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PM News Brief: Refugee soccer, free transit days & Utah CEOs’ economic outlook

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The Salt Lake City-based group Refugee Soccer is hoping to welcome Afghan refugees to America through sports. That story and more in this evening's news brief.


Weekend COVID Update

Over the last three days, Utah saw 2,500 new COVID-19 cases. According to the Utah Department of Health, the state’s test positivity rate and number of hospitalizations fell over the past week. But another 13 people have died of the disease — 11 men and 2 women. About 58% of all Utahns are now fully vaccinated. — Caroline Ballard

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Warnings for human-caused avalanches

The weekend saw more than two dozen avalanches, and the Utah Avalanche Center reported people on the slopes caused 11 of them. Mark Staples, director of forest service for Utah Avalanche Center, said early season snows created weak layers of foundation. Staples said it’s important to know how easy it is to trigger a snow slide from miles away. “A major red flag is you can cause an avalanche just as you're walking near a slope,” he said. Jim Steenburgh, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Utah, said incoming storms this week could create more dangerous conditions on top of the weak snowpack. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

CEO Outlook

Utah business executives have a tepid outlook for the state’s economy over the next six months. That’s according to a survey conducted by the Salt Lake Chamber and the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Their concerns include uncertainty over variants, supply chain issues, persistent inflation and difficulty attracting workers. However, they point to the state’s growth as a bright spot. The 2020 Census showed Utah was the fastest growing state in the nation. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Refugee Soccer

The Salt Lake City-based group Refugee Soccer is hoping to welcome Afghan refugees to America through sports. Refugee Soccer organizes teams of those who’ve settled in Utah. It also gathers equipment and connects players with mainstream soccer clubs. KSL NewsRadio reports the group's executive director Adam Miles is leading a team of 10 volunteers to a military base in New Mexico after Christmas. They’ll play soccer with Afghans who fled the country this summer. Miles said thousands of Afghans are living on the base near El Paso as they wait for placement around the country. — Associated Press

Free fare days

Tuesday and Wednesday will be free UTA fare days. Utah Transit Authority passengers will be able to access all public transportation options, including rail and buses, for free. The promotion is meant to encourage people to take public transit while air quality is bad. Inversion conditions are expected to continue for the next several days. Air quality is forecast to be unhealthy for sensitive groups for most of Northern Utah. — Caroline Ballard

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