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

kenantrebincevic.com

At age eleven, Kenan Trebincevic was a happy, karate-loving kid living with his family in the quiet Eastern European town of Brcko. Then, in the spring of 1992, war broke out and his friends, neighbors and teammates all turned on him. Pero - Kenan's beloved karate coach - showed up at his door with an AK-47 - screaming: "You have one hour to leave or be killed!" His only crime: he was Muslim. In his new book “The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return” Trebincevic tells the story of his miraculous escape from the brutal ethnic cleansing campaign that swept the former Yugoslavia, and of his return. After two decades in the United States, Trebincevic honors his father’s wish to visit their homeland. And he makes a list of what he wants to do there. He decides to confront the former next door neighbor who stole from his mother, see the concentration camp where his dad and brother were imprisoned and stand on the grave of his first betrayer to make sure he’s really dead. Back in the land of his birth, Trebincevic finds something more powerful—and shocking—than revenge.

earlyword.com

 Anthony Doerr is author of the New York Times bestseller “All the Light We Cannot See,” about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Doerr says the novel is about the magic of radio, propaganda, a cursed diamond, children in Nazi Germany, puzzles, snails, the Natural History Museum in Paris, courage, fear, bombs, the magical seaside town of Saint-Malo in France, and the ways in which people, against all odds, try to be kind to one another. And he says, referring to the book’s title, that there are countless invisible stories still buried within World War II — that stories of ordinary children, for example, are a kind of light we do not typically see. And that, ultimately, the title is intended as a suggestion that we spend too much time focused on only a small slice of the spectrum of possibility.

 


More than 300,000 people marched through the streets of New York City on Sunday in what organizers called the largest climate-change demonstration in history (USA Today.)

Participants in the People’s Climate March demanded that “bold ideas” be presented at a United Nations summit on climate change on Tuesday. In the meantime, Americans are deeply divided, not only on how to address climate change but whether it's a problem at all. “Carroll Doherty of the Pew Research Center says in a poll last month, 68 percent of Democrats called climate change a major threat to the U.S., concern on a par with Islamic extremism. But only 25 percent of Republicans feel that way.” (NPR)  


deseretnews.com

We tend to talk about Air Quality in the winter when inversions are trapping us in especially bad air. But this is a serious ongoing problem. So, on Monday’s AU, we’ll ask: What does the latest research tell us about our air pollution problem? And what are our current plans to ameliorate the problem? 


impressivemagazine.com

On Friday’s AU we revisit our conversation with Kevin Fedarko on his book, “The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon.”  In the spring of 1983, a massive snowmelt sent runoff racing down the Colorado River toward the Glen Canyon Dam. Worried federal officials desperately scrambled to avoid a worst-case scenario: one of the most dramatic dam failures in history. In the midst of this crisis, a trio of river guides secretly launched a small, hand-built wooden boat, a dory named the Emerald Mile, into the Colorado just below the dam’s base and rocketed toward the dark chasm downstream, where the torrents of water released by the dam engineers had created a maelstrom so powerful it shifted giant boulders and created bizarre hydraulic features never previously seen.

 The river was already choked with the wreckage of commercial rafting trips. The chaos had claimed its first fatality, further launches were forbidden, and rangers were conducting the largest helicopter evacuation in the history of Grand Canyon National Park. The captain of the dory, Kenton Grua, aimed to use the flood as a hydraulic slingshot that would hurl him and two companions through 277 miles of some of the most ferocious white water in North America and, if everything went as planned, catapult the Emerald Mile into legend as the fastest boat ever propelled through the heart of the Grand Canyon. Listen here

citifmonline.com

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.

wallconvert.com

First the Utah State University Ecology Center is hosting a seminar series this year.  The first speaker is ecologist Jeremy Fox from the University of Calgary, Canada.  Fox addresses fundamental questions in population, community, and evolutionary ecology. He will present his final talk tonight at 6 titled: Causes and Consequence of Spatially Synchronized Population Dynamics.  That it is at 6pm at the Ecology Center on the USU campus.

outsidebozeman.com

Doug Peacock served in Vietnam as a Green Beret medic, and came home an emotional and spiritual wreck. After the war, he crawled into the mountains and found that solitude in wilderness was exactly what he needed to confront the demons of Vietnam. And he credits grizzly bears with restoring his soul. Doug Peacock, the model for Hayduke in Edward Abbey's “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” will give the keynote address at a symposium in Salt Lake City this week titled “This Land Is Your Land: Toward a Better Understanding of Nature's Resiliency-Building and Restorative Power for Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans, and their Families.”  The symposium is Wednesday through Saturday at the University of Utah Conference Center. Doug Peacock’s keynote address is Wednesday evening at 7:00. He returns to Access Utah on Tuesday.

thefamouspeople.com

During his lifetime, George Frideric Handel’s music reached from court to theater, echoed in cathedrals, and filled crowded taverns, but the man himself is a bit of a mystery.

Handel—known to most as the composer of Messiah—took meticulous care of his musical manuscripts, but very little survives which would reveal the man. One document offers us a narrow window into his personal life: his will. In it, he remembers not only family and colleagues but also neighborhood friends. MIT Professor Emeritus, Ellen T. Harris went in search of the private man behind the public figure.


pbs.org

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. 

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. We know that companies and the government are using our data, sometimes in ways we’re uncomfortable with.


Kite, beauty redefined, carl's jr
Lexie Kite / Beauty Redefined

Two Utah sisters are pushing back against a Carl’s Jr. advertising campaign they say objectifies women. The ads feature bikini-clad women eating the fast-food chain’s burgers in a seductive manner. Lindsay and Lexie Kite hold doctorate degrees from the University of Utah and run a nonprofit called Beauty Redefined, focusing on issues surrounding women’s body image and media influence. Their social media campaign uses the hashtags: “#CutTheCarls” and “#MoreThanMeat” They are asking consumers to boycott Carl’s Jr. in order to involve the company in conversation about sexual objectification in advertising. Carl’s Jr. has said the ads, which began in 2005, are aimed at catching the attention of young, hungry boys (ages 18 - 35). The company said it respects the contribution of women to society.

broadwayworld.com

Legendary lyricist Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, Fiorello!) visited Logan for events with the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theater during their 2013 season. While he was in town, he sat down with Tom Williams for an Access Utah conversation.

We’ll revisit that program.

islandpress.org

On Monday’s AU we revisit a conversation from April: In our increasingly polarized society, there are constant calls for compromise, for coming together. For many, these are empty talking points—for Lucy Moore, they are a life's work. As an environmental mediator, she has spent the past quarter century resolving conflicts that appeared utterly intractable.

In her book “Common Ground on Hostile Turf” she shares the most compelling stories of her career, offering insight and inspiration to anyone caught in a seemingly hopeless dispute. Moore has worked on a variety of  issues—from radioactive waste storage to loss of traditional grazing lands. More importantly, she has worked with diverse groups and individuals: ranchers, environmental activists, government agencies, corporations, tribal groups, and many more.

Listen Here

discovermoab.com

On September 12, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation creating Canyonlands National Park: “...in order to preserve an area...possessing superlative scenic, scientific, and archeologic features for the inspiration, benefit and use of the public…”

There will be events of celebration and reflection next week in Moab as part of a year-long recognition of the anniversary. . And a new film “Our Canyon Lands” looks at some issues going forward: “...one of the last vast wild places in the lower 48 sits teetering on a precipice of  industrial development.

Geek sublime, culture, writing
Vikram Chandra

Vikram Chandra says that even though “computing has transformed our lives...the processes and cultures which produce software remain largely opaque, alien, unknown. He says “whenever I tell one of my fellow authors that I supported myself through the writing of my first novel by working as a programmer and a computer consultant, I evoke a response that mixes bemusement, bafflement, and a touch of awe, as if I’d just said that I could levitate...Many programmers, on the other hand regard themselves as artists.”

Are you interested in learning your genealogy and researching your family's history? Have you already traced your lineage back hundreds of years? Or are you just beginning?

Because the LDS church and Ancestry.com share their record libraries with the public and each other, Utah is a mecca for people interested in family history. Genealogy has become the second most popular hobby in the United States. We’re going to hear some family history journeys on Monday’s AU, including a cowboy who found out he’s an Indian; a grandson who’s discovering his Japanese heritage while sorting through his grandfather’s belongings following his recent passing; and a great granddaughter who has come to admire the courage, resilience, and strength of the women in her family which immigrated from Yugoslavia to work in the Tintic Mining District.

National Geographic

If the trends of population growth and richer diets continue, experts say that by 2050 we will need to double the amount of crops we grow. Jonathan Foley, author of “Food: Feeding Nine Billion,” the first of an eight-month series on food, in the May edition of National Geographic, is director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. He lead a team of scientists who confronted a simple question: How can the world double the availability of food while simultaneously cutting the environmental harm caused by agriculture? Foley’s team proposed five steps that he says could solve the world’s food dilemma. We’ll revisit our conversation on Monday’s AU.

Listen to this episode here.

usu.edu

Go back a few generations and odds are that your family lived and worked on a farm. On Thursday’s AU we’ll revisit a program from April, and go back to our roots with USU professors Joyce Kinkead, Evelyn Funda, and Lynne McNeill, authors of “Farm: A Multi-Modal Reader,” which explores what farms, farming, and farmers mean to us as a culture. “Farm” moves from the Jeffersonian idealism of the yeoman farmer (“Cultivators of the earth are the chosen people of God”) to literature of the 19th and 20th centuries (Thoreau’s bean field, Cather’s prairie novel, Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, as well as very contemporary memoirs like Farm City) to current issues such as agribusiness and chemical farming.

Listen to the program here.

Eboo Patel founded the Interfaith Youth Core to counter the growing problem of religious intolerance and violence at home and abroad. IFYC trains students to bridge the faith-divide through interfaith cooperation. Patel says that “interfaith interactions can be a bomb of destruction, a barrier of division, a bubble of isolation, or a bridge of cooperation.” He says that he’s inspired to build a bridge of cooperation by his faith as a Muslim, his Indian heritage, and his American citizenship.

Why do we fear vaccines? Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear—fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in your child’s air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines. She concludes that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world. In her new book “On Immunity: An Inoculation,” Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. She asks what are we more afraid of: the needle, the disease, our scientists and doctors, or each other? As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world, both historically and in the present moment. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire’s Candide, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” Susan Sontag’s “AIDS and Its Metaphors,” the philosophy of Kierkegaard, and beyond. “On Immunity” shows how we are all interconnected—our bodies and our fates.

Off the grid, living without dependence
Nick Rosen

The grid is everywhere, sending power to the light switch on the wall and water to the faucet in the kitchen. But is it essential? Must we depend on it and the corporate and government infrastructure behind it? My guest on Monday’s AU is Nick Rosen, who has traveled the United States, spending time with all kinds of individuals and families striving to live their lives free from dependence on municipal power and amenities, and free from dependence on the government and its far-reaching tentacles.

Frankenstein Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley

Frankenstein brings to mind Boris Karloff’s character in the 1931 film, or monster masks worn for Halloween. The book, however, surprises those who think they know the story. It’s a thought-provoking tale examining education, knowledge, and society.  Goodreads says “Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation, genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.”

Robin Williams, Hope, Suicide book cover
Utah Public Radio

Robin Williams’ apparent suicide has us not only remembering his life and talent but trying to come to terms with the reality of suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, "Suicide claims more than 38,000 lives each year in the United States alone, with someone dying by suicide every 13.7 minutes. A suicide attempt is made every minute of every day, resulting in nearly one million attempts made annually." Utah author and suicide prevention advocate Wendy Parmley knows this reality all too well. Her new book “Hope after Suicide: One Woman's Journey from Darkness to Light,” details her journey following the suicide death of her mother nearly 40 years ago. She was 12-years-old at the time, the oldest of five children, and her mother was just 31. For years, Ms. Parmley locked away the pain of her mother's death. But after a disabling bike accident in September 2011 that left her unable to return to her nursing career, she began to write her mother's story--and her own healing journey began.

She says, “I know too well the feelings of loss, helplessness, and hopelessness that follow the suicide death of a loved one and I mourn for Williams' family, for his wife, and for his children who must continue to live in the aftermath of his unexpected death. Suicide's effects are devastating, its impact vast... [But] I know there can be hope after suicide. There is light beyond the darkness. I'm confident [I] can help those who have survived suicide loss understand they are not alone. My purpose with 'Hope After Suicide' is to reach out to others who have experienced the tragic loss of loved ones to suicide, to those who are contemplating suicide, and to those who are still silent, not knowing what to say."

The legendary conflict between sheepherder Frank Clark and Old Ephraim the giant bear is one of the most widely-told stories in the Logan area. Old Ephraim was a very large grizzly who roamed the Cache National Forest from about 1911 until his death on August 22, 1923. Old Ephraim stories are still told. We’re going to talk about local legends on Monday’s AU.

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