Cottonwood Heights Journal | February 2022

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February 2022 | Vol. 18 Iss. 14




or three days, Ridgecrest Elementary students were doing the same thing as people in Russia, Greece, Hungary and all around the world—cup stacking. In coordination with the World Sport Stacking Association, these elementary students had high hopes of setting a world record for the “most people sport stacking at multiple locations” to beat the record of 638,503 stackers. “I think it would be really cool if we do it,” first-grader Leah Overa said. “I’d tell my mom and dad, my grandpa and grandma and everyone.” Her classmate, Venice Shaw, was stacking the plastic cups to create a tower. “It’s taller than me,” she said. “It is really very special to be a part of this.” Fifth-grader Moya Croft said it stands for what they did at Ridgecrest. “As a school, we could say we did something that not everyone else can do, and we contributed to the record together and that’s cool,” she said. While class after class took part in cup stacking in the school’s gym, some trying for speed and others trying for height, Ridgecrest’s PlayWorks coach Angi Williamson tallied students participating to send into the association.

“This is our first time trying to be a part of the world record,” she said, adding that for the past four years, students usually participate with cup stacking during inside recesses, sometimes even as relay races. “The students really love sport stacking. For the older students, it’s more competitive and they track how fast they can do it and I will ask them to figure out their class’ average time. The younger students have fun creating with cups, but it’s more than play. They’re learning teambuilding and skills like eye-hand coordination. They also have a challenge, which involves them needing to concentrate and problem-solve. It lends itself to visual and hands-on learning.” With sport stacking, contestants try for the fastest times as they compete building up a predetermined number of cups and then down stacking them, with world competitions being held this year in Colorado, Canada, Denmark, Spain and Germany. Some former Ridgecrest students have competed Continued page 8 Ridgecrest first-grade students take part in the world record attempt for the most people sport stacking at multiple locations. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Page 2 |February 2022

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February 2022 | Page 3

Brighton High students bond together over passion for art By Julie Slama |


righton freshman Cyle Quick likes to draw Jurassic period animals. “I like to draw, and I can draw any dinosaur, but I’m learning commercial art and getting the proportions just right,” he said. “I like coming here to learn new skills and improve and learn from others’ art.” Cyle was attending Brighton High’s new art club, which this fall was initiated by three students, who merged their ideas to create one group, with the support of club adviser, art teacher Jordan Brun. “I thought it would be great to have a community of artists,” said sophomore Indigo Armstrong about wanting to start the club. At the same time, freshmen Elliot Memmott and Abigail Weseloh were drumming up student interest, so they merged their intent, and the result is 50 students who meet after school twice per month. The format is one session per month that is geared more toward a lesson in an art that appeals to club members, and one session where they have time to work on their own art and share it with their peers. Brun said that the club will “help students foster their own creativity, explore materials, and submit pieces to art shows.” Earlier in the school year, art club members shared their work for evaluation and discussion as part of a portfolio review and critique day. “We were able to have students share their multimedia, watercolor, charcoal and other styles of art and we gave them feedback as what we liked and our ideas to improve,” Indigo said. Another club meeting was an exercise in thumbnail sketching, which Brun led. “Thumbnails are a good way to com-

Journals T H E

municate to a client about your ideas and it’s the best way to get it out there,” he told student members. “You can give your client different options, different values of composites, and quick sketches to talk about and develop a base of understanding what they envision.” Students then could select a prompt he provided to draw several thumbnail sketches at first. Then, they developed one further before sharing it with the club and discussing what works well about each idea. Abigail has appreciated learning new art techniques. “I didn’t realize how many steps are involved in art compositions, like these thumbnails,” she said. Elliot added, “I think by having some instruction, it will help us to further develop as artists and we will have motivation to draw more. Our goal is to push ourselves more and meet other artists here at school, so it helps each of us make our art better to get it out to be in shows and to sell.” Both students would like to create comic books on the web and were interested in participating in the Nov. 4 Canyons School District’s Artstock competition. Indigo also would like to do web comics or a graphic novel, but right now, she’s still developing her idea. Meanwhile, she has kept a notebook of “doodles” she has drawn the past three years. “My favorite medium is pencil; it’s easy to work with and I can do it about anywhere,” she said. “My friends always remember me drawing cats during lunch.” Brun he hopes students learn this industry standard and also learn the value of the process. “Rarely do we get it right the first time

Brighton High art club students are creating thumbnail sketches, a way to communicate ideas to clients about potential art projects. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

with a client,” he said. “It will need to be reworked again and again. It is a process.” While Brun said this sense of community is important for students, he can also see it being developed and recognized by the National Art Honors Society, which would give them one high school credit if they meet the criteria. They also may be able to rededicate the interest in Brighton’s permanent art




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gallery, which has been in storage during the transition to the new school. “Right now, with the art club, we want to build on students’ interests, give some instruction, allow them to try new techniques and build camaraderie, not have it be a regiment class,” Brun said. “It is providing them time to practice and dedicate themselves to their passion.” l

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Sisters represent at USATF nationals By Catherine Garrett |


nstoppable. That was the theme for the Race Cats Elite team from Draper that took 39 runners to the USATF National Junior Olympics in Paris, Kentucky recently. And, amid freezing temperatures, tornado warnings, hailstorms, 40 mph wind, the Utah contingent proved just that. Cottonwood Heights’ Tyana Lake was part of the 11-12-year-old girls team that brought home a national championship Dec. 11. “It was tough running in that type of weather and it was really cold, but it felt good to win,” said Tyana, who finished in the top 50. Also on the championship team were Maya Bybee, Adria Favero, Hadley Flach, Tatum Flach and Teagan Harris—who also earned All-American status—along with Lily Jameson. “This did not come easy to them. These girls travel from all over the state of Utah to practice with our team in Draper,” Race Cats head coach Michele Brinkerhoff said. “They practice three to four days a week together and travel from Park City, Salt Lake, Sandy, Taylorsville and Utah County. Some of them even choose to homeschool just so they can run on this team.” Tyana’s sister, Kayla, ran on the seventh-place 13-14-yearold team, while another sister, Mia, age 8, competed in her first nationals and placed 34th. “People were slipping and falling and had water in their shoes,” Kayla Lake said. “I just kept thinking that it will be over soon and just kept going and then it didn’t really bother me anymore.” Mia Lake said she had a good experience at nationals amidst the cold conditions. “I was running and saw one of my teammates up ahead and decided that I wanted to beat her,” she said. “I finally passed her late in the race. I was 34th and she came in 40th.” Also placing at nationals were the 11-12 boys team, who took third, with the 8-and-under boys coming in fifth while Kenneth Briggs, Cole Jameson, Bethany Mittelstaedt and David Webb also finished their events as All-Americans. “Every single athlete finished the race, even though some had severe trauma and anxiety from the natural disasters. We are so proud of them. They travel from all over to compete and train together, sacrificing so much to be part of something special. And they are so special and deserve to be recognized for it,” Brinkerhoff said. Kayla, Tyana and Mia Lake, the daughters of Lindsay and Joanita Lake of Cottonwood Heights, began running last year when Kayla’s P.E. teacher at Albion Middle School approached her after clocking her times. Kayla won her first race and Tyana, who is a year younger, both joined the school’s cross country team and began loving the sport. Kayla said, “It’s been fun to work hard and know that I’m trying my best. My coaches inspire me, my mom creates opportunities for us to be better and my teammates push me to be better and faster.” Joanita Lake said Kayla experienced a fall in her second race last year, but picked herself up and still finished among the top runners. “She has realized that there are going to be some good days and some not so good,” Joanita Lake said. “She can push herself on her own and works really hard to do her best and is so competitive, even on cool down runs.” Tyana has seen her mental strength improve in a sport that was a little more of a social thing at first. “If you really don’t think about the cold or the weather and think about the end of the race and how you’ll feel, it doesn’t feel as hard,” she said. “Running has taught me to keep doing everything the best I can.” Joanita Lake has watched Tyana grow since she began run-

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Cottonwood Heights’ Tyana Lake (second from left) helped her team to a national championship at the USATF National Junior Olympics recently. (Photo credit Joanita Lake)

Cottonwood Heights’ Mia Lake competed in her first nationals race at the USATF National Junior Olympics recently, finishing 34th. (Photo credit Joanita Lake)

Cottonwood Heights’ Kayla Lake helped her team to a seventh-place finish at the USATF National Junior Olympics recently. (Photo credit Kristyn Mittelstaedt)

ning. “She sometimes doubted herself, but now she has the confidence that she can do well in something,” Joanita Lake said. “It’s really helped her realize that she can really do hard things and she has been so consistent in doing a little bit every day to make that happen.” Mia, a second grader at Oakdale Elementary, has been enjoying running like her sisters. “It’s fun for me,” she said. “I want to keep on running so I can go to the Olympics.” Joanita Lake was concerned when Mia ran her first 1500

race, but the eight-year-old not only competed, but loved it. “Everyone was cheering her on,” Joanita Lake said. “She likes longer distances and wants to run further and longer, and be as fast as her older sisters.” Joanita Lake said her daughters, who also play soccer and swim, no longer need encouragement with running as they have fallen in love with the sport. “The coaches make it so much fun for them and teach them life skills that go well beyond running,” she said. l

February 2022 | Page 5

As pandemic continues, Canyons School District navigates students’ social-emotional learning By Julie Slama |


s Brian McGill comes into the position of student services director at Canyons School District, he sets foot into a heated issue at school board meetings for the past several months: social-emotional learning. A whirlwind has risen over the use of third-party social-emotional curriculum and not being able to control online material or additional resources. “Most school districts have offered social-emotional learning in schools for decades, but part of the issue is what some districts have run into is some have adopted and used third-party curriculum; it’s hard to control the internal measures of content that arises unless you’ve got somebody just reviewing it day in and day out and checking every little change, which doesn’t happen,” McGill said. Looking back Canyons was one of those districts that used a third-party curriculum. Second Step, which was introduced in the elementary schools in 2018, came in a three-ring binder, so there was not an issue with content changing online. For the most part, teachers and principals’ reviews were positive, and they supported the curriculum. More recently, when Second Step’s online curriculum was being added into the middle schools, it came under fire. It became a public debate after the Draper Park Middle choir teacher sent a letter to parents and quit, citing his refusal to teach the curriculum. The controversy continued during the Superintendent’s listening tour, where he invited the community to weigh in on issues related to the schools. The high school curriculum called School Connect had not been rolled out. Parents, teachers, principals all weighed in on the debate at school board meetings until Supt. Rick Robins said it would be reviewed. Eventually, the school board voted not to continue using Second Step for what Robins said, “the philosophy and direction that Second Step was going, it really did not align with our board’s vision and priorities.” One of the additional resources that was listed,, was one Canyons Board of Education Mont Millerberg cited as not being aligned with the board’s vision. Millerberg said he isn’t opposed to teach social-emotional skills, but he wants a different curriculum. “I feel social-emotional learning is an important component of education, and can recognize the value of it, but looking into the curriculum that has been put in place of Second Step’s external links, I can see the potential harm outweighing the good,” he

Page 6 |February 2022

The Surgeon General, a couple weeks ago, said that 40% of all kids either have anxiety or depression— and those are just the kids that have been identified. Brian McGill said. “Our young people in middle school and high school are very vulnerable as they go through physical changes, trying new things, peer pressure. What they need is a safety net and support.” Second Step is used in some of Jordan School District schools. Jordan Board of Education President Tracy Miller said the board has “gone through the curriculum and the links are not given to students. We have taken them down. We feel it’s important to teach social-emotional skills and there is a lot of good content in that curriculum. We are trusting our teachers not to introduce any inappropriate material.” Robins said that was looked at, but “for me, it’s a challenge to say, we’re only going to turn off this or we’re going to pull this part of it. That becomes problematic. I think from the time that the curriculum was adopted until now, there have been many changes. I think that was really due to a shift of Second Step’s direction of philosophy.” Robins directed teachers and principals to no longer use the material. “Second Step is only a small part of our overall support to students in Canyons,” he said. “All of us, including our students, are experiencing all kinds of different challenges and trauma (heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic). We’re going to have to deal with this together and as a community, and as parents and as patrons, to take an all-in approach to invest in our students. Skills of self-regulation, empathy, kindness, respect—we’re still very committed to ensuring our students are able to learn those skills and to make that part of their educational experience.” Now The U.S. Surgeon General recently said that youth are struggling more than ever as students cope with the pandemic, anxiety in school and family challenges. A report was released saying that in the past 10 years, prior to COVID-19, high school

Former Alta High Principal Brian McGill, who was named Utah Principal of the Year 2020-21, will head Canyons School District’s student services and oversee social-emotional learning for the school children. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

students reported persistent feelings of “sadness or hopelessness” increased 40%. “The Surgeon General, a couple weeks ago, said that 40% of all kids either have anxiety or depression—and those are just the kids that have been identified,” McGill said. “I think it’s a clear telltale sign of what’s happening with our youth and these middle schoolers and high schoolers at a pivotal time in their lives and if they’re struggling with their mental health, then they’re going to struggle in all aspects of their behavior.” “Quite frankly,” he continued, “there hasn’t been a more critical time, I think, in our history especially the educational history, having gone through COVID, and having to deal with things that we’ve had to deal with. The behaviors that we’re seeing something out of the first wave of COVID in school settings, with an increase of kids not going to class, increase in parties, vandalism of property, treatment of

one another in schools to behaviors of kids in schools, drug use, fake news, all of that is just off the charts. And the one thing that we can come back to in terms of looking at the key variable of these situations is COVID—when we basically locked down schools at a period in time and their lives, those interpersonal connections and the social piece of worrying and relationship building were basically taken away from them.” McGill has mental health and substance abuse training. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and his master’s degrees in clinical psychology, school counseling and school administration. He has worked as a school counselor and as a clinician at a family center. He advocates for schools to use the SafeUT mobile app to prevent suicides, reduce instances of bullying, and maintain a safe learning environment; his former high school was the first to use the

Cottonwood Heights City Journal

Learn about notable Utah African Americans for Black History Month By Karmel Harper |


ntil the November 2020 elections, slavery in Utah was still legal as punishment for a convicted crime. According to Article 1, Section 21, in Utah’s state Constitution, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within this State.” However, on November 3, 2020, Amendment C, which bans slavery in all forms, passed with 81% of the vote. Utah House Rep. Sandra Collins, who sponsored Amendment C, said, “Our constitution serves as a basis for all of our laws and policies. We need to be clearer about what prison is for and what prison is not. The notion of ‘slavery or involuntary servitude’ should not be imposed on people merely because they are convicted of a crime. By passing this measure, we will assert that slavery is not a Utah value.” Although slavery in Utah was not widespread, some Utah pioneers held African-American slaves until 1862, when Congress abolished slavery in all of its territories. Brigham Young sent three African-American men as part of an advance party in 1847 to clear brush, trees, and rocks to make a road for pioneer wagons. These men were Green Flake, Hark Lay, and Oscar Crosby. Their names appear on a plaque on the Brigham Young Monument in downtown Salt Lake City with the inscription: “Green Flake, Hark Lay, and Oscar Crosby, Colored Servants.” Kristine Murdock, a historian, and administrator for Our Kaysville Story Facebook page, said, “After Green Flake and his wife Martha Crosby (also a slave) were freed, they settled in the Salt Lake Valley. They were members of the LDS Church and very loved in the community. They are buried in the Union Cemetery Cottonwood Heights, Utah.” However, some Utah slaves’ stories were tragic. 1n 1858, when he was only 3 years old, Gobo Fango of the Xhosa tribe in South Africa was given to white property owners Henry and Ruth Talbot after famine afflicted the Xhosa. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Talbots set sail from South Africa to Boston in 1861, where they would join the gathering of saints in Salt Lake City. The Talbots smuggled Fango aboard in a wrapped carpet, but Fango was reported to have provided entertainment and helped take care of the sheep

state-funded app. McGill said that as mental health impacts students, it can escalate to school violence, suicide, cyberbullying, sexting and even the recent TikTok threats. “Throughout all my research that I found, kids stating and responding to over and over and over again, was how much the metacognitive skills they need to be successful in school. It’s a huge concern because at the end of the day, if a child doesn’t have their basic essential needs met, then learning isn’t going to come. Learning becomes secondary,” he said. Going forward McGill already has met with other school districts discussing social-emotional learning. “A lot of districts are building skillbased activities, looking at things like establishing resilience, building connections with others, learning about empathy, and trying to see things through a different lens or perspective—the metacognitive elements to learning. I’m taking a look at how we build those best practices that relates to

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on-board once the ship set sail. After traveling west to Utah, the Talbots eventually settled in Kaysville. According to an article by the University of Utah’s Marriott Library, Fango’s feet froze one year when the Talbots allegedly forced him to herd animals in bare feet. When someone suggested that one of his feet required amputation, he said he ‘would rather have part of a foot than none at all.’ It seems that part of his heel was removed, but that doctors did not amputate his foot at the ankle. Years later, a woman reported that Fango would place wool in his boot so that his foot would fit into it and he could walk. He left the Talbots and worked as a laborer for the Mary Ann Whitesides Hunter family, who lived in Grantsville, Utah, roughly between 1870 and 1880. He was listed as a “servant” (likely employed as such) in the 1880 U.S. Census living in Grantsville. Fango settled in the Goose Creek valley of Idaho territory by the 1880s and worked as a sheepherder. However, tensions between sheepherders and cattlemen in the area led to Fango’s murder by cattleman Frank Bedke, who was acquitted. Fango, who was described as generous with a cheerful disposition, dictated his final will and testament before succumbing to his gunshot wounds. He bequeathed half of his estate ($500) to the Salt Lake Temple Construction Fund. Nearly 45 years after his death, Talbot and Hunter’s family members could not find evidence of Fango’s membership in the church and thus performed his baptism by proxy in the Salt Lake Temple on Sept. 20, 1930. The U of U article said, “Because Fango was a Black African, he could not be ordained to the priesthood posthumously, which would have made it possible for him to receive other LDS liturgies by proxy. As Louisa Hale wrote to a historian seeking information on Fango in 1934, ‘a Negro cannot hold the priesthood. So [performing his posthumous baptism] was all we could do for him. I, of course, feel that he is more worthy than many that do hold it.’” As February is Black History Month, we honor the stories of African Americans who have shaped this country and

building skill sets that make kids successful in school as well as in life and having things like motivation, resiliency and determination. Drive, motivation, all those things that basically make us not only successful in life and drive us to do things that we do, our purpose. I think most parents, if not all parents, would agree with that,” he said. McGill acknowledges parents’ concerns. “Some parents have some questions around what are the teachers or educators teaching my kid as it relates to their emotions and emotional regulation, and you’ve got a faction of parents that don’t believe that it should be (taught) in a school setting,” he said. So, with that line drawn between what should be taught in school versus in the home, McGill, who recently served as principal at Alta High, said that teachers and administrator feel pressure to help students succeed. “Schools have had a lot of pressures placed on them to provide different ser-

A member of the Daybreak Diversity & Inclusion club places a sign at Oquirrh Lake for Black History Month. You can visit the lake in February to read about notable African Americans. (Photo courtesy Vanessa Janak)

state. Notable African American Utahns include Mignon Barker Richmond (1897-1984), who was the first African American woman to graduate from a Utah college and was a human and civil rights activist, and Anna Belle Weakley-Mattson (19222008), an astute businesswoman who was a significant force to Ogden’s growing Black community in the 1900s. l

vices besides just educating kids. A lot of schools have food pantries, and a lot of schools are providing mental health supports at a higher volume than they’ve ever done before in the history of education in America. They’re a lot of these supports that schools are providing that are needs for kids so they can focus on their learning.” Already underway is to bring in speakers on several topics one night this spring to educate and involve parents in such topics. McGill said he will be watching the lawmakers this session to see if there’s legislation that comes out “and changes the dialogue around what school districts do as it relates to SEL (social-emotional learning) supports because there has been so much discussion and controversy,” he said. There is a history of the legislature introducing dialogues and bills around student issues, as state Rep. Susan Pulsipher said happened in 2020. “We’ve increased resources and left it

up to school districts to choose how to be most effective in incorporating it, like we did with vaping and having the schools introduce education,” she said. “Jordan (District) has put counselors and psychologists in every school. I know Canyons wasn’t happy with the changes that were taking place online with its curriculum and that can be challenging. So, they’re taking control by writing their own. The state interim committee on education looks into student services so it may look into handling the online situations.” Through the change, McGill supports teachers’ efforts to engage students in the classroom. “They’re getting them interested in their learning, helping them advocate for themselves and learn about self-awareness about how to improve their learning,” he said. “We’re going to take more of a focal approach on helping our elementary, middle and high school kids identify those strongest skill sets and then figure out ways to incorporate that within the current curriculum that they’re already teaching.”l

February 2022 | Page 7

Continued from front page in tournaments, Williamson said, however, trying for this world record allowed students to be more creative. Many students worked together in small groups while combining the 30 sets of bright-colored plastic cups. Williamson, who received an email invitation to participate in the record attempt, said that students have gotten excited about the possibility of setting a record, they checked out other records of all sorts in the “Guinness Book of World Records” in the library.

“It inspires them to see what all they can do, to look beyond what every day brings,” she said. Ridgecrest was one of more than 1,800 schools from 16 countries to participate in the three-day world record attempt. However, the world participants learned they came up short, with 509,544 stackers. That didn’t take away from their enjoyment of sport stacking. “I stacked a lot with my friends,” Ridgecrest student Maya Jacques-Skinner said. “So, it was a bunch of fun.” l

Brighton cheer compete with coed team Photo by Julie Slama Brighton High cheerleaders took the floor in the United Spirit Association regional competition Dec. 4 at Cottonwood High, competing in the small coed varsity show division. Nash Matheson is Brighton’s leading scorer, averaging 24 points a game. (Photo by Elie Rehmer/801Visual)

Brighton boys basketball team is young and ready to progress By Jerry Christensen |


righton boys basketball entered mid-season with a 5-8 record. Coach Garrett Wilson is quick to point out “we are a young team with nothing but upside over the next few years.” Last year’s senior-rich team moved on and left Brighton with only two of the top seven players left to carry on. “It has taken us a bit to get some things figured out,” the coach said. The team made it to the championship game of the Torrey Pines Tournament in San Diego over the

Christmas break. That success spurred a winning streak of five games over the last seven. Carrying the Bengal torch into the future is sophomore sensation Nash Matheson, who is not only Brighton’s leading scorer, averaging 24 points a game, he is the leading high school scorer in the entire state. In a recent game against region rival Skyline, Nash broke Brighton’s single game scoring record with 43 points scored. l

In a recent game against region rival Skyline, Nash Matheson broke Brighton’s single game scoring record with 43 points scored. (Photo by Elie Rehmer/801Visual)

Page 8 |February 2022

Cottonwood Heights City Journal

Youth rugby comes to Cottonwood Heights By Jerry Christensen |


he Cottonwood Heights community will have a new staple in the youth sports scene this spring. The Brighton Youth Rugby program launches into its inaugural season. “This international sport is new to many Americans and may be perceived as a hooligan sport played by gentlemen,” said Jimmy McDermott, a former collegiate rugby player and founder of youth rugby in Cottonwood Heights. Cottonwood Heights is home to the Brighton High Rugby teams and Utah is known for many elite college rugby programs (The University of Utah and Brigham Young University) as well as a professional rugby team (The Utah Warriors). “Some of our Brighton high school players have played youth rugby with Olympus or the Rhinos out of Taylorsville,” said Christine Yee, the Brighton High Rugby Club advisor. “Others had never picked up a rugby ball until we recruited them in the halls of our school. Many of those players say that they had wished they started earlier. Beginning a Brighton Youth Rugby club here is huge for our high school team. Kids can learn the fundamentals while developing a love for the game. By the time those players get to us in high school, they already know the basics and have built their own pride in Brighton Rugby.”

First-time rugby spectators, quickly become enamored with the quick pace, teamwork, culture and strategy of the game. The object of the game is to advance the ball toward your opponent’s try zone (similar to a football end zone). The strategy involves drawing multiple opponents toward one ball carrier, who offloads the ball in a backward pass to an unguarded teammate who then continues to advance the ball forward. McDermott believes that “there is no other game that demands and builds as much character as rugby.” As soon as his sons (Deacon and Finn) were old enough, he got them into youth rugby and feels their athletic ability and coordination increased more from this sport than the many others in which they participated. With their recent move to Cottonwood Heights, McDermott decided it was time to start a youth program in the community that would help others learn the game that they have grown to love. The Brighton Youth Rugby program will participate in a style of play called 7’s, which is 7 on 7 and allows for all players to carry the ball. Game progression and play advances with each age group, starting with touch rugby at U6 (ages 5 and 6) then going to modified tackle starting at U8 with different elements of the game added at each level U10, U12 and U14.

The Brighton Youth Rugby program launches its inaugural season this spring. (Photo courtesy Christine Yee, Brighton Rugby Club)

The rugby tackling technique that is taught to the young athletes has been implemented by the Seattle Seahawks, as well as many other professional and collegiate football programs to increase player safety and promote better tackling. Registration is now open www.ucyr.

org and will close in early April with practices starting late March/early April. Games will take place on Saturdays beginning on May 21 and running through June 25. For more information, contact l

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February 2022 | Page 9

Ridgecrest student wants peers to be superheroes in fight against drugs By Julie Slama |


idgecrest Elementary fifth-grader Moya Croft knows she has the power to say no to drugs and to be kind and respectful. It’s not only what she has learned in her Drug Abuse Resistance Education program at school, but also what she portrayed on her winning T-shirt design. “I want everyone to know they are superheroes when they say no to drugs and they’re respectful and kind,” she said. Her shirt design has a lightning bolt in the middle of a circle with the words “You have the power.” Like a typical prohibition or “do not” sign, the lightning bolt cancels out the words bullying and drugs. Around the circle, it reminds others to say no to drugs, be kind and be respectful. It was a message and design that Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo selected from dozens of entries from fifth-grade students who attend Bella Vista, Butler, Canyon View, Oakdale and Ridgecrest elementaries. “It was a good message; it was clean,” he said. “It embraced what the curriculum was, and it was a logo that adults and kids can wear and would be appealing to a large demographic.” This was the first time a DARE T-shirt design contest was held, Russo said, saying that Canyons School District held the contest that he got to help judge. “What could be better than having the kids design their own shirt?” he said. “It was awesome. We had a

lot of participants and a lot of great ideas. The kids did it and had a buy-in to the shirt, the message, and I think there’s something that was more novel than we would come up with ourselves. I’m really excited about it.” Russo said 600 shirts have been printed and will be distributed at the area students’ DARE graduations. He said he expects to use this design for a couple years. Moya learned she was the winner during a school assembly that the Chief and her DARE teacher, Officer Kelly Taylor, attended along with her parents. “We held the shirt up and said, ‘Who’s is it?’ And the little girl, she was shaking and so excited. She came up and we put it on her, and she was still shaking and crying. She was a wonderful little girl,” Russo said. Moya remembered shaking as she opened the envelope which contained $250 prize money, which was donated from a private contributor. “My dad whispered to me, ‘Don’t fall over,’ but I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking. It’s my first big contest,” she said. “The Chief said it gave him hope and made him happy.” Russo said that with recent civil unrest, the COVID-19 pandemic and other things, it renewed his hope when “a little fifth-grader does a really cool shirt about being kind and being thoughtful and no bullying. I thought, ‘Wow! That is really inspiring.’” l Ridgecrest Elementary fifth-grader Moya Croft shows the shirt she designed in the DARE T-shirt contest. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

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Cottonwood Heights City Journal

December a busy month for police department By Cassie Goff |


he Cottonwood Heights Police Department (CHPD) statistics for the month of December were presented to the city council on Jan. 4 by Lt. Dan Bartlett. Calls for service increased from 1,418 in November to 1,571 in December. Arrests also increased from 66 in November to 71 in December. Out of those December arrests, 53 were adult arrests while 18 were juvenile arrests. There were 56 incidents of major crime within Cottonwood Heights during the month of December: two assaults, seven burglaries, 41 thefts, and six stolen cars. “If someone breaks into your car or home, you’re burglarized,” explained Bartlett. “A theft is shoplifting, grabbing something out of a yard, etc.” In addition to the calls for service listed above, there were 54 calls for animal control, 54 code enforcement calls, and 48 calls for traffic enforcement. “We now have two officers handling all animal control and code enforcement for the city. They’re very busy,” Bartlett said. In December, 172 traffic citations and 14 warnings were issued. There were 14 DUIs within Cottonwood Heights. Fifty

accidents occurred: 40 were non-injury accidents while 10 accidents involved either property damage or injury. “When a person calls 911 it goes to dispatch; dispatch goes through their questioning. Once all that information is compiled it gets pushed out to the officers,” Bartlett said. Response times for CHPD for December were: seven minutes and seven seconds for priority one calls; 15 minutes and 33 seconds for priority two calls; and 12 minutes and 55 seconds for priority three calls. (These response times include average dispatch time and average officer travel time.) “We are working with VECC (Valley Emergency Communication Center) to get that information out to the officers sooner. Sometimes they start with minimal information to get the officers rolling,” Bartlett said. To learn more about CHPD visit l This heat map depicts all reports to CHPD in December. (Photo courtesy of Cottonwood Heights Police Department)

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February 2022 | Page 11

Dozens of legislative bills may impact Cottonwood Heights say city lobbyists By Cassie Goff |


ity lobbyists Greg Curtis, Brian Allen and Chantel Nate sat down with the new Cottonwood Heights City councilmembers on Jan. 4 to discuss the city’s priorities for the upcoming General Legislative Session. Allen and Nate believe some of the key conversations this year will involve the recent redistricting process, election law changes, eminent domain, infrastructure, affordable housing and zoning issues. “There is a sense that if you can increase density you can lower the cost of real estate,” Allen said. “The legislature wants to negotiate to give more options for high-density housing.” Allen reported the legislature wants to discourage large single-family lots while figuring out more ways to support high-density developments. The legislature also wants to allow short-term rentals for anyone who wants them. However, the League of Cities and Towns commissioned a study last year that now shows short-term rentals are not helping affordable housing but hurting it. The study is not yet public. There may also be several bills outlining employee protections for medical cannabis users. Most employers in the state have a zero-tolerance policy, so these bills

would protect employees with medical cannabis cards from risk of unemployment from drug tests. A bill currently (as of publication) under file would prohibit eminent domain to build a public park. “There is obviously a legislature that has heartburn with that,” Allen said. Retirement policies for public employees will likely be updated through a handful of bills. One speculated bill will allow tier two employees to be able to come back to work after retiring, without negatively impacting their accrued retirement. “There is a lot of surplus money available so the legislature is looking into a lot of infrastructure,” Allen said. Curtis mentioned UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation) needs $820 million for their projects. “There will be many budgetary discussions in the back room,” he said. Part of those discussion will involve the 20 million dollar per year restrictive fund that was created for the Cottonwood Canyons. The funding is intended to help solve traffic problems within both Cottonwood Canyons. However that money is spent will directly impact Cottonwood Heights, and Curtis imagines there will be

All three city lobbyists agree this year’s legislative session will be focused on housing and infrastructure. (Photo courtesy of Cottonwood Heights City)

litigation with any decision. “The legislature functions on emotion—there’s not always rational decisions,” Curtis said with a laugh. Part of that fund will likely go toward UDOT’s EIS solution for Little Cottonwood Canyon. However, “UDOT is tightlipped with anything related to the gondola,” reported Curtis. Cottonwood Heights City Manager Tim Tingey asked the city lobbyists to prioritize bills related to: Wasatch Boulevard

(including UDOT’s EIS and transportation), open space funding options, shortterm rentals, zoning review modifications, density, justice courts, opioid settlements, retail incentive options, retirement, eminent domain and fireworks. Before the session even began on Jan. 18, Allen noted there will be over 100 bills that will likely impact the city. He will be tracking every one throughout the session. “Once they start moving, things happen quick,” Allen said. l

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Page 12 |February 2022

Cottonwood Heights City Journal

Councilmembers serve city, plus serve on three or more committees/boards By Cassie Goff |


he Cottonwood Heights City councilmembers serve on various committees and boards throughout the state, in addition to their service to the city. As there are three new city councilmembers this year, a variety of appointments have been reassigned. Newly elected councilmember for District 3 Shawn Newell will represent Cottonwood Heights on the League of Cities and Towns Legislative Policy Committee. He will be the city’s liaison for Emergency Planning and the Arts Council. Newell will also serve on the Cottonwood Heights Budget Committee. Newly elected councilmember for District 4 Ellen Birrell will represent Cottonwood Heights on the Association of Municipal Councils. She will be the city’s liaison for the Historic Committee. Birrell will also serve on the Cottonwood Heights Benefits and Compensation Committee. Councilmember for District 1 Doug Peterson will represent Cottonwood Heights on the South Salt Lake Valley Mosquito Abatement District Board. He will be the city liaison for the Cottonwood Heights Business Association. Peterson will also serve on the city’s Audit Committee and the Cottonwood Heights Compensation Committee.

Councilmember for District 2 Scott Bracken will represent the city on CH2, the Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling Board, and as an alternate member to the Unified Fire Authority Board. He will continue to be the city liaison for the Cottonwood Heights Youth City Council. He will also serve on the Cottonwood Heights Butlerville Days Committee, on the city’s Budget Committee, and as mayor pro tem. Newly elected Mayor Mike Weichers will represent Cottonwood Heights on the Central Wasatch Commission, Wasatch Front Regional Council, Conference of Mayors, Council of Governments, and Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP). He will be the city liaison for Canyons School District. Weichers will also serve on the Tourist Recreation Cultural and Convention Advisory Board (TRCC), Public Works Subcommittee for CoG, Legislative Policy Committee for the League of Cities and Towns, and on the Unified Fire Authority (UFA).l Councilmember Shawn Newell will now serve as liaison to the Arts Council. (Photo courtesy of the Arts Council)

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February 2022 | Page 13

Public Works Department serves as snow removal through winter months By Cassie Goff |


uring the first city council meeting of the year, Public Works Director Matt Shipp presented the quarterly report for the Cottonwood Heights Public Works Department. He shared statistics regarding snow removal within the city and foregrounded some of the upcoming construction projects. “We track all that goes on with snow in the city,” Shipp began. There was no snow during October and November. In December, however, Cottonwood Heights received 48 inches of snow. The Public Works Department used 1,452 tons of salt and traveled 12,635 snow plow miles to manage the snow. As of Jan. 4, Cottonwood Heights had only received 2 inches of snow during the month of January. “We have GPS tracking in all of our trucks,” Shipp said. “We can track when the drivers are throwing salt and if the blades are up or down at any given point, for example. We do this to maintain efficiency but also to provide residents with information when requested.” The biggest snow event was on Dec. 15 when the city got 15 inches of snow. Public Works staff members used 248 tons of salt and traveled 1,724 snow plow miles. This particular snow event required 266 man hours. “I can only run drivers for 15 or 16 hours,” Shipp explained. For such an event, the Public Works staff gets split up so there are six plows running within the city at any given time.

Shipp said, “We are a snow plowing operation and not a snow removal operation. As long as it’s cold, the snow is going to be there.” In addition, the Public Works Department has been working through the city’s five-year road plan. For this fourth year, there are many upcoming slurry projects including: slurry seal for the neighborhoods north of Fort Union Boulevard in between 2300 East and 3000 East. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road and Pine Mountain Drive are scheduled for slurry seal as well. Many of the neighborhoods within Bengal Boulevard and Deer Creek Road, between Danish Road and 3500 East, are scheduled for slurry seals as well. Danish Road itself will be improved with a modified chip seal. Public Works staff members recently constructed ADA ramps along Stone Road, as per a resident request. To learn more about the Public Works Department or request service, visit the city’s website ( and navigate to the “Public Works & Utilities” page under the “City Services” tab. For questions or comments regarding snow removal, Shipp recommends calling City Hall (801-9447090) so the Public Works Department can track those calls, log them, and follow up. l Cottonwood Heights did not get snow in October or November. (Photo courtesy of Public Works/Cottonwood Heights)

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Canyon congestion, watershed protection and other issues of concern addressed by two Utah legislators By Cassie Goff |


n Jan. 13, Rep. Gay Lynn Bennion (District 46) and Sen. Kathleen Reibe (District 8) held an open house at Cottonwood Heights City Hall (2277 Bengal Blvd.) to discuss the upcoming legislative session with their constituents. A majority of the 24 residents who attended the open house inquired about ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) and short-term rentals. Last year, the state legislature passed bill (HB 82) allowing ADUs in single-family zones. Cities throughout the state were required to update their zoning laws accordingly. “We are creating the problem we tried to solve,” Reibe said. “(ADUs) are starting to be Airbnbs and short-term rentals. That was not the intention.” Instead, the intention was to help provide solutions to the housing crisis in Utah. Both legislators mentioned their concern. “Summit County is 70% vacant,” said Bennion, meaning 70% of the housing available within Summit County is used for short-term rentals or second homes. “Moab is at least 15% vacant,” Reibe echoed. “We have to find more solutions.” Both Bennion and Reibe shared that over 40% of the members of the Utah legislature are involved in real estate in some way. They also mentioned they will be supporting a bill sponsored by Rep. Carol Spackman Moss (District 37) to alter the enforcement protocol for ADUs. Cottonwood Heights resident Runar Boman asked about Utah’s business friendly environment and inquired to the legislature’s feelings on economic development. Reibe shared some information from a meeting she had with officials from Silicon Slopes. They believed certain barriers and stereotypes were being created as Utah continues to be a business friendly state. There are many businesses who do not want to come to Utah because of issues with air pollution, liquor laws and the LGBTQIA+ community. “We are undermining those efforts,” Reibe said. “It’s hard to get families, women, and racial minorities to come here.” Bennion shared that there was currently (as of publication) a bill filed to alter tax credits for big companies. “Facebook got 50 million dollars worth of tax credits for coming here—that was not a step in the right direction for the long-term benefit for Utah,” Bennion said. Cottonwood Heights resident Nancy Jensen asked the elected officials to touch base on UDOT’s proposed gondola for Lit-

CottonwoodHeightsJournal .com

tle Cottonwood Canyon. Reibe wants to push for more carpooling and less parking. She shared how she witnesses many travelers parking in avalanche sheds in order to keep the roads open. When Bennion met with Councilmember Jeff Bossard from Brighton, he shared Brighton would also like an EIS for Big Cottonwood Canyon. She is in process of creating such a request. UDOT’s solutions for canyon traffic all involve tolling. Both Reibe and Bennion would like to see tolling on the weekends and incentives for carpooling start now. In addition to the canyons, the legislature will be focusing on the state’s watershed this year. Bennion mentioned how a possible watershed restoration initiative would coordinate state money with federal dollars to restore the watershed and reduce fire risk. It would also create partnerships that would be really beneficial for the state. “The Great Salt Lake is down 11 feet because of our water usage and 5 feet be“We believe in local control, supposedly. I say that tongue in cheek lately,” said Kathleen Reibe during a cause of drought,” Bennion said. town hall meeting in January. (Photo courtesy of Sen. Kathleen Reibe) “Without the water, that’s a toxic bed surrendering weapons, food waste, redisof sand,” said Reibe. There are at least 20 water bills an- tricting, local control for schools, social and ticipated for this year’s session and many emotional learning in school districts, rentstate programs trying to address water us- al application fees, tourism tax, mask manage. The state is expected to spend half a dates, covid safety protocols, prison reform billion dollars in ARPA funds on water in- and incarceration alternatives. “I can’t legislate kindness and comfrastructure. mon sense,” Reibe said. Bennion is in support of any legislaURGENT AND Constituents can be in communication tion for secondary water metering. She emPRIMARY CARE: phasized there doesn’t need to be a fee or tax with both of these elected officials through email. associated with secondary water metering, Bennion hosts a LISTSERV where she but residents need to see how much water sends out an email every two weeks during they are actually using. Both elected officials have been work- the session, and once per month outside WITH ing on bills related to education. Reibe will of the session. She will also host a virtual be sponsoring a bill in order to get more town hall on Feb. 10 and Feb. 24. To sign MEMBERSHIP nurses, social workers, and psychologists up for the LISTSERV, attend a town hall, Medallus Medical Membership is a simple into schools. The bill would allow those or email Gay Lynn Bennion, visit: gaylynmembership program to all of our 8 clinics. workers to get their accreditation funding Reibe can be contacted through email reimbursed. Members can receive discounted medical “We need to increase the number of at: She asks that conservices at $10/visit flat fee in exchange for nurses in schools. Right now, it’s about one stituents include their zip code in the suba monthly membership fee: ject line. Reibe can also be contacted with nurse to 8,000 children,” Reibe said. • $50 / month (1 member) Bennion is working on a bill to get a phone call at 801-599-5753. • $75 / month (party of 2) Both encourage constituents to get translations for licensing exams, primari• $100 / month (family of 3) ly for refugee students within the Canyons their voice heard. If there is an issue you’re • $120 / month (family of 4 to 6) School District. There are 64 languages spo- particularly passionate about, make sure to *$25 additional per person (family of 7 to 12) ken within the school system so translations contact the elected officials working on the for students gaining their driver’s license are related bill, or contact the elected officials $20 registration fee – 12-month contract needed. for your area. To find your elected offiBennion and Reibe mentioned addition- cials, browse bills, find information on any al bills they will be bringing forward or sup- of the bills mentioned above, or track bills, porting including: sex education, gun safety visit the Utah State Legislature website at and storage, penalties for illegal weapons, l

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February 2022 | Page 15

Brighton athletics lose a dedicated advocate By Jerry Christensen |


he Brighton wrestling family has lost one of its most cherished member. Kevin Davis died from an aggressive brain tumor on Dec. 5, 2021. He passed away peacefully, at home, surrounded by his family. “How do you replace the irreplaceable man?” said former wrestling coach Dave Chavis. Kevin, a longtime Cottonwood Heights resident, was a dedicated supporter of Brighton wrestling and through his efforts upgraded the sport throughout the state. His wife, Dee Dee, was a friend of wrestling and assisted Kevin in all his endeavors. Their sons, Wyatt, Clay and Luke, wrestled for Brighton. They also had a daughter. Kevin and Dee Dee helped manage many youth and high school wrestling tournaments including divisional and state tournaments. Over the past 30 years, they managed clocks, bracket, team scoring and bout sheets. Then Kevin used his technical expertise to utilize iPads and computers to run tournaments more efficiently. When TracKwrestling became available, he merged his system with the widely accepted tracking system.

Kevin Davis passed away from a brain tumor in December. (Photo courtesy Denyse Davis)

“All of the Utah wrestling community benefitted from his selfless volunteer work.” He was 56.l

Brighton football produces next level signees By Jerry Christensen |


Lander Barton signed with Utah. (Photos by Blair Angulo/247Sports)

Tyler Knaak committed to play for Utah.

Jacob Reece signed for Arizona.

Page 16 |February 2022

he Brighton High School football team produced three top recruits to high-level college football programs this season. “The attention that we got from universities across the nation speaks to the development that we have seen in our programs” said Justin Hemm, head football coach at Brighton. Lander Barton, a standout four-star recruit is listed as a 6-foot-4, 220-pound linebacker. His skillset isn’t limited to a single position as evidenced by his varied presence on the Brighton field over the past seasons. He is also a prolific basketball player averaging 19.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game during junior basketball season. The No. 2 recruit from the entire state of Utah, Lander was recruited by 15 major college programs including most of the PAC12, Notre Dame, LSU, Nebraska and Michigan. Coach Jim Harbaugh of the University of Michigan made a special trip to Utah to see Barton and the Bengals play at Murray on a cold November Friday. Barton signed with the University of Utah following his parents and siblings who played for the Utes. Jacob Reece is a 6-foot-4, 295-pound offensive guard. His was a choice between Utah State and Arizona—both made formal offers to the Bengal team leader. In mid-December he signed to play for the Wildcats and attend the University of Arizona. Tyler Knaak, a 6-foot-7, 300-pound offensive tackle was literally head and shoulders above much of his competition. He had a similar advantage as a state wrestler for Brighton standing on the podium as a state placer last February. Eleven college football programs made offers to bring Knaak’s talent and stature to their teams. Among them were Arizona, Oregon State, Virginia, Arizona State, USC and Vanderbilt. He chose to sign with the University of Utah on Dec. 15. “There isn’t a better PAC-12 team to become a part of than the University of Utah,” Knaak said l

Cottonwood Heights City Journal

Cottonwood High School hosts football coaches clinic in February By Brian Shaw |


or the fourth year since he’s been at Cottonwood High, head football coach Casey Miller is set to host some of the top football coaches from around the country at the 2022 Utah Coaches Clinic Feb. 18-19. But this year is bound to be a bit different. One of those coaches slated to appear is offensive guru Noel Mazzone. “We are hoping this year we will make a jump with the guys we are flying in and the fact we got shut down for a year because of Covid,” Miller said. Known to many as the “Quarterback Whisperer,” Mazzone learned under such notable coaches as Dennis Erickson at Oregon State and Ed Orgeron in the 2000s before working at Arizona State again under Erickson, and at UCLA, Texas A&M and Arizona as an offensive coordinator through the 2010s. Mazzone has also developed NFL quarterback legends like Philip Rivers and Chad Pennington among others, and is currently an offensive analyst at UConn. But like many in the football coaching profession, Mazzone worked his way up the coaching tree, starting out as a graduate assistant in the early 1980s at the school at which he played—the University of New Mexico. Miller said Mazzone wants to share some of his knowledge that he’s acquired over the decades with the coaches who are planning to attend the two-day clinic—as do the other guest speakers slated to appear this year. At press time they include Taylor High School (Texas) head coach, athletic director and read-option guru Brandon Houston (see more at, longtime defensive coordinator Ty Gower and Beaumont High School (Califor-

nia) head coach Jeff Steinberg. For Miller, bringing such coaching expertise to the foot of the Wasatch Mountains for a coaches camp is a necessary step in the evolution of the state’s high school football coaches. “We have improved the format of it a lot [over the past four years]. It is becoming more high school based, less college based, and we have grown slowly to where we have over 100 now,” said Miller, who started this clinic eight years ago when he was the head coach at Hillcrest High. Having a coaches clinic at Cottonwood also means that Utah’s best and brightest don’t always have to travel too far to get the best and latest coaching tips and can stay closer to home, added Miller. “My coaches can learn good football from nationally recognized coaches,” Miller said. “We don't have to pay to go/stay in a casino resort at the other places, and it allows them to network with other coaches in state.” Starting Friday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m. at Cottonwood, coaches will listen to several of the afore-mentioned guest speakers before meeting at a nearby restaurant later that evening for a coaches dinner. Coaches will return to Cottonwood High the morning of Saturday, Feb. 19 to participate in breakout sessions before the final guest speaker addresses the group from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Breakfast and a catered lunch will be included with Saturday’s early sessions, said Miller. After the final guest speaker on Saturday the coaches will go back to breakout sessions for the remainder of that afternoon and part of the evening, Miller said. Saturday’s

Cottonwood High will host some of the top football coaches from around the country at the 2022 Utah Coaches Clinic Feb. 18-19. (Pixabay)

session will allow the coaches attending to share notes and tips on how they can improve their programs and build this coaching fraternity. To close out the two-day clinic, there will be a dinner social Saturday night at a site to be determined along with door prizes. At just $75 per person it’s quite a bargain as well— something Miller hopes will capture the interest of all the football coaches out there. To sign up visit coltswebstore. l

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February 2022 | Page 17

James Brown brings resources to older adults through new multimedia project By Bill Hardesty |


bout two years ago, James Brown, a Salt Lake Valley media personality for over 30 years, started a new venture. He and other board members formed the Living & Aging with Pride nonprofit organization. Like many older adults, Brown was hit with a rent increase two years ago. His rent went from $900 a month to $2,500 a month. He realized that he had to move. He reached out to his network and found a home at Sharon Gardens (3354 Sue Street). The Utah nonprofit Housing Corporation built the apartments.

"I started thinking about my own discovery as I've gotten older. Things that I didn't quite understand. I got to go to Medicaid. I got to go to Medicare. I got to go there. I got to go. I've got to do all these things that I was not prepared to do," Brown said. "And I saw a lot of seniors disappointed and angry and upset, and I thought, you know, I want to talk about this since my background had been in television and radio." Brown began to make his vision come true. First, Living & Aging with Pride was

James Brown sets up for his “Living and Aging with Pride” podcast. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

created as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. This allows the organization to receive donations. Later a multimedia initiative was added titled "Living and Aging with Pride," which will enable advertising and sponsorships on media products. The vision “‘Living and Aging with Pride’ is a unique multimedia infotainment program which addresses the inevitability of aging and highlights the financial burdens that impact the aging communities' quality of life," according to their website, "It's more than just a television show or a media show. It is truly being developed to be a resource for older adults that they can rely upon. And not only locally, but on a national perspective," Brown said. The website's goal is to be a one-stop destination for information and discussion of issues concerning older adults. Brown feels that many informational websites push a product or an agenda. "What I've witnessed, rather, is that when you go to many of these sites, it's more about the donation aspect of it, you get that upfront, you don't get the how do I deal with this problem upfront?" Brown said. "Well, we're going to give you the solution to the problem. You know, we're going to prepare you before you get the problem. We're going to educate your children because they're wondering what they're going to do when mommy and daddy get 70 and 80 years old, and we're going to help guide them through." The vision is bold, and Brown has spent two years preparing for the release. He built a podcast studio in a room at his apartment complex. He made partnerships with influencers. There is a four-person board of trustees and an 18-member advisory board. Brown even has a set designed for future video programming.

Page 18 |February 2022

"I'm about a month away from introducing to the world our first three episodes," Brown said. "From there, we will hopefully attract the necessary funding that will enable us to produce 13 to 26 television shows. Now, I say television only because that's one of the mechanisms for putting the message out, and we do know that seniors watch television." The podcasts and other information are available on their website. The backstory The name James Brown might sound familiar for those living in Utah. For 13 years, he wrote, produced and hosted a show called "New Horizons" on Channel 14 and Channel 7. The focus of the show was to explore diversity in Utah. His open conversation style made the show an award winner. He was also a featured reporter for Channel 4 for nine years. Before going to TV, he was on KALL radio. A guest on his talk show suggested he move to TV and arranged for his hire at Channel 4. Brown made sure his ethnicity was not an issue when he was hired. "I told the producer I wasn’t going to be the minority guy. The guy who covers every event involving a Black or Hispanic individual," Brown said. "He asked me what kind of stories did I want to do. I told him I wanted to do good stories. Stories about people doing good things, and I got my wish." One notable Brown story is when he went undercover in the homeless community. For three days, he panhandled in front of a church. Brown said he made about $600 a day. "But it was such a humiliating experience. I thought, how do these people stand here and ask people for money. It's so demeaning, especially the looks you get," Brown said. Brown won a local Emmy for his story. l

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February 2022 | Page 19

Want cleaner air? Get rid of that old wood-burning stove By Justin Adams |


lean air has become an increasingly important issue for Utahns. It impacts the state’s collective health, its environment, even its economy. There are many different methods by which Utah can work towards cleaner air—both on the individual and institution level—and one of those is by getting rid of old wood-burning stoves. Thom Carter, energy advisor to Gov. Spencer Cox wrote about the danger of these stoves in a guest post on the Department of Environmental Quality’s website. “Wood-burning stoves are a significant source of air pollution—pollution that negatively impacts individuals’ personal health and the environment,” he wrote. “Particles that make up the smoke and soot from wood-burning stoves can cause breathing difficulties and sometimes permanent lung damage for those who inhale the smoke. Especially during the cold winter months, smoke from wood-burning stoves gets trapped with other air pollutants resulting in health-threatening inversions. In fact, wood-burning stoves can cause a mini-inversion within neighborhoods.” To help people get rid of their old

wood-burning stoves, the DEQ has created an assistance program that incentivizes homeowners to upgrade to cleaner heating devices. Applicants can receive anywhere from $500 to $3,800 to help pay for the cost of making the change. There are a few qualifications for homeowners wanting to take advantage of the program. For example, the stove must be actively used for a “significant amount of home heating” in order to qualify. (So you can’t use the program to get rid of that stove in the basement that’s only gathered dust for the last 20 years.) The program also can’t be used for remodeling work or on rental or commercial properties. To learn more about the program and see if your home qualifies, you can visit l

A new program from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality is urging Utahns to upgrade from their old wood-burning stoves.

To learn more about Paws With A Cause and to find out how you can help, just download this simple app and watch this story come to life:


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Sometimes it is rocket science


hree things could doom our country: domestic terrorism, Olivia Rodrigo and the rejection of science. The first two are obvious, but rejecting science? When did scientists become the bad guys? As more people deny mainstream science, I think about the good, old Russian pseudoscientist Trofim Lysenko. (You can call him Tro.) He and Joseph Stalin were BFFs after Tro convinced Stalin he could “educate” crops to grow using his “law of the life of species” theory which included planting seeds close together and soaking plants in freezing water. Stalin embraced this nonsense and seven million Russians died from starvation when the country ran out of food, because Tro (you can call him The Idiot) convinced Stalin that science-based agricultural practices were garbage. There’s lots of science I don’t understand, like quantum mechanics, curved spacetime and string theory, which proves kittens will play with a ball of yarn indefinitely. But I don’t have to understand science because, and here’s a key point, I am not a scientist. I’m saying this louder for those in the back: science shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But here we are. Anti-science is on the rise and people (i.e., non-scientists) are putting their own batty (often dangerous) theories


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out in the universe, much like Tro the Idiot. More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle decided our planet was a sphere, not a flat disc flung through space in a game of Frisbee golf played by Greek gods. But people didn’t believe him. Some flat-folk still don’t believe him. Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for his theory of the cosmos which included the heretical idea that the earth revolved around the sun. Before his death he proclaimed, “Perhaps you who pronounce my sentence are in greater fear than I who receive it.” And that’s what it boils down to: fear. A campaign of distrust based on fear slowly erodes faith in scientists and any theory they present. We all know the government is run by rabid lizards in human suits, but scientists have saved our bacon for centuries. In 1796, Dr. Edward Jenner used gunk from a cowpox sore to inoculate a child against smallpox and gave the world its first hope to combat the terrible illness. When he wasn’t performing in “Hamilton,” President Thomas Jefferson strongly recommended smallpox vaccinations to eradicate the disease. Dr. Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine in 1955, becoming a national hero. When vaccines for measles, whoop-


ing cough, rabies, and tetanus were introduced, they were welcomed as miracles. Researchers first identified human coronavirus in 1965 and studied diseases like SARS and MERS before COVID-19 jumped up like a maniacal Jack-in-thebox. The COVID vaccine was based on years of research, not months of blindly pouring pretty colors into test tubes. And what about climate change? For decades, researchers told us fossil fuels contribute to an increase of greenhouse gases, which sounds like a great sustainable energy source, but actually traps heat and warms the planet. What did we do to those silly goose scientists? We ripped out their livers and made foie gras. Now we have higher temperatures, severe storms, drought, flooding, Oliva Rodrigo and wildfires because, just like when Aristotle and Bruno walked the (much cooler) earth, people can’t wrap their minds around reality. With little or no science knowledge, deniers continue the assault, and the world is paying the price. What evidence would change their minds? Why do they believe conspiracy theories over proven results? I guess you can guide someone to wisdom, but you can’t make them think.





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