Axios Salt Lake City

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🤠 It's Friday! Yee-haw!

Situational awareness: Turn your clocks and hour forward before Sunday morning! It's time for another daylight saving time switcheroo — a tradition that is unlikely to die anytime soon.

Today's newsletter is 898 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: The view from exile

"Wind and Dust," an opaque watercolor painted on paperboard by artist Miné Okubo in 1943. Image courtesy of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts

A new art exhibit provides a unique glimpse of the hurt and healing experienced by Japanese Americans sent to the Topaz detention center in Delta.

The big picture: The Tanforan/Topaz Art School became an improbable salon for some of America's most acclaimed mid-century artists.

  • Founded by the renowned Chiura Obata, the school enlisted elite Japanese-American artists who were incarcerated during World War II, to teach hundreds of their fellow detainees.

Driving the news: The Utah Museum of Fine Art is the first stop for "Pictures of Belonging," a national tour of paintings by Hisako Hibi, Miné Okubo and Miki Hayakawa.

  • Hibi and Okubo were teachers at Topaz, where Hayakawa's parents were also incarcerated.

Catch up fast: With President Franklin Roosevelt's infamous Executive Order 9066, about 112,000 people of Japanese descent were banned from the West Coast.

  • Those who didn't move inland were swept into confinement centers like Topaz, which was on the edge of Utah's desolate West Desert.

Zoom in: The school originated in San Francisco's Tanforan Assembly Center, a racetrack where about 8,000 people were held before being moved to Topaz.

  • Hibi, Okubo, Obata and other teachers received $16 a month — worth about $280 in 2024 — from student tuition, which was 50 cents for kids and $1 for adults.

What they found: Detainees arrived in Topaz in fall 1942 to find barracks lined up in a flat, treeless valley that was frequently consumed by dust storms, and a monthslong coal shortage as winter set in.

Flashback: UMFA acquired 35 of Obata's pieces in 2021, and some are on display in the museum's permanent collection.

What they said: "If I hadn't gone to that kind of place, I wouldn't have realized the beauty that exists in that enormous bleakness," Obata said in 1965.

The latest: UMFA will host "Pictures of Belonging" until June 30.

What's next: The Topaz Art Pilgrimage includes presentations on Topaz art and Utah's Japanese-American history May 2-3 in Salt Lake City.

  • A bus will take guests to Delta to visit the Topaz Museum and camp site on May 4. Tickets cost $80.

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2. ❄️ Shorter cold streaks

Longest streak of cold winter days in Salt Lake City
Data: Climate Central; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Cold weather streaks in Salt Lake City have been getting three days shorter on average since 1970, according to a report from a new Climate Central analysis.

Why it matters: Few people love chilled-to-the-bone cold snaps — but extended periods of cold weather are key for some farmers and for winter sports lovers, building essential snowpack and more, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

The big picture: Cold streaks are largely getting shorter on average nationwide, per Climate Central, a climate research and communications nonprofit.

Reality check: Prolonged cold snaps still happen — Salt Lake City's longest of 2023 lasted nine days.

Yes, but: The city's longest cold streak between 1970 and 2023 came in 1989, lasting 42 days.

What they did: Climate Central defines a "winter cold streak" as "at least two consecutive December-February days with average temperatures below the 1991-2020 winter normal average temperature" at a given location.

What they found: "Winter's longest cold streaks have gotten shorter since 1970 in 98% of 240 U.S. locations analyzed," per the report.

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3. 🍹 Try a margarita flight at this new restaurant

Sol Agave's margarita flight. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

A new Salt Lake City restaurant is serving elevated Mexican flavors, from their "famous carnitas" to refreshing margaritas.

Dig in: Sol Agave, a Mexican chain restaurant that originally launched as a food truck in Southern California, opened its second Utah location on 660 S. Main St. on New Year's Eve.

What to try: The restaurant's margarita flight ($23) features four kinds of agave-infused libations: watermelon basil, cucumber cilantro, tamarindo and spicy mango.

  • The "taquiza" appetizer ($19) included steak, carnitas, chicken and shrimp street tacos.
Sol Agave's taquiza. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios
Sol Agave's taquiza. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

The vibe: The upscale eatery features dark lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows, making the space feel expansive and airy. It's the kind of restaurant to take someone you'd want to impress.

My thought bubble

4. Fry Sauce: Eat it up

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🏘️ Utah is one of the least affordable states to purchase a home. The state placed in the bottom three for housing affordability — behind Hawaii and California — in a new ranking. (FOX 13)

🌬️ Thousands of tumbleweeds invaded South Jordan and Eagle Mountain suburbs during high wind gusts last weekend, covering homes and cars. (The New York Times)

🏙️ WeWork's 250 Tower in Salt Lake City is closing. It's the second Utah location the co-working space company has shuttered since filing for bankruptcy last year. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

🏀 Utah Jazz forward John Collins and a Chicago Bulls assistant coach got into a physical altercation on Wednesday during a road game. (The Athletic)

  • Tensions broke out after Jazz guard Collin Sexton fouled Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan near the end of the competitive match.

5. 🐈 Meet the neighbors

Pennywise meets Enola. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

Erin, here! My family has noticed a growing number of outdoor cats in our neighborhood — and apparently they've noticed us, too.

  • This is Pennywise. That's what we started calling him when we spotted him popping out of the gutter by our house.

The latest: Pennywise now appears in our window almost every day, where he sits and stares at us for at least an hour. Sometimes he's already there when we raise the blinds in the morning.

  • This will probably produce interesting results when we swap our storm windows for screens in a few weeks.

Tell us: Have you noticed more strays and outdoor cats in Utah?

  • Hit reply to this email to tell us about it.

🎥 Erin still has to watch "Poor Things" and "Past Lives" before the Oscars on Sunday.

🎂 Kim is celebrating her last weekend as a 28-year-old.

Whoops! Our March 7 newsletter misspelled the name of a singer-songwriter. It's Marc. E Bassy.

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