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

Dan Bammes

  Some members of the Greek Orthodox parish in Salt Lake City are rejecting an effort from the church’s national leadership to settle some long-standing disputes.

Calling itself “Protect Our Clergy,” the group of about a dozen members says the plan proposed in a letter from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is not a viable one to restore peace and order in the parish.

Brian Grimmett

  Governor Gary Herbert says he doesn’t think Utah’s long delay in coming up with an alternative to expanding Medicaid has hurt the prospect of a successful program.

The legislative session ended without action by lawmakers on any proposal for reaching those who aren’t covered by either Medicaid  or the Affordable Care Act.  Governor Herbert has proposed a program funded by block grants from the federal government to buy private health insurance for those people.  He says the Obama administration has indicated it will be flexible in working out a solution.

  Members of Salt Lake City’s Greek Orthodox parish have received a letter from the national leadership of the church that hopes to resolve some of the issues that have divided the parish.

courtesy photo

  A group pushing for the ordination of women to the priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is urging its members to wear purple to the church’s general women’s meeting this weekend.

Dan Bammes

A national newspaper serving the Greek community says the Greek Orthodox parish in Salt Lake City will not be divided. 

The National Herald reports the decision to keep the parish together was made at a meeting of church leaders in Denver last week.  The parish includes Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City and Prophet Elias church in Holladay.

Dan Bammes

  St. Mark’s Cathedral in Salt Lake City is hosting a rare visit from an Episcopalian monk this week.  Among other things, Brother Jim Dowd will be overseeing a Lenten retreat on Saturday. 

Dan Bammes

  A group of Mormon women asking for ordination to their church’s priesthood is planning to stage another demonstration at the LDS General Conference in three weeks.  But they may not get as far as they did last October.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tickets for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's performance of Messiah on Easter weekend were gone less than ten minutes after they became available last week.  But the choir has decided to make the performance available to a worldwide audience on the internet.

While the Tabernacle Choir has recorded George Friederich Handel's oratorio a couple of times, it's never done a public performance of Messiah in its entirety.

Dan Bammes

  It’s the last day of Utah’s general legislative session.  State senators and representatives will be working ‘till midnight to get as many bills passed as they can. 

Whether it’s the chime that tells members of the House it’s time to vote, or state Senate clerk Paula Tew calling the roll, the final day of the legislative session is filled with vote after vote after vote.  Inevitably, there are many bills that won’t pass.  And there are issues that won’t be addressed in this session.

Wikimedia Commons

  House Bill 286 passed a final vote in the Utah House of Representatives 71-0 on Wednesday, after an amendment in the Senate required it to come back one last time.

BYU TV

  Kevin J. Worthen will become the 13th president of Brigham Young University.  His appointment was announced Tuesday morning at a student devotional.

Worthen is a former law professor and the current vice-president of advancement at BYU.

Among his challenges in the new job will be dealing with hundreds of young men and women coming home from missionary service.  The change in the age for service to 18 for men and 19 for women meant BYU had a smaller incoming freshman class this year.  Worthen thinks those returning missionaries may be better prepared.

Dan Bammes

  Leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church are hoping they can work out some solutions to the troubles of the parish in Salt Lake City at a meeting in Denver this week.

Dan Bammes

  Utah’s unemployment rate dropped below four percent in February for the first time since 2008.

Governor Gary Herbert was beaming as he went before the TV cameras this morning to say Utah’s unemployment rate stands at 3.9 percent, compared to a national rate of 6.7 percent.  The statewide rate of job growth is at 2.8 percent.

U.S. Department of the Interior

  Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told students at Weber State University today she wants to get more young people involved in the outdoors.  She was the keynote speaker at Weber State’s Sustainability Summit.

Jewell says recent budget cuts and the government shutdown really hurt the National Park Service and other agencies in her department.

A bill imposing new restrictions on payday lenders in Utah passed a crucial vote in the Utah Senate today. HB127 requires payday lenders to disclose the terms of their consumer loans, including the typically high interest rates, before a contract is signed. And the Lenders won’t be allowed to pick the courts where they file lawsuits against borrowers who default either.

Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, cited the example of a payday lender in St. George.

Brian Grimmett

  Utah’s winter inversion season ended on March 1st.  The Division of Air Quality says there were 31 days when the urban areas of Utah exceeded the federal Ambient Air Quality standards, compared to 29 the year before.  But Bryce Bird, the director of the Division of Air Quality, says what’s really changed is public interest in the issue.

Dan Bammes

  The Interior Department issues a report every year on the economic benefit of national parks.  This year, that was complicated by the government shutdown that closed the parks for 16 days in October.

The report from the National Park Service estimates parks and gateway communities lost more than 400-million dollars in visitor spending during the 16-day government shutdown.

Dan Bammes

Leaders of the Count My Vote ballot initiative appeared with legislative leaders at a rare Sunday news conference to announce a compromise on the effort to replace Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating political candidates.

The deal preserves the caucus system, but it also allows candidates to get on a primary election ballot by gathering voter signatures on a petition – from one thousand for a legislative seat to 28-thousand for a statewide office such as governor.

Utah State Senate

The backers of the Count My Vote ballot initiative are talking with legislative leaders and the governor’s office about a compromise that could potentially end the push to get the issue on the ballot this fall.

If the initiative still makes it to the ballot and voters approve, it would replace Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating political party candidates with a direct primary election.

Neither side is talking much about the details.  Republican State Senator John Valentine says he’s been part of the talks, but there’s no deal yet.

Brian Grimmett

  Final revenue projections for the legislative session show the state will have a little more money in the coming year.  For some legislators, though, the numbers were a disappointment.

Budget co-chair Lyle Hillyard announced the new revenue estimates on the floor of the state Senate Friday morning.  One-time revenue – only available in this budget year – was up by 11-million dollars over earlier projections.  Ongoing revenue is expected to rise by 47-million dollars.  That will give the state a surplus just under 200-million dollars out of a total budget of about 13-billion.

Elaine Emmi

  A petition asking the Greek Orthodox Archbishop to split Salt Lake City’s two Greek Orthodox churches into separate parishes is being circulated among some church members.

Natalie Muth, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

  Low water levels in Lake Powell have revealed a much bigger problem with quagga mussels than was previously believed.

The invasive mussels have been spreading through waterways across North America.  They can damage dams and power plants as well as fisheries.  Mark Hadley with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says the water level in Lake Powell has dropped by about eight feet over the past year, and that’s revealed some huge numbers of the tiny shellfish clinging to exposed rocks.

  As it did in 2012, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is urging its members in Utah to participate in neighborhood caucuses for this election year.

Congressman Rob Bishop

  Utah’s 1st District Congressman is hoping he can claim a key committee chairmanship that would give Utah a significant advantage in Congress.  That was one of the messages Republican Rob Bishop brought to the Utah legislature today. 

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

  The worldwide head of the Greek Orthodox church has reportedly become involved in a long-standing dispute between the parishioners of Salt Lake City’s two churches and the church hierarchy.

Utah Education Network

  Utah’s governor says the legislature should be cautious about interfering with a citizen initiative on how candidates for public office are nominated.  

Dan Bammes

Biologists, environmentalists and government agencies are meeting this week to work on plans to protect the sage grouse.  They all agree on one goal – preventing the bird from being listed as an endangered species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must make a decision on an endangered species listing by the end of September next year.  That decision could depend on whether it judges an environmental impact statement from the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to be adequate.

Andrea Smardon

  A Utah Senate committee voted down a bill Friday that would have kept medical incinerators at least five miles away from homes. 

Senate Bill 64 would have increased fines for air quality violations by medical waste incinerators, increased the length of time allowed for investigating violations and  imposed a five-mile buffer between homes and any medical waste incinerator in the state.

Dan Bammes

  The Utah Clean Air Action Team – the group appointed by Governor Gary Herbert to look at strategies for improving air quality – wants to see a bigger budget for the Division of Air Quality.  That’s one of three new recommendations this week.  The others are expanding public transit and other alternative transportation and continuing public education campaigns on air quality.

Nissan USA

  A bill that would provide a 25-hundred dollar tax credit to buyers of electric vehicles won approval in a Utah House committee yesterday.  House Bill 74 makes the credit available for all-electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt.  Brooke Scott was one of a handful of citizens who testified in favor of the bill.

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