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. 

Ways To Connect

Former Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell will now lead Utah’s medical industry lobby as President and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association. The UHA board of Trustees announced the decision today, a month after Bell resigned from Governor Gary Herbert’s office.

Last week, the Utah Tax Commission announced that legally married gay couples who live in Utah will still have to file their state taxes separately, even though they can file joint returns on their federal taxes. 

Thirty-eight-year-old State Representative Spencer Cox was officially sworn in Wednesday as Utah’s new Lieutenant Governor. The Sanpete County native will replace outgoing Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell. 

Cox has only served in the legislature for one session, but he says in that time he’s learned the importance of public service.

Downtown farmer’s market enthusiasts won’t have to fret when the summer market ends this later this month. The winter market will open for business November 9th.

At the winter market patrons can grab a bite to eat from a food truck and do a little shopping for things like produce, meat and breads from more than 50 local vendors from across the state.

The market will be open every other Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm at the Rio Grande Depot.

Julie Clifford of Clifford Family Farm says it will make her life a little easier.

erinforcouncil.com & Bill Davis 4 District 5

On November 5th Salt Lake City residents in districts 1, 5, and 7 will choose new people to represent them on the city council. In District 5, Jill Remington Love, the only woman on the council is vacating her seat, and two very different candidates are vying to fill it: small business man Bill Davis and clean air advocate Erin Mendenhall.

The Coffee Garden in the 9th and 9th neighborhood is in the heart of District 5. Darryl High says places like this that make his neighborhood truly great. He’s a member of the East Liberty Park community council.

Ogden School District officials are looking at ways to alleviate large class sizes this school year. With an overall enrollment increase of nearly 200 students, many elective classes and some core classes are feeling a squeeze.

http://rescuesaltlake.org/

The estimated number of people who are homeless in Utah has declined nearly 10 percent since 2012. In addition, homelessness among families with children dropped by 8 percent. The news came from the state’s comprehensive report on homelessness, which was released today, the same day of Utah’s 10th Annual Homeless Summit at the Sheraton Hotel in Salt Lake City.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert joined statewide education officials Wednesday for a discussion about the state of public education.

Governor Gary Herbert says in the last two years, the state has made strides in funding public education. However he says because of a growing student population Utah continues to claim the title for lowest per-pupil spending and has the largest class sizes in the nation. In addition the high school dropout rate is 19 percent.

Despite few resources, Herbert says there is work to be done. 

Giles Larsen is a member of Move to Amend Salt Lake. The group has spent the last couple of years garnering local support to bring this question to Salt Lake City voters. 

“They’ve said almost unanimously, 88 percent that corporations are not people," Larsen says. "They should not be entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not the equivalent of speech and that it should be regulated.”

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says because the county came forward last week with emergency funding, many area low-income moms and babies will continue to have access to food and baby formula. The supply arrived at the Utah Food Bank today.

The Utah State Board of Education is trying to decide how best to discipline teachers who’ve been involved in misconduct. Specifically, they are asking: under what circumstances should they be expected to permanently revoke a teacher’s educator license? 

The federal government shutdown is delaying and even stopping some lenders from finalizing home loans. With the Internal Revenue Service closed for business, lenders are unable to obtain borrowers tax transcripts, which is a vital step in approving a mortgage. The US Department of Agriculture, which processes rural home loans is closed as well. 

Babs De Lay is the principal broker and owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates. She says lenders, buyers and sellers are panicked.

In spite of a government shutdown, today begins the six month-long enrollment period in which consumers can start signing up for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. This morning at the Sorenson Unity Center the Salt Lake City mayor’s office and Voices for Utah Children hosted a health care open house to help people navigate the various plans and sign up for coverage. 

Jose Caceres, a certified application councilor is walking a middle-aged man and his mother through the process of choosing a health insurance plan.

More public school students in Utah are taking advanced placement exams; and they did better on those tests this year than last. According to the latest data from the College Board, the organization that develops and administers standardized tests, Utah participation rates increased about 8 percent in the 2012, 2013 school year.  And there was a 7 percent increase in the number of exams with scores of 3, 4, or 5. Those scores translate to college credit for some colleges and universities.

http://www.carriageforhire.net/

The Salt Lake City Council will not ban horse-drawn carriage rides downtown. Nor do they have plans to tighten restrictions on the business any time soon. Last month, when a horse named Jerry collapsed downtown and later died, animal rights groups and some Salt Lake City residents urged the council to limit the use of carriages. Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke brought an ordinance proposal to the council Tuesday night that would have created a strict route for carriages and put a cap on the number of hours horses could work among other regulations. 

The Ogden City School Board agreed last week to extend Superintendent Brad Smith’s contract for another two years. Under the new contract, Smith, who earns $120,000 per year, is offered an additional $6,000 in potential bonuses, contingent upon his performance over the next year. Jennifer Zundel  is Vice President of the Ogden School Board. She says most district superintendents in Utah earn upwards of $200,000 per year.

The City of South Salt Lake has fewer parks and green space than most cities in Salt Lake County. That’s why South Salt Lake Mayor Cheri Wood says the city’s new playground is so important to her community.  Wood says McCall Park, located at 3702 south 250 east was born out of an effort to get more kids into preschool. In the meantime, city officials discovered a large number of those young children lived nearby a detention basin. Wood says the city immediately began working to transform the basin into a playground, which is now called the McCall Tot Lot.

A battle over food stamps is coming to the floor of the U.S. House this week. Republican leaders are backing a bill that would cut $40 billion from the program, formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, over the next 10 years. At the same time a new study released by the Food Research and Action Center, shows that in the last four years, about one in four households in Utah with children struggle to afford food for their families. Utah is just below the national average by about 1 percent. 

Gina Cornia is executive director of Utahns Against Hunger.

Salt Lake City’s Attorney says it’s perfectly legal for an individual or a group that’s behind a citizen initiative to submit both the, for and against statements in the voter information packet that comes with a ballot. On Monday, it was revealed that an active member of the anti-corporate personhood group Move to Amend is the face behind the statement “against” a local opinion question the group posed to Salt Lake City voters this month through a mail-in ballot.

Some people are concerned that a ballot Salt Lake City voters received in their mailboxes earlier this month is a waste of taxpayer dollars. The objectivity of the information accompanying the ballot is also in question. 

Federal law enforcement officials are now enlisting the public’s help to catch sex offenders. Homeland Security officials say the public can start by downloading Operation Predator to your iPhone. It’s a new application the department has developed to gather tips about perpetrators of child sex abuse.

Stan Penfold represents the third district on the Salt Lake City Council and he’s the only councilman running for re-election this year. But significant change in city leadership is still on the horizon, as three other members of the council have decided to step down.

Gwen Springmeyer says she couldn’t be happier with her idyllic slice of life in Salt Lake City’s upper Avenues. She chairs the community council there. 

When a 9-1-1 dispatch center in Salt Lake County gets a call like this, the operator will use one of two existing software programs to locate emergency responders; and based on the location of the incident, call on the responder that’s closest to the scene.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says the problem with this scenario is when dispatchers are divided between two software systems, they’re not communicating. Depending on where the call was routed and the location of the incident, the caller may have to be transferred to another operator.

Are you for or against a campaign to amend the U.S. constitution to say that corporations are not people and money is not speech? That’s the question Salt Lake City residents are being asked to answer this month as part of a new citizen initiative tool city officials created to let voters have their say. 

http://www.shstreetcar.com/

Utah Transit Authority will begin testing the Sugar House Streetcar line early next week. In the meantime, Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and UTA officials gathered along a residential section of the streetcar corridor this morning to unveil the look and name of the streetcar. Here’s a hint: It’s a familiar design.

Schools across Utah for the first time have been issued a single letter grade for their performance. According to the results of a new school grading system, released this morning, more than half of the state’s public schools got an A or a B, while the rest got C’s D’s or F’s. The education community responded this morning by calling the new system poor policy. But lawmakers contend it shines a light on poor-performing public schools.

On Tuesday, schools in Utah will be getting evaluation grades A through F to indicate how well their students are performing. Many in the education community say it will be giving parents the wrong impression about some schools. But Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser says it will make assessing schools more accurate and transparent.

Critics say the new letter grading system for school performance that was passed into law earlier this year is so narrow in its calculations that it will appear as though schools are doing worse than they are.

Brian Grimmett

Utah Transit Authority is rolling out a new electronic payment system that will eliminate the need for many TRAX and bus riders to carry change.

FAREPAY, is a card riders can load with up to $500 and use to tap on and off busses and trains. For a $3 service fee, riders can pick up a card at participating stores, at any UTA customer service location or order it on UTA’s website and have it delivered. The card can be loaded with money on the spot or online using a credit card.  UTA Spokesman Remi Barron says it’s already a familiar concept for many. 

West Valley City officials announced Tuesday; they’ve hired a police chief out of Kentucky to lead the city’s embattled police department.  Lee Russo, former Chief of the Covington Kentucky Police Department will replace retired West Valley City Police Chief Buzz Nielson.

West Valley City Manager Wayne Pyle says Chief Russo brings a great deal of wisdom to the West Valley City police department.

Salt Lake City

Residents of council District 1 in Salt Lake City are gearing up to choose a new person to represent them. Sixteen-year incumbent Carlton Christensen is retiring this year. 

It’s a Saturday morning in Rose Park, a neighborhood in Salt Lake City’s 1st district. Soccer players are in the middle of a game at Riverside Park. People are walking their dogs along the Jordan River Trail.

Blake Perez comes here often. He chairs the Rose Park Community Council. I asked him what will be on voter’s minds this November when they go to the polls.

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