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Being a Democrat in Utah is problematic enough without the added headache of infuriating 3,800 voters in the Republican-dominated Beehive State.

But that's what U.S. Senate candidate Scott Howell's campaign did Tuesday morning, albeit inadvertently.

A robo call urging Utahns to vote for Howell went out to 3,800 homes, mostly in rural areas, Tuesday — at 6 a.m.

By 6:05, Howell's campaign headquarters began receiving angry calls from folks who were roused out of blissful sleep by the recorded message.

It was all a horrible mistake caused by Hurricane Sandy more than 2,000 miles away, says Howell campaign spokesman Paul Pugmire.

The company that administers the robo calls is in Manhattan and had the calls tentatively set up for Tuesday, but had not made all the adjustments to coordinate the time the calls would be automatically sent.

Unfortunately, before those technical adjustments to the system could be made, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc along the East Coast, forcing an evacuation of the building that housed Howell's robo call service.

Consequently, nobody was there to fix the times, and the calls automatically went out at 6 a.m. MDT.

Most of the calls were in the Logan area. Pugmire says, to make amends, the Howell campaign will host a community breakfast/brunch Friday from 8 to 10 a.m. at Herm's Inn on Canyon Road in Logan.

Retrofitting campaign support • If you drive along 1300 South and happen to notice a Sam Granato for U.S. Senate sign, don't worry. You haven't been sucked by some superhuman force back into 2010.

Granato was running for the Senate two years ago and a supporter who lives on that street supported him with lawn signs. This year, he is running for the Salt Lake County Council and that same resident is supporting him again.

But when her Granato for County Council sign was stolen recently, she decided to put up the old Senate sign that she still had in her garage.

Security guard gang unit • A Salt Lake Tribune employee was walking from the food court back to the newsroom in The Gateway mall on Wednesday when she was stopped by mall security and ordered to leave the premises.


Like many companies, The Tribune invites employees to dress in costume on Halloween. (I just come as myself, since that is scary enough.)

This employee came as a ghost, with a floor-length black cape and in white face.

And, it turns out, painting one's face is an eviction-warranted offense. Even if it is Halloween.

Speaking of mall security • A young man named Maxwell (last name withheld for personal safety concerns) and his friends were in the City Creek Center the other day and decided to see if they could locate where the new Apple store will be situated.

They came across an empty area in the mall under construction, with several workers inside, and figured that must be the place.

Maxwell began taking pictures of the construction when he heard a voice say, "Stop taking pictures."

"Who said that?" Maxwell asked.

"Me," said a man he finally noticed sitting in a glass casing.

"Is this the new Apple store?" asked Maxwell.

"No. Stop taking pictures."


"Cuz I'll kill you!"

Then, from another construction worker inside the area: "Yeah, we'll take you in the back and beat you with a hose!"

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