Axios Salt Lake City

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🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Salt Lake City member Ty McCartney!

Today's newsletter is 1,009 words — a 4-minute read.

1 big thing: Hockey lessons from Arizona

The NHL hockey rink at the Delta Center. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

As the Arizona Coyotes decamp to Utah, the team's fraught history in the Phoenix area illustrates a pattern in big-league sports: A city can't get a team without public money, but taxpayer support is no guarantee they'll stay.

Why it matters: Salt Lake City is considering a sales tax hike to cover up to $1 billion in bonds for downtown renovations, including stadium space, for the new hockey team.

  • The NHL on Thursday approved the Coyotes' sale to Ryan and Ashley Smith, who own the Utah Jazz.

At a Friday news conference, Ryan Smith said the new sports team will "generate a lot of revenue."

This is not the team's first foray into publicly funded stadium construction.

Catch up quick: Glendale, Arizona, — a Phoenix suburb — borrowed $180 million in 2001 to build the team's arena there as they left Phoenix.

  • Taxpayers then paid $25 million in 2010 and 2011 to cover the team's losses and keep them in town for subsequent seasons.
  • In 2012, Glendale agreed to pay $15 million yearly to operate the team's stadium amid a city budget deficit. That contract was reduced in 2015.

Yes, but: Two years later, the NHL demanded $225 million from the Arizona legislature for a new arena, saying the team wasn't profitable in Glendale.

  • The bill failed, and the city booted the Coyotes in 2021 after news broke that the team was exploring a Tempe, Arizona, location.
  • Last year, Tempe voters rejected arena funding, effectively ensuring the Coyotes' departure from Arizona.

Friction point: Critics of public funding for the team's Salt Lake home argue hockey is a risky bet in Utah, and city officials should slow down lest taxpayers find themselves backed into a Glendale-esque cycle of payouts to keep the NHL.

  • Stadium subsidies " never pay off, and it's not worth the public contributions," JC Bradbury, a professor of economics at Kennesaw State University, told Axios in February.

Reality check: Glendale's location drawbacks don't necessarily apply to Salt Lake, which is more centrally positioned in a less sprawling metro area.

What we're watching

2. Old News: Hi-Fi murders shock the nation

The Ogden Standard Examiner, April 24, 1974. Image from Utah Digital Newspapers via the University of Utah

Editor's note: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence.

Fifty years ago today, a group of men tortured five hostages and killed three during a robbery in an Ogden audio equipment shop, in one of the most notorious crimes in Utah history.

What drove the news: Four men held two employees and three other people at gunpoint in the Hi-Fi Shop on April 22, 1974, binding them in the basement and robbing the store.

Content warning: The men forced the victims to drink drain cleaner, believing it would kill them.

  • When the hostages didn't die, their attackers shot four of them, killing two. A fifth victim was raped before being fatally shot.

Who survived: Only a 16-year-old, who had severe brain damage from the gunshot, and an employee's father, Orren Walker, who suffered permanent injuries.

Dale Pierre and William Andrews were convicted that year and executed in 1987 and 1992, respectively.

Friction point: Civil rights advocates sought to reverse Pierre and Andrews' death sentences, arguing the two men, who were Black, faced racial bias in the trial.

Go deeper

3. Salt Lake pauses student training

Pride and transgender flags and symbols hang outside of Emerson Elementary School in Salt Lake City on April 19. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

The Salt Lake City School District paused plans to present a slideshow to students on legislation that regulates restroom access for transgender people.

The intrigue: The move came just before parents and students had planned to protest the presentation Friday at Emerson Elementary School.

The latest: The school sent an email alerting parents that district superintendent Elizabeth Grant had asked schools to halt the training, which was announced earlier in the week.

  • "Given the uncertainty of how to implement the law, we decided to hold off for now and to work individually with the families and students who are directly impacted," Yándary Chatwin, a district spokesperson, told Axios.

Zoom in: The Emerson demonstration, described by a parent as a 15-minute "dance party" to support transgender students, still occurred.

Catch up quick: The bathroom presentation instructed students to use the bathroom that matches the gender they were "assigned at birth," Axios previously reported.

Context: HB 257, signed by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox in January, prohibits transgender people from using public facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity.

Read more

4. Fry Sauce: Kevin Bacon says farewell to Payson High

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

😎 Actor Kevin Bacon conducted a charity drive before Saturday night's prom at Payson High School, which is slated for demolition 40 years after it served as the film location for "Footloose." (KUER)

ICYMI: Kevin Bacon, nerd of Provo

👩‍👧 Former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are asking the public for help finding their children, who they say were separated from them by leaders of the polygamous sect. (FOX 13)

🤸🏽 University of Utah gymnasts placed third at the NCAA women's championship this weekend in Fort Worth, Texas. (Associated Press)

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Illustration: Andrew Caress/Axios

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5. Post Malone is having a moment

Post Malone performs before the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 19, 2023 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: Mercedes Oliver/NBAE via Getty Images

Cottonwood Heights resident Post Malone is one of two featured artists in Taylor Swift's new heartbreak album "The Tortured Poets Department."

State of play: The Grammy-nominated hitmaker sings alongside Swift in "Fortnight," a dreamy pop ballad about a short-lived romance.

The intrigue: "Fortnight" is the album's opening song and lead single.

What she's saying: "I've been such a huge fan of Post because of the writer he is, his musical experimentation and those melodies he creates that just stick in your head forever," she wrote in an Instagram post last week ahead of her album's release.

  • "I got to witness that magic come to life firsthand when we worked together," she said.

Between the lines: Post Malone was also included in Beyoncé's "Cowboy Carter" track "Levii's Jeans."

Read more

☁️ Kim is daydreaming about her upcoming trip to Seattle.

🥣 Erin is not loving the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Minis like she thought she would.

This newsletter was edited by Emma Hurt and copy edited by Natasha Danielle Smith and Yasmeen Altaji.