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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.