Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

AM News Brief: Butterfly Decline, Mike Lee Challenger & John Curtis On Expanded Bears Ears

Josh Ewing/Bears Ears Coalition
Utah Republican Rep. John Curtis told E&E News he plans to introduce legislation to create larger boundaries for Bears Ears National Monument. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, March 10, 2021


Businesses Weigh Cost Of Loosening Pandemic Restrictions

Utah’s statewide mask mandate could go away next month,which for some people may signal the end of the pandemic. The absence of a statewide order could leave small business owners in a tough place, though. Some worry that lifting the mandate sends the wrong message, and that they will have to decide for themselves whether or not to enforce mask-wearing and risk alienating certain customers. Customers may be eager to get back to normal, but health experts stress social distancing and mask wearing are still needed to keep COVID-19 variants from creating new surges. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Challenger To Mike Lee

A Utah County Republican is now the first GOP member to announce a challenge for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Mike Lee. The Daily Herald reported that Brendan Wright made his announcement over the weekend while criticizing leadership in Washington. Wright has not yet officially filed as a candidate, but said he wanted to start reaching out to voters early. He is a Lehi resident and works for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Wright also noted his campaign and message are not connected to or endorsed by his employer. Lee is already fundraising and campaigning for a third term. — Associated Press

Wildlife Officials Warn Of Bird Salmonella Outbreak

A salmonella outbreak among birds in the Pacific Northwest is killing songbirds there. Now, Utah wildlife officials say they’re receiving reports of bird deaths here. The state’s Division of Wildlife Resources is warning residents to be on the lookout for sick or dead birds near bird feeders which can transmit disease because animals gather around them. Officials said to watch for ruffled feathers, rapid breathing and sluggishness. If you see those signs or dead birds, the DWR said to remove bird feeders and bird baths for at least a month. It also said residents can help prevent transmission by cleaning bird feeders regularly and removing old feces or food. If you see more than five sick or dead birds in one spot, the division says to contact the nearest DWR office. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Curtis Supports Larger Bears Ears Monument

Utah Republican Rep. John Curtis told E&E News he plans to introduce legislation to create larger boundaries for Bears Ears National Monument. The monument’s size was reduced by 85% in 2017. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s Interior Department is completing a 60-day review of the boundaries. A representative from the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition said the five tribes with ties to the monument are pushing for 1.9 million acres. That’s larger than the 1.3 million acre monument created by former president Barack Obama. Biden promised on the campaign trail to restore the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase, but he did not say how that would be accomplished. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Fatality At Quail Creek State Park

A 77-year-old Washington County man died at Quail Creek State Park Monday. Donald L. Denoon went fishing at the reservoir earlier that day, according to a press release from the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation. His family called authorities Monday evening when he didn’t come home. He was found in the water without a life jacket, though one was found in his boat. Officials said conditions were windy at the reservoir, and there were strong gusts and cold water temperatures. The incident is under investigation. — Lexi Peery, St. George


Butterfly Population Suffering

A new study led by the University of Nevada shows a decline in butterflies across the American West. Researchers found this is due to warmer autumns caused by climate change. Ecologists suggest that people should help create safer environments for insects in backyards and city parks through things like using insect-friendly pesticides. — Stephanie Serrano, Mountain West News Bureau

KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.