Six-year-old Emilie Parker was remembered as a bright, happy child who loved to draw and who tried to be a friend to everyone at a funeral service in Ogden on Saturday. Reporters were invited to attend but not to record the service. Afterward Jill Cottle Garrett said the family chose Christmas music for the service rather than hymns more often heard at funerals.
"Emilie and her sisters were to sing in a Christmas performance," Emilie's aunt explained. "She had been practicing these songs. And we sang them to her because she was unable to sing them to us."
About 30 members of the United Mine Workers Union of America from the Deer Creek coal mine located near Huntington, Utah gathered outside of the Gallivan center Friday to tell people they’re concerned about their safety. Right now they are in the middle of contract negotiations with their employer, Energy West Mining, who they say is planning to cut safety provisions. The proposal includes eliminating 11 of the unions 14 safety representatives. Union spokesman Brad Timothy says that won’t keep them safe.
About a thousand people gathered at Ben Lomond High School in Ogden Thursday evening for a public memorial service in honor of Emilie Parker, one of the victims of last week's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Emilie's father, Robbie Parker, spoke to the crowd of driving Emilie's younger sister around Ogden to see the thousands of pink ribbons decorating the city in memory of those who lost their lives.
Salt Lake County Mayor-Elect Ben McAdams is already implementing changes to the government structure. Thursday he announced he will reorganize the Department of Public Works and appoint two people to oversee it. It’s now called the Department of Public Works and Regional Development. McAdams has named Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall as the department’s director and Patrick Leary will fill a new position to called Township Executive. McAdams says the two men will help meet the diverse needs of county residents.
A ruling is expected shortly in the case of Jake Strickland - a Utah father who has been trying for almost two years to gain custody of his child. Strickland’s son Jack was put up for adoption by the child’s mother. 2nd District Judge David Hamilton held a hearing in the case Wednesday, and said he would deliver a ruling soon.
Jake Strickland told KUER he wants an answer.
“It feels like it’s dragging on and on and right now, I don’t see an end to it,” said Strickland, “but as long as I have to keep fighting I will.”
Magna residents will finally see the completion of the Main Street road project thanks to a federal highway grant of 790-thousand dollars. The Magna Livable Streets Project will improve both sides of the road between 83-hundred and 88-hundred west. The project adds landscaping, safety upgrades like wider sidewalks and better lighting plus improved access. Salt Lake County Major Peter Corroon says the project started during the first days of his administration in 2005.
Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz is voicing his concern over connections between gun violence and those suffering from mental illness. Chaffetz is one of the only Republican lawmakers in the U-S House to participate in a public discussion about reducing gun violence since the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last week. He says he’s most concerned about weapons being available to those with mental health issues.
Even as highway fatalities have been going down across Utah, they've been going up on Interstate 80 through Utah's West Desert from Lakepoint to Wendover. A big reason for that is excessive speed. Dwayne Baird with the Utah Department of Public Safety says troopers have written more than 400 citations this year for vehicles going 100 miles an hour or more. In a few cases, drivers have been caught doing 150.
Utah law as well as federal law requires a background check to buy any kind of firearm, and the state can deny a purchase based on a person's history of mental illness. But that happens only rarely. Dwayne Baird with the Utah Department of Public Safety says someone who's been found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity would be ineligible, or others whose history of violence has been certified by a district court.
Democrats in the Utah Legislature submitted a letter to colleagues in the Health System Reform Task Force Monday, recommending that the state expand Medicaid. And they say the sooner it happens the better.
The legislature’s new Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis of Salt Lake City told KUER that expanding Medicaid eligibility can help improve access to health insurance for Utahns and can save the state money.
The state’s Prison Relocation Authority Committee has endorsed the idea of moving Utah’s main state prison away from Draper, and that's something the business community there would like to see.
Bill Rappleye, the head of Draper's Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Draper City Council, thinks that's a great idea. He says it would allow the kind of high-tech businesses that have been locating in Utah County to come into his city.
The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service has worked out a framework for state agencies and private landowners to cooperate on protecting the black-footed ferret. It allows landowners to continue grazing or other uses on their land if they're willing to set aside some habitat for the ferrets.
Brian Maxfield, a biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says it gives the ferret's neighbors a clear understanding of what they can expect in areas where the ferrets have been re-introduced.
The state’s Health System Reform Task Force had its final meeting Monday before the legislative session, but questions remain about health reform - in particular, who will run Utah’s health insurance exchange.
The Granite school district police department has pressed charges against an 11-year-old Kearns boy who brought a gun to school yesterday. The charges include one count of possession of a firearm and three counts of aggravated assault. Granite school district spokesman Ben Horsley says the gun was found in the boys backpack after two of his fellow students reported it to their teacher. The boy insists that he brought the gun to school to protect himself from a Connecticut style school shooting. Horsley says while it’s a legitimate concern it’s never an appropriate action.
As people around the country come to terms with the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, a Salt Lake City woman is organizing a fund raising effort to help the victims’ families. Jane Hoffman is a mother of two children and a former teacher. She has set up a website to raise money so that the families will not have to pay for funeral services themselves.
Utah's attorney general-elect says he's heartsick about last week's school shooting in Connecticut. John Swallow tells KUER he's committed to doing everything he can to protect kids in schools, short of turning schools into prisons.
Swallow says he's already been talking to officials in other states, working on a plan to get together discuss what they can do to address mass shootings and gun violence. While he says the Constitution needs to be protected, Swallow says they need to take a close look at one area of the law.
Utah's six presidential electors met today at the state capitol and cast their ballots for Mitt Romney. The electors are all Republicans who were chosen at the party's state convention. They're required to vote for the Republican candidate, since he won the popular vote in Utah. Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell announced the results, which were not a surprise to anyone.
"We declare that Utah casts all its ballots for president for Mitt Romney and all its ballots for vice-president for Paul Ryan," he told a crowd made up mostly of media and school children.
An Ogden family mourns the loss of their child in the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, the Utah Department of Health looks into the costs of expanding Medicaid, and Salt Lake County approves a 16% tax increase.
The Utah Department of Health has hired an outside firm to study the costs and benefits of expanding Medicaid in the state. The department has been gathering feedback from the public on what should be considered in the study.
Christina Osburn has a brain tumor and epilepsy. She’s been on Medicaid for more than 10 years, but she expects to lose that coverage because her income will soon exceed the threshold to qualify.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:51 pm
As new pieces of information come in about Friday's mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 children and six adults dead, we'll post them here.
The day began, just after 10 a.m. ET, with Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance telling reporters that most of the emerging evidence is "too difficult to discuss ... I'm not going to lie to you."
Update at 6:49 p.m. ET. Dogs Try To Comfort Students.
Salt Lake County delays their vote on a proposed tax increase, a Utah family sues the Millard County sheriff over the shooting death of their son, and the Utah Air Quality Board scraps their plan to meet federal standards.
When we say, “Happy Holidays,” Utahns typically mean Christmas and Chanuka or the winter solstice for some folks. For Utah’s oldest Buddhist congregation, the winter holiday they’re celebrating this weekend is called Bodhi Day.
The sound of the daikin begins the Sunday service at the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple. Reverend Jerry Hirano leads the congregation through the chants and hymns that make up the Jodo Shinshu or Pure Land Buddhist service.