Utah News

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

Summer Reading Can Halt Brain Drain

Jun 9, 2015

Parents in Utah and around the nation are encouraged to make sure their children read during summer vacation to avoid what educators call brain drain. Dustin Fife with the Utah Library Association said time away from the books can cause serious loss of academic skills.

"It's like any skill, if we stop practicing even for a short time, whether it's our reading or our math, or anything else - we still have this as adults, as we let things languish we tend to have to start over," Fife said.

Boiling Springs Ecoseum and Desert Preserve

The “boilers” is a natural warm spring in Washington County that has a long history and whose future will be decided on Wednesday. The Washington City Council are meeting to vote on plans proposed by a non-profit organization, Boiling Spring Ecoseum and Desert Preserve. Their plans include a conservatory building, outdoor classrooms and demonstration gardens.

Cedar City Man Dies From Climbing Fall

Jun 9, 2015

A Cedar City man is dead after a fall while rock climbing in Cedar Canyon.

Around 5 p.m. Monday, Cedar City dispatch received a call from the victim’s two hiking companions reporting that the 19-year-old male had fallen between 20 to 30 feet, sustaining fractures and a head injury.

The location is just outside of Cedar City and is a popular destination for rock climbers. Officers and paramedics climbed to the injured man and attempted to resuscitate him.

A grand piano on the stage at Carnegie Hall, looking out into the audience.

I’m here speaking with Craig Jessop, the director of the American Festival Singers. They’ve been traveling and performing in Washington D.C. and today we’re speaking to them just hours before their performance at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Dr. Jessop, thank you for taking a few moments to speak with us today.

You’re welcome. I’m honored to be here.


The Utah System of Higher Education is projecting an increase in the number of students expected to attend Utah universities.

Dave Buhler is the commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education. He said the forecasted increase comes from looking at multiple factors, which although may not be perfect, is a good estimate. 

“We take a look at varies data points, including population by age, high school enrollments, unemployment estimates and use a regression and trend analysis to make an estimate based on those factors,” Buhler said.

Utah's Summer Lunch Program Needs Corporate Funding

Jun 8, 2015
USDA Food and Nutrition Services

Matthew Anderson is the coordinator for the Child and Adult Care Food Program in Utah. He said there are more than 200 free meal locations throughout the state.

“We serve over a million meals in our state per summer throughout all the sites." Anderson said. "It’s first come, first serve at the open sites and the open sites are what most people identify with – they’re the sites located in the school or at a park. There’s usually a banner that says, ‘Kids Eat Free Here’ and you just go up and get in line and get a meal.”


On Wednesday, Gov. Gary Herbert signed an executive order for state facilities, including Utah State University, to take steps in conserving water.

Under Herbert’s order, state facilities are not supposed to water their lawns during the heat of the day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

USU facilities associate vice president, Charles Darnell said the department has already switched the timer to comply with this regulation.

Grants Highlight Libraries' Changing Role

Jun 5, 2015

Thirteen Utah libraries will receive a combined $300,000 in grants given by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The ways in which the grant money will be used show that libraries are evolving in their role as community education spaces.

All types of libraries are eligible for funding. Proposals must fall under one of three categories: collections, technology, and digitization. Donna Morris, Utah State Library Division Director, said that the criteria reflects the way residents use their library’s resources.


Efforts to reduce chronic homelessness in Utah will continue with help from a federal money match announced Thursday. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, announced that Salt Lake County will be one of 10 communities nationwide to become part of the agency’s new Operation AmeriCorps initiative.


On Wednesday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed an executive order for state facilities to start conserving water.

They are expected to hold off on watering lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“So the hot of the day, we will not be watering here on government properties,” Herbert said. “We have large properties, and I think we can make a significant difference by not only leading by example, but the actual consumption of water by using good water practices.”


The term, “medical tourism” traditionally conjures up images of people traveling to Mexico, Costa Rica or India to save big money on medical procedures. Recent trends in the U.S. medical landscape have made St. George, Utah a destination for high quality health care, at considerable savings for those willing to pay cash for a surgery.

High-deductible health plans often mean the entire cost of a medical procedure comes out-of-pocket.  That leaves patients looking for ways to shop around. 

Utah Veterans To Receive Honor Flight

Jun 4, 2015
U.S. Navy

A group of 25 Iron County veterans of World War II and the Korean War, along with guardians and other supporters, departed Cedar City airport early Thursday morning, bound for the nation’s Capitol. A similar group from Washington County will join the Iron County group at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas for a dedicated, all-Southern Utah honor flight—the first of its kind.

Gerald Stoker from Cedar City, a veteran of the Korean War, is among the group. 

"I'm really overwhelmed, mostly because I'm with all of these others guys, World War II vets," Stoker said. 

Free Legal Help Available To Veterans In St. George

Jun 3, 2015

Brad Evans is a veteran’s justice outreach specialist with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He oversees the homeless and justice clinical recovery program, and said the clinic can help assist war veterans with legal issues such as land-lord tenant disputes, criminal charges and living wills.

After he was contacted by people looking for help, he realized that a legal clinic was needed in the community.

Rep. Ivory Accused of Breaking Lobbying Laws

Jun 3, 2015

“It’s clearly a political stunt because this is having success throughout the West and throughout the nation.”

Brenna Kelly

A summer boating excursion turned disastrous for seven Weber County residents Monday evening at Bear Lake. After high winds capsized their ski boat, two adults, four teenage girls and a seven-year-old girl were in the 53 degree water for over three hours. An adult male was pronounced dead on scene, and Tuesday morning three juveniles were pronounced dead at Primary Children’s Hospital.


June is national safety month, and the financial website Wallet Hub released the results of a study that looked at the safest states in the nation. Utah ranks number six overall, but in some ways, it did not do so well.

Wallet Hub’s spokesperson, Jill Gonzalez said researchers did the study by looking at records from governmental sources like the FBI, the Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She said while they looked at violence and crime rates, that was only part of the study.

Five Prime

There’s a rodeo Saturday in West Valley City, but it doesn’t include livestock and cowboys. The 22nd Annual Utah Lineman's Rodeo involves journeymen and apprentice electrical workers coming together to show off their skills and compete for a prize that might shock on-lookers.

“They earn bragging right to say that, ‘Not only did I climb that pole faster than anyone else, I did it safer than anyone else.’” said Paul Murphy, a spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Power. “Because there’s a lot of points deducted if they do anything that’s unsafe.”

Rocky Mountain Power is partnering with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to sponsor the event.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

State officials in Utah continue efforts to try to stop the spread of the quagga mussel, which is about the size of a human fingernail, but presents a serious threat to the state's water supply and fisheries.

Matt Bartley is a biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. He said the state is inspecting boats near Lake Powell, which is infested with the mussels, to try to prevent them from spreading from the boats to other bodies of water. He said the tiny organisms can plug up major water infrastructure.

"The mussels are really efficient at reproducing and attaching to hard surfaces," Bartley said. "And those hard surfaces would be the water infrastructure; so the dams, the water pipes, the docks - anything that's hard and in the water."


The Utah Energy Workforce Scholarship will be awarded to four eleventh-graders interested in science, technology, engineering or math.

According to Jeffrey Barrett, the deputy director in the Governor’s office of energy development, Chevron is currently spending millions of dollars investing in Utah schools.

The Grammy award-winning, multi platinum-selling, rock 'n' roll band, The Doobie Brothers, will be stopping in Utah on June 10 at the Sandy City Amphitheatre.

Tom Johnston  is the lead vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, and one of the band’s original founders.

“One thing about this band is we are basically an American band in that we play music from a lot of genres from the very front until now," Johnston said. "That is: rock 'n' roll, of course, R&B, blues, bluegrass, a little country. You throw that all into the hopper and that’s The Doobie Brothers.”

Child Abuse In Utah

Jun 1, 2015
Nation of Change Organization

Scott Sorensen is the chair of the advisory board for the Iron Country Children’s Justice Center which is one of 20 state funded centers set up to support victims of abuse and crimes against children.

“Usually the only opportunity we have to become involved is, sadly, after the fact," Sorensen said. "So if we could find a way to deal with individuals that might have any challenges about anger or a variety of things, if left unchecked, could lead to abuse. If we could find a way to educate our general population more and more to where we could have people really help themselves to check some of those challenges and difficulties or even thinking patterns we’d be doing a much better job rather than coming in after the fact.”

Southern Utah University Athletic Director Resigns

May 29, 2015

Utah State is not the only university in the beehive state in a search for a new athletic director.  Thursday, Southern Utah University director of athletics, Ken Beazer, announced his resignation.

After ten milestone years at the helm, Ken Beazer is moving on.  Beazer met with coaches and staff in a morning meeting.  A press release from the university made it official Thursday afternoon.


Investigators in Iron County, along with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, hope to solve a mystery.  It involves the partially decomposed body of a man found just north of Cedar City.

The Iron County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a location near Summit, where deputies found a man’s body that was in the advanced stages of decomposition.  Detectives were dispatched to further investigate.  

Giving A Voice To Cache Valley's Voiceless

May 27, 2015
A folklorist interviews two refugees around a table.

Many would be surprised to hear that Cache Valley is home to several refugee populations. In partnership with the Library of Congress, the project called “Voices: Refugees in Cache Valley” has been collecting the stories of this largely unknown population.


When developer Brooks Pace saw the site of an ancient Puebloan pit house in the midst of a future housing development, he decided to donate the site to the Archaeological Conservancy rather than see it destroyed.

Greg Woodall is a consulting archaeologist who helped in the research of the house. He said that Pace’s choice to preserve the site is distinctive in his particular field.