November 2016 | Vol. 16 Iss. 11
Current Murray High students honor alumni By Julie Slama | email@example.com
On display at Murray Museum is memorabilia of Murray High School’s 100-year history. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
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Page 2 | November 2016
Murray resident receives service award for volunteerism By Tyler Warren | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Murray City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout Murray. For information about distribution please email email@example.com or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. For subscriptions please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org The views and opinions expressed in display advertisements do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Loyal Perch Media or the City Journals. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the owner.
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anford Rosenthal sat at his table at the 2016 AARP Awards Ceremony, a smile on his face. The Murray resident had just been presented with the lifetime achievement award for 40 years of volunteer service. A photographer whisked him away for group photos in front of the AARP screen in the corner of the room. Sanford’s wife, Tonya watched him go. There were tears in her eyes as she explained the dedication her husband has for serving others. “He loves it. It makes him happy. He was just telling me today it makes him feel great when he goes to bed at night.” Rosenthal has logged more than 32,000 volunteer hours working for organizations such as the VA Hospital, VFW, Disabled American Veterans and American Legion. Even in the midst of a battle with cancer, he never stopped donating his time to serve others. Today, he continues to volunteer anywhere from 20 to 50 hours a week. Most of this is spent driving patients to and from their appointments at the VA Hospital. But this is far more than a simple shuttle service. “So many seniors rely on taxis to do errands, and taxis aren’t cheap,” Rosenthal said. Whether it’s picking up prescriptions or taking them grocery shopping, he is always willing to make a few detours on the way to the hospital. When he’s not providing a ride to patients of the VA Hospital, Rosenthal can be found working a booth at any number of events around the Wasatch Front. He goes to gun shows, auto shows, festivals, anywhere where he might find disabled seniors and veterans that need help. “So many veterans out there need help, but don’t ever ask for it. Some might be ashamed to admit that they need it, some aren’t aware they are eligible and some don’t trust the VA. A lot of them I can tell they need help by looking at them,” Rosenthal said. In these shows Rosenthal sees an opportunity to connect vets and disabled seniors with the care they need. He also sees an opportunity to find new volunteers. Much of the
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Sanford Rosenthal stands with his award alongside his wife, Tonya, Donna Russel, AARP Utah Volunteer State president and Alan Ormsby, AARP Utah State director. (Don Wilhelmsen)
work Rosenthal does is coordinated through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. RSVP works to match volunteers’ interests and the time they have to give with the needs of the community. “He’s been a wonderful advocate for recruiting volunteers,” said Vicki Jo Hansen, volunteer programs coordinator for RSVP. Hansen nominated Rosenthal for the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Sanford is a very altruistic person who continually gives himself for the benefit of others and I think it’s important to thank people like him.” For Rosenthal, volunteerism is a responsibility. More than that, it’s an essential part of the human experience. “I feel very uncomfortable with the way veterans are treated. I try to help them and their families because I think they deserve it. They’re the innocent ones. We’re all brothers, and, as individuals, we need to support each other. Everybody cares. Even the worst of us have some kind of an understanding about helping people. That’s why we do it, we do it because there’s a need and we care.”
Rosenthal said that being a good volunteer takes a special person, but he was quick to shift the focus off of himself. He credited those who run programs like RSVP, and the volunteer services office of the VA Hospital, which coordinates around 600 volunteers, as the real winners. If it weren’t for these programs that organize and train volunteers—many of them senior volunteers—none of this would be possible. “I think they should be honored with us,” Rosenthal said. Rosenthal is over 80 years old, a retired veteran of the Armed Forces. For well over 20 years, he served his country throughout multiple tours of duty in Vietnam and Korea. Nobody would fault him with taking it easy from here on out. But he said he has “no plans” to retire from volunteering. “I’m going to do it until I die,” Rosenthal said. “Volunteerism is good for your health. It makes you younger, and you feel better about yourself.” l
November 2016 | Page 3
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Page 4 | November 2016
NOVEMBER CALENDAR OF EVENTS Drawing Class – Tuesdays in November at 1:00. Have you always wanted to learn how to draw? Join Susan Harris for her weekly drawing class.
symbols that have been used for centuries to represent and communicate with the gods. You will be able to make your own yarn painting.
Ethical Responsibility – Wednesday, November 2 & 9 at 1:00.
Santa Fe Railway in the Golden State – Friday, November 18 at 12:30.
“To lie or not to lie?” that is the question. Decisions-decisions. Join David Jabusch for discussions of ethical decision-making, such as when do you tell a “white lie”? When does the end justify the means? Or are ethics relative or absolute? Bring your own examples. Stories from the Grave – Thursday, November 3 at 12:30. The Salt Lake City Avenues Cemetery is full of legends, mysteries and gravesites of influential individuals who helped build this great city. Come learn about the lives of these famous individuals and to unravel the mysteries with Historian Linda Hilton. The Navajo – Thursday, November 10 at 1:00. The Navajo Nation occupies more that 27,000 square miles of desert land in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The Navajo people are known for their beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry and woven blankets. During WWII, their native language was used as an unbreakable code. We welcome Professor Anthony Shirley from U of U back to present on the traditions and history of his Navajo people.
Brittany from the American Diabetes Association will be here to present on diabetes care and prevention. Birthday Tuesday, November 1 at 11:30 If your birthday is in November, please see Cheryl to receive a special lunch ticket. The Advisory Committee will make your lunch donation for you on this day. We look forward to celebrating a lot of November birthdays! Entertainment by fabulous jazz pianist Jimmy Reed. Veteran’s Day Party on Thursday, November 10th at 11:30
Seasonal Crafts – Wednesday , November 2 and 16 at 12:30.
Thanksgiving Party on Friday, November 18th at 11:30
Ted Talks: The Surprising Science of Happiness.– Thursday, November 17 at 10:00. Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned. Yarn Paintings by the Huichol People – Thursday, November 17 at 12:30. Join Virginia Catherall, Curator at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, to learn about the vibrant art of the Huichol People of Mexico. From yarn painting to intricate bead art, their works are recognized for being ornate, colorful, and incorporating traditional
By Travis Barton | email@example.com
Diabetes Care and Prevention – Tuesday, November 29 at 10:00.
Enjoy this Epic HBO film about the subjugation and cultural extermination of the Sioux tribe in the 19th century.
Get ready for the holidays with another round of seasonal crafts. Cost of material is $4.00 payable at the front desk when you sign up. Please sign up at least a week in advance so supplies can be purchased. November 2: Fillable Ornaments. November 16: Christmas Clothespin Wreath.
Constitution Week officially proclaimed by Mayor
Take a detailed look at Santa Fe’s operations from the Bay Area to Barstow via Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Tehachapi Loop. This is a great show for model railroaders and those interested in railroad history.
We will be honoring and remembering our veterans while being entertained by Calvin Law. Let Cheryl at the front desk know if you will be attending by November 2. Suggested donation for lunch is $3.00. Please donate what you can. Mt. Olympus will be CLOSED on Friday, November 11th fin honor of Veteran’s Day
Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee – Wednesday, November 23 @ 12:30.
This is a wonderful feast that we look forward to all year long. The meal will include turkey, gravy, dressing, mashed potato, green beans, roll and pumpkin pie. Jenny Floor will be playing background piano music. Cheryl at the front desk needs to know by November 9 if you plan to join us. The suggested donation for this excellent meal is only $3.00. Mt. Olympus Will be CLOSED on Thursday and Friday, November 24th and 25th for the Thanksgiving Holiday Annual Advisory Committee Basket Raffle Beginning December 1, basket raffle tickets will be sold by the Advisory Committee, 3 tickets for $1, at the front desk between 10:00 until 2:00. Baskets will be in the display case with assigned numbers. Place your ticket in the corresponding numbered box behind the front desk. Drawing will be held after the Holiday meal on December 16. This is an exciting fundraiser held by Mt. Olympus Advisory Committee.
Mayor Ted Eyre signs a proclamation recognizing and supporting Constitution Week in Murray. (Carol Howard)
here’s no better way to kick off Constitution Week than with a proclamation. The Princess Timpanogos Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) read a proclamation from Murray Mayor Ted Eyre that Sept. 16 through 22 will be recognized as Constitution Week. It was read at the chapter’s meeting in Murray on Sept. 19 to commemorate the week. Carol Howard, regent of the Princess Timpanogos Chapter of DAR, was with Eyre when he signed the proclamation. “It was very exciting… [for the mayor] to make this specially for us. It was very special,” Howard said. The mayor’s proclamation read that “the aim of Constitution Week is to emphasize citizen’s responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution” and went on to say that the week “is a perfect opportunity to take time to read and study this great inspired document which is the safeguard of our American Liberties.” This proclamation now runs in conjunction with one made by Governor Gary Herbert. The mayor’s proclamation included an appreciation for the efforts of DAR, a women’s service organization dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its members are comprised of women who are directly descended from those involved in the Revolutionary War. The meeting saw different patriotic messages shared and a special emphasis placed on service in the community as well as a letter from one member’s son who is currently serving
in the army. It was capped by Howard reading the proclamation and hearing from guest speaker Nadine Wimmer of KSL who spoke about education in democracy. “Education is the great equalizer in everything,” Wimmer told the women in attendance. “I applaud what [DAR] does to continue those traditions of strong education, strong democracy and the importance of that.” Howard said it marked an important day for a special document. “If you don’t uphold the Constitution and stand by what its written for then our liberties are in jeopardy,” Howard said. Howard, who doesn’t live in Murray, said the people of Murray are lucky to have Eyre as mayor. “[It’s impressive for him] to want to uphold those privileges of the Constitution and perpetuate that no matter where you live,” Howard said. DAR’s roots run deep in America and not just historically. DAR also is responsible for the programs of the naturalization court. Members of DAR were present on Sept. 17 at Heritage Park in Salt Lake City when 240 people received American citizenship. As a result of four new members added during the meeting, the Princess Timpanogos Chapter is now made up of 48 members. “It takes a lot of genealogy work to become a member,” Howard said. DAR was founded on Oct. 11, 1890 and has since admitted more than 950,000 members. l
Employees branch out for Jordan River restoration project By Travis Barton | firstname.lastname@example.org
About 40 volunteers from Salt Lake City company, Stantec, helped plant 375 plants, shrubs and trees along the Jordan River Parkway on Sept. 21. (Stantec)
n late September, employees from Stantec got down and dirty along the Jordan River Parkway in Murray, helping to plant 375 plants, shrubs and trees along a quarter-mile stretch of riverbank. It’s the second year the employees have done this volunteer work. Julie Howe is an environmental scientist for Stantec, an engineering and design firm. Howe said the project for the parkway will help stabilize stream banks. “[The project] will help get rid of invasive species, it prevents erosion and it also looks a lot nicer,” Howe said. Stantec and Salt Lake County have worked together previously on restoration projects as part of the county’s watershed plan. Funding for the project was partially provided through a Stantec grant of $1,000 to help purchase the necessary plants for the parkway. Cottonwoods, willows, dogwoods and alder were among the trees planted while plants like wild roses are placed in specific areas according to their needs, all of which were native to the area. “It’s all planned out to help ensure the growth or survival of the plants,” Howe said. Being declared by the state as “an impaired waterbody,” the Jordan River Parkway is part of the county’s
November 2016 | Page 5
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This was the second year Stantec has volunteered to plant vegetative life as part of the Jordan River restoration project. (Stantec)
ecosystem restoration project. Howe said the county will do the restorative work with time and funds, but with Stantec’s assistance, the project can increase efficiency. “It not only helps get this project done but it allows the county to do more projects themselves,” Howe said. The volunteer activity was part of a Stantec service day with more than 8,000 employees volunteering time in their communities around the world. The
all the time so it’s more visual for us,” Howe said. “I really enjoy it because we get out there and work hard and we can see the results both after we finish and the following year to see how the plants have survived.” The county’s watershed plan encompasses the Jordan River and its connecting tributaries. In her work, Howe deals with storm water quality so projects with the Jordan River are right in her wheelhouse.
“I like the fact that Stantec wants to get involved in their community and make a difference.” company has more than 400 locations across six continents. “This kind of community involvement is great for the company…I like the fact that Stantec wants to get involved in their community and make a difference,” Howe said. While it was a global initiative, Howe said it was great for employees— from the Salt Lake and Sandy offices— to work on a local project. About 40 employees participated in the Sept. 21 planting. “We all drive over the Jordan River
“It’s sort of a broader project that helps restore our community,” Howe said. Jordan River Parkway can expect Stantec employees to return for next year’s planting with much interest and enthusiasm. “We’ve already taken a vote and everybody wants to do it again…I like just everybody getting out there and getting their hands dirty,” Howe said. l
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Page 6 | November 2016
Murray Youth Excel Club exemplifies community service By Tyler Warren | email@example.com
The Murray Youth Excel Club gave 100 hours of service during the Red Cross Blood Drive this summer. (Murray Youth Excel Club)
The Murray Youth Excel Club gave 100 hours of service during the Red Cross Blood Drive this summer. (Murray Youth Excel Club)
Students from the Excel Club frequently volunteer with the Burrito Project in downtown Salt Lake City. (Murray Youth Excel Club)
“Service doesn’t take a holiday.”
It is time for change! It’s time for someone who cares more about serving, than having a career in politics. It’s time for someone who thinks “government is the problem” and not the solution. It is time to improve education. Our teachers have been neglected. Our children are individuals. Vote for new, Vote for change, Vote for different.
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e wanted to thank our police officers for all they have done for us,” said Rebecca Heaton, a senior at Murray High School at the Sept. 30 meeting of the Murray City Council. “So just like we gave the firefighters heat packs a few years ago when the rivers were flooding, we wanted to do the same for you. Thank you for taking the heat off of us,” she concluded and placed a homemade heat pack on the podium. Heaton is a member of the Murray Youth Excel Club, which operates under the guidance of the National Exchange Club. She and other members of the Excel Club came to the meeting to honor police officers. But their service to the community was equally worthy of recognition. The Murray Youth Excel Club works under the principles of the National Exchange Club. They promote education, respect for the flag of the United States, volunteerism and community service. In particular, the Excel Club works closely with the National Exchange Club’s primary objective: the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence. If you live in Murray, you have probably seen the Excel Club’s work before. “One of the most noticeable things we do is tie flags out in front of City Hall in April,” Heaton said. The Murray Youth Excel Club partners with the City for child abuse prevention month. Every pinwheel represents a reported case of child abuse in Murray. Another project that Murray residents may be familiar with is October’s Haunted Woods in Murray Park. The Haunted Woods is a Murray tradition that goes back 35 years. The Excel Club has been running it for the last five. All the proceeds of the Haunted Woods go toward the prevention of child abuse. Last year, the event raised $8,000. Sheri Van Bibber serves as an adviser to the Excel Club, but she stressed that the students are responsible for finding their own projects. “They keep me in line more than I keep them in line. I just help guide them. They are the vehicle, I’m just the steering wheel.” There are 25 students in the club, including
some from Bingham and Skyline high schools. The students are heavily involved in projects both in and outside the classroom. Many of them are participants in student government, but it is the time they spend in community service that really shines. “We added up the hours our youth worked last year and they did over 1,500 hours of service,” Van Bibber said. “Like the cream always rises to the top these kids are the cream of the crop. They do projects all over the state.” Much of the Excel Club’s work is done through homeless shelters across the Wasatch Front. Last year, students partnered with the Salt Lake Homeless Youth Shelter, South Valley Sanctuary, Taylorsville Family Center, Midvale Shelter, and the Utah Co-op. The students also partner with local nonprofits. One of these is the Burrito Project, which Van Bibber said they usually work with once a month. The Burrito Project is a group that meets two to three times a week to make and distribute 600 burritos to homeless people in downtown Salt Lake City. This year, they have already been involved in more than 17 projects since July. Thirteen students have completed 100 hours of service for the Red Cross alone. The students are currently meeting with a new youth shelter to assess their needs and see what they can do to help. The Murray Youth Excel club is so exemplary of the objectives of the National Exchange Club that Van Bibber was asked to attend the national conference in Houston, Texas over the summer. “They wanted to know how we get our kids to do service 12 months a year. Most people run their clubs through the high school. We run ours through the city. We’re always going,” Van Bibber said. Some clubs at the conference expressed doubt that their students would be able to volunteer for the full year. Like so many aspects of life, Van Bibber said it comes down to finding the right balance. “We need to train our mentality,” she said. “Service doesn’t take a holiday.” l
Royalty crowned: Alyse Horton named Miss Murray 2017 By Travis Barton | email@example.com
lyse Horton, 22, was named Miss Murray 2017 on Sept. 17 at Murray High School. The victory comes with a $3,000 scholarship that she plans to use for graduate school. It was Horton’s first pageant she’s ever entered. Horton, who majored in public health and business at Westminster College, now works for a non-profit called Utah Health Policy Project. The Murray Journal spoke with Horton about winning the pageant and what she plans to do in Murray this year. What inspired you to enter the pageant in the first place? A lot of people ask me that and usually I tell them, ‘Oh I kind of did it on a whim, I wanted to see if I could do it, I wanted to try something new.’ But I think what really did it was the ability to be involved in your community and do something. I chose to do it at a time when I just graduated from college and I didn’t have this job yet and I was still trying to figure out what to do. I was frustrated because I had this education behind me but I wasn’t using it to help people like I wanted to so that’s what prompted me to do the pageant. What kind of preparation did you do for the Miss Murray pageant? A lot of the prep was with my talent. I sang and played the guitar—which I’ve never taken a voice lesson or a guitar lesson—it’s just something I’ve always done. So that prep was the most difficult part. Then you just have to work out, eat clean and a lot of interview preparation. The biggest percent of your score comes from your interview and onstage questions so it’s a lot of studying on current events in Murray and Utah. What have you learned about yourself during the process? Public speaking skills, I feel like I’ve always had pretty strong public speaking but they’ve became more refined. And just the importance of always knowing what’s going on
your murray schools Murray City School District newsletter
november 2016 A Message from Superintendent Steven Hirase Regarding the Upcoming Election
Alyse Horton stands in the center with a crown on her head after being named Miss Murray 2017. Lauren Wells wears her blue dress and was named first runnerup and was the recipient of an $800 scholarship while Abby Johnson holds flowers in her green dress as second runner-up and received a $600 scholarship. (Amanda Parsons/Resident)
November 2016 | Page 7
in your community was huge for me. I feel like I stay pretty up to date on what’s going on but I realized I’m not doing as much as I could be to get involved in my community. Tell me about the experience of being named Miss Murray? It was really a unique experience. The night went by so fast, it felt like we were only onstage for like 10 minutes…it just goes by so fast and then they’re calling names. Honestly, I just couldn’t believe it. It took me a couple a seconds for it to sink in that I actually won and all that work I had done before actually paid off. What is your platform as Miss Murray? The platform I’ve chosen to focus on this year as Miss Murray is the opioid epidemic so my platform is titled, “Use only as directed: the prevention of prescription drug abuse.” I’ve already been going into some of the schools and talking to kids about making healthy choices and I’ll be helping out with Murray High School’s red ribbon week. I’m just trying to get into the schools and just talk about the issue and things we can do to prevent it. I really want to get access to the parents of the Murray community because I think the parents are the number one preventers of the issue. I’ll be hosting a huge event on May 20, where people can come and drop off their old prescription drugs. I’ll also be trying to partner with local organizations that do a lot of work with the issue. What inspired your choice of platform? I have a lot of friends, when I was in junior high and high school, who would steal their parents’ prescription drugs and abuse them. I know many people who have died or suffered from prescription drug abuse so for those personal reasons that’s why I chose it. Also as a public health major I know it’s one of the leading causes of death in Utah and we rank fourth in the nation for prescription drug abuse. l
Schools and school districts face critical times during the school year that set the tone for many of our future successes and directions. I often have the opportunity to speak with parents who are anxious about issues such as the size of class their child’s class, the amount of testing that a student is subjected to, or maybe a safety concern regarding the cancellation of a bus route because it does not meet the criteria for funding from the state. Most of these concerns are a reaction to decisions that are made by the Utah State Legislature or the Utah State Board of Education. I am bringing this information to your attention at this time because if you are an individual that is concerned about issues that impact your child’s education, NOW is the time to take action. While circumstances related to national elections seem to have many people Superintendent Steven Hirase discouraged and perhaps feeling a bit un-empowered, there are many local elections that have a direct impact on our school district. This year we will elect/re-elect two local school board members, a state school board member, state representatives and senators that will have influence upon your child’s education. I would encourage you to gather information about our local candidates and be sure that your voice is heard by casting your ballot. Don’t let this opportunity to make a difference pass you by!
Annual MEF Golf Tournament
Miss Murray 2017 Alyse Horton visits Parkside Elementary to highlight Red Ribbon Week at the school.
A Pep Rally Assembly was held at Viewmont Elementary School in October as part of the Murray City School District Student Services Parents Empowered initiative. The Underage Drinking Prevention Campaign is a yearlong process involving a wide array of community partners. To become involved in this important cause, contact Deb Ashton, MCSD Prevention Programs Coordinator at 801-2647400; email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about Parents Empowered, go to www.ParentsEmpowered.org
The 18th annual MEF Golf Tournament was held in September at the Lynn F. Pett Parkway Murray Golf Course. The turn-out was great and the participants enthusiastically supported the Murray Education Foundation. As a result of money raised at this event, dozens of grants were awarded to MCSD teachers for use in implementing new ideas and programs which will impact numerous children in our district. Congratulations to the 2016 MEF Golf Tournament Winners and thanks to all sponsors and participants for your support of our schools, teachers, and students!
First place winners from this year, RW Lawncare.
Murray City SChool DiStriCt 5102 South Commerce Drive • Murray, UT 84107 Phone 801-264-7400 | Fax 801-264-7456 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.
Page 8 | November 2016
Save the Centre
By Alisha Soeken | email@example.com
MISSION STATEMENTS: The Murray Chamber creates synergy among professionals. We facilitate the creation of long lasting business relationships between members that are based on trust, value and cooperation. We provide tools to connect education, service opportunities and interaction between members.
The Murray Area Chamber of Commerce thanks the following members for reinvesting in their memberships. When shopping or looking for a product or service, be sure to contact the chamber. We are YOUR Business Family!
THANK YOU FROM YOUR MURRAY CHAMBER! Mountain American CU – Tyson Taylor Utah Power & Light Credit Union – Dennis Hymas Brio Tuscan Grille – Steve Rose
Winmark – Pam Tupa Apple Spice Junction – Jody Woolsey The Adoption Exchange – Lindsay Kaeding
Eggs & Issues held every Friday
Anna’s Restaurant 4700 So. 900 East 7:30 – 8:30am Meeting open to the public! Chamber membership not required to attend We kindly ask you order from the menu to keep the room free of charge November 3: Murray City Police Department Join us the first Friday of EACH month as we hear from our Murray City Police Chief, Craig Burnett. This is YOUR opportunity as a Murray business or resident to share your concerns and issues. November 11: Linda Milne – Emergency Preparedness for your Business November 18: Miss Murray, Alyse Horton – Prescription Drug Use Increase in Utah November 25: No Meeting – Thanksgiving Holiday
FAMILY COUNSELING CENTER
My name is George Wilkinson. I have been a member of the Murray Area Chamber for approximately 12years. I have lived most of my life in Bountiful but I have found a great business family at the Murray Chamber of Commerce. I have served as an ambassador and head of the ambassadors and even chairman of the board of directors for the Murray chamber. I love the fact that I’ve been able to grow my business while making great friendships through the Murray Chamber that have lead me to a lot of great contacts. The Murray Chamber wants to help you grow your business with events, networking and ribbon cuttings all offered to provide exposure for your business. It’s
he art and culture of dance is a treasure to those who love and promote it. Two of those promoters are Murray residents Susan and Bill Wright. “Adults and children are exposed to so much harsh loud music, to X-rated shows and violence. The arts take you to another place. Dance and ballet refine and better your life,” Susan Wright said. That belief led Susan and husband Bill to open the Murray Arts Centre 30 years ago. “We bought the old Grand Central Discount Store and started fixing it up. It was a mess,” Wright said. That mess was transformed into a beautiful,12,000-square-foot ballroom that soon became home to other lovers of dance and good culture. One such person is Teleni Togisala who has been dancing at the Murray Arts Centre for over 30 years. “I like the environment, I like the hall, the light and music but most of all I love the owners. They are the most wonderful people,” Togisala said. And that love is reciprocated. “My favorite thing about the Arts Centre is the people. It’s an older crowd that comes and the place has become kind of a social center for them,” Wright said. It is also a social center to a younger crowd. The Elkridge Middle School’s ballroom team has made it their tradition to come to the Murray Arts Centre and dance after making the second year ballroom team. They come for fun and because it’s a safe and unique environment. There is no smoking or drinking allowed at the Murray Arts Centre and its patrons appreciate that. The Centre is also known for its wonderful live music. Eighty-three year old Laura has been dancing at the Arts Centre for over 15 years and comes early to get a seat near the band. “I love the band playing tonight. I hate to
Teleni Togisala has come to dance at the Murray Arts Centre for over 30 years. (Alisha Soeken/City Journals)
miss them. I love the piano player and I told him ‘Liberace has nothing on you,’” Laura said. Laura spoke of the Ken Foster Trio who has played at the Murray Arts Centre for almost 20 years. Brian Foster, Ken Foster and Robert Macart —who played with the Osmonds for eight years — enjoy the variety of music they get to play at the Murray Arts Centre. “Here we get to play lots of swing music, Latin stuff and rock. We even throw in a couple pop tunes now and then to mix things up and freak everybody out,” Brian Foster said. But it’s the future of the Centre that freaks people out, not its music. Music and dance have filled the large ballroom for over 30 years. Marriage proposals have been made, weddings performed, and endless dances given under its roof but for the first time the life and longevity of the Murray Arts Centre is in question. The City of Murray purchased the land for development and so those who call it home now plead for its survival. l
great to be connected with others who have products and services in the Murray area. I have belonged to other chambers but for my money I choose the Murray Area Chamber of Commerce. Even though there’s quite a bit of travel involved in belonging to the Murray Chamber. It has been well worth the time and expense with all the great events that the Murray Chamber has to offer. I can’t think of a better way to spend my marketing dollars then to be able to be a part of such a terrific organization. George Wilkinson Murray Chamber Board Member, Legalshield Director
Part of Elkridge Middle School’s ballroom team at the Murray Arts Centre. (Alisha Soeken/City Journals)
Small space, big memorial By Alisha Soeken | firstname.lastname@example.org
November 2016 | Page 9
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Please help us Save animals By Donating this holiday Season Saturday, December 3, 10am - 2pm Support the animals at the Murray Shelter with a Gift or Donation! Socialized and behaved pets welcome. Light refreshments available for pets and their humans! thank you for your support.
Sign for the Murray City Museum on a gas lamp originally from the Vine Street Library. (Alisha Soeken/City Journals)
ature proves in a tiny seed that potential cannot be determined by size. The Murray City Museum reminds one of this. Situated on State Street sits a small, unassuming room home to the Murray City Museum organized in 2003 for the city’s centennial. “The museum tells a great story. It’s the story of how Murray came to be, starting with its agricultural and smelter dynamic and how the conflict between those two created the desire to incorporate,” MaryAnn Kirk said. Kirk has been an administrator for the city of Murray for almost 25 years and has worked in the museum since its opening. Kirk believes the museum’s artifacts are its greatest asset. “Many families gave the museum their prize possessions just so that others could see them. We have a great stewardship.” Among the artifacts of dishes, art, clothes and farm equipment are the boxing gloves of Ernest “Cyclone” Wright, Wielder-Weight champion in 1910 and a member of Murray’s first volunteer fire department. Also on display are one of the first official city ballots, the cane and top hat of Murray’s first mayor C.L Miller and the key to Murray’s first jail. “For a lot of people in our community this museum and these artifacts are their story. It’s the story of their parents and grandparents. We have a great resource for them to discover their family roots. We have family files and oral histories where we’ve actually caught on tape their ancestors telling their life story,” Kirk said.
One can find stories from people like early settlers James Thomas Snarr, Janet McMillan and Murray’s first town marshal, Michael Mauss. The story of farmer Jonas Erekson’s wife Mary Jane Powell — who was a midwife and later developed a remedy for diphtheria — can also be found. The museum tells stories and showcases events that brought growth and diversity to Murray City. Because of its central location Murray became an ideal place to build smelters to process ore from the booming mining industry. Between 1870 and 1910 there were eight smelters operating in Murray. Because of this Murray’s ethnic diversity changed dramatically. Smelter, mining and railway companies began importing laborers from eastern and southern Europe. People came to Murray from Greece, Italy, the Slavic regions and Japan. The faces of those immigrants hang on the museum walls. People like Tom Peters who traveled to Cuba to meet his pre-arranged bride Angeline from Greece or Joe Sharich who came from Yugoslavia with his brothers, or Stephan Vicchirilli who left Italy twice to work in the smelters and was finally able to pay for his wife Maria and son to come to Murray. The stories of these people and of their city are what attracts visitors from all over the United States to Murray’s Museum. And Kirk extends a welcome to all. “If you’ve never been to the Murray Museum, come. You are really missing out on an opportunity to learn the story of your community,” l Kirk said.
“For a lot of people in our community this museum and these artifacts are their story. It’s the story of their parents and grandparents.”
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Page 10 | November 2016
Utah State University campus coming to Murray By Tyler Warren | email@example.com
tah State University has officially approved Murray as the location of their new Salt Lake Regional Campus. “This will start the dominoes falling for our downtown development,” Mayor Eyre said, announcing the news at the Oct. 4 meeting of the Murray City Council. The Mayor expressed his excitement at being able to finally make the news public. The project just completed a lengthy approval process with the USU Board of Trustees and Utah State Board of Regents. Currently the University’s Salt Lake Regional Campus is housed within the old Granite School District campus. But with the end of their lease around the corner, Utah State University has been looking for a permanent home for this facility. “We’ve been working with [USU] for around eight-10 months, talking through this,” said Tim Tingey, director of the Redevelopment Agency of Murray. The proximity of this location to TRAX and FrontRunner stations was a big draw and is designed to serve commuter students across the Salt Lake Valley. USU has regional campuses throughout Utah, offering students many of the same services they would receive attending the main campus in Logan. Students can earn their degrees through a mix of online and classroom courses. The proposed Salt Lake Regional Campus will be a 25,000-square-foot, multilevel building located on 4800 South and State Street. USU will be the building’s primary occupant, but will share the space with other tenants. The building will include space for retail stores or other commercial enterprises on upper levels.
The bottom floor will be left open for a larger tenant, possibly a banking institution. The developer for this project is JR Miller Enterprises, who have an exclusive contract with the City for development within the Central Business District. Tim Tingey said the City is still going through the final approval process with the developer and USU. However, he hoped that they would break ground “within the next few months.” But there are still a few more things that need to happen. JR Miller still needs to present a development agreement to the City. This will include costs and the look and feel of the building. The land on which the building will sit is currently owned by the Redevelopment Agency of Murray. Should the city approve the agreement, a public meeting process will begin for the sale of the property. After that point, construction can finally start. Tingey said he hoped it would be completed around January 2018. “We’ve got a little work left to do but we’re excited,” Tingey said. Regardless, securing the anchor tenant was a major step for the developer. The school fits in with Murray’s vision for the Central Business District, and the broader aims of the General Plan. Another aspect of the plan for this area is a proposed parking structure. The structure would serve this building as one of its tenants, but would serve other businesses in the downtown area as well. “We’re going to look at building the parking structure to facilitate parking for some of this building and additional business and economic activity,” Tingey said. l
USU’s Salt Lake Regional Campus is currently housed within the Granite School District Education Center (Tyler Warren/City Journals)
The proposed new location will be on the corner of 4800 South and State Street (Tyler Warren/City Journals)
Viewmont Elementary students choose to make healthy choices By Julie Slama | firstname.lastname@example.org
ake healthy choices” was the clear message to Viewmont Elementary students as Parents Empowered, the president of Murray School Board of Education, Miss Murray, Murray Police and others teamed to convey the message. “Underage drinking may be a tough thing for a six-year-old to understand, but ‘stop, think, and make a healthy choice,’ they can relate to — and it can mean on the playground to being confronted with uncomfortable choices,” Principal Missy Hamilton said. “We have minimal homework, but our real ‘homework’ is to have a conversation with your kids, ask who they are sitting with at lunch, how they can be a better friend. When we talk and engage with our kids, we’re empowered and are having a more powerful influence with our children.” Tying into Red Ribbon month — dedicated to substance abuse and violence prevention education — at the Oct. 5 assembly, student leaders performed a skit with rocks representing how hard decisions can weigh heavily upon students. This tied into Geneva Rock Product’s Gravel Asphalt Sales Manager Adam Anderson bringing stones for each elementary student to remind them about stopping, thinking and deciding to make a healthy choice. “It’s a physical reminder that they can tuck in their backpack or put on their night stand to remind them that they are not alone,” Anderson said. “They have parents, teachers, community members and businesses that are rooting for them and wanting them to resist underage drinking.” Doug Murakami, with Utah Department Beverage Control and representing Parents Empowered, said the message reached those approaching junior high age. “For those of you who will be going to junior high, a lot more importance will be placed on your goals and who you are,” he said. “Think back to this assembly, hold your thinking stone, and make
Viewmont sixth-graders perform a skit demonstrating difficult decisions students have to make and remind them to make healthy choices. (Julie Slama/ City Journals)
sure you’re strong and do the right thing for you and your future. Don’t follow students who make poor choices.” Murakami applauded Murray, which has become a model community, bringing together many entities and individuals to get the message to students. “Murray is taking a lead to reach the kids before they start down the path and reach a place they don’t want to be in the future. Everyone is taking a stand to educate students and parents what is right and wrong and putting a curriculum and message out for students to make healthy choices,” he said. Part of the healthy choice, Miss Murray Alyse Horton said is to promote activities that they love, that lead to a healthy lifestyle. A graduate of Murray High and Westminster College and with a platform of prescription drug abuse prevention, she emphasized sports to the students since she was a former college athlete in volleyball and basketball.
“I want them to get out and do something they love and be healthy at it,” Horton said. “Many of you already are making so many wonderful decisions. Remember to make healthy choices — I’m all about that.” Murray School District Prevention Specialist Deb Ashton said that with the support of a Parents Empowered mini-grant of $10,000, a three-part program was launched with 25 community coalition leaders to reach Murray students with the message to stop underage drinking. “In a Murray student survey in September, students in eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders were drinking at higher rates than their counterparts across the state,” Ashton said. “We need to start a dialogue with students and parents that underage drinking is wrong.” E-cigarette and marijuana use amongst those grades in a 2015 survey also were higher than their peers statewide. Ashton said that part of the program has a Parents Empowered booth in schools during the fall parent-teacher conferences. This booth has scripts to start the conversations about the importance of students recognizing the harmful effects of underage drinking on the developing brain as well as to promote that dialogue in families. “We’ve incorporated it into our district curriculum so every classroom is learning the same thing at their level, the same vocabulary, doing the same interactive fun activities and learning the skills to make healthy choices,” she said. Murray Board of Education President Mitzie Huff said that she hopes the message reached students. “When they’re faced with it, we hope they have the confidence to stand up to the pressure and realize their future depends on their decision,” Huff said. “We want them to be successful members of our community now and in the future.” l
November 2016 | Page 11
UTA police teach safety to Liberty kindergartners By Julie Slama | email@example.com
t may have seemed like a fun day for Liberty elementary students—coloring with Utah Transit Authority police, eating pizza and cupcakes with them, then petting Bobbie, their explosives detection dog. But it was more than that. “Community outreach is important, but we’re here to make sure that the boys and girls understand how to cross railroad tracks safely with or without Mom or Dad,” said UTA Police Lt. Alex Blauer on Sept. 30. “We also want to put a friendly face on police officers and let them know we are here to help. We want to build relationships with these students, their brothers and sisters and families.” This is the first outreach program UTA police have performed, but hope to reach other schools, especially those located by TRAX. “Transit officers are unique. We’re a city in motion, not set by boundaries. So we’re hoping to serve those people who not only use our trains on a regular basis, but to educate those who are nearby,” he said. As part of Operation Lifesaver, an outreach Union Pacific program, UTA police went over a train safety coloring book with students and also gave them a junior police badge and safety bracelet. “We wanted to be engaged with the
After spending the day teaching Liberty kindergartners about TRAX safety, Utah Transit Authority police and students smile for a group photo. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
students so when they may see us on a train or at a crossing, they may remember our visit and won’t be scared,” Blauer said. Kindergarten teacher Alysia McIntosh said her all-day kindergartners were excited about the presentation. “It’s been awesome for our kids,” she said. “Many of them cross TRAX to go home, so they now know where to cross or stand on a
SSCO E D
platform if they ride TRAX. It’s been great for them to go over safety rules and something we can easily review.” Principal Jill Burnside said UTA police approached her about coming to the school where about one quarter of the students need to cross TRAX rails when they walk to school. “They’re a valuable resource who took the initiative to make sure our students learned how
to be safe around TRAX,” she said. “They’re amazing and showed true generosity.” A highlight for many students was seeing the German shorthaired pointer, Bobbie, who’s partner-handler, officer Chad Ziegenhorn, brought the dog with him to the force. The seven-year-old dog was originally with the Marine Corps before partnering with Ziegenhorn and has been trained to be on alert for explosives. “He hasn’t been trained to bite, so he’s able to interact with the students and be a pet and one of the family at home,” Ziegenhorn said. “It’s good that the students learn not all police dogs are fierce.” Ziegenhorn told the kindergartners that “Bobbie rides around in the trains with me to keep you safe. He looks for bombs and guns and other things. What he really likes to search for is a ball so he could spend hours doing that. It’s fun for him.” Five-year-old Logan Eyre said that he liked when the dog came to the class. “We could pet him,” he said. “I want a dog and I want to be a policeman with my dog. I learned about safety rules. I learned to stand behind the white line (on the platform) to be safe.” l
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Page 12 | November 2016
Current Murray High students honor alumni
Miss Teen of Utah reads her book to Liberty Elementary students
By Julie Slama | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Julie Slama | email@example.com
hen Miss Teen of Utah Megan Okumura asked Liberty students what they thought a pageant is, fourth-graders answered: big puffy dresses, tiaras and beauty contests. The high school junior informed them that wasn’t the case when she was crowned. “This pageant was not a beauty pageant, (but it was) focused on scholastic achievements, service to school and community, personal development, general awareness of today’s world, personality, projection and confidence,” Megan said. “When people hear the word Former Murray High alumni were welcomed Sept. 23 during the school’s centennial assembly and home‘pageant’ they immediately associate it with coming pep assembly. (D Wright/Murray School District) the word ‘beauty,’ but this specific pageant was designed to help youth in America reach their full rack medals with dulled ribbons, pressed Now, 100 years later, we’ve had thousands of potential and gain recognition for their hard work and achievements, not based on their looks. That Miss Teen of Utah Megan Okumura reads her own book prom corsages with brittle petals and faded graduates,” he said. to Liberty students, sharing with them the message that school Merry Go Round newspapers are some of The year-long celebration continues as was the most influential reason why I decided to they all have inner beauty. (Julie Slama/City Journals) participate.” the cherished possessions from early Murray High the Murray City Museum has five prominent Megan wasn’t looking for a pageant to students that are on display this year at the Murray display cases filled of Murray High graduates’ City Museum. memorabilia, some from its early days and others, enter. In fact, the 16-year-old had never entered a wrote this one when I was 14. Reading my book They may also have told some of the stories showcasing generations of family members who pageant until a letter arrived in the mail inviting to them was a dream for me. I can foresee the her, based upon her scholastic achievement, to impact it can give children if I were to publish it of the early students and graduates of Murray have graduated from the high school. High, five of which were honored Sept. 23 at the “We started calling people and asking people compete in the Miss Teen of America pageant. and have it in libraries,” she said. Megan said that through the experience, she school’s 100th year celebration assembly before who knew people to try to locate some of the She also was motivated to compete when she its homecoming game. earliest students,” said Mary Ann Kirk, Murray learned the pageant was linked to the Special was able to relate to students at different levels. “The kindergartners wanted to know about The five former students who walked the City’s cultural arts director. “Some of them were Olympics and the winner would receive a $250 inclusion event at the competitor’s high school. my favorite color while the fifth-graders, I could red carpet for the pep assembly to the applause our grand marshals in the (4th of July) parade and “Having worked with special needs students see, could understand the message,” she said. of students included 99-year-old Georgia Riley others heard about the display and offered to share in school and at my church, I decided it was a Fourth-grader Katelyn Meyers would like Tripp, who attended Murray High but because of their stories.” wonderful opportunity to be able to bring more to follow in Megan’s footsteps and write a book. The Depression stopped attending school to help The museum’s grand opening of the display awareness of the Special Olympics in Utah, if I “I really do want to write a book like how earn money for her family; 93-year-old Ruby was held Sept. 24, but the exhibit at 5025 State St. she wrote we accept each other even if we’re Losser Douglas, class of 1941; 92-year-old Margie will remain open through the school year, Kirk said. won,” she said. In addition to the title, and hosting a Special different,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how we Shaw Hamblin, class of 1942; 92-year-old Wally “The stories are amazing. Margie Shaw Olympics event at Hillcrest High in Midvale, are outside as much as how we feel inside. She Wahlen, class of 1942; and 92-year-old Phyllis Hamblin’s sewing teacher Miss Marsh suggested Megan received $1,000, which she plans to use may be wearing a crown, but she’s a real person. Turpin Bills, class of 1942. Each wore a corsage girls sew their prom dresses instead of buying She was asking us what kinds of word problems and several had family members in attendance. them. So Margie sewed her own dress costing to attend college at Brigham Young University. However, Megan wanted Liberty students we were doing in math.” Hamblin’s sister, Melba Shaw Mash, is $5 or $6 at the time, then she was selected as one Nine-year-old Ellie Ogden said she enjoyed believed to be the school’s oldest living graduate of five students to wear their dresses at a fashion to realize that it is “more important to see what I’m doing, how I’m involved, who I am on the Megan’s talk. at 100 years old and having graduated in 1934, show at BYU. There, she was told by the Salt Lake “She was inspirational and talked about said Principal John Goldhardt. She was unable to City mayor (Abe Jenkins) it was the prettiest,” inside, not how I look in a swimsuit.” So she brought with her the book, “The Bare what the pageant means and how we all are attend the celebration. Kirk said. Beauty,” which she wrote two years ago. It is a beautiful inside,” she said. “I might want to do “They all had stories to tell about what their That dress is one of several on display. story about a tree that doesn’t have leaves and that when I’m her age.” experiences were,” he said. “Georgia Tripp was Joining it is fashion design work from illustrator Megan also shared with the students that determined to walk across the red carpet and not Rachel Kezerian, class of 1940 who served as learns about “true beauty.” “‘The Bare Beauty,’ is how they are on the she, like many of them, likes sports — she was be in a wheelchair and she made it with her walker Murray High’s yearbook editor; a 1931 portrait to a standing ovation. Wally Wahlen was crying of the school’s basketball team with Joe Johnsen inside, and helps provide confidence and self- a member of her high school cross country team this past fall — and that she has played piano — he was so excited to be back home at Murray on the championship team, who later had his esteem,” she said. Within the book she also illustrated, are for 10 years — and won the talent portion of her High. It was really special.” grandsons Jeff, Britton and Brandon play for the pageant by performing “Argentina” by Catherine In addition to the Murray High students championship Spartans 65 years later; Margaret hidden pictures, each with symbolism. “It was an opportunity for them not only to Rollins. She also recently won Sandy City’s being honored, about 12 former administrators Bryan’s 1924 graduation dress, a 1939 yearbook learn about pageants that award students for who Youth Council public service announcement were recognized. called Yarrum (Murray spelled backwards, the Goldhardt said the plan was to again honor only year it was called that), a wooden bowl made they are, but also to learn that they can set goals contest on domestic violence. The next step for the National Honor Society them at halftime of the homecoming football in shop class, a business handwriting certificate, and achieve them. I was in second grade when I learned a teenager wrote a book and decided member is to speak with other elementary-age game, but inclement weather cancelled that studentbody officer sweaters, a report card, a that was something I wanted to do. I wrote a children at other schools as well as compete for celebration. silver ring and ceramic vase made in shop class, “We wanted to honor the people and let articles about the posture parade, a Murray High book then and it was put in my school library. I the national title Nov. 20 in Minneapolis. l them know we appreciated what they’ve done for pennant and other items. Murray. The first principal and faculty set the tone “The display shows the real culture of “She was inspirational and talked about what the pageant means and for Murray High. The school was to close after Murray and Murray High through the years and how we all are beautiful inside.” that first year of five graduates, but they stood up the stories of real people come to life through this l and said education is important to this community. exhibit,” Kirk said.
November 2016 | Page 13
Murray High Theatre’s year includes “Joseph,” New York City tour By Julie Slama | firstname.lastname@example.org
his year, Murray High theatre students will not only perform on stage, but they’ll also take their talents to New York City where they will have workshops with actors and have a chance to see some Broadway shows. The season kicks off with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” which will provide the audience a new experience, Murray High theatre director Will Saxton said. “It’s a fun, family-friendly show that we’ve never done before so our students are excited, but don’t expect it to be the same show you’ve seen before,” he said. “We’re doing something that is a new take on it; we’re thinking about it in a new way with some surprises for those who have seen it so many times.” However, Saxton wouldn’t say exactly what those surprises are and encouraged people to come at 7 p.m., Nov. 10-12 and again on Nov. 14 at the Murray High auditorium, 5440 S. State St. Tickets in advance are $6 for students and $7 for adults or $8 at the door. The 60-member cast, which includes elementary-age kids and the school’s Dance Company, auditioned this past May. It is lead by narrators senior Klarissa Woodmansee, junior Racheal Murdock, junior Emma Gilmore and sophomore Ashley Bates. Joseph is played by senior Truman Schipper and his father, Jacob, is junior Ben Stanford. Potiphar will be performed by junior Jordan Evans with his wife, Mrs. Potiphar, played by junior Cassie Lewis. In addition to Saxton’s direction, the musical’s choreographer is Leesa Lloyd; the music director is Alan Scott; and the orchestra director is Zachary Giddings. On Jan. 11-13, 2017, Murray High’s 9th annual Broadway Revue will be performed in the Little Theatre. Tickets will be $3. “It’s a ‘Disney Goes Broadway’ approach as all our songs, which students will choose, will be from Disney shows. The students in the Theatre IV class will develop the show and choreograph it,” Saxton said.
Murray High theatre students, seen here taking a break during rehearsal, will perform “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Nov. 10-12 and again, Nov. 14 on the school’s stage. (Will Saxton/Murray High School)
The next show, “The Odd Couple,” will be performed in early spring — at 7 p.m., March 2-4, and again on March 6 in the Little Theatre. “Neil Simon rewrote it for women so we will do the show with both male and female leads, alternating nights and using the same set. It’s the same play, but it gives all our students the opportunity to perform,” he said. Then, on March 8, 2017, the school will host one-act performances by students at the regional level. “We have a great group of students so this opportunity to host will empower them to have students in charge, kids unloading the bus, setting up a timing on stage and learning how to manage the house and coordinating striking sets,” he said.
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Before Murray High students take to the stage again, they will be joined by other performing art students on a New York City tour, March 30 through April 4, 2017. “We’re still setting up our itinerary, but we’re making connections with some New York-based professionals to provide us workshops and seminars as well as see two or three Broadway shows and some sightseeing. We’d like to see Carnegie Hall as well and perform while they are there. It will be an amazing opportunity for our students to see firsthand the performing art talent in New York,” he said. Quickly after their return, the theatre students will perform regional individual events on March 22, 2017 before state contests on April 20-22, 2017. The students also will be in rehearsal to perform “Macbeth” on stage at 7 p.m., May 4-6, 2017. Before the show will be a green show that will include sonnets, scenes, monologues and improvisation. “We’re planning a completely new take, something unusual that I think our audience will be intrigued by it,” he said. Throughout the year, SLAPP, the 16-member varsity improv team and 20-member junior varsity team, will perform in the Little Theatre. Upcoming shows will be at 7 p.m., Dec. 12, followed by 2017 dates of Jan, 26, Feb. 13, March 27, and May 26. They also will hold the 5th annual improv festival April 28. The team’s captain is senior Truman Schipper and vice captain, junior Jordan Evans. Many of the students are part of the school’s drama club, which Saxton says is not only a student organization that supports the theatre department, but “a place where all students are welcome, support one another and belong.” The theatre students’ last performance of the school year will be the student-directed one-act shows at 7 p.m., May 18-20, 2017 in the Little Theatre. About five or six different plays will be performed each night. l
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Page 14 | November 2016
Smith’s Helps Refurbish Murray Max Soccer Field By Sarah Almond | email@example.com
n October 1, players and supporters of Murray Max Soccer Club gathered at Willow Pond Park for a dedication ceremony to celebrate the refurbished soccer field. In collaboration with its parent vendor, Mondelez International, Smith’s Food and Drug Stores supported Utah Youth Soccer through grant funding for new equipment. “This was an enterprise of our parent company, the Kroger Company division,” said Marsha Gilford, vice president of Smith’s Public Affairs. “They elected to find 20 different soccer fields across the country, and the reason they did 20 was because there are 20 divisions within the Kroger Company.” After a third-party company completed research and reviews, each Kroger division then partnered with a soccer field. “Because Salt Lake is our home base, we opted to go here,” Gilford said. “We made a decision to go with the Murray team and the Utah Utes Soccer program. It’s been a little gesture to help bring that soccer field up to a level that maybe they haven’t had for a while because of lack of funds. So it was just a nice refresh on their field.” Smith’s contributions enabled the field to be upgraded with two new, full-size goals with nets, four new corner flags, two 21-inch-long benches, field lining and striping paint. “These upgrades create more opportunities for kids to play and play for longer,” said Lee Davis, Murray Max technical director. “Typically a set of goals, with weather and usage and
Luke Mead of Murray Max and Julia Bond of Smith’s Food and Drug slice the ribbon in dedication of the field. Thanks to a grant from Smith’s, the field has been upgraded with new goals, corner flags, benches, field lining, and striping paint. (Michelle Schafer/ Parent of Murray Max Player)
time, they get beaten up and sometimes we have to go out and raise money for the club. But this is a huge help in terms of being able to provide us with goals without us having to worry about finding the money to replace them.” As part of the Utah Youth Soccer Association (UYSA) Murray Max Soccer Club was created to engage children seven
through 19 in the sport of soccer. “We are a community-based soccer club for youth in Murray,” Davis said. “Our mission is to afford the youth of the community the opportunity to play competitive soccer.” There are currently more than 450 Murray youth who play in the club, many of whom started at a young age. “Soccer is such a wonderful team sport that young boys and young girls can play from the time they are young all the way up through their adult lives,” Gilford said. “Keeping kids healthy and active is important to us. We really support good nutrition and having activity, so this was a great opportunity to support a program that encourages children to run, and get exercise, and be part of a team.” Bringing help and hope to the communities they serve has been a cornerstone value of the Kroger Company for decades. By giving back to the community members that support them, businesses like Smith’s are able to help cultivate a supportive and neighborly culture. “This particular gesture was in celebration of our Murray store remodel,” Gilford said. “We just made almost a two-milliondollar investment in remodeling that store, and so when we do remodel a store and do a grand reopening, we like to be able to give some gifts to the community that will be local. This was a perfect opportunity to celebrate the community in that way in l conjunction with our store reopening.”
Murray Volleyball Academies teach game fundamentals, fun By Sarah Almond | firstname.lastname@example.org
ver the past couple years, two women in the Murray community have been working to create opportunities for children of all ages to learn about, practice, and play volleyball. Soni Hirasuna is the assistant recreation center director for Murray Park Center. Along with running all of the adult volleyball programs at the rec center, Hirasuna is also in charge of running specialty camps and clinics throughout the year. “We run a volleyball camp every year that’s under my jurisdiction but that’s just during the summer,” Hirasuna said. “So the rest of the year, kids are always saying how much they would love to play more and learn more skills.” To help meet this need and offer more playing opportunities, Hirasuna joined efforts with Bree Anderson, director of the Salt Lake Volleyball Club, to create volleyball academies where children receive quality coaching and instruction without the pressures of being on a team. “The thought behind creating an academy was to give these kids some good fundamentals and a fun basis to learn the sport,” Hirasuna said. “That way, if they want to continue to play volleyball, they have a good fundamental base to it.” Two-hour practices are held once a week, with sessions lasting between two and four weeks. No matter the structure or time length, each academy is designed to give kids professional volleyball coaching and help them focus on learning specific skills without the pressure of a
Bree Anderson, owner and director of the Salt Lake Volleyball Club, poses with several participants of the Summer Academy. Anderson and Soni Hirasuna, Murray Park Center’s assistant recreation director, are hoping to add at least one winter academy to the program in 2016-2017. (Bree Anderson/owner of Salt Lake Volleyball Club)
team-driven environment. Hirasuna and Anderson experimented with several different types of academies, including recent specialized academies where kids can practice specific techniques. “We had an academy purely for hitting, and then one for setting, and one for passing,” Hirasuna said. “It was a little difficult because there was a big range of skill sets, whereas other academies we set the kids up by beginners, intermediate, and advance levels.” As part of the Murray Rec-Salt Lake
Volleyball Club partnership, Anderson frequently helps with programs and hosts coaching clinics at the Murray Park Center. “For me, I started in a big club where it was all about winning and the kids that maybe didn’t get to play as much or were new to volleyball, they were always kind of supplementing the really good teams,” Anderson said. “We decided that we wanted to change that dynamic.” Anderson talked with Hirasuna about changing this cutthroat, competitive club culture. By working with kids at the recreational level,
Anderson hoped she could inspire kids to love the sport of volleyball from a young age. “With this partnership, kids can start in rec and also have the opportunity to have club coaching,” Anderson said. “It’s fun to get the young kids passionate about it.” Hirasuna explained that Anderson’s concept behind creating these academies is to build a program where kids are more knowledgeable about the sport and have the resources they need to be successful if they decide to play volleyball in the future. “I know club teams can be expensive so we want those kids that maybe people have overlooked, or can’t afford to pay a lot of money,” Anderson said. “We wanted to give them the opportunity to actually explore volleyball and get good coaching and have a good time without having to worry about being the best.” Academies are traditionally open to children ages seven and up. New this fall, however, Hirasuna and Anderson hosted a pre-academy for kids three- to six-years-old. “We’re working on getting those really young, young kids in the gym,” Anderson said. “Again, we’re not trying to create stellar volleyball players; we’re just trying to get them excited and interested in the game and a younger age. If we can get these young kids in, who want to know what volleyball is, we can let them start with a really fun experience.” Visit slc.utahvolleyball.org for information on how to register for upcoming academies. l
November 2016 | Page 15
he Eyre family is one of the many multi-generational families that live in Murray. In 1920 my grandparents purchased a home on Wasatch Drive, just a few blocks from our existing City Hall site. The house was about halfway down the street and directly across from the existing Catholic Church. That home was always referred to as “Grandma Eyre’s house.” Shortly after my grandfather’s passing, my grandmother moved to a small, one bedroom apartment, just above what is now the Desert Star Theater. At that time they were referred to, as the Iris Apartments. When I used to visit her in the early 1950s, below the apartment was a J.C. Penney’s store and the Iris Theater. That single screen theater originally hosted silent movies, but then became the first theater in Murray to offer sound. There was then, and still is, a wonderfully rich history to our downtown. I remember my older sister taking me by the hand, and we would go downstairs and outside on State Street where we would go window shopping, before going down the street to the Murray Theater. As a five-yearold boy, I have fond memories of that theater which still stands as a landmark in our city. You might imagine what a thrill it was for me to stand once again in its lobby, some 65 years later, as we put together the deal for the city to buy this theater, to preserve its historical significance. Since becoming your Mayor, I have often walked up and down this area of State Street and realized that it hasn’t changed much from the time I was a little boy.
During the past 30 years, there have been many plans to revitalize our downtown area. Murray City has arranged several companies to put together a blueprint of what could become a vision for our downtown. Inevitably the plans were unable to move forward. The timing or the economy was just not right. However, in the meantime, our elected officials and city personnel were not only patient, but prudent. Plans were made to acquire land and save money, so that when the time was right, we could proceed to bring vitality and life back to this area. Unlike many other cities in the Salt Lake Valley, Murray is very fortunate to have an established historical downtown presence, which many of us remember as being the social center of the city. The timing is now right, to where we can change our downtown area, to once again be the center of our city and the gathering place for our residents. One of the key components of this revitalization is the building of a new City Hall. In the early 1930s, Arlington Elementary was built on State Street. It served the city well as a great learning center for nearly 50 years. In the early 1980s, Murray purchased, renovated and converted the building into The City Center Building. To this end, it has served for an additional 34 years. Now, well over 85 years old, we have the opportunity to build a new City Hall that will act as a catalyst to reinvigorate our entire downtown area and serve our city for decades to come. It
will be large enough to accommodate our Justice Court and many of our public services offices, along with a community/innovation center. Because of Murray’s historic financial responsibility, it can be built without raising property taxes while at the same time making valuable State Street property available for commercial development. We look forward to the coming months where we can share with you many of the exciting possibilities in renewing our downtown area, while at the same time retaining the charm and character that has made Murray, “A City Without Equal.” l
Page 16 | November 2016
Local victory lifts bodybuilder to nationals By Travis Barton | email@example.com
n August, Sharon Davis-Halpin competed in the bikini category at the 2016 National Physique Competition (NPC) Utah Cup Championship at Cottonwood High School. On Nov. 18, she’ll be doing the same thing in Miami, Fla., only this time at the National Bodybuilding Championships. Davis-Halpin qualified for the national competition in Miami after winning the 2016 NPC Utah Cup Championship. “It’s a lot bigger show with a lot more competition, I’m excited for it to happen,” Davis-Halpin said in anticipation of the bodybuilding championship. Davis-Halpin, 26, will be competing in the bikini category, where they look for a fitness model physique — the kind seen in a celebrity magazine. “[Judges] are looking for a good tone with muscles, but not too bulky or muscular. It’s a softer physique in that category,” Davis-Halpin said. The competition is similar to a pageant. Besides looking at the body’s balance, symmetry, softness and athleticism, judges will also take hair, makeup, tan and swim suit color into consideration. Davis-Halpin said the stage presence of perfecting the routine’s poses is a major factor. “You work hard to bring the physique you have, but you also have to show that off in a way that’s pleasing to the judges,” Davis-Halpin said. “It can make or break the whole thing.” Davis-Halpin prepared for the show by incorporating different types of workouts from CrossFit and bodybuilding to hypertrophy movements and Olympic lifting. While the show in August was her second ever competition, it’s been a four-year process for Davis-Halpin to arrive at a point where she’s competing in national competitions and being approached on social media to advertise fitness items. Davis-Halpin always participated in various sports and physical activities (she had a brief stint with her cheerleading team in high school), but it wasn’t until 2012 when she began to take fitness seriously. “I did marathon training, ran a half-marathon and hated it. I hurt my leg, my knee, it was too hard on my joints,” Davis-Halpin said. Joining a gym, Davis-Halpin spent months doing a different kind of fitness, strength training, when she decided to enter the bodybuilding world. “I feel like having a goal within the fitness industry helps you stick with those goals, and body building holds you very accountable because it shows in your physique,” Davis-Halpin said. Davis-Halpin competed in her first NPC show in 2014 finishing outside of the top places, but in an individual sport where most preparation is done alone, both in and out of the gym, Davis-Halpin decided she wanted more community in what she was doing. At the suggestion of a friend, Davis-Halpin joined Aether Barbell, a CrossFit gym in Midvale, where she joined a community of “encouraging friends.” “It’s not an easy sport, it’s hard and it can get lonely so my Aether Barbell army are the world to me,” Davis-Halpin said. After initially swearing off more competitions, Davis-Halpin chose to enter another with a healthier approach aided by her new coach, Aether Barbell owner Matt Van Dyke. “My first competition was very damaging both mentally and physically, and Matt’s a nutrition guru. He competes as well so it’s nice knowing my coach follows the same plan I do,” Davis-Halpin said. She then spent more than eight months priming for her NPC victory in August. A competition which proved very nerve-racking for her husband, Jake Halpin. “I had a hive of butterflies in my stomach, because I know
Sharon Davis-Halpin poses with her trophy after winning the 2016 National Physique Competition (NPC) Utah Cup Championship at Cottonwood High School in August. Davis-Halpin will compete at the National Bodybuilding Championships on Nov. 18. (Muscle Photography)
how much effort and time she put into it,” Jake said. Van Dyke has coached four previous girls to first or second place overall at these competitions. For him, seeing Davis-Halpin win, was a memorable culmination of the work they did together. “It was amazing, it’s a victory for me just watching somebody be successful,” Van Dyke said. Davis-Halpin said she knew she brought her best package but was still shocked to learn she won. “It was overwhelming…you start this fitness thing and you have goals and want to the best you can, but then knowing it paid off, internally it was very satisfying,” Davis-Halpin said. Davis-Halpin said Van Dyke has played a big role in her fitness development. “He’s a very inspiring person to talk to, makes you feel like you can do anything. I couldn’t have asked to work with someone better,” she said. Van Dyke said having no ego is the most important attribute his athletes can have, something Davis-Halpin carries in spades. “She’s one of them most coachable people I’ve ever met,” he said. “Her motivation, her drive, her characteristics as a female and what she’s done in the last couple years is mind blowing.” In a sport where “90 percent of it is spent outside of the gym,” diet and nutrition plans are essential. It has been the most challenging aspect for Davis-Halpin. She said she follows a flexible dieting plan, but she does occasionally skip social events with her husband to avoid the temptations of eating the food everyone else is. “That’s usually the hardest and most unglamorous part of the sport, just being able to go enjoy a dessert with Jake or splurge on a pizza, mostly the pizza,” Davis-Halpin said. Jake said he doesn’t think people realize how much will power goes into preparing for these competitions. He said Sharon even packed a whole week’s worth of personal meals for a vacation to
Lake Powell in June. “My food prep is throwing a burrito into the microwave. She preps everything that goes into a meal, it’s a higher level of selfdiscipline,” Jake said. It’s something that he’s strived to help her with. “Jake does help me, I tell him to take [food] out of my hand, I generally don’t let him take it out of my hand. He knows my goals and helps me stick with them,” she said. But that self-discipline has proven to embolden Davis-Halpin. “You just really have to take responsibility for everything… being able to restrict yourself and still reach your goals is not only empowering, but everything else in your life kind of falls into place,” she said. Now working as a nutrition and fitness coach, a commercial customer service representative and a hair stylist, Davis-Halpin has taken part in a personal evolution that is now stimulating others to embark on a similar journey. She has a social media following on her Instagram that has grown from zero to 8,017 in the span of four months with companies regularly reaching out to her asking her to rep their product as well as inspiring others to live a healthier lifestyle. “It’s inspiring to know that you can make a difference for someone giving them the motivation to change their health or their own relationship with themselves,” Davis-Halpin said. Her personal relationship may have progressed the most. “It’s definitely made her more confident. She would kill me in an arm or leg wrestling match,” said Michelle Mullen, one of her closest friends. Her confidence goes beyond the physical. Van Dyke said the difference between Davis-Halpin now versus when he first met her is night and day. “She’s developed a completely different aura about her…and is hands down one of the best people I’ve ever known,” Van Dyke said. Jake and Sharon began dating in 2007 before eventually getting married in 2013. He has witnessed her evolution. “Seeing 2007 Sharon versus 2016 Sharon is someone more confident in herself and doesn’t care as much what people think,” Jake said. “It’s cool to see her evolve not only physically, but mentally and emotionally through the past 10 years.” l
Sharon Davis-Halpin will compete at the National Bodybuilding Championships on Nov. 18 in Miami, Fla. (Rob Norbutt/Infinity Machine)
November 2016 | Page 17
The Rise And Redemption of Cottonwood’s Chaparral Drill Team By Sarah Almond | firstname.lastname@example.org
or the Cottonwood Chaparrals, Cottonwood High School’s drill team, this year is all about rising up from the ashes of adversity and fighting to rebuild a strong, talented team. “It hasn’t exactly been easy, but I’m very pleased,” said senior Sophie Ford, who has been leading the Chaparrals for two years. “We’ve got girls on the team now that are on the team who are willing to work hard. They are willing to take advice and use it in practices and performances. Everyone has great work ethic and really pushes themselves to a higher level.” Last season, the Chaparrals experienced some of the most tremendous challenges in team history. After just 10 girls showed up for tryouts in early April 2015, head coach Erin Burke decided to hold another tryout session in hopes of attracting more girls. Again, very few showed interest. This severe lack of participation caused the Cottonwood Athletic Department to question the existence and legitimacy of the team. “We were told that Cottonwood might need to pull drill for a couple years until we got enough girls on our team,” said head coach Erin Burke. “So we had one more chance to do tryouts and the school said ‘we need you to have a more than 20 girls to keep the team.’” After tirelessly recruiting in the hallways, advertising throughout the school, and encouraging friends and classmates to join the team, the Chaparrals finally began their season with 26 girls. Despite the fact that most of the new dancers had little to no experience, it was enough to keep the team alive. “It was hard,” Ford said. “But we didn’t let it get us down. We kept fighting and stayed strong.”
Salt Lake County Council’s
MESSAGE O Aimee Winder Newton County Council District 3
The 31 members of Cottonwood High School’s drill team have been training hard since April. Though drill is technically considered a winter sport, most teams practice and perform year round in order to stay in sync and in shape for the competition season that begins in early December. (Chad Braithwaite/Faces Photography)
It wasn’t long after they started practicing as a group that the Chaparrals were faced with yet another test: continuing through the season without the fierce leadership of their head coach. After experiencing complications with her pregnancy, Burke was forced to step down and leave the new team under the guidance of assistant coach Kelsea McGregor. “We had such a rough start last year,” Burke said. “But they surprised us. They went on to do so well during competition season and when we held tryouts in April of this year, we had 55 girls show up to tryout. We turned the program around and now
we have a team of 31 amazing girls this year now.” After coaching at Cottonwood for four years, Burke finally feels like she got her program back. Along with several returning dancers, the Chaparrals welcomed 15 freshmen to the team this year. “We wanted to give our younger girls a shot and a chance to be a part of our program and build them up,” Burke said. “So we took a ton of freshmen to kind of feed the program.” The Chaparrals’ unwavering determination and hopeful perseverance hasn’t gone unnoticed. In June the team attended Basic Dance Training (BDT), a professional dance camp in Heber City, where they received an award for “Most Improved Team.” BDT also chose Burke and McGregor as the recipients for the “Coaches Award.“ “We don’t do this for the money,” Burke said. “The passion behind what we do is creating a safe, loving environment for these teenage girls and turning them into young women that can be successful in life outside of high school. And I feel like we have truly accomplished that this year.” With more than seven months of practice and hard work backing the young, established team, the Chaparrals are excited to show the community their resilience and display their talent for audiences at halftime shows and school assemblies. “Our theme this year is ‘Rise Up,’” Burke said. “Everything we do we focus on rising above our past; rising above the limitations the girls set on themselves personally as dancers and just focusing on having a positive year. The girls have totally embodied that.” l
County’s “Operation Diversion” breaks cycle of drugs and criminality in troubled areas
ne of the greatest roles of Salt Lake County government is protecting the safety of the public. Since I began serving on the County Council I’ve been impressed with the men and women in our Sheriff’s Office, and in the Unified Police Department. Recently, our law enforcement officials joined with Salt Lake City to initiate a massive sweep of the Rio Grande area in downtown Salt Lake City, called “Operation Diversion.” This was a coordinated effort to disrupt the drug trade among the area’s homeless population. The operation was fairly straightforward – anyone caught using or dealing drugs was arrested. Prior to Operation Diversion, officers spent weeks watching the area to identify those who were dealers and those whose addictions were being exploited. Those who exhibited criminal intent were taken to jail. Addicts were arrested, but instead of going directly to jail, they were taken to a temporary receiving center. Once there, they were screened and assessed, and then given an alternative to incarceration - drug treatment. The goal was to
connect drug addicts with treatment to help them break free from their addiction during their arrest. Without this alternative, someone might serve their sentence, then be back out on the street with the very same issues that landed them there in the first place. Generally those with substance abuse issues have to wait months to get into a treatment facility. The hope is that this approach will help interrupt the cycle of incarceration and drug use that plagues this population, while still holding them accountable. This is an example of the philosophy of “alternatives to incarceration,” which emphasizes treatment for people addicted to drugs so they can get better, rather than just sitting in a jail cell with no help. Operation Diversion was the first time we’ve done it this way by getting addicts directly into treatment. One of the big challenges we are facing in this arena is a “revolving door” so to speak of people committing the same offenses over and over again, and just cycling through our criminal justice system repeatedly. Periods of homelessness, drug abuse, and incarceration can follow one after the other. We
need to disrupt that cycle. I’m pleased that the County was able to play a role supporting this operation, which included $1.2 million of our behavioral health funds to contract with more treatment centers. I had the opportunity to tour the receiving center during its operation, and was impressed with the efficiency of the center, as well as the general mood. Among those brought in, there seemed to be a genuine desire to get better and leave their problems in the past. I asked to interview some of the arrestees and was able to sit down and talk to them. One was so excited to be going directly to treatment. The other one was pretty annoyed to be there, but was still choosing to try drug treatment. We’ll continue to track the progress of this model and draw good lessons from its successes to apply in the future. I believe we can slowly chip away at this problem, and collaborative operations like these that disrupt the drug trade while connecting people with resources to help them get back on their feet are a key way to do that. l
Page 18 | November 2016
Nine Easy Ways to Instant Gratification
n this world of instant gratification it’s become harder than ever to keep overspending at bay. Sometimes we neglect to see just how much those little things can add up. I ask you though, if you saw a $20 bill lying on the sidewalk wouldn’t you bend over to pick it up? Improving your bank balance can be as easy as stopping to pick up that cash. Here are a few ideas: Hit the Library for Family or Date Night – Not only is the Library a great place to browse books, pick up videos and borrow music, they also host a variety of events throughout the year. A quick browse of the events section at my local Salt Lake County Library reveled, Teen Laser Tag, Yoga, Adult Coloring, Toddler Playtime, book reading, as well as various holiday events. Use Ibotta – There is a plethora of money saving apps out there. My recommendation for getting started is with the Ibotta app. Ibotta allows you to submit a picture of your receipt and get cash back on purchases from everything from groceries to department stores. They’ll even pay you cash back when you shop online. Plus, for a limited time, new users get a FREE $10 bonus just for cashing in their first rebate. More info at www. coupons4utah.com/ibotta Brew Your Own Coffee – On your way to work and stopping in the convenience store for that quick fix? An average cup of Joe can cost as much as $1.85 vs. the $0.25 fresh home brewed, more if it’s from a specialty shop. You may think it’s worth it, but calculate that for the entire year and that could be as
use and the service didn’t cost me a dime. They even let you use coupons. See how it works at www.coupons4utah.com/clicklist Buy Discounted Gift Cards – Remember, there’s no rule saying you have to give the gift card away. If you’re planning on making a large scale purchase, or find yourself shopping often at the same store, pre-buying the gift card at a discount is the way to go. There are many online companies where you can score these treasures; some that I have personally used include the eBay gift card store, Cardpool.com, and Raise.com. Remember, these gift cards spend just like cash, which means you can use them right along with in-store sales, coupons and online coupon codes. Check for Cash Back on New Appliances – Did you know that Rocky Mountain Power has a bunch of cash back incentives. If you find yourself needing a new appliance, water heater, insulation and even light bulbs, make sure to visit the Watt Smart section of their website. If you’re going to purchase a new appliance you might as well be armed with the knowledge of which ones qualify. Also, consider buying these items online using a cash back app. Doing so will add another 3-7% savings. Challenge yourself to start with just a few money saving ideas and the next thing you know you’ll be hooked and on the road to making saving money, instead of spending it, your instant gratification. l
much as $300 or more in your pocket. That makes me bounce off the walls just thinking about it. Learn to Craft – Ever hear the saying you can’t buy love? Truth is little kids don’t care as much about toys as they do about time. Instead of buying that expensive toy break out empty toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, left over party supplies and create some memories instead. Visit Coupons4Utah’s Pinterest page for a ton of ideas. Use Your Crock Pot – Crock Pot cooking not only is easier on the electric bill than the oven, it’s also a great way to over cook. Use the leftovers for a second dinner and lunches. Check out Utah food writer www.365daysofcrockpot.com for some amazing recipe ideas. Ditch Brand Loyalty – Instead of sticking with the same old brand name. Shop for sales instead. Or go generic; often the same company makes these products. Blind taste tests have shown that some people can’t tell the difference or prefer them. Nothing ventured, no money gained. Skip The Shopping Cart – Running to the Grocery Store to pick up a few items. By forcing yourself to carry your purchases, you are less likely to buy things you didn’t go for. Or, skip going in the store all together and order your groceries online and pick them up at the curb instead. Many stores now provide this service, including Macey’s, Walmart and Smith’s. I tried out Smith’s Clicklist recently and found this method of shopping easy to
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November 2016 | Page 19
Home Makeover: Uninspired Edition
f researchers study my genetic make-up, they’ll find a preponderance of genes that create a longing for candy and silence, and a disturbing lack of genes related to interior design and holiday decorating. When my kids were little, my decorating style was what I called Sticky Chic or Bohemian Toddler. As they grew into teenagers, my design concepts alternated between Early Landfill and Festive Asylum. Now, my style is what I lovingly call Dust. Before Pinterest was a thing, I’d scour magazines for ways to make my home look pleasant that didn’t involve renting a bulldozer or spending $5,000. Now I’ll spend hours on Pinterest, scrolling through images of beautiful kitchens and bathrooms; then I’ll purchase a new garbage can and call it good. I’m amazed by people who can look at a room and visualize décor that belongs in Good Housekeeping because people who visit my home usually ask if I get my decorating ideas from Mad magazine. I just don’t have an eye for that kind of stuff. My genes have no idea
what to do with throw pillows. How can you sit on a couch with 27 throw pillows? Someone once said, “Design is thinking made visual.” If my thinking could be made visual I’m afraid it would include a lot of blank and/or confused stares, accompanied by slow blinking. I know a woman who used a handful of matchsticks and a pound of year-old taffy to sculpt a quaint Halloween yard display.
For Christmas, she twisted three green pipecleaners into a full-size holiday tree, and then adorned it with a dozen hand-knitted baby quail. She leaves a trail of glitter wherever she goes. I hate her. To me, decorating means finding kitchen tile that camouflages spaghetti stains or changing out the family photo that is 10 years old. I have no idea how to arrange lovely accent pieces. If I’m feeling a little wild, I might invest in a scented candle. I was recently asked to help create fun table decorations using crinkly paper strips and plastic flowers. I dumped what I thought was an appropriate amount of paperage and flowers on the table, but my centerpiece looked like a crinkly green nest that had been attacked by crows. The woman in charge of the event walked up to my “decorated” tables and let out a gasp. She quickly rearranged four strands of the crinkly paper and suddenly the whole table transformed into a fairy wonderland with twinkly lights and butterflies. A real decorator
defies the laws of physics. Halloween decorating is easy. I already have the cobwebs and spiders. I just sprinkle some blood on the floor and call it good. Christmas decorating is a little more difficult. Last year, using my sparse skills, I spent the entire afternoon creating a festive holiday atmosphere in our home. My husband walked in, sipping his Diet Coke, and glanced around the room. “I thought you were going to decorate.” I looked at my hours of work and tersely replied, “I did.” “What’s that pile of crinkly paper strips doing in the middle of the room?” There was a long pause while I considered the ramifications of manslaughter. “Don’t you have something to do?” Now that scientists can genetically modify our DNA, perhaps I can get an infusion of the interior design gene. I don’t need to be Martha Stewart level, but at least something a little better than Mad magazine.l
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Vol. 16 Iss. 11