Taylor Halversen

Reporter

Taylor Halversen is a reporter, engineer and occasional co-host for UPR news. She recently graduated summa cum laude from Utah State University with bachelor’s degrees in Communication Studies and Liberal Arts, and worked for UPR as a reporting intern for a year before being hired as a reporter.

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Same-sex marriage
usa.gov

An order signed Monday by U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball means the state will pay attorneys’ fees for the eight plaintiffs in the Evans v. Utah case, which addressed the legal status of couples wed following the initial ruling that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.  

The plaintiffs’ attorneys were seeking nearly $200,000 for their services. However, after an agreement was reached on the fee issue, the state will pay $95,000 to the attorneys.


The Band
American Fork High School

The 230-member American Fork High School marching band will join only five other high school bands and two college bands in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday.

The band’s director John Miller said this is the second time the band has had the opportunity to play at the prestigious venue.

“They can only invite bands back every seven years. So, they sent me an email and said, ‘If you’re interested, would you please apply again. We can’t guarantee you a position, but… we’ll take a look at it.’ So we did, and to our surprise they offered us another spot in the Macy’s parade this year,” Miller said. “They only take the very top, top cream of the crop for this thing, so it was quite an honor again.”


President Barack Obama
www.whitehouse.gov

Utah politicians had a lot to say after President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration Thursday, in which he announced his support of deferring deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said in a statement that he was disturbed the president would take such divisive and unilateral action. Herbert said the broken immigration system is compromising national security and must be addressed by congress.


Sprinklers
www.pinecrest-fl.gov

Every five years, the U.S. Geological Survey publishes a water usage report showing how the nation fares in water consumption. The 2010 report was published earlier this month.  

In conjunction with the release of the report, media have touted that Utah is the worst in the nation for water consumption, but Molly Maupin, a hydrologist with the USGS, said it depends on the category and how the data is being compared.    


Homeless Youth Facility
voaut.org

Volunteers of America unveiled plans last week to build a new resource center for homeless youth in Salt Lake City.

Zach Bale, chief development officer for the project, said the new 30-bed overnight shelter will serve the immediate needs of youth, but also will include services to help those being served to overcome their circumstances.

“We knew that both having a safe overnight shelter has been really important, but maybe even more important [is] expanded education and employment support for the youth,” Bale said. “We’re going to have a lot more space, classroom space, to provide those types of services.”

Pyramids
cia.gov

Egyptian farmers grow crops along the fertile banks of the Nile, providing necessary resources for the surrounding communities, but also generating significant waste from crops such as cotton, bananas and rice.

“You have two choices: you either burn it or plow it into the soil. But, if they plow it they risk disease and other things, so it’s easier to burn it,” said Utah State University professor of biological engineering Foster Agblevor.

He said when the waste products are burned, acidic gases are released into the atmosphere, eventually settling on and decomposing the limestone pyramids and other historical monuments.


Pipeline
suwa.org

Two environmental protection groups are calling out the Bureau of Land Management for alleged misconduct in building a natural gas pipeline near Moab.

Landon Newell with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance said Fidelity Exploration & Production divided the project into smaller venture proposals to break up the health and environmental analysis of the pipeline.


Darrien Hunt
facebook.com

Information updated 11/12/14. 

On Monday, officials from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced they have requested an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into Darrien Hunt’s death.

NAACP officials said during a press conference that race played a factor in the shooting of the 22-year-old African American male by two Caucasian police officers. They claim improper use of fatal force could be a violation of Hunt’s civil rights.

Elementary School Students
trustlands.utah.gov

About 9,600 additional students enrolled in Utah public schools this year, an increase of 1.5 percent.

This may seem like a sizable number, but Mark Peterson with the Utah State Office of Education said it is not out of the ordinary.

“This is actually slowing down a little bit,” Peterson said. “It’s been up and down over the years, but it’s been as high recently as about 2.5 percent back in 2008 and above 3 percent in 2006.”

There was a 1.7 percent increase in 2013, according to Peterson.

Senator Orrin Hatch
www.hatch.senate.gov

With the results of Tuesday’s election and the Republicans reclaiming control of the Senate, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is set to become Senate president pro tempore beginning in January.

This means he will be third in line for the presidential seat, among other responsibilities and perks that come with the position.

The honor, set apart in the constitution, is typically bestowed upon the senior Senate member of the majority party.

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