Rocio Hernandez | KUER 90.1

Rocio Hernandez

Reporter

Rocio is coming to KUER after spending most of her life under the blistering Las Vegas sun and later Phoenix. She earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish at the University of Nevada, Reno. She did brief stints at The Associated Press, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Reno Public Radio. She enjoys wandering through life with her husband and their toy poodle.

Photo of University if Utah logo.
Brian Albers / KUER

The University of Utah is looking to increase tuition by 3.2 percent for the next academic year, lower than what was expected and the lowest increase that the institution has seen in two decades, university officials said Tuesday.

Photo of Ismael.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The hungry goats — more than 50 of them — are staring at Ismael Mohammed. But he’s ready.

On a recent cold and muddy Saturday afternoon at the East African Refugee Goat Project’s ranch, Mohammed locks the goats into their corrals so he can lay out the grains, wheat and hay for them to eat.

Photo of Ray Ward.
Cory Dinter for KUER

The journey to Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk has been long and difficult for Rep. Ray Ward’s student and school safety assessment bill.

Photo of Aaron Walker.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

When Millcreek residents learned that their neighborhoods were being considered in a study commissioned by their city, they said Google helped them understand what that meant.

Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Salt Lake City has invested $2 million into two housing projects in the city’s east and west sides.

One project will create 75 permanent supportive housing units for people who are transitioning out of homelessness. It is the first housing development of its kind in a decade, the city said.

Julián Castro
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Julián Castro, a former Texas mayor and cabinet member in the Obama administration, became the first Democratic candidate to campaign for the 2020 race in Utah when he stopped in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

Rocio Hernandez / KUER

As student enrollment has increased in Utah, the Salt Lake City School District has seen thousands of students leave its schools in the past three years, Superintendent Lexi Cunningham said Thursday.

Photo of Kunz.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Along with the state’s expanding population, Utah’s student enrollment continues to grow. But K-12 education funding is not keeping up with that growth or inflation, according to a report from a children’s advocacy organization.

Photo of lab.
iStock.com / Davizro

The Utah State Board of Education has released a draft of new science education standards for elementary and high school students. KUER’s Rocio Hernandez spoke with Ricky Scott, the board’s science specialist, who explained that for some of these standards, it will be their first update in 17 years.

Photo of Georgia Apartments.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Salt Lake City prosecutors have filed 15 misdemeanor charges against Carol Lunt, the owner and landlord of the Georgia Apartments building, which was deemed unsafe for habitation by the city’s fire marshal this week.

Photo of Twink and Ewer.
Courtesy Carma Ewer

On Valentine’s Day 45 years ago, Carma Ewer’s husband brought home a miniature schnauzer, a present that sent the Sandy resident on the course to Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Photo of vigil.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Stemming from the fatal shooting of a University of Utah student, several campus safety improvements are underway with more to come, officials said at a Board of Trustees’ Tuesday meeting.

Photo of panelists.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Cedric Primous has felt like an outsider since moving to Utah two years ago.

Photo of capitol facade.
Brian Albers / KUER

Of the 88 education-related bills the Utah Legislature is considering this session to address an array of concerns, student and school safety is one of the most anticipated issues.

Photo of protesters.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

On a recent chilly Monday night, a trio of protesters, joined by a golden retriever named Winston and a 4-year-old boy who responds to the nickname “Tiny Resister,” stood on the edge of Reservoir Park in Salt Lake City.

Photo of Chavez.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

A year ago, Vicky Chavez and her two young daughters were bracing to return to her native Honduras, a country she fled to escape an abusive relationship and death threats.

Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The moon was still out, but it provided little light to Shawn Spalding while he walked through a park in the Sugar House neighborhood at 4 a.m. on Friday.

Photo of patch.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The South Salt Lake Police Department has added a new patch to its officers’ uniforms as they continue to mourn Officer David Romrell, who was killed by a burglary suspect two months ago.

Photo of Nate Salazar
Courtesy Nate Salazar

Nate Salazar was sworn in as the newest board member of the Salt Lake City School District on January 8. Salazar attended Bryant Middle School and graduated from East High School in 2004. He’s currently the only minority on the board for a district where more than half of the students are minorities. He also works in Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s office as the associate director of community empowerment. KUER’s Rocio Hernandez spoke with Salazar about what he hopes to accomplish and why he wanted to be on the board.

Photo of DOJ.
iStock.com / pabradyphoto

As the partial government shutdown drags toward its fifth week, immigration courts are another aspect of government caught in the middle of the standstill in Congress.

Photo of Brighton sign.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

Big Cottonwood Canyon’s early settlers were miners looking to make a fortune. Today’s residents call it home because of the canyon’s rich abundance of lush forest, waterfalls and mountain lakes.

iStock.com

The new report cards for Utah schools are out and they’re getting good grades from both teachers and administrators.

Photo of visitors at Zion National Park.
iStock.com / kellyvandellen

Visitors have not stopped entering national parks despite the partial government shutdown that started Dec. 22 and Zion National Park in southern Utah is no exception.

Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The halls of the INN Between hospice center for the homeless were quiet the day after Christmas.

But then again, it’s generally pretty quiet at the former nursing home site since the organization moved into the area near Liberty Party in June. Located at 1300 South and 1100 East, the three-year-old INN Between provides homeless people who are at the end of life or severely ill with shelter and a warm bed for at least 50 clients. But there's still a clamor over the new addition to the neighborhood.

Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Clay Boss’ bad luck started in 2010 after he suffered a bad accident that left him unable to keep working as a truck driver.

Photo of panel.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

More police officers, more trainings and better communication between the University of Utah and outside agencies are among the recommendations made by an independent review team formed in response to the October murder of Lauren McCluskey.

Renee Bright / KUER

Sen. Orrin Hatch will retire next month, winding down a political career spanning four decades ... longer than any elected official in Utah's history. The 84-year-old will likely be remembered for his role in bruising Supreme Court nomination battles, passing the Children's Health Insurance Program and funneling millions of dollars back to Utah.

But this week, KUER is remembering lesser known parts of Hatch's legacy. 

Saul Morales was only 2 when he crossed the border from Mexico, so he doesn’t remember much of the journey.

Weber State University’s newest president is a familiar face to the campus.

 

Brad Mortensen was selected on Thursday by the Utah State Board of Regents to be the university’s 13th president.

Rocio Hernandez / KUER

About 200 Millcreek property owners have been living in limbo for the past two months.

 

They’ve been wondering if their city officials would approve a blight study which had the potential to condemn their properties, giving the city the power to seize them for the sake of a redevelopment project.

PHOTO COURTESY OF JORGE ARELLANO

Midvale artist Jorge Arellano spent a few days last month helping members of the migrant caravan while they stopped in Mexico City on their way to the U.S.-Mexico border. This group of Central American migrants fleeing their home countries has been in the headlines after President Trump labeled the caravan “an invasion.”

 

Arellano recently returned to Utah from Mexico's capital where he grew up. He spoke with KUER’s Rocio Hernandez about the obligation he feels to support the migrants as an immigrant himself.

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