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Stock photo of chairs on top of desks in a classroom.
iStock

Updated 10:15 a.m. MDT 10/18/19

St. GEORGE — When charter school Saint George Academy opened here three years ago, Jennifer Racker says her family’s life changed.

An Interior Department committee is recommending that the National Park Service privatize campgrounds in national parks and offer services such as WI-FI and food trucks.

Illustration of microphones.
Angela Hsieh / NPR

Twelve candidates take the stage for October's Democratic primary debate, which begins at 6 p.m. MT. Follow along as NPR reporters share context and analysis throughout the debate.

Mayoral canididates on a debate stage.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

Salt Lake City’s two mayoral hopefuls agree on many things, but in a debate Monday night they clashed over issues facing the city, such as the planned inland port and how the city serves its west-side residents.

Photo of a Navajo man wearing a black cowboy hat stands in front of a sign that says "Indigenous People’s Day."
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Students at Utah State University Blanding rose before dawn this morning to greet the sun with corn pollen in the Navajo tradition, before embarking on a 5k run to kick off the college’s first Indigenous People’s Day. 

Mountain West states have some of the lowest rates of youth obesity in the country, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Utah's rate of 8.7% was found to be the lowest in the country, while Colorado and Montana, with rates of 10.7% and 10.8%, respectively, were also among the six states with obesity rates statistically significantly lower than the national average of 15.3%.

A few months ago, Tricia Shields was having a regular day at work. 

“I think I was daydreaming at my desk,” says Shields, a resident of Parker, Colorado, who was at the time working at a kidney care center in Denver.

Photo of downtown Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers / KUER

For years, Salt Lake City leaders have set aggressive goals to shift the city’s energy use to net-100% renewable sources. But the date of that goal becoming a reality has been a moving target, and current mayor Jackie Biskupski is warning that both of her potential successors’ ambitions to finalize the transition by 2023 is unrealistic. 

Photo of a bison
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

Multi-story, tan brick school building with large windows.
Courtesy Logan City School District

Utah’s population is expanding. Yet, for some school districts in quickly growing communities — Ogden, Murray, and Salt Lake City — the numbers are moving in the opposite direction. In the Logan City School District, the annual October enrollment count has dropped for at least the seventh year in a row. 

Bison road on prairie with clear blue sky.
Claire Harbage / NPR

Concerns over the environment have increasingly driven people to the streets to protest government inaction. But an ex-Silicon Valley entrepreneur is taking a different approach. He’s digging into his own pockets — and asking others to do the same — to do what he says the federal government can't and won't. 

Climate change has been called the new normal. But residents in some parts of the Southwest say after living through the last two years, there’s nothing normal about it. 

Communities in the Four Corners -- where the borders of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet -- have been bouncing between desperately dry and record-breaking moisture since the winter of 2017, forcing people dependent on the reliability and predictability of water to adapt.

Woman speaks at an outdoor podium as three men stand behind her.
Julia Ritchey / KUER

A new public engagement report by the non-profit planning group Envision Utah said people are concerned about the inland port. Chief among those worries are air quality and other environmental impacts. But the report also noted that there is a lot of confusion about who maintains control over the land and development process.

A road with worn pavement and lots of patches.
Kate Groetzinger/KUER

SAN JUAN COUNTY -- As winter approaches, Navajo Nation residents in Utah say roads on the reservation are increasingly hazardous because of a lack of upkeep.

 

And they don’t know who to blame.

A man sitting at a table speaking into microphones.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, convened a roundtable on Thursday morning to discuss vaping-related illnesses. Afterward, he took questions from reporters about a range of topics, from the impeachment inquiry to the Trump administration’s decision to pull the remaining U.S. troops out of Syria.

Brian Albers / KUER

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski is wrapping up her first and only term at the end of this year. She made history as the city’s first openly gay mayor when she was elected in 2015. But she also clashed publicly with members of the city council and Gov. Gary Herbert during her time in office on issues like homelessness and the planned inland port. KUER’s Nicole Nixon went to City Hall to talk with Biskupski about her time in office.  

SCOTUS
KUER File Photo

A month before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments about President Trump ending an Obama-era executive order to protect young immigrants, three Utah higher education higher education institutions have signed on to an amicus brief in support of the program. 

Police vehicle with emergency lights flashing at night.
Brian Albers / KUER

The Salt Lake City Council met Tuesday night for the first of two public meetings this month. Apart from the standard fare on the agenda — things like budget amendments, road closures, and zoning changes — they also talked about adding new less-lethal shotguns to the Salt Lake City Police Department’s arsenal.

Photo of vape pens.
iStock.com / HighGradeRoots

Nationwide, more than 1,000 people have been diagnosed with lung injuries related to vaping, and the number of cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control continues to grow each week. Not much is known about the injury, though the FDA and Utah health officials have pointed to unregulated Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cartridges as a possible cause. But doctors are starting to identify some patterns. 

Photo of Mitt Romney.
Pool Photo

On Friday, Sen. Mitt Romney criticized President Trump’s appeals to Ukraine and China to investigate Joe Biden. The Utah Republican didn’t go so far as to support the impeachment inquiry — but over the weekend, Trump blasted back on Twitter. To better understand where Romney fits in among Republicans during talk of impeachment, KUER’s Caroline Ballard turned to McKay Coppins, a Washington-based staff writer for The Atlantic who has been following Romney and the Republican party for years.

A line delineates where burned and unburned sections of grassland and sagebrush.
David Fuchs / KUER

Updated 2:45 p.m. MDT 10/07/19:

Utah’s 2019 fire season has been a mild one, according to the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

The Bureau of Land Management is moving more staff and—perhaps most significantly—its headquarters to the Mountain West.

Depending on who you ask, relocating the BLM’s headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction, Colorado will make the agency more efficient, give preferential treatment to the fossil fuel industry—or even functionally dismantle it.

It's flu season, so public health officials are pushing the flu shot, but many in the Mountain West are particularly bad at taking that advice.

Photo of medicaid form.
Renee Bright / KUER

The Utah Department of Health is holding public hearings this week on the latest installment of the state’s Medicaid expansion program. The move comes after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent out an informal rejection in July to several states considering plans like Utah’s, forcing state lawmakers to regroup. 

A group of police officers stand with a wooden plaque.
Dixie State University

The campus police department at Dixie State University has become the first campus police department in Utah to receive an official accreditation from the state’s Chiefs of Police Association. 

Photo of Kate MacGregor.
U.S. Department of the Interior

President Donald Trump intends to nominate a long-time Republican Hill staffer to help lead the nation’s largest land management agency.

Photo of Navajo woman filling out form.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Updated 10:05 p.m. MDT 10/3/19

 

An upcoming special election in San Juan County has some Native residents worried they will lose representation in government.

Photo of a man cutting a ribbon in front of his house.
Jon Reed / KUER

For decades, Mario and Emma Melendez have lived and worked in Salt Lake City. Originally from the Mexican state of Tlaxcala, east of Mexico City, they came to Salt Lake by way of Phoenix, and have rented all their lives. But on Thursday, they moved into a house that, for the first time, they can call their own.

Personal income is on the rise across the country, and some of the biggest increases are in Mountain West states, according to data published last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Photo of Civica Rx Representative holding up a vial of antibiotics.
Jon Reed / KUER

A Utah-based drug maker announced today it has taken its first step towards curbing price spikes and shortages of generic drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. 

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