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

girlsonthegrid.com

During this holiday time of year, charitable giving seems to come to the forefront. But there is a lot of good being done in our communities throughout the year. We hope to encourage this good by spotlighting several non-profit groups on Wednesday’s AU.

We especially invite you to highlight a non-profit you especially admire and support. We’ll be talking to representatives from Sunshine Terrace Foundation, Loaves and Fishes, and Global Village Gifts in Logan; Wabi Sabi in Moab; The Salt Lake City Mission; and the Utah Food Bank. 


countryliving.com

In a time of excess for many, some are living with less.  A lot less! Tiny living has become increasingly popular in the past few years and today on Access Utah we’ll talk about this thirst for simplicity, how it’s changing the lives of those who live this way, how it’s affecting the environment around them, and if Tiny Houses could be in the future for more of us.  

Our guests include Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller, Co-Directors of TINY, a documentary on Tiny living; Jeffrey White of the Sarah House Project and MicroHouse Utah; and Macy Miller, who lives in a tiny space of her own and was interviewed by NPR.


teresajordan.com

In his early 20s, Benjamin Franklin embarked on a “bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection,” intending to master a list of thirteen virtues. He soon gave up on perfection but continued to believe that these attributes, along with a generous heart and a bemused acceptance of human frailty, laid the foundation for both a good life and a workable society.

 Writer and visual artist (and Utah resident) Teresa Jordan wondered if Franklin’s notions of virtue, which some might consider antiquated, might offer guidance to a nation increasingly divided by angry righteousness. She decided to try to live his list for a year, focusing on each virtue for a week at a time and taking weekends off to attend to the seven deadly sins.

fpif.org

Last month President Obama issued executive orders on immigration that will impact nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Those who have been in the United States for at least the past five years, with no criminal history, and in many cases with familial relationships to American citizens, will no longer face deportation from the United States.

 National studies suggest that Utah has anywhere between 80,000-100,000 illegal immigrants, with nearly 40,000 of them falling under categories now protected under the President's orders. Although Utah doesn’t have the highest number of undocumented immigrants, a study by the Migration Policy Institute claims Utah has the highest percentage of immigrants who qualify under President Obama’s announcement. Some speculate that this may be because the state’s family structure, religious generosity and steady economy have created an atmosphere where undocumented workers and their families have been less likely to engage in criminal behavior and to stay in the state to establish their livelihood.

water conservation
cedarhills.org

 UPR Reporter Melissa Allison’s recent story is headlined “Brown Lawns Popular in Blanding.” 

Blanding is on a mesa with no nearby rivers and depends almost entirely on snowmelt for its culinary and agricultural water supply. City Manager Jeremy Redd thinks Blanding residents might be more aware of their water situation than residents in more urban areas, which may help to explain the area’s voluntary conservation effort which resulted in 18 percent less culinary water used in 2013 than in 2012.


torreyhouse.com

When his new step-daughter is kidnapped during a visit to the Grand Canyon, archeologist Chuck Bender faces up to his secret past and his unfamiliar family-man role as he confronts every parent's worst nightmare--a missing child. In Tony Hillerman fashion, “Canyon Sacrifice,” a new novel by Scott Graham, (Torrey House Press) explores the rugged western landscape, the mysterious past of the ancient Anasazi Indians, and the modern Southwest's ongoing cultural fissures. “Canyon Sacrifice” is the first book in a National Park Mystery Series.

                       In addition to the National Park Mystery Series, Scott Graham is the author of five nonfiction books, including “Extreme Kids,” winner of the National Outdoor Book Award. Graham is an avid outdoorsman and amateur archaeologist who enjoys backpacking, hunting, rock climbing, skiing, and mountaineering. He lives with his wife, an emergency physician, and their two sons in Durango, Colorado. He has made a living as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, radio disk jockey, and coal-shoveling fireman on the steam-powered Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

texastribune.org

Are corporations people? The U.S. Supreme Court says they are, at least for some purposes.  Monday, in part two of our series, we’ll look at the impact of the U. S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling which allowed corporations and unions to spend freely in political campaigns. We’ll also examine the subsequent Move To Amend effort which seeks to overturn that ruling.

It’s now been more than 4 years since the landmark case was decided. Do you think the effects have been good or bad for the political process? Have there been unintended consequences? What should be done going forward? Our guests will include Thomas Huckin, University of Utah Professor of English, who is with Utah Move To Amend; and John Ferguson, who teaches business law and ethics in the USU Huntsman School of Business.


amazon.com

In 1961, Helen Andelin, housewife and mother of eight, languished in a lackluster, twenty-year-old marriage. A religious woman (Mormon) she fasted and prayed for help. As she studied a set of women's advice booklets from the 1920s, Andelin had an epiphany that not only changed her life but also affected the lives of millions of American women. She applied the principles from the booklets and found that her disinterested husband became loving and attentive. He bought her gifts and hurried home from work to be with her.

Andelin took her new-found happiness as a sign that it was her religious duty to share these principles with other women. She began leading small discussion groups for women at her church. The results were dramatic. In 1963, at the urging of her followers, Andelin wrote and self-published Fascinating Womanhood. The book, which borrowed heavily from those 1920s advice booklets, the Bible, and classical literature, eventually sold more than three million copies and launched a nationwide organization of classes and seminars led by thousands of volunteer teachers.


photography.nationalgeographic.com

A new 800-page study released by the Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office argues that Utah could afford the management costs that would come with acquiring the more than 30 million acres of public lands now controlled by the federal government.  (Elaine Taylor UPR)

Utah Assistant Attorney General Tony Rampton, newly appointed as Director of Public Lands Litigation, says Utah’s current efforts to gain control of federal lands must avoid the mistakes of the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and '80s. Meanwhile, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, speaking in a teleconference hosted by the National Wildlife Federation, says such a  transfer “would roll back 100 years of public lands progress." (Ami Joi O’Donoghue KSL) And the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) is up with television ads opposing the idea.

siezethedaylight.com

Benjamin Franklin conceived of it. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle endorsed it. Winston Churchill campaigned for it. Kaiser Wilhelm first employed it. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt went to war with it, and the United States fought an energy crisis with it.

The goal of daylight saving time—to use daylight to its maximum advantage—is  recognized by many to beneficial. But this deceptively simple idea has been controversial. Proponents have proclaimed DST's benefits, including saving energy, reducing automobile accidents, providing more daylight for outdoor activities, cutting crime, and many others. But DST also has had many detractors—from farmers to parents of schoolchildren—who have waged battles against it.In addition to energy, accidents, and crime, daylight saving time affects a wide variety of other, often unexpected areas, from Mid-East terrorism to attendance at London music halls, voter turnout to gardening, street crime to the profits of radio stations.Now two legislators are proposing that Utah either drop DST or put the question to voters.   

aithranknight.com

We know that UPR listeners are avid readers. We’ve had a lot of fun on past episodes of AU, putting together UPR Book Lists, and it’s time to do it again. What are you reading? You may have discovered a must-read book that we’d all enjoy. We’re looking for everything from fiction, non-fiction, and classic literature to young adult and children’s books. It might even be a textbook or manual that you recommend.

Tom Williams will be joined by UPR member and avid reader, Elaine Thatcher, and several Utah booksellers. 

BOOK LISTS:

shelvedbooks.blogspot.com

On today's Access Utah we'll revisit a program from June of this year.

Beginning with her experience as a medical actor, paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about one another? How can we feel another’s pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other? 

In her book “The Empathy Exams,” she draws from her own experiences of illness and injury and also explores everything from poverty tourism to phantom diseases, street violence to reality television, illness to incarceration.  Jamison explores ways in which we can (and cannot) comprehend the pain—real and imagined, internal and external—suffered by others and even ourselves. By confronting pain, she uncovers a personal and cultural urgency to feel.

Listen Here

wkms.org

StoryCorps promotes the day after Thanksgiving as a National Day of Listening, saying that  listening, sharing and recording stories of family members and friends is the least expensive but most meaningful gift you can give this holiday season. Access Utah has promoted this concept for a few years now, and Wednesday we’ll continue the tradition. We’ll invite you to share your story.

  Our guests will include USU Folklife Archives Curator Randy Williams, who recently completed an audio collection: “The Central Utah Project: Capturing Utah’s Share of the Colorado River,” and USU Professor of Anthropology and Affiliate Professor of Religious Studies, Bonnie Glass-Coffin, who has recorded stories of religious diversity as a part USU’s Interfaith Initiative.

austinchronicle.com

We’ve had some time now to see how the Affordable Care Act is working. On Tuesday’s AU we’ll ask you what your experience has been and what you think about the ACA going forward. The Utah Health Policy Project’s annual policy conference coming up on December 2nd is titled “Is It Working? Taking the Pulse on Health Reform in Utah.” The conference will tackle several questions: Which states are succeeding? What’s different about the 2015 marketplaces? What should Utah do to cover the Medicaid expansion coverage gap?

Our guests will include Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, Co-Chairman of the Utah Legislature’s Health Reform Task Force; Katherine Howitt, Senior Policy Analyst with Community Catalyst; and Utah Health Policy Project’s Education and Communications Director, Jason Stevenson.


wikipedia.org

Are corporations people? The U.S. Supreme Court says they are, at least for some purposes.  NPR’s Nina Totenberg reports that in the past four years, the high court has dramatically expanded corporate rights. It ruled that corporations have the right to spend money in candidate elections, and that some for-profit corporations may, on religious grounds, refuse to comply with a federal mandate to cover birth control in their employee health plans. 

Some have noted that if we take the idea of corporate personhood literally, some corporate “citizens” display sociopathic tendencies. On Monday’s AU, In the first in a four-part series we’ll discuss the history of corporations and how they’ve reached the status they enjoy today. Our guests will include Adrian Wooldridge, Management Editor of The Economist and co-author of “The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea.” William Shughart, J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice in the USU Huntsman School of Business and Research Director and Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland. We’ll look at the the rise of corporations in the U.S. through the court rulings and economic climate of the times.  

runningpress.tumblr.com

On Thursday's Access Utah we revisit a program from July of this year.

Forget the royal baby and Suri Cruise. Meet Quinoa, a viral sensation and star of the popular Pinterest board, My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter. Quinoa is a trendy, fashion-forward girl who, when she’s not hanging out with her BFFs Chevron and Aioli, is teaching the world about proper parenting, fashion and accessorization, etiquette for play dates, and much more.

In “How to Quinoa: Life Lessons from My Imaginary Well-Dressed Daughter,” Tiffany Beveridge speaks through her imaginary brainchild to offer remarkably accurate—and hilarious—insights into our obsession with hipster culture, food, and fashion. In her distinctive voice, Quinoa takes readers on a tour of high-fashion fun, filled with snapshots from her virtual life as the world's most influential preschooler, plus hints, tips, and best practices to transform anyone’s lifestyle and wardrobe from snore to roar. Quinoa has everything covered—from raising a superior child to securing a compatible BFF, from traveling in style to finding one’s own path to designer happiness, complete with hip hobbies like drinking flavored lemonades from mason jars. 

Listen Here

torreyhouse.com

Brooke and Terry Tempest Williams came across a copy of British nature writer Richard Jefferies’ autobiography “The Story of My Heart” in a small Maine bookstore. The beautiful volume intrigued them and inspired a journey: they traveled to England in order to learn more about the 19th-century nature essayist, to wander the countryside which so inspired and captivated him. 

Delving into this love letter to nature strengthened and refreshed Terry and Brooke’s relationship with each other and with the natural world. Originally published in 1883, “The Story of My Heart” explores Jeffries’ idea a “soul-life” which he experienced while wandering in England. In essays alongside Jefferies’ original work, Brooke and Terry Tempest Williams contemplate dilemmas of modernity, the intrinsic need for wildness, and what it means to be human in the 21st century. (Torrey House Press.)

Brooke and Terry Tempest Williams will headline two upcoming events in Utah: Thursday, November 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Rowland Hall, Lincoln Street campus in Salt Lake City for The King’s English Bookshop; and Monday, December 1 at 7:00 p.m. at Back of Beyond Books in Moab.

mnn.com

President Obama is demanding that the FCC reclassify the Internet as a public utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. He wants rules to ensure “that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online."

Elise Hu of NPR’s All Tech Considered reports that the president sees reclassification of the internet as the best way to achieve the objectives of an open Internet: No throttling of some content and speeding up others, no paid prioritization — customers getting stuck in a "slow lane" because the sites they are visiting didn't pay a fee — and no blocking content.  According to Hu, big ISPs — Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner — and their trade associations and lobbyists argue that the Title II option would lead to suffocating regulation that would give them no incentive to invest millions in developing new technologies and maintaining or improving the current network connecting Americans to the Internet.


amazon.com

After nine years of keeping his prostate cancer at bay, the drugs were no longer working. The doctors told him his time was nearly up. So Jeff Metcalf dove deep into writing, tasking himself with writing one essay each week for a year. His new book “Requiem for the Living” contains the best of the resulting fifty-two essays by an author who continues to defy his medical prognosis. The essays form a memoir of sorts, recounting good times and critical moments from Metcalf’s life. 

He does not describe a life defined by cancer but writes to discover what his life has been, who he has become, and what he has learned along the way. Brian Doyle, author of “Two Voices,” says, “I liked this book first for what it is, a cleanly written and fascinating story of a life spent paying close attention to the miracles. But I also like it very much for what it isn’t, and could so easily have been—a work of self-pity, a litany of ills and blaming.” “Requiem for the Living” is funny, moving, profoundly personal, and a testimony to the human spirit.


npr.org

NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca set out to become a college professor and ended up on the radio. He’s in Logan for several events for UPR and USU and he’s Tom Williams’ guest for the hour on Friday’s AU. They’ll talk about the art of reporting on science and the fascinating stories he has covered, including a story from Utah about the dangers of household sponges.

His recent reporting includes stories about the Rosetta spacecraft getting ready for a rendezvous with a comet; a non-GMO way to get more and tastier tomatoes; a phone app that checks photos for eye disease; and why theories about black holes are full of holes.

Joe Palca will give a talk titled “Unwrapping Science on the Radio” as a part of the Science Unwrapped series presented by USU’s College of Science on Friday at 7:00 p.m. in Eccles Science Learning Center Emert Auditorium, Room 130. The event is free and open to the public and hands-on learning activities and refreshments will follow the presentation. Joe Palca’s USU appearance is sponsored by UPR.

Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics — everything from biomedical research to astronomy. He is currently focused on the eponymous series, "Joe's Big Idea." Stories in the series explore the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors.

usupress.com

Jim Steenburgh says that for many who come to our state, powder is more than snow. It is a way of life.

Utah has long claimed to have the greatest snow on Earth—the state itself has even trademarked the phrase. In Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth: Weather, Climate Change, And Finding Deep Powder in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and Around the World (Utah State University Press) Steenburgh investigates Wasatch weather, exposing the myths (the famous “lake effect” is, he says, the most misunderstood Wasatch weather phenomenon) and revealing how and why Utah’s powder lives up to its reputation. (One section of the book is titled “Mother Nature’s Five-Step Plan for a Snowstorm.”) 

washingtontimes.com

Robert Poole says that “for most of the country, the longest war in the history of the United States has taken place largely out of sight, the casualties piling up in faraway Iraq and Afghanistan while normal life continued on the home front, with no war taxes, no draft notices, no gas rationing, and none of the shared sacrifice of the nation’s earlier conflicts. The one exception has been in section 60, a corner of Arlington National Cemetery, where more than 900 men and women have come to rest in the past decade.”

On Veterans Day 2014 we’ll talk with Robert Poole, whose book “Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery: Where War Comes Home” is the biography of a five-acre plot where many of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been laid to rest alongside service members from earlier wars. 

April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

What happens when newcomers from the suburbs move into farm country? Or when small-scale backyard farmers in cities or suburbs want to continue or begin operations against neighborhood opposition? Sometimes conflicts ensue. How should these be handled?

In Michigan, a “Right to Farm Act” was created in 1981 to protect farmers from the complaints of people from the city who moved to the country and then attempted to make it more urban with anti-farming ordinances. According to Gail Philburn of the Michigan Sierra Club, a recent ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development “effectively removes Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.”  

 

On Monday’s AU we’ll talk about Utah laws and rules and discuss the issues with Cache Valley farmers Don Baldwin and Reid Zought; USU Cache County Extension Agent Clark Israelsen; and Logan City Councilman Herm Olsen.

 

 


Albert Bierstadt / wikiart.org

As we move toward the Winter Solstice, we’ll revisit a program from April when we invited three Utah writers to reflect on the environment for Earth Day 2014. Where are we with regard to the environment and the land we love? What progress has been made? What are the most pressing current problems? Jana Richman, author of “The Ordinary Truth,” and other books; Stephen Trimble, whose books include, Bargaining for Eden: The Fight for the Last Open Spaces in America;” and George Handley, author of “Home Waters: A Year of Recompenses on the Provo River,” and other works, reflect on the earth and the land from a poetic and perhaps a political perspective as well.

denverlibrary.org

Today we recap the mid-term elections which saw control of the U. S. Senate return to the Republicans and a Republican clean sweep in Utah’s congressional races. One constitutional amendment passed in Utah and two were defeated. Several state school board incumbents were defeated. 

We’ll open the phone lines for your comments. What race were you keying on? What are your predictions for the future? What issues concern you? Today also marks the unofficial start to the 2016 presidential campaign. We’ll talk about all of this and more with Deseret News columnists LaVarr Webb and Frank Pignanelli; and Mike Lyons and Damon Cann from the USU Political Science Department.


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