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News Brief: Measles, Scouts & Revitalizing Utah's Coal Country

Close up of Eagle Scout badge pinned to the chest of a boy scout in uniform.
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Timothy Kim/Released
More than 400,000 young men will leave Boy Scouts of America on Jan. 1 when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ends its affiliation with the organization.

Wednesday morning, December 18, 2019

Northern Utah

Reservation Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to create controls on emissions from oil and gas operations on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in Northeast Utah. According to a statement from the EPA, the goal of the proposed changes is to improve air quality in the Uintah Basin and establish consistent emissions regulations across Indian Country and lands managed by the state. The EPA says ozone levels in the Uintah Basin, particularly in winter, have exceeded Clean Air Act standards several times in recent years. The agency will hold a public hearing on the plan in Fort Duchesne on February 6. — David Fuchs, St. George

Wood Stove Conversion

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality will open registration early next year for those wanting to convert from wood-burning to cleaner burning devices. The DEQ says thousands of dollars in grants are available, pointing to conversion from wood to gas for reducing emissions by as much as 100 times. There are 75 awards each available in Box Elder, Weber, and Davis counties, and 250 in Salt Lake County. With grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency, the incentive program for homeowners is intended to reduce wintertime pollution from wood burning where the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for fine particulates is lacking. — Diane Maggipinto

Central Utah

Coal Country’s Economic “Strike Team”

Rural communities across the U.S. face tough times. But in Utah’s coal country — Carbon and Emery counties — the “Coal Country Strike Team” is stepping in to help. Last week, the team announced an agreement to bring local leadership to the effort, which they hope will revitalize the region’s economy and raise the incomes of 10,000 households in the area by the end of 2020. Read the full storyJon Reed

Southern Utah

Electioneering Investigation

The Utah County attorney’s office has taken over an investigation into allegations of electioneering by the San Juan County Clerk. Weber County completed the investigation last month but because of staffing limits bowed out before making a decision to prosecute. The Utah county attorney's office says it will look over the findings and decide whether to prosecute clerk John David Neilsen. Nielsen admitted to distributing an editorial at polling places during the November election that advocated for the measure on the ballot. But he said his aim was to educate voters, not sway their opinion. — Kate Groetzinger, Monticello


Denver Measles

Three children are being treated at a Denver-area hospital for measles, adding to the record-breaking number of cases this year in the U.S. Some Mountain West states have already seen measles cases this year -- including Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a number of states in the Mountain West have some of the worst measles vaccination rates in the country when it comes to children under the age of three. That includes Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. -- Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau


Church And Scouts Part Ways

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of the largest sponsors of the Boy Scouts of America, officially splits from the organization Jan. 1. The LDS Church plans to pull more than 400,000 Scouts and move them into a new global program of its own. The move marks the first time since the World War II era that Boy Scout youth membership will fall below 2 million. The split could push the Boy Scouts closer to bankruptcy as it faces a new wave of sex abuse lawsuits. — Associated Press

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