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PM News Brief: Don’t Use Ivermectin, Salt Lake Affordable Housing & Assessing Wildfire Risk

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Screenshot Headwaters Economics Online Tool
Nearly The Utah Department of Health is warning people against using ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, Sept. 21, 2021

State

Utah Department Of Health Warns Against Use Of Ivermectin For COVID-19 

The Utah Department of Health is warning people against using ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19. A Utah hospital recently had a patient who suffered serious health effects after taking the drug for COVID. Ivermectin is a veterinarian drug mainly used to treat parasites in horses and other animals. The version of it made for humans has not been approved to deal with the virus. Utah's State epidemiologist says there isn't any evidence that ivermectin can help with COVID-19. The Utah Poison Control Center has seen 4.5 times more ivermectin exposures this year compared with 2020. — Martha Harris

Utah Elected Officials React To Move Of BLM Headquarters

Some of Utah’s elected officials are expressing disappointment following the decision to move the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management. The U.S. Interior Secretary recently announced the BLM headquarters will move back to Washington D.C. Last year, the Trump administration moved it to Grand Junction, Colorado. Only a handful of federal employees ever made the move to the western location. In a letter, Utah’s governor and lieutenant governor said this move represented the “very worst of federal overreach.” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, called the move a mistake. He tweeted Utah’s public lands are best managed by communities closest to them — not D.C. The BLM will still keep an office in Grand Junction. — Ross Terrell  

Northern Utah

Utah Officials Start Flip Blitz To Convert Park Strips To Localscapes

Utah officials are changing grassy park strips as a way to conserve water. Tuesday they ripped up sod at some Salt Lake County houses to put in more water efficient landscaping — they started the “Flip Blitz” at “The Real UP House” in Herriman. They’re switching out the grassy strip between the sidewalk and street with localscapes, which incorporate native plants and replace sprinklers with drip irrigation. Lynette Hamblin owns the “Up” house and has already started to make the switch to localscapes. Kim Eden owns Eden’s Garden Design in Bluffdale. Standing outside Hamblin’s home, she recommended people talk to their local water officials about implementing localscaping. Officials estimate each flipped park strip saves 5,000 to 8,000 gallons of water a year. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, Herriman 

Salt Lake City Dedicates $8 Million to Affordable Housing

Salt Lake City announced Tuesday it’s dedicating $8 million to affordable housing projects. The money comes from the city’s Redevelopment Agency. It’s the fourth year in a row they have made funding available for affordable housing. Applicants for the money have to construct or convert housing that serve a range of income levels. Nearly $3 million will go to projects in high opportunity zones. Those are areas that expand a person’s chances for social mobility. Proposals are due by Oct. 29. The agency hopes to award the money by the end of the year. — Martha Harris

Region/Nation

New Tool Helps Identify People Living In High Wildfire Risk Areas 

Some 37 million Americans live in areas at high risk of wildfire, a new report says. People of color and low income communities may suffer more in wildfires because they often lack the resources to prepare and get left behind by relief efforts. So the nonprofit Headwaters Economics created an online tool that shows where those groups intersect with a high risk of fire. It also factored in age, disability status and English proficiency — all of which can make it harder for people to respond. Associate Director Kelly Pohl said the findings can give local leaders a better sense of risk factors — and help federal officials direct money to preparedness, mitigation and recovery. — Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

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