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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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Religion
12:32 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

New Tools for Looking Up Pioneer Ancestors

Records of the Mormon pioneer handcart companies are included in the Overland Travel database
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  Descendants of Utah’s Mormon pioneers have a new way to connect with the stories of their ancestors’ adventures on the trek to Utah.  

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates the FamilySearch genealogy database.  And it’s also compiled records of the pioneers’ overland travel to Utah in a database that links to journals, photos and other records. 

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Politics
6:10 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Teachers Back McAleer in 1st District; Both Candidates Raise Campaign Cash

Democrat is expected to announce two, big endorsements on Tuesday -- from the National Education Association and the Utah Education Association -- in her campaign to unseat Rep. Rob Bishop, R-1st District.
Credit Courtesy: / Donna McAleer

The democratic challenger vying for Utah’s 1st district congressional seat hopes two big endorsements will help her unseat the incumbent in November. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports.

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Business & Labor
5:32 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Stericycle Another Step Closer to Moving

Proposed incinerator location in Tooele County

Medical waste company Stericycle has cleared another hurdle in its effort to relocate its incinerator from North Salt Lake to Tooele County. The local planning commission approved a conditional use permit for the new facility this month, though two commissioners voted against it.

Stericycle Vice President of Corporate Communications  Jennifer Koenig says the permit is necessary to move forward with a new facility, but it’s only one step among many.

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Energy & Environment
3:43 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Residential Solar Users Asked to Pay More for Power

Utah Clean Energy

Rocky Mountain Power subsidizes new solar power installations through its Blue Sky program. But it’s also insisting it needs additional money from residential customers who have solar panels on their homes.

The Utah Public Service Commission is preparing for a hearing next week on Rocky Mountain Power’s request for residential solar power users to pay four dollars and 65 cents a month to connect their homes to the grid.

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Public Safety
3:25 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Owner Could Face Charges in Magna Horse Deaths

Wikimedia commons

Animal doctors at a laboratory in Logan should know by the end of the week how ten horses found in a Magna field over the weekend died. The answer could lead to criminal charges for the animal’s owner.

On Friday afternoon Salk Lake County Animal Services and the Unified Police Department responded to reports that several horses were found dead in a field near 3500 south and 9200 west in Magna. One horse was still alive but in poor condition.

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LGBT
4:53 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Same-Sex Marriage Recognition Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted Utah a stay of a lower court’s ruling that would have required the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed during a period when they were legal.

With the Supreme Court’s stay, the more than one thousand same-sex couples who got married in December and January will continue waiting to see if they’ll be able to receive the same benefits as other married couples.

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Energy & Environment
4:45 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

State Sets Water Priorities On Virgin River Tributaries

Washington County Water Conservancy District is concerned that unauthorized users are jumping their place in line and taking water they need for their reservoirs. Sand Hollow Reservoir is one of the district's storage sites.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

    

A drought in southwestern Utah means there’s not enough water to fulfill the needs of all property owners in the area. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports on the priority list that’s leaving some Washington County water users dry this year.

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Health Care
4:20 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

AirMed Takes Emergency Newborn Care to the Sky

Andrea Smardon KUER

A University of Utah AirMed team can now deliver emergency care to newborn babies. The perinatal team has just been licensed to transport babies from zero to 30 days, and they have a new larger helicopter for the necessary equipment.

University of Utah chief flight nurse Bart Chournos says he’s been treating pregnant mothers for 30 years. He travels by helicopter to expecting moms in need of urgent care at smaller, regional hospitals throughout the Mountain west.

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Science & Technology
2:28 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Volunteer 'Ambassador' Receiving NASA Honor

Patrick Wiggins, NASA's Solar System Ambassador in Utah
courtesy photo

  Patrick Wiggins, who represents NASA as a volunteer Solar System Ambassador in Utah, is receiving one of the space agency’s highest honors.

NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors work to educate the public about astronomy and space exploration.  They commit to eight events a year – but the agency says Wiggins averages about 88 a year, more than a thousand since he started working in the program 12 years ago.

Wiggins says it’s something he just likes to do.

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Education
1:44 am
Fri July 18, 2014

School Board Considers Going Back to No Child Left Behind

For the past two years, the federal government has allowed Utah to waive key parts of the No Child Left Behind law. Now that waiver is up for renewal and the state board of education is questioning if it should instead go back to the largely unpopular law.  

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Business & Labor
7:23 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

SLC Department of Airports Breaks Ground on $1.8 Billion Terminal Redevelopment Program

Current rendering of proposed Terminal Redevelopment Program with complete build out scheduled for 2022.
Credit File: Salt Lake City Department of Airports

The Salt Lake City Department of Airports will break ground Friday on the 1.8 billion dollar Terminal Redevelopment Program. Construction will continue in phases from now through 2019 with complete build out by 2022. Mike Williams is the program director of the massive project. He says there will be many big changes along the way but the effort is going to be well worth it.

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Business & Labor
6:01 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Park City's Autumn Aloft Returns After 20-Year Pause

Autumn Aloft lasted ten years in Park City in the 1990's and at one time attracted dozens of pilots and nearly 20,000 spectators.
Credit File: Autumn Aloft, Mark Prothro

Park City’s Autumn Aloft Hot Air Balloon Festival is returning after suddenly ending 20 years ago. It will coincide with the final weekend of the Parksilly Sunday Market September 19 through the 21st. Meisha Lawson is the spokeswoman for the festival. She says city leaders, residents and businesses are showing overwhelming support for the return of the event.

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Health Care
5:15 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

U Study Shows Medicaid Expansion Population is Bigger than Previously Estimated

University of Utah Economics Professor Norman Waitzman presents his findings to the Utah Health Reform Task Force.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Utah lawmakers were stunned to hear Thursday that the number of people who fall in the so-called health coverage gap is significantly higher than they thought. Researchers from the University of Utah presented results from a new report on the Medicaid eligibility expansion population to a state health committee.

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Public Safety
4:11 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Unified Fire Authority Using State Grant to Mitigate Fire Risk on Traverse Mountain

UFA fire fighter thin out oak brush on Traverse Mountain
Brian Grimmett

Draper City and the Unified Fire Authority are working hand in hand to help mitigate fire danger on Traverse Mountain.

The area where firefighters are thinning out the underbrush is located on a steep hill leading right up into homes in the SunCrest neighborhood. Unified Fire Authority Captain Riley Pilgrim says they’re hoping to help reduce the fire risk of one of the most dangerous spots in the state.

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Education
3:17 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Governor Launches Review of Academic Standards

Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert is calling for a comprehensive legal review of the state’s adoption of the Common Core Standards. He’s hoping a legal analysis performed by Utah’s Attorney General will quash any misconceptions and ease ongoing concerns that the state has lost control of academic standards and curriculum.

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Public Safety
1:33 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Gun Deaths Exceed Highway Deaths in Utah

Nationwide, highway fatalities have declined in the past decade while gun deaths have stayed about the same.
Violence Policy Center

Utah is one of 14 states where the number of gun-related deaths is now higher than the number of highway fatalities. 

Highway fatalities in Utah – and across the country – have dropped dramatically in the past decade, thanks in part to safer cars and better drunk driving enforcement. For Utah, a report from the Violence Policy Center says there were 277 motor vehicle deaths in 2011, compared to 308 deaths from guns.  That includes accidents, homicides and suicides.

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Health Care
4:10 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Health Advocates Stage Limbo Contest at Lockhart’s Office

Christine Stenquist takes part in a "Lockhart Limbo" contest to highlight the struggles of those living under the poverty line without healthcare in Utah.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Wearing fake grass skirts and plastic leis, health advocates took turns going under a limbo pole in front of House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart’s office Wednesday. The idea was to highlight the plight of Utahns who fall into the Medicaid coverage gap, and the pole was steadily lowered to represent each month this year that they have not been able to pay for healthcare. The mood was light, but Christine Stenquist quickly became emotional when she began talking about why she is taking part in this demonstration.

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Air Quality
2:07 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Skeptical Reception for Bill to Allow Stricter State Air Quality Rules

The Utah legislature's interim Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment committee meets at the Utah State Capitol
Dan Bammes

  A member of the Utah legislature is trying again to change the law that keeps the state of Utah from imposing stricter environmental rules than the federal government. 

Republican Representative Becky Edwards of North Salt Lake had a similar bill in the last general session.  It passed the House, but it was defeated in the state Senate, in part because of opposition from industry.

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Education
11:32 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

School Board Hires Search Firm to Find New State Superintendent

The committee tasked with finding a new state school superintendent has hired a private search firm to seek out potential candidates. Salt Lake City-based SEARCH Group Partners will work alongside the committee to help recruit applicants and sift through resumes.

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Business & Labor
5:40 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Investigative Committee Chair on Attorneys General Arrests: System Working

Credit File: Utah State Legislature

The chair of the Legislature’s Special Investigative Committee says he is working on a bill to increase potential use of grand juries in investigations in the wake of the John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff arrests Tuesday. Republican Representative Jim Dunnigan of Taylorsville led the bi-partisan investigation after the US Department of Justice dropped the case. He says a number of potentially helpful parties simply did not respond to subpoenas from the committee.

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Health Care
4:37 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Audit Validates Salt Lake County’s New Behavioral Health Model

An independent audit of Salt Lake County’s Behavioral Health Services system was released Tuesday. Officials say it validates the county’s move to a managed-care model.  County Mayor Ben McAdams called for the audit last year following news that provider Valley Behavioral Health (VBH) would discontinue service to hundreds of patients due to budget cuts.

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Utah Politics
9:50 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Former Utah Attorneys General Swallow and Shurtleff Arrested

Former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow (L) and Mark Shurtleff (R)
Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

Utah officials have arrested former Utah Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow on multiple state felony charges.

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Local Government
6:32 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Audit Finds Error Cost State $100 Million in Property Taxe Revenues

Utah has missed out on approximately $100 million in property tax revenue over the past eight years because of an error in how property taxes are calculated. Now as the state moves to fix the problem, taxpayers will likely be asked to pay more.

The office of the state auditor released a study on Monday that details how local governments across the state have been miscalculating new commercial and residential growth, thus driving down the certified tax rate. David Stringfellow is Chief Economist for the state auditor’s office.

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Energy & Environment
5:52 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Rail Line Would Deliver Uinta Basin Energy to Markets

A proposed rail line would cover rugged territory in central eastern Utah to transport energy products from the Uinta Basin to Price.
Credit a4gpa / Flickr Creative Commons

Plans are moving forward to build a 100-mile rail line from Duchesne, through the wild Uinta Basin, and into Price. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports on the ambitious and expensive proposal to move Utah energy products into the market.

The Uinta Basin rail project is a big idea. And its price tag is big, too – as much as $4 billion. But state transportation officials estimate an even bigger financial cost if Uinta Basin oil can’t get to Wasatch Front refineries and buyers outside the state.

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Military
4:57 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Utah Vet Partially Blinded in Afghanistan Sues Alleged Assailant

Layne Morris at his office in West Valley City
Andrea Smardon KUER

A Utah veteran says he’s helping to protect the Western world by suing a former Guantanamo prisoner. Retired special forces sergeant Layne Morris of South Jordan believes Canadian national Omar Khadr is a potential threat to national security. But a senior US military official says Morris is wrong and out of line with his lawsuit.

In 2002, Layne Morris was partially blinded by shrapnel from a grenade thrown from an al-Qaeda compound in Afghanistan.

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