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.

Pages

Health Care
9:35 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

Is Charity Care an Alternative to Expanding Medicaid in Utah?

Dr. Kurt Rifleman gives 6-year-old Jeremy Tarantino a check-up at Midtown Community Health Center in Ogden.
Andrea Smardon

As governor Gary Herbert weighs a decision on whether to extend Medicaid coverage to more low-income Utahns, a group of healthcare leaders appointed by the state has spent the summer exploring the options. Their findings will be presented to the governor at his health summit next week. Among those options, is to expand charity care in the state. KUER looks at what forms of charity care already exist in Utah, and whether this model could be a realistic alternative to expanding Medicaid.

Read more
Immigration
10:51 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Utah Congressmen May Consider a Path to Citizenship for the Undocumented

As Congress considers pressing issues like Syria, the debt limit, and the Affordable Care Act, there is some question whether the House will pass immigration legislation before the end of the year.  After the Senate passed a landmark comprehensive bill in June, the House is under pressure to respond. Utah’s congressional delegation came home and talked with many of their constituents about the issue over the summer, but it’s still an open question how the state’s representatives will address undocumented immigrants.

Read more
Environment & Public Lands
5:12 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Stericycle May Move Incinerator Out of North Salt Lake

The Foxboro neighborhood is adjacent to Stericycle's medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake.
Andrea Smardon

As angry residents continue to protest Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator and its toxic emissions, some local officials have been discussing the possibility of moving the plant to another location.

North Salt Lake Mayor Len Arave met with Stericycle’s  Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs earlier this week. He says he thinks the incinerator should find another home outside the city, and that Stericycle may be open to that possibility.

Read more
Health Care
6:10 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Utah Small Business Owners Brace for Healthcare Reform

Small businesses owners gathered on Tuesday to address concerns over how the new federal health care law will cost them.
Andrea Smardon

Small business owners convened at the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake on Tuesday to learn about the Affordable Care Act and significant changes coming in health care. The Salt Lake Chamber along with insurance company SelectHealth released a survey revealing that the Affordable Care Act is perceived negatively by a majority of businesses, but that many of those businesses are also uninformed about the requirements of the law.

Ask small business owners how they will be affected by the Affordable Care Act… and you get answers like this…

Read more
Environment & Public Lands
5:17 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Lawmaker Wants to Ban Medical Waste Incineration in Utah

Stericycle uses its bypass stack on September 6, 2013.
Photo provided by Foxboro residents

Republican State Senator Todd Weiler of Woods Cross says he’s filing a bill to ban medical waste incineration in Utah. The announcement comes after Stericycle’s North Salt Lake incinerator allegedly exceeded its permitted levels of toxic pollutants and falsified its emissions tests. Nearby residents and environmental activists have called for the incinerator to be closed down. 

Read more
Politics
9:10 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Many Left Unheard at Congressman Stewart's Salt Lake City Town Hall

Rep. Chris Stewart (R) of Utah's 2nd district speaks to constituents at Avenues Sweet Library in Salt Lake City.
Andrea Smardon

There was a packed house for Utah Congressman Chris Stewart’s Town Hall in Salt Lake City last night. In fact, there were many who didn’t get into the small library conference room in the Avenues neighborhood. Constituents had questions about the Congressman’s stance on environmental protection, immigration reform, and military action in Syria, but a number of people left feeling they did not have their voices heard.

Read more
Environment & Public Lands
1:15 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Environmentalists ask North Salt Lake Officials to Exert Local Control

Environmental investigator Robert Bowcock stands outside North Salt Lake council chambers with residents and air quality advocates.
Andrea Smardon

Erin Brockovich and her team of environmental activists have made their presence known to North Salt Lake officials.  An investigator who works with Brockovich spoke to city councilors and the mayor Tuesday night, asking them to exert some local control and help protect citizens from the air pollution emitted by Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator.

Read more
Health Care
10:06 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Utahns with Disabilities Push for Alternative to Nursing Homes

The Affordable Care Act has given hope to Utahns with disabilities who want to avoid nursing homes. The state’s Disabled Rights Action Committee held a rally in front of the federal building Wednesday calling on Utah’s leaders to support a lesser known provision of the federal health care law that allows citizens to get health care in their own home, instead of a nursing home.

“I’d rather go to jail than to die in a nursing home,” demonstrators chant.

Read more
Science & Technology
4:06 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

U Investigates Alleged Fraud in Chemical Engineering Department

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

The University of Utah is investigating whether chemical engineering researchers altered images in an academic paper. The journal Nano Letters withdrew the paper on August 15th due to concerns over the integrity of the data.

Read more
Health Care
5:40 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

99 Plans Offered on Federal Health Insurance Marketplace in Utah

Some information was released Thursday about how the Affordable Care Act will impact Utah consumers. Utahns shopping for health insurance on the new federal online marketplace will have 99 plan choices. The state insurance department provided an estimate for what these options will cost Utah consumers. They also compared prices to the state’s exchange for small businesses known as Avenue H.  

Read more
Science & Technology
4:21 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Aereo Brings Online Television to Utah

Utahns can now record and watch live television from their computers or mobile devices. Aereo Inc. launched its online television technology in the state this week. Utah is the fourth location the company has offered the service, after New York, Boston, and Atlanta.

Read more
Environment & Public Lands
4:39 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Erin Brockovich Takes on Stericycle’s North Salt Lake Incinerator

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich is turning her attention to North Salt Lake City. At the request of residents, Brockovich and her team have decided to conduct an independent investigation into air pollution violations by Stericycle and the company’s medical waste incinerator. Angry residents and activists are protesting in front of Stericycle Thursday evening demanding that Governor Gary Herbert shut it down.

Read more
Health Care
4:24 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Regence BlueCross BlueShield Drops Out of Utah Exchange

One of Utah’s largest health insurance companies, Regence BlueCross BlueShield, will no longer be selling its plans on Avenue H, the state’s exchange for small businesses.

Read more
Health Care
4:55 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Robotic Legs Come to Utah

Andrea Smardon

A University of Utah Rehabilitation Center now has the ability to help paralyzed patients walk again.  A clinic in Sugar House is the first in the Intermountain West to obtain a robotic exoskeleton known as ReWalk.

He’s not exactly Iron Man, but when you see Stephen Wilson moving around in a ReWalk exoskeleton, it does feel like you’re watching something out of a sci-fi movie.  

Read more
Entertainment
3:49 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Salt Lake County Library Now Offering Digital Movies

Hoopla movie selection screenshot
Hoopla Digital

The Salt Lake County Library is now offering free online and mobile access to videos, music and audiobooks.  All you need is a library card to log in.

Read more
Health Care
4:50 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

U Partners with TruClinic to Bring Online Healthcare to Patients

Justin Kahn of Salt Lake City is CEO and founder of TruClinic.

Officials with University of Utah Health Care announced Thursday that they’re partnering with TruClinic to bring online healthcare to patients in their homes.

University of Utah alum Justin Kahn is the CEO and founder of TruClinic based in Salt Lake City. Kahn thinks of himself as a social entrepreneur, driven by his mission.

Read more
Environment & Public Lands
3:40 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Frustrated Neighbors Step up Pressure on Stericycle's Medical Waste Incinerator

Stericycle's incinerator is visible from a playground in the Foxboro neighborhood of North Salt Lake.
Andrea Smardon

Activist groups and North Salt Lake residents are planning another protest of Stericycle, a medical waste incinerator accused of violating pollution limits and falsifying emissions tests.  The event on August 15th is being planned after state regulators gave the company a second extension to decide if it will challenge the allegations against them.

Read more
Health Care
10:14 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Agreement Stops Salt Lake County Mental Health Cuts for Now

Valley Mental Health CEO Gary Larcenaire and Board President Bruce Cummings talk with County Councilmember Randy Horiuchi at the Salt Lake County Government Center.
Andrea Smardon

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says an agreement has been reached that will prevent more patients from being dropped from Valley Mental Health’s client rolls.

Read more
Business & Labor
3:40 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Entrepreneurs to Open Social Innovation HUB in Salt Lake City

HUB Salt Lake co-founders Søren Simonsen and Dustin Haggett in newly leased space on 150 South State Street.
Andrea Smardon

A group of entrepreneurs is creating a center for social innovation in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. Known as HUB Salt Lake, the center is expected to open its doors by late fall. 

HUB Salt Lake will be located in the former Zim’s Arts and Crafts store at 150 South State Street. Right now, it’s 13,000 square feet of open space. City councilmember and architect Søren Simonsen is a co-founder, and he imagines the HUB as a workspace for entrepreneurs trying to solve societal problems.

Read more
Health Care
4:48 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

BYU Professor Says State Budget is Only Small Part of Medicaid Decision

Utah lawmakers have another study to consider as they make their decision on whether to expand Medicaid in the state. The Utah Department of Health hired BYU Public Policy Professor Sven Wilson to produce an independent economic analysis. Dr. Wilson presented his findings to the state’s Medicaid community workgroup this week. He says state lawmakers are missing the big picture on Medicaid.

Read more
Environment & Public Lands
10:04 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Chevron to Pay $384,000 for Clean Air Act Violations at Salt Lake City Refinery

arbyreed Creative Commons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a settlement with Chevron. The company has agreed to pay a $384,000 penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its refinery in Salt Lake City.

Read more
Health Care
5:28 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Salt Lake County Council Approves Audit of Mental Health System

The Salt Lake County Council has unanimously approved an audit of its mental health care system.  The decision comes after Valley Mental Health announced it would no longer serve hundreds of patients due to a reduction in funding.

Salt Lake County Council Chairman Steve Debry says he and other council members learned that Valley Mental Health would be shrinking its patient rolls by reading the newspaper.

“We were caught off guard and by surprise. To put it mildly, we’re upset with it,” Debry says.  

Read more
Health Care
4:54 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

U Research: Surgical Anesthetic Appears to Treat Drug-Resistant Depression

Researchers at the University of Utah are exploring an alternative therapy for treating severe depression.  A pilot study suggests that the anesthetic gas isoflurane commonly used during surgery could be used as an antidepressant. 

Read more
Health Care
5:15 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Mike Leavitt Says Obama Administration Could Learn from His Experience with Medicare Part D

Former Utah Governor and Bush Cabinet Member Mike Leavitt
Dan Bammes

Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt published an editorial in The Washington Post recently.  In the piece, Leavitt talks about his experiences as U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary under President George W. Bush when he enacted Medicare’s prescription drug benefit known as Part D.  KUER’s Andrea Smardon talked to Leavitt about what he learned and how those lessons can be applied to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. 

Read more
Business & Labor
4:58 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Gateway Shops Missing Out on Downtown Resurgence

Bear Country Cookies owner Joel Clark says sales are down 35% at his Gateway shop since City Creek Center opened.
Andrea Smardon

A report released Tuesday shows that retail sales in downtown Salt Lake City were up 36 percent last year, largely driven by business at City Creek Center. But some businesses at The Gateway Shopping Center say they are not seeing the same trend.

Read more
Business & Labor
5:52 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

SLC Downtown Alliance Aims to Build on Momentum from City Creek Center

A fountain at City Creek Center during the holiday shopping season.
Andrea Smardon

Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance held its first annual Downtown Symposium Tuesday. City leaders gathered to review the past year, and talk about what’s to come for Utah’s capital city.

Read more
Health Care
5:30 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Rose Park Event to Raise Awareness about Minority Mental Health

A "flash mob" rehearses for Rose Park picnic to raise awareness about minority mental health.

Mental illness is often difficult for people to talk about, but especially hard if you don’t speak the same language as your health provider. Community groups are coming together in Salt Lake City’s Rose Park neighborhood Tuesday to raise awareness about minority mental health. 

Mary Burchett is the Outreach Specialist for the National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI in Utah, an organization that provides free education, support and advocacy. She says minorities in Utah have particular challenges.

Read more
Education
3:41 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Utah Treasurer Announces Record Earnings for Public Schools

Utah schools will be getting a little extra boost from the School LAND Trust Program.  The state treasurer announced Friday that school trust fund investments received record earnings, pushing the total value over 1.6 billion dollars at the end of the state’s fiscal year in June.

Read more
Health Care
4:46 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

From Bingo to Yoga, Senior Center Celebrates 50 Years in Salt Lake City

Community members fill their plates at Tenth East Senior Center's 50th birthday celebration.
Andrea Smardon

Utah’s oldest senior center celebrated 50 years of service Thursday in Salt Lake City. But the senior population is growing and changing, and local leaders say they need to adapt along with them in order to meet their needs.

Tenth East Senior Center Manager John Bennett says 50 years ago, bingo and pool were the popular pastimes. Nowadays, the center is filled with baby boomers, many of them still working, and they’re looking for something different.

Read more
Public Safety
4:59 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Utah Opens New Military Entrance Processing Station

Recruits prepare for military oath ceremony in Salt Lake City's new Military Entrance Processing Station.
Andrea Smardon

There was a grand opening ceremony Wednesday for Salt Lake City’s new Military Entrance Processing Station, otherwise known as Freedom’s Front Door.  The facility is where potential recruits from a 5-state area go to complete their application process for the military, and to take an oath before entering into service.

Read more

Pages