‘Queer Eye’s’ Tan France is a hit with hometown fans in Salt Lake City — from jokes to serious talk about racism and homophobia

(Photo courtesy of Netflix) Tan France in an episode of “Queer Eye.”

Perhaps the most poignant chapter in Tan France’s autobiography is the last one he wrote; the one he added at the last minute.

It was “the one chapter I knew I wanted to write,” he told a sold-out crowd at Salt Lake Community College’s Grand Theatre on Wednesday night, a stop on his national book tour sponsored by The King’s English Bookshop. “I thought if I’m going to do [the book], that’s the reason I want to do it. I want to finally articulate that. Because I have the luxury of a platform like no one else in my community.”

Utah’s own “Queer Eye” fashion guru — he’s one of the Fab Five on the popular Netflix series — said he’s been repeatedly pulled aside at Customs when entering the United States. At least 24 times in less than five years. And held in a room with other “brown people.” And asked things like: When was the last time he visited Pakistan? (He was 9.) When was the last time his mom visited Pakistan? When was the last time he operated heavy machinery?

(Photo courtesy of St. Martin’s Press) "Naturally Tan" is on sale now at bookstores and online.

“Once, I said the last piece of heavy machinery I used was a sewing machine. I could make you a dress within a day!” And that did not go over well.

“They get so angry,” he said. “They’re in a position of power and they get to intimidate you. … And at that point, I was not Tan France. I was Tan. And you don’t get a voice.”

France said he’s “100 percent” sympathetic to the “never forget” mantra that followed 9/11. “I can absolutely understand that. Can’t forget the people who are victims of 9/11.”

But he believes that, for too many people, that mantra has become justification for treating Muslims and minorities as a threat.

“The amount of times somebody said something disgusting to me on the street, I cannot count,” France said. “And it used to be, when I was a kid, just about the color of my skin. But now when they taunt me on the street, it’s ‘f—ing terrorist’ or ‘rag head’ or ‘Go back to your own country.’ Or when you get on a plane, they start to shift funny as if I might blow the plane up.

Which is why he wanted to add the chapter to “Naturally Tan,” even though he was “so scared that Americans were going to come for me” if he did. And because “Queer Eye” stardom gave him prominence no other gay, British-born child of Pakistani immigrants has.

“You know me from the show. You know I like to speak from a place of love and understanding,” said France, 36. “And so I’m in a very lucky position to be able to say, ‘I need you to listen, whether you agree or not.’”

A receptive audience of about 1,200 at the Grand Theatre answered that with thunderous applause. The mostly young audience members — in their 20s to mid-30s — responded enthusiastically to their fellow Utahn, who has made Salt Lake City his home for the past 11 years.

(Photo courtesy of Netflix) Tan France and his husband, Rob France.

“You are looking at the original Tan France makeover,” Rob France said before he began asking questions. France answered expansively, pacing back and forth across the stage and, at one point, sitting on Rob France’s lap.

Much of his autobiography is lighthearted and fun. He offers job, dating and fashion advice, writes about everything from jeans to sweatpants to cropped shirts, and lets people know just how much he loves living in Salt Lake City.

“Let me tell you, some of that stuff isn’t going to be easy to read,” France said. “But, at least hopefully, you will learn more about not just me, but my people and what it’s like to be a person of color in the LGBTQ community.”

Like growing up as one of the few people of color in his town in northern England and not just fearing he would be beaten up on his way to school, but actually getting beaten up at the age of 5.

“And let me make this clear — these are not 5-year-olds who are trying to kill me. These are men who were in their late teens, early 20s, who would happily beat the s— out of a 5-year-old because of my color.”

“I want you to read that chapter … and if ever somebody in your family who makes a snarky comment about some Muslim or some brown person or some gay person, I want you to think back to that chapter and think, ‘No. I will stop my family member from saying such things.’”

He began the 70-minute session with a question for the audience: “Did you all struggle with what you were going to wear tonight? Are we happy with our choices? You all look so good.”

(Christopher Smith | Courtesy of Netflix) Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness return in Season 3 of “Queer Eye.”

“I love you all, but your gaydar is terrible,” he said. “These girls kept hitting on me from all over the restaurant. I’m like, ‘I’m attractive in Utah! I’m exotic in Utah!’”

• He met Rob France through an online dating site. “This dude who had just come out messaged me and said, ‘Hey, you don’t look like you’re from around here.’ And my response was, ‘Yeah, no s—, Sherlock.’”

And France wasn’t interested in getting into a relationship at first. “My plan was to date my way through Utah. Those Mormon boys were all about it. Love me those Mormon boys.”

• He acknowledged that many of his followers don’t agree with policies and behavior of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints toward the LGBTQ community, but defended his Latter-day Saint friends and in-laws against attacks that crop up on his Instagram feed.

“I disagree with so many things that the leaders of the church may say, but I disagree with a lot of the things that are said in my own religion. But that doesn’t mean it’s [OK to] hate on our friends and family.

“So when you see my Mormon friends on Instagram, don’t come for them. I don’t let people hate on you guys, my LGBTQ family. I’m not going to let people hate on my Mormon family, either. Leave them alone.”

• His “Queer Eye” fame has put plans for a family on temporary hold, but France still “desperately” wants to have children. “I want to have six, but [Rob] will only let me have four. But I’m very manipulative.”

• When France met his “Queer Eye” co-stars Bobby Berk and Karamo Brown, he liked them at once. And then he met Jonathan Van Ness, “And I was like, ‘Holy s—!’”

Van Ness told France “the most disgusting story” about his, um, personal life “within 20 seconds” of their meeting, and France thought, “There’s no way this guy’s ever going to be my friend. I can’t have somebody this loud. But, two, three days later, he was one of my favorite people on the planet. … He’s such a fricking idiot, but I love him so much.”

(Photo courtesy of Netflix) Antoni Porowski and Tan France on "Queer Eye."

“Everybody kept going on about this guy called Antoni, and then finally I was like, ‘That guy?’” France said with a laugh. “Don’t get me wrong. I see he’s beautiful. … But he’s too pretty.”

The two “didn’t like each other very much because we both thought we were too sweet.” Until they ended up talking late into the night about the rough day they’d had shooting the show, and Porowski became France’s “new favorite person. … I love him. He’s my brother for life.”

And there’s a bonus in the audio version of “Naturally Tan.” France himself reads all of the book — except that Porowski reads what France wrote about him. “It’s really funny. He has to read why he wasn’t attractive to me.”

• France is really ticked off that “trash papers” made headlines out of a brief passage in the book when he mentions that he once stole his cousin’s skin-bleaching cream and tried it when he was 9 or 10 years old — which he included as an example of racism within his own community.

• He’s also annoyed by recent online criticism that “’Tan always goes on about how much he loves Utah, but he doesn’t join our Pride parade.’ B—-, screw you. I was filming the show. I couldn’t be here. Of course I wanted to be here.

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Vegas, baby! Pac-12 will square off against SEC, Big Ten in bowl game at new Raiders stadium

Construction cranes surround the future NFL Raiders football stadium Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Bowl is moving to the new stadium next year, and will feature teams from the SEC or Big Ten conferences against a Pac-12 contender. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The Big Ten and SEC will soon be heading to the Las Vegas Bowl, taking turns facing the Pac-12 when the game moves into a new billion-dollar NFL stadium in 2020.

The Big Ten, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 unveiled bowl lineups for the 2020-25 seasons Tuesday. Other FBS conferences are expected to release their future bowl agreements over the next several weeks.

The Big Ten has six-year agreements with 11 bowls , including new deals with Las Vegas and the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Big Ten will alternate with the SEC in Las Vegas — the expected new home of the Oakland Raiders — and in Charlotte, with the Big Ten taking odd-numbered years in Las Vegas and even-numbered years in Charlotte.

"The city of Las Vegas is a world-class destination that will be attractive to the participants and fans from our schools, and the support provided by the Raiders organization and ESPN will create a tremendous opportunity to elevate this game into a must-see event during the bowl season," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement.

The Las Vegas Bowl has been matching the Pac-12 and Mountain West or BYU in a game played on the first Saturday of bowl season. The new Las Vegas Bowl will be played after Christmas and receive the Pac-12’s top team not participating in the College Football Playoff or a New Year’s Six game.

"The Las Vegas Bowl provides the SEC with a new and exciting destination for our student-athletes and traveling fans at a location outside our traditional geographic footprint and in a much-anticipated matchup with a Pac-12 Conference opponent," Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement.

The Las Vegas and Charlotte deals will replace the Holiday Bowl in San Diego for the Big Ten. The conference is also adding the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix to its lineup, and will no longer send teams to the First Responders and Armed Forces bowls in Texas.

The Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit will match a Mid-American Conference team against the Big Ten, starting in 2020. The Atlantic Coast Conference did not extend its deal with the Quick Lane Bowl after six years.

The SEC added a new agreement with the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa, Florida, and did not renew its contract with the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. The SEC will head into the new bowl cycle with 10 postseason slots , not counting the playoff. Over the last five years, the SEC has only had enough bowl-eligible teams to fill its Independence Bowl slot twice.

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Monica Cook Salt lake City Utah Realtor Sells Homes For Money

(MENAFN – PRLog) Monica Cook
Utah’s Best Real Estate Group
801.792.6434
Salt Lake City Real Estate Agent Promotes Homes For Sellers To MORE Buyers For MORE Money.
As the real estate market continues to change, one local agent in the Utah market has mastered the art of "Target Marketing" to expose their properties to the most opportune buyers, thus selling them for more money.
Salt Lake City, Utah- May 21, 2019 – If you’ve followed the Salt Lake real estate market for a while, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Monica Cook as she’s one of the most respected agents in town when it comes to marketing homes to sell for the most amount of money. Now, she’s one-upped herself with the latest addition to her advertising arsenal with what she calls her "Target Marketing" approach.
The ancient approach she refers to of placing your home in local magazines, along with the rest of the listings that your listing brokerage has is now a thing of the past. Monica Cook has perfected an approach to Target Marketing to buyers that pay top dollar, and where she invests her own money to expose your property to the most opportune buyer based on their current interests, hobbies, family size, age and even net worth and credit score.
In today’s world and real estate market, marketing is all about matching your product up to the prospects that are most likely to have an interest in it. Much like when you are at the grocery and you see that coupons print out based on the products that you always tend to buy.
When asked how this new-age approach to selling for more homes works, Monica said the following: "If a home is in a highly desirable school district, that usually comes with a little bit higher property tax base Or on the east bench of the Wasatch Front. There’s no sense in marketing that home to retired couples but it’s a perfect fit for a family that has a child or two of school age years. If the home has a fenced yard, we can expose it to those that have the appropriate income and also have a dog in the house. If it has a wine cellar, or on a golf course we can market to those that subscribe to Wine Connoisseur Magazine or otherwise have a wine collection, or avid golfer’s and those that subscribe to the Golf Digest. This allows buyers to absolutely fall in love with the home, oftentimes meaning they’ll pay a premium for something that matches their exact criteria. Essentially, we can market it as their "Dream Home" even though it would be considered "just another home for sale" to the general public. That’s why oftentimes we can sell homes for more money. Using my target marketing brings those interested buyers. With the marketing data available from online and offline marketing firms, it just doesn’t make sense for an agent to simply list a home on the MLS system and wait for a possible contract sometime down the road, proactive marketing needs to take place for the seller.
For local homeowners, selling your home fast and for Top dollar is our biggest priority. Utilizing an agent that understands superior marketing and exposure can potentially allow you to net a lot more money from the ultimate sale of the property.
About Monica Cook:
For more information on how this target marketing approach works and to find out how you may be able to get more from the sale of your home, contact Monica Cook at Utah’s Best Real Estate Group by calling 801.792.6434 or https://www.facebook.com/UtahsbestRE/?ref=bookmarks
Contact
Monica Cook
Utah’s Best Real Estate Group
***@slclifestyles.com
Photos:
https://www.prlog.org/12771240/1
https://www.prlog.org/12771240/2

MENAFN2305201900703076ID1098559026

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Utah’s largest homebuilder on the ‘warpath’ to create affordable housing. But Ivory Homes has its critics.

Utah’s home prices are on a multiyear climb and well-heeled buyers, at least, are still snapping up houses. You would think these would be heady days for the state’s homebuilders.

More and more Utahns can’t afford to buy and many struggle to pay rent. The state, he and others say, is in dire need of more affordable options.

Unless conditions change, Ivory also sees trouble looming for the state’s economy and for his homebuilding business, which his family has run since 1983. Even at a time when Ivory Homes is posting record revenues, Utah’s largest homebuilder is shifting toward building more condominiums and town houses, traditional homes with smaller yards, and multiunit apartment complexes.

Big picture, Ivory sees himself as siding with future generations and as part of the solution to one of the state’s most vexing economic and policy challenges.

But plenty of existing homeowners see Ivory Homes as a problem all its own — a homebuilder eager to cash in by packing people into high-density developments that, in some cases, threaten to overwhelm their tranquil communities.

Since Holladay residents rose up to stop a huge Ivory project at the site of the old Cottonwood Mall last fall, company officials have taken up tougher tactics in battling grassroots groups opposed to their developments.

Clark Ivory, the firm’s 54-year-old CEO, doesn’t see it as a property-by-property battle. He’s also thinking more broadly. He’s speaking out on the issue of affordable housing generally and says he is “pushing on all fronts” to ease the trend. He’s backed a new program to help teachers and police get homes and is funding a prize seeking the most innovative ideas in affordable housing design, policy and financing.

Ivory Homes soon will announce it has built more than 20,000 houses in Utah and for decades, the company’s model has been to move buyers up from starter homes to pricier places, usually on bigger lots. But now, its CEO says, its focus is “workforce” housing.

Yet as 2019 unfolds and monthly home sales for the company have come in higher than expected, Ivory Homes “has no alternative but to start to slowly raise prices,” Ivory said.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Michael Parker, senior economist and vice president for public affairs for Ivory Homes, called the price hikes “the antithesis of what we’re trying to accomplish, but we’re stuck.”

“Pricing has got to level,” Ivory added last week in an interview at his curio-filled office in Murray. “If we don’t change, we’re going to be struggling.”

Clark Ivory bought and took over Ivory Homes from his father, Ellis, in 2000 and is widely credited with seeing the U.S. real estate crash and Great Recession coming as early as 2005.

He warned at the time that speculative homebuying threatened the nation’s economy while in his early days as director of the Salt Lake City branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The family company even began requiring buyers to sign pacts not to resell their homes for at least a year.

Ivory said he now views the housing affordability crisis in Utah and nationally with similar alarm — not least for its potential impact on the company’s nearly $500 million in yearly sales.

“We want to maintain the momentum in our business,” he said. “With interest rates on the rise over the next couple of years and with costs going up, we have to figure out new solutions.”

Last May, when the University of Utah’s Gardner Policy Institute first issued a seminal study highlighting a shortage of affordable homes in Utah, Ivory backed its findings and joined Salt Lake Chamber officials in campaigning on the issue.

He has also blasted “not in my backyard” attitudes by some residents against denser housing, while also lamenting efforts to torpedo projects by using the state’s referendum process, as happened in the Cottonwood Mall case.

Ivory Homes has been at the center of controversy of late. Residents in several communities who have opposed some of its high-density developments declined to comment, saying they feared retaliation.

The company’s recent fight to build a massive housing and commercial project at the old Cottonwood Mall site in Holladay went all the way to the Utah Supreme Court. And when the court ruled last fall against Ivory Homes and in favor of a grassroots group called Unite for Holladay, Ivory went so far as to file a rare and unsuccessful motion asking the justices to rethink their reasoning.

The company was stung by the failure of its bid to build Holladay Quarter, a $560 million mixed-use development it had proposed with Utah-based builder Woodbury Corp. at the Cottonwood Mall site, near 4800 S. Highland Dr.

After nearly two years of public hearings, the companies won city approval to build the 57-acre project, which was to include several office towers, shops and restaurants along with a 775-unit high-rise apartment complex and 210 single-family homes, luxury condominiums, brownstones and manor houses.

Clark Ivory warned at the time the high court’s ruling could harm the cause of affordable housing statewide, calling it “zoning by referendum.” He acknowledges that the Holladay project’s housing was “not super affordable,” but said the company had hoped “to deliver quality housing in a new approach.”

And after first leaving open the possibility he would pursue a revised version of Holladay Quarter, Clark Ivory said earlier this month that Ivory Homes has officially pulled out. The cash the company had invested in the project, he said, has since been reinvested in buying land for three other developments.

There are signs Woodbury Corp. may still be pursuing a project at the mall site, though with fewer residential units.

A reprise of the Holladay battle has been underway for months in Cottonwood Heights over a separate Ivory Homes proposal for an apartment complex at 6784 S. 1300 East, on a piece of land known as Walsh Farm.

Some neighbors oppose a city ordinance passed in connection with the project, fearing it could allow high-density construction across Cottonwood Heights. And as the dispute has progressed, both Ivory Homes and a grassroots group organized to block the proposal appeared to have drawn lessons from the Holladay conflict.

The opposition group in this case is called Unite for Cottonwood Heights. Earlier this year, organizers circulated a petition seeking to gather enough signatures to put the city zoning ordinance to a vote at the polls.

Jared Crocker, an organizer with the group, said Ivory Homes ran its own petition drive in Cottonwood Heights at the same time — an assertion the company confirmed, though it wasn’t trying to get anything on the ballot.

That second petition, Crocker said, spawned confusion. The group’s signature gatherers were repeatedly rebuffed by residents who thought they’d already signed on.

In an April 25 letter to elections officials with Salt Lake County and Cottonwood Heights Recorder Paula Melgar, an attorney for Unite for Cottonwood Heights alleged the Ivory Homes petition amounted to “unlawful interference that confused the residents of Cottonwood Heights,” resulting in far fewer signatures for the group’s referendum petition.

Unite for Cottonwood Heights sought an extension in its petition drive from county officials but was denied. Crocker said members are now reviewing legal options.

Parker, senior economist at Ivory Homes, said the Holladay case led the company to up its game in Cottonwood Heights, with more public outreach in pressing for support, including the petition effort.

“We’re not going to be surprised anymore,” Parker said. “We’re just going to plan every time that someone is going to try to derail us and have a toolkit in place in case that happens.”

But Parker said Ivory Homes’ fight over affordable housing goes far beyond a few contentious projects. He noted that Ivory has put nearly $1 million in charitable donations toward the cause so far, adding that Clark Ivory “is on a warpath when it comes to affordability.”

Ivory Homes launched a new line of more affordable homes for nurses, teachers, construction workers, cops, firefighters and members of the military — with added incentives to help them with credit, closing costs and buying appliances.

The company’s Utah Workforce Housing Priority, launched in February, will reserve about 150 of its newly built homes in 19 Utah cities. Ivory Homes will also provide landscaping and $2,000 toward closing costs or appliances.

Gov. Gary Herbert praised the set-aside as an innovative approach “to ensure those who make our communities great can afford to call them home.” Salt Lake City recently put $100,000 toward a similar but unrelated workforce housing program.

Ivory Homes already has a waiting list of more than 500 families who want to participate, Clark Ivory said.

And while the program does offer much-needed relief to some would-be homebuyers with earnings just below Utah’s median wage levels, housing advocates say Utah’s need for affordable housing is greatest for those at much lower incomes. Those ultra-affordable projects, though, are much harder to finance and build.

Through his family foundation, Clark Ivory also created the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability, a $200,000 national award to be shared each year among those offering top innovations in housing design, financing and policy that bring costs down.

Prizes went to Factory OS, a San Francisco company pioneering modular building techniques for apartments; another San Francisco firm called Landed, which helps public school teachers with down payments; Home Partners of America, which offers lease-purchase programs to buyers struggling with credit; and The Alley Flat Initiative, which successfully pushed a new zoning approach in Austin, Texas, for so-called mother-in-law apartments.

Ivory said the company will take an open-source approach to these and other housing innovations generated by the prize, by publicizing them and offering them to the wider industry in hopes of improving affordability.

“It’s been a great crowdsourcing thing for us,” Parker said. “The question now is, how do we use our market power here to further these ideas?”

The company continues to press for more robust job training and clearer career pathways into Utah’s construction sector, hoping to bring a wave of new workers into the field to alleviate an ongoing and costly shortage of skilled labor.

“Clark Ivory and the entire Ivory team have been steadfast in not only bringing awareness to our state’s housing affordability issue, but also problem-solving to find real, attainable solutions,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber.

With a portfolio of nearly 200 floor plans for its homes already, the company is unveiling a new line of smaller, more affordable town homes and attached housing this year. It’s also introducing new housing development layouts that allow for higher residential densities and more dwellings per project, Ivory said.

“That doesn’t mean that we won’t still build big houses on bigger lots,” the CEO said. “We’re probably doing more really expensive homes this year than we’ve done in a long time.

Ivory added: “But we have an appetite to find every opportunity we can that will present us with affordable options.”

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Longtime Utah Natural Resources boss retires with replacement expected to be named Monday

Mike Styler, Division of Natural Resources

Mike Styler, the longtime director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, is retiring after more than 14 years on the job — making him the longest-serving person in that post, according to the governor’s office.

Styler called his tenure “incredibly rewarding,” especially his interactions with the more than 1,300 hardworking DNR employees and Gov. Gary Herbert, he said in a prepared statement.

“Utah faces a number of difficult opportunities moving forward with water, wildlife, recreation and fire particularly," Styler said. “DNR has amazing and dedicated people. They are up to the task of meeting those challenges."

Herbert is said to be nearing the end of interviews for candidates to replace Styler and is expected to name his nominee Monday.

Styler listed his major accomplishments as launching a watershed restoration initiative that has helped improve and restore an estimated 1.6 million acres, helping form a task force on water and playing a role in setting up the process for adjudicating water rights, as well as signing hunter access agreements with the state School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.

One of Styler’s higher-profile activities — not mentioned in the news release Friday — was advocating for millions of dollars in public money to go to a private consultant/lobbyist for efforts to prevent the reintroduction of the gray wolf into Utah and on behalf of the campaign to remove endangered species protections from the wolf.

He later attempted to take back his T. rex comparison. “I misspoke. They’re more like velociraptors,” he said, referring to the deadly dinosaur popularized in “Jurassic Park.”

The payments have continued on a nearly yearly basis, including $500,000 in this year’s legislative session.

The governor called Styler’s leadership “invaluable,“ adding, “I will greatly miss having him as part of my Cabinet.”

"Mike’s leadership has been invaluable both to the Department of Natural Resources and to our state,” Herbert said. “… I wish him the very best.”

His entrance into politics was as a Millard County commissioner. Before that, he worked as a middle-school history teacher and farmed in the town of Oasis.

Deputy Director Darin Bird will serve as interim director of the department until Herbert’s new pick is installed.

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Utah’s March For Our Lives raises more than $4,500 at gun reform gala

That Valentine’s Day, just more than a year ago, 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., were killed. Seventeen others were injured. It had a profound impact on Hogg and many others in the school.

That group has spread across the country, urging gun violence prevention measures. On Saturday, Utah’s chapter of the group held an event at the Ladies Literary Club Clubhouse, 850 E. South Temple, to celebrate gun reform victories and to raise money for future advocacy.

Through a silent auction and ticket sales, the group exceeded its goal and raised more than $4,500. Art Access, a Salt Lake City nonprofit group that wants to build an inclusive arts community through “creative opportunities” for people who are disabled or otherwise marginalized in society, will get 10% of the proceeds. The rest will go toward funding the March For Our Lives Utah chapter, covering trainings, transportation and clerical costs, like maintaining its P.O. Box and website.

The funds will also be used for suicide prevention training and scholarships for student activists who are in need, said organizer Elizabeth “Lizzy” Estrada-Murillo.

Before the speakers at the gala, people moved through crowds in the historic venue to mingle, or bid at the silent auction, or take a photo in the photo booth or grab dinner and a drink. Two men stood across the street protesting as bouncy background music pulsed softly indoors.

It was on posters that listed the names of Americans killed in mass shootings last year: Adrian Jashawn, Xavier Parish, Freddy Wheeler, and on and on and on. It was the #NeverAgain scrawled at the bottom of signs for the photo booth, next to feather boas and comically oversized sunglasses.

Estrada-Murillo summed up the event as it wound down and the group prepared to announce the silent auction winners: “This is a real issue for us. For all of us, this a life-or-death situation."

Biskupski told organizers she was impressed and inspired by their efforts to reform gun laws in Utah, and said the student activists follow in a long tradition of other young people who got things done, from the civil rights activists who fought for equity at lunch counters and on buses, to the students at East High School in Salt Lake City who two decades ago fought for a Gay/Straight Alliance.

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Demolition clears way for ‘striking’ new buildings and more affordable housing on Salt Lake City’s 400 South

(Photo courtesy of KTGY Architecture + Planning via Salt Lake City) Rendering of The Exchange, a pair of new mixed-use residential towers to be built at the northeast corner of 300 East and 400 South in downtown Salt Lake City.

Demolition is underway at the high-profile corner of Salt Lake City’s 400 South and 300 East to make way for a major addition of housing and retail outlets.

To be known as The Exchange, the $123 million project will include two new multistory, mixed-use buildings with a combined 412 dwellings between them, about 80 of which will be kept affordable to residents making half the city’s median income.

The development, set to occupy nearly half that block when completed, replaces the former Barnes Bank Building and Salt Lake Roasting Co. at that spot along one of the city’s busiest commercial corridors.

(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) Trax train rolls past Salt Lake Roasting Company and the old Barnes Bank building at 320 East 400 South. The buildings are being demolished to make way for The Exchange, a $110 million mixed use development with more than 400 dwellings and retail spaces.

The city chose the site’s developers, the Giv Group of Salt Lake City and Domain Cos., based in New York, in 2017 to redevelop what amounted to seven city-owned parcels at that northwest corner, totaling nearly two acres. The buildings are designed by the Los Angeles office of KTGY Architecture + Planning.

In city documents, the Giv Group said its first building at that corner will be “a striking, nine-story structure” designed to “serve as a worthy end cap to the city’s beautiful civic campus” created by the showcase City Library to the west and the Public Safety Building to the south.

The first tower will have about 286 mixed-income apartments, rooftop gardens and a heating and cooling system powered by solar panels, documents indicate, along with nearly 15,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

The second structure, plans indicate, is envisioned as a five-story building with 126 dwelling units, 2,700 square feet of retail space and another 30,000 square feet devoted to incubating new businesses and shared working spaces.

In addition to bringing much-needed housing and commercial activity to the downtown core, The Exchange’s design is also aimed at bringing more pedestrians and community activity to two adjacent midblock streets, Blair Street and People’s Way.

City officials sought a rezone of People’s Way in 2017 to better accommodate construction of The Exchange and to allow for outdoor dining offered by restaurants in the area and for mobile food trucks to locate on the street.

The Giv Group is also behind another housing project known as Project Open, an affordable residential complex in its second phase for a total of nearly 200 apartments, located at about 300 North and 500 West.

The Exchange joins a series of large-scale mixed-use residential complexes with hundreds of new apartments built along 400 South in recent years, spurred by special zoning the city has created around key stretches of TRAX lines, known as Transit Station Area zoning.

The land-use designation, also in place along portions of 900 South, North Temple and 500 West, encourages higher-density development near mass transit nodes.

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‘Unacceptable’ behavior from Utah State staff, not fans or players, behind expletive-laden shouting match with Nevada

(Eli Lucero | The Herald Journal) Fans celebrate with Utah State forward Justin Bean on the court after Utah State defeated Nevada 81-76 in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Logan, Utah.

The tempers that flared — and went viral — in the aftermath of Utah State’s biggest win in over a decade did not have anything to do with the thousands of fans who rushed the court in celebration Saturday evening.

That determination comes from the Mountain West Conference league office, which on Monday, issued a statement explaining that the situation in the hallways of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum was due to “inappropriate conduct” from both programs in the postgame handshake line, and subsequently, in the locker room areas.

The MWC office said it reviewed video clips from various sources as well as a collection of written statements from individuals involved. The USU fans who stormed the court after the 81-76 win over then No. 12-ranked Nevada were not the root of the incidents that surfaced in expletive-laden videos posted late Saturday evening. The league will not sanction or fine either school, rather leaving it up each individual university to determine penalties for those involved.

“There was a postgame management plan in place and it was executed successfully,” the MWC statement said.

The MWC statement said conference officials had multiple talks with both USU athletic director John Hartwell as well as Nevada AD Doug Knuth and has shared the conference’s findings with them.

“Each institution will be responsible for the determination and administration of what it deems appropriate disciplinary action for those involved,” the MWC statement explained. “It must be made clear unsportsmanlike and unprofessional conduct is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Hartwell later released a statement regarding the postgame incidents Saturday in Logan, saying there was “unacceptable” behavior by some USU staff members.

“First of all, we want to thank both the Mountain West and the University of Nevada in helping us review the postgame incident from Saturday night,” Hartwell said. “While unfortunate, it should not overshadow what was a great college basketball game between two NCAA Tournament-caliber teams.

“After reviewing all the evidence, from surveillance video to eyewitness accounts, the incident was not a game management issue and was not caused by our students rushing the court. The unsportsmanlike behavior following the game did not include any of our student-athletes, but rather a couple of staff members, which is unacceptable, and we will handle those issues internally. Moving forward, Utah State athletics will review our game management procedures in an effort to continually learn and improve.”

After the win Saturday, various media outlets captured videos of Wolf Pack coaches directing obscenities toward uniformed police officers and a USU staffer. Videos also showed Nevada star forward Jordan Caroline punching a glass fire extinguisher case in anger and Caroline later had to be restrained by teammates. Multiple outlets reported that Caroline was set off by a Utah State assistant who allegedly directed profanity at the Wolf Pack starter.

Nevada coaches and staffers were later seen criticizing uniformed police officers, alleging they were not properly protecting their players from being touched by fans who rushed the court as they tried to make their way to the locker room once the game had ended.

USU closes Mountain West Conference play Tuesday at Colorado State. With a win, the Aggies (24-6, 14-3) clinch at least a share of the MWC regular-season championship.

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Utah grad transfer Vaha Vainuku ‘fired up’ to come out of retirement, play for Huskers

Somewhere between Lincoln and Salt Lake City, Vaha Vainuku looked out the window at the clouds 30,000 feet above the ground, and smiled.

He was really going to play football again.

“Some nights you can’t sleep and you just miss it and you just keep dreaming of football and you keep wishing for what could have been,” Nebraska’s newest defensive tackle said. “I don’t know, man, I’m just excited. I don’t think anyone could ever know what I’m going through right now. I’m really fired up to a level I can’t even express.”

Vainuku committed to Nebraska on Friday after a visit to Lincoln. He will turn 25 in October and has two years of eligibility remaining.

Vainuku committed to Utah as a senior in 2011, and was part of the Utes’ 2012 recruiting class as the No. 82 defensive tackle in the country. After committing, he spent two years on a church mission in Oakland, California. And in January 2015, he returned to Utah and suited up.

During his first padded practice, the 6-foot-3, 295-pound lineman from Salt Lake City suffered a Lisfranc fracture, tearing two ligaments in his right foot. He had two surgeries, but he wasn’t the same. He appeared in two games in 2016. In 2017, he retired from football.

For a year, he tried to find his way. But he found himself alone in his apartment in tears, missing practices and offseason weight training.

“Sometimes you dread practice, like, ‘Damn I got practice. It’s gonna be hot and I’m gonna be tired,’ and all that,” Vainuku said. “But surprisingly, this past year that was one of the things I really missed. I really wished I was out there sweating and grinding with my boys.”

Long story short, I need to learn how to husk corn now!🌽 lol Beyond grateful to be able to play this game again and to do it for this stud of a Coach! Lets go Husker Nation🔴⚫️⚪️ #GBR pic.twitter.com/o5oiG65yrM

— Vaha Vainuku (@Vee_Stringz1) June 1, 2018

So in April 2018, he reached out to his high school coach and told him to put out some feelers. He wanted to play football again.

Nebraska, Hawaii and Oregon State wanted in. And the Huskers jumped to the top of Vainuku’s list when defensive coordinator Erik Chinander visited him in person last Thursday.

Chinander invited Vainuku to Lincoln. So he hopped on a flight and spent the past two days talking X’s and O’s with defensive line coach Mike Dawson and Chinander.

“It felt right. It just felt right,” Vainuku said. “That a Big Ten school — to say the least it’s Nebraska — to show interest in me, as wild as my story is and as wild as the things I’ve been through, for Nebraska to even show the slightest interest in me was very humbling,”

Nebraska wants to play him everywhere from nose tackle to defensive end. And Vainuku is more than OK with that.

He needs to finish up some housekeeping in Salt Lake City, but said he should be in Lincoln by next week.

When he returned to his apartment Friday night, he looked around. In this apartment, where he had cried himself to sleep, where he contemplated hanging up his cleats, everything felt different.

“I got to my room and I was like, ‘Gosh dang. This really happened,’” he said. “I’m in the same room and I’m just a different person. I’m happy and I’m ready and I’m fired up.”

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Elizabeth Elena Laguna-Salgado, a Provo woman missing since 2015, has been found dead in Hobble Creek Canyon, reports say

Elizabeth Elena Laguna-Salgado, taken during her mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Courtesy photo

A spokesman for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office would not comment Wednesday, except to say that a news conference will take place Thursday morning in Spanish Fork.

The discovery, it seems, would bring an end to a mystery that began April 16, 2015, when Laguna-Salgado, then 26, disappeared while walking home from classes at the Nomen Global Language Center in Provo. She sent a text to her sister in Mexico at 1:30 p.m., and her cellphone pinged for the last time from a tower near the school and her home not long after that.

Provo police investigated her disappearance, aided by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Interpol and other agencies. Hundreds of tips came in from across the country, but none turned up any clues to Laguna-Salgado’s whereabouts.

Laguna-Salgado had earned a college degree in her native Mexico. She followed that by going on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and coming to Utah to study English — which she still had not learned when she disappeared.

“We have hope and we have faith,” her brother, Rosenberg Salgado, said last month. “The Lord is going to help us find her. You always have to think positive.”

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