Utah News

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

Joanna Endter-Wada, Larry Rupp, Paul Johnson, Kelly Kopp and Brian Higginbotham
USU Extension

Utah State University’s Center for Water Efficient Landscaping received an Award of Excellence from the Western Extension Directors Association earlier this month for their innovative work in water conservation.

The annual award recognizes extension outreach education programs that address current societal issues in the 13 Western states and Pacific Island U.S. Territories in an especially impactful way.

USU-CWEL focuses on improving landscape irrigation efficiency in Utah by promoting landscape water conservation and research-based landscape management practices.

blm.gov

The start of the Blawn Wash Gather on Monday has once again sparked debate about the management of wild horses in Utah. 

Lisa Reid with the BLM says the roundup is going well. The BLM aims to collect 140 horses from state land in the south western portion of Utah.

“Thus far we’ve been able to gather 70 horses successfully, we’ve had no incidences, no deaths, everything had come in healthy, looks great and we couldn’t be more pleased with operations,” Reid said.

noaa.gov

The month of July may be coming to a close, but the wildfire season is not. Fires continue to burn across the state, from the Tunnel Hollow Fire near Morgan to the Levan fire south of Nephi.

Jason Curry with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands said Utah is on track for a normal fire year. However, he said the state’s seen fewer large fires so far this year. Curry explained why he thinks the state is seeing less catastrophic events.

Chick-fil-A icon
Chick-fil-A

A national chain restaurant has chosen Utah as its testing ground for technology that could change the game for its consumer experience.

Customers at Chick-fil-A establishments across the state can now pay using their phone instead of cash or card. Earlier this week the corporation launched a new mobile payment app, testing it in four states including Utah’s 18 participating locations.


Protesters holding banners
http://www.tarsandsresist.org/storm-brewing/

Twenty-one environmental activists were arrested at the construction site of a U.S. Oil Sands tar sands mine near Moab earlier this week.

Protestors in Uintah County have engaged in a constant two-month vigil near the site, which is set to become the first tar sands strip mine in the United States. Individuals have camped out, living on the land in opposition to the proposed clearing of 212 acres for the construction of the mine.  


georgia.gov

Infant mortality has been dropping in the United States; however, as a new study shows, some Utah babies are still more likely to die than others.

Jacob Fitisemanu, outreach director for the Office of Health Disparities at the Utah Department of Health, explained the study.

nasa.gov

UPR’s long-time go-to outer space and star guy Patrick Wiggins is being awarded NASA’s highest civilian honor. Wiggins is Utah’s Solar System Ambassador for NASA and his mission is to get the public outside and looking at the stars.

UPR spoke with Wiggins the day after he learned he’d be the first ambassador to receive the Distinguished Public Medal and, by his own account, he was still in shock.

Child immigrants
http://editorials.voa.gov/

This issue of immigration reform has been a major focus of President Obama's administration, particularly the children caught between borders. This week, one Utah representative expressed concern regarding the current state of illegal child immigration to the president. 


plane crash gorge
Chris Holmes

The bodies have been recovered and identified, but the questions remain in the crash of a single-engine aircraft in the Virgin River Gorge Sunday night. The victims were teenage brothers from Clinton, Utah.

Daulton Whatcott, 19, just received his pilot's license. He was excited about pursuing a career in commercial aviation according to a Facebook post by a family member.

Daulton was accompanied by his 16-year-old brother Jaxon. The two were en-route to a basketball tournament in Las Vegas.

Tar sands.
http://www.ostseis.anl.gov/

Approximately 80 environmental protestors are attempting to halt construction of a strip mine being built in Uintah County.

The mine, located in the Book Cliffs, is reportedly on track to be the first tar sands mine in the United States.

Opponents to the project say nearly 80 acres of forest and sage land have been leveled in preparation for mine construction, which they call a devastating blow to the environment.

U.S. Oil Sands, a Canada-based mining corporation, has plans to build the mine on state lands leased from the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. The mine, which is in early stages of construction, is scheduled to produce 2000 barrels of oil per day.


hatch.senate.gov

Monday morning, President Obama signed an executive order which aims to protect LGBT employees of federal contractors. The order will protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting LGBT workers from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The executive order will expand previous measures meant to protect federal employees to the 28 million workers employed by federal contractors, which account for about 20 percent of the nation’s workforce.

The growing oil field, along the entrance to the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands, became more controversial when citizens learned that Moab city water is being used for drilling, and then a well leaked oil all the way to the Green River. Now a new network of pipelines and a gas compressor plant have sparked a citizen watchdog group that has raised safety and environmental concerns. I talked to Bill Love, a member of the Canyon Country Coalition for Pipeline Safety.  

http://www.usu.edu/ust/index.cfm?article=53966

There are some children that grow up knowing they will be attending a university, but for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities attending is likely just a dream.

The pilot program Aggies Elevated changed that expectation this year by creating a path for eight freshmen with intellectual disabilities to enroll at Utah State University beginning this fall semester.

 

Two people have perished in a dramatic fiery crash of a single-engine plane while dozens of motorists traveling Interstate 15 through the Virgin River Gorge looked on in horror.

At just after 7:30 p.m. Sunday, a single-engine plane crashed into the jagged cliffs of the Virgin River Gorge killing both occupants. There were dozens of eye witnesses to the crash, as the site is fully visible to drivers of I-15.

Elaine Taylor

A team of student scientists at Utah State University received a grant from NASA, and they’re learning more than just science.  The students will be launching a device to measure wind in Earth's upper atmosphere in August.

seattle.gov

Utah has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to extend a stay that is currently in place, which prevents nearly 1,300 same-sex couples married late last year from being recognized by the state.

Gov. Herbert Takes Action On Education

Jul 17, 2014
http://ok.gov/sde/documents-forms

 Academic standards for public schools have been a contentious issue for some parents and teachers in Utah and the Attorney General’s Office was asked Thursday to review the adoption of federal recommendations known as the “Common Core."

This was just one step outlined by Gov. Herbert today during a conference on education.  During the conference, Herbert added that though many people in the state are divided on what standards to implement, there is actually a lot that the opposing sides agree upon, like local control of education.

birds sit on rock
National Park Service

High in the cliffs of Zion National Park, scientists and park officials have spotted a chick that may signal that there is hope for a species once on the brink of extinction.

“The California Condor is probably the most endangered bird in North America, mainly because the population had dwindled so low in the end of the 1980s that there were only 22 birds left in the wild,” said Fred Armstrong, division chief for resource management and research at Zion National Park. “It was a bird that was on its way to extinction.”

 The epic motion picture The Ten Commandments was honored with an Academy Award for outstanding visual effects in 1957.  Before the parting of the Red Sea and the burning of the bush could be shown on screen, the images were first sketched and painted on canvas.  

Two formerly top-level state official were arrested Tuesday morning and charged with a combined 23 counts, ranging from accepting bribes and tampering with evidence to the misuse of public money.

Former Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff were arrested at their homes and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Tuesday, with bail set at $250,000.

Murder-suicide Leaves Community Confused

Jul 14, 2014
Nick Herrmann

  A burst of shots were heard in the residential area at the bottom of Utah State University’s Old Main Hill on Monday at 12:15 a.m. Moments later, a vehicle was then seen fleeing the area. The incident raised suspicions and, as a result, police were dispatched.

“At about 16 minutes after midnight, our 911 communications center took a call and the report was possibly shots fired,” explained Logan City Chief of Police Gary Jensen.

The gun fire was confirmed when first responders arrived on the scene.

skincancerprevention.org

Utah has officially entered the dog days of summer, and with the heat comes the risk of burns.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 40 males and 1 in 50 females in the state will develop melanoma, one of three common types of skin cancer. Utah has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the nation. Dr. Nate Hanson, a dermatologist at Logan Regional Hospital, said the primary factors are ancestry and location.

Three Dead In Possibly Related Logan Shootings

Jul 14, 2014

The silence of a warm summer night was disturbed when shots rang out in two different Logan locations, ending in three deaths.

A burst of shots were heard in the residential area at the bottom of Utah State University’s Old Main Hill on Monday at 12:15 a.m. After initial confusion by people in the area thinking the noise came from fireworks, a vehicle was seen quickly leaving an apartment complex, turning a corner, and speeding off. The incident raised suspicions and, as a result, police were dispatched.

NASA

 You might have recently heard the term “super moon” thrown around. These moons seem to be in vogue with the media because of their size and brightness; but are the super moons really that special? NASA Ambassador Patrick Wiggins doesn’t think we should get our hopes up.

“Don’t expect them to look that much different than a regular full moon,” Wiggins cautions.

So what makes a super moon? Well, the moon orbits the earth in an elliptical fashion, meaning its orbit isn’t completely circular.

Utah State University

Undergraduate researchers from Utah State University will soon attach an experiment onto a balloon the size of a stadium. The experiment has been years in the making. USU was selected to take part in a new NASA initiative that aims to involve students in research that could make an impact on the scientific community.

Student Team Leader and System Engineer Landon Terry describes what the experiment looks like.

“Well, it’s about a foot and a half by a foot by about a foot tall and it looks like kind of a shoe box,” said Terry.

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