Mary Heers

Volunteer Producer

Mary got hooked on oral histories while visiting Ellis Island and hearing the recorded voices of immigrants that had passed through. StoryCorps drew her to UPR. After she retired from teaching at Preston High, she walked into the station and said she wanted to help. Kerry put her to work taking the best 3 minutes out of the 30 minute interviews recorded in Vernal. Passion kicked in. Mary went on to collect more and more stories and return them to the community on UPR's radio waves. Major credits to date: Utah Works, One Small Step, and the award winning documentary Ride the Rails.

 

Mary Heers

The following is an unedited transcript.

At 11:00 last Friday, I was standing alone outside a 120 ft pigeon loft in Fielding, Utah, scanning the sky for incoming birds. A few minutes later, the loft owner, Derek Alder, pulled into the driveway. "I passed them in Malad," he said, hopping out of his truck. “They should be here in about 10 minutes."  Earlier that morning, Derek had driven 250 pigeons to Spencer, Idaho, 180 miles away. He had released them at 8 a.m. and had barely beaten them home.

Mary Heers

The minute I heard there was a well-stocked community fishing pond just five miles down the road from where I live, I dusted off my old fishing pole, slipped out of the house, and threw my line into the Wellsville Reservoir. I had the place to myself. There was snow on the ground but the water wasn't frozen. Within the first hour, I felt the tug on the line and reeled in a 12-inch trout. I was hooked! I returned just about every evening to catch my limit of 2. I called all my friends who liked to eat fish and started to consider adding fresh fish delivery to my resume.

Credit Courtesy & © Mary Heers

Just imagine waking from a very long sleep into a bright May morning in Cache Valley. This is the story of Luci, a western firefly, told charmingly by Melissa Marsted and illustrated by Liesl Cannon in their new children’s book, The Mystery of Luci’s Missing Lantern. 

Liesl Cannon, Illustrator

Just imagine waking from a very long sleep into a bright  May morning in Cache Valley.  This is the story of Luci, a western firefly, told charmingly by Melissa Marsted and illustrated by Liesel Cannon in their new children's book, The Mystery of Luci's Missing Lantern.  After completing her transition from a larva to an adult firefly, Luci notices she has no light.  She flies up Logan Canyon looking for her missing lantern, where the animals she meets encourage her to keep looking.  But its a bluebird on top of Mt. Naomi, the highest point in the canyon, who turns Luci around and sends her back to where she was born, the Nibley Firefly Park.  

There Luci finds her light. She sits down near the top of a tall blade of grass, and suddenly males fly by, flashing their lights, trying to get her attention. Luci discovers she can flash back. It's a party - a big courtship dance.

Wild About Utah: Swans

Mar 29, 2021
Mary Heers

A few months ago, I was driving a car on an interstate road trip when a picture of a coffee cup suddenly appeared on my dashboard with the question, "Need a rest?" I was a little startled to suddenly be getting questions from my car, but I must admit I felt a surge of relief when a large truck stop soon came into view. 

Mary Heers


When I was 14 and spending my first Christmas in Rome, Italy, I raced out onto the apartment balcony when I heard my mother cry, "Come, quickly." Below us down in the street was a small band of men in bulky coats playing homemade bagpipes. When they stopped, our neighbors showered them with coins. And then the players strolled off down the street.

Utah Statesman

As Christmas approaches and we start to share stories of past Christmases, I was delighted to find a story titled “Mrs. Scrooge and the Baseballs” in Ross Peterson’s new book “Christmas in Montpelier.”

Mary Heers

When glass artist Dana Worley was explaining to me how she had made the glass bowl I was admiring, she said something like, "It slumped at full fuse."

The Herald Journal, Jennifer Meyers

When Saboor Sahely came to Utah State University from Afghanistan, he was befriended by a fellow student who invited him to his home for Thanksgiving dinner.

Bronwyn Tarboton

Twelve years ago Bronwyn Tarboton graduated from Logan High School with one dream in her heart—to make it to Broadway. She honed her skills at BYU and six months after she graduated she moved to New York and started auditioning.

When the pandemic hit and social distancing became the order of the day, the Westminster Bell Choir at Logan's Presbyterian Church knew it could no longer gather to rehearse in the small basement room at the church. 

Hidden behind the closed doors of a Logan home, an abusive husband locked up his wife's and children's shoes. He thought he had them trapped inside. But one night the desperate woman grabbed her two kids and fled out a back window—running away barefoot in the snow.

What do you do if you're a music major at USU and want to add your voice to the call to take action on climate change?

A beaver swims through the water.
NPS J. Schmidt

When I first saw a beaver in Cache Valley I thought I'd seen an alligator. I was sitting in the front of a canoe when a large head shot past the bow followed by a black tail that flew into the air and came down on the water with a resounding slap.

Mary Heers

In this Project Resilience vignette, UPR producer Mary Heers tells us how card playing has helped her meet new people and make connections over the years.

Family Search

My name is Ann Berghout Austin. My story today is about my grandmother, Mary Hortense Keetch Rich. She lived in St Charles, Idaho, all her life except for a short period of time when she came over the hill, over the mountain, and went to school here at Utah State.

Courtesy of Janelle and Colton Carter

 


As part of UPR’s Project Resilience series, producer Mary Heers introduces us to a young husband and wife who are familiar with the challenges of adapting when life takes a sudden turn. 

Mary: Janelle Carter wanted to become a German teacher ever since she took her first German class in the seventh grade and was right on track. It was only supposed to be a short trip to Montana to visit her husband's family. Colton went out four wheeling with his friends. Janelle stayed home because she was four months pregnant. Then everything changed. Colton lost control of his four wheeler and hit a tree so hard it broke his back and severed his spinal cord.

Mary Heers

 

I first caught sight of the eight pelicans swimming in a straight line towards the water’s edge, looking a lot like a tank division in an old WWII movie. I slammed on the brakes just in time to see them all dip their bills into the water, come up spilling water and cock their heads back and then, gulp! Fish slid down their throats.

Big Boy Ashes

May 27, 2020


One year ago, Tim savage walked into the UPR recording booth at Promontory Summit and told us how he and his father-in-law, a lifetime steam engineer, had planned to travel from England to Ogden to see the Big Boy, a magnificent steam engine that the Union Pacific had rebuilt and brought to Ogden as part of the Golden Spike Celebration. 

Sadly, his father-in-law died before the trip, but left him with a dying wish to have his ashes go into the firebox of the Big Boy engine.

Bears In Utah

May 19, 2020
Mary Heers

 

As I hopped out of my car to take a short hike up Cache Valley’s Dry Canyon Trail I was surprised to see the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources had posted a picture of a black bear. “Bear Country,” it said. “Store food safely and keep campsites clean.” I’ve never seen a black bear in Utah but a quick check of the DNR website confirmed that as of last count, July of last year, there were 4,000 black bears in Utah. In winter the bears stay out of site. But by May they are coming out of hibernation looking for food and very hungry.

Courtesy of Barbara Abbott.

As part of the Utah Public Radio series, Project Resilience, we hear from retired Northern Utah teacher Barbara Abbott, who remembers times she would take her wayward dog Cedar Bear to work with students at Hillcrest Elementary.

StoryCorps

As we bring our One Small Step series to a close, we would like to say thank you to everyone who took this journey with us. Listening is an act of love, and saying "thank you" will never go out of style.

Dani Hayes

When she was 20, Clare Coonan stepped away from her traditional family upbringing.  When he was 50, Scott Swain took a similar big step.  

Tom Williams

When Steve McIntyre and Maughn Gregory sat down with One Small Step, they found their life experiences as liberals living in predominantly conservative neighborhoods had taken them down two very different paths.

Tom Williams

While recording for One Small Step this summer, we found that two people often entered the recording booth as strangers, and left as friends.  Crossing the divide often bean with the small step of sharing a personal story.  Thanks to Linda Stay for this story, recorded in Saint George.

Dani Hayes

Clayton Long lives in Blanding Utah; Liz Ballenger lives in Moab. They met halfway in Monticello, finding common ground for their love of nature and juggling the different cultures introduced to them throughout their lives. 

Jump The Moon

A Logan art studio says, "Art is for everyone", and invites people of all abilities to jump in.  Mary Heers and Kirsten Swanson bring you the story as part of the UPR original series Diagnosed.

When the last tap pounded the Golden Spike into place, the telegraph operators standing alongside tapped out the word DONE. Whistles blew and hats flew through the air – the Transcontinental was done but railroading in Utah had really just begun. 

Thuy-Tien Thi Lindsay

As university students have headed home for the winter break, graduate student Thuy-Tien Thi Lindsay sits down with her Buddhist-Vietnamese extended family in Atlanta, Georgia, over a big plate of food -- which will certainly include a healthy helping of her auntie's abundant harvest of squash.  Thuy-Tien is studying the hibernation of bumblebees.

Picryl

As part of UPR’s Women 20/20 series, we applaud the women of Utah who have chipped away at barriers to jobs previously done only by men.  

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