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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Bob Nelson

What is Salt Lake City going to look like in 2050 with double the population predicted along the Wasatch Front? The University of Utah’s Department of City and Metropolitan Planning hosted the 4th Annual Mayor’s Symposium Thursday. Participants worked on that population question with the theme Mountain Urbanism, Mountain Modernism. Nan Ellin is the chair of the department.  She says the intent of the event is to catalyze the conversation about how to build harmoniously in the mountain landscape.

Bob Nelson

The riderless testing phase of the new all electric bus at the University of Utah is now complete. Alma Allred, the Executive Director of Commuter Services, says they’ll start shuttling riders for the next testing phase as soon as they get approval to release the federal grant money.

File: Governor's Office of Economic Development

Utah is the top destination state in the nation for products coming from Mexico but ranks only 37th among states exporting to Mexico.  The Governor’s Office of Economic Development hosted a free Mexico Business Symposium Monday at The Leonardo in downtown Salt Lake City in an attempt at reaching a better balance of trade. Harvey Scott is the director of International Trade and Diplomacy for the Office. He says while Utah already has strong business ties with Mexico, there is room for improvement.

Bob Nelson

Chocolate: The Exhibition officially opens Saturday at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Sarah George is the executive director of the museum. She says the exhibition gives visitors a good sense of the botany, culture, and history of the cacao that date back to the Olmec people of the Mexican Gulf Coast.

Bob Nelson

Governor Gary Herbert says he hopes Utahns will increase their donations to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund when filing their Utah State Tax return. He spoke at an event promoting the fund Thursday at the YWCA Center for Families. He says a 50 percent increase from 2 dollars to 3 is not too much to ask in a state that leads the nation in charity and volunteerism.

Pamela Atkinson talked about a young family she met Wednesday night at the St. Vincent DePaul Soap Kitchen.  She says, despite their struggles, she could clearly see they had already accomplished a lot.

Dan Bammes

A settlement in the Chevron Pipeline diesel fuel spill at Willard Bay State Park has been finalized between the company, Utah State Parks and Recreation, and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Nearly 21,000 gallons of fuel spilled following a Chevron Pipeline Company pipe failure on March 18th, 2013. The DEQ announced Tuesday that with the Utah Water Quality Board approval, the 5-point 3 million dollar settlement becomes official.

File: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

The official Internal Revenue Service tax season kicked off Friday. Legislators and low-income advocates from United Way, Voices for Utah Children, and “Earn it…Keep it…Save it” gathered at the state capitol to mark the day. They are urging Utahns to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or E-I-T-C, when they file their returns. IRS spokesman Bill Brunson says the average Utah EITC was $2,300 dollars last year and he says the amount could be as high as $6,200.

Bob Nelson

The Governor's Office of Economic Development launched its 2-million dollar STEM Media Campaign Thursday at Neil Armstrong Academy in West Valley City. In 2013 legislators approved 8 and a half million dollars to support math readiness and another 1 and a half million to set up the Utah STEM Action Center to build student skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Executive Director of GOED, Spencer Eccles, says kids need to have these skills whether they are going to be artists or astronauts.

File: Office of Utah Governor Herbert

Governor Gary Herbert has appointed state school board member Tami Pyfer as his new education advisor. The Governor’s spokesman Marty Carpenter says Pyfer brings in a very broad-scoped education experience from administrator to parent volunteer in public and private classrooms.

Bob Nelson

A small crowd of about 150 Westminster College students, faculty, and families from the neighborhood celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Junior today Monday. They marched through central Sugarhouse.  Luciano Marzulli is the director of Diversity Student Affairs and Services at Westminster. He says the legacy of Dr. King should be celebrated because there’s still a lot of work to be done.

File: Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors all-electric cars still aren’t for sale at a traditional dealer showroom in Utah but at least now you can charge one in the southeast area of the state. The Blanding Visitor Center parking lot is the place to find the first Tesla Supercharging station located in Utah.

Jeremy Redd is Blanding’s city manager. He says the supercharger station fits there and the company is thrilled.

File: University of Utah Continuing Education

Continuing Education at the University of Utah has just added a new cybersecurity certification class to its list of technology education courses. The class is called CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) Certification.

Yesterday’s fire at Utah State University’s Extension Facility in St. George has resulted in an apparent total loss. Brian Higgenbotham is the Associate Vice President for the extension. He says it’s going to be difficult to put a dollar value on the damage to this center of community education.

“In St. George we actually have, we had I should say, a very nice facility that had conference rooms, and rooms for demonstrations for some of our family consumer science programs, also had large area for our 4H,” he says.

File: Utah Solar Energy Association

Part of Rocky Mountain Power’s 76.3-million dollar rate increase request includes a $4.25 monthly increase for Utah customers who generate their own power through windmills or solar panels. The utility classifies them as net metering customers. Rocky Mountain Power’s Dave Eskelsen says the request protects traditional customers and is a very small part of the rate increase request. He says it's also intended to help ready the system for technology for which it was not designed.

Bob Nelson

West Valley City’s new mayor, Ron Bigelow, was officially sworn into office along with three city council members Monday. The new mayor’s speech highlighted the diversity of the city’s residents as both strengths and challenges for the city. Bigelow called on West Valley citizens to play a larger part of making the city a better place to live.

File: Sarah Vaughn

Researchers from the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah have discovered a cellular mechanism that drives the spread of breast cancer, known as metastasis, to other parts of the body. 

File: soundspike.com

KUER's Entertainment Contributor Dan Nailen says the "weird quiet period" after the Holidays is rare in Salt Lake City these days. If there was one, it came to a decisive end Friday with the arrival of Reverend Horton Heat with Jello Biafra and Old Man Markley.

Also mentioned: Tennis, Nellie McKay, Maria Taylor

Bob Nelson

Two Salt Lake County residents have died from influenza. Salt Lake County Health Department Epidemiologist Ilene Risk confirmed the deaths Thursday.  Risk says she can’t stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated because flu rates continue to rise.

“Our numbers have steadily increased. We have not seen the peak of this flu season yet,” says Risk.

Bob Nelson

For a fifth straight month, Utahns used the money they saved on lower gasoline prices and spent it on everything from cars to food to utility bills. The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index decreased 0.1 of a percent from October to November on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, driven by lower gas prices. Randy Shumway of the Cicero Group conducts the survey for Zions Bank. He says that drop further boosted the positive attitudes about the state’s economy.

File: Ski Utah

If there is an aversion to the inversion from tourists visiting the state to ski, there are very few signs of it. This is the biggest week of the ski season with visitors paying up to $2,500 dollars a week to rent an SUV, if they can find one.  Susie English is the communications director of Ski Utah, a non-profit organization that promotes the ski and snowboard industry in the state. She says the weather and snow are excellent even though some resorts still have early season conditions.

File: WRCNU Facebook page.

State wildlife officials are warning everyone to be cautious if they come across another sick eagle.  16 bald eagles have died in recent weeks from a mysterious illness.  Leslie McFarlane, wildlife disease coordinator with the Division of Wildlife Resources, says they thought it might be lead poisoning at first, but now they know that’s not the problem.

McFarlane says it’s good that residents want to help these sick eagles when they find them, but dealing with the birds is best left to the professionals.

File: Google Images

The Utah Educational Savings Plan is expecting to seeing an increase in investments as the year ends.  It’s already seen a 10 percent year-to-date jump in investments. UESP is Utah’s official non-profit 529 college savings program. It was set up by the state legislature in 1996. The fund gives tax incentives to anyone wanting to invest in a young person’s higher education. Diane Johnson is the outreach manager for UESP. Johnson says the nationally-recognized fund typically sees a nice jump in investors at year-end.

File: University of Utah

Geography researchers from the University of Utah have discovered a perennial aquifer in Greenland estimated to be 15 times larger than the Great Salt Lake. The findings were published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience. University of Utah geography professor Richard Forster says his small team of researchers found the huge reservoir while drilling for samples of compacted snow called firn.

File: Hill Air Force Base

The sounds of F-16’s in night flight training will be heard in Davis and Weber Counties beginning Monday night and running through the 19th of December. Pilots from the 419th and 388th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base will be flying out to the Utah Test and Training Range and back during the exercise.  Lt. Col. Todd Robbins is the 4th Fighter Squadron Commander at Hill.

Google Images

Attorneys and law enforcement personnel at University of Utah are reacting to recent attacks by so-called cyber-squatters. Thousands of University employees are being targeted by an internet scheme making fraudulent purchase orders with sites that attempt to appear to be representing the U. Valoree Dowell is the interim communications director for the University of Utah. She says right now the purchasing department is busy alerting suppliers to the scam.

Bob Nelson

University of Utah biologists have discovered that nerve cells work very differently and much faster than previously thought. Erik Jorgensen is a professor of biology at the U, and senior author of the study.

File: Pioneer Theater Company

Elf the Musical opens next week on stage at Pioneer Theater Company in Salt Lake City. It’s the first time the production has been done in Utah since the contemporary classic film Elf was released 10 years ago. Pioneer Theater’s Artistic Director, Karen Azenberg says “family” is at the heart of the story, and believing in something good.

Bob Nelson

Availability of jobs, public school education and air and water quality are the top three areas most in need of improvement for a better quality of life. That’s according to the latest Utah Foundation survey of Utahns. The Foundation’s Senior Research Analyst Shawn Teigen led a panel discussion today in downtown Salt Lake City on the results of the latest study of Utahn’s Quality of Life. He says air quality moved to number one when residents were asked this open-ended question.

Bob Nelson

The America Recycles Day in Utah was held today at the South Towne Expo Center. If the size of the crowd at the first annual event was any indication, Utahns are not very excited about recycling. But Brad Mertz, the Executive Director of the Recycling Coalition of Utah says using things over and over again is just the right thing to do.

Bob Nelson

A parade honoring Veterans rolled down 2700 West from the city park to the city offices in Taylorsville Monday complete with dignitaries, rumbling motorcycles and music. Utah Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson spoke after the parade on the plaza of the city hall.  He told those attending the celebration that our country must live up to the commitment to provide good healthcare to the soldiers when they return home.

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