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AM News Brief: Hot Housing Market, Davis County Connects Inmates & Moab Reacts To Dead ATV Bill

Photo of houses in Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
During the last quarter of 2020, Utah had the strongest housing market in the country according to a report from the personal finance company Bankrate.com. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, March 4, 2021

State

Senate Approves Homeless Council

The Utah Senate passed a bill Wednesday to change the way the state deals with homelessness. It would create a statewide homeless council and services officer. Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, said Utah’s philanthropic community who donate annually to homeless services has been concerned about disorganization among service providers.“They’ve become frustrated,” Anderegg said. “Why continue to put tens of millions of dollars each year into this just to have the kind of squabbling and lack of coordination?” Legislative leaders also announced a partnership with major donors. Together, they’re investing $730 million in addressing homelessness and affordable housing issues. The House now needs to approve amendments to the bill before it goes to the governor’s desk. — Emily Means

Utah Housing Market Leads The Nation

During the last quarter of 2020, Utah had the strongest housing market in the country according to a report from the personal finance company Bankrate.com. It found home values in Utah increased by 15% throughout the year. The report found that factors like a low unemployment rate and the cost of living gave the state the top spot. Montana and Idaho also finished in the top 5. Researchers said a large part of the growth is due to Californians moving to Utah and leaving one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. — Ross Terrell

Workforce Services Hosts Online Job Fair

More than 100 Utah employers with more than 3,000 open positions statewide will be part of an online job fair event Thursday hosted by the Utah Department of Workforce Services. The department said there are openings in health care, construction, transportation, retail, manufacturing and other smaller industries. The statewide event runs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To participate, job seekers should pre-register at jobs.utah.gov. — Bob Nelson

Northern Utah

Davis County Connects Inmates

Starting this week, the Davis County Sheriff's Office is making tablets available for everyone in custody there. The devices are preloaded with a variety of educational, entertainment and communication features, according to department officials. Sheriff Kelly V. Sparks said the tablets offer persons who are incarcerated better opportunities to stay informed and connected. He said it's a self-funded program with money from subscription and purchase fees paying all the costs. No tax-payer funds will be used to establish or maintain the program. Sparks said the tablets will provide a positive outlet for those at the facility, and give more the communication opportunities with friends and family. — Bob Nelson

Southern Utah

Moab Reacts To Dead ATV Regulations

The Utah Legislature killed an effort to regulate all-terrain vehicles in Moab last week. The bill would have placed a curfew on ATVs in resort communities from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. It was a small step to address the growing issue of noise from off-road vehicles in Moab, according to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, but he said ATV advocacy groups lobbied hard to block it. Ben Burr is the policy director for one of those groups. He said his group fought the curfew because Grand County has cracked down on ATV events and businesses. In the meantime, the county is looking at implementing a local noise ordinance. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

Survey To Look At Pandemic And Backcountry Use

Researchers from University of Nevada and Montana State University are launching a survey to quantify the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on backcountry use. They’re releasing the survey amid a jump in avalanche deaths and a dangerous snowpack across the West. They said knowing who exactly is entering the backcountry now is critical in creating messaging that will save lives in the future. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau