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PM News Brief: Renewable Energy Jobs, Utah Republican Party & Dogs Chasing Wildlife

A photo of two dogs overlooking a city.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
If you take your dog out to a park or trail in Utah, state officials have a message for you — don’t let your pet chase wildlife. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, March 16, 2021

State

Derek Brown Will Not Seek Another Term As Utah’s Republican Party Chair

The chair of Utah’s Republican Party announced Tuesday he won’t seek re-election. Derek Brown’s first and only two-year term is coming to an end later this spring. He said in an email to supporters he needs to dedicate more time to his family. He also wrote that he’s proud of all the party has accomplished over the past two years. Those achievements include getting the state GOP out of debt and winning back the 4th Congressional District. The next party chair will be elected by party delegates at the next state convention. — Sonja Hutson

Don’t Let Your Dogs Chase Wildlife

If you take your dog out to a park or trail in Utah, state officials have a message for you — don’t let your pet chase wildlife. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said more people are going outdoors during the pandemic, especially with the springlike weather. Wild animals like deer are often very weak in early spring. They come to lower elevations to find water and food and need to reserve their energy for survival rather than running away from dogs for sport. Other animals like moose are aggressive toward canines. It’s also illegal to let pets chase wildlife. In campsites, dogs must be kept on a leash that’s six feet or shorter. Even in off-leash areas, dogs must be under control. — Roddy Nikpour

Utah’s Week Long Average Of COVID-19 Cases Dips Below 500

For the first time since mid-September, Utah’s week long average of new COVID-19 cases has fallen below 500. It’s now 492. Health officials reported 481 new cases Tuesday. They also said five more people have died from the virus. The number of current hospitalizations has plateaued recently. There are currently 171 people in the hospital due to COVID-19. That’s about a 9% drop compared to this time last week. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Utah Leaders Launch Campaign Aimed At Preventing Latino Suicide

Utah leaders are launching a new campaign on suicide prevention for the Latino community, which faces higher rates of suicide and depression than their white counterparts. Increasing awareness around mental health care and suicide prevention has been a major focus for state leaders in recent years, as Utah has consistently had one of the highest rates of suicide in the country. But many efforts have not taken cultural differences into account, said Javier Alegre, executive director of Latino Behavioral Health Services. The campaign will center around a website in Spanish featuring mental health resources and personal stories of survival and hope, along with billboards and spots on Spanish radio stations. Read the full story.Jon Reed

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Utah Crisis Line at 801-587-3000 or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.

Salt Lake County Unveils Dashboard About ICE Detainees

Salt Lake County has launched an online dashboard about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees in the county jail. The new tool has booking and release information as well as data about alleged criminal offenses. It also explains how the process of ICE issuing a detainer on an inmate works. County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said there’s been a lot of interest in the relationship between the jail and federal immigration officials. A state-wide citizens advisory board praised the launch saying this level of transparency is monumental. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

Renewable Jobs Down While Renewable Energy Production Rises

By the end of last year there were 12% fewer renewable energy workers getting a paycheck than pre-pandemic. At the same time, wind and solar saw record production and record levels of new capacity come online. What gives? Some suspect it’s because of efficiencies: fewer people are needed to make the same energy. But the American Council on Renewable Energy counters that there will be more jobs needed to support renewables in the future, like battery storage jobs and jobs upgrading our nation’s aging energy infrastructure. Either way, if renewable energy can’t replace jobs we’re losing in fossil fuels, that won’t win renewable advocates many friends in western states. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Regional Tribes Optimistic About Colorado River Negotiations

Newly confirmed Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will oversee years of negotiations on how to manage the Colorado River as climate change continues to threaten the western watershed. Haaland is the first Native American to hold the position. Twenty-nine tribes are in the watershed, and are asking for a seat at the negotiating table during the talks. Leaders said they need to see results. President Joe Biden’s administration has committed to more fully engaging with tribes during the process, but has yet to lay out exactly how that will occur. A newly formed Tribal Leaders Forum aims to give tribes the ability to speak with a more unified voice in the negotiations. Current managing guidelines expire in 2026. — Luke Runyon, KUNC