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What to know today: Dec. 12, 2022

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Associated Press
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Snow covers the trees on the mountains surrounding Reno.

The Boston Bruins beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 in a matchup of division leaders Sunday. The Knights finished up their three game homestand with one win, and they now head off to play at Winnipeg tomorrow.

Heavy snow fell in the Sierra Nevada as a winter storm packing powerful winds sent ski lift chairs swinging and closed mountain highways while downpours at lower elevations triggered flood watches across large swaths of California into Nevada. More than 250 miles of the Sierra remained under a winter storm warning at least until late Sunday from north of Reno south to Yosemite. On Saturday, the storm shut down highways, toppled trees and triggered flood watches and avalanche warnings.

Authorities say the former fire chief of Sparks is facing a Jan. 31 arraignment on four felony drug charges. The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that the charges against Mark Lawson date back to October 2020, include possession of between 14 and 28 grams of a controlled substance and possession with intent to sell a controlled substance with a gang enhancement. The Sparks City Council approved Lawson’s hiring to the $200,000 per year job on Nov. 28. But on Dec. 5, Sparks City Manager Neil Krutz informed fire department staff that serious criminal charges were about to be filed against the new chief and he asked Lawson to resign. Two division chiefs are alternating in the position until a new chief is hired.

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The Clark County School District, the fifth largest in the nation, will begin covering student fees for Advanced Placement exams. Metro Las Vegas school district officials announced it will pay the $100 cost to take an AP test, with the money coming from federal grants. High school students enrolled in an AP class must pass an exam to receive college credit. District officials say only 79% of enrolled students actually took the test last year —below their expected target. However, those who passed the exam potentially saved an estimated $6 million in college tuition in Nevada.

The Justice Department on Thursday conceded that a 1929 law criminalizing entrance to the U.S. after deportation was motivated by racism, but said subsequent revisions made it constitutional. The comments came as the department urged an appellate court to overturn a landmark decision striking down the law. In an August 2021 order, Las Vegas-based U.S. District Judge Miranda Du dismissed an illegal reentry charge against a Mexican immigrant, on the grounds that the law known as Section 1326 violated his constitutional rights and is discriminatory against Latinos. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California, heard arguments Thursday.

Legislation included in the National Defense Authorization Act would nearly triple the size of a Naval air station bombing range near Fallon. Nevada Current reports that Republican Congressman Mark Amodei and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto championed the part of the bill expanding the Fallon range. The NDAA is the annual appropriations bill that funds the military. The Fallon expansion would grant the Navy’s request for nearly 600,000 additional acres of Nevada public land. The bill will also open thousands of acres of public land for development in Churchill County and Lander County. The legislation would also provide 20 million dollars for the establishment of a cultural heritage center for the Fallon-Paiute Shoshone Tribe, and another 20 million to the Walker River Paiute Tribe as compensation for thousands of acres of tribal land contaminated and polluted by military testing and training exercises, as well as about more than 18,000 acres of land held in trust for the tribes to replace those lost to the bombing range expansion.

On Tuesday, Henderson City Council members will consider plans to buy the former Fiesta Henderson property from Station Casinos. Stations recently demolished the hotel, which had been closed since the start of the COVID pandemic. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the price of the site will exceed thirty million dollars. Henderson officials are considering repurposing the site by building an indoor recreational facility with basketball and volleyball courts, as well as baseball and softball diamonds that could be converted into turf fields. Documents from the city of Henderson don’t detail final costs or a timeline for construction. If approved, the sale is expected to close by the end of December.

KNPR’s Morning Edition Host, Rick Andrews, joined Nevada Public Radio as an announcer in 2003, shortly after we split into two stations.