Utah News

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

Man is hip-deep in snow, attempting to traverse a mountain with his horse.
International Movie Trailer Festival

Southern Utah University will premiere the original film "Back Up The Mountain" on Thursday, April 23. This docu-drama depicts the heroic story of the university's founding.

In 1897 the University of Utah chose Cedar City as the location for a branch campus in southern Utah. The citizens were overjoyed because they understood the impact of having a college campus in the community. They began classes that fall and, in the meantime, met in a church until the school building could be completed. However, when the school’s principal returned from a meeting in Salt Lake City on January 1, 1889 where he had spoken with the attorney general and school administrators, he had some bad news.


On March 27, a Utah State University fraternity voluntarily suspended itself and ceased operations in light of the arrest of a former chapter president on suspicion of sex abuse. Now, three weeks later, the chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha has resumed activities.

Current chapter president Alex Souvall talks about the steps the fraternity took during that three-week period.

NPR Founder Don Quayle Dies

Apr 17, 2015

Don Quayle, the first president of National Public Radio, passed away Friday at the age of 84. Quayle, an alumnus of Utah State University, helped establish NPR in 1970 and served as its president until 1973. He was also instrumental in building up KUSU, which would later become Utah Public Radio after affiliating with NPR.

In 2013, Quayle spoke to UPR about his beginnings in radio.

Queer Prom Marks Its 10th Year In Utah

Apr 17, 2015
Utah Pride Center

It’s prom season, and while many students are shopping for prom dresses or picking out tuxes for their school’s prom, others are getting ready for a dance geared especially toward LGBT youth.

“So many kids felt like they couldn’t go to their junior prom or their senior prom because they were gay or felt awkward, or didn’t really know where they fit in. And because of that, no one went and they felt left out,” said Sheila Raboy, director of operations at the Utah Pride Center. “This way, you’re giving the kids who would have stayed home from their prom the opportunity to go to one.”

You Mailed Them In, Now Where Is Your Tax Money Going?

Apr 17, 2015

Take a deep breath, because tax season is officially over. But it is also a good time to reflect on how your money was spent by our federal government, and why it doesn’t seem to change much from year to year.

If the taxpayers in Utah gave the federal government one dollar, a quarter of that dollar would go to national defense and healthcare respectively. Then another dime and a nickel would go to paying the interest on the national debt.


The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments concerning President Obama’s immigration program this Friday. The multistate legal challenge, which includes Utah, could allow several million undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. temporarily. John Mejia, legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, said his organization believes President Obama is acting in the nation's best interest.

Concert Welcomes Music Lovers Of All Abilities

Apr 16, 2015
A child with a walker dressed in a Batman costume on a blue background with stars.
Kelly Smith

Thomas Jones is 22 years old, a budding composer and an opera connoisseur. His parents, Sean and Joanne, said he has listened to opera on Saturdays since he was old enough to turn the dial on the radio.

“You can sing him three or four measures of an aria and he can probably tell you what the aria is and which opera it was from and who wrote the opera. He knows his opera,” Joanne Jones said.

Nuclear Waste Public Comment Period Postponed

Apr 16, 2015

Gov. Gary Herbert and state environmental officials agreed Thursday to postpone public comment on a proposal to dispose nuclear waste in western Utah. EnergySolutions, who proposed to dispose of the waste, are asking for more time to respond to concerns after a report came out Monday highlighting areas that regulators say the company has not done enough to address.

Mark Walker, Vice President of Media Relations at EnergySolutions, said that a response from the company will help improve the public comment period once it resumes.


Law enforcement in Colorado have their counterparts in Utah to thank for bringing in two female fugitives from the Centennial State, but not before a short high-speed chase and crash in Iron County.


While the employment numbers for most of the state remain positive, the latest data from the Department of Workforce Services shows that lower oil prices are still having an economic impact on the Uintah Basin.

The Department’s Regional Economist Tyson Smith talked about unemployment claims in the region.

Bountiful: 400 North Bridge Closure Alt. Route

Apr 15, 2015

From the Utah Department of Transportation: The Utah Department of Transportation advises motorists that the I-15 South Davis improvements Project will begin reconstruction of the 400 North Bridge over I-15 in Bountiful this coming weekend. Work will begin with bridge demolition the night of April 18, with southbound I-15 closed at Legacy Parkway in Farmington, and northbound I-15 closed at the 400 North (exit 317) in Bountiful, at 11 p.m. On Sunday, April 19, at 11 a.m.


Kevin Worlton was recently fired as chief of police of Escalante City, and has been charged by the Utah State Attorney General’s Office with two felony and one misdemeanor counts of falsifying police reports.

Worlton was also served with a subpoena to appear as a prosecution witness in 10 pending felony drug cases in which he was the arresting officer. Worlton has filed an objection to the subpoena citing his rights and privileges against self-incrimination. The Situation leaves the prosecution of the cases virtually impossible.

The man who used to head the nation’s dam-building agency is now advocating for tearing them down. The Source’s Jennifer Pemberton talked to Dan Beard, author of Deadbeat Dams: Why We Should Abolish the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Tear Down Glen Canyon Dam.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has left an indelible mark on the West, helping homesteaders use the desert river systems to not only make themselves at home but also to create opportunity for their economic viability.


Law enforcement has confirmed that three people have been found dead inside a home that was destroyed by a fire late Monday night in Enoch.

The call came in just after 10 p.m. By the time fire crews reached the scene, the home was fully engulfed in flames. Authorities describe the victims as one male and two females. Identities have not been released.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway. Investigators did tell media that it was thought the fire began in the garage.

Many more questions remain as investigators sift through the ashes.

Jon Kovash

Moab’s Youth Rock Camp has more than doubled in size this year. Thirty students, aged 8 to 14, signed up; enough to form six bands. The rock camp was launched and is directed by Amy Stocks, a local musician and staffer at the teen center.

“The volunteers have really stepped up and really helped us out,” Stocks said. “We’ve got some amazing roadies. I think roadies are the answer to life’s problems.”

Once again, some of the best musicians in Moab have given a week of their time to coach promising young rock stars. They included guitarist Lisa Hathaway.


Speaking Monday to faculty and staff in the university’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Utah State University President Stan Albrecht and Provost Noelle Cockett encouraged college and department faculty to promote and market themselves and their product as professors to students, the public and lawmakers now in preparation for next year’s legislative session.

Nanocrystals May Change The Future Of Solar Power

Apr 13, 2015
Brigham Young University

New research from Brigham Young University could make solar panels more efficient in the future. To understand how this could happen, we’ll first need to understand how current solar panels work.

Solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity, but not all light carries the same amount of energy. Blues and greens, for example, have a higher energy wavelength than red.

corrections.utah.gov / Utah Department of Corrections

Early last year the Utah State Legislature established the Prison Relocation Commission team to develop a new correctional facility to replace the Utah State Prison in Draper. In February, months behind schedule, the team chose five finalist sites.

The Prison Relocation Commission was scheduled to complete operational and architectural programs by January, but that point is still not in sight.

SB54 Survives First Legal Challenge

Apr 10, 2015

U.S. District Judge David Nuffer ruled Friday that he will not block a 2014 Utah law concerning political party nominations. Senate Bill 54 preserves Utah’s convention nominating system while allowing other candidates to get on the ballot through an alternative signature-based pathway.

Is Pregnancy Brain A Myth?

Apr 10, 2015

You may have experienced it yourself or read about it on a popular mommy blog: pregnancy brain.

“Poor memory, poor attention, poor cognitive functioning,” said Michael Larson, an assistant professor of psychology at BYU.

Popular belief holds that moms-to-be in their third trimester and in the months that follow the birth of their child don’t think as clearly as when they’re not pregnant. But new research from Brigham Young University shows that pregnancy brain may not be real.


In dozens of counties throughout Utah, community members have access to fresh fruits and vegetables from their local farmer’s markets. Now, after a grant was awarded to Utahns Against Hunger, low-income families will have more fresh, local produce as well.

The grant will provide $10 per week to low-income customers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Gina Cornia from Utahns Against Hunger said these customers can then use their food stamps to purchase produce at farmers markets.

Utah Refrigerators Fight Hunger

Apr 10, 2015

Some Utah residents can now use their refrigerators to fight hunger and protect the environment. Rocky Mountain Power is teaming up with Utah Food Bank to help their customers recycle their outdated refrigerators. At an event in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dan and Leigh Fritz became the first to participate in the See Ya Later Refrigerator program.

As The Nation's Bridges Crumble, Utah Stands Strong

Apr 9, 2015

Utah has some bragging rights when it comes to its bridges. John Gleason with the State Department of Transportation said a report from American Road and Transportation Builders Association shows that about 3 percent of Utah's approximately 3,000 public bridges are structurally deficient. He said that's the fifth lowest rate in the nation.

“We’re always looking to improve. Safety is our top priority, and any time we can address issues, we’re going to look to do that,” Gleason said.

Scientists Map Public Opinion On Climate Change

Apr 8, 2015

Peter Howe is an assistant professor in the department of environment and society at Utah State University. Though current public opinion polls are good at telling us about what the country as a whole thinks about climate change, Howe and his colleagues at Yale University were interested in looking at the differences between places.

“We wanted to look at how public opinion about climate change varies across the country,” Howe said.


The Utah Department of Health has released the results of their study that addressed the reported increase of stillbirths in the Uintah Basin. Jeramie Tubbs is their public information officer and said everyone needs to take some responsibility.

“We need to take accountability for our own health and do what you can within your power to ensure that you have a healthy birth, a healthy baby," Tubbs said. "A lot of the factors that we do have in our area: rates with high smoking moms, young women that can account for some of the placental problems or the low weight.”