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News Briefs

AM News Brief: No To Circus Tigers, Getting A Degree & Utah Girls Tackle NFL

Photo of tiger jumping thorugh fire.
Flickr Creative Commons ~Pawsitive~Candie_N
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Salt Lake County has worked with a Las Vegas-based circus to exclude its exotic animals in Tuesday and Wednesday's shows in South Jordan. this and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, Jan. 24, 2020

State

Getting A College Degree

As Utah leaders think about setting a new statewide post-high school education goal, one expert says they weren’t too far from their initial goal. Utah was hoping to have 66% of residents ages 25 to 64 with a college degree or certificate by 2020. Utah’s higher education attainment rate is 52.2%, according to the ‘A Stronger Nation’ report by the Lumina Foundation. — Rocio Hernandez

County Jail Audit

The state has released an audit of the Utah Department of Corrections Inmate Placement Program, which houses state inmates at county jails to help with overcrowding. In the report, the Office of the State Auditor says the Department of Corrections has not learned from mistakes made at the Daggett County Jail. In 2017, that jail was shut down and inmates were removed after reports of ongoing prisoner abuse. The auditor’s report also found deficiencies in the department’s monitoring of contract jails, resolving concerns at jails, and in tracking its own program’s effectiveness. It recommends a number of changes in how the department administers the program. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Fracking And Water Contamination In Bluff

A push to drill for oil and gas on the edge of the Navajo Nation has local residents worried about their water. EOG Resources wants to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking to get at the resource, with the drilling sites are upstream from Bluff’s aquifer. A study by the US Geological Survey shows drilling has potential to contaminate the aquifer, but that would take at least 2000 years. Environmentalists say that fails to take fracking into account, and pointed to contaminated water in nearby communities on the Navajo Nation. The BLM is taking comments on the application to drill through February 6. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Northern Utah

Utah Girls Tackle The NFL Pro Bowl

Some Utah football players will get a spotlight at the NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday: players from the Utah Girls Tackle Football League will play an exhibition scrimmage at halftime. The league began in 2015 and features both full tackle and flag leagues for girls in first through 12th grades. It is the first of its kind in the country. — Caroline Ballard

Circus Won’t Bring Exotic Animals

Salt Lake County has worked with a Las Vegas-based circus to exclude its exotic animals in Tuesday and Wednesday’s shows in South Jordan. County officials said they heard from a number of concerned community members. Among them, the Utah Animal Rights Coalition called on Mayor Jenny Wilson to bar the circus from bringing its tigers and elephants. The group said it's gathered video and photo evidence of animal suffering at a Jordan World Circus event. A spokesperson from the mayor's office said that there's talk of implementing a permanent ban in the future. — Jessica Lowell

Region

New Water Rule Impacts The West

The Trump administration’s rollback of an Obama-era Clean Water Act rule will be felt across the arid West. The Environmental Protection Agency has redefined which waterways are protected from pollution. The updated policy excludes some wetlands and all ephemeral streams — which only flow after a heavy rain or intense snowmelt. Huge swathes of the American southwest are drained by these kinds of streams. Ephemeral streams also serve as tributaries to rivers that millions of people across the region rely on for drinking water and irrigation. In Colorado, about 70% of all streams will be affected by the new rule. In New Mexico and Nevada, it’s upwards of 90%. — Luke Runyon, KUNC

Older Avalanche Death Victims

There’s been nearly 1,100 avalanche deaths in the U.S. since the 1950’s. But recent research reveals a surprising trend: the number of deaths from people in their 30’s and 40’s is going up. The report says this highlights the need for older people to keep up with their avalanche education. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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