Editor’s note: Seven days. Never enough hours.
Stacks of paperwork at the office and piles of laundry at home. It’s a never-ending cycle, which makes it difficult to stay on top of the endless news nuggets flowing from the White House, state capital, local government and business community. We get it — and we’re in the news business.
Enter “About Last Week.” This is our way of bringing news-hungry but time-strapped readers up to speed on happenings that may have flown under the radar. Our promise: We’ll keep it brief.
Our hope: You’ll read (or skim) and keep checking back every Monday.
So, without further ado, here are some noteworthy things that happened in Nevada last week.
More Nevada students are eating breakfast
Nevada began serving so many more students breakfast during the 2016-2017 school year that it leaped significantly in a national scorecard released last week by Food Research & Action Center.
Roughly 64 out of every 100 students in Nevada received breakfast last year, placing the state seventh in terms of participation. Nevada, which previously ranked No. 25, posted the largest participation gain in the federally subsidized School Breakfast Program, largely because of state legislation passed in 2015.
Senate Bill 503 requires schools where 70 percent or more of students qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch to also serve breakfast. Nevada’s first lady, Kathleen Sandoval, supported the legislation.
Research has shown that students who eat a proper breakfast have increased concentration, memory, comprehension and cognitive function and perform better on standardized tests.
West Virginia serves the most students breakfast, with a ratio of about 85 per every 100 students.
— Jackie Valley
Democrats endorse candidate who could be youngest woman elected to Assembly
Democratic Nevada Assembly leaders have endorsed high school English teacher Selena Torres, 22, for a seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Nelson Araujo.
Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson announced last week that the Assembly Democratic Caucus would be supporting Torres for Assembly District 3 in Las Vegas, saying she “will bring 21st century ideas” and “a fresh perspective to our state.”
She’ll turn 23 before the election, making her among the youngest to ever serve in the Assembly, which requires members be at least 21 years of age. The youngest woman ever elected to the Assembly was Ruth Averill, who was 23 when she won her seat in 1920.
Six people have been elected to the Assembly when they were 22, two were elected when they were 21, and one — whose birthdate is thought to be 1868 but is still in dispute — was apparently elected at age 20, according to the Legislative Counsel Bureau.
Torres’ father immigrated to Las Vegas after fleeing the civil war in El Salvador, and her mother moved to the area from Hawaii to be a teacher. She said she’s running to help all families pursue the American Dream, as hers has.
Torres attended Clark County schools, the College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada, Reno. She worked at a small law firm focused on immigration issues and founded the Cesar Chavez Day community festival in Las Vegas five years ago.
Araujo, 30, is not seeking re-election because he’s running for secretary of state. The district is heavily Democratic.
— Michelle Rindels
Retired North Las Vegas police lieutenant jumps in sheriff’s race, vows transparency
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo has attracted a challenger in his bid for re-election.
Retired North Las Vegas police Lt. Tim Bedwell, the agency’s former spokesman, announced last Tuesday that he’ll seek the top job at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He had flirted with the idea of running in the last election, but never formally jumped in.
“It’s time for new leadership at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. Clark County deserves a service-oriented leader who values public safety as the top priority,” said Bedwell, who is a father of five and has a master’s degree in criminal justice organizational management from Kaplan University. “I’m asking the people of Clark County to join me in a partnership built on trust and communication. Together we can seize the moment and forge a new, more open, more responsive, public safety culture at Metro.”
Bedwell’s campaign said in spite of the current administration’s statements, crime statistics show not all is well in Clark County. He said parts of the county feel neglected.
Lombardo, who has spent his entire law enforcement career at Metro and narrowly won his race in 2014, has been thrust into the limelight in recent months as the public face of the the investigation into the 1 October mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.
When he announced his candidacy in July, he touted the department’s successes in putting more police on the streets, improving equipment technology and combined it with “a unique focus on community policing.”
— Luz Gray and Michelle Rindels
Stephen Silberkraus plans Assembly comeback
Republican former Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus, who served in the 2015 session before losing to incumbent Democrat Lesley Cohen, is trying again to claim a Henderson seat.
Silberkraus announced last week that he’s running for Assembly District 29, and garnered the endorsement of the Assembly Republican Caucus. He highlighted his support for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s education initiatives in 2015 and accused Democratic leadership in 2017 of creating problems that led to a $60 million deficit in the Clark County School District.
Silberkraus is the state commander of the Nevada Sons of the American Legion, president of Opera Las Vegas and an assistant scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America.
He is also president of a committee to recall Democratic state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse. The Republican-led recall effort is caught up in a bitter court battle, and it’s unclear whether it will lead to a special election that could oust Woodhouse.
Silberkraus lost by a mere 212 votes out of nearly 29,000 cast in his Assembly district in 2016. The district narrowly supported Donald Trump in the presidential election.
— Michelle Rindels
Federal officer recommends rejection of Station Casinos challenge to union election at Green Valley Ranch
A National Labor Relations Board officer recommended last week overruling Station Casinos’ objections to a unionization election at Green Valley Ranch in November.
Board hearing officer Jose Rojas found that Station Casinos failed to establish that Culinary Union workers engaged in misconduct that interfered with the election and recommended that Station Casinos objections be “overruled in their entirety” in a Feb. 9 report. Station Casinos has until Feb. 23 to appeal the decision to the regional director of the board.
Rojas wrote that there was no evidence that the union engaged in “coercive conduct” in pre-election campaigning efforts, engaged in “misconduct” at or near the polls or engaged in any objectionable list-keeping.
Green Valley Ranch workers voted 78 percent in favor of unionization during the two-day election on Nov. 8 and 9. About 900 workers will be covered by either the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165.
“Station Casinos has said many times that they would respect their employees’ right to hold a NLRB secret-ballot election and abide by results; now that their objections have been entirely rejected, we urge Station Casinos to recognize their workers’ voices and votes, and begin contract negotiations in good faith immediately,” said Culinary Union secretary-treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline.
A spokeswoman for Station Casinos did not respond to a request for comment.
Green Valley Ranch will be the fourth Station Casinos property to unionize, including two other Las Vegas properties, Boulder Station and Palace Station.
— Megan Messerly