Thanksgiving Day and weekend in Reno and Sparks are coming up and we have a variety of family friendly events and activities from which to choose. A couple of these include visiting the Reno ice skating rink at Greater Nevada Field and participating in the annual Scheels Turkey Trot fun run on Thanksgiving Day morning.

If you don’t want to or don’t have a need to cook up a big Thanksgiving dinner, you can eat out for Thanksgiving at one of our local hotel/casinos or restaurants.

You probably don’t need reminding, but the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday shopping. Some of it actually starts on Thanksgiving evening. In my opinion, the best alternative is to go do something else on Friday and avoid the madness altogether. However, if you must, try to spend your dollars by shopping local, thereby supporting your friends and neighbors and keeping your dollars circulating right here rather than leaving town. Better yet, wait until Small Business Saturday (November 25, 2017) and enjoy a shopping spree at many participating local businesses.

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Starting on April 1, 2017, the Washoe County sales tax rate will increase from 7.725 percent to 8.265 percent. That will make it the highest sales tax rate in Nevada, surpassing previous front runner Clark County.

Proceeds from this increase are specifically restricted to only fund Washoe County School District projects for the acquisition, construction, renovation and repair of school facilities.

This sales tax increase was presented to the voters as Washoe Question 1 on the 2016 General Election ballot and passed by almost 57 percent. There is no sunset clause – the tax is permanent unless voters decided to get rid of it at a future election.

For more information about taxes in Washoe County and Nevada, refer to “Reno and Nevada Taxes.”

Since Nevada’s first ever medical marijuana dispensary opened in Sparks in 2015, the industry has taken off in the Silver State. There are now no less than 11 such businesses between Washoe County and Carson City. Some are locally-owned operations while others are outlets attached to bigger outfits with stores in other parts of the state, particularly down south in Clark County (Las Vegas and vicinity). For a list of these medical marijuana dispensaries, addresses and phone numbers, refer to “Medical Marijuana in Reno and Sparks.”

Medical marijuana in Nevada will soon be joined by legal recreational pot. The “Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana” was passed by voters in the 2016 general election. It is anticipated that retail stores will begin opening around the end of 2017, once regulations and enforcement measures are in place. This should happen in a timely manner since the biennial Nevada State Legislature will be in session from February to June, 2017.