Utah News

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

The Christmas Creep Sneaks Up On The Holidays

Oct 16, 2014
Delta City

The Uintah-Wasatch-Cache National Forest announced that permits for Christmas trees will be available Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. So... what happened to Halloween and Thanksgiving?

Kenneth Bartkus, a professor of marketing at the Huntsman School of Business said businesses typically don’t want to do things to upset their consumers, but no one seems to be complaining about the current trend.

“There have been some parodies in the past," Bartkus said. "If you go back, 1974 there was a Charlie Brown special where the characters go to a department store and they discover that it has Christmas displays already up in the middle of April. And there’s a sign there that warns them to get their shopping done because there is only 246 days left until Christmas. I think that type of parody resonates with the consuming public but I think they also look at it and they chuckle a little bit."

In only a few minutes drive along 400 North in Logan traffic leads to a canyon where a tree-lined river is ever changing. They're morphing.

There's a group of researchers from Utah State University studying the restoration of streams and waterways. Nate Hough-Snee is a doctoral student at Utah State University, working with the group.

Bennett Purser

Feminist blogger and pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian decided to cancel a talk planned for Wednesday at Utah State University after threats of mass violence were made to USU from an anonymous source. USU police say there was never an imminent threat, but Sarkeesian decided to cancel the presentation after she discovered the university would be unable to prevent people with legally concealed firearms from entering the event because of Utah’s concealed carry law.

Conservation Agency Seeks To Send Bison To Utah

Oct 15, 2014

Wildlife officials in Montana are proposing to transfer of nearly 150 bison from Yellowstone National Park to other areas of the United States. The bison are planned to go to native reservations, zoos, and public lands. All of the animals were bred in Yellowstone as part of a program to create new herds of the species.

Operation Underground Railroad

The story of operation Clear Hope has raised many questions such as, who are these American sex tourists and what happened to the children?

Matt, a jump team leader for the Operation Underground Railroad organization, whose last name will not be used for security issues, said Americans are the number one consumer of child sex trafficking.

According to Matt, Colombia is a beautiful destination that attracts many people from all over the world - including those interested in illegal activity.


According to the most recent Gallup Poll, just 14 percent of voters approve of how congress is handling its job, but that hasn’t stopped 14 new candidates from throwing their bones in the ring. 

The first ever election for canine mayor of Salt Lake County is underway, with caninedates running to raise money for the Salt Lake County Animal Services Injured Animals Fund.

Cache Valley Election Division Awarded For Accessibility

Oct 14, 2014
voting access

The Disability Law Center, designated by the governor to implement advocacy programs for people with disabilities, presented the Cache County Clerk’s Office Election Division with an award Tuesday after the division took significant measures to improve voting access.

Sheri Newton, voting access director for the center said Cache County took advantage of federal grants to make changes to polling location accessibility and helped make an engaging sample ballot for voters, earning them the 2014 Partner Award.

The Utah State Board of Education has announced that Brad Smith will be the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Smith, who is currently the superintendent of the Ogden City School District, was one of four finalists for the position who were interviewed in Salt Lake City last Thursday. From 2007 to 2011, Smith had served on the Ogden school board while working as an attorney.

sex trafficking
Operation Underground Railroad

This story contains graphic material such as quotes and scenarios.

Imagine a father in St. George tucking his children into bed knowing that he was about to walk into a third-world country where little boys and girls are bought, kidnapped and sold for human sex trafficking, sometimes even by their parents.

Dallas Hyland, a photojournalist and resident of St. George, is such a man.

“I am married, I have four children," Hyland said. "I have a daughter who is in her middle twenties from my first marriage and I have three little boys.”

He spent Saturday in Armenia, Colombia with a privately funded organization, Operation Underground Railroad, to execute what they called Clear Hope; a mission that would prove to be the biggest child trafficking rescue operation in history.

One hundred and twenty-three children were saved Saturday in three simultaneous operations based in Colombia and resulted in the arrest of 15 perpetrators.

Police Search For Walgreens Weekend Robbers

Oct 13, 2014

Sunday morning, a man dressed in a hoodie, hat and surgical mask entered a Walgreens store in Logan and walked to the pharmacy where the he handed the pharmacist a note.

“The note basically said, ‘Give me what I want and nobody gets hurt.’ Of course what he wanted was narcotic pills,” Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen said. “The pharmacist gave him what he wanted and he walked out without incident.”

Two other robberies occurred at Walgreens pharmacies across the state this weekend, one in Sugar House on Saturday night and another in Woods Cross Sunday afternoon.


A bus driver is in jail and more than 70 elementary school students and their chaperones are safe following a dangerous drive to Brigham Young University Monday morning.

“We had a driver who was erratic in her travel, apparently traveling from one lane to the next back and forth,” said Chris Williams from the Davis School District. “There was enough concern on the bus that a couple people called 911.”

Louder's Facebook page

The mystery surrounding a missing Murray woman continues. Police say Kayelyn Louder, 30, was exhibiting strange behavior in the 911 calls the she made in the 24 hour period before her disappearance on Sept. 27. Murray Police Office Kenny Bass explained.

“At this point we think it’s possible that she’s not in her normal state of mind,” Bass said. “She could be delusional, so our main concern is to try to still find her because we want to make sure that she’s okay. If she is delusional she may be more of a harm to herself than anything.”

Meet The Mormons Makes Nationwide Debut

Oct 10, 2014
Meet the Mormons

A new feature film produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints opened in theaters Friday, not only in Utah but across the country. Meet the Mormons will play on over 300 screens in 47 states.

Blair Treu, the director, called the film an introduction that will help viewers get a clear picture of LDS people.

The unscripted documentary follows the lives of six LDS families living around the world. Treu said the film shows that the church is not only a Utah faith.

The Western Energy Alliance, a trade organization representing companies in the oil and natural gas industry, issued a formal protest on Thursday concerning proposed rule changes in the Endangered Species Act. Comments from the organization were submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service in response to the agency’s ruling that would regulate land that is not habitat for endangered species, but could become so in cases of floods and other natural disasters.


Utah Water Watch of the Utah State University Water Quality Extension will unveil the first of its new series of interpretive signs on Saturday at the Stokes Nature Center in Logan.

The signs are being funded through a grant from the iUTAH project. According to Brian Greene, Utah Water Watch Program Coordinator, the signs’ locations could expand statewide.

On Wednesday, authorities released more information on a September bear attack that resulted in a Utah man’s death.  The 31-year-old Virgin, Utah resident Adam Thomas Stewart was killed in a bear attack in the Bridger Teton National Forest in northwestern Wyoming on Sept. 4.

Utah Breweries Compete And Win In National Competition

Oct 9, 2014
Photo © Brewers Association

Saturday in Colorado, the Great American Beer Festival and competition took place and a total of five medals were awarded to Utah breweries.  

Amy Coady, the director of development for the Salt Lake Brewing Company, says the competition is enormous.

On Friday a Colorado ski resort filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Colorado over a Salt Lake City tourism organization’s use of the slogan name Ski City USA to describe the snow abundant winter city.  Steamboat Ski Resort claims the trademark they have had on the name Ski Town USA for years is being infringed upon and is confusingly similar to the new marketing campaign from Utah tourism company Visit Salt Lake.

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.