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AM News Brief: Easing COVID Rules For Skiers, MountainStar Healthcare Expansion & Federal Dollars Could Mean Fewer Car-Wildlife Crashes

safe passage deer crossing
Mark Gocke
A group of pronghorn cross U.S. Highway 191 at Trappers Point crossing west of Pinedale prior to the overpass being constructed. Roadway projects are aiming to reduce collisions with wildlife like these pronghorn. This story and more in Tuesday's news brief.

Tuesday Morning, Sept. 21, 2021

Northern Utah

MountainStar Healthcare To Expand In Utah

Nashville-based HCA Healthcare has signed an agreement to buy the five hospitals owned by Steward Healthcare in Utah. The facilities are in Layton, West Jordan, West Valley and Lehi, and also includes Salt Lake Regional Medical Center. HCA owns nearly 190 hospitals throughout the country. It operates as MountainStar Healthcare locally with eight current hospitals in Utah including St. Mark’s in Salt Lake City and Ogden Regional Medical Center. — Elaine Clark

Skiers Won’t Need Lift Line Masks At Park City Mountain Resort

Vail Resorts has announced COVID-19 safety protocols for the upcoming ski season, and they’re less strict than last year. Vail owns Park City Mountain Resort. KPCW reports that skiers won’t need reservations to ride the lifts there this year, and lifts and gondolas will be at full capacity. As far as masks are concerned, they’ll only be required indoors at places like restaurants, restrooms and rental shops. Skiers won’t have to wear them in the lift lines. Vail Resorts will also require vaccines for all employees. — Ben Lasseter, KPCW

Cooking Program Leads To Life Skills For Homeless

Catholic Community Services of Utah is helping people who are experiencing homelessness gain skills that can lead to employment opportunities. Their new work preparedness program launched last week. St. Vincent’s Kitchen Academy is a 12-week culinary program meant to help people gain both life and cooking skills. They will also receive help with housing, transportation and clothing. Monica Rich, employment and life skills specialist for Catholic Community Services, said it's important to provide opportunities for people to better their circumstances. She said employment is a vital part of maintaining housing stability. The program is set to partner up with local restaurants in Salt Lake City to also provide job opportunities after training. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez


Federal Dollars Could Mean Fewer Car-Wildlife Accidents

The proposed federal infrastructure bill would give $350 million to build more wildlife bridges and tunnels across highways. It’s the first time the feds have dedicated resources to this issue. Between one to two million large animals are killed by vehicles every year, and the accidents cost drivers, passengers and insurance companies billions of dollars in health and medical costs. Wyoming and Montana have some of the highest wildlife-vehicle collision rates in the country. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Two Agencies Settle Dispute Over Colorado River Use

Two major California water agencies have settled a dispute that once threatened to derail a multi-state agreement to protect the Colorado River. The Imperial Irrigation District is the largest, single recipient of Colorado River water. It sued the Metropolitan Water District twice in the past two years over water contributions and water storage. The entities announced Monday they have reached a settlement agreement. Under the agreement, Imperial can store water in Lake Mead under Metropolitan's account. The irrigation district also will contribute water to a regional drought contingency plan if California is called on to help stave off further water cuts. The river serves 40 million people in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico. — Associated Press

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