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Persistent drought predicted | Tribal justice helps create missing person database | $400 rebates proposed

The latest North State and California news on our airwaves for Friday, March 18.

NOAA climate outlook indicates California will see dry spring

Scientists with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are worried California is heading into a third year of drought. Brad Pugh, meteorologist with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said concern is very high going into the spring and early summer.

“The snowpack is below average for much of California and there's really very little time now to make up any precipitation deficits as we move into April," Pugh said.

NOAA issued its U.S. Spring Outlook Thursday. Forecasters predict prolonged, persistent drought in the West. NOAA is also expecting above-average temperatures for most of the U.S.

The agency says nearly 60% of the continental U.S. is experiencing minor to exceptional drought conditions.

— CapRadio Staff

Yurok tribal justice works to create database of missing Indigenous people

Thousands of Indigenous girls and women are reported missing in the U.S. every year — over 5,600 in 2019, according to FBI statistics.

In December the Yurok Tribal Council, frustrated by the low priority these cases receive, put out an emergency declaration to bring attention to the plight of abducted and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Abby Abinanti, chief justice of the Yurok Tribe, is working to help create a database of cases, which doesn’t exist elsewhere. Abinanti said much of the problem solving cases stems from the federal government’s decision in the 1950s to cede its responsibilities for tribal law enforcement to the state of California, and has since provided little ongoing support or attention.

“They did not give the state any additional resources, they just gave them additional responsibility,” Abinanti said. “So, what they did was create a huge vacuum.”

She added these crimes don’t just affect tribal communities, and solutions will require everyone’s involvement.

— Ken Devol, NSPR

State lawmakers propose $400 rebate for every taxpayer

Democratic state lawmakers want to provide a $400 rebate to every California taxpayer to address the rising price of gas and other essentials. They’re pushing to get the bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom this spring.

Los Angeles-area Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel said there will likely be additional proposals targeted at lower-income residents.

“We want to make sure as we’re working through this time that those communities that are struggling the most, get the most help,” Gabriel said. “So, this is not going to be the only proposal on the table.”

The state is projected to have a $45 billion surplus this year. The governor last week called for a rebate for drivers, but it’s unclear if he will unveil his own proposal or support this one.

Republicans say they support any form of tax relief but argue suspending the gas tax would be a faster way to help those who are feeling pain at the pump.

— CapRadio Staff

Interview: Californians are using more water despite requests to cut back

Californians are using more water than they were before the drought, despite calls by leaders to cut back. This January was the second-driest on record.

Rachel Becker, environment reporter for the non-profit news outlet CalMatters, spoke with CapRadio’s Randol White to explain why residents haven’t cut their use. Listen to the interview in today’s Headlines.

CapRadio Staff

Stories from NPR partner stations are edited by NSPR Staff for digital presentation and credited as requested.

In other news

  • Big new California reservoir on track for $2.2B federal loan: “A long-delayed plan to build a giant reservoir in Northern California to help withstand the U.S. West’s notorious droughts got a huge financial boost on Thursday when the federal government signaled its intent to loan the project nearly $2.2 billion — about half of the cost to design, plan and build it.” — The Associated Press
  • Sierra Nevada brewery reopens for tours, tastings: “After a 2-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. tours and beer tastings are re-opening to the public once again starting today.” — Chico Enterprise-Record

In case you missed it

Headlines is published every weekday morning at 8:30 a.m. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and NPR One. Theme song Borough is courtesy of Blue Dot Sessions.

Sarah is an award-winning host, reporter, producer and editor. She’s worked at North State Public Radio since 2015 and is currently the station’s Assistant Program Director. She’s responsible for the “sound of the station" and works to create the richest public radio experience possible for NSPR listeners.
A graduate of California State University, Chico, Andre Byik is an award-winning journalist who has reported in Northern California since 2012. He joined North State Public Radio in 2020, following roles at the Chico Enterprise-Record and Chico News & Review.
Angel Huracha has been a part of the journalism field since 2006 and has covered a range of topics. He is a graduate of Chico State with a Bachelor's degree in news-editorial and public relations with a minor in English.
Adia White is a broadcast journalist and producer with nearly 10 years of experience. Her work has appeared on WNYC, This American Life, Capital Public Radio and other local and national programs. She started at North State Public Radio as a freelance reporter in 2017 before leaving for a stint at Northern California Public Media in Santa Rosa.