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AM News Brief: Mount Aire Evacuation Lifted, Electrifying Navajo & The Warming Of Eastern Utah

Photo of the highway at the entrance of Parley's Canyon.
Wikimedia Commons
Residents of the Mount Aire community who were evacuated on Friday because of the Parleys Fire were allowed to return home Sunday night. That story and more in this morning's news brief.

Monday morning, August 10, 2020

STATE

COVID Care Centers

A nursing home in Blanding has turned into a COVID-19 care site after an outbreak last month. That means they will accept COVID-positive patients from other nursing homes as well as patients discharged from the hospital. The Utah Department of Health says there are at least five nursing homes that have become COVID-19 care sites, and one more is on the way. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Weekend COVID Numbers

Utah health officials reported more than 750 cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. Saturday marked the first time in two months officials reported no new deaths. But on Sunday, the health department announced one more person had died due to the disease. Utah has now had more than 44,127 cases of COVID since early March, and so far, nearly 571,000 people have been tested. — Ross Terrell

Executive Orders Extended

Gov. Gary Herbert has extended two executive orders related to COVID-19. The first requires face coverings to be worn in all state facilities — like the Capitol and in liquor stores. That order runs through Aug. 20. The other extends the state’s pandemic response status for each county. As a result, Salt Lake City will stay in the orange, moderate phase. Meanwhile, counties like Beaver, Daggett, Garfield and Piute will remain in the green, new normal phase. That order also expires on Aug. 20. — Ross Terrell

Board Of Ed Votes Against Mandates

The Utah Board of Education has rejected multiple proposals that would have required stricter precautions against the coronavirus as schools reopen across the state. The board voted 9-5 last Thursday against a series of mandates, including one that would limit the number of students in a classroom if community spread spikes above the 5% reopening threshold set by the World Health Organization. About 667,000 students are expected to return to Utah schools in the next few weeks. Park City and 24 other districts will allow students to return full time while others will alternate in-person days. The Salt Lake School District is the only one that currently plans to be fully online. — Diane Maggipinto

Eastern Utah Warming At Twice Global Average

Uintah, Grand and San Juan counties have warmed 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit — twice as much as the global average — since 1895, according to a recent article from The Washington Post. Jon Meyer, a climatologist at Utah State University's Climate Center, said the rate at which these counties are heating could eventually affect wintertime recreation, agricultural and summer tourism. Meyer said the eastern border is heating up faster because there’s less snowpack and there’s also a loss of moisture in the soil. Most of these problems need to be addressed by global governments, he said, but local residents can help by being more water-conscious. — Jessica Lowell

NORTHERN UTAH

Evacuated Residents Return Home

Residents of the Mount Aire community who were evacuated on Friday because of the Parleys Fire were allowed to return home Sunday night. Officials say the fire spread quickly when it ignited near mile marker 134 on I-80, forcing evacuations of those homes near Lamb's Canyon. The fire is 90% contained and is mapped at 80 acres. Investigators are asking for information from anyone who may have seen a brown dump truck heading east on I-80 Friday afternoon. Officials say the truck was dragging chains which may have sparked the blaze. — Diane Maggipinto

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

Man Dead, K-9 Injured In Roy Officer Involved Shooting

One man died and another is in custody after a shootout with police that also injured a police dog. A release from Roy City Police Department said an officer stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation before dawn Saturday and spoke briefly with the two white men in the car before they fled. Officers pursued the car “briefly” then gave up the chase. A short time later, police learned the vehicle was stopped in a large field in Clinton. As officers approached the vehicle, one of the suspects allegedly fired a gun and officers fired back. A police dog named Mik was struck in the face by gunfire. He is being treated at an animal emergency room and is expected to survive. The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave. The Weber and Davis Counties Attorneys Offices are investigating. — Diane Maggipinto

Hill AFB Tests Weapons

Military weapons testing starts Monday at Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah. It’s known as “Combat Hammer,” and fighter aircraft from Nevada and South Dakota will be at the base to undergo evaluation. The 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron is tasked with assessing the accuracy and readiness of air to air weapons systems. The testing is scheduled to wrap up on Aug. 13. — Ross Terrell

REGION/NATION

Navajo Electricity

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, and Sen. Martha McSally, R-AZ, say they will introduce legislation to bring electric power to Navajo households. The senators plan to ask for $89 million for the electrification program in upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation. They said that would bring power to over 2,000 households in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority estimates there are about 15,000 Navajo families that currently do not have electricity in their homes. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

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