Utah News

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

Face of a mountain lion.

SANDY, Utah (AP) — Utah authorities have captured a mountain lion that startled shoppers but didn’t hurt anyone Friday morning at a shopping center in a suburb of Salt Lake.

Sandy Police Sgt. Dean Carriger says the mountain lion was spotted walking across a street into Jordan Commons in Sandy, Utah, just before 8 a.m.

Officers found the cat hunkered down at the entrance of a steakhouse. Some people were taking pictures and videos, while others were unaware the cat was even there.

National Relay Race Takes Place In Utah

Jun 27, 2014

The Wasatch Back is part of the relay series known as Ragnar. The more than 11,000 contestants travel throughout the night and will take turns running the almost 200 miles through the northern Utah mountain range.

Teams of 4 to 12 people flock from all over the country to participate in what has become the biggest relay race of its kind.

Participants say the poor weather conditions wasn’t enough to stop them from competing.

“I hope it does not rain because I only brought one pair of shoes," said one team captain.

Reminder To Stay Safe Around Train Tracks

Jun 27, 2014

In the past 24 hours, two train accidents have occurred in Utah. Despite these recent incidents, officials say the number of collisions has dropped in recent years.

The two accidents happened in Salt Lake City and West Jordan, coincidentally, a train safety event was scheduled for Friday morning. Union Pacific Railroad partnered with Operation LifeSaver to ride a locomotive from Salt Lake to Stockton to remind Utahns how to be safe around tracks. 

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt with what some media outlets are calling an historic blow to executive powers, when it invalidated four 2012 appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, in a decision Thursday.

At issue was whether the Senate was in session, or in recess, at the time of the appointments. 

Senator Mike Lee:

County map of red flag areas.

Current weather conditions resulted in red flag fire warnings for much of eastern and southern Utah Thursday.

Travis Booth, a forecaster at the Grand Junction Office of the National Weather Service, spoke with UPR about the conditions that make the weather ripe for potential blazes.  

“A red flag warning just means there is a combination of gusty winds, low relative humidity and critically-dry fuel conditions that could lead to fire starts and difficulty controlling wildfires,” said Booth. 


All 29 Utah Counties are now included on the disaster declaration list from the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to ongoing drought across the West.

In a letter to Gov. Gary Herbert earlier this week, U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack informed state officials that Uintah and Duchesne counties were added to the list. They were the only two counties not included before the change.

Marine Toxin Found In Flatworms By USU Grad

Jun 26, 2014

Sushi eaters may be used to the tingling sensation eating puffer fish produces. But now, the toxin that causes the buzz has been found on land by a USU Grad.

Amber Stokes graduated in 2013, but her dissertation was just published. After a colleague and somewhat worm-expert Peter Ducey noticed a strange behavior between his laboratory flatworms, Stokes dove into research to find out what was going on.

Search And Rescues In Logan Canyon Double This Summer

Jun 26, 2014

The number of rescues performed in Logan Canyon have doubled this season from previous summers.
Officials say inexperienced and unprepared hikers hitting the trails with a little too much confidence could be behind the spike.

Lt.  Doyle Peck from the Cache County Sheriff’s Office says the search and rescue team, made of volunteers, has been called weekly. He said while they’re not entirely sure why there has been a dramatic surge in rescues, they want to raise safety awareness, particularly on social media.


A former Utah State University employee pled guilty Monday to theft and forgery, both felony charges.

44-year-old Noell Hansen was accused of stealing over $38,000 from USU from 2011 to 2013 after working for the university for over 20 years.

  Media reports Hansen was able to embezzle the funds by keeping deposits until she had accrued multiple checks. After, she would take cash in the amount of a particular check to cover the missing money, then would submit the check instead of cash for that day’s deposit.


On Wednesday, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision from a Utah judge striking down the state’s gay marriage ban. 

Six months after the state appealed Judge Shelby’s ruling, which found Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, a three-judge panel from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision in a 2-1 ruling. However, with the ruling, the court put an immediate stay on the decision.

Cache County Primary Election Results

Jun 25, 2014

Primary elections were held across Utah on Tuesday. To view the full results, click here.

Cache County results are below.

County Executive / Surveyor:
Boyd R. Pugmire:     2132
Craig W. Buttars:     3025*

County Recorder
Bradley P. White:     2080
Michael L. Gleed:     2985*

County Tresurer:
Craig McAllister:     2653*
Denise Lindsay    2529

*Winner of the election.

Rape Kit

Updated June 25, 2014. 

Controversy has arisen this week over proposed amendments to the processing of rape kits in Utah.

During a Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee meeting last week, Rep. Jennifer Seelig (D- Salt Lake) pushed for additional processing of backlogged rape kits. Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R- Salt Lake, Tooele) questioned the wisdom of the proposed resource allocation.


Though the sun is still the primary source of light for most gardeners, many rely on electric lights some of the time. But varying claims on the efficiency of these lights from different manufacturers has left many growers confused about which products to use, according to Bruce Bugbee.

Bugbee, a professor in Utah State University’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, along with graduate student Jacob Nelson decided to look into these claims, publishing an article on the topic in the journal PLOS ONE.

Founder Of Ordain Women Excommunicated

Jun 23, 2014
Ordain Women

Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly has been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Kelly said in a prepared statement, “The decision to force me outside my congregation and my community is exceptionally painful. Today is tragic day for my family and me as we process the many ways this will impact us, both in this life and in the eternities. I love the gospel and the courage of its people. Don’t leave. Stay, and make things better.”

Debra Jenson, the spokeswoman for the organization, spoke with UPR last week.

“We are deeply disappointed that the church has decided to take this action against a woman who simply asking questions publicly that women have been silently asking for years,” Jenson said.

In an e-mail to Kelly Monday, her Bishop from Virginia, Mark Harrison, said the following: “…our determination is that you be excommunicated for conduct contrary to the laws and order of the church.”

A disciplinary hearing was held in Virginia about Kelly's case, which she was invited to join in person or via video, according to the letter from Kelly's former Bishop. Also in the letter was a list of times Kelly had been met with by her local leaders.

Dinosaur National Monument

Scientists from Brigham Young University and Dinosaur National Monument have teamed up to map the famous “wall of bones,” a sandstone slab containing more than a thousand dinosaur fossils.

Using a laser scanner and photogrammetry, Brooks Britt, a BYU professor and paleontologist, is working to put together the most accurate model of the wall since 1936.

Over the years, fossils of dinosaurs dating back 150 million years to the late Jurassic have been removed from the 5,000 square foot wall.

Dogs Take The Day Off To Join The Workforce

Jun 20, 2014

Canine furry friends from around the country are escaping the dog-life and joining the work force during Friday’s national Take Your Dog to Work Day.

The annual event was originally was held in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, a professional pet sitting company, and has grown since then. Participants from around the U.S. have taken pictures throughout the day of their dogs at work and uploaded them to Twitter with the #TakeYourDog.


It represents one of the most concentrated repositories of ancient petroglyphs and astronomic observational features anywhere—an American Stonehenge.  The summer solstice will be observed at the Parowan Gap on Saturday.


For the fifth consecutive year, the Carbon Country Golf Course is hosting a public golf tournament Saturday to benefit Utah charities.

In 2009, Mike Ballard fatally slipped on ice. Now, The Carbon County Golf Course hosts an annual tournament in his honor, donating proceeds to local charities. The recipient this year is HOPE Squad, a suicide prevention program in Price.

The majority of the USA’s winter Olympic team is meeting this weekend for a rookie training camp in Park City to learn about resilience from a former member of the military.

Jen Housholder said she is not really a skier or a snowboarder, but she is helping to mentor these athletes-in-training about core values through the Military Mentorship Program.

Waichert and Pitts

A collection of insects 80 years in the making is heading to Utah, and bringing over a million specimens with it. The American Entomological Institute is relocating from its long-time home of Florida to Utah State University.

Biology Professor James Pitts said the collection, which was started in 1934, will increase USU’s insect holdings by 50 percent.

Goblin Valley State Park Ready For Expansion

Jun 19, 2014

A massive expansion of Goblin Valley State Park is in the works. The BLM, Utah State Park Service and Emery County are working together write a proposal to push the boundaries 40-fold.

After Gov. Gary Herbert proposed to expand a state park, officials from the state and park system chose Goblin Valley. With a recent surge in tourism, officials say the land needs more attention in order to maintain the natural beauty. 

Grizzlies May Return To Utah

Jun 19, 2014

A petition seeking expansion for grizzly bear territory, including the Uintas, was released Thursday morning by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Noah Greenwald, the center’s endangered species director, discussed the basics of the petition.

Aerial view of La Sal Mountain Range.

A plane that went missing Wednesday has been located in San Juan County.

The debris of a 1958 single engine Cessna was found in the La Sal Mountains around 1 p.m. Thursday after nearby radar outposts lost signal with the craft Wednesday morning. The airplane had crashed into the mountainside killing the pilot on impact.

Dog plays in pool
St. George Animal Shelter

A year after allegations of mismanagement, animal abuse and neglect, the St. George Animal Shelter is holding a re-opening celebration to showcase the changes that have been made to the facility.

The shelter is re-opening with a new director, Sgt. Ivor Fuller, and new facilities including kennels that give animals access to the outdoors and dog runs.

Fuller said one of the biggest changes is the no-kill policy.

Surveillance still of mustache bandit robbing the bank.
Centerville Police Department

A perplexing situation in Centerville has led police on a continued search for an individual who robbed a bank Tuesday donning a fake mustache. 

Police received the distress call around 2:45 p.m. from a Zions Bank at 440 West Parrish. Dispatchers initially described the suspect as a tall, skinny man, but Assistant Chief Paul Child says investigators later determined that wasn’t the case.