Utah News

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

Court Rules in BLM Off-Road Vehicle Case

May 27, 2015

The U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City ruled Friday in a case involving the Off-Road Vehicle management plan of the Bureau of Land Management’s Richfield field office. Heidi McIntosh, an attorney with the environmentalist group Earthjustice, said that the BLM failed to follow rules first put in place over 40 years ago.

“It has been a long time coming, not only the decision but the BLM hasn’t gotten the work done despite the fact that the rules that it was supposed to be following…were put into effect during the Nixon administration,” McIntosh said.

theatlatic.com / The Atlantic

In the majority of the United States, incarceration is seen as a time to punish criminals for their offenses while depriving them of freedoms. Some would argue that our prisons should focus more on rehabilitation. But Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, thinks that for child-sex trafficking crimes, inmates should be made an example of to prevent future crimes.

“You’re not going to rehab these guys. These are monsters,” Ray said. “You know, we can pay to keep them locked up for the rest of their life, or we can send a message.”

Jon Kovash

Arches National Park has reached an agreement with the State of Utah regarding water rights in the park.

Nations Online

Folks in southeastern Nevada and southwest Utah kicked off the Memorial Day weekend with a bang—or, rather a shake.  A 5.4 magnitude earthquake rocked the area today. The quake was felt throughout the region, including in St. George.

The quake occurred Friday afternoon, at 12:47 mountain time.  The seismic center at the University of Utah placed the epicenter of the quake about 24 miles south, southwest of Caliente, Nevada, and about 60 miles west of St. George. 

The quake is said to be the largest to have an epicenter on land so far this year in the contiguous U.S.

https://www.facebook.com/matt.delgrosso.1?fref=ts / Matt Del Grosso Facebook Profile

A 23-year-old man died Thursday afternoon after suffering a severe head injury while rock climbing with two other individuals near Big Cave in Green Canyon. He was identified late Friday morning as Matthew Del Grosso, a Utah State University student from Maryland.

Del Grosso’s body was recovered by the Search and Rescue high angle team by 5:30 p.m. Thursday. According to Chief Deputy Matt Bilodeau, Cache County Search and Rescue crews initially had to postpone the recovery operation due to severe weather.

le.utah.gov / Utah State Legislature

It’s been eleven weeks since Gov. Gary Herbert’s Healthy Utah bill died in committee, leaving 53,000 adults and their families without health insurance. As lawmakers continue to work toward a solution, they will be taking a few tips from a neighboring state.

5 Things Utahns Should Know About Medicaid Expansion

May 22, 2015
jeffmiller.house.gov / CNN Politics

Thursday, May 21, marks the halfway point between the end of the 2015 Legislative Session and the self-imposed deadline of July 31 for Utah lawmakers to find a sustainable solution for the state’s healthcare coverage gap.

The following are a few things Utahns should know about expanding Medicaid.

Bear Behavior In Spring Driven By One Thing: Food.

May 21, 2015

An elusive bear was recently located and removed from a Park City residential neighborhood, and authorities issued a warning to the Desert Springs area of the Arizona Strip after recent bear sightings. 

After a long winter’s nap, food is foremost on the minds of bears says Lynn Chamberlain of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Police Body Cameras Spark Privacy Debate

May 21, 2015

“I think that we treat evidence like evidence. At the end of the day, we don’t publish crime scene photos, nor should we. Why on earth did a man who was suffering a mental health issue have his last moments on Earth played out on the six o’clock news?”


Utah is one of the top ten states in the nation with a high concentration of aerospace industries. The College of Engineering at Utah State University is hoping to train more students to work in the field through a Ph.D. program that begins this fall.

For Stephen Merkley, a current student who is hoping to be accepted, the Ph.D. program will bring him practical involvement doing what he loves.

Evan Hall

Representatives from Utah State University and SORAM Bio-medicine Research Institute of South Korea met Wednesday at a ceremony to finalize a formal partnership to study medical uses of ginseng. Dr. Foster Agblevor, a biological engineering professor at USU, said that the project will combine the best of Eastern and Western medical knowledge to utilize the plant to treat cancer.

A Path Through The Poetic Life Of May Swenson

May 20, 2015
May Swenson, a woman with a short haircut and plaid shirt, looks directly at the camera.

With brochures in hand, both Paul Crumbley, professor of English at Utah State University, and I walk up the steps to the second floor of the Ray B. West building.

These brochures illustrate the newly created May Swenson Poetry Path. There are nine separate locations on the path, landmarks from the renowned poet’s life. We are headed to location number four, the Swenson room in the Ray B. West Building. Here we find all kinds of memorabilia; Swenson’s honorary doctorate degree from Utah State University, photos and books.

“Here is one of the medals she was given by Utah State. Here are some of the items she had on her desk,” Crumbley said.


The Hurricane City Police Department made an arrest in an auto-pedestrian fatality accident early Tuesday morning.

At just after 5 A.M., police and medical personnel responded to a call and found an adult male, deceased and lying in the street.  There were signs nearby of a vehicle having accelerated, and neighbors did report hearing a vehicle revving its engine.

Dinosaur Quarry To Open To The Public

May 20, 2015

Red rocks loom overhead east of Capitol Reef National Park at the Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry, where paleontologists are currently excavating the bones of some of the largest animals to ever roam the earth—dinosaurs from 150 million years ago.

Each year, educational staff from the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Illinois come to the quarry to turn it into a large outdoor classroom. Sue Fivecoach works at the Hanksville, Utah quarry and said it provides the opportunity to learn more about Utah's ancient history.

Study: Colorado River Vital To Utah Economy

May 19, 2015

According to an Arizona State University study, the economies of six Western states, including Utah, could take a serious blow if water from the Colorado River were to become unavailable. The study shows that $1.4 trillion in regional economic activity is tied to the river, with 16 million jobs to go with it.


Hydropower projects borrow water from rivers to create electricity, but while that water is impounded in reservoirs and forced into high pressure tubes, it’s temporarily unavailable for fun uses, like whitewater kayaking. Jennifer Pemberton has this story about prioritizing recreation on the Weber River.

At the diversion dam on the Weber River just a few miles up the canyon from the town of Ogden, the water just disappears. There’s a wide swollen reservoir backed up behind the dam, but downstream, there are a lot of exposed rocks with just a trickle of water running between. Because most of the river is in a concrete pipe.


The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF) will be in Salt Lake City Tuesday through Wednesday to hear testimony in its continued effort to end the deaths of children resulting from abuse and neglect.

David Sanders is the chairman for the commission and said Utah is the ninth state they’ve visited.

"Utah has a very low rate of fatalities due to abuse and neglect," Sanders said. "So we wanted to visit Utah to understand what kinds of innovations they might have tried that the rest of the country can learn from."

David Rubin is a pediatrician and White House appointee for the commission. He said a lot can be learned from Utah.

New Science Standards Have Parents Fuming

May 18, 2015
Justin Prather / UPR

After a reportedly precarious Washington County meeting in April, members of the State Office of Education tasked with gathering public insight into the new science curriculum standards, changed their game plan and began to prepare accordingly. Still, the meetings are not short of vocally irate parents, whose fears are not easily assuaged. 


A quilt draped across a bench outside, with potted plants

The first recorded use of the word “quilt” was in the year 1290. Since then, quilting has blossomed from its humble cottage industry beginnings into the billion dollar industry it is today. 

Throughout its long history, quilt-makers made their wares out of necessity to keep their families warm and cozy on bitter, cold winter nights. Today, quilt-making has expanded as an outlet for artistic expression, creativity, and even home décor. With over 21.3 million quilters nationwide, 14 percent of households in the U.S. contain at least one dedicated quilter. 

flickr.com / R. Jason Bennion

The Utah Theatre in Logan was originally built around 1924. Now, after seeing eight years of renovations, the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre Company is preparing to kick off its 23rd season in early summer.

Gary Griffin is the managing director at the company and oversaw all of the renovations. He said the new multi-purpose theater will feature a large, brand new lobby; modern restrooms; a comfortable, more intimate house; and a state-of-the-art sound system.

Every year, one of the three 750 megawatt generating units of the massive Navajo Generating Station is overhauled. In January, the power plant began a cycle of major overhauls, beginning with its Unit 3. 

This year’s overhaul will cost $47 million, last more than eight weeks, and bring home hundreds of skilled Navajos to do the work. 

Lonnie Begay of Coalmine Mesa said his job as a millwright foreman takes him all over. He has worked 13 consecutive Navajo Generating Station overhauls. He said returning each year feels as much like a homecoming as a job.

cityoftenants.com / City of Tenants

A study conducted by the Hershey Company shows that Utahns want candy. In fact, it’s now being considered the sweet-tooth capital of America.

Hershey’s found that Utahns purchase candy at the highest rate in the nation – almost double the U.S. average, at an 85 percent higher rate.

Professor Glenn Christensen from Brigham Young University said that there are several explanations for this, both demographic and cultural.


A report released Thursday by Families USA shows that more than one in four adults who had year-long coverage through non-group private insurance plans went without needed medical care last year.

According to Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, many of those insured chose to forgo needed tests, treatments, and even prescription drugs. He said that high premiums and deductibles are to blame.

New Utah Teacher Evaluation System Adopted

May 14, 2015

On Friday, the Utah State Board of Education approved a new way to evaluate teachers which relies more on observations by principals. The system, which has been developed over the past five years, attributes 70 percent of evaluations to observations while ascribing 20 percent and 10 percent to student performance and parent input, respectively.

According to Linda Alder, educator effectiveness coordinator with the USBE, the reforms have broad support among Utah’s educators.

Green Waste, Where Do All The Grass Clippings Go?

May 14, 2015

Where those tree branches, grass clippings and leaves you meant to rake up last fall go all depends on what bin you put it in.