Utah News

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

Budget Issues Remain Despite More Tax Revenues

Dec 8, 2015

The Utah Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst announced Monday that state tax revenues are up $380 million since the last estimate. With the money, the state legislature could increase spending in 2016. While many welcome the added revenue as an indication of a healthy local economy, others are urging caution.

Logan Republican Sen. Lyle Hillyard said that income taxes are driving the boost, which is a sign that more people are working. However, he said that expectations surrounding the state sales tax have fallen short.

A Refugee's Journey to Utah

Dec 8, 2015
http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e489646.html / UNHCR

Chapter Doh is an ethnic Karen refugee from Myanmar living in Logan, Utah.


“A lot of people came here for school but for me as a refugee, because my country had a civil war and I had to escape,” he said.


He essentially grew up in a refugee camp in Thailand after he fled violence caused by a civil war in Myanmar when he was ten years old.


Cherry Peak Resort to Open This Winter

Dec 8, 2015
Katie Peikes / UPR

Managers of privately owned Cherry Peak Resort have announced on its Facebook page that it will open Dec. 21. 



Cherry Peak Resort's crew has been working to ensure the resort's vision becomes a reality. Over the last few months, they have added an additional lift, made snow, talked to investors and are finishing the construction of the lodge. 


Environmental advocates are awaiting the decision of the Utah Supreme Court after oral arguments were heard last week about whether state regulators made the right decision by approving expanded operations at the Tesoro oil refinery in Salt Lake City.

Environment groups argue the refinery contributes to northern Utah’s bad winter air that is sometimes the worst in the nation. It's sometimes listed in the “non-attainment” zone with National Ambient Air Quality Standards, according to the EPA.

Utah's Abandoned Mines Exact A Heavy Price

Dec 4, 2015

Nearly 11,000 abandoned mines dot federal lands in Utah, posing not just an environmental cost, but a heavy financial one as well. The estimated price tag to ensure that they are environmentally safe comes to an astounding $2 billion.


A tanker was involved in a crash last Saturday in Provo Canyon that spilled most of its 5,000-gallon load of crude oil. An estimated 1,000 gallons of oil made its way into the Provo River. The incident has raised concerns about the risks of transporting hazardous materials on Utah’s roads.

The crash occurred when the driver lost control on a particularly slick section of the road. John Gleason, a spokesperson with the Utah Department of Transportation, said that crashes in general tend to increase in frequency during the winter months.

Gov. Walker Funeral Set For Friday

Dec 1, 2015

Funeral services for former Utah Gov. Olene Walker will be held Friday. The state’s first female governor died Saturday at the age of 85 due to natural causes.

A public viewing is scheduled for Thursday at the state Capitol, which will be followed by a private viewing the next day before the funeral.

Walker served as lieutenant governor for over a decade before being elevated to governor after Mike Leavitt left office to head the EPA in 2003.

New Changes Make U.S. Citizenship Easier

Nov 30, 2015

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, the U.S. welcomes approximately 680,000 citizens during naturalization ceremonies across the country each year.

Over 8 percent of Utah’s population are immigrants but fewer than half of them are naturalized citizens. Earlier this month at the Utah State Capital 116 immigrants living in Utah and other nearby states were sworn in as U.S. citizens.  

Raecale Stull / Stull Photography

  If you were to drive through Smithfield, you might see a 40-foot long, 8-foot wide crimson red bus, which a Utah family is converting into their mobile home.   

Brad, Raecale and their five children were looking for an extreme life change. One year ago, they found it in the form of a 40-foot long, 8-foot wide crimson red 1978 General Motors Buffalo Bus, which will become their mobile home in December.

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CVTD: Free Ride Continues, For Now

Nov 20, 2015
Justin Prather / UPR

After more than a month of waiting in anticipation, the Cache Valley community now has the definitive answer on the future of the current zero fare policy on CVTD buses.

Of the 20 members of the CVTD Board of trustees, 19 were in attendance, and voted unanimously to keep the current free ride system in place, at least for the time being.

While all members agreed that in the current state of affairs it made fiscal sense, there was also an agreement to revisit the discussion of charging a fare in the future.

Board member Jeannie Simmonds spoke on this point:

Utah celebrates International Education Week

Nov 19, 2015
Katie Peikes / UPR

Colleges throughout the country are celebrating International Education Week, honoring the benefits of learning about other cultures and enhancing cultural diversity.

And international student populations keep growing, some Utah colleges say.

Weber State University reported they have about 400 international students, according to Tiana Witkamp, an administrative assistant.

New Campaign Helps Men Laugh Their Way To Mental Health

Nov 18, 2015
Melissa Allison

Dr. Richard Mahogany is a fictional therapist and spokesperson for Man Therapy - an innovative campaign that began in Colorado. The program has become the latest included in an initiative of the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition to address men’s mental health. The campaign was launched this past October in Utah to address an unusually high rate of suicides among men.

S. Utah Red Rock Rotary Renovates Reservation Area

Nov 18, 2015
Red Rock Rotary Club of Southern Utah

According to the American Diabetes Association, American Indian youth are two times more likely to have diabetes than other youth.

In an effort to decrease the rate of juvenile diabetes in the Shivwits Band of Paiute Indians, the Red Rock Rotary Club of Southern Utah has been renovating a park on the Shivwits Reservation.

Club members hope the park will become a place where youth there can exercise and become more physically active.

As a way of changing the face of men’s health a group from Melbourne, Victoria organized an event challenging each other to grow a mustache for 30 days, to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men.  That was more than ten years ago.

The Movember Challenge has made its way from Australia to campuses throughout the United States, including Utah State University.

Utah Political Donation Law Challenged

Nov 17, 2015

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday that aims to challenge a Utah law concerning donations to nonprofit organizations. House Bill 43 was intended to combat the use of nonprofits to hide the identities of donors to political causes. Critics of the law claim that HB 43 infringes upon the free speech rights of Utahns.

Libertas Institute is one of the groups pursuing legal action to challenge the law. The organization’s president, Connor Boyack, said that Utah already has the tools to prosecute so-called “dark money” and that HB 43 has kept Libertas from engaging in public advocacy.

Utah Students Seek Tuition Change

Nov 16, 2015

On Thursday, 65 students gathered at the University of Utah advocating for free tuition at public universities, forgiveness of all student debt, and implementation of a $15 minimum hourly wage for university employees.

Ian Decker from the Revolutionary Student Union helped organized the event called Million Students March.

3,500 Leave LDS Church In Mass Resignation

Nov 16, 2015
Morgan Pratt

Recent changes to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints bishop handbook spurred thousands of Mormons to officially leave the church on Saturday. Many of those people met at City Creek park in Salt Lake City to fill out their resignation paperwork, which they then sent in the mail to the church headquarters.

There were 2,500 people in attendance at the park and 1,500 of them processed letters of resignation. On top of that, another 2,000 people from around the country processed their resignation letters through other attorneys.


The U.S. Department of Commerce has released an outline of how each state, including Utah, will benefit should congress approve the Obama administrations plan to reduce tariffs and increase exports to the Trans-Pacific. 

USU Researchers Consider California's Climate Future

Nov 12, 2015
Christopher Campbell

According to a study published in October’s Nature Communications journal, as long as climate change continues the route it’s going, California will experience extreme floods and extreme droughts through 2080 as a result of El Niño.

Lawrence Hipps, plants, soils and climate professor at Utah State University, who contributed to the study, said he and his colleagues made this prediction by putting data into a supercomputer.

Understanding Sexual Assault In The Military

Nov 11, 2015

Tuesday, Nate Galbreath, Senior Executive Advisor with the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, spoke at Utah State University on research concerning sexual assault in the military. Using data from police reports and scientific surveys, it was discovered that the overall rate of incidents is decreasing, although the crime remains a problem.


Article V of the Constitution says two-thirds of states within the Union have to approve a constitutional amendment before it is ratified, but there are no rules about law-makers meeting to discuss procedure to revise the U.S. Constitution, last taking place at the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

USDA Helps Utah Businesses Go Solar

Nov 11, 2015

In 2014 congress reauthorized the Farm Bill and the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) which guaranteed $50 million for funding of renewable energy projects in rural America.

The USDA recently provided over $800,000 in grants from REAP to help offset the costs of solar power for seven small businesses in Utah, including several ranches and farms.

Lary Carter, owner of the Lary and Dean Carter Ranch in Beaver County, received over $150,000 in October for his solar panels.

A Military Job You Didn't Know Exists

Nov 11, 2015
Scott Wolford

The announcement that the military would sponsor Army Bands throughout the country was made in 1922. Now there are hundreds of different army bands across the country in every state including Utah.

Sergeant Zach Putnam and his brother Sergeant Tyler Putnam represent Utah and make up the 23rd Army rock band.  The brothers are often asked what it is like to perform together.

"It’s a lot of fun," they said.

Taiwan-China Meeting Raises Reunification Hopes

Nov 10, 2015
Dr. Brenda Sun

That’s Dr. Brenda Sun, a Logan, Utah-based economics scholar, reciting a famous Chinese poem that focuses on peas being cooked in a pot.

Legend has it that, back in the era of the Three Kingdoms, an emperor challenged his younger brother, a poetry prodigy, to make a poem in the time it took to take seven baby-steps. The product of that wager became the now-famous poem decrying the hostility between the two brothers. The peas being cooked by burning the stem, though they come from the same root.