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AM News Brief: Protest Cleanup, Food Benefits & Messy Campgrounds

Photo of buildings in downtown Salt Lake City
Brian Albers

Monday morning, June 1, 2020

Northern Utah

Vote For Change

Utah’s lone black lawmaker, Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, is calling on Utahns to register to vote in order to create systemic change. Her message comes after violent protests broke out in Salt Lake City Saturday night over the in-custody death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis. Now, she said, it’s time to turn attention to making systemic change to avoid incidents like Floyd’s death. One way to do that? Registering to vote and electing politicians with an eye toward criminal justice reform. — Sonja Hutson

Utah’s Black Lives Matter Call For Reform

Utah’s Black Lives Matter chapter didn’t plan Saturday’s protest in Salt Lake City, though they did encourage members to support it. But the group’s leader, Lex Scott, doesn’t believe those who destroyed property belong to the organization. At a press conference Sunday, Scott said inciting violence is not the goal of Black Lives Matter. Instead, she said, it’s about opposing police violence. Looking forward, Scott said activists are petitioning federal lawmakers to take up legislation that requires national police reform. The bill includes diversity and de-escalation training as well as creating a civilian review board to investigate police shootings. — Emily Means

Salt Lake City Cleanup

A day of intense protests through downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday left a wake of graffiti and vandalism as demonstrators spray painted buildings and smashed windows. But by early Sunday morning, the streets had calmed and crews — including a number of volunteers — were out to clean the wreckage. More cleaning efforts are underway Monday, but Mayor Erin Mendenhall said it will still take a few days to fully restore the city. — Jon Reed

Congressional Debates Monday

Four candidates vying to be the Republican candidate to unseat Utah’s lone congressional Democrat face off in a debate Monday. Rep. Ben McAdams won the 4th Congressional seat in 2018 by a razor thin margin and the district is high on national Republicans’ priority list. Former NFL player Burgess Owens, former radio talk show host Jay Mcfarland, state Rep. Kim Coleman and businessman Trent Christensen will take the stage at noon. — Sonja Hutson

The Democratic candidates for Utah’s 1st Congressional District will debate Monday at 3 p.m. Darren Parry and Jamie Cheek are the only Democrats in a primary election for Utah’s congressional races. Parry is the council chair of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, and Cheek is a licensed vocational rehabilitation counselor. The two qualified for the primary ballot during the state Democratic convention in April. The district’s current Rep. Rob Bishop will vacate the seat when his term ends this year. A Democrat hasn’t held it for nearly 40 years. — Emily Means

Both debates will stream on, as well as the Republican primary debate for Governor at 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday’s Republican debate for Attorney General and the Republican debate for Utah’s 1st Congressional District. The Governor and Attorney General debates will also be broadcast live on KUER, NPR Utah.


Four Days Mark Utah’s Highest Number Of COVID Cases

The Utah Department of Health reported 533 cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. The last four days have seen the highest number of new cases in the state since the start of the pandemic. Twenty-two more people have been hospitalized, and there were six deaths reported over the weekend — including two men under the age of 65. One was from Wasatch County and the other from Salt Lake County. Southwest Utah, which includes Washington and Iron counties, and Bear River, the health district for Cache and Box Elder Counties, have had the highest rate of increase over the last week. Bear River’s cases have more than doubled. — Elaine Clark

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Respect The Campgrounds

Outdoor recreation is one of the few options during the COVID-19 pandemic, and campsites are victim to a large uptick in positive and negative use. U.S.Forest Service rangers are encouraging the public to treat campgrounds respectfully, extinguish campfires and plan ahead for trips. Cache National Forest Logan District Ranger Jennefer Parker said irresponsible gun shooting, garbage and trespassing are all on the rise this season. However, an increase in unattended fires is prompting the most concern. Parker said multiple citations were recently issued for people who walked away from their campfires. — Associated Press


Expanded Food Benefits

As we head into the fourth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Agriculture is continuing to expand food benefits for people in need. But the boost in benefits doesn’t help people with the lowest income in our region. That’s because they were already receiving the highest possible amount. — Amanda Peacher, Mountain West News Bureau

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