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Utah holding annual bison roundup on Great Salt Lake island

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Hundreds of horseback riders are again conducting the annual roundup of bison on an island in Utah's Great Salt Lake.

The roundup on Antelope Island that began Saturday is conducted over three fall weekends, with the first devoted to the actual roundup and the next two to health checks and vaccinations and to releasing the animals or selling some to keep the herd's size manageable.

Bison have occupied the island about 25 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Salt Lake City, for over 120 years, after a dozen were brought there by a homesteader. There are now 775 bison on the island.

The island is a state park and has no natural predators to keep the herd from growing, and there's a limited amount of grass for the bison to eat.


Wildfire burning in Spanish Fort Canyon prompts evacuations

SPRINGVILLE, Utah (AP) — Authorities on Saturday evacuated hunters, campers and people in cabins because of a wildfire in Spanish Fork Canyon in a rural area southeast of Provo.

Utah County Sheriff's spokesman Spencer Canyon said the wildfire was reported at 2 p.m. and an hour later had burned 20 acres (8 hectares).

Canyon said the fire was moving up the canyon and not threatening any structures and that the Utah County Fire Department was fighting the fire.

It wasn't known how many people were evacuated.

The Deseret News reports that a lightning-caused fire in 2018 burned through parts of the canyon before merging with another fire.

The combined fires burned more than 187 sq. miles (484 sq. kilometers) and forced evacuations for nearly 6,000 people.


Misdirected trouble report sends police to second school

HIGHLAND, Utah (AP) — A report of suspicious behavior at a Salt Lake City high school was misdirected and police also went to a school in another community over 30 miles away to look for a gunman.

No problem was found at either school.

Salt Lake City police checked out an suspicious-person report Friday at Highland High School and found that the person was just a vending machine worker.

But the initial report was relayed to a person who then called police dispatchers and was referred to police in the area where Lone Peak High School is located in Highland.

Police Sgt. Daniel Anderson said officers went to that school which was locked down for two hours as officers conducted a room-by-room search that found nothing was amiss.


3 sexual assaults reported Friday night at Utah State campus

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Utah State University officials issued an alert Saturday saying three sexual assaults were reported at the Logan campus Friday night.

Details on when and where the assaults occurred were not released and it wasn't known whether the three assault victims were students.

The "timely warning notice" issued by the university said police were investigating the assaults and urged anyone with information to contact police.

University spokesman Tim Vitale says part of the investigation is whether the assaults were related to an annual Halloween campus party attended by about 6,000 people.

Vitale said university hired more than 40 police officers to work at the event and that they were assisted by 150 student volunteers trained in bystander intervention, crowd management and consent.


Utah sees rapid growth in film and television productions

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A recent report shows Utah has seen considerable growth in its television and film productions since 2015.

Statistics from the Utah Film Commission show money spent by TV and film production crews in Utah has more than doubled over that time, totaling about $87 million.

Commission Director Virginia Pearce credited the increase to a strategy by state officials to court bigger production companies and promote scouting locations for TV series that provide more jobs and long-term economic investment.

Utah's entertainment boom is part of a national trend where many states with strong production incentive programs are experiencing exponential growth.

The state's production incentive program offers up to a 25% tax credit for in-state productions. The program is considered conservative by industry standards.


Judge reduces bail for Arizona official charged in 3 states

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah judge has reduced the bail for an Arizona county elected official charged in an alleged human smuggling scheme involving pregnant women.

The Deseret News reports that a district judge Friday reduced Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petesen's bail to $150,000 from $3 million.

Charges against Petersen in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah include human smuggling, sale of a child, fraud, forgery and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Petersen is in federal custody in Arizona, and his Utah attorney, Scott Williams, had said the federal court wouldn't hold a detention hearing in Arkansas for Petersen until the Utah bail issue is resolved.

Authorities allege women were brought to the U.S. from the Marshall Islands to give birth for adoptions.

His now-former lawyer has denied the Petersen's adoption business broke the law.

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