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 surge of water into the Colorado River is being hailed as an important step in preserving endangered fish species in Grand Canyon National Park. According to Kevin Dahl of the National Parks Conservation Association, increasing the flow of water sends precious sediment down the 277-mile long river.

“The key feature is the sediment that’ll carry in and redistribute along the Colorado River. It will build up sand banks along the river and create habitat that’s conducive to the endangered Humpback Chub in particular,” he said.

Utah Veteran Embarks On His Battle Of Purpose

Nov 11, 2014
Sandoval in Uniform

Veteran’s Day is an annual opportunity for people in the United States to honor the nation’s armed forces, but for one former Utah soldier, this year’s holiday also marks the first steps into a new project which will address issues that linger with veterans and their families after service.

Spc. Jonathan Sandoval returned home from a tour in Iraq two years ago. In many ways Sandoval said the stresses of being a soldier at war hindered his ability to assimilate back into daily civilian life.


Two environmental protection groups are calling out the Bureau of Land Management for alleged misconduct in building a natural gas pipeline near Moab.

Landon Newell with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance said Fidelity Exploration & Production divided the project into smaller venture proposals to break up the health and environmental analysis of the pipeline.

Historic Provo Home To Be Donated To Lehi Family

Nov 11, 2014

A historic house in Provo is getting a new lease on life as the latest project from Habitat for Humanity. The non-profit group recently finished renovating the nearly 130-year-old house and will now donate the property. According to Kena Jo Mathews, the organization’s Executive Director in Utah County, local housing officials owned the house at the time the project began.

“It was an idea that I had. I knew that the Provo Housing Authority owned it and I knew that they were interested in doing something with it,” she said. “So, I talked to the Provo Housing Authority director [with] the idea that maybe we could do it and that’s kind of how it all was born.”

Alison Einerson

The Winter Market at Salt Lake City’s Rio Grande Station opened for its second year this past weekend. The market keeps the memories of summer farmers markets alive in its indoor location, with over 60 venders selling produce, sauces and jams, meat and baked goods.

Alison Einerson, Winter Market manager, said Saturday’s event drew between 2,500 and 3,000 people, a record crowd.

One St. George-based company is seeking to provide low-interest loans to businesses in rural southern Utah to aid economic development there. Professional Funding is using the U.S. Treasury Department's New Markets Tax Credit program to provide loans to areas considered blighted.

Southern Utah’s population growth provides great opportunities to create jobs, said Rick Conner of Professional Funding.

NAACP Claims Darrien Hunt's Civil Rights May Be Violated

Nov 10, 2014
Darrien Hunt

Information updated 11/12/14. 

On Monday, officials from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced they have requested an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into Darrien Hunt’s death.

NAACP officials said during a press conference that race played a factor in the shooting of the 22-year-old African American male by two Caucasian police officers. They claim improper use of fatal force could be a violation of Hunt’s civil rights.


About 40 percent of Utahns who were eligible to vote cast their ballots on Tuesday, Nov. 4. This is a record-low for voter participation in Utah.  According to Justin Lee,  deputy director of elections for the Lieutenant Governor, the official measure will be known later this month.

“Some of it is estimating. One of the things we don’t know until all the votes and results are certified in a couple of weeks [is] what the final number will be,” he said. “Basically, what we’re doing is taking the number of active voters, then taking the number of people that voted and then just dividing that number up.”

Utah Public School Enrollment Continues To Grow

Nov 7, 2014
Elementary School Students

About 9,600 additional students enrolled in Utah public schools this year, an increase of 1.5 percent.

This may seem like a sizable number, but Mark Peterson with the Utah State Office of Education said it is not out of the ordinary.

“This is actually slowing down a little bit,” Peterson said. “It’s been up and down over the years, but it’s been as high recently as about 2.5 percent back in 2008 and above 3 percent in 2006.”

There was a 1.7 percent increase in 2013, according to Peterson.

Kathy Searle

Finding homes for children who need to be adopted can be difficult, especially if they are older or have siblings; however, one group is trying to get them home, one photo at a time.

The Utah Heart Gallery kicked off its tenth year Wednesday. The gallery partners kids with volunteer photographers and displays the portraits at the state Capitol, said Adoption Exchange of Utah Director of Programs Kathy Searle.

Two Utah Public Schools Recognized For Excellence

Nov 6, 2014
National Blue Ribbon Seal
US Department of Education

The National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education recognizes public schools based on their overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Lincoln Elementary School in Hyrum is one of only two schools in Utah to be recognized; Lakeridge Jr. High School in Orem is the second.

Utah State University football player Hayden Weichers was indefinitely suspended from the university’s football team on Tuesday, the same day he was arrested and issued a citation for trying to solicit a prostitute.  

According to Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen, the 20-year-old redshirt freshman wide receiver tried to solicit a prostitute from Ogden in Logan on Oct. 22. Contrary to the speculation of football fans, Jensen said the delivery of the citation was postponed due to an ongoing investigation, not to allow Weichers to continue playing for USU.

Utah Senator Third In Line For President's Seat

Nov 5, 2014
Senator Orrin Hatch

With the results of Tuesday’s election and the Republicans reclaiming control of the Senate, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is set to become Senate president pro tempore beginning in January.

This means he will be third in line for the presidential seat, among other responsibilities and perks that come with the position.

The honor, set apart in the constitution, is typically bestowed upon the senior Senate member of the majority party.

Love In Washington

Nov 5, 2014
Religion & Politics

Now that Mia Love has been elected to represent Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, Utah State University Political Science Professor Damon Cann said Republicans will be pushing hard to have her serve on high profile committees. But Utah’s delegation will be at a disadvantage when it comes to convincing those on the other side of the aisle to consider their constituency in policy making decisions.

Democratic Party of Utah

The gathering of the Cache County Democrats was a party of one on election night. Jennifer Pemberton talked to Utah House District 5 candidate Jeff Turley shortly after the votes were tallied.

Election Results For Statewide And County Offices

Nov 5, 2014

Election results are in. Below, you'll find statewide results and links for other races.

US Congressional District 1:

  • Rob Bishop: 64.2%
  • Donna McAleer: 28.9%
  • Craig Bowden: 3.6 %
  • Dwayne Vance: 3.23%

Utah Counties Embrace Mail-in Voting

Nov 4, 2014
Mail-in ballot.

Cache County has switched to by-mail ballots this election season. While Cache County is a newcomer to the mail-in voting scene, Duchesne County has used the method since 2012. UPR’s Taylor Halversen spoke with Cache County Clerk Jill Zollinger and Duchesne County Chief Deputy Clerk JoAnn Evans about how the switch has changed voting in the different communities. 

Morgan Williams, a senior majoring in Political Science at Brigham Young University, talks about the importance of exit polls.

The bizarre circumstances that led Salt Lake City police to investigate three missing men began with reports of a barking dog in an abandoned vehicle near 1500 South and 1800 West on Monday morning. When animal control arrived, they called police.

Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Robin Heiden said the condition of the abandoned vehicle is what prompted further investigation.

Utah Colleges Push To Register Student Voters

Nov 4, 2014

Politicians are not the only ones squaring off this November. This year’s Campus Cup is showcasing Utah’s colleges and universities in a battle to have the most voters. A victory in the competition brings not only bragging rights to a campus but also the Campus Cup trophy. According to Casey Saxton, a member of the Utah State University Student Association’s Executive Council, the desired result of the friendly contest is about more than just the coveted cup.

Attorney's Office Finds Darrien Hunt's Death Justified

Nov 3, 2014
Darien Hunt

In a press conference Monday, officials from the Utah County Attorney’s Office said they determined the shooting of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt by Saratoga Springs police officers was justified.

“All four witnesses indicate that as Mr. Hunt was speaking with the officers, [he] abruptly and without any apparent provocation withdrew the sword from its sheath and immediately swung or stabbed it toward at least one the officers,” Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said.


Dozens of bats were removed from the Fifth Judicial District Courthouse in St. George. The colony of Brazilian free-tailed bats was discovered by courthouse employees who arrived to work on Thursday. A pest control company based in St. George removed the animals over a two-day span with about 50 bats being accounted for.

The bats were captured using careful methods and humane equipment, said Eric Palmer of Southwest Exterminators.

Women In Utah Are Stronger Than Study Inferred

Nov 3, 2014
National Endowment for the Humanities

An October study by 24/7wallst.com shows Utah is the worst state for women to live in and cited lack of leadership roles in government and unequal pay as part of their findings.

Michael Lyons, associate professor in the political science department at Utah State University said Utah’s conservative culture that promotes traditional gender roles means many women in the state don’t choose leadership positions. He said change is a matter of time.

“You’re never going to convert a population to a different set of political values in a short time-frame," Lyons said. "Instead, what you see is generational replacement, altering cultures and political attitudes.”

Jeannie Johnson, an assistant professor in the political science department at USU, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said women in Utah are not without a voice, though their choices might infer otherwise.

About 2,000 Rocky Mountain Power customers in Southern Utah were without power early Sunday morning in three separate power interruption incidents. Eighty-seven customers lost power in Cedar City around 3 a.m. Sunday, followed by another 240 moments later. Both incidents were caused when power poles caught fire.

Later Sunday morning, power went out in areas of rural Washington County from a fuse failure at a substation. By mid-morning, all but a handful of the Cedar City customers had power restored, says RMP's Margaret Oler.


Your heart starts racing, palms sweating, your muscles tense and goosebumps arise, there are butterflies in your stomach—you’re experiencing one of the basic human emotions: fear.

Fear is the work of the amygdala, a small part of the brain that can trigger a fight or flight response in less than a second. Some fears are learned and even cultural, while others have no borders, for example a fear of snakes, spiders or heights.

With so many things to be scared of in the world, researchers have long focused on how to stop fear. According to Columbia University professor Carolyn Rodriguez, by facing our fears we can trick our brains into overcoming what scares us. The more you face the fear, the more you trick your brain into releasing opioid chemicals that actually produce a feeling of comfort.

UPR reporters Elaine Taylor and Taylor Halversen set out to see if they could  overcome their fears by facing them directly.