation services will soon be cut due to the severe shortage of bus drivers. Starting next week, the district is adopting a rotating bus schedule. Basically, transportation officials have identified multiple areas in the district and service will be suspended in an assigned area for a week at a time. This will allow drivers in the suspended area to be reassigned to other areas.

The changes affect most students in general education. As required by federal law, bus transportation will not be affected for students who receive special education services and transportation is listed in their Individual Education Plan, or IEP. Additionally, newcomer English learners, homeless children and students in foster care will continue to have constant access to the buses.

District officials say the changes are coming despite major recruiting efforts, including incentives. The rotating schedule can be found here.

Tahoe Transportation District expects full service to return Wednesday
By Michelle Billman

The Tahoe Transportation District announced that it will continue limited bus operations today. This means Routes 19X and 22 remain suspended while Routes 50 and 55 have limited service.

The district plans to resume normal operations tomorrow. The impacts began over the weekend and were caused by safety issues at a maintenance facility. The City of South Lake Tahoe owns the building, and the district is looking for ways to secure funds so it can purchase its own building. Find the latest updates here.

NUR students and staff demonstrate to call for the reinstatement of the mask mandate on campus
By Lucia Starbuck

About 50 students and staff at the University of Nevada, Reno, held a short march on campus on Monday calling for masks to be needed again. Since it was Valentine’s Day, many had heart-shaped signs. One said, “I like someone high risk.” Another said ‘UNR breaks my heart’.

Nevada’s higher education system dropped its masking requirements last week after Governor Steve Sisolak made them optional statewide. This is worrying for some, like Vanthy Nguyen. She is a second-year biology student.

“I myself have experienced the loss of one of my closest friends, closest family members, and I never want to lose people like that again. And I wish people were more considerate,” Nguyen said.

The governor cited a drop in COVID-19 cases, but most of the state is still experiencing high levels of transmission, according to the CDC. A petition asking the NSHE to reinstate a mask mandate had about 1,900 signatures as of Tuesday morning.

As a disclosure note, the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education holds the license for this station.

Lucia Starbuck is a body member of Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Western mega-drought worsens to become driest in at least 1,200 years
Through The Associated Press

The mega-drought in the American West got even drier last year and became the deepest drought in more than 1,200 years. Monday’s study says the mega-drought is now the worst-case scenario officials and scientists worried about in the 1900s. The drought has gotten so bad in 2021 that it’s 5% worse than the old one. record from the late 1500s.

Scientists liken this mega-drought to what would happen in a hypothetical world without human-caused climate change. And they calculate that 42% of that drought is due to global warming from the burning of fossil fuels.

Paris climate agreement goals still achievable, research finds
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West Press Office

According to new research from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the high-emissions scenarios that made the goals lofty do not materialize. Scientist Matt Burgess is co-author of the study.

“I think we’re starting to get to the point where the dangers of being too pessimistic become apparent, in addition to the dangers of being too optimistic,” he said.

Burgess is also exploring how to depoliticize the issue. He said he was encouraged that in our area, Utah Republican Congressman John Curtis launched the Conservative Climate Caucus last year. Dozens of House Republicans signed on to the effort.

Washoe County cracks down on unauthorized food vendors
By Gustavo Sagrero

The Washoe County Health District is currently looking for unlicensed food cart vendors to shut them down, and it plans to hold a town hall in Spanish soon on those permits.

The health district said “numerous complaints of unauthorized street food operations” have been filed with them, and a majority are Hispanic food vendors who serve the Latino community. .

The health district said it could not verify whether street food vendors could be linked to cases of foodborne illness. They are also working on updating permit application information to be available in Spanish. The district will hold a public meeting in early March to explain the process and receive public input.

Nevada transportation projects create about 1,000 temporary jobs
By Michelle Billman

The Nevada Board of Transportation has approved several road improvement projects across the state that will result in more than 1,000 temporary jobs. The contracts will support these new positions for one year.

Some of the projects include resurfacing approximately 30 miles of State Route 722 in Lander County from the Churchill County line to US 50 near Austin. Digital message signs will also be installed on US 50 in Carson City and US 95 in Churchill County to provide information to motorists. The start dates for these construction projects vary.

Nevada’s first execution in nearly 16 years suspended again
Through The Associated Press

Nevada’s first execution in nearly 16 years is on hold again after state attorneys told a federal judge on Monday they could not meet the legal requirements necessary to put Zane Michael Floyd to death before April.

Nevada Deputy Attorney General Randall Gilmer told a brief hearing on Monday that prosecutors failed to obtain the death warrant needed to execute him by lethal injection before one of the drugs that the state plans to use on February 28. U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware has scheduled a status hearing for April 5. Floyd was convicted in 2000 of killing four people and injuring a fifth in a shotgun attack at a Las Vegas grocery store.

Melvin Z. Madore