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PM News Brief: Colorado River Authority, Utah State Treasurer & Iron County Solar Power Plant

Colorado River in Utah aerial view
marekuliasz
/
iStockphoto
The Colorado River Authority of Utah has hired Amy Haas as its first executive director. The story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, June 29, 2021

State

Colorado River Authority Of Utah Hires First Executive Director

The Colorado River Authority of Utah has hired Amy Haas as its first executive director. Haas is currently the director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, which oversees water use in the river’s upper basin. Utah’s Legislature created the authority earlier this year to help the state hold on to its water rights. States that draw water from the Colorado River are currently renegotiating its management guidelines. That process must be completed by 2026, when the current agreement expires. Haas will begin working for Utah next month. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Utah Gets New State Treasurer

Gov. Spencer Cox has appointed Marlo Oaks as Utah’s new state treasurer. Oaks will replace David Damschen who left the position in April to join the Utah Housing Corporation. He had just been reelected in November. Oaks is currently the managing director of local investment banking firm Crewe Capital. — Caroline Ballard

Quarantined Employee Grant Program Coming To An End

Last fall, Utah launched a grant program to help small businesses whose employees had to quarantine due to COVID-19. That program will end Wednesday. State officials said applications for the program have significantly dropped off over the past few weeks. At the height of the pandemic, there were hundreds of applications per week. Since last October, more than 850 small Utah businesses have turned to the program for help. State data show about $4.2 million were paid out during that time. The grant still has about $800,000 remaining which will be returned to the state’s General Fund. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Fireworks Sellers Plead For Common Sense Over Citywide Bans

Fireworks are now on sale in Utah just in time for summer holidays but this comes as cities set restrictions and bans because of the historic drought. Orion T Parker sells fireworks in a Smith’s parking lot in St. George and said he doesn’t know what to expect in sales this year. — there’s pandemic-related supply issues and a renewed focus on the explosives and wildfires. Park said he understands the reasoning behind the restrictions but this is also a big monetary boost for him. James Fuller is with TNT Fireworks, a national distributor with locations throughout Utah. He says they’re advocating for people to use common sense. But they’re against sweeping bans and may pursue litigation. Read the full story. Lexi Peery, St. George

Dixie State Board Throws Weight Behind “Utah Tech”

Dixie State University trustees voted Tuesday on another new name for the school: Utah Tech University. A DSU committee recommended Utah Polytechnic State earlier this month, which received backlash from community members, students and some trustees. Tiffany Wilson, vice chair of the board, called UPSU an “epic failure.” Wilson said Utah Tech still includes components of the original suggestion. The recommendation now goes to the Utah Board of Higher Education. After that, it moves to the state Legislature. Read the full story. Lexi Peery, St. George

Rocky Mountain Power Building New Solar Plant In Iron County

Rocky Mountain Power will construct a new solar energy facility in Iron County. It’s for Facebook’s data center in Eagle Mountain — northwest of Provo. The new facility will generate 120 megawatts of solar energy. That brings the amount of energy dedicated to Facebook’s data centers to 814 megawatts. The facility is scheduled to be up and running by the end of 2023. Rocky Mountain Power said it will also provide tax benefits for Iron County. — Caroline Ballard