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PM News Brief: Utah County COVID-19 Cases, Salt Lake City Police Cleared & Labor Day Weekend Safety

Heavy traffic driving in Salt Lake City with foothills in the background.
Creative Commons via Flickr/Edgar Zuniga Jr.
Health experts say if you’re traveling over Labor Day weekend, make sure to take multiple face masks with you. That story and more in this evening’s news brief.

Friday evening, September 4, 2020

State

Bagley’s Edgy Political Cartoon Protected By First Amendment

Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley has been under fire this week because of a controversial image he drew showing a Ku Klux Klan hoodie in a skeleton of a police officer. But Bagley’s edgy image, along with those like it, are protected under the First Amendment and play a valuable role in public discourse, said RonNell Andersen Jones, a First Amendment law professor at the University of Utah. Jones added it would be hard for Bagley to be liable for his cartoon because it doesn’t target an individual, instead, it speaks more broadly of law enforcement. Read the full story.Lexi Peery, St. George

Second Consecutive Day With More Than 500 New COVID-19 Cases

For the second day in a row, Utah health officials reported more than 500 COVID-19 cases. Utah County had the largest jump, as it accounted for 208 of the 513 new cases. That’s the most in a single day in the county since the start of the pandemic. Officials also announced that five more people have died due to the disease bringing the state to 419 total deaths since the pandemic began. All five people were either hospitalized or a long term care facility resident at the time of their death. — Ross Terrell

Gov. Herbert Issues Two COVID-19 Executive Orders

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued two COVID-19 related executive orders Friday. One order moves Salt Lake City to the yellow, low risk phase of pandemic response and moves Sevier County to the green, new normal level. The second order extends the face covering mandate for all state buildings. The order is now set to expire when Herbert’s state of emergency does on Sept. 19. Salt Lake City had been the last area to still be in the orange, moderate risk phase for the coronavirus pandemic. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Salt Lake County D.A. Clears Three Officers In Police Shooting

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill is declining to press charges against three officers involved in a shooting in February. Police were responding to a domestic violence call where they reportedly found Michael Tyson Nance choking a woman. They ordered him to stop or they would shoot him. Nance is accused of shooting and killing the woman before shooting and injuring an officer. Three officers fired their guns in return but none of the bullets struck Nance. Gill said the officers would likely be found justified in believing that their lives were in danger. Nance is facing felony murder and assault charges. — Caroline Ballard

Utah Lake Algal Blooms Create Harmful Conditions

An algal bloom at Utah Lake is making for some dangerous conditions at the popular recreation site. According to the Utah Division of Water Quality, high levels of potentially toxic algae were found in multiple parts of the lake this week. The American Fork and Lincoln marinas are both on danger advisories, which means people and their pets should keep out of and away from the water. There’s also a warning advisory for Utah Lake’s open water, which means people should not swim or water ski in any part of the lake and boaters should avoid algae scum. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Public Comment For Lake Powell Pipeline Ending Soon

The public comment period for the environmental review of the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline closes Tuesday. The pipeline would move water from the reservoir which is 140 miles east of Washington County. Those in favor of it point to the projected growth in the area but environmental groups question the need for the billion dollar plan. Public comments must be submitted to the Bureau of Reclamation before midnight on Sept. 8. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Health Officials Warn About Labor Day COVID-19 Spike

Following Memorial Day, there was a spike in coronavirus cases. Now, doctors are worried this Labor Day weekend will be a repeat of that. Health experts say if you’re traveling make sure to take multiple face masks with you so can wear a clean one each day or sooner if it gets soiled. Utah’s governor has also warned for people to be safe as Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer for some. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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