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AM News Brief: Weekend I-80 closure, Utah’s latest COVID-19 numbers & a winter Montana wildfire

foothill drive parleys
Edgar Zuniga Jr.
Flickr Creative Commons
The Utah Department of Transportation is closing I-80 in Salt Lake on Saturday for construction.

Friday morning, Dec. 3, 2021


Utah’s total COVID-19 cases now exceed 600,000

Utah has had 600,079 positive COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The Utah Department of Health reported 1,981 new cases Thursday. School-aged children made up about 18% of those. There are 519 people currently hospitalized with the virus in Utah, with 91% of ICU beds statewide occupied. The state couldn’t report on new deaths due to COVID-19 Thursday, because the Department of Health was experiencing technical difficulties with their system. — Martha Harris

Northern Utah

Bridge work means I-80 closure this weekend

The Utah Department of Transportation is closing I-80 in Salt Lake on Saturday for construction. The area between 700 East and Foothill Drive will be closed in both directions from 10 p.m. Saturday until 8 a.m. Sunday. Drivers are advised to use I-15 or I-215 instead. UDOT will be placing beams for the new 1700 East bridge over the freeway. Once they’re done, they'll tear down the old one. It's a part of their "I-80 and I-215 Renewed" project. — Martha Harris


Montana wildfire burning

Wildfires are continuing to burn in the Mountain West, including a destructive one near rural Denton, Montana, which forced about 300 residents to evacuate and burned several structures. Drought is still covering most of the West, and warm temperatures and winds haven't helped in the northern states. Experts say there are national resources that can be activated if need be to fight wildfires, even into winter. But there are concerns about lengthening fire seasons all around the region. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Tribe receives reimbursement for artifacts they bought back

An Ohio history museum is reimbursing the Nez Perce Tribe after forcing it to pay for a collection of its own artifacts more than two decades ago. In 1996, the Nez Perce Tribe raised more than $600,000 to buy back artifacts from Ohio History Connection, then known as the Ohio Historical Society. The museum, then under different leadership, had refused to donate the collection back to the tribe. A new board and director agreed to return the money. The Wetxuuwíitin Collection of artifacts is housed at the Nez Perce National Historical Park. Read the full story. — James Dawson, Boise State Public Radio

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