Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Senator Orrin Hatch listens to Dr. Greg Hudnall, founder of HOPE4Utah speak at a a suicide-prevention conference at East High School in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

Here’s a look at the news for Dec. 11.

What’s the deal with Hatch?

Rumors have circulated for months about the future of Sen. Orrin Hatch’s career. So what’s the deal?

Hatch’s tenure in the Senate has piqued the interest of both Utahns and politicians nationwide. Some sources say he’ll step aside in the 2018 midterm election, paving the way for Mitt Romney to run. Others remain skeptical, according to the Deseret News.

Chris Karpowitz, co-director of BYU's Center for Study of Elections and Democracy, told the Deseret News that Utah voters felt a slight bit of fatigue when Hatch ran again in 2012. And that feeling may only grow.

"I think it's a harder sell this time around," he said. "If there was a sense of voter fatigue in 2012, that same feeling is more palpable and maybe more widespread in 2018."

Read more at the Deseret News.

California fires expand

The Thomas Fire in California has blazed into something historic, covering an area that’s larger than New York City and Boston combined, according to CNN.

The fire covers nearly 230,000 acres and is the fifth-largest fire in modern California history, CNN reported.

Firefighters have contained between 10 and 15 percent of the fire. Rain is not expected to fall in the area over the next few days.

One death has been reported so far.

Read more at CNN.

Utah dentistry: A look at the numbers

A new study from the Utah Medical Education Council found that working in dentistry is a rarity among Utah women, according to the Deseret News.

The study found that the workforce is “overwhelmingly male,” the Deseret News reported, as only about 4 percent of Utah dentists are women. About 28.9 percent of dentists are women nationwide, according to the report.

Dr. Gary Lowder, director of student admissions for the U.'s School of Dentistry, said the University of Utah is actively seeking new dentists.

"We're reaching out to high school students more and in the process using our current students to do that. They relate well. I'm also traveling to the surrounding states in our region and visiting the universities there to let them know who we are, what we're doing and invite their students to apply," Lowder said.

Read more at the Deseret News.

Number of homeless Utahns increases

New data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development revealed that the amount of homeless people in Utah climbed 1.6 percent this year, according to the Deseret News.

In fact, a one-night count of the state’s homeless found 2,852 people were homeless.

In total, 278 of those homeless were unsheltered.

The numbers have gained national attention.

Comment on this story

“With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets," Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. "This is not a federal problem — it’s everybody’s problem.”

Read more at the Deseret News.

More reading:

  • Putin makes first visit to Syria, lauds victory over ISIS and announces withdrawals [The Washington Post]
  • Jerusalem: Netanyahu expects EU to follow US recognition [BBC]
  • Catalonia independence: Spain removes art work from Lleida [BBC]
  • 'We are killing innocent people': Stunned doctor warns of opioid danger, even when taken as prescribed [Deseret News]