Utah News

Utah News and UPR Newsline are productions of Utah Public Radio. 

Soil Judging- Judging The Wanted Dirt

27 minutes ago

As a way of helping to identify the difference between unwanted dirt and valuable soil, soil science students hold soil judging contests.  The most recent soil judging contest happened in Northern Utah.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources


The Henry mountains near Capitol Reef National Park are said to be the last mapped place of the continental United States. But today, the Henrys are on the map — for the huge bucks that call the secluded mountains home.

Creative Commons

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Millions of Californians spent part of the week in the dark in an unprecedented effort by the state's large electrical utilities to prevent another devastating wildfire. It was the fifth time Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has preemptively cut the power but by far the largest to date in the utility's effort to prevent a deadly wildfire sparked by its power lines.

But do the power shut-offs actually prevent fires?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has announced sites and dates for three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate, to be held just weeks before Election Day in 2020.

The presidential debates are set for Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana; Oct. 15 at the University of Michigan, and Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. 

One vice presidential debate has been scheduled, for Oct. 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. 

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The CEO of a Utah-based tech company has been reported missing during a business trip to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Family members say Erin Valenti, head of Tinker Ventures, was last seen in Palo Alto on Monday.

Her husband, Harrison Weinstein, wrote on Facebook that phone activity suggests Valenti may have been driving in San Jose. He says she never returned her rental car or made it on her flight back to Utah. 

Utah Seeing A Rise In Fatal Fentanyl Overdoses

Oct 11, 2019
US Customs and Border Patrol / Flickr

Doctors are prescribing the synthetic opioid drug fentanyl less than ever before, and yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Drug Enforcement Agency have released data showing the drug or its derivatives are behind nearly half of all drug overdoses in the country. 

dave_7 / Flickr

For seven years, Jennifer Barsell's home was an old Toyota Corolla.

"It was a junk piece, so bad," she said.

But nine months ago, she became one of the fortunate few in Weber County to surmount chronic homelessness. The 50-year-old former restaurant manager was allotted a tiny cottage in central Ogden, a unit leased by the Weber Housing Authority.

As Utah experiences a housing shortage amid rapid population growth, and correspondingly higher rental costs, low-income people are being forced to the brink of homelessness.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Bighorn sheep don’t sound good coughing. And biologists warn it’s the sign of sheeps’ number one killer - pneumonia.

There were fewer crimes overall in Utah last year, although the number of sexual assaults increased for the fifth year in a row, according to a law enforcement report.

The Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification last week published the annual Crime in Utah report documenting crimes committed in 2018.

The report that uses data from local law enforcement agencies says 80,622 index crimes were committed in 2018, a nearly 12% decrease from 2017. Index crimes include eight offenses used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to produce its annual index of national crime.

Utah Cattlemen's Association


“The big get bigger, and the small go out.” That’s what United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told farmers in Wisconsin last week at the World Dairy Expo. Advocates for family farms are denouncing the claims, saying small farms are as important and innovative as ever. 

Utah State Library / Flickr

Utah education officials are seeking to update rules on how to handle licensed teachers accused of misconduct.

The Utah State Board of Education has started the process to update board rules on disciplining teachers.

The board last week approved recommendations from a task force.

The recommendations involve issues like schools and school districts reporting alleged misconduct, reinstating a license and establishing a new rule on educator standards.

The panel also called for comprehensive training on educators' professional conduct.

Fall enrollment rates at Utah State University have dropped according to a statewide report released this week.  The Utah System of Higher Education enrollment numbers show Utah State University's fall enrollment fell by 122 students. The University of Utah enrollment numbers fell by 171 students.

Earl Creech

Utah is one of the driest states, and citizens are accustomed to drought warnings and plans. Last October, Governor Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency when he put a drought emergency order into effect. Now, a year later, the order has been lifted and 2019 will now take its place as Utah’s 10th wettest year recorded.

As of Sept. 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the national total of vaping-related lung illnesses has risen to 805. Utah has reported more than 70 cases, the highest number per capita. 

Dean Andrew / Flickr

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Wednesday the faith will allow women to be official "witnesses" at two key ceremonies where they were previously only allowed to observe, marking the latest small step toward breaking down rigid gender roles in the religion.

The policy change adds to a long list of significant moves made by church President Russell M. Nelson during his first two years as he builds a transformative legacy.

A Utah high school student who survived a gunshot wound to the head has been named homecoming queen by her classmates. Deserae Turner was named the queen of the homecoming court for Green Canyon High School in North Logan.

Turner was found in a ditch after being shot in the back of the head and left for dead by two classmates in February 2017.

Colter D. Peterson and Jayzon Decker, both 17, were convicted and sentenced to prison in 2018 for the shooting in Smithfield, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of Salt Lake City.

Tim Vitale / Utah State University

“Diversity, inclusion and respect. These are very important values for me,” said Utah State University's president Noelle Cockett at her state of the university address on Tuesday.

Though she introduced this initiative toward the end of her address, Cockett highlighted the importance of the goal as one of her top priorities for the upcoming year. 


Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has rescinded an emergency drought order nearly a year after it went into effect.

Persistent rain and snowfall this year have gradually put an end to statewide severe drought conditions.

Almost 99 percent of Utah was experiencing at least moderate drought last year when the governor declared a state of emergency in October 2018.

Herbert said it was affecting agribusiness, livestock production and wildlife habitats.

Natalie Boren / UDWR

Not long ago, Pelican Lake, roughly between Vernal and Deschene, was full of bluegill fish and bass.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / Max Pixel

Parts of Utah are facing sub-freezing temperatures over the next day.

The National Weather Service issued a "hard freeze" warning Sunday that is expected to last until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The warning means outdoor plumbing and crops that have no protection could sustain significant damage.

Temperatures could drop down to the mid-20s or lower.

The conditions are related to a snowstorm that has dumped record amounts of snow on the northern Rocky Mountains.

Parts of Montana, Idaho, Washington state are getting winter storm warnings.

Aggie Chocolate Expo: A Unique Chocolate Experience

Sep 29, 2019

One year ago, Utah State University was preparing for the grand opening of the Aggie Chocolate Factory - working both as a laboratory for food science students as well as an opportunity to teach the public the complexity of chocolate making.

A skating rink in the winter, a performance stage in the summer, and more downtown housing. It’s all part of the Center Block plan presented to Cache Valley citizens Wednesday. 


Utah officials say they have shaved $100 million off the estimated price of a proposed pipeline that would pull water from Lake Powell.

The Utah Division of Water Resources said in a news release Wednesday the cost savings come from scrapping plans for two reservoirs that would have generated hydropower at peak demand times.

Division spokeswoman Marcie Larson says the project is estimated to cost $1-1.7 billion, down from as much as $1.8 billion. It would be repaid over 50 years.

Aqua Vape Juice
Kat Webb / Utah Public Radio

It’s been one month since the first vaping-related death was reported, and now, state and federal legislative bodies are considering banning flavored e-cigs and vaping juices, especially with the multitude minors who admit to using these products.

Utah Officials Push Back Over Lower Emissions Standards

Sep 25, 2019

The federal government is planning to revoke an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that allows California and 13 other states plus Washington D.C. to enact higher tailpipe emissions standards.