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EDGEhomesThis General Conference documentary on family history is sponsored by EDGEhomes – Utah’s fastest-growing, most innovative, and solution-based home builder. Come see the EDGE difference! Visit one of our model homes today!


Advancements in Family History Research

Think genealogy is digging through old libraries and church basements? Think again. Family History research came a long way in the past few years. Today, you’re more likely to uncover hidden family mysteries using your smartphone.  Additionally, DNA results are an amazing resource. And thanks to popular television programs like Relative Race, interest in family history is only growing.

KSL-TV’s Michelle King hosts the documentary “A New Generation of Genealogy”.  She explores how modern technology makes your family research fun and memorable.


KSL’s General Conference Documentaries

You can watch more General Conference documentaries like this one with the KSL-TV app. The app is free, with no cable subscription required, and available for a variety of Connected TV and smartphone platforms including Amazon Fire, Roku, iOS, Android and fourth-generation Apple TV boxes.

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Adolescent suicides in several US states increased during the pandemic, research shows

(CNN) — The mental health of Americans has suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, and new research shows the damage wasn’t limited to adults.

The number of suicides among adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 increased in five states during the pandemic, according to research looking at 14 states published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on Monday.

Data from Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Virginia and California also showed an increase in the proportion of adolescent deaths by suicide relative to suicides by people of all ages, the authors found. Conversely, Montana had a decrease in adolescent suicides and the proportion of adolescent deaths by suicide during the pandemic, while Alaska had a decrease in proportion only, the research found.

“Suicide-risk screenings have yielded higher positive rates” during the pandemic than beforehand, the authors said. And in 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a state of emergency concerning children’s and adolescents’ mental health.

To measure the impact of this heightened risk, the researchers partnered with public health departments in 14 states and looked into death certificate data on more than 85,000 people who died by suicide. The authors compared two time periods: 2015 to 2019 and 2020, which is the pandemic year they analyzed.

The findings highlight the need to pay attention to any behaviors adolescents show that can signal suicidal thoughts, said Marie-Laure Charpignon, the first author of the study and a doctoral student in statistics at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “We’re all kind of blind within our own families or households,” she added. Sometimes “we see what we want to see, or what we have the opportunity to see in the limited amount of time we have.”

Factors behind adolescent suicide risk

Why certain states had an increased number of adolescent suicides is a “tricky question,” and the answer could depend on many factors, Charpignon said.

Knowing whether the deaths of adolescents’ caregivers during the pandemic influenced the increase in adolescent suicides requires further research with local health departments, Charpignon said. Whether virtual or hybrid school settings in these states during the pandemic could have negatively affected adolescents’ mental health, and therefore their suicide risk, is also unknown, Charpignon said.

Having this geographical data could help public health experts reconsider where they allocate mental health services, she added.

This research isn’t the first to look into adolescent suicidality in the United States during the pandemic. Emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts among youth, especially girls, ages 12 to 17 started to increase in May 2020, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. The same study found that from February 21, 2021, to March 20 of the same year, visits increased by 50.6% among girls and 3.7% among boys in that age range, when compared with the same time period in 2019.

Peers and caregivers should watch for any negative changes in how adolescents express themselves or how often they communicate, Charpignon said. Concerned parents can talk with health professionals and their children’s teachers, in case they have noticed any behavioral changes, she added.

Suicide risk factors also include mental or substance abuse problems or a family history of them; negative life events; family history of suicide; familial abuse of any type; household guns; impulsive behaviors; and exposure to others’ suicidal behaviors, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Other common warning signs — which could also indicate depression — according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, include the following:

  • “Changes in eating and sleeping habits”
  • Loss of interest in activities or school
  • “Neglecting one’s personal appearance”
  • “Obsession with death and dying”
  • More complaints of physical ailments linked to emotional distress
  • “Problems focusing”
  • “Lack of response to praise”
  • “Verbal hints such as ‘I won’t be a problem much longer’ or ‘If anything happens to me, I want you to know…'”
  • Giving or throwing away cherished belonging
  • Cheeriness after a depressive episode

Expanded access to suicide risk assessments and grief counseling for coping with loss of caregivers could be helpful interventions for adolescents at risk for suicide, according to the study authors.

The researchers have recently examined adolescent suicides in all other states and plan to submit those findings for peer review April 25, Charpignon said. Further research that looks at racial and ethnic differences is also needed, the authors said, since “pandemic-period suicidality may be differentially affected by race and ethnicity.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.


Suicide prevention resources 

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Utah Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, which is answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at Huntsman Mental Health Institute.  

You can also text TALK to 741741 and parents, students, and educators can download the SafeUT app chat or call 833-3SAFEUT to connect with a licensed crisis counselor.  

Additional resources 

  • Parents, students, and educators can download the SafeUT app chat or call 833-3SAFEUT to connect with a licensed crisis counselor. 
  • First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and healthcare professionals, can chat with a crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUT Frontline app and members of the National Guard can access help through the SafeUTNG app. 
  • For non-crisis situations, when you need a listening ear as you heal and recover from a personal struggle, call the Utah Warm Line at 1-833 SPEAKUT 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 
  • At Huntsman Mental Health Institute, women can access maternal mental health services including birth trauma, pregnancy loss, infertility, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. 
  • LiveOnUtah.org, a campaign by the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition offers suicide prevention training and has resources for faith-based groups, youth, LGBTQ+, and Employers. 

Other community-based organizations that provide suicide prevention services, support groups, mental health education, counseling services and support: 

Additional crisis hotlines 

  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-226-4433 
  • Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000 
  • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393 
  • National Suicide Prevention Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741 
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386 
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Genetic testing impacts the decisions one Utah family is making after cancer diagnosis

HERRIMAN, Utah — What if you knew your chances of getting cancer were higher than most people? And what if you knew there was a way to intervene before you got sick? One Utah family shares how genetic testing is impacting the decisions they make.

Sometimes, you find luck on your side. And other times?

It’s not so simple.

Jeff’s Diagnoses

65-year-old Jeff Fowler was diagnosed with breast cancer last March. He found a lump on his left breast about a year before but didn’t think much of it, especially since he is a man.

He grew much more concerned when the lump grew to about four centimeters.

“I could actually see it in the mirror,” he said. “You automatically go to the worst case scenario in your mind and you start thinking, ‘Wow, this is deadly.’”

After being diagnosed with breast cancer last March, Jeff Fowler had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. He is not on a hormone blocking medication and his condition is stable.(Used with permission: Jeff Fowler)

But the real shock came when Fowler tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation, a variant that puts him and his family members at an increased risk for certain types of cancer.

“It became real when I saw the family history,” he said.

Four of his uncles died of prostate cancer and two of his aunts died from breast and ovarian cancer.

Genetic Testing

Intermountain Healthcare genetic counselor, Emily Bonham, urged Jeff to invite his family members to also be genetically tested.

“If you have the gene change, there will be a 50/50 chance that each of your children, each of your siblings, and parents also carry that genetic change,” she explained.

“They gave me a letter that I could share with all my siblings and even cousins,” Fowler said.

Fowler approached each of his siblings and his children.

Jeff Fowler is pictured with his siblings. He was diagnosed with breast cancer last March and tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation. His genetic counselor encouraged him to invite his siblings and children to also be tested. All but one of his living siblings took the test, though not all of them tested positive. (Used with permission: Jeff Fowler)

“‘Hey, I have cancer. It’s caused by a genetic mutation that looks like it comes through dad,’” he told them. “This is a real thing and I think we all should get tested.”

All but one of Fowler’s living relatives took the test, but not all tested positive. His sister, Kathy Jensen, took the test through a blood draw.

“Part of me wondered, ‘Do I really want to know?’ but you know, I have five kids,” she said. “And I thought, ‘You know what, I probably should find out.’”

Kathy Jensen (on the left) sits with her sister. After her brother, Jeff Fowler, tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation she also took the test. When she too received positive results for the mutation, she chose to have prophylactic surgery to remove her ovaries and tubes and is also having a double mastectomy this month. (Stuart Johnson, KSL TV)

Jensen did test positive for the variant.

“It was a shock and scary and I immediately started to think about my kids and my grandkids,” she said. “I had a potentially 86 percent chance of getting breast cancer with this gene mutation.”

Next Steps

After getting her results back, Jensen chose to have prophylactic surgery.

“I had my ovaries and tubes removed in August,” she said.

Jensen is also having a double mastectomy this month.

“It’s not an easy decision, but I don’t want cancer,” she said. “When you know your risks are so high, to me that was just the right answer.”

Though she is nervous, she says the knowledge is empowering.

Jeff Fowler’s father is picture with his aunts and uncles. When Fowler was diagnosed with breast cancer this year and the BRCA2 gene mutation, he took a closer look at his family history. Four of his uncles died of prostate cancer and two of his aunts died from breast and ovarian cancer, cancers which are also caused as a result of the BRCA2 variant. (Used with permission: Jeff Fowler)

“It is a big step, but it’s also takes away my risks significantly,” she said. “It’s good to know because I have choices now. It’s not going to just surprise me.”

“By learning about these things, we hope that we can prevent certain health conditions that run through families,” Bonham explained. “We can be more proactive when you have a family history of a health condition.”

Jeff Fowler’s 38-year-old son, Chris Fowler, tested positive for the gene variant too. He has five boys of his own who also could be affected by the variant. He is now taking actionable steps early on to prevent cancer.

Jeff Fowler sits with his son, Chris Fowler, who also tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation. They are both taking great measures to change their diet with increased vegetable and fruits, healthy proteins and grains, and lots of water to prevent further cancer growth. (Stuart Johnson, KSL TV)

“There’s things that I can do, from my own standpoint, to provide best quality of life for myself and also to stay around and grow old with my boys,” he said. “I’m grateful for that technology, that science that exists to allow us to take charge of a little bit of our future at least.”

“It’s gonna give me opportunities to really be aware and take charge. It’s empowering,” he added.

Chris Fowler will start screening earlier and is adopting a healthier diet, like his dad.

Preventing Cancer

Jeff Fowler’s oncologist recommended that he start meeting with a dietician.

“She said the dietitian can do more for you with cancer than I can ever do for you,” Fowler recalls. “I had to give up sugar, had to give up my diet sodas, a lot of the carbs go away… I just can’t grab fast food or things that are unhealthy for me because they could also feed any cancer that could be there.”

He’s increased his vegetable and fruit intake, eats foods that are high protein, and drinks lots of water.

“All that is part of me taking proactive steps, because I already have the cancer, to then stack the deck to avoid any more complications and give myself the best chance,” Jeff Fowler explained.

Jeff Fowler and his wife are pictured with five of their grandsons. Their father, Chris Fowler, also tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation. They know this gene could also affect Chris’ sons and they are doing everything they can now to take proactive . steps to prevent cancer(Used with permission: Jeff Fowler)

“[There are] many ways that they can control those factors beyond their genetics, to hopefully not end up developing cancer,” Bonham said.

She says understanding genetic cause can also impact treatment.

“[It] can lead to a more targeted treatment, [or] another medication that may work better for that cancer,” she explained.

Jeff Folwer had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, and will continue to monitor his health. Now he is on an estrogen blocking hormone for the next five to ten years.

He’s felt humbled throughout this whole experience and found himself turning to God.

“Now, I see things differently,” he said. “It’s brought a sense of gratitude to me.”

Fowler says being aware of his genes has given him the tools he needs to best care for his health.

“I think that knowing gives you the ability to find every resource, every technique, everything that you can do,” he said.

The Fowlers started a Facebook page to reach as many relatives as they can in hopes that cancer doesn’t have a chance. Between Jeff’s eight siblings, four children, and fourteen grandchildren, they know his diagnoses affects generations.

“It’s going to be hundreds of people, if even not more overtime,” he said. “I’ve decided I want to be around as long as I can, you know, and I want to enjoy life,” Jeff Fowler said.

The BRCA2 gene mutation also puts Jeff Fowler at an increased risk for prostate, pancreatic, and skin cancer.

HerediGene Population Study

Intermountain Healthcare has launched the largest DNA study in the country to help more families like the Fowlers. It’s called the HerediGene Population Study and is designed to understand new relationships between genetic changes and risk for certain health conditions.

Researchers are analyzing the genes of 500,000 people, with the goal of better predicting and preventing chronic disease like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neuro-degenerative disorders, and cancer. They estimate two to three percent of participants will be notified about an immediate health concern and will have an opportunity to meet with a genetic counselor to make a plan.

Doctors believe the study will impact the health of generations to come. Anyone can participate for free through a simple blood draw, or for children under 18-years-old through a cheek swab, at any Intermountain Healthcare lab or call 1-833-698-1727. You can also register online here.

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Holladay Family Receives Letter, Harassing Them For Supporting BLM

HOLLADAY, Utah — A family in Holladay said someone sent them a letter, harassing them for supporting Black Lives Matter, and then their BLM sign was stolen. And the family said they’re not alone.

Brannon Richardson thought he knew what to expect when he and his family moved to the neighborhood. But just three weeks in their new home, they received a letter from an anonymous sender that said the following:

Dear neighbor,

Your support of communism and anti-American Marxist groups like black lives matters has been noted by the freedom loving police and military supporters and members in this area.

You may not be educated about the origins or real purpose of the BLM organization and just got caught up in the catch phrase “movement” with blind support not realizing the sign in your yard says you are anti-police, anti-military, and pro-criminal.

If after researching the BLM organizations founders, history, background and goals and you are aware of the true meaning and goals of BLM we suspect the sign be removed so that you are not unfairly labeled an enemy of the country and the patriots that defend it.

If after learning about the Marxist founders of BLM that you currently support, and your anti-police anti American views stand we would strongly urge you to move to one of the many existing communist nations that will openly embrace your idea of freedom as communists are not welcome and communism/socialism will not be tolerated here.

“I kind of felt this area wouldn’t be that way,” Richardson said. “I feel like what they’re saying with this is like, ‘Well, it’s our way or we don’t want you here.’”

It wasn’t the welcome they hoped for, but Richardson said the letter wasn’t harmful. Written words are one thing, criminal acts are another.

Less than 24 hours after receiving the letter, Richardson said he came outside and found his BLM sign missing and their pride flag torn or cut off and stolen.

Richardson said he is pro-police, and they filed a police report, bought a new flag and sign and then bought surveillance cameras. And less than a week later, their newly-installed cameras captured someone knocking over their pride flag one night, and then the next night, someone stole the flag and pole and rode off on a bicycle with it.

“I feel like if you want to do something that’s contrary to my belief, well you can do that on your own property and put up whatever sign you want,” he said. “And those people can feel safe and know that I’m not going to take that from them.”

It’s unclear if the same person or group is behind the stolen symbols and the letter. But what has become clear is that the Richardson’s aren’t alone in feeling targeted for their support of Black Lives Matter.

After posting the letter to Nextdoor, they heard from neighbors in and around Holladay who commented with pictures, showing that they had received the same message.

“I believe everyone has the right to express themselves or support the organizations they want to support without being harassed,” Richardson said.

Unified Police confirmed they have received multiple reports of a letter directed toward supporters of BLM.

Sgt. Melody Cutler with UPD said the letter doesn’t contain any direct threats and so it is considered protected speech.

For Richardson, the sign and flag aren’t as much about what he opposes, as they are about sending a message to others that they are welcome and that they have an ally. And he said the sign is here to stay.

“I mean, we’re just going to keep putting it out,” he said. “We don’t want our rights to express what we want to express diminished in any way and we don’t think anyone else’s should either.”

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A Short History Of American Food (Whatever That Is)

Your Thanksgiving table may be smaller this year, but if it’s still full of squashes, corn pudding, turkey and cranberry sauce, thank Native Americans — those foods are indigenous. But that apple pie is international — apples are from Kazakhstan and the pie part is from England.

It’s hard to define what “American food” is and yet many historians have tried. Yale Professor Paul Freedman is one of them and last year published “American Cuisine and How It Got That Way.”

“The exuberance of American dining is its saving grace,” says Freedman. “… Despite the fact that many things are, you know, not all that good for you.”

Americans get pretty excited about food, as does much of the world, but historians like Freedman say we actually share some key culinary traits that are uniquely American in origin and we’re not talking about throwing everything in the deep fry. Fast food will always be an American hallmark, even though we’re eating less of it these days, but we’re more than McDonald’s and cheese-in-a-can and we’ve even exported some very American ways of eating. Yes, France. You’ve learned a thing or two from us, too.

To understand what our tastebuds all have in common, let’s look at five key developments in the history of America’s eating habits.

1) The good old days when sugar was healthy

Up until the late 1800s, people preferred to eat the foods that filled them up. Dairy, meat, hominy, oatmeal and sugar were staples — vegetables, not so much. Vitamins wouldn’t be fully appreciated until the 20th century.

“They didn’t like spices because they think they created indigestion and were a distraction from the actual food,” says Freedman, who noted that spices were considered the “food of the poor.”

Historian Sarah Lohman says that it wasn’t quite as bland as it sounds. Mary Randolph’s 1824 cookbook, “The Virginia House-Wife,” calls for chili peppers.

“It’s really, really influenced by indigenous cultures and, in particular, by enslaved people who come from the Caribbean, by enslaved people who come from Africa or African descendants,” says Lohman.

2) Food travels around the country

In the 19th century, while New Englanders were eating brown breads and brown stuffing, the South had its pork, molasses, greens, griddled cornmeal and corn breads.

Black cooks had a hand in our cuisine from the very beginning. From South to North, their contribution was so ubiquitous its significance has been long overlooked.

Just one example is the story of ice cream. James Hemmings, Thomas Jefferson’s enslaved chef, traveled with the family to France, learned the art of making ice cream and brought it back to the US along with copper cookware, European-style mac ‘n’ cheese and French fries.

Historian Jessica Harris is lead curator for the exhibition “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table” at the Museum of Food and Drink in New York City. She said other Black chefs traveled early on with aristocrats as they left the South for summer homes in places like Newport. Later Black Pullman operators moved west along with the railroads, bringing their families and their familiar food. After the Civil War, the Great Migration brought Black cuisine just about everywhere.

“It’s about looking at history, looking at culture, looking at any of those things as science through the spyglass of food,” said Harris. “And it’s a great spyglass because it’s one everybody shares.”

Then in the late 19th century, it’s New England’s filling, yet perhaps monochromatic, food that comes to the forefront.

3) The pure joy of home economics class

Scientific ideas around food have always existed, but in the late 1800s, people began to prioritize invisible components of food learning, such as how to avoid illnesses like scurvy, beriberi and pellagra. Vegetables became a bit more important — albeit cooked for long periods of time.

A woman’s kitchen became her laboratory and her cookbooks were her study materials. What was thought of as “nutrition” was incredibly important and yet women couldn’t learn how to cook from Mom, nor did they want to.

“The idea was that you shouldn’t just do everything the way your mother did because that was, first of all, drudgery,” says Laura Shapiro, an historian who writes about women and food. “It was really hard work and it wasn’t modern.”

Starting in 1890, Fannie Farmer began turning hearty New England dishes into sophisticated meals, though sometimes that meant your plate was all white or all brown. The textbook she wrote later became “The Fannie Farmer Cookbook” and its popularity lasted for decades, until usurped by “The Joy of Cooking” in the 1930s.

Shapiro says Farmer’s writing was rather dry but she did have her fun. Farmer invented the ginger ale salad that congeals canned fruit in gelatin and soda.

Her book came out right as families were moving further away from their home base and spreading out across the country.

“You are this young bride and you have to cook in your new home and you don’t know how,” says Shapiro. “Once you learn, you can do all this wonderful cooking and your husband will be healthy and he won’t become an alcoholic.”

That’s a lot of pressure to put on your meatloaf. Thankfully, Americans got some help when we really didn’t earn it.

4) When we get what we don’t deserve

Immigration, migration and variety in manufacturing are where we start to see America really start to form eating habits that separate us from other countries. While every country in the world has immigration, in America it happened on a large scale and very early on.

Historian Sarah Lohman spent years leading tours and classes about the lives of immigrants for New York City’s Tenement Museum and traveled to 12 different parts of the country for her book, “Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine.”

“At the same time that domestic science is becoming a part of the American food landscape, that’s also when we’re seeing a huge influx of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe, particularly Jewish immigrants,” says Lohman.

Lohman says Eastern Europeans brought their love of sour foods, Italians brought on the garlic. Their food changed when the reached America, with Italians in particular opting for foods like olive oil and aged cheeses. Back in Italy, these were expensive exports only, but in the States Italians could afford them and they used them liberally.

That’s also true for Chinese cuisine which spread steadily across the country just as prejudice was growing against Chinese people. Kevin Kim researches the history of Chinese people in the Deep South and is working on a project about the continued displacement of urban immigrant communities for the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum.

“One of those contradictions and complexities is that Chinese food in that early period is marked by exclusion,” says Kim. “It’s marked by racism but at the same time there is this hunger for something exotic and yet familiar.”

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was aimed at keeping out Chinese laborers who came to the US for plentiful jobs, but the Act contained exceptions. Merchants who owned stores and grocery stores were exempt and later on, so too were restaurant owners. The number of Chinese restaurants doubled from the early part of the 19th century to the mid-20th century.

Kim explains that these restauranteurs brought their own Asian flavors and cooking methods but adapted them by growing or using local ingredients. Broccoli wasn’t used in China but appears on Chinese menus here. Chinese cooks living in African American and Caribbean neighborhoods added collard greens or fried chicken to their menus.

Another boom comes when immigration opens up in 1965, bringing people from many parts of Asia. While immigration begins to melt its way into American meals, more variety came as American manufacturing moved like warp speed into a new era.

5) With industrialization comes flavors and more flavors

Processed foods like cake mixes and powdered eggs existed before the great World Wars, but they reached new levels when the wars were over. Innovations like canned and frozen foods that fed troops en masse were still being made at lightning speed and manufacturers needed to find a new market for them.

So, companies focused their attention on women at home. Grocery stores were game: Their produce requires a lot of manpower and much of it ends up getting thrown out, unlike those rows and rows of canned tomatoes.

“The food industry wants you, to this day, to think that cooking is an incredible drag and an imposition on your time,” says Freedman. “Otherwise, you’ll buy potatoes and mash them and they don’t really make a whole lot of money out of your buying potatoes. They make money out of your buying instant mashed potatoes.”

Shapiro says manufacturers created the notion that women were always busy, always running out of time. So, they were “creating a world in which every day, every meal was an emergency.”

“Never say that women welcomed it,” says Shapiro, railing against the images portraying happy women in ads for quick mixes. “That is just bullshit. The women put up a huge resistance. The food industry was astonished.”

Decades later as people do start to pack their schedules, those processed foods are still there. But instead of that one can of tomatoes, you now have Italian-style canned tomatoes, Spanish-style canned tomatoes and, even more inexplicably, low-sodium canned tomatoes. Shouldn’t they have been low-sodium to begin with? Who needs high-sodium canned tomatoes?

“Variety comes in to mask the idea that things are processed,” says Freedman. “It kind of distracts attention from the fact that industrial food loses some of its flavor and freshness by the very fact of its being processed.”

American food as it is now

Now we eat so many, many things, both processed and fresh, both familiar and exotic. We love it all as evidenced by the massive popularity of food television, food magazines, food museums and food exhibitions. That’s a worldwide phenomenon.

“Most people like to eat and like to come together around food,” says Catherine Piccoli, Acting President of the Museum of Food and Drink. “But it also is something that allows us to learn about one another.”

Freedman found through his research that in the mid-20th century, the sheer variety of flavors in our supermarkets astonished people visiting from all over the world. Now, that variety is found everywhere, but historians argue it started in America first. Americans have long been willing to try new things, both in the supermarket and while eating out.

“A hallmark of American cuisine is variety and variety includes exuberance,” says Freedman. “Americanization has come to the world, not by McDonald’s, but by eclecticism.”

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University Of Utah Researchers Discover Genes Linked To Suicide

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Researchers at University of Utah Health’s Huntsman Mental Health Institute have detected more than 20 genes that may play a role in suicide.

The research is the first of its kind, and a Utah mother who is still grieving doesn’t find the results surprising.

Michelle Nelson stands in the bright kitchen of her 101-year-old house in Salt Lake City.

“Amethyst, opalite and crystal,” she said, picking up the small stones from a dish on the counter.

She collects them to help her heal because picking up the pieces after loss is daunting.

Michelle Nelson collects heart rocks to remind her of her son, Roan, who died by suicide. She says new research is giving her hope. (KSL-TV)

“I take Roan everywhere I go,” she said.

Nelson collects heart rocks — stones that naturally form into a heart shape which she finds outside.

“It’s like a gift from nature that reminds me of him,” Nelson said.

Two years ago, her 16-year-old son, Roan McClain, died by suicide.

“It was the biggest shock of my life,” she said. “You think your kids are always going to be okay.”

Her family has a history of suicide.

In a new study, researchers at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute discovered 22 genes that could have a role in suicide deaths. It establishes that suicide is partially heritable independent of a shared environment.

“We looked at over 3,400 samples of individuals who had lost their lives to suicide in Utah,” said Dr. Anna Docherty with the Huntsman Mental Health Institute.

The study, among the first comprehensive genome-wide analyses of suicide death, also found significant genetic cross-connections to psychiatric diseases and behaviors associated with suicide, researchers said.

“Understanding that there’s a strong genetic component will destigmatize the subject of suicide,” Docherty said.

The goal of the research is to inspire discussions among families and with their healthcare providers to know when to get support, Docherty said.

“If you have a family history of suicide, it really pays to learn about all the myriad risk factors and ways that you can really promote health in your family.”

For Nelson, it inspires hope.

“Maybe, if we could look at our kids and say, ‘Hey, you really are at risk. What can we do to get ahead of this?'” she said.

Scientists hope identifying these genes could lead to better predicting who’s at risk and finding better ways to help them.

In the meantime, Nelson continues to find comfort in nature, and her collection of heart rocks.
“When you lose someone close to you, your whole life changes,” she said. “You have to notice the little things. You have to go back to those small things, like the rocks.”

Next, researchers plan to dig into the molecular genetics of suicides to understand the links, and to find drug therapies.

If you or someone you love needs help, call the Utah Crisis Line at 801-587-3000.

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Religion

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Family Search just hit a major milestone, now offering 8 billion names on their database.

This comes just in time for Hispanic Heritage month as consultants say those archives are some of the fastest growing.

Just because the doors are closed doesn’t mean the resources available at the Family History Library have slowed down. If anything, they’ve sped up.

With the pandemic, Family History researchers started doing online consultations and have helped hundreds of people around the world.

It’s a service that wasn’t available before and which they say is getting a lot of interest from the Latin community.

A great way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month by connecting with the past.

“I’ve helped people in Guatemala,” said David Renchard, director of the Family History Library. “It’s just an incredible thing to converse with them face-to-face on-line, and to be able to solve their problem.”

“Si no hablas Ingles tiene la oportunidad de tener la cita en Espanol. We also speak Spanish so you can get an appointment in your language,” said Debbie Gurtler, Latin American research expert at the Family History Library.

The Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said the free on-line consultations have been so successful they will continue offering them after COVID ends.

They also said if you’ve searched a name before and came up empty handed, try again because they add 1 million new names every day, especially from countries like Mexico where records database are booming.

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Latest news & headlines on coronavirus

Staying Safe: Coronavirus

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Unless new protections are put in place, an estimated 30 to 40 million renters could face eviction in the coming months, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

“The United States may be facing the most severe housing crisis in its history,” said the report from the Aspen Institute.

If renters can’t afford their housing, the institute warns that many property owners will also not be able to make mortgage payments.

“If conditions do not change, 29-43% of renter households could be at risk of eviction by the end of the year,” the report goes on to say.

Utah’s 45-day protection against evictions expired in mid-May and the federal moratorium on evictions expired in July. That moratorium was one of the many ways state and federal government officials responded to the financial crisis caused by the pandemic.

“Monday morning we had a line in front of our building the whole morning,” said Bill Tibbitts, associate director of the Crossroads Urban Center, which runs an emergency food shelter. “For us, that’s a sign that some of the types of short-term relief are wearing off.”

Tibbitts said the concern is how the unemployed will be able to afford September’s rent now that they are no longer receiving the extra $600 weekly boost from the federal CARES Act, which also expired in July.

“We’re worried that things are going to get worse,” he said. “There’s just no doubt that we’re going to see a wave of evictions and a wave of people needing help.”

Affordable housing advocacy groups have called on Gov. Gary Herbert to issue a new moratorium on evictions, including members of Wasatch Tenants United who gathered at the Salt Lake City and County Building Wednesday evening.

The Utah Apartment Association said most Utahns are keeping up with their rent payments and that a new eviction moratorium isn’t needed.

“If you look at the eviction numbers, we are 41% below average for evictions,” said Paul Smith, the apartment association’s executive director.

Smith said that those who are struggling to pay rent are finding help by working with their landlords, through charity or other assistance programs.

“Utahns are generous,” he said. “Churches, family members are working with and helping people pay rent, so landlords, for the most part, are being made whole.”

He encouraged those needing assistance to apply for Utah’s rental assistance program.

Earlier this month the Utah Department of Workforce Services adjusted the requirements of the $20 million program, making it so those receiving unemployment benefits are now eligible to apply.

To apply for the rental assistance program, renters can call 211 or visit 211utah.org.

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Utah doctor details his history with heroin and cocaine addiction

Dr. Robert Simpson is the medical director for Utah Addiction Medicine and is known for his work in harm reduction surrounding addiction — only after he beat his own heroin and cocaine addiction.

Growing up with big ambitions

“I began shooting heroin and cocaine at about 19-years-old … I went through college. I was addicted through university and then somehow or another I was admitted to a medical school,”  Simpson says.

His life didn’t start like this though. He grew up in London where his attraction was towards traveling carnivals and oil fields. All the while, beginning to experiment with heroin and cocaine.

As his addiction began to permeate his every thought, he realized he needed to find a career that would allow his addiction to flourish.

Queue medical school.

Robert was always smart when it came to his schooling. He attended a university and was even accepted into medical school, completely addicted to heroin and cocaine.

From addict to doctor

“About the end of medical school, the heroin and cocaine just kind of stopped working; they quit me,” he said. “I thought I was doing pretty well.  I still was not drinking like a gentleman and I didn’t mind taking some pills but I thought, ‘I don’t have needles hanging out of my arm, I’m doing pretty bloody well really.'”

Do very well he did. Robert finished medical school within the top 10% of students in his class. He even moved out to Salt Lake City, Utah in 2000 to complete a fellowship at the University of Utah.

Unfortunately, during that fellowship, he herniated a disc in his back which led to excruciating pain. So much so, that he saw a doctor, who immediately gave him opioids for the pain. Given Robert’s previous stints with addiction, this newfound slipstream of opioids only pushed his addictive hunger even further. “Pretty soon, I was just too important and busy to have him go and write the prescriptions for me so I just thought I’d take care of it myself,” he said.

Even doctors are susceptible to addiction

The doses only escalated from there until he did the unthinkable — Robert, who was a successful doctor, began engaging in prescription fraud.

“I fraudulently wrote prescriptions in my name and two other people. I borrowed other people’s numbers; none of which I would think of doing today but I was in the midst of my addiction,” he described.

Robert began to write so many prescriptions for himself that he would get his pharmacies mixed up. He would write a prescription for one pharmacy and arrive at the completely wrong location. The entire process quickly became too overwhelming to handle. So, he went back to what he knew.  The streets were calling to him and he needed his heroin fix.

“It was this odd paradox where I’m copping dope on the block and heading back up to the medical school and lecturing to medical students,” Robert recounted.

Thriving on the outside, dying on the inside

His career was skyrocketing in terms of research, teaching, clinical duties, and just performing well as a doctor. On the inside — he was crumbling at his core. “I was so hopeless. I was buying life insurance and annuities so that my family wouldn’t be destitute once I overdosed and died,” he said.

Until he had a “spiritual” experience that ultimately caused him to believe that he could get out of his addiction. But he knew he was going to need help. He realized he was going to have to own up to all of his struggles and all of his addictions. “One day it came to me very strongly. I was walking back from the pharmacy, bags full of stuff, and I went into my office, put the bags on my desk, and I just picked up the phone and I just called my boss and said, ‘Simpson here, drug problem, out.'”

He self-reported himself to the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing and his medical license was suspended. Dr. Simpson then booked himself into the Betty Ford Rehabilitation Center in southern California and he was set on getting healthy.

Once he had finished his rehabilitation, Dr. Simpson started helping out at the 4th Street Clinic. “We would go out on our bikes and find guys who didn’t want to go to the clinic and we’d just give them dry socks and chat with them. It helped me get off of my pity party about how mistreated I was by everybody.”

Moving forward and what’s next

For the next decade, Dr. Simpson began to work his way back into the medical field, even getting his medical license back. Now, he works as the medical director for Utah Addiction Medicine and promotes harm reduction to addicts throughout the state.

With his newfound appreciation for overcoming addiction, he understands the benefits of harm reduction and what it could do for an addict. “Harm reduction is about treating people, with substance abuse disorders, with respect [and] dignity, because they’re human beings. When we treat people that way, without judgment, we build relationships and once we’ve done that, we can start to work with people on just little things.”

He concluded, “Most people don’t know where to turn. If you’ve spent time and built this relationship in an unconditional sort of way, they know where to go.”

Listen to the entire episode below

For more information on addiction or if you or someone you know is struggling, you can find more information on Facebook and on KSL TV. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.

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Officials: Hanukkah Attack Suspect Researched Hitler Online

MONSEY, N.Y. (AP) — A man charged with federal hate crimes Monday in a bloody attack on a Hanukkah celebration had handwritten journals containing anti-Semitic references and had recently used his phone to look up information on Hitler and the location of synagogues, authorities said.

Grafton Thomas, 37, was held without bail after appearing in federal court in White Plains on five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon. Five people were stabbed and slashed in the Saturday attack north of New York City.

A blood-stained 18-inch (45-centimeter) machete was recovered from his car, along with a knife smeared with dried blood and hair, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint.

Thomas, his ankles shackled, shuffled into the courtroom in a prison jumpsuit, telling a judge who asked him if his head was clear that he was “not clear at all” and needed sleep. But he added: “I am coherent.”

His court-appointed attorney, Susanne Brody, said Thomas has struggled with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Another attorney retained by his family, Michael Sussman, said Thomas had been hearing voices and may have stopped taking psychiatric medications recently.

The stabbings on the seventh night of Hanukkah came amid a series of violent attacks targeting Jews in the region that have led to increased security, particularly around religious gatherings.

A criminal complaint said journals recovered from Thomas’ home in Greenwood Lake included comments questioning “why ppl mourned for anti-Semitism when there is Semitic genocide” and a page with drawings of a Star of David and a swastika.

A phone recovered from his car included repeated internet searches for “Why did Hitler hate the Jews” as well as “German Jewish Temples near me” and “Prominent companies founded by Jews in America,” the complaint said.

On the day of the stabbings, the phone’s browser was used to access an article titled: “New York City Increases Police Presence in Jewish Neighborhoods After Possible Anti-Semitic Attacks. Here’s What To Know,” the complaint said.

Sussman told reporters he visited Thomas’ home and found stacks of notes he described as “the ramblings of a disturbed individual” but nothing to point to an “anti-Semitic motive” or suggest Thomas intentionally targeted the rabbi’s home.

“My impression from speaking with him is that he needs serious psychiatric evaluation,” Sussman said. “His explanations were not terribly coherent.”

Thomas’ family said he was raised to embrace tolerance but has a long history of mental illness, including multiple hospitalizations.

“He has no history of like violent acts and no convictions for any crime,” his family said in a statement. “He has no known history of anti-Semitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races. He is not a member of any hate groups.”

Thomas served in the Marines and was president of his class at a high school in Queens, Sussman said. He attended William Paterson University between 2005 and 2007, the university confirmed, where he played football as a walk-on running back.

Thomas’ family said his mental health deteriorated over the years. He would hear voices and have trouble completing sentences at times. Thomas said a voice talked to him about property that was in the rabbi’s house, according to Sussman.

In court papers filed in a 2013 eviction case in Utah, Thomas said he suffered from schizophrenia, depression and anxiety and his “conditions are spontaneous and untamed.”

Thomas was arrested within two hours of the Saturday night attack in Monsey. When police pulled his car over in Manhattan, he had blood all over his clothing and smelled of bleach but said “almost nothing” to the arresting officers, officials said.

Thomas’ aunt told The Associated Press that he had a “germ phobia” and obsessively washed his hands and feet with bleach.

She said Thomas grew up in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn and “lived peacefully” among Jewish neighbors. She said Thomas had not been taking his medication and recently went missing for a week.

The woman spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear she would lose her government job for speaking publicly.

“They’re making him look like this monster,” she said in a telephone interview. “My nephew is not a monster. He’s just sick. He just needs help.”

According to the complaint, Thomas, a scarf covering his face, entered the rabbi’s home next door to a synagogue and said “no one is leaving.” He then took out a machete and started stabbing and slashing people in the home packed with dozens of congregants, the complaint said.

The five victims suffered serious injuries — including a severed finger, slash wounds and deep lacerations — and at least one was in critical condition with a skull fracture, the complaint said.

On Sunday, Thomas pleaded not guilty to charged including five counts of attempted murder. He was detained on $5 million bail.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Thomas “targeted his victims in the midst of a religious ceremony, transforming a joyous Hanukkah celebration into a scene of carnage and pain.”

Thomas’ criminal history includes an arrest for assaulting a police horse, according to an official briefed on the investigation who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. A lawyer representing Thomas at the arraignment said he had no convictions.

The criminal complaint said one passage in Thomas’ journals stated that the “Hebrew Israelites” took from the “ebidnoid Israelites.” The FBI agent who wrote the complaint said that appeared to be a reference to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, some branches of which have been associated with anti-Semitism.

The attack was the latest in a string of violence targeting Jews in the region, including a Dec. 10 massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey. Last month in Monsey, a man was stabbed while walking to a synagogue. No arrest has been made in that stabbing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said Saturday’s savagery was the 13th anti-Semitic attack in New York since Dec. 8.

Monsey, near the New Jersey state line about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of New York City, is one of several Hudson Valley communities that has seen a rising population of Hasidic Jews in recent years. At a Sunday celebration that was planned before the attack, several members of the community stood guard armed with assault-style rifles.

“The Jewish community is utterly terrified,” Evan Bernstein, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey, said in a statement. “No one should have to live like this.”

In New York City, the Rev. Al Sharpton appeared Monday with Jewish and other faith leaders at his Harlem headquarters and said he was disturbed and upset that several of the suspects in recent attacks on Jews have been black.

“We cannot remain silent as we see a consistent pattern of attacks on people based on their faith and who they are,” Sharpton said. “You can’t fight hate against you if you aren’t willing to fight hate against everybody else.”

___

Mustian and Neumeister reported from New York. Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo in New York contributed to this report.

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Your Life Your Health

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Talking about family health history may not be the easiest conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table, but Spencer and Jennifer Stucki are sharing their story to let people know how important knowing that history is — especially for those with a family history of colon cancer.

When asked what both Jennifer and Spencer love most about each other, their answers couldn’t be more in sync.

“As I got to know him, it was definitely his heart. He is one of the kindest, most generous people you’ve ever met,” Jennifer said.

Spencer also immediately replied, “Her heart! The way she loves.”

Three years ago, 35-year-old Spencer became a dad to three kids instantly when he married Jen. The kids affectionately call him “Spence Daddy.” He said marrying Jennifer was the easiest decision.

“It was everything I hoped and dreamed for. I had been waiting for so long just to find my wife, but to have kids and a wife — what I wanted for my whole life … my dreams were fulfilled,” Spencer said.

They met and married within eight months.

Jennifer and Spencer Stucki met and married within eight months. They said they both knew it was right.

“When I met him, he had big, giant arms and was going to the gym five or six times a week,” Jennifer said.

She said Spencer was the epitome of health. With a long history of diabetes in his family, “he wanted to take matters into his own hands and stay healthy,” she said.

“He’d been doing the Keto diet for almost 16 years, and he was just really health-conscious about what he ate and how he took care of his body,” she said.

They even started a family Keto-friendly ice cream business together.

But nine months into their marriage, the unimaginable happened.

“He got a cold that just wouldn’t go away, with a really bad fever and…and so that was kind of the first really outward sign that we had that something was wrong,” Jennifer said.

Spencer said he started losing energy.

“I’d go to the gym and I’d be able to do two-thirds of my workouts and then half and then a third,” he said.

Jennifer said one day her husband woke up with blood in his underwear and doctors noticed he was anemic. Spencer was eventually diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.

“It was a complete shock,” Jennifer said. Spencer was only 36 years old.

By the time of the diagnosis, cancer had already spread to Spencer’s liver. “He had over 20 metastases,” Jennifer said.

Spencer has had more than 46 chemotherapy treatments in addition to specialized radiation treatments. Jennifer said the side effects of treatment have included neuropathy, sensitivity to cold, ulcers and a lot of pain.

Even though Spencer Stucki’s mother died of colon cancer, he never thought he would get it, especially at such a young age.

Intermountain Healthcare’s Dr. Mark Lewis said more people are being diagnosed with colon cancer at a younger age, especially in Utah.

“Many of the families here in Utah can trace their ancestry to a small number of families. We call that founder effect,” Lewis said. “And in that small group of families, there may have been an enhanced risk genetically for these types of cancers and they’ve been passed down through the generations.”

Lewis said one out of every seven people in his practice affected by colorectal cancer is under the age of 50. He referenced a 2017 study that showed a 22% increase in colon cancer diagnoses and a 13% increase in the mortality rate in patients under the age of 50.

The American Cancer Society is now recommending people at average risk to get a colonoscopy at age 45 instead of 50. But Lewis said it’s different for those who have a family history of the disease.

Lewis urged people with a first-degree relative who has had colon cancer to start screening 10 years before the age of that individual’s diagnosis.

Spencer Stucki’s mother died of colon cancer, but he said he didn’t have a genetic marker for the disease.

Jennifer Stucki’s kids affectionately called Spencer Stucki “Spence Daddy!”

“It’s a silent killer. You don’t know until it’s too late,” he said.

Often when Lewis talks with his patients, they are missing important details in their family health history. He said it’s important to know a relative’s exact diagnosis and age of diagnosis.

Lewis also encouraged people to not overlook symptoms.

“We look for, again, bleeding and anemia, abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss; all these things together really are concerning,” he said.

He said anemia is a big red flag because “no man should ever be low on iron for any reason.”

Lewis encouraged people to not shy away from talking about it with their doctor if they are having problems with their gut.

“It’s a private thing. It’s not a comfortable thing to talk about,” he said. “But it really is important for people to know the patterns of cancer in their own family.”

Lewis said it’s extremely common for someone to assume that a gastrointestinal issue is benign. He said those issues are often misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome.

Spencer Stucki’s world has gotten a little smaller since he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He spends most of his time in bed.

While a colonoscopy does require some prep work and is more invasive than other routine screenings, Lewis said it a really powerful procedure because doctors can remove precancerous polyps before they become an issue.

Lewis said researchers aren’t quite sure why more people are being diagnosed at a younger age, but he said it likely includes a combination of genes, environment, lifestyle and luck.

Right now, the Stuckis are cherishing the time they have left with Spencer.

“He has done it with his head held high and with a smile on his face every single day,” Jennifer said.

Spencer said they’re relying on God.

Spencer and Jennifer Stucki playing Candyland in bed together with their kids.

“I couldn’t do this without him,” he said through tears.

Intermountain Healthcare has partnered with the Huntsman Cancer Institute on a program for adolescents and young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer.

“That’s the time in people’s lives when they’re starting families, they’re finishing school, they’re entering careers,” Lewis said. “It is enormously disruptive to have a cancer diagnosis at any age, but patients in that age range are particularly vulnerable.”

Lewis said the program offers additional support for all sorts of needs including financial, legal, employment and even fertility needs.

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Idaho Family Saving Lives After Son’s Death From A ‘Silent Killer’

FRANKLIN, Idaho – Imagine walking around with a deadly genetic disorder and not knowing it. That may be the case for descendants of a Utah family.

In the quiet, picturesque town of Franklin, a family made a heartbreaking discovery.

Two days before Thanksgiving of last year, 7-year-old Baine Bobka got sick.

Kelsey Bobka of Franklin Idaho cherishes the wall of family photos behind her. Her son Baine died of a genetic disorder last Thanksgiving. Now she hopes to save lives.

“It was a Tuesday night in the middle of the night,” said Kelsey Bobka, Baine’s mother. “And we had all had the flu, and he had been with cousins and the youngest had had the flu when he was with them so it just wasn’t surprising when he came in and said, ‘Mom, I feel sick.'”

But the next morning, Baine’s symptoms were much worse.

“He was lying on the couch and he couldn’t even talk to me,” Bobka said.

In the emergency room, doctors did tests, and then flew Baine to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. That’s where they discovered his ammonia levels were dangerously high, damaging his brain.

Baine Bobka, age 7, died of a genetic disorder no one knew he had. Now his family fights to save lives to honor him. (Photo Courtesy of Kelsey Bobka)

“I remember just sitting there thinking, ‘I know he won’t be the same, but I want him back,'” Bobka said.

Baine had a rare, genetic disorder called OTC deficiency, which causes too much ammonia to accumulate in the blood.

He did not survive.

Since Baine’s death, scientists have identified the genetic mutation for OTC. So far, about 35 family members have been tested. Of those, about half are positive.

Baine’s type of OTC deficiency goes undetected at birth, and lies latent until a trigger sets it off, like fasting or in Baine’s case, an illness.

Baine Bobka was a 2nd grader in Franlkin

“It is a silent killer,” said Dr. Nicola Longo, University of Utah Health.

Longo is following several branches of the family in Utah, and believes the genetic disorder is fairly prevalent here.

“These are very normal people who do just like all of us who do their own thing, and all of the sudden something tragic can happen within a family,” Longo said.

The disorder can be traced back to an immigrant family on the Mayflower who brought it to Utah.

“Jane Wright Earl. Yes,” said Sally Tarbet, Baine’s grandmother.

It’s linked to the X-chromosome. Girls are carriers, but boys can die from it.

The family has started an awareness campaign on social media: Baines Legacy on Facebook, Baines Legacy on Instagram and Cure UCD.

They also held a fundraiser to raise money for research.

“I feel like there’s a reason for everything, and as much as I hate it and don’t like it… and then I can’t imagine another family going through this, you know?” Bobka said.

All to save lives, and honor the boy they loved.

The warning signs of OTC deficiency include a family history of unexplained male deaths, and unexplained vomiting in children.

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Cache Valley family has ties to every American war

RICHMOND, Utah – When Scott Tripp set out to find out just how many of his direct ancestors served in American wars, he found much more than some expected. He didn’t have to look far to start, already well aware of how his parents served: his mother as a nurse, and father a pilot in World War II. He learned the ties went back far beyond that.

Randy Tripp in uniform before serving in the first Gulf War.

“Basically, they felt it was their duty to go and serve,” Tripp said.

Scott’s cousin, Randy Tripp knows that sense of duty well. He served in the Army National Guard during in Iraq, and most recently served alongside his own son in Afghanistan.

“For some reason, it’s in the Tripp blood; to serve their country and fellow man,” Randy Tripp said.

Randy’s father also served in Vietnam and Korea. But Scott Tripp found connections dating back to the Civil War, the American Revolution, and even the French Indian War.

“If they could serve through the generations, they served,” Scott Tripp said. “In every war they could, they served.”

Scott Tripp(left), his wife, Judy Tripp(center), and cousin Randy Tripp(right) share pictures and documents detailing family members and ancestors that served in American wars.

Tripp took on the family history research after learning that he would have to fight cancer of the lymph nodes a second time. With an uncertain future, he also wanted to find a way to thank veterans and anyone who served their country around the Cache Valley. The family recently put an American flag on top of a 40 foot-long pole, that now rests on a hilltop on the family property, overlooking the northern part of Cache County.

Scott Tripp looks over the valley, next to an American flag recently put in place by him and his family.

“Whether you serve in the military, or serve a mission, or serve your fellow man, it’s about service,” Tripp said. “And this is my way of honoring those who served.”

He’s also hopeful that in a time of divisiveness, more people can find common ground unite under the principles the United States was founded upon.

“The flag brings us together,” Scott Tripp said. “People forget that America is still a land of opportunity. It’s still a place that you can achieve whatever you dream.”

“The one thing we have in common is that flag that sits on top of that hill,” Randy Tripp added. “We have fought and died to preserve the right to fly that flag wherever we want.”

A historical booklet about veterans from Richmond, Utah shows just a sampling on members of the Tripp family that served.

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Family History 2.0: A New Generation of Genealogy

SALT LAKE CITY — Think genealogy is digging through musty libraries and church basements? Think again. Family history research has come a long way in the past few years.

Today, you’re just as likely to uncover hidden mysteries on your smartphone, or in your DNA results.

Popular television programs like “Relative Race” have helped intensify interest in family history research.

Host Michelle King explores how modern technology is making your family research fun, engaging and memorable.

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RootsTech features many DNA companies, helping people better understand their family history

SALT LAKE CITY — As thousands of visitors are in downtown Salt Lake City this week for the annual RootsTech convention, there is growing interest in the role that DNA is playing to better help people research their roots. And through a simple saliva sample, Lehi based Ancestry, can now connect you to 350 regions around the world.

“You are essentially a living walking record of the ancestors that came before you, we are taking that DNA and matching you to other people,” said Anna Swayne, a DNA spokesperson with Ancestry.

In one year, the Ancestry database has more than doubled from three million to now seven million individual profiles.

“Sometimes you are that person, you are the missing link for somebody else to find out, ‘wow, this really is my ancestry’ and you couldn’t do that unless you unlocked this technology of DNA testing, the science and technology coming together,” Swayne added.

Other DNA testing companies are marketing their products at RootsTech. Some offer even more specific data, through additional layers of DNA testing.

“What happened to a grandparent or great-grandparent versus what happened 500 years ago through a migration across the Atlantic or something like that,” said Robin Smith, with the California company, 23 and Me. “So there is a geographic element, but also a time element and that is something that our product really tries to get at.” 

All agree that DNA testing is becoming a powerful solution to break through brick walls or bridge gaps, when historic records are unable to connect families.

“It is an ongoing experience and whether you tested yesterday or two years ago, as the database updates you’ll be able to find new connections and new cousins and unlock new discoveries,” said Swayne.

RootsTech continues Friday and Saturday, it is “Family Discovery Day,” a free event that will include an address from President Dallin H. Oaks of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1 p.m.

  

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Church Presiding Bishop Details How Tithing And Donations Are Used

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published three videos by church leaders and a summary Friday of the ways it uses tithing and donations, saying its approach was misrepresented in recent media stories about a former church employee who filed an IRS complaint about the church’s financial reserves.

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, who helps manage the faith’s temporal affairs, offers a response in the videos to a report earlier this week that the church has a reserve fund of $100 billion.

“It’s about building a reserve of the church, and ultimately, all of those funds will be used for church purposes,” he said. He added that investing the reserves is intended to make sure their value increases to be used in the future for the same purposes.

The summary provided with the videos said that aid given to individual church members and families adds up to “billions more dollars in assistance.”

The summary did not provide a dollar figure for the annual expense. However, the church has not previously published any figure to describe the aid distributed within its 30,500 congregations. The volunteer bishops and branch presidents who lead the faith’s congregations use funds from the church’s welfare program to help men, women and children both inside the church and out with food, housing and other needs on a daily basis.

Church Responds To Allegations Made By Former Employee In IRS Complaint

The summary provided with the videos said the church directs tithing and donations to provide humanitarian aid in 197 countries, build and maintain temples that connect families, fund the construction and maintenance of meetinghouses and supports a global program of 399 missions and 65,000 missionaries, according to the summary.

The church also provides funds for the religious and university education of 793,000 students each year.

“The sacred funds donated by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are an expression of faith, devotion and obedience to the biblical law of tithing and a desire to build Christ’s church through living the two great commandments to love God and neighbor,” the summary said.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post published a story about a former employee of Ensign Peak Advisors, an entity that invests the church’s tithing reserves. The income derived from those invested tithing funds is tax-exempt because Ensign Peak is what the IRS calls an integrated auxiliary and supporting organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nonprofit groups, including religious organizations, are exempted from paying taxes on income in the United States.

The former employee, David A. Nielsen, alleged Ensign Peak should not be tax-exempt, because he claimed it has not met minimum IRS regulations for using a percentage of its funds annually for religious, educational or charitable purposes. His twin, Lars Nielsen, filed his IRS complaint in November. The action was done as a whistleblower complaint, which could entitle those submitting the complaint to receive a portion of any tax judgment against the church.

Lars Nielsen also posted documents online that he said his brother took or copied from Ensign Peak before he resigned in September.

The documents purported that Ensign Peak’s holdings have increased from $29 billion in 2008 to between $99 billion and $101 billion today. The vast majority of that increase is tax-exempt investment earnings.

The church denied any wrongdoing.

“The church complies with all applicable law governing our donations, investments, taxes and reserves,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

An IRS employee in the agency’s media relations office declined to comment Friday, and directed the inquiry to a page on the IRS website.

“The IRS cannot advise you of any action it has taken or may take in response to a complaint,” the page said. “The confidentiality and disclosure provisions of the Internal Revenue Code preclude the Service from discussing matters relating to any activity it might undertake regarding the tax-exempt status of an entity with anyone other than the principal officers or authorized representatives of that entity. These provisions were enacted by Congress to protect the privacy of all taxpayers.”

The page said the IRS maintains an active examination program to ensure that tax-exempt organizations meet the requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Code.

Independent tax experts have told multiple publications the IRS is unlikely to act on the complaint.

“There is not much of a case,” Peter J Reilly, a certified public accountant, wrote in Forbes. “The argument is that a private foundation is supposed to distribute 5% of its assets. Ensign (Peak) is not a private foundation. It is an integrated auxiliary of a church. And there is nothing in the tax law that prevents churches from accumulating wealth.”

Reilly quoted two other tax experts who said the allegations do not appear to violate tax laws and don’t warrant IRS attention. One said the IRS would not investigate the Nielsens’ claims that the Ensign Peak fund does not sufficiently support a religious purpose.

“The IRS does not attempt to question the beliefs or purposes of churches unless extreme,” said Paul Streckfus of the EO Tax Journal.

One of Bishop Caussé’s counselors, Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, said the reserve fund is diversified and follows the same principle the church teaches its members.

“They should live within their means and little by little they should have a financial store of savings, reserves for a rainy day,” he said. “That’s exactly what the church does.

“The church has a budget, again from the faithful tithes and offerings of members of the church, and every year is budgeted portion to set aside for that rainy day that grows to be used so that, if hard times economically do come again, and they will — over time we know there are cycles — that we will have the resources necessary to continue doing this divine work. We won’t have to stop missionary work. We won’t have to stop temple work. We won’t have to stop doing the things we have been commissioned to do because of a lack of resources. That’s why we care for them so carefully.”

Some church members have said they are glad to see the church is financially sound and prepared for the future.

“I just noted that my church has $100 billion safety fund,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told a reporter. “I’m happy that they’ve not only saved for a rainy day, but for a rainy decade.”

The third member of the Presiding Bishopric, Bishop Dean M. Davies, said church leaders are grateful for the tithes and donations made by members.

“We’re so careful, so very, very careful to make certain that those funds are expended in a way that they would feel good about,” he said.

Others have questioned the fund’s size and purpose.

For example, the Nielsens and others have noted that Ensign Peak’s holdings are more than double the size of the $41 billion endowment fund at Harvard University, the nation’s largest. Harvard provides financial aid to 70 percent of its nearly 20,000 students.

The summary the church released Friday showed it has nearly five times more students in its colleges and universities and 40 times more students overall.

The church heavily subsidizes the tuition and costs of 100% of the combined 93,000 students at the faith’s five colleges and universities.

Its Seminary and Institutes program provides free, daily religious instruction to about 400,000 high school and 300,000 university students annually.

Friday’s summary included other details, many of which have been reported before.

  • Latter-day Saint Charities has provided $2.2 billion in aid in 197 countries since 1985, as reported earlier this week by the Deseret News.
  • Tithing funds are used to operate the church’s 166 operating temples. Another 15 temples are under construction, and plans have been announced to build an additional 36 for a total of 217. The genealogical work that surrounds each temple is supported by FamilySearch, the faith’s nonprofit organization that offers free genealogical resources to all.
  • Its meetinghouses provide not only space for Sunday worship services and activities during the week, they host community education courses and family history research and support emergency response activities when necessary.
  • While the church’s 65,000 missionaries or their families or sponsors each provide $500 a month to support their missionary service, tithing and donations fund the mission homes and offices, missionary apartments, automobiles, travel and more.

 Click here for updates from the Deseret News.
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Special KSL general conference programming to feature patriotism, service and exclusive interview with new LDS prophet

SALT LAKE CITY — This weekend, KSL-TV will suspend its regular daytime programming and, along with airing LDS general conference, will air several inspiring, locally-produced documentaries addressing a wide range of topics.

All of the specials will be available on KSL-TV, KSL.com and on demand on the KSL TV app. Be sure to tune in to watch each of these specials.

Here is a schedule for these programs:

Saturday, March 31

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: History of the Saints

Holy Ground, Sites Sacred to the Restoration: Palmyra

Each year, thousands of Latter-day Saints journey to the sacred sites of the Restoration to experience more fully what happened and where. It was at these sites where the LDS faithful believe God restored necessary truths and ordinances. Many come away understanding that these places have a sacred spirit about them that strengthens spiritual knowledge and faith. This special presentation is the first in a series that will take viewers all over the world to stand virtually on holy ground. This first episode journeys to Palmyra and Manchester, the very cradle of the Latter-day Saint Restoration. The stories, the events and the scenery that make this ground holy will be presented in vivid detail.

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: General Conference

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Aid Amidst the Storm

Florida, Texas, Mexico, Puerto Rico, California — the list of areas affected by disaster in the last few months is overwhelming. Each place was impacted in different ways, but one thing they all had in common were the Mormons there among those who were offering aid. Whether in a sea of yellow Helping Hands vests or just neighbor to neighbor, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were a force for good as they joined many others who were volunteering and providing support. See the heartwarming connections these volunteers made as they answered the call to serve amidst the storm.

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: In God We Trust

Kyle Fox is defined by his patriotism, service and love of God. He’s an everyday citizen who, during a time when divisions are strong and many have lost hope, felt compelled to create a project that unites people around a common symbol of freedom. He set to work creating the largest free-flying American flag in The United States and then flew it across a 1,100-foot canyon near his home. His desire was to inspire greater patriotism in others and to strengthen the love of country within his community. His “Follow the Flag” project has become more than he could have imagined, has impacted thousands and has helped military families heal. Fox believes we all have a responsibility to be courageous, to speak out and to have hope. We’ll share the faces, places and inspiring stories surrounding this project.

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: An Artistic Vision

Artists, scholars, musicians and interested observers will come together for the first-ever Mormon Arts Center festival in New York City in June. This gathering is dedicated to elevating the concept of why Mormon art matters. KSL arts and religion specialist Carole Mikita shares the humble beginning of this movement and how the festival came to be. Visit the studios and art spaces of both new and known Mormon artists, and hear the music created by some very talented Mormon composers.

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: General Conference

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: LDS News and World Report

__________________________________________________________

Sunday, April 1

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.: 50 Years of Miracles

Once a year the quiet community of Manti, Utah, is transformed into a hub of activity as thousands of people from around the world flock there to experience the Mormon Miracle Pageant. What began as a one-time performance at the foot of the Manti Temple has transpired into a half century of tradition. Join KSL news specialist Sam Penrod as he explores “50 Years of Miracles,” the story of the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti.

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: Music and the Spoken Word

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: General Conference

12:00-1:00 pm President Russell M. Nelson: Brilliant Mind, Gentle Heart

For decades, he served as an apostle and now, Russell M. Nelson has become the 17th prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He came to church leadership from a career as a world-renowned heart surgeon. In an exclusive interview with him, we discover the many gifts and talents of a man with a brilliant mind and gentle heart.

His colleagues, friends and family members also offer insights and share stories of his faith as he traveled the world, and of his devotion as a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Those who know him best say President Nelson’s intense belief in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ makes him a leader for this time.

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Voices of Strength

Whether it’s in business, education, community service or sports, you’ll find people who inspire others. In “Voices of Strength,” we profile these five women who have used their experiences and voices to help others. We share their stories and personal insights about faith, hard work and grief.

  • Gail Miller: For a long-time, Gail Miller was known only as the wife of businessman Larry H. Miller. Today, she is known for her philanthropic work and service in the community. Her life may seem charmed, but Gail Miller has experienced challenges in nearly every aspect of her life: financial struggles, family trials and personal loss. Through it all, she had the courage to move forward and remain grounded in her faith. Gail Miller has recently released a book called “Courage to be You.” In it, she provides inspiring lessons from her unexpected journey.
  • Sahar Qumsiyeh is a Palestinian convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She joined the LDS Church when she came to BYU to study math, and then returned to Palestine. She was a Relief Society president in Israel, who many times couldn’t get through the security checkpoints in Jerusalem to get to church. Her story is one of forgiveness and the healing power of the Savior. She has written a book called “Peace for a Palestinian,” where she shares her story of faith amid war in the Holy Land.
  • Carol Decker: While she was pregnant, Carol suffered an infection which nearly took her life. The infection caused her to go blind, and she had to have both her legs and parts of her arms amputated. Since then, Decker has become an advocate for adaptive living, and is a motivational speaker. She epitomizes strength, perseverance, optimism and faith.
  • Lisa Valentine Clark: You’ve probably seen her in any number of commercials or independent features. Clark is an actress, comedian, writer and producer. But she says her greatest roles are mother and wife. Clark and her husband are the parents of five children. During the last few years, as her career has taken off, struggles at home have become more challenging. Life and death have taken on new meaning for Clark who helps her husband progress through the life-altering stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease. She says, “When we don’t know where to begin, we begin with hope.”
  • Justice Christine M. Durham: Durham knows what it feels like to blaze trails for others. For years, she was told that her dream to practice law was implausible because she was a woman. When Durham graduated from Duke Law School, fewer than 2 percent of the people practicing law were female, but this didn’t discourage her. Durham worked hard and eventually served as Utah’s first female district court judge and Utah Supreme Court justice. She is the only woman in the state to have been elected Chief Justice by her fellow justices. Durham credits her colleagues, family and faith for her success. At one point in her career, Durham was the highest ranking LDS Church member serving in the United States judiciary system.

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Miracles from Elsie

Three-year-old Elsie Mahe’s life was cut short after a tragic accident in the family home, but her legacy lives on. The Mahe family says while they didn’t receive their miracle for Elsie, there were many miracles from Elsie. Elsie’s organs were donated to save many lives, but the miracles go far beyond this. See how the sparkle and spirit of a little girl have helped to spread faith, love and kindness across the globe.

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: General Conference

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: The Rising Generation

Most performers are lucky to achieve fame after years spent in the trenches. But what do you say about a singing five-year-old who’s already been seen by millions on YouTube and network television? In “The Rising Generation,” you’ll meet a variety of young people who’ve already hit it big. From little Claire Crosby singing with her dad, Dave, to Lexi Walker, who’s recording and performing all around the globe, and Madilyn Paige, who made a splash on NBC’s “The Voice.” Then there are the family acts, like Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four, who haul their instruments around the world to play. And sibling actors Mia, Anson and Ari Bagley thrill audiences onstage and on their hit family YouTube channel “Working With Lemons.”

You’ll find out how these local young LDS performers hold on to their values in a tough industry, stay driven yet well-rounded and how they’ve managed to see their hopes and dreams realized long before they thought possible.

4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Family History 2.0

Think genealogy is digging through musty libraries and church basements? Think again. Family history research has come a long way in the past few years. Today you’re just as likely to uncover hidden mysteries on your smartphone or in your DNA results. Popular television programs like “Relative Race” have helped intensify interest in family history research. Program host Michelle King explores how modern technology is making your family research fun, engaging and memorable.

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General Conference

KSL has new and exciting ways to watch General Conference this year. In addition to KSL-TV 5’s broadcast coverage, General Conference will also be streamed live in the KSL-TV mobile and Connected TV apps (iOS, Android, Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV). No cable subscription required. And don’t worry if you miss anything or want to watch again later. All sessions and KSL Conference documentaries will also be available in the app on-demand.


Conference Sponsors

A lot of work and production goes into our Conference documentaries and coverage. Thank you to all of our sponsors: The Piano Guys, EDGEhomes, Deseret First Credit Union, Siegfried & Jensen and Living Scriptures.

Deseret First Credit UnionSiegfried & Jensen EDGEhomes


General Conference Documentary Schedule

Here is KSL-TV’s programming documentary schedule for General Conference October 2017:

Saturday, September 30, 2017

  • History of the Saints: 9:30-10:00 am
    Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration and as such occupies a unique and singular place in Latter-day Saint history. Because of who he is and what he represents he frequently comes under attack by critics. This History of the Saints special brings together respected scholars to answer questions and address concerns about Joseph Smith the Prophet.
  • 50 Years of Miracles: 12:00-12:30 pm
    Once a year the quiet community of Manti Utah is transformed into a hub of activity as thousands of people from around the world flock there to experience the Mormon Miracle Pageant. What began as a one-time performance, at the foot of the Manti Temple, has transpired into a half a century of tradition. Join KSL News Specialist Sam Penrod as he explores “50 Years of Miracles” the story of the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti.
  • LDS News and World Report: 12:30-1:30 pm
    This one-hour semi-annual report explores some of the major news events around the world pertaining to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Choosing Happy: 1:30-2:00 pm
    Who doesn’t want to be happy? It’s one of the basic rights Americans were guaranteed when this country was founded — “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But how much of your happiness is due to your circumstances? What portion is genetically determined? Who are the happiest people in the world? And, if you’re not happy—why not? Host, Michelle King talks to three experts who lay out some key strategies for finding happiness. You’ll meet several strong everyday people who’ve used those techniques to get through severe setbacks and sorrow. From dealing with the typical adversities life throws at you, to combating unexpected tragedies, addiction, and depression, you’ll be better prepared, once you’re armed with new tools and actually make the choice to be happy.
  • To The Rescue: 4:00-5:00 pm
    Members of the LDS Church have been counseled to reach out and help refugees. KSL News Specialist Deanie Wimmer shows how this call to service has inspired many people to step outside their comfort zones to help those most in need. A young woman, drawn to help in whatever way she could set up a successful nonprofit organization that now provides thousands of pounds of needed items to those fleeing their dangerous homelands. Some members have traveled to refugee camps to show compassionate care, while others serve closer to home helping in their own communities. It’s a movement that is gaining momentum — it’s a desire to help those who cannot help themselves.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

  • Connecting Roots: Freedmen’s Records: 9:00-9:30 am
    The Freedmen’s Bureau Project has changed the very fabric of genealogy for African Americans. “Connecting Roots” explains the history behind this project and the personal stories about why this is so meaningful for so many families.
  • Family History 2.0: A New Generation of Genealogy: 12:00-12:30 pm
    Think genealogy is digging through musty libraries and church basements? Think again. Family History research has come a long way in the past few years. Today, you’re just as likely to uncover hidden mysteries on your smartphone, or in your DNA results. Popular television programs like Relative Race have helped intensify interest in family history research. Program host, Michelle King explores how modern technology is making your family research fun, engaging and memorable.
  • An Artistic Vision: 12:30-1:00 pm
    Artists, scholars, musicians and interested observers come together for the first-ever Mormon Arts Center festival in New York City. This gathering is dedicated to elevating the concept of why Mormon Art matters. KSL Arts and Religion Specialist Carole Mikita shares the humble beginning of this movement and how the festival came to be. Visit the studios and art spaces of both new and known Mormon Artists and hear the music created by some very talented Mormon Composers.
  • Members in Many Lands: 1:00-1:30 pm
    Travel to far off places with News Specialist Ashley Kewish to see what life is like for Mormons around the world in India, Mali, Mexico, Jamaica, Austria, Brazil, and Ghana. Many of these members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are recent converts who have adopted a new lifestyle as they embrace the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Civility: Changing the Conversations: 1:30-2:00 pm
    Civility has taken a hit lately. The art of disagreeing gracefully has been replaced with vitriol comments and caustic feelings. It seems no matter the topic, discussions in online comment boards, on social media sites, and in public gatherings have become increasingly more hostile. These disagreements affect our families, our schools, and our workplaces. Despite this trend towards negativity, there are voices working to change the communication—to make it more civil. We highlight these positive voices.
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Religion

President Russell M. Nelson denounced abuse as a grievous sin and an abomination at the close of the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sitting on a stool at the pulpit in the Conference Center during a brief, five-minute talk, President Nelson decried abuse.

“Abuse constitutes the influence of the adversary. It is a grievous sin,” he said. “As president of the church, I affirm the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ on this issue. Let me be perfectly clear: Any kind of abuse of women, children or anyone is an abomination to the Lord. He grieves and I grieve whenever anyone is harmed. He mourns, and we all mourn, for each person who has fallen victim to abuse of any kind. Those who perpetrate these hideous acts are not only accountable to the laws of man, but will also face the wrath of almighty God.”

The morning session also made history.

Sister Tracy Y. Browning became the first Black woman to speak at a general conference. Sister Browning is the second counselor in the Primary general presidency.

Sister Tracy Y. Browning becomes first Black woman to give conference talk

A revised edition of the “For Strength of Youth” guidebook also was released with a subtitle, “A Guide to Making Choices.” The updated pocket manual is now less prescriptive and more principle-based, said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Nelson statement on abuse

President Nelson also described the abuse prevention resources the church publishes on its website. This is the first conference since the Associated Press published a national story about sexual abuse committed by a late, former Latter-day Saint against his own children. The story questioned the church’s response to the crimes.

“For decades now, the church has taken extensive measures to protect — in particular — children from abuse. There are many aids on the church website,” he said. “I invite you to study them. These guidelines are in place to protect the innocent. I urge each of us to be alert to anyone who might be in danger of being abused and to act promptly to protect them. The Savior will not tolerate abuse, and as his disciples, neither can we.”

President Nelson, who has announced 100 temples since being sustained as the church’s 17th president and prophet in 2018, also said the church as a whole rejoices that more temples are being built worldwide.

“With the dedication of each new temple, additional godly power comes into the world to strengthen us and counteracts the intensifying efforts of the adversary,” he said.

New ‘For the Strength of Youth’

Elder Uchtdorf said the updated “For the Strength of Youth” manual is designed to guide youth to turn to Christ.

“To be very clear, the best guide you can possibly have for making choices is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the strength of youth,” he said. “So the purpose of ‘For the Strength of Youth’ is to point you to him. It teaches you eternal truths of his restored gospel — truths about who you are, who he is, and what you can accomplish with his strength. It teaches you how to make righteous choices based on those eternal truths.”

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BYU students create the world’s smallest Book of Mormon

PROVO, Utah — There are almost 291,652 words in the Book of Mormon and nearly 1.5 million characters, but a few students and a professor at Brigham Young University successfully engraved the entire book onto one silicon wafer in a 4.6 centimeter square.

This is likely the smallest Book of Mormon in existence, and it can still be read — with a microscope.

Carson Zeller said overlap between engineering and religion doesn’t come frequently, but it was a valuable experience for him to learn about commercial engineering through a project that involved his belief system.

“That combination of academics and religion is something that’s unique here at BYU,” Zeller said.

Each of the letters in the Book of Mormon are about 25-by-35 micrometers, one millionth of a meter, more than a little smaller than the letters on the 531 pages of the historic religious text that sometimes seem too small to read.

It was made with techniques used to create computer chips.

“I’m sure Moroni would have liked to have been able to engrave as efficiently as we did,” Zeller said.

The actual process to get the pattern on the silicon and do the etching, he said, probably took less than an hour.

Zeller said his family and friends have shown interest in the project, which he calls unique and fun.

“When you look at it with just your eye, all you see is a square on the middle of the wafer that looks a little bit different. So, to imagine that that is made up of thousands of words, or hundreds of thousands of words, and that it’s something that they’ve read many times themselves. It’s kind of unbelievable,” he said.

Carson Zeller, left, Aaron Hawkins and Ethan Belliston hold scripture they engraved onto thin silicon discs. They helped make the smallest Book of Mormon.
Carson Zeller, left, Aaron Hawkins and Ethan Belliston hold scripture they engraved onto thin silicon discs. They helped make the smallest Book of Mormon. (Photo: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo)

Aaron Hawkins, an electrical and computer engineering professor at BYU, said the idea came from a student in a research meeting talking about a nano version of the Bible.

“Who else is going to do this with the Book of Mormon than us?” he asked.

The largest hurdle for the project, Hawkins said, was figuring out how to use layout tools designed for circuits to print text — they were able to find an interface that allowed them to do it and, from there, the process mimicked what they do in the lab every day.

There is room to shrink the words even more, but not with the tools BYU currently has. It is possible for letters to be etched small enough to put the entire Book of Mormon into one of the letters, making the book 1,000 times smaller, Hawkins said. There have been Bibles printed small enough to fit on the tip of a pin.

But this larger, mini book has its advantages.

“This is actually great size. If you wanted to make a truly permanent record that could be read at a reasonable cost … a pretty simple microscope can see letters this size,” Hawkins said.

This copy of the Book of Mormon could be read a million years from now with a simple microscope.

The silicon wafer has gold plating applied over it, so the engraved small Book of Mormon is gold, a nod to the gold plates that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the Book of Mormon was translated from. Although gold is used in computer chips for specific purposes, in this case, it is purely aesthetic.

The smallest Book of Mormon is currently displayed outside the lab where it was made, at the Clyde Building at BYU’s Provo campus.

Hawkins said this project has a religious purpose, but it is also a project that fits with typical demonstrations in the industry.

They also made similar wafers with the text of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

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Missouri school district reinstates spanking if parents OK

A school district in southwestern Missouri decided to bring back spanking as a form of discipline for students — if their parents agree — despite warnings from many public health experts that the practice is detrimental to students.

Classes resumed Tuesday in the Cassville School District district for the first time since the school board in June approved bringing corporal punishment back to the 1,900-student district about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of Springfield. The district had dropped the practice in 2001.

The policy states that corporal punishment will be used only when other forms of discipline, such as suspensions, have failed and then only with the superintendent’s permission.

Superintendent Merlyn Johnson told The Springfield News-Leader the decision came after an anonymous survey found that parents, students and school employees were concerned about student behavior and discipline.

“We’ve had people actually thank us for it,” he said. “Surprisingly, those on social media would probably be appalled to hear us say these things, but the majority of people that I’ve run into have been supportive.”

Parent Khristina Harkey told The Associated Press on Friday that she is on the fence about Cassville’s policy. She and her husband did not opt-in because her 6-year-old son, Anakin Modine, is autistic and would hit back if he were spanked. But she said corporal punishment worked for her when she was a “troublemaker” during her school years in California.

“There are all different types of kids,” Harkey said. “Some people need a good butt-whipping. I was one of them.”

Morgan Craven, national director of policy, advocacy and community engagement with the Intercultural Development Research Association, a national educational equity nonprofit, called corporal punishment a “wildly inappropriate, ineffective practice.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that corporal punishment is constitutional and left it up to states to set their own policies. Craven said 19 states, many in the South, have laws allowing it in schools. The most current data from 2017-18 shows about 70,000 children in the U.S. were hit at least once in their schools.

Students who are hit at school do not fare as well academically as their peers and suffer physical and psychological trauma, Craven said. In some cases, children are hurt so badly that they need medical attention.

“If you have a situation where a kid goes to school and they could be slapped for, you know, some minor offense, it certainly creates a really hostile, unpredictable and violent environment,” Craven said. “And that’s not what we want for kids in schools.”

But Tess Walters, 54, the guardian of her 8-year-old granddaughter, had no qualms about signing the corporal punishment opt-in papers. She said the possibility of being spanked is a deterrent for her granddaughter, who has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

“I’ve read some some people’s responses on Facebook recently, and they’re just going over the top like, ‘Oh, this is abuse, and, oh, you’re just going to threaten them with, you know, violence.’ And I’m like, ‘What? The child is getting spanked once; it’s not beatings.’ People are just going crazy. They’re just being ridiculous,” Walters said.

Mitch Prinstein, chief science officer with American Psychological Association, said decades of research shows corporal punishment will not reduce inappropriate behavior and is likely to increase aggression, rage, hostility and could lead to depression and self-esteem problems.

Prinstein said better methods for eliminating undesirable conduct including problem-solving training; rewarding positive behavior, such as with extra recess; and providing extra attention in the classroom.

“Parents are experts on what works for their own children,” Prinstein said. “But it’s important for parents to be educated on very substantial science literature demonstrating again that corporal punishment is not a consistently effective way of changing undesirable behavior.”

Sarah Font, an associate professor of sociology and public policy at Pennsylvania State University, coauthored a 2016 study on the subject. Her research found that districts using corporal punishment are generally in poor, Republican-leaning rural areas in Southern states. Font said Black children are disproportionately subjected to it.

The disparity frustrates Ellen Reddy, of the Nollie Jenkins Family Center, which advocates on issues such as corporal punishment and special education.

“Look at the history of violence against Black and brown bodies,” said Reddy, who described herself as a Black mother of sons and a grandson. “Since we’ve been in this country, there’s been violence perpetrated against our children, our families, our foreparents. So when do we stop that kind of violence?”

Disabled students also are more likely to be subjected to corporal punishment, said Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. She said that led four states — Tennessee, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Louisiana — to ban using it for those students.

She noted that overall, corporal punishment is on the decline, with the numbers dropping steadily since the federal government started tracking it in the late 1970s.

“Most schools are realizing, ‘You know what, we can discipline children, we can guide their behavior without hitting them,'” said Gershoff, who authored the 2016 study with Font.

Cassville School District spokeswoman Mindi Artherton was out of the office Friday and a woman who answered the phone in her office suggested reading the policy. She said staff had already done interviews. “At this time, we will focus on educating our students,” she added, before hanging up.

The policy says a witness from the district, which is in a county that is around 93% white, must be present and that the discipline will not be used in front of other students.

“When it becomes necessary to use corporal punishment, it shall be administered so that there can be no chance of bodily injury or harm,” the policy says. “Striking a student on the head or face is not permitted.”

In Missouri, periodic efforts to ban corporal punishment in schools have failed to gain traction in the Legislature. The state does not track which districts allow spanking because those decisions are made at the local level, a spokeswoman for Missouri’s K-12 education department said.

U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, is pushing for a ban on the use of corporal punishment in schools that receive federal funding. He has called it a “barbaric practice” that allows teachers and administrators to physically abuse students.

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New York museums are now required to disclose artwork looted by Nazis

(CNN) — Museums in New York will now be required to disclose which artworks were stolen in Europe during the Nazi era, thanks to new legislation signed last week by Governor Kathy Hochul.

The law forms part of a package of legislation designed to honor and support Holocaust survivors, according to a news release from the New York Department of Financial Services.

Nazis stole and confiscated hundreds of thousands of works of art during World War II, mostly from Jewish communities. The new law mandates that museums “prominently place a placard or other signage” on the artworks.

“More than 600,000 paintings were pilfered from Jewish people during World War II, enriching the Nazi regime while eliminating Jewish culture,” said Jack Kliger, CEO at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, in a statement shared with CNN.

“For years, many of these paintings have been on display at institutions, yet without any acknowledgment of their origin,” he said. “This legislation remedies that and allows institutions in New York to honor those whose lives were lost and whose personal possessions were stolen for profit.”

Artworks stolen by Nazis continue to face contentious public debates over their ownership.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court heard arguments over a Jewish family’s right to a French impressionist painting, confiscated by Nazis in 1939 before eventually ending up in a public museum in Spain. In 2019, the FBI recovered a painting from the Arkell Museum in New York because it was stolen by Nazis from a Jewish family in 1933.

Additionally, several museums have taken steps to examine the dark history of some of their objects in the past years.

In 2000, the Museum of Modern Art launched the Provenance Research Project to identify stolen artworks. The museum is home to around 800 paintings that “were or could have been in Continental Europe during the Nazi era,” according to a statement, although the museum says most were either acquired directly from artists or otherwise have ownership records showing they were not stolen by Nazis.

And New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage has held restitution ceremonies to celebrate the return of Nazi-stolen artworks to their rightful owners.

In addition to the new requirements for museums, the legislation also includes measures for improving Holocaust education in New York schools and the publication of a list of financial institutions that waive fees for Holocaust reparations.

Greg Schneider, executive vice president at the Claims Conference, a nonprofit which helps provide compensation and aid for Holocaust survivors, tells CNN that the three laws are part of a much-needed effort to improve New York’s Holocaust education. A survey of Holocaust awareness among millennials and Gen X published by the organization in 2020 found that New York ranked 41st out of 50 states.

The conference is “very pleased” with the legislation, Schneider says.

“It’s very important that there is a series of legislation that help survivors and also promote education around their experiences,” he said.

For Schneider, the education bill, which will require an audit to determine whether New York schools are meeting the state’s mandates for Holocaust education, and the museums bill are part of the same project to improve New Yorkers’ awareness about the impact of the Holocaust.

“We learn history from looking at artwork,” he said. “The history of what happened to this piece is part of it. It’s an opportunity to open up to another audience, another perspective, on the history of the Holocaust.”

“Not only was [the Holocaust] the largest, most sophisticated industrial genocide of Jewish people, it was also the greatest theft in history of the world,” said Schneider. The scale of the theft of “property, of art, insurance policy, bank accounts, all types of possessions, and Jewish cultural objects, is mind-boggling.”

He notes that the bill will also help claimants seeking the return of artworks stolen from their families by Nazis.

“It continues to put pressure on museums to do the research, to establish the chain of ownership,” he said.

While the legislation represents a step forward for museums, Schneider says that many pieces of art stolen by Nazis are in private hands, a kind of “black hole” that often evades regulation.

“The commonality of these three pieces of legislation is that they shed light on important aspects of ongoing issues for the support of survivors and the education about the Holocaust,” Schneider said. “It’s not new for New York state to have Holocaust education, but this puts pressure on school districts to support their teachers, and figure out what’s going wrong. It’s not new, the idea that museums should do provenance research, but it puts additional pressure on museums and says this is important, continue to do this, we haven’t forgotten.”

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‘Dust Lake City’ disaster looming as Utah professor fights to save the Great Salt Lake

FARMINGTON BAY — If you only view the Great Salt Lake from above, you’ll miss the greatest threat to the air we breathe here in northern Utah and beyond. But researchers are conducting a study on the ground level that aims to save the lake through education, one mile at a time.

When you veer off the beaten path on the fringes of Layton and Syracuse, chances are you’ll find Kevin Perry.

“It’s actually unfortunate how few people explore their own backyard.”

He’s made it his mission to dive right into what used to be a body of water but boats have long had no use here. The transportation of choice for this professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Utah is a bicycle known as a “fat bike” — a research tool necessary to traverse Farmington Bay.

Perry invited us along for the ride.

“We are now at least four miles away from any water… in Farmington Bay,” Perry said as we crossed hundreds of yards of dry, flat earth.

Water flowing from the Jordan River used to spill into this lake bed, but now, the narrow channel pools somewhere on the far side of Antelope Island. The lapping waves of this former marshland now only come from the heat radiating off its stark surface. And that’s where the real problem is revealed — what looks like a packed, hard, salty playa can actually be pretty fragile.

“A very thin, shallow crust.”

As we pedaled, Perry pointed out dust hotspots again and again — places of particular concern that he believes make up as much as 9% of the now exposed lake bed.

“When the wind comes along, it starts to pulverize this,” Perry said. “The dust is dangerous when the concentrations are high (in the air we breathe), regardless of what it’s made out of.”

Dangerous now to the young, the elderly, and those with breathing issues, but potentially deadly down the road as this dust is filled with cancer-causing, naturally-occurring arsenic.

“Ten years ago, we weren’t talking about dust plumes coming off the Great Salt Lake.”

And it may take a decade to turn things around.

Perry uses his bi-weekly research, equipped with a state-of-the-art dust storm simulator, to educate colleagues, the general public, and really anyone who will listen about the ticking time bomb that’s not far off.

For a cautionary tale on Utah’s unwritten future of the Great Salt Lake, look no farther than 600 miles to the southwest and no further than a century into the past.

California drained Owens Lake, essentially poaching the water from the Sierra Nevada mountains to fuel growth in Los Angeles in 1913.

That diversion of water created decades of what was the greatest source of dust in North America.

With all of the attention on the population center of L.A., it was easy to try to ignore the toxic cloud casting a long, dangerous shadow.

Now, Owens Lake has water again, and that’s what Perry told me would be the solution to our toxic dust problem.

“I was seriously considering a future name change for Salt Lake City to Dust Lake City because that was the future we were going to be facing.”

That dire designation isn’t how Perry feels now with more than a dozen laws and state statutes put in place just this session to address the water crisis.

And it’s not just about the dust. It’s the fragile ecosystem and millions of migratory birds that stop and feed here in northern Utah.

And it’s about generations to come, believing that “this is [still] the place” to put down roots and raise a family.

“We still have limitations. We have to have water to survive. We have to have water to grow crops. Without water, the populations carrying capacity would have to be reduced.”

No reduction in population seems possible as Utah is still the fastest growing state.

So, conservation will be critical to bring the water back here.

Perry’s got an answer for those who don’t believe they live close enough to the lake to be bothered by that poor air quality and potential toxins.

“It will affect everyone from Tremonton to Brigham City to Ogden and all the way down to Salt Lake City and Provo.”

Megadroughts are a part of the history of North America, and Perry believes we will have more rain than snow in the decades ahead. But past periods of severe drought have lasted anywhere from 30 to 70 years.

“Eventually, the rains will return. But the question is will this ecosystem still be alive when those rains return. We have the power to make choices to put more water into the lake now when it’s needed the most.”


This article is published through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a solutions journalism initiative that partners news, education and media organizations to help inform people about the plight of the Great Salt Lake — and what can be done to make a difference before it is too late. Read all of our stories at greatsaltlakenews.org.

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Brazil will allow state park in biodiverse area to be destroyed

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — In a move that shocked environmentalists, the government of Brazil’s third-largest state has given up a legal fight over protecting a state park in one of the Amazon’s most biodiverse areas. The upshot of that decision is that a man responsible for the deforestation of huge swaths of protected land wins with finality a lawsuit against the government. The park will cease to exist.

Antonio José Rossi Junqueira Vilela has been fined millions of dollars for deforestation in Brazil and for stealing thousands of hectares (acres) of the Amazon rainforest. Yet it was a company linked to him that filed a lawsuit against the state of Mato Grosso, alleging it had improperly set the borders of the Cristalino II State Park.

The park stretches for 118,000 hectares (292,000 acres), larger than New York City, and lies in the transition zone between the Amazon and drier Cerrado biomes. It is home to the endemic white-fronted spider monkey (Ateles marginatus), a species endangered due to habitat loss.
In a 3-2 decision, Mato Grosso´s upper court ruled that the government’s creation of the park in 2001 was illegal because it took place without public consultation.

The state government did not appeal that decision, leaving it to become final. Now the park will be officially dissolved, the government press office confirmed to The Associated Press.

The loss of the park is a measure of how bad things are today for the Amazon. Not only are environmental laws going unenforced, now a court has invalidated a major protected area. Scientists say not only are ecosystems being lost, but massive deforestation is damaging the forest’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide, a crucial role it plays for the planet.

LAYING WASTE TO THE FOREST

Before he challenged the validity of Cristalino II park, Vilela’s presence was already well known there. In 2005, he was fined $27 million for destroying 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) of forest inside the protected area, according to local press reports at the time.

In 2016, the Vilela family made headlines in Brazil for being at the center of a landmark enforcement operation against deforestation in the Amazon, known as the Flying Rivers Operation, carried out by the Brazilian environment agency, Ibama, the federal police and the attorney general.

Vilela was also indicted for deforesting 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of public forests in Pará state, the equivalent of five Manhattans. Brazil’s attorney general called Vilela the worst perpetrator of deforestation the Amazon had ever seen.

Legal proceedings often stretch for many years in Brazil. If convicted in the Pará case, Vilela could be sentenced to more than 200 years in prison. He could be fined more than $60 million.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Bolsonaro is a climate killer <br>The Amazon Rainforest is the largest remaining block of humid tropical forest, and about two-thirds of it is in Brazil. Moist tropical forests, as the Amazon, have the greatest concentrations of animal and plant species of any terrestrial ecosystem. <a href=”https://t.co/ZFk1h2apDS”>https://t.co/ZFk1h2apDS</a></p>&mdash; Cajun Rogue🌊🌊⚜️⚜️🇺🇦🚫DMs (@janrobinjackson) <a href=”https://twitter.com/janrobinjackson/status/1555582007215800325?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>August 5, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

Attorney Renato Maurílio Lopes, who has represented both Vilela and an affiliate company, did not respond to messages left by The Associated Press Wednesday and Thursday.

According to researcher Mauricio Torres, a geographer from Pará Federal University, Vilela’s family follows the “classic script of land grabbing in the Amazon.”
The way to steal land in Brazil is to deforest it and then claim it, he said. ¨It is through deforestation that the land-robbers concretely mark their ownership of the land and are recognized as ‘owners’ by other gangs,” he wrote to the AP.

According to official data, as of March 2022, Cristalino II had lost some 22,000 hectares (54,000 acres) to deforestation, even though it is a fully protected area. The area destroyed makes up almost 20% of the park.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Bolsonaro is a climate killer <br>The Amazon Rainforest is the largest remaining block of humid tropical forest, and about two-thirds of it is in Brazil. Moist tropical forests, as the Amazon, have the greatest concentrations of animal and plant species of any terrestrial ecosystem. <a href=”https://t.co/ZFk1h2apDS”>https://t.co/ZFk1h2apDS</a></p>&mdash; Cajun Rogue🌊🌊⚜️⚜️🇺🇦🚫DMs (@janrobinjackson) <a href=”https://twitter.com/janrobinjackson/status/1555582007215800325?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>August 5, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

Mato Grosso, Brazil’s largest soybean-producing state, is run by governor Mauro Mendes, a pro-agribusiness politician and ally of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly said Brazil has too many protected areas and vowed not to create more of them.

Mendes’ state secretary of the environment is Mauren Lazzaretti, a lawyer who made a career defending loggers against criminal charges related to the environment.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Brazil has granted a permit for a new highway through the heart of Amazon – one of the last big stretches of pristine rainforest. <br><br>If this goes ahead land-grabbing and deforestation will sky-rocket.<br><br>If one move could cause the Amazon to reach tipping point, it&#39;s this. <a href=”https://t.co/zPTPOUW7i5″>pic.twitter.com/zPTPOUW7i5</a></p>&mdash; Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) <a href=”https://twitter.com/GreenpeaceUK/status/1555135658536173569?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>August 4, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

During their tenure, Mato Grosso experienced one of the worst environmental disasters in Brazilian history. In 2020, wildfires burned 40% of the state’s Pantanal biome, the world’s most extensive tropical wetlands. Mendes signed a law Thursday that allows cattle raising in the Pantanal´s private preservation areas.

Via email, Mato Grosso’s Environment Secretary said it will proceed with the park’s dissolution and did not appeal because “it was deemed technically unviable.” The office noted that the adjacent Cristalino State Park I is still a protected area and covers 66,000 hectares (163,000 acres) of Amazon rainforest.

In a statement, the Mato Grosso Socio-environmental Observatory, a non-profit network, said that the park’s extinction sets a “dangerous precedent” and the state government has shown itself incapable of protecting preserved areas. It said it is assessing legal options to maintain Cristalino II.

“The public should not have to pay the price for the omission and incompetence of the state of Mato Grosso,” Angela Kuczach, head of the National Network for Conservation Units, told the AP.
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Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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