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“Blindfolded, Balaclavas, and Handcuffs”: How Some Teens Access Utah’s Youth Treatment Programs

Katey Handel still remembers the fear she felt more than a decade ago when – at 17 – she woke up to a scruffy man towering over her.

“We can do it easily,” she recalled telling him. “Or we can do it the hard way. But you come with me.

It was 2008. Handel was living in Louisiana and had just found out she was pregnant. It had been a crisis for her family, she recalls. His older sister had come to visit and found them a hotel room to talk and spend time together.

Handel had no idea why there were now two strangers in this room, one of them grabbing her from her bed.

“I felt like I had no choice,” she said. “So I went with him. I knew then that I was pregnant. So, I didn’t want to go the hard way, whatever route that meant.

That man was Daniel Taylor, who at the time ran a youth treatment center in Cedar City, Utah called Integrity House. He had gone to Louisiana to bring Handel to his establishment with his parents’ permission. Surprising her in the middle of the night was part of the plan.

Outside the hotel room, Handel’s father was waiting in his SUV, she recalled. He was told to ride in the back with Taylor. Her father then drove them to the airport and Taylor flew with her to Cedar City, where she would stay for the next four months.

The way Handel was taken to Utah is a common tactic in the so-called “troubled teen” industry. With a parent’s consent, two people are sent to surprise their child while he is sleeping and forcibly take him to a wilderness program or residential treatment center.

These programs, many of which are based in Utah, sometimes send staff like Taylor to pick up the children. Parents can also hire a “safe transport” company whose sole purpose is to accompany teenagers to treatment centres.

This shadowy corner of the teen treatment industry is almost entirely unregulated. Carriers hired by parents can drag children from their beds, handcuff them, hold them or blindfold them. Oregon is the only state that has restricted how these companies can bring children across state lines.

In Utah, a lawmaker who recently sponsored a bill bringing regulatory reform to the state’s burgeoning teen treatment industry said he wanted to take a closer look at how children in people from all over the country travel to Utah for treatment.

Some former residents say the experience had traumatic effects that lingered into adulthood, long after leaving a treatment center.

Integrity House in Cedar City, Utah.

Integrity House in Cedar City, Utah.


Lea Hogsten | The Salt Lake Grandstand

A booming industry in Utah

There are over 100 accredited youth treatment programs in Utah. They are aimed at parents and outside agencies dealing with troubled adolescents.

Some are smaller group homes, tucked away in suburban neighborhoods like Integrity House, where Handel was sent. Others are vast horse ranches or large boarding schools. There are also wilderness therapy programs, which require teens to trek across Utah’s vast deserts and public lands.

Since 2015, some 20,000 children have been sent to adolescent treatment programs in Utah. The children come from wealthy families and foster families. Some are on juvenile probation. They may be struggling with drug abuse or eating disorders. Some are depressed or defiant. Some cut themselves or attempted suicide.

Teenagers contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to Utah’s economy each year, according to University of Utah estimates. And new data analysis from APM Reports, The Salt Lake Grandstand and KUER shows how outsized this industry is in Utah compared to other places.

For more than six years, from 2015 to 2020, 34% of teens who crossed state lines to enter a youth treatment center landed in Utah. This means that Utah receives many more children than any other state. On average, Utah receives nearly 3,000 children per year. Virginia and Texas — the next two most popular destinations where troubled teens are sent for treatment — receive between 1,200 and 1,300 children a year.


More children are placed in Utah than in any other state

Every year, thousands of children and adolescents cross state lines and are placed in treatment centers. Utah, which hosts nearly 3,000 placements a year, dominates the sector. The table below shows child placements in Utah and the 15 closest states. Unrepresented states conduct an average of less than 100 internships per year.

SOURCE: Interstate Child Care Compact (ICPC) data, 2015-2020, requested from each state. Not all states provided data for every year, and one state provided no data. The ICPC counts each time a child is placed in a treatment centre. A child could be placed in different treatment centers over the course of a year and would be counted each time they are placed in the care of a facility. To compare annual averages, APM reports normalized the number of placements using the number of years of data reported. DATA: Will make

Many of these children bound for Utah arrive through a “secure transportation” company, where parents pay thousands of dollars to have someone pick up their child and take them away.

At a St. George transportation company, parents pay nearly $2,500, plus airfare for two employees and their teenage boy, if needed.

Taylor, who helped run Integrity House for nearly a dozen years, often picked up residents. Whether or not the transport was a surprise, he said, often depended on the child’s parents. “Sometimes parents worry about not coming, or running away or whatever,” Taylor said in an interview with a reporter on the Sent Away podcast. “So they’ll keep it hidden until we show up.”

A vote for transport regulation

Stephanie Balderston will never forget when Taylor got her into the back seat of a car, taking her from her life in Colorado to Integrity House in 2008.

She still has nightmares, she said, waking up in the middle of the night crying after reliving that moment Taylor pulled her into a car as she screamed for help. Her parents were watching nearby, she recalls, crying but doing nothing to intervene.

“It really is like the most inhumane, craziest thing you’ve ever experienced in your life,” she said.

This memory also haunts Balderston during his waking hours. She sees men who look like Taylor in a store and she is seized with a wave of fear.

“Like at Costco or something, and you look up and you see a random person. And in my head, it’s him,” she said. “And I’m freezing. And I’m terrified. And I’m starting to have flashbacks of my transportation and being at Integrity House.

Last year, Utah State Senator Mike McKell sponsored legislation that marked the first reform of Utah’s troubled teen industry surveillance in 15 years.

The law placed limits on the use of restraints, drugs, and seclusion rooms in youth treatment programs. It required facilities to document any instances in which staff used physical restraints and seclusion, and it required them to submit reports to state licensors. It also increased the required number of inspections that state regulators must perform.

But that legislation placed no limits on what people who transport children to adolescent treatment programs can do — something McKell said he hopes to address in the future. “I don’t think the way we transport children is appropriate,” he said. “I’m convinced that if you start a treatment program with extreme trauma, common sense says it can’t be good for children. And I just think it should be completely banned.

Oregon’s limits on what carriers can do when bringing children into its state for treatment were only recently enacted, in 2021.

Utah <a class=State Senator Mike McKell” srcset=”https://img.apmcdn.org/90dc8976afaed9818db7c7294a73f45247c18555/uncropped/354271-20220302-utah-state-sen-mike-mckell-2000.jpg 2000w, https://img.apmcdn.org/90dc8976afaed9818db7c7294a73f45247c18555/uncropped/74e1a0-20220302-utah-state-sen-mike-mckell-1400.jpg 1400w, https://img.apmcdn.org/90dc8976afaed9818db7c7294a73f45247c18555/uncropped/512f56-20220302-utah-state-sen-mike-mckell-1000.jpg 1000w, https://img.apmcdn.org/90dc8976afaed9818db7c7294a73f45247c18555/uncropped/272284-20220302-utah-state-sen-mike-mckell-600.jpg 600w, https://img.apmcdn.org/90dc8976afaed9818db7c7294a73f45247c18555/uncropped/23ee2b-20220302-utah-state-sen-mike-mckell-400.jpg 400w” src=”https://img.apmcdn.org/90dc8976afaed9818db7c7294a73f45247c18555/uncropped/272284-20220302-utah-state-sen-mike-mckell-600.jpg”/>

Utah State Senator Mike McKell


Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Grandstand
Oregon State Senator Sara Gelser Blouin

Oregon State Senator Sara Gelser Blouin


Kaylee Domzalski | Oregon Public Broadcasting

This legislation, introduced by Oregon State Senator Sara Gelser Blouin, requires people who transport children to Oregon facilities to be registered with the state Department of Social Services. It also prohibits carriers from using mechanical restraints, such as handcuffs, when taking children to facilities.

“No more balaclavas, blindfolds or handcuffs,” Gelser Blouin said during a floor debate last June. “It is not children who have committed crimes. These are just children that parents have a hard time with. And some are in dire need of care or support, but not blindfolds, hoods, and handcuffs. »

McKell said he sees this as a problem that can only be solved by federal regulations. Since children move from state to state, he said, it is difficult to regulate conduct that occurs outside of Utah before a young person arrives for treatment. .

There has recently been a push to bring federal oversight to adolescent treatment programs nationwide, but the Collective Care Accountability Act has yet to be formally introduced or debated.

In the meantime, McKell said he wants to start understanding the scope of the transportation services industry in Utah. He sponsored a bill this session that will now require transportation companies to carry insurance and be licensed by the state — but he is not enacting any regulatory or oversight measures.

“There have been serious allegations of abuse in the past,” McKell said. “I am concerned about children being picked up in the middle of the night and the trauma that creates.”

Sent Away is an investigative podcast from APM Reports, KUER and The Salt Lake Grandstand. The report is funded in part by Arnold Ventures, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Hollyhock Foundation. See more collaborative reports.

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Salt lake city government

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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Salt lake city government

COVID vaccine passport ban moves through Utah legislature

A bill to ban the use of vaccine passports by employers or governments has passed the House despite concerns that it takes an overly broad approach that could hamper future public health efforts.

HB60 would essentially make vaccination status a protected class – similar to race, gender and religion – and prevent employers from requiring vaccination as a condition of employment. The bill comes amid a pushback against COVID-19 vaccination requirements, but is not limited to the current pandemic.

That’s why Rep. Timothy Hawkes, R-Centerville, unsuccessfully tried to replace the bill with one that would only apply to COVID-19. He called his substitution a “scalpel approach” that would achieve the goal of preventing coronavirus vaccine passports without tying the hands of health officials in future pandemics – which could be deadlier than COVID. -19.

Hawkes argued that creating a “protected class” of people based on vaccination status would place an undue burden on companies. While such burdens are necessary to protect people based on their race or gender, he said vaccination status was different.

Rep. Timothy Hawkes, R-Centerville, shows his vaccination card on his phone while discussing HB60 at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. The bill would prohibit governments or employers from requiring passports to vaccines.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

He pointed to the exemptions in the bill for health industries as evidence that vaccines can be constrained in certain situations.

“That’s because vaccines are a bit tricky, because a communicable disease potentially affects someone else’s rights,” Hawkes said. “It’s tricky that way, and that’s why we don’t treat it the same way we might treat race or religion or things like that. If it was something like race or religion … we would not accept any exemptions to that.

Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, also supported the substitution, arguing it puts “our state and our businesses in Utah in extreme jeopardy.”

Hawkes’ motion to target the COVID-19 bill failed and the House passed the previous version that was discussed in committee last week.

Representative Walt Brooks, R-St.  George, speaks about HB60, which he sponsors, in the House Chamber at the Salt Lake City Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. The bill would prohibit governments or employers from requiring vaccines.

Representative Walt Brooks, R-St. George, speaks about HB60, which he sponsors, in the House Chamber at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. The bill would prohibit governments or employers from requiring vaccine passports.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Representative Walt Brooks, R-St. George, who sponsored the bill, acknowledged the difficulty of balancing individual liberty and public health, but said he thought the bill did a good job.

“No one has the right to access your personal information. You have no right to go out and spread disease. So we have to figure out where to draw that line,” he said.

Brooks argued that his bill is an effort to protect citizens’ privacy and would prevent them from having to “show papers” to enter businesses and public spaces. Privacy was a key factor for others who spoke in favor of the bill.

“It’s worth having a protected class related to privacy. … We need to stop interfering with each other’s health information,” said Rep. Brady Brammer, R-Highland.

If a future crisis arises, Brammer said the legislature and governor could create exemptions to the bill or pass future laws to enact vaccine mandates if necessary. The governor has the power to declare a public health emergency for up to 30 days, after which the legislature would have to vote to maintain it.

Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, took issue with repeated calls for privacy and freedom that make no mention of the responsibility to protect each other. Even though Utahans are learning to live with the virus, he pointed out that COVID-19 has wreaked havoc in the state.

“We often hear now, what are the low infection rates and low death rates, ‘It only killed 1,000 people.’ Which, you know, I guess it’s okay if it doesn’t include your family,” he said.

To date, 4,372 Utahns have died from COVID-19, according to the Utah Department of Health.

The bill ignores the “social compact” people have as a society, Nelson said, and “grants our citizens the right to infect others.” From a conservative perspective, he likened the issue to that of abortion, saying he thinks the woman’s right to “bodily autonomy” is superseded by the fetus’ right to life.

Getting vaccinated is an “obligation”, he said, pushing back against those who say they have “a basic, God-given right to go everywhere…whether I’m contagious or not”.

“It’s an entirely selfish perspective on rights,” he said.

“It’s true that we should have a sense of community,” said Rep. Mark Strong, R-Bluffdale. “It’s true that we don’t know what the future holds. But to me, it’s true, from the soles of your feet to the top of your head, that no one should ask you to do something against my will that isn’t reversible.

Closing the discussion, Brooks dismissed the idea of ​​lawmakers “using a mandate to remove a mandate,” saying they were acting as “the voice of the people to remove that mandate.”

“Without this peaceful process, it relies on pitchforks and torches,” he said.

HB60 passed the House 51-23. He now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Michael Kennedy, R-Alpine, is the floor sponsor.

Representative Walt Brooks, R-St.  George, speaks about HB60, which he sponsors, in the House Chamber at the Capitol in Salt <a class=Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. The bill would prohibit governments or employers from requiring vaccines.” data-upload-width=”3000″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/ReVVeNiH6hnpmhJwVkM1zy6x6cE=/0x0:3000×1950/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:3000×1950):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/23264470/merlin_2909872.jpg”/>

Representative Walt Brooks, R-St. George, speaks about HB60, which he sponsors, in the House Chamber at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. The bill would prohibit governments or employers from requiring vaccine passports.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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Utah economy

Mayor of St. George gives first state of town – St George News

ST. GEORGE- It has been two years and three days since the last State of the City address was given, St. George Mayor Michele Randall said Tuesday afternoon as she began the 2022 address at the Dixie Convention. Center.

St. George Mayor Michele Randall delivers his first State of the City address at the Dixie Convention Center, St. George, Utah, February 8, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“A lot has changed since then,” Randall said. “No one could have ever predicted a global pandemic on the scale we had. …And neither could we predict that a pandemic would make everyone want to move to Utah, including our little one. corner of paradise.

Growth and the pandemic have brought challenges to the city, but with those challenges came the opportunity to “come out stronger and better and with optimism to meet all of those challenges,” the mayor said.

“Start treating it like liquid gold”

The issue that took center stage at the start of the speech was water and the need to conserve it.

Large blue barrels representing nearly 1,000 gallons of water were stacked on either side of Randall on the stage. A large price tag listed the average cost to St. George water users for every 1,000 gallons they use in a month: $1.10.

“When you think about it, it’s really cheap,” Randall said, adding that heavy water users who use more than 45,000 gallons end up paying $3.65 per 1,000 gallons.

Barrels of water at the City of St. George’s state address in 2022 amounted to nearly 1,000 gallons of water, which the city charges average water users $1.10 per month. Mayor Michele Randall said if residents don’t get smarter with their water use, the city may be forced to raise water rates to force water conservation, St. George , Utah, February 8, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“It’s still very cheap, and we need to start treating it like liquid gold. If we don’t start getting smarter about conservation, we’re going to have to raise our rates, and we really don’t want to do that.

The region is currently in a state of moderate drought. It’s better than this time last year, Randall said, but conservation still needs to be observed. To help lead this process, the city has done its own conservation work, she said.

During the summer of 2021, the city was able to reduce its water use by 8.2% despite adding 1,900 new connections, Randall said, attributing the water savings to residents.

“It’s thanks to you,” she said. “So congratulations.”

Parks and golf course staff also managed to save more than 150 million gallons of water last year, she said, adding that about 10 acres of non-functional turf — that is, i.e. grass that appears to serve no purpose other than being mowed – is also in the process of being removed from city property so far.

“Watch Your Six”

Randall said public safety has always been a priority for her, and in this area she said that over the past four years the city has increased its fire and police forces by 70% and 30%, respectively. A campaign is currently underway to recruit additional police officers as continued growth makes additional officers needed, Randall said.

In this file photo, the St. George Fire Department responds to a structure fire on South 3000 East, St. George, Utah, August 31, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

In addition to the recruitment campaign, a safety campaign called “Watch Your Six” will also soon be launched by the St. George Police Department, she said. The campaign will focus on safe driving and how to avoid getting into a wreck.

The mayor also announced the construction or planning of new fire stations, including the following:

  • A fire station being built on Commerce Drive in the Little Valley area is set to go up for competition in May.
  • Station 1, which currently sits at 1000 East northeast of Dixie State University, will be replaced with a new station to be built at the corner of 400 East and 100 South where a Church chapel is located. of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. . The church sold the building to the city. The old chapel, which has structural problems, will be demolished in the fall.
  • A property has been purchased in the Desert Canyons area for a future Station 10.

Growth, housing and transport

The themes of growth, economy and housing were entrusted to Shirlayne Quayle, director of economic vitality and housing for the city.

Quayle noted how St. George grew by more than 20,000 people between 2010 and 2020. The current population is estimated at around 95,000.

RiverWalk Village apartments in St. George, Utah are part of a feasible housing project overseen by the Switchpoint Community Center, October 30, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

After commenting on the growth, Quayle moved on to the city’s continued need for affordable housing.

“Housing is really a challenge in our community,” she said.

One way the city hopes to address the local housing crisis is through the Housing Action Coalition, Quayle said. It is a collaborative effort between the city, other municipalities, Washington County, homebuilders, developers, real estate agents and other stakeholders coming together with the goal of creating more accessible for St. George and county residents.

Quayle also pointed to the communities of Divario, Desert Canyon and Desert Color as developments that helped bring much-needed inventory to the housing market. The Switchpoint Community Resource Center and the Dove Center were also mentioned for their work in providing affordable housing for low-income individuals and families.

Economically, Quayle praised the city’s partnership with Tech Ridge. Located on the southern half of Black Hill, where the original airport was located, the 180-acre Tech Ridge development will be a mixed-use technology park designed to provide the city with well-paying tech jobs. The area is already home to Dixie Technical College and tech companies such as Vasion and busybusy, with more expected to expand in the near future.

St. George’s economy is already diverse, but Tech Ridge will help fill in the missing piece of technology development, Quayle said.

Road construction on 3000 East in St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dixie Regional Transportation Expo, St. George News

Turning to transportation infrastructure, Cameron Cutler, director of public works for the city, reviewed the completion of work on River Road last year, as well as ongoing work on the 3000 East Corridor, which is the most major city road project for the year.

Cutler also said the property was purchased on the west side of the 1450 East and River Road intersection. Securing the property is one of the first steps in the eventual creation of a new road linking River Road and Crosby Way near the Dixie Convention Center.

St. George Regional Airport is also updating its master plan to keep up with growth. This includes terminal upgrades to accommodate increased usage, which hit a record high last year with 130,000 flights departing St. George.

Events to come

A number of upcoming events were highlighted by the mayor when she returned to the stage.

Scheduled for February 27, St. George, along with other cities, will participate in a cleanup effort along Interstate 15. The event is sponsored by the nonprofit Love Where You Live which promotes the keeping Utah waste-free, Randall said.

The Gold Star Families Memorial, which has been in the works for over a year but has been delayed due to the pandemic and supply chain issues, has finally arrived in St. George and will be welcomed into St. George Square Town on March 20. at 11 o’clock

The city will also host a new series of Neighborhood Open Houses in 2022, featuring elected officials and city department heads responding to questions or comments from the public.

“This is where we bring the city to your neighborhood,” Randall said.

Neighborhood Open Houses will be held at SunRiver St. George (March 31), Thunder Junction All Abilities Park (April 28), Desert Color Clubhouse (September 8) and Vernon Worthen Park (October 13).

St. George Mayor Michele Randall talks to her constituents after her first State of the City address at the Dixie Convention Center, St. George, Utah, February 8, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

St. George, and Washington County as a whole, will also host the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and Ironman World Championship that year. Estimated to potentially generate up to $100 million in total, Randall said Ironman officials chose St. George over other locations because of the people here and the spirit of volunteerism.

Before ending the address for the year, Randall commented on the town’s slogan “The Brighter Side”.

“I think we feel in St. George that it’s a special place to live, and we want everyone to feel like they’re living on the good side of our community,” the mayor said, pointing to the audience. “We are on the right side thanks to each of you. We couldn’t do what we do without the wonderful residents of our community.

The City State 2022 address can be seen in full below.

Inasmuch asInasmuch asInasmuch as

Copyright St.George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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Salt lake city

A storm is brewing. How much snow will Utah get?

Most of the snow will be in the mountains, but the storm should help clear the air.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Poor air quality clouds the Salt Lake Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

The big news of a storm that will continue through Friday morning in Utah is not what it will bring, but what it will take away.

According to the national weather service, the winter storm will drop maybe a few inches of snow – maybe more in some areas. But the great news is that it should stir up the air and eliminate the inversion and at least some of the smog plaguing the valleys of northern Utah.

A trace of 2 inches of snow is forecast for the northern Utah valleys and 3 to 7 inches in the mountain passes.

The storm is not expected to make the air crystal clear at lower elevations, but it is expected to improve air quality. According to the Utah Air Quality Division, Salt Lake, Cache, Davis, Tooele, Utah and Weber/Box Elder counties are expected to move to yellow/moderate air on Friday.

In Salt Lake City, the National Weather Service predicts a 70 percent chance of snow Friday, mostly before 8 a.m., with 1 to 3 inches of accumulation possible. Daytime temperatures will be in the low to mid 30s, with nighttime lows in the 20s.

Once the storm leaves Utah, there won’t be another in the forecast until the middle of next week. Expect mostly sunny skies, daytime highs in the low to mid 30s and overnight lows in the low 20s – and reversals should occur.

Southern Utah is in even more of a weather rut. The Thursday-Friday storm will not reach St. George, where the forecast is for sunny skies with highs in the mid-50s and overnight lows in the 30s through Wednesday.

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Salt lake city

Snow and rain linger before temperatures start to heat up


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Good Thursday, folks!

It’s another volatile day in northern Utah, with calm conditions and a warming trend towards the south. We still have a winter storm warning in effect for the mountains of northern Utah and southwestern Wyoming until 5 p.m. Thursday.

In this warning, we expect heavy snowfall, especially for the mountains (18-36 inches), and strong winds are also likely. This will result in periods of blowing snow. Be extremely careful if you are traveling on mountain roads. Southwestern Wyoming is expected to pick up 4 to 8 inches of snow along the length of the warning. Areas prone to blowing snow or blowing snow, including Interstate 80 NE, Sardine Summit, and Logan Canyon, could experience particularly difficult travel conditions.

In valleys and mountain valleys, some persistent showers are possible. Rain would be the type of precipitation, as a warming trend brings these daytime highs into the low to the mid-1940s along the Wasatch Front. These temperatures are slightly above average for Salt Lake this time of year, with a seasonal normal around 38 degrees.

We will see warmer temperatures persist until the end of our first work week of the year. In southern Utah, you’ll feel like you’re just a few states away. We will see mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies across most of southern Utah as temperatures continue to rise. We will see over 40 with Moab returning to the low 40 as St. George enters the 50 today. Similar weather will continue through Friday, with each day being a few degrees warmer than the last. That means St. George could approach 60 by Friday. The nights will always be cool, with most falling to at least the mid-1930s.

At the end of the line ? We have an unstable Thursday for the north as this storm system dissipates, and dry and calm conditions in the south.

Stay ahead of changing weather conditions with Utah’s most accurate forecasts, both live and online! We are There4You!


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Salt lake city

Cold temperatures to kick off the New Year in Utah


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4) – Happy New Year, Utah!

It was certainly a messy start to the day with rainy weather widespread across the state. As we progress through the afternoon the chance of snow will gradually decrease in northern Utah. However, along the Wasatch front to the south and east of the Great Salt Lake, we will keep a chance of snow until tonight as a lake effect could develop. .

Meanwhile, for central and southern Utah, it will take longer for the snow to clear, so we’ll keep a great deal of luck this afternoon before gradually easing on Friday night. In southern Utah, in lower areas like St. George, periods of rain are likely.

For our mountains, the snow is expected to persist until tonight and possibly last until Saturday afternoon, mainly in northern Utah. Daytime highs will be a bit cooler than yesterday for most with 20s and 30s for northern Utah and 30s and 40s for southern Utah.

Considering the recent snow in the mountains, Friday presents high avalanche danger for just about all of our mountains. An avalanche warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Avoid backcountry and slopes above 30 degrees.

With the chance of rain mostly this evening, the New Years celebrations are shaping up to be dry, however, it will be COLD. As this humid weather-causing system moves away, it will drag much cooler air behind it. For Friday night, we’ll see temperatures drop among teens along the Wasatch Front, to single digits for the Wasatch Back and even into 20 in St. George. With a cool north-westerly wind, it will be even colder.

For New Years Day, apart from a slight risk of snow in our mountains, we will consider a day with persistent sunshine and cold temperatures. Highs will be below average with areas like Park City stuck in their teens, Salt Lake City will only reach a high of 23, and southern Utah at lower elevations will only climb to 30.

We will get even colder tomorrow night than tonight meaning that single digit troughs will be possible along the Wasatch Front. As we wrap up the weekend and move into the start of next week, temperatures will moderate, however Sunday and Monday will likely bring a northern valley inversion haze. It doesn’t seem to last too long, as another system seems to bring mostly northern Utah another chance for wet weather.

Take-out? The risk of rain is decreasing this evening, but it will be very cold!

Stay ahead of changing weather conditions with Utah’s most accurate forecast. We are There4You!


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Utah economy

Here’s what state and local officials have to say about the 2022 economic forecast for southern Utah – St George News

Composite image. Background photo by Marchmeena29 / iStock / Getty Images Plus. Inset left Unsplash public domain photo. Center inset photo by smodj / iStock / Getty Images Plus. Public domain right insert from Pixabay, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – What is the economic forecast for southern Utah in 2022? According to some employment officials and state and local enterprises, this is as good as possible under the circumstances.

Mark Knold, chief economist of the Utah Department of Manpower Services, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, St. George News

Mark Knold, chief economist for Utah’s Department of Workforce Services, said the only thing holding back growth would be a labor shortage.

“You’re going to have above average demand for business and commerce, but you’re probably going to have below average growth because of the 2% unemployment rate,” Knold said.

The shutdown resulting from the pandemic does not appear to have caused lasting damage to Utah’s economy, particularly in Washington and Iron Counties. The unemployment rate in Washington County was 4.7% in October 2020. This figure fell to 2% in October 2021. The story was similar in Iron County, with unemployment falling from 4.1% in October 2020 to 2% in October 2021.

Before the pandemic, Utah was at full employment for at least two years, with a work participation rate of 68.5%, which is the estimated population maximum for Utah. The labor force participation rate is a measure that reflects anyone aged 16 and over who can work, whether they are working or looking for a job. At the height of the pandemic, turnout fell to 67% in Utah.

Knold said the current unemployment rate is a bit misleading because many people who had jobs before the pandemic have decided not to return to work or have stopped looking altogether during the pandemic. Another factor is the decrease in the number of people with a second job.

“We find that in the long run, about 6% of workers in Utah have second jobs,” Knold said. “This fell to 4.5% during the pandemic and has not yet recovered to 6%.”

Typically, about 13,000 Utah residents have second jobs. At present, there are still around 5,000 people who have not taken up a second job.

The bottom line is that the economy is set for strong economic growth in southern Utah, but that growth will be tempered by a shortage in the job market. All of this is great news for workers looking to make a little extra money or quit an unsatisfying job, Knold said.

“People always want to improve the skill set, the quality of the pay scale,” he said. “It’s probably the best environment to do it. “

Harnessing the economy in Iron County

2021 ends in style in Iron County. Danny Stewart, director of development for Cedar City and Iron County, said all economic indicators were up from the previous year.

Danny Stewart, Director of Economic Development for Cedar City and Iron County, date and location unspecified | Photo courtesy of Iron County Economic Development, St. George News

“We’ve been busy in all areas: growth, construction and sales,” said Stewart. “Our biggest challenge is finding the workers to meet the demand. “

Construction in Iron County was already exploding before the pandemic. Despite the shutdown last year, this growth continues.

“At the end of August 2021, we were up 37% from 2020 for issuance of residential building permits,” said Stewart.

Part of the building frenzy can be attributed to new people migrating to Iron County. Additionally, Stewart said many people who grew up in the area choose to stay there, which is a trend reversal.

“We traditionally export most of our educated young people,” said Stewart. “They are high school or college graduates and are moving to find opportunities elsewhere. “

2022 is set to be an economically strong year for Iron County, limited only by an anticipated shortage of people to cover all the jobs created. Stewart says this is great news for those looking for a job.

“There are a lot of opportunities at all levels of employment here,” said Stewart. “It’s definitely a market for job seekers right now. “

Women in business

Women in southern Utah quickly pivoted during the pandemic shutdown. Debbie Drake, director of the southern office of the Women’s Business Center in Utah, said women who own small businesses have really risen to the challenge during the pandemic.

“They stepped up their efforts, worked even harder, thought outside the box and worked together to make things happen,” Drake said.

Home-based businesses like bakeries, online educational programs and social media services have increased during the shutdown. These areas are expected to continue to grow in 2022. Drake said she expects most businesses to use a virtual hybrid model to stay flexible in these uncertain times.

Women’s Business Center South Office Exploring Opportunities Conference, Cedar City, Utah, September 2021 | Photo courtesy of Maddi Melling Photography, St. George News

“The advantage of virtual business is that you can sell to anyone,” she said.

Women who want to start a new business can receive free help and advice from the Southern Utah Women’s Business Center office. Drake said his organization offers resources, advice and free training for start-ups.

“One of the things we offer is a statewide directory of women-owned businesses,” she said. “It will be linked to city and county websites so people can search for women-owned businesses in their area.”

Drake said her office is also embarking on a photo tour of women-owned businesses. A photographer takes photos in each of the 14 counties served by the southern office of the Women’s Business Center in Utah. The photos will be featured in various marketing publications.

Drake predicts a positive year for businesswomen in southern Utah. With interest rates low and demand for goods and services, positive things are on the horizon for women looking to start a new business or increase demand for their existing services.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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Utah economy

Letters to the Editor, December 23

St. George’s Specter and Daily News

Social security equity

Many low-income people struggle to make ends meet. Read carefully and if you agree, let your lawmakers know.

CoLAs are usually implemented when the basic necessities of life have experienced real inflationary pressures, thus reducing the standard of living of workers and management. These pressures affect members of the workforce equally in all areas. Social security, military and civil service cost of living (CoLA) allowances are very similar.

This discussion focuses on the Social Security CoLA. Currently, the prediction is that a COLA is due for Social Security recipients at 5.9%. This equates to an increase of about $ 92 for the average Social Security recipient ($ 1,560). The highest SS benefit ($ 3,895) will receive a huge increase of $ 229. This illustrates the disparity of the current system.

If it is agreed that inflation affects all retirees equally, then it should also be agreed that ALL beneficiaries should receive the same $$ increase.

Richard gilson

hurricane

Technological priorities

The tech industry is Utah’s fastest growing, highest paying industry and supports our small businesses and economy. Many do not realize the positive impact of our country’s technology companies on small businesses. Today’s retail world is not simple, but rather dynamic, fluid, competitive and full of opportunity. It is essential that our elected officials carefully consider the measures being debated in Congress that would have unintended consequences for Utah’s economy, tech industry and local businesses.

Many small businesses are taking advantage of technology developed by large organizations, selling their products through various methods and platforms offered by companies that compete for business owners as customers. A study published by the Data Catalyst Institute found that 70% of small / medium-sized retailers use a third-party online marketplace to drive sales, and 72% receive almost half of their revenue online. Ultimately, technology is not a threat, but a leading tool for their continued growth. I urge congressional leaders to beware of anti-competition bills that would limit America’s competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

Jana Conrad

Holladay

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Utah economy

Hurricane’s Mercantile and Gypsy Emporium roam havens for residents and tourists – St George News

HURRICANE –Twelve years ago, Myka Desormier bought an antique store called Mercantile Antiques and Consignment, opening her first retail business near the intersection of Main and State streets in Hurricane. Four years later, she opened a one-of-a-kind gift shop, the Gypsy Emporium. Both moves were a gamble, but today the sister stores are among the city’s most successful businesses.

Myka Desormier bought Mercantile Antiques and Consignment in 2010 and in 2014 opened The Gypsy Emporium. Desormier stores thrive on owner’s good eye and thriving tourist business, Hurricane, Utah December 2, 2021 | Photo by Sarah Torribio, St. George News

The stores are located in different buildings on the same lot, a few hundred feet apart. The Mercantile offers 4,000 square feet of antiques, 90 percent of which are sold on consignment. The Gypsy Emporium, which at 15,000 square feet is Southern Utah’s largest antique store, features booths run by individual entrepreneurs who lease space in the sprawling store.

Not too long ago, Desormier also introduced a new and returnable clothing section at the Gypsy Emporium after tourists kept asking where they could buy a sweater or other clothing. She experimented with a 10 by 10 clothing section. He did so well, the entire second floor is now dominated by clothing.

There is “something to tempt everyone,” she said.

“It’s not just old stuff, it’s a great mix of all kinds of stuff, especially at the Gypsy Emporium,” Desormier said. “It’s new, old, handmade, distressed. And among all the customers, some people say: “Oh, I like the Mercantile better”. Some people say, ‘Oh, I like the Gypsies better.’ It’s really interesting.”

Desormier was at a crossroads when she first moved to Utah after a divorce. Her parents, who had retired to southern Utah, were showing their daughter some local sights and decided to drive to Zion. “We were driving through Hurricane and they were like, ‘Oh, an antique store! Let’s stop, ”Desormier said.

The trio loved the antique store and when they learned that the owners – a married couple who founded the store in 2003 – were offering booth rentals, they decided to give it a try. The family ran an antique stall for about a year when they heard the store was closing.

“And at that point (2010) was when the economy fell,” Desormier said. “I was working in a copper mine in Milford which grew… You couldn’t find a job anywhere. I was like, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do?’ “

Then, the saleswoman of the Mercantile had a brainstorm.

“She called my mom and said, ‘Your daughter should buy the store,’” Desormier said. “And literally three days later, I was signing papers and owning an antique store.”

Merchant

One of the most popular items at Mercantile Antiques and Consignment in Hurricane is not for sale. Customers Love Owner Myka Desormier’s Turn-of-the-Century Fully Functional Cash Register, Hurricane, Utah December 2, 2021 | Photo by Sarah Torribio, St. George News

Desormier was slightly nervous. She had never owned a business before and had an operating budget of exactly $ 1,000. She just stepped forward, trusting her intuition.

“I definitely live my life like a rolling stone and wherever it takes me I go with it,” Desormier said. “I just know, ‘Oh, this will work.’ There is no other way. “

Ownership of Mercantile Antiques and Consignment turned out to be a “if you buy it, they will come” proposition. Between locals checking out the new Mercantile at 15 E. State St. and tourists taking the SR-9 via Hurricane to Zion, the cash register has started ringing.

In fact, one of Desormier’s first investments in the business was the purchase of a fully functional 300-pound brass cash register from the turn of the last century.

“Everyone loves the cash register,” she said. “It’s one of the things everyone comments on. “

There are antique items everywhere you look: Pyrex mixing bowls and whimsical figurines, typewriters, and tools. There are tin cans that once held food like Dainty brand crackers and many western products. Vinyl records and vintage jewelry are arguably the biggest sellers in the Mercantile.

Desormier has an employee who artfully organizes the merchandise, organizing vignettes to match the fabric and season. Currently, that includes Christmas trees, antique holiday decorations, and vintage ice skates. A lot of people will come in and spot an object and say, “I don’t know why, but I have to have this.

A statuette of a leprechaun from the 1950s is one of the treasures of Mercantile Antiques and Consignments. Biggest sellers in the store are jewelry and vintage records, Hurricane, Utah December 2, 2021 | Photo by Sarah Torribio, St. George News

Desormier said, “I refer to that as, he’s talking to you.”

If it’s really love, Desormier doesn’t advise clients to go home and sleep on it, because the next time they visit the Mercantile, he will likely be gone.

“Most antique shops tend to be what people call museums. You go there, time and time again, and nothing seems to change, ”Desormier said, adding that this was not his vision for his stores. “Every time you walk in it shouldn’t look the same. It’s a question of turnover.

There are others who do not hear the call.

“Some people are like, ‘I don’t want clutter, I don’t want anything. “And, for me, when you walk into their homes, it’s a bit boring or it’s cookie-cutter,” Desormier said. “I like to be stimulated by seeing things. And when people come in and say, “Wow, that’s a bit like soaking up,” I’m like, “It’s empowering. “

The Gypsy Emporium

Another antique store has sprung up in the same mall as Mercantile Gifts and Consignments called The Ugly Trailer. When that store closed in 2014, friends and customers advised Desormier to open a store in the now vacant space.

“I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m really capable of doing two stores,” Desormier said. “So I kind of looked at it, and one weekend I typed in the numbers and said, well, okay.”

Desormier opened The Gypsy Emporium (25 E. State St.), which has since grown into the two companies’ biggest money generator. She adores the Mercantile but the Gypsy holds a special place in her heart because it is her idea. This isn’t the kind of store you want to jump into if you only have five minutes to spare, as it has an even wider selection than the Mercantile, from embroidered tea towels to Navajo blankets and license plates. vintage representing the 50 independent clothing states. it’s anything but a cookie cutter.

The clothing section upstairs of the Gypsy Emporium has become one of the bestsellers in the gift shop. Hurricane, Utah, December 2, 2021 | Photo by Sarah Torribio, St. George News

Twelve years after the game started, Desormier feels comfortable enough in town to pronounce the hurricane like a local – “Herri-kin”.

“When in Rome,” she said.

She had a brief scare when COVID-19 popped up and people weren’t going out, but she weathered the storm by offering pick-up purchases. Desormier is happy to announce that 2021 has been its best year in terms of results. At the end of November, it posted record profits at the nationwide celebration of “Small Business Saturday”.

The Gypsy Emporium in particular has developed a reputation for being a wonderland for those who love to roam. Last summer, the store was chosen to represent Utah in an MSN article listing “The Best Vintage Store in Every State.”

Better yet, Desormier is in good company. Her parents are still involved in the store, helping out every day, and she has found community among repeat customers and her hardworking employees. Running two stores is a lot of work, but it’s a job that never goes out of fashion for this connoisseur of unique items.

“I’m still learning something everyday,” she said.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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Utah economy

The trails of the desert canyons offer visitors, young people and neighbors of Grand Sion a single-track oasis

Desert Canyons Trail System, St. George, UT. Photos: Mike Cartier

Tucked away in southwest Utah off of Highway 7, the Desert Canyons accessible trail system is just steps from the St. George Regional Airport in the Greater Zion region. A few years ago this young trail system was founded by a local residential builder who wanted to build a new subdivision outside of town with easy access to mountain bike trails on their doorstep.

These trails are privately owned and cater for cyclists and hikers with approximately 20 miles of singletrack close at hand. While there is plenty of mileage to go in this physically small, yet dense and passionate community, this trail system mostly consists of a few loops for beginners and intermediates: ideal for those who want to squeeze in a quick ride after the job.

A student-athlete pre-riding the race with St. George Regional Airport in the background.

Although the skill level is very open and inviting for new riders, there are plenty of technical features that will satisfy even the most skilled rider. This trail system is definitely more XC-focused and recently hosted the Utah State High School Mountain Biking Championships with hundreds of fast, youthful runners from across the state.

Subdivision of Desert Canyons visible just across Highway 7.

Much to our surprise my friend Dave and I got to experience this trail the weekend before the state championships. At first we were overwhelmed with participating in this seemingly small trail system, but the atmosphere and warmth of the other riders was awesome. While my friend packed a borrowed bike, I had the chance to walk around a bit to take some photos of the huge parking lot filled with riders and locals.

Preparation of the bike before departure. We have seen a lot of participation from runners and recreational cyclists.

By chance I ran into Jake Weber, a high school mountain bike trainer and NICA member since 2011. I informed him it was my first time at Desert Canyons and he had a blast with nothing but good things to say about the trails, the community, and the long-term mission of bringing the local community – as well as the national – by bike.

Weber was instrumental in the course design and gave us some useful information before Dave and I set off on our slow “lap”. Weber’s enthusiasm accompanied me as I started the loop, often passed by very fast high school students. The positive impact of this site and trail system on residents and traveling student-athletes across the state was clear; he brought everyone together for a competitive but fun time.

Jake Weber, High School Mountain Bike Trainer and NICA Member / Advocate.

Dave and I started the loop clockwise with a modest, gradual climb before the singletrack started. We had just over seven miles total in the race loop which consists of green tracks (Pushing Tin Loop and Secret Sauce) and a mile of blue tracks (Claim Jumper) in the Varsity Loop. The elevation isn’t severe, but the rolling and often punchy climbs are about 550 feet above sea level according to the course description. Most of each trail is fairly docile, but there are enough technical rocky sections to keep skilled riders on their toes. The occasional smooth descents allow for a fun rest before the next technical section and add to the overall balance.

Sportiness and climbs galore.
Teammates navigating through boulder fields.
Whether you look up or down the trail, you will find like-minded trail users.

Winding just over a mile and a half into the pushing tin loop, there’s a scenic clifftop vantage point where casual riders can relax and grab a snack. The bench adjacent to the trail allows users to gaze out at Highway 7 into the Arizona desert before continuing.

Pause to view Arizona at the top of the Pushing Tin Loop trail.

As we cruised through larger and larger boulder fields, the variety between gradual climbs, pedaled straights, and smooth fun increased. This loop seemed to give you a bit of work before you gain more of your runs towards the end.

Dave climbs up and walks away from the trailhead.

I have already mentioned the proximity to the nearby airport. All kinds of airplanes, military, small personal planes and national airliners frequently came and went from the airstrips.

I dreaded to think that I would be leaving Utah on a plane like this in a few days.

For other desert dwellers, this trail system might not be scenic, but I found the barren landscape to be stunning. The rocks changed in size, but stayed the same with inspiring grip in the dry and cool conditions. We drove in the middle of the afternoon in October with temperatures in the 70s. It was a pleasant day to ride, to say the least.

Dave zooming in between the rocks.
So cool to see the young people of Utah so passionate about cycling.
Accurate representation of the escalation to access the flow.

While there are many well known or epic / difficult trails in the St. George / Greater Zion area, you certainly cannot ignore what Desert Canyons has to offer and their impact on the local cycling community and economy. . With the rapid eruption of housing on the outskirts of St. George, trail systems like these not only generate massive selling points for buyers, but create a healthy base for the young people who live on these trails. For the adventurous novice rider or maybe the experienced rider who wants to get out of the house, this trail has a lot of character and challenge in those little loops.

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Utah economy

New Chick-fil-A Creates 140 Jobs in St. George, Provides Free Food to 100 ‘Local Heroes’ – St George News

ST. GEORGE – A new Chick-fil-A store will open Tuesday at the southwest corner of Bluff Street and Blackridge Drive, bringing 140 full-time and part-time jobs to the St. George economy.

File photo of team member Ryan Wright and local Chick-fil-A franchise owner Deven Macdonald at the “Remarkable Futures” scholarship ceremony, St. George, Utah February 27, 2019 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

They also provide free food for a year to 100 “local heroes” who impact Washington County, owner and operator Deven Macdonald said.

“We chose public safety personnel from St. George and Washington City,” Macdonald told St. George News. “We also selected the Washington County School District administration and teachers, as well as staff from local health organizations as our ‘Community Heroes’ recipients, for making a significant impact in the community of St. George. “

Macdonald attended BYU before working 14 years in portfolio management at a software company. Then, in 2013, he and his wife moved to St. George to open Chick-fil-A Red Rock Commons.

“For nearly a decade, my family and I have called St. George our home,” he said in a press release shared with St. George News. “I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to make a difference in the community that has meant so much to us. “

A scene from Chick-fil-A at Bluff Street and Blackridge Drive, St. George, Utah on December 3, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

Macdonald said he is currently looking to fill 140 positions at Chick-fil-A Bluff Street and Blackridge Drive. He said he had a penchant for working with young people as he was active in many youth organizations and had a passion to help young people develop essential life skills.

“It’s no secret that our industry faces labor shortages,” said Macdonald, “which is one of the reasons our restaurant encourages all interested candidates to apply. I look forward to mentoring my team members and taking care of our neighbors, serving them tasty food with signature Chick-fil-A hospitality.

Chick-fil-A also offers scholarship opportunities for certain team members, as well as flexible hours, for those who wish to pursue further education beyond high school.

Chick-fil-A Bluff Street and Blackridge Drive are located at 1333 S. Auto Mall Drive, Building 200, near the Veterans Memorial Highway exit. They are open from 6.30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

Ed. Note: A previous story said the store opened last week. It has been corrected.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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Salt lake city

A chilly start gives way to a sunny day in Utah


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Good Monday Utah! With the high pressure still under control, we will see another day of calm and dry weather with plenty of sun again. Temperatures will also be slightly above average.

As usual for this time of year, we will see a cool morning with temperatures around 20 and 30 degrees. We will definitely want the layers for the day because as we head into the afternoon our temperatures rise slightly as we jump into the upper 40s and 50s for most of the Beehive State and even see the mid-1960s in St.. George.

Winds won’t really be a factor for most of us anymore, except for a part of the area between Cedar City and New Harmony where it can get breezy at times. As the evening hours approach, we still have a lot of clear skies before the clouds accumulate thanks to 2 weather systems that will barely fly over us on Tuesday.

In short, another dry and a little hotter day which promises to start the work week well.

Stay ahead of the weather with the most accurate live Utah forecast and in line. We are There4You!


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Salt lake city government

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


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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Salt lake city government

Labor shortage hard for employers, a boon for job seekers


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Utah economy

Dove Center officials discuss day of service and impact of pandemic on Erin Home renovations with Washington City Council – St George News

Erin’s Home, Washington City, Utah, May 7, 2015 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

CITY OF WASHINGTON – A discussion for a proposed day of service at Erin’s Home in Washington City turned into an update of how the pandemic postponed the Dove Center’s efforts to renovate the facility, and how it also had a impact on certain aspects of the work of the nonprofit organization as a whole.

In this file photo, Erin’s Home has an open house, Washington City, Utah May 7, 2015 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

At a Washington City Council working meeting held last Wednesday, representatives from the Dove Center of St. George, a non-profit organization focused on supporting survivors of domestic violence and abuse and of sexual assault, approached council at the invitation of council member Kurt Ivie to begin discussing when the city could promote a day of service at Erin’s Home.

Erin’s Home, which opened in 2015, houses three transitional housing used by the Dove Center for women and their children who have escaped violent environments. The aim is to provide a safe place for survivors and their families to stay while they receive support, and possibly move to a more permanent housing situation when possible.

Currently, the backyard is flooded when heavy rains pass, Ivie said, and noted that her business would help address this issue. In addition to this, the Dove Center wants to install new play equipment in the backyard for the youngest who stay there. This would also include installing foam surface tiles in part of the backyard.

“We need help. We don’t need a document,” Madonna Melton, director of shelter and operations at the Dove Center, told the board. “We need a helping hand.”

Recent rains have caused flooding in Erin’s Home’s backyard due to drainage issues Dove Center officials hope to resolve with the help of volunteers, Washington City, Utah. October 5, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

The Dove Center lacks the expertise and manpower to set up the playground, Melton said, which is why a day of service is being offered. It is hoped that those community members who can lend this “helping hand” and who have the know-how to help with the installation of the tiles and the play area will come forward when the opportunity arises.

“There are a lot of people in our community who know how to do these things and are very generous,” said Ivie.

Before a date for the day of service can be finalized, however, some of the equipment and surface tiles must be funded and ordered. Melton did not seek funding from the city in this regard, but instead asked the council to promote this need to the wider community.

Dove Center officials are hopeful the flooding problem will be resolved and a new playground set up before an open house for Erin’s Home they have scheduled for early next year, said Lindsey Boyer, director. executive of the Dove Center.

Melton and Boyer both noted that when the Dove Center has a problem to fix, something happens that fixes it. The women added that they hope the trend continues as they seek help from the wider community.

“Things are going one way or another the way they have to and we’re just moving forward,” Boyer said.

In this file photo, Dove Center Executive Director Lindsey Boyer discusses the challenges of getting funding during the 2020 pandemic, St. George, Utah March 29, 2021 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

Regarding a recent demonstration of community support, the Dove Center received a $ 30,000 donation from BlvdHome in March.

During a visit to Washington City Council on Wednesday, Boyer took the opportunity to brief council members on efforts to renovate Erin’s home and how it had been stranded due to the pandemic and related issues.

The Dove Center approached city council in January 2020 to request funding through a Community Development Block Grant, a federal grant that the city typically receives on an annual basis. The requested funding will go towards a renovation inside Erin’s Home that would create two additional family-sized transitional housing units on the ground floor.

The council approved a grant of more than $ 173,000 for the project in May 2020.

While the Dove Center issued public notices for contractors to bid on the project, no bids were made, Boyer said. Having an offer is a requirement to be able to use the federal grant money.

“As well as obtaining the grant has gone, the execution of the grant has become a bit bumpy due to the impact of the pandemic on the economy and the construction market,” he said. she declared.

This, combined with related factors such as supply chain disruptions and material shortages, has led to the postponement of the ground floor renovation of Erin’s Home for the time being, Boyer said. As for the grant the Dove Center received, they may have to withdraw it and apply for it again in two years, she said.

In this file photo, Washington City Council hears from representatives of the Dove Center as they apply for a grant for renovations at Erin’s Home, Washington City, Utah January 8, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The Dove Center nonetheless got “creative” with funding, Boyer said, adding that the nonprofit had been able to secure a new transitional housing unit in the community for now, but that she still needed another.

The continued housing shortage further complicates the need to acquire additional units that can be converted into transitional housing.

“There is a huge gap, and it will continue to be until we have more housing units,” Boyer said.

Another aspect of the Dove Center’s mission that has grown due to the pandemic is the overall number and intensity of cases it has supported.

When the pandemic first began, Boyer said the response to cases was relatively calm, then skyrocketed until it returned to calm, only to soar once more and eventually stabilize.

The increase in domestic violence cases during the onset of COVID-19 has been called a “phantom pandemic” and “pandemic within a pandemic” by national publications like TIME which have highlighted the problem.

“We’ve had at least a 35% increase in the number of phone calls we’ve received year over year, from 2020 to 2021,” Boyer said.

There has also been an increase in the clientele of the Dove Center and the services provided, with the workload being handled by lawyers and clinicians becoming heavier and more intense per client than before, Boyer told the board. .

“This has been the beautiful impact of COVID,” she said.

For more information on the Dove Center and Erin’s Home and how to get involved, visit the Dove Center website.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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Utah economy

Changing EPA Policies in a Changing Environment – The Daily Utah Chronicle

The EPA is responsible for regulating the production and manufacture of chemicals and other pollutants. The agency enforces its regulations through fines and penalties, among other methods.

The Trump administration has favored a more lenient EPA policy towards businesses and the fossil fuel industry. The administration sought to limit the agency’s ability to enforce environmental regulations with various procedures such as the cost-benefit rule, which CNBC said “imposed restrictions on cost-benefit analyzes for rule making. of the Clean Air Act without explaining why these requirements were necessary. “

The Biden administration is currently in the process of overturning Trump-era EPA policies in a bid to tackle climate change and other issues the administration sees as imminent threats to the United States.

Juliet Carlisle, professor of political science at the University of Utah, said the major shift between the Trump-era EPA and the current administration’s EPA policies is who is in charge and who is in charge. how committed this person is to the protection of the environment.

“Trump appointed an EPA director who sought to dismantle the EPA from within and cripple its ability to do its job,” Carlisle said. “Biden’s goal is to tackle the climate crisis and other environmental issues and knows the EPA has an important role to play in making that happen. “

Carlisle said federal policy can have a strong and direct impact on the environment.

“Specific policies aim to protect the environment to varying degrees, for example,” she said. “However, some policies, not directly related to the environment, can still have an environmental impact.”

Every four to eight years, when a new president takes office, the policy of that administration is adopted.

These changes across jurisdictions can thwart environmental conservation goals and efforts, Carlisle said.

“Presidents can appoint and Congress approves cabinet officials,” she said. “Majorities in Congress can influence policies that are introduced, voted on, and presidents decide what to sign and what not to sign into law… President Trump, for example, unilaterally [decided] withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Environmental changes can happen quickly or rather slowly. The reality is that we are facing dire circumstances with climate change and the effects are already there. “

The environmental effects of these policies can be seen in Utah. For example, cleaner air initiatives are a common priority in the Salt Lake Valley, as the region is reaching record levels for air quality this year alone.

“The policies of the Trump era reversed many environmental protections,” Carlisle said. “One in particular was to change the designation of bear ears. In addition, many of Trump’s regulatory setbacks concerned the production of fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels has a direct and negative impact on the climate, exacerbating the effects of climate change. In Utah, climate change is having real and significant consequences for our state. “

For many in Utah – a state with five national parks – protecting the environment is important. Plus, a good business atmosphere may be a priority for many, especially with the high economic growth rates seen in Utah and Washington counties in recent years, according to St. George News.

Tyler Boyles, president of the Republicans at U College, said he believes Utah should be both pro-business and pro-environment.

“We don’t have to choose one or the other,” he said. “The Green New Deal is not a solution, and killing our environment is not the solution. The solution enables companies to innovate and create new ways of being environmentally friendly.

According to Boyles, the nation can see significant progress if businesses and enterprises are guided to create these solutions. He said it can be done without hurting the economy.

“I think when you allow the private sector to innovate and inspire them to create better and cleaner solutions, you can be much more effective in ensuring that we have a clean environment that we can pass on to our future generations. “, did he declare.

Boyles said the Trump administration has done a good job of securing this by making the United States energy independent.

“We need to take sound environmental approaches that can benefit both [business and the environment], “he said.” The US private sector is the most efficient, and if the big government stepped aside, we could really see significant progress in climate and environmental solutions. “

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Utah economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I know the market will adapt”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is responsible?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sean Hemmersmeier contributed reporting for this article.

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

Posted

Update

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Salt lake city

Utah can expect clear skies on the weekend


The National Weather Service is planning a sunny weekend.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Waves of birds fly west under a golden sunset over Great Salt Lake on Thursday, October 14, 2021.

Warmer temperatures and clear skies are expected in Utah after a week of frost and snow warnings, according to the National Weather Service.

Although temperatures will remain below average for this time of year, Saturday’s high is forecast at around 62 degrees with clear skies and light winds in the afternoon. A low of 40 degrees is expected on Saturday evening, the weather service reported.

Sunday will bring a high near 69, which matches the mid-60s average temperatures for mid-October. However, it will be colder next week.

The forecast for Salt Lake City calls for a high of 59, 55, 61 and 63 degrees on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The lows of the night should be in the 30s and 40s.

There is a 50% chance of showers on Monday, but the weather service does not predict any precipitation for the rest of the week.

Temperatures in southwest Utah will hit 70 degrees over the weekend with a high of 78 expected on Saturday and 79 on Sunday. The middle of the week should be quite temperate with highs in the mid-70s Monday through Thursday and lows in the 40s.

Temperatures are starting to line up with mid-October averages in St. George, where average highs are in the 1970s and lows in the 1960s.


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Salt lake city

How long will thunderstorms last this weekend?


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Have a nice weekend, Utah!

We received a much needed dose of wet weather statewide with a healthy storm persisting into the first part of our weekend! Although the wet weather is not as widespread, we will still see scattered showers today and tomorrow.

With even colder air filtering, we will see snow levels drop from 9,000 feet to 7,500 feet at noon. This means that some accumulations will be possible in Cottonwood Canyons and a mixture of rain and snow will be possible even in Bryce Canyon. As for the temperature, the highs will be in the 50s for the Wasatch Front with a cold wind, the highs will be in the upper 30s and the low 40s in the Wasatch Back and in the south, it will be the 60s and 70s to the maximum.

The sky will start to dry out tonight until Sunday when it turns cold to cold. Where humidity persists in the higher elevations, random snow showers will still be possible. The lows will drop to the 40s for Salt Lake City and even dip to the 40s and 40s in St. George, as Logan and higher areas approach freezing!

We’re going to dry off a bit by the end of the weekend. By Sunday, we should return to decent state-wide sunshine with temperatures. This break in time won’t last long, however, as an even stronger storm system arrives early next week. The risk of wet weather will increase again with temperatures taking even longer to dive. This will lead to a potential drop in snow levels on the benches and possibly in the valleys too! Stay tuned.

Conclusion? The start of the weekend will be humid, but expect a cooler and prettier Sunday!

Stay on top of all of our weather changes with Utah’s most accurate forecast! We are here 4 You!


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Utah economy

Representative Albrecht provides update on legislation

By representative Carl Albrecht, District 70

Electoral redistribution

The legislative redistribution committee has been busy at work, traveling across the state to gather feedback and review maps. Be sure to submit your own maps for review using the state of the art drawing tool available at https://redistricting.utah.gov/maps/.

The Legislature will meet in special session in mid-November to approve maps that will determine Utah’s boundaries for the next decade. You can keep up to date by following the Legislative Boundaries Committee on social media (Twitter & Facebook) and by visiting redistrict.utah.gov.

Vaccination mandates

President Biden recently called on the Department of Labor to require all companies with more than 100 employees to either require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or test negative weekly. The president’s decision to make vaccination of private entities compulsory is unprecedented and unacceptable. While a private company may choose to require vaccinations or tests for its employees, the government forcing companies to take these steps is too much of a manual.

Speaker of the House Brad Wilson said, “I want to reaffirm my continued support for the immunization effort. Vaccines have proven to be the most effective measure in reducing the pressure on our hospitals and saving lives. However, requiring employers to impose these decisions on their employees is not the role of government and should not become the new precedent. “

Home service project for veterans

The Utah House Majority Caucus participated in a service project at the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home. Representatives pulled weeds, painted planters, planted flowers, and helped with other landscaping needs. We loved the opportunity to give back to our veterans and appreciate all they have done to serve our country.

Monoclonal antibody treatments

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Centers are now providing care to patients in Utah. These treatments should not replace the vaccine but can ease the burden on our hospitals by preventing hospitalizations and saving lives. See your health care provider if you are at high risk and your COVID-19 test is positive.

Learn more about monoclonal antibody treatments here: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/noveltherapeutics/

September interim Meetings

The Legislative Assembly met in September to resume interim meetings. The committees discussed several important and topical issues, including vaccine requirements, access to child care, student mental health, bail reform and more. The topics discussed and the action to be taken by the committee are available at https://le.utah.gov/interim/2021/pdf/00003099.pdf The October meetings are scheduled for October 19 and 20.

Highlights of Management Credits

The Office of the Legislative Budget Analyst presented the 2021-2022 budget for the State of Utah to the Executive Appropriations Committee during the interim September period. This budget funds all of our state’s needs, including education, transportation, outdoor recreation, affordable housing and more. You can read the full report here: https://le.utah.gov/interim/2021/pdf/00002925.pdf

The Credit Executive Committee also discussed how the state can use ARPA funds to meet our critical water needs, received an update on the new University of Mental Health facility. Utah and reviewed a report from the Homeless Council.

UtahRaptor State Park Update

Earlier this year, the legislature passed HB 257 to create Utah Raptor State Park near Moab. The new development, engineering and design plans for the park are well advanced. This new national park will feature two new campgrounds with around 60 to 70 individual campsites, a handful of group campsites, an entrance post, a visitor center and many other exciting amenities.

Military and defense economic impact

The Utah Defense Alliance commissioned the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute to assess the economic impacts of Utah’s defense industry. Utah’s defense industry makes a substantial contribution to the state’s diverse economy, contributing 10.3% of state employment and $ 13.9 billion in personal income. Listen to the presentation or read the full report at https://le.utah.gov/MtgMinutes/publicMeetingMinutes.jsp?Com=SPEVMA&meetingId=17737

Podcast

Head over to Spotify or Apple Podcasts to listen to the recent Utah House Majority podcast, covering topics ranging from economic development to our new civic engagement program!

Upcoming Events Statewide

Dreamscapes immersive art exhibition (Salt Lake) Through December, Thursday to Sunday

Cedar Saturday Market (Cedar City) every Saturday

Tuacahn Saturday market every Saturday

Tuacahn Amphitheater (St. George) Open-air theater performances until October 21

Nature Hills Harvest Fest (Cedar City) October 2–16

Moab Red Rock Festival October 9

Fall Harvest Festival (Cache) October 15-16

Fall Festival and Pumpkin Lane (St. George) October 25

As always, thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the Utah House of Representatives. Please contact me with any questions or concerns by calling or texting me at (435) 979-6578 or emailing [email protected]

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Utah economy

Small Business Development Center bids farewell to Lennart Erickson – St George News

ST. GEORGE – The Southern Utah Small Business Development Center bade farewell to its director, Lennart Erickson, on Wednesday morning.

Left to Right: Len Erickson and Dixie Technical College President Kelle Stephens walk arm in arm to cut the ribbon to celebrate the launch of the Dixie Business Alliance, St. George, Utah September 29, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

Erickson consulted over 1,400 clients during his 13-year tenure, which had a $ 44 million impact on the southern Utah economy.

Dixie Technical College President Kelle Stephens spoke a few words about Erickson to the audience who had gathered for Wednesday morning’s list of events, which included two panels, a keynote speaker, a ribbon cutting to celebrate the launch of the new Dixie Business Alliance and recognition of Erickson’s departure.

“I used to have an office near Len’s,” Stephens says. “I had the opportunity to hear a lot of commercial arguments. Most of them thought they had big ideas. It was Len who must have said, ‘No, that will never work.’ … We all need someone like that, don’t we?

Erickson made the crowd laugh when he replied, “Not everyone would agree with you.”

Erickson watches Stephens prepare to cut the ribbon, St. George, Utah September 29, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

Erickson said he was responsible for feasibility reports, which considered a company’s strengths and weaknesses when their owners applied for loans. While some business owners took his advice to heart, others were more stubborn, he said, adding that sadly many of those companies didn’t.

Among them was a group looking to start a tire recycling business.

“I saw that they weren’t going to be able to have enough tires and that there was not much they could do with the tires they had,” Erickson said. “They weren’t going to have enough clients or customers, even though they had already invested in the business.”

In addition to the unsuccessful businesses, Erickson has helped over 240 other businesses get started, creating nearly 2,000 jobs. A statistics sheet distributed Wednesday said Erickson had spent more than 15,000 hours working with business owners.

Following Stephens’ comments, Jeff Mather, the new director of the Small Business Development Center, took the stage. Almost as soon as he started to speak, Mather held back tears.

Jeff Mather gives Len Erickson a framed stat sheet to commemorate Erickson’s accomplishments, St. George, Utah September 29, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

“Len worked for one of the worst bosses in history: the White Shark of Wall Street,” Mather said, referring to Thomas Mellon Evans, the financier who has been called one of the first corporate raiders. . Lobbying for shareholder rights, Evans used controversial tactics to gain control of more than eighty American corporations, ushering in a new era for corporations in 1950s America.

Mather went on to say that Erickson told him about a friend’s funeral which was packed with mourners.

“Len said he didn’t think he could get 10 people to come to his house,” Mather said. Then, drawing his attention to Erickson, he added, “Well, it’s not your funeral, but look how many people are here today.”

As Erickson moves from St. George to Salt Lake City, he said he will continue to work for the Small Business Development Center. As his 76th birthday approached, he recalled his father’s approaching retirement.

“My father was a lawyer in Denver,” he told St. George News. “He didn’t stop working until he was 80 years old. Work has reinvigorated him, and so am I.

Still, Erickson has said he intends to retire in the next few years. Until then, he will be spending his billable hours helping Salt Lake City clients get their businesses off the ground in a competitive economy.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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Salt lake city

Happy New Year (water)! Where is Salt Lake located?


SALT LAKE CITY – (ABC 4) – We welcomed October to Salt Lake City with lovely, slightly below average temperatures and dry conditions.

October 1 marks the start of our new water year, and after the hottest summer on record and historic drought conditions, the state as a whole would benefit from an active storm pattern with lots of rain. and snow.

September is our last month of the water year, and in Salt Lake we only had four days of measurable humidity. We were well below our average of 1.06 for the month, receiving only 0.17 of rain for September, and lower monthly precipitation totals are having a big impact on our hydrologic year.

Our last year of water has ended in Salt Lake City and the final numbers are grim.

In a normal hydrologic year, Salt Lake City averages 15.52 ″ from October 1 to September 30. For the hydrologic year starting October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, Salt Lake City received only 10.98 ″ of precipitation. This makes it the 17th driest water year on record for the city. The records go back to 1874. Salt Lake City’s total is also only 0.02 ″ more water than the year 2019-2020, which ended at 10.96.

Have we been drier? Yes. Are we a desert climate? Yes. Water is one of Utah’s most precious resources and, looking at the past decade, this year is the third driest. We only beat the 2017-18 season, as well as last year. The water year starting October 1, 2017 and ending September 30, 2018, brought only 10.5 ″ of precipitation to Salt Lake City, making it the 9th driest water year ever. registered for the city.

In the last eleven years, our best and one of the wettest years on record: 2010-2011. That season 23.64 ″ of precipitation fell, making it the 4th wettest water year ever. We also recorded healthy totals in the 2018-19 season, with Salt Lake harvesting over 21.5 inches of rain.

One of the best ways to visualize the Utah water scenario is to visualize it as a savings bank account. When we have water in our reservoirs, we have money in the bank. Wet weather can be thought of as deposits, but dry conditions leave us with a drain on our savings. We are battling back-to-back dry years, which has left us depleting our savings, and we have seen water restrictions as a result. As we move forward, an active storm pattern this fall and winter would benefit the state.

We have seen a strong monsoon this year. You may remember the flash floods in our national parks and in our southern Utah communities like Cedar City, Delta, and St. George. Summer rains helped reduce the drought monitor in the southern part of the state and allowed some towns in southern Utah to see above-average monthly rainfall. For example, St. George received 0.72 ″ of rain for the month of September, while Salt Lake received a meager 0.17. As we close this water year and start anew, a fifth of Utah remains in exceptional drought, with the Wasatch front included in this category.
For storm updates, stay with the Pinpoint Weather team live and online. We are There4You!


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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.

More stories that might interest you

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Utah economy

Planning Commission adopts updated short-term rental ordinance; proposal goes to county commission – St George News

ST. GEORGE – A proposal to update the county code regarding short-term rentals was passed Tuesday morning by the Washington County Planning Commission. The proposal, which officials say clarifies what had previously been described as broad and vague, is now heading to the Washington County Commission for consideration.

In this file photo, members of the Washington County Planning Commission, St. George, Utah November 12, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Referred to as “Option 2,” highlights of the proposed update include mandates that landlords absent from short-term rentals have a local property management company to oversee their property; display signs on their units identifying the owner and a phone number for a 24/7 property manager; and have off-street parking available for vacation renters.

The code for the square footage of short-term rentals is also included in option 2.

“We’re trying to find the balance between investors – or landlords who have short-term rentals – and the people who live next door,” said Scott Messel, director of community development for Washington County in St. George. News.

Option 2 was drafted following a September 14 planning committee meeting in which the original proposal, Option 1, was presented and then criticized by “a noisier part” of the participants. at the meeting, Messel said.

In this file photo, Scott Messel, director of community development for Washington County, addresses the county planning committee, St. George, Utah Aug 21, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The individuals, he said, were mostly landowners and investors who lived outside the region and challenged part of Option 1 which would only have allowed owner-occupied short-term rentals in the regions. county unincorporated areas.

Tyson Isham, a local property manager, previously said Option 1 “would make 96% of our short-term rental market illegal overnight.”

“They said they would grant grandfathered rights to anyone who is already operating legally under current regulations; however, I don’t think this promise really holds up.

Concerns about the growing popularity of short-term rentals in the county have been around for some time. The case came to a head and resulted in the termination of many owner-occupied AirBnB rentals in St. George in 2015. This, in part, led to state legislation in 2017 limiting the means by which authorities of the city and county may locate potential vacation homes in their area for code enforcement purposes.

Most recently, the Washington County Commission voted in May to impose a six-month moratorium on the approval of all new vacation rental applications while the county reviews its existing ordinance and updates it accordingly.

Composite image. Background photo shows Dixie Springs, a hot bed for vacation rentals in the then Hurricane Hurricane, Utah September 8, 2016 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

At the time, the county ordinance allowed vacation rentals to be set up pretty much anywhere in the county without too many restrictions. There was also no clear policy regarding the square footage required to accommodate a vacation rental.

Before the moratorium, a landlord only had to obtain a county business license and register with the state to have a vacation rental application approved. After that, county politics became very broad and vague, Washington County Assistant District Attorney Victoria Hales told the commission at its May 14 meeting.

Messel said the existing code was “too distorted” by allowing rentals anywhere and without area or occupancy caps.

In this file photo, St. George City seen from the Dixie Rock / Sugarloaf Formation at Pioneer Park, St. George, Utah, July 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

One problem with short-term rentals that the county wants to avoid, he said, is the creation of what could be mini-hotels in residential areas where a vacation home can be rented by 30 people or more at once.

“If you live next door to that it can have an impact,” Messel said. “If you are planning to build a house for short-term rental, we won’t let you build a hotel in a residential area. “

Residents of neighborhoods where these rentals exist tend to complain about noise, garbage, and parking, as multiple cars can accompany vacationers. Communities with residents who have complained about short-term rentals include Dammeron Valley, Pine Valley and Sky Ranch, Messel said.

“These areas have experienced more tension and problems with short-term rentals,” he said.

File photo of Dammeron Valley, where community members have spoken out against vacation rentals in their neighborhoods, Dammeron Valley, Utah May 21, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

Isham said the restriction on short-term rentals would have a negative impact on the local economy, and he called on the county commission to enforce pre-existing laws rather than creating new ones.

“Our ideal outcome would be for the county to vote to keep its current legislation unchanged and put in place an action plan to apply its current legislation to the letter,” Isham said. “I hope property owners and managers will come forward to speak up and defend their rights instead of having them taken into the dark of night.”

The Washington County Property Owners and STR Facebook group has been following the county’s work on vacation rental ordinance revisions. As of Tuesday night, the majority of the group’s postings did not support the Planning Committee’s vote.

Washington County Commissioner Discusses Need for County to Revise Short-Term Rental Policy, St. George, Utah May 4, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Washington County / CEC, St. George News

A group member noted the Town Planning Commission ‘s removal of the owner occupancy provision and increased square footage requirements.

“They added an optional gravel driveway and restricted locks as additional units,” the commenter added. “Some of you might think it’s good, but keep in mind a summary of what’s still in it. … Annual inspections, be sure to watch the insane signage requirements… There’s always the size of the unit, the local property manager, and tons of other restrictions. This is all garbage! Please contact the commissioners and tell them to close it. It’s up to them now!

The Washington County committee will vote on Option 2 at its October 5 meeting.

St. George News editor Alexa Morgan contributed to this story.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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Utah economy

St. George continues to grow as water officials try to keep pace

ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – The Washington County Water Conservancy District is completing several projects to keep pace with its growth.

“Some projects we kind of assumed we wouldn’t need for a while, like some water tanks specifically and the water treatment plant expansion, but due to the With growth underway, we need to accelerate the rate at which we bring these projects now, ”said Zachary Renstrom, general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District.

Currently, the county’s only water supply is the Virgin River, and as of June, water levels were the lowest on record.

“In mid-July there was a change and we had these wonderful monsoon rains so we got twice as much monsoon rain as the average and it had a significant impact on the Virgin River”, explains Renstrom.

That’s why Renstrom says it needs the Lake Powell pipeline, which is under environmental review.

“This gives us a more reliable water supply system and it will ensure that we have the water we need as our community and economy grows,” he says.

But Lake Powell’s water levels are 50 feet lower than last year. Renstrom says that despite the drop in levels, the state is entitled to a water budget, designated to help the county.

“Utah is going to use that budget and if we don’t use it on the Lake Powell pipeline then we’re going to use it somewhere in the state, we’re actually going to run more models to see the extremes on that. what could possibly happen, ”he said.

This year alone, a total of 1,167 building permits were issued in St. George. In Washington, 928 building permits were issued in the past 12 months, the highest number in the city’s history, according to city officials. On average, it takes about 300,000 gallons of water to build a house.

“I have met the majority of the county town councils and they have all been very positive about adopting best practices or amending their existing landscape ordinances to embrace these new ideas about water,” says Renstrom.

Renstrom says there is currently enough water to keep up with the growth, as long as they keep adding water projects like reservoirs and water reservoirs.

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Salt lake city government

Residents of southern Utah share their thoughts with the two redistribution groups


Over the past two weekends, residents of southern Utah were able to share their thoughts on the decade-long redistribution process.

They did so in public hearings held by the two state-funded Utah redistribution groups. One is the traditional Legislative Redistribution Committee, a group of 20 state lawmakers – 15 Republicans and five Democrats – this is the group that has made final redistribution recommendations to the state legislature in the past and will make final recommendations to the legislature for this redistribution to deal with.

The other group, the Independent Redistribution Commission, is a seven-member group of commissioners, three of whom were chosen by the Democrats and one by three by the Republicans, with President Rex Facer chosen by the governor. This group is in its first year after being created in 2018 thanks to a proposed vote supported by voters.

These two groups are working on “parallel tracks” and will each produce a set of maps according to State Senator Scott Sandall, Republican and co-chair of the legislative committee. The Independent Commission works as an advisory group to the Legislative Committee and the two groups are not in competition, according to former congressman Rob Bishop who is commissioner of the Independent Commission.

The Independent Commission stopped in Washington on September 17 and the Legislative Committee was in St. George on Saturday. Both meetings allowed the groups to explain the parameters of the process and hear how to divide urban and rural Utah.

There have been statewide hearings for the redistribution, many of which are available to stream online, on September 24, 2021.

At the start of the Legislative Committee hearing, Senator Don Ipson read a letter from the Mayor of St. George Michele Randall, in which the mayor advocated keeping St. George in the 2nd Congressional District, represented by Representative Chris Stewart.

Randall cited Stewart’s knowledge of the area and the needs of the district.

The two residents of southern Utah, Senator Don Ipson and Representative Brad Last, sit on the legislative committee on September 24, 2021.

Several other political leaders in southern Utah also made public comments, including state officials (right) Travis Seegmiller, (right) Walt Brooks and newly elected Washington County commissioner (right) Adam Snow. The mayor of Enterprise also spoke and their comments focused on how southwest Utah has different issues than the rest of the state and needs unique representation.

All spoke about the growth of the state and how rural areas can be lost in the reshuffle, advocating for rural communities to be demarcated so that their voices are heard in Congress and the State House. .

“We want to make sure that the rural component is heard and that the representation is there often, we are swept under the carpet,” said Enterprise Mayor Brandon Humphries. “If we don’t have enough political votes, we kind of get lost in the paperwork.”

Seegmiller, who represents the 62nd district which covers Washington City and other areas, said creating districts along current municipal / county lines is a good way to draw these maps.

“It helps people in this community come together and feel like they have someone representing them,” Seegmiller said.

Representative Travis Seegmiller speaking on the issue of equitable representation of rural communities, September 24, 2021.

The Legislative Committee and Independent Commission groups will create samples of the four new district maps needed, one for the 75 State House of Representatives districts, 29 State Senate districts, 15 council districts state school and four districts for congressional districts. .

The redistribution process is guided by the “one person, one voice” ideology, where each district should have a relatively similar population size. In Utah, there are higher standards for congressional districts because they should be as close to the same size as possible, allowing only a 0.1% gap between population sizes. For Utah, each of the four congressional districts should have about 817,000 to 818,000 people, and the ideal size is 817,904.

For other district maps, the difference is larger at 5%. This means that a senate district can have 107,000 to 118,000 inhabitants, a house district can have 41,000 to 45,000, and a school board district can have 207,000 to 229,000 inhabitants.

State Senator (right) Scott Sandall, co-chair of the legislative committee, said the public was most interested in talking about congressional districts. And that there have been two philosophies of how to divide Utah into four congressional districts.

“A set of philosophy that says ‘75% of the people live on the Wasatch front, so they should have three congressional districts,’” Sandall said. “That other mindset that says’ just a minute of listening, we’re better off if we have a built-in system. [with both rural and urban Utah] seat of Congress because then we have four votes.

Legislative Committee Co-Chairs, Reps Paul Ray and Scott Sandall, meet with the public in a redistribution hearing on September 24, 2021.

Others involved in state politics, such as Democratic State Senator Derek Kitchen, have advocated that urban and rural Utah should have different representation because these areas have different interests. He says that when communities of interest are not kept together, their voices are diluted in the legislative process.

“Our focus shouldn’t be on one party over another, our focus should be on the people who live in those communities, it’s not about dividing rural Utah,” Kitchen said. “If you have better boundaries, you have better… representation. “

The current set of Congressional Districts of Utah divides Utah’s most populous county, Salt Lake County, with a population of over one million, into three districts. With the 2nd Congressional District comprising parts of northern Salt Lake County and all of Washington County.

Sandall says the legislative committee is always looking to marry these two philosophies, and the committee is focused on creating maps with more districts such as the District 75 House of Representatives map because it takes longer. The committee will focus on congressional maps at the end of the redistribution period towards the end of October, Sandall said.

Snow addressed this in his public comment on behalf of the County Commission, said they would prefer congressional districts to share urban and rural populations, and advocated for Stewart, Snow’s former boss.

“If we can put a stop to Washington County… we strongly want Congressman Stewart because they already understand the issues,” Snow said.

Washington County Commissioner Adam Snow said the state should combine urban and rural Utah in congressional districts so that the state can have a combined voice in Washington DC

Local resident Jeffrey Allen said the redistribution should be non-partisan and didn’t like local political leaders like Snow and Randall supporting sitting Congressman Stewart, saying it was “wrong” to do so. to do. Allen also pleaded for the Independent Commission cards to be taken seriously.

Both groups told residents that the districts created by redrawing the voting district maps should have a predetermined ideal population size, compact, contiguous, and hold the community of interest together. The groups wanted residents’ input on how to keep the communities of interest together.

This was discussed at length during the less-attended Independent Commission hearing in Washington City on Friday. In Sahearing, the commissioners shared that they have a mandate to keep communities of interest together, but that there is no standard definition of what a community of interest is.

The Chairman of the Independent Commission, Rex Facer, said that community of interest is a “term of art”, but that a number of factors such as economic, social, religious, linguistic, local, ethnic, industrial and environmental can bind a community. .

“It all seems very arbitrary, which is why you have to tell us what you want,” said Llye Hillard, commissioner of the Independent Commission.

Both groups always seek feedback from the public and encourage people to try and create maps on each group’s website. But time is limited for public input, as the Independent Commission is due to make final recommendations by November 1, and the state legislature will begin discussions on new district maps by November 9.

Sean Hemmersmeier covers local government, growth and development in Southwest Utah. Follow on twitter @ seanhemmers34. Our work depends on the subscribers, so if you want more coverage on these issues, you can subscribe here at thespectrum.com/subscribe.


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Salt lake city government

Citizen revolt: week of September 23 | Citizen revolt | Salt lake city


Click to enlarge

Stop the Gerrymander
This is your last chance to influence the redistribution process, something that only happens once every 10 years after the census. After a slew of public hearings by the Utah Legislature and Independent Redistribution Commission, maps will be drawn and sent to the almighty legislature to make the final cut. You can influence where they draw those boundaries. Attend all or part of Public hearings of the legislative delimitation committee and / or the Utah Independent Constituency Commission Public Hearings. In person or virtual: Friday, September 24, Cedar City, 1 p.m. and Roosevelt, 6 p.m. Saturday, September 25, St. George, 10 a.m.. and Ephraim, 11 a.m., free. utahredistricting.org

Overview of the Supreme Court
Despite exhortations to the contrary, the Supreme Court of the United States is steeped in partisan politics. Take a few minutes to explore what the judges will decide on at their next session at Overview of the Supreme Court’s mandate 2021-2022. The list of topics on the court’s docket include abortion, 2nd Amendment, religious freedom, disability discrimination, national security and more. Two prominent Supreme Court litigators will guide you through cases such as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, who is examining whether New York’s restrictive gun licenses violate the Second Amendment. Or there is Carsen v. Makin, in which the High Court will determine whether a state violates the First Amendment or the 14th Amendment if it excludes religious schools from state-funded student aid. Virtual, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 11 a.m., free. https://bit.ly/3E19SBK

Climate strike
The world is killing itself and most people agree that climate change is the reason. Yet they do nothing. “It’s time to act against climate change”, say young people Global climate strike, which ends with a walk to the State Capitol. Without a rapid and dramatic reduction in carbon emissions, the effects of climate change will be catastrophic, warnings from the International Panel on Climate Change. “Parents, grandparents, teachers and government officials: do you love us, do you love your children? Asks 14-year-old Natalie Roberts. “If you really did, we wouldn’t be afraid of what our future holds. We wouldn’t be on strike every week demanding action on the climate crisis you have caused.” Washington Square Park, North Side, 451 S. State, 11 a.m., free. https://bit.ly/3CjVT8A

Candidates Forum
It is that time of year when politics are unleashed and candidates try to get their message across to the public. Be a better voter and learn about some of these important events ahead of the election. Cottonwood Heights Candidate Forum features city council districts 3 and 4 and the mayoral race. Bountiful Meet the Candidates: General Election presents four candidates for the city council and three candidates for mayor. Cottonwood: Cottonwood City Hall, 2277 E. Bengal Blvd., Cottonwood Heights, Tuesday, September 28, 5:30 p.m., free. https://bit.ly/3kiYyZZ Bountiful: Bountiful Town Hall, 795 S. Main Street, Bountiful, 6:30 p.m., free. https://bit.ly/3zh26A9


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Utah economy

Former Utah lawmaker plans to build luxury desert golf course, locals are not thrilled

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

If you build a world class golf course in the southern Utah desert, will they come?

That’s the $ 10 million bet that the Kane County Water Conservation District is hoping to place with other people’s money.

Led by retired Republican lawmaker Mike Noel, the Water District plans to build a luxury course outside of Kanab – where few residents seem interested in losing $ 100 or more on a round of golf – to attract even more tourists to Kane County.

Earlier this summer, Noel convinced the Utah Community Impact Board, or CIB, to authorize a low-interest $ 10 million loan to fund his golfing dreams, but the proposal has many obstacles. to cross. Before that money is released and the project can move forward, Noel must partner with Kane County to manage the golf course and with the state, which owns half of the 200 acres that Noel has. proposed for the project.

Now, the Kane County River Basin District is competing for this land with at least two other development proposals, submitted last month to the Utah School and Institutional Trust Land Administration, or SITLA.

But such uncertainties do not prevent the small rural hydraulic district from embarking on luxury golf. Last year, she paid world-renowned golf course architect David McLay Kidd $ 75,000 to develop preliminary plans for a course on the shores of the district’s Jackson Flat Reservoir. It’s money well spent, according to Noel.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Representative Mike Noel, R-Kanab, center, in 2016.

Noel retired from the Utah legislature in 2019 after spending 16 years in the House, where he was a major influence on public land issues, lobbied for the transfer of these lands and associated roads to the state, defended the Lake Powell pipeline project, and led opposition to national monument designations.

A former member of the Bureau of Land Management, he operates a ranch in Johnson Canyon, where the controversial pipeline is said to discharge 4,000 acre-feet of water.

“We are in the process of making the transition across southern Utah to a tourist community. This is what we do, whether we like it or not, ”Noel told CIB at its July 1 meeting. “So we are trying to be one step ahead of this project.

The rare profitable golf course?

While most public golf courses require substantial grants, Noel argues his would pay for itself by attracting thousands of discerning high-end golfers to stay in Kanab for a few days. So even if the green fees don’t cover all operating expenses, these big spenders will leave enough money in Kanab – a tourist economy town in the heart of southern Utah’s national parks – for the investment. worth it.

That’s a lot of wishful thinking, critics say, who argue that the golf course represents a misuse of public money and resources.

“It is unwise to spend more than $ 10 million of our public revenue to build infrastructure that few people in our community will use,” said Sky Chaney, a Kanab resident, who heads a local taxpayer association. “The construction of this project will prevent the construction of other projects that will further benefit the residents of our community. “

(Kane County Water Conservancy District) A render produced by architect David McLay Kidd provides a preliminary design for an 18-hole luxury golf course project that retired Utah lawmaker Mike Noel is looking to build at the outside Kanab.

Chaney also doubts Noel’s golf course attracts enough golfers to afford it. Not only is Kanab difficult to access compared to other destinations near St. George, he noted, but its summers are hot and winters cold.

“Most serious golfers are careful to choose courses where access is not difficult and the weather is good for golfing,” said Chaney. “Kanab is not an ideal place for either of these two requirements.”

In a survey of county residents commissioned by the Taxpayers Association, 93% of those polled said they oppose the use of public money and local water to be used on a course. luxury golf.

A green island in a red desert

Critics are also unhappy with the planting of water-guzzling greens and fairways in a desert at a time when Utah’s water resources are drying up in the face of an unrelenting drought. But Noel says the course would be irrigated with 319 acre-feet of water that would otherwise go onto the alfalfa fields.

“None of these waters is culinary water. The diversion point is on Kanab Creek. It’s below the area where the city’s water is taken, ”Noel said. “It’s not just a golf course. It’s also a very, very sophisticated design course to save water as much as possible.

The Utah CIB distributes millions in grants and loans from a revolving fund funded by federal mining revenues. By law, this money must be spent on projects in the communities where these revenues are generated on projects intended to mitigate the impacts associated with mining.

Impact board staff warned the board that Noel’s loan request did not match CIB’s mission, but the board approved it after hearing Noel’s speech.

“It seems to be a project that is well outside a water development mission. In reality. I’m not sure this is the right entity to apply for a golf course, ”CIB staff member Candace Powers told the board. “Golf courses don’t necessarily generate income and, in fact, are very expensive to maintain. “

(Kane County Water Conservancy District) Retired Utah Lawmaker Mike Noel proposes to build a luxury golf course at this site outside of Kanab on state-owned land next to Jackson Flat Reservoir. In his role as director of the Kane County Water Conservation District, he obtained approval for a $ 10 million loan from the Utah Community Impact Board to build the course designed by David McLay Kidd.

Impact dollars typically fund basic facilities and infrastructure, such as upgrading roads, public safety equipment, sewers, and building prisons. CIB has embarked on economic development projects in recent years, which has resulted in controversy and at least one lawsuit.

CIB has funded four golf courses in the past, including one now defunct in Kanab, according to Christina Davis, spokesperson for CIB’s parent agency, Department of Workforce Services.

Focus on an influx of tourists

At the July meeting, CIB unanimously agreed to grant the water district a loan of $ 10 million over 30 years at an interest rate of 1%. Noel said the repayment money would be tied to Kane County’s Transitional Room Tax (TRT) revenues, so if the golf course’s revenues aren’t enough to pay off the loan, the district could fall back on this solid revenue stream from hotel stays.

In other words, federal money funds the project and a tourist tax reimburses it. Under this plan, Kane County taxpayers and water taxpayers are not affected. Unless, of course, golfers don’t show up to play in sufficient numbers and the county has to bail out the golf course.

That won’t be a problem, Noël assured CIB. District consultant Z. Gordon Davidson conducted a market analysis that predicts the price will host 18,000 turns in the first year and stabilize at 25,000 turns in the fourth year. At $ 100 per spin, the net operating income at this level of play would be $ 802,000.

Noel told CIB that Kane County was participating in the project as a partner and that the county commission had approved the use of TRT’s income to the tune of $ 350,000 per year to repay the loan. This is the amount the district would have to pay to repay a $ 10 million loan at 1% interest, he said.

Noel also claimed that district attorney Rob Van Dyke, who is also the elected attorney for Kane County, drafted an interlocal agreement regarding the governance of the golf course.

“In the agreement, there would be a council. The board of directors would be composed of members of the [Kanab] City Council, the [Kane] County Commission, ”Noel told CIB. “The departmental commission wants it. That’s what they told us. They want to be the engine of the recreational part. “

All of this came as news to the Kane County Commission, which issued a letter to the public clarifying its current situation.

County Kane is still on the fence

In a recent interview, Commissioner Brent Chamberlain said Kane County had only just started doing due diligence and was nowhere near committing TRT revenue for the golf course or even participating in the golf course. as a partner. He also said he had not seen any draft interlocal agreements and did not expect the county to complete an independent analysis.

“There is no agreement between the county and the water district at the moment,” he said. “It’s a bit premature. In fact, it is premature to say that it is done and that the riding will support it. If it all comes back and says it’s a worthwhile thing to do, we can do it, but it hasn’t happened.

He warned that the water district’s market analysis “paints a pretty rosy picture” and the county needs to conduct a separate study. His hope is that the course doesn’t require a cent of TRT money to pay off the CIB loan, let alone the $ 350,000 per year that Noel is looking for.

“It would be nice if he could support himself,” Chamberlain said. “Is part of the equation economically viable? Would he be able to stand on his own feet? Would he get to that point, hopefully soon enough, where he wouldn’t demand those kinds of payments from the county? “

All of these questions will be moot if the school trust land managers decide to partner with someone else to develop the land. These officials are required by law to seek the maximum financial return on the 3.4 million acres they oversee, which in this case may not be a golf course.

After Noel looked to lease the 100-acre parcel, SITLA went looking for better deals, according to Kyle Pasley, a property manager at SITLA’s St. George office. Two proposals were submitted by the September 1 deadline and are currently under review.

“We review them through our board of directors and our real estate committee,” Pasley said. “A decision will be made based on what is in the best financial interest of the [school] confidence.”

SITLA’s board is expected to select a winner at its November 18 meeting.

Update, September 20, 2021 This story has been updated to include information regarding the number of golf courses that the Utah Community Impact Board (CIB) has funded in the past.

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Salt lake city

Gardeners, beware! Severe frost is expected in parts of Utah on Monday evening


Temperatures will start to climb on Tuesday.

Trent Nelson | Hikers from Salt Lake Tribune in a snowy landscape near Jordan Pines in Big Cottonwood Canyon on November 2, 2014. Severe frost is expected in parts of Utah Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

Unusually cool Monday temperatures will turn positively cold Monday evening, with severe frost expected in parts of Utah, according to the national meteorological service.

The cold air mass moving through the state caused temperatures to drop 10 to 15 degrees below normal Monday with an expected high of just 63. Hard frost is expected between midnight Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Bear River Valley, the Wasatch Dos, the Sanpete Valley and Sevier River Valleys.

There is also the possibility of severe freezes in Cache Valley and parts of Iron County. Temperatures of 28 and below are expected, and the towns of Huntsville, Park City, Heber City, Woodruff, Randolph, Garden City, Manti, Ephraim, Mount Pleasant, Panguitch, Circleville and Koosharem could all be affected.

Frost could kill crops and other sensitive plants and stands and damage unprotected outdoor plumbing.

It’s a taste of fall – the first day of fall is Wednesday – and it’s only temporary. Temperatures are expected to rise during the week.

The normal Sept. 20 high in Salt Lake City is 79 degrees, gradually decreasing to 76 over the next week. Current forecasts call for highs in the 70s on Tuesday, in the upper 70s on Wednesday, and in the 80s on Thursday through Sunday.

The St. George area will benefit from a one-day break from the heat, with a high of nearly 86 on Monday. Then it’s back to the low to mid 90s Tuesday through Sunday.

There is no precipitation in the forecast.

According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Air quality will be green / good through Wednesday in Cache, Carbon, Duchesne, Iron, Tooele, Uintah, Washington and Weber / Box Elder counties.

Forecasts are green / good Monday in Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties, changing to yellow / moderate Tuesday and Wednesday.


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Salt lake city government

Utah residents use the most water of any western state. They also pay some of the lowest water rates.


When a St. George homeowner turns on his sprinklers in midsummer, the water that turns green on his lawns has already traveled from mountain springs and wells through an 850-mile pipeline system.

The 50 million gallons of water used in the southwestern Utah city on a peak summer day has already been stored in one of 22 tanks and propelled by one or more of the 16 stations overpressure pumping. It was treated and distributed to homes through city water pipes.

Owner-paid utility bills for all of this infrastructure in one of the driest parts of the country, however, are modest. The water utility charges less than $ 2 for every 1,000 gallons of water city residents use to irrigate their gardens, even if a household uses tens of thousands of gallons per month.

In Moab, rates are lower, with water users paying between $ 1.13 and $ 1.88 per 1,000 gallons of water per month in midsummer, even if a single homeowner uses more than 60 000 gallons.

Utah as a whole, 88% of which currently experiences exceptional drought conditions, has the highest per capita municipal water use in the United States. Zach Frankel of Utah Rivers Council believes it’s because of the low water prices the Utahns pay.

“Utah is the second driest state in the country,” he said, “and we have the cheapest water in the United States. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

The low tariffs enjoyed by water users in Utah, including on the Wasatch front, are something of an anomaly in the arid West. In Phoenix, for example, water users pay a small monthly connection fee and then get their first 7,000 gallons of water for free, which is more water than typical household use for indoor needs like cooking, cleaning and showering.

But if residents are using more than 7,000 gallons – to, say, water a large green lawn – then the rates are skyrocketing. Phoenix homeowners who use more than 10,000 gallons per month pay more than $ 12 per 1,000 gallons, which is ten times more than a resident of Moab. Even rain-drenched Seattle, Washington has water rates almost three times higher than many communities in Utah.

The disparate rates likely influence the landscaping decisions made by homeowners. In Phoenix, the average resident uses 111 gallons per day, according to the most recent analysis by the US Geological Survey. In Washington County, Utah, where St. George is located, the average resident uses 306 gallons per day.

“If you drive 90 minutes,” Frankel said, “away from Washington County in Las Vegas – where you have the same hydrogeography, the same climate, the same patterns of water precipitation from the sky – water consumption is nearly a third of water use in Washington County.

Utahns pay lower water prices and higher property taxes

But just looking at utility bills to determine the cost paid by Utah water users is misleading. Utah’s extensive network of reservoirs, pipelines, canals, treatment facilities, and water pipes are just as expensive to build and maintain as they are in neighboring states.

Utah residents pay low water rates – “artificially low,” according to Frankel – because most of Utah’s water districts are heavily subsidized by property taxes.

When you pay taxes on a Utah home, business appraisal, or even automobile, chances are that some of that money will be used to fund water infrastructure owned by municipal suppliers or to wholesalers who sell water to cities. A 2019 report from the Utah Foundation found that 90% of Utahns live in a jurisdiction that collects property taxes for water.

The Washington County Water District, for example, a water wholesaler and retailer that supplies water to St. George, collected two-thirds of its revenue from property taxes and impact fees, according to a bulletin that he published in 2015. Only 22% of his income came from utility bills. Water wholesalers who are funded by property taxes often store, transport and treat water before selling it to municipalities at a reduced rate, allowing local water utilities to charge less on utility bills .

The Utah Rivers Council conducted a survey of the watershed districts in the western United States and found Utah to be an exception in this regard. Most of the river basin districts studied do not levy any property taxes, and those that do often use bonds that are voted on by taxpayers and expire when the debt is paid off. The property taxes that fund the vast majority of Utah’s river basin districts, by contrast, are permanent and are not subject to voter approval.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Lone Rock in Lake Powell, Sunday September 6, 2020 and Tuesday August 3, 2021.

“By nature unfair”

In addition to doing little to encourage conservation, the use of property taxes to subsidize water supplies creates an “inherently unfair” situation, according to Robin Rothfeder, assistant professor of natural resource policy at Colorado State University.

As a doctoral student at the University of Utah, Rothfeder studied water use and the socioeconomic status of households in the Salt Lake City area in 2014. He and his colleagues found that in winter, when little water is used for landscaping, postal codes along the Wasatch front used quantities of water, regardless of average income level. During the summers, however, a significant gap appeared. Homeowners in the wealthiest neighborhoods used up to five times more water than those in the poorest neighborhoods.

“The richest homes use a lot more,” said Rothfeder, while “the poorest households pay a higher proportion of their total summer water costs through property taxes, compared to richer people. “.

While Utah’s river basin districts eliminated property tax subsidies and increased utility bills for larger water users by implementing a tiered pricing structure like those used in other Western cities, families in low income would benefit the most, Rothfeder said.

Plus, some of Utah’s biggest water users – churches, schools, universities, municipal golf courses, which are largely exempt from property taxes – are expected to start paying more.

Conservative groups support reform

The idea has the backing of environmentalists and politically conservative groups who support lowering taxes.

The Utah Taxpayers Association argued that removing the subsidies would help Utah better respond to drought conditions. “The total cost of water use should be contained in the prices paid by consumers,” the association argued in a July blog post, “to ensure that consumers are motivated to conserve water. in a desert state “.

The libertarian-leaning Libertas Institute made a similar point by supporting legislation backed by the Utah Rivers Council in 2017 that would have reduced the amount of tax revenue that river basin districts can collect.

“Instead of seeing the real costs on a water bill,” the think tank wrote, “the real costs are hidden in property taxes. Consumers have little incentive to monitor their own consumption because at first glance, water seems extremely cheap. The bill failed in committee before being voted on.

Utah’s powerful water lobby argued that reducing the ability of water districts to collect taxes would limit flexibility to adapt to changing needs and could affect high grades of state bonds. Water managers have also opposed legislation that would restructure the current system, citing substantial disruptions to current tariffs.

In a summary of watershed district reports compiled by the Utah Foundation, eliminating or reducing property taxes could remove all costs of operating water for owners of undeveloped land while other users could see tariffs more than double, a sudden increase in costs that could be difficult for businesses and institutions to absorb.

But Frankel is hoping the matter will gain more attention as Lake Powell surpasses its all-time low and Utah’s population continues to grow rapidly. He also thinks reforming the system makes sense for the Utahns’ wallets. Conservation not only keeps more water in lakes and streams, Frankel said, but it cuts costs.

“The point of reducing water consumption is to save taxpayers’ money,” he said. “When you increase water use, you increase delivery costs; you increase the amount of treatment you need to do … you increase your operating and maintenance costs as a water supplier. Reducing water use is the key to avoiding unnecessary public spending by water districts.

Zak Podmore is a Report for America member of the Salt Lake Tribune Corps. Your matching donation to our RFA grant helps her continue to write stories like this; please consider making a tax deductible donation of any amount today by clicking here.


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Salt lake city government

‘Remember the 43 Students’ art installation, series of events about missing students comes to DSU – St George News


ST. GEORGE – To mark the seventh anniversary of the disappearance of 43 students who went missing after visiting Iguala, a city in the state of Guererro in Mexico, Steve Lee, the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Dixie State University is producing a series events at the university.

Photo of the characters who make up the installation “Remember the 43 Students” at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, date unspecified | Courtesy of Dr Steve Lee, St. George News

The students, who attended Raul Isidro Burgos Teachers’ College, traveled to Igaula on September 26, 2014 to secure buses to Mexico City.

Instead, after attending a political rally in the town square, they were reportedly forced into police trucks and were never seen again.

Seven years later, the students have joined tens of thousands of other Mexican citizens who have gone missing and whose whereabouts are unknown.

The producer

Photo of the characters who make up the installation “Remember the 43 Students” at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, date unspecified | Courtesy of Dr Steve Lee, St. George News

Filmmaker Lee came up with the idea of ​​producing an art installation that will be staged in nine campus buildings.

The idea for the installation, which features 43 characters with photos and biographies of each missing student, came while Lee was at the University of Santa Clara, California. But his connection to the material, he said, took root long ago.

“I grew up in El Paso, Texas,” Lee told St. George News. “I worked in a demolition site located 200 feet from the border. I could see the cardboard barracks across the border. This made very clear the boundaries between the haves and have-nots. “

As Lee recounts, one of his colleagues was a Mexican. One day, Lee asked the man, who spoke little English, where he was from.

“And he pointed the finger at the cabins,” Lee said. “At that point, I decided to try to find a way to use education to avoid poverty. “

But when Lee became a filmmaker and earned his own degrees – a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of San Francisco, as well as a master’s and doctorate in communication from the University of Texas – Austin – he felt a sense of kinship with its neighbors. South.

Photo of a reflective figure from the installation “Remember the 43 Students” at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, date unspecified | Courtesy of Dr Steve Lee, St. George News

This sense of kinship, he said, compelled him to prepare students to become citizens of the world. That’s why he often thinks of the 40 Dixie State University students who traveled to Salt Lake City several months ago to urge lawmakers to vote on a bill to change the name of Dixie State University.

While the reasons for the rallies in Iguala and Salt Lake City may not be comparable, Lee said the results should be carefully considered.

“Our students were allowed to speak out without fear of death or imprisonment,” he said. “Whereas those students who disappeared seven years ago weren’t.”

Lee and others are trying to draw attention to what happens when elected officials become corrupt and citizens remain silent. His team includes Mexico City-based journalist John Gibler, who has covered extensively on the missing students.

“We’re talking about people who were helpless,” Lee said. “In some cases, they are displaced. In more extreme cases, they are murdered or disappeared.

Silence, Lee said, can become a form of acceptance when violence is used as a political tactic.

“And that is why we cannot allow leaders, wherever they are, to act with impunity,” he said. “Through this series of events, I try to get students to see with their heads and their hearts. They may be American, but we still have to speak up when injustices occur. “

Keilani Young assembles booth for one of the figures, St. George, Utah September 14, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

The journalist

Mexico City-based journalist John Gibler has been reporting from Mexico since 2006. He focuses on issues of social movements and political violence. Previously, he had worked as a human rights volunteer in the state of Guerrero since 2000.

“When I saw the headlines about the September 26-27, 2014 police attacks on Ayotzinapa students, I literally couldn’t believe what I read,” Gibler told St. George News. “The first incorrect headline on Saturday September 27, 2014 read: ‘6 dead, 57 students missing.’

On October 3, 2014, Gibler took a bus to Chilpancingo, Guerrero and went to school the next day.

“Due to the confusion in the press and conflicting official statements about the events, I decided to focus my reporting on interviews with survivors and witnesses,” Gibler said.

Since then, he has published numerous articles, like this one, as well as an oral history for City Lights editions. Gibler said the initial investigation, carried out by the government of former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, was in itself an act of administrative enforced disappearance.

“The government lied, tortured, fabricated false evidence and false testimony and destroyed real evidence,” Gibler said, “all to describe a series of events that never happened and thus hide, or cover up , the logic, the motive, the chain of command and the complete list of the participants in the attacks.

“We know that over 100 city, state and federal police officers have all coordinated to attack, murder and forcibly disappear students,” Gibler continued. “We know the Mexican military was monitoring the attacks in real time and took full control of the city shortly after the police left with the 43 students. We know that the Federal Attorney General’s office committed the atrocities listed above in order to cover up the government’s involvement in the attacks.

The current administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has completely distanced itself from the previous administration’s investigation, Gibler said. They have issued arrest warrants against numerous federal officials and at least one military officer for their involvement in the crimes.

“The ongoing investigation has located two other small bone fragments belonging to two students in a location half a mile from the landfill that was the center of the cover-up story,” Gibler said.

Lee contacted Gibler to ask if he could use some of Gibler’s text in the original installation in Santa Clara. Gibler will discuss the events and its coverage with Vince Brown, director of the Institute of Politics at Dixie State University, in the Gardner Center ballroom on September 23 at 4 p.m. ET.

When asked why these events matter to him, Gibler said he cares about the world.

“I care about justice,” he said. “I care about people and people’s stories. I believe in investigating and sharing stories that reveal violently hidden truths about our world.

Gibler said he thinks Americans would do well to care about Mexico, a neighboring country that shares 1,954 miles of borders. Utah was part of Mexico until the Treaty of Hidalgo in 1848.

“Mexico shares an incredibly deep and often charged history with the United States,” Gibler said. “I hope people will be inspired to learn more about what happened to the students and their families’ struggles for truth and justice. I also hope that people will be inspired to think critically about the issues of police brutality and social struggle in their own communities. “

The stage store assistant

Dixie State University senior Keilani Young works in the varsity theater stage store. Young, who graduated from Tuacahn High School for the Arts, divides her time between her work in the costume shop at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts and the theatrical store at Dixie State University. A stage salesperson, she will have spent around 40 hours painting and making materials that will allow the characters to stand in their place on campus.

“What turns me on about a project like this is that I can use my skills to build something that serves a story,” Young told St. George News.

Young grew up near Logan, Utah, so she’s not very familiar with the events that inspired the installation. When the numbers arrived, Young said she called them “the shadow guys,” which seems fitting. After spending over 30 hours cutting and assembling their stands, she has come to call them figurines.

In some ways, she is the installation’s primary audience, as she moves the characters around the store. After assembling a minifigure that displays a photo of Martin Getsemany Sanchez Garcia, one of the missing, she moves it near the center of the workshop. She plants the stand, then steps back to assess her work. Once satisfied, she moves the figure into a dark recess near the elevator.

“With a project like this, I feel like I’m building a world,” she said. “As I learn more about the numbers, the more I feel like I’m building to create mood and tone. If I feel it, I can do it.

Visit their site for a list of special events taking place over the next two weeks.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.


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Utah economy

Great American Outdoors Act Anniversary Announces Free Day on Public Lands this Week – St George News

Undated 2017 file photo shows hiker descending Angels Landing Road with nearly 1,000-foot falls on both sides, Zion National Park, Utah | Photo by Caitlin This / Zion National Park, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – On Wednesday, designated as “Great American Outdoors Day”, the Home Office will celebrate the first anniversary of the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act. The law, which was passed with strong bipartisan support, makes unprecedented investments in national parks, public lands and Native American schools.

Hiked Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Red Mountain Resort, St. George News

To support the department’s commitment to ensure equitable access to public lands, entrance fees will be removed on Wednesday on all fee-paying public lands managed by the department, according to a press release issued by the department. Other charges, such as overnight camping, cabin rentals, group daytime use, and use of special areas, remain in effect.

“Creating new jobs and growing our economy is a top priority for the Biden-Harris administration. Through the Great American Outdoors Act, we are investing in the American people and in the future of our public lands and sacred spaces, ”Home Secretary Deb Haaland said in the press release. “I invite all Americans to experience the beauty and bounty of our nation’s public lands – not just August 4, but every day of the year.”

The Great American Outdoors Act helps support the goals of President Joe Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative to support locally-led efforts to conserve, restore and protect lands and waters across the country to help cope with crises in the climate and biodiversity, increase equitable access to wide open spaces and strengthen the economy, the statement said.

This summer is particularly busy on many public lands. While most of the 423 national parks are open, visitors may find limited services in and around the national parks. Check each park’s websites or download the NPS app for specific details on their operations. Learn more about alternatives to popular parks on the Interior blog. Public land enthusiasts are encouraged to similarly plan their visits with the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Photo by Yobro10 / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

The Act provides for full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the tune of $ 900 million per year. The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established by Congress in 1964 to fulfill a bipartisan commitment to protect the nation’s natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage, and to provide recreational opportunities for all Americans.

The Act also established the National Parks and Public Lands Heritage Restoration Fund to provide the necessary maintenance of essential facilities on public lands and Indian schools. The projects funded by the restoration will help reduce Interior’s deferred maintenance backlog by more than $ 22 billion and improve recreation facilities, dams, water and utility infrastructure, schools and other historic structures. Other projects aim to increase public access by restoring and repairing roads, trails, bridges and parking areas.

By FY2022, Great American Outdoors Act-funded indoor projects are expected to support more than 17,000 jobs and generate $ 1.8 billion in local communities. Between the funding planned for FY2021 and the funding proposed for FY2022, Interior has deferred maintenance plans for the Legacy Restoration Fund in all 50 states and several U.S. territories.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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Utah economy

Food and Water in Southern Utah Part 3 – St George News

Vertical gardening image | Photo by Shironosov / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Note: The following is the third in a three part series of Op-Eds. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

NOTICE – I have discussed a variety of food and water aspects in previous installments of this Op-Ed series. We will now focus on how to advance agriculture and food production here. These suggestions are based, in part, on my own observations and experience working with many countries to protect and develop agricultural production, applying sound science, in a wide range of climates with varying topography and agronomy.

Despite the sobering elements contained in the previous sections, solutions do exist. We are still the masters of our destiny, so to speak. For example, Israel and Spain have faced similar challenges with water and agriculture in their drylands, and they are surprisingly successful.

My conversations with senior officials from these two countries and seeing their amazing results have been inspiring. A large number of greenhouses using drip irrigation and many other innovations are producing incredible amounts of food and other agricultural products for use in the country and for income-generating exports.

These smart applications of technology aligned with nature have also created additional income from visitors wanting to see what’s possible and participate. This is a form of “agritourism”, which is another source of income for the community. Others can learn and be inspired by what we have created.

Photographic illustration. | Photo by anjajuli, iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

So let’s start with some specific ideas to consider, analyze and implement:

  • Plant fruits and vegetables that can thrive in this climate. A local horticulturalist and ethnobotanist identified 29 varieties of fruits, berries and nuts that would do very well in this climate, under good supervision. We can also grow many kinds of vegetables here. Some of them will be doing very well during our winter, which means that certain types of fresh and organic produce will be available all year round.
  • Create More Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): A food system that directly connects producers and consumers to locally grown produce harvested by a certain farm or groups of farms through a subscription process. The consumer agrees to withdraw or receive deliveries on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. All concerned share the risk of harvesting. We already have a local expert who has managed a CSA in Idaho and we have a successful CSA in Cedar City. More ASCs are needed.
  • Create community gardens, using experts, including master gardeners, in soil preparation, crop selection, growing, harvesting and distribution of produce. Too often, good intentions and results don’t match when growing gardens. We can educate and train many people to use even backyards, common areas, and other limited places to successfully grow food and maintain good looks.
  • Review Utah’s agricultural production at the regional and state level to determine any adjustments that can be made to focus production more on growing Utah food for the Utahns.
  • Teach children basic horticulture and food production, with related health information. Create school gardens. Organize friendly competitions.
  • Deploy greenhouse technology that can include a laptop computer to regulate all aspects of the grow. Water, fertilization and other functions are carefully controlled for maximum effect. We can use greenhouses for food and to grow native plants for our homes and community. As our capacity for growth increases, we will no longer need to purchase factories outside of southern Utah.
  • Deploy vertical farming technology that has the potential to produce the same amount of food or more while using up to 90% less water. Vacant lots, empty buildings and newly constructed buildings are viable options for larger scale operations. Outdoor vertical gardens can also be created in virtually any space, as the examples on the Contemporist website show.
  • Watch the documentary “The Need to Grow”.
  • Create a non-political working group of carefully selected experts in sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and water experts, to assess and recommend common options for producing native foods and plants, including the treatment of selected plants for curative and medicinal purposes, among other applications. Each participant will need to look beyond their individual, organizational or professional interests to make objective recommendations to city / county leaders and investors for their decision. Transparency and opportunities for public input will be essential.
  • Investigate the availability of ARPA funds to produce food for the growing number of food banks in Utah.
  • Dixie State University, which appears to be Utah Tech University, may expand its life science program to include environmental sciences (ecology, plant science, and soil science).
  • Raise awareness of our water and food situation and our available solutions by including statements and targets in all forward-looking documents such as city and county multi-year plans. These targets would be created and evaluated by the water district and carefully selected agricultural experts. Supporting these efforts would include putting sustainable and regenerative agriculture and water conservation on the agendas of cities and counties on a regular basis.

Conclusion

This series aims to promote open and constructive dialogue, analysis, and ultimately many viable recommendations to be implemented in order to be successful. Individual study by the public is encouraged, starting with the links provided. Let’s imagine and create a new type of sustainable agriculture locally. This new agricultural paradigm will result in high quality organic products, trained businesses, job creation, grocery stores and restaurants offering more attractive options, a more diverse and strengthened economy and more. This is all possible by using 50-90% less water to produce the same amount or even more food.

St. George City as seen from the Dixie Rock / Sugarloaf Formation at Pioneer Park, St. George, Utah, July 2016 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

We are looking for visionary city and county leaders who can embrace and effectively manage the inevitable changes to come in our county, remove barriers, and find solutions and resources. These changes go well beyond infrastructure. Fortunately, my early conversations with some local leaders indicate that they are ready to listen and learn. It is a start, although in the final analysis we have to rely on the results. We are also looking for influential thought leaders, investors, vacant buildings, land, etc. We can start small and take incremental action by creating “demo farms” to show what can be created and then scale up.

We can do it. Together. It really is a win-win situation, if we have the foresight and the will to make it happen.

For comments on this letter to the editor and to learn more about growing in arid climates, visit www.ascendantagriculture.com.

Submitted by DAVID C. HATCH, Ivins. Hatch is a former person appointed by the President of the USDA as associate administrator of the US multi-billion dollar crop and livestock insurance program. He is also a hemispheric expert on agricultural risk management and has consulted widely with virtually every country in the hemisphere, including ambassadors, ministers, scientists, the US State Department and the World Bank to create a science-based agricultural policy for small and medium-sized enterprises. farmers, including women. Prior to his service in the public sector, Hatch was an entrepreneur and executive in global risk management. Hatch would like to thank Tony McCammon of Bloom Horticulture for his contribution to this series.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or contributors. The elements stated and the opinions expressed are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are edited only slightly for technical style and formatting.

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Salt lake city

Wildfires in Utah: Smoke in Salt Lake from Idaho, Oregon, California


Wildfires in Idaho, California, Oregon and Washington brought smoke to northern Utah over the weekend, resulting in hazy skies and unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups , according to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

And officials warn the Hive State could get even smokier.

“Do you think today’s smoke is bad? It could get worse! ”The Salt Lake City office of the National Weather Service tweeted Saturday alongside a model showing a three-day smoke forecast.

According to the National Forest Service, 33 fires are currently burning in the aforementioned states, including four Type 1 incidents in northern California, one in Oregon and one in Idaho. This is an increase of 10 incidents reported from Saturday afternoon.

Type one refers to a “large and complex incident” requiring multi-agency and national resources, according to the National Parks Service.

One of those incidents is the biggest fire of the year in California. Ignited on July 2, the Beckwourth Complex fire burned about 83,926 acres, the Sacramento Bee reported, prompting evacuation orders in eastern Plumas County, about 45 miles north of Lake Tahoe. On Sunday, the fire, which is currently only 8% under control, reached the town of Doyle and burned several buildings, according to the Bee.

Much of the smoke in northern Utah can be attributed to the fire at the Beckwourth complex, the NWS said on Sunday.

Another culprit is Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, a Type 1 incident that has nearly tripled in size since Friday, according to InciWeb data. The fire burned approximately 143,607 acres southwest of the Winema National Forest in southern Oregon.

Although the fires do not appear to be slowing down, the NWS says that on Tuesday central and southern Utah could see improved air quality thanks to a change in weather conditions and an increased likelihood of thunderstorms in the afternoon.

However, the NWS has warned that northern Utah could remain smoky depending on upstream fire conditions. Air quality forecasts in seven Utah counties – Carbon, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah, Weber and Box Elder – remain unhealthy for sensitive groups until Tuesday.

The smoky skies arrive as Utah and the West are in the midst of a historic drought. June was the hottest on record in Utah, according to the NWS, and an excessive heat warning remains in effect for most low-lying parts of the state.

Temperatures in St. George hovered around 117 degrees on Saturday, tying the all-time record for Hive State “pending further investigation of the data,” the NWS said.

In addition to Utah, eight states – Arizona, California, Idaho, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island – experienced their hottest June on record, while six states – Connecticut, Maine, Montana, Oregon , Washington and Wyoming – had their second warmest June, according to the NWS.

In total, June 2021 was the hottest June on record for the United States.



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Salt lake city

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


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.

More stories that might interest you


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Utah economy

Does the media create sexism against women in politics? – News from Saint-Georges

File photo courtesy of USU Extension, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Research over the past decades indicates that female politicians continue to be disadvantaged in the way they are covered by the media, and that women are often discouraged from entering politics due to sexist media reporting.

File photo by Unsplash, St. George News

To determine how female political candidates were represented in the Utah media, researchers at the Utah State University Utah Women and Leadership Project assessed media coverage from 1995 to 2020. News articles were collected from The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, Weber’s Standard-Examiner. County and The Daily Herald in Utah County. For analysis, 383 articles were reviewed.

According to Susan Madsen, founding director of the Leadership Project and one of the study’s five authors, the research did not include a benchmarking of media focused on Utah’s men running for office, but each section of the study provides a comparison with other studies. which focused on men.

“Our research may help Utah residents and the media become more aware of gendered language that could negatively impact female applicants, as most people still view ‘leadership’ as a male trait or activity.” , she said.

The study’s research was divided into 12 areas, in order of frequency of mention: candidate background, viability, general tone, mention of gender, leadership traits, male versus female issues, family life, male versus female traits. , physical appearance, personality traits, sexist comments and level of government. Highlights of the research follow.

File photo by Unsplash, St. George News

More than men, women benefited from coverage focused on their background, family life and personality. The media tended to emphasize the lack of viability of the candidates, focusing more on “horse racing” or the predictive aspects of the results of their campaigns.

One politician said: “When a woman is in a leadership position, we expect her to be tough. However, if she is too harsh, she looks “witchy.” But it cannot be too soft, because then it is labeled as “not strong enough for the job.” This is consistent with research indicating that the perceived characteristics of women conflict with the demands of political leadership.

Published research suggests that male candidates are much less likely than women to be referenced by their gender, as men are accepted as the norm in politics, while women are viewed as historical figures at best – or at worst. as abnormal. Repeatedly emphasizing gender underscores the perceived scarcity of female politicians in Utah.

“Compassion issues” are called female issues which focus on people-related topics such as poverty, education, health care, child care, environment, social issues (including LGBTQ) and issues related to women’s experiences (e.g. abortion, violence against women / domestic violence, gender quotas).

Conversely, men’s issues focus on “hard issues”, such as foreign policy, foreign affairs, natural resources, armed forces / military, budget and finance, taxes and the economy. In addition, the media more frequently reported the candidates’ personal information, including marital and parental coverage. In contrast, male applicants are more likely to be described based on their occupation, experience or achievement.

File photo by Unsplash, St. George News

When a candidate got emotional, the Utah media called him out, often in a way that suggested women need to bottle their emotions and bury themselves in their jobs to be tough enough. One candidate was described as “disastrously tearful” and “involuntary”.

Physical appearance was identified in 52 articles, with women’s clothing, age and race being mentioned most frequently. There were also references to her shoes, hair, makeup, height, weight, fitness, beauty or physical attractiveness, and appearance of tired, stressed, or energized. Focusing on a candidate’s personal style and attributes, but not providing comparable ratings for men, diminishes the way women are viewed, ignoring their substance and leadership abilities.

Media coverage has shown subtle forms of sexist language, including things like ambitious, fiery, or compassionate, which only reinforce gender stereotypes. Women tend to be seen as ice queens, grandmothers, mothers or “steel in a velvet glove”. Such comments reduce a candidate’s credibility, respectability and sympathy.

Sheryl Allen, former Davis County state lawmaker, said women have a different perspective and if we are to have good government we need a diversity of opinions and expertise.

Madsen said it was in Utah’s best interests to prepare and support more women in political leadership positions and to provide them with more equitable and representative media coverage.

“The research clearly shows that by doing this, we can uplift our residents and strengthen our businesses, communities and the state as a whole,” she said.

Written by JULENE REESE, USU Extension.

The other authors of the study are Rebecca B. West, Lindsey Phillips, Trish Hatch and April Townsend. The full study is available online. You can find more information about the UWLP here.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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Utah economy

Farmers’ markets strengthen the local economy, a sense of community; Double Up program helps SNAP beneficiaries – St George News

Farmers’ Market in St George, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Kat Puzey, St George News / Cedar City News

FUNCTIONALITY – Have you shopped at your local farmer’s market? Otherwise, you are missing out! There is nothing like the taste of fresh, locally grown produce.

Juicy tomatoes, perfectly ripe peaches, and fragrant fresh herbs aren’t the only perk of shopping at farmers’ markets. Your family and community reap even more benefits, including:

  • Supporting local producers helps strengthen the local economy by preserving farms and small ranches and creating jobs.
  • Locally produced foods are often of better quality and freshness because they don’t travel long distances before reaching your table.
  • There is a sense of community at your farmers market! Get to know your local producers and their business. Find out what products they offer and what motivates them.
  • Farmers’ markets are just plain fun! Many offer a variety of local produce beyond produce, such as flowers, handmade crafts, herbs, and body care products.

In addition to the benefits listed above, many farmers markets also accept SNAP EBT Advantages. Here is how it works:

Step 1 – Bring your SNAP EBT Horizon card to an information booth at a participating farmers market or farm stand before shopping.

Step 2 – Decide how much money you want to spend. The stand attendant will swipe your card for the requested amount and give you wooden tokens worth $ 1 each which you can use to purchase food from vendors in the market. You can use the tokens immediately or keep them for another day.

Not all markets accept SNAP EBT benefits, so it is important to check with the market before you go. You can find more information and a list of participating markets in by clicking here.

Another great benefit of shopping at farmers markets is the Double Up Food Bucks program. See the flyers below for more information.

Flyer courtesy of USU Extension Create Better Health Blog, St. George News | Click to enlarge
Flyer courtesy of USU Extension Create Better Health Blog, St. George News | Click to enlarge

With all of these fresh produce in your hands, you’ll need some delicious recipes. Click here to download our free Farmers Market cookbook.

One of my favorite recipes from the book is Lemon Roasted Asparagus. The full recipe can be found on this extension USU Create Better Health blog post.

Written by CANDI MERRITT, Certified Nutrition Education Ambassador.

This article was originally published on April 28, 2021 on the USU extension Create a blog for better health.

Copyright © CreateBetterHealth.org, all rights reserved.

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Salt lake city

Drought brings more snakes to Utah yards – what are you doing?


As a scorching drought sweeps through Utah, more critters are entering public parks and backyards.

This is nothing new to the Utahns, but an increased frequency of snakes in the Salt Lake Valley and elsewhere for the summer means caution and preparation are needed, according to reptile experts.

“We’re getting calls earlier this year than ever,” said Terry Messmer, Utah State University Extension’s wildlife specialist. “All of them occurred in early June, while other instances of snake sightings and bites occurred in late June of previous years. A fatal incident last year was with a person recreating themselves on trails, and these are all sightings in parks. “

Among the calls Messmer received, most of the non-poisonous snakes got lost in the valley. Although most poisonous snakes remain in mountainous areas or in sagebrush, two types of poisonous snakes have been sighted in areas around St. George: the Great Basin rattlesnake and the Mojave sidewinder.

Other snake sightings are typical of the summer season and during times of high drought, according to Wild Aware Utah, an information website in partnership with the USU Extension, the Salt Lake City Hogle Zoo, and the Department of Resources. natural areas of Utah. Snakes don’t need as much water as humans, but still need a little moisture and often seek it out in areas that are actively watered. Farmers may see more of it in irrigation areas, and homeowners should watch out for snakes in wood and garbage piles, which can act as shelters from the sun.

A western rattlesnake used by Haley Bechard of the Utah Rattlesnake Avoidance is pictured in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 24, 2021. In response to the drought, many snakes search for food and water, and some have recently been spotted in the wetlands of city parks and courtyards. Of the 31 species of snakes found in Utah, seven are poisonous.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Food is a major concern for crawling reptiles as well, and they often seek out rodents that scavenge in garbage or compost piles left in backyards.

Drought conditions also exacerbate other problems. As wildfires continue to burn in Utah due to parched grass and high temperatures, snakes are displaced from their natural habitat and may seek refuge elsewhere. According to the Utah Department of Wildlife, all snakes, non-poisonous and poisonous, may move more through backyards and fields this year in search of water.

One of Messmer’s main concerns is that people who have never encountered snakes before now see them crawling on their back porches. When it comes to preparing snakes, knowledge and caution are key to enjoying their presence without encroaching on their space.

Of the 31 snake species found in Utah, seven are poisonous. These are known as pit vipers because of the pit between their nostrils and eyes. Poisonous snakes have shorter nostrils, triangular heads, and slit pupils. Most poisonous snakes are found in sagebrush, juniper pine forests, sand dunes, rocky hills, meadows and mountain forests. Wild Aware Utah advises that if you can’t tell if the snake is poisonous from a distance, leave it alone and treat it as if it were. Even if a snake is not poisonous, it can still react to agitation by biting, which can cause lasting damage to skin and tissue.

Although only about six people die each year from snakebites nationwide, about 6,000 to 8,000 people are bitten by poisonous snakes each year, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control. Many of them are the result of an attempt to illegally handle or kill the snake, according to the Utah Department of Wildlife. Leaving the reptile alone is usually sufficient to avoid a bite and make sure children and pets follow suit.

Hannah Hausman and Ethan Watts walk the Living Room Trail in <a class=Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 24, 2021. In response to the drought, many snakes are searching for food and water, and some have recently been spotted in wetlands from the city. parks and courtyards. Of the 31 snake species found in Utah, seven are poisonous.” data-upload-width=”3000″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/jxY9LTbD4hPQzgiMmRBxkJNu-2U=/0x0:3000×1985/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:3000×1985):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/22682244/merlin_2875318.jpg”/>

Hannah Hausman and Ethan Watts walk the Living Room Trail in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 24, 2021. In response to the drought, many snakes are searching for food and water, and some have recently been spotted in wetlands from the city. parks and courtyards. Of the 31 snake species found in Utah, seven are poisonous.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

When hiking, avoid sticking any part of the body in a crevice, as these are areas that snakes tend to frequent. Always travel with a friend or tell someone where you will be and how long you will stay there, and dress in shoes that cover the entire foot, as most unprovoked snakebites are inflicted on the extremities that end wrong. place at the wrong time.

If you are at a sufficient distance, you can pull out your phone to document the snake using the iNaturalist app. This app allows you to submit photos, find data on the location of species and identify species that are crawling in front of you.

“It’s really beneficial for us to collect data on different sightings,” said Faith Heaton Jolley, public information officer for the Utah Department of Wildlife. “We don’t have an exact number of snakes reported recently, but a database like this helps us get a better idea.”

In the event of a bite from a poisonous animal, the Department of Wildlife Resources, Utah’s Division of Wildlife, and Wild Alert Utah all advocate that the bitten person remain calm, avoid running or lifting the bitten area overhead. heart and contact emergency services. as quickly as possible. Attempting an emergency solution, such as tying a tourniquet to the affected area, can actually do more harm than good.

“Emergency services can give you the best up-to-date advice,” Jolley said. “Some information online is out of date, so call your nearest emergency department and get professional help.”

Haley Bechard of Utah Rattlesnake Avoidance holds a Western Rattlesnake which she uses during training in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 24, 2021. In response to the drought, many snakes are in search of food and water, and some have recently been spotted in wetlands in city parks and courtyards.  Of the 31 species of snakes found in Utah, seven are poisonous.

Haley Bechard of the Utah Rattlesnake Avoidance holds a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake which she uses during her training in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 24, 2021. In response to the drought, many snakes are looking for foraging for food and water, and some have recently been spotted in the wetlands of city parks and courtyards. Of the 31 snake species found in Utah, seven are poisonous.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News


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Salt lake city government

Can Utah – and its residents – survive the cut in federal COVID-19 unemployment assistance?


Is Utah’s economy and tens of thousands of workers still out of work ready for a change on Saturday that comes with a $ 50 million prize?

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said his decision to end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits to some 24,000 Utahns two months ahead of the deadline was the right call amid rising employment from state and robust recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

But some say they face constant challenges finding work even as the state’s unemployment rate drops to 2.7% and employers advertise 70,000 current job openings. A southern Utah resident recently wrote to the governor describing the hardships he and his wife face as she struggles to find work after losing her job during the pandemic.

“It affects us personally,” said Barry Brumfield of St. George.

The governor gives the reason for the cut

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

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

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

Stephen Cashon, employment counselor with the Utah Department of Workforce Services, helps Juan Rodriguez apply for a new piece of ID so he can apply for jobs at the department's offices in <a class=Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.” data-upload-width=”3000″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/OhJ–bMQQvUxFVfEX8PQyD_b84M=/0x0:3000×2071/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:3000×2071):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/22675676/merlin_2875060.jpg”/>

Stephen Cashon, employment counselor with the Utah Department of Workforce Services, helps Juan Rodriguez apply for a new piece of ID so he can apply for jobs at the department’s offices in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Cox is one of some two dozen Republican state governors across the United States who have made similar decisions regarding the early end of federal pandemic benefits, saying the added benefit keeps people from wanting to work.

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

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

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

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

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

And it’s a decision that worries Barry and Stacey Brumfield.

An IT position is available for a job seeker at the Utah Department of Workforce Services in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The experience of a family

In an interview with Deseret News, Barry Brumfield said he was a longtime Republican who also voted for Cox in the 2020 Utah gubernatorial election, but felt that the governor’s decision to reduce early federal pandemic benefits was a bad call.

“We are very unhappy with this decision,” said Brumfield. “We truly believe in the individual rights and benefits of your own hard labor, but we have come to the point where we feel our hard work has been lost.

“We support the other things that (Cox) does, but that’s our only argument because it affects us personally.”

Brumfield, who is retired, said his wife lost her 13-year job at SkyWest last year as the air travel industry was nearly at a standstill by the pandemic. As Stacey Brumfield continues to look for work, Barry Brumfield said the only offers she had had so far were for minimum wage jobs and at 63 she was unable to start a new job. new career.

In a letter to Cox, Barry Brumfield wrote that his wife’s job search experiences have led her to believe that employers in their area are looking for younger prospects.

“Governor, you may think you are doing what is best for your constituents, but my wife and I are among those who will be greatly affected and hurt by your decision,” Brumfield wrote. “My wife’s job is ‘essential’ so that we can pay the bills and stay out of poverty.

“However, my wife, who worked in the airline industry for 13 years, lost her job due to the pandemic and the drastic decline in airline operations. Now she is unemployed by the state and the federal government, which is vital for us. She is 63 years old and has been looking for a job since the start of the pandemic. His attempts to find a job were unsuccessful due to his age !!! Businesses want someone younger !! said the letter.

The Brumfields aren’t the only Utahns who find themselves both nearing the end of their career and currently looking for a job. As of June 17, the Department of Workforce Services reports 13% of those currently unemployed are 60 years or older.

But the majority – 68% – of those who will be affected by the suspension of federal pandemic benefits are in the “peak working age” category of 25 to 54.

And that’s a statistic that some economists say bodes well for Utah’s overall economy, which continues to outperform the rest of the country.

Utah can absorb lost federal aid

Phil Dean, former director of the state budget and current senior public finance researcher at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, said Utah’s economy is well positioned to absorb the $ 50 million that will be lost in the suspension of federal benefits in the event of a pandemic.

“I just think we’re at a point in the economic recovery where it really makes sense to do it,” Dean said. “Overall, the elimination of the benefits will have a negligible impact on the economy … although some pockets will recover more slowly than others and some households will feel these changes.”

Dean said it’s important to remember that standard UI benefit programs will remain in place and those who fail to find employment will still have access to the standard claims process.

He said that while the programs launched by the federal government to mitigate the worst economic impacts of COVID-19 on individuals and families were the right answer at the time, current circumstances no longer demand the additional benefits.

“The scale of the challenge we had in the midst of the pandemic along with the government’s involvement in restricting the private sector made the initial response entirely appropriate,” Dean said. “And it’s entirely appropriate now to take those enhanced benefits and go back to the traditional programs and system.”

At a virtual Facebook event on June 15, Cox reiterated his belief that his decision to end the pandemic-related benefit and allowance extensions was the right economic call and highlighted efforts to channel additional funds towards worker retraining programs.

Cox said the state has spent $ 16.5 million to help more than 5,700 people get training and find better employment opportunities through the Learn and Work program. He also noted in a press release that the state has committed an additional $ 15 million that will go to Utah training institutions to help those who want to upgrade their skills improve their employment opportunities.

You can find more information on the possibilities for retraining at jobs.utah.gov/jobseeker/career/index.html and uselessah.org/learn-work.


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Salt lake city

Yummy’s Coming to Salt Lake | Food News | Salt lake city


Click to enlarge

Yummy’s comes to Salt Lake City
Orem-based Korean BBQ Yummy’s recently opened a second location in West Valley (2946 W. 4700 South, 801-769-6614, yummysutah.com). While in Orem, Yummy’s made a name for itself with its Korean menu and all-you-can-eat meat buffet, featuring a wide range of grilled meats that diners can cook at their own tables. While browsing the Yummy website, we recently discovered all kinds of new plans for the future: They plan to offer subscription meal delivery kits in the near future, and they’ve embraced the keto-friendly nature of cooking. Korean. In addition to this, Yummy’s plans to open new locations in St. George and Eagle Mountain. Long live the Yummy Empire!

Mr. Charlie is growing
The Mr. Charlie’s Chicken Fingers team (554 W. 4500 South, 801-803-9486, mrcharlies.com) recently opened their second location in Draper (592 E. 12300 South). I couldn’t be happier with this news, as it brings Mr. Charlie’s delicious grilled and fried chicken fingers list one step closer to my neighborhood. For those who haven’t yet enjoyed the fried splendor of Mr. Charlie’s chicken fingers, this is a place that only serves chicken fingers, although they also appear on po ‘boys, sandwiches. and wraps. I know fried chicken is a minefield of hot catches right now, but Mr. Charlie’s was making chicken fingers long before this comfort food classic infiltrated social media memedom.

The best Sunday openings
Brunch has always been a polarizing meal, but since it was mostly limited to Sundays, the fabric of food criticism has remained largely intact. Now that chef Tyler Stokes and local restaurateur Michael McHenry, the team behind Ginger Street in Salt Lake, have created a brunch concept only known as Sunday’s Best (10672 S. State Street, 801-441-3331, brunchmehard.com). In addition to brunch classics like monkey bread, homemade cookies and smoked salmon, Sunday’s Best will offer a wide range of meats, vegetables and house cocktails suitable for brunch. If brunch is your thing but you hate to wait until Sunday, this restaurant is for you.

Quote of the week: “Breakfast is a meal, but brunch is a culture.” –Matt Basil


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Utah economy

Las Vegas pushes land swap to balance growth and conservation – St George News

This file photo, Feb. 9, 2005, shows the suburbs of Las Vegas from the top of the Stratosphere Tower looking west on Sahara Avenue towards the Spring Mountains. Despite the drought, cities in the American West expect their populations to increase dramatically over the next several decades. From Phoenix to Boise, officials are working to ensure they have the resources, infrastructure and housing supply needed to meet growth projections. In parts of the region, their efforts are limited by the fact that sprawling metropolitan areas are surrounded by federally owned land. US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto Wants To Fix Las Vegas Problem By Tightening Protections Of Some Public Land While Approving The Sale Of Others To Commercial And Residential Developers | Associated Press File Photo by Joe Cavaretta, St. George News

CARSON CITY, Nevada (AP) – The record heat and historic drought in the western United States does little to discourage cities from planning to welcome millions of new residents in the decades to come.

In this October 11, 2016 file photo, a gypsum mine owned by developer Jim Rhodes, who wants to develop housing on the site, is seen in the foreground while the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is seen in the distance . Despite the drought, cities in the American West expect their populations to increase dramatically over the next several decades. | Photo courtesy of LE Baskow / Las Vegas Sun via AP, St. George News

From Phoenix to Boise, authorities are preparing for a future that is both more human and less water-intensive, seeking to balance growth and conservation. Development is constrained by the fact that 46% of the western region of 11 states is federal land, managed by agencies like the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management who are responsible for maintaining it for future generations.

This has led officials in states like Nevada and Utah to press the federal government to approve land transfers to allow developers to build homes and businesses on what was previously land. public. Supporters of both states have wowed environmentalists in the past with provisions that allocate revenue to conservation projects, preserve other federal lands, and prevent road construction, logging, or energy exploration.

A small group of opponents argue that the systematic endorsement of this type of “trade” to facilitate growth is not sustainable, especially in areas that depend on dwindling water supplies.

For the seven states that depend on the Colorado River – Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming – a regional drought is so severe that less water is flowing to Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the two artificial reservoirs where the river water is stored.

If the level of Lake Mead continues to decline throughout the summer as planned, the federal government will likely issue its very first official declaration of shortage, leading to reductions in the water share that Arizona and Nevada have. receive.

The situation is playing out in the Las Vegas area, where environmental groups, local officials and home builders have united behind a proposal from U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto that was heard in the Senate this week.

The Nevada Democrat is pushing what she calls the largest conservation bill in state history to designate more than 3,125 square miles of land for additional protections – roughly the size of Delaware and the United States. Rhode Island combined – and 48 square miles for commercial and residential development, which is about the size of San Francisco.

Some environmentalists support the proposal because it would add federal land to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for recreation and reclassify undeveloped parts of Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, and the Desert National Wildlife Refuge as Bureau of Land Management’s “wilderness areas”, which offer stronger protections than national parks.

Jocelyn Torres, field director for the Conservation Lands Foundation, said during the Senate hearing on Wednesday that the protections would restore the lands to capture carbon more effectively, which would help mitigate rising temperatures.

“Our public lands present our best chance to tackle climate change, our biodiversity crisis and invest in our local communities and economy,” she said.

FILE – In this August 13, 2020 file photo, a light mineral tub ring marks the high water mark of Lake Mead in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Boulder City, Nevada | Photo by John Locher / Associated Press, St. George News

The effort reflects land management efforts over the past decade in Washington and Emery counties in Utah to designate the wilderness and sell other plots to developers to meet growth projections. The US Census Bureau reported that St. George, in Washington County, was the fifth fastest growing metropolitan area in the country last year.

In both regions, affordable housing is one of the authorities’ main concerns. Soaring house prices in California have added to a flow of people leaving for neighboring states like Nevada, Arizona and Colorado, where open land, lower tax rates and jobs attract new residents.

The fast growing Las Vegas area lacks housing supply to meet projected population growth. A 2019 study from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which found that references to Cortez Masto’s legislation predicted that the population of Clark County would increase by 35%, to 3.1 million, from by 2060. This peak will be difficult to manage without building in existing communities or public lands.

“As a result of this federal ownership, our planning and development options are very limited and require constant coordination with federal agencies,” said Marcie Henson, director of the Clark County Air Quality Department.

Growth can stretch an already limited water supply. Water officials back the proposal, which allocates funds for the maintenance of canals used to recycle sewage through Lake Mead. The region has adopted some of the most aggressive conservation measures in the American West, including an outright ban on decorative grass in some places, to prepare for growth.

Last year, water officials predicted a worst-case scenario in which consumption patterns and climate change could force them to find alternative supplies as early as 2056. Critics say the projections are concerning.

“This legislation has no sustainable water supply identified in 50 years,” said Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Nevada-based Great Basin Water Network conservation group. “When you combine that with everything we read about Lake Mead and the Colorado River, it is very precarious to introduce a bill that invites 825,000 more people into the Mojave Desert. “

Southern Nevada Water Authority chief executive John Entsminger said in a statement that the proposal “helps secure the water resources and facilities that SNWA needs to provide reliable and safe water to our customers for decades to come “.

When Cortez Masto’s proposal was brought forward, there was little question of how water accommodates future growth plans or whether the conservation elements of the bill might have an impact.

Roerink said the plan’s funding allocations for water infrastructure must be accompanied by additional “serious and realistic modeling” of the Colorado River.

“When an entity says, ‘Let’s go build houses in this area’, it implies that the water will be there in perpetuity,” he said.

Written by SAM METZ, Associated Press / Report for America.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Salt lake city government

This week’s winners and losers in Utah politics


Hello Utah and TGIF!

Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.

Do you have a tip? Some interesting political gossip? Do you just want to discuss politics? Email me or find me on Twitter @SchottHappens.

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This Week’s Winners and Losers in Utah Politics

⬆️ Winner: The Utah State School Board. Board members have been battered by the current panic over critical breed theory. Republicans in the Legislature are eager to get involved in the issue. But the board has apparently taken enough action this year against classroom race that lawmakers say they don’t see the need to do anything just yet. But, this respite will be short-lived because there could be several laws next year on the subject.

⬇️ Loser: Representative Chris Stewart. In a controversial interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Chris Stewart falsely claimed he voted to remove Georgian Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments in February. This claim was not true. The next day, Cuomo and Don Lemon toasted Stewart for not reaching out to correct the record. It wasn’t Stewart’s best hour.

⬇️ Loser: Utah taxpayers. One year ago, the New Yorker reported big issues with TestUtah, the effort to use technology to improve approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the Salt Lake Tribune reports that the SEC was investigating the co-diagnosis, which provided testing for the effort. In the end, Utah taxpayers spent $ 15 million on testing through TestUtah, far more than any other vendor paid.

Here’s what you need to know for Friday morning

Local News

  • Gov. Spencer Cox expressed frustration Thursday because so many Utahns refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19, which has resulted in more preventable deaths. Since the vaccines were made available to all Utahns 16 and older, nearly all of the COVID cases in the state have been unvaccinated. [Tribune]

  • Governor Cox explained that he could not ban fireworks in the state despite the extreme fire danger, because it was outside the powers of his governor. The legislature could take such a step, but there doesn’t appear to be the political will to do so, Cox said. [Tribune]

  • Some aligned with the #DezNat group, an online effort to defend the doctrines and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are deleting their social media accounts for fear they will be identified publicly. [Tribune]

  • Utah County has managed to cut chronic homelessness in half over the past three years. [Tribune]

  • Some owners in Utah require potential renters to pay for DNA testing of their pets. The tests will help them identify who is not cleaning up after their dog or cat when they poop outside. [Tribune]

  • An investment group is turning to technology as a way to help conserve water. [Tribune]

National News

  • A great day at the Supreme Court. The judges rejected another challenge to the Affordable Care Act. [Scotusblog]

  • The court also sided with a faith-based organization, ruling that Philadelphia violated the group’s First Amendment rights when the city stopped working with them when they refused to certify same-sex couples as as potential adoptive parents. [Scotusblog]

  • Both rulings highlighted growing cracks within the court’s conservative wing. [Politico]

  • Unemployment claims jumped unexpectedly last week after several weeks of falling numbers. [WSJ]

  • President Joe Biden signed a bill designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday. [NYT]

  • Schools in the Washington, DC area are closed today for the new June vacation. The last-minute shutdown is pushing parents apart. [WaPo]

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pledges to block voting rights legislation as it relates to the Senate. [WaPo]

  • The sizzling US economy is driving inflation globally, forcing foreign banks to raise rates in response. [WSJ]

  • The Biden administration will invest $ 3 million to develop antiviral treatments for COVID-19. [CNN]

  • The U.S. Department of Education is forgiving more than $ 500 million in student debt for 18,000 former students of the ITT Technical Institute, which closed in 2016. [AP]

  • 13 Republican members of Congress signed a letter demanding that President Biden undergo a cognitive aptitude test. The group is led by Florida Republican Ronny Jackson, former President Donald Trump’s White House doctor. [MyHighPlains.com]

Utah Politics Podcast

In this week’s episode, we let you listen to a conversation between Rep. Blake Moore and the Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board.

It’s a fascinating peek behind the curtain as board members engage in a freewheeling chat with Moore that touches public lands, Hill Air Force Base, and investigates the attack on the January 6 against the US Capitol.

You can listen and subscribe for free.

Friday’s Utah News Summary

Utah

  • The United States Court of Appeals rules against citizenship for nationals of American Samoa. [Tribune]

  • The University of Utah, BYU is rolling out name, image and likeness plans as NCAA legislation looms. [Tribune]

  • Deseret Management Corp. appoints director of strategic initiatives and new president of Deseret Digital Media. [DNews]

  • Cox issues a proclamation commemorating June 19 as Juneteenth in Utah. [FOX13]

  • Equality Utah welcomes the Supreme Court ruling that balances religious beliefs with equal protection. [FOX13]

  • 41% of Utah CHIP beneficiaries lost their coverage in May due to a government overthrow. [KSL]

  • BYU-Hawaii will require COVID vaccinations; BYU strongly encourages. [Daily Herald]

COVID-19[feminine

Environnement

  • Le ministère de l’Agriculture a une surveillance faible, des « problèmes de contrôle », constate l’audit. [KSL]

Local government

  • Sunset skid keeps city council optimistic out of poll; the city recorder reprimanded. [Standard Examiner]

  • Former transportation manager selected to fill vacant position on Spanish Fork City Council. [Daily Herald]

  • The still difficult PCMR talks may be coming to a conclusion. [Park Record]

  • Dozens of Utah election officials are participating in the new VOTE certification program. [ABC4]

Infrastructure

  • Experts say Utah is unprepared for large-scale power outages. [KUTV]

  • Boil order issued to Mapleton after bacteria was found in a water source. [FOX13]

  • St. George issues the first energy saving alert. [FOX13]

Housing

  • Can’t keep track of all those new apartments in or coming to Salt Lake County? This card will help you. [Tribune]

  • End of the moratorium on evictions: who to turn to if you run out of rent. [KSL]

  • Ogden City Council is considering an ordinance to ease restrictions on non-residential housing. [Standard Examiner]

On opinion pages

  • Robert Gehrke: Ban fireworks in times of drought and destroy the Utahns that light them. [Tribune]

  • Scott Williams: The governors of Utah have a 50-year legacy of opposing radioactive waste. [Tribune]

  • Tribune Editorial Board: Just get the Utah landmarks back to where they were and get to work. [Tribune]

  • David R. Irvine: We’re not the America we think we are anymore. [Tribune]

  • Richard D. Burbidge: It’s up to you what kind of guinea pig you will be. [Tribune]

  • Steven Collis: Stop asking the Supreme Court to resolve the LGBTQ religious conflict. [Tribune]

🎂 You say it’s your birthday? !!

Happy birthday to Tiffany Gunnerson, spokesperson for the Purposeful Planning Institute, Joel Campbell, associate professor of journalism at BYU, and Eric Peterson, founder of the Utah Investigative Journalism Project.

On Saturday, Thom Carter, energy advisor and executive director of the Office of Energy Development, celebrates.

State Senator Jerry Stevenson and former State Senator Steve Urquhart mark another year on Sunday.

Do you have a birthday that you would like us to recognize in this space? Send us an e-mail.

– Tribune reporter Connor Sanders contributed to this report.



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