Utah News

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

Macey's allows volunteers to gather signatures to repeal tax reform changes, such as increased tax on food items.
Kat Webb / UPR

Almost immediately after the tax reform bill passed during a special legislative session and was signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert in December, everyday citizens — like Michele Alder of North Logan — jumped into action. 

Kerry Gibson Leaves UDAF To Run For Congress

Jan 18, 2020

After years of experience in local and state government, former Utah Department of Agriculture and Food  Commissioner Kerry Gibson is ready to take his knowledge and experience to Washington. Gibson announced his campaign for Utah's First Congressional District earlier this week while stepping down from his position as comissioner. 

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One of the longest-serving Democratic members of the Utah Legislature has announced she will not seek reelection. The Salt Lake Tribune reports Rep. Patrice Arent plans to retire when her term expires Jan. 1, 2021. Arent joined the Utah House in 1996 and served until 2002 when she defeated the GOP Senate majority leader in a race that set a state spending record. She left the Senate four years later but returned to the House in 2010. The Millcreek representative disclosed last May she was being treated for cancer, but says health concerns did not motivate her retirement decision.

One of the longest-serving Democratic members of the Utah Legislature has announced she will not seek reelection. The Salt Lake Tribune reports Rep. Patrice Arent plans to retire when her term expires Jan. 1, 2021. Arent joined the Utah House in 1996 and served until 2002 when she defeated the GOP Senate majority leader in a race that set a state spending record. She left the Senate four years later but returned to the House in 2010. The Millcreek representative disclosed last May she was being treated for cancer, but says health concerns did not motivate her retirement decision.

Gage Skidmore / flickr

Two rallies calling on Utah senators to push for an impartial impeachment trial for President Donald Trump have drawn a combined total of over 100 people. The demonstrators from a coalition of progressive groups gathered outside the federal building in Salt Lake City in the morning and again in the evening. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the rallies were direct at Utah's Republican senators, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee. Groups represented included Move On, Vote Common Good and Mormon Women for Ethical Government. 

A Colorado energy company has laid off a third of its workforce in southeast Utah. Most of those employees worked at White Mesa Mill, the last conventional uranium mill operating in the United States. The Salt Lake Tribune reports Energy Fuels Inc. laid off 24 of its 79 employees. Low global uranium prices have pushed the mill to primarily process low-grade radioactive waste from across the country. Mill officials and a Utah congressman blamed foreign subsidies and state-run companies abroad for undercutting American uranium companies.

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Former Utah Republican party chair Thomas Wright is adding a political heavyweight to his run for governor by tapping outgoing Congressman Rob Bishop as his lieutenant-governor candidate. Bishop had already said he would not run for a ninth term in the U.S. House. He had considered running for governor himself before teaming up with Wright instead. Thursday's announcement comes as Wright looks to set himself apart in a crowded GOP field that also includes former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. and current Lt.

William C. Campbell / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Data from GPS collars on animals are used to determine crucial habitats and migration routes. Because of technological advances scientists can now collect animal locations in three dimensions as often as 32 times per second.  But this abundance of data comes with a downside.

Logan Women's March Focusing On Accessibility, Inclusion

Jan 16, 2020
Rhysara, pixabay

Across the country, people are preparing for the fourth Women’s March on Saturday. In Logan, organizers are focusing on making sure people of all abilities can participate in the event. 

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Officials say the price tag of the new Salt Lake City International Airport has increased to $4.1 billion. The Salt Lake Tribune reported the Airport Advisory Board has received an update of a new master plan that considers long-term needs beyond the airport's completion. Officials say the increased costs will be covered by user fees paid by airlines and their passengers, not through local taxes. Officials say the increase is largely due to facilities that have been added or expanded to handle extra growth since the new airport was initially planned.

Authorities say a small plane crashed in a Utah neighborhood, killing the pilot as the aircraft narrowly avoided hitting any townhomes. Police say the 64-year-old pilot was making a short flight Wednesday in a twin-engine Cessna but crashed in the city of Roy, north of Salt Lake City. Police told The Salt Lake Tribune that debris from the plane crashed through the roof of a home that didn't have anybody inside at the time. A witness says he saw the plane pitch sharply left before nose-diving near a highway and exploding. Investigators haven't said what caused the crash.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered state health officials to stop distributing condoms with cheeky plays on state pride that were branded as part of an HIV awareness campaign. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the governor's office released a statement Wednesday saying he understands the importance of educating residents about HIV prevention, but he does not approve of using sexual innuendo as part of a taxpayer-funded campaign.

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Businesses in communities bordering Utah say the state's new and stronger beer allowances have hurt sales. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the beer sales have dropped about 20% to 30% in some parts of Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and Colorado. Business officials say the drop in sales came after Utah began letting grocery stores, gas stations and bars sell brews with 5% alcohol by volume in November. Business owners say residents who wanted higher-alcohol beer and didn’t want to pay the liquor store markup made special trips to stock up, which is now illegal under state law.

Diverse Utah Women Honored At Book Event

Jan 15, 2020
Mae Timbimboo Parry and Brady Yeager Parry; Brady Yeager Parry walked into the Thatcher-Young Mansion with a few friends for extra credit, but found an illustration of his grandmother, Mae Timbimboo Parry — one of the women featured in Champions of Change
Kat Webb / UPR

The Cache Celebration of Women’s Suffrage teamed up with Better Days 2020 and Utah State University to hold a book signing event for Champions of Change, written by Naomi Watkins and Katherine Kitterman, and illustrated by Brooke SmartThe event — the first of several to occur over the year — brought as diverse of a crowd as the women featured in the book to the Thatcher-Young Mansion on Tuesday.

Utahns On The Front Line: Families Separated By Duty

Jan 15, 2020
Tien Lindsay

U.S. military families cope with extraordinary challenges everyday to serve their country.  In the first installment of this story, we met Tyler and Tien Lindsay, a married couple serving together. In our second and final installment, the couple reveals how the dynamics of their marriage changed after Tien retired from the military, but Tyler continued to serve.

Poll: Utah Voters Back Cap on Co-Pays for Insulin Prescriptions

Jan 15, 2020

The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs has become a bipartisan issue among voters, and Utahns overwhelmingly back a plan to help diabetics overcome the cost of life-saving insulin.

Utah lawmakers want to know how a license plate with the phrase “DEPORTM” got approved despite state rules against expressing contempt for any race, religion or political opinion on vanity plates. Concerned officials say that while people can say almost anything they want on a bumper sticker, license plates are different because those messages are approved by the state. Lawmakers are expected to question the head of the Division of Motor Vehicles at a hearing on Wednesday. It comes after the vanity plate got attention after a troubled commuter posted a photo of it online.

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A person who stood up and shouted during a general conference session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to draw attention to allegations of sexual abuse has been fined and ordered to stay away from the faith’s main temple. The Deseret News reports a judge levied the penalty Monday against 25-year-old Crystal Legionaires, who stood up and yelled "Stop protecting sexual predators” during the twice-yearly meeting of the faith in March 2018. Legionaires was found guilty of the infraction of disrupting a meeting and fined $340.  

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A woman who accused The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of covering for a former missionary leader who she says raped her in the 1980s says she may be ready to drop her lawsuit against the faith. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that McKenna Denson said Tuesday during a court hearing that she still doesn't have an attorney and may not want to get one anymore. U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead gave her two weeks to make a decision. Denson of Pueblo, Colorado, accused Phoenix-area resident Joseph L.

Tien Lindsey

The rise and fall of political tensions around the world mean Utahns who are members of the U.S. military and their families are preparing for potential deployment  into dangerous situations with little notice. Tien and Tyler Lindsay know first-hand what it means to be a military family deployed in a dangerous conflict.

'Blue Trail' Proposed For Cache Valley

Jan 14, 2020
Blue Trail on Logan River; The proposed 'blue trail' would start around First Dam and have multiple access points until ending at the Cutler Marsh.
Logan City Parks and Recreation

Frank Howe, the chairman of the Logan River Task Force, and the Logan City Parks and Recreation Director, Russ Akina, announced a plan to incorporate the Logan River into the Cache Valley Trail System as a ‘blue trail’ on January 7. If adopted, the proposed blue trail could eventually span from just below First Dam — close to the USU water lab — to the Cutler Marsh Marina.

Easement Protects Public-Land Access in South-Central ID

Jan 14, 2020
Tess O'Sullivan/TNC

About 76-hundred acres of land and more than three miles of access to public lands located between the Pioneer Mountains and Craters of the Moon National Monument are being protected thanks to the help of a conservation easement. The easement surrounds the Cenarrusa Ranch, located northeast of the town of Carey, which was recently purchased from The Nature Conservancy.

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A defense attorney has confirmed a Utah man who authorities say vandalized a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple will receive a competency evaluation before his case moves forward. The Herald Journal reported Monday that a defense attorney said he and his 34-year-old client of Smithfield, Utah, were not prepared to move forward with the hearing and requested an evaluation. It is unclear when the evaluation is scheduled.

Upcoming Event Celebrates Women's Suffrage in Utah

Jan 13, 2020
Matilyn Mortensen

Next month marks 150 years since the first woman in the United States voted in Utah.

Medical Marijuana; Utah gave 14 licenses allowing 10 companies to open medical cannabis pharmacies (referred to as dispensaries in other states).

While the bill that replaced Utah’s Proposition 2 — the citizen effort to legalize medical marijuana — did not let rural Utahns grow their own cannabis plants at home as initiative sponsors had wanted, the replacement law has a potentially more convenient option: home delivery.