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Energy & Environment
6:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

National "Sun Tax" Debate Lands in Utah

Utah's Public Service Commission finds itself in the middle of a national discussion about the community costs and benefits of residential rooftop solar power. It's decision is expected by Sept. 2.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

Hearings in downtown Salt Lake City this week put Utah at the center of a national controversy over solar power.

Electric companies in 43 states allow homes with solar panels to put unused electricity back on the power grid. Utah is one of those states. But it is deciding on becoming one of the first states to charge solar customers a monthly service fee.

Environmentalists call it a “sun tax.”

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Business & Labor
4:17 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Utah's Consumer Attitude Index Hits High

Cicero Group CEO Randy Shumway says Utah ranks at or near the top in multiple lists including for being business friendly, a good place to live, best place for upward mobility and lowest unemployment.
Credit Bob Nelson

Utah’s Consumer Attitude Index hit an all-time high from June to July in a survey done for Zions Bank by The Cicero Group. The CAI increased 6.6 points to 104.9 during the period and has improved 19.4 points over the past four months. Randy Shumway is the Chief Executive Officer for Cicero.  He says 34 percent of Utahns surveyed believe their income is going to rise over the next twelve months.

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Health Care
3:28 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Utah Leads U.S. in Melanoma Rates, Health Officials Issue Call to Action

Credit courtesy University of Utah Health Care

The US Surgeon General issued a call to action Tuesday to prevent skin cancer.  It’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the country, and Utah has a higher rate of melanoma than any other state.

The call to action focuses on reducing ultraviolet or UV exposure, which causes the vast majority of melanomas. Lynn Nilson, Director of the Utah Department of Health cancer control program says the rate of melanoma in this state is 61% higher than the national rate, and the death rate from melanoma is 30% higher.

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Utah Politics
3:05 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Val Hale Named New Director of Governor's Office of Economic Development

Val Hale, the new execuitive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development
Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert has named Val Hale as the new executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Hale most recently worked as the president and CEO of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. He also spent seven years working in administration at Utah Valley University and 22 years in BYU’s athletic department. He says he’s ready for this new challenge and understands the great responsibility that comes with it.

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Religion
2:29 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Big Crowds Expected for Ogden LDS Temple Open House

The renovated Ogden Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  After three years of reconstruction, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will open its temple in downtown Ogden for public tours starting Friday, August 1st.

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Transportation
5:43 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Utah Transit Authority Considers New Electric Buses

An all-electric bus stopped in Salt Lake City Monday on a demonstration tour around the US. The Utah Transit Authority is looking at the bus for possible future use.

There are a few things you notice right away on board the latest model of Proterra’s 40-foot battery-powered electric bus. The driver controls are minimal, there’s a back window that let’s in more light… and it’s quiet. Matt Horton, the VP of Sales for Proterra Incorporated gives me his pitch in under 15 seconds.

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Business & Labor
5:41 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Utah Food Bank Dealing with Typical Lean Summer Months

Demand for food from the Utah Food Bank is high while the summer supplies are low. The Summer Business Food and Fund Drive is an attempt fill the need.
Credit File: Utah Food Bank

A number of Utahns are still struggling to get enough food for their families despite overall favorable economic news. Rural Utahns in particular are facing tough times with more than 1 in 5 kids unsure how they getting their next meal. Ginette Bott is the chief development officer for the Utah Food Bank. She says the type of people needing food assistance is changing.

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Public Lands
5:15 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Utah Congressman Wants to Revamp Recreation Fees

Ranger-led programs, including interpretative talks about geology, astronomy and history, are funded by public land user fees. These fees are the subject of a bill by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and supported by a coalition of conservation and recreation groups.
Credit National Park Service

Recreation fees provide money for campfire talks and other visitor programs that take place on public lands. Utah Congressman Rob Bishop wants to update those user fees, and he’s got backing from some unlikely supporters.

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Public Safety
3:07 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Former Federal Judge Joins Former WVCPD Officer's Defense Team in Manslaughter Case

Matheson Courthouse
Brian Grimmett

University of Utah law professor and former U.S. District Court Judge Paul Cassell has joined the defense team for the former West Valley City Police detective who shot and killed Danielle Willard.

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Religion
2:24 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Utah Muslims Celebrate Eid al-Fitr as Ramadan Ends

Imam Shuaib Din at the Utah Islamic Center
Dan Bammes

  It's the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and Utah’s Islamic congregations are celebrating the happiest holiday of the year. 

After a month of fasting from dawn until dusk, the appearance of the crescent moon marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of a festival called Eid al-Fitr.  More and more Utahns are marking the occasion – the number of mosques in Utah has grown from three a few years ago to nine, and there are other groups that meet outside of a formal mosque.

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Air Quality
4:56 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Pollution Spikes: A New Holiday Tradition

Smoke from fireworks makes pollution counts skyrocket during Utah's 4th of July and Pioneer Day celebrations.
Credit Sarah Sammis / Flickr Creative Commons

Families all over Utah celebrated Pioneer Day with fireworks. The festivities also pumped lots of unhealthy smoke into the air that spiked air pollution. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports on the trend and Salt Lake City’s plan to deal with it.

Polluted air has become a kind of day-after tradition for Independence Day and Pioneer Day in Utah. Monitors at the state Department of Environmental Quality show those pretty pyrotechnics created enough smoke to top federal health standards in Salt Lake, Utah, Weber, Cache and Tooele counties Thursday night.

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Public Lands
3:47 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

National Park Visits Down in 2013

Bryce Canyon National Park
Brian Grimmett

A new report from the National Park Service shows that fewer people visited Utah’s National Parks in 2013 compared to 2012.

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Health Care
3:29 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Utah Stroke Survivors Take Part in National Dance Day

Andrea Smardon KUER

A group of Utah dancers was featured this week on the Fox show So You Think You Can Dance. National Dance Day is Saturday, and the group submitted a video of the routine that many are doing across the country in hopes of being featured on the program.  But these Salt Lake City dancers have a special distinction. They’re all stroke survivors.

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Public Safety
1:49 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Parade Crowd's Bad Behavior Upsets Neighbors

Homeowners along 900 South in Salt Lake City say the city isn't doing enough about trespassing and trash left behind by spectators at the annual Days of '47 Parade.
Dan Bammes

  The Days of ’47 parade draws hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Salt Lake City every year.  And some of the people who live along those streets say the city isn’t doing enough to keep the crowds from trashing their property. 

Salt Lake City’s street sweepers were out along 900 South on Friday, cleaning up after the huge crowds that lined the Days of ’47 parade route the day before.

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Energy & Environment
4:56 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Panel Accuses Forest Service of Water Grab

Utah's forested mountains are the starting points for 70 percent of the water that serves Utahns. A new U.S. Forest Service plan for including groundwater in decision-making nationwide has been panned by the State Water Development Commission.
Credit U.S. Forest Service

 

The U.S. Forest Service says it wants to do a better job safeguarding the nation’s groundwater. But its initiative to protect that vital resource is coming under attack in Utah and elsewhere. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports.

Utah’s State Water Development Commission has a simple message for the Forest Service and its new groundwater directive.

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Business & Labor
1:22 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Child Poverty on the Rise in Utah

Photo courtesy Community Action Provo

Children in Utah are more likely to be living in poverty today than they were two decades ago. That’s according to new data released from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The percentage of Utah children living in poverty rose from 12 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2012. That’s a concern for Deputy Director of Voices for Utah Children Terry Haven.

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Religion
12:11 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Kate Kelly Appeals LDS Excommunication

Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly with her husband, Neil Ransom
Dan Bammes

  Kate Kelly, the founder of the group Ordain Women, has appealed her excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And her husband is wondering why he hasn’t also been subjected to church discipline.

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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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