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AM News Brief: College Enrollment, Ski Employee Visas & Torrey Post Won't Be Fully Open For Election

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Ben P L
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Wikimedia Commons
According to the Utah System of Higher Education, colleges saw a slight decrease of less than a percent from last year — about 190,000 students total. Salt Lake Community College saw the biggest drop, over 7%. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, October 8, 2020

State

“If Our Leaders Can’t Get Along …”

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris sparred over a range of domestic and international topics Wednesday night at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, including climate change, wildfires, and civility. The final question came from an eighth-grader from Springville, Utah: “If our leaders can’t get along, how are the citizens supposed to get along?” Several hundred people protested outside the debate area, and while the gathering was largely calm, one person was arrested. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Voters React To Debates

The University of Utah hosted the vice presidential debate Wednesday night. Some Utah voters watched because it took place in the Beehive State, while others tuned in to reaffirm their positions on candidates. Voters who joined KUER after the debate had already decided how they would vote, and Pence and Harris' performances didn't change their minds. Read the full story. — Emily Means

College Pandemic Enrollment

Enrollment at Utah colleges has remained relatively steady despite disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Utah System of Higher Education, colleges saw a slight decrease of less than a percent from last year — about 190,000 students total. Salt Lake Community College saw the biggest drop, over 7%. But some universities saw an increase: enrollment went up at Southern Utah University by 12% and by 11% at Dixie State University. The University of Utah said it admitted its largest and most diverse freshman class in history — with nearly 4,500 students, a 5.5% increase from last year. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Guilty Plea In Death of Mackenzie Lueck

The man accused of killing Mackenzie Lueck, a part-time student at the University of Utah, has pleaded guilty to strangling her. Ayoola Ajayi entered the plea Wednesday, more than a year after Lueck disappeared. Her body was eventually found in Logan Canyon, after investigators discovered some of her charred remains in Ajayi's backyard in the Fairpark neighborhood in Salt Lake. According to a press release from the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office, the plea agreement includes life in prison without the possibility of parole. — Diane Maggipinto

Southern Utah

Torrey Post Office Hamstrung For Election

The post office in Torrey, Utah, closed in January because of a lapsed contract with the United States Post Office. Now, leaders of the town at the doorstep of Capitol Reef National Park have secured a loan to establish a new one. But because of the construction timeline, the new facility won't be fully operating in time for the General Election on Nov. 3. The St. George Spectrum reported that the nearest polling and ballot drop off location is 17 miles away in Loa. — Associated Press/Diane Maggipinto

Region

Judge Blocks Order Banning Visas Used By Ski Industry

A temporary ban on certain visas this year has impacted the ski industry’s ability to hire foreign workers, but that order was blocked last week by a federal District Court in California. The Trump Administration barred exchange and seasonal visas back in June, saying the order would help domestic workers in the economic recovery. Many ski resorts have representation through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the groups behind the lawsuit. The National Ski Areas Association said ski resorts, especially rural ones, depend on foreign workers to fill positions. — Beau Baker, Mountain West News Bureau