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PM News Brief: Ally Isom gathers signatures, national park ticket lotteries & potential drought improvement

Zion National Park Angels Landing wikimedia commons.jpeg
Alex Proimos
/
Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0
Lottery tickets to hike Angels Landing in Zion National Park opened for the first time Monday. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Monday evening, Jan. 3, 2022

State

Ally Isom starts process to get on primary ballot for a Senate seat

Republican Senate candidate Ally Isom launched her signature gathering effort Monday. She’s challenging incumbent Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT. Isom needs to gather more than 28,000 signatures from registered Republicans in order to get on the primary ballot in June. She also plans to try to get on the primary ballot through a GOP convention nomination, but since Lee is very popular among Republican delegates she faces an uphill battle on that route. Isom has worked as the deputy chief of staff for former Gov. Gary Herbert. She’s also a previous spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. — Sonja Hutson 

Utah opens 2022 with a COVID-19 boom 

Utah has started the new year with an unwanted bang: 14,754 new COVID-19 cases. That’s a four-day total dating back to Thursday. The state reported nearly 4,700 new cases that day alone. Utah’s positivity rate has jumped to 12.5% — up from 7.5% a week ago. Health officials said Monday 17 more people have died from the virus. All of them were 45 or older. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

New Salt Lake council members want to focus on city’s west side 

Salt Lake City swore in its most diverse city council ever Monday. The majority of its members identify as LGBTQ, and most of the council now are people of color. Two of the city’s newest council members, Victoria Petro-Eschler and Alejandro Puy, are people of color who represent the west side — which is the most racially and ethnically diverse part of town. They said the increased representation for marginalized groups will change outcomes for the city. But some community members aren’t so sure. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

Zion and Arches national parks open ticket reservation systems 

Lottery tickets to hike Angels Landing in Zion National Park opened for the first time Monday. The permits are good for April and May visitors. The lottery for this summer will open April 1. People have until Jan. 20 to enter the drawing. Those who don’t get a permit can try for a different lottery the day before they hope to hike the trail. Timed-ticket reservations to enter Arches National Park also opened Monday. That’s for people hoping to visit during the month of April. Both of these pilot programs are part of efforts to manage crowds at the parks. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Snowpack in the West trending in the right direction

The holidays brought plenty of much-needed snow across the mountain ranges in the West. For instance, the Sierra Nevada outside Reno saw record-breaking snowfall last month. Snowpacks from Idaho to Colorado to Utah are at or above average for this time of year. Cody Moser, a senior hydrologist with the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, said this is a huge help for a region suffering from a severe and prolonged drought. He said more snow is expected in the coming weeks. If this trend continues for the rest of the winter and into the spring, it will be great news for the dwindling Colorado River system and its two main reservoirs — Lake Mead and Lake Powell. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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