Rocio Hernandez | KUER 90.1

Rocio Hernandez

Reporter

Rocio joined 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.

Ways to Connect

iStock.com / tadamichi

Utah saw a jump in demand for mental health services over the last three years, according to a state Legislative Auditor General report discussed at an interim legislative session Tuesday.

Photo of Marx Huancas and his daughter Connie rehearsing a mariachi song.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

For Marx Huancas, a Davis County father of two girls, mariachi music is more than a pastime. It’s a way to keep his family, who moved from Peru to Utah about 10 years ago, connected to their Latino heritage. In Utah, Latinos make up 14% of the state’s population of roughly 3 million residents. Huancas was inspired to open a mariachi school in Utah as a way to help Latino parents like him who want to keep their families connected to their culture even while living in the United States.

Photo of advisor and student.
Utah System of High Education

The Utah System of Higher Education has kicked off an effort to put college advisors in the state’s approximately 150 public high schools by the 2021-22 school year. 

Photo of students sitting on campus with laptops.
iStock.com / CrispyPork

The cost of higher education is a campaign issue for at least two of the 2020 presidential candidates, who are floating, proposals to wipe out some of the country’s ever-growing student loan debt. 

Immigration enforcement badge.
Public Domain / Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The Department of Homeland Security may now fast-track deportations of certain immigrants in the country illegally, regardless of where immigration officers encounter them. 

Woman with head scarf kneading dough in kitchen.
From film "A Kitchen Can Take You Back." Kelsie Moore / KUER.

Refugee resettlement numbers have been declining in the U.S. and Utah for the past three years. According to a recent report by Politico, the Trump administration is considering even deeper cuts to resettlement programs.

Salt Lake City vigil attendees hold up signs, lights
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

OGDEN — Sandra Nieto was 13 years old when she fled her home country of El Salvador and crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in 1983. She and her 15-year-old sister came to the country to escape the violence from their country’s civil war and to reunite with their mother. 

More than 100 people gathered at the University of Utah Monday evening to memorialize MacKenzie “Kenzie” Lueck, the student who went missing in June and was later confirmed dead by Salt Lake City police. 

Photo of The Grand American Hotel.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Four citizens of the Philippines who came to work at Salt Lake City’s Grand America Hotel on an internship-like visa program in 2016 claim the hotel treated them poorly and didn’t provide them the learning and cultural experiences they were promised. That’s according to a putative class action lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court, District of Utah. 

Photo of teacher aide and student.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The level of excitement and fun was unmistakable on a recent Tuesday in Jeremy Reynoso’s kindergarten class at Meadowlark Elementary School in Salt Lake City. 

Photo of dancers.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

This weekend, immigration officials are looking to deport as many as 2,000 migrant families in major U.S. cities including Denver, Miami and Chicago.

Salt Lake City teacher group photo
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

About a hundred Salt Lake City teachers, parents and community supporters rallied on Tuesday to demand better pay. Salary negotiations between the teachers’ union and the district reached an impasse two weeks ago.

Photo of county council meeting.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

After a heated debate on immigration issues at its Tuesday meeting, the Salt Lake County Council passed an amended resolution by Council Member Steve DeBry that outlined the county’s support of its immigrant residents and urged Utah congressional leaders to pass immigration laws that keep families together.

Photo of county council meeting.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

After a heated debate on immigration issues at its Tuesday meeting, the Salt Lake County Council passed an amended resolution by Council Member Steve DeBry that outlined the county’s support of its immigrant residents and urged Utah congressional leaders to pass immigration laws that keep families together.

Photo of parade.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Valens Musoni was about five or six years old when the Rwandan genocide began 25 years ago. He grew up in the capital city of Kigali with his parents and 15 siblings, including half-brothers and half-sisters. He remembers his parents working on a farm, his siblings bring him treats from their school. 

Mona Elementary School, sixth grade class.
Krystle Bassett, Juab School District

Today, Juab School District in rural central Utah has a 97% graduation rate, among the highest in the state.

Ceremony at Hark Wales' grave
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The story of the Mormon pioneers who travelled West to settle in the territory that is now the state of Utah is well-known. What’s less well known is the stories of the African Americans who also made the journey.

Photo of Utah State Board of Education Building
Courtesy of Utah State Board of Education

Gov. Gary Herbert has appointed new members to the Utah State Board of Education, the Utah Board of Regents and the Utah System of Technical Colleges.

Photo of campus.
Courtesy Utah State University

The Koch Foundation has given millions of dollars to universities in the United States, including a $25 million pledge last spring to Utah State University.

Photo of classroom.
iStock.com / Ridofranz

As Utah faces an ongoing teacher shortage, a growing number of school districts are looking to bump up salaries as a way to recruit and retain educators.

Photo of regents.
Utah System of Higher Education

Four members of Utah’s Board of Regents stepped down Friday at the board’s meeting at Snow College. Regents Teresa Theurer and Bob Marquardt had served on the board since 2008 while Dan Campbell served on the board since 2010. Student Regent Ja’Kell Larson, a University of Utah student, completed her one-year term.

Photo of Victoria.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The opera singer draws her breathe, and exhales. Then, a powerful voice bursts from her core.

“You now sue and you now win on my son’s broken back.”

It’s a voice she inherited from her grandmother who encouraged her to sing while they worked in the fields of Lesotho in southern Africa.

Renee Bright / KUER

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of people will gather to mark the completion of the transcontinental railroad in Utah 150 years ago.

Photo of Weber State commencement.
Weber State University

Almost 29,000 students are graduating this year from Utah’s eight public colleges and universities. The graduating classes for nearly all of these public institutions have grown since last year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all have seen improvement in their graduation rates.

Photo of West Jordan school groundbreaking.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The Jordan School District is projected to gain almost 10,000 new students between 2016 and 2022, making it one of the fastest growing school districts in the state.

Photo of Utah Community Action Grant.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

In 2012, when Cindy Taufa moved her family to Utah to escape the growing cost of living in California, she never expected her large family to end up homeless.

Photo of Bilal.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

When Kholoud Abou Arida, Moawiyah Bilal and their three children arrived in Salt Lake City in 2014 after fleeing their war-torn homeland in Syria, they were a different kind of Utah pioneer.

Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Close to 300 Latinos — many with Venezuelan roots — packed Taylorsville’s City Hall Thursday night for a town hall that at times seemed like a party, even if not everyone was invited.

Rocio Hernandez / KUER

With the 2020 U.S. Census one year away, state officials are planning strategies to get more Utahns to participate.

Photo of Park Building.
Brian Albers / KUER

After two long days of debate on tuition and student fee increases, all but two state regents voted in favor of raising costs at seven of the state’s public colleges and universities.

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