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PM News Brief: Salt Lake Police K9 Policy, U Athletics’ Budget Shortfall & Wildfire Wednesday

Photo of the University of Utah football stadium
Brian Albers
The University of Utah won’t be playing any fall sports this calendar year and that could mean a major financial loss for the school’s athletic department.";s:

Wednesday evening, August 12, 2020


Utah COVID Update

Utah health officials reported 338 more cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. That brings the state to more than 45,000 total cases since the start of the pandemic. So far, close to 1,100 long-term care facility residents have tested positive for the disease. They also account for nearly half the deaths in the state. For the past week, Utah has averaged 389 daily cases but the positivity rate remains around 9%. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Wildfire Wednesday: 1,044 Since Start Of 2020

So far this year, there have been 1,044 wildfires in Utah. According to Utah Fire Info, there has been at least one new fire start every day since mid-April, and 187,000 acres have burned. Seventy-five percent of those fires have been caused by humans. There are four fires larger than 100 acres burning in the state. Weather conditions over the next few days will be hot and dry, with red flag fire warnings for the majority of Utah. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

U Athletics Could See Significant Financial Loss Due To Postponed Season

The University of Utah won’t be playing any fall sports this calendar year and that could mean a major financial loss for the school’s athletic department. The U’s Athletic Director Mark Harlan said the decision by the Pac-12 to call off the season is based on medical reasons, but it will have an effect on his department’s bottom line. “Candidly, we believe it’s anywhere between a $50- $60 million loss,” Harlan said. “It could be more depending on various different elements, [but that’s] on a $91 million budget.” Harlan said they are going to have to make some difficult decisions down the line, but student athlete’s scholarships shouldn’t be affected. He wouldn’t say if there would be any layoffs of staff and coaches. — Ross Terrell

UPD Reviewing Police Killing Of Matthew Hilbelink

A man has died of his injuries after being shot during a confrontation with police officers in a parking garage in Holladay last weekend. The Unified Police Department said 39-year-old Matthew Hilbelink was armed with a handgun and was suicidal. He was shot and critically injured after officers negotiated with him for about 30 minutes. No officers were hurt, and several of them were wearing body cameras that will be reviewed as part of an investigation. — Caroline Ballard

Salt Lake Police Reviewing K-9 Policy After Dog Used Against Black Man

Salt Lake City police have suspended the use of K-9’s to apprehend suspects. Earlier this year, officers ordered a dog to attack a Black man who was kneeling and had his hands in the air. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Jeffery Ryans was in his backyard when police were called to his home. Body camera footage shows the dog latched onto Ryans' left leg for about 20 seconds, even though he was being put in handcuffs. The department said it was opening an internal investigation into the arrest, and that the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave. It will also review its use of police dogs. — Associated Press

Independent Counsel To Lead Salt Lake City Vandalism Case

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced Wednesday that an independent counsel will handle the vandalism case of the district attorney building. Last month, protesters painted the street in front of Gill’s office red and splashed the building with paint. This came in response to his decision clearing the police officers involved in the Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal shooting. Some of the protesters face life in prison after Gill charged them with vandalism and tacked on gang enhancement. Now, former judge Dane Nolan will oversee the case due to potential conflict of interest. — Ross Terrell


QAnon Candidate Secures Win In Colorado

After a handful of congressional candidates won primaries after embracing QAnon, it’s possible the baseless conspiracy theory will soon have representation on Capitol Hill — including someone in our region. Lauren Boebert, a Republican, won her primary for Colorado’s Third Congressional District in early July. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

Corrected: October 9, 2020 at 3:28 PM MDT
A previous version of this story misspelled Jeffery Ryans' name.
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