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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.

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.

Photo of medicaid form.
Renee Bright / KUER

Medicaid, the low-income health insurance program, is once again at the forefront of the health care policy debate in Utah. Last week, Utah lawmakers received notice from officials with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the state’s proposed partial expansion plan was unlikely to be approved by the Trump Administration. 

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. 

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It's Night 2 of the Democratic debate in Detroit, airing on CNN beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The second set of 10 candidates is making their case as to why they should be the next president of the United States.

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. 

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. 

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.

Photo of county health department road sign.
iStock.com / sshepard

Utah lawmakers are again tweaking the state’s medical cannabis law after several county attorneys raised concerns about dispensing the drug through local health departments.

Illustration of microphones.
Angela Hsieh / NPR

It's night one of the July Democratic debates. Ten candidates are each making the case that they should be the next president of the United States. Follow NPR's coverage fact checks and analysis of their remarks.

Doodle illustraton of wedding rings.
Renee Bright / KUER

Mormon culture influences nearly every aspect of life in Utah. But these days, many long-held values are being challenged, even by the faithful. KUER’s new series “Latter-day” examines how Mormon culture is — and isn’t — changing in response. 

Photo of San Juan County courthouse.
Ken Lund / Flickr Creative Commons

The San Juan County Commission voted unanimously on Monday to take no further action in a Native American voting rights case that led to the redistricting of the county in 2017. 

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 capitol facade.
Brian Albers / KUER

Updated 2:30 p.m. MDT 7/27/19 

 

The Utah Legislature’s partial Medicaid expansion plan has been blocked by the Trump administration, state officials confirmed Saturday.

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.

The Mountain West featured heavily in a House Natural Resources Committee hearing Thursday looking into issues of scientific integrity in the Interior Department. 

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. 

Photo of construction at Zion National Park.
David Fuchs / KUER

ZION NATIONAL PARK — Just two miles from the town of Springdale, the South Campground at Zion National Park is a stunning place to spend the night: Shielded from the desert sun by cottonwood groves, the campsites are scattered about the banks of the Virgin River and framed against the backdrop of Zion’s towering, red rock canyon walls.

20 Questions for the candidates.
KUER

Eight candidates are vying to be the next mayor of Salt Lake City. Ahead of the primary election on August 13, we played 20 questions with the contenders to learn more about where they stand on issues like air quality, transportation, homelessness, the inland port and more.

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. 

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.

Photo of fireworks.
istock.com/Justin Bartels

A recent heat wave and an abundance of fire-prone plant material is prompting state officials to warn residents in Northern Utah about wildfire risk posed by this year’s Pioneer Day fireworks.

Photo of dancers performing the "Buffalo Dance" at Bears Ears.
Russel Daniels for KUER

BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT — Dressed in elaborate headpieces made to resemble bison heads, two Pueblo men circled and lunged at each other, their white moccasins kicking up red dirt from the ground. 

As the sun climbed high in the sky, they performed a traditional dance honoring the bison. The ceremony, which is usually held in winter, was the last in an hour-long ceremonial dance to celebrate the Pueblo people’s homecoming to a landscape where their forebears once dwelled. 

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.

Computer screen with unlocked padlock
iStock.com / BeeBright

Updated 9:00 a.m. MDT, 7/27/19

Monday, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced that a national settlement has been reached with Equifax — the consumer credit reporting agency whose 2017 data breach exposed the personal information of over half of American adults. That number includes more than 1.2 million Utahns. 

Image of person on therapist couch looking distraught
Renee Bright / KUER

The effort to change a young person’s sexual orientation with therapy may soon be prohibited for psychologists in Utah.

marijuana leaf.
iStock.com / Darren415

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Friday that it will award licenses to grow medical cannabis to eight cultivators.

Photo of rider changing horses.
Russel Daniels for KUER

  

It’s called America’s first extreme sport. It’s certainly old … and extreme. Each summer on the Fort Hall Reservation in southeastern Idaho, Shoshone Bannock tribal members gear up for Indian relay. KUER's Mountain West News Bureau reporter Nate Hegyi attended the event early this month with photojournalist Russel Daniels.  

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 Amy Wildermuth and Justice Stevens.
Courtesy Amy Wildermuth.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday at the age of 99. He was appointed by Gerald Ford, and had spent 35 years on the court before stepping down in 2010. 

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