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

  The Utah House of Representatives rejected a plan Wednesday to stop the state from cashing in if Congress allows sales tax for more online transactions.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to collect sales tax on purchases made online – whether the retailer is physically located in that state or not

If it passes, states like Utah could receive a revenue windfall – well over a hundred million dollars a year.  Republican Representative Jim Nielson wanted to make sure that didn’t happen.

Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not alone in its arguments against the legalization of same-sex marriage in Utah.  Other religious groups have signed on to a friend-of-the court brief to the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals, while another has been filed by Utah state legislators

  Electric cars, hybrid cars and vehicles powered by natural gas would pay dramatically higher registration fees under a bill in the Utah State Senate.  Republican Senator Wayne Harper of West Jordan says vehicles that don’t use gasoline or diesel fuel need to pay their fair share to maintain Utah’s roads.

Emily Bingham Hollingshead

  A four-alarm fire destroyed an apartment building under construction in Salt Lake City yesterday.  The building was empty, and firefighters were able to protect neighboring structures as well as the Smith’s supermarket just across 500 South.  But Jasen Asay  with the Salt Lake City Fire Department says they don’t want to send investigators into the building until it’s safe.  He says one of the problems is a crane that was caught in the flames.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is planning to file a friend-of-the-court brief after all in the appeal of the federal court case on same sex marriage in Utah.  The case is currently before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

The church has been involved in other cases and in political battles involving same-sex marriage in the past.  But a spokesperson said shortly after the U-S Supreme Court issued a stay of Judge Robert Shelby’s decision that it probably would not add a formal argument to the case.

  A report done for the Utah legislature shows the social problems associated with alcohol are decreasing.  But the legislator behind the report says it would be hard to justify changes in Utah’s liquor laws based just on the report’s findings.

Wikimedia Commons

  A new study at the University of Utah is trying to determine what’s happening in the brain when someone has strong religious feelings.

Studies of Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns have shown significant changes in the brain during periods of quiet meditation.  Now, neurology researcher Jeffrey Anderson has designed a study to watch what happens to former Mormon missionaries as they experience religious emotions.

Utah Clean Cities

  A bill that requires the state to use high-efficiency, low-polluting vehicles in its own fleet got strong support in the Utah State Senate this morning.

Senate Bill 99 originally required the state to use compressed natural gas vehicles for half its fleet by 2018.  But Republican Senator Scott Jenkins changed it to allow vehicles that use low-sulfur Tier 3 gasoline.  Jenkins says the people who run the state motor pool say it would accomplish the same goal for a lot less money.

  The Salt Lake Veterans Affairs Medical Center has promised to continue Native American healing ceremonies every week – but the spiritual leader who’s conducted them may not be leading them any longer.

We're in the final week of the Sundance Film Festival, and Dan Nailen says that brings more opportunities to get into movies and some excellent music as well. Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER... and blogs at slcene.com.  

Dan Bammes

  An ongoing dispute over church finances brought police to Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church last Sunday.

Members of the parish council that governs both the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City and Prophet Elias church in Holladay have been trying to cut expenses by letting one of the three parish priests go.  The Greek Orthodox hierarchy has told the parish that the priests’ employment is its responsibility, and that conflict has divided parish members.

Gene Schaerr

The attorney hired to represent the state of Utah in its appeal of the same-sex marriage decision will also be working for a conservative think tank.

File: Governor Gary Herbert
Utah Education Network

Governor Gary Herbert says he’s decided what the state will do about expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But he’s not ready yet to announce just what that is.

Herbert told reporters at his monthly news conference on KUED this morning that he’ll announce his decision during the legislative session, which starts next week. But he wouldn’t go into detail about just how the state plans to work with the federal government on Medicaid.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  A top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says Utah’s liquor laws are just fine the way they are.  But that may not stop further attempts to change them during the upcoming legislative session. 

Tammy K. Nakamura Utah Department of Natural Resources

  The Utah Lake Commission is asking the legislature for 7-point-5 million dollars to help reduce the number of carp in Utah Lake.  A legislator from Lehi thinks that’s a great idea, and he’s hoping they can find the money during the general session that starts next week.

The Commission has been paying a commercial fishing business to take tons of carp out of the lake, hoping to reverse the environmental damage the fish have caused over the past century.

Wikimedia Commons

  Newer cars are a lot cleaner than older cars, but a member of the Utah Senate would like to make sure the rules for inspecting those older vehicles are being applied fairly.

TBC Productions -- Used by permission.

  The independent filmmakers who show their work at the Sundance Film Festival are all trying to achieve that most elusive goal -- buzz.  KUER's Dan Nailen spent his time in Park City over the weekend looking for some of those buzz-worthy films among the documentaries. Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER... and blogs at slcene.com Happiness by filmmaker Thomas Balmès is among the documentaries at Sundance this year.

Utah Education Network

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert says he believes regulating marriage is a state’s rights issue, but he understands many people are disappointed by his order to keep the state from recognizing same sex marriages performed legally after a key federal court decision.

Herbert says he was disappointed by federal Judge Robert Shelby’s decision invalidating Utah’s Amendment Three, which bars recognition of same-sex relationships. But earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed Shelby’s ruling putting gay marriages on hold in Utah.

Dan Bammes

UPDATE:  Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT1) met yesterday with House leadership, including Speaker John Boehner and budget committee chair Paul Ryan.  Bishop says he's been assured funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program will be included in an upcoming appr0priations bill, though not in the combined spending bill the House will be voting on Wednesday.

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  Members of Utah’s Congressional delegation are trying to save federal funding for rural counties. Losing it could hurt some counties badly. 

Utah Pride Center

 A group that’s worked to include gay people in the Mormon community will be holding public conversations next week about an anti-discrimination bill being proposed in the upcoming legislative session.  But one opponent of the bill thinks the recent controversy over gay marriage could get in the way.

frontbottoms.com

  KUER entertainment reporter Dan Nailen is well aware of the calendar -- but he thinks his list of the top albums from last year needs revision.

Dan Nailen blogs at slcene.com

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been an active participant in some past court cases involving same-sex marriage, but it doesn’t look like it will make arguments in the state of Utah’s current legal battle.  

Dan Bammes

  The Utah Air Quality Board voted yesterday to add a supplement to the plan for controlling pollution from industrial sources.  Bryce Bird, the director of the Division of Air Quality, says it will help industry get going to comply with new state requirements.

Utah Lake Commission

The Utah Lake Commission thinks it can finish the job of reducing the carp in the lake if it can get some help from the Utah legislature. 

  For years, the Utah Lake Commission has been paying a commercial fisherman to remove thousands of tons of carp from Utah Lake.  But it’s asking for $7.5 million from the state to help reach its goal of reducing the carp population by 75%.

University of Utah

  The huge landslides that shut down Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon copper mine last year were bad news for the company, but they’ve yielded a scientific breakthrough for researchers at the University of Utah.

  That’s a recording of the seismic waves from one of the landslides that sent 165-million tons of rock from the top to the bottom of the Kennecott mine on April 10th. 

Seismologist Kristine Pankow says what follows are two small earthquakes.

courtesy photo

  State Representative Jim Nielson says he won’t be running for a third term. 

In three legislative sessions, the Republican from Bountiful earned a reputation as a conservative in a House that’s pretty conservative already.  As he prepares for his final session, Nielson says it’s likely lawmakers will be looking at ways to address the same-sex marriage issue – perhaps by getting government entirely out of the marriage business.

Utah State University/Utah Division of Air Quality

 When the air quality gets really bad in Utah’s valleys, residents are told to stay indoors.  But is our indoor air really any better?  A new study from Utah State University is helping to answer that question.

Environmental engineering professor Randy Martin says our indoor air is much cleaner than outdoors on cold inversion days.  He says a lot of the hazardous PM 2.5 particles tend to evaporate in the warmer indoor environment.  But he says we can also cause problems for ourselves inside.

  In this week between Christmas and New Year's Day, Dan Nailen says there's a great opportunity to get into some good shows that might otherwise be sold out. Dan Nailen reports on entertainment for KUER... and blogs at slcene.com

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.

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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