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PM News Brief: Drought improvement, ski patrollers contract & latest COVID numbers

Skier in snow in front of trees.
Vail Resorts and the Park City ski patrollers union reached an “in principle” agreement Thursday night for a new contract after more than a year and a half of negotiations. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Friday evening, Jan. 14, 2022

Northern Utah

Draper parents looking to form new, smaller school district

A “citizen group” made up of local business owners and parents in Draper is looking to create a new public school district in Utah. Led by former Canyons School District board member Paul McCarty, the group is looking to split five schools from Canyons to create the Draper City School District. McCarty said the goal is to create a smaller, more manageable district that’s more responsive to parents. He presented the idea to a group of about 40 parents at a meeting this week. Some seemed excited and others skeptical about the motivations. Draper resident Chad Smith said presenters avoided questions and only let people in if they had RSVP’d in advance. McCarty said he has more work to do to better understand the impacts of the move, including commissioning a feasibility study and gathering signatures to get the proposal on a ballot initiative. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Vail Resorts reaches tentative agreement with Park City ski patrollers’ union 

Vail Resorts and the Park City ski patrollers union reached an “in principle” agreement for a new contract Thursday night. KPCW in Park City reported terms of the agreement were not disclosed. If it’s approved, it would mark the end of more than a year and a half of negotiations. The patrollers’ union has been asking for a higher base wage of $17 an hour with yearly raises. They also wanted more COVID-related safety measures. Vail had remained constant in offering $15 an hour. Voting on the new contract by union members is set to end Friday night. — Ross Terrell


Utah issues new guidance in fight against COVID-19

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, Utah Epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen says you should assume you’re positive — instead of getting tested. The new guidance comes as Utah struggles to keep up with the demand for COVID tests. So far this week, the state has processed more than 44,000 tests a day. Officials also announced a pause on the “Test to Stay” program for schools — saying they weren’t catching cases quickly enough. In addition to the new guidance, health officials said the best way forward is getting vaccinated. Read the full story.Leah Treidler

Friday's COVID update 

The Utah Department of Health reported more than 11,000 new cases of COVID-19 Friday. The state’s positivity rate is now higher than 25% and 672 people are hospitalized with the disease. The state’s ICU beds remain mostly filled. Health officials said eight more people have died from the virus — half of them were from Salt Lake County, and two were younger than 45 years old. — Caroline Ballard

Utah’s drought situation improving due to December storms

December snow storms have helped Utah drought conditions start to rebound. According to state data, all of Utah has been downgraded from an exceptional drought. Still, about a third of the state is still experiencing extreme conditions. Overall, statewide water storage is at about 52% of capacity. That’s lower than it was last year at this time. But Utah’s snow-water equivalent is more than double the median for this time of year. That’s the measure of how much water there would be if the snow all melted. State officials said Utah is still about two and half months from when its snowpack typically peaks. — Ross Terrell

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