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PM News Brief: Social T-Rexes, Parler Returns To App Store & Virgin River Corridor

A photo of the Rainbows and Unicorns Quarry fossil site.
David Hercher
/
Flickr
A new study released Monday suggests the tyrannosaurus rex may have socialized in packs, much like wolves. Researchers made their finding at the Rainbows and Unicorns Quarry fossil site, located inside Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, April 19, 2021

State

Recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Caregivers at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital are marking the occasion by planting blue and silver pinwheels on the hospital’s lawn and looking back on how the pandemic has impacted victims. Reports of child abuse and calls for service fell dramatically last year, according to Dr. Antoinette Laskey. Children were not at school, where abuse reports come from most often. They also weren’t seeing friends or other community members. Laskey said it is more important than ever that adults report situations where they suspect children are in danger. Read the full story. Jon Reed

Social Media Platform Parler Returning To Apple’s App Store

In a letter to Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, tech company Apple said it will reinstate the social media platform Parler on its app store. Parler positions itself as a haven for free speech, and has attracted mainly Trump supporters and conservatives. After the capitol insurrection in January, Apple, Amazon and Google took the app off their services. They said the site was used to coordinate the attack. In March, Lee and a Colorado lawmaker sent a letter to Apple asking more than 30 questions about why they decided to remove the app. Apple defended the removal because of Parler’s lack of moderation of offensive posts but the company said Parler has taken steps to improve. — Caroline Ballard

Utah COVID-19 Update

Utah health officials reported 200 new COVID-19 cases Monday. It’s the lowest single day number since last Monday. The state’s week long positivity rate is now 3.5%. That’s down slightly compared to a week ago. Officials said two more people have died from the virus. So far, nearly 1.9 million doses of the vaccine have been administered. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Governor’s Mansion Undergoing Renovations

Repair work on the governor’s mansion is underway. Workers installed scaffolding around the building Monday. The main focus of the construction is repairing the historic windows throughout the house and replacing the roof. The project has a budget of $2.1 million. Work is expected to be done by the fall. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Maybe T-Rexes Were Social Creatures After All

A new study released Monday suggests the tyrannosaurus rex may have socialized in packs, much like wolves. Researchers made their finding at the Rainbows and Unicorns Quarry fossil site, located inside Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Alan Titus is a paleontologist with the Bureau of Land Management. “T-Rexes could have actually been social complex hunters and all that is somewhat controversial because a lot of researchers feel like these animals simply didn't have the brainpower to engage in such complex behavior,” Titus said. The bones found at the site were from dinosaurs that died together during a seasonal flooding event. The findings were compared with other locations which support the idea that T-Rexes were social creatures. — Ivana Martinez

Virgin River Corridor Closing For Invasive Fish Treatment

The Virgin River Corridor, which is just south of St. George, will be closed to public use from June 16 to July 3. The Bureau of Land Management issued a notice about the closure Monday. During that time, the river will be treated for invasive fish that are threatening two endangered species. However, it won’t impact travel and construction along Interstate 15 in the Virgin River Gorge. There will be a similar shut down next year. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Vaccine Hesitancy In Rural Parts Of The Mountain West

Federal data show the Mountain West region is home to some of the highest vaccine hesitancy rates in the country. Shawnda Schroeder is with the Center for Rural Health. She said she’s not surprised by the high rates in the rural parts of the region. Plus, she said pausing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine didn’t help. Shroeder said local, trusted leaders, like primary care physicians and church figures can help by reaching out to their communities. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau