Utah News

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

Four women dressed in traditional Polynesian dresses, leis, and flowers in their hair.
April Davis - SUPIC

The Southern Utah Pacific Islander Coalition will celebrate its one-year anniversary this month. As a nonprofit organization, SUPIC was created in May 2014 in order to address needs that were not being met in the Pacific Islander community in southern Utah. Susi Lafaele is one of the cofounders of the coalition.

She said that education and healthcare are two of their biggest missions, but they also focus on youth development and cultural preservation.

Justin Prather / UPR.org

From a young age we are taught that bacteria are these small organisms that lurk on every surface, waiting to invade our bodies and make us sick.

Utah Close To Ending Chronic Homelessness

May 7, 2015

After a ten-year-long effort, Utah could soon see the end of statewide chronic homelessness. According to the state Division of Workforce Services, the number of chronically homeless Utahns declined 91 percent in the last 10 years. In 2005, the number of long-term homeless was nearly 2,000 people; now, it is 178.

The state is fast approaching a condition officials call a ‘functional zero’ in terms of chronic homelessness. Lloyd Pendleton, Homeless Task Force Director with the DWS, said that this means Utah has the resources to help those most in need.

Businesses Prepare To Return To West Africa

May 7, 2015

Ann Norman is a public relations professional who has worked in Sierra Leone for years. When the Ebola breakout began last year, she decided not to travel to the country. Nine months later, she is confident that it’s safe to travel there again.

No Utah Democratic Party Primary In 2016

May 6, 2015

In a statement released Wednesday, the Utah Democratic Party announced that it will not hold a primary in 2016. Instead, the party will hold a presidential preference poll at its neighborhood caucuses. The now canceled primary would have allowed party members to vote online.

The state legislature had allocated $3 million dollars to hold state-run primaries. Lauren Littlefield, Executive Director for the Utah Democratic Party, said that covering the online primary alone would have been too expensive and that the party’s resources could be better used elsewhere.

Dozens of Utah Valley University professors have come forward with concerns relating to UVU President Matthew Holland, who signed his name on an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court opposing gay marriage.

Daniel Horns, who teaches earth science at UVU, is one such professor.

“Well, my concern was that having our college president as a signatory on the amicus brief, that that could create the impression in some people that UVU would not be a welcoming environment,” Horns said.

Utah Department of Corrections

With a decision on the Utah State Prison relocation looming, community opposition at all five sites under consideration is ramping up. However, State Legislators appear adamant that there is no turning back at this point.

State Senator Evan Vickers, a member of the Relocation Commission, indicated that of all the possible scenarios, keeping the prison at the current location is out of the question.

Doubts Cast On Utah Water Projects

May 5, 2015

A report released Tuesday by the legislative auditor has cast doubts on certain projections used by the Division of Water Resources to predict the scope of state water projects. While the report does not question the need for the Lake Powell Pipeline and Bear River Development Project, it has caused some lawmakers to question the size of the plans.

Attempted Carjack Shooting Leaves One Dead

May 5, 2015
framinghamma.gov / Framingham Massachusetts Government

Police say a man was justified in shooting and killing a would-be carjacker outside a grocery store in Orem Saturday, saying he did the “right thing” by coming to the aid of the vehicle’s owner.

Police Capt. Ned Jackson said the suspect, 26-year-old Taulagi V. Matafeo, pulled into a Macy’s parking lot around the time a woman finished grocery shopping. As she pulled her SUV out of a parking spot, her groceries shifted, and she stopped to adjust them. Jackson said that’s when Matafeo got in the driver’s seat and attempted to steal the car.

USU Proposes Outdoor Clothing Degree

May 4, 2015

Enjoying the outdoors is big business. The outdoor recreation industry provides 6 million jobs in the U.S. Outdoor recreation is the third largest area of consumer spending. Utah State University’s School of Applied Science, Technology and Education wants to train students to enter that industry with a proposed Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Product Design and Development.

Lindsey Shirley, a professor at Utah State, said that the program was created in response to the need to connect outdoor companies with qualified graduates.

Star Wars Celebrated Nationwide

May 4, 2015

Lucasfilm, the company behind the Star Wars franchise, didn’t conceive the idea for the holiday. It began with fans who noticed a pun when they said "May the fourth." When it started gaining popularity on the internet, the film company embraced it.

Lucasfilm is not alone. Companies that aren’t related to the franchise, like Amazon and Coca-Cola, have taken to social media sites to post Star Wars themed promotions.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democratic candidate for president, has agreed to testify before a House panel about the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and about her email-retention practices.

Melanoma Monday Starts Cancer Awareness Campaign

May 4, 2015
Birth Song Botanicals

It's Melanoma Monday in Utah and across the nation, which is centered on the early detection and prevention of a disease that kills thousands of Americans each year. Kimberly Dinsdale with the American Cancer Society said melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, affects many people.

"The estimated number throughout the country is about 73,000 cases will be diagnosed this year," Dinsdale said. "And in Utah, about 800 new cases will be diagnosed of some form of melanoma of the skin."

Salt Lake Receives Failing Air Quality Grade

May 1, 2015
Utah Foundation

Salt Lake City's track record remains unbroken when it comes to getting a failing grade for air quality in the American Lung Association's annual "State of the Air" report. Christian Stumpf with the American Lung Association says the report, released this week, also ranks Salt Lake and Logan as the seventh and eighth most polluted cities for short-term particle pollution.

"So short-term particle pollution is a spike in PM 2.5 for a day, or a week, where it will get to unhealthy levels," Stumpf said.

Local School Kids Release Classroom-raised Fish

May 1, 2015

On Friday, half a mile up Green Canyon in Logan, the excitement was mounting. Jittery fifth graders from Providence Academy gathered at a small pond to release nearly 50 fish they had been raising in their classroom aquarium.

“We got to watch them grow and we got to take care of them and learn all about them,” said fifth grader Brenley Crosby.


A water main brake on Friday afternoon around 1000 North 550 East in Logan has led to water flowing and collecting a few blocks away. At least one home in the area has reported flooding in a basement. Logan public works employees were sent to the area of the main break. Water in the area was shut off by 4:15 p.m. the same day. It was also reported that one local café is without water due to the incident.

Workers Discover Body In Suitcase Off I-80

May 1, 2015
apexchange.com / Associated Press

State transportation workers stumbled across a large suitcase in a ravine near the Saltair on Thursday and later discovered a body inside of it. Utah Division of Transportation spokesperson Lisa Miller said the workers were installing and replacing a barrier at the time.

“So they were performing normal duties,” Miller said. “One of them noticed something a little out-of-the-ordinary and approached the large suitcase but did not open it. He just had a feeling like it was something he needed to alert law enforcement of.”

The Suicide Epidemic, Part II: College

May 1, 2015
collegedrinkingprevention.gov / Franklin and Marshall College

There’s no doubt that college years are some of the most stressful of peoples’ lives. Between getting to class, making grades, paying tuition, staying involved and maintaining a social life, many young people don’t stop to think about their mental health. According to Professor Perry Renshaw from the University of Utah, this negligence puts them at greater risk for mental illnesses and suicide.

In 2008, a survey conducted by the Associated Press and mtvU found that eight in 10 college students say they experience stress on a daily basis.


Nearly 1,500 years ago a small group of Western Shoshone Native Americans lived on a south-facing slope of what is now Dimple Dell Park in Sandy. Their pithouse, which included a fire pit and other remnants of their lives, was discovered a month ago while Questar Gas workers were replacing a 50-year-old pipeline.

Tiger Muskies Come To Pineview

Apr 30, 2015

Pineview Reservoir is a short drive east of Ogden. Wednesday evening was warm and Utah Division of Wildlife Aquatic Biologist Chris Penne was on the water, working to acclimate small tiger muskie fish to the reservoir.

“The fish go in at about two to three inches in length. That generally means they’re maybe just over a month old," Penne said. "We stock a fairly large number because when fish are finger length size, they’re still young and survival isn’t great at that size and age.”

AG Reyes Continues Campaign Against Child Sexual Abuse

Apr 29, 2015

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes spoke in Logan Wednesday about child sexual abuse. The attorney general made the rounds Wednesday, speaking about child sexual abuse prevention in both Logan and Sandy.

Reyes visited the Cache County Courthouse, where pairs of shoes lined the stairs—each representing a victim of sexual abuse.

“Three hundred and twenty-seven shoes, next year we’d like to see it fewer and fewer and fewer until we don’t see any more shoes meaning that child abuse has been eradicated,” Reyes said.

Legislators Work To Give Public Lands To States

Apr 29, 2015
fs.usda.gov / United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service

Rep. Chris Stewart and Rob Bishop launched the Federal Land Action Group on Tuesday with the hope that they can develop a legislative framework for transferring public lands to local ownership and control.

Gov. Herbert Talks Medicaid With HHS Secretary

Apr 29, 2015

Gov. Gary Herbert, Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and state House Speaker Greg Hughes were in Washington, D.C., for a meeting with Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell on Wednesday. The topic of discussion: Medicaid expansion for Utah.

The 2015 state legislative session ended in a stalemate over the governor’s proposed expansion plan, Healthy Utah. Herbert said that both sides of the debate agree that steps need to be taken to ensure that the Medicaid expansion is financially sustainable.

World Concern

Caution is the message from the Better Business Bureau of Utah. Especially when donating money to any organization claiming to be helping the earthquake victims in Nepal. President Jane Driggs said major disasters, such as the Nepal quake that has killed and injured thousands, tend to almost instantly bring out scam artists who are more than willing to collect donations under the false promise of helping those most in need.

"Unfortunately," Driggs said. "When any disaster happens, the scammers start thinking about how they can get a part of the money that should go to the victims."

Driggs recommended  researching all charities on the Better Business Bureau's website 'give.org,' which ranks organizations on twenty standards of charitable accountability. She says 'charitynavigator.org' is another trusted site that lists and ranks nonprofit organizations.

Envision Utah Returns With New Goal And New Challenges

Apr 29, 2015

It is estimated that Utah’s population, which now sits just under three million people, will double by the year 2050. While a growing population signals continued economic growth, one Utah organization is planning for the challenges that it presents.