Lee Hale | KUER 90.1

Lee Hale

Reporter

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear. 

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University of Utah

Dr. Ruth Watkins has been named the new president of the University of Utah. Watkins has been serving as the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and will be the university’s first female president in its 168-year history.

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Russell M. Nelson announced his call as the new president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a live broadcast from the Salt Lake Temple Tuesday. The expected appointment came along with news that Nelson chose Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring to join him the First Presidency.

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Russell M. Nelson announced this morning that he will accept the call to serve as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also named Dallin Oaks and Henry Eying to serve with him as counselors in the First Presidency, the highest governing body in the church.

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Russell M. Nelson, the most senior Mormon apostle, will announce changes to top church leadership Tuesday morning. Nelson is widely expected to assume the role of president but who he will choose as counselors is more of an unknown.

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The funeral for Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was held today at the Conference Center on Temple Square.

Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben


A geology professor from Brigham Young University in Provo is part of a team that NASA might be funding to go to space. Their proposal involves getting a sample of sand from one of Saturn’s moons.

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The death of President Thomas S. Monson leaves a vacancy at the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If tradition holds, the next leader of the church will be senior apostle Russell M. Nelson.

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Since the beginning of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when a prophet dies, the most senior apostle steps up to fill the vacancy. But, the process is still a bit more complicated than that.

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Thomas S. Monson, president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Tuesday night at the age of 90.

SLC Mayor's Office

As education advisor for the Salt lake City Mayor’s Office, Angela Doan is focusing her role on the school to prison pipeline. Her first step is drawing a clear line between law enforcement assigned to a school and school administrators. 

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For the more than 10,000 Utahns who are recipients of DACA—the Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation—the future remains unclear.

Renee Bright / KUER

Utahns love candy and not just during the holidays. They eat more per capita than any other state — and some of that candy is made here. Salt water taffy seems to get the most attention, but there's another candy with much truer Utah roots.

Trevor Christensen for KUER

In Utah there are around 70,000 debt cases a year. In many circumstances, they’re for relatively small amounts, $100 to $200. But people often end up spending a lot more than that because they go through the process without any legal help.

Lee Hale / KUER


At Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has set up some temporary vending machines for visitors. But, unlike a typical vending machine, everything purchased here is donated to someone in need.

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A petition by a former Mormon bishop has caused a stir this week. It calls for lay leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to stop asking about the sexual practices of young people in one-on-one interviews. This week, the church weighed in.

Breakthrough Prize

Every year, mathematicians and scientists from across the country get together for an event dubbed the “Oscars of Science.” This year, a University of Utah math professor took home a big prize for his work in algebraic geometry.

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Before his speech at the state capitol today, President Donald Trump made a brief pit stop at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Welfare Square. He was given a tour of the flagship humanitarian center and also chatted with a few top church leaders. 

Kelsie Moore / KUER


In recent months, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sent mixed messages to its LGBTQ members. Top leaders have shared both the need for acceptance and a warning that gay marriage is an attack on the family. Someone who understands that tug and pull well is Richard Ostler. He’s an active Mormon and former bishop who has become an influential ally for the LGBTQ community.

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If you’ve ever taken a college course you know the shock of textbook prices. They can set a student back thousands of dollars each year and some of them hardly get used. But, there might be a better option.

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There are roughly 2,000 Bhutanese refugees in Utah and although they started arriving in the state nearly a decade ago, they don’t have a place of worship. But, a few local attorneys are pitching in to change that.

Spencer Cox Twitter


Utah's Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox just returned from a five day humanitarian trip to Puerto Rico. He hopes his trip reminds people that the island is still recovering.

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Plans are moving forward for what will be Utah’s 3rd medical school. The Noorda College for Osteopathic Medicine is expected to welcome its first class in 2021.

SLPD Body Camera Footage

A bill that requires law enforcement officers to present a warrant before requesting blood testing was approved by a legislative committee Wednesday.

BYU Photo

M. Russell Ballard, an apostle for the LDS church, spoke to BYU students on Tuesday about the need for a more inclusive environment for LGBT Mormons.

C-SPAN

Utah’s newly elected Republican Congressman, John Curtis, has begun his first week in Washington D.C. representing the 3rd District. So far, he says it's already been a busy few days.

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Utah’s opioid crisis is prompting Salt Lake County officials to pursue legal action against pharmaceutical companies.

Governor's Office

Gov. Gary Herbert’s pick to fill a vacancy on Utah’s Supreme Court, Paige Petersen, was unanimously approved by the Judicial Confirmation Committee on Monday.

Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University president Matt Holland will be stepping down at the end of the school year to serve a full-time mission for the LDS church.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced today that they will be consolidating General Conference sessions. The Women’s meeting, which has been held a week before conference, will now be held the same weekend.

Lee Hale / KUER


Chances are you know a child with autism. In Utah roughly 1 in 58 kids are on the autism spectrum. And this likely won’t surprise you because in recent years a lot has been done to raise awareness. But knowing these kids are out there, that’s just the first step. There’s a growing need for training on how best to work with these kids.

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