April Ashland

Webmaster | Social Media Manager | Reporter

April worked first as an intern for UPR, before graduating from Utah State University with a B.S. in Print Journalism. Now she manages all things web and social, while reporting on current events from time to time. She's a crochet, warm tea and books kind of gal, and her current obsession is with NPR's Serial.

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Ogden School District

Millions of Americans will voice their support for educational opportunity during the fourth-annual National School Choice Week, which begins on Jan. 26. An unprecedented 5,500 events across all 50 states will be taking place between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1.

Andrew Campanella is the president of National School Choice Week, and said the events will be held within individual communities around the country.

"We're looking at everything from rallies to round-table discussions, movie screenings. People getting together in individual homes and community centers, and talking about making good choices for their children, the options they have. Families in Utah have a lot of options. They do have school choice," Campanella said.

School choice means parents deciding how their children are educated- through all forms of education.
 


The Road To Parenthood: Adoption And Miracles

Jan 9, 2014
adoption, storycorps
TERI GUY / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Teri and Rich Guy talk at StoryCorps in St. George, about adopting their daughter, Tessa.

"We got married, and after we were together for a couple years it was like, 'OK. Gosh, wouldn't it be fun to share some of these experiences with a little one?'" Rich said. "But we had a problem actually, because Teri couldn't get pregnant. It wasn't just you, because I had a low sperm count. I think... what did the doctors tell you?"

StoryCorps, AIDS, Gay rights
STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Rene Stoddard Fleming, 53, interviewed her father George Stoddard, 77, in the StoryCorps booth June 1, 2013. She and her father talk about the turbulence of 1991, and how that year changed George's life forever.

January 17, 1991, George arrived home from a trip to Atlanta, and received some devastating news.

"I had been an airline pilot for at Houston Airlines for 28 years and we got home and there was a voice message on my telephone which simply stated, 'Captain Stoddard, you do not have to show up to your trip tomorrow. We’re shutting the airline down tonight at midnight,'" he said.

StoryCorps park rangers
STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Former Zion National Park Ranger Greer Chesher talks with Barb Graves. Chesher recalls her experience surviving a flash flood in the Zion Narrows.

We hiked from Russell Gulch down into the [Narrows]. There were about six of us park rangers, all women except one.

But we hiked in there- we had a lot of rapelling to do. The weather report was fine. We were on a rappel, I was the first one over, and it was maybe 20 feet or something like that.

And so I took off my pack and set it on the canyon floor. The canyon is only about 10 feet wide, you could touch wall to wall, but about 1,500 feet deep. Just these straight canyon walls, like you're in a room. A hallway, a really deep hallway.

So I was on this rappel, I get down, take off my pack and I look up the rope at the next person who's coming down and my eyes just kept coursing up along the canyon walls until I saw the sky, which was black as night.

I just went, 'RUN!' and I ran. I turned around and ran. I put my pack back on, and ran down the canyon, because I knew we had to find a place out of there, a way out.

Love At First Wave

Dec 5, 2013
The wave, love story
STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

LoAnne and Dale Barnes told their love story in the StoryCorps booth in May. The two met by chance in St. George after retiring.

LoAnne: So when I got ready to retire, I thought, well- I should look into Southern Utah. I was a high school librarian in Seattle, Washington and I used to come back to Southern Utah every spring vacation.

I retired in 1997. I'm LoAnne Barnes, I'm 76.

Dale: When I was a Boy Scout, we came down to St. George on an outing. It was cold in Wyoming, it was juts after Memorial day, and we got down to St. George and it was just perfect weather. It hadn't gotten real hot and I thought, 'Wow, this is paradise. I'd really like to live here.'

I'm Dale Barnes, I'll be 80 in December.

So after I retired from Questar, I came down and looked all around the area, and found a lot out in Leeds.

homeless youth, foster care,
SHAYLEE HATCH

When an Idaho native discovered that 65 percent of foster children who turn 18 become homeless, she decided to help. Last week, she volunteered to be homeless for five days.

20-year-old Shaylee Hatch spent her Thanksgiving week on the streets of Boise and Salt Lake City to raise awareness for the homeless youth, specifically those who have been kicked out of the foster care system at age 18 with nowhere to go.

“Thanksgiving is a big holiday where people are really giving and grateful and I just felt really strongly that would be the perfect time to do something like this. I wanted people to actually take the time to hear it,” she said.

So from Tuesday to Saturday, she and a few friends sat on the streets. No food, no water, and nowhere to sleep.

Growing Up In The Great Depression

Dec 2, 2013
Wilma Angius, world war 2,
STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Robust and healthy in appearance, 94-year-old Rockville, Utah resident Wilma Angius talked with her daughter Kate Starling, about growing up in rural Missouri during the depression. Wilma revealed an unexpected personal experience she had during World War 2.

Wilma grew up on a farm just across the Missouri river from Glasgow, Missouri. She said the town had about 2,000 people, and is where her family would go for supplies.


Best Friends Animal Society, no kill shelter, animal shelter, Kanab Utah
STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Francis Battista (68) talks with his friend and colleague Cyrus Mejía (66) about founding the animal sanctuary Best Friends Animal Society.  He talks about the beginnings of the shelter, the ethics it was founded upon, and events that have put Best Friends in the national spotlight as a model for animal rescue work.

MEJIA: At some point, we started getting a whole lot more animals, because we took on animal control.

BATTISTA: The way it happened was this: We arrived and amongst the group of us, we had about 200 animals with us. One of our dogs wandered off, this was shortly after we got there. One of our colleagues went looking for his dog which had been lost, and he went to the local pound, which was basically a tin-roof shed, in a field, in the back of the airport.

Activists for Polygamy: We are not Victims

Nov 8, 2013
Marlyne and Priscilla Hammon
STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Priscilla and Marlyne Hammon are sisters, who married the brothers who talked last week on StoryCorps. They two now discuss how laws against polygamists have affected their lives and how they became activists for plural marriage.

PRISCILLA: Marlyne and I consider ourselves full sisters, but there's something interesting about us because while we share the same father, we both have different mothers, so we grew up having five mothers in our home, which was a very positive experience for us, unlike so much negativity that you hear about polygamy. Our experience was totally different.

StoryCorps, Dixie Regional Medical Center
STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Chelsea Bundy was a 3-year-old girl from St. George when she met Thomas Taylor. Taylor worked at Dixie Regional medical Center. He came to the StoryCorps booth in St. George to tell her story.

Chelsea was at a family outing when she was hit by one of her cousins driving an ATV- crushed between a fire hydrant and the ATV. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was in critical condition.

"She arrived at the hospital, she was unconscious, very pale. Her tummy was starting to swell because there was some internal bleeding," Taylor said. "The ER doctor said she probably was not going to survive."

Dixie Regional Medical Center, Metcalf, st. george,
STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Terri Kane, CEO of Dixie Regional Medical Center interviewed Ron Metcalf, chairman of the Center's board,  about the history of the Dixie Regional Medical Center- and the years before it was known as such. Metcalf's family moved to St. George in the '60s, and his family has been involved with the hospital since.

St. George was a dry and desolate area, in the eyes of young Metcalf. His father owned a mortuary in town, and since the town didn't have an ambulance, his father was asked to provide one.

"They asked the mortuaries to provide the ambulance service simply because the mortuaries had the vehicles, they had the equipment and had stretchers they would use  in their profession. This lent itself to being able to help people when the need arose in an emergency," Metcalf said.


Fireman rob, september 11, storycorps
STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Robert Verhelst ran the St. George Ironman in May. He runs many full and half Ironmans in full firefighter gear, which weighs 50 pounds,  as a token of remembrance for Sept. 11, 2001.

In 2001 Rob did 8 days of search and recovery under the wreckage of the Twin Towers. He said he still remembers what it was like.

KILEE QUIGLEY, ANGIE'S

Join UPR on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Angie's for special menu options, a chance to meet the Utah Public Radio Staff and to give back.

From 5 to 10 p.m., 20 percent of all menu purchases will be donated to UPR. Choose from Angie's usual menu, or one of four specials:

Habitat for Humanity, storycorps
STORYCORPS

Sonya Gelter is a single mom of five children, and she was the recipient of a zero-percent loan for a Habitat for Humanity home. She was interviewed by Lil Barron, a Habitat for Humanity employee, in the booth at StoryCorps.

"I was just getting divorced. I had five children, and we were on our way to losing a home," Sonya said of her life just prior to her Habitat for Humanity experience. "I didn't know what to do, or where to go. I had these five kids, my youngest, the twins, were a year and a half old."


Daniel and Bunny McArthur tell the story of their experiences in childbirth. Then, after the youngest of 6 children was in kindergarten, Bunny decided to finish college- at the same time as 3 of her children.

"All the rest of our children were miracle babies. Jeff was 3 weeks early, we didn't know anything wrong," Daniel said.

Mike Empey speaks with his friend Glenn Rogers about what he has learned as a member of the Shivwits Band of Paiutes. Rogers remembers spending his early years getting an education in a small community where he was a minority. He continues to work with Paiute Indians to help educate and improve the quality of life on the reservation.


StoryCorps park rangers
STORYCORPS / UTAH PUBLIC RADIO

Greer Chesher and Barb Graves talk about their time as Park Rangers in Zion National Park.

Barb and Greer first met as park rangers in 1981. Barb Graves came from being a fire fighter from the forest service. She was one of the first female fire fighters to be hired and trained.

StoryCorps, Antone Bringhurst, luzon bringhurst, wayne bringhurst
STORYCORPS

The children of Hilda and Leo Bringhurst share stories of growing up in Toquerville, Utah between 1930 and the 1950’s.  Luzon, Wayne, and Antone Bringhurst remember working on the family farm and reading with their mother.

Carl and Shari Berger have been married almost 55 years, and it's been a good run.

What Carl calls "one of the most exciting and most stressful and most interesting years, was that one year in 1997."

While returning from a trip to New Orleans, Carl started pacing in the airport. What started as a need to walk soon turned into something very different.

Jeanine VanderBruggen and Teresa Orton are cousins, and gathered in St. George to tell their story of Pioneer heritage.

Teresa took on the presidency of the St. George chapter of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers at a time when she didn't have a job. Teresa said she'd always been interested in genealogy, but working with the museum gave her new eyes for what she did.

APRIL ASHLAND / Utah Public Radio

Logan plays host to people from around the country each summer, from church youth groups and cheer camps to the summer citizens, escaping the heat of the southwest and beyond for the relatively cool Logan summer. But on campus, there's another group with students from around the world.

There are  students from Japan,  China, Syria, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Yemen, Haiti, Tajikistan and the Congo. Why are these students here? To learn of course.

Alisha Weigle was born into a family of 46 children, with three mothers, and a father, in the Colorado City polygamous compound in Arizona.

"I was one of the few that went away and went to college in Cedar City," Alisha said. "I got a degree in education, but I also got my eyes opened in a big way as to what the real world was."

Martha Ham interviewed her friend Michelle Thomas in the StoryCorps booth in St. George in May, about her experiences during the nuclear bomb testing done at the Nevada test site, just over 100 miles from St. George during the Cold War.


In May and early June, Utah Public Radio was in St. George with the StoryCorps mobile bus. We've partnered with Dixie Regional Medical Center to bring you the stories from Southern Utah for your listening pleasure.

Beginning July 11 at 7:35 a.m. you can listen to the stories of Southern Utah: The National parks, the down-winders, the locals. Listen and learn, and join us on the journey of discovery.

Governor Gary R. Herbert named Carlos Braceras the executive director of UDOT Monday, to replace reitred director John Njord.  Braceras is now responsible for UDOT’s 1,800 employees and the design, construction, and maintenance of Utah’s 6,000-mile system of roads and highways.

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