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Austen Diamond Photography

KUER NPR Utah welcomes politics reporter, new role for producer

Photo illustration of a woman in a mask talking on a phone screen
Renee Bright / KUER

People who have weakened immune systems are considered high risk for COVID-19 related complications. As the immunocompromised community continues to navigate this pandemic, here are some of their stories in their own words. 

Photo of a ballot on a mailbox
Renee Bright / KUER

Utah’s primary elections in June could be held entirely through mail-in ballots, unless counties create drive-up polling options, under a bill passed by the Legislature Thursday. 

Screenshot of lawmakers wearing masks at dais.
le.utah.gov

Updated 5:52 p.m. MDT 4/16/2020

The governor would have to notify legislative leadership of an executive action during a pandemic at least 48 hours before they announce it, under a new bill passed by the Utah House of Representatives Thursday. 

Two men in suits stand in front of a photo backdrop of mountains.
Screenshot of a campaign video from Greg Hughes for Governor

ST. GEORGE — When Washington County Commissioner Victor Iverson signed on as Greg Hughes’ running mate on Tuesday, he became the first Southern Utahn to enter the race for the governor’s office in 2020.

Photo of capitol facade.
Brian Albers / KUER

The Utah Legislature’s first-ever virtual special session kicks off Thursday morning. There won’t be live public comment, but Utahns can submit their thoughts on bills through the Legislature’s website directly to their representatives or to all lawmakers. 

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iStock

As demographic data emerges around the country about which people are most vulnerable, health officials are now seeing that the virus disproportionately hurts people of color, particularly those who live in dense, urban areas.

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Jon Reed / KUER

With the coronavirus forcing businesses to close and leaving many out of work, Gov. Gary Herbert put a temporary stop to evictions in Utah and is allowing renters to defer rent payments until May 15. 

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Utah Navajo Health System for KUER

The Utah Department of Health has deployed a mobile COVID-19 testing task force to the Navajo Nation. It started in Navajo Mountain on Monday and will move on to Monument Valley on Thursday and Friday. So far all 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Juan County have been on the Navajo Nation. 

Photo of Erin Mendenhall making the announcement outside.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

When Salt Lake City opened a temporary overnight homeless shelter in January, it was intended as a solution for high demand for shelter space during the winter. The plan was to close it April 15, and the city is sticking with that plan, despite the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Austen Diamond for KUER

Legislative leaders announced Monday night they have called the Utah legislature into a special session set to begin Thursday morning. 

 The city of St. George, seen from above. A grid of rooftops, treetops stretch out towards red cliffs in the distance.
David Fuchs / KUER

ST. GEORGE — Local leaders are pushing back on recent ABC News reports that depicted life during the coronavirus pandemic as relatively unchanged for most Washington County residents.

Photo of beds at a new homeless shelter.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Salt Lake County is renting out an entire hotel for the next two weeks to house asymptomatic people — who are older than 60 or who have underlying health conditions — and were staying at homeless shelters.

Illustration of graduation caps falling through the air
Yakobchuk via iStock

For high school seniors, spring is usually a time for celebration — graduations, parties and special events to recognize their achievements. But not this year. Many once-in-a-lifetime events have been postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. To learn more about how to deal with the loss of important life events, KUER’s Caroline Ballard talked with Sara Lafkas, an assistant professor of social work at Utah Valley University who runs a small practice in Orem. 

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Grace Osusky / KUER

Holy Week is one of the most important times in the Catholic faith, with three out of four members in the U.S. attending mass on Easter Sunday. Easter is also a common time for the faithful to receive the sacraments of Confession, First Communion and Confirmation.

A roadside sign inscribed with an arrow and the words "relief center here" stands out against the red cliffs and desert landscape of Ivins, Utah.
Courtesy of Greg Federman

Greg and Rachel Federman have spent the last 14 years growing Xetava Gardens Cafe into a community staple in the small Southwest Utah city of Ivins.

Photo illustration of a person in a graduation cap and gown talking on a smart phone screen
Renee Bright / KUER

In late March, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert closed public schools until May 1 to help slow the spread of coronavirus. And for high school seniors, that meant year end traditions, like prom and graduation, were up in the air.

Illustration showing letters going into a pencil
Pict Rider via iStock

With all that’s going on right now, it may be more important than ever to remember to take a beat and appreciate something beautiful — even if that’s just a few lines of poetry. April is national poetry month, and to mark the occasion KUER’s Caroline Ballard spoke with Utah poet Katharine Coles. 

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Moab Regional Hospital

Despite the growing need for health care in response to the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals, along with almost every industry in the country, have been hit economically. As they’ve geared up for a potential surge in coronavirus patients, major revenue sources have started drying up. 

Two people load groceries into a truck in front of a grocery store
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

A 57-hour stay-at-home order will be in effect on the Navajo Nation this weekend to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Photo of gary herbert wearing a mask
Francisco Kjolseth / The Salt Lake Tribune

People traveling to Utah will be asked to fill out an online form and answer questions about their possible exposure to the coronavirus under an order announced Wednesday by Gov. Gary Herbert. 

Photo of large assembly room with rows of desks with people.
Sonja Hutson / KUER

Chris Wilson owns a car dealership in Logan and has never run for elected office before. Now, he’s looking to unseat the sponsor of a controversial tax reform bill passed during a special session in December. State lawmakers eventually repealed it, but only after a referendum to overturn the law gained enough signatures to get on the ballot. 

The eroded spires and red and white canyon walls of Bryce Canyon National Park.
Courtesy of National Park Service

ST. GEORGE — Bryce Canyon National Park closed indefinitely to the public on Tuesday afternoon, National Park Service officials announced in a statement.

Photo of University of Utah entrance sign.
Lee Hale / KUER

With online classes now the norm for most of the country’s schools and universities, students are adapting to learn in new ways. At the same time, many of the traditional benchmarks required in college applications — standardized testing and extracurricular activities — have largely been postponed or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Photo of Monument Valley High School Sign that reads
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

MONUMENT VALLEY, Utah — Like most parents, Sheila Holiday is struggling to teach her three children math at home while schools are closed because of COVID-19. But unlike many other parents, she can’t just go online and watch a YouTube video to help explain calculus and fractions, because of where she lives. 

Renee Bright / KUER

Accidental cross talk on video calls has become common for many Utahns now working at home. But things can get a whole lot more complicated when politicians and governmental bodies hold public meetings virtually. 

Photo of cribs and chairs in a large room
Division of Emergency Management

State officials unveiled one of Utah’s major contingency plans Monday in the fight against COVID-19 — 260 makeshift hospital beds that could be used if state hospitals are overrun. 

Men sit in seats in empty auditorium
Courtesy of Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revealed a new logo, announced new temples in China and Dubai and made a rare proclamation at its worldwide meeting that was largely overshadowed by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

An elderly navajo lady wearing a turquoise necklace sits in a chair
Courtesy of Holly DeJolie

BLUFF — Holly DeJolie was getting worried. 

She hadn’t heard from her mother and brother for a week, despite calling them several times a day. The two lived together in a three-bedroom house on Cradleboard Mesa in Navajo Mountain, Utah—about a mile from the Arizona border. They had called her the week of March 8 to tell her they were both having chest pains, DeJolie said. 

woman in park rollerskating with mask
Elaine Clark / KUER

A Salt Lake City nursing home has Utah’s first confirmed incident of community transmission of COVID-19 at a care facility, state and local health officials announced Saturday, the day after officials confirmed the first case in the Department of Corrections.

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