Utah News

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

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.

Attorney's Office Finds Darrien Hunt's Death Justified

Nov 3, 2014
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."

Utah Democrats Profess High Hopes For Elections

Oct 29, 2014
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.

Living With A Disablity: One Man's Journey

Oct 28, 2014
U.S. Department of Defense

The theme for this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month is “Expect, Employ and Empower.”

The Disability Law Center released a report earlier this month that said Utah agencies need to fine-tune their programs that assist student’s transition from high school to jobs.

John Cardis works with disabled students in the Cache County School District and agreed that things need to improve, but said some parents are just surviving the day-to-day and haven’t allowed themselves to imagine the future.

“Once they get into secondary [school] I start talking a lot about transition in the future," Cardis said. " As I start talking about employment a lot of times the parents look at me as though I’m not really understanding their child or their situation so I get a lot of questions on what other students are doing and what a typical situation is.”


Update: West Jordan Boy With Cancer Dies

Oct 28, 2014
Ethan and his parents
facebook.com

The nation watched last week as the community of West Jordan banded together to turn the last days of one very sick little boy into the celebration of a lifetime.

Four-year-old Ethan Van Leuven passed away Tuesday morning after losing his battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

After receiving the prognosis that he only had a few weeks to live, the city dressed up, decorated for and celebrated Halloween, Ethan’s birthday and Christmas months early.

Colder Weather Increases Radon Danger

Oct 27, 2014
Lung Cancer
epa.gov

The onset of colder weather brings things indoors, including unwanted radon gas. Radon is a result of naturally-occurring uranium breakdown in rocks and soil. The colorless, odorless, tasteless gas seeps up from the ground and can pool in a home.

“Because it’s colder outside and then warmer inside your home, that increases the radon levels,” said Eleanor Divver, radon project coordinator for the state of Utah.

Divver said the potentially elevated levels of the gas make colder months the best time to check for radon.

The gaseous toxin is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.


bls.gov

The numbers are in for Utah’s SAGE test, the new statewide exam used to measure student proficiency under the Common Core initiative, and the results show that Utah kids are not proficient.

According to the results, just 41.7 percent of students are proficient in language arts, 38.7 percent in mathematics and 43.7 percent in science. These numbers are all down from previous testing years, but officials say that is to be expected.

Utah's Cities Continue Rapid Growth

Oct 27, 2014
utahlake.org

U.S. Census Bureau estimates show that an increasing number of cities in Utah are now classified as medium-sized. That growth, however, is not confined to the greater Salt Lake area or places normally thought of as urban. 

Three cities surpassed a population of 20,000 for the first time last year. Saratoga Springs’ estimated 2013 population of around 21,000 is an increase of nearly 1,600 people from 2012 alone. The town has come a long way since it had a population of just 1,100 recorded in the 2000 census.

seattle.gov

Utah’s Supreme Court lifted its hold on adoptions by same-sex couples Thursday. The adoptions had been put on hold in May following the state’s decision to appeal a 10th Circuit Court ruling which struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month to not hear appeals from states seeking to keep their bans in place legalized same-sex marriage in Utah and opened the door for adoptions to begin.

grandcanyontrust.org

In a press conference on Thursday, Utah government officials and conservation groups announced a new agreement concerning public lands in Daggett County. The deal will protect more than 110,000 new acres around the Green River. According to Tim Peterson of the Grand Canyon Trust, in drafting the agreement, wildlife advocates and local government officials worked out a deal that took into account a host of possible economic and political roadblocks.

Governor's Office

The  legalization of gay marriage in the Beehive State has opened up a lively dialogue amongst Utah's politicians about how it will affect Utah's legislators and the laws they craft. In his monthly address on Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert said he did not foresee legislators attempting to undermine the recently won right of same-sex couples to marry.

Herbert did add that he was concerned about strengthening religious freedom, referring to proposed laws protecting clergy and churches from performing marriages they oppose.

Voter ID Laws: Where Utah Stands

Oct 24, 2014

Voter identification laws have made national news recently with various courts striking down laws in Wisconsin, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. Utah State University political science Professor Roger Tew said the fight over voter ID laws is complicated and often partisan.

“The argument is that voter IDs are relatively simple. We have to provide IDs for all kinds of things, it should be no different,” Tew said.  “Those who tend to be opposed to it on the other hand, the argument is there are people living in cities and older people who don’t have a need for a driver’s license, or a need to obtain normal IDs that often other people use.”

Apple tree
agr.wa.gov

An in-state collaboration is meeting the need of hungry individuals with nutritious, home-grown foods.

More than 25,000 pounds of fruit was donated to local food assistance programs this year through Salt Lake City's Fruit Share program. The initiative allows people to register their fruit trees, then directs volunteers to help harvest fruit that would otherwise go to waste, matching need with abundance.

The collected produce is split between homeowners, harvest volunteers, and efforts to help the needy.

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