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AM News Brief: $20 Million For Airport, COVID Rates Down & New Effort On Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women

Brian Grimmett
Salt Lake City International Airport is getting $20 million from the FAA. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, April 2, 2021


Transmission Rates Down Across State

As of Thursday, no counties in Utah are categorized as having high COVID-19 transmission rates. It’s the first time this has happened since the system went into effect in October, and Gov. Spencer Cox is calling on Utahns to help keep it this way. Transmission levels are determined by per capita case count, statewide ICU capacity and test positivity rate. — Sonja Hutson

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Airport Receives FAA Infrastructure Grant

Salt Lake City International Airport is getting $20 million from the FAA. It's a portion of more than $627.7 million in grants to airport projects around the country for infrastructure and safety improvements. A statement from the U.S. Department of Transportation said the grant for Salt Lake City's airport is for the construction of a ramp and taxi lanes. Funds will also be used to improve sustainability. Airport officials expect Salt Lake City's entire $4.1 billion reconstruction project to be completed by 2023. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in the statement the grants will help airports across the country better serve their communities. — Bob Nelson


New Effort To Address Missing And Murdered American Indians

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has created a new unit in the Bureau of Indian Affairs Justice Department that will help address the issue of missing and murdered American Indians by facilitating interagency communication. The unit will build on a similar effort started by the Trump Administration in 2019. There are approximately 15,000 missing Indigneous persons and 2,700 unsolved homicide cases in the U.S. according to federal data provided by the Bureau. A 2018 report from the Urban Indian Health Institute found Salt Lake City had the ninth-highest number of these cases in the country. However, Salt Lake City Police said the data they provided for the report was “highly erroneous.” — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

COVID On The Navajo Nation

The Navajo Department of Health reported 77 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday compared to a week ago. The Nation has recorded 30,108 total new cases since the pandemic began a year ago. Nine more residents died from the disease over the same seven-day period. Nation President Jonathan Nez said Thursday many families are grieving the loss of their loved ones, and that it's up to each and every resident to take precautions to prevent any more loss of lives. — Bob Nelson

Vaccination Incentive For Colorado Prison Officers

Many correctional officers in the Mountain West had early access to the COVID-19 vaccine, but a significant number have decided not to get it. In Colorado, only 40% of state prison staff are fully vaccinated. So, the Colorado Department of Corrections is now offering a $500 bonus to all employees who get the shot before May 25. Some of the largest and most deadly COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in our country’s prisons. In the Mountain West, every state prioritized correctional officers for early vaccination, but only New Mexico included inmates in the earliest vaccination phases. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

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