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AM News Brief: Youth Suicide Prevention, U Remote Classes & Romney To Vote On Court Nominee

Photo of 'U' sculpture lit at night.
Brian Albers / KUER
The University of Utah will stop in-person classes for two weeks — including during the vice presidential debate on campus. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, September 22, 2020

Romney Will Vote On Court Nominee

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, announced Tuesday morning that he will vote on a Supreme Court nominee if one reaches the senate floor. President Donald Trump has said he would nominate a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by the end of the week. Democrats have said with just 42 days to the election the next president should make the pick to fill the seat. Republicans in 2016 refused to consider Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland based on a similar argument. It would take four Republican senators to hold off the nomination process — which seems unlikely now with Romney’s decision. — Elaine Clark

State

Youth Suicide Prevention Plan

The Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition has released its plan aimed at reducing the risk of suicide in the LGBTQ community. Ray Bailey manages the state’s youth suicide prevention program. They said every Utahn can play a role in helping reduce the rates by being accepting of LGBTQ people and challenging prejudice. According to the coalition the LGBTQ community is at a higher risk of suicide than other people. — Darienne DeBrule

If you or anyone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Northern Utah

U Classes To Go Remote For Two Weeks

The University of Utah will stop in-person classes for two weeks — including during the vice presidential debate on campus. Officials said the temporary move to online remote learning was already planned, and then revised to begin a week earlier on Sept. 28 because of a surge of COVID-19 cases in the state that began after schools and colleges resumed classes. In-person classes will resume on Oct. 11. The state's flagship university is preparing to host the high-profile national event when Vice President Mike Pence debates Democratic nominee Kamala Harris on Oct. 7 at Kingsbury Hall with a small live audience. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

Fire Start In Beaver County

The Three Creeks Fire broke out last night in a slash pile alongside the road in Beaver Canyon. Eagle Point Ski Area and Big John Flat residents were evacuated and SR 153 is closed for a 30 mile stretch to the junction with U.S. 89 in Piute County. The fire ignited in a fuels treatment area. Crews were unable to burn the dead and downed wood and brush earlier this season because of regulations associated with COVID-19. Federal and state resources are on the scene of the 10-acre blaze. — Diane Maggipinto

Follow KUER’s coverage of Utah’s 2020 Fire Season.

Firewood Delivery Means Warmth For Navajo Nation

Residents dropped off nearly 70 semi-trucks’ worth of downed trees to the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake last week. Now, Utah Navajo Health System is delivering it to people on the Navajo Nation who need firewood, like Brooke Davis. She heats her home with a wood burning stove, but does not have enough money to buy wood this year. Her car broke down so she can’t gather it herself either. The pandemic has made the need for firewood even greater than normal on the reservation, said the Health System’s COVID-19 relief program director Pete Sands. So far, around 10 semi trucks of wood have been moved from Salt Lake to Blanding. The Urban Indian Center is not accepting any more wood at this time. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

Using Anonymous School Surveys For Suicide Prevention

Colorado researchers are calling for national guidelines on what to do when anonymous student surveys indicate a school might be at high risk of losing students to suicide. The researchers said a few years ago, routine surveys revealed a specific Colorado middle school had an “alarmingly” high percent of students who said they had seriously considered suicide and had attempted it. They warned the schools principal, who was able to respond accordingly. Now, the researchers are calling for national guidelines on what to do in cases like these — especially in places like the Mountain West, which suffers from disproportionate rates of teen suicide. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West News Bureau

If you or anyone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Corrected: September 25, 2020 at 10:22 AM MDT
A previous version of this story misgendered Ray Bailey. It has been updated to reflect their pronouns.
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