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Health Care
4:03 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Most Utahns in Health “Coverage Gap” are Working

Ilene Martinez works as an assistant manager at a Dollar Tree store in Salt Lake City to support herself and her son Blas Joe Valdez who has lupus, but the family can not afford health insurance.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced this week that he’s made good progress negotiating with the federal government on his alternative to Medicaid expansion. The governor says there are still some sticking points in the negotiations – including work requirements for those receiving government assistance. But a new study shows that many of those citizens are already working.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:18 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Utah Youth Conservation Corps Gets Boost from Obama Administration Initiative

Canyon Country Youth Corps in Southeastern Utah.
Credit File: Four Corners School of Outdoor Education

Utah youth conservation groups are expected to get a significant portion of the $6.7 million dollars in funding announced yesterday by U-S Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The total amount comes from various public agencies with matching funds from private groups as part of President Obama’s 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Initiative.

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Health Care
9:56 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Utah Lawmakers Put Off Healthcare Decisions for Low Income Citizens

Utah Department of Health officials brief the legislature's Health Reform Task Force on Governor Gary Herbert's efforts to negotiate federal approval of his Healthy Utah Plan, an alternative to Medicaid expansion.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Utah’s Republican lawmakers say they’re not ready to make any decisions about Medicaid expansion or the governor’s alternative plan. That means over 110,000 low income Utahns will likely be waiting at least until next year before they know what their health insurance options may be.

At a GOP caucus this week, Republicans legislators determined that they don’t all agree when it comes to Medicaid and healthcare reform.

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Environment & Public Lands
6:15 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Emergency Crews Near Green River Stop Well Leak

An oil well gushed an oil-water mix for more than a day. Emergency crews repaired the leak Thursday afternoon, but the petroleum-contaminated water traveled about halfway down the three-mile wast toward the Green River. This map shows the well's approximate location.
Credit Division of Environmental Response and Remediation / Utah Department of Environmental Quality

    

    

Local, state and federal emergency officials have plugged an oil well spill near Green River after the well gushed out of control for more than a day.

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Local Government
4:39 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

UTA Board Approves Nearly $2 Million in Employee Bonuses

Ricardo630 via Wikimedia Commons

The board that oversees the Utah Transit Authority decided on Wednesday how much money will go into next year’s employee pay-for-performance program. While more UTA employees will get bonuses next year, individual payouts will likely be smaller. 

The agency will divide more than $1.9 million dollars between eligible employees in 2015, compared to last year’s $1.74 million dollars. UTA Spokesman Remi Barron says the 2013 was successful for UTA and its employees. 

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LGBT Rights
1:45 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Herbert Reasserts State's Plan to Defend Amendment 3

Utah Education Network

Governor Herbert tackled several topics at his KUED monthly news conference Thursday including reasserting the state’s position on defending Utah’s Amendment 3.

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Business & Labor
5:54 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Former Mexico President Calderon Tells SLC Trade Conference Betting on Trade Paid Off

Felipe Calderon, Former President of Mexico, addresses full house at the Marriott City Creek in Salt Lake City.
Credit Bob Nelson

Former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon delivered the keynote address Wednesday at the Zions Bank 13th Annual Trade and Business Conference. Calderon served as President from 2006-2012 during what he calls the worst economic crisis in human memory. He recalled the saying; when the United States gets a cold, Mexico gets pneumonia.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:36 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

EPA Official Helps Salt Lake City Launch Energy Initiative

Rama via Wikimedia Commons

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection agency joined Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker at the downtown Library today to challenge local businesses and institutions to save money and reduce pollution by consuming less energy. 

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Local Government
4:47 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

EnergySolutions Bails Out Tooele County Pool

The Tooele County pool at the Deseret Peak Complex was closed in 2013 due to budget shortfalls, but will be reopened in 2014 as the EnergySolutions Aquatic Center.

EnergySolutions already has its name on a basketball arena in Salt Lake City. Now it's putting its name on an aquatic center in Tooele. Last year, the Tooele County pool at the Deseret Peak Complex was closed due to budget shortfalls, but thanks to EnergySolutions and other corporate sponsors, it will be open this weekend.

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Business & Labor
3:32 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Judge Rules Park City Mountain Resort Failed to Renew Lease On Time

Park City Mountain Resort

Utah Third District Court judge Ryan Harris has issued summary judgments in favor of the Talisker Corporation and Vail Resorts in their case with Park City Mountain Resort over a failure to renew their lease in 2011.

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LGBT Rights
11:36 am
Wed May 21, 2014

One Utah Gay Marriage Ruling Could Influence the Other

A day after a federal district court judge ordered the state to recognize same sex marriages that took place in Utah, legal scholars are wondering how another pending gay marriage case may influence an appeal to this latest ruling. 

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Local Government
9:53 am
Wed May 21, 2014

After Weeks of Battling, Salt Lake City to Consider Letting Lyft In

Salt Lake City leaders are deciding whether or not to make room for embattled peer-to-peer car-sharing service Lyft. Lyft is one of a handful of new online companies that connect drivers through a smart-phone app to passengers in cities all over the globe.

Salt Lake City resident Darin Berntson first used a car-sharing app like Lyft, called Uber when he was traveling in Boston. He likes that the experience is a bit more personal than a taxi cab.

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Fourth Debate
5:48 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Love, Owens Spar in 4th District Debate

Republican Mia Love and Democrat Doug Owens debate key issues Tuesday at the Utah Taxpayers Association conference.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

Utah’s 4th Congressional District race is expected to be one of the hottest in the November elections, and the top candidates met Tuesday for their first debate at a Utah Taxpayers Association conference.

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Health Care
4:10 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Utah Teen Births Down, But Chlamydia Rates Up

The teen birth rate continues to decline in Utah, but some sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. That’s according to recently released data on child well-being in the state.

The data comes from KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Terry Haven, Deputy Director for Voices for Utah Children, says she sees some positive trends in this year’s child well-being report.

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LGBT Rights
6:04 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Judge Rules Utah Must Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

UPDATED AT 10:30 P.M. 5/19/14.

A federal judge ruled on Monday that Utah must recognize more than 1,000 same-sex couples who married in the state during a brief period of time when such marriages were legal. 

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Environment & Public Lands
6:00 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Drought Forces Southern Utah Communities to Cope

Monticello usually relies on runoff from the Abajo Mountains for much of its water, but this warm, dry year the runoff has been weak -- and it's the third year in a row. City leaders are hoping to get two new wells online, plus they've instituted a new conservation program.
Credit Crazy Sally / Flickr Creative Commons

Springtime is runoff time in Utah, and peak runoff is expected in the Cottonwood canyons in the next week or two. But mountains in southern parts of the state have already shed what little moisture they had.

In southeastern Utah, the town of Monticello is looking for ways to cope as it heads into its third year of drought.

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Public Safety
2:59 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Legislator Wants to Bring Back the Firing Squad as Option for Death Penalty

Utah State Prison
Bryan William Jones | http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjones/

A Utah legislator plans to run a bill that would bring back the firing squad as an option for Utah inmates sentenced to death. Since 2004 Utah inmates sentenced to death have had only one option for their execution: death by lethal injection. But Republican Representative Paul Ray says that could soon pose an issue for the state as it is becoming harder to obtain the specific drugs needed to create the injection and any new formula could be challenged in court.

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Environment & Public Lands
8:00 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Willard Bay Spill Money Earmarked for Eco-Projects

Sheida Hajarian and her team from Desert Water Garden want to use native plants to help heal Willard Bay after the 2013 Chevron pipeline diesel spill.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

Chevron Pipe Line Co.’s cleanup crews have packed up and moved out of the Willard Bay State Park. They occupied the parking lot for much of last year after a split pipe leaked more than 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the nearby wetlands.

But, as the park’s fans plan a May 24 party to celebrate its reopening, state officials are asking for advice on how to spend a big impact fund. But there’s still more left to do.

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LGBT Rights
11:01 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Utah Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Couple Adoption Cases

  

The Utah Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt of several same-sex adoption cases until state justices can determine whether those adoptions are legal.  

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Education
4:41 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

U of U to Close Red Zone Stores in 2017

The University of Utah will be closing its Red Zone retail stores after the year 2017. The Utah Board of Regents decided Friday to allow the stores to complete their contracts. The decision comes in light of a 2013 audit that accused the stores of unfairly competing with private businesses.

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Business & Labor
4:40 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

UTA Installs Cameras on Buses Despite Union Objections

The Utah Transit Authority is moving forward with installation of surveillance cameras on buses despite the transit union’s claim that the move is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

UTA officials say they are spending more than 2 million dollars to install surveillance cameras in a fleet of 600 buses in order to improve passenger safety and transit efficiency. Attorney Joseph Hatch represents the transit union. He says drivers should have a say in how these cameras are used.

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KUER Local News
3:06 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Drama Unfolds On SLC Peregrine Falcon Cam as Eggs Begin to Hatch

Utah Division of Wildife Resources

Two of the four peregrine falcon eggs sitting atop the Joseph Smith Memorial building in downtown Salt Lake have now hatched, but the fate of the next two eggs is uncertain. Watchable wildlife program coordinator Bob Walters says there isn’t really a way to predict the outcome, but that it isn’t time to worry just yet.

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Business & Labor
6:40 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

U Economic Report Shows 2014 Sundance Film Festival Brings More than Art to Utah

Credit File: Screen Shot Sundance Film Festival Web Page

The overall economic impact of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival amounts to $86.4 million for the state of Utah. The University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research conducted the independent study. The report released today also found the annual January event provided $34.1 million in earnings for Utah workers and supported 1,434 full and part-time jobs during the festival.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:53 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Tooele County Commissioner Wants “Heavy Fine Structure” for Stericycle

Tooele County Commissioner Shawn Milne

A Tooele County commissioner says he wants to impose regular fees and a penalty fine structure on Stericycle’s proposed medical waste incinerator should the company decide to relocate there.

Commissioner Shawn Milne acknowledges that his community has welcomed businesses in the past that others did not want, but he says commissioners want to ensure that the environment and people are protected.

“We don’t want to just accept any business here carte blanche without any consideration for what long term consequences there might be,” Milne says.

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Public Safety
3:42 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

West Valley City Civil Service Commission Overturns Demotion of Lt. John Coyle

The West Valley City Civil Service Commission has overturned the demotion of Lt. John Coyle, the former head of the now disbanded Neighborhood Narcotics Unit.

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Environment & Public Lands
8:00 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Public Lands Debate Finds New Venue at City Library

People gathered for a law-school-style debate on public lands policy at the Salt Lake City library.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

    

The fight over federal control of public lands shifted from the West’s deserts to an urban library Wednesday in a law-school style debate that took place in downtown Salt Lake City.

Arguing for state control of federal lands were Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart and State Representative Ken Ivory.

Former Bureau of Land Management Director Pat Shea and University of Utah Professor Dan McCool to made the case that the federal government is the better manager for six hundred million acres.

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Business & Labor
12:30 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Tooele County Residents Question Panel on Incinerator

A Tooele County resident looks over Stericycle's informational posters at a town hall event at Stansbury High School. (May 14, 2014)
Andrea Smardon KUER

Tooele County citizens met Wednesday night to talk about the possibility of letting Stericycle build a new medical waste incinerator in the area. After a series of informational meetings organized by Stericycle, this town hall was organized by residents.

The meeting at Stansbury High School was organized by Katrina Hill of Stansbury Park, who says she’s never done anything like this before.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:17 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Remembrance: Missile, Conservation Activist Cecil Garland

Cecil Garland in Callao, with the Deep Creek Mountains in the background. Garland was known for his straight-talking and incisive observations. He fought the placement of MX missiles in the Great Basin and, more recently, to conserve underground water along the Utah-Nevada line.
Credit WGBH Boston

The West lost a legendary figure over the weekend, when Cecil Garland died.

Garland was a Callao rancher known for his passion to conserve the land he loved and for being plainspoken and eloquent at the same time. In Montana, he led the fight for the nation’s first citizen’s wilderness area, the Scapegoat Wilderness.

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Education
3:09 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Utah Public Schools Chief Apologizes for Political Endorsement on USOE Blog

    

Utah’s superintendent of public schools is apologizing for a political endorsement that was posted earlier this week on the state office of education blog. An official with the lieutenant governor’s office says the endorsement is a criminal offense, but the office doesn’t plan to pursue charges.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:58 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Climate Scientist Michael Mann Warns Utah of Dire Consequences Without Action

Dr. Michael Mann
Brian Grimmett

Climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann was in Utah Wednesday calling attention to the recently released U.S. National Climate Assessment, that predicts dire consequences for Utah if action isn’t taken soon.

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