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PM Brief: Utah’s third case of avian flu & ‘forever chemicals’ in ski wax

Skiers at Deer Valley, Pa Utah, March 9, 2021
Brian Albers
/
KUER

Friday, April 29, 2022

State

Flags to half-staff for Hatch

Gov. Spencer Cox has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on May 4 in memory of former Sen. Orrin Hatch, who died last Saturday at the age of 88. Hatch will also lie in state at the Utah Capitol building on the same day. — Caroline Ballard

Housing costs tax seniors relying on Social Security

As Utah’s older population surges, so does the demand for low-income housing, but even that can be too expensive for seniors who depend on Social Security. Tara Rollins, the executive director of the Utah Housing Coalition, said the process to find affordable housing can be long and arduous. She said it stems from an extreme lack of low-income units — a problem she said lawmakers have failed to fix. Rollins said there are solutions, like developing more affordable housing units and funding short-term relief programs. But that requires action from the legislature. Read the full story. — Leah Treidler

Northern Utah

Another avian flu case

A third case of avian flu in Utah has been confirmed in Cache County. The infected bird was reported at Zootah in Logan. The facility was closed and quarantined as soon as Utah Department of Agriculture and Food officials confirmed the case. The affected birds, some of which are endangered, are considered captive wildlife and not poultry. Officials are working on a response plan with the zoo to try to avoid the culling of the animals. The previous cases found in the state were on a farm in Cache County and in a backyard flock in Utah County. — Caroline Ballard

Regional

Human avian flu case scare in Colorado

A Colorado man who was culling poultry as part of a prison pre-release work program has tested positive for avian flu. It’s the first-known human case in the U.S. When they tested him a second time though, he was negative for the virus. Officials say a piece of the virus may have gotten in his nose and was picked up by the first test. Officials say infections with avian flu are rare and there is a low risk of person-to-person spread. — Adam Rayes, Mountain West News Bureau

Turning away from ‘forever chemicals’ in ski wax

A partnership between a Colorado wax company and college students has resulted in a takeback program for waxes that contain PFAS chemicals. Those fluorinated chemicals can then get into the environment and even our bodies, possibly causing health issues. Racing organizations and many companies are moving away from the products, but a lot of people still have them on hand. Peter Arlein, of mountainFLOW eco-wax, said “there’s so much of this toxic wax on people’s wax benches, on retail shelves, that it really needs a concerted effort to make sure that it doesn’t end up in the snowpack.” The ski wax takeback program runs through the month of May. People can either drop their waxes off in person at a few Colorado retailers or mail them into an office in Carbondale, Colorado. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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