Utah News

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

Protestors Dispute First U.S. Tar Sands Mine

Jul 21, 2014
Tar sands.
http://www.ostseis.anl.gov/

Approximately 80 environmental protestors are attempting to halt construction of a strip mine being built in Uintah County.

The mine, located in the Book Cliffs, is reportedly on track to be the first tar sands mine in the United States.

Opponents to the project say nearly 80 acres of forest and sage land have been leveled in preparation for mine construction, which they call a devastating blow to the environment.

U.S. Oil Sands, a Canada-based mining corporation, has plans to build the mine on state lands leased from the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. The mine, which is in early stages of construction, is scheduled to produce 2000 barrels of oil per day.


hatch.senate.gov

Monday morning, President Obama signed an executive order which aims to protect LGBT employees of federal contractors. The order will protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting LGBT workers from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The executive order will expand previous measures meant to protect federal employees to the 28 million workers employed by federal contractors, which account for about 20 percent of the nation’s workforce.

The growing oil field, along the entrance to the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands, became more controversial when citizens learned that Moab city water is being used for drilling, and then a well leaked oil all the way to the Green River. Now a new network of pipelines and a gas compressor plant have sparked a citizen watchdog group that has raised safety and environmental concerns. I talked to Bill Love, a member of the Canyon Country Coalition for Pipeline Safety.  

http://www.usu.edu/ust/index.cfm?article=53966

There are some children that grow up knowing they will be attending a university, but for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities attending is likely just a dream.

The pilot program Aggies Elevated changed that expectation this year by creating a path for eight freshmen with intellectual disabilities to enroll at Utah State University beginning this fall semester.

 

Two people have perished in a dramatic fiery crash of a single-engine plane while dozens of motorists traveling Interstate 15 through the Virgin River Gorge looked on in horror.

At just after 7:30 p.m. Sunday, a single-engine plane crashed into the jagged cliffs of the Virgin River Gorge killing both occupants. There were dozens of eye witnesses to the crash, as the site is fully visible to drivers of I-15.

Elaine Taylor

A team of student scientists at Utah State University received a grant from NASA, and they’re learning more than just science.  The students will be launching a device to measure wind in Earth's upper atmosphere in August.

seattle.gov

Utah has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to extend a stay that is currently in place, which prevents nearly 1,300 same-sex couples married late last year from being recognized by the state.

Gov. Herbert Takes Action On Education

Jul 17, 2014
http://ok.gov/sde/documents-forms

 Academic standards for public schools have been a contentious issue for some parents and teachers in Utah and the Attorney General’s Office was asked Thursday to review the adoption of federal recommendations known as the “Common Core."

This was just one step outlined by Gov. Herbert today during a conference on education.  During the conference, Herbert added that though many people in the state are divided on what standards to implement, there is actually a lot that the opposing sides agree upon, like local control of education.

birds sit on rock
National Park Service

High in the cliffs of Zion National Park, scientists and park officials have spotted a chick that may signal that there is hope for a species once on the brink of extinction.

“The California Condor is probably the most endangered bird in North America, mainly because the population had dwindled so low in the end of the 1980s that there were only 22 birds left in the wild,” said Fred Armstrong, division chief for resource management and research at Zion National Park. “It was a bird that was on its way to extinction.”

 The epic motion picture The Ten Commandments was honored with an Academy Award for outstanding visual effects in 1957.  Before the parting of the Red Sea and the burning of the bush could be shown on screen, the images were first sketched and painted on canvas.  

Two formerly top-level state official were arrested Tuesday morning and charged with a combined 23 counts, ranging from accepting bribes and tampering with evidence to the misuse of public money.

Former Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff were arrested at their homes and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Tuesday, with bail set at $250,000.

Murder-suicide Leaves Community Confused

Jul 14, 2014
Nick Herrmann

  A burst of shots were heard in the residential area at the bottom of Utah State University’s Old Main Hill on Monday at 12:15 a.m. Moments later, a vehicle was then seen fleeing the area. The incident raised suspicions and, as a result, police were dispatched.

“At about 16 minutes after midnight, our 911 communications center took a call and the report was possibly shots fired,” explained Logan City Chief of Police Gary Jensen.

The gun fire was confirmed when first responders arrived on the scene.

skincancerprevention.org

Utah has officially entered the dog days of summer, and with the heat comes the risk of burns.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 40 males and 1 in 50 females in the state will develop melanoma, one of three common types of skin cancer. Utah has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the nation. Dr. Nate Hanson, a dermatologist at Logan Regional Hospital, said the primary factors are ancestry and location.

Three Dead In Possibly Related Logan Shootings

Jul 14, 2014

The silence of a warm summer night was disturbed when shots rang out in two different Logan locations, ending in three deaths.

A burst of shots were heard in the residential area at the bottom of Utah State University’s Old Main Hill on Monday at 12:15 a.m. After initial confusion by people in the area thinking the noise came from fireworks, a vehicle was seen quickly leaving an apartment complex, turning a corner, and speeding off. The incident raised suspicions and, as a result, police were dispatched.

NASA

 You might have recently heard the term “super moon” thrown around. These moons seem to be in vogue with the media because of their size and brightness; but are the super moons really that special? NASA Ambassador Patrick Wiggins doesn’t think we should get our hopes up.

“Don’t expect them to look that much different than a regular full moon,” Wiggins cautions.

So what makes a super moon? Well, the moon orbits the earth in an elliptical fashion, meaning its orbit isn’t completely circular.

Utah State University

Undergraduate researchers from Utah State University will soon attach an experiment onto a balloon the size of a stadium. The experiment has been years in the making. USU was selected to take part in a new NASA initiative that aims to involve students in research that could make an impact on the scientific community.

Student Team Leader and System Engineer Landon Terry describes what the experiment looks like.

“Well, it’s about a foot and a half by a foot by about a foot tall and it looks like kind of a shoe box,” said Terry.

utah.gov

  152 years ago congress passed the first law banning polygamous marriage. UPR reporter Taylor Halversen spoke with Dr. Kathryn Daines, a recently retired professor from Brigham Young University and Martha Bradley, Dean of the Honors College at the University of Utah and scholar of modern polygamy about the history of polygamy in the LDS church, the effect of this law had on LDS culture, and how we have come to the current state of polygamy prosecution in the United States. 


Texas Killing Spree Suspect A Former Logan Resident

Jul 10, 2014

A man accused of engaging in a fatal shooting spree in Texas this week has ties to Cache Valley. On Wednesday, 33-year-old former Logan resident Ronald Lee Haskell shot seven members of his ex-wife’s family.

Haskell reportedly dressed as a FedEx employee to gain entrance to the home. The 15-year old daughter of the family attempted to shut the door after telling Haskell her parents were not home. He broke in the door and held the five children at gunpoint until their parents arrived, after which he shot the five children and their parents. 

students doing science
M. Muffoletto / USU

Utah State University’s Biotechnology Summer Academy is currently underway. 31 teens from Utah, and the surrounding Western States are working side-by-side with USU scientists and engineers on a variety of research projects Tuesday to Thursday, July 8-10th.

This year’s Summer Academy exposes high school students to numerous career opportunities available in the Biotechnology field.

“It’s a program where students come to Utah State University, for a week. Students listen to talks about working in biotechnology,” said Aaron Thomas, director of the Academy.

Teen Drowns In Hyrum Reservoir

Jul 10, 2014
Hyrum Reservoir
Hard News Cafe

A 14-year-old boy drowned Wednesday evening while swimming with family and friends at Hyrum State Park. The young teenager, identified as Tucker Smith of American Fork, Utah, was swimming in a cove on the south west side of the reservoir with his older brother and cousins. While swimming from the west bank to the east bank, he became fatigued and attempted to turn back.
 
Witnesses stated that he began to panic and was unable to reach the shoreline. Family members contacted the 911 Public Safety Dispatch center and reported the incident. First responders, as well as citizens already in the area on their boats, responded to the location of the incident in an attempt to rescue the teen. However, he went under the water at about 7:30 pm and did not resurface.
 

seattle.gov

 Utah will be taking the fight over gay marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court. The state attorney general’s office announced Wednesday it would be challenging a June 25 ruling from a federal appeals court. The statement said Attorney General Sean Reyes has a duty to defend state laws, and that Amendment 3 would be presumed constitutional unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Utah Prairie Dog was first listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1973. It remains listed as ‘threatened’ today, meaning residents of its native territory have had to come up with creative ways of keeping the rodent out of prime burrowing habitat.

“Prairie dogs are all over Iron County and there are many on the public golf course and many in the Cedar City cemetery,” said Rick Holman, city manager for Cedar City.

Cedar City fire fighters have again responded to the Stone Castle Recycling facility, where fire erupted overnight amid piles of recyclable debris.

Early Tuesday morning, Cedar City dispatch received a call about smoke billowing from the Stone Castle Recycling Center at 1342 West Industrial Road in Cedar City. Fire fighters arrived to find piles and piles of plastic and other recyclable materials smoldering on the floor of the large concrete and metal building.

Cedar City Fire Chief Paul Irons said it was a difficult, time-consuming process to completely extinguish the fire.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie is criticizing Cliven Bundy for allowing armed militia members to defend his property and intimidate federal agents into standing down in their efforts to remove the rancher’s cattle from BLM administered lands earlier this year.

Ironically, the authority of the Clark County sheriff was among the causes Bundy wished to defend when he used the media to rally supporters in April.


Firefighters battling a blaze.
fcc.gov

Interagency fire fighters have combined efforts to fight three large fires near the Utah-Nevada border, called the MGC Complex Fire.

The Greek Peak Wildfire is 0 percent contained and rages on the Utah side of the border about 30 miles northwest of St. George.

Although it may seem that rainfall should be welcomed amid such dangerous conditions, attendant lightening is the number one cause of wildfires, and precipitation at this point doesn't always help that much. So says Professor Fred Lohrengel of Southern Utah University

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