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PM News Brief: Economic Forecast, Ty Jordan Scholarship & Utah Special Election

Ty Jordan_wsu.jpg
Courtesy of Utah Athletics
The University of Utah Athletics Department announced Tuesday it has set up a memorial scholarship to honor a former student athlete Ty Jordan. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, January 5, 2021

State

Utah Governor Addresses How State Handled Coronavirus Pandemic

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox shared his hopes for the future during his inaugural address Monday. But the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic are ongoing. A recent report from The Salt Lake Tribune shows the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, or GOMB, often butted heads with health officials over the pandemic response. Cox said GOMB has less of a role now, but he believes the tension between the health and budget officials was mostly good. Looking ahead, Cox is focused on more testing and the vaccine rollout. His goal is “that every vaccine that is received in the state of Utah will be administered within one week.” Read the full story.Emily Means

Utah’s Economy Will Recover, But How Long Will It Take?

2021 should see improvements in both the pandemic and economy. In a forecast presentation Tuesday, Zions Bank economist Robert Spendlove said the state’s hardest hit industries, such as leisure and travel, will see the strongest recovery. But it is not likely to happen until the pandemic slows down. He also said the economy has changed dramatically over the last year, particularly as people are shopping online more often and jobs have shifted to industries like delivery services and tech. The big question is whether those changes remain and the ongoing economic uncertainty. — Jon Reed

Utah’s COVID-19 Positivity Rate Continues To Rise

Utah’s week-long COVID-19 positivity rate has hit another record high — 32.14%. About one in three people tested for the virus are now positive. A week ago, it was roughly one in four. That comes after a few weeks of declining rates in early and mid-December. Health officials reported 3,318 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. And seven more Utahns have died from the disease. So far, about 1.76 million people in Utah have been tested for the virus. That’s more than half the state’s population. — David Fuchs

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Police To Get Tougher On Violent Crime

The Salt Lake City Police Department is rolling out a new initiative to bring down violent crime — like improving workloads for detectives and increasing communication within the department. Violent crime rates were up 21% last year compared to the year before. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said one part of the new plan is taking the most dangerous offenders into custody each month. “We will seek out those high risk top tier offenders with outstanding warrants, and we will follow through with prosecutions of new crimes, ensuring that they are not left unchecked in our community,” Brown said. The police department’s plan was endorsed by the city’s mayor, the state’s U.S. Attorney, and the Utah commissioner of public safety. — Sonja Hutson

University Of Utah Sets Up Scholarship To Honor Ty Jordan

The University of Utah Athletics Department announced Tuesday it has set up a memorial scholarship to honor a former student athlete. Ty Jordan was a freshman on the Utes football team and passed away in Texas on Christmas Day. Last year, Jordan earned the Pac-12's offensive freshman of the year award. Only football players can apply for the scholarship and the recipient will be chosen based on showing Jordan-like qualities — such as work ethic, positivity and perseverance. Head Coach Kyle Whittingham and his wife have already made the first donation of $100,000. — Ivana Martinez

Special Election For Utah House District 10

The Utah Democratic Party is holding a special election Jan. 16 for House District 10. Rep. Lawanna “Lou” Shurtliff previously held the seat. She died on Dec. 30 at the age of 85 from respiratory failure. Shurtliff had just been reelected to her seat in November. People have until noon on Friday to declare their candidacy with the party. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Environmental Protection Agency Issues New Ruling

The EPA is finalizing a rule to give more weight to studies that include raw data when it makes policy decisions.The agency said that will promote transparency and build trust in science. But the scientific community said it will actually keep health research from being used in the agency, since that research often relies on private patient data. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau