Utah News

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

HungerU Reaches Out To Utah Audience

Sep 4, 2014
Utah State University students attend HungerU event.
Melissa Allison

A national organization dedicated to educating the public about hunger is putting on its second event in Utah this week before heading north to Idaho.

Utah State University is the current location for HungerU, a mobile exhibit that travels across the United States to college campuses. Their goal is to educate students about the number-one killer in the world, topping HIV/AIDS, malaria and all other diseases combined—hunger.

Some might believe Utah is exempt from the issue, but according to Tracee Schiebel, a HungerU crew member, that is not the case.

Findings that compare state-by-state adult obesity rates show Utah’s rates are low compared to rates in neighboring states.



Construction is underway on a new high school to serve students living in Cache Valley's Millville, Providence, and Nibley. Increased foot traffic is expected near the high school where a state road runs alongside the Blacksmith Fork River.

Swine Virus Found In Utah For The First Time

Sep 4, 2014

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Wednesday that the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv, has been detected at the state’s largest hog farm. The Salt Lake Tribune Reports that farm to be Circle Four Farms in Beaver County.

The disease, which is not a threat to humans but is highly contagious between hog farms, was first detected in 2013 and is suspected to have been imported from Asia.

The virus causes cold-like symptoms in adult pigs but can be deadly for piglets. Because of the high mortality rate, pork prices have been climbing since the spring.

Utah Women Call Out Carl's Jr. On Sexualized Ads

Sep 2, 2014
Beauty Redefined

A Utah nonprofit is leading a campaign against a nationwide fast food chain, which they claim is objectifying women in its advertising.

Twin sisters Lindsay and Lexie Kite are pushing back against a Carl’s Jr. advertising campaign they say objectifies women. The ads feature bikini-clad women eating the fast-food chain’s burgers in a seductive manner.

50 Conservation Projects Celebrate Historic Legislation

Sep 2, 2014
Conservation Corps

Wednesday, Sept. 3 marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, a piece of legislation that set aside millions of acres of public lands for preservation. In celebration of the anniversary and the recent creation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, national conservation groups plan to complete conservation projects in 50 “wild places” across the country this year.

Though some projects are focused on conserving rugged wilderness areas, spokesman for the Wilderness Society Michael Carroll said there are diverse projects happening in every state.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Police are still searching for a man who fell out of a boat in Daggett County this week.

Teams from three counties in Utah and Wyoming are contributing to the search for a 69-year-old man from Riverton after he fell out of his boat in Flaming Gorge Reservoir on Monday around 4 p.m. The Daggett County Sheriff’s Office was notified of Charles Darrell Thomas’ disappearance after his girlfriend, who was also in the boat, managed to swim to shore and call the police.

The investigation continues by the Arizona Department of Public Safety into the death of a motorcyclist who was tased twice after fleeing a traffic stop on Interstate 15, near Littlefield Friday evening.

Michael John O'Connell, 44, had a felony warrant for seven counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child issued out of San Jose, Calif.

Elsha Stocksetch

Saturday morning, runners of the Southern Utah half marathon will cover the Virgin River Trail as hundreds of people rush by, clothed in neon and black, feet slapping the pavement, and numbers pinned to their backs. It's a typical race- with less than typical contestants.

In the past three years Elsha Stocksetch has crossed the finish line in 31 races, the most recent being a marathon just last weekend. Her next race is Saturday, along with friend Walter Brown.

“Elsha's amazing. You know she, has overcome obstacles like I have, where we shouldn't be alive, she's done it,” Brown said.

Brown will be Stocksetch’s partner in the race- because instead of pounding the pavement in the latest neon shoe, Stocksetch will be treading the course in a three-wheeled jogging stroller, Walter behind her, every inch of the 13-mile course.

Governor Confronts Controversial Issues In Conference

Aug 28, 2014
Governor Herbert

Thursday morning, Gov. Gary Herbert addressed issues currently facing Utah.

In regards to the problematic Utah Transit Authority audit that came out earlier this week, Herbert said that it is for transparency and accountability that audits take place within the government.

“I’m just in the process of having my people review the audit. Our general councils review not only the audit on UTA, but also the 50-page response from UTA, and with a cursory view, it appears that a lot of these issues are old issues going back to 2009 and maybe even before that,” Herbert said. “I believe that the new leadership there in place now, has taken steps to correct those problems.”

Great Salt Lake Approaching Record Low Levels

Aug 27, 2014

The Great Salt Lake is only 2 1/2 feet from its all-time record low water level, which media reports was set over 50 years ago.

Low snow packs over the last few years are reported to have majorly contributed to water shortage in the area.

Wayne Wurtsbaugh, professor of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University said another factor creating the low levels in the lake is the diversion of water for agricultural, industrial and municipal use.

Trevor Christensen http://www.trevorchristensen.com/#!/p/nude-portraits

A new project from a photojournalist in Provo is causing quite a stir online. The focus of his work is nude photos, but it isn’t the subjects who are naked.

Trevor Christensen launched the project titled Nude Portraits earlier this week. Christensen’s subjects are fully clothed, but he—the photographer—is not.

Click here for Christensen's full gallery.


Tuesday a federal appeals court granted the state of Utah an extra month to file its appeal of a federal order that would require the state to recognize the nearly 1,300 same-sex couples married between December and January.

The new deadline for the state’s appeal to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is Oct. 22.


Iceland is known for its volcanic activity; however, it wasn’t until 2010, when an Icelandic eruption shut down air travel in Europe, that the whole world took notice. Now, another volcano is on the brink of eruption, but what may happen is still unclear. UPR spoke with Mary Hubbard, a Utah State University geologist who recently returned from Iceland, about the most recent volcano to make the news.

Cody Chamberlain

Southeastern Utah’s Horseshoe Canyon contains one of the most iconic rock art panels in the West. Now, new research from scientists at Utah State University suggests the life-size figures in the Great Gallery may be younger than previously thought.


Wild horse maintenance has been an inciting topic in Utah over the summer months. However, the issue extends beyond state borders with the role of state and federal governments in roundup efforts being debated nationally.

The Bureau of Land Management currently plans to roundup over 800 wild horses from federal lands in Wyoming.

Back To School Brings Pedestrian Safety Concerns

Aug 23, 2014

With students returning to school this week and a subsequent increase in pedestrian traffic, Utah officials and safety organizations are urging drivers to be especially vigilant while on the road.  

AAA Utah issued a statement this week encouraging people behind the wheel to particularly keep an eye out for child pedestrians and individuals riding bicycles. Spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough with AAA said there is an increased threat on the road as children are traveling to and from school.


Listeners planning on driving though the Ogden area this weekend may want to give themselves a few extra minutes.

The ongoing Riverdale Road Project near Roy has reached its final stage of construction, and sections of I-15 will be closed to accommodate the installation of girders for the new interchange. Utah Department of Transportation’s Vic Saunders suggests planning ahead for your weekend travels.

Utah Policies Don't Make Cancer-Fighting Cut, Study Finds

Aug 21, 2014
How Do You Measure Up?

A study released this week by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network claims three-quarters of all states are falling short in the fight against cancer.

How Do You Measure Up: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality looks at 12 state policy areas to see how focused states are in addressing cancer-related issues.

Hackers Sabotage Driverless Vehicles

Aug 20, 2014

As you wake up from your afternoon commute, you realize that your self-driving car has taken an unexpected detour into the front lawn of the police chief’s house. A hacker has used your car for a joyride while you were in the drivers seat.

The autonomous vehicle is expected to be the future of transportation but there are problems that need to be solved before it becomes a reality.

Assistant professor at Utah State University, Ryan Gerdes, leads a research group that was given a grant of $1.2 million to address the potential for malicious attacks from hackers.

ABC's and All of Me

"Alphabet knowledge, or the knowledge of letters names, sounds, and their symbols are absolutely essential for children to read and write," said Dr. Cindy Jones, an Assistant Professor at Utah State University's Emma Eccles Jones College of Education.

“It’s been identified by the National Early Literacy Panel as among the strongest, most durable predictor of later literacy success,” she said.

There are a number of programs being developed to help children learn to read, she says, including one created by a Northern Utah mother and public school educator.


Tuesday, Utah officials and business representatives gathered in Salt Lake City to celebrate the completion of a job-creation goal more than three years in the making.

In 2012, Gov. Gary Herbert set a statewide goal to create 100,000 jobs in just 1,000 days, pushing specifically for private sector job creation. The deadline recently passed and the state not only reached the audacious goal, but surpassed it with 112,000 created jobs.

Cleanup is underway in one southern Utah city following severe rainstorms that left some residents with flooded homes.

Washington city saw heavy rainfall yesterday afternoon, says City Police Chief Jim Keith.
“What basically happened is we had about 20 percent of our annual rain fall within a 70 minute period yesterday afternoon around 4 o'clock and so what that equates to is about 2 inches of rain in about an hour,” Keith said.


A new poll measuring statewide opinions on same-sex marriage was released Monday. Some results of the survey were unexpected.

April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

An annual list ranking America’s top college towns has named Logan, Utah as one of the top 10 Best College Towns, 2014.

Livability.com editor Matt Carmichael says for a mid-sized city, having a college or university town can help move a place from being a good place to live to being a great place to live.  Gary Saxton is director of the Logan Downtown Business Alliance.  He says he is not surprised that Logan was listed as number two in the rankings.