February 2018 | Vol. 15 Iss. 02
NEW YEAR NEW COUNCIL By Cassie Goff | firstname.lastname@example.org
n Jan. 2, three new members of the Cottonwood Heights City Council were sworn in. Tali Bruce will serve as council member for District 3, replacing Mike Peterson. Christine Mikell will serve as council member for District 4, replacing Tee Tyler. Peterson will serve as mayor, replacing Kelvyn Cullimore. All three will serve four-year terms. “It’s a pretty big event to have a new mayor in the city,” Councilmember Mike Shelton said. “Saying goodbye to the old mayor is the biggest change in the city’s history.” Mayor Peterson When 2017 began, Peterson planned to run for re-election as District 3 council member. However, when Cullimore announced he would not be running for re-election, Peterson reconsidered. “I decided to run for mayor after being approached by several people from different areas within our city who encouraged me to run,” Peterson said. His continued desire to serve and love for Cottonwood Heights also influenced his decision. On election night, Peterson sat with his family and friends over dinner. The mayoral election results were announced by the Salt Lake County’s Clerk Office at 8:00 pm. “It was an exciting and humbling moment to see and feel the overwhelming support,” he said. “I’ve been in public service for over 40 years: 30 years with Salt Lake County in Parks and Recreation, and 15 years with the special taxing district for the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center,” Peterson said during the swearing-in ceremony. Peterson graduated from the University of Utah with an urban recreation and parks administration degree. After years of working with community programs, he helped with the incorporation of Cottonwood Heights in 2005. He has lived within the
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have learned to appreciate in Cottonwood OR LARGE BLANKET Heights be Expires 1/31/18 maintained and enhanced for years to come,” Peterson said. During his time serving as District 3 council member, he has been involved with many projects within the city. He is excited to continue to work on some of these projects as mayor. One project specifically has his attention. “I’m excited to work with Salt Lake County and the residents of the Crestwood area to update the Crestwood Regional Park Master Plan and to ask Salt Lake County for initial funding for development,” Peterson said. Peterson is also “excited for the opportunity to work with the new members of the council and for the fresh perspective they will bring.” After reciting the oath of office, Peterson publicly thanked his family. “The various positions I have had over the years require that I am often away from my family, and away from home, to fulfil my duties and responsibilities. Though all those years, (my wife) has supported me 100 percent.” Peterson will serve on the Central Wasatch Commission, Untied Fire Authority Board, Conference of Mayors, Council of Governments, Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Legislative Planning Committee with Utah League of Cities and Towns, and the Wasatch Front Regional Council. To contact Peterson, call 801-944-7005 or email email@example.com.
Mayor Peterson has been sworn in as the second ever mayor of Cottonwood Heights. (Dan Metcalf/Cottonwood Heights City)
city for 40 years. Peterson will have many roles to play, “but the most important role is to aggressively listen to our residents to gain a general feeling as to their needs and concerns,” Peterson said. The information gained from listening to residents help in guiding decisions to create legislation and protecting the quality of life acquired within the city. “I truly want to ensure that the quality of life we all enjoy and
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Cottonwood Heights City Journal
Go for it! Organizations encourage women to enter politics
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hile obtaining a seat in local government does not provide much financial reward, there are perks when running for office. Patricia Jones, CEO of the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI), spent 14 years serving the Utah Legislature and was surprised at just how beneficial learning the system ended up being. As Jones explained during a mid-January interview, having an understanding of how government worked provided her and her family invaluable information when she began looking into long term care options for an aged parent. “There are just so many things you learn, that help you in your own personal life, and help your loved ones,” Jones said. It’s something many Utah women are beginning to discover. Utah’s rank for women in office is on the rise with more projected to run in future elections. “I think we’re seeing more women run, because they’re feeling more confident,” said Jones. In 2016, Utah ranked 45th among state legislatures for percentage of women holding office. A rank that can be disheartening considering Utah’s history of being ahead of the curve when it comes to women in politics. In 1896—24 years before women were granted the right to vote— Martha Hughes Cannon ran as a Democrat against her husband, and became the first female state senator of the United States. Though Utah fell behind the curve in regards to the number of women in office, it appears to be a statistic that is steadily increasing. In accordance with Utah Valley University, within just one year Utah’s rank went from 45th to 38th, with five women gaining seats in the House. Bringing the number of women serving the 104-member Legislature up to 21 (15 House, six Senate). Organizations with programs offering political campaign education to women are seeing a rise in participants as well, meaning Utah will continue to see an increase of women running in future elections. Jones of WLI, an organization formed three years ago with the intent to support women in both business and political leadership, has seen a significant rise in participants for their political development program. “The first year we had 17 women that applied and that were in the class, last year we had 23, and this year we have 50,” said Jones. Jones explained that four of the female mayors elected during the November 2017 election were part of WLI’s political development program. Those four are: Michelle Kaufusi from Provo, Holly Daines from Logan, Kelleen Potter from Heber City, and Katie Witt from Kaysville. “The great thing about the [program] is they get to know one another and want to help each other. It’s really a magical thing to see,”
By Aspen Perry | firstname.lastname@example.org
CH Inauguration: Cottonwood Heights councilwomen, Tali Bruce and Christine Watson Mikell, with Mayor Mike Peterson. (Cottonwood Heights)
Jones said. Real Women Run (RWR) is another organization created to empower women, founded in 2011 at YWCA Utah. Erin Jemison, director of public policy with RWR, reported of the 98 women who were elected to office in the 2017 election, 23 were RWR participants. Kristie Steadman Overson, newly elected mayor of Taylorsville attended one of Real Women Run’s events six years ago, as preparation when she ran for a seat on Taylorsville City Council. Overson won the council seat, where she continued to serve until running and being elected mayor. During her campaign, Overson knocked on almost 3,000 doors and discovered communication was a top concern for her constituents. “Connecting with someone on their doorstep is a lot different than getting perspective during a council meeting. As I did that… I thought I can take this knowledge and use it, so communication is absolutely the key,” Overson said. Cottonwood Heights recently elected District 3 Councilwoman Tali Bruce also attended training through Real Women Run and found the personal testimonials of women who had run beneficial. “You can spend a lot of time prepping for something like this, but their advice was solid. To just go for it,” Bruce recounted of her experience. Along with Bruce, Christine Watson Mikell was the other woman who altered the allmale demographic of Cottonwood Heights previous city council. “I think boards or councils are better when there’s a diverse perspective. [Being] a mother, business owner, I offer a diverse perspective that may have not been on the council throughout the life of the city,” Mikell said. Though Mikell had planned to participate
in one of WLI’s groups, due to schedule conflicts she was unable to attend before running for council. “I think those organizations are fantastic, and I wish I’d had the benefit [of one of those programs],” Mikell said. Although Mikell was unable to prep for her campaign through WLI or RWR her experience working on the board of Utah Clean Energy provided hands-on experience for collaboration. Newly elected South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey, shares a similar path with her years of service on the Utah PTA State Board of Directors, which provided an opportunity to work with other female elected officials. “I work with a lot of women who hold positions of capacity that make a big difference… I’ve learned a lot from those women,” Ramsey stated. For Ramsey, growth is the main issue that she will focus on during her term as mayor. “Working with other local mayors and legislators, to try to help protect what we love most about South Jordan, and to work hard to get the services and funding that we need to continue to enhance quality of life for all of our residents,” Ramsey said. All in all, it is looking to be promising year as more women enter the political arena in Utah. When asked what advice they would offer other women thinking of running for office in the future, the advice from all women was the same: Go for it! “We need more women in the legislature,” said Jones with WLI. She added, “There are real structural benefits of having gender balance… it’s not good enough to have just one woman at the table.” With the rise of females enrolled in political development education, Utah is sure to see more women on the ticket for 2018. l
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February 2018 | Page 3
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Page 4 | February 2018 Tali Bruce Born and raised in Utah, council member for District 3 Tali Bruce attended local schools throughout her high school and college education. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a business management degree, after spending her sophomore year abroad. After her time in England, she realized her desire to travel, so she attained a job as a flight attendant. Bruce decided to run for local government shortly after Trump’s nomination. “Bernie Sanders was looking into the camera and said, ‘you need to run for office,’ and I thought, ‘he’s talking to me!’” Bruce said. While trekking along the campaign trail, Bruce knocked on many doors within her district. “I was pleasantly surprised as to the number of like-minded people in my community. There were so many who didn’t feel they had a voice in government at all. I want everyone to be heard and represented,” she said. “I grew up in a world assuming everyone was pretty much kind, good and loving. Then along came social media,” Bruce said during the swearing-in ceremony. “I realized I want to be a voice for those who feel underrepresented. I hold an ideal where society is compassionate and full of opportunity. I ran for office because I love my city and felt compelled to serve.” In addition to the required oath of office, Bruce gave her own oath to the residents of Cottonwood Heights. “I will make myself available, I will listen and I will strive to understand. I believe that Cottonwood Heights can be a loving, inclusive safe haven of supporting
Cottonwood Heights City Journal neighbors.” Bruce plans to host an open house the second Sunday of every month. “Accessibility outside of city hall will be an asset for people to share their concerns in a comfortable way. I invite constituents to bring me their concerns, and more importantly, their solutions,” she said. One of the main desires from residents within the city is to preserve and enhance green space. Bruce hopes to make improvements reflecting this desire, as she has proposed vertical walls to increase green space within the city. “They are a unique concept that could fit here,” Bruce said. Specifically in District 3, Bruce hopes the gravel pit development east of Wasatch Boulevard will provide opportunity for green space. “The gravel pit will be a showcase of Cottonwood Heights. It will involve green space and a stunning view of our valley. It could really be something special.” During the swearing-in ceremony, Bruce publicly thanked her family. “They have had my back throughout this process. I have five amazing children, who are keeping our colleges employed. If it weren’t for their success and independence, I wouldn’t be as empowered to take on this new venture.” Bruce will serve on the Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee, Emergency Planning Committee, Mosquito Abatement Board and as liaison to the Cottonwood Heights Business Association. To contact Councilmember Bruce, call 801-944-7037 or email tbruce.ch.utah.gov.
Christine Mikell Council member for District 4 Chrstine Mikell looks forward to serving on the city council. “As a mother of three children and an owner of a local renewable energy business, I believe my background will provide the council with a unique and different perspective,” she said. Mikell grew up in New Jersey before moving to Tennessee as a student of Vanderbilt University. After graduation, she moved to Wyoming where she taught at a local science and elementary school, in addition to coaching the high school soccer team. She then moved to Thailand where she taught and worked for an international engineering firm. Later, she moved to Utah to teach math at Wasatch Academy and moved into Salt Lake City to complete her MBA at the University of Utah. In 2002, she established the first Utah Wind and Solar Conference as she worked to promote clean air policies with state legislature, before moving to Cottonwood Heights two years later. During her campaign, Mikell attended cottage meetings and realized those meetings “gave folks who are not able to attend city council meetings an opportunity to hear what the city is doing and a forum for me to hear what is important to the community,” she said. She hopes to continue those meetings and welcomes anyone who would like to organize them. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is one of the many city projects Mikell looks forward to. “There is interest from Salt Lake County, our congressional delegation, and other agencies and nonprofits to acquire land for the trail, which will
provide additional recreation opportunities for the community,” she said. Specifically in District 4, “many of my neighbors are concerned about the recent UDOT project on Wasatch Boulevard. It will be important for our community to develop solutions to the UDOT changes as we head into winter. We have a vested interest in Wasatch Boulevard, as it is owned and maintained by UDOT, and need to continue to be vigilant on how it affects us,” Mikell said. “We want to maintain the focus on the importance of collaboration. I am hoping that the council continues to improve the character of the city as we work on the Wasatch Boulevard and the Open Space Master Plans. I would like to see Cottonwood Heights become a leader in walkable neighborhoods and open space,” Mikell said. Mikell has received much feedback from residents about keeping the community safe. “We want to continue to foster strong relationships of mutual trust between the Cottonwood Heights police force and our community to maintain public safety and effective policing,” she said. “I’m doing this for my children and my family. I think it’s so important that the community that we live in is a community that we want to be in. Let’s continue to improve Cottonwood Heights,” Mikell said during the swearing-in ceremony. Mikell will serve on the Jordan River Commission, Association of Municipal Councils and the Utah League of Cities and Towns. To contact Mikell, call 801-944-7014 or email email@example.com. l
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Marzolf’s exhibit sheds new light on the ‘everyday’
Photograph taken by Mark Marzolf for his “Everyday” exhibit at Whitmore Library. (Mark Marzolf)
February 2018 | Page 5
By Joshua Wood | firstname.lastname@example.org
o much of the world passes by without us really taking notice. Photographer and artist Mark Marzolf aims to make us stop and take notice with his work. His recent photography exhibit at Whitmore Library featured dozens of pieces that focus on the contrast, texture and patterns of everyday objects. “I like to think of my work as looking at things in different ways,” Marzolf said. “It is more of a deliberate act.” Marzolf started his artistic work over 10 years ago. Initially, he took landscape photographs. Then he got into natural still life work and eventually started photographing doors, windows and interesting rusty objects. “I keep changing my focus and trying new things,” Marzolf said. “I was done with taking snapshots. I felt kind of jaded with more traditional forms of photography. Anyone can photograph Delicate Arch. I wanted to get something new.” Before he began his landscape work, Marzolf took a photography course from the University of Utah’s continuing education program. Getting specific assignments forced him to look for subjects and look at things differently all the time. “It’s a real learning and growing process to compose an image in your mind before taking a photograph.” Marzolf grew increasingly interested in black-and-white photography, which is now his primary medium. He incorporates a lot of post-production manipulation of his photos to
find fascinating ways of enlarging and distilling the images. The secret to Marzolf’s work is that he is always ready and able to capture a new image. All of his photos from his “Everyday” exhibit at Whitmore Library were taken with his Apple iPhone SE. He moved from more traditional cameras to using his phone so he could be ready to capture any everyday object he stumbles upon. Photos from the exhibit included a closeup image of a dandelion before its seeds were spread into the wind. The sharp contrast between the fine white lines of the plant and the dark shaded space below make it resemble a medical image or something from a microscope. That is fitting, since Marzolf worked as a medical photographer before recently retiring. Marzolf hesitated when asked what he would like people to get from his work. Then his voice lit up as he said, “I would love to have people see my work and really study the photograph and try to figure out what it is, how it was done, and why. If you can figure it out, then that means you can go out and do the same thing.” After all, that is the point of Marzolf’s work — to shed new light on things we are all accustomed to. From the shadow cast by a tree or the pattern of a winding staircase to the accessibility of using a smartphone to capture them, Marzolf’s work is about drawing attention to the things around us and how we can appreciate them.
When asked for advice for aspiring artists, Marzolf again hesitated to offer any. “I’m still learning and developing myself. But if you want to be a photographer, you have to do what pleases you. Find out what you like.” Marzolf’s interests now include star photography. Perfecting this ultimate form of black-and-white photography is among his artistic goals. The amount of work he does varies. While he does not take photographs every day, he generally takes several hundred each year. Having an exhibit to prepare for like the recent one at Whitmore motivates him to take more. Marzolf gathers his material while on hikes or when traveling. Some of the over 70 images he took for his Whitmore exhibit include photos from London and other trips. From the alternating black and white lines of a winding concrete staircase to the twisted bark of an old tree, his work brings into sharp focus things that often remain in the background as we pass them by. “I get a kick out of looking for things from a difference perspective,” he said. “I’m lying on the ground to take some of the photos in the exhibit. Super close-ups reveal a lot. I’m just always amazed at the image within an image. Within a landscape, there can be an old dead tree. Then a closer look at the bark. You can distill the landscape into a single knot of wood.” Thanks to Marzolf’s work, that single knot of wood can stand out from everything around it — and around us. l
Planned developments for 2018 By Cassie Goff | email@example.com turn lanes to be installed in every direction. Previously, Rocky Mountain Power moved and replaced many power poles around the intersection in preparation for this project. The intersection widening is estimated to cost around $4.5 million, which will be provided by UDOT and federal funding. When completed, the intersection is anticipated to provide shorter traffic light cues for a safer and more efficient commute. The Cottonwood The Fort Union Master Plan will begin with implementation this year. (Brian Berndt/ Heights Public Works Cottonwood Heights) Department hopes to hile residents of Cottonwood Heights have have their site completed by the end of this year. been recuperating from the madness of the They share the site with UDOT off the intersection holidays, city planners have been tirelessly work- of 3000 East and Cottonwood Parkway, along Big ing on new developments and calendar events for Cottonwood Creek. Currently, one storage shed the upcoming year. Listed below are some devel- has been completed. Over the next year, the public works staff will have new office space, additional opments and other projects planned for 2018. storage space and an expanded parking lot. AddiPublic Works This summer, the Utah Department of Trans- tionally, the entrance to the site will stem directly portation (UDOT) will widen the intersection of from the nearby intersection. Businesses Fort Union Boulevard and Highland Drive. This Starbucks will be opening a new store on project will involve construction and road blockages, as curbs will be pushed back for dual left- 7025 Highland Drive. Previously a Sonic Drive-in,
the corporate coffee shop will be located two doors south from the Fort Union and Highland intersection. After multiple revisions of the site plan, the opening date has been pushed back until construction can be completed. The Children’s Academy Preschool will be located at approximately 8000 South and Highland Drive. After the construction of two new buildings completes, the school will be able to accommodate 150 children, between two different age groups. Chase Bank has acquired the old Applebee’s building at 7045 South and 1300 East. Construction has been slower than anticipated so doors may open later this year. Two new restaurants have already opened. Zupas, on 1400 East Fort Union Blvd., opened in December after remodeling the building from Paradise Bakery. Element Bistro is a small restaurant serving unique small plates, wine and local beer. Their ribbon cutting was on Dec. 4 at 2578 E. Bengal Blvd. Additional Developments The Hillrise Apartments on 2385 East and 6895 South plans to expand their development with six new buildings, providing 66 additional units. The Cottonwood Heights Planning Commission will make the final decision on this development when they take action during their meeting on March 3. Knudsen Park, a new public park being developed by the City of Holladay, will be located immediately South of the 6200 South and Holladay
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Boulevard intersection. It will be a six-acre park with a tree canopy, playgrounds, picnic facilities, walking paths, hammocks, pavilions and other amenities. A bike-hub will be complete with water fill-up facilities and a repair station. Improvements for part of the Big Cottonwood Canyon Trail are also included. The park is planned to be complete in November 2018. Planning Many Cottonwood Heights zoning and subdivision ordinances are being updated. Proposed text amendments for supplementary and qualifying regulations, residential (single and multi-family), regional commercial and subdivisions are in review with the planning commission. The current recommended approval date is Feb. 1. The Wasatch Boulevard Master Plan is continually being drafted. Cottonwood Heights staff members are working with consultants to create future scenarios using survey results. They are currently focusing on the south border of the boulevard and the area around the intersection of Bengal Boulevard. An open house concerning the master plan is tentatively scheduled for March if residents wish to attend. A report on the Open Space Master Plan is being completed for the planning commission. Implantation of the Fort Union Master Plan is underway. City staff members are reviewing consultants for an access management plan. They are also working with Salt Lake County to fund pedestrian and bike facilities along the arterial road. l
Page 6 | February 2018
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
Cottonwood Heights shines at Girl Scouts Gold Awards By Joshua Wood | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaatje Fisk was awarded the prestigious Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive. (Michele Fisk)
ive girls in the entire state of Utah recently received the prestigious Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive. Of those five innovative young leaders, two live right in Cottonwood Heights. Kaatje Fisk and Madisen Streich earned their awards by demonstrating their ability to identify and address community issues. Fisk was honored with the Gold Award for her science project that helps combat invasive quagga mussels in Utah’s lakes and reservoirs. The 17-year-old designed the project to help track and minimize the spread of the invasive species that has been transported to North America by overseas shipping. The mussels adapt well to new environments and can alter a water system’s plant life and food chain. “This experience proved to be very rewarding,” Fisk said in her award speech. “I learned new skills, met new people, and most importantly, I was able to spread awareness of this critical issue. To support the sustainability of my project, I designed a curriculum for sixth-grade students to help educate them on the impact that invasive species can have on local ecosystems.” “It’s awesome,” Fisk’s mother, Michele Fisk, said of her daughter’s award and the impressive work she did to earn it. “I am super proud of her and grateful for the opportunities she gets through the Girl Scouts. This is the crowning achievement of all that.” Madisen Streich earned her Gold Award for
tackling a challenge in her own life and helping others with the same issue. The 16-year-old Streich was diagnosed with lupus four years ago. She organized a support group for other teens suffering this painful condition that is caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues. “Let me tell you this was not an easy project for someone like me to do,” Streich said in her award speech. “I suffer from lupus that kicks me when I’m down, but even with that I can push through to complete such an amazing project like the Gold Award.” “We are absolutely proud of her,” Streich’s mother, Kiyono Oshiro-Streich, said. “She did a lot of work, hopefully finding a place for people to discuss lupus and help them get the emotional stability they need.” Fisk is a senior at the Salt Lake Center for Science and Education Charter School. Streich is a junior at Brighton High School, where she plays on the lacrosse team. “It’s really amazing that two of only five girls in the entire state to receive the Gold Award from the Girl Scouts are from Cottonwood Heights,” Cottonwood Heights Public Relations Specialist Dan Metcalf, Jr. said. According to the Girl Scouts, only five percent of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award. Forty percent of Utah’s recent Gold Award recipients reside in Cottonwood Heights. l
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February 2018 | Page 7
Brave little boy brings community together By Joshua Wood | email@example.com
Connor David Sawyer (Courtesy the Sawyer Family)
onnor David Sawyer wasn’t supposed to live for more than a few days. Maybe a few weeks. But the little boy born with a rare heart defect was born to endure. Defying odds, Connor lived for nearly five months and managed to reach hundreds of lives. He continues to reach people in special ways, and for that, a street in Cottonwood Heights now bears his name. Born in April 2017, Connor carried a spirit that inspired those around him. His parents, Briana and Josh Sawyer, brought Connor home from the hospital and overcame odds each day along the way. Following Connor’s passing, his parents sought a way to commemorate their little boy’s life. Briana and Josh petitioned their Cottonwood Heights neighbors to rename their street in Connor’s honor. “It was a unifying experience,” Josh said. “It was an opportunity to meet people, neighbors we hadn’t met before.” The petition experience brought people in the area together. “As we talked, we heard other people’s stories of loss,” Josh said. “I never imagined having an experience like that.”
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The petition to pay tribute to Connor was met with overwhelming enthusiasm. So on Nov. 30, 2017, a public works crew from Cottonwood Heights installed new street signs to mark Connor David Way. The new signs mark 2220 East between 7110 South and Somerset. Connor’s parents and his brother Caleb helped install the new signs. To further celebrate the life of Connor David Sawyer, his parents commissioned a local jeweler to design a piece in his honor. A necklace in the shape of an anatomical heart decorated with stars and mountains can be purchased online, and a portion of the sales goes to Intermountain Healing Hearts, a nonprofit that provides support for families of children and adults with congenital heart defects. Connor touched hundreds of lives in his short time on earth. His legacy includes bringing a neighborhood together and providing support to other children and their families. To learn more about Intermountain Healing hearts, visit http://www.intermountainhealinghearts.org. To view and purchase the necklace designed in his honor, visit etsy.com and search “anatomical heart with mountains.” l
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Page 8 | February 2018
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
MATHCOUNTS offers middle school students challenge By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com
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Canyon School District honored its top 14 middle school students in the recent MATHCOUNTS competition. (Rachel Marshall/Canyons School District)
fter two rounds of complete silence, 132 Canyons School District middle school students were able to work together to solve 10 problems in the team round of MATHCOUNTS. “Math makes sense and it’s fun,” said Mt. Jordan eighth-grader Shaylee Neilsen, who is competing on her school’s MATHCOUNTS team for the first time. At the district competition, students had four rounds: a 30-question sprint round, a target round with four sets of two problems, a team competition where students work together on 10 questions, and then an oral countdown round. MATHCOUNTS is offered after school at the eight middle schools and promotes middle school mathematics achievement in every U.S. state and territory. Since 1985, students in the district have competed in MATHCOUNTS, said Bob McGee, Midvale Middle School teacher and coach of 39 club members. Up until last year, Midvale Middle has dominated the competition, winning 15 years straight until Waterford claimed the title last year. Last year at the chapter competition, Midvale scored 57 of the 66 points possible. “Our kids are practicing doing more questions and being exposed to more math questions from algebra to geometry to probability. These are tough questions they’re solving,” McGee said last year. This year, with a new chapter of private and charter schools formed, there were only seven Canyons schools competing at the district level on Jan. 3. Union Middle did not participate. The top 14 students, plus their teams, will compete next at the chapter contest in February, followed by state and even nationals. “The students get involved because they like doing math,” said McGee, who has accompanied the state team to nationals several
times. “Some of these students who compete at the national level go to MIT and other high-end schools. They are able to problem-solve and are self-motivated to learn.” Midvale eighth-grader Zoe Liu said she studied on her own in addition to the club meetings once per week. “It’s like anything else you do — you have to practice,” she said. “The more you practice, the faster and more accurate you are. This gets harder every year; it’s become more competitive.” Zoe, who finished second in the overall competition, said she joined MATHCOUNTS to learn. “It’s a fun way to learn about math. It’s unique, creative and applies to the real world,” she said. Many schools, including the 11-member Indian Hills team, use MATHCOUNTS-prepared booklets to help students get ready for the competition, said math teacher and coach Allyson Derocher. “It’s for fun, for kids who enjoy solving math problems,” she said. “Our aim is to have fun and have our team compete at the chapter contest.” Butler Middle School coach Amy Giles supported Derocher, adding that her seven-member team consists of students who participate for “the love of math.” Eastmont coach Stephanie Schott said it also helps students learn to “problem-solve with friends. It’s taking what they learn, building upon it and applying it. They’re often solving problems a couple years beyond what they’re learning in the classroom.” Mt. Jordan Coach Michelle O’Reilly said the problems are purposely scaled above their difficulty. “It’s an enrichment above the ninth-grade problem set,” she said.
Schott said that through competition, they’re learning how to collaborate with their team as well as attempt problems in multiple ways. At Albion, MATHCOUNTS coach and teacher Emalee Elkins said that often, her 17-member team works together to come up with the solution. “There’s some challenging questions; it’s hard stuff,” Elkins said. “We look at Pascal’s triangle and Fibonacci’s sequence just for fun. We’re trying to get students more college-ready, so while they’re having fun and collaborating with each other, they’re learning.” District instructional specialist Rachel Marshall said that because some accelerated students choose to remain in their neighborhood schools rather than attend Midvale Middle, which houses the Salta program, the past three years, they have encouraged all schools to offer the math enrichment MATHCOUNTS program. “We have advanced math students spread out throughout our district, so this provides students an enriching and dynamic way for them to be challenged,” she said. While all students competing received finalist medals, only the top 14 competed in the oral countdown round. The top three students received trophies and the top four students from each school form a team that can compete at chapter competition. This year’s top 14 students who placed in order after the countdown round were Eric Chen, Midvale; Zoe Liu, Midvale; Thomas Lu, Midvale; Marianne Liu, Midvale; Lucas Pearce, Eastmont; Will Pearce, Eastmont; Michael Watts, Indian Hills; Andrew Liew, Midvale; Hyun Chun, Midvale; Luke Holt, Butler; Ryan Pomeroy, Indian Hills; Ashley Nielsen, Draper Park; Matthew Telling, Albion; and Asiah Collinson, Mt. Jordan. l
February 2018 | Page 9
Canyon View crossing guard: Proactive in schoolchildren’s safety
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By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com
on’t think twice about going slightly over the school zone speed limit or darting across the street instead of waiting to be told it’s safe in the crosswalk. Canyon View Elementary’s crossing guard, Shirley Crews, will stop you if you do. “It’s my job to make sure these kids cross safely,” said Crews, who has served her last 23 of 25 years at the elementary school. “There hasn’t been any accidents since I’ve been here.” On this particular January afternoon, a driver stopped a few feet beyond the zone marked for safe crossing. After motioning for him to back up, Crews walked over to his window to remind him that from “sign to sign, it’s a school safety zone.” “I motion for the drivers to slow down and make sure they aren’t going at the stop points. I’ve called businesses to let them know their drivers aren’t slowing down. I’ve taken down car license plates and driver descriptions and reported them. I’ve had drivers stand beside me while on patrol to see why they need to slow down. I hate to see drivers going fast, making U-turns — you can’t do that — and not being safe,” she said. Students who cross also know the drill. One afternoon, for example, as cars slowed down, a student tried to start crossing but was stopped by her peer. “Shirley will tell us when it’s safe,” the student told her classmate before thanking Crews, who walked to the middle of the crossing zone to ensure vehicles were stopped before she called the girls as well as other students and families to safely enter the crosswalk. Crews explained, “A lot of them know that they can’t cross until I say it’s safe,” she said. The bottom line for Crews is safety, Canyon View office aide Bonnie Mays said. “If people don’t like her, then, they’re probably speeding,” she said. “If you do like her, you probably have a kid she’s keeping safe.” Mays said that Crews’ top priority is the students. “She puts the students before everything else. She’ll put herself out there on the busy road, educating community drivers, helping with our safety patrol at pick-up and making sure students cross safely,” she said. Fifth-grader Audrey Sjoblom, who is on safety patrol, said that Crews is helpful. “She teaches us and tells us which side of the street to stand on when we’re on patrol,” she said. Crews started safety patrol at the school 23 years ago. The safety patrol, with the help of Crews and teachers in charge, makes sure students are able to cross safely at the entrance and exits at the school. “I worked with teachers to make sure safety patrol knows the rules and how we can coordinate crossing. I like the kids,” Crews said. That’s apparent, as she goes above her duties, said administrative assistant Chris Gray. “She’s not just a crossing guard, she loves kids and the school,” she said. “This is her family. She really cares about the kids.” So much so that, Gray said, Crews comes early when there are orchestra and choir rehearsals before school so she can safely cross the musi-
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Canyon View’s Shirley Crews has been a crossing guard for 25 years. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
cians and even give candy bars during the holidays to the safety patrol. She also said that as teachers need items, such as one teacher who re-uses plastic bags that are used for newspapers, she brings them in and puts them in their faculty boxes. PTA President Amber Marzelewski said that Crews’ dedication goes beyond making sure cars stop. “When kindergarten has a safety unit in school, she comes in to teach them how to safely cross at the crosswalk so from that point on, they know the rules,” she said. “She makes a stop sign with them. My son still has his.” Crews said during the winter, if she can get to the school early, she helps the custodian with shoveling snow and using ice melt in front of the school and where the students stand before crossing. “I’m here for the kids. That’s the highlight. I like to converse with them and hear the latest ideas and listen to their stories. I know them by sight and who belongs where. They know me and thank me,” she said, adding that oftentimes during the holidays they bring notes, candy and hot chocolate in appreciation. She said that she’s now crossing students of parents or aunts and uncles she crossed years back. She recently was thanked at a grocery store by a former student — now an adult — who reminded her that she crossed him when he was a student. “I inherited the job from my husband, who took it on as a retired school teacher,” she said, adding that when he became ill she substituted for him until they put her on the payroll and she took his position. “I’ve seen the road become more busy, we’ve painted the curbs red so cars don’t line up and park to block the view, and we’ve put up signs in front of the school so one area is for busses and the other for cars.” Although she will say it’s “a little hot” in the summer and she “hates it when it’s snowing and the wind is blowing and it roars in the trees,” she says her “best day is when everything just falls into place.” “Then I know I’ve done my job and the kids are safe,” she said. l
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Page 10 | February 2018
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
Brighton wrestlers ready to go toe to toe with state’s top competitors By Josh McFadden | firstname.lastname@example.org
Brighton High wrestling expects to send various wrestlers to the state meet. (Photo/Jerry Christensen)
ontending for a state championship won’t be easy this season for the Brighton wrestling team, but head coach Mitchell Stevens loves what he sees out of his squad. The Bengals have spent the season ranked in the top 10 in Class 5A. As of Jan. 17, the team was rated ninth in the competitive classification. Thanks to region realignments, Brighton has gone up against the likes of Wasatch (which Stevens believes is the best team in the state, regardless of classification) and Viewmont, which Wrestle Utah ranks as No. 1 in 5A. “Things are going pretty well,” Stevens said. “The kids are exceeding expectations.” Though neither Wasatch nor Viewmont are in Brighton’s region, Stevens hasn’t been shy about facing these and other top programs in the state this season. He knows the fierce competition will only pay dividends in the postseason. “I scheduled some tough tournaments,” he said. “We’ve seen some of the best teams. I want the kids to know what to expect; I want to prepare them for state.” Stevens expects several of his wrestlers to find their places on the podium at the state meet the first week of February at Utah Valley University. His top athlete is defending state champion Brayden Stevens, who is currently ranked No. 1 at the 145-pound class. “He’s our best wrestler,” Mitchell Stevens said. “He was invited to the high school all-star meet to represent 5A.”
A pair of freshman have stepped up and performed well this season. Bryce Hysong, at 106 pounds, and Rylan Stevens, at 145 pounds, are part of what Mitchell Stevens calls his “best freshman class” he’s had in his five years at the school. The Bengals will lose just three seniors off this year’s squad. Mitchell Stevens said the JV team has also performed well. He’s expecting several youngsters from that squad to lead the varsity team in the next few years. “As long as the kids stick together and work hard, Brighton should be in good shape,” he said. “The kids have a good attitude. They get along pretty well.” Other standouts on the team include 113-pounder Justin Lewis, who began the year at 120 pounds; 126-pounder Anthonee Ouk, who is ranked fourth in Class 5A; and 132-pounder Jaxson Wilde. “[Wilde] as beat some of the top-ranked wrestlers in the state,” Mitchell Stevens said. “[Ouk] is one of the hardest workers on the team; he tries hard and is a great kid. I couldn’t ask for more. [Lewis] and [Rylan Stevens] are doing really well.” By the time the season ends, Mitchell Stevens hopes his team is in the thick of the 5A race. “I want to be in the top 5” he said. “It depends on everyone coming together and wrestling to their potential when it matters.” l
February 2018 | Page 11
Cottonwood drill team coaches encourage dancers to ‘win the day’
or 15 hours each week, 25 Cottonwood High Chaparrals practice routines to precision. Their routines are not just to be performed for the student body at the high school’s sporting event half-time shows and assemblies, but also at three invitational meets leading up to region and state. “We tell the girls to ‘win the day,’” said Erin Burk, who coaches with Kelsea McGregor. “(We ask) ‘What did you do at this competition that you consider a win?’ We try to keep their focus on their own accomplishments as a team.” That may not result in winning a competition, but putting forth the best effort for the team, she said. For example, Burk said at a recent competition, an alternate learned 30 minutes before competing that she’d take part in the dance routine. “She learned her new spot seamlessly and was prepared for the team. She went on to compete the routine and was perfect. The whole team walked off the floor screaming in excitement because she was able to pull this off for the betterment of the team,” she said. Cottonwood hosted the 5A region competition Jan. 20 that included high school teams from Murray, Alta, Jordan, Brighton and Corner Canyon.
his winter, Willow Canyon students brought in boxes of cereal — 870 boxes, in fact. The Sandy students, led by the school’s student council, wanted to make sure students who regularly counted on school breakfast had breakfast over the winter break. They gave their donations to their peers at Midvale Elementary. “Their helping hands culminated a monthlong theme of service to others and the importance of being kind,” Principal Marilyn Williams said, adding that donations were also taken as part of their holiday school choir performance. Willow Canyon was one of more than 25 Canyons District schools to hold donation drives. Despite the robust economy, intergenerational poverty continues to be a problem in Utah, said Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney. “In Canyons District, we value service learning — the idea that we learn so much about ourselves when we’re in the service of others,” he said. “It’s heartwarming to watch school communities participate in their holiday donation drives every year. Across the district, we saw acts of charity, both big and small, that showed the depth of care of our community.” Canyons District administration also took the lead by raising $11,300 and collecting winter clothing for residents of The Road Home in Midvale, a homeless shelter within the district’s boundaries. An event to benefit their efforts was combined with a luncheon performance at Jordan Valley students and a silent auction. As part of Canyons’ partnership with the San-
By Julie Slama | Julie@cityjournals.com
“Our region is once again very competitive. We have amazing teams that we’re competing against which has pushed the girls to work even harder this year to make it back to state,” she said. “Our goal is to always do better than we did at our previous competition and through hard work, they have been able to increase their scores at each competition.” Last year, after a five-year absence, Cottonwood advanced to state where they competed in the semifinals. To prepare for region, Cottonwood competed at several invitational meets, including those hosted by Wasatch High and Clearfield High, where they took home trophies for placing in the top four in their routines. “So far, our strongest routine at competitions has been military. The girls really love this style, we had an amazing choreographer, and it’s just been working for us,” she said. Training and team bonding started soon after last season, once the new team was announced. First, the team built leadership and bonded as a team by participating in the Disney Youth Education program in California. “We love going on this trip because it creates team unity being able to experience traveling together out of state. We love the leadership workshop. It helps the girls think about what type of leaders they look up to, what type of
leader they can be, and how their actions and leadership skills directly affect the team and program,” Burk said, adding that they are making plans to return in April with next year’s team which is determined at tryouts and based on grade-point average, citizenship, teacher recommendations and performances. The team also went to the Epic Drill Camp in Park City where they performed their pompom routine. They also learned their choreography for football half-time routines as well as team unity activities, techniques classes and focusing on what it takes to have a successful year, she said. The Chaparrals also bonded through community service projects. Recently, the team decorated and donated a Christmas tree to a family in need in the community, Burk said. Another benefit to the team has been two former members and Cottonwood graduates, Sophie Ford and Bella Papadopoulos, who are helping coach. “The dancers really look up to them and their talent, they’ve been a huge asset to our coaching staff. We love having the extra help and a couple extra eyes on our routines,” Burk said. “Our team motto is ‘We can, we will, end of story.’ This motto helps remind them that they are capable to do anything they set their mind to.” l
Cottonwood High’s Chaparrals, seen here in their pom routine, were host to the 5A region competition on Jan. 20. (Cottonwood High School)
Canyons students lend a hand to others By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com
Brighton High School held a fundraising assembly to help support the Tyler Robinson Foundation. Tyler had attended Brighton before he died. (Brighton High School)
dy Area Chamber of Commerce, the district also gathered gently used purses and jewelry for People Helping People, an organization that helps low-income women, primarily single mothers, find jobs with living wages. Canyons District schools also hosted drives for food, clothing, stuffed animals, books and other items. Amongst the numerous service projects, at more than five schools, students supported
their peers at another Canyons school with food and clothing drives. Students at about seven other schools donated food items to the Utah Food Bank. At Midvale Middle School, books were brought in and Jordan High pitched in to donate clothing, all earmarked for the Boys and Girls Club. At Park Lane, students participated in Project Teddy Bear with the Bank of American Fork, and Willow Springs donated items for The Road
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Home and Ronald McDonald House. Union Middle School students contributed to a local animal shelter while Brookwood Elementary held a fundraiser for Utah’s Ouelessebougou Alliance. Both Corner Canyon High and Brighton High held activities to benefit the Tyler Robinson Foundation, with Brighton’s to finish late January. Indian Hills Middle and Hillcrest High held fundraisers to benefit Make-a-Wish Foundation. Indian Hills student council organized their coin drive fundraiser, which was slated Jan. 22 through Feb. 2. It included incentives such as faculty dyeing their hair, kissing a piglet, taking a pie to their faces and performing a dance routine. “We’re pretty excited for it,” said Kamil Harrison, seventh-grade social studies teacher and student council adviser. Hillcrest raised more than $14,400 to help three youth receive their wishes, said student body vice president Lizzie Jensen. “This year we added a lot to our own plates, but we really wanted to make the fundraiser a big deal. I think our all day assemblies may have helped a ton,” she said, adding that they raised more than $7,000 that day alone. One of the three wishes will go to an unnamed Hillcrest student that has been diagnosed with leukemia, Jensen said, adding that students knew their donations were helping someone from their school. “We made sure it was addressed on why we picked the Make-a-Wish Foundation,” Jensen said. “She is a very sweet girl — we’re so glad we got to raise money to help her wish come true.” l
Page 12 | February 2018
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
Being a public servant
Carpe Di End
By Cassie Goff | email@example.com
Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore was once told a great secret: even though he was a part-time mayor, his mayoral duties would be just the same as a full-time mayor. (Dan Metcalf/Cottonwood Heights City)
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ottonwood Heights has lost the only mayor it has ever known. Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore announced last year that he would not be running for re-election after 13 years of service. On Jan. 2, Mayor Mike Peterson was sworn in as the new mayor of Cottonwood Heights. During the swearing-in ceremony, Cullimore addressed Peterson and the two new members of the city council, Councilwoman Tali Bruce and Councilwoman Christine Mikell, to offer some advice. Instead of just discussing his recommendations on how to serve on the city council, Cullimore provided his advice in the form of ten commandments. The following are the Ten Commandments of Being a Public Servant, as offered by Mayor Cullimore. I. Thou shalt be an active listener. Do not patronize or think yours are the only good ideas. Citizens often have some of the best ideas. Remember there are two sides to every story. Listen actively but be slow to pick any position until all sides of the story have been heard. II. Thou shalt study the issues.
Know more and understand the issues better than anyone else in the room. Engage your mind before you engage your mouth. This requires discipline: a lot of reading and asking questions to better understand an issue. If you’re not up to speed on an issue, admit it and work hard to get there. Better to keep your mouth closed and let people wonder than to open your mouth on an uninformed issue and confirm your ignorance. III. Thou shalt be decisive. Once you have studied the issue, be prepared to make a decision. Allow process to make a decision. IV. Thou shalt develop a vision and share it. Be willing to modify the vision as information becomes available but be determined to execute on that vision. V. Thou shalt build consensus. There is a forum for debating and resolving differences: they are called work sessions. Some question why we so often vote in unanimity, as if that were a bad thing. What they did not see were the hours of debate and compromise required
before taking a vote. VI. Thou shalt understand your role. Leadership is not granted by stature. Like respect, it is earned. In our form of government, nothing is accomplished without three votes. The council must work with staff and council to achieve positive outcomes. VII. Thou shalt actively represent the city in outside committees. It is crucial the city be well represented on regional, county and state committees. It ensures a seat at the larger table for the city. Over the last 13 years, we have brought in funding in excess of over 50 million dollars through such participation. VIII. Thou shalt be available and responsive. Elected officials are responsible to their constituents. Respond to calls and emails within 24 hours. It shows respect to constituents when you do so, even if they don’t like the answer they receive. IX. Thou shalt not accept a gratuity or anything like unto it. One time I had a developer offer to make a donation to my campaign. I asked if he had any plans in the next four years to build in Cottonwood Heights. He said it was possible. I respectfully declined. It’s tempting to think it’s a perk of the office. It is not. Stay as far from that line as possible. No amount of money, no lunch, no gratuity, is worth the appearance of being entitled or compromised. Integrity must be a hallmark of service. X. Thou shalt be patient and educate. It is important to educate on an issue before implementation. Sometimes when people don’t want to hear the facts, you must be patient in educating them so they are better able to understand why an issue is the way it is. Above all, respect the dignity of the human soul. We are a great community. Public service is a privilege. You have been grated the trust of the citizens of Cottonwood Heights. Remember that if you are doing your best, and serving honorably without motivated self-interest, the majority of the silent citizenry does support you. Cullimore decided not to run for re-election in 2017 as his responsibilities to his business began to compete for his time with his mayoral duties. As his business is within Cottonwood Heights, he plans to stay involved with local government as an active resident. He anticipates being a resource for the new council members but hopes they will pave their own path for the city. l
You were just in a car accident, now what?
nless you’re one of the few anomalies in the world, we’ve all been in an accident. We’ve experienced that sickening feeling when your car makes unwanted contact with another vehicle. We’re frustrated and disheartened. While we may want to crawl into a hole, we can’t. There are things to do and we’ve given you 10 to be aware of (in no particular order). 1. Have an emergency kit in your car. While this step comes before the accident occurs, it’s essential to be prepared. Whatever you kit entails, make sure it has a first aid kit, flashlight, reflective triangles and a small (and simple) camera in case there’s been damage to your phone. We’re typically frustrated or frazzled after an accident and not inclined to rational thinking. Being prepared limits the possibility of forgetfulness. 2. Take a deep breath. Accidents are traumatic experiences. Taking a breath will shift focus from what just happened to what needs to be done next. 3. Get a status check on everyone in the car. Check with each passenger to see if they are OK. Have someone call 911 immediately if someone is injured or unresponsive. 4. Move to a safe location. Most insurance companies recommend relocating the vehicle to the sidewalk or shoulder of the road as soon as possible after the accident. If the damage to the car is minor, this should be relatively easy. But if there are major injuries or questions about the safety of the car, leave it where it is, even if its blocking traffic. 5. Increase your visibility. Turn on your hazard lights and set out your attention items from the emergency kit—flares, orange cones, reflective triangles, etc. One accident should not lead to another. Take precaution to ensure other drivers on the road remain safe. 6. Stay calm. It is very easy to lose your temper in this situation, it’s human nature. Keeping your cool will keep the situation from
getting worse. If it wasn’t your fault, it’s easy to want to let your emotions loose on the other driver. This will cloud your judgment and may lead to something that does not help the situation. You still need to exchange information. 7. Exchange insurance information. This is imperative. If you are to file a claim on your car, you will need the other driver’s information. Most likely, after an accident you are feeling jumpy or stressed. It means when you try to write down their information your handwriting will look like ancient hieroglyphics and, unless you are a cryptographer, will be unable to read it later. We live in the 21st Century, take a photo of their information and take photos of the damage done to both cars. 8. Don’t admit guilt. Every insurance company will tell you to do this. Even if you are at fault and it was you to blame. This could drive your premium up or even lead to you being sued. Let the police and insurance companies determine this. 9. Call the police. While some minor accidents don’t require a report to be filed, it’s up to the discretion of the drivers in the accident to call the police. Law enforcement can take statements, get information on injuries and property damage. Be sure to ask for a copy of the accident report. If there is a dispute, the officer will be an important testimony. 10. See a doctor. Depending on the injuries suffered or not, it is easy to skip this. A large financial situation has just happened with the car accident, you don’t want another one by seeing the doctor and jacking up your health costs. It’s important to consider it, or possibly speak with one. Adrenaline can be pumping after the accident and one might not notice the amount of whiplash to your neck. Symptoms can take 24 hours to appear. The warning signs include neck pain, stiffness, loss of motion in the neck, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and pain in the shoulders or upper back. It can be better to be safe than sorry. l
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February 2018 | Page 13
Page 14 | February 2018
Cottonwood Heights City Journal
A commercial crazed Valentine’s Day can leave you broke. Americans spend billions of dollars to celebrate a holiday rumored to be started by Hallmark in order to sell cards—which aren’t cheap. Then there’s the overpriced dinners, expensive roses and the marked-up heart-shaped chocolate. Perhaps a more accurate expression of love can be found in homemade gifts, because your time, love and effort was put into them. Here are less expensive alternatives for homemade Valentine’s Day gifts; some not even requiring creativity. Instead of supporting Hallmark’s card industry (some cards are $13 now!), write your own card. It’s not that hard, I promise. Start by picking the front of your card. If you’re not feeling particularly magical, just print a picture. It can be a cartoon your sweetheart will find funny. Or perhaps print a photo of a fun memory, or something related to an interest of theirs. Now you’ll need to write something on the back or inside of the card. Google “Valentine’s Day card messages” for some inspiring poems and sayings. For more personalized content, close your eyes, think about your loved one and what they mean to you, type out your thoughts, and then write it on the card. Creating your own card doesn’t take too much time, and it’s usually
more memorable. Plus, you’ll save a few bucks! If you’re planning on buying candy or chocolate, don’t grab the heart-shaped ones. Candy specifically made for Valentine’s Day is anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars more than the everyday version of the same. Maybe it would be worth it if the candy tasted better, but usually the proportions are thrown off by festivity. I’d rather have a regularly proportioned Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, than a heart-shaped slab of peanut butter. One dozen red roses can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. Instead of buying something that will just die in a few days, make some flowers. This is where DIYers rejoice. It’s fairly simple to make some flowers out of material that won’t wilt. Pinterest is a great place to find instructions on how to make flowers out of any material you can imagine: books, tissue paper, felt, glass, cotton balls, buttons, seashells, pearls, Q-tips, pinecones, feathers, old jewelry, yarn, and even coffee filters. Unless you’re just aching to dine at a packed restaurant followed by watching a movie in a crowded theatre, don’t leave your house for Valentine’s Day this year. Luckily, we have many amazing streaming choices for entertainment. It’ll be much more relaxing to stay in, cook
The best way to save money on Valentine’s Day is to be different and perhaps delay celebrating it by a day or two. Personally, I love a post-Valentine celebration: Dinner reservations are easy. Candy is back to its normal price and, best of all, stores such as Smith’s usually put all of their festive items on sale the day after. That’s when I can go stock up on stuffed animals and heart-shaped candy for my loved one. l
dinner, pop your own popcorn, and watch a movie together. Cook your partner’s favorite meal. If you need help in that area, many grocery stores have readyto-prepare meals that can help you. Or, try cooking something completely new together. If a movie or TV show is decided upon beforehand, try cooking something from that show. A great place to find ideas for corresponding a meal and a movie is the YouTube channel called “Binging with Babish.”
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February 2018 | Page 15
To Infinity and Beyond
s our country devolves into a 24/7 protest, people are casting their eyes to the stars. They’re either hoping for a) an asteroid to hit the planet, b) our alien overlords to save us from catastrophe or c) the chance to flee to Mars to populate (and eventually destroy) another planet. Life on this beautiful blue marble (or beautiful blue dinner plate if you’re a flat-Earther) has had a good run. We’ve evolved from being hunters/gatherers to being couch potatoes while creating technology that is certain to bring about our impending doom. Do we really need a talking fridge? But Mars! Oh, the possibilities! I envision a world where everyone lives in hexagonal domes, speaks in British-accented tones, and wears white flowing robes. That could be a problem. I can’t wear white, even when I’m not living on a planet covered in red dust. Every night I would look like a red chimney sweep. NASA wants to send the first humans to Mars in the 2030s, which creates an interesting predicament. I’ll be too old to populate anything, but every planet needs a wise old woman giving cryptic warnings to the younger generation. I could fill that role, assuming I survive the seven-month journey to the Red Planet. The possibility of relocating to the planet of war has become an animated
discussion in our home. Me: Would you want to live on Mars? Hubbie: Of course! Me: Wouldn’t you be afraid we’d die on the way there? Hubbie: Wait. You’re going, too? Seven months is a long time to give someone the silent treatment. Describing the flight to Mars, NASA uses magical terms like “transfer orbit” and “astronomical position” which I’ve learned are NOT part of the Kama Sutra. Voyagers traveling to Mars could lose fingernails, have spinal fractures and vision problems, and there’s always the chance you’ll upchuck in your spacesuit and suffocate after blocking the air system with your intergalactic vomit. So, there’s that. Once we land, we’ll spend a lot of time cleaning up abandoned movie sets that Abbott and Costello, Matt Damon and Santa Claus basically trashed during filming. But once that’s done, then what do we do? I guess people will build greenhouses and grow food. I won’t be on that crew because I can’t even grow mold. Others will install solar panels. Solar companies are already training door-to-door salesmen for the Mars market. There will be a team working on communications so we can keep up with our favorite Netflix shows and hopefully
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someone will open a really good Mexican restaurant. Space enthusiasts have wanted offEarth colonization for decades. There’s been discussion about creating a city on the moon, but scientists feared people would treat it like a giant bounce-house and not get anything accomplished. Plus, one day on the moon is equal to one month on Earth. And you thought an 8-hour workday was bad. Venus was never an option. With skin-melting temperatures, acid rain and a super-dense atmosphere, Venus was too much like Alabama in August. However,
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nights on Venus can last up to 120 days. Maybe then I could actually get eight hours of sleep. So, Mars it is. What if once we get settled, we find a prehistoric Statue of Liberty, buried in the red clay? We’ll discover that billions of years ago, people left Mars to travel to Earth because idiots were destroying the Red Planet. Like one of those giant leaps for mankind, only backwards. There’s no chance of me relocating to another planet. But I can still stare at the stars and watch Mars twinkle in the distance. I just hope it’s not flat like Earth. l
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