Lee Hale | KUER 90.1

Lee Hale


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. 

Ways to Connect

Kelsie Moore / KUER

The Believers Series features conversations with faith people as they navigate the more complicated and controversial aspects of their beliefs.


Nish Weiseth is an evangelical christian (well, it’s complicated) who has often found herself at odds politically with those with whom she worships. But, she leans into that tension both through her writing and more recently with her podcast “Impolite Company.”

Kelsie Moore / KUER

This morning, students across the country participated in a walkout to honor the victims of last month's Parkland, Florida shooting and vocalize support for gun control. At Corner Canyon High School in Draper, students gathered at a nearby park.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

Teacher turnover is a struggle for a lot of schools. A new teacher is hired, they teach for a year or two and then *poof* they’re gone. It’s often the worst at schools where poverty is high and student achievement is low, but an elementary school in the heart of Utah’s Monument Valley might have a solution.

The father of one of the Parkland Florida shooting victims, Ryan Petty, was at the Utah Capitol today. The legislature voted unanimously to make April “kindness month” in honor of the 17 victims, including Petty’s daughter.

Lee Hale / KUER

As students across the country continue to speak out about gun violence and safety, some schools are trying to listen. That includes the superintendent and district administrators from Salt Lake City schools.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

The deadly high school shooting in Florida earlier this month has reignited the age-old debate over gun control. Survivors of the attack are speaking out, and so are students across the country. Here in Utah, four high school seniors are organizing a march against gun violence next month.

Our series, "Take A Number," is exploring problems around the world — and the people who are trying to solve them — through the lens of a single number.

Twenty-one days. If you get sued for debt in Utah, that's how long you have to respond to a complaint in the mail.

The complaints are fine-print legalese and they're confusing. But despite that, 98.5 percent of the state's debtors try to navigate the process themselves, without any legal help. And they often end up paying more than they should.


Just a week after the deadly shooting at a Florida high school, a student from Eastmont Middle School in Sandy took to Instagram. He was upset that a friend of his had been expelled and wrote that he was angry enough to bring a gun to school.


The president of Utah State University, Noelle Cockett, held an early morning meeting with students in the music department on Friday. She acknowledged allegations of sexual assault that surfaced online this week involving music faculty and promised an investigation is underway.


President Trump’s former staff secretary Rob Porter has been all over the news since he resigned from the White House last week. Porter, a Mormon, left his position after his two ex-wives accused him of being physically abusive. It has since been revealed that both of these women confided in their Mormon bishops about the abuse and were encouraged to remain in their relationships.


Every legislative session a few bills pop up that generate a lot of buzz, but never quite make it to the finish line. For the last few years, that has been the case with proposed legislation to toughen the state's penalties for hate crimes. So what invisible forces propel some bills while squashing others? Some critics say it's the Mormon Church, whose membership includes almost 90 percent of the Utah Legislature. Others say their influence is overstated. And then there's Steve Urquhart, a former Republican state senator from St. George, who observed this phenomenon firsthand.

David Vogel Photography & Dave Brewer/Photo Collective Studios

Salt Lake City’s summer Twilight Concert Series isn’t going away after all. The city announced last Fall that the yearly event would be canceled but now, with the help of a new business partner and more manageable venue, it’s back.


The non-profit research firm Utah Foundation released numbers today that break down education spending in the state. While the information isn’t entirely new, it’s an attempt to give the public and policymakers a clearer picture.

Trevor Christensen for KUER

Teacher recruitment and retention is an ongoing battle for public schools in Utah. According to recent data nearly 50 percent of Utah teachers leave the classroom in the first five years. But outside of public schools there are some teaching jobs that never face a shortage.

Lee Hale / KUER

A letter penned by Utah’s Catholic Bishop Oscar Solis voiced support for a new hate crimes bill in the state legislature. A number of prominent local religious leaders added their signatures to the statement which called Utah a “gathering place” for all.

Weber State University

Two of the fastest growing universities in the state are asking for additional funding from the legislature this year. Both Weber and Dixie State University are planning major construction projects to accommodate rising student numbers.

The Telegram

A student-led newspaper at Herriman High School was shut down briefly over the weekend following a controversial post. School administration has since assumed full publishing control of The Telegraph, causing the students to launch a new website.

Sundance Institute

A documentary making noise at the Sundance Film Festival this year is called "Believer," a look into the plight of LGBT Mormons in light of a recent uptick in suicide among Utah teenagers. While the topic is controversial, the film isn’t meant to be an angry critique as much as a plea from one practicing Mormon to another.

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.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc

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.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc

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.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc

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.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc

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.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc

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.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc

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.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc

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. 


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.