KNPR

From Fires To Political Fireworks, Nevadans Saw A Lot In 2018

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John Locher/AP

From left, Ammon Bundy, fellow defendant Ryan Payne, and Ryan Bundy leave Las Vegas federal court with family members and supporters in January after a judge threw out conspiracy and weapons charges. The case stemmed from the 2014 standoff at the Bundy family ranch in northern Clark County.

As 2018 slips into history, Nevadans can look back on a year that saw the biggest wildfire in the state’s history and a blue political wave that put Democrats in every statewide office but one.

The year also saw the remarkable run of the Vegas Golden Knights, which went from NHL expansion team to Stanley Cup finalists. And it marked the conclusion of the Bundy family saga sparked by the 2014 armed standoff with federal officials at the ranch of family patriarch Cliven Bundy in northern Clark County.

Kitchen table issues also got a fair share of attention.

Brian Duggan of the Reno Gazette-Journal said housing is an important issue in Northern Nevada, where a booming tech-fueled economy has driven up prices.

“Our median home price hit $400,000 in Reno, which is the first time ever,” he told State of Nevada.

He said the private sector and municipal officials have worked to increase supply, but weekly motels, which provide housing to low-income residents, are being torn down for new development.

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Duggan said the situation is “one step forward with one housing development (moving ahead) and two steps back with several more being demolished.”

Outside of urban areas, issues involving public lands generated headlines as the Trump administration sought to open more area to petroleum and other economic development.

“If I had to give it a scorecard, I would say kind of a tough year for public lands in the West and in Nevada, said Andrew Kiraly, editor of Desert Companion. The magazine, published by Nevada Public Radio, frequently covers public lands issues.

Kiraly said removing protections for the sage grouse, which opens land for development, and reducing the sizes of some national monuments, including Gold Butte in Nevada, were some of this year’s bigger stories.

An environmental issue in Southern Nevada remains water — or lack thereof.

Lake Mead is flirting with historic low levels, and should that happen federal officials could order cutbacks in water releases.

“That’s going to be one of those concrete measures that takes place that says climate change is real and having real-world effects,” Kiraly said.

Guests

Andrew Kiraly, Desert Companion magazine; Faith Jessie, KSNV; Brian Duggan, Reno Gazette-Journal

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