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AM News Brief: Utah tax burdens, Zion shuttles & Native American alcohol myths

A parking lot is lined with several of Zion National Park's iconic natural-gas-powered busses. The canyon walls rise up in the background.
David Fuchs
/
KUER
Zion National Park is closing down its shuttle service through Dec. 22. People are still allowed to drive the canyon’s scenic route with their personal vehicle, but officials warned space is limited and parking may not be available. This story and more in Tuesday morning's news brief.

Tuesday morning, Nov. 30, 2021

State

Looking at the tax burden in Utah counties 

Washington County residents have the lowest tax burden in Utah according to a new report from the Utah Taxpayers Association. In 2020, the Washington County government brought in less than $350 per person from fees and taxes. Meanwhile, Daggett County had the highest tax burden at more than $2,600. The average for the state is a little more than $1,000. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

Washington County retaining teachers at highest rate in Utah  

Attracting and keeping teachers in schools is a perpetual challenge for districts in Utah. The average retention rate in the state is 56%. But one district has managed to stay well above that. The Washington County School District was recently highlighted by the state board of education for its 73% retention rate over the last five years — the highest of any district with more than 200 teachers. State superintendent Sydnee Dickson said she attributes part of their success to the fact that every school has a learning coach whose primary role is helping teachers support their students better. Lyle Cox, the district’s human resources director, said the coach is an investment that pays off with less turnover and more effective teachers. Read the full story.Jon Reed

Zion National Park closing shuttle through Dec. 22

Zion National Park is closing down its shuttle service through Dec. 22. People are still allowed to drive the canyon’s scenic route with their personal vehicle, but officials warned space is limited and parking may not be available. Shuttle service will resume Dec. 23 through Jan. 1. During that time, access to the scenic drive will be by shuttle only. Officials said masks are required on buses. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

False narrative surrounding Native Americans and alcohol addiction

There’s a false narrative that Native Americans are genetically predisposed to becoming addicted to alcohol. New research shows simply believing that can be harmful. Researchers surveyed American Indian adults who self-identified as having substance use problems. About 60% believed they were genetically predisposed to alcohol abuse. Those who believed that myth were also more likely to have alcohol cravings, and in some cases, more frequent drinking. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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