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PM News Brief: 128-Year-Old Time Capsule, Iron County Schools & Mask Mandate Gets Results

Photo of a man looking at a large stone
Courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Russell M. Nelson looks inside the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on the loading dock of the Church History Library on May 20, 2020.

Wednesday evening, July 29, 2020

STATE

Want To Address Affordable Housing? Turn To Bonds

A recent report from CNBC shows nearly 30% of Utah renters are at risk of losing their housing after the federal eviction moratorium ended last week. Even though state and local governments have had to cut their budgets, one Utah housing advocate doesn’t want to put affordable housing on the backburner. Bill Tibbitts, with Crossroads Urban Center, said state and local governments could save money by building housing units with publicly owned property and using bonds to invest in housing. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Defund The Police? Utah Attorney General Says Not So Fast

Calls to defund the police continue to ring out in Utah and across the country after recent incidents of police brutality. But during a virtual panel Wednesday about race and civility in America, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes pushed back against that idea. Reyes said governments don’t need to defund or dismantle traditional law enforcement. Though he acknowledged law enforcement needs to improve, train better, and care more. Reyes said most officers would support increased funding for more community based programs, like restorative justice initiatives and after school programs. But he says taking money away would harm the police’s ability to do everything that’s asked of them. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

COVID Update

The Utah Department of Health reported 339 new positive COVID-19 cases Wednesday. It’s the lowest number of new daily cases since mid-June. Six more people died — four of them were long-term care facility residents. However, the state is getting closer to its target goal set forth by Gov. Gary Herbert of fewer than 500 average daily cases by Aug. 1. As of Wednesday, average daily cases for the last week are around 510. For the past week, the positivity has remained around 9.5%. — Caroline Ballard

NORTHERN UTAH

128-Year-Old Time Capsule Unveiled At The Temple

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released descriptions and images of items found in a 128-year-old time capsule in the Salt Lake City temple. Back in May, construction crews removed the temple’s capstone, or the orb that the Angel Moroni stands upon at the highest point of the structure, as part of its renovation efforts to make it more earthquake resistant. In the orb were books, photographs, a copper plate with church leaders' names, and coins thrown in by bystanders when the capstone was placed on April 6, 1892. The paper materials had deteriorated significantly since it was not insulated from the weather, but the metal objects were in good condition, and some coins even featured inscriptions of the names of onlookers. — Caroline Ballard

Masks Mandated In Summit County, COVID Cases Drop

COVID-19 cases in Summit County have been declining since the county began mandating masks in late June. That’s according to new data released Wednesday by county health officials. They found the county saw a steeper decline than the rest of the state in new COVID cases from July 10 through the 27. The county’s health director said if they keep up this trend, the economy and residents' health will be better off for the rest of the year. — Ross Terrell

SOUTHERN UTAH

Iron County Students Get Two More Weeks Of Summer Vacation

The first day of school for Iron County students this fall has been pushed back by two weeks to give teachers more time to prepare. The county school board voted unanimously Tuesday to start school Aug. 25, but the schedule for the rest of the year will stay the same. Reopening plans in Iron County are in line with state guidelines — which allow for in-person and online learning and require face coverings. — Lexi Peery, St. George

REGION/NATION

Fake News In The Mountain West 

Fake news and misinformation about the pandemic runs rampant these days. One of the culprits is the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns more than a dozen popular television stations across the region. Last week the media group prompted outcry when one of its news shows, America This Week,  planned to air an interview with discredited scientist Dr. Judy Mikovits and her conspiracy theory about Anthony Fauci. The show later walked that interview back. It did not air on local stations. But it was still published online and on social media pages. America This Week airs in Reno, Salt Lake and other towns in the region. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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