Ryan Cunningham

Ryan began reporting for UPR in the fall of 2012. He is a graduate of Utah State University with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Ryan is originally from Indiana, but he now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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The aviation program at Utah State University is getting a big upgrade to their training facilities.

USU Aviation Technology has acquired a new jet flight simulator. The simulator is a replica of the Bombardier CRJ 700 cockpit, and it will be used to prepare pilots for commercial jet flying.

According to its website, manufacturer Paradigm Shift Solutions says the simulator includes over 24,000 airports and the ability to “create and save very realistic training scenarios that can be performed time after time.”

Carl Van Vechten / Library of Congress

This Friday, two Utah State University English professors will be hosting a birthday party for writer Willa Cather. Ms. Cather will be unable to attend her 139th birthday party here in Logan, but her spirit will certainly be present.

UPR’s Ryan Cunningham talked to professors Evelyn Funda and Steve Shively about the birthday party and their affinity for Cather’s prose.

Celebrate Willa Cather's 139th birthday on Friday, December 7th, at St. John's Episcopal Church in Logan (85 E 100 N). Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m.

Hill Air Force Base held a ceremony on Tuesday morning to dedicate the newly-named Solesbee Street on the installation’s south side. The street, which was originally 12th Street, was renamed in honor of Tech Sgt. Kristoffer M. Solesbee, who died in 2011 in Afghanistan.

Andrea Mason of the public affairs office at the base says Tech Sgt. Solesbee had one of the most dangerous jobs in the Air Force, detonating explosives such as roadside bombs.

"It's just a way to commemorate his bravery, his courage, and I think to give some closure to his family as well."

Salt Lake County Jail

The Utah Attorney General’s office, along with the Salt Lake City Police Department, the Unified Police Department, and federal agents, performed a search on Thursday of Salt Lake-area massage parlors. The result: three men arrested, and ten women—several of whom were minors—detained, in what looks to be part of an international human trafficking and prostitution ring.

Deputy Attorney General Kirk Torgensen says the businesses that were raided may have looked legitimate to outsiders.

With winter and snowy weather approaching, avalanches are once again a concern for outdoor sports enthusiasts. UPR’s Ryan Cunningham sat down with Paige and Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center to talk about avalanche preparedness, as well as some upcoming events.

For more information on avalanches and avalanche danger in Utah, visit the Utah Avalanche Center website or call their advisory hotline at (888) 999-4019.

A landmark agreement between the United States and Mexico sets up clear guidelines for how the Colorado River will be managed and protected through 2017.

The agreement was just signed and goes into effect immediately. The Bureau of Reclamation says the agreement is designed to make sure that the seven states the river flows through in the U.S., as well as Mexico, will have adequate access to river water.

Researchers at Utah State University have recently earned the praise of scientists around the world.

USU chemistry and biochemistry professor Lance Seefeldt, along with USU graduate student Zhiyong Yang and collaborator Dennis Dean from Virginia Tech, were recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The three published their findings on how it may be possible to turn pollution into fuel.

UPR’s Ryan Cunningham sat down with Dr. Seefeldt to discuss his big breakthrough.

For the first time in four years, the Department of the Interior has initiated a high-flow experimental release at Glen Canyon Dam.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar opened the river outlet tubes at noon Monday. The peak flow was supposed to last into Tuesday, and the river will run high for five days. The goal is to wash millions of tons of sediment downstream to create beaches and improve habitat for plants and animals.

For the local recreation industry, the experimental high flows are seen as a boon.

Where is the most affordable place in America to buy a home? According to CNN Money, it’s Ogden.

 On Friday, the business website named the Weber County city as the most affordable metro area to buy a home in the U.S.  Mayor Mike Caldwell says because most of Ogden was built out by the 1950s, prices have remained affordable. 

Ryan Cunningham

Utah State University spinoff company WAVE Technologies showcased a first-of-its-kind technology in North Logan on Thursday. A fully-electric bus was shown backing into a very special parking spot, and once parked, the bus's battery was recharged wirelessly from a charging pad embedded in the ground below.

WAVE CEO Wesley Smith says this innovation will allow buses to become more feasible.

For National Guard and Reserve service members, combining military service with civilian responsibilities can be an overlooked challenge. It’s about more than volunteering their time to our nation’s military. It’s also about sacrificing family, friends, relationships, and careers.

While not all of that sacrifice can be mitigated, an organization like Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve,  or ESGR, can help support service members and their employers with employment stability.


In September, the National Science Foundation released a sobering report on research funding for public universities. Nearly every state in the nation faces declines in per-student research funding, and Utah is no exception.

UPR’s Ryan Cunningham spoke with Provost Raymond Coward of Utah State University to hear how his university is dealing with this nation-wide trend.

The Utah State women’s soccer team captured the WAC championship for a second consecutive year on Sunday. After yet another gutsy defensive slog, the Aggies defeated No. 19 Denver to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

Aggies head coach Heather Cairns gives a lot of credit for the victory to the raucous home crowd in Logan.

"We were able to host on Sunday. We had over a thousand fans there. And the fans were just amazing. They really gave our girls that extra step."

One penny for every ten dollars spent. That’s what Cache County needs from voters in order to continue the Recreation, Arts, Parks, and Zoos tax—better known as the RAPZ tax. The tax, which excludes food purchases, was approved by voters in 2002 and is now up for renewal.

Many officials and beneficiaries have argued for the tax, saying it has been a boon for the local economy. North Logan recreation coordinator Brett Daniels supports RAPZ funding.


The one and only debate between Lieutenant Governor candidates Greg Bell and Vince Rampton took place on Wednesday at Utah State University.  Republican incumbent Bell and Democratic challenger Rampton argued their positions on public lands, the economy, and the budget, among other things.

Perhaps the biggest issue discussed by the candidates was the cost of higher education. Rampton criticizes Governor Gary Herbert for not doing enough to fund state colleges.

Matthew David Stewart, the man at the center of a deadly shootout in Ogden last January, was in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing. The shootout occurred after authorities presented a search warrant to inspect Stewart’s home for marijuana. It resulted in the death of an officer, as well as five wounded officers.

Nate Carlisle of the Salt Lake Tribune has been following this story. He spoke with UPR’s Ryan Cunningham about the hearing.

In just one day, Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast. There are massive damages to infrastructure, power outages, and dozens of deaths.

Watching from Utah can make it seem hopeless to reach out, but the American Red Cross says Utahns can do plenty by donating badly-needed blood and platelets.

John Petersen of the Red Cross in Utah:

Earlier this month the National Association of Mental Illness held awareness events to help dispel myths and promote understanding. This week Utah Public Radio introduced you to three of our contributors -- April Ashland, Ryan Cunningham, and Storee Powell. Today, we continue their brave conversation in the hopes that listeners can feel better prepared and open to understanding mental illness.

Ryan Cunningham

It might not sound like it, but this is a university classroom at work. Obviously, this isn’t the kind of class with droning lectures and drooling students. This is, in fact, the USU Chamber Singers, and instead of studying for the next big exam, they’re preparing for the next big performance—this time with professional singer Alex Boyé.

USU Director of Choral Activities Dr. Cory Evans, says his singers are looking forward to the performance on Friday night.

Inspired by Mental Illness Awareness Week this month, a group of Utah Public Radio interns and reporters began sharing their personal experiences with mental illness. These were not stories about their observations of others who deal with mental illness; these were their stories.

During Part 2 of our series on Mental Illness Awareness series, we begin listening to a conversation between Storee Powell, Ryan Cunningham, and April Ashland as they work through some of the myths associated with mental illness.

All this week at Utah State University, the religious studies program has invited two Buddhist monks to demonstrate the sacred art of sand mandalas.

Passersby may notice what looks a lot like a section of the student "Hub" roped off around two robed men. What those men will be envisioning is their own small piece of heaven—a suitable space to create a sand mandala. The sand mandala is an ancient Tibetan art form made by arranging colored sand in geometrical patterns. Dr. Hun Lye, professor of East Asian Religion at Davidson College, says the process is very symbolic. 


Dr. Julie Young is a wildlife biologist at the National Wildlife Research Center's field station in Millville, Utah. As one might guess from the yipping and howling frequently heard at the 165-acre site, Young studies coyotes.

One has to wonder why coyotes howl in the first place. What are they saying to each other, if anything? As it turns out, Young and her team of researchers has pondered the same question and are still vexed by the mystery.

Latino leaders gathered last week in Yuma, Arizona, to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month—and to stress the importance of the Colorado River.

Two years ago, the Colorado's water use – by Utah, six other states and Mexico – officially outstripped its total annual flow. Experts say the river is slowly drying up, with a combination of over-consumption, drought and climate change. Sal Rivera of the group Nuestro Rio says the Colorado has been used for centuries by Latinos for farming and recreation, but they can no longer assume it will be around forever.

The Utah roads will soon be icy and snowy, and it may be time to reevaluate your driving habits before you have to navigate them. AARP Utah offers a four-hour driver safety course for anyone who sits behind the wheel. Paulette Welch, the driver safety coordinator, says most older adults haven't received any driving instruction since they were teenagers – and a lot has changed since then.

Rep. Rob Bishop

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop visited the Utah State campus on Thursday. In an event sponsored by the USU College Republicans called "Pizza and Politics," Bishop spoke on several topics and took questions from the audience at Merrill-Cazier Library.

Bishop opened by bemoaning the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, but the tone turned contentious when one audience member questioned Bishop’s stance on the public lands debate.