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AM News Brief: Senate Covid Meeting, Utes Win Game 1 & Clean Water Act Ruling

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University of Utah
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The University of Utah football team won its home opener in front of a record crowd Thursday night. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, Sept. 3, 2021

State

Some Fire Restrictions Are Lifted, But Potential Remains For New Starts

Fire restrictions in most of Utah were put in place earlier this year than in the past, but now, many of them are being lifted. Decisions to lift or enact fire restrictions are made between various federal and state agencies, and they consider things such as weather, fuel conditions and human behavior. State fire officials said despite the changes the potential for new starts is still there. The state’s only large active fire was started by people last weekend in Washington County. Restrictions are still mostly in place for Northern Utah. Read the full story.Lexi Peery, St. George

Utah Governor Meets With Senate To Discuss Covid-19 Surge

Gov. Spencer Cox met with Senate Republicans Thursday to discuss ways to address Utah’s COVID-19 surge. But Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said the governor didn't bring any specific suggestions to the meeting. Adams said one of the Senate's recommendations was increasing the availability of a treatment called monoclonal antibodies. As for more public health restrictions, those aren't on the table. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment. — Sonja Hutson 

Religious Groups Stepping Up To Help Afghan Refugees

America’s major religious faiths and denominations are preparing to receive an influx of refugees from Afghanistan. Among those gearing up to help are Jewish and Islamic groups, conservative and liberal Protestant churches, and prominent Catholic relief organizations. Here in Utah, Catholic Community Services is one of two official resettlement agencies. Latter-day Saint Charities is also distributing clothing along with hygiene and baby items to Afghan refugees in Germany and Qatar. They’ll work with the military in Wisconsin too when refugees arrive there at Fort McCoy. — Associated Press

Northern Utah

Utes Beat Weber State In First Game Of The Season 

The University of Utah football team won its home opener in front of a record crowd Thursday night. The game was delayed for over an hour due to lightning, but that didn’t stop the Utes from beating Weber State 40-17. After a year with no fans allowed in the stands due to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 51,000 people attended Thursday night’s game. The Utes return to action next Saturday against the BYU Cougars. — Pamela McCall 

Southern Utah

Japanese American Internment Camp Music Premiering At Moab Music Festival

During World War II, there were two Japanese American internment camps in Utah. So-called “problem inmates” were sent to Dalton Wells north of Moab. Composer Kenji Bunch and actor George Takei have partnered on a piece that will premiere this Saturday at the Moab Music Festival. It tells the story of internment camps through Takei’s childhood experiences as a prisoner. Bunch said he created the music with the innocence of a child in mind. Read the full story.Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Federal Judge Reverses Changes To Clean Water Act 

A federal judge in Arizona threw out the Trump administration’s changes to the Clean Water Act this week in a move that will limit development near wetlands and streams. The ruling brought back protections for intermittent and ephemeral streams, which only flow during rains or spring snowmelt. Conservationists were thrilled with the ruling, but some say there’s still work to be done for more permanent definitions of what is protected, especially as climate change may make those kinds of streams more common. Industry groups are expected to challenge this week’s move in court. Federal data shows that nearly 80% of streams in Utah are considered ephemeral. — Alex Hager, KUNC