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PM Brief: Refugee aid, more wildland firefighters & Senate challenger submits signatures for primary

ukraine rally
Niki Chan Wylie
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Demonstrators gathered at Utah’s Capitol last month in support of Ukraine. Now, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is donating $4 million in support of refugees fleeing the crisis.

Monday, Mar. 14, 2022

State

‘This is how life is now’: Navigating long-haul COVID

Some people who were infected with COVID-19 are still experiencing side effects two years later. Tyson Plastow lives in Layton and is a so-called “COVID long hauler.” He got the virus twice in 2020. His lungs were badly scarred, and Plastow now has to use oxygen every night. The most common symptoms are brain fog and heart, lung and sleeping problems. Dr. Jeanette Brown is with the University of Utah’s COVID-19 Long-Hauler Clinic. She said they’re still learning about the long-term implications of the virus as new research comes out. Brown said they are starting to collect demographic data on long-haulers at the clinic, and almost 70% of their patients have been women. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Lee challenger submits signatures for primary ballot spot

U.S. Senate candidate Ally Isom submitted more than 28,000 signatures Monday to secure her spot on Utah’s Republican primary ballot. Her campaign said she’ll continue to collect signatures while those are verified. Isom is challenging incumbent Sen. Mike Lee in a crowded Republican race that includes former state Representative Becky Edwards. Edwards has also submitted signatures for her spot in the primary. Lee will likely land on the primary ballot by winning the nomination at the Utah Republican Party convention. The primary election is June 28. — Emily Means

Aid for European refugees

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is working to help refugees who have been displaced by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. Church officials announced Monday it has given $2 million each to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme. It is estimated the donation to the U.N. will help 40,000 Ukrainian families with items such as blankets, lanterns and shelter. The other contribution is expected to help provide food for 11,000 people for four months. — Ivana Martinez

Region/Nation

New wildfire commission invites applications

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is looking for people to join a federal wildland fire commission. Members of the group will be tasked with making recommendations to Congress on how to prevent and manage wildfires. Romney’s office said the commission is funded by the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was passed last year. The senator introduced the legislation to create the group and study wildfires in the West. Applications are open until March 25, and the commission’s first meeting will be late spring 2022. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Interior expanding wildland firefighter force for coming season

A top Interior Department official stopped in Boise Monday to hear about the upcoming fire season and to tout federal funding for firefighting efforts. Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau said the outlook for this year is similar to the record-breaking 2021 season — very dry with high wildfire risks. He said the agency is working to hire more wildland firefighters and to transition more than 500 seasonal firefighters into permanent positions. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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