Utah News

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

Updated: Loaded Handgun Leads To High School Evacuation

Dec 1, 2014
Fremont High School
http://www.weber.k12.ut.us/

Updated 10:06 p.m., 12/1/14. During interrogation, the 16-year-old male arrested for possession of a firearm at Fremont High School admitted to planning to shoot a particular student, then open fire on the rest of the school. He is being charged with Class B Possession of a firearm by a minor, Class A possession of a firearm in a restricted area, and Class A possession of a weapon with intent to assault. 

Police were alerted Monday of a student possessing a loaded handgun at Fremont High School in Plain City.

A student had reportedly seen a peer with the gun and tipped off the school resource officer, who detained the subject. No shots were fired, according to police, and the student was taken into custody.

Though the student’s intentions remain unclear, Lt. Lane Findlay with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office said it is unlikely they were friendly.


blog.heartland.org

The Utah County Health Board voted on Nov. 24 to place greater regulation on electronic cigarettes, following many other counties in the state. The new regulations cover the sale and manufacture of e-cigarettes with sanitation and youth protection in mind, said Lynneah Fletcher of the Utah County Health Department.

“There’s really two parts to the regulation. The first side is for the retail. Anybody that’s selling will need to be permitted through the Utah County Health Department,” she said. “It’s to prevent youth access. The other side is the manufacturing piece. So, it has everything from sanitation [to] cleanliness of the facility.”

Proposed Tuition Increase Stirs Up Student Opposition On Utah Campus

Nov 25, 2014
huntsmanschool.blogspot.com

In an email sent to students Nov. 18, administrators from the John M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University announced a proposal to increase the school’s differential tuition. The proposal would increase the business school’s tuition by $20 per credit hour for undergraduates. The move has sparked a debate on the USU campus over the rising cost of going to college.

travel.utah.gov

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing to expand the number of permits and areas in which black bears can be hunted in the state.

DWR Mammals Coordinator Leslie McFarlane said the number of black bears in Utah has more than doubled since the 1990s.

“We estimate that we’ve got about 4,100 bears, if not probably a little more than that, and most of them live in our mountainous areas of the state,” McFarlane said.

The increase in the bear population has led to more conflict with both people and livestock. The DWR says in an average year 50 bears are euthanized after coming into contact humans and animals; however, in 2014 that number increased to 81 bears.

Same-sex marriage
usa.gov

An order signed Monday by U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball means the state will pay attorneys’ fees for the eight plaintiffs in the Evans v. Utah case, which addressed the legal status of couples wed following the initial ruling that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.  

The plaintiffs’ attorneys were seeking nearly $200,000 for their services. However, after an agreement was reached on the fee issue, the state will pay $95,000 to the attorneys.


utah capitol
April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

With the Utah Legislative session now less than two months away, Utah lawmakers are being asked to consider adding a couple of weeks to the annual 45-day session.

Because lawmakers don't meet on weekends during the session, the actual number of days spend legislating is nearer to 32 or 33. Last week a legislative committee forwarded the idea of amending the Utah constitution to stipulate that lawmakers should meet for a full 45 days within a 90-day calendar period. State representative John Westwood of Cedar City feels that more time just makes for more mischief.

"I am not for extensions. We have 45 days to conduct our business. We've done that, we want to remain efficient and take care of our bills and not extend it and bring in more bills. Sorry, I'm not for that. More is not always better," Westwood said.

Ching Farm Animal Rescue.

At the Ching Farm’s Thanksgiving dinner earlier this month there wasn’t any Turkey on the menu. Instead, the goal of the 16th annual Vegan Thanksgiving dinner was to help turkeys and other animals that call the Riverton-based animal sanctuary home. The Ching animal sanctuary provides a place to live for farm animals that were destined for slaughter. It holds a fundraising Thanksgiving feast each year to keep the farm going.

Rescue Executive Director and farm founder Faith Ching said various community groups provide food for the dinner, which is attended by 300 people each year.

“We have the traditional everything," Ching said. "From the cranberry sauce to the mashed potatoes and all of that…it’s just vegan. Everything tastes the same, it’s just that we don’t have to hurt any animals to do it."

The Band
American Fork High School

The 230-member American Fork High School marching band will join only five other high school bands and two college bands in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday.

The band’s director John Miller said this is the second time the band has had the opportunity to play at the prestigious venue.

“They can only invite bands back every seven years. So, they sent me an email and said, ‘If you’re interested, would you please apply again. We can’t guarantee you a position, but… we’ll take a look at it.’ So we did, and to our surprise they offered us another spot in the Macy’s parade this year,” Miller said. “They only take the very top, top cream of the crop for this thing, so it was quite an honor again.”


President Barack Obama
www.whitehouse.gov

Utah politicians had a lot to say after President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration Thursday, in which he announced his support of deferring deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said in a statement that he was disturbed the president would take such divisive and unilateral action. Herbert said the broken immigration system is compromising national security and must be addressed by congress.


iiusa.org

According to a recent study, 48,000 of Utah’s undocumented immigrants will qualify for temporary amnesty as outlined in Thursday’s executive action by President Barack Obama. The report from the Migration Policy Institute shows that the 55 percent of undocumented immigrants in the state who now qualify for amnesty is the highest rate in the entire United States.

Sprinklers
www.pinecrest-fl.gov

Every five years, the U.S. Geological Survey publishes a water usage report showing how the nation fares in water consumption. The 2010 report was published earlier this month.  

In conjunction with the release of the report, media have touted that Utah is the worst in the nation for water consumption, but Molly Maupin, a hydrologist with the USGS, said it depends on the category and how the data is being compared.    


usu.edu

A Salt Lake City-based water treatment company with offices around the world is set to open a new facility, partnering with Utah State University. WesTech has hired a growing number of Utah State biological and environmental engineering graduates in recent years. The company aims to use the new facility at the university’s Innovation Campus to continue its research into turning water waste into resources.

Gender signs
kickstarter.com

Along with the quizzes about which states you’ve visited and which Disney character is your spirit animal, another online survey has been spreading like wildfire across Facebook pages in Utah—the Mormon Gender Issues Survey.

Unlike other online quizzes, the gender issues survey has the backing of researchers from universities across the nation, who plan to publish the survey findings.

Homeless Youth Facility
voaut.org

Volunteers of America unveiled plans last week to build a new resource center for homeless youth in Salt Lake City.

Zach Bale, chief development officer for the project, said the new 30-bed overnight shelter will serve the immediate needs of youth, but also will include services to help those being served to overcome their circumstances.

“We knew that both having a safe overnight shelter has been really important, but maybe even more important [is] expanded education and employment support for the youth,” Bale said. “We’re going to have a lot more space, classroom space, to provide those types of services.”

cachecounty.org

Forty percent of eligible voters in Utah participated during the recent mid-term elections. Official numbers released Tuesday showed that the number is one of the lowest on record. To reach more voters, some counties switched to all mail-in voting. Duchesne County, switching to vote-by-mail to serve rural areas, beat the state average with 51 percent participation in the election. Cache County, also making the move to mail-in voting, experienced similar success. Voter participation grew in the last midterm, said Jill Zollinger, the Cache County Clerk.

An Old Power Company Scam Makes A Comeback

Nov 18, 2014
Rocky Mountain Power

An old scam is using a new technology to fool unsuspecting customers of Rocky Mountain Power. Because of this, the company has issued a warning to their customers to be leery of anyone calling them for payment of over-due bills.

The perpetrators called businesses, as well as residents, claiming that their bill is overdue and aggressively demand payment in the past scam. According to Paul Murphy, spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Power, the new tricks are easier to fall for.

“They use a caller ID system that makes it look like the call is coming from Rocky Mountain Power," Murphy said. "And they actually give a number that when you call, sounds like the automated telephone answering service used by Rocky Mountain Power, so it’s a very sophisticated way of doing a very old thing which is to take your money.”


Spanish Fork Library To Pay Fines With Food

Nov 17, 2014

Hunger and library fines are two things that no one likes. In an effort to get rid of both, the Spanish Fork Library has continued its “Food for Fines” program. The program allows patrons of the library to bring in cans of non-perishable food and exchange them for forgiveness on late fees. According to Pam Jackson, the Director of the Library, the cans of food will be donated to a local food pantry.

Utah Farm-Chef-Fork Gets Extension

Nov 17, 2014
Farm chef fork logo
USU Extension

Agriculture is one of the largest industries in Utah, and it takes some effort to locate farms and what products they provide around the state. Roslynn Brain is an associate professor at Utah State University Extension Sustainability. She said farmers can get lost in the online world, which is how most people find their information.

Brain runs the Utah Farm-Chef-Fork project, a program that trains both farmers and chefs about direct marketing benefits as well as training in things such as social marketing. The project has just received a two and a half year funding cycle.

“Research also shows that when farmers use direct marketing– selling directly at farmers markets or to restaurants–  is an effective way to increase their income and decrease farmland loss,” she said.

The Census of Agriculture results from 1982 to 2007 show that more than 300,000 acres of land have been lost due to population growth. That is more than 50 acres a day of farmland that is lost to development.


Governor Herbert in front of Utah, US flags
Governor's Office

Just after receiving recommendations on reforms to Utah’s criminal justice system on Tuesday, Governor Gary Herbert addressed the looming problem of poor air quality, water consumption and federal protection of the sage grouse in his monthly media conference.

Herbert said Utah’s air quality problem has effects that extend beyond negative consequences for health.

“It’s not just a health issue; it is also an economic development issue, and if we don’t get a handle on our air quality, we will in fact slow economic expansion,” he said.

Pyramids
cia.gov

Egyptian farmers grow crops along the fertile banks of the Nile, providing necessary resources for the surrounding communities, but also generating significant waste from crops such as cotton, bananas and rice.

“You have two choices: you either burn it or plow it into the soil. But, if they plow it they risk disease and other things, so it’s easier to burn it,” said Utah State University professor of biological engineering Foster Agblevor.

He said when the waste products are burned, acidic gases are released into the atmosphere, eventually settling on and decomposing the limestone pyramids and other historical monuments.


The Human Rights Campaign

Despite growing support for marriage equality nationally, the relative equality of LGBT people still varies dramatically from city to city, according to a new study.

Utah Airline To Fly Tourists To National Parks

Nov 14, 2014
grandcanyontrust.org

David Story began with the simple idea of owning a small airline to take tourists to the Grand Canyon in a more convenient way than driving. Now, Story, a pilot since 2005, has plans to expand that service to nearly half a dozen other national parks in Utah and surrounding states. The concept for Utah Airways came to him after his family moved back to Utah from Nevada after his son became seriously ill, he said.

woman holds food
spicekitchenincubator.org

Organizers of the Spice Kitchen Incubator, a program which helps refugees start their own businesses, unveiled their new kitchen space in Salt Lake City yesterday.

Natalie El-Deiry is the department director at the International Rescue Committee and oversees the Spice Kitchen Incubator project. She says her organization had received a growing number of requests from the refugee community for help establishing food businesses. After training entrepreneurs in non-permanent spaces across the city, El-Deiry said she’s excited to see the program finally have a space of its own.

“We provide workshops, technical assistance and training,” El-Deiry said. “We provide access to markets and market opportunities and we provide affordable access to a commercial kitchen.”

Winter Weather Advisory Proves Fall Is Over

Nov 13, 2014
Utah Department of Public Safety

Wednesday had record-setting temperatures reminding Utahns that even though winter doesn’t officially arrive until December 21, keep your winter clothes within hands reach.

Friday, the National Weather Service issued a snow advisory for northern Utah. According to Martin Schroeder, a meteorologist at Utah State University, it is mostly to warn people driving.

“The major concern is for travel conditions on roadways," Schroeder said. "So there’s concern about icing and continued snowfall through the evening as the temperature decreases more.”

On Wednesday, a group of mayors in Iron County stated their case for why the county’s ambulance services should not be sold to private ownership. The mayors met with the county government to discuss the future of the ambulance service. Iron County Commissioners initially put forward the idea of allowing private companies to bid for a contract to provide those services.

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