Utah News

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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

People in Utah and across the U.S. are being encouraged to make a New Year's resolution to get health insurance, now available as part of the Affordable Care Act. Jason Stevenson with Take Care Utah, a group that helps guide people through the enrollment process, said those who want health coverage for this year need to sign up before the Open Enrollment period ends on Feb. 15. He said that most Utahns are eligible for a premium subsidy.

"Eighty-nine percent of the Utahns who signed up for the ACA insurance during this first month of Open Enrollment," Stevenson said. "Qualified for a premium subsidy. And that could include actually, help making their deductibles more affordable, too."

Box Elder Sheriff Dies Day After Swear-In

Jan 7, 2015
Sheriff Joseph "Lynn" Yeates

Box Elder County Sheriff Joseph “Lynn” Yeates passed away Tuesday morning, only a day after he was sworn into office for what would be his third term.

The county clerk and attorney are currently reviewing the vacancy with the County Republican Central Committee. The County Commissioner’s Office said Chief Deputy Kevin Potter is maintaining the position as interim sheriff, and will do so for the next month. Box Elder County Commissioner Jeff Scott said the reason for the delay is the state statute concerning the office of sheriff.

cows in a field

Utah ranchers are increasingly seeing their livelihoods disappear as the problem of cattle rustling grows in the West.

Steve Harmsen is the owner of the Indian Trail Ranch. For the past three years he has run his cattle in the Vernal area without incident—that is until this fall, when he was moving his heard and discovered that some of his cattle were missing.

Christopher Gezon / Zion National Park

In 2013, more than nine million visitors to National Parks in Utah contributed $596 million to the state's economy and supported nearly nine thousand jobs related to tourism. The National Park Service is now recommending recreation fee increases at three of Southern Utah's most popular parks to help cover the cost of maintaining what they say is an important economic resource here.

Park Superintendents from Bryce Canyon, Zion National Parks and Cedar Breaks National Monument say a review of park service fee rates in Utah are part of a national assessment of park entrance fees that have not been updated since 2006.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



Potent Bird Flu Spotted In West, Utah May Be Next

Jan 5, 2015

Utah officials are warning hunters and owners of backyard poultry flocks to be wary of a highly-pathogenic strain of avian influenza virus that could appear in the state.

Though currently no affected birds have been reported, Utah is on the migratory path of affected animals, which have been found in Oregon, California and Washington.

Dr. Warren Hess, a veterinarian for the state, said the virus is carried by water fowl, but the effects are felt by domesticated birds.

Sean Reyes Sworn In After Year As Interim AG

Jan 5, 2015

After a year as Utah's interim attorney general, Sean Reyes (R) was sworn in as the state’s top law enforcement officer Monday morning at the Capitol.

Reyes, Utah’s 21st attorney general, was chosen to replace former Attorney General John Swallow, who resigned in November 2013 and is now facing charges including bribery and tampering with evidence. Swallow’s predecessor Mark Shurtleff is also facing charges.

Mia Love Defends Steve Scalise In Statements

Jan 5, 2015

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) remains in hot water over allegations he spoke to a white supremacist group 12 years ago. Scalise has admitted to speaking at a conference run by the European-Americans for Unity and Rights Organization, a group established by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. However, some continue to come to his defense, including Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is currently Louisiana’s sole Democratic Party representative and is black. 

Now Rep. Mia Love (R) of Utah’s fourth Congressional district has weighed in on the controversy. Speaking on ABC’s program This Week on Sunday, Love said that Scalise should not be defined by this event. 

U.S. Department of Education

The start of 2015 opened up an opportunity for college-bound students in Utah and across the U.S. who need help paying for tuition. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or "FAFSA," determines how much financial aid schools can award based on a family’s financial situation. The application can be filed now, and Dr. Laurie Wolfe with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators said being prepared can make the process less stressful.

"It's a good time to sit down with the family," Wolfe said. "And start talking about,'What do we need to be looking at?’ I highly encourage people to get hold of a copy of that application now, look through it, pull together the documents that you need."

The list of documents includes income-tax returns and investment statements. The application deadline is June 30, but to avoid missing any deadlines for special scholarship programs, Wolfe recommends completion before Feb. 15.

This Years Hottest Gifts Have Drawbacks

Dec 31, 2014
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Utah families are preparing to ring in the New Year, but some kids may miss the festivities because they can't take their eyes off a screen. Mobile phones and tablets were among the hottest gifts this year, but experts are cautioning parents about the drawbacks of technology. Dr. Ann Lagges, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Indiana University, says there are many positives to electronics, from educational uses to helping kids stay connected with friends – but moderation is key.

"Whenever anything takes up all of somebody’s time," Lagges said. "It becomes their sole focus; it means that other parts of their life are paying the price. So, things like real-world social activities, school work, sleep, physical exercise – things like that."

Earthquakes Felt Near Nephi Over The Weekend

Dec 29, 2014
earthquake seismology
University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Small earthquakes were reported in Juab County over the weekend. The U.S. Geological Survey says two small earthquakes larger than 3.0 magnitude hit central Utah late Sunday night about eight miles southwest of Nephi.

The first earthquake of 3.7 magnitude occurred at 11:08 p.m. Just before midnight, an aftershock registered at 3.2. The shakes were felt in Nephi but it wasn't clear Monday if any damage or injuries were reported.

Breaking Traditions Can Aleviate Stress

Dec 22, 2014
Library of Congress

For people in Utah who have experienced losses, are less fortunate, or in a family overcome by stress, the holidays can be a challenging time, but experts say small changes can help people find the joy in the season. Psychotherapist Mary Michail sees the toll the holiday hustle and bustle can take on her clients..

"People tend to put a lot of pressure that they have to be happy," Michail said. "Or have to say yes to every party invite they get; or they have to do their Christmas cards, or they have to put lights outside. I always tell people that the best thing you can give people is love and compassion, and your time."

Lower Gas Prices Impacts Environment

Dec 19, 2014
California Environmental Protection Agency

Low gas prices may be helping the economy by giving Americans some extra money in their pockets, but not without some negative side effect. More driving means worse air quality in Utah, and across the nation, according to Dr. Brian Moench, president of the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment. He said more driving means more cars producing greenhouse gases, the primary contributors to climate change.

“We would hope that lower gas prices don’t acclimate people to using their cars more than they might have otherwise," Moench said. "We hope that they would still be understanding that public transportation really is a critical part of a future that is less dependent on fossil fuels.”

Some parts of Utah are already known for their unhealthy winter air quality. Moench said low gas prices can also impact the economy long-term because the demand for electric vehicles and other forms of cleaner energy goes down. That means if gas prices go back up, as they have in the past, environmentally friendly resources can remain underdeveloped and less affordable.

Governor's Office

Gov. Gary Herbert announced in a press conference Thursday his appointment of an associate justice to the Utah Supreme Court.

“I really have had the opportunity to choose from the very best that Utah has to offer to put on the Supreme Court. So today, I am pleased to announce my nomination for the Utah Supreme Court as Judge Constandinos G. Himanos,” he said.  

Judge Himonas has served as a trial judge for Utah’s Third District Court since 2004.

Mike Christensen / DWR

As the sun peaked over the mountain tops on Dec. 16, the sound of helicopter blades pounded across the sage flats south of Loa and Bicknell in south-central Utah. The sound of the choppers was a sure sign that biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources were conducting a pronghorn capture in Wayne County.

“The Parker Mountain area produces a lot of pronghorn,” said Teresa Griffin, regional wildlife manager for the DWR. “Over the years, we’ve captured thousands of pronghorn here. After capturing them, we moved them to various locations across Utah. We’ve also given some to other states.”

Capturing pronghorn requires helicopters and a lot of helping hands.

In a small warehouse just off Logan City's main street a group of volunteers move crates of food. Workers are cold and they struggle to move canned goods with gloved hands.

"It is really cold this morning, but we are here every week during the school year come rain or shine," said Nibley resident Peggy Reese.

Reese began the "Still Cool After School" supplemental food program five years ago when she was working at Ellis Elementary. The program brings community volunteers together each week of the school year to gather donated food items. Peanut butter, cereal, soups, and pasta are some of the staples they place inside more than one hundred backpacks. On Fridays the backpacks are distributed throughout elementary schools by administrators in the Logan School District. Together they select students who qualify for federal food assistance and also demonstrate a need for nutrition services on weekends.

Public Input Opposes Oneida Narrows Dam Proposal

Dec 17, 2014
Oneida Narrows

The Twin Lakes Canal Company has applied to create a 109-ft. hydroelectric dam that would block the flow of water in the last free-flowing stretch of the Bear River.

Dec. 17 is the deadline for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to accept public comment before making decisions on the proposal.

Jeff Seamons, conservation chairman of the Franklin County Fish and Game Association, said the creation of a dam in the area would negatively impact quality of life.

Utah's First Wild-Hatched California Condor Dies

Dec 17, 2014
Fish and Wildlife Service

In a Wednesday press release, program biologists from The Peregrine Fund and Zion National Park announced Utah’s first wild-hatched California condor since the reintroduction of the bird to California and Arizona has died.

Chris Parish, Condor Program Director for The Peregrine Fund, which manages the wild Arizona-Utah flock, said investigators were able to determine the status of the fledgling by observing parental visits to the cave it inhabited.

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.

Utah Professor Part Of Global Chorus On Sustainability

Dec 16, 2014
Joseph Tainter

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.


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

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.”


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.