Local Utah Headlines – Tuesday Night, November 2, 2021

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Tuesday evening November 2, 2021

State

Utah is having a relatively mild 2021 fire season

Utah fire officials are moving away from the term “fire season” because they occur year round. People have started about half of the fires in Utah this year and in 2020 humans have caused nearly 80%. Kayli Yardley, of the Utah Forestry, Fire and Crown Lands Division, said this is a promising development, but people need to be careful. Phil Dennison, a geography professor at the University of Utah, said fire activity next year will depend on snowstorms in the months to come. He said no matter what happens this winter, it will take many years to get out of the current drought. Read the full story. Lexi peery

Mastering elk hunting licenses

The Utah Wildlife Division wants to add general season elk hunting licenses to the big game draw for one year. Permits are typically sold online and over the counter, but in recent years officials have said they have grown in popularity and overtaken the licensing system. In 2019, DWR sold all 15,000 permits in 11 days. Last year they sold out in eight hours. And this year, more than 17,000 permits were gone in 10 hours. Officials said that by adding the permits to the raffle over a trial period, they would be able to assess the pros and cons before coming up with a permanent solution. The public can influence the changes online at Wildlife.utah.gov. – Ross Terrell

Supply Chain Issues Affecting Utah School Lunch Programs

Labor shortages and supply chain issues are plaguing Utah’s school lunch programs. The state’s Board of Education said in a press release Tuesday that meant reduced menu options, frequent changes and food substitutions. Some dining room favorites, like Orange Chicken, aren’t available as often this year. Education officials said many districts are also struggling to hire enough people to make full use of their food programs. Meanwhile, officials said Child Nutrition staff were working with organizations nationwide to find solutions. Many school catering services are also hiring immediately. Despite the disruption, eligible students from low-income households can still receive school meals for free. – Martha harris

Low-income households eligible for water assistance under the HEAT program

Low-income households in Utah can now get help paying their water bills. The state’s Department of Workforce Services announced on Tuesday that the new financial aid will be part of the Home Energy Assistance Target or HEAT program. The program currently covers heating and cooling costs for households earning less than 150% of the federal poverty line. That’s just under $ 40,000 a year for a family of four. Last year, HEAT helped over 32,000 households pay their utility bills. Applications for water assistance are now open for people who have not requested assistance under the program since October 2020. – Martha harris

Region / Nation

The impact of COVID on the delay in healthcare

Many Westerners delayed healthcare during the Delta Variant wave. That’s according to a recent survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. In 12% of households in our region, at least one person has had to go without medical attention for a serious problem in the past few months. These findings are consistent with national trends. John Packham of the University of Nevada, Reno, said it could be because people who lost income during the pandemic cannot afford the personal expenses. Many hospitals in the area have turned away people because they are overwhelmed with patients with the Delta variant. Whatever the cause, any delay in getting health care can make symptoms even more acute. – Bert Johnson, Mountain West Information Office


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