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

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.

Oxford University Press

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced the practice of plural marriage in 1890. In the mid- to late nineteenth century, however--the heyday of Mormon polygamy--as many as three out of every ten Mormon women became polygamous wives. 

In “The Polygamous Wives Writing Club,” Paula Kelly Harline delves deep into the diaries and autobiographies of twenty-nine such women, providing a rare window into the lives they led and revealing their views and experiences of polygamy. Harline considers the questions: Were these women content with their sacrifice? Did the benefits of polygamous marriage for the Mormons outweigh the human toll it required and the embarrassment it continues to bring? She says that “although the mainstream Mormon Church washed its hands of polygamy more than one hundred years ago, you can still hear the voices of polygamous wives who wrote their stories. And in their stories, the conflict between love and duty—like attempting to float in azure skies while gravitationally forced to work a plot of land instead—unfold in Technicolor.”

simonandschuster.com

For Don Tillman--a brilliant, if socially awkward, genetics professor--order is a way of life. Methods, schedules, and data are his language. Until recently, Don had never had a second date. 

  Then he got serious about finding a life partner, created a sixteen-page questionnaire to find the perfect match, and met and fell in love with Rosie Jarman (“the world’s most incompatible woman.”) This is the story, in brief, told in the best-selling book “The Rosie Project.” Graeme Simsion continues the story in his new book “The Rosie Effect.” Now living in New York City, Don and Rosie have survived ten months and ten days of marriage. Though the fiery Rosie has taught him the joys of unscheduled sex and spontaneous meal planning, Don is still learning the principles of optimal cohabitation. He is certainly not prepared for the mother of all surprises: Rosie is unexpectedly expecting. Soon Don must face the biggest challenge of his previously regimented life--at the same time he’s dodging deportation, prosecution, and professional disgrace. Is Don ready to become the man he always dreamed of being? Or will he revert to his old ways and risk losing Rosie forever?

 


Deep Down Dark hector tobar
Hector Tobar

Mining is part of Utah’s history and culture, and mining resources and safety are key themes in the West. The Morning Edition Book Club has selected for January: Hector Tobar’s “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free.” The book address faith, safety, economics, technology and the survival of humanity under difficult circumstances. Utah Public Radio is beginning a UPR Chapter of the Morning  Edition Book Club.

paulapoundstone.com

Stand-up comedian and “Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me” panelist Paula Poundstone will be performing in Logan on Saturday.

Ahead of that appearance she’ll join Tom Williams for the hour on Tuesday’s AU. They’ll go behind the scenes of NPR’s popular news quiz show and talk comedy and current events. They’ll also likely talk about Paula’s cats. 

Tickets for her performance in Logan are available at CacheArts.org, and you can listen to "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!" Saturday's at 9:00 AM and Sunday's at 11:00 AM on Utah Public Radio.


abcnews.go.com

The latest World Health Organization weekly data showed the epidemic has killed 8,235 of the 20,747  infected people worldwide. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia contain the vast majority of cases.

Former Cache Valley resident, Ann Norman, is Chairman of the Board for Shine On Sierra Leone, a non-profit organization which builds and rebuilds schools in Sierra Leone. She has been appointed to the Presidential Task Force there, and is involved in the education campaign for people in rural areas in Sierra Leone to combat Ebola. We’ll talk about how Ebola is affecting West Africa, including people Ann Norman knows and works with, and what can be done to confront this crisis, which is of worldwide concern.

We will also have on Jay A. Jacobson, M.D., MACP, Professor Emeritus, Divisions of Medical Ethics and Humanities and Infectious Disease, U. of Utah School of Medicine and Intermountain Medical Center.  He gave a lecture on January 8 at 7:30pm in the Unitarian Church, 560 South 1300 East, sponsored by the Humanists of Utah. He will talk about Ebola infections and many of the issues related to the ethics of treatment such as who should receive it, if and when we can devise any treatment beyond supportive therapy.

barnesandnoble.com

  On Thursday’s AU Charles Hawley will join us from Alaska to talk about Kennecott and the history of mining.

While copper seems less glamorous than gold, it may be far more important, as it was vital to the industrial revolution and indispensable for electrification. Kennecott Copper Corporation, at one time the largest producer of copper in the world, played a key role in economic and industrial development.

In his new book “A Kennecott Story: Three Mines, Four Men, and One Hundred Years, 1897-1997” (University of Utah Press) Charles Hawley tells the story of how Kennecott was formed from the merger of three mining operations (one in Alaska, one in Utah, and one in Chile), how it led the way in mining technologies, and how it was in turn affected by the economy and politics of the day.  His narrative follows four mining engineers--Stephen Birch, Daniel Cowan Jackling, William Burford Braden, and E. Toppan Stannard--self-made men whose technological ingenuity was responsible for much of Kennecott's success.


eveschaub.com

  On Wednesday’s AU we revisit an episode from June 2014:

 

Do you know where the sugar you eat is coming from? It's in ice cream and cookies, of course, but what scared Eve Schaub was the secret world of sugar—hidden in bacon, crackers, salad dressing, pasta sauce, chicken broth, and baby food.

Schaub challenged her husband and two school-age daughters to join her on a quest to quit sugar for a year. In her memoir “Year of No Sugar” she uncovers the real costs of our sugar-heavy American diet—including diabetes, obesity, and increased incidences of health problems such as heart disease and cancer. She found that it is possible to eat at restaurants and go grocery shopping—with less and even no added sugar.

 

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amazon.com

On Tuesday’s AU we’ll revisit a program from May 2014:

The red rock canyon country of southeastern Utah and northeastern Arizona is one of the most isolated, wild, and beautiful regions of North America. Europeans and Americans over time have mostly avoided, disdained, or ignored it. Paul Nelson, in “Wrecks of Human Ambition: A History of Utah’s Canyon Country to 1936” (University of Utah Press,) illustrates how this landscape undercut notions and expectations of good, productive land held by the first explorers, settlers, and travelers who visited it. Even today, its aridity and sandy soils prevent widespread agricultural exploitation, and its cliffs, canyons, and rivers thwart quick travel in and through the landscape.

Most of the previous works regarding the history of this region have focused on either early exploration or twentieth-century controversies that erupted over mineral and water development and the creation of national parks and wilderness areas. This volume fills a gap in existing histories by focusing on early historical themes from the confrontation between Euro-Christian ideals and the challenging landscape. It centers on three interconnected interpretations of the area that unfolded when visitors from green, well-watered, productive lands approached this desert.

Link To Audio

Michael Pitre

In the words of Michael Pitre:

"I was only a year removed from active duty when I began working on this novel in early 2011. The tempo of military life, sharp with conviction and generous in camaraderie, lingered like a tooth ache as I returned to the civilian world.

"I realize now that by staying up late to write, and digging through memories of the war for textures to layer on this work of fiction, I was saying a final good-bye to a way of life I'd loved and scorned in equal measure.

"The Marine Corps is self-selecting. The vast majority of Iraq veterans volunteered to serve during wartime, and I never met a Marine who signed up under the false impression that combat would resemble a video game. We all understood that our war would be upsetting, unforgiving, and, if we survived, life-altering.

"But we weren't prepared for the years that followed, when we came home to find that the war had made us strangers.


guitarigator.com

For our Access Utah Holiday Special, we bring back guitarist and Utah State University Professor Emeritus of Music Mike Christiansen, and University of Utah Associate Professor of  Theatre Studies and playwright Tim Slover, to bring you great holiday guitar music and holiday readings on today's program. For more information on Mike Christiansen and Tim Slover, please visit their websites.  From the Utah Public Radio family, we hope your holidays are filled with great music and stories, and we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


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. 

Contacting These Non-profits:

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.


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