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PM News Brief: Encircle Donations, Zions Bank Diversity & NCAA Subsidies

Lee Hale
Leaders from the Utah Jazz, Apple and the band Imagine Dragons are donating $4 million to Encircle — the Utah-based LGBTQ youth resource center. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, February 25, 2021


Utah’s Colorado River Authority A Step Closer To Reality

A Utah Senate committee approved a bill Thursday to create Utah’s Colorado River Authority. It would be tasked with helping the state renegotiate its share of the river. Originally, the bill allowed broad reasons to close meetings and protect records. It’s since been changed twice to come more into compliance with the state’s open meeting and records laws. Mike O’Brien, an attorney with the Utah Media Coalition, said the amendments to the bill make it better. But he wishes it would follow existing laws. Gene Shawcroft is Utah’s Upper Colorado River Commissioner. He’s argued some conversations need to be private to protect the state’s interests. Read the full story.Lexi Peery, St. George

Vaccine Appointments Opening Up To More People

COVID-19 vaccines in Utah are now open to residents 16 years and older with underlying health conditions. They include things like Sickle cell disease or being immunocompromised. Gov. Spencer Cox said Thursday the state is using the honor system when it comes to appointments and they aren’t going to require a doctor’s note. “But I'm pleading with you, please, please do not jump ahead in line,” Cox said. “We have so many more vaccines coming and they're coming soon. So if you jump ahead in line, that means there is someone else who won't get the vaccine as soon as they could have.” Utah health officials announced another 832 COVID-19 cases Thursday. So far, the state has given out more than 660,000 vaccines. — Ross Terrell

Utah’s Unemployment Claims Continue To Fall

More than 3,500 Utahns filed new unemployment claims last week. That’s according to the state Department of Workforce Services. Nearly 33,000 people continued to receive benefits. State officials said new claims have dropped for the past few weeks. Still, they are about triple the 2019 weekly average. Meanwhile, the number of Utahns who ended their unemployment insurance increased compared to the week before. — Ross Terrell

Jazz Owner, Apple CEO And Imagine Dragons Donating To Encircle

Leaders from the Utah Jazz, Apple and the band Imagine Dragons are donating $4 million to Encircle — the Utah-based LGBTQ youth resource center. Ryan Smith, the new owner of the Jazz, made the announcement on Good Morning America Thursday. He was joined by Apple’s CEO and Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds. The money will go toward the non-profit’s expansion goals. Encircle announced their fourth location in Utah last fall. They’re hoping to raise $8 million to build more centers across the West. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Utah’s Universities And Colleges Subsidizing Their NCAA Programs

Utah’s public universities and colleges spent nearly $88 million last fiscal year to subsidize their NCAA programs. That’s money used from outside the athletics program to cover any revenue shortfalls. That’s based on a report released Thursday from the state auditor’s office. The funds include things like certain student fees and state support. Four of Utah’s colleges or universities subsidized more than 80% of their athletic programs. The University of Utah covered a tad more than 13%. Since 2012, Utah State University has spent the most money every year to subsidize its athletics. — Ross Terrell

Zions Bank Looking To Diversify Its Supply Chain

Zions Bank said it wants to bring more diverse businesses into its supply chain. The bank is encouraging business owners who identify as part of underrepresented groups to apply to its supplier diversity program. That includes minorities, women, veterans and the LGBTQ+ community. The program is specifically for businesses who can supply the bank with services and products — things like catering and paper products. The bank said the initiative will help better represent the local community. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Provo Canyon School Owner Receives Federal Grant

Universal Health Services has been awarded more than $143,000 in federal funding to offer tele-health services to rural Utah. The company received the grant despite allegations of widespread abuse at Provo Canyon School, which is one of several youth treatment facilities it owns in the state. Read the full story.David Fuchs

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