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AM News Brief: Pets and domestic abuse, Provo River restoration & Lt. Gov. positive for COVID

A bridge surrounded by trees spans a river.
Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission
The latest Utah news from Monday morning, Jan. 24, 2022. That story and more in this morning's news brief.

Monday morning, Jan. 24, 2022

State

Lieutenant Governor confirms she has COVID

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday and is cancelling public events this week. Her office said in a statement she is “doing well under the circumstances.” Henderson is fully vaccinated and has received the booster. Spokespeople for Henderson and Gov. Spencer Cox did not respond to questions about whether she had close contact with the governor in the days leading up to her positive test. Henderson sat next to First Lady Abby Cox Thursday night during the governor’s State of the State address. They were both unmasked. Henderson also had COVID in August of 2020 — landing her in the emergency room multiple times and she had to be put on oxygen. — Sonja Hutson

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Pets and domestic violence

Utah domestic violence survivors would have more options for protecting their pets under a proposal in the state Legislature. The Salt Lake Tribune reports H.B. 175 would allow survivors to include their pets on court-issued protective orders. That would prohibit the abuser from harming, threatening or trying to take possession of the animal. According to advocates, up to a quarter of survivors will go back to an abusive partner because they're worried about a pet. Advocates also say more than 70% of pet owners who arrive at a domestic violence shelter say their abuser had also threatened or harmed their animal. — Associated Press

Northern Utah

COVID isolation without a home

COVID-19 cases are surging, and that’s a problem for unsheltered people who are infected and don’t have a place to isolate. Some service providers are working to mitigate the spread among the community. Heather Hogue is with Mountainland Continuum of Care in Utah County. Over the last week, Hogue has been trying to figure out where to isolate people — looking at places like hotels and isolation centers. "I believe that we have the funding to put people up in a safe place. It's just — how many hotels are available? What [does] the vacancy rate look like right now? Are they ready for us?" Hogue said. Other organizations like Fourth Street Clinic in Salt Lake also recently received funds to assist with their efforts. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Funding for Provo River restoration

$10 million of federal infrastructure funding will go toward restoring the lower Provo River that runs into Utah Lake. That’s according to the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission. The money will go toward improving the ecosystem to provide a habitat for the threatened young June sucker — a native fish that only lives naturally in Utah Lake. The money will also help build and improve trails, a viewing tower and a community park, among other things. The project started nearly two years ago and is expected to wrap up in 2024. — Sonja Hutson

Region/Nation

John Stockton refuses to mask

Utah Jazz basketball legend John Stockton had his season tickets for Gonzaga University basketball games suspended because he refused to comply with the university's mask mandate. Stockton is a Gonzaga alumnus and confirmed the move in a Saturday interview with the Spokane, Washington newspaper The Spokesman-Review. He has claimed without evidence that more than 100 professional athletes have died after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Experts told the Associated Press there is “no scientific evidence” that either COVID-19 or the mRNA vaccines have increased sudden cardiac arrest among athletes. — Associated Press

Senators want to revisit Child Tax Credit

Expanded federal Child Tax Credit payments ended in December — slashing financial support for millions of low- and middle-income families. Meanwhile, rising rents and high inflation are driving up the cost of living across the Mountain West. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-CO, wants to make the expanded benefits permanent, and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, is sponsoring a bill that seeks to widen the tax credit. Bennet said the policy could help unify the country because the expanded benefits have been good for rural and urban voters. — Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

Corrected: January 24, 2022 at 9:25 AM MST
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the status of John Stockton's Gonzaga University basketball season tickets. They have been suspended.
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