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PM News Brief: Utah Attorney General Race, Saving The June Sucker & Salt Lake City Farmer's Market

Photo of a river
Ken Lund via Flickr
Utah's Department of Natural Resources and other stakeholders broke ground Thursday on a new project that will restore the Provo River Delta.

Thursday evening, June 11, 2020

STATE

Gov. Herbert Announces Changes Aimed At Criminal Justice

Gov. Gary Herbert announced a slew of changes aimed at criminal justice reform Thursday. Heads of the Division of Multicultural Affairs and Division of Indian Affairs will now directly report to Herbert and be a part of senior leadership meetings. All state employees will also be required to undergo implicit bias training. Herbert is also requiring the Department of Public Safety and Department of Corrections to enforce, across the board, training that bans chokeholds. The public safety commissioner will deliver a report to Herbert of potential policy or law changes to promote police transparency by July 1. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Unemployment And COVID-19 Update

For the first time since early April, the number of new unemployment claims grew week over week. More than 5,400 Utahns filed for new benefits during the first week of June, up 9% from the week before, according to the Department of Workforce Services. Health officials also announced the state has now seen more than 13,200 cases of COVID-19. Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert said due to the recent spike, most of the state would not move to a lower risk level. Officials also announced three new deaths. Two were hospitalized, one had been living in a long term care facility. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Republican Voters Still Unsure On Attorney General Race

In the race for Utah attorney general, 43% of likely Republican voters have yet to decide who to support. That’s according to a recent poll by the Salt Lake Tribune and Suffolk University. If the June 30 primary election were held today, 31% said they would side with current Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, while 26% favor Utah County Attorney David Leavitt. The race between the two has been contentious. Leavitt has criticized Reyes for being too political, and Reyes said Leavitt is a one-issue candidate. The winner will face Democrat Greg Skordas in November’s general election. — Emily Means

NORTHERN UTAH

Salt Lake City Farmer’s Market Reopening Saturday

Salt Lake City’s Downtown Farmer’s Market will open this Saturday, though it will look quite a bit different than it has in the past due to the coronavirus. There won’t be any arts and craft vendors, and market stalls will be reconfigured to create more space for merchants and customers. Also, pets won’t be allowed, vendors will have to wear masks and there will be hand sanitizing stations throughout the market. Alison Einerson, with the Downtown Alliance said it’s not going to be a social event but an essential grocery service. And she said the market is critical for farmers. — Elaine Clark

Clearfield Mayor Asks For Federal Help

Clearfield, located about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City, is seeking federal help to deal with the financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its mayor, Mark Shepherd, joined the National League of Cities virtually Thursday to ask Congress for a relief package of $500 billion. It would be for local, essential government workers throughout the country. Shepherd said at the start of the pandemic, his city furloughed 65% of employees, and he said they are assuming around 15% revenue loss. The National League of Cities estimates that all municipalities throughout Utah will lose 12.5% of their yearly revenues. — Jessica Lowell

Efforts Underway To Save The June Sucker

Utah’s Department of Natural Resources and other stakeholders broke ground Thursday on a new project that will restore the Provo River Delta. The 260-acre project will reconnect the Lower Provo River and Utah Lake, which were cut off by the Skipper Bay dike in the 1940s. It’s part of a plan to recreate and protect habitat for the June sucker, an endangered species of fish found only in the Provo River and Utah Lake. Officials predict the project will take five years. Once it is finished, it’s also expected to provide recreation opportunities. — Caroline Ballard

REGION/NATION

Latter-day Saints Missionaries Reassigned

Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are being reassigned to missions in their home countries. Earlier this year, the church recalled the majority of those serving abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Missionaries who were near the end of their time were released, while others were given the choice of being reassigned or deferring for a year. Much of the new missionary work is being done virtually, and home country assignments are for places where social distancing is feasible. — Caroline Ballard

Mountain West Infant Mortality 

A national survey of infant and baby outcomes shows that our region has work to do for children of color. The nonprofit Zero To Three analyzes baby outcomes every year. And this year, they found that infant mortality was higher for hispanic babies than white babies, but far worse for black babies. In parts of our region, more than three times worse. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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