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Black Community Collective formed to support underserved Reno-areas business


A new local non-profit organization is aiming to tackle a long-standing problem in the Reno area. The Black Community Collective was recently formed to provide support for Black-owned businesses.

Founder Edward Coleman, who is working on his doctoral degree in finance, told This Is Reno that longstanding structural racism is part of what has prevented Black-owned businesses from thriving.

“I saw the lack of scalability of most Black businesses and … what a lot of those causes were,” he said of why he founded the organization. With the BCC, one of its core functions is to gain access to resources and help distribute those to the community.”

He said the organization is planning events, getting grants and gathering resources.

The BCC has held two events. One was a community meeting, and the other was a screening of “ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Both were well attended, but Coleman said they are still introducing the organization to the community.

“In all metrics, the Black community is at the bottom of the scale – you name it, education, income, home ownership…” he added. “Reno itself is structured in such a way that it is difficult for Black people to get access to those resources, whether it’s not having good-paying jobs so you don’t have time or whether you run into a wall – the system, basically, you run into a wall.”

He spoke of his role on the City of Reno’s charter committee as an example. He said city departments were able to identify barriers and issues but, he explained, city government “didn’t do anything” to reduce inequality.

“There’s a history of this neglect here,” he added. 

The BCC is not just for people of color, though. 

“We’re focused on long-term community investments,” Coleman added. “We like to create an environment that is safe and friendly for Black people. We see ourselves serving the entire community.”

Learn more about the Black Community Collective online: https://thebcc1.org.

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A blanket from the Rafter 7 sheep wool available at the Nevada Wolf Shop. Image: UNR

University launches a line of products made from wool from its Rafter 7 sheep. The Rafter 7 sheep are raised in Eureka, Nevada by the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources and are known internationally and said to have some of the softest, finest wool in the nation, according to Bill Payne, the college’s dean. The products available include hats, scarves, blankets, sweaters, hoodies and beanies with prices ranging from $24 to $300. Items are available for purchase on campus at the Nevada Wolf Shop. The line of sheep has been in development for more than 30 years and has helped improve wool quality and economics for the range sheep industry. Some of the sheep have sold for $3,100 per head. 

Nevada adds jobs in October, but the unemployment rate increases. Nevada added more than 7,500 jobs statewide in October, the third-largest monthly increase over the past year. Reno, however, saw a decrease of 500 jobs during the same time. Officials at Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) said employment remains 22,200 jobs higher than before the pandemic and is up 55,500 jobs since October 2021, an annual increase of 3.9%. Reno’s gain over the past year is slightly lower, at just a 2.9% increase in jobs since October 2021. Statewide unemployment rose slightly to 4.6%, up 0.2 percentage points from September. 

Dr. Sasi Pillay

UNR hires former NASA CTO as vice president for information technology. Dr. Sasi Pillay, vice president of Information Technology Services and chief information officer for Washington State University, has been named vice president for information technology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Pillay begins his term on Feb. 1, 2023. Pillay has led information technology services for over 26 years across academia and government agencies. “Throughout his career, he has been recognized for his exceptional capabilities not the least of which include being inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame and earning the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and being recognized as a meritorious executive in the Federal government,” said university President Brian Sandoval.

Nevada Department of Wildlife director retires. NDOW’s Tony Wasley announced this week he will retire effective December 2022, ending an over 25-year tenure with the agency. Wasley has served as the agency’s director for the past 10 years. He was appointed by former Gov. Brian Sandoval, under whom he served six years and then was reappointed by Gov. Steve Sisolak nearly four years ago. “The incredible purpose, passion, and professionalism of the employees of NDOW has made this job and my entire career here immensely fulfilling,” Wasley said. “Working alongside individuals with whom I have shared the deep and meaningful purpose of conservation, has made this journey feel more like a mission, a purpose, or a calling, than it has ever felt like a job. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Governor Sandoval for giving me a chance as director and to Governor Sisolak for continuing that faith.”

Funding available for off-highway vehicle projects. The Nevada Commission on Off-Highway Vehicles announced that about $750,000 in grant funding is available for off-highway vehicle projects in Nevada. The application and instructions are available online at https://ohv.nv.gov/grant-program. Applications are due by Dec. 19, 2022, and the Nevada Commission on Off-Highway Vehicles will award the OHV grants in January 2023. Every year, the Nevada Commission on Off-Highway Vehicles supports statewide OHV-related initiatives that provide an opportunity to have safe and memorable outdoor experiences on Nevada’s miles of OHV trails.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.