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It’s no secret that rent around Salt Lake City is really high. And if you drive around downtown, you’ll see tons of new apartment complexes under construction. But the thing is, most Utahns can’t afford to live in them. At least, not according to the common definition of affordable housing: about 30 percent of your yearly income. There’s a staggering need for cheaper apartments around the state, but hardly any incentives to build them. Because those pricey places — they’re not sitting empty.

People are Dying in Utah Jails

May 10, 2018
KUER

On December 1st, 2016, 21-year-old Madison Jensen died of heroin withdrawal in the Duchesne County Jail. She’d been violently ill, but no one in the jail did anything about it. Her death is part of a pattern — because Utah has seen more inmate deaths per capita in the last few years than any other state in the nation. And the way Utah jails are run is mostly kept secret.  

 There have been some changes since KUER’s Whittney Evans reported this story. The Utah legislature passed a bill during the last session that requires jails to report in-custody deaths annually. The bill also says jails must disclose their policies for treating inmates withdrawing from drugs. Meanwhile, the Department of Corrections is planning to write new rules for running jails — and make them public. For now, though, Utah jails continue to operate under the secret policies created by Gary Deland.

Original Story: http://kuer.org/post/secrecy-nothing-new-gary-deland-utahs-former-prison-boss-who-wont-reveal-jail-standards

KUER

It’s hard to keep teachers in Utah's Monument Valley. It's beautiful there, sure, but you're hours away from a real grocery store or a movie theater. Now, though, there's a program to keep teachers invested in the community. And it's actually really simple: Pay them more. Jody Lee-Chadde teaches 4th grade, and they’re paying her $70,000 to do it.

Link to original story: http://kuer.org/post/will-you-be-here-next-year-keeping-teachers-navajo-reservation#stream/0

KUER

When you think about Las Vegas, you might picture casinos, opulent hotels and neon signs. Like the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, Circus Circus or that huge cowboy on Fremont Street — Vegas Vic. Turns out, lots of those signs were made by the Young Electric Sign Company, headquartered right here in Utah. KUER’s Julia Ritchey used to live in Nevada. It's where she fell in love with neon signs and even started a story on them. Although she couldn’t quite finish it until she moved to Salt Lake City.  

Link to original story: http://kuer.org/post/how-utah-company-became-nevadas-go-shop-neon

KUER

This week on More to Say we’re putting out an episode we made back in November, about a police dispatcher. When someone calls 911, we don’t really think about the person who answers. But the person on the other end carries a heavy burden. When something goes wrong, or someone dies, the dispatcher has to live with it.

Original story: http://kuer.org/post/emergency-dispatchers-mental-toll-high-stress-job#stream/0

My Piano Instructor Raped Me

Apr 12, 2018
KUER

Last February, a former student at Utah State University wrote a Facebook post. She said she’d been raped by an instructor in the piano department, and that the university hadn’t taken her seriously. But then other students started coming forward, and now USU is changing how it handles sexual assault. Deseret News reporter Gillian Friedman and KUER’s Lee Hale join Doug Fabrizio to talk about it.

Link to story: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900015150/Report-Discrimination-sexual-misconduct-went-unchecked-in-USU-music-department.html

Liam James Doyle / NPR

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is appearing on Capitol Hill for a second day of hearings about protecting its users' data. The House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing follows hours of questioning by lawmakers in the Senate. Facebook is under scrutiny after revelations that the data-mining and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained the data of tens of millions of Facebook users. The company is accused of using that data to target American voters in the 2016 election.  

Making More To Say

Apr 5, 2018
KUER

The More to Say team is small, and you're an important part of it. It's KUER's Spring fund drive this week.  We're raising money for all of KUER's programming, including our podcasts. So this week we're playing a couple of our favorite moments from the podcast. Thank you for supporting the station.

Link to give: http://pledgekuer.org/

KUER

On March 19th, the website MormonLeaks released an audio recording. It was an anonymous woman and a man named Joseph L. Bishop. She accuses him of sexually assaulting her in 1984 — at the Missionary Training Center in Provo. He was the MTC President; she was a young missionary.

Link to original show: http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/authority-abuse-and-lds-church

Mentally Ill, Stuck In Jail

Mar 22, 2018

If you commit a crime in Utah and a judge says you’re too mentally ill to defend yourself in court, you’ll get sent to Utah State Hospital in Provo. That’s how it’s meant to work anyway. The problem is they don’t have enough staff to treat everyone. So, jails are picking up the slack. On top of that, a mental hospital at capacity means less room for people who haven’t been arrested.

Link to original story: http://kuer.org/post/pressure-utah-free-more-psychiatric-beds

KUER

Michelle Quist is a conservative columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune, and she's on the paper's editorial board, too. She's also Mormon. And she's found herself at odds with parts of those communities. Some of her recent columns have dealt with the #MeToo Movement, the death penalty and guns. She's made a habit of challenging Utah's moral compass.

More about Michelle Quist: https://www.sltrib.com/staff/mquist/

KUER

This week, we took a little field trip up to the state capitol where KUER’s Nicole Nixon and Julia Ritchey have been basically living the past few weeks while they cover the 2018 Utah Legislative Session. In a state like ours, a lot of the time the politics are pretty predictable, but every year there are surprises, so we got the inside look from Nicole and Julia.

Empowering Utah Debtors

Mar 1, 2018
KUER

Most of the lawsuits filed in Utah are debt collection suits, usually in the realm of a couple hundred dollars, and nearly all of the debtors being sued (98.5 percent of them to be exact) don't get legal help. But if you don’t answer the suit — and “answer” means something really specific here — you’re giving all the power to the debt collector. There’s a group of BYU students and their professor who are trying to help debtors. KUER's Lee Hale joins Doug Fabrizio to talk about it.

Original story: http://kuer.org/post/byu-law-students-want-give-utah-debtors-fighting-chance

Twitter Video Screenshot

As the end of the legislative session approaches, lawmakers are taking on the toughest issues — teaching constituents how a bill becomes a law. And, they did it in song ... no, not that song. A more awkward, classically Utah rap to the tune of "Fresh Prince of Bellaire" titled "Fresh Prints of Bills Here."

KUER

Americans love their national parks. But the agency that oversees them, the National Park Service, is facing budget cuts. And, worse, they’re $12 billion behind on a growing to-do list that includes repairing guard rails on steep cliffs and replacing broken campsite toilets. Their solution? Higher entrance fees. But KUER's Judy Fahys explains it's not that simple.

Original Story: http://kuer.org/post/looking-fixes-national-park-fans-worry-fees-will-climb-12b-do-list-wont-go-down#stream/0

Chelsea Beck / NPR

President Trump is speaking for the first time about the shooting at a high school in South Florida that left at least 17 people dead

When Your Senator Blocks You

Feb 15, 2018
KUER

These days it’s perfectly normal for lawmakers at the state and federal level to be on Twitter. President Trump, of course, tweets frequently. And Utah’s representatives are no different. Local lawmakers Todd Weiler and Jim Dabakis are both Twitter users with lots of followers. But what does it mean when a politician blocks someone on social media? Should that even be allowed to happen? KUER’s Julia Ritchey joins Doug Fabrizio to talk about it.

Original story: http://kuer.org/post/when-online-civility-tested-lawmakers-hit-block-button

KUER

Doing away with the death penalty is usually thought of as a liberal cause, and the arguments are often about the morality of executing someone, or wrongful convictions. But now some conservatives are lining up against capital punishment too — for reasons of their own. KUER’s Whittney Evans joins Doug Fabrizio to talk about why.

Original Story: http://kuer.org/post/death-penalty-repeal-groups-including-republicans-say-utah-moving-closer-ending-executions

The Price of Textbooks

Feb 1, 2018
KUER

It’s not uncommon to pay over a hundred dollars for a science or math textbook — and new editions are frequently published. For students struggling to pay for higher education, a pricey textbook can mean the difference between going to class and dropping out. KUER’s Lee Hale joins Doug Fabrizio in the studio to talk about the problem.

Original Story: http://kuer.org/post/end-hundred-dollar-textbook#stream/0

Liam James Doyle / NPR

President Donald Trump is delivering his State of the Union address to Congress, which will be followed by a response from the Democratic Party. Journalists across the NPR newsroom will be annotating those remarks, adding fact-checks and analysis in real time.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, seen as a rising political star with a famous last name, will deliver the Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union. In announcing their decision, Democratic leaders in Congress called Kennedy a "relentless fighter for working Americans." Kennedy is the grandson of the late Robert Kennedy, the former U.S. attorney general and New York senator who was assassinated in 1968. He is also the great nephew of both the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and the late president John F. Kennedy.

KUER

KUER’s Nicole Nixon has been looking into the sexual dynamics at Utah’s State House. She spoke with some of the women — legislators and lobbyists — who work there. With powerful men in media and politics around the country facing allegations of sexual misconduct, the Utah Legislature — so far — has been spared a major scandal. But the people Nicole talked to describe a condescending and sexist culture on the hill.

Original Story: http://kuer.org/post/amid-sexual-harassment-reckoning-women-utah-legislature-navigate-grey-area

KUER

Last November, Christine Durham retired from Utah’s Supreme Court.  She was our state’s first female Supreme Court Justice.  She joined Doug Fabrizio on RadioWest, and we’ve excerpted part of their conversation about her judicial philosophy, gender discrimination and her legacy.

Original Story: http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/conversation-christine-durham

Remembering Thomas S. Monson

Jan 4, 2018
KUER

LDS Church president Thomas S. Monson was known for an almost parable-like storytelling ability. He asked Mormons to be honest, kind and to serve their fellow man, every day. But, when it came to controversy and current issues, he was often quiet.

KUER

You're tired of the news, right? Well, you're in luck then. This week we have a special holiday More To Say episode that explores what some (primarily KUER's Lee Hale) would call Utah's state candy: the chocolate cinnamon bear. 

The Addict's Mom

Dec 21, 2017
KUER

To better understand the opioid crisis try talking to an addict's mother. KUER's Erik Neumann spent an evening hearing honest, heartbreaking, and sometimes humorous stories from women who have struggled alongside their children as they've battled drug dependency.

Original Story: http://kuer.org/post/less-judging-more-loving-utah-moms-addicted-kids-join-forces#stream/0

Serving Time

Dec 14, 2017
KUER

People feel protective of a good food dive. Locals often keep it a secret. There's one like that in Draper, in a nondescript building, just 30 paces from the Utah State Prison. It's called Serving Time Cafe and it's run entirely by female inmates. It was featured in a recent RadioWest film.

 Link to original video: https://films.radiowest.org/film/serving-time

Chelsea Beck/NPR

After passing their respective tax overhaul bills, the U.S. House and Senate are trying to reconcile the differences in their legislation. While they do that, President Trump is making a renewed pitch to the American people about the importance of overhauling the tax code. Watch the president’s remarks live.

KUER

During his first official trip to Utah, President Donald Trump announced the largest cutback to national monument land in U.S. history. Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante will lose a total of 2 million acres together. While Trump made the announcement in Salt Lake City, KUER's Judy Fahys was in San Juan County talking with Utahns who will be most affected by the change.

Link to original story: http://kuer.org/post/public-lands-emotions-shift-southern-utah-along-national-monument-boundaries

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

FBI Director Christopher Wray is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing. He is likely to face questions about the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Last week, former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. The hearing also comes days after President Trump attacked the FBI on Twitter, saying "its reputation is in Tatters," citing the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server under former Director James Comey.

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