Bob Nelson

Reporter and Host for All Things Considered

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in Mass Communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER.  Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.

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File: Google Maps

A small group of firefighters is still working on one remaining hotspot at Brigham City’s Historic Baron Woolen Mills Monday afternoon. Rick Bosworth, spokesman for Brigham City says the fire started around 9 pm Sunday in a newer area of the abandoned factory and spread to the larger brick structure. He says crews came in from surrounding cities to battle the fire.

“We had Brigham, Willard, Honeyville, Corinne and Tremonton all at the site,” says Bosworth.

Whittney Evans

Salt Lake City officials flipped the “on” switch Wednesday celebrating the completion of three large solar projects to power city buildings.  1.7 million kilowatts of electricity annually will come from the solar farm connected to the Public Safety Building, and the city’s operation center at Plaza 349. Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker says Utah’s energy codes are 30 percent less efficient than federal standards and he says leaders at the state level need raise those standards.  

Brian Grimmett

The state departments of Health and Environmental Quality are both calling attention to the unofficial arrival of the ozone season this week. Ozone is the product of auto and industrial exhaust heated by the summer sun. Kellie Baxter is with the health department’s Asthma Program. She’s urging Utahns to be aware of ozone’s potentially harmful effects.

File: First Wind

Renewable energy company First Wind has finalized four more 20-year power purchase agreements, or PPA’s, with Rock Mountain Power. The latest PPA announced Thursday is for power generated from the company’s planned 320 megawatt “Four Brothers” solar development in Beaver and Iron Counties. Cody Stewart is Governor Gary Herbert’s Energy Advisor. He says the agreement has been in the works for a long time.

file: foreigndocumentsexpress.com

Fees for vital records like birth and death certificates in Utah are set to increase on July 1st.  Approval of a House Appropriations Bill during the Legislative session earlier this year allowed the increase. Janice Houston is the State Registrar and the Director of the Utah Department of Health’s Vital Records and Statistics. She says the department is almost totally funded by fees with only some federal funding provided.

File: US Geological Survey

Authorities received thousands of widespread reports of last night’s small earthquake 10 miles east of Bountiful. Katherine Whidden, research seismologist with the University of Utah Seismology Stations, says the reports were extensive because the epicenter was so close to the metro area.

File: US Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Utah has received more top 10 economic rankings than any other state in the country. That’s according to the Enterprising States 2014 report released Wednesday at the US Chamber of Commerce Small Business Summit in Washington. Governor Gary Herbert was part of a panel discussion at the summit on closing the skills gap.

File: Office of Gov. Gary R. Herbert

Gary Herbert was among several western governors and U-S Interior Secretary Sally Jewell who signed an agreement to recognize the importance of tourism on federal lands and waters. The memorandum of understanding, or MOU, is between members of the Western States Tourism Policy Council and a variety of Federal Agencies. Vickie Varela is the managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. She says fostering public/ private partnerships is one of the key areas of cooperation.

Bob Nelson

Sugar house Park above 13th East and Hidden Hollow Park are now officially connected by Parley’s Trail. A couple hundred people including residents and government officials gathered this morning Friday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of The Draw at Sugar House. Utah Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson recalled just starting out in Washington when a coalition people from the Salt Lake Valley first met with him with this huge urban trails project.

File: playathletics.com

Open enrollment in Utah’s Primary Care Network, or PCN, begins today for the first time since May of 2013. Kolbi Young of the Utah Department of Health says there are about 73,000 Utahns who are eligible for this type of care.

“The Primary Care Network program has been around for years and it’s a program that essentially covers a portion of the population that’s not typically eligible for Medicaid with very primary preventive services,” says Young.

Utah Zero Fatalities

A group of Salt Lake valley high schools increased their overall seatbelt use 9 percent this school year by participating in various student-created programs. The Salt Lake County Health Department program to increase seatbelt use among young drivers works in collaboration with the “Don’t Drive Stupid Campaign” and the Utah Highway Patrol’s Adopt-A-High School. Six high schools participated in the program.

Bob Nelson

The Zions Bank Consumer Price Index increased 0.1 percent in April compared with March on a seasonally adjusted basis. Aaron Anderson is a Director at the Cicero Group, which conducts the survey for Zions. He says transportation cost increases including the price of new cars were the driving force behind the up-tick.

Bob Nelson

Republican US Senator Orrin Hatch delivered the keynote address for the Memorial Day celebration in Woods Cross Monday. Senator Hatch stepped to the podium following the Woods Cross Men’s Chorus singing a song Hatch co-wrote with Janice Kapp-Perry called “I Love Old Glory.” He recalled his emotions while standing at the grave site of General George Patton in Luxembourg where 5-thousand American soldiers are buried.

File: Four Corners School of Outdoor Education

Utah youth conservation groups are expected to get a significant portion of the $6.7 million dollars in funding announced yesterday by U-S Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The total amount comes from various public agencies with matching funds from private groups as part of President Obama’s 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Initiative.

Bob Nelson

Former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon delivered the keynote address Wednesday at the Zions Bank 13th Annual Trade and Business Conference. Calderon served as President from 2006-2012 during what he calls the worst economic crisis in human memory. He recalled the saying; when the United States gets a cold, Mexico gets pneumonia.

File: Screen Shot Sundance Film Festival Web Page

The overall economic impact of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival amounts to $86.4 million for the state of Utah. The University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research conducted the independent study. The report released today also found the annual January event provided $34.1 million in earnings for Utah workers and supported 1,434 full and part-time jobs during the festival.

File politico.com

Ann Romney, the former First Lady of Massachusetts, delivered the keynote address to the Class of 2014 at Southern Utah University this morning. She quoted evangelical Christian Pastor Rick Warren in urging the graduates to live a purpose-driven life. She recalled the day when her husband, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, got the call from Kem Gardner asking them to take over the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

File: League of American Bicyclists Screen Shot

Utah’s bicycle-friendly ranking is in the top ten in the nation for the first time ever. The League of American Bicyclists traditionally marks the beginning of National Bike Month by releasing its rankings. Utah moved to #8 compared to 2013’s #14 ranking. Each state gets a ranking based on a level of achievement in the 5 “E’s”; engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation.

File: Bill Ingalls/NASA, via Associated Press

Alliant Techsystems announced it is merging the majority of its holdings with Orbital Sciences. The company is best known in Utah as ATK with operations in Magna, Clearfield and Promontory. A company press release says the 1-point-seven billion dollar deal involves spinning off the parent company’s Sporting Group.

Software engineer Brian Wonnacott ran unopposed for the Democratic seat in the 3rd Congressional District against Republican incumbent Jason Chaffetz Saturday. The avid outdoorsman says he regularly climbs Mount Olympus and Grandeur Peak. In asking delegates for their vote, Wonnacott expressed his realistic view of his campaign.

“I’ve climbed Mt. Rainier and Kilimanjaro and now I hope to climb the highest mountain of all, the bureaucracy of the US Government,” say Wonnacott.

Judy Fahys

Charles Stormont will be the Democratic candidate for Attorney General. He’s been working in the Attorney General’s office since 2008. He ran uncontested at the Democratic Convention. Following an impassioned nomination speech by Representative Patrice Arent, Stormont declared his stand against Amendment 3.

“It is time for an attorney general who will not play politics with Utah families,” says Stormont.

He says he doesn’t question the character of his opponent, Sean Reyes.

The number of Utah women in CEO or corporate board positions is the 3rd lowest in the nation. The findings released Wednesday are from a Utah Valley University study titled “The Status of Women Leaders in Utah Business.” The report shows of the 228 companies surveyed, only 4.8 percent (11) have female chief executive officers compared to 95.2 percent (217) male CEO’s. That’s nearly 10 percent lower than national figures for women in business.

Bob Nelson

Rocky Mountain Power and various rescue crews in the Salt Lake Valley are running three coordinated rescue exercises this week. Monday’s exercise was the first in the series with a mock victim trapped below an industrial power supply box in a Salt Lake City industrial park.

Bob Nelson

The Salt Lake County Emergency Preparedness Expo is going on until 8 this evening at the South Towne Expo Center. Jeff Graviet is the Emergency Services Director for Salt Lake County. He says it is important that at least once a year residents assess how prepared they for unforeseen disasters.

File: Michelle Schmitt, Salt Lake County Mayor's Office

A small number of Midvale senior citizens gathered for the ground breaking ceremony of a new Senior Center this morning. Local seniors regularly meet at an old 3,500 square foot building, originally one of the first senior centers in the valley in Midvale City Park. By next summer they will be enjoying the new 20,000 square foot center on the city hall grounds. Traci Lee is with Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services. She says seniors love going to the center.

Bob Nelson

 The first annual Exposition of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, was held on Saturday at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy. The free event was hosted by Beehive Science and Technology Academy, a STEM charter school in Sandy. Hundreds of students in grades 6 through 12 demonstrated their STEM skills to the crowd of parents and spectators.

File: Utah Department of Agricultre and Food

The “Utah’s Own” line of locally generated products are going to be a prominent feature at the 8th Annual Governor’s Economic Summit Conference opening Thursday in downtown Salt Lake City. The unique public/private effort to promote the Utah brand is run through the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.  Jed Christenson is the director of marketing and economic development at Utah’s Own. He says their recent poll of 150 members shows an average increase of almost four jobs per company through the recession.

University of Utah

A series of earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park is being reported by the University of Utah Seismograph Stations that began last Thursday. The strongest temblor was Sunday morning around 6:30 with a magnitude 4.8 on the Richter scale. 

Jamie Farrell is a Post Doctoral Research Associate is the U’s department of geology and geophysics. He says in the estimated 3,000 seismic events each year in and around Yellowstone, this one stands out.

File: Rocky Mountain Power

Plans were announced Wednesday for the first utility-scale solar project by Rocky Mountain Power. The 9,000-panel solar farm in Utah will produce enough power to supply 500 homes. Paul Murphy is the company’s spokesperson. He says Rocky Mountain Power is responding to the trend of increased customer desire for renewable energy and tax incentives being offered to keep the initial company investment down.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Utah’s employment numbers for February keep the state among the top five in the country with the lowest unemployment rate. The non-farm payroll employment grew by an estimated two and a half percent adding 32,200 jobs compared to the same month last year. Construction jobs had the highest single increase at 6.2 percent with 4100 new jobs. Carrie Mayne is the Chief Economist with the Department of Workforce Services. She says weather helped add builders to the workforce but construction is still a long way from reaching pre-recession levels.

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