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AM News Brief: Pride Flag Burned, Courts Reopening & Mammoth Fire Evacuations

Pride Flag Flickr CC Kellie Parker.jpg
Kellie Parker
/
Flickr CC
Kaysville police are investigating a possible hate crime after a rainbow Pride flag was burned. Law enforcement said a note targeting the LGBTQ community was left behind. This story and more in the Monday morning news brief.

Monday morning, June 7, 2021

State

Utah Courts Reopen In “Yellow Phase”

Utah’s courts are beginning to hold more in-person trials. Starting June 7, state and justice courts will move into the yellow phase of their pandemic response. That means meetings can be held in person and masks are no longer required — though they will be provided upon request. Officials said during the pandemic they were able to stay up to speed on bench trials, but they estimate a backlog of 350 jury trials. Some districts said they will be able to clear their queue by the end of the year. For others, it will last into the first half of 2022. — Ross Terrell

COVID By The Numbers

Utah health officials have reported 817 new COVID-19 cases since Friday. The state’s test positivity rate has fallen back to 3.7% after reaching 4% last week. Current hospitalizations are the same compared to a week ago, but the weeklong average of new cases has gone up. So far Utah has administered more than 2.6 million doses of the vaccine, including first and second shots. — Ross Terrell

Incarcerated People Face Barriers In Solving Civil Issues

A recent report from the University of Utah looks at the challenges incarcerated people face to solve their civil legal problems. Co-author Kim Koeven said one of the most common issues for people in the Utah State Prison is child custody disputes. Koeven said it’s difficult for incarcerated people to resolve these types of legal issues because of a lack of resources. For example, at the Utah State Prison there’s no law library for people to get information and learn to advocate for themselves. Koeven said not being able to resolve these legal issues can make it difficult for incarcerated people to rejoin society. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Northern Utah

Pride Flag Burned In Kaysville

Kaysville police are investigating a possible hate crime after a rainbow Pride flag was burned. Law enforcement said a note targeting the LGBTQ community was left behind. KSL News Radio reported a homeowner in Kaysville told police late last week that a flag was cut from a flagpole and set on fire in the street. Officer Lexi Benson said the note left behind contained Bible scriptures purporting to condemn the LGBTQ community and other derogatory terms. — Associated Press

Southern Utah

Mammoth Fire Triggers Evacuations

The Mammoth Fire in southern Utah triggered an evacuation of almost 300 homes and had grown to more than 560 acres by Sunday evening. Officials said the fire just south of the Mammoth Creek Village near Cedar City was burning in stands of Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees. Wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour were forecast across much of southern Utah. The area is also under a Red Flag warning until Tuesday at 10 p.m. Low humidity and high winds make fires likely to spread fast. The Mammoth Fire started Saturday and the cause is still under investigation. — Ross Terrell

Region/Nation

Broadband Boon

States are weighing how to spend federal funding from the American Rescue Plan that President Biden signed into law in March. It includes billions for broadband internet. That’s a key resource for our region, where the digital divide stretches across rural, urban and Native land. Montana has allocated $275 million to expand broadband. Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution said this could be the moment when that digital divide is bridged and is hoping states will go even further in their commitments to addressing digital equity. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau