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PM News Brief: Jazz Moving On, Northern Corridor Lawsuit & Improving National Parks

Photo of the Vivint SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City
Pablo via Flickr
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The Utah Jazz are moving on to the second round of the NBA playoffs. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, June 4, 2021

State

Black Lives Matter Utah Upset With Lack Of Diversity At Pride Events

Pride festivities are happening this weekend in Utah. But Black Lives Matter Utah announced they would be boycotting the Utah Pride Center events, citing concerns over a lack of diversity and inclusivity. Quique Thomas, with BLM Utah said there were issues in the story garden's lack of representation for queer Black and Indigenous people of color. In response to BLM’s concerns, the center said it will continue to work toward intersectionality by empowering Black and Indigenous people of color. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

State Board Of Education Finalizes Guidelines For Equity Training

The Utah State Board of Education finalized guidelines Thursday on curricula and training for teachers related to equity and inclusion. The rules require districts to provide equity training for teachers. However, it can’t promote ideas like one race being inherently better than another or that someone is responsible for the previous actions of others in a similar identity group. Curricula must follow the same rules. The public will have 30 days to weigh in on the guidelines before they are implemented next school year. The new standards mirror a resolution recently passed by state lawmakers related to Critical Race Theory. — Jon Reed

Better Business Bureau Warns Of Federal Financial Aid Funeral Scams

The Better Business Bureau is warning Utahns about a COVID-19 funeral scam. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a program to help alleviate funeral costs for families who lost someone to COVID. More than 730 Utahns have applied for it. The bureau says scammers are posing as FEMA officials and telling people they qualify for assistance. They are then asking for personal information to “register” a person. Better Business says be wary of calls out of the blue and if it seems sketchy, report it. — Ross Terrell

Utah Jazz Advancing To The Second Round Of The NBA Playoffs

The Utah Jazz are moving on to the second round of the NBA playoffs. They knocked off the Memphis Grizzlies in round one but not without controversy. A few Jazz fans were banned indefinitely from attending games after directing racist comments toward the family of a Grizzlies player. The team publicly apologized. Who Utah plays next is still up in the air. They will face either the Los Angeles Clippers or Dallas Mavericks. The Jazz also announced Vivint Smart Home Arena will be at full capacity starting next round welcoming more than 18,000 fans. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Seven Environmental Groups Sue Over Northern Corridor Highway

Seven environmental groups across the country have filed a lawsuit in an effort to stop construction of a highway in Washington County. They argue the federal government violated several environmental laws in approving the Northern Corridor, which would cut through protected Mojave Desert tortoise habitat just north of St. George. Tom Butine is the president of Conserve Southwest Utah, which is one of the plaintiffs in the suit. He said they’re trying to make a statement about protecting all public land. Federal agencies approved the highway earlier this year in the final days of the Trump Administration. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Interior Department Makes Recommendations For Bears Ears And Grand Staircase

The U.S. Interior Department submitted recommendations to President Joe Biden this week for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. That’s according to a filing in a lawsuit regarding reductions to both national monuments. Biden requested a review of the monument boundaries nearly five months ago. He gave officials 60 days to complete the review, but that deadline was extended so his new Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, could visit Utah first. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

Major Money Coming To National Parks And Public Lands

The U.S. Interior Department plans to spend nearly $3 billion starting in October, to improve infrastructure at national parks and public lands. The money was allocated by Congress after it passed the Great American Outdoors Act last year. It will go towards tackling a maintenance backlog that has dogged many of the country’s top national parks, agency headquarters and outdoor recreation destinations. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau