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PM News Brief: Utah Business Grant, Nick Rimando Returns & Housing Instability

Photo of houses in Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
There are about 140,000 Utahns living with housing instability. That’s people who have a low income and spend more than half of it on rent and utilities. This story and more in Thursday evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, April 22, 2021

State

Utah’s COVID-19 Cases Have Plateaued And That’s A Good Sign

Overall, COVID-19 cases in Utah are plateauing, according to state health officials, but some counties are seeing spikes. State epidemiologist Angela Dunn said health officials haven’t been able to tie increases in cases to anything in particular, including the repeal of the statewide mask mandate. Dunn also expects cases to stop plateauing and start decreasing in the coming weeks because test positivity rates are still declining. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Launches New Programs To Help Businesses Harmed By Pandemic

Utah businesses that experienced severe economic loss last year can now apply for a grant from the state. To be eligible, companies must have lost 90% of their revenue during any four months of 2020 compared to the year before. Gov. Spencer Cox said Thursday the state has $15 million to spend on the program. Businesses have until April 27 to apply at coronavirus.utah.gov/business. — Sonja Hutson

140,000 Utahns Living With Housing Instability

There are about 140,000 Utahns living with housing instability. That’s people who have a low income and spend more than half of it on rent and utilities. That data is from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities — a Washington D.C. based research group. President Joe Biden has listed expanding the federal housing voucher program as one tool to address affordability. The center said Biden is expected to unveil his full plan next week. It argues more than 9 million renters across the country could move above the poverty line with more federal assistance. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Nick Rimando Rejoining Real Salt Lake As A Youth Academy Coach

Nick Rimando is joining Real Salt Lake once again. This time as a coach for the soccer club’s youth academy. Rimando is Major League Soccer’s all time leader in games played, wins, saves and shut-outs. He spent 13 years in a Real Salt Lake uniform as goalkeeper. The team kicks off its 2021 season Saturday in Minnesota. Its home opener is May first against Sporting Kansas City. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Washington County Getting $122,000 In Reclamation Funds

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is giving Washington County more than $122,000 to prepare for future droughts. The money will go toward making a drought contingency plan for the Virgin River Watershed. It has regularly been dealing with water scarcity for the past 20 years. The total cost of creating the plan is around $245,000. The funding comes as 90% of Utah is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Mountain West Tribes Looking For Clearer Guidance In Federal Fund Spending

The latest federal relief package includes $20 billion for tribal governments but some leaders in the Mountain West region have unanswered questions about the funding. Last year’s CARES Act included $8 billion for tribes but there were pitfalls to the rollout — including limited guidance on how the money could be spent and the formula used to allocate the funds was based on outdated and incomplete population data, despite tribes having reported their own numbers. Tribal leaders are urging the Treasury Department to use self-reported citizenship numbers this time around and they’re asking for clearer spending guidelines. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

Sen. Mike Lee Letter Has Mask Questions For The CDC

Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, wants to know more about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's face mask guidance for kids. He and Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT, along with 30 other lawmakers sent a letter to the CDC. In it, they ask how the agency determined children two years and up needed to wear face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19. The letter said the guidance has had “serious consequences for some Americans.” It cited parents being banned from airline travel because they’ve had trouble getting their kids to wear masks. Lawmakers requested answers to six questions, including what plans the agency has for changing its recommendations. — Jon Reed