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Syria, Trump Doctrine, Masters: Your Weekend Briefing

New York Times - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 9:42am
Here’s what you need to know about the week’s top stories.

ISIS Claims 2 Deadly Explosions at Egyptian Coptic Churches on Palm Sunday

New York Times - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 9:42am
The bombings, which killed at least 40 people and injured dozens of others, happened weeks before Pope Francis was to visit Egypt

A Polarized Supreme Court, Growing More So

New York Times - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 8:52am
Judge Neil M. Gorsuch’s confirmation puts the court ideologically where it has been since 2006, but President Trump could push it much further right.

Sweden Attack Suspect Had Been Told to Leave the Country

New York Times - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 7:32am
In December, the Uzbek was given four weeks to leave the country, but went underground. The authorities said he had shown “extremist” sympathies.

Q&A: Mormon grandmother, refugee camp manager never stops caring for others

The Deseret News - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 6:31am

Lisa Campbell raised four children and 13 foster children.

Now, she says, she’s become a mother to 550.

The 53-year-old EMT and certified disaster relief coordinator is manager of Oinofyta Refugee Camp near Athens, Greece.

Most Oinofyta residents — 94 percent — are from Afghanistan. In their former lives they were actors, doctors, computer scientists, lawyers, policemen, genealogists, engineers, plumbers, shopkeepers and shepherds. They include men, women and children, such as 4-year-old Mustafa with his Coke-bottle glasses, and a young couple who had to flee the Taliban after marrying for love and had their first child in the camp. Some at the camp are translators who worked for the United States military in Afghanistan at great personal risk and were promised help in return, but have now been told they will not be granted visas.

Campbell has worked in disaster relief for 25 years. A military daughter and military wife, she has moved an average of every two years, living in 11 states and three countries. Now a grandmother of six, she lives in Virginia with her husband of 34 years, but for the past 10 months has been based at the camp in Greece.

"In some ways, he's sacrificed more than I have. Because I have people around me, reliant on me, caring about me, I'm caring for them … I have that," she said. "I'll come home at night and be teary-eyed and missing my family and missing my husband and it happens, I do miss them, but not the same way that he does. He misses me being home."

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Lisa Campbell, a refugee camp organizer in Greece, speaks to a group after her presentation at the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

Campbell co-founded the nonprofit disaster relief organization Do Your Part in 2006 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and it has been continuously active since then in the U.S., Haiti, Nepal and the Philippines. She was working with refugees in Greece when neighboring Turkey and the European Union struck a deal in March 2016 to stem the flow of migrants streaming in from war-torn countries across the Middle East. Campbell immediately knew Greece would have to build refugee camps to house the 60,000 people stuck there as a result of the agreement.

Campbell joined forces with the Greek government and other relief organizations to build Oinofyta, one of the first of dozens of camps in the country. From the beginning, she said, they designed it to be a place where refugees would not just exist, but live. The first thing they built was a school, followed by cooking spaces, a teen center, a barber/beauty shop, a mosque, and a multi-purpose space where they host movie nights and visits from local acupuncturists to help residents manage stress.

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Lisa Campbell, a refugee camp organizer in Greece, speaks at the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy on Wednesday, April 5, 2017..

Campbell said she has drawn from the principles of self-reliance she learned as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Offer a hand up, not a handout, and empower people with choices. Oinofyta is one of the first camps to create employment for residents through a cottage industry (in this case, they sew and then sell tote bags from old canvas tents). It also has three computer labs equipped with 42 computers, and Campbell’s goal is for 100 refugees to have full-time, paid jobs that they can do remotely from the camp by the end of the year.

The Deseret News spoke with Campbell during a recent visit to Utah, where she gave a presentation at the Islamic Cultural Center of Utah on April 5 about her experiences at the Oinofyta camp and the current refugee crisis. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Deseret News: How did caring for four kids and 13 foster kids prepare you for the work you're doing now with refugees?

Lisa Campbell: We were never an official foster family, but we ended up being the house where kids would come and live. We would talk to their parents and their parents would say, yeah, it's OK for them to live there. Teenagers who still needed structure in their lives but for whatever reason needed to be not in the structure of their home. A couple of them were pregnant girls, a couple of them were in families where the mother had gotten remarried and the new spouse was probably not the best reason for them to be in the home. They were all girls. A couple of them were girls who had delinquency issues that my kids met or a baby-sitter friend brought to our house.

All my life, growing up, we always were the house that had extra kids. We always picked up the strays, as my parents would say. So it's just been natural for me my whole life to bring people in, to love them, to let them know that they are cared about. Everybody needs to know they're loved and they're worth loving.

DN: What's the current situation of refugees waiting in camps in Greece?

LC: It depends on the nationality. The Syrians are moving forward because they are considered war refugees. The Afghans, the Pakistanis, the Moroccans, the Iranians, the Iraqis — they're on a much longer wait.

(Officials are) not deporting people from the mainland camps in Greece. They are doing some deportations from the islands from the detention centers, but even that is a sticky situation because it's hard to say it's safe to return them to Turkey.

The only way that March 2016 agreement is going to be maintained is if they are sending people back to Turkey so that Syrian refugees registered in Turkey can be moved somewhere in Europe. But the whole theory of Turkey being a safe place to send refugees to, or Afghanistan being a safe place to deport people to — that whole theory is being tested all over the place. There are cities in Germany that refuse to send Afghan refugees back because they realize it's not a safe country. And yet the International Organization for Migration is still pushing the voluntary repatriation back to Afghanstan because (they claim) it's a safe country and we can do that.

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Rachel and Austin Hill speak to Lisa Campbell after her presentation at the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

DN: How does the political situation affect the refugees in your camp as they see it unfolding on the international stage?

LC: They are so very aware politically of what's going on. They're very aware of every directive that applies to them, they're aware of the laws in Europe, they're aware of who the presidencies are, who the prime ministers are — they know all of that and they know their viewpoints because it's so important to them.

They're all slightly disappointed in the United States. We're an Afghan camp, and Afghans weren't included in the Muslim ban, as it's called, but those who qualify for special immigration visas were basically told don't even bother. It's a very frustrating thing for them. They're aware of what's happening and they are still trying to find a good spot. It was quite shocking for most of them.

DN: What have been some of the happiest and saddest moments in your camp?

LC: Babies being born in some ways are the happiest and the saddest. They're the happiest because it's a new life, and it's wonderful and everybody gets excited. It's sad because they're children who are being born stateless, who are being born in a refugee camp, and their parents have no idea what their future holds.

The saddest? We had a death in our camp. Not in our camp itself, but one of our residents drowned near the camp. That was hard.

People ask me what's the hardest thing about the job, and I think the hardest thing is saying goodbye. So many of these people are leaving with smugglers, and even when we've had a few that have been leaving for family reunification, as joyful as that is, it's still really hard to say goodbye to people you've been with for 10 months. It's a small community. Everybody knows everybody. You all know each other, you know whose kids are whose, you can listen to a child crying and know whose kid it is — you don’t even have to see the child. It's a very small, tight-knit community, and the goodbyes are hard. It’s like raising a family of 550 people.

DN: What do you wish Americans understood about the refugee crisis?

LC: I wish Americans understood that the people who have left their countries, that the decisions they've made have been made with the most courage that I've ever seen. That they're not coming here to take your job, they're not coming here to bomb your place. They are coming here because they are running from bombs, from Daesh (ISIS), from the Taliban, from seeing their husbands and their sons and their brothers and their fathers being blown up or being conscripted. If you can't see what they're running from in Syria, you absolutely aren't watching the news.

They are an asset to communities. That's what I want people to know. Stop being so worried, stop being so hateful. Stop it! Get to know them. Spend 10 minutes talking to one of them. Get to know who they are before you pass these judgments.

I had some guy tell me, “I'm never going to do anything for a refugee until there isn't another single homeless vet.” Well you know what? I am mortified that there are vets in the United States that are homeless. I also know that there are thousands of programs in the United States to help homeless vets. In previous disasters, Do Your Part has specifically helped homeless vets. It doesn't have to be one or the other. Care is not a finite quantity. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

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Lisa Campbell, a refugee camp organizer in Greece, sells bags to support her camp at the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

DN: The agreement with Turkey was meant to stop the flow of refugees into Europe. Since the agreement, have you still seen people trickling into Greece?

LC: Oh, definitely, and it's starting to pick up right now. The weather’s getting nicer so there are more boats coming to the islands, and the people coming on those boats are saying there are more people coming.

It hasn't stopped, and it hasn't stopped because life in Turkey for a refugee is miserable. While life in Greece may not be great, at least you are in Europe and there's hope that you could go somewhere else eventually. (Greece is) picking up a tad bit on the asylum processing, so that is moving a little bit faster, but still not nearly as fast as it needs to. Less than 10,000 asylum cases have been processed since March 20 last year. When you have 60,000 that were estimated to be in the country at that time, that's six years? It needs to move faster because people are still coming.

DN: What might happen next?

LC: The Greek minister of migration just basically said the EU can't implement Dublin III, the part of the Dublin agreement that they'll send refugees back to the first country where they landed in Europe, which is going to be Greece. Greece can't take 800,000 refugees back in. They can’t take what they have. Something's got to change.

Part of what they're starting to do is expedite the processing for the Pakistanis. They say this is a good thing, but basically they're going to get all the Pakistanis registered, they're going to take them all to their asylum interviews, they're going to deny them all asylum, and they're going to deport them. I don't think they're going to listen on a case by case basis.


American Soldier Is Killed in Afghanistan

New York Times - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 6:05am
The Special Forces soldier was mortally wounded in an operation against affiliates of the Islamic State, officials said.

On ‘S.N.L.,’ Alec Baldwin Is Trump, Bill O’Reilly and Trump (Again)

New York Times - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 11:29pm
Louis C.K. was host. But Alec Baldwin gave “S.N.L.” a double dose of topicality, portraying President Trump in the cold open and in a later sketch where he also played the embattled Fox News host.

The Oliviers vs. the Tonys: Mixed Rewards for Shows

New York Times - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 11:00pm
Does a play’s success on one side of the Atlantic signal success on the other side? Not necessarily. Here’s a look at how eight recent shows fared.

2 USU football players suspected in burglaries

The Deseret News - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 9:20pm

LOGAN — Two Utah State University football players were arrested this week in connection with apartment burglaries in November, according to Logan police.

The men were identified by police as Troy Murray and Jay Brown, both 19,.

Bail was set at $15,000 for Brown of Chino Hills, California, and Murray, of Logan. No charges have been filed against the men as of Saturday.

While investigating the burglaries, officers were able to track down electronic items that had been reported stolen once the belongings were pawned, said Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen. The two were arrested on Tuesday.

No other details about the burglaries were available Saturday.

Brown is listed as a cornerback for the Aggies and Murray a linebacker, according to the 2016 roster.

Eugene Lang, Investor Who Made College Dreams a Reality, Dies at 98

New York Times - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 8:44pm
One of Mr. Lang’s many acts of generosity came in a spur-of-the-moment promise to an East Harlem sixth-grade class that he would pay for their college educations.

Truck hauling toner ink rolls, causing mess but no injuries

The Deseret News - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 8:25pm

The rollover of a semitrailer hauling toner ink on I-80 near Lambs Canyon Saturday morning created a mess, but no on was injured. The westbound truck, which was hauling two trailers, rolled about 7:30 a.m., said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jalaine Hawkes. Ink spilled onto the roadway and shoulder but crews from the Utah Department of Transportation, health authorities and water officials worked jointly to ensure it did not enter the watershed, she said. It took most of the day to contain the spill and clear the wreckage.

US Carrier Strike Group Heads Toward W. Pacific Near Korea

New York Times - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 7:18pm
The Pentagon says a Navy carrier strike group is moving toward the western Pacific Ocean to provide a physical presence near the Korean Peninsula.

On Golf: Jordan Spieth Returns to Contention by Playing ‘Without Fear’

New York Times - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 5:42pm
Spieth trailed by 10 strokes after the first round but has used an aggressive approach to reduce that deficit to two entering the final round.

Justin Rose and Sergio García Top Leaderboard at Masters

New York Times - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 5:33pm
Rose and García stand at six under par after 54 holes at Augusta National. Rose shot a 67 on Saturday, while Garcia carded a 70.

Road to motorcycle safety

The Deseret News - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 5:31pm

Eighty motorcyclists took part in a skills course Saturday at Salt Lake Community College's Jordan Campus that offered instruction in riding techniques and defensive riding. Zero Fatalities teamed up with Harrison Eurosports to offer the course, which sponsors hope will help reduce motorcycle crashes in Utah. Forty-two motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2016, an increase of six fatal crashes from the previous year.


Utah schools recruiting teachers 'coast to coast' in face of high turnover, retirements

The Deseret News - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 5:30pm

SANDY — With a couple hundred teaching positions to fill by late summer, Steve Dimond is racking up frequent flier miles.

As the human resources director of Canyons School District, Dimond and his colleagues are traveling "coast to coast" to job fairs in search of candidates for hundreds of teaching positions that are open due to retirements and worsening rates of teacher retention.

At the same time, Utah's public school population continues to climb, expected to exceed 654,000 next fall.

Last year, more than a third of the district's new hires came from out of state.

"You name a place and we're willing to go there to find great teachers," Dimond said.

Some Utah school districts have been recruiting new teachers out of state for a decade but there is greater urgency now that fewer students who attend colleges and universities in Utah are graduating with teaching degrees.

"We're not anywhere even close to being able to produce the number of teachers that we need within our local universities. There's not enough kids going into education. So we've got to go outside to places where they are still producing more teachers than what they have jobs," Dimond said.

This coming school year, starting salaries for teachers fresh out of college are expected to be around $40,000 a year, about a $5,500 increase from a year ago. Even then, it's less than what some surrounding states such as Wyoming offer. Many districts there pay recent graduates of teacher education programs in the $50,000s.

But Utah's quality of life, ease of travel by air and outdoor recreational opportunities help entice people who ski, hike, mountain bike and climb.

"We sell Utah before we even look at selling the district," Dimond said. New graduates who might not have considered moving to Utah are intrigued by the prospect of having an "adventure," he said.

It helps, too, that Utah has professional sports teams, a lively arts community and an increasingly diverse capital city.

Dimond said some teacher candidates he meets out of state would like to relocate to the West, but many want to teach in more rural settings. After meeting one such candidate, he escorted the student to the Tooele School District's table at the same fair. If he couldn't land the prospect, another Utah school district should benefit, he said.

While Utah's strong economy and a sizable increase in the state education budget appropriation approved by lawmakers in the recent legislative session gave school districts more resources to offer better starting wages, retaining teachers is equally important.

A sizeable number of teachers who had planned to retire but felt they couldn't until the effects of the Great Recession were over are now finishing their careers, Dimond said.

"We'd love them to stay. They're great teachers who have great skill. We always hope we can keep them a little longer," he said

In addition to filling those positions, Utah school districts are also dealing with lower rates of teacher retention, particularly among younger, less experienced teachers.

More than half — 56 percent — of the public school educators who started teaching in 2008 left the profession by 2015, according to a recent report by the Utah Education Policy Center at the University of Utah.

University researchers say they are still exploring why so many new teachers leave the profession after just a few years in the classroom.

Salaries are a consideration, as are workplace expectations, he said.

But results of Canyons School District's latest exit survey suggest teacher turnover can be attributed to many factors.

More than a quarter of teachers said they were leaving the district due to family reasons, such as caring for a child or parent or relocating because of a spouse's employment or education.

Ten percent said they were leaving due to a career change, while nearly 9 percent said they found a position out of state.

Another 10 percent cited “other” reasons, which ranged from a “lack of support from administration,” “workplace indifference” and “relocating to help parents.”

One educator reported they had accepted a professorship and another said the exit was due to returning to their home country.

One respondent said he or she “took over out-of-control classes of a school that had run off three teachers already."

While Canyons has about 200 teaching positions to fill, other Utah school districts are laboring to fill twice, if not three times that many openings.

That means Dimond frequently sees human resources directors from other Utah school districts at job fairs across the country where they may be among 250 school districts nationwide attempting to recruit upcoming graduates.

Many new graduates prefer to remain in their home states, but others are willing to consider other options. He's met some students whose first teaching experiences were international, such as a young women he met who taught English in China.

"I tell them, 'Come to Utah. Great adventure awaits you.'"

Investigations into misconduct allegations at jail costing Daggett County over $200k

The Deseret News - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 4:02pm

MANILA, Daggett County — Nearly two months have gone by since the Daggett County Jail cells were emptied of all 80 inmates due to a state investigation into allegations of misconduct — a situation that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue for Utah's smallest county.

The Utah Department of Corrections relocated the inmates to various jails across the state in February upon learning of claims of "inappropriate behavior" involving jail staff — and since then two corrections officers have been on administrative leave.

State and county officials have declined to elaborate on the allegations, but Maria Peterson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said more information will be made available when the investigation is finished — which could be soon.

The investigation is "beginning to wrap up," Peterson said Wednesday, with a meeting between state and county jail officials expected sometime next week to go over the findings.

However, it's not certain when everything will be complete because the case is still being reviewed by the State Attorney General's Office for possible criminal charges, Peterson said.

Therefore, it's not yet known when inmates will return — and in the meantime, the jail and county budgets have taken a hit.

As each day goes by, the now-empty jail loses funds the state pays to house inmates.

The county, which contracts with the Utah Department of Corrections, regularly receives between $110,000 to $115,000 each month in state funds, according to the jail's spokeswoman, Susie Potter. For the two months the jail has sat empty, the loss has now amounted to more than $200,000.

"It's a financial hardship for the county," Potter said. "It's stretching (the budget) to the brink."

On an annual basis, state payments for jail inmates make up nearly 30 percent of Daggett County’s revenue — or about $1.4 million in 2016, according to Utah's transparency website. Daggett County's population is roughly 1,100.

To account for the losses, Potter said the county's budget has had to to be "reopened" in order to continue paying the salaries of the jail's roughly 15 full-time employees.

Most of the staff — aside from the two officers on leave — have been kept busy with maintenance projects over the past eight weeks, Potter said.

As time goes by, the entire county's budget is increasingly impacted, Potter said, though county officials are "hopeful" that next week's meeting will "wrap things up" so inmates can return sooner than later.

Daggett County Commissioner Jack Lyle said it's "premature" to know the total impact the investigation will have on county's overall budget since revenues won't start returning until inmates are back in their cells, but the amount lost has already been "significant."

"Daggett County is the smallest county in the state," Lyle said. "Any impact on the budget is concerning. ... We're planning for the worst and hoping for the best."

Lyle applauded Daggett County Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen for asking the state to investigate after learning of the allegations, and also expressed gratitude to the Utah Department of Corrections for acting quickly.

"We don't condone any misbehavior in any form," he said. "When we find out the results of the investigation, we are going to be right on top making sure it will be taken care of appropriately."

Peterson said state officials understand a timely resolution is important to the county.

"We recognize they would like to have inmates back in their facility as soon as possible," she said.

Potter said she couldn't share details of the initial complaint that lead to the investigation — but it was serious enough the sheriff made the decision to call for a state investigation.

"The sheriff made the right call to call the state when he did," Potter said, adding that the county "respects" the state's decision to relocate inmates for the duration of the investigation.

"It's been difficult and been a hardship of course, but I know that they have done it as quickly as possible," she said.

Analysis touts landscape, night skies at Bears Ears National Monument

The Deseret News - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 3:40pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A new analysis celebrates the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah for having one of the most ecologically intact landscapes in the West, pointing to the need for continued monument status to protect what's on the ground.

Prepared by the Center for American Progress and Conservation Science Partners, the study released this week asserts the Bears Ears region is on par with multiple iconic national parks, including Yellowstone, Glacier, the Grand Canyon and Arches.

“The cultural significance of the area is unparalleled, and this study shows that —scientifically and environmentally speaking — Bears Ears has few peers,” said Jenny Rowland, research and advocacy manager for the Public Lands Project at the center.

“Not only is Bears Ears ecologically valuable, but it also holds its own as a national treasure even when compared with some of the nation’s most iconic national parks," she added.

The analysis used 10 ecological indicators comparing Bears Ears to like-sized areas in the West and found it placed in the top 10 percent for ecological intactness, connectivity and night sky darkness. San Juan County is Utah's least populated county, its poorest and largest in size — home to national parks and national monuments that surround much of the Bears Ears region.

"With its conservation significance among the ranks of our national parks, Bears Ears deserves to be kept in the public’s hands and protected for future generations,” Rowland said.

The report comes amid the continuing controversy over the new monument and in the same week that newly confirmed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he's reviewing the process for monument designations.

"Everything is on the board," Zinke said during a White House briefing. "We're looking at it. No monument in specific, but looking at the process, looking at the law and making sure the monuments follow the law. At the end of the day, it is important that we operate collaboratively."

Zinke, a former GOP congressman from Montana, is under pressure by both monument supporters and its critics to visit the rugged region in southeast Utah and talk with those entrenched in the debate.

In the briefing, he was asked by a reporter what action he might take on another monument — Gold Butte in Nevada — which was designated by then-President Barack Obama on the same day as Bears Ears and in the final weeks of his administration.

"If you are outside of Washington, D.C., there is a lot of anger out there," Zinke said. "And I want the Department of Interior, our rangers and land managers to be first viewed as rangers and land managers, not law enforcement. I don't want us to be heavy-handed, and I want us to work with local communities, because it is where we are embedded."

Utah's top politicians and local elected officials have railed against Bears Ears and want the monument designation rescinded by President Donald Trump or derailed in some sort of legislative action.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, reiterated the litany of complaints over the designation during a speech on the Senate floor Thursday evening.

"In the parting shot of his presidency, President Obama defied the entire Utah congressional delegation and the will of his own constituents when he declared the Bears Ears National Monument. With a stroke of a pen, he locked away an astonishing 1.35 million acres — a geographic area larger than the total acreage of all five of Utah's national parks combined," Hatch said.

The country's most senior sitting senator added that he has pressed Trump on the public lands issue during a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office.

"Our president assured us that he stands ready to work with us to fix this disaster. More than any of his predecessors, President Trump understands what's at stake here," Hatch said.

The Center for American Progress' report on Bears Ears National Monument said the political sentiments of Utah leaders like Hatch underscores the need for continued protections.

“Efforts to get rid of protections for the area should be seen for what they are: a sellout of our national heritage to special interests," Rowland said. The report, Rowland notes, says the area's vulnerability to mining and oil and gas development is high without monument protections.

But critics of the monument and the Bureau of Land Management say otherwise, with a federal agency assessment that says the majority of the land in the Bear Ears footprint has low-to-moderate potential for oil and gas development and much of the area was already closed to leasing or had restrictions. A proposed uranium mine expansion lies outside the monument's boundaries, although BLM maps show there may be some high mining potential for uranium within the monument.

Jami Bayles, president of the Stewards of San Juan County, said the report was generated by its own special interests.

"The fact that this analysis was carried out by the Center for American Progress is quite telling," she said. "The (center) works arm in arm with the Conservation Lands Foundation, who has been a major promoter of the Bears Ears Monument. … So to say that the reason people oppose the monument is because they want to drill for oil and develop the area is a fallacy. We oppose it because we don’t want to lose our little community and become the next Moab."

Bayles said the report, by comparing Bears Ears with national parks, misses its own point.

"The analysis showed that Bears Ears exceeded several national parks including Arches, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone in a variety of ecological categories. Could that be because it’s located in an area that has never had a massive, overcrowded, and overdeveloped recreation and tourist economy? We simply don't want the land to change. We’ve kept it pristine for decades, and we don’t need monument or park status to keep it that way."

Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, whose district includes the Bears Ears region, added that making the area a monument is the best way to jeopardize its landscape.

"Publicizing it like this in this report is not going to be doing it any favors," he said. "It seems backward to me. Evidently all this has happened with it being so wonderful with protections that have been around 50 to 100 years. So why do you want to make it an attraction for people to come?"

The BLM said it has been struggling with increased visitation to the region in the last couple years and the publicity surrounding Bears Ears is driving more people to visit.

"We are sensing that a lot of them are not familiar with the area," said BLM spokeswoman Lisa Bryant.

"These canyonlands are a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle and are also far away from gas stations and convenience stores," she added. "So we ask that everyone be prepared with proper clothing, water, food, maps and obtain the necessary permits before entering the backcountry."

She said that the BLM is working with partners that include the Blanding Visitor's Center and National Park Service offices to educate visitors about being safe on the public lands and exercising respect for cultural artifacts they may come across. In addition, the agency has prepared a brochure to provide additional information to would-be tourists and visitors.

The Bears Ears National Monument proposal captured the attention of Washington, D.C., after an intense campaign by a coalition of five Native American tribes that worked with environmental groups to lobby for monument protections for land they say is sacred.

The tribes sought a co-management strategy with the federal government that was recognized in Obama's monument proclamation issued last December. That management includes a tribal commission with representatives from Native American tribes from the region.

Magnum e-bikes establish foothold in Utah

The Deseret News - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 3:40pm

SALT LAKE CITY — In a building on State Street that was once home to a Ford Model T repair shop now resides a company dedicated to vehicles of a decidedly different and 21st century nature: electric bicycles.

Magnum Electric Bicycles opened its Salt Lake office last fall, adding to the Israeli company's growing presence since entering the U.S. market about two years ago.

Co-founder Jesse Lapin said electric bikes, or e-bikes, while relatively new to the U.S., have been a "thing" for some time in other parts of the world.

"I've seen data reflecting there are about 100 million electric bike owners in China," Lapin said. "And European countries have had a growing e-bike market for at least the past decade."

Last summer, Bloomberg News reported that while annual sales of electric bicycles were expected to reach almost 33 million in the Asia-Pacific markets and more than 1.5 million in Europe, North America buyers would likely only pony up for about 150,000 e-bikes.

Lapin said it's exactly this disparity that makes his company so excited about its prospects in the U.S. in general and specifically in Salt Lake City.

"Salt Lake City is really an astounding bicycle city, which is constantly in the top handful of cities in the country for bicycling," he said. "In just the short time we've been here we've seen interest in e-bikes really taking off.

"And we're adding new Utah dealers to our network of over 120 retailers across the country."

Cycling Utah publisher Dave Iltis said that while conventional cycling has seen steady growth in most parts of the country for some years, e-bikes have been slow to find a following. That, however, seems poised to change, he said.

"I recently traveled to Israel and there are e-bikes everywhere," Iltis said. "While they haven't quite caught on here, I think there is a very untapped segment of the market in the U.S."

For the uninitiated, the modern electric bike is almost indiscernible from a non-powered bicycle. They come in a variety of styles — from cruiser to commuter to mountain bike — with the "engine" contained in a slightly-larger-than-normal rear hub.

Depending on the frame style, lithium-ion batteries are in a detachable pack below the seat post or on the down tube, where water bottle holders are commonly found.

While the motor will power the bike on its own, pedaling is still very much part of the equation, and with the electric assist engaged, the ratio of pedal rotations to ground covered is of a more superhuman proportion. Batteries in the Magnum cycles will typically last for 40-50 miles and take several hours to recharge.

Lapin said one of the things that really sets e-bikes apart is that they're easier for a wider range of riders.

"E-bikes really open up cycling to people who aren't riding or haven't bought a bike because of hilly terrain, not being able to keep up with friends and things like that," he said. "Having the electric assist levels things out and brings more people into the biking community."

Mike Lowe owns E-Solar Cycles in St. George, a retailer specializing in electric bicycles and electric scooters. "E-Bike Mike," as he is sometimes known, said he has many customers who had previously given up on cycling in his hilly community who are now regularly getting around on two wheels — and enjoying it.

"There are so many people who want to ride but won't because when they get to a steep hill, they need to get off and push or turn around," Lowe said. "We put someone on an electric bike, and next thing you know they're taking that hill on, no problem."

Lowe said e-bikes from his shop are selling to a variety of customers, but the widest interest seems to be among older riders.

"I've got a customer who rides an e-bike 50 plus miles every other day or so," he said. "He's in his 60s or 70s and goes up Snow Canyon regularly, which used to be a place you'd only ever see really experienced riders."

Another plus of e-bikes, Iltis said, is it makes a zero emission commute on two wheels a much less complicated decision. Instead of having to find a way to manage a shower and change of clothes following a sweaty grind to work, an e-bike commuter can have the best of both worlds, so to speak.

"I think that’s where some of the shift toward e-bikes is going to happen," Iltis said. "When people realize that they can commute to work in a different way that’s less expensive and a lot more fun than being in a car."

More information on Magnum Electric Bicycles and a list of Utah dealers can be found at

LDS bishop killed in head-on collision near St. George

The Deseret News - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 3:15pm

ST. GEORGE — A Veyo man, bishop of the LDS ward in the Washington County town, was killed after he crossed into oncoming traffic on state Route 18 just outside of St. George Saturday.

Darrin Steve Ivie, 53, was driving a pickup truck that collided with a semitrailer at milepost 13 on the highway about 11 a.m., according to the Utah Highway Patrol. Ivie, who was seen leaning over the seat to the right, was killed instantly.

The driver of the semitrailer was not injured.

Ivie is listed on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' website as the bishop of the Veyo Ward in southern Utah.

Troopers investigating the accident say it is unknown why Ivie, who was traveling south on S.R. 18, crossed into northbound lanes. The road was closed for an extended period of time Saturday for investigation and cleanup.

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