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Features

Wildfire season is ramping up across our region. There are all sorts of people involved in waiting, watching and fighting them -- people you might not expect. We’re profiling some of them in a series, Faces Behind The Fires.

Lyle St. Goddard, 56, is running along a dirt trail on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.  

“It takes me about a lap to loosen up,” he said.

Being a hotshot is a young man’s game.

“I still can do it,” St. Goddard, one of the oldest crew members in the country, said. “I just got to keep in shape. I’ll be okay.”

Judy Fahys/KUER News

What we know about air pollution and health has roots in the mountain valleys of Utah. Winter smog episodes here are legendary.

KUED


Generations before him, Gyanu Dulal’s family came from Nepal to settle areas in southern Bhutan, a landlocked country just east of India. While it's a predominantly Buddhist country, Dulal and his family have always been Hindu.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

A 2014 law known as S.B. 54 expanded access to the primary ballot, but it’s also divided those who prefer caucuses over direct elections. Four years later, Republicans are still arguing about the caucus-convention system and its future.

istock

In the past few weeks teachers have been on strike for better pay in a number of states. Walkouts have taken place in West Virginia, Kentucky and Colorado — places that pay about what Utah does. In fact, Utah is ranked No. 45 in the country when it comes to teacher salary. So, will teachers here walkout next?

Kelsie Moore / KUER


The term “blog” is outdated these days. But, for all intents and purposes, that’s what By Common Consent is. It became popular during a time when Mormon blogs were popping up left and right. Now, a lot of them have fizzled out. But, with tens of thousands of hits each week, By Common Consent is as strong as ever.

Julia Ritchey / KUER


Ever since he was a young boy, Will Durham admits he’s had an affinity for neon. It’s hard not to when you grow up casino-studded town like Reno, Nevada.

Lee Hale / KUER

Issues of sexual abuse have been bubbling up for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over the last few months. And while a Mormon #MeToo movement seems to be growing, there are a few things holding it back.

Nicole Nixon / KUER

When Isabel Cueva was eight years old, she illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the United States. Six years later, she became a U.S. citizen.

Whittney Evans/KUER

 


A crime and drug crackdown outside Salt Lake City’s homeless shelter this summer forced hundreds of people out of the Rio Grande neighborhood. And they may be temporarily out of sight, but for many communities they’re not out of mind.

 

For many religious followers, faith and culture often blend together — to the point where the two can sometimes become indistinguishable. Faeiza Javed is a young Muslim woman who can relate to those who don’t understand her beliefs or culture. Because for a long time she didn’t either.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

Rev. Tom Goldsmith’s church, the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, has been in the news recently. In January, his congregation welcomed in a young Honduran mother, Vicky Chavez, and her two young children. Chavez was facing deportation, but rather than head to the airport she came to Goldsmith's church to seek asylum.

Erik Neumann / KUER


An outbreak of hepatitis A is spreading in Salt Lake County. But, while cases go up, it hasn’t gotten a lot of attention. One reason for that could be the population it’s primarily affecting: the homeless. Why is this epidemic so bad and what’s being done to stop it?

Kelsie Moore / KUER


The Believers Series features conversations with people of faith as they navigate the more complicated and controversial aspects of their beliefs.

 

Nish Weiseth is an evangelical Christian (well, it’s complicated) who has often found herself at odds politically with those with whom she worships. But, she leans into that tension both through her writing and more recently with her podcast “Impolite Company.”

Kelsie Moore / KUER


Teacher turnover is a struggle for a lot of schools. A new teacher is hired, they teach for a year or two and then *poof* they’re gone. It’s often the worst at schools where poverty is high and student achievement is low, but an elementary school in the heart of Utah’s Monument Valley might have a solution.

Courtesy / Matthew Allen

Matthew Allen used to lead the communications team at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Washington headquarters a couple of blocks from the White House.

Then he got demoted.

 


Utah is working to get mentally ill jail inmates the treatment they need to stand trial. But because of funding, many of them now have to wait. The Utah legislature is finalizing the budget this week, which includes money to expand the state hospital. But some worry it’s just a temporary solution.

 

Erik Neumann / KUER


Carbon County has the highest rate of overdose deaths from heroin and prescription drugs in Utah, but health workers and law enforcement don’t always agree on how to address that problem. Recently a compromise was reached by these two sides allowing one syringe exchange to operate there.

A fierce debate is taking place across the country right now: What to do about immigrants who came here illegally as children. Up until recently, they qualified for a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects them from deportation. But the Trump administration rescinded that Obama-era rule and Congress is debating what will take its place.  

We talked to three people affected by that debate right here in the Mountain West.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Remembering Japanese Internment In The Mountain West

Feb 21, 2018
Courtesy of Mitch Homma, the Homma & Wada Family Collection

In the spring of 1942, official posters went up across the West Coast and Arizona. All people of Japanese ancestry had one week to report to assembly centers. Ultimately, more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were forcibly imprisoned in internment camps, including nearly 8,000 in the Topaz Camp near Delta, Utah. This week is when we remember those camps and the people who lived in them.

Nicole Nixon / KUER

Many Utahns were excited when Mitt Romney finally made his candidacy for the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch official. Ogden resident Paul Henstrom, who voted for Romney for president in 2012, hopes he can be a bridge in a deeply divided Congress. 

le.utah.edu/State of Utah

There’s pushback on Utah’s Capitol hill against tough-on-crime bills Democrats have sponsored this year. Utah Senator Karen Mayne is sponsoring two of those bills. She has a soft spot for first responders.

Austen Diamond / KUER

For the first time the federal government has allowed states to develop work requirements for people on Medicaid, the low-income government health insurance program. It’s a big change, requiring people to work in exchange for health care. Utah is one of 10 states that applied to do it. At least one bill in the legislature is sketching out what work requirements could look like.

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.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain. Many use powerful opioids to treat it. But what if there was a way to manage chronic pain with your mind instead of drugs? That’s the focus of one researcher at the University of Utah. 

Whittney Evans / KUER

Valerie Young, a schoolteacher in West Valley City tearfully recalls the day she found out the boys who she believes killed her 16-year-old brother Craig in 1978 would not face charges.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Ellie Brownstein is a pediatrician in Salt Lake, so she keeps a fairly busy schedule. But in her spare time, you might find her carrying around a fat pink ball of yarn.

Renee Bright / KUER

This month marked the halfway point in Jackie Biskupski’s term as Mayor of Salt Lake City. Although she’s had some challenges and stumbles in her first two years, Utah's first openly-gay mayor is proud of what she’s accomplished so far.

Courtesy/Dinosaur National Monument

Dan Chure had just wrapped up a career at Dinosaur National Monument last summer. He’d worked there nearly 40 years.

Erik Neumann / KUER

One person dies from an opioid overdose nearly every day in Utah. In this heavily Mormon state, one addict-turned prevention advocate is asking the question: is the LDS church doing enough to address the state’s opioid problem?

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