Salt Lake City

In spite of a government shutdown, today begins the six month-long enrollment period in which consumers can start signing up for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. This morning at the Sorenson Unity Center the Salt Lake City mayor’s office and Voices for Utah Children hosted a health care open house to help people navigate the various plans and sign up for coverage. 

Jose Caceres, a certified application councilor is walking a middle-aged man and his mother through the process of choosing a health insurance plan.

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The Salt Lake City Council will not ban horse-drawn carriage rides downtown. Nor do they have plans to tighten restrictions on the business any time soon. Last month, when a horse named Jerry collapsed downtown and later died, animal rights groups and some Salt Lake City residents urged the council to limit the use of carriages. Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke brought an ordinance proposal to the council Tuesday night that would have created a strict route for carriages and put a cap on the number of hours horses could work among other regulations. 

Salt Lake City’s Attorney says it’s perfectly legal for an individual or a group that’s behind a citizen initiative to submit both the, for and against statements in the voter information packet that comes with a ballot. On Monday, it was revealed that an active member of the anti-corporate personhood group Move to Amend is the face behind the statement “against” a local opinion question the group posed to Salt Lake City voters this month through a mail-in ballot.

Some people are concerned that a ballot Salt Lake City voters received in their mailboxes earlier this month is a waste of taxpayer dollars. The objectivity of the information accompanying the ballot is also in question. 

Stan Penfold represents the third district on the Salt Lake City Council and he’s the only councilman running for re-election this year. But significant change in city leadership is still on the horizon, as three other members of the council have decided to step down.

Gwen Springmeyer says she couldn’t be happier with her idyllic slice of life in Salt Lake City’s upper Avenues. She chairs the community council there. 

Are you for or against a campaign to amend the U.S. constitution to say that corporations are not people and money is not speech? That’s the question Salt Lake City residents are being asked to answer this month as part of a new citizen initiative tool city officials created to let voters have their say. 

Salt Lake City officials hope to reign in escalating healthcare costs while improving the overall health and wellness of city employees and their families. The new Midtown Clinic for city employees opened this afternoon. 

Family practice physician, Dr. Trevor Jacobson says the hallmark of Salt Lake City’s Midtown Clinic is that visits will be longer and more personalized, similar to small-town family practices.

Andrea Smardon

Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance held its first annual Downtown Symposium Tuesday. City leaders gathered to review the past year, and talk about what’s to come for Utah’s capital city.

The Downtown Alliance has named Connor Rickman's video of a medieval woodsman that gets transported to downtown Salt Lake as the winner of their "I Am Downtown" video contest. For winning Rickman will receive a $5,000 prize. Check out the video below:

It could be another couple of weeks before Salt Lake City parking meters are back in working order. A spokesman for the mayor’s office says the city is trying to determine why the big blue meters stopped accepting credit cards on Friday. 

City officials turned off the meters after receiving several calls about the issue. Spokesman Art Raymond says they’re not sure whether it is a software or hardware breakdown, but the city will figure out who’s responsible to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The Salt Lake City Council approved the city’s $200 million budget yesterday, which includes an $8 million property-tax hike.  The council approved the increase despite Mayor Ralph Becker’s objections. 

Outgoing Councilwoman Jill Remington Love says the city has had to make tough budget decisions in the past few years. Because of a weak economy, rising health care costs and retirement, it’s now dealing with a dire structural deficit. 

Salt Lake City residents will see an increase in their property taxes next year to help pay for area public schools. The Salt Lake City School Board approved the hike on Tuesday, saying the additional revenues will fill a gap in the statewide education budget lawmakers passed this year. 

Despite a 2 percent increase in per pupil spending by the state for the 2013-2014 school year, members of the Salt Lake City School Board say it’s not enough to pay the bills.

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The Salt Lake City Public Library named an Illinois native John Spears as its new executive director on Thursday. The selection follows a year-long, nationwide recruitment process that began after the library’s former executive director stepped down. 

Thirty-nine-year-old John Spears comes to Salt Lake City after leading a public library system in the Chicago suburb of Naperville for about two years. Library Board President Kevin Werner says he was looking for an effective collaborator, communicator and manager who can think strategically about the future.

City planners, designers and developers from across the country are in Salt Lake City through Saturday to discuss how to build more walkable, transit-oriented and sustainable neighborhoods. The Congress for the New Urbanism brought its annual convention to Salt Lake City this year. 

The New Urbanism philosophy harkens back to neighborhoods designed before the automobile existed. The pedestrian-centered balance of jobs, housing and transportation is intended to rein in urban sprawl and relieve traffic congestion.

Women who live in Salt Lake City are regularly concerned about their safety while getting around town according to a new report released today by the city’s Human Rights Commission and the Mayor’s Office of Diversity and Human Rights.

The report is called The Status of Women in Salt Lake City. In it are the perspectives of more than 600 women from across the socio-economic spectrum on challenges they face.  Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker says a woman’s lens of the world is different from that of a man’s.

The Salt Lake City School Board discussed the possibility of a property tax increase last night. District officials say a 3.47 percent increase is needed to sustain current programs and provide a salary increase for teachers. 

The property tax increase amounts to an additional $12.65 a year for a taxpayer who owns a $100,000 home. 

In a four-to-three decision the Salt Lake City council adopted the Sugar House Streetcar alignment recommended by a consulting firm the city hired to study the project. In other words, the second phase of the streetcar will be routed north on 1100 east despite fierce opposition. But members of the council who favor that route say it’s in the best interest of the city as a whole to move forward.

Sugar House resident Mark Unruh says he doesn’t understand the council’s decision.

Most Salt Lake City residents and local businesses in Sugar House do not like the streetcar alignment favored by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and a number of Salt Lake City council members.  At least that’s the takeaway from last night’s public hearing at city hall, where several hundred people shuffled in hoping to have a say in the project.

The question before the council is this: Should the second phase of the Sugar House Streetcar travel east up 2100 south or north along 1100 east.

Runners at the Salt Lake City Marathon honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, the Utah Legislature will not override Governor Herbert’s veto of a controversial gun bill, and the billionaire owner of the Snowbasin ski resort dies.

Brian Grimmett

In the aftermath of the explosions at the Boston Marathon today the Salt Lake City Police Department is clarifying their security plans for this weekend’s Salt Lake City Marathon.

The Salt Lake City Police Department says the Salt Lake City Marathon will proceed as planed this Saturday. Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank says they don’t anticipate a need to increase the security presence that has already been planned either.

Utah State Law Library

More Salt Lake City residents are recycling glass since curbside pickup started last fall. Today city officials celebrated the grand opening of a new facility that will increase the city’s capacity to process the glass and yield a more sustainable end product. 

Salt Lake City launches a new bike sharing program, outdoor businesses call on the president to protect land around Utah’s national parks, and a wind storm brings gusts up to 50 miles an hour to the Wasatch front.

Salt Lake City officially launched its much-anticipated  bike share program today. It’s called GREENbike and it offers unlimited short-term trips between stations scattered across the city. 

GREENbike is not quite a rental system. With memberships ranging from $5 a day to $75 a year, users pick up a bike at one of the solar-powered kiosks. But instead of chaining it to a corral or storing it at an office, the user returns it to the nearest kiosk for someone else to use. 

Bob Nelson

The latest sales figures for median-priced single-family homes and condominiums in Salt Lake County shows a 20 percent increase compared to the same time last year. It’s a seller’s market, according to Dave Frederickson - President of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. He says the number of homes on the market is limited right now. In particular, homes in the median price range of $250,000 and below are selling quickly.

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Community sports teams will have to reserve Salt Lake City playing fields by the hour this spring, rather than in week-long blocks like they did in the past; concession stands will also have to pay more to set up shop. The Salt Lake City council voted last night to update the fee structure to accommodate an increased demand for fields.   

Councilwoman Jill Remington Love says the change is not about increasing revenue, but freeing up limited fields for competing groups looking for a place to play.

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The Salt Lake City Council will take more time to deliberate proposed fee and scheduling changes to the city’s in-demand athletic fields. The decision to pause comes after a scheduled public hearing on the issue where about a dozen people spoke for and against some of the changes.

Brian Grimmett

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and a number of other regional and state leaders joined together to announce several new projects and events that will make riding a bike throughout the county easier and safer. Becker says they’ve received more positive feedback from their bike initiatives over the past few years than anything else and that this year it will only get better.

Brian Grimmett

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker joined Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell at the State capitol today in announcing their ideas on how government on both the local and state level can help improve air quality.

Salt Lake City is inviting the public to come up with a name for a new mid-block street between the Salt Lake City public library and the new public safety building.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker joined the city’s police and fire chiefs and the new community and economic development director outside the city Library to announce the opening of a contest to name the street. Anyone interested in pitching an idea can go to the public safety building page of the city’s website. Becker says the possibilities are limitless.

After losing out on a contract with Salt Lake City to provide taxi cab service to and from the Salt Lake City International Airport, Yellow Cab taxi service is calling for the city to increase the company’s cab rates. But the Department of Airports, which is responsible for recommending rate changes to the Salt Lake City Council, says the request will not be granted.

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