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

Harold B. Lee Library

Every year on Pioneer Day, we hear about the hardships and sacrifices made by Utah’s early Mormon settlers. But a new study from Brigham Young University shows most of those who made the trek arrived in good shape. 

Statistics professor Dennis Tolley wanted his students to work on an actuarial problem, like an insurance company calculating its rates. So he turned to a database compiled by the LDS church on Utah’s pioneer handcart companies and wagon trains.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  Descendants of Utah’s Mormon pioneers have a new way to connect with the stories of their ancestors’ adventures on the trek to Utah.  

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates the FamilySearch genealogy database.  And it’s also compiled records of the pioneers’ overland travel to Utah in a database that links to journals, photos and other records. 

Utah Clean Energy

Rocky Mountain Power subsidizes new solar power installations through its Blue Sky program. But it’s also insisting it needs additional money from residential customers who have solar panels on their homes.

The Utah Public Service Commission is preparing for a hearing next week on Rocky Mountain Power’s request for residential solar power users to pay four dollars and 65 cents a month to connect their homes to the grid.

courtesy photo

  Patrick Wiggins, who represents NASA as a volunteer Solar System Ambassador in Utah, is receiving one of the space agency’s highest honors.

NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors work to educate the public about astronomy and space exploration.  They commit to eight events a year – but the agency says Wiggins averages about 88 a year, more than a thousand since he started working in the program 12 years ago.

Wiggins says it’s something he just likes to do.

Violence Policy Center

Utah is one of 14 states where the number of gun-related deaths is now higher than the number of highway fatalities. 

Highway fatalities in Utah – and across the country – have dropped dramatically in the past decade, thanks in part to safer cars and better drunk driving enforcement. For Utah, a report from the Violence Policy Center says there were 277 motor vehicle deaths in 2011, compared to 308 deaths from guns.  That includes accidents, homicides and suicides.

Dan Bammes

  A member of the Utah legislature is trying again to change the law that keeps the state of Utah from imposing stricter environmental rules than the federal government. 

Republican Representative Becky Edwards of North Salt Lake had a similar bill in the last general session.  It passed the House, but it was defeated in the state Senate, in part because of opposition from industry.

Dan Bammes

  Utah’s current law prohibits state regulators from imposing any air quality regulations stricter than federal requirements. A bill that would change that will be up for discussion in a legislative committee this week.

On Wednesday, the legislature’s  Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment committee will gather for an interim meeting. Lawmakers will look at a proposal that would allow the state of Utah to impose stricter air quality standards than the federal government.

Dan Bammes

  A huge pile of wood chips on the Diamond Tree Experts site in South Salt Lake caught fire yesterday.  It was the second fire there in a month, and city officials say they’re taking steps to prevent another fire from occurring in the future.

Smoke from the burning mulch pile at about 3600 South was thick enough to shut down I-15 temporarily.  Firefighters worked through the night to put out the flames.  They think it was started by spontaneous combustion in the decomposing mulch, though the exact cause is under investigation.

Wikimedia Commons

  Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance released its annual report on economic benchmarks today.  It shows retail sales, commercial office space and residential construction are all growing – and people seem to like it.

A statewide survey included in the report shows 70 percent of residents statewide have a positive perception of downtown Salt Lake, and 50 percent say the parking situation has improved.

BYUtv

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has published another in a series of articles on controversial historical topics on its official website.  This one looks at the origin of the Book of Abraham, the source of some uniquely Mormon teachings.

Aberdeen National Laboratory

  An environmental group says developing oil shale in the West would require enormous amounts of water – and it’s pointing to a recent court case to back up its argument.

A court settlement last week between Western Resource Advocates and Chevron resulted in the disclosure that Chevron’s plan for developing oil shale in Colorado would require up to 120-thousand acre-feet of water annually.  That’s more water than Salt Lake City uses in a year.

University of Utah

Metabolic syndrome is the term used for a number of conditions that are linked together - diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. It affects up to 25 percent of adults in the United States. KUER's Dan Bammes reports new local research is showing how they're related - and how they might be treated.

Image courtesy University of Utah

  Thousands of young Latter-day Saints took advantage of the change in age for missionary service after it was announced almost two years ago.  It won’t be long before some of those missionaries will be coming home.  KUER’s Dan Bammes reports the University of Utah is making plans to accommodate them.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has about 86-thousand missionaries serving around the world.  Church leaders are expecting that number to peak later this year.  KUER’s Dan Bammes has more.

World Congress of Families

The World Congress of Families has selected Salt Lake City as the site for its annual meeting next year.  That concerns LGBT activist groups, who say the WCF is promoting an anti-gay agenda around the world.

  Starting today, it’s legal for bar or restaurant owners to sell their liquor licenses in Utah.  KUER’s Dan Bammes reports the change is meant to keep transactions above board.

The Transfer of License Act was passed by the Utah legislature three years ago.  The sponsor was Republican State Senator John Valentine, who says the idea was to stop the under-the-table transactions that often accompanied the sale of a business.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The top leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement on the issue of women’s ordination to the priesthood over the weekend.  But it hasn’t deterred those who are hoping the church will still make that change.

Dan Bammes

Even though she’s no longer a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the founder of Ordain Women says she’ll continue in the leadership of the movement to gain the priesthood throughout the church.

Dan Bammes

The founder of the group Ordain Women is waiting to find out whether she’ll be excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  But hundreds of people gathered to support her yesterday near church headquarters, promising to stand by her no matter what a disciplinary council decides.

Dan Bammes

Only men are allowed to hold the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Advocating for a change in that policy is the reason Kate Kelly is facing possible excommunication.  But because she’s a woman, the rules for church discipline are different than they would be for a man.

Margaret Toscano knows what the experience is like – she was excommunicated 14 years ago for her public statements on ordaining women to the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Dan Bammes

  The founder of the group Ordain Women and the creator of a podcast on Mormon issues are facing formal discipline from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Both face the prospect of excommunication from the church.

Kate Kelly led members of Ordain Women through the gates of Temple Square during the last two general conferences of the church, asking to be admitted to the session reserved for only those men and boys who hold the priesthood.  Each time they were turned away, but the demonstrations drew a lot of media coverage.

Dan Bammes

  The Days of ’47 parade has once again turned down a request to allow the group Mormons Building Bridges to participate in the annual event on Pioneer Day.

Mormons Building Bridges, which works for inclusion of LGBT people within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wanted to put a classic car in the parade with eight people representing their group.  They were turned down because parade rules specifically bar entries that might be “controversial.”

sistasinzion.com

  Two African-American Mormon women who’ve gained a following with a popular podcast, Sistas in Zion, are out with a new book about their experiences in the LDS church.

Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes say their book Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons addresses spiritual topics as it bounces back and forth between uniquely Mormon culture and the urban dialect they grew up with.  They say it’s helping them find a new audience.

Patrick Lee

  It’s been 20 years since hundreds of thousands were murdered in attacks against the Tutsi people of Rwanda.  They were remembered at a service on Sunday at Congregation Kol Ami in Salt Lake City.

A representative of the Rwandan embassy and survivors of the genocide were asked to tell their stories as part of the service.  As many as a million people were killed in months of attacks by the country’s Hutu majority against the Tutsi minority.

Dan Bammes

  Thousands of people lined the streets for Salt Lake City’s Pride Parade on Sunday.  The grand marshals were the plaintiffs in Kitchen versus Herbert the court case that struck down Utah’s laws on same-sex marriage in December.  The decision was stayed while it’s appealed to the 10th Circuit, but hundreds of couples who were married during the seventeen days the ruling was in effect were right up front in the parade.

Dan Bammes

A color guard made up of Boy Scouts and former Scouts will lead Salt Lake City’s Pride Parade for a second year.  It will also include some Scout leaders who’ve lost their positions because of national Scouting policies.

Just over a year ago, the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America changed its policy to allow young gay men to participate in Scouting.  But gay adult leaders are still excluded.

  The Salt Lake Veterans Affairs Medical Center has chosen a new contractor to provide sweat lodges and other Native American healing ceremonies.  That’s disappointed supporters of Arnold Thomas, who’s been doing it for the past ten years. 

Sarah Bateman

  There’s a big swap meet planned in Orem this weekend – with no price tags on the merchandise.  Anyone can show up and take what they like for free.

Mormons Building Bridges

  Same-sex couples who were legally married after a federal court decision last December will be honored guests in this year’s Utah Pride Festival Parade, and a group of Mormons who’ve been part of the festival for the past two years will be back as well.

The three couples who are plaintiffs in the Kitchen v. Herbert court case will be the grand marshals in this year’s parade, set for Sunday, June 8th at 10:00 a.m. All legally married same-sex couples are invited to march or ride on a float decorated as a wedding hall.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The head of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has responded to criticism that the church is not engaging with women seeking to change its practices.

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