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AM News Brief: Fire Risks, Right-Wing Voter Intimidation & Utah County Masks

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Wednesday morning, October 21, 2020

Northern Utah

Possible Power Down Due To Fire Risk

Rocky Mountain Power said it may shut power off this week to some parts of Northern Utah at high risk for wildfires. In a statement, the utility said parts of Sundance and Summit Park are forecasted to have winds and low humidity Wednesday and Thursday which could spark a fire if debris hits power lines. RMP said the measure would only be used as a last resort and lines will be inspected and repowered after extreme weather conditions pass. Customers that might be affected will receive notifications ahead of time. — Jon Reed

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

Changing Insulting Place Names

Utah’s Committee on Geographic Names has approved legislation that seeks to streamline the federal process for changing geographic names that contain language derogatory to Native Americans. The draft bill would allow the Utah Division of Indian Affairs to work with the committee to create an application template for tribes and other community members to request moniker changes. The bill stipulates that the application must encourage a petitioner to get feedback from one or more tribal governments connected to the geographic location where the change is requested. — Associated Press

Utah County Mask Order

The Utah County Health Department has rescinded a mask mandate, but face coverings are still required under the state's new COVID-19 response plan. The original mask order in the county was issued a month ago when restrictions in the cities of Provo and Orem were tightened to orange level under the old state guidelines. Because Utah County is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, it is listed in the high transmission level under new guidelines. Masks are required in stores, libraries, schools and public government buildings. Data from the state Department of Health show Utah County accounts for nearly a quarter of all cases in Utah. — Diane Maggipinto

Southern Utah

Slow That ATV Down In Moab

Moab and Grand County voted Tuesday to put an indefinite pause on new ATV events, as well as rental, sales and tour companies. They also put a new 15 mile-per-hour speed limit on the vehicles in neighborhoods. The moves come in response to growing complaints about noisy all-terrain vehicles in Moab, and critics said it is the direct result of a 2015 state law making the vehicles street legal. ATV users took issue with the moratorium on new guiding companies and events. The city also discussed lobbying the state Legislature to allow them to put a permit system for the vehicles in place. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger, Blanding

Region And Beyond

Study Looks At Potential Voter Intimidation

As we approach election day, some states in our region are preparing for potential voter intimidation and violence following rhetoric from President Donald Trump.At the first presidential debate, Trump urged his supporters — some of them far-right extremists — to watch the polls on election day. Far-right militia and white supremacy groups are a real threat to the election process in Nevada according to a recent report led by the think tank Political Research Associates. And one researcher said today’s interconnected networks of radical, potentially armed groups go well beyond state borders. Voter intimidation laws vary in our region. No states in the Mountain West prohibit guns from polling places outright. — Beau Baker, Mountain West News Bureau