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Courtesy Brian McInerney


Hurricane Florence battering the Southeast, a typhoon killing dozens in the Philippines, a California blaze taking a Utah firefighter's life - the weather's been surprising all summer. In Utah too. Drought's fueled fires that have burned twice the acreage Utah usually sees in an entire year. And the water shooting down the Virgin River in an August flashflood was 150 times greater than normal. As summer ends, National Weather Service Hydrologist Brian McInerney spoke with Judy Fahys about the science behind this wild Utah weather.

The Mountain West is a pretty conservative place. So when Democrats win here… it’s big news. And now two Democratic governors from the region are mulling a run for president.

Colorado’s John Hickenlooper and Montana’s Steve Bullock are both moderate progressives, both won in fairly conservative places, and both are kind of wonky.

“They’re not that person who can command a crowd,” Lee Banville, a political journalism professor at the University of Montana, says.

Odyssey Elementary School
Utah Clean Energy

A growing movement worldwide to make buildings so energy-efficient that they don’t need any gas or electricity from the grid is slowly catching on in Utah.

Nicole Nixon

Wanda Barzee was released from the Utah State Prison on Wednesday morning after serving a 15-year sentence for her role in the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart.

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.

The ongoing trade war with China is feeling close to home these days. Mounting tariffs on outdoor recreation gear may hit the wallets of folks in the Mountain West who love going outside.

On Monday, the Trump administration announced $200 billion dollars worth of new tariffs on products from China.

“This is going to include backpacks, sport bags, leather ski gloves, bikes and some camping equipment,” Rich Harper, a trade analyst with the lobbying group Outdoor Industry Association, said.

Our region has attracted the attention of the Terminator.

“I’m right now on a campaign to terminate gerrymandering,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger in a video from Budapest, where he’s shooting his latest film.  

Schwarzenegger is raising money for efforts in four states, including two in the Mountain West, to end the political practice.

We hear about gerrymandering a lot these days, but not necessarily an explanation for what it is. It’s complicated, but not impossible to explain.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

Candidates in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District squared off on a range of topics Monday night during a rowdy debate at Dixie State University in St. George.

iStock

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out in cautious support of medical marijuana last month but now says the legislature should decide how it’s legalized in Utah, not the voters in a citizen’s initiative this November.

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.

Photo of Chris Cline at Jordan River.
Kelsie Moore / KUER


On a stretch of the Jordan River where it rushes past a wall of industrial buildings and a massive pile of hazardous waste, biologist Chris Cline sees a beautiful future taking shape.

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.

Incident Information System

Update: 11:30 a.m. 9/19/18

The National Interagency Fire Center continues to track nine fires in Utah, totaling more than 105,678 acres or 165 square miles. Nearly 1,700 personnel are battling the flames.

Teams of people from the Mountain West, including firefighters and Red Cross volunteers, have already been deployed to the East Coast in preparation for Hurricane Florence.

Nicole Nixon / KUER

Elizabeth Smart urged "the powers that be" to "strongly reconsider" the prison release of kidnapper Wanda Barzee from prison next week.

A federal judge has extended a temporary ban on grizzly bear hunting near Yellowstone National Park while he mulls the animal’s fate.

 


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.

Renee Bright / KUER


As President Trump's nominee moves closer to being confirmed to the nation's highest court, Utahns on both sides of the abortion debate are considering what Brett Kavanaugh could mean for Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

A leaked memo this week from the Interior Department shows Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to give states more clout over wildlife management on public lands, unless it conflicts with federal law.

 


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.

Point of the mountain map.
Screenshot: Geneva Rock

A construction-products company is dusting off a request to expand its gravel-mining operation at the Point of the Mountain, raising concerns that the expansion could add more air pollution at a popular recreation spot and fast-growing communities nearby.

The National Park Service is giving museums and universities across the country grants to return ancestral artifacts and human remains taken from Native American tribes over the years.

The National Rifle Association has spent nearly $3 million so far in the 2018 election cycle. A big chunk of that change is centered on a race right here in the Mountain West.

Photo of Wanda Breeze.
Utah State Prison

In a surprise reversal from the Utah Board of Pardons, the woman who pleaded guilty to helping kidnap Elizabeth Smart will be released from prison Sept. 19.

Erik Neumann / KUER

BLUFF, Utah — Chop saws buzzed as volunteers painted the bathrooms Monday inside the old Silver Dollar Bar, giving the historic town watering hole on the edge of what was until recently Bears Ears National Monument a welcome makeover.

Eliason speaks to group.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

A little more than a year after forming, the United Utah Party is running nearly 20 candidates in this year's elections. But even the party chairman admits the odds are stacked against every one of them.

Photo of committee.
Judy Fahys / KUER

Severe drought has wreaked havoc on agriculture and wildlife in Utah, but the state's Drought Review and Reporting Committee decided against taking action — at least for now — as officials looked toward what they hope is a wet and stormy fall and winter.

Photo of Mia Love at podium.
Associated Press

Utah Republican Rep. Mia Love's campaign said Monday it would refund up to $10,000 in campaign contributions after admitting to improper fundraising for a primary that it knew was unlikely to happen, according to a letter sent by the campaign's lawyers to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

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