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AM News Brief: The Shrinking Lake, Real Salt Lake Ownership & Vaccinating Kids

View of Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island causeway.
Wikimedia Commons
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The Great Salt Lake has been shrinking for years, and the drought could make this year its worst yet. That story and more in this morning's news brief.

Tuesday morning, July 6, 2021

State

Utah Governor Waiting For Federal Approval To Vaccinate More Kids

Gov. Spencer Cox said the state is ready to start vaccinating younger children, telling CBS’ Face the Nation the state is just waiting on the federal government’s approval. Utah is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, which Cox said is partially because Utah has a large population of kids who are too young to receive the vaccine. He said the state is working to encourage young people who are eligible to get vaccinated. — Emily Means

Northern Utah

Great Salt Lake Low Water Levels Have Big Impact

The Great Salt Lake in Utah has been shrinking for years, and the drought gripping the American West could make this year the worst yet for the lake. The receding water is already affecting nesting pelicans, which are among millions of birds that depend on the lake. Sailboats have been hoisted out of the water to keep them from getting stuck in the mud, and more dry lakebed getting exposed could send arsenic-laced dust into the air that millions breathe. The lake's levels are largely expected to hit a 170-year low this year. — Associated Press

Interest In Real Salt Lake Ownership

NFL player J.J. Watt hinted Monday he may be interested in buying Real Salt Lake. Watt tweeted his thanks to the Utah Jazz for letting him use their gym while he was in the state, and a fan responded asking Watt to buy the soccer franchise. Watt responded by suggesting he would be interested if the price were lower. He said he wants to bring back the Utah Royals, the women’s soccer club that relocated to Kansas City. Jazz owner Ryan Smith agreed with Watt about the price drop. Smith has shown interest in buying RSL in the past. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

Researchers Exploring Geothermal Energy In Southwest Utah

Just outside Milford, a town of about 1,400 people in Southwest Utah, researchers behind a major energy project are hoping to tap into a limitless supply of clean, reliable power. They’re part of the Utah-based FORGE lab and recently completed the first of two major wells they’ll use to develop the tools to build “enhanced geothermal systems.” They are essentially human-made versions of natural geothermal reservoirs which pump water through cracks underground, heat it and use the steam to power turbines or to heat buildings. Joseph Moore, a researcher with the project, said this kind of geothermal production has enormous potential but has proven difficult to build at commercial scale. He said he hopes this project can help change that. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Region/Nation

The Role Of Family On Political Perceptions

A new study out of Brigham Young University shows the gender of the founding fathers’ children influenced how strong they wanted the new federal government to be. Politicians with more sons favored strong federal rule — possibly so their kids would have job opportunities — while those with more daughters wanted stronger state power. Political scientist Jeremy Pope co-authored the study and said that family has always played an “outsized” role in political perceptions. He said people tend to fall along the same political lines as their parents, but children can still influence their parents’ views — especially when it comes to things like LGBTQ+ rights. Read the full story. — Caroline Ballard