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Energy & Environment
1:05 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Morgan Council Considers Sage Grouse in Land Use Decision

Male sage grouse strut on a lek in Morgan County, Utah
Dan Bammes

The Morgan County Council will look at a change in its master land use plan on Tuesday that could impact the future of the sage grouse in Utah.

At issue is whether to change the designation of about 27-hundred acres between East Canyon Reservoir and Highway 65 from “Natural Resources and Recreation” to “Master Planned Community.” The county’s planning commission has already approved the request from a group representing about fifty property owners in the area.

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Local Government
4:52 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Miner's Day: Park City's End of Summer Celebration

The Park City High School marching band heads down Main Street during the 117th annual Miner's Day Parade.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

Americans celebrate Labor Day with picnics and barbecues.  But Park City has its own, quirky way of marking the national holiday.

The Summit County community dedicates its end-of-summer celebration each year to its history as a silver-mining town

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Business & Labor
3:54 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Officials Reach Out to Undocumented Immigrants on Labor Day

Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City
Courtesy photo

The Utah Labor Commission and the Mexican Consulate are using Labor Day to raise awareness about the work rights of immigrants. Elena Bensor is a Public Information Officer for the Utah Labor Commission, and she says many people don’t know that undocumented immigrants have labor rights.

“It is illegal for the employer not to pay the wages that they are owed,” Bensor says. “Also, employees have the right to medical assistance when they do suffer a work-related accident, regardless of their status.”

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Politics
12:09 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Sen. Harry Reid's Name Removed from SUU Center

U.S Senator Harry Reid speaks at a convocation at Southern Utah University, September 1, 2011
Asher Swan, SUUNews.com

  The name of U.S. Senator Harry Reid disappeared from a doorway at Southern Utah University last week, thanks in part to objections from community leaders in Cedar City.

Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada attended Southern Utah University as a young man, and he was pleased when SUU decided to name a campus program in his honor.  But no funds have been raised for the Harry Reid Center, so the program was merged with the existing Center for Outdoor Engagement.

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Energy & Environment
5:55 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Public Service Commission Rejects Proposed Solar Metering Fee

Credit Rocky Mountain Power

The Utah Public Service Commission rejected on Friday a request from Rocky Mountain Power to institute a metering fee of more than four dollars a month on customers who generate their own power trough solar panels.  Commission officials ruled that the private power provider did not present enough evidence to prove the proposed fee was just and reasonable.  Matt Pacenza is a policy director with Heal Utah, one of several groups opposing the fee. He says Rocky Mountain Power officials didn’t present a convincing case for the fee.

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Mid-Term Elections 2014
5:50 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Candidate Participation in Voters Guide is Down

The League of Women Voters of Utah is releasing its voter’s guide on Monday in anticipation of the mid-term elections in November.   The number of candidates who participated is down this year.

During every election cycle, The League of Women Voters engages candidates running for office with questions on specific issues.  Jenn Gonnelly is Co-President of the Utah chapter of the League.

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Public Safety
4:06 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Deadly-100 Driving Days Ends After Labor Day

When Labor Day ends, so does the traffic fatality busy season.
Credit LongSkull / Flickr Creative Commons

    

AAA is projecting that 34.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this weekend to celebrate the holiday that marks the end of summer.

Around 2.5 million people in the Mountain West are planning to travel, according to AAA spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. And about 2.1 million are going to drive.

Leisure travel has steadily increased each holiday through the summer leading up to the busiest Labor Day travel weekend since the beginning of the recession in 2008. Fairclough says that’s a positive sign about their standard of living.

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Transportation
3:38 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

State Legislator Calls For Investigation of UTA Development

Brian Grimmett

Republican state Senator Todd Weiler is asking the Attorney General’s office to take a closer look at a development deal involving the Utah Transit Authority, after an audit indicated a possible lack of proper oversight.

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Religion
11:48 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Herbert: Utah Should Appeal Polygamy Decision

L-R, Janelle, Christine, Kody, Meri, and Robyn Brown of TLC's "Sister Wives"

Utah’s governor believes the state of Utah should appeal a federal court decision that struck down a key part of the state law banning polygamy. 

The decision in Brown v. Herbert was first issued last December, but only became final this week. It struck down the part of Utah’s law dealing with cohabitation. Kody Brown, who appears on the TV show Sister Wives, had challenged the law on the basis of religious freedom.

After the taping of his monthly TV news conference, Governor Gary Herbert told reporters the state ought to appeal that decision.

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Health Care
5:17 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Health Reform Still Stalled in Utah

Charlotte Lawrence testifies along with her children to the Utah Health Reform Task Force.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Some conservative lawmakers are still resisting an expansion of Medicaid in Utah, despite testimony from those who can’t afford health coverage and a new analysis showing the economic benefits of the governor’s Healthy Utah proposal.

Charlotte Lawrence tried to contain her emotion as she sat before the state’s health reform task force, with her children on either side. She explained that she is a single parent, working two full time jobs, and she has been diagnosed with cancer. She says she’s done all she can to provide for herself and her family, but it’s not enough.

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LGBT
3:05 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

"Capitol 13" LGBT Rights Activists Charged

Members of the "Capitol 13" and their lawyers lock arms at the Utah State Capitol August 28
Brian Grimmett

The Salt Lake City Prosecutor has charged the 13 gay rights activists arrested at the State Capitol earlier this year with disrupting the legislative process.

The 13 protestors were arrested on February 10 after blocking legislators from entering a committee meeting. KRCL radio host Troy Williams was among those arrested.

“The Capitol 13 collectively pleads not guilty and we are prepared to defend our actions before a jury of our peers.”

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Energy & Environment
2:51 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

University of Utah Thursday Game Traffic Likely to Double

Special parking chart for Thursday, August 28, with Ute Football hosting Idaho State.
Credit U of U Commuter Services

Demand for parking spaces on the University of Utah campus is expected to nearly double on the only Thursday game of the Ute Football season.  

Alma Allred is the executive director of commuter services at the U. His suggestion is simply to not drive to campus.

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Transportation
1:37 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Herbert: UTA Doing Better

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert thinks the Utah Transit Authority is running better than it has in past years, even after another critical audit came out this week.

Governor Herbert was asked about the legislative audit at his monthly news conference on KUED.  It pointed out conflicts with developers controlled by UTA board members receiving money for transit-oriented building projects and again said that the agency’s top managers are getting salary and benefit packages higher than comparable jobs in Utah.

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Public Safety
6:42 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Sandy City Council Votes Unanimously to Amend Firearms Ordinance

Credit File: gunholstersunlimited.com

The Sandy City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to amend city ordinances to allow unrestricted carrying of firearms in public places within city limits. Nicole Martin is the spokeswoman for the city. She says the council and city officials are not trying to make a statement about gun control.

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Public Safety
5:40 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Fate of Woman Who Dumped Infant in Hands of Prosecutors

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

Attempted Murder is the charge Unified Police are recommending for the 24-year-old Kearns woman who dumped her infant child in a neighbor’s trash can to hide her pregnancy. But the charge may change as the circumstances surrounding the incident come to light.

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Energy & Environment
5:07 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

August Climate Eases Drought; Grows Record Tomato

Dale Thurber's giant tomato -- a Michael's Portuguese Monster -- weighed in this month at 3.754 pounds, breaking the state record. Favorable summer weather helped his giant tomato achieve its size.
Credit Courtesy: / Dale Thurber

Most of Utah continues to struggle with drought. But an especially cool and rainy August has eased the dryness and triggered other consequences, too, including a monster tomato.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Seaman’s put some numbers to the climate trends that Utahns have been living firsthand this August.

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Business & Labor
4:44 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Judge Pushes Back Decision On Park City Mountain Resort Bond Payment

Utah Third District Court Judge Ryan Harris listens to arguments
Pool: Salt Lake Tribune

Third District Court Judge Ryan Harris has decided to wait a week before making a decision on how much it will cost Park City Mountain Resort to continue to operate on land the business no longer leases. 

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Transportation
1:39 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

UTA Defends Salaries After Critical Legislative Audit

UTA's TRAX light rail train in Draper
Utah Transit Authority

The general manager of the Utah Transit Authority is defending the high salaries paid to executives as money well spent.  That comes after another critical audit of the agency from the legislative auditor general.

The audit released Tuesday says UTA’s top managers are comparing their compensation to the wrong standard – other public transit agencies from around the country.  It says the Utah Department of Transportation and the Salt Lake City Airport Authority might be better benchmarks.

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Public Safety
10:24 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Mother of Abandoned Infant Charged with Attempted Murder

A 24-year-old Kearns woman has been charged with attempted murder after she discarded her infant child in a neighbor’s trash can Tuesday morning. In an effort to avoid cases like these, local elected officials, medical professionals and law enforcement officers came forward Tuesday afternoon to remind expectant mothers of their legal options.

Alica Englert told Unified Police officers she was afraid to tell her parents about her pregnancy so she discarded the baby girl hoping she would die.

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Public Safety
5:12 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Dozens Sickened by Raw Milk from Weber County Dairy

Utah public health officials are investigating a cluster of illness associated with the consumption of raw or unpasteurized milk.  Officials from the Utah Department of Health say 45 cases of Campylobacter infection have been reported in Northern Utah, Idaho, and California. All cases are linked to the consumption of raw milk or cream purchased at Ropelato Dairy in Weber County. 

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Mid-Term Elections 2014
3:19 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Utah Debate Commission Names Three Moderators

Brian Grimmett

The Board of Directors of the Utah Debate Commission have announced who will moderate the commission’s first series of debates between candidates of Utah’s congressional and Attorney General races.

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Politics
1:04 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Millard Primary Election Goes to Utah Supreme Court

Results from the official canvass of the primary election in Millard County, Utah

  The Republican primary election for a seat on the Millard County Commission could be decided by the Utah Supreme Court.  State election officials are asking for a quick ruling in the case.

Election night returns on June 24th showed Jim Dyer defeating incumbent County Commissioner Jim Withers by one vote.  But the official canvass a few weeks later gave Withers the victory by five votes.  Dyer then sued Withers in 4th District Court to challenge the results of the election.  But Mark Thomas, who oversees elections in the lieutenant governor’s office, says that was a mistake.

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Immigration
5:47 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Salt Lake County Settles Immigrant Detention Lawsuit

Andrea Smardon KUER

Salt Lake County sheriff’s office has settled a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union over its immigration detention policies.                                                                        

The ACLU of Utah filed the lawsuit in 2011, accusing Salt Lake County jail officials of holding 22-year-old Enrique Uroza unlawfully for 46 days after he posted bail. As part of the settlement, the county has agreed to end its procedure of delaying releases when authorities suspect an inmate is in the country illegally.

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Education
4:33 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Common Core Fight Rages, Misinformation Reigns

A new poll sponsored by Utahpolicy.com shows most Utahns do not understand where the Common Core comes from or what it does. Meanwhile, proponents continue to defend the education standards against what they say is false information and unfounded fears about federal intrusion.

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Sports
4:20 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

U of U Athletics Department Reminds People Not to Give Student-Athletes Extra Benefits

Rice-Eccles Stadium
University of Utah

As students return to campus and football season begins, the University of Utah Athletics Compliance department is reminding people of the importance of not giving extra benefits to student-athletes.

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Health Care
2:22 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

SLCo Health Department Reports State's First Human West Nile Virus Case

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention August 19th West Nile Virus Report modified to show Salt Lake County report.
Credit CDC, KUER

The Salt Lake County Health Department has confirmed Utah’s first human case of West Nile Virus this year. Health officials are urging people to protect themselves against the mosquito-borne virus.  Dr. Dagmar Vitek is a health director with the Salt Lake County Health Department.  She says the department does regular testing for the presence of the virus in mosquitoes.

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Religion
1:57 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

New Greek Orthodox Mission Parish in Salt Lake City

Iconostasis at Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church
Elaine Emmi

  The Greek Orthodox church has sanctioned a new mission parish in Salt Lake City. 

Back in April, about two dozen members of Salt Lake City’s Greek Orthodox parish decided to study options to resolve ongoing issues within the congregations.  The parish includes both Holy Trinity Cathedral in downtown Salt Lake and Prophet Elias church in Holladay.

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Religion
12:40 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Families Remember 3 LDS Missionaries

Sister Nancy Ann Vea
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The family of a Mormon missionary who died in Taiwan is waiting to hear from the Taiwanese government before making funeral arrangements.

Elder Connor Thredgold, who was 19, comes from Springville, Utah. He and his companion, 24-year-old Elder Yu Peng Xiong, were found dead in their apartment in New Taipei City on Saturday. Police think carbon monoxide from a faulty water heater is to blame.

Tom McHoes, a family friend, says many people have stepped forward to comfort Elder Thredgold’s parents in Springville, Utah.

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Education
5:22 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

State School Board Selects Interim Superintendent

The Utah State School Board decided Thursday to name Joel Coleman as interim Superintendent of Public instruction. Coleman will hold the place until the board chooses a permanent replacement this fall. But the board was divided on the appointment. 

Coleman was an LDS seminary teacher, a city councilman and a member of the state board of education. Most recently he held the post of Superintendent of Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind. Dave Thomas is the vice chair of the state school board. He says Coleman will be an effective interim leader of Utah schools.

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Education
5:01 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Lockhart Competes for Job as State School Superintendent

Brian Grimmett

Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart wants to be the next state schools chief. Lockhart announced today  she’s officially applied for the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

Less than a year ago, Lockhart signaled she might challenge Republican Governor Gary Herbert for his seat in 2016, but those speculations might have come too soon now that Lockhart is lining up to capture the state’s highest office in public education.  

Lockhart, who is a Registered Nurse, sent an email to members of the media Friday confirming her decision. 

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