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Photo of downtown Logan.
iStock.com / Daniel Gauthier

It’s become a familiar talking point in Utah: The state has one of the fastest growing, most diverse economies in the country. Its slew of hungry companies is starved for workers. Yet as urban Utah continues to grow, rural communities across the state are struggling to hold onto their jobs, falling ever behind a shifting economy. 

Phot of Lake Powell.
Bernard Spragg / Flickr

Utah officials are drastically scaling back hydroelectric power plans for the controversial Lake Powell pipeline, saying the move will save taxpayers $100 million dollars on the proposed project.

Photo of a Scantron sheet illustrating a student's answers on an Advanced Placement test.
iStock

More Utah students are gaining experience that could set them up for college. 

Five percent or 1,400 more Utah students took Advanced Placement (AP) tests this year, according to data by the College Board, the nonprofit that distributes the tests. 

Utah Delegation Reacts to Impeachment Inquiry

Sep 25, 2019
Photo of Washington Monument and Capitol.
iStock.com / Matt Anderson

Updated 5:40 p.m. MDT 9/25/19: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened an impeachment inquiry Tuesday into President Donald Trump. So far, only half of Utah’s delegation have made statements regarding the development.

Photo illustration of cannabis in a bag in front of prescription pill bottles.
iStock

Future medical cannabis users and sellers now have a better idea about how much they might pay to join Utah’s medical marijuana program. After more changes to the cannabis program were announced during last week’s special session, the Department of Health unveiled the range of fees it aims to charge for registration, background checks, and yearly licensing. 

Photo of road to Red Knoll.
David Fuchs / KUER

Updated 11:05 a.m. MDT 9/27/19  

KANAB — In the months before being elected to the Kane County Commission last year, Andy Gant paid a visit to a local advisory committee he would soon start working with. His goal: to introduce himself as the newest official in town. 

Renee Bright / KUER

Mormon culture influences nearly every aspect of life in Utah. But these days, many long-held values are being challenged, even by the faithful. KUER’s series “Latter-day” examines how Mormon culture is — and isn’t — changing in response.

Photo of a sign welcoming people to the city of Moab.
Creative Commons

Most of Moab’s sewer and water lines were built more than 60 years ago, at the height of the uranium boom. Now, the town of around 5,000 residents is seeing a boom in tourism. On weekends, its population can reach up to 40,000, according to City Manager Joel Linares. This puts pressure on its infrastructure, and makes it more expensive to replace. 

Photo of a Smith's Food and Drug store.
Wikimedia Commons

America’s biggest supermarket chain is removing free publication racks from its stores beginning this month, prompting criticism from alternative weekly newspaper publishers. 

“These are some of our largest distribution sites,” said John Weiss, founder of the Colorado Springs Independent. “As fewer people are reading the dailies, more people are getting their newspaper fix from a free weekly. It’s hard to beat our price.”

Photo of oil pump.
iStock.com / DennyThurstonPhotography

Environmental groups are sounding the alarm about a process they say cheats taxpayers and favors the oil and gas industry. The Wilderness Society and Center for Western Priorities say Congress needs to pass legislation to reform the Bureau of Land Management’s oil and gas leasing program.

Photo of tire tracks in red sand.
David Fuchs / KUER

KANAB — A proposed mine for sand used in oil and gas extraction has stirred tensions and spurred questions in this small town just north of the Arizona border since the City Council voted in July to provide water to the project. 

Photo of Katie Tagle holding a photo of her son Wyatt.
Photo courtesy of Isaac Brekken / For The Deseret News

Over the last decade, more than 700 children have been killed by a parent or guardian in the midst of a family court case like divorce or custody hearings. 

Photo of Albert Betoudji tying together mustard greens.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Farmers’ markets provide customers an abundance of fresh produce, but two Salt Lake County markets that primarily serve refugees also create cultural connections through food. 

iStock

For a growing number of companies, there’s green on the horizon in Utah — and not just because of its business-friendly climate. Increasingly, they’re drawn to the state’s sunny skies, which are becoming more and more a viable source of renewable energy. 

Stock photo illustrating a facial recognition scan.
iStock.com

Lawmakers plan to run legislation to address the state Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) use of facial recognition software to scan Utahns’ driver's license photos.

Photo of Pinyon-juniper woodlands.
Bureau of Land Management

Environmental groups have halted a controversial plan to cut down 30,000 acres of forest within southern Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The Interior Board of Appeals ruled Monday that the Bureau of Land Management’s plan failed to consider its effects on migratory birds. 

Photo of dripping spigot.
iStock.com / Wirachai

In the Uinta Mountains east of Park City, there’s a camp for girls called Aspencrest. It’s run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and its water might be contaminated. In an investigation for High Country News, freelance journalist Emma Penrod details how Aspencrest and another property owned by the church have had problems with water quality, in some cases for years. But the Utah Division of Drinking Water has not issued any citations for non-compliance. 

Stock photo of a tailpipe.
iStock

For the past 12 years, officials in Utah have dubbed September the start of idle free season, an annual reminder for residents to turn off their cars. On Monday, the tradition continued as Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, along with other state and local leaders and the non-profit Utah Clean Cities, made this year’s announcement at a press conference at the Capitol. 

Photo of a street sign on a highway that reads "Sunny Acres Lane."
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

MONTICELLO — From the potential construction of a 13-acre truck stop to the conversion of housing into overnight rentals to the loss of their dark night skies, people who moved to Spanish Valley for peace and quiet say their way of life is under threat. 

Photo of Carrick on trail.
Ben Hooley

A Hundred Miles of Heaven and Hell is officially called the Wasatch 100 Mile Endurance Race. Runners have just 36 hours to run a total elevation gain and loss is almost 48 thousand feet from Kaysville to Midway.

Photo of empty Utah Senate Chamber.
Austen Diamond for KUER

Utah lawmakers approved a medical cannabis system that will use more privately-run dispensaries instead of public health departments to help distribute the drug. 

Photo of a rock showing pictographs.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Conservation and tribal groups are criticizing the Bureau of Land Management for its latest oil and gas lease sale of more than 70,000 acres of public land in Utah. 

The sale, which occurred this week, brought in around $1.63 million, according to the BLM, more than half of which came from 32,027 acres in San Juan County.

The sale is the third since March 2018 to include land between Bears Ears and Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, much of which conservation groups say should not be leased. 

Photo of William Happer, who resigned Friday from his position as director of emerging technologies for the National Security Council.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

A prominent climate change denier resigned from the White House Friday after he was blocked from establishing a committee questioning the findings of the most recent national climate assessment. 

A photo of Andrew Gruber, executive director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council, presenting the Wasatch Choice 2050 Vision plan at a convention on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Jon Reed / KUER

Growth is coming to the Wasatch Front. 

That was the refrain at Planners’ Day, part of the Utah League of Cities and Towns annual three-day convention in downtown Salt Lake City on Thursday. 

Photo of the Utah State Board of Education seal on a wall inside the board building.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

People interested in serving on the Utah State Board of Education may have to run under a political party starting in 2020 after the Utah Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that partisan elections for the school board are constitutional. 

Illustration of microphones.
Angela Hsieh / NPR

September's Democratic presidential debate has been narrowed to one night only, as more candidates have called it quits altogether.

Senator Luz Escamilla talks to Nicole Nixon on September 10, 2019.
Renee Bright/KUER

As a teenager, Luz Escamilla spent two years crossing the border every day from her hometown in Tijuana to attend high school in San Diego.

She says she had “great parents that value education. As professors themselves in universities in Mexico, they felt that the best quality of education in the world was in the United States."

Erin Mendenhall talking with KUER's Nicole Nixon on September 9, 2019.
Renee Bright/KUER

Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall grew up “with a mom who calls herself a hippie and father who passed away when I was a young teenager.”

“I think in a lot of ways, I grew up fast,” she said, “but I also grew up feeling like I could protest, I could attend rallies and I could have my voice heard.”

Photo of a brown wooden sign that reads "Manti-La Sal National Forest, U.S. Department of Agriculture" with some trees in the background.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Public lands are usually a divisive issue in Utah, but state and federal lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are working together to help counties secure annual reimbursements for federally-owned land. 

Photo of Huckabay looking out her window.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

This story has been corrected.

SPANISH VALLEY — When Marlene Huckabay moved to Spanish Valley in 1994, her two-acre lot was little more than a patch of desert with a tar paper shack surrounded by stark, red-rock cliffs.

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