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Veterans
4:33 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Utah WWII Vet Receives French Legion of Honor

Dean Larson receives the French Legion of Honor
Brian Grimmett

Utah World War II veteran Dean Larson received the French Legion of Honor award Thursday at the Utah State Capitol. 

The Legion of Honor is France’s highest distinction and is awarded to civilians and soldiers who risked their lives fighting for France. The award is only given to a few Americans each year, making it all the more special for Dean Larson, who flew 33 combat missions in a B-17 bomber during the war, including two over the coast of Normandy on D-Day.

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Health Care
4:18 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Utah Man Receives Kidney from Donor Infected with Hepatitis C

University of Utah Hospital patient Andres Galvan of West Jordan four days after a kidney transplant. (July 31, 2014)
Andrea Smardon KUER

University of Utah Hospital surgeons performed a kidney transplant this week using an organ from a donor with hepatitis C.

61-year-old Andres Galvan of West Jordan has a huge smile on his face, just four days after his kidney transplant. He raises his hands in the air as he thanks God and his doctors for what seems like a miracle. Doctor Jeffrey Campsen performed the surgery, and he says Galvan’s operation is a huge step for healthcare in Utah. 

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Local Government
3:38 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Salt Lake County Tax Breaks Available for Seniors, Vets, the Blind

Rachel Casey sitting outside her home. She recieves tax relief assistance from Salt Lake County.

The number of eligible Salt Lake County residents applying for county property tax relief programs has declined in recent years. That’s why Salt Lake County officials are reaching out to seniors and residents with disabilities during the month of August to get them signed up before the next deadline.

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Education
2:54 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

South Jordan City Will Not Put District Split on the November Ballot

South Jordan City Hall
David Sallay via Wikimedia Commons

South Jordan City will likely not be asking voters to decide whether to split from Jordan school district this November. The five-member council has decided instead to join an agreement with the Jordan School Board.

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Business & Labor
5:22 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

SL Board of Realtors Positive About "Correction" in 2nd Qtr Home Sales

Graph of 2nd Quarter Single-Family Home Sales in Salt Lake County 2009 to 2014.
Credit File: Salt Lake Board of Realtors

Salt Lake County single-family home sales decreased 9 percent for the second quarter compared to the same period last year. The Salt Lake Board of Realtors reports nearly 33-hundred homes were sold in the county. That was down from a little more than 36-hundred homes last year. Angie Neldon is the current President of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

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Business & Labor
5:00 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Women Hold 65% of Low-Wage Jobs in Utah

Utah women are more than twice as likely as men to work at low-wage jobs. That’s according to a new study released Wednesday from the National Women’s Law Center.

The study shows that about 17% of Utah women work at jobs that pay less than $10.10 an hour, compared to 7.4% of men. Women make up almost two thirds of the low-wage workforce in the state, but Utah is not unique in this way.

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Religion
12:44 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Excommunication Hot Topic at Sunstone Symposium

Sunstone Symposium Director Mary Ellen Robertson
Dan Bammes

  The annual Sunstone Symposium starts Wednesday, bringing together scholars and others interested in current issues in Mormonism.  There’s one issue in particular drawing much of the attention this year.

The symposium plans several sessions on the excommunication of Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly.  They’ll include a look at how the practice of excommunication has evolved through Mormon history and the personal experiences of some who lost their official membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints years ago.

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Utah Politics
12:13 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Former AGs Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow Make First Appearance In Court

Salt Lake Tribune/Pool

Former Utah Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow made their first court appearance today as defendants against several charges of corruption and bribery.

Shurtleff and Swallow’s initial appearance in the Third District Court was brief. It lasted about 3 minutes. The two stood together and waived the reading of the 23 charges Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has brought against them.

Before entering the court, Shurtleff spoke briefly with a large crowd of reporters. He said he’s been receiving a lot of support.

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Energy & Environment
6:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

National "Sun Tax" Debate Lands in Utah

Utah's Public Service Commission finds itself in the middle of a national discussion about the community costs and benefits of residential rooftop solar power. It's decision is expected by Sept. 2.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

Hearings in downtown Salt Lake City this week put Utah at the center of a national controversy over solar power.

Electric companies in 43 states allow homes with solar panels to put unused electricity back on the power grid. Utah is one of those states. But it is deciding on becoming one of the first states to charge solar customers a monthly service fee.

Environmentalists call it a “sun tax.”

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Business & Labor
4:17 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Utah's Consumer Attitude Index Hits High

Cicero Group CEO Randy Shumway says Utah ranks at or near the top in multiple lists including for being business friendly, a good place to live, best place for upward mobility and lowest unemployment.
Credit Bob Nelson

Utah’s Consumer Attitude Index hit an all-time high from June to July in a survey done for Zions Bank by The Cicero Group. The CAI increased 6.6 points to 104.9 during the period and has improved 19.4 points over the past four months. Randy Shumway is the Chief Executive Officer for Cicero.  He says 34 percent of Utahns surveyed believe their income is going to rise over the next twelve months.

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Health Care
3:28 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Utah Leads U.S. in Melanoma Rates, Health Officials Issue Call to Action

Credit courtesy University of Utah Health Care

The US Surgeon General issued a call to action Tuesday to prevent skin cancer.  It’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the country, and Utah has a higher rate of melanoma than any other state.

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Utah Politics
3:05 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Val Hale Named New Director of Governor's Office of Economic Development

Val Hale, the new execuitive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development
Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert has named Val Hale as the new executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Hale most recently worked as the president and CEO of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. He also spent seven years working in administration at Utah Valley University and 22 years in BYU’s athletic department. He says he’s ready for this new challenge and understands the great responsibility that comes with it.

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Religion
2:29 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Big Crowds Expected for Ogden LDS Temple Open House

The renovated Ogden Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  After three years of reconstruction, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will open its temple in downtown Ogden for public tours starting Friday, August 1st.

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Transportation
5:43 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Utah Transit Authority Considers New Electric Buses

An all-electric bus stopped in Salt Lake City Monday on a demonstration tour around the US. The Utah Transit Authority is looking at the bus for possible future use.

There are a few things you notice right away on board the latest model of Proterra’s 40-foot battery-powered electric bus. The driver controls are minimal, there’s a back window that let’s in more light… and it’s quiet. Matt Horton, the VP of Sales for Proterra Incorporated gives me his pitch in under 15 seconds.

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Business & Labor
5:41 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Utah Food Bank Dealing with Typical Lean Summer Months

Demand for food from the Utah Food Bank is high while the summer supplies are low. The Summer Business Food and Fund Drive is an attempt fill the need.
Credit File: Utah Food Bank

A number of Utahns are still struggling to get enough food for their families despite overall favorable economic news. Rural Utahns in particular are facing tough times with more than 1 in 5 kids unsure how they getting their next meal. Ginette Bott is the chief development officer for the Utah Food Bank. She says the type of people needing food assistance is changing.

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Public Lands
5:15 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Utah Congressman Wants to Revamp Recreation Fees

Ranger-led programs, including interpretative talks about geology, astronomy and history, are funded by public land user fees. These fees are the subject of a bill by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and supported by a coalition of conservation and recreation groups.
Credit National Park Service

Recreation fees provide money for campfire talks and other visitor programs that take place on public lands. Utah Congressman Rob Bishop wants to update those user fees, and he’s got backing from some unlikely supporters.

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Public Safety
3:07 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Former Federal Judge Joins Former WVCPD Officer's Defense Team in Manslaughter Case

Matheson Courthouse
Brian Grimmett

University of Utah law professor and former U.S. District Court Judge Paul Cassell has joined the defense team for the former West Valley City Police detective who shot and killed Danielle Willard.

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Religion
2:24 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Utah Muslims Celebrate Eid al-Fitr as Ramadan Ends

Imam Shuaib Din at the Utah Islamic Center
Dan Bammes

  It's the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and Utah’s Islamic congregations are celebrating the happiest holiday of the year. 

After a month of fasting from dawn until dusk, the appearance of the crescent moon marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of a festival called Eid al-Fitr.  More and more Utahns are marking the occasion – the number of mosques in Utah has grown from three a few years ago to nine, and there are other groups that meet outside of a formal mosque.

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Air Quality
4:56 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Pollution Spikes: A New Holiday Tradition

Smoke from fireworks makes pollution counts skyrocket during Utah's 4th of July and Pioneer Day celebrations.
Credit Sarah Sammis / Flickr Creative Commons

Families all over Utah celebrated Pioneer Day with fireworks. The festivities also pumped lots of unhealthy smoke into the air that spiked air pollution. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports on the trend and Salt Lake City’s plan to deal with it.

Polluted air has become a kind of day-after tradition for Independence Day and Pioneer Day in Utah. Monitors at the state Department of Environmental Quality show those pretty pyrotechnics created enough smoke to top federal health standards in Salt Lake, Utah, Weber, Cache and Tooele counties Thursday night.

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Public Lands
3:47 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

National Park Visits Down in 2013

Bryce Canyon National Park
Brian Grimmett

A new report from the National Park Service shows that fewer people visited Utah’s National Parks in 2013 compared to 2012.

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Health Care
3:29 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Utah Stroke Survivors Take Part in National Dance Day

Andrea Smardon KUER

A group of Utah dancers was featured this week on the Fox show So You Think You Can Dance. National Dance Day is Saturday, and the group submitted a video of the routine that many are doing across the country in hopes of being featured on the program.  But these Salt Lake City dancers have a special distinction. They’re all stroke survivors.

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Public Safety
1:49 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Parade Crowd's Bad Behavior Upsets Neighbors

Homeowners along 900 South in Salt Lake City say the city isn't doing enough about trespassing and trash left behind by spectators at the annual Days of '47 Parade.
Dan Bammes

  The Days of ’47 parade draws hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Salt Lake City every year.  And some of the people who live along those streets say the city isn’t doing enough to keep the crowds from trashing their property. 

Salt Lake City’s street sweepers were out along 900 South on Friday, cleaning up after the huge crowds that lined the Days of ’47 parade route the day before.

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Energy & Environment
4:56 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Panel Accuses Forest Service of Water Grab

Utah's forested mountains are the starting points for 70 percent of the water that serves Utahns. A new U.S. Forest Service plan for including groundwater in decision-making nationwide has been panned by the State Water Development Commission.
Credit U.S. Forest Service

 

The U.S. Forest Service says it wants to do a better job safeguarding the nation’s groundwater. But its initiative to protect that vital resource is coming under attack in Utah and elsewhere. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports.

Utah’s State Water Development Commission has a simple message for the Forest Service and its new groundwater directive.

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Business & Labor
1:22 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Child Poverty on the Rise in Utah

Photo courtesy Community Action Provo

Children in Utah are more likely to be living in poverty today than they were two decades ago. That’s according to new data released from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The percentage of Utah children living in poverty rose from 12 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2012. That’s a concern for Deputy Director of Voices for Utah Children Terry Haven.

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Religion
12:11 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Kate Kelly Appeals LDS Excommunication

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

  Kate Kelly, the founder of the group Ordain Women, has appealed her excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And her husband is wondering why he hasn’t also been subjected to church discipline.

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Health Care
4:23 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Utahns Keep Health Insurance Subsidies for Now

A federal court in Washington DC ruled Tuesday that Obamacare subsidies are illegal. Utah is among 36 states that would potentially be affected by this ruling, but for now, Utahns will continue to receive those subsidies.

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Public Safety
4:09 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

New Activities, Law Enforcement Poised to Fight Crime in Pioneer Park

Whittney Evans

The Salt Lake City Police Department began putting extra attention on Pioneer Park this month with the creation of a special bureau. Law Enforcement officials say that effort combined with new family-friendly activities will make the park and the neighborhood safer.

If you’ve spent any time around Pioneer Park lately, whether it be for the downtown farmer’s market or the Twilight Concert Series, you may have noticed some athletic, enthusiastic people flying high above you.

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Science & Technology
10:43 am
Wed July 23, 2014

New Pioneer Mortality Rates Put Trek Deaths in Perspective

A group of Mormon pioneers at South Pass, Wyoming, circa 1859. Photo by Charles Roscoe Savage
Harold B. Lee Library

Every year on Pioneer Day, we hear about the hardships and sacrifices made by Utah’s early Mormon settlers. But a new study from Brigham Young University shows most of those who made the trek arrived in good shape. 

Statistics professor Dennis Tolley wanted his students to work on an actuarial problem, like an insurance company calculating its rates. So he turned to a database compiled by the LDS church on Utah’s pioneer handcart companies and wagon trains.

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Health Care
4:05 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

West Nile Virus Detected in Utah Mosquitos

Health officials say West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitos in Utah. But so far, no human cases have been reported.  The virus has been found in mosquito pools in Box Elder and Uintah counties. Rebecca Ward with the Utah Department of Health says humans who contract the virus may not necessarily develop symptoms, but it can be very serious, particularly for those with compromised immune systems.

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Transportation
2:58 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Salt Lake City Expands GREENbike Program

Whittney Evans

Salt Lake City has once again expanded its bike-share program to include more stations, more bikes and more options.

More than 6,000 people rode GREENbikes, 26,000 times in the program’s inaugural year. It began in April 2013 with 10 stations and 55 bikes. Now officials are hoping to get more people on two wheels by doubling the number of stations and bikes across the city. Salt Lake City Councilor Erin Mendenhall says that’s crucial. 

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