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

KNPR'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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News
7:56 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Reno Officers Ordered To Return From Training Mission To Ukraine

Reno police officers were ordered home from a training mission in Ukraine.
Credit City of Reno website

In late January, police officers from Reno were sent to the Ukraine to help train officers there in community policing. The five were to be gone two months.

But just a few weeks into their visit, the Reno City Council ordered them home, immediately.

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said the city council was never told about the trip beforehand. In addition, the Reno Police Department is down 100 officers from its peak just before the Great Recession.

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Politics & Policy
7:49 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Despite A Republican Majority In the Senate, Is Reid Still The Boss?

He may not be the Senate Majority Leader but Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV might still be the boss in the Senate.
Credit Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

After the Republican sweep in the November elections, U.S. Senator Harry Reid, D – NV lost his seat as majority leader in the Senate.

But observers in the nation’s capital say he is acting like he is still in charge.

Politico.com’s Manu Raju says Reid is a master of the political process and is using some of the tricks Republicans used against him when he was majority leader.

Raju told KNPR's State of Nevada that Reid is using the filibuster, which he railed against when he was the Majority Leader, effectively to get what he wants.

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Civic Life
7:37 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Reflecting On Nevada's And The Nation's Nuclear Legacy

Troy Wade has seen or been a part of much of the country's nuclear legacy.
Credit "Operation Teapot - MET (Military Effects Test)" by Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

Troy Wade has been a direct observer of the nuclear legacy of both Nevada and the United States.

He came to Nevada in 1958, as the Nevada Test Site was moving away from atmospheric nuclear testing to underground tests.

Wade became the site's test controller, meaning he had the ultimate authority to carry out or to cancel nuclear tests in the state.

Later during the Cold War, he worked in the Department of Energy's nuclear defense department – and eventually ran it during the latter part of the Reagan administration.

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Education
7:25 am
Mon March 2, 2015

When It Comes To School Discipline, Suspension May Not Be The Answer

More and more schools are turning away from suspension and expulsion for minor infractions.

America has come a long way since the days of teachers being able to smack their students with a ruler when they misbehave, but studies have shown that suspensions for minor infractions aren’t that helpful, either.

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Politics & Policy
8:59 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Gun-Bill Debates Current Focus Of Nevada Lawmakers

Debates about gun bills is the focus of a lot of talk in Carson City.

Governor Brian Sandoval wants to make the current legislative session about finding more funding for the state’s education system. But more debate is currently focused gun ownership and the rules surrounding it.

With majorities in both the Senate and Assembly, Republicans are introducing bill after bill to expand gun ownership rights in Nevada. 

One bill would allow anyone who has a concealed weapons permit from another state to carry a concealed weapon in Nevada. That would include states whose concealed weapons permitting process isn’t as stringent as Nevada’s.

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Civic Life
8:10 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Nevada Boy Scout Honored For Popcorn Sales

A family of boy scouts in Reno are some of the top popcorn sellers in the country.

 Are you ready to binge watch your favorite show?  To make sure you have enough popcorn, you might want to contact a boy scout from Carson City.

Luke Bowler was recognized for selling more than $6,000 in popcorn sales in 2014. It was actually a slow year for Bowler. In a previous year, he was the fifth biggest popcorn seller nationally and first in Northern Nevada Council with sales of more than $17,000.

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Environment
7:59 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Illinois Congressman Plans To Visit Yucca Mtn. In Effort To Revive Project

A Republican congressman from Illinois is planning a visit to Yucca Mountain in an effort to revive the project.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has found the design of Yucca Mountain meets federal standards to be a nuclear waste disposal site.

That’s good news for Congressional Republicans lobbying hard to use the site to store spent reactor fuel and highly radioactive material.

But the state of Nevada and other opponents have always argued the site is too close to the Las Vegas valley, which is the state’s economic engine.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV has fought against the waste dump for years, and so far, he has been largely successful.

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Environment
7:47 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Where Are Nevada's Solar Jobs?

Hundreds of solar energy jobs have been added in Nevada, so what is the future of the industry?

Nevada is a hotbed when it comes to solar industry jobs. At least that’s what a recent Solar Foundation report said.

It estimated Nevada added 3,500 jobs in the past year. That brings the state’s solar job total to 5,900.

Not bad for a relatively new industry, especially one with several spectacular failures on its resume.

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Education
9:14 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Lawmaker Defends Effort To Make Phys-Ed Mandatory

A bill would make phys-ed mandatory
Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Study after study says our kids are, to put it bluntly, too fat.

State Senator Joe Hardy, a physician from Boulder City, has introduced a bill making physical education mandatory for public and private-school children.

The bill would require students get almost four hours of physical activity a week. A similar bill passed the Legislature in Virginia in 2011 but was vetoed by the governor because of the expense.

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Education
8:28 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Religious Freedom Bill For Students Sparks Uproar

A bill would allow for prayer in school as along as its not disruptive.

A Republican-sponsored bill strengthening protections for public school students’ religious activities is being met with stiff opposition.

The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Jim Wheeler D-Minden, says Assembly Bill 120 gives students the right to speak about religion, distribute literature and organize prayer groups on campus.

These religious activities will be based on the same rules governing secular extracurricular activities and groups.

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Politics & Policy
8:04 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Nevada Bills Seek To Close Gender Wage Gap

Nevada lawmakers are considering two bills that hope to tackle the wage gap between genders.
Credit "Sweet success" by michael kooiman - originally posted to Flickr as sweet success. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Actress Patricia Arquette made headlines during her Oscar speech when she called for equal rights for women once and for all.

Nationally, most figures point to a 77-cent to the dollar wage gap between full-time working men and women, but that figure doesn’t take into account career types and cultural influences.

In Nevada, that number sits at about 87-cents to the dollar. 

Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson and Democratic Senator Pat Spearman both introduced bills to close that wage gap, but the bills have fundamental differences.

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Travel
7:33 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Where To Ride: One Man's Effort To Map Nevada's Biking Trails

Mark Knowles finds and details mountain biking trails around the state.
Credit Matt Coop

 In 2012, the International Mountain Biking Association decided to gather data on biking trails across the country, put it in one place and make it available for the public. 

They gave it a name: MTB Project, an address – mtbproject.com, and reached out to thousands of bikers for help. The result: a myriad of trails from around the world. 

In Nevada, there are 139 trails registered through the project, and the number is growing. More than three quarters of the state’s trails are thanks to one person, Mark Knowles.

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Arts & Life
8:30 am
Wed February 25, 2015

The Changing Las Vegas Media Landscape

Several media companies in Las Vegas have changed hands over the last few months.
Credit Alex Belomlinsky/Getty Images

The media landscape in Las Vegas is changing.

Over the past two years, several local television stations, who were privately owned, have been sold to outside companies.

Then the Las Vegas Sun changed hands within the Greenspun family. City Life, an alt-weekly, was closed.

And now the billionaire investor Warren Stephens has sold the Las Vegas Review-Journal and his Stephens Media business to New Media Investment Group.

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Business
8:16 am
Wed February 25, 2015

New Bill Proposes Punishments For Contractors That Hire Undocumented Workers

A proposed bill would punish contractors who hire undocumented workers.

With more than 10 percent of Nevada’s workforce consisting of undocumented workers, businesses have benefited from hiring people living in this country illegally.

Unauthorized workers are employed on construction sites, and by ranchers needing help with their crops, for example.

Republican Assemblyman Ira Hansen says enough is enough. The politician from Sparks believes contractors should be penalized, if they knowingly hire people living in this country illegally.

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Civic Life
7:47 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Lawmakers Look At Creating Pedestrian Safety Zones

Lawmakers looking at setting up pedestrian safety zones.

Roughly one pedestrian dies on Las Vegas streets every week. It has been that way for about the last two years.

While police and municipalities have puzzled over ways to get drivers to slow down and drive more carefully, state lawmakers have brought out a new stick.

A new bill dropped in the state Senate would double fines for traffic scofflaws in newly designated “pedestrian safety zones.”

It is sponsored by Sen. Mark Manendo, who told KNPR's State of Nevada that "death and destruction is rampant all over the state."

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Arts & Life
7:34 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Las Vegas Author Brings Parents' Love Story, WWII History To The Stage

Las Vegas writer brings her parents love story to the stage.

    

 

Following the end of World War II, the U.S. became more racially integrated. One example of this change was the acceptance of African-American soldiers as fighter pilots.  

The Tuskegee Airmen are immortalized today as heroes and pioneers for civil rights in America. One of the first Tuskegee Airmen was James Bernard Knighten.  His daughter, Las Vegas author Kim Russell, shows his human side in her book and play Tuskegee Love Letters.

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Sports
7:31 am
Wed February 25, 2015

The New Fight Of The Century?

The Mayweather/Pacquiao fight promises to the be the fight of the century.
Credit Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina/Creative Commons

 Move over Frazier and Ali, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather may lay claim to the title Fight of The Century.

The two boxers finally set aside their differences and agreed to fight at the MGM Grand Garden on May 2.

For years, boxing fans had wanted the two to face off, but it never happened until now.

“I don’t think Mayweather wanted the fight for a long time,” boxing writer for the Associated Press Tim Dahlberg told KNPR’s State of Nevada, “It is a fight that either has to happen now or it’s never going to happen.”

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Civic Life
8:21 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Remembering Long-Time Political Reporter Ed Vogel

Las Vegas Review-Journal Capital Bureau, Bureau Chief Ed Vogel stands outside the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, Nev., on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. Vogel died at his home in Minden on Sunday at 66.
Credit CATHLEEN ALLISON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

For 37 years, much of what we learned about the happenings in the state Legislature came from the writings of Edison “Ed” Vogel.

He retired last year as state capital bureau chief for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and he died Sunday at the age of 66 at his home in Minden.

Family members say Vogel received cancer treatment for months and suffered a stroke brought on by the disease on Feb. 11.

Vogel, a member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame, covered every session of the Nevada Legislature from 1985 until his retirement.

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Civic Life
8:06 am
Tue February 24, 2015

New Bill Aims To Track Nevada Parolees By GPS

A bill before the Legislature would allow tracking of people on parole or probation by GPS.
Credit NDrive GPS/Creative Commons

Updated, Feb. 24 at 12:15 p.m.

Nevada lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it easier for the state to track people on probation or parole.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday passed Senate Bill 37, which allows the state to track criminal offenders granted parole or probation using electronic devices that monitor their movements.

SB37 now goes to the full Senate for a vote, which has not been scheduled, according to bill information posted on the state Legislature's website.

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Civic Life
7:22 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Animal Shelter Contract Sparks Debate About No-Kill Shelters

The Clark County animal shelter contract is up for grabs and it is sparking debate.

Last week, Clark County delayed a decision on which group would get its animal shelter contract.

Currently, the Animal Foundation is under contract with Clark County, and the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, to manage an open-admission animal shelter that handles legal holds of animals.

These legal holds are 72-hour periods where animals that are picked up are kept in custody as their owners, if applicable, are tracked down. However, if an animal's owner is not found, or it is not adopted, the Animal Foundation puts that animal down.

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Environment
7:59 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Is The Megadrought Coming To The Southwest?

There are growing concerns that the West will be in the middle of a megadrought.

Lake Mead's water level has dropped 100 feet in the last 15 years.

Climatologists are worried that a "megadrought" is about to hit the region, bringing even drier conditions and making water scarcer.

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Civic Life
7:42 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Questions About Road Rage Arise After Woman's Death

The shooting death of a Las Vegas woman has brought up questions about road rage.
Credit Chris Ryan/Getty Images

The killing of Tammy Meyers, a mother of four, sparked heated debate in Las Vegas and across the country about road rage.

Meyers was shot and killed after allegedly confronting a driver who cut her off while she gave her daughter driving lessons.

But almost all of us have been driving when someone else does something stupid, or we do something stupid, that flares tempers.

Capt. Chris Tomaino with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told KNPR’s State of Nevada that road rage is a problem in the valley, but not any more than any other big city.

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Business
7:29 am
Mon February 23, 2015

ArrowData Looks To Fly Drones Over Las Vegas

A local company is working to cash in on the business of drones.

 If you talk with executives with ArrowData, they’ll tell you Nevada is going to be a leader in the emerging unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as drones, industry. That’s the reason the company is located inside a hanger at North Las Vegas airport.

But until drones are legal, ArrowData intends to use existing technology in an innovative way to build its business in Southern Nevada. ArrowData straps sensors and a camera to Cessna aircraft to gather data from the air, analyze the information and send it to customers.

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Business
10:40 am
Fri February 20, 2015

LVCVA Agrees To Purchase Riviera To Make Way For Convention Center Expansion

There are reports the historic Riviera Hotel-Casino could be in the hands of the LVCVA soon.
Credit Rojer/Flickr

UPDATED: 10:40 A.M. 

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority agreed Friday morning to purchase the Riviera Hotel-Casino for $182.5 million.

The approval of the deal by the 14-member board clears the way for the Riviera, which is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary, to eventually be demolished to make way for the $3.2 billion Las Vegas Global Business District.

The Global Business District is a major expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center that will include new convention facilities and a trade center.

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Civic Life
7:48 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Brothel Owner Dennis Hof: The Art of the Pimp

Dennis Hof covers his childhood and building his brothel empire in his new book.
Credit Evan Agostini/AP

Dennis Hof owns brothels in Nevada. In his seven establishments, the most famous of which is the Moonlite Bunny Ranch near Carson City, he employs some 500 people, the majority of them female prostitutes.

Hof started building his empire 22 years ago. These days he enjoys the benefits that come with celebrity and wealth—he travels, he hobnobs with the famous, and he has a revolving stable of young women who both work for him and, at times, adore and sleep with him.

We talk with Dennis Hof about his new book: “The Art of the Pimp: One Man’s Search for Love, Sex and Money.”

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Education
7:34 am
Fri February 20, 2015

CCSD Sex Ed On 'Daily Show' Is Satire, But Students Aren't Joking

Many southern Nevada students are serious about a more comprehensive sex education program.

 The topic of sex education has been a sensitive one for the Clark County School District board ever since September, when skeptical parents got wind of some proposed changes to the curriculum the school board was considering.

Although the board was only reviewing possible changes that may take place should the legislature mandate a more comprehensive sexual education program in schools, it made waves. Not only would it be a dramatic shift from the current, abstinence-only curriculum, it may include topics that make some people uncomfortable.

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Business
7:25 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Nevada Considers Turning Slots Into Video Games

The chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board supports new skill based slot machines.

 A.G. Burnett is a strong believer Nevada needs to be innovative to keep its leading role worldwide as the leader in crafting gaming regulations and introducing new casinos games.

That belief sent Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, to Carson City this week to support a bill designed to bring video game technology into the casino to hopefully generate more gambling on slot machines.

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Politics & Policy
7:38 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Two Months In And AG Laxalt Is Making His Mark

Two months into his position and Attorney General Adam Laxalt is making waves.
Credit Attorney General website

Attorney General Adam Laxalt defended his decision to add Nevada to the list of the states suing over President Barack Obama’s immigration order.

Laxalt told KNPR’s State of Nevada that he was defending the rule of law when joined the lawsuit.

“Increasingly our laws are becoming politicized, and from my perspective, a very dangerous level,” Laxalt said.

He believes the president’s move is unconstitutional and an example of the expansion of the federal government’s power over the past several years.

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Food & Dining
7:25 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Coffee: The Brew Of Champions

It's not your father's freeze-dried coffee any more.
Credit Chiccodoro/Creative Common

The wave has hit Las Vegas – the coffee wave, that is, in what the connoisseurs refer to as third-wave coffee, or the movement of the craft culture that considers coffee an artisanal food, rather than a commodity.

Much like the wine and beer craft culture, third-wave coffee cultivates a higher appreciation of coffee that considers complexities of flavor, growing regions and brewing variety.

Las Vegas’ coffee culture is relatively new compared to places like neighboring California or New York and it’s up against a large presence of corporations.

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Environment
7:17 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Fighting Invasive Species In Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is working to keep invasive species, like these mussels, out.
Credit "Dreissena polymorpha" by GerardM - licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Quagga and zebra mussels are invasive species that can completely change the ecosystem in a lake.

Even though they make the water much clearer, they do it by killing everything else in the lake. The mussels invaded Lake Mead in 2007, but so far they haven't made it to Lake Tahoe.

"We're going to have to learn to live with them," Ashley Watters with the National Parks Service Lake Mead Recreational District said.

The mussels are filter feeders and they eat the algae in the lake, changing the lake's ecosystem.

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