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Benjamin Wood

Reporter, Health, education, environment

801-257-8715, bwood@sltrib.com


  • ‘Death is not failure’: Brittany Maynard’s widower urges Utah to consider legalizing fatal prescriptions
    Utah lawmakers on Wednesday began their study of an upcoming bill to legalize fatal prescriptions for terminally ill patients. Members of the Health ...
    Updated Jun 15 2016 05:12 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Candidate for the District 7 seat of the state school board say the Pledge of Allegiance before a debate hosted by Hinckley Institute of Politics, the Sutherland Institute, KSL and the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools at the Salt Lake Arts Academy in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Utah school board candidates defend teachers and Common Core during SLC debate
    Utah’s treatment of public school educators was the focus of a Wednesday evening debate among candidates for the state school board. Seven candidates...
    Updated Jun 15 2016 10:48 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Dan Diaz, widower of Brittany Maynard, speaks about expanding the availability of end-of-life options for terminally ill, at the Eccles Health Sciences Education Building Tuesday June 14, 2016. Diaz spoke at public event with the League of Women Voters and advocates of the Utah End of Life Choices Act, who have tried for two years now to get a ’death with dignity’ bill passed in Utah. In 2014, Diaz moved from California to Oregon with his late wife Brittany Maynard in order for Maynard to take advantage of the state’s Death With Dignity law. Life-ending prescriptions don’t cause more deaths — just less suffering, proponent tells Utahns
    Before she died in 2014, Brittany Maynard told her husband, Dan Diaz, to finish the plans they had made together before she was diagnosed with brain c...
    Updated Jun 14 2016 10:03 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    Brandi Gollinger instructs third-graders at Elk Run Elementary school as they take a practice exam to prepare for the SAGE test in Magna, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. Tribune poll: Utahns give failing grades to Common Core, SAGE testing in schools
    Standardized testing is “pretty much worthless,” measuring how good a child is at taking tests instead of what or how well a student is learning, Vick...
    Updated Jun 14 2016 10:39 pm   |     |   Share

  • Animal-rights group accuses University of Utah of negligence over lab monkey’s death
    The “extreme negligence” of University of Utah staff led to the injury and death of a laboratory monkey last year, an Ohio-based animal rights group s...
    Updated Jun 09 2016 11:05 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)    District 4 State School Board candidates Brad Asay participates in a debate sponsored by the Hinkley Institute, Sutherland Institute, and the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools at the North Davis Preparatory Academy in Layton Wednesday June 8, 2016.     School board candidates talk testing, teacher morale and party politics at Layton debate
    Layton • Incumbent state school board Vice Chairman David Thomas defended his record against three election challengers during a debate Wednesday even...
    Updated Jun 08 2016 10:57 pm   |     |   Share

  • Image courtesy  of Snow College |   Long-term plans for Snow College include student housing and new classroom buildings for the school’s central Utah campuses, including a new science building scheduled to open in Ephraim in fall 2017. Thriving in its unique role, Utah’s small Snow College plans to expand, enhance its campuses
    Looking into the Snow College crystal ball, school leaders see a future with updated athletic facilities, new classroom buildings and student housing,...
    Updated Jun 07 2016 09:58 pm   |     |   Share

  • U. study: Women who’ve had 9 premarital sex partners have lower divorce rates than women with 2
    American women who abstain from sex before marriage are the most likely to remain married after five years. But divorce is also less likely when a br...
    Updated Jun 06 2016 08:28 pm   |     |   Share

  • Courtesy Utahns Against Common Core  A student at Utah Electronic High School took a photo of a question on his final biology exam that asked how a family should decide if the mother should terminate her pregnancy. The school has removed the question from the test. Online Utah high school’s biology test asked students if a woman should have an abortion
    A 40-year-old woman is pregnant, but her doctor recommends an abortion after genetic testing reveals the unborn child has Down syndrome. What should t...
    Updated Jun 02 2016 10:25 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    Dr. Deneece G. Huftalin, President of Salt Lake Community College, waves after turning over a scoop of dirt during the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Westpointe Career and Technical Education Center, Wednesday, June 1, 2016. SLCC breaks ground on west-side technical education campus
    Construction of a $43 million technical education center officially began Wednesday with a ceremonial groundbreaking by Utah lawmakers and representat...
    Updated Jun 01 2016 09:58 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah’s highest-scoring charter schools don’t outsource administration
    stokesLast spring, nine out of every 10 students at the Utah County Academy of Science (UCAS) met grade-level benchmarks on the science portion of SAG...
    Updated Jun 01 2016 08:44 am   |     |   Share

  • DATC graduates largest-ever class
    More than 400 students are expected to graduate from the Davis Applied Technology College on Thursday, the largest class in the school’s history. An a...
    Updated May 26 2016 09:34 pm   |     |   Share

  • |  AP file photo So far, challengers for Utah school board are outraising incumbents
    Newcomers vying for a seat on the Utah Board of Education are raising more campaign funds than their incumbent opponents, according to disclosure repo...
    Updated May 23 2016 12:14 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)    Andrea Hart, a 6th grade Humanities teacher at Ascent Academy in Farmington works with students during a recent art project. Analysis: Utah charter schools move millions of public dollars to the coffers of a few private companies
    Farmington • When 75 mph winds swept through northern Utah this month, Ascent Academy was left with broken windows, a damaged fence and no power. “We ...
    Updated May 21 2016 11:27 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth  |  Tribune file photo)   Utah lawmakers convened on Capitol Hill Wednesday for interim meetings and a quick special session to restore vetoed education funding and consider an anti-national monument resolution. Utah lawmakers restore funding for education software and high school cooking program during special session
    Utah lawmakers hit a budgetary reset button on Wednesday, reversing a series of line-item vetoes and restoring $4.7 million in funding for online pres...
    Updated Jun 07 2016 07:34 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo)   Many Utah school districts are unfazed by new federal rules regarding bathroom accommodations for transgender students. Mount Jordan Middle School in Sandy has unisex-bathrooms located in every hallway. But Utah has joined a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration, saying the issue is one of federal overreach, not bathrooms. Many local schools are unfazed by Obama’s transgender bathroom order, though one Utah County board is threatening action
    Public school representatives along the Wasatch Front see little cause for concern after new nondiscrimination guidelines were released by the federal...
    Updated May 28 2016 07:34 pm   |     |   Share

  • New Utah history education standards will be released for public review
    After several months of delays, the Utah Board of Education voted Friday to release a proposed update to social studies and history education standard...
    Updated May 13 2016 08:30 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   James Madison Elementary School Principal Vincent Ardizzone eats corn on the cob during a school carnival Wednesday May 11, 2016. Honoring masters of reaching out beyond Utah classrooms
    It takes a village of educators — from volunteers to teachers to administrators — to raise a child through Utah’s school system. The 11 winners of the...
    Updated May 13 2016 11:11 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Leah Hogsten  |  Tribune file photo)   Gov. Gary Herbert delivers his re-election speech, backed by his family and wife Jeanette Herbert at the Utah Republican Convention, Saturday, April 23, 2016, at Salt Palace Convention Center. Utah guv tells education board ‘it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong’ — it’s time to move away from Common Core
    Utah’s Board of Education has agreed to end SAGE testing in high school and review its use of the Common Core State Standards — if lawmakers lend a ha...
    Updated May 19 2016 10:07 am   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Gov. Gary Herbert listens as House Speaker Greg Hughes speaks about SB296 at the Utah State Capitol in March. Gov. Herbert’s refusal to hold a special legislative session prompted a critical response from House Speaker Greg Hughes. Speaker Hughes scoffs at Utah guv’s suggestion that special session include SAGE test debate
    Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is hoping lawmakers will join him in ending SAGE testing for high school students, if not when they convene next week, then per...
    Updated May 19 2016 10:07 am   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   University of Utah graduates stand up and turn around in protest as Lynette Nielsen Gay receives an honorary degree from the during the annual Commencement at the Huntsman Center Thursday May 5, 2016. Graduating University of Utah protesters turn their backs on degree recipient
    Taylor Lay never thought she’d graduate from the University of Utah. Earning a degree is daunting, the Riverton native said, and the university’s Mil...
    Updated May 06 2016 08:09 am   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     Four year old Joselinne Mendez works with her mother, Laura De La Cruz as they use the UPSTART computer software to do preschool at home, Thursday, April 21, 2016.  Lawmakers will meet next month in a special session to consider restoring funding for the UPSTART online preschool program. Educational software — and questions of bias, cost and efficacy — on Utah lawmakers’ minds
    Joselinne Mendez is refusing to do her schoolwork. Despite encouragement from her mother, Laura De La Cruz, who coos “Sí, puede” — “Yes, you can” — a...
    Updated May 05 2016 09:55 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  Tribune file photo)   Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has come under fire from some for pitching a sort of speed-dating tactic with big donors, where he gives them face time to discuss their issues. Utah guv candidates Herbert and Johnson trade calls to end SAGE testing and Common Core
    On Wednesday afternoon, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Johnson called for the end of SAGE testing in Utah schools. Not to be outdone, Gov...
    Updated May 21 2016 06:12 pm   |     |   Share

  • University of Utah honoree resigns from anti-LGBT organization amid public outcry
    Philanthropist Lynette Nielsen Gay will resign from the World Congress of Families amid backlash to her being selected to receive an honorary degree f...
    Updated May 03 2016 09:36 am   |     |   Share

  • Photography by Leah Hogsten Students and volunteers spruced up the landscaping, cleaned and improved playgrounds around Mountain View Elementary and Glendale Middle Schools April 30, 2016. Saturday, April 30, 2016, More than 7,000 Comcast employees, their families and community volunteers in Utah will assisted students and community members in need at 19 service projects at local schools, city parks, and The Road Home.  Utah Comcast employees join community volunteers for annual day of service
    For Sheryl Sweeten, a Comcast construction supervisor, the best day of working for the media company, “hands down,” is its annual Comcast Cares Day of...
    Updated Apr 30 2016 08:53 pm   |     |   Share

  • Courtesy  |  Dixie State University  Artist renderings of a planned renovation to the Dixie State University stadium, which will be renamed Legend Solar Stadium after a $10 million donation. Dixie State University stadium changing name after $10 million gift
    This fall, the Dixie State University Trailblazers will follow Brooks the Bison onto the field of Legend Solar Stadium. In addition to a new mascot a...
    Updated Apr 29 2016 08:53 pm   |     |   Share

  • A screenshot from the video for ’Trash,’ the debut single from Tyler Glenn’s first solo effort. In solo release, Neon Trees singer Tyler Glenn metaphorically and literally renounces LDS Church for LGBT teachings
    In March 2014, Tyler Glenn proclaimed on the pages of Rolling Stone that he was proud of his life as a gay man, his career as a musician and his Mormo...
    Updated May 16 2016 02:57 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     Mayte Rodriquez smiles as Clay Newman reads here answer to a question as they attend Indgrid Campos’ AP Spanish class at Layton High School, in Layton, Utah Thursday, April 7, 2016. The first cohort of students who enrolled in Utah’s dual immersion programs are now reaching the age where they can take high school AP language courses for college credit. As Utah’s first dual-immersion students are prepping for college, so is their language program
    Layton • Layton High School sophomore Mikelle Argyle doesn’t consider herself fluent in Spanish, but she feels confident about taking the AP Spanish t...
    Updated Apr 30 2016 10:23 pm   |     |   Share

  • University of Utah removes references to anti-LGBT groups from bio of honorary degree recipient
    During commencement ceremonies next week, the University of Utah will award honorary degrees to four people: businessmen Kem Gardner and George Smith,...
    Updated Apr 28 2016 12:24 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Second graders at Wasatch Peak Academy in North Salt Lake play a clapping-attention excercise to help them listen and concentrate.   A new report by the Utah Foundation says that charter schools receive less funding than school district schools, but charter advantages make it difficult to determine if the funding is inequitable.   Report: Utah’s charter school kids get less funding than traditional students
    Utah spends $683 less per pupil every year educating charter school students than their traditional school district peers, according to a report relea...
    Updated Apr 27 2016 10:51 pm   |     |   Share