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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immigration
7:43 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Obama's Immigration Order--The Good, Bad And Disputed

President Barack Obama spoke at Del Sol High School Friday about his plan to reform immigration policy.

President Barack Obama talked more Friday about his executive action to free millions of undocumented migrants from the fear of deportation.

The Migration Policy Institute has reported the president’s action will affect some 5.2 million people in the United States, about 67,000 of those in Nevada.

On “KNPR’s State of Nevada” Friday morning, Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, a Las Vegas Democrat and immigration attorney, praised the move.

“This is something we have been working on, advocates and policy makers, for years,” she said.

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Arts & Life
7:24 am
Fri November 21, 2014

American Flat Mill Sees End As Historic Structure, Local Spot

The American Flat Mill on the Historic Comstock District near Virginia City was shut down once silver prices plummeted in the late 1920s. Since then, it has gone through the past 8 decades as a landmark for residents in the area. The Bureau of Land Management decided in November to tear the structure down, in part for safety reasons.
Credit Bureau of Land Management

One of Virginia City’s favorite landmarks is being demolished after more than 90 years.

In 1922, the American Flat Mill in the Comstock Historic District near Gold Hill was built on a multiple-acre plot, fit for a bustling silver mining community. The mill’s demise several years later made the concrete and rhubarb remains a local hot spot for graffiti art, photo projects, parties and paintball war zones.

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Arts & Life
7:20 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Hypnotherapists Breathe Sigh Of Relief In Nevada

Hypnotherapists continue work after a skirmish with the state over licensing.
Credit Tom Hussey/Getty Images

Hypnotherapy is more than just getting people to do funny and often strange things on stage at the cue of a hypnotist’s backward countdown and pocket watch. It’s a lot more, actually.

Hypnotherapy has been used for hundreds – if not thousands – of years, and today, certified hypnotherapists provide their services to help people with a number of things: Quitting smoking, losing weight or getting over certain fears, for example.

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Civic Life
7:31 am
Thu November 20, 2014

New Head Of The Center Lays Out His Plans For The LGBTQ Organization

Michael Dimengo is the new head of The Center, an organization for Las Vegas' LGBTQ community.

The Center, Las Vegas’ organization for the LGBTQ community, just got a new CEO. He arrives at an important time: Same-sex marriage was legalized in Nevada last month.

Michael Dimengo comes to The Center with a long history of nonprofit work. And, before he came out as a gay man, he spent 22 years as a high-profile Catholic priest in Cleveland.

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tupac shakur
7:14 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Tupac Shakur's Murder Still Resonates 18 Years Later

Years after he was gunned down on the streets of Las Vegas, hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur still resonates.

A little more than 18 years ago in September, rap musician Tupac Shakur was heading east on Flamingo Road, likely to a gig he had a Club 662, when a car pulled up and shot into his BMW. He died six days later.

Suge  Knight was in the BMW, too. He took a bullet in the back of the head and survived.

Knight, then owner of Death Row Records, has been in the news ever since in a variety of legal scrapes. And just a few weeks ago, police arrested him on charges of stealing a camera belonging to a celebrity photographer.

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Technology
9:26 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Taxicab Chief: Uber Can Run In Nevada, If It Follows Current Laws

"Uber and their drivers are breaking the law." Tom Ely, Interim Administrator of the Nevada Taxicab Authority

    

On Tuesday, William Barnes, an executive from the ride-sharing company Uber, penned a guest editorial in the Las Vegas Review Journal.

His column calls Uber a “safe, innovative, job-creating alternative…” to taxicabs. This is just the latest effort by Uber to win the hearts and minds of Nevadans, even as the company fights the state in court.

Judges in Las Vegas and Reno are both reviewing legal disputes between Uber attorneys and the Nevada Attorney General over whether the company can legally operate in the state.

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Race & Ethnicity
7:24 am
Wed November 19, 2014

From Migrant Worker to University Professor

Daniel Perez changed his life from one of poverty and manual labor to academics as a professor at the University of Nevada Reno.

About half of those Americans who are raised in poverty stay there as a result, a study by Swedish economists suggests.

We dug into the problems of desolated American communities through one life, the life of an onion picker in the past and a young university-level professor at present. His name is Daniel Perez.

He was born to a family of migrant workers. His parents didn’t have any formal education and identified themselves as onion pickers.

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Technology
7:21 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Should Uber Roll In Nevada?

The ride-sharing service Uber is trying to set up shop in Nevada, but it has come up against serious resistance from the Taxicab Authority.

Uber, the technology company that says it, "connects riders with drivers," is currently struggling for a foothold in Nevada. When the company launched operations in Las Vegas and Reno last month, authorities immediately pounced, fining drivers and impounding their vehicles.

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Politics & Policy
9:45 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Got A Criminal Background? NV Political Office Might Be Just The Place For You

Nevada has a knack for drawing in candidates who have had run-ins with the law.

While felons can’t vote in Nevada, the state has a knack for drawing political candidates who have had run-ins with the law.

Jerry Airola ran for Clark County sheriff in 2006. Later, a judge said Airola’s bankrupt helicopter business resembled an “airborne Ponzi scheme.”

Last week, attorney Jim Duensing was found guilty of three felony charges related to an encounter with Las Vegas police. Duensing ran for Clark County District Attorney this year.

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Health & Science
9:05 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Nevada Health Link Starts Open Enrollment

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange started open enrollment Saturday. This open enrollment period is starting off better than last year's effort.

It’s been more than a year since systemic glitches in Nevada Health Link prevented between 4,000 to 10,000 people from enrolling in subsidized health care.

After realizing it would take millions more to fix its site -- which it paid Xerox millions to create -- Nevada decided to bite the bullet and go with the federal enrollment system.

Three days ago, the new system came online and thousands of Nevadans began signing up.

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Sports
8:04 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Jason Zucker Thrives In The Minnesota Cold

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 15: Jason Zucker #16 of the Minnesota Wild handles the puck against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center.
Credit Glenn James/Getty Images

 As the Minnesota Wild were wrapping up the preseason, Jason Zucker was in the midst of an intense competition just to make the team out of training camp.

But almost two months into the season, Zucker has risen from a fourth line player to the first line, from strictly 5-on-5 play to getting time on the penalty kill and power play. In the Wild’s 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday, Zucker played more than any other Wild forward except for Kyle Brodziak, registering 19 minutes, 31 seconds of ice time. Not bad, for a 22-year-old raised in Las Vegas.

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Environment
7:38 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Facebook Leads To Nevada Poaching Arrests

Four men were arrested in Nevada after a 13-month investigation led officials with the Nevada Department of Wildlife to discover dozens of animals had been "senselessly killed."
Credit Nevada Department of Wildlife

From the evidence, Nevada Department of Wildlife can only conclude that the four men suspected of illegally killing dozens of wildlife animals were doing it for pure ego.

The picture posted on one of the suspect’s Facebook page only serves to further that belief. When officials from the department caught on to the picture of a mule deer doe slung over a man’s shoulder in June 2013, a 13-month investigation ensued.

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Civic Life
8:52 am
Mon November 17, 2014

A Silver-Dollar Fortune, And A Lot Of Unanswered Questions

When LaVere Redfield died in 1974, more than $7 million in silver coins was found stashed away in his home.
Credit Coin Week

When LaVere Redfield died in 1974, a hidden treasure was discovered behind false walls in his home.

A regular in Reno's casinos, 480,000 silver dollars and 680 bags of silver coins were found stashed away -- today worth about $7.3 million.

Redfield was a prototypical Nevadan. He mistrusted the government and went to prison for income tax evasion "rather than pay his debts from his ample fortune."

That's how author Jack Harpster describes Redfield in his new book, "The Curious Life of Nevada's LaVere Redfield."

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Business
8:45 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Caesars Contemplates Bankruptcy, Ultimate Gaming Closes

Credit Caesars Palace

Caesars Entertainment Corp’s largest division won’t have enough money to repay its debts by the fourth quarter of 2015 if it can’t restructure its obligations through creditor negotiations or bankruptcy, the Las Vegas-based gaming company said in a regulatory filing.

For the first nine months of this year, Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. spent $550 million and expects negative cash flow for the foreseeable future. Bloomberg News reports the company has reached an agreement on the principals of a prearranged bankruptcy with six of its first-line bondholders.

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Business
3:49 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Professional Sports Evolves To Embrace Gambling

Sports betting areas are popular in casinos such as Red Rock and Green Valley.
Credit Station Casinos

NBA commissioner Adam Silver surprised a lot of sports fans and his fellow commissioners on Friday, when he reversed the league's longstanding opposition to legal wagering. But, don’t expect the U.S. Congress to act on the commissioner’s demands anytime soon.

Silver called on Congress to overhaul a 22-year-old federal law and allot states beyond Nevada to offer legal and regulated sports betting. Betting on sports is legal in four states, including Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware.

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Arts & Life
9:38 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Discovering The Vintage of Las Vegas

Paul Papa's Book, "Discovering Vintage Las Vegas..." examines the vintage and the classic businesses that have made it through the thick and thin of the city's up and down economy.

Back in the good ol' days, Las Vegas was a fledgling city emerging from the dusty ruins of a few gas stations and slot machine emporiums, that almost overnight turned into one of the biggest entertainment destinations in the world.

Author Paul Papa is fascinated with this era in the 1950s when the city transformed thanks to the efforts of famous mobster personalities. Thus began the journey of his new book, "Discovering Vintage Las Vegas - A Guide to the City's Timeless Shops, Restaurants, Casinos & More."

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Arts & Life
8:50 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Johnathan's Amazing Life And Upcoming Death

Johnathan Szeles
Credit Cap City Comedy

To the fans who adored his comic-magician act, Johnathan Szeles really is quite amazing.

Known as The Amazing Johnathan, he began doing his unique act at the Golden Nugget in the early 2000s and worked different venues for more than a dozen years after. He retired only a year ago due to health issues.

A few weeks ago, during a talk at downtown’s Inspire Theater, he made a surprise announcement. He told the stunned audience, which included tearful staff, that he would be dead within a year.

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Education
8:11 am
Fri November 14, 2014

UNLV Provost Campaigns For President's Job

John White

And then there was one.

During the past week, faculty members, students and local business leaders have been interviewing candidates to replace former president Neal Smatresk. Ricardo Azziz, president of Georgia Regents University, toured UNLV earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Len Jessup, dean of the University of Arizona's Eller School of Management, said it was time for UNLV to create new revenues streams through fundraising and research.

Now, it’s UNLV provost John White’s turn to make his case.

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Arts & Life
11:26 am
Thu November 13, 2014

'Foxfinder' Posits Paranoia Over Government Surveillance

Something is happening in a picturesque English countryside – on a family farm recently hit by tragedy. The government has sent a specially trained “Foxfinder” to get to the bottom of the problem.

In Dawn King’s critically acclaimed play, foxes are more like metaphors than wild animals. The play itself hearkens back Franz Kafka and Arthur Miller, but it also tackles issues of paranoia and distrust in an age of government surveillance.

Kate St-Pierre is the assistant director of “Foxfinder,” which will be produced by A Public Fit Thursday, Nov. 13 through Nov. 23.

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Education
4:16 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Kindergarten Not All Fun And Games Anymore

Credit Getty Images

Playing tag on the playground and producing finger-painted masterpieces are memories many students -- and their parents -- hold dear about their time spent in elementary school.

Kindergartners are the newest budding flowers into the education system, and often the most vulnerable. With changing standards across the board in education, however, Kindergartners are putting away the paint brushes and opening the books. One of the most significant changes has been the implementation of Kindergarten lasting all day, rather than a half day.

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Civic Life
9:20 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Hookers For Jesus Saves Prostitutes From Las Vegas

Hookers For Jesus is a non-profit organization which addresses the harmful effects of prostitution, sex trafficking, and sexual exploitation linked to pornography and the sex industry.

Prostitution in Nevada’s rural counties is legal in state-sanctioned brothels. It is illegal in Las Vegas.

Yet, it endures here. And many women who work the streets and the casinos do so knowing that they are virtually owned by pimps. In fact, their very lives may be risked if they try to leave.

For eight years, former prostitute Annie Lobert has tried to help those women break free of that life.

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Education
7:56 am
Wed November 12, 2014

UNLV Presidential Candidates Make Series Of Campus Visits

Ricardo Azziz, candidate for UNLV President, visited Las Vegas last week from Georgia Regents University to tour the campus and meet with various groups.

After a two-day adventure that saw the president of Georgia Regents University visiting the University of Nevada-Las Vegas campus and speaking with various groups, Ricardo Azziz wrapped up his trip to Las Vegas.

Azziz is one of three finalists to replace former UNLV President Neal Smatresk, who earlier this year left for the University of North Texas. Don Snyder, UNLV’s former Hotel College Dean, is serving as acting president until a new leader is named.

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Education
3:18 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Gender Imbalance Seen In Science And Tech Fields

The numbers of women in STEM fields has remained very low.
Credit Public Health Watch

Houston, we have a problem.

Science, engineering and technology (SET) fields offer some of the most ground-breaking -- albeit challenging -- jobs in the world. Although the work itself is constantly evolving, SET fields are stuck in the mud when it comes to the number of women it sees employed.

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Politics & Policy
8:38 am
Tue November 11, 2014

GOP Rules Political Scene In Nevada -- So, Now What?

The question remains as to what Republicans will do now that they have full control over the political scene in Nevada.

For the first time since 1929, Republicans are in charge of Nevada's state Senate, Assembly and Governor's office.

They have no easy task set before them -- Nevada's schools are ranked at the bottom nationally, and the economy relies upon gaming, which also suffered greatly during the recession.

Along with the newfound power of the GOP comes with a watchful eye. People want to know what will be done to improve Nevada's fortunes -- and are wondering how it's going to be done.

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Arts & Life
5:51 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Veterans Writing About War

"I want you to feel what I felt." That's what Tim O'Brien wrote about the Vietnam War. The veteran wrote a number of stories about his war experiences, but cautioned his readers: "A true war story is never moral. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted... then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie."

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Civic Life
5:47 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Nevada's Women Veterans Face Challenges

Credit Women Veterans Summit

It's a sobering statistic -- Nevada's women veterans commit suicide at a rate six times higher than the average for all Americans. That's according to a 2012 report by the Nevada State Health Division. Between 2008 and 2010 alone, 14 female veterans committed suicide in Nevada, the division reported.

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Civic Life
9:39 am
Fri November 7, 2014

State Senator Seeks To Enforce Anti-Bullying Laws

State Senator David Parks is introducing legislation that would penalize schools for not following existing laws about bullying.
Credit The Youth Project

    

Two weeks before Christmas last year, Hailee Lamberth sent her parents a gleeful text message that she had just been named math student of the month.

That was around 2 p.m. Two hours later, the 13-year-old at White Middle School shot and killed herself. She left a note saying she hoped her death would help prevent bullying in the future.

Now, her parents have filed a wrongful death and defamation suit against the school district. Among other things, they allege state laws meant to safeguard pupils against bullying were ignored, leading to Hailee’s death.

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Arts & Life
8:38 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Photographer Turns Lens On Lake Las Vegas

Michael Light

Aerial photographer Michael Light recently published the third installment in his series "Some Dry Space: An Inhabited West," and the 52 photographs capture the stark contrast between the Mojave Desert and the subdivisions that have been carved from the soil. Light focused on upscale developments in Lake Las Vegas and Ascaya, near Henderson.

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Education
7:31 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Former Washoe Superintendent's Parting Words For State Education

Former Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez left his position Tuesday, Nov. 4, after a legal battle with the district over his attempted firing in June.
Credit Nevada Highway Patrol

The former superintendent of the Washoe County School District’s last day on the job was Election Day. Now, Pedro Martinez is out of a job.

It ended up being an auspicious last day -- Republicans took control of both houses of the state legislature, and won all statewide offices. And Question 3, also known as the Margin Tax, which was designed to increase school funding by taxing businesses 2 percent on revenues over one million dollars, was soundly defeated.

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Education
2:04 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Drone Expert To Create Robotics Lab At UNLV

Paul Oh joined UNLV in August as the Lincy professor of Unmanned Aerial Systems for the College of Engineering.

    

Paul Oh is bringing his robotics expertise to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Oh spent the last 14 years working with students at Drexel University in Philadelphia working on projects that included creating HUBO the humanoid.

HUBO is a robot the size of a 10-year-old, and is being developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) robotics challenge, a competition against the op robotics developers in the country. Oh told KNPR that his UNLV team is one of 16 in the trials.

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