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New research out of the University of Utah shows that the use of methamphetamine increases the risk of developing a neurological disease later in life. The study published this month in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence also suggests that gender may influence that risk.

Gas prices are tumbling, thanks to a glut of petroleum on the world market. That may be great for consumers, but it’s tough for Utah’s petroleum industry and the state budget.

The online Human Resource services company, Zenefits, has officially asked the Utah Department of Insurance to reconsider its decision that the company is operating illegally in the state.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

A Utah mother is alive today thanks to an unusual donation by her daughter. Betty Garcia was in desperate need of a liver transplant, but she wasn’t sick enough to qualify for a liver from a deceased donor.

Utah Foundation

New research on Utah’s higher education system is pointing out ways the state can improve its low college graduation rate.

Utah Geological Survey

The parent company of Rocky Mountain Power has decided to shut down the Deer Creek coal mine near Huntington.   The closure represents a blow to organized labor in Utah.

Grades evaluating the performance of Utah schools were released today, but they won’t be all that useful to parents who want to compare the results to last year. This year’s grades were calculated based on SAGE, the states’ new year-end student assessment.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Historic Trolley Square is undergoing a facelift this holiday season. When Utah businessman Khosrow Semnani bought the troubled shopping center last year, he vowed to return it to its former glory. Semnani is optimistic even though many shop spaces remain empty.

Brian Grimmett

North Salt Lake City officials say they are very close to a final remediation plan for the landslide that happened in August, but many questions still remain.

Officials from the Navajo Nation have been able to reclaim seven sacred masks that were up for auction in Paris. 

Courtesy wasatchweatherweenies.blogspot.com

Atmospheric scientists at the University of Utah have installed an air quality monitor on a Utah Transit Authority TRAX train. It’s helping them get a detailed picture of air pollution around the Salt Lake valley.

TheDamnMushroom via Flickr

Communities throughout the Salt Lake valley are pleading with the Utah Prison Relocation Commission to remove them from the list of possible sites for the state prison. But public opposition probably won’t make much difference in the decision-making process.

Dan Bammes

Elected officials from Utah’s rural counties are watching the big omnibus spending bill closely as it moves through Congress.  It includes some critical funding they depend on.

Whittney Evans

Utah Governor Gary Herbert presented his 2016 budget proposal today. He wants to significantly increase education funding and he says the state has the ability to pay for it thanks to a strong economy.

SLC Downtown Alliance Announces Eve Winter Fest

Dec 11, 2014
Tim Slover

The Salt Lake City Downtown Alliance announced plans today for the sixth annual Eve Winter Fest to ring in the New Year.

Phil Douglass / Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

 Congress is facing a midnight deadline to pass a huge spending bill.  One of its provisions would put a possible endangered species listing for the sage grouse on hold. 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is facing a deadline based on a court settlement with environmental groups.  It has until September next year to make a decision on whether to put the greater sage grouse on the list of endangered or threatened species.

Brian Grimmett

Salt Lake City library officials need more time to study the prospect of opening the main branch to patrons 24/7. That’s why the city council has postponed a vote on the issue until January.

Library officials say they’ve got enough private funding to keep the library open all day, every day and hire additional employees. But first, Library Director John Spears says they need to get more feedback from the public and gauge the needs of the community.

Researchers at Intermountain Medical Center have found a way to more accurately identify a patient’s risk for often-deadly blood clots in the lungs. The research was recently published in the medical journal CHEST.

  Congress is working to pass a defense authorization and spending bill as it winds up work for the year.  But it won’t include an expansion of the Air Force Test and Training Range in Utah’s West Desert, at least not this time.

Whittney Evans

Saratoga Springs City Council has signed off on a deal that will allow a company to develop a piece of property that is being considered as a possible site for the new state prison.

The city council Tuesday night approved a so-called pre-annexation agreement that will allow Western States Ventures 490-acre parcel to be annexed in to Saratoga Springs city limits. The company wants to build a mixed-used development with up to 2,000 residential units.

Tim Slover

That’s Utah composer Kurt Bestor performing for patients at the William E. Christofferson Salt Lake Veterans Home. He helped kick off the official launch of Music & Memory.  The program helps put iPods, headphones, and other listening equipment in nursing homes where patients live with Alzheimer’s disease

and dementia.  It also certifies healthcare workers to provide musical therapy to patients.

Norman Foster directs the Center for Alzheimer’s Care at the University of Utah. He says music can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s re-access long-forgotten memories.

File: Utah Transit Authority

Skiers who use Utah Transit Authority’s Ski Bus service will have more shelters while they wait for their next bus. UTA has announced the number of shelters for the 2014-15 season has doubled from 5 to 10. There were already five existing ski bus shelters at Snowbird, Alta, Brighton Ski Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort and the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon. The shelters are designed to keep up to 20 people out of the elements without blocking the mountain vistas.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  The Salt Lake County Health Department says it’s seen a sharp increase in the number of influenza cases over the past two weeks.  And state officials say a flu shot is still the best way to prevent it. 

Doctor Dagmar Vitek with the Salt Lake County Health Department says 75 people have been hospitalized with influenza over the past two weeks.  Two people have died.  And she says elderly people and others at high risk need to see a doctor right away if they have symptoms of the flu.

Volunteers of America

The group Volunteers of America is almost finished raising money for its new homeless youth resource center and overnight shelter. The non-profit is launching a campaign called “Home for the Holidays” to make the final push for public support.

Brian Grimmett

The Utah Republican Party is now saying that they don’t have enough time to make the changes called for in the County My Vote compromise legislation, known as SB54.

Utah GOP Chairman James Evans says SB54 does not give his party long enough to change its bylaws and constitution to fit the new definition of a qualified political party.

Andrea Smardon

  When Governor Gary Herbert announced the details of his Healthy Utah plan last week, the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and several other religious leaders stood with him.

But some members of the Utah legislature say there’s more than one way to do what those religious leaders are asking – provide health care to needy people in Utah. 

Dan Bammes

  Monday, December 8th, is Bodhi Day, when some traditions of Buddhism celebrate Buddha’s enlightenment.  This Bodhi Day, the 102-year-old Salt Lake City Buddhist Temple is also welcoming a newly ordained minister.

James Cordova/Facebook

  Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova has been charged with felony counts of theft and misuse of public funds. 

Court documents filed by the Utah Attorney General’s office accuse Sheriff Cordova of using a county trailer to move his personal belongings to a home in St. George and with charging two thousand dollars’ worth of gasoline to a county credit card.

Whittney Evans

The University of Utah Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity is partnering with The Rape Recovery Center to move the conversation about sexual assault and rape culture forward. And the fraternity’s sexual assault prevention forum Thursday night got students talking.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Governor Gary Herbert officially unveiled his plan Thursday to close the coverage gap and help low income Utahns get health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.

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