Morgan Pratt

Poverty In Utah On The Rise

Jul 1, 2014

The poverty rate in Utah has risen from 10.5 percent in 2000 to 16.5 percent in 2010, according to a study by the American Community Survey Reports. The study was released in June, but uses statistics from 2010.

Of Utah’s 29 counties, 10 have a poverty rate greater than 10 percent and five counties including Cache, San Juan, Beaver, Iron and Piute counties have a poverty rate of more than 25 percent. 

San Juan County’s poverty rate has decreased from greater than 50 percent to less than 25 percent in the last 14 years.

seattle.gov

On Wednesday, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision from a Utah judge striking down the state’s gay marriage ban. 

Six months after the state appealed Judge Shelby’s ruling, which found Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, a three-judge panel from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision in a 2-1 ruling. However, with the ruling, the court put an immediate stay on the decision.

Dogs Take The Day Off To Join The Workforce

Jun 20, 2014
Twitter.com

Canine furry friends from around the country are escaping the dog-life and joining the work force during Friday’s national Take Your Dog to Work Day.

The annual event was originally was held in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, a professional pet sitting company, and has grown since then. Participants from around the U.S. have taken pictures throughout the day of their dogs at work and uploaded them to Twitter with the #TakeYourDog.

The majority of the USA’s winter Olympic team is meeting this weekend for a rookie training camp in Park City to learn about resilience from a former member of the military.

Jen Housholder said she is not really a skier or a snowboarder, but she is helping to mentor these athletes-in-training about core values through the Military Mentorship Program.

Still No Decision On Oktoberfest Alcohol Permit

Jun 16, 2014

Utah received a lot of bad press as a result of not issuing a liqor license for the upcoming Oktoberfest- that's according to Sen. Jim Dabakis (D-Salt Lake).

Dabakis spoke Monday at an Administrative Rules Review Committee meeting to express his displeasure with the statewide alcohol regulations.

$25K Awarded To Local Education Program

May 28, 2014
http://cachevolunteercenter.org/

A $25,000 grant was awarded to the Cache Valley Volunteer Center’s student academic mentoring program by State Farm Insurance on Wednesday in Logan.

Tyson Luthi, a local State Farm agent, presented the award.

Utah's VA In Good Standing

May 27, 2014

A system-wide investigation of Veterans Affairs has been underway since Sunday due to allegations of fake appointments, unofficial logs kept on the sly and appointments made without telling their patients. It is estimated up to 40 veterans have died in Phoenix awaiting care.

Former Utah Director of Veterans Affairs, Terry Schow, spoke with UPR last week and addressed the issue.

“The general consensus is once you’re in the VA, the care is quite good," he said. "The challenge becomes the delays. That’s the heart of this issue that is going on in Phoenix.”

catheter and heart drawing
Veritas Medical

A team of bio-engineering and medical students won first place and $75,000 at the International Business Model Competition on Wednesday for their plan to eliminate infections associated with catheters.

They beat 2,500 other teams from 20 different countries.  

The team, Veritas Medical, is a medical devices startup company launched in 2012. It is headed by Nate Rhodes, a U of U bio-engineering student.

http://cvadc.org/

Caregivers Susan Thompson and Doug Amussen said they received devastating news on April 30.

“Doug called me up and said, ‘I’ve got bad news, they are closing the doors today,’” Thompson said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

“She kept saying, ‘this a joke, right? This is a joke.’ Unfortunately, it wasn’t a joke,” Amussen said.  

They said the beloved Cache Valley Adult Day Center temporarily closed its doors two weeks ago, which displaced up to a dozen elderly people, including their aging mother, Colleen Amussen.

Thompson and Amussen said they have been taking care of their mother since January after she never fully recovered from a surgery. They said they have had no intentions of putting their mother in a nursing home regardless of the 24 hour care that she has needed. Instead, the siblings personally took care of their mother until they discovered the Cache Valley Day Center.

“She didn’t want to go the first day, but since that time, she’s loved it,” Thompson said.

Southern Utah Cleanup Continues After Damaging Storm

May 14, 2014
Fallen tree branches scattered on the road.
http://www.cedarcity.org/

Cleanup efforts have been undertaken this week to clear southern Utah cities of debris caused by a massive weekend storm. Cedar City was especially impacted by the powerful weather, which knocked out power for over 6,000 people in the city and broke off many tree branches with the weight of the fallen snow.

Mayor of Cedar City Maile Wilson said the community has been in constant cleanup mode since the storm.

“It’s a huge mess and disaster," said Wilson. "The city alone it would take weeks probably even months to get through each and every street."


In honor of national business week, WalletHub.com came out with a study that reports Salt Lake City is the second best city in the nation to establish a small business. 

Debi Jensen, a small business owner in the South Jordan who owns a cupcake shop. She said, from her experience, it takes a couple of years to establish a small business.

“It takes about 3-5 years to kick it off for people to know who you are," Jensen said. "So, you have to be patient and get your community support, but once you have that, you’re good.”

http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/cider_juice_difference.htm

As the weather begins to warm, fruit farmers are breathing a sigh of relief as their orchards have made it through the worst of the freezing season that could wipe out their entire crop and livelihood. 

Utah State University Extension fruit tree expert, Mike Pace, said the orchards in Utah will most likely be fine as the freeze season ends in the next seven to 10 days.

visitingangelslayton.calls.net

As families are getting together to celebrate Mother’s Day, some are facing the difficult situation of taking away car keys from an aging parent  who is no longer fit to drive. A new survey reports the majority of adult children would rather discuss sex with their elderly parents than take away their privilege to drive.

Sue Yannello is a representative for Visiting Angels, the company that put out the study and provides in-home care for elderly people.  

Twilight Concert Series Line-Up Announced

May 8, 2014

The much anticipated Twilight Concert Series line-up has been announced and includes alternative artist Beck, rapper Lauryn Hill, and rapper group De La Soul. Headliners also include soul singer Charles Bradley, the indie groups the Local Natives, TV on the Radio, and The Head and the Heart.

The STEM program has received $6 million from the Department of Workforce Services and the Utah State Office of Education. The money will be used for science, technology, engineering and math education. 

Nic Dunn, the Public Information Officer for the Department of Workforce Services, said the money will go toward in-school and after-school programs for public  K-12 schools.

Part 5: Green Living On An All-Natural Orchard

May 6, 2014
Facebook.com

"My Address Is" is a Utah Public Radio series exploring Utah issues associated with how and where we live. This is part 5 of 6.

“My name is Lorin Harrison and my name is Ali Harrison, and our address is Paradise Valley Orchard.”

Paradise Valley Orchard is one of the only pick-it-yourself orchards in Utah. People come from around the United States come to personally pick apples off the trees.

Through their naturally grown orchard, which includes 250 apple trees, a three-quarter acre garden, a food dehydrator, rabbit fur clothing, a commercial juicer, and chickens, Ali and Lorin say they try to practice green living day-to-day.

“Our effort here is to be sustainable for ourselves. 75 to 80 percent of what we eat we try to grow here on the property," Ali said. "We like to trade things, we trade vegetables for eggs and dairy and cheese. So, I think trading is a way to be sustainable.” 

Ali said the orchard is all naturally grown.

“We’re not certified organic, so you have to be careful about the term because they don’t like you saying you’re organic if you haven’t done the certification," Ali said. "What we tell people is that we grow everything naturally."  

She said that includes no added chemicals and no non-organic pesticides.

Regardless, Lorin said killing off bugs with chemicals is not always beneficial.

Nearly 50 percent of parents say their children spend more time playing video games and watching television during summer breaks than during the school year, according to a study by Harris Interactive. 

Despite Utah’s high rate for overall health, the state was recently ranked among the worst in the nation for health care access and affordability according  to a study released by the Commonwealth Fund on Tuesday. The group is a non-profit organization that tracks health care in the United States. 

Communications Director for the Utah Democratic Party, Anna Thompson,  says  the party blames the low ranking on the lack of Medicaid expansion from Gov. Gary Herbert and the state legislature.

Thompson also says the problem is more than just the lack of health care expansion. 

http://www.utahchildren.org/

Voices for Utah Children was accepted as a member of the Ascend Network on Tuesday. They also received a $50,000 grant from the Aspen Institute, which is a nationwide organization that is working to eliminate poverty.

Karen Crompton, president and CEO of Voices for Utah Children, said the organization is a multi-issue child advocacy group for kids living below the poverty line in Utah.  

New Record Label For LDS Music Scene

Apr 25, 2014
https://www.facebook.com/

Brandon Metcalf is the founder and producer of a new record label called Eleven 17 which will produce music for the LDS music niche.

"It will be working with other song writers and artists, and singers and musicians who are working on music that is of a faith-based or of an inspirational nature," Metcalf said. "I myself am LDS, but it is not limited to just that. I think the message can potentially appeal to a larger audience."

http://scijinks.jpl.nasa.gov/polar-vortex

A new study set to be published in Geophysical Research Letters has linked climate change, the California drought and the polar vortex. The study was performed to better predict when the next extreme winter weather event such as the polar vortex should be expected.

Assistant-professor of climate at Utah State University Simon Wang said he performed the study with other climate professors at USU and in part with the Utah Climate Center.

Utah's Population Is Set To Double By 2050

Apr 21, 2014
http://envisionutah.org/news-and-events/envision-utah-blog/item/319-a-snapshot-of-2050-utah-population-utah-foundation

A study called Snapshot of 2050 projected Utah’s population to double in the next 35 years. The study was performed by a research group called Utah Foundation

A family posing together.
Family Acceptance Project

Research shows that family support plays a key role in the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender individuals, particularly youth who “come out.” Dr. Caitlin Ryan, a clinical social worker on LGBT health and mental health issues for over 40 years and founder of the Family Acceptance Project, and Marian Edmonds Allen, the new National Program Director for the Family Acceptance Project talk about the importance of supportive family environments in the health of LGBT youth.


A video showing bison running down the road has gone viral. The clip has sparked speculation on the internet that the animals were fleeing from potentially deadly seismic activity. 

However, some geologists disagree.

Paul Morgan, a senior geologist with the Colorado Geological Survey, said animals are sensitive to seismic activity; however, because earthquakes happen tens of times a day in Yellowstone, the animals are most likely used to the small earthquakes.

Jim Dabakis resigned from the state chair of the Democratic Party on March 24 due to health problems. The Democratic Party is now looking for a new candidate to fill the position.

Anna Thompson is the communications director for the Utah Democratic Party and said Dabakis’s health problems developed quickly but refused to comment further regarding his well-being.

She said while Dabakis has resigned from the chair, he will seek re-election for his Utah Senate seat.

“As it stands now, the party staff will stay on and keep things moving forward,” Thompson said. “Jose Valadez, our intrepid vice chair, will serve as acting chair.”

Thompson said the party will vote for a new chair on April 26 at the state convention in Salt Lake City.

The chair has the responsibility of being the face and the voice of Democrats across the state.

“In an election year, you are working with a lot of candidates, you are traveling the state, you are going to county conventions and you are kind of acting as that most prominent voice on the behalf of the party,” Thompson said.

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