Utah News

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

Logan City Council Approves City-Wide Bike Lanes

Oct 7, 2015

Cycling activists packed the Logan City council meeting on Tuesday to show their support for the bicycle and pedestrian master plan, also known as bike-ped. The advocates biked together to the meeting and wore their helmets to show their enthusiasm for the plan.  



The resolution is intended to make cycling and walking safer and more readily available to Logan residents by establishing bike lanes throughout the city.  

Prison Reform Takes Effect In Utah

Oct 7, 2015

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative, effective on Oct. 1 across Utah, allows state inmates to complete programs that will reduce their sentence time by up to four months.  

“JRI is a whole new way to look at criminal justice in how we incarcerate, how we supervise, and how we treat people in our criminal justice system,” said Steve Gehrke, the director of quality and process improvement officer with the department of corrections.

USU Hosts First Disability Rights Week

Oct 6, 2015

Utah State University is honoring the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act this week by celebrating Disability Rights Week.

“The actual anniversary was in July, but we wanted to do something that impacted the student body,” said Shane Johnson, the development officer at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at USU.


The 100 year anniversary of the National Parks will be celebrated next year. To help visitors prepare, there’s a new interactive app that shares information about the nation’s parks, including those in Utah.

The Next Exit History app allows users to find historical markers around the country on their phone.

Utah Senators Diverge On Shutdown Vote

Oct 2, 2015

Mike Lee was one of 20 Senators Wednesday to vote against the continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 11. The measure passed 78 votes to 20. Lee’s colleague, Sen. Orrin Hatch, voted for the measure, highlighting the growing division among Congressional Republicans over the best strategy to limit federal spending.

USU's Chocolate Class Is A Golden Ticket

Oct 2, 2015
(© AP Images)

Mesoamericans called it, "Theobrama cacao - The food of the gods." We call it chocolate, and that chocolate bar you're eating got it's start almost 7,000 miles from Utah on a small cocoa bean farm in West Africa.


 The Navajo Nation is demanding immediate voting reforms in San Juan County, where it’s charged that Native American voters continue to be denied equal weight.

San Juan County and the Navajo Nation are still embroiled in court over whether the county’s voting districts unfairly shut out Native America voters, who constitute a majority of the county’s population. Now the Navajo Human Rights Commission is charging that mail-in balloting and the closing of remote polling places has reduced turnout for Navajo voters.

Closed-Door Medicaid Meeting Draws Ire

Sep 30, 2015

On Tuesday, Utah’s legislative Republicans met in caucus with the so-called Gang of Six to discuss UtahAccess+, the latest attempt to expand Medicaid. The meeting was closed to the public and the media, a move which drew criticism from Democrats and others.

State Democratic Party chair Peter Corroon said that the meeting should have been open and that opponents of Medicaid expansion have already been pushing legislators to reject the new plan.

Aimee Cobabe

On Tuesday, first lady Michelle Obama announced a new campaign goal of having 62 million girls around the world attending school, including institutions of higher education. That can be a challenge according to one Utah Valley University researcher in Utah who said there is a 10 percent lower rate of women graduating from college in the state compared with the rest of the country.


The report, published in the ‘Journal of Medical Entomology’ was the result of an exhaustive three year field test in which the research team covered more than 90 miles on foot, collecting 350 ticks. 119 of these were the species of ticks that are able to host the bacteria for Lyme disease. Of these 119, none of them tested positive for Lyme disease. Epidemiologist and assistant professor in USU’s Department of Biology, Scott Bernhardt said that although they didn’t find Lyme disease in their tick population, it doesn’t mean Utah is immune to it.

Industry Bringing STEM To The Classroom

Sep 29, 2015

As part of his New York City trip, Gov. Gary Herbert toured P-TECH, a Brooklyn high school, on Tuesday. It was an opportunity learn about innovation involving STEM in the classroom. Herbert toured the facility with IBM Foundation president Stan Litow and P-TECH principal Rashid Davis.

Ben Hart, Managing Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said that incorporating more STEM into Utah’s curriculum can help students develop crucial skill sets.


  On Monday, lawyers representing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service argued before a federal appeals court in Denver, hoping to reverse a decision made by a federal judge in Utah striking down the Service’s jurisdiction to regulate Utah Prairie Dog populations on private land within the state.



Algae As A Source Food For Livestock

Sep 28, 2015
Diego Mendiola

Friday, in a follow up to Growing Algae From Fracking Wastewater As A Biofuel, the research team at USU is finding new ways to feed the world as well, they have found that algae is high in protein and in nutrients.


In a small, shanty greenhouse a churning machine spins disks and barrels covered in black green colored algae. The researchers here are testing the most efficient way of growing these multipurpose organisms.

Matheson: Both Parties Should Welcome Moderates

Sep 25, 2015

Former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson was in Logan on the campus of Utah State University Thursday speaking to students on government gridlock and political polarization. Matheson, the son of former Gov. Scott Matheson, was the sole Democratic member of the state’s congressional delegation from 2001 to 2015.

In 2013, an impasse within Congress led to a 16-day government shutdown. Matheson said that he hopes that Congress will not allow another shutdown to occur.



Lawmakers worried about Utah's reliance on federal money have unveiled an online calculator that shows how the state would be hit by various federal budget disasters.

The Federal Funds Risk Model was released Sept. 24 by Utah's Federal Funds Commission, which was formed in 2013 to study the state's reliance on federal money in the wake of broad federal spending cuts.

Utah Chicken Owners Watch For Avian Flu

Sep 23, 2015
Aimee Cobabe

Recently the Division of Wildlife Resources warned chicken owners to shield their poultry from the avian flu after several wild ducks with the virus were found in northern Utah. Local poultry farms have taken precautions to protect their chickens from the virus.

I’m visiting with Natalie Shepherd in the small town of Nibley, Utah as she feeds her backyard chickens. Shepherd says a lot of her neighbors are also keeping chickens in their backyards.

“So what made you want to get chickens?”


A growing number of Utahns have voiced their opposition to a proposed expansion of a coal mine owned by Alton Coal Development. The proposal has been met with heavy criticism from environmental activists who claim that the expansion will impact a nearby national park.

USU's NR Days Teaches Children About Water Quality

Sep 23, 2015
Christopher Campbell

Last week, students and faculty from Utah State University’s College of Natural Resources led field lessons with elementary school students from around Cache Valley during something they call “NR Days.”

USU’s Water Quality Extension programs coordinator Brian Greene taught elementary school students about insects that live in streams for the first part of their lives and in the air as adults. They are called aquatic macroinvertebrates, and Greene said they are biological indicators of clean, healthy water.

Federal Officials: Sage-Grouse Not Endangered

Sep 22, 2015

Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled that the greater sage-grouse will not need special protection under the Endangered Species Act. The FWS made its decision after evaluating the collective work done by federal, state, and private partners in what has become the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history. 

Utah State University professor Terry Messmer, who studies sage-grouse populations, said that while the decision is encouraging, the work has just begun.


The event, called “Faith, Stewardship, and a Changing Earth” will include four panelists of different religious affiliations, who will participate in a conversation about how their faith and deeply held values should incorporate caring for the creation. The moderator of the discussion, Susan Soleil, who is also the Director of Utah Interfaith Power & Light, said religious people are engaging in environmental action.

There are an estimated 250,000 small businesses in Utah, which employ 500,000 employees according to the Utah Small Business Profile. Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread is one of those small businesses; the bakery reopened Sept. 19 in Logan under new owners.

 Loyal customers were saddened to see Crumb Brothers close their doors in March of this year but are delighted now to have them return.


Aimee Cobabe

The Cache Clean Air Consortium met Monday in Logan, Utah and discussed car emissions, efficiency and air quality. Randy Martin, associate research professor of environmental engineering at Utah State University, presented his findings on the differences between car emissions.

Researchers Find Use For Fracking Wastewater

Sep 21, 2015
http://www.engineering.usu.edu/htm/news/articleID=29965 / USU College of Engineering

Brigham Young University, Utah State University and University of Utah are known as the Energy Research Triangle that are collaborating on an alternative fuel project. Researchers and engineers collaborated to create an algae biofuel grown from large volumes of toxic fracking water.

Fracking is a water-intensive method of extracting natural gas from a shale layer.

Sept. 19 was national U.S. citizenship day. In 2014 alone 654,949 people became naturalized citizens, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Miguel Barragán, who is from Chiclayo, Peru, is among those who recently received his U.S. citizenship, which took him nine years to accomplish.



“I feel fantastic because life is always a challenge for immigrants” Barragán said. “I feel like this is a dream come true.”  

Human Library Returns to Utah State University

Sep 18, 2015

Human Library returned to Utah State University on Sept. 16 in the Merrill-Cazier Library in Logan.


Anne Hedrich, a librarian at USU, explained Human Library visitors check out a living person and have a conversation with them about a topic in question. It is like reading a book but instead of reading, you get to have a face-to-face conversation with someone.