Dan Bammes

Reporter / Morning Edition Host

Dan Bammes has deep Utah roots.  He’s a descendant of Utah’s early Pioneers and he grew up in Utah County, where he began his radio career in 1974.  He has a degree in broadcasting from BYU and extensive experience as a reporter, newscaster, news director and wire service bureau chief.  As KUER’s energy, environment and public lands reporter, he travels frequently to connect with issues and stories in rural communities.  He’s also an adjunct instructor in the Communication Department at the University of Utah.  Dan has three grown children and a teenage grandson.

Ways To Connect

Wikimedia Commons

  Utah posted strong employment numbers again in November.  But there’s one area of the economy where there may be trouble ahead.

Dan Bammes

Jews in Utah and around the world are celebrating Chanukah this week, and one synagogue in Salt Lake City is also welcoming a new rabbi with a familiar name.

Utah Geological Survey

The parent company of Rocky Mountain Power has decided to shut down the Deer Creek coal mine near Huntington.   The closure represents a blow to organized labor in Utah.

Officials from the Navajo Nation have been able to reclaim seven sacred masks that were up for auction in Paris. 

Dan Bammes

Elected officials from Utah’s rural counties are watching the big omnibus spending bill closely as it moves through Congress.  It includes some critical funding they depend on.

Phil Douglass / Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

 Congress is facing a midnight deadline to pass a huge spending bill.  One of its provisions would put a possible endangered species listing for the sage grouse on hold. 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is facing a deadline based on a court settlement with environmental groups.  It has until September next year to make a decision on whether to put the greater sage grouse on the list of endangered or threatened species.

  Congress is working to pass a defense authorization and spending bill as it winds up work for the year.  But it won’t include an expansion of the Air Force Test and Training Range in Utah’s West Desert, at least not this time.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  The Salt Lake County Health Department says it’s seen a sharp increase in the number of influenza cases over the past two weeks.  And state officials say a flu shot is still the best way to prevent it. 

Doctor Dagmar Vitek with the Salt Lake County Health Department says 75 people have been hospitalized with influenza over the past two weeks.  Two people have died.  And she says elderly people and others at high risk need to see a doctor right away if they have symptoms of the flu.

Andrea Smardon

  When Governor Gary Herbert announced the details of his Healthy Utah plan last week, the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and several other religious leaders stood with him.

But some members of the Utah legislature say there’s more than one way to do what those religious leaders are asking – provide health care to needy people in Utah. 

Dan Bammes

  Monday, December 8th, is Bodhi Day, when some traditions of Buddhism celebrate Buddha’s enlightenment.  This Bodhi Day, the 102-year-old Salt Lake City Buddhist Temple is also welcoming a newly ordained minister.

James Cordova/Facebook

  Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova has been charged with felony counts of theft and misuse of public funds. 

Court documents filed by the Utah Attorney General’s office accuse Sheriff Cordova of using a county trailer to move his personal belongings to a home in St. George and with charging two thousand dollars’ worth of gasoline to a county credit card.

Rocky Mountain Stove & Fireplace

  In his State of the State address to the legislature last January, Governor Gary Herbert suggested a season-long ban on wood burning as a way to improve Utah’s winter air quality.  The state Air Quality Board will decide soon whether to make that the law. 

mundiproject.org

  December is turning out to be a good month for the Mundi Project.  It’s a private group that works to provide real pianos for students and others who can’t afford them. This month, it’s putting four more pianos into public spaces around Salt Lake.

Hana Janatova is a piano educator who started the Mundi Project in 2006. She’s playing a baby grand put in the Sorenson Unity Center a few years ago.

Janatova says they’ve found homes for about 120 donated pianos.  Last week, they put one in the Guadalupe School.  Another is going in to the new Glendale Library on Thursday.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The proportion of Mormons in Utah’s population has actually gone up a bit in recent years.  And one non-Mormon religious leader thinks that could be making all the churches in the state stronger. 

An analysis of public records by the Salt Lake Tribune shows about 62-percent of Utah’s overall population belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Just over half the population of Salt Lake County is listed on church records.  There are three counties – Grand, Summit and San Juan – where Mormons are a minority.

Forrest Mackay/YouTube

  The sponsors of the country’s largest cowboy poetry gathering are trying to get younger poets involved – so they’re asking for submissions on YouTube.

The Western Folklife Center will hold its 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada in January.  And for the second year, it’s holding a contest for poets between 18 and 35 who submit their work on YouTube.

Scott Bauer / Wikimedia Commons

  Some of the turkeys raised for your Thanksgiving dinner can resist common infections – and that’s helped scientists at Brigham Young University to a discovery that could lead to new treatments for disease in people. 

Turkeys raised on poultry farms are susceptible to an infection called synovitis that causes pain in the joints.  But BYU microbiology Professor Rich Robison says some turkeys don’t get it, thanks to a unique strain of a germ called staphylococcus epidermidis.

Utah Department of Natural Resources

  The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation has put a new set of interactive maps online that make it easier to find trails for off-road vehicles across the state.

The maps are on the state parks website at ohv.utah.gov. The collection includes trails from Grouse Creek in Box Elder County to Hog Canyon near Kanab. Users can click on an icon and zoom in from a statewide view to a scale of objects just a few feet across.

Dan Bammes

  The new

Central Tibetan Administration

The Dalai Lama will be coming to Salt Lake City next fall. He’ll be the keynote speaker at the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

The 14th Dalai Lama is a symbol of Tibetan culture around the world, though he gave up his authority as head of the Tibetan government in exile in 2011.  As a Buddhist monk and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, he’s also seen as an international spiritual leader.

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

  A battle is shaping up over a permit to produce oil from oil shale on state land in eastern Utah.  The permit is based on technology that’s still being developed.

Dan Bammes

  Democrats in Utah’s state House of Representatives are choosing new leaders at a meeting Wednesday evening.  The minority party lost three close races Tuesday when the final vote tallies were announced.

One of the Republicans who won a hard-fought race is former State Representative Fred Cox, who defeated Democrat Mike Lee in District 30 in West Valley City.  The margin was just 47 votes.  Cox said his opponent was gracious when the results were announced.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  A top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was among the speakers at a colloquium on marriage at the Vatican on Tuesday.

Dan Bammes

  A group of academics from around the country is conducting an online survey to learn more about attitudes toward gender roles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  KUER’s Dan Bammes reports it’s drawing interest from both liberal and conservative Mormons.

The Mormon Gender Survey was launched over the weekend on social media. It’s not a standard random sample – anyone can choose to participate.

  The group working to stop Governor Gary Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan has been fighting similar battles in other states. The Foundation for Government Accountability is hoping to defeat the plan when it goes to the Utah legislature.

KUED

  Utah’s governor says a conservative group working against his alternative to expanding Medicaid isn’t telling the truth.  The issue came up at the governor's monthly news conference this morning.

Dan Bammes

  A new television documentary on KUED highlights the struggles of Native American veterans of America’s recent wars. 

Healing the Warrior’s Heart looks at the difficulties some Native American veterans have dealt with as they readjusted to civilian life after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Utah House of Representatives

  State Representative Greg Hughes will be the new Speaker of the House when the legislature begins its work in January.

Hughes represents District 51 in Draper.  The 60 Republicans in the House met Thursday evening and picked Hughes over two other candidates, Representatives Brad Dee of Ogden and Mel Brown from Coalville.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A company that works with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on genealogy software is making its service available through the church’s family history libraries.

Back in 2013, MyHeritage.com, a commercial firm based in Israel, worked out a deal with FamilySearch, the genealogy site operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In exchange for help with its search and matching software, it got access to the billions of family and historical records compiled by the church.

University of Utah

  Imagine a cellphone or a laptop that runs on jet fuel.  New research at the University of Utah is showing how that could happen.

Chemistry professor Shelley Minteer and her team have demonstrated how enzymes extracted from bacteria can be used to make fuel cells that operate at room temperature.  The enzymes create a chemical reaction that generates electricity from a kind of military jet fuel called JP-8.  Minteer says you don’t need much.

Dan Bammes

  A co-founder of the group Mormons Building Bridges doesn’t think the World Congress of Families should be welcome in Utah.  But the group is moving ahead with plans to hold its meeting in Salt Lake City next October.

Erika Munson with Mormons Building Bridges wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday, criticizing the World Congress of Families for what she sees as an anti-gay agenda.

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