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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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Business & Labor
5:38 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

FDA Set to Regulate E-Cigarettes

Gloriaricardi via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is prepared to start regulating electronic cigarettes. But advocates say the proposal would be detrimental to consumers and businesses.

The FDA’s plan is to classify electronic cigarettes, a personal vaporizer that delivers nicotine as a tobacco product. This means merchants will be banned from touting the devices as a safer alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes.

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Health Care
4:55 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Limited Spaces Available for Utah Autism Treatment Program

Cornell University

A children’s autism treatment program is accepting new applicants. The Utah Department of Health’s Medicaid Autism Waiver program is open for enrollment. There are 35 openings.

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Business & Labor
2:43 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Utah's Golf Industry Provides Larger Economic Impact Than Previously Thought

Tord Sollie, Flickr

As Governor Herbert declares May Utah Golf Month a new report also shows the industry has a larger than expected impact on the state’s economy.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:33 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Solar Panels Power Worship in Park City

Solar panels on a new addition to Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Park City, UT
Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church / Rocky Mountain Power

  Three houses of worship in the Park City area are among 22 facilities with new solar power installations funded by Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program.

The Blue Sky program allows customers to pay extra on their power bills to support the development of renewable energy projects.

From that money, Rocky Mountain Power provided 35-thousand dollar grants to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church and Reform synagogue Temple Har Shalom.

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Business & Labor
5:20 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Deseret News Refuses to Run Utah Newspaper Project Ad

A group concerned about the future of the Salt Lake Tribune submitted an ad to both of the city’s daily newspapers to run on Saturday morning. But readers won’t see it in the Deseret News. 

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Local Government
5:15 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Hogle Zoo Proud of New Pride (of Lions)

Vulcan and Baron, two male lions on display at Utah's Hogle Zoo
Dan Bammes

  Visitors are getting their first look today at a couple of African lions in their new home at Utah’s Hogle Zoo. 

Two male lions, Vulcan and Baron, are now on display in the zoo’s 16-million dollar African Savannah exhibit.  Two female lions have also just arrived, but zoo spokesperson Erica Hansen says we won’t see all four together just yet.

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Education
4:24 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Ann Romney Keynotes SUU Graduation Ceremonies

Ann Romney, wife of former Republican candidate for President, Mitt Romney
Credit File politico.com

Ann Romney, the former First Lady of Massachusetts, delivered the keynote address to the Class of 2014 at Southern Utah University this morning. She quoted evangelical Christian Pastor Rick Warren in urging the graduates to live a purpose-driven life. She recalled the day when her husband, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, got the call from Kem Gardner asking them to take over the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:30 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

State of the Air: Greater Salt Lake Gets ‘F’ but Shows Improvement

Creative Commons photo by Tim Brown, Infinite World

The American Lung Association released its annual report this week on the State of the Air across the country. The results for Utah are mixed.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:25 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Utah's Summer Smog Season Gets Underway

Driving less is one way Utahns can help protect the air from smog buildups on summer afternoons. Utahns often overlook the danger ozone pollution poses on their health.
Credit Utah Department of Transportation

Utah’s smog season is underway. Some call it Utah’s overlooked pollution problem.

Michelle Hofmann, a pediatrician and founder of the health advocacy group Breathe Utah, is used to hearing people complain about sooty pollution in the winter. But she says it’s harder for patients to grasp the impacts of ground-level ozone pollution, since it’s odorless and colorless.

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Politics
11:42 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Lifferth Apologizes for Racist Tweets

Representative David Lifferth

State Representative David E. Lifferth is publicly apologizing for saying the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is a racist organization. The Utah County Republican made his initial remarks on Twitter, then used his blog late Thursday to make his apology and announce he had deleted the offensive tweets.  In his statement he called his tweets a joke and said they were insensitive to others.

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Politics
6:00 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Law Professor: Race Still Uncomfortable to Discuss

Emily Chiang started the S.J. Quinney School of Law's specialized Civil Rights Clinic. She says race is an issue many people think American have conquered racism but it troubles them enough to keep talking about it.
Credit S.J. Quinney School of Law / University of Utah

The conversation about race has heated up this week in Utah and throughout the nation.

Civil Rights expert Emily Chiang, associate professor at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, says it’s a sign that America still isn’t the color-blind society many claim it is.

Chiang runs the law school’s civil rights clinic, and she says people are talking about race so much because they’re conflicted about it.

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Health Care
5:08 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Health Care Scorecard: Utah Among Worst for Access and Affordability

A new report shows Utah ranks among the worst states in the nation for access and affordability to health care. The Commonwealth Fund, a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC, released its Scorecard on State Health System Performance this week.

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Local Government
4:57 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Cities Set Aside Money to Improve Homeless Outreach

Homeless service providers accept a check from city governments to improve homeless services.
Whittney Evans

Ten of Salt Lake County’s 16 cities have combined forces and set aside $200,000 to increase services for the homeless in Salt Lake County. It’s a new collaboration spearheaded by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. 

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Business & Labor
3:55 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Utah's Bike Friendly Ranking is in the Nation's Top 10 for the First Time

Utah is ranked #8 most bike-friendly in the nation and #4 in the region.
Credit File: League of American Bicyclists Screen Shot

Utah’s bicycle-friendly ranking is in the top ten in the nation for the first time ever. The League of American Bicyclists traditionally marks the beginning of National Bike Month by releasing its rankings. Utah moved to #8 compared to 2013’s #14 ranking. Each state gets a ranking based on a level of achievement in the 5 “E’s”; engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:49 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Conflict Over Mustangs in Southern Utah

Wild horses on public rangeland in Utah
Jaime Jackson / Wikimedia Commons

  Governor Gary Herbert says the state might be able to do a better job of managing wild horses on Utah’s public rangeland than federal authorities do.  And both wild horse advocates and local officials in southern Utah say the Bureau of Land Management needs to be doing more.

There are differing estimates of the number of mustangs living on public rangeland in southwestern Utah.  Local officials say there might be as many as 2000 in an area that can only sustain only about half that.

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Local Government
5:56 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Ute Cab Tells SLC to Get Serious About Lyft Violations

Pkg203 via Wikimedia Commons

A Salt Lake City taxi cab company says the city should be more serious about cracking down on ride-share company Lyft instead of just warning drivers who city officials say are breaking the law.

Lyft is a smart-phone app that connects passengers to local drivers who offer rides with their own personal vehicles, identified by a pink mustache on the grill. City officials say it’s an innovative idea, but the company must first comply with local rules and regulations.

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Business & Labor
5:27 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Alliant Techsystems Spins Off Sporting Group in Deal with Orbital Sciences

Credit File: Bill Ingalls/NASA, via Associated Press

Alliant Techsystems announced it is merging the majority of its holdings with Orbital Sciences. The company is best known in Utah as ATK with operations in Magna, Clearfield and Promontory. A company press release says the 1-point-seven billion dollar deal involves spinning off the parent company’s Sporting Group.

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Business & Labor
5:03 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Private Company Offers Plan to Overhaul UTOPIA Network

The struggling fiber optic network UTOPIA may be partnering with a private company to offer high speed internet access to every home in the 11 participating Utah cities where it operates.  Australian investment firm Macquerie Capital has released a proposal to fund UTOPIA’s overhaul. It would require city-wide utility fees from every household in the network.

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Public Safety
3:22 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Salt Lake County Inmate Found Dead After Being Charged with Abuse

Victor Manuel Rax
Credit Salt Lake County

A jailed man accused of sexually abusing teenage immigrant boys and forcing them to deal drugs is dead. The Salt Lake County Sheriff says that authorities found 42-year-old Victor Manuel Rax hanging in his cell Monday night, and they believe he committed suicide.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:14 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Utah's Spurge Scourge Targeted in Weekend Event

Spurge in the foothills below Grandeur Peak near Parley's Canyon is targeted in a volunteer cleanup this week.
Credit Judy Fahys / KUER News

Spring means spurge in Utah. And Salt Lake County is recruiting people to help purge the pretty -- but invasive -- weed.

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KUER Local News
2:32 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Voices for Utah Children Joins Nationwide Network to Fight Intergenerational Poverty

Aspen Institute

The nonprofit child advocacy organization, Voices for Utah Children,  is receiving a $50,000 grant to continue their work fighting intergenerational poverty.

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