Utah News

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

Elementary School Students
trustlands.utah.gov

About 9,600 additional students enrolled in Utah public schools this year, an increase of 1.5 percent.

This may seem like a sizable number, but Mark Peterson with the Utah State Office of Education said it is not out of the ordinary.

“This is actually slowing down a little bit,” Peterson said. “It’s been up and down over the years, but it’s been as high recently as about 2.5 percent back in 2008 and above 3 percent in 2006.”

There was a 1.7 percent increase in 2013, according to Peterson.

Kathy Searle

Finding homes for children who need to be adopted can be difficult, especially if they are older or have siblings; however, one group is trying to get them home, one photo at a time.

The Utah Heart Gallery kicked off its tenth year Wednesday. The gallery partners kids with volunteer photographers and displays the portraits at the state Capitol, said Adoption Exchange of Utah Director of Programs Kathy Searle.

Two Utah Public Schools Recognized For Excellence

Nov 6, 2014
National Blue Ribbon Seal
US Department of Education

The National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education recognizes public schools based on their overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Lincoln Elementary School in Hyrum is one of only two schools in Utah to be recognized; Lakeridge Jr. High School in Orem is the second.

Utah State University football player Hayden Weichers was indefinitely suspended from the university’s football team on Tuesday, the same day he was arrested and issued a citation for trying to solicit a prostitute.  

According to Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen, the 20-year-old redshirt freshman wide receiver tried to solicit a prostitute from Ogden in Logan on Oct. 22. Contrary to the speculation of football fans, Jensen said the delivery of the citation was postponed due to an ongoing investigation, not to allow Weichers to continue playing for USU.

Senator Orrin Hatch
www.hatch.senate.gov

With the results of Tuesday’s election and the Republicans reclaiming control of the Senate, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is set to become Senate president pro tempore beginning in January.

This means he will be third in line for the presidential seat, among other responsibilities and perks that come with the position.

The honor, set apart in the constitution, is typically bestowed upon the senior Senate member of the majority party.

Love In Washington

Nov 5, 2014
Religion & Politics

Now that Mia Love has been elected to represent Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, Utah State University Political Science Professor Damon Cann said Republicans will be pushing hard to have her serve on high profile committees. But Utah’s delegation will be at a disadvantage when it comes to convincing those on the other side of the aisle to consider their constituency in policy making decisions.

Democratic Party of Utah

The gathering of the Cache County Democrats was a party of one on election night. Jennifer Pemberton talked to Utah House District 5 candidate Jeff Turley shortly after the votes were tallied.


Election results are in. Below, you'll find statewide results and links for other races.

US Congressional District 1:

  • Rob Bishop: 64.2%
  • Donna McAleer: 28.9%
  • Craig Bowden: 3.6 %
  • Dwayne Vance: 3.23%

Mail-in ballot.
cottonwoodheights.utah.gov

Cache County has switched to by-mail ballots this election season. While Cache County is a newcomer to the mail-in voting scene, Duchesne County has used the method since 2012. UPR’s Taylor Halversen spoke with Cache County Clerk Jill Zollinger and Duchesne County Chief Deputy Clerk JoAnn Evans about how the switch has changed voting in the different communities. 


Morgan Williams, a senior majoring in Political Science at Brigham Young University, talks about the importance of exit polls.


The bizarre circumstances that led Salt Lake City police to investigate three missing men began with reports of a barking dog in an abandoned vehicle near 1500 South and 1800 West on Monday morning. When animal control arrived, they called police.

Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Robin Heiden said the condition of the abandoned vehicle is what prompted further investigation.

Utah Colleges Push To Register Student Voters

Nov 4, 2014
wesleying.org

Politicians are not the only ones squaring off this November. This year’s Campus Cup is showcasing Utah’s colleges and universities in a battle to have the most voters. A victory in the competition brings not only bragging rights to a campus but also the Campus Cup trophy. According to Casey Saxton, a member of the Utah State University Student Association’s Executive Council, the desired result of the friendly contest is about more than just the coveted cup.

Darien Hunt
facebook.com

In a press conference Monday, officials from the Utah County Attorney’s Office said they determined the shooting of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt by Saratoga Springs police officers was justified.

“All four witnesses indicate that as Mr. Hunt was speaking with the officers, [he] abruptly and without any apparent provocation withdrew the sword from its sheath and immediately swung or stabbed it toward at least one the officers,” Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said.

batworld.org

Dozens of bats were removed from the Fifth Judicial District Courthouse in St. George. The colony of Brazilian free-tailed bats was discovered by courthouse employees who arrived to work on Thursday. A pest control company based in St. George removed the animals over a two-day span with about 50 bats being accounted for.

The bats were captured using careful methods and humane equipment, said Eric Palmer of Southwest Exterminators.

Women In Utah Are Stronger Than Study Inferred

Nov 3, 2014
National Endowment for the Humanities

An October study by 24/7wallst.com shows Utah is the worst state for women to live in and cited lack of leadership roles in government and unequal pay as part of their findings.

Michael Lyons, associate professor in the political science department at Utah State University said Utah’s conservative culture that promotes traditional gender roles means many women in the state don’t choose leadership positions. He said change is a matter of time.

“You’re never going to convert a population to a different set of political values in a short time-frame," Lyons said. "Instead, what you see is generational replacement, altering cultures and political attitudes.”

Jeannie Johnson, an assistant professor in the political science department at USU, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said women in Utah are not without a voice, though their choices might infer otherwise.


About 2,000 Rocky Mountain Power customers in Southern Utah were without power early Sunday morning in three separate power interruption incidents. Eighty-seven customers lost power in Cedar City around 3 a.m. Sunday, followed by another 240 moments later. Both incidents were caused when power poles caught fire.

Later Sunday morning, power went out in areas of rural Washington County from a fuse failure at a substation. By mid-morning, all but a handful of the Cedar City customers had power restored, says RMP's Margaret Oler.

Ghost
blogs.valpo.edu

Your heart starts racing, palms sweating, your muscles tense and goosebumps arise, there are butterflies in your stomach—you’re experiencing one of the basic human emotions: fear.

Fear is the work of the amygdala, a small part of the brain that can trigger a fight or flight response in less than a second. Some fears are learned and even cultural, while others have no borders, for example a fear of snakes, spiders or heights.

With so many things to be scared of in the world, researchers have long focused on how to stop fear. According to Columbia University professor Carolyn Rodriguez, by facing our fears we can trick our brains into overcoming what scares us. The more you face the fear, the more you trick your brain into releasing opioid chemicals that actually produce a feeling of comfort.

UPR reporters Elaine Taylor and Taylor Halversen set out to see if they could  overcome their fears by facing them directly.


Vandalism in National Parks
Casey Nocket Modern Hiker

A 21-year-old New York woman, Casey Nocket, has been identified as the primary suspect in recent vandalism cases affecting eight national parks and monuments in the western United States.

National Park Service investigators have confirmed that images were painted on rocks and boulders in Yosemite, Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks in California, Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument in Colorado, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, and Zion and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. There may be cases elsewhere.

Cedar City investigators have made two additional arrests in a week-old murder case.

Several eye witnesses positively identified Angelo Seth Carrasco as the man that shot and killed 45-year-old Shawn Multine on the night of October 21.

After further investigation, police have also arrested 18-year-old Clarissa Bulletts and 29-year-old Eric Rodriguez for their alleged roles in the murder.

utahdemocrats.org

On the ballot this election cycle in Utah is a proposal that would affect appointments to the State Tax Commission. The amendment, if passed, would allow the legislature to select commission members without regard to the candidate’s political affiliation. The commission would become anything but nonpartisan if voters choose to support the amendment, said Peter Corroon, the state Democratic Party chairman.

“The reality will be that it will become entirely partisan and Democrats will have no voice on the Tax Commission,” he said.

The polls continue to swing in the Mia Love-Doug Owens Fourth Congressional District Race. Earlier this week a poll from BYU showed Owens, a Democrat, creeping ahead, but now a new poll shows that Republican Love is the one in the lead.

The poll from Utahpolicy.com gives Love a five percent lead over Owens, with 48 percent and 43 percent of the vote, respectively. However, the margin of error for the survey is also five percent, meaning it is likely no one will know who the next representative to congress will be until election night. The gap between the candidates is narrowing, however; the last poll from Utahpolicy.com had Love leading by nine percent.

According to the most recent poll, one-third of respondents have already cast their ballots for the election.

A Springville family that was found dead in their home last month may very well have died from poisoning, according to newly released evidence. Relatives of the Strack family said in a statement they had suspicions that poisoning was the cause of death.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah filed a class action petition against a 2010 injunction against a street gang in Ogden. Weber County sued the gang, claiming they were a public nuisance. The court had no authority to make the injunction and convictions under it should be dropped, said John Mejia on Wednesday. Mejia is the legal director of the ACLU of Utah.

akronohio.gov

The next open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act begins Nov. 15. While the ACA has come under criticism for having high premiums, Jason Stevenson with the Utah Health Policy Project says there are many government subsidies that can cover the majority of the premium cost.

“Sixty to 70 percent of Americans have no idea that financial help is available if you go to Healthcare.gov to shop for insurance,” Stevenson said. “Once they find that out, they're amazed, and they quickly sign up. But too many people don't know that insurance is now affordable and within their reach through the Affordable Care Act."

Democratic Party of Utah

About half of Utah's state Senate and the entire House are up for election this year, and the Democratic Party has high hopes for increasing representation in the traditionally red state.

“I think we’re in great shape. I think Democrats are mobilized and engaged, I don’t think the Republicans really have a whole lot to vote for, and I think that that’s going to make a difference and we’re going to win in November,” said Matt Lyon, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party.

Utah Democratic Party chairman Peter Corroon said this week that his party has a chance to win seats in Carbon, Emery and Weber Counties.

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