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PM News Brief: Hideout Annexations, Orem COVID-19 Case Rate & Mt. Timpanogos Closures

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Don LaVange
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has closed the Timpanogos Wildlife Management Area to recreation after the Range Fire burned through earlier this month. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, October 28, 2020


10 COVID-19 Deaths Reported

Utah health officials announced another 1,575 COVID-19 cases Wednesday. The state’s rolling seven day average of new cases is just slightly lower at 1,549. Officials also reported 10 more people have died from the disease. Eight of them were older than 65. — Ross Terrell

Gail Miller Selling Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz are being sold to Ryan Smith, co-founder of Utah based software firm Qualtrics. Gail Miller, whose family has owned the team for 35 years, announced Wednesday that after much soul searching, it was time to move on. But she expressed gratitude to her late husband, Larry Miller. She became emotional as she thanked him and all the staff and people they’d encountered along the way. The terms of the sale were not disclosed, though in February, Forbes valued the Jazz at $1.55 billion. The transaction still needs approval from the NBA’s board of governors. Read the full story.Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Salt Lake County Adds Polling Location For This Year’s Election

Salt Lake County has added 17 more Election Day polling locations since 2016 to accommodate its increase in registered voters and make social distancing easier. Despite these precautions, Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen is still worried there could be big crowds on Nov. 3 because she’s seen a lot of people come in person to vote early. Election officials are urging people to use mail-in ballots instead to avoid putting voters and poll workers at more risk of contracting COVID-19. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Hideout Pushing To Get Annexation On Next Year’s Ballot

Hideout residents are working to put a controversial annexation decision to voters through a referendum. It’s being sponsored by 10 people including current and former councilmembers. The town council voted almost two weeks ago to annex 350 acres of land from Summit County without their permission. That move was allowed by a short-lived law that the Utah Legislature undid in August, but the repeal didn’t go into effect until after the council voted to approve the annexation. In a statement, the Hideout Town Council said they look forward to residents weighing in on the annexation. The town administrator said the referendum needs around 100 signatures to get on next year’s ballot, but the exact number hasn’t been determined yet. — Emily Means

Orem Leads Utah In COVID-19 Per Capita Case Rate

Orem’s COVID-19 case rate per capita is now higher than anywhere else in the state, according to data from the Utah Department of Health. That ranking used to belong to the Utah section of the Navajo Nation, which was hit hard by the virus this spring. Utah County, as a whole, saw a large surge in cases earlier this fall when universities reopened with in person class. However, the case rate there has since fallen, but it’s still higher than public health officials would like, said Ralph Clegg, executive director of the Utah County Health Department. — David Fuchs

Mt. Timpanogos Wildlife Areas Closed Due To Range Fire

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has closed the Timpanogos Wildlife Management Area to recreation after the Range Fire burned through earlier this month. DWR officials said the closure will allow them to reseed to prevent invasive species like cheatgrass from taking hold. Activities like hiking and mountain biking can disturb seeding efforts and can be unsafe in a fire-scorched landscape because of the possibility of landslides and erosion. The closures affect portions of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and the Great Western Trail. Officials said they will reevaluate whether to open the area in April. The fire started Oct. 17 by target shooting, and burned nearly 3,500 acres. About 2,000 of those acres were in the wildlife management area. — Caroline Ballard


Trump Continues To Rally Despite COVID-19 Restrictions

President Donald Trump is finding ways to continue reaching voters in our region through rallies, even as COVID-19 cases climb and state restrictions limit crowds. Wednesday, Trump sidestepped Nevada restrictions by stumping in Arizona — right across the border — and acknowledging Nevadans in attendance. Public health experts insist crowd restrictions and masks are needed to prevent the spread of infections. — Beau Baker, Mountain West News Bureau

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