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

“It’s a sight Utahns are all too familiar with -- gray, smoggy air filled with dangerous particulate matter. Officials say sensitive groups like children and the elderly should be especially cautious during times of inversion. During red air days the air is unhealthy for everyone. We know this. So why do we continue driving to work? Why do we idle our cars, contributing to the problem?”

In his new collection of essays “Sublime Physick,” Patrick Madden seeks what is common and ennobling among seemingly disparate, even divisive, subjects, ruminating on midlife, time, family, forgiveness, loss, originality, a Canadian rock band, and more, discerning the ways in which the natural world transcends and joins the realm of ideas (sublime) through the application of a meditative mind.

 

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, is sponsoring HB221, which would preserve parents' rights to exempt their children from immunizations but would require those parents to watch an educational video to receive the exemption.


greatoldbroads.org

Great Old Broads for Wilderness began in 1989 on the 25th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by a feisty bunch of lady hikers who wanted to refute Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s notion that wilderness is inaccessible to elders. About that time, wilderness designation had been proposed for Escalante, and Senator Hatch opposed it, saying, “if for no other reason, we need roads for the aged and infirm.”
 


This episode originally aired in July, 2015.

“The True American” tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology. 

But days after 9/11, an avowed "American terrorist" named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan has found temporary work and shoots him, maiming and nearly killing him. Two other victims, at other gas stations, aren’t so lucky, dying at once.  “The True American” traces the making of these two men, Stroman and Bhuiyan, and of their fateful encounter. 

http://darksky.org/canyonlands-national-park-named-international-dark-sky-park/

Nancy Gonlin, Professor of Anthropology at Bellevue College says that “Without electrical lighting to guide the way, our ancestors in the ancient world experienced night very differently than we do today...As light pollution continues to dissipate the darkness for us modern humans—changing, for example, our perception of the stars—the urgency to document the history of human experience from dusk till dawn has never been greater.”

 

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West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo says that for a long time, police officers went to the scene of domestic violence calls and treated them in a "mechanical way." They would ask for the facts — the who, what, and where — and then move on. But, Russo says, that  type of investigation wasn't doing much to help the victims and the officers oftentimes failed to recognize that behind a physically abused victim, there was a psychologically abused person, as well. In January, his officers began using the Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP) program to help connect domestic violence victims to resources that can help them.

University of Nebraska Press

Journalist Judy Muller says that at a time when mainstream news media are hemorrhaging and doomsayers are predicting the death of journalism, we can take heart: the First Amendment is alive and well in small towns across America. 

In her book (from 2011) Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns , Muller takes us on a grassroots tour of rural American newspapers, from an Indian reservation in Montana to the Alaskan tundra to Martha’s Vineyard, (and to Moab and Monticello in Utah) and discovers that many weeklies are not just surviving, but thriving. 

KUED.org

By the late 1800s, Native American culture was under attack from a variety of sectors.  As westward expansion continued, the U.S. government adopted a policy to the eradicate culture, language and spirituality of America’s indigenous people by taking children from their families, isolating them, and forcing them to deny their heritage. The policy of assimilation transported the children to boarding schools for cultural transformation.  Everything Native was to be stripped away. The goal was integration into Anglo society.  Their language, as their culture, was to be “unspoken.”

 

 


John Palfrey, founding president of the Digital Public Library of America and a director of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, recently told the Deseret News that he has “been struck by the number of times people tell [him] that they think libraries are less important than they were before, now that we have the Internet and Google. He says he thinks “just the opposite: Libraries are more important, not less important, and both as physical and virtual entities, than they’ve been in the past.” John Palfrey, author of the new book  "BiblioTECH: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google," joins Tom Williams to discuss the future of the library on Thursday’s Access Utah.

 

 


suwa.org

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “in what they characterized as a sweeping gesture of compromise, Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz unveiled their plan to resolve decades of deadlock over how eastern Utah's public lands are managed even as environmental and tribal groups declared the proposal "dead on arrival" and a shameless giveaway to oil and gas interests.” The bill “would set aside special landscapes like Cedar Mesa, San Rafael Swell and Labyrinth Canyon, while expediting mineral development in areas deemed less worthy of protection.”

 

 


REX FEATURES

Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City says that the state should allow comprehensive sex education in its schools. Rep. King, who is House Minority Leader, says his HB246 is needed because the rates of sexually transmitted diseases are rising quickly, and youth need more education to protect themselves. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Gayle Ruzicka, President of the Utah Eagle Forum, says that "comprehensive sex education is all about teaching children that it's OK to have sex as long as they use a condom. It just doesn't work."

In McBride’s debut novel “We Are Called To Rise,” far from the neon lights of the Vegas strip, lives are about to collide. A middle-aged woman attempting to revive her marriage. A returning soldier waking up in a hospital bed with no memory of how he got there. A very brave eight-year-old immigrant boy. Three lives are bound together by a split-second mistake, and a child’s fate hangs in the balance.  “We Are Called to Rise” is a story about families—the ones we have and the ones we make. It’s a story about America today, where so many cultures and points of view collide and coexist, showing what happens when the protective borders of our lives are suddenly smashed and how ordinary strangers can rise to the extraordinary challenge of caring for each other.

On Monday’s Access Utah Tom Williams talks with Laura McBride about her novel, about living and raising kids in an exotic (ordinary?) place like Las Vegas, and her list of five books to read before dying.


A 2014 report titled Finger Paint to Fingerprints: The School-to-Prison Pipeline in Utah from the Public Policy Clinic at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at University of Utah found that discipline handed down to some students was diverting them out of public schools and into the criminal justice system "through a combination of overly harsh zero-tolerance school policies and the increased involvement of law enforcement in schools."

 

Amy Choate says that her passion for a plant-based, whole food lifestyle is due to her complete recovery from debilitating depression and illness that occurred during her service as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She and Annie Miller have a book out called “Naked Nutrition: Whole Foods Revealed” which, they say, is a guide to why we should eat real food, why it matters, and how we can live with health and energy. Amy Choate and Annie MIller join Tom Williams in studio for Wednesday’s Access Utah.

For more information, visit NakedNutrition.life.

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

On Tuesday’s Access Utah we’ll talk about the art and cultural impact of political cartoons with the Salt Lake Tribune’s Pat Bagley, Politico’s Matt Wuerker, and Jen Sorensen, whose comics appear nationally and locally, in the Salt Lake City Weekly.” Wuerker is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Bagley is a Pulitzer finalist. Sorensen is winner of several awards including the Herblock Prize. We’ll talk about Charlie Hebdo, Bagley’s cartoon legislators, Sorensen’s Trump girls try-outs cartoon, current events from a cartoonist's perspective, and much else. This episode of Access Utah is a part of the Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Initiative in partnership with Utah Humanities, the Salt Lake Tribune, and KCPW.  


On Monday's Access Utah we'll conclude our series on Mass Shootings in America with a discussion about guns. President Obama said recently that America is facing a "gun violence epidemic" and that "we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn't happen in other advanced countries. It's not even close." The president announced that he is implementing several gun control measures by executive action.


Criminologist Grant Duwe told public radio’s Here & Now program in 2013 that mass murder rates and mass public shootings have been on the decline. He said that 0.2 percent of all homicides in the U.S. are mass murders, and of those, 10 percent are mass public killings, such as those in Newtown and Aurora.

www.playthepartbook.com/

Gina Barnett has coached executives and leaders worldwide from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, small businesses and non-profits. She has been speaker coach for TED Talks for the past five years.

 

In her book, “Play the Part: Master Body Signals to Connect and Communicate for Business Success,” Barnett focuses on embodiment: how the body affects our thoughts and emotions and, in turn, how we engage and are perceived.

    

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Join us for a live broadcast of Access Utah from the State Capitol on Monday for the opening day of the 2016 Utah Legislature. We'll talk about the issues likely to be addressed in the legislature this year. Our guests will include Governor Gary Herbert, House Majority Leader, Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville; House Minority Leader, Rep Brian King, D-Salt Lake City; Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Ralph Okerlund; R-Monroe; and Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City.


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The 2016 Sundance Film Festival opens in Park City on Thursday. UPR's Sundance Correspondent Steve Smith is in Park City and will join Tom Williams on Thursday's Access Utah to set the scene and tell us about the films he's excited about. Then we'll talk with two filmmakers whose films are showing at Sundance.

Lee Benson of the Deseret News recently wrote a nice profile of Jim Steenburgh, author of “Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth.” And with fresh powder on the ground, we thought this a great time to revisit our conversation from November 2014.

For a generation, some of the money we’ve spent at the gas station and the mall has gone to empower the authoritarians and the armed groups that have given us our worst foreign-born crises. How can we get ourselves out of business with hostile petrocrats and the violent extremists?

  


Moab resident Steph Davis is a superstar in the climbing community. But when her husband made a controversial climb of Delicate Arch, the media fallout and the toll on her marriage left her without a partner, a career, a source of income...or a purpose. Accompanied by her beloved dog, Fletch, she set off in search of a new identity and discovered skydiving.  


The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016 and today we’re kicking off a series of programs focusing on America’s national parks.


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