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PM News Brief: Factory Farm Permits, Gentrification Study & Red Level Schools

Photo of construction.
Brian Albers / KUER
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Salt Lake City officials want to know more about how gentrification is playing out in the city. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, Sept. 20, 2021

State

Utah Three-Day COVID-19 Update 

Utah health officials reported nearly 3,400 new COVID cases Monday, but that’s a three-day total dating back to Friday. Another 17 people have died from the virus, four of them were between the ages of 25 and 44. That, too, is a multi-day total. According to state data, there are also four schools currently in the “red” level. That means they are required to test all students to continue holding in-person classes. Two of the schools are in the Davis District, one is a charter school in Salt Lake County and the other is in the Cache District. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City To Study Effects Of Gentrification 

Salt Lake City officials want to know more about how gentrification is playing out in the city. They announced Monday they’ll be starting a year-long study to look at the issue. Officials said they want to better understand where involuntary displacement is most common, where it’s most likely to occur in the future and how to address it. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a press release she wants residents to be able to stay in communities they helped build. She said this will also assist the city in breaking down systemic inequities. Salt Lake is partnering with a company in Berkeley, California to complete the study. — Ross Terrell

Utah Inland Port Authority Postpones Vote On New Board

The Utah Inland Port Authority postponed a vote Monday to create a new public infrastructure district and issue $150 million in bonds for port projects. Salt Lake City elected officials sent a letter to the port authority last week asking them to pump the brakes on the proposed public infrastructure district. One concern is the new board could issue millions of dollars in bonds that could be paid back with city tax revenue. Prior to the scheduled vote, protesters shared their concerns about the port's environmental impacts. The port authority’s executive director said he delayed the meeting so there could be more discussion about the infrastructure district. Read the full story.Emily Means 

Wasatch Youth Center Demolished Thanks To Juvenile Justice Reforms 

Demolition crews have torn down the Wasatch Youth Center — a former long-term, secure lockup facility for child offenders. It’s in large part because juvenile justice reforms are allowing money to be reinvested in serving youth in their home, schools and communities instead. That’s according to the executive director of Utah's Division of Juvenile Justice Services who spoke with Fox 13. Brett Peterson said incarcerations are down 50% since a series of laws went into effect. Millions of dollars have since been diverted to services to help youth who might be at risk. After demolition the land will be given back to the state. Other detention facilities are still available across the state. — Associated Press

Region/Nation

Federal Court Strikes Down Permit System For Idaho Factory Farms 

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a kind of permitting system for factory farms in Idaho. Essentially, the judges found Environmental Protection Agency permits there didn’t require enough monitoring of waste, and could lead to manure in waterways. The ruling doesn’t mean much right now, but the plaintiffs hope to build off of this and push for universal monitoring of waste at all major animal operations. Agriculture groups are concerned, though, about possible long-term implications. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau