Utah News

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

Girl with math on a board
www.avonct.gov

Utah’s SAGE exam is used to measure student proficiency in core subjects. In 2014 it showed that only 38.7 percent of Utah students were proficient in math and 43.7 percent in science.

To increase proficiency in these subjects, this year Cache County School District applied for and received a grant from the STEM Action Center. The district put the grant to use by providing every student in grades two through twelve a subscription to an artificial intelligence-based math technology program called ALEKS.

The program assesses a student’s knowledge to give individualized tutoring for what they are ready to learn, in addition to classroom instruction.


Professor Suprises Students At Final Exam

Dec 11, 2014

College students at Utah State University and across Utah are taking their finals and regardless of what their major is, whether they're  female or male, religion, race, political affiliation, domestic or international, they all have one thing in common – stress.

“On a scale of one to ten, probably a seven," said sophomore Ashley Siddoway.
“Probably like a six," said junior Jeremy Bliss.
“About a nine and a half," said sophomore Jenna Hawley
“I’m a solid eight," said sophomore Jeremy Gage.
“I would say a nine. I have exams like, every day," said sophomore Asfand Khan.

Dr. Cathy Bullock, a journalism and communications professor at USU, said she sympathizes with her students.

“There’s always a lot of work at the end of the semester so it’s a lot of work for us too.”

She said you don’t have to guess how they’re feeling, you can see it on their faces.


Dog for adoption
Humane Society of Utah

The Humane Society of Utah is celebrating reaching their 2014 pet placement goals a month early this week.

Jamie Usry, director of developments at the Humane Society, said the group reached their goal of adopting out 9,000 dogs and cats, and are also set to meet their aim of spaying and neutering 10,000 animals later this month.

Usry said the organization opened a new dog area in May called The Wait is Over, Rover dog adoptions to save the lives of more dogs in their care.


car, nissan
Cedar City Police Department

An unidentified man was captured by surveillance cameras at the Cedar City Walmart stealing what others have given.

The cameras show the man parking his late model, white Nissan Cube in front of the store entrance, opening the vehicle's back hatch door, and then entering the Walmart and making off with a large donation barrell placed near the exit and mean to collect funds for Primary Children's Hospital.

It is estimated the barrel contained about $100. The barrel itself is also valued at about $100. Law enforcement are seeking the assistance of the public in identifying the man.

At just after 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, a St. George Police Officer pulled over a pickup truck for speeding on Interstate-15. A check of the vehicle's license plate showed it to be stolen out of Colorado, the truck itself stolen out of Wyoming. When the officer ordered the driver out of the vehicle, the suspects fled.

A sort time later the vehicle was found, abandoned and with a flat tire. Law enforcement from Utah and Arizona began looking for two men and two women. Cpt. Mike Jiles of St. George Police Department said it was a multi-agency effort.

Tour Of Utah To Make Logan Debut

Dec 9, 2014
Tour of Utah

In its 11th year of operation, the toughest staged race in the country will kick off in Cache Valley next summer, Tour of Utah officials announced Tuesday.

The first stage of the race with begin in Logan on August 3. This new location is the furthest north the tour has traveled, with the previous record being held by Ogden.


Study: Young Utahns Harmed By Incarceration

Dec 9, 2014

A newly released study from the Justice Policy Institute shows that Utah spends over $78,000 per year to incarcerate one young adult. According to Marc Schindler, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, that money is not well spent.

“If my child was in trouble with the law and somebody said to me, ‘you can have $80,000 to try to provide whatever you want to get your child back on the right track,’ I think the last thing I would choose would be to lock them up,” he said.

The national average cost to incarcerate a juvenile offender is nearly $150,000 a year. However, Utah taxpayers pay one of the lowest amounts to incarcerate its youth. While much of the incarceration is unnecessary, the state has a positive track record in offering alternatives for its delinquents, Schindler said.

Tim Garrett

In the 2010 Doctor Who Christmas Special, the Doctor, a time traveling alien with a special place in his heart for humanity and the downtrodden, must convince a Scrooge-like character to save a crashing spaceship by turning off a thick cloud belt he controls.

The clouds are teaming with aquatic life including large, scary sharks. And as it turns out, they can be frozen by a voice at the right frequency.

While flying sharks are not real, it turns out frozen clouds are.

UDOT Moves Forward With Speed Limit Increase

Dec 5, 2014
http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/

The Utah Department of Transportation announced Friday that drivers will soon be able to cruise at faster speeds along the Wasatch Front.

UDOT announced that the speed limit change from 65 to 70 mph for Utah interstates will take effect Monday, Dec. 8

UDOT Chief of Operations Jason Davis told media on Friday that crews would change speed limit signs from North Ogden to Spanish Fork on Monday, between the morning and evening rush hours.

Orion Mission A Delayed Success

Dec 5, 2014
Orion launch
nasa.gov

"Five, four, three, two, one, and liftoff, at dawn! The dawn of Orion and a new era of American space exploration,” NASA commentators exclaimed Friday morning at the inaugural launch of the Orion spacecraft.

The craft finally took to the skies Friday after a postponed launch. It was scheduled to take off early Thursday, but due to reported gusty winds and a malfunctioning fuel valve, the mission was grounded until conditions cleared.

Orion circled the earth twice, reaching about 20,000 mph during its journey back to earth.


Police say a Logan woman who raised thousands of dollars after claiming to have a rare form of brain cancer falsified her claims. Leslie Jensen raised $17,000 at a fundraiser in early November.

“Basically, we don’t know where that money went, we don’t know if it still exists, if it’s been spent. This is an ongoing investigation at this point,” said Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen.

An Iron County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic stop on Interstate-15 and detected the smell of marijuana. A half-smoked joint was clearly visible in the car as the officer came to the window of the California-registered vehicle.

The stories told by the two occupants also conflicted, leading to a search of the vehicle which netted methamphetimine, cocaine, pills and marijuana with a street value of about $180,000.

A 49-yea-old male and 26-year-old female, both from Southern California, were taken into custody.

Utah Department of Health

Thursday, after months of anticipation, Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled the details of the Healthy Utah plan, his alternative to expanding Medicaid in the state. The plan, which would have to be approved by the state legislature, would help 95,000 Utahns who make $15,521 a year or less; 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Herbert worked with officials from the federal government to come up with the privatized plan, one of five plans state lawmakers will consider adopting. Health Department Chief Executive David Patton said that unlike any other states, Herbert won concessions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those include co-pays for low-income residents seeking medical services and increasing the co-pay for non-emergency visits to the ER from $8 to $50.

Town Hall Meeting Highlights Concerns Over Education Value

Dec 4, 2014
usu.edu

A town hall meeting at Utah State University on Wednesday addressed student concerns about a proposed tuition hike. The meeting, which dealt with the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business’ proposed differential tuition hike, raised questions about the changing costs and values of a business education.

A federal appeals court panel has made a judgment on the matter of disputed roads in Kane County. Whether the ruling of the panel is a victory for Kane County and Utah or for environmentalists depends on who you ask.


Dinosaur National Monument

Three months after a dinosaur fossil was found vandalized in Dinosaur National Monument, the mineralized bone has been excavated and taken to Brigham Young University for repair. On Tuesday, BYU paleontologist Brooks Britt traveled to the monument outside of Vernal to remove the damaged humerus from the rocks along the Fossil Discovery Trail.

Dan Johnson, chief of interpretation and visitor services at the monument, said the damaged juvenile sauropod bone was among the most prominent fossils on the trail.

NASA's Orion To Blast Off, Utah Parts On Board

Dec 3, 2014
NASA's Orion
nasa.gov

Early Thursday morning, NASA will test fly a new vehicle designed to carry astronauts into space—for the first time since 1981.

Utah’s NASA ambassador Patrick Wiggins said the Orion spacecraft will orbit the earth two times then re-enter the atmosphere, plunging into the Pacific Ocean hours after its launch. Though this initial trip will only take the spacecraft 3,600 miles away from earth, the ultimate goal of the craft is to, decades into the future, land on Mars.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the first humans get to Mars. It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but it’s going to happen eventually,” Wiggins said. “So that’s basically what this thing is, it’s a way to get humans way out into space."

Department Of Commerce Warns Shoppers Of All Ages

Dec 3, 2014
Saddle Pals Horse Club

December is the season for giving and according to Daniel O’Bannon, director for the Division of Consumer Protection in Utah, Utahns are among the most charitable givers. But even in December there lurks a shadow that too many fall prey to - holiday scams.

“During the holidays, people are more focused on giving to a charitable cause," O'Bannon said. "So scams that might be out there a little bit more might relate to charities.”

O’Bannon said, in the past, scammers preyed upon the elderly, but today they prey on anyone in too much of a hurry to do their homework. He said there are many tale-tell signs to watch out for, but one in particular is a giveaway.

“Big red flag that we want people to understand is," O'Bannon said. "Watch out for anyone who’s asking you to pay through a wire transfer or through some sort of prepaid money card.”

O’Bannon said the Department of Commerce is a resource for people to use to check how reputable charities and online companies are, and to ensure your purchases are sound.

He said everyone is susceptible to these scams and just a few minutes of research can save a lot of heart-ache and money.


A senior Utah senator is demanding the Obama administration provide Congress with records detailing the payment of Social Security benefits to suspected Nazi war criminals.

In letters released publicly on Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah cited an Associated Press investigation published in October that revealed millions of dollars in benefits have been paid to dozens of former Nazis living outside of the United States.

Facebook

 A body discovered in the Jordan River Monday has been identified as that of Kayelyn Louder. Murray City Police tweeted an update Tuesday evening, saying the cause of death has not been determined.

At the time Louder, 30, went missing, police say she was exhibiting strange behavior and made multiple 911 calls in the 24-hour period before her disappearance. Murray Police Officer Kenny Bass spoke with UPR in October.

“At this point we think it’s possible that she’s not in her normal state of mind,” Bass said.

This Giving Season Don't Give To The Animals

Dec 2, 2014
winter deer
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Every year well-meaning individuals leave food out for wild animals, particularly deer, attempting to supplement their winter diet. But the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources says the seeming kindness can do much more harm than good.

The diet of deer is fragile and can be harmed by slight changes said Chris Schulze, conservation officer with the DWR.

“The wrong food at the wrong time of year can be hazardous and even kill deer; it wreaks havoc on their digestive systems,” Schulze said.

Provo Hosts World's Largest Nativity Scene

Dec 2, 2014
summitpost.org

More than 1,000 people converged at Rock Canyon Park in Provo to participate in the world’s largest Nativity scene on Monday. The event was verified by a representative from Guinness World Records as the largest in the world. The previous record-holding Nativity event was held in the United Kingdom last year, drawing around 900 participants.

Leading roles in the event were filled by musicians and other local celebrities who are well-known members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, the event was open to people of a multitude of Christian faiths. Fifty families were in charge of sewing costumes for angels and shepherds.

Brown Lawns Popular In Blanding

Dec 2, 2014
City of Blanding

Blanding has a population of more than 3,500 people with a history of conserving water that they are proud of, according to Jeremy Redd, the city manager of Blanding.

“People take a lot of pride in the fact that they’re conserving," Redd said. "And letting their lawns get brown and that kind of thing.”

He said Blanding’s water usage in the 2013 water year used 18 percent less culinary water than in 2012. The town’s 2014 water usage isn’t as impressive, but it is estimated to be close.

Update at 7:45 a.m.:

It appears that the situation has concluded, although we have no confirmation from law enforcement as to the present circumstances. Standing by for statement from St. George Police.

Update at 7:30 a.m.:

Standoff continues.  Several loud noises heard, presumed to be flash grenades used by SWAT team to draw out suspect. St. George Blvd is open but several businesses nearby remain closed.

Original Story at 6:45 a.m.

utah.gov

A new 800-page study released by the Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office argues that Utah could afford the management costs that would come with acquiring the more than 30 million acres of public lands the state has been hoping to gain control of.

Governor Gary Herbert, along with other Utah lawmakers, has been pushing the Federal Government to hand over ownership of the property, which makes up more than half of the land in the state. A bill passed in 2012 cited the 1894 Enabling Act and demanded the federal Government hand over the land by 2015.

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