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AM News Brief: Overflow shelter, Navajo nation booster mandate & supporting Tongans in Utah

A sign that says Navajo Nation Welcome Center with another sign hanging on it that says 1st dose of Pfizer vaccine today.
Kate Groetzinger
The Utah Navajo Health System held a drive through vaccination event in Monument Valley on February 11, 2021. The Health System operates four non-profit health clinics in San Juan County, Utah.

Monday morning, Jan. 17, 2022


End of Life bill returning to the Utah legislature

Utah lawmaker Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, is attempting to bring back her End of Life bill for the fourth time. It would allow a patient with a terminal illness to obtain a prescription from their physician to aid in dying. Patients have to meet certain requirements to go through the process. Dailey-Provost said it’s important to keep fighting for these treatment options and keep conversations around end-of-life treatment options going. Margaret Battin, who teaches internal medicine at the University of Utah, has advocated for physician aid-in-dying for years. Battin said it’s good there are strict guidelines to this type of legislation — like the decision having to be self-voluntary. Read the full story.Ivana Martinez

Salt Lake City police offer help to the Tongan community

The Salt Lake City police chief offered support to Tongan residents after a massive volcano erupted Saturday in the Pacific Island nation causing catastrophic damage. Up to 80,000 people may have been affected, but reports of the scope of the damage are limited. Tongan Americans — including those in Utah — have been struggling to communicate with family on the islands since the eruption. Salt Lake City and West Valley City are home to the largest Tongan communities in the United States, and one quarter of all Tongan Americans live in Utah. As of Sunday night, no casualties had been confirmed. — Leah Treidler

Northern Utah

Overflow shelter opening for high risk people

A temporary winter overflow facility for high risk, unsheltered people is opening Tuesday in Salt Lake City according to a statement from the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness. The shelter will serve people with complex medical conditions and those over 65 years old. It will also provide free access to three meals per day, laundry services, case management, medical care and housing support. The shelter will be open 24 hours a day, and it will temporarily house up to 150 people at a former Ramada Inn. — Leah Treidler

MLK Day events in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City residents can attend a number of events throughout the week to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That includes a march from East High to Kingsbury Hall Monday at 2 p.m. The Salt Lake branch of the NAACP will hold a memorial luncheon Monday at noon at the Little America Hotel, and Thanksgiving Point is hosting a service event Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The University of Utah will also hold events throughout the rest of the week including a keynote speech, an M.L.K. evening with the arts and a virtual panel discussion about Black life in Salt Lake City. King gave a speech about the civil rights movement at the University of Utah in 1961. — Leah Treidler


Boosters required for some in the Navajo Nation

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has signed an executive order requiring all government workers on the Navajo reservation to get a booster shot. Nez also said tribal health officials have redefined the term “fully vaccinated” to mean two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine plus a booster shot. The actions come as COVID cases reach record highs on the reservation. Tribal health officials reported 525 new cases Friday — the most in a single day since the pandemic began. — Associated Press

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

New fund for western water projects

Western communities now have a chance to dip into a big pot of federal money to help solve their water problems. The Interior Department is offering a billion dollars to develop new water sources across the region. Communities can apply for grants for a wide range of projects aimed at a region suffering from historic drought. The Lake Mead and Lake Powell reservoirs have been getting smaller for years, and federal officials ordered water usage to be cut in some areas served by the Colorado River late last year. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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