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PM News Brief: Wolverine Spotted, Johnson & Johnson Blood Clot & Use Of Force Law

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Courtesy of James Shook
A visitor to Antelope Island State Park Tuesday captured a rare wolverine sighting on video. The animals are elusive and normally live in high mountain territories. This story and more in Wednesday evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, May 5, 2021

State

State Officials Seeking Input On Teen Treatment Program Rules

Utah is changing its rules for teen treatment programs and the state wants the public to weigh in. The Department of Human Services released an online survey Wednesday morning. It’s looking for public input on how the new rules should be written. The state said it wants to hear from a wide audience. That includes program owners, staff, former residents and their families and concerned citizens. The changes are because of a new law which went into effect Wednesday. It tightens oversight of teen treatment businesses in Utah. The industry has faced mounting criticism over the last year. The survey closes May 16. — David Fuchs

New Police Use of Force Law Takes Effect

A new law took effect in Utah Wednesday that aims to limit police shootings of people with mental illness, going through a crisis or who are only a danger to themselves. The change came out of the 2021 Utah Legislative session. Local activists and the state’s Fraternal Order of Police both supported the measure. According to national data from 2015 to 2018, between 10-29% of police shootings were “suicide by cop.” If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. — Caroline Ballard

Utah Attorney General Speaks About Rise In Anti-Asian American Violence

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes spoke on a bi-partisan panel Tuesday hosted by the Attorney General Alliance. Reyes spoke about the rise in Anti-Asian American crime. Reyes said for people who are born Asian, physical threats are just one thing they have to worry about. That’s on top of discrimination and bullying. He also said it’s a disservice to communities of color to view them as monolithic. National data show attacks against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have more than doubled in the past year. That’s partially due to rhetoric around the COVID-19 pandemic. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

U of U Health Suspects Blood Clot Case Related To Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

University of Utah Health announced Wednesday a suspected blood clot case related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Officials said the man who is younger than 50 years old has already been treated. The state briefly paused usage of the J&J vaccine last month after reports of blood clots surfaced. Richard Orlandi is with U of U health. He said this is a rare case and people shouldn’t be worried. “We will continue to have faith in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within University of Utah Health because the benefits far outweigh the risks,” he said. So far, nearly 90,000 Utahns have received the single shot vaccine. Health officials reported 480 new cases Wednesday. Two more people have died from the virus. — Ross Terrell

A Rare Sighting — Wolverine Spotted At Antelope Island State Park

A visitor to Antelope Island State Park Tuesday captured a rare wolverine sighting on video. The animals are elusive and normally live in high mountain territories. Because of that, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it’s unclear how many live in the lower 48. Scientists have estimated there are a few hundred in the wild. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said it doesn’t know how many of the animals are in Utah. Officials aren’t even sure whether there is an established breeding population here. The DWR said, including this one, there have only been five confirmed sightings of wolverines or their tracks in Utah since 1979. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Washington County Pauses Short-Term Rental Applications

As tourist season picks up in Southern Utah, Washington County officials are pumping the breaks on short-term rentals. The commission voted Tuesday to hit the pause button on short- term rental applications. They said they need to get a handle on the growth in these rentals and rework current zoning laws. Commissioner Victor Iverson said they’re all for people maximizing their private property, but they need to be aware of neighbor’s rights too. Victoria Hales, an attorney with the county, said the moratorium will be for six months, and only impacts new applicants. Read the full story.Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Backlash To Teaching Race Theory Picks Up Around The Mountain West

Backlash to the inclusion of critical race theory in public education is growing in the Mountain West. A new state law bans it from public schools in Idaho, and Wyoming’s top education official denounced critical race education calling it divisive. But scholars of the decades-old framework said its meaning and purpose are being misconstrued. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau