Petition to remove Utah school board member cites comments about LGBTQ students, Black Lives Matter

Natalie Cline defends her statements, saying she’s “the latest target of the mob.”

(Photo Courtesy of the Utah Board of Education) Pictured is board member Natalie Cline.

Some Utah parents and teachers are calling for the removal of a conservative state school board member for posting comments they consider racist, homophobic and uniformed.

In one of the Facebook posts they point to, Natalie Cline calls LGBTQ students “gender-confused.” In another, she says educators were learning how to “indoctrinate your children” at a conference this month at the Utah Pride Center about accepting all identities in the classroom.

She also referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as “indoctrination.” And she suggests that schools are teaching race theory that tells white students they are all biased and always “wrong.” In a comment on Jan. 4, Cline added, “We cannot let it in. Not an inch.”

Upset community members have started an online petition to oust Cline from her position influencing policies for K-12 education. After launching Sunday morning, it now has more than 4,000 signatures.

“Remove her so parents will know that their child is safe and accepted in all public Utah schools,” the petition says, encouraging supporters to write in to the Utah State Board of Education and to state lawmakers.

Since then, the Utah Pride Center, Equality Utah, the Black Lives Matter chapter for the state, and the NAACP branch for Salt Lake City have all spoken out against Cline’s remarks.

Cline, a far-right Republican and registered nurse who was elected in November in the first partisan school board elections in the state, took her seat on Jan. 6 and has been in office for less than a month. Her campaign included similar comments.

She did not return messages from The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday. But she later posted on her Facebook page that she was “the latest target of the mob.”

Cline said her followers should also write to the school board to defend her and their shared beliefs.

“Let them know that parents want neutral academics taught in class, not social engineering and indoctrination. Let them know that because there is so very much controversy in society surrounding these very issues that that is all the more reason to leave the teaching of values, beliefs, and dispositions to the parents — not teachers,” she wrote.

The post concludes with her pleading them to tell the rest of the school board members “to back me up rather than catering to the mob” that wants her removed.

But the school board actually doesn’t have that power.

The onslaught of messages from both sides led the Utah Board of Education’s leadership to issue a statement Monday — a rare step for the public body that includes 15 members. In it, they note that they have “no legal authority” to remove Cline from office.

Instead, board Chair Mark Huntsman and Vice Chairs Laura Belnap and Cindy Davis note that as elected officials, school board members can only be removed by impeachment.

That would require the Utah House to draw up articles against Cline and would require, by law, that she had committed “high crimes, misdemeanors or malfeasance in office.” None of those applies here. She would then have to be tried in the state Senate.

“That’s beyond our reach,” said the board’s spokesperson, Mark Peterson.

The state also does not have an election recall law. So there’s no process for voters to remove her that way.

The only other way Cline would lose her seat, the board leadership says, is through her “resignation of the seat before the fulfillment of a four year term, or through the regular election process when a board member’s term has ended.”

She won this November, though, with overwhelming support, beating out an unaffiliated candidate by a margin of 38 percentage points to represent District 11, which includes pieces of both Salt Lake County — primarily Sandy, South Jordan and Herriman — as well as part of western Utah County.

Peterson said it’s possible the issue comes up at the board’s Thursday meeting. There, the board can choose to censure Cline or vote to formally disapprove of her comments. That’s the most immediate action possible.

Until then, the leadership said: “We respect and encourage the involvement of our constituents statewide, including all of our valued stakeholders. We will continue to work hard to represent all of our respective communities, and we remain committed to our duties of providing strategic vision and direction for Utah’s education system, while enabling local flexibility and accountability.”

Posts about the LGBTQ community

Cline’s views on the LGBTQ community have caused a lot of the recent pushback — though it’s something that came up regularly during her campaign. In a public debate, Cline said she was running for state school board specifically to protect the “natural family,” which she defines as a mother and father — not an LGBTQ partnership. And it was also on her candidate website.
Her biography for the GOP convention noted, too, that she has lobbied for Family Watch International. That organization is identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for promoting “anti-LGBT pseudoscience that includes the falsehood that homosexuality is a mental disorder derived from childhood trauma, and that so-called ‘conversion therapy’ can effectively eliminate same-sex attraction.”
She’s continued to post on the topic on her public Facebook account, “Natalie J Cline – State School Board District 11,” since she was elected. And that’s where parents and teachers came across her remarks and what led them to create the petition.

Sandra, the educator who launched the campaign, is identified only by her first name on the petition. In an interview, she said she fears losing her job and asked for her surname to not be published.

She said she is worried about the effect Cline’s comments could have, in particular, on LGBT students. If Cline can’t be removed, she said, she would like to see the board order Cline undergo ethics training.

Last week, Cline posted about a conference held by the Utah Pride Center on Jan. 22 and 23, for teachers and students to talk about the best ways to create a welcoming, inclusive environment for those in the LGBTQ community.

“They are after your children’s hearts and minds,” Cline wrote. “This presentation will make you soul sick.”

In a later post, she also said attendees were told “how to fully indoctrinate your children into the LGBTQ ideology including important strategies and tactics to deal with parents who oppose!”

Utah Pride Center Executive Director Rob Moolman said that was not the purpose of the conference and challenged Cline’s characterization.

“Our goal is not to indoctrinate anyone, but to shed some light on the situation queer youth are experiencing at school, then allow educators, administrators and even elected officials the opportunity to make decisions based on that information,” he said.

Moolman added that there were workshops on suicide prevention, self-love, identity and how to include LGBTQ representation in the classroom, which can be just one book sitting on the shelf with a gay character. A teacher having a small rainbow flag or sticker, for instance, could also alert students that they’re in a safe space without anyone saying anything out loud, he said. Overall, the point is to help students achieve and feel like they can attend class, he added.

He said he feels Cline’s comments prove “why a place like the Pride Center still has to exist in Utah.”

“There’s a sense of disappointment that a Utah State Board of Education member espouses these positions,” he added.

Moolman provided records that show Cline, using the email address that appears on her state candidate filing form, registered to attend the conference.

The director said he doesn’t know how much of the event that she heard, but said he’s happy to talk to her one-on-one about anything she’d like to learn more about. He also sent Cline a letter Monday inviting her and the entire state school board to visit the Utah Pride Center. And he asked that Cline remove her social media posts until they can meet to discuss them.

“We believe that these comments are doing untold and unintended damage to queer youth and teachers in schools and in your district,” the letter notes.

Moolman is a former teacher who said when he taught he was “too scared to be out.” And it was worse when he was a student, he said, describing himself as the “little queer kid sitting in the classroom” with no one to talk to.

He said students can’t be told to leave their identity at the door. For many, a school is the only place they feel they can be themselves, he said.

Chris Jensen, the chair of the board over the Utah Pride Center, added: “Those scars when you’re a young queer kid and you hear this stuff from people who are above you and supposed to care, they inflict a lot of harm on you.”

Troy Williams, the executive director of Equality Utah, said state leaders — including Utah Gov. Spencer Cox — have talked openly about the need to be accepting of the LGBTQ community. And the state has worked over the past five years to get rid of discriminatory curriculum in schools, including the “no-promo homo” law where teachers were banned from mentioning positive LGBTQ relationships.

Cline, he said, “wants to take Utah back to the 1950s and no one is interested.”

In one post, Cline includes photos that she said she was sent of a Provo classroom where the teacher has colorful art pinned to the walls. One is a rainbow illustration of the Statue of Liberty. Another says, “A woman’s place is in the revolution.”

Cline describes it as “propaganda everywhere.” And she focuses a one poster on the door that promises that the classroom will welcome, among others, “All cultures. All colors.” She uses it as a jumping off point to encourage parents to get involved in what is taught in the classroom. And what she says doesn’t belong: discussion on culture, ethnicity and race theory.

In a Jan. 4 post, Cline says teaching about race theory is “damaging.” On Jan. 5, she says it’s unfair because she believes all white students are being accused of having “conscious or unconscious biases.” She also shares in support a letter from the Utah Fraternal Order of Police that’s advocating against teachers wearing Black Lives Matter paraphernalia.

Cline later warns, too, against school districts hiring equity directors because they will only “search out racism, inequity, and exclusivity within the school” so they can keep their jobs. That, she says, “exacerbates the problem of racism in schools.” Instead, she proposes districts employing a “Unity Solutions Officer.”

Jeanetta Williams, the president of the Salt Lake City branch of the NAACP, challenged Cline’s view. Teaching about race, she said, is vital for students to learn about what has happened and what challenges still exist for people of color — including what prompted the protests across the United States last summer.

“If you go to learn history, you need to learn all of it,” Williams said.

She also said the state curriculum does not include telling students they are prejudiced. And she believes equity directors do crucial work in focusing on how districts can improve and help students of color, who are typically marginalized.

Williams urged Cline to use her platform with the state school board to help those efforts.

Meanwhile, the Black Lives Matter chapter for Utah started its own campaign, urging members to call the board and join in with the petition for Cline’s removal.

“She is posting white supremacist rhetoric, as well as homophobic and transphobic rhetoric,” a post on the chapter’s Facebook page said.

Although the comment sections on Cline’s social media were flooded by people pushing back against her, several parents and teachers also jumped in to defend the school board member and her positions.

One woman wrote: “Thank you for this warning. I appreciate knowing about it.” Another said, “Sorry you are taking so much heat but you are needed.”

Joel Wright, a former conservative member of the Utah school board, added on Twitter: “Elections matter. Petitions don’t.”

In a later comment responding to her own Facebook post, Cline said she stands by her statements and posts.

“I will not give them any ground,” she wrote. “I have nothing to apologize for. This is a free country. We can have different beliefs and have a God given right to express those beliefs in the public square. That’s okay. What is not okay is trying to destroy other people simply because they believe differently and express those beliefs.

An open letter and invitation to Utah State School Board member Natalie Cline - regarding their stance on our "Pride,...

Posted by Utah Pride Center on Monday, February 1, 2021

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For many, a school is the only place they feel they can be themselves, he said."},{"_id":"AZSZCQ63L5FLNHHSQTYNJFYEFM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612237533932},"content":"Chris Jensen, the chair of the board over the Utah Pride Center, added: “Those scars when you’re a young queer kid and you hear this stuff from people who are above you and supposed to care, they inflict a lot of harm on you.”"},{"_id":"VT6633CJMJB43CIE5NYUCRXDIQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612237533933},"content":"Troy Williams, the executive director of Equality Utah, said state leaders — including Utah Gov. Spencer Cox — have talked openly about the need to be accepting of the LGBTQ community. And the state has worked over the past five years to get rid of discriminatory curriculum in schools, including the “no-promo homo” law where teachers were banned from mentioning positive LGBTQ relationships."},{"_id":"KG7K2EQBM5EOVEJJQU6M6BFBHE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612237533934},"content":"Cline, he said, “wants to take Utah back to the 1950s and no one is interested.”"},{"_id":"AIGGT4ZG75F27EQFTDTQJNUKKA","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612237533935},"content":"Teaching about race"},{"_id":"KXHPH3ALZRD47D2QDE6LG3XICA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701936},"content":"In one post, Cline includes photos that she said she was sent of a Provo classroom where the teacher has colorful art pinned to the walls. One is a rainbow illustration of the Statue of Liberty. Another says, “A woman’s place is in the revolution.”"},{"_id":"BZTIDKBZKBD7XLPDECCFGDREVE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701937},"content":"Cline describes it as “propaganda everywhere.” And she focuses a one poster on the door that promises that the classroom will welcome, among others, “All cultures. All colors.” She uses it as a jumping off point to encourage parents to get involved in what is taught in the classroom. And what she says doesn’t belong: discussion on culture, ethnicity and race theory."},{"_id":"VDFXAECNHREDVO5B7WA7YOUNJI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701938},"content":"In a Jan. 4 post, Cline says teaching about race theory is “damaging.” On Jan. 5, she says it’s unfair because she believes all white students are being accused of having “conscious or unconscious biases.” She also shares in support a letter from the Utah Fraternal Order of Police that’s advocating against teachers wearing Black Lives Matter paraphernalia."},{"_id":"3A4OR7X46BH6LGGTQOYVUJJAGY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701940},"content":"Cline later warns, too, against school districts hiring equity directors because they will only “search out racism, inequity, and exclusivity within the school” so they can keep their jobs. That, she says, “exacerbates the problem of racism in schools.” Instead, she proposes districts employing a “Unity Solutions Officer.”"},{"_id":"3SI6C3NKQJBR3K5OTY7SAZVM5M","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701941},"content":"Jeanetta Williams, the president of the Salt Lake City branch of the NAACP, challenged Cline’s view. Teaching about race, she said, is vital for students to learn about what has happened and what challenges still exist for people of color — including what prompted the protests across the United States last summer."},{"_id":"MCLID2ET75E5FE4V5DMY35XWUA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701942},"content":"“If you go to learn history, you need to learn all of it,” Williams said."},{"_id":"JAI3SILGO5ECZNHVSI23JR2YOQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701943},"content":"She also said the state curriculum does not include telling students they are prejudiced. And she believes equity directors do crucial work in focusing on how districts can improve and help students of color, who are typically marginalized."},{"_id":"KHAJTBNEGRGOJCJPH5LKGQPBQU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701944},"content":"Williams urged Cline to use her platform with the state school board to help those efforts."},{"_id":"QIBK6HEXOVGC3MEHNSM5AHL6VY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701945},"content":"Meanwhile, the Black Lives Matter chapter for Utah started its own campaign, urging members to call the board and join in with the petition for Cline’s removal."},{"_id":"WA7LTF2XIRDYBAGIBHJWUBYLTQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701946},"content":"“She is posting white supremacist rhetoric, as well as homophobic and transphobic rhetoric,” a post on the chapter’s Facebook page said."},{"_id":"DRA7TIBEIVCHLL65C5D6JV66AI","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612239701947},"content":"Some support"},{"_id":"NTFUYHUOUZBSXAKFPKM4CCX224","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612240657491},"content":"Although the comment sections on Cline’s social media were flooded by people pushing back against her, several parents and teachers also jumped in to defend the school board member and her positions."},{"_id":"FOAO54NZURAZ5DKVVM2T22CZ2Q","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612240657492},"content":"One woman wrote: “Thank you for this warning. I appreciate knowing about it.” Another said, “Sorry you are taking so much heat but you are needed.”"},{"_id":"24ODBB6P55CSJBDQBO3MSSUOLE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612241583468},"content":"Joel Wright, a former conservative member of the Utah school board, added on Twitter: “Elections matter. Petitions don’t.”"},{"_id":"W2DLURGZJJBCTFF4B6TA5PLOOE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612240657493},"content":"In a later comment responding to her own Facebook post, Cline said she stands by her statements and posts."},{"_id":"QH7DFFLIFVDEFPWOA57AZYVPHY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1612240657494},"content":"“I will not give them any ground,” she wrote. “I have nothing to apologize for. This is a free country. We can have different beliefs and have a God given right to express those beliefs in the public square. That’s okay. What is not okay is trying to destroy other people simply because they believe differently and express those beliefs."}],"created_date":"2021-02-01T23:26:36.083Z","revision":{"revision_id":"RVNAE4SSAFGHHLDRHYRDF2YLV4","parent_id":"C4MYDHNUS5CM5DCTZ3NXQNQ6LA","editions":["default"],"branch":"default","user_id":"[email protected]","published":true},"last_updated_date":"2021-02-02T05:14:02.644Z","canonical_url":"/news/education/2021/02/02/petition-remove-utah","headlines":{"basic":"Petition to remove Utah school board member cites comments about LGBTQ students, Black Lives Matter","mobile":"","native":"","print":"","tablet":"","web":"","meta_title":""},"owner":{"sponsored":false,"id":"sltrib"},"address":{},"workflow":{"status_code":3,"note":""},"subheadlines":{"basic":"Natalie Cline defends her statements, saying she’s “the latest target of the mob.”"},"description":{"basic":"Parents and teachers are calling for the removal of a conservative member of the Utah Board of Education for her 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Byrne said he himself had called ahead to a friendly White House aide who had promised to give him a personal tour sometime, and he asked to come that night. “I may have been less than clear that there would be some people with me.”","type":"text"},{"content":"Byrne said that as guards were confused about why the group had no appointment, Bryne’s friend arrived at the gate. That aide was momentarily shocked to see Flynn but flashed his ID and said he would take the group inside — and he helped them to get through security.","type":"text"},{"content":"Once inside, the group called other aides they knew — and went to visit them in their offices, each a little closer to the Oval Office. From one, they saw Trump — and then walked toward the president and greeted him as if he should be expecting them.","type":"text"},{"content":"“President Trump’s eyebrows knitted in puzzlement but his face showed he recognized us, and after a moment he beckoned us in,” Byrne wrote. “Within seconds General Flynn, Sydney Powell, and I were all sitting in the Oval Office with President Donald J. Trump, with the door shut behind us. So that happened. Really.”","type":"text"},{"content":"Axios provided some confirmation to the story, noting that as the group strutted in to visit Trump, White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann grumbled from the outer Oval Office, “How the hell did Sidney get in the building?”","type":"text"},{"content":"Byrne said the group then started telling Trump that his staff was not serving him well in urging him to concede election defeat. But they said they had found a legal way for him to keep fighting through executive orders then in place that could allow him to order the National Guard and U.S. Marshals Service to seize and recount ballots in six key counties.","type":"text"},{"content":"Byrne said he told Trump that his group was sure the election had been hacked, and he added, “I do not think you are being well-served by many people in the White House. I can bring in young staffers who will tell you that some of your senior leadership don’t want you to win. They want you to concede.”","type":"text"},{"content":"Axios reported that Powell began the meeting with the same claim that now has her facing a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit: that Dominion Voting Systems had rigged their machines to flip votes from Trump to Biden and that it was part of an international communist plot to steal the election for the Democrats. She urged using National Guard troops to seize machines for evaluation.","type":"text"},{"content":"Soon, the four conspiracy theorists would argue loudly with White House attorneys brought into the meeting about whether their proposals to have troops seize ballots was legal or wise.","type":"text"},{"content":"Byrne wrote that his group argued that if serious problems were found in the six problem counties, then Trump had power to “have those six states re-counted. Or he might have 50 states recounted on livestream TV by federal forces, and America would finally have its answer to, ‘How much election fraud does our nation suffer?’ Or he might skip that and have the National Guard re-run the elections in those six states.”","type":"text"},{"content":"Byrne added that his group argued Trump had to act quickly or “the alternative was an election that 47{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} of Americans doubted, which would not go down peacefully.”","type":"text"},{"content":"Byrne wrote that the meeting was heated with many raised voices, and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone insisted what they were proposing was illegal, and the news media would tear Trump apart if he attempted it.","type":"text"},{"content":"Axios reports that Byrne, “wearing jeans, a hoodie and a neck gaiter, piped up with his own conspiracy: ‘I know how this works. I bribed Hillary Clinton $18 million on behalf of the FBI for a sting operation.” [Byrne said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune that he brought it up later as his group was headed out of the White House].","type":"text"},{"content":"Axios reported, “Herschmann stared at the eccentric millionaire. ‘What the hell are you talking about? Why would you say something like that?’ Byrne brought up the bizarre Clinton bribery claim several more times during the meeting to the astonishment of White House lawyers.”","type":"text"},{"content":"Axios said Trump was also perplexed with Byrne’s statement, but told his staff, “You guys are offering me nothing. These guys are at least offering me a chance. They’re saying they have the evidence. Why not try this?’”","type":"text"},{"content":"Byrne and Axios reported that the meeting eventually shifted to the White House residential area in hopes that Powell and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani could find a way there to work together on Powell’s proposals.","type":"text"},{"content":"Curiously, both reports focus on how Byrne was feasting on meatballs brought in as a refreshment in the residential area, while everyone else ignored them except Trump.","type":"text"},{"content":"“How often does one sit with a president serving meatballs from his grandmother’s recipe? And they were good. For the rest of the meeting there were two and only two people eating meatballs: myself, scarfing them down like popcorn, and occasionally the president,” Byrne wrote.","type":"text"},{"content":"Byrne said his group believed that after hours in the second meeting in the residence, “President Trump was decisively onboard, and none of the other parties pushed back.” However, Byrne said they later learned that a plan to appoint Powell as a special White House counsel to pursue their plans would not happen.","type":"text"},{"content":"Byrne said in an interview on Tuesday that he never voted for Trump and has criticized him, but felt the election was being stolen — so he joined efforts to overturn that and joined in trying to convince Trump to keep fighting.","type":"text"},{"content":"“The core principle of our system is consent of the governed as determined by elections that are free, fair and transparent. I do not think this election was free, fair and transparent, so I’m doing something,” Byrne said.","type":"text"},{"content":"Byrne resigned as CEO of Overstock in 2019, after its stock dropped when he said he had a romantic relationship with alleged Russian spy Maria Butina while acting as an informant for the FBI and helping with probes into possible Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"_id":"ldavidson","image":{"url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/sltrib/0eb2747a-73eb-4168-a909-a7620be5f19e.png"},"name":"Lee Davidson"}]},"display_date":"2021-02-02T22:43:08.069Z","headlines":{"basic":"Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne describes bluffing his way into Trump’s White House"},"last_updated_date":"2021-02-02T22:43:08.401Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(@PatrickByrne on Twitter) Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne posted this selfie online of him at the White House. He now says he and others bluffed their way through security to meet uninvited with Donald Trump to urge him to fight election results.","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/CZE6QRVNEBFGLD5IPCHSAN6TDE.jpeg"}},"publish_date":"2021-02-02T22:43:08.069Z","subheadlines":{"basic":"Bizarre details emerge: scarfing White House meatballs like popcorn with Donald Trump."},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/news/politics","name":"Politics","parent_id":"/news","path":"/news/politics"},"sites":[{"name":"Politics","path":"/news/politics"}],"tags":[{"description":"Politics","slug":"politics","text":"Politics"},{"description":"Stories about Washington, D.C. - politics","slug":"federal","text":"federal"}]},"website_url":"/news/politics/2021/02/02/former-overstock-ceo"},{"_id":"F4CLQ25GJZG2TDBJ3BDNJKL52A","canonical_url":"/news/health/2021/02/02/intermountain-healthcare","content_elements":[{"content":"When Intermountain Healthcare’s central lab started processing COVID-19 tests last March, “we did 14 tests that first day,” said Dr. Sterling Bennett, the lab’s medical director.","type":"text"},{"content":"“Within a few days, we were running 200 tests a day. We went to 2,000 a day by late March,” Bennett said Tuesday. Now, Intermountain can run 7,000 tests a day, Bennett said.","type":"text"},{"content":"“It’s been satisfying, but extremely difficult,” Bennett said during a media teleconference, convened to mark the hospital system hitting the 1 million mark for tests processed. The milestone was reached last Thursday, the company said; as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the lab has processed 1,017,640 tests.","type":"text"},{"content":"Most of the tests the lab runs, said Dr. Bert Lopansari, medical director for Intermountain’s microbiology lab, are molecular tests — like the PCR test, which sometimes involves a swab put well up a person’s nose.","type":"text"},{"content":"“That’s our workhorse test,” Lopansari said, adding that the lab runs between 2,000 and 5,000 of those a day.","type":"text"},{"content":"Those tests could take days to process in the early days. Now, Bennett said, the lab has results back in 90{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} to 95{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} of the tests within 24 hours.","type":"text"},{"content":"And the new race, Lopansari said, is keeping up with COVID-19 variants that are now circulating. “We’re currently in a foot race between vaccine administration and the emergence of variants,” he said.","type":"text"},{"content":"The molecular tests are more sensitive, and therefore more accurate, than the rapid antigen tests that are being used more and more in recent months, Lopansari said.","type":"text"},{"content":"The antigen test has the advantage of producing faster results, he said, and is easier to get out into the community. (There are rapid molecular tests, Lopansari said, but supplies for those are limited.)","type":"text"},{"content":"None of the tests, though, can detect the new variants of the coronavirus that have been detected in the United States, Lopansari said. The B.1.1.7 variant, called the “U.K. variant,” has been found in three cases in Utah, health officials have reported.","type":"text"},{"content":"The molecular test, Lopansari said, looks for evidence of three genes, one of them a spike protein that is mutated in the U.K. variant — so if that spike protein doesn’t show up in the test, it may indicate the presence of the variant. In those cases, he said, samples are sent to the Utah Public Health Lab for more detailed testing.","type":"text"},{"content":"Testing Utahns","type":"header"},{"content":"The expense for most tests, Bennett said, is covered through the patient’s health insurance. In those instances where insurance won’t cover the cost, those cases are documented and sent to the federal government for reimbursement.","type":"text"},{"content":"When a patient doesn’t have insurance, Intermountain covers the cost as part of its charity program, company spokesman Jess Gomez said.","type":"text"},{"content":"Gomez said the company did not have figures for how much revenue it gets for processing COVID-19 tests, because the accounting hasn’t kept up with the lab’s output. It’s believed, he said, that Intermountain’s revenue is less than its expense at providing and processing tests.","type":"text"},{"content":"Gomez said 85{c25493dcd731343503a084f08c3848bd69f9f2f05db01633325a3fd40d9cc7a1} of those million tests were given to Utah residents. The lab has processed tests for all 50 states, and five U.S. territories.","type":"text"},{"content":"Julian Romero was one of the first people Intermountain tested for COVID-19. The former Utahn, who now lives in California, was 26 last year when he returned from a music festival in San Diego — held just before the pandemic forced promoters to cancel such shows. He came back to Utah on Monday, March 2, and wasn’t feeling well.","type":"text"},{"content":"“That night, I started to get a migraine,” said Romero, who works for a health technology company. “I progressively got worse and worse.”","type":"text"},{"content":"Two days later, on Wednesday, he went to an Intermountain urgent care clinic in West Valley City. “They weren’t really giving out COVID tests,” Romero said, so the doctor gave him a flu test and a respiratory panel, and both came back negative.","type":"text"},{"content":"On Thursday, Romero went to the emergency room, and was given a COVID-19 test. Within a day or two, the results came back positive. He said he immediately isolated in his room, to keep his family from getting sick.","type":"text"},{"content":"Romero’s was the fifth COVID-19 test the lab processed. According to Tara Hall, Intermountain’s molecular pathology manager, a team of experts had been developing the lab’s testing procedures for just over a week.","type":"text"},{"content":"“We pushed through and did that in record time, without compromising any of our standards or cutting any corners,” Hall said.","type":"text"},{"content":"As the lab was getting up to speed, Hall said, “the earthquake hit.”","type":"text"},{"content":"A ‘long road’ still ahead","type":"header"},{"content":"The quake on March 16, a 5.7 tremor with the epicenter near Magna, “hit at a time when we were running samples,” Hall said. “It knocked our robotics machine out of alignment and caused quite a bit of contamination.” The lab was out of service for a day, while the machine was realigned, and back up the next day.","type":"text"},{"content":"Intermountain officials praised the Utah Public Health Lab and ARUP Laboratories for their partnerships. They also singled out the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District, which loaned a key piece of equipment in the pandemic’s early days, that allowed the lab to extract virus samples faster — as many as 96 samples in 50 minutes, Lopansari said.","type":"text"},{"content":"Romero’s case is an example of how hard COVID-19 can hit even the healthiest person.","type":"text"},{"content":"For a month after getting tested for COVID-19, Romero said, he suffered flu symptoms that came and went. By the second week, he had trouble breathing, and coughed up blood along with the mucus in his lungs. In the third week, his arms and legs went numb, and he experienced a flashing black-and-white pattern in his vision. In the fourth week, his symptoms included a rapid heartbeat.","type":"text"},{"content":"In week five, his symptoms started to subside. An avid runner, Romero tried getting out on the track, but “I could barely run half a lap without getting winded and having to take a break,” he said.","type":"text"},{"content":"Overall, Romero said, it took about a month and a half to feel better — and even then, he felt “just a lot of brain fog” for two or three months.","type":"text"},{"content":"Lopansari reminded Utahns that, though testing has improved, the best weapon against fighting the pandemic is good public health practices: Wearing a mask, washing one’s hands, keeping physically distant from other people, and staying home if one is sick.","type":"text"},{"content":"“We have a long road ahead of us,” Lopansari said.","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"_id":"spmeans","image":{"url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/sltrib/58277bb7-8a94-4709-b6c9-9f548aa1c141.png"},"name":"Sean P. Means"}]},"display_date":"2021-02-02T22:38:56.978Z","headlines":{"basic":"Intermountain Healthcare has sped up from 14 COVID-19 tests a day to thousands"},"last_updated_date":"2021-02-02T23:00:14.152Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Cassidy Murphy and Taylor Woodrow test for COVID-19 at Intermountain Healthcare Cottonwood InstaCare, on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/3GHGIZSXBRFYTNMPSSSTJD4BHU.JPG"}},"publish_date":"2021-02-02T23:00:13.752Z","subheadlines":{"basic":"One of the first Utahns to get tested by Intermountain looks back, as the system passes 1 million tests."},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/news/health","name":"Health","parent_id":"/news","path":"/news/health"},"sites":[{"name":"Health","path":"/news/health"},{"name":"News","path":"/news"}],"tags":[{"description":"Coronavirus","slug":"coronavirus","text":"Coronavirus"}]},"website_url":"/news/health/2021/02/02/intermountain-healthcare"},{"_id":"EKWTVE3GVFCOLDLVW34VP2JLRI","canonical_url":"/news/2021/02/02/utah-man-charged-after","content_elements":[{"content":"A Salt Lake City man is facing multiple felony charges after he reportedly fired a gun at another driver on Interstate 15 in Lehi.","type":"text"},{"content":"Jesse David Luker, 31, was charged in 3rd District Court with five counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor; and discharging a gun from a vehicle, a Class B misdemeanor.","type":"text"},{"content":"According to a probable cause statement, on Jan. 25, Luker was driving his black pickup truck southbound on I-15 between mileposts 285 and 279 when there was a “road rage incident” between him and the driver of a white pickup truck.","type":"text"},{"content":"Luker was tailgating the white truck in the HOV lane, according to charging documents, and the driver of the white truck was “brake checking” Luker — hitting the brakes in an attempt to make Luker back off.","type":"text"},{"content":"According to police, the two drivers “changed positions several times trying to get in front of and to the side of each other, and the two drivers — as well as the passengers in the white truck — were “yelling and making gestures at each other.” The two drivers swerved at each other, “causing them to leave their lanes of travel,” and the white truck struck another vehicle that was not involved in the dispute.","type":"text"},{"content":"“At one point,” police wrote, “the victim stopped his vehicle in the HOV lane and continued yelling and making gestures.”","type":"text"},{"content":"When the two drivers continued southbound, the victim moved to the right and was followed by Luker, according to police. At that point, Luker pulled out a handgun and fired four or five shots at the white truck. The victim drove onto the right shoulder, and Luker “continued to move closer” and fired five more shots at the white truck.","type":"text"},{"content":"The victim turned into Luker’s truck, causing it to spin out of control and strike a barrier next to the highway. The driver of the white car then drove to American Fork Hospital — he had been seriously wounded and had to undergo surgery; one of his passengers was slightly wounded.","type":"text"},{"content":"Luker was booked into the Utah County jail, where he’s being held without bail.","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"_id":"spierce","image":{"url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/sltrib/80a1f33c-6786-4297-8540-865f170ba0e5.png"},"name":"Scott D. Pierce"}]},"display_date":"2021-02-02T22:25:04.911Z","headlines":{"basic":"Utah man charged after allegedly shooting at another driver on I-15"},"last_updated_date":"2021-02-02T22:25:05.880Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(Photo courtesy of the Utah County Sheriff's Office) Jesse David Luker was charged in 3rd District Court on Tuesday with five counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor; and discharging a gun from a vehicle, a Class B misdemeanor.","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/OQFV7OVCIVCWXO3QZKDHYIJZIU.jpg"}},"publish_date":"2021-02-02T22:25:04.911Z","subheadlines":{"basic":" Jesse David Luker was involved in a “road rage incident” with another man, police say."},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/news","name":"News","parent_id":"https://www.sltrib.com/","path":"/news"},"sites":[{"name":"News","path":"/news"}],"tags":[{"description":"Public safety stories","slug":"public-safety","text":"Public safety"}]},"website_url":"/news/2021/02/02/utah-man-charged-after"},{"_id":"QGBLTZ3YVBH7BOL3GZUI3CZ4I4","canonical_url":"/sports/byu-cougars/2021/02/02/byu-san-diego-game","content_elements":[{"content":"Provo • Tuesday’s game between BYU and San Diego has been postponed due to COVID-19 related issues within the Toreros’ program. It is the second time in as many tries a game between both programs has been postponed this season.","type":"text"},{"content":"The news was made official just hours before tipoff. Chances are the Cougars will not be able to make a last-second change to play Tuesday, as they are already in San Diego and would need to travel.","type":"text"},{"content":"However, as BYU (14-4; 5-2 WCC) was originally set to play Tuesday and Thursday this week, that allows the team to possibly add a game on Saturday. The Cougars will play at Portland on Thursday.","type":"text"},{"content":"The Cougars most recently had their Jan. 30 matchup with San Francisco postponed, leading to BYU hosting Pacific instead.","type":"text"},{"content":"Of the remaining West Coast Conference games scheduled this week, two of Thursday’s games have been postponed while one has been outright canceled, and three of Saturday’s four games have been postponed.","type":"text"},{"content":"Along with San Diego and San Francisco, Saint Mary’s, Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara are all on COVID-19 pauses.","type":"text"},{"content":"
","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"_id":"ngonzalez","image":{"url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/sltrib/3c970f14-6860-4f18-aecd-9a34bfe090ae.png"},"name":"Norma Gonzalez"}]},"display_date":"2021-02-02T22:19:29.849Z","headlines":{"basic":"BYU-San Diego game postponed"},"last_updated_date":"2021-02-02T22:19:30.153Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope gives instructions to his team, in basketball action between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Weber State Wildcats at Vivint Arena, on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020.","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/Z7FVGUETFRBJJHEOVHW5E5JVOE.JPG"}},"publish_date":"2021-02-02T22:19:29.849Z","subheadlines":{"basic":"The Toreros program has paused all team activities and games due to COVID-19 related issues"},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/sports/byu-cougars","name":"BYU Cougars","parent_id":"/sports","path":"/sports/byu-cougars"},"sites":[{"name":"BYU Cougars","path":"/sports/byu-cougars"},{"name":"Sports","path":"/sports"}],"tags":[{"description":"sports features","slug":"sports-featured","text":"Sports Featured"}]},"website_url":"/sports/byu-cougars/2021/02/02/byu-san-diego-game"},{"_id":"RZ4XBQGLLRAXVLU2JQJGPT7MBQ","canonical_url":"/religion/global/2021/02/02/pope-francis-tells","content_elements":[{"content":"Vatican City • Addressing the current challenges of the U.S. Catholic Church, Pope Francis warned against the polarization in the country and the “sins” of the media.","type":"text"},{"content":"“The church in the United States is a church that has been courageous — the history it has and the saints — and has done so much,” Pope Francis said during an impromptu interview with journalists from Catholic News Service on Monday, Feb. 1 at the Vatican.","type":"text"},{"content":"The audience marked the 100 anniversary of the news agency, which is an arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.","type":"text"},{"content":"“A divided church is not the church,” the pope told the CNS reporters, while at the same time making a distinction between unity and uniformity. “Unity with differences, but one heart,” Francis he said.","type":"text"},{"content":"The pope described the U.S. Catholic Church as “alive, vivacious” in addressing the plight of immigrants and refugees and promoting education. “What the church has done for immigrants is great,” Francis said, adding that the U.S. church is also “generous in helping others” and “humble” because of the sexual abuse crisis.","type":"text"},{"content":"He also praised the spirituality of American Catholic faithful. “It’s a church that prays,” he said.","type":"text"},{"content":"The pope particularly recognized Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, who knelt in prayer for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in June to remember the death of George Floyd, a symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement and racial equality activists worldwide. After Seitz’s gesture, the pope called him to voice his appreciation and support.","type":"text"},{"content":"Francis also praised the work of Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, the current president of the USCCB, who caused controversy last month by signing a statement issued in the name of the bishops criticizing newly inaugurated President Joe Biden’s stances on abortion and marriage.","type":"text"},{"content":"“Our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender,” read the Jan. 20 statement, which drew fire from Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, among other commentators.","type":"text"},{"content":"Francis pointed to the media’s role in the polarization of American society, noting that news outlets often “throw gas on the fire.” He called on Catholic news outlets to promote unity and “get people to talk to each other, reason together and seek the path of fraternity.”","type":"text"},{"content":"The news media is plagued by four sins, the pope told CNS reporters: disinformation, calumny, defamation and “coprophilia,” by which he apparently meant love of scandal. “Don’t fall into these sins,” which contribute to concealment of truth, ruined lives and deepening divisions, the pope said.","type":"text"},{"content":"The pope met with reporters at Domus Santa Marta, where he lives, instead of the usual audience hall at the Vatican due to his chronic sciatica. He said his doctor has advised him to move less and not stand as much.","type":"text"},{"content":"Sciatica or not, the pope is set on making his planned March 5-8 apostolic visit to Iraq, his first opportunity to travel since the onslaught of the pandemic. Despite terrorist attempts and risks to his safety, it’s important that Iraqis “see that the pope is there in their country,” he said.","type":"text"},{"content":"“I am the pastor of people who are suffering,” Pope Francis said, adding that he will take a commercial flight to get to Iraq if necessary.","type":"text"},{"content":"He recently received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and is expected to receive the second before the Iraq trip.","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"name":"Claire Giangrave | Religion News Service"}]},"display_date":"2021-02-02T22:17:04.920Z","headlines":{"basic":"Pope Francis tells Catholic journalists he has hope for ‘courageous’ U.S. church "},"last_updated_date":"2021-02-02T22:17:05.255Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"In this Dec. 8, 2020 file photo, Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, on the Immaculate Conception day, at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, file)","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/2V46ROC66NB2LO4Q7FRIOZGBRE.jpg"}},"publish_date":"2021-02-02T22:17:04.920Z","subheadlines":{"basic":""},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/religion/global","name":"Global Religion","parent_id":"/religion","path":"/religion/global"},"sites":[{"name":"Global Religion","path":"/religion/global"},{"name":"Religion","path":"/religion"}],"tags":[{"description":"global faiths","slug":"global-faith","text":"global faiths"}]},"website_url":"/religion/global/2021/02/02/pope-francis-tells"},{"_id":"MZXRMQY5BRACFGRCXOQTNGEKBU","canonical_url":"/opinion/editorial/2021/02/02/tribune-editorial-no-utah","content_elements":[{"content":"“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”","type":"text"},{"content":"― Gideon J. Tucker","type":"text"},{"content":"If Tucker, a 19th century attorney and journalist who lived in New York, found himself in 21st century Utah, he might alter his famous aphorism to read, “No woman’s life, liberty or body are safe while the Legislature is in session.”","type":"text"},{"content":"The eagerness of certain Utah lawmakers to make life more difficult for women is nothing new, of course, but this year it seems especially aggressive","type":"text"},{"content":"The most obvious example of legislation aimed at controlling and discounting the lives of women is House Bill 253, a measure that would require any woman seeking an abortion to undergo the deliberate psychic torture of watching videos of abortion procedures, listening to a recording of a fetal heartbeat and certifying, on penalty of perjury, that she has really taken all of that in.","type":"text"},{"content":"This proposal only makes sense if you believe that women cannot be trusted to make one of the most fundamentally personal decisions there is, the decision of whether or not to bear a child. It is based on the belief that, if only women were subjected to even more legally mandated mansplaining, politicians inserting themselves uninvited into the doctor-patient relationship, the outcomes might be different.","type":"text"},{"content":"Pro-business Republicans may want to consider whether giving Utah a thoroughly retrograde reputation among those who stand for women’s rights is going to be good for the economic growth they claim to favor.","type":"text"},{"content":"Also moving through the legislative process this session is House Bill 21, a bill that would make it even more difficult than it already is for a woman who feels threatened by an ex-husband, former boyfriend or random stalker to get a protective order demanding that the perceived aggressor keep his distance.","type":"text"},{"content":"As is so often the case with legislation in Utah, this bill arises from a single anecdote told to a single lawmaker, in this case a man who spent a night in jail for allegedly stalking a former girlfriend. No charges were filed in that case, as prosecutors felt there wasn’t enough evidence to prove criminal intent.","type":"text"},{"content":"It’s not that any law limiting any kind of behavior can’t go too far. But the threat many women feel from unwanted attention from men — showing up at their workplaces, even appearing at remote campsites — is real and there should be legal tools in place to ease that fear.","type":"text"},{"content":"This law should remain as it is, and gentlemen should learn to take a hint when a lady no longer wishes to see you.","type":"text"},{"content":"Also fitting into this list of proposals to make the lives of women less safe is House Bill 60, the latest in the perpetual campaign to remove the Utah requirement for the training course and permit needed to legally carry a concealed weapon.","type":"text"},{"content":"It is no violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms to impose a minimal training class, which includes information about weapons, the law and the risks of suicide, before any person can pack heat. It is a basic expression of the need to balance rights and protect public safety.","type":"text"},{"content":"It is only common sense that more guns, carried by more people, with no training or review, will lead to more violence and death. In a few cases, that violence will, indeed, be in justified self-defense. In far more cases — road rage, suicide and, again of particular concern to women, domestic violence — it won’t be.","type":"text"},{"content":"Gun violence in Utah is clearly a women’s issue. Tribune reporting showed that domestic violence, mostly against women, was responsible for 44 percent of all homicides in 2017 and 30 percent of them in 2016.","type":"text"},{"content":"It is most unfortunate that, while such bills were rightly blocked by the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it attitude of former Gov. Gary Herbert, new Gov. Spencer Cox says he would sign such a bill if it were to reach him.","type":"text"},{"content":"Taken together, these three bills would move Utah further away from being a state that holds women as equal before the law and takes their safety and liberty seriously.","type":"text"},{"content":"To let your legislators know how you feel about these and other measures, you can go here.","type":"text"},{"content":".","type":"text"},{"content":"
","type":"text"},{"content":"
","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"name":"The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board"}]},"display_date":"2021-02-02T22:00:00Z","headlines":{"basic":"Tribune Editorial: No Utah woman is safe when the Legislature is in session"},"last_updated_date":"2021-02-02T22:00:00.370Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Fern Creson poses for a photograph during a rally in the capitol rotunda in Salt Lake City on May 21. This rally was part of a nationwide series of protests to bring attention as a number of conservative states pass laws aimed at getting abortion before the U.S. Supreme Court.","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/PXUOEWK4LNDWVIJYYFRQQLCXOM.JPG"}},"publish_date":"2021-02-02T22:00:00Z","subheadlines":{"basic":""},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/opinion/editorial","name":"Editorials","parent_id":"/opinion","path":"/opinion/editorial"},"sites":[{"name":"Editorials","path":"/opinion/editorial"}],"tags":[]},"website_url":"/opinion/editorial/2021/02/02/tribune-editorial-no-utah"}],"_id":"c60ee3ddb6cba28f5ef747c76e8b65ea81a2c6edcba75ac70b7ba096c15efb99"},"expires":1612308639665,"lastModified":1612308339665}}};

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How to Ensure the Government Doesn't Muzzle Science Again

Wed Feb 3 , 2021
Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais (AP) The climate denier is out of the White House, and the scientific community is beginning to take stock of—and clean up—the mess left behind. On Monday, following a request from the Biden administration, a federal judge vacated one of the Trump administration’s most dangerous tweaks […]