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UTAH-COLD WEATHER

Freezing temps blanket Utah, setting records around state

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Freezing temperatures normally seen only during the heart of winter are sweeping across Utah as long-standing records fall in several spots across the state.

National Weather Service meteorologist Monica Traphagen said Tuesday that more records are expected to be broken overnight as temperatures dip even lower before warming up slightly for Halloween.

She says it was 13 degrees Tuesday morning at Pine View Dam northeast of Ogden, breaking the record set in 1970. Records were tied or broken at three national parks in southern Utah's red rock country: Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion.

Heavy snow fell at ski resorts east of Salt Lake City in a boost to their efforts to open early while many parts of the Salt Lake City metro area received light snow.

Temperatures in Salt Lake City were below freezing.

ALLEGED TRUCK FRAUD

Utah FedEx manager charged in $1M suspected fraud scheme

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Federal authorities have charged a FedEx Ground manager on accusations that he accepted bribes from multiple Utah truck company owners who paid more than $1 million to secure hundreds of millions in revenue over the last 10 years.

Ten people were charged Monday in U. S. District Court including 47-year-old Bountiful resident Ryan Lee Mower.

Indictments say Mower was the highest-ranking FedEx Ground employee in the state from at least 2008 to October 2019. He faces 51 counts for exploiting his position for financial gain.

U.S. officials say Mower and others fraudulently obtained contracts for FedEx shipments, allowed unauthorized runs, boosted miles and accepted payments for ghost runs.

Mower doesn't have a listed attorney in court records.

FedEx Ground spokeswoman Meredith Miller said in a statement the company is disappointed by the "egregious" actions and is cooperating with authorities.

ZION NATIONAL PARK-CENTENNIAL

Centennial event scheduled Nov. 19 for Zion National Park

ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah (AP) — A centennial event celebrating Zion National Park's founding 100 years ago is planned Nov. 19 at Dixie State University in St. George.

The park's nonprofit partner, Zion National Park Forever Project , said the 7:30 p.m. event is free and open to the public, with tickets available online or in person at the university box office.

The event will include live performances by several artists, activities with National Park Service rangers and a screening of a new, Zion Forever film about the park.

ARIZONA OFFICIAL-ADOPTION FRAUD

Arizona official pleads not guilty in adoption fraud case

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — An elected official in Arizona accused of running a human smuggling scheme that brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. has pleaded not guilty to federal charges in Arkansas.

Authorities say Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen illegally paid the Pacific island women to have their babies in the United States and give them up for adoption.

After entering his plea in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Tuesday, Petersen was released on $100,000 bond and ordered to wear an ankle monitor.

Petersen's trial in Arkansas on human smuggling and adoption fraud charges is set for Dec. 9.

He also faces charges in Arizona and Utah.

He entered his plea a day after the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted to suspend him without pay for up to 120 days.

VAPING ILLNESSES-UTAH

Utah's vaping rate 6 times higher than national average

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah health officials continue to see a steady stream of people suffering from vaping-related lung illnesses as the state's rate of cases is more than six times the national rate.

Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Utah had 26 vaping-related illness cases per 1 million people as of mid-October, compared to four per 1 million people nationally.

Utah health officials are expected to provide an updated tally Monday afternoon of the number of people sickened. It was 98 as of last week.

The 33-year-old Jeffrey Manzanares is among them. He lost nearly 50 pounds was hospitalized for 17 last month after vaping THC and nicotine.

Health care officials and law enforcement in Utah are trying to pinpoint why the state has been hit so hard.

DEATH PENALTY-REPUBLICANS

GOP death-penalty opponents look to new effort in 2020

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Republicans in states including Wyoming, Utah and Ohio plan to keep pushing for death-penalty repeal even as U.S. officials move toward resuming executions.

A national group, Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, released a statement Monday saying the death penalty is costly and prone to error.

Over 250 people signed including Republican Rep. Jared Olsen, of Cheyenne, who promised in a news conference to try again with death-penalty repeal legislation in Wyoming in 2020.

The Wyoming Legislature last winter came the closest it has in recent memory to abolishing capital punishment.

The measure cleared the Wyoming House but failed 18-12 in the Senate. Repeal opponents argued in part that capital punishment encourages criminals to cooperate with investigators.

U.S. officials announced in July federal executions would resume after a 16-year informal moratorium.

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

The Associated Press

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