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December 2016 | Vol. 13 Iss. 12



St. John Middle School students learn about wildlife, ecology at Teton Science School By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com


During their three-day session at Teton Science School, students spent time measuring the health of a stream. (Patrick Reeder/St. John the Baptist Middle School)

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St. John Middle School students learn about wildlife, ecology at Teton Science School By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com The Cottonwood-Holladay City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout Cottonwood and Holladay. For information about distribution please email circulation@mycityjournals.com or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. For subscriptions please contact: circulation@mycityjournals.com The views and opinions expressed in display advertisements do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Loyal Perch Media or the City Journals. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the owner.

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istening to elk bugling, collecting data in streams and learning about ecology were some of the highlights 64 St. John the Baptist eighth-grade students experienced while attending a three-day session at Teton Science School. “It was a great learning experience for our students,” St. John Principal Patrick Reeder said. “I’d almost call it a science-based retreat. Every student came away with a greater recognition of Grand Teton National Park and the scientific method as they were immersed in asking questions, hypothesizing, collecting and analyzing data to see if it supported their hypothesis.” Once in the Tetons, students were divided into field groups of 10 to 12 students, each group having a field leader. These leaders explained to students about the ecosystems of the park. During most of that first day, Reeder said they hiked to a stream where field groups collected data. “The students took note of the temperature, water flow, velocity and noted macro invertebrates and the health of the habitat in their field journals. They learned how to observe ecosystems and then, share their findings,” he said. Reeder said students became better at the scientific method. “The more they engage in the scientific method, the better they are at it and in all their subjects. Technology, logistics, almost every discipline can tie back to the scientific method of using research to question, then testing to prove it,” he said. On another day, the field groups worked to repair trails that are maintained by the Teton School of Science. “We worked to clear the trails and improve upon them. Some of them were almost nonexistent, but in doing so, we taught students the valuable lesson of becoming stewards of our environment,” Reeder said. Students also worked with a naturalist to tie art with ecology as they created pieces of art, using bark, leaves, twigs, dirt and other pieces of

Thank You

During their three-day session at Teton Science School, students spent time measuring the health of a stream. (Patrick Reeder/St. John the Baptist Middle School)

nature they found. “Many of the students made sketchings, some very detailed,” he said. Each night, students had different activities, but a favorite one was listening to elk bugle. The first rainy, windy night, Reeder sat with students in silence, listening. He said his group heard about seven bugles. On a later evening during a night hike by a pond, they heard geese landing on the water. “It sounded like a motor boat since there were so many,” he said. Later that same night, they heard a giant herd of elk and numerous elk bugling. “Students who had field glasses saw males battling. It was just spectacular to be able to listen and observe this,” he said. Throughout the three days, students observed a variety of wildlife, including moose, elk, deer, owls, hawks, foxes and several species of macro invertebrates. However, the three days didn’t just teach students about nature. Reeder said many students learned other skills. “First, for many, they learned they can survive without technology each and every minute. Their phones and devices were taken from them when we reached the Tetons and for some, that

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was a hard lesson. Our students also learned responsibility. Each morning they had to pack their lunch and be ready with rain gear, their field journal and other items needed for hikes or for a bus to take them to a specific location. They also were responsible for helping in the cafeteria,” he said. Students learned about career opportunities in science that they might not have thought of previously, Reeder said. Through the role modeling of these scientists they worked with as field leaders and even an AmeriCorp volunteer, they learned they could teach as well as research in the field. Students worked together in partners and teams to do field research and tried a low-ropes course. “Their groups were assigned so students weren’t necessarily with their best friends. Students learned accountability and trust, and were placed in situations where they had to socialize with a different group from their usual peers. They learned to work together and as a result, many of them came away with making new friends. We now see that in the hallways as they talk to one another. They’ve built a bond on this trip. It was an unbelievable trip for them,” Reeder said. 



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County libraries offer resources to potential novelists By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com


alt Lake County residents with a desire to write a novel were offered a multitude of resources during National Novel Writing Month. Every November for the past three years, the Salt Lake County Library System has encouraged writers to participate in the national challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, the length of an average novel. “It encourages folks to get out there and share the stories that are in their brains,” said Liesl Seboard, the senior librarian for adult outreach programing. According to Seboard, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a national organization that’s been encouraging potential novelists since 1999. “Not only does the website platform provide support through digital means and digital discussion groups, but it also coordinates regional leaders who help support and encourage local writers in their area,” Seboard said. “We’ve partnered with those regional leaders and the organization for the past three years.” In addition to providing space for people to write their novels during the month of November, the library system

also offered several how-to books on how to write novels, the book market, how to get an agent and various book publishers. Additionally, writing classes were offered that will continue on after NaNoWriMo is over.

Throughout the month, different libraries held weekly write-in sessions with supportive groups. These libraries included the Whitmore, Millcreek, Kearns, Smith, South Jordan, West Valley, Sandy and Hunter libraries. “All of our write-in events across the system have had lots of participants to share the success of writing their novels and do word sprints and bounce ideas off each other,” Seboard said.

“Already, it’s been doing really well.” On Nov. 17, Brandon Mull, a Utah writer famous for his Fablehaven series, was at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan to not only talk about his lasted book, “Fablehaven Book of Imagination,” but also talk about his experience breaking into the book industry. “That actually is a great way for young people to begin thinking about adventures and getting into writing their own stories and working on their imaginations,” Seboard said. On Nov. 22, four other Utah authors met at the Holladay Library to talk about their books and answer questions about writing and publishing. The authors included Tess Hilmo, Bobbie Pyron, Ilima Todd and Carol Lynch Williams. “We offered those workshops for our writing community out there,” Seboard said. “We have some of the most amazing and productive writing communities in the nation. We have more coming out of this state than any other.” For more information about NaNoWriMo, visit www. nanowrimo.org. For more information about the Salt Lake County Library System, visit www.slcolibrary.org. 

Arts council hosts annual arts show By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com

The artwork was on display at the Whitmore Library throughout the month of October. (Kelly Cannon/ City Journals)


uring the month of October, the Whitmore Library was lined with artwork from various residents around the state. The fourth annual Cottonwood Heights Art Show featured 86 pieces of art from over 40 artists. Sponsored by the Cottonwood Heights Arts Council, artwork included drawings and paintings in acrylics, watercolors and oils. Subjects of the paintings included portraits, pastoral landscapes, animals, studies of the human body and abstract expression. “This is the fifth year for the arts show, and it keeps growing every year to get better and better,” said Kimberly Pedersen,

the production manager at the Cottonwood Heights Arts Council. According to Pedersen, the art show started after the arts council wanted to feature local artists and let the larger community know about the talent that is being produced in Cottonwood Heights. “Although they don’t have to live in Cottonwood Heights to enter, we do have many artists that live within the city limits and we love to showcase their work,” she said. This year was the first year the show accepted work from children and young adults. The show also featured several works from the

The Cottonwood Heights Art Show featured 86 pieces of art from over 40 Utah artists. (Kelly Cannon/ City Journals)

TURN City Center for the Arts, an innovative day program located in Salt Lake City that is dedicated to the artistic development of individuals with disabilities. “This was a wonderful opportunity for Cottonwood Heights residents to see more diverse works,” Pedersen said. There were no sculptures in the show but Pedersen said any form of art is welcome. “It is something we are working on for future shows,” Pedersen said. “Most of the works that were submitted were paintings and drawings.” The only art the show doesn’t accept is

photography because the arts council will be hosting another art show in March dedicated only to photography. The show was not a juried show and there were no winners, per se. “We did open voting for people who came to see the displayed artwork to choose their favorite,” Pedersen said. “The top seven pieces from that voting are featured in the new city hall building for the month of November.” To learn more about the Cottonwood Heights Arts Council, visit cottonwoodheights. utah.gov. 




Business owner basics By Cassie Goff | cassie@mycityjournals.com


uring October, Cottonwood Heights hosted free “Back to Basics” business boot camps every Thursday at the new city hall on 2277 E. Bengal Blvd. The series was sponsored by Zions Bank. Matthias Miller, a small business development advisor from Growth Partners, began the boot camp series on Oct. 6 by discussing how to create a business strategy. “It’s exciting to help others find and implement new and better ideas, solutions and systems that benefit both customers and the business,” Miller said. With Growth Partners, Miller helps small business owners increase personal growth and capability. To do so, he works with them to establish the desires, purpose and vision of the business. He also helps business owners with solutions, marketing and scaled growth. On Oct.13, Jaelynn Jenkins from Fetzer, Simonsen, Booth, and Jenkins discussed how to define your business’s legal entity. Jenkins works as an attorney in areas of estate planning, business law and general litigation, among others. She discussed the different types of business entities so the business owners in attendance could determine the best fit for them. She discussed sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs). “The control depends on the kind of partnership you have,” Jenkins said. In corporations, the owners are the shareholders and management comes in the form of a board of directors. With a sole proprietorship, there is no separate legal unity so if someone comes to sue, they can go for twice the assets. With the LLC, only

Jaelynn Jenkins discusses the different types of businesses during her business boot camp, “Defining Your Businesses Legal Entity.” (Cassie Goff/City Journals)

the business can be sued. “These protect you,” explained Jenkins. As far as taxes are concerned, sole proprietorships tax the business owner as well as the business. Since corporations pay owner dividends, they are taxed by the IRS. LLCs are taxed like sole proprietorships but can lessen the double tax burden. They are more flexible. Small business owners have to establish themselves with the U.S. Department of Commerce. The department wants to know who the business owner is, who their registered agent is and who their members are. Depending on the business, additional licenses are required by the state. Along with licensing, small businesses also need an employment identification number if they have employees. Jenkins said the most important advice she can give is to “make sure to have agreements written out.” This serves as selfpreservation and self-protection.

Business owners should also consider the future of their business, which entails what happens to the business when they leave or die. Jenkins made sure to reiterate that businesses have risk management. “There are multiple lanes of defense for businesses, insurance, funds, procedures, policies, fundraising and securities.” On Oct. 20, Bill Hilliard from Zions Bank taught “Small Business Loans 101.” “Zions Bank is number one for small business loans in America,” Hilliard said. “It’s government backed — they will cover 85 percent of the balance if the loan goes bad.” Hilliard discussed the differences between lines of credit and term loans. He discussed what can be used as assets and how that works with loans. He also defined unfamiliar terms such as maximum amortization. The loan officers at Zions work with many different kinds of loans, such as CAPLines, 504 loans, 7(a) term loans, express term loans and express revolving line of credit. “We can help some businesses from the ground up,” Hilliard said. Even though small businesses require a lot of documentation, they usually have great products and can be well worth it. Hilliard has personally worked with business owners in the ski industry all the way through to massage therapists. “You identify the need and we’ll help to identify the loan,” Hilliard said. Hilliard concluded by going over a bullet list on how to get approved for a loan. He discussed factors such as business tax returns, interim financial statements, debt schedule, business plan, financial statements and projections. 




Tumult for many for-profit colleges, why students still attend By Mandy Morgan Ditto | m.ditto@mycityjournals.com


any students and graduates of ITT Technical Institutes didn’t expect a college to close so rapidly. However, that’s exactly what happened with ITT Tech on Sept. 6, right as the school year was beginning. ITT Educational Services, which operates ITT Technical Institutes — private colleges that have operated in more 140 locations across the nation for more than 50 years — announced closures after the Department of Education decided “to bar the chain of colleges from using federal financial aid to enroll new students,” according to the New York Times. The only ITT Tech location in Utah was in Murray, Utah, and students that planned to attend the 2016 fall semester on Sept. 12 were surprised to have plans changed a few days before. “It is with profound regret that we must report that ITT Educational Services, Inc. will discontinue academic operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes permanently after more than 50 years of continuous service,” said ITT Tech’s official news release announcing the closure of the schools. “The actions of and sanctions from the U.S. Department of Education have forced us to cease operations of the ITT Technical Institutes, and we will not be offering our September quarter.” For Kevin Neff, a graduate from ITT Tech in Murray in 1998, the worth of his degree and the education he received is still entirely valid to him, no matter the school closure. Neff, who received an associate of applied science degree in computer-aided drafting and design technology, was looking for a school to help him get a secondary education degree and have time to spend with his family. “In speaking with the school, reviewing the schedules and looking further at the classes offered, I was pretty much sold from day one,” Neff told the City Journals in an email. He had considered the programs for computer-aided drafting and architecture at both Salt Lake Community College and the University of Utah, but the programs would take too much time while he was working full time, and he was hoping to get his degree in less than four years. “I feel the education and training I received at ITT Tech was as thorough as I would have received attending any community college,” Neff said. “There was never a time at ITT that I felt the curriculum or my instructors were sub-par when compared to my public community college options. I did feel that the algebra and physics courses at ITT were tailored more towards real-world applications faced in drafting and design scenarios than an overall study of each course.” Neff has worked for over the last 16 years in a position focused on “the utilization of both GIS and computer-aided drafting systems.” He and his family currently resides in Oregon. Though most graduates haven’t felt much impact from the closure of the school, it was jolting for some employees. Tony Rose, who worked at the Phoenix location of ITT Tech, was surprised to see an email several days after it was sent to his work account about the school closure, before the semester started. There was an email sent to all ITT Tech employees’ work accounts at 4:30 a.m. in Arizona, right after Labor Day weekend, he recalled. “Nobody had checked their email unless you worked in the offices,” he said. “I’m driving home from my day job, and I hear on the radio that they closed it.” He believes management was aware before other employees that the institute would close. He also said many people didn’t get their final paychecks due to scattered management of finances overall. Luckily, Rose has another job working as a network administrator in the Creighton School District in Phoenix, but he won’t have a chance at another community college job until potential hiring takes place before the next semester that starts in January. For those students who were hoping to finish their degree at ITT Tech, there is a process some qualify for to get their student loans through

A sign posted on the door of the ITT Tech campus in Murray announces the closure of the school. The national for-profit school closed all its doors in September. (Kimberly Roach/City Journals)

“It is with profound regret that we must report that ITT Educational Services, Inc. will discontinue academic operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes permanently after more than 50 years of continuous service,” the school forgiven, Rose said, though some are simply going to have to pay off federal loans and find another school that may or may not take already earned credits to finish a degree. The sudden closure of ITT Tech hasn’t impacted Kyle Judson much, as he has security in his current job. Judson, who graduated from one of the previous two ITT locations in Massachusetts in 2007, was top in his class with a degree in computer networking. He is still living in Massachusetts. “I’ve never actually had a job in computer networking, but that’s the same old song and dance for all of us,” Judson said. “I work for a medical device company now, I’m a technical support manager after being in the engineering world for about seven or eight years after I graduated.” Why students choose schools like ITT Tech over four-year colleges is a question that can only be answered by everyone at these schools, who like Judson, have found factors that work best for them. Judson wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do after he graduated from high school; he attended a few universities before landing on ITT Tech. “I’ve always had an aptitude for math and science,” he said. “I knew computers were kind of a combination of the two, and I needed a degree and I needed one fast, so I said ‘ITT Tech, why not?’” The smaller class sizes and regular interaction with professors who worked in the industry all provided positives for Judson at ITT, which led to more connections and networking. There wasn’t, however, as much hardware to use and learn from at the university, which was something Judson said he saw as a bit of a problem, especially with the amount of tuition being paid. For being a technical college, it was the one thing that didn’t quite make sense — to not have the very equipment there all the time to help students really learn the trade they were studying. When it came to funding at ITT, Judson said “there were always some rumors and some whispers about — for lack of a better term

— some shady financial practice,” Judson said. “But at the time I didn’t really know about it, and I just wanted an education, but I’m lucky it worked for me. I got a great job after I graduated, and I was able to pay my student loans, but I also did really well in school so I got a really good job when I was done.” Judson graduated with $48,000 in student loan debt, after a two-year program, including two private loans that were $20,000 and $18,000, with high interest. His federal government loan was low-interest, and he has paid off every loan since. Though programs may end up costing students a lot at schools like ITT Tech, the quicker nature of getting degrees from them is often what brings students to their doors. As for accreditation, Judson feels ITT Tech never had any problems with that; most concerns came with finances, which is ultimately what led to the closure of the nationwide school. However, other colleges that have remained open in the valley are dealing with accreditation issues, since the Department of Education took away accreditation privileges from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), the largest national accrediting organization of degree-granting institutions. Those like The Art Institute of Salt Lake City, Broadview University, Neumont University and Eagle Gate College are either waiting for the appeal to go through and provide ACICS with authority once again or are making plans to gain accreditation from another source. Though all schools accredited by ACICS will remain so through a transition period of 18 months, all will want to be sure students from their university will leave with valid, accredited degrees. Neumont University President Shaun McAlmont announced shortly after the announcement about ACICS that they were already in the process — months ago, in fact — of changing accreditors. Neumont is located in downtown Salt Lake City. “We’re already through the first two steps of the five-step process for changing accreditors,” McAlmont said. “This change will not affect the quality — or value — of education that has always set Neumont apart. Regardless of our accreditor, Neumont will continue to deliver a hands-on, rigorous, project-based and results-driven computer science education for all of our students.” Neumont expects to have a new accreditor in the next six to nine months. Since finding out about the possible loss of accreditation from ACICS, Broadview University — located in West Jordan — has also started on the process of being re-accredited with a previous accreditor as a backup plan. “The process is already in place as far as taking care of the front-end work, as kind of a preventative measure, just in case, should we need to use that,” said Michelle Knoll, senior marketing and communications manager for Broadview. “And then, should ACICS prevail, we would just stay with ACICS.” If any changes were to occur, Broadview University would inform students of the change, which would only mean they might have a different company accrediting the university by the time many of them graduated, Knoll said. “It’s kind of a tricky situation, but we know that the students are top priority, so we want to make sure that anything that impacts them they are aware of, but now it shouldn’t impact them, until there’s a decision,” Knoll said. If Broadview had believed that ACICS was doing anything they shouldn’t have done as an accreditor, they wouldn’t have stuck with them, Knoll said. The university supports ACICS and will stay with them if they win with the appeal. No one at the ITT Technical Institute, the Art Institute of Salt Lake City or Eagle Gate College responded to the City Journals for comment. 




Resident passion soars at town hall meeting By Cassie Goff | cassie@mycityjournals.com


YU students partnered with the Cottonwood Heights Community and Economic Development Department (CHED) to conduct a town hall meeting focusing on the current issues and future solutions for Wasatch Boulevard. The meeting was held on Wednesday, Nov. 9. All residents who live within the Wasatch area were invited to attend. The city sent out around 1,800 invitations to residents. The night began with CHED Director Brian Berndt describing what the goal was for the night and the current status of the boulevard. “We are looking at impacts from Wasatch Boulevard. We are going out for funding sources to start studying it to a greater extend with other councils,” Berndt said. “Part of the work is the initial conversation with you tonight. Nothing has been determined, but this will start the conversation.” Cottonwood Heights City Councilman Tee Tyler spoke to the group after Berndt addressed some resident questions. “Over the past seven years, I have emailed (Utah Department of Transportation) regarding the future of Wasatch Boulevard three times, as an interested citizen,” Tyler said. “There’s a lot of passion in the room tonight. We need to think about what we can do about the commuter traffic through Sandy and the ski traffic, which

Residents listen to a description of the current efforts for improving Wasatch Boulevard. (Mike Johnson/CHED)

is seasonal, but can be worse. Currently, there are just under 30,000 cars commuting on the boulevard each day, and it’s just going to grow.” A few of the residents in attendance asked about UDOT’s role with the road. “UDOT owns Wasatch. It is the only road in the city we do not own,” Tyler said. Berndt said the information gathered that night will help UDOT with further decisions. “They want to be partnering with us as well as Sandy, Holladay, Ski Utah and the ski resorts,” Berndt added. As breakout discussion groups began to form, Tyler reminded the residents the purpose of the night was to get solution ideas. “The BYU students are going to be

facilitators to feed information to the planning department and then to UDOT,” Tyler said. BYU students Lauren Waters, Nick Estrada and Moussa Cissok divided all the attendees into three groups. When the attendees arrived, they received a questionnaire, which determined the group they would be in. The paper provided questions for the groups to discuss. The attendees were invited to write down their thoughts and turn the paper back into their respective student. “We are interested in helping the city. We are getting together to talk about solutions,” Estrada said as he addressed the residents in his group. “There’s no agenda here, just tell us what

you think. We don’t want to focus on negative things but we want to find some solutions and be productive,” CHED Associate Planner Andy Hulka chimed in. Many of the issues focused on traffic concerns, Oktoberfest, property taxes, noise, residential areas, open space, mass transit, increased development, pedestrian and bicycle safety as well as mountain and open space preservation. Some of the solutions discussed were lowering speed limits; widening lanes, as well as not widening lanes; adding more speed limit signs, street lights and turn lanes along the boulevard; widening Danish Road; making the entire area residential and adding sound barriers; mass transit additions and relative boundaries; less dense housing units; creating bonds for trails and open space; having developers be responsible for open space; creating a walkable community; allowing canyon visitors to park in business garages on the weekends; creating a group of people to help with community issues; and having more communication and representation with UDOT. “We will be collectively pulling all the comments together to find commonalties,” Berndt said. “There will be a spot on the city’s website with all the comments.” 



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Meet the new faces of public works By Cassie Goff | cassie@mycityjournals.com


revious winters in Cottonwood Heights have been extremely difficult for residents due to the contracted snowplowing services. This year, city officials moved public works entirely in-house. Working through transitional steps took the better part of this past year. One of the biggest necessities of the transition was to hire an entire public works team. This new team will be responsible for the snowplowing within the Cottonwood Heights city borders. Currently, they are anxiously awaiting the first snowfall. One of the first tasks of the transition was to find a new public works director. In June, Matt Shipp joined the city staff to take that title. Shipp obtained his degree from the University of Idaho, where he also met his wife. He previously worked as a city engineer for Highland City, capital projects engineer and public director for South Jordan and as public works director of a small town in Idaho. Since the small town in Idaho was right on the border of Canada, he has a lot of experience with snow removal services. In July, Public Works Superintendent Danny Martinez came out of retirement to join the Cottonwood Heights team. He previously worked for Salt Lake County for 30 years. The last 18 of those were spent overseeing

These are the faces of the new Cottonwood Heights Public Works team. They seem to get along well. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)

the snowplowing services in Cottonwood Heights. “It’s wonderful to have him,” Assistant City Manager Bryce Haderlie said. By early August, the first job offers had been accepted and the core for the public works team was beginning to take shape. Operations Specialist Richard Dickey previously worked with Martinez in Salt Lake County. He is also

familiar with snowplowing within the city and is excited to be on the team. “We will do this right,” Dickey said. Toward the end of August, Park Maintenance Crew Leader Ryan Gardner, Operations Specialist Mitchell Ackley, Operations Specialist Phil Egbert, Operations Specialist Eric Trigg and Operations Specialist Ellis Wade were hired and are ready to work. In early September, snowplowing routes were established and training for the drivers began. They drove through their routes in new trucks, beginning to get a feel for the roads. “Cottonwood Heights is a hard city to plow because half of it is on the hill,” Martinez said. Around the same time, the city was having a hard time finding adequate candidates to fill the remaining positions for the team. Martinez expressed the idea to call Wasatch Waste and Recycling and request some of their seasonal employees. Four seasonal employees — Davis Fotu, Sione Tuione, Avaro Segura and Alden Olsen — were highly recommended and quickly completed the team. “We know there’s responsibility on our shoulders. We are here and we want to help,” Tuione said. By the end of October, the staff had finalized 10 snowplowing routes for the city. The designers created a system for seven or eight routes to effectively cover the city if the 10 routes cannot be staffed due to an absence, whether it be for a staff member or a truck. Throughout the last few months, less experienced drivers have been driving through their routes with snowplow veterans to discuss tactics. Most of the drivers have had resident encounters while on the roads. “People will even stop walking their dog to stare at us,” Trigg said Ackley chimed in, “A resident even stopped me to say that he had paid for the truck I was driving.”

Despite training in teams, each driver will have a separately assigned truck with an accompanying route. “I’m most excited about driving the new trucks,” Ackley said. In each truck a GPS system has been installed. It includes a high-quality tracking system as well as specific tips and tricks for the drivers of every individual route. The city hopes this will eliminate some of the issues that arose in previous years, such as obstructive snow pilings and blockages. The staff is prepared to work late nights and early mornings with some shifts starting around 4 a.m. “We want to come in and do it right,” Ackley said. “We are excited to make a difference.” The team is even working well together. “We have a good group of people. They are the people we see the most so we want to get along, and we do,” Trigg said. “Danny picked the best people.” While there is no snow on the ground, the public works team is working on tree trimming, pothole patching and other miscellaneous work orders. However, snowplowing is top priority, Shipp said. “This is the title page of the story we will tell,” said Shipp. Even though the members of the Cottonwood Heights Public Works team are confident about snow removal this year, they have one common concern. They will not be able to complete their snowplowing tasks adequately if cars are parked along the road. The city staff and Cottonwood Heights police are working to find solutions to this reoccurring problem within the city. For more information about road parking during the winter, please read http:// cottonwoodheights.utah.gov/cms/One. aspx?portalId=109778&pageId=6020043. 




Brighton community rallies and army of support for Ashtyn By Rubina Halwani | r.halwani@mycityjournals.com


shtyn Poulsen has had a long battle with cancer. In 2013, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at age 12. She underwent a bone marrow transplant and remission that same year. Three years later, she relapsed in October 2016. Now, at age 15, Ashtyn attends Brighton High School and the school community has joined her army of support. Suzanne Poulsen, Ashtyn’s mother, blogs updates using a Facebook page named Ashtyn’s Army. The page was initially created after Ashtyn’s first diagnosis back in 2013. In more recent posts, Poulsen recounts what the past two months have been like with her daughter’s relapse. “When Ashtyn went to the ER on October 9th and found out her cancer had relapsed, tests showed 85 percent of her bone marrow was leukemia cells,” wrote Poulsen. Ashtyn has a specific form of AML, a type that affects only two to three percent of all AML cases. She has spent a significant amount of time in the hospital since the onset of her illness. She has endured physically taxing treatments, including the loss of her hair because of therapy. In another post, Poulsen wrote, “Ashtyn’s morning lab values that check liver and kidney functions as well as blood production are all improving daily. Yep. Her liver is getting better! It still has a ways to go but the bilirubin is coming down.” The Brighton Bengals dedicated a football game in midOctober to Ashtyn. Students wore camouflage to represent Ashtyn’s Army. The school also raised funds for her medical expenses by selling items, including a silent auction for a

Peers visit Ashtyn Poulsen in the hospital. (Ashtyn’s Army)

Brighton students wear camouflage at a football game in support. (Ashtyn’s Army)

jersey of NBA player Steph Curry. So far, Ashtyn’s Facebook page has received almost 4,000 likes. She’s received messages of support and visits while in the hospital. Angie Purvis from Nevada posted, “I donate plasma two times a week and after reading this last night, I’m donating today for Ashtyn, and those like her. Much love and prayers coming your way!”

Lisa Harbertsen from Park City wrote, “Wow. Every day, every hour is a rollercoaster. I’m so amazed by the way she weathers this big storm, with calm and grace.” In her latest post, Poulsen mentioned that Ashtyn was coming home, after spending 34 days in the hospital. She asked for people’s prayers for her daughter’s health. The family hopes to celebrate Ashtyn’s 16th birthday outside the hospital at the end of November. 




Hope mentors help students prevent suicide By Rubina Halwani | r.halwani@mycityjournals.com


ope Squad students from Lone Peak High School talked to peers from around the state about suicide prevention. The session was one several lectures at the Utah PTA Vital Issues/Advocacy Conference. The program was held on Nov. 7 at the Granite School District Administration Building. Suicide is the leading cause of death in children aged 10-17, according to the Utah Department of Health. Paul Dymock, LCSW and Suicide Prevention Specialist from Alpine School District explained Hope Squad is a studentled, suicide prevention advocacy group. Hope Squad members are nominated from their peers. They are trained to identify signs of suicide and be a comfortable contact for peers. “What they do is go into the classroom and students present to students, which is way more effective than adults presenting to students,” Dymock said. Hope members offer information on causes, treatments and resources to fellow students. Dymock added that the support structure of Hope Squad includes trained teachers/ student mentors, counselors, administrators, parents, police and religious community members.

Hope Squad members at the Utah PTA Vital Issues conference. (Rubina Halwani/City Journals)

“We’re finding that as we’re working and being involved the numbers are dropping and we’re seeing great successes,” Dymock said. Youth suicide rates in Utah have been consistently higher than the national rate.

An average of five hundred and fifty Utahns die annually from suicide and over forty-five hundred people attempt suicide each year. Three key factors discussed by the student presenters were failure, anxiety and stress.

“Anxiety is highly treatable, but one-third of people that do have anxiety are not getting help for it” said Hope student Brittan Allphin. Hope Squad Member Sierra Anderson suggested for students to know one another on an individual level as a way build social connectivity and ward stressful/anxious situations. “The teachers who notice the anxiety systems those are the teachers that makes the difference in people’s lives,” Anderson said. “And those don’t even have to be teachers, those can be students and parents as well.” Suggested treatments include ways to be happy, healthy, and Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound/SMART goal-setting method. Utah offers SafeUT Crisisline, a statewide, twenty-four/seven service for anyone facing suicide, depression, anxiety, loss/grief, school problems, substance abuse, self-harm, or relationship difficulties. It is free, anonymous and confidential. You can call 1-800-2738255. There is also an available app. For more information, visit http://healthcare.utah.edu/ uni/clinical-services/safe-ut/. To learn more about Hope Squad and how to begin one in your school community, visit http://hopesquad.com. 

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Butler students dress up for Red Ribbon Week By Rubina Halwani | r.halwani@mycityjournals.com


tudents at Butler Middle School celebrated Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 17–19 to raise awareness about drugs, alcohol, tobacco and related violence. Students were encouraged to wear different attire to show support for preventing drugs each day of the week. Monday was “paw-sitively” drug-free day. Tuesday was sport jersey day. Children wore their favorite sports shirt to team up against drugs. Wednesday was hat day. Students wore a wide array of hats, hoods and caps in a show of putting a “cap” on drugs. Officers from the Cottonwood Heights Police Department spoke to students about drug safety at Butler on Monday. “Thanks Cottonwood Heights Police K-9 Unit for coming today and mix and mingling with our students,” said Lisa Devashrayee, a parent from the school. “We appreciate the support.” The national red ribbon website notes “children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42 percent less

likely to use drugs than those who don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.” Red Ribbon Week is part of a national campaign that began in 1985 and is sponsored by the National Family Partnership (NFP). Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was an honorary chairwoman for NFP. The theme for 2016 is “YOLO, #YouOnlyLiveOnce, Be Drug Free.” During the national campaign, parents and students are asked to pledge to remain drug-free. The Utah PTA hosts the annual, weeklong event each year. The local PTA chooses the daily theme and manages the activities for their school. “Addiction is seven to 10 times more likely for kids who experiment with drugs or alcohol at age 14 or younger,” said Certified Prevention Professional Darren Reed in a tweet. “Talk to your kids.” To learn more about the program, visit http://redribbon.org/. 

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Students put a cap on drugs at Butler Middle School. (Butler Middle Facebook)




Brighton High girls basketball coach looks forward to new season By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com





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righton High School girls basketball head coach James Gresh has been the leader of the team for the past 18 years. During that time, the team has seen major wins and disappointing defeats. One of those defeats was last season’s loss in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. The Bengals lost to Sky View High School, located in Smithfield, 78-42. “They were good. They were really good,” Gresh said about Sky View’s team. Two years ago, the Brighton Bengals snagged the 5A state championship from Fremont 49-40. Gresh hopes to bring back that tradition of winning. “We’re always in the running. We’re always in state contention. We’ve won three state championships in the time I’ve been there,” Gresh said. “We’ve won six region championships in the time I’ve been there. Our reputation is a quality team that is in contention every year for region and for state.” Since last season, the team has lost two seniors to graduation and another senior this year to early graduation. Gresh doesn’t seem too worried about the missing players. “We’re going to try and band together and play good basketball,” Gresh said.

Gresh described his coaching style as a bit of everything. “I hope every coach is that way where they emphasize the fundamentals and the mental side and all of it,” Gresh said. Looking toward the new season, which started Nov. 22, Gresh said his main hope is to have the team play good basketball. “I don’t think a lot on what is going to happen,” Gresh said. “We just kind of stay in the present and in the moment and hope to get better every day. I don’t have expectations.” To follow the Brighton High School girls basketball team, visit www.brightonhigh. canyonsdistrict.org. 

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Brighton girls volleyball finish fifth at state By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com


Whatever the


After a strong finish, the Brighton High girls varsity volleyball team finished fifth at the state tournament. (Brighton High School)


fter a strong season with only one loss, the Brighton girls volleyball finished fifth at the state tournament. The team lost a match to the eventual winner Lone Peak High School and then beat Bingham High School to secure the fifthplace spot. “Although we had aspirations of winning state, we had a good tournament,” said Adam Fernandez, the girls volleyball head coach. “We went three and one, and lost in the fifth to the eventual champion.” The strong showing comes two years after a poor season where the team missed the state tournament for the first time in almost three decades. “It was just abysmal,” Fernandez said. Fernandez said that last year, not only did the team have a great group of players, but there weren’t any expectations because they failed to make state the previous year. “All of a sudden, that group started winning and winning and ended up region champions,” Fernandez said. “The nice thing last year was there were no expectations.” Because only two players graduated last year, this year’s team was mostly the same. However, that gave way to the expectations of being a good, strong team. “The toughest part this year was people expected us to be good. There were expectations for us, which is nice because we have a good program,” Fernandez said. “It’s tough because if you win, people say we’re supposed to

win. If you lose, they ask what happened. Why did you lose? That’s the toughest thing.” Last year, the team finished fourth at state. However, 16-year-old Emma Dunn felt the team could’ve done better. “We didn’t have our middle, which is a huge factor because she’s the tallest on our team. When we were in the semifinals, we played Pleasant Grove and everybody is super tall so it’s really hard not having a middle or a backup middle,” Dunn said. “We still took fourth without her so we lost two games the last day.”

“Thinking this is the last season with these girls, playing with them, is kind of sad. You have to face it. You have to give some things.”

During this season, Brighton only lost one match the entire season to Bingham. “We won the first game. We came out with a lot of energy and with a lot of positive motivation towards each other,” said LeighAnne Taylor, a senior on the team. “The second, third and fourth game, it was kind of a letdown over time instead of making sure we were doing our best with every single individual ball.”

Despite the loss, Taylor described the season as being a really great one. “We’ve been working hard. We do weights Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at six in the morning. Then we do practices for about two and a half to three hours,” Taylor said “We’re working really hard and we’re making sure we’re holding each other accountable and that every ball is a good touch.” According to Taylor, the team prepped for state by focusing on the last two weeks of practice, especially on getting better touches on the ball and making sure the players don’t let anything slide. Taylor also personally prepped for the post-season by making sure all of her homework was done ahead of time so she could focus on practice. The season was bittersweet for Dunn. Despite it being her junior year, she will not be playing her senior year due to wrist surgery. According to Dunn, the high school season is the only time she can have it done before playing at the collegiate level. “It’s kind of sad. I love high school season. It’s just so much fun. You get to be with the girls all the time. You get super, super close with all of the team. Club season is fun but high school season is just so much fun because you’re always with each other. I get so excited about high school season every year,” Dunn said. “Thinking this is the last season with these girls, playing with them, is kind of sad. You have to face it. You have to give some things.” 

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New coach hopes to build strong team both on and off court By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com


Garrett Wilson is the new head coach of the Brighton basketball team. This will be Wilson’s 13th year coaching basketball. (Garrett Wilson/Brighton basketball)

righton High School’s boys basketball team will see a new face on the sideline as Garrett Wilson takes over as the head coach. Wilson is replacing Jeff Gardner, who took the job of head coach at the new Skyridge High School in Lehi. In addition to coaching the boys basketball team, Wilson is also teaching the health science program and sophomore English at Brighton High School. Wilson comes from a tradition of basketball coaching. His father coached basketball at Cyprus High School for 20 years. “Basketball was kind of life. I obviously would go to my dad’s games when I was little. I played throughout high school. I went to Bingham High School so Brighton was a big rival,” Wilson said. “When I’d go to my dad’s games, Brighton always had tremendous teams. I remember when I first really started recognizing the game in the 1990s and seeing this Brighton team as being one of the best and has been for a really long time. That was part of the intrigue of this job as well.” This will be Wilson’s 13th year coaching basketball. He got his start as an assistant coach at Bingham High School at age 18, right after he graduated. “I went right into the program. I was coaching the sophomore team a few months after I graduated,”

Wilson said. “It was kind of a unique situation. I coached there for a long time.” After Bingham, he coached as an assistant at West Jordan High School under Scott Briggs, whom Wilson considers to be one of the best coaches around. For the past two years, Wilson has been the head basketball coach at Taylorsville High School. When it comes to building a team, Wilson said it’s a multifaceted effort, looking for players who can bring something new to the table. “We’re looking for guys who can score. We’re looking for guys who can defend. We’re looking for guys who can rebound,” Wilson said. “There’s a lot of different aspects to the game to put the team together.” Wilson said he and his assistant coaches aren’t just looking on the five best scorers or the five guys who can shoot the best — they’re also looking at the individual. “We’re big into character and developing that through our program. That’s probably the most important aspect of sports. Guys with work ethic and guys who don’t cut corners. Guys who want to do things the right way,” Wilson said. “We really emphasize the academic side of things. Being an academic teacher, it’s really important to me that our guys are holding themselves to the

same standards in the classroom as they are on the basketball floor.” Wilson has a master’s degree in sports psychology and plans on hitting at the mental aspects of the game. “We really try to teach our kids to build a mental toughness to gain the competitive edge, being able to deal with adversity and being able to stay positive when most people go the opposite way,” Wilson said. “Focusing on the little details and controlling the little details they can control and the things they really focus on and try to emphasize.” Through focusing on the mental side of the game, Wilson hopes the players build life skills and learn valuable lessons. “Philosophically, we’re all about developing kids, not cutting corners, kind of having that workingclass mentality where great things are only going to happen through a lot of effort and the best things in life are going to happen through some hardships,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be hard to obtain success.” Wilson said he’s really looking forward to the upcoming season and believes Brighton has a good, dynamic, multidimensional team. “All the pieces are there for us so it’s just to be seen if we can play out this season and put it all together,” Wilson said. 


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Stars debut, bring professional basketball to the suburbs By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


he Salt Lake City Stars began their debut season mid-November, giving basketball players opportunities for growth and community members additional accessibility to professional ball. In April, the Utah Jazz announced they’d be moving their development league affiliate, formerly known as the Idaho Stampede, from Boise to the Salt Lake City area to tighten ties between the D-League team and the Jazz. The team’s new home is the Bruin Arena at the Salt Lake Community College Taylorsville Redwood Campus. “The No. 1 priority of purchasing the team and bringing it to Salt Lake is to help the development of the Utah Jazz basketball organization,” said Bart Sharp, the Stars’ general manager. “While we want to be competitive and we do have the goal to win games, make the playoffs and succeed there, the No. 1 priority is to develop our players and provide them an opportunity to understand the Jazz system, instruction and culture.” The D-League team brings together new players on the Jazz roster who could use more playing time, Jazz draft picks who have been assigned to the Stars and free agent players who could be called up to the Jazz or other National Basketball Association teams upon vacancy. Sharp said Rudy Gobert, a Jazz center who played with the Stampede during his rookie year, is a fantastic example of how the D-League can reinforce a player’s skills. “I bet quite a few people would attribute his rapid development to that ability to get on the court with the D-League, all while staying close to the parent organization—the Jazz,” Sharp said. Sharp noted that Joel Bolomboy, Jazz forward who formerly played at Weber State University, may have a similar experience. “He is obviously on the Jazz roster, and he is doing very well; however, there

are opportunities while we are in town,” Sharp said. “They could send Joel down to a (Stars) game here on Tuesday night, and he could get some more playing time on it, and then on Wednesday he could be on the Jazz bench, building those relationships with those players and making sure that he understands what they are doing at that level, which hopefully expedites his experience as a player.” Because the Jazz already have four point guards contracted, two Jazz secondround draft picks are assigned to the Stars: Tyrone Wallace, a 6-foot-6-inch guard coming from University of California and Marcus Paige, a 6-foot-2-inch guard from University of North Carolina. “I think this is an opportunity to get better and work on my craft—you know, put in the hours here and put in the time,” Wallace said about playing for the Stars. “It is a chance for me to get on the floor every night in order to be in the NBA.” Wallace, who spent part of his senior season at Berkeley on the sidelines after he suffered a wrist fracture during a preseason practice, said he was ready to get back on the court full time. “I am ready for the fans to get here,” Wallace said. “I think it is going to be a good year for us.” The Stars went up against the Santa Cruz Warriors and the Reno Bighorns on Nov. 6 in their preseason tri-game at the Kaiser Permanente in Santa Cruz, Calif., falling short against the Warriors 52–38 and emerging victorious against the Bighorns 60–50. Although three players scored in the double-digits, the Stars lost their inaugural game against the defending NBA D-League Champions the Sioux Fall Skyforce on Nov. 12 (print deadline). The Stars were behind by up to 31 points in the third quarter, but narrowed the gap to 17 by the end of the game in a 117–100 loss. Season tickets for the Stars are still available and run as low as $78, with single

J.J. O’Brien handles the ball during the Salt Lake City Stars’ inaugural game against the defending NBA D-League Champions the Sioux Fall Skyforce. O’Brien added 20 points and six boards to the game, but the Skyforce still Defeated the Stars 117–100 (Dave Eggen/NBAE/Getty Images)



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Eric Dawson pivots with the ball during the Salt Lake City Stars’ inaugural game against the defending NBA D-League Champions the Sioux Fall Skyforce. The Stars lost the away game 117–100 at the Sanford Pentagon. (Dave Eggen/NBAE/Getty Images)

game tickets as low as $5. Sharp said it’s an affordable way for families residing in the suburbs to watch professional basketball with less travel. “We feel like—especially being out here in the Taylorsville area so close to Kearns and West Valley, West Jordan and others—that there’s a lot of folks even in the Salt Lake County that don’t get an opportunity to go to the Jazz games as much as they’d like, so we’re bringing a part of the Jazz here,” Sharp said. The Stars have their own dancers, dunk team and fun zone that includes bounce houses and activities for kids, bringing a unique alternative to going to the movies for family nights out, he said. The Stars will also be more accessible than Jazz, Sharp added. After each game, spectators are invited onto the court for an autograph session with some of the players. In addition, the coaches, staff and team host basketball clinics to help aspiring child basketball players. Their first basketball clinic on Sept. 17 served 50 children at the Taylorsville Recreation Center. Giving back to the community will be a focus for the Stars. One of the team’s 24 home games will be a “themed jersey night,” where the Stars will design and sport a jersey featuring a local charitable organization. The jerseys will be auctioned at the end of the game, and the proceeds will go to the charitable organization. For more information about the Stars or to purchase tickets, visit saltlakecity. dleague.nba.com. 

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ired of the same old shows every Christmas season? Treat your family to a delightful comedy that will knock your toeshoes off: “Nutcracker: Men in Tights.” This jolly holiday romp opens November 10. It’s Christmastime, and the small Utah town of Slagville is in financial trouble. The town council has come up with a tremendous plan to save them from disaster, they’ll put on a show! And what better show than “The Nutcracker?” Hoping to draw big crowds, they sign up a once-famous dancer, Maurice Money, who is trying to revive his career. But when a crabby town member, Candy Kancor, is overlooked for the show, she sets out to ruin everything. Chaos and hilarity ensue, culminating in the craziest production of “The Nutcracker” you’ve ever seen!

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Thunder Paws provides haven for flyball enthusiasts By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com


veryone aims to climb the ranks of their given passion. Nathaniel Coleman is literally doing it. As a competitive climber, Coleman is enjoying a successful 2016. Earlier this year, he won USA Climbing’s Bouldering Open National Championship and the Youth Bouldering National Championship in Madison, Wis. In October, he took second representing the United States at the inaugural International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World University Championships in Shanghai, China. “I feel honored really to be at a level where I’m able to win these competitions,” Coleman, 19, said. He also won the collegiate national championship in bouldering in May as a member/coach of the University of Utah climbing team. “This year has been a picture-perfect way for him to complete his youth career,” said Jeff Pedersen, CEO and co-founder of Momentum Indoor Climbing—where Coleman began training at age nine. Pedersen was one of Coleman’s first coaches. With the sport of climbing approved by the International Olympic Committee to be included in the 2020 Olympics games, Coleman’s success figures to see him as a prime contender to represent his country. Coleman said he definitely has aspirations for the Olympics. Already getting a taste of it by representing USA at international competitions around the world, Coleman said competing in China gave him a “team feeling.” “It was cool to have that sense of team that you usually don’t get in such an individual sport,” Coleman said. “I was just excited to do well and have my team be proud of me.” Olympic climbing will be a combination of sport climbing, bouldering and speed climbing. As a specialized boulder climber, Coleman said many world cup climbers specialize in one discipline

Bandit, a Jack Russell terrier, leaps off the springboard during practice. Thunder Paws competes in competitions in Las Vegas and Hurricane. (Nikelle Perkins/Thunder Paws)

Callie, an Australian shepherd, runs toward her owner as Ralph, a blue heeler, finishes running through the course. Both dogs participate in flyball with the Thunder Paws club. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

rather than all three. Each discipline requires different types of training. “It’s kind of up in the air whose gonna be best at that time, with four years to train I’m sure I’ll be able to get pretty decent at all three,” Coleman said. Considering his career accomplishments, his parents, coaches and competitors expect him to continue his “incredible journey” because of his talent. “He knows how to move his body, he knows his strength. He can execute moves that a lot of climbers can’t because of his strength and body awareness,” said Rosane Coleman, Nathaniel’s mother and Momentum competitive team manager. This natural talent has led to sponsorships and compensation

for doing what he loves. Nathaniel has sponsorship deals with Prana clothing company, Five Ten footwear and Petzl, a climbing gear manufacturer based out of France. Nathaniel doesn’t earn enough money to make a living, but there remains a level to which he can make a living off of climbing. Something he realized a possibility at age 15 when he won the Youth Bouldering Nationals. Nathaniel said the victory motivated him to train harder and get more comfortable in the competition setting. But it was when he took fifth at the adult nationals at age 18 that he took it seriously. “At that point I knew this was definitely worth considering doing for the rest of my life,” Nathaniel said. “When I was 15 I knew it was a possibility, and at 18 I knew it was happening.” 

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The Holidays: Time to Start Giving Back…. Or, is it?


ay it Forward, Serve, Give Back, Random Act of Kindness, no matter how you spell it, it’s that time of year where we are all thinking about giving. What a relief! After the troubled times of November, I for one am looking forward to the positivity the holidays bring. But, this leaves me pondering, what is all the excitement about. After all, December is just one month out of an entire calendar year. Studies show that people that help our fellow man are more successful in life, have improved health and happiness. Plus, children who volunteer are more likely to grow up to volunteer and serve as adults. Communities with more volunteers are typically more stable and better places to live (USA Today). So why are we saving all those positive benefits for only 1/12 of an entire year? Lets face it, in today’s world we need to make the effort to put a smile on the faces around us everyday. So, I’m proposing, in addition to the plans you already have to serve this holiday, you add just one more thing, a big cardboard box. For years I’ve had a box that’s plunked right next to my front door. It’s become a bit of joke for friends, as every time they stop by, I make some excuse for the tripping hazard. To the untrained it could look like a pile of unorganized junk waiting to be hauled out to the trash, but my charity box is actually a dropping ground for denotable food and clothing, household items or children’s niceties. I’ve found that having the box right where I enter and leave encourages me to add to it and reminds me to drop it of. To get you started here are a few things that have landed in this years box. January: Hot Cocoa Mix A little treat to enjoy with a neighbor after shoveling their sidewalk

February: Oatmeal Did you know February is National Hot Breakfast Month? What a great time to do a neighborhood Oatmeal Drive for the Food Bank. March: Books, Puzzles and Board Games It’s national reading month, so how bout encouraging a little reading? Volunteer at the Library; donate books to children in need. Senior homes also enjoy donations of books, puzzles and games. April: Pet Food Pet rescues, such as the Humane Society, Best Friends Animal Society and Rescue Rovers not only need pet food, they also need for paper towels, garbage bags, and old blankets. May: Pantry Staples Because of Memorial Day sales not only is May a great month to break out the coupons for grocery shopping. It’s also the month we see both the Boy Scouts Scouting for Food and the Letter Carriers Stamping out Hunger. I like to buy extra so I’m ready for them. June: Tomato Plants and Pots Plant patio tomatoes in flowerpots and deliver them to an elderly neighbor or retirement home. July: School Supplies Kids all over Utah need school supplies and teachers love getting them too. Donate to your local school or participate in Stuff the Bus and help fill backpacks for kids. (stuffthebus.uw.org) August: Personal Care Items Even the casual coupon user knows that personal care items like toothpaste; soap and hygiene products are easy pickings. Instead of

piling these products on shelves in the basement, I pile any extras in the box and drop them off at the Road Home or a Women’s Shelter. For more about how to get these items with just a little effort and out of pocket expense, make sure you are following the Grocery section of Coupons4Utah.com. September: Craft Supplies Sharing Place is a place where children that have lost a parent can go to learn coping skills, share stories and learn to deal with grief. They are in constant need of arts and craft supplies. (thesharingplace.org) October: Diapers Families all across Utah are need of diapers, diapers and more diapers. Visit utahdiaperbank.org to find a list of drop of locations. November: Holiday Wrapping Paper, Tape and Gift Cards Remember all of those donated gifts need to get wrapped. Most charities collecting gifts also have a need for wrapping supplies. One idea would be the Holiday Gift Box. They provide individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families who are in need gifts for Christmas. More info at uaidutah.org/holiday-giftbox While I may trip over my charity box every now and again, it helps me remember to make those important little donations the entire year. And as for my friends that stop by, well… I’ll just let them continue to think I’m a little unorganized. Wishing you the happiest of holidays, all year long. 

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O Tidings of Comfort Annoy


ow that Facebook has become a year-round newsletter, packed with enough posts to make us feel miserable all year long, can we finally call it quits on those dreadful holiday letters? I understand a family newsletter can be a highlight of the season, recapping all your adventures with witty repartee and candy cane clip art, but to many people, this bragalicious tradition is lemon juice in the paper cuts of life. Reading about how you cured black lung disease or saved an endangered species makes others’ successes look like table scraps. My newsletter would go something like this, “Dear family and friends, I did not get arrested this year. Happy New Year! Love, Peri.” (Disclaimer: The year’s not over yet.) So, first of all, don’t write a Christmas letter. However, if you feel you must write an annual message or your life won’t be complete, here are tips to make it bearable for friends and family. Let your children do the writing. I would LOVE getting a Christmas message that read, “Mom cries in the bathroom and tells us to eat Froot Loops for dinner. Dad has a special ‘drinking mug’ in his garage. Aunt Ethel spent Thanksgiving in the county jail for walking streets. Happy Holidays!” Use your letter as a weapon. A Christmas newsletter can encourage friendly competition amongst your offspring. Announce who had the most As, the best-cleaned room or who

peed the bed the least amount of times. Be sure to embarrass the *&%$ out of them so they’ll be on their best behavior next year. Create an acronym. For instance, NOEL can be Notice Our Exceptional Lives or No One Enjoys Letters. Quote Quiz. Choose the funniest quotes said by your family during the year and have your readers guess who said it. January--”Who left the %&@* lights on?!” February—“Is there a reason there are a dozen shoes by the back door?” March—“Who left the %&@* lights on again?” Write from your pet’s perspective. “This is Peri’s dog, Ringo. I was taken to the vet three times this year and had to get shots. She forgot to give me a treat twice last week, even after I sat under her feet for three consecutive episodes of Westworld. She also didn’t pet me long enough after she got home from work, but she gave me a steak bone, so all’s forgiven.” Share a family recipe. If people ask for your sugar

cookie recipe, put it in your Christmas newsletter. But don’t be like my neighbor who leaves out key ingredients so my cookies never taste quite the same as hers. Not cool. Don’t recount Family Disasters 2016. Your water heater broke, your car died in the desert, you have rats in the basement and bats in your belfry. You lost several jobs, were abducted by aliens and SWAT kicked in your door at 3 a.m. Newsletters are not catastrophe competitions. Next! Don’t brag. For every straight-A accomplishment, for every award-winning dance competition and for every highersalary promotion you exclaim over, your letter will be read by a man with kids struggling in school, a daughter with no noticeable rhythm and a woman in a dead-end, mind-numbing job. Take it down a notch, will ya? Even better, since I never receive mail anymore (except for Hickory Farm catalogues and postcards from mortgage companies), maybe save all your glowing updates for Facebook and Instagram where you can gush all you’d like. You can even add clip art. 

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Cottonwood Heights December 2016  

Vol. 13 Iss.12

Cottonwood Heights December 2016  

Vol. 13 Iss.12