Utah

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Could Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah be reduced from 1.35 million to 160,000 acres?

A 27-year-old Special Forces soldier from Monticello, Utah, was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday. The Deseret News reports that Army Staff Sergeant Aaron Butler died when he and a group of Utah National Guardsmen were clearing a booby-trapped building and a bomb went off. The 11 other soldiers all sustained injuries. Butler was remembered at a vigil Thursday night in his home town.

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A panel in Utah is recommending no change to the name of Negro Bill Canyon, a popular hiking location near Moab. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the state’s Committee on Geographic Names voted 8 to 2 Thursday to keep the name. The vote came after representatives of the NAACP told the group they don’t find the name offensive because it recognizes the history of a canyon named for a black rancher, William Grandstaff. However, the Tribune reports the Utah Martin Luther King Jr. Commission disagreed, saying the name represents “blatant racism.” The U.S.

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Zion National Park in southwestern Utah is considering an online reservation system for people who want to visit the park’s “frontcountry,” or most popular areas. The park’s website says visitation has surged in recent years. In 2015, more than 3.6 million people visited the park, up 450,000 from 2014, which was also a record year. Visitors reportedly wait in long lines to enter the park and board the shuttle during the height of the summer. Parking spaces within Zion are routinely filled by 9:30 a.m., which adds to congestion in the nearby town of Springdale.

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Citizens in Bluff, Utah, are set to decide in November whether to incorporate as a town. More than half of the community’s 265 residents signed a petition earlier this year supporting the idea of exploring incorporation. Per state law, that petition was submitted to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, which then launched a financial feasibility study. The recently completed study by Bonneville Research concludes that incorporation is feasible, and projects that over the first five years, revenues and expenditures would be at “break-even” levels if current services stay about the same.

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