KNPR's State of Nevada

Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.; 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Dave Becker

NPR's State of Nevada is the essential public affairs broadcast to understand what's happening here. Newsmakers and experts give context to local issues; discussion and profile interviews explore the unique character - and characters - of our region. KNPR's State of Nevada is a daily conversation about this place we call home.

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drugs
3:39 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

State Senator Proposes Heroin Clinics To Solve Nevada's Drug Problem

Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom wants to implement the use of heroin clinics, places where addicts could get prescribed doses of heroin, to help fight addiction and other issues associated with addiction.
Credit Getty Images

A state senator wants to legalize heroin clinics in Nevada as a way to combat crime and fight drug addiction.

Sen. Richard "Tick"  Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said he will introduce a bill in the 2015 legislative session to open clinics that would provide supervised drug injections to addicts. 

Along with free doses of drugs, the clinics would provide counseling and therapy. 

“The goal is to get people off the street, out of the criminal element, address their addiction and then hopefully figure out a way to get them off of the drug,” Segerblom said.

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Politics & Policy
1:35 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

It's An Ongoing Love Affair With Area 51

Desert landscaping in Nevada
Credit UNLV

To the casual observer, a remote area of Edwards Air Force Base in the Nevada desert wouldn't look like much -- a dry lakebed, the odd Joshua tree and prefab housing. But these surroundings are home to one of the most controversial government domains of the postmodern era: Area 51.

For generations, this lonely outpost at dry Groom Lake in Lincoln County has been the subject of all manner of speculation. Is it a port for visiting spacecraft? A venue for alien autopsies? Maybe, it’s a top secret military base?

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Arts & Life
3:26 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Vegas Glory Days Relived With Classic Music Remakes

Reckless in Vegas mixes modern music with classic crooners and is playing this weekend at the Downtown Grand.

Michael Shapiro once parked cars at the Lady Luck to earn enough money to buy his first real guitar. The Lady Luck is now the Downtown Grand, and Shapiro is back. But this time, he's not parking cars.

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Business
2:51 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Was Buffett's NV Energy Purchase Really A 'Big Bet'?

Credit Getty Images

A year ago, billionaire Warren Buffett bought NV Energy, the power company that serves 2.4 million customers in Nevada.

A week ago, the New York Times characterized Buffett’s move as a “big bet on renewables.”

But was Buffett's $5.6 billion purchase of NV Energy -- more like $10 billion when the debt he took on is added in -- really much of a gamble in a country increasingly turning to solar, wind and other power sources?

In addition, California is mandated to generate 33 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020. Nevada is shooting for 25 percent by 2025.

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Health & Science
7:23 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Audit Shows Conspicuous Spending On Dental Work For Jobless Nevadans

A state program that helps with job placement and training was also available for assistance with dental work for those who needed it. An audit revealed some agencies in Nevada were being very generous in its acceptance for participants in the program.
Credit Getty Images

Oral hygiene is important for many reasons -- overall health and well being paramount among them. It may also effect someone's ability to secure employment. 

According to one state agency that helps with job placement, having bad teeth can affect whether someone is hired or not, which is why there was a program aimed at helping these people.

A legislative audit of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation released this week however, discovered the Ely office of the agency spent more than any other office in the state.

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Politics & Policy
3:21 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Public Opinion Still Split About Use Of Drones

UNLV researchers recently released two reports on public attitudes toward drones .
Credit UNLV

  

Republicans and Democrats have something new to disagree about – drones.

One UNLV Center for Crime and Justice Policy survey finds that Republicans are more supportive of drones being used to patrol our nation’s borders, while more Democrats approve of their use in mapping climate change and news coverage.

Another survey from the same institution finds that 93 percent of the U.S. public is opposed to drones being used to monitoring people’s activities around their homes.The same majority, however, supports drone usage for search and rescue operations.

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Arts & Life
2:59 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

From Stage to Page With Actor and Writer B.J. Novak

B.J. Novak, a stand-up comedian, author, screenwriter and director will be in Las Vegas Thursday to open the Vegas Valley Book Festival.
Credit Getty Images

You might know him as The Temp, but B.J. Novak's creative output is much larger than his role as Ryan on "The Office."

In addition to producing and writing for the Emmy Award winning "mockumentary," Novak is also known for his roles in motion pictures such as "Inglourious Basterds" and "Saving Mr. Banks."

The Los Angeles resident and Harvard graduate has now authored a new book, titled "One More Thing," that hit stores earlier this year to rave reviews.

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Literature
7:38 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Author Sojourner Takes On Big Solar in '29'

Mary Sojourner unfolds the story of small-town desert southwest dwellers who decide to take on the interests of the land and fight a big corporate solar move to the area.

Long-time Arizona resident and author Mary Sojourner is familiar with the barren desert lands so many of us call home. In her latest novel, "29," competing interests come to a head as rural America opposes big solar development near the town of Twentynine Palms.

Drawing her stories from those in her own 74 years of existence, Sojourner is a student and teacher of literature. In the case of "29," a multinational company plans a utility-scale solar on the site of the sacred Salt Song Trail.

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coroner
7:30 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Inner Workings Of Clark County Coroner's Office Revealed In Reality TV

Mike Murphy, Clark County Coroner, will star in the one-hour reality TV pilot episode of "Postmortem in Vegas" to air on Lifetime Movie Network Wednesday.

He’s one of the first people to see you after you die. As the key chains he hands out say, Mike Murphy is a “last responder” – as Murphy is the Clark County Coroner.

A one-hour pilot reality TV show featuring him and his staff at the Clark County Coroner’s Office airs Wednesday on the Lifetime Movie Network. Though somewhat macabre themed, the show has all the elements of a would-be hit: death and Las Vegas.

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Politics & Policy
2:49 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Lauren Scott Talks Policies And Growing Up LGBT

Lauren Scott is running for Nevada State Assembly District 30 against Democratic incumbent Michael Sprinkle. If elected, she would become the first openly transgender legislator in the U.S.
Credit Scott for Nevada

When Lauren Scott announced she would be running for Nevada State Assembly District 30, the media pricked up its ears. If elected, Scott -- a business consultant, Air Force veteran and equal rights lobbyist -- will make U.S. history.

Billing herself as a “moderate Republican,” who supports pro-jobs legislation and fiscal conservancy as well as pro-choice measures and LGBT equality, Scott could become the first openly transgender legislator on Nov. 4.  

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Civic Life
7:39 am
Tue October 14, 2014

A Balancing Act: Single Parenting And Dating

Seeking companionship in dating and love is a natural part of life -- as well as time consuming. Many singles also have children to care for, a full-time job in itself. A new study from UNLV says despite the full schedule, single parents date the same as their childless peers.

An African proverb says it takes a village to raise a child. In today's reality, however, many children are raised by a single parent, oftentimes by a mother. 

Juggling work or school and other responsibilities on top of the full-time job of raising a child means a more-than-full schedule for many. But what about having a social life -- are these parents sacrificing their emotional needs with dating and even sexual relationships in light of their parental duties?

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Civic Life
2:02 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Clark County To Receive Lion's Share Of Population Growth

Clark County, which is home to the Strip, expects population growth of 328,379 over the next 20 years, according to Nevada's state demographer.
Credit City of Las Vegas

Recent economic development in the state may bring nearly 35,000 more residents to Nevada over the next two decades than originally projected.

State demographer Jeff Hardcastle said projects such as Tesla Motor Inc.'s $5 billion gigafactory to land in Reno will have a resounding impact.

Hardcastle recently released his updated figures predicting that by 2032, Nevada will have 3.3 million residents. In September, Hardcastle released a draft of his projections, but several developments sent him back to recalculate those figures.

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Environment
7:48 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Arizona Death By Bees Raises Concern For Nevada

Africanized honey bees, or killer bees, killed a man in Arizona last week. Their threat in the southwest is formidable, as they are known to attack in large numbers and follow targets for long distances.
Credit Desert USA

Last week, a swarm of 800,000 bees killed a 32-year-old landscaper in Arizona.

Just three weeks ago, Africanized bees killed at least two dogs in Las Vegas, said Jeff Knight, Nevada state entomologist. In June of this year, the Las Vegas Sun reported that bees swarmed and killed a Las Vegas police dog. According to Knight, if you see a bee in Las Vegas, it is likely to be of the Africanized variety.

Africanized honey bees, nicknamed "killer bees" because of their more aggressive nature, crossed into the United States in the 1970s.

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Technology
3:31 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Aerial Mob Film Company Approved For Drone Use

Aerial Mob is one of six companies to receive FAA approval to use drones for filming of commercials, TV shows and feature films.
Credit Aerial Mob

Aerial Mob is one of six aerial cinematography companies  approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones for filming in commercials, TV shows and feature films.

Treggon Owens, who handles technology and business development for Aerial Mob, expects the company to begin shooting films and TV shows in November. Owens told KNPR that the company is in talks with six major studios in Southern California for projects.

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Politics & Policy
3:26 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Pros And Cons Of The Margins Tax - Is It Right For Nevada?

Nevada voters have important decisions to make on Nov. 4. One of the ballot questions is whether or not to approve a margins tax to help fund education, but may weaken job growth.

This November, voters will be asked to approve a tax to help fund education.

Upon approval, the Nevada Margin Tax for Public Schools Initiative would institute a two percent margin tax on businesses operating in Nevada. Opponents of the measure, however, say it is a jobs killer that won't necessarily lead to higher spending on education.

Revenue from the tax would be allocated to public schools from kindergarten through high school, and kept in the State Distributive School Account.

If approved by voters, the margin tax would start to accrue on Jan. 1, 2015.

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Metro Cop
3:08 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Metro Dancing Cop Video Goes Viral

A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer was caught on camera -- doing something adorable.

The marriage of cell phone cameras and the Internet has given us front row seats to the best and worst in humanity. This story is about some of the best.

Las Vegas Metropolitan police officer Tim Fletcher was caught on camera doing something – sure, it’s a kind of dance -- with a little boy being treated for cancer. The week-old video already has tens of thousands of hits on YouTube.

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Education
7:36 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Educating Principals For Clark County Schools

School districts in North Carolina have re-prioritized leadership within schools to help the urban schools with the most problems. Would a similar strategy benefit Clark County School District?
Credit Getty Images

Almost 10 years ago, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District made a bold move.

It began to strategically place its best principals within the district’s lowest performing schools.

In a few years, 27 schools turned around with teachers and administrators working together. The school district’s strategy? Make school leadership a priority.

Today, the largest school district in North Carolina has five programs to train their principals, including an aspiring high school principal program.

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Food & Dining
4:09 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Oodles Of Noodles

Credit Getty Images

Whether basking in a bowl of broth or serving as a starchy canvas for a delicious sauce, the trusty noodle is a staple of Asian cuisine.

But what’s the difference between a rice noodle and an egg noodle? And where’s the best place in Vegas to get your noodle on? We're talking about the king of comfort foods.

GUESTS

Al Mancini, food critic

Crystina Nguyen, manager, District One

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Civic Life
3:59 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Marriage Equality Goes Forward In Nevada

Clark County officials will soon begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
Credit UCSF Library

Nevada has been at the center of a legal ping-pong match over same-sex marriage since Tuesday, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state's constitutional ban.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on marriages, then rescinded it, then put it back again. But the latest legal maneuvers seem to have finally, and definitively, opened the door to same-sex union.

Clark County Clerk Diana Alba has been preparing for months. So how is the clerk's office handling the change? And what does she expect as the first same-sex marriage licenses are issued in Nevada?

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Fronteras
12:14 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Mexico Energy Reform: Border Pipeline Challenge In Chihuahua

For the first time since 1938, Mexico's oil and gas industry will be open to the rest of the world.
Credit PBS

Mexico’s oil and gas industry is about to open up to the rest of the world — and American oil and gas companies are eager to get a foothold in a market closed to outsiders since 1938.

That’s the year Mexico nationalized its oil industry and ordered American and other foreign companies out.

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congress
8:18 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Joe Heck Affirms Pro-Life Stance, Says Gay Marriage Is Now In The Court's Hands

U.S. Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) is vying to keep his congressional seat on Election Day against Democratic challenger Erin Bilbray.

Following days of legal tumult over gay marriage, Congressman Joe Heck, who believes marriage is between a man and a woman, said today he'll abide by whatever the courts decide.

In a discussion on KNPR's State of Nevada, the two-term congressman also reaffirmed his pro-life stance, saying he would support funding for Planned Parenthood if the organization stopped providing abortion services.

Heck is seeking a third term representing the evenly divided 3rd Congressional District. He faces Democrat Erin Bilbray in the November election.

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Environment
7:26 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Endangered Species Cling To Life In Death Valley

Biologist Christopher Norment documented six endangered, aquatic animals that live in one of the driest places on earth.
Credit Getty Images

Biologist Christopher Norment took some time to document a very unusual class of creatures -- aquatic animals that live in one of the driest places on earth.

His latest book, Relicts of a Beautiful Sea, makes a case for saving the pupfish, toads and salamanders that need the desert's water. They teach us about evolution, persistence and even loneliness, Norment writes. And they can be found in our very own back yard.

GUEST

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Searchlight
3:24 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Searchlight Gold Invites New Miners, Historic Tales

Gold mining will once again come to Searchlight nearly 100 years after the first boom.
Credit ETF Trends

Once again, there’s gold in them thar’ hills.

Miners first found gold in Searchlight, just south of Las Vegas, in 1897. The gold dried up after about 10 years. But more than 100 years later, Nevada Mill and Mining has moved in, bought U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s home and will begin mining by the end of the year.

Jane Overy, who moved to Searchlight 34 years ago for her health, has been researching mining there for many of those years, earning her the unofficial title of town historian. She literally knows where the bodies are buried, including that of Harry Reid Senior.

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Arts & Life
8:39 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Preserving Nevada's History: Old Church Still a Volunteer Effort

St. Augustine Catholic Church in Austin, Nevada, was the volunteer efforts of immigrant miners in the gold rush era. It remains the oldest church in the state.

Sitting in the middle of the state, in the rural, almost ghost-town of Austin, Nevada, is St. Augustine's Catholic Church. Rising from a desert hillside and built on solid granite, the church was designed to look like a ship sailing in the sea.

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Politics & Policy
3:35 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Nevada Ethics Commission Director Resigns

Caren Cafferata-Jenkins will resign Thursday as executive director of the Nevada Commission on Ethics.

Nevada Commission on Ethics is looking for a new executive director following the resignation of Caren Cafferata-Jenkins, who is stepping down amid a complaint that she used her office to advance her campaign to become a Washoe County Family Court judge.

Former ethics commission investigator Michael Lawrence filed a complaint against her in June, claiming she turned the commission office into her own personal  print shop. Cafferata-Jenkins denied the allegations, and told the Reno Gazette-Journal that Lawrence was bitter after losing his job in April.

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Civic Life
3:18 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Fighting Back: Taking on Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Nevada struggles to reduce the number of domestic violence-related deaths occurring each year.

Domestic violence is a persistent problem in Nevada. In 2012, 1.86 women out of 100,000 were murdered by men, compared to the national average of 1.16. The state has made progress, but still struggles to reduce the number of domestic violence victims who are ultimately murdered.

What tools can be used to identify the most dangerous offenders? And is there a risk that the police could go too far and infringe on the civil rights of those involved in crimes inside the home?

GUESTS

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Civic Life
2:32 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Group Withdrawals Petition to Stop Same Sex Marriage Licenses

Las Vegas residents and visitors gathered for the 2014 Pride celebration on Fremont Street in September.

Updated Oct. 9, 11:55 a.m.

Late Thursday morning, The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage withdrew their motion to the Supreme Court to temporarily block the 9th District Court of Appeals decision to allow same-sex marriage within Nevada.

Wednesday consisted of ups and downs for same sex couples trying to get licenses, after Tuesday's ruling from the 9th District Court of Appeals struck down the ban on same sex marriage as unconstitutional.

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Business
8:15 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Tony Hsieh-Funded Startup Rumgr Purchased By EBay

One of the first tech startups funded by Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project has been sold to eBay.

Rumgr is an app that allows individuals to sell used items to one another. eBay has purchased Rumgr for an undisclosed amount.

Rumgr is like a garage sale for your smart phone--buyers and sellers find one another on an app that shows pictures of goods for sale,  prices, and some information about each user.

"Rumgr is like a less creepy Craiglist," he said on KNPR's State of Nevada.

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Music & Entertainment
7:38 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Should We Keep Downtown Las Vegas Weird?

 

Pirates, nuns, topless women and men in diapers – these are the regulars on Fremont Street. They amuse and amaze the crowd of tourists and locals, but they're also controversial -- some of the street performers are almost nude.

Although First Amendment protects expression even if people don’t like it, the city might be able to ban some performers.

Michael Ian Borer, a UNLV's Sociologist, says Las Vegans should put up with the weirdness for the sake of economy. After all, we are pinned as a “sin” city and visitors come to Las Vegas expecting culture shock. 

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Arts & Life
3:15 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Bob Coomber Hikes Sierra Nevada Mountains In A Wheelchair

Credit SFGate

Hiking up a mountain isn’t easy. But just try doing it in a wheelchair, over trails pock-marked by boulders.

Last month, 59-year-old Bob Coomber made his second attempt at a 22-mile hike over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, just west of Lake Tahoe.

He didn’t make it. But Coomber’s valiant effort was documented by a filmmaker and a photographer.

GUEST

Bob Coomber, hiker

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