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PM News Brief: Sundance Vaccinations, Mustang Roundup & Silicon Slopes PAC

Sundance And Slamdance normally bring thousands of festival goers to Park City each year. This year, both festivals are almost entirely online.
Jon Reed/ KUER
The Sundance Film Festival will be held in-person in January. If you’re hoping to be there, or at any related events, you must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, Aug. 3, 2021


Utah’s Governor Frustrated With Latest COVID-19 Surge

Utah’s COVID-19 cases have been surging over the last month. On Tuesday, health officials announced 728 new cases and five more deaths. At a press conference, Gov. Spencer Cox did not hold back his frustration at the situation. He reiterated this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. He said they’re pushing hospitals to capacity once again and the reason vaccinated people are being asked to wear masks. Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said there isn’t much she and other officials can do to change a vaccine skeptic’s mind, but it’s unlikely the state will issue mask or vaccine requirements. Read the full story.Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Going To Sundance 2022? COVID-19 Vaccination Required

The Sundance Film Festival will be held in-person in January. If you’re hoping to be there, or at any related events, you must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The festival released an open letter from its director Tuesday outlining its plans, saying health and safety are top priorities. Last year’s showings were conducted mostly online and on satellite screens across the U.S. The letter said they are letting people know the vaccine requirement now so attendees feel comfortable visiting and can adjust travel plans if necessary. In addition to in-person screenings, the festival will continue to hold remote showings and events. Sundance 2022 is set to take place from Jan. 20-30. — Ross Terrell

Silicon Slopes Launches Political Action Committee

Utah’s technology industry is launching its own non-partisan political action committee — Slopes PAC. The group says its goal is to support candidates and organizations who are committed to economic growth and innovation for the Silicon Slopes workforce. The PAC’s president said in a press release, the tech industry has usually stayed out of politics. She said people in tech tend to be fiscally conservative but socially progressive, leaving them “without a political home.” Earlier this year KUER reported tech lobbyists felt Utah needed more socially inclusive legislation for the industry to continue growing. — Ross Terrell


Monsoon Season Helping Ease Drought Conditions

First, severe drought. Now, heavy rains. Some parts of the West have been hit hard by record-breaking amounts of precipitation in recent days. Christine Kruse, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, said it’s caused by a particularly strong North American Monsoon season, which normally hits the region in July and August. All this rain is helping ease some drought conditions. Soil moisture has increased which means ranchers and farmers have to irrigate less. But it won’t really help the West’s two largest reservoirs. They get most of their water from melting snow in the spring. Lake Powell and Lake Mead supply water to millions of people and are both rapidly shrinking due to the ongoing drought. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

More Mustangs Being Rounded Up Due To Drought Conditions

Severe drought across the West is causing U.S. land managers to begin efforts to capture about 50% more wild horses than originally planned this year. Emergency roundups began Sunday and Monday. They're targeting about 6,000 additional animals primarily in Nevada, Oregon and Colorado. The Bureau of Land Management said the expanded effort concentrates on places where "chronic overpopulation" of the herds has stretched available food and water to the limit. Horse advocates said the emergency roundups are being driven by pressure from ranchers who don't want wild horses competing with their livestock for limited food and water. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association said ranchers have voluntarily reduced and rotated grazing on federal lands during the drought. — Associated Press

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