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PM News Brief: Trump Endorsement Deleted, Gray Wolf Spotted & Terrorism Charges Filed

Photo of a gray wolf
Wikimedia Commons
The Utah Department of Agriculture is setting traps to kill a gray wolf that was spotted in Northern Utah and reportedly killed livestock there.

Thursday evening, June 4, 2020

STATE

Utah Attorney General Deletes Trump Endorsement

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes deleted a tweet he shared earlier this week that featured a video endorsement from Donald Trump Jr. Reyes tweeted that he is honored to have Trump Jr. on his team. He received backlash from multiple Twitter users, who said they would no longer support him because of the endorsement. Matt Burbank, a political science professor at the University of Utah, said it is unusual that Reyes would rescind an endorsement from the Trump campaign, but it probably has something to do with the current political climate. Reyes is currently polling ahead of his primary opponent, Utah County Attorney David Leavitt. The Primary election is June 30. — Jessica Lowell 

More Than 300 New COVID Cases

The spike in new COVID cases in Utah continued Thursday as the state’s health department reported 316 new cases. That makes eight consecutive days of more than 200 new cases. Hospitalizations are also up, as nearly 120 people are currently in a health care facility for the virus. Fortunately, officials reported no new deaths and that more than 6,600 people have recovered. — Ross Terrell

Nearly Two Months Of Falling Unemployment Claims

The number of new unemployment claims in the state continues to drop. For the last week of May, 4,996 more Utahns filed for benefits, but that was still about 8.4% fewer than the week before. It’s also the first time since the pandemic started that the new weekly claims dipped below the previous record high from 2013. More than 93,000 Utahns in total received unemployment benefits. Kevin Burt with the Utah Department of Workforce Services said the decreases are encouraging, and that as the economy opens up, people are urged to go back to work when they can. — Caroline Ballard

Stuart Adams Tests Positive For COVID-19 Antibodies

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams has tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. He said he never got tested for the disease because he didn’t have any recognizable symptoms. Adams added that he did feel fatigued after the legislative session ended in mid-March, but attributed that to “session lag.” Antibody tests can have high false positive rates but Adams said he is cautiously optimistic he does have the antibodies and is looking into donating plasma. — Sonja Hutson

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

NORTHERN UTAH

Utah County Clerk Defends Voatz Campaign Contribution

Utah County Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers Gardner received a $1,500 campaign donation from an investor in the blockchain voting app Voatz in 2018, roughly 16 months before the county first used the app in its elections. But Powers Gardner said she’s been friends with the donor, Jonathan Johnson, since 2015 and the donation had nothing to do with implementing the app. She also said the county didn’t pay any money to use the app. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Lone Gray Wolf Seen In Northern Utah

The Utah Department of Agriculture is setting traps to kill a gray wolf spotted in Northern Utah. The animal reportedly killed livestock there. Gray wolves were exterminated in the state in the early 20th century and it’s thought that this lone animal came from Idaho or Wyoming. The gray wolf is not covered under federal endangered species act protections in that part of the state, which means it’s legal for it to be trapped and euthanized there. The conservation group The Center For Biological Diversity is asking the state not to trap the animal. — Caroline Ballard

SOUTHERN UTAH

Gouldings Lodge Opens Despite Residents’ Concerns

Hotels on the Navajo Nation are only allowed to house essential workers, as part of an ongoing effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. But Goulding’s Lodge is located on private property surrounded by the Navajo Nation, so it doesn’t have to abide by the Nation’s laws. That’s upsetting some residents of Monument Valley, who fear tourism could increase the infection rate. The Lodge said it’s taking extra precautions to keep people safe and is working with the Navajo Nation Health Department. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

REGION

Nevada Men Charged With Terrorism

Three Nevadans have been charged with terrorism, after plans to incite violence at recent protests against police brutality. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the three men all served in the United States military and are affiliated with the Boogaloo movement, an extremist group that is anti-government and heavily armed. The men face state and federal charges, and if convicted could face up to more than two life sentences. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau

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