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

Provocative Clean-Air Advocate Boosts Utah Debate

Brian Moench speaks at a news conference in the State Capitol. The anesthesiologist's style is provocative and -- to some -- polarizing.
Credit Andrea Smardon / KUER News

For years, Utah’s air pollution problem was virtually ignored by policy makers -- even when the air was foul for weeks at a time. But a growing activist movement has made the issue a top priority for a majority of Utahns, thanks in large part to Moench.

He stood on the State Capitol steps last January in front of thousands of people. Winter smog surrounded them.

Moench, the leader and founder of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, called on the crowd to continue prodding Utah lawmakers to clear the skies.

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Health Care
4:37 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

State to Investigate Infant Mortality in Uintah County

Rock Point Cemetery in Maeser where some of the Uintah County babies who died in 2013 are buried.

A midwife in Vernal has brought attention to what she believes is an unusually high rate of infant mortality in Uintah County. She and some environmental activists believe the newborn deaths may be connected to pollution from oil and gas drilling in the area. State and local health officials are holding a public meeting Wednesday evening to discuss a possible study of the issue.

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Local Government
4:08 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Maintenance, Fire-Station Closure Sticking Points For SLC Budget

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker unveiled his $229 million budget Tuesday for the next fiscal year. It includes a 3 percent pay raise for city employees and funding for air quality initiatives. But it also proposes some cuts the city council may resist.

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Education
2:48 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Department of Workforce Services Offering $6 Million in STEM Edcuation Funding

Jonathan Lopez Perez and Benhamin Lovelady work on a project inside a lab at the Granite Technical Institute
Brian Grimmett

The Utah Department of Workforce Services is launching a $6 million grant program to help public schools in Utah fund science, technology, engineering and math or STEM programs.

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Religion
1:56 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Mormons Building Bridges Excluded from Days of '47 Parade

Members of Mormons Building Bridges march in Salt Lake City's 2013 Pride Parade
Mormons Building Bridges

Mormons Building Bridges was last year’s largest entry in Salt Lake City’s annual Pride Parade. But the group’s request to have a modest presence in the Days of ’47 Parade this year has been turned down. 

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Education
8:33 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

SLC Mayor's Budget Proposal Includes Pay Raises, Property Tax Audit

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is recommending employee pay raises and continued funding for air quality initiatives in his 2014-2015 budget proposal. He’s also calling on the state auditor to look into why the city’s property tax revenue is lower than expected. 

Speaking to the press Tuesday afternoon Becker once again stressed the city’s role in addressing poor air quality.

“ It is very much at the heart of this city’s financial success and prosperity," Becker says. "It is a dark cloud hanging over the city.”

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Environment & Public Lands
4:09 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

How Much Water is Your Sprinkler Wasting?

Utah is the second largest consumer of water per person in the nation, but Utah State University Extension is offering a program to help people cut down on wasted water by getting a free sprinkler check.

According to USU, about two-thirds of water in private homes is used on lawns and landscapes. 40 percent of that water is wasted, says Molly Waters, the university’s water check program manager.

“Water is wasted in the landscape through things as simple as watering too long, or too frequently, to having major breaks that you don’t know about,” Waters says.

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Religion
2:09 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Russian Orthodox Church Dedicated, Priest Recognized

Archpriest Michael van Opstall
St. George Russian Orthodox Church

  It’s been a big week for Utah’s only Russian Orthodox parish.  It dedicated a new church in West Jordan last weekend – and its leader has been honored with a new title as well. 

Michael van Opstall was ordained as a Russian Orthodox priest about ten years ago, and since then he’s guided the growing community of believers in Utah.  Last weekend, the parish dedicated the new St. George Russian Orthodox Church in West Jordan, made possible by an anonymous donation of a million dollars.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:51 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Utah Air Quality Board to Discuss Strategies for Controlling Wood Burning

Erik Crossman - University of Utah

The Utah Air Quality board will discuss and develop strategies for controlling wood smoke during winter at their monthly meeting Wednesday. 

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