Utah Environment
6:15 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

New Software Promotes Urban Water Conservation

Utah State University Researchers are hoping to promote urban water conservation with new software.
Credit http://www.watermaps.usu.edu/

Interdisciplinary researchers at Utah State University have developed a landscape water management tool meant to enlighten individuals about the appropriateness of their water consumption. WaterMAPS assesses whether people, specifically in urban areas, are over-watering their landscapes.

Joanna Endter-Wada, associate professor in Utah State University’s Department of Environment and Society and the social scientist on the WaterMAPS development team, said urban landscapes use 60-70% of the water in Utah communities.

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Utah Politics
5:55 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

UVU Student Runs For Legislature, Urges Political Participation

Colby Johnson, a college student at Utah Valley University announced his candidacy for Utah House District 63 Representative, Monday.
Credit http://www.colby4provo.com/

A college student at one Utah university is hoping to politically activate his peers by running for Utah’s Legislature.

Colby Johnson, a 25-year-old student at Utah Valley University announced Monday that he is running as a Republican candidate for the Utah House District 63 seat.

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Utah Legislature
5:40 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Utah Senate Rejects Bill To Increase Smoking Age To 21

S.B. 12 was rejected by the Senate with a 12-16 vote. The bill would've made Utah the only state in the nation where a person would have to be 21 years old to purchase tobacco products.
Credit April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

A bill that would have raised the legal age to buy tobacco products in Utah has died in the Senate. 

Senate Bill 12 would have made Utah the only state in the country where a person would have to be 21 years old to buy tobacco products.

Utah is one of four states where the purchasing age is 19, which is currently the highest age to buy tobacco products in the nation at the state level.

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Utah Environment
4:37 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Scientists Find Snowmelt Is Accelerated By Dust, Not Just Temperature

Dust events occur regularly each spring along the Wasatch Front, and they could be impacting how much water is ultimately available for Utah residents. This is the first story by Explore Utah Science in a series called “follow the flow”, that examines ongoing research to maintain the sustainability of Utah’s precious watersheds.
Credit April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

It is over 50 degrees, and it’s mid-February here in the winter backcountry of Millcreek Canyon, just east of Salt Lake City.  The snowpack is soft and slushy.  And it’s melting.  Whether this is climate change or not, skiers should be disappointed by this early melt-out.  For millions of people living in the Wasatch front valleys below, things might be ok, but only as long as the early snowmelt can still supply enough fresh water.  

Some think that warming temperatures are not the whole story here.

“There’s this popular misconception that snow melts faster because of increases in temperature,” says Tom Painter, who spoke at a TED talk last year.  “Now, it’s true that that’s the case.  But that’s not the primary driver.  The primary driver is absorbed solar radiation.”

Painter is a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and used to work at the University of Utah. He says the thing forcing snow to melt earlier is not just the temperature, but also darkly colored particles of dust.  

“There are little particles in there. Little black carbon particles, dust particles, pollen, that are just slowly absorbing a little bit of radiation, and putting that into the snow.”

When dust gets blown onto the snow’s surface, Painter says it reduces the snow’s albedo, or its ability to reflect back the sun’s radiation, causing it to melt faster.  About 10 years ago he and other researchers in Colorado began studying how dust from the four corners area was affecting the alpine snowpack of the San Juan Mountains in western Colorado, a major source of water feeding the Colorado river.

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Utah Legislature
3:50 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Caucus Bill Passes Committee After Compromise

State legislators have compromised with the Count My Vote initiative as it passed in the House Government Operations committee on Monday. A bill - SB54 - was amended to be inclusive to the Count My Vote movement.

Todd Weiler, a state senator from Bountiful, said if passed the bill would allow candidates to bypass the caucus system by collecting enough signatures to be on the voter ballot.

“The Count My Vote organizers have agreed to stop collecting signatures and to not submit the signatures," Weiler said. "They are going to effectively withdraw their language with SB 54.”

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Access Utah
11:05 am
Tue March 4, 2014

The Science of Air Quality on Tuesday's Access Utah

A while back, UPR listener Derek Butcher emailed us saying that he’s pleased that “UPR has devoted a fair amount of airtime to discussions of Utah's air quality...which is great because it's an important issue that affects all of us." 

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LaToya Dennis joined WUWM in October 2006 as a reporter / producer. LaToya began her career in public radio as a part-time reporter for WKAR AM/FM in East Lansing, Michigan. She worked as general assignment reporter for WKAR for one and a half years while working toward a master's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. While at WKAR, she covered General Motors plant closings, city and state government, and education among other critical subjects.

Before coming to public radio, LaToya interned at the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan. She also took part in NPR's 2005 Next Generation Radio Project in Kansas City, Missouri as well as NPR's summer 2006 Next Generation Radio Project in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Utah Environment
6:18 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Utah’s National Park Losses Mitigated By Shutdown Funding

Arches National Park
Credit speclab.cr.usgs.gov

A new report released Monday shows Utah’s decision to fund the opening of the state’s national parks during the October government shutdown was worth the initial costs.

The report, released by the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior highlights the national impact of the government shutdown on communities surrounding national parks.

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Arts and Culture
6:07 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Hill Air Force Base Museum To Reduce Aircraft Collection

The aerospace museum at Hill Air Force Base announced that it will be reducing its collection of aircraft and other vehicles.

Hill Air Force Base Spokesman George Jozens said the nearly 30-year-old museum will be making the aircraft available to other museums worldwide in an effort to reduce costs.

“The museum needs to reduce its collection by about 18 aircraft, three missiles and a number of different support vehicles,” Jozens said. “The reason for this is it takes money to maintain and keep those aircraft up all of the time.”

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Amy joined WUWM in January 2011 as an Announcer. She began her career interning for WBEZ-Chicago Public Radio and NPR affiliate WGVU in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also served as News Director of her college station WNUR at Northwestern University.

Prior to joining WUWM, Amy served as an announcer and reporter for Northeast Indiana Public Radio. She also worked as a full-time bilingual writer and photographer for a Spanish- and English-language publication near Chicago. As a freelance journalist, she contributed several reports to WUWM’s Lake Effect program. Amy has won several journalism awards from The Hearst Foundations and Society of Professional Journalists.