Salt Lake City approves housing plan; Biskupski takes first step to implement it

A policy to guide housing development for next five years get its start

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and other city officials raise a sparkling cider toast Tuesday night, Dec. 12, 2017, after the City Council approved a comprehensive city housing plan that will guide policy for the next five years.

Housing in Salt Lake City could become cheaper and more plentiful over the next five years if the city can meet the goals of a new comprehensive housing plan adopted unanimously Tuesday by the City Council.

Moments after the vote, Mayor Jackie Biskupski took the first official action to advance the city’s new affordable housing program, instructing city officials to write rules to require that sellable surplus city land be evaluated for housing development. It was the first of eight or more executive memos on housing that the mayor is expected to issue.

“It has been almost two decades since the city had a housing plan,” the mayor said as she and other administration officials toasted the council’s vote with sparkling cider. “We have many goals. We are ready to roll.”

The plan’s adoption comes a week after the council authorized $17.6 million to subsidize affordable-housing construction, which could support development of more than 700 homes for people and families who earn below the area’s median income. Despite that infusion, the timeline for seeing the plan’s housing has changed, the mayor said.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski signs an executive memo on housing policy Tuesdat night, Dec. 12, 2017, moments after the City Council approved a new comprehensive housing policy for the city to guide development over the next five years.

“I think we have missed some opportunities around that,” she said. “What I will say, though, is, by June of 2019, we’ll have 500-700 units that will be completed.”

The “Growing SLC” housing plan is a nearly 200-page document developed by the city office of Housing and Neighborhood Development. Issued in February and tweaked throughout the year, it is intended to guide city housing policy for the next five-10 years, emphasizing affordability, opportunity and equality for residents at all income levels. It starts from the premise that the city is facing an incipient housing crisis.

Among its broad goals are updating a zoning code that got its last rewrite in the 1990s, at a time when the city’s population was declining. With Salt Lake City now booming — it’s had about 4 percent population growth since the 2010 census — zoning changes would permit increased density and different types of housing, from accessory dwellings to cottages, row houses and small apartment buildings.

The plan emphasizes preserving long-term affordable housing, stabilizing low-income tenants, partnering to create new housing and identifying new sources of funding — all under the umbrella of fair and equitable housing. It also considers mandating that affordable housing be part of any new residential development, a practice known as inclusionary zoning.

“We don’t think there’s one solution,” said Melissa Jansen, the city’s director of housing and neighborhood development. “It is going to take multiple things to attack this, and we set up a very short time frame.”

“It is a framework that mostly is about policy and some of the direction we would like to see happen, but there will be a lot of work-around implementation,” said Council Chairman Stan Penfold, who is leaving office at the end of the year. “There’s still a lot of work to do.”

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Beating Salt Lake City’s rent crisis

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) Salt Lake City is in the middle of a rent crisis. The economy is booming, job growth is huge and more people want to move into the city to be near where they work.


The downside of all this: there’s a shortage of rental units available and developers are getting top dollar at their projects. That’s why you see all the new apartment complexes rising around downtown, especially near TRAX lines.

"The market is robust," says Dan Lofgren, one of the managing members of Cowboy Partners which has developed several of the new projects around town and has more in the construction stage like Liberty Boulevard on 700 East near Trolley Square.

"There’s extraordinary demand," says Lofgren. "That puts upward pressure on rent." reports Salt Lake rental rates have increased 6.2% in the past year and The CBRE Group estimates the average monthly rental at $1,100.

ABC4 found rents as low as $600 a month and as high as $6,500 a month for a 1,300 square foot apartment. No matter what the rent, they all seem to be taken.

Salt Lake City’s Housing Director estimates the vacancy rate at about 2%, which means an apartment is hard to find at any price.

The problem, says Melissa Jensen, "because there’s not enough housing and everybody wants to live here. Those who make the least amount of money can never afford to live here. And they’re paying a majority of their income for their housing."

That means people working in the service industry who keep the city running and vibrant are forced to find cheaper housing elsewhere. Many of them struggling to survive on near minimum wages.


There is an answer to the problem, but it is slow in coming. Affordable housing.

Example: Scott Schear makes $23,000 a year as a custodian at the Marriott Library. He is living in a brand new one bedroom apartment at 600 Lofts, the corner of State St. and 500 South in the heart of downtown. Market rate for his unit would be $1,200 a month, but he pays only $795.

"I’m thrilled," says Scott. "I spent 4 months looking to find a place that was affordable and wasn’t a dump. I found a nice place and I plan on being here for a while."

Another example: David Sarle makes $20,000 a year as a medical rehab masseuse. He lives in a brand new apartment in the Liberty Village complex in the heart of Sugar House. (A Cowboy Partner project.) Going rate again would be about $1,200 a month. Under affordable housing he pays only $633.

"I really love it." David says "it’s the nicest place I’ve ever lived."


There’s a relatively complicated formula to figure out if you qualify for programs like David and Scott. On average a family of four would qualify if they make $45,000 a year or less. A single person qualifies if the yearly income is $31,000 or less.

Housing Director Jensen says that covers a huge group of people who have jobs in Salt Lake. "Extremely hard working people. Sometimes they’re working two or three jobs. That might be working in a day care. It could be a technician. The people who take care of blood when you go to a doctor’s office."

The problem is there’s a massive shortage of affordable housing. Developers like Lofgren can decide to set aside 20% of their project for affordable housing. The Liberty Village complex has 171 units. 35 are for affordable housing.

Cowboy Partners is also designating 20% of their 266 units they are building at Liberty Boulevard on 700 East as affordable.

Managing member Dan Lofgren says it makes good business sense to do this, but he also claims there’s a personal reward. "There are enough examples of how lives have been changed to fuel a career’s worth of committment to doing affordable housing." He also says, with a twinkle or maybe a tear in his eyes, "you only have to talk to a couple of those residents and you go ‘ooh’ I want to do that. That’s very cool."


When some people hear the words affordable housing, they conjure up images of homeless people on Rio Grande moving into a slum like dwelling. Melissa Jensen says that is far from the truth. The people who live in affordable housing are "folks that you come in contact with every day. They are great members of the community."

She also says the rewards are huge for people who don’t have to worry about paying their rent every month to live in a nice place. "They’re going to spend more time with their kids at school. They’re going to spend more time in their community and you know what else they’re going to do? They’re going to spend more money in their local economy."

Lofgren of Cowboy Partners is especially proud of the fact that his project allows every day workers to stay in the highly sought after Sugar House area. "The school teachers, firefighters, police officers can afford to live here, where they work. We think that’s a really good thing.

For Scott Schear at the 600 Lofts. "It’s been a long road getting to where I finally settled in a place where I can imagine myself staying for a chunk of time."

For David Sarle at Liberty Village. "I’m somebody. I’m something. I can achieve something. I’m not working my whole life, killing myself, for nothing."


Persistence and patience may be the two most important words to get into affordable housing. There are long waiting lists because there are more people than units.

You may need to contact the phone number of each complex where you might want to live. Ask them if they have affordable units and then put your name on a waiting list.

Another good contact is the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City. You can call them at (801) 487-2161. Or check out their website at

Or the Housing Authority of Salt Lake County. (801) 284-4400. Or on the internet at

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Woman out for morning run in Utah, fights off groper with knife

A woman who was jogging Friday in Utah turned the tables on a man who attempted to grope her after she pulled out a small knife and repeatedly stabbed the attacker, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The unidentified woman, who was in her 40s, had been carrying a knife in her hand when the man attempted to grab her.

She repeatedly stabbed the man before he turned and fled to a nearby bus stop. The woman chased him for a while before stopping to report the incident to the police.

The incident took place early Friday morning in Salt Lake City, the report said.

The attacker was reportedly white, 5’9”, approximately 150 pounds, physically fit and somewhere between 15-30 years of age with puncture wounds on his arms, legs or chest.

The police are still searching for the attacker.

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John Curtis pulls out to huge lead in 3rd District congressional race

FILE – In this Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, Provo Mayor John Curtis speaks during town hall meeting, in Lehi, Utah. Utah voters are set to choose a replacement for U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz during a special election Tuesday made necessary after the Republican’s surprise resignation earlier this year. Curtis, the Republican mayor of the Mormon stronghold of Provo, is expected to sail to victory in a congressional district where Republicans outnumber Democrats 5-to-1. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

With the first batch of votes counted after the polls closed Tuesday night, Provo Mayor John Curtis, the Republican contender, has taken a commanding lead in the race to fill Utah’s vacant congressional seat.

He holds a roughly 34 percentage point lead over his nearest competitor, Democrat Kathie Allen, in the earliest count with Curtis collecting nearly 60 percent. The new United Utah Party’s Jim Bennett came in third at 9 percent.

Even in Salt Lake County, where Democrats are expected to do their best, Curtis slightly edged out Allen. And he’s so far picked up more than five times the votes in Utah County, which includes about 60 percent of the registered Republicans in the 3rd Congressional District.

DISTRICT 3 SPECIAL ELECTION RESULTSJoe Buchman, Libertarian • 2.20% popular vote • 2064 votesJason Christensen, Independent American • 1.49% popular vote • 1394 votesJim Bennett, United Utah • 9.05% popular vote • 8,482 votesJohn Curtis, Republican • 59.06% popular vote • 55,330 votesSean Whalen, unaffiliated • 2.59% popular vote • 2,424 votesKathie Allen, Democratic • 25.60% popular vote • 23,986 votes

The winner will serve the final year of former Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s term after the congressman surprisingly stepped down on June 30 and has since joined Fox News as a contributor. His early departure turned what would have been a municipal election only into a complicated congressional special election — the first in Utah in 90 years.

The race has been largely consumed by discussion of President Donald Trump, who has overwhelmed all political topics for the past year including dominating every debate for the open 3rd District seat.

Although he wrote in a “good friend’s name” instead of voting for Trump last year, Curtis wants the president to be successful and intends to work with the administration when he agrees with it. The mayor has maintained that he supports the Trump agenda on economics, taxes and defense while he ignores the president’s “distractions.”

Now well-positioned to be the Utah’s newest congressman, Curtis ran a shooting range business in Provo before serving two terms as mayor of the state’s third largest city and one of the most conservative in the nation.

After winning a gritty three-way Republican primary in August where he was criticized for not being conservative enough (and for once being a Democrat some 20 years ago), Curtis faced pushback during the general election for using the president’s slogans, such as “drain the swamp,” in campaign advertising and removing a post on Facebook exhorting Congress to “build the wall” between the United States and Mexico.

Mary Swenson, of Cottonwood Heights, did not vote for Trump last year but cast her ballot for Curtis on Tuesday calling him the “more middle of the road” choice.

Both Allen and Bennett have built their campaigns on standing against Trump, distancing themselves from most of his policies and rhetoric. “The best way to defeat the Trump agenda,” read, in part, a mailer sent out by Allen, “is to vote for a commonsense Democrat.”

Allen, a longtime physician and first-time candidate, has run an astonishingly well-funded campaign, raking in more than $800,000 in the strongly GOP-tilted district. She jumped into the race after Chaffetz’s rowdy town hall in February.

Sue Villani, a Cottonwood Heights resident the same as Allen, voted for the doctor while suggesting “this is a god-awful place for progressives.” Ahren Exeter also cast her ballot for Allen, saying Trump played a big part in the decision.

Bennett, son of the late three-term Sen. Bob Bennett, was a Republican but left when Trump was nominated in the 2016 presidential race. He’s billed himself as an “honest broker” between the two major parties.

The 3rd Congressional District, where registered Republican voters outnumber Democrats nearly six to one, stretches from central Salt Lake County to the southernmost border of San Juan County. Utah County makes up the biggest share of its population. Just two of the seven counties it encompasses, Emery and Carbon, have opted for traditional polling instead of mail-in ballots.

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Salt Lake City robotics company says goodbye to military jobs to focus on helping workers and ‘saving lives’

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sarcos Robotics senior mechanical engineer Chris Hirschi demonstrates the dexterity of the Sarcos’ Guardian GT, that can cut, grind, clean and join as well as turn valves, push buttons and reposition objects. The Sarcos Guardian GT can be powered by batteries, diesel, or natural gas to lift and manipulate payloads up to 1,000 pounds. It can be tele-operated from miles away.

A mechanical engineer at Salt Lake City-based Sarcos Robotics, he slid his arms into its girded sleeves until his index fingers reached triggers that manipulated “thumbs” on hands at the end of two 7-foot-long arms of an industrial-strength robot, the Guardian GT. It was mounted on tanklike tracks about 10 yards in front of him.

Hirschi donned some opaque goggles that let him see the view from a camera mounted on the robot’s front frame, much like eyes in a head. He slowly, steadily moved his arms in the sleeves. The Guardian GT’s lengthy arms mirrored his movements.

With one hand, Hirschi grabbed hold of a band saw. With the other, he pushed a button powering up the saw to cut a piece of pipe off of what looked like a bank vault. Hirschi then methodically wiggled his arms in ways that allowed the robot’s elongated arms to open a standard circuit-breaker box, the kind found at most houses with the little tab that has to be depressed slightly to release the front door.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sarcos Robotics senior mechanical engineer Chris Hirschi demonstrates the dexterity of the Sarcos’ Guardian GT, that can like cut, grind, clean and join as well as turn valves, push buttons, reposition objects. The Sarcos Guardian GT can be powered by batteries, diesel, or natural gas to lift and manipulate payloads up to 1,000 pounds. It can be tele-operated from miles away.

“Instead of showing you how strong it is — it can lift 1,000 pounds — we wanted you to see its dextrous movements,” said Ben Wolff, chairman and CEO of Sarcos Robotics.

He was speaking last week to a selected group of market analysts and writers from trade publications that focus on robotics and other high-tech topics, describing several new products that the company is marketing to commercial and industrial customers now that it has reduced contractual ties with the U.S. military.

“We have made a commitment, as a team, not to weaponize the robots we make,” Wolff told the writers from PC Magazine, ZDNet, Popular Mechanics, Oil & Gas Engineering, The Robot Report, research firms ABI and IDC, and The Salt Lake Tribune. “Saving lives is what we want to do.”

The company’s pitch also reflected the softer side of its products’ attributes, emphasizing their maneuverability and nimbleness over their physical power.

“Chris was able to push down the tab to get the door to open, and press small buttons, so it isn’t just capable of brute force,” Wolff observed as Hirschi tapped buttons, turned a steering-wheel-shaped valve opener and adjusted levers.

“Those are things you need in case of, say, a nuclear power plant accident. You want freedom of movement, flexibility, responsiveness to the operator’s commands,” Wolff said. “There’s been lots of interest from the construction and manufacturing industries. We’re close to selling one to the nuclear-power industry.”

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) "Our mission is saving lives and increasing production," said Sarcos Robotics Chairman, Chief Executive Officer & Director, Ben Wolff, front right, introducing the company’s latest technologies in the robotics industry to reporters in the business and robotics industry Sarcos Robotics develops and manufactures robotics, micro-systems and sensor technologies for use in public safety, security, disaster recovery, infrastructure inspection, aerospace, maritime, oil and gas, and mining.

There also was a snakelike robot that can climb steps, roll over on command like a dog, right itself if it tips on its side, slide up metal walls and hang upside down from ceilings, Hirschi said.

This $60,000 unit can be useful for public safety officials trying to get an up-close look at what’s happening in a hostage situation, for instance. “A SWAT team can get a look into a [gunman’s] room without putting themselves in harm’s way,” noted Eric Gahagan, a 23-year Boston Police Department veteran who responded to the 2013 marathon bombing and now is a Sarcos consultant.

With its climbing capabilities, the Guardian S snake also can be used by safety inspectors checking for corrosion high on metal bridges or giant oil storage tanks.

The lightweight units are designed to allow the workers who wear them to lift much greater loads than they could normally, without putting any stress on their backs or shoulders. Powered by batteries capable of holding a charge for four hours to eight hours, Wolff said, the exoskeletal framework will be light enough to allow fluid natural movements so workers can perform tasks in spaces that might be too confined for forklifts.

“The problem we’re focusing on is back injuries in the workplace,” he said, citing statistics showing that the total cost of back injuries in the United States is $100 billion a year, with 25.9 million Americans losing an average of 7.2 days of work due to back pain. Those worker compensation claims usually range from $40,000 to $80,000.

Sarcos’s Guardian XO MAX, the larger of the two exoskeleton suits at about 135 pounds, will lift 200 pounds easily and repeatedly. A smaller, 50-pound version — the Guardian XO — will lift 80 pounds and can be put on or taken off in less than a minute, Wolff said.

(Photo courtesy of Sarcos Robotics) Sarcos Robotics Guardian XO robots, available in 2019, are the only full-body, untethered,fully powered exoskeletons that metabolically enhance the productivity of the wearer, increasing both stamina and strength in applications where heavy objects get lifted, manipulated and transported. Sarcos Robotics develops and manufactures robotics, micro-systems and sensor technologies for use in public safety, security, disaster recovery, infrastructure inspection, aerospace, maritime, oil and gas, and mining.

“One person wearing a full-bodied exoskeleton can do the work of three to five people crowding around a heavy object and trying to manipulate it,” he said.

“Most skilled workers have to come out of the workforce because their bodies start to break down. They can’t lift as much. Their endurance is down,” Wolff added. “But if you put these aging workers in an exoskeleton, it will extend their useful, productive lives. It will also equalize employment opportunities for people of smaller stature who can’t lift as much.”

Scientists at Sarcos Robotics have been developing exoskeletons for 17 years now, company President Fraser Smith said, and are still analyzing joint movements and making tweaks here and there.

“Exoskeletons are not something you can attack quickly or lightly,” Wolff noted. “They’ve been a long time coming and a lot of lessons have been learned.”

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sarcos Robotics senior mechanical engineer Chris Hirschi demonstrates the all-terrain Sarcos Guardian S during a media open house at Sarcos Robotics, October 25, 2017. The Guardian S weighs 13lbs., can traverse stairs, culverts, pipes, tanks, vertical surfaces and confined spaces while facilitating two-way real-time video, voice and data communication. It is a surveillance and inspection robot that is applicable in industries ranging from defense, public safety, security, disaster recovery, aerospace, maritime and mining.

Founded in the 1980s as a spinoff from research at the University of Utah, Sarcos Robotics worked closely for decades with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to do research and provide robotic products for the military. This was particularly true from 2007 to 2014, when it was part of Raytheon, a large defense contractor based in Massachusetts.

But, in 2014, the Sarcos Robotics operation at the U.’s Research Park was bought by Smith; Marc Olivier, vice president of technology; and Wolff, a technology and telecom entrepreneur. The company’s focus shifted.

“What we’re about today is taking DARPA technology and making it relevant for commercialization,” Wolff said, pointing to numerous products that already are visible in the public realm — from robotic dinosaurs and pirates at theme parks and the fountain at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas to prosthetic limbs and the miniature sensors that line the interior of the exoskeleton and make it responsive to the wearer’s movements.

Developing robots that can act independently through artificial intelligence is not part of the Sarcos vision, Wolff said. Human controllers are always integral to its products.

“When we’re talking about dangerous and difficult tasks and environments, for many years to come it will be incredibly important to rely on human judgment to direct the robot and not to rely on robots to do things that require human problem solving — Do I apply a saw here or there? Do I deal with an explosive environment in a certain way?” he said. “We want humans to make those decisions.”

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Utah newspaper urges Romney to run for Senate, calls him ‘savior for Republicans’

An influential newspaper in Utah on Sunday called on former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s to run for Senate to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and be a "savior for Republicans exhausted by President Trump."

“Mitt Romney should run for Senate,” read The Salt Lake Tribune’s editorial, claiming the former candidate has a real shot to win, should he run.

“His notoriety as a well-mannered foe would help him work across the aisle in the contentious Senate. And his reputation for statesmanship would launch him into leadership roles most freshmen congressmen only dream of,” it added.

The Tribune editorial mentioned his well-known animosity toward the president.

In 2016, Romney launched an open attack on then-candidate Trump, saying he is a “phony” and a “fraud” who played Americans for “suckers.”

“I understand the anger Americans feel today,” Romney said during a speech at the University of Utah last year in March. “Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing … the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.”

Romney also criticized Trump in August over his response to the violence in Charlottesville. In a Facebook post, he said the president’s comments “caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn."

The editorial cites a poll showing 75 percent of voters in Utah oppose another Senate run by Hatch in 2018, who was elected 41 years ago and promised during the last campaign that this term will be his last one.

Polls also show that Romney would beat all opposition – including Hatch – if he chooses to run. Hatch, meanwhile, would struggle to win the state, with surveys showing Democrat Jenny Wilson winning against him if the elections were held today in what is one of the most conservative states in the country.

Romney reportedly explored his options to run for Senate in 2018, according to the Atlantic back in April, but he insisted that he will run only if the current senator retires as promised. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly urged Romney to run if Hatch steps down.

Hatch told the National Journal in March that although he has not “made that final determination” whether he will run again, he said he would consider retiring from politics if Romney be his replacement.

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Salt Lake City mayor proposes 5 sites for affordable housing apartments

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Mayor Jackie Biskupski has proposed five locations for affordable housing apartments in Salt Lake City.

The draft plan was submitted to Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency consisted of the city council. The mayor said the plan would make it possible for those living below the poverty line to move into a unit.

The 5 locations include:

The Overniter Motel Redevelopment, 1500 W. North Temple. Capitol Motel Redevelopment, 1749 S. State. A Permanent Supportive Housing, 525 S. 500 West. The Sugarmont Redevelopment, 2234 Highland Drive. The Exchange, 300 East 400 South.

The mayor met with affordable housing advocates Monday morning outside her office. The group is urging the mayor to get the plan rolling and the mayor said they are all on the same page. She told advocates the city council needs to vote on the plan.

"Hopefully (we can) break ground in the spring and and start building some of this housing that we need to make sure that when we close the road home that everybody has a place to live," said Mayor Biskupski.

Some of the businesses are already planning to move out. The manager of the Penske storage facility at 500 West said the city already purchased the building and plans to tear it down. The owner of the Capitol Motel on State Street said someone already bought the property and they plan to close down the place. And the store manager of the Bicycle Center along Highland drive said the city already owns the building and they will soon be moving to their new location.

A spokesman for the mayor said the 1,000 housing units could rent out for $600 or less.
The mayor said if the housing units aren’t built when the Road Home closes in 2019 then the city and housing advocates need to urge the legislature to extend the closure date.

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Three Of The Top Restaurants In Salt Lake City UT

Salt Lake City is the destination in Utah if you have never been. There are plenty of other great cities, but Salt Lake City is #1 and the capital city after all. There are many great things to do there, and there are also many great places to eat. It’s about time we looked at three of the best restaurants in the city of Salt Lake City UT.

Cafe Zupas is located on East 300 South, and the sandwiches they serve look do delicious in the pictures. Cafe Zupas is known for much more than sandwiches though. Reviews mention soups, lobster bisque, chocolate covered strawberries and much more. One other part of the review highlights that stands out is the fact that this cafe has plenty of healthy food options.

Vertical Diner is up next, and this establishment is located on West 900 South. The streets for these two restaurants make you think about places in the rural county areas and not city areas. That is interesting because it is very rural and laid back in many areas of Utah, but of course Salt Lake City is the capital city as mentioned. Vertical Diner is said to be great for Vegans, and the picture of the Vegan burger and fries looks really delicious.

Lamb’s Grill is the third Salt Lake City UT restaurant that I want to mention. Lamb’s Grill is on South Main Street, and you can order up lamb shanks, salmon, ham and eggs and a lot more. One reviewer claims that this establishment is the oldest restaurant in Utah. That is very interesting, and it makes you think you at least have to try it out, right? I would say that out of these three Salt Lake City UT restaurants, Lamb’s Grill would get my vote for the first visit.

Utah cop fired after arresting nurse who wouldn’t draw blood

Police body camera video shows a nurse in Salt Lake City being taken out of a hospital and handcuffed for refusing to draw blood from an unconcious patient. Police officials have apologized and say the incident is under investigation. (Sept. 1)


(Photo: Salt Lake City Police)

A Utah police detective who was filmed forcefully handcuffing a nurse who refused to draw a patient’s blood has been fired, a Salt Lake City Police spokesman said Tuesday.

Detective Jeff Payne arrested Alex Wubbels after she refused to allow police to take blood from an unconscious patient who had been injured in a car accident. Body-cam footage of the July 26 incident went viral after it became public in September, sparking outrage across social media.

In the video, Wubbels explains to the officers that they needed a warrant because the patient couldn’t consent. Payne appears to grow tired of listening to Wubbels objections, saying, "We’re done here. We’re done," before shoving her out the door and handcuffing her.

Wubbels was held in a police car, but later was freed without charges.

More: Hospital CEO on nurse arrest video: ‘This will not happen again’

Gordon Crabtree, CEO of University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, later said hospital security should have intervened and changed hospital policy so that police officer can only speak to senior nurse supervisors.

"To our nurses and staff — this will not happen again," Crabtree said. "Nurse Wubbels was placed in an unfair and unwarranted position (and) her actions were nothing less than exemplary."

"I just feel betrayed, I feel angry, I feel a lot of things," Wubbels said during a news conference after the video’s release. "I am still confused. I’m a health care worker. The only job I have is to keep my patients safe."

Payne’s lawyer, Greg Skordas, said he plans to appeal the decision. Skordas said Tuesday that Payne would still have a job if the video of the arrest hadn’t gone viral.

He said Payne would agree to punishment but that termination was going too far.

Payne’s supervisor, Lt. James Tracy, was demoted to officer, the Associated Press reported. His lawyer, Ed Brass, couldn’t immediately be reached.

Tracy made an impulsive decision in ordering Payne to arrest Wubbels without first taking time to understand the facts of the situation and the law, Brown wrote in his disciplinary letter.

He said the order created chaos and unnecessarily escalated the situation.

“Your lack of judgment and leadership in this matter is unacceptable, and as a result, I no longer believe that you can retain a leadership position in the department,” Brown said.

The letter said Wubbels told investigators that Tracy minimized her concerns, intimidated and lectured her, and made her feel like she was to blame for the events.

The Associated Press obtained the disciplinary letters for Payne and Tracy through a public records request.

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Real Salt Lake DP scouted by England, Germany, Scotland

Albert Rusnak‘s outstanding season in Major League Soccer has scouts abroad wondering if he’s made a breakthrough.

With intense weeks ahead in World Cup qualifying and MLS, he may not have much time to notice the extra eyes.

[ MORE: Top talents at U-17 World Cup ]

Rusnak, 23, has seven goals and 12 assists for Real Salt Lake this season, and the DP attacking midfielder is in focus Thursday at Hampden Park in Scotland.

The Slovakian star won’t be worried about scouts, largely, as his side looks to clinch at least second place in UEFA World Cup qualifying Group F, but the BBC’s Simon Stone says he’s not likely to MLS for long thanks to interest in England, Germany, and Scotland (at the very least).

Scouts from clubs in all three countries will watch the 23-year-old in Glasgow before what is likely to be a move away from current Major League Soccer outfit Real Salt Lake in January.

Rusnak was with Manchester City from 2010-15, where his father was a scout. He took loans at Oldham Athletic, Birmingham City, and SC Cambuur before moving to Groningen and then RSL.

He has five caps for Slovakia, which sits five points back of England and a point ahead of Slovenia and Scotland. His RSL side has surged into the Top Six and looks to maintain playoff positioning over the final two matches.

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