Utah News

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

Utah National Guard

 A Utah Department of Health report of a coronavirus death Sunday brought the state’s number of deaths for a seven-day period to the highest mark since the pandemic outbreak began in March. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the latest fatality related to the coronavirus was one of 37 in a week. The second highest number of deaths occurred in the previous week, when the deaths of 32 people were attributed to the virus. The most recent victim was a Davis County woman in a long-term care facility.

 A lawsuit filed in federal court accuses Utah State University of unlawfully discriminating against and expelling a student with Down syndrome. The Deseret News reports Emily Arthur was in the Aggies Elevated program which offers students a mix of career exploration and independent living leading to a certificate. The lawsuit filed in Utah’s U.S. District Court seeks unspecified damages and injunctive relief.

Utah’s Housing Market Is Strong Despite Pandemic

Jul 31, 2020



Nationwide, anywhere between a quarter to a half million homeowners could face foreclosure by the end of 2021 as a result of the pandemic, according to new projections from Attom Data Solutions

Thursday was Human Trafficking Awareness day and the Utah Coalition Against Secual Assualt held an online community education event to mark the occasion.

Oil rig
US Bureau of Land Management

As the mineral lease money that comes from the oilfields shrinks, Uintah County officials are making tough decisions about how to fund services like the fire department and animal control. 

State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn speaks at a COVID-19 press briefing on July 30, 2020.
Office of the Governor



On Thursday Utah’s Department of Health unveiled its much anticipated school re-opening guidelines. The 102-page document provides schools and the public with a roadmap on how schools should go about resuming in the fall.


It’s almost back to school time and with the pandemic, people have lots of safety concerns.

Matilyn Mortensen

Logan is the second city in Utah to institute a mask mandate. The mandate was approved by Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday and will go into effect on Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Utah’s largest teachers union has called for schools to delay reopening buildings for in-person learning and instead start only with online classes. The Utah Education Association on Tuesday called for state leaders to temporarily resume distance learning until COVID-19 cases further decline. The union says school districts should seek input from educators and local health authorities before moving forward with any reopening plans. The governor's communications director says ensuring that schools are safe before students or teachers return to the classroom is crucial.

A Hawaii man accused of tormenting a Utah family for more than a year by using the internet to send more than 500 people to their house for unwanted services including food deliveries, repairs, tow trucks, locksmiths, plumbers and prostitutes pleaded guilty Monday to one count of cyberstalking. The 44-year-old Loren Okamura entered the pleas during a video conference hearing that capped off a case that prosecutors called an “extreme” example of the darker and seedier side of modern technology.

Police have identified the three adults and 9-month-old child who died after a small airplane crashed in a Salt Lake City suburb this weekend. Police say the pilot, Lee Wyckoff, his 9-month-old daughter Coral Wyckoff and Milda Shibonis died when a Piper PA-32 crashed into a West Jordan backyard on Saturday. Mary Quintana who was on her back porch when the plane crashed died Monday.  The pilot’s wife, Rebecca Wyckoff, and a 2-year-old were critically injured. Shibonis’ 12-year-old daughter was the only passenger who wasn’t critically injured. A total of three homes were damaged. 

The family and friends of two Saratoga Springs teenagers who drowned in Utah Lake after a catastrophic windstorm hit the area in May are proposing building a “life jacket loaner station” to prevent similar accidents from happening in the future. The Daily Herald reports the group proposed building a wooden station equipped with a life jacket rack at the entrance of the Knolls so Utah Lake people could take or leave life jackets free of charge.

Marcel Salathe and Nicky Case

With COVID-19 cases continuing to grow in Utah, contact tracing is a priority for health departments around the state. But what exactly can you expect if a contact tracer calls you?

vectorfusionart / Adobe Stock

As Congress debates a new coronavirus stimulus bill, more people in Utah are facing food insecurity as the economy struggles with the effects of the pandemic. Groups that offer social services say some families who were previously able to provide healthy meals will see a double whammy at the end of this week.



As Utah school districts continue to make plans about holding school during the pandemic, teachers are preparing to implement safety precautions.


Summer months are traditionally slow at the Fun Park in Logan when many Utah State students leave the valley and the people who are in town often opt for outdoor recreation. But with the coronavirus pandemic, business has hit a new low with impacts that could reach the University. 

Housing Advocate Says Utah Likely To See Spike In Evictions

Jul 28, 2020
An Errant Knight



As Congress debates a new pandemic relief bill two measures benefitting renters are set to expire. 

Jorge Gonzalez / Natural History Museum of Utah

New research in South America links dinosaur diversification with a sudden climate change event. How does “sudden” climate change in the Triassic geologic time, over 230 million years ago, compare with modern climate change? 

BRAG Worries COVID Evictions Could Overwhelm Already-Strained Services In Area

Jul 28, 2020

Officials with the Bear River Association of Governments are worried that evictions could overwhelm already-strained housing assistance programs as the coronavirus pandemic stretches on.

Sarah Thomas



For the first time, alternative routes to the controversial proposed northern corridor in Southern Utah are being discussed, and agencies want to hear the public’s opinion on the matter. 

Utah School Workers: Safety Measures Needed To Reopen

Jul 27, 2020
pyzata/Adobe Stock

As Utah school districts work to meet an August 1st deadline to develop plans to reopen this fall, teachers and support staff say safety measures must be in place to protect them from COVID-19.

Minorities who have been charged with crimes in Utah can argue against lengthy conviction sentences if they can provide proof of racial bias in the criminal justice system. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday that the Utah Sentencing Commission approved the guideline in January, but it does not appear many defense attorneys have tried to make the argument yet. Judges look at many factors during sentencing, including a defendant’s age and criminal history, but attorneys can now bring up racial issues.

Authorities say three people are dead and others injured when a small airplane crashed in a suburban Salt Lake City neighborhood on Saturday. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Piper PA-32 with six people on board had taken off from South Valley Regional Airport and crashed into a West Jordan backyard. West Jordan Police said a 9-month-old, the pilot and a woman died, while a woman is in critical condition and a 2-year-old is in stable condition. They also said an older woman who was inside the house when the plane struck is in critical condition.

Authorities in Utah have arrested a 14-year-old boy on suspicion of shooting and killing a young woman who lived on his street. The Deseret News reported that the Sandy Police Department said the boy, who was not named, was booked into Salt Lake Juvenile Detention on suspicion of killing 18-year-old Aliani Mejia-Marin. Sandy Police Sgt. Clayton Swensen says officers responded to report of a confrontation Wednesday between three boys, including the suspect, and Mejia and her husband. Mejia was found dead inside a vehicle. An investigation is ongoing. 

A mayor in northern Utah has asked for a citywide mask mandate to limit the spread of COVID-19, a request that has drawn mixed reactions from Cache County council members and city residents. The Herald Journal reported that Logan Mayor Holly Daines said the mandate would help protect the community as students return to school. The request came after Republican Gov. Gary Herbert issued a mask mandate in all K-12 schools, and Utah State University implemented a similar rule on its campus in Logan.

A group of over 150 educators rallied outside Utah's Capitol building to call for stronger protections against the coronavirus for schools when they reopen this fall. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the teachers wore cloth face masks during the protest Thursday and stood socially distanced from each other on the lawn.

The parents of a Utah man who was shot and killed by police in his driveway while holding a knife have filed a lawsuit against the city of Ogden and its police department. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, Juan and Rosa Mercado allege the officers had no reason to shoot their son because he posed no harm to the officers or anyone else and hadn’t broken any laws. Mercado's sister says he needed help that day from police and instead they killed him.

Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker / flickr

Utah saw one of its best primary election voter turnout in years despite issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s primaries were conducted exclusively by mail, though some voters were able to vote at drive-through locations in seven counties. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that research suggests voting by mail likely boosted turnout compared to 2016, when eight counties barred mail ballots. State Elections Director Justin Lee says the state had 558,000 votes cast in June’s primary, a number that could grow as final ballots are counted.

A 58-year-old Utah municipal judge known for his advocacy for Asian Americans and criticism of President Donald Trump has died. Taylorsville Justice Court Michael Kwan was found unresponsive at his home Tuesday. Family friend and spokeswoman Emily Bingham says his death was sudden and unexpected. An autopsy has been scheduled to determine his cause of death. Kwan leaves behind his wife, two children and his dog. A memorial service has not yet been announced.


Friday is Pioneer Day in Utah and in honor of the celebration, Donald Trump Jr. spoke with members of the Utah media on behalf of his father’s presidential campaign on Thursday.