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New program aims to help Utah smokers quit

SALT LAKE CITY — Smoking may be less present in Utah than in other states, but it is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the state.

The Utah Department of Health is pushing people to kick the habit, and on Wednesday Adam Bramwell of the Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control Program came to the FOX 13 News studio to discuss their new campaign to help people quit. The new campaign is called Way to Quit, and it embraces the wide variety of methods people use to quit smoking.

See the video above for information about the program, and click here for more details as well as resources for those who hope to quit smoking.

Strong storm causes damages, power outages in northern Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — “It was blasting things off the trees and into the yard and knocked slats off my fence and I’m thinking this is pretty bad,” said Brad Gregory of Sugar House.

But things got worse for Gregory when a large branch snapped off of his neighbor’s tree and crashed through his car.

“It’s a mess, and there was nothing wrong with this tree; I swear that was a powerful, powerful gust of wind,” Gregory said.

Gregory’s house was just one of several clean up stops for tree removal businesses working in Salt Lake County Wednesday.

The gusts knocked down trees and left yards covered with debris, which crews have been out cleaning up since Tuesday night. But trees weren’t the only thing to come down: The wind was so strong it toppled power poles, and the lack of electricity is making it hard for one business to get anything done.

Experts, residents react to earthquake that shook Salt Lake Valley

SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude 3.2 earthquake just a few miles northeast of Tooele on Saturday night.

While no immediate damage was reported, it certainly shook quite a few homes.

“It’s scary. I’m glad it was just a minor one,” said Melody Addis, who lives in Erda.

As she and her kids were heading to bed Saturday night, they felt a jolt.

“All of a sudden we just feel this major shaking going on,” said 13-year-old Branden Addis.

According to data from seismic monitors, their home was in the community closest to the epicenter of the quake, which is why they felt so much movement.

“It was really light. It just happened to be in an area where a lot of people live,” said Keith Koper, a seismologist at the University of Utah.

While the quake did not register high on the Richter scale, it was still fairly significant in Koper’s eyes.

Suspect in alleged sexual assault arrested after 7-hour ordeal

SOUTH SALT LAKE – Police arrested a man after he barricaded himself in an apartment for about 7 hours Saturday, and the man is accused of sexually assaulting a female living nearby.

Police responded to the Wedgewood Willows Apartment complex, 3514 S. 300 East, at about 11:45 a.m. to make a welfare check on a 23-year-old male who had reportedly verbally threatened his girlfriend and her parents.

The man refused to come outside, but police were able to speak with him via phone. While police were at the scene, a woman who lives in another apartment told them the man barricaded in the apartment had sexually assaulted her at knifepoint earlier that morning.

According to a press release from South Salt Lake police, the investigation determined 23-year-old Jeremy Starn had threatened that female with death by a knife, and he allegedly touched her genitalia during and after the threat.

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.