Salt Lake Century 21 real estate group ranked #1 in the world

Rick Davidson, President of the Century 21 Everest Group joined us to talk about the Everest Group, Cottonwood Heights office that was recently ranked the number one office in the world. The group has received top marks for the fourth year in a row.

The office is also hosting international visitors to share best practices to improve the consumer experience. Japanese visitors Mike Nash, General Manager of global business relations, and Ken Niwa, President & CEO of Century 21 Kouwahome.

To learn more about the Century 21 Everest Group visit

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University of Utah revamping its physics and astronomy department in the wake of a student’s suicide

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Students file out of the J. Willard Marriott Library on the University of Utah campus in November 2017.

A University of Utah report, commissioned after the apparent suicide of a graduate student, describes significant dysfunction within the school’s physics and astronomy department.

Overworked students are left aimless and their degree completion delayed, while a “factionalized” faculty prone to “temper flares” avoid contact with one another to mitigate disputes, according to a March 8 memorandum by outside attorneys Larry Perlman and Julie Lee.

“Currently, a number of faculty members refuse to speak with each other, pointing to issues with loyalty and trust,” the memorandum states. “The lack of communication amongst faculty members has had a negative impact on department morale.”

The attorneys, with the Florida law firm Foley and Lardner, were asked by university administrators to review issues and concerns related to the experience of U. graduate students after the October death of an international doctoral degree candidate.

Their memorandum was released by the university March 17, along with a statement outlining changes to the physics and astronomy department.

The department will not accept new graduate students during the 2018-19 academic year. And Peter Trapa, a U. professor of mathematics, will take over as chairman of the department.

“It comes down to better monitoring of the progress of graduate students,” U. spokesman Chris Nelson said of the leadership changes. “These students are spending too much time before they graduate the program.”

Allegations of abuse and sexual harassment by faculty accompanied the graduate student’s suicide, but the attorneys found no evidence to corroborate what it described as anonymous claims after interviewing more than 40 individuals, including U. faculty, staff and administrators, current and former student and the family and friends of the deceased.

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Could redshirt freshman Zach Katoa emerge as BYU’s every down running back?

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) BYU opened spring football camp on Monday March 5 in the indoor playing facility. Head Coach Kalani Sitake speaks to the media after the first day’s practice.

Provo • Standout linebacker Fred Warner and BYU’s other football captains approached the coaching staff midway through last season and suggested that freshman returned missionary running back Zachary Katoa be given more playing time.

“They came up and said, ‘hey,’ we gotta play this guy. He’s one of our best players,’” said head coach Kalani Sitake said Monday after the Cougars wrapped up their seventh practice of spring camp. “We thought about it and decided it would just be best for him to [redshirt] and come in January.”

The former American Fork High standout is certainly here now. He ripped off a couple of impressive runs in Monday’s 11-on-11 sessions that featured hitting, but no tackling. Katoa, 6-foot-1, 205, signed with Oregon State when Sitake was there in 2015, but followed the coach to Provo when he returned from a mission to Independence, Mo., just a few days before school started last fall.

“Well, I recruited the kid, so he is probably a good one,” Sitake quipped. “He handles his business in the classroom and does well off the field. … I think [redshirting] has been really good for him. He’s a lot farther along than a lot of returned missionaries have been, including myself.”

Tailbacks such as Katoa, Riley Burt, Austin Kafentzis and Kavika Fonua and fullback Brayden El-Bakri got the bulk of the carries Monday while the most experienced running back in the group, senior Squally Canada, mostly watched. Two other experienced RBs, KJ Hall and Ula Toluta, are out with injuries.

Sitake and new running backs coach AJ Steward said last week that they haven’t decided yet whether they will tab an every down running back or go with a by-committee approach like last year.

“Guys are starting to emerge as good running threats for us and we will hope to have it settled by the time we get to the fall,” Sitake said.

Much was made about how the offense dominated the defense at last Thursday’s scrimmage, with the defensive-minded Sitake acknowledging the oftense “got the upper hand” in the full contact drills. But the third-year coach spent part of BYU’s spring break weekend watching film, and he wasn’t as hard on the defense’s effort on Monday.

“Not as bad,” he said. “There are some things we can work on. … I think it was good for some of the younger guys to get their ‘welcome to college football’ that way. The defense responded well when they came back today. That’s because we had a lot of the right guys in there.”

“It was really good film,” Sitake said. “More than anything, it was just good experience for those younger guys to get.”

“Right now we are just trying to lay down the basics and the fundamentals both offensively and defensively,” he said.

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Tax hike compromise to replace Our Schools Now easily clears first hurdle on Utah’s Capitol Hill

(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Rep. Rebecca P. Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, speaks to her resolution HJR20 to forgo the Our Schools Now ballot initiative to raise money for public schools and instead raise it with a hike in the gasoline tax plan and tweaks to the state property tax rate.

If the first public debate in the Utah Legislature was any indication, a proposed compromise to boost school funding without the Our Schools Now ballot initiative appears poised for passage in the waning hours of the 2018 session.

Members of the House Political Subdivisions Committee voted late Wednesday 12-1 to move HJR20 to the full House for debate, following unanimously supportive testimony by members of the public.

“We support this bill,” said Beth Holbrook, president of the Utah League of Cities and Towns. “And we support the opportunity of the voters to go ahead and make this decision.”

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Mormons need not shy away from evolution, says BYU biologist

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Salt Lake LDS Temple in January 2018.

They believe in “eternal progression,” for example, and that the universe was organized from pre-existing matter, Steven L. Peck told a packed audience Thursday on the Utah Valley University campus. Those are ideas embraced by evolutionary biologists, too.

“The relationship between science and religion has been among the most fiercely debated issues since the Copernican Revolution displaced traditional wisdom regarding the nature of the cosmos,” program director Brian Birch said in his opening remarks. “Some have argued for a sharp division of labor while others have sought to harmonize spiritual and empirical truths.”

A Pew Forum poll from a decade ago show that 21 percent of Latter-day Saints agreed with the statement that “evolution is the best explanation for life on Earth.” In 2014, however, another Pew survey found nearly 50 percent believed in some form of evolution.

Peck, who has written several books, including “Science the Key to Theology,” was almost gleeful as he addressed the relationship between science and Mormon doctrines.

A few days after he and his wife married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple, they traveled to Seattle for a reception in his bride’s hometown. As they were returning to the Beehive State, their car was hit by a drunken driver. Both barely survived. For six weeks, their jaws were wired shut.

“As I hobbled around on my cane, I wondered what happened,” Peck said. “We did everything right and it was supposed to work out. Nothing made sense.”

After reading the words of the late Eugene England, an influential Mormon writer who died in 2001, Peck became convinced that such tragedies are not only possible but also an essential part of existence.

There certainly are surprises in the development of complex structures, he said. “Things that occur on one level — like DNA mutations — are truly random. And they can bubble up to the macro world.”

In response, life “organizes networks to manage this universe,” he said. “There is genuine novelty in this process. We see surprises being mothered into the universe. … We see it everywhere — rocks, strata and developmental processes.”

“There’s no direction in evolution; it is not trying to get somewhere,” Peck said. “The universe is making itself up as it goes along.”

“God is nothing,” Peck quoted Bergson as saying, “if conceived of as external to or separate from this course of events.”

“A plan of no agency would require a deterministic universe, where God sits above time and broods over an endless loop where nothing new ever occurs,” he said. “Like a ‘Gilligan’s Island’ rerun on loop forever.”

As a scientist, Peck said, he was struck by “a universe brimming with dynamic flows of energy and material, a universe of objects, hills and processes that advances with ebbs and flows, with randomness, chaos and order.”

The struggle for existence is paramount but should not lead humans into despair, Peck said, because they are “joined in a confederation of love … in relationship with each other and with God.”

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Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget moves deficit sharply higher

(Susan Walsh | The Associated Press) The President’s FY19 Budget is on display after arriving on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.

Washington • President Donald Trump unveiled a $4.4 trillion budget for next year that heralds an era of $1 trillion-plus federal deficits and — unlike the plan he released last year — never comes close to promising a balanced ledger even after 10 years.

The growing deficits reflect, in great part, the impact of last year’s tax overhaul, which is projected to cause federal tax revenue to drop. And Monday’s budget submission does not yet reflect last week’s two-year bipartisan $300 billion pact that wholly rejects Trump’s plans to slash domestic agencies.

Tax revenue would plummet by $3.7 trillion over the 2018-27 decade relative to last year’s “baseline” estimates, the budget projects. Trump is requesting a record $686 billion for the Pentagon, a 13 percent increase from the 2017 budget enacted last May.

In remarks Monday, Trump focused on the spending increases he favors rather than the deficits he and other Republicans have pledged to reduce.

“We’re going to have the strongest military we’ve ever had, by far,” Trump said. “In this budget we took care of the military like it’s never been taken care of before.”

Also getting a boost would be border security. Trump’s budget includes money to start building 65 miles of border wall in south Texas as well as money to bring immigration jails up to a capacity of 47,000 and add 2,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees and 750 Border Patrol agents.

The spending spree, along with last year’s tax cuts, has the deficit moving sharply higher with Republicans in control of Washington. Trump’s plan sees a 2019 deficit of $984 billion, though $1.2 trillion is more plausible after last week’s budget pact and $90 billion worth of disaster aid is tacked on. That’s more than double the 2019 deficit the administration promised last year.

All told, the new budget sees accumulating deficits of $7.2 trillion over the coming decade; Trump’s plan last year projected a 10-year shortfall of $3.2 trillion.

“In one year of working together, we have laid the foundation for a new era of American greatness,” Trump said in the budget message accompanying his spending document. “America is back to winning again. A great spirit of optimism continues to sweep across our nation.”

The 2019 budget was originally designed to double down on last year’s proposals to slash foreign aid, the Environmental Protection Agency, home heating assistance and other nondefense programs funded by Congress each year.

“A lot of presidents’ budgets are ignored. But I would expect this one to be completely irrelevant and totally ignored,” said Jason Furman, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama. “In fact, Congress passed a law last week that basically undid the budget before it was even submitted.”

In a preview of Monday’s release, the White House on Sunday focused on Trump’s $1.5 trillion plan for the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. He also is asking for a $13 billion increase over two years for opioid prevention, treatment and long-term recovery. A request for $23 billion for border security, including $18 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and money for more detention beds for detained immigrants, is part of the budget, too.

Trump would again spare Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare as he promised during the 2016 campaign. And while his plan would reprise last year’s attempt to scuttle the “Obamacare” health law and sharply cut back the Medicaid program for the elderly, poor and disabled, Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill have signaled there’s no interest in tackling hot-button health issues during an election year.

The budget also endorses a plan by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., to replace the Obama-era health law with $1.6 trillion in subsidies to states over the coming decade.

The plan also reprises proposals from last year’s Trump budget to curb crop insurance costs, cut student loan subsidies, reduce pension benefits for federal workers and cut food stamps, among other proposals.

Mick Mulvaney, the former tea party congressman who runs the White House budget office, said Sunday that Trump’s new budget, if implemented, would tame the deficit over time.

“The budget does bend the trajectory down, it does move us back towards balance. It does get us away from trillion-dollar deficits,” Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Just because this deal was signed does not mean the future is written in stone. We do have a chance still to change the trajectory. And that is what the budget will show tomorrow,” he said.

Last year, Trump’s budget projected a slight surplus after a decade, but critics said it relied on an enormous accounting gimmick — double counting a 10-year, $2 trillion surge in revenues from the economic benefits of “tax reform.” Now that tax reform has passed, the math trick can’t be used, and the Trump plan doesn’t come close to balancing.

Trump plan also promises 3 percent growth, continuing low inflation, and low interest yields on U.S. Treasury bills despite a flood of new borrowing, underestimates the mounting cost of financing the government’s $20 trillion-plus debt. Many economists are likely to find the prospects for such a rosy scenario implausible.

The White House is putting focus this year on Trump’s long-overdue plan to boost spending on the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The plan would put up $200 billion in federal money over the next 10 years to leverage $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending, relying on state and local governments and the private sector to contribute the bulk of the funding.

Critics contend the infrastructure plan will fail to reach its goals without more federal support. Proposals to streamline the permitting process as a way to reduce the cost of projects have already generated opposition from environmental groups.

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Salt Lake church shields Utah mom from deportation

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah mother of two who is facing deportation was about to board a plane to her native Honduras when she changed her mind and went to a church instead.

Vicky Chavez was on her way to the airport Tuesday night with her daughters, a 6-year-old and 4-month-old. She realized her home country was too dangerous for the little girls and instead moved into First Unitarian Church in downtown Salt Lake City, said Assistant Minister Monica Dobbins.

“She’ll be in the safest place that she can be,” Rev. Dobbins said. “We’re supporting her through an incredibly difficult time.”

The last-minute decision made Rev. Dobbins’ church the first in Utah to offer sanctuary to someone seeking to avoid deportation, she said. The 30-year-old mother was seeking asylum but was outpaced by her deportation case, Rev Dobbins said.

Inside the church, ministers and volunteers modified an area to create a makeshift apartment for the LDS family.

“It’s hard to live a normal life when you’re in a building that you can’t leave,” she said, but church leaders and members of the congregation were trying to make the space as normal as possible, with books, games and cozy surroundings.

Federal immigration officials have directed officers to avoid making arrests at places of worship under a “sensitive locations” policy that also pertains to schools, hospitals, rallies and weddings, among other places.

Chavez declined through a spokeswoman to speak with reporters Wednesday, but said in a statement she was fleeing upheaval in Honduras and violence in her home when she came to the U.S. in 2014.

She “has exhausted her appeals through the immigration courts,” the U.S. Customs and Enforcement Agency said in a statement Wednesday.

The federal Board of Immigration Appeals rejected Chavez’s request for a stay of deportation on Tuesday, and she was removed from an alternative-to-detention program the next day, the agency said.

The First Unitarian congregation in a recent vote approved providing sanctuary in such cases, Rev. Dobbins said, noting that other places of worship around the country also were providing sanctuary to immigrants seeking to avoid deportation.

“This is a faith issue,” she said, noting that Chavez’s looming return to Honduras would be difficult and dangerous. “We’re considering this civil disobedience to an unjust law.”

Kristin Knippenburg of Red de Solidaridad, one of the groups rallying around Chavez, agreed.

“ICE assumes that when they order these families to leave, they will do so just as quietly, just as anonymously, and we’re ensuring that isn’t the case,” Knippenburg said in a statement.

As the family settles into its temporary home, activists were seeking to reopen an asylum case for the family, said Amy Dominguez, of Unidad Inmigrante.

Under the direction of President Donald Trump, ICE has ramped up immigration enforcement, including in Utah, where high-profile cases have included parents ordered to return to Mexico and South America.


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Finding Salt Lake City Utah Housing Solutions

Are you looking for housing in Salt Lake City? If you’re trying to find a home in Utah, you’ll want to consider all of your options. Whether you choose to buy or rent, you should be able to find housing that serves your needs.


How much can you afford to spend on housing? You should look closely at your budget so that you can determine what you can spend. It’s usually recommended that you spend no more than 30% of your income on housing.

You should also make sure you consider all of your expenses. Don’t just look at what your rent or mortgage payments will be. Look at what you’ll be paying in utilities and taxes as well. If you’ll have to cover other expenses, like the cost of a storage unit, you’ll want to look at those costs as well.

Choosing The Right Neighborhood

Not every neighborhood in Salt Lake City is the same. You’ll want to seek out a neighborhood you’ll feel safe and comfortable in. If you’re planning on using public transit, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll be able to access that without any issues.

If you don’t know Salt Lake City very well, you should take some time and try to get to know the city a little bit better. If you’re thinking about living in a neighborhood, you may want to visit that neighborhood during the weekend or at night. You’ll be able to get a better idea of what the neighborhood has to offer.

If you’re interested in finding Salt Lake City housing, you should start exploring your options now. Start looking at some of the options that are within your budget. See if you can find some choices that you’ll be able to live with.

What You Likely Did Not Know About Salt Lake Utah

Once known as the Great Salt Lake, this area has a long natural history that most do not think too much about. In just a few years the region can look very different from what it had due to droughts and the constantly changing landscape. In August of 2003 the area was vastly different from what it was five years earlier due to a drought.

While the natives were aware that there was a major change, it took seeing a satelite image to really absorb just how different it was. The image showed the difference in coloring of the lake from the norther and southern sections. These differences were primarily due to a railroad causeway built long ago, and before the water levels receded they were not noticeable to the naked eye standing at ground level.

This lake was once part of the much larger Lake Bonneville that once took up most of western Utah. That was during prehistoric times, even when dinosaurs roamed. It is now refereed to as a pluvial lake, which means that it was a basin surrounded by land that filled with rainwater over hundreds of years. This usually occurs when glaciers are developing and rain amounts are far greater than normal.

It is believed that Lake Bonneville was present in the area untill just under 20,000 years ago. Some of the lake drained through a breech near what is now known as Red Rock Pass. After the glacial period ended the remaining water from Bonneville evaporated, leaving what is now known as Salt Lake behind. It is the largest of the four major lakes that remain. The other three are Utah Lake, Rush Lake and Sevier Lake. The three largest rivers that flow into the lake are Bear, Weber and the Jordan River.

Native Americans knew well of this lake for thousands of years. It wasn’t put into written history until Escalante recorded its existance after hearing of it from natives. It was finally mapped in 1824 by a cartographer by the name of Pacheco. Finally, it was settled by Mormons looking for a fresh start free of discrimination.

Salt Lake Utah has a natural beauty that has drawn millions to its banks. Its originality in being the only inland lake that has salt water fascinates adults and children alike. The full history will never be known but that will not end the curiosity.