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.

Cache County’s own water war continues to cause heated debate in the valley over two years after the original complaint was filed by a group of Utah citizens.

The most recent dispute that has gained attention was sparked by the filing of a countersuit by Cache County itself, against citizen plaintiffs including members of the Utah Foundation for Land and Open Water, also known as Utah FLOW.

No cases of krokodil have been confirmed by the DEA in Utah.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Rumors that the drug krokodil has made its way to the U.S. have been circulating for weeks. Unconfirmed cases have popped up in the Southwest, including in one hospital in Murray.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Albert Villasuso said no reports have been confirmed in Utah yet, but the administration is working hard to identify the dangerous drug.

"Unless we have conformation from one, the user and two, the actual substance that they injected, there’s really no way for us to confirm it,” Villasuso said.

A display of objects at the Western Heritage Museum in Vernal.
Uintah County Western Heritage Museum

After 32 years working for Uintah County, Western Heritage Museum director Evan Baker has been dismissed from his position. Baker has served as director of the museum for the last eight years, and said he unexpectedly received a letter telling him his position had been eliminated under county budget changes.

“This is my last day. I’m through at 5 [p.m.]…Personally, I’m upset. It totally blindsided me,” Baker said.

Mayor Ralph Becker was named to the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience
U.S. Department of Energy

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker has been named to a new task force that will advise President Obama’s administration on how to respond to the impacts of climate change.

Becker, along with other state and tribal leaders from around the country, was selected by President Obama to be part of the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience on Friday.

Becker’s Deputy Director of Communications, Art Raymond, explained the group’s role.

A tree fell onto South Hall during a wind storm on Southern Utah University campus Monday.
Southern Utah University

Weather around the state was blustery Monday. Winds at the airport in Bryce Canyon measured above 40 miles per hour for much of the day and gusts in Logan reached 49 miles per hour late in the afternoon.

However, none of these winds compared to those in Cedar City, which experienced gusts in the 60s and 70s according to the National Weather Service.

Nine trees on the Southern Utah University campus were uprooted. The largest of those, a 60 to 70 foot pine, came to rest on South Hall. Amy McIff, a spokesperson for the university, said damage was minor.

Utah was one of 47 states to score above the international average in science.
National Center for Education Statistics

The National Center for Education Statistics has released a new study synthesizing test scores from across the globe. The study looked at how eighth graders from the United States and 38 other countries scored in math and science.

Researchers compared U.S. scores on the NAEP test with international scores on the TIMSS test. U.S. states and foreign countries were then rated on a scale of 0 to 1000, with 500 being the international average.

Left half of skull of Parasaurolophus.
Andrew A. Farke, Derek J. Chok, Annisa Herrero, Bradon Scolieri, Sarah Werning

Four years after his somewhat miraculous discovery, “Joe” the dinosaur is making his public debut.

Joe, a young Parasaurolophus—or duckbilled dinosaur—was discovered by a high school student visiting Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument on a school trip led by paleontologist Andy Farke.

File photo: Crews work to reconfigure the Logan and Northern Canal at 600 E. 800 North in Logan.
Cache Water Restoration Project

The lawsuit surrounding changes made to canals in Cache County following a 2009 mudslide that killed three people continues to wind its way through court.

A group of citizens, who sued the county over what they claim to be illegal action to bury canals, recently filed a motion to dismiss the county’s counterclaim.

The county filed a 76 million dollar counterclaim suing the citizens for defamation and libel, a charge Tony Wegener of the group Utah Foundation for Land and Open Water—known as Utah FLOW—said is illegal.

Mercury emission limits prompted the closure of Carbon Power Plant near Helper, Utah.
Environmental Protection Agency

Mercury and Air Toxics Standards proposed in 2011 by the Environmental Protection Agency are slated to take effect soon—prompting the early closure of a Utah Power Plant. The Carbon Power Plant near Helper, Utah will close five years ahead of schedule in April of 2015.

Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen said the company determined that changes to make the 60-year-old plant compliant with the new standards would not be possible.

Mike Glauser and Jeff Clark; Clark and his wife have given 6 million dollars to the Huntsman School of Business at USU.
Huntsman Alumni Magazine, Utah State University

Utah State University’s Huntsman School of Business has received a 6 million dollar financial gift. The money, provided by USU alumnus Jeffery Clark and his wife Bonnie will be used in the construction of the school’s new building. Huntsman School of Business Director of Entrepreneurship Programs, Mike Glauser, explained.

“We’re building a new building called Huntsman Hall, which is in construction right now. And his funds will help to build out the Center for Entrepreneurship—which will be on the top floor of that building,” Glauser said.

The Coral Pink Sand Dune Tiger Beetle
Mark Capone / USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is withdrawing a proposal to list the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle under the Endangered Species Act.

The tiger beetle is found only in two small pockets of Kane County and has one of the smallest ranges of any insect.

Under a new agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with county, state and federal partners will expand the species’ protected habitat from 207 acres to 266 acres.

Utah State Capitol
Utah.gov

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has called a special legislative session in response to the continued lapse in federal funding for state programs.

State Senator Lyle Hillyard says three bills will be covered in Wednesday’s session: The first aims to authorize state funds for last week’s reopening of some of Utah’s national parks.

Hillyard said the appropriation process for money the governor sent to the national parks late last week may be contentious.

Utah State University placed first among Universities in the National Bike Challenge.
Utah State University

Utah State University bikers have taken first place in a competition that pitted universities and workplaces across the nation against one another.

USU registered over 200 cyclists for the National Bike Challenge, which began in May and concluded at the end of September. The challenge is a wellness initiative that awards bikers points for the miles they ride during daily commutes and exercise.

USU sustainability coordinator Alexi Lamm said the university decided to get involved for health and environmental reasons.

Photo of Spencer Cox
electspencercox.com

Gov. Gary Herbert appointed a new lieutenant governor Tuesday after Greg Bell resigned from the position last month. State Rep. Spencer Cox (R) of Fairview will replace Bell, who cited his family’s financial situation as his reason for leaving public office and returning to the private sector.

Cox, who was elected into the state House last year, was formerly a Sanpete County commissioner as well as mayor and city councilman in Fairview, the town where he was born and raised.

Braden Thompson

A former Utah State University student’s personal effort to do small acts of kindness every day for a year has turned into a much larger effort.

Braden Thompson started Project #365Aware earlier this year after deciding he wanted to make small acts of kindness the norm instead of the exception. Thompson had been working alone, making an effort to reach out to strangers and learn their stories; but when he received an overwhelming response from friends following his effort on the internet, he knew he had to do something bigger.

dmcaleer.com

Former Army Officer and West Point graduate Donna McAleer announced her plan to run for Congress against Republican Rob Bishop on Friday, while attending a Salt Lake City protest of the government shutdown.

McAleer is one of two Democrats, including Ogden’s Peter Clemens, who have announced their candidacy for Utah’s First Congressional District. McAleer ran in last year’s election and was defeated by Bishop, who took 72 percent of the district’s votes.

McAleer said the government shutdown is hurting Utah families through no fault of their own.

The Women, Infant and Children Program—commonly known as WIC was not spared from Tuesday's government shutdown. The federal assistance program allows women to purchase nutritious foods at specified stores, provides infant formula vouchers, nutritional education and access to healthcare.

Women in Utah who already received WIC vouchers for the month of October will be able to use the money; however women who did not receive payment may be affected by the shutdown.

The Affordable Care Act debuts Tuesday, and new data released by the Utah Department of Health shows the number of Utahns who lack health insurance remained steady between 2011 and 2012.
The data, collected by the Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, shows the percentage of Utahns without insurance remained at slightly over 13 percent—or 377,000 people.
The numbers reflected recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and both studies showed number of adults without coverage is on the rise, while rates of children without insurance remained steady.
Senior Health Policy Analyst for Voices for Utah Children, Lincoln Nehring, says the trend among children is especially troubling.
“The vast majority of uninsured kids are in households with incomes below 200 percent of poverty,  and that means they qualify for Medicaid and CHIP. Utah just has not done a very good job of signing them up."

This weekend Cache Valley will host walks, runs and a bike race that each hope to bring awareness to a cause. The Cruising to Stop Abusing bike ride, Run from Poverty 5K, and the Hunger and Buddy walks are all taking place Saturday.

The Buddy walk raises money for the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation and is in its 6th year. Maria Leishman, who has a child with Down syndrome, helped start the annual walk.

“I wanted something for our whole family to be able to participate in,” Leishman said.

The elevation changes that runners of the Top of Utah Marathon will experience during the race.
Top of Utah Marathon www.topofutahmarathon.com/

1200 runners will take to Cache Valley streets Saturday for the Top of Utah Marathon. The race, which is in its 15th year, will start at Hardware Ranch in Blacksmith Fork Canyon and end at Merlin Olsen Park in downtown Logan.

Despite changes made to the course due to construction, Race Director Todd Hugie thinks this is a record breaking year for speed.

“This year we’ve got a really fast men’s group and got a pretty fast women’s group. We’re expecting some records to be broken. It’s probably—in our 15th year—it’s probably the fastest field we’ve had,” Hugie said.

Utah businesses including Walmarts in Logan and Ogden as well as a Walgreens and Rite Aid in Provo appear to be part of a national string of bomb threats.

Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said the south Logan Walmart received a call around 12:45 this afternoon.

“It was a male voice that called the store and requested that the store pre-load some gift cards…then provide the gift card numeric information to the caller in trade for not detonating a bomb,” Jensen said.

A map from UDOT showing where speed limit changes will be made.
Utah Department of Transportation

Drivers across the state will notice increased speed limits on over 250 miles of road in the coming week. That’s because the Utah Department of Transportation has decided to raise the speed limit from 75 to 80 mph on sections of Utah road including Interstate 15 and Interstate 80.

House bill 83, which passed earlier this year, allowed state officials to take a look at research conducted on stretches of road where the speed limit had already been changed to 80 mph and consider expanding the limit to other portions of road.

A negative stained transmission electron micrograph of the influenza virus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and supermarkets across the state have started offering flu shots for the 2013/2014 flu season. The official start to the influenza season is still a few weeks off, and Centers for Disease Control officials said they typically see hospitalizations from the virus start October 1.

The flu season in Utah lasts between October and May and normally sees 500 hospitalizations; though last year saw nearly double that number.

Rebecca Ward from the Utah Department of Health said this year’s vaccine will be different from previous years.

Cancer Prevention Study-3
American Cancer Society

A national, long-term study researching the causes of cancer is looking for volunteers from Utah. The American Cancer Society will be following 300,000 participants from around the nation for the Cancer Prevention Study-3.

The American Cancer Society has conducted two previous studies over the past 60 years. The first determined the link between smoking and cancer and the second found a link between cancer and being overweight or obese.

Debris fills the road at 2050 South 160 West in Hurricane.
Hurricane City Police Department

Heavy rainstorms left some Southern Utah residents filling sandbags today. Streets in the Angel Heights neighborhood of Hurricane were covered with debris after water spilled over a cliff in the area, filling the roadway with mud and rock. The storm forced the closure of multiple streets. 

Flooding in the 2050 South 160 West neighborhood began around 10 a.m. and continued across town as addition storm cells passed through the region.

Police Sergeant Brandon Buell said the city provided assistance to residents experiencing flooding.

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