Poor air quality continues to be an issue for residents of Salt Lake City


By Trevor Hofer

SALT LAKE CITY—Poor air quality has been an issue for citizens of Salt Lake City for many years. The time of year when air quality is at its worst is December through February. During this time, residents must deal with inversion. Weather Questions, a website states, “inversion acts like a lid, keeping normal convective overturning of the atmosphere from penetrating through the inversion.” This definition explains that inversion contains various air pollutants which cause bad air quality to stay trapped within the valley and breathed in by the population.

Although Salt Lake City’s air quality has improved, the air quality is still ranked as the sixth worst in the nation by the American Lung Association. The American Lung Association gave the Salt Lake Valley an “F” in both the amount of particulate pollution and in the ozone. The American Lung Association based their ranks on two factors, particulate pollution, and ozone. According to Dictionary.com particulate pollution is “pollution of an environment that consists of particles suspended in some medium… [it] is a mixture of solid and liquid droplets floating in the air.” Particulate can affect every person in Salt Lake City, but those at higher risk according to the National Park Service website are those with heart and lung diseases, diabetes, asthma, and children.

The other factor that the American Lung Association bases their rankings on is ozone. According to AirNow, ozone can either be good or bad depending on where it is located. “Good” ozone is found 6 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface where it protects us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Bad ozone is near ground level and forms “when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boiler, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight” creating bad breathing air. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that ozone has linked poor air quality to adverse health effects such as with some being chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, wheezing, and trouble breathing during outdoor activities and exercise.

Peter F. Vitiello, an assistant scientist in the Environmental Influences on Health and Diseases group who is also a member of the American Lung Association, stated that “poor air quality is hazardous and is something in which we should not take lightly.” Vitiello suggested that we should try to keep the environment healthy as we would want our health to be.” As mentioned, many factors play a part in the poor air quality that is affecting the residents in Salt Lake City. Liberation News states one of the primary sources causing a significant decrease in safe air quality is the five oil refineries owned by Chevron and Andeavor. Also, mining operations in Salt Lake City also attribute significantly to poor air quality.



Burning wood is one of the causes of pollution. The DEQ has put out regulations on how much and when you are able to burn wood

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) mission is “safeguarding and improving Utah’s air, land, and water through balanced regulation.” The DEQ has a department solely focused on Utah’s atmosphere and is continuously looking for ways they can improve the air quality of Utah. They also have many other apps where we can view how the air quality is today and have also set up a few regulations by which we should live. Some of these suggestions are to turn your key, be idle free, travel-wise, conserve energy and use a shovel rather than a snow blower. These are just a few suggestions by which we should live to improve our quality of air.


Cars are one of the leading causes of pollution at 50-55 percent for the Salt Lake Valley

Beau Call from the DEQ said that “they have a rule called the water heater and they suggest that the water heater when you buy a new one should have low oxides of nitrogen level.” Call also stated that, “they have an Air Quality board which listens to the suggestions from the DEQ and decide if this is the best path for better and cleaner air.”  They are also trying to put regulations on industries on how much they can produce. According to Call, “the major industry only attributes to 17 percent and cars produce 50 to 55 percent 25 to 30 percent are from buildings and homes. So the cars are the main issue; therefore, the newer cars are improving, and they are producing cleaner gas to minimize the pollution.” Call suggested that if we could use electric cars, it would vastly improve the air quality.

pie chart pollution

Stats from Beau Call about the causes of pollution.

Salt Lake City has taken a few steps to improve the air quality and to lessen the carbon footprint. Liberation News claimed that the first step was back in the year 1999 where the first electric TRAX light rail line was made available to the residents of Salt Lake valley. The DEQ also has a  few incentive programs and they will pay you to switch you to a new heating device that will be cleaner for the air quality; for example, if you have a wood stove. We have plenty of cleaner resources around us that we need to use rather than sit idly by. If we do these things that the DEQ has suggested, we will be able to create a better environment and we will be able to live healthier lives.


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Scooting around Salt Lake City, the debate over the Lime and Bird scooters

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Scooting around Salt Lake City, the debate over Lime and Bird scooters


By Kennedee Webb

SALT LAKE CITY — Have you seen riders zipping around corners of streets on Lime or Bird scooters around downtown Salt Lake City? It seems like everywhere you go in the city, you are bound to see  someone “scooting” and enjoying the cool breeze as they ride along the streets and sidewalks. These scooters were introduced to the city in early summer of 2018, and have quickly become a hit with people downtown and on local college campuses. While riders seem to love this new form of transportation, some are debating the safety of these scooters on our streets and sidewalks.

The rentable Bird and Lime scooters are very similar, both are dockless and powered electronically. The scooters can be accessed through each of the companies’ downloadable apps. The rider is able to locate a scooter near their current location, pay for the ride and activate the scooter, all through the app.

The starting amount for each scooter is $1.00 and then the app charges the rider 15 cents for each additional minute. The riders must 18 or over and have a valid driver’s license.  After riders reach their destinations they may set down the scooter in a safe location and leave. At the end of the night, scooters are located, recharged, then returned to their “nests.”

On the one hand, these scooters seem like a wonderful idea. Not only do they provide easy and fast transportation, they are fun, “cool,” and budget- and environmentally-friendly. They’re a great alternative for those in a rush, or for those who don’t like to walk. And the scooters go up to a 14 miles per hour.

“I really love having the scooters up here on campus,” says Shaylee Anderson, a 21-year-old student at the University of Utah. “They are so easy to access through the app and pretty cheap for students like me who are broke. The scooters provide me a quick way to get to class, if I’m running a little late. When riding, I do make sure to be very aware of my surroundings so I don’t have a chance of hitting other students.” However, for every positive of a new fad, there seems to be a negative as well.

Safety issues have been a concern for schools and the city ever since the scooters popped up in early summer. These concerns include riding along the sidewalks and the possibility of injuring pedestrians or other riders. Riders must ride in the street and in bicycle lanes or travel lanes, they are prohibited from riding on the sidewalk. Also parking scooters has been a safety issue.

[According to city regulations?] riders should park scooters safely between the sidewalk and curb, taking care that the scooter is not adjacent to a lamp post or other street pole, UTA bus stop sign, bike rack, or on the sidewalk where it will impede ADA access and the general flow of people. Also, a rider cannot park their scooter within 50 feet of a GREENbike station, at a UTA bus or TRAX station, or in parking spots dedicated to cars.

Jon Larsen, director of the Transportation Division Department of Communities? and Neighborhoods of the Salt Lake City Corporation talked about Salt Lake City’s view on the scooters and what they are planning for future improvements. “Generally, I would say that we are supportive of the scooters, because of the potential air quality and mobility benefits. We, of course, want everyone to be safe, and have worked with the vendors on outreach and education of users.

According to Larsen, permanent regulations for scooters are not yet in place. “We are also working on expanding our network of bike lanes throughout the city so that people have a safe place to ride. We created a temporary operating agreement that allows vendors to operate in the city and sets the ground rules for them to operate. We will likely adopt a permanent ordinance that governs the operation of shared scooters sometime in 2019.”

Many working professionals still have their doubts. Ian Welch, 43, works downtown at the Wells Fargo building. “I don’t know how I feel about these scooters,” he says. “I have almost been hit a couple times by riders who are unaware of their surroundings. I can see the benefits the scooters can have on downtown, however there really needs to be an outreach on the safety uses of these scooters so I don’t get stomped down to the ground.”

The scooters debate is bound to continue downtown Salt Lake City and on local campuses. Whether you’re pro scooters or ready to see them scoot away from the city, they have been a focal point of transportation over the past year. It seems like most people have accepted the scooters, and the city has adapted well; however, there will always be safety concerns. The city and riders are aware of these concerns and are taking actions to ensure that safety is the number one priority. For now, it looks like the scooters are here to stay.


Bird Scooter located in downtown Salt Lake City

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Laurie Glover riding a Bird scooter in downtown Salt Lake City


$1 to ride a Lime scooter

Their brothers’ keeper — Utah charity targets refugee men

Story and slideshow by PETER JOHNSTON

Leul Mengistu hits the gas pedal of his company van. The light has turned green and he is late for an appointment with Julia, a female refugee from South Sudan. A banner with a blue, yellow and red logo that reads, “Catholic Community Services,” has been slapped onto the van’s side.  

Though Mengistu helps female refugees like Julia at Catholic Community Services (CCS) he has a new focus demographic: refugee men.

“I don’t want them to fall between the cracks,” he says, one hand on the steering wheel. There are programs for women and children and youth, but men are often forgotten in refugee assistance efforts.

The International Rescue Committee reports that “refugee men, a category not prioritized by the humanitarian system for support, are often not able to access support that they need and, even more often, feel themselves to be excluded from it.”

According to CARE International, a relief organization that primarily targets women, “among humanitarian actors, donors and government agencies, there is a common perception that men are best able to look after themselves and negotiate the complexities of displacement unaided.”

The report says this perception leads to less attention for the problems of male refugees.

Mengistu acknowledges that women and children are often the most disadvantaged groups fleeing conflict in their home countries. However, he also says he deals with many refugee men who have not received needed support from other organizations because of the common belief that men are “best able to look after themselves.”

Mengistu has responded to widespread ignorance toward male refugees with the Men’s Wellness Support Group — a program that will bring together 10 to 15 refugee men for weekly classes. Each “cohort” of men will learn about topics ranging from building a budget to coping with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Weekly instruction will be led by men: Mengistu, a couple of class facilitators, and guest speakers specially tapped because of their area of expertise. David Harris is one such guest speaker. He is slated to teach the class on physical health and comes from a background of pediatrics and insurance management.

Harris says he sees cultural adjustment as the greatest priority of the Men’s Wellness Support Group. “They [the refugee men] need to protect their own culture,” he says, but they also “need to understand how stuff works [in the U.S.] so that they can get along.”

Mengistu once directed a support group for women that focused primarily on health. However, he too says the new support group’s objectives go beyond just physical wellness. “I want them [the refugee men] to be very competitive,” he says. “Everybody’s smart, but now it’s camouflaged!”

That intellectual camouflage refers to the invalidation of refugees’ prior work experience and professional talent in the United States.

Mengistu’s boss, Aden Batar, is the director of Immigration and Refugee Resettlement at CCS. He explains the “camouflage” problem from his own perspective.

Batar left Somalia with his family in the mid 1990s with a law degree from his home country. He says that degree and legal experience went unrecognized in the U.S.

“Can you imagine how frustrating that would be?” Batar asks. Today, he says, refugees can more easily get college degrees that match the ones they earned previously because NGOs and governmental agencies provide financial help. However, “back then [he] was lost in the middle because [he] didn’t have those systems.”

Even with revamped nonprofit and governmental aid, Batar says the Men’s Wellness Support Group “fills a gap.”

Eighty percent of CCS cases are women and children, Batar says. Men aren’t seen later unless they have a demonstrated problem.

Despite widespread apathy on the issue, Utah’s history with refugees makes it an appropriate birthplace for the program. In 2015, when 30 governors called for the cessation of Syrian refugee resettlement, Gov. Gary R. Herbert announced Utah’s continued commitment to assist refugees.

Batar also highlights the strong public-private relationship among CCS and local religious organizations as a positive sign of Utah’s tolerance of refugees. “The most welcoming state in the U.S. is Utah,” he says.

While the Men’s Wellness Support Group has public backing, it faces significant challenges.

For one, cultural conflicts between refugees’ old way of life and their new one in America could foster misunderstanding and resentment. David Harris, the guest speaker who will handle the physical health section, underlines that the program’s facilitators and guest speakers may not understand all cultural nuances of refugees’ backgrounds. “We may say something that we feel strongly about or think is obvious when they disagree or don’t think it’s obvious,” Harris says.

The key, he says, will be for facilitators to “listen really closely to what [the refugees] have to say and what their concerns are rather than being very dogmatic.”

Participating refugees will come from more than three countries. Mengistu has recruited men from Burma, Somalia and Democratic Republic of the Congo for the support group so far. His proposed solution to bridge cultural divides is to recruit participants who speak one of only two languages — Karen (a language spoken in Burma) and Swahili.

Logistics also pose a problem. Mengistu will need to resolve the scheduling conflicts of refugee men who work night and day shifts and CCS interpreters who work business hours. The program director says he and the guest speakers will adapt to the schedules of the refugees.

Regardless of the program’s potential problems, Mengistu envisions far-reaching implications for the Salt Lake City community. He says refugee men will integrate with the larger community, enjoy more family unity and become more self-sufficient fathers.

The first of the weekly classes launched April 5 with a cohort of seven participants — two from Burma, five from East Africa. If all goes well, these seven men will walk away from the CCS classroom on May 24 with the skills to start a career and find daily joy. A tall order — but like Mengistu says, “I don’t want them to fall through the cracks.”



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Salt Lake Gallery Stroll aids making art obtainable

Story and Photos by NATALIE MUMM

SALT LAKE CITY — From paintings to photography, contemporary to antique pieces, professionals to hobbyists, the realm of visual arts has a diverse assortment greater than our own imaginations. In Salt Lake City, see it all in one night as select downtown-area galleries open their doors after hours, waive admission fees, and allow guests to browse the various art displayed.

“The gallery stroll is valuable because it allows the public the opportunity to see the talents of local artists while also fostering a sense of conversation about those pieces with others in the community,” said Sara Kemp, a University of Utah student attending the event for a fine arts class assignment.

The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll is a gathering of local galleries and other businesses to promote visual art, and to bring the value of visual art to the forefront of Salt Lake City’s cultural identity.

On the third Friday of each month–with the exception of December, when the event is on the first Friday–the gallery stroll provides educational opportunities to introduce individuals to art. “I am not very educated in the arts, but the more galleries I attend, and more artists I speak to, my interest in art sparks a bit more, and I forget I was simply told by my professor to attend,” said Kemp. “It instantly started feeling like less of a chore to be there, and more eye opening and intriguing to learn more, and become more appreciative of art.”

The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll strives to promote and provide access to expression, interest, appreciation, and understanding of the visual arts throughout the city to further increase the reputation of Utah artists and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally.

Through the event’s website lists participating galleries including an address and a short description of what the gallery carries. Individuals can then choose which galleries are the most convenient and intriguing to themselves.

“Art is one of those things that goes under appreciated in our society, and having events to display this provides easier access to those who are not only interested by art, but inspired by it,” said Connor Cox, an employee for the Gallery Stroll located at 15th Street Gallery. “People should attend the Gallery Stroll in order to expand art culture in Salt Lake City.”

The Gallery Stroll is intended to expand art culture in Salt Lake City, as well as to encourage artists to continue pursuing their careers and developing their skills. The Gallery Stroll does not promote individual artists; it promotes galleries and visual- related businesses. While artists are frequently present  to share their work, some galleries feature work from artists who are physically unavailable. “Some artists come to us, some artists we go to, some artists we just have a standing network relationship with,” said J. Brett Levitre, a partner at ANTHONY’S Fine Art & Antiques, and a participant in the stroll.

“Some of the artists we have on consignment, where we sell it and split the sale price 50/50, involving the artist more in our establishment, while some of them we just like and buy outright and sell for what we like to sell it, displaying the art and artists name in our own possession.” Whether you attend a gallery to see the artist display their work, or view the work of artists not present, educated individuals involved for the time being leave every guest attending the Gallery Stroll, more knowledgeable about the art.


Outside of Anthony’s Antiques located at
401 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Taken on October 20, 2017 (Photo by Natalie Mumm) Enterprise Assets

With so many possible venues participating in the stroll on any given third Friday, it may seem like an overwhelming art maze. Be that as it may, The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll’s website is simple to navigate yourself through, to finally discover a new gallery in the area that you wish to attend. The level of enjoyment and education received from the event is entirely up to you.

Visual art time and time again surrounds everyone. “I was overwhelmed to see so much art in once place that was so beautiful and not commercialized,” said Kemp. “It reminds you that talented people can do this, and there is more to what we just see on the media.” The stroll takes viewing art to a more interactive and personal level, engaging conversation, and genuine reactions between the artist and the spectator. The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll aids making art more obtainable to the average individual. That being said, it should highly encourage everyone in the area to indulge themselves, and appreciate the art and culture representations their community has to offer for a night.

Reflection Blog


Plant-based dining takes root downtown

Story and photos by Allison Oligschlaeger

SALT LAKE CITY — To any unsuspecting omnivore, the new Cinnaholic on 700 East looks like any other bakery. The only hint to the contrary is the two-inch tall, health-department mandated “V” in the corner of the glass serving case, discretely indicating the restaurant’s open secret.

Everything at Cinnaholic, from its custom cinnamon rolls to its coffee offerings, is egg-, dairy- and gluten-free. The franchise’s menu is extensive, boasting 20 flavors of frosting and even more toppings. Each option is entirely vegan.

Not that their marketing strategy reflects that — “the whole franchise, we don’t lead with ‘vegan,’” says Kurtis Nielsen, owner of the recently-opened Salt Lake City location. “The concept plays to everyone.”

Nielsen, a veteran of the health food industry and recent adopter of the plant-based diet, attributes the strategy to the business’s reliance on walk-in customers.

“The vegans are going to come — they have limited options, as we all know,” Nielsen jokes.

Those with little exposure to vegan food may pass it up as less appealing, “substitute” fare, requiring a more tailored marketing approach than the store’s vegan customers.

Cinnaholic’s approach isn’t unique in the fast-growing industry of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. In fact, much of the sector’s recent growth can be attributed to a new focus on acquiring omnivorous customers.

“You don’t have to be vegan to appreciate the food,” says Joslyn Pust, duty manager at Zest Kitchen and Bar. “It’s more than salad, it’s more than fake meats. That’s the biggest thing we try to convey to people.”

Since opening in 2012, Zest has enticed brunchers and barhoppers of all dietary persuasions with upscale vegetarian entrees and a zany cocktail menu. Rather than pushing the meat-free angle, Zest’s marketing strategy focuses on the food’s organic sourcing and health benefits. In fact, Pust estimates only a third of the restaurant’s staff is vegetarian or vegan.

“I think that honestly speaks to how accessible our food is, and our drinks as well,” Pust says.

While Salt Lake City’s vegan establishments of yore — like Sage’s Cafe and Vertical Diner, opened by veteran restaurateur Ian Brandt in 1999 and 2007, respectively — focused on meeting existing demand for plant-based food, their newer counterparts are committed to extending it. The last five years have seen a veritable explosion of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, nearly all of which practice some degree of “omnivore outreach.”


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Buds, a vegan sandwich shop popular with University of Utah students, was founded in 2012 in hopes of rehabilitating the meat-eating public’s opinions on veganism and vegan food.

“They just wanted to show people that you can get good food and it doesn’t have to contain animals or byproducts of animals,” says Buds employee Emma Broadbent. “It doesn’t have to suck, you know? Vegans don’t just eat salad.”

Buds founders Alex and Roxy expanded their cruelty-free restaurant network in September with BoltCutter, a South-American inspired restaurant and bar, and MONKEYWRENCH, an adjacent dairy-free ice cream and espresso shop. MONKEYWRENCH barista Molly Jager, a senior at the U, said the shop is rebounding from a quiet opening as Gallivan Avenue-area professionals discover MONKEYWRENCH’s morning coffee offerings. The store’s variety of dairy-free milk and cream options make it particularly popular with lactose-intolerant customers, Jager said.

Unlike the staff at Zest, the crews at both MONKEYWRENCH and Buds are made up entirely of herbivores. Jager is the only vegetarian employee at MONKEYWRENCH; the rest of her coworkers are vegan.

“It’s interesting and cool being around a group of people who are really passionate about what they work with,” Jager says. “Everyone is very dedicated to it and very vocal about it and it’s cool to see that excitement.”

Additional recent newcomers include dinner restaurants Seasons Plant Based Bistro and Veggie House, both 100% vegan. Seasons positions itself as upscale Italian dining, while Veggie House purports to meld the best of “fast” Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese food.

“We’re proud to watch our city’s taste buds continually expand,” said Nick Como, Director of Communication for the Downtown Alliance. “The opening of several new vegan restaurants downtown proves downtown is truly for everyone and has something for every taste.”

While the recent crush of such establishments may seem sudden, Pust says it’s been a long time coming.

“The community has grown exponentially just since I’ve worked at Zest,” she says. “In the past two years it’s exploded.”

Jager attributes some of the community’s rapid growth to trendiness — “It’s kind of an Instagram thing now,” she says — as well as to an increased cultural focus on physical and environmental health, which she says “goes hand-in-hand” with eating less meat.

Nielsen says the rate at which people are adopting veganism and vegetarianism is perfect for entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the craze. While flashier food trends like gluten-free and low-carb were quickly adopted by corporate giants, the relative slow burn of plant-based diets allows smaller producers and restaurateurs to dominate the scene, he says.

While Nielsen does believe the mainstreaming of veganism is inevitable, he hopes it’s a while off.

“It’s going to happen, but I hope it happens slow, because it’s fun as a smaller player to be able to get into something like this and be successful,” he says. “For example, if Cinnabon was doing this, I wouldn’t have the opportunity.”

Nielsen is optimistic about Cinnaholic’s future in Salt Lake City.

“I think it’s a great market for it,” he says. “We’re off to a roaring start.”


(Read Allison’s reflection blog about this story here.)

Three Salt Lake City fashion creatives discuss the impact of social media marketing

Story and photos by BRITT BROOKS

A swipe, a like, a comment, a follow.

To get a look at marketing in the 21st century, go no further than your smartphone. Today you can look at any online platform and find a person, product, or brand that sparks your interest. But the businesses that perhaps utilize social media the most are those in the fashion industry.

Whether it’s celebrity-sponsored posts, live streams of runway shows, or notifications for product drops, fashion can be an immersive experience now more than ever. The elite fashion gods such as Gucci, Versace, Chanel and Balenciaga all have millions of followers on social media. But what about the startups?

Three up-and-comers in Salt Lake City’s fashion industry gave insight to their experiences with social media. The impact can be positive or negative depending on how active users are with the content presented to them.

Sydni Zaugg sat in a window seat at Salt Lake Coffee Break, her platinum blond bob stood out against head to toe black clothing and silver jewelry. Zaugg, 19, is a college student who attended the International Fashion Academy (IFA) in Paris in 2017. The program spanned three weeks and allowed her to attend Paris’ spring Fashion Week in early March.

Zaugg said she wouldn’t have even known about the opportunity had it not been for Instagram. After following IFA professor and trend specialist Agus Catteno on Instagram, Zaugg realized her wish to be educated about fashion in France was a possibility.

Zaugg direct messaged (DM’d) Catteno and asked questions about her job at IFA and  the opportunities for classes. Without her connection to Catteno, Zaugg wouldn’t have had a welcoming person to show her the ropes, and probably wouldn’t have gone to Paris for classes in the first place.

Parisian fashion influenced Zaugg’s personal style. And it serves as her template for advising others as she pursues a career as a stylist and photographer in Utah.

Social media give Zaugg a platform to share her availability for styling sessions and examples of her work such as dark, moody and romantic photoshoots with friends and models. But as with everything, it isn’t perfect. Zaugg mentioned the downside of pursuing likes and comments: a loss of creativity.

Avant garde clothing still graces the runways, but Zaugg has noticed brands moving toward more streamlined, minimalistic styles. This can be attributed to regular trend cycles. But Zaugg sees it as a reflection of the heavy use of social media marketing. Current fashion can be more about who you are, not what you wear. Big entertainment names like Kardashian and Hadid can be more influential than the brands themselves.

The integrity of the fashion industry can quickly fall victim to the whims of celebrities and influencers. Copycats are bad for any creative-based industry. To combat this ever-present sameness, Zaugg has a perfect mantra: “Clothes should give you confidence to express yourself how you want to, not how everyone else dresses.”

Someone curating new and wearable pieces for women is Madison Martellaro. A 21-year-old senior at the University of Utah, Martellaro has already started a company. In April 2017, she began working on her online clothing store, Fleur Fashion Boutique. She can be seen wearing multiple pieces from her boutique’s line including jeans, bomber jackets and everyday T shirts.

Martellaro came into the fashion industry alone, with virtually no connections. After months of research and hard work, she was able to start her business and advertise through social media to grow a following before the boutique launched on Nov. 9. She credits her online following of nearly 1,000 people to creating brand awareness before items were even available for purchase.

To get a good idea of what her customers actually want, Martellaro used polling features on social media. Polls and comments influenced the way the boutique website looks and functions. For example, followers wanted to know the models’ sizes and dimensions as well as see the clothing from multiple angles. These are two details about Fleur Fashion Boutique that came directly from future customers’ wish lists.

During her first photoshoot, Martellaro held a livestream. The feature on Instagram enabled her to connect even more with her future consumers. “I want to show people really what goes behind a business,” she said. In a world where new competition crops up every day, a behind-the-scenes connection with followers is priceless.

Martellaro takes a lot of pride in curating pieces that women of all sizes can wear and personalize. One of her biggest goals is to sell clothes that can be worn day to night, and look glamorous no matter the occasion.

Packaging is an important part of her brand’s final presentation and delivery. For a cohesive image, all clothing and accessories come wrapped in tissue paper with the greeting “Hello Beautiful” in bold font on the outside. Fleur Fashion Boutique encourages its recipients to take selfies with their deliveries, creating a wider community of people that talk about the products.

“That was the biggest thing for me,” Martellaro said, “making sure women felt empowered and special.”

Keeping a cohesive and unique image is one of the top priorities for Davis Hong. A polished and composed 24-year-old, Hong graduated from Salt Lake Community College with a design degree. Sitting in a wrap-around black coat of his own design, Hong said he likes to wear his own creations.

Recently rebranded under its new name, BYSHAO has been in the works for over two years, and is set to launch in 2018. Hong has made huge strides toward creating his ideal company and style.

Sustainable, ethically sourced materials are of utmost importance for BYSHAO. Only natural fiber fabrics like cotton and linen blends are used in the designs. To avoid creating more waste on our planet, Hong prefers working plant-to-piece with certified organic materials, and avoids polyester. Natural textiles and humane working conditions are the core of his passion for sustainable clothing, and it’s something he’s sticking to.

The pieces of BYSHAO are best described in Hong’s own words as minimalistic, gender-neutral and timeless. Specializing in overcoats and tops, BYSHAO is both modern and classic with structured silhouettes and neutral colors.

Participating at the 2017 Art Meets Fashion show in Salt Lake City, Hong’s brand was one of the five main shows. Events like this help secure a following that he hopes will subscribe to BYSHAO’s e-newsletter. Emails are more of a personal connection with consumers, directly informing them about lookbooks and future sale dates. A great way to foster a connection that leads to loyal customers is to start on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

As Hong’s demographic isn’t necessarily in Salt Lake City, he finds it important to get to know his followers through social media. He mentioned his use of geo tags, event announcements, stories and live videos to view people from the other side of the planet. “You can basically be right there and see the people there as well,” Hong said.

Networking locally and internationally has furthered Hong’s knowledge and increased the presence of his brand. Social media form connections that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. He’s found photographers, models and hair and makeup professionals to work on photo shoots and runway shows.

The internet is a fantastic way for startup businesses to get their name into the hands of others. “Social media is very much an open portfolio,” Hong said. The ability to view others’ work passively before making real-life connections is something new to the world. This can acutely affect professional creatives, as a lot of their work can be judged from a 5-inch screen.

Without social media tools, Hong would have had a much harder time making local and international connections in the fashion industry. It’s unlikely that Martellaro would be the owner of a business she built from scratch at such a young age. And Zaugg never would have known about the opportunity to study fashion in Paris, or launch her career as a stylist.

Connecting with customers, mentors and possible collaborators — no matter where they are in the world — is perhaps one of the greatest online inventions of all.

Birds need a nest in Salt Lake City

by Mack Christian Culp

Everyone needs a place to call home. Even birds need a nest. And for the first time in the post-World War II era, the United Nations reports world-wide refugees have exceeded 50 million people. The European refugee crisis mostly consists of Syrians. Propelled by fear and desperation, 50 million refugees have faced one hurdle after another.These men, women, and children have been forced to leave their homes to escape persecution, and war. Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, the United States, and many other countries have closed their borders or imposed travel restrictions on these refugees. The unwanted people of Europe.

The unwanted people of Salt Lake City, Utah may include, but are not limited to: gays, men, women, those over 29, coffee drinkers, non-skier/snowboarders, non-Mormons, and people with low incomes. Yes, each of those have been linked to restrictions placed on housing applicants in the Salt Lake Valley in the last month.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that nearly half of renters in the Salt Lake valley are living on the edge of homelessness and financial disaster. The struggle to lay claim to some small corner of space is something we expect to see in crises abroad, but not exactly in our hometowns.

I’ve scoured listings for apartments online this past year, looking for decent affordable housing close to school at the University of Utah. To my surprise, I didn’t fit the criteria for most renters. It may have been unintentional at the time, but now it has provided me with an insider’s view on the subject of the displaced in the Salt Lake Valley. Renting out rooms for a few months here, a few months there.

According to the online listing service ApartmentList, 25.6 percent of the Salt Lake City’s tenants fork over between 30 cents and 50 cents of every dollar they earn on monthly rent, and another 23.1 percent are severely cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than half their earnings to rent apartments or houses.

The burden of paying for an overpriced apartment or home to live is one thing, but navigating the internet and it’s listings is another quest altogether. No laws bar these relationships between renters and landlords formed on the dark web. So let’s go there.

“I have to be very careful about what I say. You don’t want to discriminate against anyone,” said Melina Dibble, a certified leasing agent in Salt Lake City. “Because we are managed by a property management company our laws are a little intense. Private owners do their own thing.”

Your rights may be overlooked if you decide to look for affordable options not provided by pricey property management companies like Dibble’s. PM companies are required to allow all people to apply for housing because of  fair housing laws from the federal government. But it’ll cost you. It’s often less expensive to rent from homeowners directly. These landlords can pick and choose the characteristics of their ideal renter; by things like age, sex, or religion.

“People who own homes looking to fill a room have specific wants and needs … you might feel like you’re being discriminated against, [because] how are you going to find a place?” said Dibble.

Being the gatekeeper of refugees, or the displaced enables you to open or close the door to whom you wish. Being as ethnocentric as you please is accepted here in Salt Lake City. Take a look at listings on KSL.com, Craigslist, or any other site.

Two listings for a one-bedroom apartment from KSL.com:

1107 E Michigan Ave., · Salt Lake City, UT

Available December 1st. Looking for someone between ages 22-30, college students and LDS standards. No drinking alcohol or coffee or smoking/drugs allowed in house or property. Must be Clean and respectful. Must be responsible. No Drama.

1443 w 1335 s near freeway · Salt Lake City, UT

Student & working?  Private room; $350 includes all Utilities/HS internet/ Washer-Dryer/Eveything! Please read: Private Room is UNFURNISHED. bathroom-kitchen etc are shared. ONE PERSON IN ROOM ONLY/no couples or shared. Looking for MALE roomate. LDS/Christian standards a must. No smoking; respectful, honest, no drugs or alcohol foul-dirty language etc. –  Nice, clean and quiet place to live, I am Interested in renting to student who works and needs a CLEAN, QUIET, and SAFE place to live. … foul odors free; very important. Person interested must be responsible. Must be over 18 years. 

These are just a few examples of the hyper-similar string of listings I found in my extensive search for a nest in the past year. Strapped for money like so many other young aspiring adults in the Salt Lake Valley, I felt like this string of listings were my only option. Although, Salt Lake Mayor, Ralph Becker has outlined an initiative for 5,000 additional affordable apartment options in the next five years, his plan won’t help people in my situation. “Private” landlords still freely discriminate protected classes and other marginalized groups and that’s not going to change anytime soon that I can see.

NYC to SLC: music journalist Charissa Che

Story by Mack Culp, chasingmack.com

I got to sit down with Charissa Che this week to find out what a life as a music journalist is like. I met Che only two weeks ago when I picked her up in the rain for an Uber ride. I learned she is also a student at the University of Utah and new to Salt Lake City. Che was equally excited to learn about my journalist aspirations, because she has been writing in New York City for 10 years. Instant best friends.

I’m waiting to meet her at The People’s Coffee downtown Salt Lake City. The air is crisp, even inside, and my approach might not be. But my plan is to ask questions on the cusp, see where the conversation takes us, because that’s what an interview is anyway. Nothing calculated for a new friend.

Che ordered an earl grey tea, and I a second late. I start by asking if I could record on my iPhone for my notes. Che politely agrees.

Che is somewhat unassuming, but that’s what a journalist should be. Blending into the environment she investigates. Pulling it apart for what it is. Asking the question when you least expect.

Culp: Tell me about your work for Salt Lake Magazine.

Che: For Salt Lake Magazine, I’ve written lots of pieces on local bands. They’ve been able to meet with me. It’s mostly been at coffee shops, but with the more major acts who are touring, they can’t meet, so on the phone. I already had some contacts at record labels, so once they found out I was writing for Salt Lake, I started getting emails from them inviting me to shows, interviews. I’ve written for so many magazines. I see these people, and I’m like, I know you. You’re from Columbia, Atlantic Records. Once they hear I write for a different magazine, they’re on top of it.

Culp: I’m curious what it’s like to write for the mobile app/magazine, SOUNDS.

Che: I can write for wherever I am [for] SOUNDS MAGAZINE. I used to write about the New York scene. Once I was here (Salt Lake City) I pitched to my editor, hey theres a lot of cool music coming out of here that I don’t think people give credit for.

CMJ Music Marathon 2013 Lower East Side, NYC. Photo by Charissa Che

CMJ Music Marathon 2013 Lower East Side, NYC. Photo by Charissa Che

Culp: What do you do for SOUNDS Mag?

Che: I just went around, interviewed some local bands, talked about who stopped by, took pictures. It’s a several page spread [called] The Salt Lake Scene report. The magazine itself is interactive, so it’s an app. We had Ellie Goulding a few years ago, Elton John. I did the Ellie Goulding cover story. My most recent one, was a Josh Stone cover story.

It puts all the control in your hands. You have to make the moves. As intimidating as it is. I used to be intimidated setting up interviews, and now it’s just like old hat. It’s kind of up to me, I fashion the story as I want. It makes you prouder as a reporter, once that final project it up, that you knew you were behind every part of it.

Culp: What is the future of working journalists?

Che: Journalism is a lifestyle. It’s not an office job. Not everyone is born with the inherent curiosity to want to investigate things. It will fulfill your need to get questions answered. I don’t know what the future of print is. Lifestyle magazines will always have a niche. You want to have it on your coffee table. I feel like eventually everything is going to be digital and that’s a little scary. I like magazines, I like print. I like things that you can touch, smell, and keep. But, I feel like however it goes there will be a novelty attached to it and we will find a way to like that too.

Human Dignity Rally Urges Utahans to Be Politically Active

On February 29, in the looming granite rotunda of the Utah State Capitol Building, a crowd of about 100 people gathered brimming with a determined energy. News reporters were present, email sign-up sheets were passed around the rally and a range of signs were hoisted in the air, stating things like “Str8 but not narrow,” “Human dignity is for all of us,” and “I am not a second class citizen.” The rally was a ‘human dignity rally’ organized by the newly birthed group Human Dignity Utah, founded by Weston Clark, Bob Henline, Megan Risbon and Alan Anderson.

Clark, a teacher and former chair of the Utah Democratic Party, said the purpose of their group is to finally bring equal rights to all Utahans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We have to be quick, we have to be proactive, and we have to let them know they can’t walk all over us,” Clark said to the gathered crowd.

Two recent bills regarding state-wide non-discrimination policies have both been tabled, one aimed at statewide nondiscrimination regarding housing and jobs, and the other aimed at promoting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) sensitivity training for the State Legislature.

According to recent surveys, 73 percent of Utahans support this legislation, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and the Catholic Diocese of Utah have both come out in favor of the legislation. Companies like Adobe, EBay and 1-800-Contacts have also said they support equality and non-discrimination in Utah.

These measures are being taken to the Utah Legislature amid national debate on the issues of same-sex marriage and LGBT equality. In recent news, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington have all legalized same-sex marriage, which brings the total up to 17 states that have legalized same-sex marriage or unions granting similar rights to marriage.

“We’re always hitting the same wall,” Matthew Lyon, who attended the rally, said, referring to opponents of the anti-discrimination measures. Fourteen municipalities across the state have adopted similar measures, including cities like Salt Lake City, Taylorsville and Logan. “I’m optimistic that we will break down that wall, and I want to be here when it happens.”

Speakers at the rally included Jim Dabakis, current chair of the Democratic Party, Former State Representative Jackie Biskupski, Charles Lynn Frost as his theatrical character Sister Dottie S. Dixon, Kathy Godwin, president of SLC PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and Isaac Higham, a young graduate student at Utah State University.

“I have heard too many times people my age say ‘it’s not my issue’ or ‘I’ll let someone else get involved’. No- we all need to be active,” Higham said amid cheers.

In 2012 Utah elections, only 10 percent of registered voters in the 18-24 year old range actually went to the polls and cast their vote, one of the lowest turn-outs nationwide. Higham cited this fact in urging the crowd to be politically charged. The speakers all carried similar messages of political activism, determination and hope for change.

“Barriers are not as formidable as they seem,” Rep. Biskupski said in reference to opponents in the legislature to non-discrimination policies.

Rap Biskupski also detailed delegate training. Delegates are the backbone of the democratic process in Utah: they attend caucuses and officially vote for our elected officials. Delegate meetings will occur on March 13th for the Democratic Party and March 22nd for the Republican Party.  More information on where those trainings will take place can be found at http://www.utahdemocrats.org and http://www.utgop.org respectively.

City Creek Center Helping Small Businesses Downtown

By Erica Hartmann

SALT LAKE CITY- The doors of the new 700,000 square-foot mall, City Creek Center, have been open for about a month now, but the traffic hasn’t seemed to slow down yet! City Creek seems to be the “face-lift” that downtown Salt Lake City needed. The hoards of people excited to see the new center have made City Creek’s grand-opening a success and have also helped the existing stores and restaurants in the area.

            Many things have attracted shoppers to the new center. An impressive retractable roof (something entirely new to the United States, the only other exists in Dubai), a brand new sky bridge that crosses overtop Main Street, as well as a handful of new stores to the Salt Lake area (Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers, Pandora, Porsche Design, and Tiffany & Co. just to name a few).

            The stores have made money like they couldn’t believe. Kaleb Larsen, an employee in the men’s department of Nordstrom said, “It’s been non-stop busy. The first day we opened we made our entire day’s sales goal in the first hour, and it hasn’t seemed to slow down much from opening weekend. It’s been great for me since I work on commission.”

            It’s been a similar story at the smaller stores in the center as well. Suke Wilkins, one of the managers at Banana Republic said, “On an average Saturday we’ll have 2,700 people in the store, that’s more than we did at Gateway in an entire week. It’s been crazy, but a good crazy.” Wilkins also said, “We’ve hired on about five more people since opening the new store, we need more coverage and are making the money to be able to hire more people. It’s great!”

            Everyone is excited to see the new mall and the shoppers seem to be willing to spend the money needed to at these high-end stores. Many people questioned whether or not the higher price-point stores would do well in a market like Salt Lake, but so far, they seem to be fairing very well. Jenn Smith, a sales associate at Tiffany & Co. said, “most days we have to form a line outside the store because so many people want to come in. A lot of people are just curious and look around, but there have been a lot of buyers as well. Business is good so far.”

            With the new mall placed smack-dab in downtown, questions were raised about how the locally-owned and smaller business on Main Street would be affected. William Lewis, an employee of the sandwich shop Gandolfos, located on Main Street a few blocks south of City Creek said, “We’ve always been busy with the all the businesses and high-rises located so close to us, and City Creek definitely hasn’t hurt business. We’ve seen an increase on Saturdays.” He also stated, “The food court is nice at City Creek, but it’s always so crowded, I’ve heard a lot of people come in saying they had to get away from all the people.”

            Eva’s, a popular restaurant on Main Street has also seen an increase since City Creek opened. Nicole Wallace a waitress at Eva’s stated, “We’ve seen a lot of shoppers come down here for a bite to eat. I think the Cheesecake Factory is really the only sit-down dinning option for shoppers over there, and I’ve heard there’s always over an hour wait. We have much better, locally-grown food than the Cheesecake Factory, and we can usually seat people right away.”

            There is one other restaurant besides The Cheesecake Factory located at City Creek, called Texas de Brazil, but you’ll have to spend much more money to dine there than you would at most restaurants located on Main Street (and most likely the food will be better and you won’t have to wait at the restaurants on Main).

            City Creek is a new and exciting place to come visit and it seems to be helping all the small businesses around this enormous new mall. Luckily for the small, delicious restaurants located on Main Street, the eating options at the mall are limited and super crowded, causing shoppers to venture a few blocks south for a bite to eat.

            So come down and spend some money (most likely a lot considering the price-points at most stores) while also supporting the older, smaller shops and restaurants on Main Street. Downtown Salt Lake is definitely becoming a place to visit with many different things to offer!

U. of U. showcases Olympic memories

By Rebekah-Anne Gebler

SALT LAKE CITY— The Utah Ski Archives opened the Olympic Experience Exhibition at the J. Willard Marriott Library on Wednesday, marking the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games and Paralympics.

This exhibit displays thousands of photos, documents, videos, books and magazine articles relating to games.

The Special Collections Department, which is the official repository for all 2002 Olympic records, gathered its sources from anyone who was involved in the games from the University community.

“It is through individuals that we are able to archive historic collections for future generations,” said Roy Webb, multimedia archivist at the Marriott Library.

This free exhibit allows the public to witness new viewpoints of the games, seeing it through the lens of spectators, volunteers and visitors.

Hosting the exhibit at the library adds to the influence the U. of U. had during the Olympics. Some of the current on-campus housing served as the Olympic Village—the housing for the athletes—while the Rice-Eccles Stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies.

The exhibit will run through Feb. 29. To send in your photos from the 2002 Olympics or to discover more, please visit http://tinyurl.com/Oly-Exp-ML.

Occupy Wall Street Gains Momentum

Story By: Katie Andrus

Occupy Wall Street Gains Momentum

            “We are the 99 percent!”

This saying has gained a lot of traction over the past two months as the Occupy Wall Street movements have been expanding out of New York’s financial district in Manhattan and into local cities and neighborhoods across the United States.

Salt Lake City has its own Occupy movement that stands strong with the thousands of other demonstrators across the United States. Even after conflicts with police, eviction from headquarters and treacherous weather the movement is still gathering ground and more followers are joining as each day progresses.

According to http://occupywallstreet.org the Occupy movement has gained substantial ground for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons being that many people are becoming ever more unsettled with the growing amount of wealth that CEOs and large corporations, also known as the top 1 percent of earners, are acquiring. At the same time families across the U.S. are struggling to make ends meet.

“For me one of the major issues is  (the) growing income inequality in the United States. While the top 1 percent of earners have seen their share of wealth and real income skyrocket over the last 30 years, real wages for the middle class have stagnated, “ said Charles Benard, an avid follower and participant of the Occupy Salt Lake movement.

Frank Wood, a man who grew up in U.S. during the ‘50s and ‘60s, talks about a time in which the U.S. was a model to the rest of the world.  This model “was a meld of our own social programs and capitalism,” suggested Wood.

It is the failure of this American model that calls for people such as Wood to defend the country. “I just can’t go to the grave thinking I haven’t done everything possible to leave this country the way my folks left it to me.”

When looking at the official Occupy Wall Street webpage one can see that Occupy Wall Street is a “people powered” movement that is aimed at “fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.”

“The top combined 1 percent of wealth holders in the United States has more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. This consolidation of wealth at the top is what is responsible for dropping wages, unemployment and many problems we see in our economy including the ongoing disappearance of the middle class,” said   Jesse Fruthwithe an Occupy Wall Street supporter, who helped organize Occupy SLC.

As the movements have expanded over hundreds of cities, many protesters have been faced with conflict and frustration. Such issues have caused Americans to wonder if this movement will continue until change is made.

Abbie Minkler, a participant in the Occupy movement stated, “We are here until the end.  The American people have had enough. It’s time to take our country back!  It is not just the people in New York who are sick and tired of the 1 percent who are filthy rich and are getting richer off of the poor and middle class here in America and around the world.”