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PM News Brief: Missionary Tragedy, Firework Caution & Nurse Guilty Of Drug Crimes

Photo of fireworks at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City.
Mike Renlund via Flickr
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This weekend Utah celebrates Pioneer Day — one of just a few times a year it’s legal to set off fireworks in Utah. But with ongoing drought, local and state agencies are once again urging people to rethink using the explosives. This story and more in the Friday evening news brief.

Friday evening, July 23, 2021

State

Firework Caution This Weekend

This weekend Utah celebrates Pioneer Day — one of just a few times a year it’s legal to set off fireworks in Utah. But with ongoing drought, local and state agencies are once again urging people to rethink using the explosives. Instead, they said people can enjoy city-run fireworks shows. The July 4th weekend saw relatively few fire starts due to fireworks, and human-caused fires are down this year. Many cities around the state have firework restrictions in place, and a full list can be found on the state fire marshal’s website. Fireworks only remain legal to set off through Sunday, and it is always illegal to set off fireworks in national and state parks and on public lands. — Caroline Ballard

Follow KUER’s coverage of Utah’s 2021 Fire Season.

Northern Utah

Utah Nurse Guilty Of Drug Violations

A former Intermountain Healthcare nurse from Sandy was found guilty Thursday in federal court of stealing and tampering with pain medication. Nathan Pehrson took syringes filled with a strong opioid painkiller and emptied them for his own use. He then refilled them with a weak amount of painkiller in a saline solution to be used in the hospital. Pehrson was also convicted of making false statements to Food and Drug Administration agents about his activity. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Missionary Tragedy In New Mexico

Two missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died in a car crash in New Mexico Thursday. Michael Austin Davis of Corinne, Utah, and Tyson Gene Haycock of Miles City, Montana, were killed in a head-on collision. Both were 20 years old and serving in the Farmington Mission, according to the Church. A third missionary from Idaho was severely injured in the collision and is being treated at a hospital in Albuquerque. The crash is under investigation by local law enforcement, and information about the second vehicle involved in the crash is not yet available. — Caroline Ballard

COVID-19 Cases Surge Throughout Region

There’s been a surge in COVID-19 cases around the Mountain West as the Delta variant spreads. Some of the region’s biggest surges over this last week have been in Nevada and Utah, which are seeing their highest case levels since February. Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and New Mexico have had more gradual increases, but reached case levels they hadn’t seen since April or May. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.