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AM News Brief: ‘France Davis Way,’ more cargo by rail & fee hikes in Arches and Canyonlands

photo of tourists at arch.
Nate Hegyi
The National Park Service is increasing certain fees at two national parks in Utah. This story and more in Thursday's morning news brief.

Thursday morning, Oct. 28, 2021

Northern Utah

Delivering to Utah by rail

The Utah Inland Port Authority announced a partnership Wednesday it says will help reduce supply chain congestion. Officials said they’re working with the Port of Long Beach and Union Pacific Railroad to get cargo to Salt Lake City on trains instead of trucks. Trucks currently move 90% of cargo, but port operators in Long Beach will send more by rail directly to Utah. It will then get offloaded to trucks for distribution throughout the Intermountain West. Officials pointed to a study from the Association of American Railroads which found that railroads are four times more fuel efficient than trucks. — Jon Reed

Utah County commission vote against death penalty

Utah County commissioners approved a resolution in a 2-1 vote to repeal the death penalty Wednesday. The move comes after two Republican lawmakers sponsored a similar bill last month. The resolution urges the state Legislature and governor to repeal the state's capital punishment. So far 23 states have done away with the death penalty. Utah County commissioner Amelia Powers Gardner introduced the local resolution. She said it’s a smart financial decision for the county. Some people at the meeting took issue with the financial arguments, but Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said it’s an important consideration. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

France Davis Way

Salt Lake City is renaming part of Harvard Avenue after a prominent civil rights activist and faith leader in the community. Pastor France Davis led Salt Lake City’s Calvary Baptist Church from 1974 until his retirement in 2019. He has advocated for low income housing, literacy training for inner city youth and has been a staunch advocate for Utah’s Black community. Calvary Baptist sits on the corner of State Street and Harvard Ave at 1100 South. That section of Harvard will now be “France Davis Way.” A celebration is being held at the church Thursday at 11 a.m. — Elaine Clark

Southern Utah

Fee increases at Arches and Canyonlands

The National Park Service is increasing certain fees at two national parks in Utah. As of Nov. 10, ranger-led Fiery Furnace tickets in Arches will cost $16. Self-guided tickets will be $10. Backcountry and river permits in Canyonlands will both increase $5. The park service said the money will be used to help fund essential maintenance projects and parks staffing. It adds that ticket and permit fees also provide critical funding for backcountry programs and ranger-led tours. — Pamela McCall


Contentious school board meetings

Nevada's Elko County School Board has had to reschedule its public meeting twice this month over violent threats over masks and COVID-19 testing requirements. The county only requires masks in schools where an outbreak has occurred, but the backlash led five out of seven members of the board to resign in August. It’s part of a regional trend pitting conservatives against local education officials. In Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, two trustees resigned after protesters shut down a school board meeting. In Colorado, a far right paramilitary group has been mobilizing members to confront education officials. A school board meeting in Utah’s Granite School District led to 11 misdemeanor charges after parents shouted down board members and forced the meeting to an early end. — Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

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