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Energy & Environment
6:10 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Agency Extends Deadine for Water Pipeline

Federal regulators have extended the state's water-resources office two more years to submit its application for the 139-mile Lake Powell Pipeline. Supporters say getting the water is essential to address growth in southwestern Utah. But opponents say conservation and using the water already available will cover the region's needs.
Credit Chris James / Flickr Creative Commons

    

Communities in the Southwestern part of the state want to develop Utah’s unused share of Colorado River water.  A federal agency is now putting pressure on the state’s water office to hand in its application for that development.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is giving Utah two more years to put together a workable plan for the 139-mile Lake Powell Pipeline. The state’s already had six years to complete its application, and the agency hinted last month it might not extend the deadline again.

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Politics
4:01 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

FEC Complaint Names Senator Mike Lee for Alleged Campaign Violations

Brian Grimmett

Alliance for a Better UTAH has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission, asking the FEC to investigate allegations that Utah Senator Mike Lee violated election laws.

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LGBT
3:50 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

State Weighing Next Move in Same Sex Marriage Battle

Brian Turner via Wikimedia Commons

It’s unclear how soon the Utah Attorney General’s office will appeal the 10th Circuit ruling that upholds same sex marriage in the state. But lawyers for the state have a strict deadline to decide whether they want the entire 10th Circuit court to review the case. 

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Energy & Environment
1:53 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Salt Lake City Connects New Trio of Solar Power Arrays

Solar farm run by Salt Lake City at former landfill site at 1965 West 500 South.
Credit Whittney Evans

Salt Lake City officials flipped the “on” switch Wednesday celebrating the completion of three large solar projects to power city buildings.  1.7 million kilowatts of electricity annually will come from the solar farm connected to the Public Safety Building, and the city’s operation center at Plaza 349. Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker says Utah’s energy codes are 30 percent less efficient than federal standards and he says leaders at the state level need raise those standards.  

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LGBT
12:17 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Herbert Reacts to 10th Circuit Ruling on Gay Marriage

Plaintiffs Moudy Sbeity and Derek Kitchen
Credit Whittney Evans

 Utah Governor Gary Herbert said Wednesday that  he is disappointed in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision. It upholds a lower court ruling that struck down the state’s law banning same sex marriage.

Herbert says regardless of his personal views on same-sex marriage, he believes states have the right to determine the definition of marriage.

He says he fully expects the state will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Health Care
5:01 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Utah Health Department Wants More Federal Money to Prevent Obesity and Injuries

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) wants more money from the federal government to help prevent obesity and injury, and is seeking public input on its proposal. The UDOH is asking for 1.5 million dollars for Preventive Health and Health Services. That’s an $850,000 dollar increase over the amount Utah originally applied for this fiscal year. Currently, the block grant funds are primarily used by the state and local health departments for the prevention of obesity and injury.

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Politics
3:07 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Democrat Charles Stormont Calls for Reform as He Kicks Off His Campaign for Attorney General

Democratic Attorney General Candidate Charles Stormont
Brian Grimmett

Democratic Utah Attorney General candidate Charles Stormont officially launched his campaign today with a call for real reform in the office.

Charles Stormont says as a recent employee in the Attorney General’s office he can say with confidence that Sean Reyes hasn’t done enough to fix the problems in the office left over from former AG John Swallow.

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Breaking
11:43 am
Wed June 25, 2014

10th Circuit Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Plaintiffs Moudi Sbeity, Derek Kitchen embrace at a press conference after the 10th Circuit Courts ruling
Whittney Evans

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling declaring Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional by a vote of 2-1. 

The judges ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment protects those who wish to marry persons of the same-sex and that they are entitled to the same fundamental rights as opposite-sex couples.

Derek Kitchen is one of the plaintiffs in the case and says this ruling is historic.

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Business & Labor
7:52 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune Supporters Take Their Case to DC

A small group concerned about the future of The Salt Lake Tribune is in Washington, DC hoping to catch the attention of congressional lawmakers and officials at the Justice Department.  

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Energy & Environment
6:00 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Utah High Court Clears Way for Tar Sands Mine

The Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday nixed the latest challenge to the PR Springs mine in eastern Utah.
Credit Courtesy: / U.S. Oil Sands

  

The nation’s first tar sands mine has been planned for the wild Book Cliffs in eastern Utah. But was stuck in legal limbo until a ruling Tuesday from the Utah Supreme Court.

The justices opted against allowing an environmental group to challenge a state water pollution permit for the project.

“We’ve made plans this year to commence with construction out at the site,” said Barclay Cuthbert, vice president for operations at U.S. Oil Sands Inc.

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Local Politics
5:05 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Primary Election off to Slow Start in Salt Lake County

Brian via Wikimedia Commons

Polls are open until 8 pm tonight for today’s primary election. But voter turnout in Salt Lake County is already very low.

Salt Lake County Clerk Sherri Swensen says mail-in ballots and votes cast prior to Election Day might bring voter turnout into a double digits percentage this year. But right now, she says turnout is only about 6 percent locally.  She says mail-in ballots can be post-marked by midnight tonight.

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Business & Labor
4:43 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

DABC Approves Snowbird’s Oktoberfest Liquor Permit

Snowbird

There will be beer at Snowbird’s Oktoberfest after all. Commissioners with the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control approved a single-event permit for the festival Tuesday, but the discussion around Utah’s liquor laws is not over. 

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Air Quality
2:19 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Summer Means Utah's Ozone Season is Here

Downtown Salt Lake City skyline view from the east campus of the University of Utah.
Credit Brian Grimmett

The state departments of Health and Environmental Quality are both calling attention to the unofficial arrival of the ozone season this week. Ozone is the product of auto and industrial exhaust heated by the summer sun. Kellie Baxter is with the health department’s Asthma Program. She’s urging Utahns to be aware of ozone’s potentially harmful effects.

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Religion
6:53 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Kelly Says Ordain Women Movement Will Continue

Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly with her husband, Neil Ransom
Dan Bammes

Even though she’s no longer a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the founder of Ordain Women says she’ll continue in the leadership of the movement to gain the priesthood throughout the church.

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Energy & Environment
5:18 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Global Warming Prompts Local Lobbyists

Global warming is already having an impact on snowpack in Utah, says Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. The U.S. Conference of Mayors backed his resolution this weekend on finding local solutions to climate change.
Credit Don Sharaf / American Avalanche Institute

    

Decision makers are hearing a lot about global warming this week.

The nation’s mayors backed a climate change resolution on Sunday. And, on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on the government’s power to regulate greenhouse gases, as citizen activists prepared to press Congress to deal with climate change.

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Business & Labor
3:06 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Department of Labor to Help Uranium Workers File Claims in Moab

A uranium mill tailings pile near Moab, Utah.
Wikipedia

The US Department of Labor is holding town hall meetings in Moab this week to help uranium workers who may be eligible for compensation and medical benefits.

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Breaking
3:04 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Kelly Excommunicated from LDS Church

Credit Dan Bammes/KUER

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have decided to excommunicate Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly.  Earlier this month, Kelly received a letter from the bishop of her former ward in Vienna, Virginia stating that she had been accused of apostasy and that a disciplinary council would decide the fate of her Church membership.  That group met last night, though Kelly did not attend the hearing. She was informed of the decision today via email by Bishop Mark Harrison.

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Religion
9:24 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Hundreds Support Ordain Women Founder at Vigil

Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly speaks to a rally supporting her at City Creek Park in Salt Lake City
Dan Bammes

The founder of the group Ordain Women is waiting to find out whether she’ll be excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  But hundreds of people gathered to support her yesterday near church headquarters, promising to stand by her no matter what a disciplinary council decides.

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Energy & Environment
6:31 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Bipartisan Bill Simplifies Land Swaps

Streamlining -- and speeding up -- the government land-exchange process will help get more land into conservation and more funds into schools. That's what the Bishop-DeFazio bill intends to do.
Credit Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration

    

New, bipartisan legislation in Congress would advance public education and conserve important landscapes by making it easier to transfer lands between government agencies.

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State Government
5:34 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Utah Attorney General’s Office Investigating Newspaper Agreement

The Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune

UPDATE: Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes released a statement since this story aired on Friday, June 20th:

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Transportation
5:15 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

More Transportation Funding Needed to Address Population Growth Along Wasatch Front

Ken Lund via Wikimedia Commons

A report from non-partisan research group Utah Foundation says road repairs and increased public transit options top the list of ways to prepare for population growth along the Wasatch Front. But the question is who will pay for it?

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Energy & Environment
2:48 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

First Wind Announces Another PPA with Rocky Mtn Power in a Month

Credit File: First Wind

Renewable energy company First Wind has finalized four more 20-year power purchase agreements, or PPA’s, with Rock Mountain Power. The latest PPA announced Thursday is for power generated from the company’s planned 320 megawatt “Four Brothers” solar development in Beaver and Iron Counties. Cody Stewart is Governor Gary Herbert’s Energy Advisor. He says the agreement has been in the works for a long time.

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Public Safety
4:34 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Former Drug Cop Charged in Danielle Willard Shooting

Whittney Evans

A former West Valley City police officer who shot and killed 21-year-old Danielle Willard in a 2012 drug bust is facing criminal charges. The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office filed the charges this morning in 3rd District Court.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has charged former West Valley City narcotics detective Shaun Cowley with 2nd degree manslaughter. Gill opted not to file charges against detective Kevin Salmon who also fired his weapon at the scene. Cowley fired the first and fatal shot.  

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Immigration
4:20 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Ruling Clarifies Utah’s Role in Immigration Enforcement

Protestors at the US Courthouse in Salt Lake City for a hearing on HB 497. (February 15, 2013)
Andrea Smardon KUER

A federal judge issued a split ruling Wednesday on HB 497, Utah's controversial immigration law. It upholds several measures but strikes down others in the legislation that was passed in 2011.

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State Government
3:40 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

State Fair Park's Future Remains Uncertain

A scenario consultants are assessing for the future of the state Fair Park and associated properties.
Credit Courtesy: / CRSA Architects

    

Attendance keeps declining at the State Fair Park in Salt Lake City -- at least partly because the grounds are so run down, and lawmakers are grappling with what to do next.

Around the country, attendance has trended up at state fairs, but that’s not been the case in Utah. About 20 percent fewer people visited last year than just five years earlier.

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Education
3:11 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

UVU Purchases 125 Acres At Old Geneva Steel Site

Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University has acquired 125 more acres at the new development located on the old Geneva Steel site in Utah County.

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KUER Local News
5:20 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Initiative Aims to Help Young Adults Aging Out of Foster Care

Volunteers load Lifestart boxes for young people aging out of the state's foster care system. (NPS Warehouse, June 18, 2014)
Andrea Smardon KUER

Volunteers in Salt Lake City are filling boxes full of household goods this week intended to go to young adults who are aging out of the state’s foster care system. The Lifestart Initiative tries to provide this vulnerable population with some of the things they need to live on their own.

Up on the 2nd floor of the NPS Warehouse in West Salt Lake, volunteers are filling large plastic bins with towels, sheets, sponges, and tools.

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Public Safety
5:09 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Lawmakers Revisit Issue of Unprocessed Rape Kits

shahram sharif via Wikimedia Commons

Utah lawmakers were at the state capitol today discussing how to deal with thousands of untested rape in the state. They heard from law enforcement, victim advocates and the state crime lab. But there’s still no consensus on whether all the kits actually need to be tested.

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Public Safety
5:05 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Grappling With Gangs, Salt Lake City Turns To Racketeering Laws

Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team enter the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City in April after a U.S. marshal shot Siale Angilau, who authorities say was a member of the city's Tongan Crip Gang. Angilau was on trial for racketeering charges when he rushed the witness stand with a pen.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 6:05 am

When it comes to gang activity, most people picture cities like Los Angeles and Newark. But gangs are a problem in unexpected places, too — like Salt Lake City, where law enforcement officials are using federal racketeering charges to try to bring them down.

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Energy & Environment
5:03 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Lawmakers Spar With Feds Over Policing Public Lands

The standoff in April between federal law enforcement agents and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters has rekindled a discussion about policing in and around Utah's federal lands.

    

There’s been debate all over the West for years about who’s best to police federal lands. On Wednesday, leaders from local, state and federal government agreed the best way to resolve the disputes is to keep talking.

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