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Page 2 | February 2017
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
United We Read hopes to bring county together through reading 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. For subscriptions please contact: email@example.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.
Cottonwood Heights Team CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Bryan Scott firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR: Kelly Cannon email@example.com ADVERTISING: 801-254-5974 DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING: Ryan Casper firstname.lastname@example.org 801-671-2034 SALES ASSOCIATES: Melissa Worthen email@example.com 801-897-5231 Steve Hession firstname.lastname@example.org 801-433-8051 Josh Ragsdale email@example.com 801-824-9854 CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Brad Casper firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL & AD DESIGN: Tina Falk Ty Gorton Cottonwood-Heights Journal 9500 South 500 West Suite 205 Sandy, UT 84070 Phone: 801 254 5974
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alt Lake County Library Services is hoping to bring residents and community together through the shared experience of reading the same book in United We Read. Over the next few months, residents are encouraged to read “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman and participate in programs and events based on the book. This is the first year of United We Read. In years past, libraries have participated in “One County, One Book.” However, this was the first year every library in the county was involved in planning the initiative. “We just wanted to make sure we provided the community with the opportunity to come together,” said Liz Sollis, marketing and community manager for the Salt Lake County Library Services. “We felt the best way to do it is to make sure the three main public libraries within Salt Lake County were providing a similar user experience no matter what library they went to.” “A Man Called Ove” tells the story of a cranky yet sad old man who is forced to interact with his chatty and lively new neighbors after they accidently flatten his mailbox. Sollis said it was chosen to be the United We Read book because of its themes of unity. “We know the election year has been very divisive and we wanted to find something that was really unifying. We read several books and decided this book, it has a sense of community and it provided a lot of elements that I think, if you’re in a community, it’s hard not to experience,” Sollis said. “The other thing we wanted to promote was kindness. This book, we felt also encourages and promotes kindness. It shares examples of kindness.” The United We Read website, www. unitedwereadslc.org, will provide a place for readers to connect and share their experiences reading the book, including examples of kindness they’ve either received or given.
Salt Lake Library Director Jim Cooper reads “A Man Called Ove,” the book for the first United We Read. (Liz Sollis/ Salt Lake County Library Services)
Sollis said the book is also a fairly easy read. “We wanted to find a book that wouldn’t be too difficult to read. Sometimes books are selected that are real deep topics and really long,” Sollis said. “We wanted a book that was right in the middle that connected with a lot of people and where people could relate to the situation.” In order to accommodate the number of people who will be reading the book, all libraries have increased the number of copies of the book, both in paper copies and in electronic copies. “Additionally, at the different branches, we’re also giving away some books through programs. The books are first come, first served but the idea is once you read it, you share it with someone else,” Sollis said. “There will be free copies of the book floating around and there
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will be copies people can check out.” The official launch for United We Read was on Jan. 18 but different libraries will be doing programs related to the book through May. There will also be a screening of the Swedish movie based on the book in February. “We’re going to have classes on auto mechanics. We’re going to be doing classes on bike repair. We’re going to do classes on suicide prevention. We’re going to have classes on cooking. We’re funding a variety of classes that we can offer,” Sollis said. “There will be book discussions in addition. Many of the branches do book clubs so we’ll have books for the book discussions. There will be a variety of programs that tie into the money topics in the books.” Sollis advised residents to be patient when they wait to get a copy of the book, since they will be promoting the book throughout the entire county. l
February 2017 | Page 3
C ottonwood H eightsJournal .com
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Page 4 | February 2017
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
Residents asked to do their part to improve air quality By Kelly Cannon | firstname.lastname@example.org
inters in Salt Lake County not only means cold and snow. It also means inversion and poor air quality. While it may seem like an overwhelming task, there are things residents can do to help alleviate the bad air and make the winter a little bit more breathable. Donna Spangler, the communications director at the Division of Air Quality at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality explained the inversion is caused by cold air being trapped next to the valley floor by a layer of warmer air above. In that cold air is particulate matter that is the main source of the inversion. The DAQ has air monitors all around the county and state next to schools that measure the particulate matter. “Typically, we have the air monitors near schools because we want to know what the particulates say next to our most vulnerable population, which is our children because they tend to breath in more air,” Spangler said. “What the air monitors show us during the winter time and during an inversion, much of the pollution, and we’ve done inventories to show where that pollution is coming from, 48 percent comes from automobiles.” According to Spangler, other sources include industries such as power plants and what are called area sources. These are sources where there is no specific kind or particular industry or business that is emitting the form of particulates that cause inversion. This includes cooking happening in restaurants, heating homes and various small businesses. “The reason that’s important is because
when the Utah Department of Environmental Quality Division of Air Quality looks at trying to come up with regulations to limit these kinds of pollution that form this kind of particulates, it’s really difficult because you can’t regulate one specific sector,” Spangler said. “It’s a bunch of little things. That’s why it’s important for people to understand that every action that we take, everything we do does add to the pollution.” According to Spangler, breathing in particulate matter during an inversion is harmful because the particulates get trapped in the lungs. Persistent and prolonged exposure could lead to lung damage. “As far as the health issue, it depends on how healthy you are. People react differently depending on what pollution they breath,” Spangler said. “We call our most sensitive population children because they breath in more, the elderly because they have compromised respiratory systems if they’re older, people with asthma are obviously impacted more than those who are normally healthy.” Since cars are the primary source of particulate pollution, Spangler said consolidating trips and using public transportation is the best way to help improve the air quality. Choosing not to leave the car idling also helps improve the air quality. Through grants, the DAQ and the Utah Clean Air partnership work together to get businesses to install pollution control equipment to improve the air quality. “We offer people to convert their wood burning stoves into gas heating systems. If a person uses wood burning as their sole source
Particulates from air pollution can lodge inside the lungs and cause lung damage. (Utah Health Department)
of heat, they are exempt from our rules that say you can’t burn,” Spangler said. “But we go in and we offer them a replacement. So we actually pay to have them convert to a cleaner source of heat.” Air quality is sure to be a topic discussed at the legislative session. Spangler said the main need right now is funding to replace old monitoring equipment. “A lot of the research that is needed
is in collaboration with universities, with our federal partners to actually get a better understanding of what is causing the air pollution so that we can have better regulatory controls that are more targeted to reducing pollution and making our air quality better,” Spangler said. For more information about air quality, visit deq.utah.gov. l
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February 2017 | Page 5
Cottonwood Heights always looking for volunteers By Kelly Cannon | email@example.com
f becoming more involved in the community was one of your New Year’s resolutions, the city of Cottonwood Heights is always looking for volunteers to help with events. Whether it’s Butlerville Days, Bark in the Park or the Easter egg hunt, residents are encouraged to help make city-sponsored events a success. Ann Eatchel, the city events coordinator at Cottonwood Heights, said the city would be happy to have as many volunteers as possible for the various events they sponsor. What the volunteers do depends on the event itself. “At the Easter egg hunt, just helping to set up and take down and getting ready, things like that,” Eatchel said. “If it’s Bark in the Park, they help me find vendors. They help put together the entire event from beginning to end.” Because Butlerville Days is such a huge event, Eatchel already has what she called a main committee made up of volunteers and staff members. However, she is always looking for other volunteers to serve under the committee. “We have someone over the car show. We’ll find a couple of volunteers to be under him that help him the day of. We have someone over the stage. We have someone over the field. We have someone over food vending,” Eatchel said. “At this time, we’re looking for people
who help them throughout the day of the event.” A lot of the work volunteers do is on the day of events. For instance, last year during Butlerville Days, there was a sidewalk chalk-art contest that was new to the festival. A member of the arts council was brought in to be in charge of the contest, but volunteers were needed to help her. Eatchel also said help is always needed at bingo and the pie-eating contest. The biggest benefit to volunteering for the city, according to Eatchel, is getting to know the people and the city residents live in. “It’s actually really satisfying to know you’re a part of all that. That’s the feedback I’m getting. For me, I love it because I get to meet the residents of the community,” Eatchel said. “The people volunteering love it because they get to build something so wonderful and so great and meet new people on top of that.” Eatchel said during Butlerville Days, she needs around 50 volunteers a day to really make the event run smoothly. “You’ve got so many things going on that we need as many as we can get. We can never have enough volunteers that day,” she said. “We give them lunch. We give them great swag from the day. We definitely treat our volunteers like kings and queens.”
Volunteers help out during Butlerville Days. (Cottonwood Heights)
Residents interested in volunteering are asked to call Eatchel at (801) 550-8225 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. l
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Page 6 | February 2017
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
New UFA chief ready for ‘less drama, more action’ By Tori La Rue | email@example.com
ix months after City Weekly reported on questionable bonuses and use of credit cards among top Unified Fire Authority officials, Utah’s largest fire service has a new head. Dan Petersen, who started his full-time firefighting career in 1980, claimed his first day as UFA’s Fire Chief on Jan. 17. Petersen, who’s been the Fire Chief, CEO and Budget Officer for Jackson Dan Petersen joined UFA as its new chief County Fire District 3 for on Jan. 17. Petersen said he’s hoping to more than six years, holds bring a new level of transparency and a master’s in management leadership to Utah’s largest fire agency. from Southern Oregon (Unified Fire Authority) State University, a bachelor of science in fire administration from Western Oregon State University and an associate of science in fire science from Rogue Community College. His experience with wildland and urban interface fires and “proven track record of building trust” launched him to the top of the pool of more than 30 applications, according to Mike Watson, who was the interim chief after former Chief Michael Jensen resigned. “As I have explained to our employees, Chief Petersen is exactly what UFA needs,” Watson said. “He is very people-oriented
and able to build sound relationships. He is confident in his abilities to lead UFA, and the ad hoc committee members were highly impressed with his leadership examples and abilities.” Petersen said he’s not nervous to jump into UFA where audits on former high-ups incentive pay and credit card spending are still underway. Jensen and former Deputy Chief Gaylord Scott spent more than $50,000 on company credit cards and, along with two other top UFA officials, racked up more than $100,000 each in total incentives from 2011 to 2015. “I have already met with many of the staff about establishing leadership expectations and let them know that we won’t be tolerating unethical behavior or anything in that vein. We must do the right thing every time. The organization is ready for less drama and more action in the right area,” Petersen said. “I’ll be reviewing the leadership organization, and making sure leadership is there to support the firefighters who are doing that job every day to respond to your house and take care of your needs — that’s where my work will be going.” While Petersen said he knows it may take a while to gain public trust because of his predecessors, he’s hoping to expedite that process by increasing public transparency of the budget. “My goal, and that of our current finance director, is to let the public see how the money is spent and where it fits,” he said. Petersen took his first days in Utah to get to know the people he will be working with by scheduling meetings with all stations and staff—that’s a total of more than 120 meetings. Petersen said it’s important for he and the UFA firefighters to know each other. “They are the ones performing service every day on the street and will give me a better view of what we need to do,” Petersen said. “The meetings will make sure we are all clear on the kind
of leadership vision, mission and values fit what is best for the community, and from those discussions, we will generate a list of action items to tackle as a team.” The strong community feel at UFA and dedication of the firefighters is familiar to Petersen, he said, reminding him of his work at Fire District 3. That’s one of the reasons he decided to apply for the position after taking a trip to Utah to visit. Petersen said he wasn’t looking for a new job but was slowly convinced by “a trusted recruiter” that it would be a good move. Job changes tend to happen unexpectedly, Petersen added, telling the story of how he chose to join the fire service. While attending college, Petersen noticed that a student in his chemistry class responded to a pager. He approached the student aabout it and found out he was working as a volunteer firefighter and living rent free at the fire station. “I thought that was a pretty cool opportunity, so in 1979, I started living in the fire station while going to college,” he said. “After a year of that, I realized this is what I wanted to do. I fell into it.” Petersen worked his way up from firefighter to engineer and then to captain before becoming a battalion chief, then deputy chief and finally a fire chief. After nearly 38 years in Southern Oregon’s fire industry, Petersen fell into another opportunity—one at UFA. The decision wasn’t as easy, according to Petersen, but he said he feels like he made the right choice. “My wife and I have taken this day by day,” he said. “Our kids are out of the house, and I’m done being depressed about that, so we’re ready for the next change. It will be an adventure, and I’m excited to experience Utah.” l
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Crosswalk installed for pedestrian access to Mountview Park By Cassie Goff | firstname.lastname@example.org
The new pedestrian-activated crosswalk in front of Mountview Park on Fort Union Blvd. will provide residents from the other side of the street with a direct route to the park. Prior to the installation of this crosswalk, pedestrians had to venture to one of the two main intersections to cross the boulevard. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)
ottonwood Heights commuters may have noticed a new resident in the past few months. He found a home in front of Mountview Park, around 1620 E. Fort Union Blvd. This new resident is a pedestrian-friendly crosswalk. Discussions about the installation of this crosswalk began in April 2016. Some comments from residents brought the need for this crosswalk to the city staff’s attention. Many residents residing in the neighborhoods across from the park would have to walk up to the intersection of 1700 E. Fort Union Blvd., or all the way down to the intersection at Park Center Drive and Fort Union Blvd., in order to cross the busy street. During the city council meeting on April 26, Public Works Maintenance Field Supervisor Mike Allen discussed the installation of a high-intensity-activated crosswalk (HAWK) for that area. HAWK crosswalks consist of a red light that drivers must stop at when activated. These crosswalks are exceptionally common in the downtown area of Salt Lake. Installation of the HAWK crosswalk was anticipated to begin in September, reliant on some issues being resolved. One of those issues was the location. “It has to be at least 100 feet from the other entrance (of the park). We may have to move it west,” Allen said. A suggested way to alleviate this problem was to make the exit of Mountview Park into a ride-in and ride-out only, Allen said. “Utilities may be the biggest hold-up,” Allen said. “We need lighting on both sides of the street. The overhead power lines may cause some issues.” On May 10, appraisals for the crosswalk had been diverted to the 11 surrounding property owners. As the process continued, the staff members were open to comments and suggestions from the public. “One area that would concern the crosswalk installation had about 10 comments,” Allen said.
Additional signs were installed to alert drivers and pedestrians of the new crosswalk on Fort Union Blvd. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)
Alternate plans for the crosswalk were reported on June 14, as some of the requirements for a HAWK crosswalk were not going to be met for the proposed location. Specifically, the desired location would not meet the standard because some of the neighboring driveways were too close. This small distinction would necessitate left-turn lanes into the neighboring condos as well as into the park. Instead, “we are going to try to get a pedestrian-activated signal there,” Allen said. “Design engineers and UDOT suggested that.” The main difference between a HAWK crosswalk and a pedestrian-activated signal is the color of the light. A HAWK crosswalk requires a red stoplight, where the cars are required to stop as long as the light remains red. A pedestrian-activated crosswalk allows for flashing yellow lights, where cars are not required to stop when they are on. They notify the driver of a yield and to anticipate a stop for a pedestrian. “The HAWK crosswalk and the pedestrian-activated signals aren’t much different,” Allen said. “They are a lot different for the budget, though.” The decision was made to move forward with the pedestrianactivated crosswalk. The project began in late October of last year with construction lasting approximately two weeks. By the time the holidays rolled around, the crosswalk was in full swing. “It doesn’t mess with traffic patterns as much,” Allen said. “If no one is in the crosswalk, the cars can drive though. Traffic flow will be better.” While the crosswalk initially experienced some minor technical difficulties, it is currently fully functioning. Over the winter season, it hasn’t experienced much pedestrian traffic, but anticipated use for the summer is high. Hopefully, it will allow the park to be more accessible for many residents. l
“If no one is in the crosswalk, the cars can drive though. Traffic flow will be better.”
February 2017 | Page 7
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Page 8 | February 2017
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
Looking at the past By Cassie Goff | email@example.com
any new developments have been popping up all over Cottonwood Heights, like the new city hall and the remodeled Butler Elementary. With these new developments, memory of what the land used to look like is lost. Now there is a way to view some of the visual and informational history of the land within the city. On Jan. 15, Geographic Information System (GIS) Specialist Kevin Sato demonstrated his new interactive map for the city council members. When users open the interactive map, “Cottonwood Heights — Then and Now,” a map of the city split by a gray bar appears. To the left of the gray bar, the current Google Earth map of the city is shown through an aerial view. To the right of the gray bar, a historic map of the city is shown. Users can navigate throughout the city to see what specific areas looked like historically, up to 100 years ago. As Sato demonstrated the functionality of
“What’s nice about it is you can go to any address, click on where you live, find out what subdivision you live in and pull up the plaque. You can look at easements and legal descriptions.” the map for the mayor and council, many excited remarks were made. “This is amazing!” said Assistant Chief Mike Watson. To create the “Then” section of the map, Sato incorporated information provided by the Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee, along with additional historic maps. One was provided by Sandy City’s GIS administrator, Ray Montgomery, who found a historic map of the entire area and shared it with Sato. This map shows many farms, orchards and fields occupying the land during the 1940s. It also provides information about land ownership from
the 1800s. “On the current side, you can click on the map and it will tell you who owned that piece of property in the 1800s,” Sato said. Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore said the map was something people would find very interesting. “It’s an easy way to learn about the city,” he said There are many other interactive maps on the city website, as well. The “Cottonwood Heights – General Information” map provides information about zoning, land use, council districts and natural hazards. Sato recently added subdivisions to this map, as well. Each of these categories has its own specific map, which can be found through the different tabs on the top banner of the page. “What’s nice about it is you can go to any address, click on where you live, find out what subdivision you live in and pull up the plaque. You can look at easements and legal descriptions,” Sato said. Many people in the past have called the city for this information, but now “you can find it online and download it directly to your computer,” said Sato. The zoning map specifically has been very useful. Sato said users can click to find out about any zone and information about the zone. Community and Economic Development Director Brian Berndt said both residents and staff members will find the information useful. The “Cottonwood Heights – Commerce Guide” shows many of the different businesses throughout the city, pinned onto the map. A directory of the businesses is also provided by category, allowing residents to quickly find local dentists, restaurants and shops. “The left side goes by the type of business you are looking for,” Sato explained. “The map is updated every time we get new business licenses,” Berndt said. However, home businesses are not included on the map. Currently, staff is working to add a real-estate subcategory to the directory. The “Cottonwood Heights — Bikeways
Cottonwood Heights offers many interactive maps for residents to access. Important information provided by these maps can easily be downloaded to personal computers. One of the main purposes of these maps is to make information more easily accessible. (Cottonwood Heights)
and Urban Trails” map shows the Bikes and Trails Master Plan for the city through the use of proposed bike lanes and potential urban trail markings. It also shows existing bike lanes and urban trails. The “Cottonwood Heights — DNR Wildfire Risk Assessment” map is updated by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and provides information about threat levels in specific areas. The city is mindful of this information when considering planning. Additional maps include “FEMA National Flood Hazards,” “Natural Hazards,” “Soil Classification” and “Topographic Contours.” Sato put together the “Topographic Contours” map recently, with Salt Lake County reference. “This is specifically good information for gardeners within the city,” said Sato. City Manger John Park said the city can use the map because they need to know what the
slopes are in the area. The planning department has other maps in the works, coming soon. They hope to have a map highlighting where building permits have been issued. Since the city is only 11 years old, this will help the planning staff understand the historical significance of what the county had previously done with issuing permits. “We hope to promote local information that’s available to everybody,” said Berndt. These maps are available through the city website, cottonwoodheights.utah.gov. Once on the website, simply hover over the City Services tab and choose Community Development. Underneath the banner, there is a link to see the interactive maps, marked by a boundary map of the city. A new page will appear, called Maps. To access the maps, click the link. You can also access the map directly here: http://chcity.maps.arcgis.com/home/index.html. l
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February 2017 | Page 9
Cottonwood Heights Business Association plans for 2017 By Cassie Goff | firstname.lastname@example.org
016 was a successful year for the Cottonwood Heights Business Association (CHBA). There were many busy events, including business boot camps and luncheons. A new website was published through the economic development department of the city. The association experienced significant growth, with many new members and increased traffic to their social media pages. For this upcoming year, CHBA organizers are working to finetune the association and their events. One example is a change to the business boot camps. In previous years, boot camps were held once a week for two months. This year, CHBA organizers plan to spread them out a little more evenly, hoping to have at least one a month. The CHBA will continue hosting their quarterly business luncheons. The luncheons are great networking opportunities, helping businesses build connections with the city and with each other. “They provide time for the city staff members to get to know the businesses and to figure out ways in which they can help,” said Business Development and Licensing Coordinator Peri Kinder. “It’s important for the businesses to know they have a contact with City Hall.” The first business luncheon for the year will be held 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 7. Many businesses within the city plan on attending, along with the mayor and council members. There is limited seating for this luncheon, so contact Kinder at the email provided below to reserve a seat. On March 16, the CHBA will host Death by Chocolate. During the event, businesses within the city will provide their favorite chocolate desserts for the attendees to sample. CHBA coordinators
are hoping to get at least 20 businesses to participate. The event provides an opportunity for the businesses to promote catering and other different products that shoppers may not be aware of. Currently, 11 businesses have signed up to provide treats, including Mon Cherie, Angel Café, Paradise Bakery and Café, Porcupine Pub and Grille, Smiths, Market Street Grill, Whole Foods, Harmons and Trader Joes. Harmons will also teach an educational segment about chocolate. Death by Chocolate will be from 5–7 p.m. at Cottonwood Heights City Hall, 2277 E. Bengal Blvd. Tickets are $10 per person or $15 per couple and are available through the Cottonwood Heights Business website. On March 23, adventure capitalist John Richards will discuss a new way of thinking about starting a business, called lean startups. He will discuss “why entrepreneurs should follow this process to achieve superior results in venture launches and the most common cause of failure.” Richards will also go over what many entrepreneurs and investors are doing in the field currently. This will be a free event, but make sure to RSVP to Kinder at her email below. In April, photographer Kari Sikorski will teach a brief photography class about taking basic shots and marketing images on social media. Many additional events are in the works with dates yet to be determined. CHBA coordinators hope to host a zombie bike ride, where participants will dress up as zombies and ride their bikes for two or three miles. The finish line may be Cottonwood Heights City Hall with zombie-themed food. A CHBA Awards Banquet is also in the works. It is tentatively
There will be many events hosted by the CHBA this year. For more information on the events, visit their Facebook page. (Cottonwood Heights Business Association)
planned for October this year and will celebrate the businesses in the community, according to Kinder. The CHBA plans to focus on service this year. “We hope businesses will get involved with the community,” Kinder said. In efforts to be more involved, the CHBA has teamed up with JustServe, a website that provides visitors with many different volunteer opportunities available in their area. The CHBA is always looking for ideas from the community, as well. “We are excited for next year,” Kinder said. “CHBA has stuff you can’t get anywhere else.” The city staff members involved with CHBA hope to remain a useful resource for the businesses within the city. Over the past three or four months, the city has noticed much more activity within the association. “People are starting to get it,” Kinder said. To contact Peri Kinder for the numerous reasons discussed above, email her at email@example.com. To find out more about the CHBA, visit www.chbusiness.org, or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CHBusinessAssociation. l
Page 10 | February 2017
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Music teacher resigns amid elective concerns By Rubina Halwani | firstname.lastname@example.org
eith Davis, orchestra and band teacher at Butler Middle School, submitted his letter of resignation, effective Jan. 13. This comes amid concerns over potential cut of arts electives to fulfill additional state requirements for sixth and eighth grade students. The two newly required courses include digital literacy and college and career prep. There is currently a proposed schedule change from a six-period day to a seven-period day for the Canyons School District (CSD). If the proposal passes, the change would begin fall 2017. However, the shift might not include accommodation for arts electives. “What that means is that it will pull an elective away from the kids’ sixth grade year and eighth grade year,” said concerned parent Laura Rupper, speaking to the PTA members at Canyon View Elementary earlier this month. Rupper noted that the change would mostly affect students in dual-language immersion and music classes, for continuity. Rupper also voiced her concerns at the Canyons District school board meeting held on Dec. 6, 2016. Davis also addressed his concerns to the school board, uncertain his position would remain full time in the subsequent year. “For me, trading the electives is a horrible swap,” Rupper said. In an open letter to the Butler Middle School
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community, Davis expressed his gratitude for his four years of service. Davis wrote, “This has weighed on my soul for four years now and it has taken its toll on me personally. Every year I have had to worry about whether I was going to have a full time position here at Butler. Last year, I technically did not have one… Needless to say, with a family to take care of and a daughter in college, this worry was weighing me down something big.” Davis explained that he accepted another full-time teaching position. Parents throughout CSD are actively voicing their concerns through various faceto-face and online channels. They are reaching out to PTA groups, starting online petitions and rallying support for the arts using social media. One online petition posted to change. org was initiated by parent Kerstin Olcott. The petition garnered over 850 signatures. Olcott is also one of 11 parent administrators who formed the Facebook group, CSD Schedule Changes. “We have a Facebook group where you can find much more information as well as a sense of how parents are feeling about this,” said Monet Rupp, a joint administrator. As of the latest Utah state board meeting held on Jan. 12, a measure was raised to waive the required mandate for the 2017–18 school year.
The next board meeting addressing the proposed changes in CSD was scheduled for Jan. 17. l
The art advocacy group calls for parents to attend the next school board meeting. (CSD Schedule Changes Facebook)
Teachers and schools rewarded for technology certification
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
By Rubina Halwani | email@example.com
anyons School District offered an iPad or Chromebook lab to the first seven of 30 elementary schools to have at least half the teachers complete a threshold level of technology certification. Upon hearing about the prize, Principal B.J. Weller at Canyon View Elementary motivated his teachers to achieve this goal. “We were the sixth school,” Weller said. At first, Weller had concerns about giving more work to teachers, already juggling multiple tasks. He also mentioned the teachers were already learning a new math program as well this year, Envision 2.0. Yet, when he heard of the prize, he said, “We’ve gotta do this.” “I gave them coupons for recess or bus duty to compensate for their time it would take,” said Weller. Currently students in kindergarten and second grade shared one lab, but by winning this prize, the school can now offer one lab per grade. “It was great to see teachers across our whole school come together to achieve this certification so the younger grades could benefit from another lab. The entire fourth-grade team achieved this certification,” he added Weller concluded that his goal was to have a lab for each grade in the school. Willow Canyon Elementary was the first school to achieve the goal, back in Dec. 2016. “You can’t go anywhere without them (students) being connected completely to their technology,” said Sen. Howard A. Stephenson (District 11), back in Feb. 2015, when senate introduced digital literacy legislation in Utah.
Willow Canyon Elementary placed first of seven schools to win a computer lab. (CSD EdTechDept. Twitter)
Stephenson helped to approve S.B. 222 into law, allocating educational funds for digital teaching and learning grants. The law was further updated/ amended with H.B. 277 in 2016. It was this legislation that allowed for teachers to gain digital literacy certification. Teachers who completed the first level of certification also received a $275 stipend, as noted on the Canyons School District Education Technology portal. Level 1 courses include basic computer program courses, such as Excel and Outlook. It also covers training modules on Canvas, Google courseware and grant writing. l
February 2017 | Page 11
C ottonwood H eightsJournal .com
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Page 12 | February 2017
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
UHSAA sets region alignments for 2017 By Greg James | email@example.com
he Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) recently rearranged its member schools’ region alignments, a process they revisit every two years. They have also been required by the Utah State Board of Education to revise its own transfer rules. “I personally like that the activities association re-evaluates the region alignments every once in a while. It helps keep the classification and school sizes close. I think it also helps with safety and spreads out travel costs,” said Riverton High School Athletic Director Daniel Henderson. Under current UHSAA rules, region alignments adjust on a two-year cycle. The proposed school classification was presented in a public meeting in November. In December the proposal for the 2017–18 school year was approved. The biggest change in the upcoming school year will be the division’s six classifications for all sports. Salt Lake County schools were affected by the changes in various ways. Here is how the regions stack up: Region 2 will maintain some and add long-time rivalries amongst neighboring schools; Hunter, Granger, Hillcrest and Kearns will be joined by Cyprus. The Pirates jumped into the 6A classification because it added ninth grade students from Brockbank Jr. High. Region 3 will see a complete remake. West Jordan, Copper Hills and Taylorsville will welcome Riverton, Herriman and East (in football only). East is the defending 4A state football champion.
“In my opinion the realignment is a good thing. I wish they could last three years though, to help us continue and build rivalries,” said Copper Hills Athletic Director Darby Cowles. During the alignment public hearing that placed them in Region 4, Bingham representatives argued that this would force higher travel costs on their programs. Their requests were denied and they were placed in the prominently Utah County region
with American Fork, Lone Peak, Westlake and Pleasant Grove. The 2017 6A football playoffs could be exciting. Current classification champions East and Bingham will both be in the 6A classification. East High School will compete in Region 6 for all sports except football. They will face Highland, Olympus, Murray, Skyline and West (Lehi will take East’s place for football only). Region 7 will join Alta, Brighton, Jordan, Corner Canyon, Cottonwood and Timpview. Smaller county schools like Providence Hall, Summit Academy, Judge Memorial and American Leadership will move to the 3A classification.
“At the end of the day the UHSAA has an incredible task to make everyone happy. There is no way they can. We are content with the changes. The transfer rule change is going to be difficult. Every time I discipline a player I will wonder if he is going to leave,” West Jordan boys basketball coach Scott Briggs said. The trustee alignment meetings were overshadowed by the Utah State Board of Education’s fall ruling to open the student athletes’ transfer ability. The UHSAA was forced to change its guidelines in relationship to transfers. Sub-varsity athletes are now eligible to transfer at will, while varsity athletes may only transfer in defined circumstances. “I think these new rules will encourage coaches to make varsity rosters with many freshman players to prevent them from transferring,” Cowles said. From July 2015 to June 2016, the UHSAA had 1,994 student athletes request transfers; only 16 transfer requests were denied. “I feel that some of our Hunter kids go to other schools because of the wrong reasons. Sports teaches more than just the activity. It teaches integrity and character. It is now all about winning. True development of the student athlete has been lost,” said Hunter head football coach Scott Henderson. Open enrollment has forced many high school coaches to recruit its own boundary students to stay in their hometown program. “I know we lose many incoming freshman to other schools. We do not know the numbers, but we hear it a lot,” Henderson said. l
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Utah College Application Week helps seniors prepare for life after high school By Rubina Halwani | firstname.lastname@example.org
his year, 32 additional high schools participated in Utah College Application Week (UCAW). The dates varied for schools, but most were held near the end of October or beginning of November. Total participating schools grew to 116, approximately 77% of the 149 public high schools in Utah, as noted by the Utah State Office of Education. The Utah System of Higher Education issued a press release on this year’s effort for high school seniors to apply for college. The release noted that UCAW now supports over 20,000 students. College and university presidents and local officials, including Utah’s Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, visited high schools to speak to students,. Cox said, “We want you to have your wildest dreams come true, and that won’t happen if you see high school as the end.” Cox gave this message to seniors at Kearns High School. “The most important thing students can do is to prepare for what’s coming down the road and for their futures,” said Mayor Mike Caldwell, of Ogden City. He declared a proclamation marking Oct. 31, 2016 the beginning of UCAW. The Canyons Education Foundation donates up to $10,000 for college application fees in the Canyons School District. They have
donated for three years. As noted in the original article, UCAW is a part of the StepUp college preparedness program and was initiated in 2013. The Utah System of Higher Education sponsors UCAW. To learn more, visit https://stepuputah.com. l
CEF Board President Brad Snow presents a check of $10,000 for 2016–17 college application forms. (CEF Facebook)
Spirits are high at Canyon View Elementary By Rubina Halwani | email@example.com
tudents at Canyon View Elementary get to celebrate school spirit on a designated day each month throughout the school year. Classes compete against each other for the roving Bengal Tiger trophy. On Jan. 6, students in Charilyn Gustafson’s third-grade class garnered the prize. Gustafson hopes her class will maintain the spirit reign for the rest of this year. “It’s funny how something so small motivates these kids. It’s our first year doing this whole contest,” said PTA President Rayna Drago. Principal B.J. Weller purchased the Bengal Tiger trophy and allowed it to be used for the month-to-month contest. The winning class keeps the trophy for the entire month. Students can wear school colors or purchase a school shirt from Spirit Wear, the school retailer. Proceeds from Spirit Wear sales go to the PTA for school supplies, programs and field trips. T-shirts average about $10–15, depending on the style. One shirt features a student-drawn Bengal Tiger. Every year, students in kindergarten through fourth grade compete in a design contest and vote to select the best design for a spirit shirt. Last year, former student Ryan Overson created the winning entry. His shirt features the slogan, “Respect the Cubs.” The contest for next year’s design will be held this April. In addition to the monthly Spirit Days,
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Former SWAT team member, Fireﬁghter and Paramedic, now orthopedic surgeon. Charilyn Gustafson’s fourth-grade class shows off their prize-winning Bengal Tiger trophy for wearing the most school spirit attire. (Rayna Drago/PTA President)
the PTA schedules evening events for families to participate and raise additional school funds. On Jan. 10, families dined at Café Zupas in Holladay. The Utah-based business sponsors Spirit Night events for schools throughout the state. Between 20 to 25 percent of the revenue generated is apportioned for the school. Canyon View Elementary will receive close to $600 from the event. “School Nights is in its fourth year,” said Jessica Caldiero, customer relations manager for Café Zupas and former PTA
president. To date, the restaurant has donated over $250,000 to school communities and hosted an estimated 565 events. Each school can host up to three Spirit Nights at Café Zupas every year. The PTA plans to use the funds to purchase iPads for first and second graders. From Feb. 6-10, “we are going to Jersey Mike’s and it’s a weeklong event and we can decorate the store,” said Drago. She invites anyone interested in supporting the school to attend. l
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Cottonwood Heights City Journal
Brighton wrestling aims at powerhouse goal By Kelly Cannon | firstname.lastname@example.org
ver the past four years, Brighton High School Wrestling Head Coach Mitchell Stevens has worked to get the program back up to the one of the best in the state. “Brighton has a great reputation for wrestling. It used to be the powerhouse and we’re trying to get it back to that point. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time and effort from a lot of different people in the programs we’re trying to grow,” Mitchell said. “They’ve won 16 state titles but it’s been a while. They’ve had a great tradition. Everybody likes to remind me how it was such a dynasty. But it takes time and a lot of work to make sure it gets back up there. We’re trying to get it back up to that place.” Last year, the team qualified five players for the state tournament with two of those returning this year. The season will finish in February at the state tournament at Utah Valley University. “We’ve done a good job. We’ve got a lot of youth who are freshman who came into the program. We’ve got some great upperclassmen,” Mitchell said. “We don’t have many seniors. We only have a few seniors. But in our freshman class, we’re starting to pick up kids from our feeder program.” It is those upperclassmen Mitchell cites as the strength of the team, along with their leadership. “Some of the areas we need to work on is we have a lot of youth, so we’re trying to get them up to speed. That’s where we spend a lot of our time,” Mitchell said. “We have some good youth and good kids who are coming in that we’ve been able to push along and they’re doing a good job this year.” The high school works with the elementary and middle schools to develop wrestling feeder programs. The programs aim to teach youth the basics of wrestling so they have experience by the time
Brayden Stevens takes down opponent. Stevens is one of the top wrestlers at Brighton. (Jerry Christensen/Brighton High School)
they enter high school. “Until that got going, you had a lot of kids with no experience, who had never wrestled before. So you’re making sure they have wrestling shoes and headgear rather than being able to pick up from what they learned,” Mitchell said. “Getting kids out of the feeder program helps a lot.” Mitchell said his goal as a coach and as a program is to get his players better every single match so they are improving and are ready for the state tournament. “That’s what it’s all about,” Mitchell said. “Everything else is practice leading up to that so I’m glad I have good people to work with and a good community for wrestling.”
Mitchell’s own son is one of the top competitors on the team. Brayden Stevens, a 17-year-old junior, was selected for the all-star meet in January where the best wrestler in each classification in each region is selected to compete. “This was my second year going to the all-star meet,” Brayden said. “I did all right this year but not where I wanted to be.” Brayden started this wrestling season bumping up in the 152 weight class and said it’s created different challenges for him as a competitor. “Now, you have to use more techniques and you to be stronger than your opponent,” Brayden said. He credits his three coaches for his success. Brayden wrestles all three in practice and they give him new challenges to overcome as an athlete. “Each one of them has a different wrestling strategy and tactics, so wrestling with them gives me a better advantage out there whereas some of these kids don’t really use the moves that they use,” Brayden said. “It gives me a better advantage than my opponents.” Seventeen-year-old Henry Barth is a senior who started wrestling when he was a kid and picked it back up in high school. He described his season as pretty good with the goal of the state tournament. “I think my attitude is pretty good. When I lose, I don’t really get down on myself. I’ll listen to what coach has to say and use what he has to say to improve myself,” Barth said. “My goals are to go to the state tournament and place in it. I’m going to be working hard and play as hard as I can in the tournaments that we have leading up to it.” l
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February 2017 | Page 15
Brighton boys basketball finds its stride with new coach By Kelly Cannon | email@example.com
righton High School’s boys basketball team is starting to click under the guidance of new head coach Garrett Wilson. The varsity is still young and still finding out how to work under Wilson’s coaching philosophy, but both coach and players are satisfied with the results. Going into league play, the team was 6-5. Wilson said the team is on the up as far as team chemistry and understanding both the offensive and defensive structures laid out by the coaching system. Wilson said he feels the team is a good place moving forward into region play. “We’ve made an effort as a coaching staff to really instill in these guys a defensive attitude and these guys have really eaten it up. They’re working every day. It’s developed to where they really take pride in their defense and have really come a long way in understanding what we’re trying to get them to do,” Wilson said. “Now our offense is starting to click and we’re really starting to get going. We’re putting the pieces together and we feel good about where we’re going.” While there are still things the team needs to work on, Wilson is not worried about them. He believes it means the team hasn’t peaked yet and is still approaching the pinnacle of
what they are hoping to get to. “Offensively, we’re still trying to find our rhythm. We’ve been really close and feel like any one of these days it’s going to click and everything is going to be there,” Wilson said. “That’s the exciting part as a coach, that there still are things we can approach at practice and get a little better.” The overall goal for the team is to make it to the state tournament. However, Brighton is in region 3, the same league as both the returning state champion and the returning state runner-up, as well as other competitive programs. However, Wilson said he is proud of what his team is accomplishing, especially the seniors. “I have loved every bit of it. These guys have been tremendous. I couldn’t imagine a group of kids believing any more in a coach than they have in this first-year guy who comes in and really had to earn their respect,” Wilson said. “These guys have given it to me and given me their whole-hearted effort from day one. I appreciate the heck out of it because it makes my job really easy. These seniors I’m going to remember for a long time.” Seventeen-year-old senior point guard Tate Weichers also said he is proud of the team despite close losses.
“We’ve lost a couple close ones that I think we could have and should have won,” Weichers said. “But I couldn’t be more proud of the team because we got a new coach coming in who is new and who came out ready and we’re in a place where we can make a run at region.” As a senior, Weichers said he wants to leave this team with a state championship. “Anything less than that is not reaching that goal,” he said. “I think doing better than we did last year would be a great way to end the season.” Eighteen-year-old senior shooting guard Andrew Covey also expressed pride in not only how hard the team has worked but also in Wilson. “I think the high has been going to work every day with our guys and the fact we’re getting better every single day. It’s exciting to watch us develop as a team as the season goes on,” Covey said. “I think (Wilson’s) a great coach. He’s positive with us all the time. He keeps everybody upbeat so nobody is breaking down mentally so we all maintain focus while having a positive attitude.” l
Members of the Brighton boys basketball team try to get a shot in. (Garrett Wilson/Brighton High School)
Page 16 | February 2017
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
Brighton Drill Team aiming to maintain top position By Kelly Cannon | firstname.lastname@example.org
righton High School’s drill team is looking to maintain their position and reputation as one of the best teams in the state. Last year, the team placed fourth at the state competition. This year, they Acadians hope to end the season at just as good of a position. Head coach Tessa Italasano has been coaching the team for the past two years and speaks highly of the girls on the team. “I think the Acadians are held to a very high standard, not only in the school but also in the community. They’re known for doing great all the time,” she said. “This year, the Acadians are known for kicks. They’ve always been known to be good at kicks. They’re strong technicians. Dance routine has always been a strong one for Brighton. This year, I think we’ve showcased that well. They’re pretty much good at everything.” Brighton High School is in Region 3, one of the most competitive regions in the state. Italasano said while being a good team in the region is good, it’s also scary. “It’s scary because you always have to stay on top of your game. You have to stay innovative and new and fresh. It’s a bloodbath region. We have Copper Hills and Bingham and West Jordan and Taylorsville and Cottonwood. Copper Hills and Bingham are top contenders at state,” Italasano said. “With us playing fourth last year, previously they’ve placed third but we’ve always been top five. It’s cut-throat. You always have to be innovative and on top of the game to be right there with them.” Eighteen-year-old senior Sierra Barrickman said the strength of the team is in the closeness of her teammates. “We’re really good at being unified. That’s something that
Last year, the Brighton High School drill team took third in region and fourth in state. (Canyons School District)
Brighton has always had. That’s something I really love about this team,” Barrickman said. “Another thing is we’re technically strong. We’ve always had good technique. We’ve always been top five so we’ve always been right there. That’s another strength that we have.” Seventeen-year-old senior Chloe Keith also says the team’s technique is a main strength. “We’re always good at keeping up with our placement. We don’t like to backtrack or fall down,” Keith said. “I think
as people, we have good character and we’re held to a high standard around the school.” This year, Barrickman loves the dance routine because in years past, they’ve cut out elements of the routine because they were deemed to be too difficult. This year, the girls fought to keep those difficult parts in so they could place higher. Seventeen-year-old junior Isabella Yates also loves the dance routine this year, but also loves the military routine and the kicklines. “I love it because you get a sense of what the Rockettes would feel like or other kicklines,” Yates said. As seniors, both Keith and Barrickman want to leave a legacy for the younger girls to follow. “I want to leave knowing we had a good season, not necessarily that we won and that’s what it’s all about, but I want to leave them loving their seniors and that we had a good impact on them and they’ll be keeping on the traditions that we left with them,” Barrickman said. As a junior, Yates plans on continuing that legacy and improving the team. “I think every year, you want to make it better than the last. I think I want to make sure we’re fixing the things that didn’t go well this year and we continue to do the things that went right,” Yates said. “I want to continue making it a positive experience and make sure everyone is getting the best out of it but also the life lessons they should be learning throughout the years.” So far this year, the team has competed in two invitationals, both of which resulted in high marks. The Acadians will compete in one more invitational before region and state. l
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February 2017 | Page 17
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Screaming Eagles debut at Maverik Center By Greg James | firstname.lastname@example.org
ndoor football returns to the Maverik Center in West Valley. The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles begin play February 16 as members of the Indoor Football League. The team also forges in a new era of sports team management. The fans helped hire coaches, pick dancers and will call plays as part of the franchise. “We are excited and have signed 28 guys and make some cuts down to 25 guys that will lead to a great team out on the field,” said Screaming Eagles President Thom Carter. “I am more excited about how we want people to experience sports. We are trying to make history. We are allowing fans to have their voices be heard.” The fans have decided the team name, hired the coaches and with a downloadable app will be able to call the plays during the game. “This will be perfect for lots of fans. The guy who likes to bring his family to the game and buy a beer and a hot dog; the fantasy football guy that is all about the stats and lastly the video game fans who want to feel like they are playing the game,” Carter said. The Screaming Eagles have signed University of Charleston graduate Jeremy Johnson to compete for playing time at quarterback. The 6-foot-1, 197 lb. dual threat QB was a highly recruited four-star athlete from Silsbee, Texas. He originally played at West Virginia after leaving with several injuries he was finally resigned to ending his football career, but The University of Charleston found him and offered a chance. In 2015 Johnson threw for 2,170 yards, 17 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. University of Utah offensive lineman Junior Salt has signed to be part of a line that includes another former Ute, Siaosi Aiono and Arizona Wildcat Steven Gurrola. “We do not know what our final roster will look like, but the local standouts make
me excited. Everyone has bought into this team. Our opponents are well established and winning programs. We also think our 10,000 offensive coordinators will help us figure out ways to win. The power of all of these ideas will make us a better team and organization,” Carter said. Devin Mahina, a former BYU Cougar and Washington Redskin tight end, and Utah State wide receiver Alex Wheat should provide reliable targets for Johnson. Mahina is a 6-foot6 receiver who finished his Cougar career with 46 receptions and five touchdowns. “We feel we are empowering arm-chair quarterbacks. The people who call in on Monday mornings to the sports talk shows can now show us what they got. We live in an age of immediate access and fans are demanding this of their sports teams,” Carter said. William Macarthy was hired by the fans as the team’s first head coach. The organization narrowed down nearly 220 applicants to the best six finalists. Facebook live interviews and 38,000 votes from fans in 21 different countries finally gave Macarthy 34.9 percent of the votes. He has coached on four different indoor teams. He has been a general manager, defensive coordinator, head coach and special teams coordinator. Most recently he has been working as special teams coordinator at Monroe College in New York. The Screaming Eagles begin their season Feb. 16 at the Maverik Center against the Nebraska Danger. Tickets range from $5 to $85. In indoor football if a ball goes into the stands the fan keeps it. The Screaming Eagles also have contributed to improving the wireless service in the arena. The fan will not need to use cellular data to participate in the games. “The game will have something for everyone,” Carter said. l
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Page 18 | February 2017
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
A New Way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day
remember as a child carefully picking the card from the box of Valentines that had the perfect pun on it for that particular friend. Maybe it was a picture of an Elephant, “I won’t forget you are my Valentine” or the bear that proclaims “I can’t bear to be without you.” We would carefully tear along the dotted lines, so as not to rip them, then stuff each envelope with pink and yellow hearts, that when combined, made a secret message? Then we would run around the neighborhood leaving our creations on the doorsteps of our friends and those we had a childhood crush on. I remember that no matter how much we licked the envelope it wouldn’t stay stuck shut. Later as teens, when the hormones were raging, Valentines became a day of Teddy Bears and giant candy kisses, first dates and holding hands in the movie. Then finally I found that special someone and Valentines became the day where we would present cards to each other and try to think of creative ways to express our love without spending too much. After over 3 decades of marriage though, I’m finding that few of the sentiments on cards apply and I have often considered designing my own line of valentine cards that are sold according the number of years one has been together. “Valentine, our body’s may be sagging, but my love for you never will.” Or: “I can’t wait to celebrate our love tonight at
Monte’s Steakhouse and use the buy 1, get 1 free coupon we have.” As the years have gone by, it’s become the day to day little things that mean more to me than this designated day of love, like when my hubby brings me a cup of early morning coffee before I get out of bed or folding a load of laundry on a night when I’m working late. Valentines has really just become another day for us, so we decided to do something different and make Valentines a day of generosity. Instead of making it a selfish day of loving each other, something we already do every day, we’re turning it into a day of loving one another. We’ve discovered that by spending time together giving back is wonderful way to spread some Valentine cheer and
bring us closer together at the same time. Here’s a few ideas we’ve had for this year: • Make arrangements to drop off Valentine goodies to an elderly care facility. While at it you could stay a while and play a game of cards or just listen while they reminisce about the person they are missing. • Contact a children’s grief facility, like the Sharing Place, and donate craft boxes or needed supplies. • Plan a date night volunteering at the Utah Food Bank or serving up a meal at your local shelter. • Instead of dinner at a restaurant, have dinner at a charity event. Many non-profits hold charity gala’s and auctions. To find them, check http:// www.valleyjournals.com/calendar or contact the charity foundation of your choice. • Give blood together. It’s something we all intend to do, make a date of it and then have a meal together afterwards. Making February 14th a day to open your heart and share generosity is a great way for those of us with or without a Valentine. What better way is there to spend Valentine’s Day? _________________________________________ Joani Taylor is the founder of Coupons4Utah.com. A website devoted to helping Utah families save time and money on restaurants, things to do and everyday needs.
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February 2017 | Page 19
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Head Over Heels
’m a terrible romantic. I mean that literally. I’m terrible at being romantic. When God handed out sentimentality, I was hiding in a bathroom stall eating a box of chocolate donuts. If I’d married an unfeeling psychopath that wouldn’t be a problem, but my husband could be the spokesperson for the Hallmark channel. He’ll plan Valentine’s Day like he’s competing for a spot on “The Nicholas Sparks RomanceA-Thon Reality Evening.” There’s roses and poetry and candlelight and chocolates and puppies and rainbows and glitter. And then there’s me, sitting dumbfounded saying something like, “Did Valentine’s Day come early this year?” Don’t get me wrong. I’m lucky to have a husband who remembers not only my birthday, but the time of my birth, what the #1 song was and the Oscar-winning movie from the year I was born. But by comparison, it makes me look pretty pathetic. I often return kind thoughts with chilling sarcasm—but he still hugs me and makes me feel like I’m not quite the monster I think I am. (But he should probably stop calling me FrankenPeri.) So because of all the sweetness he shows me, and because I’m still learning this whole romance thing, this is my Valentine’s letter to my hubbie: Thank you for having my back and being willing to fly into battle to defend me from the smallest slights.
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Thank you for telling me I’m beautiful even without make-up (you always look beautiful without make-up) and when my hair looks like I barely survived a rabid ferret attack. Thank you for not noticing when I have a zit the size of Mt. Rushmore hanging off my chin. Well, I’m sure you notice, but thank you for not calling me the Zit Witch. The same goes for when I have a scorch mark on my forehead from the flat iron, a gash on my shin from my razor and cuticles that look like I get manicures with a cheese grater. Thank you for telling me when the bloody parts are over during Quentin Tarantino’s films. Thank you for not taking me to any more Quentin Tarantino movies. Thank you for not noticeably rolling your eyes when I serve a meal consisting of quinoa, sweet potatoes and kale. Thank you for ordering pizza when the meal tastes like $%&*. Thank you for understanding that I hate watching romantic comedies (see paragraph #1) and appreciating when I sometimes suffer through a sob-fest of a manipulative romance. In return, thank you for occasionally watching animated films, even though you hate it as much as I despise romance. Thank you for putting up with my irritations, like having an unstable bi-polar thermostat that ranges from Arctic cold to erupting volcano. Thank you for not freaking out when I blow our budget on
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Amazon (“Where did that come from?”). Thank you for binge watching TV shows, not dragging me to parties, reading next to me in bed, laughing at my jokes, going to my yoga class and snuggling every morning before we head out to face the world. And here’s the funny thing. Despite my resistance and outer shell of cynicism, I often feel like the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes. I’ll find myself crying at movies without embarrassment (but I’ll still get offended when you offer me a tissue). You’ve taught me to appreciate sunsets, beautiful clouds and a gentle hug at the end of the day. Maybe one day I’ll change from being a terrible romantic to being terribly romantic. Probably not. But it could happen.
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Vol. 14 Iss. 02