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AM News Brief: Native Vaccine Strategy, Earthquake Assistance & The Comeback Fish

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David Starr Jordan
Public Domain
A small fish native to Utah has been moved from the endangered species list to "threatened" as of December 31, 2020. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, January 5, 2021


June Sucker Makes Comeback

A small fish native to Utah has been moved from the endangered species list to "threatened" as of December 31, 2020. The June sucker lives only in Utah Lake and seasonally occupies its tributaries, including the lower Provo River. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service announced the “downlisting” following efforts going back to 2002 by Utah's June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program. The June sucker was put on the endangered species list in 1986, after their numbers had dropped to around 300 spawning fish. — Bob Nelson

Northern Utah

Federal Assistance Available For Earthquake Repairs

Salt Lake County is now eligible to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency for infrastructure repair and clean up following the earthquake and aftershocks last March and April. In a joint statement, Utah Division of Emergency Management and FEMA said the federal agency will cover no less than 75% of costs related to repairs of county facilities — with the state and Salt Lake County sharing the balance. According to the statement, funds may be used for repair or rebuilding of public facilities such as roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, equipment, public utilities, parks and recreational facilities. — Bob Nelson

Film Festival Organizers Hope For “Inclusive” Experience

Rather than slogging through the snow this year, attendees of the Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals are going to be able participate from the comfort of their homes. This year, each will take place almost entirely online, with viewers able to stream films over their computers or directly to their TVs. Organizers of both festivals, however, say the new formats will allow for a more inclusive experience, allowing people to attend that might not otherwise be able to. Read the full story. — Jone Reed

Southern Utah

Utah Navajo Elders Receive Vaccine

Clinics on the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation are vaccinating anyone over the age of 75 this week, after receiving extra doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Around 150 people received the first dose Monday in Montezuma Creek, according to a spokesman for the Utah Navajo Health System. Barbara Whitehorse was there with her 83-year-old husband. “We’re kind of feeling safe now because we got the shots. And I don’t feel nervous anymore for my husband,” she said. The Health System has around 250 shots left to give to elders on the Navajo Nation, where the death rate due to COVID-19 is over five times higher than the rest of Utah. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff


Reaching Native Communities With Vaccine Information

Indigenous communities across the Mountain West have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. And while many Native people are eager to be vaccinated, tribal health officials said some are hesitant. In Wyoming, the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s medical clinic has launched a social media campaign to dispel vaccine misinformation. Other tribes, including the Navajo Nation, have tried to instill trust by having council members get the shot on camera. In Montana, the Blackfeet Nation is using the Blackfeet language to share information about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

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