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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Environment & Public Lands
4:25 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

North Salt Lake Residents Upset About Unfiltered Emissions from Medical Waste Incinerator

Stericycle uses its bypass stack during a power outage.
North Salt Lake resident Natasha Hincks Henderson

North Salt Lake residents are stepping up pressure to close a medical waste incinerator in their neighborhood. Environmental and health advocates are joining them in a protest outside Stericycle’s incinerator Tuesday evening, and representatives from the group will be meeting with the Director of the state’s Division of Air Quality to voice their concerns Wednesday morning. Among the protestors concerns is the use of a bypass stack which allows the company to release unfiltered, toxic pollutants like dioxin and mercury directly into the air.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:40 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Why Environmental Activists Want a North Salt Lake Medical Waste Incinerator Closed Down

Stericycle's medical waste incinerator burns near a North Salt Lake neighborhood.
North Salt Lake resident Natasha Hincks Henderson

Environmental advocates and concerned residents will be holding a protest Tuesday evening at Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake. They want the incinerator – which emits dioxins and other toxic chemicals - shut down.

Protest organizer Bradley Angel is Director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. He says Stericycle’s incinerator is a direct threat to the health of the families in the neighborhood.

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LGBT Rights
4:32 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Human Rights Campaign President says Utah will have Marriage Equality within 5 Years

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin at the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City

Now that the Supreme Court has issued its rulings for two major gay marriage cases, the Human Rights Campaign is focusing its attention on Utah. The Campaign’s President Chad Griffin was in Salt Lake City Thursday calling for equality in Utah and the other 36 states that do not allow same-sex marriage.

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LGBT Rights
5:10 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

What the Supreme Court Rulings on Gay Marriage Mean for Utah

Utah Pride Center Executive Director Valerie Larabee
Andrea Smardon

As the nation digests the US Supreme Court’s decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, Utahns are thinking about how the ruling will affect the lives of lesbian and gay people in this state.

Leaders of the Utah Pride Center started their press conference by passing around a box of tissues. Executive Director Valerie Larabee took to the podium with puffy red eyes, calling the Supreme Court decision a pivotal moment.

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Immigration
5:04 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Utah Evangelicals Pray for Compassionate Immigration Reform

As the US Senate continues to consider the Gang of 8 immigration bill, evangelical leaders in Utah and around the country are adding their voices to those calling for reform. Congregations from across the state are sending letters to Utah’s Congressional delegation, letting them know that they are praying for them as they make important decisions about the nation’s immigrants.

Baptist Pastor Greg Johnson of Lehi is a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals.

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Health Care
11:23 am
Sun June 23, 2013

Utah Drops Again in Child Well-Being Measures

A new report shows Utah’s children are not doing as well as they used to compared to the rest of the country. The annual Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book measuring child well-being has just been released, and Utah continues to slip in the national rankings.

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Health Care
5:01 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Utahns to Receive Health Insurance Rebates

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday that about 140,000 Utahns will be receiving a rebate this year from their health insurance company. Utah residents will benefit from more than 4.5 million dollars in rebates from insurance companies this summer, averaging 85 dollars per family.

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Immigration
4:39 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Utah Poll Bolsters Immigration Reform Efforts

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) talks with business leaders at Zions Bank about immigration reform.
Andrea Smardon

A recent poll shows that Utahns overwhelmingly support the immigration plan now being debated by the US Senate. But polling experts say the findings should be taken with a grain of salt, since the poll was commissioned by immigration reform advocates.

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Health Care
4:48 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Study Shows Air Pollution Raises Risk of Autism

Women who live in areas with polluted air are up to twice as likely to have an autistic child than those living in communities with cleaner air.  That’s according to a new national study from Harvard University published online in Environmental Health Perspectives. KUER’s Andrea Smardon reports on what this might mean for Utah - which has the highest autism rates in the country, and occasionally the worst air quality.

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Health Care
4:20 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Utah Children's Autism Program Accepting 35 New Applicants

Utah parents of children with autism can now apply for limited spaces in a treatment program. The state Department of Health’s Medicaid Autism Waiver Program opened enrollment Monday for 35 children under 7 years old, but advocates in the autism community say it’s not enough. 

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Business & Labor
4:26 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Supreme Court Throws Out Some Myriad Patents, Upholds Others

Myriad Genetics offices in Salt Lake City

The US Supreme Court struck down some of Myriad Genetics’ patents today on its breast and ovarian cancer test. But the Salt Lake City company is focusing on what the ruling left intact. Myriad officials say the company still has 24 different patents. 

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Immigration
4:53 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Immigrants and Allies ask Hatch to Remember Utah Families

Members of the Salt Lake DREAM team outside Senator Orrin Hatch's Salt Lake City office.
Andrea Smardon

As the U.S. Senate begins debate on immigration reform, young immigrants with the Salt Lake DREAM Team are stepping up pressure on Senator Orrin Hatch. The DREAMers delivered letters from across the Wasatch Front calling on the Senator to keep families together and reunite those who’ve been divided by deportation.

21-year-old Itza Hernandez stands outside of Senator Orrin Hatch’s office at the federal building in Salt Lake City, and reads from a stack of about 600 letters.

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Business & Labor
4:31 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

SyberJet Chooses Utah for Headquarters and Assembly Plant

SJ30
SyberJet Aircraft

Utah is now home to one of the fastest light business jets in the world. SyberJet Aircraft announced this week that it has selected Cedar City as the location for its headquarters and the new SJ30 assembly plant. SyberJet Aircraft President Chuck Taylor says the new seven-seat SJ30 will be assembled from start to finish in Utah. 

“We’ll be starting from the bottom up, and we’ll be manufacturing the detail parts, assembling the airplane, putting all the aircraft systems in the airplane, and flying it off the Cedar City Airport and delivering it to our customers,” Taylor says.

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Health Care
4:59 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Utah Considers Arkansas’ “Private Option” for Medicaid Expansion

Utah officials are keeping a close eye on Arkansas as they consider whether to expand Medicaid in the state. The Utah Department of Health held an informational conference call Thursday with Arkansas’ Medicaid Director Andy Allison. Members of Utah’s Medicaid Expansion community workgroup see promise in Arkansas’ unique model. It gives eligible low-income residents Medicaid expansion dollars to buy private health insurance. 

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Business & Labor
5:20 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Utah Mayors Call for Immigration Reform

A bipartisan group of Utah mayors have sent a letter to Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, urging them to immediately pass immigration reform legislation. From Fruit Heights to Salt Lake City to St. George, 19 mayors signed the letter. It calls for comprehensive immigration reform, and warns that Utah communities will face significant challenges unless that reform is enacted. 

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Business & Labor
4:52 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Kennecott Worker Buyout Helps Avoid Additional Layoffs

Kennecott Utah Copper

Workers at Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Utah Copper are breathing a sigh of relief after mine officials announced today there would not be another big layoff. A recent landslide at the Bingham Canyon Mine has forced the company to drastically reduce production and layoff some administrative staff.

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Health Care
6:43 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Teen Pregnancy Rates Down in Utah; Some Credit Access to Birth Control and Sex Ed

Capitol West Boys and Girls Club Teen Center Director Jessica Hill and Esperanza, a teen in her class aimed at reducing teen pregnancy.
Andrea Smardon

As the public school year comes to a close, there will be fewer teen mothers in Utah missing out on graduation. Teen pregnancy rates in Utah have plummeted in the last few years. A recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the rate of births to teen mothers across the country dropped by 25% from 2007 to 2011. The rate in Utah fell by almost 30 percent. Among Hispanic teens in the state – it dropped by 40 percent.

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Health Care
4:22 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Utah Man Doing Well After Historic Transplant

Intermountain Medical Center cardiac surgeon John Doty and transplant patient Michael Mader.
Andrea Smardon

A Utah man is doing well after surgeons at Intermountain Medical Center performed the first combined heart-liver transplant in an adult patient in the Intermountain West. 

Dressed up in a shirt and tie, you would never know 31-year-old Michael Mader is a transplant patient.  The surgery was completed on April 23rd. Mader, who has suffered from 18 heart attacks, says he could feel the difference right away.

“I feel better than I did at 22, when I had my first heart attack,” Mader says. “So it’s been a night and day difference.”

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Education
5:14 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Utah Philanthropist and Arts Education Advocate Beverley Sorenson Dies at 89

Utah philanthropist and arts education advocate Beverley Taylor Sorenson has died at the age of 89. Beverley and her late husband James LeVoy Sorenson devoted millions of dollars to cultural, educational, and scientific projects in the state.

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Public Safety
4:55 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Utah's Undocumented Immigrants Want a Chance to Serve in Military

Salt Lake Dream Team President Angelica Rodriguez speaks publicly about her experience being denied the opportunity to serve in the US military because she did not have proper documentation.
Andrea Smardon

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have served in the US Armed Forces, but not everyone who wants to serve can. Some undocumented immigrants in Utah wish they had the opportunity to enlist in the military, and they’re hoping Congress can help. 

Angelica Rodriguez came to Utah just before her sixth birthday from the Mexican state of Veracruz. By the time she was a teenager, her dream was to serve in the US armed forces. She says she wanted to help and protect people, especially during natural disasters.

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KUER Local News
9:39 pm
Sun May 26, 2013

Former Utah Jazz Star Thurl Bailey Takes on New Role with Refugee Community

Governor Gary Herbert has named former Utah Jazz player Thurl Bailey to serve as his ambassador to the state’s refugee community. In this role, Bailey will act as a liaison between the Governor and more than 50,000 refugees who call Utah home. Thurl “Big T” Bailey talks to KUER’s Andrea Smardon about his new role.

Related Event:

World Refugee Day in Utah

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Business & Labor
12:45 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Kennecott Reduces Workforce by 100 in Utah, More Layoffs to Come

Kennecott Utah Copper

About 100 employees at Kennecott Utah Copper have been laid off as a result of last month’s slide at the Bingham Canyon Mine. Kennecott spokesperson Kyle Bennett says the layoffs affected employees across the ranks of the mine’s salaried workforce. None were union employees, though he says some hourly workers will have to be let go before the end of the month. 

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Health Care
6:35 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Report Details Costs and Benefits of Utah’s Medicaid Options

The state's Medicaid Expansion Options Community Workgroup convenes at the capitol.
Andrea Smardon

Utah could save millions of dollars and provide health insurance to about 123,000 people if the state expands Medicaid. That was the conclusion of an independent cost-benefit analysis commissioned by the state. 

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Business & Labor
12:29 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Salt Lake Area Immigrants Call on Senator Hatch to Fulfill Dreams, Reunite Families

Yolanda Guzman is taking care of her granddaughter, after her daughter Brenda Guzman-Sandoval was deported.

As the debate on immigration reform continues in the US Senate, immigrants in Salt Lake City held a press conference and vigil Wednesday night urging Senator Orrin Hatch to support legislation that creates a path to citizenship and keeps families together.  

The event was organized by the Salt Lake DREAM team, immigrant young people who want a chance to earn their citizenship through college or military service. In their stories, what you hear are dreams deferred.

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Health Care
4:54 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Federal Government will Manage Utah’s High-Risk Health Insurance Pool

Many Utahns with preexisting medical conditions will see their health insurance shifted from state to federal oversight in July. After federal funding ran short for the “high-risk” insurance pool, state officials have refused to take on any additional costs. And federal health officials have refused to allow Select Health, the insurer that administers the program for Utah, to take responsibility. 

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Business & Labor
3:15 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Suburban Poverty More than Doubles in Utah’s Major Metro Areas

Poverty in US suburbs is on the rise, but especially in Utah. A new book released Monday shows that the number of people living in suburbs below the federal poverty line has more than doubled in three major metropolitan areas in Utah over an 11-year span. In fact, the Salt Lake City area ranked number 3 in the nation for fastest growth in suburban poverty. 

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Politics
7:00 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Mia Love Officially Running for Utah's 4th Congressional District Again

Mia Love at the 2013 Utah Republican Convention
Andrea Smardon

Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love officially declared Saturday that she will run again for the congressional seat occupied by Democrat Jim Matheson. Love's announcement came during a speech to several thousand delegates at the Utah Republican Party's annual organizing convention.

“You and I have some unfinished business with Jim Matheson. So combining my confidence in you delegates, with the inspiration you’ve given back to me, we are stronger than ever, and I am certain, we will win,” said Love to applause.

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Politics
6:49 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Utah Republicans Decide to Keep Party Nomination Process

Republican delegates line up to speak about the party nomination process.
Andrea Smardon

Utah Republicans decided at their convention on Saturday to keep their system in place for choosing party nominees. A proposal to raise the percentage of votes needed to avoid a primary sparked heated debate about how best to give lesser-known candidates a fair shot. 

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Business & Labor
4:22 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Utah Jobless Rate Drops to 4.7; Governor Declares Recession Over

Utah Department of Workforce Services

Unemployment in Utah dipped to 4.7 percent last month, the state’s lowest rate since November 2008. Utah also added more jobs, prompting Governor Gary Herbert to declare the recession over in the state. 

Utah’s job growth in April was 3.5 percent, more than double the national average. Over one year, 43,000 jobs have been added. Juliette Tennert is Chief Economist in the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. 

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Health Care
4:33 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

U Child Asthma Research Relies on Parents to Track Symptoms

The University of Utah has received a 1.9 million dollar research grant to study asthma in children and how better monitoring of the disease could improve health.  The award comes from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. 

Flory Nkoy is Research Director for the Inpatient Division at Primary Children’s Medical Center, and is leading the study which will involve 10 Utah health clinics and hundreds of local families. Nkoy says this project puts parents in the driver’s seat, so they can control their child’s asthma symptoms rather than the other way around.

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