Utah News
5:02 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Paradise Barn A "Total Loss" After Fire

A Paradise, Utah barn was engulfed in flames Tuesday night. Photos and video from Eleanor and Jim Wellings.

More than $195,000 in damage was caused Tuesday night after a barn in Paradise, Utah was engulfed in flames. Respondents were unable to quench the flames before the barn collapsed. Cache County Fire Marshall Jason Winn said the fire was noticed by an individual.

"Yesterday, roughly around 6:30, a passerby noticed smoke coming from the large barn at 9800 South 380 East. that passerby stopped, found that there was fire in the barn, called 9-1-1, tried to extinguish the fire, but the fire grew out of control," he said.

The fire destroyed 200 tons of hay, 150 tons of straw, a hay baler, and a trailer carrying three four-wheelers, a motorcycle, and a side-by-side utility vehicle.

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Utah News
2:55 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

New Ski Resort Will Be Utah's 15th

Ski runs were visible at the Cherry Peak Ski Resort construction site last November as developers carved slopes out of the mountain in anticipation of a grand opening for Thanksgiving 2014.
Credit Beth McEvoy

There will soon be one more place to ski in Cache Valley. UPR’s Beth McEvoy has details on the pending arrival of Utah’s 15th ski resort.

The construction site of Cherry Peak Ski Resort sits nestled in the foothills above the small town of Richmond just north of Logan. Developer John Chadwick shows me where ski lifts not yet installed will be as we scurry up the mountain in his loud all-terrain vehicle.

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Utah Health and Wellness
2:04 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Three Plans For Utah Medicaid Expansion Emerge

Utah is currently facing three proposals for health care reform. Here are the plans.
Credit Utah Healthy Policy Project

As state legislators try to decide what to do about the 60,000 Utahns who fall into the Medicaid gap, there remain plenty of unanswered questions regarding health care reform.

There are currently three proposed health care plans in Utah. The House, Senate and Governor all are presenting separate plans.

The House’s Plan:

The House plan is being presented by Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart as House Bill 401. The reform by only using state dollars to cover the Medicaid gap.

 

The Senate’s Plan:

Senate Bill 251, which is sponsored by Sen. Brian Shiozowa, is a partial expansion and private-option plan. This means it would subsidize health care coverage through employer-sponsored insurance, private insurance and Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations.

The proposed bill would cover anybody who is under the poverty level which means any individual making less than $11,500 per year. By 2020, it is estimated to cover 54,000 Utahns.

Under this plan, Utah would have to ask the federal government to help cover 90 percent of the cost, while the state would cover the rest. This is opposed to the current system in which the national government covers 70 percent of Medicaid.

However, the Utah Health Policy Project, which supports the governor’s bill, is fearful that the federal government would pull it's funding down the road.

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Access Utah
12:31 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

The Legacy of Ed Abbey on Wednesday's Access Utah

A still of Ed Abbey from "Wrenched"
Credit utahfilmcenter.org

Wednesday on AU we remember Ed Abbey, author of “The Monkey Wrench Gang” and “Desert Solitaire,” and consider his legacy. What is Abbey's relevance today? What is the status of the environmental movement today? 


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Utah Environment
6:15 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

New Software Promotes Urban Water Conservation

Utah State University Researchers are hoping to promote urban water conservation with new software.
Credit http://www.watermaps.usu.edu/

Interdisciplinary researchers at Utah State University have developed a landscape water management tool meant to enlighten individuals about the appropriateness of their water consumption. WaterMAPS assesses whether people, specifically in urban areas, are over-watering their landscapes.

Joanna Endter-Wada, associate professor in Utah State University’s Department of Environment and Society and the social scientist on the WaterMAPS development team, said urban landscapes use 60-70% of the water in Utah communities.

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Utah Politics
5:55 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

UVU Student Runs For Legislature, Urges Political Participation

Colby Johnson, a college student at Utah Valley University announced his candidacy for Utah House District 63 Representative, Monday.
Credit http://www.colby4provo.com/

A college student at one Utah university is hoping to politically activate his peers by running for Utah’s Legislature.

Colby Johnson, a 25-year-old student at Utah Valley University announced Monday that he is running as a Republican candidate for the Utah House District 63 seat.


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Utah Legislature
5:40 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Utah Senate Rejects Bill To Increase Smoking Age To 21

S.B. 12 was rejected by the Senate with a 12-16 vote. The bill would've made Utah the only state in the nation where a person would have to be 21 years old to purchase tobacco products.
Credit April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

A bill that would have raised the legal age to buy tobacco products in Utah has died in the Senate. 

Senate Bill 12 would have made Utah the only state in the country where a person would have to be 21 years old to buy tobacco products.

Utah is one of four states where the purchasing age is 19, which is currently the highest age to buy tobacco products in the nation at the state level.

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Utah Environment
4:37 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Scientists Find Snowmelt Is Accelerated By Dust, Not Just Temperature

Dust events occur regularly each spring along the Wasatch Front, and they could be impacting how much water is ultimately available for Utah residents. This is the first story by Explore Utah Science in a series called “follow the flow”, that examines ongoing research to maintain the sustainability of Utah’s precious watersheds.
Credit April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

It is over 50 degrees, and it’s mid-February here in the winter backcountry of Millcreek Canyon, just east of Salt Lake City.  The snowpack is soft and slushy.  And it’s melting.  Whether this is climate change or not, skiers should be disappointed by this early melt-out.  For millions of people living in the Wasatch front valleys below, things might be ok, but only as long as the early snowmelt can still supply enough fresh water.  

Some think that warming temperatures are not the whole story here.

“There’s this popular misconception that snow melts faster because of increases in temperature,” says Tom Painter, who spoke at a TED talk last year.  “Now, it’s true that that’s the case.  But that’s not the primary driver.  The primary driver is absorbed solar radiation.”

Painter is a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and used to work at the University of Utah. He says the thing forcing snow to melt earlier is not just the temperature, but also darkly colored particles of dust.  

“There are little particles in there. Little black carbon particles, dust particles, pollen, that are just slowly absorbing a little bit of radiation, and putting that into the snow.”

When dust gets blown onto the snow’s surface, Painter says it reduces the snow’s albedo, or its ability to reflect back the sun’s radiation, causing it to melt faster.  About 10 years ago he and other researchers in Colorado began studying how dust from the four corners area was affecting the alpine snowpack of the San Juan Mountains in western Colorado, a major source of water feeding the Colorado river.

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Utah Legislature
3:50 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Caucus Bill Passes Committee After Compromise

State legislators have compromised with the Count My Vote initiative as it passed in the House Government Operations committee on Monday. A bill - SB54 - was amended to be inclusive to the Count My Vote movement.

Todd Weiler, a state senator from Bountiful, said if passed the bill would allow candidates to bypass the caucus system by collecting enough signatures to be on the voter ballot.

“The Count My Vote organizers have agreed to stop collecting signatures and to not submit the signatures," Weiler said. "They are going to effectively withdraw their language with SB 54.”

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Access Utah
11:05 am
Tue March 4, 2014

The Science of Air Quality on Tuesday's Access Utah

A while back, UPR listener Derek Butcher emailed us saying that he’s pleased that “UPR has devoted a fair amount of airtime to discussions of Utah's air quality...which is great because it's an important issue that affects all of us." 


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