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Arthur Mola 

People walk under the marquee of the Egyptian Theatre on the sixth day of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)


Provo
featured
Provo student attempting to pay off $17,000 in district lunch fees

It all started with Jade Viveiros’ little sister, a third grade class and a boy at lunch.

Viveiros thought it was bittersweet when her sister told her that her third grade class all pitched in parts of their lunch to create one for a boy who couldn’t pay for his own and had decided to go without. Then Viveiros started thinking.

“My little sister is only 8, so I can’t imagine if she didn’t get lunch that day, or if she didn’t eat,” Viveiros, a junior at Timpview High School in Provo, said. “It just touched something in me, I guess.”

Curious, Viveiros called the Provo City School District to ask what the outstanding lunch balance for the district was. Now, she’s trying to raise $17,000 to pay unpaid lunch fees in the district to make sure that no student feels embarrassed about getting a lunch.

About 38% of the 16,000 students in the Provo City School District are considered economically disadvantaged, according to information from the Utah State Board of Education.

At Timpview High School, where Viveiros is trying to raise $900 to clear lunch balances, 32% of students are considered economically disadvantaged.

That percentage varies per school. About 52% of students are considered economically disadvantaged and 2% are homeless at Dixon Middle School, while Franklin Elementary School has 84% of its student body who is considered economically disadvantaged and 4% who are homeless. About 44% of students at Provo High School are considered economically disadvantaged.

Efforts have been made in the county before to clear lunch balances. In 2018, a group of moms in Saratoga Springs contacted schools to pay delinquent lunch accounts around Christmas. After posting in various Facebook pages, an undisclosed company stepped forward to pay off $3,000 in lunch accounts at Vista Heights Middle School in Saratoga Springs and at Vineyard Elementary School.

Viveiros doesn’t expect to raise the full $17,000 but said she wants to do what she can to help others.

She’s received about $300 so far from friends and family members, many of it in $2 increments from high school students. Even if that’s all she raises, Viveiros said that will be 150 students who won’t have to worry about food. She’d like to see the community do more.

“You want to see how you can help, but that’s one day of lunch,” Viveiros said. “What happens tomorrow?”

Viveiros said students can get embarrassed if they know they have a balance and will not try to get a lunch, or will feel guilty for asking their parents for lunch money when they know their family is low income and has bills to pay.

She found that the amount of money owed in lunch accounts varies per school. Viveiros said it’s often less at low-income schools because many students are already on the free or reduced lunch program.

After raising $900 to clear the balance at Timpview, Viveiros plans to expand to other schools.

She shared her idea with Cassidy Baker, a student government teacher at Timpview High School.

“She is kind of one of those quiet powerhouses,” Baker said. “I think a lot of her peers don’t know the kind heart she has because she doesn’t brag about herself very often.”

Viveiros is highly involved at school, participating in student government and cheerleading.

Baker said Viveiros is using social media for good in order to spread the word about hunger in the district.

“There are kids like Jade that really need adults to believe in them and see that their ideas are good, and fuel those ideas,” Baker said.

The two have discussed reaching out to restaurants for help or creating a program where someone can sponsor a child’s lunch throughout a year.

If students don’t get lunch, Baker said she questions how they are able to focus on their academic or social lives.

Viveiros told Baker she’s afraid that she’s just putting a bandage on the issue. Baker points to the school’s annual Sub for Santa campaign, when students raise money for the Christmas assistance program. Students raised about $70,000 this year, which went to help 404 people and 100 families. Baker said that some of the families were inspired to do better in their lives after receiving help, and that Viveiros may never know what the ripple effect of her actions are.

“I think she is seeing the vision that it might not change all these kids’ lives but it might change a few to know that someone out there in the community cared enough about them and their stress,” Baker said.

Viveiros’s efforts, Baker said, will make an immediate difference.

“I think she is going to make some kid go to school and not worry for the first time what he is going to eat,” Baker said.

To contribute, Venmo Viveiros’ account at the handle @jade-viveiros (100% of the proceeds sent to this account go to Provo School District lunch fees), visit Viveiros’s Instagram at the handle @JadeViveiros, or contact the Provo City School District.


Faith
featured
LDS missionaries in Hong Kong and Macao transferred due to coronavirus

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Tuesday that it will relocate more than 100 missionaries currently serving in the Hong Kong mission due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“In light of the coronavirus and the increasing difficulty of conducting missionary work in Hong Kong and Macao, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is transferring 113 missionaries out of the China Hong Kong Mission over the next few days,” a church statement said.

Missionaries will be temporarily reassigned to other missions or, if they were nearing their scheduled release date, will be “honorably released” and return home earlier than initially expected.

“Twelve additional missionaries who are from Hong Kong will return to their homes and be released from service until the situation has stabilized,” the church said.

During Wednesday’s briefing by the World Health Organization on the status of the coronavirus, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concern about how the public is reacting.

“We understand that people are worried and concerned — and rightly so,” Ghebreyesus said. “But this is not a time for fear — it’s a time for rational, evidence-based action and investment, while we still have a window of opportunity to bring this outbreak under control.”

Prior to being reassigned, out of caution, most missionaries will return to their homes and follow guidelines from the World Health Organization, including to self-isolate for 14 days.

“Where required, they will undergo a government-mandated quarantine at a government facility based on the guidelines established by their home countries,” the church statement said. “Families are receiving instructions about how to carry this out. After the 14 days, if the missionaries continue to show no signs of coronavirus, they will depart for their new temporary assignments.”

For several days prior to leaving Hong Kong, all missionaries have rigorously followed preventative health practices to avoid illness, including remaining in their apartments as much as possible, not engaging in teaching, wearing masks and frequently washing their hands, according to the church.

The likelihood of any of these missionaries having contracted the coronavirus is very low, according to the church. Additionally, each missionary is required to show no symptoms before leaving Hong Kong.

According to the WHO, a vaccine has still not been developed to combat the disease that began in the city of Wuhan.

“The Church has a special responsibility to care for our missionaries who are serving as volunteers, but we are also working to support members, employees, and other Church personnel in Hong Kong and other areas where the coronavirus is a concern,” the church statement said. “We sincerely pray for all those who are dealing with this virus as well as those who live in places where it is impacting their daily lives. The Church will continue to follow developments closely and make any further adjustments as needed.”

There are 24,933 members of the LDS Church in Hong Kong. They make up six stakes that consist of 39 congregations. There are four family history centers and one temple in Hong Kong as well.


Local
AP breaking featured
Not guilty: Senate acquits Trump of impeachment charges

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump won impeachment acquittal Wednesday in the U.S. Senate, bringing to a close only the third presidential trial in American history with votes that split the country, tested civic norms and fed the tumultuous 2020 race for the White House.

With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, senators sworn to do “impartial justice” stood and stated their votes for the roll call — “guilty” or “not guilty” — in a swift tally almost exclusively along party lines. Trump, the chief justice then declared, shall “be, and is hereby, acquitted of the charges.”

The outcome followed months of remarkable impeachment proceedings, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House to Mitch McConnell’s Senate, reflecting the nation’s unrelenting partisan divide three years into the Trump presidency.

What started as Trump’s request for Ukraine to “do us a favor” spun into a far-reaching, 28,000-page report compiled by House investigators accusing an American president of engaging in shadow diplomacy that threatened U.S. foreign relations for personal, political gain as he pressured the ally to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of the next election.

No president has ever been removed by the Senate.

A politically emboldened Trump had eagerly predicted vindication, deploying the verdict as a political anthem in his reelection bid. The president claims he did nothing wrong, decrying the “witch hunt” as an extension of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian 2016 campaign interference by those out to get him from the start of his presidency.

Trump’s political campaign tweeted videos, statements and a cartoon dance celebration, while the president himself tweeted that he would speak Thursday from the White House about “our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax.”

However, the Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said there will always be “a giant asterisk next to the president’s acquittal” because of the Senate’s quick trial and Republicans’ unprecedented rejection of witnesses.

A majority of senators expressed unease with Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine that resulted in the two articles of impeachment. But two-thirds of them would have had to vote “guilty” to reach the Constitution’s bar of high crimes and misdemeanors to convict and remove Trump from office. The final tallies in the GOP-held Senate fell far short.

On the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, the vote was 52-48 favoring acquittal. The second, obstruction of Congress, also produced a not guilty verdict, 53-47.

Only one Republican, Mitt Romney of Utah, the party’s defeated 2012 presidential nominee, broke with the GOP.

Romney choked up as he said he drew on his faith and “oath before God” to vote guilty on the first charge, abuse of power. He voted to acquit on the second.

All Democrats found the president guilty on the two charges.

Both Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868 drew cross-party support when they were left in office after impeachment trials. Richard Nixon resigned rather than face sure impeachment, expecting members of his own party to vote to remove him.

Ahead of Wednesday’s voting, some of the most closely watched senators took to the Senate floor to tell their constituents, and the nation, what they had decided.

Influential GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee worried a guilty verdict would “pour gasoline on the fire” of the nation’s culture wars over Trump and “rip the country apart.’’ He said the House proved its case but it just didn’t rise to the level of impeachment.

Other Republicans siding with Trump said it was time to end what McConnell called the “circus” and move on.

Most Democrats, though, echoed the House managers’ warnings that Trump, if left unchecked, would continue to abuse the power of his office for personal political gain and try to cheat again ahead of the 2020 election.

Even key Democrats from states where Trump is popular — Doug Jones in Alabama and Joe Manchin in West Virginia — risked backlash and voted to convict.

“Senators are elected to make tough choices,” Jones said.

Several senators trying to win the Democratic Party’s nomination to face Trump — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar — dashed back from early primary state New Hampshire to vote.

During the nearly three-week trial, House Democrats prosecuting the case argued that Trump abused power like no other president in history when he pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, ahead of the 2020 election.

They detailed an extraordinary effort by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani that set off alarms at the highest levels of government. After Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine, the White House temporarily halted U.S. aid to the struggling ally battling hostile Russia at its border. The money was eventually released in September as Congress intervened.

When the House probed Trump’s actions, the president instructed White House aides to defy congressional subpoenas, leading to the obstruction charge.

Questions from the Ukraine matter continue to swirl. House Democrats may yet summon former national security adviser John Bolton to testify about revelations from his forthcoming book that offer a fresh account of Trump’s actions. Other eyewitnesses and documents are almost sure to surface.

In closing arguments for the trial, the lead prosecutor, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., appealed to senators’ sense of decency, insisting “right matters” and “truth matters” and Trump “is not who you are.’’

Schiff told The Associated Press he hoped the votes to convict “will serve as a constraint on the president’s wrongdoing.”

“But we’re going to have to be vigilant,” he said.

Pelosi was initially reluctant to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump when she took control of the House after the 2018 election, warning against a partisan vote.

But a whistleblower complaint of his conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy set off alarms. The president’s call was placed the day after Mueller announced the findings of his Russia probe.

When Trump told Pelosi in September that the call was perfect, she was stunned. Days later, the speaker announced the formal impeachment inquiry.

The result was the quickest, most partisan impeachment in U.S. history, with no Republicans joining the House Democrats to vote for the charges. The Republican Senate kept up the pace with the fastest trial ever, and the first with no witnesses. Seventeen ambassadors, national security officials and others had testified in the House.

Trump’s star attorney Alan Dershowitz made the sweeping, if stunning, assertion that even if the president engaged in the quid pro quo as described, it is not impeachable, because politicians often equate their own political interest with the national interest.

McConnell braced for dissent, but with a 53-47 Republican majority he refuted efforts to prolong the trial with more witnesses, arguing the House should have done a better job.

Roberts, as the rare court of impeachment came to a close, wished senators well in “our common commitment to the Constitution,” and hoped to meet again “under happier circumstances.”


Govt-and-politics
featured
Romney only Republican to vote for Trump conviction, says president is 'guilty' despite acquittal

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney knows his vote to convict President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial will have ripple effects. Big ripple effects.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of blowback from leaders of my party here. I presume I’ll receive the same reaction from leaders of my party in Utah,” Romney, a Republican, said in a conference call with the media after announcing his planned votes. “I anticipate the president will have comments as well and perhaps in rallies and so forth. Of course the animosity that might be leveled from people on the street is going to be real as well.”

Romney announced on the Senate floor Wednesday ahead of the formal vote on the matter that he would vote for Trump’s guilt on the count he faced of abuse of power and not guilty on the second count of obstruction of justice. Not unexpectedly, the Senate subsequently voted 52-48 to acquit Trump on the abuse-of-power charge, with all Republicans but Romney voting in the majority. The body voted 53-47 to acquit on the second obstruction charge, with Romney joining the GOP majority.

Though breaking ranks with his Republican counterparts on the abuse-of-power charge, Romney, voted in to office in 2018, knew he had to vote his conscience, vote what he believed. To do otherwise would go against the oath he took as a senator in the trial to be impartial and follow the dictates of his faith. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican and Utah’s other senator, voted to acquit on both counts.

“My own view as I stressed in my remarks was that it was hard for me to imagine conduct more damaging to the Constitution of a democratic republic than an attempt to corrupt an election to retain power,” Romney said. “It does not happen in the United States of America, so in my view, what the president did rose to a level of impeachment and I recognize others had to make a judgment on their own.”

Demonstrators gathered Wednesday at the Historic Utah County Courthouse in Provo to show their support for Romney’s vote. Many displayed signs with messages of gratitude and appreciation toward the senator.

Romney said he followed the impeachment and trial and reached his determination last Thursday, after the question-and-answer session during the Senate trial of Trump. That’s when he started drafting his formal statement expressing his views.

“The president asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival. The president withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so. The president delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders. The president’s purpose was personal and political,” Romney said in his remarks Wednesday on the Senate floor. “Accordingly, the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust.”

Trump faced the abuse-of-power charge for withholding U.S. defense funds from the Ukraine government in return for promises from Ukrainian officials to investigate alleged misdeeds in the country involving the son of Joe Biden, the former vice president and Democratic presidential hopeful. The Democratic-led U.S. House impeached Trump in the matter, setting the stage for the trial in the U.S. Senate on the charges.

Romney said he kept an open mind throughout the trial and that there wasn’t any single factor that spurred him to vote as he did. In fact, having to sit in judgment of Trump, a fellow Republican, caused a measure of anguish.

He experienced a sensation “of real dread” on learning the U.S. House planned to pursue impeachment, knowing that he, as a Senator, would take part in the likely trial to follow. Likewise, voting to convict Trump carries little seeming benefit to him as a Republican.

“I understand the consequence of my decision is substantial and goes against my personal interest, my political interests and my heart. I don’t want to have to have the leader of my party receive the vote I have to give today,” said Romney. He’s voiced sharp criticism toward Trump over the years but, by his estimate, sided with him 80% of the time.

At the same time, Romney offered a sharp rebuke of the president, countering Trump’s contention that the phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the heart of the controversy was “perfect.”

“What he did was not ‘perfect,’” Romney said in his Senate comments. “No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.”

In the media call, Romney also expressed concern about a vote against conviction giving Trump undue license in his political dealings.

“Had I not voted as I will vote in a moment, that would send a message that, ‘Hey, anything goes guys. You can always count on your team to be with you regardless of how they feel,’” Romney said.

He shied from casting aspersions on his GOP colleagues, though. “I would note first that I think each senator will vote their conscience as they feel it. I think a number of my colleagues believe that the president did something seriously wrong but they concluded it did not rise to the level of guilty and impeachment,” Romney said.

Lee went to the Senate floor ahead of the vote, defending Trump and expressing concern about voting against the president, thereby undermining the will of the voters who put him in office.

“We cannot remove the 45th president of the United States for doing something that the law and the Constitution allows him to do without doing undue violence to that system of government to which every single one of us has sworn an oath,” Lee said. “I will be voting to defend the president’s actions. I will be voting against undoing the vote taken by the American people some three-and-a-half years ago. I will be voting for the principle of freedom, for the very principles that our Constitution was designed to protect.”


Provo
Park manager shares Camp Floyd State Park expansions, visitor number increases with County Commission

Most people who went to elementary school in Utah County remember taking field trips to Camp Floyd State Park in Fairfield to learn about Mormon pioneers and the Utah War of 1857 and 1858.

Those field trips are still happening today, and last year Camp Floyd State Park started bringing in more visitors and offering a greater variety of educational and entertainment programs, according to Park Manager Clay Shelley.

On Wednesday, Shelley told the Utah County Commission about the services offered by the state park and how they have increased in the past year.

Between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, more than 16,900 people visited Camp Floyd, Shelley said. That is 3,000 more visitors than the previous year.

Of these visitors, 7,351 were school kids from 74 different schools who came out to “learn about Johnston’s army (and) the occupation of the Utah War,” said Shelley.

“And so that’s really exciting to be able to dress up and do those programs with those school kids,” he said.

Some of the programs offered by camp include after-hours “Lantern Tours” where attendees can explore the camp at night, according to the Camp Floyd website, as well as “Star Parties” at the Camp Floyd Cemetery where residents can “watch the night sky away from the city lights” using telescopes provided by the Utah Valley Astronomy Club and the University of Utah’s South Physics Observatory.

Shelley said he has been told that the cemetery is one of the best places in the region for stargazing.

“It’s comparable to southern Utah,” he said.

Last year, Camp Floyd began offering a Christmas program featuring “tours and stories of Christmas traditions from the time of Camp Floyd,” which is held just before Fairfield’s Fire in the Sky Christmas Celebration.

The host of the A&E reality show “Psychic Kids,” visited Camp Floyd last year to film an episode that will air next season, Shelley said, “because our place is supposedly one of the most haunted places in the state.”

Camp Floyd recently participated in a “Shark Tank” competition held by Utah Parks and Recreation and won a $25,000 grant, according to Shelley. He said the money will be used to build a stage for the camp’s summer concert series, another recently launched initiative.

“We feel we could have about 1,000 people (in) that picnic area for our concerts,” he said. “So we’re excited for that.”

With new programs being offered and additional developments underway, Shelley said he hopes the park can continue to draw visitors who are interested in learning about this unique slice of Utah’s history.