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Utah Taxpayers Association Praises Lawmakers for Tax Cut, Preventing Increases

The Utah Taxpayers Association gave lawmakers high marks for their efforts this year to cut taxes and adopt “sound” tax policy. (Annie Barker, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Taxpayers Association gave lawmakers high marks for their efforts this year to cut taxes and adopt “sound tax policy.”

“Legislators passed a very broad income tax rate, which we have been asking the Legislative Assembly for throughout the past year. We appreciate the Legislative Assembly’s consideration for all ratepayers in the Utah while seeing record revenue,” said association president Rusty Cannon. statement on Tuesday.

The nearly 100-year-old organization advocates for tax relief and reform.

The taxpayers’ association also named more lawmakers as “taxpayer friend” than last year. Legislators who voted with the taxpayers’ association at least 90% of the time were included. During this year’s session, 26 representatives achieved recognition, along with 21 senators.

“Our Taxpayer Friend Award is coveted by lawmakers, and we congratulate this year’s winners for championing sound tax policy. We view the number of winners this year as proof that lawmakers understand the importance of formulating sound tax policy for Utah taxpayers,” Cannon mentioned.

One of the Legislature’s first orders of business during the session was to pass a bill to reduce Utah’s income tax rate from 4.95 percent to 4, 85%. The bill was signed by Governor Spencer Cox, making it law.

Cannon said the Utah Taxpayers Association’s annual scorecard ranked the 104 lawmakers on 15 “crucial” tax bills from this year’s session.

“The bills that were evaluated covered key issues for taxpayers such as reducing taxes, preventing tax increases, promoting fairness in Utah’s tax code, and ensuring success. economy of the state for years to come,” he said.

Among the bills supported by the association, the Utah Legislature passed:

  • HB268, which changes the definition of business income to allow a taxpayer to elect to treat all income from the sale of intangible property as business income, but creates an exemption for those who teach guided courses in a skill .
  • HJR19 to promulgate transparency rules and procedures in the budgeting and allocation process. “Taxpayers are less likely to see last-minute budget maneuvers that avoid public scrutiny,” Cannon said.
  • SB93, which eliminates sales tax for supplies used in the course of a business and exempts certain tangible personal property consumed in the performance of a taxable service from sales and use tax.
  • SB147 to reduce overall mobile phone usage costs for years to come.

“Utah has one of the highest tax and tariff burdens on telephone use in the nation, and the ratepayers association supports reducing these charges,” according to the report.

The Legislature failed to pass Hope Scholarship Bill, HB331, which was championed by the Taxpayers Association and sought to establish a scholarship program to fund Education Spending Accounts allowing families to pursue choices outside the public school system.

The report can be viewed at Utahtaxpayers.org.

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Utah economy

Broadband internet service is coming to rural Box Elder communities – Cache Valley Daily

Governor Spencer Cox hailed the benefits of broadband internet service at a press conference in Mantua on March 10.

MANTUA – High-speed Internet service is coming to currently isolated communities in Box Elder County and the price for this improved connectivity will be nearly $9.5 million.

On March 10, Governor Spencer Cox announced the awarding of $5.86 million from the state’s $10 million Broadband Access Grant to connect rural households in Box Elder County via a high speed fiber optic cable.

“What broadband does is turn any home into a school,” Cox explained at the press conference at Sydney’s Restaurant in Mantua. “It can turn any house into a hospital. It can turn any home into a movie theater. It can turn any home into a workplace.

The number of Box Elder County households affected by the state grant will be about 2,400, according to Ryan Starks, director of the governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity.

Communities with faster internet access will include Bear River City, Elwood, Howell, Mantua, Penrose, South Willard, Thatcher and Willard.

Cox said funding for the state’s broadband access grant was secured through President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Bailout Act (ARPA) of 2021.

ARPA aims to facilitate the United States’ recovery from the devastating economic and health effects of the coronavirus pandemic by providing federal funds to state governments.

While many other states are using these funds to boost their economies, Cox said Utah is free to use ARPA funds for investments such as fiber optic expansion because its economy has been down. wisely managed during the pandemic.

Local funding of approximately $3.46 million will cover the remainder of the cost of broadband expansion in Box Elder County, according to County Commissioner Stan Summers.

While visiting Mantua, the governor also encouraged all Utahns to participate in the Internet Speed ​​Test, a campaign recently launched by the Utah Broadband Center.

This campaign is a statewide initiative for residents to self-report their internet speed at home, work, or wherever they connect to the internet. This data will help identify areas of the state that are most in need of internet upgrades.

Utahans can complete the speed test by going to www.speedtest.utah.gov.

The Utah Governor‘s Office of Economic Opportunity provides resources and support for starting, growing, and recruiting businesses. It also leads to an increase in tourism, film production, outdoor recreation, and mixed martial arts in Utah.

The Utah Broadband Center advances economic opportunity, energy efficiency, telecommuting, education, and telehealth functions that rely on broadband infrastructure. It works with broadband providers; local, state, and federal policy makers; consumers; community institutions; and other stakeholders to support statewide broadband rollout





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Utah economy

Utah Governor Spencer Cox says he plans to veto trans sports ban bill

SALT LAKE CITY, AP — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said he plans to veto legislation passed Friday that would ban transgender female student-athletes from participating in women’s sports.

Without her support, Utah is unlikely to join the 11 states, all led by Republicans, that recently banned transgender girls from participating in school sports leagues that match their gender identity.

In vowing to veto the bill, Cox directly addressed transgender student-athletes, who he says have been the subject of political debate through no fault of their own.

“I just want them to know that everything will be fine. We’re going to work through that,” Cox said.

The governor had engaged for months in behind-the-scenes negotiations to broker a compromise between LGBTQ advocates and social conservatives.

After lending his support to a proposal to create a one-of-a-kind Utah commission of experts to make decisions about individual transgender student-athletes wishing to participate, Cox said he was stunned on Friday night so that lawmakers moved forward and eventually passed a modified proposal that included an outright ban on transgender female student-athletes competing in girls’ leagues.

Legislation sent to Cox after passing the state Senate and House on Friday bans “biological males” — which she defines as “the genetics and anatomy of an individual at birth” — from leagues some girls. Supporters said it would ensure fairness and safety for girls and prevent cultural shifts that they believe could lead to increasing numbers of transgender children wanting to participate in women’s sports in the future.

“Boys can run faster, they can jump higher, and they can throw farther than girls in the same age bracket,” Republican Senator Curt Bramble said.

“For male-born individuals to compete with naturally-born females, it’s an unfair playing field,” he added.

The originally proposed “School Activities Eligibility Commission” would have been made up of a mix of sports and transgender healthcare experts. It ultimately failed to gain buy-in from those who oppose and support a ban.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox speaks during a press conference at the Utah State Capitol, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

Rick Bowmer via Associated Press

Although they preferred it to an outright ban, LGBTQ advocates worried that transgender children scheduled to appear before the panel would feel singled out. Social conservatives, backed by a much larger contingent of Republican lawmakers, said that didn’t go far enough to protect women’s sports.

There are no public accusations that a transgender player has competitive advantages in Utah. Last year, The Associated Press contacted two dozen lawmakers in more than 20 states considering similar youth sports measures and found that it was only a problem a few times among the hundreds of thousands of teenagers. who play sports in high school.

The legislation sent to the governor aims to refute what the commission’s advocates, including the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kera Birkeland, thought were among their strongest arguments: that the courts would likely prevent Utah from enforcing a ban, much like they have in states like Idaho.

The ban that eventually passed retained sections of the original proposal and named the commission as a replacement, for a scenario in which the courts prohibited Utah from enforcing a ban.

Birkeland, who coaches high school basketball when she’s not in the Legislative Assembly, said her plans to introduce a sports bill for transgender youth for the second year in a row ties into the conversations she had had with transgender and cisgender students.

Although Utah lawmakers ultimately ended up in the same place, Birkeland’s comments were very different from those of lawmakers in states such as Iowa, where a senator framed a ban as a stance against “revival and part of an “ongoing culture war.”

Birkeland said she was frustrated with the many conversations she had about the politics of her commission proposal, rather than the children involved.

She expects she will face legal challenges, but ultimately backed the amended legislation because she says if the ban is imposed by the courts, the commission will eventually operate as intended.

Equality Utah, an LGBTQ rights group opposed to state intervention in youth sports, said it was blindsided by the passage of the legislation.

“We let down our state’s transgender children, who just want to be treated with kindness and respect,” the group said in a statement.

In most places, eligibility decisions for transgender children are made by athletic organizations like the Utah High School Athletic Association. Of the approximately 85,000 student-athletes who play high school sports in the state, four transgender players have gone through the association’s eligibility determination process.

Despite these established processes, youth sports have increasingly become a central political issue in Republican-majority state houses. Prior to 2020, no state had enacted legislation relating to transgender children participating in youth sports. Since then, 11 states have passed laws banning transgender girls from playing in leagues that match their gender identity – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

In Indiana, lawmakers passed a ban this week, sending it to Governor Eric Holcomb for final approval.

The nature of the prohibitions varies. Some explicitly target transgender girls, which have been the main topic of debate in most state houses. Others are broad enough to include college athletics.

With two-thirds majorities in both houses, lawmakers could override the governor’s veto, but with some Republicans opposed to the ban, such a scenario is unlikely.

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Utah to remove body measurements from transgender sports bill | News, Sports, Jobs


Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, stands for a portrait at the Utah State Capitol Wednesday, March 2, 2022 in Salt Lake City. Birkeland, a Republican who coaches junior college basketball when she’s not in the state house, said Wednesday she was removing a list of physical attributes from her proposed “Commission eligibility for school activities” – which reportedly used listed criteria such as bone density, hip-to-knee ratio and oxygen saturation to determine eligibility (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY, AP — Transgender children would not be required to report certain body measurements to play sports in Utah, but their participation would still depend on a government-appointed panel of experts under a proposal passing through the Republican-controlled legislature.

Rep. Kera Birkeland, a Republican who coaches junior college basketball, said Wednesday she was removing a list of physical attributes from her proposed “School Activities Eligibility Commission,” which would have used criteria such as bone density, hip-to-knee ratio and oxygen saturation to determine eligibility.

The list of physical attributes has caused an outcry from parents of transgender children and LGBTQ advocates, who fear student-athletes may feel controlled and targeted by the commission.

“We are still working on some details. We just want to make sure it’s legally tightened and we address as many concerns as possible,” Birkeland said, adding that she expected the changes to be introduced within a day or two.

The most recent version of the bill would leave the eligibility criteria to the commission. Birkeland said he could still consider the attributes originally included in the bill, but would have more flexibility to tailor decision-making to individual sports, for example, using different criteria for golf versus basketball. ball.

“They will always consider anything that can give them an athletic edge. They can go back and look at these things and consider the hip-knee ratio. They may consider that muscle mass or size… We don’t want to corner them and say, ‘Just consider those things,’” she said.

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, said LGBTQ advocates expected changes to be introduced, but did not know the extent.

The revision came as GOP-majority legislatures throughout the U.S. debate banned transgender student-athletes from playing youth sports. At least 10 states have banned transgender student-athletes from school sports.

Birkeland proposes creating a one-of-a-kind commission for Utah that transgender children would be required to go through if they want to compete in leagues that match their gender identity, rather than the sex listed on their birth certificates. .

Birkeland, who led last year’s unsuccessful campaign to ban transgender student-athletes from women’s sports in Utah, said the commission balanced two legitimate competing priorities: ensuring that transgender children don’t feel not ostracized and protect fairness in women’s sports.

She framed her proposal as a compromise that would allow transgender athletes to play, while addressing Conservative concerns that such players might have a competitive advantage in women’s sports. She hopes that, if passed, the commission will not be challenged by lawsuits like bans in other states like Idaho.

Of the 85,000 students who play high school sports in the state, four have gone through the Utah High School Activities Association’s transgender participation eligibility review process, the association announced Tuesday. Birkeland said he heard of or observed at least eight other contestants.

While the number of athletes involved is central to the issue under consideration, she declined to justify that number, out of concern for student-athletes who may not wish to have their gender identity widely publicized.

Last year, The Associated Press contacted two dozen lawmakers in more than 20 states considering similar measures and found they could cite a few cases where transgender athletes playing high school sports were causing trouble.

There are no public accusations that a transgender player has competitive advantages in Utah.

LGBTQ advocates and parents of transgender student-athletes have balked at the idea that a panel would “police” the measures of transgender student-athletes — an idea Birkeland said his proposal would not require.

Birkeland said transgender student-athletes could submit any information they wanted to the proposed commission. But if they decide not to submit relevant data points, they may be asked additional questions about the criteria as members determine whether they can compete fairly.

Williams, the executive director of Equality Utah, said he wasn’t sure whether LGBTQ advocates would support the bill once the changes are made public.

Removing the list of physical attributes from the bill, he said, would make the backgrounds of commission members more important.

The commission would include a coach, a representative of a sports association and an athletic trainer, in addition to doctors, statisticians and mental health professionals.

Williams believes it will be biased against young transgender people because at least half of its members would not be transgender health experts, he said.

“It does not strive to find a meaningful balance between the values ​​of competition and the values ​​of participation and is geared more towards sports experts, as opposed to people who have expertise in transgender health care,” said said Williams.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem this month signed into law a ban on transgender girls playing women’s sports at the youth and college levels, and Indiana lawmakers passed a bill on Tuesday. ban, sending it to Governor Eric Holcomb for approval.

States that have passed bans have not faced boycotts like North Carolina did when the NCAA and NBA moved events in response to the passage of a 2016 state law. limiting public restrooms that transgender people could use.

But Birkeland’s proposed ban stalled last year amid concerns from Republican Gov. Spencer Cox, who feared passing a ban would jeopardize efforts to hold big events in Utah.

Birkeland’s proposal must be finalized this week because the Utah legislature is scheduled to adjourn Friday.



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Utah economy

Outdoor retailer: Governor Spencer Cox sends mixed signals as he returns to Utah

Utah Governor Spencer Cox sent decidedly mixed signals Thursday regarding his feelings about the potential return of lucrative outdoor retailer shows to Salt Lake City after the event owner moved the shows to Denver. five years ago amid swirling controversy over federal land use issues.

Event owner Emerald X is set to announce where the shows will be held under a new contract that begins in 2023. Salt Lake City competes with Denver and other potential venues for the gatherings which, before the COVID-19 pandemic, regularly attracted tens of thousands.

And, earlier this week, dozens of outdoor companies, including industry heavyweights Patagonia, REI, North Face and others, vowed to boycott Outdoor Retailer shows if they return to the Utah.

On the one hand, Cox said at his monthly KUED press conference on Thursday that the roughly $50 million in economic inflow that comes with each of the biannual shows — hosted by Salt Lake City for 20 years before coming out in 2017 — n were no longer needed. in Utah’s booming economy.

“We were told (the Outdoor Retailer shows leaving Utah) would be the end of the world, that our economy would collapse, that businesses would never move here, it would be awful for our state,” Cox said.

“Turns out none of that happened. We have the best economy in the country. Our outdoor industry is thriving, it’s stronger than it’s ever been. That’s one of the reasons they’re trying to bring him back here.

Cox said show owners and exhibitors had the worst end to the exit decision because they lost their “seat at the table” to engage in meaningful discussions about land use and policies with the governor and state legislators when the end result for the state was “we didn’t miss them at all.

But some of the same people in the outdoor industry who threatened to leave in 2017 over GOP state leaders’ support for cuts to federal land protections issued an apology after Emerald announced the shows were moving. in Denver, Cox said. And, he would still like to see the shows return to Utah.

“If Patagonia and these other companies really care about this issue, they’re going to want to be here having this discussion, not going somewhere where everyone thinks exactly like them,” Cox said. “We would like them to come back. We desperately want them back.

While bringing the shows back to Utah, Cox said, would give Outdoor Retailer attendees a direct link to elected officials to discuss policy issues, he pointed out that the boycotts promised, if the shows return to Utah, will not will have no impact on his position. on matters of use and protection of federal lands.

“That kind of boycott will do absolutely nothing to change the politics that’s going on here in the state of Utah,” Cox said. “Not even an inch. We won’t think about it anymore. »

While dismissing the effectiveness of boycott threats, Cox also said he’s open to finding common ground with outdoor industry representatives and believes Salt Lake City easily beats Denver when it comes to the best locations for Outdoor Retailer events.

“Obviously coming back to Salt Lake makes sense,” Cox said. “Our airport is closer, our venues are cheaper, our locations are much closer. Come back and join the discussion. You can help make a difference. You can help temper some of the things that are happening.

“We can find common ground. We may not agree on everything, but I think there are some things we definitely agree on.

On Tuesday, the Deseret News reported on a letter signed by more than two dozen outdoor industry companies promising to boycott Outdoor Retailer shows if the biannual events return to Salt Lake City.

The letter was released on Monday by The Conservation Alliance, a group dedicated to land conservation efforts that counts more than 270 companies as members. The website posting urges Emerald X to stay out of Utah due to members’ objections to the longstanding stance taken by state leaders to oppose federal land protections.

“We have united in declaring that we will not support or attend a trade show in Utah as long as its elected officials continue to attack national monuments and the protection of public lands,” the letter reads. “Industry leaders express their support for the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and its longstanding efforts to protect the homelands of tribes and pueblos with cultural ties to the Bears Ears landscape, as well as the overwhelming majority of the outdoor industry and America’s public.

“Despite widespread industry objections, Emerald has demonstrated continued interest in moving the Outdoor Retailer show to Utah, a state that is leading the fight against designated national monuments and public lands.”

Cox was specifically named in the letter as the leader of Utah’s effort to “strip these magnificent lands from federal protection while simultaneously trying to woo Emerald to move the Outdoor Retailer show from Denver to Salt Lake City.” .

The Utah capital lost its contract with Denver in 2017 as plans announced by then-President Donald Trump to cut several areas of federally protected land angered the environmental community, outdoor enthusiasts and companies specializing in outdoor products and services. At the center of the controversy was Trump’s stated intention to reduce the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, created by President Barack Obama in a 2016 proclamation issued just before he left office. .

Utah state legislators and government at the time. Gary Herbert backed the Trump plan by passing a resolution during the 2017 legislative session declaring “strong opposition to the designation of Bears Ears National Monument” and urging Trump to rescind his predecessor’s executive order.

Following President Joe Biden’s decision to reverse Trump’s cuts in Utah, Cox, GOP state legislative leaders and all six members of Utah’s congressional delegation have declared their opposition to reinstatement protections. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said he intends to take legal action against Biden’s land protection changes.

Emerald X is expected to announce the new host city for Outdoor Retailer soon, and Marisa Nicholson, Senior Vice President and Show Manager of Outdoor Retailer, said her company evaluated all issues and options before entering into a new contract.

“Outdoor Retailer and Emerald remain committed to supporting the outdoor and winter sports industries by hosting gatherings that both meet business needs and foster the spirit of our community,” Nicholson said in a statement. “We have had ongoing conversations with many in our industry and consider all input and perspectives, including responses to recent surveys – we value the passion and respect everyone’s point of view.

“As we continue the process of evaluating all possible and realistic options, we remain thoughtful in our deliberations. Our goal is to stage a dynamic event that not only reflects today’s new normal, but also presents an engaging event that brings more people to this community in an authentic and affordable way. No decisions regarding future dates or location have been made at this time, and we look forward to sharing our thoughts in the coming days.

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Salt lake city government

Utah legislature decisions reflect tensions between local and state government

The Utah State Capitol Building reflects sunlight. Recent legislative decisions targeting education and public health reflect a pattern of disagreement between state and local government. (Decker Westenburg)

Recent decisions by the Utah legislature targeting education and public health reflect a pattern of disagreement between state and local government.

The Utah legislature ended mask mandates in Salt Lake and Summit counties from Jan. 21 to SJR3, despite conflicting views from local leaders. Earlier this month, Governor Spencer Cox signed into law HB183 which suspended the “test to stay” requirement in public schools and said instead that local leaders make the final decision on whether a school district becomes remote.

Cities and local governments are “creatures” of the state and have the legislature’s permission to make decisions, said University of Utah political science professor Dave Buhler.

“But if the legislature doesn’t like the way it wields its power, it can step in and change the rules,” Buhler said.

Buhler has seen many examples throughout his political career of conflicting decisions between the local and state level. As a state senator, he introduced bills to override city council decisions he disliked. But a few years later, as a member of the Salt Lake City Council, he had a different view and thought: “The Legislature leaves us alone, we get it.

He shared an old saying in politics: “Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

Angela Dunn, MD, is executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department. Dunn acknowledged lawmakers had the power to overturn the county’s mask mandate in a Jan. 20 interview with KSL NewsRadio.

“I think it’s unfortunate given their priority of keeping control at the local level for the COVID response,” she said.

According to Buhler, it is not an excess of state power for the legislature to terminate local public health orders because it has the power to do so.

“It’s not that unusual, but I feel like the legislature over time has become more and more assertive, both about local governments and in its dealings with the state executive. “, did he declare.

Local control “railing”

HB183 sponsor rep Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, said local control is extremely important to him, but as a state legislator, it’s part of his job to put up “guardrails.” around him. SB107, signed into law in March 2021, had already had heads of state approve a district’s request to go remotely. The new law gives additional procedures for districts to follow and requires approval from the Governor, Speaker of the Senate, Speaker of the House, and State Superintendent before logging on.

Teuscher said school districts did not have enough COVID-19 tests to implement testing to stay through the omicron spike when required by law. Heads of state decided to suspend the test to remain in response to these concerns. If the districts want to test to stay, they can, but there is no longer an obligation.

“So in some ways it made local control over the test to stay and then just set the parameters to how someone would request remote days,” he said.

But state involvement in local issues like education and public health is a concern for some.

“I think it’s more political than anything else,” said Steven Sylvester, a political science professor at Utah Valley University.

Parents already have a democracy — school boards and city councils — where they can voice their objections, Sylvester said. “Why does the state need to get involved? »

According to Adam Brown, a BYU political science professor who studies state constitutional politics, there is no doubt that the legislature has the power to set broad policies at the local level. For example, states have independent authority while cities, counties, and school districts only have delegated state powers. States have their own constitutions, cities do not.

But HB183 raised constitutionality issues because it gave the Speaker of the House and the Speaker of the Senate vetoes over certain school district decisions, even though they don’t have the executive power to do so under the constitution of the state.

“The Utah Constitution gives the President and the Speaker of the Senate the power to organize the business of their respective chambers, but not to make binding decisions on their own authority,” Brown said. tweeted. “Changing that would presumably require an amendment to the Utah Constitution, not just a law.”

Attorneys Brent D. Wride and Paul C. Burke called on Governor Cox to veto HB183 in an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune and claimed he violated Utah’s separation of powers doctrine by assigning powers executives to legislative officers.

“The constitutional flaw in House Bill 183 is that it violates our state’s constitution by granting legislative officers the power to interpret and apply the law,” they wrote.

In response, Teuscher and prosecution sponsor Senator Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, wrote in another op-ed that Article III of the Utah Constitution requires the legislature to establish and maintain the education system. public: the system will be, and any exceptions that might apply.

National model

The United States and Utah flags flutter in the wind at the Utah State Capitol. Some of Utah’s political science professors view the legislature’s involvement in local issues as a broader pattern both in the state and nationwide. (Emma Gadesky)

Some of Utah’s political science professors view the legislature’s involvement in local issues as a broader pattern both in the state and nationwide.

“Whenever the federal government proposes an action that would force states to follow a particular course, you can expect Utah lawmakers to kick and shout and insist on the virtue of local control,” Brown said.

But in Utah, that faith in local control does not extend to restricting the legislature’s control over cities, counties and school districts, he said: ‘And maybe that is logically inconsistent.”

Josh McCrain, a professor of political science at the University of Utah, said state interference in local issues such as education has no basis in real conservatism. It’s counterintuitive to classic party beliefs like individual choice, freedom and small government, he said.

In 2018, Utahans voted to legalize medical marijuana in Proposition 2. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, state lawmakers replaced the voter-approved proposition with the Cannabis Act. Utah Medical. Democrats have argued that the legislature should not overrule voters who approved the ballot initiative the previous month.

Further overbreadth issues arose after former Governor Gary Herbert signed into law HB3005 in May 2020. The law required the governor to notify certain members of the legislature before declaring a state of emergency. Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, worried the legislature was overstepping the bounds and said it seemed unnecessary and excessive, The Daily Universe reported.

Beyond Utah, state governments have a history of getting involved in social issues at the local level. In North Carolina, McCrain said some cities were willing to have progressive gender bathroom policies, but the Republican state government disagreed.

Utah lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate are 78 percent Republican and 22 percent Democrat, but the Salt Lake area is more liberal. (Made with Adobe Illustrator by Emma Gadeski)

North Carolina passed House Bill 2 in 2016, which required people in public buildings to use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate, regardless of their gender identity. This led to boycotts and cost the state millions in lost tourist revenue.

“It had a massive economic backlash because a ton of industry left the state after that, which of course is something that can happen at any time,” McCrain said.

Utah’s legislature is 78% Republican in 2022, but Salt Lake is more liberal. In 2020, 53.6% of Salt Lake County voted for President Joe Biden in the presidential election, compared to 37.6% statewide.

McCrain said it’s important for Utah to control what happens in Salt Lake City because it’s the “economic powerhouse” of the state.

“We usually see this in contexts where it’s a conservative state government and a city, which are usually very liberal,” he said.

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Today’s local Utah news headlines – Tuesday evening, February 8, 2022

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

State

Utah Cannabinoid Product Board takes a look at delta-8 THC

Some patient advocates are sounding the alarm about a cannabis ingredient because of its potential health effects. Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring substance in cannabis that appears in small amounts. While it can still get you high, it’s less powerful than the better known Delta-9. But federal regulators have not yet studied or approved delta 8. Dr. Perry Fine of the Utah Cannabinoid Product Board said at this time that they “do not support any therapeutic use of analog cannabis products.” The council plans to work with state legislators and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food moving forward. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Governor Spencer Cox tries his hand at substitute teaching

Utah Governor Spencer Cox tried his hand at something a little different on Tuesday. coxswain tweeted he was working as a substitute teacher for three periods of 8th grade history and said “pray for me”. The teaching dive comes about a week after he approved 30 hours of paid leave for state employees in an effort to help with Utah’s surrogate shortage amid the ongoing pandemic. Health officials announced just 1,300 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. That’s down from 6,600 two weeks ago. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Prominent LDS Church leader apologizes for race comments

A prominent leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is under fire for controversial statements. Speaking at a youth meeting on Sunday, Brad Wilcox, counselor in the Young Men General Presidency, commented on the faith’s old ban on black people holding the priesthood. “Maybe instead of saying why black people had to wait until 1978,” he said, “maybe we should ask why white people and other races had to wait until 1829?” The Church teaches that the priesthood was then restored to Joseph Smith. Wilcox apologized Monday night on Facebook, saying his post “did NOT go through” as he intended. Wilcox’s employer, Brigham Young University, released a statement on Twitter, saying they are “deeply concerned” by what he said but believe he will learn from it. — Lexi Peery

Salt Lake City native sets Olympic world record

Salt Lake City native Nathan Chen set a world record Monday at the Beijing Winter Olympics. Now he is one good free skate away from an Olympic gold medal. The figure skater earned a score of 113.97 in the men’s short program. This is more than two points higher than the previous record. Chen struggled in his short program at the 2018 Winter Olympics and placed fifth overall. He will go for the Olympic title live in prime time on Wednesday night. — Caroline Ballard

Utah hospital faces Medicare penalties over performance metrics

Six Utah hospitals — located in Sandy, Layton, Logan, Ogden and Riverton — are in the works penalized by health insurance for high complication rates in patients according to data from Kaiser Health News. The Affordable Care Act allows the federal government to reduce small amounts of funding for high readmission rates or patient injuries. All six hospitals in the state will see a 1% reduction in Medicare payments through the end of the fiscal year. Twenty Utah hospitals were also penalized due to high readmission rates. These discounts can cost up to 3% per patient. — Ross Terrell

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The race is on to save the Great Salt Lake: will that be enough?

SALT LAKE CITY — The largest natural lake west of the Mississippi is shrinking past its lowest levels on record, raising fears of toxic dust, ecological collapse and economic consequences. But the Great Salt Lake may have new allies: conservative Republican lawmakers.

The new burst of energy from the GOP-dominated state government comes after lake levels recently bottomed during a regional mega-drought exacerbated by climate change. However, water has been diverted from the lake for years to supply Utah homes and crops. The fastest growing state in the country is also one of the driest, with some of the highest domestic water consumption.

This year could see a big investment in the lake that has long been an afterthought, with Governor Spencer Cox offering to spend $46 million and the powerful Speaker of the House leaning on the issue. But some worry that the ideas advanced so far in the state Legislature do not go far enough to stop the environmental disaster in slow motion.

One proposal would tackle water use in homes and businesses, metering outdoor water which is considered some of the cheapest in the country. Another would pay farmers to share their water downstream, and a third would direct mining royalty money to benefit the lake.

“I’ve long taken the lake for granted. It’s always been there, and I assumed it always would be,” House Speaker Brad Wilson said at a summit he hosted. called on the matter. But learning of the lake’s precarious position this summer left him terrified. “The Great Salt Lake is in trouble. … We have to do something.”

The shrinking lake poses serious risks to millions of migratory birds and a lake-based economy worth an estimated $1.3 billion in mineral extraction, brine shrimp and recreation. Health risks also exist: the huge dry bed of the lake could send dust containing arsenic into the air that millions of people breathe.

“The Great Salt Lake needs a few jumps to be saved. It won’t come in small steps,” said Zach Frankel, executive director of the nonprofit Utah Rivers Council. babies that should have been made 20 years ago.”

Shrimp both support a multi-million dollar industry providing food for fish farms and feed millions of migrating birds whose massive flocks may appear on the radar. The lake is also the country’s largest source of magnesium and could soon provide lithium, a key mineral for renewable energy batteries.

But last year the lake hit a 170-year high and continued to decline, hitting a new low of 4,190.2 feet (1,277.2 meters) in October. A significant part of the microbialites was exposed to the air, killing vital microbes. Death will likely take years and years to repair even if they are completely submerged again, said Michael Vanden Berg, a state geologist.

And if water levels continue to drop, the lake could become too salty for edible microbes to survive, which has already happened in the bright pink waters of the lake’s North Arm.

Still, Vanden Berg is cautiously optimistic for the South Arm, where some of the green microbialites survived last year’s lake fall.

“It’s bad but not catastrophic yet,” he said. “There is still time to repair and alleviate the situation.”

In some ways, the solution is simple: more water needs to flow into the lake.

But that’s no small task in the state, which has grown 18.4% over the past decade to nearly 3.28 million people.

Utah overall has relatively cheap water. A 2015 state audit found that water prices in Salt Lake City were lower than nearly every other city surveyed, including Phoenix, Las Vegas and Santa Fe.

But a subset of households have access to particularly cheap water — the cheapest in the nation, according to the Utah Rivers Council.

About 200,000 households and businesses pay a flat fee for an entire season of irrigation water. It’s called a secondary water system, made from converted agricultural supply in communities that are now largely suburban. These represent a disproportionately large segment of the state’s water use — and many of them are in the Great Salt Lake watershed, Frankel said.

“It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet,” he said. While most people have a water meter on the side of their house, usage is unmetered for secondary water users.

But small-scale projects have shown that simply being mindful of how much they use causes people to cut back by 20%, said GOP Utah Rep. Tim Hawkes.

There have been pushbacks to change the system before, and part of the reason is the cost per yard of about $1,500, but the governor backed spending about $250 million in federal relief funds in pandemic to install them.

The Utah Rivers Council would like to see people pay more for this water, but there has been little public discussion about it this year. Hawkes argues that even 20% conservation through outreach would dramatically increase the chances of the lake remaining healthy.

This year is shaping up to be a wetter year than 2021, but that doesn’t immediately translate to more water for the lake. First comes the replenishment of drinking water. Next comes the lake.

And homes and businesses aren’t the only ones that need moisture. About 65% of the water in the Great Salt Lake watershed is used for agriculture. Farmers have a right to this water and, under historical laws, they could lose the water they don’t use.

“Right now, there’s actually a disincentive for agriculture to conserve or optimize the water it uses,” Republican Rep. Joel Ferry said.

He is sponsoring legislation that would allow farmers to be paid for the water they leave flowing into the Great Salt Lake and other bodies. Since every farmhouse is much larger than the average home, even slight adjustments can have a major impact.

Under his plan, which advanced to the state Legislature, it would be up to each farm to decide whether or not to sell water in any given year. The fund would also likely start with federal money in the event of a pandemic, and funders hope to secure donations as they go.

“It’s going to be a slow start,” said Ferry, who is a farmer himself. “We recognize there is a problem, and farmers want to be part of the solution. … Ultimately, the solutions to this are going to be expensive.

The costs of doing nothing can be even higher. The drying up of Lake Owens in California as Los Angeles grew cost billions. Overseas, the Aral Sea has become a source of toxic dust after its water was diverted by the former Soviet Union. Experts estimate that a drying up of the Great Salt Lake could cost Utah more than $2 billion each year.

“There is a real question about what will happen next. Are we going to cross some critical thresholds here in a moment if we keep going down? Hawkes said. “If we act now and think about it…there’s a good chance we can keep the lake healthy and happy – and us with it.”

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Salt lake city government

Governor Cox Signs Executive Order Allowing State Employees to Replace Teaching

Governor Spencer Cox on Monday signed an executive order to increase the number of substitute teachers for Utah schools.

According to a statement from the governor’s office, the order grants state employees an approved leave of absence from their government jobs to fill staffing gaps in public or private schools.

“We know children learn best in the classroom, so we want to do what we can to help schools stay open,” Cox said in a statement. “Our teachers and our children deserve our support during this difficult phase of the pandemic. We hope that many of the state’s 22,000 employees will take advantage of this opportunity to help our schools.

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The Omicron variant has led to an unprecedented wave of absenteeism among teachers and education personnel, according to the governor’s statement. The purpose of Cox’s executive order is to help ease some of the tension by giving state employees the option to teach or perform another job — like working in the cafeteria.

Under Executive Order 2022-02, Utah employees will have up to 30 hours of paid leave to replace teaching or staff at a public or private school.

The order expires at the end of June.

State employees who take advantage of the program will be required to pass a background check. Qualified employees will receive both state pay and school district compensation.

Read the decree here:

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Utah economy

Does Utah have enough water? Here’s what you need to know

Utah’s water use and the distribution systems that deliver the limited resource to taps, farms, fields and landscaping will likely be the focus of this legislative session as Governor Spencer Cox and lawmakers are tackling the challenges posed by the historic drought that suffered major cutbacks over the summer.

Here’s what you need to know:

The Great Salt Lake in danger

Using the declining lake as a backdrop, Cox unveiled a budget plan that, among other things, calls for $600,000 to update its management plan, $45 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for its conservation. and an additional $5 million that lawmakers appropriated in May. The lake fell below its historic low in October from a record set in 1963, raising alarm and urgency on how best to protect this resource, valued as an economic driver of 1.3 billion dollars for the state.

water development

Cox pointed to the need for more water development projects to shore up the state’s finicky water supply in which 95% of the state’s water comes as snow in the mountains. He said it was an “abomination” that Utah didn’t pursue more water development projects like generations past. In his opening address to the Senate, Senate Speaker Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said the state must build the Lake Powell Pipeline and Bear River Development Project, sparking angst that has been simmering ever since. long from fierce critics like Zach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Board. Frankel and others insist that there is plenty of water for everyone and that Utah must end its wasteful practices by setting the true cost of water appropriately. Frankel, though he had kind words for Tage Flint on his impending retirement from the Weber Basin Water District, skewered the district under Flint’s leadership and said he had failed to implement a sustainable water policy and had missed opportunities to do the right thing.

money talks

Cox’s budget recommends half a billion dollars in “generational investment” in water, much of it to expand secondary water metering in Utah. Some regions have already adopted metering, but the equipment is expensive and the program takes time to implement. It’s estimated that more than 70% of secondary water is sucked up by landscaping, so Cox wants Utah to be the first in the country to implement a nationwide “Flip Your Strip” program. A state in which residents are paid to tear up grass and replace it with aquatic vegetation.

The infrastructure albatross

While all eyes are on conservation and new water development projects, the creeping challenge of existing “out of sight, out of mind” infrastructure demands attention and money to replace or repair. systems that are well past their technical lifespan. A unanimous recommendation from the Utah Seismic Safety Commission urges that $192 million be spent on four major Wasatch Front aqueducts that provide water to more than two million people. The report notes that it makes little sense to upgrade water treatment plants and pipelines if there is no water in a distribution system that is collapsing under the weight of a major earthquake, for which experts agree that the state has been waiting for a long time. But what political appeal are the aging aqueducts generating in the Utah Capitol?

The spectrum of growth

Utah has long boasted of being number one for population growth, its vibrant economy, the best place to do business in the country, and its low employment rate. Is it tantamount to biting the state when it ensures that it has enough water for future generations, especially current residents? Cox complained that land use and water resources are treated as individual silos, which is the wrong way to manage the state’s most limited and precious resource: the water. Four years ago, then governor. Gary Herbert acknowledged that water was the only factor limiting the state’s continued growth, releasing a draft document as a model for the future. The classifieds are full of people looking to buy water rights, because without them, development is not possible. As suburban development takes hold and takes over these agricultural rights, what does this portend for the future of Utah’s farms and ranches? A survey commissioned by Envision Utah in 2014 showed that Utahans were willing to give up water on their landscaping to save it for agricultural purposes.

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Salt lake city government

Governor Cox, Utah Legislators Form Diversity and Inclusion Task Force for K-12 Education

Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, is one of the lawmakers who helped launch a diversity and inclusion program at K-12 schools in Utah. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah leaders announced Monday the creation of a new task force that will focus on diversity and inclusion in the classroom. The announcement took place at the southwest corner of the Utah State Capitol, near the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. plaque.

“There is strength in our diversity,” Governor Spencer Cox said in a statement on the bipartisan task force. “I look forward to working with this group to find ways to make every child in every school feel valued and respected.”

Several elected officials will create a task force to embed a diversity program in K-12 schools across the state, according to a press release from the Utah House of Representatives. The Utah Diversity and Inclusion Commission will be chaired by House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Schultz, Rep. Sandra Hollins, Sen. Kirk Cullimore and Sen. Luz Escamilla. The task force will include not only legislators, but also educators and community leaders.

“In an effort to create a Utah we can all be proud of, we are embarking on a path to embed a diversity and inclusion curriculum into our K-12 education system,” Schultz said in a statement. “As a bipartisan group, we will take a balanced approach and work together to better understand and find ways to create a better future for our children and grandchildren.”

The group will work closely with the Utah State Board of Education to develop an appropriate curriculum for children, according to the release.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to develop possible solutions to ensure that all of our young people feel safe and welcome in our schools,” Hollins said in the statement.

Cullimore and Hollins worked on the legislation to make the task force a reality. The group will be formed during the 2022 legislative session in Utah.

“As education continues to be a key equalizer for our state and our country, the opportunity to help shape a comprehensive and inclusive curriculum – encompassing the full history and diversity of our state – is essential,” said Escamilla said in the statement. “The opportunity to present a variety of perspectives, working towards this goal, makes this an exciting time.”

The band’s announcement comes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a celebration of the civil rights icon’s life and legacy. Many events in the state have commemorated King’s life, including marches in Ogden and Salt Lake City, as well as events hosted by local NAACP chapters.

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Salt lake city government

US governors lose appetite for office in omicron outbreak | Local


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JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated press

Governors have taken drastic action during previous outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many schools have closed and ordered businesses closed. They issued mask warrants, vaccine requirements and even quarantines in some locations for people who had been to hot spots out of state.

Not this time, even as the exponential spread of the super-contagious omicron variant shatters records of COVID-19 infection. As governors send aid to hospitals, they show little appetite for government orders or widespread shutdowns.

Even Democratic governors who adopted strict terms early on are now relying more on persuasion than dictates. They largely leave it to local authorities to make difficult decisions, such as limiting the capacity of restaurants and theaters or keeping schools open.

South Carolina set a record for positive tests over New Years’ weekend and hospitalizations for COVID-19 are up 67% from the previous week. But Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, urged everyone to act like everything is fine. “If you get really sick, there will be room in the hospitals,” he promised this week.

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“There is no need to panic. Be calm. Be happy,” McMaster said. “We have just had a great Christmas season. Business is booming.”

McMaster has always urged people to get vaccinated and in the early days of the pandemic he called on K-12 schools and colleges to switch to distance learning. But students are back in classrooms across the state, and he continues to resist the imposition of any business shutdowns statewide.

California is grappling with an astonishing spike in infections, and the state’s health department has extended the term for indoor masks until February 15, but the state’s Democratic leaders have not included no mechanism to apply it. “I think a lot of people will apply themselves and do the right thing,” Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters last month.

The sentiment sounds familiar to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. The Republican has announced a 30-day state of emergency to tackle the wave of omicron variants, but he does not include the same state-wide mask mandate ordered earlier in the pandemic.

“I’m not sure people who refuse to wear a mask will wear one anyway, and we don’t have the capacity to enforce it,” Hogan said. “So we strongly encourage people to wear that damn mask.”

New Jersey had the second-highest number of U.S. cases during this increase, after New York, and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has called on the legislature to renew its emergency powers so he can continue a mask mandate in schools. But further business closures and near universal mask mandates seem to be out of place, and instead of issuing new executive orders, he’s urging people to follow public health recommendations.

“Here’s what everyone really needs to take to heart – the need to mask themselves, to be boosted and just to practice common sense,” Murphy said.

Even the governors who pushed restrictions the most in previous epidemics made up their minds to call on people to take personal responsibility. Oregon removed its outdoor crowd mask requirement in November and has not reinstated it. Schools and businesses remain open and Democratic Governor Kate Brown has urged booster injections as the best way to fight the virus.

“Our focus right now is to make sure our most vulnerable Oregonians have access to booster shots and to make sure we’re ready to support our hospital systems,” Gov. spokesman Charles Boyle said in an email.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, was one of the first to close schools in March 2020 as the virus began to spread rapidly in the United States. and vaccines.

“We don’t have the practical ability to really place a statewide order for masks at this point,” DeWine said in late December. “I don’t think it’s appropriate at this point. We have the vaccine. We have the tools.”

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, while listing his accomplishments in his first year in office on Tuesday, said during previous COVID-19 outbreaks there was little difference in the number of cases between states ruled by Republicans who tended to take less precautions; and those led by Democrats, who generally took stronger action.

“Heavy and universal mandates don’t work,” Gianforte said.






Representative Greg Gianforte addresses the Montana House of Representatives in December 2019.


THOM BRIDGE, Independent Disc


In North Carolina, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper still leaves it up to local governments to decide whether masks should be mandatory in stores or government buildings rather than ordering them statewide, and encourages but does not require local school boards to retain mask warrants for students and staff.

Cooper took this route even though the Republican-controlled legislature did not have the veto-proof majorities necessary to overthrow his previous statewide COVID-19 terms.

“We’re going to have to learn to live with this and continue to keep our kids in school and our businesses open and all of our government operations running effectively and efficiently,” Cooper said.

Pandemic fatigue among the public has led Utah Governor Spencer Cox to suggest that COVID-19 and its variants could be treated more like the flu or any other contagious disease. The focus, he said, should be on reducing the effects of the disease through vaccines and drugs, not on government mandates. On Thursday, he encouraged people to wear masks as cases hit record highs and the state lacked monoclonal antibody treatments, but did not call for new rules.

“We have a lot of diseases that spread very quickly,” he said last month. “But if they don’t fill hospitals and kill people, you know, we’re going about our business. If they fill hospitals and kill people, then obviously that becomes a lot more of a concern.”

Associated Press editors Mike Catalini in Trenton, New Jersey; Amy Hanson in Helena, Montana; Gary D. Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina; Andrew Selsky in Salem, Oregon; Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus, Ohio; Lindsay Whitehurst in Salt Lake City; and Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland, contributed to this report.

The leading US infectious disease expert warned on Sunday that an increase in the number of coronavirus cases could threaten the capacity of the US hospital system. This report produced by Zachary Goelman.



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Salt lake city government

Robert Gehrke looked at Utah’s future for 2022, here’s what he saw


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From redistribution to Mitt Romney and the Real Housewives, Robert Gehrke offers his annual forecast for 2022.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Robert Gehrke.

Like every year around this time, I spent the last weekend lighting incense and sage, reading tea leaves, consulting maps, and shaking a magic eight ball.

I even killed a chicken to try to guess what to expect in Utah in 2022.

OKAY. It was a chicken sandwich, and I ate it. The point is, I am committed to helping each of you prepare for what lies ahead in the coming year.

First, a recap of my predictions for 2021, in which it was predicted that former President Donald Trump would spend the year ranting, expressing grievances and generally slamming (it’s nailed down); the legislature would ignore the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission and Gerrymander Salt Lake County (of course); President Joe Biden would restore Utah’s national monuments and the state would go on (yes); and selfish vaccine deniers would prolong the pandemic (and, boy, have they ever done that!).

I also predicted that Senator Mitt Romney would be key if Congress is to do something (see also: the Infrastructure Bill); the legislature would avoid large-scale tax reform, Rep. Burgess Owens would say something bizarre and embarrassing (a giveaway, really).

There were a few hiccups. I didn’t think Democrats could win both Georgia Senate elections and hope no one wasted too much money on my prediction that the Utah Jazz would advance to the Western Conference Finals (they lost in the semi-finals).

Still, a decent record proving that I am listening more and more to the universe. So as long as the chips in my vaccines don’t cause too much interference, here’s what’s in store for 2022.

From the “Hope I’m Wrong” files, Senator Mike Lee will be re-elected.

I’ve said before that Ally Isom and former Rep. Becky Edwards are good candidates and would be a big improvement over Lee, but Lee is popular with the fundamentalist Republican wing and beating him will be very difficult, especially s ‘they split the dissenting vote. . I don’t see any challenger giving up at this point.

On paper, it’s safe to say that anti-Trump independent challenger Evan McMullin has a shot at beating Lee, but it feels a bit like hitting a hole in a blindfold. He will fight well, but despite clear differences between Lee and McMullin, he will fail to convince Democrats who see it as a trade of Lee for another Republican.

In the aftermath of the redistribution, Republicans will win the US House, but I think Democrats barely manage to keep the Senate – if you consider what they have now, it’s the Senate’s “hold”. The divided Congress means nothing will be done and Biden’s presidency will be mostly inconsequential.

Better Boundaries continue to send emails asking for money for a possible lawsuit challenging the Legislative Redistribution, but my magic ball doesn’t predict that they actually pull the trigger. The legislature will not empty the independent commission, at least not right away. They have nine years to do so and voters have short memories. The Utah Democrats will lose two House seats within the redesigned boundaries.

Right-wing activists pushing a voting initiative with a host of terrible ideas to make voting more difficult – restrict registration, end postal and early voting and revert to hand-marked paper ballots – don’t will not even come close to doing it on the ballot. The Legislative Assembly’s audit of Utah’s voting system will come back perfectly, proving that state elections are up. It won’t matter for the aforementioned crowd of tin foil hats. And, despite positive reviews from voters, ranked voting will not be extended (at Mike Lee’s request).

• Utah will experience another severe drought, which is evident since we have experienced drought for the past 25 years. Lakes and reservoirs will remain low and large fires will burn. But some initial, late action will be taken in water conservation.

• In the face of a host of lost rights for transgender Utahns, critical racial theory and anti-government bills, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and the recently formed Silicon Slopes Political Action Committee will be pushed. to take a leading role as the voice of reason and perhaps provide a little cover for Governor Spencer Cox to push back the legislature.

• One of Salt Lake City‘s real housewives will file for divorce, but she won’t be the one you expect!

• In the sports world, The University of Utah will shock Ohio State in THE Rose Bowl; this time, the Jazz will really make the final of the Western Conference; Salt Lake City will attempt to host the 2030 Olympic Winter Games; and my Detroit Lions will make the playoffs next season (no, really).

• This one’s more of a wish than a prediction, but we’ll finally put COVID-19 in our rearview mirrors (mostly) and we can stop worrying about what anti-vaxxers or anti-maskers or merchants think. conspiracy. We can return to a semblance of pre-pandemic life, filled with well-deserved peace and prosperity.

Happy 2022!

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Salt lake city

Utah Olympic Group meetings with IOC pile up as both await USOPC green light


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Salt Lake City committee glean information from IOC appeal, to travel to Beijing despite US government boycott

Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune men in the men’s 50km race compete in the 15th Anniversary of the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games at Utah Olympic Park, Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, Saturday, February 4, 2017.

The group trying to bring more Olympics to Utah continues to knock on the door.

At any moment, he thinks, the door of opportunity could open.

But, for now, the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee have the keys. And this week, a delegation from Utah spent two and a half hours trying to pick the locks, or at least the minds of the IOC staff, to figure out what steps still need to be taken to ensure the return of the Winter Games. in the Salt Lake Valley.

“We assume that the Games can be awarded at any time, which is fair,” said Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Games Committee. “So we’re rushing through our preparations to be ready for when that door might open, because we never know when it might open.”

In a video call that IOC President Thomas Bach briefly joined, the Utah group sought to present themselves as a worthy host of the 2030 or 2034 Winter Games and gain more clarity on what steps it can take to make it happen.

“It has been a great exchange, a collaborative dialogue between the two of us, so that we can better understand their approach and they can give us feedback on where we are today,” said Bullock. “We have received great feedback and great ideas as we move forward. “

The meeting was initially scheduled for three days in Switzerland at the end of November. This trip was postponed to early December due to scheduling conflicts. It then morphed into a virtual reunion amid the uncertainties in international travel that arose with the discovery of the new omicron variant of COVID-19.

It “was really just postponed, because we’re going to see people in Beijing,” Bullock said. “We will postpone this visit until the spring of next year.”

Shortly after the Utah group’s meeting with the IOC, President Joe Biden announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Games in February to protest the numerous human rights violations in China. Bullock said, however, that he, committee chair Catherine Raney Norman and Games advisor Darren Hughes were still planning to attend. Bullock said that’s because their focus isn’t on politics, but rather to learn more about the mechanics of the Games.

“Our goal is to be behind the scenes,” he said, “to understand what they are doing in terms of hosting the Games, new ideas that we can bring to our Games and talking with people from our future hosting opportunity. “

Beijing will be the Utah group’s third hearing with the IOC in four months. In a brief November 12 Zoom call joined by USOPC President Susanne Lyons, Utah organizers met with the Future Olympic Winter Games Host Commission, which oversees the IOC’s revamped bid process. . Around this time, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Utah Governor Spencer Cox expressed support for Utah’s efforts to host its second Games.

The future host commission also met with other potential hosts recently, but the IOC declined to say which ones.

Strong interest in the 2030 Games came from Sapporo, Japan; Vancouver, Canada; and Barcelona and the Pyrenees in Spain. A The candidate for the presidency of the German Olympic Committee has also expressed support for a candidacy for 2030. Ukraine has also spoken about accommodation, but is seen as a more likely candidate for 2034 or beyond.

In terms of public support, Salt Lake City clearly has the advantage. Sapporo lost considerable support of the Japanese people following the expensive Tokyo Games which they were unable to attend. Spain and Vancouver’s offers also had waning public interest, according to recent polls. Utah, meanwhile, had an 89% approval rating in the most recent poll, although that was in 2017 before the pandemic.

Raney Norman said he saw this enthusiasm in the volunteers who worked in the World Cup long track speed skating event at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns last weekend.

“We have this stronghold here as people who support and believe in the Olympic and Paralympic movement that continues,” said Raney Norman, quadruple Olympic speed skater. “And it’s something really special and unique that I think sometimes sets us apart a bit too.”

Sustainability is another area where Salt Lake City’s bid shines. The Utah group plans to reuse all venues from the 2002 Games, Bullock said. And while there has been a 40% increase in the number of events since then, including new ones like big air skiing and snowboard cross, he said all of them can fit into existing venues.

Bullock said the IOC emphasized sustainability in its part of Monday’s presentation.

“So it was really a bit of a symbiosis,” he said, “in terms of what they’re trying to accomplish and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

So what’s standing in the way of Utah? At present, the USOPC. Although it has named Salt Lake City its host city for the next Winter Olympics it is bidding on, the organization has not indicated whether it would prefer to host the Games in 2030 or 2034. Part of the delay is due to fact that Los Angeles is hosting the 2028 Summer Olympics and concerns that having two Games two years apart could create sponsor shortages.

The SLC-UT committee will then meet on December 13 for strategic and board meetings. Next, during the US Olympic Short Track Speed ​​Skating Trials at the Olympic Oval on December 17-19, the USOPC plans to hold its own board meeting in Salt Lake City.

Bullock did not indicate that an announcement on the date would be made at either of those meetings.

“After Beijing,” he said, “we think there will be an intensification of activity.”

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Utah economy

Utah population growth 2021: fertility is falling, but migration is on the rise

The Beehive state is growing, and is doing so rapidly. Even if its fertility rate is declining, its migratory balance is rising sharply.

Key elements for tracking this growth in a sustainable manner include housing affordability, air quality control, energy planning and water policy, among others.

Population estimates from the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute released Wednesday during its monthly Online Breakfast Newsmaker indicate that the state has added about 71,936 people since the 2020 census, reaching a estimated total of 3,343,552 Utahns. From July 1, 2020 to July 1 of this year, the population increased by 58,729 people. This annual growth rate of 1.8% is the highest since 2017.

These estimates, created by the Utah Population Committee, were compiled from the most recent decennial census.

“For the state of Utah, we have welcomed an average of 160 new residents per day over the past year,” said Emily Harris, senior demographer at the Gardner Institute and lead author of the report. “The state also saw the second recorded net migration and the smallest natural increase since 1975. Estimates for this year indicate a slight rebound as the Utahns navigate a global pandemic and attempt to find a new normal.”

The main findings of the report include:

  • Natural increase: Since July 1, 2010, Utah has experienced an annual decline in the natural increase in population due to fewer new births, while annual deaths increase. National trends during this same period depict a declining fertility rate strongly impacted by the Great Recession. Utah’s total fertility rate fell from 2.45 in 2010 to below the replacement level (1.99 in 2019), from the country’s highest rate to third.
  • Net migration: Utah’s net migration in 2021 is 34,858, nearly 10,000 more than last year’s estimate. This is the highest net migration since 2005 and the seventh year that net migration has exceeded 20,000. Net migration has contributed 59% of Utah’s population growth in the past year. , compared to 49% the previous year.
  • Regional and County Level Results: Iron County saw the fastest growth at 6.2%, followed by Tooele County (4.1%), Washington County (4.0%) and Utah County (2.9% ). Utah County had the highest natural increase, net migration, and population growth in the state, far outpacing Salt Lake County‘s 0.8% growth.

One-third of the statewide growth between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021 came from residents of Utah County. Salt Lake County contributed 15.9% of the growth and Washington County 12.5% ​​of the growth. Davis, Weber, Cache, Iron and Tooele counties each contributed between 7.7% and 5.1% of the state’s overall growth. Garfield County was the only county to lose population in 2021.

  • Impacts of COVID-19: Although the anticipated impacts of COVID-19 on births were not apparent in the data, the significant increase in deaths has changed the way the state and many counties have grown. Net migration has become the engine of growth statewide, increasing 15% from the previous year and driving growth in three-quarters of counties. While net migration varies each year in Utah, the natural increase (outside of a global pandemic) generally does not vary. Once COVID-19-related deaths decline, the natural increase is expected to stabilize.

“The secret is revealed”

House Speaker Brad Wilson of R-Kaysville said the growth was “remarkable”.

“The secret is out, how great our state is and how many people want to be here for so many different reasons, and there isn’t just one (reason),” he said, adding that growth presented a unique challenge for the state. but also a great opportunity.

“We’ve benefited as a state for a generation or two from having people who really thought about this stuff and how we can really be collaborative, be responsible, but manage our growth in a way. that benefits every Utahn; and we have to go on and work really hard on this, ”Wilson said.

Laura Hanson, state planning coordinator in the Utah Governor‘s Planning and Budget Office, said she felt lucky to be able to reflect on the direction Utah is taking in long term and stressed that growth offers many opportunities for the state.

“We have jobs, we have new creative ideas, more shopping, more restaurants – although (the growth) is a little scary at times, it is bringing some really good things to our state,” Hanson said. “Unfortunately, some surveys have shown, recently, that the majority of Utahns feel that we are growing too quickly. They feel that the character of their community has changed – we are experiencing more traffic congestion, our areas of recreation is overcrowded. But sadly, we really can’t close the doors or slow down this growth. “

Wilson and Hanson have both said that Utah’s current growth slowdown will lead to a struggling economy and an increase in the cost of living, which neither sees as beneficial.

“What we need to do is really connect with the Utahns and better understand what values ​​you think could be threatened by this growth and what policies or investments the state can take to help us navigate the path. growing and sustaining what makes Utah, Utah, ”Hanson said.

Putting systems in place to cope with Utah’s growth

Wilson said the state-level and political-level goal is to make sure the state is in a better place “than we have found.”

“We need to have processes that lead to longer term thinking and broader thinking about where we are headed, so that we make better decisions in the moment,” Wilson said.

The groundwork for some of that long-term thinking was laid in Utah Gov. Spencer Cox’s $ 25 billion budget proposal for next year, Hanson said.

“I think people who are focusing on growth issues will be really happy with some of the recommendations that are included there,” she said.

The budget proposes about half a billion dollars in investments in the planning and management of water infrastructure, including the financing of the Great Salt Lake, and incentives for water conservation at all levels, from the agriculture to single-family homes.

In addition, the budget includes $ 46.2 million for investments in active transportation to fight air quality problems.

“These are bicycle facilities, sidewalks and pathways so people don’t have to drive a car if they don’t want to and get people off the road,” Hanson added. “We’ve actually had a drop in emissions over the last few years. It shows that when Utah is focused on one goal… we’re really effective at meeting those goals. So I think the air quality in is one that will continue to be at the center of our concerns. “

Hanson also spoke about energy planning and the state’s energy needs which continue to increase with a growing population and an increased focus on electrification.

“We will need to continue to diversify our energy resources, which means investing in new transmission corridors, the basic infrastructure to support charging (of electric vehicles) along the highways in our state,” she said. . “This is another goal and priority for the governor and in his roadmap he identified updating an energy plan – all these different pieces need to come together and we need to keep working together to meet these challenges. “

While the budget also includes $ 228 million to tackle affordable housing and homelessness, Wilson said the problem is more supply-side and demand-side.

“We need to do a better job of getting more supply to market faster; and we need our municipalities, in particular, to be a little more agile and a little faster in the way they approve projects so that we can solve this problem – this is the only solution to increase the supply on the market, ”Wilson added. “My concern about the affordability of housing is how will our children and grandchildren afford to stay here? “

The full population estimates from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute are available online here.

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Salt lake city government

“Stop the attacks”: Tribal leaders and activists call for an end to “political football” on Utah landmarks


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Supporters of the recent restoration of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments attend a rally at the Utah Capitol on Thursday. The group wants Utah not to challenge President Joe Biden’s recent decision to restore monuments to their original size in court. (Carter Williams, KSL.com)

Estimated reading time: 6-7 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – Standing by the steps inside the Utah Capitol was like déjà vu for Olivia Juarez on Thursday night.

Juarez, the Latino community organizer for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, was quick to point out that it was on this day four years ago that she and more than 6,000 others stood outside the building. to protest ahead of a presidential proclamation that ended up dramatically reducing the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

“You’ll hear me reuse the word more times than I would like because we’ve been here before,” she said, looking at a group of just over 100 activists and Native Americans on Capitol Hill. “We have been in the Capitol, on the streets over and over again.”

But Thursday’s rally was completely different from that of 2017 as the dimensions of both monuments were restored almost two months ago. This time around, the focus has been on Governor Spencer Cox and Attorney General Sean Reyes, as the state is signaling it will likely challenge the ruling in court.

Those who attended the rally on Thursday came to express their displeasure with the tactics. Tribal leaders and activists argue that challenging the court’s ruling will end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars and likely come to naught, based on past court cases.

“A lawsuit challenging the restoration of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a horrific misuse of state tax money,” Juarez said.

President Joe Biden restored the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments through a pair of proclamations issued on October 8. . “

But the debate over the two monuments has been far from easy in recent decades. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, both Democrats, created the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (1996) and Bears Ears National Monument (2016), respectively. Together they have an area of ​​approximately 3.25 million acres.

President Donald Trump, a Republican, signed a proclamation in 2017 that divided the monuments into five smaller zones with a total size of just over a third of the original boundaries. A review of the decision four years ago was one of the first things Biden, also a Democrat, ordered when he took office in January.

Most of Thursday’s rally focused on what might happen next in the process. Cox, Reyes, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and senior members of the Republican-led Utah legislature all lambasted Biden’s decision in October.

“President Biden’s decision to expand the monuments is disappointing, but not surprising,” the group said in a combined statement, as news of the president’s decision emerged. “Over the past 10 months, we have consistently offered to work with the Biden administration on a permanent legislative solution, which would end the ever-expanding and shrinking of these monuments and bring certainty to their management. has been to perpetuate progress in the management of our public lands for the benefit of all those who use them, in particular those who live on and near these lands. ”

At the time, they involved possible legal action. Then on October 22, just weeks after Biden signed the proclamation, Reyes began the process for law firms to assist the state of Utah in a possible dispute over the legality of Biden’s proclamations. . The state has yet to file a legal challenge in federal courts.

Juarez said the fees and expenses for a legal fight could easily reach $ 10 million. Brooke Larsen, a grassroots activist who spoke at the event, was quick to point out that many states, including Utah, have already failed in their attempts to overturn a proclamation made under the Laws on antiques.


The Bears Ears region is not a series of isolated objects but the entire landscape itself.

–Malcolm Lehi, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Council Member and Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition Co-Chair


Hopi Tribe President Timothy Nuvangyaoma, Ute Mountain Tribe Council Member and Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition Co-Chair Malcolm Lehi, and Utah Dine Bikeyah Board Chair Davis Filfred , all traveled to the Utah Capitol to represent some of the Native American tribes who supported the original designations of the monuments and then the restoration of the monuments.

“It’s not a political football game, going back and forth,” Nuvangyaoma said. “Governor Cox, political leaders around you, stop. Stop the attacks.”

Filfred feels the same. As the representative of the Navajo Nation, he said he never really got to meet former Governor Gary Herbert. He added that he had heard Cox say that there should be an end to the “ping-pong” battle, but he feared a legal battle would do just that.

“That’s exactly what we’re doing, and I’ve come here to say stop,” Filfred said, as the crowd in front of him cheered him on.

Tribal leaders said Thursday that money used in a court could easily be used to help residents near monuments or anywhere else in Utah. Filfred, for example, looked at a large Christmas tree inside the Capitol and said there were many Navajo Nation residents who would like to light a Christmas tree but they don’t have electricity. Some, he added, don’t even have flush toilets.

“All this money could be put to good use,” he continued. “I tell them what we need to do is help others.”

Davis Filfred, Chairman of the Utah Dine Bikeyah Board of Directors, speaks at a rally at the Utah State Capitol Thursday to support the recent restoration of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.
Davis Filfred, Chairman of the Utah Dine Bikeyah Board of Directors, speaks at a rally at the Utah State Capitol Thursday to support the recent restoration of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. (Photo: Carter Williams, KSL.com)

Executives added that there are currently bigger issues with the monuments, which they say are in desperate need of a new management plan to accommodate the growing popularity of the area.

The land at Bears Ears is considered sacred and a homeland for the Ute, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni tribes, Lehi said. He said their ancestors lived, hunted and gathered, prayed and participated in rituals there, among other activities, for centuries. These are all traditions that continue to this day.

Referring to the 2017 proclamation that reduced Bears Ears by 85% with two protected areas, Lehi said the land should be conserved as a whole as it was originally designated because the land is a representation of the people.

“The Bears Ears region is not a series of isolated objects but the landscape itself. It is the object itself that deserves tribal and federal protection,” he said. “Bears Ears is a living connected landscape where people (are) inside, not a collection of objects – it needs to be protected.”

This is in addition to concerns about drilling and mining at both monuments, Indigenous leaders and Larsen said they were concerned.

Supporters of the recent restoration of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments attend a rally at the Utah Capitol on Thursday.  The group wants Utah not to challenge the ruling in court.
Supporters of the recent restoration of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments attend a rally at the Utah Capitol on Thursday. The group wants Utah not to challenge the ruling in court. (Photo: Carter Williams, KSL.com)

A final argument made by attendees on Thursday is that they say most Utahns don’t want monuments to be altered again. A Colorado College study of public lands in the West released earlier this year found that nearly three-quarters of Utah voters surveyed supported restoring national monument protections.

Lehi added that the vast majority of public commentary also supported the monument’s restoration.

But if the state takes legal action, it’s likely that crowds will return to the Utah Capitol to support the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

Nuvangyaoma said, “I think it’s very clear that the people of the United States, the people of Utah, the people of the tribal nations want these areas protected for others to enjoy.”

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Utah economy

Utah ‘would be finished’ by bringing NFL team to declare, says Cox

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah Jazz super fan Governor Spencer J. Cox is also supportive of the arrival of another professional sports franchise in the state.

Speaking to reporters at his monthly press conference, Cox was asked if he would support a National Football League team in Beehive State, to which he basically replied: “I keep going. “.

“I don’t know if there is a limit to what I would do to get an NFL team here in the state of Utah,” the governor and sports fan said, adding his office was already working with the recently moved Las. Vegas Raiders on building their fan base in the state.

“If there was an opportunity for an NFL franchise here in the state of Utah, we’d be ready for anything,” Cox said. “We are ‘the state of sport’. “

Cox’s prompting on any potential interest he might have in wooing the NFL in Utah was undoubtedly linked to reports that the 32-team league is considering a 40-team balloon expansion. Pro Football Focus, one of the most beloved football analysis publications, gave weight to such reports in a social media post earlier this week that posed a question to its followers, including Salt Lake City. in a group of possible locations to place a team.

While Cox confirmed that the state would exchange any NFL interest in entering the region, his remarks also highlighted the challenges that would be inherent in a multibillion-dollar project.

“We know how good sports can be for the economy, and we would be very supportive of an NFL franchise, does that mean we would provide incentives to build a stadium as well?” It’s a good question. And ultimately, it is a decision that would be taken by state taxpayers through their elected officials, ”he added.

Cox’s words echo remarks made by Utah Athletic Commission Chairman and CEO Jeff Robbins when ABC4.com pursued the issue in October.

“The stadiums have evolved and the infrastructure and the cost of building the stadiums has become so expensive that somehow, if you look at most of the stadiums under construction, there is a pretty kind of public partnership. important that needs to be created, ”Robbins explained, citing the construction of the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, which cost nearly $ 2 billion, of which $ 750 million came from public funds.

Draper Town leaders have expressed interest in creating some sort of on-land sports entertainment venue that will be vacant when the State Prison moves to Tooele in 2022. It’s easy to guess where the County of Salt Lake touches the booming silicon slopes. area might be the best possible place in the state to locate a brand new NFL stadium, a must for bringing a team to town.

While the discussion is an exciting one, Cox added on Thursday that securing public funding for a football stadium – or a baseball stadium, because he believes a Major League Baseball team is more likely than one. NFL club in Utah – is not at the top of its priority list. .

“I don’t like giving billionaires taxpayer money, I think that’s a mistake,” the governor said. “It’s one thing to provide additional funding for a stadium and I’m not going to go through all of that, we’ve already done a bit of it. But what you see some of these billionaires doing is taking people hostage to write them a check to help pay for a stadium. It’s just that it’s a terrible economy and it’s bad policy. “

There is a bit of research to back up Cox’s claims. The ABC4.com report over a month ago also cited a study by economics researchers at UC Berkeley which found that publicly funded stadiums have little impact on the level of life of a community versus spending in other areas such as education or housing.

Yet the state’s interest in more top-level sporting events has always been high. Utah loves the sport, as evidenced by the support not only of Jazz, but of Real Salt Lake, the Salt Lake Bees, and college track programs including Utah and BYU. The 2002 Winter Olympics were considered a huge success and the process to bring the world stage back to Utah is already underway.

The state truly lives up to its nickname, the State of Sport.

Cox, who is well known as a vocal jazz fan, knows this well.

“I’m going to tell you that we just had the chance to meet the IOC for the first time, the selection committee of the International Olympic Committee last week, we had wonderful discussions, and they recognize Utah, again a times, in our time hosting the The Olympics before were an amazing place where people really support the sport, ”Cox said, adding that the NBA All-Star Game in 2023 would also generate a lot of excitement in the years to come. to come.

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Utah economy

Utah’s 2021 exercise ends with a bang

SALT LAKE CITY (November 16, 2021) – Utah’s 2021 fiscal year ends stronger than expected. Heads of state will have an additional $ 614 million to appropriate during the 2022 general session. These funds are likely an anomaly due to federal stimulus funds and economic volatility.

Governor Spencer J. Cox, President J. Stuart Adams and President Brad Wilson make the following statement regarding this surplus:

“Utah’s economy is booming and education funding is at an all-time high due to our state’s sound economic policies, including our efforts to quickly and safely reopen businesses during the pandemic. While this is an unusual year as the state has received unprecedented stimulus funding from the federal government, we remain committed to fiscal responsibility and funding forward-thinking and innovative projects. The investments we make now will benefit the Utahns for generations to come. “

Funds will be spent with a careful emphasis on fiscal responsibility, including the use of one-time money for one-time costs such as infrastructure investments and capital improvements.

Download this press release here.

###

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Utah economy

Utah lawmakers approve bill that grants employees broad exemptions from workplace vaccination mandates

Employees who don’t want to comply with their workplace’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements just got coverage from the Utah Legislature.

The new bill, which was passed mostly along party lines during this week’s special session, still allows employers to demand vaccines, but the mandates are fundamentally toothless.

Employees have three options: a medical or religious exemption or an exemption for sincere personal beliefs. The bill also prevents business owners from firing workers who take advantage of these exemptions and requires companies to pay for COVID-19 workplace testing if necessary.

Some workplaces are excluded from the bill, such as federal contractors, organizations that provide Medicare and Medicaid services, and businesses with fewer than 15 employees.

Sponsor Senator Kirk Cullimore R-Sandy said he started working on the issue months ago when some companies started to impose vaccines.

“We want to respect the rights of companies, but we also recognize that employees are not the property of their employers,” Cullimore said. “We must respect the rights of employees to make the medical decisions that are best for them and their families. “

In the background, however, is the Biden administration’s testing or vaccination warrant, which has been Temporarily blocked due to a Federal Court ruling. Utah leaders have said they are determined to fight the president’s policy.

Currently, approximately 60% of eligible Utahns are fully immunized.

Representative Tim Hawkes, R-Centerville, opposed the new bill to break into business practices in an unprecedented way.

“Our state is a state of employment at will. This means you can resign or be fired at any time, or for any reason, and there are very few exceptions to this rule, ”said Hawkes. “We’re just not trying to micromanage things in this space. We just don’t do it.

Senator Luz Escamilla, of D-Salt Lake City, called the legislation “anti-business”.

“It doesn’t help our economy. It’s really putting [businesses] in a difficult place, ”said Escamilla.

But at least one state business leader has said he doesn’t care about legislative implications.

Curtis Blair, president of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, said he sees this as a way to push business owners to understand the needs of their employees.

“At the end of the day, these companies really need to monitor the policies they implement and their impact on bottom lines,” Blair said. “Your greatest asset [is] your staff and companies that ignore their people are the greatest asset probably have bigger issues than the vaccine to understand. “

The bill is now awaiting approval from Governor Spencer Cox.

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Salt lake city government

Labor shortage hard for employers, a boon for job seekers


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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Concerns over critical labor shortages have crossed the boundaries of the business community and are now shared by more than two-thirds of Utahns, according to a new survey.

The Deseret News / Hinckley Institute of Politics poll conducted earlier this month found that 68% of Utah voters polled are concerned about the number of unfilled jobs while 27% identified themselves as not concerned about the question and 5% were not sure of their position. The results come from a poll of 764 registered Utah voters and have a 3.54% margin of error.

Utah’s current unemployment rate of 2.4% maintains second place in the country, edged only by Nebraska’s 2% for the month of September according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Low unemployment is one of the main indicators of positive economic health, but it also serves as a litmus test for how difficult it can be for a typical business to hire the workers it needs, especially before seasonal spurts, such as the onset of the holiday shopping season.

Survey participants had mixed responses when asked who is responsible for adopting measures to address the state’s labor shortage dilemma, but 44% said they thought it was a problem for the private sector to deal with. Of those who think public entities should play a role in crafting a fix, 22% said it is the state government‘s responsibility and 19% think federal agencies should work on a resolution.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said he shares the concerns of most Utahns, as evidenced by the new Deseret News poll, and that he is taking a close look at all aspects of faster-than-recovery recovery. Most of the state of the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While we are thrilled with Utah’s 2.4% unemployment rate, we are very concerned about the labor shortage affecting every industry in every community in Utah,” Cox told Deseret. News. “We are currently working with experts and economists to learn more about changes in worker participation and expectations in the wake of the pandemic.


“As markets continue to adjust, government officials need to be vigilant to ensure that we avoid discouraging work.”

This spring, Cox announced his own decision to help remove some perceived work disincentives and force more vigorous job search efforts among unemployed Utahns when he announced his decision to suspend federal benefits from unemployment insurance linked to the pandemic on June 26, more than two months before their scheduled expiration.

But data from a study released in August suggests the plan didn’t quite lead to those results, and the nation’s leading economy in Utah could be at least in part to blame.

A two-part survey conducted in June by researchers at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business sampled the feelings of jobless business owners and Utahns, including 500 households, about the outcome of the changes. in state unemployment benefits, among other issues.

One of the most notable data points went to the heart of Cox’s hopes that the removal of benefits and extended benefits would entice job seekers.

“To assess the impact of the expiration of additional (unemployment insurance) payments, we asked respondents if this expiration would influence the time and effort they devote to job search or financial planning. “Says the investigation report. “More than 90% of respondents say that the expiry of (unemployment) benefits will have no impact on their efforts to find work or their saving behavior.

While Utah currently has more jobs than before the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 53,000 cumulative new positions added since September 2019, the state’s employment participation rate is still at the bottom. lags behind pre-pandemic levels. And, the most recent data available shows that the 131,000 job postings in July far exceeded the 79,000 hires this month.

“Utah’s economy is still moving strongly through the biggest pandemic event,” said Mark Knold, chief economist at the Department of Workforce Services in a statement accompanying the agency’s monthly employment report for the week. last. “Utah’s economy has more jobs now than it did before the pandemic began, and that is a testament to Utah’s economic resilience. There is still room for improvement as the engagement of the workforce in the labor market is lower than it was before the pandemic.

“For some, apprehension persists about returning to work, that is, interacting with the public. We see this as a natural and short-term condition and not as a new normal. “

As Utah companies looking to build their own workforce face stiff competition in the state’s current work environment, the circumstances are of huge benefit to those on the research side. employment out of the equation, and wages are rising and especially for those on lower wage levels, according to state labor services economists.

Salt Lake Chamber President / CEO Derek Miller said Utah companies across multiple industries are struggling to fill critical positions.

“We really can’t overestimate the magnitude or impact of the problem,” Miller said. “I was in St. George last week and walked into an ice cream shop. There were three teenage girls there who worked all over the place, struggling to keep up with business. They tried their best and apologized to customers, but also informed people that there would be a 45 minute wait.

“This is the case wherever you go in the state, and it’s not just consumer-oriented businesses like an ice cream shop trying to meet the challenges.”

Miller also fears that President Joe Biden’s upcoming implementation of vaccine mandates for large private companies will further exacerbate staffing issues for employers as some workers bail out to protest vaccine or forced testing requirements. .

“I’m worried about the labor shortage that the federal mandate could make matters worse,” Miller said. “I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but I’m trying to keep an eye on the horizon on this issue.”

For current Utah job seekers, however, the horizons have never been brighter.

In an interview with Deseret News, Michael Jeanfreau, senior economist with the Utah Department of Workforce Services, said the state’s current job market is a boon for those looking to find a first job as well as for those who wish to increase their income by moving to a new position. . This, he said, is especially true for positions with lower education requirements.

“What we are seeing right now are worse circumstances from an employers’ point of view, but better circumstances for employees,” Jeanfreau said. “If Amazon is hiring 250 new drivers right now and I work at a gas station, this looks like a great opportunity.”

Jeanfreau said that competition for workers resulting in increases in pay rates is a factor that improves the quality of life for employees in all fields and makes Utah an even more attractive environment for workers in all sectors.

“When the bottom goes up, everyone goes up too,” Jeanfreau said. “From an economic point of view, they are all linked. Positive upward economic mobility concerns everyone.

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Salt lake city government

Could Outdoor Retailer come back to Salt Lake City? Utah wants it, but does it want Utah?


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Editor’s Note • This story is only available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers. Thank you for supporting local journalism.

Four years ago, the biannual Outdoor Retailer show left Salt Lake City angry with Utah’s stance on public land management, especially its hostility to national monument designations.

Upset at Utah’s efforts to pressure then-President Donald Trump to erase the Bears Ears National Monument, industry executives pushed the show’s owner, Emerald Expositions, to to bail out Salt Lake City after a 20-year run that had been a boon to both the city and the show, which drew 45,000 people who contributed $ 40 million to the region’s economy.

As of 2018, the show has been held in Colorado, where the political climate is more to the liking of the companies that make camping gear, climbing gear, and outdoor clothing – and the retailers that sell it.

The monument is now back, by order of President Joe Biden. Will Outdoor Retailer, or OR, also come back to Utah? Denver’s contract to host the event expires at the end of 2022, and some industry insiders are wondering if the show would be better off in Hive State. Salt Lake City’s nightlife and dining may not be on par with Denver, but costs are lower and access to recreation sites is much better.

Utah’s capital is the only city in the country that can accommodate 30,000 conventioneers, but it’s also close enough to recreation venues for those attendees to enjoy the outdoors, according to Tom Adams, who headed the Recreation Bureau. outdoor station in Utah when the show retired in 2017.

Prior to his government service, Adams was an operating theater exhibitor as an employee of French gearmaker Petzl.

“I can’t tell you what a great relationship I’ve had with the people I’ve been able to ski, ice climb or rock climb with around the living room as opposed to going to dinner,” Adams says. , who returned to work for Petzl as part of its operations in the United States. “It’s so much nicer to connect with someone while recreating yourself. You can’t do it in Denver.

Visit Salt Lake confirmed it had developed a proposal to host the show at Salt Palace from 2023, but declined to discuss it. Other cities in the running, in addition to Denver, are Anaheim, California; Orlando, Florida; and Las Vegas.

Show director Marisa Nicholson said there are many factors that will come into play in a final decision, including the opinions of outdoor industry representatives who were interviewed.

“Easy access to the outdoors is also extremely important to our community,” she said. “The magic of Outdoor Retailer is that it goes beyond business. It’s about unifying the industry so that we can collectively improve the outdoor experience.

The Outdoor Industry Association, the trade group that lobbied for the release of OR from Utah, has made no one available for an interview for this story.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Show attendees overlook the Ortovox booth as Outdoor Recreation holds its final show in Utah on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, before relocating to Denver after two decades in Salt Lake City.

Governor of Utah makes his pitch

Utah Governor Spencer Cox added his voice to the discussion with a video love letter to leaders in the outdoor industry, begging them to return home to Salt Lake City. His post highlighted the advances in Utah’s hospitality industry, which can be attributed to the OR show.

“Of course your salon has also seen incredible growth during this time, and I’d like to think we’ve played a very positive role,” Cox said in his video. “We have missed you for the past few years and we have made some improvements while you were gone. “

Outdoor recreation is at the heart of the Utah brand and state leaders, including Cox, have highlighted it by attracting tech employers to the Wasatch Front. According to data cited by state officials, it represents $ 12 billion in economic activity, employs 110,000 people and generates $ 737 million in tax revenue.

In his video, the governor highlighted the $ 4 billion Salt Lake City airport upgrade and the 700-room Hyatt Regency under construction near the Salt Palace, where the show has been on for years.

“And we are working with key stakeholders and the Home Office to establish sustainable ways to manage Bear Ears National Monument and other cherished public lands,” Cox said. “The outdoor industry is important to Utah, and the outdoor retailer show is important to Utah. We invite you again and we will take great care of you.

Eh? Cox’s immediate predecessor Gary Herbert basically told the industry to take a hike if they didn’t like Utah’s public land policies.

Times and attitudes have changed since then, but Utah’s political leaders and the outdoor industry remain miles apart over land management controversies.

Why return to Salt Lake City?

And that’s okay, says Kenji Haroutunian, who ran the OR show from 2007 to 2014. He thinks the outdoor industry would likely have more influence on Utah politics if it held its more. large trade show in Salt Lake City.

“It’s a philosophical question: do you want a seat at the table to speak in Utah? Says Haroutunian, who helped launch a new outdoor trade show in Utah this year.

“How much influence does the outdoor industry have on Utah politics now?” Not that much because you took your ball and walked away, ”he says. “It would be better to stay and engage and be able to share points of view.”

He hopes to steer the debate towards maintaining the vitality of the industry and promoting outdoor recreation as a means of improving people’s mental and physical health and economic prospects.

“It’s part of the fabric of the state. It’s a paradise, ”says Haroutunian, based in Southern California. “We can discuss land management, but in the meantime let’s make sure the industry is healthy.

The show’s return to Utah largely depends on the preferences of members of the outdoor industry, and convenience may end up playing a bigger role than politics. Nicholson staff gathered feedback from all aspects of the industry, including brands and retailers of all sizes, product representatives, nonprofits and the media.

“We surveyed the industry this summer to assess both the location and timing of the summer and winter show,” she said. “From preferred locations, we work with cities to find dates that match preferred time frames, leaving plenty of time to move in, put on the show, and relocate. We also work with local hotels and assess other resources needed to create the best opportunity for everyone to have a successful experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for the trade show industry as industries have struggled to adjust to life without large gatherings. OU was no exception.

“Outdoor recreation has seen tremendous growth throughout the pandemic, which has been great for our industry. At the same time, we’ve all learned to work in new ways in order to stay connected and reach the growing consumer base, ”Nicholson said. “As the digital space continues to streamline the way we do business, we are incorporating new opportunities in conjunction with in-person shows, such as online matchmaking and year-round content through our magazine. “

OR resumed operations in August at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver with about a quarter of the attendance it saw at the show’s pre-pandemic peak in 2019.

“While a larger portion of the outdoor community wanted to attend, not everyone could at the time. Now, with international travel opening next month, and as we continue to weather the pandemic, we expect 2022 shows to see more brands and retailers ready to come together again, ”Nicholson said. . “People are gradually moving around the world, realizing the benefits of face-to-face conversations and the impact of live events.”

But Haroutunian, Nicholson’s predecessor as the show’s director, believes the drop in attendance may be part of the trend, rather than just a fender-bender.

“Big trade shows can disappear overnight. Once they lost their momentum, they struggled to come back or didn’t come back, ”Haroutunian said. “It feels like investing in an outfielder who is past his prime as a player. Past strength and prowess are no guarantee of future returns. “

This year, Haroutunian helped launch what he sees as the future of outdoor trade shows in Utah.

Held annually in Deer Valley, the Big Gear Show represents a new direction in trade shows. It takes place entirely outdoors and combines cycling and paddling – sports no longer on the OR show menu – with other outdoor activities. It is also much cheaper to attend. Indeed, the promoters of shows take care of the accommodation of the participants.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Big Gear Show, a new outdoor convention now in its first year, takes place at the base of Deer Valley Resort for a 3-day event on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. At In the years to come, he can hope to compete with Outdoor Retailer, the huge outdoor convention that left Utah because of a political fight over the Bear’s Ears National Monument.

“It’s an experiential event based on participation,” said Haroutunian. “Instead of wandering around an indoor setting, you can throw your leg up on a bicycle or light a stove to see if it can simmer or not. You can really do more to figure out the equipment, play with it, get it dirty, dirty and wet it and see what happens.

Salt Lake City should have many advantages over Denver for hosting an outdoor industry show regardless of the show structure.

Other observers wonder if the OR show has run its course and if it’s time to reconsider whether such massive gatherings are really serving the outdoor industry well.

“Outdoor recreation is a low-margin business. Most people are there for the passion, ”Haroutunian said. “They love to be outside. They like to participate. They try to maintain their lifestyle by being in the business. A trade show should reflect this business environment.

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Salt lake city government

Utah Joins Legal Action Against Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Warrants


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SALT LAKE CITY – The state of Utah has joined a lawsuit against the federal government, challenging the Biden administration’s vaccination mandates.

Gov. Spencer Cox and Republican legislative leaders have long threatened their own lawsuit, but were waiting to see whether the Biden administration brought forward a proposed workplace safety rule requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or testing on businesses over 100 employees. The lawsuit they joined on Saturday challenged a separate rule governing federal contractors.

“We need to take a stand for the hard-working Utahns who are forced to either get vaccinated or lose their jobs. The president is making a habit of going beyond the limits of his authority. In doing so, he is exacerbating needlessly stress on the supply chain, damaging the economy, forcing workers to quit their jobs and hurting American families.We cannot stand idly by and allow President Biden and his administration to impose another reckless and illegal executive action, “said the joint statement of Governor Cox, Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson, Attorney General Sean Reyes, Speaker of the Senate J. Stuart Adams, Speaker of the House Brad Wilson, Auditor of the State John Dougall and State Treasurer Marlo M. Oaks.

Utah joins Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina and West Virginia in the litigation.

“The Requesting State of Utah is a sovereign state and has the authority and responsibility to protect its sovereign interests, the public revenue service, and the health, safety and well-being of its citizens. many state entities that are Federal Contractors and, therefore, Utah employs ‘Covered Subcontractor employees and maintains’ Covered Subcontractor workplaces; as defined by the contractor’s mandate, “the lawsuit said.” These contracts are worth millions of dollars, if not more. Utah expects to continue contracts with the government in the future. Utah also has contracts outstanding subject to renewal or exercise of options. The federal government has introduced contract amendments to Utah that incorporate the Contractor’s Mandate. Utah will face irreparable harm if forced to comply.

Utah has taken a nuanced stance on vaccination mandates. While opposing government making COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, Governor Cox and lawmaker leaders did not object to private companies mandating them on their own. Recently, House Speaker Brad Wilson R-Kaysville told FOX 13 the legislature may pursue certain limits on this. Governor Cox has threatened with veto if the legislator forbids private employers to impose the vaccine.

The governor and legislative leaders have continually encouraged people to voluntarily get vaccinated against COVID-19 to pull the state out of the pandemic.

The US Department of Labor is take action against the state for refusing to comply with other COVID-19 emergency rules.

Read the trial here:

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Utah economy

Utah Legislature May Consider Exceptions In COVID-19 Vaccine Trade Mandates

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah state legislature may consider making exceptions in any COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed by a private company.

In an interview with FOX 13, House Speaker Brad Wilson confirmed the idea is under consideration. House Republicans met in their regular caucus on Wednesday to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Utah Capitol political leaders are waiting to see what the Biden administration will say with its proposed workplace safety rule imposing a vaccine or testing warrant on companies with more than 100 employees. The state threatened prosecution or refusal to comply.

“We are gravely concerned about the problem that this rule, as described by the President, will create for the Utahns and our economy and our businesses here and we believe it needs to be addressed differently,” said President Wilson, R -Kaysville, mentioned.

Although they opposed government mandates on vaccines, some political leaders – including President Wilson – have backed the rights of a private company to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. But the President signaled that the position could change.

“On the one hand, we say we don’t want the federal government to create warrants, on the other hand, we have to be very careful about how we handle warrants. There are times when sometimes employers can do things that maybe cross a line with their employee-employer relationship, ”he said. “So we’ll be watching him. That’s probably the best way to describe him at this point.”

The House Majority Whip added Mike Schultz, R-Hooper: “If a company decides to mandate it, it is certainly its right and its option. However, I think the employee also has certain rights. I think the state should have exemptions. . “

The idea of ​​including exceptions in any vaccination mandate of private companies could be an option. A number of lawmakers are opening bills with subject lines on vaccine mandates. Lawmakers have come under pressure from anti-vaccine voters to act and block any mandate.

“Obviously we are against all federal government mandates, vaccine mandates, but we hope there are exemptions in there,” said Representative Schultz. “Personal, medical and religious exemptions that ultimately give the employee and citizens of our state the ability to have that choice.”

Utah law currently allows personal, religious, or medical immunization exemptions. However, some religions, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have stated that they will refuse to grant them.

Some of these bills that the legislature might pass could run up against a roadblock in Gov. Spencer Cox’s office. While also speaking out against the government making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, he has repeatedly defended the rights of private companies to impose vaccine requirements.

“It is their right to do so and we applaud the market making these decisions”, the governor said at a press conference on September 30.

Asked by FOX 13 if a bill blocking the mandates of private companies was “dead on arrival”, the governor bluntly replied: “Yes”.

Republican House leaders have said they do not oppose vaccines and have encouraged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to end the pandemic.

“I would never force my employees to be vaccinated. I encouraged them to do so, I actually encourage my employees to be vaccinated,” President Wilson said of his own business. “I hope most companies don’t take the plunge in this state and demand a vaccine if there are other options.”

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Salt lake city government

Utah faces repercussions for failing to adopt federal emergency standard for COVID-19


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A University of Utah health worker prepares to treat patients in the medical intensive care unit at the University of Utah hospital on July 30. (Charlie Ehlert, University of Utah)

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – Because Utah has not accepted a temporary federal emergency standard to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19 or provided a sufficient alternative, the Federal Safety and Health Administration at Labor said on Tuesday it was reconsidering and proposing to revoke the state’s current approval to run its own occupational safety and health program.

This decision would put the program back under the authority of the federal administration.

On June 21, the US Department of Labor released a temporary emergency standard to help protect healthcare workers from COVID-19. Utah is one of 22 states that have an approved state plan, state-run occupational safety and health program for workers in the private sector and state and local governments. This standard included preventative safety measures such as masks and social distancing as well as time off for workers who contracted COVID-19. It applies to healthcare workers in occupations at high risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

Due to OSHA’s declaration of the emergency standard, these states had to either adopt the standard or create an alternative that was at least as effective.

Of the 28 other states and territories that have state plans in place, only three have not adopted any part of the Temporary Emergency Standard or provided no alternatives – Utah, South Carolina and Arizona. The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent letters of courtesy to these states advising them of these failures.

“OSHA has worked in good faith to help the three state plans comply with their requirement to adopt an equivalent emergency temporary standard, but their continued refusal is a failure to keep their state plan commitments. to provide both a program for employee health and safety protection that meets the requirements of the OHS Act and is at least as effective as the federal program, ”said Jim Frederick, Assistant Under Secretary of Labor for OSHA.

States had until July 6 to inform the administration of what they would face with this non-compliance with the standard. Even after Utah was notified, it missed that deadline as well as the 30-day deadline to provide an “at least as effective” alternative, the administration said. The state also failed to inform the administration of the reasons for not meeting these deadlines and has consistently refused to indicate whether it intends to adopt the federal standard or an effective alternative standard.

Due to these failures, the administration said it was starting review proceedings and offered to revoke the state’s final approval.

“The more they refuse, the more they needlessly endanger thousands of workers,” said Frederick.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson challenged the Department of Labor’s assessment in a statement released Tuesday night.

“We are very disappointed with the US Department of Labor’s claim that the Utah state plan is less effective than the federal one. In a July 21, 2021 letter to Secretary of Labor (Marty) Walsh, the governors of Utah, Wyoming and Nebraska have expressed concern that health care (temporary emergency standard) places an unfair burden on the health care sector and noted that our states do not have the regulatory power to require employers to pay sick leave to their employees, ”wrote Cox and Henderson.

“We reject the claim that the Utah state plan is less effective than the federal plan. While we have not refused to adopt the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, we will again request the opportunity to discuss with the Biden administration our legitimate concerns regarding compliance with the proposed HTA for healthcare. Despite today’s communication, we are still happy to have the opportunity to further explain our position and our recommendations. ”

There are several stages of federal approval of a state plan, and the first is called “initial approval”. During this stage, the state and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration maintain shared authority that “may be exercised if OSHA deems it necessary and appropriate.” Utah also needs to prove that its state-run program is at least as effective in protecting workers and preventing workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities as the federal government’s plans.

Once a state plan reaches final approval status, the federal government does not enforce the program and leaves it to the state. The Utah State Plan achieved final approval status in 1985, meaning the state was fully responsible for enforcement rather than the federal government, as long as it is overseen and approved by administration. Utah receives $ 1.6 million in grants from the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The next step in the reconsideration process is to notify the state federal registry and then offer a 35-day comment period for interested parties to discuss the proposed revocation. Commentators with substantial objections could raise an audience. At the end of the process, the administration will make a decision regarding the revocation at that time.

“We need to fully understand the comments we received and understand the views expressed. We will analyze the comments and make sure we move forward properly at that time,” Frederick said.

The decision is motivated by the administration’s desire to maintain safety, because “OSHA’s job is to protect workers,” he added.

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Utah economy

Here’s How You Can Help Solve Southern Utah’s Housing Crisis

Adam Lenhard, City Manager of St. George
Housing is a regional issue. It concerns us all. It is not something that St. George alone can solve.

Tai Christensen, head of diversity at CBC Mortgage, owned by Utah Paiute, said she understands why residents don’t want to see high density housing in their neighborhoods.

“But unfortunately, we are experiencing a housing shortage and low inventory like we haven’t seen in almost 100 years,” she said. “And so we need to open ourselves and our communities to affordable housing solutions. And affordable housing solutions mean mass housing… And while that may not be visually appealing, it does offer people the opportunity to live in good quality neighborhoods and afford to pay where they are. they live.

With Utah’s ever-growing population, in part due to tourism, employment opportunities and large families, more affordable housing is needed if families are to stay close to each other, said Dejan Eskic, researcher. principal at the Gardner Institute at the University of Utah. .

“I think we are all NIMBYs [Not In My Backyard]. I think we just have to make it happen and change is difficult, ”Eskic said.

Even though locals feel there is a way to avoid the growth, some say it is inevitable.

“We have to recognize that communities are going to be built somewhere, right? Olga Hernandez-Favela, Racial and Economic Disparities Coordinator for the Utah Housing Coalition. “We’re talking about community members, we’re talking about neighbors, we’re talking about people who could potentially help our economy.”

Problems and Solutions: How You Can Help With Southern Utah’s Housing Crisis

Chris Caldwell, K. Sophie Will and Sean Hemmersmeier, St. George Spectrum & Daily News

“I know the market will adapt”

For those who feared this economy could be another real estate bubble and lead to a recession like the one in 2008, experts say it’s quite the opposite.

“What the financial crash of the mid-2000s did, COVID did the opposite – it sped up house prices,” said Dejan Eskic, senior researcher at the Gardner Institute at the University of Utah. “So it’s a horrible housing market. You could say it’s as bad as last time. But on the flip side, because it’s so unaffordable.

However, there is still residue from 2008 on this issue.

“I think there is probably still resentment from the latest housing boom and collapse where cities need to protect themselves,” Eskic said. “I think it’s the public sector and the private sector that communicate more.

He believes the state and the country are entering an economic recovery phase, and economists in the Utah Department of Workforce Services know the market will adjust.

“I know the market will adjust, what I don’t know is when it will adjust and what the adjustment will look like,” said regional economist Lecia Langston. “We can see that we cannot continue as we are right now. There has to be some kind of market adjustment.

Langston posed the question to everyone with “how do we get through the short term until the economy takes care of itself in the long term?”

In the Springdale tourism hub, former Springdale City Associate Planner Sophie Frankenburg said tourism won’t slow down, it’s just a matter of where to place people now.

“I think right now the immediate response should be to look for housing outside of exclusive single-family homes,” she said.

The proposed solutions to the Springdale housing crisis.
City of Springdale / Zions Public Finance, Inc.

Springdale’s Strategic Housing Plan offers many solutions, including a community land trust, increasing the number of secondary suites, rezoning, transferable development rights, public infrastructure neighborhoods, tax credit for low income rents and a loan fund for low income projects, all of which are in effect around the state and neighboring Colorado.

When it comes to the environment around Springdale and southern Utah, the biggest concern right now is water.

With 2.5 million or more people expected to become Utahns by 2050, the state needs more water to support everyone.

“With careful planning and stewardship, the people of Utah can have enough water to support agriculture, wildlife and recreation while providing enough water to meet the needs of growing communities,” said advocacy group Your Utah Your Future said on its website.

Who is responsible?

Some believe it is the cities and counties that have the power to help solve the housing crisis, such as Don Willie, president and CEO of the St. George’s Area Chamber of Commerce.

“But the municipalities are the ones that really have to own it. And, you know, they have to have a policy, ”Willie said. “It’s a community effort, we look to examples outside of our region of how this is being managed, so we would like municipalities to do more to lead this conversation. “

The Gardner Institute agrees, with a report last November saying, “The best chance of reducing shortages and improving affordability depends on local policies and practices.

Some local leaders are all ready to discuss high density, such as St. George City Councilor Dannielle Larkin.

Danielle Larkin, St. George City Councilor
High density belongs to our community and we desperately need it. Who is moving into this accessible accommodation? Your children, your parents, your great aunt and your uncle.

“High density belongs to our community and we desperately need it,” she said. “Who is moving into this accessible accommodation? Your children, your parents, your great aunt and your uncle.

Washington County Commissioner Almquist said the housing crisis was “constantly” on the agenda and had considered using low interest rates to borrow money and build more homes, but decided not to.

Almquist said he has seen affordable housing work in major cities and the county can harness their techniques.

“There are two things: great design and great management,” he said. “So if we can bring these two together, then even some communities will tolerate and neighbors can tolerate a denser, properly designed and managed area for those who simply cannot afford it.”

Washington County Commissioner Gil Almquist comments during an emergency session to declare a local <a class=state of emergency on March 20, 2020.” height=”3744″/>
Washington County Commissioner Gil Almquist comments during an emergency session to declare a local state of emergency on March 20, 2020.
Chris Caldwell / The Spectrum & Daily News

Governor Spencer Cox told The Spectrum that the housing crisis is also an issue close to his heart.

“We are doing everything we can, there is not much the state can do,” he said.

But some residents might think the government is doing too much, said City Manager Lenhard.

“And it’s a tricky place because we are balancing the quality of life and the pace of growth as we try to meet the demand,” he said.

Companies are doing everything they can to balance a good salary with a profit, Langston and Willie said.

To help minorities receive fair housing, every member of the community needs to have difficult conversations about the racist past and help communicate resources in the future, said Hernandez-Favela of the Utah Housing Coalition.

Olga Hernandez-Favela, Racial and Economic Disparities Coordinator for the Utah Housing Coalition
We need to have really honest and vulnerable conversations about racism, and we need to figure out how to make room at the table.

“So to move forward, I think we have to hold ourselves accountable for what has happened, which means we have to have really honest and vulnerable conversations about racism, and we have to figure out how to do it. the place at the table, ”she said. .

A June report from the Utah Department of Multicultural Affairs said targeted education and resources for the Black, Indigenous and Colored (BIPOC) community are essential to equality.

“More initiatives are needed to encourage tenancy to members of BIPOC communities, such as grants or tax breaks,” he said, also calling on the state legislature to review potentially eviction laws discriminatory.

“It’s hard to see such a huge problem,” Barben said. “And everyone’s waiting for the next person to take the lead and go do something, you know, let’s make a difference here. But it only takes one person at a time. And if we can rally everyone, I think we have a bright future. “

And in the end, that’s pretty much how every Southern Utahn treats their neighbors.

“It’s about helping your neighbor. It’s about recognizing the humanity of the person, ”said Hernandez-Favela. “I think it’s a very good starting point.

To explore the extent of this crisis, The Spectrum produced a seven-part series on the housing crisis in St. George and southern Utah.

From more information on the city’s reports to zoning to minority issues to tourism management to struggles for students and the elderly and solutions to this problem, we’ve got it all covered.

Sean Hemmersmeier contributed reporting for this article.

K. Sophie Will is the National Parks reporter for The Spectrum & Daily News for the GroundTruth Project’s Report for America initiative. Follow her on Twitter at @ksophiewill or email him at [email protected] Donate to Report for America to support their work here.

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Salt lake city government

COMCAST JOINS COMMUNITY LEADERS TO MARK 10 YEARS OF INTERNET ESSENTIALS


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Over the past 10 years, Comcast has connected more than 160,000 people in Utah to low-cost, high-speed home Internet

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – News Direct – Comcast Utah

Along with top Utah executives, Comcast executives announced their expansion efforts to help low-income Utah residents access the internet and increase digital equity.

“Utah is one of the most collaborative states we work with across the country when it comes to helping its citizens achieve digital equity,” said JD Keller, senior vice president, Comcast Mountain West Region. “State, county and city leaders are working together to open more free Wi-Fi lift zones, connect more families to the internet at home, and increase speeds for businesses and families across the country. ‘State. “

The announcement is part of Project UP, Comcast’s global initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of limitless possibilities; and coincides with the 10th anniversary of its Internet Essentials program, which has connected a cumulative total of more than 10 million people to the Internet at home, most for the very first time. Comcast’s expanded eligibility for Internet Essentials, which now includes all federal Pell grant recipients in its service area, will allow even more students to stay connected while continuing their education at colleges, universities and schools techniques.

Comcast’s top priorities are connecting people to the Internet at home, equipping secure spaces with free Wi-Fi, and working with a strong network of community nonprofits, city leaders and government officials. business partners to create opportunities for low-income Americans.

“We are thrilled to be working with such exceptional business partners, such as Comcast, as we connect more Utahns to the Internet,” said Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox. “Utah is regularly praised for its innovative vision in many categories, and increasing our digital access helps everyone, including families, students and businesses. “

Salt Lake County is responsible for launching unique digital equity initiatives to connect its community.

“We have one of the most forward-thinking counties in the country and having such a strong partnership with leaders in government and community organizations means we can connect hubs faster and more securely for everyone involved. Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said. . “We are committed to digital equity. Our Salt Lake County libraries have over 300 hotspots and 150 Chromebooks in circulation to help residents with digital needs in their homes.

“As a national technology leader, Comcast dramatically advances Salt Lake County’s efforts to support economic prosperity in every region of the county. “

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said the county’s collaboration with Salt Lake City provides continuity between communities in their efforts to bridge the digital divide.

“We only benefit as a community when we embrace technology and make sure we have the fastest, most reliable internet services available,” Mendenhall said. “Bridging the digital divide and providing lift zones enables students and families to excel in the way they need to compete in today’s rapidly changing environment. “

As the nation’s largest internet provider, Comcast supports cooperation between communities, businesses, and nonprofits to improve digital equity.

“By working with communities across America, we know Utah is remarkable with a vibrant attitude and extraordinary collaboration with amazing community partners,” Keller said. “Together, we have been able to connect tens of thousands of Utahns to the power of the Internet at home and the endless possibilities, education, growth and discovery it offers. Today, we are dedicated to that mission once again to ensure that Utah’s next generation of students have the tools, resources, and capabilities to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

In 2021 alone, Comcast estimates that students across America will take more than 25 million hours of distance learning courses to further fill the “homework void” in the hundreds of Lift Zone sites that already have open or soon to open.

Comcast’s $ 1 billion pledge will include investments in several critical areas, including: additional support for the Lift Zone initiative, which establishes secure, WiFi-connected spaces in 35 Utah community centers and more than 1 000 community centers nationwide for students and adults by the end of 2021 .; donation of new laptops and computers; over $ 100,000 in digital equity grants for local community nonprofit organizations in Utah to create opportunities for low-income Utah residents – especially in media, technology and the entrepreneurship; and continued investment in the company’s Internet Essentials program.

“Comcast’s investment in the future of Utah’s digital connectivity is remarkable,” Governor Cox said. “Helping bridge the digital divide so that everyone has access to the Internet in Utah is essential. “

To increase digital access and reliability, Comcast provided a financial grant to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake, whose mission is to inspire and empower young people to realize their full potential as productive citizens. , responsible and caring.

“We are very grateful for this timely grant from Comcast,” said Amanda Ree Hughes, President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake. “Comcast is a 360 partner because it gives more than money for computers and programs. Their employees bring skills, experience and knowledge to create a complete solution by providing access and technology to help our children succeed.

To help bridge Utah’s digital divide, Comcast is donating computers and laptops to Neighborhood House so individuals and families can access the Internet where they don’t have it.

“We are thrilled with our partnership with Comcast as we work with customers who don’t have much access to technology,” said Jennifer Nuttall, Executive Director of Neighborhood House. “Comcast has been an amazing partner in getting us online, and now that they donate 300 computers and laptops to our customers and to help our programs, it’s really phenomenal.

“It changes the lives of families. Being able to access technology for children in school and for parents with work and their children’s educational needs is essential.

“Whenever we can help our neighbors in the community connect to reliable high-speed Internet access, we are working to do it,” Keller said. “It helps us all move forward, one family, one organization and one community at a time. “

Project UP & Comcast’s $ 1 billion commitment to advance digital equity:

For more than a decade, connecting more people to the internet and the technology they need to participate and excel in an increasingly digital world has been at the heart of the business. Looking to the next decade, Comcast is building on that foundation and expanding its impact through Project UP, a global initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of limitless possibilities. Backed by a $ 1 billion commitment to reach 50 million people, Project UP encompasses community programs and partnerships across Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors to next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and storytellers. , and creators. For more information on Project UP and the latest news on efforts to tackle digital inequalities, including the recent expansion of the Comcast RISE investment fund to provide millions in grants to small business owners of color and To invest in research to increase diversity in technology and digital fields, visit https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/project-up.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people at important times. We are primarily focused on broadband, aggregation and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships in the US and Europe. We provide broadband, wireless and video services through our Xfinity, Comcast Business and Sky brands; create, distribute and stream premier entertainment, sports and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News and Air Sports; and deliver memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

About Comcast Business

Comcast Business offers Ethernet, Internet, Wi-Fi, voice, television, and managed enterprise solutions to help organizations of all sizes transform their businesses. Powered by an advanced network and backed by 24/7 customer support, Comcast Business is a major contributor to the growth of Comcast Cable. Comcast Business is the country’s largest cable operator for small and medium-sized businesses and has established itself as a force in the corporate market; recognized over the past two years by major industry associations as one of the fastest growing Ethernet service providers. For more information, call 866-429-3085. Follow us on Twitter @ComcastBusiness and on other social networks at http://business.comcast.com/social.

About Effectv

Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, helps local, regional and national advertisers use the best of digital with the power of television to grow their businesses. It provides multi-screen marketing solutions to make advertising campaigns more effective and easier to execute. Based in New York with offices across the country, Effectv operates in 66 markets with more than 30 million homes with video service. For more information, visit www.effectv.com.

Contact details

Knight Deneiva

+1 520-345-9792

[email protected]

Company Website

https://utah.comcast.com/

See the source version on newsdirect.com: https://newsdirect.com/news/comcast-joins-community-leaders-to-mark-10-years-of-internet-essentials-885445347

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Salt lake city government

Biden vaccine mandate brings nearly 1,000 to committee meeting


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SALT LAKE CITY – Nearly a thousand people showed up in person or joined online at a meeting Monday of the Interim Business and Labor Committee in the Utah capital. Almost all were opposed to President Biden’s order for a commercial mandate in the field of vaccines.

Committee chair Senator Curt Bramble conducted an informal audience poll, and only two people in attendance and several others online said they were in favor of the order.

State gives guidance on Mr Biden’s vaccination mandate

For the first hour and a half, lawmakers heard from state agencies including the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunities, Utah’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (UOSH), Labor Commission of Utah and the Utah Attorney General‘s Office.

Related: Utah Lawmakers Want Public Input on President’s Vaccine Tenure

“In our conversations with business so far, we haven’t heard anyone expressing support for a general tenure of administration,” said Benjamin Hart, deputy director of the governor’s office of economic opportunities.

“That being said,” he added, “we have heard from some companies who have expressed their wish to require all their employees to be vaccinated.”

Utah has its own occupational safety and health division. It is managed half by state money and half by federal money.

UOSH officials have said Utah must be “at least as efficient” as federal OSHA in the rules it follows for workplace safety.

“We are audited annually by federal OSHA,” Utah Labor Commission Commissioner Jaceson Maughan said.

“If OSHA determined that we were not as effective as (the national agency), this could become an issue where OSHA would try to push this issue forward or even take action to potentially invalidate this plan and fire it. Utah under federal jurisdiction. ”

Utah should sue, which could take time

Maughn said that once OSHA releases its standards for an emergency temporary standard, Utah will have 30 days to adopt it. Maughn said it is effective for 6 months and then it should be renewed.

“Let’s say we ask you not to implement the standard,” asked the committee’s House chairman, Rep. Joel Ferry.

“The ramification is that the federal government can come in and take over our OSHA department?” “

“This could potentially be the final solution,” Maughan said. “This is the worst case scenario, but it potentially exists.”

Utah Solicitor General Melissa Holyoak testified that Reyes’ office is “confident” in their legal position against the ordinance. She reiterated that they believed it was unconstitutional and illegal.

It is possible that a special session will be held during the interim week in mid-October for lawmakers to tackle this issue. House Minority Leader Brian King told KSL on Friday he feared the meeting might herald a special session.

Republicans have not said as much, although they have said the special session is possible.

Overwhelming opposition to a vaccination mandate

Trade associations like the Salt Lake Chamber, the General Contractors Association, and the Utah’s Restaurant Association have expressed opposition to the federal requirements, as have several businesses with 100 or more employees in Utah.

Related: Governor Spencer Cox Says Decision To Vaccinate Should Be Left to Businesses

“We advocate for companies to have the right to make their own decisions in the best interests of employees and customers without the government having too much influence,” said Ginger Chinn of The Salt Lake Chamber, and we believe that ‘this is a mandate that reflects the government’s overbreadth.

The (small) support to order

One of the few public commentators supporting the order asked why it was called a warrant.

“I feel confused by everyone who calls this only a vaccine mandate, especially elected officials,” said Stephanie Finley of Salt Lake City. “These are vaccines Where tests, ”she said.

Public comment hours

Most of the time was spent hearing from the public. Each person had one minute to express their point of view.

Some of the comments were extreme and shared misinformation. Many have strayed into points about vaccine safety. Senator Bramble had to reiterate on several occasions that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the federal proposal, and not other matters related to Covid or vaccines. Some people have used Bible references to make their point.

“The serpent that concerns me is the ancient biblical serpent that would have us believe that we are not created in the image of God but that we are created in the image of the government, in the image of Fauci, in the image of God. ‘image of grand pharma, or anyone who tries to force these vaccines on us, ”one woman said.

Related: Utah Lawmaker Wants Businesses To Be Held Accountable If They Need COVID-19 Vaccines

“I refused to bite the ‘poisoned apple’ of these vaccines or tests.”

Currently, 52% of Utahns are fully vaccinated according to the state’s coronavirus website.

Lawmakers said 3% of Utah businesses have 100 or more employees, representing 65% of Utah’s employment base.

The federal mandate also requires that the approximately 17 million workers in healthcare facilities who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid will also need to be fully immunized.

Many members of the public who spoke said they were small business owners. Mr. Biden’s order applies to companies with 100 or more employees. Some have argued that it is “only a matter of time” until the warrants reach them.


How to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus

The COVID-19 coronavirus is spread from person to person, like the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others as recommended by the CDC.
  • Keep children and people with weakened immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this case, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay home, instead of going to the movies, sporting events, or other activities).
  • Get the flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National resources

Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention

Frequently Asked Questions, World Health Organization

Case in the United States

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Salt lake city government

As another year of dry water draws to a close, Governor Cox says he hopes to head for a new


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Low water levels are pictured at Echo Reservoir, north of Coalville, on Thursday, May 6. Utah’s reservoir system has fallen below 50%, but experts say they’re about to fill again thanks to recent monsoon rains. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The water year in Utah’s capital has fallen at least 4½ inches below the 30-year normal for the second year in a row and the third time in the past four years, sign of the drought that still persists in the State and the West. Region.

But unlike the end of the water year 2020, there is renewed optimism in Utah as the new water year approaches. This is because the monsoon patterns returned to Hive State last summer, closing water year 2021 at the end of summer – in the hope that a good fall and winter for beginning water year 2022 can help replenish drying reservoirs across Utah.

“We have been the beneficiaries of incredible monsoon humidity over the past two months … while this has no impact on our reservoirs at the moment, it will have an impact on our reservoirs next spring,” said Governor Spencer Cox said in his monthly media briefing Thursday.

Review of the year of water 2021

Utah’s New Water Year began on Friday.

Jordan Clayton, the Utah Snow Survey supervisor for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, told KSL-TV that it appears the hydrologic year 2021 ended at about 77 percent of average precipitation, pushing it to the bottom 10th percentile of all the time.

While calculations are still ongoing for the statewide 2021 collective water year, preliminary figures are available for Salt Lake City. According to data from the National Weather Service, 10.98 inches of rain was recorded at Salt Lake City International Airport, making 2021 the 17th driest year of water in the 147 years the agency has followed. city ​​data.

The water year 2021 fell to 4.54 inches below the normal of 15.52 inches established between 1991 and 2020. Interestingly, it almost mirrored the total for the water year 2020, ending at 0.02 inches. in advance.

The late summer rains ultimately kept the water year from ending near the bottom of the city’s record books. About a fifth of Salt Lake City‘s entire 2021 water year comes from August alone, which is normally the city’s second driest month of the year.

This graph shows Salt Lake City's hydrologic year totals for the past decade, as well as the record high, low low, and current 30-year normal for precipitation in the city.
This graph shows Salt Lake City’s hydrologic year totals for the past decade, as well as the record high, low low, and current 30-year normal for precipitation in the city. (Photo: KSL.com)

The Cedar City Weather Service station received 7.39 inches, which, despite flash flooding in the area this summer, is still more than 3 1/2 inches below normal.

Since the Water Year begins on October 1, which is usually when snow begins to pile up in the mountains, the Water Year 2021 has got off to a rough start across the state. For example, there was only 0.62 inches of rain in the first three months of the 2021 water year in Cedar City; in Salt Lake City, it was 1.31 inches, more than 2.6 inches shorter than the city’s collective October, November and December normal.

It was bad because Utah’s soil moisture levels had already fallen to an all-time high of 24.9% on September 30, 2020, due to an unusually dry spring and summer throughout. ‘State. This meant that any rain or snow collected during the winter and spring of last year finally went to nature trying to recharge the groundwater and did not end up in the reservoirs as it should have.

“Because we had drought conditions in the fall, we had very little snow and the little snow we had – due to the moisture content so low – went straight into the ground,” said Cox said.

After a below-average winter and spring, soil moisture levels fell to their lowest ever recorded in June, he added.

This is one of the main reasons why reservoir levels statewide are at 47% of their capacity before the water year 2022, up from 67% in the year 2021. , according to data from the Utah Department of Natural Resources. They list 17 of Utah’s 42 largest reservoirs at 20% or less capacity, while 13 others are between 21% and 40% full, including Lake Powell at 30% – an all-time low.

“It’s pretty low for this time of year… but it’s not the worst they’ve ever been,” Clayton said. “So again, that sounds bad, but not the worst.”

Why the year of water 2022 is starting in a better position

The monsoons that have arrived in Utah – mainly in July and August – have not solved the reservoir problem or canceled the drought. According to the US Drought Monitor, about 88% of Utah remains in “extreme” drought and all areas of the state are still listed as at least in “severe” drought at the start of the year. water 2022.

A map of the drought situation in Utah was released Thursday.  It shows all of Utah in at least "severe" state of drought at the end of hydrological year 2021.
A map of the drought situation in Utah was released Thursday. It shows all of Utah in at least “severe” drought at the end of the 2021 water year. (Photo: US Drought Watch)

However, the monsoons, which Clayton described as “exceptionally strong this year,” have reduced the risk of forest fires in Utah and have also laid the groundwork for reservoirs to be refilled if Utah is able to receive one. good snow season in the new hydrologic year. The Utah Department of Natural Resources reports that Utah soil moisture levels have returned to 36%, which is much closer to the 37.8% average for this time of year.

This means that more of the water from rain and snowmelt will likely end up in state reservoirs and not recharge groundwater.

“If we can enter our winter snow season with average or above average soil moisture, we will have better delivery of this spring snowmelt,” Clayton said.

For the start of the snow season, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center outlook for the first three months of Utah hydrologic year 2022 calls for warmer-than-average temperatures in Utah and drier than average precipitation for most of the state. Part of northeast Utah is listed as “of equal chance” during this time, which means it’s unclear whether it will be drier or wetter than average for three months. Projections are based on emerging atmospheric trends and estimates, not on nowcasting.

Where the Utahns made the difference

While there are signs that the 2022 Water Year will be good for the state’s reservoirs, Clayton is also quick to point out that it is unlikely to solve all of the water problems in the state. Utah.

“It will take more than a year of above average snowfall to get us back on track,” he said.


We really hope we don’t have severe drought conditions as we approach next year; but even though we have an above average snowpack, it will take a few years to replenish the water that was lost during this drought.

-Gov. Spencer cox


This is where drought mitigation measures in the water year 2021 have helped. Cox said state officials expected reservoir levels to reach record levels across the state this year, but that was not the case as residents, businesses and government entities have found ways to reduce their water consumption.

The governor said “billions and billions and billions of gallons” have been saved this year because residents have cut back on outdoor watering and wasted water. Since there is no definitive way to know how successful the 2022 snow season is, these reductions are essential.

“This has made it possible that if we have drought conditions that continue (until) next year, we will have potable water available,” he said. “We really hope we don’t have severe droughts as we approach next year; but even though we have an above average snowpack, it will take a few years to replenish the water that was lost during this drought. Us We still have a long way to go, but I can say that we are breathing a little better now than just two months ago. “

With more and more people relocating to the state, creating an increased need for a water supply, Cox added that he plans to work with the Utah Legislature on some key issues regarding the water during future legislative sessions. These problems include dividing water along the Colorado River basin and helping to drain the Great Salt Lake ecosystem.

Contributing: Jed Boal, KSL-TV

Related stories

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Salt lake city government

State school mask bans tangled with budget plans and controversy


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AP covers complex legal movements in Arizona over school mask bans and the state budget. The Detroit Free Press covers similar maneuvers in Michigan. Separately, reports state that the Department of Education will cover the salaries of members of Broward County school boards withheld due to school mask rules.

AP: Arizona High Court allows upholding of school mask ban

The Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to immediately reinstate a series of new laws that include measures that prevent schools from requiring masks and remove the power of local governments to impose COVID-19 restrictions. The High Court rejected the request of the Attorney General of the Republic, Mark Brnovich, to allow the entry into force of the provisions of three state budget bills and one entire budget bill. Instead, the court set a briefing schedule for it to consider Brnovich’s request to bypass the Court of Appeal and hear the case directly. (Christie, 9/29)

Detroit Free Press: Whitmer: Budget coins canceling local mask orders unconstitutional

Michigan lawmakers cannot use the state budget to threaten funding for local health departments that institute local school mask rules, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a letter to lawmakers on Wednesday. The governor considers this pandemic provision in the nearly $ 70 billion budget unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable. “Lawmakers cannot roll out the public health code into a budget bill or inappropriate funds because they challenge the actions of local health departments,” Whitmer wrote in the letter. (Boucher, 9/29)

WLRN 91.3 FM: Federal government covers Broward school board salaries that state withheld due to mask policy

The US Department of Education announced Tuesday that it is awarding more than $ 420,000 to the Broward County School Board to cover state financial penalties on the salaries of school board members. The grant is intended to pay the salaries of eight Broward board members who voted for a student mask term that allows exceptions only for medical reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic. (9/29)

Salt Lake Tribune: Here’s where the masks have gone that Utah officials promised schools in Salt Lake City County

To help keep Utah’s children “as safe as possible” from COVID-19, Governor Spencer Cox in August pledged to provide more than a million masks to students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, at the Both surgical style masks and higher quality KN95 masks in small and large sizes. As of Tuesday, 2.2 million masks had been shipped to schools, according to Tom Hudachko, spokesman for the Utah Department of Health. Of these, 310,000 were pediatric-sized fabric masks, 700,000 were pediatric-sized three-layer surgical masks and the rest were KN95s, he said. But low demand for the masks means some Salt Lake County school districts have left them in storage. “I would say that every day, on average, throughout the building, about a quarter of my children wear masks,” John Paul Sorensen, director of Neil Armstrong Academy in West Valley City, said Tuesday. (Jacobs, 9/29

In updates on quarantines and vaccines –

AP: Louisiana school chief removes COVID quarantine suggestion

Going against health advice, the Louisiana Department of Education announced on Wednesday that it no longer recommends that public school systems quarantine asymptomatic students who have come in close contact with a person who tests positive. for COVID-19. Louisiana’s 69 local school districts already had the opportunity to determine whether they wanted to send students home for days due to exposure to the coronavirus disease. But most districts had followed the state’s education department’s recommendation that these students should be quarantined, even if they did not show symptoms of COVID-19. (Deslatte, 9/29)

The Charlotte Observer: Union County’s New COVID Quarantine Agreement with Schools

After threats of legal action, the Union County Public School District has agreed to work with the county health department to ensure that COVID-19 contact tracing steps and quarantine requirements are followed. The Union County Public Health Department and Union County Public Schools agreed on Wednesday on a process to identify and exclude students and staff identified as a positive case or close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19. (Costa, 9/29)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Illinois teachers sue districts over statewide immunization warrant

Ten teachers in the eastern metropolitan area who refuse to comply with statewide vaccine and mask mandates are suing their school districts over the policies. The lawsuit against Triad, in Troy, and the Edwardsville school districts and their superintendents indicates that the warrants were issued illegally. The Madison County Circuit Court lawsuit calls for teachers to be allowed to continue working in their schools. School districts “do not have the delegated authority to mandate vaccination or testing,” said lawyer Thomas DeVore of Greenville. “They could have defended their educators… but they don’t want to face the governor. “(Bernhard, 9/29)

AP: University of Colorado faces COVID religious exemption lawsuit

A pediatrician and a medical student at the University of Colorado medical campus at Anschutz are contesting denials of their requests for religious exemptions from the school’s COVID vaccination mandate, arguing in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that administrators are ruling ” truth ”of personal religious beliefs in violation of the First Amendment. The U.S. District Court lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based conservative nonprofit, is the latest clash over a growing number of private and public sector vaccine mandates across national government to stem the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 600,000 people in the United States (Nieberg, 9/30)

In other school news –

The Washington Post: School nutrition programs face new crisis as supply chain disruptions and labor shortages limit food deliveries

Square pizza and chicken fillets are suddenly swapped for pieces of meatloaf and zucchini. American school children and lunch ladies make faces. And now the federal government is stepping in to help. Kansas school districts cannot get whole wheat flour, ranch dressing, or Crispitos taco rolls at this time. In Dallas, they can’t get their hands on cutlery, plates, and napkins. In New York City, school districts are unable to find chicken, condiments or carrots without antibiotics. (Reiley, 9/29)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of coverage of health policies by major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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Salt lake city

Citizen revolt: week of September 30 | Citizen revolt | Salt lake city


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Click to enlarge

Roaming applicants
Roaming is on the Salt Lake City ballot in November, so when deciding who to vote for, you need to know their plan first. Crossroads Urban Center sponsored Salt Lake City Applicant Forums on Housing and Homelessness with almost all applicants this quarter. And there are many. There are elections in constituencies 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7. If you don’t know which constituency you are voting in, check out this map (https://bit.ly/3ENSi4D). And to see who’s running, look here (https://bit.ly/2ZtvdEf). Applicants will be asked about who camped outside in the winter, what to do with the federal bailout money, affordable housing, and how to care for homeless families and children. If you missed wards 2 or 3, you can find recordings on the Carrefour website. Virtual, Thursday, Friday and Monday, Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and Oct. 4, 11 a.m., free. https://bit.ly/39trRTp

Redux of the women’s march
No, we still haven’t passed the Equal Rights Amendment, and yes, we are still fighting to protect women’s reproductive rights. But the constitutional law known as Roe v. Wade is attacked again. Women have been parading on the US Capitol since 2016, after the far right won with the election of Donald Trump. “From the crisis facing women in Afghanistan to the abortion ban in Texas, how did we get here and where do we go from here?” ask the organizers. They will present the Feminist Future series every Wednesday, September 29 through Nov 5 at 5 pm to help you understand how race, class, sexuality and gender shape our communities. Join SLC UT Women’s March, City and County Building, 450 S. State, Saturday, Oct. 2, 11 a.m., free. https://bit.ly/3nXQ2lg

Women in leadership
Speaking of women, how about hearing from Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson, who joined Governor Spencer Cox’s administration after spending eight years in the State Senate. “She has acquired a reputation as a strong conservative, a champion of open government and a staunch advocate for women and families,” say the organizers of A Fireside Conversation with Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson on Women and Leadership. Henderson will answer questions about “why, where and how women today are needed to influence, influence and lead in all contexts”. If you want answers don’t miss this. USU Brigham City Campus & Virtual / Register, 989 S. Main, Brigham City, Friday October 1, noon, free. https://bit.ly/3nZ2Bgd

Districts ‘R’ Us
Every week, Weekly City highlights the public hearings on the redistribution process around the state. You voted for an independent Utah Redistribution Commission, so — unless you want to be gerrymandered — you should find out what they’re doing and support them now. This week, discover the UIRC public hearing — Glendale district. Suazo Business Center, 960 W. 1700 South, Friday October 1, 6 p.m., free. https://bit.ly/3zDpVSM

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Salt lake city

Utah football player Aaron Lowe, “a rock of resilience and courage”, shot dead at SLC party


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Police made no arrests in the shooting, which also injured a woman.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes cornerback Aaron Lowe waves a Ty Jordan commemorative flag before the Utes play soccer against the Brigham Young Cougars on Saturday, September 11, 2021 in Provo. Lowe was shot and killed at a party in Salt Lake City on Sunday, September 26, 2021.

University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe was shot and killed early Sunday morning at a house party at Sugar House, the Salt Lake City Police Department confirmed.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said Lowe, of Mesquite, Texas, died at the scene after being shot by one or more unknown people. Paramedics transported a second person who had been shot, an adult female, to a local hospital in critical condition. The police did not disclose his name or age.

Lowe’s death is the subject of a homicide investigation.

“I am deeply saddened by the shooting death of Aaron Lowe,” Brown said in A declaration. “This talented young man touched the lives of so many here in Salt Lake City and Texas. The Salt Lake City Police Department mourns and offers condolences to the Lowe family and the University of Utah community. Our condolences also extend to the other person injured in this shooting. I hope for their speedy recovery. These investigations are complex. Our detectives have worked hard to try to identify the suspect (s) in this case. “

Before the SLCPD released Lowe’s name as a victim, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox confirmed in a tweet earlier Sunday morning that Lowe had passed and expressed his condolences to the football player’s family.

The SLCPD received a noise complaint at around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday about a house party in the 2200 block of South Broadmoor Street, near the mouth of Parleys Canyon. Hours later, someone called 911 to report a fight involving a weapon, and a second caller said they heard gunshots.

Lowe was the guest of a house party, police spokesman Brent Weisberg said.

“The people who organized the party wanted it to be a relatively small party. The people who showed up were not guests. They were asked to leave and that’s when this fight took place, ”Weisberg said at a morning press conference.

Officers did not come to the house after receiving noise complaints Friday night due to other higher priority calls, Weisberg said. After receiving reports of a fight involving a weapon, police went to the neighborhood and were making a “tactical approach” to the house when they were told that shots had been fired, Weisberg said.

“The reasons the officers formed their tactical approach were for the safety of the officers and everyone on the scene,” Weisberg said. “They were going into an unknown situation. They knew there was a fight and a gun involved. … They approached together. They wanted to make sure they had enough resources to deal with any potential threat that was on the scene and to immediately deal with the victims. “

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City Police spokesman Brent Weisberg speaks about the shooting death of University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe during a press conference in Salt Lake City on Sunday, September 26, 2021.

The police spokesperson could not say how far away the police were when the shots were fired.

Officers who answered the call found Lowe and the second person who had been shot, and provided first aid to both.

Police said several people who were at the party may have witnessed the shooting but left before police arrived. They are hoping that some of these people have photos or videos that could help resolve the matter.

No arrests were made. The SLCPD asks anyone with information about the case to call 801-799-3000 and reference case number 21-176828.

“We are devastated to learn of the passing of Aaron Lowe,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Aaron’s family and friends, as well as the other person who was injured in this tragic incident. Aaron was a great teammate, friend, brother and son and was loved by everyone who crossed paths with him. He will be sorely missed. “

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes cornerback Aaron Lowe (22) with teammates as the University of Utah hosts Washington State Football, NCAA in Salt Lake City on Saturday 25 September 2021.

Utes sporting director Mark Harlan added: “We are devastated by the loss of Aaron Lowe earlier this morning. Aaron was a wonderful young man, a leader of our football team and a rock of resilience and courage. Our prayers are with Aaron’s family, friends, teammates, and all who knew and loved him. We also express our deepest concern for the other person who was hospitalized as a result of this tragic incident. We communicate with and support Aaron’s family, as well as student-athletes, coaches and staff in all of our athletic programs, and we will stay focused on them.

Lowe, a high school teammate of the late Ty Jordan at West Mesquite High School in Texas, was named the first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship on August 31. Lowe has gone from No.2 to No.22 this season in an effort. honor the heritage of Jordan.

“Ty made everyone around him better,” Lowe said after receiving the scholarship. “He made me better. My friendship with Ty means a lot because he always pushed me to give the best of myself. He never let me settle for less. I want to make sure his legacy lives on through me.

Jordan died on Christmas night from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound.

– This story will be updated.


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Salt lake city government

What is monoclonal antibody therapy?


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(ABC4) – If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase monoclonal antibody therapy (yes, that’s a mouthful), those days are numbered.

This week, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) announced the opening of a brand new infusion center at Intermountain Healthcare’s Murray Hospital, which will be able to treat up to 50 eligible people each day.

The new facility, which will exclusively provide treatment to high-risk patients, has been developed from a new one to combat an increase in COVID-19 cases that are straining Utah’s healthcare system, have officials explained at the introductory press conference Thursday.

“Hospital systems, at least along the Wasatch front, were hampering their ability to infuse, and they identified more people who would benefit from it than they could actually afford,” said UDOH deputy director. , Dr. Michelle Hofmann.

But what exactly is monoclonal antibody therapy, who is it for, and what effect can it have against COVID-19?

Here is an overview of some frequently asked questions that many may have about the treatment:

What is that?

Treatment with monoclonal antibodies is given by intravenous or IV infusion. The process takes about 2-3 hours, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Here’s the kicker though, to receive the treatment, which is an infusion of lab-created antibodies that can be used to fight COVID-19, you must already test positive for the virus.

There is a documented history of successful treatment, including when former President Donald Trump fell with COVID in October 2020. He received an antibody called Regeneron while receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Other antibody-based drugs that have been recommended for use in Utah include sotrovimab, bamlanivimab, and etesevimab.

However, many in the medical community, as well as political voices such as Utah Governor Spencer Cox, have said the treatment is not an alternative to the vaccine. It essentially helps a person who is sick with COVID recover faster and can reduce the possibility of long-term side effects.

Who can get it?

To determine who is eligible for monoclonal antibody treatment at this time, a set of criteria has been listed on the state’s coronavirus response website.

The qualifications that must be met are as follows:

  • The patient must be at least 16 years old
  • Have tested positive no more than 7 days after the onset of symptoms
  • No need for new or increased oxygen again
  • Should not be admitted to a hospital for COVID or complications related to COVID
  • Patients who meet the above conditions and who are pregnant are eligible for treatment.
  • Those who are not pregnant and unvaccinated should have a risk score greater than 4.5
  • Those who are not pregnant and vaccinated must have a risk score greater than 8 or be severely immunocompromised

The risk score can be calculated online and is based on a number of factors including gender, age, ethnicity, pre-existing conditions, and symptoms.

Young people aged 12 to 15 may be considered eligible but test positive no more than a week after symptom onset, and have either some kind of B-cell immunodeficiency or morbid obesity with a higher BMI. to 35.

What are the costs?

While the federal government distributes treatment for free at this time, some treatment centers may have costs that may or may not be covered by insurance.

More information on insurance coverage can be found here.

Where can I receive it?

In addition to the new facility at Intermountain Healthcare Hospital in Murray, there are many other locations across the state providing treatment.

Here is a list provided by the state’s webpage on the subject:

  • Ashley Regional Medical Center – 435-790-2807
  • Beaver Valley Hospital – 435-438-7284
  • Blue Mountain Hospital – 435-678-4640
  • Castleview Hospital – Price – 435-636-4840 / 435-650-4895
  • Central Valley Medical Center – 435-623-3108
  • Gunnison Valley Hospital – Gunnison – 435-528-2118
  • Intermountain Healthcare – Statewide
  • Kane County Hospital – Kanab – 435-644-4178
  • Moab Regional Hospital – 435-719-3500
  • Ogden Regional Medical Center – 801-479-2470
  • Uintah Basin Medical Center – Roosevelt – 435-247-4298
  • Utah University of Health – SLC – 801-213-2130
  • Davis Hospital and Medical Center – Layton – (Please contact your primary care physician to make an appointment)
  • Jordan Valley Medical Center – West Jordan – (Please contact your primary care physician to make an appointment)
  • Mountain Point Medical Center – Lehi – (Please contact your primary care physician to make an appointment)
  • Salt Lake Regional Medical Center – Salt Lake City – (Please contact your primary care physician to make an appointment)

To shorten it…

Basically, monoclonal antibody therapy is a treatment that could potentially help someone with COVID-19 feel better faster. If you think you may need treatment, it is important to contact the appropriate medical officials as soon as possible to stay within the window of onset of symptoms.

In addition, you must be considered high risk on a risk factor scale to receive treatment.

It is not seen as a replacement for getting vaccinated, which is still encouraged and in some cases required by many leaders. However, it can help a person who tests positive feel better, potentially avoiding the need for hospitalization.

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Salt lake city government

To help local economies, Utah is hiring rural and remote workers


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September 21, 2021

Part of a series on Utah’s rural development programs.

Abigail Borrego has known all the hustle and bustle of big city life. But when it came time to raise a family, she wanted to return to a smaller area of ​​Utah, with no traffic, no pollution, and no smaller classrooms for her children. “I like being able to avoid traffic. I like the small population. Where we live we are close to the mountains and have access to national parks, entertainment and shopping,” said the Medicaid program specialist, 46. . “If I could stay out of the big cities, I would be happy for the rest of my life.

Borrego is among a growing number of Utah residents working for the state government, but outside the capital of Salt Lake City. This is part of an initiative to allow government employees to do their work remotely, allowing them to stay in smaller communities outside of the Wasatch Front, a metropolitan area of ​​Utah that spans along the Wasatch Range, containing major cities like Salt Lake City, West Valley Town, and Provo.

Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox released his One Utah Roadmap in January, a guide to the administration’s first 500 days in office. In the roadmap, which is divided into various categories, Cox named a goal of “streamlining and modernizing state government,” which the guide says can be achieved through several means, including restructuring and upgrading. reconsideration of how to run government in a remote working world.

“We’re finding that we have more stability in some of our rural areas, less turnover,” said Casey Cameron, executive director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services. “They’re not leaving for other jobs in the community. These are sometimes some of the best jobs in those communities and they really provide that economic stability so that these families can participate in those jobs.” Cameron’s agency launched an initiative around 2015 to create more jobs in rural Utah, and many are in fact remote jobs where employees work from their homes.

“We started looking for opportunities across the state to move more of our workforce to rural areas where unemployment rates were higher and where we had infrastructure or even just enough. a remote work opportunity where they could work from home, ”Cameron said. According to the agency, 70% of staff work on Front Wasatch and 30% in rural areas of the state. From 2015 to 2017, the agency hired 110 people with ties to a rural area, accounting for nearly 31% of all ministry hires during that period.

From 2017 to early 2019, the agency hired 109 people with ties to a rural area, which represented nearly 39% of all hires in the department during that time. The Department of Workforce Services launched the initiative in the eligibility services division, Cameron said. When the agency hires an eligible worker, for example, it would target specific rural areas with higher unemployment rates.

“We would post these jobs for these rural areas,” she added. This has become even more important during the pandemic, as rural areas recover more slowly, Cameron said. “We have specifically posted these jobs on the Wasatch front so that we can help some of these rural communities support hiring in rural Utah throughout the pandemic,” she said. For Borrego, who lives in Cedar City with her husband, five children and grandson, working remotely allows him to spend more time with his family.

“The best thing about being able to keep working in a small town is that I don’t have to fight the bad air. I don’t have to worry about a long commute,” a- she declared. Like Borrego, Gerald Gappmayer, deputy director of the eligibility services division for the Department of Workforce Services, is raising kids in a small town. The low traffic and the proximity to the mountains are also attractive. Gappmayer, who lives in the Four Corners area, said creating and maintaining jobs in rural areas allows children to grow up and have families in the places they want to live.

“I think one of the things we’ve learned over the last year is that just about any job can be held anywhere in the state,” said the 53-year-old player. “There are a lot of very talented and very capable people in rural Utah who don’t have all the opportunities on the Wasatch front.” Ocean Muterspaugh, who lives in Monticello, is a Specialist in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. The 44-year-old said working from home has significantly reduced her working time.

She had lunch at the office, so she spent about 10 hours at work. Now she can work eight hours a day, giving her more time with her family. “I have the impression that rural communities have more of a voice,” she said. “Not to say that they hadn’t done it before. But before Covid, I would never have been eligible for this position that I have because it was only open to more urban areas. there is talent and people lost in positions because they don’t. live in urban areas. ”


This article was supported in part by the Solutions Journalism Network.


The Daily Yonder is the only national news organization dedicated to covering rural populations and places. Our reports, commentary and analysis offer authentic and grounded representations of rural and small town life, going beyond tropes, clichés and the view from afar. Visit our website to learn more about our work, subscribe to our email newsletters or donate to support our non-profit newsroom

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Utah economy

Utahns’ selfish opposition to vaccinations shows how far we’ve fallen since 9/11, writes George Pyle

Service to a greater good was the image of patriotism then and irrational selfishness is the ascendant now

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Staff Sergeant Colin Green, a Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, waves the American flag at sunrise on Saturday September 11, 2021 at the Utah Healing Field in Sandy .

If Americans had responded to the September 11 terrorist attacks the way far too many of us face the coronavirus pandemic, not only would Osama bin Laden still be alive, but he would be having tea in the White House.

It’s not that everything our nation has done in the past 20 years is something to be proud of. Torture. CIA black sites. Guantanamo golf course. The Ministry of Homeland Security. Two decades of war in Afghanistan and a totally unwarranted incursion into Iraq.

But the orgy of journalistic memories we have just experienced highlights how much we have changed. How service to a greater good was the image of patriotism then, and how irrational and potentially deadly selfishness takes over now.

Then people waved flags, donated blood, donated to the Red Cross, became firefighters, joined the Marines, raised children who joined the Marines, held annual commemorations, built monuments and impressive museums. It was all about us.

Now it’s all about me, me, me. I don’t want to wear a mask. You can’t get me vaccinated. We have become, for all outward appearances on social media, a petulant 12-year-old nation. And too many of our elected officials, almost exclusively Republicans, are doing it.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox, Attorney General Sean Reyes and Senator Mike Lee have shamefully collapsed under the ignorant fringe of their own Republican Party. They align themselves with the idea that President Joe Biden’s plan to use OSHA as a tool to demand vaccinations or weekly tests as a workplace safety requirement is somehow a threat to our inalienable rights, while the contrary is true.

The Utah Legislature‘s Health and Human Services Committee committee held a public bulls session on Wednesday, raising ideas to block the Biden Ordinance, lending unsatisfactory credibility to the idea that vaccination is a personal choice affecting only the person with the blow to the arm.

It is shameful that our leaders do not take every opportunity available to them to tell their constituents that this is a blatant lie. Our grandchildren – if there are any left – will marvel at how stupid people can be when they are without real leadership.

It is or should be the responsibility of each holder to explain that accepting responsibility for immunization is a fundamental requirement of civilization. That you get the jab for me, and I get it for you, and we both get it for kids who are too young or for people who are immunocompromised and at significant risk of death in a culture of irrational selfishness.

Utah politicians, including State Representative Paul Ray and Senator Jake Anderegg, who promote anti-vaccination medical and biological ignorance – who stand still for the idea that another wave of disease and of death is less threatening to the economy than a simple series of vaccinations – represent a clear and present danger to our society and have been shown to be unfit for public office. It probably won’t matter to their constituents (survivors) in the next election.

At the very least, they should be honest about it and change the name of their panel to the Committee on Death and Human Injury.

It might make sense that the lessons of the War on Terror have left many Americans with distrust of the government, pundits, and government experts that threaten us now. Two decades of being told that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqi agents when they really came from Saudi Arabia, of accepting the Patriot Act and the permissions military force and warrantless telephone tapping may well leave our national dialogue overshadowed by suspicion.

To be fair to Lee, it should be noted that while many on his side of the aisle totally accept every Big Brother, it is for your good, as since 9/11 our Senior Senator has been courageously skeptical of the regard to all this rotting.

So now the nation that honors the sacrifice of the passengers of Flight 93 – the normal Americans who crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside rather than letting their plane become the missile that would destroy the Capitol or the White House – is seeing passengers who have to be glued to their seats because of their violent objection to the mask rules.

Sweet Zeus, people. No one is asking you to stumble upon a burning skyscraper, give up a lucrative football career to join the military, crash the plane you are on, torture someone, be tortured or even take off your shoes.

All we need is people to make the smallest effort to protect your own life, the lives of your loved ones, your coworkers, and a group of people you will never know. Is it too much to ask?

Apparently, if you’re a Republican from Utah, it is.

George Pyle, reading the New York Times at The Rose Establishment.

Georges pyle, Opinion writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, has vivid memories of the whole city showing up for polio vaccinations. And not to have polio.

[email protected]

Twitter, @debatestate

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Salt lake city government

Governor Cox, Lieutenant Governor Henderson, President Adams and President Wilson Respond to Federal Government Mandates on Vaccines


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Keywords: COVID-19

SALT LAKE CITY (September 17, 2021) – Governor Spencer J. Cox and Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson unite in legislative leadership and join President J. Stuart Adams and President Brad Wilson against blatant federal mandates and overbreadth Regarding President Biden mandate on COVID-19 vaccines:

“The president’s unilateral decision to force American companies to impose COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of employment goes well beyond his authority. Not only does this mandate violate its previous promises, but this declaration violates the principles and processes that are the foundation of good government. As elected officials, we will not turn a blind eye to this seizure of power and will do our part to ensure that the principles of the separation of powers and individual freedom are respected.

“We reaffirm our continued support for the vaccination effort. Vaccines have proven to be the single most effective step we can take to reduce the pressure on our hospitals and save lives. However, requiring employers to impose these decisions on their employees is not the role of government and should not become the new precedent. ”

Download a copy of this press release here.

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Salt lake city government

Utah has bet on cutting pandemic benefits to get people back to work. He hasn’t yet


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A roadside banner invites potential employees outside a business in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, March 27, 2021. Utah Governor Cox hopes that by removing COVID-19 unemployment benefits, the unemployed from Utah will return to work. (Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Spencer Cox was hoping to force jobless Utahns to look for work more aggressively when they decided to suspend pandemic-related federal unemployment insurance benefits on June 26, more than two months before they expire planned.

But data from a new study suggests the plan didn’t quite lead to those results, and Utah’s leading economy may be at least partially to blame.

A two-part survey conducted in June by researchers at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business sampled the feelings of jobless business owners and Utahns, including 500 households, about the outcome of the changes. in state unemployment benefits, among other issues.

One of the most notable data points goes to the heart of Cox’s hopes that the removal of benefits and extended benefits would entice job seekers.

“To assess the impact of the expiration of additional (unemployment insurance) payments, we asked respondents if this expiration would influence the time and effort they devote to job search or financial planning. “Says the investigation report. “More than 90% of those polled say that the expiry of (unemployment) benefits will have no impact on their efforts to find a job or their saving behavior.”

Unemployed survey respondents also weighed in resoundingly when asked whether the early cancellation of extended federal benefits would cause them to consider lower-paying employment opportunities – none said the change would make them feel better. would push them to take a lower paying job.

While the U.S. business school survey may not reflect the outcome Cox was looking for, one of the report’s authors said the circumstances behind these responses from the unemployed in Utah revolved around vibrant economic health and still in improving the state.

Nathan Seegert is a professor of finance at the Eccles School of Business and co-author of the report, which he says is part of an ongoing project to track Utah economic indicators and sentiment.

Seegert said a combination of factors, all of which are indicators of a strong economy, put the unemployed in a position of power when it comes to seeking that next opportunity.

“The model would predict that if UI wages went down, you would be more likely to accept a lower wage to get out of unemployment,” Seegert said. “But that’s not what we’re seeing at all and in our survey no one said they would take a lower paying job.

“This is in part due to consumer expectations regarding rising prices for goods and services as well as the housing market. While price increases are evidence of an economic recovery, it puts job seekers in a hurry. mind that they can’t afford to jump to a lower level. salary. “

And Seegert said Utah’s ultra-low unemployment rate, another positive economic indicator, also strengthens the ability of the unemployed to be picky.

“The state’s unemployment rate is very low,” Seegert said. “If employees feel like they can get a new job tomorrow, it puts them in a much better bargaining position.”


The market should not compete with the government for workers.

– Utah Governor Spencer Cox


Cox spokeswoman Jennifer Napier-Pearce said the Eccles report, which also highlighted a plethora of positive data from workers and business owners, was further proof that Utah was on track to fully recover from recessionary conditions caused by COVID-19.

“These data continue to show what we were hoping for: a return to normal in the economy and the labor market,” Napier-Pearce said in a statement. “We want to continue to help every Utahn find meaningful employment and help every business thrive.

“We are experiencing labor shortages again and although it is a challenge for companies, we hope that each Utahn takes this opportunity to improve their respective professional opportunities.”

In May, Cox said his decision to end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits to some 24,000 Utahns before the scheduled end of benefits in September was the right move amid the rise in employment in the Status and robust recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

“This is the next natural step in getting the condition and people’s lives back to normal,” Cox said when the decision was announced. “I believe in the value of work. With the lowest unemployment rate in the country… and many well-paying jobs available today, it makes sense to move away from those added benefits that were never intended to be. be permanent.

“The market should not be competing with the government for workers.”

He also noted that other “safety net programs” such as assistance with rent, utilities, food and medical bills will still be available.

Cox is among about 20 Republican state governors across the United States who made similar decisions about ending federal pandemic benefits in June, saying the added benefit keeps people from wanting to work .

Labor experts say the nationwide labor shortage isn’t just about the additional $ 300 payment. Some unemployed people have also been reluctant to look for work because of fear of catching the virus. Others have found new occupations rather than returning to their old jobs. And many women, especially working mothers, have had to leave the workforce to care for children.

In early June, the Utah Department of Workforce Services reported that just over 24,700 residents were receiving some type of unemployment benefit, of which about 12,000 were on traditional benefits as well as the pandemic allowance of $ 300 per week funded by the federal government. About 11,000 others were still receiving unemployment insurance benefits under federal extensions also created to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 on American workers. And about 1,200 Utah workers – people employed by companies like Uber, Lyft, GrubHub and others who are classified as contractors exempt from typical unemployment benefits – have also received benefits under warrants. federal emergency. While federal deadlines for most pandemic-related benefits for the unemployed are due to expire in early September, Cox’s order cut them 10 weeks earlier than expected.

As of July 24, Workforce Services reported that 11,768 Utahns were still registered as unemployed.

Some Utah lawmakers saw the early cancellation of benefits as an unwelcome change.

Following Cox’s announcement, Utah House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, highlighted these factors while expressing frustration with the governor’s decision to end the benefits. in Utah.

“I mean, it’s the perfect example of a disconnect between people in normal life and people who are struggling to get back on their feet,” King said. “There are many, many people who are worried – afraid – of going back to work.”

What “frustrates me the most,” King said, is that Cox’s decision “reflects this thinking from many across the aisle that people don’t want to work. This is fundamentally wrong. “

Seegert said Utah’s current enviable economic vitality must pay tribute to the actions taken by Cox and state lawmakers, as well as the federal economic stimulus measures related to the pandemic, which have enabled the state to perform better than almost any other place in the country.

“The Utah government has responded extremely well to the economic conditions of the pandemic,” Seegert said. “The state’s social safety nets have worked very well … and the leaders just had the foresight to do a lot of things to keep the economic engine running.”

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Utah economy

Utah’s oil and gas industry is as busy today as it was during Trump’s “energy domination” days

There were only three drilling rigs in Utah’s oil and gas fields last January when new President Joe Biden suspended new leases on public lands while his administration revised the federal program of oil and gas.

Today, 10 platforms are digging new wells in the Uinta Basin, according to energy consultant Baker Hughes. Meanwhile, the industry has inundated agencies with drilling proposals in Utah, filing more applications in the past six months than in any six-month period under the favorable rule of the United States. Donald Trump’s industry as president, according to state data.

As state and industry leaders predict a disaster for energy development and rural employment from the Biden moratorium, which they call a development “ban”, the exact opposite seems to be happening. Utah’s oil and gas sector is waking up from its pandemic-induced slumber despite hurdles put in place by the climate-friendly Biden administration.

So what is going on? The price of oil has exceeded $ 70 a barrel. Energy companies are moving quickly to increase production as prices remain high, the Utah Oil, Gas and Mining Division said.

The boom is proof that financial incentives are driving energy development in Western public land states, not White House decrees, according to Landon Newell, a lawyer with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

“Utah said the sky was going to fall [because of Biden’s lease moratorium], but that was directly contradicted by the facts and reality, ”Newell said. “They’re drilling like mad in the basin where the governor’s office said things would stand still.”

Critics of the Biden administration have repeatedly characterized the moratorium as over-federal in scope and predicted dire consequences for the rural West. An industry-backed study from the University of Wyoming, for example, said a development ban on federal land would blow a $ 15 billion hole in Utah’s economy over 20 years.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox’s office said in May that the lease moratorium “would end potential future exploration and investment.”

While welcoming the upsurge in drilling, Cox maintains his previous position, according to Thom Carter, director of the governor’s office for energy development.

“The economic impact of all of this can be significant and we are concerned that the decisions will be felt nationwide and have a disproportionate effect on rural Utah,” Carter said. “While your report regarding a rebound in the pandemic is excellent, there are still real economic issues surrounding oil right now, including the cost at the pump which is at times declining.”

So far this year, Utah drillers have started 144 wells, state data shows. That’s almost that much at 154 for the whole of 2019, the year before the pandemic, and puts the year on track to beat 2018 and 2017, when 204 and 199 wells, respectively, were drilled.

Rikki Hrenko-Browning, president of the Utah Petroleum Association, attributed the rebound to a combination of factors, such as leases entered into during the previous administration, with a large number of claims submitted anticipating the Biden administration to fail. would support no new federal drilling, and a move to tribal lands.

“There is a long delay between rental, authorization and actual drilling, and it will take time for the full effects of the federal rental policy to be felt,” she said in an e- mail. “However, right now our state is lacking key revenues from lease sales that should have taken place this year and jobs are at risk if the illegal rental ban continues.”

Critics in the industry, however, argue that Utah’s oil and gas recovery tells a different story. They say it reinforces arguments made in internal memos prepared by Utah state agencies and a new report claiming the Biden lease moratorium will not slow energy development in the short term.

This is because so much public land in Western states has been leased for oil and gas development by the Trump administration. The glut of undeveloped federal leases in Utah would support drilling for the next 60 to 90 years at recent activity levels, according to a report released Wednesday by the Conservation Economics Institute, an Idaho-based think tank.

“We think these western states have their economies completely tied to this industry,” said Anne Hawke of the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC. “But in fact, there is so much more going on economically in these states in terms of information services and jobs.”

The report was commissioned by SUWA, NRDC and several other conservation nonprofits that strongly support lease reform. He examines federal leases in Utah and four other Western power-producing states: New Mexico, Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming.

The groups released it on Wednesday ahead of the expected White House announcement of proposed reforms to the federal rental program overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.

“When the industry panicked after the Biden moratorium, this report provides a reason,” Hawke said. “It’s a long game and it’s not like we’re going to finish tomorrow. Jobs are not affected as they say. It highlights all the reasons why stepping back and taking a break are truly rational gestures. We all know the system is down. We need to look at the royalties.

There is also evidence that speculation is rampant in the federal rental program, particularly in Utah, where thousands of acres of leases are awarded to people with no known ability to actually develop them.

In his first day in office, Biden halted new leases while the Home Office conducted a comprehensive review, which he recently submitted to the White House. The moratorium only blocked new leases; it did not apply to drilling or production from existing leases.

A federal judge has since overturned the moratorium on leases, but the BLM has yet to resume offering new leases in Utah, although some have been issued in other states.

While environmentalists hope Biden’s reforms will limit federal leases, especially in environmentally sensitive or scenic locations, Utah officials want the industry to retain access to public energy resources in the West.

“We’re not interested in actions that pit rural and urban Utahns or rural and urban Americans against each other, and that’s what the president talked about when he was inaugurated, that’s what the governor Cox believes wholeheartedly, ”Carter said. “We want market-based decisions. We don’t want government decisions, so if the market determines some of the [the drilling surge], It’s awesome.”

Yet at the end of the day, federal lands are not at the heart of Utah’s oil and gas production, even though Utah is a key public land state. Of the 1,654 wells currently proposed for Utah, according to Carter, 58% are on non-federal land – that is, tribal, state or private land.

A review of past drilling and production shows that only a third of this activity in Utah has occurred on federal land. Yet a lot of federal land has been leased. According to BLM statistics, less than half of Utah’s 3 million acres under lease are in production.

In other words, unused oil and gas leases occupy 1.7 million federal acres in Utah, some of which are in sight of national parks and monuments. There is little the Biden administration can do to stop the industry from drilling most of this land.

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Salt lake city

Visiting Greek Orthodox Archbishop meets Interfaith Council


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The ties between Eastern and Western Christianity were fully visible on Tuesday when the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in America visited Utah’s top Roman Catholic leader.

Together, they – and representatives of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable – emphasized the importance of dialogue and the need for interfaith unity.

The meeting was part of the visit to Salt Lake City by the Greek Orthodox Bishop Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis), the first trip to Utah by a Greek Orthodox archbishop since 2000, according to information from local Greek Orthodox leaders.

Tuesday evening’s reception was hosted by Bishop Oscar Solis, who leads more than 300,000 Roman Catholics in Utah, at the pastoral center of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

The group subsequently toured downtown Salt Lake City. Madeleine Cathedral.

In his remarks to the Interfaith Roundtable, Elpidophoros underlined the meaning and impact of dialogue in interfaith relations.

The word “dialogue” in Greek generally refers to “an unusually diverse range of realities,” a definition which he says “resonates strongly” in an interfaith context.

“Dialogue becomes the key,” he said, “in which we are all called to dissolve our divisions, to heal hatred, to foster resilience, to fight against prejudices… [and] promote peace and reconciliation.

Elpidophoros said the Greek Orthodox Church recognizes differences but believes in cooperation and peace between religions. It really means listening to other points of view and accepting common values.

The real dialogue, Elpidophoros said, begins in families and communities.

“Make your faith, make your tradition richer,” he said. “Wealth comes from ecumenical values [of] listen to others [and] to receive all that is good.

Solis said Catholics follow Pope Francis’ advice in creating human relationships with people of all other faiths.

These relationships “define the course of our vision and our mission as a Catholic community,” he said. “We come from one God and we are all children of God. … and this is why we can easily see each other as brothers and sisters.

Muslim makes his own sacrifice

Elpidophoros especially thanked Zeynep Kariparduc, president of the Salt Lake City Interfaith Council and a Muslim woman, for attending the event when she could have celebrated Eid al-Adha, or the feast of sacrifice, with her family and friends.

As a native of Turkey, Elpidophoros said he understood the importance – indeed the sacrifice – of Kariparduc missing part of the Islamic holiday by several days.

He presented him with a silver medallion made in Istanbul that depicts Abraham or Ibrahim (a revered prophet in Christianity, Islam and Judaism) and his wife Sarah harboring three angels.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presents a medallion to Zeynep Kariparduc during a visit to the Cathedral of the Magdalen in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

He also presented Solis with a silver cross made in Istanbul.

Kariparduc said people of different faiths should get to know each other so that they can better practice their own faith.

Tuesday night’s meeting was important, she said, because as religious leaders come to an agreement, so will their followers.

“Without the other, we cannot create a diverse society,” she said. “Religious leaders play a crucial role in establishing[ing] peaceful societies.

“Keeping our identity alive”

In an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, Elpidophoros said it was important for him to visit every state and parish in the United States

In Salt Lake City, he said, there are two big parishes, “so we had to come.”

Although New York’s Greek Orthodox community is present across the country, Elpidophoros said these members have a lot in common with their brothers and sisters in Salt Lake City. Many of them have ancestors who came to the United States to pursue the American dream; they pray, go to school and participate in cultural events together.

“The church is for us always the place where we keep our identity alive”, he declared, “… [our] cultural, linguistic and religious identity.

At the same time, said Elpidophoros, each parish adapts to its state and community in different ways. That is why he wants to know first-hand the needs and expectations of each parish.

Other appointments await you

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and Bishop Oscar A. Solis meet at the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

This week’s historic visit to Elpidophoros comes as the Utahns mark the entry of Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley 174 years ago.

It is “a bit unprecedented” for an archbishop to visit a place for almost a week, the archbishop said. Rev. Archimandrite George Nikas, the presiding priest of the Great Salt Lake Greek Orthodox Church. “So we are very excited and very honored to have this happen.”

Throughout his visit, Elipidophoros met with a number of senior government and religious leaders.

He is scheduled to meet with Governor Spencer Cox on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning with the ruling First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. He is due to meet with Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, on Saturday.

The Archbishop will also spend time in the Greek Orthodox churches of the Wasatch Front, including Holy Trinity Cathedral in downtown Salt Lake City, Prophet Elias in Holladay, St. Anna in Sandy, and the Church of the Transfiguration in Ogden. .

Nikas said he and other Greek Orthodox leaders in Utah would brief Elpidophoros on the community’s philanthropic work, as well as the progress of building the church’s proposed $ 300 million Greek town around the cathedral. of the Holy Trinity.

Nikas said Elpidophoros, who moved to his new post in 2019, is from Istanbul and a longtime theology professor. He made headlines last year when he attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Brooklyn.

“It is our moral duty and our obligation to defend the sanctity of every human being. We have faced a pandemic of serious physical illness, but the spiritual illness in our country runs even deeper and must be healed with actions as well as words, ”he told Greek journalist at the time. “And so, I will continue to stand on the sidelines with all those who are committed to preserving peace, justice and equality for every goodwill citizen, regardless of race, religion, gender or ethnicity. . “

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Salt lake city government

Drought in Utah City Halts Growth


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OAKLEY, Utah – In the western United States, a summer of record drought, heat waves and mega-fires exacerbated by climate change is forcing millions of people to face an inevitable series of reshuffling disasters. question the future of growth.

Groundwater and vital waterways for farmers and cities are drying up. Fires devour homes built deeper into the wilderness and forests. The extreme heat makes working outdoors more dangerous and life without air conditioning potentially fatal. While the summer monsoon rains have recently brought some relief to the southwest, 99.9% of Utah is locked in severe drought conditions and the reservoirs are less than half full.

Yet cheap housing is still scarce than water in much of Utah, whose population grew 18% from 2010 to 2020, making it the fastest growing state in the world. country. Cities across the west fear that stopping development to conserve water will only worsen an accessibility crisis that spans Colorado to California.

In the small mountain town of Oakley, about an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, the spring that pioneers once used to water their hay fields and fill people’s taps for decades has shrunk to a trickle. in the scorching drought of this year. City officials have therefore taken drastic measures to preserve their water: they have stopped building.

During the pandemic, the real estate market in their city of 1,500 people exploded as remote workers poured in from the west coast and second home owners staked out ranches on weekends. But these newcomers need water – water that disappears as a mega drought dries up reservoirs and rivers in the West.

So this spring, Oakley imposed a moratorium on the construction of new homes that would be connected to the city’s water system. It is one of the first cities in the United States to deliberately slow down growth due to a lack of water. But it could be a harbinger of things to come in a warmer, drier West.

“Why do we build houses if we don’t have enough water? Said Wade Woolstenhulme, the mayor, who in addition to raising horses and judging rodeos, has spent the past few weeks defending the building moratorium. “The right thing to do to protect the people who are already here is to restrict the entry of people. “

Farmers and ranchers – who use 70 to 80 percent of all water – let their fields turn brown or sell cows and sheep they can no longer graze. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said all fields on the family farm, except one, had dried up.

“It’s just brutal right now,” said Mr. Cox, who also called on worshipers to pray for rain. “If we continue to grow at the current rate and experience another drought like this in 10 years, there will be real implications for drinking water. That’s what worries me the most. “

For now, most places are trying to avoid the worst of the drought through conservation rather than turning off the growth tap. State officials say there is still plenty of clean water and there are no plans to prevent people from moving in and building.

“An important consideration for many politicians is that they don’t want to be seen as an under-resourced community,” said Katharine Jacobs, who heads the University of Arizona’s Climate Adaptation Research Center.

In states in the region, Western water providers have threatened $ 1,000 fines or arrests if they find customers flouting restrictions on lawn sprinklers or flushing the driveway. Governments are spending millions to pull up grass, reuse wastewater, build new storage systems and recharge depleted aquifers – conservation measures that have helped desert cities like Las Vegas and Tucson reduce their water use even as their populations exploded. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for 15% reductions in water use, but so far these have been largely voluntary.

But the water now hangs over many construction debates. Water authorities in Marin County, California, which has the lowest rainfall in 140 years, are considering stopping allowing new water connections to homes.

Developers located in a dry desert expanse between Phoenix and Tucson must prove they have access to 100 years of water to get permits to build new homes. But the extensive pumping of groundwater – mainly for agriculture – has left the region with little water for future development.

Many developers see the need to find new sources of water. “Water will and should be – as far as our arid southwest is concerned – the limiting factor for growth,” said Spencer Kamps, vice president of legislative affairs for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona. “If you can’t guarantee the water supply, obviously development shouldn’t take place. “

At the end of last month, the state’s water department announced that it would not approve any applications for developers seeking to use groundwater in the region. The move raised concerns among local developers, who said the restrictions would make it more difficult to meet the needs of Arizona’s voracious housing market.

In Utah, Oakley and the nearby farming town of Henefer pledge not to expand until they can get reliable new water sources by drilling or pumping – a costly and uncertain prospect.

“These towns are canaries in the coal mine,” said Paul D. Brooks, professor of hydrology at the University of Utah. “They can’t count to go to the tap and turn on the water. Climate change is coming home right now, and it’s hitting us hard. “

In the 1800s, water was one of Oakley’s main draws for white settlers. The town sits next to the Weber River, and its water and other mountain sources irrigated farmland and supported the dairies that once dotted the valley.

It’s still a conservative farming community where the ragged Trump flags of 2020 fly and the mayor doubts man-made climate change. Its beauty and location half an hour from the glitz of Park City Ski Resort made it a good deal for foreigners.

Utah law has allowed Oakley City Council to pass only a six-month moratorium on construction, and the city hopes it can tap into a new water source before deciding whether to reactivate the moratorium or to let it expire.

A project that would build up to 36 new homes on a tree-covered pasture near the town’s glacier is on hold.

“You feel bad for the people who saved up to build a house in Oakley,” said Mr Woolstenhulme, the mayor, as he drove through town pointing out the dusty fields that would normally be rich in alfalfa. The distant mountains were blurred by the haze of forest fires. “I hate government violations in people’s lives, but it’s like having children: every once in a while you have to get tough. “

Oakley plans to spend up to $ 2 million to drill a 2,000-foot-deep water well to reach what authorities hope is an untapped aquifer.

But 30 miles north of Oakley, past dry irrigation ditches, crumpled brown hills, and the Echo Reservoir – 28% full and down – is the town of Henefer, where new construction has been arrested for three years. Right now, Henefer is trying to tap into new sources to provide water for landscaping and outdoor use – and save its precious drinking water.

“The people of the city don’t like it,” Mayor Kay Richins said of the building moratorium. “I do not like it.”

Experts say smaller towns are particularly vulnerable. And few places in Utah are as small or dry as Echo, a jumble of homes squeezed between a freight railroad and stunning red rock cliffs. Echo was already having trouble hanging on after the two cafes closed. Then, its spring-fed water supply hit critical lows this summer.

Echo’s water manager transports drinking water by truck from neighboring towns. People fear that the water needed to put out a single bushfire could deplete their reservoirs.

At home, JJ Trussell and Wesley Winterhalter have let their lawns turn yellow and shower sparingly. But some neighbors still let their sprinklers spray, and Mr Trussell feared the small community his grandparents had helped build was about to dry up and fly away.

“It is very possible that we will lose our only source of water,” he said. “It would make life here almost impossible.”

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Data confusion means Utah ultimately failed to meet the 70% COVID-19 vaccination target; state sees 1,238 weekend cases


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Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine await recipients at the Central Davis Senior Activity Center in Kaysville on July 6, 2021. Data confusion means Utah missed its 70% vaccination target on July 4 after all, health officials said Monday. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – State health officials have said they misinterpreted some federal government immunization data, which means only about 67% of adults in Utah have at least a first dose of the COVID vaccine- 19 instead of the 70% previously reported.

The error means Utah failed to meet Governor Spencer Cox’s goal of having at least 70% of adults in the state vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4 after all.

“We screwed up. And I sincerely apologize,” Cox wrote in a letter to the Utahns on Monday.

On Monday, the Utah Department of Health reported 1,238 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend – 495 Friday, 486 Saturday and 264 Sunday.

The average number of positive cases per day over seven rolling days in Utah is now 447, according to the Department of Health. The rate of positive tests per day for this period calculated with the “person-to-person” method is now 12.3%. The rate of positive tests per day for this period calculated with the “test on test” method is now 8.2%.

The discrepancy in immunization data stems from vaccines that were administered in Utah by federal government agencies such as the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Indian Health Services.

These administered doses are reported through a data system called Tiberius, which is different from the Utah state data system. Tiberius’ data is not automatically fed into the state’s immunization data system, so health officials have to interpret it manually.

Health officials have interpreted around 30,000 doses reported via Tiberius as new doses, but these are in fact cumulative doses, the health ministry said in a statement on Monday. Some single doses were therefore counted more than once.

“It is disappointing to find that we have not met our goal of vaccinating 70% of adults with at least one dose by July 4. And we regret that inaccurate information has been passed on to Governor Cox and the people of Utah, ”the Department of Health said. mentionned. “But we remain true to our commitment to present data in a manner that is accurate, transparent and with integrity. “

There have been 29,880 doses reported to Tiberius, health officials said. Combined with state totals, 1,525,632 Utahns aged 18 and over received at least one first dose of the vaccine. Dividing that total by Utah’s adult population in 2019 of 2,274,774 shows that 67.07% of Utah adults had at least one first dose on Monday, and not the 70.2% that was reported on Monday. last week, according to the health department.

A total of 1,607,690 Utahns, or about 50.1% of the state’s population, have now received at least one first dose of the vaccine, according to the health department. A total of 1,433,575 Utahns, or about 44.7% of the population, are now fully immunized. Among Utahns aged 12 and older, who are currently eligible for vaccines, about 62% have received at least a first dose and 55.3% are fully vaccinated, the health department reported on Monday.

The state’s data team told the governor’s office that the 70% target had been met, and they were “surprised and excited and a little skeptical,” Cox wrote in the letter. His office waited a few days while the numbers were checked twice and thrice for accuracy before releasing the news.

But a few days later, heads of state discovered there was an error in the way the federal doses were counted.

“While sharing federal data has been extremely difficult, this one is upon us. Our data team is devastated and embarrassed. And so am I.,” Cox wrote.

He added that the error appears to be the result of simple human error and that there was no evidence of ethical misconduct in the confusion.

“Our data team at the Department of Health has been amazing throughout this pandemic. Sometimes working around the clock, these officials have been recognized as one of the most in-depth and transparent data teams in the country. While this miscalculation is inexcusable, they have re-examined the processes to prevent this type of error from happening again, ”Cox said.

Utah Senate Speaker J. Stuart Adams tweeted his appreciation for Cox’s apology on Monday.

“I appreciate (Governor Cox’s) transparency and his dedication to sharing accurate information,” Adams said.

While data confusion is an unfortunate slowdown in the state’s efforts to push vaccines as far as possible, state leaders have said the 70% target is somewhat arbitrary. Cox added that this means state leaders have even more work to do to get more Utahns vaccinated.

“We will continue to do all we can to make vaccinations easier and more accessible,” Cox’s letter said.

There are now 220 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah, including 93 in intensive care, according to state data. About 73% of all intensive care unit beds in Utah are now occupied, including about 75% of the beds in the state’s 16 referral hospitals. About 56% of non-ICU hospital beds in Utah hospitals are now occupied.

The six deaths reported on Monday were:

  • Davis County man who was between 45 and 64 and was not hospitalized when he died
  • Woman from Tooele County, 65 to 84, hospitalized after death
  • Utah County woman aged 65 to 84 who was hospitalized when she died
  • Two Washington County men aged 65 to 84 hospitalized when they die
  • Weber County woman aged 65 to 84 admitted to hospital after death

Of the 2,834,431 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 14.8% have tested positive for COVID-19. The total number of tests performed in Utah since the start of the pandemic is now 5,171,309, up from 14,294 since Friday, health officials reported. Of those, 8,835 were tests of people who had never been tested for COVID-19.

Monday’s totals give Utah 420,214 total confirmed cases, with 17,820 total hospitalizations and 2,399 total deaths from the disease. According to the health department, seven cases of COVID-19 were removed from the tally for the previous days thanks to data analysis.

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Will there be COVID-19 booster injections? Not yet, say the experts


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With the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Utah, is it time for fully vaccinated people to receive booster shots?

Pfizer and its partner company in the production of one of three coronavirus vaccines approved for use in the United States, Bio-Tech, on Thursday announced a new study showing promising results from the administration of a third vaccine , six months after the first two, and plan to submit their findings to federal authorities for clearance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration responded by a joint declaration, “Americans who have been fully immunized do not need a booster at this time,” but said the issue was under review and the recommendation may change.

“We are ready to receive booster doses if and when science shows they are needed,” the statement said. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their last dose of vaccine – two injections for Pfizer or Moderna and one for Johnson & Johnson.

Utah health experts also say not yet, although they recognize there is growing interest, especially among those who have received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, to provide greater protection. against the highly contagious delta variant of the virus first detected in India now dominant in Utah and the rest of the country.

“This one is touchy,” said Dr Michelle Hofmann, deputy director of the Utah Department of Health, calling for a question about the extra blows raised at a recent virtual press conference to encourage vaccinations “to the tip of where we can be Go. “

Some countries already allow the administration of a different type of vaccine as a second dose after a vaccine similar in composition to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. J&J shot is less effective against the original coronavirus, with around 60% effectiveness compared to 95% for Pfizer and Moderna.

All three vaccines largely prevent hospitalization and death in fully vaccinated people, but the decline in their performance compared to the delta variant is now a problem. Studies have shown that both doses of Pfizer – and possibly Moderna, which uses the same new technology – are needed, but there is little data on Johnson & Johnson.

It is official CDC policy that vaccines are not interchangeable, although the The National Institutes of Health announced in June that a clinical trial was underway To determine the safety and effectiveness of administering booster doses of various COVID-19 vaccines to fully vaccinated adults.

“We don’t currently recommend this in the United States,” Hofmann said, citing potential safety concerns. “We are starting to hear from people who are interested and wondering about this, but this is currently not a recommendation.”

Yet not everyone is ready to wait. Hofmann was responding to a question posted on Facebook by a woman who said she knew “several people who had the J&J vaccine who went and received a second dose of Moderna or Pfizer. Is it recommended, safe or necessary? “

There are several media reports of people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but then surreptitiously sought out Pfizer injections in hopes that the higher efficacy associated with the new type of vaccine will make them less likely to know a revolutionary case of COVID-19.

A few, including Angela Rasmussen, a virologist with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan, are experts in the field. Rasmussen, an American working in Canada, tweeted at the end of June that she had received an injection of Pfizer “to supplement the J&J vaccine I received in April” and was feeling well.

“I think I did what it took to make sure I was as protected as possible from the delta variant and thus protect the others who only have one chance,” she said. in his widely-read Twitter feed, adding, “Sometimes public health requires making tough decisions without a full data set to back it up.

Shortly before the July 4th recess, the region’s largest healthcare provider, Intermountain Healthcare, told patients vaccinated in a blog post it’s too early to roll up their sleeves for another dose because, “So far the signs are good that we won’t need any reminders anytime soon.

The publication said federal agencies were assessing the risk of additional vaccines by looking at various factors, including whether breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated people increased, whether booster doses or the combination of different types of vaccines offered more protection, and if the variants were more difficult to fight. .

It remains to be seen how long it will take to make this decision, said Dr Tamara Sheffield, medical director of preventive medicine at Intermountain Healthcare. This could happen sooner rather than later once the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the delta variant is known.

“At this point, we don’t have anything that tells us we should do this yet. But that could change quickly, ”Sheffield said. In the meantime, she offered some advice to Utahns who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – less than 130,000 compared to nearly 1.5 million in the state who received Pfizer or Moderna.

“I tend to be a more careful person,” she said. “I would say to anyone who is wondering if they are fully protected to follow prudent collection behaviors. If you are indoors with a group of people who may not have been vaccinated, then people should mask themselves. “

Han Kim, professor of public health at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, said data on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are difficult to come by because relatively few people have received a single injection, adding that “it may not be. not be a bad idea to get a vaccine. booster.”

A federal government decision on such vaccines could move closer to fall, Kim said, when COVID-19 cases could rise even more as students, especially those under the age of 12 who are not eligible for the vaccine, return to classrooms and people spend more time indoors when temperatures drop.

Pfizer’s announcement of the booster injections raises questions, he said.

“There is a lot of discussion among epidemiologists and public health specialists that this is completely unnecessary,” Kim said, noting that the vaccine should remain “fairly effective” for at least a year and that injections do not need to be. started only last December and became widely available months later. .

“We live in a world where there is enormous injustice in terms of vaccine distribution and we will start prioritizing a third vaccine for Americans, in a country that is still struggling to reach 70% of the population. adult population with a pull? A lot of people say it’s way too premature, ”he said.

Gov. Spencer Cox said Utah has met that 70% goal, if vaccine doses administered by federal state agencies are counted. But many areas of the state, including Utah County and rural communities, have much lower vaccination rates and less than 45% of the overall population is fully vaccinated.

“We should be focusing on getting people, in fact, their first shot, let alone a third,” Kim said. He said that not only would administering a third dose be logistically difficult, but it was also seen by some as “Pfizer taking advantage of this situation to request a third dose”.

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Family of playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda surprises Utah nonprofit with donation

Lin-Manuel Miranda and his father Luis Miranda Jr. are featured in a social media post after donating to Utah Refugee Connection. (Facebook)

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah nonprofit serving refugees received a surprise phone call from popular playwright and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda’s father, who wanted to help.

At the end of last week, Amy Dott Harmer, executive director of Utah Refugee Connection, was warned that she would soon receive a phone call from someone who wanted to donate to the association.

She said she had “no idea” who it might be. The call arrived on the morning of Friday July 2.

“This guy just said, ‘This is Luis, and you don’t know me, but I have a family foundation and we really want to support your efforts to meet the needs of newcomers to the United States,” said Harmer. mentionned.

When the caller told him the amount of the donation, which Harmer describes as “very generous”, it piqued his curiosity. The association often receives donations from family foundations, but not for such large sums.

“And I said, ‘Tell me a little more about your family foundation,'” she recalls.

“He said, ‘Well, you know the Hamilton musical? My son wrote that,’” Harmer added.

“We are the Miranda family and my name is Luis. We just heard about the work you do and we would love to support your efforts,” Harmer recalls.

She said she was “stunned” and did not fully process the call until later.

Harmer has learned that the Miranda family know Utah and know some of its residents. The family contacted acquaintances and asked for a suggestion for a nonprofit that benefits new Americans in the community.

“I think they understand the gift of diversity, and they’re trying to build and advocate for ways that people can see that diversity is really a beautiful part of our American culture, and that represents theirs. movie “In the Heights” and in the way they choose to channel their energies, telling some of the stories of these new Americans, and that they can be useful in building our economy and the landscape of the United States, “said Harmer .

After Utah Refugee Connection shared the story on their social media accounts, Governor Spencer Cox also tweeted his thanks to the Miranda family “for their friendship, kindness and generosity.”

Luis Miranda replied to the tweet: “Thank you, Governor!”

Harmer declined to disclose the amount of the donation, but thanked the Mirandas for their generosity.

Utah Refugee Connection strives to provide services to immigrants that are not provided elsewhere.

“We fill in the gaps in the community, so sometimes, you know, we work with a lot of different nonprofits and programs to try to fill in those gaps that are critical,” Harmer said.

Utah Refugee Connection helps connect those who want to serve with the needs of their communities and build friendships with volunteers and refugees.

The association is currently collecting school supplies for refugee students until the end of July, Harmer said.

Those interested in helping can visit Utah Refugee Connection’s social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or visit serverefugees.org.

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1,149 weekend COVID-19 cases, 7 deaths, over 13,000 vaccinations reported as Utah hits 70% vaccine target


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Jamie Bone, a nurse with the Davis County Department of Health, prepares a syringe of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Legacy Center Indoor Arena in Farmington on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Seventy percent of all adults in Utah now have at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Spencer Cox’s office confirmed on Tuesday. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Health reported the following update on COVID-19 in the state from Saturday to Tuesday:

  • 1,149 new cases
  • 7 deaths
  • 13,878 vaccines administered

The seven-day moving average for positive cases in the state is now 386 per day.

Seventy percent of all adults in Utah now have at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Spencer Cox’s office has confirmed Tuesday, although the state appears to be using outdated demographics to calculate that vaccination rate.

The governor’s office had set a goal of seeing 70% of Utahns aged 18 and over receive at least their first shot of the vaccine by July 4. The state achieved that target on Tuesday.

“This is really a milestone that deserves to be celebrated,” Cox’s office said on Twitter. “Most of all, we are grateful to all the nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, hospitals and volunteers… who continue to work tirelessly to get us all vaccinated!

Since July 4, the Utah Department of Health reported that 65.2% of adults in Utah had received at least their first dose, Cox’s office said. However, that percentage does not include 114,908 doses of the vaccine that were administered in Utah by federal government agencies such as the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Indian Health Services.

With those additional doses, 1,596,999 Utahns received their first dose of vaccine, Cox’s office said. The governor’s office reported that Utah’s adult population was 2,274,774, so about 70.2% of the adult population now has at least their first dose.

“And that number will only increase,” Cox’s office tweeted.

But that’s an older figure for the population of Utah. The United States Census Bureau most recent data estimates the total population of Utah at approximately 3,271,616, of which approximately 948,769, or 29%, are under the age of 18. Using this data, the percentage of Utah adults who receive at least a first dose is closer to 68.75%.

However, Utah executives, including Cox, said the 70% target was somewhat arbitrary. They will continue to work to vaccinate as many people and exceed the statewide target of 70%, the governor’s office added in a statement on Tuesday. Press release.

“Even if we hit 70%, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the game,” Cox said at a press conference last week.

Cox’s office thanked those who got vaccinated, as well as the Utah Department of Health and local state health departments for their efforts to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

“They have been striving to take the initiative to set up mass vaccination sites statewide and continue to provide vaccines in their communities,” the press release said.

Cox’s office also thanked the Salt Lake Chamber for launching the “Bring it Home” campaign, which encourages companies to support employees who want to get vaccinated.

Cox’s office added that the pandemic is not over and the state is not out of the woods just yet. Utah has seen a small increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, which is believed to be mainly due to the spread of the delta variant among unvaccinated people.

“We are still very concerned about the recent increase in cases and hospitalizations,” the statement said. “And parts of the state, including many of our rural areas and communities of color, remain under 70% immunized.”

This story will be updated.

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Yes, the forest fire danger is really that bad • Salt Lake Magazine


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I know. I know. You want to be able to light fireworks with your friends and family on Independence Day. And, let’s be honest, no one is going to stop you. While some cities have stricter restrictions on fireworks than others, there is no general ban on fireworks in Utah (unless you are on public land). For the most part, unless your city has unique restrictions, you’re safe as long as you turn them on July 2-5 (or July 22-25 for the Pioneer Day holiday).

But just because you can get away with it, right? It’s dry there. Most of the state is subject to extreme drought, creating the perfect conditions for wildfires to start and spread quickly.

According to the Bureau of Land Management, already this year, people have started up to 370 forest fires in Utah. It is 370 forest fires that could have been avoided. At a press conference on Wednesday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said 81 percent of this year’s wildfires, which burned 23,000 acres, were man-made. Fireworks sparked 65 forest fires last year. This does not include city fires caused by fireworks.

Many fire chiefs and leaders of state and local governments are begging members of the public to forgo any personal fireworks this year, imploring them instead to see a show put on by their community. So if they’re all so against the people lighting fireworks this year, why not ban it outright?

On this point, the governor says his hands are tied. At that same press conference, he criticized state law for not giving him the power to ban fireworks. Most towns and cities also fail an outright ban, also pointing out that state law prohibits them from doing so. (The notable exception is Mayor Erin Mendenhall, who enacted a ban on personal fireworks throughout Salt Lake City.)

Although pointing fingers is a very mature way of dealing with the situation, it almost the impression that no one wants to be held responsible for taking away the people’s fireworks (even during the state’s record drought).


Here is a list of local fireworks restrictions to see what your city allows and Salt lake the magazine’s story about where you can catch a community fireworks show on July 4th, instead of starting your own airborne wildfires.

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Owens slams Olympic athlete for protesting flag


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Good Wednesday morning Utah! Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.

I want to hear from you! Let me know how to make this newsletter more useful. Email me or find me on Twitter @SchottHappens.

Get this newsletter delivered to your inbox every morning of the week. Sign up for free here.

Owens criticizes Olympic athlete for turning away from American flag

Representative Burgess Owens tore hammer thrower Gwen Berry, who turned away from the American flag during the national anthem during the track and field trials in the United States over the weekend, accusing her of trying to return “His small community of other happy leftists” while disrespecting America.

“She’s going to be a footnote,” Owens said during an appearance on Newsmax. “The only reason to go to the Olympics is to wear red, white and blue and represent your country.”

“If you are ashamed of America, don’t represent America on the international stage,” Owens added.

Berry says playing the national anthem was a “setup.” She claims organizers told her they would play “The Star-Spangled Banner” before she stepped onto the podium with the other qualifiers. Berry turned away from the flag and draped a t-shirt that read “Activist Athlete” over his head as the anthem played.

“The anthem does not speak for me. It never was. Berry told the AP.

Berry, who competed in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, was sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee after throwing her fist on the podium after winning the hammer throw at the 2019 Pan Am Games. The committee has since apologized to Berry.

Here’s what you need to know for Wednesday

Local News

  • Utah’s coffers are overflowing as state tax revenues exceed forecasts by billions of dollars. This usually means that officials will look to cut taxes, but that might not happen. [Tribune]

  • Utah Representatives Burgess Owens and John Curtis voted against a bill to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol, while Representatives Blake Moore and Chris Stewart voted in favor of the measure. The bill was adopted by 285-120 votes. [WSJ]

  • The Dixie State University Board of Trustees has decided not to change the school’s name to Utah Polytechnic State University. Instead, they recommended Utah Tech University. [Tribune]

  • Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, will travel to southern Utah this week. [Tribune]

  • Governor Spencer Cox has appointed Marlo M. Oaks as the next state treasurer, replacing David Damschen, who resigned earlier this year. [Tribune]

  • Heavy rains cause flash floods in southern Utah. [Tribune]

National News

  • The Supreme Court rejected a request to lift the national moratorium on evictions due to the pandemic on a restricted vote. [WSJ]

  • Gasoline prices hit a 7-year high due to shortages ahead of the July 4th weekend. [ABC News]

  • The New York mayoral race was plunged into chaos when election officials mistakenly included test results in the latest vote count update. [Politico]

  • Arizona Representative Paul Gosar denied attending a fundraising event with a white nationalist group despite an online invitation promoting their presence. [WaPo]

  • South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem sends 50 National Guard soldiers to the US border with Mexico. A private donation pays for the deployment of a GOP megadonator. [AP]

  • The record-breaking heat wave in the Pacific Northwest sent hundreds of people to hospital. The roads are also deformed in the intense heat. [BuzzFeed]

  • Iranian-backed militias in Syria fired rockets at US troops. US forces responded by firing artillery at the rocket firing positions. [WSJ]

  • Dr Anthony Fauci warns that the COVID-19 Delta variant will create “two Americas” as the gap between vaccinated and unvaccinated areas widens. [CNN]

  • The US real estate market continues to be hot. The average price of homes in major metropolitan areas has increased almost 15% in the past year. [WSJ]

  • Walmart is launching a cheaper version of insulin that will cost around $ 73 per vial. [CNBC]

  • Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed the National Security Agency was spying on him. The agency basically called Carlson a liar. [Twitter]

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has berated senior officials in that country for failing to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak. [AP]

  • Video of the day: 87-year-old Senator Chuck Grassley pulled off 22 push-ups in a contest against much younger Senator Tom Cotton. [Twitter]

Wednesday Morning Utah News Roundup

Utah

  • A blood shortage could force Utah hospitals to delay procedures. [Tribune]

  • The “unofficial” LGBTQ pride march at BYU draws hundreds of people. [Tribune]

  • Utah is named the most independent state before July 4. [FOX13]

  • What will a gondola look like through Little Cottonwood Canyon? [KSL]

  • Investigators are examining the similarities between several apartment fires. [ABC4]

  • The Summit County Sheriff’s newest patrol sergeant is the first woman on duty. [Park Record]

COVID-19[feminine

  • Près de 1,4 million d’Utahns sont entièrement vaccinés contre le COVID-19. [Tribune]

  • COVID-19 is jeopardizing progress in children’s well-being, according to the KIDS Count report. [DNews]

  • UTA is extending its free rate for COVID-19 vaccinations by 3 months. [Standard Examiner]

Local government

Environment

Education

  • New SLC Schools Superintendent says students need someone like him. [KUTV]

  • Parents of children with disabilities struggle to find inclusive classrooms. [KUTV]

On opinion pages

  • Rachel Rueckert: Accept the bans. Fireworks kill you. [Tribune]

  • I found an apartment, but it certainly wasn’t easy, says the newly arrived Salt Lake Tribune reporter. [Tribune]

🎂 You say it’s your birthday? !!

Happy Birthday to Former State Representative Carl Wimmer and Former State Representative Sheryl Allen.

Do you have a birthday that you would like us to recognize in this space? Send us an e-mail.

– Tribune reporter Connor Sanders contributed to this story.


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Can Utah – and its residents – survive the cut in federal COVID-19 unemployment assistance?


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Is Utah’s economy and tens of thousands of workers still out of work ready for a change on Saturday that comes with a $ 50 million prize?

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said his decision to end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits to some 24,000 Utahns two months ahead of the deadline was the right call amid rising employment from state and robust recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

But some say they face constant challenges finding work even as the state’s unemployment rate drops to 2.7% and employers advertise 70,000 current job openings. A southern Utah resident recently wrote to the governor describing the hardships he and his wife face as she struggles to find work after losing her job during the pandemic.

“It affects us personally,” said Barry Brumfield of St. George.

The governor gives the reason for the cut

“This is the next natural step in getting the condition and people’s lives back to normal,” Cox said in May when the decision was announced. “I believe in the value of hard work. With the lowest unemployment rate in the country … and many well-paying jobs available today, it makes sense to step away from those added benefits that were never meant to be permanent.

“The market should not be competing with the government for workers. “

He also noted that other “safety net programs” such as assistance with rent, utilities, food and medical bills will still be available.

Stephen Cashon, employment counselor with the Utah Department of Workforce Services, helps Juan Rodriguez apply for a new piece of ID so he can apply for jobs at the department's offices in <a class=Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.” data-upload-width=”3000″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/OhJ–bMQQvUxFVfEX8PQyD_b84M=/0x0:3000×2071/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:3000×2071):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/22675676/merlin_2875060.jpg”/>

Stephen Cashon, employment counselor with the Utah Department of Workforce Services, helps Juan Rodriguez apply for a new piece of ID so he can apply for jobs at the department’s offices in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Cox is one of some two dozen Republican state governors across the United States who have made similar decisions regarding the early end of federal pandemic benefits, saying the added benefit keeps people from wanting to work.

Labor experts say the shortage isn’t just about the $ 300 payment. Some unemployed people have also been reluctant to look for work because of fear of catching the virus. Others have found new occupations rather than returning to their old jobs. And many women, especially working mothers, have had to leave the workforce to care for children.

Following Cox’s announcement, Utah House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, highlighted these factors while expressing frustration with the governor’s decision to end the benefits. in Utah.

“I mean, it’s the perfect example of a disconnect between people in normal life and people who are struggling to get back on their feet,” King said. “There are many, many people who are worried – afraid – of going back to work. “

What “frustrates me the most,” King said, is that Cox’s decision “reflects this thinking from many across the aisle that people don’t want to work. This is fundamentally wrong.

In early June, the Utah Department of Workforce Services reported that just over 24,700 residents were on some type of unemployment benefit, of which about 12,000 were on traditional benefits plus the federally funded pandemic allowance of $ 300 per week. About 11,000 others were still receiving unemployment insurance benefits under federal extensions also created to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 on American workers. And about 1,200 Utah gig workers – people employed by companies like Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, and others who are classified as contractors who are exempt from typical unemployment benefits – have also received benefits under federal emergency warrants. While federal deadlines for most pandemic-related benefits for the unemployed are due to expire in early September, Cox’s order suspends them 10 weeks ahead of schedule.

And it’s a decision that worries Barry and Stacey Brumfield.

An IT position is available for a job seeker at the Utah Department of Workforce Services in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The experience of a family

In an interview with Deseret News, Barry Brumfield said he was a longtime Republican who also voted for Cox in the 2020 Utah gubernatorial election, but felt that the governor’s decision to reduce early federal pandemic benefits was a bad call.

“We are very unhappy with this decision,” said Brumfield. “We truly believe in the individual rights and benefits of your own hard labor, but we have come to the point where we feel our hard work has been lost.

“We support the other things that (Cox) does, but that’s our only argument because it affects us personally.”

Brumfield, who is retired, said his wife lost her 13-year job at SkyWest last year as the air travel industry was nearly at a standstill by the pandemic. As Stacey Brumfield continues to look for work, Barry Brumfield said the only offers she had had so far were for minimum wage jobs and at 63 she was unable to start a new job. new career.

In a letter to Cox, Barry Brumfield wrote that his wife’s job search experiences have led her to believe that employers in their area are looking for younger prospects.

“Governor, you may think you are doing what is best for your constituents, but my wife and I are among those who will be greatly affected and hurt by your decision,” Brumfield wrote. “My wife’s job is ‘essential’ so that we can pay the bills and stay out of poverty.

“However, my wife, who worked in the airline industry for 13 years, lost her job due to the pandemic and the drastic decline in airline operations. Now she is unemployed by the state and the federal government, which is vital for us. She is 63 years old and has been looking for a job since the start of the pandemic. His attempts to find a job were unsuccessful due to his age !!! Businesses want someone younger !! said the letter.

The Brumfields aren’t the only Utahns who find themselves both nearing the end of their career and currently looking for a job. As of June 17, the Department of Workforce Services reports 13% of those currently unemployed are 60 years or older.

But the majority – 68% – of those who will be affected by the suspension of federal pandemic benefits are in the “peak working age” category of 25 to 54.

And that’s a statistic that some economists say bodes well for Utah’s overall economy, which continues to outperform the rest of the country.

Utah can absorb lost federal aid

Phil Dean, former director of the state budget and current senior public finance researcher at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, said Utah’s economy is well positioned to absorb the $ 50 million that will be lost in the suspension of federal benefits in the event of a pandemic.

“I just think we’re at a point in the economic recovery where it really makes sense to do it,” Dean said. “Overall, the elimination of the benefits will have a negligible impact on the economy … although some pockets will recover more slowly than others and some households will feel these changes.”

Dean said it’s important to remember that standard UI benefit programs will remain in place and those who fail to find employment will still have access to the standard claims process.

He said that while the programs launched by the federal government to mitigate the worst economic impacts of COVID-19 on individuals and families were the right answer at the time, current circumstances no longer demand the additional benefits.

“The scale of the challenge we had in the midst of the pandemic along with the government’s involvement in restricting the private sector made the initial response entirely appropriate,” Dean said. “And it’s entirely appropriate now to take those enhanced benefits and go back to the traditional programs and system.”

At a virtual Facebook event on June 15, Cox reiterated his belief that his decision to end the pandemic-related benefit and allowance extensions was the right economic call and highlighted efforts to channel additional funds towards worker retraining programs.

Cox said the state has spent $ 16.5 million to help more than 5,700 people get training and find better employment opportunities through the Learn and Work program. He also noted in a press release that the state has committed an additional $ 15 million that will go to Utah training institutions to help those who want to upgrade their skills improve their employment opportunities.

You can find more information on the possibilities for retraining at jobs.utah.gov/jobseeker/career/index.html and uselessah.org/learn-work.

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Salt lake city government

USU Data Law Expert Appointed To State Privacy Commission – Cache Valley Daily


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Chris Koopman, executive director of the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University, has been appointed by Governor Spencer Cox to the state’s new Privacy Oversight Commission.

SALT LAKE CITY – Governor Spencer Cox has appointed the executive director of Utah State University’s Center for Growth and Opportunity as part of a new state privacy watchdog group.

USU’s Chris Koopman will bring his expertise in data privacy law to Utah’s new Personal Data Privacy Oversight Commission.

Koopman was one of 12 legal and technology experts named to this panel Thursday in a joint announcement by Cox, Attorney General Sean Reyes and State Auditor John Dougall.

“Protecting the privacy of all Utahns has become even more important as technology has progressed,” Cox explained. “I am delighted to see this new Privacy Commission convening and look forward to developing policies that will hold the state accountable for the use of personal data and information of the Utahns.”

Spokeswoman Nicole Davis of the State Auditor’s Office explained that the Privacy Oversight Commission was created by the passage of Bill 243 during the 2021 general session of the Legislative Assembly.

The objective of this legislation is to provide guidelines for the use of emerging technologies for public officials, in particular law enforcement.

As Executive Director of the USU Center for Growth and Opportunity, Koopman specializes in technology regulation, competition and innovation.

His research and commentary have been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, as well as on the Bloomberg Network and National Public Radio.

Prior to joining USU, Koopman was a senior researcher and director of the technology policy program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

He is currently an Affiliate Principal Investigator at the Mercatus Center and a member of the Information Technology and Emerging Technologies Working Group of the Federalist Society Regulatory Transparency Project.

Other Utahns appointed to the Personal Data Privacy Oversight Commission by Cox include Quinn Fowers, a Weber County internet technologist; Aliahu “Alli” Bey, cybersecurity expert; Nayana Penmetsa, representing private companies; and Keith Squires, the acting security officer at the University of Utah.

Reyes’ panel appointments include Jeff Gray, representing the attorney general’s office, and Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith.

Dougall’s appointments include Matthew Weller, president of All West Communications; Amy Knapp, cybersecurity expert; Brandon Greenwood; representing the interests of private technology industries; Phillip J. Windley, an expert in data privacy law from Brigham Young University; and Marina Lowe, representing the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah.

Under state law, the Personal Privacy Oversight Commission is responsible for developing best practices for privacy protection that state agencies can adopt. The panel is also empowered to conduct reviews of government uses of technology to protect privacy and data security.





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Salt lake city government

This week’s winners and losers in Utah politics


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Hello Utah and TGIF!

Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.

Do you have a tip? Some interesting political gossip? Do you just want to discuss politics? Email me or find me on Twitter @SchottHappens.

Receive this newsletter in your inbox every morning of the week. Sign up for free here.

This Week’s Winners and Losers in Utah Politics

⬆️ Winner: The Utah State School Board. Board members have been battered by the current panic over critical breed theory. Republicans in the Legislature are eager to get involved in the issue. But the board has apparently taken enough action this year against classroom race that lawmakers say they don’t see the need to do anything just yet. But, this respite will be short-lived because there could be several laws next year on the subject.

⬇️ Loser: Representative Chris Stewart. In a controversial interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Chris Stewart falsely claimed he voted to remove Georgian Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments in February. This claim was not true. The next day, Cuomo and Don Lemon toasted Stewart for not reaching out to correct the record. It wasn’t Stewart’s best hour.

⬇️ Loser: Utah taxpayers. One year ago, the New Yorker reported big issues with TestUtah, the effort to use technology to improve approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the Salt Lake Tribune reports that the SEC was investigating the co-diagnosis, which provided testing for the effort. In the end, Utah taxpayers spent $ 15 million on testing through TestUtah, far more than any other vendor paid.

Here’s what you need to know for Friday morning

Local News

  • Gov. Spencer Cox expressed frustration Thursday because so many Utahns refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19, which has resulted in more preventable deaths. Since the vaccines were made available to all Utahns 16 and older, nearly all of the COVID cases in the state have been unvaccinated. [Tribune]

  • Governor Cox explained that he could not ban fireworks in the state despite the extreme fire danger, because it was outside the powers of his governor. The legislature could take such a step, but there doesn’t appear to be the political will to do so, Cox said. [Tribune]

  • Some aligned with the #DezNat group, an online effort to defend the doctrines and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are deleting their social media accounts for fear they will be identified publicly. [Tribune]

  • Utah County has managed to cut chronic homelessness in half over the past three years. [Tribune]

  • Some owners in Utah require potential renters to pay for DNA testing of their pets. The tests will help them identify who is not cleaning up after their dog or cat when they poop outside. [Tribune]

  • An investment group is turning to technology as a way to help conserve water. [Tribune]

National News

  • A great day at the Supreme Court. The judges rejected another challenge to the Affordable Care Act. [Scotusblog]

  • The court also sided with a faith-based organization, ruling that Philadelphia violated the group’s First Amendment rights when the city stopped working with them when they refused to certify same-sex couples as as potential adoptive parents. [Scotusblog]

  • Both rulings highlighted growing cracks within the court’s conservative wing. [Politico]

  • Unemployment claims jumped unexpectedly last week after several weeks of falling numbers. [WSJ]

  • President Joe Biden signed a bill designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday. [NYT]

  • Schools in the Washington, DC area are closed today for the new June vacation. The last-minute shutdown is pushing parents apart. [WaPo]

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pledges to block voting rights legislation as it relates to the Senate. [WaPo]

  • The sizzling US economy is driving inflation globally, forcing foreign banks to raise rates in response. [WSJ]

  • The Biden administration will invest $ 3 million to develop antiviral treatments for COVID-19. [CNN]

  • The U.S. Department of Education is forgiving more than $ 500 million in student debt for 18,000 former students of the ITT Technical Institute, which closed in 2016. [AP]

  • 13 Republican members of Congress signed a letter demanding that President Biden undergo a cognitive aptitude test. The group is led by Florida Republican Ronny Jackson, former President Donald Trump’s White House doctor. [MyHighPlains.com]

Utah Politics Podcast

In this week’s episode, we let you listen to a conversation between Rep. Blake Moore and the Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board.

It’s a fascinating peek behind the curtain as board members engage in a freewheeling chat with Moore that touches public lands, Hill Air Force Base, and investigates the attack on the January 6 against the US Capitol.

You can listen and subscribe for free.

Friday’s Utah News Summary

Utah

  • The United States Court of Appeals rules against citizenship for nationals of American Samoa. [Tribune]

  • The University of Utah, BYU is rolling out name, image and likeness plans as NCAA legislation looms. [Tribune]

  • Deseret Management Corp. appoints director of strategic initiatives and new president of Deseret Digital Media. [DNews]

  • Cox issues a proclamation commemorating June 19 as Juneteenth in Utah. [FOX13]

  • Equality Utah welcomes the Supreme Court ruling that balances religious beliefs with equal protection. [FOX13]

  • 41% of Utah CHIP beneficiaries lost their coverage in May due to a government overthrow. [KSL]

  • BYU-Hawaii will require COVID vaccinations; BYU strongly encourages. [Daily Herald]

COVID-19[feminine

Environnement

  • Le ministère de l’Agriculture a une surveillance faible, des « problèmes de contrôle », constate l’audit. [KSL]

Local government

  • Sunset skid keeps city council optimistic out of poll; the city recorder reprimanded. [Standard Examiner]

  • Former transportation manager selected to fill vacant position on Spanish Fork City Council. [Daily Herald]

  • The still difficult PCMR talks may be coming to a conclusion. [Park Record]

  • Dozens of Utah election officials are participating in the new VOTE certification program. [ABC4]

Infrastructure

  • Experts say Utah is unprepared for large-scale power outages. [KUTV]

  • Boil order issued to Mapleton after bacteria was found in a water source. [FOX13]

  • St. George issues the first energy saving alert. [FOX13]

Housing

  • Can’t keep track of all those new apartments in or coming to Salt Lake County? This card will help you. [Tribune]

  • End of the moratorium on evictions: who to turn to if you run out of rent. [KSL]

  • Ogden City Council is considering an ordinance to ease restrictions on non-residential housing. [Standard Examiner]

On opinion pages

  • Robert Gehrke: Ban fireworks in times of drought and destroy the Utahns that light them. [Tribune]

  • Scott Williams: The governors of Utah have a 50-year legacy of opposing radioactive waste. [Tribune]

  • Tribune Editorial Board: Just get the Utah landmarks back to where they were and get to work. [Tribune]

  • David R. Irvine: We’re not the America we think we are anymore. [Tribune]

  • Richard D. Burbidge: It’s up to you what kind of guinea pig you will be. [Tribune]

  • Steven Collis: Stop asking the Supreme Court to resolve the LGBTQ religious conflict. [Tribune]

🎂 You say it’s your birthday? !!

Happy birthday to Tiffany Gunnerson, spokesperson for the Purposeful Planning Institute, Joel Campbell, associate professor of journalism at BYU, and Eric Peterson, founder of the Utah Investigative Journalism Project.

On Saturday, Thom Carter, energy advisor and executive director of the Office of Energy Development, celebrates.

State Senator Jerry Stevenson and former State Senator Steve Urquhart mark another year on Sunday.

Do you have a birthday that you would like us to recognize in this space? Send us an e-mail.

– Tribune reporter Connor Sanders contributed to this report.


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