PM News Brief: Air Pollution Spikes, Cox Wins Governor Nomination & Payroll Protections Extended | KUER 90.1

PM News Brief: Air Pollution Spikes, Cox Wins Governor Nomination & Payroll Protections Extended

Jul 6, 2020

Monday evening, July 6, 2020

State

AP Calls Race For Governor: Spencer Cox Wins

Utah Lt. Gov Spencer Cox has won the Republican primary for governor, according to the Associated Press. Cox beat former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman by more than 9,000 votes as of Monday afternoon, with Cox receiving 36% of the vote to Huntsman’s nearly 35%. Last week, former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes and former GOP Chair Thomas Wright each conceded. Cox will go on to face Democrat Chris Peterson in the November general election. — Emily Means

AP Also Calls Races For Attorney General: Sean Reyes Wins

The Associated Press has declared Sean Reyes the Republican nominee for Utah Attorney General. As of Monday afternoon, Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes led his primary challenger, Utah County Attorney David Leavitt, by more than 40,000 votes. Although Leavitt hasn’t conceded, it’s unlikely he could make up the difference with the remaining uncounted ballots. That means Reyes is on track to face Democrat Greg Skordas in the November general election. Skordas unsuccessfully ran for Utah attorney general in 2004, but he said after seeing Reyes receive political campaign contributions, he felt it was time to run again. Reyes called Skordas’ criticism a “smear tactic” and said candidates in all parties legally and ethically take donations to support their campaigns. — Emily Means

More Than 500 New COVID Cases

Utah health officials reported 517 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. New cases could rise even higher later this week as some testing sites around the state were closed due to the holiday weekend. Heading into the Fourth, the state’s epidemiologist warned Utah’s healthcare system couldn’t handle a surge in new cases. There are currently 192 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Six new deaths were also reported Monday — four of them were Salt Lake County residents. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

More Than 16,000 Boats Inspected For Quagga Mussels

There were fewer boat inspections and fewer hot-water decontaminations for quagga mussels in Utah this Fourth of July holiday weekend. Quagga mussels are an invasive species that can cause harm to bodies of water. Technicians inspected around 16,500 boats and performed 322 decontaminations this past weekend. Last year, more than 20,000 boats were inspected with 595 decontaminations in the same time period. Overall, numbers are up in 2020. Inspection and decontamination numbers have climbed 43% compared to 2019. Division of Wildlife Resources officials said this is surprising, since Lake Powell was temporarily closed earlier this year due to COVID-19. — Caroline Ballard

Northern Utah

Front Porch Fireworks Lead To Air Pollution Spike

Air pollution spiked along the Wasatch Front the night of the Fourth of July, with some areas reaching very unhealthy levels of air quality. Preliminary numbers from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality show “front porch” fireworks caused twice as much air pollution compared to city-run events. But Jared Mendenhall, with the department, said people should be more concerned with long term exposure like during winter inversion. He said the pollution from fireworks is a short term event that usually moves out by the next morning. — Jessica Lowell

The U Still Plans To Host VP Debate

The University of Utah will still host the Vice Presidential debate this fall, but is considering some changes to the event because of COVID-19. It’s scheduled for October 7 at Kingsbury Hall, but it’s likely the number of in-person attendees will be limited and there will be more restrictions, and things like watch parties will either be scaled back or go totally virtual. University officials said they are exploring different options and scenarios depending on how the pandemic progresses. — Caroline Ballard

More Beds Added To Salt Lake County Youth Homelessness Program

Salt Lake County Youth Services is expanding its Milestone Transitional Living Program for young people experiencing homelessness. A new four-bedroom house in Sandy will provide additional space and is paired with a long-term program to teach self-sufficiency skills. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 to 21. The new house means the program will be able to serve 19 people in total. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Trump Extends Deadline For Payroll Protection

On Saturday, President Donald Trump signed a law to extend the deadline for small businesses to apply for relief loans, also known as the Payroll Protection Program. Now, businesses have until August 8 to apply for federal aid. About $130 billion remains in the pot. That was out of the $660 billion allocated by Congress.— Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau