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PM News Brief: National Parks Campgrounds, 2021 Sundance Festival & Historic Dearfield Property

Photo of double archs in red rock
Ken Lund via Flickr
Some areas in Devils Garden at Arches National Park are opening for reservations this week after being closed for months due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Monday evening, June 29, 2020


Panel At The U Tackles Race Issues

At a virtual panel discussion Monday, deans from the University of Utah gave insights on how to tackle racial inequality. The conversation followed weeks of continued protests against social injustice and police brutality. Martell Teasley, the head of the university’s College of Social Work, said one of the first steps is listening. Teasley, who is Black, said not everyone is comfortable talking about racism, and many people are still learning. He said his department is working to create a more inclusive space by hosting programs for students, updating curriculum and hiring more diverse faculty and staff. — Emily Means

$4 Million For Affordable Housing Projects

Nearly $4 million will soon be available for affordable housing projects. The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City made the announcement Monday. Funding will be distributed to those who submit plans to design, build and manage affordable housing. Priority will be given to projects targeting underserved populations and are within walking distance of public transit, among other criteria. The RDA will hold a virtual information meeting Wednesday that will go over the application process and requirements for prospective applicants. — Caroline Ballard

2021 Sundance Film Festival To Be Moved Partially Online

The Sundance Film Festival is beginning to plan for next year’s event, albeit with COVID-19 in mind. That means its presence in Utah may be smaller. The festival is usually held in Park City in late January and early February and attracts tens of thousands of tourists. But the Festival’s director Tabitha Jackson said the event’s usual crowds, buses and overflow will likely not be possible if there is not a vaccine. 2021’s event will still take place in Park City, but it will feature partnerships with independent theaters throughout the country and internationally to allow for smaller, more socially distanced showings and talks. The festival will also have an online platform and landing page where people can virtually participate in some showings and talks. — Caroline Ballard


Make That 564 New COVID Cases

It’s been nearly a week since Utah’s health department last reported less than 450 new COVID-19 cases in a day. And Monday was no different, as officials announced 564 more. That means the state has now seen more than 21,500 cases. So far, Utah has also had 168 deaths, one more than Sunday, and more than 333,000 Utahns have been tested. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.


Washington County Officials Waffle On Renaming Convention Center

Washington County leaders met again Monday and voted to keep the name Dixie Center. They voted last week to change the name of its convention center from Dixie to Greater Zion, but the renaming received a lot of backlash, with one petition against the name change garnering more than 15,000 signatures online. Southern Utah’s nickname Dixie has been a point of conflict over the years because of its ties to the Confederacy. But it’s also a point of pride for some county residents. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Some National Park Campgrounds Set To Reopen 

Canyonlands and Arches National Parks will open up certain areas to camping this week. They had been closed for the past few months due to COVID-19 restrictions. Starting Wednesday, first-come first-serve campgrounds will open at Island In The Sky and The Needles districts at Canyonlands, and some areas at Devils Garden in Arches will be open for reservation. However, the largest group camping site at The Needles — which can house up to 50 people — will remain closed. Visitor center information desks, auditoriums, and museum exhibits are all still closed. Backcountry camping in Arches is also still off-limits. — Caroline Ballard


Historic Dearfield Property Changes Hands

Property in the historic townsite of Dearfield, in northern Colorado, has changed hands. The ghost town used to be an African-American farming colony with hundreds of residents, most of whom left during the Dust Bowl and Depression. The developer Clayton Homes had originally planned to build houses on some of the remains of the historic town center. After years of negotiation, the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center bought the historically significant properties and sold a dozen blocks of former farmland to the company so it can build homes there instead. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau

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