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AM News Brief: Veteran housing assistance, Fivemile Pass & the Indigenous Futures Survey

Woman rides an ATV on trails at Fivemile Pass.
Emily Boivin
/
BLM Utah
The Bureau of Land Management has designated nearly 18,000 acres of Fivemile Pass in Utah and Tooele Counties as a “special area," allowing for the creation of a fee system for public use. That story and more in this morning's news brief.

Tuesday morning, Dec. 21, 2021

State

Utah awarded grant for veteran housing assistance program

Utah will receive $235,000 to help veterans experiencing homelessness. The decision was announced Monday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money will fund a program that combines rental assistance, case management and clinical services. The Veteran Affairs deputy secretary said the program helps veterans “achieve long-term stability by identifying and addressing the root causes of their homelessness to prevent them from experiencing housing crises in the future.” A report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated 114 Utah veterans were experiencing homelessness in 2020 — nearly 4% of Utah’s total homeless population. — Leah Treidler

Utah Republican lawmaker pushes for annual independent election audits

Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, wants to require independent election audits every year. His upcoming bill would make counties hire a Certified Public Accountant firm to audit their election systems every year, including reviewing voter registration rolls and ballots cast. Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said her office has found no evidence of widespread fraud, and public officials are better equipped to audit elections. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

Northern Utah

New special designation will enable development in Fivemile Pass

The Bureau of Land Management has designated nearly 18,000 acres of Fivemile Pass as a “special area.” It encompasses a large swath of public land in Utah and Tooele Counties. The new designation enables development on the land and allows for a fee system for public use to be established. Around 65,000 people visit Fivemile Pass in an average year, but the number of visitors has been increasing in recent years according to BLM officials. They said around 120,000 people visited in 2020 alone because more residents of the Wasatch Front have been exploring nature closer to home. — Leah Treidler

Utah State University recognized as a top-tier research institution

Utah State University has been ranked as one of the highest level research institutions in the nation according to the Carnegie Classification of Higher Education. USU joins 136 other institutions across the country with the top ranking — including the University of Utah. The university’s vice president of research said the designation will allow USU’s research programs to grow, including more projects to improve the lives of people in Utah. Funding for research at USU hit a record high in the 2021 fiscal year. It rose 26% compared to last year reaching over $368.5 million. — Leah Treidler

Region/Nation

Native-led survey will highlight Indigenous perspectives

The second annual Indigenous Futures Survey is polling Native people on issues like the impact of COVID-19 and civic engagement. Organizers said the survey was the first of its kind: a Native-led study focused on the perspectives of Indigenous people whose communities are often excluded from social science research. Polling for the second survey started last week and will continue through January. Organizers are hoping to get twice as many responses as last time since they can now do in-person canvassing. — Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

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