Outside the Outbreak: Salt Lake water levels pose challenges, fewer working-age people may slow economy

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Wildlife, air quality at risk as Great Salt Lake nears low

The Great Salt Lake recedes from Anthelope Island on May 4, 2021, near Salt Lake City. The lake has been shrinking for years, and a drought gripping the American West could make this year the worst yet. The receding water is already affecting nesting pelicans that are among millions of birds dependent on the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The silvery blue waters of the Great Salt Lake sprawl across the Utah desert, having covered an area nearly the size of Delaware for much of history. For years, though, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River has been shrinking. And a drought gripping the American West could make this year the worst yet.

The receding water is already affecting the nesting spot of pelicans that are among the millions of birds dependent on the lake. Sailboats have been hoisted out of the water to keep them from getting stuck in the mud. More dry lakebed getting exposed could send arsenic-laced dust into the air that millions breathe.

Fewer working-age people may slow economy. Will it lift pay?

In this May 26, 2021 photo, a sign for workers hangs in the window of a shop along Main Street in Deadwood, S.D. The U.S. working-age population shrank last year for the first time on record, as immigration slowed sharply, millions of Americans reached retirement age, and thousands died from the coronavirus.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

As America’s job market rebounds this summer and the need for workers intensifies, employers won’t likely have a chance to relax anytime soon. Worker shortages will likely persist for years after the fast-reopening economy shakes off its growing pains.

Consider that the number of working age people did something last year it had never done in the nation’s history: It shrank.

Still, some economists foresee a silver lining for individuals: Fewer people of working age could compel companies to compete harder to hire and retain employees. And that could mean higher pay, better opportunities and other inducements to keep and attract workers, a trend already evident in the June jobs report the government released July 2.

Boy Scouts bankruptcy plans anger some, welcomed by others

FILE – In this Feb. 18, 2020, file photo, Boy Scouts of America uniforms are displayed in the retail store at the headquarters for the French Creek Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Summit Township, Pa. An $850 million agreement by the Boy Scouts of America to compensate sex-abuse victims prompted outrage Friday, July 2, 2021, from some abuse survivors and their advocates, while others were encouraged and saw it as the best outcome that could be achieved under the circumstances. (Christopher Millette/Erie Times-News via AP, File)

An $850 million agreement by the Boy Scouts of America to compensate sex-abuse victims prompted outrage on July 2 from some survivors and their advocates, while others were encouraged and saw it as the best outcome that could be achieved under the circumstances.

The agreement, filed in court late on July 1 as a step toward resolving a complex bankruptcy case, includes the BSA national leadership, abuse victims, local Boy Scout councils and lawyers appointed to represent victims who might file future claims.

Tribes say voting access hurt by US Supreme Court ruling

FILE – In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, photo, Brandon Nez displays his flag at near his jewelry stand in Monument Valley, Utah, where tourists stand the highway to recreate a famous running scene from the movie “Forest Gump”. As Native American tribes around the country fight for increased access to the ballot box, Navajo voters in one Utah county could tip the balance of power in the first general election since a federal judge ordered overturned their voting districts as illegally drawn to minimize native voices. Native Americans weren’t granted U.S. citizenship until 1924, and even then some states prohibited them from voting for decades if they lived on reservations or couldn’t pass an English literacy test. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Voters in Apache County had to cast ballots at the polling location they were assigned. People registered in Navajo County could vote anywhere in the county. Coconino County used a hybrid model.

The Navajo Nation has long argued the approach is inconsistent and confusing, leading to ballots being rejected and tribal members being denied the same opportunity to vote as others in Arizona.

The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed on July 1 in a broader case over Arizona voting regulations, upholding a prohibition on counting ballots cast in the wrong precinct and returning early ballots for another person.

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