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AM News Brief: Bridal Veil Falls Saved, Utah’s Homeless Population & Church Services

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Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New York could not limit the capacity of places of worship even to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, December 10, 2020

State

Utah Lacking In Early Childhood Mental Health Services

Utah has some of the highest rates of child and adolescent mental health disorders in the country, as well as some of the highest rates of kids who go untreated. It also has limited access to care, according to a report released Wednesday. It’s a big deal, the report said, because kids with untreated mental health issues are less likely to graduate high school or attend college. They’re also more likely to become homeless or enter the criminal justice system. Read the full story.Jon Reed

Utah Has Nation’s 15th-Smallest Homeless Population

Utah had the 15th-smallest homeless population in the country last year according to a new report from the home improvement website Porch. An analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development showed 2,798 people experienced homelessness in Utah last year. And for every 100,000 residents, there were 87 who were unsheltered. The report also found about 18% of the state’s homeless population are chronically without housing. — Caroline Ballard

Tax Incentives A Commonly Used Tool In Utah

Local governments in Utah are twice as likely to use tax incentives to fund economic development compared to other municipalities around the country according to a new report from the non-profit group Utah Foundation. The incentives, also known as ‘tax increment financing’, are used to encourage growth by making building costs more affordable for developers. And while Utah governments are more likely to use these incentives, the report found they could also be more transparent about their spending. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Bridal Veil Falls Being Placed Under A Conservation Easement

In a unanimous vote Wednesday night, the Utah County Commission voted to place the popular Bridal Veil Falls under a conservation easement. The decision ensures no private development will take place there in the future. It followed roughly four hours of public comments, nearly all of which were in support of conserving the popular Utah County site. Tensions in the county had been running high for weeks in response to a private developer’s proposal to build a private rehab facility and tramway on the site. The county first purchased land surrounding the falls in 2015. — David Fuchs

Region/Nation

States Starting To Allow More In Person Church Gatherings

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New York could not limit the capacity of places of worship even to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado have similar restrictions in place. But Colorado has since eased up on its restrictions following the ruling and is now just recommending capacity restrictions. — Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau