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PM News Brief: Kea Chick Hatches, Recognizing Denim Day & Saving Solar Energy

A photo of a kea chick.
Courtesy of the Tracy Aviary
A kea chick hatched at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City last month. The kea is the world's only mountain parrot and is an endangered species. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, April 28, 2021

Northern Utah

Salt Lake County Recognizes Denim Day

Salt Lake County elected officials honored Denim Day Wednesday by discussing the importance of supporting sexual assault survivors. Denim Day refers to an Italian rape conviction that was overturned because a judge said the survivor’s jeans were too tight. They said there’s no way the perpetrator could have taken them off himself so the survivor must have consented. Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, said Utah still has a lot of work to do: several important bills failed this year, including one that would have would have made it easier to process rape cases. But Romero said Utah has made progress. For example, the state recently cleared its sexual assault kit backlog. — Sonja Hutson

New Kea Chick Hatches At Tracy Aviary

A kea chick hatched at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City last month. The kea is the world's only mountain parrot and is an endangered species. The chick was transported from the Denver Zoo to Salt Lake while still in its egg. Aviary officials said the bird’s eyes are open, it’s eating food five times a day and developing feathers. It’s sex is not yet known. The mountain parrot is native to New Zealand’s mountainous South Island. They are threatened by humans, predators and habitat loss. — Pamela McCall

Saving Solar Energy With Electric Vehicle Batteries

Researchers at Utah State University have found a way to reuse electric vehicle batteries to store solar energy. The Utah Power Electronics Lab partnered with other researchers in Maryland to develop the technology. It could both decrease the cost of solar energy storage and keep those batteries out of landfills. The project has been named a top 10 finalist for the American Made Solar Prize, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The final stage of the competition is in September. — Caroline Ballard

Intermountain Healthcare Looking At Effectiveness Of Therapeutics For COVID-19

Researchers at Intermountain Healthcare are leading a new, national study on the effectiveness of therapeutics for COVID-19 patients. Officials announced Wednesday it’s a part of a study by the National Institutes of Health. It will look at how therapeutic medications like remdesivir help patients with life-threatening cases of the virus. The research will start with 40 people who have acute respiratory failure. — Ivana Martinez

Southern Utah

Moab Passes New Noise Ordinance To Deal With Complaints About ATVs

Moab passed a new noise ordinance Tuesday night to deal with all-terrain vehicles. Grand County passed a similar one last week. The changes were prompted by complaints from residents, who say the sound of ATVs is disrupting their lives. Local officials have been trying to get a handle on the issue of ATV noise for months. Efforts to impose a curfew on ATVs in Moab failed in the state Legislature this year, and since the vehicles are street-legal in Utah, neither the city nor county can ban them. Grand County Commissioner Kevin Walker said the new ordinance probably won’t solve the noise problem, since it still allows vehicles to be pretty loud. But off-roading advocates said the noise limit is too low. Read the full story. Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

State

Just 50% Of Mormons Accept The COVID-19 Vaccine

A new survey found just 50% of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints support COVID-19 vaccines. That means they accept it, have already gotten it or plan to. Results from the Public Religion Research Institute found Jewish people are the highest supporters with 85% vaccine acceptance. White Catholics are second, and Hispanic Protestants had the lowest rate. Utah health officials reported 518 new COVID cases Wednesday. So far, a little more than 28% of all Utahns have been fully vaccinated. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

Rural Hospitals Losing Obstetrics Units Puts Moms Of Color At Higher Risk

New research shows an increasing number of rural hospitals have lost their obstetrics units, especially ones that serve moms of color. Maternal and infant mortality rates are already high among these groups and researchers said Black and Indigenous moms living in rural areas face additional risks. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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