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AM News Brief: Free Tax Prep, Refugee Education & A Snow Day

Photo of a black truck plowing snow.
Elaine Clark
Blizzard-like conditions hammered the Wasatch Front early Monday morning, forcing school closures and delayed openings. This story and more in the Monday morning news brief.

Monday morning, Feb. 3, 2020


Fetal Burial Bill Passes Committee

A bill is moving through the state legislature that would require medical providers to bury or cremate a miscarried or aborted fetus. It passed a senate committee Friday on a party-line vote. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Refugee Education Proposal

Democratic Rep. Carol Spackman Moss introduced a bill Friday that would fund educational opportunities for adult refugees. Moss and others say very few refugee students who enter the K-12 education system as teens are graduating with a high school diploma. Her bill is asking for $500,000 to create an education program for 18- to 23-year-old refugees who need help reaching a diploma. — Rocio Hernandez

Northern Utah

Snow Day!

Blizzard-like conditions hammered the Wasatch Front early Monday morning, forcing school closures and delayed openings. Schools in the Salt Lake, Jordan, Canyons and Alpine districts closed. Monday classes at the University of Utah were cancelled. As of 10:33 a.m., Weber State, Utah State and Utah Valley universities remain open with classes as scheduled. Salt Lake Community College campuses announced closures until 11 a.m. State and Salt Lake City nonessential employees were asked to stay home until noon. The Salt Lake City library system has delayed opening until 12:30 p.m. — Diane Maggipinto

Airport Delays

Nearly half the flights coming to and leaving Salt Lake City International Airport are late Monday morning. As of 6 a.m. a half a foot of snow had fallen on the runways in the northwest area of the city. A tweet from airport officials says delays range from one hour to 90 minutes on average and advise flyers to check with individual airlines, and plan to arrive at the airport with extra time. — Diane Maggipinto

Avalanche Warning

A special avalanche warning in low-elevation areas has been issued by the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center. Forecasters say those typically unaware of avalanche conditions should be on alert and stay away from avalanche prone slopes on benches and in the valleys, and avoid being beneath steep terrain and near creek beds and gullies that are terrain traps. The backcountry in Little Cottonwood Canyon is closed because of avalanche danger, rated considerable for the Wasatch Front and Uinta mountains. Moderate danger is forecasted for Logan and Skyline, and low in Moab and the Abajos. — Diane Maggipinto

Free Tax Preparation

Beginning Monday, Salt Lake City and Utah Tax Help will provide low and middle-income families free tax advice and preparation. Residents can go to Salt Lake City’s Chapman and Day-Riverside library branches to meet with a tax professional during specific hours. Tax Help Utah will also offer free software for do-it-yourselfers. Officials say they hope to help more people who are eligible to receive an Earned Income Tax credit, but have not claimed it before. — Caroline Ballard


Four Corners Drought

Researchers are directly tying an intense drought in the Four Corners to human-caused climate change. They found the 2018 drought was fueled by a two-degree Celsius increase compared to pre-industrial levels. In the Four Corners, the higher temperatures meant a weaker, short-lived snowpack. And the dry air sapped moisture from the ground, and the potential for evaporation increased about 80% during the drought. The region’s weakened agriculture economy contributed to an estimated $3 billion in economic losses. — Daniel Rayzel, KSJD, Cortez, Colorado.

Road Safety Study

Every year, road crashes injure millions of Americans and cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. According to a new analysis from Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, our region could be doing better. The group looked at 16 road safety laws, and rated states based on how many were enacted. Only seven states and the District of Columbia received the organization’s highest rating. And three states in our region received the worst: Montana, Nevada and Wyoming. According to the report, road crashes cost Utah more than $1.7 billion dollars every year. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau

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