Health Science & Environment | KUER 90.1

Health Science & Environment

A hand enters combination on a safe with numerical pad.
istock.com / C5Media

The National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah released research on Friday that offers new insight into suicide prevention among military personnel. 

Photo of a bus with the destination “star shuttle” picking up passengers in a dark parking lot.
David Fuchs / KUER

Bryce Canyon National Park announced its official certification this week as an International Dark Sky Park.

Photo of fire.
Courtesy of Box Elder County

Updated 5:32 p.m. MDT 8/14/19: Utah Wildfire Info is currently tracking six fires across the state — of which, three exceed 1,000 acres. 

Photo of bear returning to wild.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Updated 1:05 p.m. MDT 8/13/19: Bear activity is up in 2019, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR). As of July, 29 incidents involving bears had been reported, more than double the number of incidents reported by the same time last year. 

Zebra and quagga mussels can devastate an ecosystem, and Yellowstone National Park is doing everything it can to keep them out. Most recently, that includes harnessing the power of a dog's snout.

Electric, dockless scooters are showing up across the region, especially in bigger cities like Denver and Salt Lake City. But a new study suggests they may not be as environmentally friendly as you think.

These days, drones are everywhere--from the ones you can buy at your local Costco to news drones giving birds' eye views of sporting events. Soon, you'll even be able to get your Amazon deliveries with the company's "Prime Air" drone fleet.

iStock.com / quickshooting

Updated 11:45 a.m. MDT 8/2/19

Facing an already high rate of suicide in Utah, state officials are now taking a closer look at the scale of farmers taking their own lives. 

The issue comes from a complex combination of factors affecting farm country, including financial insecurity, decades of agricultural consolidation, international trade disputes and natural disasters that experts say are pushing some farmers into hopelessness.

The Mountain West has disproportionately high rates of depressive disorders and suicide. Researchers are trying to find out why. Turns out, the mountains themselves might have something to do with it. 

Environmental activists are calling for a united voice in protesting the Department of Energy's recent shipment of nuclear waste through our region.

Earlier this month, the Department of Energy sent a shipment of nuclear waste from Tennessee to southern Nevada. The shipment was incorrectly labeled as low-level waste, but it was actually mixed with waste that needs treatment before disposal. Nevada officials accused the agency of trying to sneak the material into the state illegally.

It’s no secret that wildfires are getting worse in the West. They’re threatening lives, homes and ecosystems. And they are also threatening our already-precarious watersheds. It’s all becoming a vicious cycle  — especially for the drier parts of our region. 

Photo of hemp plants.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

More than 16,000 Utahns could get medical cannabis cards during the program’s first year, according to estimates commissioned by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

Photo of a bollard light illuminating the main street in Ivins with a warm glow.
David Fuchs / KUER

IVINS — Around 11:30 p.m. on a recent, cloudless Monday night, Tim Povlick was hard at work measuring the brightness of the sky. 

Keven Walgamott, a real estate agent who lost his left hand and part of his arm in an electrical accident in 2002, got emotional when he was able to clasp his hands together and "feel" the space between his thumb and his index finger using a 3D-printed prosthetic hand in 2016.

"That was the first time I ever felt anything in my left hand since my amputation," Walgamott says. He got emotional a second time when he was able to grasp his wife's hand and "feel" her touch, this time through a newly designed, experimental prosthetic hand that can be directed with the user's mind.

Several utility companies in the West have announced they will institute power blackouts in areas with high fire risk when conditions are particularly bad. 

Photo of abandoned mine.
iStock.com / desertsolitaire

Federal legislation introduced this week would expand and increase a compensation program for Utahns and people from surrounding states exposed to airborne radiation from nuclear bomb testing or as uranium miners starting in the 1950s.

Photo of Jim Taylor.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

July 16 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch. Like any adventure, those astronauts needed a map to get them there. But how do you chart a landscape 238,900 miles away? KUER’s Elaine Clark spoke with Stansbury Park resident and retired physicist Jim Taylor about how he helped map the moon.

Photo of clinic.
Erik Neumann / KUER

By 8:30 Friday morning, the line had grown to around a hundred people outside Horizonte Instruction and Training Center. Freddy Martinez and his son Lucas were there from Orem, waiting for the annual CARE Fair to open, to get a dental check up for his son.

A gray wolf was spotted in Northern Colorado this week and Wyoming Game and Fish just confirmed it's a member of a Wyoming pack.

 


Photo of sign announcing meeting.
David Fuchs / KUER

Updated 3:00 p.m. MDT 7/11/19

A controversial frac sand mine proposed in Southwest Utah is poised to move forward after local officials gave the go-ahead this week on the sale of water and a conditional use permit. 

Photo of Ben McAdams.
Erik Neumann / KUER

Congressman Ben McAdams, D-Utah, was in Salt Lake City this week to promote a $4 million boost in federal funding for youth suicide prevention and research that he helped pass in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Coal
oatsy40 / Flickr

As the demand for coal continues to plummet in the United States, state legislatures in the Mountain West are coming up with creative ways to either save the industry or transition away from it.