Utah News

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

Wild Aware Utah

The Wild Aware Utah campaign, now available to Utahns, includes general safety tips to help educate the public about what to do when encountering wildlife while camping or recreating.

Mark Natt and his wife Stephanie Jochum-Natt are among a group of volunteers working together to prepare online and public speaking information that can be used to prepare for and prevent unwelcome encounters with bats, bear, deer and other animals.  They said the project is designed to be used by families, scout groups, 4-H clubs and the general public.

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management is looking for individuals responsible for defacing an area containing Native American rock art on the west side of Utah Lake.

Lisa Reid with the Bureau of Land Management said people frequently venture into the Lake Mountain area to engage in target practice illegally. She said litter from shooting is a major problem for the area, but added that vandalism is a less-common issue.

http://pks.usu.edu/htm/facilities-equipment/sports-medicine-laboratory / Utah State University

A group of researchers at Utah State University are using groundbreaking equipment to observe the influence high-intensity exercise has on symptoms of severe arthritis.

The researchers were able to create an aquatic environment for high-intensity exercising by using an underwater treadmill and currents. Eadric Bressel, a researcher on the project, said the level of workout intensity achieved in the study could not be reached with calisthenics or other movement in the water.


Despite recent precipitation, scientists say Utah is still experiencing drought conditions.

Brian McInerney, hydrologist for the National Weather Service, said the amount of precipitation that has fallen does not mitigate how much the state is lacking in its reservoirs.

“When we have the snowpacks, an average snowpack melting, we get an inch a day coming out of the mountains, and that lasts for about six weeks,” McInerney said. “The rainfall we’re getting now is maybe thirty-five hundredths, a half-inch, a quarter-inch over three days, four days.”

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus have been found in Utah County, according to state health officials.

Currently there are no reports of anyone contracting the disease, but officials are urging the public to take precautionary measures. Lance Madigan with the Utah County Health Department said individuals should wear long-sleeved clothing and using insect repellant containing DEET, especially during the dusk-to-dawn hours. 


Utah is now one of 11 states to carry a new brand of liquor made by the Cedar Band, one of the five bands of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.

The beverages produced under the Twisted Cedar label are grown and produced in California, but the group has laid down Utah roots with an office in Cedar City.           

USU's Michael Morgan Says Speed Week A 'Go'

Aug 11, 2014

Update 8/11/14: Speed Week 2014 at the Bonneville Salt Flats was canceled do to the race track conditions after severe rainstorms. The Southern California Timing Association board, which planned the event, issued a statement that there is a possibility of extending the World Finals event (Sep. 30-Oct. 3) into a full-week event to make up for the loss of the Speed Week races. 

Utah State alumni Mike Morgan said that the race is on despite threats of bad weather.


Utah State University is assisting Utahns in their efforts to develop healthy communication skills.

A $2.4 million contract was recently secured by Brian Higginbotham, USU Extension’s associate vice president, will now bring relationship and communicative courses to 11 Utah counties.

“These are classes that we’ve already been teaching as part of our family area in Extension,” Higginbotham said. “This particular contract will allow us to expand those services into communities and into DWS offices around the state.”


To view the Perseid shower, find clear, dark skies away from city lights. Give your eyes about 45 minutes to adjust to the dark, then look straight up to see as much sky as possible. If you have partly cloudy skies, you might still see bright meteors.

The peak time for meteor showers over Utah is between 3 and 4 a.m.

“When they hit the atmosphere they get really hot and they glow for just and instant, maybe a second or so, and then burn themselves out and whatever’s left we call micro-meteoric dust and that rains down on the ground. People probably have some in their hair right now." -Patrick Wiggins. 


A new study published by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research shows that despite setbacks during the year, Utah increased overall in tourism in 2013.

Jennifer Leaver with BEBR said the study is the first of its kind for the state, focused on a county level. She said the detailed breakdown allows researchers to see precisely where tourism is a vital industry in the state, and where tourism is seeing growth or decline.


Speed Week 2014 at the Bonneville Salt Flats was canceled due to the race track conditions after severe rainstorms. The Southern California Timing Association board, which planned the event, issued a statement that there is a possibility of extending the World Finals event (Sep. 30-Oct. 3) into a full-week event to make up for the loss of the Speed Week races. 

Recent rainfall has rendered the Bonneville Salt Flats unusable for the Bonneville Nationals 2014 Speed Week races, which were originally scheduled to take place August 9-15.


A new Gallup Poll indicates that states that have actively implemented the Affordable Care Act have seen a significant drop in the number of uninsured individuals.

Across the board, states that implemented both the Medicaid expansion and state/partnership exchange aspects of the ACA saw the largest reductions in uninsured rates. States that partially implemented the expansion measures generally saw reductions, but the effect was less drastic.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Earlier this week, the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints announced it would be reassigning missionaries stationed in two western Africa countries due to the Ebola outbreak.

Wednesday, the church announced that all missionaries have been safely removed from Sierra Leone and Liberia—two of four countries, including Guinea and more recently Nigeria, in which the deadly outbreak has surfaced.


Utah researchers are leading a team of U.S. scientists into Egypt to find solutions to water issues facing the arid country.

The team is led by Jagath Kaluarachchi, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Utah State University, and includes nine other scientists from research institutions across the country.

The group, funded by the National Science Foundation, will meet with officials from Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources on August 10 in Cairo.


Climbers are mourning the loss of an iconic rock formation in the Fisher Towers area outside of Moab after the sandstone column toppled over on Thursday.

The 40-foot-tall tower known as "the Cobra" fell following a stormy week in eastern Utah.

Local climber and Operations Manager at Moab Cliffs and Canyons, Evan Clapper, called the geologic structure of the Cobra improbable.

Brian Champagne

Travelers trying to drive to and from Northern Utah’s Bear Lake on Saturday morning were delayed by  a head-on vehicle collision that left one person dead.

Eighteen-year-old Ryker Lance Dattage of Hyde Park was near Franklin Basin in Logan Canyon when the vehicle he was driving drifted into oncoming traffic. He was killed on impact after colliding with a Ford F-350 pickup truck driven by 57-year old Bruce Wilson of Hooper. 

Members of a Las Vegas family are drying out and counting their blessings after escaping a flash flood that overtook their Veyo area campsite over the weekend.

A family member awoke in the middle of the night to the thunderous sound of water overflowing the banks of the Santa Clara River.

Deputy Darrell Cashin is with the Washington County Sheriff Search and Rescue Team, and said all 13 family members managed to scramble to higher ground, but were trapped along a narrow ledge as they watched their belongings wash downstream.

Dawn Mclain / Write It-Up

Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher accepted a $10,500 donation on behalf of a five-county regional search and rescue team.  A St. George car dealership, Findley Automotive, held a golf tournament to help raise the money.  This is the fourth year the group has contributed to help volunteers purchase equipment and participate in training exercises.

“When I first started we bought everything ourselves,” Pulsipher said. “The county didn’t have the ability to provide any equipment, training or anything. We did it all ourselves.”

The libertarian-minded public policy group Libertas Institute is funding a lawsuit against the Utah State School Board, which focuses on how Common Core standards were adopted.

Libertas President Connor Boyack said the state school board did not adequately consult parents, teachers and local school board members before the academic standards were adopted.


Former Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff made their first appearances in a Salt Lake City Court this week. 

Swallow and Shurtleff’s Wednesday morning court appearances were brief; both men maintained their innocence.

The two were arrested on July 15 and charged with a combined 23 counts, ranging from accepting bribes and tampering with evidence to the misuse of public money.

map of greater canyonlands

Fourteen senators from across the U.S. have penned a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to declare the Greater Canyonlands region a national monument.

The area encompasses Canyonlands National Park and would expand protection to surrounding federal lands.

Joanna Endter-Wada, Larry Rupp, Paul Johnson, Kelly Kopp and Brian Higginbotham
USU Extension

Utah State University’s Center for Water Efficient Landscaping received an Award of Excellence from the Western Extension Directors Association earlier this month for their innovative work in water conservation.

The annual award recognizes extension outreach education programs that address current societal issues in the 13 Western states and Pacific Island U.S. Territories in an especially impactful way.

USU-CWEL focuses on improving landscape irrigation efficiency in Utah by promoting landscape water conservation and research-based landscape management practices.


The start of the Blawn Wash Gather on Monday has once again sparked debate about the management of wild horses in Utah. 

Lisa Reid with the BLM says the roundup is going well. The BLM aims to collect 140 horses from state land in the south western portion of Utah.

“Thus far we’ve been able to gather 70 horses successfully, we’ve had no incidences, no deaths, everything had come in healthy, looks great and we couldn’t be more pleased with operations,” Reid said.


The month of July may be coming to a close, but the wildfire season is not. Fires continue to burn across the state, from the Tunnel Hollow Fire near Morgan to the Levan fire south of Nephi.

Jason Curry with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands said Utah is on track for a normal fire year. However, he said the state’s seen fewer large fires so far this year. Curry explained why he thinks the state is seeing less catastrophic events.

Chick-fil-A icon

A national chain restaurant has chosen Utah as its testing ground for technology that could change the game for its consumer experience.

Customers at Chick-fil-A establishments across the state can now pay using their phone instead of cash or card. Earlier this week the corporation launched a new mobile payment app, testing it in four states including Utah’s 18 participating locations.