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Those wolves that were seen in Nevada? They weren’t wolves

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Those wolves that were seen in Nevada? They weren’t wolves


The wonder of an unconfirmed sighting of a gray wolf pack that could have marked the return of the species to Nevada was cut short when genetic testing revealed they weren’t wolves at all.

Rather, the animals that wildlife officials spotted near Merritt Mountain in Elko County were coyotes, a common sight across the Silver State in both rural and urban settings.

Two independent genetic labs found that the hair, fecal and urine samples collected from the scene in early March were a 99.9 percent match for coyotes, the Nevada Department of Wildlife said.

The last time a wolf was seen in Nevada was 2017. Prior to that, one hadn’t been spotted in the state since 1922.

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“We understand the significance of such sightings and the importance of accurate identification,” NDOW director Alan Jenne said in a statement.

Scientists spotted the coyotes when taking stock of Nevada’s moose population, and the state agency was working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make a plan to ensure the wolf pack’s safety if the animals turned out to be wolves and stayed within state borders.

Federally, gray wolves became endangered in 1974, when only about 600 of them still roamed the lower 48 states. Though Nevada wildlife officials said the state isn’t known to be historic wolf habitat, the Center for Biological Diversity estimates there could have been upward of 2 million of them when European settlers arrived in North America.

“We appreciate the diligence of our biologists, assisting laboratory personnel and the public’s cooperation throughout this process and we will continue to monitor the area for any indication of wolf presence,” Jenne said in a statement.

Contact Alan at ahalaly@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlanHalaly on X.

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Nevada

NSHE highlights bolstered security in wake of UNLV shooting

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NSHE highlights bolstered security in wake of UNLV shooting


LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KOLO) – The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents is highlighting security improvements made in the wake of the deadly 2023 shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

They received a report on the progress of the Chancellor’s ad hoc Committee on Public Safety during its recent meeting.

NSHE says the committee’s most notable achievement has been the securing of $2.6 million from the Legislative Interim Finance Committee to bolster security across southern Nevada institutions of higher education.

“We are incredibly grateful to the legislature for prioritizing campus safety within the NSHE system by dedicating $2.6 million in funding,” said Interim Chancellor Patricia Charlton. “Ensuring that every student, staff, and faculty member feels safe and secure on our campuses is of utmost importance. Additional funding and the diligent work of the committee are instrumental in accomplishing this goal. Thank you to everyone involved.”

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The committee was created to assess and prioritize opportunities for enhancing campus security and emergency preparedness in the wake of the Dec. 6 shooting.

The committee says it has also made $4.4 million in budget and grant requests. Those requests were for:

  • 911 enhancements
  • Full-scale exercises
  • Procedures for active assailant events
  • Additional cameras installation
  • Funding requests to restore the learning environment at UNLV

Furthermore, the committee will present 15 preliminary recommendations, including:

  • Standardizing locking mechanisms for all NSHE buildings
  • Implementing a system-wide emergency notification system
  • Mandating active assailant and all-hazards training for all stakeholders
  • Standardizing Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) and Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) across NSHE campuses

“The work of the Chancellor’s ad hoc Committee for Public Safety is vitally important at this moment. We were all rocked by the tragic events that took place on December 6 and I am extremely appreciative for the committee’s comprehensive approach to addressing safety concerns and implementing proactive measures at our institutions,” said Board of Regents Chair Amy J. Carvalho.



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Summer EBT won’t go out until September • Nevada Current

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Summer EBT won’t go out until September • Nevada Current


Parents in Nevada will have to wait until September to receive benefits from a popular free food program designed to cover kids during summer vacation.

Earlier this year, Nevada signed up for the first new federally funded nutrition program in decades, which established a permanent summer nutrition assistance program for children out of school for the summer.

The new federal nutrition program, known as Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (SEBT), will provide families with $40 in food benefits per eligible child, per month, for the three month summer period. 

But those summer benefits won’t make it to Nevada households until September, according to the Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, which runs the program.

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State health officials said the program was delayed until September, because the agency has not yet secured the state funding needed to run the program. However, the Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services said they are confident the $6 million needed to cover the program’s administrative costs will be approved by lawmakers during the Interim Finance Committee in June. 

“We just need to get our funding approved first,” said Kristle Muessle, a public information officer for the Nevada Division of Welfare and Support Services. “Once we have that, we’ll be able to get the system updates going, and get those contracts going.”

Although the program is largely funded by the federal government, states need to pay half the cost of administering the program.

Payments will be distributed in one lump sum to eligible households with children from Pre-K through the 12th grade. State health officials estimate that 350,000 children in Nevada will be eligible for the summer food benefits program.

The first round of summer benefits starting in September will automatically be distributed to children living in households already participating in other income-based federal assistance programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Nevada Medicaid.

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Households with children identified by the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) as eligible for the free and reduced lunch program will also automatically receive benefits in the first round of payments in September.

Those benefits will be deposited on existing SNAP or TANF cards as part of a household’s monthly benefits. State officials noted that not all children will receive their benefits at the same time.

For families who do not receive SNAP or TANF benefits, pre-loaded SEBT cards will be sent by mail starting in mid-September. SEBT cards will be mailed to the last known address the parent or guardian provided when enrolling their child in school. 

Parents who have recently moved will need to contact the school their child is currently enrolled in, prior to June 10, 2024, and provide them with a current address or mailing address to ensure they receive the summer food benefits when they are finally available in September, warned the Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services.

Children in households that are not already participating in other income-based federal assistance programs will receive their summer benefits at a later date. However, that later date has not been determined yet, according to the Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services.

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Nevada also has several nutrition food programs for families who need assistance over the summer.  The Clark County School District (CCSD) announced it will serve breakfast and lunch meals to all students through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at several locations throughout southern Nevada. A list of locations can be found here.

Summer meals served by CCSD schools will be available from May 21 to June 14, before returning from June 17 to July 17. Due to the terms of the CCSD Summer Food Service Program, all meals provided by CCSD must be consumed on-site. 

The Food Bank of Northern Nevada’s also offers free breakfast and lunch meals  to children 2-18 years old throughout summer break. A list of locations can be found here. 

The Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (SEBT) is a much needed boost for states that have seen food insecurity rise in recent years. 

Earlier this month, data released by Three Square Food Bank revealed that food insecurity in Clark, Nye, Esmerelda and Lincoln counties rose from 12% in 2022 to 14.7% in 2023. An estimated 14.6% of Clark County residents were food insecure, up from 12% the previous year. 

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The highest rates are among Esmeralda and Nye counties, at 18.4% and 17.3% respectively. Both counties had a 13.9% rate the previous year.

The report also found that rates among children spiked from 17.8% in 2023 to 22%. Roughly one in five children, about 115,000 children, live in food-insecure households.

While Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoed a bill in 2023 that would have provided universal free lunch for K-12 students, the SEBT program will provide much needed additional funding for childhood nutrition programs.

Last month, Democratic lawmakers also criticized Lombardo for pressuring the legislature to fund the states administrative costs related to the SEBT program from an emergency contingency account, rather than reallocating unspent American Rescue Plan Act money.

Using the emergency contingency fund for the EBT programs’ $6 million administrative needs would leave the fund with an $11 million balance–considered too low by lawmakers.

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During the legislative session, $9 million in ARPA funding was set aside for the universal free lunch program, which was ultimately left unspent after Lombardo vetoed the free school lunch bill. 

Lawmakers said they intended to use part of the $9 million in unspent ARPA funds to cover the $6 million needed for administrative costs related to the SEBT program.



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150-acre wildfire burning southwest of Las Vegas

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150-acre wildfire burning southwest of Las Vegas


LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Crews are working on putting out a wildfire that is burning southwest of Las Vegas.

According to the Bureau of Land Management, the fire started at 11:40 a.m. near the Late Night Trailhead, which is seven miles east of Mountain Springs along State Route 160.

It was originally 25 acres. At 4:15 p.m., BLM officials estimated the fire was 50 acres and was now burning in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Wildfire officials gave an update at 5:15 p.m. and said the fire had grown to 150 acres. However, they added the fire perimeter has not been mapped by GPS so an exact size of the fire is not yet available. As of 7 p.m., the BLM said the fire is 15% contained.

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Approximately 30 firefighters have been assigned to the fire, including four engines, and two Single Engine Air Tankers. During the most recent update, BLM officials said they anticipate additional firefighters to arrive on Tuesday to help and the goal is to contain the entire fire by 6 p.m.

No structures are threatened and no roads have been closed. No injuries have been reported.

BLM officials have named it the Bird Springs Fire and state the fire was caused by humans and is under investigation.

Wildfire season in Nevada runs from May through October. Channel 13 previously spoke to wildland firefighters who said they are ready for this season.

WATCH: Here’s how local wildland firefighters are preparing

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‘We’re ready’: Las Vegas valley wildland firefighters are preparing for fire season

They also laid out some tips for preventing wildfires.

  • Clear dead vegetation (trees, grass, leaves, etc.) from around your home to limit the potential fire fuel.
  • Properly soak and dispose of cigarette butts, charcoal briquettes, and any other material that can start fires.
  • Equip all-terrain vehicles with spark arrestors.

Clark County officials are also reminding everyone that only “safe and sane” fireworks are allowed in Clark County and local cities and that is only from June 28 through July 4.
No fireworks of any kind are allowed at Clark County Wetlands Park and other local parks, or on public lands in the region, including Mount Charleston, Lake Mead, and Red Rock Canyon.

Offenders caught using illegal fireworks in unincorporated County areas and the city of Las Vegas face a minimum fine of $500. Legislation approved in 2021 by the Nevada State Legislature allows for fines of up to $10,000 for large amounts of illegal fireworks found within the community.

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Residents are urged not to call 911 to report illegal fireworks to keep 911 free for life-threatening emergencies. Instead, the public is asked to report location complaints about illegal fireworks over the holiday online by clicking here.





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