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AM News Brief: Mill Creek Canyon plans, snail mail & Salt Lake’s majority LGBTQ city council

Millcreek Canyon
Bryan Jones
/
Flickr Creative Commons
Upper Mill Creek Canyon is slated for nearly $20 million in road and safety improvements. This story and more in Thursday's news brief.

Thursday morning, Nov. 4, 2021

State

COVID by the numbers

Utah health officials reported 2,152 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. More than 550 people are currently hospitalized with the disease — 16 more than a week ago. Health officials also reported another 14 people have died from COVID; five of them were between 45 and 64 years old. Over the past week, 11.6% of tests have come back positive. Over the past month, unvaccinated people are at a 15 times greater risk of dying from the disease than those who have gotten the vaccine. — Sonja Hutson

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City to be majority LGBTQ members

Come January, the Salt Lake City Council will have a majority of openly LGBTQ council members. That includes incumbents Amy Fowler and Chris Wharton. This week, voters elected Darin Mano who is the first openly gay Asian American — and the first Asian American ever — on the Council. Alejandro Puy also won his election bid making him the first openly gay Latino person on the council. That will give Salt Lake one of just a handful of councils across the country with an LGBTQ majority according to the political action group Victory Fund. In a press release, the group noted that right now there are just six LGBTQ people in elected office across Utah. — Elaine Clark

County plans for Mill Creek Canyon improvements

Upper Mill Creek Canyon is slated for nearly $20 million in road and safety improvements. Salt Lake County announced Wednesday they have received more than $15 million in federal funding. Along with a required local match — the money will be used for things like crosswalks and improvements to parking areas along with better signage and wayfinding information. The money comes from a program designed to help provide access to federal lands. Mill Creek Canyon is a popular way to reach parts of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Public comment on the plan opens Tuesday, and there will be an open house that day at 4:30 p.m. at Mill Creek City Hall. — Elaine Clark

Salt Lake City upping incentives for police recruitment

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Police Chief Mike Brown announced new efforts Wednesday to address crime in the capital city. Mendenhall and Brown said overall crime is trending downwards, but Salt Lake’s police force is currently short 55 officers. To help fill those spots, Mendenhall said they’ll be offering more incentives. The updated plan also includes programs that divert certain calls for service from police to a civilian response team. Brown said it would take low-priority calls off their plates. He said the city is trying to fill all vacancies by next June. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Man arrested for illegal medical procedures

A Payson man was arrested Tuesday night for posing as a doctor and performing illegal medical procedures. Edgar Flores-Bobadilla also gave out pharmaceuticals without a license. The illegal practice was discovered when one person’s procedure went wrong and they went to local police. Investigators said the man saw hundreds of patients and more victims may want to come forward. The state attorney general’s office said Flores-Bobadilla endangered multiple people’s lives, and most of his patients were undocumented immigrants. Flores-Bobadilla is also in the country without proper documentation. — Lexi Peery

Region/Nation

Slow mail hurts vulnerable communities

The U.S. Postal Service began slowing down deliveries last month adding days to mail service in the Mountain West. That’s especially the case in rural areas. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the value of the postal service, from shopping online to voting by mail. Some experts worry the new approach will hurt vulnerable communities including older residents, low-income families and people with disabilities. The slowdown is part of the USPS’s 10-year plan to address billions in deficits. — Robyn Vincent

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