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PM News Brief: Pandemic Food Assistance, East Myton Fire & Crowd Control At Arches

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Utah Institutional Trust Lands Administration
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Arches National Park has already closed its gates due to overcrowding 10 times this year.

Monday evening, March 29, 2021

State

Another $45 Million In Pandemic Food Assistance Becoming Available

Utah will soon have another $45 million available in pandemic food assistance. The money will be given to families who couldn’t get free or reduced lunch due to school closures this school year. Eligibility for funds will be determined by the state’s board of education. The board will look at whether students received discounted meals and the number of days they attended class virtually. Parents have until May 10 to sign up for free or reduced meals through their schools. — Ross Terrell

Utah’s Monday COVID-19 Update

Utah reported 194 new COVID-19 cases Monday according to the state’s department of health. Mondays tend to have the lowest number of new cases because of a dip in testing over the weekend. The state’s percent of tests coming back positive continues to stay relatively low at around 3.5%. No new deaths were reported. So far, nearly 863,000 people have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. — Caroline Ballard

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Overnight Camping In Middle Fork Wildlife Parking Lot Banned Through September

Starting April 9, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is banning overnight camping in or near the parking lot of the Middle Fork Wildlife Management Area. That’s near Huntsville. Officials said there are a number of reasons for the ban. Those include trash, drug use and domestic violence. Last year, DWR officers and Weber County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 75 calls to the area. Officials already closed the Middle Fork to all activities in January to protect wildlife during the winter. The DWR is set to fully reopen the area to visitors from September 10 through the end of the year. — Ross Terrell

East Myton Fire Burning Hundreds Of Acres In Duchesne County

A fire in Duchesne County has forced evacuations and is threatening structures. So far, it has burned more than 200 acres and is 10% contained according to a tweet from Utah Fire Info. The evacuations include three tribal and one private residences. Wind in the area is 40 miles per hour and the fire is burning sagebrush and grass. Officials said it’s human caused and under investigation. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Southern Utah

Arches National Park Working To Control Crowds

Arches National Park has already closed its gates due to overcrowding 10 times this year. Angie Richman, a spokeswoman for the park, said it has seen record visitation every month since last September and that’s likely to continue. Richman said the park service is studying different ways to control crowds, such as a shuttle service or reservation system. She said the park will likely seek feedback on those and other options later this year. The park doesn’t formally track closures but it does post them on Twitter. They typically start before noon and last a few hours. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

COVID-19 Vaccine Virtual “Passports”

Certain schools, airlines and organizations could soon ask you to prove whether you’ve gotten a COVID-19 vaccine — by seeing a virtual vaccine passport.There has beensome limited proof that it could encourage some vaccine skeptics to get the shot but only if it doesn’t seem to be political manipulation. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau