NNBW Editor – who’s ready for 2020: Part Two? (Voices) | nnbw.com
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NNBW Editor – who’s ready for 2020: Part Two? (Voices)

Kevin MacMillan

kmacmillan@nevadanewsgroup.com

Kevin MacMillan is editor of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.
File photo

RENO, Nev. — It’s hard to believe it’s almost July, meaning somehow, some way, we’re just about at the midway point of what’s been a tremendously turbulent 2020.

Congratulations everyone — we made it. 

Deep breath. Now, what next?

From an economic standpoint, to say the answer to that question is “unclear” might be the understatement of the century, because after all we’ve seen these first 6 months, anything’s on the table for what I like to call “2020: Part Two.”

Last week, we published, the following story from The Nevada Independent’s Riley Snyder, “Top economic development official in Nevada: post-COVID recovery will be ‘long and grinding affair’,” which covers the most recent meeting of the Nevada Governor’s Office on Economic Development Board.

In it, GOED Director Michael Brown shares rather matter-of-factly that the Silver State’s rocky road to economic recovery will be a “long and grinding affair,” considering the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the agency to reflect and find ways to adapt to the new economic reality.

I’m a sucker for a good sports analogy, so the following quote from Mr. Brown resonated especially well with me: “I was at Ohio State when Woody Hayes coached football. His wins were achieved by consistently grinding out three yards and a cloud of dust … The game will not be won by wildly throwing forward passes. The state with the best running game will most likely win the economic development game.”

As someone who hails from Michigan and is a diehard Wolverine football fan, I’ll let this particular analogy slide. Joking aside, I’m drawing attention to the quote and the story because now it’s more important than ever to keep a close eye on our state’s economic development agency as it gets its hands dirty with the tough task that lies ahead with re-energizing the Silver State’s economy.

As the story notes, the GOED board issued a “rare” split vote to allocate $2 million to the College of Southern Nevada for an advanced manufacturing training program.

A grant like that in the past would have been a no-brainer due to its focus on workforce development and ensuring Nevadans are prepared to fill tech-centric jobs spilling into the state. But now, with COVID-19 throwing a billion-plus-dollar wrench into the state’s 2020-21 fiscal budget, even seemingly simple items like this deserve close scrutiny.

I’m also drawing special attention to this story because it’s one of many articles we’ve published since the start of the pandemic from The Nevada Independent.

As I wrote in this space previously, we inked a partnership with The Indy that coincided with our move back to a weekly publication on Feb. 5. As readers likely know by now, The Nevada Independent is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news and opinion website founded by veteran political journalist and commentator Jon Ralston.

Since its inception in 2017, The Indy has done a stellar job covering business and the economy — and that coverage has increased at an expeditious pace since March, when businesses across Nevada closed down.

As I’ve reiterated over the months, we’re a pretty lean editorial staff here at the NNBW, so it was a no-brainer for us to partner with The Indy.

Thanks to the incredible work of Jon’s tireless team, we’ve been fortunate to increase our business coverage in tow, and important stories like Riley’s GOED coverage are just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s a sampling of a few of the recent stories we’ve published by Nevada Independent reporters on our website:

  • Sportsbooks see betting enthusiasm, especially via mobile apps, even as athletic events are slow to return: “For nearly three months — a time period normally marked by March Madness, the debut of Major League Baseball and professional hockey and basketball playoffs — all was quiet in Nevada’s sportsbooks. Now, the familiar hum of activity inside these sports-viewing meccas is returning despite a coronavirus-altered athletic landscape,” writes Reporter Jackie Valley.
  • NV Energy files long-promised $120 million rate reduction that would slash monthly bills: “NV Energy has made good on a longstanding promise to substantially slash its annual revenue requirement by $120 million … a move made possible based on a combination of factors, including a restructuring of the company’s debt, changes to the federal tax code in late 2017 and lower operating costs,” Snyder writes.
  • Customers return as Nevada tavern operators restart their slot machines: In exploring yet another facet of the Silver State’s gambling industry, Nevada Independent correspondent Howard Stutz, who’s also executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports, discusses how owners of Nevada’s 1,998 restricted gaming licenses — taverns, bars and restaurants, as well as grocery, drug and convenience stores that are allowed to operate 15 slot machines or less and without table games — have slowly been restarting their 19,054 slot machines.

As you read these and other stories — knowing that “2020: Part Two” will be rife with COVID-related business impacts and plenty of “unprecedented” economic commentary — I urge you now more than ever to support local journalism.

Whether it’s through us at the NNBW and our Nevada News Group partners, via The Nevada Independent — or by way of the Reno Gazette Journal, This Is Reno or any of the fine publications and media companies across Northern Nevada — your support goes a long way to keeping us in business.

Cheers to a (hopefully uneventful, all things considered) warm and safe summer!

Kevin MacMillan is editor of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly. Email him at kmacmillan@nevadanewsgroup.com