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AM News Brief: General Conference, Salt Lake Police Staffing & Challenging The National Parks Head

Brian Albers
Top leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints urged members over the weekend to root out racism and make the faith an “oasis of unity'” — while also decrying violence at recent racial injustice protests they said amounted to “anarchy.” This story and more in the Monday morning news brief.


COVID-19 Surge Continues Over Weekend

Sunday Utah’s Department of Health announced 1,393 positive COVID-19 cases nearly tying the record the state set less than two weeks ago. Sunday also marked the fourth straight day of more than 1,000 cases. State and health officials have continued to urge people to wear a mask and practice social distancing as the state works to get a handle on its fall spike. Utah County, which has been at the center of it, saw nearly 700 cases over the past two days. But Salt Lake County led the way over that same time period seeing more than a thousand. As of Sunday, 175 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. — Emily Means

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Hearings Could Alter Future Of Rooftop Solar

The Utah Public Service Commission has been hearing a case for the last week that could dramatically alter the future of rooftop solar in the state. At issue: the price solar owners get for power they generate and send back to the grid. The decision could not only impact how many people invest in rooftop solar in the future, but could also affect how electric utility rates are designed. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

Mayor Refutes Idea That City Is Rapidly Losing Police Officers

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall pushed back on reports that the city police department is rapidly losing officers. Mendenhall said those rumors have been circulating among businesses and neighborhoods that have complained police aren’t responding to their calls. She said the number of officers retiring or resigning is similar to recent years and that city data show eight officers left in June 2020, up from last year. But in July, that number dropped compared to last year. She also said the police department has received over a thousand job applications this year. In August, the Salt Lake Police Association spoke against an executive order from the mayor directing the police chief to change use-of-force policies. Mendenhall said she wants officers to work with the city on police reform. — Emily Means

Man Dies In Wasatch Mountain Hunting Accident

A man who was reported missing Sunday while hunting was found dead at Wasatch Mountain State Park. 61-year-old Anthony Patrick Dugmore from Wasatch County was traveling alone on his UTV in the park on Saturday. Rangers say Dugmore’s body and his UTV were found in the Little Deer Creek area at the bottom of an embankment 1000 feet off the trail. — Diane Maggipinto

Region And Beyond

Church Urges Unity, Decries Violence

Top leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints urged members over the weekend to root out racism and make the faith an “oasis of unity'” — while also decrying violence at recent racial injustice protests they said amounted to “anarchy.” On Sunday, Church President Russell M. Nelson said that he's pained to see Black people suffer prejudice. There was no mention of the Church's past ban on Black men in the lay priesthood that stood until 1978. Dallin H. Oaks, the second-highest-ranking leader of the faith, also offered guidance ahead of next month's presidential election: Peacefully accept the results. The twice-yearly conference was held without attendees in Salt Lake City due to the coronavirus. Top leaders wore masks and maintained social distance inside a small theater. — Associated Press

Lawsuits Seek To Oust Head Of National Park Service

Two environmental nonprofits have filed suit in federal court to remove the acting director of the National Park Service. This comes on the heels of a judge removing the controversial head of the Bureau of Land Management. Both agencies have been led by acting directors for almost four years without being confirmed to their jobs by the Senate. The two organizations filing the lawsuit argue that’s illegal because Senate approval is required under the constitution.A spokesperson for the Interior Department, however, criticized both that lawsuit and the removal of William Perry Pendley as head of the Bureau of Land Management. The agency says the government would “ultimately be vindicated.” — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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