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GAY MARRIAGE UTAH

Gay marriage's win streak tested in higher court

DENVER (AP) — The gay marriage movement's winning streak faces its greatest test yet in Denver this week.

A three-judge panel will review a ruling that struck down Utah's gay marriage ban in December. It's the first time a gay marriage case has reached the appellate level since the Supreme Court changed the legal landscape last year by striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Eight federal judges have invalidated gay marriage bans since that Supreme Court ruling. Gay rights groups say the law is finally catching up to reality. Opponents say the judges are bowing to political pressure.

It could be months before a ruling is issued.

HIGHWAY CRASH--DUCHESNE COUNTY

Duchesne Co. teen dies after car hits roadside

ROOSEVELT, Utah (AP) — A 17-year-old Duchesne County boy is dead after he lost control of his speeding car near the eastern Utah town of Roosevelt.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce says Michael Duncan was thrown from his Nissan Maxima after failing to take a sharp curve about 10:40 p.m. Monday.

Officials say his car hit a dirt road barrier and rolled repeatedly.

Rescue crews responded, but the boy was pronounced dead at Uintah Basin Medical Center.

GIRL KILLED

Utah judge won't dismiss kidnapping conviction

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A kidnapping conviction won't be dismissed against a Burmese refugee who in January was found guilty in the death of a 7-year-old girl.

Utah 3rd District Judge Judith Atherton Wednesday declined to dismiss the conviction.

Esar Met's attorneys say there's no proof he kidnapped the girl who was from his South Salt Lake neighborhood, held her against her will and meant to keep her from leaving the basement of his apartment.

They asked the judge to drop the kidnapping conviction, leaving him with one count of first-degree felony aggravated murder.

The 27-year-old Met is scheduled to be sentenced on May 14.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Met faces a possible sentence of up to life in prison.

COLD CASE-UTAH

Man pleads guilty to 1993 Ogden murder

(Information in the following story is from: Standard-Examiner, http://www.standard.net)

OGDEN, Utah (AP) — A man arrested in the 20-year-old murder of a woman at an Ogden retirement home has pleaded guilty to aggravated murder.

The Standard-Examiner of Ogden reports that 42-year-old Stephen Ellenwood was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years to life in prison.

Ellenwood is accused of raping and beating 92-year-old Grace Mae Odle in 1993, leading to her death six days later.

Ellenwood was arrested in May 2013 at his home in Haines, Alaska after police captured him as he fled into the woods.

Authorities solved the case after they discovered DNA evidence that linked Ellenwood to the sexual assault and beating of Odle.

Ellenwood previously spent time in an Idaho state prison where he served a 2002 aggravated assault conviction.

BABY DEATH-DAYCARE OPERATOR

Roy daycare operator arrested after baby's death

ROY, Utah (AP) — Roy police say they've arrested a daycare operator in the death of an 8-month-old boy she was caring for.

Authorities say Tisha Morley was arrested on suspicion of child abuse homicide and is being held in the Weber County jail on $100,000 bail.

Police say the child and his 3-year-old brother were dropped off Feb. 19 at the Tots and Tykes Daycare in Roy. Authorities say that when their father arrived to pick them up, the baby was cold and wouldn't wake up.

Doctors determined he had a skull fracture and brain trauma that apparently came from shaking. He succumbed to his injuries about a week later.

Authorities say Morley continued providing childcare even after her license was suspended.

Police say another child there suffered a fracture last month.

PUBLIC TRANSIT-AIR QUALITY

Thousands use free passes for buses, trains

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah transportation officials say thousands participated in a program that offered free bus and train passes to people willing to leave their cars at home to improve air quality.

The Utah Transit Authority said this week they handed out 7,000 weekly passes, worth $50 each, from Feb. 17 to April 7. They were used for 28,500 bus and train boardings.

The program's goal was to encourage people to use public transit rather than cars during winter months when the air in the Salt Lake City air becomes some of the worst in the country.

Utah lawmakers this year took steps to clean up the smoggy air but veered away from giving state regulators further reach in policing pollution. That dismayed Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who called for urgency to improve air quality.

ULTRALIGHT CRASH-WEBER COUNTY

Weber Co. man dies after ultralight aircraft crash

WILLARD, Utah (AP) — A 60-year-old Weber County man is dead after his ultralight aircraft crashed at Willard Bay State Park.

Parks spokesman Eugene Swalberg says a bystander saw the crash happen a little before 6 p.m. Tuesday on the road near the Willow and Cottonwood campgrounds.

Officials say rescuers responded, but the man was pronounced dead at a Box Elder hospital. He's been identified as Allen Speer of West Haven.

Park authorities say the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, along with park rangers and Box Elder County officials.

CLIMATE CHANGE-SOUTHWEST

Climate changes to result in bird, reptile shifts

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — As temperatures climb across the Southwest, researchers have found some species will win but others stand to lose — and lose big.

The U.S. Geological Survey released a report this week that takes a closer look at some of the effects climate change is likely to have on species such as the desert tortoise and the pinyon jay.

The jay stands to lose nearly one-third of its breeding range, while other birds could lose as much as 80 percent by the end of the century.

The study's focus was on parts of New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado and Utah, but researchers also included the rest of the Western U.S.

Lead author Charles van Riper says the report shows there are no silver bullets and that each species will have its own response to climate changes.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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