Jennifer Pemberton

Reporter / Commentator

Jennifer Pemberton produces a monthly commentary series called Radio Calendar for UPR and can sometimes be heard hosting Morning Edition or anchoring the 5:30 Utah News. She produced our special series on Utah water, Five Billion Gallons, and manages our community engagement reporting project on air pollution in Cache County: Having a Bad Air Day?

She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama and an MBA from Lund University in Sweden. A former ex-patriate living in Europe and Asia, Jennifer is happy to call the West home again. She is a fervent public radio fan and loves to hike in the summer and knit through the winter.

Ways To Connect

Democratic Party of Utah

The gathering of the Cache County Democrats was a party of one on election night. Jennifer Pemberton talked to Utah House District 5 candidate Jeff Turley shortly after the votes were tallied.


Jennifer Pemberton

As part of its Fireside Chat and Pizza series, the Institute of Government and Politics at Utah State University invited U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby to speak this week to students.

Judge Robert Shelby’s name is synonymous now with his December 2013 decision that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. His opinion in Kitchen v. Herbert made legal same-sex marriage a possibility for over a thousand Utahns and has been cited in some 30 other court rulings.

Jennifer Pemberton

Utah Governor Gary Herbert was in Cache Valley this week to hand deliver a check to the owner of Logan’s Caffe Ibis Coffee Roasting Company. The money will partially cover the cost of a piece of equipment that reduces the roaster’s emissions by 95 percent. Despite a tragic setback, the company’s efforts to clean up the air are proceeding at full speed.

When we think of things that produce air pollution, we think of things like cars and oil refineries. We don’t necessarily think of the giant oven that bakes goldfish-shaped crackers or the small cabinet shop on the edge of town or the local organic coffee roaster. But anything that burns creates particulate pollution -- so any effort to reduce air pollution in a community has to address individual contributions from our homes and our vehicles and the contributions of factories big and small.

Jennifer Pemberton

On Friday, the Bureau of Land Management and Utah State University signed an agreement to share research on air quality in the Uintah Basin. UPR’s Jennifer Pemberton traveled to Vernal to see how this agreement might make life easier for researchers trying to understand the mystery of wintertime ozone in the rural West. 

Ozone is associated with summer air pollution in populated places. Today in northeastern Utah, even within the city limits of Vernal, the air is clean. But almost everything about air pollution here is backwards.

Jennifer Pemberton

You're probably not thinking about the Arctic now that spring is here, but March is the month when the sea ice is at its maximum. UPR's Jennifer Pemberton flew over the Arctic this month and has this reflection on the season's melt and the more serious melt.


Beijing-SLC Connect

Utah’s winter air pollution often entices comparisons to Beijing, a city notorious for having off-the-chart smog levels, which is why a delegation of artists from China and Taiwan are in Salt Lake City this month to let Utah’s inversion inspire them. The project called “Beijing-SLC Connect” invites the artists to compare the pollution problems of these two cities through art.

April Ashland

The clean air community had high hopes for SB 164, which did not pass out of the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment committee on Tuesday. Jennifer Pemberton has more on the bill’s short life.


April Ashland

Two days ago the Capitol steps were full of protesters demanding that the legislature do something to clean up Utah’s air. Today the commotion was inside the chambers as the general legislature session opened. When asked what they’re hearing from constituents, majority and minority leaders in both the house and the senate said "air quality".

Jennifer Pemberton

Thousands of protesters turned up at the Utah State Capitol over the weekend for the “Clean Air, No Excuses” rally. UPR’s Jennifer Pemberton tells us why voters and activists are targeting lawmakers two days before the start of the general legislative session.


folkcostume.blogspot.com

When is a mitten not just a mitten? When UPR commentator Jennifer Pemberton is knitting it in the wake of the changing definition of legal marriage in Utah.

"Latvian women knitted hundreds of pairs of mittens and her dowry included an entire chestful of mittens to be distributed to her husband’s family, given not just to her new in-laws, but also to her husband’s family’s cows and pigs, the fruit trees, and even to inanimate objects like doorknobs and stables. A bride and groom even ate their wedding meal with their mittens on. Many a folk song tells of the foolish man who chooses a pretty hand over a warm one."

Jennifer Pemberton

Dozens of women with political ambition or at least curiosity, turned up at the Real Women Run training in Sandy over the weekend.

Real Women Run is a nonpartisan advocacy group that encourages women to run for public office in Utah. Because statistics show that women win elections at the same rate as men, but very few women run for office in the first place, especially in Utah, where they make up only 15 percent of the state legislature.

Gender isn’t the only way these women don’t fit the mold in Utah politics. Maile Wilson probably exemplifies this best.

Wilson was elected last November as the first female and youngest mayor ever of Cedar City.

“I was 26 when I filed. There had never been anyone under mid- to late-fifties…I’m still in a small conservative community, not married, being a female, not having children, all the stereotypical roles,” Wilson said.

Hélène Halliday / Fletcher Wildlife Garden

Did you hear the one about the Californians who moved to Washington and cut down their first wild Christmas tree? Jennifer Pemberton has the punchline in this story about Christmas in the Evergreen State.


Jennifer Pemberton

At the 20th Annual Utah Water Summit in Provo last month, Governor Herbert introduced his “gang of six” water experts, who spent the summer gathering ideas from the public at a series of Town Hall meetings about water.

One of those gang of six experts, Warren Peterson, spoke about the future of agriculture in Utah. He quoted Tom Bingham, who was the Farm Bureau Lobbyist for 25 years:

“He said, ‘I used to just go and count boots under the table, and I knew how the vote was going to come out,’ and now there aren’t any boots under the table.

airquality.utah.gov

The start of the winter pollution season in Utah also brings changes to how the state communicates the air quality status to the public.

Starting on November 1 the stoplight signal model of air quality awareness -- red, yellow, green -- will be no more. We will still have red air days, unfortunately, but the color system will correspond to health implications of air pollution, not action items.

Matt Jensen

Across Utah, utility crews are an in an uphill battle to maintain and modernize water delivery systems. From the desert community of St. George, to verdant Cache Valley, Utah’s water infrastructure is a complex network of old and new piping. Matt Jensen and Jennifer Pemberton report:

http://logantabernacle.blogspot.com

The Intermountain Bioneers, the local branch of a national environmental education group, brought economist and public health expert Dr. Arden Pope to Logan on Friday night, to kick off their 10th annual conference. UPR’s Jennifer Pemberton tells us why Dr. Pope’s research always hits home in Cache Valley.

Utah Water Research Laboratory

We live in an ambitious desert society here in Utah. Food crops only grow here because we irrigate them with water we divert from rivers and reservoirs.

There's no chance that agriculture could flourish in Utah on rainfall alone. But one way to create more water in our system is to be more efficient with what we have; so researchers are working on making irrigation more predictable - think forecasting. Since the future of Utah's agricultural  industry might depend on the success of this research, we decided to learn more. Matt Jensen has the story.


There are many indications of autumn's arrival besides the changing color of the leaves. Jennifer Pemberton declares that Fall is the new Spring in this month's commentary.

"There are plants all over the world that bloom in the fall, when the heat breaks, when the rains fall, when the winds start blowing, when the ground threatens to freeze. There are crocuses in my neighborhood; the same flower that is first to crack the ice and blossom in the snow, breaks through the mud and leaf litter to show off its delicate lavender petals amid the harvest browns and reds."

Matt Jensen

The water cycle in communities across Utah is pretty straightforward. Water comes out of creeks and reservoirs, serves some purpose, and is put back into the chain further downstream. But as Matt Jensen explains, as the state’s population continues to rise, what we put back into the chain often comes with more than just water.

Jennifer Pemberton

The trees in Utah's forests suck up water like sponges, and leave a record in their growth rings of when there was a lot of water in the region and when there was very little. Researchers are learning to decode the tree ring record and reconstruct what Utah's watersheds have been through over the past millennium. Today on the program, we bring you the story of how Utah's water past can help us plan for Utah's water future.

Special thanks for help with this episode to Western Water Assessment, Wasatch Dendroclimatology Research Group (WADR), and the Utah Climate Center.

Today on Five Billion Gallons we introduce Utah's water cycle, from rain to lawn, and when it doesn't rain for awhile, which it often doesn't,  there are quite a few steps in between. It turns out that those five billion gallons we use every day in Utah are only accounting for residential water -- the water we use to wash our clothes and our dishes and our hair and also the water we use to water our lawns and backyard gardens. Our per capita use of water is nearly the highest in the nation, just behind Nevada and Idaho. So why are we personally using so much water? According to the state Division of Water Resources, there is a pretty simple answer: it's our legacy. Utah's founders decreed that the desert should be made to blossom as a rose, and it did. It still does. But at what cost?

It’s the end of August and the sky is falling. Jennifer Pemberton tells us why the Perseids meteor shower always brings change.

Cache Anglers

Logan was the last stop for a series of Town Hall meetings soliciting public input on Utah’s Water Future. Jennifer Pemberton and Matt Jensen from UPR's Five Billion Gallons program were there to get to know all the stakeholders in Utah's Water Future.

Argus Observer

While it’s not exactly a time to celebrate, fire season can be a time of reflection for those of us who live in the West.

Utah Water Watch

The U.S. Geological Survey took a five percent pay cut this year as part of federal sequestration. As a result the agency has to pull the plug on hundreds of stream gauges throughout the West. A new water quality monitoring program in Utah is powered by volunteers who collect stream data while they’re out enjoying the great outdoors. Jennifer Pemberton has this report on the Utah Water Watch.


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