Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News Briefs

PM News Brief: Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal Ruling, Pandemic Food Assistance & "Saturday's Voyeur"

Photo of five people dressed in black sitting and wearing masks
Emily Means
/
KUER
Family members of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal hold each other at a press conference Thursday where Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled that officers were justified in fatally shooting Palacios-Carbajal on May 23.

Thursday evening, July 9, 2020

STATE

Governor Will Not Issue Mask Mandate But Urges Utahns To Wear Them

Gov. Gary Herbert announced Thursday that he will not mandate face coverings in public places across the state, the day after the state reported a record number of daily cases. Herbert instead issued a “challenge” to Utahns to wear face masks in public and comply with social distancing guidelines, to get to less than 500 new daily cases by Aug. 1. He warned that if the new daily cases goal isn’t met, the state could go back to stricter social distancing mandates and require masks. Herbert also announced Thursday that students, teachers, and faculty in public schools will be required to wear masks in school buildings and on buses. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

School Administrators Concerned About Learning Gaps

New survey results announced in a State Board of Education meeting Thursday found Utah’s public school administrators' biggest concern come fall will be addressing students’ learning gaps following school closures. Administrators from every public school district and most charter schools participated in the survey, which looked at how the pandemic has affected schools. Participants also said students are facing greater risk factors for their mental health, such as increased levels of anxiety, stress and social isolation. Sixty-five percent felt their schools’ response to the pandemic was “somewhat adequate,” and just over 50% said they’d benefit most from having a clear set of best practices going forward. — Jon Reed

4,800 Unemployment Claims Filed Last Week

About 4,800 Utahns filed new, traditional unemployment claims last week. That’s according to numbers released Thursday by the Department of Workforce Services. It’s the second smallest number of new claims since the coronavirus pandemic started in early March. Utah paid out about $66 million in state and federal benefits from June 28 through July 4. About 5,200 people ended their claims during the same time period. — Ross Terrell

Utah Judicial Council To Tackle Racism And Bias

The Utah Judicial Council announced a new effort Thursday to combat racism and bias in the legal system by creating an Office of Fairness and Accountability. It will work to examine and address those issues through outreach to marginalized groups, reviewing employee recruitment and decreasing language barriers in court. The office will look at Utah’s judicial system as well as the Executive and legislative branches of state government. A job search is now underway for a director, who will help create a strategic plan for the new division. — Caroline Ballard

Utah Implementing Pandemic Food Assistance Program

Utah has been approved to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s federal food assistance program for the pandemic. The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program gives families of qualifying school-aged children extra funds, which is about $308 per child. That’s how much their free or reduced lunches would’ve cost had schools not been closed in mid-March. Those who already receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program monies, or food stamp benefits, will automatically be enrolled and do not have to apply for the new program. The program got federal approval in May but got off to a slow start. Officials at the Utah’s Department of Workforce Services said they had trouble gathering data and determining the state’s eligibility at the beginning of the pandemic. — Caroline Ballard

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

NORTHERN UTAH

Deadly Force Use Justified In Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal Shooting

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled Thursday that Salt Lake City Police Officers Neil Iversen and Kevin Fortuna were justified in fatally shooting Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal on May 23. The two officers were responding to a call about an armed man. Surveillance video showed Palacios-Carbajal falling three times during a foot chase, as officers told him to show his hands and drop his weapon. Gill said he picked up the gun each time he dropped it and as he lay on the ground after being shot, raised his hands as if to point the gun at officers. An attorney for the family said the investigation favored the officers, and that the case should have been considered by a jury. Palacios-Carbajal’s sister said she wants the officers to be held accountable. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Curtains Closed: Salt Lake Acting Company Ends “Saturday’s Voyeur”

Salt Lake Acting Company is ending its four decade run of the local production “Saturday’s Voyeur.” The name is a play on the title of an early 1970s Latter-day Saint musical. The long running parody was a send up of Utah politics and culture. Executive Artistic Director Cynthia Fleming said the decision was partially driven by the COVID pandemic, but also a way to reimagine the future of the acting company. Fleming said they plan to to replace it with a new, but still locally produced, summer cabaret series. — Elaine Clark

REGION/NATION

Prisons Offering Free Weekly Calls

Most prisons and jails have stopped allowing visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic. But some prison systems are adapting policies to make it easier for inmates to stay in touch with family and friends, by offering up to 10 free calls a week. Research shows inmates who stay in touch with family are less likely to recommit crimes. — Amanda Peacher, Mountain West News Bureau

KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.