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AM News Brief: Cannabis Banking, Damaged Rock Art & Black Mental Health

Kelsie Moore
Anti-Black violence has been taking a toll on African-American’s mental health according to new data released Monday by the University of Utah. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, April 20, 2021


Utah Leaders Call For “Calm” Following Chauvin Verdict

The imminent verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin has prompted calls for Utahns to remain calm. Chauvin is charged with murdering George Floyd, and the jury is deliberating Chauvin's fate in Minneapolis as of Tuesday morning. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox is asking people to respond peacefully to the verdict. In a statement, he said any threats to personal safety, people's lives or property "will not be tolerated." The Salt Lake branch of the NAACP — along with the organization's Tri-State Conference of Idaho, Nevada and Utah — is also appealing for calm. President Jeanetta Williams said any protests resulting from the verdict should not be violent. — Pamela McCall

Governor Supports Banking Changes For Cannabis Businesses

Gov. Spencer Cox and 20 other governors sent a letter to Congress Monday in support of the SAFE Banking Act. It would allow banks and credit unions to legally work with state-licensed cannabis businesses. The letter says right now, most marijuana companies operate on a cash-only basis, which hampers their ability to do business. The governors said the act would also reduce the burden on states and local governments who collect taxes. — Ivana Martinez

Northern Utah

Police Budget On Salt Lake City Council Agenda

The Salt Lake City Council will consider a budget amendment Tuesday that critics say ignores some community members’ requests to defund the police. It’s one of several requests from the department since last June, when the council voted to reduce its budget in response to protests against police brutality. Among other items, Salt Lake City police are asking for $650,000 in overtime pay to support their presence at homeless camp cleanups. Other requests include grant funding for training. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Winter Storms Bring Bonus Ski Days

Solitude has extended its ski season into this weekend. It will be open from Thursday through Sunday and has discounted tickets. Alta is offering three final days on the mountain starting Friday and running through Sunday, and Snowbird's season is still going full swing, with lift tickets available now through May. Recent winter storms have added snow to the resorts. Each resort still requires skiers and riders to wear masks and follow other public health measures. — Pamela McCall

Southern Utah

Rock Art Near Moab Damaged By Climber

Federal public lands officials are investigating damage to an ancient petroglyph site near Moab. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports a line of climbing bolts was driven into the middle of a large rock-art panel. The image was created by Indigenous people more than a thousand years ago. Reports of the damage sparked a storm of outrage online, and a Colorado climber took responsibility in an interview with the newspaper. The bolts have since been removed, but archaeologists say the damage to the petroglyphs is permanent. — Associated Press


Anti-Black Violence And African-American Mental Health

Anti-Black violence has been taking a toll on African-American’s mental health according to new data released Monday by the University of Utah. The study looked at events from 2013 to 2017 and found Black people reported having poorer mental health during weeks where two incidents happened and national interest was high. David Curtis is one of the researchers from the U. “We actually found that it's a legal decision to not indict or convict that are most closely associated with poor mental health.” Curtis said that’s especially important with the trial for Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed George Floyd. — Ross Terrell

Wyoming Coal-Fired Project Wins Big In Carbon XPRIZE

Two winners have been announced in the $20 million dollar Carbon XPRIZE. The competition aims to demonstrate scaled-up technology that turns carbon dioxide into more valuable products. One of the winners, called CarbonBuilt, made concrete using flue gas from a Wyoming coal-fired power plant. The team’s Gaurav Sant said they're able to use carbon dioxide to make concrete with 60-90% less cement — a major contributor to climate change. — Cooper McKim, Mountain West News Bureau

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