Stories from the Associated Press

Garfield County Sheriff's Office

A tour bus carrying Chinese-speaking tourists crashed near a national park in southern Utah, killing at least four people and critically injuring up to 15 others, authorities said Friday.

The morning wreck near Bryce Canyon National Park, known for its distinctive landscape of narrow red rock spires, left 12 to 15 people with "very critical injuries," the Utah Highway Patrol said on Twitter.

The bus with 30 people aboard crashed near a highway rest stop about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the park entrance.

It's been 23 years since Christopher Wickham has seen the ocean, or taken a trip beyond Utah's borders that lasted longer than a day or two.

He spent nearly 15 of those years at the Utah State Prison. And since his release in 2011, his travels have been restricted by rules he has to follow as a convicted sex offender.

But that's all changing now.

With a judge's signature on Tuesday, Wickham has been declared factually innocent of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl more than two decades ago.

Cokie Roberts, the daughter of politicians who grew up to cover the family business in Washington for ABC News and NPR over several decades, died Tuesday in Washington of complications from breast cancer.

jeffburningham.com/

Businessman Jeff Burningham announced his candidacy for Utah governor Tuesday, becoming the second Republican candidate to officially enter what could become a crowded field.

The technology and real estate entrepreneur from Provo pitched himself as a political outsider who would keep the state's strong economy running smoothly and modernize the education system.

"There's a mismatch between what children are learning and the jobs that exist and are coming," said Burningham, who has four children.

dea.gov

Medical marijuana advocates and conservative groups sparred Monday over proposed changes to Utah's medical marijuana program during a tense, two-hour public hearing.

Utah legislators sought feedback on changes to the law ahead of a special session next week to approve the revisions.

Amendments regarding the distribution and prosecution of drug crimes drew the most debate among people on both sides of the issue.

The draft suggests eliminating an unusual plan for a state-run medical marijuana dispensary system in favor of private dispensaries.

wikipedia

Proposed rules that would prohibit Utah psychologists from practicing so-called conversion therapy on LGBTQ kids are scheduled to be discussed at a public hearing later this month.

A hearing is planned for Sept. 26 to discuss rules that would label "conversion therapy" practices as unprofessional conduct.

Under the new rules psychologists who attempt to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity could face discipline up to losing their license.

Federal officials say rock climbers are now free to enjoy an area near Monticello where raptors historically have nested.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management had asked climbers in February to voluntarily avoid some walls within the Indian Creek corridor.

Wildlife biologists say peregrine falcons, eagles and other birds rely on the area to lay their eggs and raise their young.

The BLM had cleared several walls for climbing earlier this year after finding no nests there.

A Utah county paid high fees to an out-of-state law firm to sue the federal government in a case involving a canyon right of way, a report said.

JW Howard Attorneys billed San Juan County more than $360,000 from 2016 to 2018 to sue the federal government.

Officials were attempting to prove the county had title to a right of way extending about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) through Recapture Canyon near Blanding.

As the new school year begins, one Utah county is struggling to support its growing population of homeless students, officials said.

The Utah Board of Education said Washington County has the seventh highest homeless student population of any district.

More than 1,000 homeless students enrolled in the Washington County School District last year. About 80% of those are members of families sharing a home out of economic need. The situation may not look like traditional homelessness, but it is highly unstable, said district Homeless Liaison Mike Carr.

Officials say a wildfire has burned three homes, heavily damaged five more and prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people in the Salt Lake City suburb of Bountiful.

Bountiful police say the blaze started at about 1 a.m. Friday during a thunderstorm.

The fire of about 150 acres (60 hectares) is not contained and some roads have been closed.

No injuries have been reported.

Evacuated residents were told to go to three different sites, including two churches.

Authorities searched for clues Wednesday on how an Arizona couple suspected of murder were able to overpower guards, escape a transport vehicle bringing them across the country and evade a two-day manhunt.

The U.S. Marshals Service has been poring through dozens of tips since Blane Barksdale, 56, and Susan Barksdale, 59, fled in small-town Utah on Monday. The agency is hoping to get more by offering $20,000 in reward money — $10,000 per fugitive — for information leading to their capture.

AP

Prosecutors have called Aaron Shamo the kingpin of a multimillion-dollar drug ring that shipped hundreds of thousands of potentially deadly opioid pills across the country from a suburban Utah basement.

Shamo took the witness stand Tuesday at his trial and downplayed his role in the operation that authorities have blamed for at least one overdose death.

He said his friends were also deeply involved as sales of fake oxycodone grew and he told himself he was helping people get drugs they needed while making money for himself and his friends.

A proposed heliport at a Utah ski resort is raising concerns about environmental impact and other issues, a report said.

SMHG Village Development has applied for a conditional use permit to operate a heliport at Powder Mountain.

The facility would house a helicopter to haul skiers, mountain bikers and anglers to remote areas of the resort 59 miles (95 kilometers) north of Salt Lake City.

The Ogden Valley Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the permit request next week.

The heliport would be operated by partner firm Whisper Ridge.

USGS

Washington County is expected to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to build and operate a proposed water pipeline, according to a Utah legislative audit.

Cache County Sheriff's Office

 A Utah woman convicted of stealing more than $100,000 from people with disabilities was sentenced to three years of probation.

The Herald Journal reports 49-year-old Irene Marie Hendrix received a suspended sentenced Tuesday of one to 15 years in prison.

Hendrix of Logan pleaded guilty last month to unlawful dealing with property by a fiduciary and unlawful acquisition of a financial card without consent.

Max Pixel

Utah legislators were moving Thursday to scrap a planned state-run medical marijuana dispensary system after county attorneys said it would put public employees at risk of being prosecuted under federal drug laws.

Under the revised plan being written by Republican Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, medical cannabis would instead be distributed through as many as 12 private dispensaries.

The changes to Utah's medical marijuana law would have to be approved in a special session.

National Park Service

The U.S. government's final management plan for lands in and around a Utah national monument that President Donald Trump downsized doesn't include many new protections for the cliffs, canyons, waterfalls and arches found there, but it does include a few more safeguards than were in a proposal issued last year.

Pixabay

 Authorities used a state Department of Public Safety helicopter to make an overnight rescue of an ailing 21-year-old hiker stranded high on Mt. Timpanogos in north-central Utah.

Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon says the helicopter late Tuesday night retrieved the man and a 75-year-old hiker who had joined the younger man and called 911 for medical assistance for him.

Cannon says the 21-year-old man was experiencing nausea and other symptoms typically associated with altitude sickness.

via Elect Dan Hemmert

A Utah state lawmaker is the latest Republican to announce a challenge to Democratic Congressman Ben McAdams, who won a razor-thin race last year.

Utah Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert on Wednesday said he wants to represent conservative, free-market values against a growing interest in socialism among left-leaning Democrats.

McAdams is part of a moderate group known as the Blue Dog coalition.

Hemmert owns a chain of dry-cleaning businesses and was first elected to the Utah Legislature in 2016. He joined the ranks of leadership last year.

National Park Service

Fire crews used heavy equipment to build a break between about 15 homes and a wildfire that has burned an estimated 4.7 sq. miles (12.2 sq. kilometers) in north-central Utah.

Fire officials said Thursday there was no containment of the fire burning in thick grass in steep terrain on both sides of West Mountain near Payson in Utah county but that no evacuations had been ordered.

No injuries were reported and cause of the fire wasn't immediately available.

White House

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is coming to Utah, where he'll visit a medical-device manufacturer in suburban Salt Lake City.

His office said in a statement that Pence will tour the offices of disposable devices maker Merit Medical in South Jordan Thursday morning. The Republican who is popular with many officials in the GOP-leaning state is expected to speak to local leaders and employees.

Pence is scheduled to arrive in Salt Lake City on Wednesday from New Mexico, where he is expected to be a special guest for a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade event.

Flickr

The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah says it is withdrawing from the federal family planning program rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule prohibiting participants from referring patients for abortions.

The organization joined other affiliates across the country Monday in declining federal funding, but is expected to keep its clinic doors open.

Officials say the organization is expected to lose about $2 million in funding each year, or 16% of its revenue.

Officials say the organization was the only recipient in the state for 35 years.

National Park Service

Health officials have confirmed a human case of West Nile virus in eastern Utah.

The TriCounty Health Department in Vernal didn't disclose the name, age or location of the infected person in the Uintah Basin.

Health officials say at least four mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile virus in Uintah County.

A mosquito pool refers to a group of insects caught and tested from a single trap.

Human cases of West Nile also were confirmed Monday in Salt Lake and Washington counties.

Wikimedia Commons

An FBI report about a shooting inside a Utah federal courthouse found a lack of communication and a procedural change contributed to the death of a prisoner, a news report said.

Siale Angilau, 25, was killed by a U.S. marshal when he lunged toward a witness with a pen and a mechanical pencil during his April 2014 trial in Salt Lake City, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday.

Wikimedia Commons

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced plans to open a new fulfillment center in West Jordan, Utah creating more than 800 full-time jobs starting at $15 an hour with comprehensive benefits starting on day one. Amazon currently employs more than 2,000 full-time associates throughout the State of Utah.

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