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AM News Brief: Boil Water Order In Pleasant Grove, Gaps In Air Quality Monitoring & Vandals Mar Moab Rock Art

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FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
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Friday morning, Aug. 27, 2021

State

Bill To Address Process For Committing Mentally Ill People

It could become easier for mentally ill people to be involuntarily committed to a mental health facility and to codify rights for them. Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, said the bill he plans to introduce is meant to help people whose mental disorder keeps them from understanding that they are sick. He said he also wants to make sure people who have been committed have rights like using a phone or talking to an attorney. Jen Maffessanti, a spokesperson for the libertarian think tank Libertas Institute, said including those rights in legislation is critical. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Southern Utah

Vandals Mar Moab Rock Art

Another Utah petroglyph has been defaced in the Moab area. The Spectrum newspaper reports the damage appeared to be scratched into the red rock and included several names and a date. The Utah Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday that a concerned citizen found the vandalism in Mill Creek Canyon and sent a tip to the agency. An emergency treatment removed or faded most of the words. First-time vandals can face fines of up to $20,000. There were two other rock-art incidents of damage and vandalism in April. A line of bolts was driven through a panel near Moab, and the famous “birthing panel” was defaced with racist graffiti and graphic imagery. — Associated Press

Northern Utah

E. Coli Found In Pleasant Grove Water Sample

Some Pleasant Grove residents are being ordered to boil their water after a test sample from the Battle Creek area came back positive for E. coli on Wednesday. The city is still looking for the source of the contamination, and officials said they’ve been flushing the system and doing follow-up tests. The order is expected to last through at least Saturday afternoon. People should boil any water they’ll drink or use for cooking for at least three minutes and not use water or ice from refrigerator lines. — Elaine Clark

Logan Woman Arrested In Credit Card Fraud Scheme

A Logan woman has been charged in an alleged $150 million payment processing scheme. Amy Ringler Rountree was charged along with three other people from California and Florida. They’re accused of conning financial institutions into running credit payments for merchants that were involved in illegal or high-risk transactions. Rountree served as Vice President of Operations for Los Angeles-based Allied Wallet, Inc., the company alleged to be at the center of the scheme. All four people were charged in Massachusetts. Federal agents arrested Rountree Thursday morning, and she’s expected to appear in court in Salt Lake City. — Elaine Clark

Region/Nation

Gaps In Air Quality Monitoring

Huge gaps between air quality sensors in the western U.S. have created blind spots in the warning system for wildfire smoke plumes. That comes amid growing concern over the potential health impacts for millions of people being exposed to the pollution. Government programs to alert the public to unhealthy smoke conditions rely on monitoring stations that are heavily concentrated around major cities on the West Coast and east of the Mississippi River. That’s a problem for rural areas where air quality can quickly degrade when fires ignite nearby. — Associated Press

Groups Request Protection Review For Wolves

Two conservation groups want the federal government to take a stronger hand in managing wolves in the northern Rockies. The move comes after Montana and Idaho passed new hunting laws that could drastically reduce their population. The groups asked the Biden administration this week to formally examine whether these new laws mean the wolves need to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The wolves were under federal protections until about a decade ago when they were delisted. Some ranchers and hunters have long pushed for keeping wolves off the Endangered Species list because the animals occasionally kill livestock and big game. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has 90 days to respond to the request. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau