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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

State Leaders Break Ground on New UT Fire Operations Center

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Thursday, June 29, 2023   

Utah state leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new firefighting center to be built along the Wasatch Front.

Jamie Barnes, director of forestry, fire and state lands for the Utah Department of Natural Resources, said the new building is "a step forward for the state's wild land's fire program." She noted the new building will serve as the headquarters for the state's fire program, which responds to fires on state and private land, and also helps support other agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Barnes pointed out on average, the Beehive state experiences more than 700 wildfires a year.

"These fires pose a threat to public health and public safety," Barnes emphasized. "This new facility will help our state firefighters fulfill their objectives for responding and managing these wildfires throughout the state of Utah."

Barnes added the center will also function as a training center and strengthen the state's wildfire response program. Barnes called it "an exciting adventure."

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said as the state's population has grown, it has become important to professionalize the state's fire fighting capabilities and the management of public lands. She noted as homes are built in what she calls "places that are less than ideal from a wildfire perspective," like Elk Ridge and Woodland Hills which were threatened by wildfire in 2018, the need for collaboration among agencies is important.

"We need the work, the partnership that happens with the state agency, with the division, the Lone Peak Hotshots and all of their partners for that fire suppression for fuels reduction," Henderson stressed. "For other project works that keeps our citizens safe, improves forest health and protects our watersheds and other natural resources."

The new facility will replace the Lone Peak Conservation Center headquarters, which were located at the former State Prison grounds since the 1970s.


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