Does the air we breathe cause disabilities?

Story by NICOLE CARDWELL

For decades, Utah has dealt with bad air due to inversions. Research shows that the air has improved over the years, but that does not mean it has and cannot directly affect the public health according to Rebecca Steve, a doctoral student at the University of Utah.

So, what’s being done and who’s in charge?

To be able to answer these questions, we first must know how the air is measured and what is considered bad air. This is where Bo Call, Manager of Air Monitoring for the Division of Air Quality, from State of Utah Environmental Quality, comes into place. Call is an expert at what he does and looks over a team of around 15 people.

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Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Bo Call checking monitoring equipment at the Air monitoring Center chase station.

The Environmental Protection Agency has a standard level that must be met across the nation. If the air quality index (AQI) is over the standard, they monitor changes that need to be made to lower the AQI. These standards change whenever the science changes or is more advanced and is checked every five years. Currently that standard is 35 AQI. Anything over the standard is considered harmful to human health or a danger to the public.

There are stations spread out around the more populated areas in Utah and these stations are shelters that look and act like sheds. They protect the machines that receive information through filters. These machines filter all the particles in the air and clean out all the bugs and trash that gets caught in them. They run for 24 hours and, after collecting all the air particles, assigned employees remove a small circular container with the filter and take it back to the labs. Although this is very helpful, there are also more automatic ways of collecting data through computer systems and servers that run hourly.

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Machine that intakes filters above stations

After Call had shared this information with me I asked what the data was like over the years and if the air had gotten worse or progressed.

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Tube where filters go through to be retreated and processed.

“Everything has gone down significantly, but standards have gone down as well,” Call said.  He also added that 70 percent of air pollution is not emitted by humans but is caused naturally from the earth’s atmosphere.

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Filters show clean air on the left and gradually progress to low or bad air quality.

Call stated, “we control most of our bad air, in many ways.” Although there are many things that can be done differently for better air, few people are aware and very little view this as an environmental alarm.

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This PM2.5 chart from 2016-2017 shows peaks indicating inversions and spikes caused by Utah citizens.

Better air means change, and change is not easy when Utah has a booming economy and one of the largest growing populations in the United States. Utah relies on industries and businesses that produce our products and are consumed by most. Politicians and the government have a hand in almost everything, including how much research is funded. Change is costly and will take years. Politicians run by votes and will do what it takes to make sure they are elected as our leaders.

Rebecca Steve, PhD student at the U, tackles this problem daily. She oversees a group of students that are trying to prove a direct correlation between bad air, diseases, deformities and death. These findings can change lives and future generations.

Steve is a cancer survivor. She lost a brother to cancer three years ago. She is five years cancer free and, because of what she has been through, she has decided it is time to stand up and have a voice in a real possibility that can be proven.

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Photo courtesy, TED talk Salt Lake City Rebecca Steve is asked to share on TED her journey and goals with Utah air.

After a long, tiring year, Steve will be receiving confidential records and files of the Utah population database within the next month. These records require extensive background checks. She will not only be able to see where everyone is currently living, but she will also be able to branch out and see where their parents and grandparents lived. Steve will compare air quality records and data to where people are living to find a correlation and pattern. She will be able to see how the environment impacts genes drastically and can influence health outcomes. This event will be a breakthrough for humanity. Scientists will be able to more directly find a correlation between air, dirt, dust, water and our health.

“We carry germs that can contaminate our offspring. This could potentially impact generations to come,” Steve states. She is trying to prove that the air we intake can cause germs to reach our bloodstreams. Bloodstreams can directly impact placentas and babies in the womb. With this information she will specifically show that low air quality can cause diseases such as autism and stillbirths.

“When we make a connection through ancestral exposures and environmental impacts, we will see that genes can drastically influence health outcomes,” said Steve. In order to progress, there must be careful monitoring of health effects. There are small changes and policies that Utah citizens should commit to, such as public transportation, carpools, idle free cars and lowering thermostats at home. This will have an impact on children, their grandchildren and great grandchildren. It’s no longer a matter of staying inside. Utah is at risk if there are no changes made individually and as a population.

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University of Utah eSports program welcomes NCAA involvement

Story and photos by ALEX HALE

SALT LAKE CITY—Despite nation-wide hesitation about whether or not the NCAA should get involved in eSports, members of the University of Utah’s eSports program believe the organization’s involvement would bring much-needed resources and legitimacy to the world of competitive collegiate video gaming.

In December 2017, the NCAA announced that it would be seriously considering if it has a place in college eSports. Since then, many eSports athletes and faculty have been quick to express their distaste of the NCAA’s potential involvement. However, those at the University of Utah think differently. A.J. Dimick, the Director of Operations of eSports at the U, and Kenny Green, head coach for the U’s League of Legends team, both come from traditional sports backgrounds. They said their experiences with the NCAA were nothing but a good thing for them. They passionately believe that collegiate eSports only stands to benefit from the NCAA.

Dimick and Green have both observed that one of the largest sources of hesitation toward the NCAA’s involvement stems from restrictions that would be placed on monetized streaming. Currently, college gamers are allowed to earn money by independently streaming their gameplay to online audiences. Under the NCAA’s jurisdiction, the students would still be allowed to stream, but monetization would be prohibited.

However, the NCAA would make partial and full scholarships for eSports athletes more accessible than ever. In most cases, the money awarded from a scholarship would be greater than the amount earned from monetized streaming. There are only a small handful of streamers who earn enough income that they would be losing money if they demonetized and instead accepted a scholarship. Dimick called it “ludicrous” that people would push away the NCAA to protect streaming income that is “barely even enough to pay for a movie ticket every month.” He continued, “I want the most amount of resources for students who are passionate about eSports, and monetized streaming isn’t the way to do that.”

The U’s varsity eSports program already prohibits its students from monetizing their independent streams. In fact, the U’s team members already adhere to many NCAA-inspired regulations. Official team practices may not exceed 20 hours per week, they must be enrolled as full-time students, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and progress 20% of their degree within each season, and they are eligible for 4 seasons of play within 5 years of first enrolling. If the NCAA stepped in, “We wouldn’t feel stifled since we already follow a lot of the same rules” said one of the U’s eSports athletes. “Our program would just get better.”

Dimick and Green want to create a path to the greatest academic and professional success for their student athletes. The U is already doing what it can. For example, all competition winnings are collected by the university and put toward eSports scholarships. With the NCAA on their side, Green knows they can do more. “I want scholarship money for simply being involved, not just for winning. The NCAA can make that happen.”

Greater support from the NCAA wouldn’t just equal more scholarships, explained Green. It would mean access to better facilities, coaching, compensation, and greater research into proper nutrition and exercise. Even though athletes wouldn’t be allowed to market themselves with monetized streams, the NCAA would pour a huge amount of resources into promoting and fostering each athlete’s brand presence. If athletes want to go pro after college, the NCAA paves a helps them gain the recognition they need to break onto the scene.

It would also give the athletes a means to identify with their school that they’ve never had before. “For so long, gamers have been considered ‘other,’” said Dimick. “They deserve to feel like they’re part of the greater community.” If the NCAA officially welcomed eSports onto the scene of college athletics, Dimick believes the athletes’ passion and energy would be a favor to the university. Green agreed, saying “If the NCAA gives us the formal recognition we think we deserve, our sense of school pride and camaraderie will shoot through the roof. When we win, the entire campus cheers us on. When we lose, they’re helping us get back on our feet.”

Dimick believes eSports can finally find its place with the NCAA’s help. Currently, without a common umbrella like the NCAA to fall under, eSports programs are placed wherever they can fit. The U’s program resides in the academic department, specifically under Entertainment Arts and Engineering. Though some people from both ends of the traditional sports VS eSports spectrum would consider it a “cultural violation,” Dimick thinks eSports belongs in the athletics department alongside traditional sports. He observed that their needs and functions are similar, and the “nerds and jocks don’t mix mindset” is fading. “Why create an entirely new, identical program when we would already fit so perfectly within the athletic department?” he asked.

Dimick said, “If you’re trying to put college eSports on the biggest stage it can possibly be on and have resources devoted to eSports and the students that are interested in this, then you certainly want to explore NCAA membership and participation in college eSports.” For the faculty and students at the U, the NCAA and eSports are a natural fit. Green and Dimick encourage those who are skeptical to learn more about what NCAA membership, involvement, and regulation would really mean and to carefully weigh the benefits against the drawbacks.

Alex Hale

Bntr0yrCAAAr4T1

Photo by Dawni Angel

MY STORY:

MY BLOG:
Above all, I wanted to write about a topic involving the U that I am invested in. I stumbled across a news article about the NCAA’s potential involvement in eSports and immediately latched onto the idea. I enjoy watching eSports competitions, I know that the U’s varsity eSports team is making a big impression on the scene, and I quickly learned that the NCAA’s involvement with eSports is a hot-button topic for a lot of people.
To locate sources, I went straight to the U’s eSports program. I interviewed the director of operations of eSports, the head League of Legends coach, and a student athlete. I was actually surprised to learn about how passionately they support the NCAA’s involvement, because I encountered a lot of skepticism during my online research process.
Since their opinions favor the NCAA, I wanted my focus to be why they think the NCAA would be such a positive addition to collegiate eSports here at the U. I feel very lucky that A.J. Dimick and Kenny Green, two of my interviewees, have both participated in the world of traditional sports and gaming at both a professional and student level. That made them excellent sources, since they can pull from both ends of the spectrum to form their opinions. A.J. Dimick even gave a presentation at the NCAA Board of Governors meeting last Fall about why the NCAA should embrace eSports from the perspective of a large college.
One thing I’d like to do to further develop this story that I wasn’t able to do this time is also interview someone involved with traditional sports at the U and see if they have an opinion on the matter. But that might be a whole other story!

ABOUT ME:
I am Strategic Communication student at the University of Utah with emphases on branding and social media marketing. I have always been passionate about geek culture and one day hope to work for Crunchyroll, an anime streaming service. Currently, I am a marketing events intern for FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention. In my spare time, I enjoy cosplay and watching anime.

MY LinkedIn

 

BRADY MCCARTHY

IMG_1848Reflection Blog:

Coming up with an idea for my enterprise story was not very hard. I just thought of topics I might enjoy writing about, and what would be relevant. After less than a minute I came across the idea of writing about the current media transition in the snowboarding industry. When I went home for winter break, I learned that my home mountain Seven Springs wouldn’t be producing their web edits anymore. They were doing it to pursue a heavier social media presence, and at first I was upset. After noticing that Think Thank was putting out content throughout the season instead of their typical full movie, I soon realized the snowboarding community as a whole was going through a media shift.

To locate my sources I contacted a few friends that work in the snowboard industry and ride for a few companies to see if they were down to let me interview them on the current media situation. Luckily they were all happy to help me out and share some knowledge. I also contacted a few people I didn’t know, such as Justin “Stan” Leville, to  get some opinions from their perspective.

Choosing my sources was relatively easy. I tried to get well-rounded perspectives from different people in the snowboarding industry. I contacted Ian Macy, who produces content for a few different companies and ski resorts, to get a filmer’s opinion on the media shift because he is the one standing behind the camera filming stuff.

I also tried to get an opinion from a riders perspective, because they are the ones actually being filmed for the content produced. To get a rider’s perspective I contacted my friend Cameron Dunmyer, who rides for Oakley and Gnu Mid-Atlantic. I also quoted one of the riders from the DC video series I was talking about in my paper, Brady Lem, because in the video he gave his opinion on starting to film street so early in the season.

Lastly, I contacted “Stan” because he runs a snowboarding news show, “Last Resort,” where he shares his opinion on subject matters within the snowboarding community in a satirical way. I thought having his opinion would be important because many people watch his show, and he is one of the voices of the snowboard community.

The presentation of snowboard media has been a controversial topic for as long as I can remember. I knew going into the story that I wanted to write something neutral that focused more on the factual side of things, as I didn’t want to offend anyone. Instead of focusing on what the best way to portray snowboarding media is, I just focused on how it is being portrayed and how it is different from the past.

Over the course of my research, I gathered an insane amount of information regarding how the snowboard industry is today, how it was, why it changed, what’s better for business, how it’s going to be in the future, if it’s a good or bad thing and many other opinions. I would have loved to write a longer paper that involved all of these topics listed — and many more — but it would have been confusing for the reader if they were not an active member in the snowboard community.  To keep it simple, I focused on what the media used to be, what it is today, unbiased factual reasons about why it changed, and how it could possibly be in the future, making sure not to offend anyone in the process.

My rough draft was hard to put down on paper because I had an overwhelming amount of information, prior knowledge and an opinion of my own, so I wasn’t sure what to include in the story. After finally figuring that out, putting words on paper became relatively easy. The hard part has been editing and figuring out AP Style. Because I have very little background other than participating in class, I struggle to notice when my AP Style isn’t correct, and therefore don’t realize to look it up and fix it. I also struggled with quote placement, but after realizing my faults I added more quotes and fixed the positioning of them to make the story a more enjoyable read.

The most surprising thing about writing the enterprise story was how willing people were to give me their opinion, even though they didn’t have to and wouldn’t benefit from it in any way. Part of me believes that was what made the experience such a great one. It allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and think about something that is such a major part of my life in a different light. It forced me to think about it not only from one perspective or opinion, but in a way that everyone could understand, relate to and feel unbiased about. Writing the enterprise story was a great experience, and I am glad I picked the topic that I did.

Bio:

Brady McCarthy is a first-year student at the University of Utah. He is 19, and a Pennsylvania native. He plans to attend business school with a focus on marketing. His favorite activities include snowboarding, skateboarding and doing anything fun with his friends.

 

Sandy Restaurant Reopens, Nobody Has Gotten Sick…Yet

Story by ALEXIS LEFAVOR

A Sandy restaurateur with a series of health-code violations has reopened his Asian fusion restaurant weeks after the county shut it down after inspectors found nearly three-dozen infractions. But the restaurateur still faces challenges to ensure that his patrons don’t get sick after eating there.

In February, the Ichiban Sushi & Asian Cuisine, located at 109 W. 90th S. in Sandy, had its permit suspended after Salt Lake County Health Department inspectors found violations that exceeded risk levels by fifteen-fold during a routine health inspection.

Inspectors noted that “multiple floor drains in the kitchen were not draining properly and were backed up with waste water,” and “sewage remnants are present from backed up floor drains,” according to a report posted on the department’s website.

Other violations included fish not being stored at the proper temperature, and areas where the wall paint was in such disrepair that chips could have fallen in uncovered food.

The owner of the Sandy restaurant, Leming Lin, did not respond to a request for comment through the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Ichiban had a follow-up inspection on March 2 and later had its permit reinstated, according the health departments website. An inspection was done at the time and was marked with five critical violations.

The violations found during the subsequent inspection included cans that were dented severely, possibly adulterated food and areas around the back door showing signs of cat litter.

Nicholas Rupp, the county health department’s spokesman, said restaurant closures aren’t taken lightly. Once an establishment is closed its owners are required to meet with the health department the next day and prepare a corrected plan of action, he said. Sometimes restaurants can be closed for weeks at a time to fix the violations. A restaurant can close and reopen twice within a calendar year without penalties, depending on severity.  

The Sandy Ichiban was placed at the health department’s highest risk level – four – because sushi and other offerings served can possibly cause food borne illnesses. As a restaurant opens the health departments categorizes it by a risk level between one and four. Risk level four restaurants are inspected three to four times a year, as well as any time that a customer complains, Rupp said. These levels are determined by three main factors: food items served, food handling and the volume of people they serve in a day.

The county identifies two types of violations—critical and non-critical. These are presented on a point scale. Non-critical violations are worth one point and critical are worth up to six points, and the in-between of the two violations is three points.

According to the recent inspection report, Ichiban had 31 critical violations. More than half of those violations were three-point violations, and nearly the rest were six points. One was rated at 100 points — the worst level – which is rarely given.

When it comes to raw fish, customers should be ensured that their food is being handled and prepared properly. Jessica DeAlba, a recent visitor at the restaurant, said she had a horrible experience. She said she have eaten someplace else.

Though the sushi may be cheap it might not be the best option.

Ichiban has several locations across Salt Lake County. But inspections come down to each individual restaurant, no matter the owner or whether it’s a part of a chain. “The owner can’t be present at every location every day,” Rupp said. Ultimately, it’s the manager of the location’s job to ensure good practices by the employees. The purpose of proper restaurant sanitation is to safeguard public health by ensuring customers are provided with food that is safe and unadulterated.

DeAlba said that she never looked at the health inspections before going to Ichiban, but now she does for every new restaurant she visits.

“I do not ever plan on ever going back there,” she said. “I remember the restaurant was very dirty, the booth seats were falling apart, the food came out warm and the strong smell of feces and cleaning chemicals affected the taste of everything.”

Wendy Hobbs, another recent visitor, had a five-star experience. In her Facebook review she said, “Prices were unbelievably cheap. Will definitely come again.”

Before speaking with a reporter she had not noticed the cleanliness issues at the restaurant. Like other people, Hobbs had heard about – and visited – Ichiban through word of mouth.

“I’m glad they shut down. Good food or not,” she said. “These guidelines are in place for a reason. And it’s the responsibility of the owners/management that they are up to code.”

Health inspections are available to the public. For more information, go to their website

 

 

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Beyond the water cycle: Life and environmental lessons from a former BLM director

Story and Photos By: JAKE PHILLIPS 

Patrick Shea’s beard was wet.

It was an oddly fitting picture of the former director of the Bureau of Land Management, who despite being out of government for 20 years, has water on his mind a lot these days. It was a rainy Thursday morning, and Shea, 70, was strolling to class.

Not on the University of Utah campus, where he’s been a research professor of biology and taught a class on urban streams for years, but at a local elementary school.

Every Thursday morning Shea teaches a class on water to fourth graders at Rose Park Elementary School in Salt Lake City. He arrived to a roomful of damp students who had just returned from recess.

As their teacher, Hannah Dolata, instructed her students to find their seats, Shea dried off his bushy white beard. He asked them what they had learned the previous week. The students couldn’t wait to tell him about the written equation they’d learned that showed how much water they used when showering or teeth brushing.

One student proudly exclaimed that if he brushed his teeth with the water running for three minutes and showered for 10 minutes he would have had used 52 gallons of water in the process.

“I try to conserve water every day because my grandma complains about the water bill,” said Valentine, 9.

Shea then asked the students what they should do after wetting their toothbrushes.

“Turn off the water!” the students yelled in unison.

While most elementary school students learn about the water cycle, Dolata’s fourth-grade class at Rose Park Elementary School is getting a much more in-depth education about water and how it affects them. With Utah’s less-than-abundant water supplies and growing population, water conservation has become more important than ever.

Salt Lake is winning water conservation fight

Around 33 percent of Utah is considered to be true desert, meaning the state receives 5 to 8 inches of precipitation annually, according to Utah’s Comprehensive Weather Almanac. The heavily populated Wasatch Front receives around 15 inches of precipitation annually.

Along the Wasatch Front, Salt Lake City appears to be winning in its fight to conserve water. According to the 2014 Salt Lake City Water Conservation Master Plan, conservation has exceeded expectations and the overall trend is a reduction in water use in the area. Classroom programs like Shea’s are crucial in these efforts, the city’s Department of Public Utilities said.

Yet, with climate change and other environmental concerns an increasing reality to students both in childhood and their future adulthood, it’s especially important to teach children today about ways to address these issues, Dolata said.

While Salt Lake City has responded to calls to conserve water, planners expect the city will need to do more in the future. According to a University of Utah study conducted in 2017, the state population is expected to grow from 3.2 million to 3.9 million by the year 2030, an increase of about 22 percent.

If Salt Lake residents continue to use water at the same rate they did in 2000 Salt Lake City’s water usage is expected to increase by 23 percent by 2030, according to the Salt lake City Department of Public Utilities.

Shea asked the students about where the water they use every day comes from. He explained the majority of water in Utah comes from snow in the canyons. Then the children attempted to name some of the canyons near Salt Lake.

The class’ homework assignment was to look at the weather and to document whether it was an accurate report.

“The biggest problem for you growing up is figuring out what is true and is not true,” Shea said.

A different kind of ‘water bucket’ challenge

Shea wasn’t totally out of his element. It had been five years since he had last taught elementary students about proper water usage.

The daughter of a colleague, who Shea worked with on state water laws, was teaching fourth graders and challenged the research professor to speak to her class.

Hesitant at first, Shea said he’s come to enjoy the experience.

“The students are like sponges and want to learn more,” he wrote in an email.  

A few weeks later, the professor was back, this time leading a field trip to a water treatment plant up Big Cottonwood Canyon. With Shea was Jacob Maughan, treatment plant operator, who led a tour of the plant and explained how the facility purifies water to make it potable. From there, the energetic children then returned to their bus and traveled to City Creek Canyon.

At City Creek Canyon, a popular biking and hiking destination for Salt Lake residents, the students were met by John Wells, who manages the city’s watershed operations. With students trailing behind, Wells led the class on a walk up a winding, paved canyon road while explaining why it’s important to protect the watershed.

He told students that dogs are not allowed in the canyon to protect the water quality in the streams that the city depends on. As the students fidgeted and chatted, Dolata, their teacher, stressed the importance of showing students the real-life connection to the water cycle.

“In fourth-grade science they’re learning about Utah science and start to connect what they’re learning to the world,” she said. They “see themselves as scientists.”

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Hannah Dolata and her class overlook a water storage unit and the Salt Lake Valley.

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Dolata’s class walk across a concrete platform that serves as water storage at the Big Cottonwood Water Treatment Plant.

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Patrick Shea looks on as Jacob Maughan explains how snowmelt is cleaned and transformed to drinking water.

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Maughan telling the students what chemicals are added to unclean water to make it potable.

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Maughan advises students to be cautious in his lab, because there are dangerous chemicals present.

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Dolata and her class watch water spill over a weir used to control water flow and filter out solid matter.

The Women Behind the Silver Screen

SALT LAKE CITY, (April 24, 2018) — In light of recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein and movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp finally bringing public attention to the marginalization of women in the film industry, institutions like the Sundance Institute are creating programs to help even the playing field for female filmmakers.

While these initiatives are presenting new opportunities for women, there is some concern that this reactionary response will become a band-aid solution to the broader issue of sexism in the film industry. The women leading these movements are determined that this will not end with a conversation, it must evolve into action. They acknowledge that change on such a large scale, especially when it is so institutionalized, demands time, conscientiousness, and ongoing effort. “I am hopeful, I have a lot of hope in the #Metoo and #TimesUp movements,” says Dr. Sarah Sinwell, a professor at the University of Utah. “I believe with celebrities coming out and telling their stories it enables other people to tell their stories. I believe that by putting money and funding and resources behind these kinds of institutions and what, for instance, McDormand talked about with inclusion riders and all those sorts of things that the general public is aware, not just the movie going public or not just the women, female film directing interested–people public. So many people are aware of this and I think that the constant publicity and the constant discussion and the way it’s entering schools and non-profit spaces and the way it’s kind of not just about those celebrity experiences but that it’s framing all these other contexts. I think that is why it may move into a space beyond this present one.”

Solutions must go beyond simply honoring the women who are already making films, and must take into account the inequality in resources and opportunities women face in making films in the first place. A study released by Women In Film in collaboration with Sundance found that even with the recent shift to more progressive attitudes toward female filmmakers very little actual change in the film industry has taken place.

 

“Currently, the presence of women behind the camera in popular films is infrequent at best. Assessing 250 of the top-grossing U.S. movies of 2011, one study found that only 5% of directors, 14% of writers, and 25% of producers were female. These statistics have fluctuated very little since 1998, seeming to suggest that the traditional Hollywood economic model or power-structure is a leading impediment to access for women filmmakers.”

-Exploring the Barriers and Opportunities for Independent Women Filmmakers Phase I and II Research By: Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D., Katherine Pieper, Ph.D. & Marc Choueiti

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The nominations at the Sundance Film Festival this year reflect their efforts for greater representation but, while higher than mainstream Hollywood representation, only 37% of the 122 films presented at the Sundance Film Festival were made by women. “What that says to me is that they are working harder to try to be more inclusive of women but we’re still not even at the 40 percent,” says Sinwell. “So, the numbers are growing, but they’re still not high enough, and I think that’s an issue not just of Sundance but I think it’s across the board that there’s not enough women directors, there’s not enough women directors getting high budgets like male directors, there’s not enough women directors working in a variety of locations and a variety of production companies.”

Sundance Stat Image

37% of the 122 films at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival were made by women.

­­One often proposed solution to the problem of unequal representation of women in film festivals is the creation of separate categories for women and there are festivals created specifically to honor women in film, however some believe that this could lead to further marginalization or othering of women in film. “I think we need to value both, I think we need to value festivals that are specifically focused on women, that talk about the ways they value women, that incorporate women and that are inclusive of women and I think we need to promote quality filmmaking and make sure that women are a part of that narrative, of the general quality filmmaking or Sundance independent filmmaking narrative as well,” says Sinwell. “This is actually something that comes up a lot when people hear I’m teaching the Women Directors class, they say ‘why do we need a Women Directors class, isn’t that excluding all these other categories right?’ But I always remind people the reason we need it is because there are so few women that are talked about in general film history classes or intro to film classes, that the class is made necessary because the lack of women in our history textbooks and cinema kind of classes general classes.” Lois Brady

Speeding, Utah Driver’s bad habit or lack of punctuality?

Speeding, Utah Driver’s bad habit or a lack of punctuality?

By: Deaven Dell

April 17th 2018

 

 

SALT LAKE CITY–Many Utahns believe that the drivers in Utah are the worst, but residents in other states also believe this about their own state. With accidents being the 4th leading cause of death in America, safety and prevention is huge concern for government officials. In Utah, when looking at the numbers there seems to be a huge speeding problem.

Amelia Wolfgramm, Public Health and Health Promotion professional, believes the cause of reckless drivers is their constant need rush to get where they are going. When talking about drivers she said, “I think Utah drivers aren’t as considerate as other drivers out of state. I think it can be attributed to the rush mentality we live up to” in Utah “we’re always in a rush” said Wolfgramm, “Mistakes I often see are attributable to risky driving. Speeding is also a huge factor in risky driving that leads to a lot of confusion for other drivers and can even lead to probable death.” Unfortunately, Wolfgramm like many Utahns recognizes the riskiness of speeding still feels like she is part of the “problem” and finds herself driving risky also in order to be on time.

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety Highway Safety Office, speeding was the number one cause of death in 2016 Utah car crashes. This would be explained by the rushed behavior of Utah Drivers.

 

 

 

Crash Summary (Utah 2016)

Leading Causes of All Crashes

 

  1. Followed Too Closely (24%)
  2. Failed to Yield (20%)
  3. Speed (15%)
  4. Failed to Keep in Proper Lane (13%)
  5. Distracted Driving (9%)

 

Leading Causes of Death

  1. Speed (37%)
  2. Unrestrained Occupants (28%)
  3. Failed to Yield (16%)
  4. Drunk Driving (13%)
  5. Overcorrected (11%)

 

 

A new Utah red light bill has caught the attention of many reporters and Utah residents the past couple of months. The bill would allow Utah drivers to run red lights. Other states, including Pennsylvania, have put into place similar bills allowing people to run red lights or proceed through a red light if it is clear.

Denise White, Utah resident and mother of three, does not think that the passing of this bill would be wise. “People are constantly running stop signs and cutting it way too close when they think they can make it before another car” she thinks that this bill would cause too much confusion. “Many people who are going through a green light will not be prepared for someone to be passing in front of them. That may cause more accidents because they will just keep going at their rate of speed and a car could pull out at the stop and  be going too slow for them to avoid being hit.”

However, Ken Ivory, the bill representative, said the bill would still require drivers to come to a full stop, but allows them to proceed if no other vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians are nearby. It would essentially convert a red light into a stop sign. “This is a safe-on-red bill. It’s not a run-a-red-light bill,” said Ivory. But could this lead to more problems? Out of the 62,471 motor vehicle crashes that occurred in Utah in 2016, 20% of them were caused by failure to yield.

White just recently reported an accident which occurred at her own home in Salt Lake City, a young driver with a learners permit ran through White’s fence “confusing the gas from the break”. “I spoke with a police officer after a driver with a permit drove through our fence. The young driver was confused about gas and break” said White, she believes that children are not getting enough instruction, “That is something that should be done in drivers ED or with a trained professional. The officer said that they have so many crashes because new drivers haven’t had proper instruction. They are being taught by parents who have bad habits, have been driving so long they don’t know the laws or don’t even take the time to properly teach their children as is required.” As a parent, White is very concerned about the safety of her children. She has two children driving and is very concerned with the number of fatal accidents on our Utah roads.. White did not allow her children to drive on the freeway for the first year of driving for fear of speedy drivers.

In 2016, there were 11,508 speed-related crashes which occurred in Utah which resulted in 5,550 injured persons and 105 deaths. Out of those crashes, drivers aged 15-24 years had the highest percentage of total speed-related crashes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technology advancing Utah’s music scene

Story by JAGER CHYNOWETH

Utah is known for its surreal landscapes and access to outdoor activities. What many wouldn’t know is that the Beehive State is emerging as a prominent music scene, especially for hip-hop artists.

For years, Utah’s culture and the hip-hop scene were at opposite ends of the spectrum. This has proved to be a difficult hump for Utah emcees and producers to overcome. But technology is helping to raise the profile of the local music scene.

As advancements in technology continue to increase, it is not so far-fetched that even Utah could become a big name in music. But it also poses the risk of a glut of artists vying for listeners’ attention.

Chandler Paulson, a local producer known as Channy P, credits technology for helping him become an emerging producer.

At 14, his introduction to music creation started when he and his little brother were given a $100 gift certificate for Christmas. They decided to spend it on a music-making software called Mixcraft.

With this software, he was able to transform from a high school freshman with no musical background to a college senior who has begun producing and making beats for a large number of different rappers and singers in Utah.

“Tech advancement has given me the tools to learn the different components and aspects necessary to compose sounds that are sonically pleasing, without the hassle of learning to play instruments,” he said.

In turn, this allowed him to fast-track his knowledge of music theory. Technology has generated a new way for producers to read music by adding shortcuts with preset chords and progressions that are built into the software itself. This informed Channy P on how professional quality music should sound and be created.

Music making programs have become an essential piece in creating quality music regardless of someone’s knowledge of music. Channy P says that all digital audio workstations, or DAW, like FL Studio, Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Ableton, are the starting point for making music today. He insists that meeting and working with other producers benefits each other as they watch and learn how someone else operates their DAW and makes music.

The current producer scene is not large, but it is quickly growing. Channy P said that a lot of rappers, bands and musicians in Utah are now turning to local producers who understand the components needed to build a song, to learn how to make higher quality sounding music.

With the continuance of emerging music technology, schools like Salt Lake DJ and Production, or SLDP, have created courses which teach you how to maneuver a DAW. Another local producer, Mad$haw, who works closely with Channy P, is a product of these classes.

For Mad$haw it all started with a music foundation class in March 2017. After four months in the course, he accelerated to an advanced class which taught him how make music using the software Ableton. After finishing the six-month course, Mad$haw enrolled in a weekly advanced mastering class. Before taking this class he had no musical involvement.

“With music technology advancing it has given someone like me, with little musical background, the ability to quickly learn how to make music,” Mad$haw said.

The course taught him how to make, mix and master beats. Although he is still learning music theory, he is able to compose his own melodies and chord progressions using Ableton with no issues. He insists that there would be no way for him to jump into a music career so late in life if it was not for this technology.

Even though advancements in musical technology have lowered the bar for making music, it has also led an oversaturated music scene. Channy P says that the biggest problem is that anyone thinks they can produce or be an artist without actually putting in the time to learn and understand how music is really made. Also, there are free music streaming services available that make it easier to release new songs.

Videos posted to Youtube also teach people how to mimic certain sounds that were created by popular producers, which has diluted some producers creative edge.

“An authentic producer understands the music making components regardless of what genre or sound he or she is trying to achieve,” Channy P said. “Hip hop is becoming extremely saturated and it is even harder to find good producers who know the correct terminology and have an understanding of music theory in general.”

Although oversaturation could be a looming problem for Hip hop, Channy P is grateful for streaming services like SoundCloud to promote his own music. He’s obviously not alone.

“SoundCloud has grasped the attention of today’s youth making it a gateway for artists like me to display my art and gain a fan base quickly,” said local rapper Madgi.

 

 

 

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Jager K Chynoweth

 

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MY STORY: Technology advancing Utah’s music scene

 

BLOG: 

This news story brought with it its own struggles, but definitely helped me to become better and smarter writer. My original topic idea was to address the opioid crisis in Utah and how marijuana legalization may alleviate the problem. I quickly found out that I bit off a little more than I could handle with article’s time requirements and my everyday responsibilities. I struggled to get in contact with interviewees, and when I did I had a lot of rain checks and no shows.

I quickly changed topics and settled with a topic closer to home. My idea for my topic on advancing music technology and its correlation with the rising hip-hop scene in Utah came from friendships with a few of Salt Lake’s local producers and rappers.

I knew my friends would be great sources for my article because a lot of their rising success can be attributed to the technological advancements happening in music today. After switching topics, my interviewing and writing process went very smoothly. It was a topic I was interested in and I felt like I could help bring attention to Utah’s growing music scene.

I definitely noticed that the writing process goes a lot smoother for me when I have strong knowledge of the topic at hand. I was able to achieve this by doing my own outside research on the topic and then conducting thorough interviews that I later reanalyzed. After experiencing all the turmoil with the first topic, it was a relief to see the outcome I had with my current story.

BIO:

Jager Kole Chynoweth is enrolled as a student at the University of Utah. He is majoring in Strategic Communication, while focusing on digital marketing and advertising. When he is not in school or working he loves to hike and backpack Utah’s amazing landscapes with his husky.

Kara Rhodes

MY STORY: Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

  • Women in STEM underrepresented in Utah but begin to rise in the field

MY BLOG: Reflection 

ABOUT ME: 

Kara is a University of Utah Student graduating Spring 2019 with two B.S. degrees–in Communication and Gender Studies. Kara has a passion for making a positive change in the ever changing world today. Journalism assists her by making her Gender Studies degree applicable to the world. Kara began her love for writing by reading all the Junie B. Jones novels and creating a blog in her adolescent years that dramatically explained why boys didn’t like her.

When Kara is not studying at the University she is participating in every yoga opportunity that she can. Licensed with a 200 HR YTT (Yoga Teacher Training), Kara is passionate about yoga. Music, fashion, and film are other hobbies that Kara enjoys talking, writing, and speaking about. She dreams of leaving her home state, looks at dog videos on Instagram, and reads books she wishes to understand.

LINKEDIN:

Utah is Remodeling the Revolving Door of Justice

Story by RYAN FINLAYSON

Implementation of the new risk assessment tool at county jails statewide will begin in May 2018. The Utah Supreme Court ruling allows judges to use a statewide risk assessment tool to determine if a person who has been recently arrested can be released from custody with the use of the Utah Human Service Code. As a society, we forget the people who will be impacted by certain laws and procedures. Collectively our society assumes the current system is working correctly. Unforeseen consequences can affect a person after their incarceration such as losing their occupation, car and housing. The current system favors the wealthy and deems someone’s guilt before the trial begins. The current protocol of determining if a person is eligible to be released from state custody in Utah is changing.

The practice of bail bonds provides those that can afford the bail amount a fair shake in trial. If that person is unable to acquire the funds, then they must stay in jail while fighting a criminal charge. Dylan Johnson has had his due process taken from him, because of his inability to pay his bail bond, according to his attorney. He lost his home, occupation and car because of being incarcerated until he was able to appear in front of a judge. After his incarceration he was placed on state supervision and his probation officer issued him a violation for not having an occupation. Once he received the violation, he received a jail sentence and lost his opportunity for employment. This failure in the judicial system has created a vicious cycle that has taken control of Johnson’s life for nearly a decade.

Johnson’s perspective on the bail bond system is negative, he states “The process doesn’t consider other factors that needs to be examined during the determination of an individual’s release from custody. The determination of an individual’s release from incarceration shouldn’t be based on a monetary criterion”. Johnson prides himself in the man he is today stating “I strive to make every day to be better than my last.” The current system allows an individual that has been charged with murder the ability to be released from custody that same day, but those with minor offenses who lack the bail amount will remain in custody.

Implementation of the new risk assessment tool will help judges weigh the decision of whether an individual accused of a crime should remain in jail. June 2017 Chief Justice Matthew Durant gave his opinion to represent the concurring decision of the Utah Supreme Court, despite objections from Utah lawmakers. Utah lawmakers objected to the judicial ruling by emphasizing the damage to the bail bond industry and the potential to release violent criminals.

Advocates for the new risk assessment tool have argued that the current bail bond policy only allows due process to those who can afford the bail amount. The new risk assessment tool provides Utah judges more information to decide on an individual’s eligibility for release. The risk assessment focuses on nine variables used to determine the conditions of release are met. These include an individual’s age at the current arrest, current violent offenses, pending charges at the time of the current offense, prior misdemeanor convictions, prior felony convictions, prior violent conviction, prior failure to appear at pretrial in the past two years, and prior failure to appear at pretrial dating older than two years. The listed variables provide Utah judges information to determine whether an individual’s release from state custody is a public concern, or the possibility the individual will not appear at their pre-trial hearing.

Durrant noted while ruling in favor of the Utah Human Service Code “The clear consensus of those without financial stake is that reliance on monetary conditions of release should be reduced, and that validated risk information should be provided to judges”

The risk assessment tool includes a series of possible conditions while being released such as drug testing and ankle monitor. Bail can currently be implemented to ensure the defendant’s appearance at their trial by paying a smaller bond to a bail bondsman or can be issued cash only bail depending on the presiding judge’s discretion. The bail bond industry’s practices have placed a value on freedom that some citizens simply can’t afford. A bail bond places a dollar amount to be paid before being release from jail based on the crime charged by the defendant.

In October 2017 state Senate President Wayne L. Niederhauser and House Speaker Gregory H. Hughes sent letters to Durrant expressing policy issues, emphasizing that other states which have implemented similar risk assessment tools have done so by passing laws, not through the courts. The Utah Supreme Court upheld previous rulings on the new statewide policy involving the release of defendants that were recently arrested from state custody using a new risk assessment tool. Utah’s legislative branch  cries foul over the Supreme Court ruling.

 

Ryan Finlayson

 

 

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Sexual assault kit catch up game has brought change in Salt Lake

Utah Department of Public Safety, other organizations focus efforts on making up for lost time as House Bill 200 aims to help prevent future backlogs 

Story by MALLORY BELL

While Salt Lake City has taken the lead in Utah to clear its backlog of untested rape kits, the rest of the state has a lot of catching up to do.

As part of a nationwide effort to improve sexual assault investigations by gathering and analyzing crime evidence and other data, Utah launched an initiative in October 2017 to tackle the issue.

Despite funding from New York City’s District Attorney’s Office to help start the program, Utah still lags far behind other states in testing rape kits for DNA evidence.

The process of testing a rape kits DNA evidence takes up to two years for non-priority cases in Utah, while other states can complete the process within 30 days.

Up to this point, Utah as a state has received three grants for the initiative. One from the district attorney office in New York, and the other two from the nationwide Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, or SAKI, program. The plan is to now request another SAKI fund and see how quickly and efficiently agencies in the state can complete the backlogged kits. The Utah Department of Public Safety is in charge of helping all agencies across the state complete the process correctly.

SAKI is a nationally acknowledged project beginning with New York District Attorney’s office back in 2003. New York decided to then distribute the remaining funds throughout the nation.

Since the project’s beginning in Utah, the Department of Public Safety along with Utah law enforcement have been able to send thousands of kits to private crime labs to expedite the process. The initiative is moving forward in the Salt Lake County, and now officials are trying to help the rest of Utah get up to speed. 

“Not all agencies in Utah have currently submitted all of their backlogged kits so far,”said Lauren DeVries, victim advocate for the Utah Department of Public Safety. “We actually have to do an inventory of the entire state to see how many kits each agency has.” 

DeVries said there are 2,200 kits that have currently been submitted and a total 2,700 kits throughout the state of Utah. To test the remaining 500 kits they first need to be located, and accounted for, which requires training, new guidelines and additional employees — all of which calls for more time and funds. The Utah Department of Public Safety hopes to receive a grant that will cover the majority of costs for the remainder of the project.

In the past, the kits and evidence of a sexual assault case were not viewed as important in solving the crime. The physical gathering of evidence became obsolete as the  testimonies of the perpetrator and victim were often not consistent, causing these cases to be ignored. Nonconsensual contact can be difficult to determine, meaning these cases were not pursued for practical reasons.

“There have been a lot of kits that have been destroyed,” DeVries said, explaining that if police thought the case wouldn’t be prosecuted they’d throw them out to make room for other evidence. “There is value in submitting these kits, and I don’t think we realized the value in it, until recently.” 

Now that the backlog testing is mostly completed, the state is looking for ways to implement major improvements into how sexual assault is investigated.

Changes in police departments have been mandated to ensure that the the kits are consistently being tested to prevent future backlog. Changes include law-enforcement training, and putting new processes in place for the victims’ rights and kit testing. House Bill 200, which goes into effect on July 1, will require every kit to be tested within a specified amount of time. It will also allow the victim to track their kit and be informed of each step of the testing.

State Senator Todd Weiler, R-Bountiful who sponsored the Senate version of House Bill 200, described the law as “a way that the state can show that we care about domestic violence, we care about sexual assault. … The victims that do come forward will be treated with respect and taken seriously.”

Current amendments aim to avoid future backlogs and problems with the kits. Lawmakers like Weiler want victims to feel like they are being heard and ultimately see justice through the use of collected evidence.

Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault have been involved with SAKI along the way and have played a big part in writing the bill.

Turner Bitton, executive director of the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, is excited about the bill and the partnership it brings.

“I think one of the most important pieces of House Bill 200 was that it provided new resources to law enforcement,” he said. “Law enforcement in many cases have been leaders in this work to move SAKI forward.”

Limited funds in the past presented various issues, such as understaffing of specialists who process assault kits, and training for current employees, which contributed to the backlog. Kits collected before 2018 have been sent directly to a private crime lab which has increased both process efficiency and fund expenditures.

With the passage of House Bill 119 and House Bill 200 crime labs have seen an increase in funding that law enforcement and crime labs receive.

“It was actually a two- to three-year effort to get more funding to hire more of the forensic scientists who actually go through and do the testing on the rape kits. We’ve also opened a new crime lab with more space,” Weiler said. “We just needed more warm bodies of qualified people to actually do the testing of the kits.”

The Department of Public Safety, Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Utah State Senate all hope that these changes will help victims see that concerted efforts are being made with their individual cases. Officials also want it known that change is coming to help future cases.

“I don’t know that things will change over night with this bill taking effect in July, but what I would say is, this is the final piece of funding that we needed, to guarantee that moving forward all of the backlog of rape kits will be wiped out and that they will be tested in a timely manner in the future,” Weiler said.

For more information on the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, please visit:

https://publicsafety.utah.gov/sexual-assault-kit-initiative-saki/

Victims that are looking for help and resources can turn to UCASA and find details at

UCASA.org/resources

 

 

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15 seconds to fame: How Instagram turned the snowboard world on its head

Story and Photos by BRADY McCARTHY

Facing a potential avalanche of unhappy snowboarders and the snowboarding industry as a whole, production companies and even ski resorts are in the midst of a change of seismic proportions on how they promote snowboarding.

In the past, snowboard media has been consumed through magazine subscriptions, “ski porn” movie releases by production crews every fall and online videos posted to websites such as Snowboarder.com.

But Instagram turned that all upside down five years ago in a shift that leveled the slopes. The social-media platform effectively democratized the self-promotion and exposure of the elite and those clawing their way to the top of the sport.

In June 2013 the social-media platform started to allow users to post 15-second videos, and with that Instagram changed from being a photo-sharing platform to primarily video sharing. Users were then able to receive instant gratification — and responses — by opening up the app and simply scrolling down through 15-second videos.

Soon these 15-second videos became one of the main ways to view snowboard media, allowing snowboarders to share and view snowboarding media without spending as much time — or money — consuming them.

“It allows up-and-coming snowboarders to get more exposure and make a name for themselves,” Gnu Snowboards Mid Atlantic rider, Cameron Dunmyer, said about the introduction of videos to instagram.

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Cameron Dunmyer by a street spot at sunset, February 2017. Photo by Brady McCarthy

Independent snowboard production companies began to decline a decade ago. Today, they are almost obsolete. Ian Macy, the content creator and video content specialist for Woodward Copper and Terrain park Marketing Coordinator for Seven Springs, Pa., said production companies aren’t receiving the same backing from snowboard companies to “buy-in” their riders to the movie.

“The amount of full-production snowboard video crews in the last five years has dropped significantly,” Macy said.

In the past, companies’ underwriting money would not only pay for companies’ rider’s participation, but the entire production, from film crews and their equipment to travel and other expenses. Instagram and other social-media platforms have eroded much of that spending as companies realize they get more reach — and their dollar goes farther — with brand videos and other content distributed over social media.

Instead, snowboard companies increasingly turn to contract filmmakers, who are now paid to produce online content and even full-team movies, because they then have complete control over the project rather than underwrite independent film crews.

In an attempt to stay relevant, video crew Absinthe Films has leveraged social media in promoting their new project. Last year Absinthe had to resort to crowdfunding after struggling to keep people interested and in turn receive enough money to produce their project, Turbo Dojo.

This year they have been incorporating social media and live streams of filming sessions at famous spots with big-name riders, allowing the consumer to get a behind the scenes look at the filming process. This method of presenting media has also proved to keep potential consumers excited about the upcoming project.

Independent film companies aren’t the only ones taking advantage of social media as a marketing strategy. The No. 1 park on the East Coast, according to Transworld Snowboarding’s 2017 Park Poll, Seven Springs has decided to switch their media marketing to only involve social media for the 2017-2018 season.

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The Seven Springs sign illuminated by Christmas lights. Photo courtesy of Tanner Scott.

Historically, Seven Springs released a web series on Snowboarder.com, “The Seven Deadly Edits.”  Macy explained people aren’t watching those videos the way they did just five years ago. He also said that single Instagram clips of one trick are getting more views, likes and comments than a full three-minute video that required more effort, meeting internal demand for more viewers.

“If it’s the right thing and it’s presented a certain way, it could blow that typical three minute edit out of the water,” Macy said.

Macy said it’s hard to predict the future of snowboarding media, but there isn’t consensus when it comes to consumers’ tastes. He said a mix of the old and new ways of presenting snowboarding will work the best.

Instead of filming for a video and incorporating social media into the process, some productions are being released incrementally as videos throughout the year. DC Transistors and Forest Bailey’s FSBS are two examples of video projects being released throughout the year highlighting specific trips that would usually constitute a full movie.

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“DC Transistors” crew member Jordan Morse at the Rail Gardens. Photo by Brady McCarthy

It’s also forced filming to start earlier in the year for riders in the DC crew.  Brady Lem, a DC Transistors crew member, said he wasn’t excited at first about the early street mission experience in “DC Transistors Episode 1: The Early Hunt.”

“Kinda was bummed on going on a street trip this early at first, but now looking back on it I’m pretty excited that we did it,” Lem said.

Think Thank, a film production company known for its creative take on snowboarding videos, has taken a similar approach but with a different layout. The company’s project this year, “Falling Leaf,” has followed riders throughout their travels. Think Thank now releases “Leafs” at certain points throughout the season.

What makes their project different from others is that it’s presented in a mini-magazine format on the internet. The “Leafs” include photos, videos and text allowing the best of all forms of media that can be quickly accessed by viewers without giving up the interactive experience of a magazine or movie.

“I mean the short of it is that riders are more in control of content now because movies are less viable,” said Justin “Stan” Leville, host of the popular snowboarding news show, “Last Resort With Stan.”

 

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Luke Fortune

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Reflection

When choosing a topic for my enterprise story I looked at all the things I enjoyed doing and took a deeper look into some of the important issues facing them. One of the larger issues here in Utah has to do with land management and the reduction of public lands. I had previously heard that a large trade show that showcases all the different activities I enjoy chose to leave Utah due to their poor decisions surrounding their land. I chose this as my topic and researched further the impacts that the show leaving might have on Utah and the people who spend their time in the outdoors.

To get sources for this story I looked at all the different people and businesses that were very vocal of their discontent toward Utah’s decisions. I then chose a few of them and reached out to individuals within the companies. I also looked to some professors at the U that had some insights on the economic impacts of the leave and what that might entail. I ran into some issues when contacting sources but simply due to the fact that most of who I reached out to never actually responded. I was contacting businesses that were not located in Utah and people who worked out of state so it was impossible for me to be pushy and visit them face to face to get an interview. I did, however, get some interviews and it worked out in the end.

The overall writing process was another challenge for me due to the fact I was learning a whole new style of writing and I had to write in a way that sounded natural. I have always written in an essay format and never had to change so it was definitely challenging for me to get comfortable with the new writing style. Overall I think being the first news story I have done I think it went fairly well. I definitely have some things to do differently in the future but it was a good learning experience.

Bio

Luke Fortune is currently a student at the University of Utah studying Strategic Communications with a minor in Business. Luke is 21 years old and he is in his third year of college with plans to graduate in May 2019.

Outdoor Retailer show says bye-bye to Utah, but does the Beehive State care?

Annual shows have new home but its departure from Utah may have less impact than you think. 

Story by LUKE FORTUNE

A tourist staple and economic driver for 20 years, the renowned Outdoor Retailer shows, which brought the outdoor industry’s blue-chip businesses and top athletes to the Wasatch Front, no longer calls Utah home.  

In 2017, the shows’ organizers, citing opposition to reducing Bears Ears National Monument and other land management policies by federal and state officials, announced their decision to leave Utah for Colorado.

“We chose Denver because of Colorado’s long-term commitment to protecting and nurturing public lands,” Marisa Nicholson, director of the Outdoor Retailer trade show, said.

While the departure has left a black mark on the Beehive State outdoor recreation industry and image, how much of a hole it will leave in Utah’s economy is unclear. Nate Furman, a University of Utah professor in the parks, recreation and tourism department, said it’s more of a lost opportunity that will affect Salt Lake City in the short term.

“In the long term, I don’t think that it will have major effects, as the gravity of national politics will drown out any effects of whether or not the show is held on the western margin of the Rocky Mountains or the eastern margin,” Furman said.

The Outdoor Retailer shows have drawn tens of thousands of tourists and athletes from around the world who come for the latest in outdoor equipment and to sample the state’s recreational offerings.

The trade shows pulled out of Utah in protest after the Trump administration and Utah politicians chose to shrink two controversial national monuments. Along with the proposed reduction of Bears Ears by 85 percent, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is slated to be cut in half. As a proponent of public lands, the trade shows’ leadership took a stand in protest, as did many companies that attend the convention.

Outdoor industry stalwarts, including California-based retailers Patagonia and The North Face, met with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert after President Trump’s the decision to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The companies ultimately decided that moving the show from its longtime home of Utah would be the best choice for their industry as a whole. 

“I say enough is enough,” Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, said in a statement. “If Governor Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home. Governor Herbert should direct his Attorney General to halt their plans to sue and support the historic Bears Ears National Monument.”

Over the past 20 years, Outdoor Retailer has brought 40,000 visitors annually to Utah during their twice-yearly shows, which run for three days at a time. Additionally, the shows have brought $45 million in consumer spending.

While these numbers may seem large, the loss hardly puts a dent into Utah’s roughly $13 billion tourism economy. The outdoor recreation industry brings in $12.3 billion in consumer spending a year as well as $737 million in state and local tax revenue, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. While Utah as a whole will most likely see little impact, local businesses may see mixed outcomes, depending on their size.

Smaller companies may have a harder time as they relied on the increased sales the shows brought, but shouldn’t be hit too hard, said Sunn Kim, the retail store manager at local Utah company Backcountry.com.

With annual revenue of $634.54 million, Backcountry.com makes most of its sales online, allowing it to weather the shows’ departure with little impact on its bottom line. The company has a small retail shop that may be affected by the departure.

I believe the departure of [Outdoor Retailer] will have a more immediate impact on Utah’s outdoor industry and economy,” Kim said. “I believe that smaller businesses focused on tourism will suffer, but this impact will only be temporary.” 

Nicole Cardwell

My Story:

Is the air we are breathing, causing disabilities?

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REFLECTION:

We were asked to write about something that interested us or that we could make newsworthy. I was in Houston for 18 months and came back to Utah in the middle of the winter. This is when I realized how bad our air was. There was a drastic change and I couldn’t believe I had lived here my whole life and never thought that it could really affect my life and health. I started to look more into this and since then I’ve had a desire to help others be aware of what’s happening and what can be done.

I started with the big guys that record air quality and contacted the manager, who was happy to help me. I wanted a perspective from a student that was studying climate change at the University of Utah and I decided to look through the colleges to find what would best fit. I contacted a department and they directed me to the geography department that helped me find Rebecca Steve. She was very helpful and open to meeting with me and sharing information about her future project.

I had my goal of where I wanted the story to go and worded my questions and follow up questions around that. After having all of the information, I made an outline and organized things by putting it down and filling in the gaps. It was harder with the more scientific definitions and phrases but I made sure I understood it, and put it simply.

The writing process flowed and I had other people go over it before our peer reviews and that helped me. I made sure they understood that it was supposed to be a news story and that helped them critique my paper and make it feel and sound descriptive. It helped to have the peer review because he was able to help me through every section and gave good suggestions. It helped to see his paper and his style. It definitely helped to have all of the writing exercises before and getting used to writing outside what I’ve always known.

I think I could add more of the personalities and back stories for the people I interviewed on my blog. That says a lot about why they are there and what has made them passionate about what they do and why. I think I could add why I decided to research this information and my theory and experience as well.

AUTHOR BIO:

Nicole is a student at the University of Utah in the Communication major. She is a 1st degree Bachelor student and will graduate in the spring of 2019. She is passionate about making goals and working hard and had many plans for the future. 

Nicole plans to go into marketing for Science, Health, Environmental risk and wants to work with public health. She hopes to help with non profit organizations and programs to help with Utah’s environment. 

On her 18-month mission in Houston, Nicole taught English as a second language in schools, libraries and churches. She is fluent in Spanish and her parents are from Mexico and El Salvador. Since then, service has been a priority for Nicole and she enjoys helping those in need. 

 

City hopes Murray Theater, historic hostess to the stars, can return to glory

Story and photos by VICTORIA TINGEY 

She’s hosted Judy Garland and Adele. Wrestlers and ballerinas. But after being down on her luck and threadbare, the time has come for the storied Murray Theater to be great again. The plans to restore the historic building have the city reaching for the future.

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Murray City Theater-Neon Sign

Murray City purchased the 79-year-old structure with the purpose of rehabilitating it into a cultural arts facility, and bringing the building — which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 — back to life.

Built during the Great Depression, the theater, which is located on 4961 South State St., opened in October 1938 and soon hosted live bands and film productions. The first film was “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” with Tyrone Power and Ethel Merman. Show prices were 20 cents for matinees. 

“The facility captures the vision of a broad array of cultural facilities which are distributed throughout Utah,” Kim Sorensen, the Murray City Parks and Recreations director, wrote in an email.

The building’s unique design catches people’s eyes as they enter the city. This structure stands apart because of its age, architecture and charm.  

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View inside of Murray Theater from the balcony

“The façade is an excellent example of Art Moderne complete with rounded corners, horizontal windows and a vertical marquee that serves as a landmark along heavily traveled state street,” Sorensen said.

When asked how this structure will enhance the community, Sorensen addressed that because this facility would provide year-round indoor space, and programming options will expand significantly. It will provide a venue for both small professional and amateur ensembles made up of members from local orchestras and band organizations.

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Layout of Murray Theater hung up in the Foyer

As the city looks at the plans to refurbish this structure, they are trying to look what will help create a long lasting concept that will draw people as it once did. 

Jeff Martin, city facilities manager, said, “The City has asked for an assessment about the theater that includes: asking the community how to best utilize the space and what costs and upgrades will be needed to meet the community’s needs.”

The building was bought by the City in 2016. Their plans were to be able to repurpose this building so that they could positively enhance the downtown area of Murray.

“It’s not everywhere that a historic theater is owned and operated by a city, and one where they are actively looking to renovate and provide a fresh venue to their citizens,” Martin stated.

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Detailed architecture in the front entrance of the Theater

The architecture helps to emphasize the old rustic feel when walking into the building. This building has played a big role in the history of Murray and they believe that it can still add value to maintaining cultural entertainment  and historic identities within the community.

Community members and visitors see the special features that add character to the city.  

“When working, the neon sign on the front of the building puts out bright vibrant colors that light up the surrounding block. It really attracts your attention as you’re passing by,” Martin said.

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Old piano located on Murray Theaters center stage

There are other unique features about the building that Martin indicated including that there is an air handler that provides cooling and heating for the main theater room. The original fan is up to 6 feet in diameter and approximately 6 feet long. They included that the original motor still drives the belts that turn a large pulley to operate the fan that still works to this day.

They believe companies that create neon signage is a dying industry. It is harder to find people who can make repairs to the glass work involved and components to keep it operating. The color and light output that comes from these types of signs is really unparalleled. The city officials believe that these building gives a sense of how far the City has come.

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View of the Theater from the stage

“As I have worked with these buildings, some visitors came to watch movies at the theater when they were kids. While others attended events and concerts. Those memories tie into future generations and connections to build upon. It adds another aspect of how Murray is unique to its surrounding entities,” Martin said.

The reinvestment in the building is going to add to improvement of properties that run through State Street, an important corridor for the Wasatch front because of it’s big transportation roadway. Any enhancements that will be made will better the community at large. There have even been long term plans by state representatives to try to create more reinvestment in properties on state street because of it.

“This project will help revitalize our downtown area which is in dire need. It will be a catalyst to get things going, drum up the old history of Murray!” said Susan Nixon, the Associate Planner of Murray.

The city administrators are confident that the enhancement of the Murray theater will be an important catalyst for redevelopment of the downtown of Murray. It will add value to the social and cultural elements of the community. This project will bring the past into the future and make the area of Murray vibrant again.

 

Is Social Media Reality Ruining our Actual Reality?

Story By EMILIE NIELSEN 

As cellphones become central to modern living, cyberbullying has replaced spitballs and hallway taunting as the torture-du-jour for students and teenagers.

With social media sharing the “best version” of yourself some have taken it to an extreme and started using editing apps to change the shape or look of an image.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported a large rise in mental health issues, including anxiety, stemming from teenagers’ use of social media. This anxiety can be substantial enough to create everyday issues such as absence from school or the ability to complete basic tasks.

“I don’t feel comfortable going to school. I don’t feel as welcome or that I don’t have enough friends as the others,” Estelle Andreasen, 13, said.” Everyone I know has at least 500 followers. I don’t even have 100.”

Her anxiety was manageable until she got social media and now she skips school at least twice a week.

That anxiety is part of a larger issue of teenage insecurity and low self-esteem that some suggest is caused by Instagram and other social media.

Debbie Perry, a high school counselor who has been a high school counselor for 25 years, said one of the saddest parts of social media and smartphones she’s seen over the years is the risk that anyone and everyone can be bullied online.

“There has been such a large amount of people coming in over the last few years talking about the online bullying they have been receiving,” she said. “As a Counselor, we work on trying to make it a safe place at school with less use of phones to lower the ability of online bullying for our students.”

Another thing she said that she sees as a counselor is people bullying themselves because they aren’t thin enough or they didn’t go on fun spring or fall breaks like all their friends or classmates. There is also the fact that students go along with peer pressure more often due to social media.

This spurs anxiety in teenagers that they don’t have as exciting or interesting lives as their peers and they shouldn’t post to their social media accounts, even if they’re just sharing their “best face.”

Annie and Emma Black are 13-year-old twins in seventh grade. They just got their first phones for their birthday.

“I was so excited to have a phone,” said Annie. “I wanted so badly to be able to talk to my friends and be able to use Instagram!”

Their mom Amber Black is worried about Annie’s use of her phone. She and her husband feel as though they are constantly taking it away to get her to work on homework. Emma, however, won’t go on her phone until she is done with her homework.

“Annie is a little more troublesome, she wants to be on her phone all day and ignore her responsibilities,” said Amber.

“Emma, on the other hand, could care less about what is going on, on her phone. She rarely even gets on her phone when she is home and doesn’t want to ruin her grades due to her phone,” Amber added.

There are educational benefits of having access to cell phones in schools, including research and communicating with teachers and classmates.  But it can also be a huge distraction.

Multi-tasking while working on homework and looking at social media may distract teenagers, prolonging the time to complete assignments or not retaining the information they’re learning.

Deanne Kapetanov, principal at Mueller Park Jr. High in Bountiful, said multiple teachers take away phones from students every day. Students also sneak into the bathroom to respond to texts, look at Instagram or Snapchat their friends.

“It is hard to see the students be more focused on their phones walking to and from classes and spending their free time looking at social media or texting friends instead of actually spending time with each other,” Kapetanov said.

Developing social skills have also lagged in teenagers because they don’t spend time face to face. The teens and pre-teens are having a harder time making friends with others, Kapetanov said. This is creating a major risk factor for depression, suicide and other mental health issues – all issues that come along with social media.

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Utah Cops Struggle to Enforce Texting and Driving law

Story by BECCA CARR

The Utah state law that bans texting while driving is just too hard to enforce.

At least, that’s what police say.

Utah has some of the strictest laws on texting and driving in the country. State law prohibits any texting – including sending, receiving, reading or writing messages while driving.  Violators can be ticketed for that violation alone – even if they’re otherwise driving safely. But, state law enforcement says that’s easier said – or written – than done. 

Along with parent groups and the auto insurance industry, state police supported a proposed state law, HB64, that they say would have made it easier for them to enforce the law by banning the use of handheld cellphones while driving. But in February 2018 state lawmakers spiked the bill.

Many police officers have a hard time with enforcement because it is hard to differentiate what use the person behind the wheel is using their cell phone for.

“I rarely enforced it because it was hard to enforce,” Jeremy Horne, who was a highway patrol officer for over 10 years, said.

In order to actually give a person a citation for texting and driving, a police officer must see the person sending the text. This is hard to do because many times the roads and different lane sizes make it hard tell if the person is in violation of texting while driving,  Farmington, Utah, police Detective Sgt. Eric Johnson said.

Police officers like Johnson say they have a hard time determining if a driver is using an app, texting, GPS or other functions. Michael Rapich, superintendent of the Utah Highway Patrol, told The Salt Lake Tribune that the bill could make it easier to enforce these laws. 

“We are very concerned with procedural justice,” said Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson.

Under Utah law drivers can talk on the phone, report a medical emergency, report a safety hazard, report criminal activity and view GPS or navigation devices, including apps.

Horne, the former Utah highway patrol officer, said that in the case of a car accident, the person involved or responsible will rarely say if they were using their cell phones at the time of the accident, so the number of reported accidents caused by distracted driving is often higher than what reports say. Utah records show that in 2016, distracted driving caused 5,748 crashes, 3,303 injuries and 27 deaths.

Since the law went into effect in 2009,  the number of citations has been modest. These numbers can be traced back to the common belief among police in these areas that administering a ticket won’t make a difference.

The Utah Highway Patrol reported 780 people were pulled over in 2015 for being on their phones. Of the 780 drivers pulled over, only 256 people ended up receiving a citation, and the rest were let off with a warning.

In Salt Lake City, 1,300 drivers were pulled over after the revision of the law in 2014. Of these, 937 received warnings while only 380 received a citation. But not every county issues as many citations. For example, only three citations were issued in Iron County.

Audrey Emery, a senior at the University of Utah, said that when she’s behind the wheel, she restrains herself from being on her phone. However, if she wants to change songs or needs to respond to a text message she typically will do so.
“When I’m driving I always have the thought in my head that I shouldn’t be using my phone, this is dangerous,” she said.

Officers have discretion to issue a warning or a citation for violating cellphone use law.  Many of these officers would prefer to talk to drivers and use the law as a teaching instrument rather than handing out citations.

Since the law was revised in 2014, the number of crashes in Salt Lake City has dropped. From May 2013 to May 2014, the number of crashes caused by texting and driving was 140, which fell in 2015 to 126. Giving out more warnings and less tickets seems to be the right direction.

“It benefits to provide education and understanding on texting and driving and how it can impact our lives,” Johnson, the Farmington police detective, said.

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Utah lawmakers killed a proposed law in February 2018 that would have prohibited the use of cellphones while driving. Above, the State Capitol. Photo by Becca Carr

 

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Missy Reaveley sends a text to her friend John, telling him that she can’t talk because she is driving. Photo by Becca Carr

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In Salt Lake County, the number of citations for texting while driving dropped from 2014 to 2015. Abovek Scott Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City. Photo by Becca Carr

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A Salt Lake County Sheriff’s deputy watches traffic outside the Scott Matheson Courthouse building in downtown Salt Lake City. Photo by Becca Carr

 

Fate of old Holladay’s Old Cottonwood Mall still up for debate

Story by CALI FELTS

After years of planning, the fate of Holladay’s Old Cottonwood Mall is still up for debate.

The town of Holladay is currently in the middle of a debate over real estate developer Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corporation’s third proposal to build a residential and commercial area to cover the empty land where the mall once stood. 

Holladay city planners have been wondering what to do with the Old Cottonwood Mall, which was built in 1962, for a decade. Real estate developers had planned to demolish and rebuild Cottonwood Mall. For much of that time the mall stood mostly empty, except for a Macy’s Department Store, which finally left the site in 2017.

Since 2008, much of the lot has been sitting there empty waiting for either the proposed new mall to be built or for a different plan to be introduced. In 2017, Salt Lake City real estate developer Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corporation, which manages commercial real estate, tried to come up with a solution for the empty lot. They proposed to build a housing unit as well as an enclosed shopping area and restaurants.

But getting Holladay on board has been a challenge. Holladay residents have shouted down two of Ivory’s plans since last November. Holladay city officials have said that the buildings are too high and would cover Mt. Olympus.

Residents have said that the development would also crowd the area with traffic and more people. They even have an Instagram, @iloveholladay, and a website advocating against the new development.  

Other Holladay residents like Harrison Creer want something done with the space. Creer supports the concept of doing something with the mall so it’s not a place where “high school kids go to mess around and do dumb stuff.”

“I am not a huge fan on the idea Ivory [Homes] wants to do for [the old Cottonwood Mall site], but it would be nice to have the eyesore gone,” he said.

In March, Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corporation released their third proposal for the remodel of the Old Cottonwood Mall land after hearing the complaints of the Holladay residents.

In a joint statement posted online the company said, “We heard you Holladay! Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corporation have made substantial changes to the original plans to develop the former Cottonwood Mall site in order to accommodate this great community.”

Developers have lowered the height of the proposed buildings, decreased the amount of homes, increased the size of the lots, expanded its commercial spaces and added more open space.

“We will do all this while maintaining Holladay’s unique feel and charm,” the companies said.

Cinda Taylor, a representative from Ivory Homes, in an interview highlighted the economic benefits for Holladay if the development goes through. She explained how Holladay needs the revenue generated the short and long-term investment this development would bring.

Taylor also explained how the new development would create a ‘Halo Effect’ for the city. This means that not only would it benefit the businesses being built in this development but surrounding businesses as well from the new residents, local workers and the ‘regional draw’ Holladay will have.

As a visual marker, Ivory Homes floated balloons to show how high the buildings would be. But not everyone is impressed. The balloons had completely covered the view of Mount Olympus which the residents did not appreciate.

It makes me so sad to have a visual of what could potentially change the face of our quiet neighborhood forever,” Suzy Rasch, a Holladay resident, said.

Rasch has been an outspoken opponent of the redevelopment of the mall. She’s used social media to make her point and protested at Holladay Planning Commission meetings with signs, including one that read “Not this plan, High Rise? High Traffic.”

 

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Ironically, the owners of Ivory Homes and Woodbury Corporation both live in Holladay near the Old Cottonwood Mall. The owners could not be reached for an interview.

Another Holladay resident, Cristie Briggs, says after going to a presentation for the new development her opinion has completely changed.

“I used to be 100 percent against but after seeing the newest plan and the way it was presented, I really loved it,” she said, adding that she liked the way the buildings look in drawings of the plans.

Building a ‘Cvlt’-Like Following   

Story by EVERETT OLSEN

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 OCDope Serenades the audience to her hit single “Pull You Under” Screenshot of video by Everett Olsen

Sweaty bodies pack the small Salt Lake City concert hall. It’s Saturday night at the Goldblood Collective, and the energy in the room is electric. This isn’t the first time that the local rap collective “The Peoples Cvlt” has opened the show here before, but no one in the group expected a crowd like this.

Mad$haw co-producer of the collective, yells over only five feet away.

“Do you see this? This is nuts there must be 100 people in here!”

The small venue overflowed with enthusiasm as the group paraded the stage readying the audience for their final performance of the night. Mad$haw raises the microphone to his lips.

“When I say Peoples, yall’ say Cvlt,” he cries out. “Peoples!”

“Cvlt!” The crowd energetically echos, then again.

“Peoples!

“Cvlt!”

“Now everybody sing along if you know this one, it’s called “Pull You Under,” off of our new mixtape! This will be our last song of the night thank you Salt Lake City!”

The crowd quiets in anticipation as OCDope, one of two female vocalists present in the group, takes center stage microphone in hand. With a confidence large enough for the whole collective, OCDope delivered a performance that mesmerized the crowd, wrapping up the groups most successful show to date.

Salt Lake City certainly isn’t known for its production of Hollywood rap stars, or any sort of celebrities for that matter. Yet scattered throughout the Salt Lake Valley is a network of independent artists all chasing the same dream. A dream planted in the mind of every kid who has ever turned on their car radio.To make millions of dollars and perform for thousands of people.

The Peoples Cvlts’ story is not another boring overtold narration of overnight success. This group serves as a realistic and practical demonstration of how to make the most of granted opportunities, establish a presence in a local niche, and use various tools to build a loyal supportive fanbase.   

Before all 13 independent artists met and decided to make records together, Riley Teague or Teague recalls the day when Max first approached him with a radical new idea.

“He said he was sick of the 9—5 grind and wanted to start making music and taking classes for producing.”

Teague explained it only took a few short months before Mad$haw

“Took off and started getting a lot better.”

Mad$haw continued to dedicate himself to this new passion setting aside time from his job and family to work on instrumentals and production each week.

While attending his weekly production class Mad$haw met another producer Sean Motta or 4K. The two young producers quickly hit it offand began working together on instrumentals each wednesday in Mad$haw’s basement studio.

Vocal artists like Teague and Kiefy Kush another Cvlt member started working with the two producers while slowly introducing in other artists. Teague remembers how it all started like it was yesterday.

“I started inviting friends that I knew could rap then it took off. We started meeting up weekly and making songs ”

While slowly growing and improving the collective continued to meet each Wednesday evening. Many members would come directly from school or the job to meet up, relax, and express themselves creatively.

 

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 The Peoples Cvlt, shown above, during an album cover photo shoot. Photo courtesy of Jade Larson

 

It’s low key, and is kind of a nice stress-free environment,” 4K explains. “There aren’t any expectations. I think that’s why our music turns out so well, because we enjoy the circumstances under process of making it at Mad$haw’s studio.”

Kiefy Kush, a Salt Lake rapper who has been making music for 15 years, shared one reason he believes the collective has had such early success in a market typically sodifficult to penetrate.

“With there being so many diverse creatives in one collective, we have the ability to produce, provide and promote much more efficiently than if it were just one person juggling everything,” Kush said.

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 Kiefy Kush catching a vibe. Photo courtesy of Jade Larson

With the release of their debut 14 song mixtape “Cvlt Tape 1,” The Peoples Cvlt averages 1,486 streams per song released on their soundcloud page. An impressive figure considering the recent founding of the group.

Outside of making the music, the collective is constantly networking and plotting their next moves towards breaking out. In the past month The Cvlt has gotten on the ticket of two much more high profile concerts, in hopes to expand and capture their ever growing audience.

The first is Redfest, an annual concert put on by the University of Utah for its student body. The headliners of this show are big names in Hip-Hop like the Migos and Amine, the concert will be held April 15. The show nearly sold out with in the first week of being announced.  

The next event is a three-day music festival held at the Bonneville Salt Flats early in june this year. This event will feature a number of artists performing on multiple stages. Both of these opportunities should bring along hundreds of new ears and potential fans for the expanding Peoples Cvlt.

This Salt Lake based collective has served as the perfect reflection of what it means to work together week in and week out, seize opportunity, and produce a collaborative sound that is pleasing to the ear. With each artist still chasing the same dream of exposure, The Peoples Cvlt will continue to grind on until they don’t need to remind others of the name.

 

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 Mad$haw, Father Cactus, and 4K. Photo courtesy of Jade Larson

“It’s hard to break out of the Salt Lake scene, like, really hard,” producer 4K said. “I don’t think anyone’s ever done it. We’re going to be the first ones to break out, though. I know it. I’m going to make sure it happens.”

Everett Olsen

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Blog: 

The idea for my enterprise story originally stemmed from my experience at “The Peoples Cvlt’s” third concert, hosted inside the Goldblood Collective. I happened to be one of the only 20 or so people in the audience for the group’s first show. Seeing the rapid progression in the number of fans the group had gained for this performance, immediately had me asking myself, “How?”  

After I had decided on my topic and the angle I was going to work, it was time to reach out to members of the groups for interviews. I first reached out to Max Bradshaw or Mad$haw, a friend from high school who happened to be co-producing for the group. While Mad$haw himself preferred to stay behind the scenes, he gladly introduced me to the other producer, Sean Mota (4k), as well as other group members Teague and Kiefy Kush.

I wanted to make sure for this story I captured the setting properly for my interview, to get the most intuitive and honest answers I could from these creatives. To do so I stopped into Mad$haw’s basement studio on a Wednesday night, the night the group meets and collaborates each week. Although I came to the house ready as a journalist, I chose to put this on the back burner, and simply talk with the group members casually building rapport until I felt ready to get down to business.  I think in doing so I was able to capture much more natural and honest responses from these artists.

Bio:

Everett Olsen is a junior at the University of Utah studying communication. After an intensive two-year search for a major, Everett has found an outlet for his voice though journalistic writing and reporting. Born in Salt Lake City, Everett developed a love for the outdoors as well as a profound passion for music. He plans to cover more stories and events that parallel these personal passions, as they seem to yield his best writing.

Becca Carr

 

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MY STORY

Utah Cops Struggle to Enforce Texting and driving law 

MY BLOG

While looking for a topic to do my story on I started off with a Google search. I looked at local cities and came across a Salt Lake Tribune article about lawmakers killing a bill on texting and driving that could save lives. I then started to focus on the police and what the double standard was for them using cellular devices. From doing my interviews I moved my story more in the direction that because the law in place for texting and driving is so hard to enforce is it worth even having.

At first, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to connect to the people I needed to interview. I then started to think about people I knew and family connections, using sources that I could reach out to. I then got in contact with Rich Ferguson and Eric Johnson. Rich is Chief of Police while Eric is Detective Sargent. By talking to them I asked if they had anyone I could talk to that was a Highway Patrol Officer. I then called Jeremy Horne who was a Highway Patrolman for 10 years. After I had my main interviews I decided that it would benefit my story by having someone giving their opinion and thoughts about texting and driving, so I took it to campus and found Audrey Emery, a senior at the University of Utah.

I think the sources I got were the best I could have gotten for my story. I found police officers that are high in ranking and also found a specific officer that worked as a highway patrolman. I also think that information that I looked us about specific laws in place and looking up different counties news I found great information that benefited my story.

The main obstacle that I faced was looking for interviews. I didn’t know where to start because I knew I had to talk to people in high-ranking positions. But after I talked to a family member and got my resources together, it was smooth sailing from there.

I got a lot of information about police and the double standard, thoughts on texting and driving, how the law is enforced and so on. These questions gave me a lot of information that I had to narrow down. I narrowed it down to how and why police officers enforce the particular law of texting and driving along with what the solution can be for texting and driving. I decided these as my main focus because this is what most of my interviews focused on and what seemed more important.

The writing process was a little bit difficult to start. I have never written a news article and had never interviewed someone before, so the task was scary. As I started the process I started to become comfortable with talking to people and asking questions. I also had to learn how to narrow down information and make sure what I was writing down was correct and okay to quote.

I think what surprised me most through this whole process and story was that law enforcement doesn’t even enforce the law against texting and driving because it’s so difficult to detect the particular use.

ABOUT ME

I currently live in Salt Lake City, Utah where I am a Junior at the University of Utah. I am a communications major with my focus in strategic communications. As I continue to pursue my degree in communications – focusing on advertising, branding, marketing, and public relations – I hope to gain on-the-job experience that will help in my career. By doing so, I would ideally get a job with a respectable cosmetic company where I can work with the marketing or public relations team. Although the focus of my major is not journalism, I have found an interest in it and have piece of work that I am excited about.