Utah News

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

U.S. Department of Commerce

A partnership involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA could benefit farmers in Utah and elsewhere as the nation adjusts to the impact of climate change. Krysta Harden is the deputy secretary for the USDA and said the agreement will expand cooperation on space-borne remote sensing efforts to gather data to develop soil moisture maps that can help farmers in the drought-ravaged Southwest.

Visitors To Utah Parks Increasing

Jul 17, 2015

Tourism to Utah’s national parks has grown substantially in recent years. Over 20 million people per year visit the state’s wilderness areas. The increase in tourism is due partially to a well-funded marketing campaign by the state government. However, many people are hearing about the Beehive State’s natural treasures through other means.

Dennis Godfrey of the Bureau of Land Management’s Arizona office said that the increase in visitors to Paria Canyon –which sits on both sides of the Utah-Arizona border –is mostly attributed to word-of-mouth advertising.

Report Shows Utah Caregivers Make Huge Contribution

Jul 17, 2015
News Service

A new report by AARP measures the huge economic contribution made by Utahns who act as caregivers for a family member, partner or friend.

AARP’s "Valuing the Invaluable" report, which was released on Thursday, shows that in 2013, 336,000 unpaid caregivers in the state provided care valued at more than $4 billion.

Susan Reinhard with the organization said on the national level, the numbers are huge.

Alton Coal Mine Expansion Sparks Controversy

Jul 16, 2015

Alton Coal Development is trying to expand its coal-mining tract by about 3,500 acres, where it will run for an additional 25 years.

In 2011, the Bureau of Land Management released a draft Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, to outline how the project would affect the environment, including air quality and noise pollution.

Nathaniel Shoaff, staff attorney for the Sierra Club, said after the statement was released, 170,000 people spoke out against the expansion. He attributed the large outcry to the mine’s proximity to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Frustration Growing Over Delay Of Healthy Utah

Jul 16, 2015

Wednesday, various organizations held a press conference in Salt Lake City to urge elected officials to finalize a plan to pass Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s Healthy Utah. Some supporters of Healthy Utah are growing frustrated with the apparent lack of progress in negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders, collectively known as the “Gang of Six.”

Crystal Young-Otterstrom, chair of the Utah Democratic Party’s Latter-day Saint caucus, said that needless delays in the process have become absurd.

Students Could Soon See Less Standardized Testing

Jul 15, 2015

A bill moving through Congress could dramatically reduce standardized testing for kindergarten-through-12th-grade students in Utah and around the nation.

The Every Child Achieves Act would stop much of the testing linked to the No Child Left Behind law, said Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, president of the Utah Education Association. In her view, the testing - which takes several weeks of the school year - has done more harm than good, for students and teachers.

Nuclear Iran Deal Opposed By Utah Congressmen

Jul 14, 2015

It was announced Tuesday that several nations, including the United States, have reached an agreement with Iran concerning its nuclear program. Supporters of the deal hailed it as a diplomatic achievement. Iran agreed to accept some curbing of its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Uranium enrichment is, according to the plan, to be kept under the amount needed for a nuclear bomb.

USU Extension

A professor at Utah State University is using his degrees in family and human development and health and wellness to combine his expertise in an effort to find ways to reduce the drop-out rate among children who participate in sports.  

New York Senate

John Gleason is the public information officer for Utah’s Department of Transportation and said Utah’s roads are not going to be able to keep up with the projected growth over the next 35 years.


On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, announced 12 communities across the U.S. that will receive federal funding to help attract manufacturing companies and create jobs. Among them is a Utah initiative.  

The Utah Advanced Materials Manufacturing Initiative has been working for years to align local manufacturing communities with state and federal funding programs. The director of the group, Greg Jones, said federal funding will continue to support Utah as a manufacturing state.

UDOT Puts Humorous Messages On Freeways

Jul 8, 2015
Christopher Campbell

Virtual message signs, electronic signs above freeways that can change what they say at different times, have recently had humorous messages on them. This is part of Utah Department of Transportation’s “Message Monday” campaign.

Some of these messages include “Turn signals, the original instant message” and “Steering wheel, not a hands free device.”

UDOT’s public information officer, John Gleason, said his personal favorite is the first one the department used in the campaign: “That seatbelt looks good on you.” He said it received the most positive feedback.

Christopher Campbell

A group of cross-country bicyclists are stopping by St. George this week to do some service work.

Bike and Build is a non-profit organization that sends young adults to ride bicycles across the country and do service projects along the way.

One group will arrive on Wednesday after having ridden more than 3,000 miles from Jacksonville, Florida.

Their goal is to raise funds towards projects that promote affordable housing and awareness about the issue.

Investigation Targets Unlicensed Contractors

Jul 7, 2015

Last Friday, the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing announced it had completed a two-week sting operation to catch fraudulent construction activity. As a result of the investigation, over $20,000 in fines were issued across the state. Changes in industry and technology have forced state officials to find new ways of finding rule-breakers.

The investigation focused on trouble spots of unlicensed activity across northern and southern Utah. Mark Steinagel, Director of the DOPL, said that trouble spots rose alongside increased demands in the housing market.

Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Impacts Health Coverage

Jul 7, 2015
News Service

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage has far-reaching impacts, which include triggering a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act.

Jason Stevenson with the Utah Health Policy Project — which helps people get coverage through the ACA — said marriage is among the "qualifying life events" that create the special enrollment period.


The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has teamed up with other Utah organizations including parentsempowered.org to educate adults of the costs of underage drinking.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, underage drinking increases during summer months. In Utah, red and white tags will appear throughout the summer in state liquor stores. The tags are meant to remind buyers that there is a $2,500 fine and the possibility of a jail sentence for giving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.

Utah State University Extension

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected a proposal to list the North American wild horse as a threatened or endangered species.  Friends of Animals and the Cloud Foundation filed a petition last summer seeking protection for thousands of mustangs they say are threatened with extinction on federal lands across 10 western states.

Conservationists, including wildlife ecologist Craig Downer argue the horses constitute a distinct population segment that has evolved as a native species over thousands of years separate from domesticated horses.

Utah Department of Transportation

Since the implementation of the seatbelt law on May 12, approximately 6,000 people have been pulled over for breaking the new law.  885 of those stopped were cited and fined. And while the numbers show that seatbelts are effective at saving lives, Jack Bennett, a Utah resident, doesn’t think people should be forced to wear a safety belt while driving or riding in a vehicle.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The osprey have returned for the summer to Flaming Gorge Reservoir in the corner of northeast Utah. To give the public an opportunity to see the osprey catch fish, the Division of Wildlife Resources will hold a viewing event July 11 at the gorge.

According to Ron Stewart, the northeastern regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, the birds are often mistaken for bald eagles but the osprey can fish in a way the bald eagle cannot.

A photo of the book Redemption Bay. Several sailboats sit on a small lake surrounded by mountains.

RaeAnne Thayne, New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author, has now written her golden anniversary book number 50.

“Every book is a new challenge, every book seems harder than the one before, even though I’ve written so many books," Thayne said. "You do. You have to dig deeper, you have to try harder to stretch yourself and to continue to give your reader something new and exciting.”

Energy Prices Expected To Rise Over The Summer

Jul 3, 2015
Christopher Campbell

It may get more expensive for Utah residents to run their air conditioners to cool off from the warm summer temperatures this year.

According to a report by the Energy Information Administration, an energy production research group, the average United States resident is projected to spend 4.8 percent more money this summer for electricity compared to last year. This is due to 2.6 percent more energy usage and a 2.1 percent increase in price.

Utah Among Nation's Green Jobs Leaders

Jul 1, 2015

Nearly 10,000 clean energy jobs were created across the country during the first quarter of 2015. According to a new report from Environmental Entrepreneurs, Utah ranks among the nation’s top ten states for green job growth. The successes of clean energy have depended as much on state law as interest in the private sector.

Utah saw 300 clean energy jobs spring up in the first quarter of this year. Jeff Benzak of Environmental Entrepreneurs said that states with green industry-friendly laws saw the greatest amount of job growth.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which celebrates its fourth anniversary this month, has recovered billions of dollars on behalf of people in Utah and around the country.

Ed Mierzwinski with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group advocated for the creation of the CFPB after the Great Recession. Unlike the Federal Trade Commission and other government entities, he says the bureau can investigate businesses before a complaint is filed.

Utah Public Radio

In Utah 128,800 homes are at high risk or extreme risk from wildfires, according to Verisk is an insurance risk firm. The Utah Climate Center’s Martin Schroeder said as of June 27, 23 high temperature records were broken in June in Utah with no relief until Sunday - increasing the risk of fires.

Two men vy for the affections of one woman, dressed in a frilly pink Victorian Era dress.
Old Lyric Repertory Company

The Mystery of Edwin Drood, written by Charles Dickens, was originally a novel. Unfortunately, Dickens died before he could finish the book, leaving the ending to this story unknown.

Taking inspiration from the mystery, playwright Rupert Holmes crafted his own genre where audience members would have the opportunity to vote on how they would like to see the story end. They will choose who they think the murderer is, who they think the detective is and finally, they will choose a romantic couple to pair up.

Utahns Bowl To Help Endangered Rhinos

Jun 30, 2015
The Hogle Zoo

Bethany Bingham is a veterinary technician at the Utah Hogle Zoo and the president of the Utah Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers. She said rhinos are endangered because of illegal logging and poaching in their natural habitats both in Asia and Africa.

The poaching of rhinos has grown in recent years as the horn has become worth more than gold.