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PM News Brief: Ute Gymnasts, Glen Canyon Graffiti & COVID-19 Uptick

A photo of the University of Utah college campus.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
Three current and former University of Utah gymnasts are heading to the Tokyo Summer Olympics as part of Team U.S.A. This story and more in Monday evening's news brief.

Monday evening, June 28, 2021

Northern Utah

Three Ute Gymnasts Headed To The Tokyo Olympics

Three current and former University of Utah gymnasts are heading to the Tokyo Summer Olympics as part of Team U.S.A. That’s out of eight gymnasts total. The roster was finalized after this weekend’s qualifiers. Grace McCallum is an incoming freshman at Utah and will be one of the four members on the gymnastics squad. MyKayla Skinner will compete for team U.S.A. as an individual. She was part of Utah’s team from 2016 to 2019. Incoming Utah freshman Kara Eaker will be one of two alternates for the team. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Navajo Students Collect Oral History In New Hózhó Book

When COVID-19 hit the Navajo reservation last year, families lost more than just their loved ones, they lost their stories too, according to Denece Kitto, principal at Tse'Bii'Nidzisgai elementary school in Monument Valley. “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, is there something we can do to help tell some of our elderlies’ stories?’ “ That idea blossomed into a 135-page book filled with oral histories and drawings. All proceeds from the book will go toward scholarships for students who are going to college. Read the full story.Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Graffiti Removed From Antelope Canyon In Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Park rangers at Glen Canyon National Recreation area have removed 550 square feet worth of graffiti in a popular canyon. Officials posted on Facebook Sunday showing rocks in Antelope Canyon that were defaced. The year “2020” was inscribed into one part of the canyon along with letters in other parts. Rangers said Antelope Canyon is a popular kayak destination. They are urging visitors to keep it that way by not leaving behind human waste or illegal graffiti. Officials are also asking people to stay within national park boundaries since the Navajo Tribal Parks area of the canyon is still closed. — Ross Terrell

State

Utah Seeing An Uptick In COVID-19 Cases

According to the Utah Department Of Health, the state continues to see an upward trend in COVID-19 cases. Numbers Monday show a weeklong average of 348 new COVID cases per day — that’s up from below 300 last week. The test positivity rate is also now at 6.4%, nearly a percent higher than this time last week. Cases of the Delta variant are increasing statewide. That variant originated in India and is thought to be extremely contagious, and potentially more serious. Vaccination rates are also slowing as just over 60% of Utahns 12 years old and up have received at least one vaccine dose. That’s about the same as last week. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

SCOTUS Rules In Favor Of Indigenous Alaskans And Federal Aid

The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations that serve Indigenous Alaskans are eligible for tribal coronavirus relief. There’s $450 million in emergency aid on the line which was set aside for tribes in last year’s CARES Act. The question was whether for-profit Alaska Native Corporations — which manage land and resources on behalf of tribes in that state — are eligible for a cut. The court ruled that those corporations do count as tribes for the narrow purpose of CARES Act funding. The Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Picuris and the Ute Indian Tribe, among other tribes, sued over the inclusion of Alaska Native Corporations. Dozens of other tribes in our region sided with them. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau