Our network

Warm temperatures revive Southern Utah palm trees

ST. GEORGE — The palm trees in Southern Utah are starting to recover from the deep freeze that hit the area in December. Arborists say despite the hard hit, more survived than originally thought.

Local arborist Kevan Jorgensen said it was a tense few months of waiting and wondering how many of the tropical trees would make it through one of the coldest winters in St. George record.

“We were thinking we’d lose about 80 percent of the palm trees, because we’ve never seen this before,” Jorgensen said. “But now that it’s getting about 80 degrees, it’s when the palms start pushing out new growth, we’re only seeing about 10 percent.”

Jorgensen said most of the palms have a low threshold for cold temperatures, so when the sub-zero temperatures set in early in December, they initially thought the casualties would be higher. Certain varieties have proven to have a home in Dixie.

Community Sponsors

Farmers. Gets you back where you belong.

Want to see Utah’s liquor store inventory? Click here

SALT LAKE CITY — Becky Rosenthal knows first-hand what it’s like to find a great drink on Utah liquor store shelves one day, only to find it gone the next.

“We’ve gone from store to store and bounced around until we’ve found the right thing,” said Rosenthal, who writes about food and drink in Utah on her website, theslcfoodie.com.

Recently, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control quietly made its inventory available online for everyone to see. Through a search engine tool on the DABC’s website, customers can look up a particular bottle or type of drink (say, “merlot” or “absinthe”) and view the brands and how many bottles are available at what liquor store in the state.

Experts discuss health insurance enrollment numbers in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — President Obama is calling the Affordable Care Act a success, since millions of Americans have signed up for health care on the federal exchanges.

But how many Utahns have signed up and are now covered? FOX 13 News spoke with experts at Arches Health Plan, who said it’s still too soon to call Utah’s enrollment numbers good or bad.

The official report has not come in yet, but based on the estimates so far, Utah’s youth enrollment is above the national percentage.

After a rough roll out of the new health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama was eager to announce the national enrollment numbers Thursday. He said 8 million Americans have enrolled, with 35 percent of those people under the age of 35.

In Utah, no official statewide numbers have been released, but a spokesperson for Arches Health Plan said about 68,000 Utahns have enrolled, with 47 percent in the coveted 35 and younger demographic.

Students participate in ‘Great Utah Shakeout’ earthquake drill

SALT LAKE CITY — Emergency responders, firefighters, law enforcement officials and other emergency personnel throughout the state are joining Utah residents to participate in the “Great Utah Shakeout” earthquake drill Thursday morning.

The Great Utah Shakeout is part of a worldwide effort to increase awareness of earthquake emergency procedures and improve earthquake preparedness.

“There’s a million different things that people can do to be prepared, but the Great Utah Shakeout is one of the great things we can do as a state to be unified in all of our preparedness efforts,” said Joe Dougherty, Utah Division of Emergency Management.

The Great Utah Shakeout began at 10:15 a.m. with a mock earthquake. Event organizers ask Utahns to “drop, cover and hold,” as if a real earthquake were happening, at that time.

State lawmakers discuss governor’s ‘Healthy Utah’ plan

SALT LAKE CITY — The Obama Administration reportedly gave Governor Gary Herbert preliminary approval on his plan to provide health care coverage to uninsured Utahns.

However, the governor’s bigger hurdle may be with the Utah legislature. It will take a special session from the Utah Legislature to approve the Governor’s plan, and scoring the support from the State House of Representatives will be challenging.

Governor Herbert was in good spirits after a trip to Washington D.C., where the feds gave his “Healthy Utah Plan” to cover tens of thousands of uninsured Utahns an initial OK.

“This will be a work in progress,” Herbert said during a press briefing. “We don’t have all the answers because we don’t know all the questions, but I’m confident this is going to be a better approach for the Utah citizens and taxpayers than just Medicaid expansion.”

Utah business leaders tour renewable energy sites

MILFORD, Utah – Salt Lake business owners toured southern Utah on Wednesday, learning about renewable energy.

It’s part of an initiative by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce to show off some of Utah’s natural resources.

The business leaders are construction firms, energy developers, and utility representatives, but they’re all learning the same thing, getting green energy.

“In Utah, we are so strong because we have such breadth across the entire spectrum of energy,” said Salt Lake Chamber executive director Lane Beattie. “You talk about geothermal, and the wind and what’s taking place and all of those and how they can do it.”

The renewable energy tour is a joint effort through the Salt Lake Chamber and the state Office of Energy Development. Director Samantha Julian said as more businesses turn to renewable energy, it’s important to see firsthand how it can benefit a company’s production.

Governor talks ‘Healthy Utah’ plan with team behind Obamacare

SALT LAKE CITY — Fresh off a trip to Washington D.C., Governor Gary Herbert says he is confident his plan to provide health coverage to low income Utahns, called “Healthy Utah,” will be approved by the Obama Administration.

Herbert met with the White House Health Policy team. In the governor’s words, “The people who wrote the Affordable Care Act.”

“Their comment to me was this was never intended to be a one size fits all approach, so we embrace your proposal to have a unique Utah solution,” Herbert said.

Herbert also met with outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. He said the Secretary also said she didn’t see any major objections to Healthy Utah.