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AM News Brief: Schools And Smoke, Rare Heat Burst & Possible Provo Mask Veto

Photo of a pile of blue surgical masks
Cylonphoto via iStock
The unanimous vote by the Provo City Council to mandate masks is threatened by a veto. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, August 26, 2020

State

Climate And The Economy

Outdoor recreation contributes about $12.3 billion to Utah’s economy, and at a summit for the industry Tuesday, state and business leaders met to talk about how climate change could impact that. They said climate change and the economy are intrinsically linked, and protecting the environment will payoff. Customers are also hoping for change to happen fast and are increasingly demanding businesses take action. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Provo Mask Mandate Faces Veto

The unanimous vote by the Provo City Council to mandate masks is threatened by a veto. The Daily Universe, the student newspaper at Brigham Young University, reports Mayor Michelle Kaufusi intends to veto the ordinance. Last week, the council delayed action and gathered additional public comment prior to the vote Tuesday night. The council said the ordinance will be presented to the Mayor for signature. She can veto, sign it or allow it to go into effect without her signature after 15 days. If Kaufusi vetoes the ordinance, the Council could reconvene to consider overriding it with another vote. — Diane Maggipinto

Correction 8:38 a.m. MDT 8/29/2020: A previous version of this story misstated the nature of the vote needed by the Provo City Council to override a veto — it does not need to be unanimous. It has been updated.

Limited Football Scholarships

After universities in Utah and across the country shuttered their football season due to COVID-19, the NCAA granted student athletes an extra year of eligibility. But University of Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham said that’s going to affect scholarships down the line. He said the U is allowed 85, and during a typical season, the seniors leave, freeing up scholarships. But with them being able to play an extra year, he’s worried there won’t be enough scholarships for 2022 recruits. Whittingham said players transferring isn’t going to be an easy fix either, because other colleges and universities are in the same boat. — Ross Terrell

Guilty Plea In Biological Agent Case

A Utah woman has pleaded guilty to multiple charges after police said she bought a biological agent online to harm her former roommate. Janie Lynn Ridd was arrested in December 2019 on suspicion of aggravated abuse and attempted abuse of a vulnerable adult, plus attempted possession of a biological agent. Authorities said Ridd bought the agent, which can cause skin infections, severe invasive diseases, pneumonia and potentially death. Ridd could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. — Associated Press

Rare Heat Burst Hits Airport

A rare weather phenomenon called a “heat burst” was recorded at Salt Lake City International Airport. The National Weather Service said a downdraft of hot, dry air hit Tuesday night along with a smattering of rain and some thunderbooms. Meteorologists say heat bursts typically happen in the evening or overnight in a dissipating thunderstorm. Warm, humid air is absorbed into the storm, heavy rain cools as it comes down and hot air stops rising as the storm weakens. The rain then begins to evaporate as cool air plunges downward, compresses and heats up, reaching the ground as a warm wind. — Diane Maggipinto

Region/Nation

Schools And Smoke

For days now, wildfire smoke has degraded the air quality in much of our region. And that unhealthy air is forcing tough decisions for schools. Since many reopening plans included open windows or increased time outside, some schools in our region have had to close again — this time because of the dangerous air. — Amanda Peacher, Mountain West News Bureau

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