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PM Brief: Gender inclusive housing, regulating construction noise & Russian fertilizer exports

Photo of a sign that reads UVU: Utah Valley University.
Brian Albers / KUER
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Friday, Mar. 11, 2022

Southern Utah

Eastern Utah counties vote to end pursuit of Book Cliffs Highway 

A coalition of rural eastern Utah counties decided Thursday to no longer pursue putting a controversial highway through the Book Cliffs. The highway was first proposed in the 1980s, and it was originally pitched as a way to help fossil fuel transportation. The most recent iteration, which was introduced last year, was to help with tourism in the area. Mike McKee, executive director of the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition, said he was disappointed by the decision. But he said, “never say never.” Most of the highway would’ve been in Grand County, and leaders there oppose it. Sam Van Wetter with the Rural Utah Project said they’re treating this like a victory and are looking for ways to permanently protect the region. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Washington City regulates construction noise 

Washington City passed an ordinance this week regulating noise related to construction and development activities. St. George News reported it’s because of recent complaints from residents and the police department. The new ordinance says it’s unlawful for people to “disturb the peace or quiet of any neighborhood” between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. There are possibilities for some exemptions, though, including pouring concrete between 3 and 6 in the morning from April to October. — Lexi Peery, St. George

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aims to inform readers across the state.

Northern Utah

Artist Galina Perova travels to Poland to help her family fleeing Ukraine

Salt Lake City artist Galina Perova is traveling to Poland to help her family that’s fled Ukraine. Her aunt and other family members — including two children — have made it to Warsaw, but others stayed behind in Kyiv. Perova spoke to KUER before she left Thursday. She said she’s “very emotional and very distressed by this situation, particularly also when you have so many relatives who are suffering and so many people dying for no reason.” She said she’s trying to bring her family members back to the United States but she’s not sure if she’ll be able to. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson 

Utah State University introducing gender-inclusive housing this fall 

Utah State University will let students who live on campus request gender-inclusive housing this fall. The new option was approved by university administration for a one year trial. They say it’s geared towards students who are uncomfortable rooming with members of the same sex, transgender or gender non-conforming students. It’s also for students who do not want sex or gender to be a primary factor in choosing a roommate. School officials say providing the option has been a goal for years, and that it will create a climate that respects the diversity of USU students. — Jon Reed

Region/Nation

Russia to suspend all fertilizer exports

Russian officials say they will suspend all fertilizer exports. Russia had already stopped exporting one type of fertilizer, ammonium nitrate, which officials said was to protect its farmers from already-high costs. But this latest move comes after Russian threats of retaliation over Western sanctions. Since Russia is one of the world’s largest fertilizer exporters, this will likely drive inflated prices even higher. Sean Ellis with the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation said that’s on top of increasing gas prices, supply chain challenges, a limited labor force and drought. Ellis said he hasn’t heard of any large movement to leave fields empty this spring, but the increasing costs will lead to higher prices in the store, even if farmers don’t make any more money. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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