Utah News

Utah News and UPR Newsline are productions of Utah Public Radio. Our news partners include: The Standard-Examiner and The Herald Journal.

Utah State Office of Education

The Utah State Office of Education has released its second report card for Utah schools. The 2014 grades range from A’s to Fs, with most schools getting a B.  

Ninety-three elementary schools and just six high schools received an A grade. Included on that list were Davis High, Viewmont High, Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering and Science, Success Academy, the Utah Academy of Science and InTech Collegiate High School.

Principal Jason Stanger at Logan’s InTech said the school’s focus on providing college-level classes to students helps set them apart.

Police investigation site
Matt Jensen

The family of a Utah college student who died after riding his bike into a slack line tied between two trees has agreed to dismiss three students from a wrongful death lawsuit.

The rope was set up by the students on Utah State University's campus to practice their balance. 

Media reports that Rafael Seminario, an attorney for one of the students, said three students reached a confidential settlement with the family of 24-year-old Eric Anderson to avoid an emotion trial.

The Anderson family attorney declined to comment Monday.

Joseph Tainter
usu.edu

The thoughts of one Utah professor will now be paired with the likes of Hawking, Goodall and Gorbachev in a new conversation about global sustainability. 

Dr. Joseph Tainter of Utah State University was asked to contribute to Global Chorus, a 365-statement compilation by Todd MacLean that brings together thoughts of leading minds on how to solve environmental problems facing the earth and human species.

Tainter said he was chosen to contribute because MacLean wanted the perspective of a variety of writers.

USDA.gov

Holiday time means presents, parties and lots of recyclable waste. This holiday season the City of Logan, however, won’t be offering extra recycling pickups as it has in the past. Typically, blue recycle bins in the city are emptied every other week and once a week during holiday time, but as Logan City’s Emily Malik put it, there just isn’t enough demand to warrant the extra collections.

“I do think they had felt for several years that it wasn’t well utilized and just created more confusion than it was necessary for people,” Malik said.

Police-Civilian Trust Helps Keep Crime Rates Low

Dec 15, 2014
sgcity.org

St. George Police Chief Marlon Stratton will be the featured speaker at a luncheon hosted by the city’s chamber of commerce on Wednesday. As the event’s ‘Chamber Connect’ speaker, Stratton will present a year in review concerning crime in St. George and how local residents can avoid becoming victims of crime.

According to national statistics, the crime rate in St. George is noticeably lower than average when compared to cities of a similar size. Great emphasis is placed on maintaining good relationships with local residents, said Sgt. Sam Despain of the St. George Police Department.

“Part of our mission is to encourage individual responsibility and community commitment,” he said. “As our officers go out and work every day, that’s one thing we really, really try to do in working with everybody within the community and create those good relationships. I think, in St. George, I can say that we have a great relationship with all of the citizens down here.”

MRGC
NCAA

The first NCAA women's gymnastics rankings are out and the list includes two members of the newly-formed Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference. All three of the other members also received votes.

Boise State comes in at number 19, and the University of Denver at 20. BYU, Southern Utah and Utah State also received votes but finished just outside the top 25 list.

SUU's Coach Scott Bauman said the rankings show significant power within the group.

How The Gender Pay Gap Has Changed (And How It Hasn't)

Dec 15, 2014

The pay gap between men and women has been narrowing for decades. But it persists, and it gets larger as women move toward the middle of their careers.

In a recent paper, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin looked at the gap in a bunch of different ways — how it's changed over time, how it changes over the course of people's careers, and how it varies from industry to industry.

Hour Of Code Kickstarts Kids' Creativity

Dec 12, 2014
Kids coding in their classroom.
Justin Prather / Utah Public Radio

Greg Cox’s fourth grade class is walking to their school’s computer lab—they are going to play a computer game.  Parents should not be alarmed, however; this is not a waste of class time.  This game is designed to teach students the basics of computer programming.

Gates at SLC International Airport
http://airwaysnews.com/

Busy travelers who have not had their flu shot yet now have a new place to get the vaccine: the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Intermountain Healthcare opened the clinic, located between terminal two’s concourses C and D, in November said Operations Officer Ross Fulton.

“It does provide a very easy access and low cost solution for those travelers that seem to have fast-paced lifestyles and don’t have time to go to their primary care physician to get their flu shot,” Fulton said.


Utah Geological Survey

Utah has long been touted at being the happiest state in America, while paradoxically ranking amongst the highest in the nation for suicides and anti-depressant use. Long-standing theories on why this trend effects Utah and other nearby states have ranged from cultural influences to rural living and higher rates of gun ownership.

However, University of Utah Professor of Psychiatry Perry Renshaw’s research is showing that something much more basic may behind these somewhat incompatible rankings: altitude.

Speakers at White Mesa Mill, uranium
Jon Kovash / Utah Public Radio

The last remaining uranium mill in the U.S. is located near Blanding. During the last two years monitoring has revealed that the mill’s waste pools are emitting dangerous amounts of radon gas. But despite those readings, regulators want to eliminate requirements for radon monitoring.

The White Mesa uranium mill is only three miles from the Ute Mountain Ute village of White Mesa. Recently tribal air quality experts reported what they call “alarming” findings concerning efforts to reduce radon emissions by covering toxic sludge ponds with radioactive water. The tribe has allied with several environmental groups to oppose the EPA’s intention to discontinue radon monitoring.

Girl with math on a board
www.avonct.gov

Utah’s SAGE exam is used to measure student proficiency in core subjects. In 2014 it showed that only 38.7 percent of Utah students were proficient in math and 43.7 percent in science.

To increase proficiency in these subjects, this year Cache County School District applied for and received a grant from the STEM Action Center. The district put the grant to use by providing every student in grades two through twelve a subscription to an artificial intelligence-based math technology program called ALEKS.

The program assesses a student’s knowledge to give individualized tutoring for what they are ready to learn, in addition to classroom instruction.


Professor Suprises Students At Final Exam

Dec 11, 2014

College students at Utah State University and across Utah are taking their finals and regardless of what their major is, whether they're  female or male, religion, race, political affiliation, domestic or international, they all have one thing in common – stress.

“On a scale of one to ten, probably a seven," said sophomore Ashley Siddoway.
“Probably like a six," said junior Jeremy Bliss.
“About a nine and a half," said sophomore Jenna Hawley
“I’m a solid eight," said sophomore Jeremy Gage.
“I would say a nine. I have exams like, every day," said sophomore Asfand Khan.

Dr. Cathy Bullock, a journalism and communications professor at USU, said she sympathizes with her students.

“There’s always a lot of work at the end of the semester so it’s a lot of work for us too.”

She said you don’t have to guess how they’re feeling, you can see it on their faces.


Dog for adoption
Humane Society of Utah

The Humane Society of Utah is celebrating reaching their 2014 pet placement goals a month early this week.

Jamie Usry, director of developments at the Humane Society, said the group reached their goal of adopting out 9,000 dogs and cats, and are also set to meet their aim of spaying and neutering 10,000 animals later this month.

Usry said the organization opened a new dog area in May called The Wait is Over, Rover dog adoptions to save the lives of more dogs in their care.


car, nissan
Cedar City Police Department

An unidentified man was captured by surveillance cameras at the Cedar City Walmart stealing what others have given.

The cameras show the man parking his late model, white Nissan Cube in front of the store entrance, opening the vehicle's back hatch door, and then entering the Walmart and making off with a large donation barrell placed near the exit and mean to collect funds for Primary Children's Hospital.

It is estimated the barrel contained about $100. The barrel itself is also valued at about $100. Law enforcement are seeking the assistance of the public in identifying the man.

At just after 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, a St. George Police Officer pulled over a pickup truck for speeding on Interstate-15. A check of the vehicle's license plate showed it to be stolen out of Colorado, the truck itself stolen out of Wyoming. When the officer ordered the driver out of the vehicle, the suspects fled.

A sort time later the vehicle was found, abandoned and with a flat tire. Law enforcement from Utah and Arizona began looking for two men and two women. Cpt. Mike Jiles of St. George Police Department said it was a multi-agency effort.

Tour of Utah

In its 11th year of operation, the toughest staged race in the country will kick off in Cache Valley next summer, Tour of Utah officials announced Tuesday.

The first stage of the race with begin in Logan on August 3. This new location is the furthest north the tour has traveled, with the previous record being held by Ogden.


Study: Young Utahns Harmed By Incarceration

Dec 9, 2014

A newly released study from the Justice Policy Institute shows that Utah spends over $78,000 per year to incarcerate one young adult. According to Marc Schindler, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, that money is not well spent.

“If my child was in trouble with the law and somebody said to me, ‘you can have $80,000 to try to provide whatever you want to get your child back on the right track,’ I think the last thing I would choose would be to lock them up,” he said.

The national average cost to incarcerate a juvenile offender is nearly $150,000 a year. However, Utah taxpayers pay one of the lowest amounts to incarcerate its youth. While much of the incarceration is unnecessary, the state has a positive track record in offering alternatives for its delinquents, Schindler said.

Tim Garrett

In the 2010 Doctor Who Christmas Special, the Doctor, a time traveling alien with a special place in his heart for humanity and the downtrodden, must convince a Scrooge-like character to save a crashing spaceship by turning off a thick cloud belt he controls.

The clouds are teaming with aquatic life including large, scary sharks. And as it turns out, they can be frozen by a voice at the right frequency.

While flying sharks are not real, it turns out frozen clouds are.

UDOT Moves Forward With Speed Limit Increase

Dec 5, 2014
http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/

The Utah Department of Transportation announced Friday that drivers will soon be able to cruise at faster speeds along the Wasatch Front.

UDOT announced that the speed limit change from 65 to 70 mph for Utah interstates will take effect Monday, Dec. 8

UDOT Chief of Operations Jason Davis told media on Friday that crews would change speed limit signs from North Ogden to Spanish Fork on Monday, between the morning and evening rush hours.

Orion launch
nasa.gov

"Five, four, three, two, one, and liftoff, at dawn! The dawn of Orion and a new era of American space exploration,” NASA commentators exclaimed Friday morning at the inaugural launch of the Orion spacecraft.

The craft finally took to the skies Friday after a postponed launch. It was scheduled to take off early Thursday, but due to reported gusty winds and a malfunctioning fuel valve, the mission was grounded until conditions cleared.

Orion circled the earth twice, reaching about 20,000 mph during its journey back to earth.


Police say a Logan woman who raised thousands of dollars after claiming to have a rare form of brain cancer falsified her claims. Leslie Jensen raised $17,000 at a fundraiser in early November.

“Basically, we don’t know where that money went, we don’t know if it still exists, if it’s been spent. This is an ongoing investigation at this point,” said Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen.

An Iron County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic stop on Interstate-15 and detected the smell of marijuana. A half-smoked joint was clearly visible in the car as the officer came to the window of the California-registered vehicle.

The stories told by the two occupants also conflicted, leading to a search of the vehicle which netted methamphetimine, cocaine, pills and marijuana with a street value of about $180,000.

A 49-yea-old male and 26-year-old female, both from Southern California, were taken into custody.

Utah Department of Health

Thursday, after months of anticipation, Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled the details of the Healthy Utah plan, his alternative to expanding Medicaid in the state. The plan, which would have to be approved by the state legislature, would help 95,000 Utahns who make $15,521 a year or less; 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Herbert worked with officials from the federal government to come up with the privatized plan, one of five plans state lawmakers will consider adopting. Health Department Chief Executive David Patton said that unlike any other states, Herbert won concessions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those include co-pays for low-income residents seeking medical services and increasing the co-pay for non-emergency visits to the ER from $8 to $50.

Town Hall Meeting Highlights Concerns Over Education Value

Dec 4, 2014
usu.edu

A town hall meeting at Utah State University on Wednesday addressed student concerns about a proposed tuition hike. The meeting, which dealt with the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business’ proposed differential tuition hike, raised questions about the changing costs and values of a business education.

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