Elaine Taylor

5:30 News Co-host / Reporter

After graduating with a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Utah, Elaine developed a love of radio while working long hours in remote parts of Utah as an archaeological field technician. She eventually started interning for the radio show Science Questions and fell completely in love with the medium. Elaine is currently taking classes at Utah State University in preparation for medical school applications. She is a host of UPR’s 5:30 Newscast and a science writer for the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. Elaine hopes to bring her experiences living abroad in Turkey and Austria into her work.

Where those tree branches, grass clippings and leaves you meant to rake up last fall go all depends on what bin you put it in.

On Friday, half a mile up Green Canyon in Logan, the excitement was mounting. Jittery fifth graders from Providence Academy gathered at a small pond to release nearly 50 fish they had been raising in their classroom aquarium.

“We got to watch them grow and we got to take care of them and learn all about them,” said fifth grader Brenley Crosby.


Nearly 1,500 years ago a small group of Western Shoshone Native Americans lived on a south-facing slope of what is now Dimple Dell Park in Sandy. Their pithouse, which included a fire pit and other remnants of their lives, was discovered a month ago while Questar Gas workers were replacing a 50-year-old pipeline.

Omar Havana/Getty Images/pbs.org

As the death toll from the weekend’s 7.8-magnatude Nepalese earthquake continues to rise, many Utahns are working to get much needed aid to the country.

Romikia Maharjan considers herself lucky; the Utah resident’s entire family still lives in Nepal and, though their house was destroyed in the earthquake, they are all alive. She said two days after the earthquake, her mother’s uncle is still awaiting surgery for a fractured leg, which he sustained in the quake.


Utahn James Lawrence, also known as the Iron Cowboy, is just over one month shy of setting out to do what many are calling impossible. Lawrence will be competing in 50 Ironman competitions in all 50 states  in 50 consecutive days.

“50 days in a row we’re going to do the Ironman distance which is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and then follow that up with a 26.2 marathon run,” Lawrence said.

Though many have expressed their doubts, Lawrence said he’s ready to show the world what he’s made of.

Nibley City

6:25 update: Surrounding cities have made water available for Nibley residents. A full list can be found here.

4:45 p.m. update: Nibley City officials say they do not know when water will be safe for consumption. Officials earlier in the day had predicted the water would be ready to drink by Wednesday evening.

Original Content: Nibley City residents were ordered to stop using culinary water Wednesday afternoon. City officials said diesel fuel was discovered in the city’s spring after a resident reported the smell of fuel in the water. The water should not be used for any purpose, including eating, bathing, cooking or cleaning. Boiling the water will not remove the contaminants. Workers are currently flushing the system.

Twilight Concert Series

The 2015 Twilight Concert Series lineup was announced on Tuesday. The Salt Lake City summer series kicks off on Thursday, July 16 with alternative rock heavyweight Death Cab for Cutie, who released their eighth studio album “Kintsugi” earlier this year.

Utah Pride Center

It’s prom season, and while many students are shopping for prom dresses or picking out tuxes for their school’s prom, others are getting ready for a dance geared especially toward LGBT youth.

“So many kids felt like they couldn’t go to their junior prom or their senior prom because they were gay or felt awkward, or didn’t really know where they fit in. And because of that, no one went and they felt left out,” said Sheila Raboy, director of operations at the Utah Pride Center. “This way, you’re giving the kids who would have stayed home from their prom the opportunity to go to one.”


While the employment numbers for most of the state remain positive, the latest data from the Department of Workforce Services shows that lower oil prices are still having an economic impact on the Uintah Basin.

The Department’s Regional Economist Tyson Smith talked about unemployment claims in the region.


From the Utah Department of Transportation: The Utah Department of Transportation advises motorists that the I-15 South Davis improvements Project will begin reconstruction of the 400 North Bridge over I-15 in Bountiful this coming weekend. Work will begin with bridge demolition the night of April 18, with southbound I-15 closed at Legacy Parkway in Farmington, and northbound I-15 closed at the 400 North (exit 317) in Bountiful, at 11 p.m. On Sunday, April 19, at 11 a.m.

Brigham Young University

New research from Brigham Young University could make solar panels more efficient in the future. To understand how this could happen, we’ll first need to understand how current solar panels work.

Solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity, but not all light carries the same amount of energy. Blues and greens, for example, have a higher energy wavelength than red.


You may have experienced it yourself or read about it on a popular mommy blog: pregnancy brain.

“Poor memory, poor attention, poor cognitive functioning,” said Michael Larson, an assistant professor of psychology at BYU.

Popular belief holds that moms-to-be in their third trimester and in the months that follow the birth of their child don’t think as clearly as when they’re not pregnant. But new research from Brigham Young University shows that pregnancy brain may not be real.


The Disability Law Center has launched an investigation into the death of 62-year-old Ramon Estrada, an inmate at the Utah State Prison. Estrada died on Sunday after failing to receive a scheduled dialysis treatment for kidney failure.


Peter Howe is an assistant professor in the department of environment and society at Utah State University. Though current public opinion polls are good at telling us about what the country as a whole thinks about climate change, Howe and his colleagues at Yale University were interested in looking at the differences between places.

“We wanted to look at how public opinion about climate change varies across the country,” Howe said.

Evan Hall

President Barack Obama ended his 15-hour long trip to Utah with a private speech at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden. Speaking in front of rows of massive solar arrays, the president addressed a group of about 75 guests and military personnel.

During the seven minute long speech the president lauded the state’s economy and thanked those in uniform for their service. The crux of the speech was the announcement of a new solar energy program that will be launching at Hill Air Force Base.


Students from Jordan High School’s Young Democrats club are still hoping to speak with President Barack Obama about wage equality during his first visit to the state, even though they haven’t heard back from the president’s team yet.

“We have not had anybody reach out to us yet, I don’t anticipate that will happen. But, we just wanted to see if we could sit down with him for a couple of minutes,” said Kari Schott, the 17-year-old president of the Young Democrats.

USU Extension

Through an executive order, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced far-reaching water restrictions for his state Wednesday, with the goal of cutting water use in farming, households, cemeteries and golf courses by 25 percent. While Utah’s water situation is less dire, state officials are thinking about how to manage water in a dryer West.

Hispanic students from across the Intermountain West gathered at the Utah State University campus over the weekend to learn about how to get a career in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

These students are all members of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, or SHPE, a group that works to get students involved in STEM.

“We’re trying to build a STEM-talent pipeline that extends all the way from junior high, high school, college and moving on to the professional careers,” said SHPE Regional Vice President Oscar Marquina.

Elaine Taylor

Like most February days in southern California, it’s sunny and near 80 degrees. My boyfriend and I, both being very fair, have smeared a thick layer of SPF 50 onto our exposed skin. We have decided to forgo a fancy dinner for Valentine’s Day and instead camp in the remote desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Every other couple from L.A. has apparently decided to do this too, and the park feels an awful lot like Disneyland.


Cases of gonorrhea in Utah are on the rise, but the cause of the increase remains unclear.

According to the Utah Department of Health, cases increased nearly 400 percent between 2011 and 2014. And there is a sharp divide in the increase between males and females.

“In the same time period we had a 296 percent increase among males, where we had a 717 percent increase among females,” said Joel Hartsell, at STD epidemiologist for Utah Department of Health.

A Caffe Ibis roaster holds freshly roasted beans.
Elaine Taylor

In late February Caffe Ibis coffee roaster Brandon Despain went from coffee competition newbie to first place winner of the US Coffee Championship. Despain began working for the Logan-based café as a barista a decade ago. He eventually transitioned to the position of roaster, training under late Caffe Ibis Co-owner and Roastmaster Randy Wirth.

crowd gathers in Selma, Ala.
Jason Gilmore

Our next installment of the 52 Strong: USU Civil Rights Pilgrimage series takes us to Selma, Ala. for the fiftieth anniversary of bloody Sunday. USU Professor Jason Gilmore brings us the history of the now infamous march, with research help by Austin White of Bellevue College.

Jason Gilmore

The first installment of “52 Strong” comes to us from a Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, Ala. The series follows USU Professor Jason Gilmore and two of his students as they travel through the South as part of a civil rights pilgrimage.

Montgomery, Ala. is contested space. On the one hand, it was considered the cradle of the Confederacy. On the other, the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement. It is the stories of courage and determination of the civil rights movement that drew us here.

The fiftieth anniversary of the 1965 civil rights march from Selma is coming up next week. Hoping to gain attention for voting rights, peaceful protesters, in the face of violence, walked 54 miles between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama.

April Ashland

Wednesday morning Gov. Gary Herbert seemed confident that his Medicaid plan, Healthy Utah, would be considered by the Utah State Legislature. Speaking with media, he said the plan had widespread support in the state, including from those in the health and business industries.

“Up and down the state of Utah the public polling shows 60 percent support or more. So the overwhelming support we’re receiving, which has kind of been spontaneous, it’s not anything that I’m orchestrating, but people out there recognize the common sense that we provide with the Healthy Utah approach,” Herbert said. “I hope the legislature is listening, they should represent the people, and we can certainly see where the people are at on this issue. I’m still cautiously optimistic that we will get something done.”

Jentrie's Journey

Bountiful resident Jentrie Williams was a healthy, active 25-year-old mother of three, until she learned that she had cancer in November. Since her diagnosis with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, she has written about her treatment and life with cancer in her blog “Jentrie’s Journey.”

“You couldn’t believe how busy I was, answering phone calls and all of this just trying to keep family and friends in the loop. Everyone was so worried and concerned and wanting to know what was going on, and it was exhausting,” Williams said.

Costs Of Oil: Cheaper Gas, Worse Air Quality?

Feb 21, 2015
Utah State University Old Main Webcam

As gasoline prices dipped below the two dollar mark and stayed there, it got us wondering: Do people drive more when gas is cheap? And in turn, could these lower prices be contributing to our air quality woes?

Along with powdery snow and red rocks, in recent years Utah has also become known for thick valley inversions in the winter months. Cars are a big contributor to those inversions and in Cache Valley less than one tenth of vehicles in the area emit 25 to 50 percent of all the chemicals contributed by cars that lead to unhealthy inversions. 

Lower prices at the pump
Elaine Taylor

Dirt roads zigzig through the Uintah Basin, connecting thousands of oil and gas wells. The area is rich in natural resources, and many of the towns that have sprouted up in this rangeland are built around the drilling and extraction of these resources.

The future of these wells—and the people who make a living from them—is uncertain, as oil prices remain at some of the lowest levels seen in years.

“In the month of December, oil prices have decreased between 35 to 40 percent,” said Benjamin Blau, a professor of economics at Utah State University.

Blau said these low prices stem from a slower global demand for oil while production is increasing.

“Currently, Utah is ranked 11th in the nation in oil production, and so whenever oil prices decrease, you can expect to see slower production,” Blau said.

desert bluffs

On Thursday we brought you the story of Jim Dabakis’ public lands bill SB 105. The bill aims to set a deadline for Utah’s public lands debate. If passed, it would require the Attorney General’s Office to file a lawsuit for the federal lands it claims rightfully belong to Utah by June of 2016. Dabakis’ goal: have the Supreme Court end the debate over the lands once and for all.

Assistant Attorney General Tony Rampton said Dabakis has it all wrong.

mesa in desert

A bill aimed at settling the public lands debate in Utah once and for all cleared committee on Tuesday and is headed to a vote in the Utah Legislature.

SB 105 would give Attorney General Sean Reyes until June 30, 2016 to file a lawsuit for federally owned lands in the state. Utah has long claimed ownership of more than 30 million acres of public lands it says the federal government does not have a legal right to.