The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a grant award of $87,618,600 to the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) toward funding local street crossings of Interstate 15 in St. George at 400 East and 900 South.

St. George City is one of 132 communities nationwide to benefit from the federal Reconnecting Communities & Neighborhoods Grant Program. The new crossings will provide additional connectivity of local routes on the east and west side of St. George at I-15.

“We are so thrilled to obtain funding ... to create two much-needed underpasses in St. George," said St. George Mayor Michele Randall. "One of our biggest challenges is transportation. We live in a city with ridges to the north, west and east, two rivers and an interstate cutting through the middle of town.

"These underpasses will mean less time on the roads getting from Point A to Point B and help alleviate some of our traffic congestion.”


The timing of the announcement comes at an opportune time for UDOT as it begins final design of additional lanes on I-15 between Exits 6 and 8, under which the crossings would be located.

UDOT credits community involvement from the residents and City of St. George along with the Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization in working toward a unified vision with UDOT.

Other ways this benefits St. George

  • Provides increased connectivity through and around I-15 by connecting 400 E (Flood Street) and 900 South underneath I-15 via underpasses
  • The underpasses will accommodate both motor vehicles and active transportation
  • Requires raising the elevation of I-15 to accommodate underpass structures
  • This project is to coincide with the I-15: Widening from Exit 6 to Exit 8 Project already planned by UDOT
  • The proposed design includes dedicated active transportation infrastructure, which will help decrease transportation-sector greenhouse gas emissions by improving multimodal access, mobility and safety. These improved connections will also help reduce vehicle miles traveled by providing a local option for shorter neighborhood trips.
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Airbnb And Vrbo Face Crisis: The Future Of Short-Term Rentals

Photo by Ivan Samkov:
Photo by Ivan Samkov:

Airbnb and Vrbo might just be in trouble.

Financial trouble.

The two businesses that have made a killing (each worth more than $4-billion) off of people willing to rent out their houses or spare bedrooms around the world.

But the two businesses lacked oversight for a long time and truthfully had little in the way of ability to punish those that did break their lax rules.

In a recent policy change, Airbnb announced it is set to ban its hosts from having indoor security cameras in their properties beginning next month.

Uh, talk about too little, too late.

This morning on her daily vignette on KDXU (airs at about 6:55 a.m.), consumer tech expert Kim Komando said this:

"Airbnb and Vrbo are done, and they have only themselves to blame," she said. "Americans are fed up. We're done with all the creepy hosts, hidden spy cams, bad wi-fi and inaccurate descriptions. Hotels are back -- big time."

If you've ever stayed in a "house-sharing" situation, you know that at best, it's a little uncomfortable. At worst, it's scary, dangerous, creepy and dirty.

Komando said a lot of rental owners will likely be bailing out of the short-term rental business as the market begins to collapse. She issued this dire warning and a little advice this morning to those who own property they plan on using for short-term rental.

"A lot of these home-owners thought the short-term market would go on forever without giving any thought as to what was really happening in the marketplace.

"Look for many of rental properties to hit the market. You just might score a deal."

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The Case Of The Mysterious Blast In Utah: A Closer Look

Photo courtesy Connor Jorgensen
Photo courtesy Connor Jorgensen

So often we hear in the news something like: "We'll bring you more information on the story as it develops," or "as it becomes available."

But the truth in the news media is most times the reporter has no intention of following up. Or if they do, they know that the follow-up news will be largely ignored.

Follow-ups are just not popular. We want the breaking news, not the "rest of the story."

But sometimes there is no more.

For instance, last year I reported on a story out of Northern Utah in which there was a loud explosion in the middle of the night.

Salt Lake County law enforcement investigated an explosion that happened in the Bluffdale area last March.

A loud boom was heard at about 1 a.m. on March 19 by residents from Lehi to West Valley City. Officials believe the explosion occurred "near the Point of the Mountain.".

Members of the Salt Lake County bomb squad and Draper police officers were flown to a remote area Saturday morning after a hiker found possible evidence of the blast, including a crater and what appeared to be shrapnel.

Ring cameras from several homes in the area confirmed that there was indeed a blast, but officers have not yet confirmed whether or not there was a "blast crater" as reported by the hiker.

Draper City officials and other large businesses in the area deny any knowledge of the mysterious blast, with Rocky Mountain Power and Geneva Rock claiming no involvement in the incident.

Authorities for Draper City said they would release more information about the explosion as it came available, but no information was ever released.

Social media users from Reddit to X and Facebook had many theories -- a meteor, a rocket, an explosion from Geneva Rock (they denied being involved) -- but all the theories were just speculation.

The truth is elusive in this case: an explosion happened, no one was hurt, several ring cameras recorded the incident from afar, a crater was found (but no meteor), and no one is claiming any involvement.

One commenter said it was simple "Aliens!"

We may never know. In this case, there is no follow-up.

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Towing Tragedy Averted: Couple Saved In Heart-Stopping Gorge Incident

All photos by Magic Valley Paramedics
All photos by Magic Valley Paramedics

Back in 2021, Steve and Nicki Cunningham were towing their 30-foot travel trailer to Idaho Falls through the Malad Gorge when a huge gust of wind blew their Ford F-350 off the road. In a heartbeat, the Cunningham's truck flipped over the guard rail and went off the bridge.

But in a stroke of good fortune, their travel trailer rolled onto its side and slid hard into the railing, but stopped. At that moment, and for the next 68 minutes, the Cunninghams found themselves staring down the 100-foot gorge, their truck dangling from the safety chain attached from their truck to the camper trailer.

Yep, a 4,000-pound truck with the couple inside was hanging over the gorge from a metal chain.

Shortly after the accident, a passing trucker jumped out of his vehicle and helped secure the pickup with a second chain, but it would be a long hour-plus for the Cunninghams before rescuers from the Magic Valley Paramedics Special Operations Rescue Team were able to hoist them to safety.

Here's a statement from the Magic Valley SORT team:

According to witnesses, the driver of the pickup, a 2004 F-350 pulling an approximately 30-foot camp trailer, lost control. The truck and camper swerved hitting the right shoulder barrier, then went left until the truck was sliding on the left side guardrail. The truck then tipped over the bridge, with the camper blocking both eastbound lanes. Only the safety chain attached between the truck and the camper kept the truck from falling. The Malad Gorge is approximately 80 to 100 feet below the bridge.

"This was a tremendous team effort that took a quick response and really showed the dedication and training of our community of first responders," said Capt. David Neth of the Idaho State Police District 4 in Jerome. "This is something we train and prepare for, but when it happens and people's lives literally hang in the balance, it takes everyone working together, and then some."

So many people use the word literally incorrectly, but in this case, Neth was dead on when he said the Cunninghams' lives were "literally hanging in the balance."

Fortunately, the Cunninghams came out of the accident OK, and rescuers even saved their two dogs, who were also in the pickup.

But what an experience.

And someone should buy the guy who welded that safety chain together a drink. Well done!

Malad Gorge Rescue

Compelling pictures from the amazing rescue of an older couple in Malad Gorge in Idaho.

Gallery Credit: All photos by Magic Valley Paramedics

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Southern California To Las Vegas Bullet Train: The Future Of Travel


Have you ever driven from Southern Utah to Southern California?

The trip through the Virgin River Gorge and on through Mesquite into Las Vegas isn't bad most of the time. But that leg from Vegas to Los Angeles or San Diego is brutal.

No, it's worse than that. It flat out sucks.

Fifteen-mile traffic jams, freeway standstills, pollution, heat and a crawling pace make it miserable, especially on weekends and holidays.

But in a story that seemingly has flown mostly under the radar, a group called Brightline West thinks they have an answer to all that -- a bullet train connecting Southern California to Las Vegas.

From the newswire:

"The company Brightline West is planning to spend more than $10-billion laying the tracks down. It wants three-point-seven-five-billion dollars in federal funding. All six of Nevada's elected federal lawmakers and four House members from California tell U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg they support the proposal."

Vegas is all-in as the train would be a huge boon to tourism, basically giving access to millions of Southern Californians the playground that is Las Vegas.

The fact that there is another high-speed train already in place in the United States -- the East coast of Florida has a high-speed train between Miami and West Palm Beach -- makes this one more plausible.

Construction is already underway through the Mojave Desert. The train is expected to make stops in Hesperia and Rancho Cucamonga, terminating eventually in the Los Angeles area.

The train would top out at around 200-miles per hour and would cut the time it takes to travel the roughly 270-mile trip in half.

Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen told the Associated Press, “This project is a major priority because it will make southern Nevada more accessible to millions of visitors each year," she said, adding that it “will boost our economy and create more good-paying jobs.”

The project has passed several hurdles, including making it through the incredibly difficult Environmental Impact phase. Money now becomes the biggest obstacle.

A draft environmental assessment of the project was made public last October and the Federal Railroad Administration is expected to finalize permits in July. The company said about 70 percent of funding will be private, using a combination of debt and equity.

Amtrak previously had a passenger line through the desert, but that service ended nearly 30 years ago.

Brightline West trains would connect Las Vegas, Victorville, California, and Rancho Cucamonga — a city in San Bernardino County -- with a passenger station on a suburban Los Angeles light rail line.

So when will it become a reality?

According top the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Brightline executives are hoping to open the western route, with speeds up to 200 mph, by 2028, in time for the Los Angeles Olympics. They plan to break ground in the spring if they complete financing."

Brightline estimates that 50 million people per year travel between Southern California and Las Vegas, more than 40 million of them in cars.

“They’ll have to drive past our train station and then watch the trains whiz by them at 220 mph” while they’re stuck in traffic, Brightline CEO Wes Edens told the Review-Journal. “It’ll be phenomenal.”

The train tracks will be built mostly in the I-15 freeway median.

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

Gallery Credit: Sophia Crisafulli

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