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PM Brief: Kennecott Mine union agreement, General Conference in-person & U nursing school

Photo of the conference center building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Brian Albers
The conference center building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Southern Utah

Angels Landing launches pilot permit system

A permit is now required to hike Angels Landing at Zion National Park. During busy days last year, park officials said people had to wait multiple hours to make the trek up. The new system is meant to change that. This hike has been on Abbie Crowell’s bucket list for years. The Ohio resident wasn’t too excited about the permits because she had to apply months in advance, but she thought it was a good idea after hiking it since it wasn’t crowded. Flavio Bonilla of New Jersey said the new system made him feel safer. Park officials emphasized it’s a pilot program and may require some tweaks, but by the afternoon, they said day one was going smoothly. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Northern Utah

General Conference returns in person for first time in two years

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will hold its General Conference in person on April 2-3. It’s the first time the gathering has been in person since the start of the pandemic. But due to construction and parking concerns around Temple Square, attendance will be limited to 10,000 people per session. Church officials are encouraging people to use public transit to attend the conference. They are partnering with the Utah Transit Authority to provide free use for attendees. As for COVID-19 precautions, officials also say face masks are optional for the event. — Ross Terrell 

University of Utah expanding nursing school enrollment

The University of Utah’s nursing school announced Friday that it will begin to accept more students in an effort to address an increasingly urgent shortage of health care workers. University officials said there are more than 2,500 unfilled registered nursing positions in the state. The expansion will open 36 new seats, increasing annual enrollment from 144 to 180. It will cost more than $400,000 per year. The U will also hire additional faculty and staff. The university said the increase will hardly put a dent in the nursing shortage, but they’re doing what they can to respond to the need. — Jon Reed

Kennecott Mine union members reach new CBA

Rio Tinto Kennecott mine representatives and union leaders have reached a new collective bargaining agreement. Union members voted in favor of the five-year agreement Thursday, and it went into effect Friday. It covers 1,300 employees at the copper mine southwest of Salt Lake City and is the product of seven weeks of negotiations. Mine officials said the agreement will give workers enhanced benefits, competitive wages and career growth opportunities. — Caroline Ballard


Recreational cannabis goes on sale in New Mexico

As of April 1, adults in New Mexico can buy up to 2 ounces of recreational marijuana. It's the latest Mountain West state to take the step of non-medicinal legalization. Many New Mexicans were lined up and ready to buy at some of the state’s roughly 250 licensed retailers. The governor expects the industry to generate over $300 million in sales in the first year. That could cut into sales in Colorado if New Mexicans and Texans buy closer to home. Throughout the Mountain West, most states now have legal medical and recreational cannabis. Only medical cannabis is legal in Utah and neither is legal in Idaho and Wyoming. — Emma Gibson, Mountain West News Bureau 

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