Utah News

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

This week the Independent American Party, Constitution Party and Libertarian Party of Utah sent a formal complaint to the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Election Commission after candidates representing the parties were not allowed to participate in the first statewide political debate this election season.

A pair of Italian tourists are recovering in a Garfield County Hospital after a hellish experience brought on by the raging flood waters of the Paria River.

Sussana Dursi, 47, and 62-year-old Roberto Bellocci from Italy were returning to their campsite at Kodachrome Basin State Park Late Saturday night. After crossing a bridge spanning the Paria River the ground beneath the road suddenly gave way causing the car to plunge into the river. The road base under the asphalt had eroded away due to heavy flooding.

The car was tossed and pummeled by the torrent approximately 150 yards downstream where it finally came to a stop upside down in the middle of the river. The couple was able to escape through a broken back window and climbed on top of the overturned car.

That Friday, I was dizzy and sick to my stomach with what felt like food poisoning, only sometimes my chest throbbed. I declined my husband's offer of a ride to the emergency room because I had to prepare for a crucial school meeting on Monday.

Utah Counties Switch To Mail-in Balloting System

Sep 26, 2014

The first Tuesday in November is notorious for long lines to tap a few buttons, cast a vote, and possibly change the future course of our state. Depending on where you live, you may not be waiting in line to cast your vote in November.

Several counties across Utah are doing it: mail-in ballots- for everyone, not just the absentee voters. This isn't new, but several counties are trying it for the first time this year.

Patrick Wiggins

Utah NASA Ambassador Patrick Wiggins just named the 5th asteroid he’s discovered over the years after the state’s largest university.

“Henceforth and forevermore, that lonely little rock floating around in space out beyond the orbit of mars but not quite as far as Jupiter will be named for the University of Utah,” Wiggins said.

Beaver Festival Brings Awareness To Community

Sep 25, 2014
Beaver in natural habitat.

A festival meant to create awareness about beavers and the important role they play in the ecosystem is scheduled to take place in southern Utah on Sept. 27.  

Lynn Chamberlain with the Division of Wildlife Resources said the Leave it to Beavers festival seeks to debunk some myths about the industrious critters. Contrary to popular belief, Chamberlain said beaver habitats extend far beyond the mountains and he says they are not merely destructive creatures.

Hey Cache County! Utah Public Radio, The Herald Journal and Logan Library are teaming up on Wednesday to bring two debates to you:

House of Representatives candidates Curt Webb and Jeffrey Turley @ 7 p.m.

Cache County Attorney Candidates James Swink and Chris Daines @8 p.m.

We're collecting questions... so ask away!

Enterovirus D68 A Strain On Experts

Sep 25, 2014

The Enterovirus is a source of growing concern in Utah now that it has been discovered in Primary Children’s Hospital. The virus itself is so common that most people have been infected with it by their first birthday with little to no consequences. However, as with all viruses, there are different strains and it is the D68 strain that people, especially those with respiratory issues or children, should pay close attention to.

According to Rebecca Ward of the Utah Department of Health there is no need for panic, just awareness.

“There have been no deaths reported as of yet. We just want parents to be aware that it is here. We are not necessarily in a panic situation. It’s a common virus. This particular strain is a little less common. Look for signs and symptoms and if it becomes more severe, contact your health care provider,” Ward said.

Experts in the field understand very little about D68 at this point. They don’t, as of yet, know how long it stays in the body or how long a person is contagious. They do report that a person experiences symptoms three to six days after being infected with the virus and that people can be infected without symptoms and unknowingly infect others.

Jennifer Pemberton

As part of its Fireside Chat and Pizza series, the Institute of Government and Politics at Utah State University invited U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby to speak this week to students.

Judge Robert Shelby’s name is synonymous now with his December 2013 decision that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. His opinion in Kitchen v. Herbert made legal same-sex marriage a possibility for over a thousand Utahns and has been cited in some 30 other court rulings.

Tuesday night, Donna McAleer (D) and Rob Bishop (R Incumbent) debated at Weber State University. Topics ranged from gun control to social security. Listen to the full debate below:

Enterovirus Breakout Has Hospitals Cracking Down

Sep 23, 2014

A current outbreak of an uncommon virus strain has hospitals and care facilities taking extra precautions.

The Center of Disease control has confirmed an outbreak of Enterovirus D68 at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.  Of 22 samples sent to the CDC for testing from the facility, 12 came back positive.

New Facility Set For Electric Vehicle Research

Sep 23, 2014
Utah State University

Groundbreaking for the new Electronic Vehicle and Roadway Research Facility and Test Track is scheduled for Tuesday of this week at Utah State University. The 4,800-square-foot building and track will house the university’s research into electric cars and innovative charging options. The new center will attract academic and industry researchers to work together and advance the viability of electric transportation, according to Dr. Regan Zane of USU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“The facility we’re building and its resources [are] really USU driven. So, it’s a facility we’re building here and has a capability we’re adding in that’s going to do some amazing things we’re pretty excited about,”  Zane said. “It’s going to be the only one of its kind in the country for the foreseeable future and so we have quite a few collaborators, other universities and industry that are thinking about using this facility and working with us.”

Technology developed at USU that wirelessly charges electric buses has been adopted by the Salt Lake-based bus company Wave. The new facility will bring together several different areas of research under one roof, according to Zane.

Utah Shelters Prepare for Winter: Donations Needed

Sep 23, 2014

Charitable organizations serving individuals and families in crisis are currently strategizing about how they are  going to meet the needs of the homeless this winter. While supplies are always needed, winter is especially a difficult time for those who are homeless because of exposure.

“People who are homeless experience disease three to four times as often as people who are housed," said Jennifer Hyvonen of the Fourth Street Clinic in Salt Lake City. "And in fact, poor health is often a contributing factor of someone becoming homeless.”

Hyvonen said that many supplies are needed throughout the year but winter is especially difficult.

Statewide Debates Heard Live On UPR

Sep 23, 2014

Utah Public Radio will be broadcasting five debates live this election season, in cooperation with the VoteUtah initative. The newly-formed Utah Debate Commission will be producing the state-wide debates. 

Each debate listed below will air live on UPR at 6 p.m. and be re-broadcasted the following morning at 11 a.m.

Abandoned Vehicle Retrieval Turns Up Sunken Handguns

Sep 22, 2014
Sunken 1950 Mercury sedan
Lane Findlay / Weber County Sheriff's Office

Divers, towing crews and deputies worked Saturday morning to retrieve a fifth vehicle located at the bottom of Pineview Reservoir.

Earlier this month, five vehicles were discovered at the bottom of the Ogden reservoir as Weber County deputies were testing out new sonar equipment. Four cars were pulled out over a week ago, with license plates dating the cars from the ‘90s to August of this year.

The car recovered Saturday was a Mercury sedan from the 1950s, according to Lt. Lane Findlay with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.


A new study published in the Journal of Family Psychology shows that parental favoritism, real or perceived, can impact a teen’s likelihood of using substances like alcohol and cigarettes.

Brigham Young University professor Alex Jensen said the concept of favoritism is pervasive and can have lasting impact on a child.

“Sometimes we joke about who’s the favorite child in the family and even ask people that question, but it’s really a complex process and a complex idea,” Jensen said.

Alzheimer Walk Brings Awareness To Utah Community

Sep 20, 2014
Alzheimer's run
Melissa Lee / The Alzheimer's Association

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than five million people nationwide and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.  An event tradition decades in the making is underway this week to raise awareness and funds for the care and research of the disease.

Saturday’s Walk to End Alzheimer's event in Logan is one of more than 600 walks across the country, which together raised $57.2 million last year alone for the cause.

God Loves Gays billboard project

An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign sponsored by Facebook God, a cartoon character that has nearly 2 million followers, is raising money to place billboards that say “God Loves Gays” around the country.

God, whose true identity remains unknown, spoke in the campaign video.

“The Westboro Baptist Church, this hate group goes around saying God hates gay people. Nonsense, I love gay people.”

PARK(ing) Day Uses Parking Stalls For New Purpose

Sep 19, 2014
Students at the camping stall usu
April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

Across the world Friday, people are reserving parking spaces not for their cars, but to re-imagine the possibilities of the urban landscape.

Navigating into a parking spot is not the easiest thing to do. The SUV next to you is over the line... again, and the sports car on the other side is taking up two spots. And in front of you... are a bunch of people among some bushes that were not there yesterday.

In 2005, a San Francisco-based art and design studio created "PARKing Day" to make people think about the way streets and urban areas are used. The company has since closed its doors, but that hasn't stopped fellow enthusiasts around the country- or around town from continuing the mission.

And today is Parking day.

Cache County Event Milks Donations For Needy

Sep 17, 2014
Glass of milk

A national movement is underway, drawing attention to the growing need for milk among food assistance recipients.

The Great American Milk Drive kick-off event for Utah took place Sept. 17 at Lee’s Marketplace in Logan.

Salt Lake City Re-branding As Ski Mecca

Sep 16, 2014

Utah officials have begun a $1.8 million effort to re-brand Salt Lake City as “Ski City USA.”

A new set of flashy online and print advertisements touting the advantages of Salt Lake City as a ski destination were released Tuesday. The campaign zeroes in on the city’s proximity to the four major ski resorts in the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons east of Salt Lake City. In addition, the ads highlight a number of other attractions that Visit Salt Lake Communications Director Shawn Stinson claimed only a city can offer.

Stolen Vehicles Detected In Ogden Reservoir

Sep 16, 2014
Pineview Reservoir

Police officers testing new equipment found more than they anticipated at one Utah reservoir this week.

Divers pulled four vehicles out of Pineview Reservoir Saturday after they were serendipitously found by sonar equipment.

There was pageantry and fanfare on the campus of Southern Utah University last week, as the school inaugurated its 16th president.

Friday Sept. 12 marked the opening of a new era at SUU, when president Scott L. Wyatt was inducted as the university's 16th president.

The mother of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt said she believes that her son was fatally shot by police because he was black. Hunt was killed by Saratoga Springs police officers on Wednesday after being confronted in the parking lot of a Panda Express. At the time of the shooting, Hunt had been in possession of a samurai sword.

In an official statement given by the police department, officers said they arrived at the scene of the incident after receiving reports of a suspicious individual walking around with a samurai-type sword. According to the statement, police found Hunt in possession of the sword and fired their weapons after he lunged at the officers. Police claim that nothing else was a factor in the incident. “There is currently no indication that race played any role in the confrontation between Mr. Hunt and the police officers,” according to the statement.

Northern Lights

Normally the Northern Lights are reserved for their namesake—the far North, but tonight part of Utah and much of the northern third of the United States may get a glimpse of the spectacle.

The aurora is caused by magnetized plasma clouds released by the sun. According to NASA, these clouds become part of the solar wind that can collide with our planet’s magnetic field. That invisible field surrounding Earth is stretched by the winds, said Tabitha Buehler, assistant professor lecturer of physics and astronomy at the University of Utah.