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Happy 112th birthday to you


SALT LAKE CITY — Until she heard Mitt Romney’s unapologetic criticism of presidential candidate Donald Trump, University of Utah student Ashley Wilcox wondered whether other voters are as concerned as she is that the GOP front-runner might become the party’s nominee.

“The fact is, knowing my hesitancy (about Trump) isn’t misunderstood, because obviously Mitt had the same concerns I do, that was really reassuring for me,” Wilcox said Thursday as she left Romney’s speech, an impromptu addition to the Hinckley Institute of Politics’ forum series.

“When he first started running, it was kind of a joke. Everyone was like, ‘Oh, it’s Trump, whatever.’ But it all of a sudden became so real.”

However, what Wilcox was really hoping for was an announcement from Romney that he would make a late run for the GOP nomination. She still hasn’t given up on the idea.

“He would have a lot of catching up to do, that’s for sure, but it would be an amazing thing to see,” Wilcox said. “It would definitely turn tables.”

While the freshman math student said she may still end up voting for Trump if

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New program would cover tuition fees for eligible SLCC students


SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake Community College leaders announced Thursday they are hoping to cover tuition and fees for thousands of Utah residents through a new program.

The goal of the program, called SLCC Promise, is to extend college offerings to more Utah residents who want to get a degree but may not see a financial path forward, according to SLCC President Deneece Huftalin.

“We believe in the power of education, and we are excited to give even more students a chance to realize their dreams,” Huftalin said. “Our goal is to make higher education affordable for all students and members of the community.”

Starting in the 2016-17 academic year, the college will begin waiving tuition and fees for resident students with a full academic workload and significant financial needs.

To qualify for the program, applicants must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and be awarded a Pell Grant. They are required to take a full course load of 12 to 18 credit hours and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. Those students must also meet with an adviser to

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Bill would raise funding floor for lowest income school districts


SALT LAKE CITY — Adding to an ongoing emphasis on school funding equity, lawmakers gave their initial endorsement for a bill Thursday that would raise the funding floor for Utah’s lowest-funded school districts.

SB244 would set aside $21.4 million next year to be spread evenly across more than half of Utah’s 41 school districts. The bill would incrementally increase funding for districts with the lowest per-pupil dollars each year until those revenues are largely evened out.

The bill states that schools would be allowed to use the money “for any education purpose,” including teacher salaries, curriculum and other needs. It comes following a similar initiative to improve funding equity for charter schools in Utah.

“My goal here is to, over time, raise the floor of education funding, because that, I believe, will have a direct impact on classrooms and teachers,” said the bill’s sponsor, South Jordan Republican Sen. Lincoln Fillmore. “I think it goes without saying that the value of that child’s education doesn’t change depending on where that child lives or what school that child attends.”

Each school district in the state levies property taxes, but tax

Nominations open for Huntsman education awards

Nominations open for Huntsman education awards

SALT LAKE CITY — Nominations for the 2016 Huntsman Awards for Excellence in Education are now being solicited by the awards committee and will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Friday, March 25.

“We recognize that our public schools are being called upon to accept more and more responsibility for educating our nation’s children,” Karen Huntsman said in a statement. “It is our privilege to be able to single out and recognize those individuals who go above and beyond to ensure our children are fully engaged in learning and well equipped to be our nation’s future leaders.”

Each year the Jon M. Huntsman family presents a check for $10,000 and a crystal obelisk to each of 11 outstanding Utah public educators: six teachers, three administrators, one volunteer and one special education teacher. Nominations are received from throughout the state and reviewed by a board consisting of some of the Utah’s most prominent citizens and educators. The 2016 recipients will be announced in late April, and the awards will be presented at a banquet in Salt Lake City in May.

Nomination forms are available through any public school, the local PTA or by logging on to Huntsman’s

A look at whats behind audit of University of Utah athletics

SALT LAKE CITY — A decision by Utah Utes basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak and the school’s athletic director to cancel the team’s contracted game with the BYU Cougars next season prompted state legislators to recommend an audit into the University of Utah’s athletic department.

But it also triggered a wave of other questions lawmakers say they have been trying to answer during the past month: What level of oversight should the Legislature take when it comes to college and university athletics? How should public institutions balance athletics with academics? Where do priorities lie for campus leaders?

“They’re all funded by taxpayer money,” Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said last week. “Consequently, we have a responsibility as a Legislature to make sure that all systems of government are running in a way that’s ethical and legal and they have proper financial controls. So an audit is very appropriate.”

Niederhauser was one of four members of the Legislative Audit Subcommittee who voted unanimously on Feb. 1 to prioritize the “efficiency and effectiveness” audit for the university’s athletics department. The other voting members included House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper; Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City; and House Minority Leader Brian King,

Rise in artisan cheesemakers leads USU to teach advanced cheese course

LOGAN — Utah State University is gaining a reputation as the place to learn how to make quality cheeses.

There’s a good reason for that: They’ve been teaching those skills for well over 100 years.

The first cheese courses at Utah State University started up back in 1895, and they haven’t stopped teaching the art of cheesemaking since. The course continues to draw professionals from all over the country — even around the world.

A recent rise in the number of artisan cheesemakers has brought a demand to teach a more advanced class. The increased interest created a demand for this advanced course — whether it’s from budding experts or industry executives.

This week, about a dozen cheesemakers from all over the country are at the university.

“We get people from the large cheese factories, but we also have some artisans who have been making cheese for a little while, and some people who just want to start,” said Carl Brotherson, course instructor and associate director at Western Dairy Center.

“I brought my plant manager from Michigan, as well as myself, so we can develop a greater foundation around cheesemaking,” said Gary Wietharn, a vice president of manufacturing with the Dairy Farmers of America. “And as

Pacific Alliance Economic Summit at UVU to feature 4 ambassadors

OREM — Utah Valley University will host ambassadors to the United States from Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru when the Pacific Alliance holds an economic summit on the university’s Orem campus Thursday and Friday.

The summit is being held in cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the World Trade Center Utah.

The Pacific Alliance is an initiative of regional integration and trade cooperation comprised of the four founding countries. The ambassadors include Juan Gabriel Valdés Soublette, Chile; Juan Carlos Pinzón, Colombia; Miguel Basáñez Ebergenyi, Mexico; and Luis Miguel Castilla, Peru.

“This is the first time we’ve gathered such high-profile ambassadors in Utah,” Baldomero Lago, senior director of UVU’s Office of International Affairs & Multicultural Studies, said in a statement. “It is an honor for UVU to be the hosting university.”

The Pacific Alliance Economic Summit begins at 11:15 a.m. Thursday in the Ragan Theater. The public is invited to attend a panel discussion where the ambassadors will talk about economic, social and cultural relations.

On Thursday, the ambassadors will also meet with the Utah Global Forum and have a working session with Utah business leaders.

The following day, the ambassadors will meet with Gov. Gary Herbert at the Capitol and be

Director of Vatican observatory to deliver lecture at BYU

PROVO — Brother Guy Consolmagno, planetary scientist and director of the Vatican Observatory, will deliver BYU’s Summerhays Lecture on Thursday, March 10, at 6:30 p.m. in the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Brother Consolmagno, whose lecture is titled “Encountering God’s Personality in Creation,” earned three degrees in planetary science: bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate from the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

After earning his doctorate, Brother Consolmagno worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University and MIT. He also served in the United States Peace Corps in Kenya.

Brother Consolmagno became a member of the Jesuit order in 1989. He worked at the Vatican Observatory in various capacities beginning in 1993 before being appointed as its director in September 2015 by Pope Francis. His expertise is in meteors and asteroids, and the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid after him in 2000.

The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical research facilities in the world, according to its website. It has research facilities near Rome and in Arizona.

The Summerhays Lecture has become a BYU tradition since it was first organized in 2003

Advertise with us Report this ad Should parents be punished for a childs school absences

SALT LAKE CITY — Should parents face a fine, criminal charges and jail time if their children are chronically absent from school without a valid excuse?

That’s a question legislators are grappling with as they consider changes to Utah’s law when it comes to truancy in schools.

Current statute makes it a class B misdemeanor for parents if they fail to enroll their child in school, or if their child is absent five times after getting a warning from school leaders about the student’s attendance.

But SB45 would eliminate the penalty and the ability of schools to “direct” parents to meet with them over their child’s attendance problems. The bill passed the Senate last week in a 22-5 vote and has just over two weeks to pass the House before the Utah Legislature adjourns.

“It’s my opinion that government shouldn’t be in the business of taking away people’s agency,” said Sen. Alvin Jackson, R-Highland, the bill’s sponsor. “If we want to encourage folks to take advantage of the public school system, then we need to encourage them, we need to educate them, we need to work with them. But it doesn’t serve the parent or the child if the parent ends up in jail

Scott Jones to remain at state education office

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Board of Education is leaning toward a new leadership structure at the Utah State Office of Education.

The board on Thursday decided to promote Scott Jones, former associate superintendent of business and operations, to deputy superintendent of operations — a new position. The decision was made public Friday.

Earlier this month, Jones announced he was resigning from the state education office to pursue a job offer from the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Army Reserve. But he has accepted the promotion and will remain at the state education office, according to State School Board spokeswoman Emilie Wheeler.

Jones said the decision was difficult, but he hopes the new role will help him “serve in a capacity that maximizes my experience, my educational value and promotes that core mission of providing resources to teachers.”

His new appointment adds to a shuffle of other changes at the state education office this week after Brad Smith announced his resignation as state superintendent of public instruction on Tuesday.

Sydnee Dickson, who has previously served as deputy superintendent, was appointed as interim state superintendent of public instruction until the board decides on a permanent replacement for Smith.

Jones will now fill a role

Structured sports are not for everyone

My 6-year-old daughter, Azure, is a natural athlete just like her older siblings. She can jump and flip like the rest of them and has even already taught herself to successfully land a back handspring.

At the age of 4, she taught herself to ride a bike by balancing one foot on the curb and one on the street, then pushing off and gliding a few feet at a time until she had mastered it. And at the age of 5, Azure surprised me by running every step of a 5K, all while carrying on a conversation the entire way.

Just last month, we got a family pass to a local indoor rock climbing place, and she completely bypassed the kid area, then made her way to climb with her older siblings, managing just fine with the big kids.

Needless to say, I have seen the potential in my little girl and have gotten excited to see it all come to fruition.

So, in order to add some structure and to streamline her physical activeness, just like I’ve done with my other kids, I have signed her up for classes and teams. With my older children, it is in these structured classes and teams

Proposal to charge fees for optional full day kindergarten fails in Senate

SALT LAKE CITY — Parents likely won’t have the option of paying a fee to enroll their child in public extended-day kindergarten after the Utah Senate denied a proposal to do just that.

HB41 would have allowed schools the option of charging the fee to pay for extra hours of instruction required for an extended-day kindergarten program. The program was intended to be optional for families looking for additional learning opportunities for their students.

“Our districts already offer extended-day kindergarten,” said Ogden Republican Sen. Ann Millner, the bill’s floor sponsor. “We’re just allowing another financial mechanism. It’s optional for school districts. It’s optional for students. It’s optional for charter schools, and it’s optional for parents.”

While the fee would likely be unique to each district, initial legislative projections estimated the extra hours of instruction would cost about $1,400 per student. And because the bill was intended to help low-income students and other at-risk populations, schools would be required to provide a fee waiver for students who qualify.

HB41 passed the House earlier this month in a 47-27 vote, but it failed in an 11-14 vote on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Some lawmakers weren’t comfortable with the idea of tying fees to public education, even if

Sterling Scholar finalists complete final round of interviews

DRAPER — Michael Xiao first began researching cancer in the basement of his home with the help of a few science books.

He was in eighth grade at the time.

“After a while, I didn’t have enough materials to continue my experiments,” Xiao said.

Xiao is now a seasoned cancer researcher, who with an invitation from a professor has used BYU’s facilities and worked alongside its scientists to study the disease throughout high school.

On Tuesday, the Lone Peak High School senior was one of several accomplished students from throughout the Wasatch Front to vie for another crowning academic honor — Sterling Scholar.

“It’s incredible,” Xiao said of the competition. “I’ve been able to interact with so many students and been able to see students who are intellectual, who are creative and who are serving others.”

A select handful of candidates across 14 educational categories gathered to Corner Canyon High School in Draper, packing the building with nervous energy as they prepared for a final round of interviews in the Deseret News/KSL Sterling Scholar Awards Program.

“Honestly, I just like being involved in a successful, prestigious program,” said Skyline High senior Barbora Tvrdik, who speaks four languages and is competing in the world languages category. “Somebody (recognizing)

Utah PolitiLinks Medical marijuana bills take center stage budget numbers released

  • The final outcome of SB73 is still very much in the balance, while SB89 (sponsored by Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City), which limits medical marijuana use to the non-psychoactive cannabis extract called cannabinoid or hemp oil, has had much more support, with a vote of 26-3. (Deseret News)
  • Friday Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, weighed in to the conversation, saying he wasn’t familiar with the Utah legislature bills, but started working on a proposal to remove federal prohibitions on medical use of hemp oil six months ago. (Deseret News)

Budget breakdown: State revenue growth estimates down $10 million

When lawmakers got the budget numbers Monday, they found out that they had $10 million less than expected.

House members were warned of the possible drop earlier in the session, but will still be working with a larger budget than last year.

“It’s not necessarily great, but it could have been worse,” House Budget Chairman Dean Sanpei, R-Provo said in the Deseret News article, adding that lawmakers will have $550 million more available than last year.

Press conference: State senator defends hate crimes bill, but others say balance needed

Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, lashed out against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for expressing

Male students dont give their female peers the credit they deserve new study finds

Male biology students underestimate the grades of their female colleagues by a full grade, a study at the University of Washington has found.

Researchers asked 1,700 biology students to estimate the grades of their class peers. Female students overestimated other female students’ grades by a very slight 0.04 GPA on a 4.0 scale. But male students overestimated other male students’ grades by 0.76, or three-quarters of a full letter grade.

“In other words,” The Washington Post sums up, “if Johnny and Susie both had A’s, they’d receive equal applause from female students — but Susie would register as a B student in the eyes of her male peers, and Johnny would look like a rock star.”

The research is part of an ongoing research agenda to determine why fewer female students end up majoring in and pursuing careers in Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) fields.

“These results suggest a relative reluctance among men, especially faculty men within STEM, to accept evidence of gender biases in STEM,” the study concluded. This finding is problematic because broadening the participation of underrepresented people in STEM, including women, necessarily requires a widespread willingness (particularly by those in the majority) to acknowledge that bias exists before transformation is

State revenue growth estimates down $10 million

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Legislature has $10 million less to spend than anticipated, according to the latest revenue estimates released Monday.

“It’s not necessarily great, but it could have been worse,” House Budget Chairman Dean Sanpei, R-Provo, told members of the House in announcing the consensus revenue numbers that will be used to finalize the state budget.

The shortfall is in sales taxes and other revenues that go into the state’s general fund, now expected to be $53 million less than projected. Income taxes, which go to the education fund, however, are now supposed to come in $43 million higher.

Sanpei said lawmakers will still have a total of $550 million more available than last year. That’s $150 million in surplus funds that can be used for one-time expenses and $400 million in ongoing revenue growth.

The budget chairman cited falling severance taxes on oil and gas extraction in the state, as well as a downward trend in sales, corporate income and capital gains tax collections.

House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, said with record low crude oil prices creating volatility in the stock market, he had prepared for revenue estimates to drop “by a lot more.”

The speaker told members of the House to

An old idea with some new energy

MONROE, Wash. — Eight years ago, when Noel Caldellis began serving time for killing a university student, his main objective was to make 20-plus years in prison pass as quickly as possible: work out, walk circles in the yard with inmates and watch TV.

A few years into his sentence at the Monroe Correctional Complex, Caldellis discovered he could spend his time developing his mind as well as his body, moving from the weight room to the classroom.

“It’s helped me tremendously to grow as a person,” said Caldellis, who is working on a bachelor’s degree in history.

College education in American prisons is starting to grow again, more than two decades since federal government dollars were prohibited from being used for college programs behind bars.

The shift comes as everyone from President Barack Obama to state policymakers are looking for ways to get better results from the $80 billion the U.S. spends annually on incarceration.

Private money kept some prison education programs going when government dollars vanished. Several recent studies have shown those projects cut crime and prison costs by helping inmates go home and stay there instead of returning.

“Education in prison is transformative. It leads to safer communities and that’s to the benefit

Charter school funding equity plan gets approval from House committee

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers advanced a proposal Monday they say will improve equity between charter schools and district schools.

The move would provide charters an additional $14 million this year, which would increase to $21 million next year, to put them on more equal footing with district schools for per-pupil funding.

“It’s a bill about basic equity between charters and districts, because they’re both public schools,” said Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy. “It brings greater transparency to where the money is actually going.”

Since charter schools do not have taxing authority, 25 percent of the property tax revenue earned by school districts goes to charters. But SB38, which passed in a unanimous vote by the House Education Committee, would create a new tax levy specifically for charter schools so districts no longer have to divert funding for charters.

That new tax levy would produce the same amount of revenue for charter schools as before, and it would leave school districts with the same amount they’ve historically been able to spend. And it wouldn’t mean a property tax increase for taxpayers.

“The amount being collected is going to be exactly the same as what it is,” Eliason said. “This bill is revenue neutral.”

Lawmakers hope the changes

4 hurt in shooting at Ohio school suspect in custody

MADISON TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A 14-year-old boy pulled out a gun in a southwestern Ohio school cafeteria on Monday and opened fire, hitting two students, authorities said.

Two other Madison Local Schools students were injured in another way. None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

The shooter ran from the school, threw the gun down and was apprehended nearby, authorities said. Jones said the 14-year-old was a student and there was a motive to the shooting which he did not identify.

Students were eating in the cafeteria when the shooting happened around 11:30 a.m., Jones said.

Thirteen-year-old Shelby Kinnin said she heard “a couple of bangs” and realized she was near the shooter.

“I didn’t really know it was gunshots until I looked over and a kid was grabbing his leg and falling over,” she said.

Many people ran from the scene, and the shooter went out a door, she said. She recognized him as a boy who was in a class with her last year, though she wasn’t sure of his name.

Her stepmother, Stephanie Kinnin, said it was unnerving to see emergency responders swarm the school.

“There is no feeling like that in the world,” she said. “But my

USU biological engineer patents method to make natural blue dye

LOGAN — A Utah State University researcher has taken a big step toward making a safer, more natural dye that can be used in the food, textile, cosmetic and other industries.

Jixun Zhan, an associate professor of biological engineering at USU, has secured a patent for a method to produce the deep blue dye known as indigoidine. The tint was originally synthesized from a bacterial strain found in Rhode Island and offered a promising alternative to the synthetic dyes used to color jeans, leather, food, beverages and paper.

The bacterium itself, however, does not produce significant quantities of indigoidine, so Zhan proposed mimicking the organism’s biosynthetic machinery inside a heterologous host cell: E. coli. These mostly harmless bacteria can churn out significantly higher yields of the blue pigment and provide an efficient way to produce the dye without using synthetic compounds that could pose a threat to human health and the environment.

“In the original producing strain, there is only one copy of the biosynthetic gene that synthesizes the pigment,” Zhan said in a statement. “But in E. coli, we can make multiple copies of the gene and induce its expression under a stronger promoter.”

Zhan’s patent also includes the development of