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.

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.”

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.

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