Patrick Wiggins, who represents NASA as a volunteer Solar System Ambassador in Utah, is receiving one of the space agency’s highest honors.
NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors work to educate the public about astronomy and space exploration. They commit to eight events a year – but the agency says Wiggins averages about 88 a year, more than a thousand since he started working in the program 12 years ago.
For the past two years, the federal government has allowed Utah to waive key parts of the No Child Left Behind law. Now that waiver is up for renewal and the state board of education is questioning if it should instead go back to the largely unpopular law.
The Salt Lake City Department of Airports will break ground Friday on the 1.8 billion dollar Terminal Redevelopment Program. Construction will continue in phases from now through 2019 with complete build out by 2022. Mike Williams is the program director of the massive project. He says there will be many big changes along the way but the effort is going to be well worth it.
Park City’s Autumn Aloft Hot Air Balloon Festival is returning after suddenly ending 20 years ago. It will coincide with the final weekend of the Parksilly Sunday Market September 19 through the 21st. Meisha Lawson is the spokeswoman for the festival. She says city leaders, residents and businesses are showing overwhelming support for the return of the event.
Utah lawmakers were stunned to hear Thursday that the number of people who fall in the so-called health coverage gap is significantly higher than they thought. Researchers from the University of Utah presented results from a new report on the Medicaid eligibility expansion population to a state health committee.
Draper City and the Unified Fire Authority are working hand in hand to help mitigate fire danger on Traverse Mountain.
The area where firefighters are thinning out the underbrush is located on a steep hill leading right up into homes in the SunCrest neighborhood. Unified Fire Authority Captain Riley Pilgrim says they’re hoping to help reduce the fire risk of one of the most dangerous spots in the state.
Governor Gary Herbert is calling for a comprehensive legal review of the state’s adoption of the Common Core Standards. He’s hoping a legal analysis performed by Utah’s Attorney General will quash any misconceptions and ease ongoing concerns that the state has lost control of academic standards and curriculum.
Utah is one of 14 states where the number of gun-related deaths is now higher than the number of highway fatalities.
Highway fatalities in Utah – and across the country – have dropped dramatically in the past decade, thanks in part to safer cars and better drunk driving enforcement. For Utah, a report from the Violence Policy Center says there were 277 motor vehicle deaths in 2011, compared to 308 deaths from guns. That includes accidents, homicides and suicides.
Wearing fake grass skirts and plastic leis, health advocates took turns going under a limbo pole in front of House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart’s office Wednesday. The idea was to highlight the plight of Utahns who fall into the Medicaid coverage gap, and the pole was steadily lowered to represent each month this year that they have not been able to pay for healthcare. The mood was light, but Christine Stenquist quickly became emotional when she began talking about why she is taking part in this demonstration.
A member of the Utah legislature is trying again to change the law that keeps the state of Utah from imposing stricter environmental rules than the federal government.
Republican Representative Becky Edwards of North Salt Lake had a similar bill in the last general session. It passed the House, but it was defeated in the state Senate, in part because of opposition from industry.
The committee tasked with finding a new state school superintendent has hired a private search firm to seek out potential candidates. Salt Lake City-based SEARCH Group Partners will work alongside the committee to help recruit applicants and sift through resumes.
The chair of the Legislature’s Special Investigative Committee says he is working on a bill to increase potential use of grand juries in investigations in the wake of the John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff arrests Tuesday. Republican Representative Jim Dunnigan of Taylorsville led the bi-partisan investigation after the US Department of Justice dropped the case. He says a number of potentially helpful parties simply did not respond to subpoenas from the committee.
An independent audit of Salt Lake County’s Behavioral Health Services system was released Tuesday. Officials say it validates the county’s move to a managed-care model. County Mayor Ben McAdams called for the audit last year following news that provider Valley Behavioral Health (VBH) would discontinue service to hundreds of patients due to budget cuts.
Utah has missed out on approximately $100 million in property tax revenue over the past eight years because of an error in how property taxes are calculated. Now as the state moves to fix the problem, taxpayers will likely be asked to pay more.
The office of the state auditor released a study on Monday that details how local governments across the state have been miscalculating new commercial and residential growth, thus driving down the certified tax rate. David Stringfellow is Chief Economist for the state auditor’s office.
Plans are moving forward to build a 100-mile rail line from Duchesne, through the wild Uinta Basin, and into Price. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports on the ambitious and expensive proposal to move Utah energy products into the market.
The Uinta Basin rail project is a big idea. And its price tag is big, too – as much as $4 billion. But state transportation officials estimate an even bigger financial cost if Uinta Basin oil can’t get to Wasatch Front refineries and buyers outside the state.
A Utah veteran says he’s helping to protect the Western world by suing a former Guantanamo prisoner. Retired special forces sergeant Layne Morris of South Jordan believes Canadian national Omar Khadr is a potential threat to national security. But a senior US military official says Morris is wrong and out of line with his lawsuit.
In 2002, Layne Morris was partially blinded by shrapnel from a grenade thrown from an al-Qaeda compound in Afghanistan.
Utah’s current law prohibits state regulators from imposing any air quality regulations stricter than federal requirements. A bill that would change that will be up for discussion in a legislative committee this week.
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals will not stay a ruling from U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball that ordered the state of Utah to recognize the marriages of more than 1300 gay couples. Last month, Judge Kimball ruled that Utah must provide benefits to those couples who were married during a seventeen day period when gay marriage was legal in the state. Utah’s Attorney General’s appealed the case to the 10th circuit asking that it stay the district court ruling.
Republicans dominate politics in eastern Utah’s conservative Uintah County. So, a vote recount and long wait for a winner in the county commission primary was unusual and tense. Mike McKee will keep his seat for a fourth term because there is no Democratic challenger. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports.
Incumbent County Commissioner Mike McKee sat in on the final tally of nearly 4,300 votes.
“This was a nail-biter: I won by three votes,” he said Wednesday.
A huge pile of wood chips on the Diamond Tree Experts site in South Salt Lake caught fire yesterday. It was the second fire there in a month, and city officials say they’re taking steps to prevent another fire from occurring in the future.
Smoke from the burning mulch pile at about 3600 South was thick enough to shut down I-15 temporarily. Firefighters worked through the night to put out the flames. They think it was started by spontaneous combustion in the decomposing mulch, though the exact cause is under investigation.
ATV drivers get ready to enter the area of Recapture Canyon in San Juan County that is closed to motorized travel under a federal order. The land agency says it has forwarded its investigation report to prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's office.
A new report says antigovernment groups are gaining steam after last spring’s standoff between federal authorities and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Some say Utah people and events are part of the trend. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports.
The federal Bureau of Land Management says it has sent its investigation report on last spring’s Recapture Canyon protest ride to the U.S. Justice Department.
A Utah-based good-government group applauds the move, saying the BLM should hold the protestors accountable for breaking the law.
Some minority babies in Utah are more likely to experience health problems or die than their white counterparts. That’s especially true for refugees. A new research project out of the University of Utah aims to help African refugee mothers deliver healthier babies.
The West Jordan City Council decided last night it will not look into separating from the Jordan School District. But some members of the council, including the mayor say without investigating all the options, West Jordan residents could end up paying higher taxes.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development, or GOED, is collecting data about how Utahns feel about Daylight Saving Time.
More than 30 people gathered at the Clark Planetarium in downtown Salt Lake City to voice their opinion about Daylight Saving Time. A majority of those attending said they’d prefer to move to standard time year round like Arizona. Many who made comments expressed similar ideas to those of Provo resident Ed Bernsen.
Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance released its annual report on economic benchmarks today. It shows retail sales, commercial office space and residential construction are all growing – and people seem to like it.
A statewide survey included in the report shows 70 percent of residents statewide have a positive perception of downtown Salt Lake, and 50 percent say the parking situation has improved.
Smith’s Food and Drug will be the anchor grocery store for the development at the former Cottonwood Mall in Holladay. Activity at the 57-acre multi-use project stopped at the start of the recession. Marsha Gilford is vice president of public affairs for Smith’s. She says the new 78-thousand square foot store will be built just north of Macy’s and have two levels of below-store parking.