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AM News Brief: Water For Navajo Nation, Kaysville Mayor Censured & Jazz Return To The Court

Photo of Navajo Mountain
Kate Groetzinger / KUER
Legislation securing water rights for the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation passed the U.S. Senate Thursday. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, June 5, 2020

Northern Utah

Kaysville Mayor Censured

The Kaysville City Council unanimously voted to censure Mayor Katie Witt Thursday. The move comes after Witt approved a concert in a park against the state’s COVID-19 guidelines and without the council’s consent, though the event’s organizers ended up moving the concert elsewhere. Witt said she was trying to support the group’s First Amendment right, while the council said her endorsement was politically motivated. Witt is also a Republican primary candidate for Utah’s 1st Congressional District. The council decided not to request her resignation because they don’t have the power to remove her from office. After the vote, she addressed the council and the public in a tense exchange. “If this request had been from Black Lives Matter, would you demand a 30-day waiting period and would you threaten to turn on sprinklers?” Witt said. — Emily Means

Man With Bow And Arrow Charged

The Taylorsville man captured on video aiming a bow and arrow at protesters in Salt Lake City over the weekend was charged Thursday with assault and weapon possession. Brandon McCormick was reportedly pushed to the ground on Saturday after pointing the bow and arrow at people protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. People then flipped over his car and set it on fire. — Associated Press

Heading Back To The Hoops

The Utah Jazz’s 2020 season will resume after all. The NBA voted Thursday to finish its season in a truncated format — with no fans in attendance — in Orlando. The Utah Jazz and 21 other teams will play eight more regular season games before the playoffs start. Teams can start practicing again in early July, with games set to begin on July 31. The League suspended its season in early March after Rudy Gobert, a player for the Jazz, tested positive for COVID-19. Fellow Jazz player Donovan Mitchell tested positive for the disease a few days after Gobert. — Ross Terrell

General Conference Will Remain Virtual

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ General Conference in October will be all-virtual because of lingering concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Its spring conference was also entirely online for the first time. Church leaders will be inside a small auditorium with only a few other people while speeches are broadcast live online around the world. As was the case in April, the general public is barred from attending in-person. The faith's top leaders said in a news release Thursday that they feel an obligation to act with caution. The event normally brings some 100,000 people to Salt Lake City to attend five sessions over two days. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

Dixie State Football Team Reflects On Racial Injustice

The Dixie State University football team held a meeting recently to discuss protests in Utah and across the nation about racial injustice and police brutality. Last night, hundreds of people took to the streets in St. George as part of a Black Lives Matter rally. The protest was attended by DSU’s football team. About a third of its players are black. The team’s head coach said he felt it was important to hear from some of his players about their experiences with race. More protests are planned for this weekend. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Controversial Concert Heads To Cedar City

A planned concert sponsored by activists opposed to coronavirus-related restrictions has been moved to Iron County later this month after being rejected by Kaysville and Tooele County. The Deseret News reported that Utah Business Revival founder Eric Moutsos announced on Facebook that the concert, now being touted as a small business event, is moving to the Iron Springs Adventure Resort on June 13. The announcement came days after Iron County Commissioner Paul Cozzens attended Moutsos' picnic event that was intended to replace the concert in Tooele County. The concert has drawn criticism for its potential to increase the risk of COVID-19 as people gather in large crowds. — Associated Press

State

Sen. Lee Calls D.C. Mayor “Ungrateful” For Utah National Guard

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Friday morning called for National Guard troops to leave the District. Nearly 200 Utah National Guard service members were deployed to the nation's capitol this week at the request of U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Ahead of Bowser's declaration that ended the state of emergency, Utah Sen. Mike Lee tweeted that the request is unacceptable. In the thread, he said “rioting, looting, arson and vandalism have all disappeared because these soldiers served.” Lee added that they’re being “kicked to the curb by an ungrateful mayor.” — Diane Maggipinto

Thursday’s COVID Counts

Utah Department of Health officials added 316 new cases of COVID-19 to the state’s count Thursday. It’s the eighth straight day of more than 200 new cases. Hospitalizations are also up. Nearly 120 people are now being treated for the virus in a healthcare facility. Health officials reported no new deaths, and more than 6,600 hundred people have recovered. Salt Lake City, Bluff and Mexican Hat remain in the moderate-risk phase of orange. The rest of Utah is in a low-risk, yellow phase. — Diane Maggipinto

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Region/Nation

Legislation Would Deliver Water To 2,000 Navajo Homes

Legislation securing water rights for the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation passed the U.S. Senate Thursday. The bill provides the Navajo Nation with the right to take water from the Colorado River Basin, and includes over $200 million for infrastructure, which would connect more than 2,000 homes to water, according to Navajo officials. Sen. Mitt Romney filed the bill last year to settle a decades-long legal battle over water rights in Southeast Utah. The bill now goes to the House. — Kate Groetzinger

Navajo Nation Extends Government Offices Closure

The Navajo Department of Health reported 69 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday across the Navajo Nation which includes areas in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. There were also five deaths. There are now 5,720 cases across the Nation. In Utah Navajo, the Utah Department of Health reported 291 total cases. Tribal President Jonathan Nez signed an order extending the closure of tribal government offices and entities to July 5. — Diane Maggipinto

Wyoming And Idaho Have Zero Prison And Jail COVID Cases

There have been more than 30,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in prisons and jails across 47 states. But two of the three states with zero cases are right in our region. While Wyoming and Idaho may have zero cases, experts believe that might be because of a lack of testing in those correctional facilities. — Amanda Peacher, Mountain West News Bureau

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