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PM News Brief: Asylee Discrimination, Pioneer Park Plan & Boarding School Trauma

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Salt Lake City is looking for public input on revitalizing Pioneer Park. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, June 25, 2021

State

U.S. Department Of Justice Rules On Behalf Of Asylee In Discrimination Case

The U.S. Department of Justice has settled a discrimination claim with a business in Utah. Easterseals-Goodwill is based in Montana but has offices throughout the region including in Utah. A woman filed a claim against the office here claiming her proof of work documents were illegally rejected. She said she was asked to provide additional documents to verify her eligibility to work because of her immigration status. She was seeking asylum in the country. Other non-U.S.citizens were asked to do the same thing. As part of the settlement, ESGW was ordered to pay about $6,200 in civil penalties. They must also revise their policies and train employees on anti-discrimination laws. — Ross Terrell

SCOTUS Rules On Clean Air Act Exemption

More small refineries can seek exemptions from some renewable fuel requirements that are part of the Clean Air Act. That’s from a 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Friday. The court ruled a small refinery that had previously received a hardship exemption can get an extension. That’s even if the refinery let a previous exemption lapse. The Biden administration argued that to get an extension a refinery had to have maintained a continuous exemption since 2011. Refineries in Wyoming, Utah and Oklahoma argued that siding with the Biden administration would eliminate the exemption for most small refineries in the United States. — Associated Press

Northern Utah

Little Cottonwood Canyon Traffic Plan Update

The Utah Department of Transportation has settled on two proposals to reduce traffic through Little Cottonwood Canyon, the often congested route from the Salt Lake Valley to the Alta and Snowbird ski resorts. The two finalists are increased bus service while expanding the road or a gondola over the canyon. Josh Van Jura with U-DOT said each proposal meets a different goal — speed or reliability. The bus is the faster option, while the gondola provides more consistent travel times. The decision comes after three years and 124 initial proposals. The public now has 45 days to weigh on their preferred option. Read the full story. Jon Reed

Salt Lake Valley Fire Chiefs Ask People To Not Use Personal Fireworks

Salt Lake Valley fire chiefs are asking people not to use personal fireworks this year. They are just the latest group calling for restraint because of Utah’s extreme drought and dry conditions. The governor and other elected officials have done so, too. In a video released Friday, chiefs from around the valley said responding to firework related incidents prevents them from being able to respond to medical emergencies. Last year alone, they were needed for more than 650 firework related calls. People are asked to only view public displays. If you are caught lighting fireworks illegally, you can be fined up to $1,000. You can also be held responsible for the cost of fighting fires and any damages that occur. — Ross Terrell

Salt Lake City Looking For Input On Pioneer Park

Salt Lake City is looking for public input on revitalizing Pioneer Park. The city launched a survey Friday to gauge what the public wants from the downtown park. It is also hosting a field day and movie night Saturday. The park is home to the city’s weekly farmer’s market. It has also traditionally been a gathering place for people experiencing homelessness in the city. Earlier this month, a woman was stabbed at the park. Police arrived and shot and killed the man after he charged officers with a knife. The survey will be open until July 21. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Advocates Worried History Of Boarding Schools May Lead To Trauma

The news of another unmarked, mass-grave found at a Canadian residential school has taken an emotional toll on Indian boarding school survivors and their relatives in the United States. But mental health care resources for survivors and their relatives is limited due to severe underfunding of the federal Indian Health Service. Advocates are calling on the Interior Department to increase funding before asking survivors to share their stories. Crisis counseling is available for those struggling with the news through the Indian Residential School Survivors website and hotline. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

Navajo President Jonathan Nez Comments On Unmarked Graves

The U.S. Interior Department announced this week it will investigate boarding schools it ran for Native American children in the 19th and 20th centuries. It follows the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at a residential school for Native students in Canada. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez told KUER he’s glad the U.S. is paying attention to a dark period of its history. “Place these types of stories into the textbooks of all schools throughout the country so that people know what Indigenous people have gone through,” Nez said. The U.S. government ran a boarding school for Native children in Brigham City, Utah from 1950 to 1984. Children from multiple tribes, including the Navajo Nation, were sent there. Listen to the full interview with Nez here. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff