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AM News Brief: Bishop quits redistricting commission, campers flock to public lands & remembering a pioneering attorney

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Lexi Peery
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KUER
Camping on public lands in the West has skyrocketed in recent years according to a new analysis from the conservation nonprofit Center for Western Priorities. This story and more in Tuesday morning's news brief.

Tuesday morning, Oct. 26, 2021

State

Bishop resigns from Independent Redistricting Commission

Former Republican Congressman Rob Bishop resigned from the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission in the middle of Monday’s meeting. The group was created in 2018 by a state ballot initiative and is charged with making recommendations to the Legislature on new political boundaries. Bishop expressed frustration with some maps that carve out an urban congressional district, saying that would essentially gerrymander for Democrats. He said the commission is “designed not to work.” The committee has toured the state gathering public input and is set to submit its maps next Monday. The Legislature and the governor have final say on what the districts will look like. — Elaine Clark

Pioneering lawyer Henry Lee Adams dies

Henry Lee Adams — the first African American to serve as an assistant attorney general in Utah — has died. He was the first Black graduate of the University of Utah's law school in 1959 and one of the first ten people of color admitted to the Utah state bar. He also spent time as an attorney and hearing judge on the Navajo Nation. In a statement over the weekend, dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law said Adams’ career is proof that the law is “one of the most powerful tools to serve one’s community.” Adams died on Oct. 15 at the age of eighty-six. — Martha Harris

Hospitals ask for donations of crutches

Hospitals in Utah are running low on crutches, walkers, canes and wheelchairs, because of global supply chain problems caused by the pandemic. There is also currently a shortage of aluminum. Doctors said this is already a busy time of year for orthopedic surgeries. A lot of people have met their deductible and want to schedule elective surgeries before the end of the year. Utah hospitals are asking people to donate their old crutches and other supplies. The statewide donation drive is called "Lean On Utah." — Martha Harris

Northern Utah

Man sentenced in inland port protest case

One man facing charges from a Utah Inland Port Authority protest was in court Monday. A jury found the defendant, 72-year-old Gary Mesker, guilty of disrupting a meeting — a Class B misdemeanor which could result in up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Police said he was linking arms with people and resisted removal from the room. Mesker and his attorney said his case sends a message to people who disagree with the government. In the end, Mesker was sentenced to 16 hours of community service. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Region/Nation

More people in the great outdoors

Camping on public lands in the West has skyrocketed in recent years according to a new analysis from the conservation nonprofit Center for Western Priorities. It found that during peak season last year, more than half of all campsites on federal lands were occupied. In Utah, occupancy at reservable camping sites during the summer season climbed from 28% in 2014 to 49% in 2020. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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