Fireworks spark Utah wildfire, evacuations
Fireworks caused a wildfire in Lehi, Utah, that forced out residents of houses and an apartment building early Sunday before crews managed to turn back the blaze as it encroached on a neighborhood, according to officials.
A suspect was cooperating with law enforcement, Utah Fire Info said in a tweet. Fireworks are prohibited in the area. Strong wind gusts had been reported in the Lehi area as the Traverse Fire grew to about 450 acres, the agency said.
It died down significantly midday Sunday. However, more strong winds were forecast and some evacuations would remain in effect until the threat of the fire flaring up again had passed, officials said.
Mississippi to lose Confederate emblem from flag
Mississippi lawmakers voted Sunday to surrender the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, more than a century after white supremacist legislators adopted the design a generation after the South lost the Civil War.
Each chamber had broad bipartisan support for the landmark decision. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has said he will sign the bill.
Mississippi has a 38% Black population — and the last state flag with the emblem that’s widely seen as racist. The state faced mounting pressure to change its flag as weeks of international protests against racial injustice in the United States have led to the toppling or removal of Confederate statues and monuments.
Utah Democrats cross party lines to have political impact
Thousands of liberal-leaning Utah voters are registering as Republicans because they say it’s the only way to have a political voice in the state’s June 30 primary, which will decide the Republican nominee for the first open governor’s race in more than a decade.
In a state that hasn’t elected a Democratic governor in more than 40 years, the GOP nominee is an almost-certain winner.
Former U.S. ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr.’s campaign has been actively encouraging people to ensure they are registered as Republicans, while other Republicans oppose the party-switching.
Utah demonstrators will not face curfew violation charges
Protesters arrested for not leaving when police tried to forcibly end a massive rally in Utah’s capital will not face criminal charges. The Salt Lake County district attorney’s office announced the decision applies to more than 40 people who were jailed May 30.
The demonstrators were detained by police and booked on misdemeanor charges of failing to disperse after violating an 8 p.m. curfew issued for the demonstration against police brutality.
District Attorney Sim Gill said June 25 the counts will be declined “as a matter of fairness” because people have the right to protest.