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PM News Brief: Jobs, Mascots & Sundance Films

A still from the film Crip Camp showing a man smiling and holding another man, with another man standing beside him and another man in a wheelchair behind them.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute
"Crip Camp," a documentary about a group of disabled teens who met at summer camp and went on to start the disability-rights movement, had its world premiere opening night of Sundance Film Festival.

Friday evening, Jan. 24, 2020

STATE

New Utah Dinosaur Discovered

Researchers at the Natural History Museum of Utah have unveiled a new species of dinosaur. It’s a kind of allosaurus and it looks like a smaller version of the T-Rex. The animal’s fossil was first discovered about 30 years ago, but it took a long time to unearth the dinosaur’s bones and to get a better look at it. Once researchers did, they realized this was a different kind of allosaurus than the one we’ve known about since the 1870s. It has a weaker skull and is much older. It’s been named allosaurus jimmadseni after Utah’s first state paleontologist. Read the full story. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Democratic Presidential Hopefuls In Zion

Democratic candidates for president are beefing up their Utah presence ahead of Super Tuesday, which takes place March 3. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will launch a volunteer effort Saturday with an open house at his new campaign headquarters in Salt Lake City. Sen. Elizabeth Warren also announced senior staff picks this week for her Utah campaign, including an organizing director and regional directors for different parts of the state. Utah reliably votes Republican, but President Donald Trump won with around 45.5% of the vote in 2016 — the lowest percentage for a Republican presidential candidate in Utah since George H. W. Bush in 1992. — Caroline Ballard

Steering Higher Ed

Utah’s public colleges and universities and its technical colleges are currently governed by two separate boards. But a commission co-chaired by Republican state Sen. Ann Millner is working on legislation to put both systems under one umbrella. Millner says that will serve students and help institutions meet industry needs in the state. Legislative staff is working to have drafts of one or two bills ready for the general session which starts Monday. — Rocio Hernandez

Record Breaking Unemployment Numbers

Utah’s unemployment rate hit a record low again in December, reaching 2.3% unemployment. With that and 3.3% job growth, Utah has the top state economy in the U.S. Economist Mark Knold of the Department of Workforce Services says that while it might be easy to find a job, it’s going to remain difficult for employers to find people to hire. — Jessica Lowell

SOUTHERN UTAH

Mascot Controversy

Rep. Rex Shipp of Cedar City has proposed legislation to discourage the removal of “the names, images, and symbols of Native Americans and other indigenous people from schools or places.” This comes on the heels of a controversial city council vote in August to preserve the image of the city’s retired “redman” mascot on the side of one of its water tanks. The Utah League of Native American Voters has organized a protest against the legislation for Saturday at the state capital. Read the full story. — David Fuchs, St. George

NORTHERN UTAH

35th Sundance Film Festival

Park City’s streets have filled up once again as thousands of visitors descend for 10 days of movie madness. This year, there are 118 feature films, representing 27 countries. Sundance organizers say they had a record number of submissions, over 15,000 films. And despite the white male dominance of Oscar nominees, the festival has a diverse roster of filmmakers. In the U.S. Dramatic Competition, 47% of directors are women and 53% are people of color. The festival officially opened Thursday night with two documentary premieres. “Miss Americana,” a revealing look at pop star Taylor Swift, and “Crip Camp,” the story of a group of disabled teens who met at summer camp and went on to start the disability-rights movement.  — Jon Reed, Park City

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