Axios Salt Lake City

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Happy Wednesday!

  • Today's weather: ☀️ Sunny, with a high of 69. Get outside!

Today's newsletter is 840 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Utah Royals' jersey sponsor sparks backlash

Kate Del Fava No. 8 of the Utah Royals passes the ball during a game between the Utah Royals and the Washington Spirit at Audi Field on March 31, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The Utah Royals continue to face scrutiny over the name of their jersey and stadium naming rights sponsor.

Why it matters: Fan-led soccer groups are accusing America First Credit Union's name and logo, which features an image of an eagle, of having racist and white supremacist connotations.

Catch up quick: The credit union was originally founded as the Fort Douglas Civilian Employees Credit Union in 1939.

  • After it moved its operations from Fort Douglas to Ogden, it changed its name to Federal Employees Credit Union in 1947.
  • It changed its name again to America First Credit Union in 1984 after converting to a community charter.

What they're saying: "The 'America' in our name denotes our connection to our founding members — civilian federal employees who worked at the American military bases and defense depots in Utah," a representative for America First Credit Union said in a statement to Axios.

  • The credit union said the term "first," which is commonly used for banks and credit unions, reflects "putting the financial needs of their members at the forefront."

Yes, but: In a March 30 statement, two supporter groups for the Washington Spirit and D.C. United said the company's defense of their name "ignores the complex and hateful history of the name and the ongoing effects of American nationalism and white supremacy that 'America First' expresses."

Context: Former President Woodrow Wilson first used the expression publicly in 1916 during his presidential campaign.

  • The term later caught on in the 1920s, "in an era of increasing agitation and policymaking against immigration," David Myers, a professor and Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History at UCLA, told Axios.
  • Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke told NPR he used the expression during his presidential run in 1992.

The "America first" slogan has been revived in recent years by former President Trump.

Between the lines: The jersey controversy has spurred a response from Gov. Spencer Cox and editorials from two of the state's largest newspapers.

The bottom line: As isolationism and anti-immigrant rhetoric rises, combined with the prospect of a second Trump presidency, Myers said it's understandable why people would be sensitive to the expression.

Full story

2. 🌌 Celebrate Utah's dark skies

Stars above Double Arch in Arches National Park. Photo: Alan Dyer, VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It's Dark Sky Month in Utah — and International Dark Sky Week everywhere else!

Why it matters: Light pollution is ecologically hazardous, especially to birds that use the moon and stars to navigate and are attracted to city lights instead.

State of play: Utah has 23 officially-designated "Dark Sky Places."

Lucky us: We don't have far to travel!

Wasatch Front

Clark Planetarium: Along with the usual shows and activities, there are two outdoor star parties this month:

University of Utah: The South Physics Observatory hosts free star parties starting 7pm each Wednesday, with optimal viewing at 8pm.

Stansbury Park Observatory Complex: The Salt Lake Astronomical Star Party starts at 10pm April 20 in Tooele County.

BYU Astronomical Society: Star parties start at 9pm each Friday at the Eyring Science Center observation deck.

  • Check out their recs for other viewing spots in Utah County.

Southern Utah

Canyonlands National Park: Night sky programs start at 8:30pm on April 3 and 6 at the Green River Overlook, Island in the Sky District.

  • Evening programs are at 8pm every Wednesday through Saturday starting April 10 at the Needles Campground Amphitheater.

Cedar Breaks National Monument: Join the final Dark Sky Tour of the season 6:30pm Saturday at the North View Overlook.

Dead Horse Point State Park: Star parties give visitors a peek through telescopes and "tours" through constellations at 8:30pm April 6 and 9 in the visitor center parking lot.

  • Sunset talks begin at 7pm April 12 and 18 at Dead Horse Point Overlook.
  • A 2-mile "Mindfulness Meander" begins at 6:45pm at the Overlook and continues after sundown.

More dark sky events

3. Fry Sauce: Bite-sized headlines

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

🏀 Utah State University welcomed new men's basketball coach Jerrod Calhoun after Danny Sprinkle departed for the University of Washington. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

💰 U.S. Senate candidate and Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs received about $50,000 in donations from Utah smoke shops last year. (Utah News Dispatch)

A nonprofit called Holding Out Hope is working to support Utahns who have left polygamist sects. (ABC 4)

4. ⛪️ Pic du jour: He's back!

A gold statue of the angel Moroni sails over downtown Salt Lake City en route to Temple Square. Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The gold, trumpet-wielding Angel Moroni was returned Tuesday to the top of the Salt Lake City temple by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Catch up quick: The statue was removed four years ago for renovations — but not before the March 18, 2020 earthquake shook the trumpet out of its hands.

  • Moroni was restored while structural improvements to the temple — including seismic protections — were underway.

What they're saying: Church officials on Tuesday called the statue a "treasured symbol" of the faith.

  • It was sculpted in the early 1890s by the artist Cyrus Dallin.

🤓 Kim is reading "Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos and The Washington Post" by Martin Baron.

🤒 Erin is nursing a flu-like bug.

This newsletter was edited by Ross Terrell and copy edited by Natasha Danielle Smith and Yasmeen Altaji.