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PM News Brief: Black Bear Encounters, Vaccinating Kids & Police K-9 Charges

A photo of a black bear.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Utah wildlife officials are warning people there may be more run-ins with black bears this summer due to drought conditions. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, May 17, 2021


Banning Critical Race Theory In Utah Left Off Special Session Agenda

Parents and Republican lawmakers around Utah are concerned students are learning Critical Race Theory, or CRT, in school. CRT is an academic framework for understanding how racism fuels the many disparities that exist in the country today. It’s not being taught explicitly in schools, but does inform broader efforts schools are making to create more diverse and inclusive environments. While some people had hoped state leaders would consider banning or restricting teaching CRT during a special Legislative session this week, Gov. Spencer Cox opted to not include it on the agenda. Read the full story.Jon Reed

Should Your Kid Get A COVID-19 Vaccine? Intermountain Healthcare Says Yes

Kids ages 12 and up in Utah are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Andrew Pavia is with Intermountain Healthcare which started vaccinating kids over the weekend. He said there are plenty of reasons for children to get a vaccine. For starters, they can safely return to life as normal and it will also reduce their risk of catching COVID. “The last benefit, which may actually be more important to adolescents who care about saving the world than it is to jaded adults, is that by being vaccinated they protect people around them, they help bring the pandemic to an end,” Pavia said. He says getting kids in Utah vaccinated could be key to getting the pandemic under control here. — Ross Terrell

Utah’s Monday COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 numbers are holding relatively steady in Utah to start the week. State health officials reported 164 new cases Monday. Over the last week, 3.6% of tests came back positive. More than 2.4 million vaccine doses have been administered and more than 1.1 million Utahns are fully vaccinated. Officials also reported one more person has died from the disease. — Caroline Ballard

Wildlife Officials Warn Black Bear Run-Ins Could Be On The Rise

Utah wildlife officials are warning people there may be more run-ins with black bears this summer due to drought conditions. Warm weather and low snow levels ended hibernation earlier than normal. Officials said regular food sources for bears are in low supply because of the dry conditions and that may lead to them searching for food humans are eating or cooking. If you’re out and about, the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources says you should bear-proof supplies and keep campsites clean. You should also remove items that may attract the animals to your home like bird feeders, grills, compost piles and pet bowls. — Lexi Peery, St. George

State Legislature To Discuss Spending Federal COVID-19 Relief Money

The Utah State Legislature is meeting Wednesday to accept $1.6 billion in federal pandemic relief money, but they’re only planning to spend about $575 million right now. Lawmakers are considering spending $100 million on water infrastructure projects including water conservation, digging wells and dam safety. Other areas of spending include housing and homelessness resources and improving internet and broadband services. — Sonja Hutson

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Police Officer Charged Again For K-9 Biting Incident

A Salt Lake City police officer already facing a criminal assault charge has been charged in a second K-9 biting incident. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office filed amended charges against Nickolas John Pearce. They charged him with a second count of aggravated assault. In the latest incident, police pulled over an SUV that was reported stolen in 2019. The female driver complied with orders to hold her hands out the window. Prosecutors said Pearce lifted up his dog toward the woman's arms and told the dog to ‘hit.’ The dog then bit the woman's arm. Pearce is also accused of releasing his dog on a man kneeling in his yard with his hands up. — Associated Press


Federal Relief Money For Households With Kids Gets Green Light

President Joe Biden’s administration’s new child benefit got the green light from the IRS Monday. That means households with children can expect to see payments as soon as July 15. Several Mountain West states have some of the lowest median incomes in the nation — so those extra dollars could mean a lot for households with children. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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