Babs DeLay

Babs DeLay

December 28, 2018

Winter Water

If you live along the Wasatch Front you may be enjoying the Jordan River Parkway Trail now that it’s completed. The river that runs from fresh water Utah Lake in Utah County to the Utah’s own version of the ‘Dead Sea’ (the Great Salt Lake) has been here for eons, but the paved trail and bridge sections for runners, walkers and bikers was only just finished in 2017 when the final bridge by the Utah State Fair Park was erected. This sweet path running through our valleys connects to the Legacy trail on the north and the Murdock Canal trail to the south, giving us 100+ miles of paved trails along the waterway. You can fish in it for Channel Cats, Bass, Bullheads, Carp and even trout with simple worm bait, kayak, and paddle board. The group ‘Utah Outdoors’ leads regular trips down the river in the summer, but you have to provide all your own equipment from boat to paddles and mandatory life jackets. There are about a dozen boat launch ramps that begin in the Orem area and lead past downtown Salt Lake. Outdoors types here love our mountains and red rocks down south but often forget about the Jordan River and the trails we have now.

Utah historians agree that the first part of Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, and five days later another party led by Brigham Young cross the Jordan River and bathes in the Great Salt Lake. The religious explorers likened the Utah river to the River Jordan in the Middle East across the planet where the Sea of Galilee drains into the Dead sea. Soon Utahn’s named the Jordan River here and groups of settlers began camps along feed creeks and rivers to the Jordan along Big and Little Cottonwood Creeks, Parley’s, Emigration and Mill creek. The river was used to float granite rock from the Little Cottonwood quarry to North Temple to be hauled up the street to Temple Square. The railroads also used the slow moving river to float logs and ties as they built rail lines through the urban areas.

Salt Lake City has announced that a second Tracy Aviary will build a second location along the river as it’s second campus in the next year and City officials plan to fund rope courses, climbing walls, canoe and bike rentals in a new park planned @Highway 201 North to about 4500 South.  There’s funding for this and police from several different agencies are also stepping forward with help to monitor homeless camps and heavy crime spots at and near those camps to make the trail safer for recreation seekers and just folks wanting to experience nature here along this slowing winding river. Grab an E-bike or just a group of friends and take a stroll this winter to see the wildlife along the banks and in the trees. Get some fresh air when you can during a low inversion day and you’ll come back as it gets warmer to maybe actually get in the water with a kayak or boat.

December 28, 2018

Tech Bucks

Don’t laugh too hard at me. The last time I played a video game I chased a small ghosty thing that ate tiny dots along a grid as I moved a stick up, down and sideways directing it along the screen. I visited my nephew recently and he’s playing an online game on his laptop where he puts together cars. Mind you, he’s 13 and knows nothing about driving a car, but he can tell you just virtually everything you want to know about from cam shafts to pistons. The good news is he wants to be a mechanic when he gets out of school, and I guess this is a great way to get him on the right career path-even if he does spend hours upon hours wasting away in the interwebs and has never held a screwdriver in his hand. I applaud all you geeks and tech folks. Computers were introduced at my college when they had green screens (no colors). You took this flexible dinner-plate thingy called a disc and slipped it inside the giant console to record your work. I remember punching a lot of F7 and F2 buttons and screaming at the machine endlessly. Nowadays storage is well, stored in a cloud. Where is said cloud? I have no clue, but I do know my email server has one, and my Apple account and my IPhone has them. I hope a kind person will show me how to find all my clouds one day so I may float happily along in my digital memories.

The big brains at Qualtrics are pretty damned happy and sending GIF’s of Kermit the Frog or Katy Perry pumping their arms and dancing to their friends and competitors. This family-owned Provo, Utah company founded back in 2002 just sold for $8 billion dollars to a German cloud. Qualtrics founders Scott, Ryan, and Jared Smith and Stuart Orgill saw a need for subscription software to collect and analyze data for market research that could show results of customer satisfaction and loyalty. The purchasing company from across the pond was pretty smart as they bought the firm before Qualtrics was about to release the stock IPO. And, this is one of the biggest sales ever in little ol’ Utah!

Huzzah for Utah tech brains and family-run companies. Seriously, it’s estimated we now have between 6000-7000 tech-related firms working within our state borders. Commuters certainly feel that when they try and get to, from or around Lehi-the heart of all big things techie along our Silicon Slopes. According to the Utah Department of Economic Development our top valued tech businesses (besides Qualtrics) are: Workfront, Instructure, Vivint, Ancestry.com and Overstock.com as well as Domo, Pluralsight and Inside Sales.

October 24, 2018

Come on, scare me!

It’s that time of year where crazy people do crazier things-they go and try and find the scariest haunted house and attempt to scare the crap out of themselves. I’ll admit right off the bat that I do love a good spook house and an even better scare,  and we sure have great ones in this state. I remember years ago I had a party just after we dinosaurs were able to print off photographs from this new thing call the internet. I researched creepy looking human anomalies and odd heterosexual things and put photos of them up on my basement walls under a black light. The Halloween guests could be heard yelling ‘GROSS!’ and ‘Ew!’ which made my heart sing, especially since everyone at the party was someone from the LGBTQ community.

I’m a fan of Nightmare on 13th and Lagoon for different reasons. Nightmare traps you inside for 45 minutes with a tactile, visual and audio presentations that are truly Disney-esque quality. You either lead a pack of friends through the rooms and mazes or hide behind a pack in the hopes you won’t get shocked or chainsawed first.  Lagoon on the other hand is a different experience because you can go to the park in Farmington during the day and work your way into the night time scares. The rides are open, the place is decorated to the nines with pumpkins and wandering ghouls. There’s the Malevolent Mansion, a haunted Pioneer Villiage way back in the dark section of the park, a non-scary straw maze for kids and new this year, seances.  This fully immersive haunted experience blends ‘chilling live performance, intense physical effects and unexpected audience participation’. You purchase a ticket for that show on top of your Lagoon pass and show times are on ever hour during the weekends. There are adult and kid haunted houses and kids who purchase $1 glow sticks are not to be scared and can go to no-scare zones. Also, the park doesn’t allow visitors to wear make-up, masks or costumes.

While you’re out there notice that Utah’s oldest amusement park is going to be opening a Biergarten next year!  They’ve had beer sales permits for years but this will the first that Lagoon has sold alcohol on park grounds since 1979.  They have over the years allowed beer trucks to park over at the RV campground during some holidays and when special groups rented the area.  This is irony like when street cars used to travel downtown and to Lagoon, went out of fashion, and now everyone wants fast light rail to get them to destinations in Utah. The park began as a swimming area and dance hall and had quite the saloon. Now we’ll get to experience a Biergarten with steins of different local and imported cold brew and beer foods. The liquid intoxicant won’t be allowed to be taken out of the Garten as beer will be sold in glass mugs.

October 22, 2018

Vendor Resources

Download the list to print

Appliance Repair

Paul’s Appliance Repair 801-262-7626

Arborist

Hidden Oak Tree Care 385-800-TREE

Hiddenoaktreecare.com

Basements & Crawlspaces

Utah Basement Systems Blair Scoresby 801-936-1244

Johnny Spicer (basements and remodels) 801-979-1004

Carpet Repair, Installation & Cleaning

A-1 Carpet Man, Bob Slick 801-631-0133

Bleyl Carpet & Blinds, Sheldon Wayne 801-573-4683

Rug Busters, Mike Petragallo 801-243-8082

Bickmore Carpets (sales and install, no cleaning) 801-268-0545

Chemical Testing

ALS Environmental Meth, Mold, Asbestos testing 801-266-7700

Watchdog Home Inspectors 801-580-5551

Drywall Morgan Reese801-599-1925

Electrical

Central Electric, Peter Robbins 467-5479

Everest Electric, Luke Edson 801-330-0988

Bob Holloway 263-2300

Foundation & Concrete

BASECO Rock, Thomas Jefferies 801-222-3280

Davenport Foundation Repair 844-278-0011

Garage Doors and Repair

Crawford Doors 801-487-7442

General Contractors

Nick Glazier (good with concrete too!) 801-931-1253

Raintree Builder, Thomas 801-261-2035

Boardwalk Remodeling, Kevin Meyer 801-595-6016

Blue Lake, Ryan Gardner 801-631-1026

Handyman Services

Don Snyder 801 792-6235

Tony Farrer 801-897-8879

Home Staging

Nichole & Company 801-671-0027

Urban Revival 801-244-2688

House Cleaning

Kara Cope Cleaning 801-671-8278

Getting It Clean Housekeeping, Scott & Monica 801-833-8283

Teresa's Cleaning Services, Susan Ellis 801-755-8381

Cynthia River's Cleaning 801-651-3455 or 702-741-9860

HVAC

Hartman Heating & Air Conditioning, Paul Hartman 801-264-8300

KP Heating & Plumbing (Boiler work too), Ken Poulsen 801-597-8863

Affordable Heating & Cooling, Harold Bunting 801-842-2482

Pro Gas Heating, Service, Maintenance Green Sticker Service, Tom Howard 801-699-6682

Flooring

Michael Hamberlin (hardwoods, laminate & stairs) 801-403-9035

Tile For Less (DIY, can cut tiles there) 801-486-5765

Bickmore Carpets 801-268-0545

Indoor Air Quality & Surface Decontamination

BioSweep of Utah, Jim Gregory 801-550-9764

Inspections

Cody Davis 801944-8073

Insulation

Superior Insulation 801-972-3737

Landscape

Olvera Landscaping 801-865-4688 or 801-835-4221

Soul Garden, Marinda Coleman 801-750-3928

Sage's Way, Chase Fetter 801-573-8934

Jody Barone Landscape Architect 970-215-5944

Locksmiths and Keys

Glen's Key Lock & Safe 801-413-0568

Rudy's Key & Repair Service 801-466-4191

Meth Decontamination Certified Decontamination of Utah, Mike Rowzee 801-809-6932

Movers

The Other Side Academy 801-953-0409

Plumbing

Cavalier Plumbing, Gary 801-277-7411, 801-815-0474

Todd Holbrook 801-485-6526

Towers-Murray Plumbing Boilers & Radiant Heat 801-262-4777

Painting

John Whaley 801-554-2839

Paul Lippert 801-599-5350

Matt Hooper 801-712-0435

All Colors Painting, Francisco 801-836-4285

Radon Mitigation

John Lui 801-688-9838

Radon Be Gone, John Seidel 801-510-8705

Roofers

Exceptional Roofing, Alan Archuletta 801-381-8437

Layton Roofing (flat or membrane specialists) 801-495-3939 office or Bill Whitaker, 801-414-470

Advantage Roofing & Construction, Jess Wilkerson 801-599-6065

Rooter & Drains

Apollo Rooter, Blake 801-466-4994

Remarkable Rooter 801-467-8511

Spas, Pools & Hot Tubs

DeVo Hot Tubs Jurgen DeVoss 801-688-1266

Structural Engineering

Scott Bernhisel 801-466-0931

Lynn Draper 801-272-2000

Joseph Crilly- 801-274-2831

Stucco

ESP Stucco Terry George 801-554-6401

Jim Sorenson Plastering & Stucco 435-649-6260

Ryan Sorenson 435-901-8948

Dennis Sargeant 801-671-2840

Surveys

Bush and Gudgell 801-685-6194

Element Land Surveying, Chad & Troy 435-671-0038

Tile

Martin Design Joshua Martin 801-209-8878

Window Coverings Bickmore Carpets and Blinds 801-268-0545

Window Washing

Juan Cruz 801-949-6361

Alta Vista Window Cleaning 801-808-5698

October 07, 2018

DIY Don'ts

I only post on Instagram odd things I find in homes that I see when listing or showing properties. Most of the shots are of retro Barbie dream kitchens from the 1960’s, plaid shag carpet or wall paper archeology. We’ve become a world of trends, where fast fashion and fast designs come and go in a heartbeat. I have no clue how anyone can keep up with all the social media, blogs, photos, videos, television shows dedicated completely to home décor trends. What I can tell you from what I know personally is that I see a lot of interiors in my line of work each week and to steal from the ‘Things That Must Go’ segment on Radio From Hell X96, here’s my list:

-bare bulbs and harsh light fixtures. If you see it hanging at Homo Depot in the home light fixture isle, it’s already passe. Invest in a classic chandelier as your centerpiece if you’re lucky enough to have a dining room.

-dark wood and Italian-style décor. Tuscan tiles are meant for Italy. Ask my friend Michelle who owns Tile for Less in Riverton or Salt Lake-and she may start gagging at the thought of anyone replacing classic marble or hardwood for a dusty stone castle look.

-wallpaper borders at the tops of walls or at chair level. No, no, and no.

-the TV show Mad Men brought the ‘Mid-Mod’ phenom in home décor back. The show went off the air 3 years ago, and as far as trends go, the avocado greens and harvest golds are again, outdated.

-antlers and mason jars. I’m not sure either item will go away as Utahns are avid hunters and home canners. I personally would gasp if someone threw a good Mason jar in the glass recycling because with a new lid I could throw in a batch of jam next time I hop over to the Farmer’s Market downtown.

-sponge painted walls or walls with stencils. Sponge walls usually look like your friend’s kids came over and had a party in your home without your permission. Most people cannot stencil straight or well enough to make repetitive designs look good. DIY don’t.

-dried flower arrangements and wreaths. It is BAD Feng Shui to have dead plants in your living space. They get dusty and ad shed/break apart as they age. Also, silk plants can look good in the right spot, but they also get dusty and faded. And no to fake bowls of fruit. Try your green thumb next time you decorate and eat real food.

-cottage cheese ceilings. This spray on crap originally was made from asbestos! But in 1978 when it was banned from inside homes, the manufacturers went to a paper or Styrofoam material. Ohhh, and sparkles cost more to add after the spraying was complete!  IF your ceiling is not asbestos, you can scrape that crap off by wetting it, scraping, wetting, scraping, etc. If it is asbestos (and you can have that material tested locally for cheap) you can legally remove it yourself. We are the only state left in the nation where a homeowner can do the job themselves (albeit abide by the disposal rules).

September 24, 2018

Sandlot Days

Let’s go back for a minute to a gentler time in our country, 25 years ago.  Okay, I had to laugh. When I check on the interwebs for great things that happened back then I got: 1) serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was actively killing and dismembering his 17 victims before he was arrested; 2) the Feds attempted to raid a cult compound in Waco, Texas of the Branch Davidians led by David Koresh. After a 51 day siege 76 Branch Davidians died as their compound caught or was set on fire by cult members; 3) a ferry boat in Haiti sank, drowning 1000 people and thousands were killed around the world by earthquakes. Bill Clinton was president in the U.S.A.

People back then had to go to the library to look up facts and maps because the internet was barely up and running and the only way you could find phone numbers for family and friends or businesses was in huge paper books that were delivered to your doorstep once a year. Thus you wouldn’t have been able to stream your Netflix on your phone because you wouldn’t have had a cell phone just yet, or an I-Pad or a computer that didn’t only have a green screen to look at.  An average house price in the U.S. only cost $113,200, incomes averaged @$31,2300 per year and rent was also averaging at a low of $532. Nirvana was hugely popular, as was ‘Snoop Doggy Dogg’, Garth Brooks and Whitney Houston. Police were beginning to investigate if Michael Jackson was abusing children.

Why go back 25 years? Well in Utah, a little movie called ‘The Sandlot’ was released that year and the anniversary of this little flick brings smiles to many.  It’s such a cult classic that cast members and players on the Bee’s baseball team celebrated the film Aug. 11 and visited the site of the original ‘lot’ where the kids in the movie played their baseball games. It’s a weedy place in Glendale @ 1388 Glenrose Drive that’s not a kept-up ball field or a location quite as famous as say the ball field and bleachers from ‘The Field of Dreams’ film outside Dyersville, Iowa. Yet people from all over the world make little pilgrimages to the Sandlot locations here.  

The movie is a G-rated success about kids in 1962 coming of age. If you want to roll down memory lane, the main film locations are Odgen (Lorin Farr Community Pool at 1619 Gramercy Avenue), Sugar House (private homes), at 2005 E. Bryan Avenue, 1556 S. 2000 East and another one at 1571 S. 2000 East, Liberty Park and Riverside Park in Rose Park.

http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1993.html

https://sites.google.com/site/80sfilmlocations/non-80s-movies/thesandlot1993

 

September 18, 2018

Two Blooms

There are two kinds of blooms this time of year in the state: 1) the brilliant colors of wildflowers in alpine meadows and 2) the nasty algae showing up in our lakes. Let’s start with the good blooms.

High altitude meadows in our section of the Rocky Mountains are flush in flowers right now, with the peak blooming season over by the end of July. Those of us near the capitol city drive up above Alta ski resort to Albion Basin to view the beauty there because it’s fast and assessible. Props to Alta Community Enrichment for creating the Wasatch Wildflower Festival with partners Alta Ski Area, Brighton Resort, Cottonwood Canyons Foundation, Friends of Alta, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, and US Forest Service-the Salt Lake Ranger District.  The festival is free and is held July 21 & 22 in BIG Cottonwood Canyon and July 28 & 29 in LITTLE Cottonwood Canyon. There are suggested trails, so you can take yourself on a little stroll to see the flora or scheduled three-hour hikes with trained wildflower guides. The varieties of wildflowers that grow here are astonishing! There’s Lupine, Indian Paintbrush, Fireweed, Mountain Pennyroyal, Larkspur, Columbine and so much more. Each flower hike is rated for ‘kids, beginners, intermediate and advanced hikers’ based on time and difficulty of trails. Some hikes involve rides on trams or chair lifts and discounts will be offered. Go to www.cottonwoodcanyons.org for more info.

Now for the bad bloom. Toxic algae are spreading across our waterways. Simple plants known as cyanobacteria are turning lakes here weird colors because the algae that exist in the water is like on some kind of plant crack and they are growing like crazy, especially in the hot weather.  This is extremely bad for all of us because the tainted water kills animals and humans alike who might ingest it accidentally or intentionally. These ‘blooms’ are often caused by nutrient pollution of nitrogen and phosphorus, activated by the sun in slow moving water. Those substances have been added to nearby farms and homes to fertilize crops and have run through the storm water into the waterways. Blooms can also come from wastewater, fossil fuel runoff, and electric power generation. They kill fish as the algae release toxins into the water. If your dogs run up to get a drink, they will become ill or die (as would people).  

Avoid water that basically doesn’t look like fresh water-even if it’s on a big fresh water lake, reservoir or river. If the surface looks green, scummy or smells bad get outta there! In the past two months there have been toxic blooms reported at Provo Bay, Lincoln Marina, Sandy Beach, Utah Lake State Park and parts of the Jordan River. Last year the Utah Poison Control Center had 173 cases of human and animal algae bloom poisonings.  It’s weird looking stuff and you naturally want to go up and look at it and poke at it. Don’t. This bloom can kill you, your kids and your pets.

https://poisoncontrol.utah.edu/images/upcc-algal-bloom-update.pdf

https://deq.utah.gov/health-advisory-panel/harmful-algal-blooms-habs/utah-lake-jordan-river-canals-algal-bloom-monitoring-2018

www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/sources-and-solutions

 

June 22, 2018

It's a crime

Salt Lake City and Utah have made so many ‘Top 10’ lists in the past few years it’s hard to keep track of how ‘speshul’ we really are, right? Well here’s a prize we might not want to share with too many prospective folks thinking of moving to the capitol city…’Top 10 City with the MOST Property Crime Per 1,000 People’.

Reviews.org took FBI crime data from 2016 and looked at cities and town with the least and most property crimes.  What is a property crime? That can be anything from car prowls (break-ins to vehicles) to burglary, larceny, and stolen cars.  Reviews.org took car crimes out of the mix and towns under 100,000 people to come up with their list of where is good and bad to own or rent a property. Here’s the results, per 1,000 people:

SALT LAKE CITY 75.42

SPRINGFIELD, MO 74.883

SPOKANE, WA 67.584

LITTLE ROCK, AR 63.235

PUEBLO, CO 57.336

TUCSON, AZ 54.957

ALBUQUERQUE, NM 54.888

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL 53.599

TACOMA, WA 53.0210

TALLAHASSEE, FL 52.07

On the flip side, the 10 cities with the least amount of property crimes are

1-Lakewood Township, NJ; 2-Yonkers, NY; 3-Cary, NC; 4-Edison Township, NJ; 5-Naperville, IL; 6-Sterling Heights, MI; 7-Allen, TX; 8-Rialto, CA; 9-Simi Valley, CA and 10-Santa Clarita, CA.

Neighborhoodscout.com reports that ‘my chances of becoming a victim of a property crime in Salt Lake City is 1 in 11, and for Utah as a whole, 1 in 34.  My friends on the SLCPD and UTA Police tell me that most property crimes are opportunity crimes. We leave our cars and homes unlocked. We leave stuff in our cars in plain sight for criminals to steal. Packages get stolen from porches. We are going to keep seeing an uptick in crimes because we’re growing in population. And although Salt Lake City is hoping to add a lot more cops on the beat in the next few years, we’re going to continue to be victims of property crimes.

Car prowls are by far one of the number one crimes in downtown Salt Lake City. Not only do thieves target you when you’re at a mall or going to a Jazz game to steal what’s inside your vehicle, but they will crawl under your car to rob you of your catalytic converter. I remember a few years back stories from cop friends about a gang that targeted cars parked around the Delta (now Vivint) Center. They knew the drivers were going to be gone from those parking lots for several hours and they had the time to steal from both locked and unlocked cars.

Hey, we’re all in a hurry these days. Don’t leave anything visible in your car that a potential thief might see. Go as far as opening up your jockey box to show nothing is inside. Put valuables in the trunk or take them with you when you go to that concert, ball game or shopping.

June 13, 2018

Happy Trails

I love to drive new clients up the hill to the state capitol building, park, and show them the view of the entire Salt Lake Valley. You have to admit, it’s a breathtaking vista (when there’s no smog/inversion)!  Our bowl of a valley used to be a prehistoric lake that dried up a bazillion years ago, with only the dregs left today (aka ‘The Great Salt Lake’) to see. What’s super cool is that you can follow the ancient Bonneville shoreline with your finger as you stand there and look out, and point all the way around the east/Wasatch range and the west/Oquirrh range. And if you walk that line and pay attention, you can find evidence of life long gone-trilobite fossils, preserved flora and fauna. I have found several groovy rocks in my day up by the concrete “U” on the hill above the university.

In most U.S. cities with mountains nearby, the hills leading up to them are called ‘foothills’.  Here we call them ‘benches’. For some time, residents have been working with city and county officials to complete the Bonneville Shoreline Trail along the east bench of this valley. This amazing feat will one day stretch from the Idaho border to Nephi, more than 280 miles (go to bonnevilleshorelinetrail.org to see the full map and proposed works in progress). Trails like this improve life in so many ways and frankly, adds to property values of the folks who live within close distance of them. And people who don’t live so close want easy connections to get there.

According to Salt Lake City Trails & Natural Lands Program, “There are nearly 100 miles of “trails” in the Salt Lake City foothills, all of which will be considered by a proposed Foothill Trail System Plan. Of all these trails, only the Bonneville Shoreline Trail was professionally constructed with the intent of non-motorized recreation. Many existing trails in the foothills are unsustainable due to steep grades, widespread soil erosion, and costly maintenance challenges. Trailhead, wayfinding and regulatory signage is virtually absent. Lack of coherent trail design has created a system of trails that is unapproachable to many entry-level trail users, and that becomes increasingly prone to user-conflicts as use increases. Once approved, the Foothill Trail System Plan will mitigate user confusion, promote connectivity with the City’s alternative transportation networks, and minimize environmental issues (including challenges in protected watershed areas).” The 10-year time line for the project will apply to the benches between Emigration Canyon and the southern boundary of Davis County.

If you want more information on the Foothill Trail System, there are two public meetings coming up:  3/28 5:30-7:30 at the Natural History Museum and 4/2 6-8 PM at the Sweet Branch Library at 455 F Street or log in at www.slcgov.com/TrailsPlan.

http://www.slcmayor.com/pressreleases/2017/12/12/salt-lake-city-seeks-public-participation-in-creating-foothill-trails-plan

http://www.slcgov.com/TrailsPlan

June 08, 2018

The Bumble Bees

If you venture downtown this summer you’ll see folks in yellow long sleeve shirts walking in pairs, like two purposeful bumblebees, sans the black stripes. The shirts have a logo on them and the words ASK ME!  These are your new ‘downtown ambassadors’, paid for by the Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake City Corp and Visit Salt Lake. You may have grown up with a dad or grandpa who was a member of the Chamber of Commerce years ago, who would go out monthly in a pure white wool coat and glad hand people and welcome them to town and to meetings. These guys were not paid, whereas the new ambassadors are getting a wage. This is different.

These smiley people have a three-fold purpose: “1) answer questions from visitors as to where to go, what to see, and ask them where they are visiting from; 2) provide another layer of safety and security in busier parts of downtown; and 3) act as the eyes and ears for the homeless population, to ensure these community members are aware of service providers, and how and where to take advantage of hot meals or a bed, should they choose”.  Mind you, they aren’t cops, but in a way they are acting like cops by watching out for crime, and particularly watching the homeless who camp and/or panhandle in regular locations downtown. They don’t have guns or tasers, just phones to call 911 or service providers.

The need for this extra layer of eyeballs on the street is due mostly due to a cry of local businesses who have found that the Salt Lake City popo are too damned busy busting drug dealers around the shelter than they are available to roust panhandlers from the front of Temple Square or City Creek 20 times a day. These yellow ambassadors will interface with the vagrants, homeless and panhandlers and get to know them. They won’t be afraid to sit down next to them and get the 411 on why they are there, and offer them services to hopefully help to get them out of there to shelter and get services.

The program is based on a similar program that the Chicago Illinois Alliance created for the Chi-town downtown area. They contracted with a private employer (StreetsPlus) to walk their downtown areas and get cozy with the people who work downtown, visit downtown and live downtown. This company has been cleaning the streets of New York City for more than 25 years, too and provides clean, safe and hospitality services to 60 downtown areas around the United States.  By this summer you may see up to a dozen of them in the core blocks of downtown, around our convention center, mall and visitor sites. They get rave reviews for their work, so let’s give them a chance in our Capitol City for a year and measure the results.