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Mid-Term Elections 2014
6:00 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Attorney General Candidates Focus Campaigns on Plans to Clean Up Office

Sean Reyes (R) and Charles Stormont (D) participate in the Utah Debate Commission Debate
Pool: Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Democratic challenger Charles Stormont say they each have a plan to restore integrity to the office of the state’s chief legal advisor in the wake of a scandal that drove the former Attorney General  to resign.  In our continuing series profiling Utah major mid-term election races, we examine each candidate’s strategy and how they might influence voters.

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Business & Labor
6:46 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Senator Hatch Honored on 20th Anniversary of DSHEA

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch chats with President of United Natural Products Alliance at member retreat of UNPA. Pictured left to right: Frank J. Lampe, UNPA VP of Communications & Industry Relations, Loren Israelsen, President UNPA, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch.
Credit Bob Nelson

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch was honored by United Natural Products Alliance at its annual member retreat in Salt Lake City Thursday. The Utah-based UNPA represents the worldwide food supplement industry where sales growth has been nearly 11% per year since 1992.

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Energy & Environment
5:10 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Coalition Vote Could Reshape Grand County Council

The Grand County Council voted Tuesday to join a coalition that wants to build a road, a pipeline and a rail line for eastern Utah energy. The upcoming election could prove to be a referendum on that decision.

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Religion
4:52 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

New Mormon Essay Discusses Polygamy

Joseph Smith
Credit Courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a new essay Wednesday on the practice of plural marriage during the church’s early history.

The essay, called “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo,” discusses LDS Church founder Joseph Smith’s marriage to 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball.  It claims that, at the time, such marriage practices were not unusual. Newell Bringhurst is the author of Scattering of the Saints: Schism Within Mormonism.

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Health Care
4:15 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Feds Agree to Governor’s Health Plan, but Legislature May Have Different Plan

Republican Representatives Dean Sanpei and Jim Dunnigan confer after a Utah Health Reform Task Force meeting. (October 23, 2014)
Andrea Smardon KUER

Governor Gary Herbert has concluded negotiations with the Obama administration on his Healthy Utah Plan, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily take effect in Utah. The state legislature still has to weigh in, and lawmakers might be hatching a different plan.

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Health Care
1:37 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Agreement Reached with Federal Authorities on Healthy Utah Plan

Utah Governor Gary Herbert
KUED

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert says he’s finally worked out a deal with the Obama administration on the details of his Healthy Utah plan, but he still has to get it through the Utah legislature. 

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Business & Labor
4:41 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

BioFire Expands in Utah, Readies for Release of Ebola Test

Biofire Diagnostics CEO Randy Rasmussen unveils the plans for a new building to be located next to This Is The Place Heritage Park at the mouth of Emigration Canyon.
Andrea Smardon KUER

BioFire Diagnostics announced its plans Wednesday to double its workforce in Salt Lake City and build a new facility. The announcement comes as the company awaits federal emergency authorization to release a rapid test for Ebola.

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Public Lands
2:28 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Daggett County First to Join Bishop's Public Lands Plan

Environmentalists, local officials and members of Utah's Congressional delegation have agreed on a new land use and conservation proposal for Daggett County, Utah

  Daggett County -- with the smallest population in the state – is the first to agree to Congressman Rob Bishop’s plan for protecting public lands in Utah. 

Daggett County includes the north slope of the Uintah Mountains and Flaming Gorge reservoir, as well as the towns of Manila and Dutch John.  Only about 1100 people live there.  But it’s one of eight counties where Congressman Rob Bishop has been working to build consensus on which public lands deserve protection.

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Public Safety
10:46 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Why Aren't All Rape Kits Tested?

The Salt Lake City Council discusses testing all rape kits.
Credit Tim Slover

The Salt Lake City Council met with law enforcement officials yesterday to continue discussing the possibility of mandatory testing of all rape kits in the possession of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Amid questions of how much it would cost to test every rape kit, and how long it would take to do so, the issue of exactly why all rape kits aren’t tested emerged. Sergeant Derek Christenson oversees the special 

victims unit of the Salt Lake City Police. He says that rape kits aren’t always necessary if the perpetrator admits to the encounter.    

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Education
5:07 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Utah Launches STEM Education Outreach Effort with Statewide Broadcast

Photo courtesy curiosityunleashed.com

Utah held its first ever statewide broadcast focused on STEM education Tuesday. It was designed to inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math. 

Tami Getz, Executive Director for Utah STEM Action Center, spoke with KUER before the broadcast. She says it’s the beginning of a grassroots outreach and engagement campaign to get children thinking about a STEM related career.

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Energy & Environment
1:48 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

DC Court Hears Appeal of EPA Decision on Uintah Ozone

Utah Division of Air Quality pollution monitoring station in Vernal
Dan Bammes

  A complex court case involving winter ozone pollution in Utah’s Uintah Basin came before an appeals court in Washington DC Tuesday morning.  The central question is how much federal regulators need to know before they can act to control pollution.

Back in 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency decided the winter ozone problem in the Uintah Basin was “unclassifiable,” and it decided not to designate it as a non-attainment area for federal ozone standards.  Environmental groups sued, arguing the EPA had all the information it needed to act.

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Mid-Term Elections 2014
1:24 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Early Voting Begins in Utah

Brian Grimmett

Early voting locations around the state opened their doors Tuesday allowing Utah voters to get a head start on the mid-term elections.

In the morning, a slow trickle of people shuffle in to cast their ballot at the Salt Lake County building. Only about 10 people had shown up in the first few hours of being open. Earl and Colleen Hardwick were two of them.

“It’s just really convenient and nice to get up in the morning to go vote and have breakfast,” Earl says.

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Education
5:28 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Pornography Education Pilot Project Launches in Taylorsville

An Eisenhower Junior High School student takes a quiz as part of a "Fight the New Drug" presentation.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Students at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville got an unusual lesson Monday. The children heard a presentation about pornography. The assembly is part of a pilot project organized by Salt Lake County to educate kids and parents about the dangers of what some are calling the “new drug.”

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Energy & Environment
2:47 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Air Force Plans Big Expansion of Utah Training Range

The proposed expansion of the U.S. Air Force training range in western Utah would include a portion of Snake Valley in Utah's West Desert.
Dan Bammes

  An environmental activist says a plan to expand the US Air Force test and training range in western Utah is nothing more than a land grab.

The proposed amendment to the Defense Authorization Act would add more than a thousand square miles to the Utah Test and Training Range.  It’s sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch.

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Public Safety
11:29 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

State Crime Lab Ready to Process More Rape Kits

The Salt Lake City council is prepared to pass an ordinance requiring the Police Department send every sexual assault evidence kit in its custody to a lab for testing. 

Here, in this quiet space, no larger than typical college classroom, DNA-soaked cotton swabs hang from clothes pins and photos of crime-scene evidence dress the walls. Jay Henry is Director of the Utah State Crime Lab. He says this is where DNA evidence collected in the aftermath of a sexual assault, also known as Code R kits are tested.

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Education
5:10 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Teachers At UEA Convention Call for More Say in Education Policy

This year’s Utah Education Association convention gave teachers an opportunity to learn new skills, improve their practice and compare notes with other educators. It also gave teachers a venue to speak up about their lack of voice in education policy.

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh is president of the Utah Education Assocation. She says public education is too often micromanaged by policy makers, adding there has been too much emphasis on assessments as a means of labeling schools, teachers and students.

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Public Safety
4:17 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

University Gun Policies in Spotlight After Sarkeesian Cancellation

Rice-Eccles Stadium
Ken Lund / Creative Commons

Confusion about what a person can and can’t do with a gun on Utah’s college campuses is once again in the spotlight after pop culture critic and feminist Anita Sarkeesian cancelled a speaking engagement at Utah State University earlier this week after receiving death threats. 

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Education
3:15 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

National Girl Scout Convention in SLC Asks Girls to Discover, Connect, Take Action

Pictured L-R: Girl Scout Alexandra Soran, Girl Scouts of Utah CEO Debbie Nielsen, and Girl Scout Amelia Slama-Catron as they welcome convention-goers to the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Credit Bob Nelson

The 53rd National Convention of the Girl Scouts opened this week in Salt Lake City. The event runs through Sunday at the Salt Palace Convention Center with up to 5,000 girls and leaders participating.

It’s estimated there are 3.2 million Girl Scouts in the program in the U.S. and 10 million worldwide. Debbie Nielson is the CEO of the Girl Scouts of Utah and a national board nominee. She says she is encouraged to see so many girls participating in the program.

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Mid-Term Elections 2014
6:20 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Brian Wonnacott Faces Struggles In His Effort to Unseat Incumbent Jason Chaffetz

Whittney Evans

Republican incumbent Jason Chaffetz is seeking a fourth term. His Democratic challenger is new to politics and not eager to embrace the attention that comes with running for public office.  

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Air Quality
6:13 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Utah's Trying to Fast-Track Clean Car, Clean Fuel

Supporters say federal Tier 3 standards will go a long way toward cleaning up Wasatch Front air pollution. They say the clean car and clean fuel rules will be like getting the pollution from 4 of every 5 cars off the road.
Utah Department of Transportation

State air-quality officials are still trying to bring next-generation clean cars and clean fuel to Utah. They told lawmakers Wednesday they are making headway.

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Energy & Environment
2:14 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Contractor Works to Avoid Sage Grouse Listing

Greater sage grouse males strutting on a nesting site in Morgan County, Utah

  The Utah Legislature appropriated two million dollars to try to avoid an endangered species listing for the greater sage grouse.  The consulting firm hired to do that presented its report to the legislature today on its work so far.

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Mid-Term Elections 2014
9:52 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Love and Owens Face Off in Fourth District Debate

Republican Mia Love and Democrat Doug Owens shake hands at the end of the 4th District debate Tuesday night
Credit Salt Lake Tribune Photo Pool

Republican Mia Love and Democrat Doug Owens faced off in a live debate Tuesday night broadcast on radio and television throughout the state.  Both candidates are vying to replace retiring congressman Jim Matheson and represent the state’s fourth congressional district.  

Mia Love and Doug Owens quickly showcased their differences on several issues.  Education and how it should be funded was central in the discussion.  Owens said that federal support for school programs and student loans still plays a role in making education affordable.

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Arts & Entertainment
6:25 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Free ZAP Day at Living Planet Aquarium Spotlights Ballot Issue

Penguin at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper
Credit File: Loveland Living Planet Aquarium

The Zoo, Arts and Parks or ZAP Program is up for renewal on the General Election Ballot in Salt Lake County. A penny from every $10 spent in the county goes to nearly 200 public arts, education and recreation venues located all over the county. The fate of similar tax plans will also be decided by voters in Davis and Cache Counties.

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Business & Labor
4:46 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

State Auditor Says GOED Lacks Oversight and Accountability

Governor's Office of Economic Development Executive Director Vale Hale, middle, responds to an audit of their business incentive program.
Brian Grimmett
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Religion
1:43 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Utah Catholics Following Synod Discussions on Homosexuality, Divorce

Fr. Carl Schlichte, pastor of the St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Newman Center
Dan Bammes

  Draft documents being considered by a meeting of Catholic bishops in Rome are showing a new openness in the church toward homosexuals and divorced people. Catholic priests and church members in Utah are watching the meeting closely.

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Education
4:36 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Ogden School's Chief Selected as State Superintendent

Ogden School District Superintendent Brad Smith has accepted a position as Utah’s next Superintendent of public instruction. A divided school board picked Smith out of four candidates on Friday. 

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Religion
1:58 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Mormon Activists See New Opportunity Following Gay Marriage Decision

Mormons for Equality marched in Salt Lake City's 2014 Pride Parade
Dan Bammes

  Mormon activists who’ve been pushing for more inclusion of gays and lesbians within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints see a new opportunity now that the U-S Supreme Court has decided not to hear Utah’s appeal of its same-sex marriage case. 

Erika Munson is one of the founders of Mormons Building Bridges, which has marched in Salt Lake City’s Pride Parade and helped to moderate many private discussions among Mormons.

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Air Quality
7:30 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Utah Hasn't Seen Much Ozone Pollution this Year

Downtown Salt Lake City normally has days and even weeks worth of smoggy summer days. But favorable weather this summer kept the skies scrubbed pretty clean of ozone pollution.
Credit Paul Sableman / Flickr Creative Commons

    

Ozone pollution in Utah barely reached unhealthy levels this year. The summer smog season ended Oct. 1, and the Utah Division of Air Quality reports none of its 15 sampling sites statewide exceeded the federal cap.

Kevin Seely sometimes gets lunch with his coworkers at downtown Salt Lake City taco cart that’s just a few blocks from where state air regulators monitor ozone pollution. He’s not surprised to learn regulators recorded so few smoggy days this summer, because that’s what Seely saw with his at-home pollution indicator: his four-year-old.

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Education
6:08 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

U Celebrates Groundbreaking for $45 Million Lassonde Studios

Pierre Lassonde, MBA alum of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, was on hand for the groundbreaking on the Lassonde Studios just east of the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building.
Credit Bob Nelson

The University of Utah celebrated the groundbreaking for the Lassonde Studios on the campus’s east side Friday.

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Public Safety
5:12 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

SLCPD Begins Partnership With Feds to Improve Rape Investigations

Whittney Evans

The Salt Lake City Police Department has formally signed on to partner with a national research organization and the U.S. Department of Justice to establish nationwide standards for handling sexual assault cases. 

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