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Jazz help Ukrainian refugees, higher Salt Lake County rent & warmer springs

A photo of the main Utah Jazz offices.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
The Utah Jazz announced a new effort Wednesday to support Ukrainian refugees.That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022

Northern Utah

Utah Jazz to assist in providing housing for Ukrainian refugees 

The Utah Jazz announced a new effort Wednesday to support Ukrainian refugees. In a partnership with Airbnb, the Jazz Foundation will pay for more than 32,000 nights of housing for refugees. The donation to the rental company comes a week after it announced it was offering free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 Ukrainians leaving the country. According to NPR, more than 2 million people have fled since Russia invaded the country in late February. The bulk of them have left to neighboring Poland. — Ross Terrell

Mayor Jenny Wilson defends decision to endorse independent candidate 

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson identifies as a Democrat, but she recently endorsed independent candidate Evan McMullin in his race for the U.S. Senate. Wilson said, historically, she’s always endorsed candidates from her own party. But she said in this race, where people are challenging incumbent Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, it’s about being “pragmatic.” Ideally, Wilson said the November ballot will have just two choices — Lee and McMullin — and no Democrat. Along with her endorsement, she’s asking her party’s delegates to vote “no candidate” during its convention on April 23. But some Democrats have criticized Wilson for supporting the independent candidate over one from her own party. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Las Vegas man charged for allege fentanyl shipments

Federal prosecutors have charged a 21-year-old Las Vegas man for allegedly shipping fentanyl pills to a man in Park City. Drug Enforcement Administration officers said he used delivery services including U.S. mail to send the pills last November. The 21-year-old faces six counts related to the distribution of fentanyl in Utah. One of the counts is for distribution of the drug resulting in bodily harm. Prosecutors said the shipments contained blue pills that were stamped as fake oxycodone and between 10 to 30 pills were shipped to Park City every two weeks over a nearly three-month span. — Ross Terrell 

Rent in Salt Lake County jumps while the vacancy rate falls

Rent in Salt Lake County went up 10% in 2021. That’s the second highest yearly increase in 20 years, when economists first started tracking rental rates in the county. The vacancy rate is also below 2% which is the lowest on record and considered "full occupancy." Housing economist James Wood wrote a report released Wednesday by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. He said “this last year, we’ve seen the tightest rental market really in our history. At least as far back as we have data.” He said market conditions are encouraging development. There are a record number of units under construction. The report said that should help ease rent prices over the next few years. But the countywide rental market will continue to favor landlords. — Jon Reed 

Region/Nation

An earlier and warmer spring could spell trouble for the Mountain West 

Spring is arriving earlier and getting warmer nationwide according to a new report by Climate Central, which focuses on the impacts of climate change. In the Mountain West, the average spring temperature has increased by three degrees Fahrenheit since 1970. That means the West’s snowpack is melting sooner and contributing to longer wildfire seasons. Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada were number one and two for the greatest temperature increases nationwide. Earlier springs also spell trouble for people with allergies since pollen emerges sooner and sticks around longer, the report notes. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau 

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