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.

Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft
http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_coloradorivercorridor_1956crash.html / Arizona State University

The TWA-United Midair collision of 1956 happened 58 years ago Monday above the Grand Canyon. The crash between a Trans World Airlines Super Constellation aircraft and a United Airlines DC-7 killed 128 people and sparked the creation of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Grand Canyon National Park’s Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski said the crash was one of a number of tragic accidents that lead to federal hearings, creating the FAA and initiating the use of radar and black boxes, technology not present in the two aircraft.

drought.gov

All 29 Utah Counties are now included on the disaster declaration list from the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to ongoing drought across the West.

In a letter to Gov. Gary Herbert earlier this week, U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack informed state officials that Uintah and Duchesne counties were added to the list. They were the only two counties not included before the change.

seattle.gov

On Wednesday, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision from a Utah judge striking down the state’s gay marriage ban. 

Six months after the state appealed Judge Shelby’s ruling, which found Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, a three-judge panel from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision in a 2-1 ruling. However, with the ruling, the court put an immediate stay on the decision.

epa.org

Though the sun is still the primary source of light for most gardeners, many rely on electric lights some of the time. But varying claims on the efficiency of these lights from different manufacturers has left many growers confused about which products to use, according to Bruce Bugbee.

Bugbee, a professor in Utah State University’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, along with graduate student Jacob Nelson decided to look into these claims, publishing an article on the topic in the journal PLOS ONE.

Dinosaur National Monument

Scientists from Brigham Young University and Dinosaur National Monument have teamed up to map the famous “wall of bones,” a sandstone slab containing more than a thousand dinosaur fossils.

Using a laser scanner and photogrammetry, Brooks Britt, a BYU professor and paleontologist, is working to put together the most accurate model of the wall since 1936.

Over the years, fossils of dinosaurs dating back 150 million years to the late Jurassic have been removed from the 5,000 square foot wall.

Waichert and Pitts

A collection of insects 80 years in the making is heading to Utah, and bringing over a million specimens with it. The American Entomological Institute is relocating from its long-time home of Florida to Utah State University.

Biology Professor James Pitts said the collection, which was started in 1934, will increase USU’s insect holdings by 50 percent.

Dog plays in pool
St. George Animal Shelter

A year after allegations of mismanagement, animal abuse and neglect, the St. George Animal Shelter is holding a re-opening celebration to showcase the changes that have been made to the facility.

The shelter is re-opening with a new director, Sgt. Ivor Fuller, and new facilities including kennels that give animals access to the outdoors and dog runs.

Fuller said one of the biggest changes is the no-kill policy.

energy.gov

A graduate student from a Utah university is looking into the feasibility of Logan City using geothermal energy as part of a $4,000 DEED grant.

Blake Thomas is a master’s student in the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University. He said he’ll explore whether geothermal energy is feasible in the land surrounding Logan, along with economic and transportation costs.

USPS

150 years after Nevada became a state, a Sagebrush State artist with Utah ties has designed the U.S. Postal Service’s Forever Stamp celebrating the  anniversary.

Southern Utah University Professor of Drawing Ron Spears was commissioned by the USPS to design the stamp two and a half years ago. He said he submitted 15 initial designs before the final location for the painting was selected. The stamp, which was released late last month, features a sunrise at Fire Canyon in the Valley of Fire State Park.

FiveThirtyEight

A new study from polling site FiveThirtyEight and the U.S. Census Bureau has confirmed what state democrats say they already know—despite increased talk about education in the state, funding is dwindling.

Image of skulls from the study.
Biological Reviews journal

A new study from researchers at the University of Utah suggests Homo sapiens’ ancestors evolved to take a punch to the face.

The research suggests that violence stemming from male competition for access to mates millions of years ago has influenced the shape of the hominin skull, making it robust in areas it wouldn’t need to be if it had evolved only for eating.

“The face and the head are the most commonly struck targets and those areas of the face that are hit the most are the areas that show the most increase in robustness throughout our evolution,” said author Michael Morgan, an emergency medicine resident at the University of Utah.

Map of road closures
National Park Service

After years of growing visitation numbers, Arches National Park near Moab will be expanding one of its largest parking lots.

The Devils Garden parking lot will be closed for construction for 10 days in June. Between the 16th and the 26th visitors to the park won’t be able to access one of the most popular trails that features land marks such as Landscape Arch, Double O arch and the Primitive Loop Trail.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The number of cases of measles in the United States in 2014 has already doubled compared to the total number of cases seen during 2013. On Tuesday, Utah’s first case of the respiratory illness was confirmed by the Utah Department of Health, adding to the growing number of cases seen since the illness was eliminated from the U.S. 14 years ago.

Women entering college tend to face an increased risk of eating disorders, especially those who are Caucasian, religious and achievement orientated. Though these risk factors describe many students at Brigham Young University, new research from the school shows women there are bucking the national trend.

Researchers from BYU conducted a longitudinal study, tracking hundreds of women’s responses to eating disorder questionnaires over three years.

seattle.gov

Two and a half weeks after a federal judge ordered the state of Utah to recognize the 1,300 same-sex marriages performed in Dec. and Jan., the state has announced its plan to appeal the ruling.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gary Herbert and State Attorney General Sean Reyes filed a notice of appeal in federal court saying they would challenge U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball’s May 19 ruling.

Beer
http://www.beerinstitute.org/

A new report released by the Beer Institute, the national beer industry representative, shows the growing economic impact beer brewing has on the state’s economy. According to the report, beer brings in a total of $179 million in local, state and federal taxes, with a total economic impact of over $1 billion.

Logan Canyon
www.fhwa.dot.gov

A rescue effort was underway Wednesday in Logan Canyon. Two women, who claim to have been stranded for multiple days in the canyon, contacted another hiker in the area around 10 a.m. who called for help.

Medical and search and rescue crews were dispatched to Logan Canyon where they assisted the 19- and 46-year-old women down the mountain. However, the case has taken a criminal turn since the rescue.


NASA

Earthlings may finally get a glimpse of a meteor shower hundreds of years in the making on Friday, that’s if the comet called 209P/LINEAR left enough space dust in its trail to be visible in Earth’s night sky.

“If, 200 years ago when nobody knew it existed, it was a really active comet that threw off a bunch of stuff, we’re in for a great show. If, however, it was not an active comet, we may be just standing out there watching the sky and not seeing much,” said Utah's NASA Ambassador Patrick Wiggins.

flag
seattle.gov

A federal judge has ordered that the state of Utah must recognize same-sex marriages performed during the 17-day window following the Dec. 20 ruling that struck down a same-sex marriage ban in the state. 1,300 couples were issued licenses in the time between the ruling and the Supreme Court’s temporary halt of the marriages.

In his ruling Monday, federal Judge Dale Kimball wrote that the state has placed the couples in “legal limbo with respect to adoptions, child care and custody, medical decisions,” and other rights associated with marriage.

Scientists have long wondered if a species would evolve in the same way if you were to go back in time and start its evolution over; or if nature would take a different course the second time around.

Utah State University Assistant Professor of biology Zach Gompert had wondered this too. So, using walking stick insects that call different plants home, he set out to find an answer.

The renegotiation of the joint agreement between the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune is once again making news. The new agreement, which was put in place at the beginning of the year, changed the Trib’s portion of the two newspapers’ shared revenue from a long-term 58 percent to 30 percent.

Utah Senator Jim Dabakis said the Trib is likely to go under in the next two months, thanks to what he calls an illegal agreement between the Deseret News and Tribune owner Alden Global Capital.

LGBT rainbow flag
www.seattle.gov

A federal judge has refused to put gay marriages on hold in Idaho pending an appeal from the state’s governor.

U.S. District Magistrate Judy Candy Dale wrote Wednesday morning that Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s appeal isn’t likely to succeed, so there’s no reason to keep same-sex couples from seeking marriage licenses or marrying.

Same-sex couples in Idaho will be able to begin marrying at 9 a.m. Friday.

Aspen trees on a hillside
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service

Utah’s new official tree, the aspen, may possibly be the largest of all state trees if you look at it like scientists do—as a clone colony, which can grow to weigh 13 million pounds.

The aspen trees you see above the ground are better thought of as stems of a much larger underground organism, according to Utah State University extension agent Jody Gale.

Karl Beckstrand

National Astronomy Day is on Saturday. The holiday marks a day that professional and amateur astronomers gather to enjoy the night sky together. The Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City is hosting an event in celebration of Astronomy Day, including a book signing by Karl Beckstrand, author of Bright Star, Night Star: An Astronomy Story.

“It’s kind of a primer for kids who are getting their first exposure to astronomy and the night sky,” Beckstrand said.

star
The University of Utah

A new star discovered by a team from the University of Utah, in collaboration with astronomers in China, makes the star at the center of our solar system seem a bit boring.

Pages