Leaving Auschwitz

While traveling on a bus back from Auschwitz, Merinda Davis, a middle school teacher from Orem, asked her new Polish friend, Adam, how to pronounce the city they just left. “It’s the city right next to Auschwitz," Davis said. "It’s where the largest concentration camp and murder site during WWII [was]. We’re just coming back from the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz; the commemoration ceremony." The ceremony was attended by almost 3,000 people, including living survivors who shared, not the horrific details of their experience, but the importance of peace and tolerance. Davis told me one of the survivors, a rabbi, moved her at the ceremony when he performed a kaddish - a Jewish hymn of praises to God. “They had a large tent that covered the famous watch tower in front of Birkenau," Davis said. "We were all inside of this tent. When the rabbi, who is a survivor, was performing a kaddish, standing there in front of that tower that symbolized death for over a million people, I think was really powerful for me.” The night before the ceremony, Davis attended a reception and spoke personally with the survivors.
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State Rep. Jack Draxler is proposing an alternative bill concerning tax increases to fund Utah’s public education system. Among other things, Draxler’s bill proposes to use 25 percent of the revenue from an increase in the state’s income tax to provide for a raise in public school teacher salaries. Another 25 percent would go toward technology programs while the remaining 50 percent would be allocated to performance-based teacher pay raises.

Penguin Press

According to University of Utah anthropologist Ryan Shot, men want commitment when women are scarce. In his new study published in the Royal Society Open Science Journal, he challenges the sexual stereotype that women want commitment and men want commitment only sometimes.  His study of the Makushi in Guyana shows mate choice is much more complex. He found men are more likely to seek long-term relationships when women are in short supply. 

 In the second half of Friday's Access Utah, Sheri Quinn examines the possibilities of reporting on the United States' Central Intelligence Agency. She speaks with New York Times Reporter Mark Mazzetti, author of "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth." Mazzetti discusses the process of U.S.-targeted killings, and other details, of our country's most secretive agency.

www.vebidoo.de

The Utah Democratic Party will have a new executive director starting Monday. Lauren Littlefield will replace Matt Lyon, who is stepping down after four years in the position.

Littlefield said she has her eyes set on getting more Democrats elected in 2016.

“Voter participation in the state is dismal and pathetic at best, and that’s something that I hope to increase, especially on the Democratic side,” Littlefield said. “Something that we want to do is get more people registered to vote by mail. It’s such a great program that most counties in the state are offering now, and it’s something that people should be taking advantage of.”

Littlefield, a Utah native, got her start in Utah politics in 2004 as a field organizer. She has since worked on city council, Senate and House campaigns, and spent three years with Equality Utah.

utahpubliceducation.org

During his State of the State address to a joint session of the state legislature Wednesday, Gov. Gary Herbert announced his plans to work with educators and officials to create a 10-year education plan for Utah. Herbert claimed that his plan would tie public education money to specific objectives.

Herbert called for an increase in state education funding which, he said, would be the largest such increase in a quarter of a century.

A Home for Hobbits
www.houselogic.com

Middle Earth plants on Petals and Prose, get your cabbage crops started, and eating a healthy breakfast on Yes You Can! are the fare for the day on Zesty Garden.


Leaving Auschwitz

Jan 29, 2015

While traveling on a bus back from Auschwitz, Merinda Davis, a middle school teacher from Orem, asked her new Polish friend, Adam, how to pronounce the city they just left.

“It’s the city right next to Auschwitz," Davis said. "It’s where the largest concentration camp and murder site during WWII [was]. We’re just coming back from the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz; the commemoration ceremony."

The ceremony was attended by almost 3,000 people, including living survivors who shared, not the horrific details of their experience, but the importance of peace and tolerance.

Davis told me one of the survivors, a rabbi, moved her at the ceremony when he performed a kaddish - a Jewish hymn of praises to God.

“They had a large tent that covered the famous watch tower in front of Birkenau," Davis said. "We were all inside of this tent. When the rabbi, who is a survivor, was performing a kaddish, standing there in front of that tower that symbolized death for over a million people, I think was really powerful for me.”

The night before the ceremony, Davis attended a reception and spoke personally with the survivors.


The four finalists are here! Vote by Thursday, Feb. 5 for your favorite design. The design with the most votes (by facebook and email) will be on the next Utah Public Radio coffee mug, available during the Spring 2015 UPR Pledge Drive.

UPR staff and interns picked four mug design submissions. They're in no particular order. Now, it's your turn to make the final choice.

inversion capitol
April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

Utah's air quality challenges are among the issues state lawmakers will consider during this year's legislative session. Rep. Patrice Arent is the co-chair and founder of the bipartisan Clean Air Caucus, which is focused on passing legislation that addresses air pollution. She says this session picks up where the last left off.

"It certainly was the case that we passed more legislation last year, and did more in terms of appropriations than we had in my prior 13 sessions combined," she said. "But we need to continue that work. There's still a lot more to do."

A proposal to reintroduce firing squads for Utah executions is stirring fresh debate on the death penalty.

Lethal injection is currently the only permissible option for state executions, but there is some concern that the drugs required to administer lethal injections are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. State Rep. Paul Ray (R) is the bill's sponsor, and says he wants firing squads to be an alternative option.

The last man to be executed by firing squad in Utah was convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardiner in 2010. On Tuesday, Gardner's brother Randy Gardner joined a protest at the state Capitol in opposition to firing squads.

Barnaby Dorfman

On today's Access Utah, we're taking a look inside the Sundance Film Festival, the largest film screening in the United States. Known for it's glamor and celebrity, the festival is also a strong supporter for the arts and the untold stories they feature. 

 We'll be speaking with UPR's Sundance reporter Steve Smith about his experience covering independent films and documentaries at this year's festival. He'll speak on such works as the teen comedy "Seoul Searching," and "Prophets Prey" the documentary which depict's Warren Jeffs' control over Colorado City's polygamous community.

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