Utah News

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

Progress Made On Prison Relocation Commission

Apr 3, 2015

A study released Friday ranks a Utah County location as the best place for the relocation of the state prison.

The list, compiled by the State of Utah Prison Relocation Commission, ranked 17 potential prison sites in Utah, Tooele, Salt Lake and Weber counties. It also eliminated several proposed sites that it determined were critically flawed.

The site screening guidelines consisted of several criteria—including hazard avoidance, county infrastructure, community services and development costs. Most of the sites deemed critically flawed were too small or remote.

Evan Hall

President Barack Obama ended his 15-hour long trip to Utah with a private speech at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden. Speaking in front of rows of massive solar arrays, the president addressed a group of about 75 guests and military personnel.

During the seven minute long speech the president lauded the state’s economy and thanked those in uniform for their service. The crux of the speech was the announcement of a new solar energy program that will be launching at Hill Air Force Base.

Evan Hall

In speaking to invited guests, the media, and military personnel at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden on Friday, President Barack Obama praised America’s green energy sector. The president called for the country to build on the progress being made to create jobs in green industries.

Biologists Put A New Twist On The Easter Egg Hunt

Apr 3, 2015
Rick Fridell

Children all over Utah love spring and hunting for Easter eggs. Chris Crockett, the native aquatics project leader for the Division of Wildlife Resources is hoping to start a new spring tradition - hunting for Columbia spotted frog eggs.

That’s right. Crockett and the Division of Wildlife Resources, with the help Hogle Zoo, have even created an app called “Amphibians of Utah” for people to download so they can be citizen-scientists and help identify various species.

The University Of Utah Goes Blue For Autism

Apr 2, 2015
New York Senate

The United Nations declared April 2 World Autism Awareness Day eight years ago, and today organizations and governments across the globe are showing their support by illuminating buildings, monuments and bridges with blue lights at nightfall.

For the second consecutive year, the University of Utah will light up the George S. Eccles Legacy Bridge in Salt Lake City.


Students from Jordan High School’s Young Democrats club are still hoping to speak with President Barack Obama about wage equality during his first visit to the state, even though they haven’t heard back from the president’s team yet.

“We have not had anybody reach out to us yet, I don’t anticipate that will happen. But, we just wanted to see if we could sit down with him for a couple of minutes,” said Kari Schott, the 17-year-old president of the Young Democrats.


Pres. Barack Obama is set to give a speech at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden on Friday. The President is scheduled to speak about the economy and will meet with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints later that day. It will be the Commander-in-Chief’s first visit to Utah since initially being elected in 2008.

A photograph showing someone with a coffee, notebook, and assorted pastries.

In an attempt to infuse a little poetry into everyday life, the Utah Arts and Museums Literary Arts organization is re-launching their Bite-Size Poetry project. Each month the organization will release a short YouTube video featuring a distinguished Utah poet reciting about 60 seconds of original work.

Star Coulbrooke was February’s featured bite-size poet, reading “Sky’s the Limit.”

Audio Pending...

USU Extension

Through an executive order, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced far-reaching water restrictions for his state Wednesday, with the goal of cutting water use in farming, households, cemeteries and golf courses by 25 percent. While Utah’s water situation is less dire, state officials are thinking about how to manage water in a dryer West.


When Spanish Fork resident Tenille Farr was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year, she and her family faced a tough decision. She not only had cancer but was also pregnant. Doctors told her that chemotherapy could help the condition. However, she was also warned that the treatment could risk either a premature delivery or the loss of her baby. In a video posted to IllegallyHealed.com, Farr related how after consideration, she and her husband felt that they should give medical cannabis a try.

Sara Fields

Thanks to a citizen watchdog group, the owner of uranium mines on the south flanks of the La Sal Mountains, near Moab, will have to provide more data on potential environmental impacts.

Gov. Herbert Signs Vietnam Veteran Legislation

Mar 31, 2015

With elected officials and representatives of the Utah National Guard and veterans groups present, Gov. Gary Herbert signed legislation on Monday concerning veterans of the Vietnam War, including a resolution of gratitude for the Americans who fought there. Two other bills designated Interstate 84 as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway and created a new system of veteran’s courts.

parked bikes

In the center of Salt Lake City, across from Washington Square, sits the home of GREENbike. Founded by Ben Bolte in 2013, the nonprofit bike-sharing program is opening for its third season on March 31.

“There are a couple components that we are really trying to push,” Bolte said. “We have the community health, we have air quality and increasing public transportation ridership.”


An Enoch man has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 30 days in jail for a shocking case of animal cruelty and neglect last winter.

In January of 2014, authorities of Enoch City were contacted by a concerned citizen. Responding officers discovered a mare and her colt very near death from starvation and exposure. The colt had actually collapsed and was frozen to the ground in the corral. Elsa, the colt, was cared for the Dust Devil Ranch Horse Sanctuary west of Cedar City, but did not survive.

Hispanic Organization Meets At USU To Promote STEM

Mar 30, 2015

Hispanic students from across the Intermountain West gathered at the Utah State University campus over the weekend to learn about how to get a career in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

These students are all members of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, or SHPE, a group that works to get students involved in STEM.

“We’re trying to build a STEM-talent pipeline that extends all the way from junior high, high school, college and moving on to the professional careers,” said SHPE Regional Vice President Oscar Marquina.

CDC Says E-Cigarettes Don't Help Smokers Quit

Mar 30, 2015

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has kicked off its new Tips From Former Smokers campaign in Utah and around the Nation. People are being reminded of the health risks of smoking and also myths about e-cigarettes. Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Tim McAfee, said that "vaping," the use of e-cigarettes, is being aggressively marketed as a way to help smokers quit, although the research so far shows it does not help.

Dollar bills laid out with three paint brushes on top.

The National Endowment for the Arts has been funded at the same rate for the past four years at $146 million. This may seem like quite a large sum, until you realize that the agency took a 40 percent cut from $176 million in 1992. It has never fully recovered.

Melia Tourangeau, the president and CEO of the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera, was selected to offer testimony to the House Interior Appropriations Committee to stress the importance of increased federal funding.

“We asked for an additional allocation of about $9 million from where the funding is currently, knowing that you have to reach for the stars in order to try and maintain where we are right now,” Tourangeau said.

We Came Here For The Promise Of Destruction

Mar 26, 2015
Elaine Taylor

Like most February days in southern California, it’s sunny and near 80 degrees. My boyfriend and I, both being very fair, have smeared a thick layer of SPF 50 onto our exposed skin. We have decided to forgo a fancy dinner for Valentine’s Day and instead camp in the remote desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Every other couple from L.A. has apparently decided to do this too, and the park feels an awful lot like Disneyland.

The Romantic painting "The Wanderer." A man from on top of a mountain looks on a misty sea.

On Friday evening the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra will celebrate its seventh season with an all-French concert program. They will present a night of choral masterpieces by French composers Gabriel Fauré and Francis Poulenc at the Ellen Eccles Theatre.

Craig Jessop, the founder and conductor of the American Festival Chorus, said this music is distinctively French in its sensitivity. The first piece on the program is Fauré’s “Requiem,” which Jessop described using such contrasting adjectives as haunting, serene and elevating.

IRS Scam Hits Utah

Mar 25, 2015

Officials from yet another county are issuing warnings about an ongoing scam involving callers posing as IRS agents. The latest comes from Mohave County, Ariz. This follows similar warnings by other jurisdictions, including Iron and Washington Counties in Utah.

In the scam a person contacts the victim by phone posing as an IRS agent and threatens with severe penalties if payment and/or bank account information is not provided.

David Harris is with Hughes and Associates, a tax and accounting firm in Cedar City.

A photograph of the organs pipes

The organ at the First Presbyterian Church is the third largest in Cache Valley, just behind the organ at Utah State University and the Logan Tabernacle. It is also in dire need of restoration and repair.

Brandon Clayton has been the resident organist for the past three years at the First Presbyterian Church and is also a Temple Square guest organist.

“Some things that need to be done are voicing, the organ needs to be voiced for the room that it is in,” Clayton said.

He said that in the organ’s current state, performers are severely limited in what they can play.

United States Department of Health and Human Services

A special enrollment period is underway that can help people in Utah and around the U.S. avoid fines for not having health insurance. Randal Serr is with the nonprofit Take Care Utah, which helps enroll people in health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act. He said people who didn't get health insurance last year face penalties of $95 per adult and half that amount for each child. He said the fines will go up each year.

"So by year three it would be $695 per adult and $347.50 per child," Serr said. "Or 2.5 percent of your income - whichever is higher."

Past Financial Woes Plague Logan Freedom Fire

Mar 23, 2015

On the Fourth of July, thousands will flock to Provo for the annual Stadium of Fire. Filled with fireworks and live entertainment, it is one of the biggest Independence Day celebrations in the country. The city of Logan’s own version of the event draws people from all over Cache Valley to Utah State University’s Romney Stadium.

According to a news release from the park, an employee at Zion Lodge tested positive for tuberculosis on March 13. The person is being treated, and a number of people who were in contact with that person are also being tested as a precaution.

David Eaker is a spokesperson for the National Park Service at Zion.

Whit Richardson

Last weekend hundreds of mountain bike connoisseurs converged on Moab to try out the latest and greatest gear.

The event is called Outerbike, and the idea came from Ashley Korenblat, proprietor of the Western Spirit bike shop in Moab.