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 Division of Water Resources

With drought conditions reaching record proportions, the issue of water distribution in the West is only growing. Though cloud seeding hasn’t been proven to increase snowpack by that much, lower basin states have been putting money into the technology in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming with the hope of increasing the amount of water flowing into the Southwest. Though some see this as a good solution to the ongoing drought facing much of the West, others are skeptical about sending Utah water downstream.


Education officials in Utah have released the short-list of four candidates who could become the next superintendent of state schools. The list includes two candidates from Utah school districts and two from Wyoming and Georgia. The search began when current superintendent, Martell Menlove, announced his resignation in March. The selection process was a thorough collaboration between the state government and other organizations, said Emilie Wheeler, Communication Specialist with the State Board of Education. 

Bountiful Abduction A Hoax, Police Say

Oct 7, 2014
Bountiful Police Car

Police announced Tuesday that two teenage girls who reported they were abducted from the east side of Bountiful were lying.

The girls, 16 and 17, claimed they were forced by two men into a vehicle at 2 a.m. on Sept. 9. They told police they were bound with duct tape and taken 70 miles from Bountiful. The teenagers flagged down a vehicle later that evening in Santaquin and called police.

Lt. Dave Edwards with the Bountiful Police Department said this development in the case was unexpected.

North Ogden Divide Gives Reason for Caution

Oct 7, 2014
Weber County Sheriff's Office

A woman driving her Jeep northbound on Tuesday lost control of her car and drove off the Liberty side of the North Ogden Divide. 

She was transported by AirMed to a local hospital with complaints of not being able to feel her legs and experiencing chest pain. Her current condition is unknown.

The investigation is ongoing but early indications point toward brake failure.

Blood Moon Represents Rare Lunar Spectacle

Oct 7, 2014
Image of blood moon

For the second time this year, Utahns will be able to glimpse a total lunar eclipse.

On Oct. 8, the moon will pass entirely into the shadow of the earth, for the second time this year. According to Robert Bigelow, the Clark Planetarium’s Educational Program Specialist, lunar eclipses occur twice a year, in April and October.

Cancer Patient's Basketball Dreams Come True

Oct 7, 2014

Five-year-old JP Gibson, who suffers from cancer, signed a special one-day contract with the Utah Jazz on Monday. He then joined the team in uniform for the opening pre-season team scrimmage at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City. Gibson had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2012.


Same-sex marriage is now legal in the state, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement Monday that it would not be hearing appeals from five states, including Utah, that were seeking to keep their bans on same-sex marriage in place.

This decision means the lower court’s ruling that Utah’s ban on gay-marriage is unconstitutional will be upheld.

Utah Farmers To Receive Drought Relief

Oct 6, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service issued an extension on Monday for farmers and ranchers in Utah to replace livestock sold during times of drought. The livestock replacement period was originally scheduled to run until December 31st of this year but is now set for the end of 2015.

Farmers in 24 counties across the state who sold more livestock than normal due to drought will now be able to delay paying taxes on gains from livestock purchases. In a statement from the IRS, the extension only applies to livestock raised for specific purposes.

Gov. Herbert Response To SCOTUS Decision

Oct 6, 2014

Monday morning, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it will not hear Utah's gay-marriage case this year during its session. The 10th Circuit District Court has issued an order stating Utah is to move forward allowing gay-marriage.

Ordain Women leaders

General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is scheduled to take place this weekend. Ordain Women announced Sept. 17 that, as with the two previous conferences, they will attempt to attend the male-only general priesthood session, but will use a different tactic to obtain entrance.

They plan to attend the broadcast of the Saturday session at local meeting houses instead of trying to get in to the live session in Salt Lake City.


Deer Valley Resort announced Friday that it has agreed to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort for an undisclosed amount of money. The acquisition will not close until the end of this ski season, said Deer Valley’s Colleen Reardon.

“We’ve signed it, but we won’t close until April 30. That gives us some great time to learn more about solitude and their operation; it’s been a really well run resort,” Reardon said.

Randolph Woman Recieves National Weather Award

Oct 3, 2014
Evan Hall

On Thursday, Jane Digerness of Randolph became the recipient of the John Companius Holm Award from the National Weather Service. The award is given annually to recognize outstanding members of the Cooperative Weather Observers Program. That same day, Digerness also received a 20-year Length-of-Service Award from the Department of Commerce.

Incumbent Curt Webb, and challenger Jeff Turley sit next to each other at the debate for Utah House of Representatives District 5.

Candidates contesting the Utah House of Representatives District 5 seat squared off Wednesday night in the Logan Library’s Jim Bridger Room.

Incumbent Curt Webb and challenger Jeff Turley sparred over the funding of education, taxes and public lands, among other things.


BLM Responds To Wyoming Roundup Accusations

Oct 2, 2014
Wild horse roundup aerial view

Wild horse preservationists have called into question the legality of the wild horse roundup in the checkerboard area of Wyoming which began Sept. 15. 

Shelly Gregory with the Wyoming High Desert District of the Bureau of Land Management asserts the Wild Horse and Burro Act allows private land owners to request the BLM remove wild horses from their property.

“The BLM is respecting the rights of private land owners to operate their land as they see fit,” Gregory said.

attorney general cadidates

The Utah Debate Commission sponsored the first debate between the Republican and Democratic Candidates for Utah Attorney General Wednesday night. Both candidates agreed on many issues, with the exception being over a plan to defend Utah's gay marriage ban.

A U.S. District Court judge in Arizona has ruled that the Department of Interior did not act unlawfully when it instituted a 20-year ban on new mining claims in a one-million acre area adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park.

Then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar instituted the 20-year ban in the uranium rich area in January of 2012. Mining groups and economic interests in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah filed suit contending that the action was baseless and violates the mandate of multiple use of public lands.

Ebola virus under microscope
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the U.S. was confirmed in Dallas, Texas. The patient had recently been in Liberia.

“The patient was visiting family members and staying with family members who live in this country. We will contact anyone who we think has any likelihood of having had an exposure to the individual while they were infectious,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “At this point, that does not include anyone who might have traveled with him because he was not infectious at that time.”

Utah Resort's Pound Puppy Hike Aids No-Kill Efforts

Oct 1, 2014
Pound Puppy Hike
Russell Douglas Powell / Red Mountain Resort

The No-Kill Utah initiative began at the end of March with the goal of making Utah a no-kill state for dogs and cats by 2019.

Temma Martin with Best Friends Animal Society said to be considered no-kill means 90% of cats and dogs must leave shelters alive through adoption, returning to owners or being rescued by another animal welfare organization.

“Our statewide save rate is currently at 79.4 percent. The dog save rate is quite a bit higher, which is exciting; we’re at about 92 percent. And then the cat save rate year-to-date is at about close to 64 percent,” Martin said.

Car Smash For Cancer Raises Funds And Hope

Oct 1, 2014
State by state map of the U.S. cancer profile

Nine students of Utah State University's management 3110 class have partnered with the school’s Sigma Chi fraternity for an assignment that will raise funds for cancer research. They’ve named it “Car Smash for Cancer.” Inspired by their home game against Brigham Young University on Friday, they’re encouraging students to take a hit at a BYU-themed car on Thursday to prepare for the game and raise money for cancer research. For Trevor Long, one of the organizers, cancer hits close to home.

Community members gathered at a discussion on action and strategies to improve air quality in Northern Utah Wednesday. Organizers of the workshop brought air quality experts, representatives from Utah's and Idaho's departments of environmental quality, Logan City council members, along with state and county officials.

Ed Redd (R-House 4) opened the public session by explaining why he spent the past Utah legislative session working on a bill to reduce the use of wood burning stoves along the Wasatch Front.

Wednesday night UPR and the Herald Journal team up with the Logan Library to host two debates between local candidates.

Utah House of Representatives candidates Curt Webb and Jeffrey Turley debate at 7 p.m. (Listen below)

Cache County Attorney candidates James Swink and Chris Daines debate at 8 p.m.

You can listen to the debates live on the Herald Journal's Website, and we will post the audio Thursday morning, and tweet out the link. You can also attend the debate at the Logan Library for one or both races.  

Patient-Doctor Gap Narrowed Through Telemedicine

Sep 30, 2014

A Salt Lake City-based company known as TruClinic is using innovative ways to make doctors more accessible to patients through the use of telemedicine. According to the American Telemedicine Association, telemedicine uses forms of electronic communication to improve a patient’s medical status. TruClinic lowers medical costs by cutting out the middle man in scheduling doctor’s office visits, said Justin Kahn, co-founder and CEO.

Disability Lawsuit Sparks Equal Opportunity Dialogue

Sep 30, 2014

A suit was filed Monday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Papa John’s Pizza for firing Scott Bonn - a Utah employee with Down syndrome who the EEOC claims had been working successfully at the pizzeria.

Papa John’s Pizza website states in part, “We believe that commitment is the key ingredient for making our communities better places for all.”

Horse Deaths In Wyoming Roundup Incite Advocates

Sep 29, 2014
Wild horses running.

The Bureau of Land Management has removed 543 wild horses from public lands in Wyoming over the course of the last two weeks, with the goal of removing a total of 900 animals.

Ten horses have died during removal efforts and Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Campaign, said the deaths are a direct result of the roundup. She calls the situation an example of the inhumanity of the government’s wild horse program.

Butterfly on milkweed

With winter fast approaching, it's not only Utah’s snowbirds that are migrating south.

Monarch butterflies across the nation have already begun their annual journey to warmer climates. Unlike East Coast monarchs, Utah’s population of the orange and black butterflies travel to southern California for the winter months, according to Shawn Clark, insect collections manager at BYU’s Life Sciences Museum.

“There are some migrations that will be for thousands of miles. They can fly for several hundred miles at a time without stopping,” Clark said.