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They're Coming to Utah

First of all if you want to volunteer to help the people coming in from the South call: 1-866-873-2437

What a wild day.  Nice thing about it is that all my stories were just far enough apart time wise that I could make it to all of them and keep my sanity.  I picked up a few stories in the early afternoon and then headed to the Bishop's Warehouse where they were loading up sleeping bags on trucks to go to the disaster area.

After that the governor called a press conference.  We had heard rumblings earlier that some people from the hurricane area may be coming to Utah temporarily.  That was a little hard to believe why they would come all the way out here but that is the case.  Governor Huntsman walked in the conference room at the Capitol and proceeded to say that leaders in Louisiana called earlier in the day and asked for help.  The state did an assessment of how many people could be helped and came up with 1,000.  That number was much higher than anything I had imagined.  I thought where can 1.000 people stay?  The governor said Utah National Guard planes were ready to go and drop off supplies, troops and then bring back people left homeless.  Of course all this still needs to be coordinated with the state of Louisiana.  It would be interesting to see what the reaction of people down south about the idea.  "Hi, we know you've lost everything.  We're now sending you to Utah.  Hop on board."  A shelter in Midvale will be used and it sounds like Camp Williams may be a possible shelter as well.

It will be an amazing task to shelter people for as long as four months.  I can't imagine losing everything and then having to leave for such a long time and live in a totally foreign area.  Volunteers will be needed by the thousands.  The two biggest needs will be food and clothes.  Thousands of hot meals will be needed each day.  All these people will likely be coming in with only the clothes they have on.  They also talked about having to help children with some education classes.  They don't just want to leave them hanging out doing nothing all day long. 

This is really historical.  The governor mention nothing like this has ever taken place that he can remember where other regions were needed to help people this way.  Utah is one of four states that Louisiana is looking to for help.  The others are Texas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  Utah has the reputation of being able to help and it will be needed in an enormous way once again. 

Posted by Lance Bandley on August 31, 2005 at 06:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Prison

So I am working on a story about the staffing problems down at the State Prison. Simply put, there isn’t enough money offered to staff the amount of officers they need. A new wage report shows how bad it really is, make sure to listen for the story tomorrow (Tuesday) on Utah’s Morning News. So as part of my trip down south the Public Information Officer for the DOC Jack Ford, offered me a tour, along with the opportunity to talk to a Guard about the problems with pay. I have never been to a Prison before, and I guess I didn’t really know what to expect. Maybe it was everything I really did expect. Anyway….

First we headed to a part of the prison known as Oquirrih 4. A section that houses mostly, and I think maybe all gang members. There were four separate sections within that, one being the best behaved, to the last section, which is the guys that are proving they can do the right thing and gain privileges. The only way I can describe those areas is in each one, imagine 40 of the toughest looking, hardest, meanest looking guys. All of them covered in gang tattoos. And they were all looking at me like fresh meat.

Then we went over to a different part of the prison (I forget what that was called, but they are all named after local Mountains) and this area was much more relaxed. It had a pretty nice looking gym, a chapel, and area where inmates can do some Genealogy, the infirmary, that sort of stuff. We stepped into some other cell blocks, much more relaxed, very different looking inmates. These ones were very young, and very old, some in wheelchairs. Ford says those inmates are mostly in for sex offenses. After that we headed out, my first trip to the State Prison over.

Once place we didn’t go was the maximum-security area. Time was an issue, but I am told I can take a tour, home to Utah’s most famous criminals, Ron Lafferty, Mark Hacking, and Troy Kell. You can bet on a full report….

Posted by Jon Dunn on August 29, 2005 at 08:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

CougarRadio: Just Can't Get Enough

I knew there were some hardcore BYU fans in Utah but I had no idea the number of people outside the beehive state who are equally obsessed about BYU sports.  I received an e-mail from a Cougar Fan telling me he lives in Washington and flys to Utah any weekend the Cougars have a home game.  He says he's been doing it for 15 years.  Are you kidding me?   

I'm involved with the production of CougarRadio which airs each Tuesday and Thursday on KSL.com.  I thought I was a huge fan - apparently not.  Based on the number of e-mails the show receives each week, there is no such thing as to much Cougar conversation.  Thanks for making the show so popular.  Be sure to tune in next Tuesday, August 30 and we'll feed you some fresh Cougar information to gnaw on.


Posted by Patrick Wiscombe on August 25, 2005 at 03:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Cabela's Finally Open...

So I think first of all, it means the Cabela's stories will finally end.  Like no offense, but if I never hear that name again I'm good.  But before I erase it from my mind I thought I would relay a funny story that happened this morning while I was at the Grand Opening.

The media was allowed to come in and out well before the store opened at eight o'clock.  So I was walking in and out doing interviews and took a tour.  One guy that was camped out all night, asked me if he could follow me in and "carry my bag," so he could get a sneak peek.  So after I came out after my "tour" and about 100 people waiting were all staring at me, like they were waiting for me to say something about what I just saw.....

So I put up my arms and said, "Hey folks, I've seen it, it's not that good, you can all turn around and head home!"

Of course I was kidding, but several booed, one guy even yelled, "Are you on CRACK!?"

They quickly realized I was just kidding, and I narrowly averted a mob beating.

And oh yeah, check out our new bio's!

Posted by Jon Dunn on August 25, 2005 at 03:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Gas rage

I saw my first example of gas rage the other day...and I'm still thinking about it. While I was in the store at the gas station where I regularly fill up, a motorist who had just gotten gas came storming in screaming about the high price of gas and proceeded to grill the poor clerk during the entire exchange of cash and while exiting the store. The customer was loud and rude and vulgar. It shook up the clerk who proceeded to tell those of us still in the store that he had nothing to do with the price, the gas company sets the price, etc. etc. etc.  I must admit that it shook me up a little, too, because I'm still thinking about it. I remarked at the time it was a good thing the guy wasn't packing heat. I'll bet scenes like that are being played out in gas stations all over the country and will only get worse until these excalating gas prices stabalize. Hang in there and keep listening. Grant

Posted by grantnielsen on August 25, 2005 at 10:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)


I don't expect much sympathy over having to pay $30 for gas, but Wednesday night was the first time I've passed the $30 mark ever.  I've been very close several times but now that prices are over $2.40 I made it past the $30 mark.  I've talked to people that regularly pay more than $40 or $50 each time they go to the pump and truck drivers who wish they could pay that price.  I don't know how they do it.

All this had me thinking about all the gas price stories I've worked on so far.  Eventually you think you would run out of ideas or angles to report on but as long as prices keep going in to record territory there will always be stories. 

I've covered record gas prices when they passed gasp $2 a gallon earlier this year, gas drive offs, new technology by gas stations to catch drive offs, UTA impacts with riders and cost for buses, stations running out of the number 2's for signs (3 is surely on the way), travel tips, car maintenance tips, car pool lane use, pizza delivery guys losing money, and scooter sales, just to name a few.  Other reporters here have probably covered just as many.

The interesting thing about the scooter story is that at that store in Bountiful the owner has a few articles cut out from newspapers about oil prices sitting on the counter of his business.  One is from the Wall Street Journal from just last week that has someone quoted saying that oil barrel prices will reach $100 and that gas prices will be $5 a gallon. There's a nice thought. The owner is positive car companies are extremely worried about the trend that's why he says there are so many employee deals and extra sales going on to get rid of inventory. 

I think if prices continue to rise that our way of life will have to change.  There's no way people can afford it.  Just like the pizza driver told me, "hey my boss isn't going to feel sorry for me and make up the cost by giving me a raise."  I think people may have to reconsider where they live, how they commute, what vehicles they own and how much extra driving they are willing to do for extra curricular activities.  Teens asking for cars may not get them anymore.  Businesses will not be able to afford to have it's employees traveling around as much.  And cost of goods will start to go up to cover shipment costs.

Or in the conspiracy world maybe the health department is behind all this.  We found the cure for the obesity epidemic.  High gas prices will force people to walk and use bikes. 

Posted by Lance Bandley on August 24, 2005 at 10:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

It's Not EYE-Raq!

Hi, Scott Seeger here. It's great to be part of the KSL Blog. Unfortunately for my first posting I have a bit of a pet peeve I have to address. It's not EYE-raq!!! With applogies to Dennis Miller, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but when I hear that it's like fingernails scraping a blackboard. I was watching "Real Time with Bill Mahr last night (yeah, yeah but I think he's funny) and a Marine colonel who served in Iraq and then ran for congress in Ohio was on will Bill. And he kept saying EYE-raq. This is man who actually spent some time in that country and I suppose an educated man since he was a Marine officer, yet he kept saying EYE-raq!!?? This of course is not the first time I've been iratated by this. Just last week we interviewed another educated person during the afternoon news who kept saying EYE-raq. I've even heard it from many of my journalist colleagues. Please, it's EAR-rack or EAR-rock. No more EYE.

Posted by SSeeger on August 24, 2005 at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

I can't stand it...

How can I possibly wait, the Cabela's opening is just days away.  Man, if you haven't seen the pictures of this place, check them out.  Now if I could only learn to hunt, and fish, I might be in business.

Anyone who has been in downtown Salt Lake as of late has seen them.  The some 10-thousand Vets are here until Thursday, all wearing the hats.  As said in a story I reported on Friday, these men and women have in some cases, given everything so that we can enjoy the life we have today.  If you run in to any, don't hesitate to just say thanks.  The look on their faces tells you that where someone says that to them, it makes it all worth it.  And if you go to the Convention Center, you would see the scores of disabled vets, amputees etc.  Either way, incredibly nice guys with some amazing stories.  Look for a Closer Look on the ever changing VFW as they cope with thousands of new members from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

And other than that, everything feels really quiet.  Key word there....feels.  After yesterday's trip from the President, a rocket test at ATK Thiokol would feel quiet.

Posted by Jon Dunn on August 23, 2005 at 12:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Tarmac: The Press, the Platform and the President...

It's not often that the President of the United States comes to town.  So when he does, it sends us scrambling.  Myself, I was sent to the Utah Air National Guard Base to cover the arrival and departure of Air Force One.

I thought I was getting the short end of the stick when our News Director Russ Hill handed out assignments.  After all, Marc Giauque would be covering the president's speech in the Salt Palace... Jon Dunn would be covering Rocky and the protesters at Pioneer Park... I would be baby-sitting an airplane on a tarmac.  It turned out to be the BEST assignment!

000_0698I got there early and had to go through a security checkpoint.  I did everything the nice lady with the M-16 asked me to do.  I popped the hood of my car, opened the trunk and let her search.  From there, I got an escort to the platform.  It would be my home for the next three-and-a-half-hours.

The National Guard hurried us to this wooden platform set up on the tarmac.  The Secret Service told us to put our gear down and walk away.  While we were undergoing a security screening, they would do a "sweep" of our equipment.  While I was getting wanded by the Secret Service, they announced that if you had to go to the bathroom -- now was the time to do it!  There wouldn't be any chance once the president arrived.  When we were allowed back on the platform, my gear bag had been gone through.

All the media was packed on the platform.  As we awaited the arrival of Air Force One, we chatted amongst each other.  Then we started noticing the silent cues that the plane was near.  For instance, air traffic at the nearby SL International Airport stopped.  Security quietly increased.  Then we saw the plane come in!

I went live on the Doug Wright Show, trying my best to fill time.  When I overheard another reporter 000_0705 announce it sometimes takes 20 minutes for Air Force One to taxi, I gave up and tossed it back to Doug.  Eventually, the plane did make it to its final destination.  The president came out, waved to everyone, shook hands with the dignitaries and got in the limo.

From there, we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  We weren't going anywhere until the President left.

I interviewed a family that pulled some strings and got a free tour of Air Force One (a relative works for the president's security detail) and a family whose father was being honored by the president at the VFW convention.

To pass the time, I offered to take pictures of the reporters in front of the airplane.  Sure it's totally touristy, how often is it that you get a chance to get your picture taken in front of Air Force One?  A lot of this job is hurry up and wait.  The waiting was over -- here comes the hurry up part!

000_0735 One of the TV photographers got a page that President Bush had finished speaking.  We all started getting ready again.  I called in to the station.  The producer of Utah's Noon News had almost forgotten me, alone out on the tarmac, babysitting an airplane.  I went on the air with what was happening, then quickly scrambled as we realized the president was coming back to the plane early!  LIVE on the air, I found myself doing a play-by-play of the president ("he's shaking hands, he's waving, he's getting on the plane...").  It was exciting, especially when Senator Orrin Hatch came over.  I took my headset out of my ear and shoved it toward him so we could carry his comments LIVE.  Honestly, I had no idea how anyone heard anything over the roar of the jets -- they were so LOUD!

Then the plane slowly taxied down the runway and took off.  An exciting afternoon, for sure.  We'll have a complete recap on Utah's Afternoon News from 4-7p.  Be sure to listen!

Posted by Ben Winslow on August 22, 2005 at 03:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

End of Summer

Simply put...this summer has been a roller coaster ride.  I am somehow looking forward to fall in hopes it will mark an end to Boy Scout troubles.  Some might think the average "news person" is unfeeling and just wants to get to the best story first and although news is a very competitive industry we are not without feelings.  For me, my heart goes out to the Bardsley and Hawkins families as we've witnessed their trials this summer...moments of both hope and grief.  I have not met either family but hope they realize what examples of strength they are......at least to this "news person." 

Posted by suzannev on August 19, 2005 at 09:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)