Utah News

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

Matheson: Both Parties Should Welcome Moderates

Sep 25, 2015

Former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson was in Logan on the campus of Utah State University Thursday speaking to students on government gridlock and political polarization. Matheson, the son of former Gov. Scott Matheson, was the sole Democratic member of the state’s congressional delegation from 2001 to 2015.

In 2013, an impasse within Congress led to a 16-day government shutdown. Matheson said that he hopes that Congress will not allow another shutdown to occur.



Lawmakers worried about Utah's reliance on federal money have unveiled an online calculator that shows how the state would be hit by various federal budget disasters.

The Federal Funds Risk Model was released Sept. 24 by Utah's Federal Funds Commission, which was formed in 2013 to study the state's reliance on federal money in the wake of broad federal spending cuts.

Utah Chicken Owners Watch For Avian Flu

Sep 23, 2015
Aimee Cobabe

Recently the Division of Wildlife Resources warned chicken owners to shield their poultry from the avian flu after several wild ducks with the virus were found in northern Utah. Local poultry farms have taken precautions to protect their chickens from the virus.

I’m visiting with Natalie Shepherd in the small town of Nibley, Utah as she feeds her backyard chickens. Shepherd says a lot of her neighbors are also keeping chickens in their backyards.

“So what made you want to get chickens?”


A growing number of Utahns have voiced their opposition to a proposed expansion of a coal mine owned by Alton Coal Development. The proposal has been met with heavy criticism from environmental activists who claim that the expansion will impact a nearby national park.

USU's NR Days Teaches Children About Water Quality

Sep 23, 2015
Christopher Campbell

Last week, students and faculty from Utah State University’s College of Natural Resources led field lessons with elementary school students from around Cache Valley during something they call “NR Days.”

USU’s Water Quality Extension programs coordinator Brian Greene taught elementary school students about insects that live in streams for the first part of their lives and in the air as adults. They are called aquatic macroinvertebrates, and Greene said they are biological indicators of clean, healthy water.

Federal Officials: Sage-Grouse Not Endangered

Sep 22, 2015

Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled that the greater sage-grouse will not need special protection under the Endangered Species Act. The FWS made its decision after evaluating the collective work done by federal, state, and private partners in what has become the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history. 

Utah State University professor Terry Messmer, who studies sage-grouse populations, said that while the decision is encouraging, the work has just begun.


The event, called “Faith, Stewardship, and a Changing Earth” will include four panelists of different religious affiliations, who will participate in a conversation about how their faith and deeply held values should incorporate caring for the creation. The moderator of the discussion, Susan Soleil, who is also the Director of Utah Interfaith Power & Light, said religious people are engaging in environmental action.

There are an estimated 250,000 small businesses in Utah, which employ 500,000 employees according to the Utah Small Business Profile. Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread is one of those small businesses; the bakery reopened Sept. 19 in Logan under new owners.

 Loyal customers were saddened to see Crumb Brothers close their doors in March of this year but are delighted now to have them return.


Aimee Cobabe

The Cache Clean Air Consortium met Monday in Logan, Utah and discussed car emissions, efficiency and air quality. Randy Martin, associate research professor of environmental engineering at Utah State University, presented his findings on the differences between car emissions.

Researchers Find Use For Fracking Wastewater

Sep 21, 2015
http://www.engineering.usu.edu/htm/news/articleID=29965 / USU College of Engineering

Brigham Young University, Utah State University and University of Utah are known as the Energy Research Triangle that are collaborating on an alternative fuel project. Researchers and engineers collaborated to create an algae biofuel grown from large volumes of toxic fracking water.

Fracking is a water-intensive method of extracting natural gas from a shale layer.

Sept. 19 was national U.S. citizenship day. In 2014 alone 654,949 people became naturalized citizens, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Miguel Barragán, who is from Chiclayo, Peru, is among those who recently received his U.S. citizenship, which took him nine years to accomplish.



“I feel fantastic because life is always a challenge for immigrants” Barragán said. “I feel like this is a dream come true.”  

Human Library Returns to Utah State University

Sep 18, 2015

Human Library returned to Utah State University on Sept. 16 in the Merrill-Cazier Library in Logan.


Anne Hedrich, a librarian at USU, explained Human Library visitors check out a living person and have a conversation with them about a topic in question. It is like reading a book but instead of reading, you get to have a face-to-face conversation with someone.

Farmer's Markets Are On The Rise

Sep 17, 2015

Cache Valley Farmer’s Market hosted its second annual Farm to Table Banquet on Saturday in Logan as a way to celebrate the county’s local food and farmers.

Mary Laine, the Cache Valley Gardener's Market Manager, said this is the second consecutive year this event has been held.

“This banquet is my madness,” she said.


Laine said all of the food was donated by local farmers, bakeries and cafes.



20 years ago, 41 wild Rocky Mountain Wolves were released in Yellowstone National Park in a reintroduction effort. Dan MacNulty, a professor of wildland resources at Utah State University is studying the relationship between wolves and elk in the Park.

“What we really want to know is the extent to which wolves are an important driver in elk population dynamics,” MacNulty said. “We know that they’re a driver. The question is, how much of a driver are they and does the strength of that effect vary from one year to the next.”


In 2014, the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, which helps people with disabilities find work and live independently, ran a deficit of $4.9 million. According to a September audit from the state Legislative Auditor General, the agency failed to monitor its growing budget, leaving funding for important programs unsustainable.

New research done at Utah State University reveals the benefits of  using genetically modified Syrian hamsters in understanding common diseases.

“The major research focus in my laboratory is to develop genetic animal models for human disease” said Zhongde Wang, associate professor at Utah State University.

Wang and researchers from Saint Louis University have made a breakthrough in understanding adenovirus, which can lead to the common cold and other respiratory problems. The virus is especially dangerous for those with suppressed immune systems and small children.

Culinary water users in the Fort Pierce area of St. George now have the go ahead to use tap water without first boiling. The boil warning went out Sunday after a routine sample was found to contain fecal coliform bacteria.

Water managers are still not certain from where the contamination came. The incident appears to be isolated.

City crews replaced the sampling station and chlorinated and flushed the distribution system.

Scott Taylor is with St. George City, and suggests users also do a flush.

On The Campaign Trail With A Republican Hopeful

Sep 10, 2015

While the 2016 Utah gubernatorial election is still over a year away, Republican hopeful Jonathan Johnson has already begun to make his case. Johnson, chairman of the board for Overstock.com, was in Logan on Wednesday for a town hall meeting at Utah State University.

This campaign is Johnson’s first foray into the world of Utah electoral politics. He said that the decision to run has meant a few changes for his family.

Utah May Be Unprepared For Earthquake

Sep 10, 2015

  The vast majority of Utahns live and work along the Wasatch Front fault line. According to the Utah Geological Survey, the region has a high probability of a large earthquake in the coming years.

A new report published by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute indicates that earthquakes pose the greatest natural threat to Utah’s people, infrastructure and economy.

The report looked at the possible outcomes of a 7.0 earthquake in the Wasatch Front area.


  Hunters who applied for a permit to harvest a tundra swan will find out if they won the luck of the draw on Sept. 16, with the season to open on Oct. 3 and  go through the second weekend in December. Utah is one of four states in the Pacific Flyway where tundra swan can be hunted.

Utah Among Nation's Green Jobs Leaders

Sep 4, 2015

Utah ranks fourth on a new top 10 list of states seeing job growth in clean energy and clean transportation.

Environmental Entrepreneurs or E2 is a nonpartisan group that tracks new project announcements in the fields of clean power, energy conservation and efficiency, and reports the results by state.


Allstate Insurance recently ranked 200 of the nation’s largest cities, including Salt Lake City, which came in as the 74th safest city. According to Allstate, Salt Lake drivers will likely experience a car wreck once every 9 years, which is 10 percent more often than the national average.

Residents of Logan gave their opinion on the ranking.

“I don’t like bigger cities—there’s a lot more traffic,” said Kory Pence. “I’m from a small town so I don’t like driving in big cities.”

“Actually, I don’t have any issues driving in Salt Lake City,” said Cedric Winchester.


When Gov. Gary Herbert and legislative leaders failed to finalize a plan to expand Medicaid by the end of July, many expressed concern about Utahns living in the coverage gap. For residents with disabilities, the problem is much more than just Medicaid expansion. 

Jerry Costley, Executive Director of the Utah chapter of the disability rights group ADAPT, said that Medicaid expansion is one issue among many affecting Utahns with disabilities.

Canyonlands Officially Named "Dark Sky Park"

Sep 3, 2015
Photo Dan Duriscoe.

Canyonlands National Park in eastern Utah is being recognized for its dark skies and lack of light pollution.

Park officials announced this week that Canyonlands was named as an “International Dark Sky Park” by the Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association.

Groups Criticize Nation's First Tar Sands Mine

Sep 1, 2015

The Canadian company U.S. Oil Sands is set to open the United States’ first ever tar sands mine in eastern Utah’s Book Cliffs. The move has encountered heavy criticism, mainly from environmental activists.

Tar sands mining extracts bitumen from the earth, which is then processed into oil at a refinery. Raphael Cordroy, spokesperson with Utah Tar Sands Resistance, said that tar sands mining releases pollutants from what’s left over after bitumen is obtained.