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AM News Brief: Calls For Bears Ears Restoration, Fossilized Namesake & Federal Funds For Wind Storm Repair

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Courtesy University of Utah
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A University of Utah assistant professor is getting a fossilized relative of the squid named after her. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, January 14, 2021

Southern Utah

Local Governments On Bears Ears Restoration

Moab and Grand County officials are asking President-elect Joe Biden to restore Bears Ears National Monument. The Moab city council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to send a letter to Biden asking him to restore the monument to its original size of 1.3 million acres. The Grand County commission voted unanimously last week to send a similar letter. The San Juan County commission has also asked the president-elect to restore the Monument, but it also asked that he enlarge Bears Ears to the 1.9 million acres requested by the tribes. Blanding and Monticello have both asked Biden not to restore the monument. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Groups Call For Investigation Into Reservoir Project

Seven environmental groups are calling for an investigation into a proposed water project in Kane County. The project’s planners say the Cove Reservoir will section off water for agricultural use, but Utah Rivers Council executive director Zach Frankel said that's not the case. In surveying the land, he said the water will be used in a developing, municipal area. Mike Noel with the Kane County Water Conservancy District disputes the accusations, arguing that the call for an investigation is an effort to prolong the process. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Northern Utah

Federal Money For Wind Storm Repair

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted Utah's request for federal disaster assistance funds. The money will help with recovery efforts after hurricane-force winds hit the Wasatch Front and Morgan County last September. President Donald Trump’s signature Wednesday released funds to the Utah Division of Emergency Management and certain private nonprofit organizations. Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake and Weber Counties will be able to apply for reimbursement for infrastructure repair and clean-up costs. This is the third federal disaster declaration for Utah disasters last year. The first was declared on April 4, 2020 for the COVID-19 pandemic and is ongoing. — Bob Nelson

Church Gives Millions To Utah Homeless Charities

Utahns experiencing homelessness are getting a big boost from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after leaders announced $3.3 million in new donations Wednesday. They said it's part of the faith's ongoing efforts to help provide shelter and other financial support for the state’s homeless population. Five non-profits have received funding from Latter-Day Charities since New Year's Day. The Road Home, Shelter the Homeless, Friends of the Coalition, Switchpoint and Utah Community Action are all getting financial support, according to Church authorities. — Bob Nelson

Region/Nation

Fossilized Namesake

A University of Utah assistant professor is getting a fossilized relative of the squid named after her. Kathleen Ritterbush is being recognized for her ammonoid research in Nevada's Gabbs Valley range. The newly-described species of ammonoid is named "Arnioceras ritterbushi" by researchers David Taylor and Jean Guex. Ritterbush researches the swimming efficiency of ammonite shells. Ammonoids are large spiral-shaped shells preserved as fossils. The species was found in a rock layer known as the Sunrise Formation. It's nearly 200 million years old in the early Jurassic Period. — Bob Nelson

Fractured GOP & The West

The GOP was largely united under President Trump until the violence in the Capitol last week. Now Western lawmakers are drawing lines in the sand. On one side is Colorado’s hard-right legislator Lauren Boebert. She’s doubled down on Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories. On the other is No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming who stunned political observers with her vote to impeach Trump. Seth Masket is a political scientist at University of Denver. He said Cheney could emerge as leader of an anti-Trump faction and that could grow into a presidential bid. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

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