April Ashland

Web Manager / Reporter

April worked first as an intern for UPR, before graduating from Utah State University with a B.S. in Journalism. Now she manages all things web and social, while reporting on current events from time to time.

April also helps train new reporting interns in story production- from the idea to the final product on air and online.


Utah Money
5:44 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Volunteers Help Low Income, Foreign Workers File Taxes

A volunteer at the USU VITA site enters into the tax program. Tax volunteers will be available around the state between now and April 1.

Jena is one of hundreds of volunteers working mornings, evenings and weekends to help Utahns file their taxes- for free. The catch? You need to have made less than $52,000 in 2013.

"Back in 1969, the congress mandated to the Internal Revenue service that they assist the general public with tax filing, due to the complexity of the tax code. So out of that came the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program," said IRS Spokesman Bill Brunson.

The VITA program is almost entirely run by volunteers, and sites are usually located at community and neighborhood centers, such as libraries and schools.

At Utah State University, the Beta Alpha Psi honor society will spend their Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings from Feb. 4 to April 1 helping the public with their taxes. Just like other volunteers around the state, they've spent weeks preparing, learning, and testing to be able to file taxes.

Beta Alpha Psi Faculty Advisor Bonnie Villarreal said the students receive training, just as all VITA volunteers would.

"The IRS provides training materials to us, and tests that have to be passed for someone to work in the VITA clinic. They have to get an 80 percent, and they only get two tries at it," Villarreal said. "Every volunteer gets trained in the standards of conduct that the IRS expects, and there are different levels and topics of tax law they can be trained in depending on what they want to be able to do."

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Utah Money
5:26 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Tax-Filing Season Begins Friday

Jan. 31 marks the beginning of tax-filing season and is the deadline to receive W-2 and 1099 forms.
Credit Internal Revenue Service

Tax-filing season is here again and is scheduled to run from Jan. 31 to April 15. However, tax payers can file for more time if needed.

"If an individual needs additional time to file, they can request it by filing a form 4868 on or before midnight Tuesday April 15, and receive an additional six months of time to submit the return, not pay the tax," said Bill Brunson, Internal Revenue Service spokesman.

Friday is also the due date for employees to receive W-2 forms -- wage and tax statements -- and 1099 forms for interest on bank accounts and dividends from mutual funds.

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Utah Politics
4:27 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Immigration Reform In Six Steps: US House GOP Releases Immigration Statement

U.S. House Republican leaders released their guidelines for a bi-partisan effort to overhaul the immigration system on Thursday. The Republican statement on standards for immigration reform call for a step-by-step approach and multiple little bills rather than one large piece of legislation few understand.

The statement says, "Our nation's immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced. Washington's failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security."

Former Utah Republican Chairman Stan Lockhart said he knows this all too well.

"So in Utah we've actually had our state legislature get involved in this issue because the federal government just showed so much inaction, and it's our experience that the current policies with the extreme difficulty to get a legal visa has created an environment of de-facto amnesty," Lockhart said.

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Utah Education
5:29 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

University Of Utah, USU Address Issues In Response To Summer Audit

In July of 2013, the state released an audit showing the University of Utah Red Zone stores were competing with private sector businesses. Two Utah universities respond to the audit from July stating they were in competition with local businesses.

The Board of Regents policy the groups were in violation of, states institutions cannot provide services to those who are not members of the campus community, except in specific circumstances.

The Utah Red Zone stores will be closing as the leases on the buildings run out. Other university groups were also mentioned in the audit.

The audit says, "While not as great a concern as the off-campus Red Zone stores, the on-campus enterprises also are required to avoid directly marketing or providing extensive services to the general public."

USU's University Inn and the University Conference Center were listed as appearing to violate the Board of Regents policy, a claim the university says has been addressed.

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5:00 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Our Obligation: Environmental Activism in Utah

Paul and Lisa talk about their environmental activism in St. George.

Lisa and Paul remember how they met after both had moved to St. George to work on environmental issues.  They stayed up all night talking and found they had a lot in common including preserving the environment for future generations.  They have children and grandchildren and are concerned about their future.

Paul: I went to the University of Utah after I graduated from East High School, and enjoyed the time there. I joined an army reserve unit, which seems to be an experience that changed the direction of my life, because it was a legal unit, and I saw that lawyering was very interesting. I became a trained court reporter, and was eventually accepted into law school in about 1962. I worked in the county attorney's office as a prosecutor for seven years, and then ran for the office of Salt Lake County District attorney and was elected in Salt Lake County in 1974.

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Utah Education
6:08 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Education Events Around Utah Inform Parents Of School Choices

Credit 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.

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5:36 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

The Road To Parenthood: Adoption And Miracles

Teri and Rich with their children.

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?"

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4:22 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

"Dad, I Have AIDS": One Man's Journey To Gay Rights Advocacy

George and his daughter Rene talk about the tumultuous year 1991 at StoryCorps.

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.

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3:13 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Surviving An Unexpected Flash Flood In The Narrows

Greer Chesher and Barb Graves discuss life as rangers in Zion National Park

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.

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1:45 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Love At First Wave

LoAnne and Dale Barnes met at the Wave in Southern Utah. Here they share their story.

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.

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