Whittney Evans | KUER 90.1

Whittney Evans

Reporter

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West. 

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Nine people are on death row in Utah right now. And they could be the last if Republican opposition to the death penalty continues to grow, as a new study finds.

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Salt Lake County wants the public’s help deciding where to build new dog parks. They’re hosting open houses beginning Tuesday.

Tim Slover / KUER

Homeless people in Salt Lake City will be able to access emergency shelter, meals and other services at The Road Home this winter, even if they don’t sign up for the state’s new homeless identification card.

Whittney Evans / KUER

Homeless people poured into the Salt Palace Convention Center early Friday morning to get a whole range of services from haircuts to family planning as part of the city’s first annual Project Homeless Connect.

Whittney Evans / KUER

Every city has boards and commissions that residents can volunteer to sit on. They don’t usually pay and most of them don’t require any expertise. They might seem dull or insignificant. But there are real consequences when those seats are empty.

Tim Slover / KUER

Salt Lake’s needle exchange program has a new home, at least temporarily. 

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Two public open houses are scheduled this week to give Salt Lake City residents a peek at what the city’s two new homeless shelters will look like.

Courtesy of Jared Jensen

A Utah nurse is charged with negligent homicide in the death of a 21-year-old inmate at the Duchesne County Jail. 

The president of the Salt Lake Police Association is accusing Salt Lake City’s mayor and police chief of tainting an investigation into University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels’ arrest. 

Whittney Evans / KUER

Utah lawmakers have unanimously approved a funding bill to keep Salt Lake’s downtown crime sweep, dubbed Operation Rio Grande, going through the end of the year. Lawmakers met during a special session of the legislature Wednesday to hammer out the details of the bill.

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Native American activists and their supporters will gather outside Wellsville City Hall on Wednesday to rally against the city’s controversial Founder’s Day “Sham Battle” between Mormon settlers and a Native American tribe. 

Lee Hale / KUER

Jail records show few arrests in the Rio Grande neighborhood have been for violent, high-level offenses.

Whittney Evans / KUER

This week, people who were arrested during Operation Rio Grande went before a judge and asked for help. By agreeing to avoid drugs and alcohol, get treatment and check in once a week, they were offered a spot in Salt Lake County’s new drug court.

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Salt Lake County’s new specialty drug court will operate the same as existing drug courts. What makes the new court different is the population it serves.

Tim Slover

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has signed a lease agreement with the state of Utah to close off a portion of Rio Grande Street to cars and pedestrians. At the same time, state officials are preparing to implement a new identification system that will limit access to the street to people receiving services. 

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Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski is looking for of volunteers to help with the city’s first large-scale homeless outreach project. The one-day event will bring dozens of service providers together in one place to offer everything from haircuts to drug abuse counseling.

Whittney Evans

Substance abuse and mental health treatment options will come available over the next four months for individuals identified through Operation Rio Grande.

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As Utah students go back to school this week administrators are still determining how to deal with those who are disruptive or chronically truant. Sweeping juvenile justice reforms passed this year require schools to find new ways to discipline kids without sending them to court.

Whittney Evans

Local and state officials have moved on to phase two of Operation Rio Grande. The state has doubled down on social workers to find out what people need to become stable. 

Whittney Evans

Gail Miller of the Larry H. Miller family has offered a $10 million challenge grant to support homeless services in Utah. The money will be presented to Shelter The Homeless, which will oversee Salt Lake County’s three new homeless resources centers that will open in the next two years.

Miller cried during a press conference Thursday morning as she called on members of the community to contribute to the dollar-for-dollar match.

Whittney Evans

Rosie Rivera was sworn in Tuesday as Sheriff of Salt Lake County. The former Unified Police Deputy Chief faces an overcrowded jail and a homelessness crisis marked by crime, mental illness and drug addiction.

Lee Hale / KUER

A statewide effort to address crime in Salt Lake City’s Rio Grande neighborhood began Monday. “Operation Rio Grande” has three phases that start with large-scale arrests. 

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The State Homeless Coordinating Committee approved funding Tuesday to purchase the third of three properties where new homeless shelters will be built.

UTAH DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

A coalition of Utah journalists have made progress in the fight to access video footage of a U.S. marshal shooting and killing a defendant in federal court. Federal agencies have refused to provide the video despite multiple public records requests.

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For a victim of sexual assault, waiting for an update on his or her case can be a painful process on its own. But a new hotline in Utah, might help put them at ease.

Whittney Evans

The Road Home shelter in Salt Lake City met its state-imposed deadline for moving all families out of the facility by July 15th.

Whittney Evans

Salt Lake County Democrats will soon begin the process of electing a replacement for former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder. Winder officially stepped down from his position as sheriff in the state’s largest county on Sunday to become Moab’s Chief of Police.

Q. Dang is chair of Salt Lake County Democratic Party. He says party leaders expect a letter from the Salt Lake County Council early this week requesting a nomination. Once they receive the letter, Salt Lake County Democratic Party leaders have 30 days to elect a replacement and relay the name to the council.

Whittney Evans

State and local leaders have launched a new campaign to curb panhandling, and it doesn’t mince words.

KUER

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder lifted unpopular booking restrictions at the county jail last month. Since then, bookings have spiked and the jail has repeatedly gone into lockdown.

Whittney Evans

The Road Home Shelter in Salt Lake City signed a contract with the state to move every family out of the facility by July 15th or lose funding. Now, the pressure is on to find low-income housing.

Here at The Road Home, 13-year-old Johnathon Whaley rides the big yellow cart he and his mom are using to move their belongings out of the private room they’ve lived in for about eight months. Lorie Tonge and her son have a new one-bedroom apartment-just down the street.

"I'm feeling uplifted knowing that I never gave up," Tonge says.

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