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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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Should the streets of Salt Lake have a 20 mph speed limit? The city is studying a “bold” plan

A “20 Is Plenty” lawn sign designed by the Sweet Streets group. The group handed out lawn signs at an event on May 26, 2021. Salt Lake City’s transportation division was given the go-ahead to seek a speed limit change at a meeting on Tuesday. (Jed Boal, KSL-TV)

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — The default street speed in Salt Lake City neighborhoods is about to be reduced.

The Salt Lake City Council, through a unanimous poll, gave its transportation division the go-ahead to pursue a proposal to lower the city’s default speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph. If approved in the future, it would apply to all streets in the city, unless otherwise specified.

But even transportation experts who support the idea say lowering the speed limit will likely require future investment to reshape streets.

“(A 20mph speed limit) would be a bold statement, but what would really make a difference…is to back that up with long-term changes in street design,” said Jon Larsen, divisional director of Salt Lake City transportation.

Council’s decision to ask the division to investigate the matter further came after three members of the nonprofit Sweet Streets gave a presentation on the benefits of lowering the city’s default speed limit in 5 mph during the council business meeting on Thursday.

The volunteer organization began promoting a “20 is Plenty” initiative last year with the goal of reducing vehicle speeds in Salt Lake City‘s residential neighborhoods. Taylor Anderson, co-founder of the group, told the council that safety is the top priority, which is why 20mph has been generally used in other parts of the world.

When a vehicle reduces its speed from 30 mph to 20 mph, the chance of a person hit by a vehicle on a street surviving increases from 60% to 90%, according to the Utah Department of Transportation. And these are just dead. Anderson said people’s lives can be “permanently impaired” even if they survive these types of crashes.

“It’s so important to get those speeds closer to 20 mph. … There are significant safety impacts immediately without redesigning the street just by changing the posted speed,” he said during the presentation.

Since road safety is often years behind schedule, organization began tracking ‘traffic violence’ in Salt Lake City as of the end of 2020. This is a database of different automotive-related incidents reported by the media, such as times when people were hit by cars and speeding-related accidents.


We are asking for a paradigm shift. The way we set speeds in the city right now puts the speed of cars first, rather than the safety of people interacting with the street.

–Taylor Anderson, co-founder of Sweet Streets


They have found more than a dozen dead in the city and a handful more injured since December 2020 – and that’s only according to local media reports. The total number of injuries is likely much higher.

Overall, Anderson said people of color, children, the elderly and vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected. He concluded his presentation by asking council to think about people more than the speed of cars when setting streets and speed limits.

“We are asking for a paradigm shift,” he said. “The way we set speeds in the city at the moment, it prioritizes the speed of cars, rather than the safety of people interacting with the street. By making this change, you have the opportunity to change that .”

It should be noted that the city has started reducing speed on some streets to 20 mph. These include parts of West Temple and 1300 South. Other streets, like 400 southwest of I-15 and 900 west, may also soon be added to the list.

The default limit is not universal, however, which Sweet Streets claims.

“There’s a kind of 1900s politics that we’re slowly moving away from as an industry,” Larsen said. “We don’t try to do everything at once, but just assess where appropriate.”

While supportive of the concept his division is already considering, Larsen doesn’t think a lower speed limit alone will make much of a difference. He sees the speed limit as a “symbolic” measure and less as an incentive for drivers to slow down.

However, he said it could be a good conversation starter for other tactics to make streets safer in neighborhoods, including finding ways to disrupt street design that is more “human-centric.” “as they were before motor vehicles. Once the streets are different enough, he said drivers will be encouraged to drive slower.

Anderson agrees. He thinks that street design, such as street width, lanes and speed bumps, all contribute to influencing driving speeds more than speed limits, but a reduction in limits defines at least an expectation. The organization even held a march last week, which ended with the delivery of a petition to Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall calling for an overhaul of 200 South to include bus-only lanes.

Regarding the 20mph proposal, some council members said there needed to be community buy-in and awareness for any changes. For example, Councilwoman Victoria Petro-Eschler expressed concern that people may end up getting more speeding tickets because they are unaware of a new speed limit.

The idea also has the “full support” of members like Councilor Ana Valdemoros.

“I have too many constituents telling me tragic stories and how they would benefit,” she said.

No deadline has been set for the Transportation Division to investigate the matter. If the division recommends a change, the board will have the final say before it is implemented.

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Utah’s bill banning vaccine passports passed committee after tense meeting

Utah Highway Patrol soldiers take a man into custody for breaking committee meeting rules by failing to cover a political shirt, before discussion of vaccine passport changes began at a meeting of the committee at the State Capitol on Tuesday. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — After a tense meeting that began with some community members being kicked out by soldiers, the Utah Senate introduced a bill that will ban businesses and the government from demanding vaccine passports to enter.

HB60 brought dozens of them to the Senate Tax and Revenue Committee meeting on Tuesday days before the end of the session.

The bill as originally drafted would also have prohibited companies from requiring vaccines. After a heated debate, the committee eventually approved by a 7-2 vote a new version of the bill that still allows employers to require “proof of immunity status”, which can include a previous infection if they have a doctor’s note.

The bill awaits full Senate approval — as well as House approval of amendments — before it can become final.

At the start of the meeting, committee chairman Senator Dan McCay, R-Riverton, warned the crowd that they should abide by the Legislative Assembly’s decorum rules, which he said prohibit attendees getting angry, wearing political stickers, or carrying flags or signs during meetings.

“There are, just like there are everywhere you go, there are rules that you follow in society. Some of them just aren’t a fool, are they? And that rule unfortunately seems to be violated more frequently than not on Capitol Hill,” McCay said.

He said those in the room were breaking the rules, which led him to interrupt the committee for five minutes to give attendees a chance to “follow these rules”.

Sen. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, offers his coat to a man as Utah Highway Patrol soldiers demand the man leave for breaking committee meeting rules by failing to cover a shirt politics, before discussion of the HB60S02 vaccine passport changes begins during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Revenue and Taxation in the Senate Building in Salt <a class=Lake City on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. The man declined Kennedy’s offer. The man also previously displayed political stickers but put them away when asked.”/>
Sen. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, offers his coat to a man as Utah Highway Patrol soldiers demand the man leave for breaking committee meeting rules by failing to cover a shirt politics, before discussion of the HB60S02 vaccine passport changes begins during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Revenue and Taxation in the Senate Building in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. The man declined Kennedy’s offer. The man also previously displayed political stickers but put them away when asked. (Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

During this break, people started shouting in the room. Soldiers escorted away a few people, including a man who had removed political stickers but refused to cover a t-shirt that read “We the people”.

When the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Walt Brooks, R-St. George, began his presentation, he began by attempting to comment on the no sticker or sign rule, and that he is “deeply disappointed”.

“Representative, don’t test the President’s mettle,” McCay shot back. “Please keep your comments relevant to the bill.”

Brooks said the bill was intended to prohibit discrimination against someone because of their vaccination or medical status.

“I think it’s important to note that when we come up with legislation, especially something about this, that it’s not a COVID bill, but COVID has definitely brought it out to because of what many consider an overshoot,” Brooks said. .

He described government leaders as “going overboard” in urging people during the pandemic not to celebrate Christmas with more than 10 people at home.

“What this bill really does is go back to the way we did business before COVID,” he said.

McCay argued that forcing someone to allow someone onto his property is “really uncomfortable” for him, calling it “dangerous territory”.

But Brooks likened the bill to the civil rights movement, saying, “We know that people are created equal.”

He said the unvaccinated should be a protected class.

Representative Walt Brooks, R-St.  George, holds up what he says is a list of 4,000 CEOs and owner-operators who support the HB60S02 vaccine passport changes during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Revenue and Taxation in the Senate building in Salt <a class=Lake City on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.”/>
Representative Walt Brooks, R-St. George, holds up what he says is a list of 4,000 CEOs and owner-operators who support the HB60S02 vaccine passport changes during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Revenue and Taxation in the Senate building in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

But McCay said an unvaccinated person still has a choice of which businesses they visit.

That’s not the case for some small towns, Brooks said, explaining that a town like Blanding only has two grocery stores.

During a lengthy public comment session, some people, mostly from the business community, spoke out against the bill, but the majority of commentators supported the bill.

Elizabeth Converse, with Utah Tech Leads, called the bill “anti-business” and said that as it is currently written, it would also affect other vaccines, causing problems.

Karen Zaya, who described herself as a nurse, said she was considered high risk due to her medical history, but she supports the bill.

“Nobody has the right to ask me what my medical history is. That’s exactly what a passport is,” she said, adding that it makes her “vulnerable to discrimination.”

Mark Alston, one of the owners of the Bayou – among the only businesses in Utah to require proof of vaccine from customers to enter – claimed food service workers were the source of hundreds of disease outbreaks of food origin in the country. He expressed concern about what the bill could do to the restaurant industry.

“I am a living woman who reserves my rights before God,” said Heather Vanin, explaining that vaccine passports allow people to be “withheld” from services based on their health status.

She said that as a mother she had seen “a lot of things cured” without vaccines.

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Police link unsolved murder to Salt Lake market shooting

Unified Police say the shooting death of Akosita Kaufusi, whose body was found near Saltair in Magna in 2020, is linked to a shooting at a Salt Lake City market days earlier. (Carissa Hutchinson, KSLTV)

Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Unified Police say they believe an unsolved homicide and a shooting at a Salt Lake market days earlier are related.

But detectives are not revealing many other details about the connection between the murder of Akosita Kaufusi, 42, whose body was found by a jogger near the Great Saltair in 2020, and a shooting that occurred at around the same time at the K&K African Market, 996 S. Redwood Road.

Police said, however, that Kaufusi frequently visited this market.

Kaufusi’s body was discovered on August 29, 2020, just off Frontage Road near Saltair. An autopsy determined that she had been shot in the head and had been dead for several days before her body was discovered. No one has been arrested in this case, despite a $5,000 reward being offered for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible.

On Thursday, Unified Police released a brief statement saying detectives “linked” Kaufusi’s shooting death to a shooting at the K&K Market on August 9, 2020.

Police were called to the market at around 6.20am after being informed of a shooting. The victim, however, claimed his injury was caused by falling on rebar, according to a Salt Lake Police Watch Log report.

“Witnesses at the scene said there was an argument between the victim and several Polynesian men and heard what sounded like a gunshot,” the report said.

The man was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Detectives recovered a casing from the scene.

Police have not explained why they believe the two incidents are linked. However, Unified Police issued a public appeal on Thursday asking anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.

According to police reports, Salt Lake City officers also responded to a report of shots being fired in the K&K market two days earlier on August 7, 2020.

“When they arrived, they were unable to locate a victim or find any witnesses. A casing was located at the scene. Shortly after, a gunshot victim arrived at a local hospital. Officers n ‘were unable to interview the victim,’ according to a watchdog report.

Unified Police detectives have interviewed several people since Kaufusi’s death. Family members told investigators that Kaufusi had been missing for two weeks before her body was discovered, which was “out of the ordinary” for her because “she is usually at the African market and easy to find”, according to the sources. search warrant affidavits.

Based on the evidence gathered so far, detectives believe Kaufusi was killed around or shortly after August 14, 2020. Unified Police acknowledged Friday that Kaufusi and her associates were often at the K&K Market, but do not believe she was shot there.

Several people interviewed by police said Kaufusi was killed “because she had a drug debt or was robbed and killed for drugs, and/or both,” the warrants say. Unified Police said as of Friday no such motive had been confirmed or ruled out.

Police were also told by multiple people that Kaufusi “had a physical fight a few days before she was last seen alive around the day of August 13,” according to one of the warrants.

Anyone with information about Kaufusi’s death is asked to call police at 801-743-7000.

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Salt Lake City drops blasting plan as end of Raging Waters demolition nears

The abandoned Raging Rivers water park on Wednesday afternoon. The contractors were originally scheduled to begin blasting on Wednesday, but that idea was scrapped following feedback from neighborhood residents. (Chopper 5, KSL-TV)

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Contractors begin work this week to remove one of the last — and trickiest — parts of the ongoing demolition of the former Raging Rivers water park in the Glendale neighborhood.

The park’s old pools were made of thick concrete that sank deep into the ground. In fact, the Salt Lake City Department of Parks and Public Lands announced last week that contractors would have to blast the area starting Wednesday due to thick concrete.

However, this idea was dropped following comments from the neighborhood over the past few days, which expressed concern about the noise and shaking the blasting would cause. Instead, construction crews use backhoes and jackhammers to complete the difficult concrete removal.

Raging Waters, also known as Seven Peaks Salt Lake, closed in 2018. It quickly became an eyesore and an area of ​​increased crime in the city, leading to the decision to tear it down. The city began its demolition in October; Wednesday, there are still a few slides left but most have been dismantled at the demolition site.

Months before demolition, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall proposed turning the 17-acre lot near 1700 south and 1200 west into a regional park, similar to Liberty or Sugar House parks in the eastern part of the town.

This vision is still the expected future of the region.

Nancy Monteith, senior landscape architect for Salt Lake City‘s engineering division, told KSL-TV on Wednesday that she hopes the city will have two or three concept plans to share with residents in a few weeks. The land is already located next to the Glendale Golf Course and the Jordan River Parkway. There is a small neighborhood park just north of this that the popular trail crosses.

The city has already spent $3.2 million on the site’s initial development, using impact fees, Monteith added. Fees are one-time developer payments for each new building in the city that can only be used for certain sources, such as parks.

“We’re really excited about this project,” she said. “When you look at all these spaces aggregated, they’re really like a regional attraction.”

The final plan will likely require more money, which is why Mendenhall requested $10 million for the project last year. The mayor explained at the time that the way the city received federal funding for the park in the past required it to remain a park “in perpetuity,” meaning the land cannot be developed for housing. or commercial spaces.

Regarding the current phase of demolition, residents with concerns or questions regarding the blasting are encouraged to call 385-495-5323.

Contributor: Jed Boal

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Money alert issued for 53-year-old endangered man in Salt Lake City

A silver alert has been issued for an endangered 53-year-old man last seen in the Federal Heights area of ​​Salt Lake City. Donald Leslie Brown was with his dog on the Limekiln Gulch Trail in Salt Lake City around 3 p.m. Sunday. (Salt Lake City Police)

Estimated reading time: less than a minute

SALT LAKE CITY — A silver alert has been issued for a 53-year-old endangered man last seen in the Federal Heights area of ​​Salt Lake City, the Department of Public Safety said.

The man, Donald Leslie Brown, was last known to be in the area of ​​309 N. Fairfax Circle on the Limekiln Gulch Trail in Salt Lake City around 3 p.m. Sunday, police said.

He is white, 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs approximately 150 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes. He is believed to be wearing a red hat, red woolen vest and beige pants. He was with a brown and white border collie named Tucker.

He is showing signs of mental illness and needs his medication, police said.

Anyone who sees Brown is asked to call Salt Lake Police at 801-799-3000 or dial 911.

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Why Salt Lake City’s mayor says she’s ready to give herself an A for 2021

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall reviews her annual report card, a public accountability document examining the goals she has set in 2021, Thursday outside the mayor’s office in the Salt Lake City County Building. (Carter Williams, KSL.com)

Estimated reading time: 6-7 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Erin Mendenhall’s second year as mayor of Salt Lake City may not have been as intense as her first year in office, 2020, but she found there were many moments that made 2021 feel like an extension of that.

This is especially true given that 2021 ended with an increase in COVID-19 cases in the city and across the state due to the omicron variant. The year also presented new challenges, such as staff shortages and increased drought.

Despite all of this, Mendenhall believes the city has been able to not just survive, but thrive amid these challenges in 2021. So, as she revealed an update on the goals she set for 2021 last January, she’s ready to give herself a high mark on her Salt Lake City 2021 review.

“I think this is the first time I’d give us an A,” she said Thursday outside her office in the Salt Lake City-County Building.

The report offers an assessment of the progress of the projects and goals outlined by Mendenhall in his 2021 State of the City address.

There were 141 defined goals across all aspects of city government, including housing, crime, infrastructure, and the environment. About two-thirds of these goals are marked as completed, while most of the remaining goals are marked as “in progress.” Only about 16 were marked as incomplete.

Mendenhall said, of course, there are items the city may not have liked, but she argues that dozens of items on her list were things the city had never done before.

“It’s remarkable what we’ve done,” she said. “I’m incredibly proud of the employees of Salt Lake City Corporation for having the vision to put this plan together with me in the first place, but really for pulling it off as well as they did.”

So what was she most proud of?

  • Citywide crime is down 5.4% from 2020 and 1.3% from the five-year average. Robberies are down 18% from 2020 and 25% from the five-year average, according to Salt Lake City police data. However, it should be noted that these statistics show that the total number of violent crimes has increased by 4.8% compared to 2020 and by 13.8% compared to the five-year average, due to the increase in aggravated assault and criminal homicide, which the mayor had sought to reduce.
  • The city invested in 300 affordable housing units in 2021, the most in the city’s history.
  • It has made “great strides” in connecting residents of West Salt Lake City by partnering with the Utah Transit Authority to launch a new microtransit program for residents of those areas. Mendenhall said she hopes to expand it to other parts of the city in the future.
  • The city has supported small businesses by providing access to a $4 million community grant pool. It has also provided grants and loans to 38 companies close to construction projects, such as the 300 West project.
  • The city’s Tech Lake City and BioHive initiatives continued with partnerships with the life sciences industry.
  • City officials have completed a Foothills Trail Master Plan. However, plans to build more trails were put on hold in September due to growing erosion concerns. The mayor said Thursday that an independent review of the project was underway and provided no update on that pause.
  • The city updated its overall sustainability policy and its redevelopment agency launched a new policy to only fund projects that meet certain sustainability goals.
  • City officials planted another 1,000 trees on the west side of town.
  • The city has increased its municipal index from the Commission on Human Rights, becoming the first city in Utah to reach 100. The score is based on “the laws, policies and municipal services that are inclusive of the LGBTQ people who live there and work on it,” according to the Human Rights Campaign. Salt Lake City was rated at 75 in 2020.

The report card shows the mayor struggled the most with certain sustainability and homelessness goals.

For example, four of his eight reuse goals were marked as incomplete. The city did not continue its wood reuse program in 2021 after 13 tons of wood was provided to artists and community organizations after the 2020 windstorm toppled more than a thousand trees in the city. city.

The city also hasn’t completed plans to prioritize the use of compost from the city landfill, strengthen its waste recycling ordinances, or explore ways to “promote the voluntary reuse of materials to help low-income homeowners to improve their housing and reduce the cost of home ownership”. .”

Mendenhall outlined a plan to support a homeless winter shelter supported by other cities, the county and the state. That didn’t happen last year, and the city opened an emergency homeless shelter in a former motel last week. The city also fell short of the goal of creating a representative homeless council, as the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness already has a similar group and the bulletin says the city “will support these efforts instead of duplicate them”.

The mayor has marked his role in a small home project for the homeless in Utah. Mendenhall said Thursday the project is now in the hands of the city council; she hopes that the housing development will take place as soon as possible.


I couldn’t think of being in office at any other time in my life that would be better. This is an incredible moment in our city.

–Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall


The full bulletin of all 2021 goals and their current status can be found on the city’s website. It essentially wraps up the first half of Mendenhall’s term as mayor of Utah’s largest city.

She describes the first half as “resilient” as the city absorbed the punches thrown by natural disasters – a major earthquake, destructive storm and major drought – and a seemingly endless pandemic during her tenure, and continued.

“We keep picking ourselves up and we’re stronger than two years ago,” Mendenhall said. “I mean that as a community too. Our character has been exposed – it was already there. Crises don’t create character, they can expose it – and what I’ve seen of our people is remarkable.

“They’re so strong, creative, community-driven and they’re innovating and inventing all the time. … It’s incredibly inspiring,” she continued. “I couldn’t think of being in office at any other time in my life that would be better. It’s an incredible time in our city.”

This year marks the start of the second half of his current term as mayor. She is expected to provide her 2022 goals next week during her annual State of the City address scheduled for Tuesday.

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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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Lawmakers seek to stop governments and HOAs from enforcing plush lawns

Some Utah lawmakers are aiming to change rules that allow government agencies and homeowners associations to tax plush lawns. (Best Seller, Shutterstock)

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY—Last summer, politicians pleaded with Utahans to conserve water. But as KSL investigators found, that hasn’t stopped some homeowners associations or government entities from enforcing their rules for residents to keep lawns lush. Now some lawmakers aim to change that.

West Valley City‘s Jason McHann learned last summer that he was breaking the law by abandoning his lawn. “Pretty frustrated,” McHann said after being slapped with a city repair ticket. “We are doing what we should be doing to be responsible citizens.”

The city demanded that he water his lawn more or face a fine. “We had to water 45 minutes a day to keep it nice and green,” he said.

Now there’s pressure from two state lawmakers to ban officials from demanding lawns.

“Another way to put it is that these organizations should give the person at least one other option, besides the lawn,” said State Representative Ray Ward.

The Bountiful Republican said its bill, HB 95, was inspired by fear of what would happen if the Great Salt Lake dried up.

“If we’re ever going to have that lake there, we need to do a better job of conservation,” he said.

Ward explained that his bill would still allow cities to impose rules requiring landscaping to be neat and attractive.


Besides the lawn, there are many other ways to make your home look nice.

-Representing. Ray ward


“The point everyone is making is’ I don’t want this other person’s house to reduce the value of my property because it looks like a dump,” he said. “And that’s understandable. This neighborhood wouldn’t want the house next door to look like a dump. It affects them. But there are plenty of other ways besides the lawn to make your house look beautiful.”

The other bill is led by Republican Rep. Robert Spendlove from Sandy. His bill, HB 121, would actually make people who tear up their gas-guzzling lawns to put on something better suited to Utah’s desert climate.

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Salt Lake City to be a finalist to host the 2024 Republican National Convention

Downtown Salt Lake City is pictured on October 12, 2020. Salt Lake City is said to be one of the finalists to host the 2024 Republican National Convention. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah is reportedly among the finalists to host the 2024 Republican National Convention.

Politico reported on Friday that Salt Lake City was on the party’s shortlist, along with Milwaukee, Nashville and Pittsburgh, citing a source familiar with the research process. Houston, Las Vegas, San Antonio and Kansas City, Missouri have reportedly been removed from consideration for the event.

The 2024 convention is where party members will select their candidate for the next presidential election. Among the remaining host candidates, Salt Lake City and Nashville, the outlet points out, are in strong Republican stronghold states, while Milwaukee and Pittsburgh are located in recent swing states.

Milwaukee and Nashville are also in the running to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention.

Utah Republican Party officials said in October they would submit a bid to host the event, after failing to host the 2012 and 2016 events. They coordinated the bid effort with Visit Salt Lake, the organization that promotes tourism in Salt Lake County.

Utah Republican Party Chairman Carson Jorgensen told KSL.com at the time that he believed hosting the event could generate as much as $ 200 million for the economy of the State, and cited the city’s growth as the reason he thinks the city could be selected this time around. .

The new Salt Lake City International Airport, which has the capacity to handle more people, opened in 2020. The Concourse A-East construction project to add 22 more gates is expected to be completed in 2024.

The Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel, an addition to the Salt Palace Convention Center, is also expected to open at the end of 2022. It is expected to add 700 new hotel rooms and 60,000 square feet of additional meeting space downtown .

“The party supports this and the state would really like to see it here,” Jorgensen said. “I think Utah has a very good chance of doing this.”

It is not known when the Republican Party will announce its selection for the 2024 event. However, Politico reports that the Republican National Committee will be in Salt Lake City next month for its annual winter meeting.

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Winter weather advisory issued as wind and snow return to Utah


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Several inches of fresh snow blanketed the Salt Lake Valley on December 15, 2021. A storm affecting Utah mostly on Tuesday and Wednesday is expected to provide a few more inches in the county, along with several more in northern Utah and up. 2 feet in the mountains. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – 2022 picks up where 2021 left off, at least in northern Utah.

The national meteorological service published winter weather advisory Tuesday, which cover the mountainous areas of northern Utah, where up to 2 extra feet of snow is expected through Thursday. Several inches of snow are also expected in the backcountry communities of Cache Valley and Wasatch, while the Wasatch front is also expected to receive snow.

The return of the snow

The storm system is heading west but does not cover the entire state as some storms in December did. Meteorological service hydrologists told KSL.com last week that a new system over the Pacific Ocean was emerging, changing patterns of storms entering the west.

KSL meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke said parts of northern Utah are expected to receive snow showers on Tuesday. The storm is expected to plunge into Salt Lake County in the evening, she said.

“Another system comes in (Wednesday) and may bring more snow accumulated during the morning hours (Wednesday) continuing into the afternoon and maybe even (Wednesday) at night,” she said. “For the Wasatch front, we might look at a mix of rain and snow. And then Thursday we’ll see things calm down a bit, once we’re done Thursday morning.”

Most of the snow is expected in the mountains for the duration of the storm system. Weather advisories call for 1 to 2 feet of snow in the Wasatch and Western Uinta mountains. This includes Alta, Brighton, Logan Summit, Mantua and the Mirror Lake Highway.

The warning for these zones went into effect early Tuesday and will remain in effect until 5 a.m. Thursday.

Winter driving conditions can be expected, including snow-covered roads and significantly reduced visibility, “the weather service wrote in the alert.” Areas of blowing snow can sometimes reduce visibility to near zero.

Forecast storms end with a productive December for these high elevation areas. For example, the Alta weather service station collected over 8 1/2 feet of fresh snow last month. Wasatch Mountain’s snowpack fell from about a third of normal in early December to a range of 107% to 117% of normal on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, an advisory in the Cache Valley and Wasatch backcountry, such as Garden City, Heber City, Huntsville, Logan, Park City, Smithfield and Woodruff, says 4 to 8 inches of snow through Thursday morning, with higher averages closer to Huntsville and the Ogden Valley.

The national meteorological service also tweeted a snow model on Tuesday morningg showing that Logan could end up with up to 1 foot of snow by Thursday, while Park City could also receive more than 1 foot of snow. Winter driving conditions, including snow-covered roads and poor visibility, are sometimes expected Tuesday and Wednesday in northern Utah, according to the weather service.

The agency’s model lists 1-8 inches of snow from Brigham City to Provo through Thursday, with the highest totals expected in and around Ogden, Davis County and Provo. Snow is expected in parts of central Utah, but most of the snow is concentrated in the northern part of the state.

the Utah Department of Transportation issued road weather alert for most parts of the state from the northern Parleys summit on Tuesday. The agency urges drivers to slow down and use caution, especially on high-altitude roads.

“(The) biggest impacts will be the heavier snow on the roads of the Sardine and Logan peaks during the morning drive, as well as the light snow on the roads of northern Utah,” UDOT wrote in the alert Tuesday.

Another alert is expected to be issued on Wednesday.

Windy weather

Wind is another component of the forecast for the next few days. The weather service has issued strong wind warnings and watches for parts of southwestern Wyoming, including Flaming Gorge; however, strong gusts are also expected in parts of Utah.

Gusts of up to 45 mph and more are expected in northeast Utah, including Randolph. Wind gusts are also expected to exceed 30 mph in areas like Park City and Duchesne between Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening.

Van Dyke said there would be strong gusts along the Wasatch front, but far from possibilities in northeast Utah and southwest Wyoming.

“We will see gusts of wind along the Wasatch front, but areas (northeast of Utah) could see gusts above 55 and 60 mph while (the Wasatch front) stays more in the 25 range. at 30 mph most of the day, “she said.

A full seven-day forecast for parts of Utah is available from the KSL Weather Center.

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Salt lake city

Are the Jazz a better team away from Salt Lake City?


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Donovan Mitchell and Quin Snyder in Utah’s win over Dallas. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – With their 120-105 victory over Portland on Wednesday, the Utah Jazz extended their best-game winning streak on the road to eight games.

The Jazz are proving to be some of the best road teams in the league. They are 12-3 in Salt Lake City and have a better net plus-12.0 on the road. But during their winning streak on the road, the Jazz have also lost four home games so, to be frank, quite disconcerting.

They lost on last-second (or almost last-second) shots to the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies, then followed a four-game road sweep with back-to-back home losses to below average opponents.

So what gives?

“Well, it’s not that we don’t like playing at home and it’s not our fans, so you can take those two things out,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.

Note.

To be fair, Utah has been far from awful at Vivint Arena. The Jazz are 13-6 and if you take the two last-second losses away, the road-to-home story probably doesn’t exist.

Utah, after all, has the third-best net score in home games over-9.1; it’s still really very good. The two teams they are watching, however, are the same teams that are also ahead of them in the Western Conference standings: Golden State and Phoenix.

The Suns have been three games better than the Jazz at home; the Warriors were four. Without a few woes at home, the Jazz would be exactly where they were last year – holding the NBA’s best record. For Snyder, this is more of a coincidence than anything else.

“I think the record is sometimes misleading because you can play at home or on the road when your team is playing well, or when you are not playing as well,” Snyder said. “We lost a few tight home games that I thought shouldn’t have been close – we lost them on the last possession – so there are two of them out there where we weren’t really playing well at the basketball, and it shows. “

Rudy Gobert, however, said there might be something to the narrative after all. He admitted that the road games were more like a “mission” that the team could fully focus on together.

“We fly together, we stay together in the same hotel, and then we go to the game,” said Gobert. “Maybe sometimes when we’re at home we’re a little more distracted and we’re not as good.”

Gobert said the team have looked fresher on the road this season – a stark contrast to how things normally go in the league.

That said, Gobert has made it clear that he doesn’t know the real reason for the discrepancy between the home and road records, and the narrative is about to be heavily contested.

The Jazz will get a few tough home games this weekend – the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, then the top-ranked Warriors on Saturday – before heading off for a busy month of travel. In January, Utah will play 11 of its 16 road games. When the calendar came out it looked like a daunting task.

Now, that begs this question: could this actually be a good thing?

“We’re going to find out if we can continue to be as effective,” Snyder said.

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“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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Salt lake city

Omicron COVID variant will reach Utah sooner or later, researchers believe


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Kimberly Desmond, a registered nurse, draws a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe in Salt Lake City on September 22. Researchers said on Friday they believed the omicron variant would reach Utah sooner or later. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 1-2 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah health officials say they are closely monitoring the new variant of COVID-19 coming from South Africa, but how worried should we be in the state of? hive? Researchers say it’s likely to happen in Utah, the real question is when.

Officials at the World Health Organization classify the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in the same category as the highly contagious delta variant. And they believe the newer form of the virus is highly transmissible. However, University of Utah virologist Dr Stephen Goldstein says scientists still have a lot of questions about the omicron, especially since it is so new. For example, they don’t know if the new variant is deadlier than the others.

“We don’t know anything about whether it causes more serious or less serious disease. There are early indications that it can be highly transmissible, although it is really still too early to tell,” he said. he declares.

Goldstein says the omicron is not an offshoot of the delta variant, so researchers are trying to learn as much as they can. He believes the variant will eventually arrive in Utah, but no one knows when.

Should we cancel Christmas plans? Maybe not yet, although doctors still recommend masks, limiting crowd sizes and social distancing to limit any kind of viral spread.

Read the full article on KSLNewsRadio.com.

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Utah economy

US to release 50 million barrels of oil to cut energy costs

Storage tanks are shown at a refinery in Detroit on April 21, 2020. The White House announced Tuesday it has ordered 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve to reduce energy costs. (Paul Sancya, Associated Press)

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve to help reduce energy costs, in coordination with other major energy consuming countries including China, India and the United Kingdom.

The move targets global energy markets, but also voters facing higher inflation and rising prices ahead of Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. The price of gas is about $ 3.40 per gallon, more than 50% more than a year ago, according to the American Automobile Association.

There was no noticeable impact on the benchmark US crude barrel price following Tuesday’s announcement. Prices have gone up and down all month and are up less than 1% so far in this shortened holiday week.

Biden was quick to reshape much of his economic agenda around the issue of inflation, saying his recently passed $ 1 trillion infrastructure package will reduce pricing pressures by making freight transportation more efficient and less expensive.

Republican lawmakers hammered the administration so that inflation peaked in 31 years in October. The Consumer Price Index climbed 6.2% from a year ago, the biggest 12-month jump since 1990.

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell burst into the White House in a speech last week, claiming the victims of the price hike were middle-class Americans.

“The top three drivers of the staggering 6.2% inflation rate we recorded last month were housing, transportation and food,” the Kentucky senator said. “These are not luxury goods, they are essentials, and they occupy a much larger share of the budgets of families from the middle class to the bottom.”

The Strategic Oil Reserve is an emergency stockpile to preserve access to oil in the event of natural disasters, national security concerns and other events. Maintained by the Department of Energy, the reserves are stored in caves created in salt domes along the Gulf coasts of Texas and Louisiana. There are approximately 605 million barrels of sweet and sour oil on the reserve.


As we emerge from an unprecedented global economic crisis, the supply of oil has not kept up with demand, forcing working families and businesses to pay the price.

–Jennifer Granholm, Energy Secretary


“As we emerge from an unprecedented global economic crisis, the supply of oil has not kept up with the demand, forcing families and businesses to pay the price,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in a press release. “This action underscores the president’s commitment to use the tools available to reduce costs for working families and continue our economic recovery.”

The Biden administration has argued that the reserve is the right tool to help alleviate the supply problem. Americans used an average of 20.7 million barrels a day in September, according to the Energy Information Administration. This means that the release almost equates to about two and a half days of additional supply.

The pandemic has turned energy markets – like everything else – out of whack on several fronts. When the closures began in April 2020, demand collapsed and oil futures prices turned negative. Energy traders didn’t want to end up with crude they couldn’t store. But as the economy recovered, prices hit a seven-year high in October.

American production has not recovered. Figures from the Energy Information Administration indicate that national production averages around 11 million barrels per day, up from 12.8 million before the start of the pandemic.

Republicans have also taken advantage of Biden’s efforts to minimize drilling and support renewables as the reason for the decline in production, although there are multiple market dynamics at play as fossil fuel prices are higher in the world. world.

“President Biden’s policies increase inflation and energy prices for the American people. Tapping into the strategic oil reserve will not solve the problem,” said Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyoming. “We are experiencing higher prices because the administration and Congressional Democrats are waging a war on American energy.”

The White House decision comes after weeks of diplomatic negotiations and the release will be taken in parallel with other nations. Japan and South Korea are also participating.

The US Department of Energy will make oil available from the Strategic Oil Reserve in two ways; 32 million barrels will be released in the coming months and will return to the reserve in the years to come, the White House said. An additional 18 million barrels will be part of an oil sale that Congress previously authorized.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday evening that the White House would also keep an eye on oil companies.

“We will continue to put pressure on the oil companies that have made record profits and watch what we see as lower prices there when there is a supply of oil or the price of oil goes down and the price goes down. gas is not going down, ”Psaki says. “It doesn’t take an expert in economics to know this is a problem.

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Salt lake city government

After a broken water pipe, who pays for the damage – the city or its residents?


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A viewer sent KSL a video of a torrent of water flowing down Park City’s Main Street following a water main rupture on July 11, 2019. (Grace McGowan)

Estimated reading time: 7-8 minutes

PARK CITY – When a city’s water main breaks and sends water into homes and businesses, someone has to take care of the mess. But who is responsible for paying for the damage: the city or its inhabitants?

Park City resident Mark Stemler believes the city should be responsible for the damage to his home. But court records show the city denies any negligence, citing the government immunity law.

A river crosses it

“Water flowed through the planks to the crawl space,” Stemler said as he described to KSL investigators the damage to his century-old home near Main Street in downtown Park City.

A main burst on the night of July 11, 2019, creating a huge sinkhole right next to Stemler’s house. It also sent thousands upon thousands of gallons of water into the house, soaking basement rugs and furniture and destroying much of the drywall. The flood left a watermark nearly a foot above the ground.

As serious as the damage was, the foundation made matters worse.

A structural engineer found the water accumulated up to two feet high. It saturated the soil that supported the footings, enough to reduce the density of the soil. All this movement destabilized the foundations, including two pillars of stacked concrete blocks, according to the engineer’s report.

So how much will all this damage cost to repair?

“Well, I’m thinking of a few hundred thousand dollars,” Stemler said.

Public works crews worked to repair a huge chasm that opened up next to Mark Stemler's house in July 2019.
Public works crews worked to repair a huge chasm that opened up next to Mark Stemler’s home in July 2019 (Photo: Mark Stemler)

Who is responsible?

Stemler said his home insurance will cover drywall, but the policy will not touch the foundation. He thinks Park City should be responsible for this. After all, it was their water line that broke. He said in the 29 months since the break he still hasn’t received a dime from the city.

In most situations, a city’s liability for damage caused by a broken water main ends at the meter between the main and the house’s supply line. From that point on, it is up to the owner to take responsibility for the damage. But Stemler’s situation is not like most.

The day after the break, Park City city officials told KSL the cause could be linked to a new roadway. Hours before the main burst, a city-hired road crew laid fresh asphalt over the pipeline, right next to Stemler’s house.

“The town man said the break was likely due to compaction and work done with the asphalt that day,” Stemler said.

To make matters worse, this team covered covers on the street that would have allowed responders to access the mainline valves. And the access covers have been covered without their location being marked. On the evening of the break, the public works and firefighters had to dig in this new asphalt to find these valves.

“They spent over three hours trying to locate them so that they could open them, so they could turn them off,” Stemler explained.

Government immunity and negligence

Stemler has filed a lawsuit against Park City and its asphalt contractor, alleging that concealing valve access covers, among other things, constitutes gross negligence. But does his argument – hold water?

Lawyer Robert Sykes does not represent Stemler or Park City or its asphalt contractor, but he studies and practices government claims law and believes Stemler may have a case.

Attorney Robert Sykes tells KSL's Matt Gephart how a city could still be held liable for a water main rupture under Utah's Governmental Immunity Act.
Attorney Robert Sykes tells KSL’s Matt Gephart how a city could still be held liable for a water main rupture under Utah’s Governmental Immunity Act. (Photo: Ken Fall, KSL-TV)

Sykes said that in general, under Utah’s Governmental Immunity Act, municipalities cannot be held responsible for acts that constitute a function of government, such as providing water to homes or businesses, unless that negligence cannot be proven. Under its immunity waivers provision, a government entity can be held liable if its work creates a faulty, unsafe, or unsafe condition of any freeway, road, culvert, bridge, tunnel, lane, crosswalk, overpass. or structure therein or any other public improvement.

“It seems to me that you have the faulty and dangerous condition of a freeway or a road,” Sykes said. “And the reason you have that is because they’re covering it up and didn’t get in fast enough for them to fix something.”

Park City officials also told media the cause was a broken valve. And there was another complication: A city spokeswoman told KSL the day after the break that “the valves were somewhat rusty and this was contributing to the incident.”

“I would say a rusty valve is neglect,” said Sykes. “Because it is very predictable that you will turn a rusty valve and it will break.”

Through KSL and other media, the city also asked residents and businesses to contact the city to report the property damage.

“They are making a confession for interest,” Sykes explained. “It’s admissible in court.”

So what does Park City have to say about all of this now? In a statement emailed to KSL investigators, not much. “As usual with ongoing litigation, Park City Municipal has no comment on this matter.”

However, in court records, city attorneys deny Stemler’s allegations of negligence, saying there is no evidence. And they invoke the Governmental Immunity Act of Utah.

The growing risk of ruptured water pipes

But the problems caused by ruptured water pipes won’t end in a Park City courtroom or in Stemler’s crawl space.

A 2018 survey of more than 300 utilities in the United States and Canada by researchers at Utah State University found that water line ruptures increased by 27% overall between 2012 and 2018. Ruptures in old water pipes made of cast iron or asbestos cement have increased by more than 40%. According to the report, pipes made from these two materials alone make up 41% of all water pipes in North America. And at that time, only 58% of those utilities said they had a regular pipe replacement program. Most of those old water pipes have only gotten old since.

It is not very difficult to find examples.

Last July, a water main rupture affected 15 homes in Murray. Another rupture created a geyser that closed a freeway exit ramp near downtown Salt Lake City in September. That same day, another broken Park City water main sent mud and water into the parking lot at Snow Creek Plaza. And in October, St. George News reported a 50-year-old pipe rupture in the St. George’s Bloomington Hills area that sent water to the basement of a house.

Don’t bet on insurance

If proving a city to be negligent is an uphill battle, how can landlords protect themselves? Well, don’t rely on your home insurance policy, explained insurance expert Les Masterson of Insure.com.

“It’s just not a covered peril. It’s not like fire or vandalism – those kinds of things that are usually covered,” Masterson said. “Insurers think it’s not their responsibility. It’s the city’s responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen.”

Masterson says most flood insurance policies will not cover water line ruptures. They are used to cover damage caused by bad weather. However, an additional policy for an owner may be available.

“If it is something that concerns someone, they absolutely have to ask questions about it and see if it is possible to add it to the policy, knowing that it will cost more,” said Masterson.

As for Stemler and his damaged house, he vows to keep fighting the Park City town hall.

Mark Stemler tells KSL's Matt Gephart why he thinks the city is responsible for the damage to his home.
Mark Stemler tells KSL’s Matt Gephart why he thinks the city is responsible for the damage to his home. (Photo: Tanner Siegworth, KSL-TV)

“If you damage your neighbor’s property, you’re not looking for legal angles to try to avoid paying for it,” he said. “Come in and fix things. “

Pipe replacement program

KSL investigators asked Park City Municipal if it had some kind of pipe replacement program in place. In a statement, they told us:

“Park City Public Utilities’ asset management program includes an inventory of all significant assets, including underground infrastructure. This involves monitoring age, size, type, condition and performance. We use this information to establish our replacement priorities. Our goal is to minimize the disruption of water service to our customers and to minimize the potential damage associated with water line failures. “

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SLC leaders ‘frustrated’ as town again resorts to temporary shelter for winter homeless people


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Cars parked outside the Ramada Inn in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. The site was chosen as an emergency homeless shelter this winter. (KSL-TV)

Estimated reading time: 6-7 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – Leaders in the Utah capital are not happy that the city has once again been chosen to house an emergency winter shelter.

Salt Lake City Council, in a meeting Tuesday, reluctantly approved the Ramada Inn at 1659 W. North Temple as the site of a temporary 250-bed overflow this winter. Officials from the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness said the temporary facility will be a “safe, 24-hour, no-congregation environment” that will allow homeless people to escape the cold this winter.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall explained that the county coalition had selected the site and asked Salt Lake City to approve the use of an emergency shelter.

Although they recognized the need for the shelter, what upset the mayor and several members of the city council is that the city was wiretapped by the state for the three years that a shelter d urgency was needed following the decision to close The Road Home.

“I am frustrated by the disproportionate and largely unsupported efforts Salt Lake City is making to the statewide homelessness crisis,” Mendenhall said, moments before the council vote on Tuesday. “My frustration seems equal to that of City Council, where today’s discussion reflected a waning desire to permanently house the vast majority of services in this county without the financial support that should accompany that service.”

This winter’s shelter will be the second in a row to be found on the west side of town, an area Salt Lake City Councilor Ana Valdemoros called “the already stressed part of town.” She said police and firefighters requested more staff and overtime, and apologized for not being able to answer every call.

Valdemoros argued that a recent report that a homeless shelter was not feasible in other Utah towns and unincorporated areas of the county is an example that Salt Lake City has been pushed “into a corner” and ashamed if he didn’t open an emergency shelter.

Salt Lake City Councilor Victoria Petro-Eschler, who was sworn in last week and represents the area in which the shelter will be located, agreed. She added that she was concerned about issues that could arise for residents and small businesses near the emergency shelter.

“Asking the city to shoulder this burden once is an emergency. Having been asked multiple times now, with the west side significantly targeted, is a model,” Petro-Eschler said. “This model should disqualify this type of emergency demand. It is more of a seasonal demand.”

The additional resources needed for the shelter are why Salt Lake City Councilor Darin Mano said he believes the state should help cover the city’s costs.

There were also concerns about the intended property for the shelter raised at the meeting. Nigel Swaby, chairman of the Fairpark Community Council, said he visited the site earlier today and was “in poor condition”. He said he saw fixtures and floor coverings stripped from some rooms; some had a toilet above the beds.

“It will cost a lot more money and take longer to bring this building up to code than the time needed to provide housing in this year’s overflow,” he said.

Alejandro Puy, who was confirmed as the winner of the Salt Lake City Council District 2 race earlier Tuesday, said he had also visited the “place of great concern”.

“This motel is run down and I’m very worried,” Puy said. “I don’t know who’s going to pay to fix and code the place, but it’s very, very concerning – the state of it.”


At the end of the day, I don’t think we, as a group of elected officials, can have people potentially to freeze to death on the streets of our city.

–Chris Wharton, Salt Lake City Councilor


While city leaders and residents were not happy with the position they have been placed in, they also know time is running out. Temperatures in Salt Lake City fell below freezing overnight; the National Weather Service noted these are the coldest temperatures recorded in the city since the end of March. It’s a reminder that winter is fast approaching.

At the same time, the existing permanent shelters in Salt Lake County are already filling up. Andrew Johnston, the city’s director of homeless policy and outreach, told council in a working session earlier Tuesday that use of homeless shelters is “quite high,” at 97% in all areas.

Mendenhall recently posted a six-month hiatus on creating any new permanent shelter in the city, again explaining on Tuesday that the city “hosts far more than its fair share of homeless services” in the state. However, she added that she “intentionally” allowed an avenue to open for temporary overflow facilities because she believed residents would rather have temporary shelter in their city than see the homeless. having “nowhere to go, freezing in our streets”.

It was this sentiment that persuaded five of the seven city councilors to vote in favor of the shelter. Salt Lake City Councilor Chris Wharton said the vote was “difficult”. On the one hand, the city will be burdened with an additional burden which could exacerbate the problems in its west side; on the other hand, it can lead to a “life and death” situation for many homeless people if the state does not have an emergency winter shelter.

“At the end of the day, I don’t think we, as a group of elected officials, can have people potentially frozen to death on the streets of our city,” Wharton said. “It’s a national epidemic, but… Salt Lake City is escalating and doing so every year because our residents appreciate and understand that this is a crisis that we must at least do our part and try to protect. . “

The Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness said the new space will have “24/7 onsite security, shuttles to transport customers, meals and connections to other services.” It says there will be 300 overflow beds available until April 2022.

This figure includes motel coupons in other cities and rugs from the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room and Weigand Homeless Resource Center.

“We know that there are many players involved in the development of these solutions and we are committed to being good partners to ensure we are providing consistent care to homeless people in collaboration with the surrounding community,” wrote the coalition in a press release. “We know the surrounding neighborhoods have faced a lot of pressures over the years and we look forward to working with the community as we serve our most vulnerable residents this winter. “

Meanwhile, Mendenhall says more needs to be done in the future so that Salt Lake City does not have to cover the costs of emergency shelter on its own. She said beds at homeless shelters should be distributed among other towns in the county and that Salt Lake City should secure “adequate” public funding for the public safety costs associated with running the shelter, which would otherwise fall on the city’s taxpayers.

Although frustrated with the process, the mayor said she still applauds the city council vote given the circumstances.

“This action will save lives,” she said. “But I know we all agree that the residents and businesses of Salt Lake City deserve a more balanced path forward.”

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Salt Lake City abandons century-old Utah Pantages theater; building to be demolished


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The Utah Theater is pictured in Salt Lake City on December 3, 2019. Salt Lake City, which purchased the building in 2010, has finalized its deal to turn it over to a development agency that is considering demolishing the building. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – The set is now set for the demolition of the century-old Utah Pantages Theater to make way for the newest skyscraper in downtown Salt Lake City, despite attempts by outside groups to call for the building’s preservation.

The Salt Lake City redevelopment agency on Wednesday closed the transfer of the Main Street building to Texas-based global development company Hines. The transaction is seen as the city’s final step in the property transfer process; City officials said on Friday that Hines can now move forward with site preparation for construction of the new “150 Main” building.

Salt Lake City and its GDR had owned the property for a decade. In December 2019, they struck a deal with Hines, ceding ownership to the developer at no additional cost. By that time, it had already been revealed that the company wanted to build a 30-story building with 300 apartments in its place.

Details of the building continue to be worked out, but city officials said on Friday that the current plan still calls for a $ 100 million mixed-use building with 10% of the tower apartments designated as affordable housing for residents making up about 60% to 80% of the county’s median income.

“The closing of the sale represents an important step in the redevelopment of this property and now allows us to focus our attention on the benefits this project will provide. In particular, the inclusion of open spaces and affordable units that will provide the opportunity for the public and new residents to live, work and play in the city center, ”said Danny Walz, director of the city’s GDR , in a press release.

Wednesday’s transaction marks a possible final step in what has been a controversial few years in determining the fate of the building, although city officials have not indicated a timeframe for when the theater could be demolished.

The original construction of the theater began in 1918 and it opened in 1920. It was, among other things, one of the first buildings in the country to be fitted with an air conditioning system. It was then split into two theaters in the 1960s during renovations at the time.

City officials said the building had been vacant since 1992; they argued that he needed “substantial” rehabilitation since that time. The city’s redevelopment agency acquired the property in 2010. By the agency, the purpose of the purchase was to “activate Main Street” with the property, either by demolishing or renovating it. The agency has since estimated that it would cost between $ 40 million and $ 80 million to renovate the building as is, so it was sold.

“As the nation’s fastest growing state capital, Salt Lake City is in the midst of incredible growth and change. We need more housing, more access to affordable housing and more green space in our urban areas, ”Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a statement Friday. “While it is unfortunate that under previous ownership the theater has seen decades of intentional and unintentional degradation, it is encouraging that the upcoming development of the 150 Main will bring with it so many of our city’s current needs to the heart of our downtown. “

Groups like Preservation Utah and Save the Utah Pantages Theater opposed the 2019 sale and fought for the building to be preserved.

The first states that he had been involved in the attempt to preserve the theater for about two decades; the latter of the two attempted to get a question about the sale added to the city’s ballot this year, then sued the city after the initiative was denied. A 3rd District Court judge dismissed the lawsuit on September 23 – although the decision has since been appealed, court records show.

The Save the Utah Pantages Theater group also questioned the city’s rehabilitation estimate as a similar theater in Tacoma, Washington, was rehabilitated for less than $ 20 million. Its organizers named the theater to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September. If the building is classified, this does not prevent the demolition of the building but would allow its owners to benefit from tax credits covering part of the cost of its rehabilitation.

After Wednesday’s transfer, the group’s organizers said in several social media posts that they were not done fighting to save the building.

“I’m not going anywhere. (Casey McDonough) is not going anywhere. (David Berg) is not going anywhere”, group organizer Michael Valentine wrote in a social media post on Friday. “Our international Pantages family is here for the long haul.… It took 12 years to save and restore the Ogden Egyptian in the 1980s. I’ve been here for two years, so if it takes me another decade, let it be. so be it.

“The only way this is all over is when the Pantages is safe, protected, restored and firmly in the hands of the people,” the message continued. “Until then you will not see any rest from me.

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Over 500 backpacks full of supplies prepared for incoming Afghan refugee students


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Volunteers fill backpacks with school supplies for incoming Afghan refugee children in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. (Ashley Fredde, KSL.com)

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake Teachers’ Federation has purchased and filled 546 backpacks of school supplies for Afghan students who will soon fill classrooms across the state in the hopes that it will bring “a sense of membership”.

A group of about 30 volunteers from the American Federation of Teachers’ Federation sections of Front Wasatch, the surrounding community and school districts gathered on Tuesday to fill the backpacks.

Among the volunteers was Salt Lake City Council District 1 candidate Blake Perez, who said he learned of the event by knocking on doors. Perez met a family from the neighborhood who were helping a refugee family.

“It was kind of a sign for me to go out and do that and help,” Perez said.

The effort began when Nadia Rockwell, vice-president of the Salt Lake Teachers’ Federation, applied for a $ 25,000 grant offered to branches by the national union. The executive council of the American Federation of Teachers allocated funds that would have been used for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic as grants for projects that would welcome children back to school.

“I thought if the kids had the supplies they need to go back to school, I think they would feel better. The Salt Lake City School District is doing a really good job of making sure the kids have it. what they need in class, but I think it’s one more step so the kids can have it in their homes, ”said Rockwell.

Once the chapter received the money, the leaders quickly requested a wish list from the school district refugee coordinator. With a list of items in hand, Chapter members purchased the items and began to compile them into backpacks for delivery the following week. Each refugee student in the Salt Lake City School District will receive a backpack, and 150 students at Utah International Charter School will also receive one.

Backpacks were stocked for elementary and high school students, with a variety of items for each. Pencils, erasers, highlighters, binders, paper, colored pencils, crayons and masks were placed in backpacks, but one item excited Rockwell the most: science calculators for students of grades six to twelve.

“I’m just looking at what I had as a student, and my parents provided me with backpacks and calculators and whatever I needed, and I was successful. As a teacher in in the Salt Lake school district, I saw kids who didn’t have all of these things, and I think sometimes that limits them, ”Rockwell said.

As the district strives to help provide basic necessities in the classroom, Rockwell thought that providing students with their own supplies could help student success. Plus, she thought the supplies could show students “that they are important and appreciated in our community.”

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Will the new TRAX station solve an unprecedented problem for Salt Lake City International Airport?


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Trains come and go as officials gather to celebrate the Utah Transit Authority’s TRAX Airport Station, marking the culmination of 20 months of construction extending TRAX to the new airport terminal in Salt Lake City Monday. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 6-7 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – Earlier this month, during the Utah school system’s fall recess, staff at Salt Lake International Airport encountered an issue they had not addressed since the the new airport terminal opened last year.

All airport parking lots have been taken. Its parking lot was completely full because of nearly 30,000 travelers coming to catch the plane elsewhere.

“It is a bit disturbing because it means that it is quite likely that there were people driving to the airport, bags in the trunk, tickets in hand, who could not find a place. to park, ”said Bill Wyatt, manager of Salt Lake City. International airport.

While he maintains that airport executives like him will work on parking management in the future, he used this recent example to emphasize the importance of another solution: public transit. In particular, a new tram station.

On Monday, Wyatt, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and leaders of the Utah Transit Authority welcomed the opening of the new TRAX station at Salt Lake City Airport. They did this by boarding a special Green Line tram that arrived just outside the main terminal at the airport. The train was supposed to pierce a specially designed banner to symbolize an inauguration ceremony, but high winds tore the banner to shreds before the train arrived.

Time could not stop the celebration; it marked the end of 20 months of construction that were delayed due to economic and pandemic issues. City, airport and UTA leaders say the station will be a convenient alternative to driving to the airport, much like the old airport station did for the old one. Salt Lake City airport.

“It’s an exciting day for us,” Mendenhall said. “The way we move people matters. The way you move when you go on a business trip, when you take your family on vacation, and how you see and experience this place has so much to do with the beginning and the end. the end of your commute from home, and the opening of this TRAX (station) is changing the fabric of the experience of Salt Lake City and all of Utah today.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Carlton Christensen, chairman of the board of the Utah Transit Authority, and Bill Wyatt, executive director of <a class=Salt Lake City International Airport, and other officials alight from a train as they gather to celebrate the new UTA TRAX Airport Station, marking the culmination of 20 months of construction extending TRAX to the new airport terminal, in Salt Lake City on Monday, October 25, 2021.”/>
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Carlton Christensen, chairman of the board of the Utah Transit Authority, and Bill Wyatt, executive director of Salt Lake City International Airport, and other officials alight from a train as they gather to celebrate the new UTA TRAX Airport Station, marking the culmination of 20 months of construction extending TRAX to the new airport terminal in Salt Lake City on Monday, October 25, 2021 (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Kaitlin Eskelson, president of Visit Salt Lake, said the resort is not only exciting for Utahns heading to the airport for travel. She said the resort’s “ease of access” is one of its main selling points for people coming to Salt Lake City for travel. It only takes 20 minutes to get from the airport train station to the City Creek Center station in downtown Salt Lake City.

Visits to Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County, heavily driven by people entering the state from the airport, play a key role in Utah’s tourism economy. In 2019, before COVID-19, tourism brought in more than $ 10 billion. Salt Lake County accounted for almost half of business and leisure visits.

As the Salt Lake City airport begins to move closer to pre-COVID-19 passenger numbers – levels that fill its parking lot – and business conventions slowly return to downtown Salt Lake City, Eskelson is optimistic that tourism spending numbers will return to normal soon. This is facilitated by the presence of a light rail station just outside the airport which can take people directly into the city. From there, those looking to get to Utah ski resorts can use other UTA services or other means of transportation.

“(Less minutes) they can spend getting to or from the airport, they can spend more time on the runways and more time in our communities,” she said.

Nancy Volmer, spokesperson for the airport, added that the train station and the normal green line service are also invaluable for the nearly thousands of employees who travel to and from the airport just for work.

The airport’s first station opened in April 2013 as part of an extension of what was then the new green TRAX line connecting Salt Lake City International Airport to West Valley City, passing through the center. -City of Salt Lake City. Carlton Christensen, chairman of the UTA board, said there have been 2.7 million trips to the airport since the line opened.

The Green Line has connection points to the Red Line, which goes to the University of Utah and the Daybreak District in southern Jordan, and the Blue Line, which connects downtown Salt Lake City to Drape. There is also a connection point with UTA’s FrontRunner, which is a commuter train service that connects Ogden to Provo. All of this is in addition to the many bus stations that connect several other routes through Salt Lake County.

Construction on the new airport station began in March 2020. Christensen said the line was extended by 1,500 feet. The whole project cost $ 22 million, which was obtained through local funding.


Hopefully we’ll see a slight uptick now that people know it’ll be a little more convenient – or maybe a lot more convenient – just to jump on the green line and hike it all the way here.

–Carl Arky, Utah Transit Authority spokesperson


The new airport station itself may seem familiar to those who used TRAX to get to the old airport. That’s because materials from the old station have been moved to the new location, according to UTA spokesperson Carl Arky. He said recycling the items saved both time and money. The project was originally slated for completion in July, but COVID-19 issues and concrete supply shortages delayed the project for a few more months.

Until Monday, passengers could take the green TRAX line to the airport, but had to take a bus to the terminal. The bus also took passengers from the terminal to the green line; however, the process has resulted in delays ranging from a few minutes to an hour in some cases.

It is not clear whether these delays resulted in a drop in ridership on the Green Line. UTA has seen a massive drop in ridership system-wide since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit Utah in mid-March 2020. While ridership is still significantly lower at pre-pandemic levels, the agency reported an increase in ridership during recent times.

UTA reports that it made an average of 33,704 weekday boardings in September, up 54% from the previous September, but still 45% below the September 2019 averages. In addition, the agency continues report new post-pandemic monthly records. September 2021 also marked the first time UTA has returned to 30,000 or more runners on weekdays since April 2020.

“Hopefully we’ll see a slight uptick now that people know it will be a little more convenient – or maybe a lot more convenient – just to jump on the green line and hike it this far,” Arky said. . “It just takes time.”

Carlton Christensen, chairman of the board of the Utah Transit Authority, speaks as officials gather to celebrate the new TRAX airport station, marking the culmination of 20 months of construction extending TRAX to the new airport terminal, in Salt <a class=Lake City on Monday, October 25, 2021.”/>
Carlton Christensen, chairman of the board of the Utah Transit Authority, speaks as officials gather to celebrate the new TRAX airport station, marking the culmination of 20 months of construction extending TRAX to the new airport terminal, in Salt Lake City on Monday, October 25, 2021 (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

As ridership continues to increase, UTA is looking for ways to help it grow further. Christensen said UTA will extend Sunday service at the airport from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. starting December 12. This is a return to the hours of service that existed before the pandemic.

He added that the agency was also preparing to launch an incentive that will allow travelers with a “current day” boarding pass to travel for free on TRAX in an effort to encourage people to use the service.

Meanwhile, Arky said he thinks it is “critical” that the project be completed before the next vacation travel season and as air travel increases.

“This airport is already attracting more and more traffic. So I think more and more people are going out and starting to travel again and we are getting closer to vacations, and Salt Lake City and the metro area continues to grow organically as we go. and as we go, I think every mode of transportation we can offer that offers a better solution… wouldn’t be fast enough, ”he said.“ It’s great that we have done this now. We have seen nothing but continued growth and continued use of the airport. “

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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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First “community refrigerator” opens on the west side of Salt Lake City

The first community refrigerator was installed by the Salt Lake Community Support Group. (Adam Sotelo, KSL-TV)

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – Many people are still struggling to make ends meet, even with an economy that appears to be doing well.

Not everyone can afford to put food on the table every day and night, that’s where food banks and pantries come in. But some people still fall through the cracks.

A group in Utah is trying to fill this gap.

You can find all kinds of stuff in people’s front yards. On the west side of Salt Lake City, you can even find a refrigerator – and it works.

“Oh, there’s a lot more going on here than the last time I looked,” Sarah Gronlund said as she opened the front door. “Milk, juice, there’s a whole frozen turkey here. “

Gronlund knows this refrigerator well.

He is in his yard and uses his electricity, but it is not his refrigerator.

“I watched it materialize in my backyard over the course of a few months and I went, dang, look at this giant thing that’s being built,” she said.

Now that a small shed has been built to protect it, it is the first community refrigerator set up by the Salt Lake community support group. It is for people, and families, who might need something to eat.

“I feel like there are just a lot of people where you need the system to help you get there,” Gronlund said.

Anyone can pick up anything or drop off food.

Canned foods also work and can be placed on shelves in the shed built around the refrigerator.

It is located at 1151 N. 1500 West in Salt Lake City.

It’s right where Gronlund lives, but she doesn’t mind people showing up outside her house.

“Oh no. I mean, I already live next to a bus stop,” she said. “Salt Lake Mutual Aid, they spoke to all of my adjacent neighbors one-on-one to make sure they would be okay with the additional foot traffic, and everyone was very supportive.”

She said she understands there is a great need there right now.

If doing your part to help means giving up a bit of your front yard, well, it’s easy to do.

“I don’t really want to mow that part of my field anyway,” Gronlund said with a laugh. “I plan to xeriscape the front yard anyway, so this is the first step.”

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UTA says plans will cause service delays at Salt Lake City, U. of U.


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Passengers arrive by TRAX train at Salt Lake City International Airport on May 13, 2013. The airport’s new station is nearing completion, according to UTA. (Ravell call, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Transit Authority advises passengers at Salt Lake City International Airport and the University of Utah to expect light rail delays this month due to nearby projects of both sites.

UTA on Monday began a bus bridge on its green TRAX line to and from Salt Lake City International Airport. The crews are currently working on the construction of a new station which will eventually lead passengers to the new main terminal of the airport.

While passengers were able to exit at a temporary stop near the airport and take a short bus ride to it, passengers are now advised to exit at 1940 West Station and then proceed. a longer bus ride to the airport. Buses will also take passengers from the airport to the 1940 West Station.

Transit officials say passengers should expect delays of 15 to 30 minutes due to the bus bridge, which will run until October 21. Buses will run every 15 minutes between 5:32 a.m. and 11:06 p.m. on weekdays, every 30 minutes between 6:25 a.m. and 11:25 p.m. on Saturdays, and every 30 minutes between 6:25 a.m. and 8:05 p.m. on Sundays for the duration of the project.

Meanwhile, UTA officials said red line runners trying to reach the University of Utah should also expect delays of 15 to 30 minutes from Saturday as the crews replace the tracks near Mario Capecchi Drive. From Saturday to Wednesday, passengers heading to the University of Utah will need to exit at UTA Station 900 East, where a bus will take them to Stadium, South Campus and University Medical Center stations.

UTA officials added that the bus will not travel to Fort Douglas station during the bus bridge service, so those who would normally use this station are encouraged to use the South Campus station instead. . Regular service is scheduled to resume on October 14.

According to the University of Utah’s semester schedule, fall vacation is expected to begin next week, so the delay in service will not impact travel to classes.

The project also involves road closures. Westbound traffic from Mario Capecchi Drive at 1850 East and the bends from Mario Capecchi Drive northbound and southbound at South Campus Drive westbound were closed on Monday due to the project. Two lanes are still open from South Wasatch Drive to Gibbon Street on Mario Capecchi Drive southbound. All closures will remain in place until next Wednesday.

All lanes will be open on South Campus Drive eastbound for the duration of the project. The project could cause delays of up to 30 to 60 minutes for motorists.

The project is similar to the rail replacement that happened near Rice-Eccles Stadium in August. UTA officials said the project would add noise to residents and businesses in the area.

“Residents and local businesses should expect noise all day and night as well as dust, vibration and nighttime lighting during work activities,” they wrote in a press release. . “Barriers will be used to reduce noise.”

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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

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Utah economy

Ironman 70.3 World Championship Generates Nearly $ 18 Million Direct Economic Impact For Washington County

Pro female winner Lucy Charles-Barclay and pro male winner Gustav Iden at the finish line of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in St. George on September 18th. The economic impact of the race will resonate throughout Washington County in the months to come. (Jeff Richards, St. George News)

ST. GEORGE – The Ironman 70.3 World Championship ended a few weeks ago, but the economic impact of the race will resonate throughout Washington County in the months to come.

Before the start of the race, planners and city officials were hoping the international event would generate between $ 15 million and $ 18 million, and early feedback suggests the goal has been met.

“Data collected from athlete surveys confirms that the county achieved nearly $ 18 million in direct economic impact from participants and visitors who came for the event,” wrote Kevin Lewis, director of Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office, in an email to St. George News. .

“The immediate impact is primarily focused on hotel businesses,” Lewis added. “But these dollars are flowing to other businesses in the region, creating income and jobs in many industries.”

Lewis said that without tourism and the visitor economy in southern Utah, local residents would have fewer options for recreation, dining and entertainment. They would also pay higher personal taxes to support other basic services in the community.

Read the full article on St. George News.

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Utah economy

Utah’s booming population, impacts of aging infrastructure on air pollution are a growing concern

As part of Utah’s 5th Annual Climate Week, panelists met after the premiere of a local documentary to discuss air pollution on Tuesday. (Mark Wetzel, KSL)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Senator Derek Kitchen raised “red flags” regarding the future of the state’s air quality during a panel following the premiere of a local documentary centered on air pollution in Utah.

The film “AWiRE: What’s Beneath the Clouds” premiered to an audience on Tuesday, with a panel of speakers to answer questions. While discussing the hope each panelist had for Utah’s climate solutions, Kitchen, who represents Salt Lake City, began by citing his growing concerns.

The Democratic state senator pointed out that recent U.S. census data shows Utah to be the fastest growing state in the country. The state has ranked among the best in its economy, GDP growth, and business opportunities over the years, leading to what Kitchen called “explosive growth on the Wasatch front.”

While this growth bodes well for the state’s opportunities, Kitchen expects it to put “tremendous pressure” on Utah’s air quality and infrastructure.

“We’re going to continue to see more people cramming in and we’re going to continue to see more cars on the road. We need to electrify our network. Ultimately it comes down to these big systemic changes that we need to focus on. as a community, ”Kitchen told the audience.“ It is truly essential that we continue to promote progressive policy that meaningfully addresses issues of energy, the way we consume things and the air we breathe. . “

Part of that progressive policy, Kitchen said, is in the way zoning and town planning is done.

A sentiment supported by Daniel Mendoza, professor at the University of Utah, who conducts research in metropolitan urban planning and atmospheric sciences. While many climate activists point to industrial air pollution as the main contributor, Mendoza said industries only make up about 15%, cars 50% and the construction sector 30%.

Whether it is consumer choices, legislative changes or government regulations that have the greatest influence on air pollution, the panel emphasized collective responsibility.

“We all have an individual responsibility for our own choices, and I think we all also have a responsibility to try to advance our group choices, our societal choices, our legislative choices,” said the representative of the Raymond Ward State. “We can’t control them, we have a responsibility to try to push what little we can.”

“It’s very hard for me to hear people say ‘someone else should fix this’ when I see them idling, trying to cheat their car inspections and wanting to get five packages now,” he said. added Mendoza.

But despite the shared responsibility of the community, the harmful effects of air pollution are disproportionate in this community.

The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, or HEAL Utah, found that communities living on the west side of the valley, where highways and the majority of industrial sources are located, tend to be more exposed to pollution than communities on the east side. .

The disproportionate effects were explored in the film through local Utahn stories.

“We started to delve deeper into this problem and we realized how systemic and endemic this problem is and how disparate this problem is in the communities of Salt Lake, and it really broadened its scope,” said the director Jack Hessler.

“No one should be subjected to pollution or damage just because of where they live, the color of their skin or who they are. You have to learn to grow as a community as opposed to the capitalist view of growth: get your money and get your big house and get away from pollution instead of “let’s get rid of the pollution that harms and affects our communities”, he said. said Carmen Valdez, political associate for HEAL Utah.

The film’s premiere was part of the fifth annual Utah Climate Week, hosted by the Utah Climate Action Network. The annual series of events features a group of organizations, businesses, leaders and residents on the impact of climate change on Utah and solutions. The film “What’s Beneath the Clouds” is open to the public from Wednesday and can be viewed online.

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Utah economy

What if you wait to buy a house? Interest rates could change drastically

All aspiring homeowners in Utah are asking the same question: When will house prices drop?

Unfortunately, no one can predict exactly when this will happen or if it will happen. In the meantime, there may be one more important question home buyers should ask themselves: What if you wait to buy a home?

While it is tempting to wait for prices to cool down, there is another risk associated with postponing a buying decision. Bankrate reports that today’s interest rates remain low, but that “[m]all mortgage experts expect rates to climb above 3.5% by the end of 2021. ”

So what if interest rates rise while house prices fall? How do these numbers compare?

While a loan officer can help you answer this question based on your particular situation, here is a general overview of how interest rates can affect home prices. (You might be surprised by the results.)

An overview of the impact of different interest rates on homebuyers

To show you how even a slight increase in interest rates can affect the price of your home over time, consider the following hypothetical examples.

Suppose you qualify for a $ 400,000 home purchase with 5% down payment and your loan amount is $ 380,000. 10 years of 3% interest costs you $ 54,814.51.

Now watch what happens when you increase the interest rate from 1% to 4%. If you were eligible for a payment of around $ 1,600, you could now only spend $ 353,000 with a loan amount of $ 335,350 and pay $ 65,037.52 in interest over 10 years.

And if the interest rate goes up an additional 5%, a cheaper home is even more expensive. You could now only afford to buy a house for $ 314,000 with a mortgage of $ 298,300. Again, the payment would be the same and the loan would cost $ 72,846.60 in interest over 10 years.

It is simply by increasing the interest rate by 2% between the $ 400,000 house and the $ 314,000 house. The interest is considerably higher on the much lower loan amount and the payments are roughly the same. You can see how easily things can add up over the life of your loan, even if you originally bought a cheaper home.

Essentially, a 1% rise in interest rates is equivalent to a more than 10% drop in house prices. Over the past 20 years, even during the recession, prices have not fallen 10% in a calendar year in Salt Lake County. Ultimately, it can cost you more if interest rates rise than what you could potentially save while waiting for prices to drop.

What if you wait to buy a house?  Interest rates could change drastically
Photo: Shutterstock

Why interest rates could rise in 2022

While no one can pinpoint when and if interest rates will rise over the next few months, there are several factors that could cause interest rates to rise in 2022.

Currently, the hottest topic impacting mortgage rates is pending inflation. There are many opinions about how quickly mortgage rates will be adjusted to fight inflation, but most people agree that inflation is a fast approaching challenge.

Another thing that has an impact on mortgage rates is the Federal Reserve. To keep the housing market stable and stimulate the economy, the Federal Reserve will often buy mortgage bonds. If they choose to cut back on these purchases, interest rates will likely rise.

According to Investopedia, “The Federal Reserve aims to maintain economic stability and has an impact on bank lending rates. When the Fed wants to stimulate the economy, it usually becomes cheaper to take out a mortgage. And when the Fed wants to crack down on the economy, it acts to drain money from the system, which means borrowers will likely pay a higher interest rate on mortgages. “

The strength of the economy also plays a role in mortgage interest rates. When GDP and employment increase, it is a sign of a growing economy, which means more people with purchasing power. This creates greater demand for real estate. Since lenders have a limited amount of money to lend, they increase the rate so that they can lend more mortgages to more borrowers in the future.

The housing market has a similar impact on mortgage rates as the growing demand for real estate means growing demand for mortgages.

There are many other things that affect interest rates, but these are the things that are currently in the spotlight and why many believe rates will go up.

Benefit from lower interest rates

While no one knows exactly what the future holds, taking advantage of today’s lower rates seems like a good option for homebuyers who may be on the fence. Since Bankrate lists Utah’s housing market as the hottest in the country, it could be some time before prices start to fall. Locking in a good interest rate can be your best chance to save thousands or tens of thousands of dollars when buying your home.

To help you determine the best options for your situation, the Stern team is here to guide you through every step of the home buying process. For more information, call 801-788-4049 or visit sternteam.com today. If you have questions about financing, contact Mandi Henriod with Intercap Lending at 801-638-1005.

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Salt lake city government

How would you design the Utah voting cards? Here’s how these residents drew theirs


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Voters cast their ballot at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City on November 3, 2020. With 2020 census data in hand, Utah is in the process of creating new riding maps for the next 10 years. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

TAYLORSVILLE – When it comes to reconstructing representative boundaries, Stuart Hepworth sees roads as a key part of bringing different neighborhoods together.

For him, it’s important that someone can drive from one Utah electoral district to another without randomly crossing another district in between. This is something that can be difficult in the Beehive State.

“The geography of Utah is quite difficult for someone who values ​​the cohesion and contiguity of roads. Compared to other states, it is much more difficult to create compact districts and contiguous to roads,” a- he said at a meeting of the Utah Independent Redistribution Commission on Tuesday night. . “With the geography of Utah, you have areas that look like they need to be connected on a map, like Uintah and Grand counties for example, where there is no real way to get between them.”

As Utah’s Independent Constituency Commission continues to gather feedback on the state’s new voting cards for the next decade, its leaders spent most of Tuesday’s 2.5-hour meeting listening how a handful of residents of the state designed their own maps of Congress, Parliament and the school board. .

A card creation feature, launched last month, is one of the innovative ways the Utah Independent Redistribution Commission is trying to compile public commentary by trying to come up with more fair voting cards for the public to consider. ‘Utah. Legislature later this year.

The commission has received a modest number of responses in recent weeks. Commission staff said they received more than a dozen card submissions from Congress, but struggled with school boards, only receiving two in that category.

The system allows anyone to design cards and send them to the committee. It drew in people like Hepworth, a native of southern Jordan and a current University of Utah student. Hepworth may have been the star of Tuesday’s meeting, showcasing not only his designs for the four voting cards, but several Congressional District options based on various definitions of the mission.

Explaining his map of the Utah House of Representatives to the commission, he said that in addition to his road theory, he wanted to focus more on neighborhoods and similar communities – a redistribution term called communities of interests – rather than keeping cities in the same neighborhoods. .

A redistrict design for the Utah House of Representatives submitted by Stuart Hepworth.  The University of Utah student said he tried to make sure each district was designed so that someone could drive from one Utah polling district to another without randomly crossing another district in between.
A redistrict design for the Utah House of Representatives submitted by Stuart Hepworth. The University of Utah student said he tried to make sure each district was designed so that someone could drive from one Utah polling district to another without randomly crossing another district in between. (Photo: Utah Independent Redistribution Commission)

“I tried to avoid dividing neighborhoods into cities with very well established neighborhoods,” he said. “One of the (big) things in all of my maps is to keep districts contiguous to roads, so you can drive from one district to another without crossing another district.”

Communities of interest are an important component of redistribution. They are neighborhoods and communities with common interests. So if you want to be in the same electoral district as your neighbor, that’s a community of interest. The same goes for a specific neighborhood in a city, like Glendale in Salt Lake City or East Bay in Provo.

What is a community of interest? Trying to keep a county in the same district, which is part of the comments the commission received, according to Joey Fica, GIS and logistics specialist for the Utah Independent Redistribution Commission.

The commission allows residents who may not be interested in designing maps to display on the map the community of interest they wish to preserve. The commission considers economic, educational, environmental, ethnic, industrial, linguistic, local, neighborhood and religious communities as examples of communities of interest.

These comments can be viewed online for everyone to see. For example, a resident of the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City said he saw “traffic, air pollution or safety issues” as unifying topics for their area, as a reason they would like be in the same neighborhoods. A resident of Vernal wrote that it was important to keep the Native American lands and reservations of eastern Utah together so that they could “maintain the culture and … the rights.”

Provo resident Daniel Friend argues that rural Utah is potentially the state’s largest community of interest. That’s why he designed a congressional map that features one giant district for rural communities and three smaller districts that divide the Front Wasatch population group.

“Despite being geographically very large, rural Utah shares so much,” he said. “One thing the census brought up is that a lot of rural Utah is losing population, a lot of Front Wasatch is gaining some. I don’t know how a (representative) can represent these two interests as they are directly opposed. “

A Utah Congressional District project submitted by Daniel Friend, a resident of Provo.  He said his design was inspired by keeping rural Utah connected to a unifying district.
A Utah Congressional District project submitted by Daniel Friend, a resident of Provo. He said his design was inspired by keeping rural Utah connected to a unifying district. (Photo: Utah Independent Redistribution Commission)

He told the committee that he was aware that the current congressional districts are divided in such a way as to ensure that the four districts have at least urban and rural communities; in fact, he said he heard comments from a rural Utah resident who prefers it. However, he is concerned that some districts are already determined by urban participation and that all four districts will eventually become so if demographic trends continue as they have.

Unlike Hepworth, Friend also believes cities should stick together as much as possible. That’s why its Utah legislative districts – a map that would not be accepted as is due to issues with borderline population size – kept places like Eagle Mountain and Riverton in the same House Districts. representatives, as well as combining Cedar City and Enoch together.

Travis DeJong, a Utah resident and Draper City employee, shared his cards with a similar approach. He said his goal was to keep counties and towns intact as much as possible. He and Friend also tried to divide major cities by neighborhood boundaries instead of placing the lines directly across them.

Another approach was to take the current limits and adjust them to new populations, which Kevin Jones did. Still, the Utah resident was ready to crown Hepworth the champion for having the “best house card on this whole earth.”

The Utah Independent Redistribution Commission has until Nov. 1 to finalize the cards to send to legislative leaders. Gordon Haight, executive director of the commission, said they had entered a “critical period” in their process.

The Utah Legislative Redistribution Committee, which is made up of Utah lawmakers, is also considering public comment before also recommending potential voting cards for the next decade. Despite long delays in receiving the 2020 census data that is used to help determine voting cards, the state is still on track to complete the process before the end of the year.

It is possible that one of the models shared on Tuesday will be selected by the committee before the end of October, when the committee will complete public comments and submit a model to heads of state. It could also become the state’s final voting card.

Even if not, Rex Facer, the chairman of the Utah Independent Riding Commission, told residents who shared their cards that he appreciated their efforts.

“There is something very useful about seeing alternate visions of how we can group things together,” he said.

Meanwhile, the commission also voted to add and modify some of its public comment tour which is already underway. He added a new event at Mexican Hat in San Juan County on September 29 at the request of the Navajo Nation, according to staff members. He will also hold a new meeting in Moab on October 13.

The commission also moved its October 9 meeting from Saratoga Springs to Eagle Mountain and moved its Herriman meeting to October 22-21. The commission still has 10 public feedback events scheduled across the state through October 23.

Facer said on Tuesday that the commission would continue to accept public comments and also card designs until October 23. All of this can be done through the commission’s website.

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Salt lake city government

Salt Lake allocates $ 8 million to tackle housing crisis and increase affordable housing


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Ana Valdemoros, chair of the board of directors of the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency, speaks at a press conference Tuesday announcing a notice of funding availability for affordable housing development in the city. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake City redevelopment agency on Tuesday released $ 8 million for the construction and preservation of affordable housing projects. The city continues to experience growing economic inequality as housing rates rise faster than the incomes of residents.

“This is the commitment we are showing with the resources we have to provide solutions to this statewide housing crisis that we are experiencing, it may not be the complete solution, but it is the most that anyone has done, “Ana Valdemoros, president of the board of directors of the GDR and a city councilor, said at a press conference on Tuesday. “I really appreciate the other members of council, the mayor and the staff, for focusing on the resources we have and dispersing them so that we can at least make a dent for the residents of Salt Lake City.”

The $ 8 million will be allocated under the GDR Housing Development Loan Program. A portion of this funding, $ 2.7 million, is spent on projects located in what are considered “high potential areas”. These areas are places in Salt Lake City that are believed to provide conditions that will expand an individual’s possibilities for social mobility.

These high opportunity areas are identified using indicators such as homeownership rate, poverty, household financial burden, education level, unemployment rate and labor market participation. work, according to the director of the GDR, Danny Walz. The agency is made up of the seven members of the Salt Lake City council, with Mayor Erin Mendenhall as executive director.

Applicants must develop and plan a project that meets the city’s affordable housing goals to be eligible for funding. Some of the city’s goals include:

  • Residential units targeted at underserved populations
  • Accommodation for families
  • Housing for affordable home ownership
  • Equitable access to a variety of transportation options
  • Equitable geographic distribution of affordable housing
  • Long-term affordability.

“It’s not just the money that’s going to help us make geographic equity more possible in our city, when it comes to affordability, and that’s why that’s so important. whatever the gap for the current owners, ”Mendenhall said.

<a class=Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall speaks at a press conference Tuesday announcing a notice of funding availability for affordable housing development in the city.”/>
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall speaks at a press conference Tuesday announcing a notice of funding availability for affordable housing development in the city. (Photo: Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)

The City’s goals demonstrate a variety of needs that residents face during the affordable housing crisis.

The federal government defines affordable housing as any housing unit whose gross monthly costs, including utilities, do not represent more than 30% of a household’s gross monthly income. But state data has revealed that more than 183,000 low-income households pay more than half of their income for rent and move closer to homelessness with deteriorating economic conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This same data showed that from 2009 to 2016, incomes grew by 0.31% per year, while rents increased at a rate of 1.03% per year in 2017. In addition, the recent population growth of cities like Salt Lake City led to a concentrated increase. required. For example, the average rent for an apartment in Salt Lake County was $ 647 in 2000, but the average monthly payment rose to $ 1,153 in 2018, according to an analysis by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute of the University of Utah.

Unaffordable housing leaves residents with less money to pay for food, utilities, transportation to work, health and child care, among other expenses. Mendenhall said the city takes these elements into account when allocating funds, noting that 90% of housing units built in Salt Lake City since 2019 are within walking distance of public transportation, helping to keep costs down. transport which represent on average 20% of the expenses of a resident. total income.

Part of this housing growth includes 333 affordable units, funded in part by the RDA, which were added in the past year. According to Valdemoros, 181 more units are expected to come online by the end of this calendar year, with more than three-quarters of these rented at affordable rates for those earning 60% or less of the region’s median income.

These units may look like “micro-units” seen in newer developments like the Mya, located at 447 South Blair Street. Property manager Alicia Anderson said the building offers different units with varying rates depending on applicants’ incomes. The building has market-priced units, which allows “a mix of different demographics and different incomes and makes people feel like they live in any other building.”

But Valdemoros said the focus should not be on micro-units, but on a variety of housing that meets a complex need. The council member pointed out that residents find it difficult to accommodate a growing family in smaller homes.

“We hear churches, we hear schools, we hear neighbors say, ‘Hey, you know I’m having a second child – I don’t think I can live in the city anymore. “It’s hard for me to hear as a board member because I always thought I wanted everyone to live, work and play in Salt Lake City,” said Valdemoros.

Developers can attend a virtual meeting hosted by the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency on Friday, September 24 at 11 a.m. to receive an overview of the application, requirements, and selection process. For more information or to attend the meeting, visit slc.rda.com.

A list of Utah housing resources is available at https://www.hud.gov/states/utah/renting. In Salt Lake County, affordable housing resources are available at https://housingconnect.org.

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Salt lake city

‘It’s criminal’: Real Salt Lake’s bad luck with VAR leads to loss to Colorado


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Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett (26) and Real Salt Lake midfielder Nick Besler (13) tie up in the first half of an MLS football game on Saturday, August 21 2021 in Commerce City, Colorado (AP Photo / Jack Dempsey) (Jack Dempsey, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake manager Freddy Juarez will likely write Major League Soccer a check. For him, it will be worth it.

“It’s criminal that they take something away from our guys like that,” Juarez said of the refereeing immediately after a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at Commerce City.

Sure, the Rocky Mountain Cup is a heated rivalry – exemplified by the many scrambling and shouting matches towards the end of the game – but RSL’s real nemesis on Saturday came down to a three-letter combination: VAR.

Replay took an apparent RSL goal off the board in the first half and changed the decision to take a penalty in the second. RSL therefore left Colorado feeling like they had lost three points, especially since Juarez and the team certainly disagreed with any of those decisions.

In the 34th minute, Albert Rusnak sent a free kick into the box where Justen Glad threw a volley towards the Colorado goalkeeper. The initial shot was knocked back, but Rubio Rubin flew off and scored what looked like the game’s first goal.

But after a few moments, the referee mimed the dreaded box and walked over to the monitor; he determined that Glad was in an offside position. It couldn’t be much – a toe? a hair out of place? a slight incline? – but that was enough for him to deny the goal, much to the chagrin of the RSL team.

“It wasn’t clear and obvious,” Juarez said. “One of the most experienced linemen in the league hasn’t raised that flag. I’ve seen it a couple of times. I mean, come on, it’s not clear and obvious.”

The “clear and obvious” criterion is what RSL struggled to follow the game with. For Real Salt Lake, the replay did not show this to be an obvious mistake by the officials squad. It was close – really close – and Juarez and his team felt that such a close call shouldn’t have been changed.

“I have no idea,” Rubin said. “I’m still so confused.… The reason the goals are denied is clear and obvious. And I don’t know what the fine is for, for talking about the referees, but there have been some clear and obvious appeals against we who haven’t been called and are called for one today. It hurts us. “

However, VAR was not done playing with RSL’s emotions.

In the second half, after Colorado came back with two quick goals to take a 2-1 lead, RSL looked to have a golden chance at the equalizer.

Damir Kreilach was knocked down in the penalty area as he tried to retrieve a cross. It was a clear and unmistakable foul, but it was déjà vu for RSL when the referee signaled again for VAR.

He went to the monitor and saw Kreilach in an offside position before the foul was committed. This meant no penalty.

Adding to RSL’s frustration was the fact that Juarez and Cie felt they had played one of their best games of the season. RSL controlled possession much of the night and always generated strong scoring chances. Those finally came to fruition – for real this time – in the 51st minute when Rusnak passed Aaron Herrera into the top corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

“Our guys were so brave,” Juarez said. “We insisted, we didn’t let them stall us for long periods of time, we were dynamic.”

Colorado equalized in the 64th minute when Diego Rubio took the lead from a corner and sent it past Andrew Putna, who replaced Zac MacMath after injuring his right knee in the first half.

Seven minutes later, Colorado’s Mark-Anthony Kaye ran unmarked into the box and headed for the score.

With the exception of those 10 minutes or so, RSL was the better team. This made the bad luck with VAR even more difficult to swallow.

“I thought they deserved more and they deserved more,” Juarez said. “I thought it was a fantastic display. We have to carry that energy to the next games.”

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US, Germany advise against going to Kabul airport amid evacuation chaos


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US soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division arrive Friday to provide security at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Senior Airman Taylor Crul / US Air Force / Document via Reuters)

KABUL – The United States and Germany on Saturday urged their citizens in Afghanistan to avoid traveling to Kabul airport, citing security risks as thousands of desperate people gathered to try to flee almost a week after the takeover by the Taliban Islamists.

Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar has arrived in the Afghan capital for talks with other leaders. The group is trying to forge a new government after its forces swept the country as US-led forces withdrew after two decades as the West-backed government and military collapsed.

Crowds have multiplied at the airport in the heat and dust of the day over the past week, hampering operations as the United States and other countries attempt to evacuate thousands of its diplomats and civilians as well as many Afghans. Mothers, fathers and children collided with concrete blast walls in the crush as they sought to fly away.

The Taliban have urged those without travel documents to return home. At least 12 people have been killed in and around the single-track airfield since Sunday, when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, NATO and Taliban officials said.

“Due to the potential security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we advise US citizens to avoid going to the airport and avoid the airport gates at this time. , unless you receive individual instructions from a US government official to do so, “a US Embassy notice said.

The German embassy also advised its citizens not to go to the airport, warning in an email that Taliban forces were carrying out increasingly stringent checks in its immediate vicinity.

The opinions highlighted how volatile the security situation remains. A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US military was looking for alternative routes for people to reach the airport due to threats from militant groups such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State. .

A baby is handed over to the US military over the perimeter wall of the airport for evacuation in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday.
A baby is handed over to the US military over the perimeter wall of the airport for evacuation in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday. (Photo: Omar Haidari, Reuters)

Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor, along with the US Army Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon briefing that 5,800 US troops remained at the airport and the facility “remained secure “. Taylor said some airport gates were temporarily closed and reopened over the past day to facilitate a safe influx of evacuees.

A Taliban official, speaking to Reuters, said security risks could not be ruled out but the group “aimed to improve the situation and provide a smooth exit” for people trying to leave over the weekend. -end. The Taliban takeover sparked fears of retaliation and a return to a harsh version of Islamic law that the Taliban exercised when they were in power two decades ago.

Taylor said the United States evacuated 17,000 people, including 2,500 Americans, from Kabul last week. Taylor said that in the past day 3,800 people were evacuated on US military and charter flights.

The Biden administration has told U.S. airlines they may be ordered to help transport evacuees from Afghanistan, two officials said on Saturday.

Speaking a day after President Joe Biden promised to evacuate “any American who wants to go home,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he did not have a “perfect number” on the number of US citizens remaining in Kabul and Afghanistan in general, although officials have indicated that it is in the thousands.

Kirby declined to describe Kabul’s specific “threat dynamics”, but called the security situation “fluid and dynamic”.

“We are fighting against time and space,” Kirby said.

“Defy life”

In Qatar, which hosts thousands of evacuees until they can enter a third country, Afghans who have fled have described in interviews with Reuters the desperation of leaving loved ones behind while coping with their own uncertain future.

A law student spoke of looting by the Taliban as they took control of Kabul, with armed militants intimidating people on their way to the airport. He left behind his wife, whom he married on a video call before evacuating.

“Our spirits are back home because our families are staying,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity like the other evacuees over concerns about loved ones left behind.

“It will be a very, very different and difficult life ahead,” said another man, a lawyer who arrived in Doha with his wife, three children, parents and two sisters.

The Qatar Air Force has evacuated Afghan nationals, students, foreign diplomats and journalists from Afghanistan, the Gulf country’s government media office said on Twitter, without giving further details.

Switzerland has postponed a charter flight from Kabul due to chaos at the airport.

Crisis management

The Taliban official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Baradar would meet with militant commanders, former government leaders and decision-makers, religious scholars and others. The official said the group plans to prepare a new model of government for Afghanistan in the coming weeks, with separate teams tackling internal security and financial issues.

“Experts from the former government will be called in for crisis management,” the official said.

The new government structure will not be a democracy according to Western definitions, the official said, but “will protect the rights of everyone”.

The Taliban, whose chief general Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada has so far remained publicly silent, must also unite disparate groups within the movement whose interests may not always coincide now that victory is achieved.

The Taliban follow an ultra-tough version of Sunni Islam. They have sought to present a more moderate face since their return to power, saying they want peace and will respect women’s rights under Islamic law.

When in power from 1996 to 2001, also guided by Islamic law, the Taliban prevented women from working or going out without wearing a wrap-around burqa and prevented girls from going to school.

Individual Afghans and international aid and defense groups have reported harsh retaliation against protests and roundups by those who had previously held government positions, criticized the Taliban, or worked with US-led forces.

“We have heard of some cases of atrocities and crimes against civilians,” said the Taliban official.

“If (members of the Taliban) tackle these public order issues, they will be investigated,” he said.

Contributing: Rupam Jain, James Mackenzie, Tom Sims, Idrees Ali, Humeyra Pamuk, Alexander Cornwell and Charlotte Greenfield

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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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Will masks be mandatory as cases increase? Utah Legislature Has Final Say on COVID-19 Restrictions


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SALT LAKE CITY – As the number of cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to rise, mask warrants are back in a few cities in the western United States.

In Los Angeles and Las Vegas, residents and visitors should wear a mask for indoor events, even if they are vaccinated, to slow the transmission of the delta variant.

But is it likely to return to Utah, or is it even possible?

“I think going back to a mask mandate, or going back to restrictions, is the opposite direction to where we need to go right now,” said Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield.

He told KSL-TV that Utah lawmakers are highly unlikely to ever bring back a mask warrant, even as new cases increase. Ultimately, they have the authority over emergency health orders.

“It comes down to a personal choice,” said Ray. “It’s not the government’s role to do that, especially with the vaccine. You educate people about the benefits of the vaccine. If you want to get vaccinated, you get vaccinated. If you don’t, then you take the risk of coming down with COVID. “

Utah’s COVID-19 emergency orders ended five months ago and the state legislature further restricted how they could be implemented.

So if a city or county in Utah wanted to bring back a mask warrant, could they do so?

“Local Utah health departments have the power to issue mask warrants if they have the support of their elected officials in their jurisdiction,” said Nicholas Rupp, spokesperson for the Salt County Department of Health. Lake.

A county health department executive can issue a new emergency health declaration as a mask warrant as long as local officials, like the mayor and commission, are in favor.


It is not the government’s role to do that, especially with the vaccine. You educate people about the benefits of the vaccine. If you want to get vaccinated, you get vaccinated. If you don’t, then you run the risk of falling with COVID.

-Representative. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield


But according to Evan Vickers, co-sponsor of Senate Bill 195, the legislature can end any order or restriction issued by a health department. So the legislature has that authority in Utah.

Rupp said they would never remove this mask warrant option, but the county health department is currently focusing on vaccine distribution as the most effective tool to fight the pandemic.

“Right now, while we have a vaccine that is still very effective against all of the circulating variants, we are more likely to focus our efforts on promoting this more effective intervention,” Rupp said.

He said masks were a very effective tool in 2020 when there was no vaccine, but at this time Salt Lake County is not likely to re-implement a mask mandate.

“We will focus on vaccination for now, as long as the vaccines continue to be as effective against the variants,” Rupp said.

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Utah City Leaders Call on Senators Romney and Lee to Support Immigration Reform Bills


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Mikhail Shneyder, President and CEO of Nightingale College, joins a group calling on Utah senators to support bipartisan immigration reform at a press conference at the World Trade Center Utah offices in Salt Lake City on Wednesday July 14, 2021 (Scott G Winterton, Déseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah civic and business leaders, DACA recipients, and former undocumented immigrants have called on the Senses. Utah’s Mike Lee and Mitt Romney on Wednesday backing bipartisan immigration reform bills on Wednesday, citing economic and moral imperatives.

Executives at the event, held at the Utah World Trade Center, highlighted the important role immigrants play in Utah’s economy. As Utah emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, like most countries, it faces a severe labor shortage. The labor shortage is expected to persist as Utah’s unemployment rate trims to pre-pandemic levels and nearly 95% of Utah’s DACA-eligible population is employed.


Utah continues to be a place where immigrants contribute to the rich fabric of our community. Immigrants to Utah are entrepreneurs, they are teachers, they are leaders, they are part of our family.

–Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce


Bob Worsley, founder of SkyMall and co-chair of the Intermountain chapter of the American Business Immigration Coalition, said immigration reform is critical to the growth of the United States as it faces declining birth rates and a generation which withdraws in waves. Worsley stressed that in order to continue competing with countries like China or India, the United States must view immigration as an immediate solution.

“With the passage of the House of dream act and the Agricultural Workforce Modernization Act we are on the verge of enacting much-needed bipartisan immigration reform to help move our economy forward. Immigration is the main engine of economic growth in the United States and that means welcoming new immigrants, ”said Worsley, a former Republican state senator.

He continued, “We need to change the rhetoric in America about immigration. We need to stop slandering them and help Americans understand that large numbers of future Americans must enter legally through modern ports of entry with visas. legal issues issued by modern immigration systems. Nativism will not lead to growth in the United States (gross domestic product). Translation: Significant legal immigration leads to prosperity for all. “

The group also advocated for the adoption of the Law on the Safe Environment of Countries Subject to Repression and State of Emergency or SECURE act.

Data from New American Economy, which describes itself as a bipartisan research and advocacy organization and which was a co-sponsor of Wednesday’s event, showed that in 2019, Utah had 272,134 immigrant residents who paid about $ 1.8 billion in taxes and $ 5.8 billion in expenses. Power.

Mikhail Shneyder, President and CEO of Nightingale College, left, shakes hands with Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, after a press conference at the offices of the World Trade Center Utah in <a class=Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, where they called on Utah senators to support bipartisan immigration reform. They were joined by representatives from the Intermountain section of the American Business Immigration Coalition, the New American Economy, the Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association and the Mormon Women for Ethical Government.”/>
Mikhail Shneyder, President and CEO of Nightingale College, left, shakes hands with Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, after a press conference at the offices of the World Trade Center Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, where they called on Utah senators to support bipartisan immigration reform. They were joined by representatives from the Intermountain section of the American Business Immigration Coalition, the New American Economy, the Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association and the Mormon Women for Ethical Government. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

“Utah continues to be a place where immigrants contribute to the rich fabric of our community. Immigrants to Utah are entrepreneurs, they are teachers, they are leaders, they are part of our family. billions of dollars in economic activity and they brighten up the landscape of our state. Utah is a place of compromise and goodwill and we call upon these virtues to be a guide for our national leaders, “he said. said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Data provided by New American Economy indicates that immigrant entrepreneurs in 2019 generated total business income of $ 349 million. Among these entrepreneurs is the CEO of Nightingale College, Mikhail Schneyder.

“The issue of immigration reform is deeply personal to me. I came to the United States at the age of 19 to escape persecution in my homeland, ethnic persecution and in the hope of finding the American dream, ”Schneyder said.

Schneyder learned English, became a registered nurse, obtained American citizenship, earned an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley, and then built and ran Nightingale College. Schneyder said Nightingale relies on a diverse workforce, looking for immigrants to fill positions ranging from service to leadership.

The variety of labor needs is reflected in immigrants who are more likely to have a graduate degree than those born in the United States, but are also less likely to have less than a degree. ‘secondary studies. The spectrum allows immigrants to fill shortages at both ends of employment needs, from high-tech fields to agriculture, hospitality and service industries.

Several leaders expressed the labor shortage in the service industry and stressed the importance of immigrants who are ready to fill these roles.

Mayra Cedano, executive director of Comunidades Unidas, calls on Utah senators to support bipartisan immigration reform during a press conference at the offices of the World Trade Center Utah in <a class=Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.”/>
Mayra Cedano, executive director of Comunidades Unidas, calls on Utah senators to support bipartisan immigration reform during a press conference at the offices of the World Trade Center Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

But Mayra Cedano, a former undocumented immigrant and current executive director of Comunidades Unidas, said this crucial moment for immigration reform goes beyond the economy.

“When this country called on our workers to step up and support our communities as frontline workers, the undocumented workers were there. They quickly became the essential workers who chose the food we eat, built the neighborhoods we live in, cleaned homes and businesses, stocked our shelves, taught our own children, ”Cedano said. “Essential immigrant workers have continually put their health and that of their families on the line to protect us all, but many immigrant workers fear that they will not be able to see their families at the end of the day due to the risk of deportation.”

Sixty-nine percent of all immigrant U.S. workers and 74 percent of undocumented workers are essential workers, according to data from the Center for Migration Studies.

“We cannot be both deportable and essential. The time has come for a grateful nation to step up. Essential workers without permanent legal status should be recognized as the Americans they already are,” Cedano added.

The event was sponsored by the American Business Immigration Coalition Intermountain Chapter, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, New American Economy, Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association, Utah World Trade Center, and Mormon Women for Ethical Government.

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Where do all these people come from when they move to Utah?

Vinay Cardwell, president of Young Professionals Salt Lake City, poses for a portrait at The Shop co-working space in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Young, educated and diverse, newcomers are helping to change the face of Utah as they come largely from other western states.

About 133,000 people – the equivalent of more than half of Salt Lake City’s population – moved to Beehive state from 2014 to 2018, according to a new report from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah.

California contributed the most new faces, at about 18,000 – or 16.6% – the most of any state, followed by Texas at 7.2%; Idaho at 6.6% and Washington State at 5.3%. But the Golden State also received more people from Utah during the same period than anywhere else.

Where they moved from
Where they moved from (Photo: Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute)

Demographer Emily Harris said her findings help answer questions about migration that have arisen in recent years as newcomers further fuel the state’s growth.

“We know Utah is growing. We can feel it on the roads, we can feel it on the trails,” Harris said. “But who are these people and what is that impact on Utah, other than more people?”

Analyzing census data, Harris found that those who moved here within the five-year period tend to be younger than those already here, with a median age of 25. They were also more diverse and more likely to have a bachelor’s degree.

Education levels vary
Education levels vary (Photo: Kem C. Garder Policy Institute)

Many end up rooting and raising their children in their own traditions, resulting in cumulative cultural change over time, Harris noted.

Among them, Vinay Cardwell, 42, from Vancouver, Canada, who attended the University of Utah, found work in the state’s growing tech sector, and started a family in the state. Beehive State. Her son and daughter are now 5 and 8 years old.

Cardwell, president of Young Professionals Salt Lake City, says he wants job seekers to know they can still feel at home in Utah if they’ve never been in the state and aren’t. not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Word is spreading, he said, as more newcomers arrive for jobs at tech startups and stay to ski, hike and take in mountain views.

“You go to New York and it’s just a concrete jungle – or Chicago. But when you can get out into the wild, it’s like, wow. You just get that rejuvenation,” he said. “This is probably one of the most important things people say when I ask them, ‘What brought you here?’ It’s skiing or the outdoors. “

Like Cardwell, whose parents are from Fiji and New Zealand, many are of mixed descent, he said.

Differences in diversity
Differences in diversity (Photo: Kem C. Garder Policy Institute)

The data doesn’t say who’s left for a little while before moving on, but Cardwell says many do after gaining a few years of work experience and taking advantage of the state’s vast outdoor recreation opportunities.

The rise in migration to the state after the Great Recession is linked to a strong economy and low unemployment, Harris said, and is playing a bigger role in Utah’s growth as families have less children and wait longer to do so, she added.

Jobs invite newcomers
Jobs invite newcomers (Photo: Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute)

In what may come as a surprise to some, the Beehive State is not among the top 10 destinations for Californians, Harris noted. Almost three times as many people have moved to neighboring Nevada, for example.

Where the Utahns move
Where the Utahns travel (Photo: Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute)

She found that fewer Utahns leave than they come – around 95,000 left in the same period, although the data does not reveal how many more went overseas. Their median age was 27, compared to 31 for the Utahns who stayed behind during the same period. Those who leave also tend to have a bachelor’s degree and higher degrees at higher rates.

The influx of newcomers, combined with the housing crisis in Utah, threatens to strain the rental and home buying markets and hamper Utah’s ability to attract workers out of state in the future, the report notes.

Who rents and who owns a house?
Who rents and who owns a house? (Photo: Kem C. Garder Policy Institute)

“When we have more migrants coming in than people leaving, it’s an even bigger hole that we dig ourselves into in terms of housing inventory for people who want to live here,” Harris said.

Not everyone who comes to Utah is an outsider. About 1 in 4 are native Utahns who have moved away for a while and are now coming home.

They’re like Steven O’Donnell, a 28-year-old father and real estate agent who lived in Albuquerque, San Diego, and Las Vegas before returning to Utah in 2019. The timeline for his move has accelerated after his move. dad. fell ill with cancer, succumbing to the disease about a month before the birth of O’Donnell’s baby girl.

The girl babbled this week as O’Donnell said he hit the road as a kid with his truck driver dad. He realized in his youth that he preferred the mountains and vast canyons of Utah to the scenery of any other state, he said.

“For my parents in Santaquin, there are three canyons in about 10 minutes,” he said. “I think Utah is just a hidden gem.”

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Scam texts hit Utah as confusion persists over stimulus payments


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With the many stimulus programs aimed at helping people get back on their feet after the pandemic, scammers have turned to texting to rip you off. (Matt Gephart, KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY – There have been a lot of programs and a lot of stimulus money aimed at helping people get back on their feet after the pandemic.

This week, the federal government will launch another program to help Americans with children.

All of this has left a lot of people confused – and this confusion is playing into the hands of the crooks.

A new text message did the trick. It refers to the Directorate of Employment Development. It refers to the unemployment pandemic assistance program. It refers to stimulus payments and wants you to click on a link to claim your benefit.

This is of course a scam.

People who click on the link may download malware or be tricked into giving their personal information to an identity thief.

The US Department of the Treasury was warning about stimuli-related scams for more than a year.

“The US government continues to encounter cases of criminals using stimulus-themed emails and texts to trick individuals into providing personally identifiable information and bank details,” an IRS spokesperson said. . “The IRS will not call you, text you, contact you by email, or contact you on social media to ask for personal or banking information, even in connection with payments. economic impact.”

Specifically, the IRS has warned consumers to be wary of attachments or links claiming to have special information about economically impacting payments or refunds.

To report a CARES Act fraud or other financial crime, the IRS has asked you to contact your local secret service office.

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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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Salt lakes real estate

ICYMI: 10 stories from the weekend


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The sprawling campus of essential oil company doTerra in Pleasant Grove is pictured Thursday, July 8, 2021 (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Here are 10 stories you might have missed over the weekend. As always, click on the title to read the full story.

1.3 people arrested after a bullet fired through the wall of an apartment kills a 7-year-old girl

Three men were arrested on Saturday in the death of a 7-year-old girl who was shot dead at her home on Friday evening. One of the men who has been described as “incredibly drunk” is believed to have shot through the wall and into a nearby apartment, hitting the child who later died in hospital.

2. The essential oil product left her with 3rd degree burns, according to a woman’s trial from Utah

Jessica Kruger used an essential oil blend designed to soothe menstrual cramps almost five years ago, but instead of providing relief, she said she ended up with severe burns. Now, 33-year-old Holladay’s real estate agent alleges in a lawsuit that the doTerra product contained more than 23 times the safe amount of bergamot oil.

3. Utah man stabbed elderly grandparents before being shot, police say

An elderly couple were seriously injured when police said their grandson attacked them both with a knife before being shot and killed by his grandfather.

4. Woman kidnapped by Utahn and threatened with burial in Salt Flats, police say

Police arrested a man they said kidnapped a woman by tying her up and threatening to kill her with a lethal dose of drugs.

5. Utah’s Drought and Heat Could Make Harmful Algal Blooms ‘Really Bad’ This Summer

Harmful algal blooms in Utah’s lakes and reservoirs could be very serious this summer, according to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. The agency said drought and relentless heat are causing flowers earlier in the season.

Utah Warriors scrum-half Danny Christensen scores his first try against Rugby ATL, Saturday, July 11, 2021 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman.
Utah Warriors scrum-half Danny Christensen scores his first try against Rugby ATL, Saturday, July 11, 2021 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman. (Photo: Davey Wilson, Warriors of Utah)

Sports

1. Cut twice by his hometown club, Olympus grad was just what the Warriors needed for a playoff offer

Christensen scored two tries and Sama Malolo added two more as the Utah Warriors scored a critical bonus point in Saturday’s 41-31 loss to Rugby ATL in front of a sold-out crowd at Zions Bank Stadium which guaranteed a place in the playoffs.

2. Bucks eruption: Giannis has 41, Suns now lead 2-1 in NBA Finals

Antetokounmpo had 41 points, 13 rebounds and six assists as the NBA Finals returned to Milwaukee, and the Bucks beat Phoenix 120-100 on Sunday night, reducing the Suns’ lead to 2-1.

3. How Herriman’s Rhyan White Became Utah’s First American Olympic Swimmer

In addition to being the first Utahn to hit the wall for the first time in an Olympic selection event, White was the first Utah-born swimmer to be part of an American Olympic team. She will compete in the 200-meter backstroke as well as the 100-meter backstroke in Tokyo, continuing a swirling spring that has propelled her to the top of the swimming world.

4. 20 slams! Djokovic wins Wimbledon to tie Federer and Nadal

An hour later the match was over – Djokovic won 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 – and his declared desire to match the major league tally collected by his biggest rivals , Roger Federer (who reached 20 in 2018) and Rafael Nadal (who did so last year). No other male tennis player has more than 14.

5. Undefeated Week Wins Utah Avalanche National Title in ECNL Boys U-13 Category

The Sandy-based soccer club that started a boys ‘program to join their highly successful girls’ program just seven years ago finished a 10-0 record with a 3-0 victory over San Diego SC on Friday after Midday in Greensboro, NC, to win the first national title in club history.

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Salt lake city

Federal forecasters issue the La Nina watch. What does this mean for next winter in Utah?


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A map of a typical winter of La Nina. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center released a La Nina watch on Thursday, July 8, 2021. Forecasters say it looks like the trend will return this winter. (National Meteorological Service)

SALT LAKE CITY – The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center released a La Nina watch on Thursday, indicating that trends show the oceanic event to emerge between September and November with a 66% chance that it will last all winter .

La Nina is the result of stronger Pacific trade winds that generally flow from South America to Asia. It pushes the warm ocean water with it westward, unlike its El Niño counterpart. This allows cooler ocean waters to replenish off the west coast of South America, according to the National Ocean Service, which is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This is important because ocean trends impact weather conditions in the United States.

Based on an average of previous La Nina winters, La Nina’s models result in a polar jet model that provides wetter conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes regions, as well. than colder air in the northern parts of the West and Midwest. This also results in warmer conditions in the southeast and drier in the southwest and southeast.

It differs from El Nino in that conditions during El Nino are generally wetter and cooler in the southern United States due to an extensive jet stream from the Pacific. This generally results in warmer conditions in the northern United States and Canada, as well as drier conditions in the Midwest.

Interestingly, neither model gives definite weather trends for most of Utah – at least historically speaking. This means it’s hard to tell if Utah is heading for a wet, dry, hot, or cold winter.

“Our signal is not very strong,” said Christine Kruse, chief meteorologist in the Salt Lake City office of the National Weather Service. “There are La Ninas where we might see more precipitation than normal), some average, some below normal. It just doesn’t have any consistency due to the way the jet stream is. installs with a typical La Nina. “

A typical La Nina might have a more negative impact on the southern tip of Utah, like St. George. The area is located just at the northern limit of where drier conditions normally emerge from the mid-polar jet stream.

Again, this dry area is based on the average winter of La Nina. Where the jet stream settles will ultimately determine whether Utah is heading for a desired wet, cold winter or a dreaded hot, dry winter due to the ongoing drought.

It also means meteorologists will have to wait for the jet stream to set in before they have a better idea of ​​what to expect this winter. Cruse said it usually starts to develop in the fall around the same time of September through November, when the Prediction Center expected La Nina to set in.

“(The jet stream) can change. You can start part of the winter with a particular storm path and a higher level ridge develops in a new location and things change,” she said. “But you’re starting to see a little bit of what winter can look like from late fall to early winter.”

The Climate Prediction Center typically publishes its outlook for the winter months beginning around mid-October.

This winter is already considered by state water experts to be a major winter due to the statewide drought. The US DroughtwMonitor currently lists about 98% of Utah in at least one extreme drought and nearly two-thirds in exceptional drought.

A large majority of Utah’s water comes from the snowpack during the winter, so experts say a strong winter is what is needed to help lift the state out of drought.

On a more regional scale, a La Nina event is good news for parts of the West, which is dry everywhere. The US Drought Monitor also lists 93.7% of the entire region – a collection of Utah, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico , Oregon and Washington – experiences at least moderate drought.

Almost 60% of the West is considered to be in extreme drought and just over a quarter of the region is in exceptional drought. Many areas of the Pacific Northwest, where a La Nina winter typically produces more rain, are currently in these more severe categories.

Conversely, a normal La Nina is potentially bad news for southwestern areas like Arizona and New Mexico, which are also covered by some of the more severe drought categories.

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Utah economy

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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Fewer pets euthanized in Utah, but rescuers fear the future of some adopted during pandemic


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Tiny Tot and Little Bitty are waiting for their adopters to arrive and pick them up from the Best Friends Animal Society in Salt Lake City on Friday, February 26, 2021. Utah has cut its shelters killed by 1,161 in 2020, a 58% reduction from compared to the previous year, which rescuers attribute in large part to the pandemic. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah reduced its shelters killed by 1,161 last year – a 58% reduction from the previous year – making the state the 13th in the country for rescuing the most dogs and cats, according to new data from Best Friends Animal Society.

But animal rescuers fear that some animals adopted during the pandemic may end up at the shelter or be donated as many owners return to their workplaces.

Last year, 44,767 cats and dogs entered shelters. Of these, 39,358 found new homes and 829 were killed for lack of housing, according to the Best Friends Animal Society.

Company spokesperson Temma Martin said that in the first week of the pandemic, many residents “rallied to welcome record numbers.”

The country saw a 90% increase in foster homes as schools, businesses and recreational activities began to close. Many decided it was a good time to adopt because they expected to spend more time at home, Martin said.

“So we saw a huge increase just thanks to Best Friends in the number of foster families and adoptions at the start of the pandemic,” she said.

COVID-19 has also changed how shelters operate, she added. While they quickly closed, many of their animals were placed in foster homes. When a person was interested in adopting an animal, they would virtually meet the animal’s foster family, a counselor, and the animal – a more comfortable and happy environment for the animal to meet a prospective adoptee. This format has led to more adoptions, Martin said.

Shelter organizations always provided all the supplies to foster families, “but it’s great just because the animal lives in a comfortable home environment and shows itself better than in a cage or kennel,” said said Martin.

“A lot of shelters don’t plan to go back to a shelter full of animals and adopt people from there,” she added.

In the United States, there has been a 40% decrease in the number of animals killed or euthanized – a trend rescuers hope not to reverse. In some states, however, reports indicate that pets adopted during the pandemic are being returned at a high rate.

Salt Lake County Animal Services now has 26 dogs in its shelter, up from an average of 10 to 15 at some point before the pandemic, said Randee Lueker, relief and events coordinator. These are dogs that animal services save on the streets because the shelter generally does not accept drops.

At the same time, adoptions from the shelter are on the decline, she said.

The surge in the number of dogs entering shelters does not appear to be a statewide trend more than a year after COVID-19 hit the state, according to Martin.

“It seems to be staying pretty stable, but of course we’re worried. We want to make sure that people, when they return to work, have a plan for their new pets and prepare them for anxiety. separation and also train them, especially if they have a puppy, train them to be good family members so that they don’t now have a one year old dog that doesn’t have good manners to looking after a new home or dealing with new people, ”Martin said.

She said it’s common for people who adopt puppies to face issues as the puppies get older. Some puppies during the pandemic did not receive professional obedience training due to COVID-19 closures.

Martin said it was not too late – families should play ‘catching up’ now to train their dogs if they are unable to do so during the pandemic. She said she had heard of people wanting to relocate their pets now due to behavioral issues, but if the animal hasn’t been trained it will likely create problems for future owners.

The best thing an owner can do in this situation is spay or neuter the dog if he hasn’t already done so, and find some training advice, according to Martin. Virtual training is available through Zoom and other apps, she said. Outdoor classes are also available.

“I know the temptation is there to just find another home for the animal, but if it behaves in a way that is inconvenient for your family, it will probably be inconvenient for the next family as well,” said Martin. . “These animals were there for us during the pandemic at a difficult time to provide us with companionship.… We owe it to them to help them become a good member of the family, and that involves training.”

For those worried about leaving their pets at home when they go to work, Martin noted that many people were doing so long before the start of the pandemic. Owners can train their pets to be alone for short periods of time and then have them work for longer periods. Dogs typically sleep most of the day when they’re alone, Martin said, so it’s possible to work full-time and have a pet to greet you when you get home.

“This is something we want to make sure people are prepared for so that there isn’t a flood of animals being turned into shelters,” Martin said.

Millions of people bought puppies at the start of the pandemic, Martin said, noting that they were not initially refuge animals and did not come with training. If a lot of homeowners decide to abandon them, “it would have a huge impact on the shelters,” she said.

Most dogs at the Salt Lake County Animal Shelter are between 1 and 3 years old, according to Lueker. Almost a third are huskies, several are shepherds and some are working dogs. She said the shelter has seen an increase in the number of dogs with behavioral issues, but workers at the shelter aren’t sure why.

Lueker urges interested residents to consider adopting or fostering a dog from the county shelter. More information can be found at adoptutahpets.org.

About 70% of Utah animal shelters are designated as no-kill shelters, meaning they only kill animals that are not adoptable, whether due to medical or behavioral issues. They also aim to adopt at least 90% of the animals housed at the shelter.

Those who want to help the state reach the threshold set by the No-Kill Initiative Utah can make an impact by choosing to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, spaying or neutering their pets, adopting pets, volunteering and spreading the word about welfare issues -be animal, said Martin.

For areas with higher death rates, this is usually due to cats in the community, she said, encouraging people to find out if their local government supports programs that trap, neuter and return feral cats. in the colonies. If more shelters adopt such programs, it can help prevent hundreds of animal deaths, Martin said.

Utah County is the only county along the Wasatch Front that does not have a “back-to-the-field” program for stray cats.

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Salt lake city government

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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Utah economy

Fewer people of working age can slow the economy. Will it increase wages?

In this May 26, 2021 photo, a sign for workers hangs from a store window along Main Street in Deadwood, SD. is reaching retirement age and thousands of people have died from the coronavirus. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

WASHINGTON (AP) – As the U.S. labor market rebounds this summer and the need for workers intensifies, employers likely won’t have a chance to relax anytime soon. Labor shortages are likely to persist for years after the economy quickly reopens in its growing pains.

Consider that the number of people of working age did something last year that it had never done in the history of the country: it went down.

Census Bureau estimates showed that the U.S. population aged 16 to 64 fell 0.1% in 2020 – a slight decline but the first decline of any kind after decades of steady increases. This reflected a sharp drop in immigration, the retirements of the vast baby boom generation and a slowdown in the birth rate. The size of the 16-64 age group has also been shrunk last year by thousands of deaths from the coronavirus.

A year earlier, in 2019, the working-age population had essentially plateaued.

It is not entirely clear how demographic trends will play out once the pandemic is completely over. But even if the working-age population begins to grow again, it will almost certainly do so at an anemic rate. A continued decline in this population, or even a lukewarm increase, would pose a problem for the economy. Healthy economic expansion has always depended on robust population growth to fuel consumer spending, justify business expansion, and boost corporate profits. Without a large influx of new workers, growth could stagnate.

Yet some economists foresee a silver lining for individuals: Fewer working-age people could force companies to be more competitive in hiring and retaining employees. And that could mean higher wages, better opportunities and other incentives to retain and attract workers, a trend already evident in the June jobs report released by the government on Friday. Average hourly wages increased 3.6% from a year ago, faster than the pace before the pandemic.

“The workers would fare better than the economy as a whole,” said Manoj Pradhan, founder of Talking Heads Marco, an economics research firm and former Morgan Stanley economist.

If wages were to rise sharply, it could also help reduce the vast inequality that increasingly separates the wealthiest Americans from the rest and leaves lower-income households struggling to pay rent, food, and child care. children and other essential expenses.

With slow population growth, economic expansion would depend on the ability of companies to make their workers more productive. An increase in productivity, often achieved through investments in labor-saving technologies, could further increase wages. The standard of living would increase even if the economy struggled to grow at what is normally considered a healthy pace.

Last year, the number of legal and unauthorized immigrants entering the United States fell for the fourth year in a row to less than 500,000 – less than half of the 2016 level – according to calculations by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. The death toll jumped 8% to more than 3 million, largely reflecting the impact of the pandemic.

A fundamental long-term drag on the working-age population is the exit of the huge baby boom generation from the workforce. The number of people aged 65 and over is likely to increase by 30% over the next decade, Frey said.

“We’ve never really been in this type of situation before,” he said. “There just aren’t enough (of young adults) to replace the people who are leaving.”

The situation has been exacerbated this year by a wave of early retirements. About 2.6 million people who worked before the pandemic now say they are retired and not looking for work, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Strong increases in stock prices and home values ​​despite the deep pandemic recession have allowed many older Americans to exit the workforce earlier.

One of them is Jeff Ferguson, a physician with Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis, who retired in April at age 59 after 22 years in the business.

Having worked from home during the pandemic, Ferguson said, made the transition easier. But it was also encouraged by its strong investment gains and the strengthening of the local real estate market despite the economic uncertainty.

“I probably retired with a tailwind rather than retiring with a headwind,” he said. “If I had sensed a headwind, I might have delayed it.

The pandemic has also given him a new perspective on life and retirement. Ferguson plans to travel across the country with his wife, a pediatrician, and catch up with loved ones.

Gad Levanon, an economist at the Conference Board, said the decline in the working-age population will be particularly evident among Americans without a college degree. As aging baby boomers retire, they are being replaced by younger workers who are more likely to be university graduates. Blue collar workers – anyone without a four-year degree – will become rarer. This trend is likely to create labor shortages in industries such as manufacturing, construction, retail, restaurants and hotels.

Levanon estimates that the number of university graduates will continue to grow by around 2% per year, despite the population slowdown, while those without a university degree will decline. This could make it more difficult for future college graduates to find jobs that match their level of education. Businesses can also inflate their job demands, perhaps requiring bachelor’s degrees for jobs that previously didn’t require them.

“The number of people willing to work in blue collar and manual service jobs is declining,” Levanon said.

Wages are already rising faster for low-paid workers. For the lowest-paid quarter of workers, hourly wages rose 4.2% in May from a year earlier, according to Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. That’s more than double the percentage increase these workers received in the four years after the Great Recession, from 2010 to 2014, and more than a quarter of the richest workers.

Scott Seaholm, CEO of Universal Metal Products, a 285-person metal stamping company near Cleveland, is surrounded by an aging population and is desperate to get young people interested in a career in manufacturing. A study found that about 59% of the population in Lake County, Ohio, where he is based, was made up of working-age adults in 2015, Seaholm said. This proportion fell to 57% last year and is expected to reach 54% in 2025.

“It’s quite shocking,” he said. “There’s no one there to work. It’s a little ugly.”

More than half of the workers at its three factories are over 55, he said, with less than one in five aged 20 to 34. He has an 81-year-old employee who still works in a punch press.

Seaholm’s company is part of a group that encourages high school students to consider factory jobs. He opens his factories to high school students once a year on “Industry Day” and tries to bring in their parents too.

“They want Johnny and Judy to go to college,” he said. “It’s all locked up in their heads.”

Globally, the workforce in most other countries is aging as well, including China, which once seemed to offer an endless supply of workers. Japan’s population declined for a decade.

Pradhan said this trend could potentially benefit American workers. Since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, hundreds of millions of people in China, Eastern Europe and India have joined the global workforce, thus maintaining the wages of less skilled workers and prices under control.

Now the aging of much of the world could reverse these trends, Pradhan and Charles Goodhart, a former economist at the Bank of England, wrote last year in a book called “The Great Demographic Reversal: Aging Societies, Waning Inequality, and an Inflation Resumes. “

Pradhan notes that in Japan, whose population has shrunk by around 1% per year for a decade, economic growth has averaged only 1% per year. But that means the growth per person was 2%.

If the United States could achieve that level of efficiency when its population grew only 0.5% per year, its economy could still grow at a healthy rate of 2.5% per year, Pradhan said.

Yet over time, he and other economists fear that slow population growth means less consumer spending and a less vibrant economy.

“Workers generate innovation and ideas – they invent things,” said Kasey Buckles, professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame. “When you have a shrinking working-age population, you have fewer people doing this.”

__

AP Business Writer Anne D’Innocenzio contributed to this New York report.

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Salt lake city

Salt Lake carpet company owner charged with rape, human trafficking


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The Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City. A Salt Lake businessman who owns two carpet companies was charged Monday with seven felonies accusing him of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old woman and girl after meeting them on a Sugar Daddy dating site. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – A longtime Salt Lake businessman faces criminal charges accusing him of sexually assaulting two people, including a teenage girl, whom he met on a Sugar Daddy website.

Raffi J. Daghlian, 77, until recently continued to be active on the website and there could potentially be other victims, investigators said while uploading documents to the 3rd District Court.

Daghlian was charged Monday by the Utah attorney general‘s office with rape, human trafficking and aggravated exploitation of child prostitution, all first degree felonies. He was also charged with three counts of forced sexual abuse, a second degree felony and trafficking in material injurious to a minor, a third degree felony.

Daghlian is the owner of Daghlian Rugs on Main and Daghlian Oriental Rugs and has also been involved in the restaurant industry in Salt Lake City.

He is accused of sexually abusing two people, a woman and a girl who was 16 at the time. Daghlian met the two victims on the Seeking Arrangements dating site, the attorney general’s office confirmed. The website promotes itself as a place “where beautiful, successful people nurture mutually beneficial relationships.”

“The purpose of the dating site was to match men who were willing to pay women money or spend money on women in exchange for dating,” the indictment documents say.

In July 2020, a 16-year-old girl told police she registered on the website and claimed she was 18. She began speaking with Daghlian and the two arranged to have a date “with the understanding that the accused would pay (her) a sum of money to go to dinner with him”, according to the charges.

At dinner, Daghlian made sexual advances to the girl, who responded by telling her “that she was not there to have sex, but rather to get money to pay her rent.” for having dinner with (Daghlian) ”, according to the charges.

After dinner, Daghlian took the girl to a carpet store he owned at 2364 S. Main. At the store, he forced her to undress and engage in sexual acts, according to the charges. The teenager said Daghlian would get “angry” if she didn’t comply, so she did as he asked because she was “afraid of what (Daghlian) would do.”

At the end of the “date,” the girl was paid $ 170, according to the charges.

Another woman told investigators that she met Daghlian on the same dating site in 2013. During their date, Daghlian “repeatedly tried to get (the woman) to drink alcohol. and made several references to sex and sexual relations, “according to the charges.

He took the woman to his carpet store at 1053 E. 2100 South and insisted she have another drink, then raped the woman inside the business, the prosecution documents show.

The woman immediately reported the assault to law enforcement in 2013. A DNA sample of her alleged attacker was taken from her dress. But according to court documents, “Daghlian’s DNA profile was never obtained or compared to the profile on the dress, and the investigation was never presented to a prosecution for screening criminal charges.”

After learning that charges had never been laid and that the case had never even been considered for potential charges in 2013, investigators from the attorney general’s office obtained a DNA sample from Daghlian’s son.

“By comparing the obtained male DNA believed to be (Daghlian’s) son to the DNA on the dress, it is indicated a 99.9999% probability that the DNA on the dress is from a person. having a family relationship with the son (ie the accused), ”investigators wrote in the charges.

An arrest warrant without bail was issued against Daghlian on Monday. Prosecutors say they will obtain a DNA sample from him when he is taken into custody and compare it with the DNA profile taken from the robe.

In each incident, Daghlian “is accused of using a social media dating site designed to match men who were willing to pay women money or spend money on women in return. dating, to lure women into his carpet business for sexual activity. When these women did not consent, he sexually assaulted them to satisfy his sexual desires, “the prosecution documents say.

“Two alleged independent victims reporting very similar sexual assaults suggest that the likelihood of a certain event occurring, such as wrongdoing in error or accusations against an innocent person, is unlikely,” the investigators wrote.

The attorney general’s office also noted in court documents that it was continuing “to investigate other allegations of sexual assault by the accused committed in a similar manner.” Prosecutors say Daghlian continues to be active on the dating site and “over a 90-day period in the fall of 2020, exchanged more than 6,000 messages.”

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Salt lake city government

Utah Vietnam veteran receives replacement medals for those he lost 20 years ago


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Utah Senator Mitt Romney presents Richard DeGooyer with replacement medals for his Vietnam service in Salt Lake City on June 18, 2021 (Derek Petersen, KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY – Richard DeGooyer said when he returned home from serving in the US Army in the Vietnam War, he was told not to wear his uniform, only Levi’s.

He wore jeans again on Friday, but was able to joke with Utah Senator Mitt Romney as they met in the downtown federal building. “We both wear Levi’s,” they laughed.

DeGooyer and his family reached out to Romney’s office recently, hoping for help securing replacement medals for those he lost 20 years ago.

“It’s beautiful, thank you, sir,” DeGooyer said.

“. , and the marksman badge and rifle bar.

“Very honored, very honored to meet the senator, and it is an honor for all veterans,” DeGooyer told KSL afterwards. He said he was grateful for the help and recognition he had received from the government and VA as well.

Romney said it was his privilege to make the presentation.

“I’m glad we were able to secure replacement medals for him to recognize his service to our country,” Romney said. “People like me have a special place in our hearts for those who served in Vietnam. They did not get the respect they deserved.”

Romney had spent the morning meeting recent high school graduates from Utah en route to various service academies in various branches of the military. They also stayed in the room to watch the presentation and applaud DeGooyer.

The 74-year-old vet said he was grateful to see the young people who would be the next generation to serve the country.

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