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AM Brief: Prescribed burns, Moab clinic moves & inflation highest in the Mountain West

A pile of logs burn in a snowy field with forest in the background.
U.S. Forest Service
Prescribed Burns were conducted on the Abajo Mountains, in the Monticello Ranger District, at the Blue Mountain Ranch and Brushy Basin Projects in 2021. The Forest Service will now take advantage of the favorable weather conditions throughout April and into early June to conduct prescribed burns in the Moab and Monticello Ranger Districts.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Northern Utah

Salt Lake County approves $32 million in community investments

Salt Lake County will invest more than $32 million in affordable housing, water conservation and workforce development. The county council approved the funding this week through the American Rescue Plan Act. Officials said $20 million is earmarked for much-needed affordable housing. That money will fund the construction and preservation of 1,200 housing units. Around $10 million will go to workforce development, including a five-year pilot program to help up to 2,000 students complete programs that will lead to higher-paying jobs. The remaining funds are dedicated to water conservation, including developing plans for water use in cities and unincorporated areas. — Leah Treidler

Southern Utah

Moab health clinic plans one-stop-shop for community health

A key health clinic in Moab is moving, and it plans to create a one-stop-shop for health and social services in the area. KZMU reported the Moab Free Health Clinic serves roughly 10% of Grand County residents, many of whom are uninsured or underinsured. But the executive director said they don’t have enough space to properly serve the community and need to expand. With Utah State University moving to a new Moab campus across town, the clinic has purchased their old campus. Now, it’s planning to bring in other organizations that can help with social services like food stamps. — Justin Higginbottom, KZMU

Forest managers plan prescribed burns in Moab and Monticello

Manti-La Sal National Forest officials will begin igniting prescribed burns in the next few weeks in the Moab and Monticello Ranger Districts. Forest managers are planning to take advantage of the favorable weather conditions throughout April and into early June. The public can expect to see smoke in these areas, but it will reportedly have only short-term impacts on air quality. The Forest Service said prescribed burns reduce hazardous fuels, which lowers the threat of severe wildfires. It also said they decrease the risk of insect and disease outbreaks and improve wildlife habitat. — Leah Treidler

State

Police reform bills signed

Utah police reform advocates and law enforcement officials are celebrating the passage of more legislation that seeks to cut down on misconduct. SB 126 requires law enforcement officers to intervene when they see police misconduct occurring — if they’re able to do it safely. Lawmakers also passed HB 124, which restricts no-knock warrants. “I think that we made more progress this year, in part because tensions have calmed,” said Ken Wallentine, West Jordan Police Chief and president of the Utah Chiefs of Police Association. “I also think we made progress this year because many folks said, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute. We need to get to the table and we need to have more participants in the discussion.’” Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

Region/Nation

Prices surge in Mountain West

Federal data released Tuesday showed a sharp rise in consumer prices. The Mountain West saw the largest spike with prices climbing 10.5% over the last year — two points higher than the national average. Economist Richard Wobbekind, who teaches at University of Colorado Boulder, said housing is one component of that. Wobbekind expects inflation rates to slow down in the coming months, but he said it will take longer for housing prices to follow suit. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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