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PM News Brief: Missionaries Leave Hong Kong, Wood Burning Pollution & Elder Fraud Indictment

Stock image of a wood-burning fireplace
Restrictions on wood burning stoves and fireplaces along the Wasatch Front have had a tremendous impact on improving air quality, a new University of Utah study found.

Wednesday evening, Feb. 5, 2020


State Of St. George

Strong, vibrant, and bright: that’s how Mayor Jon Pike described St. George during his State of the City address on Wednesday afternoon. His remarks largely focused on growth and big projects, with an eye towards development, transit, infrastructure and major events. Read the full story. — David Fuchs, St. George

Elder Fraud Indictment

Eight people have been indicted on charges of defrauding an elderly widow from Washington, Utah, of more than $273,000. The case alleges that the defendants offered to do odd-jobs around the woman’s property in exchange for money, which were then either not done or done poorly. One man is accused of engaging in romance fraud, telling her he intended to marry her. And the defendants are also accused of wire fraud and money laundering. The FBI continues to investigate the case. — Caroline Ballard


Vaping Addiction

Two studies conducted by Weber State University undergraduate students look at the addictive properties of vaping. They found low levels of nicotine create stronger cravings and withdrawal than expected. For years, studies have shown the adverse health effects of high nicotine levels. But study director Dr. Todd Hillhouse of Weber State University said the study showed that even low doses have the same level of nicotine dependence as high doses. — Grace Osusky

Restricting Wood Burning

Twenty-year-old restrictions on wood burning stoves and fireplaces along the Wasatch Front are found to have had a tremendous impact on improving air quality. A new University of Utah study looked at data from 2007 to 2017 and found the levels of dangerous particulate matter in the air specifically caused by wood burning went down by a factor of up to five. — Bob Nelson


Romney Makes History

Mitt Romney was the only senator to cross party lines in today’s impeachment vote. And he made history in doing so. He’s the first senator in history to vote to remove a president of his or her own party. Read the full story. — Nicole Nixon

Utah Delegation Responds

Members of Utah’s Congressional delegation are responding to the U.S. Senate’s acquittal of President Trump in his impeachment trial. — Caroline Ballard

  • Sen. Mike Lee voted not guilty on both articles of impeachment. In a statement, he said he voted to defend the president’s actions and against undoing the results of the 2016 election. 
  • Republican Rep. Chris Stewart said he was glad the charade has ended and wants Congress to get back to work. 
  • Republican Rep. John Curtis said he is relieved Congress can move forward, and that those who think the president should be removed from office will have the opportunity to vote in November.
  • Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams said he believes what the president did was wrong and that his actions warrant accountability, but that others reached different conclusions. 
  • Republic Rep. Rob Bishop has not commented.

Fact Checking Pres. Trump On Energy Production

During his state of the union address Tuesday, President Trump said the United States became the world’s number one oil and gas producer under his watch. But the truth is more complicated. Read the full story. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau


Missionaries Leaving Hong Kong

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is moving 113 missionaries out of its China Hong Kong Mission due to the spread of coronavirus. Missionaries will either be reassigned to new locations or honorably released if they were almost done with their mission. Twelve missionaries who were from Hong Kong will be sent home until the situation has stabilized. — Grace Osusky

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