Utah News

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

Utah May Be Unprepared For Earthquake

Sep 10, 2015

  The vast majority of Utahns live and work along the Wasatch Front fault line. According to the Utah Geological Survey, the region has a high probability of a large earthquake in the coming years.

A new report published by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute indicates that earthquakes pose the greatest natural threat to Utah’s people, infrastructure and economy.

The report looked at the possible outcomes of a 7.0 earthquake in the Wasatch Front area.


  Hunters who applied for a permit to harvest a tundra swan will find out if they won the luck of the draw on Sept. 16, with the season to open on Oct. 3 and  go through the second weekend in December. Utah is one of four states in the Pacific Flyway where tundra swan can be hunted.

Utah Among Nation's Green Jobs Leaders

Sep 4, 2015

Utah ranks fourth on a new top 10 list of states seeing job growth in clean energy and clean transportation.

Environmental Entrepreneurs or E2 is a nonpartisan group that tracks new project announcements in the fields of clean power, energy conservation and efficiency, and reports the results by state.


Allstate Insurance recently ranked 200 of the nation’s largest cities, including Salt Lake City, which came in as the 74th safest city. According to Allstate, Salt Lake drivers will likely experience a car wreck once every 9 years, which is 10 percent more often than the national average.

Residents of Logan gave their opinion on the ranking.

“I don’t like bigger cities—there’s a lot more traffic,” said Kory Pence. “I’m from a small town so I don’t like driving in big cities.”

“Actually, I don’t have any issues driving in Salt Lake City,” said Cedric Winchester.


When Gov. Gary Herbert and legislative leaders failed to finalize a plan to expand Medicaid by the end of July, many expressed concern about Utahns living in the coverage gap. For residents with disabilities, the problem is much more than just Medicaid expansion. 

Jerry Costley, Executive Director of the Utah chapter of the disability rights group ADAPT, said that Medicaid expansion is one issue among many affecting Utahns with disabilities.

Canyonlands Officially Named "Dark Sky Park"

Sep 3, 2015
Photo Dan Duriscoe.

Canyonlands National Park in eastern Utah is being recognized for its dark skies and lack of light pollution.

Park officials announced this week that Canyonlands was named as an “International Dark Sky Park” by the Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association.

Groups Criticize Nation's First Tar Sands Mine

Sep 1, 2015

The Canadian company U.S. Oil Sands is set to open the United States’ first ever tar sands mine in eastern Utah’s Book Cliffs. The move has encountered heavy criticism, mainly from environmental activists.

Tar sands mining extracts bitumen from the earth, which is then processed into oil at a refinery. Raphael Cordroy, spokesperson with Utah Tar Sands Resistance, said that tar sands mining releases pollutants from what’s left over after bitumen is obtained.

Utah Ranked 4th In Aerospace Manufacturing

Sep 1, 2015


Utah took fourth place in the most recent 2015 Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness Rankings, which was funded by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, a tax audit company.  


Scott Thompson, a U.S. Aerospace and Defense Assurance Leader, said the study took into consideration the size and scale of the current statewide aerospace industry, education opportunities, manufacturing costs and taxes.


“Utah scored extremely well in the top ten in terms of its industry and tax cost,” Thompson said.

Logan Hospital Adds Physical Therapy Pools

Aug 28, 2015

On Monday, Logan Regional Hospital announced the addition of several physical therapy pools to the medical center’s occupational therapy wing.

Many older patients use the pools in order to take pressure off of joints. Rich Hall, Director of Sports Medicine and Rehab with Logan Regional Hospital, said that patients of all ages have benefited from physical therapy pools.

ACLU Utah Launches New Public Defense Campaign

Aug 27, 2015

  August 27 marks the four year anniversary of the ACLU of Utah’s report entitled Failing Gideon. ACLU communications director Anna Brower says the report found Utah’s public defense system was failing on all ten of the principles set forward by the American Bar Association.

Study: Federal Drug Sentences Increasing

Aug 27, 2015

According to a study released Thursday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the average sentence for federal drug offenders has risen 36 percent since 1980. According to Adam Gelb, Director of Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project, that’s indicative of a broken justice system. 

The number of federal prisoners with drug-related offenses has risen from 5,000 in 1980 to 95,000 today. That’s 49 percent of the prison population. Gelb said that the policies enacted over thirty years ago have not proven to be the best approach.

Scouts for Equality


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Wednesday they will continue their relationship with the Boy Scouts of America despite a recent decision to allow gay individuals to serve in leadership positions.

A statement read:

“At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of the Boy Scouts of America, and as in the past, will appoint the Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards.”


Utah’s business climate is one of the best in the country according to a CNBC ranking. Utah is ranked as one of the countries three top states for business and last year, Forbes ranked Utah as the best state for business.

“Utah’s really setting the standard here,” said Jon Lieber, Chief Economist at thumbtack.com. “And they’re the ones who are kind of setting the curve for the rest of the country.”

More Confidence In Utah Economy At Summer's End

Aug 26, 2015

August saw more Utahns express optimism about the near future of the state’s economy. The Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index increased nearly six points, indicating growing confidence in the market. The jump came after two months of declining expectations.

Cache County’s economy has shown stability. The local unemployment rate of around three percent beats the state and national average. Zions Bank Economic Advisor Randy Shumway said that the county’s prospects remain bright in part due to Logan’s efforts to host a variety of summer events.

4-H Recognized For Youth Financial Literacy Program

Aug 25, 2015
USU Extension

For students in Utah, this month marks the return back to school. It also marks the one year anniversary of a youth program set-up to help youth better manage their finances.

Scientists Take A Snapshot Of The Logan River

Aug 20, 2015
Justin Prather / UPR

Bethany Neilson, better known as Beth, gathered a team of 25 undergraduates, graduate students and Ph.D. candidates from universities throughout the state in Logan to collaborate on a scientific snapshot of the Logan River.

The group broke off into teams and traveled up the mountain, where they waded into the water to set up their delicate equipment. The researchers were giddy with excitement, it wasn’t every day they got to do field work.

UT Legislature Considers Preschool For All

Aug 19, 2015

Proposals from the state legislature could soon lead to an expansion of Utah’s public kindergartens. The Utah House Education Interim Committee met Wednesday to discuss how increased early learning programs could boost early grade student math and reading proficiency.

Citing studies on preschool programs, committee Policy Analyst Tiffany Stanley said that early learning opportunities could help Utah students once they reach elementary school.

  Hildale Phelps Elementary school started off its second day of its second school year August 17, by nearly doubling in enrollment. 


The school was closed down for nearly 14 years after Warren Jeffs, the leader of the FLDS church at the time, ordered his followers to disallow their kids to attend public school. As a result, the surrounding community suffered and the school which served around 400 students closed, leaving an entire generation without a public education system. 


Lake Powell: So Far, So Good After EPA Spill

Aug 18, 2015

A toxic plume of waste water that spilled from Colorado’s Gold King Mine has reached Lake Powell. Initial tests are showing that the plume of waste water does not pose an immediate threat to the lake. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes will speak with the State Water Development Commission on Tuesday to brief officials on the spill.

Donna Spangler of the state Division of Environmental Quality said that future monitoring of the water will be needed to better understand the spill’s effects.

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.