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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Health Care
11:20 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Medical Helicopters Flying From Moab

Classic Lifeguard

  A medical helicopter service that serves rural communities in the West has added Moab to its operations.

Classic Lifeguard added a base in Moab this summer and since then, it’s been flying about ten calls a month.  Company spokesperson John Gottfredson says having a medical helicopter close by can make a huge difference for patients.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:39 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Causeway Could Be the Key to Controlling the Great Salt Lake

The Utah Division of Water Quality's chart showing key points along the Union Pacific Railroad causeway
ESRI Map Service / Utah Division of Water Quality

  The railroad causeway across the Great Salt Lake was built in 1959, and since then it’s permanently altered the lake’s natural water flow.  Making changes to it could have unanticipated consequences for the lake environment.  But Union Pacific Railroad officials say they have to do something now or it won’t be safe to run trains across the lake.

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LGBT Rights
4:03 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Federal Court Strikes Down Utah Ban on Same Sex Marriage

Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen were among the plaintiffs in the suit challenging Utah's law prohibiting same-sex marriage. In this photo, they're celebrating the U.S Supreme Court decision invalidating parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Andrea Smardon

U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby issued a decision Friday  afternoon that bars enforcement of both the Utah law prohibiting same-sex marriage and the amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as a legal union only between a man and a woman.

The case was brought last year by three same-sex couples.  Two couples were denied marriage licenses by the Salt Lake County Clerk.  One couple was legally married in Iowa and want to have their marriage recognized by the state of Utah, where they live.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:02 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Groups Appeal Holly-Frontier Refinery Expansion

The Holly-Frontier oil refinery in Woods Cross, Utah
Dan Bammes

  Activist groups are challenging the permit allowing the Holly-Frontier oil refinery in Woods Cross to expand its capacity.  

The Utah Division of Air Quality issued a permit last month allowing Holly-Frontier to more than double its refining capacity.  Work is already underway as the company prepares to install new equipment.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:53 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Survey Shows Utahns Willing to Pitch In for Clean Air

Envision Utah

  A new study by Envision Utah says 99-percent of Utahns are willing to do something personally to help improve air quality.  Envision CEO Robert Grow says respondents were willing to avoid idling, combine trips and even trade in older cars to make a contribution.  Grow says there’s enough civic commitment in Utah to have a real impact.

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Science & Technology
12:29 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

U Study: Low-Elevation Pikas Love Moss

Low-elevation pikas (Ochotona princeps) in the Columbia River Gorge thrive by eating moss
Jo Varner, University of Utah

  Pikas are furry creatures related to rabbits that live in rockslide areas at the tops of mountains in the West.  They’re not often found below about eight thousand feet.  But a new study from the University of Utah has discovered how a population of pikas is thriving close to sea level.  

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Environment & Public Lands
12:24 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

State Expedites Permit for Causeway Construction

Water in the north arm of the Great Salt Lake (left) is much saltier and higher in elevation than in the south arm (right).
Wayne Wurtsbaugh, Utah State University

  The Union Pacific Railroad says a collapsing culvert beneath its causeway across the Great Salt Lake has created an emergency and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible.  But it can’t start the work without permission from the state of Utah. 

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Entertainment
9:29 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Dan Nailen: Elf, Tab Choir & Pub Crawl

Pioneer Theatre Company

  We're not sure about raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but we do know that musical theater is generally NOT on the list of Dan Nailen's favorite things Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER... and blogs at slcene.com

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Environment & Public Lands
2:13 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Court Rules Against Las Vegas Water Project

Snake Valley on the Utah-Nevada state line
Dan Bammes

A judge in Nevada dealt a major blow Wednesday to the plan to pump groundwater from valleys in the Great Basin to Las Vegas.

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Religion
12:14 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Article on LDS Website Disavows Past Teachings on Race

Mormons in Ghana work on a community service project.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published an article on its website last week taking an in-depth look at its past practice of refusing to ordain black men to its priesthood.  But a historian who’s studied the issue says there’s more to the story.

Newell Bringhurst has published several books on the history of the church’s denial of the priesthood to men of African ancestry – a ban that ended in 1978 with a revelation announced by then-church President Spencer Kimball. 

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Environment & Public Lands
1:50 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Railroad Repairs Will Cut Water Flow in the Great Salt Lake

Separated by the Union Pacific railroad causeway, the north and south arms of the Great Salt Lake differ in salinity and biology.
NASA - International Space Station

  The Union Pacific Railroad is planning to start repair work on its causeway across the Great Salt Lake.  But it means closing off the culverts that allow water to pass between the north and south arms of the lake. 

The causeway was built in the 1950’s, cutting off much of the natural flow between the two arms of the lake.  As a result, the north arm is much saltier and about a foot lower in elevation than the south arm.

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Entertainment
9:15 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Dan Nailen: Lower Lights

The Lower Lights

  No matter where you go in Salt Lake City this time of year, the holiday spirit is out to get you -- and Dan Nailen says there are good reasons to get swept up in it. Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER and blogs at slcene.com

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Environment & Public Lands
3:53 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

The Business Case for Clean Air

Utah Office of Tourism

  Bad air is bad for business – that’s the message from a roundtable discussion at the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

Air quality on the Wasatch Front can be a problem for agencies trying to persuade businesses to come here.  That was among the the points discussed at Thursday’s meeting.  Mike O’Malley with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development says companies looking to relocate take air quality into consideration.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:28 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Air Quality Board Finalizing Pollution Plan

A winter inversion traps polluted air in the valleys of the Wasatch Front

  The state of Utah missed a deadline a year ago to submit a plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for meeting new standards for the smallest particles in the air – the so-called PM 2.5 pollutants.  This plan includes new rules on industrial polluters and on wood burning in urban counties.  It also depends heavily on improvements in auto emissions as cleaner cars replace those now on the road.

Kathy Van Dame, who’s a leader of the group Breathe Utah and a member of the Air Quality Board, likes this plan much better than the one they rejected a year ago.

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Environment & Public Lands
11:58 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Nuclear Developer Ready to Move Ahead After Water Ruling

Green River near Green River, UT
Tony Frates/Flickr

  Last week, a judge in Price ruled that Utah’s state engineer acted properly in allowing a development company to lease water rights in the Green River for a proposed nuclear power plant.  Blue Castle Holdings is now planning to move ahead with the next step -- applications to federal regulators  for the plant itself. 

Blue Castle has agreed to lease rights to more than 53,000 acre-feet of water to operate a 3,000 megawatt power plant near Green River.  Environmental groups had challenged the agreement, and they may yet appeal the court’s ruling. 

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Religion
12:05 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Hannukah Menorah Vandalized at SLC Synagogue

The damaged menorah at the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue has now been repaired.
Chabad Lubavitch of Utah

  Over the weekend, somebody vandalized the Hannukah menorah in front of a synagogue in Salt Lake City.  But the rabbi doesn’t think it was meant as a hate crime.

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Politics
12:50 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Layton Mayor Steve Curtis Dies

Layton Mayor Steve Curtis
Steve Curtis / Facebook

  Residents of Layton are expressing shock after the unexpected death of Mayor Steve Curtis at the age of 58. 

City Council member Mike Bowhuis says Mayor Curtis died in his sleep after enjoying Thanksgiving with his family.  Curtis was just finishing his second term as mayor.  Prior to that, he served ten years on the Layton city council.  Bowhuis says city employees held him in high regard.

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Religion
4:30 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit Opens at Leonardo

The Dead Sea Scrolls at The Leonardo are displayed in a specially-built, climate controlled display table.
The Leonardo

  Friday morning at 10:00, The Leonardo museum in Salt Lake City opens its exhibit The Dead Sea Scrolls – Life and Faith in Ancient Times.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:59 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Least Chub Gets New Home

Big Spring on the Darwin Bundy property near Fairfield, Utah, home to a new population of the least chub
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

  The least chub is a little minnow, only about two inches long.  The six remaining wild populations are found only in springs and creeks in western Utah, and about 15-thousand of them have found a new home.  The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources stocked a spring system on a private ranch in Fairfield, west of Utah Lake.  Mark Grover, a biologist with the Division, says the fish were raised in a state hatchery, but they come from a dwindling population at Mona Springs in Juab County.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:43 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Reduced BLM Auction Brings In $3.3 Million

Well pump in Carbon County, UT
Bureau of Land Management

  The Bureau of Land Management sold most of the parcels it offered in today’s auction of oil and gas drilling leases in eastern Utah, but there was a lot of land taken off the table before it began.

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Environment & Public Lands
11:51 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Permit Issued for HollyFrontier Expansion

The HollyFrontier oil refinery in Woods Cross, Utah
Dan Bammes

  The HollyFrontier oil refinery in Woods Cross has been given a green light from the Utah Division of Air Quality to triple its refining capacity – even as it’s promised to reduce pollution.  

The expansion will mean hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment in the refinery as well as at least sixty new jobs.  But HollyFrontier spokesperson Mike Astin says there are still challenges to deal with from groups opposed to it.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:34 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Withdrawal of Lands from BLM Lease Sale Spurs Critics

Bureau of Land Management map indicating parcels withdrawn from the November 19th lease sale in blue. Parcels remaining in the sale are outlined in purple.
Bureau of Land Management / Congressman Rob Bishop

  The decision to withdraw almost 100-thousand acres of public land from tomorrow’s auction of oil and gas drilling leases is being criticized by industry groups and members of Utah’s Congressional delegation as caving in to pressure from environmental groups. 

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Entertainment
8:27 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Dan Nailen: The Hollering Pines

The Hollering Pines at Red Butte Garden
Steve Martinez / The Hollering Pines

  It's a little like biology -- bands break up and the parts reassemble into something new.  That's how Dan Nailen sees the evolution of a local band performing in Salt Lake this weekend.  Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER and blogs at slcene.com 

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Religion
2:45 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

BYU Opens "Sacred Gifts" Exhibit of Religious Art

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hoffman
The Riverside Church /BYU Museum of Art

  Brigham Young University is building on the success of its exhibition of Carl Bloch’s religious paintings three years ago to bring more works by Bloch and two other acclaimed religious artists to its Museum of Art on the Provo campus.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:05 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Drilling Company Makes a Deal With Environmentalists

IACX Energy's helium operation at Harley Dome, Utah
IACX Energy

  A company producing helium in Utah wanted to avoid a fight with environmentalists over its plan to drill new wells in Emery County.  So executives worked out a deal in advance.

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Religion
6:00 am
Tue November 12, 2013

LDS Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage in Hawaii

Hawaii State Representative Richard Fale (R)
richardfale.com

  The Hawaii State Senate will vote on a bill Tuesday that would legalize same-sex marriage in that state, and it’s expected to pass.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has worked with opposition leaders to fight the bill, but it’s unclear exactly what role the Church is playing.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:52 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Website Offers Personal Air Quality Advice

Winter air pollution blankets Salt Lake City
Tim Brown / Creative Commons

Should you still go out for that run on days when Utah’s air quality is questionable?  A new website may be able to answer that question, based on your own health and exercise needs. 

The developers of the MyAir website made a presentation to the Utah Air Quality Board this week, explaining their system for evaluating the individual risk of exposure to air pollution.  It’s based on the user’s health and fitness level as well as on the air quality on any given day.

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Entertainment
11:10 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Dan Nailen: Jewish Arts Festival

IJ & Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center

  The Jewish Arts Festival begins this weekend at Salt Lake City's Jewish Community Center -- and that's Dan Nailen's first stop on his weekend tour.

Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER and blogs at slcene.com

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Environment & Public Lands
12:26 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

ORV Group Reacts to Court Decision

The BLM's Richfield office manages public land in Sanpete, Sevier, Wayne and Garfield counties in Utah
Bureau of Land Management

  A group representing off-road vehicle users doesn’t think a court decision against a BLM Resource Management Plan means all the others are in trouble. 

The Bureau of Land Management issued six Resource Management Plans for its offices in southern and eastern Utah in the closing weeks of the Bush administration.  This week, a federal judge ruled the off road vehicle routes in the Richfield plan are invalid and ordered BLM to take another look.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:40 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Federal Court Rules Against BLM Management Plan

The Factory Butte area of Wayne County, Utah is covered by the Richfield Field Office Resource Management Plan
SUWA

  A federal court in Salt Lake City ruled against the Bureau of Land Management yesterday in a key case involving off-road vehicle use.

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