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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News
5:11 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Influx Of Kids Forces Child Haven to Expand

In April, the population of children in the county's shelter mushroomed to 83. The shelter, which was authorized to hold 56, had to set up beds in public areas and other spaces to handle the population.

Child Haven, which houses the county's abused and neglected youth, recently received approval from state officials to increase capacity from 56 to 70. So does that mean the county is preparing for a permanent increase in children at Child Haven? What are they doing to move more kinds out of the shelter and into foster homes and other placements?

GUEST

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Education
5:08 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Nevada Zoom Schools Show Early Success

Credit Getty Images

As much as any legislation can receive unqualified bipartisan support, Nevada’s zoom schools proposal did.

Signed into law by Governor Sandoval a little over a year ago, the initiative promised $50 million dollars earmarked for Nevada’s more than seventy thousand English Language Learners.

The aim of zoom schools is to give non native English speakers, especially those in early grades, a jump start.  The classroom experience includes reading centers, longer school days and smaller class sizes.

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Politics & Policy
7:59 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Macau Bans Smoking In Casinos

Credit Getty Images

The Silver State – and its casinos – have resisted the anti-smoking tide that has swept to so many other states. Eighteen of the 23 states with commercial casinos don’t allow smoking inside those buildings.

So how could a smoking ban in a city halfway around the world change our state’s stance on puffing in public places?

GUEST

Robert Shore, Union Gaming Research

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Education
7:32 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Washoe Superintendent Pedro Martinez Relieved Of Duties

According to a press release from the Washoe County School District, effective immediately, Pedro Martinez has been relieved of his duties as superintendent of that District. Martinez had served a year as Clark County Deputy Superintendent before he was tapped for the leadership role in Washoe.

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Politics & Policy
3:38 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Medical Marijuana Use Is A Touchy Issue In The Workplace

Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient from Colorado, was fired by Dish Network in 2010 for taking his medicine while off duty, in the privacy of his own home.

Coats had been a model employee. But Dish Network’s zero-tolerance drug policy prohibits marijuana use, even for medical reasons. When Coats, a customer service representative, tested positive for cannabis during a routine drug test, he was immediately terminated.

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Environment
7:26 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Protests Don't Stop Land Sale For Fracking

Credit Getty Images

Almost 30 protesters gathered outside the Bureau of Land Management offices on Thursday to protest oil and gas lease sales that could lead to fracking. The area between Austin and Tonopah, called the Big Smokey Valley, has drawn the attention of energy developers.

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Education
3:29 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Theft Damages Adult English Language Program

An official in Clark County School District's Adult English Language Acquisition Services has been indicted on charges that she stole almost $300,000 from the program. Priscilla Rocha, who has been a prominent leader in the Hispanic community, has been accused of stealing electronics and funds from the program to enrich family and friends.

Since her arrest in March, the program has been operating on reduced capacity. So how much have the thefts harmed the program? And how did Rocha and her accomplices get away with stealing so much from the school district?

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Music & Entertainment
3:06 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Hakkasan Bans 'Whales And Hippos'

Credit Getty Images

Hakkasan nightclub attracted some unwanted publicity recently when a club host told a Southern California woman that the bachelorette party she was organizing would not be comped unless she provided photographs of everyone in the party.

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Business
8:18 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Nevada's Minimum Wage Law Flouted, Says Lawyer

Credit Getty Images

Nevada's constitutionally mandated minimum wage law is being flouted, a Las Vegas attorney told a hearing held by the Labor Commissioner last week. Employers are supposed to pay an extra dollar an hour if they do not offer health insurance. But many are offering token plans and avoiding the higher wage payments, says Bradley Schrager, a lawyer with Wolf Rifkin Shapiro.

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Health & Science
7:41 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Co-Op Loses Major Oncology Clinic

The Nevada Health CO-OP, which was set up to provide a low-cost alternative to commercial health insurance plans, is having trouble keeping key medical providers on its policies. Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada has decided to give 60-days notice and will leave all the CO-OP's health plans.

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Food & Dining
4:07 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

The Vodka Mystique, From Bond To Bottle Service

Credit Getty Images

What’s in your glass? If you’re like more and more Americans it won’t be whisky or rye. Nor wine or beer.

It will be vodka.

Ever since James Bond asked for a vodka martini, the clear spirit has gone from strength to strength. And it has risen exponentially.

Of course, it’s reached a zenith with the four-figure bottle service for Grey Goose that is now such a money-maker at nightclubs along the Las Vegas Strip.

GUEST

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Race & Ethnicity
3:49 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Voting Rights And Civil Rights In Nevada

Credit Getty Images

Nationwide, there have been efforts to change voting rules in several ways, including requiring a picture ID. Legislators here in Nevada have also grappled with the questions of whether ID should be required for voting.

But how could it affect political participation by low-income voters and African-Americans? And is it part of a larger effort to suppress the minority vote? That is one of the issues that will be addressed at this year's NAACP Convention, which is meeting this week in Las Vegas.

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Environment
3:44 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

The B-29 At The Bottom Of Lake Mead

Credit NPS Submerged Research Center

Divers from the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center recently returned from Lake Mead, where they went to capture images of a B-29 that went down in the lake in 1948. The Parks Service had to fight to keep the remains at the bottom of the lake, where they have been preserved remarkably well. A photographer with the center describes the site and what it looks like from under the water.

GUEST

Brett Seymour, deputy chief and photographer, Submerged Resources Center, National Park Service

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Arts & Life
3:15 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

A Public Fit Stages First Public Reading

A year ago, a group of actors and directors began meeting around a table to read contemporary plays. The group ultimately evolved into A Public Fit, a theater company. And they will take the stage this weekend with a staged reading of the critically-acclaimed play Belleville.

Ultimately, the group aspires to bring more professional actors and designers to the Las Vegas Valley. Cast members and the artistic director talk about the play, and what they hope to accomplish with the company.

GUESTS

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Business
3:08 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Gaming Update: GTECH Buys IGT, Wynn Opposed In Boston

GTECH S.p.A will spend $6.4 billion to buy International Game Technology, or IGT, in a deal that brings together the world’s largest provider of lottery systems with the biggest slot machine manufacturer.

GTECH will spend $4.7 billion in cash and stock and assume $1.7 billion in debt. The acquisition is expected to be completed by June 2015 and is subject to approval by Nevada gaming regulators. The merger is also expected to achieve some $280 million in costs savings.

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News
3:04 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Finding Housing For Homeless Families

Credit Getty Images

The federal government has set a goal to end family homelessness by 2020, but every day in Las Vegas, homeless families are turned away from shelters that lack space to accommodate their needs.

The Clark County School District estimates that as many as 9,000 students don't have a stable place to live. Unlike single adults, homeless families can often be hidden from view, doubled up in homes with family and friends, or living in cars and weekly motels.

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Education
7:43 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Nevada Chooses ACT Test For All High School Juniors

Credit Getty Images

High school juniors in Nevada will have a new required exam next year. The Nevada State Board of Education recently unanimously approved a plan to administer the ACT exams to all 35,000 high school juniors beginning in April.

School officials say while the test is mandatory it will not affect whether a student graduates. Instead it gives juniors a free exam that is required to apply to many colleges.

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Civic Life
7:22 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Las Vegas Near The Top For Wiretapping

Credit Getty Images

Would it surprise you to know that Las Vegas authorities use electronic wiretaps more than almost any other police department in the country?

And we’re talking about some very large police departments – including Los Angeles and New York City. The Pew Research Center says the Silver State leads the nation with 38 phone wiretaps per 500,000 people in 2013.

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Politics & Policy
4:15 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Should Nevada Trapping Regulations Change?

Nevada trappers can make a substantial income selling bobcat pelts. Proponents of trapping also say that trappers play an important role in keeping animal populations under control.

But animal rights activists say trapping in Nevada is woefully unregulated as compared to other states, and that the practice itself is cruel. Traps set for wild animals like bobcats can sometimes ensnare domestic animals, for example.

The latest proposed change to trapping regulations in Nevada would alter how long a trapper should wait before checking the trap.

GUESTS

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Civic Life
4:07 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Ramadan In The Las Vegas Valley

Credit Getty Images

Thousands of Muslims in Southern Nevada are observing the holy month of Ramadan, which means they are fasting from food and drink from dawn to dusk. This year, Ramadan falls on the hottest, longest days of the summer. But Muslims who observe the fast say the long days simply offer more opportunity to be closer to God. What are the challenges of celebrating Ramadan in the Las Vegas desert? And what are the blessings that come with the fast?

GUESTS

Khadija Bhatti, senior, Green Valley High School

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Politics & Policy
7:49 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Gaming Regulators Really Mean 'No Marijuana'

As Nevada businessmen were lining up to snag a license in the medical marijuana business, the Nevada Gaming Control Board send out an edict that no licensee was to be involved in the marijuana business in any way. Slot operator Bruce Familian divested himself of his interest in a marijuana dispensary but that was not enough. Even though he sold the shares to his wife the Gaming Control Board refused to allow his slots company to install machines in a new bar.

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Environment
7:32 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Scorpions Invade Las Vegas

Credit Getty Images

They have cleverly stowed away in Arizona palm trees and are thriving in the dry desert climate of Las Vegas.

Perhaps one is hiding in a broom closet or scurrying across a patio near you.

The bark scorpion is becoming a Las Vegas pest problem to rival cockroaches and ants. Except the scorpion's sting can send its victim to the emergency room.

GUEST

Grady Jones, entomologist, Western Exterminators

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Home & Garden
3:54 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

IKEA Comes To Las Vegas

Credit Getty Images

At last, furniture lovers, design mavens and do-it-themselfers can rest easy. IKEA - the Swedish furniture chain - announced Monday that it was planning to open a new store in Las Vegas. The planned 351,000 square foot store will be built on 26 acres at the 215 and Durango Drive.

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Environment
3:48 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Scientists Urge Pet Owners Not To Release Non-Native Fish Into The Wild

Credit UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center

Super-sized goldfish were already found in Lake Tahoe. These goldfish grew to be as big as 15 inches and weigh four pounds, according to researchers in Northern Nevada.

Now, aquarium dumping has been taken to another level after tourists found a prehistoric-looking tropical fish in a creek. The Plecostomus, or a common algae-eating aquarium fish, was recently found dead because it couldn’t survive the cold creek temperatures or didn’t have enough accessible food.

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Politics & Policy
3:43 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Democratic Dark Horse Bob Goodman Runs For Governor

Bob Goodman, left, Democratic candidate for governor.

Bob Goodman isn't a household name in Nevada, even though his is one of two major-party candidates running for the state's top job. Goodman won the Democratic primary in June, but he earned fewer votes than "None of These Candidates." Most observers think the incumbent, Governor Brian Sandoval, will cruise to an easy victory in November, but Goodman has vowed to put up a fight for the office.

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Civic Life
7:26 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Investigators Revisit Jimmy Hoffa's Murder

Credit Getty Images

Almost 40 years later, we still don’t have the definitive answer to one of the great mysteries in American history -- who killed Jimmy Hoffa?

Investigators have interviewed mob figures, poured over documents and indulged in endless speculation as to the identity and motivations of the person who put the hit on the powerful Teamsters Union leader.

Now, a History Detectives episode delves into past and present theories of Hoffa’s murder.

GUEST

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Civic Life
4:52 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

Why Do We Get Hung Up On Breastfeeding?

Credit Getty Images

A breastfeeding mother has been asked to stop and cover-up. A YMCA official asked a mother to stop feeding her child recently. It's not the first time that's happened, so mothers decided to fight back. Last Wednesday they held a "nurse in," a demonstration at the YMCA in Centennial Hills. State law gives mothers the right to feed their children in public and does not even require any covering. So why do these incidents keep happening? Why are we so hung up on breastfeeding?

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Civic Life
3:59 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Las Vegas Pastors Collect Goods For Migrant Children

Credit Getty Images

Three local pastors recently returned to Las Vegas from a naval base in Oxnard, California, where hundreds of migrant children are being held pending immigration proceedings. The children are part of a wave that has come from Central America.

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Education
7:41 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Clark County School District's Best And Brightest

Credit Getty Images

The Clark County School District is known for its low graduation rate.

The school district is also overwhelmed with English language learners and both Democrats and Republicans agree education in Nevada needs more funding. But while the trials and tribulations of the nation’s fifth largest school district are well known - there are bright spots in Southern Nevada education.

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