State Briefly

Sandoval appoints tourism director

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Gov. Brian Sandoval has named Claudia Vecchio, a Texas executive, as his new director of tourism and cultural affairs.

Vecchio will serve as the first director of the state's new Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. She will oversee the Nevada Commission on Tourism, the Division of Museums and History, the Nevada Arts Council, and the Nevada Indian Commission.

Vecchio has been president of a Dallas-based tourism and economic development marketing firm. She has also worked as the state tourism director in Ohio. She received her bachelor of arts in organizational communications from Brigham Young University in Utah.

Vecchio starts her new job in Nevada on Nov. 14.

She beat out two other finalists for the post, including acting tourism director Larry Friedman.

Democrats target Hispanics in new Spanish ad

LAS VEGAS (AP) - National Democrats are targeting Nevada's Hispanic voters with a new Spanish-language ad that touts President Barack Obama's jobs bill.

The Democratic National Committee says the ad is running in the Las Vegas area.

The ad shows Hispanics accusing the GOP of "always saying no." It then shows Obama promising to give families a $1,500 tax break if the jobs bill becomes law.

Democrats view Hispanic voters as pivotal to winning swing states such as Florida, Colorado and Nevada in 2012. The Democratic National Committee has previously aired Spanish-language ads in those states.

The number of Hispanics nationwide has climbed to 50 million, or more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade. Hispanics now account for one-fourth of the population in Nevada.

Study to look at how Hispanics are faring in slow economy

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Officials at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas are taking a look at how Hispanics are faring during Nevada's slow economic recovery. University officials hosted a forum Monday night with local politicians and academics on how Hispanics fit in to Nevada's economic landscape.

The panel, including Democratic state Sen. Mo Denis of Las Vegas and Latin Chamber of Commerce President Otto Merida, was to focus on social and economic issues impacting Hispanics in southern Nevada.

Feds: Rural Nevada butterflies may need protection

RENO (AP) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says four butterfly subspecies in Nevada's Great Basin may need federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The agency said Monday that it's collecting more information about the Baking Powder Flat blue butterfly, the bleached sandhill skipper, the Steptoe Valley crescentspot and the White River Valley skipper to determine whether to classify the butterflies as threatened or endangered.

Jill Ralston of the Nevada Fish and Wildlife office says the decision begins an information-gathering process but does not mean the agency is ready to list the insects. The butterflies are found in Lincoln, White Pine, Humboldt and Nye counties.

A petition requested protection for 10 subspecies, but Fish and Wildlife officials say there is not yet enough evidence to pursue protections for the other six butterfly types.

Wildfire evacuation lifted for tiny Nevada town

ELKO (AP) - Officials say more than 1,300 firefighters are battling 11 wildfires burning in vast uninhabited areas of northern Nevada, while a voluntary evacuation has been lifted for the tiny mining town of Midas in western Elko County.

A Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman tells the Elko Daily Free Press about two dozen wildfires were spotted after a lightning storm on Friday.

The National Interagency Fire Coordination Center also reports firefighters are battling the 63-square-mile Chukkar Canyon Fire north of Carlin, the 51-square-mile Izzenhood Fire north of Battle Mountain, and the 28-square-mile Indian Creek Fire northeast of Carlin.

Near Winnemucca, crews are battling the 37.5-square-mile Eden Valley Fire north of Golcanda, the nearly 33-square-mile China Garden Fire north of Paradise Valley and the 59-square-mile Hot Springs Fire southeast of Paradise Valley.


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