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 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.

utah.gov

  152 years ago congress passed the first law banning polygamous marriage. UPR reporter Taylor Halversen spoke with Dr. Kathryn Daines, a recently retired professor from Brigham Young University and Martha Bradley, Dean of the Honors College at the University of Utah and scholar of modern polygamy about the history of polygamy in the LDS church, the effect of this law had on LDS culture, and how we have come to the current state of polygamy prosecution in the United States. 


A man accused of engaging in a fatal shooting spree in Texas this week has ties to Cache Valley. On Wednesday, 33-year-old former Logan resident Ronald Lee Haskell shot seven members of his ex-wife’s family.

Haskell reportedly dressed as a FedEx employee to gain entrance to the home. The 15-year old daughter of the family attempted to shut the door after telling Haskell her parents were not home. He broke in the door and held the five children at gunpoint until their parents arrived, after which he shot the five children and their parents. 

students doing science
M. Muffoletto / USU

Utah State University’s Biotechnology Summer Academy is currently underway. 31 teens from Utah, and the surrounding Western States are working side-by-side with USU scientists and engineers on a variety of research projects Tuesday to Thursday, July 8-10th.

This year’s Summer Academy exposes high school students to numerous career opportunities available in the Biotechnology field.

“It’s a program where students come to Utah State University, for a week. Students listen to talks about working in biotechnology,” said Aaron Thomas, director of the Academy.

Teen Drowns In Hyrum Reservoir

Jul 10, 2014
Hyrum Reservoir
Hard News Cafe

A 14-year-old boy drowned Wednesday evening while swimming with family and friends at Hyrum State Park. The young teenager, identified as Tucker Smith of American Fork, Utah, was swimming in a cove on the south west side of the reservoir with his older brother and cousins. While swimming from the west bank to the east bank, he became fatigued and attempted to turn back.
 
Witnesses stated that he began to panic and was unable to reach the shoreline. Family members contacted the 911 Public Safety Dispatch center and reported the incident. First responders, as well as citizens already in the area on their boats, responded to the location of the incident in an attempt to rescue the teen. However, he went under the water at about 7:30 pm and did not resurface.
 

seattle.gov

 Utah will be taking the fight over gay marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court. The state attorney general’s office announced Wednesday it would be challenging a June 25 ruling from a federal appeals court. The statement said Attorney General Sean Reyes has a duty to defend state laws, and that Amendment 3 would be presumed constitutional unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Utah Prairie Dog was first listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1973. It remains listed as ‘threatened’ today, meaning residents of its native territory have had to come up with creative ways of keeping the rodent out of prime burrowing habitat.

“Prairie dogs are all over Iron County and there are many on the public golf course and many in the Cedar City cemetery,” said Rick Holman, city manager for Cedar City.

Cedar City fire fighters have again responded to the Stone Castle Recycling facility, where fire erupted overnight amid piles of recyclable debris.

Early Tuesday morning, Cedar City dispatch received a call about smoke billowing from the Stone Castle Recycling Center at 1342 West Industrial Road in Cedar City. Fire fighters arrived to find piles and piles of plastic and other recyclable materials smoldering on the floor of the large concrete and metal building.

Cedar City Fire Chief Paul Irons said it was a difficult, time-consuming process to completely extinguish the fire.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie is criticizing Cliven Bundy for allowing armed militia members to defend his property and intimidate federal agents into standing down in their efforts to remove the rancher’s cattle from BLM administered lands earlier this year.

Ironically, the authority of the Clark County sheriff was among the causes Bundy wished to defend when he used the media to rally supporters in April.


Firefighters battling a blaze.
fcc.gov

Interagency fire fighters have combined efforts to fight three large fires near the Utah-Nevada border, called the MGC Complex Fire.

The Greek Peak Wildfire is 0 percent contained and rages on the Utah side of the border about 30 miles northwest of St. George.

Although it may seem that rainfall should be welcomed amid such dangerous conditions, attendant lightening is the number one cause of wildfires, and precipitation at this point doesn't always help that much. So says Professor Fred Lohrengel of Southern Utah University

Traditionally, the July 4th holiday is the deadliest on Utah roads. The weekend lived up to its billing this year, leaving at least eight people dead.

The night of July 4th, on Interstate 80, about 30 miles east of Wendover an alleged drunken driver steered his Dodge pickup eastbound in the westbound lanes of traffic and collided head on with a chevy suburban. This killed three members of a family, and seriously injured another.

Sunday afternoon, two vehicles collided on State Route 191 north of Monticello, killing five and putting two others in critical condition.

Wildflowers
National Park Service

The ninth annual Wildflower Festival at Cedar Breaks National Monument will be in bloom this weekend through much of July.

From July 5-20, the sub-alpine meadows will be open to visitors, and wildflower walks showcasing the diverse flora will be offered daily.

Daphne Sewing representing the monument said the seeds of the festival were sewn as local botanists and city representatives wanted to share the beauty of the season with the public. She said the festival has grown over the years and added that the Fourth of July weekend will be especially busy.


quagga mussels
Natalie Muth / DWR

Quagga mussels. They're calling them a skiff-transmitted disease. They start as a microscopic organism on boats, and then stage a hostile takeover of the environment.

Division of Wildlife Resources' Sarah Seegert says the invasive species is dangerous to waterways and society.

Glenn Beck
mrm.com

The Independence Day celebration in Logan will have music, fireworks and an unexpected national political speaker. The schedule for Freedom Fire has been altered to make room for a 10 minute speech by political pundit Glenn Beck. The often controversial speaker was a last minute addition.

Logan City’s Debbie Harvey says Beck was originally invited to speak at the show but declined due to health issues. However, he has since changed his answer and decided to speak at Freedom Fire.

“It will be nothing political, he is going to talk about honoring veterans. He is going to talk about patriotism and about what a great country we live in. There will be nothing political in his speech,” Harvey said.

www.mesquitenv.gov

The Arizona Department of Transportation will lift some of the traffic restrictions on Interstate 15 through the Virgin River Gorge prior to the Independence Day holiday weekend, but is advising motorists to expect heavy traffic through the weekend.

Considerable progress has been made to date on ADOT’s multiple bridge projects along Arizona’s I-15 corridor. The highway is currently narrowed to one lane in each direction through the gorge until the project is completed in 2016.

ADOT spokesman Dustin Krugal:

Jennifer Pemberton

Utah Governor Gary Herbert was in Cache Valley this week to hand deliver a check to the owner of Logan’s Caffe Ibis Coffee Roasting Company. The money will partially cover the cost of a piece of equipment that reduces the roaster’s emissions by 95 percent. Despite a tragic setback, the company’s efforts to clean up the air are proceeding at full speed.

When we think of things that produce air pollution, we think of things like cars and oil refineries. We don’t necessarily think of the giant oven that bakes goldfish-shaped crackers or the small cabinet shop on the edge of town or the local organic coffee roaster. But anything that burns creates particulate pollution -- so any effort to reduce air pollution in a community has to address individual contributions from our homes and our vehicles and the contributions of factories big and small.

Aggie Ice Cream

Nut lovers may have a hard time getting ahold of their favorite ice cream flavors at Aggie Ice Cream this summer. The Logan based creamery announced some flavors may be in limited supply due to the ongoing drought in California that has been hurting nut growers in parts of the state.

Wolverine Sighting
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Utah wildlife officials have captured images of an animal thought nonexistent in the state, a wolverine.

The images come from trail cameras on the northern face of the Uinta Mountains, which the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources had set up to observe elusive animals in their natural habitat.

Though the bait in the area where the wolverine was sighted had already been devoured, the creature was drawn to the region by the scent.

Fireworks Prohibited In Parts Of Southwest Utah

Jul 2, 2014
http://www.utahfireinfo.gov/

Severe fire restrictions in southwest Utah have Independence Day celebrations on hold. Officials are banning certain areas from firework shows in hopes of reducing fires in the southwest.

Because of dry conditions and increased fire danger in southwest Utah, officials expanded fire restrictions yesterday and will continue to uphold them until further notice. These restraints prohibit the use of fireworks in several southern counties.

While the new precautions directly precede July Fourth celebrations, St. George Fire Chief Kevin Taylor says they are an attempt to help unnecessary fires from igniting.

The corporate owners of The Salt Lake Tribune and CEO of the Deseret News say in new court filings that changes to terms of a joint operating agreement aren't intended to put the Tribune out of business.

Digital First Media is a New York hedge fund that owns the Tribune. The CEO John Paton says there are no plans to stop publishing the Tribune and that the agreement is designed to save the paper. Deseret News CEO Clark Gilbert says the new terms preserve both papers.

Poverty In Utah On The Rise

Jul 1, 2014

The poverty rate in Utah has risen from 10.5 percent in 2000 to 16.5 percent in 2010, according to a study by the American Community Survey Reports. The study was released in June, but uses statistics from 2010.

Of Utah’s 29 counties, 10 have a poverty rate greater than 10 percent and five counties including Cache, San Juan, Beaver, Iron and Piute counties have a poverty rate of more than 25 percent. 

San Juan County’s poverty rate has decreased from greater than 50 percent to less than 25 percent in the last 14 years.

Elaine Taylor

Though it’s not the traditional season of giving, food banks across the state are in need, and local gardeners could be part of the answer. According to the Utah Food Bank’s Heidi Cannella, demand for food is actually at its highest in the summer.

“We have our summer business food drive in the summer because kids are out of school without access to school meal programs, but donations are at their lowest,” said Cannella. “It’s actually a very critical time for us.”

Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft
http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_coloradorivercorridor_1956crash.html / Arizona State University

The TWA-United Midair collision of 1956 happened 58 years ago Monday above the Grand Canyon. The crash between a Trans World Airlines Super Constellation aircraft and a United Airlines DC-7 killed 128 people and sparked the creation of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Grand Canyon National Park’s Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski said the crash was one of a number of tragic accidents that lead to federal hearings, creating the FAA and initiating the use of radar and black boxes, technology not present in the two aircraft.

Wayne Dodge
Weber County Sheriff

A man who engaged in a physical dispute over saved pew space at an Ogden LDS church will be spending some time in jail.

Wayne Dodge was scheduled to report to Weber County Jail, Monday where he will spend 30 days. Media reports Dodge was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to the class B misdemeanor of assault. The 52-year-old was accused of punching another man and hitting him with his car.

Herbert Awards Clean Air Grant To Roast Master

Jun 30, 2014
http://www.nssga.org/major-event/fall-board-meeting/activities/spouse-welcome-coffee/

A Logan coffee shop will be visited by Gov. Herbert Tuesday morning. He will congratulate the company on its efforts to cut emissions, as part of a valley-wide tour.

The governor and other officials will be eating lunch at Caffé Ibis tomorrow before awarding the small business a grant for $15,000.

The money will help fund a recently installed afterburner which helping to reduce the pollution made from roasting coffee.

Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Mower, who will be attending the air quality tour, says he is looking forward to a busy day in Cache Valley.

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