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Environment & Public Lands
5:24 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Goodbye to Winter Smog? Forecast Says the Season's Last Inversion Starts next Week

This snapshot of the Climate Center's inversion forecast shows a likelihood of a weeklong inversion -- and the smog building -- beginning in about a week. You can see the page online at: http://climate.usurf.usu.edu/inversion.php
Credit Utah Climate Center

    

Skies have been smog-free in northern Utah for the past few days. Now the Utah Climate Center says we can breathe easy for at least another week.

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Public Safety
4:56 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Lawmaker Aims to Consolidate 9-1-1 System Statewide

House Majority Leader Brad Dee joins Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Salt Lake County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Graviet, Draper Mayor Troy Walker, Draper City Councilman Jeff Stenquist and Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth.
Whittney Evans

Utah House Majority Leader Brad Dee announced today he is crafting legislation that he hopes will get every jurisdiction in Utah on a single 9-1-1 emergency response system. The Ogden Republican was joined by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams who’s been trying to do the same thing at the county level.

Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth says it’s time to change the 9-1-1 system in the Salt Lake Valley.  

“I don’t feel safe frankly, totally safe with the dispatch system, the way it’s set up now,” Applegarth says.

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LGBT Rights
4:38 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Despite Public Outpouring, Senate Leaders Determined to Ignore Anti-discrimination Bill

Senate Bill 100 sponsor Steve Urquhart (R-St George) encourages citizens to voice their support of anti-discrimination legislation by posting notes on the door of the Senate chamber.
Andrea Smardon

The Utah Senate chamber doors were plastered with pieces of blue paper today - all expressing support for a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens. But Senate leaders are still determined to bar the bill from being debated on the floor.

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LGBT Rights
4:05 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

State Senator Urges Public to Contact Legislator in Support of Anti-Discrimination Bill

Sen. Steve Urquhart, R - St. George

Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R - St. George, is asking the public to let their state senator and representative know that they are in favor of his anti-discrimination bill. SB 100 would protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing and in the workplace. This week leadership in both the House and Senate have mentioned that bills relating to LGBT issues might not be heard because of the state’s pending case over its ban on same-sex marriage.

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Health Care
3:22 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

House Republicans Working on “Utah Solution” for Poor, Uninsured

Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert said this week that the state has a moral obligation to provide some type of health coverage for those living in poverty. House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart says she doesn’t want to accept any federal dollars to do that. Now Republican House lawmakers are working to find a solution that will solve the so-called Medicaid gap, but will also be politically acceptable to those in their own party.

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Politics
3:04 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Hatch to Senate: Immigration Reform Must Happen, Affordable Care Act Needs to be Replaced

Sen. Orrin Hatch addresses the Utah Senate
Brian Grimmett

Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch touched on health care, immigration this morning when he addressed the Utah House and Senate Floors at the State Capitol.

Earlier this week, Hatch announced he is co-sponsoring a new Republican-led healthcare bill that he hopes will replace the Affordable Care Act. He says the Patient Choice Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment — or CARE — Act will cost less and have fewer mandates than the current health law.

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Politics
1:43 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Community Advocates Kick Off IRS Tax Season with EITC Help

Credit File: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

The official Internal Revenue Service tax season kicked off Friday. Legislators and low-income advocates from United Way, Voices for Utah Children, and “Earn it…Keep it…Save it” gathered at the state capitol to mark the day. They are urging Utahns to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or E-I-T-C, when they file their returns. IRS spokesman Bill Brunson says the average Utah EITC was $2,300 dollars last year and he says the amount could be as high as $6,200.

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Politics
1:30 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Local and State Leaders Discuss Rural Issues at State Capitol

Rural businesses and counties show off their products and services in the Capitol rotunda during the 4th Annual Rural Legislative Day
Brian Grimmett

Local leaders and Utah lawmakers representing rural areas of the state gathered at the State Capitol today for the legislatures annual Rural Day to discuss their priorities for this year’s legislative session.

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, who is himself a former rural legislator from Fairview, Utah, spent about a half hour talking with the group about the challenges rural areas face and some of the potential solutions.

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Education
10:03 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Governor's Office of Economic Development Reveals $2 Million STEM Media Campaign

Utah Governor Gary Herbert pumps his fist during the kick-off event for "STEM Utah: Curiosity Unleashed" Media Campaign
Credit Bob Nelson

The Governor's Office of Economic Development launched its 2-million dollar STEM Media Campaign Thursday at Neil Armstrong Academy in West Valley City. In 2013 legislators approved 8 and a half million dollars to support math readiness and another 1 and a half million to set up the Utah STEM Action Center to build student skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Executive Director of GOED, Spencer Eccles, says kids need to have these skills whether they are going to be artists or astronauts.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:42 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Urban, Rural Lawmakers Spar over Lands

The wildlands near Goblin Valley State Park are part of the rural road controversy.
Credit Ken Lund

  

A state lawmaker says wilderness advocates are waging a war of attrition in the wildlands fight.

Kathleen Clarke leads Utah’s public lands policy office. Her job includes guiding the state’s legal battle over 12,000 roads in rural Utah. The state is fighting the federal government to prevent federal wilderness designation on the land those roads cross. She told legislative budget-makers Thursday some of her agency’s budget will help pay for 200 crucial interviews that need to be done in the next two years.

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Education
5:18 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Salt Lake City School District Apologizes For Witholding School Lunches

File: School Lunch Tray
Casey Bisson/Flickr

A spokesperson for Salt Lake City School District says Uintah Elementary School made a mistake by taking away the lunches of students who owed money. Now state lawmakers say they want to get to the bottom of it.

District Spokesman Jason Olsen says on Tuesday cafeteria workers at Uintah Elementary School threw away the lunches of about 32 students whose lunch accounts were in the negative. Those students were instead given a partial lunch of fruit and milk.  

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Politics
11:29 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Herbert: State is Strong, But There are Challenges to Confront

Utah Governor Gary Herbert says the state is strong, but there are still several challenges that Utah must confront. Herbert was speaking at his 5th annual State of the State Address.

Herbert highlighted investigations into former Attorney General John Swallow as a success, as well as the state’s 4.1 percent underemployment rate –which is among the lowest in the nation. But he was also quick to acknowledge the hardships—a booming population, federal overreach and economic development  

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Politics
8:30 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

KUER Coverage of the 2014 State of the State Address

Brian Grimmett/KUER file photo

On Wednesday night, Governor Gary Herbert delivered his 2014 State of the State Address at the Utah Capitol.  The audio of the  speech and our coverage is attached above. Shortly after the address the Utah Democratic Party released a statement reacting to the Governor's speech.  That statement is below:

UTAH DEMOCRATS TO HERBERT: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

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Politics
5:35 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Drug Overdose Bill Nods to Good Samaritans

The Utah House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that is intended to assist people who call for emergency help when someone is overdosing on drugs.

Amelia Sorich died of an overdose of heroin and cocaine even though two friends might have saved her life by calling for help. But the friends chose not to because they feared being prosecuted the drugs in their possession. Holladay Democratic Rep. Carol Spackman Moss says there are too many cases just like that. She crafted a bill to grant limited immunity to Good Samaritans who find themselves in a position to help.

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LGBT Rights
2:22 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Senate Might Not Consider Anti-Discrimination Bill This Year

Sen. Steve Urquhart, R - St. George
Brian Grimmett

Utah Senate leaders say there is a strong possibility that any bills dealing with same sex marriage or gay rights won’t be considered by the body this session.

Sen. Steve Urquhart, R - St. George, is once again trying to run a bill that would protect LGBT people from housing and work discrimination throughout the state. Last year the anti-discrimination bill made it further than it ever had when it passed out of a Senate committee. But Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser says this year it is unlikely that it will even be looked at.

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Politics
12:10 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Opponents, Supporters Rally at the Capitol

Billie Christiansen, her daughter and grandson attend a rally supporting anti-discrimination measures at the Utah State Capitol on Tuesday.

    

Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage gathered for separate rallies Tuesday night at the state Capitol. Both sides said fundamental values are at stake. 

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Education
6:01 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Low-Income Fourth Graders Lagging Behind Peers in Reading Scores

Utah Fourth Graders are all improving their reading scores, but child advocacy group Voices for Utah Children notes that over the past decade, fourth graders who come from low-income families have not improved as quickly as their peers. 

According to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, from 2003 to 2013 the gap between reading scores from low income children and upper income children increased by 22 percent – meaning kids from higher income households are improving at a faster rate.

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Politics
3:24 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Lawmaker Wants to Allow Taxpayers to Contribute to Amendment 3 Defense

A Republican state lawmaker from Tooele County is proposing legislation that would help fund the state’s defense of its law banning gay marriage. 

Representative Merrill Nelson’s bill would create a box on the state income tax form and allow state residents to give a portion of their tax refunds to the cause.   Nelson says people on both sides of the issue could benefit from his legislation.

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Politics
2:36 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

USTAR Governing Authority Responds to Scathing Audit

USTAR Governing Authority Chairman Greg Bell testifies before the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee
Brian Grimmett

Members of the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative or USTAR Governing body responded to a scathing audit today during one of the appropriations subcommittee at the Capitol.

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Politics
4:01 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Utah House Speaker Challenges Governor Herbert

Members of the Utah House of Representatives stand and applaud during Speaker Becky Lockhart's remarks. (Jan. 27, 2014)
Andrea Smardon

The Utah House of Representatives opened this year’s legislative session with some bold remarks from Republican Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, challenging Governor Gary Herbert.

Just like speeches from years’ past, Speaker Lockhart railed against the over-reach of the federal government, and insisted that Utah resist. But this time, she targeted Governor Herbert who has recently said that he favors some limited expansion of Medicaid in the state.

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Politics
3:13 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Utah Senate Leaders Say Changes to Liquor Laws Unlikely

Brian Grimmett

On the first day of the 2014 legislative session, Republican leaders in the Utah Senate say there is little support for changing Utah’s liquor laws this year— specifically those laws dealing with the so-called “Zion Curtain” and a requirement that restaurant patrons announce their intent to eat food before ordering alcoholic beverages.

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Health Care
3:04 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Intermountain Medical Center and LDS Hospital Named National Medical Destinations of Excellence

Intermountain Healthcare will be partnering with EdisonHealth Network to provide organ and bone marrow transplants to patients from across the country.

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Environment & Public Lands
6:14 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Capitol Protestors Demand Air-Pollution Action

Carl Ingwell (left) and Brian Moench (right) were the leading organizers of Saturday's rally on the Utah Capitol's south steps. Rep. Angela Romero (middle) was one of the half-dozen lawmakers who attended.
Credit Judy Fahys

    

A sea of people swarmed Utah’s Capitol steps and south lawn Saturday. Thousands gathered for the Clean Air, No Excuses rally just above winter smog blanketing the valley. Brian Moench, a co-founder of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, told the demonstrators they have a right to clean air.

“This is your state,” said Moench. “What goes on in the building behind us is your government. The air you breathe is largely what you make of it, either by ignoring it, making it worse by neglect or by fighting to make it better.”

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Environment & Public Lands
6:05 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Thousands Expected at Clean Air Rally Saturday

Thousands of Utahns say they plan to join a rally at the State Capitol Saturday. They want Governor Gary Herbert and the Legislature to do something immediately about poor air quality.

Salt Lake City folk singer Tom Bennett wrote his song, Governor We Cannot Breathe, to be performed at tomorrow’s Clean Air, No Excuses Rally.

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Health Care
2:24 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

How Many Injuries Take Place in Your Neighborhood? UDOH Report Has the Answers

Utah Department of Health

The Utah Department of Health released their second ever Violence and Injury Small Area report today. The report summarizes data on 17 different kinds of injuries and injury related topics, like the number of emergency room visits by children or hospitalizations because of poisoning. It then takes that information and breaks it down into 62 small geographic areas.

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Entertainment
2:12 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Dan Nailen: Autumn Defense

The Autumn Defense

We're in the final week of the Sundance Film Festival, and Dan Nailen says that brings more opportunities to get into movies and some excellent music as well. Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER... and blogs at slcene.com.  

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Religion
2:03 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Dispute Brings Police to Greek Orthodox Church

Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church
Dan Bammes

  An ongoing dispute over church finances brought police to Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church last Sunday.

Members of the parish council that governs both the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City and Prophet Elias church in Holladay have been trying to cut expenses by letting one of the three parish priests go.  The Greek Orthodox hierarchy has told the parish that the priests’ employment is its responsibility, and that conflict has divided parish members.

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Public Safety
1:13 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Stericycle In Talks with County and State Officials to Move Incinerator to Tooele County

Stericycle Medical Waste Incinerator in North Salt Lake
Brian Grimmett

UPDATE: Since the broadcast of this story, Stericycle has confirmed in a written statement to KUER that it is seriously considering the option of moving, and that the company has taken steps to secure property in a remote area of Tooele County. The company's Vice President for Legal and Regulatory Affairs Selin Hoboy says the details are still being finalized.  

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Public Safety
12:32 am
Fri January 24, 2014

West Valley City Police Chief Holds First Monthly Public Forum

West Valley City’s new police chief spoke candidly with members of the community Thursday night about the future of the long-embattled agency. It was the first in a series of monthly community meetings Chief Lee Russo says he plans to hold. 

Lori Bailey is part of the Solomon Farms Neighborhood watch in West Valley City. She told Russo, she’s not getting a timely response from the police when she report crimes like drug deals and graffiti. Russo took Bailey’s information assuring her he’d follow up. Bailey says she’ll come to every community meeting from now on.  

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Environment & Public Lands
5:29 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Utah Foundation Releases Report on Air Quality

A new report tries to cut through some of the confusion surrounding Utah’s air-pollution problems. Shawn Teigen says he stepped back to take an impartial look at one of Utah’s most important issues. He’s a research analyst for the non-partisan Utah Foundation. His report released Thursday notes pollution has not trended up -- or down -- over the past 15 years. He’s found that smoke from solid-fuels like wood and coal is an unexpectedly big problem. He’s also learned that federal clean-vehicle, clean-fuel standards called Tier 3 will go a long way to clean up the air.

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