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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<i>Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance</i>

The federal government has agreed to open up public access to three disputed roads in Juab County’s Deep Creek Mountains. With a judge’s approval, the state of Utah and Juab County can now claim ownership of Trout Creek, Deep Creek and Granite Canyon Roads, which had for years been off limits to motorists because they crossed federally protected lands. 

While the cost of obtaining a college degree in the United States continues to rise, Utah colleges and universities manage to keep college debt in check. NerdScholar, a website that helps college students make better decisions about higher education is calling Utah the 2nd best state in the nation for low student debt. 

The Draper TRAX extension will begin operating this Sunday. Utah Transit Authority officials today joined Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Utah Governor Gary Herbert and other state and local officials today in Draper to celebrate.

Red and Blue smoke billowed above the train at the new Draper Town Center TRAX Station, signaling the completion of the Utah Transit Authority’s FrontLines 2015 rail program.

http://www.hces.ogden.k12.ut.us/

Ogden School District Superintendent Brad Smith met with a group of Weber County Democrats this morning who are concerned about how education officials are managing the district. 

Back in June the Weber County Democratic Education Caucus requested information from the school district on testing data, teacher attrition and copies of the budget. 

Several Salt Lake City Council seats are up for grabs this year and three council members are retiring. Primary election day is this Tuesday. 

Councilman Carlton Christensen has represented much of Salt Lake City’s northwest quadrant for 16 years. District one includes areas like Rose Park, Jordan Meadows and the Salt Lake International airport. Six candidates are vying for Christensen’s seat. That’s more than any other district.

A group of school teachers in Utah are testing out some new math software today that they’ll be using in the classroom this year. It’s part of a new pilot program state lawmakers set in motion aimed at helping students master topics in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM. 

Jordan School District

Jordan School District is bursting at the seams. Schools there are growing at the rate of nearly two elementary schools a year. They’re growing so fast, that the Jordan School Board voted unanimously Tuesday for a bond measure that will make way for the construction of 11 new schools. 

The Salt Lake County council has denied the rezone application for a controversial development near the mouth of big Cottonwood Canyon. Council members cited building heights, canyon access and a general lack of support from the community and city leaders.

Speaking on behalf of Tavaci Developer Terry Diehl, Attorney Bruce Baird assured the council, if they approved the zoning application, his client would comply with any additional conditions the county might impose.  

Anti-Common Core activists and state education officials reached an impasse today when they tried to resolve their differences over Utah’s newly adopted education standards. 

Activists rallied outside the State Office of Education Friday morning to re-affirm their opposition to the Common Core which the state adopted in 2010.  Christel Swasey is a teacher and parent.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a Senate compromise today that shrinks student loan rates. Members of Utah’s congressional delegation say it was a good bipartisan deal. 

Earlier this month, rates on federally subsidized student loans doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent after Congress failed to reach a deal before a July 1st deadline. In a retroactive move, the U.S. Senate agreed on a bill last week that would bring those rates back down.

Salt Lake City officials say their non-profit bike-share program GREENbike has exceeded ridership expectations. That’s why today they added two new stations and expanded several existing locations. 

Speaking at the new Radisson bike share station on South Temple, Salt Lake City’s Transportation Division Director Robin Hutchison says this expansion will be the first of many.

Utah State Office of Education

Public schools in Utah are getting fewer federal education dollars this year than last;  due in part to federal budget cuts, but also because there are more low-income students nationwide who are in need. 

A projected nine percent reduction in Title 1 funding nationally will mean cutbacks in summer school programs, teachers and technology in many school districts and charter schools locally.

While Democrats piece together their own party-specific plans, a Republican group is preparing to file a statewide ballot initiative.  

Utah Democratic Party delegates voted last month to keep the caucus and convention system with the understanding that a committee of Democrats would spend the next year studying possible changes to the status quo.

An uptick in home prices combined with higher interest rates is making life hard for first-time homebuyers. But Zions Bank’s residential lending numbers show construction activity is strong. 

The Salt Lake Board of Realtors home sales statistics for the first quarter of 2013 show home prices in the Salt Lake area climbing steadily.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Downtown Salt Lake City this morning to witness the annual Days of ‘47 Parade. 

The annual celebration remembers the arrival of the first pioneer settlers to the Salt Lake Valley. On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young and his fellow Latter-day Saints emerged from the mouth of Emigration Canyon, pulling handcarts and driving wagons. 165 years later, colorful floats, horse-drawn carriages and pioneer wear harken back to that momentous trek.  

Tesoro Corporation

Environmental groups are suing the Utah Division of Air Quality hoping to stop an oil and gas refinery expansion the regulator approved in Salt Lake City.  The Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment say the expansion would move the state further out of compliance with federal air quality standards.

Salt Lake City officials hope to reign in escalating healthcare costs while improving the overall health and wellness of city employees and their families. The new Midtown Clinic for city employees opened this afternoon. 

Family practice physician, Dr. Trevor Jacobson says the hallmark of Salt Lake City’s Midtown Clinic is that visits will be longer and more personalized, similar to small-town family practices.

Bob Nelson

A legislative audit released today accuses the University of Utah of competing with private businesses by selling U of U merchandise at its off-campus “Red Zone” stores. The audit says the university needs to change the way it does business or state lawmakers should step in.

Republican State Representative Johnny Anderson says he first became concerned about Higher Education competing with the private sector last year when employees of the Dixie State College- run television station were under fire for leasing its broadcast vehicle out for non-university purposes.

It could be another couple of weeks before Salt Lake City parking meters are back in working order. A spokesman for the mayor’s office says the city is trying to determine why the big blue meters stopped accepting credit cards on Friday. 

City officials turned off the meters after receiving several calls about the issue. Spokesman Art Raymond says they’re not sure whether it is a software or hardware breakdown, but the city will figure out who’s responsible to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Salt Lake City has missed a deadline to apply for a federal grant for the second phase of the Sugar House streetcar line.  But a spokesperson for Mayor Ralph Becker says they never intended to meet it.  

Investigators have released a summary of their investigation into the University of Utah swim team and its embattled former coach.  The team was hired by the University’s Board of Trustees to research and review evidence linked to ousted coach Greg Winslow’s alleged misconduct and the University’s response to those allegations.

Some members of the Salt Lake County Council want a bigger role in deciding who the mayor appoints to county offices, boards and departments. They’ll consider an ordinance on Tuesday that would give them more time to review the resumes and qualifications of the mayor’s appointees.

The proposal requires the mayor provide information to the council about nominees prior to making an appointment.  It also requires some nominees to interview with the council.  Republican Council Chair David Wilde is advocating for the changes.

Student loan interest rates are set to double on Monday after members of Congress failed to agree on how to keep costs down before a July 1 deadline. 

Next week, interest rates on Federal Subsidized Stafford loans will jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.John Curl is director of financial aid and scholarships at the University of Utah, where he says student’s take out between 9 and 10,000 individual subsidized loans each year. But he says they won’t feel the sting of higher interest rates until after graduation.

Whittney Evans

    

A lot of people in Utah were celebrating last night after yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. Gay and lesbian activist groups sponsored a community event at Club Sound, while hundreds of conservatives convened at the South Towne Expo Center to venerate heterosexual marriage.

At Club Sound, music blared, confetti fell and people of all ages took to the dance floor to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage act.

Many students who are enrolled in charter schools across the nation are gaining on their traditional public school peers in some academic areas. But according to a new independent study out of Stanford University, Utah charter Schools are lagging behind. 

The conservative Sutherland Institute released a report today weighing Utah’s current method for selecting candidates to the state school board against possible alternatives. Some with the think tank say that despite widespread dissatisfaction with the current process, Utah lawmakers have been slow to agree on a new one. 

Utah Democrats voted this weekend to keep their current method for electing candidates to state and county offices — a system they share with Utah's Republicans.  

The big question at Saturday’s convention in Ogden was whether to keep the caucus and convention system or move to a direct primary.

The Salt Lake City council sidestepped the mayor’s veto of the city- council-approved budget today, which includes an $8 million property tax hike.

The council overrode the mayor’s veto on a five to two vote, with Councilman Stan Penfold and outgoing Councilman Carlton Christensen voting no.  Outgoing Councilman Soren Simonsen said the city can no longer scale back on maintenance to keep ordinary government operations afloat. 

The Salt Lake City Council approved the city’s $200 million budget yesterday, which includes an $8 million property-tax hike.  The council approved the increase despite Mayor Ralph Becker’s objections. 

Outgoing Councilwoman Jill Remington Love says the city has had to make tough budget decisions in the past few years. Because of a weak economy, rising health care costs and retirement, it’s now dealing with a dire structural deficit. 

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says the county can strengthen its supportive role in education by first investing in early intervention and afterschool programs. McAdams was speaking at the county’s first annual Education Summit at the Granite School District headquarters. 

McAdams is looking for ways to double the number of after school programs in the county.

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