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News Brief: Zion Narrows, Stericycle & Reacting To McAdams

Photo of where the Riverwalk Trail meets the river leading up to the Narrows Trail at Zion National Park.
David Fuchs
A family who owns about a mile stretch of the Narrows Trail, which runs through private property and into Zion Canyon, reached an agreement with land officials to guarantee permanent access to that part of the land.

Thursday morning, December 19, 2019


Church Defends Investments

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is defending how it uses and invests member donations. It's a response to a former church employee's allegations made in a complaint to the Internal Revenue Service that the LDS Church had improperly built a $100 billion investment portfolio using member donations that are supposed to be used for charitable causes. Church spokesman Eric Hawkins says most of the money goes to fund church operations while another portion is "methodically safeguarded through wise financial management." The complaint claims the Church owes billions in unpaid taxes. — Associated Press

Stericycle Move

Stericycle Inc, a medical waste disposal company, has abandoned plans to build an incinerator in North Las Vegas. The company eyed an industrial park site to replace its facility north of Salt Lake City that is closing. It wanted to use the new facility to incinerate medical waste shipped from locations across the West and then store the resulting ash. Stericycle says it dropped its plans because of business considerations but gave no other details. — Diane Maggipinto


Zion Narrows Opens

The Bulloch family has reached an agreement with land officials allowing permanent access to a portion of their property that borders the Narrows Trail at Zion National Park. The family owns about a mile stretch of the trail which starts outside the park. The path runs through private property and into Zion Canyon. The Trust for Public Land orchestrated a $1.5 million deal with the family that protects the land from development and guarantees permanent access to the trail. — Diane Maggipinto


Studying Tax Revenue From Public Land

A Silicone Slopes company called Geomancer is developing technology to determine how much tax revenue federal land would generate if it was held privately. The company presented the tool to state legislators on Monday. Last year, Utah counties received $41 million in payment in lieu of taxes, or PILT. Geomancer’s tool found that those counties would have collected over $150 million if the land was assessed at the state’s lowest tax rate. Republican state Sen. David Hinkins says the tool will likely be used by Utah’s congressional delegation to push for higher compensation to counties with public lands. — Kate Groetzinger, Blanding


Reaction To McAdams’ Impeachment Vote

Wednesday night, the U.S. House voted to impeach President Donald Trump. Utah’s four congressional representatives voted along party lines, with lone Democrat Ben McAdams supporting impeachment. It’s a political risk for McAdams, who faced a tough race last year. But it seems most voters weren’t going to be swayed by his decision one way or the other. One Democrat in McAdams’ district says she wishes he were more liberal, but understands he needs to strike a balance. Another constituent says it doesn’t matter how McAdams voted, she’ll cast her vote for the Republican in 2020. Read the full storyNicole Nixon

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