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Updates via NPR: Trump says he was shot in the ear at rally, with 1 spectator dead and 2 others injured

Booze, Bears Ears & Bodycam Videos: The Top Stories Of 2017

Nicole Nixon / Julia Ritchey
From top left: New DABC signs went up; Rep. Chaffetz stepped down; Nurse Alex Wubbels sees justice; and President Trump shrinks two monuments.

From politics to public lands, 2017 was another big year of local news. KUER reporters recap some of the top stories of the year and why they mattered. 

Nurse Wubbels' Arrest 

The story: A University of Utah nurse released footage of a Salt Lake Police officer dragging and cuffing her after she refused to perform a blood draw on an unconscious patient. 

The takeaway: "...We got to see a violent interaction between a police officer and a citizen that happened to be captured on bodycam footage," says KUER reporter Erik Neumann. "There's so much speculation about that kind of thing happening, but so rarely is there actual visual evidence. Having people be able to see that for themselves, especially when it was a nurse, was just so objectionable."

DUI Limit 

The story: Utah will be the first state to lower its blood-alcohol limit for driving from .08 to .05.

The takeaway:  "It kind of flew under the radar for a lot of the legislative session, until it got to the Senate, and then it started to get a lot of attention," says KUER's Nicole Nixon. "Utah was the first state years ago to lower [the limit] to .08 suit, so it will be interesting if other states follow Utah's lead."

Chaffetz Resigns 

The story: Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz resigns unexpectedly to join Fox News

The takeaway: "He'd made this career out of leading these hard-charging investigations of the Obama Administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and it seemed, at least to his critics, that he didn't have a taste for doing the same to the Trump administration," says political reporter Julia Ritchey. 

Bears Ears

The story: Southern Utah had two national monuments at the beginning of 2017, but by the end of the year there were five smaller ones nearly half the size

The takeaway: "The story is definitely not over," says environmental reporter Judy Fahys. "There've already been five lawsuits files. ...And in the meantime, our publlc debate has really gotten more and more divisive. Everyone feels like they're not being heard unless they're on the winning side that particular day." 

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
Erik Neumann is a radio producer and writer. A native of the Pacific Northwest, his work has appeared on public radio stations and in magazines along the West Coast. He received his Bachelor's Degree in geography from the University of Washington and a Master's in Journalism from UC Berkeley. Besides working at KUER, he enjoys being outside in just about every way possible.
Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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