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PM News Brief: State Water Conservation, Republican Party Identity Struggle & Quagga Mussel Checkpoints

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Anton via Wikimedia Commons
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Gov. Spencer Cox issued an executive order Monday to help the state conserve water. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, May 3, 2021

State

Gov. Spencer Cox Issues Emergency Order For State Water Conservation

Gov. Spencer Cox issued an executive order Monday to help the state conserve water. Effective immediately, irrigation at state facilities is not allowed between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The order also requires sprinklers to be shut off during rain storms. Cox is also encouraging local governments to take similar measures. Salt Lake County recently announced it would be cutting its water usage by at least 5%. According to the latest data, more than half of Utah is in an exceptional drought. — Ross Terrell

Utah’s Republican Party Having An “Identity Struggle”

During the Utah Republican Party Convention over the weekend, leadership called for unity. But some delegates loudly booed Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, for over a minute when he came on stage. They were upset that he voted to convict former President Donald Trump on impeachment charges. Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, went on CNN Monday morning and said the party is going through an identity struggle. She said the party “needs to get back to the idea of opportunity, individual liberty, entrepreneurship and upward social mobility.” During his speech Saturday, Romney said he was an old fashioned Republican who believes the character of elected leaders matter. — Sonja Hutson

Federal Financial Aid Available For Broadband Services

Starting May 12, Utahns can apply for financial aid to help pay for their monthly internet bills. It’s part of the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Discounts range from $50 to $75 per month for internet. People can also apply for one-time assistance of up to $100 off tablets and computers. There are a number of ways for households to qualify. People who receive things like SNAP benefits, Medicaid and free or reduced school lunches are all eligible. The program is also open to homes on Tribal land and workers who lost income during the pandemic. If one person in a household qualifies, the entire household is eligible for the program. The program will end when federal funds for it run out or six months after the federal government declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency. — Caroline Ballard

228 New COVID-19 Cases Reported Monday

The Utah Department of Health reported 228 more COVID-19 cases Monday. The state’s test positivity rate is now 3.6%. That’s about the same as a week ago. Nearly 2.2 million COVID vaccine doses have been administered in Utah. There were no new deaths reported. — Caroline Ballard

Central/Southern Utah

Sanpete County Residents Rejoice Following Decision To Save Manti Murals

New renovation plans for the historic Manti temple will preserve its cherished murals, according to a recent announcement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some Sanpete County residents and Church members rallied against removing the murals — especially the paintings by Minerva Teichert, a renowned 20th century artist. Joe Bennion is an artist who lives in Sanpete County. He said Saturday’s announcement “blindsided” him in a good way. Along with preserving the Manti temple, Church leaders also announced that Ephraim will get its own temple, which is just a few miles away. Renovation on the Manti location will begin Oct. 1. Read the full story.Lexi Peery, St. George

Utah Wildlife Officials To Conduct Checkpoints For Quagga Mussels This Summer

Throughout the summer, Utah’s wildlife officials will be conducting checkpoints for quagga mussels. It’s an effort to prevent the invasive species from spreading from Lake Powell to other bodies of water. Officials will check to make sure boats and other watercraft are properly cleaned and drained. The inspections will happen as people leave the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The first checkpoint is set for Memorial Day weekend. There will be two more in July and one in September on Labor Day weekend. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

Mountain West Farmers Stressed Over Financial Situation

High stress among farmers and ranchers can lead to health problems including substance abuse and even suicide. A new survey from the Western Region Agricultural Stress Assistance Program aims to understand what’s stressing out agriculture producers in our region. Preliminary data show that ag producers experience stress particularly about their financial situation. — Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau