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PM News Brief: Sundance Tickets, Navajo Nation Checks & Second Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine

A photo of the Egyptian theater.
Jon Reed
/
KUER
Tickets for the Sundance Film Festival went on sale Thursday. This year the festival has gone virtual due to COVID-19. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, January 7, 2021

State

Second Highest Single Day COVID-19 Case Total

Utah recorded its second highest, single day total for new COVID-19 cases Thursday as health officials announced 4,597 cases. Officials also reported 29 deaths but they said 17 of those occurred before Dec. 20. There are also 537 people currently hospitalized with the disease. In vaccine news, Utah hospitals have already begun administering the second dose and 967 have received it so far. — Ross Terrell

Utah’s Weekly Unemployment Numbers Rise

New unemployment claims in Utah increased last week as 5,588 people filed for benefits during the last week of December. That’s an increase of more than 1,300 compared to the week before. More than 27,000 people continued to receive benefits during that same period. Officials at the Utah Department of Workforce Services said the increase is because federal unemployment benefits are being extended. Those programs include 11 weeks of pay for people who wouldn’t be eligible for state unemployment and an extra $300 per week. DWS officials said they expect higher numbers of claims in the next few weeks. — Caroline Ballard

Sundance Tickets Go On Sale

Tickets for the Sundance Film Festival went on sale Thursday. This year the festival has gone virtual due to COVID-19. Now, people across the country can stream films from home. Passes start at $15 and viewers can choose from single film tickets or buying a full festival pass. For high school teachers in Utah, they will be able to screen a film for their students. And 18 to 25-year-olds in the state can get free or discounted tickets. — Ivana Martinez

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Unveils New Resources For Homeless People

A second emergency homeless shelter opened in Salt Lake County this week. The Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness opened the winter overflow shelter at the Airport Inn on the west side of Salt Lake City. Jean Hill, the executive director of the coalition, said it’s the only facility in Salt Lake County that lets couples without children stay together. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said the city is also launching an online dashboard that she hopes will make people more aware of what homeless services are available. Read the full story.Emily Means

Developer Sues Utah County Over Bridal Veil Falls Decision

Richard Losee has filed a lawsuit against Utah County. He’s a developer who wanted to build a rehab lodge near Bridal Veil Falls. But the county commission voted last month to permanently conserve that land. Losee alleges commissioners didn’t follow proper legal channels. Former commissioner Nathan Ivie led the county’s effort to protect the land. “It feels like somebody who wanted something, didn’t get what they wanted and now they’re thrashing out and fighting back,” Ivie said. The Utah County Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the lawsuit. Read the full story. David Fuchs

Region/Nation

Where Was The National Guard During The Pro-Trump Mobs In Washington D.C.?

There are a lot of questions about why the pro-Trump mob was able to breach the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday — including where was the National Guard? Trump called for troops this summer to protect the Capitol from what turned out to be largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. That included at least 600 troops from the Mountain West region. But Wednesday morning, none were reportedly at the building, even with evidence of planned violence on social media. Hundreds of the guardsmen were mobilized that night, but only after rioters got inside. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Navajo Nation Begins Distributing Checks To Tribal Members

The Navajo Nation will begin sending out COVID-19 relief payments to its members on Jan. 18. The money comes from the nation’s federal CARES Act allotment. It will go to members who applied. Checks were supposed to go out in December, but processing issues delayed the payments. The tribe will send out around $324 million to over 225,000 applicants. Adults will receive up to $1,300, with an additional $400 per child. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff