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AM News Brief: New U President, Transit Changes & Death Penalty Sought For Daybells

The University of Utah sign in front a tree-filled quad.
The Utah Board of Education announced Thursday that it's chosen a university administrator to lead the University of Utah. Taylor R. Randall will serve as the University’s 17th president. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, Aug. 6, 2021


COVID-19 Case Rates High For Communities Of Color

As COVID-19 cases surge, communities of color are again disproportionately affected. Just over half of white Utahns are fully vaccinated, but for people of color, that number is much lower. It's only around 42% for Latinos and 28% for Pacific Islanders. And the case rates for those groups are higher than for any other population. Yehemy Zavala Orozco, program director for Comunidades Unidas, said there’s a lot of reasons why people haven’t gotten the shot — like misinformation, trust issues or being unable to take time off. Now, groups like the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs are trying to bridge that gap. Read the full story. Leer en Español. — Ivana Martinez

Northern Utah

Taylor Named 17th University Of Utah President

The Utah Board of Education announced Thursday that it's chosen a university administrator to lead the University of Utah. Taylor R. Randall will serve as the University’s 17th president, succeeding Ruth V. Watkins who resigned in January. Randall has been the Dean of the U’s David Eccles School of Business since 2009. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Utah in accounting and an MBA and Ph.D. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. — Elaine Clark

Transit Changes

Utah Transit Authority’s on-demand service is going to be permanent in the southern part of Salt Lake County. UTA has been trying out a microtransit program in Bluffdale, Draper, Herriman, Riverton, Sandy and South Jordan for nearly two years. The service connects riders to seven TRAX and FrontRunner stations. FrontRunner and TRAX will also be expanding their operating hours seven days a week. And TRAX is going back to a 15-minute frequency on weekends. All these changes start Sunday. — Elaine Clark


Death Penalty Sought In Daybell Cases

Prosecutors in Idaho said Thursday that they're seeking the death penalty against Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell. The couple is accused of killing Lori's two children and Chad's first wife. The convoluted case involves doomsday religious beliefs and another suspicious death in Arizona. Prosecutors argued that all three murders were especially heinous and cruel, they were done for financial gain, and that the Daybells are still likely a threat to society. Chad Daybell has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Lori Daybell has not yet entered a plea, but she's undergoing mental health treatment. — Associated Press

Some Common Ground On Gun Policy

It’s obvious that gun owners and non-gun owners often disagree on gun policy. But a Pew Research survey shows they share some opinions, too. The divisions are where you might expect them: most gun owners oppose bans on assault-style weapons or bans on ammo magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Most non-gun owners support those bans. But both are largely in favor of universal background checks. That is: requiring those checks for private gun sales or at gun shows to keep firearms out of the wrong hands. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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