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AM News Brief: Moab Sales Tax, Canceled St. George Events & Lower Rates For Selling Solar To Grid

Two tourists window shop on Main Street in Moab.
discopalace via Creative Commons
The City of Moab will have some extra cash in its coffers thanks to a new sales tax approved by 57% of voters. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, November 5, 2020

State

Some Healthcare Changes May Be Here To Stay

The healthcare industry has faced a number of challenges adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced hospitals, testing labs, insurance companies and public health departments to make large-scale changes. Some of those have made treating patients cheaper and more efficient, such as expanded telehealth services and more collaboration between healthcare providers. Those changes are likely to stay even after the pandemic. Others, like the strategies and treatments that were rapidly developed to treat the coronavirus, may help provide a similar pathway in the future to faster innovations for other diseases. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Lower Rate Approved For Selling Solar Back To Grid

Utahns installing rooftop solar next year will get less money back for the power they generate and send to the grid. The state Public Service Commission approved the new rate last week — lowering the current price of around 9 cents per unit of energy to under 6 cents. Rocky Mountain Power had originally requested to lower the rate even further, arguing it can buy power for cheaper on the market. Solar advocates said the reduced rate will hurt the growing industry by making it harder for people to pay off their solar panels. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Four More Years For U’s Whittingham

University of Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham signed a four-year contract extension through the 2027 season on Wednesday. The reigning Pac-12 coach of the year kicks off his 16th season on Saturday when the Utes host Arizona. The Utes are looking to win a third straight Pac-12 South title. Whittingham has a 131-64 record, going 11-3 in bowl games. — Diane Maggipinto

Southern Utah

New Moab Sales Tax Approved

The City of Moab will have some extra cash in its coffers thanks to a new sales tax approved by 57% of voters. It’s a 0.1% sales tax on everything but groceries, and it’s meant to help fund recreation, arts and parks projects. The city council supported the measure, since it will primarily impact tourists. The tax will bring in roughly $300,000 a year, according to Moab’s city manager, and residents will pay around a quarter of that. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

St. George Cancels Events Due To COVID-19

The City of St. George has called off several events that were slated for later this month because of a rise in local hospitalizations related to COVID-19. Events such as the Snow Canyon half marathon and Turkey trot would have brought large numbers of people to the community, according to a statement from the city. The cancelations come as the Southwest corner of the state experiences a surge in cases and hospitalizations — including the highest single day case total Wednesday. There are currently 30 southwest Utah residents hospitalized with COVID-19. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/World

Some Latter-day Saint Missionaries Return To Foreign Assignments

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has started sending “a very limited number” of missionaries to foreign countries. This comes after around 30,000 returned home in the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many have since been reassigned within their home countries. The Church said sending missionaries abroad again is a “deliberate” and “cautious” process. Going to foreign countries will depend on local health orders and air travel restrictions, and leaders said missionaries will be quarantined upon their arrival. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Six Native People To Serve In Congress

A record 14 Indigenous people from both parties ran for seats in U.S.Congress this year. Two newcomers won, bringing the total number of Native people serving in Congress from four to six in the upcoming session. The group will include two Congresswomen from the Mountain West. Progressive Democrat Deb Haaland won re-election in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. She’s a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo. Conservative Republican and Trump ally Yvette Herrell of the Cherokee Nation unseated an incumbent in the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Four other Native candidates vied for congressional seats in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, but weren’t successful. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau