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PM News Brief: International Student Visas, Water Conservation & Dixie State Homecoming

A photo of a sign at Dixie State University.
David Sanborn
/
Flickr
Dixie State University has postponed homecoming events planned for this weekend after several members of the football team tested positive for COVID-19. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, October 22, 2020

State

Utah Sets A New COVID-19 Case Record, Announces Tighter Restrictions

The Utah Department of Health reported a record-breaking 1,543 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, which is 42 more than the previous high set two weeks ago. The numbers have health officials worried about how a surge in cases will impact the state’s health care system, especially as cold and flu season and holiday gatherings approach. After the state announced a new way to track transmission rates last week, 21 counties are now in the high transmission level for COVID-19, and masks are required there. Read the full story.Emily Means

Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Total That Of Previous Eight Years

New, traditional unemployment claims in Utah remained steady over the past week as about 2,500 people filed for benefits. That’s according to the latest data released Thursday by the state’s Department of Workforce Services. Although that’s down significantly from a few months ago, officials said it’s still been an overwhelming demand. In fact, almost the same number of people have filed for benefits since the start of the pandemic as did in the past five years combined. Officials also said the division has nearly paid out more benefits this year, than in the previous eight years combined. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

The University of Utah Admits Fault In Lauren McCluskey Case, Announces Settlement

Two years after the death of University of Utah student-athlete Lauren McCluskey, university officials on Thursday announced a settlement with the track star’s parents, Jill and Matt, who had filed two lawsuits against the university for its failure to protect her. McCluskey’s parents will receive $10.5 million dollars from the university’s insurance, plus an additional $3 million donation, both of which they said will go to the charitable foundation created in their daughter’s name, the Lauren McCluskey Foundation. Read the full story.Jon Reed

Westminster College Weighs In On Fixed Period Rule For Foreign Students

Salt Lake City’s Westminster College is asking the federal government to ditch a proposed rule that would limit how long international students could stay in the country. Right now, people operating on F, I or J visas can stay in the U.S. for the “duration of their studies.” However, the Department of Homeland Security said that makes it difficult to track students. Instead, it wants to implement a fixed time period for visas. In comments submitted to the department Wednesday, Westminster said the new rule could turn off prospective students and make higher education in the country less competitive internationally it also said it could harm the university’s commitment to diversity. The college says it currently has 76 international students on visas from over 30 countries. — Ross Terrell

Water Conservation Could Reduce Need For Massive Water Projects

A new study from the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council shows that if northern Utah residents decreased their daily water consumption, major water conservation projects could be postponed for decades. Previous reports showed that water levels in the Great Salt Lake could drop up to 11 feet in coming years because of demand in surrounding communities. But, if people could use 50 fewer gallons of water per day, the study said the region might not need large-scale projects, like the Bear River Development Project, until 2065 or later. To reach that goal, the study recommends residents replace toilets and washing machines with more efficient models, watering lawns less and embracing landscaping that needs less water. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Dixie State University Postpones Homecoming Events

Dixie State University has postponed homecoming events planned for this weekend after several members of the football team tested positive for COVID-19. The school released a statement Thursday saying the tailgate and football scrimmage are called off, as well as a planned groundbreaking for new stands at the Greater Zion Stadium. The team’s season is already postponed until spring and all practices and events are on hold for the next two weeks. As of Wednesday, there were 28 active confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Region

Outdoor Recreation Industry Seeking Federal Aid

Even as more people head outside in the midst of the pandemic, the outdoor recreation industry said it needs federal aid to stay afloat. The industry is seeking passage of the RESTART Act, which would make trade associations eligible for federal money in the future. That’s if and when Congress passes another round of relief. According to the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, a national coalition of trade groups, without help, the disruptions caused by COVID-19 could do serious damage to a big economic driver for many of the Mountain West states. — Beau Baker, Mountain West News Bureau