The Salt Lake Tribune

    With Dante Exum dealt another setback, Jazz praise his ‘perseverance and persistence’


    Oklahoma City • Dante Exum had been ramping up his workouts at Zions Bank Basketball Campus. He was even a partial participant in Wednesday’s first practice back from the All-Star break.There was growing optimism that a sprained ankle which had kept...

    Oklahoma City • Dante Exum had been ramping up his workouts at Zions Bank Basketball Campus. He was even a partial participant in Wednesday’s first practice back from the All-Star break.

    There was growing optimism that a sprained ankle which had kept him out since early January would soon be in the rearview.

    Then, on Thursday, he was ruled out from playing in Friday’s game against the Thunder. And on Friday came worse news still — a bone bruise had developed as a natural byproduct of the sprain, and he will miss at least two more weeks.

    Coach Quin Snyder noted before the game that Exum’s latest in a long line of injuries has been “hard on a couple levels.”

    Mostly, Snyder said, he was disappointed for his player because of how hard he’s worked to improve.

    Quin Snyder, pregame, on Dante Exum's injury: "Every time something’s happened to him, I’m proud of how he’s responded. And that’s the only thing that he can control. And that perseverance and that persistence, ultimately that’s what makes players really good." pic.twitter.com/mMccCbKYLc

    — Eric Walden (@tribjazz) February 23, 2019

    “You just feel for him, because no one’s given him anything. He had some games this year where he DNP’d, ’cause he wasn’t playing well. The one thing we’ve always done is be honest with each other, and he knew he had to do better and play better, and that’s what he did,” the coach said. “And then you see a lot of that work beginning to translate, you see his confidence coming up, and he was playing really, really well — better than he’s played in his career in the league. And so to have him knocked back because of the injury was hard to see for him.”

    That said, Snyder added he’s confident that Exum will ultimately be a difference-maker once he finally is ready to return, because of his belief in himself.

    “There’s a level of mental toughness that you have to develop in dealing with adversity, and he’s had more than his fair share,” Snyder said. “But every time something’s happened to him, I’m proud of how he’s responded. And that’s the only thing that he can control. And that perseverance and that persistence, ultimately that’s what makes players really good.”

    Still needs work

    While the Jazz have earned league-wide plaudits for again being one of the league’s sturdiest defensive units, Snyder keeps preaching the need to maximize what each player is capable of.

    In Kyle Korver’s mind, that means there’s plenty of room for improvement yet for the team on the side of the ball he’s best known for. In fact, the team’s postseason success depends upon it in his estimation.

    “Offensively, we gotta keep on finding ways to get easier and easier shots, easier baskets,” Korver said. “I think that’s probably been more of a challenge for us on that side. In the playoffs, the games slow down even more, so we gotta be that much sharper and that much cleaner.”

    Going into Friday’s game, Utah ranked 20th in the NBA with 109.2 points per game, and 19th with a 108.4 offensive rating.

    Nobody’s perfect

    Asked what his teammates had said to him following his botched attempted self-alley-oop in last week’s Rising Stars Challenge, guard Donovan Mitchell grimaced and claimed he didn’t provide any opportunity for instant feedback: “Oh man … I just turned my phone off!”

    While initially feigning mortification at his pass going far too high and eventually over the backboard and out of bounds (“I hadn’t really messed up like that — publicly — since … I’ve done that a few times practicing, but never like that in the midst of a game. It was pretty funny, though. I enjoyed it.”), he later jokingly tried to play it off as though he only went slightly higher than intended.

    “I’m gonna call it [an attempted] dunk off the shot clock,” he concluded in mock seriousness.

    A tiny tyrannosaur dubbed the ‘harbinger of doom’ has been discovered in Utah


    A new tyrannosaur fossil has been discovered in Utah — and it’s tiny compared to its more famous relative T. rex.Meet Moros Intrepidus, a small tyrannosaur that lived in Utah’s Emery County during the Cretaceous period. At 96 million years old, it...

    A new tyrannosaur fossil has been discovered in Utah — and it’s tiny compared to its more famous relative T. rex.

    Meet Moros Intrepidus, a small tyrannosaur that lived in Utah’s Emery County during the Cretaceous period. At 96 million years old, it is the oldest Cretaceous tyrannosaur species yet discovered in North America. The find narrowed a 70-million-year gap in the tyrant dinosaur record.

    And by small, think the size of a mule deer. Moros was only three or four feet tall at the hip. The specimen found was estimated at being over seven years old and nearly full grown. It’s name means “harbinger of doom.”

    While medium sized primitive tyrannosaurs have been found in North America dating from the Jurassic period, (around 150 million years ago), the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex showed up in the Cretaceous period (around 81 million years ago). Lindsay Zanno, paleontologist at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper describing the research, explained that before the discovery of Moros, paleontologists didn’t know how the tyrant dinosaur got from a relatively small hunter to the large apex predator we’re familiar with — the fossil record was a blank slate.

    “When and how quickly tyrannosaurs went from wallflower to prom king has been vexing paleontologists for a long time,” said Zanno in a news release. “The only way to attack this problem was to get out there and find more data on these rare animals.”

    Zanno and her team spent a decade hunting for dinosaur bones within rocks from the Late Cretaceous period. Their search finally produced teeth and a hind limb from Moros. Zanno described Moros as being lightweight and exceptionally fast.

    "These adaptations, together with advanced sensory capabilities, are the mark of a formidable predator,” Zanno said. “It could easily have run down prey, while avoiding confrontation with the top predators of the day.”

    The discovery of Moros leads paleontologists to believe T. rex took advantage of the warming temperatures and rising sea levels at the end of the Cretaceous period.

    Zanno said, “We now know it took them less than 15 million years to rise to power.”

    Some Utah counties want to unite against opioid companies; others want to work alone. A judge has ordered separate cases, for now.


    As Utah counties line up in court to face off with drug companies accused of contributing to the state’s opioid epidemic, they have disagreed with each other about whether to merge their cases.Some counties — and the drug companies they’re suing...

    As Utah counties line up in court to face off with drug companies accused of contributing to the state’s opioid epidemic, they have disagreed with each other about whether to merge their cases.

    Some counties — and the drug companies they’re suing — agree that the flurry of arguments and paperwork that occur before trial will cost less and avoid potentially lengthy appeals if the cases initially are combined before one judge, and later sent back to separate counties for trial.

    But others say they’ll be more likely to win if they keep the entire process in their own counties, and consolidating cases would only make it easier for the drug companies to leverage lowball settlements.

    For now, most of Utah’s opioid-related lawsuits will remain separate, after a 3rd District judge in Salt Lake County ruled Friday that he doesn’t have the clear authority to force all of the counties to merge their cases.

    “Consolidating undermines our ability to put our best case before a Davis County jury,” said Davis County attorney Troy Rawlings. “We want … to do discovery [pre-trial record requests] based on Davis County issues, take depositions based on Davis County issues. We want a Davis County judge. We don’t want to be watered down.”

    Davis County joined Salt Lake, Sanpete, Millard, Iron, Grand and San Juan counties in opposing the drug companies’ request to merge at least 20 ongoing and pending opioid lawsuits for pretrial proceedings. Judge Richard Mrazik did order Salt Lake County to join Summit and Tooele counties, as they all are in the 3rd District.

    But Mrazik ruled that state law doesn’t explicitly allow him to consolidate cases from other districts, though he said the defendants — a group of drug manufacturers, distributors and doctors — could still petition those counties’ courts for a change of venue for pretrial proceedings. The defendants include Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Watson Pharmaceuticals.

    “Proceeding in 15 different courts throughout the state with 15 different judges — the burden it’ll place on those courts and on the parties to travel all over the state is excessive. It’s a serious matter,” said Elisabeth McOmber, an attorney for the drug companies.

    The judge also recommended that the several counties that want their cases consolidated seek a change of venue. The attorney for those counties, Colin King, said he expected the various counties’ judges to approve the transfers in cases where both the counties and the defendants are in agreement about the change.

    Mrazik, in his ruling, agreed that “the ends of justice would be promoted” by consolidating the cases until trial. That would cut down on “discovery disputes and unnecessary duplicative discovery,” Mrazik said — and, most crucially, avoid conflicting rulings from multiple judges, which could hold cases up in appeals for years.

    Rawlings said Davis County would continue to resist consolidation, despite the risk of added pretrial disputes.

    “Part of our concern is that once the cases are consolidated for pretrial discovery, how much easier is it for the defendants to say, ‘Let’s just consolidate it all for trial … or get all the cases moved to federal court?’” Rawlings said. “We’re damn serious about going before a Davis County jury.”

    King said it was “unlikely” that consolidating for the early proceedings would help the drug companies move the trials away from local juries “if we don’t settle.”

    “We won’t let them get a foot in the door to do that,” King said. “The citizens of this state have been injured by opioids. They deserve to have a jury in their counties hear what [opioids] have done to injure and kill people, and that was preventable.”

    The counties accuse opioid manufacturers of “bankrolling” doctors in dishonest marketing schemes designed to promote highly addictive drugs as treatments for chronic pain, downplaying the risks and overstating the benefits.

    In the lawsuits, the counties seek to recoup their costs for increased law enforcement, criminal justice, drug treatment and other social services.

    Environmentalists call on Gov. Gary Herbert to veto bill that could clear the way for depleted uranium at EnergySolutions’ Utah landfill

    Environmentalists call on Gov. Gary Herbert to veto bill that could clear the way for depleted uranium at EnergySolutions’ Utah landfill


    Environmental activists are petitioning Gov. Gary Herbert to pull out his rarely used veto pen and strike down a bill backed by a nuclear waste services company that wants to store depleted uranium in Utah.Already approved by both sides of the Utah...

    Environmental activists are petitioning Gov. Gary Herbert to pull out his rarely used veto pen and strike down a bill backed by a nuclear waste services company that wants to store depleted uranium in Utah.

    Already approved by both sides of the Utah Legislature, the bill is poised to become law unless Herbert decides to act. And advocates say if it’s allowed to stand, the legislation will open the way for Utah-based EnergySolutions to import radioactive material that would get more and more hazardous over time.

    “Depleted uranium does not become inert in 100 years. It does not become inert in 500 years. Depleted uranium grows in radioactivity for millennia, contaminating its storage site eternally,” Jessica Reimer, a policy associate with HEAL Utah, said Friday. “Allowing depleted uranium to be stored at EnergySolutions’ Clive facility means that the state is creating a radioactive site forever.”

    Reimer spoke during a news conference hosted by HEAL Utah and the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club to urge Herbert’s veto.


    (Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

    The bill alone wouldn’t enable EnergySolutions to store depleted uranium, but the proposal does deal with the type of material permitted into the state. Waste is assigned a classification based on its radioactivity, and Utah currently limits its intake to the least-hazardous Class A material. The state has a ban on the more radioactive B and C classes of waste.

    Depleted uranium, a byproduct of the uranium-enrichment process, falls into the Class A category initially, but becomes hotter as it decays, with peak radioactivity coming after about a million or two million years. Eventually, it transforms into a material that exceeds Class C standards, Reimer said.

    However, HB220, sponsored by Rep. Carl Albrecht, R-Richfield, specifies that waste is classified at the time of acceptance, meaning that depleted uranium would be put into the acceptable Class A category.

    While the governor has conveyed his reservations about the proposal, recent changes to the legislation might be sufficient to ward off a veto.

    “As with all legislation, we will scrutinize the bill before signing, but the governor believes that his major concerns have been addressed,” Paul Edwards, Herbert’s deputy chief of staff, said in a prepared statement.

    The final bill is an improvement on the version initially introduced to the Legislature, Reimer acknowledges.

    Now, before a facility can harbor depleted uranium, it must pass a performance assessment that considers public health and safety. And the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) must accept eternal management of the “federal cell” where the waste is stockpiled and take custody of the toxic material should EnergySolutions go out of business in coming millennia.

    During floor discussion this week, Utah senators who supported the bill said they trust state regulators to make a fact-based determination about whether it’s safe to dispose of depleted uranium in Tooele County.

    “I believe wholeheartedly that we’re basing this decision in science and not emotion and that this depleted uranium can be stored safely at the Clive facility,” Sen. Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, said.

    The Utah House passed the bill first, and the Senate this week followed suit by approving it 23-6, with most Democrats and Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, opposing it. Sen. Gene Davis of Salt Lake City was the only Democrat in either chamber to support the measure.

    In explaining his decision, Davis said he’d researched the issue extensively to make sure he wasn’t casting a vote based in emotion or knee-jerk impulse.

    “I wanted to make sure this was not a NIMBY issue,” he said. “This is not going to happen tomorrow. There’s a lot of science and approvals that need to go through.”

    EnergySolutions is one of the biggest campaign donors in state legislative races, and all but two of the 38 sitting lawmakers who received campaign contributions from the company voted for the bill. The two who took money but voted against HB220 were Republican Reps. Jim Dunnigan, of Taylorsville, and Jon Hawkins, of Pleasant Grove.

    The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is nearing completion of a roughly eight-year study of the Clive site in Tooele, an assessment launched after EnergySolutions signaled interest in taking depleted uranium off the DOE’s hands. The federal agency has stockpiled 800,000 metric tons of the material around the nation.

    Environmental advocates say the safest place for the material is deep underground, a type of storage not possible at the Tooele County landfill.

    An EnergySolutions representative testified to a Senate panel that the company digs a 10-foot pit for waste storage at the Clive facility but can’t go much deeper without hitting groundwater. The depleted uranium would be stored below-grade as a precaution in case Lake Bonneville one day returns to cover the site, the company representative said.

    During Friday’s press conference, a geology professor from Brigham Young University said it’s only a matter of time before the lake waters flood the Clive site and the depleted uranium and associated substances leach out.

    “I don’t understand why anyone with foreknowledge would place an enormous volume of this material in a place where you know it’s — maybe not in my lifetime, maybe not in my children’s or grandchildren’s lifetime — but eventually is going to get out and be dispersed into the environment,” the professor, Steve Nelson, said, clarifying that he was not speaking for the university.

    House committee deadlocks on bill that tells rural counties what kind of government to have


    Utah’s least populated counties would be limited to only the commission form of government under a bill that stalled twice before a House committee this week.Current law permits county voters to choose either a commission- or council-based government....

    Utah’s least populated counties would be limited to only the commission form of government under a bill that stalled twice before a House committee this week.

    Current law permits county voters to choose either a commission- or council-based government. But Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, said the governance options of rural areas must be restricted to protect against “hostile takeovers” by environmental groups and new residents with a preservationist agenda.

    “A group could get a petition started and basically disrupt the county,” Lyman said.

    Lyman presented his bill, HB257, for the second time on Friday to the House Political Subdivisions Committee, which ultimately failed to advance the legislation to the full House on a split 5-5 vote. An earlier hearing resulted in the committee voting unanimously to hold the bill.

    While Lyman’s first presentation focused on the perceived meddling in rural county affairs by groups like The Wilderness Society and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, or SUWA, his second pitch to the committee centered around counties’ legislative and executive powers.

    Those powers are jointly held by a county’s commission, but separated between a county’s council and its county manager or mayor.

    “When you divide that in a small county it leads to problems and issues and expenses and dysfunction that most of the small counties don’t want to have to deal with,” Lyman said.

    Rep. Elizabeth Weight, asked Lyman to explain his argument that counties have changes forced on them, suggesting the bill is opposition to population growth in the state by dividing longtime residents and new arrivals into categories of “us” and “them.”

    “We’re talking about voters who reside in the counties," Weight, D-West Valley City, said.

    Lyman previously served on the San Juan County Commission but left that post for the Legislature after a court-ordered redistricting and special election that led to the county’s first Navajo and Democrat-controlled commission. Lyman, who was a vocal critic of the Bears Ears National Monument designation, said the bill is favorable to growth by mitigating out-of-state, conservationist political agendas.

    “The desire of the county is to be functional and to have growth and to have good governance,” Lyman said. “Not everybody shares that objective in these small counties.”

    While the previous hearing included comments from Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock in support of the legislation, public comment during Friday’s hearing was universally opposed, with a number of individuals from Morgan and Tooele counties asking that lawmakers reject the bill and preserve local autonomy.

    “Don’t tell [counties] what they have to do,” said Roland Haslam, Morgan County Council chairman. “Don’t tie their hands. Let them decide how they want to function.”

    And Erik Gumbrecht, who served on a committee studying governance models for Tooele County, said the threat of disruptive political agendas is irrelevant to the form of a county’s government.

    “Simply taking away the council option from citizens does not resolve the situation of outside influence,” Gumbrecht said.

    Rep. Logan Wilde, R-Croyden, said the committee discussion had gone “down a rabbit hole.” He said rural counties have fewer residents than urban cities, and staffing a government administration can be challenging.

    “I think the three-man commission works really good for them,” Wilde said.

    The five representatives who voted in favor of moving HB257 to the full House were Republicans. Two other Republicans, the committee’s chairman and vice-chairman, joined the panel’s three Democratic members in opposing the legislation.

    “I don’t feel comfortable removing the options of the people that live in those counties,” said Rep. Marie Poulsen, D-Cottonwood Heights.

    Utah County still home to many large families with 6 kids


    Provo • Though rare, the percentage of families in Utah County with six-plus kids is holding steady, the Daily-Herald reports.Even in a county known for children — and lots of them — Erica Goulding is used to her family being seen as...

    Provo • Though rare, the percentage of families in Utah County with six-plus kids is holding steady, the Daily-Herald reports.

    Even in a county known for children — and lots of them — Erica Goulding is used to her family being seen as unusual.

    "People see us as a large family," Goulding said. "When I told people I was having my sixth, they looked at me like I was having my 20th baby."

    Goulding was raised in a family of five kids, and often felt as if she had nine siblings due to a job sharing arrangement her mother had with another woman. Goulding's husband also comes from a family of five children.

    "Since I was little, I always wanted six kids," Goulding said.

    Families the size of Goulding's are becoming more unusual nationally, as fertility rates drop and women begin having children at an older age than they traditionally have. However, in Utah County, the rate of women birthing at least six children has remained consistent over the last handful of years.

    The annual rate of births that are a mother's sixth-plus child has remained between 3.7 percent and 4.3 percent of all Utah County births from 2014 to 2017, according to numbers from the Utah Department of Health and the Utah County Health Department.

    Large families have traditionally been a state trend. Utah has the largest household size in the nation, with 3.19 persons per household compared to the national average of 2.65, according to a January 2018 fact sheet from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. Utah also ranks first in the nation for the percentage of people under 18 years old and has the second-highest fertility rate.

    Utah County is the youngest county in the nation, with a median age of 24.4 years old, according to the 2018 Utah County Community Assessment. About 34 percent of the county is younger than 18, and 9.7 percent is under the age of 5. In Saratoga Springs, half of the population is under the age of 19.

    While the county's population continues to grow, the birth rate has decreased. There has been a 10.1 percent decrease in the number of births since 2008 in Utah, according to the report, and a 14.1 percent decrease since 1990. Women also appear to be waiting longer to have a child, with a 67 percent decrease in birth rates for mothers ages 20 to 24 from 1990 to 2015, according to the report.

    Emma Miller, an OB-GYN at the Timpanogos Women's Center in Lehi, hasn't seen patients in her practice who are on their sixth or higher child. She said that could be due to an abundance of young couples in northern Utah County.

    She mostly sees first- or second-time mothers, and after three or four, parents are looking for more permanent birth control methods.

    "Four is the new six," Miller said.

    Miller — one of nine siblings herself — said couples that start having children at older ages than in the past means they will likely have fewer children than previous generations.

    "Subjectively, I don't think I'm seeing as many people wanting as many kids," Miller said.

    For Goulding, whose six children range in age from 3 months to 12 years old, she's seen more people who have three to four children instead of her family's six.

    With kids in different activities and homework, she said things are always busy. Six children can also be expensive, but they've made it work.

    “It is fun, it is crazy, but I think that it’s worth it,” Goulding said.

    Former Exponent II treasurer sentenced to prison for stealing more than $100K from Latter-day Saint feminist magazine


    A former treasurer for Exponent II, one of Mormonism’s longest-running feminist magazines, will spend 15 months in federal prison for stealing more than $100,000 from the nonprofit foundation.Suzette Smith, a professional organizer in Virginia, became...

    A former treasurer for Exponent II, one of Mormonism’s longest-running feminist magazines, will spend 15 months in federal prison for stealing more than $100,000 from the nonprofit foundation.

    Suzette Smith, a professional organizer in Virginia, became Exponent’s volunteer treasurer in 2012 and embezzled donations to the group for her personal use from then until 2017, when her fraudulent activities came to light.

    On Friday, a federal judge in Virginia sentenced her to prison. She was ordered to pay just over $104,000 in restitution.

    In a statement released after the sentencing, Exponent II officials said they are "relieved that this difficult period is over," and thanked the FBI and those who have supported their organization.

    The Exponent II board reported the case to the FBI in early 2017, because the crime was conducted over state lines.

    According to a statement of facts listed in court documents, Smith admitted that she took cash, checks and donations intended for Exponent II and put the funds in her personal account.

    Smith admitted that she took almost $200,000 from the organization over the years, but transferred or paid back nearly $85,000 to avoid discovery. Her total amount stolen was just over $100,000.

    In response to this incident, Exponent II has implemented several “financial safeguards,” guarding who has access to bank accounts and money handling.

    Smith previously told The Salt Lake Tribune that she was “shameless and arrogant."

    “I acted selfishly and with no regard for others,” she said. "What makes it worse is that Exponent II was a family to me. They trusted me with an opportunity to be a part of an amazing organization.”

    Bagley Cartoon: State Flag Redesign

    Bagley Cartoon: State Flag Redesign


    This Pat Bagley cartoon appears in The Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. You can check out the past 10 Bagley editorial cartoons below:Partners in CrimePurity VotersBetween a Woman and Her DoctorGOP Tax ScamThrowing Serious ShadeHatch-backers...

    This Pat Bagley cartoon appears in The Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. You can check out the past 10 Bagley editorial cartoons below:

    Partners in CrimePurity VotersBetween a Woman and Her DoctorGOP Tax ScamThrowing Serious ShadeHatch-backers Donor MobileRoad to the White HouseThe Beatings Will ContinueOur Radioactive Politics Paradigm Lost

    Want more Bagley? Become a fan on Facebook.

    Who will win Oscars? The Salt Lake Tribune’s movie critic predicts who will take home the gold.

    Who will win Oscars? The Salt Lake Tribune’s movie critic predicts who will take home the gold.


    It’s a wild card year at the Academy Awards, with no one to host the ceremony and no single movie a clear favorite to win Best Picture.The guilds that govern the different disciplines that make movies couldn’t agree on one film. The Producers Guild...

    It’s a wild card year at the Academy Awards, with no one to host the ceremony and no single movie a clear favorite to win Best Picture.

    The guilds that govern the different disciplines that make movies couldn’t agree on one film. The Producers Guild of America picked the watered-down racial drama “Green Book.” The Screen Actors Guild gave its version of Best Picture to the pan-African glory of “Black Panther,” while the Directors Guild of America presented its top prize to Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexico City memory drama “Roma.”

    And the Writers Guild of America gave top honors to two movies not even in the Best Picture race: The forger comedy-drama “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and the adolescent comedy “Eighth Grade.”

    Which films will take the Oscars in this wide-open year? Here are my predictions for how Sunday night’s show at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood (starting at 6 p.m. Mountain time on ABC, KTVX, Ch. 4, in Utah) will play out.

    Technical awards

    Film Editing

    The nominee are: “BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown; “Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman; “Green Book,” Patrick J. Don Vito; “The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis; “Vice,” Hank Corwin

    Who will win: American Cinema Editors, the guild for film editing, gave one of its ACE Eddie Awards to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and in tech categories the Academy voters often follow the guilds’ lead.

    Who I’d vote for: As someone who believes the award here should go to the best editing, not the most, I’ll bypass “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the other Eddie winner, Mavropsaridis’ subtle work in “The Favourite,” which helps makes this costumed comedy magnetically watchable.

    Sound Editing

    The nominees are: “Black Panther”; “Bohemian Rhapsody”; “First Man”; “A Quiet Place”; “Roma”

    Who will win: The sounds of test flights and the Apollo 11 moon shot in “First Man” will likely take the prize.

    Who I’d vote for: “First Man,” for creating sounds that put the viewer in the capsule.

    Sound Mixing

    The nominees are: “Black Panther”; “Bohemian Rhapsody”; “First Man”; “Roma”; “A Star Is Born”

    Who will win: The musical mix of “A Star Is Born.”

    Who I’d vote for: “Roma” captures the sounds of Mexico City, and gives Dolby Atmos sound system a full workout without a musical score.

    Visual Effects

    The nominees are: “Avengers: Infinity War”; “Christopher Robin”; “First Man”; “Ready Player One”; “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

    Who will win: “Avengers: Infinity War” — it’s Thanos’ universe, we just live in it. Half of us, anyway.

    Who I’d vote for: “Avengers: Infinity War” created a variety of worlds in which Earth’s mightiest heroes fought and failed.

    Craft awards

    Production Design

    The nominees are: “Black Panther,” Hannah Beachler; “First Man,” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas; “The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton; “Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim; “Roma,” Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez

    Who will win: The early 18th century charms of “The Favourite.”

    If I had a vote: The period details of “Roma” are just as important, and just as lively, as those in “The Favourite” — and the re-creation of 1970s Mexico City is in its own way stunning.

    Costume Design

    The nominees are: “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres; “Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter; “The Favourite,” Sandy Powell; “Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell; “Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne

    Who will win: Powell’s intricate, playful work in “The Favourite.”

    If I had a vote: Carter’s evocative, proudly African-influenced costumes of “Black Panther.”

    Makeup and Hair

    The nominees are: “Border”; “Mary Queen of Scots”; “Vice”

    Who will win: “Vice,” for making Christian Bale look convincingly like Dick Cheney at different ages.

    If I had a vote: I’d pick “Border,” just to troll the Academy. (Thank you to the two people who saw “Border” who got that joke.)

    Original Score

    The nominees are: “BlacKkKlansman,” Terence Blanchard; “Black Panther,” Ludwig Goransson; “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell; “Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat; “Mary Poppins Returns,” Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

    Who will win: The jazz-inflected “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

    If I had a vote: Britell’s score for “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which moves between the story’s young lovers like a spirit.

    Original Song

    The nominees are: “All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA; “I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson; “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman; “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice; “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

    Who will win: Gaga will not be denied, and “Shallow” will win.

    If I had a vote: Since my favorite (“Hollywood Ending” from “Anna and the Apocalypse”) was passed over, I’d go with the clever cowpoke anthem “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings.”


    (Neal Preston | courtesy Warner Bros.) Bradley Cooper, left, and Lady Gaga sing the song "Shallow" in a scene from the latest reboot of the film, "A Star is Born." (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/)

    Cinematography:

    The nominees are: “Cold War,” Lukasz Zal; “The Favourite,” Robbie Ryan; “Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel; “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón; “A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique

    Who will win: Cuarón’s black-and-white work in “Roma.”

    If I had a vote: “Roma,” whose luminous images both creates and cuts through the nostalgia of Cuarón’s memory play.

    Specialty awards

    Animated Short

    The nominees are: “Animal Behaviour”; “Bao”; “Late Afternoon”; “One Small Step”; “Weekends”

    Who will win: Pixar’s “Bao,” which made everyone who saw “Incredibles 2” cry.

    If I had a vote: “Bao,” a beautiful allegory of a Chinese-American mother dealing with her son leaving the nest.


    (Photo courtesy Disney/Pixar) A Chinese-American mother finds a dumpling come to life in director Domee Shi's animated short film "Bao."

    Documentary Short Subject

    The nominees are: “Black Sheep”; “End Game”; “Lifeboat”; “A Night at the Garden”; “Period. End of Sentence.”

    Who will win: “Period. End of Sentence.” is the least depressing of the group, showing Indian women finding independence by manufacturing and selling sanitary pads.

    If I had a vote: The short but powerful “A Night at the Garden,” an it-can-happen-here look at a 1939 pro-Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden.


    (Photo courtesy Shorts TV) Women in India find a chance to be self-sufficient, in director Rayka Zehtabchi's documentary short "Period. End of Sentence."

    Live Action Short Film

    The nominees are: “Detainment”; “Fauve”; “Marguerite”; “Madre (Mother)”; “Skin”

    Who will win: The tender Quebecois tale “Marguerite,” where a home-care nurse sets off a romantic memory in an elderly patient.

    If I had a vote: “Madre” captures a mother’s worst nightmare — a child on the phone, alone and scared — mostly in a single, terrifying take.


    (Photo courtesy Shorts TV) An elderly woman (Béatrice Picard) thinks back to a lost love in writer-director Marianne Farley's live-action short "Marguerite."

    Animated Feature

    The nominees are: “Incredibles 2”; “Isle of Dogs”; “Mirai”; “Ralph Breaks the Internet”; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

    Who will win: The groundbreaking, genre-shattering “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

    If I had a vote: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” redefined how comic books can jump to the movie screen, by emulating the comic art that made us love them in the first place.


    This image released by Sony Pictures Animations shows a scene from "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best animated feature. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Sunday. (Sony Pictures Animation via AP) (Sony Pictures Animation/)

    Foreign Language Film

    The nominees are: “Capernaum” (Lebanon); “Cold War” (Poland); “Never Look Away” (Germany); “Roma” (Mexico); “Shoplifters” (Japan)

    Who will win: “Roma” has 10 nominations overall, and is roundly beloved by Academy voters.

    If I had a vote: “Roma,” because it’s by far the most beautiful of the five, and that’s saying a lot in a luminous group of films.


    (Carlos Somonte | courtesy Netflix) Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio, center) is surrounded by the family she cares for in a scene from the film "Roma," by filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron. The film is nominated for an Oscar for both best foreign language film and best picture. (Carlos Somonte/)

    Documentary Feature

    The nominees are: “Free Solo”; “Hale County This Morning, This Evening”; “Minding the Gap”; “Of Fathers and Sons”; “RBG”

    Who will win: The pundits are split between the rock-climbing tale “Free Solo” and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg profile “RBG.” I think Academy voters, always eager to send a message to the political powers that be, will pick “RBG.”

    If I had a vote: “Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu’s heartbreaking look inside the domestic abuse that informed his and his friends’ childhoods.


    (Photo courtesy Magnolia Pictures) U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in a scene from the documentary "RBG."

    The major awards

    Adapted Screenplay

    The nominees are: “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; “BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee; “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty; “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins; “A Star Is Born,” Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

    Who will win: Spike Lee has been waiting decades for an Oscar. “BlacKkKlansman’s” script will give it to him.

    If I had a vote: Tough choice, but I lean toward the passion of “BlacKkKlansman” narrowly over the poetry of “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

    Original Screenplay

    The nominees are: “The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara; “First Reformed,” Paul Schrader; “Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly; “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón; “Vice,” Adam McKay

    Who will win: The gamesmanship of “The Favourite” makes this one the without-the-“u” favorite.

    If I had a vote: Schrader’s thought-provoking dialogue and no-punches-pulled handling of tough issues in “First Reformed.”

    Supporting Actor

    The nominees are: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”; Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”; Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”; Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”; Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

    Who will win: There’s an upset in the making here. Ali has been the frontrunner to get his second Oscar in three years, but Grant’s enthusiasm at being nominated — and his charm going through the pre-ceremony events — could, and I think will, push him to a win.

    If I had a vote: It also helps that Grant’s portrayal of a catty old queen, funny and poignant, is the best performance in a fairly weak field.


    (Mary Cybulski | courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures) Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in a scene from "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" (Mary Cybulski/)

    Supporting Actress

    The nominees are: Amy Adams, “Vice”; Marina de Tavira, “Roma”; Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”; Emma Stone, “The Favourite”; Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

    Who will win: King, after years in the Hollywood trenches, will see her reward for her “Beale Street” performance.

    If I had a vote: King’s lioness ferocity gets the nod here. However, Stone and Weisz (and Colman in the lead-actress category) are a good argument for a Best Ensemble category.


    (Tatum Mangus | courtesy Annapurna Pictures) Regina King in a scene from "If Beale Street Could Talk." (Tatum Mangus / Annapurna Pictures/)

    Lead Actor

    The nominees are: Christian Bale, “Vice”; Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”; Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”; Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”; Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

    Who will win: Malek’s Freddie Mercury will edge out Bale’s Dick Cheney in the battle of looking just like the guy in the video.

    If I had a vote: Cooper — the only one here not playing a real person — brought a tragic soulfulness to Jackson Maine, much of it coming through in song.


    (Alex Bailey | courtesy Twentieth Century Fox) Rami Malek plays Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in a scene from "Bohemian Rhapsody." (Photo Credit: Alex Bailey/)

    Lead Actress

    The nominees are: Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”; Glenn Close, “The Wife”; Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”; Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”; Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

    Who will win: Close has had this one locked up for awhile, though it’s a career honor that just happens to be tied to a not particularly good movie.

    If I had a vote: McCarthy’s portrayal of the misanthropic writer and forger Lee Israel was sharp, biting and heartbreaking.


    (Graeme Hunter | courtesy Sony Pictures Classics) Glenn Close in a scene from "The Wife." (Graeme Hunter/)

    Director

    The nominees are: Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”; Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”; Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”; Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”; Adam McKay, “Vice”

    Who will win: Cuarón is likely to get his second directing Oscar (the first was for “Gravity”), but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lee get honored — another career-achievement award, but a deserved one.

    If I had a vote: Cuarón, for willing his childhood memories onto the screen so radiantly.


    (Photo by Joel C Ryan | Invision/AP) Director Alfonso Cuaron poses for photographers upon arrival at the BAFTA awards in London, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (Joel C Ryan/)

    Best Picture

    The nominees are: “Black Panther”; “BlacKkKlansman”; “Bohemian Rhapsody”; “The Favourite”; “Green Book”; “Roma”; “A Star Is Born”; “Vice”

    Who will win: The race is between “Green Book” and “Roma,” a microcosm of the shifting demographics of The Academy. The old guard sees “Green Book” as the sort of uplifting comedy-drama that has always won Best Picture, and views “Roma” as an arty usurper coming out of Netflix. The younger voters view “Green Book” as dated and problematic — a white-savior story of dubious veracity — and don’t care whether people saw “Roma” in a theater or a streaming service. This time, youth wins out, and so does “Roma.”

    If I had a vote: “Roma” views the normalcy of middle-class life through a unique lens — that of an indigenous woman who works as the family’s maid, part of the family but also an outsider — and finds something new in the familiar. It’s the best of this list by a country mile.


    (Alfonso Cuarón | courtesy Netflix) Yalitza Aparicio in a scene from the film "Roma," by filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron. (Image by Alfonso Cuarón/)

    Medical waste company Stericycle is leaving Utah; ‘Hallelujah,’ says eco-activist


    The controversial medical waste disposal company Stericycle has decided to move out of Utah rather than build a new incinerator in Tooele County.Representatives of the Illinois-based company met Wednesday with officials from the Utah Department of...

    The controversial medical waste disposal company Stericycle has decided to move out of Utah rather than build a new incinerator in Tooele County.

    Representatives of the Illinois-based company met Wednesday with officials from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and informed the state that it would not be moving its dilapidated North Salt Lake incinerator to Tooele County, ending a fight that has raged among the company, the government and environmental activists for six years.

    “Hallelujah,” said Alicia Connell, a Farmington real estate agent who became a reluctant activist, leading protests after Stericycle was caught not informing residents about the amount of emissions from its North Salt Lake incinerator.

    “It became evident to them it would become too expensive” to build the Tooele County facility, said Allan Moore, solid waste program manager for the state’s Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control, one of the officials at Wednesday’s meeting.

    “It really became very financially challenging for us to move on with this facility,” Stericycle spokeswoman Jennifer Koenig said Friday. In particular, getting water to a site in the desert of Tooele County was “very cost-prohibitive in the end.”

    “I’m surprised it took them so many years to figure out that [a Tooele County site] would not be cost-effective,” Connell said Friday.

    The company instead is looking at a site in Nevada, north of Las Vegas, Moore said Friday. The company will clean up the North Salt Lake site, he said.

    Koenig said the North Salt Lake incinerator will be closed within the next three years. It will continue to be used, she added, as a transfer station for trucks carrying medical waste to another Stericycle facility — the nearest being in Kansas City, Kan.

    Connell raised concerns about the truck traffic coming in and out of the North Salt Lake location. “What are the unintended consequences of keeping a transfer station there?” she asked.

    About 50 people work at the North Salt Lake facility, Koenig said. They will be offered packages, including positions with other Stericycle operations, she said.

    Under a 2014 settlement with the state, Stericycle is required to leave its North Salt Lake location and relocate to a remote location in Tooele County. The deal included a $2.3 million fine against the company, which would be cut in half when the move was completed. Moore said officials have not yet determined whether Stericycle can still get back that half of the fine.

    Utah officials cited Stericycle in 2014 for exceeding emission limits and for not reporting those violations as required by the state. Stericycle’s actions prompted a slew of protests — one of them featuring the national advocate Erin Brockovich — that spurred Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah Legislature to act in 2014.

    The environmental watchdog group HEAL Utah praised Stericycle’s planned departure.

    “Given Stericycle’s troubling history here in Utah, along with the Wasatch Front’s air pollution problem and Tooele County’s ongoing hazardous waste activity, it’s best that this company moves its operations elsewhere,” HEAL Utah said in a statement. "We believe, however, that with the increasing expansion of northern Utah’s population and businesses, that the potential jobs created by Stericycle’s planned move will be found elsewhere and in safer industries.”

    This Florida man seen hitting a gay man in Salt Lake City in a video gone viral has been charged


    He asked the man if he was gay and when he responded “I am,” he hit him. Now, that alleged attacker faces charges of assault — but those will not be enhanced as a hate crime.That’s because Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, whose office...

    He asked the man if he was gay and when he responded “I am,” he hit him. Now, that alleged attacker faces charges of assault — but those will not be enhanced as a hate crime.

    That’s because Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, whose office announced how it would prosecute the case Friday, believes it would be “nearly impossible for me to prove that intent” under Utah’s code, which he has long criticized for being unworkable.

    “The statute, to me, is not worth the paper it’s written on,” he said.

    Instead, Carlo Alazo, 22, from Florida, was charged Friday with three misdemeanors — one count of threatening to use a weapon in a fight and two counts of assault. And though Utah’s hate crime law allows for an enhancement on misdemeanors, like he faces, it has never been used successfully in court.

    “I would have to show that the person involved in criminal behavior had the intent to deny a constitutionally protected right,” Gill added, such as free speech or religious expression, which doesn’t apply in this case. “It’s so burdensome, we don’t even go to it.”

    Alazo was captured on video appearing to hit Sal Trejo outside a Salt Lake City bar last weekend. The eight-second clip that Trejo said he recorded with his phone opens near 327 S. Main St., where a man is asking, “Are you gay, though?”

    Trejo replies, “Oh, I am.”

    “Oh, then you are gay.”

    “Yeah, but ...”

    Alazo then appears to strike Trejo, knocking his camera out of his hand. Alazo is alleged to have shouted anti-gay and racial slurs and to have later pulled a knife on Trejo and three of his friends, according to the charges. He then dropped the blade on the ground.

    Here is the video. Warning, it includes violence and explicit language:

    My friends and I were assaulted by this homophobic man in downtown Salt Lake City last night. Anyone know him? The police are interested in having a chat with him. #SaltLakeCity @slcpd @slcmayor @EqualityUtah pic.twitter.com/1tPFSCADOp

    — Salonge Knowles (@saltrejo) February 17, 2019

    Trejo posted the video on Twitter on Sunday, asking the social media world for help identifying the man and it garnered nationwide attention. He told The Salt Lake Tribune that he hasn’t been updated on the case since Tuesday. But he wasn’t surprised to see Friday that it wouldn’t be treated as a hate crime.

    “Utah’s current hate crime statute isn’t written to provide true protection for those who are commonly victims of these crimes,” he said in a written statement. “I am, however, devastated for all of the members of Utah’s marginalized communities who will see this news. I’m sure their hearts will break like mine has.”

    Trejo said, though, that he hopes what happened to him will help prompt the Legislature to act. A bill that would strengthen Utah’s hate crimes statute passed a Senate committee earlier this week — the furthest any measure on the topic has gotten for at least a decade.

    “My call to all Utah residents is to reach out to their lawmakers and ask them to vote ‘yes’ on SB103,” Trejo added. “This week, I was the victim of a hate crime. Who’s next? The time for lawmakers to take action and protect Utahns from hate crimes is long past due.”

    He said earlier this week that he’s previously been called “a f----t" before, but he’s never been hit. According to the charges, witnesses said Alazo was on his phone when he told the person he was talking to that he was “standing by a gay guy.” He then apparently mocked Trejo’s jacket.

    “Trejo reacted to the comment and Alazo became more belligerent,” court documents state.

    When he appeared to be getting increasingly angry, Trejo decided to start recording it. That’s when Alazo allegedly punched him and shoved one of his friends.

    If convicted, Alazo could face up to one year in jail for the count of threatening use of a weapon. The assault counts each carry up to six months in jail.

    State Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, the only openly gay member of the state Legislature, responded to Trejo’s original video on Twitter with this message: “It’s time for the UT Legislature to act on hate crimes legislation.”

    Equality Utah posted that it was “deeply alarmed” by the assault. “No one should be attacked simply because of who they are.”

    The event came a week after a pride flag was torn down outside a Salt Lake City restaurant, which Kitchen co-owns with his husband, Moudi Sbeity, and three months after a Latino father and son were attacked outside their tire shop by a man yelling that he wanted to “kill a Mexican.”

    — Tribune reporter Scott Pierce contributed to this report.

    Correction: Feb. 22, 2:20 • An earlier version of this story had a headline that misstated where the suspect lives.

    The Salt Lake Tribune is partnering with ProPublica and newsrooms across the country to better understand the prevalence and nature of hate crimes, bias and prejudice. You can share your insights with us at sltrib.com/documentinghate and we may contact you for future stories.

    Salt Lake Stallions are finally home and know there’s one way to cultivate a strong fan base: just win, baby

    Salt Lake Stallions are finally home and know there’s one way to cultivate a strong fan base: just win, baby


    South Jordan • They all piled together into some cars on Friday morning, these former Utes and former Cougars, having left the team hotel in South Jordan to take an early ride up to Rice-Eccles Stadium for the morning team walk-through. They went early...

    South Jordan • They all piled together into some cars on Friday morning, these former Utes and former Cougars, having left the team hotel in South Jordan to take an early ride up to Rice-Eccles Stadium for the morning team walk-through. They went early because the local guys wanted to soak it in before the rest of the Salt Lake Stallions got there. And there, on that turf, they talked about how the end zones remained bright crimson red rather than power Stallion blue.

    “Blue just doesn’t fit here,” joked former Ute Trevor Reilly to his new teammates.

    He actually hopes it does, and soon. Once bitter rivals, they’re all now on the same team, playing for the same cause, to wreak havoc on either side of the ball just like they did during their respective college heydays, but also to introduce themselves to a community with an appetite for football that they say remains as hungry as ever. At the end of the day, Reilly said, they’ve banded together, because now they represent more than just their alma maters: They represent hope.

    Hope that the Alliance of American Football can carve out a foothold in Utah and catch on and become another sports fixture in the state. But also hope that they can keep playing football and maintain a shot at either making an NFL roster for the first time ever or earn a return ticket for those who’ve been there. So much of that depends on individual performances, obviously, but the longevity of the Stallions also relies on how quickly they can introduce themselves to the fans who will be asked to brave winter temperatures, to get to Rice-Eccles Stadium and adopt this first-year franchise in a first-year league.

    Winning, players and coaches say, is the obvious answer. Fans want to follow winners — especially in football.

    But Reilly, who had stints with the New York Jets and New England Patriots, was asked by someone recently how the Stallions might endear themselves to the sports fans in the state. Reilly’s analogy was this: Every Saturday in the late summer or fall, from Cedar City to Logan, there could be as many as 200,000 football fans packing home college stadiums.

    “We’re hoping to get to the point where we can get 40,000 of them to come to Rice-Eccles,” he added. “There’s a large fan base when you look at it from that perspective.”

    The Stallions are getting somewhat of a late jump on cultivating connections, but because they’ve spent the last couple months in San Antonio, training and waiting for the team’s facility in Herriman to be finished.

    “I’ve been to a lot of training camps,” said Stallions head coach Dennis Erickson Friday, “but none of them last 51 days.”

    Yes, their first two games were on the road anyway, eventual losses at Arizona and Birmingham, but the organization believes finally arriving at their home base could energize the team toward its first win Saturday afternoon. Salt Lake hosts Arizona in the Stallions’ home opener at 1 p.m. Former Utah State defensive back Will Davis, who played with the Dolphins and Ravens during his NFL career, said the team flew into Salt Lake late Thursday night. When he peeked out the window, he noticed what he’s always missed since moving on.


    Photo courtesy Ben Platt/AAF | Salt Lake Stallions and former Utah running back Matt Asiata goes through his paces this past week during preseason practice in San Antonio. The Stallions open their inaugural season Sunday in Phoenix against the Arizona Hotshots.

    “One of the things I never forgot, those mountains in the back, man,” Davis said. “The guys who have been here and who have been a part of this state, I think all of us, we want to take a big part in just letting everyone know about this professional team coming to Utah and just getting the fans behind us.”

    Salt Lake is expected to welcome back starting quarterback Josh Woodrum, the team’s No. 1 overall pick in the league’s quarterback draft, who was injured in the season-opener in Arizona. Woodrum said he likes the team’s chances “against anybody in this league.” But he knows that there is more than just pressure to shine on the field, it’s to provide a reason for fans to watch and stick with them.

    “It’s definitely tough,” he said. “For sure being in San Antonio and not being able to be here for the first couple weeks is hard, but from a player’s standpoint, we just hope that they’re staying connected with us. It’s very difficult for us being there to stay connected with them. Hopefully they’ve stayed in touch with us and seen what we’ve been doing and are excited for us to come back and get this first win.”

    Erickson says once the AAF gets through its first year and if it can find ways to be established in its various markets, the fan bases will balloon, he believes. As for right now, the Stallions are home, waiting to play a historic first game and out to prove their worth to the people of Utah.

    “It’s going to take time,” he said. “I think once you do that and you become part of the community, then that happens. It doesn’t happen overnight.”

    What’s No. 2 Gonzaga’s secret?  Former Zag Jesse Wade, who transferred to BYU, can sum it up in one word: Togetherness

    What’s No. 2 Gonzaga’s secret? Former Zag Jesse Wade, who transferred to BYU, can sum it up in one word: Togetherness


    Provo • Weird, awkward, strange and surreal.That’s how Jesse Wade describes what it was like back on Jan. 31 when his former college basketball team, Gonzaga, rolled into the Marriott Center and demolished his current team 93-63, the worst home loss...

    Provo • Weird, awkward, strange and surreal.

    That’s how Jesse Wade describes what it was like back on Jan. 31 when his former college basketball team, Gonzaga, rolled into the Marriott Center and demolished his current team 93-63, the worst home loss in BYU coach Dave Rose’s 14-year tenure.

    “A year ago, I was on the other side of the court, playing against BYU,” said the 6-foot-1, 175-pound guard. “It was a weird thing. I am not going to lie. It is hard to describe my emotions. I wanted BYU to win and everything, but I love those Gonzaga guys so much, and know so many of them personally. It was a strange feeling.”

    Sitting out this season due to NCAA rules after jumping from GU to BYU last summer, Wade thought about making the trip back to Spokane for Saturday’s rematch (8 p.m., ESPN) at McCarthey Athletic Center, but decided against it. He is not allowed to travel with the team (more NCAA rules) and would have to pay his own way.

    The Cougars (18-11, 10-4) collapsed Thursday night in a 77-71 home loss to San Francisco and are heavy underdogs against the No. 2 Zags, who have won the last four matchups by an average of 18 points.

    Does BYU have a chance?

    “Gonzaga is really, really good. That’s true,” Wade said Wednesday after missing practice with a minor injury. “But I haven’t gotten a sense of impending doom from our guys. They believe in themselves. If nothing else, our guys are just sick of hearing about them and the big loss last month. They just want to beat them.”

    Like they did in 2015, 2016 and 2017 — three improbable wins at the Kennel, including when the Zags were undefeated (29-0) and ranked No. 1 in the country two years ago.

    BYU is “disappointed in the loss, but these guys have been resilient all year and we will get back in the gym and then head up to Spokane and swing away up there against the No. 2 team in the country and see how we do,” Rose said after the Cougars blew a 14-point lead with eight minutes remaining against San Francisco, a loss that quite likely cost BYU the No. 2 seed in March’s WCC tournament.


    Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Davis's Jesse Wade puts up a shot as Sky View faces Davis High School in the championship game of the Utah Elite 8 basketball tournament in American Fork, Saturday December 13, 2014. (Trent Nelson/)

    Wade, who played sparingly for Gonzaga in 2017-18 after returning from a church mission to Lyon, France, harbors no ill-will for the Zags. Actually, it is just the opposite. He said he has exchanged texts with Zags Corey Kispert, Killian Tillie (injured), Josh Perkins, Joel Ayayi, Zach Norvell Jr. and Brandon Clarke in the past few weeks and he’s especially close to Kispert, Tillie and Ayayi.

    “I have definitely followed their season and am so happy for them,” Wade said. “I have developed lifelong friendships with a lot of those guys. I definitely cheer for them when they are not playing us.”

    With no weaknesses, star-filled Gonzaga (26-2, 13-0) clinched its seventh consecutive WCC title Thursday when it routed Pepperdine 92-64 and is cruising toward another likely No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Zags are beating WCC opponents by 28 points per game, which seems like a reasonable goal for BYU to stay below Saturday.

    But Wade said he doesn’t regret leaving at all. His BYU teammates and coaches say he’s one of the best shooters on the team. He will make a much bigger impact for the Cougars next year than if he would have stayed at talent-heavy GU.

    “I am so happy here at BYU,” Wade said. “I love coach Rose and the coaching staff here. I know this is where I am supposed to be. I know that last year I was supposed to be at Gonzaga to get that experience. I am grateful for it. But I love it here. I love BYU, and being so close to home [Kaysville] and family. No regrets whatsoever.”

    Wade said he’s always asked one question in particular about Gonzaga. What’s its secret formula for success?

    “The thing about the Zags that makes them so good is they play for each other,” he said. “You know, they’ve got great guys and great players, great talent. But their togetherness is amazing. The way you beat them is you match that, or you exceed their togetherness. You play for each other, and play hard, hit shots. But that bond they have with one another is the biggest thing.”

    Wade said when recruits visit Spokane — not the most glamorous or exotic locale in the world — they experience that team culture and want to be a part of it.

    “Being part of that culture is really cool. It is really special,” he said. “The coaching staff is great, but the guys themselves, they are so close to each other and really tight-knit. Nothing breaks that bond.”

    His next mission: Growing that culture at BYU.

    Bill to prevent abortions after fetal Down syndrome diagnosis headed to the Utah Senate


    Legislation setting forth a potential ban on abortions performed because of a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis is closing in on final passage after clearing a Senate committee Friday.The panel of lawmakers voted 4-2 to send the bill to the full Senate, with...

    Legislation setting forth a potential ban on abortions performed because of a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis is closing in on final passage after clearing a Senate committee Friday.

    The panel of lawmakers voted 4-2 to send the bill to the full Senate, with the committee’s two Democrats opposing the decision and all four Republicans present voting in favor.

    Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, the sponsor of HB166, testified that she hears from many parents of children with Down syndrome who report that their doctors initially suggested abortion after the prenatal genetic test results came back. Her proposal would use education — and a potential ban on procedures conducted solely because of a Down syndrome diagnosis — to push back.

    A similar version of her bill failed in last year’s session, with legislative attorneys declaring it was likely to draw a constitutional challenge.

    Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, says this year’s bill addresses this concern by stipulating that the abortion ban component will only take effect if the courts uphold these types of laws. Other parts of the bill, which would kick in right away, would require the Utah Department of Health to create a webpage with resources on Down syndrome and direct physicians to share this information with their patients.

    But a representative from the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah argued that the abortion prohibition language is problematic and inserts the government into private medical decisions.

    "It is not the place of the state to decide when someone and whether someone should become a parent," Jason Stevenson of the ACLU said.

    And there are better ways of reducing abortion, including improved sex education, good health care, lower-cost contraceptives and family-friendly economic policies, said Lauren Simpson with the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah.

    Parents of children with Down syndrome and individuals with the genetic disorder addressed lawmakers in support of Lisonbee’s bill.

    Sadie Herring, an Orem mother of two children with Down syndrome, said her family’s day-to-day isn’t necessarily easy, but she spoke about how individuals with disabilities enrich the lives of those around them.

    "Their differences do not mean their lives are not valuable," she said.

    The House has already approved Lisonbee’s bill, which will now go to the full Senate for a vote.

    Utah’s $1 billion surplus survives latest revenue estimates


    Days after warning of drooping tax collections and a slump in state revenues, legislative leaders announced Friday that Utah maintains a $1 billion surplus going into the final weeks of the 2019 session.The pool of money available for state spending...

    Days after warning of drooping tax collections and a slump in state revenues, legislative leaders announced Friday that Utah maintains a $1 billion surplus going into the final weeks of the 2019 session.

    The pool of money available for state spending decreased by roughly $120 million compared to December estimates, which Rep. Brad Last, R-Hurricane, described as a “hiccup” related to recent federal tax changes as the state’s economy continues to perform.

    “The revenue is actually better than we had anticipated,” Last said, later adding that 2019 “is the best year that we’ve had since the Great Recession."

    The new estimates show growth of $529 million in one-time funding and $570 in ongoing funding, for a combined surplus of just less than $1.1 billion. The bulk of that money is generated by the income tax, which Utah’s constitution earmarks for education spending, and the new figures do not account for more than $200 million in sales tax revenue appropriated for the construction of a new state prison in December.

    “As you can see the Education Fund continues to grow substantially faster than the General Fund,” Last told members of the Utah House, “which is putting pressure on us.”

    The disparity between income tax and sales tax collections has prompted ongoing closed-door talks about potential reforms to the state’s tax code. A bill on that issue is expected to be made public as early as next week, which would lower the state’s sales tax rate while applying the tax to a broader pool of service-based businesses and other financial transactions.

    Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, said that even though the revenue projections remain strong, the state is hardly rolling in money as lawmakers begin to sort through funding requests.

    “There’s a lot of asks out there,” he said, “and a lot of them are very legitimate.”

    Recent federal tax reforms have changed when Utahns are filing their returns, Stevenson added, and that could explain some of the downward revenue adjustments.

    “In other words, this is just a behavior caused by a reaction to a one-time deal," he said, “rather than a trend.”

    Tim Tebow makes the Christian movie he’s always wanted to see


    Los Angeles • Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback now readying for his fourth season as a minor-league baseball player, knows that being a good Christian doesn’t solve everything.Even watching Christian movies growing up,...

    Los Angeles • Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback now readying for his fourth season as a minor-league baseball player, knows that being a good Christian doesn’t solve everything.

    Even watching Christian movies growing up, Tebow had his doubts when the main character started praying and suddenly everything “was just perfect.”

    “That’s not real life,” he said. “Life’s not easy.”

    As executive producers of the new film “Run the Race,” Tebow and his brother Robby wanted to create the kind of movie — and Christian life — he longed to see instead: one that’s not perfect, but authentic.

    “Run the Race,” the story of two high school brothers trying to overcome their mother’s death and father’s abandonment, sticks close to the power of fraternal love and sports. Zach Truett, played by Tanner Stine, is working to earn a college football scholarship, but after he suffers an injury, he worries he’ll never find his way out of his small town.

    Not wanting to give up on their dream, his brother, Dave, attempts to save both brothers’ futures by securing his own scholarship in track.

    The characters, especially Zach, also spend a lot of time grappling with and asking questions about their faith — questions many of those involved in the movie, including real-life Christians Stine and Tebow, have asked themselves.

    “We all go through our own faith journey. You ask the questions and you ask the why,” Tebow told Religion News Service. “Even in your lows, God loves you and he’s chasing you and he wants to know you and support you and he gave his best for you.”

    Jake McEntire, who wrote the original script, was in one of those lows. By that time he had been working on the screenplay for almost a decade. “I remember being in class in 2004, just freehand writing this stuff,” said McEntire.

    He rewrote it multiple times through the years, then made a “concept” trailer hoping it’d attract more people to the project. McEntire said there were multiple times he’d pray, asking God if he should give up or if God wanted him to keep going.

    “I just felt like this was a calling God gave me in my heart to go tell this story,” he said.

    It was on one of those days of praying and questioning whether to continue that the Tebows called, he said.

    Trey Brunson, who met McEntire in college in Dallas, got to know Robby Tebow as a pastor in Florida. Six years ago, Brunson, now an executive producer himself, showed the trailer to Robby, who showed it to Tim. The Tebow brothers then asked to read the full script.

    It was reading the script, Tim Tebow said, that was his impetus to get into the movie industry. A popular public speaker, he said the power of McEntire’s storytelling impressed on him how limited his appearances were compared with the movies.

    “It’s just another avenue to encourage people,” said Tebow, who has been supporting the movie with press and on social media. “Why not use that avenue for good, too?”

    Though McEntire now had Tebow to ask about achieving in sports, the writer said that much of the film is drawn on his own sports experience.

    McEntire had a scholarship to play college football before he tore his ACL and his dream of a football career went away. The mother in the film is based on a friend’s mom who had died from breast cancer.

    “I kind of cherry-picked things that happened to me and my brothers and my best friends, the good and the bad,” he said, “and put it all into one story.”

    Even McEntire’s relationship with his wife was used to create a storyline that is not the usual Hollywood teen romance.

    McEntire knew he wanted to marry his wife three days after meeting her — something he immediately told his brothers. Six months later, he bought a ring, but he continued to pray for another six months.

    “I was like, ‘Lord, if you want me to marry this girl, I’ll do it. But if you don’t want me to marry her, get me out of here,’” he said.

    They were married in April 2007, 16 months after they met. “We were both virgins when we got married, so I wanted to show that purity,” he said. “I wanted to show kids that can still happen — you can have this.”

    If the movie represents Christian values, it’s not a sermon from on high — the filmmakers even debated if any character should say the name Jesus, McEntire said.

    Once they got to filming, in fact, “Run the Race” became a collaboration. Director Chris Dowling shares screenwriting credit with McEntire and Jason Baumgardner, and Dowling in turn allowed his actors a lot of flexibility. That spirit is what convinced veteran actor Mario Van Peebles to take the the role of Pastor Baker, who leads the church in the Truetts’ small town.

    “I wanted to play this character because there were things I wanted to say,” Van Peebles said. “Some of what you see in the film is ad lib.”

    While there is a lot about Christianity in “Run the Race,” Dowling said it addresses experiences many people can relate to — not least the director himself, whose father walked out on his family when Dowling was young.

    “As humans, we all want the same thing,” Dowling said. “We want to know we have a purpose, we want to feel loved, we want the best for our kids.”

    Tebow hopes people see what he says is the reality of trusting in God.

    “You don’t want to trick people or fool people that all the sudden life is going to be perfect. Never told it’s going to be perfect or easy — just worth it,” he said.

    “Run the Race” will be in theaters Friday (Feb. 22).

    Virginia Republicans plan hearings into allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax


    Richmond, Va. • Republicans will invite two women who have accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, D, of sexual assault to publicly testify before lawmakers, despite Democrats’ objections that it would turn into a “political, partisan show.”The move...

    Richmond, Va. • Republicans will invite two women who have accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, D, of sexual assault to publicly testify before lawmakers, despite Democrats’ objections that it would turn into a “political, partisan show.”

    The move came one day after House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, criticized Democrats for resisting his efforts to launch a bipartisan investigation into the accusations against Fairfax.

    Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, rose on the House floor shortly after noon on Friday and said the body had "a duty to investigate." He said the House Courts of Justice Committee will schedule a hearing but did not provide a date. He said Fairfax would be invited to testify, along with the two women.

    Fairfax has emphatically denied the allegations, saying the encounters were consensual. His spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

    Democratic lawmakers slammed the notion of public hearings held by their GOP colleagues, particularly in an election year.

    "Due process is absolutely needed," Del. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg. "It should be by a law enforcement agency and not by individuals who will be on the ballot in November."

    "I question whether or not this body can truly deliver the justice that is sought," she said and added that in her opinion, "the answer is no."

    "The seriousness of the allegations that have been made public in this case should not be turned into a political game," Aird said.

    If Fairfax is charged with a crime by law enforcement and found guilty "the women, the black women on this side of the aisle will be the first people to draft articles of impeachment," Aird said.

    But Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, disagreed with Aird.

    Survivors of sexual violence should have the option to report sexual violence however they feel is best, he said. "When I was raped, I did not report it to law enforcement because I did not believe that was a way in which I would achieve justice," he said.

    Cox originally proposed a 10-person investigative committee — with five Republicans, five Democrats and limited subpoena power - to look into claims by Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson that Fairfax sexually assaulted them years ago.

    Both Tyson and Watson have asked the General Assembly for the opportunity to publicly testify.

    Nancy Erika Smith, an attorney for Watson, said she "looks forward to testifying at this forum."

    "It is our understanding that the hearing will be public and televised and that Ms. Watson, Dr. Tyson and Lt. Governor Fairfax will all testify under oath and be subject to the same rules and requirements, including our right to present witnesses and corroborators," Smith said in a statement.

    Bell said that two weeks had passed since the women had made “very specific and detailed allegations that they had been sexually assaulted by Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. Governor Fairfax has denied these allegations. They’re obviously — extraordinarily — extremely serious. We tried to work diligently with our colleagues across the aisle to create a bipartisan way to investigate. Proposed a special subcommittee that would have been five-five — five Republicans, five Democrats — to hear testimony, issue subpoenas, conduct the investigation. That was declined.”

    On Thursday, House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, confirmed that she and other Democratic leaders had met with Cox but said they were concerned that an investigative panel could impede possible criminal investigations.

    "Nobody wants this to turn into a political, partisan show," Filler-Corn said.

    She also said she was wary of agreeing to the formation of the committee without more details in writing. "We asked for the specifics: 'What are you talking about? What would this look like? How would this be done?' "

    Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment, R-James City, said he could not comment because if the House hearing turned out to be a precursor to impeachment proceedings, the Senate would serve as the jury.

    “I’m not going to opine one way or the other because we would be sitting as a jury — if the Senate made the determination to participate,” he said.

    Under the state constitution, articles of impeachment are initiated in the House of Delegates and then decided in the Senate.

    Cox had initally proposed a special subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee, which could hear testimony from witnesses. He said the findings could form the basis for impeachment, but he cautioned against calling the panel an "impeachment committee" because that might not be the outcome.

    Republicans, who hold a slim majority in both chambers of the legislature, would need bipartisan cooperation for any investigative effort, Cox said, for the public to have faith in the outcome.

    But absent cooperation from Democrats, Cox said he would go forward with another format.

    Tyson has accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Watson says Fairfax assaulted her in 2000, while they were students at Duke University.

    Fairfax has called the allegations a smear campaign against him. Both women went public with their accusations at a moment when Fairfax appeared to be on the cusp of ascending to the governorship.

    Democrats and Republicans alike were calling on Gov. Ralph Northam, D, to step down after revelations of a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page and his admission that he darkened his cheeks with shoe polish that year while dressed as Michael Jackson for a dance contest.

    Fairfax would have become governor if Northam had resigned, an option the governor initially considered but then dismissed.

    Democrats and Republicans were more restrained when Tyson stepped forward with her accusation, with most saying the lieutenant governor deserved due process.

    They also held their fire when another scandal unfolded: Attorney General Mark Herring, D, who had called on Northam to resign, admitted that he had dressed in blackface as a college student.

    But after Watson stepped forward with the second accusation, Democratic Party leaders quickly called for Fairfax to resign. He has said repeatedly that he will not step down and wants the FBI or others to investigate the accusations. The FBI has no jurisdiction over either case, since the allegations do not include a federal crime.

    In polls conducted since the scandals broke, voters have been split over whether Fairfax should resign.

    The back and forth between Cox and Filler-Corn over the attempt to create a panel led to dueling news conferences Thursday in the Capitol.

    Cox's spokesman, Parker Slaybaugh, handed reporters copies of a joint statement that he said Filler-Corn had asked Cox to sign last week.

    "It is our view that it is impossible for the General Assembly to conduct a thorough and credible investigation and impeachment process that is fair to Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson and to the Lieutenant Governor, consistent with the Assembly's constitutional duties, at this time," the letter said.

    Cox refused to sign, Slaybaugh said.

    Filler-Corn, who stepped up to the cameras immediately after Cox, acknowledged that the statement had been drafted by Democrats but insisted that it did not mean they were ruling out a legislative investigation.

    "They [Republicans] seem to think that they have ideas as to how this could transpire," Filler-Corn said. "We have yet to see the details. So until we know, we cannot make a decision ourselves."

    ---

    The Washington Post’s Gregory S. Schneider, Jenna Portnoy and Fenit Nirappil contributed to this report.

    Man pleads guilty to killing a West Valley City code-enforcement officer and lighting her body on fire

    Man pleads guilty to killing a West Valley City code-enforcement officer and lighting her body on fire


    A Utah man on Friday admitted to shooting and killing a West Valley City worker in his driveway before lighting her body and truck on fire.Kevin Wayne Billings pleaded guilty to first-degree felony aggravated murder, along with charges of aggravated...

    A Utah man on Friday admitted to shooting and killing a West Valley City worker in his driveway before lighting her body and truck on fire.

    Kevin Wayne Billings pleaded guilty to first-degree felony aggravated murder, along with charges of aggravated arson, arson and aggravated cruelty to an animal. Several other charges, such as abuse of a dead body and possessing explosive parts, were dismissed as part of a plea deal.

    He faces a maximum penalty of up to life in prison when he is sentenced May 6.

    Billings had been mailed a “notice of violation” last July by code-enforcement officer Jill Robinson — papers that instructed him to improve his yard and to call city officials for a compliance inspection by Aug. 6 or face daily fines.

    He called Robinson on Aug. 8, according to charging documents, and told his daughter early the next morning he had an appointment with a code-enforcement officer at 10 a.m.

    By 10:21 a.m., chaos broke out on Wendy Avenue.

    A West Valley City vehicle was in flames. Robinson lay dead in Billings’ driveway, with a single gunshot wound to the head. A neighboring house was also on fire — and that blaze killed four of his neighbor’s dogs.

    Prosecutors wrote in court papers that Billings' neighbor came to his home after hearing a gunshot and saw Robinson was deceased. She turned to Billings, who was sitting on his walker in the driveway, smirking.

    “Why did you shoot her?” the neighbor asked, according to the documents.

    “I’ve had all the harassment I can take,” Billings allegedly responded.

    Before the fatal shooting and fires, Billings had received several complaints in the mail about the condition of his yard and unregistered vehicles on his property, his daughter told police.

    The man whose house was set on fire told police Billings had recently contacted his wife and accused them of calling code enforcement on him.

    Robinson, 52, had worked for the city for 10 years in code enforcement, which includes issuing citations for vehicles parked on lawns, driveways filled with weeds or garbage piled up outside homes.


    (Courtesy of West Valley City) Code enforcement officer Jill Robinson, 52, was shot and killed Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. A 65-year-old man was taken into custody as a suspect.

    Trump to ban abortion referrals by family planning clinics


    Washington • The Trump administration said Friday that it would bar taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, a move certain to be challenged in court by abortion rights supporters.The final rule released Friday by the...

    Washington • The Trump administration said Friday that it would bar taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, a move certain to be challenged in court by abortion rights supporters.

    The final rule released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department pleased religious conservatives, a key building block of President Donald Trump's political base.

    The administration plan also would prohibit federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same location as abortion providers.

    Planned Parenthood has said the administration appears to be targeting them, and calls the policy a "gag rule."

    The regulation was published Friday on an HHS website . It's not official until it appears in the Federal Register and the department said there could be "minor editorial changes." A department official confirmed it was the final version.

    Known as Title X, the family-planning program serves about 4 million women annually through independent clinics, many operated by Planned Parenthood affiliates, which serve about 1.6 million women. The grant program costs taxpayers about $260 million a year.

    Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman.

    Abortion opponents praised the administration's move.

    "We are celebrating the newly finalized Title X rules that will redirect some taxpayer resources away from abortion vendors," Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement. Although federal family planning funds by law cannot be used to pay for abortions, religious conservatives have long argued that the program indirectly subsidizes Planned Parenthood.

    A group representing family planning clinics decried the administration's decision.

    “This rule intentionally strikes at the heart of the patient-provider relationship, inserting political ideology into a family planning visit, which will frustrate and ultimately discourage patients from seeking the health care they need,” Clare Coleman, head of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, said in a statement.

    YouTube purges tens of millions of comments in crackdown on child sexual exploitation


    YouTube on Thursday cracked down on pedophilic content on the video site by purging tens of millions of comments, which serve as a kind of powerful but overlooked social network.A video blogger this week published a report on YouTube documenting how...

    YouTube on Thursday cracked down on pedophilic content on the video site by purging tens of millions of comments, which serve as a kind of powerful but overlooked social network.

    A video blogger this week published a report on YouTube documenting how comments and recommendations on the platform direct users to potentially sexual videos of children, allowing them to participate in a “soft-core pedophile ring,” according to the report. YouTube also terminated more than 400 channels on Thursday that posted the comments on videos featuring children.

    Several major brands such as Disney and Nestle this week halted their advertising on YouTube because their ads were played alongside videos with abusive or sexually explicit comments — a repeat of a brand boycott a couple years ago when advertisers protested the placement of their spots in inappropriate videos.

    YouTube's latest controversy focuses on the abusive aspect of its comments section.

    "Any content — including comments — that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube," said YouTube spokeswoman Andrea Faville in a statement Thursday. "We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling comments on tens of millions of videos that include minors. There's more to be done, and we continue to work to improve and catch abuse more quickly."

    In a video that has been viewed nearly two million times since its release Sunday, video blogger Matt Watson detailed how users who visit YouTube for bikini shopping videos can eventually be nudged to watch videos featuring young girls. After clicking on several bikini videos, YouTube's recommendation engine suggests that users watch videos with minors, Watson said. The videos are not sexual in nature -- they involve children talking to the camera, performing gymnastics or playing with toys, but they are interpreted by users in inappropriate ways. The comments on the videos include hyperlinked time stamps, Watson said, allowing users to jump to moments when the girls are in compromised positions; in other instances, users posted sexually explicit comments about the children.

    "Once you are in this loophole there is nothing but more videos of little girls," he said in the video. "How has YouTube not seen this?"

    YouTube also said it removed dozens of videos that were posted without malicious intent but were nonetheless putting children at risk. The company added it continues to invest in technology that allows it and its industry partners to detect and remove sexually abusive imagery.

    In a company blog post from 2017, YouTube outlined the ways it was "toughening" its approach to protect families on its platform. One aspect of its approach was blocking inappropriate comments on videos featuring minors. The company said it had historically used a combination of automated systems and of people flagging inappropriate and predatory comments for review and removal. YouTube said at the time that it would take a more "aggressive stance" on curbing abusive posts by turning off the commenting feature when it detected such posts. It is technically easier for software to scan text, such as comments, rather than video for anything that would violate YouTube's policies.

    In the wake of the latest controversy, YouTube said that it has been hiring more experts dedicated to child safety on the platform, and to identifying users who wish to harm children.

    YouTube has previously grappled with publishing exploitative videos of children. In 2017, the company cracked down on accounts that posted disturbing videos for young audiences that featured children in predatory or compromising situations which drew massive audiences.

    "YouTube, in addition to other social media platforms should offer regular, independent, external audits of online hate and harassment," said George Selim, the senior vice president of the Anti-Defamation League.

    Watson said that some of the YouTube videos feature ads for big name companies, including Disney.

    Nestle said, "An extremely low volume of some of our advertisements were shown on videos on YouTube where inappropriate comments were being made," adding that it is investigating the matter with YouTube and its partners and has decided to pause its advertising on the platform globally.

    Disney has also suspended its advertising on the YouTube, according to Bloomberg. Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    “Fortnite” maker Epic Games said it has “paused” its advertising on YouTube that runs before videos, but it’s unclear if Epic’s ads appeared in the controversial content. “Through our advertising agency, we have reached out to Google/YouTube to determine actions they’ll take to eliminate this type of content from their service,” Epic said in a statement.

    ‘There’s no cow tipping in Oklahoma City’: One mayor’s T-shirt takedown


    In the 10 months since Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt took office, he has overseen an $800 million street repair project, unveiled a new streetcar route and read stories to Kindergarten students most Fridays.But this week, he announced on social media...

    In the 10 months since Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt took office, he has overseen an $800 million street repair project, unveiled a new streetcar route and read stories to Kindergarten students most Fridays.

    But this week, he announced on social media that he had accomplished a “personal mission” — ending the city airport’s sales of T-shirts that linked Oklahoma to cow tipping.

    For the last decade or so, our redesigned OKC airport has made a beautiful first impression on visitors, with one...

    Posted by Mayor David Holt on Thursday, February 21, 2019

    "NOTHING TIPS LIKE A COW," the offending shirts said in all caps, according to an image Holt shared Thursday. The garments featured a silhouette of a cow on its back printed over the shape of Oklahoma, and Holt said they were on prominent display.

    Cow tipping, an activity typically said to involve drunken youths sneaking up on cows and toppling them for fun, might seem like a plausible past-time in Oklahoma, home to one of the nation's largest cattle populations. But Holt said it has nothing to do with the sprawling metropolis of Oklahoma City.

    The shirts "weren't, like, some item in the corner of the airport shop. It was like our 'Welcome to Oklahoma City' sign," Holt said in an interview, adding that about 4 million passengers pass through Will Rogers World Airport each year. "There's no cow-tipping in Oklahoma city."

    Not that cows themselves were Holt's priority. "I would be lying if I told you it was about animal welfare," he said. "That was not on my mind."

    Holt emphasized that the city owns the airport and its stores, meaning his campaign against cow tipping garb did not amount to censoring "some poor shopkeeper." Many locals had long had a beef with the shirts, he said, and several cheered his announcement on social media.

    Others criticized it, suggesting Holt had better things to do than micromanage souvenir slogans. Holt, 39, an attorney who won his position with nearly 80 percent of the vote, dismissed that.

    "I just gave my State of the City address. It was 45 minutes long, and there was not even a mention of cow-tipping," he said. "But nevertheless, I'm happy to have crossed it off the list."

    Oklahoma is hardly the only state where such T-shirts are sold — nor where an official has battled them. Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, Ohio, tweeted Thursday that she, too, had ousted similar cow tipping shirts from her city’s airport.

    But for what it's worth, cow tipping is probably not happening in rural Oklahoma, or in Ohio, or in any state where the shirts are sold. That's because it's been fairly well debunked as bull. In 2005, University of British Columbia zoologists did some math and concluded that it would probably take five or six people to push over a 1,500-pound bovine. A Duke University biomechanics researcher later wrote that tipping would require at least 10 people, and perhaps as many as 14.

    In a 2013 deep dive on cow tipping, Modern Farmer magazine noted that no YouTube videos documenting the feat existed. It quoted a dairy farmer who pointed out that cows don't sleep standing up and that they're quite vigilant. "A group of strangers walking up on them?" the farmer said. "I don't think that's going to be possible."

    With cow tipping shirts out of the way, Holt said he's hoping that the airport shop will begin to stock "really cool, witty" T-shirts to promote Oklahoma City. (The mayor is fond of one that says, "Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth," a nod to the duo of "Saturday Night Live" fame, but that locally refers to country singer Garth Brooks and Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne, both Oklahoma City-area natives.)

    “We’re not a city of white male rancher frat boys,” Holt said of Oklahoma City, where 60 percent of residents under 18 are nonwhite. “We’re a city full of people who are just as likely to practice some sort of world religion as they are to go tip a cow. In fact, more likely to do so.”

    R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse


    Chicago • R. Kelly was charged Friday with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse, after decades of lurid rumors and allegations that the R&B star was sexually abusing women and underage girls.Tandra Simonton, spokeswoman for the Cook County State's...

    Chicago • R. Kelly was charged Friday with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse, after decades of lurid rumors and allegations that the R&B star was sexually abusing women and underage girls.

    Tandra Simonton, spokeswoman for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, confirmed to The Associated Press the charges had been filed against the 52-year-old Grammy winner but declined to say the specific number. Media reports said there were 10 counts, all involving underage victims.

    Over the years, he has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.

    Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, is one of the top-selling recording artists of all time, with hits such as "I Believe I Can Fly," and his arrest sets the stage for another #MeToo-era celebrity trial. Bill Cosby went to prison last year, and former Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein is awaiting trial.

    Kelly was charged a day after Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose clients have included porn star Stormy Daniels, said he recently gave Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of the singer having sex with an underage girl. It was not immediately clear if the charges were connected to that video.

    In 2008, a jury acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges over a graphic video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. He and the young woman allegedly depicted with him denied they were in the 27-minute video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them, and she did not take the stand. Kelly could have gotten 15 years in prison.

    Legally and professionally, the walls began closing in on Kelly more recently after the release of a BBC documentary about him last year and, last month, the multipart Lifetime documentary "Surviving R. Kelly." Together they detailed allegations he was holding women against their will and running a "sex cult."

    After the latest documentary, Chicago's top prosecutor, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, said she was "sickened" by the allegations and asked potential victims to come forward.

    #MeToo activists and a social media movement using the hashtag #MuteRKelly called on streaming services to drop Kelly's music and promoters not to book any more concerts. And protesters demonstrated outside Kelly's Chicago studio.

    Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, said earlier this year that his client was the victim of a TV hit piece and that Kelly "never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone."

    Avenatti said his office was retained last April by people regarding allegations of sexual assault of minors by Kelly. He said the video surfaced during a 10-month investigation. He told the Associated Press that the person who provided the VHS tape knew both Kelly and the female in the video.

    Despite accusations that span decades, the singer and songwriter who rose from poverty on Chicago's South Side has retained a sizable following. He has written numerous hits for himself and other artists, including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. His collaborators have included Jay-Z and Usher.

    Kelly broke into the R&B scene in 1993 with his first solo album, "12 Play," which produced such popular sex-themed songs as "Bump N' Grind" and "Your Body's Callin'."

    Months after those successes, the then-27-year-old Kelly faced allegations he married 15-year-old Aaliyah, the R&B star who later died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. Kelly was the lead songwriter and producer of Aaliyah's 1994 debut album.

    Kelly and Aaliyah never confirmed the marriage, though Vibe magazine published a copy of the purported marriage license. Court documents later obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times showed Aaliyah admitted lying about her age on the license.

    Jim DeRogatis, a longtime music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, played a key role in drawing the attention of law enforcement to Kelly. In 2002, he received the sex tape in the mail that was central to Kelly’s 2008 trial. He turned it over to prosecutors. In 2017, DeRogatis wrote a story for BuzzFeed about the allegations Kelly was holding women against their will in Georgia.

    BYU blows 14-point second-half lead, falls 77-71 to San Francisco at the Marriott Center

    BYU blows 14-point second-half lead, falls 77-71 to San Francisco at the Marriott Center


    Provo • Officially, last month’s loss to Gonzaga will go down as the worst, margin-wise, in BYU coach Dave Rose’s 14-year tenure. But Thursday’s collapse against San Francisco was easily the most damaging.In what was said to be the battle for the...

    Provo • Officially, last month’s loss to Gonzaga will go down as the worst, margin-wise, in BYU coach Dave Rose’s 14-year tenure. But Thursday’s collapse against San Francisco was easily the most damaging.

    In what was said to be the battle for the No. 2 seed in next month’s West Coast Conference tournament, the Dons rallied from a 14-point deficit with under eight minutes remaining and stunned the Cougars 77-71 in front of 11,484 at the Marriott Center.

    Ouch.

    With around eight minutes left, after TJ Haws made a 3-pointer to give BYU a 63-49 lead, ESPN’s BPI win probability had the Cougars at 96.9 percent. Then the Cougars crumbled, perhaps more so than at any point in recent memory.

    “The last eight minutes were probably as dysfunctional as maybe we’ve looked for quite awhile,” Rose said.

    How damaging was this loss?

    The Cougars (10-4, 18-11) not only saw their five-game winning streak snapped, they were swept by the Dons (9-4, 21-6) and that could resonate in early March if the teams tie for second place in the WCC standings. BYU has to play at No. 2 Gonzaga on Saturday, while the Dons are finished with the Zags and have a much easier remaining schedule.

    “We got to the eight-minute mark, had a 14-point lead, and those are games you should finish off,” Rose said.

    After Haws’ triple, the Cougars had a turnover that led to Nate Renfro’s uncontested dunk, and the floodgates opened. Yoeli Childs (28 points, 14 rebounds) missed a free throw, and that miscue was followed by two more turnovers. McKay Cannon missed an ill-advised 3-pointer, and Zac Seljaas missed a trey after yet another turnover.

    “San Francisco, they are a great team,” said Haws, who had 25 points in 31 minutes. “I thought they made shots down the stretch. We had a hard time getting the ball in the basket. When you are up 14, you should be able to defend to win that game.”

    Gavin Baxter was intentionally fouled with 1:37 left, but officials did not award the Cougars the ball — as they should have done — after he made one of two free throws to tie it at 68-68.

    San Francisco’s Jordan Ratinho made his third 3-pointer, on his 11th attempt, to give the Dons a 71-68 lead with 1:20 remaining. After Haws missed a triple to beat the shot clock, Nick Emery intentionally fouled Renfro. This time the officials awarded the Dons the ball after Renfro made one of two freebies.

    “Yeah, both [officials] looked at me with a response that looked like they had something in mind [after Baxter was fouled], but when it came to responding they just turned off and went the other direction. So I never really did get a reason,” Rose said.

    Charles Minlend and Matt McCarthy made four free throws in the final 24 seconds to seal it.

    “This one will sting for a little bit, but we have to move on and get ready for Gonzaga,” Haws said.

    Frankie Ferrari led the Dons with 23 points, including 5-of-5 shooting from 3-point range.

    “They just had energy and they were making shots,” Seljaas said. “They had the momentum and we just couldn’t get a shot to fall to be able to get it back. They were just rolling, and it is hard to go against that type of energy from a good team.”

    The Cougars roared out of the halftime locker room, and took a 53-40 lead seven minutes into the second half after an 8-0 run that included dunks by Childs and Baxter. After Haws’ 3-pointer, his third, they went 4:37 without scoring, and that proved to be their undoing.

    “We turned the ball over uncharacteristically, and just with live-ball turnovers, where they could go down and score layups,” Rose said. “You have to give a lot of credit to San Francisco, because they were playing really hard and dong stuff to disrupt us … But I think when we go back and look at the film, we will see a lot of those mistakes were created by our own lack of execution.”

    And that film turned into a horror film for the Cougars, worse than the 93-63 beatdown they suffered here to Gonzaga a month ago.

    Interstate 15 southbound is shut down after a diesel tanker burst into flames

    Interstate 15 southbound is shut down after a diesel tanker burst into flames


    Friday’s early-morning commute into Salt Lake City was a mess after a diesel tanker crashed and burst into flames at 1300 South about 1 a.m. on Interstate 15.According to a spokesman for the Salt Lake City Fire Department, the tanker truck — which...

    Friday’s early-morning commute into Salt Lake City was a mess after a diesel tanker crashed and burst into flames at 1300 South about 1 a.m. on Interstate 15.

    According to a spokesman for the Salt Lake City Fire Department, the tanker truck — which was carrying 8,000 gallons of fuel — collided with a Honda Civic. The accident caused the truck to roll over onto its side and burst into flames, a fire that took about two hours to extinguish.

    According to the Utah Highway Patrol, neither driver was seriously injured; both were transported to an area hospital as a precaution.

    The HOV lane, lane one, and collector ramp are now all open at 1900 South I-15 SB. UDOT has set up a hard closure blocking the other lanes from approximately 1000 S to 1900 S (Scene of the incident) SB. pic.twitter.com/KPyQ6MTxzl

    — Utah Highway Patrol (@UTHighwayPatrol) February 22, 2019

    I-15 southbound was closed from 400 South to 2100 South. By about 7:20 a.m., the two southbound lanes and the southbound collector ramp were re-opened; other lanes are closed from approximately 1000 South to 1900 South.

    According to UDOT spokesman John Gleason, crews have to repair 12 to 13 concrete panels and replace 333 feet of concrete barrier. “We will also assess damage to the drainage system caused by an explosion when gas from the tanker leaked into the pipes,"” he tweeted.

    I just learned that our UDOT crews must repair 12 to 13 concrete panels, and replace 333 feet of concrete barrier. We will also assess damage to the drainage system caused by an explosion when gas from the tanker leaked into the pipes. pic.twitter.com/QG8BtE9q2x

    — John Gleason (@johnegleason) February 22, 2019

    Crews were working on a temporary patch on Friday; a permanent fix will have to wait until temperatures are warmer.

    All lanes on I-15 were expected to be reopened sometime Friday afternoon.



    Full Utah House to vote on bill requiring that children have the option of a public defender at all court proceedings


    A bill expanding the option of a public defender to children at effectively any and all juvenile court proceedings is headed to the Utah House after a unanimous vote of support by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.Sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods...

    A bill expanding the option of a public defender to children at effectively any and all juvenile court proceedings is headed to the Utah House after a unanimous vote of support by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.

    Sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said current law has allowed inconsistency throughout the state, leaving children as young as 8 years old to argue on their own behalf in criminal matters.

    “This bill would assume that a child is indigent and would offer a public defender until someone declined it or had another attorney there,” Weiler said.

    The bill, SB32, has been approved unanimously at every stage of the legislative process to date, earning the full support of a Senate standing committee last month before a 29-0 vote of the full Senate last week.

    Weiler said his bill allows for the parents of a child who accepts a public defender to be later billed for those attorneys fees if they’re determined to have means. But his bill would ensure that attorneys are there at all juvenile hearings, including ostensibly procedural proceedings like detention and review hearings. Those hearings are often nothing more than a check-in with the court, but a judge does have the option to send a young defendant to a detention center if there are new violations or other issues.

    “If we just take that off the table,” Weiler said, “I’m afraid these kids will fall through the cracks.”

    Kane County Attorney Rob Van Dyke spoke against the bill on Friday. He said the option of a public defender at all hearings is “best practice,” but goes beyond the constitutional standards of adequate representation.

    “We don’t object to children having attorneys,” Van Dyke said. “We object to the state paying for it.”

    Van Dyke questioned whether SB32 suggests that the state knows better than parents, who may intentionally decline to hire representation after their children commit a crime.

    “It’s a fundamental issue of, should the state be required to pay when the kid has the ability to pay [and] there’s not real risk of incarceration?" Van Dyke said.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill after relatively little debate, with comments centered around clarifying questions for the sponsor and witnesses.

    Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, said “the world will not fall apart” if roughly 90 percent of the bills at the Legislature do not pass in a given year. But SB32, he suggested, is among the top 10 urgent pieces of legislation.

    “This is a bill that we need to pass this session,” Hall said.

    Will the nation’s third-largest church split up over LGBTQ debate? Methodist leaders try to reach an answer.


    In recent years, the deep division over sexuality in the United Methodist Church has led many in the church to use a word they hadn’t heard since their European history classes: schism.A schism, the splitting of a church over irreconcilable...

    In recent years, the deep division over sexuality in the United Methodist Church has led many in the church to use a word they hadn’t heard since their European history classes: schism.

    A schism, the splitting of a church over irreconcilable differences, has sometimes seemed imminent. Yet in an extraordinary meeting of church leaders in St. Louis that begins Saturday, the 12 million-member denomination will try to reach a plan to hold their church together while also deciding the church’s stance on LGBTQ issues.

    “It is very difficult to be the church in the same way in Monrovia, Liberia, and in San Francisco and in Austin, Texas, and in Peoria, Illinois, and in Montgomery, Alabama,” said Bishop Kenneth Carter of Florida, one of the three moderators of the 32-member Commission on a Way Forward that has been preparing plans since 2016 for the denomination to consider. “From a political perspective, we are a church that has among its members Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush and James B. Comey and Jeff Sessions. ... How much unity can we achieve? And how much separation do people need from each other?”

    The United Methodist Church is, in the United States, the third-largest faith group in the nation and the largest mainline Protestant group. Here, many Methodist pastors want to perform same-sex marriages and ordain gay men and women as clergy. They look to their counterparts in other mainline churches that have long allowed gay weddings, like the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church, as far ahead of their own denomination. But the issue of sexuality remains deeply divisive among both clergy and believers across the nation, with strong opinions on both sides.

    Furthermore, the United Methodist Church is not just an American church but a global one. About a third of the denomination’s churches are in Africa, where the church is rapidly growing, and where leaders tend to deeply oppose the idea of being part of a church that sanctions homosexuality.

    How to hold all this together? In St. Louis from Saturday through Tuesday, more than 800 clergy and lay leaders will vote on several options — including, perhaps, ending the unity in the 50-year-old denomination’s name.

    “When I’m realistic, I realize our denomination probably will break apart. We will most likely split,” said the Rev. Frank Schaefer, one of the highest-profile ministers involved in this debate. Schaefer, a father of three gay children, was put on church trial for officiating the wedding of his son and was defrocked by United Methodist officials in Pennsylvania, then hired again as a pastor at a United Methodist church in Santa Barbara, Calif., under a different bishop. “We’re spending resources debating and fighting each other. It’s like a bad marriage. Sometimes it’s better to break up and move on.”

    One option, which Schaefer said he supports, would allow each church to essentially decide for itself whether to hire gay clergy and perform same-sex weddings. The Rev. Stefanie Bennett, who leads the nation’s oldest United Methodist congregation, John Street United Methodist Church in New York City, said most of her 100 members have told her they are hoping for this plan to pass. “They would be sad” if the denomination splits, she said, though she believes the church needs a change in its approach to LGBT members. “The UMC has not represented Jesus well in the way LGBTQI have been treated in our midst.”

    A second choice, called the “traditional option,” would continue the United Methodist Church’s official stance against homosexuality, and would even beef up enforcement against clergy who go against the church’s policies on the issue.

    Mark Tooley, a lifelong Methodist who heads the group Institute for Religion and Democracy, hopes the traditional plan will pass. He expects a small number of liberal churches would leave the denomination, but he believes as many as 95 percent would remain. At stake, he said, is whether the denomination will follow other mainline Protestant churches that have seen membership decline. Tooley believes Africans will become the majority in the denomination in the next five to 10 years, thus pushing Methodists in a more theologically conservative direction. “We’re becoming a very different kind of denomination,” he said.

    A third approach would split the church into three connected but distinct denominations: one that affirms LGBTQ inclusion, one that strictly condemns homosexuality, and one that gives each pastor a choice for how to approach the question. “That would simply give people the separation that many people want,” Carter said. “There would be some shared resources, but they would have their own bishops and their own budgets. It would really be a way of having a looser connection.”

    Participants in the St. Louis meeting, which runs through Tuesday, can modify these proposals and suggest new ones. Another plan that has been floated by some progressives, called the “simple plan,” asks for more purity — removing all language against homosexuality from the church’s book of rules entirely. “It’s a conviction which is really based in civil rights, so I don’t want to disparage it,” Carter said. “It’s really saying, ‘Why should [same-sex marriage] be OK in Washington, D.C., and not in a very conservative area? Persons need those protections there.’ There’s a lot of power in that.”

    This meeting is the first time the church called a special session on a single topic, outside of the every-four-years format for global meetings, since 1970. That year, the topic was merging another denomination into the United Methodist Church.

    This time, the topic is whether to break apart.

    A teen was told her MAGA hat violates school code. She’s fighting back.


    A California high schooler is challenging her school district, alleging that its decision to ban her from wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat on campus impinges on her First Amendment rights.Clovis North High School senior Maddie Mueller is a member...

    A California high schooler is challenging her school district, alleging that its decision to ban her from wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat on campus impinges on her First Amendment rights.

    Clovis North High School senior Maddie Mueller is a member of Valley Patriots. The conservative activist group asked its affiliates to wear the well-known hat bearing President Donald Trump’s campaign motto on Wednesday. Mueller said that officials at the Fresno school told her the school dress code prohibited it, according to CBS affiliate KGPE.

    Now Mueller is fighting the district.

    “To my knowledge Trump is not a logo; it’s a last name. It’s just our president. You can’t claim the president is a logo, sports team or affiliated with any gang,” she told KGPE. “How does being a patriot in trying to show pride in your country — how is that inappropriate?”

    God Bless Fox News for sharing my story.

    Posted by Maddie Mueller on Thursday, February 21, 2019

    Clovis Unified School District chief communication Officer Kelly Avants told KPGE that the dress code is in place "for kids to feel safe at school and free of distractions so they can focus on learning."

    "It's unfortunate that our dress code is being misrepresented as specifically singling out a MAGA hat as that is not what the policy says," she said Thursday in a statement to Fox News. "Unless causing an actual disruption on campus, MAGA apparel is acceptable, and this has been shared with the student."

    The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, which includes use of certain offensive words or phrases to convey political messages. But that right is not absolute, particularly for a student in a public high school such as Clovis North High.

    In 2014, another California school prohibited students from wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo, requiring the children to either change or leave campus. As The Washington Post reported, school officials anticipated the clothing would cause “substantial disruption because of previous altercations.”

    The 9th Circuit Court upheld the decision, writing that "school authorities [can reasonably] forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities" stemming from the speech.

    A 2018 Oregon lawsuit disputing a student's suspension for wearing a shirt supporting construction of Trump's border wall turned out differently. The school settled the case for $25,000 and an apology from the principal.

    Avants said the Clovis dress code permits clothing with sayings or political commentary, and that Mueller has also been reprimanded for violating the policy for wearing a T-shirt that read "build the wall," according to KCBS-TV. She was also allegedly denied permission to wear another school-colored hat supporting Trump.

    To that, Mueller told KCBS: “I don’t care if I offend anybody. I’m just showing support for the president and what I believe.”

    An Arizona officer threatened to arrest a 12-year-old journalist. She wasn’t backing down.


    When a small-town Arizona officer stopped a 12-year-old reporter who was chasing down a story tip on Monday, he probably had no idea what he was getting himself into.Hilde Lysiak, the preteen journalist whose exploits have inspired a Scholastic book...

    When a small-town Arizona officer stopped a 12-year-old reporter who was chasing down a story tip on Monday, he probably had no idea what he was getting himself into.

    Hilde Lysiak, the preteen journalist whose exploits have inspired a Scholastic book series and an upcoming TV show, made a name for herself in 2016 by being the first to report on a grisly murder in her hometown, then firing back at critics who suggested that a 9-year-old girl shouldn't be hanging around crime scenes. Since then, she has continued to break news about bank robberies, alleged rapes and other lurid crimes in the Orange Street News, the paper she publishes out of her parents' home in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

    "NOTE TO DEALERS: OSN Will Not Be Intimidated," she wrote last month after reportedly receiving threats because she had published text message exchanges between an alleged drug dealer and a woman whom he had reportedly solicited for sex.

    So naturally, she didn’t back down when Joseph Patterson, the town marshal in Patagonia, Arizona, allegedly threatened to throw her in juvenile jail on Monday, then falsely claimed it would be illegal for her to film him and publish the video on the Internet. Instead, she posted their exchange on YouTube and in the Orange Street News — which in turn prompted town officials to discipline Patterson, as the Nogales (Arizona) International newspaper was the first to report on Wednesday.

    Lysiak, whose father is also a journalist, hasn't said what brought her to rural southern Arizona. But she has found no shortage of stories to cover there. Last week, she interviewed residents to see how they felt about President Donald Trump's proposed border wall, then briefly hopped over the barbed-wire fence separating the United States from Mexico. "Even a 12-year-old can easily get through it," she commented.

    NOTE TO READERS: A lot of people are guessing my whether I am pro-wall or against the wall. I don't believe it is professional for a journalist to share political opinions. I think reporting should be about facts. Thank you for reading. https://t.co/MwX9aLVhLj

    — Hilde Lysiak (@orangestreetnew) February 15, 2019

    She also broke the news on Feb. 14 that one resident had spotted a mountain lion roaming around Patagonia, a town of fewer than 1,000 people nestled in the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains. That evidently irked Patterson, who "took exception" to her attempts to chase down the story, the International reported. "We're trying to keep people away from there," he told the paper on Tuesday when asked about the sighting.

    In the Orange Street News, Lysiak wrote that she was riding her bike to investigate a tip at around 1:30 p.m. on Monday when Patterson, whose position in the small town is equivalent to that of a police chief, stopped her and asked for identification. The 12-year-old gave her name and phone number and mentioned that she was a member of the media. She said Patterson told her, "I don't want to hear about any of that freedom-of-the-press stuff" and added that he would have her arrested and thrown in juvenile jail.

    Later, Lysiak ran into Patterson again. This time, she was filming.

    "You stopped me earlier and you said that I can be thrown in juvie," she can be heard asking in the video. "What exactly am I doing that's illegal?"

    From the seat of his white Chevy Silverado truck, Patterson started to reply, then interrupted himself. "You taping me?" he asked. "You can tape me, OK, but what I'm going to tell you is if you put my face on the Internet, it's against the law in Arizona."

    There is no such law. Recording a law enforcement officer in a public place is protected under the First Amendment, as Lysiak noted when she posted the video online later that day.

    While Lysiak sat on her bike, Patterson told her that he had noticed her following him around town while he responded to urgent calls. "Yeah, so how is that illegal?" the young reporter countered. The marshal told her that he didn't want her to be harmed by the mountain lion that had been spotted, and he accused her of disobeying his commands and lying to him when she said she was headed to a friend's house, which she disputed. Finally, he told her, "I'll be getting a hold of your parents," and drove off.

    By early Friday morning, the YouTube video had been viewed more than 22,000 times, and hundreds of people had left comments calling Lysiak a "hero" and expressing outrage at Patterson's false claim that it would be against the law for her to film him.

    "Clearly, he is clueless about your constitutional rights to report the news," one supporter wrote. Another fan, writing on the Orange Street News's Facebook page, said that Lysiak was owed an apology. Meanwhile, a popular Texas-based YouTube account reposted her footage and added Patterson's phone number, suggesting that anyone who was equally incensed should give him a call. (Lysiak later requested that people refrain from posting the marshal's contact information online.)

    A notice posted on the town of Patagonia's website on Wednesday said that officials had received "many comments" about Patterson's confrontation with Lysiak. "The matter has been carefully reviewed and we have taken action we believe to be appropriate for the situation," the statement said. "We do not publicly disclose personnel actions including discipline and will have no further comment on this matter."

    The bulletin further suggested that "relevant information" could be found in an Arizona statute that bars people from posting personal information belonging to police officers, prosecutors, judges and other officials online — if doing so could put them and their families at risk. It did not specify why that law would be relevant, or whether Lysiak had been accused of breaking it.

    In an email to The Washington Post, Dan Barr, an attorney with the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, called the town's reference to that statute "pure nonsense." The law deals with publicizing information such as home addresses and "has nothing to do with taking photos of uniformed police officers doing their jobs in public," he wrote.

    Barr added: "Hilde is a force of nature. One can only imagine what she what sort of stories she will be turning out once she has a driver's license."

    Patterson could not be reached for comment late Thursday. According to the International, it's not the first time that he has told citizens that they have no right to film him while he is carrying out his official duties. Back in 2013, Peter Pototsky, who lives in the area, had been protesting a Border Patrol checkpoint when Patterson pulled up. Pototsky told the paper that he started videotaping his encounter with the marshal, only to be told that it was against the law to do so and that he would be prosecuted if he posted the footage online. He later filed a complaint with the town manager.

    On Thursday, Lysiak said that she was happy with the outcome of her confrontation. She also begged people not to dox Patterson again.

    “I am glad the town has ‘taken action’ but one note, I don’t believe people should spread around the Marshal’s personal information on the Internet,” she wrote on Twitter. “My focus is on protecting our First Amendment Rights. Thank you.”

    One of Utah’s biggest police forces is thinking about dropping body cameras because they cost too much


    The Unified Police Department may discontinue use of body cameras, with administrators pointing to high costs for digital video storage and relatively few officer encounters where footage has been used by investigators.“I’m torn,” said Salt Lake...

    The Unified Police Department may discontinue use of body cameras, with administrators pointing to high costs for digital video storage and relatively few officer encounters where footage has been used by investigators.

    “I’m torn,” said Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera on Thursday, after the department’s governing board tabled the issue for future budget discussions. “If the public’s willing to pay to help keep those, I’m supportive of that. But ... we’re fighting for every cent in law enforcement. So it’s tough.”

    UPD outfitted 125 of its 410 officers with body cameras in 2017, with the help of a grant that expires later this year, Rivera said. The UPD board of directors requested data on camera use to help decide whether to provide cameras to the whole department, continue with just 30 percent of officers outfitted or eliminate them altogether.

    Police accountability advocates said the choice should be easy.

    “It’s kind of unconscionable to be thinking in this day and age, in 2019, that we should not have body cameras,” said David Newlin, an organizer with Utahns Against Police Brutality. “Costs are costs. At this point, it’s like asking officers to go out on to the street without shoes on.

    “Just in Utah we’ve seen footage from body cams that had a direct result in the direction of justice: Nurse Wubbels, for example,” Newlin said, referring to the 2017 arrest of nurse Alex Wubbels. Wubbels received a $500,000 settlement after body camera footage showed a Salt Lake City police sergeant wrestling her out of a University of Utah emergency room because she wouldn’t allow police to draw blood from an unconscious victim of a traffic crash.

    Outfitting all UPD officers would cost more than $400,000 per year, according to the report provided to the board Thursday. Since the existing cameras were put to use, the department’s internal affairs has documented more than 1,600 uses of force, 23 of which resulted in complaints. Of those, seven involved body camera footage — and all the officers in those cases were cleared.

    The belief that body cameras generally protect officers from false misconduct claims has made them popular among other departments in Utah; most of the large agencies began distributing cameras to officers well before UPD acquired its initial supply for just 30 percent of its force.

    “There’s no chatter here of doing away with body cameras,” said Salt Lake City police Detective Robert Ungricht. “Our former chief and current chief support the body cameras. It’s never been one of those things: ‘Ugh, we have to do it because the public wants it.’”

    Video may be an officer’s first line of defense when a civilian makes an allegation against them — and often shuts down complaints before they’re filed, Ungricht said.

    “Their supervisor will say, ‘Well, I’m looking at the video,’ and then the person’s like, ‘Oh, never mind, I don’t want to file a complaint,’” Ungricht said.

    Before cameras arrived at UPD, they were so desired that a department spokesman in 2014 told The Tribune that some officers were buying them on their own.

    But a recent survey of more than 300 UPD officers showed most did not believe the entire department should be outfitted with cameras — though about a quarter said all officers should be given cameras, and that they are a necessity in policing.

    “What they’re saying is that ... there’s been very little problem with body cams showing police officers are out of line,” said board member Jim Bradley, also a Salt Lake County councilman.

    “If not for public perception, we probably would have said it maybe isn’t quite worth it,” Bradley added.

    Lex Scott, a leader in Black Lives Matter Utah who has pushed for police transparency, said she raced to the police department’s board meeting Thursday after hearing the item was on the agenda.

    “It scared the crap out of me,” she said. “We have to have body cams. I don’t care how much it costs. … They need to not get rid of them. They need to get rid of something else.”

    Rivera said she anticipates a lot of feedback from the public as the board studies the issue.

    “And that’s good. We need to hear from folks,” she said. “I understand the public perception out there. I know the public wants us to have the cameras, but we also have to consider the cost to it. ... If we’re cutting costs in our training or equipment or even benefits for officers, that impacts keeping the public safe."

    The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has remained neutral on body cameras, though the national organization has recommended best practices for agencies that use them.

    “The broader FOP position is, it’s a community and department-based decision,” said Ian Adams, executive director of the Utah FOP. “Some departments are stepping back from them, generally for cost reasons.”

    Thursday’s report cited 2016 research from the U.S. Department of Justice that showed costs and the logistics of providing public access to video were by far the most common reasons police agencies gave for not using body cameras.

    “I guess doing the right thing costs money sometimes,” Newlin said.

    For the existing cameras and data storage, UPD has paid $348,000 and received grant funding of $146,000, Rivera said. The board has asked for estimates for continuing to use the 125 existing cameras and will review that option at its next meeting, on March 21.

    — Tribune reporter Courtney Tanner contributed to this article.

    Political Cornflakes: Republicans have called it ‘zany,' but the Democrats’ Green New Deal is technologically feasible. Its political prospects are another question.


    Congressional Republicans have called it “zany." President Donald Trump has mocked it as a “high school term paper that got a low mark.” But the goals of the Democrats’ far-reaching Green New Deal to tackle climate change and economic inequity...

    Congressional Republicans have called it “zany." President Donald Trump has mocked it as a “high school term paper that got a low mark.” But the goals of the Democrats’ far-reaching Green New Deal to tackle climate change and economic inequity are within the realm of technological possibility, agree several energy experts and economists (though not within the 10-year timeframe the plan sets out). The bigger challenge is finding money and political will. [NYTimes]

    Happy Friday.

    Topping the news: Advocates for a bill to ban conversion therapy — a widely discredited practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity — gathered to rally for the proposal at the Utah State Capitol, where some discussed their own experiences undergoing the methodology. [Trib] [Fox13] [DNews]

    -> After a multi-session attempt to give Utah’s hate crimes law some teeth, a bill that would do so has cleared a legislative committee. But its sponsor says it’s “not a done deal” and that the measure could still face hurdles in the full Senate. [Trib] [Fox13] [DNews]

    -> During a town hall meeting on Thursday that focused mainly on Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s stance on Trump’s actions and policies, the senator said he would have never accepted a meeting with a Russian during his own presidential campaign in 2012, a mistake he said Trump made in 2016. [Trib] [Fox13] [DNews]

    -> The new Democratic and Navajo majority on the San Juan County commission voted on Tuesday to reverse positions the body had previously taken on Bears Ears National Monument. [Trib]

    Tweets of the day: From @Lisa_Fine “Uh oh now I’m worried that mueller is finishing his report, replacing my previous concern that he was not finishing his report.”

    -> From @SimonMaloy: “Roger Stone Sentenced To 40 Years For “Mobert Reuller” Tweet”

    Behind the Headlines: Tribune senior managing editor Matt Canham, reporter Taylor Stevens, and columnist George Pyle join KCPW’s Roger McDonough talk about the week’s top stories, including the proposal to ban so-called conversion therapy in Utah. Every Friday at 9 a.m., stream “Behind the Headlines” at kcpw.org, or tune in to KCPW 88.3 FM or Utah Public Radio for the broadcast. Join the live conversation by calling (801) 355-TALK.

    Friday quiz: Last week, 92 percent of you knew Orrin Hatch supporters want $2 million to build a center in his name, but only 29 percent knew that Identity Evropa, a hate group, held an anti-immigration rally at the University of Utah. Think you kept up with the news this week? Take our quiz to find out. A new one will post every Friday morning. You can find previous quizzes here. If you’re using The Salt Lake Tribune mobile app, click here. [Trib]

    Happy birthday: On Saturday to Ivan DuBois, who served chief of staff at former Rep Mia Love’s office, and former state Rep Craig Frank, and on Sunday to Dennis May with KTMP AM & FM Heber City.

    In other news: Many Utahns who expected to see a larger tax refund thanks to the 2017 Republican income tax restructuring have found themselves instead receiving less than in previous years or even owing more money. [Trib]

    -> Following in the footsteps of Lehi, Cedar Hills became the second Utah city to pass an ordinance setting the age limit for buying tobacco at 21, up from the state’s current limit of 19. [Trib]

    -> At the state level, a bill that would increase Utah’s age limit for the legal purchase of tobacco to 21 has encountered a surprising opponent: the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. [Trib] [DNews]

    -> A bill aimed at cracking down on escorts operating without a license in Utah, which the measure’s sponsor believes will help reduce prostitution, passed through House. [Trib]

    -> A bill is on its way to the Senate would help cities enforce their anti idling ordinances by allowing citations to be issued after a single warning instead of three. [Trib]

    -> A junior at West High School was honored on the floor of the Utah Senate for rushing to provide CPR and save the life of a motorist whose car rolled over during a crash on Tuesday. [Trib] [DNews]

    -> The Unified Police Department is considering discontinuing use of body cameras due to high costs. Outfitting all officers would cost more than $400,000 per year. [Trib]

    -> The latest in a slew of lawsuits involving two brothers from a polygamist sect in Utah called the pair “nonparty co-conspirators” in a racketeering and fraud scheme that allegedly caused an airline in Turkey to shut down after an unsuccessful coup on the country’s president. [Trib]

    -> Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke discusses the reluctance of county jails to provide data on deaths of Utah inmates while in custody and the moves legislators are making to gain access to that information. [Trib]

    -> Pat Bagley illustrates Trump’s handling of nuclear secrets. [Trib]

    Nationally: An investigative analyst for the Internal Revenue Service has been charged with illegally leaking the financial statements of president Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. [WaPost]

    -> A federal judge presiding over the case of longtime Trump associate Roger Stone has mandated a gag order after Stone posted a threatening picture of her Instagram. The order prohibits him from publicly discussing the charges he faces of lying to Congress and witness tampering. [Politico] [NYTimes]

    -> North Carolina officials declared the state’s Ninth Congressional District election invalid and that the contest will be repeated after an inquiry into election fraud produced evidence that a Republican candidate’s campaign had financed an illegal voter-turnout effort. [NYTimes]

    -> Special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to deliver the results of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to the Justice Department within weeks. Once the report is submitted, it’s not clear how much of it will become public or when. [NYTimes]

    -> Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Send us a note to cornflakes@sltrib.com.

    -- Taylor Stevens and Christina Giardinelli

    twitter.com/tstevensmedia; twitter.com/C_Giardinelli

    Vatican sex abuse summit seeks new culture of accountability


    Vatican City • Cardinals attending Pope Francis’ summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from...

    Vatican City • Cardinals attending Pope Francis’ summit on preventing clergy sex abuse called Friday for a new culture of accountability in the Catholic Church to punish bishops and religious superiors when they fail to protect their flocks from predator priests.

    On the second day of Francis’ extraordinary gathering of Catholic leaders, the debate shifted to how church leaders must acknowledge that decades of their own cover-ups, secrecy and fear of scandal had only worsened the sex abuse crisis.

    “We must repent, and do so together, collegially, because along the way we have failed,” said Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias. “We need to seek pardon.”

    Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich told the 190 bishops and religious superiors that new legal procedures were needed to both report and investigate Catholic superiors when they are accused of misconduct themselves or of negligence in handling other abuse cases.

    He said lay experts must be involved at every step of the process, since rank-and-file Catholics often know far better than priests what trauma the clergy sex abuse and its cover-up has caused.

    “It is the witness of the laity, especially mothers and fathers with great love for the church, who have pointed out movingly and forcefully how gravely incompatible the commission, cover-up and toleration of clergy sexual abuse is with the very meaning and essence of the church,” Cupich said. “Mothers and fathers have called us to account, for they simply cannot comprehend how we as bishops and religious superiors have often been blinded to the scope and damage of sexual abuse of minors.”

    Francis summoned the bishops for the four-day tutorial on preventing sex abuse and protecting children after the scandal erupted again last year in Chile and the U.S. While the Vatican for two decades has tried to crack down on the abusers themselves, it has largely given a pass to the bishops and superiors who moved the predators around from parish to parish.

    Cupich called for transparent new structures to report allegations against superiors, investigate them and establish clear procedures to remove them from office if they are guilty of grave negligence in handling abuse cases.

    He proposed that metropolitan bishops — who are responsible for other bishops in their area — should conduct the investigations into suspected abuse with the help of lay experts, then forward the results to the Vatican.

    Cupich acknowledged his proposal differed from that prepared by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at large last year. Those procedures, which called for a code of conduct for bishops and a third-party confidential reporting system, ran into legal snags at the Vatican, which blocked U.S. bishops from voting on them in November.

    At the time of the blocked vote, Cupich proposed his “metropolitan model,” which he articulated further Friday from the privileged position as an organizer of Francis’ summit.

    Cupich told reporters that his proposal differed from the U.S. conference in that it was “anchored” in existing U.S. church structures for accountability and would therefore be obligatory for all bishops. The U.S. conference proposal would have been voluntary.

    In addition, he said involving the regional metropolitan in the procedure would allow for pastoral follow-up to care for the victims.

    More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia, and 20 years after it hit the U.S., bishops and Catholic officials in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia still either deny that clergy sex abuse exists in their regions or play down the problem.

    Francis, the first Latin American pope, called the summit after he himself botched a well-known sex abuse cover-up case in Chile last year.

    Gracias, the Indian cardinal, opened the session by saying bishops must work together to address the problem because it was erroneous to say “it’s a just a problem for the USA or Europe or Australia.”

    “This, brothers and sisters, is just not true. I dare say there are cases all over the world, also in Asia, also in Africa,” Gracias said.

    But Gracias’ prime-time speaking slot drew some criticism, since the Indian church isn’t known for being proactive in combating clergy sex abuse. Gracias himself has been publicly criticized for his record.

    “Why was Gracias allowed to speak at the papal summit? He is a poster boy for the lack of accountability of church leaders, especially in developing countries,” said Anne Barrett Doyle of the online group BishopAccountability, which tracks the abuse scandal.

    But it appeared the Vatican may have chosen as speakers precisely those cardinals whose own national churches have not confronted the scandal openly. On the summit’s opening day, for example, the keynote speaker was Filipino Cardinal Luis Tagle.

    Based on public reporting and criminal prosecutions, BishopAccountability says it appears that no priests sexually abuse children in the Philippines, a scenario Barrett Doyle calls patently unrealistic. Tagle has said that cultural taboos in the Philippines often prevent victims from coming forward.

    Victims have turned out in droves on the sidelines of the summit to demand greater accountability from the church, saying it has for decades put its own interests over those of who were harmed.

    “They have this systematic process of covering up, moving along, transferring and not reporting,” said Tim Lennon, president of the U.S.-based survivor group SNAP.

    German survivor Matthias Katsch said victims are beyond angry.

    “We are really fighting for truth and justice for the survivors,” he said.

    Irish Archbishop Eamon Martin said the summit had given many pause for thought.

    “We are beginning to realize that perhaps there is something about the way we did things as church, about the way we are as church, that this issue really throws up for us,” Martin said. “It really makes us ask questions about ‘who are we?’”

    All eyes will be on UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi and Utah’s MyKayla Skinner when Utes, Bruins meet Saturday at the Huntsman Center

    All eyes will be on UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi and Utah’s MyKayla Skinner when Utes, Bruins meet Saturday at the Huntsman Center


    One gymnast is known for her incredible consistency and amazing tumbling, the other is known as an internet sensation with unique tumbling passes of her own.Luckily for Utah gymnastics fans, they both will be on the floor at the same time Saturday when...

    One gymnast is known for her incredible consistency and amazing tumbling, the other is known as an internet sensation with unique tumbling passes of her own.

    Luckily for Utah gymnastics fans, they both will be on the floor at the same time Saturday when Utah’s fourth-ranked gymnastics team hosts second-ranked UCLA at 1:30 p.m.

    Utah’s floor lineup is highlighted by junior MyKayla Skinner who won the national floor title in 2017. She has missed some meets this year because of a sore ankle, but she remains one of the best on the event, scoring 9.9 or higher in all but one of her routines this year.

    UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi shared the title last year with Oklahoma’s Maggie Nichols, becoming an internet sensation in the process for her tumbling abilities as well as fan-friendly choreography. (Skinner was fifth for those keeping score).

    This year the senior “broke the internet,” in January when her 10.0-earning routine was viewed 13 million times in less than 48 hours.

    So who is better? Skinner or Ohashi? It’s natural to ask that question and at least on one day one will have bragging rights. However, it might be best to simply to appreciate the two for who they are.

    “These are two of the best gymnasts on the floor not only in the Pac-12 but in the country,” Utah gymnastics coach Megan Marsden said. “It’s going to be something to marvel at and fun for the audience to see both styles.”

    Ohashi’s floor routine features more layout movements than Skinner’s, including a double layout with a split off the floor.

    “Any athlete will tell you that is an extremely difficult move,” Marsden said.

    Once you go viral, you can’t go back. 🤸🏾‍♀️

    Read up on all the buzz around @katelyn_ohashi's video ➡️ https://t.co/1JZVsZB2gP

    Watch @uclagymnastics on Jan 21 at 2 PT/3 MT on Pac-12 Network and https://t.co/JNVBwgz5Q4 pic.twitter.com/DVGkibsqUn

    — Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) January 14, 2019

    Skinner is known for her double double, two back flips with simultaneous twists, and for finishing her floor routine with a full-in, which is a double back flip with a twist.

    “Most people tip their hat to Mickey because she has already done two floor passes and she can still do a full-in,” Marsden said. “Katelyn has her energy and caters to the masses with her funky interesting dance moves, and Mickey is more about how in the world she does all that tumbling. They are both incredible athletes.”

    Skinner said she naturally gravitated to the tricks she does because she was challenged by them.

    “The bigger skills required more twisting and I am small and good at tucking and pulling my body hard.”

    Interestingly, Skinner and Ohashi have more in common than just captivating routines.

    Skinner’s disappointment in being passed over for the 2016 Olympic team — she wound up an alternate — is well documented. But she has renewed her competitive desires in collegiate gymnastics and hasn’t given up thoughts of competing in 2020 to fulfill the one experience in her career that has eluded her.


    Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah's MyKayla Skinner during her floor routine as No. 3 University of Utah gymnastics team meets BYU gymnastics at the Marriot Center, Jan. 10, 2019. (Leah Hogsten/)

    Ohashi has her own Olympic disappointments, revealing in a UCLA video titled “I was Broken,” that her experience at the elite level was emotionally taxing.

    She found the desire to compete again at UCLA.

    The fame she has gained from her floor routines has added to her happiness rather than add any kind of negative pressure, with UCLA coach Valorie Kondos Field calling it a ‘whirlwind few months.’

    “Katelyn’s celebrity has been amazing, especially since every part of her life has been enhanced through it,” Kondos Field said. “She has become much more intentional with everything she does, including her school work, making sure she gets enough sleep and being the consummate team player.”

    Skinner has been one of Utah’s leaders since she arrived and is eager to get on the floor against the Bruins. “They have a great floor lineup but ours is great too,” she said. “It will be fun to see who gets what.”

    So back to the question, which one will prevail? We will find out soon enough, but the real winners will be the fans in the stands who get to see them compete.

    Plot lines abound in Saturday’s Utah-UCLA gymnastics showdown at the Huntsman Center


    A defending national championship team, individual champions, Olympians, a seasoned rivalry and a goodbye to a long-time coaching foe. Saturday’s showdown between the fourth-ranked Utah gymnastics team and No. 2 UCLA at 1:30 p.m. in the Huntsman Center...

    A defending national championship team, individual champions, Olympians, a seasoned rivalry and a goodbye to a long-time coaching foe. Saturday’s showdown between the fourth-ranked Utah gymnastics team and No. 2 UCLA at 1:30 p.m. in the Huntsman Center has everything a gymnastics fan could want in a meet.

    The Utah coaches, who often try to stick with the mantra that the Utes are more focused on themselves than the competition, acknowledged that this showdown is special. Coach Tom Farden referred to it as a ‘little,’ more meaningful earlier in the week.

    Yes, he was being sarcastic.

    Even before the Utes and Bruins were in the Pac-12, the two programs had a healthy rivalry since they were often competing for national titles together and met in the regular season. The Utes lead the series 54-33-1, but UCLA beat the Utes for the Pac-12 title and won the NCAA title while Utah placed fifth.

    In addition, this is the last time the Utes will see Valorie Kondos Field in the Huntsman Center as the Bruins’ coach. Kondos Field, who has led the Bruins for 29 years, will retire at the end of the season.

    Finally, this showdown is occurring just a few weeks before the Pac-12 Championships, so the winner gets a boost of confidence in addition to bragging rights.

    “I don’t know how you can downplay this meet,” Utah coach Megan Marsden said. “There is no question this is a big meet in the Pac-12 and on the national level with the rankings of both beams and the quality of athletes. There is a lot to look forward to and it’s a big deal.”

    The Utes haven’t scored less than 197 all year, an achievement they’ve never enjoyed before, but the Bruins went one better last week, earning a season high 198.025 in a win over Arizona.

    For the Utes to score that high or beat the Bruins for that matter, they must improve their beam efforts which have been their most inconsistent area.

    Lower than average scores resulted in a loss to LSU and could be their downfall again if they don’t clean up their routines by Saturday.

    “It has been different people at different times who have struggled so we have to continue to work on the mental approaches,” Marsden said. “We have to help them find their confidence and swagger in meet settings.”

    The Utes have also decided to stick with senior Kari Lee in the leadoff spot instead of Shannon McNatt or Alexia Burch. Lee led off on beam for the first time this year against Stanford and scored a 9.8.

    “She has a lot of experience and can set the tone for us and she has the ability to score extremely high,” Marsden said of Lee, who is also in the leadoff slot on vault and bars. “She can go 9.9 and floats across the beam and makes the event look easy. I think that is what we need to build confidence.”

    Lee acknowledged the Bruins have a lot of talent, but still likes the Utes’ chances.

    UCLA returns all but four of its routines from last year’s NCAA Championship squad and is led by Kyla Ross and Madison Kocian, who were members of the 2012 and 2016 Olympic teams as well as Katelyn Ohashi, the defending NCAA floor champion.

    “Week in and week out whenever I watch their gymnastics they have confidence and are relaxed,” Lee said. “But I know that it benefits us that they are coming into our home arena. We have a chip on our shoulder because we haven’t performed the way we wanted to.”

    Police: Patriots owner Robert Kraft solicited prostitute


    Fort Lauderdale, Fla. • New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution after he was twice videotaped paying for a sex act at an illicit massage parlor, police in Florida said Friday.Jupiter police...

    Fort Lauderdale, Fla. • New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution after he was twice videotaped paying for a sex act at an illicit massage parlor, police in Florida said Friday.

    Jupiter police told reporters Friday that the 77-year-old Kraft hasn't been arrested. A warrant will be issued and his attorneys will be notified. Kraft has denied wrongdoing.

    Jupiter police said details about the charges against Kraft will not be released until next week.

    The charge comes amid a widespread crackdown on sex trafficking in the area surrounding Palm Beach County. About 200 arrest warrants have been issued in recent days and more are expected. Police said they secretly planted undercover cameras in targeted massage parlors and videotaped the interactions between men and the female employees.

    In a statement, a spokesperson for Kraft said they "categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further."

    The Patriots won the Super Bowl earlier this month in Atlanta, their sixth in the last 18 seasons.

    Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said he was shocked to learn Kraft, who is worth $6 billion, was paying for sex inside a strip-mall massage parlor, the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

    "We are as equally stunned as everyone else," Kerr said.

    The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, which would prosecute the case, had no comment.

    Kraft lives in Massachusetts and has a home in the Palm Beach area. He is a frequent guest of President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club. Though a Democrat, he is friendly with Trump.

    Kraft's wife Myra Hiatt died in 2011. He has been dating 39-year-old actress Ricki Noel Lander since 2012.

    The NFL did not immediately respond to a message Friday seeking comment.

    Most people charged for the first time for soliciting a prostitute in Florida are allowed to enter a diversion program, said attorney David Weinstein, a former prosecutor. Kraft would have to perform 100 hours of community service and pay to attend an educational program about the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking.

    Kraft, who made his initial fortune through a packaging company, was a Patriots season ticket owner when he purchased the team's previous stadium during in 1988, then used his leverage to buy the team in 1994 for $172 million to keep if from moving to St. Louis.

    He hired Bill Belichick to be his coach in 2000 and the team subsequently drafted quarterback Tom Brady, launching their nearly two decades of success.

    Under Kraft, the Patriots have been the most successful team in pro sports, having made it to 10 Super Bowls, winning six, including this year against the Los Angeles Rams.

    But there also have been issues involving team actions under Belichick.

    In 2007, the Patriots were caught filming signals from New York Jets coaches; New England was suspected of doing so against other teams, as well, and that was confirmed later on. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined the Patriots $250,000 and stripped them of their 2008 first-round draft pick. Belichick was fined $500,000, the most an NFL coach ever was fined.

    In the 2014 AFC championship game, the team — specifically, star quarterback Tom Brady — was accused by the Indianapolis Colts of doctoring footballs.

    The NFL concluded that Patriots employees were involved in deflating the footballs and Brady was "at least generally aware" it was being done. After lengthy legal battles, Brady served a four-game suspension at the beginning of the 2016 season and the Patriots were fined $1 million — the heftiest for a team in league history. New England was stripped of a first-round and a fourth-round draft choice.

    Neither Kraft nor Belichick were implicated after the investigation.

    Utah law now requires seat belts in cars and trucks — but not school buses. Lawmakers advance bill to change that.


    Concern about safety barely outweighed worry about cost as a House committee on Friday advanced a bill to require seat belts on new school buses in Utah. Older buses would not be required to add them.The House Transportation Committee voted 7-4 to send...

    Concern about safety barely outweighed worry about cost as a House committee on Friday advanced a bill to require seat belts on new school buses in Utah. Older buses would not be required to add them.

    The House Transportation Committee voted 7-4 to send HB168 to the full House. A similar bill was defeated there in 2017 on a 30-40 vote, when members argued school districts could not afford it without cutting other important programs.

    The new bill’s sponsor, Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, said a main change since the older bill was killed is that the National Transportation Safety Board has now called for seat belts on school buses.

    “It is silly and interesting that we require by law all children and all adults in our own personal vehicles to wear seat belts … but for some reason we find it perfectly acceptable to put kids in buses with no seat belts,” Hall said.

    He notes that buses are designed with high cushioned seats to prevent severe injury in front- or rear-end collisions without seat belts, but offer no such protection in case of side hits or rollovers. He showed videos of children tossed off ceilings and piled on each other in such wrecks.

    He said eight states have laws requiring school bus seat belts, and many districts nationally mandate them — usually after a deadly accident locally led parents to demand them.

    Main objections are that it will be too expensive for school districts, or that seat belts might be more dangerous to small children who may panic and not release belts in wrecks involving fire or submersion in water.

    “I really worry about unfunded mandates to our school districts,” said Rep. Marsha Judkins, R-Provo, a former Provo School Board member. “Transportation funding is very squeezed and very pressured, and even finding school bus drivers is very difficult. So I really worry about the funding.”

    A fiscal note on the bill estimates that, while it would cost the state nothing, the change would require school districts to spend $12,000 extra per new bus purchased, for an aggregate expense of $2 million annually.

    But Rep. Adam Robertson, R-Provo, argued, “We do routinely mandate safety features on transportation.”

    Hall added, “We mandate that school buses have four tires. We mandate that school buses have blinkers…. Those are unfunded mandates. Putting a seat belt on a school bus is no different than any of those examples.”

    He said studies also show wearing seat belts is far safer than not wearing them.

    “This is the right step to take,” said Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, a physician.

    Four Republicans joined the committee’s three Democrats to advance the bill. All four no votes came from Republicans.

    105 earthquakes hit the Bluffdale area in 8 days


    There’s been a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on in Bluffdale — literally. According to the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, the area experienced 105 earthquakes from Feb. 13 through Thursday.(The UUSS updated that number from an earlier...

    There’s been a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on in Bluffdale — literally. According to the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, the area experienced 105 earthquakes from Feb. 13 through Thursday.

    (The UUSS updated that number from an earlier report of 102.)

    The largest earthquake in the area — the “mainshock” — occurred at 5:09 a.m. on Feb 15, registering a 3.7. According to the stations, 13 quakes occurred before that; the largest was a 3.2 foreshock that came 7 minutes before the mainshock.

    Of the 91 aftershocks, the largest was a 2.5 that hit on Wednesday at 8:08 p.m. No injuries and no significant damage have been reported from any of the quakes.

    According to seismologist James Pechman at UUSS, the quakes continued on Friday; there was a 1.0 magnitude shake at 1:28 a.m.

    Pechman reiterated that, while small quakes do not necessarily portend The Big One is about to strike, they also don’t act as a “safety valve” to “relieve pressure” and lessen the chances of a much larger earthquake.

    According the UUSS, there are small earthquakes in Utah every day, “although most of them are too small or too far from population centers to be felt.” And, while it’s “possible” that the Bluffdale quakes are occurring on the Wasatch Fault, “it is also possible that they are occurring on a minor, unnamed fault.”

    UUSS did warn that the Bluffdale area quakes “serve as a reminder that Utah is earthquake country and a large, damaging earthquake could occur at any time. Therefore, everyone living in Utah should strive to be prepared for large earthquakes.”

    Idaho Falls police officer shot dead when he confronted ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Layton police investigating.


    Layton police say the man who was shot to death Thursday when he allegedly forced his way into a home to confront his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend was an Idaho Falls police officer.Blaine Reed, 35, went to a home near 300 W. Park Avenue at 6:45 p.m....

    Layton police say the man who was shot to death Thursday when he allegedly forced his way into a home to confront his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend was an Idaho Falls police officer.

    Blaine Reed, 35, went to a home near 300 W. Park Avenue at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday “to confront the homeowner about a relationship he believed the homeowner was having with his ex-girlfriend," according to Layton Lt. James Petre. Reed “entered the home uninvited, a physical altercation ensued between the two men, and the homeowner shot the man several times.”

    Reed, who was found inside the home, was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    According to Layton police, the homeowner called 911 to report the shooting and “is cooperating with the investigation.” No arrests have been made.

    The Idaho Falls Police Department released a statement that said in part, “We are saddened by the news of [Reed’s] passing and the events surrounding this tragic situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved.”

    Utes hoping to salvage their Northwest road trip at Washington State, but it won’t be easy. The Cougars are much-improved.


    In January, Washington State’s visit to the Huntsman Center was just what Utah needed after struggling offensively in a loss to Washington.Six weeks later, another meeting with WSU logically is well-timed for the Utes, except for one problem: These are...

    In January, Washington State’s visit to the Huntsman Center was just what Utah needed after struggling offensively in a loss to Washington.

    Six weeks later, another meeting with WSU logically is well-timed for the Utes, except for one problem: These are not last month's Cougars.

    WSU forward Robert Franks is healthy and the Cougars have played some of the Pac-12's best basketball lately, going into Saturday's game at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash. They swept the Arizona schools on the road, almost knocked off league-leading Washington last week and then overtook Colorado at the end of a 76-74 victory Wednesday.

    The Cougars may not provide the cure the Utes need, after a 62-45 defeat at Washington. Utah responded to a 69-53 loss to Washington in January by scoring 60 points in the first 27 minutes against WSU and leading by 30 on the way to an 88-70 victory.

    Franks, who missed that game with a hip injury, leads the Pac-12 with a 22.1-point scoring average. The Cougars also will provide more defensive resistance this time, and who knows how the Utes will perform after their showing in Seattle? Utah went nearly 16 minutes between baskets and finished with more turnovers (18) than field goals made (14). The Utes shot 28 percent for the game and scored 28 points in the final 33 minutes — and even those numbers were aided by a late flurry of offense.

    Coach Larry Krystkowiak rationalized the Utes' struggles by saying they're not “the only team … that is playing Washington that is scratching their head, trying to figure some things out.”

    Utah’s offensive effort was almost as futile against the Huskies in Salt Lake City last month, and then the Utes produced six double-figures scorers against the Cougars. They’ll need another turnaround Saturday, after Sedrick Barefield and Donnie Tillman — Utah’s Nos. 1 and 3 scorers for the season — went scoreless in the last 33 minutes Wednesday.

    With four games remaining in the regular season, the Utes (8-6) are tied for fourth place with USC and own the tiebreaker (at the moment) with the Trojans. Viewed another way, though, Utah is only 1½ games ahead of ninth-place Oregon, and the Ducks have the tiebreaker. The Utes are one of the teams that’s hurt by playing California (0-14) only once this season in the Pac-12′s rotation. Colorado, Oregon and Oregon State have similar schedules.


    ‘Empire’ producers cut Jussie Smollett from season’s last episodes


    Chicago • Actor Jussie Smollett’s character on “Empire” will be removed from the final two episodes of this season in the wake of his arrest on charges that he staged a racist, anti-gay attack on himself last month in downtown Chicago, producers...

    Chicago • Actor Jussie Smollett’s character on “Empire” will be removed from the final two episodes of this season in the wake of his arrest on charges that he staged a racist, anti-gay attack on himself last month in downtown Chicago, producers of the Fox TV show announced Friday.

    The announcement came a day after Smollett turned himself in to police, appeared in court on a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report, and left jail after posting bond.

    "While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays," ''Empire" executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer said in a written statement. "We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of 'Jamal' from the final two episodes of the season."

    Smollett, who is black and gay, plays a gay character on the show that follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.

    Police said Smollett planned the hoax because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career. Before the attack, he also sent a letter that threatened him to the Chicago studio where “Empire” is shot, police said.

    As authorities laid out their case against Smollett, the narrative that emerged Thursday sounded like that of a filmmaker who wrote, cast, directed and starred in a short movie.

    Prosecutors said Smollett gave detailed instructions to the accomplices who helped him stage the attack in January, including telling them specific slurs to yell, urging them to shout “MAGA country” and even pointing out a surveillance camera that he thought would record the beating.

    “I believe Mr. Smollett wanted it on camera,” police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters at a Thursday morning news conference. “But unfortunately that particular camera wasn’t pointed in that direction.”

    Smollett's legal team issued a statement Thursday night, calling the actor a "man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence." The statement called Johnson's news conference "an organized law enforcement spectacle."

    “The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett,” the statement read.

    This week in Mormon Land: Tom Brady’s LDS connections, the Book of Mormon made easier and the church’s global aid in 2018

    This week in Mormon Land: Tom Brady’s LDS connections, the Book of Mormon made easier and the church’s global aid in 2018


    The Mormon Land newsletter is a weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whether heralded in headlines, preached from the pulpit or buzzed about on the back benches. Want this newsletter in your...

    The Mormon Land newsletter is a weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whether heralded in headlines, preached from the pulpit or buzzed about on the back benches. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Subscribe here.

    This week’s podcast: You can hear your missionary NOW


    (Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Missionaries now can call their parents weekly.

    Are there any hang-ups with the church’s new policy allowing missionaries to phone home weekly?

    Not in the eyes of David Cook, a former mission president in Chile, and current missionary mom Susie Augenstein, who has a son serving in Poland.

    Listen here.

    Elder or sister, phone home

    Missionary calls gained new meaning in recent days after the church relaxed the rules for communication between its young proselytizers and their families.

    Now, the sisters and elders can phone home — or text or instant message or video chat — weekly. Before this, weekly contacts were limited to letters and emails, with phone calls reserved for Christmas and Mother’s Day.

    The church encourages weekly communication with their families “using whatever approved method missionaries decide,” apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf, head of the Missionary Executive Council, said in a news release accompanying the policy change. “ ... It is not expected that all missionaries will call or video chat with their parents every week.”

    Thousands certainly did, though, the first chance they got. It was like an early Christmas for the families and their faraway loved ones: the gift of hearing their missionaries’ voices and, in many cases, seeing their faces.

    “I don’t know that we will talk every week, but I will say that you could tell he was very happy to have the opportunity to call home,” Lehi resident Marcus Flinders said after chatting with his son in Madrid. “Some relief, questions answered, some peace and excitement. It was very fun on my end as well.”

    Some see the new rules as too lax and today’s missionaries as too soft? Religion News Service senior columnist Jana Riess disputes those notions.

    “I love the fact that we ... ask idealistic young adults to pour themselves out in service to others for this intense, defined period of their lives,” she wrote. “But we should never forget how difficult, and how countercultural, this expectation is. What young missionaries need is love and understanding, not impossible standards.”

    As this new process takes hold and families find a workable routine, it seems possible that good old missionary P-Day will stand not for “preparation day” but rather for “phoning day.”

    Brady’s bunch


    (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) New England Patriots football player Kyle Van Noy acknowledges the fans as the Patriots' Super Bowl victory is honored during a break in an NBA basketball game between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Boston. (Elise Amendola/)

    What does the greatest NFL quarterback of all time think about Latter-day Saints?

    He loves them.

    Well, at least the ones with whom he plays, practices and works out.

    KJZZ.com reports that after New England’s Super Bowl victory, Tom Brady posted “Love my Mormons” on teammate Kyle Van Noy’s Instagram page.

    Van Noy, a linebacker with the Patriots who played at Brigham Young University, isn’t the only Latter-day Saint in Brady’s life: The legendarily fit quarterback’s controversial trainer, Alex Guerrero, is a member, too.

    A global ‘relief’ society


    (Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A nurse in Banyumas, Indonesia, stands next to a new mother. In 2018, nurses in this birthing center completed a Helping Babies Breathe course run by LDS Charities facilitators. (James Dalrymple/)

    Take 657,500 people helped with clean water. Add 309,800 others assisted with eye care, another 311,700 provided with food and 53,800 who got wheelchairs, and what do you get?

    A glimpse at the relief work LDS Charities performed across the globe in 2018.

    The church’s humanitarian agency released its annual report this week, showing that it — along with its nearly 2,000 partners — assisted with 2,885 projects in 141 countries last year.

    “We feel great gratitude and kinship with every single person who contributed to the success of the humanitarian work in 2018,” Sharon Eubank, director of LDS Charities and first counselor in Relief Society’s general presidency, said in a news release.

    The help extended from survivors of earthquakes, typhoons and floods abroad to victims of hurricanes and wildfires in the U.S.

    “Most of [the contributors] donated a small amount of money to the humanitarian aid fund, at some personal sacrifice, because they couldn’t read the news and not do something,” Eubank said. “It also represents countless [hours] given by volunteers — again at some personal sacrifice — in order to show up and help someone else facing one of their worst moments.”

    Since its 1985 founding, LDS Charities has given more than $2.2 billion in assistance, including cash, commodities and in-kind donations, in 197 countries and territories.

    The ERA — it’s back


    (Courtesy photo) Anissa Rasheta, a national organizer for Mormons for ERA, is pushing for ratification in her home state of Arizona.

    The ERA isn’t DOA after all, say Latter-day Saint feminists.

    Forty years ago, the church lobbied and preached against the Equal Rights Amendment, which would enshrine in the U.S. Constitution a guarantee of equal rights regardless of sex.

    But now the church isn’t stating its opposition — at least publicly. When The Tribune asked for the faith’s current position on the ERA, spokesman Eric Hawkins declined to comment.

    Advocates see that silence as a good sign.

    Mesa mother Anissa Rasheta, a national organizer for Mormons for ERA who is pushing for ratification in her home state of Arizona, says lawmakers have been told by church officials in private that the institution is now neutral on the issue.

    “If the church no longer sees this as a religious issue,” Rasheta told The Tribune, “that is a big deal.”

    Bipartisan proposals seeking ERA ratification have been introduced in Arizona. Only one more state needs to ratify the amendment, although opponents argue the deadline has passed.

    The Book of Mormon made easier (and Emma, too)


    (Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Emma Hale Smith, wife of Mormon founder Joseph Smith.

    And it came to pass that for those believers hungering for a more reader-friendly version of the Book of Mormon, their prayers may have been answered.

    The “Maxwell Institute Study Edition of the Book of Mormon” divides the faith’s signature scripture into paragraphs, section headings, quotation marks and poetic stanzas.

    “The stories make more sense, interconnections are more obvious, and the themes and ideas fit together more clearly,” editor Grant Hardy said in a 10 Questions interview with Kurt Manwaring. “There is tremendous benefit in sitting down and reading 20 or 30 pages in a sitting, and this edition makes that much more possible, even enjoyable.”

    The volume also includes the “Testimony of Emma Smith.”

    “I know Mormonism to be the truth; and believe the church to have been established by divine direction. I have complete faith in it,” the widow of church founder Joseph Smith told her son in 1879. “In writing for your father, I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the [seer] stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.”

    Hardy included Emma’s account partly because women’s voices have too often been overlooked but “mostly ... because I find her testimony so moving and compelling.”

    “Emma ... speaks very matter-of-factly about things she experienced daily over the course of several years,” Hardy told Manwaring. “She was involved with the translation from the beginning, accompanying Joseph to the hill to get the plates and then acting as his first scribe, and she knew him better than anyone — his heart and faith, as well as his natural abilities and limitations. (She’s not particularly intimidated by her husband!)”

    Besides, he added, it was “time to give Emma her due.”


    (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) A picture of a smooth, brown, egg-size rock is shown in the printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon following a news conference Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church History Library, in Salt Lake City. The church published photos of a small "seer stone" it believes founder Joseph Smith used to help translate its foundational scripture. (Rick Bowmer/)

    Just say no to ‘conversion therapy’

    Two Utah Republican lawmakers are pushing for a statewide ban on so-called conversion therapy for minors.

    The widely repudiated practice, aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation, is also drawing condemnation from the state’s predominant faith.

    “We’ve repeatedly stated that the church denounces any therapy, including conversion or reparative therapy, that subjects individuals to abusive practices, not only in Utah but throughout the world,” Marty Stephens, the church’s director of government relations, told The Tribune.

    The bill carries a exemption to ensure clergy counseling on sexual abstinence before marriage wouldn’t fall under the proposed prohibition.

    LGBTQ forces, who have been pushing for the ban, welcomed the legislation and the church’s stance.

    Rome Temple


    (Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) An instruction room in the Rome Italy Temple. (MATTHEW T REIER/)

    The church’s new temple in the capital of Catholicism continues to draw attention.

    This time, The New York Times profiled the Rome Temple, whose dedication is set for March 10 through 12.

    “Occupying a 15-acre site near Rome’s outer ring road, the enormous temple atop a hill, nearly 10 years in the making, was hard to miss during its construction, arousing the curiosity of Romans, regardless of their faith,” The Times wrote. “Which may explain why so many Italians — more than 50,000 — visited the temple during an extended open house.”

    View photos of this landmark temple, inside and out, here.

    Missionary dies


    (Photo courtesy the Conrad family) Brennan Conrad, 18, shows off a flag of the Dominican Republic, where he had started his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in August. Conrad died Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in a fall from the roof of his apartment building in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, church officials said.

    An 18-year-old missionary from northern Utah died Wednesday when he fell from the roof his apartment building in Santo Domingo, according to a church spokesman.

    Brennan Conrad, from Hyde Park, had been serving in the Dominican Republic since August.

    Conrad was a “very bright, very happy, optimistic young man,” his stake president, Mario Durrant, told The Tribune. “He was a tremendous missionary. He was having great success.”

    Quote of the week


    (Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, speaks at the General Women's Session of the 187th Semiannual General Conference of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Salt Lake City, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. (Trent Nelson/)

    Mormon Land is a weekly newsletter written by David Noyce and Peggy Fletcher Stack. Subscribe here.

    Scott D. Pierce: Actor Scott Foley is a different kind of action hero in ‘Whiskey Cavalier.’ He’s sensitive. Maybe even weepy.


    Scott Foley watched a lot of TV when he was a kid. And, apparently, his taste in programs was a little unusual when he was 7. And 9. And 13.Which explains why a guy whose resume includes “Scandal,” “Felicity” and “True Blood” is now starring...

    Scott Foley watched a lot of TV when he was a kid. And, apparently, his taste in programs was a little unusual when he was 7. And 9. And 13.

    Which explains why a guy whose resume includes “Scandal,” “Felicity” and “True Blood” is now starring in the action/spy adventure/romantic comedy “Whiskey Cavalier.”

    “I wanted to do a show that reminded me of the shows that I grew up watching — 'Remington Steele,' 'Moonlighting,' 'Hart to Hart,' 'Simon & Simon,'” said the 46-year-old actor. “I miss those light, one-hour shows. And for me, I wouldn’t be interested in doing this if the comedy wasn’t there.”

    Well, that's pretty much calling “Whiskey Cavalier” a throwback, so I don't have to.

    Foley stars as the title character — it’s the code name of sensitive-but-tough FBI agent Will Chase, who is great at saving the world but devastated by a recent break-up with his girlfriend. He’s teamed with tough-as-nails CIA agent Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge — code name Fiery Tribune (really). Chase and Trowbridge (Lauren Cohan, Maggie on “The Walking Dead”) clash, but they have great chemistry.

    It's light and fun even when the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

    What “Whiskey Cavalier” is not is original. But that doesn’t really matter. Executive producer Bill Lawrence (“Scrubs”) deemed it a “good-time popcorn ride,” and that pretty much nails it.

    The show is gorgeous to look at; production was based in Prague, and some scenes were shot in other parts of Europe, Including a trip to Paris for the premiere.

    It's not so much laugh-out-loud funny as it is charming. And there's nothing wrong with that.

    The one unbelievable thing about “Whiskey Cavalier” is that it’s sort of fact-based. Creator/executive producer David Hemingson said the idea for the show came from a longtime friend — an FBI agent who called several years ago after working on a “terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia.”

    The reason for the call? The FBI agent friend had just broken up with his girlfriend and asked Hemingson to “edit [his] playlist because the guys from the CIA think it’s way too heavy with The Smiths, and way too shoegazey.”

    “And I’m thinking this guy [is] off saving the world, and he’s calling me about his breakup with his girlfriend,” Hemingson said. “He is an American hero. He is an amazing guy. And at the end of the day, what he wants is what we all want, which is love.”

    That explains why one critic jokingly asked Foley if his character would be “less weepy after the first hour.”

    Apparently not. “I have a very strong belief that it’s time to sort of reinvent that trope that is the leading man in an action series,” Foley said, adding it’s “much more relatable to have a character like this than someone sort of stoic.”

    Whiskey Cavalier” premieres Sunday after the Oscars and the local news — at 10:35 p.m. on ABC/Channel 4. The same episode repeats Wednesday at 9 p.m. in the series’ regular time slot.

    Provo City calls on Legislature to contribute $9 million towards expansion of its airport


    Provo • City Council members this week unanimously declared their support for expanding the Provo Airport and are calling on the state Legislature to contribute $9 million toward the project.The City council has at the same time pledged to secure $19...

    Provo • City Council members this week unanimously declared their support for expanding the Provo Airport and are calling on the state Legislature to contribute $9 million toward the project.

    The City council has at the same time pledged to secure $19 million for the expansion without raising taxes by delaying already planned construction projects and using those funds for the airport, said Deputy Mayor Issac Paxman.

    In January, Paxman told The Tribune that the Provo Airport needs a second terminal if officials want to expand the facility and utilize an $8 million federal grant.

    The grant was given to help construct a new tarmac, but to use the funds, airport officials would need to secure terminal funding, an estimated $14.5 million, Paxman said. The airport will forfeit the federal funds if it doesn’t use the money within a few years.

    The Provo Airport’s sole terminal is about 6,000 square feet, but it could eventually be expanded to 70,000. Provo City already owns the land where the expansion would take place.

    Paxman said the city’s long-term master plan calls for a 10-gate terminal. For now, officials are looking to build four gates and a baggage claim and security area large enough to service everything for a 10-gate terminal down the road.

    “Our ask of the state is for them to realize the opportunity we have here and contribute,” Paxman said. “Utah County is projected to be the largest county in not too many decades. We’ve got the two largest universities in the state, we’ve got Sundance, Silicon Slopes — there are just a lot who would be served by this.”

    The University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute has projected that Utah County will add more than 1 million residents by 2065 to reach a population of 1.6 million, accounting for 37 percent of the state’s growth.

    Paxman said legislators are listening and supportive, however funding for the airport is not currently on the Legislature’s top priority list.

    He said he hopes lawmakers will act this session, but if they don’t Provo officials intend to keep trying and carry the momentum over into the next session.

    “Economically, studies have shown that for every daily flight at an airport of this nature you are looking at over a $10 million dollar economic impact on the surrounding area annually,” Paxman said. “As we add more flights, there will be a great economic impact to the area and that is good for the whole state.”

    Think you know Utah? Take our news quiz and find out.


    Last week, 92 percent of you knew Orrin Hatch supporters want $2 million to build a center in his name, but only 29 percent knew that Identity Evropa, a hate group, held an anti-immigration rally at the University of Utah. Think you kept up with the news...

    Last week, 92 percent of you knew Orrin Hatch supporters want $2 million to build a center in his name, but only 29 percent knew that Identity Evropa, a hate group, held an anti-immigration rally at the University of Utah. Think you kept up with the news this week? Take our quiz to find out. A new one will post every Friday morning. You can find previous quizzes here. If you’re using The Salt Lake Tribune mobile app, click here.

    For clarification and fact checking — but hopefully not cheating — purposes, you can find the stories referenced in each question here: Question 1, Question 2, Question 3, Question 4, Question 5, Question 6, Question 7, Question 8, Question 9, Question 10, Question 11 and Question 12.

    Pinterest blocks vaccine-related searches in all-or-nothing approach to policing health misinformation


    As social media companies wrestle with how to police dangerous health misinformation on their platforms, Pinterest has taken an extreme approach: blocking search results related to vaccinations, whether the results are medically accurate or not.The San...

    As social media companies wrestle with how to police dangerous health misinformation on their platforms, Pinterest has taken an extreme approach: blocking search results related to vaccinations, whether the results are medically accurate or not.

    The San Francisco-based company told the Wall Street Journal it’s been suppressing search results on the topic since December and will continue to do so until it finds a reliable solution to protect Pinterest users from harmful and misleading content. Pinterest searches about vaccines had been dominated by results that bucked long-standing scientific research and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control by claiming vaccinations were hazardous. Users of the photo-sharing site can still pin this kind of material to their personal boards, even though it won’t surface in searches.

    "It's better not to serve those results than to lead people down what is like a recommendation rabbit hole," Ifeoma Ozoma, Pinterest's public policy and social impact manager, told the Wall Street Journal this week.

    The World Health Organization recently named “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the biggest global health threats of 2019. The designation comes as the United States grapples with a sudden resurgence of measles, a disease that was declared eliminated in 2000 by the CDC due to extensive use of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. More than 100 cases have cropped up since the beginning of the year — more cases than the United States saw in all of 2016.

    Medical professionals and lawmakers have been pressuring companies like Facebook and Google to take action against anti-vaccination content in the name of public safety. But while these companies agree they have a responsibility to protect the public, finding solutions that tread the line between safety and censorship has proven to be a complex challenge. While most companies have taken a more hands-off approach to the problem, citing free speech issues, Pinterest's tactic of banning all vaccine-related content stands out as a radical alternative, one that makes it tougher for users to find accurate information about vaccinations even as it seeks to protect them.

    Since 2017, Pinterest has barred misinformation about health that might have "immediate and detrimental effects" on users' health and greater public safety. The company monitors which searches bring up "largely polluted results" that violate its policies and then stops serving results for those searches. Along with anti-vaccination material, Pinterest has blocked misleading content about chronic and terminal illnesses, like bogus cancer cures. The site also actively looks for content that violates its community guidelines, evaluating it based on advice from institutions like the CDC, WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    The ban on all vaccination-related material is a temporary measure, Pinterest said, while the platform searches for a sustainable way to moderate it.

    "We want Pinterest to be an inspiring place for people, and there's nothing inspiring about misinformation," Pinterest said in a statement to The Washington Post. "That's why we continue to work on new ways of keeping misleading content off our platform and out of our recommendations engine."

    Social media platforms have been historically reluctant to crack down on controversial content. Until late last week, Facebook had contended that most anti-vaccination content didn't violate its community guidelines for inciting "real-world harm." The social media giant, which has come under fire for how its algorithms can steer users toward misinformation, said removing such content wouldn't help raise awareness about the facts of vaccinations. Accurate counter-speech, Facebook argued, was a more productive safeguard.

    But the company changed its stance after Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.) wrote a letter to founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg asking how Facebook planned to protect users from misleading material about vaccinations. Schiff sent a similar letter to Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google, which is also under scrutiny about how its search engine and subsidiary YouTube promote potentially dangerous misinformation.

    "We've taken steps to reduce the distribution of health-related misinformation on Facebook, but we know we have more to do," Facebook said in a statement to The Post last week. "We're currently working on additional changes that we'll be announcing soon."

    Specifically, Facebook is looking into cutting back or removing misleading health content from recommendations, including "Groups you should join," according to a Facebook spokesperson. It's also considering demoting such content in search results.

    Google's YouTube has begun changing algorithms to try to control the spread of misinformation. Last month, YouTube said it would begin removing videos with "borderline content" that "misinform users in harmful ways."

    “We think this change strikes a balance between maintaining a platform for free speech and living up to our responsibility to our users,” Google wrote in a blog post.

    Peter Tork, endearingly offbeat bassist and singer in the Monkees, dies at 77


    Peter Tork, a blues and folk musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of the Monkees, the wisecracking, made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold the Beatles, died Feb. 21. He was 77.The death was announced by his official...

    Peter Tork, a blues and folk musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of the Monkees, the wisecracking, made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold the Beatles, died Feb. 21. He was 77.

    The death was announced by his official Facebook page, which did not say where or how he died. Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer affecting his tongue, in 2009.

    It is with beyond-heavy and broken hearts that we share the devastating news that our friend, mentor, teacher, and...

    Posted by The REAL Peter Tork (Official) on Thursday, February 21, 2019

    If the Monkees were a manufactured version of the Beatles, a "prefab four" who auditioned for a rock 'n' roll sitcom and were selected more for their long-haired good looks than their musical abilities, Tork was the group's Ringo, its lovably goofy supporting player.

    On television, he performed as the self-described "dummy" of the group, drawing on a persona he developed while working as a folk musician in Greenwich Village, where he flashed a confused smile whenever his stage banter fell flat. Off-screen, he embraced the Summer of Love, donning moccasins and "love beads" and declaring that "nonverbal, extrasensory communication is at hand" and that "dogmatism is leaving the scene."

    A versatile multi-instrumentalist, Tork mostly played bass and keyboard for the Monkees, in addition to singing lead on tracks including "Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again," which he wrote for the group's psychedelic 1968 movie, "Head," and "Your Auntie Grizelda."

    At age 24, he was also the band's oldest member when "The Monkees" premiered on NBC in 1966. Not that it mattered: "The emotional age of all of us," he told the New York Times that year, "is 13."

    Created by producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, "The Monkees" was designed to replicate the success of "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!," director Richard Lester's musical comedies about the Beatles.

    The band featured Tork alongside Michael Nesmith, a singer-songwriter who played guitar, and former child actors Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, who played the drums and sang lead, respectively. Like their British counterparts, the group had a fondness for mischief, resulting in high jinks involving a magical necklace, a monkey's paw, high-seas pirates and Texas outlaws.

    “The Monkees” ran for only two seasons but won an Emmy Award for outstanding comedy and spawned a frenzy of merchandising, record sales and world tours that became known as Monkeemania. In 1967, according to one report in The Washington Post, the Monkees sold 35 million albums — “twice as many as the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined” — on the strength of songs such as “Daydream Believer,” “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville,” which all rose to No. 1 on the Billboard record chart.

    Almost all of their early material was penned by a stable of vaunted songwriters that included Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Diamond, David Gates, Neil Sedaka, Jeff Barry, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. But while the band scored a total of six Top 10 songs and five Top 10 albums, they engendered as much critical scorn as commercial success. In one typical review, music critic Richard Goldstein declared, "The Monkees are as unoriginal as anything yet thrust upon us in the name of popular music."

    Detractors pointed to the fact that the band, at least initially, existed only in name. While the Monkees appeared on the cover of their debut album and were shown performing on TV, their instruments were actually unplugged. The songs were mostly done by session musicians — much to the shock of Tork, who recalled walking into the recording studio in 1966 to help with the group's self-titled debut.

    He was "mortified," he later told CBS News, to find that music producer Don Kirshner, dubbed "the man with the golden ear," didn't want him around. "They were doing 'Clarksville,' and I wrote a counterpoint, I had studied music," Mr. Tork said. "And I brought it to them, and they said: 'No, no, Peter, you don't understand. This is the record. It's all done. We don't need you.' "

    After the release of the band's second album, "More of the Monkees" (1967), Tork and his bandmates wrested control of the recording process and wrote and performed most of the songs on records including "Headquarters" (1967) and "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd." (1967).

    They also started touring, playing to sold-out stadium crowds and backed by opening acts that briefly included guitarist Jimi Hendrix. But as Tork's musical ambitions grew, leading him to envision the Monkees as a genuinely great group of rockers, he began to clash with bandmates who saw the Monkees as more of a novelty act.

    He left the group soon after the release of "Head," a satirical, nearly plot-free film flop that featured a screenplay co-written by actor Jack Nicholson. Tork seemed to have taken his cue from musician Frank Zappa, who made a cameo in the movie, telling Jones' character that the Monkees "should spend more time" on their music "because the youth of America depends on you that show the way."

    For much of the 1970s, Tork struggled to find his own way. He formed an unsuccessful band called Release, was imprisoned for several months in 1972 after being caught with "$3 worth of hashish in my pocket," and worked as a high school teacher and "singing waiter" as his Monkees wealth dried up. He also said he struggled with alcohol addiction — "I was awful when I was drinking, snarling at people," he told the Daily Mail — before quitting alcohol in the early 1980s.

    By then, television reruns and album reissues had fueled a resurgence of interest in the Monkees, and Tork had come around to what he described as the essential nature of the music group, which he joined for major reunion tours about once each decade, beginning in the mid-'80s, in addition to performing as a solo artist.

    "This is not a band. It's an entertainment operation whose function is Monkee music," he told Britain's Telegraph newspaper during a Monkees tour in 2016. "It took me a while to get to grips with that but what great music it turned out to be! And what a wild and wonderful trip it has taken us on!"

    He was born Peter Halsten Thorkelson in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 13, 1942. His mother was a homemaker, and his father — an Army officer who served in the military government in Berlin after World War II — was an economics professor who joined the University of Connecticut in 1950, leading the family to settle in the town of Mansfield.

    Both parents collected folk records and bought him a guitar and banjo when he was a boy. Peter went on to take piano lessons and studied French horn at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he reportedly flunked out twice before settling in New York City. At coffee shops and makeshift folk music venues, he performed with the shortened last name Tork, which had been emblazoned on one of his father's hand-me-down sweatshirts, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    Tork played with guitarist Stephen Stills before moving to Long Beach, California, in 1965. Stills moved west as well and auditioned for "The Monkees" after the show's producers placed an advertisement in Variety calling for "4 Insane Boys, Ages 17-21."

    When Stills didn't get the part — purportedly on account of his bad teeth — he suggested that Tork audition. "I went, 'Yeah, sure, thanks for the call,' and hung up," Tork later told the Los Angeles Times. "Then he called me a few days later," finally persuading Tork to try out.

    He later appeared in episodes of television shows such as "Boy Meets World," playing the love interest Topanga's guitar-strumming father, and in recent years performed with a band called Shoe Suede Blues. Tork also released a well-received 1994 solo album, "Stranger Things Have Happened," and partnered with folk singer James Lee Stanley for several records.

    Tork's marriages to Jody Babb, Reine Stewart and Barbara Iannoli ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife, Pamela Grapes; a daughter, Hallie, from his second marriage; a son, Ivan, from his third marriage; a daughter, Erica, from a relationship with Tammy Sustek; a brother; and a sister.

    Many of the Monkees reunion tours were conducted without Nesmith, who inherited a fortune from his mother, the inventor of Liquid Paper, and worked as a country-rock musician, songwriter and producer after the band first split up. Nesmith returned to performances after the death of Jones, the Monkees' singer, in 2012, which helped spur a 50th anniversary reunion tour and album, "Good Times!," four years later.

    And while the Monkees were dogged by reports of squabbling and frequent tensions — Tork was once head-butted by Jones and said he dropped out of a 2001 tour because he had a "meltdown" and "behaved inappropriately" — Tork insisted that they were at their best when they were together. Their musical chemistry was special, he said, even if it was the result of a few producers looking to cast a few handsome men for a television show.

    “I refute any claims that any four guys could’ve done what we did,” he told Guitar World in 2013. “There was a magic to that collection. We couldn’t have chosen each other. It wouldn’t have flown. But under the circumstances, they got the right guys.”

    George Pyle: It’s all about those precious bodily fluids

    George Pyle: It’s all about those precious bodily fluids


    “Ever see a commie drink a glass of water?”-- Gen. Jack D. RipperIt is Oscar weekend, so let us pause to consider the best movie ever made. Or, at least, the best movie that has a tie-in to some of the news that’s going on hereabouts.It is the 1964...

    “Ever see a commie drink a glass of water?”

    -- Gen. Jack D. Ripper

    It is Oscar weekend, so let us pause to consider the best movie ever made. Or, at least, the best movie that has a tie-in to some of the news that’s going on hereabouts.

    It is the 1964 classic by Stanley Kubrick, “Dr. Strangelove. Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

    Air Force Gen. Ripper, masterfully performed by Sterling Hayden, was convinced that adding forms of the chemical fluoride to public drinking water systems was, “the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face.”

    He explained that theory, in chilling detail, to Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) even as he has already given the command to launch a wave of B-52 bombers to attack the Soviet Union, starting World War III and ending the pernicious fluoridation threat to “our precious bodily fluids.”

    And to keep fluoride out of other things, such as fruit juice and ice cream.

    Spoiler alert: It didn’t turn out well. Although along the way the film is a collection of the best dark humor lines -- you laugh as you wince -- ever assembled in one place. Topped, perhaps, by the president of the United States (also Peter Sellers), shouting at a scuffling U.S. general and Soviet ambassador, “Gentlemen! You can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”

    So, for coming up on 55 years, all people of a certain age -- and film students who are even younger -- have had to do to instantly dismiss a conspiracy theory about fluoridation, or vaccinations, or chemtrails, or Area 51, or the World Trade Center being an inside job, or Barack Obama’s birth certificate, or who won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, is to summon our best cigar-chomping visage and growl, “Ice cream, Mandrake? Children’s ice cream?!”

    Argument settled.

    Popular culture moments can do that. Mary Tyler Moore helped make it OK for a woman to be single and professionally employed. “Will and Grace” did a great deal to normalize gay people to a general audience. Monty Python introduced us to the humanity of Canadian transvestite lumberjacks. And, though it may be difficult and painful to remember now, Bill Cosby -- first as a spy, then as a family man and physician -- showed us that black people could be something besides street thugs or domestic servants.

    Sigh.

    But in the last few days, Gen. Ripper’s worst nightmare has awakened.

    Somebody at the Sandy Water Works apparently did not notice that a power failure had messed up the machines that measure out the fluoride that, as in most cities, is added to the drinking water to help prevent tooth decay in children.

    Even granting, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does, that fluoridation of the water is one of the greatest public health inventions of the 20th century, there can be too much of anything. And too much fluorine can cause a chain reaction in a water supply that releases other chemicals, copper and heavy metals, that are unquestionably bad for people.

    So now the whole city government in Sandy is in an uproar, fingers are being pointed, and people who haven’t seen “Dr. Strangelove” recently are asking whether fluoridation is really such a good idea.

    It is. If, as with many other things, you do it right.

    “The dose makes the poison,” as a 16th century Swiss doctor correctly noted. Sometimes, too little of a certain chemical is the problem.

    If, for example, your tap water or swimming pool smells of chlorine, that doesn’t generally mean that there is too much of the sanitizing chemical present. It is more likely to mean that there is too little, and that what there is of it has been transmogrified into a different, and much smellier, substance by having been mixed with blood, sweat, pee and poo. So, yes, people will know if you’ve piddled in the pool.

    The more important lesson, though, is that some of the most important things done by government are not the big, global, launching thermonuclear war stuff. It’s the down and dirty job of getting the mix right at the water treatment plant.

    As Gen. Ripper wisely said. It’s all about those precious bodily fluids.


    (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tribune staff. George Pyle. (Francisco Kjolseth/)

    George Pyle, editorial page editor of The Salt Lake Tribune, probably saw “Dr. Strangelove” four or five times before he realized that it wasn’t about nuclear war at all, but all about sexual repression. gpyle@sltrib.com

    Catherine Rampell: President Tariff Man may be learning all the wrong lessons from his trade wars

    Catherine Rampell: President Tariff Man may be learning all the wrong lessons from his trade wars


    President Tariff Man may be learning all the wrong lessons from his trade wars. Specifically: that higher tariffs work.U.S. and Chinese officials are meeting in Washington this week for another round of trade negotiations. If recent reporting proves...

    President Tariff Man may be learning all the wrong lessons from his trade wars. Specifically: that higher tariffs work.

    U.S. and Chinese officials are meeting in Washington this week for another round of trade negotiations. If recent reporting proves correct, the talks look likely to result in a commitment to … keep talking. Also possibly a series of vague, unenforceable "memorandums of understanding."

    If that's what ends up happening, markets are likely to celebrate. Not because this will represent progress, necessarily. Mostly because it might signal a reprieve from a highly feared scenario: that President Trump would follow through with threats to ratchet up tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from his already destructive rate of 10 percent to a possibly disastrous 25 percent after March 1.

    To be fair, it would be fabulous if these talks actually lead China to respect intellectual property rights; end forced technology transfer, cybertheft and huge market-distorting subsidies; and commit to enforcement mechanisms and accountability measures for all these objectives.

    But this outcome seems highly unlikely at present.

    Not just because it would be challenging to, oh, map out a wholesale restructuring of the entire Chinese economy within a few weeks. Also because there is serious opposition within China to some of these changes, particularly when they're framed less as economic reforms and more as abject, humiliating capitulation to a U.S. bully's demands. Which is exactly the narrative Trump has been feeding.

    Then there's the problem of what Trump cares most about extracting from China. Historically, he has fixated on reducing our bilateral trade deficit and not these important but challenging structural issues.

    Trade balances, as (almost) any economist could tell you, are not really what matters; they are determined by all sorts of complicated factors unrelated to whether countries are playing fair, including savings and investment rates. Despite Trump's claims, we're not "losing" when we buy more stuff from China than China buys from us; we're still getting stuff from China that U.S. consumers and businesses want.

    Given Trump's interests, however, the most tangible "win" likely to come out of our nearly year-long trade war might be a commitment from China to buy more U.S. products, in particular agricultural goods.

    Needless to say, there's a bit of cognitive dissonance in asking China both (A) to move away from centralized economic planning and (B) to make more state-directed purchases of U.S. soybeans.

    Here’s the bigger problem. Though Trump may hold off on raising tariffs to 25 percent, he also looks likely to keep his existing 10 percent tariffs in place. Which would still leave plenty of U.S. firms twisting in the wind.

    Most of the Chinese products that Trump has slapped tariffs on, after all, are inputs that U.S. companies must buy to manufacture their own products. As Syracuse University economist Mary E. Lovely has noted, in some cases, alternative sourcing is not available, especially not on short notice.

    That means U.S. firms are facing higher costs and becoming less competitive. Some are contemplating moving production out of the United States to dodge Trump's tariffs.

    Lots of other U.S. businesses are also suffering, particularly as they face tit-for-tat tariffs that may or may not be alleviated in the weeks to come. Even if China were to decide for some reason to asymmetrically lift its retaliatory tariffs while we kept our 10 percent duties in place, perhaps as part of a commitment to buy more U.S. goods, in many cases the damage has already been done: Bankruptcies across the Farm Belt have soared to their highest levels in at least a decade.

    But never mind all that. Trump wants a win, and he's likely to claim he got one, regardless of whether Beijing ends up doing anything it had not already planned to do in the absence of this trade war. And positive reinforcement from market participants relieved that things didn't get any worse may encourage him to repeat this whole process all over again.

    That's the lesson he seems to have taken away from the NAFTA 2.0 negotiations, even though those ended with virtually the same deal we could have expected to reach without first alienating some of our closest allies with unnecessary tariffs.

    A repeat performance is no remote idle hypothetical. This past Sunday, the Commerce Department handed Trump its long-awaited report on whether tariffs on autos and auto parts -- nearly universally opposed by the U.S. auto industry -- would be justified on national security grounds. The report has not yet been released, but Trump told reporters Wednesday that regardless of what it says (and, implicitly, how much domestic damage the policy might cause), he plans to use the threat of car tariffs as leverage in his negotiations with the European Union.

    So buckle up for another round. Some people never learn.


    Catherine Rampell

    Catherine Rampell is an opinion columnist at The Washington Post. She frequently covers economics, public policy, politics and culture, with a special emphasis on data-driven journalism. Before joining The Post, she wrote about economics and theater for the New York Times.

    @crampell

    crampell@washpost.com

    Letter: JUUL backs Tobacco 21


    Our mission is to improve the lives of the world’s 1 billion adult smokers by eliminating cigarettes, because smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death.In Utah, 1,300 adults die from smoking-related illnesses annually, which is why we...

    Our mission is to improve the lives of the world’s 1 billion adult smokers by eliminating cigarettes, because smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death.

    In Utah, 1,300 adults die from smoking-related illnesses annually, which is why we believe it is critical adult smokers have access to a true alternative to combustible cigarettes.

    The fact it has taken off with youth is appalling to us. Many of us at JUUL Labs are parents and know that strong action is required.

    We implemented an aggressive action plan in November, overhauling our business with renewed focus on limiting youth access, appeal and use of JUUL products.

    We strongly support raising the purchasing age for tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 in Utah. Backing Tobacco 21 legislation is vital, as we believe it will take the industry and lawmakers working together to solve this urgent problem.

    Ashley Gould is the chief administrative officer for JUUL Labs, based in San Francisco, Calif.

    Submit a letter to the editor

    Letter: Your voice is your vote. Always vote.


    In response to Kim Thomson’s Feb. 14 Public Forum letter (“Proof some of us have no reason to vote in Utah”): There is a reason to vote concerning the outcome of Prop 2 and Prop 3.We all should vote to oust the incompetent legislators in our state...

    In response to Kim Thomson’s Feb. 14 Public Forum letter (“Proof some of us have no reason to vote in Utah”): There is a reason to vote concerning the outcome of Prop 2 and Prop 3.

    We all should vote to oust the incompetent legislators in our state government in the next election. Your voice is your vote. Always vote.

    Sundee M. Listello, Holladay

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    Letter: There is no ‘emergency’ at the border


    The term “emergency” is defined as follows: “Generally an unexpected occurrence or set of circumstances demanding immediate attention.”The situation along our southern border is not an unexpected occurrence. There are no new sets of circumstances...

    The term “emergency” is defined as follows: “Generally an unexpected occurrence or set of circumstances demanding immediate attention.”

    The situation along our southern border is not an unexpected occurrence. There are no new sets of circumstances demanding immediate attention. The immigration conditions along our southern border have existed for decades. There is nothing new and nothing that is imminently pressing that requires immediate attention.

    As a matter of fact, the situation of illegal immigration is less pressing today than it was 10 years ago.

    What is a crisis, and demands immediate attention, is the influx of illegal drugs coming across our southern border at legal points of entry. No wall or barrier will affect the influx of illegal drugs coming into our country through our points of entry.

    What is needed is a comprehensive solution that addresses the realities we face, with immigration and the smuggling of drugs. Drug smugglers need to be fearful that their actions will be punished and that the chances of getting caught are high.

    Let us not forget we are a nation of immigrants and we are proud of that fact. Immigration needs to be legal, humane and morally defensible.

    There are these words on our Statue of Liberty that we all need to heed and remember: “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp above the golden door.”

    We are a welcoming and warm society, not a cruel and heartless society. The actions of our current leadership should be rejected, as they are heartless and cruel as those actions have been applied to immigrants along our southern border, and we should seek the higher ground so we can be the people we know we should be.

    Bruce Cohne, Salt Lake City

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    Letter: Create GoFundMe accounts to influence Utah lawmakers


    I have finally learned the secret to get our legislators to represent me.Stupidly, I thought, as a constituent, that legislators would make decisions based on what we constituents have voted for or what we have told them was of importance by attending...

    I have finally learned the secret to get our legislators to represent me.

    Stupidly, I thought, as a constituent, that legislators would make decisions based on what we constituents have voted for or what we have told them was of importance by attending meetings, writing letters and making phone calls to their offices. I also thought that, as most of them are church members, their choices would be based on morality and doing what is in the interests of all.

    Silly me.

    The bill to allow EnergySolutions to bring depleted uranium (which becomes more dangerous over time) to Utah passed the House and is on its way to the Senate. Records state EnergySolutions donated around $44,000 to our Utah legislators.

    Maybe, rather than write letters, we should begin GoFundMe accounts for things of importance: Clean air, no radioactive waste in Utah, stop the inland port or Increase usable public transport. The causes are endless. If we collected enough money, and donated it to our legislators, maybe then they’d listen.

    Patricia Becnel, Ogden

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    Letter: It is the white skin that is cursed


    I am often embarrassed, even ashamed, to be white. The latest reinforcement of this feeling comes from the behavior of white residents in Utah’s San Juan County.For longer than anyone can remember, they have sought to repress the political voice of...

    I am often embarrassed, even ashamed, to be white. The latest reinforcement of this feeling comes from the behavior of white residents in Utah’s San Juan County.

    For longer than anyone can remember, they have sought to repress the political voice of their Navajo majority.

    Thankfully, a federal judge finally put an end to the gerrymandering that had always given two of the three county commission seats to white residents.

    But now the exclamation point. In attempting to maintain their privileged position, the county has amassed more than $6 million in legal obligations and is asking Utah taxpayers to pay half of it.

    I was raised in Utah’s predominant church and taught to believe that a black skin was the curse of Cain. This is, of course, biblical nonsense, but seeing what we white guys have done to darker-skinned people all over the world, I’m tempted to believe that the curse, if there ever was one, was a white skin.

    M.J. Ogden, North Ogden

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    Letter: Our money-drenched election system is a disgrace


    In regard to the recent Salt Lake Tribune article, “Will Salt Lake City mayoral candidates have to raise more than $1 million to be competitive?”Recently my husband and I received a flyer from the Ibarra for Mayor campaign. It had no information...

    In regard to the recent Salt Lake Tribune article, “Will Salt Lake City mayoral candidates have to raise more than $1 million to be competitive?

    Recently my husband and I received a flyer from the Ibarra for Mayor campaign. It had no information about the candidate’s background, political views, policies, etc. It only asked for campaign donations, noting that legally we could give Mr. Ibarra up to $3,500 each. It’s no surprise he’s now “leading the pack” in the money race.

    No other country in the world has such a money-drenched election system. It’s a national disgrace and has produced the sort of cynicism that causes countless citizens to not even bother voting.

    One way to combat such corruption is by having elections publicly funded. That’s what many other countries do, and now a number of U.S. cities (New York, Seattle, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Tucson, etc.) as well.

    We should emulate them.

    Christiane D. Huckin, Salt Lake City

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    Jennifer Rubin: What if one party doesn’t believe America is for everyone?


    "All men are created equal" is America's founding creed, the reaffirmation that America is not defined by race or place of birth or any other outward characteristic, but rather by fidelity to the rule of law, democracy and the opportunity to pursue one's...

    "All men are created equal" is America's founding creed, the reaffirmation that America is not defined by race or place of birth or any other outward characteristic, but rather by fidelity to the rule of law, democracy and the opportunity to pursue one's dreams. Unfortunately, a high percentage of one major political party doesn't buy that.

    The recent Public Religion Research Institute poll finds:

    "Overall, nearly half of Americans generally support a racially and ethnically diverse vision of the United States, although there are moderate divisions by race. When asked to put themselves on a scale, where one end is the statement, 'I would prefer the U.S. to be a nation made up of people from all over the world,' and the other end is the statement, 'I would prefer the U.S. to be a nation primarily made up of people from Western European heritage,' 47% of Americans mostly agree with the first statement, while less than one in ten (9%) Americans mostly agree with the second statement, and 39% place themselves in the middle of the scale.

    "There are also stark political divisions on this issue. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Democrats, compared to only three in ten (29%) Republicans, mostly prefer a country with racial and ethnic diversity. Republicans are nearly twice as likely as Democrats to state a preference for a Western European majority in the country (13% vs. 7%). Additionally, over half (56%) of Republicans place themselves somewhere in the middle on this issue, compared to one-quarter (25%) of Democrats. Independents closely resemble Americans in general on this question."

    But America is a racially and ethnically diverse country, you say. Yes, and that may explain the high degree of anger and sense of alienation many Republicans who supported Donald Trump feel. Less than a third of them believe America should be diverse.

    One criticism of Trump supporters' immigration stance has been that they are not merely opposed to illegal immigration but to immigration of black and brown people. The poll gives some support for that conclusion. For them, Trump's criticism of "s---hole" countries is a sign he understands their beef with immigration.

    This negative view of diversity permeates many Republicans' thinking. For example, "Democrats are likeliest to say that the U.S.'s diversity makes the country stronger. More than three-quarters (77%) of Democrats say that the country's diverse population makes it stronger, while only 55% of independents and 51% of Republicans agree. Notably, one in five (20%) Republicans say that the U.S.'s diverse population makes it weaker."

    On one hand, all political groups think our creed/beliefs in our Constitution are what most define us. "Overwhelming majorities of Republicans, independents, and Democrats agree that respecting American political institutions and laws (98%, 85%, 91%, respectively), believing in individual freedoms such as freedom of speech (96%, 88%, 93%, respectively), and accepting people of diverse racial and religious backgrounds (86%, 82%, 92%, respectively), are somewhat or very important for being truly American."

    But PRRI also finds large majorities of Republicans think it is somewhat or very important to be born in America and believe in God if one wants to be "truly American."

    Republicans by and large don't put too much stock in religious diversity (i.e., religious freedom). "Over half (54%) of Democrats, compared to only one in ten (12%) Republicans, mostly prefer religious diversity. By contrast, four in ten (40%) Republicans state a preference for a Christian majority, compared to only 14% of Democrats. A plurality (45%) of Republicans and nearly one in three (29%) Democrats place themselves in the middle of this scale. Independents closely resemble Americans in general on this question."

    The rejection of a pluralistic, multiracial democracy by so many Republicans should be deeply disturbing. It also explains the polarization on so many political issues. If one party doesn't really think that those not from Western European heritage (i.e., nonwhite people) should be here, reaching consensus on immigration and even child separation seems nearly impossible. If one party thinks religious diversity is a threat to America's identity, good luck reaching consensus on issues such as religious accommodation, the Muslim ban and more. (That said, one interesting part of the poll finds that there are supermajorities of Republicans and Democrats who favor a long list of policies, e.g. protection for those with preexisting conditions, treating rather than punishing drug users, getting rid of mandatory-minimum sentences and allowing those who've served prison sentences to regain the right to vote.)

    We should seriously consider why so many Americans fundamentally reject our founding creed and where our institutions have failed to convey and propagate those fundamental beliefs. Ronald Reagan famously said, "America represents something universal in the human spirit. I received a letter not long ago from a man who said, ‘You can go to Japan to live, but you cannot become Japanese. You can go to France to live and not become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey, and you won’t become a German or a Turk.’ But then he added, ‘Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American.’ " Today, an alarming number of Republicans would say: Not so fast.



    Cass Sunstein: Clarence Thomas has a point about free-speech law

    Cass Sunstein: Clarence Thomas has a point about free-speech law


    With his stunning plea for reconsideration of New York Times v. Sullivan — the landmark free-speech decision insulating the press, and speakers in general, from most libel actions — Justice Clarence Thomas has … performed a public service. Not...

    With his stunning plea for reconsideration of New York Times v. Sullivan — the landmark free-speech decision insulating the press, and speakers in general, from most libel actions — Justice Clarence Thomas has … performed a public service. Not necessarily because he’s right, but because there’s a serious issue here.

    To see why, imagine that a lawyer, a blogger, a talk-show host or a newspaper lies about you — and in the process destroys your reputation. Your accuser might say that you are a pedophile, a drug peddler, an arsonist or a prostitute. In an hour, the lie goes around the world.

    If you count as a public figure, does the Constitution really mean that the law cannot provide you with any kind of redress?

    Thomas doesn't think so. He was writing in a case brought by Kathrine McKee, who accused Bill Cosby of rape. Cosby's lawyer responded to her accusation by trying to destroy her character. Among other things, he called her a liar. McKee brought suit, saying that she had been defamed.

    Because McKee was involved in a public controversy, she counted as a public figure. Under New York Times v. Sullivan, decided in 1964, she could not win unless she could demonstrate that Cosby's lawyer had "actual malice," which means that he knew he was lying, or that he acted "with reckless indifference" to the question of truth or falsity.

    It's really hard to demonstrate that, so McKee's lawsuit was bound to be dismissed.

    Thomas is an “originalist”; he believes that interpretation of the Constitution should be settled by reference to the “original public meaning” of its terms. Thomas offers considerable evidence that at the time of ratification, those who wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights were comfortable with libel actions — and that they did not mean to impose anything like the “actual malice” standard.

    A defamed individual (including a public figure) needed only to prove that a written publication was false and that it subjected him to hatred, contempt or ridicule. And for 170 years, the Supreme Court never held that the First Amendment forbids the states from protecting people from libel.

    Thomas concludes that New York Times v. Sullivan, and the many subsequent decisions implementing it, were "policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law."

    There are strong objections to originalism, of course. But whatever your theory of constitutional interpretation, it is hardly obvious that the First Amendment forbids rape victims from seeking some kind of redress from people who defame them.

    Suppose Cosby's lawyer did not actually know that he was lying. Suppose too that he was clearly negligent, in the sense that any reasonable person would have known that what he was saying was false. Why does the free-speech principle prohibit states from allowing McKee to demand a retraction and some level of compensation?

    The standard answer, offered in New York Times v. Sullivan itself, is that speakers need “breathing space.” For all of us, the prospect of libel actions could have a “chilling effect” on freedom of speech. If we are dealing with public figures — including politicians — democracy itself requires what the Supreme Court called an “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open” system of free expression, in which speakers and writers are not deterred by the prospect of lawsuits.

    Fair enough. But some kind of chilling effect is not the worst idea, because it reduces the risk that falsehoods will destroy people's reputations. And in this context, the idea of democracy is a double-edged sword. If a speaker lies about a politician, and destroys her reputation in the process, democracy is not exactly well-served.

    Thomas demonstrates that this point has a strong historical pedigree, for "the common law deemed libels against public figures to be, if anything, more serious and injurious than ordinary libels." As one early commentator put it, "the people may be deceived and reject the best citizens to their great injury." In the current era, when damaging falsehoods can spread widely in a matter of seconds, that risk is greater than ever before.

    To be sure, there's an elephant in this particular room: President Donald Trump's frequent denunciations of the press as the "Enemy of the People." (It's best not to throw around the term "neo-Nazi," but it describes the president's language in this case.)

    In light of the background set by Trump's dangerous rhetoric, this might not be the best time to call for reducing the constitutional protection given to speech. And in my view, Thomas goes too far in suggesting that states "are perfectly capable of striking an acceptable balance between encouraging robust public discourse and providing a meaningful remedy for reputational harm." There is a real danger that state officials, unenthusiastic about public criticism, would strike at the heart of freedom of speech.

    But Thomas is right to point out that the constitutional foundations of New York Times v. Sullivan are not entirely firm. New and creative thinking, designed to protect people from having their reputations shattered, is very much in order.

    Consistent with the national commitment to “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open” public discourse, it should be possible to provide remedies for people like Kathrine McKee — perhaps a right to retraction, perhaps appropriate (and appropriately limited) monetary compensation. It would be ironic if New York Times v. Sullivan itself had a chilling effect on serious discussions of reforms of that kind.

    Cass Sunstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the author of “The Cost-Benefit Revolution” and a co-author of “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness.”

    Kirby: Family is in our hearts, not just our blood


    Harper Lee, the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” once wrote something regarding the fundamental difference between family and friends.“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no...

    Harper Lee, the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” once wrote something regarding the fundamental difference between family and friends.

    “You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ‘em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.”

    While “To Kill a Mockingbird” is in my top 10 of favorite books, I have to disagree with Harper. We don’t look silly when we cut someone out of our family for being a genuine threat to it.

    Child predators, homicidal maniacs, cannibals, clergy members, alt-right zealots may constitute such a threat to their loved ones that NOT giving them the boot for good is irresponsible.

    Oh, sure, they’re still technically part of our blood. We might even have to acknowledge that the lunatic who ran off to fight with the Islamic State group and murder innocent people is somehow related to us. But that doesn’t mean we have to let that wacko back into the fold.

    Friends are different. We’re able to vet them. Sliding out of the same womb has nothing to do with the enormous value they add to our lives.

    For example, even though we have different parents, Sonny and I are bros no matter how many times I have nearly been killed while in close proximity to him.

    If Sonny needed a kidney, I would give him one of mine. Hell, I wouldn’t resist (other than the perfectly acceptable screaming) if he tried to cut it out himself.

    True friends value the relationship because it was earned on both sides. This is not to say that a friendship can’t be broken — only that it is a deliberate choice.

    So is family. With apologies to Ms. Lee. You can also choose your family. If you have read this far, know that my entire family picked a new granddaughter Friday morning.

    At a brief ceremony in Salt Lake City’s Matheson Courthouse, 12-year-old Faith, my previous stepgranddaughter, became my actual family granddaughter. She was adopted by my daughter Gin, who is married to my son-in-law Kirt.

    Faith came into my life back in 2009, when she was 2. I’ve watched her grow up and fight her way to be on an all-girl tackle football team. She’s beautiful, funny and tough. She’s also a bit crazy, which she gets from her father. And now from me.

    Faith is now my blood. I’ve studied up on the matter. According to hard science, Faith’s DNA actually changed to my family’s DNA when the papers were signed. Don’t ask me to explain. It would go way over your head.

    The point is that she is now my blood, one of seven granddaughters, all of whom I love. I don’t have to worry about the law or even that lame “Families Are Forever” nonsense.

    I can say this because my blood now runs through her veins. Officially and genetically, she is part Kirby.

    I probably ought to feel bad about that part, but I’m too busy loving her.

    Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.

    State colleges: Jake Toolson leads Utah Valley past Chicago State


    Orem • Jake Toolson had 25 points as Utah Valley rolled past Chicago State 103-71 on Thursday night.Toolson shot 6 for 9 from deep.Richard Harward had 19 points and 16 rebounds for Utah Valley (18-8, 7-4 Western Athletic Conference). Conner Toolson...

    Orem • Jake Toolson had 25 points as Utah Valley rolled past Chicago State 103-71 on Thursday night.

    Toolson shot 6 for 9 from deep.

    Richard Harward had 19 points and 16 rebounds for Utah Valley (18-8, 7-4 Western Athletic Conference). Conner Toolson added 13 points. Isaiah White had 11 points for the home team.

    It was the first time this season Utah Valley scored more than 100 points.

    Utah Valley made a season-high 16 3-pointers.

    Utah Valley scored 54 points in the first half, a season high for the team.

    Rob Shaw had 15 points for the Cougars (3-24, 0-12), who have now lost 16 straight games. Anthony Harris added 15 points and five steals. Patrick Szpir had 15 points and six assists.

    The Wolverines improved to 2-0 against the Cougars on the season. Utah Valley defeated Chicago State 74-60 on Jan. 26.

    Sacramento State 78, Weber State 76 • In Sacramento, Calif., Marcus Graves had 24 points and Ethan Esposito made two free throws with one second left as Sacramento State edged past Weber State.

    Joshua Patton added 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Hornets.

    Esposito had 10 points for Sacramento State (12-12, 6-9 Big Sky Conference). Bryce Fowler added seven rebounds.

    Caleb Nero had 18 points for the Wildcats (16-11, 10-6). Brekkott Chapman added 16 points and 11 rebounds. Cody John had 15 points and six rebounds.

    The Hornets leveled the season series against the Wildcats with the win. Weber State defeated Sacramento State 75-65 on Feb. 2.

    Baseball

    BYU 6, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 2 • In Corpus Christi, Texas, Brock Hale’s two-run single in the seventh inning put the Cougars (3-2) on top 4-2, and Jackson Cluff and Keaton Kringlen added RBI doubles.

    Freshman right-hander Reid McLaughlin picked up his first career win, throwing 2.1 innings of relief and striking out two.

    Softball

    BYU 7, Missouri 3 • In Cathedral City, Calif., Taylei Williams homered and drove in three runs, Bridget Fleener hit a solo homer and scored twice and Ashley Godfrey had three hits and an RBI as the Cougars (5-5) knocked off the No. 19 Tigers (8-3) in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.

    Dog reunited with family 101 days after California wildfire


    Paradise, Calif. • A dog named Kingston is back with his family 101 days after he jumped out of their truck as they fled a devastating Northern California wildfire.The 12-year-old Akita was reunited Monday with the Ballejos family, who fled the town of...

    Paradise, Calif. • A dog named Kingston is back with his family 101 days after he jumped out of their truck as they fled a devastating Northern California wildfire.

    The 12-year-old Akita was reunited Monday with the Ballejos family, who fled the town of Paradise late last year, Sacramento television station KXTV reported .

    “When I found out, [it] just about brought me to tears,” said Gabriel Ballejos, Kingston’s owner. “I’m so proud of him. I can’t believe it. He’s a true survivor, and it’s a testament to the American spirit.”

    Ballejos said they never lost hope and kept posting flyers and contacting shelters.

    "Every night I would ask my dad and tell him that we needed to go look for him," said Ballejos' daughter, Maleah.

    The family got a call after animal rescue volunteer Ben Lepe trapped Kingston on Sunday and took him to Friends of Camp Fire Cats, a local rescue group. The volunteers saw a missing dog message on Facebook and contacted the family.

    Lepe said the large dog had been spotted on surveillance cameras and that he set up a trap big enough for it on Saturday.

    "When I went to check it on Sunday, there he was," Lepe said. "It was awesome to see him and know he would be fed and warm."

    Family members believe Kingston survived by eating skunks, because he hunted them before the fire and smelled of skunk when they picked him up.

    The town of Paradise was leveled by a Nov. 8 blaze that killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 15,000 homes in the area.

    Angel Herrera, of Friends of Camp Fire Cats, said the group has rescued more than 200 lost pets since the fire and still sets traps.

    "If we had the resources, we could trap 50 animals every single night," she said.

    ___

    Information from: KXTV-TV.

    Mitt Romney says unlike Trump, he never contacted Russians or sought their help when he ran for president. ‘That would be a frightening thing,’ he says at town hall meeting

    Mitt Romney says unlike Trump, he never contacted Russians or sought their help when he ran for president. ‘That would be a frightening thing,’ he says at town hall meeting


    West Jordan • A town hall meeting participant asked Utah freshman Sen. Mitt Romney on Thursday if the nation will owe President Donald Trump an apology after the investigation into his campaign contacts with Russia is completed.“You know how many...

    West Jordan • A town hall meeting participant asked Utah freshman Sen. Mitt Romney on Thursday if the nation will owe President Donald Trump an apology after the investigation into his campaign contacts with Russia is completed.

    “You know how many contacts we had with Russia during my campaign?” asked Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee. “Zero.”

    He added, “If a Russian contacted me or a member of my campaign, we would have reported it immediately to the FBI. We would not have met with them. We would not have sat down and said, ‘What can you give us?’ That would be a frightening thing, and he made some of those mistakes.”

    Romney said because the Russians now are playing a far more active role in campaigns around the world, “We’re going to have to make sure they do not have undue influence in the decisions we reach.”

    He noted the investigation by special prosecutor Robert Mueller has already resulted in several indictments, and he hopes it will be completed soon.

    Romney adds that when it comes to Trump, he hopes the investigation will conclude “there is nothing here you need to worry about … and then we can move on. I sure hope that’s the case.”

    Defending or attacking Trump was a recurring theme among the 60 people who attended Romney’s second open house — far fewer than the 250 that attended his first one last month when that first crowd sought mostly to protest the then-ongoing government shutdown.

    When another participant on Thursday said she was disappointed that Romney is not opposing Trump more often, he explained his choices.

    “Where the president proposes policy that I agree with … I’ll vote for those things,” he said. “Where he proposes something I disagree with, I’ll oppose it.”

    Romney added, “If the president says something of significance that is divisive or in any way anti-immigrant or disparaging of a group of Americans, I will speak out against him — and I have in the past and will continue to do so.

    “That doesn’t mean that I will respond to every tweet every day. I think that you lose effectiveness doing that. It doesn’t have any impact. People just dismiss you.”

    He added that presidents’ behavior and character, not just their policies, have enormous impact on the country. “That’s a big part of the job. And if I think people in leadership are doing things that are detrimental to the American character, I will speak about them. That’s about what I can do. I haven’t changed in that regard.”

    Residents also asked several questions about his stand on immigration, and whether people brought as children without documentation should stay and whether it should be easier for highly educated people to immigrate.

    “We as a nation benefit from highly educated, motivated individuals who want to come here legally,” he said. “I agree with the president that part of the immigration we need is people who have skills.”

    He added, “My own view is that people who get a Ph.D.” in science, technology, engineering or math, “We ought to give them a green card and just say, ‘Welcome to the USA. We want you here. We want your technology, your skills to help build our economy and a bright future.’”

    Romney said that because Barack Obama issued a declaration to allow those who arrived as children without papers to remain in the country, he supports continuing that.

    “When a president of the United States makes that commitment, I feel if is the responsibility of our country to follow through,” he said.

    Romney addressed many other topics not only at the town hall meeting, but also earlier in the day as he met with members of the Utah Legislature in Democratic and Republican caucuses. At the Capitol, he focused on the need for more bipartisanship in the Senate, for handling medical marijuana and for addressing the national debt.

    He told lawmakers he’s been surprised at the lack of formal communication between the two major parties in Washington, D.C., but also at the respect and congeniality between individual members of Congress.

    “I found getting along is a pleasure on a personal basis,” Romney said, “even though we disagree from time to time, obviously.”

    Romney spoke about the need for updates to federal drug laws in order to facilitate banking and other financial transactions in states, like Utah, where medical marijuana is legal. Romney said he’d like to see federal laws enforced regarding recreational marijuana, but supports changing the classification of cannabis in order to allow for research and medical trials.

    “I will work for that,” Romney said. “I want to see how many other folks I can get to line up for the same thing.”

    Republican lawmakers also asked Romney about the national debt, which recently topped $22 trillion, and the possibility of a convention of states to enact a balanced budget amendment. Romney did not respond directly to the issue of a constitutional convention, but blamed Republicans and Democrats for failing to tackle government spending and that it would take “leadership from somewhere” to trim the deficit.

    “There are very few — very, very few — who have any interest in trying to find a way to bring down spending and balance the budget as one of their priorities,” Romney said.

    Romney was also asked in the Democratic Caucus meeting to comment on his views toward climate change.

    I do believe that the climate is changing,” Romney said. “I believe the planet is getting warmer. I think it’s hard to escape that fact.”

    At his town hall he added, “The question is how much do humans contribute to it? I hope a lot. Because if we don’t have anything to do with it, there’s nothing we can do to slow it down. I hope there’s something we can do.”

    ‘We don’t want to lose any of you’ — supporters of a ‘conversion therapy’ ban in Utah say it will help save lives of LGBTQ youths

    ‘We don’t want to lose any of you’ — supporters of a ‘conversion therapy’ ban in Utah say it will help save lives of LGBTQ youths


    Three years ago, teenager Nathan Dalley was depressed, anxious and gripped by the belief that the only way out was to stop being gay.So, the Lehi teen turned to a therapist, who assured him that it would be possible to “fix” his sexual orientation....

    Three years ago, teenager Nathan Dalley was depressed, anxious and gripped by the belief that the only way out was to stop being gay.

    So, the Lehi teen turned to a therapist, who assured him that it would be possible to “fix” his sexual orientation. Dalley could overcome his same-sex attraction if he became more masculine by bulking up, wearing manly clothing or playing sports with other guys. And when he did “have gay thoughts,” he should snap a rubber band against his wrist, the therapist advised.

    But these techniques only made Dalley plunge further into despair. There were days the skin on his wrist broke down because he had used the band so often, he says. Isolated from his friends and told to deny his sexual identity, he says he felt “erased,” and he ultimately tried to end his life with an overdose of sleeping pills.

    “I’m just thankful today that I wasn’t successful. Kids just like me are not as lucky as I am,” Dalley, now a 19-year-old University of Utah student, said during a Thursday news conference. “The therapy that was supposed to be changing my sexuality ... made me spiral deeper into depression and anxiety and shame about who I am.”

    Dalley joined advocates and lawmakers at the Utah Capitol in calling for a statewide ban on so-called conversion therapy of the sort he experienced.

    Utah could become the 16th state in the nation to prohibit use of the controversial and widely discredited therapy on minors, a potentially lifesaving change, the bill’s supporters say. Conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, can cause emotional and psychological trauma to LGBTQ youths, who are already at a greater risk of suicide, advocates say.

    With two Republican lawmakers guiding the proposal through the Legislature — and a statement of no opposition from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — ban proponents say it’s well positioned for success this session.

    Sen. Dan McCay, who’s running the bill with Rep. Craig Hall of West Valley City, acknowledged that he’s not a “prototypical sponsor” but said it’s important for all of the state’s youths to feel loved and accepted.

    “We want you, every one of you, to be part of the future," McCay, R-Riverton, said. “We don’t want to lose any of you.”

    The bill’s prohibition will cover only state-licensed therapists and will not extend to clergy, following a pattern set by other states that have barred the practice for minors. Life coaches and other unlicensed counselors would also be left out of the prohibition, but Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, said he hopes they will shy away from the practice voluntarily.

    Clifford Rosky, a University of Utah law professor who drafted the legislation, said the bill would define conversion therapy as any treatment that attempts to alter a client’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The state would investigate complaints about licensed therapists who might be engaging in the banned practice and could sanction those who are violating the law.

    It’s difficult to tell how widespread the practice is in Utah, since providers don’t openly advertise themselves as practitioners of techniques that have been broadly denounced by medical and mental-health organizations, Rosky said.

    However, an Equality Utah survey last year found that more than 100 LGBT respondents reported that they had experienced conversion therapy. And nationwide, the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has reported that nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults have undergone conversion therapy at some point in their lives, about half of them as adolescents.

    Research last year by Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project indicated that efforts to change sexual orientation were linked with double or triple the rates of attempted suicide among young people.

    Connell O’Donovan, a Salt Lake City resident who attended Thursday’s news conference, said the damage inflicted on him three decades ago in conversion therapy still causes him pain.

    Initially, his religious leaders began meeting with him regularly, telling him to sing hymns when he had impure thoughts, read LDS Church literature and run long distances to exhaust himself. Later, in college, he underwent hypnotherapy to change his sexual orientation.

    “While I was under hypnosis, he [the therapist] split me into gay Connell and straight Connell and then had me visualize Jesus coming down from heaven and utterly destroying gay Connell,” he said. “I became profoundly depressed, suicidal. ... Years and years of therapy later trying to heal that experience, I’m not.”

    O’Donovan, who’s been an LGBTQ activist, said passing a conversion therapy ban in Utah would help give his pain some meaning.

    Commentary: Supreme Court speaks out on civil asset forfeiture

    Commentary: Supreme Court speaks out on civil asset forfeiture


    The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously held that states are subject to the Eighth Amendment’s restriction on excessive fines — and the new ruling could have some significant effects on civil asset forfeiture cases in Utah.For the uninitiated, civil...

    The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously held that states are subject to the Eighth Amendment’s restriction on excessive fines — and the new ruling could have some significant effects on civil asset forfeiture cases in Utah.

    For the uninitiated, civil asset forfeiture is a law that lets the government permanently take property from innocent people who haven’t been charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime. It’s a highly controversial practice that is defended by many in law enforcement.

    The court’s new position puts the government on notice that these practices cannot continue to the degree they have in the past. While the median value of property taken from Utahns under this law is just over $1,000, it is quite common to see cases where a violation of a minor drug law leads to a substantial taking of property.

    Consider a recent example: that of Bryan Melchior, the owner of Utah Gun Exchange, whose marijuana possession is leading Sim Gill’s office to try and permanently confiscate around $50,000 in cash and silver coins he had saved up and stored at home.

    This is clearly excessive. The monetary fine for marijuana possession (a few thousand dollars at most) comes nowhere close to the amount of money prosecutors are trying to take from its owner. The court’s new ruling can clearly have an impact in these cases, making it much harder for the state to argue that its far-reaching property grabs are justified.

    Utah’s own Supreme Court unanimously ruled last year in a civil asset forfeiture case as well — this one dealing with the state’s circumvention of due process protections for the property owner. Kyle Savely, accused only of a minor traffic violation, was subjected to the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    What really becomes interesting is looking at the specific cases themselves. For larger cases, a pattern emerges: prosecutors offer to split the money down the middle to settle the case. Rather than litigating to try and prove their case and give the defendant an opportunity to reclaim all the money, a path of least resistance is offered: take half the money and walk.

    A good defense attorney will likely advise the property owner that because of the risk in moving forward, it may be more advantageous to settle and move on. And so it happens, over and over again — $59,050 seized leading to $29,525 being returned; $140,040 seized leading to $70,020 being returned; and many more such cases.

    Excessive though these fines may be, the state knows that it can obtain lots of money with little work by offering this deal that allows them to score some cash without having to see the case through to the end.

    The court’s new ruling opens an opportunity for property owners to fight back in court and contest significant property takings that are disproportionately large relative to the underlying alleged criminal conduct. This is a fight that’s not going away.

    Indeed, the fight is playing out at Utah’s Capitol, where Senate Bill 109 is attempting to further restrict this practice. In high drama, a representative from the Utah Attorney General’s office showed up to the committee hearing with a brick of heroin and bundles of cash, arguing that the Legislature’s attempts to restrict civil asset forfeiture was assisting the drug cartels and should therefore be halted.

    As it turns out, the heroin was brown sugar and the cash was fake — but the point was well taken. Law enforcement clearly objects to any restriction of this activity, and claims that all property taken through forfeiture is implicitly guilty, without question or nuance. It’s a claim that’s simply false.

    Objections from law enforcement notwithstanding, the court’s unanimous opinion is the latest development in a longstanding trend against this problematic government policy. Indeed, Utahns already object. 69 percent of Utah voters passed Initiative B in 2000, which significantly restricted civil asset forfeiture, despite extremely vocal opposition from the law enforcement community. And according to a recent poll, 86 percent of Utah voters oppose civil asset forfeiture.

    The court deserves strong praise for helping tighten the screws even further against a controversial government practice that is on its last legs. Perhaps soon, the Utah Legislature will be ready to follow the lead of several other states and eliminate this problematic practice outright.


    Connor Boyack, with the libertarian-leaning group Libertas Institute, speaks to the members of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Standing Committee at the Utah State Capitol ,Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City. A panel of lawmakers is approving a proposal to strengthen Utah's hate-crimes law, a key step forward for the idea long stuck in legislative gridlock. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer/)

    Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute and author of 15 books.


    Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune ACLU attorney Marina Lowe speaks as House Democratic Representatives and Utah Latino Leaders, along with community activists, law enforcement, and others spoke against recent orders by President Donald Trump on immigration and refugee status. The press event took place at the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building, Thursday January 26, 2017. (Trent Nelson/)

    Marina Lowe is legislative and policy counsel with the ACLU of Utah.

    ‘Victory laps would be very premature’: Hate crimes bill wins unanimous support in committee, but sponsor says it will face opposition on the Senate floor

    ‘Victory laps would be very premature’: Hate crimes bill wins unanimous support in committee, but sponsor says it will face opposition on the Senate floor


    A yearslong effort to update Utah’s hate crimes law took a significant step forward Thursday, earning the unanimous approval of a Senate committee after failing to be granted an initial hearing during previous legislative sessions.But Sen. Daniel...

    A yearslong effort to update Utah’s hate crimes law took a significant step forward Thursday, earning the unanimous approval of a Senate committee after failing to be granted an initial hearing during previous legislative sessions.

    But Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, said after the committee vote that the full Senate is more closely split on his bill, SB103, and that passage is “not a done deal.”

    “Victory laps would be very premature,” Thatcher said, “but it does feel damn good to be on the field.”

    Thatcher credited the support of diverse community groups and individuals in helping to sway the opinions of his legislative colleagues. He also said high-profile crimes — such as the recent attack of a man and father at a Salt Lake City tire shop — had generated public attention on the topic of enhancing criminal penalties when victims are targeted based on attributes like race, sexual orientation or religion.

    Utah’s current hate crimes law applies only to misdemeanor offenses and has never been successfully prosecuted.

    “It is impossible to really understand this issue and not come to the conclusion that the state of Utah needs to act,” Thatcher said.

    During Thursday’s committee hearing, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill shared a personal experience that occurred shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. He said he was leaving court and walking near 400 South and State Street in Salt Lake City when three men in a truck drove by and yelled out that Gill was a “sand n----r” who should “go home or we’ll f---ing kill you and your family.”


    (Rick Bowmer | Associated Press) Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill speaks to the members of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Standing Committee at the Utah State Capitol, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City. A panel of lawmakers is approving a proposal to strengthen Utah's hate-crimes law, a key step forward for the idea long stuck in legislative gridlock. (Rick Bowmer/)

    “I thought immediately for members of the Indian community and those who look like me,” Gill said. “That fear is genuine.”

    Gill previously has been critical of Utah’s hate crimes law and said that Thatcher’s bill “finds that balanced approach” for prosecutors to consider enhanced charges for victim-targeting crimes.

    Representatives from the United Jewish Federation of Utah, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and Catholic Diocese of Utah also spoke in favor of SB103.

    But Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, objected to the bill’s classification of potential victims. Current law treats all victims equally, she said, while SB103 would exclude some individuals while offering legal protections to others.

    Ruzicka said she and her family have been threatened because of her work with the Eagle Forum, but her status as a public political figure would not result in enhanced penalties if she were the target of a crime.

    “When you make lists,” Ruzicka said, “you leave people out.”

    The list of victim classifications was also questioned by Libertas Institute President Connor Boyack. SB103 was amended to garner more support among Senate Republicans, with the addition of attributes such as age, marital status and the school a victim attended potentially qualifying for enhanced criminal penalties.

    “This isn’t a hate crimes bill," Boyack said. “I have deep concerns with its structure and the list that we have before us.”

    Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said there is a risk of broadening criminal enhancements beyond efficacy. He gave the example of drug possession enhancements in the vicinity of schools, parks and churches and quipped that the only way to avoid those penalties in Logan is to be flying over the city in an airplane.

    But he added that passing SB103 would signal that Utah is serious about crimes that target victims and generate fear within a community.

    “I wish — oh how I wish — that passing this law would solve the problem,” Hillyard said. “It won’t.”

    Thatcher agreed with Hillyard, saying his bill would not end hate crimes but could help to mitigate them.

    “Let us not fool ourselves; this will not solve everything,” Thatcher said. “But it will make things better. It will move us in the right direction.”

    Many of Utah’s recent high-profile hate crimes incidents have occurred in Salt Lake City, where members of the City Council expressed support for the bill at its meeting Tuesday.

    “The stories that have occurred in Salt Lake City are particularly important,” said Salt Lake City Councilman Chris Wharton, who is gay.

    He said he is frustrated with the dialogue around the bill because he believes some lawmakers have a fundamental misunderstanding of the proposal, fearing that it offers special protection for some classes and not others.

    “Everyone has a sexual orientation,” he argued. “Everyone has a race.”

    The bill will now move to the full Senate for consideration.

    Tribune reporter Taylor Stevens contributed to this article.

    A South Salt Lake man went to the hospital for mental health treatment after allegedly stabbing his girlfriend to death. He has been charged with murder.


    A South Salt Lake man was taken to the emergency room for mental health treatment on the night police believe he stabbed his girlfriend to death was charged Thursday with murder.Police arrested Angelo Terry Kirstine, 24, at the University of Utah...

    A South Salt Lake man was taken to the emergency room for mental health treatment on the night police believe he stabbed his girlfriend to death was charged Thursday with murder.

    Police arrested Angelo Terry Kirstine, 24, at the University of Utah Hospital on Jan. 15, soon after he is accused of killing Ashley Vigil, 26, according to documents filed in 3rd District Court.

    An underage witness told police Kirstine and Vigil had been living at the Eight20 Apartments, at 820 W. Timbercreek, since Kirstine was release from prison. The couple had been sleeping in the bedroom, while Kirstine’s sister, her boyfriend and Kirstine’s mother stayed in the living room, the documents state.

    On Jan. 15, Kirstine’s sister said he came out of the bedroom and asked her to take him to their grandmother’s house. Once there he decided to spend the night, she said. He told family members before leaving the apartment that Vigil would be staying in their bedroom that night, according to a search warrant.

    When the girl returned home, she found Vigil on the floor. At first, she thought Vigil was sleeping and had just rolled off the bed, but then the girl went into the bathroom and saw blood on the light switch and sink. She went back into the room and looked more closely at Vigil, finding that the woman’s eyes were open, she was bloody and had a hole in her throat.

    Officers were called to the apartment, and Vigil was declared dead.

    That same night, police learned Kirstine had checked into the emergency room at the University of Utah Hospital. Kirstine’s grandmother took him to the hospital, saying he needed a mental health evaluation, according to court documents.

    When hospital staff asked Kirstine why he was there, he said, “the cops were at my house, and they found a dead body at my house,” court documents say. A police spokesman previously told The Salt Lake Tribune that hospital staff called them because Kirstine said he’d “hurt someone.”

    Hospital staff noted Kirstine’s hands were swollen and his clothes were bloody. Officers arrested him that night, and he’s been held at Salt Lake County jail without bail since then.

    According to a search warrant, Kirstine has PTSD and had been violent with family members before.

    Kirstine was on parole from a 2013 aggravated robbery conviction at the time of the homicide. He is now facing a third-degree felony charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, in addition to the murder charge.

    A bill would force BYU police to comply with Utah’s open records laws — just like any other police department


    A Provo senator unveiled a bill this week that would make Brigham Young University’s police department subject to the state’s open records laws.It’s a measure that could affect a legal fight between the university and The Salt Lake Tribune that has...

    A Provo senator unveiled a bill this week that would make Brigham Young University’s police department subject to the state’s open records laws.

    It’s a measure that could affect a legal fight between the university and The Salt Lake Tribune that has made its way to the Utah Supreme Court.

    Sen. Curt Bramble’s bill, SB197, clarifies that a private university’s law enforcement agency is considered a governmental entity. This means BYU’s police force would have to comply with the state’s records laws, but it would also allow the agency to claim governmental immunity.

    Whether the private university’s police force should be required to hand over what are considered public records in every other police department has been a subject of debate since 2016. That’s when The Tribune filed a lawsuit arguing BYU police should be subject to transparency laws because it has “full-spectrum” law enforcement authority.

    “This is about transparency in government,” said Tribune Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce. “BYU police officers can stop, search and make arrests just like sworn officers from any other police department in Utah, so it makes sense that the public has access to BYU police records.”

    The law enforcement arm of the university, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has contended in court filings that it is exempt from the state’s Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) because it is part of a private university.

    Third District Judge Laura Scott ruled in July in The Tribune’s lawsuit that BYU’s police department is part of the government — and therefore subject to state records laws — when it is “acting as a law enforcement agency and/or its officers are acting as law enforcement officers.”

    Attorneys for BYU appealed the decision to the Utah Supreme Court, where the case is pending.

    Napier-Pearce said she’s grateful that Bramble wants to clarify Utah law once and for all — and hopes lawmakers will approve his bill.

    Todd Hollingshead, a spokesman for BYU, did not say whether the university had a position on the proposed legislation. “We’ve been aware that Senator Bramble intended to bring forward this legislation,” he said, “and we’re following it closely.”

    Bramble, who represents the area that includes BYU, has been working on the legislation for months.

    “We don’t want our police powers being conducted in secret,” Bramble said Thursday. “From an accountability perspective, you want transparency.”

    Bramble said his proposed legislation would not be retroactive — so it would not directly affect The Tribune’s lawsuit or other pending requests. But he said that, if it passes, the bill would send a message to the judicial branch about Utah lawmakers’ position on the issue.

    The Legislature granted BYU the right to create a police force 35 years ago.

    The newspaper’s lawsuit stems from a public records request submitted by then-Tribune reporter Matthew Piper in 2016 amid allegations that BYU had disciplined students who report sex crimes if they were violating the school’s Honor Code at the time of the assault. That code bans alcohol, tobacco, coffee and premarital sex, and it regulates students’ appearance and interactions with the opposite sex.

    BYU police provided some records but refused to release communication between the department and the school’s Honor Code and Title IX offices.

    The Tribune is not the only entity that has been fighting for records from BYU police. In August, BYU filed three separate lawsuits in an effort to keep secret a recorded interview between one of its officers and a former leader of the Missionary Training Center accused of sexually assaulting a woman in the 1980s.

    Lawyers for the university wrote in court papers that the police force does not have to follow the state’s records laws because it is part of a private entity.

    Ryan McKnight — executive director of the Truth and Transparency Foundation, which runs Mormonleaks — said the foundation agreed to pause the case in court until there is a decision from the Utah Supreme Court on The Tribune’s case.

    Effort to raise Utah’s tobacco purchasing age to 21 has an unlikely critic — the American Cancer Society’s action network


    Rep. Steve Eliason is pushing to raise Utah’s minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21 across the state, a move he hopes would prevent people from getting hooked on cigarettes and vape pens in their formative years.But there’s some opposition to his...

    Rep. Steve Eliason is pushing to raise Utah’s minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21 across the state, a move he hopes would prevent people from getting hooked on cigarettes and vape pens in their formative years.

    But there’s some opposition to his legislation, and it’s coming from a somewhat surprising source — the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

    Yes, the action network supports increasing the smoking age, says Brook Carlisle, the group’s government relations director for Utah, even as it fights to increase the age through city ordinances.

    Speak about Eliason’s bill, she said, “I think for us, the devil’s in the details."

    Eliason, who’s sponsored similar legislation in the past, said he’s “befuddled” by pushback from the health advocates. The bulk of the action network's criticism relates not to what his bill would change but what it would leave the same, he notes.

    “It’s an extremely unusual reason to oppose a bill that it leaves in place the current law, when it’s actually changing the most significant component of the law that they believe would prevent cancer,” Eliason, a Sandy Republican, said.

    Existing law contains penalties for underage buyers of tobacco products, and while Eliason’s bill doesn’t touch those, the action network wants them removed. Carlisle argues that retailers, not young people, should be punished for illicit tobacco sales, especially considering the way cigarette and e-cigarette companies target underage buyers.

    “We really feel like the tobacco industry spends so much time and so much money advertising and targeting children that turning around and punishing them for that advertising working just doesn’t make a lot of sense,” she said Thursday, during Utah Cancer Day at the Capitol.

    The vast majority of adult smokers, about 95 percent, begin before the age of 21, and advocates hope raising the minimum age will prevent many from ever forming tobacco addictions. Six states — Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Maine and Massachusetts — have already adopted so-called “tobacco 21” laws.

    Jordan Osborne of South Jordan said he started vaping before he was 21 and later became a pack-a-week smoker. He’s since stopped smoking cigarettes, for the most part, but he supports a tobacco 21 law in Utah as a way to help others avoid nicotine addiction.

    The law probably wouldn’t have prevented him from smoking entirely, he admits.

    “But it would’ve given me a couple of years more where I could’ve been a lot healthier,” Osborne, 24, said.

    Eliason said this year’s version of his bill, HB324, also raises the minimum age for e-cigarette purchases, something health advocates have requested.

    But, to Carlisle’s dismay, Eliason’s legislation would phase in the age increases rather than going to 21 right away. The age for buying tobacco would increase to 20 on July 1, 2020, and then increase to 21 on January 1, 2021. Eliason said he decided to incorporate a transition period to minimize the number of people who’d have the ability to buy cigarettes one day and lose it the next.

    However, Carlisle said the “sooner you can fully implement, the better.”

    Meanwhile, two cities in Utah — Lehi and Cedar Hills — are moving ahead with their own ordinances. Tuesday night, Cedar Hills became the second city in Utah to increase the tobacco purchasing age from 19 to 21.

    Eliason said there is some language in state law suggesting that cities are preempted from setting their own cigarette purchasing age. While Carlisle says the cancer action network’s legal advice suggests otherwise, she wishes Eliason’s legislation would do away with the state preemption language so that the authority of local governments would be more clear.

    Eliason said he doesn’t think the cancer action network’s criticism is a dealbreaker for the bill, which has yet to receive a committee hearing, and he said confused colleagues have approached him trying to understand the group’s opposition.

    “And I tell them I don’t know."

    Editor’s note: Brook Carlisle is the spouse of a Salt Lake Tribune reporter.

    An 18-year-old Utah man is charged with assaulting his 16-year-old girlfriend, hoping she’d miscarry


    An 18-year-old St. George man is facing a felony after he punched and kicked his pregnant, 16-year-old girlfriend in the stomach in an attempt to make her miscarry.Trevor Michael Knudson was charged in Fifth District Court with aggravated assault, a...

    An 18-year-old St. George man is facing a felony after he punched and kicked his pregnant, 16-year-old girlfriend in the stomach in an attempt to make her miscarry.

    Trevor Michael Knudson was charged in Fifth District Court with aggravated assault, a third-degree felony.

    The victim reported that Knudson assaulted her Feb. 16. According to St. George police, she said “she was pregnant, Trevor knew she was pregnant, and he was the father of the unborn child.”

    The victim said Knudson “kneed her twice in the stomach, punched her once in the stomach and then grabbed the back of her neck and slammed her against a wall.” According to court documents, Knudson told the victim “he assaulted her because he wanted her to have a miscarriage.”

    When interviewed by police, Knudson “admitted that the incident took place as [the victim] reported.”

    Lawsuit implicates brothers from Utah polygamous sect in airline conspiracy involving Turkey’s attempted coup; Robert Mueller is mentioned, too

    Lawsuit implicates brothers from Utah polygamous sect in airline conspiracy involving Turkey’s attempted coup; Robert Mueller is mentioned, too


    After an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the president of Turkey in 2016, associates of two brothers from a Utah polygamous sect, who are now under indictment, started a media campaign to force the sale of an airline, according to a new federal...

    After an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the president of Turkey in 2016, associates of two brothers from a Utah polygamous sect, who are now under indictment, started a media campaign to force the sale of an airline, according to a new federal lawsuit.

    The lawsuit also spells out the connection the two brothers, Jacob and Isaiah Kingston, have to a man indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. That connection runs through Turkey, a country that has frequently come up in the past year as the Kingston brothers have faced lawsuits and a lengthy indictment alleging fraud and money laundering at their biofuel company, Washakie Renewable Energy.

    Jacob and Isaiah Kingston are not defendants in the latest lawsuit, filed this week in federal court in New Hampshire. They are called “nonparty co-conspirators” in what the lawsuit calls a racketeering and fraud scheme.

    The lawsuit focuses on a regional Turkish airline called Borajet. The plaintiff, Yalcin Ayasli, a businessman with both Turkish and U.S. citizenships, bought Borajet’s forerunner in 2007. He was in the midst of expansion plans when, in 2016, a faction of the Turkish military staged an unsuccessful coup.


    People wave Turkish flags during a commemoration event for the second anniversary of a botched coup attempt, in Istanbul, Sunday, July 15, 2018. Turkey commemorates the second anniversary of the July 15, 2016 failed military attempt to overthrow Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a series of events honouring some 250 people, who were killed across Turkey while trying to oppose coup-plotters.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel) (Emrah Gurel/)

    Ayasli’s lawsuit alleges that after the coup, another Turkish businessman, Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, with the help of fellow businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin, began defaming Ayasli by telling Turkish journalists that he had political and financial ties to the renegade soldiers. The news reports caused other airlines to end what are called code-share agreements, in which airlines book customers’ flights on their partners’ planes, with Borajet, the lawsuit says.

    The lawsuit also says “Korkmaz threatened, intimidated and in at least two known cases, physically assaulted Dr. Ayasli’s business associates and attorneys,” in an effort to force a sale to Korkmaz’s company. Ayasli eventually sold the airline to Korkmaz.

    Korkmaz, who is a defendant in the lawsuit, has been a business partner with Jacob Kingston, including in Borajet after Ayasli sold it. Ayasli’s lawsuit says even after the sale, Jacob Kingston, Korkmaz and Alptekin bought debt guaranteed by Ayasli in an effort to extort him for money.

    The lawsuit doesn’t specify the sale price of Borajet, but Ayasli alleges the schemes cost him $230 million. Ayasli is asking for a jury to determine damages.

    He alleges Korkmaz and Jacob Kingston’s goal was to quickly resell Borajet at a profit, but were unable to do so. The airline ceased operation in April 2017. Ayasli then cites the criminal indictments against Jacob and Isaiah Kingston to allege they laundered the money from Borajet and the alleged extortion.


    FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. Mueller is set to reveal more details about his Russia investigation as he faces court deadlines in the cases of two men who worked closely with President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) (J. Scott Applewhite/)

    Alptekin is not a defendant in the lawsuit. Mueller unsealed an indictment against him in December. Alptekin is accused of conspiracy, acting in the United States as an illegal agent of Turkey’s government, and four counts of making false statements to the FBI. The indictment alleges he worked with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to illegally lobby for Turkey to help feed reporters stories about a person the Turkish government did not like.

    Korkmaz received a subpoena to testify in the Mueller investigation. The lawsuit says that on Sept. 22, 2017, Korkmaz sent Ayasli a copy of the grand jury subpoena in an effort to intimidate Ayasli and make him think he had political connections with the Mueller probe and could exert influence on Ayasli in the United States, too.

    Korkmaz did not return messages to his offices in Turkey seeking comment. Lawyers in Utah for Jacob and Isaiah Kingston did not reply either.

    Jacob and Isaiah Kingston, as well as their mother, Rachel Kingston, and Jacob Kingston’s wife, Sally Kingston, are accused of using Washakie Renewable Energy to defraud a U.S. government biofuel tax credit and launder about $500 million in proceeds. Their other co-defendant is Lev Aslan Dermen, also known as Levon Termendzhyan. All five criminal defendants have pleaded not guilty. Their trial is scheduled for May in federal court in Salt Lake City, though in a hearing Tuesday, defense attorneys asked for more time to prepare. A judge is weighing postponing the trial to June or July and scheduling it to last eight weeks.


    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, carries a coffin as he joins hundreds of mourners who attend the funeral prayers for nine members of Alemdar family killed in a collapsed apartment building, in Istanbul, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Erdogan says there are "many lessons to learn" from the collapse of a residential building in Istanbul where at least 17 people have died.(Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

    In arguing that the two Kingston brothers and Dermen should remain in jail until trial, prosecutors and federal agents have described how the three sought to gain influence with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other officials there. The defendants, prosecutors have contended, wanted to ensure Turkey would not extradite them to the United States if indicted.

    Ayasli’s lawsuit also accuses Korkmaz of filing bogus litigation in Turkey. The lawsuit says on Valentine’s Day, police from an anti-terror and organized-crime squad raided the offices of Ayasli’s lawyer and seized his computer and other materials.

    Eugene Robinson: In allegedly faking his attack, Smollett grievously injured countless others

    Eugene Robinson: In allegedly faking his attack, Smollett grievously injured countless others


    Washington • I hope actor Jussie Smollett gets the psychological help he apparently needs. And I hope authorities in Chicago throw the book at him, because the lies he is accused of telling will likely bring great harm to innocent victims.Smollett’s...

    Washington • I hope actor Jussie Smollett gets the psychological help he apparently needs. And I hope authorities in Chicago throw the book at him, because the lies he is accused of telling will likely bring great harm to innocent victims.

    Smollett’s arrest Thursday for allegedly filing a false police report came as no surprise. His improbable tale — he said he was accosted last month by two men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs, beat him up, put a noose around his neck and doused him with bleach, with one of the men saying that “this is MAGA [Make America Great Again] country” — sounded like a page from the first draft of a rejected screenplay.

    Real life doesn't happen that way. Actual white supremacists and homophobes don't stroll through the streets of Chicago on a bitterly cold night, carrying a hate-crimes kit of rope and Clorox, hoping to chance upon someone who is black, gay and modestly famous. They don't hurl perfectly scripted insults. They don't vanish without a trace.

    The minute I heard Smollett's story, I suspected it would eventually fall apart — and I feared the potential consequences for genuine victims of genuine hate crimes.

    Smollett was arrested just one day after federal authorities released evidence of the kind of grave threat that really does exist. They announced the arrest of Christopher Hasson, a 49-year-old U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-described white nationalist, for allegedly amassing a deadly arsenal in his Silver Spring, Maryland, home and planning to assassinate a list of public officials and journalists, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

    The menace of such white-supremacist terrorism is real and growing. Debacles such as Smollett's apparent hoax do nothing but provide excuses to ignore the threat.

    Were the news media too credulous in their initial reporting about Smollett's claim? Not necessarily. A well-known person reported being assaulted, and Chicago police said they were taking his story seriously. Smollett had suffered some minor injuries and been treated at a hospital. I don't know what reporters were supposed to do except report the facts as far as they were known — absent concrete evidence that those facts were actually fabrications.

    Police now say that the scratches on Smollett's face were self-inflicted and that he paid two men $3,500 to rough him up — gently — so he could become more famous and demand more money for his role in the Fox television series "Empire." But nobody knew that at first. When new facts gradually emerged that cast doubt on Smollett's account, those facts were reported.

    I also don't blame the fellow "Empire" cast members who stood by Smollett. It is only natural to want to support a friend and colleague who is in crisis.

    But politicians who rushed to use Smollett's account as a shocking sign of the times — Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., both called it an "attempted modern-day lynching," for example — were foolish to do so. The story was shaky from the beginning, and a little early caution would have made unnecessary a lot of eventual backpedaling.

    Was there, in general, an eagerness to believe Smollett because of the atmosphere President Trump has created? Probably — and, I would argue, quite understandably.

    According to the FBI, there were 7,175 hate-crime incidents in this country in 2017 — a big jump from 2016, when there were 6,121 such incidents. (Those figures surely minimize the real problem, since many jurisdictions do not report hate crimes to the FBI at all.) Regarding incidents in 2017 in which victims were targeted because of race, 2,013 attacks were against African-Americans versus 741 against whites. Of incidents in which victims were targeted because of religion, the vast majority were against Jews and Muslims. There were more than a thousand anti-LGBT incidents versus just 32 classified as anti-heterosexual.

    No, Trump isn't telling people to go out and commit hate crimes. But the white-supremacist lunatic who killed 11 innocent Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue last October was apparently motivated, somehow, by Trump's apocalyptic rhetoric about illegal immigration. It's not hard to see why, to some, Smollett's story might have seemed plausible.

    Trump didn't actually put words in Smollett's mouth, though. The actor allegedly made the decision to lie and should now face the consequences.

    Police officials in Chicago, where the murder rate is out of control, had to waste time and resources on a wild goose chase. Even worse, the next victim of an actual hate crime might not be believed. By allegedly feigning injury to himself, Smollett grievously injured untold others.


    Eugene Robinson

    Eugene Robinson’s email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.

    (c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

    A West Valley City man faces a felony assault charge after he was red-carded during a soccer game


    A red card in a soccer game has turned into a felony charge in 3rd District Court for a West Valley City man.Ethan Eli Harris, 41, was charged with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, after throwing an opposing player to the ground and breaking...

    A red card in a soccer game has turned into a felony charge in 3rd District Court for a West Valley City man.

    Ethan Eli Harris, 41, was charged with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, after throwing an opposing player to the ground and breaking his collarbone in an adult-league soccer match.

    According to court documents, that opposing player filed a complaint after the Oct. 27 incident at Falcon Park in Sandy. The man said he and Harris were competing for the ball, and that after he won control “he felt Harris collide with him and push him hard from the back, which is all part of the game.”

    But after the contact, “Harris grabbed him from the back, wrapping his arms around him,” picked him up “and threw him to the ground like a martial artist.” And that broke his collar bone.

    The referee, who issued Harris a red card, ejecting him from the game, confirmed to police that the incident happened as the victim described. The referee said Harris claimed the victim had “elbowed him in the throat,” but that he “did not see anything like that happen.”

    West High student honored for quick action that saved the life of an injured motorist


    Felix Ortiz, a West High School junior, was honored Thursday on the floor of the Utah Senate for his quick action to save the life of a car-crash victim in Salt Lake City earlier this week.Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, presented a citation to...

    Felix Ortiz, a West High School junior, was honored Thursday on the floor of the Utah Senate for his quick action to save the life of a car-crash victim in Salt Lake City earlier this week.

    Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, presented a citation to honor Ortiz.

    The young hero on Tuesday pulled over at a crash on the 600 north on-ramp to northbound I-15, where a car had flipped over. Approaching the car before first responders arrived, Ortiz spotted a man inside who had started to foam at the mouth and turn purple.

    Without hesitation, Ortiz pulled the man — who had suffered a medical emergency before crashing — from the car and checked for a pulse. Not finding one, he performed CPR – the first time he had done so on a person after taking a class on the procedure.

    He was able to get the man breathing and he was taken to the hospital.

    Bill on its way to the Senate would help local governments enforce their anti-idling ordinances


    A bill that would make it slightly easier for local governments to enforce their anti-idling ordinances is on its way to the Senate after passing the House on Tuesday with a 40-29 vote.Rep. Patrice Arent, the proposal’s sponsor, said research has shown...

    A bill that would make it slightly easier for local governments to enforce their anti-idling ordinances is on its way to the Senate after passing the House on Tuesday with a 40-29 vote.

    Rep. Patrice Arent, the proposal’s sponsor, said research has shown that vehicle emissions contribute a large portion of the state’s air pollution. But she noted that cities that do have anti-idling ordinances have a hard time enforcing them because of restrictions in state law.

    “The current law requires three warning tickets before [law enforcement officers] can even give a very minor citation,” Arent, D-Millcreek, told colleagues on the House floor. “So let’s say a car got three warning tickets in Logan and three warning tickets in Holladay and three warning tickets in Salt Lake and now they’re in Sandy. There’s no knowledge by the Sandy officers that the warning tickets have happened.”

    HB148 would require a single warning citation before police can charge a fine. But the proposal doesn’t address the challenge officers face in tracking citations across cities.

    “And that’s the reason you need to change [the citation number],” Arent told The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday. “Because there is no tracking mechanism.”

    Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvestrini said his city has declined to pass an anti-idling ordinance over concerns that it would be impossible for officers to enforce and would mostly be symbolic.

    “You can pass a bill just as a message and this is a good message,” he told The Tribune. “Not to say that we shouldn’t be educating people about idling. But I was just concerned that the way the state law was set up was unenforceable" and would waste officers’ time.

    But if Arent’s bill passes, Silvestrini said he thinks the council would be “much more inclined” to consider approving an anti-idling ordinance, as a number of his residents have requested.

    A stricter version of Arent’s proposal, which would have eliminated the requirement for any warning citations, initially failed in committee. This iteration is a “compromise bill,” Arent told lawmakers on Tuesday — one that she noted has support from air-quality organizations, multiple municipalities and the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

    Sandy City Councilman Zach Robinson said the anti-idling measure the city passed last March has been “very well received” in the community. But even under one of the strictest such ordinances in Salt Lake County, Sandy residents “know they can’t essentially get a ticket because of the way the law is written right now,” Robinson told lawmakers as he urged them to support Arent’s bill.

    Drivers are prohibited in Sandy from idling their car’s engine for more than one minute on public property or private property open to the public. Exemptions include traffic, use of law enforcement and fire equipment vehicles and repairing or inspecting a car.

    At least four other municipalities in the county have citywide idle-free ordinances: Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, Holladay and Murray. All allow for a two-minute idle before a driver comes into violation.

    HB148 will now move to the Senate for further consideration.

    Lawyer: Panhandler banned from Deleware city despite 2014 DOJ finding


    Wilmington, Del. • An attorney says his client continues to be banned from a Delaware city for panhandling, despite a 2014 state Department of Justice finding calling that ban unconstitutional.The News Journal on Wednesday obtained the 2014 pleading...

    Wilmington, Del. • An attorney says his client continues to be banned from a Delaware city for panhandling, despite a 2014 state Department of Justice finding calling that ban unconstitutional.

    The News Journal on Wednesday obtained the 2014 pleading saying Wilmington's citywide no-contact bail condition was unconstitutional as applied to Shawn Burgan. In 2012, Burgan's public defender, Daniel Strumpf, fought back against Burgan's repeated arrests for loitering by arguing the charge restricted Burgan's free speech.

    When the state DOJ agreed with Strumpf, Burgan's charges were dropped. But Strumpf says Burgan is still banned from Wilmington and has been arrested for allegedly violating the geographic no-contact order.

    A DOJ spokesman says department pleadings are not binding on the courts. But the ACLU and other groups are now investigating Wilmington’s anti-panhandling laws and no-contact orders.

    Behind the Headlines: Lawmaker expects Utah hate crimes bill to meet with opposition in Senate


    A Utah hate crimes bill clears another hurdle, but its sponsor says he expects a fight on the senate floor. Lawmakers unveil a proposal ban so-called conversion therapy. And the Sandy City Council opens an investigation into the city’s response to...

    A Utah hate crimes bill clears another hurdle, but its sponsor says he expects a fight on the senate floor. Lawmakers unveil a proposal ban so-called conversion therapy. And the Sandy City Council opens an investigation into the city’s response to contaminated water.

    At 9 a.m. on Friday, Salt Lake Tribune senior managing editor Matt Canham, reporter Taylor Stevens, and columnist George Pyle join KCPW’s Roger McDonough to talk about the week’s top stories. Every Friday at 9 a.m., stream “Behind the Headlines” at kcpw.org, or tune in to KCPW 88.3 FM or Utah Public Radio for the broadcast. Join the live conversation by calling (801) 355-TALK.

    After two prior losses to the Thunder, the Jazz want to set a post-All Star break tone by winning in OKC on Friday


    Oklahoma City • When the Jazz played the Thunder for the first time this season on Dec. 10, their inability to handle OKC’s pressure defense led to a rash of early turnovers and a not-that-close 122-113 loss.When the teams met again less than two...

    Oklahoma City • When the Jazz played the Thunder for the first time this season on Dec. 10, their inability to handle OKC’s pressure defense led to a rash of early turnovers and a not-that-close 122-113 loss.

    When the teams met again less than two weeks later, on Dec. 22, the Jazz’s inability to diffuse a Paul George offensive explosion resulted in yet another defeat, albeit this time by only a 107-106 margin.

    So it’s safe to say that, when the Northwest Division rivals meet up for the third of four matchups this season on Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Jazz know all too well that — going against a team featuring a Most Valuable Player candidate and a point guard on a historic run of triple-doubles — nothing is going to come easy.

    “OKC is one of the best teams in the league,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “And they’ve gotten better as the year’s gone on.”

    Indeed, the Thunder’s .649 winning percentage is sixth-best in the NBA, and after winning eight of its past 10 games, the team has firmly established itself in the top tier of the Western Conference. Oklahoma City is four games behind first-place Golden State, two games behind second-place Denver, and three games ahead of fourth-place Portland.

    A big reason for it all is the impressive ascension of Paul George.

    After spurning free agency last summer to re-sign with the Thunder, George has taken his game to another level this season. He is second in the league in points per game, at 28.7, and is first in steals, with 2.3. The eighth-year forward out of Fresno State is also averaging 8.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He’s also third in the NBA with 218 total 3-pointers made, and he is converting his deep attempts 40.6 percent of the time.

    “Paul George is playing at an MVP level,” said Jazz center Rudy Gobert. “He’s having an amazing season on both ends.”

    Utah has experienced it firsthand.

    In the teams’ previous meeting, George hit a series of increasingly improbable shots en route to a 22-point third quarter that helped swing a 79-70 Jazz lead to a 93-81 Thunder advantage. He would finish with a mind-boggling stat line of 43 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, and five steals.

    Needless to say, George has been so transcendent this season, he’s reduced Russell Westbrook — a former league MVP merely averaging a triple-double for a third consecutive season — to secondary status on the team.

    Westbrook is averaging 21.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, and a league-leading 11.2 assists per game. He’s also second in the NBA (behind only George) with 2.2 steals.

    And the point guard has muscled his way back into the headlines by setting a new NBA record with a triple-double in 11 straight games — with a chance to get No. 12 on Friday.

    And in spite all of that, Snyder said the UCLA product’s best attribute may be his leadership.

    “The way that Russell is connecting the entire group, he keeps them at such a high level competitively that it’s allowed their other players to continue to improve,” said Snyder.

    While much of the focus on the Thunder this year has been their high-flying offense — their 115.4 ppg rank fifth in the NBA, after all — the team has taken the next step because of its improvement on the other end.

    OKC leads the league with 10.2 steals per game. And its 105.2 defensive rating is the NBA’s third-best.

    In their first meeting vs. the Jazz this season, the Thunder forced 19 turnovers in the game’s first three quarters.

    “They’re physical, they’re fast, they lead the league in steals; they play defense differently than some other teams do, so that’s always a bit of an adjustment,” said Snyder. “… We have tremendous respect for them as a team. We’ve had some tough games with them. … Any time you get to play one of the top teams in the league — and that’s what they are, they’re as good as anybody, that fact isn’t lost on us — you get a chance to measure yourself and learn more about your team in a really intensely competitive situation; that’s where you find out about yourself.”

    Gobert, for one, is especially eager to see what the Jazz can do this time around. Nothing will surprise him, though.

    “They’re gonna be ready for us,” he said. “And we’re gonna be ready for them.”

    Utah’s seniors want to end their Huntsman Center careers Sunday on a high note, because that would mean they’ve climbed above the WNIT.


    Erika Bean has watched three sets of her Utah women's basketball teammates go through Senior Night ceremonies at the Huntsman Center, only to return for more home games.The current Ute seniors can only hope Sunday’s game vs. Washington State is their...

    Erika Bean has watched three sets of her Utah women's basketball teammates go through Senior Night ceremonies at the Huntsman Center, only to return for more home games.

    The current Ute seniors can only hope Sunday’s game vs. Washington State is their last appearance in the Huntsman Center. Any other home games would mean Utah is relegated to the WNIT for a fourth straight season in coach Lynne Roberts’ tenure, after the Utes were well-positioned for much more as of earlier this month.

    Utah will host Washington on Friday night and WSU on Sunday afternoon, in the scheduled farewell for four seniors: Bean, the only four-year, active player in the group; Megan Huff and Daneesha Provo, who redshirted after transferring from other schools; and Sarah Porter, who joined the team this season as a graduate transfer. They’ve all contributed to Utah’s growth, although the Utes (18-7, 7-7 Pac-12) have missed Provo’s scoring after she was lost for the season with a knee injury in the team’s conference opener Jan. 4.

    “It’s a great group,” Roberts said. “They’re just all about elevating the program.”

    They’ve driven the Utes’ improvement to the top half of a tough conference. Even with a six-game losing streak that reached a stunning level last Sunday at Arizona State, where Utah lost an 18-point lead in the last eight minutes, the seniors have shown what’s possible.

    Bean is proud to “finish up my career on good terms, just knowing that the program is in the right place, going forward,” she said.

    Ute senior Erika Bean on playing through the team's tough times lately. pic.twitter.com/seehpDhuuA

    — Kurt Kragthorpe (@tribkurt) February 21, 2019

    Huff is a WNBA prospect, having averaged 19.4 points and 9.8 rebounds this season, even with more being asked of her in Provo’s absence. She learned to be a more assertive leader, and has reminded her teammates during the losing streak that “nothing’s changed; we’re the same team” that once stood 18-1.

    With only eight active players on the roster, Porter has become a rotation regular in her move from UC Santa Barbara and adjusting to this level of basketball. “It's clear; you can see the difference, coming from a mid-major to the Pac-12,” she said.

    The unrelenting competition has hit home for Utah lately. Listed as a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament in ESPN's Bracketology two weeks ago, the Utes have fallen out of the projected field. They're still considered the No. 2 team among “the first four out,” though. Playing their way back into the field undoubtedly would require wins over Washington and Washington State this weekend, plus strong performances next week at UCLA and USC and in the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.

    Losses to highly ranked Oregon and Oregon State on the road didn't hurt the Utes' credentials at all. Falling at home to USC and UCLA didn't even harm them that much. But a loss at Arizona, followed by a total collapse at ASU, now have threatened to ruin Utah's season.

    Failing to reach the NCAA Tournament would be a major letdown, just because of where the Utes once stood. In recovering from Sunday’s defeat, Roberts has avoided any NCAA-related commentary, but she’s well aware of what’s available to the Utes — if they can win just one game, as a start.

    Friday is their next chance to reverse the downturn. As Provo said, “These last three years have taught me a lot about myself, and it is amazing to look back and see how far I’ve come.”

    The same is true of her teammates, with more to do.


    Tribune Editorial: Utah Legislature should leave the locals alone. Mostly.


    The Constitution of the United States only mentions two levels of government: The federal government and “the several States.”That means that the powers and responsibilities of cities, counties, school districts, townships, regional planning...

    The Constitution of the United States only mentions two levels of government: The federal government and “the several States.”

    That means that the powers and responsibilities of cities, counties, school districts, townships, regional planning authorities and mosquito abatement districts are, by law, no more and no less than each state’s legislature agrees to give them.

    But that doesn’t mean that every limitation the Utah Legislature may feel like imposing upon the several levels of local government is a good idea. Sometimes, legislation that state lawmakers may describe as limiting the overreach of a local government are themselves overreaches by the state into the rightful, if not constitutionally guaranteed, ability of local governments to set their own standards and policies and be answerable to their own constituents.

    The current session of the Utah Legislature is considering a handful of such incursions. Mostly they serve little purpose other than to show off the lawmakers’ power and actually weaken the ability of the people to petition the government closest to them for a redress of grievances.

    Sometimes, though, a statewide standard can be a good idea. Because its a good idea. Not because it’s statewide.

    Some examples:

    • Bad idea: A state law that would prohibit cities and counties from regulating or banning the establishment or expansion of sand and gravel pits, on the grounds that such animals are “critical infrastructure.”

    The fact that the sponsor of House Bill 288, Rep. Logan Wilde, may stand to profit from the expansion of the Geneva Rock operation in Draper makes the bill that much smellier. But, even without that apparent conflict of interest, telling local authorities that they have no choice in the matter is not good government.

    • Bad idea: A proposed state law — House Bill 320 — that would prohibit cities and counties from prohibiting the single-use plastic shopping bags that are befouling the environment and making waste management that much more difficult for local government to handle.

    So far, only Park City and Moab — arguably among the more liberal and environmentally minded communities in the state — have passed such bag bans. Logan is among those that may follow. This is an idea whose time may or may not have come, but it should be up to the communities to make that decision.

    • Bad idea: A state law that would tell local units of government that they could not take a position on federal land use decisions without first seeking the by-your-leave of the state.

    The proposal — Rep. Carl Albrecht’s House Bill 78 — has taken on special importance now that the San Juan County Commission has an elected majority of Democrat/Navajo members who, unlike their Republican/Anglo predecessors, really like the original idea of the Bears Ears National Monument and recently voted to support the return of the monument, covering even more acres than it was originally.

    But, even without that change in the political landscape, locally elected officials can’t be really representing their constituents if they aren’t allowed to have a voice in such matters. Something most Utah lawmakers were in favor of when those locally elected officials were Republicans.

    • Not a bad idea: A bill that would push cities to consider the need for more — a lot more — affordable housing projects in the state as the plan and build.

    The measure — Sen. Jake Anderegg’s Senate Bill 34 — would give communities several options for fulfilling that obligation, something that most urban areas are moving toward anyway. It would also put some of the state’s money where it’s mouth is, which matters at least as much as any city’s plans.

    • Good idea: Senate Bill 155, a proposal from Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, would mandate that every animal shelter in the state make easily accessible to the public their standard reports on how many animals were received, adopted, euthanized or otherwise died.

    This is a basic open records measure, which is generally a good idea. In an age when nearly every government record is born and lives in a computer, making such things available to the public should be automatic.

    Bagley Cartoon: Partners in Crime

    Bagley Cartoon: Partners in Crime


    This Pat Bagley cartoon appears in The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. You can check out the past 10 Bagley editorial cartoons below:Purity VotersBetween a Woman and Her DoctorGOP Tax ScamThrowing Serious ShadeHatch-backers Donor MobileRoad...

    This Pat Bagley cartoon appears in The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. You can check out the past 10 Bagley editorial cartoons below:

    Purity VotersBetween a Woman and Her DoctorGOP Tax ScamThrowing Serious ShadeHatch-backers Donor MobileRoad to the White HouseThe Beatings Will ContinueOur Radioactive Politics Paradigm LostInterior Design

    Want more Bagley? Become a fan on Facebook.

    U of U alum Doug Bowser to take over Nintendo’s U.S. division


    Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk famously suggested that there is a high likelihood that humanity is living within a computer simulation.On Thursday, Nintendo offered some evidence to bolster that theory as it announced that Reggie Fils-Aime will step...

    Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk famously suggested that there is a high likelihood that humanity is living within a computer simulation.

    On Thursday, Nintendo offered some evidence to bolster that theory as it announced that Reggie Fils-Aime will step down in April as president of the company's U.S. division. Taking his place?

    Doug Bowser.

    Bowser serves as senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nintendo of America, and will take over April 15, according to the company.

    "We will continue to build on [Fils-Aime's] work to evolve and expand our brand, furthering Nintendo's global mission of creating smiles," Bowser said.

    On Twitter, Nintendo fans reacted with mock outrage over the sudden takeover of the company by one of its most iconic villains, and with gratitude toward Fils-Aime, one of Nintendo's most visible officials for the past decade.

    Fils-Aime began at Nintendo more than 15 years ago, serving in the company's marketing department and eventually assuming the role of president of Nintendo's U.S. division in 2006 - months before the launch of the Nintendo Wii. In a statement, Fils-Aime said his departure was "not 'game over' for me, but instead 'leveling up' to [spend] more time with my wife, family and friends."

    Bowser takes the reins at a remarkably successful time for Nintendo of America. Bowser led the company's U.S. marketing when it launched its Nintendo Switch console in 2017 to a widely popular reception; the company has sold more than 32 million Switches, making it one of Nintendo's most successful devices.

    Bowser has been known to share in the fun, dressing up in Bowser costumes for Halloween - "What did you expect me to wear . . . ?!" - and tweeting good-naturedly about business meetings with people named Mario.

    Nintendo didn’t immediately respond to questions about whether this Bowser breathes fire.

    BYU women’s basketball is back on track after midseason slump, and junior Brenna Chase’s contributions are a big reason why


    Provo • Brenna Chase took a little good-natured teasing from her teammates and classmates at Colorado’s Broomfield High when she accepted a women’s basketball scholarship offer from Brigham Young University despite not being a member of the faith...

    Provo • Brenna Chase took a little good-natured teasing from her teammates and classmates at Colorado’s Broomfield High when she accepted a women’s basketball scholarship offer from Brigham Young University despite not being a member of the faith that owns and operates BYU.

    But look who’s laughing now.

    Chase, a 5-foot-9 junior guard, is a key member of the Cougars’ surprising 20-6 team, which is alone in second place in the West Coast Conference standings heading into Saturday’s home game against San Diego (2 p.m., BYUtv) and coming off another win — this time on the road — over No. 13-ranked Gonzaga.

    “In Colorado, there is a stigma regarding LDS culture, and people were like, ‘why are you going there? You have so many other options.’ I told them this was the best option for me, the best fit, and it still is,” said Chase, the WCC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after she scored 38 points and made 11 3-pointers last week in road wins over Portland and Gonzaga.

    Having earned First Team All-WCC honors last year after averaging 13.5 points per game, Chase has adjusted her playing style a bit this year to accommodate the arrival of freshman phenom Shaylee Gonzales (16.3) and rise of fellow junior guard Paisley Johnson (14.3). She is shooting less and not handling the ball as much, but is still averaging 12.4 points per game and should repeat on the all-conference team, coach Jeff Judkins said.

    “Brenna is a team player,” Judkins said. “She wants to win. That’s all she cares about. I thought she would be the leading scorer on our team this year, but people have guarded her more closely, won’t give her as many open looks, and Shaylee and Paisley have come in and taken a lot of that [scoring] pressure off her.”

    Chase’s 68 3-pointers leads the team, and she made a season-high seven against Portland, on 11 attempts.

    “When I recruited Brenna, I didn’t think she would be that good of a shooter,” Judkins said. “I thought she would be more of a driver. But she’s really developed her all-around game by working hard and getting herself ready to shoot.”

    Johnson said Chase has the quickest trigger in the West.

    “She just gets her shots off so quickly,” Johnson said. “I love playing with Brenna. She’s such a leader on the court, and she’s able to hold me accountable for my actions on the court, keeps me level-headed.”

    Growing up in Thornton, Colo., basketball is all Chase ever knew, she said, and the only sport she played. Her father, Andrew, played high school basketball, and her mother, Susanne, played and coached basketball. Her sisters, Autumn and Jasmine, also played. Autumn played college basketball at Metropolitan State before an ACL injury cut short her career.

    “I was born in the gym, grew up in the gym,” Brenna said. “I played every minute I could.”

    Judkins learned about Chase from a coaching acquaintance who didn’t have room on his roster for her, then watched her play in a summer all-star game in Portland. A scholarship offer followed shortly.

    Chase went on her official visit in September 2015, and was one of the students who rushed the field after BYU’s football team upset Boise State with some last-minute heroics by Tanner Mangum and Kai Nacua.

    “I loved it, and I loved my visit so much,” she said. “I actually didn’t know a lot about the LDS religion. I went to a [Catholic] school grades K-8. It was definitely a culture shock when I first got here, and even on my recruiting visit a little bit. But it is a great environment for being a good person. People here are super nice and everybody has good moral standards. It’s been good.”

    Chase said when her playing days are over, she wants to coach basketball at the college level. She’s majoring in exercise and wellness with that goal in mind.

    “I just love the game,” she said. “For me, it has always been a super big part of my life, and what I do. … I watch film all the time. I try to be a gym rat, but it is hard with school and things.”


    Michael Jackson estate lawsuit sues HBO over documentary


    Los Angeles • The estate of Michael Jackson on Thursday sued HBO over a documentary about two men who accuse the late pop superstar of molesting them when they were boys, saying the film violates a 1992 contract to air a Jackson concert.The lawsuit...

    Los Angeles • The estate of Michael Jackson on Thursday sued HBO over a documentary about two men who accuse the late pop superstar of molesting them when they were boys, saying the film violates a 1992 contract to air a Jackson concert.

    The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges that by co-producing and airing “Leaving Neverland,” as HBO intends to do next month, the cable channel is breaching a deal to not disparage the singer. The decades-old contract allowed the cable network to air “Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour” and included language that HBO would not disparage Jackson at any future point.

    According to the suit, the film implies Jackson molested children on the very tour that the concert footage came from.

    "It is hard to imagine a more direct violation of the non-disparagement clause," says the suit, which asks the court to order arbitration and says damages could exceed $100 million.

    The film premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where its subjects Wade Robson and James Safechuck received a standing ovation and took questions afterward along with director Dan Reed. The first installment of the four-hour documentary will first air on HBO on March 3, with the second half airing the following night. Britain’s Channel 4 will air it around the same time.

    HBO did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, but the channel has consistently defended the documentary in the face of complaints from the estate.

    The lawsuit states in its opening sentence that "Michael Jackson is innocent. Period," and goes on to recount the criminal investigation and 2005 trial in which Jackson was acquitted, highlighting the conflicting statements through the years of Robson and Safechuck, who are described as "admitted perjurers" in the suit. Both men told authorities that Jackson did not molest them, later claiming they were abused in lawsuits filed after the singer's death and in graphic detail in "Leaving Neverland."

    It also reiterates the estate's position that it was irresponsible for the film not to include any defense of Jackson from those who knew him or further fact checks of the men.

    HBO responded with a statement saying its plans to air "Leaving Neverland" remain unchanged.

    "Dan Reed is an award-winning filmmaker who has carefully documented these survivors' accounts," the network's statement said. "People should reserve judgment until they see the film."

    Reed is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

    “Michael is an easy target because he is not here to defend himself, and the law does not protect the deceased from defamation, no matter how extreme the lies are,” the lawsuit states. “Michael may not have lived his life according to society’s norms, but genius and eccentricity are not crimes.”

    2 more women accuse R. Kelly of sexual misconduct in 1990s


    New York • Two women say singer R. Kelly picked them out of a crowd at a Baltimore after-party in the mid-1990s when they were underage and had sex with one of the teens although she was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and could not...

    New York • Two women say singer R. Kelly picked them out of a crowd at a Baltimore after-party in the mid-1990s when they were underage and had sex with one of the teens although she was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and could not consent.

    The women joined lawyer Gloria Allred in New York City on Thursday.

    Their accusations come six weeks after a Lifetime documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” looked at old sexual misconduct allegations against Kelly.

    Latresa Scaff says she was 16 when she and 15-year-old Rochelle Washington attended an R. Kelly concert in Baltimore.

    She says Kelly told them to come to his hotel room, where he had sex with her.

    Kelly’s lawyer, Steve Greenberg, has said his client never knowingly had sex with an underage woman.

    Year 2 is booked: Utah Royals FC release their 2019 NWSL regular season schedule


    Spring is around the corner, meaning the rest of 2019 is promised to be jam-packed with matches at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. On Thursday, the NWSL announced full-season schedules for each of its clubs, including Utah Royals FC.The Royals, who finished...

    Spring is around the corner, meaning the rest of 2019 is promised to be jam-packed with matches at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. On Thursday, the NWSL announced full-season schedules for each of its clubs, including Utah Royals FC.

    The Royals, who finished fifth in their inaugural season at 9-8-7 a year ago, have a Week 1 bye due to the odd number of clubs, meaning they’ll instead make their 2019 debut at home on Saturday, April 20, at Rio Tinto Stadium against the Washington Spirit. Kickoff for the season-opener is scheduled for 7 p.m. The 24-game season is, once again, evenly split with 12 home and away matches. The Royals will face each club three times in 2019.

    Four of Utah’s first six matches of 2019 are at Rio Tinto. Several former in-state talents will be in town to face off against the Royals during that stretch including former BYU star Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), fellow former BYU star Michele Vasconcelos (Chicago Red Stars) and former Alta High product Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash).

    Utah faces reigning NWSL champ, the North Carolina Courage, for the first time on Sunday, May 19, on the road. The Royals were the only team in NWSL to beat the league-best Courage a season ago.

    It is a FIFA Women’s World Cup year, as well, so all NWSL clubs will be heavily affected as their big-name players who eventually get the call for their respective countries will be on international duty for a large portion of the season. The 2019 World Cup in France runs from June 7 to July 7. The Royals will likely be missing a significant portion of its core. U.S. women’s national team staples Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Christen Press will likely be part of the USWNT World Cup squad.

    Other potential Royals who could make World Cup rosters include Scottish defender Rachel Corsie as well as Canadians Desiree Scott and Diana Matheson. A key addition this offseason was the signing of 31-year-old Spanish midfielder Veronica Boquete. Utah returns goal-scorers Amy Rodriguez and Katie Stengel, who led the Royals in goals scored a year ago with six. While they could likely be without a star playmaker like Press for an extended period of time due to this summer’s World Cup, the Royals will benefit from having a dynamic talent for most of the season. Last summer, the Royals acquired Press in June.

    In their first year in the NWSL, the Royals had the league’s second-highest attendance during the regular season. They averaged 9,466 fans per home game.

    ‘Ugly produce’ trend may have limits, as grocers end tests


    Urbandale, Iowa • Is the "ugly produce'" trend already reaching the end of its shelf life in supermarkets?Walmart and Whole Foods in recent years tried selling some blemished fruits and vegetables at a discount, produce they said might otherwise be...

    Urbandale, Iowa • Is the "ugly produce'" trend already reaching the end of its shelf life in supermarkets?

    Walmart and Whole Foods in recent years tried selling some blemished fruits and vegetables at a discount, produce they said might otherwise be trashed because it's not quite the right size, shape or color. But the two chains and others quietly ended their tests, suggesting dented apples and undersized potatoes may not be all that appealing in stores where better looking fruits and vegetables are on display.

    "Customers didn't accept it as much as we had hoped," said Mona Golub of Price Chopper, a grocery chain in the Northeast that also discontinued its offering of ugly produce.

    Still, some stores and home delivery startups haven't given up on the idea of selling less-than-perfect produce to reduce food waste and say they're doing well.

    At a Hy-Vee store in Iowa, a recent display of "Misfits" produce included packs of apples, lemons and oranges that were either too big or small, or otherwise substandard in appearance. A sign explained that "6 million pounds of fresh produce goes unused each year," though the packages didn't specify why the produce might have otherwise been thrown away.

    "I like the cost savings and it is good to help and not throw so much away," said shopper Brian Tice, who bought a pack of small oranges.

    Another shopper, Jamie Shae, said she didn't realize there was anything special about the fruit

    "I happened to see the bags of lemons," said Shae, who was in a rush and grabbed two bags.

    Shopper Joan Hitzel, who was browsing other produce nearby, said she thought the Misfits were a good idea given the tons of food that gets thrown away, but didn't plan to buy any that day.

    The supplier of the Misfits produce to supermarkets, Robinson Fresh, said about 300 grocery locations still sell the fruits and vegetables, including the Hy-Vee stores. Kroger also said it still plans to introduce its "Pickuliar Picks" this spring.

    But among other regional chains that have stopped carrying ugly produce are Meijer in the Midwest, Hannaford based in Maine and Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, which cited "inconsistent customer interest" for pulling the plug on its "Produce with Personality."

    Walmart no longer offers the damaged "I'm Perfect" apples it introduced in Florida in 2016.

    The efforts channeled growing interest in reducing food waste. Government agencies say the best way to reduce waste is to stop producing too much food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 31 percent of the 430 billion pounds of the nation's food supply goes uneaten. That does not include the fruits and vegetables that get tossed at the farm level, before foods reach stores.

    For fruits and vegetables that don't meet supermarket standards, some may get processed for products like juices and some go to food banks. Startups delivering ugly produce say there's so much they're not taking from food banks.

    Shopper preferences may not be the only challenge for ugly produce in supermarkets.

    "Retailers really prize their produce sections," said Imperfect Produce CEO Ben Simon, whose company had partnered with Whole Foods on a test at the chain. Grocers might worry that cheaper produce will cannibalize sales of regular produce, or give off a bad image, he said.

    Delivery startups say they're seeing interest in their services. But they are up against shoppers who inspect the fruits and vegetables they buy and those who worry about all the packaging.

    "I've been food shopping online, and I started thinking about all the boxes, all that cardboard," said Nyasha Wilson, a New York City resident who carefully selects apples for ripeness at a farmer's market.

    The companies say they might at least change shoppers' views on discarded produce. Evan Lutz, CEO of the startup Hungry Harvest, said most of it is just too small or slightly discolored.

    "The vast majority that would go to waste isn't really that ugly," he said.

    Choi reported from New York.

    Eye On The Y: BYU vs. Dixie State in football? Yes, and here’s why that’s not a big surprise


    Eye On The Y is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly newsletter on BYU athletics. Subscribe here.Nothing like some relatively insignificant football scheduling news in February to rekindle the cries of those who think BYU football should return to a...

    Eye On The Y is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly newsletter on BYU athletics. Subscribe here.

    Nothing like some relatively insignificant football scheduling news in February to rekindle the cries of those who think BYU football should return to a conference.

    In case you missed it, the website fbschedules.com did some sleuthing recently and acquired Dixie State University’s contracts for upcoming football games through a government open records request. The St. George school is moving its football program from NCAA Division II status up to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), which is the division local schools Southern Utah and Weber State are in.

    Not surprisingly, one of those DSU contracts is with BYU. The Cougars will pay Dixie State $425,000 to play at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Nov. 12, 2022, according to one of the contracts obtained by FBS.

    As of midday Thursday, neither Dixie State nor BYU had sent out a news release acknowledging the arrangement. The schools did announce the deal via their social media accounts late Wednesday.

    And no sooner had I tweeted out the link to the Future Football Schedules announcement than the “independence isn’t working” crowd got worked up about it.

    Forget the fact that BYU also plays Utah, Baylor, Oregon, Arkansas, Boise State and Stanford in 2022 — Baylor and Arkansas at home — the Cougars shouldn’t be playing an FCS school, they said, perhaps forgetting that a lot of FBS schools play at least one FCS school a year, including Utah.

    When BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe met with reporters last month, shortly after DSU’s announcement, he acknowledged that he was already in discussions with Dixie State officials about a possible game.

    “It would be nice to play them,” he said. “I will take a look at it and maybe make it happen.”

    And so he has.

    And what about Weber State and Southern Utah? Will the Cougars be playing those FCS schools again anytime soon?

    “Yeah, I think it is a good question,” Holmoe said. Weber State athletic director “Jerry Bovee and I are good friends. He’s one of my closest friends in the business. We have played them once. I don’t have anything against playing them. We try to play the local teams. We played Idaho State. Idaho State actually made it very easy for us to play them, which I appreciate. They have saved us a couple of times, and moved a couple of games, and in response we have given them extra games. They have been a benefit to us, and that is just great business."

    I appreciate that they’ve bailed us out a couple times, and I will scratch their back a little bit for that. We have played Southern Utah. We have played Weber. We will play teams locally and regionally, especially in the state, when we can, if we can, when it makes sense."

    Are you ready for some (spring) football?

    Spring practice opens March 4 in Provo, and we’re already starting to look ahead to what the 2019 team will look like with this analysis of why the Cougars need to sign a workhorse running back or two. Of course, the players will get their first look at new offensive line coach Eric Mateos and coaches will give plenty of reps to backup quarterbacks as sophomore phenom Zach Wilson abstains from throwing due to offseason shoulder surgery.

    One of those backups, redshirt freshman Jaren Hall, will compete for the spot while also playing on the Cougars’ baseball team this spring.

    Huge game Thursday night

    After coach Dave Rose’s BYU basketball team faltered in late January with that 93-63 loss to No. 4 Gonzaga, the Cougars have reeled off five straight wins, making each new game even more important as they close in on a possible No. 2 seed for March’s WCC tournament.

    Thursday night’s contest at the Marriott Center against third-place San Francisco fits that description, and Rose deserves credit for engineering the turnaround.

    The Cougars are coming off an impressive two-game road sweep of San Diego and Loyola Marymount, recording a pair of come-from-behind victories.

    They trailed San Diego by as many as 14 points in both halves before pulling out the win, but apparently didn’t learn their lesson from that because they got behind by double-digits two days later before overcoming LMU.

    Dick Harmon of the Deseret News also had some praise for Rose, and the way he has figured out ways to get the season back on track. Darnell Dickson of the Provo Daily Herald has noticed that star forward Yoeli Childs delivers night after night, against all kinds of defensive tactics.

    Quotable

    Rose has lamented several times this season that his team has been prone to panic when it falls behind, especially on the road. But that problem was seemingly solved in Southern California last week:

    “I like the way the team feels,” Rose said. “Even when we come into the huddles during the timeouts when we are behind, the guys are determined. They have got an attitude to where we are not defeated, that we can make this happen, we can overcome, and we finished the two road games off really well, with great execution on both ends of the floor.”

    Around campus

    • Last week was also a big week for BYU’s women’s basketball team, which knocked off No. 13 Gonzaga in Spokane. The Cougars swept the WCC player of the week honors, as TJ Haws claimed the honor on the men’s side and Brenna Chase got it on the women’s side. The BYU women have just one game this week, hosting San Diego on Saturday.

    BYU’s softball team is playing in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in San Diego Thursday through Saturday, attending the tournament for the 11th straight season. The Cougars open against Nebraska on Thursday, followed by Missouri.

    The Cougars walloped UTEP 19-4 and Fordham 11-3 last Saturday in Las Vegas.

    BYU’s revitalized baseball team is in Corpus Christi, Texas, this week for the Kleberg Bank College Classic. The Cougars will play Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (2-3) on Thursday before facing Ohio State (4-0) on Friday. They are also scheduled to play Oral Roberts (3-0) at the tournament, on Saturday.

    Threat allegations keep Coast Guard officer jailed


    Greenbelt, Md. • A Coast Guard officer suspected of drawing up a hit list of top Democrats and network TV journalists spent hours on his work computer researching the words and deeds of infamous bombers and mass shooters while also stockpiling weapons,...

    Greenbelt, Md. • A Coast Guard officer suspected of drawing up a hit list of top Democrats and network TV journalists spent hours on his work computer researching the words and deeds of infamous bombers and mass shooters while also stockpiling weapons, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

    Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, 49, was ordered held without bail on drug and gun charges while prosecutors gather evidence to support more serious charges involving what they portrayed as a domestic terror plot by a man who espoused white-supremacist views.

    Hasson, a former Marine who worked at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington on a program to acquire advanced new cutters for the agency, was arrested last week. Investigators gave no immediate details on how or when he came to their attention.

    Federal agents found 15 guns, including several rifles, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition inside his basement apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland.

    In court papers this week, federal prosecutors said he compiled what appeared to be a computer-spreadsheet hit list that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and presidential hopefuls Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Also mentioned were such figures as MSNBC's Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough and CNN's Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.

    In arguing against bail Thursday, federal prosecutor Jennifer Sykes said Hasson would log onto his government computer during work hours and spend hours searching for information on such people as the Unabomber, the Virginia Tech gunman and anti-abortion bomber Eric Rudolph.

    "This is not an isolated activity," Sykes said, referring to evidence disclosed so far. "This is something that is being done for hours on end while he is at work."

    Calling Hasson a "domestic terrorist," she said the charges so far are just the "tip of the iceberg."

    In court, public defender Julie Stelzig accused prosecutors of making inflammatory accusations against her client without providing the evidence to back them up. She also accused the government of trying to "criminalize thoughts" and perhaps make an example out of Hasson, given criticism that authorities have overlooked domestic terrorists.

    "Perhaps now they can say, 'Look, we're not targeting only Muslims,'" she said.

    Hasson was previously an aircraft mechanic in the Marines, serving from 1988 to 1994.

    Court papers detail a 2017 draft email in which he wrote that he was "dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth." Also, Hasson sent himself a draft letter in 2017 that he had written to a neo-Nazi leader and "identified himself as a White Nationalist for over 30 years and advocated for 'focused violence' in order to establish a white homeland," prosecutors said.

    Last February, he searched the internet for the "most liberal senators" and also asked, "Do senators have ss (Secret Service) protection" and "Are supreme court justices protected," according to the court filing.

    Bob Davis, who rents a house from Hasson in coastal Currituck County, North Carolina, and met him a few times, said he was "absolutely shocked" by the allegations.

    "He was a very stern military guy. That's how I saw him. I truly nothing but respected him. There are people in life who are not 100 percenters. He was a 100 percenter," Davis said, meaning Hasson worked hard and didn't slack off. "He portrayed in a very professional manner. He was honorable. ... He was a good man."

    Associated Press writer Ben Finley in Currituck County, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

    With outstanding lamb korma and samosas, a new Salt Lake City restaurant serves comforting foods from India and Nepal

    With outstanding lamb korma and samosas, a new Salt Lake City restaurant serves comforting foods from India and Nepal


    The transformation of an old Café Rio on 3300 South near 3000 East into the new Gurkhas Indian and Nepali Cuisine is dramatic.Colorful tablecloths and linen napkins adorn the tables while prayer flags hang from the ceiling. The scent of cumin and...

    The transformation of an old Café Rio on 3300 South near 3000 East into the new Gurkhas Indian and Nepali Cuisine is dramatic.

    Colorful tablecloths and linen napkins adorn the tables while prayer flags hang from the ceiling. The scent of cumin and coriander waft in the air.

    Utahns who enjoy Indian food will find something comforting — and familiar — about Gurkhas. Owner Rabi Subedi was a partner in both Himalayan Kitchen and Katmandu restaurants so he knows what Utahns like. And several longtime favorites from those Salt Lake City area eateries now are served at Gurkhas.

    The restaurant gets its name from Nepali soldiers known for their fearless military prowess, so expect to find intriguing items from this South Asia country in the specialties section of the menu, including chow mein ($11.95-$13.95) and momos. The latter are Nepali-style dumplings or potstickers filled with either lamb ($13.95) or chicken ($12.95) and seasoned with ginger, garlic, cilantro and onion. They are an excellent shared item to start a meal.

    We were wowed by the fist-sized lamb samosas ($5.95), the fried pastry bursting with minced lamb and peas. Less memorable were the green chili bhaji ($4.95) battered in chickpea flour and lightly fried. The chilies were medium to hot and overwhelmed our palates. Kids might find the chicken finger-like chicken pakora ($6.95) a great snack or meal with choice of two dipping sauces.

    Naan is in plentiful here. The Gurkhas bread basket ($9.95) comes with four different flavors of bubbly, charred flatbread. The tandoori oven-baked onion and garlic varieties ($2.95 each a la carte) disappeared first as we generously dipped into our curries and kormas, followed by the cheese ($3.95) which required a bit more judicious pairing — leaving only the sweet naan ($4.95) stuffed with cashews, raisins and cherries behind.

    Like Gurkhas predecessors, the restaurant has a vast menu of vegetarian, vegan and sharable entrée choices to which diners can also add chicken, seafood, lamb or paneer (cheese).

    You’ll find filling dishes in an earthy shrimp saag ($15.95) seasoned with just the right combination of ginger, garlic and cilantro or the Himalayan Kitchen favorite butter chicken ($13.95) bathed in a creamy tomato sauce.

    I’d place Gurkhas’ lamb korma ($15.95) as my favorite in the city. Tender chunks of lamb are generously distributed in the creamy curry sauce accented with cashew nuts and plump raisins.

    The chicken coconut korma ($13.95) was a little bland when we ordered it at the mild heat level but it would be a solid choice for someone just venturing into the flavors of Indian cuisine.

    More adventurous diners also will find vindaloo ($12.95), daal ($10.95) and tikka masala ($13.95) selections as well.

    If you enjoy meats prepared in the tandoori oven, the mix special grill ($22.95) allows sampling of juicy chicken legs, chicken tikka, smoky shrimp, fish tikka that was far too dry and barbecued vegetables with a nice char.

    For those wanting to sample more of Gurkhas’ offerings, the large, all-you-can-eat lunch buffet ($10.99) is served from 11:30 to 2:30 Monday through Saturday and includes hot tea or soft drinks. The bone-in goat curry ($14.95) appears on the lunch buffet every Monday and is an a la carte entrée at any time.

    The rice pudding ($3.95) on the dessert menu had just the right amount of sugar, coconut, raisins and cashew nuts to end our dinner on a slightly sweet note. There are also several flavors of Indian ice cream ($4.95).

    Although you won’t have just one server at Gurkhas, we found the overall service to be thoughtful and attentive from the time we were greeted at the door to an invitation to return again soon on our way out. Questions were answered in detail throughout our meal. Personal plates were cleared after our appetizer and replaced with fresh plates for entrees. Water and soft drinks were refilled quickly.

    In Gurkhas, diners will find a plethora of Indian and Nepalese choices that are time-tested favorites in Salt Lake —accessible via dine in or takeout or as part of the midday buffet.

    Heather L. King also owns www.slclunches.com and can be found on social media @slclunches

    Monson: Dennis Erickson is almost 72. He has coached from coast to coast, has won national titles, was a head coach in the NFL — and he is pumped to be leading the Salt Lake Stallions.

    Monson: Dennis Erickson is almost 72. He has coached from coast to coast, has won national titles, was a head coach in the NFL — and he is pumped to be leading the Salt Lake Stallions.


    On the 120-yards-by-53-yards-and-one-foot space inside the boundaries of a football field, and far beyond them, too, Dennis Erickson has witnessed just about every-darn-thing there is to see. He’s experienced darn near everything there is to feel and...

    On the 120-yards-by-53-yards-and-one-foot space inside the boundaries of a football field, and far beyond them, too, Dennis Erickson has witnessed just about every-darn-thing there is to see. He’s experienced darn near everything there is to feel and know.

    Except he’s never coached a whipped-up-from-scratch pro football team — the Salt Lake Stallions — in an infant pro football league — the Alliance of American Football.

    “This,” he said, “is a new adventure.”

    The latest in a professional life full of them.

    In the run-up to mentoring the Stallions, Erickson coached at high schools in three Western states. He coached at colleges — in the mountains, in the desert, on the coast, on the other coast, in the mountains, again, in leagues like the Big Sky and the Big East and the WAC, in the Pac-10 and the Pac-12. He won a couple of national championships at Miami. He helped a storm-ravaged community find hope in rallying around a winner, when Hurricane Andrew destroyed thousands of homes in South Florida, including his own.

    He coached two NFL teams — the Seahawks and the 49ers — and previously turned down offers from two others — the Eagles and the Broncos. He’s lived through great glory and competitive heartbreak. He’s hoisted trophies and packed his bags, won conference titles and hacked through controversy, such as a Pell Grant scandal at Coral Gables. He’s been praised — named his league’s coach of the year at Arizona State — and ripped — sent away a few seasons later. He’s been hired, fired, hired, fired, hired, fired and hired, over and over.

    He’s made a lot of money, and, at times, made virtually nothing as a volunteer.

    He’s been in the blaring spotlight, and in the obscure corners of his profession.

    He’s endured fame and infamy.

    “I met Bear Bryant,” Erickson once told me. “I bowed. The guy was god.”

    The one constant in his life — he turns 72 next month — has been football, a deep passion for a game his father, Robert, also a coach, began teaching him six decades ago.

    He’s coached it for most of the years since.

    All the way back when he was a college quarterback at Montana State in the 1960s, he gripped the football day after day after day, never realizing until many years later that all along, in truth, the football was gripping him.

    Even when Erickson has tried to walk away, he always comes back. Or football boomerangs back to him. He’s personified the words of the Eagles’ — the band, not the team — song, Hotel California. He can check out any time he wants, but he can never leave.

    And so, he hasn’t.

    Now, he’s Salt Lake’s head coach. His old NFL friend Bill Polian talked him into jumping on this last new job, and he was thrilled to do the leaping.

    “What else would I do,” he said.


    Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Assistant head coach Dennis Erickson coaches the running backs during practice Monday August 17. Head coach Kyle Whittingham, behind. (Al Hartmann/)

    Erickson used those exact words — it was more of a statement than a question — nearly seven years ago, when he first was hired by Kyle Whittingham as Utah’s offensive coordinator. At that juncture, he had coached for a mere 44 years, and still hungered for his game.

    After four years as an assistant at Utah, Erickson did retire from coaching, but even then he worked from his home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as an adviser to his son, who is a high school coach. When the AAF was formed last fall, and Erickson discussed the fine points of the league with Polian and Steve Spurrier, who coaches the AAF’s Orlando Apollos. The coaching vet was interested and intrigued. Next thing, he was in it, inked to a contract.

    “It sounded like fun,” he said. “Coaching is what I do. You can only play golf and go fishing for so long. I’m excited about it.”

    Erickson was in on the project from the beginning. He helped put the team together, and had been coaching the Stallions in San Antonio, its preliminary base over the AAF season’s first two weeks. The team, all its coaches, its management, its players, its equipment, moved to Salt Lake City on Thursday, looking ahead to its first home game against Arizona at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday. Thus far, the Stallions are 0-2, showing the rudiments of a strong defense in those road games, but the offense has sputtered, in part because of injuries.

    No big thing, Erickson said. The loose pieces will come together in time.

    The coach said he rates the play in the AAF as “high college level, maybe even higher.”

    “It’s Triple-A pro football,” he said. “A lot of the guys have played in the NFL. The brand of football is really good, the players and coaches are good. To me, it’s pure football. I’m having a lot of fun with it.”

    And he plans on continuing to do so.

    Erickson scoffed at recent reports that claimed the Alliance already is in monetary despair and disrepair: “We’re in good hands financially. Nobody’s worried about it. The guy who came in — Tom Dundon [owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes] — wanted to invest $250 million. He was already involved before this became public.”

    The AAF, then, is for players who want a chance to further a dream, and for people who are still thirsty to watch quality football, after the college season is over, after the NFL playoffs end, after the Super Bowl is done, for those who miss the game in the spring.

    People like Erickson, who enjoys his life away from football, too, hanging out at the lake-side cabin in Idaho, goofing around with the grandkids, doing some golfing and fishing, and during the traditional fall season, watching Utah and BYU football on television, in addition to NFL games.

    “I’m a couch potato on Saturdays,” he said. “I have three TVs and a clicker,” he said. “It’s fun watching my friend Kyle coach at Utah and my friend Kalani [Sitake] coach at BYU. I go visit some of the places I used to coach — places like Miami and Oregon State and others. And I live my life. It’s a good life.”

    It’s even better now, on account of a new opportunity with a new team in a new league that needed him and wanted him to go on doing what he does, doing what he’s always done.

    The statement remains: What else would he do.

    GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.

    Utah’s Parker Van Dyke never passes up a big shot. And the Utes are glad he doesn’t.


    It dawned on him, as it dawns on everyone who came before him, that while yes, he’s having the time of his life, living out this childhood dream he considers himself lucky to be living, the calendar is shifting toward spring and that means soon Parker...

    It dawned on him, as it dawns on everyone who came before him, that while yes, he’s having the time of his life, living out this childhood dream he considers himself lucky to be living, the calendar is shifting toward spring and that means soon Parker Van Dyke will have to embrace change.

    Everything he’s ever known, though, is red, whether it be the campus near his childhood home, the ear-splitting din inside the Huntsman Center or those frosty fall nights inside Rice-Eccles Stadium. So when he finally can no longer block out the inevitability of what is to come — the end of his career as a Utah Ute — he has decided that the only way to manage the moment is to stare it down and embrace it.

    And Van Dyke has.

    If you pay attention to Utah basketball, or if you’ve watched SportsCenter in the last couple weeks, you’ll have noticed the 6-foot-3 senior splashing 3’s, playing unafraid, letting loose shots from distance that he says every time he flicks his right wrist it just feels right and it’s easy to understand. Parker Van Dyke, who has hit 19 3-pointers in his last five games, is on fire.

    “There’s no time to not be confident, to be timid, to have any sense of complacency,” Van Dyke explained, “because it’s going to be gone just like that. I think it’s really just me trying to enjoy this thing, and that approach has really just freed up my mind.”

    There will still be plenty of moments for him to remember, still shots to make, and with March around the corner, the madness begs for heroes — a role in which Van Dyke has stepped into for the Utes. The buzzer-beating 3-pointer at UCLA on February 10 immediately thrust him into Utah lore, a program pedestal where his Ute heroes have long resided. It capped off a comeback that was a few minutes earlier, by all logic, impossible. And he did it in Pauley Pavilion of all places, a legendary home of hoops, and from now on, every time Utah travels to Westwood, Calif., the game notes will always list Van Dyke’s big shot. A self-acknowledged Utah basketball history buff made some of his own.

    Naturally, it was the No. 1 play on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays that night. It had to be.

    “That is my first time,” he said of a starring role on SportsCenter. “Maybe my only time. Definitely a surreal feeling and not many people can say that, or add that to their resume, so it’s something that I’ll always remember and pass it on to future generations.”

    Van Dyke, one of just three seniors on a team that, at times, starts as many as three true freshman, is showing the young guns how it’s done at Utah. Not that they need hand-holding or extra guidance, it just helps that when you have a personality like Van Dyke, you utilize him in more scenarios than freeing him up in the corner for another open 3.

    Good morning, @UtahMBB fans. ☀️

    No, it was not a dream.

    Yes, Parker Van Dyke really did that. 👏 pic.twitter.com/YHzaaKYVbe

    — Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) February 10, 2019

    His advice, and it seems to be paying off, is this: embrace the grind.

    Here are some other Parker Van Dyke tenets of figuring it all out:

    • “There are no little things.”

    • “Just put your trust in the system and into the process.”

    • “Allow yourself to be coachable.”

    • “Really just try to have a good attitude about everything.”

    • “Day by day, month by month, you’re going to develop and you’re going to get better.”

    Said former teammate Justin Bibbins: “From taking a charge or diving for a loose ball to hitting a big 3-pointer, you can rely on him when his number is called, and I believe that is something important that helps a team win.”

    Van Dyke is everything encapsulated in Utah’s program under coach Larry Krystkowiak.

    “It’s all-encompassing — it’s hard,” Krystkowiak said this week. “For him to be playing well and hitting shots, I don’t think it’s an accident. I’ve always said you’re going to earn what you get and get what you earn, and there’s no reason that we can’t all cheer for that kid and be happy that he’s having some success and also not be surprised and just say, ‘Hey, that’s kind of the way you’re supposed to handle your business and represent your school.’”

    Van Dyke, too, helped build Krystkowiak’s model at Utah. He was one of the early, premier in-state recruits who chose red. Back then, as a star at nearby East High, he was the do-it-all guy, the scorer, the facilitator, the man. He embraced that role because he had to. Growing up on the star-studded AAU circuit playing with the likes of Nick Emery and TJ Haws, Van Dyke was the distributor. At Utah, he later had to figure out his role over several years. He left on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after his freshman year and returned to have to find different ways to get on the floor and make game-changing plays.

    “Now to see him be the person who is relied to put the shot up is pretty cool,” said Parker’s father, Paul.

    Like his son, Paul Van Dyke isn’t letting anything get lost in the fray in regards to his son’s career. This is what they all imagined decades ago. It’s meant to be, he said, because why else would Parker wear No. 5 (in honor of Utah great Josh Grant) or be playing for the coach in Tommy Connor who taught youth basketball camps before Parker was even in elementary school. Utah legend Arnie Ferrin is their neighbor, too.

    “He just seems to have a grasp of the magnitude of it all,” Paul Van Dyke said, “and he’s been able to keep his feet on the ground and not be overwhelmed by it.”

    How many guaranteed games left in that jersey are unknown, but he’s not thinking about it right now. He’s instead focused on the now, not what might happen when this era of life ends. He’s into freeing up his mind and freeing himself up from opponents and letting shots fly and thinking of the impending splash.

    “It’s my school,” Van Dyke said, “in my city.”

    Pope Francis offers 21 proposals to fight abuse at start of summit


    Vatican City • Pope Francis opened a landmark sex abuse prevention summit Thursday by offering senior Catholic leaders 21 proposals to punish predators and keep children safe, warning that the faithful are demanding concrete action and not just...

    Vatican City • Pope Francis opened a landmark sex abuse prevention summit Thursday by offering senior Catholic leaders 21 proposals to punish predators and keep children safe, warning that the faithful are demanding concrete action and not just words.

    (Read the 21 proposals here.)

    The tone for the high stakes, four-day summit was set at the start, with victims from five continents — Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and North America — telling the bishops of the trauma of their abuse and the additional pain the church’s indifference caused them.

    “Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice,” Francis told the gathering of 190 leaders of bishops conferences and religious orders.

    “The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established.”

    More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia, and 20 years after it hit the U.S., bishops and Catholic officials in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia still either deny that clergy sex abuse exists in their regions or play down the problem.

    Francis, the first Latin American pope, called the summit after he himself botched a well-known sex abuse cover-up case in Chile last year and the scandal reignited in the U.S.

    With his own papacy and the Catholic hierarchy at large facing a credibility crisis, Francis has now vowed to chart a new course and is bringing the rest of the church leadership along with him.

    The summit is meant as a tutorial for church leaders around the globe to learn the importance of preventing sex abuse in their churches, tending to victims and investigating the crimes when they occur.

    Colombian Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez warned them that they could face not only canonical sanctions but also imprisonment for a cover-up if they failed to properly deal with allegations.

    Abuse and cover-up, he said, “is the distortion of the meaning of ministry, which converts it into a means to impose force, to violate the conscience and the bodies of the weakest.”

    The Vatican’s former sex crimes prosecutor delivered a step-by-step lesson Thursday on how to conduct an investigation under canon law, citing the example of Pope Benedict XVI, who turned the Vatican around on the issue two decades ago.

    Calling for a conversion from a culture of silence to a “culture of disclosure,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna told bishops they should cooperate with civil law enforcement investigations and announce decisions about predators to their communities once cases have been decided.

    He said victims had the right to damages from the church and that bishops should consider using lay experts to help guide them during abuse investigations.

    The people of God “should come to know us as friends of their safety and that of their children and youth,” he said. “We will protect them at all cost. We will lay down our lives for the flocks entrusted to us.”

    Finally, Scicluna warned them that it was a “grave sin” to withhold information from the Vatican about candidates for bishops — a reference to the recent scandal of the now-defrocked former U.S. cardinal, Theodore McCarrick. It was apparently an open secret in some church circles that McCarrick slept with young seminarians. He was defrocked last week by Francis after a Vatican trial found credible reports that he abused minors as well as adults.

    Francis offered a path of reform going forward, handing out a 21-point set of proposals for the church to consider including some that would require changes to canon law.

    He called for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops, in yet another reference to the McCarrick scandal. He suggested protocols to govern the transfers of seminarians or priests to prevent predators from moving freely to unsuspecting communities.

    One idea called for raising the minimum age for marriage to 16 while another suggested a basic handbook showing bishops how to investigate cases.

    Abuse survivors have turned out in droves in Rome to demand accountability and transparency from church leaders and assert that the time of sex abuse cover-ups is over.

    “The question is this: Why should the church be allowed to handle the pedophile question? The question of pedophilia is not a question of religion, it is [a question of] crime,” Francesco Zanardi, head of the main victims advocacy group in Italy Rete L’Abuso, or Abuse Network, told a news conference in the Italian Parliament.

    Inside the summit hall Thursday, the church leaders heard five videotaped testimonies from victims about their abuse and cruel treatment from an indifferent hierarchy.

    One woman from Africa told the summit that the priest who began raping her at 15 forced her to have three abortions over the following 13 years.

    “He gave me everything I wanted when I accepted to have sex; otherwise he would beat me,” she said.

    The victims’ names were not released to protect their privacy, but Chilean survivor Juan Carlos Cruz confirmed he provided a video.

    “You are the physicians of the soul and yet, with rare exceptions, you have been transformed — in some cases — into murderers of the soul, into murderers of the faith,” Cruz said in his testimony.

    Manila Cardinal Luis Tagle choked up as he responded to such testimony, telling the bishops that the wounds they had inflicted on the faithful through their negligence and indifference recalled the wounds of Christ on the cross.

    In the keynote speech, he demanded bishops and superiors no longer turn a blind eye to the harm caused by clergy abuse and cover-ups.

    “Our lack of response to the suffering of victims, yes even to the point of rejecting them and covering up the scandal to protect perpetrators and the institution, has injured our people,” Tagle said. The result, he said, had left a “deep wound in our relationship with those we are sent to serve.”

    The Vatican isn’t expecting any miracles or even a final document to come out of the summit. But organizers say it marks a turning point in the way the Catholic Church has dealt with the problem, with Francis’ own acknowledgment of his mistakes in handling the Chile abuse case a key point of departure.

    Hours before the Vatican summit opened, activists in Poland pulled down a statue of a priest accused of sexually abusing minors. They said the stunt was to protest the failure of the Polish Catholic Church in resolving the problem of clergy sex abuse.

    Video footage showed three men attaching a rope around the statue of the late Monsignor Henryk Jankowski in the northern city of Gdansk and pulling it to the ground in the dark. They then placed children’s underwear in one of the statue’s hands and a white lace church vestment worn by altar boys on the statue’s body. Jankowski is accused of molesting boys.

    The private broadcaster TVN24 reported the three men were arrested.

    Jankowski, who died in 2010, rose to prominence in the 1980s through his support for the pro-democracy Solidarity movement against Poland’s communist regime. World leaders including President George H.W. Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited his church to recognize his anti-communist activity.

    Rapper G-Eazy, DJ Snake and duo Empire of the Sun to headline Utah’s Bonanza Campout festival in June


    A lineup of 36 music acts — topped by star rapper G-Eazy, Australian pop-rock duo Empire of the Sun and electronic-music producer DJ Snake — are set to play in the woods near Heber, at the fourth annual Bonanza Campout music festival.The slate for...

    A lineup of 36 music acts — topped by star rapper G-Eazy, Australian pop-rock duo Empire of the Sun and electronic-music producer DJ Snake — are set to play in the woods near Heber, at the fourth annual Bonanza Campout music festival.

    The slate for the three-day event, set for June 21-23 at the River’s Edge Campground at the base of Jordanelle Dam in Heber, was announced Thursday by the event’s Salt Lake City production company, Late Nite Events. Tickets go on sale Friday at BonanzaCampout.com.

    Organizers say onsite cabins for the three-day event have sold out, and limited RV sites and other camping options are still available for those making a weekend of it.

    Friday’s slate is topped by the Utah debut of DJ Snake, whose latest single “Taki Taki” features Selena Gomez and Cardi B. Prominent acts on Friday include the electronic producer Griz and rapper and actor Machine Gun Kelly. Also slated to perform Friday: Smokepurpp, Two Feet, Yungblud, NoMBe, Carlie Hanson, Ford, Emily Brimlow and L8loomer.

    Empire of the Sun, which plays electro-glam pop-rock, is Saturday’s headliner. Rapper/singer Blackbear, English electronic duo AlunaGeorge and DJ/producer Big Wild are also at the top of Saturday’s slate. Also appearing Saturday: Whethan, Missio, Harry Hudson, Phantoms, Elley Duhe, Dounia, Manila Killa, Shy Girls and Tim Atlas.

    Sunday’s biggest performer is G-Eazy, sometimes billed as “the James Dean of rap.” Other big names Sunday are Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo, British singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs, and L.A. indie-rock band Sir Sly. Also on Sunday’s bill: SOB x RBE, Charlotte Lawrence, Crooked Colours, Ryan Caraveo, Shaed, Cosmo’s Midnight, Win and Woo, and Carly Rose.

    Bonanza also boasts large-scale art installations, food trucks, a vendor village, interactive fan experiences and a nightly “Pond Yacht After Party” on a nautical-themed stage with surprise guest DJs.

    Here are Pope Francis’ 21 steps to combat sex abuse


    Here is the list of Pope Francis’ 21 talking points for handling sex abuse cases:1. Prepare a practical handbook indicating the steps to be taken by authorities at key moments when a case emerges.2. Equip oneself with listening structures that include...

    Here is the list of Pope Francis’ 21 talking points for handling sex abuse cases:

    1. Prepare a practical handbook indicating the steps to be taken by authorities at key moments when a case emerges.

    2. Equip oneself with listening structures that include trained and expert people who can initially discern the cases of the alleged victims.

    3. Establish the criteria for the direct involvement of the bishop or of the religious superior.

    4. Implement shared procedures for the examination of the charges, the protection of the victims and the right of defense of the accused.

    5. Inform the civil authorities and the higher ecclesiastical authorities in compliance with civil and canonical norms.

    6. Make a periodic review of protocols and norms to safeguard a protected environment for minors in all pastoral structures: protocols and norms based on the integrated principles of justice and charity so that the action of the church in this matter is in conformity with her mission.

    7. Establish specific protocols for handling accusations against bishops.

    8. Accompany, protect and treat victims, offering them all the necessary support for a complete recovery.

    9. Increase awareness of the causes and consequences of sexual abuse through ongoing formation initiatives of bishops, religious superiors, clerics and pastoral workers.

    10. Prepare pathways of pastoral care for communities injured by abuses and penitential and recovery routes for the perpetrators.

    11. Consolidate the collaboration with all people of goodwill and with the operators of mass media to recognize and discern real cases from false ones and accusations of slander, avoiding rancor and insinuations, rumors and defamation (cf. Pope Francis’ address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2018).

    12. Raise the minimum age for marriage to 16.

    13. Establish provisions that regulate and facilitate the participation of lay experts in investigations and in the different degrees of judgment of canonical processes concerning sexual and/or power abuse.

    14. The right to defense: the principle of natural and canon law of presumption of innocence must also be safeguarded until the guilt of the accused is proved. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent the lists of the accused being published, even by the dioceses, before the preliminary investigation and the definitive condemnation.

    15. Observe the traditional principle of proportionality of punishment with respect to the crime committed. To decide that priests and bishops guilty of sexual abuse of minors leave the public ministry.

    16. Introduce rules concerning seminarians and candidates for the priesthood or religious life. Be sure that there are programs of initial and ongoing formation to help them develop their human, spiritual and psychosexual maturity, as well as their interpersonal relationships and their behavior.

    17. Be sure to have psychological evaluations by qualified and accredited experts for candidates for the priesthood and consecrated life.

    18. Establish norms governing the transfer of a seminarian or religious aspirant from one seminary to another; as well as a priest or religious from one diocese or congregation to another.

    19. Formulate mandatory codes of conduct for all clerics, religious, service personnel and volunteers to outline appropriate boundaries in personal relationships. Be specific about the necessary requirements for staff and volunteers and check their criminal record.

    20. Explain all information and data on the dangers of abuse and its effects, how to recognize signs of abuse and how to report suspected sexual abuse. All this must take place in collaboration with parents, teachers, professionals and civil authorities.

    21. Where it has not yet been in place, establish a group easily accessible for victims who want to report any crimes. Such an organization should have a certain autonomy with respect to the local ecclesiastical authority and include expert persons (clerics and laity) who know how to express the church’s attention to those who have been offended by improper attitudes on the part of clerics.

    Red All Over: Utah’s men’s basketball team responded well to a declaration of doom in early February, so here comes another one


    Red All Over is a weekly newsletter covering University of Utah athletics. Subscribe here. The screenshot was sent shortly after Utah beat USC, reminding me how I had tweeted that the Utes “may not” win for a while after losing at home to Oregon...

    Red All Over is a weekly newsletter covering University of Utah athletics. Subscribe here.

    The screenshot was sent shortly after Utah beat USC, reminding me how I had tweeted that the Utes “may not” win for a while after losing at home to Oregon State in their previous game.

    That’s the nature of this Utah basketball season. Just when the Utes are trending well in Pac-12 play, they regress. And when they’re seemingly on the verge of crumbling, they get it together.

    This would be another good time to do that. Utah’s 62-45 loss at Washington on Wednesday was even worse than the final score suggests. The Utes’ offensive performance, including a stretch of nearly 16 minutes between baskets, evoked snapshots of coach Larry Krystkowiak’s first season of 2011-12 — like the time Utah trailed Oregon 34-2.

    With a choice of games to cover in person this week, I picked Saturday’s visit to Washington State, instead of the late tipoff in Seattle, where the Utes were overwhelmed. That looks like a good decision, so far. The next question is if Utah will get another shot at Washington in the Pac-12 tournament. I’ll examine that possibility elsewhere in this newsletter.

    Looking back, this seven-day period started promisingly, with the Utes’ second victory over Arizona in their Pac-12 history (TRIB). Utah absolutely had to exploit this opportunity to beat the downtrodden Wildcats, and did so with a burst midway through the second half.

    KSL.com’s Josh Furlong discussed a question posed to Krystkowiak by longtime Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen, a Logan native, about whether he felt sorry for Arizona coach Sean Miller amid the Wildcats’ struggles (KSL).

    Defense keyed that 18-2 run against Arizona, so I followed up with a look at how the Utes have succeeded in key stretches of games (TRIB). And then Utah couldn’t stop Arizona State in a loss that dropped its record to 3-4 in Pac-12 home games (TRIB). Parker Van Dyke had a good response when asked about his team’s inconsistency (TRIB). Brad Rock of the Deseret News concluded the Utes just were not good enough to stay in second place in the Pac-12 (DNEWS).

    With the Utes in the middle of an up-and-down season that’s unlikely to end in the NCAA Tournament, it seemed like a good time to gauge the fan base’s views on Krystkowiak. He has done some good work with this team, and throughout his tenure, but fans want more from him with a $3.4 million salary. As I point out, the research is anecdotal, but it is clear that fans are far more approving of football coach Kyle Whittingham, compared with Krystkowiak (TRIB).

    So it could only be good that spring football is coming soon. Practice starts March 4 and ends April 13. Brett McMurphy is only one of many voters in the AP Top 25, but he’s a recognized college football writer. So it was significant that he made Utah No. 10 in his February rankings, amid some other outside observations I rounded up about the Utes (TRIB).

    Pac-12 expert Jon Wilner looked at the state of Pac-12 South football (MERC), as the Utes prepare for their division-title defense.

    The Utah women’s basketball season is in need of salvaging, going into this weekend’s last two home games. This has been a fun team to cover, with coach Lynne Roberts always delivering good quotes. She came through again in my story about the male students who are recruited to practice against her team (TRIB). And with future Ute guard Kemery Martin of Corner Canyon High School playing in this week’s Class 5A state tournament, Roberts revisited her recruitment (TRIB). Even with a six-game losing streak, and a horrible collapse Sunday at Arizona State, the Utes have a shot at the NCAA Tournament (ESPN).

    Saturday is a big checkpoint in the Utah gymnastics season, with No. 2 UCLA coming to the Huntsman Center. The Utes have been busy lately, starting with a quad meet last Friday (TRIB). And then they scored 197-plus points Monday at Stanford, for a record eighth straight meet (TRIB).

    Around campus

    Utah lacrosse team's travels continue this week, with games Saturday at Denver and Sunday at Air Force. Josh Stout scored five goals in last week's 14-10 loss at Hofstra and remains tied for third in the country with 5.0 goals per game.

    Utah faded to 14th among 16 teams in a ,men's golf tournament this week at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., but Kyler Dunkle produced a memorable start. He made an eagle, four birdies and a par in the first six holes on his way to an opening-round 68, spoiled by a double bogey on his last hole.

    The Ute women's softball team takes a 5-5 record into a tournament at Palm Springs, Calif. The Utes lost to four ranked teams last weekend in Florida, before beating Hofstra.

    The Utah baseball team went 1-2 against three different opponents in Texas State's event last week and is in San Diego this week. The Utes' game vs. Fresno State on Thursday has been canceled, due to forecasted weather, but they're scheduled to play San Diego State, Kansas State and San Diego the next three days.

    Utah’s skiers are competing in Alaska in a meet that combines the RMISA Championships and the NCAA West Regional. Guro Jordheim has won her fifth Nordic race of the season.

    Looking ahead

    The Pac-12 men's basketball tournament begins March 13 in Las Vegas. If the event started today, the Utes (14-12, 8-6) would have a top-four seed and a first-round bye. That goals remains in front of them, with four regular-season games remaining. The frightening part is how far Utah could fall, being only 1½ games ahead of ninth-place UCLA.

    If the Utes drop to a No. 8 or 9 seed, they would be bracketed with No. 1 Washington in the quarterfinals. If they're No. 4 or 5, they wouldn't meet the Huskies until the semifinals.

    Anything other than a winning record in Pac-12 play (and overall) this season would be a letdown for the Utes, after they stood 8-4 in conference play last week.

    Bill cracking down on escorts’ business licenses passes in the Utah House


    The Utah House voted 59-12 on Monday for a bill that boosts the criminal penalty for operating a sexually-oriented business without a license.Rep. Jeff Stenquist, R-Draper, said his bill, HB258, is centered around escort services and aims to provide...

    The Utah House voted 59-12 on Monday for a bill that boosts the criminal penalty for operating a sexually-oriented business without a license.

    Rep. Jeff Stenquist, R-Draper, said his bill, HB258, is centered around escort services and aims to provide additional tools to law enforcement to go after prostitution.

    “If they don’t have a business license, they can make an arrest off that without having to do the undercover work,” Stenquist said.

    Current law makes it a Class B misdemeanor to operate a sexually-oriented business without a license. Stenquist’s bill would raise the classification to a Class A misdemeanor, which he said is comparable to operating a massage business without a license.

    A Class A misdemeanor carries a possible jail sentence of up to one year and a $2,500 fine.

    The bill will now be transferred to the Senate for consideration.

    Nike hunts for answers after Duke basketball star’s shoe splits


    Nike is looking into what went wrong after college basketball’s biggest star sprained his knee when his shoe fell apart, one of the most high-profile apparel failures in basketball history.Duke University star freshman Zion Williamson, the consensus...

    Nike is looking into what went wrong after college basketball’s biggest star sprained his knee when his shoe fell apart, one of the most high-profile apparel failures in basketball history.

    Duke University star freshman Zion Williamson, the consensus No. 1 pick in this year's National Basketball Association draft, tumbled to the court less than 35 seconds into last night's loss to in-state rival North Carolina. He'd planted his foot to change direction when his left shoe, the PG 2.5 PE, came apart, causing him to fall awkwardly.

    The fallout for the world's largest sportswear brand was immediate. Twitter lit up with jabs from fans and rival brands, making "Zion" and "Nike" trending topics within the social media network. The company's stock fell as much as 1.7 percent in New York trading Thursday.

    "We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery," Nike said by email. "While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue."

    While the incident, which occurred during one of the most anticipated college basketball games of the year, is certainly embarrassing, it likely won't affect Nike's prominent standing within the sport, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Chen Grazutis. If you combine Nike and its Jordan brand, the company has more than 90 percent of the basketball market. Nike reported $4.35 billion in wholesale equivalent basketball sales in fiscal 2018, about 14 percent of its overall sales.

    "They might get a lot bad press over the next couple days, but I don't think it will have a direct impact on the shoes," Grazutis said.

    Companies like Nike and Adidas pay tens of millions of dollars for the exclusive right to outfit high-profile college programs like Duke, meaning their athletes are required to wear uniforms and shoes made by the team's sponsor. Though Duke's contract with Nike isn't public, the Durham school is one of Nike's most important basketball partners. For comparison, the University of Kentucky, another top basketball school, recently extended its Nike deal for eight years and $30.6 million.

    The malfunction might also hurt Nike's ability to sign Williamson once he decides to go pro. College athletes can't sign endorsement deals, but competition for elite draft prospects is fierce every year. Last year's No. 1 pick, Deandre Ayton, signed a deal with Puma that was reported to be the largest rookie deal since Kevin Durant's seven-year, $60 million deal with Nike back in 2007.

    Williamson is one of the most highly regarded college prospects in years. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward suffered a mild knee sprain, according to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. He did not return to the game, and No. 8 UNC upset No. 1 Duke 88-72.

    The timing could not have been worse for Nike. Not only was the game televised nationally on ESPN, it was one of the most anticipated college basketball games of the year. The cheapest resale tickets leading up to tip-off were over $2,500, approaching Super Bowl levels.

    Former President Barack Obama, courtside at the high-profile clash, was shown on video appearing to say with an incredulous look: "His shoe broke!"

    It also comes as Nike draws criticism for a different kind of shoe malfunction. Some people who purchased the company's newest basketball creation, a laceless shoe that you can control with your phone, were unable to connect to the Android version of the app.

    This isn't the first time that Nike's had problems with its basketball merchandise. After taking over as the official NBA uniform supplier in 2017, multiple stars including LeBron James had their jerseys rip.

    Nike stock is up about 25 percent in the past year, similar to the gains of Puma and Under Armour Inc. while leading the roughly 12 percent gain of Adidas AG.

    Puma is an upstart in the basketball market, and one of its few NBA players, Terry Rozier of the Boston Celtics, took advantage of Nike’s stumble to urge others to join him.

    Police: ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett staged attack to ‘promote his career’


    Chicago • “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett staged a racist and homophobic attack because he was unhappy about his salary and wanted to promote his career, Chicago’s police superintendent said Thursday.Before the attack, Smollett also sent a...

    Chicago • “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett staged a racist and homophobic attack because he was unhappy about his salary and wanted to promote his career, Chicago’s police superintendent said Thursday.

    Before the attack, Smollett also sent a threatening letter that targeted himself to the Fox studio in Chicago where “Empire” is filmed, Supt. Eddie Johnson said.

    Smollett turned himself in and was arrested early Thursday to face accusations that he filed a false police report when he told authorities he was attacked in Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, police said.

    "He took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career," Johnson told reporters at a news conference.

    "This publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn't earn and certainly didn't deserve," he later added.

    The whispers about Smollett’s account started with reports that he had not fully cooperated with police after telling authorities he was attacked. Then detectives in a city bristling with surveillance cameras could not find video of the beating. Later, two brothers were taken into custody for questioning but were released after two days, with police saying they were no longer suspects. Johnson said Smollett paid the brothers $3,500 to stage the attack.

    Following three weeks of mounting suspicions, Smollett was charged Wednesday with felony disorderly conduct, a charge that could bring up to three years in prison and force the actor, who is black and gay, to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating.

    In less than a month, the 36-year-old changed from being the seemingly sympathetic victim of a hate crime to being accused of fabricating the entire thing.

    The brothers are not considered suspects. Johnson said they wore gloves during the staged attack and "punched him a little bit." He said scratches and brusing Smollett had on his face were "most likely self-inflicted."

    In a statement Wednesday, attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said Smollett "enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked."

    Smollett, who plays a gay character on the hit Fox television show "Empire," said he was attacked as he was walking home from a downtown Subway sandwich shop. He said the masked men beat him, made derogatory comments and yelled "This is MAGA country" — an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again" — before fleeing.

    "Empire" is shot in Chicago and follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.

    After reviewing hundreds of hours of video, detectives did find and release images of two people they said they wanted to question and last week picked up the brothers at O'Hare International Airport as they returned from Nigeria. Police questioned the men and searched their apartment.

    The brothers, who were identified by their attorney as Abimbola "Abel" and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, were held for nearly 48 hours on suspicion of assaulting Smollett.

    The day after they were released, police said the men provided information that had "shifted the trajectory of the investigation," and detectives requested another interviewwith Smollett.

    Police said one of the men had worked on "Empire," and Smollett's attorneys said one of the men is the actor's personal trainer, whom he hired to help get him physically ready for a music video. The actor released his debut album, "Sum of My Music," last year.

    Smollett was charged by prosecutors, not the grand jury. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the brothers appeared before the panel to "lock in their testimony."

    Speaking outside the courthouse where the grand jury met, the brothers' attorney said the two men testified for about two and a half hours.

    "There was a point where this story needed to be told, and they manned up and they said we're going to correct this," Gloria Schmidt said.

    She said her clients did not care about a plea deal or immunity. "You don't need immunity when you have the truth," she said.

    She also said her clients received money from Smollett, but she did not elaborate.

    Smollett has been active in LBGTQ issues, and initial reports of the assault drew outrage and support for him on social media, including from Sen. Kamala Harris of California and TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

    Referring to a published account of the attack, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that "it doesn't get worse, as far as I'm concerned."

    But several hours after Smollett was declared a suspect and the charges announced, there was little reaction from celebrities online.

    Former Cook County prosecutor Andrew Weisberg said judges rarely throw defendants in prison for making false reports, opting instead to place them on probation, particularly if they have no prior criminal record.

    Smollett has a record — one that concerns giving false information to police when he was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. According to records, he was also charged with false impersonation and driving without a license. He later pleaded no contest to a reduced charge and took an alcohol education and treatment program.

    Another prospective problem is the bill someone might receive after falsely reporting a crime that prompted a nearly monthlong investigation, including the collection and review of hundreds of hours of surveillance video.

    The size of the tab is anyone's guess, but given how much time the police have invested, the cost could be huge.

    Weisberg recently represented a client who was charged with making a false report after surveillance video discredited her account of being robbed by three men at O'Hare Airport.

    For an investigation that took a single day, his client had to split restitution of $8,400, Weisberg said. In Smollett’s case, "I can imagine that this would be easily into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    George Pyle: Supreme Court limits a state’s ability to take your stuff. Just like George Will - and John Hancock - said it should.

    George Pyle: Supreme Court limits a state’s ability to take your stuff. Just like George Will - and John Hancock - said it should.


    Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been under the weather lately. So when she came back to work at the Supreme Court of the United States after cancer surgery, they gave her a relatively easy job to do, just to warm up.Yes, she said Wednesday for a unanimous...

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been under the weather lately. So when she came back to work at the Supreme Court of the United States after cancer surgery, they gave her a relatively easy job to do, just to warm up.

    Yes, she said Wednesday for a unanimous Supreme Court, it is unconstitutional as all hell for the state of Indiana to have seized the $42,000 Land Rover of a convicted drug dealer, a loss worth 35 times the amount of the fine imposed for the offense of trafficking 2 grams of heroin, as part of the “civil forfeiture” part of his sentence.

    ‘Excessive fines’ ban applies to states, Supreme Court says — Mark Sherman | The Associated Press

    "Tyson Timbs admitted he’d sold drugs, and he accepted his sentence without a fight. What he wouldn’t quietly accept was the police seizing and keeping the $40,000 Land Rover he’d had when arrested. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court sided with him unanimously in ruling the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines applies to the states as well as the federal government.

    "The decision, in an opinion written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, could help efforts to rein in police seizures of property from criminal suspects.

    “Reading a summary of her opinion in the courtroom, Ginsburg noted that governments employ fines ‘out of accord with the penal goals of retribution and deterrence’ because fines are a source of revenue. ...”

    George F. Will called it back in November.

    Lucrative law enforcement will become lawless - George F. Will | The Washington Post

    " ... Come Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments concerning whether this violated the Eighth Amendment, which says: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” (Emphasis added.)

    “The seizure was done under Indiana’s version of civil forfeiture laws, which allow governments to seize property used in the commission of a crime. As they are often used, such laws are incentives for abusive governments, because the entity that seizes the property frequently is allowed to profit by keeping or selling it. Lucrative law enforcement will become lawless. ...”

    Timbs v. Indiana — In The Supreme Court of the United States

    " ... Like the Eighth Amendment’s proscriptions of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ and ‘[e]xcessive bail,’ the protection against excessive fines guards against abuses of government’s punitive or criminal law-enforcement authority. This safeguard, we hold, is ‘fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty,’ with ‘dee[p] root[s] in [our] history and tradition.’ ... The Excessive Fines Clause is therefore incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. ..."

    There is still a lot of work to be done on working out all the different versions of civil forfeiture. Getting to the right answer — which is that the whole practice is evil and is the exact government abuse that led John Hancock (who really was a smuggler) to sign his name in really big letters at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence — may take a while.

    What’s good is that the court put limits on the use of the practice in a case where the person who had his property taken had actually been convicted of a crime. In many other cases, no conviction is needed before the cops can take your car, your money, even your house.

    So Wednesday’s case might give hope to those seeking to limit or end the practice. Viz:

    Civil forfeiture is worse than its proponents proclaim — Jim Bradshaw and Connor Boyack | For The Tribune, Oct. 28, 2018

    " ... It’s understandable that prosecutors want an easier way to do their job, but defending a highly problematic practice like civil asset forfeiture is a difficult thing to do. We instead agree with the vast majority who find this system inherently troubling — the result not of a few bad apples, but of a disease that infects the entire crop."

    And it might undermine the case of those who want to keep it. For example:

    Civil forfeiture is a useful tool in fighting crime — John W. Huber (U.S. Attorney or Utah) | For The Tribune

    " ... Although stories of forfeiture abuse by a few corrupt officials exist, those stories are also outliers. Eliminating an essential law enforcement tool like forfeiture because of a few bad actors nationwide would be like banning skiing at Utah resorts because a tiny fraction of skiers die each year in America. ..."

    This is a long way from over.


    (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tribune staff. George Pyle. (Francisco Kjolseth/)

    gpyle@sltrib.com





    Garry Wills: Investigating gay Catholic priests will reveal much about church

    Garry Wills: Investigating gay Catholic priests will reveal much about church


    Video: Catholic Opinions columnists and editors wrestle with their faith after a report that revealed rampant clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)The New York Times published an extraordinary article this week based on...

    Video: Catholic Opinions columnists and editors wrestle with their faith after a report that revealed rampant clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

    The New York Times published an extraordinary article this week based on interviews with two dozen gay Catholic priests and seminarians in 13 states. “Out” men and women today are often widely admired, but most of the interviews had to be conducted anonymously because the Vatican still treats homosexuality as “objectively disordered” — a policy that persists even though the representation of gay men in the priesthood is higher, probably far higher, than in the general population.

    The relevant catechism about sexuality does not condemn people with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies,” just those who act on those tendencies. In other words, you can be gay so long as you don’t do anything about it. The Times article rightly presents this distinction as a trial for the priests involved — one of the last major throwbacks to the era of “the love that dare not speak its name” (as Oscar Wilde’s partner, Lord Alfred Douglas, put it). But I wondered how the church’s policy on homosexuality affects men and women, as well as boys and girls, who are not priests.

    The gay priest is required, generally, to uphold the official teaching of his church and of his superiors, making him a collaborator in the suppression of his gay brothers and sisters outside the clergy. In this way, without intending to, the victimized become victimizers. How does that play out, to take an example, in the confessional? If a penitent confesses homosexual activity to a gay priest, does the priest channel God's forgiveness of a sin that he does not himself consider a sin? This is just one of the many ways in which we Catholics, if we refrain from criticizing this particular stance of our church, contribute to the persecution of the LGBTQ community.

    The deepest irony is that a priest who is required to go against his nature is told that he must do this because of "natural law." The church's quaint theory of natural law is that the first biological use of an activity is the only permissible use of that activity. If the biological use of sex is for procreation, any other use is "against nature."

    The absurdity of this view is made clear by considering the first biological use for eating: the sustenance of life. If every other use of nutrition is against nature, then any diet beyond what is consumed for life-maintenance is a sin — in other words, no wedding cakes, no champagne toasts. Yet the church continues to adhere to so-called natural law because it underpins doctrine on all sexual matters, including the condemnations of abortion, contraception, in vitro fertilization and stem-cell research.

    Given the stakes in these and other matters, the ban on gay sex involves a larger "church teaching" than the single matter of homosexuality.

    Priests and bishops who cover up male homosexuality are prone to a mutual blackmail with those who commit and conceal heterosexual acts by the clergy — sometimes involving women, including nuns, who have been victimized by priests. The Times’ portrait of gay priests was followed by a powerful article this week revealing that the church has internal policies for dealing with priests who father children. The Vatican confirmed, apparently for the first time, that a priest with progeny is encouraged to ask for release from his ministry “to assume his responsibilities as a parent by devoting himself exclusively to the child” — there being no requirement in canon law that a priest perform this basic act of love for his offspring and the child’s mother.

    Secrecy in one clerical area intersects with secrecy in others. There is an implicit pledge that “your secret is safe with my secret.” If there are gay nuns — and why would there not be? — that adds another strand to the interweavings of concealment.

    The trouble with any culture that maintains layer upon layer of deflected inspections is that, when so many people are guarding their own secrets, the deep examination of an institution becomes nearly impossible. The secrecies are too interdependent. Truly opening one realm of secrecy and addressing it may lead to an implosion of the entire system. That is the real problem faced this week by Pope Francis and the church leaders he has summoned from around the world for a conference at the Vatican to consider the labyrinthine and long-standing scandals of clerical sex abuse.


    Garry Wills

    Garry Wills, professor of history emeritus at Northwestern University, is the author of “Why I Am a Catholic.”

    Police: Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim strikes and kills man walking outside car on interstate.


    Syracuse, N.Y. • Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim struck and killed a man walking on an interstate late Wednesday night as he tried to avoid hitting the man’s disabled vehicle, police say.Syracuse police say 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez was...

    Syracuse, N.Y. • Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim struck and killed a man walking on an interstate late Wednesday night as he tried to avoid hitting the man’s disabled vehicle, police say.

    Syracuse police say 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez was in a car with three others before midnight Wednesday when their vehicle crashed into a guardrail on I-690 in Syracuse.

    Boeheim struck Jimenez while trying to avoid the vehicle. Jimenez was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

    Boeheim, the 74-year-old Basketball Hall of Fame coach, is cooperating with the investigation.

    "He stopped immediately and exited the vehicle," said Syracuse Sgt. Matthew Malinowski.

    Police said sobriety tests were administered to Boeheim and were negative for any signs of impairment. No tickets have been issued to Boeheim at this time and the investigation is continuing.

    A freezing rain had fallen earlier Wednesday night, though it is unclear if the weather had anything to do with the crash.

    There was no immediate comment from Syracuse University.

    Boeheim has coached at Syracuse for 43 years, winning a national title in 2003 and making five Final Four appearances. His team defeated Louisville 69-49 Wednesday night during a home game.

    This story will be upated.

    Snow in southern Utah closes one school district, delays another


    One district canceled classes on Thursday and another delayed the start of school as a winter storm dropped snow on southern Utah.Snow Day 2/21/19 IMPORTANT Weather NoticePlease be advised that due to severe weather warnings, all SJSD schools and...

    One district canceled classes on Thursday and another delayed the start of school as a winter storm dropped snow on southern Utah.

    Snow Day 2/21/19
    IMPORTANT Weather Notice
    Please be advised that due to severe weather warnings, all SJSD schools and District Office will be closed today Thursday, February 21, 2019.

    — San Juan Schools (@sanjuanschools) February 21, 2019

    San Juan School District, which had previously announced it would delay classes on Thursday, instead closed all schools and offices for the day as the weather worsened.

    The Washington County School District announced a two-hour delay and canceled morning kindergarten classes.

    (2 Hour) Delayed school start for ALL SCHOOLS today - February 21, 2019

    There will be no AM kindergarten districtwide.

    This means that the buses will run their routes two hours later than their regular pickup time and busses may not be able to go up some steep hills in areas. pic.twitter.com/3cQy0cqRis

    — WCSD (@washk12) February 21, 2019

    Classes at Dixie State University were not affected.

    According to the National Weather Service, snow is expected to continue in southern Utah throughout the day on Thursday with “significant accumulations.”