Utah News

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

Earthquakes Felt Near Nephi Over The Weekend

Dec 29, 2014
earthquake seismology
University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Small earthquakes were reported in Juab County over the weekend. The U.S. Geological Survey says two small earthquakes larger than 3.0 magnitude hit central Utah late Sunday night about eight miles southwest of Nephi.

The first earthquake of 3.7 magnitude occurred at 11:08 p.m. Just before midnight, an aftershock registered at 3.2. The shakes were felt in Nephi but it wasn't clear Monday if any damage or injuries were reported.

Breaking Traditions Can Aleviate Stress

Dec 22, 2014
Library of Congress

For people in Utah who have experienced losses, are less fortunate, or in a family overcome by stress, the holidays can be a challenging time, but experts say small changes can help people find the joy in the season. Psychotherapist Mary Michail sees the toll the holiday hustle and bustle can take on her clients..

"People tend to put a lot of pressure that they have to be happy," Michail said. "Or have to say yes to every party invite they get; or they have to do their Christmas cards, or they have to put lights outside. I always tell people that the best thing you can give people is love and compassion, and your time."

Lower Gas Prices Impacts Environment

Dec 19, 2014
California Environmental Protection Agency

Low gas prices may be helping the economy by giving Americans some extra money in their pockets, but not without some negative side effect. More driving means worse air quality in Utah, and across the nation, according to Dr. Brian Moench, president of the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment. He said more driving means more cars producing greenhouse gases, the primary contributors to climate change.

“We would hope that lower gas prices don’t acclimate people to using their cars more than they might have otherwise," Moench said. "We hope that they would still be understanding that public transportation really is a critical part of a future that is less dependent on fossil fuels.”

Some parts of Utah are already known for their unhealthy winter air quality. Moench said low gas prices can also impact the economy long-term because the demand for electric vehicles and other forms of cleaner energy goes down. That means if gas prices go back up, as they have in the past, environmentally friendly resources can remain underdeveloped and less affordable.


Governor's Office

Gov. Gary Herbert announced in a press conference Thursday his appointment of an associate justice to the Utah Supreme Court.

“I really have had the opportunity to choose from the very best that Utah has to offer to put on the Supreme Court. So today, I am pleased to announce my nomination for the Utah Supreme Court as Judge Constandinos G. Himanos,” he said.  

Judge Himonas has served as a trial judge for Utah’s Third District Court since 2004.

Mike Christensen / DWR

As the sun peaked over the mountain tops on Dec. 16, the sound of helicopter blades pounded across the sage flats south of Loa and Bicknell in south-central Utah. The sound of the choppers was a sure sign that biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources were conducting a pronghorn capture in Wayne County.

“The Parker Mountain area produces a lot of pronghorn,” said Teresa Griffin, regional wildlife manager for the DWR. “Over the years, we’ve captured thousands of pronghorn here. After capturing them, we moved them to various locations across Utah. We’ve also given some to other states.”

Capturing pronghorn requires helicopters and a lot of helping hands.

In a small warehouse just off Logan City's main street a group of volunteers move crates of food. Workers are cold and they struggle to move canned goods with gloved hands.

"It is really cold this morning, but we are here every week during the school year come rain or shine," said Nibley resident Peggy Reese.

Reese began the "Still Cool After School" supplemental food program five years ago when she was working at Ellis Elementary. The program brings community volunteers together each week of the school year to gather donated food items. Peanut butter, cereal, soups, and pasta are some of the staples they place inside more than one hundred backpacks. On Fridays the backpacks are distributed throughout elementary schools by administrators in the Logan School District. Together they select students who qualify for federal food assistance and also demonstrate a need for nutrition services on weekends.

Public Input Opposes Oneida Narrows Dam Proposal

Dec 17, 2014
Oneida Narrows
www.americanwhitewater.org

The Twin Lakes Canal Company has applied to create a 109-ft. hydroelectric dam that would block the flow of water in the last free-flowing stretch of the Bear River.

Dec. 17 is the deadline for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to accept public comment before making decisions on the proposal.

Jeff Seamons, conservation chairman of the Franklin County Fish and Game Association, said the creation of a dam in the area would negatively impact quality of life.

Utah's First Wild-Hatched California Condor Dies

Dec 17, 2014
Fish and Wildlife Service

In a Wednesday press release, program biologists from The Peregrine Fund and Zion National Park announced Utah’s first wild-hatched California condor since the reintroduction of the bird to California and Arizona has died.

Chris Parish, Condor Program Director for The Peregrine Fund, which manages the wild Arizona-Utah flock, said investigators were able to determine the status of the fledgling by observing parental visits to the cave it inhabited.

Utah State Office of Education

The Utah State Office of Education has released its second report card for Utah schools. The 2014 grades range from A’s to Fs, with most schools getting a B.  

Ninety-three elementary schools and just six high schools received an A grade. Included on that list were Davis High, Viewmont High, Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering and Science, Success Academy, the Utah Academy of Science and InTech Collegiate High School.

Principal Jason Stanger at Logan’s InTech said the school’s focus on providing college-level classes to students helps set them apart.

Police investigation site
Matt Jensen

The family of a Utah college student who died after riding his bike into a slack line tied between two trees has agreed to dismiss three students from a wrongful death lawsuit.

The rope was set up by the students on Utah State University's campus to practice their balance. 

Media reports that Rafael Seminario, an attorney for one of the students, said three students reached a confidential settlement with the family of 24-year-old Eric Anderson to avoid an emotion trial.

The Anderson family attorney declined to comment Monday.

Utah Professor Part Of Global Chorus On Sustainability

Dec 16, 2014
Joseph Tainter
usu.edu

The thoughts of one Utah professor will now be paired with the likes of Hawking, Goodall and Gorbachev in a new conversation about global sustainability. 

Dr. Joseph Tainter of Utah State University was asked to contribute to Global Chorus, a 365-statement compilation by Todd MacLean that brings together thoughts of leading minds on how to solve environmental problems facing the earth and human species.

Tainter said he was chosen to contribute because MacLean wanted the perspective of a variety of writers.

Logan City Axes Extra Holiday Recycling

Dec 15, 2014
USDA.gov

Holiday time means presents, parties and lots of recyclable waste. This holiday season the City of Logan, however, won’t be offering extra recycling pickups as it has in the past. Typically, blue recycle bins in the city are emptied every other week and once a week during holiday time, but as Logan City’s Emily Malik put it, there just isn’t enough demand to warrant the extra collections.

“I do think they had felt for several years that it wasn’t well utilized and just created more confusion than it was necessary for people,” Malik said.

Police-Civilian Trust Helps Keep Crime Rates Low

Dec 15, 2014
sgcity.org

St. George Police Chief Marlon Stratton will be the featured speaker at a luncheon hosted by the city’s chamber of commerce on Wednesday. As the event’s ‘Chamber Connect’ speaker, Stratton will present a year in review concerning crime in St. George and how local residents can avoid becoming victims of crime.

According to national statistics, the crime rate in St. George is noticeably lower than average when compared to cities of a similar size. Great emphasis is placed on maintaining good relationships with local residents, said Sgt. Sam Despain of the St. George Police Department.

“Part of our mission is to encourage individual responsibility and community commitment,” he said. “As our officers go out and work every day, that’s one thing we really, really try to do in working with everybody within the community and create those good relationships. I think, in St. George, I can say that we have a great relationship with all of the citizens down here.”

MRGC
NCAA

The first NCAA women's gymnastics rankings are out and the list includes two members of the newly-formed Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference. All three of the other members also received votes.

Boise State comes in at number 19, and the University of Denver at 20. BYU, Southern Utah and Utah State also received votes but finished just outside the top 25 list.

SUU's Coach Scott Bauman said the rankings show significant power within the group.

How The Gender Pay Gap Has Changed (And How It Hasn't)

Dec 15, 2014

The pay gap between men and women has been narrowing for decades. But it persists, and it gets larger as women move toward the middle of their careers.

In a recent paper, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin looked at the gap in a bunch of different ways — how it's changed over time, how it changes over the course of people's careers, and how it varies from industry to industry.

Hour Of Code Kickstarts Kids' Creativity

Dec 12, 2014
Kids coding in their classroom.
Justin Prather / Utah Public Radio

Greg Cox’s fourth grade class is walking to their school’s computer lab—they are going to play a computer game.  Parents should not be alarmed, however; this is not a waste of class time.  This game is designed to teach students the basics of computer programming.

Gates at SLC International Airport
http://airwaysnews.com/

Busy travelers who have not had their flu shot yet now have a new place to get the vaccine: the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Intermountain Healthcare opened the clinic, located between terminal two’s concourses C and D, in November said Operations Officer Ross Fulton.

“It does provide a very easy access and low cost solution for those travelers that seem to have fast-paced lifestyles and don’t have time to go to their primary care physician to get their flu shot,” Fulton said.


Paradoxical: The Link Between Mental Health And Oxygen

Dec 12, 2014
Utah Geological Survey

Utah has long been touted at being the happiest state in America, while paradoxically ranking amongst the highest in the nation for suicides and anti-depressant use. Long-standing theories on why this trend effects Utah and other nearby states have ranged from cultural influences to rural living and higher rates of gun ownership.

However, University of Utah Professor of Psychiatry Perry Renshaw’s research is showing that something much more basic may behind these somewhat incompatible rankings: altitude.

Speakers at White Mesa Mill, uranium
Jon Kovash / Utah Public Radio

The last remaining uranium mill in the U.S. is located near Blanding. During the last two years monitoring has revealed that the mill’s waste pools are emitting dangerous amounts of radon gas. But despite those readings, regulators want to eliminate requirements for radon monitoring.

The White Mesa uranium mill is only three miles from the Ute Mountain Ute village of White Mesa. Recently tribal air quality experts reported what they call “alarming” findings concerning efforts to reduce radon emissions by covering toxic sludge ponds with radioactive water. The tribe has allied with several environmental groups to oppose the EPA’s intention to discontinue radon monitoring.

Girl with math on a board
www.avonct.gov

Utah’s SAGE exam is used to measure student proficiency in core subjects. In 2014 it showed that only 38.7 percent of Utah students were proficient in math and 43.7 percent in science.

To increase proficiency in these subjects, this year Cache County School District applied for and received a grant from the STEM Action Center. The district put the grant to use by providing every student in grades two through twelve a subscription to an artificial intelligence-based math technology program called ALEKS.

The program assesses a student’s knowledge to give individualized tutoring for what they are ready to learn, in addition to classroom instruction.


Professor Suprises Students At Final Exam

Dec 11, 2014

College students at Utah State University and across Utah are taking their finals and regardless of what their major is, whether they're  female or male, religion, race, political affiliation, domestic or international, they all have one thing in common – stress.

“On a scale of one to ten, probably a seven," said sophomore Ashley Siddoway.
“Probably like a six," said junior Jeremy Bliss.
“About a nine and a half," said sophomore Jenna Hawley
“I’m a solid eight," said sophomore Jeremy Gage.
“I would say a nine. I have exams like, every day," said sophomore Asfand Khan.

Dr. Cathy Bullock, a journalism and communications professor at USU, said she sympathizes with her students.

“There’s always a lot of work at the end of the semester so it’s a lot of work for us too.”

She said you don’t have to guess how they’re feeling, you can see it on their faces.


Dog for adoption
Humane Society of Utah

The Humane Society of Utah is celebrating reaching their 2014 pet placement goals a month early this week.

Jamie Usry, director of developments at the Humane Society, said the group reached their goal of adopting out 9,000 dogs and cats, and are also set to meet their aim of spaying and neutering 10,000 animals later this month.

Usry said the organization opened a new dog area in May called The Wait is Over, Rover dog adoptions to save the lives of more dogs in their care.


car, nissan
Cedar City Police Department

An unidentified man was captured by surveillance cameras at the Cedar City Walmart stealing what others have given.

The cameras show the man parking his late model, white Nissan Cube in front of the store entrance, opening the vehicle's back hatch door, and then entering the Walmart and making off with a large donation barrell placed near the exit and mean to collect funds for Primary Children's Hospital.

It is estimated the barrel contained about $100. The barrel itself is also valued at about $100. Law enforcement are seeking the assistance of the public in identifying the man.

At just after 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, a St. George Police Officer pulled over a pickup truck for speeding on Interstate-15. A check of the vehicle's license plate showed it to be stolen out of Colorado, the truck itself stolen out of Wyoming. When the officer ordered the driver out of the vehicle, the suspects fled.

A sort time later the vehicle was found, abandoned and with a flat tire. Law enforcement from Utah and Arizona began looking for two men and two women. Cpt. Mike Jiles of St. George Police Department said it was a multi-agency effort.

Tour Of Utah To Make Logan Debut

Dec 9, 2014
Tour of Utah

In its 11th year of operation, the toughest staged race in the country will kick off in Cache Valley next summer, Tour of Utah officials announced Tuesday.

The first stage of the race with begin in Logan on August 3. This new location is the furthest north the tour has traveled, with the previous record being held by Ogden.


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