Today’s Utah local headlines – Friday night, December 17, 2021

Friday evening, December 17th, 2021


The unemployment rate in Utah is well below that of the country

Unemployment in Utah remains at a record low. According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the unemployment rate in November was 2.1% – half the national rate. About 34,500 Utahners are unemployed. The shortage of skilled workers is a problem nationwide. But Utah’s chief economist said while the state’s available workforce is shrinking, its economy is growing, which means the state’s labor needs are being met. – Caroline Ballard

State defends relationship with church in terms of welfare

Governor Spencer Cox defends the state’s welfare system. One recently ProPublica report found that Utah has counted for the past decade $ 75 million in social spending from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to its own federal obligations. Cox said the relationship between the Department of Workforce Services, the Church, and other partners allows the state to go further. He also said Utah now spends more on poverty than ever before, and Utah has the second lowest poverty rate in the country. – Sonja Hutson

Northern Utah

Another Utah student was arrested for bringing a gun to school

Salt Lake City police arrested an East High School student Friday who had brought a gun to school. East High administrators told the school’s resource officers about a social media post that allegedly showed a student holding a gun. The police said the person was arrested upon arrival at the school. The officers found a pistol and ammunition in her backpack. The student is currently being held in the Salt Lake Valley Detention Center. Similar threats were made across the country on Friday after an internet challenge encouraged children to use violence in their schools. – Caroline Ballard

Controversial Uinta Basin Railway gets the green light

A federal agency has approved the construction of the Uinta Basin Railway in eastern Utah. It will move crude oil out of the region and increase production. Heads of state welcomed this week’s decision, saying the 85-mile railroad would connect the region’s oil production to wider markets and boost economic activity. The project is expected to cost around $ 1.4 billion. Environmental groups say they will continue to fight the railroad. Deeda Seed of the Center for Biological Diversity said it will degrade local habitats and air quality. A right of way for the project is pending final approval by the US Forest Service. Read the full story. – Lexi Peery

Region / nation

Backcountry emergencies are on the rise

Many volunteer rescue groups in the hinterland recorded a record increase in emergency calls this year. In Teton County, Wyoming, a rescue team saw a nearly 30% increase, but they said the number of people in the backcountry was growing even faster. A search and rescue volunteer said this could be partly because beginners tend to stay closer to town or the trails, and when more people are out it is harder to get lost and easier to find help . Some other groups saw more extreme weather and heat calls. – Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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