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PM News Brief: Wrong Way Crashes, Anti-Asian American Hate Protests & Mitt Romney Award

Photo of Mitt Romney
KUER File Photo
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Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, is this year’s recipient of the Profile in Courage Award. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, March 26, 2021

State

Educational Program For Incarcerated Youth Set To Launch In Utah In May

Some incarcerated youth in Utah will soon be able to take college classes. A bill recently signed by the governor sets up the program. The new education opportunity will be run out of Dixie State University. It’s for long-term incarcerated youth, which includes around 100 people across the state. They’ll be able to participate in live classes that count as college credit. Brett Peterson is the director of Juvenile Justice Services for Utah. He said this kind of program doesn’t exist in the state right now. He’s also hopeful it will help “chip away” at cycles of poverty and trauma. Read the full story. Lexi Peery, St. George

Deaths From Wrong Way Crashes Increase In Utah And Country

The number of deaths from wrong-way crashes has increased both in Utah and across the country. That’s according to data from Triple A. From 2010 to 2014, 11 people in the state died in wrong-way driving accidents. From 2015 to 2018, that went up to 19. More than 2,000 people nationwide also died in these types of accidents. Utah’s Triple A spokesperson said they’re calling on transportation agencies to install signs that are more visible. They’re also asking for a change to state law to better identify medically at-risk drivers. — Ross Terrell

Utah COVID-19 Update

Utah health officials reported 453 new COVID-19 cases Friday. The state’s positivity rate continues to hover around 4%. The week long average for new cases has also dropped every day since last Wednesday. Officials announced three more people died from the virus but they said all three deaths happened before March. So far, the state has administered nearly 1.3 million doses of the vaccine. — Ross Terrell

Sen. Mitt Romney To Receive Profile In Courage Award

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, is this year’s recipient of the Profile in Courage Award. It recognizes Romney for being the only Republican to vote to convict former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment trial in 2020. The award was created by the family of the late President John F. Kennedy. It honors public figures who risk their careers by embracing unpopular positions for the greater good. Romney faced backlash from the president and other Republicans for his vote to convict. The honor was announced Friday on NBC's “Today'' show. Romney said he is appreciative and humbled by the award. — Associated Press

Northern Utah

Weekend Protests Planned To Support Asian American Community

National protests are being held Saturday to raise awareness about the increasing violence against the Asian American community. The rallies are being organized by the ANSWER coalition — a national anti-racism group. The Utah Party of Socialism and Liberation will host the protest on the coalition’s behalf in Salt Lake City’s International Peace Gardens. The event is meant to honor the victims of the Atlanta spa shootings. Six of the eight victims were Asian women. The ANSWER coalition said the shootings should be viewed as “a hate crime.” — Ivana Martinez

Region/Nation

Trial For Snowboarders Who Triggered Avalanche Delayed Until June

Not enough jurors showed up for a trial this week involving two Colorado snowboarders who triggered an avalanche. That led to a mistrial and a delay until June, which frustrated all sides involved. The boarders are charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment after triggering an avalanche, which later destroyed an avalanche mitigation device and covered a service road. Prosecutors are also seeking $168,000 in damages. The case has raised plenty of concerns about whether this could have legal implications for backcountry recreation and avalanches going forward. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau