A look back at 2019

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – 2019 was a big year for many Utahns. Lawmakers passed several new bills, major crime rattled the summer, and a new beer law went into effect.

2019 started sorrowfully in our law enforcement community. Officer Joseph Shinners, a 3-year veteran of the Provo Police Department was shot and killed attempting to arrest a fugitive in Orem.

The hero left behind a wife and two small children.

Kayln Shinners telling ABC4 News, “It’s been a long year of missing him.”

The longest government shutdown in history ended after 34 days, giving some 800,000 government employees, many here in Utah a much-needed paycheck.

Plus, Utah became the second state with a .05 DUI law.

In February, a fluoride turbine broke at a well in Sandy City sending contaminated drinking water to 2,800 homes and schools, forcing many to drink bottled water until it was fixed.

A bill passed in March that needs to be signed by Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox’s will allow voters to decide on taking the word slavery out of the Utah constitution in 2020.

And in Layton, a young boy lost his arm under a fence when two dogs allegedly bit it off. The dogs were taken to a sanctuary, the boy learning to live life with one hand.

In April, Utes fans found out The University of Utah will expand Rice Eccles Stadium.

When May came around, all eyes were on the Jupiter and No. 119 train during the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike at Promontory Point, marking the time when the nation was truly connected.

The nation was rattled when five-year-old Elizabeth Lizzy Shelley was taken out of her Logan City home. Her uncle leading police to her shallow grave after pleading guilty to the crimes.

Utah would be back in the national spotlight when 23-year-old Mackenzie Lueck went missing in June. Police arrested Ayoola Ajayi for the murder and accused him of kidnapping another woman, plus having child porn.

In July, the Inland Port controversy came alive. Protesters swarmed the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, clashing with police, and resulting in several injuries and arrests.

By the end of the month, Utah’s Wildfire season kicked off with the Alaska Fire just south of Provo.

Nine Mudslides closed down Little Cottonwood Canyon in August. Search and Rescue crews used Rope and ladder bridges to free several stranded.

It was also the month where we began to see many Utahns hospitalized to a vaping crisis. The Utah Health Department would later find, many of the cases were related to THC cartridges.

The low summer precipitation brought Wildfires that ravaged Utah in September, causing many to lose homes and important memories.

Investigators believe mechanical problems caused a tour bus crash in Garfield County. Four Chinese tourists were killed and dozens of others were injured at the entrance of Bryce Canyon National Park. Administrators at Garfield Regional Hospital say it was the most critical incident they’ve ever had.

On Halloween, the Clydesdale horses came to Utah to celebrate the death of Utah’s 3.2 beer. The state moved to boost the beer alcohol limit to five-percent at local grocery stores on November 1st.

After nearly 100 years of helping our homeless, the Road Home closed its doors for good in November. Three recourse centers opened up and housing vouchers are being issued to help fill the give our homeless a place to stay.

December was historic when it comes to Utah laws.
A Utah’s Hate Crime Bill passed enhancing penalties for those convicted of targeting victims based on race, religion, sexual orientation, military service, and other protected categories.

The governor also proposed an administrative rule to ban conversion therapy for minors and lawmakers came together to push through a state tax system that’s supposed to help all Utahns in 2020.

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