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PM News Brief: Hunting And Fishing Licenses, Homelessness Increases & Tolls Resume

A photo of a young boy finishing.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Over the past year, Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources sold more hunting and fishing licenses than it did the season before. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, March 18, 2021

State

All Utahns 16 And Older Will Be Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccines Next Week

All Utahns aged 16 and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine starting next Wednesday, March 24 — about a week sooner than Gov. Spencer Cox previously estimated. Cox said health departments requested the change because there wasn’t quite enough demand from people who are currently qualified in order to use up all the shots the state has in a timely manner. Opening up vaccines to everyone will also help the state vaccinate rural and minority communities more easily, Cox added. Utah health officials also announced 560 new COVID cases Thursday. Read the full story. Sonja Hutson

Utah’s Unemployment Claims Continue To Drop

The number of continued weekly unemployment claims in Utah fell for the sixth consecutive week. That’s according to numbers released Thursday from the state’s Department of Workforce Services. During the second week of March, a little more than 3,100 Utahns filed for first time benefits. The state paid out nearly $20.5 million. More than 2,000 people ended their claims during that time as well. — Ross Terrell

Utah Has Record Breaking Year For Hunting And Fishing License Sales

Over the past year, Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources sold more hunting and fishing licenses than it did the season before. Across the board, the number of permits to hunt, fish or do both went up by at least 40,000. DWR officials said it was a record breaking year for sales. They said on average, they see about a 2% jump in licenses. Over this past year, it was 28%. Officials said they also saw an uptick in the number of first time license buyers. — Ross Terrell

Homelessness In Utah Increases By 12% From 2019 To 2020

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Utah increased by 12% in 2020 compared to the year before. That’s according to federal data released Thursday. It found that during any given night in January last year, about 3,100 Utahns were homeless. Nearly 200 of them were people younger than 25 who were on their own. Federal statistics show homelessness has increased in the past four consecutive years. Officials said it’s been a troubling trend even before COVID-19 and the pandemic has made matters worse. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

UDOT To Resume Toll Charges On Express Lanes In Lehi

Drivers on I-15 in Lehi will have to pay a toll to use the express lanes starting Friday. Utah’s Department of Transportation announced it's reactivating the toll on the interstate between Lehi Main Street and Point of the Mountain. UDOT had temporarily lifted them during a construction project. Express lanes are limited to only certain kinds of vehicles. These include carpools, buses, motorcycles, emergency vehicles and drivers with an Express Pass. Due to construction, there are still no tolls right now on I-15 northbound from Bangerter to 7200 S.. — Roddy Nikpour

Region/Nation

Advocacy Groups Targeting Spanish Misinformation On Facebook

Nonprofit advocacy groups are coming together in a new campaign “Ya basta Facebook” or “Enough is Enough Facebook” that puts pressure on the social media company to combat Spanish political and COVID-19 disinformation. The call to action has gained the support of one lawmaker on the Energy and Commerce House committee. The committee will meet with tech CEOs next week, including Mark Zuckerberg who will be asked about the platform's commitment to flagging Spanish misinformation. — Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau