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AM Brief: Salt Lake County affordable housing proposal & protecting Zion National Park

A sign highlights a home for sale in a Utah neighborhood, Nov. 22, 2021.
Brian Albers
A sign highlights a home for sale in a Utah neighborhood, Nov. 22, 2021.

Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022

Northern Utah

Utahns stand with Ukraine

Around 1,500 Utahns rallied at the Capitol Monday night with flags and signs in support of Ukraine during the ongoing Russian invasion. Gov. Spencer Cox said Ukrainians were “fighting for the very things that sit at the foundation of our own country…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Earlier Monday, the Legislature passed a resolution denouncing the Russian invasion, calling for a ceasefire and urging the U.S. government to take action against Russia and provide humanitarian relief for Ukraine. Read the full story. — Emily Means

County Mayor wants to invest federal money in affordable housing

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson will propose an American Rescue Plan Act spending package to the County Council Tuesday. It earmarks over $90 million for community investments. Around $58 million is dedicated to direct spending, more than half of which would go toward affordable housing. Roughly a quarter is allotted for an economic opportunity proposal, including projects to revamp housing for 150 low-income families and a program to prepare up to 2,000 low-income students for sustainable careers. The proposal also dedicates funds to environmental conservation, public safety, criminal justice and health equity. — Leah Treidler

Renovations at Deer Valley Resort

Deer Valley Resort plans to spend around $20 million on upgrades beginning this summer, according to a statement released Monday. The money will fund new mountain bike trails and a new Burns Express chairlift, expanding access to beginner terrain. The resort will also revamp the Snow Park base area by adding more food and beverage options and renovating the plaza. Additionally, the resort will use the money to maintain snowmaking systems and employee housing and uniforms. — Leah Treidler

Southern Utah

Long lines expected for Lake Powell boaters

With the forecast giving Utahns a little tease of spring weather, Utah wildlife officials have asked boaters to plan ahead before visiting Lake Powell. Water levels are at a historic low and officials don’t expect that to change anytime soon. As a result, there will be fewer ramp options which means longer lines for watercraft decontamination — a process to prevent the spread of quagga mussels from Lake Powell to other Utah bodies of water. There are over 40 inspection stations around Utah but all watercraft operators must have a self-decontamination form. In 2021, more than 85,000 boats were inspected at Lake Powell and about 2,300 were decontaminated. — Sudha Reynolds

Plan to protect Zion as visitation surges

After a record-setting year, Zion National Park officials said they’re straining to protect natural areas and live up to promised standards for visitors. Visitation has nearly doubled in the past decade — peaking at over five million in 2021 — and has impacted the park’s landscape, plants, staff and infrastructure. Since 2016, the National Park Service has been designing a plan to maintain Zion’s resources. Through that, park officials will collect data on visitor use and test potential solutions to maintain Zion as visitation rises, including the new Angels Landing Permit System. — Leah Treidler


Ethnic studies curriculum could change at Utah schools

Utah students could have a new ethnic studies standard under a bill introduced in the Senate Education Committee Monday afternoon. SB 244 would establish a committee to study the contributions of ethnic minorities in Utah and recommend how to incorporate them into K-12 core standards. Proponents said the measure will benefit all students, particularly by helping develop increased awareness and knowledge of other cultures. Despite concerns from some that the measure will lead to the spread of Critical Race Theory and other “divisive concepts” to Utah schools, lawmakers voted unanimously to advance the bill. It will move on to the full Senate later this week. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

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