Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Race, Religion & Social Justice

AM News Brief: Masks In Schools, St. George's Nickname & Wildfires Impact On Flu Season

Red rocks with the word Dixie written in white paint.
The city that adopted a nickname with ties to the Confederacy held a rally to support the name Thursday. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, July 10, 2020


Governor Mandates Masks In Schools

Students, teachers and faculty must wear masks inside Utah public and charter school buildings and on school buses when classes resume this fall to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Gov. Gary Herbert made the announcement Thursday as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Utah. Herbert also announced that he won’t be requiring face coverings in public statewide, but could mandate them if the state doesn’t get to an average of less than 500 new cases per day over a week-long period by August 1. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

601 New COVID Cases Announced

The Utah Department of Health reported 601 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. Health officials also announced four more COVID-19 related deaths. The state has now seen more than 27,000 cases and more than 200 deaths. The Navajo Department of Health announced 61 new cases on the reservation, though none were on the Utah portion, and an additional four deaths. A weekend curfew is in effect from Friday night at 8 until Monday morning at 5. — Diane Maggipinto

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Palacios-Carbajal Protests And State Of Emergency Declared

Gov. Gary Herbert has declared a state of emergency until Monday, July 13 after protests in Salt Lake City turned volatile Thursday night. The protests followed a ruling by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill that cleared the two police officers involved in the shooting and killing of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal on May 23. Thursday evening, about a hundred people headed to the DA’s office, posting signs around the windows and doors that read “Justice for Bernardo” and painting the street in front of the building red. Riot police showed up a little more than 90 minutes after the protest started and windows were smashed at the DA’s building. After a few clashes with protesters, they were given a chance to disperse and two arrests were made. Read the full story. — Ross Terrell

Three New Fire Starts

Fire crews responded to a couple of fast-moving blazes Thursday in the Tooele Valley. Utah fire officials said the Sandbar Fire grew to about 12 acres and was caused by arson. One person has been arrested. The Highway 138 fire east of Grantsville scorched about 10 acres and was also human-caused, ignited from sparks by someone grinding metal. A third fire started Thursday afternoon burned 400 acres southwest of Kanosh in Millard County. State fire officials say it's 75% contained. — Diane Maggipinto

Salt Lake City Schools To Offer Free Virtual Mental Health Services

For the rest of the summer, Salt Lake City public school children will have access to free virtual mental health services. The city’s school district partnered with substance abuse nonprofit Odyssey House to provide the service. Superintendent Larry Madden said many students are dealing with depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Telehealth School-based Therapy will be free to students not covered by Medicaid or other insurance. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

It’s Gonna Be A Hot Weekend

The heatwave expected for southern Utah this weekend likely will spill into next week. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning Thursday for Saturday afternoon into Sunday night. However, a warning for Washington County, Zion National Park and the Lake Powell area will be in effect through Monday night. Forecasters said temperatures will hover between 104 and 112 degrees. A heat advisory has also been issued for Southeast for the same 56-hour period. Arches and Canyonlands, Natural Bridges and Grand Flat, and Moab and Castle Valley are under the advisory for temperatures that could hit 105 to 110 degrees. — Diane Maggipinto

Diné College To Offer Online Courses This Fall

Diné College on the Navajo Nation plans to offer nearly all of its courses online this fall. Officials there said the school will ensure safety and technology measures to help students succeed during the coronavirus pandemic. All but 10 of the college's planned 358 courses will be offered online. Preparations include a $6.4 million technology upgrade and development of a laptop loan program. College President Charles Roessel said on-campus safety measures include new signage encouraging social distancing and installation of plexiglas barriers in offices and classrooms to block transmission of COVID-19. — Associated Press

St. George Not Budging On Dixie Nickname

The city that adopted a nickname with ties to the Confederacy held a rally to support the name Thursday. A crowd gathered in St. George to defend the use of Dixie as the community's unofficial second name. In St. George, there's a street called Dixie Drive and the city is home to Dixie State University, Dixie Technical College and Dixie Regional Medical Center. Recent nationwide protests have cast a spotlight on lingering connections to the Confederacy. St. George Mayor Jon Pike said there are no plans to rename city properties. — Associated Press


More Wildfires, More Flu

Lots of wildfire smoke in the summer can lead to more flu outbreaks in the winter according to a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environment International. Scientists took a look at wildfire seasons and influenza numbers over the past decade in Montana. They found that there were three to five times more flu cases than average after a severe wildfire season. It’s unclear what this means for COVID-19.— Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Mexican Spotted Owl Protections

Protections for the threatened Mexican Spotted Owl just took a big step forward, according to U.S. Forest Service officials. Environmentalists, state and federal officials agreed on recommendations to help protect one of the largest owls in North America while still allowing for forest thinning and restoration. Those were sticking points for the Center for Biological Diversity, which dropped its threat to sue over what it perceived as a failure by the USFS to consider the effects of logging on the owl. First listed as threatened in the U.S. in 1993, the Mexican spotted owl is found in Utah, four other states, and Mexico. — Associated Press

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