Utah News

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

Scouts for Equality


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Wednesday they will continue their relationship with the Boy Scouts of America despite a recent decision to allow gay individuals to serve in leadership positions.

A statement read:

“At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of the Boy Scouts of America, and as in the past, will appoint the Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards.”


Utah’s business climate is one of the best in the country according to a CNBC ranking. Utah is ranked as one of the countries three top states for business and last year, Forbes ranked Utah as the best state for business.

“Utah’s really setting the standard here,” said Jon Lieber, Chief Economist at thumbtack.com. “And they’re the ones who are kind of setting the curve for the rest of the country.”

More Confidence In Utah Economy At Summer's End

Aug 26, 2015

August saw more Utahns express optimism about the near future of the state’s economy. The Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index increased nearly six points, indicating growing confidence in the market. The jump came after two months of declining expectations.

Cache County’s economy has shown stability. The local unemployment rate of around three percent beats the state and national average. Zions Bank Economic Advisor Randy Shumway said that the county’s prospects remain bright in part due to Logan’s efforts to host a variety of summer events.

4-H Recognized For Youth Financial Literacy Program

Aug 25, 2015
USU Extension

For students in Utah, this month marks the return back to school. It also marks the one year anniversary of a youth program set-up to help youth better manage their finances.

Scientists Take A Snapshot Of The Logan River

Aug 20, 2015
Justin Prather / UPR

Bethany Neilson, better known as Beth, gathered a team of 25 undergraduates, graduate students and Ph.D. candidates from universities throughout the state in Logan to collaborate on a scientific snapshot of the Logan River.

The group broke off into teams and traveled up the mountain, where they waded into the water to set up their delicate equipment. The researchers were giddy with excitement, it wasn’t every day they got to do field work.

UT Legislature Considers Preschool For All

Aug 19, 2015

Proposals from the state legislature could soon lead to an expansion of Utah’s public kindergartens. The Utah House Education Interim Committee met Wednesday to discuss how increased early learning programs could boost early grade student math and reading proficiency.

Citing studies on preschool programs, committee Policy Analyst Tiffany Stanley said that early learning opportunities could help Utah students once they reach elementary school.

  Hildale Phelps Elementary school started off its second day of its second school year August 17, by nearly doubling in enrollment. 


The school was closed down for nearly 14 years after Warren Jeffs, the leader of the FLDS church at the time, ordered his followers to disallow their kids to attend public school. As a result, the surrounding community suffered and the school which served around 400 students closed, leaving an entire generation without a public education system. 


Lake Powell: So Far, So Good After EPA Spill

Aug 18, 2015

A toxic plume of waste water that spilled from Colorado’s Gold King Mine has reached Lake Powell. Initial tests are showing that the plume of waste water does not pose an immediate threat to the lake. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes will speak with the State Water Development Commission on Tuesday to brief officials on the spill.

Donna Spangler of the state Division of Environmental Quality said that future monitoring of the water will be needed to better understand the spill’s effects.

Utah State University Works To Help Displaced Students

Aug 17, 2015
Christopher Campbell

More than 300 Utah State University students have been looking for a place to live after owners of an apartment complex told their tenants the apartments will not be ready in time for the school year, which begins Aug. 31.

Utah State University student Wyatt Brown had spent three to four weeks before he found a place to live. He said the last couple of weeks were especially difficult.

Around that time managers at Aggie Factory, an apartment complex that is still under construction, told their tenants it would not be ready by the time the school year started.

USU Scientists Discover Wasp Mimicry Complex

Aug 17, 2015
Joe Wilson

On Monday, researchers unveiled a study which identifies the velvet ant as one of the world’s largest mimicry complexes. Organisms use mimicry to protect themselves by imitating more lethal species.

Joe Wilson, a Utah State University biologist who worked with a team of researchers on the project, said that the velvet ant is actually a species of wasp. They are covered in hair that was adapted to ward off potential predators.

Archery Season For Deer And Elk To Start On Saturday

Aug 14, 2015

Utah’s deer and elk season starts on Saturday for archers and one Division of Wildlife Resources officer is enthusiastic about it.

Bruce Johnson, DWR lieutenant for the Central Utah Region, said he expects a good turnout this archery season.

“I’ve had a lot of people call and ask about the coming archery season and what we’ve been seeing, and telling me that they were looking forward to it and they’d been seeing a lot of animals,” Johnson said.


 Utah Governor Gary Herbert and his top education advisor, Tami Pyfer, are traveling the state to meet with public educators and administrators prior to the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.  

On Wednesday they met with administrators and teachers in the Box Elder School District where they discussed the need for qualified teachers to help educate Utah’s youth. Pyfer said the teacher shortage is real and is having an impact on Utah schools.

Report Calls For New Conservation Area In Utah

Aug 13, 2015

A new report called Too Wild to Drill calls for greater government protections of federally managed public lands around Desolation Canyon and at Bears Ears in Utah.

According to the report from The Wilderness Society, both places are at risk of being compromised by energy development.

Mark Maryboy is a board member with Utah Dine Bikeyah, a group calling on Congress to designate Bears Ears, located in southeastern Utah, as a national conservation area.

He said the area holds centuries of history for the Navajo and other tribes.


On Monday, waste from the Gold King Mine waste spill came to Utah, but the state may not see major biological effects from it.

Chuck Hawkins is director of the Western Center for Monitoring and Assessment of Freshwater Ecosystems, a research center at Utah State University. He said the waters released from the mine are low in PH, meaning they are acidic, and they contain a lot of heavy metals, with a concentration up to a thousand or more times above the safety limit.

Business Innovations Helping Small Satellites

Aug 12, 2015
Evan Hall

The 29th Small Satellite Conference on the campus of Utah State University, which concludes Thursday, is a gathering of public and private groups involved in space engineering. Small satellite technology is changing. The public’s relationship with satellite development is changing as well.

Utahn Quits Job To Help Teen Addicts

Aug 12, 2015
Melissa Allison

"You know in the bible it says that we’re all created in God’s image and I see that in all of you. I see that higher potential, that higher power in all of you. I know that all of you are capable of great things."

Envision Utah

Results from a public outreach survey in Utah indicate Utahns want to protect themselves from price and supply shock when it comes to energy use.

The Envision Utah campaign, Your Utah Your Future, included a state-wide online survey where residents were asked to share their opinions about energy, land use, air quality, education and other topics related to population growth and development in the state during the next 50 years.

Police Department Sets New Tone For Addiction Treatment

Aug 11, 2015
National Resource Directory

After officers from the Gloucester, Massachusetts police department watched as members of their community struggled to find ways to reduce the number of drug overdose deaths there,they began to reconsider their criminal approach to addiction.

Utah Lowest State For FAFSA Completion

Aug 11, 2015

Only thirty-four percent of high school students in the state fill out FAFSA forms, the lowest number in the nation.

“It’s estimated that we are leaving on the table about forty five million dollars a year that could be available to Utah college students to help pay for tuition,” said Dave Buhler, Utah commissioner of higher education.

Buhler said possible reasons for this include students may not think it is worth their while to fill out the forms and they may think the applications are for loans that need to eventually be paid off.

Navajo Nation Fights Pollution From EPA Spill

Aug 10, 2015

San Juan County is home to the very northernmost portion of the Navajo Nation. County officials expect the contaminated water from Colorado’s Gold King Mine to reach Utah by Monday. The Environmental Protection Agency claims that 3 million gallons of polluted water have entered the river system, up from its initial estimate of one million gallons. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority shut off water pumps in the communities of Montezuma Creek and Aneth.

USU Professor Discovers Venomous Frogs

Aug 10, 2015
Dr. Carlos Jared / Institutio Butanan

Utah State University professor, Edmund Brodie, is among a team of scientists who recently discovered that at least two species of frogs are venomous.

Corthythomantis greeningi and Aparasphenodon brunoi are both found in Brazil and are the only frogs known to be venomous.

“To this point, no one had considered that a frog could be venomous, specifically able to transmit toxin into another animal with a spine or something of that nature,” Brodie said. “Now all of a sudden we are seeing something that is completely different and unknown among amphibians.”


Researches at Utah State University have been working in coordination with researchers at Ulster University in Belfast Northern Ireland to develop an app to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Gray Matter’s app is still in the research stage of development, but Maria Norton, a family, consumer and human development professor at Utah State, said they have seen progress in better understanding the disease that effects more than five million Americans.

Utahn New Head Of Interstate Group

Aug 7, 2015

Provo Republican state Sen. Curt Bramble had previously served a term as the group’s vice-president when he was elected as the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures on Thursday. Bramble, a Certified Public Accountant by trade, has served in the Utah Senate since 2001.

Upon hearing the news of the senator’s election, Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser released a statement, praising Bramble’s leadership ability.

The national discussion over the issue of racism has led to new efforts by some in Utah to rename Dixie State College in St. George, and Negro Bill Canyon in Moab.

This week, in a 4-3 vote, the Grand County Council once again rejected a proposal to rename Negro Bill Canyon. The majority cited opposition to the name change by the NAACP office in Salt Lake City. The change was originally proposed last year by African American resident, Louis Williams, who has argued that the current name clouds the real history of William Grandstaff, one of Moab’s earliest settlers.


Rape Victims Testify Against USU Fraternity Member

Aug 6, 2015
Christopher Campbell

On Thursday, two women testified against Jason Relopez, a member of Utah State University’s Sigma Chi fraternity who has been accused of rape.

One victim a 20-year-old woman, testified that despite her saying “No,” Relopez proceeded to have sex with her.

Another victim, who is 19 years old, testified that he struck her, choked her and raped her in the fraternity house.

Defense attorney Shannon Demler said his client's encounters with both women were consensual.