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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Health Care
5:14 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Homeless Utahns, The Dentist Will See You Now

Fourth Street Clinic
Andrea Smardon

Homeless Utahns will be able to get dental care at a clinic in downtown Salt Lake City thanks to a gift from a local business.  Alsco, a linen and uniform rental company has agreed to provide 125,000 dollars a year for five years to fund a full-time dentist at the Fourth Street Clinic. KUER’s Andrea Smardon reports that there is a pent up demand for dental services among the homeless and low-income populations.

Looking at the brand new dental chairs at Fourth Street Clinic, Russell Flowers breaks into a smile, revealing some missing teeth.

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Public Safety
5:15 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

West Valley Police Audit Uncovers Issues with 13 Domestic Violence Cases

West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo
Andrea Smardon

The West Valley City Police Department has announced the results of an audit of its former sex crimes unit. The audit focused on an allegation that a large number of cases last year were left uninvestigated, and that a member of the unit had inappropriately closed cases without following protocol.

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Health Care
4:53 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Intermountain Doctors Say Bad Air Quality Associated with Spike in Patients

Air quality along the Wasatch front this week has reached levels above what the federal government deems safe, and doctors at Intermountain Medical Center say they are already hearing a lot of related health complaints from their patients.

Among those seeing a spike in patients is Denitza Blagev, pulmonary and critical care physician at Intermountain Medical Center. Common symptoms include chest tightness, chest burning, and shortness of breath.

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Health Care
3:36 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Utah Obamacare Enrollment Up More Than 400%

The number of Utahns who have signed up for health insurance through the federal exchange quadrupled last month.  That’s according to federal enrollment data released Wednesday morning.

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Science & Technology
4:10 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

BYU Geologists Discover Supervolcanoes in Utah

BYU geologist Myron Best at the site of the discovery
BYU

Brigham Young University geologists have found evidence of some of the largest volcanic eruptions in earth’s history in their own backyard. The scientific journal Geosphere has published some of their recent findings about supervolcanoes.

Looking at the land West of Cedar City, known as Wah Wah Springs, there is no indication that there was any kind of volcano, let alone one of the largest eruptions in earth’s history. But BYU geologist Myron Best says it’s been hidden in plain sight for millions of years.  

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Health Care
3:29 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Some Utahns Find Affordable Insurance on Healthcare.gov, Some Don’t

Frame shop Signed & Numbered, owned by Phil Sherburne who was able to buy health insurance for his family for $123 a month.
Signed & Numbered

Now that healthcare.gov is working better, more Utahns are going online to sign up for insurance. KUER’s Andrea Smardon reports that it’s affordable for some, expensive for others, and not available at all for more than 100,000 Utah citizens.

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Health Care
5:06 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

State Hospital Association Endorses "Utah Approach" to Medicaid Expansion

Greg Bell speaks at Utah Health Policy Project's conference on the Affordable Care Act.
Andrea Smardon

Some of Utah’s healthcare powerbrokers are honing in on a plan to expand Medicaid that they think the state legislature might approve. At a healthcare conference in downtown Salt Lake City Thursday, former lieutenant governor Greg Bell - now president and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association – laid out his vision.

Bell says the state’s decision on Medicaid expansion will really be decided by the Utah legislature.  

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Health Care
3:48 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Club Jam to Host Healthcare Happy Hour

Club Jam

Community groups around the state have been holding events to educate people about the Affordable Care Act, but Utah Pride is trying something different Wednesday to reach their target demographic - healthcare happy hour.

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LGBT Rights
1:58 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

BYU Student Wins National Award for LGBT Suicide Prevention

BYU senior Adam White

A Brigham Young University student will be recognized by a national suicide prevention organization this week for his work with the lesbian and gay community in Utah. BYU Senior Adam White will be receiving the ‘Youth Innovator’ Award at the Trevor Project's annual dinner in Los Angeles. Past honorees at TrevorLIVE include Lady Gaga, Neil Patrick Harris, and Queen Latifah.

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Health Care
2:35 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

U Breaks Ground on New Mid-Valley Health Center in Murray

University of Utah administrators and Murray city officials break ground on Mid-Valley Health Center.
Andrea Smardon

There’s a new health center coming to Murray. University of Utah Health Care broke ground Monday on a new facility that will provide services from the U’s Moran Eye Center and Department of Dermatology.   

It will be called the Mid-Valley Health Center, and it will be just north of Fashion Place Mall, easily accessible from I-15, 215 or 80. Randall Olson, CEO of the Moran Eye Center, says the U campus is not the easiest place for most people in the Salt Lake valley to get to.

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Business & Labor
5:26 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Orrin Hatch says Trans-Pacific Partnership is a “Win” for Utah and Country

Office of Senator Orrin Hatch

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch was in Salt Lake City Friday to check in on a major foreign trade deal being negotiated here. Consumer advocates and some members of Congress have criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but Senator Hatch remains supportive.

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Health Care
5:03 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

State Task Force Narrows Options for Medicaid in Utah

Citizens at a rally for Medicaid expansion at the Utah State Capitol on November 20, 2013.
Andrea Smardon

A state legislative committee has decided not to consider a full Medicaid expansion as defined by the federal Affordable Care Act. Instead, the Health System Reform Task Force is considering three alternative options.

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Health Care
5:31 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Utahns Rally for More Medicaid Coverage

Utah religious leaders stand by their letter asking Governor Gary Herbert to expand Medicaid in Utah.
Andrea Smardon

Utah Governor Gary Herbert received letters Wednesday from those encouraging him to expand Medicaid and provide health insurance to more low-income citizens in the state. Medical groups, religious groups, and advocates for the poor filled the rotunda at the capitol asking the Governor and their state representatives to rise above politics in making this decision.

On behalf of the Episcopal Diosese of Utah, Reverend Canon Mary June Nestler reads from a letter to Governor Herbert.

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Business & Labor
5:16 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Environmental and Consumer Advocates to Protest Secret Trade Talks in Salt Lake City

tppinfo.org

Salt Lake City’s Grand America Hotel is hosting closed-door talks on a major trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Negotiations between the US and 11 Pacific Rim countries begin Tuesday and run for five days. Trade representatives will be greeted by protestors. Labor, environmental, and consumer advocates will be rallying outside the hotel at noon Tuesday, demanding the agreement be released to the public.

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Health Care
11:36 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Utah Physicians Call for Boycott of Stericycle’s Incinerator

A group of Utah physicians is accusing the governor and the state’s health department of misleading the public about the safety hazards of living near a medical waste incinerator. They are calling on Utah’s hospitals to boycott Stericycle’s North Salt Lake incinerator and stop sending their waste there.

At his monthly KUED news conference, Governor Gary Herbert said it is government’s role to protect the public, and that’s why he has ordered the state health department to conduct an investigation into Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator. 

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Business & Labor
2:42 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Utah Ski Resorts Anticipate "Epic" Season

Ski Utah

How will the Utah ski season be this year? Well, that mostly depends on the snow. But ski resorts and the state’s tourism organizations are optimistic that this could be one of Utah’s better years.  Not only will it be a winter Olympic year which brings more attention to the ski industry, but this is the first year Utah will be included as part of the Epic Pass – a special pass for selected resorts around the world. The Epic Pass will likely mean more out of state visitors, and it also means better deals for locals.

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Health Care
12:33 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Obama Administration Memos Reveal Utah Wanted Exchange Shut Down

Obama administration memos released this week reveal that Utah insurance officials requested to shut down the state’s shopping portion of the federal exchange last month. The request was made after Utah’s biggest issuer, SelectHealth, was not appearing on the website marketplace.

Utah’s Assistant Insurance Commissioner Tanji Northrup says it took a few days after the federal exchange was launched on October 1st to figure out there was a major problem.

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Politics
5:25 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

U College of Law Tackles Government Dysfunction

University of Utah Associate Professor of Law Michael Teter organizes symposium to find solutions to government dysfunction.
University of Utah

The latest federal government shutdown is estimated to have cost the US economy 24 billion dollars. It’s left many people wondering what can be done for the government to function more effectively. The University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law is working on coming up with some answers. The law school is hosting a symposium Friday examining the current challenges facing US governance and some practical solutions to those problems.

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Business & Labor
5:02 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Rio Tinto Kennecott Opens Major Mine Access Road Six Months Ahead of Schedule

Andrea Smardon

Rio Tinto Kennecott has opened a major access road, restoring full access to Bingham Canyon mine. Kennecott officials say the opening comes months ahead of schedule, but they say it will still take about two years to restore the mine to normal operations.

Where once there was a massive slide, now a road cuts through. Trucks as big as houses motor along back and forth from the mine. Matt Lengerich General Manager of the Bingham Canyon Mine, says it was no small feat to build the new mine access ramp.

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Health Care
3:56 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Why Some Utahns are Having Trouble Signing up for Medicaid

More than 4000 Utahns have been stalled in their efforts to get health insurance because federal and state computer systems are not yet able to communicate.  Officials from the state Department of Workforce Services say Utah was ready when the exchange went online October 1st, but the federal system was not.

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Health Care
9:55 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

Plans for New Huntsman Cancer Research Center Announced

Rendering sketch for The Primary Children's & Families' Cancer Research Center
Huntsman Cancer Institute

The Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah is about to double its research space. On Friday, philanthropist and cancer survivor Jon Huntsman Senior announced plans for a new research building on campus focused on children and the genetics of cancer.

Jon Huntsman Senior watched his mother die of breast cancer, his father of prostate cancer, and his step-mother of ovarian cancer. Huntsman himself has fought four separate battles with cancer. His goal is to find a cure before his children and grandchildren have to go through the same thing. 

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Business & Labor
4:26 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Audit Shows Utah Department of Workforce Services Fixing “Pattern of Non-Compliance”

Utah Department of Workforce Services call center
Dan Bammes KUER

A state audit released this week shows that the Utah Department of Workforce Services has cut down on errors enrolling people for benefits and training, and is doing a much better job complying with federal regulations. A previous state audit of the Department showed a consistent pattern of non-compliance, resulting in millions of dollars in questioned costs. 

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Public Safety
7:30 am
Thu October 31, 2013

What's Burning in the Backyard: North Salt Lake City's Options

Residents of North Salt Lake gather in the City Council chambers fora meet the candidate event.
Credit Brian Grimmett

 

North Salt Lake City residents will elect their leaders next week, and those running for office say that Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator has become a major issue in their campaigns. The company and the state Division of Air Quality are engaged in a legal battle over whether the incinerator exceeded permitted levels of pollutants in its emissions. Meanwhile, citizens are calling on city leaders to move the incinerator or shut it down. In the 2nd of our two part series we take a  look at North Salt Lake City’s options.

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Public Safety
7:30 am
Wed October 30, 2013

What's Burning in the Backyard: Stericycle and the Foxboro Neighborhood

Clause in the Hubrich's closing documents in regards to Stericycle.
Credit Brian Grimmett

North Salt Lake is home to one of the last medical waste incinerators in the country. Stericycle, the company that operates the incinerator, came under scrutiny this summer after state officials cited it for violating emissions standards. Residents of the Foxboro neighborhood became concerned about this plant operating next door. Many bought homes there without knowing that pollutants were being released into their neighborhood.

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Health Care
3:06 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

State Health Department Investigating Hazards of Medical Waste Incineration

Stericycle Medical Waste Incinerator in North Salt Lake
Brian Grimmett

The Utah Department of Health is doing a public health assessment in the North Salt Lake neighborhood near Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator. State officials say they are focused primarily on investigating levels of cancer-causing dioxins in the soil.

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Health Care
5:42 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Utah Hospitals Reconsider Medical Waste Disposal

Amid public concern about air pollution generated by Stericycle’s North Salt Lake incinerator, two major hospital systems in Utah say they are reconsidering their processes for disposing of medical waste. Officials from University of Utah Health Sciences and Intermountain Healthcare say they are exploring their options, but are continuing to use Stericycle’s incinerator for the time being.

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Business & Labor
3:06 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Federal Employees Protest Government Shutdown in Ogden

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jarrod Rogers, with the 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron during the load crew of the year competition at Hill Air Force Base. (Dec. 17, 2010)
DoD photo by Airman Allen Stokes, U.S. Air Force/Released

Federal workers and furloughed employees are holding a rally Thursday at the Ogden Federal Building to protest the government shutdown. Ogden-Clearfield is one of the top 10 metro areas in the country affected by the furloughs. Hill Air Force Base is Utah's largest employer with some 25,000 federal employees and contractors. 

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Health Care
4:16 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Utah’s New Health Insurance Rates Revealed

The federal health insurance exchange opened for business Tuesday, and state regulators have revealed the rates that Utahns have to choose from. In Salt Lake and Davis Counties, there is one insurer who has lower price plans than the rest. But insurance experts say consumers should look at more than just monthly premiums when making their choice.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:11 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Stericycle Denies Air Pollution Violations

Community members attend a town hall meeting at Foxboro Elementary School about Stericycle's incinerator.
Andrea Smardon

As activists and community members step up the pressure to shut down a North Salt Lake medical waste incinerator, Stericycle officials are denying the company violated emissions limits or rigged stack test results. They are challenging a list of citations filed by Utah regulators against the company's incinerator. That means the beginning of a legal process that could take months.

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Environment & Public Lands
11:44 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Erin Brockovich Backs Up Stericycle Protestors in North Salt Lake

Erin Brockovich talks to protestors in front of Stericycle's medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake City.
Andrea Smardon

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich was in North Salt Lake City over the weekend to join the fight against Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator. Brockovich is lending her celebrity status and investigatory resources to community members who want the incinerator out of their neighborhood. Brockovich says she came to North Salt Lake because concerned mothers asked her to.

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