Lee Hale | KUER 90.1

Lee Hale

Reporter

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear. 

Ways to Connect

Photo of Eric Huntsman speaking.
Madeline Mortensen / BYU


For many practicing Mormons, the topic of LGBT inclusion can be a tricky one that's often tiptoed around. But in a speech to students last month, Brigham Young University religion professor Eric Huntsman dove headfirst into the issue.

Photo of Astrid Tuminez.
Lee Hale / KUER

The newest president of Utah Valley University, the state's largest university, began her tenure this week. Before this, Astrid C. Tuminez was a regional director for Microsoft in Southeast Asia, supervising 15 markets in 10 countries.

Courtney Kendrick stands with Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Kirby who was suspended by the paper after an internal investigation
Courtney Kendrick / Facebook

Readers of The Salt Lake Tribune may have noticed something missing over the weekend - an article from popular columnist Robert Kirby, who was suspended from the paper because of inappropriate behavior.

 

Lee Hale / KUER

The head of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City has released a public report that details sexual abuse allegations involving Utah priests and nearly three dozen victims since 1990.

Like many Catholic Church leaders, Bishop Oscar Solis has publicly voiced his disgust following last month’s grand jury report in Pennsylvania that documented abuse at the hands of 300 priests. But in the release of his report this week, Solis took it a step further by detailing sexual abuse within Utah’s Catholic Church over the past 28 years.

Lee Hale / KUER

Sam Young, a former bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on Sunday told a crowd of supporters in downtown Salt Lake City that he has been excommunicated after his sustained campaign of protesting church policy on how Mormon leaders conduct private interviews with youth.

Courtney Kendrick stands with Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Kirby who was suspended by the paper after an internal investigation
Courtney Kendrick / Facebook

Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Kirby apologized today for his inappropriate behavior toward Utah writer Courtney Kendrick during a Mormon conference earlier this summer. The prominent blogger wrote on Facebook Wednesday that she felt “embarrassed and belittled” during their interaction.

Veteran teacher Jody Lee-Chadde reads with fourth graders at Tsé'bii'nidzisgai Elementary School in Monument Valley. Utah officials are hoping to recruit more teachers who will stick around by recruiting educators who have experience in the classroom.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

Utah Governor Gary Herbert is asking teachers who have left the profession to consider returning to the classroom as schools are struggling with a shortage of educators. Speaking at the state capitol Wednesday, Herbert said the state needs to do a better job of “recruiting and retaining.”

Jason Harris photo.
Lee Hale / KUER

Marijuana and Mormonism don't usually go together. And that puts Jason Harris in a cloudy position, even if pot has essentially cleared up his life.

Image of Saints book cover.
Lee Hale / KUER

For much of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 200-year history, Mormon leaders have avoided certain topics. Founder of Mormonism Joseph Smith's reputation as a treasure seeker is one example. Another is that Smith had more than 30 wives, much to the dismay of his first wife, Emma Hale.

Traffic on Utah highway.
Istock.com / wsfurlan

The period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is known as the "100 Deadliest Days" on Utah roads because they typically result in the most highway fatalities and this year has been worse than last.

LDS Church Headquarters.
Lee Hale / KUER

A group of liberal members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say the Church's stance on medical marijuana is alarmist and error-ridden.

Image of cathedral.
Lee Hale / KUER

Cristina Rosetti considers herself a practicing Catholic, but she can’t square her faith with the recently exposed abuses of church leaders.

Drawing of students in front of chalkboard that reads "refusal skills."
Renee Bright / KUER

 

On back-to-school night recently at Oak Canyon Junior High School in Utah County, eighth grade health teacher Staisha Sheffield was waiting for parents to arrive, and ready to explain — carefully — what she teaches their 12 and 13-year-olds about sex. In Utah, that’s an all-around challenge.

Salt Lake City Temple
Lee Hale / KUER

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking media organizations to stop using the terms "LDS Church," "Mormon Church" or even "Mormons" when referring to the faith or its members.

Headshot of Matt Burchett in Uniform.
Unified Fire Authority

Utah officials are praising a Draper firefighter who was killed while battling California's biggest wildfire, the first fatality of the massive Mendocino Complex Fire. 

Denson speaks at a podium alongside her lawyer.
Lee Hale / KUER

A federal judge in Utah has dismissed a sexual assault lawsuit against a former Missionary Training Center president due to the statute of limitations.

A tall white building against blue sky.
Lee Hale / KUER

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has quietly doubled down on a controversial policy toward gay members by including it in a recently updated manual for missionaries.

Red rocks with the word Dixie written in white paint.
istock

A music professor who was fired from Dixie State University this year has been offered a chance to return to the school with some stipulations. The professor, Ken Peterson, said agreeing to those terms would mean giving up what he has trained his whole life to do.

A man in a blue shirt and hat startes into the distance.
Lee Hale / KUER

Sam Young, a former Mormon bishop from Houston, is currently on his fifth day of a hunger strike to provoke change in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Young believes that Mormon leaders shouldn’t be asking sexually explicit questions in interviews with children and youth.

Tyler Glenn on stage.
LOVELOUD

The LOVELOUD music festival, a celebration of Utah’s LGBTQ community, is returning to the state for the second year in a row. Although, this time the festival has slightly less support from the LDS Church. Tyler Glenn, the lead singer of Neon Trees and LOVELOUD co-founder, said last year's event was a healing experience for him.

Ryan McKnight Headshot.
TRUTHANDTRANSPARENCY.ORG

MormonLeaks, a website known for releasing inside information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints, is often at the center of attention-grabbing stories. Recent revelations about the LDS Church’s finances and sexual assault have popped up in headlines. But the site’s founder, Ryan McKnight, has a bigger mission than stoking controversy.  

An illustration of a rainbow flag with a sketch of the Salt Lake temple on top. The entire thing is cracking like mud.
Renee Bright / KUER


It was a controversial yet common refrain about suicide, Mormons and LGBT people in Utah, this time from daytime TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

istock

A 61-year-old man is dead and a gunman has been charged with murder following a fatal shooting Sunday afternoon at a worship service of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fallon, Nev., authorities said.

Renee Bright / KUER


Kristy Johnson says her father molested and raped her — along with her two sisters — throughout their teen and childhood years.

Students sit at a panel in front a large crowd.
Lee Hale / KUER

Speaking to a noisy, standing-room only crowd in Sandy on Saturday, student activists from Utah and Florida discussed gun control and school safety as part of the national March For Our Lives tour.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

Updated 5:12 p.m. MST, 7/12/18

 

Activists from a high school in Parkland, Florida have found a new venue to hold an event this Saturday after their original plans fell through. As part of a March For Our Lives national tour, a town hall discussing school safety will take place at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy.

Vicky Chavez sits in a rocking chair holding her infant.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

A Honduran mother who sought sanctuary in a Utah church has been denied her most recent appeal for asylum. Vicky Chavez has been living at the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City since January with her two small children.

Lee Hale / KUER

Provo's yearly Fourth of July parade, the Freedom Festival, will feature LGBT groups for the first time this year but the path to get there has not been easy.

Elder Soares and Elder Gong pose together in suits and ties.
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Gerrit W. Gong and Ulisses Soares made history in April when they were called as the first non-white apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A photo of Kristy Johnson.
Lee Hale / KUER

The documentary Glass Temples is having its Utah premier Thursday night. The film examines how leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mishandled yet another case of child abuse.

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