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.

Ways to Connect

In 2009, Utah Valley University became a full member of Division I NCAA athletics. Now, just four years later, the Wolverines will be joining a new athletic conference.

UVU announced on Tuesday that the Orem, Utah, school will formally join the Western Athletic Conference in July of next year. UVU is currently a member of the Great West Conference, but with rival schools scattered across the country, traveling to more regional WAC schools promises to cut down on travel costs.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Utah State University Distance Education building on Wednesday. As Utah State celebrated the completion of its new facility, the Governor touted the Distance Education program and its new high-tech headquarters.

Herbert says the new facility is an important step towards making higher education more accessible.

The Multicultural Center of Cache Valley has a permanent resident: a one-eyed gerbil. Center director Ernesto Lopez, who installs an immediately appreciated wheel into the gerbil’s habitat, explains that the black fur-ball is a remnant from a short-lived bilingual preschool program.

"It was costing the center more money than could be afforded. Due to that reason, the program had to end, and we inherited the mascot—the pet to that program, which was a gerbil."

"On December 5th, my life changed in a way that I would've never imagined."

Angie Watson lost her 13-year-old son, Connor, on that day.

"He spent the next few hours texting his friends in his bedroom, and the last text he sent to one of his friends said he was going to take a couple of pills and go to sleep. I know he had no idea when he took those pills that he wouldn't be waking up the next morning."

When the new Cache Valley Food Pantry is completed, it will store a lot of food. Actually, it will store more than twice the amount of food the old Cache Valley Food Pantry could. Director Matt Whitaker says the extra space is desperately needed. 

"The facility we had was just too small. It didn't meet the needs of the clientele or the donors. And we couldn't properly store anything in the right place. We couldn't see what we had. We had no shelving whatsoever."

This month, investigators posing as homeowners in Utah and seven other states got bids for construction and handyman services from people they found on the Internet as part of a sting to catch unlicensed contractors.

In just one week, 21 were cited in two Utah counties. Mark Steinagel, who heads the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, says it's a new approach for his agency, which typically stays busy responding to complaints about contractors.

Cheers erupted as one of the five official Mitt Romney campaign busses rolled into a Logan parking lot on Tuesday night.

Dozens of supporters ("We're here to support Romney and his campaign and what he stands for.") and a couple detractors ("Well, he's outsourcing. Maybe they should just outsource him.") were on-hand to get a glimpse inside the mobile campaign headquarters.

On a typical day at the Hyde Park Maverick gas station, drivers are able to fuel up as other customers head for a fountain drink or a snack—but they can't buy beer. Why not? Well, that's a question Maverick is asking Hyde Park officials.

The Hyde Park Maverick, like most gas stations, would like to sell beer. The problem is, there's currently no city ordinance under which Maverick can be granted a license—meaning Maverick can't sell beer.

But that might soon change. A new alcohol ordinance has been proposed and is currently in the draft stages. Maverick is the lone licensee.

Officials announced on Monday that five prescribed burns are planned this fall at the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. Public access to the monument may be restricted and smoke may be present, but no roads are expected to close. Those fires could start as soon as Saturday.

A separate series of prescribed fires was announced Tuesday for the Hells Hollow area, fourteen miles east of Logan. Those fires may occur anytime in October or November, depending on weather. No major road delays are expected.

Firefighters are battling a wildfire on West Mountain started by target shooters over the weekend.  Officials say the 350-acre blaze  started Saturday evening on the west side of the mountain.

Spokesperson Cami Lee from the Bureau of Land Management says an observatory on top of the mountain was evacuated as a precaution, but no structures are threatened.

"As of last night, they had the fire 25% contained, and they're hoping to have it 100% contained this evening."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah filed a complaint on Tuesday with Brigham City on behalf of the Main Street Church, a non-denominational Christian church, claiming that their First Amendment rights have been illegally restricted.

The church, located in Brigham City, complains the city’s free speech zone ordinance places undue restrictions on their right to distribute religious literature outside the new LDS temple in Brigham.

Peter Cooke

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Cooke was in Logan for a town hall meeting on Monday night.

A retired General and USU alumnus, Cooke stopped by the Utah State campus on Monday for a town hall meeting with students and community members. The candidate for governor was asked about his positions on a wide range of Utah issues, from air quality to concerns about Hill Air Force Base.

USU College Democrats president Briana Bowen thinks the event was a good way for voters to get to know Cooke.

Utah State’s College Republicans arranged a unique display on campus Tuesday memorializing September 11th. 2,977 miniature flags were clustered neatly in the grass on Tuesday as a tribute to each victim of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

USU College Republicans president Casey Saxton says it’s as important as ever to remember the events of that day.

flags and capitol sept. 11
Elizabeth Foote / Flickr

People across Utah are preparing to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

Preparations are underway for the famously strenuous cycling race known as LOTOJA as it celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend. Over one thousand cyclists are expected to participate.

LOTOJA, the 206-mile race (the longest one-day race in the nation) from Logan, Utah, to Jackson, Wyoming, is in its 30th year, but co-founder Jeff Keller says the race had humble beginnings.

In the race for Utah Attorney General, John Swallow has jumped way ahead of Democratic rival Dee Smith in fundraising.

Swallow, the current Deputy Attorney General, has raised $1.23 million since shortly before he won the GOP nomination in June. In contrast, Weber County attorney Dee Smith has raised about $47,000 since mid-June.

The Utah Women and Education Initiative was founded last week in a continuing effort by the state to help more women complete a college education.

The initiative was started to implement the ten key recommendations from the Utah Women’s College Task Force convened by Governor Gary Herbert last year.

Initiative director Mary Ann Holladay says many women in Utah have had difficulty finishing college. 

Earlier in August Roberto Roman was acquitted of the murder of Sheriff's Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox. Fox was shot to death during a traffic stop in 2010. Roman claims that Fox’s brother, Ryan Greathouse, was in fact the shooter. Greathouse died four months after the murder of a drug overdose. The acquittal has sparked controversy over the jurors’ deliberations, particularly after comments made by jurors to the media. Thursday on Access Utah, Salt Lake Tribune reporter Aaron Falk said several jurors were impressed by Roman’s testimony.