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Environment & Public Lands
6:40 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Utah Lawmaker Takes National Stage on Land-Transfer Idea

Utah Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, is recognized as a leader in the lands-transfer movement, which has gotten national attention since the standoff earlier this month in Bunkerville, Nev., led by rancher Cliven Bundy.
Credit Michael Jolley / Flickr Creative Commons

      

A Utah lawmaker’s campaign to take back federal lands is getting new, national traction thanks to a Nevada rancher’s standoff with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, is head of a political nonprofit called the American Lands Council. Its goal is to get the federal government to relinquish control of most federal lands to the states.

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Education
4:48 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

High Court Paves Way for State Bans on Affirmative Action

Affirmative action demonstration outside the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003
Joseluis89 via wikimedia commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the state of Michigan’s ban on affirmative action. Utah lawmakers have considered a similar ban in the past. But advocates say marginalized groups still need protections.

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Public Safety
3:09 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

BYU Researchers Help UDOT Pinpoint Safety Hotspots on Utah's Roads

UDOT crews work on applying a high-friction surface treatment to a high-risk curve of highway in Logan Canyon.
BYU

A group of researchers at Brigham Young University have developed an advanced traffic safety model that’s helping UDOT make Utah roads safer.

Grant Schultz is an associate professor of civil engineering at BYU. He was on the team of researchers that has spent the last 5 years developing the model. He says the tool will help the Utah Department of Transportation save lives.

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Politics
12:47 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Davis County Will Vote by Mail

Davis County plans to conduct the 2014 primary and general elections using mail-in ballots like this one.
Davis County Clerk-Auditor

  Davis County is trying a vote-by-mail system for the primary election this spring and the general election in the fall.

Voters in Davis County received letters last week telling them about the changes.  Election Manager Brian McKenzie says ballot packets will be mailed out 28 days before each election.  When they come back, they’ll be verified using a bar code and by comparing the voter’s signature to their registration forms.

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Local Government
4:15 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Eighth Graders Eager to Talk Climate Change with SLC Mayor

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker speaks to 8th graders about climate change.
Whittney Evans

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker visited a group of 8th graders at Hillside Middle School Monday to answer questions about climate change in advance of the 44th annual Earth Day.

Students at Hillside Middle School spoke at length about climate issues like melting ice caps; migratory bird habitats and droughts. Becker was a senior in high school the year Earth Day became a national holiday. It was a time he says he knew very little about his own impact on the environment.  

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Public Safety
3:10 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Rocky Mountain Power and Rescue Crews Run First Confined Space Exercise

Salt Lake City Fire crew makes quick work of saving "victim" in mock confined space rescue.
Credit Bob Nelson

Rocky Mountain Power and various rescue crews in the Salt Lake Valley are running three coordinated rescue exercises this week. Monday’s exercise was the first in the series with a mock victim trapped below an industrial power supply box in a Salt Lake City industrial park.

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Public Safety
2:53 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

U.S. Marshal Shoots, Kills Man Who Rushed Witness Stand at New Federal Courthouse

Siale Angilau was shot and killed by a U.S. marshal at the federal courthouse in downtown SLC after attacking the witness.
Utah Department of Corrections

A federal marshal shot and killed a man on trial at the new federal courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City after he rushed the witness stand.Siale Angilau, 25, was on trial for violating federal RICO laws. Those are laws that deal with organized crime and corruption. The charges stem from Angilau’s involvement with the Tongan Crip gang.

Perry Caldwell was inside the courtroom when Angilau attacked the witness. He says the witness was testifying about how the Tongan Crip gang works when it happened.

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Environment & Public Lands
6:47 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

State Seeks Lobbyist to Fight Sage Grouse Listing

A greater sage grouse struts in Wyoming.
Credit U.S. Forest Service

Utah is proceeding with its controversial strategy to protect the greater sage grouse, as state officials solicit bids from lobbyists to keep the bird off the endangered species list.

Jeff Hartley, an energy industry lobbyist, says the state needs more time to show sage grouse numbers are growing because of its approach.

“People need to know the states are making this effort and doing good work,” he said. “A listing would be bad for the state of Utah. And so to educate Congress, and thereby prevent a listing, is in the state’s interest.”

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Public Safety
5:28 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Salt Lake County Hosts Free Preparedness Expo Friday

American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle is parked at the Salt Lake County Emergency Preparedness Exposition Friday
Credit Bob Nelson

The Salt Lake County Emergency Preparedness Expo is going on until 8 this evening at the South Towne Expo Center. Jeff Graviet is the Emergency Services Director for Salt Lake County. He says it is important that at least once a year residents assess how prepared they for unforeseen disasters.

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Business & Labor
4:02 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

SLC Leaders Leary of New Taxicab Alternatives

Uber.com Homepage
uber.com

A taxicab alternative e-travelers hail with a smartphone app will be available in Salt Lake City starting at seven o’clock tonight. Two companies called Uber and Lyft have announced plans to expand here, but city officials say the companies must first comply with safety and fair business rules.

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Business & Labor
2:23 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Utah's Unemployment Rate Ticks Up, But It Isn't A Bad Sign

Main Street Salt Lake City
Photo Dean via Flickr

Utah’s unemployment rate for March ticked slightly up from February to 4.1% but that isn't necessarily a bad sign. The rate increased two tenths of a percent from February’s unemployment rate of 3.9%. But Utah Department of Workforce Services Economist Mark Knold says it’s actually a sign that Utah’s economy is improving.

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Religion
1:37 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

American Atheists Meet For National Convention in Salt Lake City

Portraits of scientists, including Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson displayed for sale at the American Atheists National Convention in Salt Lake City
Dan Bammes

  The American Atheists national convention is underway in Salt Lake City, with its leadership promising to take their message to other cities with a strong religious presence. 

American Atheists is the group started by Madalyn Murray O’Hair in the 1960’s following the Supreme Court decision that banned Christian prayers in public schools.  Its president is David Silverman, who told a crowd of several hundred people in a hotel ballroom they’ll continue the fight to keep government from endorsing religion.

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Education
4:55 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

National Geographic Article Explores Utah's Ancient Past

Randall Ermis, curator of paleontology at the Utah Museum of Natural History displaying ancient fossils found in Southern Utah.
Whittney Evans

Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is featured in Next month’s issue of National Geographic. The article explores Utah’s ancient history as a hot and swampy island teeming with dinosaurs.

The article follows a group of researchers, hunting fossils in the remote landscapes of Southern Utah, which about 75 million years ago, looked more like the Louisiana Bayou.

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Business & Labor
4:46 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Utah Payday Loan Rates Among Highest in Nation

Utah has some of the highest payday lending rates in the nation. That’s according to a new report released this week from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The research indicates that a state’s limit on interest rates is the key factor driving loan pricing. Utah is one of seven states where there is no legal limit.

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LGBT Rights
4:46 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Arguments Heard in Oklahoma's Gay Marriage Appeal

The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals based in Denver, Colorado.

Thursday a three judge panel in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in a case defending Oklahoma’s law banning same sex marriage.  These are the same judges who heard an appeal defending Utah’s Amendment 3 last week.  Both laws were struck down by federal district court judges several months ago.  Now that the Tenth Circuit Judges have heard both the Utah and Oklahoma cases, they’re expected to render a single decision that would apply to both laws.  Carl Tobias is a constitutional law professor at the University of Richmond.

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Religion
4:19 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

LDS Apostle: Freedom of Religion Under Attack

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaking at Utah Valley University's Constitutional Symposium on Religious Freedom
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  A top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says religious freedom is under attack in the United States.  Elder Dallin Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at Utah Valley University’s Center for Constitutional Studies on Wednesday. 

Oaks said the inability of conservative scholars to publish in some academic journals and campus speech codes are examples of organizational restraints on both free speech and religious expression.

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Public Safety
1:33 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Great Utah ShakeOut at the U

University of Utah employees gather in a parking lot during the 2014 Great Utah Shakeout earthquake drill
Andrea Smardon

  Schools, government agencies and businesses across the Wasatch Front took part in the Great Utah ShakeOut on Thursday.  The earthquake drill got a lot of people out of their offices and into the sunshine at the University of Utah.

Several hundred people assembled in a parking lot near the HPER P.E. building on the U of U campus after receiving a text message at 10:15.  They were told at first to drop, cover and hold on as if a real earthquake was happening and then to evacuate the buildings where they work.

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Public Safety
5:51 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

New Program Allows Public to Track Unsolved Rape Cases in SLC

Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank with Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.

On the heels of a heated conversation with the Salt Lake City Council on Tuesday, Police Chief Chris Burbank maintains the department’s backlog of unprocessed rape kits is not an issue of cost or bureaucracy—but necessity.  Today he announced steps to make the process more transparent. 

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Environment & Public Lands
5:23 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Industrial Plant Risks to Students Mapped in New Report

West, Texas, after the explosion last year. A chemical sometimes used for homemade bombs exploded a year ago, leaving 15 dead, 160 injured and buildings damaged and destroyed. The Center for Effective Government says 4.6 million children attend schools within a mile of facilities that routinely use potentially dangerous hazardous and flammable chemicals.
Credit Center for Effective Government

    

Millions of American students go to schools near businesses that handle large volumes of dangerous or explosive chemicals.

The Center for Effective Government has mapped companies with operations that could potentially put the students and other neighbors at risk.

The center estimates nearly 79,000 Utah students ranging from kindergarten through twelfth grade attend 131 schools that are in proximity to these sites. Sean Moulton is the center's director for open-government policy.

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Local Government
4:38 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Salt Lake County and Midvale Celebrate Groundbreaking of Senior Center

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams addresses the crowd at groundbreaking ceremony of a greatly expanded senior citizen's center. Also pictured left to right: Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini, Traci Lee of Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services, and Tom Brennan, EDA Architects
Credit File: Michelle Schmitt, Salt Lake County Mayor's Office

A small number of Midvale senior citizens gathered for the ground breaking ceremony of a new Senior Center this morning. Local seniors regularly meet at an old 3,500 square foot building, originally one of the first senior centers in the valley in Midvale City Park. By next summer they will be enjoying the new 20,000 square foot center on the city hall grounds. Traci Lee is with Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services. She says seniors love going to the center.

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Public Safety
2:01 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

State Working to Increase Participation in Great Utah ShakeOut

Joe Dougherty with the Utah Division of Emergency Management displays his emergency sanitation system
Dan Bammes

  Fewer people are signed up for the Great Utah ShakeOut earthquake drill this year, but state officials are still hoping to get the message out about emergency preparedness. About 827,000 people are signed up through their businesses and schools to participate in the Great Utah ShakeOut Thursday morning at 10:15.  Last year, it was more than 900,000.

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Health Care
1:53 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Governor's Healthy Utah Plan "Well Received" in Washington D.C.

File: Gov. Gary Herbert announces his Healthy Utah plan
Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert says Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and top officials at the White House were very receptive to his plan to help cover uninsured Utahns.

After his visit to Washington D.C. earlier in the week Governor Herbert says he’s confident that Secretary Sebelius will approve his Healthy Utah plan.

“As she said to me, I see nothing in your proposal, Governor, that would be a deal breaker.”

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Public Safety
10:25 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

City Council Questions Backlog of Untested Rape Evidence

Holly Mullen, Executive Director of Rape Recovery Center

The Salt Lake City Police Department has hundreds of unprocessed rape kits collecting dust on a shelf. Now the Salt Lake City council is looking into how to best manage the backlog of evidence.

Data from the Salt Lake City Police Department show 625 kits that contain physical evidence of a sexual assault are still in custody and have not been sent to the state lab for DNA testing.

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Entertainment
5:38 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Utah Symphony to Tour the Mighty 5

Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer talks about the Mighty 5 tour at Momentum climbing gym in Millcreek.
Andrea Smardon

The Utah Symphony and Opera will be taking their show on the road this summer, pairing live classical music with Utah’s natural landscape. In a new partnership with the Office of Tourism, the Symphony announced Tuesday it will be offering free open-air concerts at Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks this August.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:40 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Utah Becomes A Wind-Energy Resource Center

Credit Joel Addams / Flickr Creative Commons

Utah is about to become a hub for wind energy information in the Four Corners states, with financial assistance from the U.S. Energy Department and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Sarah Wright is director of Utah Clean Energy, the nonprofit that will head up the information clearinghouse for wind energy, the Four Corners Wind Resource Center.

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Education
1:53 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

U of U, Utes Announce New Agreement on "Ute" Nickname

The drum-and-feather logo and the Ute nickname will continue to be part of the University of Utah's athletic programs
University of Utah Campus Store

  The University of Utah’s athletic teams will continue to be known as the Utes under an agreement worked out with the Northern Ute Tribe.

University President David Pershing and other university officials traveled to the Ute tribal headquarters in Fort Duchesne on Tuesday to announce the agreement.  The university will use the Ute name with the full support of the tribe.  The U’s trademarked drum and feather logo is not part of the agreement, though tribal leaders are encouraging its continued use.

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Science & Technology
11:09 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Clear Utah Skies Welcome the 'Blood Moon' Eclipse

The 'Blood Moon' which is caused by light that is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere and reflects off of the moon.
Brian Grimmett

Last night many Utahns stayed up until the early morning hours to witness a total lunar eclipse, also known as a "blood moon" because of the distinct orange-redish color that the moon becomes during totality. This is the first of four lunar eclipses that will take place about every six months for the next year and a half.

Check out some of the pictures and a timelapse made by KUER Reporter Brian Grimmett.

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Environment & Public Lands
6:42 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Environmental Group Fights 'Solar Penalty'

HEAL Utah says homeowners who install solar panels will be penalized if the Public Service Commission approves a new monthly fee that has been requested by Rocky Mountain Power. Meanwhile, the company says it needs to increase monthly fees, and add this new one, to pay its fixed costs.
Credit Thomas Sallai / Flickr Creative Commons

An environmental group says it’s a bad idea to hike the cost of clean-energy investments that are good for the community. That’s why the group HEAL Utah is rallying against Rocky Mountain Power’s request to charge solar-panel owners a new fee. HEAL’s Matt Pacenza calls the $4.25-a-month charge a “solar penalty.”

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Environment & Public Lands
6:26 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Air-Quality Discussion Focuses on Solutions

Jonathan Samet, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, gave a keynote speech at the air pollution research retreat.
Credit Courtesy Photo / University of Southern California

   

Researchers, regulators and clean-air advocates gathered Monday to talk about Utah’s air pollution woes.

Jonathan Samet, chairman of Preventative Medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, focused his keynote speech on what else decision-makers need to know to build on America’s progress in tackling pollution.

“Research is important,” Samet said after his talk, “and we need it to guide the policymakers, so we can focus in on those sources that may be most critical.”

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Education
5:35 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

New Guadalupe School Nears Completion

Executive Director Vicki Mori with Job Superintendent Bob Barker.
Whittney Evans

The walls are up at the new  Guadalupe School in Rose Park. And school administrators say the fundraising campaign is on target for an August opening. 

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