Health Science & Environment | KUER 90.1

Health Science & Environment

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.

Shoppers walk the mall during Black Friday.
David Fuchs / KUER

Friday afternoon, November 29, 2019

Man stands at podium with sign “Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index.” Toys line the shelves behind him.
Jon Reed / KUER

The Tutoring Toy in Salt Lake City seemed an appropriate place to announce the latest findings in Zions Bank’s monthly consumer attitude index. That’s where Zions economic consultant Chad Berbert revealed that while faith in the economy dipped slightly from last month, Utah families are expected to spend a median of $700 this holiday season, which is up $200 from last year. 

Man stands at podium with sign “Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index.” Toys line the shelves behind him.
Jon Reed / KUER

The Tutoring Toy in Salt Lake City seemed an appropriate place to announce the latest findings in Zions Bank’s monthly consumer attitude index. That’s where Zions economic consultant Chad Berbert revealed that while faith in the economy dipped slightly from last month, Utah families are expected to spend a median of $700 this holiday season, which is up $200 from last year. 

An extraordinary discovery in the backyard of Colorado Springs has created a window into an evolutionary period we previously knew very little about.

Photo of snow falling on road up Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

The Utah Transit Authority and the Central Wasatch Commission are continuing the effort to reduce winter congestion in Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons. On Monday, they announced public transportation improvements they say could help get drivers out of their cars and into buses.

Stock photo of leftover food on a table.
iStock

Monday evening, November 25, 2019

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. 

Stock photo of pumpkins.
iStock

Friday evening, November 22, 2019

Photo of doors to the now closed Road Home shelter.
Jon Reed / KUER

The Road Home has been at the center of a long and awkward transition in the Salt Lake area’s homeless services model. But on Thursday – the same day the group closed its downtown facility for good – the nonprofit announced it had won a $5 million grant from the Day 1 Families Fund, a charity backed by Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos. 

Photo of Running Utes alum Arnie Ferrin and Wat Misaka.
Mae Miya / Utah Sports Hall of Fame

Updated 11:41 a.m. MDT, 11/22/19

Editor’s note: During impeachment inquiry hearings, KUER is offering news roundups from around the state and audio of those stories as a resource for our audience.

Photo of Wataru "Wat" Misaka from the film, "Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story"
From film "Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story"

Wataru “Wat” Misaka, who died Wednesday, became the first person of color to play professional basketball in 1947.

Photo of a message on a sign over the freeway that reads "AMBER ALERT CHECK LOCAL NEWS".
Jon Reed / KUER

There was confusion and a lot of complaints on social media this week after Utahns received an Amber Alert with nothing but instructions to call 511 for details. But as the calls came pouring in, many were answered only with a busy signal. 

“The system worked as it was designed to work,” said Marissa Cote, a spokeswoman for Utah’s Department of Public Safety. “Unfortunately, we did have the occurrence of too many people calling the line.”

Photo of desert with a State Trust Land sign.
Headwaters Economics

A new white paper from the non-profit Headwaters Economics says transferring public lands from the federal government to Western states would generate more revenue, but also comes with high economic costs.

Photo of the Gadsby plant
Brian Albers / KUER

About 3,500 people live in the small, rural town of Delta, Utah. Some 600 miles away, the population of Los Angeles County’s sprawling metropolis is about 10 million. The two cities don’t have much in common, but there is one thing that ties them together: power. 

Photo of a sign listing the distance to Brighton Resort.
Jon Reed / KUER

Utah’s ski season officially began Tuesday as Brighton Resort opened with two lifts and about 12 inches of mostly man-made snow.

Photo of six people seated at a conference table, as an audience seated in chairs looks on.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

MONTICELLO — Just south of Moab, across the boundary splitting Grand and San Juan counties, the night sky in Spanish Valley is dark enough for residents to make out full constellations. 

Photo of piles of debris burning in the distance amidst small piles of snow.
Courtesy of Utah Fire Info, via Twitter.

Updated 9:13 a.m. MST 11/15/19

The closed fire season in Southwest Utah has been extended until Nov. 30 due to unprecedented conditions across the region, state fire officials announced this week.

Photo of smog over Salt Lake City.
Eltiempo10 / Wikicommons

A new draft proposal by the Trump administration may throw both current and future clean air and water laws into question.

Bureau of Land Management

Reintroduced legislation incentivizing more renewable energy projects on public lands is getting rare bipartisan support.

Photo of University of Utah suicidologist Dr. Doug Gray, Rep. Ben McAdams, and state Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, at a press conference.
Jon Reed / KUER

At a press event Friday, Rep. Ben McAdams spoke about legislation he recently introduced to fund research grants aimed at understanding why suicide rates are on the rise, particularly in Utah.

Photo of William Perry Pendley on a bike.
Eric Coulter / Bureau of Land Management

A government watchdog on Wednesday filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management to find out why it hired a one-time, anti-public lands advocate to run the agency. 

A photo of hoodoos and banded, multi-color canyon walls in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Courtesy of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Verizon Wireless has proposed a new cell phone tower for Bryce Canyon National Park, and officials want to know what the public thinks. 

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to roll back Obama-era rules governing how coal-fired power plants store and release toxic waste.

Photo of an issue of The Salt Lake Tribune.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

The Salt Lake Tribune announced Monday the IRS has approved its request to become a nonprofit. The paper was surprised to learn Friday that the approval came quicker than expected, and makes The Tribune the first for-profit newspaper in the country to transition to a non-profit model. KUER’s Caroline Ballard spoke with The Salt Lake Tribune Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce about the news.

Photo of online Medicaid application.
Renee Bright / KUER

Friday marked the beginning of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. And this year, Utahns will have more options. 

The Rocky Mountain Power logo is on a sign outside a brick building.
Brian Albers / KUER

Salt Lake County announced it is hopping on the 100% renewable energy bandwagon. Officials passed a resolution Tuesday to transition the county to total net use by 2030, still making use of some traditional energy sources while adding enough renewables to offset them. The county joins a slew of other Utah communities that have committed to similar goals, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Summit County and the city of Moab. 

Researchers writing in the journal Science found that when kids get measles, it can cause “amnesia” in the immune system. 

In much of the Mountain West, measles vaccination rates are below the recommended 95% level.

Stock photo of an underground mine shaft.
iStock

The largest private coal company in the country, Murray Energy Corporation, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, leaving workers at its 15 active mines across the country — including one in Utah — wondering how the move will affect their livelihoods. 

A growing number of pharmacists across the country are now offering birth control directly to patients -- no doctor’s visit required. That includes pharmacists at grocery stores in the Kroger chain -- like Fred Meyers, King Soopers, City Market and Smith’s -- in addition to Albertson’s and Safeway stores.

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