Taylor Halversen

Plane Debris Located In La Sal Mountain Range

Jun 19, 2014
Aerial view of La Sal Mountain Range.

A plane that went missing Wednesday has been located in San Juan County.

The debris of a 1958 single engine Cessna was found in the La Sal Mountains around 1 p.m. Thursday after nearby radar outposts lost signal with the craft Wednesday morning. The airplane had crashed into the mountainside killing the pilot on impact.

Centerville Police Search For Mustache Bandit

Jun 18, 2014
Surveillance still of mustache bandit robbing the bank.
Centerville Police Department

A perplexing situation in Centerville has led police on a continued search for an individual who robbed a bank Tuesday donning a fake mustache. 

Police received the distress call around 2:45 p.m. from a Zions Bank at 440 West Parrish. Dispatchers initially described the suspect as a tall, skinny man, but Assistant Chief Paul Child says investigators later determined that wasn’t the case. 


Student Art Hitches Ride On Cache Valley Buses

Jun 13, 2014
Taylor Halversen / Utah Public Radio

The annual Summerfest Arts Faire is taking place in Logan this week, but one exhibit is transportable and will be seen throughout the community year-round.

Two lucky students’ artwork will be displayed on the outside of Cache Valley Transit District buses and 15 buses will display student artwork on the interior.

Alyssa Spear from Mountain Crest High School, the winner of this year’s high school competition, talked about the inspiration for her design.

“The theme was bringing communities together, which is the theme of the CVTD, and I wanted to incorporate that with showing a diversity of different people like old and young and different ethnicities on my design so that everyone would feel included," said Spear.

Utah Best Environment For Small Businesses

Jun 12, 2014
Utah's rankings on a map.

According to a recent survey, Utah excels as the most small-business-friendly state in the nation. The third annual study from thumbtack.com, an online marketplace for local services, and the Kaufmann Foundation surveyed more than 12,000 entrepreneurs nationwide.

John Lieber, chief economist of thumbtack.com, said the study looked at environmental aspects that create a helpful working partnership with state and local governments.

Centuries-Old Tree Key To Understanding Climate Variation

Jun 11, 2014
Base of juniper tree encased in sediment.
Barry Baker / The Nature Conservancy

Director of Canyonlands Research Center Dr. Barry Baker was walking in Cottonwood Creek with his wife last fall when he spotted something out of the ordinary—a tree hovering above the creek bed, buried in a deep layer of sediment. 

“I figured it had been there a while and was hoping that we could study the tree to get some insight into past climatic regimes and sedimentation regimes in the area,” said Baker.

Storytelling Festival Captivates Cache Valley Community

Jun 11, 2014
Taylor Halversen / Utah Public Radio

Storytellers mesmerized audience members June 7 as part of Cache Valley’s inaugural storytelling festival in North Logan. The event began as one man’s dream to bring stories to his home after watching storytelling festivals enhance and unite communities around the state.

Years ago Wayne McKay was introduced to the acclaimed Timpanogos Storytelling Festival and was entranced as he listened to the tellers and observed people of all ages laughing and connecting with the stories. He returned year after year taking note of the storytellers, the audience and the community.

“So I came away and I thought, 'Boy, that would really be cool if we had something like that up in Cache Valley',” said McKay.

Taylor Halversen

UPR reporter Taylor Halversen visited the Cache Makers 4-H club. The following is a report of the club including interviews with the co-founders and participating students.

Within a historic building on Logan’s Main Street, I descend the last set of stairs into the Cache Makers club weekly meeting space. The basement room seems to be made of dry-erase boards, covered in the ideas and scribbles of students.

Kids ages 9-15 are engaging computers which line the walls, designing creations to print on the club’s new 3D printer or testing their video game designs and robotic creations. The whirr of a laser wood cutter hums in the background as excited students chatter and stare at it expectantly. The environment is an atmosphere for creation.

USDA Program Ushers In "New Era of Conservation"

Jun 2, 2014
Map of Critical Conservation Areas
U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is changing the way the nation approaches conservation efforts.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced last week the creation of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which bridges the public and private sectors for conservation and will make available $1.2 billion for various conservation efforts across the country.

Vilsack spoke with UPR and said this new approach will focus on both local and regional conservation needs.

Student eating a healthy lunch.

Big voices in Washington have spoken out recently against members of Congress who wish to step back from changes made to school meal standards. Supporters of the new school lunch measures believe this criticism comes at a critical juncture, just as experts are beginning see the successes of the law.

At the time the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 passed, one-third of children in the United States were obese or at risk of being obese and 17 million were in food-insecure homes. As children consume one-third to half of daily calories at school, these meals were targeted as an opportunity to produce significant change in childhood health.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke with UPR and said major strides have been taken over the last four years to make calories from school meals a healthy diet addition.  

Minority Entrepreneurs Hit Marketplace Roadblocks

May 29, 2014
Racially-diverse business owners

Minority entrepreneurs in the U.S. who believe their road to success is more difficult than those of the racial majority may be right, according to new research.

A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research examines how racial minority entrepreneurs maneuver the marketplace and approach financial situations where there are restrictions.

Utah Students Compete In National Spelling Bee

May 29, 2014
Students at the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee

281 Competitors representing all 50 states, U.S. districts and seven other countries including the Bahamas, China, Jamaica and Japan traveled to the nation’s capital this week to compete in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Three of the almost 300 spellers represent Utah at the bee. Mikayla J. Hall from Rocky Mountain Middle School in Heber City, Grange Monaco Simpson from Albert R. Lyman Middle School in Blanding, and Michael T. Jones representing Indian Hills Middle School in Sandy are competing in the 87th annual bee.

International Study Compares Self-Control Across Species

May 21, 2014
Coyote in the wild
National Park Service

Utah State University researchers have contributed to a worldwide collaborative study that measures the evolution of cognition in a variety of species, specifically the aspect of self-control.

Kerry Jordan, one of the USU researchers on the project, said this study is unique because it is it the first of its kind in which researchers used the same methods and tasks across species.  

"Researchers in the past have had to rely upon things like meta-analyses of data gathered at all different times using all different tasks, purporting to measure the same concept, or they’ve had to just test a couple species they might have access to themselves or with a couple of close collaborators," said Jordan. 

NASA Student Rocket Competition Soars In Utah Debut

May 20, 2014
Student rocket shooting off.

On Saturday, 500 spectators watched as students gathered from around the Nation to test their rocket designs at an annual NASA-sponsored competition. Twenty university teams gathered at the Utah location with 16 student-built rockets, ranging in length from 7-1/2 to 15 feet.

Previously hosted in Huntsville, Al., the NASA Student Launch moved to the Bonneville Salt Flats this year due to a change in altitude requirements, which made launches infeasible at the old location. Angela Storey with the Marshall Space Flight Center said the height goal this year was an astonishing 20,000 feet.

“In the past they only had to have a goal of one mile and this year it was changed to 20,000 feet, which would be accomplished out there (the Salt Flats),” said Storey.

September Completion For Logan's 200 East Expansion

May 19, 2014
Road construction sign

Logan City has been engaged in renovating 200 East for multiple years, expanding the street’s role as a thoroughfare to other main traffic arteries.

Mark Nielson, Public Works Director for Logan said the UDOT-approved expansion measures will connect the road through Logan’s jurisdiction.

Public Survey To Help Shape Future Of Utah Water

May 15, 2014
Hand pushing down drinking fountain knob.

A new survey in conjunction with the iUTAH water preservation project is under way this week to study household water use and resident perspectives on water policies and resource issues in Utah.

Researchers from Utah State University will collect information from 180 randomly selected households in 21 neighborhoods across the Cache, Salt Lake, and Heber-Midway valleys.  

Courtney Flint, Associate Professor of Natural Resource Sociology at USU said the five-year iUTAH project is a collaborative effort pulling from many areas of study, from ecology to hydrology, sociology to climate science, in a statewide effort to maintain and improve water sustainability.

Utah 4H students in a training meeting.
Taylor Halversen

A global financial services corporation is providing Utah teens with the opportunity to learn financial management skill and engage in statewide community service.

Last year, Fidelity Investments sent out a grant request aimed at engaging teens with financial planning and combating low financial literacy rates for high school students and other school-age kids.

There were 73 applicants for the grant nationally, but Utah 4-H, an extension project of Utah State University, received the grant as a result of their Teens Reaching Youth program, which reaches both urban and rural communities throughout the state.

Connie and Parry Winder.
Taylor Halversen

"My Address Is" is a Utah Public Radio series exploring Utah issues associated with how and where we live. This is part 4 of 6.

“My name is Connie Winder and my name is Parry Winder, and our address is Cache Valley Sunsets.”

Parry Winder was an air force pilot and due to the nature of his work, he, his wife and four children would move every three months to three years, with individual trainings and deployments for Parry in between. The family has moved a total of 23 times, living in many diverse places.

“Of course our unique place would be Germany, such a different place to live,” Connie said.  

“We feel like it was an opportunity so we lived in a small German village rather than on the base. We shopped in the German stores and we went to the German restaurants and tried to become immersed in the German community and the German way of life, and it was just great; we loved it,” Parry said.

“Our favorite place was probably Alamogordo, New Mexico because we finally were able to buy our own home and have our own fenced-in back yard. Probably not the place that everyone would want to live; it’s not on anyone’s bucket list to go to Alamogordo, New Mexico, but we loved it,” Connie said.

The Winders say each place brought something interesting and new, but along with the unique opportunities that came with a career in the air force, there were some difficulties as well.

“Sometimes I could tell Connie where I was going and sometimes I couldn’t because we were in classified operations so we just would deploy and I’d say ‘I’ll be back when I’m back’,” Parry said.

Utah Parties Choose 2014 Candidates

Apr 28, 2014
elephant and donkey

The 2014 Utah Republican and Democratic Nominating Conventions took place Saturday where delegates represented their precincts, choosing nominees for state elections later this year.

Pioneer-Era Coins To Gross Half A Million Dollars

Apr 24, 2014
Mormon pioneers enter the Salt Lake Valley.

A group of prized gold coins from the Mormon pioneer era are being auctioned off at a coin shop in Salt Lake Thursday, some expected to gross more than $500,000.

Tyson Emery with All About Coins said as pioneers moved West, there was not enough coinage to facilitate trade and they had to come up with their own way of dealing.   

"The way the Mormons did it is they had some of the gold dust from the original gold strike in California," said Emery. "They had some of the members there they brought here it to the valley and made these gold coins."

Cancer Fund Uses Only Eight Percent Of Funds For Patients

Apr 23, 2014

On Tuesday the Better Business Bureau in Utah called out the Cancer Fund of America for reportedly using little more than eight percent of donations for their intended purpose, keeping over $410,000 in contributions.

The organization, which also uses the name Breast Cancer Financial Assistance Fund, solicited money under the pretense that the financial aid would be used to purchase prostheses, bras and other products for women battling breast disease.

The Red Cross Urges Public Fire Preparedness

Apr 21, 2014
UPR features firefighters battling a blaze.

With fire season quickly approaching, the Red Cross is advising Utahns to get prepared with their “Fire Hurts. Red Cross helps.” campaign. The project assisted 220 families displaced by fire last year and hopes to continue the legacy of the campaign by getting more members of the public prepared to handle potential fire situations.

"Most of the deaths that are in home fires are caused by faulty or missing smoke detectors, so it’s always a good idea to change your batteries every year," said Rich Woodruff with the Red Cross. "We always recommend when you change your clocks it’s a good time to switch out the batteries in your smoke detector, and if you have not changed it in over 10 years, you need to replace it completely.”

gallery with artwork
Taylor Halversen / Utah Public Radio

As you open the gate of the small historic house, a colorful teepee to your right as you walk the pathway steps and music wafting as you enter the front door, you realize this is no ordinary home; it has been transformed into a haven of art and community. 

Eight years ago, Dr. Brenda Sun moved to Logan, Utah and decided to open her home as a housewarming party, which turned into something much more. 

Governor Gary Herbert

Governor Herbert embarked on a four-day trip to Mexico, Monday with the goal to increase Utah's exports and strengthen relationships with potential economic partners.

Spokesman for Governor Herbert’s Office, Marty Carpenter said this trip is going the “final three feet” in making Utah a strong economic competitor.

“It’s that final three feet—shaking a hand, making a personal acquaintance—that sometimes makes a big difference in doing business with an international partner,” said Carpenter. 

Utah's Gender Pay Gap One Of Nation's Worst

Mar 18, 2014
Women working on a car ca. 1940s
Utah State University

A national comparison shows that Utah is one of the worst places nationally for gender pay gaps.

This week USA Today reported a list of top ten worst-paying cities for women based on figures published by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for 2012. The research is conclusive: gender gaps in pay are still present.

New Software Promotes Urban Water Conservation

Mar 4, 2014
Sprinklers showering an urban lawn

Interdisciplinary researchers at Utah State University have developed a landscape water management tool meant to enlighten individuals about the appropriateness of their water consumption. WaterMAPS assesses whether people, specifically in urban areas, are over-watering their landscapes.

Joanna Endter-Wada, associate professor in Utah State University’s Department of Environment and Society and the social scientist on the WaterMAPS development team, said urban landscapes use 60-70% of the water in Utah communities.