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AM News Brief: Prison Calls, Washington County Masks & Ballet West Costumer Retires

Photo of ballet dancers in swan lake costumes.
Courtesy Ballet West
Ballet West’s Director of Costume is retiring after 31 years with the organization. David Heuvel joined the Salt Lake City ballet company in 1979. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.";

Thursday morning, August 6, 2020


Affordable Prison Calls

Utah state Rep. Cheryl Acton, R-West Jordan, plans to introduce a bill next year that would encourage a state regulator to cap the cost of phone calls in correctional facilities. There’s no limit on what inmates can be charged to make a phone call, unless they’re in the state prison making a call out of Utah. Multiple studies have found that staying in contact with friends and family is associated with lower rates of coming back to jail or prison. — Sonja Hutson

Recovered COVID Cases

Nearly 31,000 of Utah’s Covid cases are considered recovered. That’s a person who has not shown any symptoms of the virus at least three weeks after they were first diagnosed. But Utah health officials announced Wednesday six more people have died due to the disease. Five of them were hospitalized and one was a long-term care facility resident. Officials also counted another 421 cases in the state. So far, 550,322 Utahns have been tested for COVID, and the state has now seen 42,328 cases since the start of the pandemic. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Former Student Sues Waterford School For Mishandling Assault Allegation

A former student at Waterford School in Sandy is suing the private institution. She says in the lawsuit that administrators mishandled her 2017 sexual assault allegation as she endured bullying from classmates. The lawsuit alleges students reenacted the rape during a school assembly and administrators wouldn't help enforce a protective order the then-17-year-old obtained against her classmate. She also says administrators held a meeting with the rest of her class and shared details of the allegations. The rape reportedly happened off-campus. School administrators disagree with the allegations, calling them an inflammatory, inaccurate representation. — Associated Press

Richard Mountain Fire

A section of the Green River is closed because of wildfire. The Bureau of Land Management has banned camping, fishing and boating for the section that runs from the boat ramps at Little Hole to Indian Crossing. The Richard Mountain Fire remains uncontained and has burned at least 10 square miles. The blaze sparked on Monday in Wyoming and is now burning east of Flaming Gorge. The fire is under investigation, and BLM officials say oil and gas resources are threatened. — Diane Maggipinto

Red Flag Warning

Red flag conditions for the Wasatch Mountains Thursday will bring low humidity and gusty southwest winds up to 35 miles an hour. The warning is in effect from noon until 9 p.m. Similar conditions extend to other Utah Fire Zones including Color Country, the Grand Staircase and the Mojave Desert that includes part of Washington County. Southwest winds will blow 15 to 25 mph there, gusting to 40 mph. — Diane Maggipinto

Follow KUER’s coverage of Utah’s 2020 Fire Season.

Veteran Ballet West Costumer Retiring

Ballet West’s Director of Costume is retiring after 31 years with the organization. David Heuvel joined the Salt Lake City ballet company in 1979. A press release from Ballet West said his creative vision helped take it from a regional institution to one that was recognized internationally. Heuvel redesigned the 180 costumes featured in the company’s yearly production of the Nutcracker three different times. He’s also created costumes for ballet companies across the country and world, including those featured in Taylor Swift’s music video for “Shake It Off.” Gov. Gary Herbert awarded him the Governor’s Artist Award for his work in 2018. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

St. George Ironman A Go

The Ironman is usually one of the biggest events in St. George, with world class athletes across the country participating. It’s been rescheduled from May to September and for now, it’s going forward as planned. St. George is hosting one of the first of these races since the beginning of the pandemic. The Washington County Tourism Director said it’s because the region has had a moderate COVID-19 outbreak and local leaders have been supportive of the event. But it will look different — no gatherings at the finish line and volunteers won’t interact with the athletes. Despite athletes coming from across the country to compete, local health department officials say they don’t think that will lead to a spike in cases. Read the full story.Lexi Peery, St. George

Washington County Mask Proclamation

Ten mayors and two county commissioners in Washington County have signed onto a proclamation recommending that people wear face coverings and for businesses to encourage them. The proclamation is non-binding and isn’t asking the governor to allow them to require face masks as he has in other places. Currently Springdale is the only place in the county with a mandate. Victor Iverson was the lone commissioner who didn’t sign on. In a statement he said he doesn’t want to micromanage people. — Lexi Peery, St. George


Thousands Of Nevadans Apply For Rent Relief

Millions of renters nationwide are at risk of eviction. In the Mountain West, Nevada is using funds from the first federal stimulus to create a rent relief program. More than 8,400 Nevadans applied for the program in the first two weeks alone. The state’s treasurer’s office says based on the average rent in Nevada, there are enough federal dollars to pay approximately 25,000 months’ worth of rent. Utah’s Housing and Community Development Division announced Wednesday that it's expanding who can get rental assistance. The funding came from the federal CARES Act, and can pay for up to $2,000 in monthly rent and utilities. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau and Caroline Ballard

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