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AM News Brief: New university scholarship, strained ICUs & Box Elder students facing charges

Photo of delicate arch in Arches National Park with one person standing underneath the arch and the other person photographing them.
Renee Bright
Arches National Park will have a timed reservation system next year. That story and more in this morning's news brief.

Tuesday morning, Dec. 14, 2021

Northern Utah

Students will face charges for threats to Box Elder schools

Two juveniles will be tried criminally for making threats to schools in Box Elder School District according to a statement by the local police department. The students made threats which forced some schools in the district to move to online learning Monday. Officials say the students were trying to be funny. Police searched all of the district’s public schools with bomb-sniffing dogs, but found no sign of explosives. They also issued search warrants and conducted interviews. All schools in the district will reopen Tuesday with added security while police continue to investigate any new tips or evidence. — Leah Treidler

University of Utah announces new scholarship

Top Utah high schoolers are now eligible for a new University of Utah scholarship. “The Guarantee” scholarship will be given to any new university freshman who was valedictorian or salutatorian at a Utah high school. Around 700 students could win the award. Valedictorian graduates will get $32,000 over the course of four years. Salutatorians will win $24,000. The students will also receive $1,000 for academic pursuits like research and study abroad programs. The university encourages any eligible high school students to talk to their school counselor or contact the Office of Admissions to learn more. — Leah Treidler

Salt Lake Temple renovations will take longer than planned

The renovation of the Salt Lake Temple will take longer than expected according to a statement from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Monday. The Church closed the temple in 2019 to update the aging building and make seismic upgrades. The opening was set for 2024, but Church officials now expect it to reopen in January 2025. The First Presidency released a statement about the new date saying additions to the original plan will make sure the temple can serve for many future generations. — Leah Treidler

Southern Utah

Temporary reservation system coming to Arches National Park

Arches National Park will have a timed reservation system next year, joining several other national parks in similar efforts to curb the impacts of increased visitation in recent years. Tourism at Arches has grown by over 66% between 2009 and 2019, according to the National Park Service. The growth has led to long lines at the park’s entrance, crowded trails, more accidents and greater environmental impacts. The new system will be in place from April to October 2022. Visitors will be able to make reservations three months in advance and a limited number of reservations will be available after 6 p.m. for the following day. Visitors entering the park on a bike or who have camping and backcountry permits won’t need reservations. Read the full story.Jon Reed


Utah wins grant for energy project

Utah will receive $500,000 for a project to fund energy research, production and workforce development as a finalist of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Utah’s proposal was one of 60 chosen from a pool of over 500. The project is still in the running for the second phase and could win up to $100 million if chosen. The project will focus on diversifying the state’s energy production and strengthening the rural economy. The program will also invest in workforce training to create more high-paying job opportunities in rural areas. Thom Carter, the Executive Director of the Office of Energy Development, says that this investment will help rural Utahns “preserve their quality of life for many more generations.” — Leah Treidler


The omicron variant is straining ICUs in the Mountain West

The spread of the omicron variant is deepening concerns about strained healthcare systems in our region. The situation could be especially dire for rural hospitals. They face challenges in transferring patients and often treat populations with underlying health conditions due to those patients’ limited access to care. These issues often predispose them or make them more at risk for bad outcomes from COVID. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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