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AM News Brief: First High School Football Game, Ogden Gun Purge & Danger Of Rural Roads

Photo of rural road.
KUER File Photo
Only about 20% of Americans live in rural areas, but that’s where 45% of traffic fatalities happen. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.";

Friday morning, August 14, 2020

State

Rapid COVID Testing

Fast and widespread testing is seen as one of the keys to keeping the coronavirus under control. But testing in Utah and across the country has long been plagued by delays, as hospitals and labs face high demand and limited supplies to go around. Health experts nationwide are now arguing a newly available test that’s faster and cheaper should be deployed on a grand scale, though not everyone is convinced it’s possible, nor the right approach. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Cases Decline, But Masks Still Necessary According To Governor

Gov. Gary Herbert urges people to wear masks and keep social distance even as Utah's coronavirus case counts decline. As schools reopen with a mix of in-person and online learning, Herbert said in a press conference Thursday, people will need to be flexible because there's no way to ensure a "zero risk" scenario. He said every school district has a plan in case an outbreak occurs. Utah had an average of 354 confirmed cases per day over the last week. — Associated Press

Northern Utah

Salt Lake Black Lives Matter Mural

Eight local artists have painted a Black Lives Matter mural in front of the Salt Lake City-County building. The group of artists explained their work during a Facebook event Thursday. Each artist was assigned two letters to design and paint. Pablo Abarca said he wanted his art to spread awareness about ways the Latino community can help the BLM movement. Each artist received a $600 dollar stipend for their work, according to the mayor's spokesperson. Other artists have also painted murals downtown of people who have been killed by police in Utah. — Jessica Lowell

Ogden Gun Purge

More than 300 guns accumulating in evidence storage that have gone unclaimed or are no longer needed in criminal investigations need to be scrapped. The Ogden Police Department and Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force have asked the Ogden City Council to approve requests to send the firearms to the state Bureau of Forensics, which would destroy them. Police Capt. Jake Sube said the police department previously disposed of firearms through an incinerator facility, but that no longer exists. The proposal would also allow the department to keep some of the guns for training. — Associated Press

Utah Has First High School Football Game In U.S.

What is believed to be the first high school football game in the United States since the start of the coronavirus pandemic happened in Utah Thursday. Herriman High School faced the Davis Darts in a sold-out game at 25% capacity. Cheerleaders wore masks before kickoff, but like the players, they went maskless during the game. Tickets were sold online and scanned as fans entered the stadium so the school can carry out contact tracing if necessary. Fans were also instructed to leave as soon as the game ended with a Darts win 24-20. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

Southwest Scorcher

An excessive heat warning is in place Friday through midnight Wednesday for the southwest region that includes the St. George area, Zion National Park and Lake Powell. The National Weather Service said there will be dangerously hot conditions, with high temperatures of 104 to 108 degrees Friday and 106 to 112 degrees Saturday through Wednesday. The prolonged heat event doesn't spare central, northern and southern Utah. An excessive heat watch has been issued for Sunday afternoon through Wednesday night with temperatures up to 105 degrees possible. — Diane Maggipinto

Region/Nation

No Delay On Execution

A judge has rejected a bid to push back the execution date of the only Native American on federal death row. U.S. District Judge David Campbell in Arizona issued the ruling Thursday after attorneys seeking a delay for Lezmond Mitchell had argued the federal execution must comply with Arizona law. Campbell said the attorneys didn't identify any procedures in Arizona statutes or criminal rules that conflict with federal protocol when it comes to how Mitchell would die. Mitchell's law team immediately filed a notice of appeal. Mitchell is scheduled to be put to death Aug. 26 at a federal prison in Indiana. — Associated Press

Navajo Nation Lays Out Phased Reopening

The Navajo Nation will begin reopening slowly this month. Navajo President Jonathan Nez recently released a color coded phased reopening plan similar to the one in place for Utah. The Navajo Nation is currently in the orange phase of its plan, which means restaurants are limited to take out only. Parks and marinas can reopen by appointment. And other businesses like gyms and casinos, must remain closed. The Nation’s Sunday curfews are in place through the end of August. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Danger Of Rural Roads

Only about 20% of Americans live in rural areas, but that’s where 45% of traffic fatalities happen. Hard-to-control factors like wildlife play a role. But rural culture does, too — like fewer rural residents wearing seatbelts. Montana State University researchers found that this could be altered, though, by leveraging the culture’s positive sides — like wanting to help each other out and keeping each other safe. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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