‘We’re prepared’: Utah County election officials make improvements to prevent past problems

PROVO — Election officials in Utah County said they have made improvements to prevent issues that have plagued the county in the past.

After polling locations experienced long lines lasting more than three hours on midterm election night in 2018, Governor Gary Herbert criticized Utah County as the “epicenter of dysfunction.”

For next month’s general election, the county’s new clerk/auditor promises things will be better.

“When you look at what I’ve been able to accomplish in a short amount of time, it’s because I was able to secure the resources for the equipment and literally the best team in the state,” said Utah County Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers Gardner.

Since Powers Gardner took office in 2019, she’s hired new staff and purchased new ballot-counting machines. She said they now have the largest scanners in the state, which can process 600 ballots per minute.

“I’ve worked tirelessly to make sure that my staff has the resources they need to serve those people,” she said.

Powers Gardner is expecting a lot of people to show up at polling locations on November 3 because this will be Utah County’s first presidential election with vote-by-mail and she worries that some may not be used to it.

“We have over-prepared for the people we expect at the polls,” she said. “We know that we’re going to have a lot. We’re prepared to serve three times the number people at the polls that voted in 2018.”

For those voting in person, she’s also implementing a new system to let voters check-in using their phones.

Utah County Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers Gardner talks to KSL about improvements Utah County has made to prevent voting delays. (Photo: KSL TV)

“Then you can go wait in the comfort of your own car, listen to your own music, and when it’s your

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Transport officials plan Napier Rd safety improvements

Traffic lights are planned to improve safety at the Napier Rd-Roberts Line intersection.

David Unwin/Stuff

Traffic lights are planned to improve safety at the Napier Rd-Roberts Line intersection.

Safety concerns on State Highway 3 heading east out of Palmerston North have prompted transport officials to decide traffic lights should be installed at the busy Roberts Line intersection.

The lights are expected to make it safer for all traffic, especially cyclists and pedestrians, from Kelvin Grove wanting to cross SH3-Napier Rd to get to the Manawatū River shared pathway.

There will be a pathway beside the highway from Roberts Line to Sutton Place to complete the off-road route.

NZ Transport Agency director of regional relationships Emma Speight said the decision to make improvements came after reviewing public feedback. That consultation happened in August 2018.

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Money had been released for the detailed design and consenting work, which would go out to tender shortly, while a budget was still to be secured for the actual construction.

It could be six to 12 months before the designs were completed.

The agency said it had decided to give priority to the Roberts Line intersection, while it would continue to monitor the other intersections on the 3.4 kilometre stretch of SH3-Napier Rd from Keith St to Stoney Creek Rd.

Palmerston North City Council chief executive Heather Shotter said the plan would help answer concerns people had held for many years.

The improvements would help overcome the safety problems that had arisen as urban development stretched out towards Ashhurst, while the road still had a state highway role.

City councillor Leonie Hapeta, who lived in Kelvin Grove until recently, said the decision on traffic lights was fantastic news.


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NC Coronavirus: COVID 19 cases still increasing in nursing homes as officials loosen visitor restrictions

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have been hot spots for the novel coronavirus.

Not only do these facilities bring people into close quarters where the virus can spread more easily, but Catherine Sevier, the president of the North Carolina chapter for AARP, said residents in these facilities are some of the most vulnerable to the infection.

“The biggest risk factor for dying from COVID is being older, having a comorbid condition, having another condition that puts you at risk and then being in congregate living,” Sevier said. “So when you put those three things together, that is ‘nursing home’ in bright lights.”

Back in April, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper instituted strict restrictions for nursing homes, banning visitors and closing common spaces to limit the spread of the virus. However, cases still began to spread throughout the facilities.

In early May, weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes increased by 20%. By the end of that month, more than 3,000 residents were infected and more than 400 were dead.

Now, nursing home residents account for 40% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. In September, cases and deaths increased by nearly 7% and 31 facilities reported new outbreaks.

According to data submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in the last two months, 104 nursing homes statewide reported three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases in a week. Ninety-three nursing homes reported their first case in the last two months.

But Sevier said isolating residents can have detrimental psychological impacts, and he believes plans to reopen to some degree are necessary for patient and family peace of mind.

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“We’ve now realized

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Bannur drowning incident: ‘Officials, contractors were negligent’ | Mysuru News

Mysuru: The Karnataka Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) has sought a detailed report into the tragic death of the children of labourers in Ballari.
Rohit, Sanjay Kumar and Kaveri, aged 2 to 4 years, drowned in a pond in Ankanahalli, Bannur hobli, T Narasipur taluk on September 22 when their parents were at work in a sugarcane field.
KSCPCR chairman Anthony Sebastin told TOI that the commission, following the tragedy, did a spot inspection and investigated the matter. “We have found lapses on the part of officials in ensuring safety measures when a large number of children are present at a place,” he said.
The commission will issue direction to departments concerned to invoke specific provisions of law and bring those responsible for the death of children, the chairman added.
KSCPCR member ML Parashuram explained that their investigation has revealed that the labourers were hired by a factory to harvest sugarcane crops. Nearly 900 workers had arrived from Ballari alone and were working in fields in Bannur hobli. “About 80 children, including 40 school-going kids below the age of 14 years, had also arrived with their parents, according to our assessment,” he added.
The commission observed that the labourers— mostly from scheduled castes and tribes— were kept in an unhygienic condition and were living in tarpaulin sheds erected in revenue lands at five different locations. Electricity connection was given by laying live wires on the ground thus exposing children to danger, while potable water was not arranged for the families.
“Officers of all departments concerned including CESC, education, revenue, police, panchayath raj and health have failed in their duties in protecting the interest of children. A meeting was held with officers concerned during the visit. A report has been sought from deputy tahsildar of Bannur region with regard
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Public health officials concerned about potential COVID exposure among evacuated residents of 2 nursing homes

Residents at two east Santa Rosa nursing homes that for months have successfully kept their patients free of COVID-19 were forced to evacuate their residents, sending them to evacuation centers, family homes and other facilities during the Glass fire earlier this week.

The emergency evacuations of those most vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic is raising concerns among health officials of potential exposure to the virus in the community.

Spring Lake Village on Montgomery Drive and Summerfield Healthcare Center on Summerfield Road were both evacuated the night of the fire, their residents sent to several locations, including other nursing facilities, family homes and evacuation centers.

“It is very worrisome that people who had no contact to COVID had to potentially go to situations where they could be exposed to COVID, especially that vulnerable population that we’re trying to really keep safe,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s health officer.

Mase said the public health division has strict guidance for screening inside emergency shelters and evacuation centers. Evacuees are asked if they’ve come into contact with anyone who is COVID-positive, and temperatures are taken. Anyone who fails a temperature check or exhibits symptoms is tested for the virus.

“If anyone answers yes to these questions, they get a rapid test before they are allowed to to be in the shelter,” Mase said, adding that local public health staff members are working closely with the two skilled nursing homes to ensure that people are not sent somewhere where they might contract the virus.

That includes other skilled nursing homes that have had cases among their residents.

All 51 residents of Spring Lake Village on Montgomery Drive, near the north side of Annadel State Park, were taken to evacution centers at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building and the Petaluma Community Center the night

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