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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KUER Local News
3:00 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

U Wants Independent Investigation of Coaching Abuse Allegations

University of Utah Athletics Director Chris Hill
Dan Bammes

  An independent investigation will look into the conduct of the former University of Utah head swimming coach.   Greg Winslow was suspended last month and the university announced last week it would not renew his contract.

U President David Pershing has asked two attorneys, Alan Sullivan from Utah and Michael Glazier, a sports specialist from Kansas City, to look into whether Winslow abused his players and whether he was properly supervised by university officials.  Athletics Director Chris Hill expects to be under scrutiny along with others.

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Politics
3:25 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Medicaid Battle Looming

Representatives Jacob Anderegg, Ken Ivory and Dana Layton address a news conference at Utah's state capitol.
Dan Bammes

  A battle could be shaping up in the Utah House of Representatives over a bill that would stop the state from expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 

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Health Care
1:28 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Bill Advances to Stop Medicaid Expansion

A bill that would stop the state of Utah from expanding its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act passed a committee vote Wednesday evening.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:35 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Utah DEQ Ready For New EPA Chief

Gina McCarthy
EPA

  The head of Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality says she’s had a good experience working with the person picked to head the federal Environmental Protection Agency.  Gina McCarthy was head of E-P-A’s air quality division until President Obama tapped her for the top job this week.

Amanda Smith at  DEQ says she’s optimistic McCarthy will be able to work with the state on Utah’s unique problems, such as winter ozone in the Uintah Basin.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:31 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Some Utah Lawmakers Ask to Delay Sage Grouse Designation

Credit Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

Members of Utah’s Congressional delegation are asking the federal government for more time before it designates the Gunnison sage grouse an endangered species. 

The Gunnison sage grouse is a smaller cousin of the grouse that lives all over the west.  In Utah, it lives only in San Juan County, mostly on private land near Monticello.  There are only about a hundred of them left.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:31 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Some Utah Lawmakers Ask to Delay Sage Grouse Designation

Credit Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

Members of Utah’s Congressional delegation are asking the federal government for more time before it designates the Gunnison sage grouse an endangered species. 

The Gunnison sage grouse is a smaller cousin of the grouse that lives all over the west.  In Utah, it lives only in San Juan County, mostly on private land near Monticello.  There are only about a hundred of them left.

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Health Care
3:19 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Supporters Rally for Medicaid Expansion

Supporters of Medicaid expansion rally at the Utah State Capitol
Dan Bammes

  Supporters of expanding Utah’s Medicaid program under the President’s health care plan don’t expect to see a decision during the legislative session.   But they came to Utah's state capitol Friday to make their point anyway.  

There were about a hundred people on the capitol steps for a rally in support of Medicaid expansion, but many more links in the paper chains they brought along.  Each of the 150-thousand links represents a Medicaid client in Utah – somebody like Stacey Stanford, who’s been in a wheelchair since a car accident in 2010.

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Environment & Public Lands
7:00 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Clearing the Air: Big Industry

The Holly-Frontier oil refinery in West Bountiful, UT
Dan Bammes

story audio

The air pollution that we can see suspended in the cold air trapped during Utah’s infamous temperature inversions is called PM 2.5 – particulate matter 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller.  Just how much of that comes from large industrial polluters is a subject of some dispute, along with just what should be done about it. Dan Bammes has the third in our series of reports on Clearing the Air.

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Politics
4:12 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Herbert: Medicaid Decision Delayed

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert
pool photo

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert says a decision on expanding Utah's Medicaid program may have to wait until this summer.  Herbert told his monthly news conference on KUED Thursday morning that Utah won't follow the lead of any other state on the issue.

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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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