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GREAT SALT LAKE-RARE FORMATIONS

Rare salt formations appear along the Great Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Rare salt formations are being documented for the first time on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, and they could yield insights about salt structures found on Mars before they disappear for good. They’re showing up now in part because water levels have been lowered by drought and water diversion, exposing more shoreline. That leaves more places where water can bubble up to the surface from warm, sulfate-rich springs. A mineral called mirabilite separates out when the water hits the cold winter air, eventually forming into crystal spires and terraces. The structures are expected to dissolve as the weather warms up.

HOUSE FIRE-BODY FOUND

Body found by firefighters in Salt Lake City house fire

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Officials say firefighters responding to a house fire in Salt Lake City found a man's body inside the home. Fire crews quickly extinguished the blaze on Friday morning. When they went inside, they found the body. Salt Lake City Fire Department officials say they don't yet know whether the man died because of the fire or for another reason. Neighbors reported the fire after hearing screaming and seeing flames. The man's name has not been released. The cause of the fire and of the death are under investigation.

CYBERSECURITY-IRAN ATTEMPTS

Utah cyber team thwarts alleged Iran digital intrusions

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Cybersecurity experts in Utah have taken measures to combat an increase in alleged digital intrusion attempts from Iran targeting state government websites. Deseret News reported Thursday that the automated digital surveillance attempts were not aimed at hacking, but instead identifying weak points in state computer systems. Utah Department of Technology Services officials say the alleged attempts were unsuccessful and cybersecurity personal were able to block digital traffic once it was detected. Officials say the department has not seen any traffic since putting countermeasures in place. Experts say the alleged traffic comes less than a week after a U.S. drone strike killed top Iranian military commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Iraq.

NEW UNIVERSITY POLICE CHIEF

University of Utah hires new police chief to oversee campus

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The University of Utah has hired a new police chief to run the university's Department of Public Safety. KSL-TV reports Rodney Chatman was named chief of police Thursday and is expected to begin his position in Salt Lake City Feb. 17. University officials say Chatman currently runs the campus police department at the University of Dayton in Ohio. Chatman succeeds former chief Dale Brophy, who retired in October after serving in the role since 2015. The university has faced criticism for the state of student safety after the October 2018 death of student Lauren McCluskey, who was shot on campus.

AP-US-HIGHWAY-THREATENED-TORTOISE-COMMENTS

Over 16K comment on highway set for desert tortoise habitat

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — More than 16,000 public comments have been submitted for a proposal on whether to allow a highway to be built through a protected Mojave desert tortoise habitat in southern Utah. The four-lane road has drawn criticism from conservationists. The Spectrum newspaper reported the road would pass through the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. Bureau of Land Management officials opened the public comment period in December and say they will now go through all of the comments before releasing a draft environmental impact statement. Details on the nature of the comments were not disclosed.

CHILD KILLING-MOTHER CHARGED

Utah mother charged with fatal stabbing of 4-year-old girl

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah woman has been charged with the stabbing death of her 4-year-old daughter in their home. The Salt Lake Tribune reported prosecutors charged 29-year-old Nicole Lester with one count of aggravated murder Wednesday. West Valley City Police say officers responded to a 911 call after Lester went to a neighbor's house and said she had killed her daughter Dec. 31. Officers found the child's body in the basement of Lester's house. A police probable cause statement says the child had been stabbed at least 30 times. A 6-year-old boy was discovered sleeping and unharmed in a bedroom.

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The Associated Press

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