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.

Part 6: Aging Alone

May 7, 2014
woman stands in front of house
Utah Public Radio, Elaine Taylor

"My Address Is" is a Utah Public Radio series exploring Utah issues associated with how and where we live. This is part six of six.

“My name is LaRue, and that's L-a capital R-u-e. It means ‘the street’ and I always figured it meant I’d been walked on all my life [laughter], which is not true. Anyways, my address is ‘home.’”

As baby boomers hit retirement and the U.S. population ages, more and more people are left living alone in their later years. And more are choosing to stay at home.

LaRue Willis was born in Idaho in 1928. She married her husband in 1953 and together they had eight children. Three years ago her husband passed away, leaving LaRue to forge a new life for herself – alone. On the day I met with LaRue in her ranch-style house in northern Cache Valley, she described how hard the last few years had been.

“The hardest part is the loneliness. Sometimes I get panic attacks when I am alone and it’s really difficult.”

As many college students graduate around the state this weekend, another May tradition will be underway as well. Free Comic Book Day takes place on the first Saturday of May each year. I called up one local comic book store to learn a little about the holiday.

*Rinnnggg*… “Death Ray Comics, *pew*, *pew*”

Death Ray Comics is a small store in downtown Logan that sells comic books and other nerd-friendly merchandise. Trent Hunsaker is the owner, though he prefers to go by a different title.

The international language of science is English, but for the large number of researchers who don’t speak the language, making their work accessible to the international community can be a challenge.

A new book titled Dinosaurs and Other Reptiles from the Mesozoic of Mexico was edited by Utah State University Paleontologist Ken Carpenter. In the book, researchers who work across Mexico translated their work to English. Carpenter then edited the information.

crow flying
National Park Service

Hunters in Utah may get a chance to pursue a few new kinds of birds this coming season. Biologists from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will be sharing proposals to allow the hunting of crows and turkeys, and increasing the bag limits on other currently hunted birds.

Division of Wildlife Resources Migratory Game Bird Coordinator Blair Stringham says many western states already allow crow hunting.

A problem that has been brewing in a southern Nevada city for years may finally be addressed after residential outcry.

Residents of the Highland Hills neighborhood in Mesquite say their homes were built within a 200-foot buffer zone that supposedly surrounded a preexisting landfill.

Now, residents are sometimes able to hear their homes crack as the landfill settles and shifts beneath their feet.

Mesquite city manager Andy Barton said the city is aware of the issue and is currently investigating.

Golden eagle sits in tree.
usgs.gov

Wyoming wildlife authorities said an electrocuted golden eagle found last month is the second-oldest of the species discovered in North America.

Wyoming Fish and Game Department Biologist Tim Thomas said the bird was banded — or given a special ID number — more than 30 years ago in the northeastern portion of the state. 

    

“This particular bird was banded in the nest, so we know it was the young of that year in 1983,” Thomas said. “It was part of a study to look at the ability to move nests in the Powder River Basin ahead of coal mining.”

American Atheists

This weekend, as thousands of Utahns celebrate Easter and Passover, hundreds of people will gather at the American Atheists national conference in Salt Lake City.

According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, 16 percent of Americans identify as atheist, agnostic or “nothing.” 

pink dinosaur in sunset
city-data.com

Dinah is Utah’s pinkest dinosaur, and she may soon become the state’s prettiest now that the city of Vernal has approved a makeover for her. Dinah the dinosaur is a 40-foot-tall Brontosaurus (scientifically known as “Apatosaurus”) that sits on the east end of Vernal City. Originally built in 1958 as part of the Dine-A-Ville Motel, Dinah was given to the city in the 1990s.

organic food store checkout
Elaine Taylor / Utah Public Radio

Organic foods used to be reserved for Chaco-wearing granola types, but these days the industry is growing quickly. New organic grocery stores have opened across the state in the past year. Logan saw the grand opening of Natural Grocers on Tuesday, a chain store that has seen success in less urban areas.

Utah State University professor Tamara Steinitz says people are becoming more interested in knowing their food’s history.

“It’s one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the food industry. People are more interested in knowing where their food comes from, how it’s grown, what’s put into it or not put into it, care of the animals, use of pesticides, hormones, things like that,” Steinitz said.

The new store was busy Tuesday afternoon, with many families and college students wandering the aisles. Many shoppers said they were excited to have a wider organic selection available. A few, like Evan, a shopper who we caught up with outside of the store are still a bit skeptical of organics.

The virgin river
ut.water.usgs.gov

Continued drought in southern Utah has once again sparked a debate over the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline.

Current numbers show the statewide snowpack to be 105 percent of normal in the northern portion of the state and 80 percent in the south, with the Virgin River Basin totaling just 45 percent of normal.

The proposed pipeline would carry water from Lake Powell to the more populated southwestern corner of the state via a 140 mile pipeline. The cost of the pipeline is estimated at over $1 billion. It would essentially double the water available to the region.

Elaine Taylor

Crowdfunding for music and artistic projects has become common practice in recent years, but using an online crowdsourcing platform to fund small businesses has only recently started to gain traction.

Utah State University Professor and Director of the Clark Center for Entrepreneurship Mike Glauser said using crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter lets business owners bypass traditional industry mechanisms.

Logan City

If you’re planning on doing a bit of spring cleaning this weekend, make sure you know which products are safe to throw away and which need proper hazardous waste disposal.

Utah County is trying to make the sorting process easier by offering a special collection of hazardous items this Saturday. Utah County Health Department spokesman Lance Madigan said items including old gasoline, paint, light bulbs, and electronics will be collected at the event.

Senior citizens at Utah State University's Summer Citizens Program.
Utah State University

Warm weather and blue skies across the state this week mark the time of year when a mass migration gets underway—that of the snowbird. These senior citizens live part time in the warm southern parts of the U.S. and spend summers in the North.

Many Utahns travel between the St. George region and the Wasatch Front each year. Assistant St. George City Manager Marc Mortensen said citizens arrive in October and leave around Easter Weekend.

fws.org

Wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountains remain stable, that’s according to a new report out Friday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with state agencies compiled the yearly report that looks at the status of wolf population since the species’ delisting from the endangered species list three years ago.

houses in a row
U.S. Department of Transportation

A new study conducted by Utah researchers shows the benefits of living in urban areas instead of suburban neighborhoods. The study, led by University of Utah Metropolitan Research Center Director Reid Ewing, shows people who live in urban areas spend less on housing and transportation costs, tend to be healthier, and have greater economic opportunity.

A national study looking at the welfare of children shows that children of color tend to fall behind their white peers in measurements of milestones of success. The Annie E. Casey study compared children in 12 measures of success, including birth weight, attendance of pre-k programs, and the completion of a secondary degree by the age of 29.

Results in Utah tend to reflect the rest of the nation. Terry Haven with Voices for Utah Children, a group involved in study, says children of color are over-represented in negative outcomes.

Utah’s kill rate for animals in shelters has dropped by nearly 30 percent in the last 15 years, and a new coalition of animal welfare groups is hoping to push that number even lower.

A new campaign titled No-Kill Utah was launched Sunday by the Best Friends Animal Society and a coalition of 36 other animal welfare groups.  Best Friends’ CEO Gregory Castle explained the goal is for the state to reach no-kill status, which means finding homes for at least 90 percent of the animals taken in by shelters.

Earlier this week a Salt Lake City homeowner attempting to put in a backyard pond uncovered human remains. The Salt Lake City Police Department determined the bones were ancient. Now, specialists from the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts are investigating. The department’s Geoffrey Fattah explained.

Pheasant flies
DWR;Michael Christensen

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is looking for foster families for nearly 3,000 pheasant chicks. The DWR’s Dean Mitchell said the chicks will need families to care for them from May through October, when they will be released to state wildlife and waterfowl management areas.

“The purpose behind this program is to really get people interested in wildlife and engaged in wildlife and wildlife conservation here in Utah,” Mitchell said.

Utah will receive $19.6 million in an annual payout of taxes from the federal government to be used for fish and wildlife conservation projects.The allocated money is part of $1.1 billion in taxes collected on sporting and boating equipment each year.

Mark Hadley from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says many Utahns don’t realize hunters and anglers pay for much of the wildlife conservation efforts in the state.

jobs.utah.gov

The Department of Workforce Services released a new jobs report for Feb. on Friday.

The unemployment rate remains at 3.9 percent, the same as it was Jan. and a five year low for the state. 32,000 jobs have been added to Utah’s economy since Feb. of 2013.

Nic Dunn with DWS said the state has seen growth in nearly all sectors.

“What we’re seeing in Utah is a lot of diverse growth. Were actually the fourth most diverse economy in the nation and a hallmark of a strong economy is a diverse economy,” Dunn said.

Two BASE jumpers were killed over the weekend in separate incidents in Zion National Park and Mineral Canyon, west of Moab. These mark the second and third BASE related deaths in the last two months in Utah.

BASE, or “Building, Antenna, Span, Earth” jumping evolved out of sky diving in the late 1970s. The sport only started to gain a more mainstream following 15 years ago, as more legal areas to jump were discovered and advances to BASE gear made jumps less risky.

Tom Aiello is the chief BASE instructor at Snake River BASE Academy, he says the increased number of fatalities is to be expected.

“As the number of participants increases, the total number of incidents will increase, even if the incident rate itself—the incidents per jump—is decreasing. Although from the outside you may look at it and say it seems like incidents have climbed a lot, incidents per participant haven’t actually and in fact may have decreased in the last 10 years,” Aiello said.

Bones of Anzu wyliei
Matthew C. LamannaHans-Dieter SuesEmma R. SchachnerTyler R. Lyson

A feathered, beaked dinosaur discovered in the Northern Plains states has ties to Utah.

Emma Schachner is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Utah, and is part of the team that discovered the dinosaur in the mid-2000s.

The dinosaur, called Anzu wyliei, was announced in a PLOS ONE journal article Wednesday.

Schachner said the dinosaur would have lived in a warm, humid environment along the flood plains of a river around 65 million years ago.

Baby pigs with mother hog.
www.ars.usda.gov

As UPR listeners who enjoy bacon or ham may have already noticed, the price of pork has been rising steadily for the last four weeks. The cause of the increase is a swine virus called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea or PEDv that experts suspect made its way over from Asia in 2013. 

Livestock Marketing Information Center Director Jim Rob says the disease began spreading rapidly in pork producing states, including Utah, late 2013.

The virus causes cold-like symptoms in adult pigs but can be deadly for piglets.

business.utah.gov

A handful of ski resorts across northern Utah were forced to close Monday due to unusually high winds. Gusts reached 118 mph at Snowbird’s Hidden Peak. The resort closed all of its lifts Monday afternoon, reopening only half of them later in the day.

Snowbasin halted operation for all of its lifts. The resort's Jason Dryer explained the conditions worsened with elevation.

“We were seeing anything down low at the bottom of 50 to 60 mph, but up at the top of Mt. Ogden we got a recording as high as 91 mph,” Dryer said. Such sustained winds are unusual, he said.

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