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Public Safety
2:15 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Few Gun Transactions Denied for Mental Illness

Wikimedia Commons

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.

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Healthcare
4:23 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Utah Democrats Recommend Expanding Medicaid... and Soon

Democrat Gene Davis is the new minority leader in the Utah Senate.

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.

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Politics
1:57 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Committee Recommends Moving Prison from Draper

Utah State Prison in Draper
Wikimedia Commons

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.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:45 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

New Plan Lets Ferrets, Landowners Get Along

Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes)
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

  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.

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Healthcare
1:17 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Utah’s Health System Reform Task Force Ends with Unanswered Questions

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.

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Education
12:41 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Police Charge Kearns Boy Who Brought Gun to School

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.

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The Two-Way
5:35 am
Tue December 18, 2012

In A 'Numb' Newtown, Students Head Back To School

In Newtown: A memorial to the victims.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 11:00 am

  • NPR's Don Gonyea, reporting on 'Morning Edition'

Most students returned to school today in Newtown, Conn., site of Friday's mass shooting at an elementary school that left 20 first-graders and six adults dead or dying.

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KUER Local News
4:47 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Salt Lake Woman Organizes Fundraising Effort for Victims of Newtown Shooting

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.

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Education
2:59 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Utah's New Attorney General Committed to Protecting Schools

Attorney General-elect John Swallow talks with reporters at Utah's state capitol
Dan Bammes

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.

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Politics
2:49 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Utah's Electors Cast Presidential Votes

Utah's presidential electors meet at the state capitol.
Dan Bammes

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. 

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KUER Local News
12:13 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

KUER News Pod: Monday December 17, 2012

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.

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Healthcare
10:44 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Public Pushes for Health Benefits to Be Considered in State’s Medicaid Expansion Study

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.   

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Details Of Newtown Shootings 'Too Difficult To Discuss' Now, Police Say

Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance.
Eric Thayer Reuters /Landov

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.

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KUER Local News
3:44 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

KUER News Pod: Friday December 14, 2012

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.

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Entertainment
9:37 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Dan Nailen: Got Twang?

Justin Townes Earle

Dan Nailen loves all kinds of music, but his eyes light up when he hears a good ol' country twang.  He talks with KUER's Dan Bammes about this week's music lineup.

Dan Nailen's entertainment blog slcene.com

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Developing
9:20 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Tragedy In Connecticut: 20 Children, 6 Adults Killed At Elementary School

In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a shooting there Friday.
Shannon Hicks Newtown Bee/AP

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 9:36 am

The nation watched in horror Friday as the scope of a tragedy in Newtown, Conn., became clear. As a visibly upset President Obama said at midafternoon, "our hearts are broken."

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Religion
8:42 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Utah Buddhist Congregation Celebrates Bodhi Day

Rev. Jerry Hirano and his wife Carmela lead a service at the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple
Dan Bammes

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.

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Education
8:03 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Herbert Proposes More Funding for Education

Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s 2014 budget proposal includes an increase in funding for public education, specifically for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM efforts. 

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Healthcare
4:51 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Governor's Budget Omits Funding for Medicaid Expansion

Governor Gary Herbert delivers his budget proposal at Granite Technical Institute on December 12th, 2012.
Andrea Smardon

Some healthcare advocates were disappointed Wednesday to find out that Governor Gary Herbert did not include funding for the expansion of Medicaid in his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Governor Herbert spoke very little about healthcare in his budget presentation except to say that he is proceeding with caution. 

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Politics
2:10 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Hinckley Forums: Serious Rules for Nuclear Power Without Proliferation

Hinckley Institute of Politics Froums

December 11, 2012

Serious Rules for Nuclear Power Without Proliferation

Henry Sokolski, Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center

Click here for more information about the Hinckley Institute of Politics Forums at the University of Utah.

Past Hinckley forums can be found here.

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KUER Local News
12:07 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

KUER News Pod: Wednesday December 12, 2012

Salt Lake County residents voice their complaints about a proposed tax hike, Salt Lake City welcomes immigrants, and a former state legislator switches parties.

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KUER Local News
11:50 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Public Lambasts County Property Tax Increase

Salt Lake County officials have been meeting over the past few weeks to try and mitigate a proposed property tax increase included in the county’s 2013 budget. But dozens of Salt Lake County residents made it clear last night during a public hearing on the subject, that they don’t think they’re looking hard enough.“You guys are broke," Salt Lake County resident 

Wells Wagner told members of the county council on Tuesday.

"It would have been nice to hear that before this past election.”

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Politics
5:45 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Hinckley Institute Forums: Utah Third Party Candidates 2012

Hinckley Institute of Politics Forums

Monday, December 3, 2012

Independent and Third Party Candidates in the 2012 Utah Elections—
Role, Effect, and Future


Bill Barron, Unaffiliated Candidate, U.S. Senate
Tim Chambless, Hinckley Academic Outreach Coordinator, Professor Lecturer
Charles Kimball, Unaffiliated Candidate, District 2, U.S Congress
Ty Markham, Justice Party Candidate, State Legislature

Jeff Robinson, (moderator) Associate, The Exoro Group

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Healthcare
4:55 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Herbert Asks Obama to Leave Utah's Healthcare Exchange As Is

Governor Gary Herbert sent a letter to President Barack Obama Tuesday morning asking the federal government to let Utah keep Avenue H, the state’s health insurance exchange, without making changes to it. 

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Politics
3:09 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

GOP Welcomes Former Democratic State Representative to Their Ranks

Rep. Christine Watkins
Utah Legislature

The Utah Republican party is welcoming former Democratic state representative Christine Watkins with open arms after her recent decision to join the GOP. Watkins, who has served her district near Price for four years, was considered a conservative democrat in the legislature and often sided with Republicans on issues like energy development. Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright says those shared values are some of the reasons why Watkins decided to make the switch.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:11 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Governor Urged to Renegotiate on Snake Valley Water

Sprinklers irrigate a hay field in Snake Valley
Dan Bammes

A coalition of ranchers, environmentalists and political leaders sent a letter to Governor Gary Herbert, asking him not to sign a deal worked out with the state of Nevada to divide water rights in the Snake Valley.  Steve Erickson represents the Great Basin Water Network.  He says the deal worked out three years ago should be scrapped and the states should negotiate a new one.

"We have plenty of time to do further science and assess the potential damages from this project before we sign on the bottom line," Erickson told reporters at the Utah state capitol.

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KUER Local News
11:48 am
Tue December 11, 2012

KUER News Pod: Tuesday December 11, 2012

The Utah Transit Authority makes some major schedule changes, the Utah Division of Water Quality finalizes its work on the Red Butte Creek oil spill, and a new study shows how Utah could benefit from the Missouri river.

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KUER Local News
5:34 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

UTA Moves Ahead With Service Changes after New FrontRunner Line Opens

The Utah Transit Authority’s Provo to Salt Lake FrontRunner line is open for business as of today. Now UTA officials will turn their attention toward finishing the TRAX line out to the airport. That means some immediate changes in existing TRAX service will affect riders. 

UTA Spokesman Gerry Carpenter says trains moving north to Salt Lake and South to Provo were fully loaded with passengers opening day. He says there were minor hiccups and delays typical of a new service.

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KUER Local News
1:00 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

KUER News Pod: Monday December 10, 2012

Salt Lake City’s new public safety building nears completion, the Utah Attorney General’s Office lets two former DABC executives off the hook, and Utah State basketball player Danny Berger is released from the hospital.

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KUER Local News
10:07 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Salt Lake City Public Safety Building Nears Completion

Salt Lake City’s new public safety building is expected to produce as much energy as it uses and bring the city’s Police, Fire, and Emergency Operations Departments closer together.  Media donned hard hats and bright orange vests last week to tour the the building, which  is slated for completion this June.

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