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.

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.

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park
National Park Service

The last time you visited Arches National Park you may have noticed that things seemed a little crowded, at least in the parking area for the Delicate Arch trailhead.

Well, the park service has noticed too, and they are currently developing parking management strategies to deal with the crowds.  As the National Park Service’s Sabrina Henry explained, the current parking lot was developed decades ago, when visitation rates were far lower than the 2,000 people Delicate Arch sees on peak days now.

A Marbled Godwit stands in water.
fishandgame.idaho.gov, Brian Currie

Though the Great Salt Lake is a known stopping point for many migratory birds, new research shows just how important it is for a long-beaked shorebird called the Marbled Godwit.

Three populations of the Marbled Godwit live in North America. The primary population lives in the middle of the continent. They call Saskatchewan, the Dakotas and Montana home. Two smaller populations are based out of Alaska and the eastern coast of Canada.

Pills in a prescription bottle.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention

A bill that would allow for the dispensing and administration of an opiate antidote has been given final approval and now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

Bill sponsor Sen. Brian Shiozawa said he hopes the bill will save a significant number of lives.

"There are so many narcotic slash opiate related deaths in this state—over 500 last year," said Shiozawa. "Most of these occur at home, most of them are accidental and as a result that’s the reason people need this very lifesaving antidote at their disposal."

Corona Arch
Bureau of Land Management

A land exchange deal which would allow for a land trade between school lands and the Bureau of Land Management is close to finalization after nearly ten years of negotiations.

Under the exchange nearly 60 million acres of land, appraised at equal value, will be traded between the Utah School Institutional Trust Lands Administration and the BLM.

The BLM’s Megan Crandall said through the trade SITLA would receive 35,000 acres of land from the BLM in exchange for more than 25,000 acres in Uintah, Grand and San Juan counties.

speclab.cr.usgs.gov

A new report released Monday shows Utah’s decision to fund the opening of the state’s national parks during the October government shutdown was worth the initial costs.

The report, released by the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior highlights the national impact of the government shutdown on communities surrounding national parks.

The aerospace museum at Hill Air Force Base announced that it will be reducing its collection of aircraft and other vehicles.

Hill Air Force Base Spokesman George Jozens said the nearly 30-year-old museum will be making the aircraft available to other museums worldwide in an effort to reduce costs.

“The museum needs to reduce its collection by about 18 aircraft, three missiles and a number of different support vehicles,” Jozens said. “The reason for this is it takes money to maintain and keep those aircraft up all of the time.”

Swans flying
FWS

Warm temperatures and melting ice mean many swans will soon be arriving in Northern Utah. Tundra Swans nest in Alaska, but spend their winters in the warmer waters of California and Texas. Kathy Stoffer from the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge says the swans pause in Utah each spring to fill their stomachs on the long journey home.

“They come down from Alaska, they follow the water opening up following the food source, which in this case, is sago pondweed that grows in the deeper water on the refuge,” Stoffer said.

The swans are motivated to get home to their nesting grounds, so the length of their stay in Utah generally depends on the weather to the north and the availability of food in the state.

Bighorn sheep rest on a rock ridge.
Zion National Park

Wildlife officials from Zion National Park and the Division of Wildlife Resources have proposed a plan to help insure the health of the bighorn sheep population within the park.

The bighorn sheep were reintroduced into the park in 1973 after their mid-century disappearance. Initially, the herd population grew slowly, however a recent count shows the population to be over 500 sheep. This growth is of concern to scientists, like Zion National Park Division Chief Fred Armstrong, who fears contact with domesticated animals will lead to disease in the bighorn population.

“It has been shown that time and time again, when these native wild sheep come into contact with domesticated animals they inevitably contract one of the respiratory ailments that leads to phenomena and basically leads to devastating die-offs.”

Though we may think we know how to predict that a coworker or employee is thinking of quitting their job, a new study from Utah State University shows actions assumed to be telltale signs of quitting, such as taking long lunches or vacation time, may not be all that predictive after all.

Tim Gardner, an associate professor of management in the Huntsman School of Business used manager and employee feedback to create a list of things they thought to be predictors of quitting. After multiple studies and experimental field research, Gardner narrowed down the list from over 900 to 18.
 
“All of these 18 cues that we identified really have a common thread of a form of disengagement, in that the person is not engaged with the business, with their boss, with their workforce and their overall job,” Gardner said.

Current ozone standards are set at 75 parts per billion.
April Ashland, UPR

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is set to propose lower standards for ozone levels. The proposal comes after health studies showed detectable negative health impacts from ozone at the current level of 75 parts per billion.

Utah Division of Air Quality Director Bryce Bird said the state would have to develop a new plan to regulate air standards if the proposal is approved.

Wasatch Brewery's new beer was developed in support of same-sex marriage.
Wasatch Brewery

Wasatch Brewery isn’t known for shying away from political issues. The Park City-based brewery and pub has come out with such beers as the 1st Amendment Lager, produced in protest of a beer tax, and Evolution Amber Ale, aimed at the teaching of intelligent design in the state’s classrooms.

Now, a new beer in support of gay marriage is available, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Wasatch Founder and President Greg Schirf, said the new beer, titled “Live and Let Live”, is a pale ale with pairings of two types of malts, hops and yeasts.

Primary Mirror Segment testing for James Webb Telescope
NASA

Though the James Webb Space Telescope is not set to launch for another four years, NASA is preparing to assemble and test the device that will be used to observe distant objects in the universe.

Engineers at the Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan have made their final delivery of elements that will be used to direct heat away from vital instruments within the telescope.

Director of Civil Space at SDL, Jed Hancock, says the equipment must be both lightweight and flexible to be inserted into the intricate part of the telescope.

Many feet of new snow fell on top of a shallow and weak preexisting snow layer over the weekend.
Utah Avalanche Center

Avalanche danger across the state remains high after a wet weekend.

Extremely dry powder fell on top of old, faceted snow late last week. Then, over the weekend, heavy, wet snow and rain fell across the Northern portion of the state, creating dangerous conditions.

A Ferron man died in a Sunday avalanche in Sanpete County and a woman who was studying at Brigham Young University was caught in an avalanche in American Fork Canyon on Saturday and later died.

Utah Avalanche Center forecaster Toby Weed said conditions remain dangerous.

https://twitter.com/Political_Jake

Two Utah lawmakers generated outrage on Monday after jokingly commenting about changing genders on Twitter. Monday morning State Rep. Jacob Anderegg posted to the social media site said he was "strongly considering a gender identifying change" so that he could use the women’s restroom because the men’s was occupied.

"Switching your gender identity? Just can’t keep up with you. You’re a new man! Erm…woman," said State Sen. Wayne Neiderhauser via Twitter in response to Anderegg's comment.

St. George residents will see a four to seven dollar monthly rate increase.
energy.ca.gov

The price of electricity for some St. George residents is set to increase starting Feb. 1. The St. George City Council approved a 7 percent across-the-board rate increase on Thursday.

Phillip Solomon is the city’s energy services director. He says PacifiCorp unexpectedly raised the cost of transporting the power by 46 percent in September. Higher scheduling rates and a boost to the cost of electricity also prompted the decision, which occurred in the middle of the city’s fiscal year.

Undergraduate researchers from Utah State University and the University of Utah will gather at the rotunda in the State Capitol Thursday to present their research to state legislators.

Research on Capitol Hill was founded 14 years ago as a way for universities to showcase undergraduate research.

Scott Bates is involved with deciding which USU students present at the capitol. He calls the event a distinct experience for undergraduates and lawmakers, some of whom are in charge of state funding for research grants.

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