Utah News

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

Thousands of the world’s next generation of leaders are spending a few days in Utah. DECA, an organization targeted toward students interested in marketing, finance and management is holding its International Career Development Conference at the Salt Palace.

It’s 2:00 on Monday and 14-year-old Sherry Ann Morgenstern is preparing for the Principles of Finance competition.

Administrators at Hurricane High School in Washington County initiated the familiar call to evacuate the school and gather outside in the predetermined places for an accounting, but this time it was not a drill.

Early Monday morning, a teacher noticed smoke coming from the the school's wood shop room. He alerted authorities and the school was evacuated. The fire occurred in the shop's dust ventilation system, and although some smoke and water damage resulted, the small shop is in a building separate from the rest of the school, so the damage and potential threat was very limited.

Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee joined a minority of senators last week in voting against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. The Alliance for a Better Utah believes that a vote against reauthorizing the Act represents a callous insult not just to the women of Utah but to the entire population of Utah and the United States.

Alliance for a Better Utah Executive Director, Maryann Martindale told UPR's Kerry Bringhurst that:

Organizations in Utah who serve residents receiving Medicaid and State Child Health Insurance are calling for Utah lawmakers to hold a special session to allocate money that would be used to help those whose personal information was stolen when a state computer system was hacked.

Judi Hilman is with the Utah Health Policy Project. She says the state is not doing enough to help the more than 800,000 victims:

Vince Rampton officially filed paperwork to run for office alongside Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Cooke. Rampton, who is the son of former Utah Governor Calvin Rampton, says as Lieutenant Governor he would focus on transparency in campaign financing, more precise requirements for lobbyists and more facilitative rules governing initiatives and referendums

He also says allowing electronic signatures to be gathered for petitions is also very important to the process: 

Hoping to muster up a stronger voice to direct towards Washington, Governor Gary Herbert met with the Governors of Wyoming and Idaho on Friday in the first ever “Rocky Mountain Roundtable.”

“This is really a beginning, the desire to communicate better as governors with each other and learn from each other, our success and our failures, and see if we can become better governors. And unite our voices where we have common concern.”

Last week 59-year-old Victoria Grover from Maine parked her rented car on Hell's Backbone Road in remote Southern Utah and set out for a day hike to Sand Creek and back. But when sunset came she was nowhere near her car.

On Wednesday she broke her leg while moving through the rugged terrain and spent the next 4 days and nights stranded in the wilderness.

Photo courtesy U.S. Army

Army officials recognized the work of employees at the Deseret Chemical Depot weapons storage facility in Tooele Thursday for their part in destroying the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the United States.

Inventory Management Specialist Kent Shields is letting go of the petty frustrations that come with the day-to-day workweek grind and forging ahead: “It’s such a changing event in our lives. I’m old and I’m going to be able to retire but it’s just like a big door shutting and a chapter of a great book ending.”

"Beacon on the Hill" - Weber State Campus Goes Dark

Apr 26, 2012

Weber State University's Ogden campus, that "beacon on the hill," went dim today. Bad wiring is at fault, but help is on the way.

The Social Science, Student Services, and Visual Arts buildings will be operating on emergency power Thursday and Friday as extensive repair work with specialized equipment is underway.

Employees who work in those buildings should contact their supervisors, according to John Kowalewski, campus spokesman. He said that the campus will provide alternatives for students needing to pay bills or register for summer term with student services.

They call him the renewable energy guru. Andy Swapp is the technology teacher at Milford High School. He was recently recognized for his dedication to renewable energy by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch with a congressional tribute. Senator Hatch closed the tribute with the words, "Mr. President, I was really impressed with what I experienced in meeting Andy. I wanted to highlight the important, innovative work of a successful educator engaged in leading our nation into the future."

The Utah Department of Transportation employee who was wrongfully fired after being accused of leaking confidential information about a contract bid wants to be compensated for her time out of work and she wants her old position back. She is calling on Utah Governor Gary Herbert to help her reach an agreement with UDOT, but it’s doubtful he’ll be on board.

Former UDOT Civil Rights manager Denise Graham says what UDOT gave her after a judge determined her termination was unjust was a new position and essentially a gag order.

A controversial plan to connect Utah’s ski resorts is gaining support from local business leaders. A new coalition touts the economic and environmental benefits of joining resorts along the Wasatch Front and Back by a gondola, but the gathering spurred dozens to protest the meeting. 

Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie announced the formation of the Lift Utah Coalition, which supports connecting Wasatch Mountain ski resorts:

Man Crushed to Death at Work in Box Elder County

Apr 24, 2012

Family members went to look for Mitchell Shaw of Riverdale when he failed to return from work. He was found dead at 2:00 Tuesday morning, crushed by a front-loader while working at Promontory Point.

Chief Deputy Kevin Potter of the Box Elder County sheriffs' office says Shaw was working by himself and operating  an older style front-end loader with hydraulic arms: "Apparently he had leaned out over to the side and those arms came down on him. whether the hydraulics failed or he accidentally bumped levers, he was crushed against the side of the cab and he was killed instantly."

The Arizona state transportation board has awarded an $11.5 million contract to repave a section of interstate highway that most Arizonans will never travel.

I-15 passes through just 29 miles of the extreme northwest corner of Arizona, cut off from the rest of the state by the Grand Canyon. But the rugged terrain and the frequent criss-crossing of the Virgin River made it the nation’s most expensive stretch of highway per mile to build.

33-year-old Matt Lewis of Ivins died Saturday after the non-motorized paraglider he was piloting crashed about 5 miles south of the Utah-Arizona line. Authorities from the Arizona Highway Patrol and Mohave County Search and Rescue responded to the remote crash scene using an AHP helicopter. The scene was not accessible by roads.

In May the Extension program at Utah State University will hold a workshop to help assist owners and operators of family farms and ranches with transitioning their business to their successors. This is a unique opportunity for small agribusiness owners to visualize the future of the family farm with or without them.

In 1946 a handful of nuns from the Order of Saint Benedict opened a hospital and a nursing school in Ogden. For 66 years they have opened their hearts to people of Northern Utah.

The sisters opened St. Benedict's Hospital with a mission from their order's founder: "Care must be taken of the sick as though they were the body of Christ in person." For years their red brick hospital and convent stood at the top of 30th Street where the city meets the mountains. Its benevolent philosophy and tradition of service attracted many patients and its nursing students came from near and far.

The Great Salt Lake's Evaporating Shorelines

Apr 19, 2012

Utah's Department of Natural Resources is updating the Great Salt Lake Comprehensive Management Plan and its mineral leasing plan and is taking public comment on the plan until April 26. In addition, Great Salt Lake Mineral applied for a permit for evaporation ponds on 91,000 acres of the lake. The Army Corp of Engineers is working on a draft environmental impact statement.

Shirley Erickson Gorospe is Director of Evaporating Shorelines, a nonprofit organization responsible for producing a documentary of the same name.

It was the largest earthquake drill in state history and one that students and the staff at the Edith Bowen Laboratory School have been preparing for.

As 10:15 rolls around, Tyler Rasmussen of River Heights and his classmates at the Logan elementary school wait for the announcement from counselor Clint Farmer that the drill has begun. He and other students in Mrs. Moeller's class take cover as she tells them:

"The best things to hold onto are going to be the legs of the desks because that's the sturdiest part of your desk."

A recent warning by Animal Control officials in Mesquite, Nevada, has dog owners in Southern Utah and Nevada on the lookout for signs of the very dangerous, even fatal, canine parovirus.

Equal Pay Day Nothing to Celebrate in Utah

Apr 17, 2012

Tuesday is Equal Pay Day across America, a day recognizing an ongoing wage gap among men and women in the U.S., and Utah has the 3rd largest pay disparity in the country.

The study, performed by the Washington D.C.-based advocacy group National Partnership for Women and Families, shows women in Utah earn 69 cents for every dollar paid to a man, compared to 77 cents on the dollar nationwide.

Sara Crawford, Director of Workplace Fairness at the National Partnership for Women and Families says this isn’t good for Utah’s economy.

If you waited until the last minute to do your taxes, don’t worry: you’re not alone.

Bill Brunson, spokesman for the IRS, told Jessica Gail that 92,500 Utahns were expected to request an extension to file their 2012 tax return and that those people should know that:

“If you have a balance due, if you know you owe Uncle Sam money and you request the extension to file you will only have the late payment penalty which is one half of one percent. You won’t incur the late filing penalty which is five percent on the taxes due.”

Big questions still remain in the investigation of several Secret Service members who allegedly brought prostitutes into their room while on assignment in Columbia and Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz is helping to find answers.

Chaffetz serves on the Government Oversight and Reform Committee in Washington D.C. which is already looking into the situation:

Officials Searching for Answers in Trafficking

Apr 13, 2012

Restoring self worth and value to victims of sex trafficking is a common theme at the 2012 Trafficking In Persons Symposium being held in Salt Lake City this week. As KCPW’s Whittney Evans reports, law enforcement leaders, educators, advocates, survivors and other experts are talking about why it takes more than locking up perpetrators to solve the problem. 

Utah Department of Transportation officials say drivers should be prepared to be inconvenienced by its plans to complete more than 200 projects this year, mainly to improve roadways and streets.

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