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PM News Brief: Bees Baseball Renewed, Protest Mural Honored & Sage Grouse Habitat Reconsidered

2020 In Pictures/North Mural CN.jpg
Chelsea Naughton
/
KUER
A mural in downtown Salt Lake City featuring victims of police violence has won an award for promoting justice and equity in the community. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, February 15, 2021

State

COVID Cases Trending Downward

The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to fall in Utah. Monday, the state department of health reported 462 new cases, the lowest daily case count since early September. The weekly average of new cases is now below 1,000, and the positivity rate has also dropped steadily since the beginning of the year. The state reported that two more people have died of the diseases — a man in Weber County and a man in Utah county. — Caroline Ballard

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Bill Would Run Afoul Of “One Man, One Vote”

Around three-quarters of Utah’s state representatives are from the Wasatch Front. Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, said that leads to policy and funding choices that benefit urban Utahns. To fix that, he filed a bill that creates at least one House district for every county in Utah. He said it would give rural residents more representation. But it would violate a 1964 Supreme Court decision that found the “one man, one vote” principle applies to state legislative districts. Brigham Young University political scientist Adam Brown said while state lawmakers frequently pass bills that contradict federal law, this one would be overturned immediately. The bill was assigned to the House political subdivisions committee on Friday and doesn’t have a hearing date yet. Read the full article.Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Northern Utah

Antelope Island Death

A 40-year-old Syracuse, Utah, woman has died at Antelope Island State Park. Park officials announced Sunday Samantha Weigel went for a hike there early Friday morning. Her friends and family searched for her that evening after she didn’t arrive at a meeting spot. Weigel’s body was found around 7 p.m. in the Split Rock and Elephant Head area of the island. She had sustained head and neck injuries. A medical examiner said foul play was not suspected. — Roddy Nikpour

“Protest Portraits” Mural Honored

A mural in downtown Salt Lake City featuring victims of police violence has won an award for promoting justice and equity in the community. The Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts has awarded the 2020 Ruby Chacon Social Justice Arts Award to the anonymous collective, Salt Lake City Mural Makers. Their “Protest Portraits” popped up last summer to commemorate people who have been killed by police. That includes George Floyd and Utahns like Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal and Darrien Hunt. The portraits are painted on the Fleet Building at 800 S. and 300 W. It has become a community gathering place where people leave flowers and mourn at the mural. — Roddy Nikpour

Bees Renew Agreement With Los Angeles Angels

The Salt Lake Bees are sticking around for at least 10 more years. They are a minor league baseball team for the MLB’s Los Angeles Angels. The Bees announced Friday they renewed their agreement to remain the top affiliate with the Angels through the 2030 season. Since 2001, they have been the primary pipeline for rising stars in the Angels’ organization to enter the big leagues. Angels General Manager Perry Minasian said he’s excited for the next generation of players to come to them by way of Utah. — Roddy Nikpour

Region/Nation

Reconsidering Sage Grouse Habitat

A federal judge has overturned a Trump administration decision that allowed mining on millions of acres of sage grouse habitat across the West. Thursday, Judge Lynn Winmill ordered the Bureau of Land Management reconsider mining on these lands. Advocates said this is one of many steps in protecting the fragile species that has seen a precipitous decline in population numbers over the years. What happens next is up to the Biden administration. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau