Tom Williams

Program Director | Access Utah Host

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996.  He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.)  He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah” and “Opera Saturday.”  He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.

Ways To Connect

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune

State Department of Corrections Executive Director Rollin Cook said Utah's "tough on crime approach" has been costly and has led to mass incarceration, overcrowded prisons and unacceptable recidivism rates. Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, said his criminal justice reform bill (HB 348) will result in an "epic shift" in how the state treats offenders.  The Salt Lake Tribune reports that under HB 348, drug offenses would carry a smaller penalty, probation officers could reward as well as punish, and whenever possible, the mentally ill and drug addicted would be shuttled into treatment rather than to jail. Prosecutors worry that reducing charges and sentences would be counterproductive. 

Utah State University

Every year about this time "Evening in Brazil" presents concerts in Salt Lake City and Logan; this year's concerts are on Thursday and Friday. And each year, we gather members of the musical group in UPR's studio C to enjoy some great Bossa Nova and Samba on Access Utah. Linda Ferreira Linford, Christopher Neale, Mike Christiansen & Eric Nelson will join us for Wednesday's AU and we hope you will too, beginning at 9:00 a.m. 


This is an Encore Presentation of Access Utah,which originally aired in September 2014.

 

Pulitzer-prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin returns to AU on Friday. She is author of several books including “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism,“ “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt - The Home Front in World War II” and “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.” And she’s one of the experts featured in Ken Burns’ new documentary “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” which airs on KUED over seven nights beginning on Sunday.


Ryan Padriac

The Deseret News reports that opposing bills on Medicaid expansion have passed a state Senate committee.  Sen. Allen Christensen says that his SB 153 would cover Utahns who earn up to 100% of the federal poverty level and who are medically frail. He says his plan would leave money available for other needy groups. Sen. Brian Shiozawa’ SB 164 would implement many elements of Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan, which would help provide coverage for those who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level. Sen. Shiozawa says that Sen. Christensen’s plan would not return enough Utah tax dollars from the federal government to the state.


energy.utah.gov

Oil prices across the nation have dropped dramatically over the past few months. Economists have described the money that consumers are saving as a kind of tax break, but not everyone is seeing green. In a series of reports this month titled “The Costs of Oil,” UPR reporters Elaine Taylor, Justin Prather and Evan Hall have looked into how falling prices are affecting places like eastern Utah, where oil is a major industry.

    

Harper Collins

Amity Shlaes is author of four New York Times bestsellers, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression; The Forgotten Man: Graphic, an illustrated version of the same book drawn by Paul Rivoche; Coolidge, a biography of the thirtieth president; and The Greedy Hand: How Taxes Drive Americas Crazy. Shlaes chairs the board of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation.


Amity Shlaes gave a presentation in Logan on February 18, hosted by Strata, a Logan-based public policy think tank, and by USU’s Center for the Study of American Constitutionalism. Shlaes writes for Forbes and National Review and spent more than 10 years as a columnist for the Financial Times and Bloomberg.

zzyw.co

Our guest for the hour on Wednesday's Access Utah is Jennifer Jacquet, author of the new book "Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool." Robert Sapolsky (author of Monkeyluv) says: "In the age of Anthony Weiner and Miley Cyrus, shame seems an antiquated concept-a quaint tool of conformity-obsessed collectivist societies, replete with scarlet letters and loss of face ..." Jacquet says that in recent years, we as consumers have sought to assuage our guilt about flawed social and environmental practices and policies by, for example, buying organic foods or fair-trade products. Unless nearly everyone participates, however, the impact of individual consumer consciousness is ineffective. 


NBC

Our guest for the hour is Matthew LaPlante, USU Assistant Professor of Journalism. LaPlante served a tour of duty in the Persian Gulf as an enlisted military intelligence specialist in the U.S. Navy, and returned to the Middle East as a war correspondent for The Salt Lake Tribune. He also covered veterans affairs for the Tribune.  In an Op Ed piece in the Logan Herald Journal he says that in the wake of revelations that NBC anchor Brian Williams has long been telling an apparently fictitious story about being in a helicopter that was struck by a rocket in Iraq, he got thinking about issues of memory and war.

For Valentine’s Day, Access Utah Brings you the story of four engineers with one problem: How to find the right woman in real life?

 

In his previous documentary RULES OF SINGLE LIFE, Bulgaria-born, Helsinki-based engineer-turned-director Tonislav Hristov examined his own divorce and that of four friends – wondering what had gone wrong. His latest film, Love & Engineering takes this concept one step further, as it follows Atanas, a Bulgarian 3D engineer living in Finland.


publiclands.utah.gov

  Some say that federal control of public lands in Utah has resulted in stunted economic development, an imbalance in access, and increased fire danger in national forests. A new study from the University of Utah Law School’s Wallace Stegner Center argues that a Utah takeover of 31 million acres of public lands could lead to less public access and less public involvement in land-use decisions. Utah Assistant Attorney General Tony Rampton, Director of Public Lands Litigation, is our guest in the first half of Wednesday’s AU. House Minority Leader, Rep. Brian King D-Salt Lake City will join us in the second half of the program. 


Some say that federal control of public lands in Utah has resulted in stunted economic development, an imbalance in access, and increased fire danger in national forests. A new study from the University of Utah Law School's Wallace Stegner Center argues that a Utah takeover of 31 million acres of public lands could lead to less public access and less public involvement in land-use decisions. 


Simon and Schuster

Today we revisit a conversation from August, 2014 with Jeff Guinn, author of "Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson" says he wanted to answer two questions with the book: "Why does Manson's name still resonate with us, all these years after those famous murders? And what happened in his life to make him the way he turned out?" Guinn says that in answering those questions "it was really like a trip across American history because Manson represents so many aspects of American society." More than 40 years ago Charles Manson and his mostly female commune killed nine people, among them the pregnant actress Sharon Tate. 


Utah State University Press

Luisa A. Igloria  is winner of the May Swenson Poetry Award, a competitive prize granted annually to an outstanding collection of poetry in English, named for Logan Utah native May Swenson, one of America's most vital and provocative twentieth-century poets. Igloria's collection "Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser" is published by Utah State University Press. Originally from Baguio City in the Philippines, Igloria is Professor of Creative Writing and English, and Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University. Since November 20, 2010 she has written a poem every day. 


Professional speaker, storyteller and writer Janice Brooks will join Tom Williams for the hour on Thursday's AU   Brooks is performing her one-woman show "Traveling Shoes"Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. in the Caine Performance Hall on the USU campus in Logan. "Traveling Shoes" depicts eight women of American history: Sojourner Truth, Barbara Jordan, Harriet Tubman, Shirley Chisholm, Buffalo Soldier Cathay Williams, Rosa Parks, Biddy Mason, and Jane Manning. The show is presented by UPR and is part of the USU Provost's Series on Instructional Excellence in celebration of Black History Month. 


Christian Rudder

Seventy percent of the country uses Facebook each month-50 percent of Americans under 35 check it first thing every morning. By 2015, people will have tweeted more words than in every book ever printed. A third of all marriages in the United States now begin online-meaning one in three children in the class of 2032 will have been facilitated by an algorithm. Social media has become essential to the fabric of our society. 


In the 1960s, Mormon housewife Helen Andelin countered the second wave feminist movement by preaching family values and urging women not to have careers, but to become good wives, mothers, and homemakers instead. Andelin, who sparked a large movement herself, taught that a woman's true happiness could only be realized if she admired, cared for, and obeyed her husband. In December, many listeners joined our Access Utah conversation with Julie Neuffer prompted by her book "Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement" It was clear from that discussion that many women are thinking through their roles in today's shifting environment. 


Rick Bowmer, AP

This week high-ranking officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a news conference to address of religious freedom, and discrimination against the LGBT community.
On Monday's AU we'll look at legislation being proposed this year regarding these issues. We'll hear from Governor Gary Herbert, Senator Stephen Urquhart and Representative Jacob Anderegg. 


Barnaby Dorfman

On today's Access Utah, we're taking a look inside the Sundance Film Festival, the largest film screening in the United States. Known for it's glamor and celebrity, the festival is also a strong supporter for the arts and the untold stories they feature. 

 We'll be speaking with UPR's Sundance reporter Steve Smith about his experience covering independent films and documentaries at this year's festival. He'll speak on such works as the teen comedy "Seoul Searching," and "Prophets Prey" the documentary which depict's Warren Jeffs' control over Colorado City's polygamous community.

Oxford University Press

Homesickness today is dismissed as a sign of immaturity: It's what children feel at summer camp. But in the nineteenth century it was recognized as a powerful emotion. When gold miners in California heard the tune "Home, Sweet Home," they sobbed. When Civil War soldiers became homesick, army doctors sent them home, lest they die. 

Such images don't fit with our national mythology, which celebrates the restless individualism of immigrants who supposedly left home and never looked back. Susan Matt, author of "Homesickness: An American History" says that iconic symbols of the undaunted, forward-looking American spirit were often homesick, hesitant, and reluctant voyagers. Even today, in a global society that prizes movement and that condemns homesickness as a childish emotion, colleges counsel young adults and their families on how to manage the transition away from home, suburbanites pine for their old neighborhoods, and companies take seriously the emotional toll borne by relocated executives and road warriors. By highlighting how Americans have reacted to moving farther and farther from their roots, Matt revises long-held assumptions about home, mobility, and our national identity.

Oxford University Press

It was 2004, and Sean McFate had a mission in Burundi: to keep the president alive and prevent the country from spiraling into genocide, without anyone knowing that the United States was involved. The United States was, of course, involved, but only through McFate's employer, the military contractor DynCorp International. Throughout the world, similar scenarios are playing out daily. The United States can no longer go to war without contractors. Yet we don't know much about the industry's structure, its operations, or where it's heading. Even the U.S. government-the entity that actually pays them-knows relatively little. 


On the opening day of the 2015 Utah Legislature, we’re live at the State Capitol. 

We’ll speak with Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox; Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund; Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis; and House Minority Leader Brain Brian King. We’ll discuss air quality, education, the economy, Medicaid expansion, the budget and more.


On opening day of the 2015 Utah Legislature we’re live at the State Capitol. 

We’ll speak with Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox; Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund; Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis; House Speaker Gregory Hughes; and House Minority Leader Brain Brian King. We’ll discuss air quality, education, the economy, Medicaid expansion, the budget and more.


accuweather.com

Utah State environmental officials are proposing a seasonal wood burning ban in seven Utah Counties, in an effort to reduce particle polution during Utah’s winter inversions. If implemented, the proposal could become the strictest wood burning ban in the country. Residents in the affected counties (Cache, Box Elder, Salt Lake, Davis, Utah and Weber) have all been invited to attend public meetings held by the Utah Division of Air Quality, to offer input on how the proposed ban can affect their winters and impact the health of Utah's citizens. 


W.W. Norton & Co. Publishing

In her latest book “The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us” Diane Ackerman writes that “our relationship with nature has changed radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable.” 


Cedar Fort Publishers

As a loving father, Paul Holton found it hard to reconcile his innate goodwill with his role as an interrogator for the Army National Guard. Until one day, deep in Iraqi territory, surrounded by the horrors of war, he realized how he could make a small but significant difference in the lives of the children all around him. 

On impulse, he began asking friends and family to send him little things like toys and toothbrushes to share with children devastated by deadly conflicts. From that small gesture, his efforts have grown into an international humanitarian organization that now blesses children across the globe. And in the process, Holton learned that the more he focused on helping the people around him, the more he was able to cheerfully endure the hardships of his duty. This fascinating account from the front lines illustrates the simple truth that kindness can heal even the deepest wounds.

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