December 2017 | Vol. 17 Iss. 12
MURRAY STUDENTS HONOR VETERANS AT SCHOOL CEREMONIES By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com
cMillan fifth-grader Evan Kulp was excited when his classmates were learning “Anchors Aweigh” in preparation for the school’s third annual Veterans’ Day program. He had grown up hearing the song that honors the Navy from his grandfather, Charlie Kulp, who had served as a medical corpsman during Desert Storm. “He has a bottle cap opener that plays the music and then, he sings along,” Evan said. “I wanted us to sing the whole song to impress him and make him happy.” Evan, and his second-grade brother, Aidan, also had their great-grandfather, 98-year-old Albert Marshall Vice on stage
with other veterans being honored. As part of the “Big Red One,” Vice shared with students that he was in the fifth-hour wave landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day. “It was a special time for them and we’re thankful for what they did for our country,” Evan said. Evan, who has seen his grandfather’s military medals, knows his great-grandfather served in North Africa and Sicily before France, and knows he trained for Normandy in Belfast, North Ireland, where he met his wife, Etta, whom he married after the war. But he, nor many family members, hadn’t heard all the first-
World War II veteran Ray Clark brought a photo of his unit, the 90th division, 344th ﬁeld artillery for Longview students to see during the school’s ﬁrst Veterans’ Day program. Clark, in his service days, is seen above the green sticky note. (Chad Sanders/Longview Elementary)
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hand accounts of Vice’s time in the service. That’s because for years he didn’t talk about his experience. “When he was discharged after the war, he was told, ‘Don’t talk about the war, but go back to your lives and jobs and carry on,’” said Vice’s daughter Pam Hutchinson. Some details of his service came out when Hutchinson and her husband took Vice, who served as a staff sergeant during the Battle of the Bulge, back to Normandy in 1987, where he was honored at the Memorial of Caen for liberating France and later, walked along Omaha Beach. He also talked at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City on the 70th anniversary of D-Day. “His unit was let out in the water, which was deeper than they thought, and they made it to the beach that was on fire from all the missiles,” Hutchinson said, adding that Vice wanted to protect his troops from not only the gun fire, but also from the Germans who hid in the hedgerows along the beach. “It’s still extremely difficult for him to talk about it.” The program, which fifth-grade teacher Julianne Curtis FaceTimed to her parents in Oklahoma since her father served in the Air Force in Japan, included other songs from military branches and patriotic songs interspersed by school essay-winners. Sixth-grader Alyssa Harlin wrote a poem in honor of the veterans. It began with, “He went to the ocean, with tears in his eyes as he left his wife and children and said his good-byes.” “I wanted to show my appreciation for these veterans and all the people who fought for our freedoms — our heroes,” she said. There were services at Woodstock Elementary as well as at Longview Elementary, where another stage full of veterans were thanked for their service and sacrifice in the school’s first Veterans’ Day assembly. Continued on Page 7...
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murray city Journal
Mystery reader program brings surprises to Viewmont second-graders By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com
s a Viewmont second-grader in Susan Routledge’s classroom, students never know who may walk through the door to sit down and share a favorite story with them. Parents, grandparents and neighbors have shown up to read to the class of about 25 students. “I give parents a date to arrange a mystery reader,” Routledge said. “Many times it’s a grandparent who is visiting. The students don’t know when they’ll have a mystery reader come and
when a mystery reader comes, it allows the child to feel so special.” Before the mystery reader arrives, however, Routledge gives students three clues about the reader that have been provided to her. “I encourage them to give me some suggestions that their children may not already know so it’s a surprise,” she said. With a recent mystery reader, one of the clues was that he holds an important job in the city.
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Murray Police Chief Craig Burnett reads to Viewmont second-graders as the class mystery reader. (Jamie Cheney/ Murray resident)
Once students try to guess, then Routledge invites the student, in this case, Tymon Cheney, to bring the mystery reader from the school office to the classroom. When Tymon returned, it wasn’t with his parents or grandparents ready to read, but with Murray Police Chief Craig Burnett. “My son is fascinated with police officers and firefighters so I asked the chief if he’d be willing to come and he said that he’d love to,” Tymon’s mother, Jamie, said. “My son’s eyes got all big when he saw the chief. It was awesome and it gave the students a chance to see a different role of the police, more of a community helper and positive role model. He encouraged students to be good friends and to care for each other.” Burnett said it was his first time being a mystery reader so he turned to his schoolteacher daughter for book suggestions. He read “Peanut Butter and Cupcake,” a book written by Terry Border about friendship. Then, he answered students’ questions such as how to be a police officer (study at school and work hard) to how many people has he shot. “With 35 years on the job, I could say none,” he said, adding that 33 of those years have been in Murray. “I wanted them to feel comfortable around me and know that the police are normal people. I’m a father, grandfather, neighbor, friend and someone they can trust.” Routledge said that often, like Burnett, readers tell students about themselves and their jobs so they’re being exposed to careers and meeting community helpers. “It’s an opportunity for the kids to meet new people. Often, it’s a great way to hear new books and be introduced to great literature. It also teaches students that their role models, who they love and look up to, love books and reading,” she said. The readers have ranged from school administrators to a chef with books ranging from one about Rosie the Riveter to a story about polar bears, Routledge said, adding that Murray School District Superintendent Jen Covington has agreed to be a mystery reader. Routledge said she got the idea of mystery readers four years ago when she saw a clip art picture of a detective with the words “mystery reader.” “I have no idea what their idea was, but I remember thinking I knew what I could do with this,” she said. “I love when people come into the classroom to support students and how it benefits them.” l
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Page 4 | December 2017
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All is bright—Murray tree lighting ceremony continues Yuletide tradition
By Shaun Delliskave | firstname.lastname@example.org
s with the Whos of Whoville, nobody can keep the holidays from coming to Murray. A long tradition of decorating the streets with lights and decorations continues as Murray kicks off the holiday season with its annual Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. at Murray City Hall. The Murray Shade Tree and Beautification Committee, sponsored by Murray City Power, has been hosting the event for the past 20 years. Santa and Mrs. Claus, Miss Murray and Little Mrs. Murray arrive on a fire truck and are greeted by the mayor. According to Matt Erkelens, Murray’s forestry supervisor, “Santa then magically turns on the Christmas lights and then they proceed into the building where he and Mrs. Claus hand out candy to the children. The line to meet Santa extends outside, around the building where the Hillcrest Junior High choir will perform for the attendees.” The large blue spruce tree planted on the front lawn of City Hall will serve as the tree-of-honor. Over the years, Murray has kicked off the holiday season in a variety of ways. In 1957, the Murray Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jay-Cees) planned to bring Santa to Murray using one of aviation’s newest modes of travel, the helicopter, and land around 4800 South (about a mile north from where the Intermountain Medical Center helicopter pad now sits). The Civil Air Patrol caught wind of the plan and quickly squashed that idea, saying helicopters should never land in the area. The Jay-Cees scrambled and decided to ship Santa in via an Air Express (1950’s version of UPS and FedEx) delivery truck to a throng of young Murrayites waiting at a specially built pavilion. In 1943, at the height of World War II, there were no decorations at all. Mayor Curtis Shaw said that because of the war it would
Santa visits the kids at Liberty Elementary in the 1930s. (Photo courtesy of Murray Museum)
be impractical to set up the customary holiday street decorations. “We are seriously short of manpower and it is hard to get the nonessential items, so we are going to do without street decorations this year.” The mayor, however, said that, “Murray always kept Christmas well and will do so this year no matter what we are compelled to do without.” According to the Murray Eagle, 1937 saw colorful decorations along State Street and in shop windows with a Yuletide motif that seemed to spread the Christmas spirit to pre-holiday shoppers. A lo-
cal bakery featured gingerbread men and Santa Claus cookies; food markets urged shoppers to order Christmas hams and turkeys early; even the local Gem Theater (Desert Star Playhouse) kept in the holiday mood by showing the movie “Thin Ice” starring Sonja Hennie and Tyrone Power. The commercial aspect of the holiday season, however, was overshadowed by the Christmas Spirit as the Murray Jay-Cees, the Lions Club, and various other civic organizations and clubs united to provide toys, clothing, and food to needy families in the community. Ninety years ago, the Smith Hardware Company (on 4814 South State Street) won the Best Dressed Christmas Window Contest conducted by the Murray League. According to the Murray Eagle, “The Hardware Company window does make a strong appeal and is built around the psychological use of the principle of three. Three wreathes, three ribbons, and a combination of three of each article displayed.” The Great Christmas Prize Award of 1927 was announced Christmas Eve at City Hall by Mayor Ike Lester. Murray merchants donated prizes for lucky Murrayites to win. The contest was a fundraiser put on by the Murray League. Some prizes were fairly remarkable, some questionable. The grand prize was an automobile won by Mrs. Clifford Birch. Third place winner was Walter Johnson, who took home one pair of blankets. The sixth place prize given to Ms. Blanche Anderson was a toilet. Now before you smirk, consider that in 1927 indoor plumbing was still a recent thing. The 10th place winner was Oscar Sanders, who won a case of peas. In Depression-era Murray, food supplies were welcomed and many top prizes included a 25 pound bag of sugar or flour. Entrants who came in 44th place through 186th place all won a can of auto dressing, which is essentially indoor car polish. l
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Art unveiling caps eventful year for Murray Amphitheater
n the capstone event of a busy year for the Murray Arts Advisory Board, a major artwork was presented to Murray City that will welcome future visitors to the Murray Park Amphitheater. The large metal sculpture was unveiled at a formal ceremony on October 21. This year marks major renovations to the outdoor theater, which hasn’t seen any significant changes since the facility opened in 1985. The facility—the summer home to the Murray Cultural Arts Department, Murray Symphony, and other groups—was upgraded with a new roof over the stage, the most noticeable change made. Other improvements include seating and stair repairs along with the creation of a disabled seating section. Permanent lighting and a sound booth were also installed. Restrooms were updated and an enclosed dressing room, ticket booth, and concession stands were built. Wendy Richhart, chair of the Murray Arts Advisory Board said, “We felt this new performing arts facility would not be complete without a public art piece. But funding was a concern. Thanks to the generosity of 70 patrons, we were able to raise the full cost without additional need for city funding. This facility has truly been a public–private collaboration. Those who contributed $100 or more toward this art piece are acknowledged on the plaque attached to the sculpture.” The original sculpture design was submitted by a team of artists and was selected from several proposals. The artists worked through a number of design tweaks before the final design was approved with input from the Murray Arts Advisory Board. The artists, Evangelos and James Schultz, teamed with E3 Fabrication in Murray to produce the sculpture. “We were excited to discover this creative team had several Murray ties,” announced Richhart. E3, a full service architectural detailing, design, and manufac-
By Shaun Delliskave | email@example.com turing studio, is located in Murray. One of the artists, Evangelos was born in Athens, Greece, but attended Parkside Elementary after moving to Utah. Currently he is an associate with Atlas Architects and a public artist. James Schultz is a Utah-based painter, sculptor and designer. According to Evangelos, “There are three main points that we focused on; overall the symbolism overlaps. It’s meant to be a landmark and a beacon to the entry of the amphitheater and a clear indicator of procession, and something very optimistic—something people can look forward to when arriving to the amphitheater.” “The second part that this project emphasizes is the natural environment. In the future, there will be trees planted in the center of these two shields. Part of that contrast is symbolized by white, which is a very stark color and stark geometry that isn’t found in nature. So, with that contrast we hope to emphasize the organic nature of trees and vegetation.” “The final point that this object emphasizes and celebrates is the overlap of the arts and the amazing moments that occur in a place like the amphitheater. Where painters come to create stage sets, and dancers come to perform, and where drama is created as a way of bringing the community together.” The Arts Advisory Board hosted a ribbon cutting in August at the amphitheater when all facility projects were completed, but the public was not invited to tour the theater due to shows in progress. At the public art unveiling in October, the public was given its first opportunity to tour the renovated venue. The sculpture was completely paid for by private donations. The amphitheater renovations were funded by a $75,000 donation from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, $636,927 from Salt Lake County, and $20,000 in interest earnings from Murray’s Capital Projects Fund. l
James Schultz (left) and Evangelos (right) crafted the Murray Park Amphitheater art piece. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)
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murray city Journal
Jessica Christenson crowned Miss Murray 2018
By Shaun Delliskave | firstname.lastname@example.org
essica Christenson was named Miss Murray 2018 on Sept. 16 at Murray High School. The victory comes with a $3,000 scholarship. Christenson will apply that toward her education at Salt Lake Community College, and she is currently applying to nursing schools. Christenson, a medical assistant at ABC Pediatrics in Cottonwood Heights, also does photography and nails and hair on the side as well. The Murray Journal spoke with Christenson about winning the pageant and what she plans to do in Murray this year. Q: What inspired you to enter the pageant in the first place? A: If you would have told me a year ago that I would be Miss Murray 2017–2018, I would have said “Yeah, right,” and probably laughed. For years I have been searching for ways that I could use my story to benefit others by giving them the hope that I once lost. I was always prejudice against pageants until I realized what they were all about. Many people think it’s just a beauty pageant, but it is so much more than that. It’s talent, peer leadership, service and passion for your platform, independence, and beauty—not only on the outside but in personality as well. After my friend dragged me into going to one of the workshops, I knew that this was my time to make a difference through my platform. Q: What was it like to be named Miss Murray? A: As I sat backstage, I was trying to reassure myself that taking 5th place would be just fine and life would move on. When I heard my name called as the “New Miss Murray 2017-2018” I was overwhelmed with emotion. This year was an extremely competitive year in the pageant; in fact, I would not have been surprised if it was a tie between the five of us. Every single one of those girls deserved to win, which makes me even more grateful to be here today. Q: What have you learned about yourself during the pageant
Miss Murray Jessica Christenson, with attendants Ashlyn McBride (left), Mary Horne (right) and Little Miss Murray Grace Hanson,\ help out at the Haunted Woods festival. (Photo/Miss Murray Pageant)
process? A: I have always been more of a reserved person with an introvert personality. With this title it has taught me how to climb out of my shell and practice not only public speaking skills, but people
skills as well. I have already grown so much as a person and know that it will only continue as the year goes on. Through this process I have realized that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be and all the experiences that I have had in life have led me to this moment, and I could not be more grateful. Q: What is your platform as Miss Murray? A: My platform as Miss Murray this upcoming year is through the acronym of HOPE: H.old O.n P.ain E.nds—depression awareness and suicide prevention. I’m excited to start working with the schools in our district to create more talk about this issue and get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health. My goal for this year is to implement a suicide prevention program within our school district. Since last year, we have had two suicides just within the junior high and high school. With a potential prevention program and more talk I believe that we can have no lives lost this upcoming year. Q: What inspired your choice of platform? A: My platform is something that I feel very strongly about as it was something I personally struggled with. Through junior high and high school I was consumed in depression, which then led to self-harm and constant thoughts of suicide. During this point in my life I thought that I was alone and nobody else knew how I felt. I didn’t know where to turn and didn’t know how to seek the help that I needed. Nobody wants to talk about mental health since it can be an uncomfortable topic, but it needs to be talked about, and I’m willing to start that conversation. I want these kids and teens to know that they aren’t alone and it is okay to seek help. Love, hope, and help are out there waiting for you to just hold on and grab it. If you would like to contact Miss Murray to volunteer or speak at your event, you can email her at Missmurray2018@gmail.com.l
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Local girl scouts and boy scouts took part in the flag ceremony for McMillan’s third annual Veterans’ Day program. (Julie Slama/City Journals) Continued from cover
Vivian Ricks, and her husband, Richard, came to the ceremony when Vivian’s sister, sixth-grade teacher Gayla Salmon told them about the service. Their father served as an airplane mechanic in the Army. “I hope they understand the sacrifices the
soldiers made to protect our freedom,” Richard Ricks said. His wife added, “And they learn they’re mighty lucky to live in America.” Sixth-grader Jaelyn Forsyth realizes that. She sang a solo in “My Country Tis of Thee,”
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with her grandfather, Hardy Stucki, looking on. He served in the Army’s special forces in Germany in the time after World War II. “Veterans’ Day is really important and special that we have the opportunity to celebrate our veterans and thank them for our freedoms,” she said, adding that her uncles also served in the Army and she has cousins currently serving. Stucki was sitting amongst others who served, including two World War II veterans. Scott Clark shared a little about his father, Ray, and his service to the country and brought a photo of his unit, the 90th division, 344th field artillery, so students could see. “He was one of two Utahns who landed on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944,” he said. “He was 19 years old, and was called ‘the kid’ by his buddies.” Ray Clark, who loaded ammunition into a howitzer, also fought Germans through the hedgerows and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. In spring the following year, Clark’s unit helped to liberate Flossenburg concentration camp. “That upset him. He knew there were slave workers there, but he didn’t know 41,000 of them were prisoners and were starving,” Scott Clark said. His father’s unit also discovered where Germans had hidden stolen art and gold in the salt mines. By May, his unit had met the Russians in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia and shook hands as Germany surrendered. Last year, he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the president of France.
“He did it all. My dad served the entire war without complaining. But when he was honored last year at the Murray 4th of July, he said, ‘I’m not a hero. Everyone there was a hero. We did this for everyone,’” his son said. Other service men shared where they served — as a machinist in the Navy during WWII stationed in the Pacific Islands, a K9 handler in Vietnam, aboard the USS Constellation and USS Okawana, in the Army signal corps in Korea, in an evacuation hospital during the Gulf War and more. Choir teacher Heather Butterfield, who directed the program that featured students talking, singing and waving flags that they later gave with thank-you notes to veterans, and parent Bethea Rugh playing the bagpipes, said she asked students to bring in photos, which were included in a backdrop and added to a PowerPoint presentation. “I wanted students to understand Veterans’ Day and recognize we’re all connected,” she said. “They may have a mom, an aunt or grandfather, but the power of them learning about our veterans comes from honoring these people who served.” Seven-year-old Adam Nelson said, “One of my favorite things to do is to visit and shake hands with veterans. I know that many kids think that a hero to them is a superhero like Spider-Man, Wonder Woman or Batman… but to me, a hero is a soldier like my grandpa who served in the United States military for 22 years.” l
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Page 8 | December 2017
murray city Journal
Murray town hall addresses homeless situation By Shaun Delliskave | email@example.com
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ore than 200 Murray residents attended a town hall meeting on October 25 at Viewmont Elementary School to discuss homelessness and the impacts Murray may have experienced since Operation Rio Grande began. Operation Rio Grande is a joint state, Salt Lake County, and Salt Lake City law enforcement campaign rolled out in August to address the growing crime and drug problem among the homeless population around the Rio Grande neighborhood in downtown Salt Lake City. Salt Lake County Councilwoman Amy Winder Newton arranged the community meeting to address constituent fears that Operation Rio Grande dispersed the homeless population along the Jordan River Parkway, TRAX lines and the freeways. Also participating in the meeting were Major Jess Anderson from the Utah Department of Public Safety, Representative Bruce Cutler, Salt Lake County Sherriff Rosie Rivera and Murray’s Interim Mayor Blair Camp, along with Police Chief Craig Burnett and members of the Murray City Council. Addressing whether there has been an increase in crime due to possible encroachment of criminal elements into Murray, Burnett stated that calls for service are proportional to last year’s numbers. “Where we are seeing more crime is in the north part of Murray, and that is primarily due to the high-density housing,” Burnett said. “Over last
year, we have seen a rise in some property crimes in the west side of Murray, those being residential burglaries and cars getting broken into. Not what you would expect, not what you would think. To the tune of four or five more one month than there was another month. August we actually saw less this year than last year.” Burnett stated that in-home burglaries where the criminals were apprehended, they found that the suspects were not homeless, but were people who lived in the neighborhood. Anderson spoke about Operation Rio Grande and clarified that its purpose was not to eradicate the homeless, but to eradicate crime. Drug dealers were the primary target, and it was not meant to harass the homeless population. “We are just shy of 2,000 arrests,” said Anderson. Illegal camping along the Jordan River has been targeted by the Department of Public Safety. Large homeless camps were taken down in South Salt Lake and several tons of waste were hauled out. Burnett indicated that Murray Parks and Recreation Department personnel daily ride the Parkway and report any encampments and trim away vegetation that would act as a shelter. As Interstate 15 and I-215 intersect within Murray, the adjoining land along the freeway, particularly wooded areas, attracts homeless camps. Interstate 215 between 700 West and State Street has seen some activity, and at-
tendees were told to notify police of any camps, especially because of the hazards they pose. Cutler discussed new legislation that restricts panhandlers and penalizes those who do offer money at intersections and roadways as a public safety hazard. “An individual in an automobile cannot exchange money while sitting at a roadway with someone who is a pedestrian. If you exchange money with someone who is a pedestrian, for whatever purpose, whether it is to buy drugs or it’s just a panhandler, that is now illegal,” Cutler said. Both motorists and panhandlers can be cited. Attendees were told that if they encounter a homeless person or panhandler and wish to help them, that they can refer or help them call 2-11. The United Way has set up 2-1-1 to work with thousands of human service partners to provide the most accurate, concise referrals for individuals and families looking to get connected to critical resources. By calling this number, an individual can access homeless shelters, drop-in centers, runaway and domestic violence shelters, and get assistance to pay rent, mortgage or other housing expenses. County Councilwoman Winder expressed her thoughts that many Murray residents do want to help. “Murray is a very passionate community,” she said, “and I applaud you for wanting to help your community.” l
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December 2017 | Page 9
Local businessman hosts Community Appreciation Day By Alisha Soeken | firstname.lastname@example.org
hen push comes to shove it’s easier to protect self then to risk and give. Yet on a sunny Saturday afternoon a man did just that. Arturo Urquijo, a young father of two, started his own business in September of 2016 and even after an uncertain first year he celebrated its completion by hosting a Community Appreciation Day at Murray Park. “We have completed the toughest year in the life of any new business, and we are grateful for the incredible support of our community and friends. I felt like it was my duty to give back to them and to show them my appreciation,” Urquijo said. Murray families and community members gathered at that event to enjoy food, face painting and fun. “I came down to play at the park today with my grandchildren. We saw the bounce house and that was the draw, my grandchildren are having a great time,” said Melissa Callahan. Donna Gunn, a Murray resident of 12 years and official cosplayer of Disney and Salt Lake Comic Con, also joined the event. “I just finished my role as Super Goof at the Best Buddies Friendship walk in West Jordan when I heard about this community appreciation day on Facebook. I decided to come out here and make the kids happy,” Gunn said. Gunn is autistic and feels like events like this are particularly important. “As a person with an intellectual disability, I feel it’s important for folks like us to go out and interact with everybody. Many of us feel left out and need opportunities like this,” Gunn said. Urquijo’s wife Christie agreed. She came with their two children to support her husband and the community. “There are so many rea-
Murray resident Donna Gunn in her cosplay role as Super Goof. (Alisha Soeken/City Journals)
sons to stay in your own little group. There needs to be opportunities to get out and meet different people because when we make connections with people in our community it becomes more unified,” Christie said. Because of this Urquijo wanted the event to be free. “Making the event free was definitely a burden but I engaged the help of many local business owners that understood the importance of giving back to our community. That alleviated the burden a lot. Special thanks to the doctors and staff of Performance Physical Therapy, they were a key part of this event with their support financially and logistically,” Urquijo said. Dr. Todd Barber of Performance Physical Therapy was grateful to help. “Giving back to people and our community is what life really is about. Health care is a giving profession. In many ways money gets in the way of the true gift behind being a health care provider. Bringing people together is the essence of healing, and I am always grateful to be share my business in that fashion,” said Barber. Barber appreciated how events like this not only benefit community members but
local businesses endeavoring to grow in an increasingly difficult market. “The changing health care climate with insurance and large health care conglomerates have made it difficult for small-time practitioners to compete in the market place,” Barber said. But despite—and perhaps because of those difficulties— Barber and Urquijo will continue to give to the community they love. “Murray is the heart of Salt Lake County. We love it here. The people that come to our clinic and the entire community itself is health oriented, active, and healthy. We love being in this city, and we are grateful to be here to serve the community,” Barber said. Urquijo agreed and added, “Our Murray neighbors have always shown us their friendly faces anywhere we go. It is a very open and welcoming community. Very industrious and well organized. Doing business in this city is a privilege and we are very lucky to be able to have our office here.” Urquijo’s event brought 300 families and seven local businesses together. He hopes those numbers will grow as he plans his next free community event this Christmas.l
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Page 10 | December 2017 MCSD opt2.pdf
your murray schools
After four decades, Murray’s Mount Vernon Academy basketball team plays on home court
Murray City School District newsletter
murray city Journal
Superintendent of Schools
MURRAY CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT 5102 S. Commerce Drive 5102 South Commerce Drive • Murray, UT 84107 Murray, Utah 84107 801-264-7400 Phone 801-264-7400 | Fax 801-264-7456 801-264-7456
Secondary Director of Teaching and Learning As the newest administrator in the Murray City School District, I’m honored to join the staff as Secondary Director of Teaching and Learning. Over the past 28 years, I’ve had the opportunity to be an educator and administrator at elementary, secondary and district levels. Murray has been an easy transition with warm and welcoming professionals demonstrating a sincere willingness to work hard on behalf of all students. The Teaching and Learning Team provides support in achieving the all of the Board Standards, including that of “Fostering a culture of mutual respect, leadership development, transparency and collaboration.” At the beginning of the school year, our Superintendent welcomed all employees with the message of “We are Murray.” Since then, the district leadership team has visited each school to reinforce the “We Are Murray” ideals and our 21st Century education focus on being standards, student and data driven. Working directly with principals, instructional coaches, team leaders and state representatives, we try hard to Robin Williams listen carefully in order to be able to identify how we can support our schools and identify critical areas for staff development and curriculum support. One of my primary responsibilities is to mentor new administrators and serve as a liaison. I’ve been impressed with their professionalism and eagerness to learn as I’ve been called occasionally to help parents and employees work through difficult issues. It is notable to watch our administrators balance the need for justice and consistency with compassion and learning. I commend our schools for their work in building the Murray community through the concepts of restorative practice and second chances. We welcome feedback and encourage you support your school-based teams such as Community Council, PTA and many other volunteer groups. By working together we will be able to strengthen our “We are Murray” message!
2017-18 MCSD Calendar Highlights Dec. 21 (Thurs) Last Day of School before holiday Dec. 22, 2017-Jan. 1, 2018 Winter Break Schools and buildings closed Jan. 2, 2018 (Tues) School back in session Jan. 11 (Thurs) Professional Development Day ½ day class; early dismissal for students End of 2nd Term Jan. 12 (Fri) Teacher Work Day No school for students Jan. 15 (Mon) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday Schools and buildings closed The entire 2017-18 school year calendar is available on the District website, along with other event listings. The Murray Board of Education reserves the right to alter or amend this calendar as may be necessitated by unforeseen events.
Sincere warm wishes for a safe & peaceful holiday season.
Support your school’s PTA by: • JOINING • Volunteering • Attending PTA-sponsored functions Your school’s PTA works hard to provide activities and school needs that otherwise might not happen. Join them in making a difference!
Murray Region 19 PTA Board 2017-18 Director – Chela Gale Treasurer – Amy Johnson Superintendent – Jennifer Covington Principal Representative – Jill Burnside Public Relations – D. Wright Awards – Bridgette Stowell Birthdays – Jodi Mismash End of Year Brunch – Amber Robison Reflections Co-Chairs – Cheree Larson, Natalie Thackeray Spelling Bee Advisor – Becca Westenskow
Grant President – Leah Marquez Horizon President – Wendi Larsen Liberty President – Jamie Hunter Longview Presidents – Maren Hill, Brooke Bowers McMillan President – Amy Coleman Parkside President – Geneal Nelson Viewmont President – Kelly Taeoalii HJH President – Becca Westenskow RJH President – Traci Black MHS President – Laurel Fetzer
Huge THANKS to all of the great PTA volunteers and others who give many volunteer hours working in our schools.
Website: www.murrayschools.org | Facebook: Murray School District UT The Your Murray Schools section is a Murray City School District publication, under the direction of D. Wright, MCSD communications & public information.
By Carl Fauver | email@example.com
ack in 1975, Murray’s Mount Vernon Academy was founded by Jack and Jean Lambson. And, for some four decades, all the Patriots boys basketball games, even the socalled “home games” required players to leave their small Vine Street campus play on some other school’s court. But, luckily, thanks to the school’s move to a larger location, home games will now be held on their home court. “We are so excited to finally have the facilities necessary Basketball coach Mike Lambson (left) puts the Mount Vernon team through its ﬁrst practice of the season. (Carl Fauver/City Journals) to play ‘true’ home basketball games,” said the Patriots’ head Ten players turned out for the Patriots’ basketball coach and academy principal Mike first basketball practice, November 6. The Lambson. “We’re inviting all of our alumni to three seniors, two juniors, two sophomores come visit the new campus and attend that first and three freshmen all made the team, with no home game for free.” need for cuts. Mount Vernon’s first, on-campus home “We graduated seven seniors off last basketball game will be December 13, when year’s team,” Lambson said. “So I’m not sure the Patriots host Dugway. They have another how good we will be. As long as the boys are home contest two days later—but by then it having fun, that’s all that really matters.” will passé. But that’s not to say the Mount Vernon The gateway to their new home court basketball team has never been competitive. opened last summer when Mount Vernon The Patriots won the Class 1A boys basketball Academy moved. Vacating their old Vine state title in 2003 and finished second in state Street campus, the Patriots moved to 240 E. a decade before that. 5600 South, where the school now leases Unfortunately, it’s been a bit of a dry spell space from Christ Lutheran Church. since then. Mount Vernon has not won a state “I heard about it soon after the church de- tournament game in a decade. cided to stop operating its school,” Lambson This year’s team has an international flaadded. “Obviously, we didn’t make the move vor with two players from China and one each just to have home basketball games. But the from Venezuela and Mexico. All three of the spacious new gym and a larger, grassy area team’s seniors—Mike Rengel, Andy Pan and outside are a great addition for our athletics Shengguang Zhou—are in that group. The programs.” fourth, Jesse Montoya, is a junior and the leadBoys basketball is the one and only team ing scorer returning from last year’s team. Mount Vernon has fielded in all 43 years of “I only scored two varsity points last seaexistence. Until this year, baseball was also on son,” Pan said. “So my goal is to contribute that list. But when they polled the students last more this year. It will be much more conspring, not enough of them said they wanted venient to have our home games here at the to play so there was no team this fall. (Class school.” 1A plays fall baseball – the Valley Buffaloes “This is my first year at Mount Vernon, so of Orderville, Utah won the 2017 title in Oc- I am looking forward to the season,” Rengel tober). added. “I used to play basketball back home “I miss baseball and hope we return to in Venezuela, before moving here four months playing soon,” Lambson said. “And now, with ago.” this new gymnasium, our goal is to add girls “I’m a novice at basketball,” Zhou said. volleyball and basketball next year.” “But I’m a pretty good athlete. I played profesMike, by the way, was the fourth of eight sional soccer back home in China.” Lambson children to graduate from the school Lambson is hoping for a huge crowd for their parents founded. He was also a four- that December 13 home opener. year baseball and basketball player...and has “We have a total of about 600 graduates coached each of the sports for many years at through our 43 years of existence,” he said. Mount Vernon. “We hope a lot of them come for the game. “It will certainly be nice to not have to They don’t need to bring any identification leave campus for our practices and games this (like their high school diploma). We know winter,” he added. them all by face.” l
city Journal iS a Free Publication maDe PoSSible by our aDVertiSerS . PleaSe SHoP local anD let tHem KnoW you SaW tHem in tHe city Journal.
FREQUENTLY REQUESTED NUMBERS Attorney ............................................. 801-264-2640 Business Licensing ............................. 801-270-2432 Cemetery ........................................... 801-264-2637 City Council ........................................ 801-264-2603 Finance Department .......................... 801-264-2513 FIRE DEPARTMENT Administrative Oﬃce ..................... 801-264-2781 Non-Emergency Calls .................... 801-840-4000 General Information........................... 801-264-2525 Heritage Center (Sr. Center)................ 801-264-2635 Human Resources............................... 801-264-2656 Library ............................................... 801-264-2580 Mayor’s Oﬃce..................................... 801-264-2600 Municipal Court.................................. 801-284-4280 Museum ............................................. 801-264-2589 Murray Park Outdoor Pool .................. 801-266-9321 Murray Parkway Golf Course............... 801-262-4653 PARKS AND RECREATION Administrative Oﬃce ..................... 801-264-2614 Rain-out Information .................... 801-264-2525 Park Center (indoor pool) ................... 801-284-4200 Passports............................................ 801-264-2660 POLICE DEPARTMENT Administrative Oﬃce ..................... 801-264-2673 Animal Control .............................. 801-264-2671 Code Enforcement ......................... 801-264-2673 Non-Emergency Calls .................... 801-840-4000 POWER DEPARTMENT Administrative Oﬃce ..................... 801-264-2730 After Hours Emergency.................. 801-264-9669 PUBLIC SERVICES Administrative Oﬃce ..................... 801-270-2440 Building Inspection ....................... 801-270-2431 Green Waste Trailers ...................... 801-270-2440 Planning and Zoning ..................... 801-270-2420 Solid Waste.................................... 801-270-2440 Water, Sewer, Streets..................... 801-270-2440 Zoning Enforcement ...................... 801-270-2426 UTILITIES After Hours Emergency.................. 801-264-9669 Billing Questions ........................... 801-264-2626
Mayor’s Message Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” As I pondered the returns of the recent municipal elections in Salt Lake County, I was interested in the turnout of voters in Murray City compared to past races and with city-wide races in other municipalities. At the time of the election, there were 24,299 registered voters in Murray. As of November 17, the number of ballots counted was 11,260, or 46.3 percent (the results were not official until November 21 and numbers may have changed slightly). While it’s somewhat disheartening that less than half of the registered voters exercised their right to vote, it’s also somewhat encouraging when compared to previous years. In the 2013 election, after one candidate withdrew leaving just one name on the ballot for mayor, only 17.2 percent of the registered voters cast their ballot. The prior mayoral race in 2009 had 7403 voters, which was a mere 27.3 percent. So
Salt Lake Canal Trail Murray City is excited about a new trail that is in construction. Here is a picture of the surface being applied. The new trail is between Fontaine Bleu and Vinecrest and will be to Wheeler Farm by the end of the month (weather permitting). The contractor will be working on the street crossings and fencing after the trail is finished.
in comparison, the voter turnout for this election is much improved. By comparing how Murray voters stacked up against the rest of the municipal voters in our county this election, here’s what I learned. Of the 15 cities with city-wide races, Murray ranked 6th in voter turnout. The highest turnout was 68.1 percent and the lowest was 25 percent. Only four cities were at 50 percent or higher. Before the 2015 election, the city council voted to join other municipalities in Salt Lake County in implementing the vote by mail program for all registered voters. A quick review of pre-2015 and post-2015 data indicated that vote by mail has been successful in increasing voter turnout. Nevertheless, regardless of voting method, we have been given the privilege and right to cast our vote for the leaders of our city, state and country. I have been encouraged by not only the increase in voter numbers, but in the increase of voters who are striving to be informed about the candidates. I am tremendously grateful and humbled by the voters of Murray who have given me the
D. Blair Camp, Mayor Janet Towers Deputy Mayor
5025 S. State Street • Murray, Utah 84107 opportunity to serve as mayor for the next four years. I pledge to work hard and to do what I believe to be the best for our magnificent city. On an entirely different subject, as we are in the heart of the holiday season, I hope you will take the time to enjoy the season however you choose to celebrate. As you do, may you take the time to greet your neighbors, and be mindful of those who are less fortunate and could use a helping hand. I wish each and every one of you a very happy holiday season, and the best for the New Year! Sincerely, D. Blair Camp
Murray City Snow Removal Codes It is soon time for the winter snow storms, as a reminder, here is the information (Murray City Code) about parking and obstructing the right-of-way for snow removal. 10.08.040: SNOW EMERGENCY ROUTES; PARKING PROHIBITED: A. It is unlawful to park, leave or abandon a motor vehicle on any streets after one hour from the commencement of snowfall until the completion of snow removal operations on the street. B. A violation of this section is an infraction. A vehicle in violation of this section may be impounded. (Ord. 03-41 § 2: Ord. 94-47 § 1) 12.04.110: OBSTRUCTING RIGHT OF WAY WITH SNOW: A. It is unlawful to place snow removed from private property, sidewalks, drive approaches or other public places in a street or any other public way. B. A violation of this section is a class B misdemeanor. (Ord. 96-05 § 1)
Message from the Council As I near the mid-point in my second term, it seems fitting to review the Vision Statement of the Murray City Strategic Plan that the city council adopted unanimously in 2012. It reads, “Murray City is a progressive, vibrant, independent and self-sustaining community that balances the needs of its businesses and protects an ever-changing resident population. We capitalize on our strengths, including our central location and infrastructure, to attract quality businesses and jobs. Our quality of life is enriched through the availability of thriving and diverse neighborhoods, healthcare services, community recreation and educational opportunities. We encourage public participation and foster inclusiveness for our citizens in moving the City forward.” “A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement.” (Quoted from entrepreneur Bo Bennett) Taking action to achieve these lofty goals is an important part of what we do as elected officials to provide the lifestyle our residents relish. Of course, our strategies must be tempered by our budget and the priorities of maintaining our public services, infrastructure and public safety. Quality of life and the sense of community in Murray City is extraordinary and as I reflect, let’s look at some of the improvement projects that have become a reality for Murray citizen enjoyment in the Parks and Recreation Department, in particular. An innovator in parks and recreation, Murray City has one of the best parks departments in the State of Utah and recreation programs for all ages. Murray City boasts an envious section of the Jordan River Parkway with beautiful recreational and educational features along the five mile trail, which was recently resurfaced. The parkway is fully accessible with picnic areas, canoe launches and park facilities. An equestrian trail runs perpendicular. Take a walk, run or bike ride to see the new educational signs have been installed by the Salt Lake County Watershed that teach about stream restoration with detail on the riparian zone, stream protectors, erosion and safe passage. In the Park Center new fitness equipment was installed in 2016, allowing the center to accommodate more guests for their workout. Since
Murray Police Department HUNTER SAFETY CLASSES The Murray City Police Department conducts Hunter Education classes every year. These classes are typically held in January and September at the Police Department Training Center, 136 W. Vine Street, Murray, Utah. While these classes are Hunter Education classes, they provide important benefits for anyone who attends. The classes allow students to become familiar with general gun safety procedures, learn proper firearm handling and how to handle situations involving firearms. Instructors for these classes are Murray City police officers. This is an excellent opportunity for citizens and especially the youth of the community to become acquainted with the Police Department and its officers on an informal level while learning valuable information on a very important subject. These classes are open to any resident of the State of Utah, but are provided for the primary benefit of the citizens of Murray and their families. For more information about upcoming class dates and times, please contact the Murray City Police Department at 801-264-2673.
swimming is a major attraction, replacement of the deck surface, and improvements to the play area at the Park Center indoor pool have been completed. Keeping our pools safe and healthy, the UV systems for the outdoor and indoor pools have been replaced, which acts as a disinfectant for microorganisms and cryptosporidium. Murray Park has seen a number of improveDave Nicponski ments, the largest being the major amphitheater remodel funded partially by the county tourism District 2 and recreation funds, including a new roof, stage, restrooms, ticket booth, concessions, control booth, accessible seating and landscaping. To enhance your experience the lighting at the amphitheater parking lot has been upgraded to LED illumination by the Power Department and the trail has been widened and improved. You will notice the pathway in Murray Park has been resurfaced so that wheelchairs and strollers can easily navigate the trail and new restrooms were constructed at pavilions 1 and 2, and pavilion 3. An outdoor percussion play area has been added to the playground west of the outdoor pool parking lot in Murray Park. Bring your kids or grandkids for an exciting hands-on experience. Six new pickleball courts are open and ready for use with some minor finish work to be completed. Located on Myrtle Avenue next to the Boys and Girls Club the area includes a new bridge into Murray Park where an outdoor exercise space has been constructed. Challenge yourself to attempt each device. As you enjoy Murray Park and its amenities, you can now utilize free WiFi in the park, Park Center and Ken Price Field. This is merely a snapshot of parks and recreation projects funded by the city council over the last couple of years. As a Murray City resident we invite you to get out and experience the facilities developed with you in mind.
For additional information, please contact Sergeant Higgins at 801-652-9813
–Dave Nicponski District 2, Council Member
MURRAY CITY COUNCIL Council District 1 Dave Nicponski 801-913-3283 firstname.lastname@example.org Council District 2 (Interim) Pam Cotter Council District 3 Jim Brass 801-598-7290 email@example.com Council District 4 Diane Turner 801-635-6382 firstname.lastname@example.org Council District 5 Brett A. Hales 801-882-7171 email@example.com Council Administrator Jan Lopez 801-264-2622 firstname.lastname@example.org
december 2017 For additional information, please contact Mary Ann Kirk at 801-264-2638
Murray Arts Beat Storytelling Residencies
Murray holds storytelling residencies every winter, ending in a city-wide storytelling festival in the early spring. In-school residencies will be held at Grant, Longview, Parkside, Viewmont, Twin Peaks, AISU, and all secondary schools. Residencies for the general public will be held at Liberty Elementary for kids grades 2-6, at the Murray Library for kids grades 2-12, and at the Murray Heritage Center for adults.
Resident on Display
The central display case at City Hall features original artwork from different Murray artists each month! Our featured artist will be Steve Stauffer (varied media) in December and Jennifer Broschinsky (acrylics on canvas) in January.
Murray Winter Series Community Art Pass features 21 productions and concerts by local schools and community groups. You can’t beat the price! Tickets are $49 adult, $45 seniors, $29 child/ student and $149 immediate family (up to 6). Order forms are available at the Murray Parks Office or online at murray.utah.gov. • Dec. 2 – “Jack & the Beanstalk,” Missoula Children’s Theater; HJH, 1 and 4 p.m. $5, $25/family up to 6 • Dec. 16 – Murray Symphony; HJH, 7:30 p.m., free • Jan. 10-12 – Broadway Review, Murray High School; 7 p.m. $4 • Jan. 15 – Martin Luther King Concert; MHS, 7 p.m. free • Jan. 24-29 – Broadway Review & Melodrama, CHS; 7 p.m. $7 advance, $8 door • Jan. 17 – Murray Concert Band; HJH, 7 p.m. free
• Longview Elementary – “Big Bad Musical” Auditions: Jan. 8, 3:15 p.m. Shows: March 9, 7 p.m. • Twin Peaks Elementary – “Kicked Out of the Woods” Auditions: Jan. 9, 3:45 p.m. Shows: Feb. 27-28, 7 p.m. • Liberty Elementary – “Back to the Bandstand” Auditions: March 9, 3:30 p.m. Shows: Apr. 30, 6 and 7:30 p.m. • AISU: TBD
• Liberty Elementary – Grades 2-6 Feb. 5 – March 1, Tuesdays/Thursdays, 3:15-5 p.m. • Murray Library – Grades 2-12 Saturdays, Jan. 20-March 3 (excluding Feb. 17), 1-3 p.m. • Murray Heritage Center – Adults & Seniors Feb. 26 – March 30, Mondays/Fridays, 10-11:30 a.m.
Parents, watch for information to come home from your children’s elementary schools with details about after-school musical auditions and performances! Schedules are as follows: • Parkside Elementary – Lion King Kids” Auditions: Nov. 21, 3:30 p.m. Shows: Feb. 22-23, 7 p.m. • Grant Elementary – “Annie Kids” Auditions: Dec. 13, 3:20 p.m. Shows: April 5-6, 7 p.m. • Horizon Elementary – “Annie Kids” Auditions: Dec. 13, 1:15 p.m. Shows: March 8-9, 7 p.m. • McMillan Elementary – “Back to the Bandstand” Auditions: Jan. 5, 1:20 p.m. Shows: March 12, 6:30 p.m.
Murray 2018 Literary Competition
The deadline for our biennial literary competition is Feb. 13, 2018. Entries must be received at the Parks and Recreation Office, 296 E. Murray Park Ave., Murray, UT 84107. Murray writers may submit one entry per individual category. The submission form is available at the Murray Parks Office or online at murray.utah.gov/279/Literary-Competition.
Murray Library It’s one of the most wonderful seasons at the Murray Library! We have plenty of holiday events happening through December, and we are very excited to share them! Starting the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25 until Dec. 9, we will have a mailbox at the Murray Library for your Letters to
Santa! Come by and write a letter to Santa and you’ll even receive a letter back from him in the mail! Stationary, crayons and pencils will be provided. On Saturday, Dec. 9, we have the big Holiday Palooza at the Murray Library. Santa Claus himself comes to visit the library! There will be holiday story times at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., as well as a Christmas song sing-a-long at noon. During all of that excitement, we will have pictures with Santa, a holiday photo booth, crafts and an all-day scavenger hunt. As in past years, we will be featuring various local musicians in our Holly Jolly musical events throughout December. The schedule will be posted soon, check our events calendar to see when our Holly Jolly artists will be stopping by to play holiday music. Finally, we will be having a special family Jingle Jammy Time on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. This is a holiday-themed story time featuring a pup-
Monday - Thursday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Visit us online at murraylibrary.org or call us at
for more information pet show, holiday stories, and milk and cookies. Don’t forget to wear your jammies enjoy a cozy night at the Murray Library. As always, if you have questions about these events, please feel free to call us at 801264-2580 or visit our events calendar on our website at murraylibrary.org. All of these events are free and open to the public, tickets or registration are not needed.
166 East 5300 South Murray, UT 84107
Murray Library Home
Murray Library Calendar
Heritage Center Upcoming EvEnts: Ukrainian Eggs/tree Decorations Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 10:30 a.m., free Diana Michalicek will present a Ukrainian Eggs/Tree Decorations class. You will learn step-by-step how to create a delightful Christmas tree decoration to hang on your tree or a decoration for your house. The Center will provide all supplies. The class is limited to six participants.
storytelling christmas time - Friday, Dec. 15 at 10:30 a.m., free Cassey Ashton, storyteller, will share stories that deal with Christmas time and yuletide themes for the holiday season. You will also have some time to share your Christmas memory in this class. A light snack will be shared with the class.
christmas Dinner Dance - Thursday, Dec. 14 from 6-9:30 p.m. Our Christmas Dinner Dance is a great opportunity to enjoy a delicious dinner and then dance to the music of Tony Summerhays. The cost of the event is $10 which includes dinner from 6-7 p.m. and dancing from 7-9:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity to come and meet your friends, have dinner and enjoy a great night of dancing. The dinner includes salmon or chicken, rice, vegetables and dessert. Door-prize raffle is at 8:15 p.m. Space is limited to 100 for dinner, sign up soon.
Holiday Boutique and Buffet – Friday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Murray Fire Department
In 2018, the Murray City Fire Department (MCFD) will be offering Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) classes if there are 20-25 citizens, civic/church groups that are interested in attending. Classes usually meet one night a week for eight weeks and end with a mock drill. The purpose of the C.E.R.T. training is to provide private citizens with the basic skills they will need to handle virtually all needs in the aftermath of a disaster and then to respond and help others in the community. It is best to be ready and prepared for that “just in case” situation. Also, as a reminder, the MCFD offers CPR Certification classes every second Tuesday of every month at 5 p.m. at Fire Station #81, 40 E. 4800 South If you have questions about either of these programs, please call Deputy Fire Marshal George Zboril at 801-264-2773 (office) or 801-856-2616 (cell) or by email at email@example.com.
coAt & BLAnKEt DonAtion The Murray Fire Department is accepting used/new coats and blankets to help those in need at various homeless shelters in the valley. You can drop off your donations anytime at one of the Murray fire stations. • Station #81 – 40 E. 4800 South • Station #82 – 996 East Vine Street • Station #83 – 484 W. 5900 South If you have questions, please contact Steve Roberson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please invite your family and friends to visit and shop at our annual Holiday Boutique. This year we have 13 artists selling handmade crafts in addition to the Heritage Center craft table. This boutique is only held once a year and is open to the public. Handmade items are requested for the Heritage Center’s boutique table (new items only, please; donate anytime). All proceeds from this table will benefit the Heritage Center’s fundraising efforts.
Holiday Buffet – Friday, Dec. 1, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The buffet is for individuals 55+. The cost is $8 and includes lunch and entertainment by the New Fiddlers. Up to eight tickets (a table) may be purchased by an individual.
Watercolor/Art History – Jan. 8, 1-3:30 p.m. John and Joan Fackrell’s watercolor/art history class. They will review famous artists and the effects of weather (snow) and how to apply snow to your painting. A list of supplies can be found at the front desk. Registration begins Wednesday, Dec. 27.
#10 East 6150 South (one block west of State Street) For information on these and other great Heritage Center programs call 801-264-2635
For more information, please contact Battalion Chief Mike Dykman at 801-264-2762
Beginners: We are offering our beginners clinic for those who are just getting started with the game of volleyball. We will focus on passing, serving, hitting and setting to help your athlete understand the basics of the game and help them build a strong technical base. This is important for athletes who don’t understand rotations or the proper technique for each skill. We also want to teach them the correct way to play volleyball before they create bad habits. Intermediate/Advanced*: *Players must be able to serve over hand from the back line consistently and be efficient at pass on their own side. Display fundamentals of volleyball, able to serve and pass well. The athletes will work on game play situations and learning the importance of transitions, rotations, defense (front and back row), situational serving, serve receive responsibility, quick hitting and more. This is for athletes looking to take the game of volleyball to the next level and become more versed in the way it works. (Ages 12+) Dates: Thursday: Friday: Ages: Place: One Day: Two Days: Instructor: Register:
December 21 & 22 Beginner: 5pm-6pm | Inter/Advanced: 6pm-8:30pm Beginner: 9am-10am | Inter/Advanced: 10am-11:30am 7 & Up–Beginner | 12 & Up–Inter/Advanced The Park Center $20 Beginner / $25 Inter/Advanced $30 Beginner / $40 Inter/Advanced Salt Lake Volleyball Club Staff The Park Center or MCREC.COM
Need a minimum of 8 players. Max of 30.
December 2017 | Page 15
Report ﬁnds Murray youth substance abuse higher than state average
survey conducted by the Utah Departments of Health, Human Services, and Office of Education found significantly more Murray youth use e-cigarettes and marijuana compared to other Utah youth. In an October 3 presentation before the Murray City Council, Murray School District’s Darren Dean, director of personnel and student services, and Deb Ashton, safe and drug-free schools coordinator, presented information regarding substance abuse and violence among Murray school children. The City Council approved a joint resolution of the Mayor and Municipal Council designating October 16–20 as Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention Campaign: Your Future is Key, So Stay Drug-Free! Week. As part of the presentation, Ashton handed out the 2017 Student Health and Risk Protection (SHARP) Survey to the council. She explained this data came from students in Murray School District who are in grades sixth, eighth, 10th, and 12th. The SHARP survey is given to students statewide every other year. This year 1,675 Murray youth participated in the survey, the highest ever for Murray. The survey was conducted by Bach Harrison, LLC, a private research firm. In substance abuse categories, Murray had a higher percentage of youth engaged in e-cigarette (vaping) use, marijuana use, alcohol consumption and binge drinking. Sixth-graders in each of these categories were lower than the state average, while all other grades remained above the state average. According to the survey, one in four 12th graders use e-cigarettes; 28.4 percent of 12th graders vaped versus the statewide average of 15.5. Tenth graders also were above the statewide average of 9.3 with 19.6 percent admitting to vaping. Ashton said this statistic is alarming. “E-cigarettes are decep-
By Shaun Delliskave | email@example.com tively marketed as a smoking cessation tool and not as bad as tobacco cigarettes.” According to the National Institutes of Health, “Electronic cigarettes are a recent development in tobacco harm reduction. They are marketed as less harmful alternatives to smoking. Awareness and use of these devices has grown exponentially in recent years, with millions of people currently using them.” E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid to generate an aerosol, commonly called a “vapor” that the user inhales. Using e-cigarettes is sometimes called vaping. The liquid in the e-cigarette, called e-liquid, is usually made of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin and flavorings. “Kids are not using these to stop smoking, but to engage in its use,” Ashton said. Marijuana usage among 12th graders was considerably higher in Murray than the state’s 12.3 percent, with 20.1 percent of respondents claiming they used it within 30 days of the survey. Likewise, the 10th-graders’ percentage was 17.2 compared to the state’s 9.3 percent. Ashton was also surprised by the percentage of students feeling hopeless or sad for long periods of time. “The numbers are quite high for students feeling alienated.” One in four Murray youth reported being depressed every day for two weeks or more. Suicide rates in Murray are comparable to the statewide average. The highest rates for suicide were for 10th graders, with 1 in 10 actually attempting it. A good trend, according to Mary Johnston of Bach Harrison, is that “sixth, eighth, and 12th graders indicated that they are talking to someone about depression—more so than at the state level.” However, she noted, “A lower percentage of Murray students spoke to a
parent about their depression.” Murray lined up with the state average of 21.9 percent of students responding that they felt bullied. Sixth and 8th graders reported the highest rates of bullying at 31.8 and 24.4 percent respectively. Alcohol consumption rates for teens decreased in the “use at home” and “at someone else’s house” categories; however, there was a significant increase in alcohol-users who have consumed alcohol in a car in the past year. Ashton’s presentation included data that showed underage drinking rates are low when parents strongly assert their stand against the use of alcohol, and even a small amount of perceived parental acceptability can lead to underage alcohol use. Utah’s overall report can be found online at https://dsamh.utah. gov/data/sharp-student-use-reports/. l
Mary Johnston reviews alcohol and substance abuse trends in an October 27 meeting. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)
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Page 16 | December 2017
murray city Journal
Cox, Turner secure city council seats By Shaun Delliskave | firstname.lastname@example.org
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n a year of flux, where Murray City Council District Two will see three people rotate in and out of that seat in a three-month period, voters selected Dale Cox to fill that role. Diane Turner will retain her district four seat for a second term. Nearly 47 percent of district two voters cast their ballots between Utah’s AFL-CIO President Dale Cox and small-business owner Darrell Pehrson. Cox secured 57 percent of the vote to Pehrson’s 43 percent. The contest was relatively cordial with each having served in other civic positions. Pehrson served 16 years on the Murray School Board, while Cox was on the Board of Trustees for the Utah Colleges of Applied Technology (UCAT). This is Cox’s first election. Born in Draper and a graduate of Jordan High, Cox settled in Murray 27 years ago with his wife, Jan. They have two sons. He has been a youth coach for Murray Recreational Flag Football and Junior Jazz teams. A welder mechanic by trade, Cox began his affiliation with the AFL-CIO by joining the operating engineer’s staff as a business agent. He took on increasingly important roles in that organization as the years went by, becoming assistant district representative, district representative, and legislative coordinator for the State of Utah. In 2012, he assumed the role of president. He will be retiring from that position to serve full-time on the city council. He has also served the community in other capacities, such as being a member of The Road Home Executive Board, Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health Advisory Board, the OSHA Advisory Board, and the Odyssey House Board, as well as a Salt Lake City Council appointee to the Citizens Compensation & Review Committee. As a new Murray City Council member, Cox’s first order of business will be to look at the compensation of Murray’s fire and police department employees.
“First responders need to be compensated accordingly to support our chiefs. Also, we need to look at all those that serve us, whether it be in the power or parks department. Murray shouldn’t be a training ground for other cities,” Cox said. Downtown re-development will be the biggest issue facing Cox as he enters office. Murray has secured several pieces of property between 4th and 5th Avenues to relocate City Hall and government services. Other hot button issues include the proposed razing of buildings in Murray’s historic district. “I would love to preserve the old buildings and make sure we can take care of our legacy. We need to work with private foundations in seeking to maintain our historical heritage,” affirmed Cox. Cox will replace Pamela Cotter, who was appointed interim city councilwoman. The appointment was necessary due to Councilman Blair Camp being appointed interim mayor and required to vacate the council seat. Cotter was chosen from a field of four applicants that included Lynn Chatterton, Ted Maestas and Tom Roberson. Per state law, Murray has 30 days to appoint a replacement council member upon any vacancy. Four applicants applied for the position and were invited to appear before the city council at a special meeting for an interview. At the October 17 meeting, Cotter was selected among the applicants and sworn in to fill the remainder of Camp’s term. Diane Turner, who ran unopposed for her council seat, will be sworn in for a second term. Upon the death of Mayor Ted Eyre, she was serving as chair of the city council and was sworn in as acting mayor. Her brief term until Camp’s appointment made her the first female mayor of Murray. Cox and Turner will take their oaths of office in January. l
December 2017 | Page 17
New Murray mayor is a happy Camp-er By Shaun Delliskave | email@example.com
n election night, when Utah voters were expelling incumbent mayors, Murray was an exception. Then again, Murray voter’s only choices were two men who both held the office. In a close race, interim Mayor Blair Camp captured 52 percent to former Mayor Dan Snarr’s 48 percent share of the ballots. In an election year when so many events impacted the mayor’s office, nearly 46 percent of registered Murray voters cast their ballots. Interest in the mayor’s race had been high, after cancer-stricken Mayor Ted Eyre announced he would not seek re-election. The primary election attracted a high turnout, positioning then-City Councilman Camp against Snarr. The dynamics of the race changed after Eyre died in August, and Murray needed to appoint an interim mayor. The city council approved Camp for the role, after he applied and was sworn in September. “Leadership above politics” was Camp’s campaign slogan. “I believe it’s important that we, as a city, maintain the healthy relationship and high regard for each other that the mayor and city council have enjoyed during these past four years, and I intend to maintain and build upon that relationship of mutual trust and respect,” said Camp during the campaign. Born in Murray, Camp was raised in Taylorsville and graduated from Cottonwood High School. He and his wife Paula have lived in Murray since 1975. He holds an AAS in fire science from Utah Valley University and a BA in organizational management from Ashford University. He is also a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National
Getting the grandkid’s endorsement. Mayor-elect Blair Camp will take oath of ofﬁce in January. (Photo courtesy of Blair Camp)
Fire Academy and a certified public manager. A lifelong firefighter, he retired as a member of the Murray City Fire Department after 26 years, including five years as assistant chief and six years as fire chief. Camp will be the third mayor that has come up from Murray’s firefighter ranks, joining Mayors Ike Lester and William Ernest Smith as fellow firefighting alumni. Elected to the City Council in 2013, Camp was sworn into office the same year as Mayor Eyre. Eyre was diagnosed with cancer around the same time of his inauguration, and as his time as mayor progressed so did his cancer. Eyre decided
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against running again, but had hoped to fulfill his entire term. Camp told the Salt Lake Tribune, “It was his desire for me to finish his term. He told me that he wanted me to do it. That was certainly in the back of my mind as I thought about putting in for the interim mayor, and I believe that the reason he wanted me to are some of the reasons I stated—that continuity in leadership would be able to continue what he started.” Camp’s key issues were focused on public safety and downtown redevelopment. “It is extremely important to keep the momentum of the redevelopment of our Murray City Center District, which has been a high priority of Mayor Eyre. I intend to continue the course in bringing first-class redevelopment and economic development to revitalize downtown Murray, including a new city hall without a tax increase to fund it,” promised Camp. Indeed, the redevelopment project is an ambitious project that will encompass several city blocks between Vine Street and 4800 South, and State Street to the rail line. It is planned to relocate City Hall and other government services, and moving a fire station. “While I know that Murray is a great city, I believe we can always do better,” Camp said. “I believe in continuous improvement, and I intend to constantly look for and identify ways that we can be better and more efficient.” 2017 will be noted as year that Murray had three mayors, including Camp and Eyre, but also City Councilwoman Diane Turner (Murray’s first female mayor) who automatically became acting mayor until the interim mayor could be appointed. Camp will take the oath of office on Jan. 2. l
Page 18 | December 2017
Murray City Journal
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December 2017 | Page 19
Fighting against leukemia with ﬂowers
lowers bloom as early as February in Sue Cross’s yard, notably the ice plants that kick off her growing season. Even well into late October, her garden of flower blossoms is a stark contrast to her neighbors’ yards, which have already been winterized. The work Cross, a retiree, has devoted to her yard and garden has paid off, as she is the recipient of one of Murray’s Beautification Awards. While that honor is justly due, Cross has received other, far greater rewards from her gardening than a plaque to hang on her wall. She credits it for extending her life through a battle with leukemia. Cross’ physician gave her two months to live, but that was three years and three months ago. “It’s what keeps me going,” said Cross of her garden. Each year, Murray’s Beautification Awards Program acknowledges attractive, well-maintained landscapes and the benefits they provide to the community. The Murray City Shade Tree and Beautification Commission, in cooperation with Murray City Power, sponsors the awards program each year. According to Matt Erkelens, forestry supervisor for Murray City, “The Commission invites all residential and commercial property owners and tenants to enter and participate in this citywide endeavor. Nominations may be for your own landscape, a neighbor’s or a business’ that you particularly admire.” “Landscapes are judged by the Murray City Shade Tree and Beautification Commission. The judges look for complexity, use of space and value to the community. Residential landscapes are judged on front yards only. A Council District Award is presented to a single-family winner in each of the five voting districts. A Mayor’s Award is given to the citywide best landscaped yard,” noted Erkelens. Cross, the Council District Two winner, was born in Korea and
By Shaun Delliskave | firstname.lastname@example.org came to Murray in 1963. She got a job as a housekeeper at Cottonwood Hospital. After 36 years, she retired and decided that gardening was what she would do to stay busy. She started with the small parking strip where her mailbox sits and from there her passion has taken over her whole yard. Her hibiscus plants grow as tall as she is. When asked what special fertilizer or soil she uses to help her garden grow, she says neither, but she does have a special additive. “Prayer,” Cross said. “I pray for every plant so that people can enjoy them.” She also shares seeds and plant starts with her neighbors, hoping that they will find joy in their gardens. “You have to talk to the plants. People think I am a little weird,” she said. Her plants respond favorably and can tell she cares. While her terminal cancer has made her more tired, and occasionally off balance, she smiles at the natural beauty that surrounds her. This year marks the 30th year for the beautification awards. Over time, the Commission has come to also recognize xeriscape (low-water requirement) landscapes. Sample gardens can be found at the Conservation Garden Park located south of Murray at 8725 S. 1300 West. It demonstrates landscapes suited for Utah’s unique climate that are not only beautiful and easier to maintain, but are also designed to efficiently use water. Murray residents can also find out what trees and plants do well in their soil. Residents can request a simple soil test kit through the local Utah State University Extension Service located at 2100 South and State Street. The beautification winners for 2017 are District 1 Winner (Tie): Chris and Patti Phillips, 6433 S. 940 West and James Kessimakis, 4520 South Atwood Blvd.; District 2 Winner: Sue Cross, 933 West Riverbend Dr.; District 3 Winner: Linda Kessimakis, 4648 S. 345
East; District 4 Winner: Keith and Shelly Madeline, 567 East Benbow; District 5 Winner: Lee and Jeannie Brown, 6100 South Glen Oaks; Multi-Family Winner: Three Fountains, 828 E. Three Fountains Circle; Commercial Winner: Fashion Place Mall, 6191 South State Street; Mayors Award: Blaine Sylvester, 943 W. Chesterbrook Cove. Entries for next year’s beautification awards are due August 1 and judging will take place later in August, with the winners being announced in September. More information on the awards can be found online at: http://www.murray.utah.gov/1082/Murray-City-Beautification-Awards-Program. l
Beautiﬁcation award winner Sue Cross admires the fall colors in her garden. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)
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Page 20 | December 2017
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Cottonwood High School swimmer being called ‘Utah’s best ever’
By Carl Fauver | email@example.com
idden inside the sprawling Cottonwood High School campus on Murray’s east side is the much smaller Academy for Math, Engineering & Science (AMES). And hidden in the AMES charter school class of about 100 seniors is Rhyan White—possibly the best swimmer the state of Utah has ever produced.
“I know she’s the first Utah high school swimmer to earn a spot on the USA Swimming Women’s Junior National Team in the 20 years I’ve been around the sport,” said her Cottonwood High School and Wasatch Front Fish Market club team coach Ron Lockwood. “And speaking with others who’ve been around the sport longer than me, I’ve not found anyone who knows of another Utah swimmer who’s earned that honor.” Lockwood is hoping White and her Cottonwood teammates can do something the school has not accomplished since 1981—win the state swimming title. “We finished second in state to Sky View last year…and didn’t lose any graduating seniors,” Lockwood said. “I’m always very careful not to set unrealistic goals for my teams. But winning the state title is very realistic this year, if the girls work hard.” White certainly hopes that happens and said she will work hard for it. But she’s also got her sights on much loftier goals. “I want to swim in Tokyo in 2020,” White said. And yes, that is the site of the next summer Olympic Games. “I began swimming at about age five or six,” Rhyan added. “My three older brothers and one older sister did it, so it was natural for me to follow.” But unlike those siblings, who White said “drifted away from swimming, at about high school age,” she stuck with it. Now the young woman—who lives with her family in Herriman and drives across the Salt Lake Valley each morning to school—is rapidly becoming a household name in the swimming world, nationwide. White’s top event is the backstroke. Here in Utah, the high school racing distance is 100 meters. Since jumping onto the scene three years ago as a freshman she’s never lost the event and is the state record holder for all Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) classifications. In the ninth grade, White set the state record in the 100 backstroke at 54.75 seconds. The next year she bested that by more than a full second, coming in at 53.45. Last year, her coach reports her winning time was 53.79 seconds. White also won the state title in the 100 butterfly her sophomore year and the 200 individual medley last season. She’s been named the “Utah Female Swimmer of the Year” in her UHASA class each of those three years. But don’t think White has never been disappointed in the pool.
Cottonwood’s Rhyan White (left) has been named Utah’s swimmer of the year three straight years. (Courtesy Ron Lockwood)
“Last summer (at the Olympic time trials in Omaha) I wanted to earn a second race in the 200 backstroke, but fell short by about half a second,” she said. Of all the girls competing in the event, only the top 16 racers qualified for that second race. White said she tied for 18th place. “It just made me even more determined,” Rhyan added. “I’ll be ready the next time.” Utah fans who want to see arguably our best-ever swimmer need to get to a meet quickly. After the 5A state finals meet in February, White will never again swim in a high school race. And a few months later she’ll move across the country. “I honestly never really considered attending a Utah university because I want to extend myself and see what the world is like,” White said. “After visiting Alabama, Texas A&M and Kentucky I’ve now made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Alabama.” In case you’re wondering, it’s 1,771 miles from Herriman to Tuscaloosa. For that matter, it’s 5,477 miles from southern Salt Lake County to Tokyo. So White will be traveling around. “I’ve loved growing as a swimmer here in Utah,” she added, “and I definitely would not be the swimmer I am without (Coach Lockwood). But I think I’m ready for new challenges.” Before that however, Lockwood has high hopes for his Cottonwood teams. “Not only did the girls team not graduate any seniors off last year’s squad, but neither did the boys,” he said. “We could win the state title on both sides.” By the way, Cottonwood High School accomplished that same feat in 1980, a generation before Rhyan White was born. l
December 2017 | Page 21
Murray community shows support for Viewmont, Parkside students after attacks By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com
Carpe Di End
Hundreds turned out to “Walk Mateus Home” after the 11-year-old boy had “racial slurs and hateful remarks” called to him earlier in the month. (Jamie Cheney/Murray resident)
n early October, 11-year-old Mateus Romualdo left Viewmont Elementary after school in what was expected to be a normal routine walk home. Instead, his principal Matt Nelson said he endured racial slurs and hateful remarks that scared him. His mother, Heather, wasn’t frightened. Instead, with members of the community, she organized the “Walk Mateus Home” event, which had a large outpouring of support — from neighbors and friends to the former Utah Jazz center Thurl Bailey and the Jazz Bear — to accompany him one mile to a park nearby his home, Nelson said. “Together, we can stand up and rally together to show our acceptance and support for our students,” Nelson said. “At our (school) Eagle rallies, we talk about intolerance and racism and the need for inclusion. It’s our differences that make us stronger. We need to embrace them.” Nelson estimated about 250 people rallied behind Mateus after a Facebook page was created which encouraged “an opportunity for all of those that are interested and able to visibly demonstrate their solidarity and support of Mateus and all of the other children who should be able to safely walk home from school, and our ABSOLUTE intolerance of racism. This is not a rally, nor a forum for heated debate - this is an opportunity to bring more love and acceptance to our community.” Earlier that day, Nelson spoke to his students. “I just told them that something happened to a student just because of the color of his skin. I kept it simple so a first-grader would be able to hear it and learn that what happened wasn’t right,” he said, adding that students also learned to respect one another from a recent martial arts assembly. While parents received a more detailed message on the school communication app, he said the effort initiated by Romualdo and the community hasn’t slowed. On Halloween, an older Parkside Elementary student was “pounced upon and beat up in what seemed like a gang attack,” said Murray School District spokeswoman D Wright. While the route to the student’s home takes the student through Murray Park, school faculty and staff realized they can do more. Starting Nov. 6, school officials and friends walked with students through Murray Park ensuring safe passage. “We want to encourage safety and prevent any further injury and trauma to our students,” Wright said. “It’s concerning and we don’t want to turn a blind eye.” Wright said that in this case, the attacker(s) are enrolled at Hillcrest Junior High and Murray Police, the school resource officer, the principal and student advocate are all involved reviewing the attack.
At Viewmont, Police Chief Craig Burnett said those who yelled racial slurs are Murray High students. “It’s under investigation, but the kids have been identified,” he said. “It’s not right. It’s mean and terrible what was said and how it was said, but it’s impressive that the school, neighbors, friends and our community came together to support this student. It was a great how quickly it came together to show support.” Burnett also said officers in the area will patrol the area to ensure safety and the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program will continue in schools. Murray High Principal Scott Wihongi said that he had not been included on conversations regarding his students, but was genuinely surprised. “I’m quite shocked as we have a diverse population in our school,” he said. “I hope this is an isolated incident where they used very unfortunate, poor judgment.” Wihongi said that the school’s Peer Leadership Team has ongoing public service announcements on bullying and posters throughout the school. District Director of Student Services Director Darren Dean said the district continues to work on the issue of bullying at each of the schools. “The Murray City School District certainly believes that all of our students should be provided a bully-free environment all the way to and from school and of course, while they are at school,” he said. “It was great to see the Murray community step up against bullies.” This year, Murray School District recently received a three-year Utah State Office of Education gang prevention and intervention grant to place student advocates in each of the secondary schools and one is shared throughout the elementary schools. The student advocates, who are from the Unified Police Department and trained in gang signs and affiliation, will work with highrisk students to help and support them in improving behavior, attendance and academic and life skills. They also will use the “Choose Gang Free” curriculum in the classrooms. At Viewmont, Nelson said the school counselor provides services for students, but he wants to do more. Already he’s motivated and looking into ways to teach tolerance. “We need to be more proactive, not just be reactionary,” he said. “We need to have an accepting culture in our school, on our playground, in our classroom. I’m looking at resources how to teach tolerance. We need to teach it head on — what it is, why we need it, why it’s wrong to say certain things, go over stereotyping and try to get our students more aware and courageous to call out others who put people down and come get adults to step up and help.” l
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murray city Journal
Cottonwood High to host tree festival to help raise funds for Make-a-Wish child By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com
ast year, Cottonwood High students, staff, faculty and the community, raised $6,000 — $1,000 more than their goal — to send Marcus, who lives in Salt Lake City, and his family on a cruise through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
This year, student government leaders again are hoping to help another child receive their wish. New this year will be the introduction of Cottonwood High Tree Festival to help raise funds. “We’re inviting students, clubs, sports teams and anyone in the Cottonwood community to come donate a tree — big or small — for a silent auction that we will hold during a boys’ basketball game,” said Amy Thomas, Cottonwood High student government adviser. “We’re hoping for at least 10 trees to help raise funds for our Make-aWish child.” Thomas said that already several clubs and teams have shown interest in decorating a tree to auction as had the counseling office. Decorations could match the club, such as recycling materials from the Student Conservation Alliance or baseball decorations from the baseball team, but they aren’t required to do so. “It’s a fun way to get everyone involved in the effort,” she said about the idea she borrowed from a school in Utah County. From the silent auction on Dec. 5 alone, Thomas hopes students will raise $1,500. Other ways students have identified to fundraise include a talent show, a date night auction
Cottonwood High School students have goal to bring in $5,000 this holiday season to support a child in the Makea-Wish Foundation through a tree festival and other activities. (Cottonwood High)
and a first class period competition where students try to raise the most for the child. She said students also will walk around at lunch or in the parking lots and ask for donations. Donations also come in
at the holiday school concerts. “It’s amazing how just some spare change starts to add up,” she said. Through the effort, Thomas said students are
learning responsibility as well as leadership, organizational and budget skills. “They’re learning how to advertise and talk to people about why they should donate and how they can raise more money,” she said. “They also see the joy of service and how everyone can do a little, whether it’s giving of their time or their money, and can make a huge difference.” Thomas said the student leaders selected Make-a-Wish Foundation since they realized their money goes directly to a person in the Salt Lake area. “They get to know the person and are making a direct, life-changing impact. They themselves develop a sense of pride and realize that this is a lot bigger than themselves,” she said. The child has yet to be assigned to Cottonwood High, but Thomas said that most of the students have serious or terminal illnesses or have “horrific treatments they’re going through and need a boost.” Marcus had brain tumors, but was willing to come with his family to Cottonwood High during an assembly and explain his treatments. During that same assembly, the students gave Marcus a stick horse, representing their school mascot, the Colts. Marcus trotted around the stage on his horse and has been asking about his Colt friends and stayed in touch with several of them, Thomas said. “It means so much to these high school students when it’s personable and relatable,” she said. l
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December 2017 | Page 23
The Stockings Were Flung in the Chimney with Flair
very year on November 30, while my girls slept, I’d spend the evening putting up Christmas decorations. I’d place every Santa just so and every angel just right. My daughters would wake up to a magical Christmas wonderland with twinkling lights, cinnamon-scented pinecones and beautifully wrapped packages. That was my dream. Reality was much different. Oh, the house was decorated, and the girls were excited, but within five minutes the entire holiday-scape was destroyed. My daughters would walk into the idyllic wonderland I’d created, squeal with glee and run to their favorite Christmas decoration. One daughter immediately turned on the display that had Disney characters barking your favorite carols. If you haven’t heard “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” sung in “Woofs” by Pluto for 25 days in a row, you don’t know the real meaning of Christmas. Another daughter ran to the Nativity scene where she helped Mother Mary run off with Frosty the Snowman, leaving Baby Jesus in the care of a 6-foot polar bear wearing a holiday scarf. Yet another daughter took the ornamental French horn off the wall and marched through the house trumpeting Jingle Bells. Not to be outdone, her little sister used the tree skirt as a cloak and pretended to be the Queen of Christmas,
which caused several fistfights in front of the holy manger. When the girls went off to school each day, I’d put all the decorations back in their traditionally ordained locations. I found Ken and Barbie naked in a Christmas stocking. I discovered one of the Wise Men snuggled with an angel behind an advent calendar. I glued the shepherds’ crooks back on because the girls would have them fight ninja-style and kept breaking them off. I found the singing Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer shoved into a pile of laundry. Oh, wait. I’d put that there. Because it never shut up. The girls would come home from school and spend the rest of the evening rearranging the decorations while I radiated anger. “Leave the damn tree alone!” I’d repeat 40 times a day. “But someone moved my ornament from its special place.” (Insert the sound of Christmas decorations falling off the tree.) When I found the Christmas pillow I had painstakingly cross-stitched had been used to wipe up a Kool-Aid spill, I finally lost it. I was exhausted from trying to redecorate the house every day to keep everything looking perfect. I screeched, in a very unholiday voice, “Put the Baby Jesus back in the manger
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before I tell Santa to burn all your presents!” Everyone froze. The daughter who had wrapped Baby Jesus in layers of toilet paper to keep him warm looked at me, eyes brimming with tears. “I just wanted to hold him,” she said, as her lip quivered. That’s when it hit me. I was the Grinch. Why the hell was I ruining Christmas? Why was I trying to keep everything perfect? To my daughters, it was already perfect. They loved the decorations and wanted to play with them for the short time they were displayed. I took a few deep breaths. I apologized. I even agreed to sit through a Christmas play where the Wise Men kidnapped Jesus and held him for ransom, but a stuffed Santa Claus karate-kicked the Wise Men to rescue the holy babe who
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was given back to Mother Mary. (She had returned from her illicit rendezvous with Frosty in time to change the baby’s diaper and put him back in the manger.) My house was messy and emotional, but delightful and creative, too. This was my Christmas wonderland. l
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