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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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.

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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.

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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.

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