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AM News Brief: Headstone With Swastika To Be Removed, SLCPD Review Panel Meets & More Police Money

Photo of SLCPD and bus.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
Salt Lake City is allocating more than $84 million for the police department in next year’s budget. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.";

Wednesday morning, June 3, 2020

Northern Utah

Reviewing Salt Lake City Police

The Salt Lake City Police Department met Tuesday with leaders of the state’s black community. The conversation followed destructive protests nationwide and in Salt Lake City over police brutality. The conversation centered on the black community’s experience with police and how officers are trained to use force. State Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, said it was helpful and important because part of the anger and violence seen in protests here is the result of young people feeling like they aren’t being heard. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Salt Lake City Increases Police Department Budget

Salt Lake City is allocating more than $84 million for the police department in next year’s budget. The almost 3% increase in funding caused an outpour of public comment during a city council meeting Tuesday night, with about 300 people scheduled to speak. Residents raised issues about officers’ response to the protest against police brutality Saturday, and argued that those funds should be reallocated to education of the police and helping people experiencing homelessness. — Jessica Lowell

Tabby Canyon Fire Extinguished

The Tabby Canyon Fire and the North Stansbury Fire on Stansbury Island in Tooele County are completely contained. Utah wildfire officials said the human-caused flames burned over 19 square miles on Bureau of Land Management and private land. The Tabby Canyon Fire started from an illegal exploding target and the North Stansbury Fire ignited from heavy equipment use. The BLM West Desert District issued a fire prevention order last Sunday that restricts access to BLM parcels on the island and bans target shooting, camping and unnecessary traffic. — Diane Maggipinto

Headstone With Swastika Slated For Removal

Veterans Affairs said it will remove the headstone at the grave of a German prisoner of war buried at Fort Douglas Cemetery in Salt Lake City because the marker displays swastikas and markings related to the Nazi regime. Two others in Texas will also be removed. The agency plans to preserve the headstones in its National Cemetery Administration History Collection after they're replaced. The VA doesn’t have sole authority to remove the headstones because they’re in cemeteries protected by the National Historic Preservation Act. Officials said they'll seek guidance this month on how to replace the headstones with historically accurate markers without the Nazi swastika and German text. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

Capitol Reef Is Open

Capitol Reef National Park in south-central Utah is open. The Fruita Campground opened Tuesday, and the park's visitor center and Gifford House resumed operations Monday. Park rangers deployed a phased reopening after shutting down entirely because of the coronavirus pandemic. Visitor center restrooms are closed while they undergo a six week upgrade. — Diane Maggipinto

Fire Restrictions At Zion

Fire restrictions are in place at Zion National Park. Dry grass and flora mean high danger, and rangers have banned campfires and smoking. They said there's high risk of human-caused fire. Campfires and charcoal use in campgrounds, picnic areas and other improved sections of the park are banned and smoking is limited to inside a vehicle or areas cleared of vegetation. Fireworks and any pyrotechnics are always prohibited at Zion and on all federal lands. — Diane Maggipinto

State

Utah’s COVID-19 Cases Top 10,000

The number of COVID-19 cases in Utah topped 10,000 as of Tuesday according to the state’s Department of Health. 203 new cases were added to the count, marking the sixth consecutive day of cases numbering more than 200. State epidemiologist Angela Dunn said the spike is concerning, but the opening of the economy comes with increased risk of spread of the coronavirus. Dunn said recent protests could also contribute to higher numbers, and health officials will be watching how the events might impact cases over the next few weeks. — Jon Reed

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Region/Nation

Navajo Nation COVID-19 Cases

The Navajo Nation has reported four additional deaths related to the coronavirus, bringing the reservation total to 252 as of Tuesday. Among the more than 5,500 positives for COVID-19, the Navajo Department of Health reported 54 new cases. More than 35,000 tests have been administered, which Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says outpaces any state per capita. — Diane Maggipinto

Outdoors Act Goes To Vote

A bill to permanently fund conservation efforts and reduce maintenance backlogs will soon be up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-CO, introduced the Great American Outdoors Act back in March. The legislation would establish a new fund, financed by energy production on federal public lands and waters. The priority will be to tackle infrastructure projects across national parks, forests and public lands. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau

Oil Vs. Sage Grouse

The Trump administration's approval of exploratory drilling for oil in sage grouse habitat on federal land in eastern Nevada violates its own protection guidelines. That's according to conservationists, who said the decision ignores concerns raised by scientists about potential harm to the imperiled bird. Activists are asking the Bureau of Land Management to temporarily halt the Western Oil Exploration Company's plans to drill two oil wells on public lands about 40 miles west of Ely that are in habitat that's supposed to be off limits under a resource management plan adopted in 2015. — Associated Press

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