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AM News Brief: Revitalizing Rural Main Street, Love On ‘The View’ & U Health Vaccine Mandates

Photo of Helper Main Street.
Erik Neumann / KUER
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The National Park Service is awarding Utah a $675,000 grant for the state’s Main Street Program. This story and more in the Monday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, Aug. 31, 2021

Northern Utah

U Health Mandates Vaccines For Employees

University of Utah Health has added its name to a growing list of organizations that will require COVID-19 vaccines.The U Health Medical Board and executive leadership team passed a resolution Monday requiring hospital and clinical staff to be vaccinated. That also extends to academic staff who work with patients. In a tweet, the board said they want to do all they can to reduce infections, hospitalizations and deaths due to the pandemic. Utah’s positivity rate, hospitalizations and seven-day average of new cases are all up compared to a week ago. — Elaine Clark

Legal Questions Over Enforcing School Mask Mandate

Salt Lake City is one of the only school districts to have a mask mandate for its students, due to an emergency order from the city’s mayor. The district, however, isn’t enforcing it because of confusing legal ground. District spokesperson Jason Olsen said the mayor’s mandate conflicts with state law that says schools can’t prevent someone from attending if they aren’t wearing a mask. “We received opinions from several different people on how we should handle the situation,” he said. “There’s been guidance both ways.” Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, posted on Facebook saying Mendenhall’s order was an overreach and not enforceable. He said there will be legislation to clarify what constitutes an emergency and what powers are granted during one. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

State

Revitalizing Rural Main Streets

The National Park Service is awarding Utah a $675,000 grant for the state’s Main Street Program. That’s a project managed by the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity to support rural communities in revitalizing their historic centers. Earlier this year, the Utah Legislature also dedicated $355,000 in ongoing money to the program. In the next few weeks, the program will begin accepting applications from towns hoping to be designated as Main Street Communities. — Elaine Clark

Love To Guest Host “The View”

Former Utah Rep. Mia Love will be a guest-host on “The View” next week. The entertainment news website “The Wrap” reports the daytime talk show will be filling Meghan McCain’s seat with a number of conservative women. Republican Mia Love represented Utah’s 4th Congressional district from 2015 to 2019. She lost her seat to former democratic Rep. Ben McAdams. The swing district is now represented by conservative Burgess Owens. Other guest co-hosts will include Condoleezza Rice, S.E. Cupp and Carly Fiorina. Love tweeted she’s “honored to be a part of such an accomplished group.” — Elaine Clark

Region/Nation

Three Western States Join Anti-LGBTQ Lawsuit

Attorneys general from 20 states have sued President Joe Biden’s administration seeking to stop directives that extend federal sex discrimination protections to LGBTQ people. Those range from allowing transgender girls to take part in school sports to the use of school and workplace bathrooms that align with a person’s gender identity. The lawsuit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Tennessee. It argues that legal interpretations by the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are based on a faulty view of U.S. Supreme Court case law. Three Western states signed on: Idaho, Montana and Arizona. Utah is not part of the lawsuit. — Associated Press

New Research Lab Seeks To Understand Mountain Water

Federal scientists are launching a new research lab in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. They’ll collect data on water and build a better understanding of drought using new equipment. The goal is to help answer questions like why precipitation varies at higher altitudes and why snow sometimes evaporates without melting. Much of the Colorado River’s water starts as snow and rain at high altitude. — Alex Hager, KUNC