Cottonwood Heights Journal | August 2021

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August 2021 | Vol. 17 Iss. 08

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UDOT’S TRANSPORTATION SOLUTION TO SKI TRAFFIC IN LITTLE COTTONWOOD By Cassie Goff | c.goff@mycityjournals.com

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he last few weeks of July in Cottonwood Heights were filled with conversation around the Utah Department of Transportation’s Little Cottonwood Canyon Environmental Impact Study (EIS). UDOT released their Draft EIS on June 25, which identified their two preferred canyon transportation alternatives. They have since been taking public comment. UDOT initially began the EIS in 2018 in order to look for ways to alleviate traffic congestion within Little Cottonwood Canyon, with the goal of implementing the best one within the upcoming years. During the summer months of 2020, five transportation alternatives were researched and discussed. The five transportation alternatives identified were: enhanced bus service, enhanced bus service with roadway widening, a gondola from the Little Cottonwood Park and Ride, a Gondola from La Caille, and a COG rail from La Caille. On July 20, Project Manager Josh Van Jura presented UDOT’s two preferred alternatives to the Cottonwood Heights City Council. UDOT’s first preferred transportation alternative is an enhanced bus service with a widened roadway. The enhanced bus service would include two main mobility hubs at the gravel pit (roughly 6900 S. Wasatch Blvd.) and 9400 S. Highland Drive. Busses would leave these hubs every five minutes heading directly up Little Cottonwood Canyon to either Snowbird or Alta. These

busses would be able to jump traffic ques and pass personal vehicles. In order to make that possible, part of Wasatch Blvd. would need to be widened to include a dedicated bus lane. “On certain days, it’s likely to be faster than driving your personal vehicle. What better motivation when you want to go skiing to see a bus passing you going uphill,” Van Jura said. The enhanced bus service option would cost $510 million initially for startup and construction costs with $11 million annually for operation and maintenance. Van Jura shared this enhanced bus service option is ultimately UDOT’s preferred choice. This alternative meets UDOT’s mobility goal, even though the visual impact from widening Wasatch Blvd. would be significant and there is potential for water quality concerns. The second preferred transportation alternative is a gondola from La Caille. The gondola would include a base station north of La Caille (a privately owned restaurant) (roughly 9565 S. Wasatch Blvd.) with 1,500 parking stalls. Gondolas would leave every two minutes to travel through the canyon directly to two stations, one located at Snowbird and the other at Alta. In order to make that possible, 23 towers would need to be built at pivotal points within the canyon. “Because it operates in that separate

The two preferred transportation alternatives were chosen because they met two of UDOT’s goals: mobility and reliability. (File photo Joshua Wood/City Journals)

alignment above the roadway, if you have a slow-moving vehicle, a slide off, or even avalanche debris on the road, the gondola could still provide a consistent travel time,” Van Jura said. This gondola is the second most expensive transportation alternative at $592

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Continued from front page and watershed, even though the visual impacts would be most significant. In response to Van Jura’s presentation, Cottonwood Heights Mayor Michael Peterson quickly inquired about traffic speeds along Wasatch Blvd. and tolling in both Cottonwood Canyons. “Speed limits are set by the greater UDOT and are controlled by the legislative code and administrative rules,” Van Jura said. “That process is outside of this EIS process.” Van Jura explained how tolling is included in all of the transportation alternative plans. By 2050, UDOT would like to toll 50 days out of the year. Tolls would cost around $20 to $30 and would be required predominately during the peak morning hours of ski days. “What we want is to get some of those people either to come up later in the day or, if they want to be there for first chair, get them to choose one of the transit modes,” Van Jura explained. Councilmember Christine Mikell mentioned how she has been trying to get a meeting with the governor, but there hasn’t been much interest from the Governor’s Office to meet about Wasatch Blvd. and canyon traffic. She asked the Mayor if he could utilize his CWC (Central Wasatch Commission) connections to invite the governor to at last come and take a walk of the area. Additional concerns voiced by councilmembers included continuity with the city’s Wasatch Blvd. Master Plan, crossing Wasatch Blvd., neighborhood access, impacts of potential parking structures, scaling of implementation, non-response from the governor’s office, and various environmental and sustainability concerns including snowsheds. City Manager Tim Tingey asked the councilmembers to send their concerns to be compiled and brought back for discussion during the Aug. 17 council meeting.

Journals T H E

After discussion, Cottonwood Heights will draft a formal statement to submit to UDOT before Sept. 3, in coordination with the EIS public comment session Community and Economic Development Director Mike Johnson recommended “it would be best if we identify a preference of one over the other and provide some rational for that decision.” (The council seems to be leaning in support of the enhanced bus service alternative over the gondola.) UDOT will continue receiving public comments until Sept. 3, as they have extended their initial 45-day public comment period to a 70-day public comment period. So far, they have received over 3,500 comments. Two public hearings were held to gather public comment further, one in-person on July 13 and one virtually on July 20. Over 350 people attended the in-person public hearing. “I was very pleased with the turnout. There was a lot of involvement from the community,” Van Jura said. After Sept. 3, UDOT plans to respond to all comments publicly. They will work on revising their draft EIS plan throughout the autumn months to have a conclusion by winter. Van Jura is aiming to have the final EIS plan completed before March, preferably January 2022. The project’s purpose remains “to substantially improve transportation-related safety, reliability and mobility on S.R. 210 from Fort Union Blvd. through the Town of Alta for all users on S.R. 210.” This article provides a quick overview of the material found within the over 55 documents included in the draft EIS materials, including a 28-page executive summary, seven interactive maps, and over five hours of presentations and public comments from public hearings. For a comprehensive look at the Draft EIS, or for more information: visit the UDOT’s EIS webpage at www.LittleCottonwood-

Use any of this communication methods to submit public comment before Sept. 3. (The Utah Department of Transportation’s Environmental Impact Study team)

EIS.udot.utah.gov. Hard copies of the Draft EIS have been made available at various locations throughout the valley. In Cottonwood Heights, hard copies can be found at Whitmore Library (2197 Fort Union Blvd.) or Cottonwood Heights City Hall (2277 Bengal Blvd.). To stay up to date, visit the LCC EIS social media on Twitter or Facebook. To submit comments (before Sept. 3) visit the link above, send an email comment to LittleCottonwoodEIS@utah.gov, call UDOT at 801-200-3465, or write them a letter directed to: Little Cottonwood Canyon EISc/o HDR; 2825 E Cottonwood Parkway, Suite 200; Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121. l

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Out of hundreds of possible transportation alternatives discussed for Little Cottonwood Canyon, UDOT narrowed in one five of the most probably last year. They have now identified their preferred alternative. (The Utah Department of Transportation’s Environmental Impact Study team)

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During pandemic: traditional schools may resume ‘normal’ look, online learning options will continue By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com

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s area students head back to school, it may look more like a “normal” school

year. Understanding that health and safety COVID-19 protocols and guidelines may yet change, “as of right now, things will be closer to normal than not,” said Murray School District spokesman Doug Perry on June 30. “We follow state and local health department guidelines and mandates as they are the health experts. As of right now, schools will be open, no masks will be required,” he said in late June. Murray School District, like its neighboring districts—Canyons, Granite and Jordan districts, will offer in-person and online learning. “We will have two learning options, one in-person and one online for those who don’t feel comfortable or are at risk,” he said. “Our bell schedule will revert back to what it was before the pandemic, so that includes a short day on Wednesdays. We have not heard of any recommendations regarding distancing and are presuming there will be no distancing guideline but that’s not fully determined.” Perry said that some sanitation protocols were good and may well continue, such as frequent handwashing and surface cleaning. While it’s not certain what schools will look like when they start in mid-August, Perry said, “Our decisions impacted by COVID-19 are influenced heavily by expert recommendations from the health department; the State Board of Education would be another important partner, along with our colleagues in the other four Salt Lake County school districts and those in neighboring counties.” Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said that with their protocols in place, such as Test to Stay and Play, “we do not anticipate any additional COVID restrictions or mask requirements for this fall at this time.” However, he pointed out that COVID-19 has proven to be “a dynamic event that requires a lot of flexibility and adjustments. We are preparing for every potential scenario.” As of July 6, Granite District will offer in-person “in the same fashion as it was pre-COVID,” five days per week. Families who still have concerns will have a distance learning option at all grade levels. Jordan School District spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf said that “we are going to be in the classrooms and right now, the

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plan is to have classrooms back to normal.” However, she added that could change depending on the pandemic and guidelines they receive from the county and state. “Our Board of Education has a very much hands-on (approach). They looked at these situations and our school administration and our cabinet, they came up with the reopening plan when we reopened,” Riesgraf said on July 1, adding if it comes to re-addressing the current health situation, “we will decide what works best in Jordan.” A benefit from virtual learning during COVID-19 in Jordan School District was offering flexible Fridays, where teachers were able to individually meet with students or small groups, in person or virtually, to offer additional instruction, enhanced learning or review. This year, as a result of parent surveys indicating its benefits, Jordan will continue to offer the flexible Friday learning four times: Sept. 10, Nov. 19, Feb. 11, 2022, and April 29, 2022. Another positive outcome, Riesgraf said, was the establishment of offering online learning in their own virtual schools— Rocky Peak Elementary, Kelsey Peak Middle and King Peak High. “Every student in the district has the option to sign up and attend at one of those schools if they want to do online learning this year,” she said. “The elementary and the middle school will offer in-person learning one day a week so they will have the option one day to come in and have in-person learning.” She said that is unique and will give students an opportunity, if they choose, to have more hands-on learning and be able to work in small groups or partners to build community. “I don’t know anybody else in the state is offering that and nobody else in the state is offering K through 12 (online education),” she said, adding that students still are able to participate in extracurricular activities at their boundary school. Canyons School District also will offer in-person learning and online options. Last spring, Canyons students and faculty and staff had the option to wear face coverings its final week of school in the 2020-21 school year and like other districts, it will abide by health and safety guidelines and continue to monitor the situation, according to district spokeswoman Kirsten Stewart in late June. Alta View Elementary Principal Scott Jameson said through use of technology,

Will mask reminder signs for students be a sign of the past this fall in schools? (Julie Slama/City Journals)

some positive aspects have come out of COVID-19. “With virtual learning, we likely won’t have snow days where we have to make up the learning day during the holiday breaks,” he said. “Our teachers have learned to use technology and use it effectively. Kids do well with it in general so I can see using that experience and integrate more technology into the classroom or if we need to switch to teach online or hybrid again. Even elementary schools are using Canvas (learning platform) in their classrooms, so if a student is absent, they can log in to see what assignment they’re missing and if able to, be able to do it.” Jameson also said that all the “good hygiene” of hand-washing and hand-sanitizers will be encouraged in his school. In the spring, the district did establish a new online opportunity, updating its virtual high school offering. Canyons Board of Education approved the launch of Canyons Online, a technology-driven educational initiative for grades three through 12 that will begin this fall. “This past year has taught us how important in-person instruction is because of relationships and connections students make with teachers and their schools,” Canyons School District Superintendent Rick Robins said on March 31. “What it also has taught us is how we can deliver education virtually. Some of our students have flourished online, while others have

missed those relationships in our schools. We realize we can offer our students the flexibility of online learning while blending it with those connections.” That ability to make and maintain connections with their neighborhood schools is what makes Canyons Online unique among other online-learning programs, he said. Canyons Online elementary-age students will be able to participate in beforeand after-school music programs, science fair and debate. Middle-schoolers enrolled in Canyons Online can take electives at the local school, plus compete in science fairs and debate. Canyons Online high school students will be allowed to dual enroll so they can have full access to high school programs. “We’re re-establishing relationships with kids who have stayed online with their neighborhood schools to build that instruction and connection into Canyons Online,” Robins said. “The blended online format will have the academic component, whether it’s support and remediation or acceleration, plus the connection to their neighborhood school. This is really at the heart of what personalized learning can be.” l

Cottonwood Heights City Journal


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The Canyons All-District Marching Band took to the streets, literally, as they performed in Murray’s Fourth of July parade. (Photo courtesy of Lynne Burns)

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here wasn’t quite 76 trombones, but Canyons All-District Marching Band was in a big parade—Murray’s Fourth of July parade—to start out their summer performing season. Students from all of Canyons’ middle and high schools participated, after practicing 40 hours earlier this summer learning “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston, and the classic “Hey Baby!” The Canyons All-District Marching Band is in its second year, growing from 120 members in 2019 to 175 in 2021. There was no band last summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are so proud that students from a dozen different schools, who normally compete against each other, can come togeth-

er in an amazing display of sportsmanship to make something amazing and fun,” said Caleb Shabestari, who co-directs the “mega band” along with Mikala Mortensen. “It has been awesome to see the collaboration from these amazing young musicians.” Mortensen, who also is enjoying collaborating with Shabestari, added that that she hopes this ensemble will get more students involved in marching and build the activity in this part of the state. On July 23, the group was scheduled to perform at Drums Along the Wasatch, which was to feature several professional drum corps, and they planned to finish out their summer season by marching in Butlerville Days’ parade July 24 in Cottonwood Heights. l

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Essential school bus drivers, nutrition, custodian staff needed for upcoming school year By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com

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s the school year approaches, many students and their families may be wondering who will open the door and greet them at the start of the school year as they board a big yellow school bus. Some area school districts also may be wondering as websites and signs across the Salt Lake Valley are posted, advertising bus driver positions. As of July 1, in Canyons School District, there were 40 positions open for bus drivers or 18% of its staff who transport about 20,000 students. In addition, 35 of the 55 attendant positions were available. Canyons School District Transportation Director Jeremy Wardle has worked in the industry the past 14 years, working his way up from driving while putting himself through college. “There’s always turnover,” he said. “I think the difference this year is COVID and the fallout from that.” Wardle said that a large number of the district’s drivers are on a second career, but with the extra protections during COVID-19 pandemic and drivers’ possibly health issues, there just were not enough drivers returning. Plus, he said the area has changed, which means more drivers are needed to transport schoolchildren. “Twenty years ago, Draper was more farmland than it was houses and now it’s the complete opposite; we’ve seen a huge population boost not only in our district, but in other districts. We’re becoming more of an urban setting. It seems to be the same way in all districts across the country,” he said. Jordan School District also has a need for drivers. “We always are short bus drivers; Every school district in Salt Lake County, or probably in the state, there’s high turnover,” said spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf. “And we’re a growing school district, so we al-

ways have more routes.” To attract more drivers, Canyons has boosted their salaries to $21.19 per hour for starting pay. Attendant pay is $14 per hour. Wardle said there are part-time and full-time positions available for the 180-day school year and full-time contracts come with benefits. Murray School District spokesman Doug Perry said Murray’s district also may be down a few drivers at any given time, along with the same numbers of nutrition services staff and custodians; the district also increased pay for those positions. “We only have about a dozen or so regular bus drivers and about four dozen lunch workers and a couple dozen custodians in total so our shortages might be two-three positions at any given time out of those three groups, which is pretty manageable,” he said. Pay in Murray District for bus drivers is $22 to $25 per hour; nutrition service, $13 to $18 per hour; and custodians are $11 to $15 per hour. Granite School District also continues to see “traditional vacancy challenges” in transportation and custodial departments as well as classroom and school aides, said spokesman Ben Horsley. “Part-time para-professionals continue to be difficult to find in this economy,” he said. “One strange challenge is the amount of open school psychologist positions we still have at this point in the year.” Starting salaries are about $21 per hour for bus drivers; $18 for custodians and $11 for hourly para-professionals. In Canyons, commercial driver licenses are required before bus drivers take the wheel, however, there is free in-house training and testing, Wardle said. Drivers also are expected to perform a pre-trip “look over” that ranges from brake check to light cleaning. Eight mechanics on staff are responsi-

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A friendly wave and smile is what students and parents expect this fall from their bus drivers, but some school districts are still hiring people to fill the vacant positions. (Photo courtesy of Canyons School District)

ble for repairs. Additionally, there are trainings for the position from first aid and CPR to student management and emergency evacuation. Attendants also have additional training for working with students with special needs and learn how to load a wheelchair and strap it securely, he said. Flexibility and schedules being similar to schools attract many personnel to the position. Wardle, when he was a driver, was able to study in between routes and said the position is attractive to parents, who start and end their day at about the same time of their kids and have the same school vacation schedule. “The kids are the highlights from drivers. They get to know them. They’ve seen them from kindergarten through high school. Some of them work well into their early 80s because they love the kids,” he said. While Riesgraf said Jordan School District has a “moderate” need for nutrition services staff, Canyons District is looking to hire 34 kitchen staff and 23 cashiers in schools for the upcoming school year, said Sebasthian Varas, nutrition services director. Starting wages increased for those positions in Canyons with starting pay at $15.50 per hour for kitchen staff who typically prep and cook meals and deep clean the kitchen afterward; and $12.16 per hour for cashiers,

who are responsible for ensuring student meals meet with the USDA guidelines for reimbursement of the meal. There are advancement possibilities, he added. Canyons positions include training in equipment, first aid and district policies; each employee is responsible for having a food handler’s permit. Ideal candidates should be able to follow directions, work as a team, be able to meet some of the physical demands of the job and have a high school diploma or are working to earn a GED or equivalent, Varas said. He said that it’s an ideal position people who want day-time positions and especially, for parents. “If your kids are at the school, you work the time when they’re at school and you’re at home when they’re home. You don’t work any weekends or holidays and we provide you with a lunch and you’re making some extra money,” he said. “It’s a fun job. You get to interact with the students, which I think is fantastic. This is a great opportunity to make a difference in a student’s life. I think one thing that we’ve learned from the pandemic is how essential the nutrition services workers are. So, if they truly want to make a difference in someone’s life, come and work with us. It’s hard work, but it’s a very rewarding position, knowing that we’re feeding students.” l

Cottonwood Heights City Journal


Brighton High boasts new athletic facilities for year-round training By Jerry Christensen | j.christensen@mycityjournals.com

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his year marks the completion of Brighton High School’s three-year, $100 million-plus rebuild. While the price tag is high and the dust in the neighborhood is thick, what will this community investment in school infrastructure return? Hogan Construction was able to focus its initial efforts at the athletic facilities behind the current school building and was able to turn those new facilities over to the school for use in 2020 ahead of schedule. Brighton’s athletic director, Lynn Moncur, said that the new facilities “allow for in-depth training six days a week year-round despite the weather. The community also benefits as we allow them to rent and use the facilities.” The centerpiece of the “greater” Brighton campus is the award-winning Freestone Field. This unique east-west oriented stadium was named in the top five most scenic stadiums in the state of Utah. While two new track lanes were added to its original six lanes, the north bleachers rebuilt and a stunning 10-foot by 15-foot “Bengaltron” video screen added, the stadium remains relatively unchanged in comparison with the rest of the campus. These stadium upgrades allow Brighton to host region track and field events, lacrosse and rugby games in addition to region and state football games. The

revamped stadium became a valuable asset during the pandemic as graduation and the senior dinner dance were able to be safely held at Brighton’s home field instead of being outsourced to other venues. Most obvious to the adjacent Cottonwood Heights neighbors is the field house. This building, extending from the main gymnasium, grants Brighton a 40-yard indoor turf field surround by an indoor running track. Principal Tom Sherwood remarked, “The field house is a great addition to our campus. It ensures that we have adequate space for safe daily physical education activities as well as athletic practice for all our field sports regardless of weather conditions.” Baseball and softball teams use the field house as a consistent practice facility complete with pitching and hitting nets through the late winter months. Likewise, lacrosse and football athletes escape both the cold and the heat in favor of the regulated temperatures of the state-of-the-art field house. Multisport senior Tyler Knaak said, “The field house gives athletes a way to perfect their craft winter, summer, day or night. It is a valuable asset.” Others in the community have different

Brighton’s Freestone Field was named in the top five most scenic stadiums in the state.

opinions. One resident referred to the structure as the Enola Gay Hangar and bemoaned both the view lost to the field house and the likely cost of it. Another resident said, “I used to be able to look down on the football field and follow the games from home. However, I am glad that my children will have safe and extended sport options.” The new athletic facilities allow Brighton to host regional events such as wrestling

divisionals and youth tournaments which the former facilities could not accommodate. First-year wrestling coach Mason Brinkman said, “The expanded wrestling room, the auxiliary gym, the main gym and the field house allow us to run 20-mat tournaments. We typically don’t see that capacity at any venue including UVU (state tournament) and the Legacy (Events) Center in Layton.” l

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Assistant principal’s book shows children how to embrace the beauty of differences

Never-Ending Network Evolution, Are All Broadband Providers Up for the Challenge? By Bryan Thomas, VP Engineering, Comcast Mountain West Region

Working and learning remotely for the past 15 months brought unique circumstances for all of us to navigate in several areas, and central to it all is having access to a reliable, secure internet connection. The pandemic posed the biggest technological test in the history of the internet. When offices and schools closed in March 2020, internet traffic across the U.S. surged by 20 – 35 percent, as millions of people transitioned to working, learning and consuming all of their entertainment at home. Now our communities are transitioning back to working from offices or making hybrid work arrangements, and schools are planning to reopen their doors beginning in August. A flexible, continuously evolving network staying ahead of customer demand is critical. The success of a network hinges on three factors: decades of strategic investment, continuous network innovation, and the best team in the business. Investment In the last three years alone, Comcast invested $389.6 million in technology and infrastructure in Utah, including upgrades to our network. Since 2017, Comcast devoted more than $15 billion nationwide to strengthening and expanding our network – including building more than 33,000 new route miles of fiber, which is like driving from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine more than 10 times. Every two and a half years, the company has added as much capacity to the network as it has in all the previous years combined. One of the greatest advantages of our massive network is we already pass 60 million homes and businesses with a powerful, fiber-dense network, and we have the ability to quickly, surgically, and efficiently add additional fiber and capacity when and where it’s needed. Because of our continuous investment in our network, we can often complete targeted upgrades in weeks rather than months and years. We have a proven track record of completing network upgrades and improvements ahead of schedule, and delivering the performance our customers need well before they need it. Innovation Continuous innovation throughout every part of a network is key. Comcast is a leader in the 10G initiative, which leverages new standards and technology to dramatically increase internet speeds. The technology lays the groundwork for network operators, like us, to deliver multigigabit download and upload speeds over connections already installed in hundreds of millions of homes worldwide. Meaning, we can deliver multigigabit speeds to homes without the need for massive digging and construction projects. With this technology, Comcast can continue to deliver ultra-fast service today, while simultaneously building capacity for future needs.mAnd with decades of experience, Comcast is advancing network virtualization and data access to cloud-based technologies for greater performance, increased reliability and easier upgrades. Simply put, we’re able to meet the needs of tomorrow – today, and continually improve the customer experience by delivering faster speeds, greater capacity, and more dynamic connected experiences.

By Katy Whittingham | k.whittingham@mycityjournals.com

R

eneé Stirling DeHaan is the author of a new children’s book titled, “To Be Different Is Beautiful,” based on her experience growing up with physical disabilities. An assistant principal at Wasatch Jr. High in East Millcreek, DeHann drew upon her education background to complete the book. “While working as a special education teacher for children with severe physical disabilities, I wanted to read books to my students about other children with disabilities,” DeHaan said, but she was unable to find books telling a story about having a disability from the individual’s point of view. In addition to creating a firsthand perspective children could relate to, DeHaan said she also wanted to celebrate accomplishments among those with physical disabilities. “I wanted to show what they have accomplished and the coping skills they develop along the way,” she said. DeHann knows the struggles and triumphs well. The Cottonwood Heights native was born with two digits on each hand, a club left foot, and a missing right foot. “To Be Different Is Beautiful” is the first of a three book series and introduces spunky Demi, a young girl out to show the world she is different. Born without a foot and with a shorter leg, Demi accepts her differences as beautiful. She is anxious to show her friends what her artificial leg can do. Through her fun personality, Demi explains to the reader how her physical disabilities do not limit her functionality. “I want to help students realize they can overcome some of their disabilities in real life by having a role model and example,” DeHaan said.

She hopes the book will empower students to talk to other children about their disabilities and learn how to play and interact with others on the playground and in their communities. “To Be Different Is Beautiful” is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. A “Different is Beautiful” Facebook fan page shares updates, related content, educational materials, and information for contacting DeHaan for school visits and events. The social media community is dedicated to acceptance, education and support for individuals with physical disabilities. l

Reneé Stirling DeHaan, assistant principal at Wasatch Jr. High in East Millcreek, wrote a new children’s book titled, “To Be Different is Beautiful.” (Photo credit Reneé Stirling DeHaan)

Reneé Stirling DeHaan, assistant principal at Wasatch Jr. High in East Millcreek, wrote a new children’s book titled, “To Be Different is Beautiful.” (Photo credit Reneé Stirling DeHaan)

Reneé Stirling DeHaan, assistant principal at Wasatch Jr. High in East Millcreek, wrote a new children’s book titled, “To Be Different is Beautiful.” (Photo credit Reneé Stirling DeHaan)

Team Support In addition to investing billions in building and evolving our network, Comcast engineers, artificial intelligence scientists, and cybersecurity experts across the country are continuously developing and deploying new technologies to protect our customers and ensure our network can meet emerging threats and challenges. We have a team of cybersecurity experts scanning the network for threats and actively defending our network and our communities. Our teams are made up of elite talent working at every level of the network from software and artificial intelligence at the core, to the best field teams laying new fiber and upgrading the network year-round in all conditions. New network entrants who don’t have a plan or resources to support never-ending network evolution, cybersecurity protection, and hardening may put customers who rely on them at unnecessary risk. As the country shifts yet again, home and business internet connections remain essential for video calls, education, healthcare access, workforce development, streaming entertainment, and more. At Comcast, we remain relentlessly focused on connectivity, to deliver the smartest, fastest, most reliable network to the communities we serve – keeping you connected to more of who and what you love.

Page 10 | August 2021

Cottonwood Heights City Journal


Bengal football returns By City Journals The Brighton Bengals football team returns to the gridiron in August, featuring a trio of home games. All nonregion games against Pleasant Grove, Syracuse and Woods Cross. In fact, the Bengals only have one away game before October. Brighton returns after a year that saw the team earn the No. 1 RPI seed and a quarterfinal finish. The Bengals start the season against Pleasant Grove at 6 p.m. on Aug. 13. Their first region game will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Highland. l

Schedule

Aug. 13 vs Pleasant Grove Aug. 21 vs Syracuse Aug. 27 vs Woods Cross Sept. 3 at Highland Sept. 10 vs Olympus Sept. 17 vs Skyline Sept. 24 vs East Oct. 1 at Park City Oct. 7 at Clearfield Oct. 13 at Murray

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August 2021 | Page 11


Curating construction for Cottonwood Heights By Cassie Goff | c.goff@mycityjournals.com

Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimmillion people are living er’s 6.2 or another dementia. Alzheimer’s is a brainwith disease that causes 6.2 million people are living with a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. There are Alzheimer’s diseaseEvery in the United 10 warning signs and symptoms. individual may experience Alzheimer’s disease in the United one States. or more ofOver these signs in a different degree. If you notice any 34,000 people in Utah of them in yourself or a34,000 loved one,people please see in a doctor. States. Over Utah

alone. This disease kills more people

10 SIGNS OF This disease kills more people alone. each year than breast cancer and ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

eachloss year 1. Memory that than disruptsbreast cancer and prostate cancer combined, and is the daily life prostate cancer combined, and is the 2. Challenges in planning or 4th leading cause of death in Utah. problem solving 4th leading cause of death in Utah. 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, More than 104,000 people in Utah More than 104,000 people in Utah work or at leisure 6.2for millionsomeone people are living with Alzheimer’s provide living 4. Confusion withunpaid time or care disease in the United States. Over provide unpaid carepeople for insomeone living34,000 place Utah alone. This disease kills withunderstanding Alzheimer’s disease. The impact is 5. Trouble more people each year than breast cancer with Alzheimer’s disease. The impact is visual images and special and prostate cancer combined, and is the widespread and can be devastating to 4th leading cause of death in Utah. relationships widespread and can be devastating to 6. New problems with words families. More than 104,000 people in Utah proin speaking or writing families. vide unpaid care for someone living with 7. Misplacing things and Alzheimer’s disease. The impact is widelosing ability to Forthemore information, aboutto families. spreadto and learn can be devastating For more information, to learn about retrace steps Together we can work to findor a cure support groups or other resources, 8. Decreased or poor and ultimately have our first survivor! support groups or other resources, or judgment Join the fight and lend your to to get from helpwork immediately contact thevoice 9. Withdrawal or this critical cause by attending the to get help immediately contact the social activities Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall. There Alzheimer’s Association’s free 24/7 are eight Walks throughout the state 10. Changes in mood Association’s Alzheimer’s free 24/7 of Utah: and personality Helpline at:

Helpline at:

U

tah has four seasons: fall, the greatest snow on earth, one week of spring, and construction (as the local saying goes). By this time of the summer, it’s almost an expectation to encounter an orange cone or two on daily commutes. While many road projects are wrapping up in Cottonwood Heights, there are still a few more that may continue to impact residential transportation. The Utah Department of Transportation will be overlaying Wasatch Blvd. (S.R. 190 | 6200 S./Wasatch Blvd) from the I-215 interchange to Fort Union Blvd. This project was scheduled to begin July 18 for crews to begin removing old asphalt. Most of the work resurfacing and reconstructing several sidewalk ramps will be done at night, with traffic reduced to one lane each direction. UDOT warns commuters may experience brief closures and nearby residents will likely notice an increase in noise. UDOT wants to ensure Cottonwood Heights residents this overlay project is not part of the environmental impact study to alleviate ski traffic (see neighboring article). Cottonwood Heights will continue their city-wide striping project this fall. The city will begin accepting bids for this project during August. Work for this type of construction typically occurs at night so it will not likely impact typical daily commutes. Road construction around the newly developed Canyon Centre (7341 Canyon Centre Prkway) and Racquet club subdivisions (7350 E. Wasatch Blvd.) will begin in August as well. During the last week of July and first

week of August, a handful of projects within Cottonwood Heights are wrapping up. Construction work along Scottish Dr. will conclude this week (as of publication), as long as there are no unforeseen circumstances. This project has taken several months as Granite Construction crews removed old asphalt and completed concrete work. A full week of milling occurred from July 12 to July 16, along with a full week of paving from July 19 to July 23. On July 21, a section of Scottish Dr. from Danish Rd. to Martha’s Cove, along with McNeil Cir., was paved. Similarly, road reconstruction along 1950 East has been ongoing. The final milling and concrete work is anticipated to be completed this week (as of publication). Again, barring no unforeseen circumstance. Over the past few summer months, the Cottonwood Heights Public Works team along with M&M Asphalt contractors have been busy working through a citywide slurry seal project. Altogether, they have laid 3 million square feet of slurry this year. As described within the project details, “Slurry seal is a roadway maintenance procedure which involves spreading a mixture of emulsified asphalt and aggregate over the exiting street surface.” Slurry helps to protect existing roadways from various water and vehicle damage, ultimately extending the life of a roadway. While slurry seals are often quick to dry, they may take up to 48 hours to cure completely. For residents whose roads were recently slurried Cottonwood Heights asks to be

AUGUST 28 Wasatch Back -Basin Recreation Center SEPTEMBER 18 Cache County- Merlin Olsen Park Cedar City- Cedar City Motor Co. SEPTEMBER 28 Utah County-The Shops at Riverwoods Salt Lake County- REAL Salt Lake Stadium OCTOBER 9 Weber/Davis- Ogden Amphitheater Tooele County- Skyline Park OCTOBER 23 St. George- Ovation Sienna Hills

800-272-3900 800-272-3900 or visit our website at: or visit our website at: www.alz.org/utah www.alz.org/utah For more information or to get help immediately contact the Alzheimer’s Association’s Togetherfree we24/7 can work Together we can work Helpline at:

to find a cure to find a cure and ultimately have our first survivor! 800-272-3900 and ultimately haveRegister our first survivor! at: orJoin visit our thewebsite fight at: and lend yourtoday voice to www.alz.org/Walk Join the fight and lend your voice to www.alz.org/utah this critical cause by attending the this critical cause by attending the Page 12 | August 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall. There Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall. There are eight Walks throughout the state

UDOT will be resurfacing part of the road along Wasatch Blvd. (This is not part of the EIS.) (Photo courtesy of Cottonwood Heights through UDOT)

Cottonwood Heights City Journal


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If your neighborhood was recently slurried, the Cottonwood Heights Public Works team asks for your attentiveness to prevent power steering burns for the first 30-60 days. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Wilcox/ Cottonwood Heights)

mindful of jolted driving, including quick steering movements like turning (especially when traveling at low speeds) and fast breaking or acceleration. For the first month to 60 days of a newly slurried road, it’s best to minimize power steering burns. These various slurry and road improvement projects will complete the third year of the Cottonwood Heights five-year road maintenance plan. For 2022, District 3 of Cottonwood Heights will take focus for road improvements. Many construction projects will occur within the neighborhoods next summer so there should be limited impact to resident commuters. As July marks the end of fiscal year 2020-2021, many of these projects will wrap up last year’s budgeted projects now, the public works team will begin working on items included within the 2021-2022 fiscal

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year’s budget, for which there is over $2 million worth of capital projects ($2,232,762). ($2,055,512 of which is budgeted for various road maintenance such as city striping, overlays, chip seals, and slurry seals.) For more information about UDOT overlay project, call 800-292-3557 or email martyasay@utah.gov. For more information on these road projects or about Public Works, visit the city’s website at www.cottonwoodheights. utah.gov, hover over the “City Services” page until a drop down menu appears with the option to click “Public Works” towards the right-hand side. To stay up to date with email subscriptions through the city, available by signing up through the city’s website. Or by following the city’ social media on Facebook or Twitter (CHCity). l

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Road projects for fiscal year 2020-2021 are wrapping up and members of the Public Works Team are excited to begin work on some of the capital projects budgeted for this 20212022 fiscal year. (Photo courtesy of Matt Shipp/Cottonwood Heights Public Works)

CottonwoodHeightsJournal .com

Over 3 million square feet of slurry was poured throughout Cottonwood Heights. (Photo courtesy of Matt Shipp/Cottonwood Heights Public Works)

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New faces may welcome back students this fall By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com

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ncoming Brighton High Assistant Principal Jodi Roberts has some advice for the new school community. “First of all, you have to come to the realization that it’s not going to be finished (when the school year starts),” she said. “You think it’s going to be finished, and it’s not. So, once you get over that, and I got over that in my first opening of a school, and you let that expectation go, then you can be excited. Even though Brighton has been around for a while, there will still be new things, new traditions—even simple things like, we’ve never exited this building for a fire drill so then you have to figure out how are we going to exit all these kids safely for a fire drill. You get to be part of a lot of new things that maybe you don’t even realize that you’re going to be a part of.” Roberts has opened Rose Creek Elementary and Hayden Peak Elementary in Jordan School District as well as Draper Park Middle School in Draper, where she has been serving as its assistant principal. “When I found that I was going to Brighton, I was really excited. I wanted to go to a high school and I’m excited about Brighton’s brand new building,” she said. Roberts, who recently had her son graduate from Corner Canyon High, said being at Brighton will help replace the void in her life where she used to take him to events and support him. “I love to watch people do things that they love so that’s why I’m excited to go to a high school,” she said realizing that she could continue supporting other high school students. “I don’t want to play football and I’m a little too old to learn to play soccer. I’m really excited to go watch the kids do the things that they are really passionate about. To me, it’s really fun.” She also added some new hobbies: beekeeping, starting a book club and a Bunco group. “I got panicked when my son was leaving,” she said about her new activities. “I guess I started everything that starts with a

B—even Brighton.” Roberts replaces Mark Mitchell, who assumes her position at Draper Park Middle. Roberts and Mitchell are just two of several administrative appointments the Canyons Board of Education approved for the 2021-22 school year. Other appointments include: • Elenoa Pua, who has been a charter school principal, will be East Midvale Elementary’s assistant principal, replacing Danya Bodell. • Michelle Shimmin becomes the administrator of Canyons Online. • Michelle Snarr, who has been Edgemont Elementary principal, is now Willow Canyon Elementary principal, succeeding the retiring Marilyn Williams. • Elcena Saline, who has been Sandy Elementary assistant principal, replaces Snarr as principal at Edgemont. Anne Hansen now is Sandy Elementary’s assistant principal, taking Saline’s vacant position. • Doug Hallenbeck is CTEC’s principal, after serving as its assistant principal. It relieves Janet Goble, CTEC’s director, of the dual role of principal and director. • Margaret Swanicke, who has served as Sunrise Elementary’s principal, now is Midvalley Elementary’s principal, replacing Tamra Baker, who is appointed Bell View Elementary’s principal. • Angela Wilkinson, who has been East Sandy Elementary’s principal, now is Sunrise’s principal. Bryan Rudes, who has been Midvale Middle’s assistant principal, assumes Wilkinson’s duties. Texas educator Divya Nagpal comes to Canyons District as Midvale Middle’s assistant principal to replace Rudes. • Wendy Dau, who has been Jordan High’s principal, is the Federal and State Programs in the Equity, Inclusion and Student Services director. She replaced the retiring Karen Sterling. Corner Canyon High Assistant Principal Bruce Eschler succeeds Dau as Principal of Jordan High. Juab School District’s Ken Rowley will replace Eschler

at Corner Canyon. • Chanci Loran, who has been Bell View Elementary’s principal, will become an Equity, Inclusion, and Student Services administrator. She replaces Colleen Smith, who will become Copperview Elementary’s principal after Jeri Rigby retired. • Mary Simao, who has been a Jordan High intern administrator now takes on the role of assistant principal at Jordan High. • Jared Tucker, who served in the district’s responsive services department, now is an Alta High assistant principal, succeeding Garry True, who has retired. • Former Alta High Assistant Principal Kelcey Kemp now serves in that role at Jordan High, replacing the retiring Jana Crist. Union Middle As- New Brighton High administrator Jodi Roberts, who recently worked at sistant Principal Shelly Draper Park Middle, loves to support students; she is seen here supportKarren is replacing Kemp ing a student at a Michael Jackson dance-off. (Photo courtesy of Jodi at Alta. Midvale Elemen- Roberts) tary Assistant Princidepartment, now is Butler Middle’s assistant pal Ashley McKinney is replacing Karren principal, replacing Dan Ashbridge, who is and Copperview’s Carolee Mackay now is now Midvalley Elementary’s assistant printhe Midvale Elementary assistant principal. cipal. • Hillcrest teacher specialist Ari •Kalisi Uluave, from the Salt Lake Tavo now is the high school’s assistant prinSchool District, now is an Alta High assiscipal. tant principal, replacing Kelli Miller, who • Karlie Aardema, who has worked in left the district. the instructional supports department, now •Amanda Parker, from the Jordan is Indian Hills Middle’s assistant principal, School District, is Albion Middle School’s replacing Halley Nelson. Nelson is Butler assistant principal, replacing Sandy LeChMiddle’s assistant principal, replacing Sara eminant who has become an achievement Allen, who transferred to Ridgecrest Elecoach. l mentary as an assistant principal. • Genny Poll, of the responsive services

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Page 14 | August 2021

Cottonwood Heights City Journal


BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

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10 years in ! usinuseatssryan.c@thecityjournals.com Business Spotlights are a service offered to our advertisers to help them inform our readers about their businesses. For information on scheduling a Spotlight, please call us at 801-254-5974 orbemail Winter is rough and expensive on your home’s systems. Older homes are less energy efficient and have unreliable plumbing. Newer homes need maintenance to keep up their systems. Chuck Staszkiewicz, owner of the complete home maintenance company All Hours Plumbing and Drain SLC, has a checklist to help you winterize your house. For information on all their services, go to their website at www.allhoursplumbingslc.com and chat with customer service, or call them at 385.213.0535. “There are indoor and outdoor tasks that will keep your home running well through the winter and minimize the need for emergency calls to us during holidays and cold weather,” Staszkiewicz said. “Make sure exterior water valves are turned off to prevent burst pipes. Walk around your house and check the foundation. Close any vents that are open. Put your shovel, snow blower and ice melter somewhere convenient,” Staszkiewicz said. Staszkiewicz started All Hours as a plumbing company 10 years ago. “As we grew, customers asked if we did HVAC services. They wanted someone in their home they trusted. So we began doing HVAC,” Staszkiewicz said. This year’s economy was unpredictable, but All Hours continues to hire and stay open as an essential business. They provide yearly plans so a technician can check your house during the year and do scheduled maintenance. “We’re always looking for the right kind of people to work with us,” Staszkiewicz said. “Employing the right kind of person is critical. When someone is in your home working on your systems and giving you quotes, it needs to be someone you trust,” Staszkiewicz said. All Hours builds their team with ongoing training, and they

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have earned hundreds of high praise reviews. “Wow, so impressed. It’s never easy to let a stranger in your home. We received reminder texts with a picture of who we should expect the next morning. “From the moment we opened the door to when he left, the technician was professional, kind and courteous. We will definitely call All Hours Plumbing for any future needs,” wrote Gwen in an online review. The indoor checklist for winter has small projects like checking furnace filters and cleaning appliances, and big jobs like furnace tune-ups and water heater maintenance. “Drain your water heater until it’s cleared of sediment and then refill it. Utah’s water is hard on water heaters,” Staszkiewicz said. If draining a water heater doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, let the professionals at All Hours do it. While they’re there, have them check your furnace and plumbing. “Thanksgiving is one of our busiest days for emergency plumbing calls. We’re happy to come out, but we’d rather save people the inconvenience. “With our maintenance plan, we check those systems before the big family meal. We fix potential issues so you can enjoy your

warm, well-maintained home over the holidays,” Staszkiewicz said. The checklist also includes thinking about indoor air quality and respiratory concerns. “Utah’s air quality issues don’t stop at your front door. We’re a full service home maintenance company, and that includes duct cleaning and placing steam humidifiers,”

Staszkiewicz said. All Hours is a local company that earns Utahns’ trust and gives back to the community. “Recently, we helped a woman who had just gone through chemo and was having respiratory issues. We installed an air filter and donated our services. In addition to the service, I think it just made her feel better to know that someone cared,” Staszkiewicz said. Staszkiewicz knows customers today are well informed and have done research before they call around. “It’s imperative to find the right company, and we take earning your business seriously.” For more information on winterizing your house, emergency services or maintenance plans, give Chuck Staszkiewicz and his team a call at 385.213.0535 or check their website at www.allhoursplumbingslc.com. Technicians are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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August 2021 | Page 15


Adaptive PE students shine in their own outstanding ways By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com

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hortly before Bell View kindergartner Baldo Arriaga received a trophy from Canyons School District, his principal Chanci Loran described him as “very sweet, a super hard worker and deserving of the Outstanding Sportsmanship Award.” His classmates applauded and cheered for him and celebrated by jumping on a launch pad that launched a two-foot rocket high up to the sky. It was an indirect way of ensuring the diagnostic kindergarten students also were working toward their development skills and personal physical education goals as well as having fun, said district adaptive physical education instructor Kathryn Taylor, Bell View kindergartner Baldo Arriaga holds his Outstanding Sportsmanship Award trophy tightly as he’s joined by Canyons School District special education program administrator Tifny Iacona, district adaptive physical education instructor Kathryn Taylor and his principal, Chanci Loran. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Page 16 | August 2021

who works with Baldo as well as other youngsters. “We help them with their gross motor skills such as running, galloping, jumping, hopping on one foot and with objectives like throwing, catching, kicking and dribbling,” she said. The Outstanding Sportsmanship Award recipients represent each elementary school that has the adapted physical education program. They follow directions, have a positive attitude and work hard on learning new skills and on their personal physical education goals, said Tifny Iacona, district special education program administrator. “It’s important that we recognize students who have worked hard on their adaptive PE goals and with their peers, to congratulate all of them on their success,” she said. Other school winners include Marcus Fernandez, Silver Mesa; Weston McPherson, Crescent; Isaac Kilpatrick, Alta View; Connor Jones, Granite;

Logan Martinson, Willow Canyon; Natalie Van Roosendaal, Willow Springs; Saxton Snowball, Edgemont; and Ava Baird, Jordan Valley. Traditionally, the students are recognized on the annual Sports Day, where they parade on the track as well as participate in a distance run and a sprint, an obstacle course, a parachute game, a dance-off and other activities with their classmates. “We’ve had mascots from across the (Salt Lake) Valley, Peer Leadership Teams or studentbody officers, cheerleaders and the (school district) superintendent and Board (of Education) members come and really cheer on these kids,” Iacona said, adding that this year and last year the event was unable to be held because of the COVID-19 safety and health concerns. “It’s a fun way to celebrate these students. It’s all about the kids.” l

Cottonwood Heights City Journal


Brighton athletics reigned in Region 6, faces slightly new look this year By Jerry Christensen | j.christensen@mycityjournals.com

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his year marks a change in the UHSAA school regions. The Region 6 collection of 5A schools on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley (Brighton, Hillcrest, Cottonwood, Murray, Highland, Olympus, East and Skyline) is reconfigured to include Park City but excludes Hillcrest and Cottonwood. This change adds stiffer competition for Brighton in sports such as lacrosse (boys and girls), basketball, football and wrestling. Brighton ended the athletic year in May by driving deep into the state playoffs in tennis, track, swimming, soccer and newly sanctioned lacrosse. Coincidently, it was Park City’s boys and girls lacrosse teams that stopped Brighton lacrosse teams in the semifinals preventing the coveted finals appear-

The boys swim team took second at state in February. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

ance. A new rivalry begins with Park City. Not unlike the Utah Jazz, Brighton excelled athletically in the regular season in most of the 18 UHSAA sanctioned high school sports. And like the Jazz, postseason playoffs proved somewhat disappointing— the notable exceptions were top-four finishes in soccer, swimming, tennis and lacrosse among strong statewide competition from the 31 5A schools. Swimming and boys tennis were edged out of state championships by the narrowest of margins. But Brighton reigned as the juggernaut of Region 6 during the 2020-21 athletic season. Of the 18 UHSAA-sanctioned sports, Brighton teams were in the top two of 14 of those sports. Regional title trophies were earned by eight of those teams. Of Brighton’s region dominance, Principal Tom Sherwood observed, “Brighton athletics continue to match the school’s academic achievements by winning titles and scholarships. It is a long tradition of 50 excellent years.” Notable in the display case full of 202021 “pandemic-era” region titles is the football trophy that represents an undefeated region run and a single loss in the quarterfinals. The hotly contested girls lacrosse region title was decided on Brighton’s Freestone Field in the waning moments of the final season game

Haley Taylor helped lead the girls lacrosse team to the semifinals in May. (Photo courtesy Shane Augason)

against Olympus. Three region wrestling rivals (Brighton, Murray and Olympus) wrangled for the region title, but it was Brighton who brought home the hardware after the title came down to a single wrestler beating his Murray rival in the last match of the season. Boys soccer won Region 6 by a wide margin continuing its long-term dominance.

The new Region 6 will be a bigger challenge for Brighton athletes and teams. However, as rival schools have experienced before, Brighton is a force to be reckoned with. l

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August 2021 | Page 17


Students come up with solutions to real-life problems in entrepreneur challenge By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.comt

J

uan Diego Catholic High ninth-grader Erin Chan has realized that often, people with disabilities are excluded from physical activities and sports. She, and a group of friends, decided to do something about that. “My goal is to create an inexpensive, wearable product that will help the visually impaired navigate without the aid of another person or white cane,” Erin shared in a presentation to the Utah High School Entrepreneur Challenge. “This device will be more discreet than the usual assistive devices since disabled people can be self-conscious about their condition.” The group researched to discover that 70% of the 52,000 school-age children with visual impairments do not participate in a physical education program, which is against the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Their answer was to create a vest that uses ultrasonic sensors to calculate the distance between obstacles and a visually impaired wearer to warn them of nearing objects. “The frequency of vibration increases (as an object gets nearer to the person) as well as the intensity,” Erin said. The Acti-Vest team’s solution won the $10,000 grand prize at the Utah High School Entrepreneur Challenge. More than 130 teams or individuals entered the competition, which was held virtually this year. The finals were narrowed down to the top 20 teams and was hosted by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank. “(The win) means a lot, because it tells me that I can go on to support people with

disabilities and help people live the lifestyle they want to live. I plan on expanding this company and using the money to further develop the vest to make it a better product,” Erin said. Since the competition, the Acti-Vest team has filed for a patent. They also have had a blind person test the vest and have been incorporating feedback to a second prototype. The team, which includes sixth-grader Lana Chan, sixth-grader Eli Ekstein, eighth-grader Sam Ekstein, and sixth-grader Sara Leng, brainstormed ideas to fit their FIRST LEGO League challenge, helping people to become more active through technology, and then, talked to experts about it. Upon learning about the entrepreneur challenge, they decided to enter. “We originally started out deciding between a ball that was really brightly colored and easier for visually disabled people to follow around and then we turned it into more of a thing that people can become more independent while using,” Erin said. “So, we developed something that they could wear and help them see objects around. This is where the whole idea of a wearable came from, with ultrasonic sensors and vibration motors. Then, we eventually extended it a little more so that they can use it within their daily lives as well, not just for playing a specific sport.” The team came up with the vest name by putting together the words “active” and “vest” and then, “we also liked the idea of activist, you know, someone who deviates from social norms. And that is what we’re doing with this, we’re activists in helping blind people do something that helps them be able to now live an independent lifestyle,” she said. Erin said that the initial prototype cost

$55 to make, but with increased technology, it will cost more. She hopes that by mass-producing it, they could offer it for about $200. “We think that’s reasonable for a medical device and not really expensive for something with this capability,” she said, adding that the team is looking at attaching the circuit boards to a piece of cloth that can attach to the vest or a T-shirt. “That will make it wearable for all different types of weather and you don’t have to keep buying a new set of clothes with a set of circuit boards. You just have one circuit that you move to each different piece of clothing. We have a business plan in the making right now and are planning to make this into a long-term project, which we’re still developing, and possibly branching out to other products.” High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Student Director Peyton Williams said this year’s entries ranged from an eggshell remover to making standardized testing more equitable for all students despite their socioeconomic status. “We had a phenomenal set of finalists this year,” Williams said. “I’m proud that Utah is home to so many impressive and entrepreneurial high school students.” Second place and $5,000 went to Midvale’s Hillcrest High School team with their project, Pocket Garden. Tailored to novice gardeners, Pocket Garden simplifies plant purchases, connects customers with local nurseries and motivates plant care. The Pocket Garden team included junior Zoe Liu and seniors Anna Hsu and Anya Tiwari. “We went through a bunch of different ideas,” Liu said. “We wanted to do something climate-related because that was a global issue that related to all of us, and

The Acti-Vest team’s solution to help people with disabilities be able to lead an active and independent lifestyle won the top prize at the Utah High School Entrepreneur Challenge. (Photo courtesy of Erin Chan)

Page 18 | August 2021

Juan Diego Catholic High School student Erin Chan models the Acti-Vest, a vest that uses ultrasonic sensors to calculate the distance between obstacles and a visually impaired wearer to warn them of nearing objects. (Photo courtesy of Erin Chan)

we all thought it was really important. Over time, we came up with this idea of, ‘Oh, what if we do something that’s like a box that gets delivered to you with sustainable products,’ and then, we ended up with the idea of gardening. Our Pocket Garden pretty much makes gardening a lot easier and can be really helpful to the environment. It saves on shipping costs for food; it also prevents a lot of commercial pesticides and fertilizers going into the world if you’re eating your own food and can help create more oxygen which is better for air pollution.” She said that the modernizing of gardening “makes things a lot easier and not only do you get the products, but the app also comes with a tracker that gives you reminders on when to water your plants or what time might be a good time to sow your seeds” as well as a journal to track tasks. It also provides information on what plants work well in the climate of the gardeners. “All of our families garden quite a bit,” Liu said. “While developing the app, we were really talking about what gardening is to each of us. For my family, gardening has always been a way of almost like holding on to self-sustainability. My parents have a lot of pride in knowing that we grow and learn stuff. I like the idea that we can exist separately, and that sort of independence is empowering, regardless, if we still buy food from the grocery store. That was a little bit of a motivator for it.” l

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School district leaders hope summer sessions slowed academic relapse By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com

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his summer, students across the Salt Lake Valley may not have experienced the summer slide as much as previous years. Summer slide is a term used to describe academic regression many students experience over the summer months, and nationwide, teachers and school districts are trying to make a point of helping students review, gain access to resources and learn individually or in smaller settings this summer through summer school options. Locally, many school districts invited students who may have fallen behind during the COVID-19 pandemic to summer session so they could review their previous instruction or enhance their learning through additional practice. In Murray, several hundred students of all grade levels were identified and took part in the four-week session. “We identified the kids we needed to reach most and worked with their parents to see if we could get them to come and get caught up,” said Doug Perry, Murray School District spokesman. “We feel really good about it and made some excellent progress with many students. It was not without challenge and there are still going to be some students who need support and resources, particularly those that did not take advantage of the opportunity. But we feel we are in better shape with many of them than we were at the end of the school year.” This was the first summer school session in the district after a number of years. Students attended a school per level—elementary, junior high or high school—where they typically spent three to four hours five days per week and received some individualized instruction. Meals and snacks were served, and incentives were given to “keep them engaged,” he said. In Jordan School District, spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf said that students of every level were able to get help at their regular schools as the district used CARES Act funding to support teacher salaries. There were two voluntary summer sessions and meals were provided. “Some type of summer school was offered at every school in the district, both elementary and secondary,” she said, saying it was a change from just holding it at Valley High School. In the elementary level, students who needed extra help mostly with math and literacy were invited to participate from 9 a.m. to noon. In the middle school, students who needed extra help in a subject area as well as ninth-grade credit recovery attended the same time period. High schools offered credit recovery all day. While the total number of students who participated wasn’t available for press dead-

Page 20 | August 2021

line, Riesgraf identified 1,908 secondary students who registered in the first summer session. “Our elementary teachers and principals I’ve talked to were pleasantly surprised by the number of kids that showed up for summer school, so it’s been a positive outcome,” she said. Canyons School District also offered its Summer Boost program, targeted to about 1,500 elementary and middle school students who needed the extra help or a bump up in their education. They also received free meals and other social services. “The biggest thing is that I hope our students can catch up and master their unfinished learning,” said Alta View Elementary School Principal Scott Jameson who had about 20 of his students attend morning lessons at nearby Altara Elementary. “They focused on their literacy and math. On the last day, I told them ‘nice job’ as they came off the bus and even walked partway home with a couple of them.” The program was housed in five schools throughout the district four mornings per week for three weeks. Natalie Gleave was a Summer Boost administrator at Crescent Elementary, which

served about 300 students from 10 different elementary schools. “​Our teachers and staff tried to make this a fun experience for students,” she said. “Students were all there voluntarily and we tried to make it feel like a summer camp of learning. There were a lot of hands-on activities to enrich and strengthen students’ skills.” Gleave said each morning they held a meeting where students had the opportunity to get to know one another. “These meetings always had a life skills component tied into them to boost student’s social skills. Bringing kids together from 10 different elementary schools around the valley provided many opportunities to make new connections,” she said. Within Crescent’s camp, they also hosted a newcomer academy, which had two classes of kindergarten through fifth-grade students who are new to the United States. One of the classes served eight students who spoke five different languages, she said. “The best part of the Summer Boost program was the kids. It was amazing after only three weeks how connected we felt to each other; I saw new friendships grow and develop between kids of all different backgrounds and circumstances,” Gleave said. “I know the

parents of these students were grateful for the opportunity to send their children to Summer Boost. I had several parents stop me before and after school to express their appreciation for the busing, meals and instruction that was provided to them at no cost.” In addition, high schools offered other programs, such as credit recovery and also the regular AVID Summer Bridge program at Jordan High and Husky Strong program were offered to incoming freshmen. Jordan High also sponsored a six-week Code to Success coding camp as well as reading and math interventions. Jameson said his school had its second summer reading program where students could check out books and read in the library. They also partnered with Salt Lake County libraries so a librarian came in to hold storytime and do crafts with the students that tied into literacy. Another component of Alta View’s program was a PTA and School Community Council volunteer taught parents DYAD reading, or a side-by-side reading strategy, and they were able to practice it alongside their children. “It really is a good program and a good group of teachers, librarians, parents and volunteers all involved to help our students with their reading and literacy,” he said. l

Students have fun learning and reviewing concepts while attending summer school in Murray School District. (Photo courtesy of Murray School District)

Cottonwood Heights City Journal


Home-court advantage: Pickleball courts named after Cottonwood Heights Mayor By Cassie Goff | c.goff@mycityjournals.com

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he pickleball courts on the west side of the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center (7500 S. 2700 East) have been named after and dedicated to the currently serving Cottonwood Heights City Mayor. A dedication ribbon cutting of the newly named Michael J. Peterson Pickleball Courts was held on Monday, July 19. Various members of the Cottonwood Heights City Council, Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation Service Area, Salt Lake County, staff members from the rec center and city, as well as many residents and family members, gathered in support for the ceremony at 5 p.m. “This is what it’s all about—the people,” said Mayor Mike Peterson. Peterson began his career with Salt Lake County in 1971 and spent over 30 years focusing on parks and recreation and community programs. He then spent 15 years serving as the Cottonwood Heights Parks Recreation Service Area Director (2000-2015). He most recently has been serving Cottonwood Heights as councilmember and mayor (2014-2017; 2018-2021). “We don’t want to recognize Mike in one aspect but in the culmination of his service and dedication,” said Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation Service Area Executive Director Ben Hill. Community Services Department Director Holly Yocom relayed gratitude from Salt Lake

County. She mentioned how Director of Parks and Recreation Martin Jensen was slated to be speaking at the ceremony, but he was pulled away last minute. However, Jensen was adamant that Peterson know how much he is appreciated as a friend and mentor over decades. “We call (Peterson) often when we need help with legislation and communication,” Yocom said echoing Jensen’s sentiment. “We call him to delegate and lead the way. TRCC (Salt Lake County’s Tourism, Recreation, Culture and Convention Program) looks to him because of his history, his experience running a city, and his friendship. He is a key leader in our community.” Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation Service Area Chairperson Bart Hopkin spoke about Peterson’s passion. “He knows what collaboration means,” Hopkin said. The pickleball courts were made possible by TRCC funding, which Peterson helped to secure. Hopkin presented Peterson with a 46-ounce jar of pickles and pickleballs in congratulations. “If you look around us right now, you see the Rec Center (to the East), you see parks (to the West), and a city building beyond that,” Hopkin pointed out. “If you look around us right now, you see a community. That’s what this man is all about.” Cottonwood Heights City Manager Tim

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Courts were able to be realized. It is an honor to be able to name the courts after him! Thank you Mayor Peterson for everything you have done to help bring people together in such a positive way.” Peterson reflected later in the week, “the event was an amazing culmination to the soon to be end of my long career. To be recognized in this way made it extra special. I’ve always felts it’s about the people and continuing to find ways to better serve them. Parks and recreation amenities have always been one of my favorite avenues to serve and enhance the quality of life of our residents.” l

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Tingey said the word to describe Peterson “is commitment. He is dedicated to commitment. He is at the city day in and day out. I feel privileged working with him.” Tingey also mentioned how Peterson’s commitment isn’t just to his career. “He also has a commitment to his family. Charlene, (Peterson’s wife) thank you for your sacrifice and for allowing us to share his time.” Cottonwood Heights Rec Center announced the dedication on their social media later that evening, “Peterson has always been passionate about finding ways to bring the community together with his help the Pickleball

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Charlene Peterson teases her husband as he attempts to cut the ribbon for his own dedication event. (Cassandra Goff/City Journals)

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August 2021 | Page 21


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Soaring Summer Travel is Lifting Utah’s Economy By Robert Spendlove | Zions Bank Senior Economist

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he Salt Lake City International Airport is bustling. Visitors are pouring into Utah’s state and national parks. And the iconic Temple Square is once again welcoming visitors from around the world to our capital city. After the coronavirus pandemic dramatically impacted travel and tourism – along with so many aspects of our lives and our economy – it’s exciting to see travel returning to our state. In July, the Salt Lake City International Airport reported that passenger volumes were at 105% of 2019 levels – one of the strongest rebounds nationally. And a year after Covid-19 halted most international travel, our Zions Bank branches have seen an uptick in people coming in to get foreign currency for their summer travels, particularly the Mexican Peso, the Euro and the British pound. This return to travel is important. The travel and tourism sector generates over a billion dollars in state and local tax revenue each year, according to the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Tourism and visitor spending support more than one in 11 Utah jobs directly or indirectly. And in some parts of the state, the employment impact is much

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Cottonwood Heights City Journal


Young at heart My grandson and I thought we’d practice hitting golf balls into lakes and shrubbery, so we went to a par 3 course to get our game on. It was sunny, the birds were singing, everything was right with the world, until the clueless 20-something young man at the counter asked if I was eligible for the senior discount. Cue record scratch. First, I’m NOT. Second, you NEVER ask a woman if she’s eligible for the senior discount. I’ll die at 107 without ever accepting a $3 dotage deduction off ANYTHING. Soon after my ego-destroying golf course incident, I visited my dad in the hospital when the nurse assumed I was his wife. First, eww. Second, I have to accept the fact that my “Best By Date” has come and gone. It’s not that I wander the streets carrying a tabby cat and a bag of knitting, but I find myself becoming less visible to anyone under 30. Trying to get help at a store is impossible because I must look like a pair of sandals walking around by themselves. No one wants to help a foot ghost. I receive barely disguised disdain at the make-up counter as the salesperson indifferently directs me to the anti-aging, skin-firming, wrinkle-removing face spackle, even if I want mascara. It’s a social

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August 2021 | Vol. 17 Iss. 08

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UDOT’S TRANSPORTATION SOLUTION TO SKI TRAFFIC IN LITTLE COTTONWOOD By Cassie Goff | c.goff@mycityjournals.com

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he last few weeks of July in Cottonwood Heights were filled with conversation around the Utah Department of Transportation’s Little Cottonwood Canyon Environmental Impact Study (EIS). UDOT released their Draft EIS on June 25, which identified their two preferred canyon transportation alternatives. They have since been taking public comment. UDOT initially began the EIS in 2018 in order to look for ways to alleviate traffic congestion within Little Cottonwood Canyon, with the goal of implementing the best one within the upcoming years. During the summer months of 2020, five transportation alternatives were researched and discussed. The five transportation alternatives identified were: enhanced bus service, enhanced bus service with roadway widening, a gondola from the Little Cottonwood Park and Ride, a Gondola from La Caille, and a COG rail from La Caille. On July 20, Project Manager Josh Van Jura presented UDOT’s two preferred alternatives to the Cottonwood Heights City Council. UDOT’s first preferred transportation alternative is an enhanced bus service with a widened roadway. The enhanced bus service would include two main mobility hubs at the gravel pit (roughly 6900 S. Wasatch Blvd.) and 9400 S. Highland Drive. Busses would leave these hubs every five minutes heading directly up Little Cottonwood Canyon to either Snowbird or Alta. These

busses would be able to jump traffic ques and pass personal vehicles. In order to make that possible, part of Wasatch Blvd. would need to be widened to include a dedicated bus lane. “On certain days, it’s likely to be faster than driving your personal vehicle. What better motivation when you want to go skiing to see a bus passing you going uphill,” Van Jura said. The enhanced bus service option would cost $510 million initially for startup and construction costs with $11 million annually for operation and maintenance. Van Jura shared this enhanced bus service option is ultimately UDOT’s preferred choice. This alternative meets UDOT’s mobility goal, even though the visual impact from widening Wasatch Blvd. would be significant and there is potential for water quality concerns. The second preferred transportation alternative is a gondola from La Caille. The gondola would include a base station north of La Caille (a privately owned restaurant) (roughly 9565 S. Wasatch Blvd.) with 1,500 parking stalls. Gondolas would leave every two minutes to travel through the canyon directly to two stations, one located at Snowbird and the other at Alta. In order to make that possible, 23 towers would need to be built at pivotal points within the canyon. “Because it operates in that separate

The two preferred transportation alternatives were chosen because they met two of UDOT’s goals: mobility and reliability. (File photo Joshua Wood/City Journals)

alignment above the roadway, if you have a slow-moving vehicle, a slide off, or even avalanche debris on the road, the gondola could still provide a consistent travel time,” Van Jura said. This gondola is the second most expensive transportation alternative at $592

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million initially for startup and construction costs with $7.6 million annually for maintenance and operation. This alternative meets UDOT’s reliability goal, with low impacts to wildlife Continued page 4

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