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AM News Brief: Algal Blooms, Hot August Nights & Rep. Curtis' Climate Confession

photo of algal bloom at panguitch lake.
Utah Division of Water Quality
A danger advisory, the strongest warning, has been issued for American Fork Marina on Utah Lake because of what officials deem a high density harmful algal bloom. This and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, August 25, 2020

State

Rep. Curtis’ Climate “Confession”

Republican Utah Rep. John Curtis is urging members of his party to acknowledge that climate change exists. He made his plea during a virtual event on Monday hosted by the Sutherland Institute, a conservative think tank based in Salt Lake City. The talk was titled “Confessions of a Climate Conservative.” Curtis said Republicans can’t criticize proposed solutions to the issue of climate change until they take a seat at the table, but he stopped short of calling for government mandates. Instead, he said people should focus on market-driven solutions, like making renewable fuels cheaper. — Kate Groetzinger

Hot Utah Nights

Record high temperatures may garner the attention, but the “high-minimums” are also setting new marks. That's when low temperatures in a 24-hour period don't get below the lowest recorded measurement. For Aug. 24, it happened in 11 places across the state. The biggest disparities were in downtown Salt Lake, where it only reached 76 degrees. The previous record high-minimum was set 1886, at 72 degrees. Alta was four degrees hotter than its record with a low of 59 degrees. Monday also saw a record daytime high for Aug. 24 in the capital city, where it was 98, one degree more than the previous high in 2011. Record high temperatures were recorded in Escalante and Hanksville. — Diane Maggipinto

Northern Utah

Missing Papers Means Unemployment For Utah Immigrant

A Salt Lake City postal worker has recently been indicted on two counts of delaying or destroying mail. She allegedly threw out immigration documents, like work permits, starting in 2017. One Utah family believes their paperwork was among them — and they said that’s impacted their livelihood. The U.S. Attorney for Utah has contacted 181 potential victims in the case. Read the full story. — Emily Means

University Of Utah COVID Report

Students at the University of Utah who moved into dorms earlier this month were by and large negative for the coronavirus. U spokesman Chris Nelson said the positive rate is .5% among more than 3,200 tests. That's a total of 16 positive cases, with two test results not yet returned. The goal of testing is to identify those who are positive for COVID-19 but might not be aware of that, and isolate them to blunt the spread of the virus, according to Lori McDonald, vice president for Student Affairs. Students who tested positive returned home or were moved to isolation rooms on campus. University officials said a total count of cases campus-wide — based on self-reporting forms — will be updated daily. There were 37 positive cases of COVID-19 for Aug. 16-23. — Diane Maggipinto

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Beware Algal Blooms

A danger advisory, the strongest warning, has been issued for American Fork Marina on Utah Lake because of what officials deem a high density harmful algal bloom. The Utah County Health Department found toxicity topping the recommended level and advised the public to stay out of the water, though boat traffic can still use that access point on the northeast shore. A harmful algal bloom was also found at Yuba Lake State Park. The Central Utah Health Department issued a warning advisory Monday. Signs will be posted at North Beach, East Beach and Oasis Campground where the bloom was observed. — Diane Maggipinto

Region/Nation

Montana Has Fewer Mailboxes — Mostly In Democratic Precincts

The postmaster general has been under fire in recent days for cutting costs ahead of the 2020 election. In conservative leaning Montana, 13 out of 14 mailboxes removed by the U.S. Postal Service recently were in precincts that lean Democratic, according to Montana State University political science professor David Parker. He stresses that he still needs more data to analyse whether this is just a fluke or part of a bigger trend. Montana is home to one of the tightest races for a Senate seat in the country. The postmaster general is an ally of President Trump and a big Republican donor. A Montana spokesperson with the U.S. postal service says removing blue collection boxes is a decades old protocol. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

Correction: 10:09 a.m. MDT 8/25/2020: An earlier version of this story gave an inaccurate number for the COVID-19 test results at the University of Utah. The University has received 3,248 tests for students moving into residence halls. 

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