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PM News Brief: COVID-19 Vaccine Arrivals, Bridal Veil Falls Lawsuit & Utah’s Hispanic Community

A waterfall streams down a mossy cliff face.
Wikimedia Commons
A developer has dropped his lawsuit against Utah County. Richard Losee wanted to build a drug treatment facility near Bridal Veil Falls, a natural waterfall but the county blocked private development there. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, February 4, 2021

State

Gov. Spencer Cox Expects To See More COVID-19 Vaccines Come To Utah

Gov. Spencer Cox said Thursday Utah received 82,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week. Cox also said Utah could start receiving around 200,000 doses of the vaccine each week in March. He said the state is working with health departments, pharmacies and hospitals to prepare for that increase but there will be some logistical issues. “We are going to embrace that chaos,” Cox said. “We're going to solve that chaos, and we are going to get shots in arms within seven days of receiving that vaccine, and we're going to continue saving lives.” Cox said people over the age of 65 and those with certain health conditions will be able to start getting vaccinated on March 1 but he asked that group not to make appointments yet. Utah health officials reported another 1,237 cases Thursday and the state’s seven day average of new cases is around 1,300. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

35,000 Utahns Continue To Receive Unemployment Insurance

More than 4,500 Utahns filed for new unemployment benefits last week. That’s according to numbers released Thursday by the state’s Department of Workforce Services. Nearly 35,000 people continued to receive benefits during that same time. Both the number of new and continued claims are about four times higher than the weekly averages in 2019. So far, Utah has paid out more than $620 million in traditional benefits since March of last year. — Ross Terrell

Utah Foundation Releases Report On State Of Hispanic Community

The childhood poverty disparity between Hispanic kids and the general population in Utah is higher than any other state in the Mountain West. That’s based on a new report released Thursday by the Utah Foundation. They are a public research group. The report also found Hispanic Utahns tend to be younger than the general population but a third of them do not have a high school diploma. The news isn’t all bad. The foundation’s president said there are bright spots when it comes to economic measures. The report found among Hispanic communities in Mountain West states, people in Utah have the highest median income. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Bridal Veil Falls Developer Drops Lawsuit Against Utah County

A developer has dropped his lawsuit against Utah County. Richard Losee wanted to build a drug treatment facility near Bridal Veil Falls, a natural waterfall but the county blocked private development there. So, Losee sued them. Court records showed that Losee dismissed the lawsuit last week. It was less than a month after filing it in the state's 4th District Court. His attorney Bruce Baird said Losee now intends to support efforts to make Bridal Veil Falls a state monument. — Associated Press

Region/Nation

Weld County, Colorado Residents Talk Of Secession

While talks of secession have reignited in Texas, a similar conversation is happening here in the Mountain West. Residents of Colorado’s Weld County are pushing local officials to secede to its bordering neighbor in the north — Wyoming. Jim King is a political scientist at the University of Wyoming and said the petition illustrates the frustration felt by a lot of rural voters. “The dominance of the greater Denver area and Colorado Springs and the other large cities along the Front Range, makes a lot of the rural communities feel that they simply have no say in the political decisions,” King said. “And that's that type of feeling of disenfranchisement that makes them look to other options.” King says secessions of any kind are very unlikely to happen. For Weld County to join Wyoming, it would need the support of Colorado voters, as well as both states’ legislatures, and then ultimately, Congress. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau