Whittney Evans

Reporter

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West. 

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Local Government
3:48 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Bill Could Ease Pains Over Incorporation in Salt Lake County

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams announced a plan today that he hopes will calm the bickering in the county’s unincorporated areas over boundaries and governance. The plan includes statewide legislation sponsored by Democratic Senator Karen Mayne.

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Education
3:29 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Salt Lake City School Board to Seek External Audit of School Lunch Issue

File: School Lunch Tray Credit Casey Bisson/Flickr

The Salt Lake City School Board plans to discuss tonight how to move forward with an outside investigation into the seizure of more than 30 school lunches from Uintah Elementary School. The decision comes as the district’s human resources department continues its ongoing probe into the incident.

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Business & Labor
5:27 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Anticipated Convention Center Hotel Bill Ready For Debate

A bill that would give a private developer financial incentives to build a new hotel and convention center in downtown Salt Lake City has been made public. The proposal recently gained the support of Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, but opponents say it’s not good policy.

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Education
2:00 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Bill Gives Teachers More Time for Professional Development

Proposed legislation could give Utah teachers more days to train and prepare at no additional cost to taxpayers –but it would mean fewer days in the classroom with students. Members of the Senate Education Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to advance the bill.  

Senate Bill 103, sponsored by Republican Senator Aaron Osmond would give local school districts the flexibility to swap regular instruction days for teacher professional development days.

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Public Safety
4:56 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Lawmaker Aims to Consolidate 9-1-1 System Statewide

House Majority Leader Brad Dee joins Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Salt Lake County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Graviet, Draper Mayor Troy Walker, Draper City Councilman Jeff Stenquist and Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth.
Whittney Evans

Utah House Majority Leader Brad Dee announced today he is crafting legislation that he hopes will get every jurisdiction in Utah on a single 9-1-1 emergency response system. The Ogden Republican was joined by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams who’s been trying to do the same thing at the county level.

Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth says it’s time to change the 9-1-1 system in the Salt Lake Valley.  

“I don’t feel safe frankly, totally safe with the dispatch system, the way it’s set up now,” Applegarth says.

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Politics
3:04 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Hatch to Senate: Immigration Reform Must Happen, Affordable Care Act Needs to be Replaced

Sen. Orrin Hatch addresses the Utah Senate
Brian Grimmett

Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch touched on health care, immigration this morning when he addressed the Utah House and Senate Floors at the State Capitol.

Earlier this week, Hatch announced he is co-sponsoring a new Republican-led healthcare bill that he hopes will replace the Affordable Care Act. He says the Patient Choice Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment — or CARE — Act will cost less and have fewer mandates than the current health law.

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Education
5:18 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Salt Lake City School District Apologizes For Witholding School Lunches

File: School Lunch Tray
Casey Bisson/Flickr

A spokesperson for Salt Lake City School District says Uintah Elementary School made a mistake by taking away the lunches of students who owed money. Now state lawmakers say they want to get to the bottom of it.

District Spokesman Jason Olsen says on Tuesday cafeteria workers at Uintah Elementary School threw away the lunches of about 32 students whose lunch accounts were in the negative. Those students were instead given a partial lunch of fruit and milk.  

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Politics
11:29 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Herbert: State is Strong, But There are Challenges to Confront

Utah Governor Gary Herbert says the state is strong, but there are still several challenges that Utah must confront. Herbert was speaking at his 5th annual State of the State Address.

Herbert highlighted investigations into former Attorney General John Swallow as a success, as well as the state’s 4.1 percent underemployment rate –which is among the lowest in the nation. But he was also quick to acknowledge the hardships—a booming population, federal overreach and economic development  

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Education
6:01 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Low-Income Fourth Graders Lagging Behind Peers in Reading Scores

Utah Fourth Graders are all improving their reading scores, but child advocacy group Voices for Utah Children notes that over the past decade, fourth graders who come from low-income families have not improved as quickly as their peers. 

According to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, from 2003 to 2013 the gap between reading scores from low income children and upper income children increased by 22 percent – meaning kids from higher income households are improving at a faster rate.

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Politics
3:13 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Utah Senate Leaders Say Changes to Liquor Laws Unlikely

Brian Grimmett

On the first day of the 2014 legislative session, Republican leaders in the Utah Senate say there is little support for changing Utah’s liquor laws this year— specifically those laws dealing with the so-called “Zion Curtain” and a requirement that restaurant patrons announce their intent to eat food before ordering alcoholic beverages.

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Public Safety
12:32 am
Fri January 24, 2014

West Valley City Police Chief Holds First Monthly Public Forum

West Valley City’s new police chief spoke candidly with members of the community Thursday night about the future of the long-embattled agency. It was the first in a series of monthly community meetings Chief Lee Russo says he plans to hold. 

Lori Bailey is part of the Solomon Farms Neighborhood watch in West Valley City. She told Russo, she’s not getting a timely response from the police when she report crimes like drug deals and graffiti. Russo took Bailey’s information assuring her he’d follow up. Bailey says she’ll come to every community meeting from now on.  

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Politics
3:33 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Democrats Announce Legislative Agenda for 2014

Brian Grimmett

House and Senate Democrats unveiled their plans for the 2014 legislative session today. Chief among them is a proposal to increase the minimum wage and another to create an independent elections commission in response to investigations into former Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

Representative Lynn Hemingway would like to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.25—what he calls a living wage. Hemingway says the bill would only impact workers over the age of 17.

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Local Government
3:07 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Brings Dozens of Volunteers to Utah Food Bank

Volunteers prepare donations at the Utah Food Bank.
Judy Fahys

The Salt Lake City Mayor’s office has for 13 years hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in partnership with the Utah Food Bank. Today more than 100 volunteers lent their time and energy to the cause. 

Ginette Bott with the Utah Food Bank addressed volunteers early Monday morning about the value of their service. Bott says last year volunteers donated 103,000 hours of time to the organization.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:54 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

U of U Students Develop Video Game App to Combat Air Pollution

Flickr Creative Commons

University of Utah graduate students are developing a video game app to help Utahns better understand the connection between their actions and the dirty air. 

Kerry Kelly is Associate Director of the University of Utah’s program for Air Quality, Health and Society. She says her role is to make sure this game is backed up by scientific evidence. But here’s one of the ideas they’re considering:

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Education
4:06 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

GOP Lawmaker Tries to Change State School Board Election Process

A Republican State lawmaker from Bountiful wants to change the way state school board members in Utah are elected to office, and he hopes to leave politics out of the equation. 

Right now, a seven-member committee appointed by the Governor is responsible for vetting state school board candidates. That group sends it’s nominations to the governor who then selects two candidates for each position. House Bill 59, sponsored by State Representative Jim Nielson would get rid of that committee and the governor’s role in process.

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Education
6:10 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

GOP Lawmaker Makes Another Push For Preschool in Utah

Republican State Representative Greg Hughes is sponsoring a bill that would get about 3,000 at risk-kids into preschool. He says Utah will save money by getting kids better-prepared for kindergarten and reading at grade level. 

Last year, state lawmakers said “no” to this idea– or at least one that closely resembles Representative Hughes’ proposal.

But Hughes says getting more kids into preschool will shave costs for the state, which shells out an additional $2600 per student for kids who need special education and individual attention.

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Local Government
3:30 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

McAdams: Lean Budget, Quality Services All Possible at Salt Lake County

Salt Lake County

Salt Lake County has maintained a conservative budget all while investing in opportunities and community assets for a better future. That’s the message Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams delivered during his annual State of the County Address this morning.

McAdams credits bipartisanship, fiscal prudence and a thriving local economy for the county’s ability to adequately fund arts and cultural facilities, museums, parks, trails and other services.

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Environment & Public Lands
6:36 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

New Study Looks at Air Pollution at Different Elevations

Advocacy group Breath Utah is partnering with the Utah Division of Air Quality to monitor air quality in different parts of the valley and along the benches. They say the study will help the state better focus efforts to combat pollution. 

Kevin Hart is an environmental scientist for the Division of Air Quality.  He’s installing a pm2.5 monitor outside Fort Herriman Middle School in Riverton. He says the more of these devices that can be set up the better the state will understand how to approach air pollution. 

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Local Government
5:18 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

County GOP Fills Two Vacancies in Special Election

Aimee Winder Newton
Aimmee Winder Newton

Seventy-eight percent of the county Republican Central Committee voted for Aimee Winder Newton. She will replace David Wilde, who resigned earlier this month with a year left in his term.

Prior to her work as the city’s communications director, Newton served on the Taylorsville City Planning Commission and Economic Development Committee. Newton is among three of the nine-members on the council who live on the west side of the county and the only woman. She says she wants to use her social media skills to get more people involved in county government.

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Local Government
2:40 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Salt Lake County GOP to Elect New County Council Member, State Representative

Salt Lake County Republican Party

The Salt Lake County Republican Party will hold two special elections tonight: One to replace 3rd District County councilman David Wilde and another to replace former state Representative Derek Brown in House District 49. Both resigned in January.

David Wilde left the Salt Lake County council to work for Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, where he will be eligible for the health care benefits he’ll need to combat cancer.  

Derek Brown left the Utah House of Representatives to serve as U.S. Senator Mike Lee’s Deputy Chief of Staff.

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Local Government
5:07 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Becker Presses State to Act on Air Quality in State of City Address

The state legislature needs to act or step aside and empower cities to act to improve air quality. That’s the message in Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker’s annual State of the City Address, which he presented today at the University of Utah. 

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Local Government
10:11 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Public Weighs In on Horse-Drawn Carriages

The Salt Lake City Council is revisiting the topic of changing its horse-drawn carriage regulations to protect the safety of horses, pedestrians and drivers downtown. About 50 people attended a public hearing on the issue last night. 

The conversation began in August last year, when a carriage horse named Jerry collapsed on a Salt Lake City street. His death prompted residents and animal activists to call for better regulation of the industry. Currently only one business called Carriage for Hire operates in Salt Lake.  

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Local Government
5:07 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

New Salt Lake City Council Members Sworn In

Four Salt Lake City Council members were sworn in today. Three are new and one is beginning a second term. The newcomer’s ambitions range from air quality and economic development to civility.

District 1 Councilman-elect James Rogers says as a new member of the Salt Lake City Council, he’s focused on rehabilitating neglected residential, community and commercial areas in his district, pointing to his work overseeing the renovation of a commercial office space just west of Capitol Hill. 

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Environment & Public Lands
4:28 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

EPA Unveils New Air Quality Standards for Wood Stoves

Notwist via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing more stringent air quality standards for new wood stoves and other residential wood heaters. EPA officials say the new standards would make the appliances 80 percent cleaner and more efficient.

The proposal would phase in tighter standards on new manufactured wood stoves, pellet stoves, hydronic heaters and forced air furnaces over the next five years.

The standards would not apply to existing stoves and heaters—nor would they apply to fireplaces, fire pits or backyard barbecues.  

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Local Government
3:47 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

City Councilman Says Fireworks Should Be Banned on Bad Air Days

Kabir Bakie via Wikimedia Commons

A Salt Lake City councilman would like the council to consider banning fireworks displays during the city’s New Year celebration events. 

Salt Lake City often urges residents and visitors to limit idling, take public transit, and carpool in order to combat air pollution, especially during winter inversions.

City Councilman Charlie Luke says he has high expectations for local government as well.

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Business & Labor
3:09 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Bountiful Plan to Keep E-Cigarette Stores Open Without License Could be Problematic

Credit Credit Jakemaheu via Wikimedia Commons

The director of a group that advocates for the availability of electronic cigarettes says Bountiful City’s plan to let four e-cigarette shops stay open through 2014 without a business license, might do more harm than good.

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Local Government
2:25 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Bountiful Gives E-Cigarette Stores Grace Period to Comply with State Law

Credit Jakemaheu via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, the Bountiful city attorney informed four electronic cigarette shop owners they were in violation of a state zoning law and had five days to close up shop. Now city officials say the stores can stay open for another year—with one caveat.

As of 2012, it is a violation of state law for cities in Utah to issue a license to a retail tobacco store that’s within 1,000 feet of a community meeting place or 600 feet of a private residence.

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Business & Labor
2:46 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Bountiful May Not Renew Business Licenses for E-Cig Shops

Jakemaheu via Wikimedia Commons

Four electronic cigarette stores in Bountiful are being forced to close down because the city has declined to renew their business licenses for the year 2014. The city attorney says it’s closing the shops at the requested of the Davis County Health Department because they’re violation of a state zoning law.

Brad Parsons, the co-owner of e-cigarette store VaporLoc received a letter from the city attorney on Thursday, informing him that he will have to close his doors by January 1st. 

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LGBT Rights
7:02 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Law Expert: Stay on Marriage Equality Ruling Unlikely

An expert on marriage law says Utah’s fight against same-sex marriage is a long shot, even as the state is asking the U-S Supreme Court to stay last week’s court decision that legalized it.  KUER’s Whittney Evans has more. 

University of Virginia constitutional law professor Carl Tobias doesn’t think the Supreme Court will grant a stay in the Utah case.  It’s already been turned down by the judge who issued the ruling and by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

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LGBT Rights
12:57 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Petition Calls On Herbert to Let Gay Marriage Ruling Stand

Thirty-eight thousand people have signed an online petition supporting Friday’s court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Utah.

Tim Wagner says he initiated the petition called “Let it Stand, Governor” after Utah Governor Gary Herbert referred to U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby as an “activist judge” for declaring the state’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional and directed the Attorney General’s office to request a stay of the ruling. He says he wants to show Governor Herbert that there is a tremendous amount of support for the ruling.

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