Utah News

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

While both Republicans and Democrats agree that education should be a top priority, there is disagreement about pay for higher education faculty. Neil Abercrombie, Director of Government Relations for Utah State University, explained the discrepancy to UPR today at the opening of the Utah State Legislative Session.

The Utah Public Radio news team spent the opening day of the Utah Legislative Session at the State Capitol, talking to Senators and Representatives about the issues that matter to our listeners. Get ready for some great reporting today and for the next 45 days.

From Cache County in the north to Washington County in southern Utah, $44 million in federal money is headed to the beehive state to help with watershed protection.

The grant money comes from the USDA’s natural resource conservation service.  Much of the work is to repair damage to roads, water systems and other infrastructure caused by flooding over the past two years.

The emergency watershed protection program was set up by congress to respond to emergencies created by natural disasters.

"Massage" now a broader term for businesses

Jan 20, 2012

At the end of this month, any Utah business that offers light touch or stroking of the body as a service without a massage license could be in violation of state law. As KCPW’s Whittney Evans reports, the new rule enacted by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing broadens the term “massage,” which some local business owners say goes too far.

Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate have introduced an initiative they say will improved public education in Utah. Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck talks to Kerry Bringhurst about the "Best Schools" initiative.

Living with Fracking

Jan 20, 2012

Science Questions takes you into the lives of Pennsylvania residents who are personally being impacted by drilling for highly profitable natural gas and what scientists are saying about the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, gaining attention across the nation.

Poet remembers growing up in internment camp

Jan 20, 2012

Over 100,000 people were placed in  ten remote internment camps during WW2.

They were not charged, and not convicted and yet many served time in prison camps with barbed wire and armed guards.

Lawson Inada, Oregon Poet Laureate (2006-2010) was 4 years old when his family was relocated to a camp in Arkansas.

Inada is coming to speak this weekend about his experience in internment camps.

The U.S. Army has destroyed about 90 percent of its aging chemical weapons, from the desert chemical depot.

Wednesday just after 2 p.m. the last of the hard weapons were burned in a 1,500 degree furnace. A tray of 23 projectiles came out of the furnace at 2:11 p.m.

At its peak, the desert chemical depot held some 13,600 tons of chemical agents, making it the world's largest.

The entire project will be complete by the weekend when the depot will incinerate bulk supplies of Lewisite, a powerful skin, eye and lung irritant.

Bike, pedestrian trail system in the works in Moab

Jan 20, 2012

The federal government this week awarded 2.5-million dollars for recreational development in north Moab.

UPR’s Moab correspondent Vicki Barker reports:

The old Lions Club Park at the Colorado River bridge can now develop into a sophisticated recreational use area.

With a grant announced this week from the Federal Transit Aministration, a multi-agency committee in Moab will proceed with a bike-and-pedestrian trail system. It will link parks, recreation areas and the river, to Moab.

 

USDA is closing 43 offices throughout US that helps rural Americans get affordable mortgages. 

This is a great concern in Utah, although no offices in Utah will be closed.  The program in Utah that deals with self help housing is called Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing Association. 

"We don't have many offices in Utah, and the ones we do have cover a wide area," said Kim Datwyler, executive director

Utah offices for NNHA cover from Provo and Vernal north, she said.

The latest news on the winter storm sweeping across the Rockies and bringing significant snowfall and flooding to Utah.

Utah faces a shortage of affordable housing for low-income households, but the Olene Walker Housing Fund has managed to help keep thousands of Utahns from being homeless. The Fund has also managed to keep off the federal housing cuts chopping block. Gordon Walker, State Director Housing and Community Development discussed the Olene Walker Fund at an affordable housing press conference yesterday.

Serious State Discussions for Sage Grouse Habitat

Jan 19, 2012

A scoping meeting to discuss preserving, conserving and restoring sagebrush habitat for the greater sage grouse was held Wednesday in Vernal. UPR's Ranae Bangerter tells us there will be 26 meetings to discuss the bird's habitat during the next two weeks.

A bill that would not only improve public notice of Utah’s neighborhood caucus meetings, but block any other public meetings from being held the same day, will go before lawmakers during the upcoming legislative session.   Republican Representative Kraig Powell, the bill’s sponsor, calls the neighborhood caucuses Utah’s “real election day.”

Avalanche Warning in Effect

Jan 19, 2012

Avalanche risk is high in the mountains of Northern and Central Utah due to heavy snow and strong winds.

Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center explains to UPR why conditions are particularly dangerous right now.

The warning doesn't apply to ski areas where crews conduct avalanche control, but skiing or traveling in the backcountry is not recommended.

The Utah Avalanche Center is a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and other state and local agencies.

Teen Crashes Car After Huffing Air Duster

Jan 19, 2012

An 18-year-old from Syracuse is facing charges after police say he crashed his car while huffing a computer-cleaning air duster. He's being cited for driving under the influence of drugs, possession of a psychotoxic chemical, failure to wear a seatbelt, and failure to stop at a stop sign.

Syracuse detective Heath Rogers says that there has been a rise in abuse of air dusters, which consist of compressed gas usually used to clean debris from keyboards and other electronics.

Even though northern Utah is forecasted to face avalanche danger this week, the lack of snow this winter has forced Ogden to cancel its Winterfest. Kerry talks to Dave Greiling about these and other developing stories.

Read the full stories at the Standard-Examiner's website.

Court papers show Teresa Freeman was charged with one count of custodial sexual relations for having sexual relations  with a parolee she supervised at a Salt Lake City halfway house. The 37-year-old faces a prison term of up to five years if convicted. 

A court-appointed attorney will represent the interests of nine children who are at the heart of a custody battle between an exiled former polygamist, and his three former wives.

Lorin Holm was kicked out of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by church leader Warren Jeffs.  His three wives were then assigned to other men.  

BYU to uncover little-known tabernacle

Jan 17, 2012

Archaeologists from BYU are planning to unearth the foundations of a little-known Provo tabernacle building, torn down nearly a century ago. 

The Federal Aviation Committee has thrown up a roadblock to the plan announced last fall to introduce a 50-seat regional jet to replace the twice daily turbo-prop service in and out of the city.

Utah wildlife officials have confirmed that a known poison killed hundreds of European starlings last month. Officials still don't know who used the poison called Starlicide.

Government agencies routinely kill starlings when flocks become a nuisance, but officials say they aren't responsible for the starlings that have been turning up dead around northern Utah.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources say that tests showed that Starlicide was used to kill about 400 starlings found dead at a Clearfield park.

The body of a yet unidentified man has been recovered in Grand Canyon National Park. According to park spokesperson Shannan Marcak the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a report of a deceased person near the South Kaibab Trail.

Upon arriving at the scene, rangers found the body of an unidentified male about one-third mile from the trailhead, near Yaki Point. Rangers made their initial investigations, then carried the body to the rim. The body was first taken to the park's emergency operations center and then on to the Coconino County medical examiner.

Area Uranium Mill Workers Entitled to Compensation

Jan 13, 2012

Former uranium-mill workers and their survivors are now eligible for government compensation due to radiation exposure. A U.S. Energy Department ruling has increased a list from 3 to 20 mill tailings plants where workers may have suffered illness from the job.
 
Newly entitled workers from four uranium mill tailings plants in the Four Corners area can now apply for compensation and medical benefits. According to a news release, the U.S. Department of Labor is notifying newly eligible workers at seventeen plants nationwide about potential benefits.

A federal judge in Salt Lake City has ruled that wrongful death lawsuit against Hurricane City, and two members of its police department may proceed to trial.

In 2009, Brian Cardall and family were traveling through Washington County returning to their home in Flagstaff, when Cardall experienced a manic episode related to bipolar disorder. He left his vehicle and began removing his clothing. His wife Anna dialed 911. Within minutes Chief Lynn Excell and Officer Kenneth Thompson of the Hurricane Police Department arrived.

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