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PM News Brief: Ironman In St. George, Unemployment Holds Steady & Reasonable Force In Deadly Police Shooting

A photo of three people in running in ankle-deep water with a sunset in the background.
Courtesy of Ironman PR
The Ironman 70.3 World Championship is taking place in St. George Saturday. Race officials expect the event to have a $15-20 million impact on the local economy. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, Sept. 17, 2021


Utah’s Republican Legislators Support Action Against Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

Top Utah lawmakers want the state to push back against President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Biden announced last week that businesses with 100 or more workers have to make sure their employees are vaccinated or tested weekly. Utah Republican Senate President Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson said Friday that the Legislature will support the state’s Attorney General if he sues the federal government over the rule. They’re also encouraging the governor to reject the mandate because it was made through a temporary rule. Adams and Wilson said when that rule becomes official, they’ll respond with state legislation. The state health department reported Friday there are 592 people hospitalized with COVID-19. — Sonja Hutson

Utah’s Unemployment Rate Is Half That Of The Nation’s

Utah’s unemployment rate held steady in August at 2.6%. That’s the same as its July rate and about half of the national unemployment rate of 5.2%. According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the state has added more than 55,000 jobs over the past two years. Chief Economist Mark Knold said uncertainty because of the Delta variant has caused some slowdowns in the state’s economy, especially in consumer spending. But he said it’s not “an economy breaker.” — Caroline Ballard

Native American Utahns And The Vaccine

People of color in Utah are less likely to have received a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine than white Utahns. Native Americans have the lowest vaccination rate in the state — almost half that of white people. But individual tribes are reporting higher rates. Maurice Smith, executive director for the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake and a member of the Navajo Nation, said that is because of clear and consistent messaging on the vaccine from tribal leadership. Read the full story. — Martha Harris

Northern Utah

District Attorney Finds Officers Used Reasonable Force In June Shooting

Friday, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said police officers were justified in shooting and killing a man in Pioneer Park last June. Salt Lake City Officers Nathan Harward and Darren Austill responded to a call about a stabbing in the park. They found the suspect, Rezek Yaqub Yahya, with a knife. Body camera footage shows the officers telling Yahya to stop and put the knife down while he runs at them. Both officers fired at him. Gill said it wasn’t unreasonable for them to use deadly force, so he declined to file charges against them. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

Ironman Athletes Bring Their Dollars To St. George

The Ironman 70.3 World Championship is taking place in St. George Saturday. Race officials expect the event to have a $15-20 million impact on the local economy. They say competitors stay in the area more than six nights on average spending money on accommodations and other non-race activities. This is the second Ironman competition in the city this year because of pandemic-related rescheduling. St. George will be hosting the same event in 2022 as well. — Lexi Peery, St. George


Bureau Of Land Management Will Move Back To D.C. — Sort Of

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Friday that headquarters for the Bureau of Land Management will move back to Washington, D.C. The BLM headquarters saga started under the Trump administration when it was moved from D.C. to Grand Junction, Colorado. Proponents said the idea was to get decision makers closer to the lands they manage. Hundreds of BLM employees either quit or retired, and only three ended up in Grand Junction. Now, the department said it plans to have two headquarters: a national one in D.C. where leaders will be close to budget and policy decisions, and a western one in Grand Junction where some senior staff will work. A timeline for the move was not provided. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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