Stories from the Associated Press

A Utah man was charged after authorities said his vehicle started a fire that damaged a rock preserve near Utah Lake and injured a passenger. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday that authorities charged 21-year-old Dominic Deros with criminal mischief and trespassing, both misdemeanors, after police say he started the fire while trying to bypass a road closure caused by an existing wildfire.

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A Salt Lake County school board has approved a schedule for reopening that will include a four-day week of class time in response to the coronavirus pandemic. KUTV-TV reported the Jordan School District board voted to require students to be in classrooms Monday through Thursday and then follow a plan of at-home, alternative learning each Friday. Officials say the schedule is only for the fall semester, with a reappraisal of the situation planned at a later date.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is considering issuing a statewide mask mandate after discussing the issue with state legislators this week. The Republican governor raised the possibility of a statewide order last week as the state has continued experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Fox 13 reports Herbert held a virtual meeting with House Speaker Brad Wilson and Senate President J. Stuart Adams on Tuesday to discuss a potential state measure.

A Utah community has buried a U.S. military pilot who died when his jet crashed off the coast of England last month. KSTU-TV reported Air Force 1st Lt. Kenneth Allen was laid to rest Saturday following a public ceremony attended by hundreds of people at a high school in Brigham City. Family members offered remembrances of the 27-year-old pilot who died in a June 15 training accident. The F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft flown by Allen as part of the 493rd Fighter Squadron crashed in the North Sea.

A park official says a retired veteran and former state trooper from Nevada helped prevent a man from drowning in a Utah reservoir. KUTV-TV reported the veteran pulled the man from the water at Sand Hollow Reservoir. Sand Hollow State Park manager Jonathan Hunt says a family was using a rope swing when a man went into the water and did not resurface at the reservoir near St. George. The veteran began CPR while bystanders called for help. Park rangers took over CPR and revived the man, who was transported to a hospital and listed in stable condition.

An Idaho father has been reunited with his 9-year-old son who went missing during a hike with extended family in Utah. KSL-TV reported that Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez says the dad drove to Utah where his son, Stratton Joshua Wright, became separated from his uncle, cousins and siblings Wednesday around 8 p.m. during a hike near Bear Lake. Wright was found by his dad in an open field Thursday. He was slightly dehydrated and tired, but otherwise healthy. Helicopters, trained search and rescue crews and horses had also been searching for him.

 Authorities say two people died after a small plane crashed in a rugged area in the Utah mountains. Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said the crash occurred Friday morning in the Box Elder Peak area in American Fork Canyon southeast of Salt Lake City. He says investigators are trying to confirm that there were two other passengers aboard the plane. Authorities don’t know yet what type of plane it was or where it came from or where it was going. The cause of the crash is also unknown. 

Masks will soon be mandatory in parts of Utah that are home to several of the state’s famous national parks. The measures will not extend to park lands, which are run by the federal government. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has approved requests for face covering mandates in Grand County and the city of Springdale that go into effect Friday. Grand County is home to the popular tourist destination of Moab, which is located right outside Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Springdale is the gateway town to Zion National Park.

A Utah man has been arrested on suspicion of shooting a man who tried to slowly drive through protesters blocking traffic in Provo during a rally against police brutality. Authorities say a Salt Lake City man was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of attempted murder, aggravated assault and other charges. Police say the driver of the SUV who was shot isn't under investigation for any crime. The 60-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to his arm and shrapnel in his eye and stomach Monday night.

Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley will remain on staff but will take a pay cut and must undergo diversity training after being suspended for using a racial slur in a 2013 text message. Utah announced Scalley will participate in diversity and inclusion education, and have his salary cut from $1.1 million to $525,000. His contract also was trimmed from a multiyear deal to a one-year deal, and he will no longer be the designated head coach in waiting. Scalley was suspended last month when his use of a racial slur in a text message was posted on social media.

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A university in Utah is considering dropping “Dixie” from its name as another example of the nation’s reexamination of symbols associated with the Confederacy. Dixie State University has faced scrutiny in the past over the name’s association to slavery. It has resisted changing it because of its connection to the Mormon settlers who moved from the South to the St. George area in the 1800s. The university is beginning a discussion of a name change, but the ultimate decision likely won't come until the Republican-controlled state Legislature meets in January.

Police were searching Tuesday for a man they say shot a driver of an SUV who tried to drive through protesters who were blocking traffic in Provo during a rally decrying police brutality Monday night. The man who was shot drove himself to the hospital and is expected to survive, authorities said. A video of the incident captured by KSL-TV shows a man fire a shot at the driver from the passenger side of the car as the driver began slowly accelerating through protesters who were pushing the car. 

 

A competitive four-way contest for the GOP nomination in the Utah governor’s race ends Tuesday as the final mail-in ballots are sent on their way. That much-discussed race is far from the only one on the ballot. Republicans will choose a candidate to challenge the state’s lone congressional Democrat and whether to keep the incumbent state attorney general as their nominee. Meanwhile, northern Utah voters are weighing their choices in the wide-open race to replace retiring longtime Congressman Rob Bishop.

Artists in Utah have added two faces to a mural depicting Utah residents who have been killed by police. The Salt Lake Tribune reported artists painted the faces of Cody Belgard and Allen Nelson on the mural in Salt Lake City. Belgard was shot in the back and killed by police in the city’s Rose Park in 2018. Nelson died in 2012 while officers attempted to arrest him. The mural on a building wall has become a memorial where people leave signs, flowers and other mementos. Police said an image depicting George Floyd was vandalized June 21 but immediately repainted.

Officials in Saratoga Springs, Utah say a wildfire that prompted the evacuation of about 3,100 homes on Sunday destroyed one home outside the city and damaged 12 others. The Knolls Fire started south of the community on the shore of Utah Lake on Sunday. The city says it spread to about 15.6 square miles in strong winds and heat and was 25 percent contained as of Monday. Meanwhile, a wildfire sparked by fireworks in the Lehi area forced out residents of houses and an apartment building early Sunday before crews managed to turn back the blaze as it encroached on a neighborhood.

A proposal for a “glamping” resort and other campgrounds near Zion National Park’s northern boundary is raising concerns among residents about the development of pristine lands. The developer says the “Above Zion” resort and three small campsites would help alleviate some of the overcrowding at the popular national park and still give visitors a chance to see the beautiful red rock vistas of southern Utah. Critics worry about how developers would get water, power and electricity to the remote area without disrupting the natural landscape.

Protesters arrested for not leaving when police tried to forcibly end a massive rally in Utah’s capital will not face criminal charges. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the Salt Lake County district attorney’s office announced the decision applies to more than 40 people who were jailed May 30. The demonstrators were detained by police and booked on misdemeanor charges of failing to disperse after violating an 8 p.m. curfew issued for the demonstration against police brutality.

Utah reported its second-highest daily number of new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday as the state deals with a troubling surge that has already led the state’s Republican governor to enact a face mask requirement at certain state buildings and pause before lifting more business restrictions. State figures show that the 590 new COVID-19 confirmed cases are the second-most since the pandemic began, behind only the 643 tallied Saturday. The state has averaged 503 cases per day over the last week.

Next week’s primary elections in Utah will be slightly different due to legislation passed to accommodate struggles voters may have faced during the coronavirus pandemic. KUTV-TV reported that the bill passed by lawmakers in April gives voters an extra day to send in their ballots. Mail-in ballots previously had to be postmarked the day before election day to be counted, but now ballots postmarked on election day will be counted. Also, election results are barred from being released until two hours after the polls close. The changes are temporary for this primary election.

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Utah Gov. Gary Hebert said he will require face masks at state-run buildings that include liquor stores and higher education offices and approve a request from the state’s largest county to make face coverings required in certain situations. But the Republican governor stopped short Wednesday of implementing a statewide requirement for face coverings as several other states have done such as Washington, California and New York. Herbert says the “heavy hand of government” isn't needed to get most people to do the right thing.

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he has no plans to shut down the state economy and appears unwilling to make face masks mandatory despite  a warning that a complete shutdown might be imminent if the state can’t stop a prolonged spike of coronavirus cases. Herbert tweeted late Monday that he appreciated the analysis by state epidemiologist Angela Dunn that detailed the spread of COVID-19. The infection rate and daily case count has doubled since many businesses reopened in mid-May.

A Utah candidate who was a late entry to the race for a U.S. House of Representatives seat has passed his competitors in campaign fundraising. The Standard-Examiner reported Republican Blake Moore had generated $357,639 in fundraising for his campaign bid as of June 10. Moore did not formally announce his campaign for the 1st District U.S. House seat until Feb. 12. He leads fellow Republicans Bob Stevenson, Katie Witt and Kerry Gibson. Democrats Jamie Cheek and Darren Parry round out the bottom of the fundraising list. Mail-in ballots for the respective party primaries are due June 30.

A state official has apologized after a family was sent masks featuring a gun, the American flag and the phrase “don’t tread on me” as part of a program offering free face coverings during the coronavirus pandemic. KUTV-TV reported that an official with governor’s office of economic development said it was a mistake and that the design was one of about 150 that were identified as potentially controversial and not to be delivered. Christine Passey-Spencer of Salt Lake City says she received the masks this week after ordering them from a state website two months ago. 

Utah’s state epidemiologist is warning state leaders that a rapid spread of the coronavirus could force hospitals to run out of intensive care beds next month and may require reinstating some restrictions that were lifted last month. In a memo sent Friday, epidemiologist Angela Dunn wrote to state leaders including Republican Gov. Gary Herbert that the state is getting to the point where the only option to manage spread and prevent deaths is a complete shutdown.

Salt Lake City police are investigating after a mural of George Floyd was reportedly vandalized over the weekend. Sgt. Keith Horrocks said Monday that a tar-like black substance was poured over the painting sometime Sunday morning. He said the mural was repainted before officers could collect evidence. He says investigators are searching for nearby security cameras and asking for the public’s help with information.

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