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PM News Brief: Dixie name change, Intermountain caregiver vaccinations & uranium mines on Navajo Nation

A photo of a sign that says 'Dixie State University' with pink and red flowers planted around it.
Ethan Deceuster
The Utah Board of Higher Education unanimously approved Dixie State University’s new name recommendation Wednesday. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, Oct. 27, 2021


Intermountain Healthcare to require vaccinations for caregivers

Utah once again saw a single day total of more than 2,000 COVID cases Wednesday. Department of Health officials reported 2,068 new cases. There were also 22 new deaths, and five were people younger than 45. Intermountain Healthcare has also announced it will require all of its caregivers to be vaccinated. The deadline to get the first dose is Jan. 5. The company says about 80% of its caregivers are already fully vaccinated. Three quarters of Utahns 12 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. — Caroline Ballard

Pediatric vaccine could make a big difference for Utah families

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 cleared its first regulatory hurdle Tuesday, and an emergency authorization is expected next week. If that happens, children in Utah could start receiving their first dose as soon as Nov. 8, according to Dr. Andrew Pavia, the chief of pediatric infectious diseases at University of Utah Health. He said that means parents who’ve been worried about sending their kids to in-person classes could feel more comfortable doing so. And if enough children get vaccinated, it could help bring the pandemic under control. Still, he recommended that people assess their family’s risk level and consider continuing to wear masks indoors if in high-transmission areas. Current safety precautions in schools are not expected to change as a result of the expanded vaccine eligibility. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

House Speaker questions whether redistricting process makes sense

Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said he hasn’t seen the political maps proposed by the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission yet. But he told reporters on Wednesday he’s already considering a reevaluation of the way the group operates. That’s after former Congressman Rob Bishop — Wilson’s appointee to the commission — unexpectedly resigned earlier this week. Bishop said he stepped down because he was worried rural parts of the state were being overlooked. Wilson said Bishop’s departure “shines a bright light on the fact that this maybe isn't working the way that it was envisioned to. We may need to go back to the drawing board and determine whether this process makes sense.” It’s the first time this kind of group has weighed in on the redistricting process. Utah voters approved the creation of the commission through a 2018 ballot initiative. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

Dixie State name change heads to Legislature

The Utah Board of Higher Education unanimously approved Dixie State University’s new name recommendation Wednesday. DSU officials want to rename the school Utah Tech University. The name change debate started almost a year ago after nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, and the Legislature passed a bill in March laying out how the process would go. Now it’s up to state lawmakers to adopt the recommendation. House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said it will either be discussed during the upcoming special session or during the General Session that begins in January. — Lexi Peery, St. George


Activists say uranium mines violate Navajo human rights

Activists and attorneys in New Mexico have submitted key filings for a petition with an international human rights group to aid a decades-long fight against uranium mining on Indigenous lands. The petition alleges the U.S. government violated the human rights of Navajo people through mining licenses. Indigenous communities have for years been the sites of uranium mines. Activists say those pose major health and environmental risks. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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