News Briefs: Southern Utah Flooding, Cyber Task Force & Protecting Firefighters
Editor’s Note: During impeachment inquiry hearings, KUER is offering news roundups from around the state and audio of those stories as a resource for our audience.
SALT LAKE COUNTY
The taxpayer cost of mayoral portraits has risen significantly over the last two decades. Outgoing Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s portrait is expected to cost about $35,000. That is $5,000 more than her predecessor's, Ralph Becker, and more than double the $15,000 it cost for the portrait of Deedee Corradini, mayor from 1992-2000. The city's chief financial officer points to inflation, materials and artist fees for the hand-painted portraits, which date back to the mid-1800s. — Diane Maggipinto in Salt Lake City.
Winter Storm Hits Southern Utah
When rain fell on St. George Tuesday night, it was the first time in 155 days that the city had gotten one-hundredth of an inch of rain. The storm marks the end of the longest period the city has ever gone without precipitation, breaking the previous record of 121 days, which was set in 1929.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for much of Southern Utah that lasts until 10 p.m. Wednesday. The agency reports that flows along the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers are surging. And as runoff moves into lower elevations, many washes in the St. George area are inundated.
A winter storm warning is in effect for the region’s higher elevation areas until 5 p.m. Thursday. —David Fuchs in St. George / Diane Maggipinto in Salt Lake City
Task Force Takes On Cyber Predators
Law enforcement agencies in Utah are calling for the public’s help in fighting sexual predators who target children online. At a press conference in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, representatives from a task force made up of federal, state, and local agencies spoke out about the alarming prevalence of online predators in Utah. Salt Lake County District Attorney General Sim Gill said that in a single, 30-day period, the task force identified and arrested 30 people who intended to lure children into sexual acts. Gill said parents can help prevent attacks by talking with their kids about the risks and knowing which apps they’re using. — Jon Reed in Salt Lake City
Bill To Protect Firefighters From Harmful Chemicals
Senators from Colorado and Nevada are among those sponsoring a bill that aims to reduce firefighters’ exposure to harmful chemicals called PFAS. Earlier this month, a Senate committee unanimously approved the bipartisan legislation. The chemicals are found in firefighting foams & gear because they’re resistant to oil & heat. But they’re also thought to be linked to problems with the immune system, hormone production — even cancer. Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau