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.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:46 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Study Looks at Uintah Basin Ozone

Winter air over the Uintah Basin near Vernal
Dan Bammes

  After a year of studying winter ozone air pollution in Utah’s Uintah Basin, a team of scientists has determined that oil and gas wells are causing most of the problem.  

The team at Utah State University’s Uintah Basin campus studied ozone last winter – when there were only a few inversion days and not much of a problem.  It’s been worse this year, and Seth Lyman with the Bingham Research Center says a big part of the problem is the volatile organic compounds such as benzene coming from thousands of oil and gas wells.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:43 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Compromise Delays Stream Access Bills

Anglers gather on the steps of Utah's state capitol to rally for better access to streams
Dan Bammes

The battle over access to fishing streams in Utah probably won’t be resolved in this legislative session, but that was welcome news to anglers who brought the issue to the state capitol on Friday.

About 400 people who had gathered on the capitol steps cheered the news that the sponsor of House Bill 68 will hold on to his bill for now.  It would declare the state has met its obligations to keep streams open as a public trust.

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Business & Labor
1:43 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

State Tax Incentives Back Hundreds of New Jobs

story audio

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced new tax incentives for three companies on Thursday.  One is doTerra, a company that makes essential oils – plant extracts that it sells through a network of independent distributors.  It’s promised to bring 330 new jobs to its company headquarters in Pleasant Grove in product testing and development, customer support and other positions.  For that, it will get 16-point-6 million dollars in tax credits over ten years.

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Public Safety
1:39 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Three Dead in Midvale Shooting

Unified Police are looking for David Fresques in connection with a shooting in Midvale Tuesday morning
Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

  Unified Police officers found three people dead this morning at a home in Midvale.  Lieutenant Justin Hoyal says they’d been shot.  One woman who survived was taken to a hospital in critical condition.  Hoyal says they weren’t sure initially whether there was a danger to the neighborhood.

“Early on in this situation, before we had any information," Hoyal tells KUER, "we didn’t know if the suspect was out on foot in the area, we put our local schools on lockdown and we sent officers over there to help with security.”

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Religion
4:20 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Utah Reaction to Benedict XVI Resignation

Utah Catholic Bishop John Wester greets Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, April 2012
Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City

Utah's Roman Catholic bishop, as well as some non-Catholic religious leaders, were stunned by today's announcement that Pope Benedict the 16th will resign at the end of February.

Bishop John Wester met Benedict the 16th on a couple of occasions during his eight-year papacy and said he was always impressed by Benedict's kindness.  Wester says he was also impressed by the pope's commitment to speaking the truth and by the way he confronted the most difficult issues facing the church.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:15 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Interior Appointment Applauded

Sally Jewell
REI

  President Obama's appointment of a new Secretary of the Interior is winning qualified praise from environmentalists and at least one member of the Utah Congressional delegation.

The president picked Sally Jewell, the top executive of REI, the outdoor equipment retailer, to replace Ken Salazar.  Tim Wagner with the Sierra Club says that's a good choice.

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Religion
3:00 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Legal Question Could Affect Scouts' Decision

Boy Scouts of America

  The national leadership of the Boy Scouts of America has put off a decision on allowing gays as Scout members or leaders, and a legal question could be part of what's holding that up. 

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Health Care
4:24 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Bill to Add New Students to U Med School Moves Ahead

Students at the University of Utah School of Medicine
University Health Care

  The Utah Senate is ready to spend ten million dollars to expand the number of medical students at the University of Utah.  Senate Bill 42 would let the University of Utah medical school add 40 slots for new students -- with the condition that the new applicants have a significant connection to Utah.  The bill has bipartisan support.  Democrat Luz Robles argued the shortage of doctors is worse in rural parts of the state.

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Religion
7:40 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Shoshone Mark 150 Years Since Bear River Massacre

The Spring Creek Singers from Ft. Hall, Idaho participated in the 150th anniversary observance of the Bear River Massacre.
Alicia Geesman

  The story of the Bear River Massacre isn’t well known outside Utah and Idaho.  For many years, the complete story was only told by the descendants of the few who survived the attack on a Shoshone camp in 1863.  Members of the Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation gathered at the site January 29th to mark the 150th anniversary.

A drum circle and a color guard opened the ceremony near the spot where the U-S Army attacked a Shoshone encampment next to the Bear River in 1863.

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Politics
7:40 am
Mon January 28, 2013

New Legislators Ready for Session

Representatives Dana Layton (R-Orem) and Keven Stratton (R-Orem)
Utah House of Representatives

The Utah legislature opens its general session on Monday with a lot of new faces.  21 out of 75 members of the Utah House of Representatives are serving their first terms, along with 4 out of the 29 members of the state Senate.  Republicans still far outnumber Democrats.  In fact, there are only 14 Democrats left in the House.  But among those new Republican members, there could be a few more moderate voices.  KUER's Dan Bammes spoke to a couple of new members of the House from Utah County.

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Politics
1:58 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Herbert: Don't Rush to Judgment

Utah Governor Gary Herbert
KUED

Governor Gary Herbert says he doesn't want to join what he calls the "rush to judgment" in the case of Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:05 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Governor, Outdoor Industry Share Vision

The Great White Throne in Zion National Park
Paul McKee / Utah Governor's Office

  Utah's governor has promised to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation in a vision statement that's just been released.  The Outdoor Industry Association, which sponsors Utah's largest trade shows twice a year, complained last summer that Utah's state government wasn't taking outdoor recreation seriously enough and threatened to move unless the issue got some attention.  So Governor Gary Herbert assigned his Balanced Resources Council to sit down with industry leaders.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:13 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

UDOT Signs Silent on Air Quality

UDOT uses dozens of variable message signs to communicate important information to motorists.
Utah Department of Transportation

Two events that attract tens of thousands of visitors to Utah are taking place this week: The Sundance Film Festival and the winter Outdoor Retailers show. Some activist groups are wondering if there's an effort to avoid drawing attention to the state's lousy air quality while they're in town.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:41 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Salazar to Step Down as Interior Secretary

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (in white hat) speaks with former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett and Washington County Commissioner Alan Gardner in 2012
Dan Bammes

President Barack Obama will have to find a replacement for the Secretary of the Interior in his second term. Ken Salazar is planning to leave the job in March.  

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Religion
1:48 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

House Could Help Families Escaping Polygamy

Hildale, UT
Utah Attorney General's Office

A group that helps families leaving polygamist communities is hoping to buy a big house to help their effort, and they're asking for donations to make it happen. 

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Environment & Public Lands
12:30 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Refinery Promises Cleaner Air

Holly-Frontier oil refinery, Woods Cross, Utah
Utah Division of Air Quality

The Holly oil refinery in Woods Cross is promising to reduce its air pollution significantly at the same time it's expanding to handle twice as much crude oil from eastern Utah.

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Public Safety
2:36 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Utah's I-80: Speed Kills

I-80 near Wendover, UT
Wikimedia Commons

Even as highway fatalities have been going down across Utah, they've been going up on Interstate 80 through Utah's West Desert from Lakepoint to Wendover. A big reason for that is excessive speed. Dwayne Baird with the Utah Department of Public Safety says troopers have written more than 400 citations this year for vehicles going 100 miles an hour or more. In a few cases, drivers have been caught doing 150.

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Public Safety
2:15 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Few Gun Transactions Denied for Mental Illness

Wikimedia Commons

Utah law as well as federal law requires a background check to buy any kind of firearm, and the state can deny a purchase based on a person's history of mental illness. But that happens only rarely. Dwayne Baird with the Utah Department of Public Safety says someone who's been found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity would be ineligible, or others whose history of violence has been certified by a district court.

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Environment & Public Lands
9:38 am
Wed October 17, 2012

RMP Executive on the Future of Coal Plants

Rocky Mountain Power's Carbon power plant near Helper, Utah
David Jolley/Wikipedia

Rocky Mountain Power generates most of the electricity to serve its customers in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho by burning coal. But it's planning to shut down the Carbon power plant, a coal-fired generating station just outside Helper, in part because of the cost of complying with new environmental regulations.

Business & Labor
3:31 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Energy Efficiency Changes Proposed for Utah Building Code

Garbett Homes TerraSol development in South Salt Lake
Dan Bammes

The Utah legislature will be looking at changes to the state's building code to make homes and businesses much more energy efficient.  Garbett Homes’ Terra Sol development in South Salt Lake meets and even exceeds the new 2012 building code standard.  The recommendation from the state’s Uniform Building Code Commission requires making homes much more airtight.  Energy inspector Steven Thon showed reporters how it’s done with foam sealing the top of exterior walls.

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Politics
9:36 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Utah Priorities Project: Jobs and the Economy

Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Democratic challenger Peter Cooke
Dan Bammes

At the bottom of the recession in 2009, Utah’s economy was losing jobs at the rate of six percent a year.  A year later, the number of jobs was growing again, but slowly.  Today, Utah is adding jobs at close to three percent annually and the state’s unemployment rate has dropped below six percent for the first time since 2008.

Residential and business construction was the hardest hit sector by far, and the Utah Foundation’s Morgan Lyon Cotti says it’s been among the slowest to recover.

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Politics
9:14 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Utah Priorities Project: Public Education

Outgoing Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry Shumway delivers his State of Education address
Utah State Office of Education

Utah spends less per student in its public schools than any other state.  Not just a little less – 15% less than Idaho, the next on the list.  Utah’s been at the bottom since 1988.

There are several reasons for that last-place ranking, but the most important is the high ratio of children to adults in Utah – 20-percent more kids as a proportion of the population than most other states.

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Politics
9:16 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Utah Priorities Project: Energy

Wind turbines at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon
Dan Bammes

Utahns cringe when they look at the prices on the gas pumps these days, though prices here haven’t reached the levels seen in California this fall.  Most of the gasoline that’s refined and sold in Utah comes from oil produced in the Mountain West.  But Utah Foundation researcher Shawn Teigen says the price still responds to national and international markets.

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Politics
9:20 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Utah Priorities Project: Health Care

The Affordable Care Act promises to extend the reach of health care coverage to many people who don’t have it now.  Critics say it will do that at a huge cost in both money and individual liberty.  But the mandate in the law for nearly everyone to buy health insurance has been upheld by the U-S Supreme Court and that requirement will take effect in 2014.  The question facing Utah and the rest of country is how to implement the provisions that are maintained by the states.

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Politics
9:25 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Utah Priorities Project: Taxes & Spending

When Utah’s economy was roaring along in the middle of the decade, then-Governor Jon Huntsman and legislative leaders were looking for ways to reduce the burden of taxes on Utah’s economy.  It seemed as though there was plenty of new money to raise pay for teachers, build new roads and expand the reach of social services.

The top rate for state income taxes had been 7.5%. That was reduced to a flat rate of 5%.  The state sales tax on food was also reduced, and the state was still showing big surpluses in revenue – until the recession hit and the bottom fell out.

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Religion
2:09 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Minimum Age Reduced for LDS Missionaries

Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a change in the minimum age for missionary service Saturday morning in the opening session of the church’s General Conference.  President Thomas S. Monson says young men will now be eligible to serve at age 18, provided they’ve graduated from high school.  The previous minimum age for missionaries from the United States was 19, but Monson says the church has had good experience with younger men from 48 other countries.

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Politics
9:40 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Utah Priorities Project: Higher Education

Old Main at Utah State University
Utah State University

Higher education dropped out of the Utah Foundation’s survey of voter concerns over the past couple of election cycles, but it turned up again in its 2012 poll.  It’s risen to the 6th position in the ranking of top ten issues identified by the Utah Priorities Project.

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Politics
9:19 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Utah Priorities Project: Environment

Winter cold air inversions trap pollution in the valleys of northern Utah.
Erik Crossman - University of Utah

Concern about the environment moved up a notch this year in the Utah Foundation’s survey of issues important to voters.  And while there are many aspects of that issue to look at, voters insist air pollution is at the top of their environmental agenda

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Politics
9:29 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Utah Priorities Project: Partisan Politics

Democrats and Republicans in the Utah Senate
Dan Bammes

The increasing polarization of the political process in Utah and across the nation is the next issue identified by the Utah Foundation as part of its Utah Priorities Project.  In their open-ended survey, voters ranked partisan politics the 8th most important concern.

A former president who also served for many years in Congress once said, “Truth is the glue that holds government together.  Compromise is the oil that makes government go.”  Over the past several years, it has seemed at times that government was pretty low on that oil -- about ready to seize up.

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Politics
9:44 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Utah Priorities Project: Poverty

Utah's poverty rate has been climbing even as Utah's job numbers recovered.
Utah Foundation

In the second part of KUER’s series The Utah Priorities Project, Utah Foundation researchers take a look at poverty in Utah.  It’s an issue that is new to the list of top ten issues identified by voters in a statewide survey, coming in at #9. 

The recession is partly to blame for the number of people in Utah living in poverty. That total is significantly lower than the nation as a whole, but people living below the federal standard for poverty has continued to grow even as the state’s employment numbers have recovered over the past two years.

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