2 Flu-Related Deaths Confirmed in Nevada
LAS VEGAS — Health officials have confirmed the first two flu-related deaths this season — one each in Clark and Washoe counties.
The Washoe County Health District says the unidentified patient contracted Influenza A and died between Sept. 29 and Oct. 26 of this year. A total of nine people were hospitalized with the flu in Washoe County over the same time period.
The district hasn’t released any other details about the fatality.
Officials for the Southern Nevada Health District say Clark County’s only flu-related death this season occurred between Oct. 27 and Nov. 2. That person was over the age of 65, but no other details have been released.
The Clark County death occurred during a week when there were more than 60 hospitalizations from the flu or flu-related illness in the Las Vegas area. The number of cases there already are outpacing last year’s.
County health officials say there were only a dozen cases of the flu reported around the same time in 2018 — five weeks into the flu season.
A Southern Nevada Health District official says it’s still too early to predict how bad the flu season could get.
Drug, Gun Charges added in Reno Hit-and-Run Arrest
RENO — The Nevada Highway Patrol has arrested a 26-year-old suspect in a hit-and-run accident who’s now also accused of possessing cocaine and a loaded gun.
Troopers say they found the concealed, loaded firearm and more than 22 grams of cocaine when they arrested Victor Rafael Lopez on Saturday. They say they also found two scales, plastic baggies and an undisclosed amount of cash.
Lopez was being held in the Washoe County jail on several charges including driving under the influence, hit and run, driving with a suspended license and without insurance, drug charges and possessing a gun while under the influence.
The patrol didn’t release any details on the hit-and-run accident.
It’s not clear if Lopez has a lawyer or will be appointed one at a pending court appearance.
NV Energy Hires Fire Mitigation Specialist in Nevada
INCLINE VILLAGE — The largest utility in Nevada has hired its first fire mitigation specialist.
NV Energy Vice President Kevin Geraghty announced the hiring of Mark Regan, the fire marshal for the last seven years at the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District. Regan also has worked with the Sierra Fire Protection District and serves as president of the Nevada chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators.
Geraghty says wildfires pose an increasing threat to the state and NV Energy customers. He says Regan’s expertise will provide the utility with important insight into developing and implementing programs that reduce the risk of fire and help keep communities safe.
Regan says he looks forward to helping create natural disaster protection plans and build partnerships with fire agencies and emergency management teams throughout the state.
Allegiant Settles with Union; Pilots Blocked from Striking
LAS VEGAS — Allegiant Air has settled a lawsuit against the Teamsters with union pilots agreeing not to strike over changes in the airline’s crew-scheduling system.
A federal magistrate judge in Las Vegas signed an order Friday that ends the case and makes permanent an injunction against a strike or work slowdown.
Allegiant agreed to drop a claim against the president of Teamsters local 1224, and the union and its local agreed to drop a counterclaim against Allegiant.
The Las Vegas-based discount airline sued the Teamsters last year after pilots voted to authorize a strike. Allegiant said just the threat of a strike could hurt ticket sales, and a judge issued a temporary order blocking a strike.
Allegiant and the union are continuing to negotiate over the scheduling issue.
Reno Police Arrest Inmate who Fled Half-Way House
RENO — Police have captured a minimum security inmate who walked away from a half-way house in Reno where he was serving his sentence for a burglary conviction in Clark County.
Reno police say they arrested 43-year-old William “Willie” Vareschi on Thursday, two days after the Nevada Department of Corrections reported he was missing.
He was being held without bail Friday in the Washoe County jail on a charge of escape by a felony prisoner.
It’s not clear if he has a lawyer or will be appointed one at a pending court appearance.
Vareschi had been sent from Clark County to Northern Nevada Transitional Housing in September 2016 to complete his 4- to 10-year sentence for burglary.
No Bomb Found Following Evacuation at Reno Courthouses
RENO — Sheriff deputies found no explosives after a bomb scare in downtown Reno forced the evacuation of two courthouses and shut down several streets for nearly two hours.
Authorities evacuated and closed the Washoe County District Court and the Reno Justice Court across the street in the Mills B. Lane Justice Center following a bomb threat last Wednesday afternoon.
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office said it determined there was no danger after a search that included bomb-sniffing dogs “revealed no evidence to support a threat.”
Most streets reopened by 5 p.m. in the neighboring blocks where traffic was clogged near the Truckee River on the south edge of the main downtown casino district. The courthouses remained closed for the day.