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

PM News Brief: Banjo Contract, Myton Fire Grows & Real Housewives Star Arrested

A photo of smoky scenery.
Utah Fire Info
/
Twitter
The Myton Fire Complex has burned more than 2,700 acres in eastern Duchesne County. This story and more in Tuesday evening's new brief.

Tuesday evening, March 30, 2021

State

State Auditor Releases Review Of Contract With Tech Company Banjo

The Utah Office of the State Auditor released its review Tuesday of state contracts with the tech company Banjo. It had been contracted to create a public safety application. The program would’ve used artificial intelligence and surveillance to monitor accidents and crimes in real time. But in its review, the auditor’s office says the company oversold its technology. It said Banjo couldn’t back up its claims of AI and another company may have been able to create a similar product. Officials also said the software wasn’t as powerful as originally thought. That means there was probably less of a risk to privacy. Banjo had come under fire previously for links its founder had to white supremacist groups as a young man. — Caroline Ballard

Utah COVID-19 Update And U.K. Variant On Navajo Nation

Utah health officials reported 371 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. There are currently 134 people hospitalized due to the virus. That’s just barely up compared to a week ago. The Navajo Nation also announced Tuesday its first case of the U.K. variant of COVID-19. Navajo officials said the person received the vaccine more than a month before testing positive for the strain. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Hosts Vaccines Clinic For Homeless People

Salt Lake City hosted a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for people experiencing homelessness Tuesday. Katherine Fife, Salt Lake County's director of programs and partnerships, works with community organizations on homelessness issues. She said the local health department has been collaborating with service providers to vaccinate homeless people on a daily basis through walk-in opportunities and outreach efforts like Tuesday’s clinic. The most recent data from the county show nearly 800 unsheltered people have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Read the full story. Emily Means

Myton Fire Complex Burning More Than 2,700 Acres In Duchesne County

The Myton Fire Complex has burned more than 2,700 acres in eastern Duchesne County. It’s a human-caused fire and is 25% contained. Mike Eriksson with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands said the fire rapidly spread on Monday because of 40-50 mph wind. There’s been no damage to homes but some power lines were burned. Officials said this is the largest fire to burn in the state so far this year. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City Star Arrested For Wire Fraud

A star of the TV show Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City is facing federal wire fraud and money laundering charges. Law enforcement arrested Jen Shah Tuesday. She faces up to 30 years in prison if she’s convicted. Shah is accused of participating in a telemarketing scheme for almost a decade that defrauded hundreds of people across the country. She allegedly sold participants information to other members of the scheme, so they could scam them. At a hearing this afternoon a judge ordered Shah to be released from custody. However, she must surrender her passport, stay in Utah and not spend or move more than $10,000 of her money. — Sonja Hutson

Utah Congressmen Introduce Act To Expand Parts Of Bonneville Shoreline Trail

Rep. John Curtis, R-UT and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, have introduced a bill to build out parts of Utah’s Bonneville Shoreline Trail. The act would clear a path for the trail to be expanded in Salt Lake and Utah counties. The two Republicans say the populous counties need more recreational opportunities. Gov. Spencer Cox and the chair of the trail’s committee released statements of support for the bill. The Bonneville trail is a little more than 100 miles long now. The bill aims to make it 280 miles. It follows the shore of the ancient lake that once covered a good part of Northern Utah. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

Economist Say Climate Change Will Financially Cost Us In The Long Run

Many oil, gas and coal-dependent communities in the Mountain West region are concerned about President Biden administration’s aggressive stance on climate change. But a recent poll of hundreds of economists by the Institute of Policy Integrity at New York University found reducing emissions now will save us financially in the long run. The vast majority say that the crisis will shrink the global GDP if we don’t take action now. But towns that rely on fossil fuel jobs will be hurt by transitioning away from these fuels. The survey also found unabated climate change will increase financial inequality which could hammer poor, rural towns in the West. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau