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PM News Brief: Romney's Vote, United Utah Candidate & Monument Valley Highway

Photo of Lost Mesa from Paiute Mesa, near Navajo Mountain, Utah.
Kate Groetzinger
The view of Lost Mesa from Paiute Mesa, near Navajo Mountain, Utah. A proposed road between Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain would cross this canyon.

Friday evening, Jan. 31, 2020


Monument Valley Highway

A proposed highway that would connect Monument Valley to the remote community of Navajo Mountain got one step closer to reality Thursday. In a statement, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said he is now looking to fund the project. A Navajo Mountain official says the highway, which has been in the works for 40 years, would improve access to healthcare and attract tourism to the remote community of 700 residents. The Navajo Nation Department of Transportation expects the road to cost over $100 million. Nez said he plans to partner with San Juan County and the state of Utah on the project.— Kate Groetzinger, Blanding


I-80 Closure

Eastbound lanes of I-80 at Union Pacific Railroad in Tooele County will be temporarily closed Saturday afternoon. Striping activities will close the lanes between 1 and 3 p.m. Drivers will be detoured to SR 201 during that time. — Caroline Ballard


Utah Governor Candidates Debate

Six Republican candidates for Utah governor sparred in a debate Friday at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, and it included a spirited discussion about tax breaks. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

United Utah Party Candidate Joins 2nd Congressional Race

Joe Jarvis announced his candidacy for Congress Thursday in Utah’s Second District, which includes Salt Lake City, St. George and Tooele. He will be running as a member of the United Utah Party, an independent party created after the 2016 presidential election. Four Republicans and three Democrats have announced their candidacies for the seat. Republican Chris Stewart has represented the district since 2013 and will be running for re-election. — Jessica Lowell


Navajo Code Talker Dies At 96

One of the few remaining Navajo Code Talkers who used their native language to confound the Japanese in World War II has died. The family of Joe Vandever Sr. says he died Friday of health complications in Haystack, New Mexico. He was 96. He was among hundreds of Navajos who served in the U.S. Marine Corps transmitting messages using a code based on the Navajo language. It was never broken. Just a handful of Navajo Code Talkers are now still alive. — Associated Press


Romney’s Vote Not Enough

As expected, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney voted to call witnesses in the Senate Impeachment Trial of President Donald Trump. Romney was one of only two Republican senators to break with their party and vote to call witnesses, along with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. At least four Republican senators needed to vote for witnesses in order for the measure to pass. Utah Sen. Mike Lee voted not to call witnesses. He said in a statement that they have seen video of witnesses, arguments and supporting documents, and that he knows what happened. — Caroline Ballard

Putting Grazing Out To Pasture

New legislation introduced by a Democrat in the U.S. House Thursday would make it easier for conservation groups to remove cattle from federal lands. The proposed law would allow environmentalists to buy grazing permits from ranchers who were willing sellers and then retire them ... essentially ending grazing permanently on those public lands the rancher was using. It’s supported by more than a dozen environmental groups but opposed by the ranching industry. — Read the full story. Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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