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2:17 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Utah's Outside Counsel in Amendment 3 Case Will Also Work for Conservative Sutherland Institute

Gene Schaerr
Gene Schaerr

The attorney hired to represent the state of Utah in its appeal of the same-sex marriage decision will also be working for a conservative think tank.

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Health Care
1:58 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Herbert Says Doing Nothing on Medicaid Expansion is Not an Option

File: Governor Gary Herbert
Credit Utah Education Network

Governor Gary Herbert says he’s decided what the state will do about expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But he’s not ready yet to announce just what that is.

Herbert told reporters at his monthly news conference on KUED this morning that he’ll announce his decision during the legislative session, which starts next week. But he wouldn’t go into detail about just how the state plans to work with the federal government on Medicaid.

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Environment & Public Lands
9:40 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Lawmakers Unveil Air Quality Bills

Utah lawmakers say their new package of bills will help clear the air, especially on smoggy days like Wednesday.
Judy Fahys

A bipartisan caucus of Utah House members has unveiled a package of air-pollution bills. They say the proposals will Utah’s air easier to breathe. The measures include incentives for consumers to buy cleaner snow-blowers and weed whackers. There is one bill that would ban medical waste incinerators in the state. Another proposal would allow the state to authorize environmental regulations that are more rigorous than federal laws.

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Environment & Public Lands
9:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Interior Secretary Jewell Wants Kids Outdoors

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell speaks to members of the Outdoor Retailers Association in Salt Lake City
Judy Fahys

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell wants young Americans to spend more time outdoors. She spoke to members of the Outdoor Industry Association on Thursday about ways to pay for the initiative.

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Health Care
3:58 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

U Physicians Investigating Fertility Clinic Mix-Up

Sean Mulvihill, M.D., chief executive officer of the University of Utah Medical Group and associate vice president for clinical affairs, speaks to the press. (January 22, 2014)
Andrea Smardon

The University of Utah is investigating an incident at a fertility clinic where an employee is accused of illegally using his own semen to father at least one baby. The University is clarifying its relationship with the now-defunct clinic, and trying to uncover what records still exist from more than 20 years ago. U officials say up to 1000 patients could possibly have been affected.

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Religion
3:41 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

LDS Church Says No Change Needed in Utah Liquor Laws

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  A top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says Utah’s liquor laws are just fine the way they are.  But that may not stop further attempts to change them during the upcoming legislative session. 

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Entertainment
3:18 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

U.S. Women's Ski Jumping Names First Olympic Team

Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson, and Lindsey Van will be the first three U.S. women to compete at the Olympics in ski jumping.
Brian Grimmett

The U.S. Women’s Ski Jumping team announced the three nominees that will participate at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Officials made the announcement at the team’s training facility in Park City.

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Education
5:41 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Governor Herbert Taps Tami Pyfer For Education Advisor Post

Tami Pyfer, Utah Governor Herbert's just-appointed Education Advisor.
Credit File: Office of Utah Governor Herbert

Governor Gary Herbert has appointed state school board member Tami Pyfer as his new education advisor. The Governor’s spokesman Marty Carpenter says Pyfer brings in a very broad-scoped education experience from administrator to parent volunteer in public and private classrooms.

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LGBT Rights
5:07 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Federal Court Grants Utah More Time to Prepare for Amendment 3 Appeal

LGBT Advocate Kate Kendell
Judy Fahys

A federal appeals court has granted Utah's request for more time to prepare opening arguments in defense of the state's same-sex marriage ban. A lawyer for the plaintiffs in the Amendment 3 case happened to be speaking at the University of Utah Law School today, and said she was disappointed by the extension, but not discouraged.

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Politics
3:33 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Democrats Announce Legislative Agenda for 2014

Brian Grimmett

House and Senate Democrats unveiled their plans for the 2014 legislative session today. Chief among them is a proposal to increase the minimum wage and another to create an independent elections commission in response to investigations into former Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

Representative Lynn Hemingway would like to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.25—what he calls a living wage. Hemingway says the bill would only impact workers over the age of 17.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:37 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

State Funding For Catching Carp in Utah Lake?

A commercial fishing crew pulls carp from an ice-covered Utah Lake
Tammy K. Nakamura Utah Department of Natural Resources

  The Utah Lake Commission is asking the legislature for 7-point-5 million dollars to help reduce the number of carp in Utah Lake.  A legislator from Lehi thinks that’s a great idea, and he’s hoping they can find the money during the general session that starts next week.

The Commission has been paying a commercial fishing business to take tons of carp out of the lake, hoping to reverse the environmental damage the fish have caused over the past century.

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Environment & Public Lands
6:17 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

U Hospital System Facing Tough Decisions on Medical Waste Disposal

Bins of trace chemotherapy waste are picked up once a week at the Hunstman Cancer Hospital on the campus of the University of Utah.
Andrea Smardon

Last year, clean air activists called on Utah’s hospitals and clinics to stop sending their waste to Stericycle’s incinerator in North Salt Lake. One of the state’s largest healthcare providers, The University of Utah, is looking at some significant changes to the way it handles medical waste, but there are some types of waste that university officials say they have no other option at this time but to burn.

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Education
5:13 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Westminster College Community Marches and Celebrates Martin Luther King Junior Day

Marchers young and old prepare to walk in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. They walked south from Westminster College on 1300 East. They then headed into the business district of the area before meeting in the Gore School of Business Auditorium for jazz music and speeches.
Credit Bob Nelson

A small crowd of about 150 Westminster College students, faculty, and families from the neighborhood celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Junior today Monday. They marched through central Sugarhouse.  Luciano Marzulli is the director of Diversity Student Affairs and Services at Westminster. He says the legacy of Dr. King should be celebrated because there’s still a lot of work to be done.

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Local Government
3:07 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Brings Dozens of Volunteers to Utah Food Bank

Volunteers prepare donations at the Utah Food Bank.
Judy Fahys

The Salt Lake City Mayor’s office has for 13 years hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in partnership with the Utah Food Bank. Today more than 100 volunteers lent their time and energy to the cause. 

Ginette Bott with the Utah Food Bank addressed volunteers early Monday morning about the value of their service. Bott says last year volunteers donated 103,000 hours of time to the organization.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:19 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Are Utah's Rules for Emissions Inspections on Old Cars Fair?

Wikimedia Commons

  Newer cars are a lot cleaner than older cars, but a member of the Utah Senate would like to make sure the rules for inspecting those older vehicles are being applied fairly.

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Entertainment
10:52 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Dan Nailen: Sundance Documentaries

Scene from the documentary Happiness by Thomas Balmès
TBC Productions -- Used by permission.

  The independent filmmakers who show their work at the Sundance Film Festival are all trying to achieve that most elusive goal -- buzz.  KUER's Dan Nailen spent his time in Park City over the weekend looking for some of those buzz-worthy films among the documentaries. Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER... and blogs at slcene.com Happiness by filmmaker Thomas Balmès is among the documentaries at Sundance this year.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:05 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Mayor Becker Meets with White House Advisors on Climate Change

Brian Grimmett/KUER file photo

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker hosted a brainstorming session last week with members of President Obama's new White House Task Force on Climate Change. The panel’s task is to find strategies to fight the impacts of climate change.

President Obama sent two key aides to participate in the discussion. Mayor Ralph Becker says the event was an opportunity to show how different government entities can work together.

“They look to us at the local level and at the state level to help shape what they should be doing at the federal level," says Becker.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:54 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

U of U Students Develop Video Game App to Combat Air Pollution

Image by Tim Brown/Creative Commons via flickr

University of Utah graduate students are developing a video game app to help Utahns better understand the connection between their actions and the dirty air. 

Kerry Kelly is Associate Director of the University of Utah’s program for Air Quality, Health and Society. She says her role is to make sure this game is backed up by scientific evidence. But here’s one of the ideas they’re considering:

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Environment & Public Lands
2:10 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Utah DEQ Releases 2013 Annual Report

Erik Crossman - University of Utah

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality released its 2013 annual report today. The report highlights some of the DEQ’s main accomplishments and success stories from the past year.  DEQ Communication Director Donna Spangler says one of the most important was finalizing the state’s air quality plan.

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Business & Labor
1:33 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Blanding Gets Utah’s First Tesla Supercharging Station

Tesla Supercharging Stations allow owners to rest and get something to eat within walking distance. In takes 30 minutes to gain 170 miles of range on average for the EV Tesla.
Credit File: Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors all-electric cars still aren’t for sale at a traditional dealer showroom in Utah but at least now you can charge one in the southeast area of the state. The Blanding Visitor Center parking lot is the place to find the first Tesla Supercharging station located in Utah.

Jeremy Redd is Blanding’s city manager. He says the supercharger station fits there and the company is thrilled.

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Education
4:58 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Trayvon Martin’s Mother Starts Conversation about Racism in Utah

Sybrina Fulton at University of Utah's Olpin Student Union Building, Jan. 16, 2014
Andrea Smardon

Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton spoke at the University of Utah today as part of its Martin Luther King celebration week. Fulton called on all Utahns to stand up against racism and injustice in their communities.

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Education
4:06 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

GOP Lawmaker Tries to Change State School Board Election Process

A Republican State lawmaker from Bountiful wants to change the way state school board members in Utah are elected to office, and he hopes to leave politics out of the equation. 

Right now, a seven-member committee appointed by the Governor is responsible for vetting state school board candidates. That group sends it’s nominations to the governor who then selects two candidates for each position. House Bill 59, sponsored by State Representative Jim Nielson would get rid of that committee and the governor’s role in process.

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Public Safety
2:26 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

PRADA Takes Public Comment On Study to Move State Prison

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

The consultant hired by the Prison Relocation and Development Authority, or PRADA, held an informal meeting at the State Capitol Thursday.  At the event, people had a chance to voice their opinions on their master plan for moving the State prison in Draper.

Deborah Reithmuller is the founder of the Utah Prison Support Group. She was one of the few people that showed up to weigh in on why she thinks the State prison should not be moved.

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Politics
1:58 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Herbert Defends Stance on Same-Sex Marriage

Governor Gary R. Herbert (R-UT)
Utah Education Network

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert says he believes regulating marriage is a state’s rights issue, but he understands many people are disappointed by his order to keep the state from recognizing same sex marriages performed legally after a key federal court decision.

Herbert says he was disappointed by federal Judge Robert Shelby’s decision invalidating Utah’s Amendment Three, which bars recognition of same-sex relationships. But earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed Shelby’s ruling putting gay marriages on hold in Utah.

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Education
4:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

U Kicks Off MLK Week with Sybrina Fulton, Mother of Trayvon Martin

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, is scheduled to speak at the University of Utah's Olpin Student Union Building on January 16th at noon.

The University of Utah kicks off its week-long Martin Luther King Junior celebration Thursday with an appearance by Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed in Florida almost two years ago. The U’s theme this year is “Beneath the Hoodie: A Look at Racial Profiling in America”.

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Education
2:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

New Anti-Hacker Course Added to University of Utah Continuing Education

Credit File: University of Utah Continuing Education

Continuing Education at the University of Utah has just added a new cybersecurity certification class to its list of technology education courses. The class is called CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) Certification.

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Politics
2:26 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Sutherland Institute, Count My Vote Debate Merits of Direct Primary Elections

Utah GOP Chairman James Evans, LaVarr Webb, Kirk Jowers, and Paul Mero participate in a panel on the County My Vote initiative.
Brian Grimmett

Leaders of the Count My Vote initiative joined members of the opposition to discuss their ballot measure Wednesday during a panel at the Sutherland Institute Legislative Policy Conference.

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Education
6:10 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

GOP Lawmaker Makes Another Push For Preschool in Utah

Republican State Representative Greg Hughes is sponsoring a bill that would get about 3,000 at risk-kids into preschool. He says Utah will save money by getting kids better-prepared for kindergarten and reading at grade level. 

Last year, state lawmakers said “no” to this idea– or at least one that closely resembles Representative Hughes’ proposal.

But Hughes says getting more kids into preschool will shave costs for the state, which shells out an additional $2600 per student for kids who need special education and individual attention.

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Health Care
3:58 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

“Hair Maidens” Open Utah’s First Lice Clinic

Hair Maidens co-owner Ashley Hafer demonstrates a combing technique for lice treatment.
Andrea Smardon

What do you do if someone in your family has head lice? Not so long ago, you had to make do with home treatment. Now, Salt Lake City has its first ever lice clinic.

They call themselves Hair Maidens, and they consider lice their calling. Co-owners Rita Skolnick and Ashley Hafer saw a need in Utah and decided to fill it. Hafer is a nurse and a mom.

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Local Government
3:30 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

McAdams: Lean Budget, Quality Services All Possible at Salt Lake County

Salt Lake County

Salt Lake County has maintained a conservative budget all while investing in opportunities and community assets for a better future. That’s the message Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams delivered during his annual State of the County Address this morning.

McAdams credits bipartisanship, fiscal prudence and a thriving local economy for the county’s ability to adequately fund arts and cultural facilities, museums, parks, trails and other services.

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