Access Utah

Weekdays 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Access Utah is UPR's original program focusing on the things that matter to Utah. The hour-long show airs daily at 9:00 a.m. and covers everything from pets to politics in a range of formats from in-depth interviews to call-in shows.

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Our guest for the hour today is Emil Kerenji, an applied research scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

We’ve recently experienced a zombie renaissance and Southern Utah University Assistant Professor Kyle Bishop has a book out called: “American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture.”  He says that zombie movies reflect our cultural anxieties.  Indeed, such movies have addressed the violence of the Vietnam War, fears of mass annihilation during the Cold War, and anxieties related to 9/11. 

Capitol building

On the next-to-last day of the 2013 Utah Legislature, we’ll ask you which issues you’re focused on: Liquor Laws? Guns? Medicaid Expansion? The Budget? Social Services? State’s Rights? Education? Is there a bill you hope passes? Maybe there’s a bill you hope dies in the home stretch?

BYU is out with a poll on Utahns’ attitudes toward guns and Utah Parents Against Gun Violence recently delivered a letter to Governor Herbert urging him to veto a bill which would loosen concealed carry restrictions.

Amit Peled was raised on an Israeli kibbutz listening to cassette tapes of the great Spanish cellist Pablo Casals.  He went on to become a prominent cellist in his own right and was recently selected to play Pablo Casals’ cello.    


During the first half of Access Utah, Sheri Quinn talks with author Christine Geery about her first book, "A Heart Full of Hope." In the book, she tells the stories of what she calls her "ordinary life." Each story reveals the extraordinary experiences many of us can relate to but oftentimes overlook.

How do we control health care costs, reduce the numbers of uninsured Utahns, ensure high quality health care, and provide for a sound economy?  Governor Herbert and Utah legislators are grappling with those questions and deciding how to implement the Affordable Care Act and whether to expand Medicaid. 

gay marriage

The U. S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments later this month on a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, narrowly approved by voters in 2008.  The amendment to the state’s constitution states that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”  The Utah Pride Center and 26 other groups recently filed a brief with court urging the justices to declare that gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry.  Last month the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along with other churches and groups filed a brief supporting traditional marriage. 

The recent suicide of Utah junior high school student, David Phan, has focused attention on bullying.  Other recent teen suicides have prompted action at the Utah legislature.

We’ll try to find a good balance among many competing uses of our limited water supply on Monday’s Access Utah. We’ll preview the Bear River Basin Forum, sponsored by the Bear River Watershed Council.

The federal budget sequester, which was supposed to be a poison pill that would motivate Democrats and Republicans to come up with a compromise, may go into effect on Friday.  Thursday we’ll examine possible effects on Utah’s budget and economy.

Wednesday we’ll take a break from current affairs and politics for an Access Utah tradition: a program of great Bossa Nova and Samba music from the USU Performance Hall.  We’ll preview the annual “Evening in Brazil” event, which happens on Friday at the Riverwoods Conference Center in Logan.

Many Utahns are getting frustrated with what they see as slow and ineffective progress toward solving our air pollution problem.

A Clean Air Rally is planned for Tuesday afternoon in Logan ahead of an expected decision on emissions testing from the Cache County Council.

"Makers: Voices of Utah Women" is a new documentary which premieres February 26 on KUED.  According to the producers, the film “tells the story of the women’s movement in Utah through the firsthand accounts of leaders and activists who fought to alter the social fabric of the state.  It was a time when women were learning to speak up and speak out.  A time when women had different visions of what equality meant.  A time when the voices of Utah women would finally be heard.”

Host Sheri Quinn presents a one-hour special report about the history of Utah's mental health system called "The State of the Utah's Health." Changes have taken place over the last couple of years to overhaul what mental health industry experts call an outdated system that does not work and is currently in crisis. 

University of Utah doctoral students and twin sisters, Lindsay and Lexie Kite, run a non-profit organization called Beauty Redefined which offers sticky notes supporters can paste on mirrors in restrooms and dressing rooms with messages like: “Your reflection does not define your worth.” Now they’re taking on Sports Illustrated, urging people to paste the sticky notes on the annual swimsuit issue. The Kite sisters say that our ideas about beauty need to be redefined.  We’ll talk with them in the first half of Access Utah on Thursday.

On previous episodes of Access Utah, we’ve tapped into grassroots frustration directed at government for perceived lack of effective action on Air Pollution. Many of you are asking: why isn’t more being done?  Wednesday on the program we’ll give you the chance to express your concerns directly to legislators and government officials. We’ll ask our guests and you: what should government do to improve Air Quality?

In the first half, we’ll talk with Sen. Patrice Arent, D-Salt Lake City; Rep. Ed Redd, R-Logan; and Bryce Bird, Director of the Utah Division of Air Quality.

Tuesday on Access Utah we’ll attempt to narrow the political divide, hoping to model behavior we’d like to see in elected officials in our increasingly polarized society.  We’ll follow up on a program we did a few months ago with politicians and commentators. This time we’re appealing directly to you.  We’ll ask you to explore the weaknesses of your political beliefs, as well as the strengths of the other side. How we can listen to and understand each other more in our political discourse, and how do we get out of our silos and join with each other in solving our problems?

On today's Access Utah, Sheri Quinn talks to New York Times technology reporter Matt Richtell about his new novel,"The Cloud." In his book, Ricktell weaves today's cutting edge technology into a suspenseful story about the addictive power of technology that keeps you gripped to the last page.  In the second half, Science Questions explores the effects of climate change from new climate data and how changes in national energy plans can benefit the economy.

When mountain lions began appearing in Boulder Colorado, residents cheered the news.  But as the lions feasted on pets and began to endanger humans, political battles began—until tragedy brought town together. David Baron’s "The Beast in the Garden" is (according to “a book about the future of our nation, where suburban sprawl and wildlife-protection laws are pushing people and wild animals into uncomfortable, sometimes deadly proximity."

Conan Grames is a Utah native, lawyer, and lobbyist, who has held top positions in the pharmaceutical industry. He is a former general counsel for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) the trade organization that represents the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. Grames says he “was always proud to be part of the pharmaceutical industry in its efforts to save lives.”  Others point out problems they see with Big Pharma: excessive lobbying power, inadequate distribution of life-saving drugs, and promotion of a medical culture too dependent on drugs instead of preventive medicine. We’ll talk about these issues as well as relief efforts in Japan. When the earthquake and tsunami hit in 2011, Conan Grames was working as area director of public affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He became heavily involved in coordinating relief efforts.

HB 77, sponsored by Rep. Kraig Powell R-Heber City, was defeated in committee last week. The bill would have defined climate change as a human-caused phenomenon. We’ll debate climate change on Tuesday’s Access Utah.  We invite to to continue the discussion via email at, on Twitter @utahpublicradio and at

Air quality is today's topic on the program. We'll be taking a grassroots angle on the anger and protest regarding this issue. Utah has been known for having the worst air in the nation, and many Utahns are taking matters into their own hands.

Utah author Betsy Schow writes: “I was fat. Huge. Ginormous. Not because of the number embroidered on the tag of my jeans, but because it consumed a large part of my thoughts and day. It very nearly destroyed my marriage. So much of my life revolved around gaining weight, losing weight … Obesity is an epidemic, but so is this unquenchable drive to be better, thinner, than the woman standing next to us. Even if that woman is just me, looking back from the mirror.”


In today’s program we discuss The Cloud, Mobile Computing, security issues and the problems and opportunities of our increasingly interconnected digital world. We’ll preview the Information Technology Conference sponsored by the Utah State University Huntsman School of Business Partners in Business. The conference held Wednesday on USU campus and focuses on Mobile and Cloud Computing, Big Data, and Network Security. We’ll talk with Steven John, Strategic Chief Information Officer for Workday, and Kimberley Jones, Founder and CEO of Verite.