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AM News Brief: Fatal Rabbit Disease, Carbon Farming & Protesters Return To Streets

Photo of protesters in downtown Salt Lake.
Emily Means
After being relegated to the sidewalks by police the night before, protesters took to the streets again Wednesday night. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, June 25, 2020

Northern Utah

Wednesday Night’s Protest Allowed Back On Streets

After being relegated to the sidewalks by police the night before, protesters took to the streets again Wednesday night with calls for justice for Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, the 22-year-old was shot and killed by Salt Lake City police about a month ago. A spokesperson with the police department said protesters had not communicated where they would be Tuesday, making the traffic situation unsafe. Police did allow demonstrators back on the streets on Wednesday, and protesters blocked traffic throughout downtown Salt Lake City. The ACLU of Utah said public streets and sidewalks are considered public forums, and people can demonstrate there as long as it’s reasonable. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

Moab Wants Lease Sale Called Off

The City of Moab is asking the Bureau of Land Management to cancel plans to lease large swaths of public land around Moab to oil and gas developers. The city council voted this week to oppose the entire lease sale, which has garnered national attention. It is scheduled to take place in September and includes around 85,000 acres in Grand and San Juan Counties. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff


County Mask Request

Gov. Gary Herbert announced Wednesday that he would likely grant Salt Lake County’s request to mandate mask-wearing in public, but didn’t want to mandate it statewide. He said he wanted those decisions to be made by local leaders, not the state. Herbert also said that masks would be required in all state buildings, including liquor stores and DMV offices. Utah has seen large spikes in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks, which Herbert said is concerning him. The state Department of Health reported 484 new cases Wednesday. — Sonja Hutson

Governor’s Staff Member Tests Positive For COVID-19

A senior member of Gov. Gary Herbert’s staff has tested positive for COVID-19. Herbert made the announcement Wednesday afternoon during a press conference. He said he hadn’t been in contact with the staffer when that person was likely to be contagious, but other staff members were. Those who were are self-isolating and getting tested. Herbert also said that mask-wearing in his office is required and called on all Utahns to wear one in public spaces where they couldn’t stay 6 feet away from others. — Sonja Hutson

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Fatal Disease Threatens Rabbits

A fatal disease that affects rabbits has been found in Utah. The Department of Agriculture and Food said it has detected Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease, or RHDV2, in a domestic rabbit in Sanpete County. Experts say it is fast moving, highly contagious and kills 80-100% of infected rabbits. It often presents without symptoms and there is no cure. Humans and other animals cannot get the disease. The Utah Assistant State Veterinarian said the best way to protect rabbits is to keep them away from other wild or domesticated rabbits. Unexplained dead pet rabbits and dead wild rabbits should be reported to their veterinarians. — Caroline Ballard

Utah Clocks Fourth Best Ski Season

Despite the abrupt and early end, Utah resorts had nearly 4,400,000 skier visits, making the 2019-2020 ski season the fourth best on record. Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty said the season also brought record-spending with an economic impact of $1.5 billion. But industry leaders are anticipating a loss of at least $232 million because the lifts stopped running roughly one month before resort closing dates. — Diane Maggipinto


Carbon Farming

Lawmakers in Washington discussed a bill Wednesday that would incentivize farmers, ranchers and landowners to reduce global warming. The Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020 would create a program that incentivizes landowners to employ green practices and get carbon credits in return. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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