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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Whittney Evans

Officials with the nation’s largest teacher’s union are in Utah celebrating the work of school cafeteria workers, secretaries, bus drivers and other Education Support Professionals.

Garrett via Flickr

Utah lawmakers may be seeking a comprehensive solution to the state’s transportation funding issues during the next legislative session.

The Salt Lake Chamber’s, Utah Transportation Coalition has identified an $11 billion dollar hole in the state’s transportation funding for the next three decades.  Representative Johnny Anderson Chairs the Utah House Transportation Committee. He says house and senate leaders are considering a wide range of options, including raising the gas tax, and better aligning registration fees with vehicle fuel efficiency.

AFP-REUTERS-GETTYIMAGES&AP via Flickr

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker was in Washington D.C. today presenting the final recommendations of the White House Climate Change Task Force. 

Last November, Mayor Becker and 25 other State, Local and Tribal leaders from across the country were picked to join the task force.  Over the past year, Becker says the group compared notes on how the warming climate is impacting their respective communities.

via Darrien Hunt Facebook page

A police report confirms an officer involved in the September shooting death of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt was wearing a body camera at the time of the incident. But officials say the camera was not on.

Bob Massey via Flickr

Help is on the way for aspiring homebuyers in Salt Lake City. Wells Fargo is partnering with non-profit NeighborWorks Salt Lake to provide moderate to low-income families with money for a down-payment and closing costs on a new home.

Wells Fargo’s Neighborhood Lift program is providing $15,000 grants to 224 qualified home-buyers in Salt Lake City. The grants are for legal residents who do not currently own a home.

Salt Lake County

Many refugees who come to live in Salt Lake County would like to make a living using the skills they brought with them from their home countries. Salt Lake County has partnered with the  International Rescue Committee to open a new incubator kitchen, that  gives many of those entrepreneurs a place to start.

Whittney Evans

Davis County voters were more informed and engaged during this mid-term election than in past years according to one Davis County Election Official.

Whittney Evans

The Salt Lake branch of the NAACP is asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the death of 22-year-old black man Darrien Hunt. Hunt was shot and killed by Saratoga Springs police officers back in September. 

Ogden School District

Brad Smith, the new Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction was sworn in Friday morning at the Utah State Office of Education. Smith is replacing Superintendent Martell Menlove who announced his retirement in March.

At least three state school board members lost their re-election bids this year, and three others decided not to seek another term.

Election Day was an upset for every incumbent running for re-election to the state school board-although the jury is still out on the race between incumbent Teryl Warner and David Clark. Clark is leading by just 57 votes, which is too close to call until the tally is finalized November 18th.

http://www.carriageforhire.net/

The Salt Lake City council is poised to enact an all-in-out ban on horse-drawn carriages in the city. This comes after year-long discussion about how to properly regulate the business.

KUER

In Utah’s 3rd Congressional District race, Republican Incumbent Jason Chaffetz handily defeated Democrat Brian Wonnacott by a 50 percent margin.

Whittney Evans

The two Saratoga Springs police officers involved in the shooting death of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt will not be charged with a crime. The Utah County Attorney’s office says the use of deadly force was legally justified. 

At 9:40 a.m., on September 10th, Saratoga Springs Police officers Matt Schauerhamer and Nicholas Judson were dispatched to an area near Redwood Road and State Route 73. A 9-1-1 caller had reported a suspicious man wielding a samurai sword. According to an investigation by the Utah County Attorney’s office, officers arrived at the scene to find Darrien Hunt.

Apollomelos via Wikimedia Commons

Salt Lake County is preparing to draw up a new 10-year-plan for the region’s parks and recreation facilities. But first they need input from those who use them.

The Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation master plan is what the county uses to guides spending, as well as management and construction of things like parks, open space and rec centers. And with the population expected to grow by half a million of the next few decades, the demand for those services will only increase. 

The Salt Lake City council is prepared to pass an ordinance requiring the Police Department send every sexual assault evidence kit in its custody to a lab for testing. 

Here, in this quiet space, no larger than typical college classroom, DNA-soaked cotton swabs hang from clothes pins and photos of crime-scene evidence dress the walls. Jay Henry is Director of the Utah State Crime Lab. He says this is where DNA evidence collected in the aftermath of a sexual assault, also known as Code R kits are tested.

This year’s Utah Education Association convention gave teachers an opportunity to learn new skills, improve their practice and compare notes with other educators. It also gave teachers a venue to speak up about their lack of voice in education policy.

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh is president of the Utah Education Assocation. She says public education is too often micromanaged by policy makers, adding there has been too much emphasis on assessments as a means of labeling schools, teachers and students.

Whittney Evans

Republican incumbent Jason Chaffetz is seeking a fourth term. His Democratic challenger is new to politics and not eager to embrace the attention that comes with running for public office.  

Ogden School District Superintendent Brad Smith has accepted a position as Utah’s next Superintendent of public instruction. A divided school board picked Smith out of four candidates on Friday. 

Whittney Evans

The Salt Lake City Police Department has formally signed on to partner with a national research organization and the U.S. Department of Justice to establish nationwide standards for handling sexual assault cases. 

Brian Grimmett

Utah Transit Authority will likely add holiday service to its 2015 operating schedule. The agency gave preliminary approval to its budget today, which includes money for improved Wi-Fi on Frontrunner and the addition of TRAX and bus service on July 4th, Labor Day and Memorial Day.

Whittney Evans

Democratic Brian Wonnacott challenged three-term Republican incumbent Jason Chaffetz to a debate Tuesday night at Utah Valley University. Both men are competing to represent Utah’s third congressional district.

Speaking about the recent White House security breach on the watch of the Secret Service, Chaffetz, who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said there are clearly problems with leadership, training and protocol. Wonnacott stumbled on that topic and struggled to clearly answer a question about the federal government’s handling of the Ebola crisis.

Whittney Evans

Same-sex marriage is once again legal in the state of Utah. The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday morning it would decline to hear same-sex marriage appeals in five states.

The high court’s refusal to review any of the nation’s gay marriage cases means same-sex couples are free to marry in 11 more states, including Utah. Derek Kitchen is a plaintiff in the case that struck down Utah’s ban. He says families in the 10th circuit, and other states across the country where same-sex marriage bans have fallen, can now plan their lives like every other person in the country.

Whittney Evans

Jon Huntsman Sr. Spoke today for the first time about his new autobiography, Barefoot to Billionaire, Reflections on a Life’s Work and a Promise to Cure Cancer.

Speaking to reporters at the Deseret Book headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City, Huntsman described his life as a series of lucky breaks and tragedies.

The billionaire’s book recounts how he built a manufacturing empire from a modest upbringing in rural Idaho and dedicated much of his wealth to charity.

Whittney Evans

Local health officials say it’s highly unlikely that a person admitted to Primary Children’s hospital yesterday with Ebola-like symptoms actually has the virus. Although medical professionals used the case as an opportunity to make sure they’re prepared to handle potential Ebola cases.

Primary Children’s Hospital Epidemiologist Andrew Pavia isn’t providing any information about the patient who was admitted on Wednesday, but he says the combination of this person’s recent travel history and symptoms initially gave physicians cause for concern. 

U.S. Supreme Court Justices will be talking about Utah Monday as it examines a handful of same-sex marriage cases from across the country. But whether the nation’s high court will take up Utah’s case is still unclear.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby struck down Utah’s gay marriage ban in December 2013, making the state’s ban the first to be challenged by a federal judge. In June of this year, the 10th Circuit Court in Denver concurred with Shelby’s decision. Utah and four other states have since asked the Supreme Court to settle these cases once and for all.

Garrett via Wikimedia Commons

David Burton, the former presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally elected chairman of the Utah Transit Authority board yesterday.  He told reporters that a recent legislative audit criticizing the agency is a no longer a concern.

The audit, released in August criticized UTA for sweetheart deals, excessive pay and bonuses for top executives and insufficient service that disproportionately impacts the poor. But Burton says the concerns highlighted in the audit, have already been addressed.

Whittney Evans

The family of the 22-year-old black man who was shot and killed by police outside a Saratoga Springs strip mall earlier this month is calling on the U.S. Department of justice to look into the case. Relatives say Darrien Hunt’s civil rights were violated because he wasn’t breaking any laws.

Whittney Evans

The 22-year-old black man who was shot and killed by Saratoga Springs Police last week was laid to rest in Sandy Thursday afternoon.  The funeral took place at an LDS church not far from where he died.

There was little discussion of the circumstances surrounding Darrien Hunt’s death which is still being investigated by Utah County Attorney’s office.  It was a solemn service, broken up by a few moments of joyful tears and laughter. The press was allowed to attend the funeral, but recording devices were not allowed inside the service.

shahram sharif via Wikimedia Commons

The Salt Lake City Council has agreed to move forward with a proposal to require all sexual assault evidence kits in the Salt Lake City Police Department’s custody be tested. The decision comes despite objections from Police Chief Chris Burbank.

The city council made it clear at its Tuesday night work session that it wants more from the Salt Lake City Police Department—more information, more processing of evidence, more transparency and more cooperation.

Brian Grimmett

The U.S. Department of Transportation has denied Salt Lake City’s application for a federal grant that would help the city stretch the Sugar House Streetcar eastward about half a block. Now the city council must decide how to move forward with federal funding off the table.

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