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AM News Brief: Need For Speed, Wasatch Front Air & Protecting Wildland Firefighters

Traffic on Utah highway.
Istock.com / wsfurlan
Utah’s roads are emptier than usual with the state’s stay-at-home directive, but law enforcement officials have not seen a big drop in the number of speeding tickets. This and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.";s:

Tuesday morning, April 21, 2020

State

Restaurants And Bars And Pandemic Survival

Restaurants and bars were hit early and hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist, federal, state and local governments have extended a number of financial lifelines, including low-interest loans. Utah also allowed for the expedited refund for alcohol purchased through the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. But are they enough to sustain businesses through the pandemic? Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Fewer Cars, Just As Fast

Utah’s roads are emptier than usual with the state’s stay-at-home directive, but law enforcement officials have not seen a big drop in the number of speeding tickets. Nick Street with the Utah Highway Patrol says traffic is down by about 33%, but compared to March of last year, speeding tickets have only dropped by 8%. Street said there have only been 55 fatal accidents so far this year, compared to 58 this time last year. — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

State Of The Air

The Salt Lake City metro area is tied for seventh in the country for cities with the most short-term particle pollution according to the the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report, released Tuesday. The metro area also ranks 11th for ozone pollution. The report analyzed data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality System between 2016 to 2018. — Caroline Ballard

Police Search For Suspect In West Jordan Murders

West Jordan police are searching for a named suspect in the killing of Tony and Katherine Butterfield over the weekend. Sgt. J.C. Holt said investigators believe 31-year-old Albert Enoch Johnson of West Jordan knew the couple and forced his way into their home and killed them both. Holt says Johnson has a criminal record and calls the double homicide a targeted act, not random. He didn't say how the couple knew Johnson. The three Butterfield children, all younger than 4, were unharmed. — Diane Maggipinto

Region

Curtis Sponsors Bill To Protect Firefighters

COVID-19 is leading to significant strains on local emergency services and first responders. Utah Congressman Jon Curtis is co-sponsoring a bill to look at ways to protect firefighters ahead of wildfire season. The legislation would require regular reports from the Departments of Agriculture and Interior about efforts to address COVID-19. The reports would outline actions taken by the departments to prevent the spread of the virus, protect the respiratory health of local communities, and guard against future wildfire. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau

Challenges Of Reopening National Parks

Summer is when most national parks see peak visitation and revenue. Most in the Mountain West region remain closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and it remains unclear when or if they will reopen in the coming months. Yellowstone National Park’s Superintendent Cam Sholly said no they haven’t made any decisions yet, but parks have delayed hiring seasonal employees that rely on shared housing. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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