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AM News Brief: Navajo Nation COVID, Wildfire And Race & Governor On Transition

Gov Transition
Steve Griffin, Deseret News
/
Deseret News
As Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s time in office comes to an end, he said his successor doesn’t need any advice from him. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, December 24, 2020

State

Funding Needs For Domestic Violence Support Programs

Calls to domestic violence hotlines in Utah have more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Service providers are worried they won’t be able to keep up with the need, while federal funding for these services is decreasing. To address the needs, groups in the state are planning to ask state lawmakers for over $3 million in the upcoming session. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger

If you or anyone you know are in an abusive situation, you can call the Utah Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-897-LINK (5465).

Gov. Herbert On Handing Reins To Spencer Cox

As Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s time in office comes to an end, he said his successor doesn’t need any advice from him. Gov.-elect Spencer Cox has served as lieutenant governor since 2013. Herbert said he’ll bring a more youthful perspective to the office, but he thinks Cox will take the state in a similar direction. He said “the goals are the same," like economic prosperity and good quality of life, and Cox has already seen how the state tackles them. Herbert leaves office in January, after more than 11 years as Utah’s governor. Cox, along with his lieutenant governor, Deidre Henderson, will be sworn in Jan. 4. — Emily Means

Angelos Exoneration

Among the dozens of people exonerated through presidential pardon over the last few days is Utah music producer Weldon Angelos. President Donald Trump granted a full pardon to Weldon Angelos. He was a rising star in the industry when he got snagged in a sting operation in 2003. He was convicted on marijuana and gun possession charges. Utah law professor Paul Cassell was obliged to sentence Angelos to 55 years because of mandatory sentence rules. Cassell then resigned from the federal bench to advocate for sentence reform. Angelos was released in 2016 when President Barack Obama commuted his sentence. — Diane Maggipinto

Region/Nation

Navajo Nation COVID-19 Updates

The Navajo Department of Health added no deaths but another 157 cases of COVID-19 to the tally Wednesday. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have arrived on the reservation and are being administered to frontline healthcare workers. He also implored residents to stay on the reservation and to gather for the holidays with only those who live under the same roof. — Diane Maggipinto

Young Boy’s Complications From COVID-19 Serve As Warning

A 12-year-old boy from a secluded valley in Idaho became one of hundreds of children in the U.S. affected by a rare COVID-19 complication. Cooper Wuthrich had a high fever and inflamed joints and organs that landed him in an emergency room in Salt Lake City three hours away from his small hometown. The boy's parents said he nearly died and their terrifying experience shows why people should wear masks in a conservative state where pushback can be fierce. Doctors say the complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is rare, but the kids who get it can quickly become very ill. — Associated Press

Help Following Fires Follows Racial Make-up Of Neighborhoods

The help a person receives after a wildfire may depend on how wealthy or white their neighborhood is. According to new research released in the publication Resources for the Future, chances of fuel treatment projects happening were significantly higher in places where all or almost all residents were white. Those same odds went up even more if the majority of those households were above the poverty line. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau