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Southern Utah

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 women and men in military uniform holding open a large american flag, with a tipi in the background.
Russel Daniels / For KUER

MONUMENT VALLEY, Utah — Sitting in a white tipi below red sandstone buttes and spires, Navy veteran Misty Cly received a hero’s welcome in the form of a traditional healing ceremony.

Photo of a hand painted sign on a gate that says "Dooda, proposition 10, vote no."
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

SAN JUAN COUNTY — A proposition to explore a change in county government in San Juan County has failed by a margin of just 153 votes. The county clerk called the race Friday morning, saying that the outcome wouldn’t change with the 125 still-uncounted ballots.

Photo of a team of firefighters climbing a slope as smoke rises from a forest behind them.
Courtesy of Utah County Fire Department

Utah sent dozens of firefighters to California this week. 

Their goal is to help combat the blazes that have led to widespread power shut-offs and evacuations across the Golden State. California has seen a string of horrific fire seasons over the past few years, which it attributes to a changing climate.

A woman standing in front of a large nineteenth century painting hanging in a museum.
Elaine Clark / KUER

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts just opened an exhibit that features three masterpieces on loan from the Smithsonian. The trio of iconic landscapes, each very different in style, includes the 1932 Manhattan by Georgia O’Keeffe and Alma Thomas’ 1972 Red Sunset, Old Pond Concerto.

Photo of a yard sign with donkeys on it that says, "Just Vote No on Proposition 10."
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

San Juan County is holding a special election on Nov. 5 to ask voters if the county should explore changing its form of government. But the county may have failed to adequately notify Navajo voters about it, according to Niki Venugopal, a voting outreach coordinator with the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. 

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.

KUER Opens Bureaus, Adds Reporters In Southern Utah

Apr 25, 2019
Report For America photo.
Report For America

KUER announced Thursday the station will establish its first regional bureaus — and add two reporters to its ranks — in partnership with the national service program Report For America. Set to open in June, the bureaus will serve audiences in under-covered areas in southwestern and southeastern Utah.

 

Reporters Kate Groetzinger and David Fuchs were selected by RFA and KUER to serve as participants, or “corps members,” in the service program now entering its second year. Though KUER is based in Salt Lake City, both reporters will live in the southern Utah communities served by their bureaus and by KUER’s statewide broadcast signal.

Groetzinger and Fuchs will also lead community engagement projects as part of their service requirement as corps members.

 

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

Groetzinger and Fuchs are among 61 reporters placed by RFA in 50 news organizations across 28 states and Puerto Rico. The newly minted corps members were chosen from a highly competitive pool of nearly 1,000 applicants. In keeping with the goals of RFA, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, corps members report on under-covered issues and communities, with the goal of addressing “an urgent need in American journalism at a time when local news deserts threaten our democracy like never before.”

The bureau reporters’ work will be supported by funding from RFA and KUER. In addition, several local partner organizations will offer key resources to support the bureaus, including Radio Dixie at Dixie State University, Utah State University-Blanding and DesignBuildBLUFF, a non-profit working in local housing and education in responsive design and construction.

  

About the reporters:

Kate Groetzinger (Southeast Utah Bureau) joins us from Austin, Texas, where she is completing a master's degree in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin's Moody School of Journalism. She has worked for Austin’s NPR station, KUT, and her work has been published in the Texas Observer, The Austin Chronicle, Quartz, Rhode Island Magazine and Artsy. She has also worked for the Voces Oral History Archive at the University of Texas, collecting and preserving the stories of Latino/a civil rights leaders in Texas. She holds a degree in English from Brown University.

Photo of Bluff Mayor Ann Leppanen and Bluff Town Councilman Brant Murray standing in redrock country.
Judy Fahys / KUER

BLUFF — This recently incorporated town in San Juan County is facing a new test of newfound political clout as a solar farm is being proposed inside the disputed boundaries of the original Bears Ears National Monument.

Erik Neumann / KUER

The Navajo Nation on Tuesday elected a first-time tribal president who could use his new position to highlight tribal issues in Utah.

iStock.com / ronnybas

A Belgian hiker died from apparent heat-related causes earlier this week at the Utah-Arizona border.

Photo Courtesy of Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

Greater Canyonlands Monument

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Greater Canyonlands Coalition have released a new publication. They are calling for the area surrounding Canyonlands National Park to be designated a national monument.   

Wolfgang Staudt / Flickr Creative Commons

 

The runoff will start tapering to an end soon in northern Utah after near normal flows. But southern parts of the state are still starved for moisture.

Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, says many of the reservoirs in northern Utah are doing alright even though it’s been a pretty dry spring. Meanwhile, big storms have been drenching Colorado and making the Green and Colorado Rivers roar.

David Rankin

This week parts of Southern Utah have been hit hard with heavy rains and flash flooding. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch today for most of Southern Utah around Dixie and Zion National Parks. These storms can be extremely dangerous, especially around slot canyons and dry washes where a flood can hit hours after rain fell miles away.