Southern Utah News Bureaus | KUER 90.1

Southern Utah News Bureaus

KUER’s Southeast Utah Bureau is based in San Juan County. The Southwest Utah Bureau is based in the St. George area. Both initiatives focus on local government, public lands and the environment, indigenous issues, faith and spirituality and other topics of relevance to Utahns.

A photo of Lake Powell
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

ST. GEORGE — Warming temperatures are causing diminishing flows for the Colorado River, according to a new study published Thursday. 

Photo of bikers on the Slick Rock trail
Wikimedia Commons

Updated 1:21 p.m. MT 2/19/20

MOAB — The Sand Flats recreation area is home to two of Moab’s main attractions: the world-famous Slickrock Bike Trail and the Hell’s Revenge Jeep Trail. Together, they draw thousands of visitors here every year, contributing millions of dollars to the local economy.

A sandy two-track road cuts through stands of pinyon pine and juniper trees.
David Fuchs / KUER

Listen to this story in this KUER news brief.

ST. GEORGE — Lawyers representing the state of Utah and Kane County made their closing arguments in the so-called “bellwether roads” case on Wednesday.

Photo of Bears Ears Buttes.
KUER File Photo

Updated 11:33 a.m. MST 2/15/2020

The recently released management plans for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments, already slammed by tribes and environmentalists, may also violate federal law, according to a new law review article by two University of Utah researchers. 

A field of sagebrush glows in the morning light. A mesa rises in the background.
David Fuchs / KUER

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KANAB — As the debate over public lands management intensifies under the Trump administration, Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears have become household names. 

A trailer, a shack and a house with solar panels sit on a hill in the foreground, and a large house sits on a hill in the background.
Kate Groetzinger/KUER

WESTWATER — Just across a shallow canyon from Blanding, around 20 Navajo families live here in small homes and trailers. They rely on solar panels for electricity and haul their water from town, while — less than half a mile away — Blanding residents run dishwashers and appliances off a municipal power and water supply. 

A yellow caution sign warns of an autonomous shuttle, which is in the background.
David Fuchs / KUER

ST. GEORGE — Washington County residents got a glimpse of the future on Tuesday, when Utah transportation officials kicked off three days of free test rides on an autonomous shuttle now touring the state.

A pump jack at dusk surrounded by sagebrush
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

The Bluff Town Council, tasked with overseeing growth in the recently incorporated community, recently faced a quandary.

Photo of Bears Ears Buttes.
KUER File Photo

Updated 2:24 p.m. MST 2/6/2020

In the face of ongoing litigation from tribes and conservation groups, the Trump administration has finalized plans to expand drilling, mining and grazing across southern Utah — including within the former bounds of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. 

The city of St. George is shown from above. The white temple stands above the tree-lined streets.
Kelsie Moore / RadioWest Films

ST. GEORGE — The new, tongue-in-cheek aesthetic for this fast-growing city in 2020 is “pioneer chic.”

A smattering of trees sits in the foreground beneath a large arch on a canyon rim.
David Fuchs / KUER

There’s long been a divide at the state Legislature between southern Utah and the more populous Wasatch Front. And booming growth in southwest Utah is leaving behind the rural southeast and central parts of the state, some lawmakers say. 

A water tank sits behind a chain-link fence, marked with a logo depicting a Native American man in a headdress.
David Fuchs / KUER

CEDAR CITY — A Utah lawmaker is catching heat over a proposed resolution that discourages abandoning the use of Native American names, images and symbols.

A well pad and access roads seen from above
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

BLUFF – An application to drill for oil and gas on public land near the Navajo Nation in San Juan County has residents worried about their water supply. 

A city of white buildings is shown in the distance, sitting between red rock canyons and desert.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

The St. George Metropolitan Area has ranked among the fastest-growing areas in the country for decades. But now, there are signs of a slowdown.

A red rock hill rises behind a foreground of sand, sage and juniper.
David Fuchs / KUER

KANAB — A proposed frac sand mine that sparked controversy here over its use of water and other environmental damage will not move forward. 

A Bureau of Land Management official addresses a crowd in front of his office building.
David Fuchs / KUER

ST. GEORGE — It’s not every day that a crowd of nearly 50 people gathers in front of the Bureau of Land Management office here.

A baby's hand grasps the finger of an adult's thumb.
iStock

After a decade-long decline, Utah’s fertility rate is at an all-time low.

Image of separate photos of Mitt Romney and Rob Bishop cropped together.
KUER file

Call it the Red Rock Rumble. 

Utah Republicans Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. Rob Bishop introduced legislation this week to designate 289,000 acres in an Illinois national forest as wilderness. It’s Republicans’ latest retort to an ongoing effort to create new wilderness areas in Utah state.

Photo of a historic firehouse that has been converted into a brewery.
David Fuchs / KUER

ST. GEORGE — Craft beers and microbreweries are a staple along the Wasatch Front and around the West, but that hasn’t been the case in this fast-growing city. Until now. 

A dirt road cuts through the grassy, desert lands in Washington County.
David Fuchs / KUER

ST. GEORGE — The idea of the “Northern Corridor” — a roughly 2-mile stretch of road that would cross a national conservation area home to the threatened Mojave desert tortoise — has generated controversy for decades in Washington County.

White business sign with blue lettering gives hours of operationan and visitor information.
Steven Baltakatei Sandoval / Wikimedia Commons

The federal government could ramp up spending on domestically produced uranium, based on a recommendation from a working group created by President Donald Trump. 

A table displays many posters of missing Navajo people.
Courtesy Navajo Nation Missing Persons Updates

Salt Lake resident Cassandra Begay says her family left the Navajo Nation to escape violence on the reservation. But she wasn’t able to leave the issue behind. 

A one-story, ranch style building sits in front of a backdrop of red cliffs at dusk.
Courtesy of Creek Valley Health Clinic

When the Creek Valley Health Clinic celebrates its grand opening on Dec. 18, it will have been over a year in the making.

A semitrailer lays on its side as traffic piles up behind it.
Courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol

ST. GEORGE — The recent flurry of winter storms that caused accidents and traffic problems across the state did not leave Southern Utah untouched.

Photo of the San Juan County administrative building.
Courtesy of San Juan County

Weber County has completed an investigation into an allegation of electioneering by the San Juan County Clerk. But San Juan will have to find another county to determine whether or not to file charges. 

Piles of debris burn in a snow-covered forest.
Courtesy of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands

Utah’s fire season is officially over following last month’s winter storms.

Photo of the Sand Hollow Reservoir
Courtesy of the Washington County Water Conservancy

ST. GEORGE — For a second year in a row, the Washington County Water Conservancy District has proposed a property tax increase to help pay for capital projects and rising inflation.

A deer looks at the road while stuck.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

 


BLANDING — Every weekday morning, Derek Bethea drives from his home in Blanding to Monticello, where he works as a therapist at the San Juan County jail. His route — State Highway 191, which runs north-south along the eastern edge of the state — is not prone to traffic. But it can be treacherous.

Photo of Monument Valley in Utah.
Wikimedia Commons

GALLUP, N.M. —  When Tyrannus White, 41, went missing here in March, his parents ran into a dizzying maze as they sought help from law enforcement to find their son. 

 

A parking lot is lined with several of Zion National Park's iconic natural-gas-powered busses. The canyon walls rise up in the background.
David Fuchs / KUER

Along with other U.S. Department of Interior agencies, Zion National Park will send three of its rangers south next year to support law enforcement efforts at national parks and monuments along the U.S. - Mexico border. 

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