Utah News

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

Governor Herbert in front of Utah, US flags
Governor's Office

Just after receiving recommendations on reforms to Utah’s criminal justice system on Tuesday, Governor Gary Herbert addressed the looming problem of poor air quality, water consumption and federal protection of the sage grouse in his monthly media conference.

Herbert said Utah’s air quality problem has effects that extend beyond negative consequences for health.

“It’s not just a health issue; it is also an economic development issue, and if we don’t get a handle on our air quality, we will in fact slow economic expansion,” he said.

Pyramids
cia.gov

Egyptian farmers grow crops along the fertile banks of the Nile, providing necessary resources for the surrounding communities, but also generating significant waste from crops such as cotton, bananas and rice.

“You have two choices: you either burn it or plow it into the soil. But, if they plow it they risk disease and other things, so it’s easier to burn it,” said Utah State University professor of biological engineering Foster Agblevor.

He said when the waste products are burned, acidic gases are released into the atmosphere, eventually settling on and decomposing the limestone pyramids and other historical monuments.


The Human Rights Campaign

Despite growing support for marriage equality nationally, the relative equality of LGBT people still varies dramatically from city to city, according to a new study.

Utah Airline To Fly Tourists To National Parks

Nov 14, 2014
grandcanyontrust.org

David Story began with the simple idea of owning a small airline to take tourists to the Grand Canyon in a more convenient way than driving. Now, Story, a pilot since 2005, has plans to expand that service to nearly half a dozen other national parks in Utah and surrounding states. The concept for Utah Airways came to him after his family moved back to Utah from Nevada after his son became seriously ill, he said.

woman holds food
spicekitchenincubator.org

Organizers of the Spice Kitchen Incubator, a program which helps refugees start their own businesses, unveiled their new kitchen space in Salt Lake City yesterday.

Natalie El-Deiry is the department director at the International Rescue Committee and oversees the Spice Kitchen Incubator project. She says her organization had received a growing number of requests from the refugee community for help establishing food businesses. After training entrepreneurs in non-permanent spaces across the city, El-Deiry said she’s excited to see the program finally have a space of its own.

“We provide workshops, technical assistance and training,” El-Deiry said. “We provide access to markets and market opportunities and we provide affordable access to a commercial kitchen.”

Winter Weather Advisory Proves Fall Is Over

Nov 13, 2014
Utah Department of Public Safety

Wednesday had record-setting temperatures reminding Utahns that even though winter doesn’t officially arrive until December 21, keep your winter clothes within hands reach.

Friday, the National Weather Service issued a snow advisory for northern Utah. According to Martin Schroeder, a meteorologist at Utah State University, it is mostly to warn people driving.

“The major concern is for travel conditions on roadways," Schroeder said. "So there’s concern about icing and continued snowfall through the evening as the temperature decreases more.”

On Wednesday, a group of mayors in Iron County stated their case for why the county’s ambulance services should not be sold to private ownership. The mayors met with the county government to discuss the future of the ambulance service. Iron County Commissioners initially put forward the idea of allowing private companies to bid for a contract to provide those services.

grandcanyontrust.org

A surge of water into the Colorado River is being hailed as an important step in preserving endangered fish species in Grand Canyon National Park. According to Kevin Dahl of the National Parks Conservation Association, increasing the flow of water sends precious sediment down the 277-mile long river.

“The key feature is the sediment that’ll carry in and redistribute along the Colorado River. It will build up sand banks along the river and create habitat that’s conducive to the endangered Humpback Chub in particular,” he said.

Utah Veteran Embarks On His Battle Of Purpose

Nov 11, 2014
Sandoval in Uniform
www.kickstarter.com

Veteran’s Day is an annual opportunity for people in the United States to honor the nation’s armed forces, but for one former Utah soldier, this year’s holiday also marks the first steps into a new project which will address issues that linger with veterans and their families after service.

Spc. Jonathan Sandoval returned home from a tour in Iraq two years ago. In many ways Sandoval said the stresses of being a soldier at war hindered his ability to assimilate back into daily civilian life.


Pipeline
suwa.org

Two environmental protection groups are calling out the Bureau of Land Management for alleged misconduct in building a natural gas pipeline near Moab.

Landon Newell with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance said Fidelity Exploration & Production divided the project into smaller venture proposals to break up the health and environmental analysis of the pipeline.


Historic Provo Home To Be Donated To Lehi Family

Nov 11, 2014
bikeprovo.org

A historic house in Provo is getting a new lease on life as the latest project from Habitat for Humanity. The non-profit group recently finished renovating the nearly 130-year-old house and will now donate the property. According to Kena Jo Mathews, the organization’s Executive Director in Utah County, local housing officials owned the house at the time the project began.

“It was an idea that I had. I knew that the Provo Housing Authority owned it and I knew that they were interested in doing something with it,” she said. “So, I talked to the Provo Housing Authority director [with] the idea that maybe we could do it and that’s kind of how it all was born.”

Alison Einerson

The Winter Market at Salt Lake City’s Rio Grande Station opened for its second year this past weekend. The market keeps the memories of summer farmers markets alive in its indoor location, with over 60 venders selling produce, sauces and jams, meat and baked goods.

Alison Einerson, Winter Market manager, said Saturday’s event drew between 2,500 and 3,000 people, a record crowd.

One St. George-based company is seeking to provide low-interest loans to businesses in rural southern Utah to aid economic development there. Professional Funding is using the U.S. Treasury Department's New Markets Tax Credit program to provide loans to areas considered blighted.

Southern Utah’s population growth provides great opportunities to create jobs, said Rick Conner of Professional Funding.

NAACP Claims Darrien Hunt's Civil Rights May Be Violated

Nov 10, 2014
Darrien Hunt
facebook.com

Information updated 11/12/14. 

On Monday, officials from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced they have requested an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into Darrien Hunt’s death.

NAACP officials said during a press conference that race played a factor in the shooting of the 22-year-old African American male by two Caucasian police officers. They claim improper use of fatal force could be a violation of Hunt’s civil rights.

watchdog.org

About 40 percent of Utahns who were eligible to vote cast their ballots on Tuesday, Nov. 4. This is a record-low for voter participation in Utah.  According to Justin Lee,  deputy director of elections for the Lieutenant Governor, the official measure will be known later this month.

“Some of it is estimating. One of the things we don’t know until all the votes and results are certified in a couple of weeks [is] what the final number will be,” he said. “Basically, what we’re doing is taking the number of active voters, then taking the number of people that voted and then just dividing that number up.”

Utah Public School Enrollment Continues To Grow

Nov 7, 2014
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.

Utah Senator Third In Line For President's Seat

Nov 5, 2014
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%

Utah Counties Embrace Mail-in Voting

Nov 4, 2014
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.


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