Outside the Outbreak: Interior secretary visits Utah monuments, group to study Supreme Court changes

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Interior secretary steps into Utah public lands tug-of-war

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland tours near ancient dwellings along the Butler Wash trail during a visit to Bears Ears National Monument Thursday, April 8, 2021, near Blanding, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

For decades, a public lands tug-of-war has played out over a vast expanse of southern Utah where red rocks reveal petroglyphs and cliff dwellings and distinctive twin buttes bulge from a grassy valley.

A string of U.S. officials has heard from those who advocate for broadening national monuments to protect the area’s many archaeological and cultural sites, considered sacred to surrounding tribes, and those who fiercely oppose what they see as federal overreach.

On Thursday, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was the latest cabinet official to visit Bears Ears National Monument — and the first Indigenous one.

Group to study more justices, term limits for Supreme Court

FILE – In this March 21, 2021, file photo security fencing surrounds the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington. Biden on Friday, April 9, ordered a study of adding seats to the Supreme Court, creating a bipartisan commission that will spend the next 180 days examining the incendiary political issues of expanding the court and instituting term limits for justices on the highest bench. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

President Joe Biden has ordered a study on overhauling the Supreme Court, creating a bipartisan commission Friday that will spend the next six months examining the politically incendiary issues of expanding the court and instituting term limits for justices, among other issues.

In launching the review, Biden fulfilled a campaign promise made amid pressure from activists and Democrats to realign the Supreme Court after its composition tilted sharply to the right during President Donald Trump’s term. Trump nominated three justices to the high court, including conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just days before last year’s presidential election. That gave conservatives a 6-3 split with liberals on the court.

Water-worried Vegas wants useless grass a thing of the past

Sprinklers water grass near a street corner Friday, April 9, 2021, in the Summerlin neighborhood of northwest Las Vegas. A desert city built on a reputation for excess wants to become a model for restraint with a first-in-the-nation policy limiting water use by banning grass that nobody walks on. Las Vegas area water officials are asking the state Legislature to pass a law banning “non-functional turf.” (AP Photo/Ken Ritter)

A desert city built on a reputation for excess and indulgence wants to become a model for restraint and conservation with a first-in-the-nation policy banning grass that nobody walks on.

Las Vegas-area water officials have spent two decades trying to get people to replace thirsty greenery with desert plants, and now they’re asking the Nevada Legislature to outlaw roughly 40% of the turf that’s left.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates there are almost 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) of “nonfunctional turf” in the metro area — grass that no one ever walks on or otherwise uses in street medians, housing developments and office parks.

Utah high school announces new mascot following backlash

FILE – In this July 28, 2020, file photo, Native American advocate Carl Moore sits next to Native American imagery painted along a walkway that leads from the Bountiful High School parking lot up to the football field in Bountiful, Utah. A primarily white high school near Salt Lake City began replacing its hotly-contested Braves mascot after nearly 70 years. Principal Aaron Hogge announced on Friday, April 9, 2021, that the Redhawks would become Bountiful High School’s mascot starting next fall. The school’s new logo will be released sometime between now and the new school year. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

A mostly white high school near Salt Lake City revealed its new mascot Friday that will replace its contentious Braves mascot, as school and professional sports teams nationwide face increasing backlash about using Native American names and symbols.

The Redhawks will become Bountiful High School’s mascot starting next fall, Principal Aaron Hogge announced. The school is still designing its new official logo.

He said the red-tailed hawk is the most common hawk species in North America and “is one of the biggest birds of prey found in the mountains above Bountiful.”

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