Utah News

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


A current outbreak of an uncommon virus strain has hospitals and care facilities taking extra precautions.

The Center of Disease control has confirmed an outbreak of Enterovirus D68 at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.  Of 22 samples sent to the CDC for testing from the facility, 12 came back positive.

New Facility Set For Electric Vehicle Research

Sep 23, 2014
Utah State University

Groundbreaking for the new Electronic Vehicle and Roadway Research Facility and Test Track is scheduled for Tuesday of this week at Utah State University. The 4,800-square-foot building and track will house the university’s research into electric cars and innovative charging options. The new center will attract academic and industry researchers to work together and advance the viability of electric transportation, according to Dr. Regan Zane of USU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“The facility we’re building and its resources [are] really USU driven. So, it’s a facility we’re building here and has a capability we’re adding in that’s going to do some amazing things we’re pretty excited about,”  Zane said. “It’s going to be the only one of its kind in the country for the foreseeable future and so we have quite a few collaborators, other universities and industry that are thinking about using this facility and working with us.”

Technology developed at USU that wirelessly charges electric buses has been adopted by the Salt Lake-based bus company Wave. The new facility will bring together several different areas of research under one roof, according to Zane.

Utah Shelters Prepare for Winter: Donations Needed

Sep 23, 2014

Charitable organizations serving individuals and families in crisis are currently strategizing about how they are  going to meet the needs of the homeless this winter. While supplies are always needed, winter is especially a difficult time for those who are homeless because of exposure.

“People who are homeless experience disease three to four times as often as people who are housed," said Jennifer Hyvonen of the Fourth Street Clinic in Salt Lake City. "And in fact, poor health is often a contributing factor of someone becoming homeless.”

Hyvonen said that many supplies are needed throughout the year but winter is especially difficult.

Utah Public Radio will be broadcasting five debates live this election season, in cooperation with the VoteUtah initative. The newly-formed Utah Debate Commission will be producing the state-wide debates. 

Each debate listed below will air live on UPR at 6 p.m. and be re-broadcasted the following morning at 11 a.m.

Sunken 1950 Mercury sedan
Lane Findlay / Weber County Sheriff's Office

Divers, towing crews and deputies worked Saturday morning to retrieve a fifth vehicle located at the bottom of Pineview Reservoir.

Earlier this month, five vehicles were discovered at the bottom of the Ogden reservoir as Weber County deputies were testing out new sonar equipment. Four cars were pulled out over a week ago, with license plates dating the cars from the ‘90s to August of this year.

The car recovered Saturday was a Mercury sedan from the 1950s, according to Lt. Lane Findlay with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.


A new study published in the Journal of Family Psychology shows that parental favoritism, real or perceived, can impact a teen’s likelihood of using substances like alcohol and cigarettes.

Brigham Young University professor Alex Jensen said the concept of favoritism is pervasive and can have lasting impact on a child.

“Sometimes we joke about who’s the favorite child in the family and even ask people that question, but it’s really a complex process and a complex idea,” Jensen said.

Alzheimer's run
Melissa Lee / The Alzheimer's Association

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than five million people nationwide and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.  An event tradition decades in the making is underway this week to raise awareness and funds for the care and research of the disease.

Saturday’s Walk to End Alzheimer's event in Logan is one of more than 600 walks across the country, which together raised $57.2 million last year alone for the cause.

God Loves Gays billboard project

An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign sponsored by Facebook God, a cartoon character that has nearly 2 million followers, is raising money to place billboards that say “God Loves Gays” around the country.

God, whose true identity remains unknown, spoke in the campaign video.

“The Westboro Baptist Church, this hate group goes around saying God hates gay people. Nonsense, I love gay people.”

Students at the camping stall usu
April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

Across the world Friday, people are reserving parking spaces not for their cars, but to re-imagine the possibilities of the urban landscape.

Navigating into a parking spot is not the easiest thing to do. The SUV next to you is over the line... again, and the sports car on the other side is taking up two spots. And in front of you... are a bunch of people among some bushes that were not there yesterday.

In 2005, a San Francisco-based art and design studio created "PARKing Day" to make people think about the way streets and urban areas are used. The company has since closed its doors, but that hasn't stopped fellow enthusiasts around the country- or around town from continuing the mission.

And today is Parking day.

Glass of milk

A national movement is underway, drawing attention to the growing need for milk among food assistance recipients.

The Great American Milk Drive kick-off event for Utah took place Sept. 17 at Lee’s Marketplace in Logan.

Salt Lake City Re-branding As Ski Mecca

Sep 16, 2014

Utah officials have begun a $1.8 million effort to re-brand Salt Lake City as “Ski City USA.”

A new set of flashy online and print advertisements touting the advantages of Salt Lake City as a ski destination were released Tuesday. The campaign zeroes in on the city’s proximity to the four major ski resorts in the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons east of Salt Lake City. In addition, the ads highlight a number of other attractions that Visit Salt Lake Communications Director Shawn Stinson claimed only a city can offer.

Pineview Reservoir

Police officers testing new equipment found more than they anticipated at one Utah reservoir this week.

Divers pulled four vehicles out of Pineview Reservoir Saturday after they were serendipitously found by sonar equipment.

There was pageantry and fanfare on the campus of Southern Utah University last week, as the school inaugurated its 16th president.

Friday Sept. 12 marked the opening of a new era at SUU, when president Scott L. Wyatt was inducted as the university's 16th president.

The mother of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt said she believes that her son was fatally shot by police because he was black. Hunt was killed by Saratoga Springs police officers on Wednesday after being confronted in the parking lot of a Panda Express. At the time of the shooting, Hunt had been in possession of a samurai sword.

In an official statement given by the police department, officers said they arrived at the scene of the incident after receiving reports of a suspicious individual walking around with a samurai-type sword. According to the statement, police found Hunt in possession of the sword and fired their weapons after he lunged at the officers. Police claim that nothing else was a factor in the incident. “There is currently no indication that race played any role in the confrontation between Mr. Hunt and the police officers,” according to the statement.

Northern Lights

Normally the Northern Lights are reserved for their namesake—the far North, but tonight part of Utah and much of the northern third of the United States may get a glimpse of the spectacle.

The aurora is caused by magnetized plasma clouds released by the sun. According to NASA, these clouds become part of the solar wind that can collide with our planet’s magnetic field. That invisible field surrounding Earth is stretched by the winds, said Tabitha Buehler, assistant professor lecturer of physics and astronomy at the University of Utah.

Diagram of the construction.

Sept. 14 through 16, 1100 South (US-91) in Brigham City will be closed to all traffic.

The project, which has been in motion for months, will lead to a new diverging diamond interchange in connection with I-15.  

During the closure, I-15 will remain open, but traffic will not be able to enter or exit I-15 at 1100 South, or travel to the west side of I-15 on 1100 South.

UDOT advises northbound traffic intending to exit I-15 at 1100 South to use Exit 351 in South Willard/Hot Springs and travel north toward Brigham City on US-89.

Senator Lee addressing the Senate.

Utah senators voted against a campaign spending reform bill, which was defeated in the U.S. Senate this week.

The joint resolution was defeated Thursday after a 54-42 vote. The bill sought to give federal and state governments control of setting campaign funding parameters.

Utah Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) took to the Senate floor Thursday morning, speaking for a third time in opposition to the bill.

Lee argued it is not up to government to choose who gets to speak in the political process or how they can do so.


Viracon was forced to close its glass manufacturing plant in 2013 after the economic impact of the recession dampened demand for architectural glass.

The company is following through on their promise to return when the economy for glass improved, said Director of Marketing for Viracon, Kevin Anez.

“It was really a result of the recession that was lagging on, and since then we’ve seen a turnaround and the levels of demand are growing higher than we’ve seen in several years,” Anez said. “It’s great to see the commercial market coming back, and for those reasons we are opening our St. George plant so that we can better manage our capacity levels.”

Nevada Transportation officials have opened another option for travelers between Mesquite and Las Vegas, but it isn't open to all.

Southbound passenger cars may travel Interstate-15 as far as the Logandale / Overon Exit #93. From there, motorists are detoured via the Valley of Fire Exit #75.

Northbound passenger cars likewise can take the detour, but commercial vehicles are still being routed via Utah's State Route 56 at Cedar City and U.S. Highway 93.

Veggie Enthusiasts Promote Playing With Pumpkins

Sep 10, 2014

A group of Utah vegetable hobbyists thought outside the squash and discovered a few innovative uses for their abnormally large vegetables.

A video posted on YouTube last week featured several Utah natives attempting to float a giant hollowed-out pumpkin down the Colorado River.

Kyle Fox is the president of the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers, a group of enthusiasts who use the colossal vegetables for fun, rather than food. Their latest pumpkin exploit was an attempt to raft the river near Moab and test the pumpkins’ ability to make it through rapids.

strawberry reservoir
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will be co-hosting the annual Kokanee Salmon Viewing Day on September 20th. The event, which has been put on for more than 20 years at Strawberry Reservoir, will be a chance for the public to witness the culmination of the yearly salmon migration.

According to Scott Root, Outreach Manager for the DWR, the annual run draws large amounts of salmon through the Strawberry River.

Salt Creek Canyon

On Tuesday, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier lower-court decision, which ruled that Salt Creek Canyon in Canyonlands National Park is not a state highway.

The petitions, filed by San Juan County and the State of Utah, pursued an appeal of the case in hopes of reversing the decision. The spokesman for Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Steve Bloch, said the request was unanimously rejected by all judges on the board.

Primary Children’s Hospital announced Tuesday that the care facility has seen an uptick in the number of children admitted with respiratory disease symptoms. According to a statement from the hospital, many are testing positive for the family of viruses that includes Enterovirus D-68. Many enteroviruses are common and do not tend to make people very ill; however, the D-68 virus has been sending children in 10 states to the hospital, some of them landing in intensive care.

Sauropod reconstruction.

155 years after it was discovered, the first dinosaur found in Utah is finally being excavated. In 1859, while on the Macomb Expedition, botanist and geologist John Newberry discovered the fossilized remains of what is now known to be a sauropod. Newberry attempted to excavate the remains at the time of discovery, but lacked the proper tools and time.

Researchers at Utah State University are raising record amounts of grant and research money. USU Vice President of Research, Mark McLellan, made the announcement and said during fiscal year 2014 USU was awarded $220 million dollars.

The majority of funding came from the Department of Defense which contributed $60.2 million.  Additional money was awarded by corporations and foundations with State of Utah grants totaling $18.2 million. The National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Interior also gave money to support research at USU.

"This mix of research dollars to support the mission of USU is a very empowering opportunity to drive our programs forward with a real focus on the federal agencies that sponsor research," McLellan said.