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

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.

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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. 

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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.


startribune.com

From Farinelli, the eighteenth century castrato who brought down opera houses with his high C, to the recording of "Johnny B. Goode" affixed to the Voyager spacecraft, Elena Passarello, in Let Me Clear My Throat dissects the whys and hows of popular voices. There are murders of punk rock crows, impressionists, and rebel yells; Howard Dean's "BYAH!" and Marlon Brando's "Stella!" and a stock film yawp that has made cameos in movies from A Star is Born to Spaceballs. The voice is thought's incarnating instrument and Elena Passarello's essays are a deconstruction of the ways the sounds we make both express and shape who we are—the annotated soundtrack of us giving voice to ourselves.

amazon.com

In “Outlawing Genocide Denial: The Dilemmas of Official Historical Truth” (University of Utah Press) historian and political scientist Guenter Lewy scrutinizes the practice of criminalizing the expression of unpopular, even odious historical interpretations, exemplified by genocide denial. Holocaust denial can be viewed as another form of hatred against the Jews and preventing it can be understood as a form of warding off hate speech. Germany has made it a crime punishable by law. Other European countries have similar laws.

bloggingfoodforthought.blogspot.com

A piece of the 21st century pie--people everywhere are clamoring for their own life-sustaining morsel. But water, pesticide, distribution, and financial issues seem to conspire against assuring a hungry world there will be enough to eat. Noelle Cockett, executive vice president and provost for Utah State University, has long been researching answers to the question of how to feed 21st century populations. Dr. Cockett brought her expertise to Utah State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Tanner Talks when she kicked off the 2013-15 lecture series last month with a look into the future of food production. Her talk was titled: “Feast or Famine: Feeding a Hungry World in the 21st Century.”

Provost Cockett will join Tom Williams for Friday’s Access Utah.


snookerbacker.com

A while back on Access Utah, Glen in the Uintah Basin shared this story: “I used to haul crude oil from oil wells. We have an area in central Duchesne County called the Koch Field. It was originally operated by the infamous Koch brothers' business and developed in the 1970s and early 80s. The Koch field is very remote and quite rugged. Many oilfield workers claimed to have seen a ‘headless horseman.’ I first heard about this when I was dispatched to a load out in the field probably in 1999.

linkedin.com

In this age of smartphones, work doesn’t necessarily end when you leave the office. For many there is an expectation that you should be available after hours. Germany is considering legislation that would ban employers from contacting workers after office hours. Labor Minister Andrea Nahles says "there is an undeniable relationship between constant availability and the increase of mental illness."

And what about work/life balance? Entrepreneur and mother of three, Inge Geerdens, writing on LinkedIn, says “I don’t need a balance; I’m not looking for a way to balance my private life with my professional life. I’m just trying to have a great life.” What do you think? Tell us about your work and how you are balancing everything, especially with the explosion of technology.


imdb.com

On an early autumn afternoon, gay teen Zack Harrington killed himself with a gunshot to the head at his parent’s ranch in Norman, Oklahoma. One week earlier, Zack allegedly attended a local city council meeting in support of a proposal for LGBTQ History Month. When the floor opened up for public comment, some community members made controversial statements equating being gay with the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS.

Against the backdrop of a town bitterly divided on the issue of homosexuality, Zack’s parents, both conservative Republicans and military veterans, are forced to reconcile their own social and political beliefs with their son’s death. Determined to understand him, they discover a diary, which paints a portrait of a boy in crisis, and a secret that Zack kept hidden for almost two years. It leads them to some painful conclusions about their son’s life and death.

utahhumanities.org

Hal Crimmel, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor of English at Weber State University, is editor of a new book "Desert Water: The Future of Utah's Water Resources" (University of Utah Press) which brings together the results of scientific research and the voices of environmental humanists, social scientists, and policy advocates to provide a broad perspective on Utah water issues.


grist.org

In 2012, two skiers from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, noticed that snow was disappearing from the western U.S. and wondered how long it would be before it affected the mountains in their backyard. They called Porter Fox, a longtime Powder magazine editor and writer, and asked if he was interested in writing a book about climate change and snow.

In the resulting book, ”DEEP: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow” Fox notes that in the last 45 years, 1 million square miles of spring snow cover has disappeared from the Northern Hemisphere. Rocky Mountain spring snowpack is down by 20%, and Europe has lost half of its glacial ice. Winter warming in the U.S. has tripled since 1970, and warming in the European Alps is now three times the global average. By mid-century, climatologists predict that more than half of the Northeast's 103 ski resorts will have to close due to rising temperatures. Two-thirds of Europe's ski resorts will likely no longer be snow-reliable in 50-70 years. The Western U.S. could lose anywhere from 25-100% of its snowpack by 2100, effectively ending skiing at resorts like Park City and relegating ski operations at Aspen to the top quarter of the mountain. And that's just the beginning...

voicesofyouth.org

Dallas Hyland, a photojournalist and resident of St. George, recently traveled to Colombia with a privately-funded organization, Operation Underground Railroad, to execute what they called Clear Hope; a mission they say proved to be the biggest child trafficking rescue operation in history.

Hyland says that there are approximately 23-million people worldwide in some form of subjugation, including forced labor, and sex labor. And two million of those are children. He adds that “...at the height of the Trans-Atlantic trade, the slave trade, I believe the numbers were around 17 million. This is alarming because that means we’re not progressing, we’re digressing. ...slavery did not end with the Civil War...It’s getting worse. It’s just underground and nobody talks about it.” 


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