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Gov. Herbert Asks Utahns To Help 'Light Up Puerto Rico'

Julia Ritchey
Gov. Herbert speaks at press conference for Puerto Rico relief efforts on Oct. 30, 2017.

Utah’s governor and lieutenant governor are teaming up with local businesses and nonprofits to send aid to Puerto Rico.


Utahns have so far kicked in more than $300,000 for Puerto Rican relief efforts.

Nearly 70 percent of the island remains without power after a devastating hurricane in September wiped out much of its infrastructure.

At a press conference to raise awareness for a new campaign called “Light Up Puerto Rico,” Gov. Gary Herbert called on all Utahns to pitch in.

“We’re asking for everybody to take a look -- individuals, businesses and organizations -- what can you do? What can you give to this effort of ‘Light Up Puerto Rico’ and sharing what you have today,” he said.

He says local companies and organizations like Vivint Solar, Goal Zero and the LDS Church have already donated. But they still need more in advance of a trip next month with Lieutenant Gov. Spencer Cox and about 40 other volunteers.

Carilu Alvarado and her husband Jorge moved from Puerto Rico to Utah just a year ago. They returned to their home island last week to help distribute solar generators and other donations.

“Everytime you go to Puerto Rico, you’re just like so happy to see everything so beautiful and green, but this time was heartbreaking,” she says. “Many, many houses and buildings all in the ground.”

Alvaredo will return to the island next month with the other volunteers to distribute additional supplies and generators collected during their campaign.


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Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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