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AM Brief: Big Cottonwood avalanche, Mountain West hate groups & Utah letters to Ukrainian children

A sign warns against avalanche danger at a Utah ski resort.
Brian Albers
A sign warns against avalanche danger at a Utah ski resort.

Monday, Mar. 14, 2022

Northern Utah

Community pushes against shared housing project

A proposed shared housing project for the east side of Salt Lake City could replace existing housing with a “rooming house” apartment. The plan calls for 65 units with one to four bedrooms each. Residents would share a kitchen and living space, and each bedroom would have its own bathroom. It could house nearly 200 people, but some people view the development as an undignified way of living and worry it could worsen access to affordable housing. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Skier caught in Big Cottonwood Canyon avalanche

An avalanche buried a skier in Big Cottonwood Canyon Saturday. A guided group of eight was skiing down the East Bowl in Silver Fork when they triggered the avalanche. The final skier was caught and buried six feet deep in the snow. It took at least 20 minutes for the group to dig him out of the snow, but he was still breathing. Search and rescue teams arrived within 20 minutes of receiving a 911 call and carried him by helicopter to the Intermountain Medical Center. The Utah Avalanche Center said another skier was caught in a nearby avalanche around the same time but did not require hospitalization. A special avalanche bulletin had been issued for Saturday, with forecasters saying they were very worried a serious avalanche accident could occur. — Leah Treidler

Abby Cox calls for letters to children fleeing Ukraine

Utah First Lady Abby Cox is calling on the state’s school-aged kids to write or draw cards to children fleeing Ukraine, offering friendship and encouragement. Cox has helped lead a drive to collect supplies for the refugees called “Driven to Assist,” and Utahns have donated more than 190 barrels of items — enough to fill two semi-trucks. Cox is asking students to bring or mail their letters to the Governor’s Mansion in Salt Lake City by Thursday, Mar. 17, and she'll include them in the humanitarian relief shipment. — Leah Treidler

Clarence Thomas rebukes politicization of the Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said he's worried about efforts to politicize the court or add additional justices. He made his comments at a Friday event in Salt Lake City hosted by former Republican Sen. Orin Hatch's foundation. Thomas said the latest moves pertaining to the Supreme Court undermine the institution’s credibility among young people. He also blasted members of the media for scrutinizing his wife's conservative political activity. The court is set to rule this year on several hot-button political issues — including abortion, guns and voting rights. — Associated Press


Hate group ideologies infiltrate the conservative mainstream

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual overview on political extremism, there were more than 700 such groups. It’s a decline from historic highs in 2018, but that doesn’t mean they’re less influential. Instead, the authors warn the groups’ ideas have entered the mainstream. Samantha Kutner, a research fellow at The Khalifa Ihler Institute studying far-right groups, said they’ve been using the lie that the presidential election was stolen to make inroads with more traditional conservatives. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s data shows there were 22 hate groups in Arizona last year, the highest number in the Mountain West. Colorado, Nevada and Idaho were also near the top of the list. — Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

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