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 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.

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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.

File: Flickriver, Thad Roan-Bridgepix

The Downtown Farmers Market is moving to inside the Rio Grande Depot starting Saturday morning.  With Salt Lake City’s Downtown Farmers Market ending its 21st summer season at Pioneer Park, the Downtown Alliance is leveraging its success into the new indoor venue to become The Winter Market.

File: Utah Foundation

The Utah Foundation’s report on Utah Quality of Life Index shows just a 1 point overall improvement from its first study from the fall of 2011. But Shawn Teigen, the Foundation’s Senior Research Analyst, says there’s a clear message here for Utah’s political and business leaders.

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For the first time in 20 years, a Utah Army National Guard Air Medical Evacuation group is deploying out of the country. Captain Penny McCarthy is the Commander of the unit. She says building a medevac unit from an air attack group has not been done before in Utah. McCarthy says being ready for today’s deployment to Afghanistan was a daunting challenge for every soldier in the group.

File: Mike Reberg Facebook page

 Salt Lake County Animal Services has a new director. Mike Reberg had been working in Congressman Jim Matheson’s Wasatch Front office. He’s also a former associate public works director for the county. Russ Wall, Salt Lake County’s Public Works Director, says Reberg intends to bring the two main aspects of animal services, enforcement and adoption, closer together.

“He’s an animal lover but more importantly, he’s a people lover and so we’re really excited to have him here,” says Wall.

Bob Nelson

Salt Lake City’s mayor announced a plan today to provide housing for the last few remaining homeless veterans.  The announcement came as part of the annual Stand Down event at the V-A Medical Center.  Mayor Ralph Becker says it’s taken federal, state and local agencies and private business to create this incredible outreach program.

Bob Nelson

About 80 Utah employers held a job fair for veterans at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy Wednesday.  Along with vets, they were hoping to reach their spouses and members of the National Guard and reserves.

Sergeant Major Wayne L. Bowser represents of one of the sponsors, “Hero 2 Hired.”  He says knowing where to start is key.

Bob Nelson

The Utah Transit Authority has just concluded its year-long analysis of future transportation needs for Utahns. Michael Allegra, general manager of UTA, says expanding use of technology, more focus on residents’ needs and air quality are becoming focal points of the board.

“So air quality is certainly one if those agendas and our pricing and fare policies are all part of that initiative that they’ve given us discharge to go forth and try to implement,” says Allegra.

File: State of Utah, Judicial Council

3rd District Court Judge Anthony B. Quinn died yesterday after being struck by a car while riding his bicycle in Millcreek Canyon. An avid cyclist, Judge Quinn was appointed to the court just over 16 years ago by then Governor Mike Leavitt. Judge Quinn received his law degree from Brigham Young University in 1980, worked as a clerk for a year with U.S. District Judge David Winder and then ran a successful civil trial practice.

File: Head Start

Salt Lake and Tooele County’s federally funded Head Start program has survived the recent government shutdown without dropping kids off the list. The real challenge has been the so-called sequestration. Head Start is a development program including meals that serves 2000 preschoolers and their families through SL-Cap/Head Start.  Joni Clark is the community partnership manager.

File University of Utah

The University of Utah Information Security Office is warning the U community of a significant increase in recent months in email attacks known as Phishing. In an email blast to U faculty, staff and students last night, the Office says at least three individuals, all faculty members in the School of Medicine, were victims of email attacks. As a result, their individual paycheck direct deposit information was accessed and then stolen.

Steve Corbato is the Deputy Chief Information Security Officer at the University of Utah.

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Salt Lake City Hispanic community activist Frank Cordova passed away Monday evening following a battle with cancer. He was 57 years old. As President of Centro Civico Mexicano, Cordova was often seen in the community wearing his black “I Could Be Illegal” T-Shirt. Archie Archuleta, president of the Utah Coalition of La Raza, a civil rights advocacy group says Cordova’s forceful voice will be missed.

File: Utah Division of Water Resources

Even with a decent start to the new water year last week, Todd Adams from the Utah Division of Water Resources says it’s time for Northern Utah residents to conserve by shutting down their automatic sprinkler systems now. But, he says, last month’s moisture was very helpful.

“It’s kind of strange because we ended up about somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of normal statewide based on our precipitation. A lot of that came in the last part of September which has helped us going into next year,” says Adams.

Bob Nelson

Salt Lake City may become the first city in the nation to offer a 30-dollar-a-month transit pass for every resident. Mayor Ralph Becker says the initiative designed to improve air quality is a complex agreement between the city and Utah Transit Authority, he hopes will be simple for residents to access if it’s approved by the city council. Stan Penfold is the councilman who brought the proposal before the council. He says what people want are options for getting out of their cars.

File BYU Communications

Development of new a MRI device may bring a drastic reduction in false positives during breast cancer screening. A unique team of electrical engineers and radiologists from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University have made groundbreaking improvements to current Magnetic Resonance Imaging or M-R-I techniques.

Bob Nelson

The Consumer Attitude Index in Utah is at its highest point since Zions Bank created the tracking system three years ago.  Randy Shumway of the Cicero Group says the CAI increased 4.3 points from August to September to 92.6. He says that’s a marked improvement over the decrease this month in the national Consumer Confidence Index of 2.1 points to 79.7.  Shumway says the percentage of Utahns who think business conditions are normal or good jumped 5 percentage points to 91 percent on the diversity of the state’s economy.

Bob Nelson

The arrival of the first Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill Air Force Base was celebrated Friday. Eventually more than a hundred of these planes will be housed and maintained at the base. Dignitaries including US Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee were on hand for the celebration today.

Bob Nelson

As the Very Reverend Rick Lawson threw a ceremonial Champagne bottle against a huge retaining wall, it became official. The Salt Lake County Center for the Arts and Ballet West celebrated a milestone in the Capitol Theater renovation currently underway. Newly appointed Ballet West Executive Director, Scott Altman called the christening a watershed moment in the history of the company.

Bob Nelson

The Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building on the University of Utah campus has just received the Gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. That certification mandates the entire building project including the finished product be environmentally responsible, designed to be energy efficient, improve air and water quality while reducing waste. Ted McAleer is the executive director of U-Star, the Utah Science, Technology and Research Initiative.

Bob Nelson

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams launched a new county-wide recycling awareness campaign Wednesday.  He says “Start a new cycle- Recycle” comes with a challenge.

“So if over the next two years we can increase the amount of material we recycle by twenty percent we’ll hit the national average of 36 percent," McAdams says. "So my challenge today is that we double the amount of trash that we recycle and recognized the environmental and economic benefits that it will bring to the Salt Lake Valley,” says McAdams.

Bob Nelson

A new University of Utah study highlights the health benefits of short bouts of brisk activity. Jessie Fan is a professor of family and consumer studies at the University and lead author of the study. She says higher intensity activity was associated with a lower risk of obesity.

Bob Nelson

The Salt Lake City Police Department Motorcycle Squad is in the middle of its annual two-week Motor School for officers who want to join this elite group.  The officers are training 10 to 12 hours per day at the Utah State Fairgrounds Parking lot.

Officer Thomas Wind is the lead instructor this year. He says the school opens with about a dozen candidates for the squad but even good riders drop out due to fatigue and minor injuries. Wind says they hope to add up to four new officers to the squad.