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PM News Brief: Grand County Masks, NFL Vaccinations & Cougar Kickoff Canceled

A photo of LaVell Edwards Stadium on campus of Brigham Young University.
Brigham Young University has canceled Tuesday evening’s Cougar Kickoff due to poor air quality. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, Aug. 17, 2021


Utah Environmental Groups Release Report On Misused Oil And Gas Revenue

Utah environmental groups claim a state program has misused over $100 million in public funds, the money comes from oil and gas revenue. The environmental groups’ report finds Utah’s Permanent Community Impact Fund Board has used the money for fossil fuels projects, but federal law states it should go to minimizing the effects of mineral extraction. Deeda Seed, with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the money is supposed to go to basic infrastructure projects in rural communities. Jackie Biskupski, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, called on the U.S. Department of the Interior to investigate the state. A statement from the community impact board’s chair says they operate “according to applicable state and federal laws.” Read the full story.Lexi Peery

Sen. Mike Lee Has Commanding Lead In Reelection Bid 

Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, is up for reelection next year. A recent poll found he has a commanding lead in comparison to other Republicans challenging him in the GOP primary. The poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights found 45% of respondents supported Lee while 48% said they were undecided. More than half of female voters and folks younger than 55 are still undecided. A clear challenger has yet to emerge and none of Lee’s opponents came back with more than 5% support. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

BYU’s Cougar Kickoff Canceled Due To Poor Air Quality 

Brigham Young University has canceled Tuesday evening’s Cougar Kickoff due to poor air quality. The annual event usually features students from a number of sports teams to sign autographs and take pictures with fans. However, cities along the Wasatch Front have seen smoky skies for the past few days due to wildfires. BYU said the move comes out of an abundance of caution to keep student athletes safe. Women’s soccer and football season are both starting soon. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Grand County To Require Masks For K-6 Students 

The Grand County School District has become the first in the state to issue a mask mandate for K-6 grade students. The order goes into effect Thursday — which is the first day of school. It will last for 30 days but could be extended. In a letter to parents and staff Monday, district officials said the mandate was a collective choice to protect students and help keep schools open. The Salt Lake City School District may also have a mandate before it starts next week. Mayor Erin Mendenhall said Tuesday she has asked the school board whether they support it and if they do, she will issue a mandate for the district. — Jon Reed


Las Vegas Raiders To Require Fans To Show Proof Of COVID-19 Vaccination 

The Las Vegas Raiders are the second NFL team to require fans to show proof of vaccination if they want to go to games. Fans will show proof at the gates through a mobile app and can go to games without wearing a mask. Unvaccinated people have a couple options — they can get a shot at the stadium and enter wearing a mask or they can get a refund or roll their season tickets over to the next year. The NFL is allowing each team to make their own decisions regarding COVID-19 safety precautions for attendees. For instance, the Denver Broncos are encouraging fans to get vaccinated and are hosting a clinic at the stadium. On Monday, the Atlanta Falcons became the first team in the league to reach 100% vaccination among its players. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau 

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