Southwest Utah Bureau | KUER 90.1

Southwest Utah Bureau

A red rock hill rises behind a foreground of sand, sage and juniper.
David Fuchs / KUER

KANAB — A proposed frac sand mine that sparked controversy here over its use of water and other environmental damage will not move forward. 

Photo of a historic firehouse that has been converted into a brewery.
David Fuchs / KUER

ST. GEORGE — Craft beers and microbreweries are a staple along the Wasatch Front and around the West, but that hasn’t been the case in this fast-growing city. Until now. 

A one-story, ranch style building sits in front of a backdrop of red cliffs at dusk.
Courtesy of Creek Valley Health Clinic

When the Creek Valley Health Clinic celebrates its grand opening on Dec. 18, it will have been over a year in the making.

Piles of debris burn in a snow-covered forest.
Courtesy of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands

Utah’s fire season is officially over following last month’s winter storms.

Against a background of buttes and dry grass, an elderly man in a cowboy hat adjusts a fence post and barbed wire.
David Fuchs / KUER

KANAB — Kane County’s most populous city sits between the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and the Arizona Strip. It’s a dramatic landscape of red cliffs and canyons crashing into high desert grasslands — the kind of place where, when driving on backroads, clouds of dust might shoot out of the vents if you turn on the air conditioning.

A seated audience listens intently to a presenter.
David Fuchs / KUER

WASHINGTON, Utah — Lily Twitchell had been bullied so much in the Washington County School District that she had become “really good” at hiding its effects.

A sign points the way towards a labyrinth in Kayenta against a backdrop of red mesas.
David Fuchs / KUER

It’s widely known that Southwest Utah has an abundance of red rocks, scenic vistas and retirees. But off the beaten path, the region is rich in another resource: labyrinths.

Yard signs for Kanab City Council candidates are clustered on the main corner in town.
David Fuchs / KUER

KANAB — The charged atmosphere surrounding a proposed frac sand mine about 10 miles north of here has electrified Tuesday’s city council election, eliciting a level of divisiveness in public comments that some long-time residents have described as unprecedented.

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 road to Red Knoll.
David Fuchs / KUER

Updated 11:05 a.m. MDT 9/27/19  

KANAB — In the months before being elected to the Kane County Commission last year, Andy Gant paid a visit to a local advisory committee he would soon start working with. His goal: to introduce himself as the newest official in town. 

Photo of tire tracks in red sand.
David Fuchs / KUER

KANAB — A proposed mine for sand used in oil and gas extraction has stirred tensions and spurred questions in this small town just north of the Arizona border since the City Council voted in July to provide water to the project. 

Photo of three panelists signing a document as their colleagues look on.
Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University.

An agreement signed at the Utah Rural Summit on Tuesday might soon bring remote working jobs to rural parts of the state. 

Photo of the rear-end of a Zion National Park Shuttle on a winding canyon road. Clouds of sand that are several times its height billow above.
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Kavarra Corr.

The Saturday evening sky above Zion National Park was bright blue and cloudless when Dixie State geography adjunct professor Kathleen Kavarra Corr said she heard a crack like thunder.

Photo of Lance Milne.
KSTU-TV (Fox 13)

It took all of 11 minutes for Judge Michael Westfall to issue his decision: convicted sex offender and polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs will face questioning in the latest lawsuit against him, the United Effort Plan Trust and other prominent members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Photo of a landscape of red sands and red rock in Kane County.
Utah Geological Survey

A petition calling on Gardner Company to cut off its support to a controversial frac sand mine outside Kanab has picked up over 2,600 signatures. 

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 sign outside Colorado City.
iStock.com / TSnowImages

A legal skirmish has unfolded regarding whether former polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is mentally capable of testifying in a sexual abuse case against him, the United Effort Plan Trust and other leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. 

Phot of a boy playing a handheld video game in front of an old camper trailer. The desert stretches out in the background.
David Fuchs / KUER

St. George — It’s Back to School Night at Diamond Valley Elementary, and the auditorium is filled with the usual suspects: tired, young parents and restless, wriggling children. But near the back of the room, seated at the edge of the aisle, is a 47-year-old woman with a blue streak in her hair. She’s equal parts exhausted, anxious and out of place. 

Photo of a constituent questioning Rep. Chris Stewart as several rows of audience members look on.
David Fuchs / KUER

In a wide-ranging discussion at a town hall in Hurricane on Monday night, Congressman Chris Stewart said he was conflicted on the issue of gun control in the wake of two mass shootings last weekend.

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. 

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.

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 west valley fire.
Utah Fire Info Twitter

In Utah, it is unlawful to discharge fireworks — except in certain places and in certain time frames. Those include the four-day windows surrounding the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day, which start two days before and end one day after the holidays.

Photo of family at park.
David Fuchs / KUER

Updated 4:07 p.m. MDT 6/26/19

St. George, UT — Tuesday evening, two brothers — a 28-year-old from North Dakota and 20-year-old from Nevada — were visiting the upper waterfalls at Gunlock State Park when they slipped and fell nearly twelve feet into the water below.

Photo of air pollution over the Great Salt Lake.
Brian Albers / KUER

While air quality has been on the decline nationwide over the last two years, Utah has seen mixed results in the state’s efforts to rein in pollution.

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.