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News Brief: Salt Lake Council Vacancy, Oil And Gas Reserves & Abby Huntsman Returns

Headshot of Abby Huntsman
Wikimedia Commons
Abby Huntsman announced she will leave her position as a co-host of daytime talk show "The View" to help her father, Jon Huntsman Jr., campaign for Utah governor.

Monday evening, Jan. 13, 2020


Utah’s Asylum Cases

Immigration judges across the U.S. decided on a record number of asylum cases — about 67,000 — in 2019. That’s according to data by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a think tank at Syracuse University. Utah’s immigration judges made 874 decisions in 2019, but only 98 of those were to grant asylum. Read the full story. — Rocio Hernandez

Bishop Won’t Seek Governor’s Office

Congressman Rob Bishop said he will not run for Utah governor this year. Instead, he’s endorsing Thomas Wright, a former chairman of the Utah Republican Party. Not only does Wright have conservative credentials, Bishop said, but he’s impressed by the former party chairman’s “exciting” and “innovative” ideas for issues like education. Bishop has served 18 years in the U.S. House but plans to retire from Congress after his term ends this year. — Nicole Nixon

Another Huntsman Returns

Abby Huntsman announced she will leave her position as a co-host of daytime talk show “The View” to help with her father’s campaign for Utah governor. Huntsman came to the show in 2018, after stints at MSNBC, NBC and Fox News. This is Jon Huntsman Jr.’s third campaign for governor — he left shortly into his second term to become ambassador to China. — Caroline Ballard

LDS Church Membership Growth

Membership growth in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah has slowed to its lowest level in decades. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the church added just 4,900 members in Utah between October 2018 and September 2019. By comparison, the faith added more than 40,000 new members in 2013, which was the high mark of the last decade. — Associated Press


Salt Lake City Council Vacancy

Former city councilwoman Erin Mendenhall was sworn in last week as Salt Lake’s 36th mayor, leaving her District 5 council seat open. The Council has 30 days after the vacancy to appoint a replacement to finish her term. That ends in January 2022. The deadline to apply for the seat is Tuesday at 5 p.m. Salt Lake City’s District 5 includes the Ballpark, Central Ninth, East Liberty Park and Liberty Wells neighborhoods. — Elaine Clark

First Female Presiding Judge In Fourth District

Utah’s Fourth Judicial District will have its first female presiding judge. Judge Jennifer A. Brown was elected to the position this week by the other Fourth District Court Judges. Brown served as associate presiding judge since 2017. The Fourth District is Utah’s second largest district and covers a population of more than 680,000 in Wasatch, Utah, Juab and Millard counties. Judge Brown joins other female presiding judges in Utah’s First, Second, Third and Seventh districts. — Jessica Lowell


Grand Staircase Escalante Advisory Councils

The Bureau of Land Management announced Monday that it is seeking nominees for a new citizens’ advisory council in Utah. The council will provide guidance and recommendations on land management decisions within the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Any Utah resident is eligible for a seat, and the window to submit nominations to the Federal Register closes on Feb. 24. — David Fuchs, St. George


Oil And Gas Reserves

Proved reserves are the amount of oil or gas that we can get out of the ground affordably and with current technology. And recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that in 2018, those reserves reached historic peaks. The Mountain West reserves were mixed. Some states saw their gas reserves decrease. Oil reserves in Wyoming and Colorado went up, and Utah’s oil reserves increased to 430 million barrels in 2018. However, its proved natural gas reserves did shrink. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau


Counting College Students

The U.S. Census Bureau is advising college students to be counted in the town or city where they are currently living, even if they have plans to move away after graduation. Officials say counting college students is important for properly funding resources like roads, public transportation and health clinics. There are at least 30 colleges and universities currently operating in Utah. — Caroline Ballard

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