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Public Safety
2:59 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Legislator Wants to Bring Back the Firing Squad as Option for Death Penalty

Utah State Prison
Bryan William Jones | http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjones/

A Utah legislator plans to run a bill that would bring back the firing squad as an option for Utah inmates sentenced to death. Since 2004 Utah inmates sentenced to death have had only one option for their execution: death by lethal injection. But Republican Representative Paul Ray says that could soon pose an issue for the state as it is becoming harder to obtain the specific drugs needed to create the injection and any new formula could be challenged in court.

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Environment & Public Lands
8:00 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Willard Bay Spill Money Earmarked for Eco-Projects

Sheida Hajarian and her team from Desert Water Garden want to use native plants to help heal Willard Bay after the 2013 Chevron pipeline diesel spill.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

Chevron Pipe Line Co.’s cleanup crews have packed up and moved out of the Willard Bay State Park. They occupied the parking lot for much of last year after a split pipe leaked more than 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the nearby wetlands.

But, as the park’s fans plan a May 24 party to celebrate its reopening, state officials are asking for advice on how to spend a big impact fund. But there’s still more left to do.

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LGBT Rights
11:01 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Utah Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Couple Adoption Cases

  

The Utah Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt of several same-sex adoption cases until state justices can determine whether those adoptions are legal.  

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Education
4:41 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

U of U to Close Red Zone Stores in 2017

The University of Utah will be closing its Red Zone retail stores after the year 2017. The Utah Board of Regents decided Friday to allow the stores to complete their contracts. The decision comes in light of a 2013 audit that accused the stores of unfairly competing with private businesses.

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Business & Labor
4:40 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

UTA Installs Cameras on Buses Despite Union Objections

The Utah Transit Authority is moving forward with installation of surveillance cameras on buses despite the transit union’s claim that the move is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

UTA officials say they are spending more than 2 million dollars to install surveillance cameras in a fleet of 600 buses in order to improve passenger safety and transit efficiency. Attorney Joseph Hatch represents the transit union. He says drivers should have a say in how these cameras are used.

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KUER Local News
3:06 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Drama Unfolds On SLC Peregrine Falcon Cam as Eggs Begin to Hatch

Utah Division of Wildife Resources

Two of the four peregrine falcon eggs sitting atop the Joseph Smith Memorial building in downtown Salt Lake have now hatched, but the fate of the next two eggs is uncertain. Watchable wildlife program coordinator Bob Walters says there isn’t really a way to predict the outcome, but that it isn’t time to worry just yet.

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Business & Labor
6:40 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

U Economic Report Shows 2014 Sundance Film Festival Brings More than Art to Utah

Credit File: Screen Shot Sundance Film Festival Web Page

The overall economic impact of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival amounts to $86.4 million for the state of Utah. The University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research conducted the independent study. The report released today also found the annual January event provided $34.1 million in earnings for Utah workers and supported 1,434 full and part-time jobs during the festival.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:53 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Tooele County Commissioner Wants “Heavy Fine Structure” for Stericycle

Tooele County Commissioner Shawn Milne

A Tooele County commissioner says he wants to impose regular fees and a penalty fine structure on Stericycle’s proposed medical waste incinerator should the company decide to relocate there.

Commissioner Shawn Milne acknowledges that his community has welcomed businesses in the past that others did not want, but he says commissioners want to ensure that the environment and people are protected.

“We don’t want to just accept any business here carte blanche without any consideration for what long term consequences there might be,” Milne says.

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Public Safety
3:42 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

West Valley City Civil Service Commission Overturns Demotion of Lt. John Coyle

The West Valley City Civil Service Commission has overturned the demotion of Lt. John Coyle, the former head of the now disbanded Neighborhood Narcotics Unit.

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Environment & Public Lands
8:00 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Public Lands Debate Finds New Venue at City Library

People gathered for a law-school-style debate on public lands policy at the Salt Lake City library.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

    

The fight over federal control of public lands shifted from the West’s deserts to an urban library Wednesday in a law-school style debate that took place in downtown Salt Lake City.

Arguing for state control of federal lands were Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart and State Representative Ken Ivory.

Former Bureau of Land Management Director Pat Shea and University of Utah Professor Dan McCool to made the case that the federal government is the better manager for six hundred million acres.

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Business & Labor
12:30 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Tooele County Residents Question Panel on Incinerator

A Tooele County resident looks over Stericycle's informational posters at a town hall event at Stansbury High School. (May 14, 2014)
Andrea Smardon KUER

Tooele County citizens met Wednesday night to talk about the possibility of letting Stericycle build a new medical waste incinerator in the area. After a series of informational meetings organized by Stericycle, this town hall was organized by residents.

The meeting at Stansbury High School was organized by Katrina Hill of Stansbury Park, who says she’s never done anything like this before.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:17 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Remembrance: Missile, Conservation Activist Cecil Garland

Cecil Garland in Callao, with the Deep Creek Mountains in the background. Garland was known for his straight-talking and incisive observations. He fought the placement of MX missiles in the Great Basin and, more recently, to conserve underground water along the Utah-Nevada line.
Credit WGBH Boston

The West lost a legendary figure over the weekend, when Cecil Garland died.

Garland was a Callao rancher known for his passion to conserve the land he loved and for being plainspoken and eloquent at the same time. In Montana, he led the fight for the nation’s first citizen’s wilderness area, the Scapegoat Wilderness.

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Education
3:09 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Utah Public Schools Chief Apologizes for Political Endorsement on USOE Blog

    

Utah’s superintendent of public schools is apologizing for a political endorsement that was posted earlier this week on the state office of education blog. An official with the lieutenant governor’s office says the endorsement is a criminal offense, but the office doesn’t plan to pursue charges.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:58 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Climate Scientist Michael Mann Warns Utah of Dire Consequences Without Action

Dr. Michael Mann
Brian Grimmett

Climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann was in Utah Wednesday calling attention to the recently released U.S. National Climate Assessment, that predicts dire consequences for Utah if action isn’t taken soon.

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Business & Labor
7:30 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Lieberman Scheduled to Speak in Salt Lake City

Courtesy of Joe Lieberman

Joe Lieberman left the U.S. Senate last year after representing the state of Connecticut on Capitol Hill for more than two decades.  During that time he served as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and on the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.  Lieberman will be in Salt Lake City next week speaking at Zions Bank's 13th annual Trade and Business Conference.  KUER's Terry Gildea talked with the former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate about Utah’s economy and the state’s role as an international trade partner.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:50 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Protest Ride Complicates BLM Trail Study

A rally at Blanding's Centennial Park before the ATV ride. County Commissioner Phil Lyman (center, wearing the light-colored shirt) led the drive on a closed BLM road in Recapture Canyon
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

Federal investigators are continuing their probe into a protest ride Saturday through Recapture Canyon. And that includes sizing up the impact that the all-terrain vehicles might have had on the canyon's archaeological sites.

Some people regard Recapture Canyon as a mini-Mesa Verde National Park. Both contain prehistoric ruins, religious kivas and ancient burial grounds that make them world famous. But over the weekend more than 60 protestors drove ATVs into those sensitive areas.

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Immigration
5:49 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Utah Conservatives and Business Leaders Step Up Pressure for Immigration Reform

Steve Klemz, Pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Salt Lake City calls for immigration reform along with business, technology, law enforcement and political leaders at the Utah State Capitol.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Conservatives and community leaders from the Mountain West issued a joint letter today urging the US House of Representatives to pass comprehensive immigration legislation before the congressional session ends.

At a press conference at the Utah Capitol, faith, technology, business and law enforcement leaders all called for meaningful immigration reform. They were joined by Paul Mero of the conservative think tank Sutherland Institute.

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Public Safety
3:21 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

New Distracted Driving Law Makes it Illegal to Dial While Driving

Brian Grimmett

Several new laws go into effect today, including one that could change people’s driving habits. Utah Highway Patrol Superintendent Danny Fuhr explains the new cell phone law this way.

“In order for us to pull someone over we’re going to see their phone in their hand," Fuhr says. "We’re going to see their attention drawn towards that phone and some type of manipulation of that phone, meaning they’re pushing multiple characters into that phone.”

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Local Government
3:13 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Homeless Numbers Shrinking Under Utah's Housing First Approach

yeowatzup via Wikimedia Commons

Homelessness in Utah is down slightly from last year. But for the chronically homeless; people who are usually dealing with severe mental illness or drug addiction—that number is on the rise. 

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Local Government
4:24 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Wasatch Front Communities Get Funding to Plan for Growth

Scott Catron Via Wikimedia Commons

Communities along the Wasatch Front are getting some extra help planning for population growth. Salt Lake County is partnering with the Wasatch Front Regional Council in a new pilot program that gives communities technical and financial aid to brace for demands on services and transportation.

Thirteen communities in the Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties were each awarded between $10 thousand and $55 thousand-dollars worth of consulting to resolve difficult planning issues. 

Ted Knowlton is the Deputy Director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council. 

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Local Government
12:36 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Salt Lake City Golf Courses Facing Deficit

Lotus Head via Wikimedia Commons

Salt Lake City is grappling with how to keep its golf program economically sustainable without injecting taxpayer dollars. Options include closing down one of the city’s eight public courses. City officials say golf is less popular than it used to be, which is making it difficult for the program to continue paying for itself.

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Public Safety
12:22 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

State Officials Help Kick Off 4th Annual Road Respect Tour

Brian Grimmett

Officials from the state legislature, the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Highway Patrol joined bicycle advocates to help kick off the annual Road Respect tour.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:08 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Land Agency Investigates ATV Ride In Utah Canyon

ATV riders ready to drive onto a trail that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management closed to motorized vehicles to protect its archaeological resources. Local law enforcement were on hand to keep the peace, but not to uphold the federal law. Meanwhile, the BLM says it is investigating.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

A protest in Utah’s San Juan County ended without violence on Saturday. But the conflict between a federal government agency and its critics is expected to continue.

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman organized the ride into Recapture Canyon, where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management banned motorized vehicles 7 years ago. Lyman urged protesters at a morning rally on Saturday to steer clear of the closed areas because of the risk to the archaeology and to their reputations.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:21 pm
Sat May 10, 2014

ATV Protest on Federal Land Peaceful So Far

Protesters ride all-terrain vehicles into Recapture Canyon.
Judy Fahys/KUER

A local public official in southeastern Utah led a protest on federal land today against the Bureau of Land Management. 

The group rode all-terrain-vehicles into Recapture Canyon located in Utah’s four corners region. The BLM closed off access to the canyon about seven years ago to protect Native American burial sites.  San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman led the group into the canyon.  He says protesters don’t recognize the authority of the federal government.

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Education
3:55 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Westminster Celebrates its Olympic Student-Athletes

Olympic medalists Maddie Bowman, Devin Logan, and Kaitlyn Farrington pose for a photo with the Westminster Griffin.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Westminster College held a celebration on campus Friday for the 23 students who recently competed in Sochi. The liberal arts school had more student-athletes in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games than any other college or university in the country.

Leading the parade was the Westminster Griffin, followed by a stream of Olympic athletes. Halfpipe skier Maddie Bowman came in with a gold medal around her neck, and stepped up to the podium with the help of some crutches.

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Entertainment
2:44 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Leonardo to Host New Body Worlds Exhibit

A reindeer with it's skin removed at The Leonardo's Animal Inside Out exhibit.
Brian Grimmett

The Leonardo is opening the first of two new Body Worlds exhibits starting Saturday. It will give visitors an inside look at animals’ skeletons, muscles, organs, and circulatory systems.

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Religion
1:45 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

LDS Church Moves More Missionaries Out of Ukraine

The Mormon temple in Kiev, Ukraine was built in 2010
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are worried about the safety of their missionaries in Ukraine, and some are being pulled out of that country.

67 missionaries who’ve been serving in the Ukraine Donetsk mission are being transferred back to their home countries to finish their service. Donetsk is in an area where pro-Russian militias have occupied buildings and confronted Ukrainian government troops.

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Business & Labor
4:47 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Remembering Chinese Laborers 145 Years Later

Chinese railroad workers

It’s been 145 years since the ceremonial “driving of the Golden Spike” connected the Union and Central Pacific railroads at Promontory Summit in Utah. In this year’s commemoration, the role of Chinese laborers in building the transcontinental railroad will be recognized and celebrated.

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Entertainment
3:56 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Twilight Concert Series Lineup Announced

Musician Beck will perform at the 2014 Twilight Concert Series.
Salt Lake City Arts Council

   

Lauryn Hill, Beck, De La Soul, TV On The Radio and Wu Tang Clan are just a few of the bands that will take the stage at Pioneer Park this summer for the annual  Twilight Concert Series July 10th-August 28th.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker says the Twilight Concert Series is the largest summer arts event in the city, bringing tens of thousands of people downtown for nearly two months, who eat at local restaurants, shop at local stores and create a an overall buzz throughout the city.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:27 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Utah, BLM Sign Land Swap Deal

Corona Arch near Moab is in one of the parcels traded to the BLM by the state of Utah
Utah Institutional Trust Lands Administration

  Utah’s governor and the state director of the Bureau of Land Management have formalized a land exchange involving 60-thousand acres in southern and eastern Utah.

The land exchange has been in the works since 2009, when then-Senator Bob Bennett and Congressman Jim Matheson worked to pass a bill authorizing the deal.  But it’s taken years to finalize the details. 

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