Utah News

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

Closed-Door Medicaid Meeting Draws Ire

Sep 30, 2015

On Tuesday, Utah’s legislative Republicans met in caucus with the so-called Gang of Six to discuss UtahAccess+, the latest attempt to expand Medicaid. The meeting was closed to the public and the media, a move which drew criticism from Democrats and others.

State Democratic Party chair Peter Corroon said that the meeting should have been open and that opponents of Medicaid expansion have already been pushing legislators to reject the new plan.

Aimee Cobabe

On Tuesday, first lady Michelle Obama announced a new campaign goal of having 62 million girls around the world attending school, including institutions of higher education. That can be a challenge according to one Utah Valley University researcher in Utah who said there is a 10 percent lower rate of women graduating from college in the state compared with the rest of the country.


The report, published in the ‘Journal of Medical Entomology’ was the result of an exhaustive three year field test in which the research team covered more than 90 miles on foot, collecting 350 ticks. 119 of these were the species of ticks that are able to host the bacteria for Lyme disease. Of these 119, none of them tested positive for Lyme disease. Epidemiologist and assistant professor in USU’s Department of Biology, Scott Bernhardt said that although they didn’t find Lyme disease in their tick population, it doesn’t mean Utah is immune to it.

Industry Bringing STEM To The Classroom

Sep 29, 2015

As part of his New York City trip, Gov. Gary Herbert toured P-TECH, a Brooklyn high school, on Tuesday. It was an opportunity learn about innovation involving STEM in the classroom. Herbert toured the facility with IBM Foundation president Stan Litow and P-TECH principal Rashid Davis.

Ben Hart, Managing Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said that incorporating more STEM into Utah’s curriculum can help students develop crucial skill sets.


  On Monday, lawyers representing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service argued before a federal appeals court in Denver, hoping to reverse a decision made by a federal judge in Utah striking down the Service’s jurisdiction to regulate Utah Prairie Dog populations on private land within the state.



Algae As A Source Food For Livestock

Sep 28, 2015
Diego Mendiola

Friday, in a follow up to Growing Algae From Fracking Wastewater As A Biofuel, the research team at USU is finding new ways to feed the world as well, they have found that algae is high in protein and in nutrients.


In a small, shanty greenhouse a churning machine spins disks and barrels covered in black green colored algae. The researchers here are testing the most efficient way of growing these multipurpose organisms.

Matheson: Both Parties Should Welcome Moderates

Sep 25, 2015

Former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson was in Logan on the campus of Utah State University Thursday speaking to students on government gridlock and political polarization. Matheson, the son of former Gov. Scott Matheson, was the sole Democratic member of the state’s congressional delegation from 2001 to 2015.

In 2013, an impasse within Congress led to a 16-day government shutdown. Matheson said that he hopes that Congress will not allow another shutdown to occur.



Lawmakers worried about Utah's reliance on federal money have unveiled an online calculator that shows how the state would be hit by various federal budget disasters.

The Federal Funds Risk Model was released Sept. 24 by Utah's Federal Funds Commission, which was formed in 2013 to study the state's reliance on federal money in the wake of broad federal spending cuts.

Utah Chicken Owners Watch For Avian Flu

Sep 23, 2015
Aimee Cobabe

Recently the Division of Wildlife Resources warned chicken owners to shield their poultry from the avian flu after several wild ducks with the virus were found in northern Utah. Local poultry farms have taken precautions to protect their chickens from the virus.

I’m visiting with Natalie Shepherd in the small town of Nibley, Utah as she feeds her backyard chickens. Shepherd says a lot of her neighbors are also keeping chickens in their backyards.

“So what made you want to get chickens?”


A growing number of Utahns have voiced their opposition to a proposed expansion of a coal mine owned by Alton Coal Development. The proposal has been met with heavy criticism from environmental activists who claim that the expansion will impact a nearby national park.

USU's NR Days Teaches Children About Water Quality

Sep 23, 2015
Christopher Campbell

Last week, students and faculty from Utah State University’s College of Natural Resources led field lessons with elementary school students from around Cache Valley during something they call “NR Days.”

USU’s Water Quality Extension programs coordinator Brian Greene taught elementary school students about insects that live in streams for the first part of their lives and in the air as adults. They are called aquatic macroinvertebrates, and Greene said they are biological indicators of clean, healthy water.

Federal Officials: Sage-Grouse Not Endangered

Sep 22, 2015

Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled that the greater sage-grouse will not need special protection under the Endangered Species Act. The FWS made its decision after evaluating the collective work done by federal, state, and private partners in what has become the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history. 

Utah State University professor Terry Messmer, who studies sage-grouse populations, said that while the decision is encouraging, the work has just begun.


The event, called “Faith, Stewardship, and a Changing Earth” will include four panelists of different religious affiliations, who will participate in a conversation about how their faith and deeply held values should incorporate caring for the creation. The moderator of the discussion, Susan Soleil, who is also the Director of Utah Interfaith Power & Light, said religious people are engaging in environmental action.

There are an estimated 250,000 small businesses in Utah, which employ 500,000 employees according to the Utah Small Business Profile. Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread is one of those small businesses; the bakery reopened Sept. 19 in Logan under new owners.

 Loyal customers were saddened to see Crumb Brothers close their doors in March of this year but are delighted now to have them return.


Aimee Cobabe

The Cache Clean Air Consortium met Monday in Logan, Utah and discussed car emissions, efficiency and air quality. Randy Martin, associate research professor of environmental engineering at Utah State University, presented his findings on the differences between car emissions.

Researchers Find Use For Fracking Wastewater

Sep 21, 2015
http://www.engineering.usu.edu/htm/news/articleID=29965 / USU College of Engineering

Brigham Young University, Utah State University and University of Utah are known as the Energy Research Triangle that are collaborating on an alternative fuel project. Researchers and engineers collaborated to create an algae biofuel grown from large volumes of toxic fracking water.

Fracking is a water-intensive method of extracting natural gas from a shale layer.

Sept. 19 was national U.S. citizenship day. In 2014 alone 654,949 people became naturalized citizens, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Miguel Barragán, who is from Chiclayo, Peru, is among those who recently received his U.S. citizenship, which took him nine years to accomplish.



“I feel fantastic because life is always a challenge for immigrants” Barragán said. “I feel like this is a dream come true.”  

Human Library Returns to Utah State University

Sep 18, 2015

Human Library returned to Utah State University on Sept. 16 in the Merrill-Cazier Library in Logan.


Anne Hedrich, a librarian at USU, explained Human Library visitors check out a living person and have a conversation with them about a topic in question. It is like reading a book but instead of reading, you get to have a face-to-face conversation with someone.

Farmer's Markets Are On The Rise

Sep 17, 2015

Cache Valley Farmer’s Market hosted its second annual Farm to Table Banquet on Saturday in Logan as a way to celebrate the county’s local food and farmers.

Mary Laine, the Cache Valley Gardener's Market Manager, said this is the second consecutive year this event has been held.

“This banquet is my madness,” she said.


Laine said all of the food was donated by local farmers, bakeries and cafes.



20 years ago, 41 wild Rocky Mountain Wolves were released in Yellowstone National Park in a reintroduction effort. Dan MacNulty, a professor of wildland resources at Utah State University is studying the relationship between wolves and elk in the Park.

“What we really want to know is the extent to which wolves are an important driver in elk population dynamics,” MacNulty said. “We know that they’re a driver. The question is, how much of a driver are they and does the strength of that effect vary from one year to the next.”


In 2014, the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, which helps people with disabilities find work and live independently, ran a deficit of $4.9 million. According to a September audit from the state Legislative Auditor General, the agency failed to monitor its growing budget, leaving funding for important programs unsustainable.

New research done at Utah State University reveals the benefits of  using genetically modified Syrian hamsters in understanding common diseases.

“The major research focus in my laboratory is to develop genetic animal models for human disease” said Zhongde Wang, associate professor at Utah State University.

Wang and researchers from Saint Louis University have made a breakthrough in understanding adenovirus, which can lead to the common cold and other respiratory problems. The virus is especially dangerous for those with suppressed immune systems and small children.

Culinary water users in the Fort Pierce area of St. George now have the go ahead to use tap water without first boiling. The boil warning went out Sunday after a routine sample was found to contain fecal coliform bacteria.

Water managers are still not certain from where the contamination came. The incident appears to be isolated.

City crews replaced the sampling station and chlorinated and flushed the distribution system.

Scott Taylor is with St. George City, and suggests users also do a flush.

On The Campaign Trail With A Republican Hopeful

Sep 10, 2015

While the 2016 Utah gubernatorial election is still over a year away, Republican hopeful Jonathan Johnson has already begun to make his case. Johnson, chairman of the board for Overstock.com, was in Logan on Wednesday for a town hall meeting at Utah State University.

This campaign is Johnson’s first foray into the world of Utah electoral politics. He said that the decision to run has meant a few changes for his family.

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.