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PM News Brief: Jazz Playoff Game Postponed, Federal Lease Sales & Phil Lyman Ordered To Court

Photo of Phil Lyman exiting the court after being sentenced in Dec. 2015.
Judy Fahys
Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to require Utah state Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, to appear in court after he missed a court ordered deadline to turn over his tax returns. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, August 27, 2020


Utah Weekly Unemployment Update

Over 60,000 Utahns are still out of work, according to the latest unemployment numbers from the Department of Workforce Services. And last week, 5,000 new people filed for unemployment benefits. Department officials said that’s a sign the pandemic is continuing to impact the state’s economy and assistance remains crucial. It’s been about a month since unemployed workers last received the $600 federal weekly supplement. But an additional $300 per week, for people who received unemployment from late July through mid-August, was made available through FEMA Disaster Relief. That will go out in mid-September. — Jon Reed

Utah’s COVID Cases Remain Seven-Day Average Goal 

As Utah’s schools have reopened for in-person class, the state’s seven-day average for new daily COVID cases has remained under 400. Thursday, health officials announced 383 new cases of the disease and Utah’s positivity rate remains under 9%. Long term care facilities continue to combat the novel coronavirus, as nearly 1,200 residents have tested positive and 184 people living in these facilities have died. — Ross Terrell


Real Salt Lake Owner Apologizes For Comments On Canceled Game

Real Salt Lake’s owner Dell Loy Hansen has apologized for comments he made after players sat out Wednesday’s game in solidarity with other major sports teams protesting racism and injustice. Hansen had come under fire after saying in a local radio interview the team’s protest felt like a backstabbing and that “the disrespect was profound to me, personally.” Jazz basketball star Donovan Mitchell tweeted that he stands with Real Salt Lake players, and that if Hansen feels that way, he should sell the team. Former goalie Nick Rimando said on Twitter that he was disgusted with the comments. One of the team’s current defenders also told the BBC he does not want to play for Salt Lake with Hansen at the helm. — Caroline Ballard

Jazz Playoff Game Postponed Amid Player Protests

All three of Thursday’s NBA playoff games, including the matchup between the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets, have been postponed. Three games were called off yesterday after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play in protest against Sunday's shooting, in which police in Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake seven times as he was leaning into his car. The Jazz posted a statement on Twitter Wednesday in solidarity with Blake's family. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall tweeted her support of the team Thursday, thanking them for “standing up in this critical moment.” — Caroline Ballard


Phil Lyman Ordered To Appear In Court Over Tax Returns

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to require Utah state Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, to appear in court after he missed a court ordered deadline to turn over his tax returns. The motion stems from a 2015 misdemeanor conviction for illegally driving off-road vehicles on public lands. At that time, the court directed the lawmaker to pay almost $96,000 in restitution to the Bureau of Land Management on a payment plan of $100 a month. When Lyman started serving as a representative last year, prosecutors said his financial situation may have changed, which led to the court demanding he hand over his tax documents. — Sonja Hutson


Federal Government Has First Lease Sales In Months

The federal government had its first lease sales on public lands in months earlier this week. Those were in parts of New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Some experts suspect that’s to maintain the U.S.’s energy independence. In other words, start producing more now so the U.S. won’t have to depend on other countries as much if oil production rebounds here once the pandemic eases up.Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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