Andrea Smardon

Reporter

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World.  Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Boston.com.  Prior to that, she worked at Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW.  Andrea’s stories cover the local to the global - from controversial school committee votes to dissident Burmese hip hop artists.  She holds a Bachelors degree in English and Music from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.  Andrea says she misses the ocean, but is happy to be surrounded by mountains.

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A new study released from the Harvard School of Public Health shows a link between exposure to particulate air pollution and autism.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Some influential Utah lawmakers delivered a blow Thursday to Governor Gary Herbert’s plan to expand health coverage to low-income Utahns. In a motion led by Republicans, the state Health Reform Task Force voted not to recommend the governor’s plan to the legislature. Instead, they recommended their own plan.

Image courtesy WebMD

New research out of the University of Utah shows that the use of methamphetamine increases the risk of developing a neurological disease later in life. The study published this month in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence also suggests that gender may influence that risk.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

A Utah mother is alive today thanks to an unusual donation by her daughter. Betty Garcia was in desperate need of a liver transplant, but she wasn’t sick enough to qualify for a liver from a deceased donor.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Historic Trolley Square is undergoing a facelift this holiday season. When Utah businessman Khosrow Semnani bought the troubled shopping center last year, he vowed to return it to its former glory. Semnani is optimistic even though many shop spaces remain empty.

Courtesy wasatchweatherweenies.blogspot.com

Atmospheric scientists at the University of Utah have installed an air quality monitor on a Utah Transit Authority TRAX train. It’s helping them get a detailed picture of air pollution around the Salt Lake valley.

Researchers at Intermountain Medical Center have found a way to more accurately identify a patient’s risk for often-deadly blood clots in the lungs. The research was recently published in the medical journal CHEST.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Governor Gary Herbert officially unveiled his plan Thursday to close the coverage gap and help low income Utahns get health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Courtesy photo

Around this time of year, many of us are thinking about how we can help those who are most in need. We usually think about getting somebody a turkey or some warm clothes. Joining us in the KUER studios is somebody who has an alternative idea about ways you can make an impact. Laura Michalski is the new CEO for The Fourth Street Clinic, which provides health care to homeless Utahns. Michalski comes to Salt Lake City from Chicago, where she worked at the largest free health clinic of its kind in the country.

Photo courtesy Foxboro residents

The Utah Air Quality Board has approved a 2.3 million dollar settlement between the medical waste company Stericycle and state environmental regulators.

To be clear, Vice President of Stericycle’s Corporate Communications Jennifer Koenig says the company is not admitting fault for alleged emissions violations at its North Salt Lake incinerator, but she says they’re pleased with the settlement.

Brian Grimmett / KUER

The company that operates a medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake City has agreed to pay a record 2.3 million dollar fine. If approved by Utah’s Air Quality Board at their meeting Wednesday, the settlement would resolve allegations that Stericycle’s incinerator violated emissions limits and falsified stack test results. Bryce Bird, Director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, says it’s a strong settlement.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Local officials launched a campaign Friday to encourage Utahns to shift at least 10 percent of their holiday shopping towards locally owned businesses.

Kristen Lavelett, Executive Director of Local First Utah, says the “Shift Your Spending” campaign could help keep millions of dollars in the Utah economy.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Small Business Saturday, a national campaign started in 2010, has boosted the buy-local movement in Utah.

Sheridan Mordue is co-owner of Hip & Humble, a boutique that sells clothes, jewelry, and housewares. One of her three Utah shops is on 900 South in Salt Lake City. The holiday season is where Hip & Humble makes much of its money, and Mordue is hoping Small Business Saturday will give them a boost.

The state of Utah has agreed to scrap key provisions of its controversial immigration enforcement law passed in 2011. The state Attorney General and the American Civil Liberties Union announced the settlement yesterday. Both sides agreed to accept the stipulations of a judge’s split ruling on the law made in June. Under the ruling, police will not be allowed to stop or detain an individual just to verify immigration status. It also eliminates a provision of the law that would have made it a state crime to harbor a person in the country illegally.

Photo courtesy ACLU of Utah

The legal fight over same-sex marriage has come to a close in Utah. The state Attorney General’s Office has agreed to pay attorney’s fees for the plaintiffs in the Evans versus Utah case.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

In the wake of President Obama’s announcement on immigration, lawyers and community leaders met at the Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City Monday to let immigrants know about available resources…. and to warn them against scams.

Office of Senator Orrin Hatch

Republicans in Utah’s congressional delegation have uniformly condemned President Obama’s executive action extending temporary legal status to some 5 million undocumented immigrants. But Senator Orrin Hatch says he plans to rectify the situation.

Photo courtesy Tony Yapias

Immigrants will be gathering at a community center in Salt Lake City Thursday evening to watch President Obama make his much anticipated announcement about immigration.

Tony Yapias, director of Proyecto Latino de Utah, says he’s expecting a celebration at Centro Civico Mexicano after the President’s announcement.

“I’m sure we’ll be seeing a log of hugs and joyfulness in our community, just for them to finally see something happen for their families,” Yapias says.  

A regional director for US Department of Health and Human Services is in Utah to raise awareness about the second open enrollment period for health insurance.

Kim Gillan is the HHS Regional Director for six states in the Rocky Mountain region, but for the moment, her role in Utah is to be a health insurance cheerleader. Gillan says healthcare.gov is much more user friendly than it was in the first rollout and it’s operating smoothly.

The US House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday which could change the makeup of the board that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency. The legislation sponsored by Utah Congressman Chris Stewart opens up the possibility for more industry representatives to participate.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

The Utah Symphony and Opera announced a promotion Monday intended to bring ski tourists to their concerts. A quartet of symphony musicians dons ski boots, puffy hoods and goggles to help make the announcement. President and CEO Melia Tourangeau says everyone’s heard about the greatest snow on earth, but they want tourists to know what else Utah has to offer.

“What people don’t often know is that in addition to being a great ski city, we also have one of the finest orchestras and opera companies in the country, ” Tourangeau says.

Some people might think of November as the beginning of the holiday season, but for those involved in the health insurance field – it’s the beginning of another open enrollment season. Jason Stevenson of Utah Health Policy Project joins us to answer questions about health insurance this enrollment season, which begins Saturday, November 15th.

More information about open enrollment is available at Take Care Utah.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Utah's Criminal and Juvenile Justice Commission unveiled a package of recommendations to control prison growth today, including a proposal to make first-time drug possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

A Utah representative is working on a new bill to protect consumers from payday lenders. This comes as a report reveals the state’s payday lending rate now averages more than 400 percent annual interest.

Nano Letters, Article ASAP (DOI: 10.1021/nl400959z). Copyright 2013 American Chemical Society.

A chemical engineering student at the University of Utah will not be receiving his doctorate after investigators determined that he fabricated data in an academic publication. But his senior co-author has been cleared of wrongdoing.

University of Utah investigators found that graduate student Rajasekhar Anumolu manipulated images of microscopic structures called nanorods. The images were published in the journal Nano Letters, but the paper has since been retracted. Jeffrey Botkin is the Associate Vice President for Research Integrity at the university.

Zaniac courtesy photo

A Utah company that specializes in after-school science and technology courses is offering a new class, but this one is just for girls. Zaniac starts its new gender-specific computer programming course Monday. It will include the same material as traditional Zaniac programs, but will be taught by female instructors and only available to girls. The company’s president Sidharth Oberoi speaks to KUER’s Andrea Smardon.

Monday is the kick-off for an initiative to address health problems among Utah’s Pacific Islanders. In response to some of Utah’s highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and infant mortality, the Utah Pacific Islander Coalition has coordinated a series of health promotion events across the state.  

Eagle Mountain City voters have decided they want Rocky Mountain Power to provide their electric service. Eagle Mountain has been managing their own utilities since the city was founded in 1996 with 250 residents. But Mayor Chris Pengra says the city has since grown to more than 25,000 people, and the population is expected to quadruple by 2050. Pengra says if the city continued to run the utilities, it would have to issue bonds to accommodate the growth, and that would drive up rates.

Office of Senator Orrin Hatch

Now that Republicans have a majority in the US Senate, Utah’s senior Senator Orrin Hatch will have more power and influence. He says he wants to try again to repeal Obamacare and roll back a tax on medical devices.

As Republicans celebrated election night, Senator Orrin Hatch was thinking about what could be accomplished with Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell as majority leader. For one thing, he wants to try again to get rid of a 2.3 percent medical device tax passed as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Utah’s 2nd District Congressman Chris Stewart will get another term. He beat his Democratic opponent Luz Robles easily. In his victory speech, Stewart declared it a good night for the United States of America.

“Tonight, we get to start the fight,” he said. “We get to start the fight to reclaim our country once again.”

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