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

elaineweiss.com

Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, twelve have rejected or refused to vote, and one last state is needed. It all comes down to Tennessee, the moment of truth for the suffragists, after a seven-decade crusade. The opposing forces include politicians with careers at stake, liquor companies, railroad magnates, and racists who don’t want black women voting. And then there are the “Antis”–women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the moral collapse of the nation.

 

The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

 

Benchmark Books

Salt Lake Tribune religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack writes that “[s]ome Mormons — and plenty of others — were appalled to witness their church build a $1.5 billion mall in downtown Salt Lake City and hear their prophet proclaim, “Let’s go shopping.” Isn’t religion, they argued, supposed to be about feeding the hungry and clothing the poor?

Utah Public Radio

A formerly homeless man tries to help young people in Southern Utah. A transgender person in Brigham City finds community in a coven of witches. A gay Navajo man finally decides to leave the reservation to escape the loneliness. And in a suburb of Salt Lake City, a family turns a Mormon tradition on its head to find fellowship. Those are descriptions of episodes from the UPR original series “LGBTQ: Off the Grid,” broadcasting through mid-March.

matikawilbur.com

In 2012, photographer Matika Wilbur sold everything in her Seattle apartment and created Project 562, which reflects her commitment to visit, engage with and photograph all 562 plus Native American sovereign territories in the United States. With this project she has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles, many in her RV (which she has nicknamed the “Big Girl”) but also by horseback through the Grand Canyon, by train, plane, and boat and on foot across all 50 states.

Wildwords.net

“I began my writing career by exploring the tracks humans have left in nature. Now I’m mostly interested in the tracks nature leaves in us.” That’s author Gary Ferguson. He says that nature provides beauty, mystery and community, traits that each of us very much needs. He is the author of 25 books. We talked with Gary Ferguson a few months ago about his latest “Land on Fire.” Today we’ll talk with him about “The Carry Home” a haunting meditation on wilderness, conservation, and grief, written following the death of his wife in a canoeing accident.

B&T

 

Lyndon Johnson's towering political skills and his ambitious slate of liberal legislation are the stuff of legend: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start and environmental reform. But what happened after the bills passed? One man could not and did not go it alone. Bill Moyers, Jack Valenti, Joe Califano, Harry McPherson and the other staff members who comprised LBJ's inner circle were men as pragmatic and ambitious as Johnson, equally skilled in the art of accumulating power or throwing a sharp elbow.

The Salt Lake Tribune

Today on the program, we're discussing the possibility of Utah doing away with the death penalty and as Mitt Romney begins his campaign for Senate, his relationship with Pres. Donald Trump appears to warm.  Huntsville Republican Rep. Gage Froerer leads the charge to do away with the death penalty, and he has some powerful players backing him. And state lawmakers seem to have an extra $209 million to work with in the budget this year. 

IMDB

Whose Streets? is a documentary about the Ferguson uprising, brought to you by the activists and leaders who live and breather this movement for justice. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and the left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis County. Grief, Long-standing tension, and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest the latest tragedy. In the days that follow, artists, musicians, teacher, and parents turn into Freedom Fighters, standing on the front lines to demand justice.

Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Several Utah-based organizations including the Rape Recovery Center and Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault recently hosted a town hall conversation focusing on the impact and future of the #MeToo movement. Organizers say “It is time for Utahns to come together to discuss the future of our community. To give survivors an opportunity to define what progress looks like for our community.” They hope to provide forums where the concerns of sexual assault and harassment survivors would be heard.

 

We’ll talk with panelists today, including:

Publisher's Weekly

  

 

It’s time again to compile our UPR community book list. We want to know what you’re reading. Maybe something for Valentine’s Day or Black History Month? Whatever’s on your nightstand or device, you can send us your list right now by email to upraccess@gmail.com. Or you can email us or call us during the program, next time on Access Utah. Elaine Thatcher, our usual co-host for these episodes, is always reading something interesting. She’ll share her list with us. We’ll also get recommendations of interesting new books from various booksellers.

We’ll be talking to Anne Holman from The King’s English Bookshop, Shauna from Central Book Exchange, and Ken Sanders from Ken Sanders Rare Books, all in Salt Lake City.

University of Utah

From the University of Utah:

In a new study, University of Utah geographers sought to understand the factors fueling hate across space. Their findings paint a rather grim reality of America; hate is a national phenomenon, and more complicated than they imagined.

The researchers mapped the patterns of active hate groups in every U.S. county in the year 2014, and analyzed their potential socioeconomic and ideological drivers.

Light Up Puerto Rico

 

  It’s been six months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. The hurricane is regarded as one of the worst natural disasters in Puerto Rican history. Some Puerto Ricans expressed the worry at the time that the news cycle would turn and the island’s needs will be forgotten. We’ll try to counteract that tendency today. We’re going to focus on Puerto Rico and try to point you to good ways you can help. We’ll also seek context and look at some history.

Book Soup

Salt Lake City resident Gabriel Tallent’s debut novel “My Absolute Darling” has been getting rave reviews. Here’s a synopsis:

Nuclear Street

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) is a consortium of public power agencies  (Logan is a member). UAMPs reportedly is considering building a small modular nuclear reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls. It would likely be one of the first small modular reactors (SMR) in the country. Proponents say that SMRs are small, scalable, flexible and dramatically safer and less expensive than the traditional gigantic reactors.

National Association of Counties

David Yokum is Director of The Lab @ DC. Under his leadership, The Lab conducts applied research projects to generate evidence that informs the District’s decisions. Yokum was previously a founding member of the White House’s Social & Behavioral Sciences Team and Director of its scientific delivery unit housed at the U.S. General Services Administration. President Obama further institutionalized the work in Executive Order 13707, “Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People.”

Deseret News

On the day President Trump is set to deliver his first State of the Union Address, we’ll talk politics with Deseret News columnists LaVarr Webb and Frank Pignanelli.

Amazon.com

What do the following have in common? Ghost beads, biotic communities, gin, tree masticators, Puebloan diapers, charcoal, folklore, historic explorers, spiral grain, tree life cycles, spirituality, packrat middens, climate changes, wildfire, ranching, wilderness, and land management policies. The answer is the juniper tree.

IMDb

110 independent films from 29 countries will be presented at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, which is hosting screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort, through Sunday.   

One of several films that had its world premiere at the festival is “Quiet Heroes,” directed and co-produced by Salt Lake City-based filmmaker Jenny Mackenzie.

The Project Magazine

For nearly 2 decades, professional photographer Jim Herrington has been working on a portrait series of influential rock and mountain climbers. The resulting book, “The Climbers” documents these rugged individualists who, from roughly the 1930s to 1970s, used primitive gear along with their wits, talent, and fortitude to tackle unscaled peaks around the world.

Wikimedia Commons

Join us on Monday at 9:00 a.m. for our annual live broadcast from the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on the opening day of the Utah Legislature. Tom Williams will be talking with Governor Gary Herbert and majority and minority leaders from the Utah Senate and House of Representatives. We’ll take questions via email for the governor and legislative leaders. We want to know what’s on your mind as the 2018 Utah Legislature gets down to business.

The Salt Lake Tribune

A majority (55 percent) of Americans support the death penalty, according to the latest Gallup poll on the subject, but support continues to decline. In 1994, 80 percent supported the death penalty.

 

The University of Utah

We live more and more of our lives online; we rely on the internet as we work, interact with friends and loved ones, pay bills, stream videos, read the news, and listen to music. We operate with the understanding that data that traces these activities will not be abused now or in the future. But the data tracks we leave through our health information, the internet and social media, financial and credit information, personal relationships, and public lives continuously make us prey to identity theft, hacking and even government surveillance.

Utah State Today

There was a tie atop the 2017 Digital Trend of the Year survey conducted by the USU Digital Folklore Project. The top trends were: #MeToo and the phenomenon of fake government
social media accounts like @AltUSNatParkService.

Cache County School District

A Cache Valley elementary school art teacher was fired after he had his class pass around prints of classical art from a collection of postcards from the school’s library, which included prints of nude paintings. The teacher, Mateo Rueda said he didn’t know those paintings were part of the set and would not have used them. This story drew international press coverage. Rueda and Cache County School district have reached an agreement in the case. We’ll talk about it on Tuesday’s Access Utah. Our guests will include Mateo Rueda and the mother of one of the students.

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