Utah News

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

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.

Utah Prisoners Protest Through Hunger Strike

Aug 5, 2015

Inmates at the Utah State Prison in Draper are participating in a hunger strike to protest their living conditions.

About 30 of the 42 maximum-security prisoners have written complaints to the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah.

“This group of prisoners have organized this strike in response as a way to express their political views and their objection to the conditions of their incarceration,” said Leah Farrell, staff attorney for the ACLU.

News Service

Abby Albrecht is the executive director of the Utah Transportation Coalition. She said the report shows that nearly a third of urban roadways in the region are described as being in "poor" condition. She said tire damage from potholes, glass damage from rocks and extra fuel expense from congestion are major problems with a far-reaching economic impact.

Changes Come To The Tour Of Utah

Aug 5, 2015

Now in its twelfth year, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah brings cyclists from around the world to race through some of the state’s most beautiful and challenging cycling landscapes.

According to Jenn Andrs, executive director of the Tour of Utah, the tour is known around the country as being one of the most challenging races.

“We are known as America’s toughest stage race. That’s our tagline,” Andrs said. “And this year we will travel 712 miles in seven days and climb 51,000 vertical feet. That is the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest just under two times.”


On Monday, President Barack Obama unveiled the Clean Power Program to combat carbon emissions across the country. The plan, which requires states to meet certain emissions reductions, was hailed by environmental groups as a step in the right direction.

Opponents have criticized the plan, claiming that it will lead to a rise in energy prices. Some Utah officials, including Gov. Gary Herbert, have called for the plan to be rejected. Lindsay Beebe of the Sierra Club in Utah said that the President’s proposal was the right move, and that she expects pushback from state officials.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

An area in Southern Utah once known for trout fishing is being restored after nearly being destroyed by wildfire.

Lynn Chamberlain with the Division of Wildlife Resources said crews are using heavy equipment to add large dead trees to the stream-bed of North Creek near Beaver. He said the trees will help contain flood waters, which come down from the mountains and were previously held back by the trees lost in the wildfire a few years ago.

Chaffetz Calls For Removal of IRS Chief

Jul 30, 2015

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz is calling upon President Barack Obama to fire John Koskinen from his post as chief of the Internal Revenue Service. Chaffetz accused Koskinen of obstructing justice by failing to tell the truth about emails related to the alleged targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan threatened to hold Koskinen in contempt of court, claiming the IRS failed to turn over the emails at the center of the controversy. Speaking to the media Thursday, Chaffetz said that the judge’s threat didn’t come as a surprise.

Christopher Campbell

On Tuesday, “The Book of Mormon” opened in Salt Lake City without members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints picketing in front of Capitol Theater.

However, not all Mormons are happy that it has come to the same city where the Church headquarters is located. Lisa Nelson from American Fork said she made her decision to not see it after hearing “South Park” creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, wrote it. Though she has never seen the TV show, Nelson says she has heard it is raunchy.

Wildfire Spreads Near St. George

Jul 28, 2015

A wildfire just 55 miles south of St. George spread from 640 acres on Monday to 820 on Tuesday.

A lightning storm started the High Meadow fire on the Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip near Mt. Trumbull and Potato Valley on July 14.

“Crews have been managing it since that time,” said Rachel Carnahan, Arizona Strip District public affairs officer for the BLM. “And heavy winds on Saturday did cause the fire to become quite active again.”

Carnahan said the fire is difficult to maintain in the area it is in.