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AM News Brief: Sandy Call Center Minimum Wage Boost, Daily COVID Stats & New Police Curriculum In Boise

Illustration of abstract person with headset.
Mohamed Hassan
/
Pixabay
Federal contract workers at a call center in Sandy are getting an early boost to their minimum wage. This story and more in Wednesday morning's news brief.

Wednesday Morning, Sept. 29, 2021

State

COVID By The Numbers

The Utah Department of Health said for the past month unvaccinated people in the state have been nearly six times more likely to die of COVID-19 than their vaccinated counterparts; they’re also four times more likely to test positive for the disease. The seven-day average for new cases in the state stands at more than 1,330 per day. Tuesday, officials reported another 13 Utahns have died of COVID — eight women and five men. Just over 580 people are hospitalized with 89% percent of all ICU beds in the state in use. — Elaine Clark

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Southern Utah

Navigating Short Term Rentals

Washington County hit pause on new short-term rentals in the spring. Now, the county is working on updating its code in an effort to balance property rights of rental owners and their surrounding neighbors. The planning commission voted Tuesday to recommend approval of an ordinance that includes licensing requirements and outlines building size limits. Many people at the meeting were unhappy with the decision, including St. George resident Denise Christensen. She owns a short-term rental in Pine Valley and said she thinks she should be able to decide what to do with her own property. Brandon Anderson, the commission’s chair, said the county’s code is more lenient than other places, but he didn’t expect anyone to be happy with their decision. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Northern Utah

Call Center Gets Early Minimum Wage Boost

Federal contract workers at a call center in Sandy are getting a pay increase. It brings the minimum wage for all employees of Maximus to $15 an hour. President Joe Biden issued an executive order to raise the minimum wage of federal contractors starting next year. In a press release, the Communications Workers of America said Maximus employees rallied for the increase to be effective immediately. Besides its Sandy location, Maximus owns call centers in eight other states. — Associated Press

Region/Nation

Boise Launches New Police Curriculum

People in the Mountain West are killed by police at disproportionately high rates compared to other parts of the country. The numbers in Idaho aren’t nearly as high as neighboring states, but Boise officials are launching a unique initiative to improve policing. The training is centered on human and civil rights and will span an officer’s entire career. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean believes it’s the first of its kind in the nation, and the police chief told the Idaho Press it’s inspired by initiatives in Germany. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Call To Help All Missing People

The family of slain traveler Gabby Petito has implored the public and news media to put the same energy into helping find other missing people as they did Petito. She's the 22-year-old woman who vanished on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend. Petito's parents and stepparents spoke to reporters Tuesday at a news conference in New York. Authorities in Florida continue to search for her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. He is a person of interest in her disappearance and remains unaccounted for. The police chief of Moab, where the couple had an alleged domestic dispute in August, has taken a leave of absence. City officials have said they will conduct a formal investigation into the police department's handling of the dispute. — Associated Press

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