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News Brief: Vaping Rates, Dangerous Highway & Tech In Schools

Photo of a bus stop on the University of Utah campus.
Brian Albers
The University of Utah is hiring a new police chief, after former Chief Dale Brophy retired in October. Members of the public can ask the three final candidates questions in open forums Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Monday evening, December 9, 2019


Utah Vaping Rates

As of Monday, the Utah Department of Health is reporting 115 cases of vaping-related lung injuries in the state. The number was revised down from previous estimates because of a change in how the department is tracking the illness. Now, cases are only officially counted if someone was hospitalized. The change is being put in place nationwide to help differentiate between vaping injury and influenza. — Caroline Ballard

Money For Technology In Schools

Government agencies and private industry came together at the Capitol Monday to announce a commitment to funding Computer Science education in the state. Utah Governor Gary Herbert is requesting $10.2 million in his upcoming budget be dedicated to K-12 computer science education. Utah tech leaders are also launching the Silicon Slopes Computer Science Fund. The fund would offer grant money to communities to support computer science initiatives in schools. A handful of local tech entrepreneurs pledged $4 million as seed money for the fund, which will be held and managed by the Community Foundation of Utah. The goal is to give every student in Utah access to computer science by 2022. — Caroline Ballard


Finding New Police Chief For The U

The three final candidates for the University of Utah’s police chief position will be on campus this week. Open forums where the public can ask the candidates questions are scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The position opened after former Police Chief Dale Brophy retired in mid-October. Brophy and his department faced heavy criticism after the 2018 on-campus murder of student Lauren McCluskey. — Rocio Hernandez

Making Space For Housing

Though facing a housing crunch, only 6% of Salt Lake City’s land is set aside for apartments and condos. So officials are looking for ways to make building easier. Planning director Nick Norris says one way is to increase the distance fire roads have to be from buildings. Right now, the curb often has to be moved closer to the building for amenities like bike lanes, street trees and parking. That’s expensive for developers. Norris says the change could make close to 20,000 plots of land in the city easier to develop. A public comment period on the change is open through January. — Jon Reed


Dangerous Highway

Over the past two weeks, eight semi-trucks have lost control on a section of I-15 known as “the Black Ridge” between St. George and Cedar City. The crashes have all occurred when the roads have been wet but have not resulted in any injuries or fatalities. UDOT will be installing weather-related warning signs within the coming days, and will be conducting tests to detect any abnormalities with the road that may be contributing to the accidents. Read the full story. — David Fuchs, St. George

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