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AM News Brief: Utahns Earn ‘Ig Nobel’ Prize, Navajo Nation War On COVID & Moab Victims Had Worried About ‘Creepy Man’

Photo of a road sign that welcomes visitors to moab
Kate Groetzinger
/
KUER

Friday morning, Sept. 10, 2021

Southern Utah

Victims Were Worried About A “Creepy Man”

A newlywed couple that was gunned down near a Utah campsite had told friends that they were afraid of a man that was near their camp prior to their death, according to newly unsealed police documents. Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner were found dead Aug. 18 in the South Mesa area of the La Sal Mountains near Moab. A search warrant filed in order to check the couple’s vehicle said Schulte texted friends about a “creepy man” that was near their camp who had intimidated them. Schulte previously lived in Billings, Montana. Turner was a native of Hot Springs, Arkansas. — Associated Press

Environmentalists Oppose Razorback Sucker Downlisting

The razorback sucker fish could be downlisted from an endangered species to threatened. Environmental groups say the razorback sucker is still in trouble, despite recoveries it has made in the last 30 years. The fish is native to the Colorado River, which is facing historic shortages due to the west’s megadrought. Zach Frankel, with Utah Rivers Council, said there are a lot of pressures on the fish, which has miles of critical habitat in Utah. Jen Pelz, with the conservation group WildEarth Guardians, said it’s “irresponsible” to downlist a species now. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said a determination on the razorback sucker’s listing will be made in the next year or so. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Northern Utah

Utah Researchers Earn “Ig Nobel” Prize

Beards aren’t just cool and trendy. They might also be an evolutionary development to help protect a man’s delicate facial bones from a punch to the face, according to a trio of scientists from the University of Utah. David Carrier, Steven Naleway and Ethan Besaris are now among the winners of this year’s spoof Ig Nobel prizes. Ironically, they won in the Peace Prize category. The 2021 winners also include researchers who figured out how to better control cockroaches on U.S. Navy submarines and a team that figured out just how disgusting that discarded gum stuck to your shoe is. The awards recognize achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.” — Associated Press/Elaine Clark

Region/Nation

Navajo Nation Still Fighting “War” Against COVID-19

The Navajo Nation is hoping for more assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In a meeting Thursday, President Jonathan Nez and other tribal leaders said they’re still fighting COVID-19 on the Nation. Throughout the pandemic, FEMA sent emergency response experts to provide assistance at the Navajo Nation Operations Command Center. Nez said they still need help for survivors and first responders, and in preparing for future disasters. As of Thursday, the Navajo Department of Health reported more than 33,000 positive cases and 1,418 deaths since the start of the pandemic. — Elaine Clark