Elaine Taylor

5:30 News Co-host / Reporter

After graduating with a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Utah, Elaine developed a love of radio while working long hours in remote parts of Utah as an archaeological field technician. She eventually started interning for the radio show Science Questions and fell completely in love with the medium. Elaine is currently taking classes at Utah State University in preparation for medical school applications. She is a host of UPR’s 5:30 Newscast and a science writer for the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. Elaine hopes to bring her experiences living abroad in Turkey and Austria into her work.

seattle.gov

A new poll measuring statewide opinions on same-sex marriage was released Monday. Some results of the survey were unexpected.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2007/11jul_greatperseids/

To view the Perseid shower, find clear, dark skies away from city lights. Give your eyes about 45 minutes to adjust to the dark, then look straight up to see as much sky as possible. If you have partly cloudy skies, you might still see bright meteors.

The peak time for meteor showers over Utah is between 3 and 4 a.m.

“When they hit the atmosphere they get really hot and they glow for just and instant, maybe a second or so, and then burn themselves out and whatever’s left we call micro-meteoric dust and that rains down on the ground. People probably have some in their hair right now." -Patrick Wiggins. 

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Earlier this week, the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints announced it would be reassigning missionaries stationed in two western Africa countries due to the Ebola outbreak.

Wednesday, the church announced that all missionaries have been safely removed from Sierra Leone and Liberia—two of four countries, including Guinea and more recently Nigeria, in which the deadly outbreak has surfaced.

cascadeclimbers.com

Climbers are mourning the loss of an iconic rock formation in the Fisher Towers area outside of Moab after the sandstone column toppled over on Thursday.

The 40-foot-tall tower known as "the Cobra" fell following a stormy week in eastern Utah.

Local climber and Operations Manager at Moab Cliffs and Canyons, Evan Clapper, called the geologic structure of the Cobra improbable.

The libertarian-minded public policy group Libertas Institute is funding a lawsuit against the Utah State School Board, which focuses on how Common Core standards were adopted.

Libertas President Connor Boyack said the state school board did not adequately consult parents, teachers and local school board members before the academic standards were adopted.

twitter.com

Former Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff made their first appearances in a Salt Lake City Court this week. 

Swallow and Shurtleff’s Wednesday morning court appearances were brief; both men maintained their innocence.

The two were arrested on July 15 and charged with a combined 23 counts, ranging from accepting bribes and tampering with evidence to the misuse of public money.

map of greater canyonlands
greatercanyonlands.org

Fourteen senators from across the U.S. have penned a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to declare the Greater Canyonlands region a national monument.

The area encompasses Canyonlands National Park and would expand protection to surrounding federal lands.

blm.gov

The start of the Blawn Wash Gather on Monday has once again sparked debate about the management of wild horses in Utah. 

Lisa Reid with the BLM says the roundup is going well. The BLM aims to collect 140 horses from state land in the south western portion of Utah.

“Thus far we’ve been able to gather 70 horses successfully, we’ve had no incidences, no deaths, everything had come in healthy, looks great and we couldn’t be more pleased with operations,” Reid said.

noaa.gov

The month of July may be coming to a close, but the wildfire season is not. Fires continue to burn across the state, from the Tunnel Hollow Fire near Morgan to the Levan fire south of Nephi.

Jason Curry with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands said Utah is on track for a normal fire year. However, he said the state’s seen fewer large fires so far this year. Curry explained why he thinks the state is seeing less catastrophic events.

Blue angels plane
Carl Berger / Utah Public Radio

The Thunder Over Utah Airshow will be in St. George this weekend. The event will feature historical reenactments, the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and some more quirky displays.

Between 20 and 25,000 residents and tourists are expected to attend the show this year. Show Director Kevin Walsh says he expects the event to be good for local businesses.

Walsh says he basically grew up at air shows. Both he and his father have each been in the business for more than 20 years. At the show Friday, he said he was excited to have the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform at the event.

georgia.gov

Infant mortality has been dropping in the United States; however, as a new study shows, some Utah babies are still more likely to die than others.

Jacob Fitisemanu, outreach director for the Office of Health Disparities at the Utah Department of Health, explained the study.

nasa.gov

UPR’s long-time go-to outer space and star guy Patrick Wiggins is being awarded NASA’s highest civilian honor. Wiggins is Utah’s Solar System Ambassador for NASA and his mission is to get the public outside and looking at the stars.

UPR spoke with Wiggins the day after he learned he’d be the first ambassador to receive the Distinguished Public Medal and, by his own account, he was still in shock.

Child immigrants
http://editorials.voa.gov/

This issue of immigration reform has been a major focus of President Obama's administration, particularly the children caught between borders. This week, one Utah representative expressed concern regarding the current state of illegal child immigration to the president. 


hatch.senate.gov

Monday morning, President Obama signed an executive order which aims to protect LGBT employees of federal contractors. The order will protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting LGBT workers from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The executive order will expand previous measures meant to protect federal employees to the 28 million workers employed by federal contractors, which account for about 20 percent of the nation’s workforce.

Elaine Taylor

A team of student scientists at Utah State University received a grant from NASA, and they’re learning more than just science.  The students will be launching a device to measure wind in Earth's upper atmosphere in August.

seattle.gov

Utah has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to extend a stay that is currently in place, which prevents nearly 1,300 same-sex couples married late last year from being recognized by the state.

birds sit on rock
National Park Service

High in the cliffs of Zion National Park, scientists and park officials have spotted a chick that may signal that there is hope for a species once on the brink of extinction.

“The California Condor is probably the most endangered bird in North America, mainly because the population had dwindled so low in the end of the 1980s that there were only 22 birds left in the wild,” said Fred Armstrong, division chief for resource management and research at Zion National Park. “It was a bird that was on its way to extinction.”

Two formerly top-level state official were arrested Tuesday morning and charged with a combined 23 counts, ranging from accepting bribes and tampering with evidence to the misuse of public money.

Former Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff were arrested at their homes and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Tuesday, with bail set at $250,000.

skincancerprevention.org

Utah has officially entered the dog days of summer, and with the heat comes the risk of burns.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 40 males and 1 in 50 females in the state will develop melanoma, one of three common types of skin cancer. Utah has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the nation. Dr. Nate Hanson, a dermatologist at Logan Regional Hospital, said the primary factors are ancestry and location.

NASA

 You might have recently heard the term “super moon” thrown around. These moons seem to be in vogue with the media because of their size and brightness; but are the super moons really that special? NASA Ambassador Patrick Wiggins doesn’t think we should get our hopes up.

“Don’t expect them to look that much different than a regular full moon,” Wiggins cautions.

So what makes a super moon? Well, the moon orbits the earth in an elliptical fashion, meaning its orbit isn’t completely circular.

Utah State University

Undergraduate researchers from Utah State University will soon attach an experiment onto a balloon the size of a stadium. The experiment has been years in the making. USU was selected to take part in a new NASA initiative that aims to involve students in research that could make an impact on the scientific community.

Student Team Leader and System Engineer Landon Terry describes what the experiment looks like.

“Well, it’s about a foot and a half by a foot by about a foot tall and it looks like kind of a shoe box,” said Terry.

seattle.gov

 Utah will be taking the fight over gay marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court. The state attorney general’s office announced Wednesday it would be challenging a June 25 ruling from a federal appeals court. The statement said Attorney General Sean Reyes has a duty to defend state laws, and that Amendment 3 would be presumed constitutional unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Utah Prairie Dog was first listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1973. It remains listed as ‘threatened’ today, meaning residents of its native territory have had to come up with creative ways of keeping the rodent out of prime burrowing habitat.

“Prairie dogs are all over Iron County and there are many on the public golf course and many in the Cedar City cemetery,” said Rick Holman, city manager for Cedar City.

Aggie Ice Cream

Nut lovers may have a hard time getting ahold of their favorite ice cream flavors at Aggie Ice Cream this summer. The Logan based creamery announced some flavors may be in limited supply due to the ongoing drought in California that has been hurting nut growers in parts of the state.

Elaine Taylor

Though it’s not the traditional season of giving, food banks across the state are in need, and local gardeners could be part of the answer. According to the Utah Food Bank’s Heidi Cannella, demand for food is actually at its highest in the summer.

“We have our summer business food drive in the summer because kids are out of school without access to school meal programs, but donations are at their lowest,” said Cannella. “It’s actually a very critical time for us.”

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