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PM News Brief: Kael Weston Senate bid, Joe Ingles in COVID protocols & fire restoration

A photo of the main Utah Jazz offices.
Brian Albers
The firsts Utah Jazz player of the season has been placed in the league’s COVID protocols. This story and more in the evening news brief.

Tuesday evening, Jan. 4, 2022


Return to school made more complicated by soaring COVID-19 cases

As COVID-19 cases in Utah soar to their highest levels at any point in the pandemic, disruptions to school are returning in full force in the new year. In Utah, many parents decided they were better off keeping their kids home. “It's just very anxiety-ridden,” said Xochi Burgoyne, a mother of three young daughters in the Jordan School District. She opted to keep her kids out as she watches case numbers. For Talia Draper, a parent of two kids also in Jordan schools, the constant monitoring and daily decision-making feels like a never-ending version of the board game Settlers of Catan. Read the full story.Jon Reed

Kael Weston running for Senate. Blake Moore running for second term. 

Utah Democrat Kael Weston is running for Senate against Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT. He quietly filed his paperwork Monday with the Federal Election Commission. Weston’s campaign already has nearly $40,000 on hand, but Lee’s has nearly $2 million in its coffers. Weston unsuccessfully ran for the House in 2020 against Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT. Rep. Blake Moore, R-UT, announced Tuesday he’s running for a second term. His announcement highlighted his town halls, push for northern Utah infrastructure funding and support for Hill Air Force Base. — Sonja Hutson

Northern Utah

Jazz player placed in league’s COVID protocols

The Utah Jazz placed forward/guard Joe Ingles in the NBA’s COVID protocols Tuesday. Ingles will miss at least the Jazz’s next three games — which are all on the road. While the virus has run rampant through much of the league, the Jazz were the only team who hadn’t had a player miss time this season due to COVID. That is, until Tuesday. Under NBA rules, players can return after a six-day isolation period if they are asymptomatic and meet other testing standards. Utah being the last team to have a player affected by COVID this season is somewhat ironic. In March 2020, Jazz player Rudy Gobert was the league’s first positive case. That led to a more than four-month suspension of the season. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Restoring land scorched by Pack Creek fire 

Initial restoration of federal land scorched by the Pack Creek fire has now been completed. The fire burned nearly 9,000 acres southeast of Moab. It started last June because of an unattended campfire. The Bureau of Land Management said it has now planted native seeds to help stabilize the soil and avoid erosion on 131 acres of BLM land. This project is just one step in restoration of the area, according to federal fire officials. They said they’ll continue to monitor erosion and water quality for years to come. — Lexi Peery


Fast growing places in the West are also in line for more wildfires 

Colorado’s recent Marshall fire was the most destructive in the state’s history and it portends a grim future for residents across the West. The wildfire ripped through 6,000 acres in the suburban sprawl between Boulder and Denver. High winds and hundreds of homes dotting the landscape made it a disaster. According to census data, some Western cities are the fastest growing in the nation. These are often places where the ingredients for wildfires are abundant and climate change is deepening the problem. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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