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News Brief: Health Insurance, Homeless Vigil & Avalanches

Photo of names on a board.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER
The annual Homeless Persons Memorial Candlelight Vigil honors people who died while experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake City. Listed here are the names of those who were honored during the 2018 vigil.

Friday morning, December 20, 2019


What ACA Ruling Means For Utah

A federal court struck down a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Wednesday, signalling more uncertainty for a law that has been in and out of the courts since it first passed in 2010. One advocate says that has left 230,000 enrollees in Utah wondering once again about the fate of their coverage. Utah is part of the lawsuit against the ACA. Last year, the state joined 20 others to strike it down in its entirety. Read the full storyJon Reed

Northern Utah

Olympia Hills Development

The Salt Lake County Council will revisit the proposed Olympia Hills development, once vetoed by former county Mayor Ben McAdams. Developers want approval to build on an unincorporated 930 acres in Herriman. They were subject to public criticism and the veto after proposing high density housing of more than 6,000 units. Developers scaled back the plan last winter and county leaders announced Thursday they would release documents ahead of public hearings set for next month. The public meetings will take place on Jan. 14 and 28 at Council Chambers at the Salt Lake County Government Center. — Diane Maggipinto

Gov. Herbert On Homeless Model

Gov. Gary Herbert says he’s optimistic about a new model to provide services to the homeless in the Salt Lake area. Three new resource centers are now open. They provide temporary shelter and services to help people find employment, housing and other needs. Herbert says while things may not be perfect, “we’re doing very well” compared to cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Some have criticized the state’s decision to close the 1,100-bed shelter downtown just as temperatures began to drop. — Nicole Nixon

Homeless Vigil

The annual Homeless Persons Memorial Candlelight Vigil Thursday night honored the 94 people who died while experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake City in 2019. Advocates spoke at Pioneer Park in downtown Salt Lake City about the causes of homelessness: poverty, housing instability, mental illness and chronic disease. The average age of those who died is 57 years old. — Diane Maggipinto

New Natural History Museum Leader

The Natural History Museum of Utah has named a new Executive Director. Jason Cryan will take the helm in March, during the museum's golden anniversary year. Cryan comes from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences as Deputy Director and Chief of Research and Collections. He completed post-graduate work at Brigham Young University. Longtime chief Sarah George leaves the position after almost 30 years for a position as Campus Chief Advancement Officer at the University of Utah. — Diane Maggipinto


Avalanche Season

Avalanche season is underwaywith moderate to considerable conditions across the state. The first avalanche death of this season happened in Colorado in early December. A snowboarder also died this past Sunday in a backcountry area accessed through Park City Mountain Resort. Last winter, avalanches claimed 25 lives in the U.S., including 4 in Utah. Avalanche conditions can change quickly, and people should check backcountry forecasts before heading out. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau.

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