Murray Journal | August 2021

Page 1

August 2021 | Vol. 31 Iss. 08



little more than three years ago, the City Journals introduced readers to Cottonwood High School senior wheelchair basketball star Ali Ibanez. She was a 4.0 student facing the big decision of which college to attend. In that April 2018 article she commented, “My real goal is to make the 2020 Women’s Basketball Paralympic Games team.” Guess what? On Aug. 17, Ibanez and her 11 USA teammates will board a Tokyo-bound plane. And, eight days later, Ibanez, 21, will fulfill that dream, when she competes in her first Paralympic game, versus the Netherlands. Japan will be the seventh foreign country she has visited, playing her game and pursuing that dream. “So far I’ve been to the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Thailand, Australia and Peru for competitions as well as friendlies,” she said. “This will be my first time going to Japan—I’m pretty excited about it!” Born with a congenital disease called arthrogryposis, Ibanez has never walked. But unlike most people with the condition, it has not debilitated her upper body. That rare fortune has allowed her to play wheelchair basketball since she was 13 years old. “My older sister was babysitting for a family that lived across the street from Woodstock Elementary School (6015 S. 1300 East),” Ibanez said. “She called me from there to say, ‘You’ve got to hurry over here to see this.’ What she had seen was a wheelchair basketball team arriving and unloading for practice.” That group, the Utah Rush wheelchair basketball team, was coached by Marilyn Blakley. “Ali came right over to talk to us,” Blakley recalled. “And

Former Murray resident Ali Ibanez is known for her aggressive defensive play on the wheelchair basketball court. (

it wasn’t long before she was on our team. The U.S. Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team is the most prestigious team any of our Rush players have been on.” Back in 2018, Ibanez was named to the U.S. Women’s

National Wheelchair Basketball Team by head coach Trooper Johnson, himself a former wheelchair basketball star. Two years later, in March 2020—just days before COVID-19 shut down the sports world— Continued page 6

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Even with the hot job market, demand still high at Murray Children’s Pantry By Shaun Delliskave |


ince the demand for labor keeps rising and the unemployment rate continues to decline, one might assume that the need for resources from Murray Children’s Pantry would drop. However, for some residents, food insecurity is now being caused by a new culprit: the rise in housing costs. Murray Children’s Pantry marked its first anniversary in June with a ribbon cutting that had been delayed by the pandemic. When they opened their doors in 2020, the coronavirus was ramping ever upward, in conjunction with the jobless rate as businesses closed. Now, with a vaccine in place and businesses opening, the pantry is seeing a whole new demand on their supplies. “We started the pantry to fill the gap when schools closed. As the pandemic grew and continued, we expanded to helping all families in need. That need has not gone away. We are seeing more single-parent households coming for help,” pantry president Jim Brass said. “I don’t think it’s a case of being unable to find jobs as much as it is a case of housing being unaffordable

right now. I saw where you have to make more than $20 an hour to afford a small apartment in the valley.” In June, the Department of Agriculture reported that one in six households was experiencing food insecurity, a significant increase from one in 12 households as reported in February. The pantry gives away an average of between 3,500-4,000 meals per week out of their facility. Partnering with Twin Peaks and Woodstock elementary schools in the Granite School District, the pantry has now been approached by Utah Virtual Academy, an online charter school, to help feed their children. “They had a pantry, but COVID-19 forced them to close. It was on the sixth floor of the building they have their offices in. Not a great situation,” Brass said. In addition to helping school children, the pantry reaches out to families and requires no official government documents to access their resources. For example, recently, they helped families affected by the Stillwater Apartment fire. They helped some elderly

individuals who were referred to the pantry by the Murray Senior Recreation Center. “We fill a gap that seems to exist in the community. We require no proof of need and ask no questions that would cause embarrassment or prevent people from coming in for help,” Brass said. “To be able to help that many people is one of the best parts of what we do. We had a family just move into the valley and were in need of food. The relief when they found us and could get food was amazing.” An independent food charity, the pantry is not associated with any government organization, religious group or corporate entity. It remains entirely dependent on community support. The structure that houses the pantry was provided for use by the Murray Baptist Church. YouthWorks patched and painted the kitchen, AAA Restoration donated the restoration materials, and Chipman Roofing donated a new roof. Many individuals drop off food and cash donations, and Brass credits local organizations for stocking their shelves. Food drives have been conducted by various organizations such as the Utah Falconz professional women’s football team, Studio 56 Dance Center, and local wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We do not receive any government funding and are not part of any surplus foods program. All our donations come from the community. We do have grant money from the Fenton Family Foundation that also helps us purchase food,” Brass said. As an all-volunteer organization, the pantry invites the community to drop off food items every Tuesday and third Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon. The most needed items are cereal, macaroni and cheese, pudding cups and crackers. “We are keeping up with the demand. Everyone comments on how fast we go through food; 600-1,200 meals go out on a Tuesday. That is a lot of food passing through. We do run out of some items but have sufficient funds to go and purchase food when that happens,” Brass said. To drop off food donations, or if you need assistance, the Murray Children’s Pantry is located at 170 E. 5770 South. To learn more or to make an appointment with the pantry, more information can be found online at www. Volunteers at Murray Children’s Pantry build meal packs for local school children experiencing l food insecurity. (Photo courtesy Murray Children’s Pantry)

Murray City Journal

MurrayJournal .com

August 2021 | Page 3

Murray man turns life around, wins national fitness contest By Shaun Delliskave |


brush with death and an extended stay at the hospital gave Murray resident Bert Payton a wake-up call that he needed to turn his life around. Payton committed to eating healthy and regular exercise at his local gym, EōS Fitness (5550 S. 900 East). They recognized him as a company-wide “Submit Your Fit” contest winner for his turnaround story. In 2015, Payton and his family found themselves caring for his grandfather and nephew. Like many caregivers, the health of others preceded their own, and the stress of dealing with it led Payton to gain weight. By 2016, after the deaths of his grandfather and nephew, Payton developed pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and was hospitalized in the ICU for three months; the doctors made clear to him what he had to do. “I knew I had to change my health around; it wasn’t really an option not to. I had to make serious life changes, or I would end up in the same position as before. I realized that the lifestyle I had wasn’t working, and I was neglecting the things that brought me happiness,” Payton said. “I decided once my health started to improve, I would just start small. Eat better, be more active, make my trips to the gym a regular habit, and ask for help and support.” Bert’s wife, Rebecca, recognized her husband’s commitment. “In 2016, Bert was at his lowest point and hospitalized with pancreatitis….Since then, he has worked extremely hard, replacing bad habits with positive change. Bert has been the greatest example of challenge, strength, and determination to all that know him….He tells our two young girls often, ‘Our greatest accomplishments usually aren’t the easy ones. Love yourself, live your life and ask for help when you need it.’” EōS Fitness trainer Kalen Adams explained goal planning. “Whatever you decide

Journals T H E

Before and after pictures of Bert Payton. (Photo courtesy of Bert Payton)

to do, you need to know what the end goal is and have a detailed plan on how to get there. If we don’t plan out the details, it is too easy to compromise. It is too easy to let ourselves off the hook early or cheat on our diet or exercise program,” Adams said. “I prefer to use SMART goals with my clients. A SMART goal is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.” Payton had planned on just starting small. Instead, he made better eating choices and did more to stay active, and made going to the gym a regular habit. He also wasn’t afraid of asking for help and support. [The one] “thing I did to stay on track and stay in shape is [be] consistent. It’s

key—make a routine and keep it. Make small changes. Become inspired so you can inspire others. Surround yourself with others that have the same goals,” Payton said. “My wife is a great cook and helps keep our entire family on track, so we are eating at home and eating out less. Our ‘cheat days’ are more fun and rewarding and not turning into everyday habits. Small positive changes turn into rewarding habits.” Adams said accountability is vital to goals. “Another huge key to success is accountability. If you have a well-written plan, someone to hold you accountable to it, and checks up on you regularly, statistics say you are 92% more likely to achieve your goal. I




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 or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. 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. © 2019 Loyal Perch Media, Inc.

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don’t know about you, but 92% more likely to succeed sounds pretty good to me.” While Payton’s healthy lifestyle change is remarkable, he reminds people that he has had to keep at it for over four years. He also credits his wife and daughters for supporting him to reach his objectives. “I feel I’m always a work in progress. I haven’t reached an end goal of my health and fitness because I never like to stay stagnant. I love to push myself and encourage my two girls to do the same. I like to think of our family as a better, stronger, and healthier family that pushes each other to consistently reach and achieve goals,” Payton said. l

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August 2021 | Page 5

Continued from front page

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

alone. This disease kills more people

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

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

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coach Johnson also selected her for his USA Paralympic team. “Ali is incredibly coachable, with a lot of energy and hustles her butt off,” Johnson said. “You ask her to do something and she will go out and do it. (In the Paralympic Games) I probably see her as a sixth man, the way the lineup is. She is coming in to offer a lot. Ali is more of a defensive specialist and small forward.” Ibanez says she will be happy to help the team however the coach needs her. “I expect to be as supportive and as prepared as possible, wherever I’m needed, whether it be on the court or not,” she said. “In relation to on-court expectations, I am prepared to help get my teammates open on offense as well as utilize my defensive capabilities.” After claiming the 2016 Paralympic Women’s Basketball gold medal in Rio de Janeiro, the USA team will have the biggest bullseye on its back, of any team in Tokyo. However, they may also have suffered the biggest setback among the teams, thanks to coronavirus. “When the Paralympic Games were delayed a year because of COVID, three of my 12 team members resigned (for various personal reasons, not because they had the disease),” coach Johnson said. “One of the three, Becca Murray, was the leading scorer on that 2016 gold medal team. She is a unique athlete we could plug in anywhere.

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We’ve had to rework the offense.” Once Ibanez’s team gets started on Aug. 25, their games come fast and furious. After the Netherlands on that Wednesday, they face Spain the next day (Aug. 26), China two days later (Aug. 28) and Algeria the day after that (Aug. 29). Assuming USA advances out of pool play—eight of the 10 teams do—Ibanez and her teammates play their quarterfinal game Tuesday, Aug. 31. The Women’s Paralympic Basketball semifinal games are on Sept. 2, with the gold and bronze medal games two days later (Sept. 4), the day before the Paralympic Games closing ceremony. “I’m not sure if I can find the right word for (how excited I am to be on the Paralympic team),” Ibanez said. “I’ve had this goal since I watched the team compete in Rio in 2016. It was definitely a surreal moment when I had the honor of accepting a spot on the roster in 2020 and once again just a few weeks ago. I hope my effort and hard work demonstrates to others, nothing comes easy. But by trusting the process, and keeping sight on one’s goals, success becomes inevitable.” According to her Team USA profile ( athletes/Ali-Ibanez), Ibanez is the “daughter of Tiffanie and Sergio Ibanez…has four sisters, Andrea, Elizabeth, her twin Elena, and Brook, and two brothers, Gabe and Isaac… with hobbies that include drawing and sketching, rock climbing and reading mystery and crime novels.” As for playing in virtually empty Tokyo arenas due to the pandemic, she admits it will be different. “We’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of games with a developing men’s team while training in Ohio over the summer without in-person fans,” Ibanez said. “But, as far as having no in-person fans goes, I think it will be pretty strange especially during a competition as elite as the Paralympic Games.” Following the Tokyo games, Ibanez will return to the Midwest to begin her senior year at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She’s majoring in graphic design and will continue playing for the women’s wheelchair basketball team there, coached by Stephanie Wheeler. But assuming he’ll keep her around—as he has for three-plus years now—Team USA coach Johnson will not have seen the last of Ibanez. “I plan to stay involved with international ball after Tokyo,” she concluded. “I hope to be able to compete in the 2024 games in Paris. But I’ll have to just wait and see how it plays out.” For now, Ibanez wants to see how the end of this month and start of next month “plays out” and whether she departs Japan with a gold Paralympic Games medal dangling around her neck. l


Murray City Journal


MURRAY IS HOME Brett and Cindy raised their 5 kids in Murray and have called it home for 33 years. When he was diagnosed with MS in 2005 the community rallied to his side— even pitching in to help re-roof his home. Seeing his neighbors show up like that is what motivates him to do all he can to “pay it back.” This is the attitude he’ll carry with him as your mayor. LEADERSHIP THAT LISTENS As a member of the city council since 2012 (District 5), Brett is known for his “opendoor” policy. He loves hearing from his constituents and is a tireless advocate for the citizens of Murray.


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August 2021 | Page 7 7/22/2021 2:17:10 PM

‘America’s Violinist’ Jenny Oaks Baker to perform in Murray By Shaun Delliskave |

not being with an orchestra; however, being a mother and concertmaster has its challenges. “It is tricky being a stage mother while being on stage. My children are older now and can now prepare themselves for the stage on their own, but when they were younger, it was so much work to get them musically ready to perform while also making sure they were all dressed up with their hair done and their shoes on, and that we had remembered their cello rock stop, their stools, their music, their guitar capo, their guitar footstool, etc. And when they were younger, they also sometimes didn’t always know how to behave on stage, so I would be trying to manage this while performing. It was pretty stressful. But now my children are pros, and performances usually go really smoothly. It is a joy to perform with them,” Baker said What does a Grammy-nominated violinist enjoy listening to or find inspiring? Her answer is intriguing. “I listen to Audible books. I love history, so I listen to a lot of audiobooks on history and also historical fiction,” Baker said. “I am more inspired by my faith and my relationship with God than by any specific music or artists. I am so grateful for the blessings God has given our family and me, and for the beautiful life He has given us, and I strive to Jenny Oaks Baker (second from right) and the Family Four (l-r Sarah, Hannah, Laura, and Matthew Baker) be worthy of it.” will perform at the Murray Amphitheater on Aug. 11. (Photo courtesy Jenny Oaks Baker) Jenny Oaks Baker is the daughter of America’s Violinist,” Grammy-nominated, Billboard-charting performer Jenny Oaks Baker, along with her band, The Family Four, will visit the Murray Amphitheater on Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Before the concert, Baker will meet with select local musicians for a unique opportunity to mentor them. “This concert is the final concert for my 2021 Jenny Oaks Baker Violin and Cello Performance Workshop, which features violinists and cellists of all ages performing sacred, inspirational, Disney, and film favorites,” Baker said. “I have coached these musicians on musicality, performance, and string techniques and will lead them in the performance.

I will also perform songs with my own musical children, Family Four.” The Family Four includes her children Hannah, Laura, Matthew and Sarah. Baker hopes at some point to make that a Family Five. “I wish that my husband and I had been able to have more children. I am still hoping to be blessed with a miracle baby in my older years,” Baker said. After performing with the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, she developed solo projects. Performing on stage with her children filled a void that she missed by

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The talented violinist is familiar with many church audiences. “My favorite performance of my life was performing for President Russell M. Nelson’s 95th birthday celebration concert. To be able to perform with my children for the prophet, in the Conference Center, with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra on Temple Square was incredible. My other favorite performances were when we were able to perform at the Garden Tomb (a site in Jerusalem considered to be the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus) and the Garden of Gethsemane in Israel,” Baker said. Her album “Jenny Oaks Baker & Family Four” hit No. 4 on the Billboard Classical Crossover and Classical Charts, and her Christmas album, “Joy to the World,” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Charts. Her listeners can expect more offerings in the future. “I am working on a sacred solo album as well as another album with my family. Both will be out next year,” Baker said. Tickets to the Bakers’ concert in Murray can be purchased in advance at the Murray Parks & Rec Office or at the gate approximately 30 minutes before showtime. Tickets may also be purchased online at RegTix ( l

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Murray City Journal

Taller garages and sheds OK’d in Murray By Shaun Delliskave |


heds, detached garages, and other accessory structures can now be built a little taller, by at least four feet. The Murray City Council, at the July 6 council meeting, approved tweaks to the current city code, allowing for residents to increase the height of such buildings from 16 to 20 feet. While the height change may not seem like such a big deal for some, the elevation change can impact backyard views or intrude on a neighbor’s privacy. In addition, many detached structures can sit closer to property boundaries than what primary residences are allowed. The code change was prompted by Murray resident Brad Lambert, who submitted an application requesting a text amendment to allow all residential accessory structures (detached garages) to be constructed to a height of 20 feet. Murray City Community and Economic Development Zoning Division Supervisor Jared Hall told the council, “The existing language limit is the height in two ways. If the height of your home is 16 feet or more, then you can have 20 feet in height, but if you’re less than 20 feet, you’re limited to 16 feet for the height of the accessory structures. Mr. Lambert’s proposed amendment was to change that to just be 20 feet overall in height

regardless.” According to Hall, after reviewing Lambert’s and others’ situations in the city, the CED felt that a straightforward height allowance of 20 feet to cover all structures was sufficient. As a result, Murray measures to the peak of the roof, the tallest point, while other cities do the mid-point of the pitch. “That height didn’t feel out of proportion with other codes….It creates a situation where homeowners have better access to using their property for larger things like RVs, campers, and things that need to be put inside. So, we felt like it was a good trade-off,” Hall said. Garages and other accessory structures will still be limited to cover no more than 25% of a bare yard area. So, in essence, the size of someone’s backyard with the combination of all their accessory structures, sheds, and garages cannot cover more than 25% of the surface area. “Where you’re going to see this particular regulation have an impact is not really in newer parts of the city where the homes are usually taller than…20 feet. You’re going to see it in the older sections of the city. So, these sections that were built during the 1950s and 1960s where they might have 13-, 14-, or 15-foot residential heights,” Hall said.

“The change that the council approved about a year ago was because so many homes were limited in height to where you couldn’t build taller than the home, and there’d be a 13- or 14-foot home, and you couldn’t use a kit from Costco to put a shed in your backyard because it was just a little taller than that.” However, not all garages and sheds come with pitched roofs. For example, the ordinance could allow for a garage with 20-foot-tall walls instead of a slope pitched roof. This type of situation concerns Kathryn Litchfield, a design-build professional and a neighbor to Lambert. “You can have a box that’s 20 feet high. You’re not specifying any slopes, and you’re not specifying any side heights,” Litchfield told the council. “What you’re allowing, one foot off the property line, the person that impacts the most is the neighbor. When I moved in it was quite impactful….Every city in our valley has taken great pains, and they’re all outlined here to make modifications so that you don’t come across a wall 20-feet high off your property.” “If my concern is the worst-case scenario, then yeah, 20-foot structures all around a backyard…and they’re all flat-roofed. I just don’t see that happening. So, I don’t think the code needs to be written for that absolute

worst-case scenario. It’s not likely to happen, but it could happen; it’s always potential,” Hall said. “Without getting into the entire substructure of the zoning code, we do not write for the worst-case scenario. If you did [that], it would just say ‘no anything, anywhere.’ Period.” The amendment passed 4 to 1, with City Councilor Rosalba Dominguez voting against it. l

Murray’s detached garages and sheds have been approved to reach 20-foot heights. (Shaun Delliskave/ City Journals)

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August 2021 | Page 9

Murray City Council sides with neighborhood, rejects road continuation By Shaun Delliskave |


eclining to use eminent domain, the Murray City Council, at their July 6 meeting, ended efforts by Murray City to connect Willow Grove Lane and Tripp Lane in a new subdivision. The rejected resolution, presented to the council by the Murray City Attorney’s office, was to acquire a 106-square-foot parcel owned by Jim and Wendy Livingston, who had rebuffed the city’s offers to purchase the property. While the use of eminent domain is always controversial, the development project, in general, has been met with opposition by residents of the Willow Oak subdivision. Residents have registered complaints to the council over potential traffic issues between their neighborhood and the connection to Tripp Lane, where Riverview Junior High School and the Riverview Park baseball complex sit. At the Sept. 15, 2020 Murray City Council meeting, nearby residents including Steve Fidel told the council, “In my 20 years living about 100 yards away from the proposed development, I believe connecting Willow Grove to Tripp Lane would do nothing to alleviate current traffic congestion around Riverview Junior High along Tripp Lane but would create a new safety hazard for pedestrians going to and from both Riverview and Viewmont Elementary.” Initially, this came to the city when the


it clearly states in developer, Neighthere that the stub borWorks, wanted to road could remain develop a 10-house a stub road because subdivision in the the property owner area directly north of to the north may nevWillow Grove Lane. er sell. It was not a They had proposed foregone conclusion a cul-de-sac; howevthat this would be er, the city asked that a through street. It they consider extendwasn’t developed to ing Willow Grove be a through street Lane to meet up with originally, and so the Tripp Lane. assumption that this The Livingstons was always planned reside adjacent to to be a through street the proposed develis absolutely inaccuopment property on Willow Grove Lane, The Murray City Council rejected a resolution to use rate.” It is not clear which dead-ends at eminent domain to connect the Willow Grove Lane why the Livingthe border, and own stub road. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals) ston’s property was a small parking strip that leads to a pedestrian accessway to the mapped out to include that strip of property park. According to Murray City Attorney except that it allowed the developer of the G.L. Christensen, the city told Neighbor- Willow Oaks subdivision to install fencing Works that they would have to acquire this that uniformly bordered the whole project. Also, Livingston said he received nupart of the Livingston’s property. The city offered $1,950, based on an independent merous comments from neighbors that boiled appraisal, to the Livingstons to purchase the down into three concerns: traffic, safety and eminent domain. He said that he personally strip, but they declined the proposal. Jim Livingston told the city council, “If felt safety was the most significant issue of you take a look at the original planning com- the three. “Let me tell you what I see every day. I mission meeting on this on June 17, 2004…


see walking down that street every day are a whole lot of students. I see their parents. I see families walking down that street, and why do they walk down that street and go through that walkway? Because it is a safe place to walk. There are alternative paths that they can take, and they choose not to take those paths because it’s safe for them to walk down that street, and I can’t imagine a through street and what that would do,” Livingston said. As far as stub roads in Murray go, Critchfield explained to the council that the city typically considers connecting these roads into new developments. “We do this in most developments where there is a stub road. The complicating factor is this small piece of ground that is privately owned that obviously, we can’t do anything about unless we condemn it. So that’s the reason for this condemnation action,” Critchfield said. After reading the resolution, Council Chair Diane Turner asked if there was a motion on the resolution. All five city councilors present declined to offer one, and the resolution died. Critchfield said after the meeting that this effectively ends the city’s attempts to connect Tripp and Willow Grove Lanes. l


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Murray City Journal

Extra! Extra! ‘Newsies’ on Murray Park Amphitheater stage By Shaun Delliskave |

Welcome to my theater and to your revolution!” With the upcoming production of “Newsies,” the Murray Arts Council presents their second Disney musical this summer season that originated as a movie. What makes “Newsies,” playing Aug. 6-7, 9, 12-14 on the Murray Park Amphitheater stage, interesting, is that it is very un-Disney. The story doesn’t revolve around cartoon fairytales or magical creatures but instead focuses on events in early 20th-century America. Based on the 1992 motion picture and inspired by a true story, “Newsies” features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman and a play written by Harvey Fierstein. Set in turn-of-the-century New York City, “Newsies” is the rousing story of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” On learning of a price increase for their daily newspapers, these young men organize themselves into a strong band of brothers who will not have their voices go unheard. Veteran director Jim E. Smith returns to the amphitheater stage, having directed the “King and I” on it back in 2001 and “Little Women” in 2012. Winning the lead roles are two actors from Utah County who have performed on stages across the Wasatch Front. Playing Jack Kelly, the leader of a group of teenagers who organize a strike against newspaper publishing titans, is Jordan Pearson. He previously appeared in “A Christmas Carol” at the Hale Centre Theatre and “Who Shot Juanito Bandito” at the Pickleville Playhouse. As Kathryn Plummer, who falls in love with Jack but is a reporter, is Corinn LeBaron. This marks her return to the Murray stage, having previously performed in “Carousel.” She also appeared in Hale Centre’s “A Christmas Carol.” Largely a male cast, handling the newsboy roles are Drew Engebretsen (Davey), Gavin Ward (Les), Ira Robison (Crutchie), Brady Misustin (Spot Conlon), Cameron Ward (Albert), Daniel Bearss (Race), Elesaar de la Rosa (Sniper), Henry Hinckley (Finch), Spencer Nelson (Specs), Luke Elzey (Romeo), Micah Spjute (Ike), Caleb Spjute

(Mike), Noah Johnson (Mush), Parker Lewis (Henry), Ryan Bullock (Elmer), Justin Ravago (Splasher), Wesley Reeves (Jo Jo), Zach Colemere (Buttons), and Ethan Christianson (Darcy). The adult ensemble includes Don Taylor (Joseph Pulitzer), Luana Parkes (Medda Larkin), Jonas Christianson (Morris Delancey), Warren Tharpe (Oscar Delancy), Kevin Elzey (Wiesel), Erik Christianson (Snyder), Bill Morey (Roosevelt), Marty Taylor (Seitz), Mont Hays (Bunsen), Melissa Van Dam (Hannah), Olivia Shelton (Bowery Beauty), Georgia Collings (Bowery Beauty), Cassidy Lewis (Bowery Beauty), and Mike Ward (Camera Man). “Our production will have a live orchestra, which is uncommon for typical community theater. The ambiance of the outdoor stage adds reality to the production, making it stand out from the crowd. The enthusiasm and talent of the cast reflect in their performances as plucky newsboys of 1899,” Assistant Director/Stage Manager Betsy Christianson said. Joining Christianson behind the scenes will be Music Director Alyse Shattuck. Mike Romney has choreographed the numerous dance sequences and gymnastic stunts. Stephanie Halliday has costumed the cast in early 1920’s costumes. Turning the stage into the streets of New York are Tawnya Bearss on props, Lindy Barrett on set design, and Josh and Jeannine Hawkins heading up set construction. “This production reflects a wonderful tradition of Murray Arts in the Park,” Christianson said. “All our local performers and production staff have a passion and flair for storytelling through song, dance, and interpretation of characters. They truly take you into the busy world of turn-of-the-century New York and draw the audience into caring deeply for the struggles and triumphs of those who lived our story.” Tickets for “Newsies” are available online at, at the Murray Parks & Rec office, or at the gate. l

The newsboys from “Newsies,” the musical appearing on Murray Park Amphitheater’s stage in August. (Photo courtesy Betsy Christianson)

MurrayJournal .com

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

Working and learning remotely for the past 15 months brought unique circumstances for all of us to navigate in several areas, and central to it all is having access to a reliable, secure internet connection. The pandemic posed the biggest technological test in the history of the internet. When offices and schools closed in March 2020, internet traffic across the U.S. surged by 20 – 35 percent, as millions of people transitioned to working, learning and consuming all of their entertainment at home. Now our communities are transitioning back to working from offices or making hybrid work arrangements, and schools are planning to reopen their doors beginning in August. A flexible, continuously evolving network staying ahead of customer demand is critical. The success of a network hinges on three factors: decades of strategic investment, continuous network innovation, and the best team in the business. Investment In the last three years alone, Comcast invested $389.6 million in technology and infrastructure in Utah, including upgrades to our network. Since 2017, Comcast devoted more than $15 billion nationwide to strengthening and expanding our network – including building more than 33,000 new route miles of fiber, which is like driving from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine more than 10 times. Every two and a half years, the company has added as much capacity to the network as it has in all the previous years combined. One of the greatest advantages of our massive network is we already pass 60 million homes and businesses with a powerful, fiber-dense network, and we have the ability to quickly, surgically, and efficiently add additional fiber and capacity when and where it’s needed. Because of our continuous investment in our network, we can often complete targeted upgrades in weeks rather than months and years. We have a proven track record of completing network upgrades and improvements ahead of schedule, and delivering the performance our customers need well before they need it. Innovation Continuous innovation throughout every part of a network is key. Comcast is a leader in the 10G initiative, which leverages new standards and technology to dramatically increase internet speeds. The technology lays the groundwork for network operators, like us, to deliver multigigabit download and upload speeds over connections already installed in hundreds of millions of homes worldwide. Meaning, we can deliver multigigabit speeds to homes without the need for massive digging and construction projects. With this technology, Comcast can continue to deliver ultra-fast service today, while simultaneously building capacity for future needs.mAnd with decades of experience, Comcast is advancing network virtualization and data access to cloud-based technologies for greater performance, increased reliability and easier upgrades. Simply put, we’re able to meet the needs of tomorrow – today, and continually improve the customer experience by delivering faster speeds, greater capacity, and more dynamic connected experiences. Team Support In addition to investing billions in building and evolving our network, Comcast engineers, artificial intelligence scientists, and cybersecurity experts across the country are continuously developing and deploying new technologies to protect our customers and ensure our network can meet emerging threats and challenges. We have a team of cybersecurity experts scanning the network for threats and actively defending our network and our communities. Our teams are made up of elite talent working at every level of the network from software and artificial intelligence at the core, to the best field teams laying new fiber and upgrading the network year-round in all conditions. New network entrants who don’t have a plan or resources to support never-ending network evolution, cybersecurity protection, and hardening may put customers who rely on them at unnecessary risk. As the country shifts yet again, home and business internet connections remain essential for video calls, education, healthcare access, workforce development, streaming entertainment, and more. At Comcast, we remain relentlessly focused on connectivity, to deliver the smartest, fastest, most reliable network to the communities we serve – keeping you connected to more of who and what you love.

August 2021 | Page 11

Murray pays out $152,000 to settle racial bias suit By Shaun Delliskave |


urray City has settled a civil lawsuit for $152,000 filed against the city and a police officer alleging racial profiling. The suit revolves around a 2018 traffic stop in which Donna Miller, a Black woman, was pulled over by Murray City police officer Jarom Allred, who thought she was driving under the influence. According to a Murray City press release, “Ms. Miller’s car was seen stopped perpendicular on State Street (near Fashion Place Mall) straddling two lanes of travel. Ms. Miller turned north on State Street. The officer initiated a traffic stop after he observed Ms. Miller drifted at least four times outside her lane of travel. Ms. Miller agreed to perform three standardized field sobriety tests, and during the first two tests showed several clues of possible impairment. She refused to take the final test. After her arrest, a blood sample was taken and sent to the state toxicology laboratory. Several weeks later, the test results returned negative for alcohol and illegal drugs.” Miller’s attorneys from the ACLU responded that, “…the officer lacked probable cause to stop her, let alone arrest her, after she passed four field sobriety tests, including two breathalyzer exams which showed ‘.00’ alcohol level in her system. Detained for three

hours at the police station, she passed a battery of 10 additional tests, including a blood test checking for eight illegal substances, which likewise came back negative. Despite these results and no other evidence, the arresting office said she was a regular marijuana user to justify the DUI arrest. At the time of her traumatic arrest, Ms. Miller, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who does not consume alcohol or illicit drugs, was driving to the LDS Business College where she was a nursing student.” A case summary released by the ACLU alleges Allred, a white policeman, initially stopped Miller on the pretext that she had no car insurance on file, though she did produce proof of insurance when asked. Miller’s suit contends that Allred then proceeded to charge Miller with a DUI, impounded her car, and had her license suspended. Miller, who is also diabetic, had her license reinstated and was refunded any fines. Miller believed the treatment stemmed from the fact that she is Black. “No one should have to experience the humiliation and degradation that I did simply because I was ‘driving while Black,’” Miller’s press release said. “I want my example to show Murray and other cities and police departments across Utah that racism is real

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Murray City settles suit alleging racial profiling by one of its police officers. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

and convince them to train their police officers to see and stop racial bias while doing their jobs.” Complete video footage of the incident was not available. According to the city, the police officer was starting his shift and was not wearing his body camera. The police car’s dash camera footage was also incomplete, as it did not record the officer’s initial observations. “The City believes the entire encounter was lawful,” Murray’s press release said. “However, the City acknowledges that in today’s age of body cameras, not having a body camera on, even when for valid reasons, creates a question in the minds of the public. Ms. Miller accepted the City’s offer to settle for


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“It’s daunting how fast the food comes in and out,” said two of the pantry founders Jim and Jennifer Brass. “We are providing 3,000 to 4,000 meals per month.” Families and individuals in need of food can visit the pantry at 170 E. 5770 South between 10 a.m. and noon each Tuesday. “We ask no questions,” Jennifer added. How can Murrayites help? Please deliver non-expired, shelf-stable food Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. For a list of the most needed food items, go to Individuals, families, neighborhood and church groups, and businesses can do a food drive, or volunteer to come and build backpacks.

$152,000 to avoid the expense, burden, and uncertainty associated with litigation, and to resolve the litigation completely. The City stands by the officer and affirms its belief that the officer did not violate policy. Again, the settlement does not constitute an admission of liability or fault by the City or its officer. No new policies or training will be necessary or part of the agreement.” In July 2020, the city passed a joint resolution committing its public safety officers to equal justice, police accountability and racial justice. Mayor Blair Camp also created a Public Safety Advisory Board, an independent committee, tasked with reviewing concerns in Murray’s police and fire department. l

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“Fun with a purpose” is our motto. Page 12 | August 2021

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Murray City’s new ordinance regulates high-density projects By Shaun Delliskave |


urray City has lifted the temporary land-use restrictions limiting new development applications. At their July 20 meeting, the city council approved amendments modifying three types of mixed-use zoning and created two new classifications that could foster more village-like designs to new projects. In February, the city instituted a temporary six-month moratorium on current and future requests. The need for a moratorium arose from concerns registered by several Murray City department heads who needed more time to study mixed-use impacts to their operations. This halted projects proposed by the property owners of The Pointe@53rd, 49th Street Galleria (AISU), RC Willey, the Sports Mall, the corner of 4800 South and State Street, and the former Mount Vernon School property. State law prohibits Murray from extending the moratorium, which expired Aug. 1. The city reviewed its current zoning ordinances to address concerns about required parking, residential densities, commercial requirements, and design considerations such as open space. City planners will create a “West Subdistrict” in Murray, where units would be re-

stricted to 40 units per acre. In contrast, Murray City Center District and transit-oriented developments (TOD), would be allowed 100. For downtown Murray and TOD projects like Fireclay, the city would require parking to correspond to the number of bedrooms in residential units in each of those types of zones. The city also created two new types of zoning: Centers Mixed-Use (CMU) and Village Mixed-Use (VMU) zones. Both the CMU and VMU zones are proposed with a base allowed residential density, which can be increased by providing affordable housing, mixed housing types, additional commercial beyond the base requirement, or additional project amenities and open space. The VMU density range is from 25 to35 units per acre. The CMU density range is from 35 to45 units per acre. “The reason we are proposing two new different zones, VMU and CMU, is because these areas (e.g., RC Willey and the Sports Mall) are distinct,” Murray City Zoning Division Supervisor Jared Hall said. “These areas are largely residential with a commercial node in the middle of it. That would be appropriate for village-mixed use.” The city will require amenities in each project based upon the number of units and the overall size of the development. In the

VMU and CMU zones, the addition of amenities beyond the base requirement can be tied to increases in the allowed residential density. “[Fashion Place Mall] is a likely area in the next decade … to want to add residential properties to it; to revitalize itself. That’s the way malls are reimagining themselves all over the country. Fashion Place is an important area; we want to be able to accommodate that,” Hall said. In all three zones, projects of three acres or more will require Master Site Plan approval by the planning commission. Any applications for Master Site Plan approval must be accompanied by a traffic impact study, parking analysis, adequate public utilities, and facilities review as well as a Master Site Plan Agreement to be reviewed and approved by the city council. The city can also require developers to provide a public services review from police, fire, schools, and other services. “I think that it is a good idea that the developers] are required to have the review,” City Councilor Diane Turner said. “I think that’s important because that can slip through easily.” With these zoning changes, many projects now need to curtail their planned densities and reconsider the economic feasibility

of some plans. Cory Brand, from the development firm Cottonwood Residential, plans to redevelop the former 49th Street Galleria and has concerns regarding the amendment changes. “This is a huge impact for us. We’ve been on hold for six months. We had a project that was right there. It was quite a bit dense. The old mixed-use zoning was 70 units per acre. We had a project planned with 2100 units on this property. And now this has been cut considerably down from that,” Brand said. Turner and other city councilors were concerned about the short window to review the amendment changes and that it lacked specific considerations like environmental sustainability. Murray City Attorney GL Christensen reminded the council that any developer could apply under the old ordinance to delay and make additional changes past the Aug. 1 deadline. Doug Hill, who represented the mayor’s office, recommended passage of the amendment, stating that future revisions could be included in the new ordinance. The city council voted unanimously for the amendment. l

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Murray City Journal


FREQUENTLY REQUESTED NUMBERS Attorney .................................. 801-264-2640 Business Licensing .................. 801-270-2432 Cemetery ................................ 801-264-2637 City Council ............................. 801-264-2603 Finance Department ............... 801-264-2513 FIRE DEPARTMENT Administrative Office .......... 801-264-2781 Non-Emergency Calls ......... 801-840-4000 General Information................ 801-264-2525 Senior Recreation Center ......... 801-264-2635 Human Resources.................... 801-264-2656 Library .................................... 801-264-2580 Mayor’s Office.......................... 801-264-2600 Municipal Court....................... 801-284-4280 Museum .................................. 801-264-2589 Murray Park Outdoor Pool ....... 801-266-9321 Murray Parkway Golf Course.... 801-262-4653 PARKS AND RECREATION Administrative Office .......... 801-264-2614 Rain-out Information ......... 801-264-2525 Park Center (indoor pool) ........ 801-284-4200 Passports................................. 801-264-2660 POLICE DEPARTMENT Administrative Office .......... 801-264-2673 Animal Control/SL County .. 385-468-7387 Code Enforcement .............. 801-264-2673 Non-Emergency Calls ......... 801-840-4000 POWER DEPARTMENT Administrative Office .......... 801-264-2730 After Hours Emergency....... 801-264-9669 PUBLIC SERVICES Administrative Office .......... 801-270-2440 Building Inspection ............ 801-270-2431 Green Waste Trailers ........... 801-270-2440 Planning and Zoning .......... 801-270-2420 Solid Waste......................... 801-270-2440 Water, Sewer, Streets.......... 801-270-2440 Zoning Enforcement ........... 801-270-2426 UTILITIES After Hours Emergency....... 801-264-9669 Billing Questions ................ 801-264-2626

Mayor’s Message


Water Conservation: The Time is Now 801-264-2600 5025 S. State Street Murray, Utah 84107

If someone asked you the question, “What’s the one thing you can’t live without?”, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Maybe something like chocolate, the internet, my pets, or toilet paper? The fact is the one thing that literally none of us can live without is water! Without water, life cannot exist. One of the core functions of government is to provide clean water to our residents and in Murray we are doing an outstanding job of that. City residents and businesses receive water from one of three sources: Murray City Water, Jordan Valley Water, and a smaller number of customers from Salt Lake City Water. Keeping clean water flowing to each address in the city is a high priority. Unfortunately, as we wind down the “dog days of summer” I can’t help but reflect on how extreme this summer has been. Temperatures have been at record-setting highs in June and July and coupled with the lack of precipitation over the past year, the situation is serious. At the time of this writing, we have had no measurable precipitation for several weeks and none in the forecast. According to the Utah Department of Natural Resources, 100% of Utah is in drought with 90% categorized as extreme drought, and Utah’s water year precipitation levels are 38% below average. There’s simply no ignoring the fact that we need to reduce our consumption of water, not only to get through this period of drought, but in the future as well. Using only the amount of water that we really need should be a way of life moving forward. During this bleak period of drought, I strongly urge all residents and businesses of Murray City to be wise in water consumption. Murray relies on wells and springs for much of our water, and

D. Blair Camp -Mayor

currently the water outlook is stable. However, if the drought continues and consumption doesn’t decrease, we could find ourselves in a shortage situation. I recently was visiting with a resident who is interested in converting her park strip and part of her front lawn to “water-wise” plants. She expressed some frustration that she couldn’t find any landscapers who would come out and do a small job like hers. I encourage anyone who knows of a reputable resource to do this kind of work to share the contact information on social media and in your neighborhoods. Although an estimated 75% of water consumption in the summer is used for outdoor irrigation, smart use of water isn’t just about lawn watering. There are things we can all do to reduce water use indoors as well, such as installing low-flow toilets and shower heads and not letting the water run needlessly while cooking, cleaning, or toothbrushing. None of these are new messages, but it’s a good reminder in times of water shortage. Remember, saving water saves money as well! Some good resources for water saving information are Water Wise Utah ( and Slow the Flow ( These sites contain helpful up-to-date information and tips to help us all conserve water both indoors and outdoors. If you are interested in converting your park strip to water-wise plants, check out the Murray City “Flip Your Strip” rebate program on our city website under Departments -> Water -> Flip-Your-Strip Information. You may be eligible for a rebate of up to $350. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as having said, “When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.” Let’s all do our part before the well is dry!

Park Center Annual Closure

August 11 — 17

Message from the Council If the last year has taught us anything it is that we should focus not only on our own health but also the health of our friends, family, and communities. I have been very fortunate with the love and support of my family, Rosalba Dominguez the Council, Council staff, city employees and the community for supporting me after a District 3 recent surgery that took me by surprise. My recovery has given me a moment to reflect on the future of Murray and what we can continue to do as a council to strengthen our communities as we plan for our future. The future of Murray is on all of our minds and the next few years will greatly impact what that future looks like. This summer, the City Council voted on critical changes to our current code that will impact mixed use zones for development. The moratorium that was in place was for 6 months to take direction from our Economic Development Department to bring some realistic changes for our ever-changing population growth, green spaces, and economy. We met with them about these changes on June 29th. This meeting was the only public meeting held with the council and we need to do

better to raise public awareness for future changes to Murray. The implementation of the moratorium was important to include more transparency and gain input from our citizens. As a council we do not like things to feel rushed or make unwise decisions. Although the moratorium has passed, I feel it is important to inform citizens of upcoming agenda items the council will be voting on over the next few months such as review the MCCD Guidelines, Park Impact Fees and Murray’s Transportation plan and the type of housing we will build, housing affordability, benefits to first time buyers as well as how we decide to use our green spaces, our public parks and the kind city we want to live in. We as a community should decide together on the future; we want to see for the city we all love. I believe it is important we have full transparency and work closely with our neighbors to bring in as many voices as possible. We should provide more educational opportunities so that we can all understand the impact of growth and work towards a common goal. You do have a voice and the city council wants you to be a part of these important decisions. As always, please reach out to me or your city council representative and let’s have a conversation. Rosalba Dominguez , District 3

Murray Library GET BACK TO YOUR LIBRARY! Come back to the Murray City Library and browse the shelves just like old times. Social distancing and masks are recommended. Please be courteous of others. As of June, returned items are no longer being quarantined. This means shorter wait times on returned items. SERVICE HOURS Monday - Thursday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sunday

CITY COUNCIL Council District 1 Kat Martinez 801-264-2624 Council District 2 Dale M. Cox 801-264-2624 Council District 3 Rosalba Dominguez 801-264-2624 Council District 4 Diane Turner 801-264-2624 Council District 5 Brett A. Hales 801-264-2624 Executive Director Jennifer Kennedy Office: 801-264-2622 Telephone Agenda Information 801-264-2525

166 East 5300 South • Murray, UT 84107

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AUGUST 2021 Murray Senior Recreation Center EVENTS Summer Family Concert Series — Please note the schedule below for our 2021 Summer Family Concerts that are held on the 2nd Monday at 7:00 pm. These concerts are free for all ages and are held in our Backyard Plaza (or inside due to inclement weather). Doors open at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9 FLASHBACK BROTHERS (classic rock) Monday, Sept. 13 RED DESERT RAMBLERS (bluegrass) Annual Open House — Mark your calendar for the Center’s annual OPEN HOUSE in honor of National Senior Center Month on Monday, Sept. 13 from 5:30-8 p.m. This special event is open to all ages. We will be having a barbequed rib dinner with baked beans, coleslaw, and dessert will be served anytime from 5:30-6:30 p.m. DINNER tickets are available now for purchase at the front desk and must be purchased prior to August 31. The cost is $8 per person or $28 for a family of four. The free FAMILY CONCERT begins at 7 p.m. Evening Social Dance — DANCE to the musical genius of Tony Summerhays each Thursday night from 7-9:30 p.m. Cost for this activity is $5 per person. Light refreshments are served during the break and door prizes are given each week. Advanced registration is not required. Pay at the door. Each dance is supported by a sponsoring agency providing refreshments & door prizes. Brunch Café — We will be offering our BRUNCH CAFÉ on Monday, Aug. 23 from 10:30 a.m.-noon. You may choose a complete meal or pick a la carte from the menu. One beverage (milk, juice, or coffee) is complimentary with your order. Birthday Wednesday — Celebrate your BIRTHDAY on the FIRST WEDNESDAY of the month and you could win a free lunch. The lunch is on us if you are turning 60, 70, 80, 90, or 100 this month—just tell the lunch cashier you have hit a decade! There is free cake and ice cream for everyone to enjoy, too. A special thank you to Memorial Mortuaries and Cemeteries for donating the cake! Senior Golf League — The Murray Senior Recreation Center’s SENIOR GOLF LEAGUE is in full swing. The league fee is $10 per person. Golf tournaments are for those 55+ who have attained a basic level of golf skill which allows them to compete in 18 holes of play at a pace comparable to the 100+ players participating in each tournament. We have put together a great list of tournaments this year so come out and support our golf program. Aug. 2, 7:30 a.m. Old Mill $48, registration begins on Friday, July 16 Aug. 16, 7:30 a.m. Eaglewood (Scramble) $48, registration begins on Friday, July 30 Aug. 30, 7:30 a.m. Davis Park $48, registration begins on Friday, Aug. 13

offer a class called ESTATE PLANNING BASICS. How is a trust different from a will? Can I avoid probate? Do I need a power of attorney? Get answers to these questions and more. Grief Support — Friday, Aug. 20 at 10:30 a.m. Jody Davis, a chaplain from Rocky Mountain Hospice, will discuss ways to process grief in our GRIEF SUPPORT CLASS. Grief is not limited only to the death of a loved one; it may also be caused by a reaction to divorce, a decrease in physical ability, and other grief-producing events that are all too common as we age. Vital Aging — Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 10:30 a.m. The VITAL AGING wellness topic will be Secrets to Wellness. Do you want to know how to maximize your health and live the best life you possibly can? It all starts with setting wellness goals.

TRIPS PAYSON SALMON SUPPER Join us for the 67th annual PAYSON SALMON SUPPER on Friday, Aug. 6. We have chartered a 52-passenger bus that will depart at 2:30 p.m. and the cost is $32. WENDOVER Travel to WENDOVER on Thursday, August 12, and enjoy a day at the Rainbow Casino. The cost is $20 per person which includes transportation, bonus package from the casino, buffet lunch, and free bingo on the bus. The bus will depart the Center at 8:30 a.m. and return about 7:00 p.m. The deadline to register or cancel for a full refund is Thursday, Aug. 5. SUMMER AT BRIGHTON Get out of the heat and travel up Big Cottonwood Canyon on the Center bus and enjoy the cool air and scenery at BRIGHTON. As in days past, Brighton summers are easy and laid back. The Center bus will make a trip to Brighton on Thursday, Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. Lunch is on your own at the Milly Chalet. With a new smokehouse/BBQ inspired menu, the Chalet offers food that almost competes with the beautiful views. Cost is $6. Wear your walking shoes to enjoy the boardwalk around Silver Lake. Registration begins Wednesday, Aug. 4. CLARK PLANETARIUM: ANTARCTICA 3D ANTARCTICA 3D is a sweeping, 3D Giant-Screen IMAX production. Antarctica is a land of mystery and yet what happens here affects every single one of us. With neverbefore seen footage, our story brings audiences to the farthest reaches of this wild and majestic continent. It is the coldest, driest and windiest place on Earth with the roughest oceans and yet, weird and wonderful creatures thrive here in astounding abundance. Antarctica is the perfect fit for the Giant Screen, and a great place to be on a hot summer day! The Center bus will leave at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26 and will return around 4 p.m. Cost for this trip is $12. Registration begins Wednesday, Aug. 11.

Cornhole — Some of you might have played the bean bag toss game known as Cornhole. The game will be available to play in the courtyard Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Let us know if you are interested in learning how to play!

CLASSES All are free to attend although advance registration is requested. History Class — Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 10:30 a.m., Jim Duignan, who originally hails from Dublin, Ireland, and is a retired history teacher, will discuss Ancient Roman Roads. Recycling Class — Aug. 11, 10:30 a.m. Ace Recycling will be here to teach us how to improve our recycling. Estate Planning Basics — Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 10:30 a.m. Kate Nance, former Grant Coordinator for the Utah Department of Human Services, and elder law attorney, will

#10 East 6150 South (one block west of State Street) • For information on these and other programs call 801-264-2635

RESIDENT ON DISPLAY Original artwork by Murray resident artist, Sandy Williams, displayed in the central display case at City Hall. Sandy will be showcasing her oil paintings August – September.

Lori Edmunds: 801-264-2620

GET TO THE RIVER Celebrate the Jordan River with us at Germania Park, September 11, 2021. Activities include a Chalk Art Contest & 5K Race (must pre-register for both). Grab a free ice cream sandwich while learning about the native plants & creatures that can be found along the river trail. More details can be found at:


Murray High students’ home sells for almost $1 million during Salt Lake County housing boom By Julie Slama |


old signs are posted on homes before families have a chance to contemplate offers. Some buyers make bids, sight unseen. According to Salt Lake Board of Realtors’ website, the median home’s sale price in April 2020 was $365,000 and was on the market for 29 days until it sold. This past April, the price jumped to $440,649 and was on the market only 14 days. Looking in the past 30 years, a home that was valued at $140,000 now may be worth $500,000 in Salt Lake County, well above the national growth rate of 1.5%. Experts say much of it boils down to the basic principle in economics: supply and demand. In this case, more people are moving into the area because of a strong economy and the shortage of homes. Murray High School skilled and technology education teacher Quin Drury just saw it himself as his 100 to 120 students constructed a 4,900-square-foot home near Wheeler Farm the past three years and it sold within a week in May for $975,000. “This program is real-life experience for our kids,” he said. “We produce a quality product that goes out on the market. It’s a real testament to our kids.” The three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home has a covered porch, marble countertops, walk-in closets, nine-foot basement ceilings and a four-car garage. It also features three-tone paint and Craftsman-style cabinets. Murray High’s construction management program advanced students—mostly juniors and seniors—worked on the exterior of the house, then learned about the interior as they completed the home. While working on the home, students learn about framing, cement work, flat work, roofing, windows, installing doors and drywall, painting, tiling, putting in hardwood floors and cabinets and other house construction. Throughout the process, students can put in as much as 1,000 hours into building the home, Drury said. By enrolling in the high school’s fourterm carpentry classes and Salt Lake Community College’s construction management structures course, they can receive up 16 college credits, and many times, students are offered college scholarships, Drury said. “The kids learn to stick with it until they get it right; often times, we do it twice (or more) to make sure they learn and understand the skill and the end product is correct. It’s the only high school program

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that is on the market for anyone to purchase, but the kids are still in high school so they’re part of Murray High and have that sense of belonging,” he said, explaining that it’s common for other school districts to offer the program with their tech centers so students are away from their schools half-days. Drury even had three former students return with SLCC’s cabinetry program to make cabinets for the home and bussed his 10th-grade students to see the completed house on May 12’s open house, before it sold. Typically, the homes are built in two years, but because of COVID-19 and the soft closure of schools in spring 2020, students were unable to work on the home on schedule. Instead, Drury had them do construction or repair work on their own families’ homes to complement their book learning. As a result, this house was completed in three years. The project homes traditionally have Granite Tech Institute students complete plumbing and electrical work, since they are enrolled in those programs, but this year, those students were only able to complete the plumbing, so electrical, mechanical and foundation walls were subbed out, Drury said. Drury said that the price for the home sounds unbelievable until other factors are accounted for. “It sounds great if we built it and were done, but we put the money back into another house so more students can learn these skills,” he said. “The administration’s support is great for this program. We just bought property on Bullion Street for our next home and then, there’s the high price of lumber and supplies right now.” In late June, National Association of Home Builders Chairman Chuck Fowke acknowledged the price of lumber. “While lumber costs have come down in recent weeks, they are still more than 210% higher than a year ago,” he said, adding that the supply continues to be a challenge, with the count of new homes sold that had not started construction up 76% over the last year. However, Drury said the high school program isn’t about making money during this unprecedented market; it’s about giving students opportunity. “We’re in it to teach our students the right way to build homes and to give them that real-life experience,” Drury said. l

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August 2021 | Page 19

Murray High student earns school’s first state gold medal in job skill competition By Julie Slama |


urray High senior Jacob Haran is in his school’s history book. This past spring, Haran achieved his school’s first gold medal in the state’s SkillsUSA Job Skill Demonstration competition. “In SkillsUSA, we teach a lot of leadership skills as well as hands-on job skills, since he’s strong in both areas, he had to be able to present himself professionally, be organized, be thorough, and demonstrate his knowledge—and he nailed it,” said his teacher, Quin Drury, who instructs skilled and technology education. Nailed it may mean both figuratively and literally. According to the SkillsUSA website, the Job Skill Demonstration is designed to evaluate each contestant’s ability to demonstrate and explain an entry-level technical skill used in the occupational area for which he or she is training. Haran showed how to cope molding for inside corners and finished trim. “He was able to share his technical knowledge and then have the leadership skills to communicate and demonstrate it,” Drury said.

The senior also had to present himself professionally on video as the competition was done virtually as was his entry into the national competition, which he qualified to enter as the state champion. “We kept filming it again and again because this time we got interrupted or this time the bell rang as he spoke; it took about 15 takes,” Drury said about the process that was completed as the school year finished. “Jacob was patient and did a great job. He’s an excellent student, really capable and kind to other students.” The Murray Board of Education also congratulated him at a recent board meeting and his classmates learned of his success over the school announcements. In addition to his gold medal, Haran received a tuition waiver to Salt Lake Community College and tools from Lowe’s. “It was really important that we had this year’s event and not cancel on the kids. They’ve lost so much, and this gives them such a great opportunity,” he said. Murray High also had a third place winner, senior Bill Drury, in carpentry. l

Murray High senior Jacob Haran demonstrated his carpentry skills and knowledge to earn a gold medal in the state’s SkillsUSA Job Skill Demonstration competition. (Quin Drury/Murray High)

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Riverview journalism class gives students a sample of recording real world in newspaper, yearbook By Julie Slama |


n seventh grade, Paisley Mitchell wanted to be on her school’s yearbook staff. Last year, she learned more about it and discovered the school newspaper was part of the journalism class. This past year, as a ninth-grader at Riverview Junior High, Paisley was one of 22 accepted from the 60 applicants. Instead of asking to be yearbook editor, she applied to be one of the three newspaper editors. “My aunt (who was in Riverview’s journalism class in the 2000s) told me that she was a newspaper editor and that she had a lot of fun,” she said. “I really liked the idea of being able to come up with what kinds of articles we would be writing.” The Riverview Rush’s articles ranged from features such as “Asking Girls Questions Boys Are Too Afraid To Ask” to hard news, including what was going on in the world or in the school, such as LGBTQ+ issues, the Black Lives Matter movement, COVID-19 vaccinations and Advanced Placement testing. The school newspaper transformed much this past year, switching from its name that reflected previous years’ mascot, to going digital, which made it more accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as made it more interactive. She was able to apply what she learned in her digital literacy class with hyperlinks for student surveys and questionnaires, she said. One of the articles Paisley, who also played in the school orchestra, wrote about was the inequality of sports being able to compete versus performing arts not holding performances during COVID-19. “I learned a lot in journalism class that your articles need to be unbiased, and they need to be neutral,” she said. “I brought a fair amount, I’d say, from people who thought that it was fair that the sports people should be able to perform and not the performing arts students, and then I got a fair amount of people who thought that it wasn’t fair, so I was kind of able to see both sides.” With a push from parents, that changed during the school year and performing arts groups were allowed to perform during the pandemic, she said. Another issue that was addressed was the school dress code, which came about from reading, “More than a Body.” The staff tackled it by writing both a book review as well as having readers respond to a poll that asked them their thoughts of the school dress code. “I thought it was kind of a good article to do,” Paisley said, adding that the survey asked gender the students identify with, if they’ve been affected by the dress code, and if they think it was equitable. “So, we can use the result from that survey to write about the dress code and then (pair it) with ‘More than a Body’ review. That was one of the articles that really stood out to me. It was cool to get

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change going.” Some other articles were softer news, but still educational. Her classmate, ninth-grader Kennedy Adams, chose to write about swapping sports with other student-athletes. “I’m on the drill team so I tried a whole bunch of other sports and then, the other kids would try dance,” Kennedy said. “I wrote all about that and that was fun.” Paisley said that articles are checked off by the journalism adviser, Heather Wihongi, who started teaching the course eight years ago after teaching English for 20 years. Without a set curriculum, Wihongi has created her own, using some of what previous teachers have taught in the course that was established in 1961, but also modernizing it to include learning about college journalism by touring the University of Utah’s communication department and digitizing the newspaper that serves 700 students. The elective course not only produces the school newspaper and yearbook, but it also is responsible for television, website and school announcements as well as an Instagram account. “I just kind of changed it up every year depending on the needs,” Wihongi said. “It’s been so great this year because there’s been so many big worldwide and nationwide events that they can write about, and they’ve done a great job.” The newspaper’s topics have included social unrest and COVID-19, and Wihongi wants students to understand their voice and recording experiences and storytelling in their articles. “These kids care about what’s going on. There was just so much more going on in the world, between elections and what is happening with mental health awareness,” she said. “People’s stories are really, really important and (I tell them) ‘your perspective is important.’ We talked about the importance of individual story, and this year, with so many things go on, (I said,) ‘you guys are making history. You need to record this; you need to write this down. It’ll be so important to go back and read one day.’” In addition to writing an article for each of the seven issues, students learned the basics of newspaper interviewing, writing and editing; completed regular assignments such as analyzing other newspaper articles, including the Humans of New York (photoblog and book of street portraits and interviews collected on the streets of New York City); learning about unbiased reporting, using reliable sources, and meeting deadlines. As a result of her experience, Paisley now is interested in possibility pursuing a journalism career or coupling her love of writing with possibly being a pediatric surgeon. However, Paisley is unable to continue writing for a school newspaper next year. Murray High Principal Scott Wihongi said because interest in the online newspaper at

Murray High has waned, the high school class didn’t have enough students enrolled to carry it, but he plans to offer it again next year. However, there is strong interest in the high school’s yearbook, so Kennedy, who was Riverview’s yearbook editor, is enrolling in that course this fall. While submitting articles for the online newspaper, Riverview’s journalism staff also met periodic deadlines for the 68-page yearbook, which the staff chose to have a survival handbook theme. With a basic format used annually, the staff is responsible for deciding the look of the pages, said Kennedy, who said “a lot of it was a class decision, and then yearbook editors made the smaller decisions like what the font would be, or the colors and the graphics we would put in.” The staff selected pages from school picture portrait pages to ones that covered clubs or arts. She said that they did try to include pages that showcased students and asked them questions like what their year was like this past year. Kennedy said that they would track students who appeared in the yearbook so everyone would be included, then they would go to their class to interview them and take

their photo. For many, that was fun, but for her, it was challenging. “I mostly did this class because I’m a very shy person. I needed to do something to step out of my comfort zone and so, I was not ready to interview people at all. It scared me,” she said, but grew more comfortable with it as she did more interviewing throughout the year. The yearbook included how students survived this year, including a mask fashion page, which Kennedy said, “was kind of a fun thing; it shows what we went through this year.” It also included a page Paisley created that highlighted what quarantining looked like; she asked students to submit photos of themselves while at home studying and used those for her layout, including one of a student using his Chromebook in the snow. While Kennedy doesn’t have plans to pursue a journalism career, she said that it has helped with her communication skills. “It’s helped mostly with my social skills, like being able to talk to people and not being nervous when I talk to people that I’ve never really talked to before,” she said. “Definitely, I think I’m a much better writer now, which is good. The more experience you get from writing, the better you get at it.” l

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August 2021 | Page 21

Government 101: Form of government in cities By Erin Dixon |


n Utah, there are two possible types of government: Council-Manager or Council-Mayor. There’s a possible third type of government, a Charter, but none of the cities in which City Journals publishes has one. Council-Mayor The mayor is elected every four years and represents the entire city. They are the head of the executive branch, like a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) in a private business. All department heads within the city report to them. When a new mayor takes a seat, they can hire or fire department heads, but council advice and consent is required. City council members are also elected every four years, though usually not at the same time. This prevents the city from having an entirely new council at once. Each council member represents a portion of the city (district), or the city as a whole (at-large). The council is the decision making body but does not have any power over city staff. The council makes decisions for the city: budget, property, code, planning and zoning, etc. The mayor may be invited to attend, speak and contribute. Council meetings, usually twice a month, are run by city council members. The mayor is responsible for carrying out the decisions made by the council. The mayor can veto if they disagree with any legislation passed by the council. The council elects its own chair who conducts the public meetings.

Council members do not have any administrative powers to direct staff. Council-Manager The mayor is elected and represents the entire city. They are part of the council. In this form of government, the council appoints a city manager to be the CEO. Department heads answer to the manager and the manager can hire or fire department heads, though hires are subject to council advice and consent. Council members are elected every four years, though usually not all at the same time. In some cities, the mayor votes with each decision. In others, the mayor only casts a vote if there is a tie. The mayor is chair and the face of the council. The manager attends council meetings, gives reports and advises council in decision making. Council meetings, usually twice a month, is run by the mayor. The city manager is responsible for carrying out the decisions made by the council. The mayor does not have veto power. Council members do not have any administrative powers to direct staff. Cottonwood Heights: Council-Manager, mayor always votes Draper: Council-Manager, mayor is tie breaker Herriman: Council-Manager, mayor always votes Holladay: Council-Manager, mayor always votes Midvale: Council-Manager, mayor is tie breaker Murray: Council-Mayor

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Each city government operates differently, and elected officials have different responsibilities depending on the form. (infographic/Erin Dixon)

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Murray City Journal

School district leaders hope summer sessions slowed academic relapse By Julie Slama |


his summer, students across the Salt Lake Valley may not have experienced the summer slide as much as previous years. Summer slide is a term used to describe academic regression many students experience over the summer months, and nationwide, teachers and school districts are trying to make a point of helping students review, gain access to resources and learn individually or in smaller settings this summer through summer school options. Locally, many school districts invited students who may have fallen behind during the COVID-19 pandemic to summer session so they could review their previous instruction or enhance their learning through additional practice. In Murray, several hundred students of all grade levels were identified and took part in the four-week session. “We identified the kids we needed to reach most and worked with their parents to see if we could get them to come and get caught up,” said Doug Perry, Murray School District spokesman. “We feel really good about it and made some excellent progress with many students. It was not without challenge and there are still going to be some students who need support and resources, particularly those that did not take advantage of the opportunity. But we feel we are in better shape with many of them than we were at the end of the school year.” This was the first summer school session in the district after a number of years. Students attended a school per level—elementary, junior high or high school—where they typically spent three to four hours five days per week and received some individualized instruction. Meals and snacks were served, and incentives were given to “keep them engaged,” he said. In Jordan School District, spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf said that students of every level were able to get help at their regular schools as the district used CARES Act funding to support teacher salaries. There were two voluntary summer sessions and meals were provided. “Some type of summer school was offered at every school in the district, both elementary and secondary,” she said, saying it was a change from just holding it at Valley High School. In the elementary level, students who needed extra help mostly with math and literacy were invited to participate from 9 a.m. to noon. In the middle school, students who needed extra help in a subject area as well as ninth-grade credit recovery attended the same time period. High schools offered credit recovery all day. While the total number of students who participated wasn’t available for press deadline, Riesgraf identified 1,908 secondary students who registered in the first summer session. “Our elementary teachers and principals

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I’ve talked to were pleasantly surprised by the number of kids that showed up for summer school, so it’s been a positive outcome,” she said. Canyons School District also offered its Summer Boost program, targeted to about 1,500 elementary and middle school students who needed the extra help or a bump up in their education. They also received free meals and other social services. “The biggest thing is that I hope our students can catch up and master their unfinished learning,” said Alta View Elementary School Principal Scott Jameson who had about 20 of his students attend morning lessons at nearby Altara Elementary. “They focused on their literacy and math. On the last day, I told them ‘nice job’ as they came off the bus and even walked partway home with a couple of them.” The program was housed in five schools throughout the district four mornings per week for three weeks. Natalie Gleave was a Summer Boost administrator at Crescent Elementary, which served about 300 students from 10 different elementary schools. “Our teachers and staff tried to make this a fun experience for students,” she said. “Students were all there voluntarily and we tried to make it feel like a summer camp of learning. There were a lot of hands-on activities to enrich and strengthen students’ skills.” Gleave said each morning they held a meeting where students had the opportunity to get to know one another. “These meetings always had a life skills component tied into them to boost student’s social skills. Bringing kids together from 10 different elementary schools around the valley provided many opportunities to make new connections,” she said. Within Crescent’s camp, they also hosted a newcomer academy, which had two classes of kindergarten through fifth-grade students who are new to the United States. One of the classes served eight students who spoke five different languages, she said. “The best part of the Summer Boost program was the kids. It was amazing after only three weeks how connected we felt to each other; I saw new friendships grow and develop between kids of all different backgrounds and circumstances,” Gleave said. “I know the parents of these students were grateful for the opportunity to send their children to Summer Boost. I had several parents stop me before and after school to express their appreciation for the busing, meals and instruction that was provided to them at no cost.” In addition, high schools offered other programs, such as credit recovery and also the regular AVID Summer Bridge program at Jordan High and Husky Strong program were offered to incoming freshmen. Jordan High also sponsored a six-week Code to Success coding camp as well as reading and math interventions.

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

Jameson said his school had its second summer reading program where students could check out books and read in the library. They also partnered with Salt Lake County libraries so a librarian came in to hold storytime and do crafts with the students that tied into literacy. Another component of Alta View’s program was a PTA and School Communi-

ty Council volunteer taught parents DYAD reading, or a side-by-side reading strategy, and they were able to practice it alongside their children. “It really is a good program and a good group of teachers, librarians, parents and volunteers all involved to help our students with their reading and literacy,” he said. l

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August 2021 | Page 23

Essential school bus drivers, nutrition, custodian staff needed for upcoming school year By Julie Slama |


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

try,” he said. Jordan School District also has a need for drivers. “We always are short bus drivers; Every school district in Salt Lake County, or probably in the state, there’s high turnover,” said spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf. “And we’re a growing school district, so we always have more routes.” To attract more drivers, Canyons has boosted their salaries to $21.19 per hour for starting pay. Attendant pay is $14 per hour. Wardle said there are part-time and full-time positions available for the 180-day school year and fulltime contracts come with benefits. Murray School District spokesman Doug Perry said Murray’s district also may be down a few drivers at any given time, along with the same numbers of nutrition services staff and custodians; the district also increased pay for those positions. “We only have about a dozen or so regular bus drivers and about four dozen lunch workers and a couple dozen custodians in total so our shortages might be two-three positions at any given time out of those three groups, which is pretty manageable,” he said. Pay in Murray District for bus drivers is $22 to $25 per hour; nutrition service, $13 to $18 per hour; and custodians are $11 to $15 per hour. Granite School District also continues to see “traditional vacancy challenges” in transportation and custodial departments as well as classroom and school aides, said spokesman Ben Horsley.

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

“Part-time para-professionals continue to be difficult to find in this economy,” he said. “One strange challenge is the amount of open school psychologist positions we still have at this point in the year.” Starting salaries are about $21 per hour for bus drivers; $18 for custodians and $11 for hourly para-professionals. In Canyons, commercial driver licenses are required before bus drivers take the wheel, however, there is free in-house training and testing, Wardle said. Drivers also are expected to perform a pre-trip “look over” that ranges from brake check to light cleaning. Eight mechanics on staff are

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Murray City Journal

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

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

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During pandemic: traditional schools may resume ‘normal’ look, online learning options will continue By Julie Slama |


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

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

MurrayJournal .com

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

tion and our cabinet, they came up with the reopening plan when we reopened,” Riesgraf said on July 1, adding if it comes to re-addressing the current health situation, “we will decide what works best in Jordan.” A benefit from virtual learning during COVID-19 in Jordan School District was offering flexible Fridays, where teachers were able to individually meet with students or small groups, in person or virtually, to offer additional instruction, enhanced learning or review. This year, as a result of parent surveys indicating its benefits, Jordan will continue to offer the flexible Friday learning four times: Sept. 10, Nov. 19, Feb. 11, 2022, and April 29, 2022. Another positive outcome, Riesgraf said, was the establishment of offering online learning in their own virtual schools—Rocky Peak Elementary, Kelsey Peak Middle and King Peak High. “Every student in the district has the option to sign up and attend at one of those schools if they want to do online learning this year,” she said. “The elementary and the middle school will offer in-person learning one day a week so they will have the option one day to come in and have in-person learning.” She said that is unique and will give students an opportunity, if they choose, to have more hands-on learning and be able to work in small groups or partners to build community. “I don’t know anybody else in the state is offering that and nobody else in the state is offering K through 12 (online education),” she said, adding that students still are able to participate in extracurricular activities at

their boundary school. Canyons School District also will offer in-person learning and online options. Last spring, Canyons students and faculty and staff had the option to wear face coverings its final week of school in the 2020-21 school year and like other districts, it will abide by health and safety guidelines and continue to monitor the situation, according to district spokeswoman Kirsten Stewart in late June. Alta View Elementary Principal Scott Jameson said through use of technology, some positive aspects have come out of COVID-19. “With virtual learning, we likely won’t have snow days where we have to make up the learning day during the holiday breaks,” he said. “Our teachers have learned to use technology and use it effectively. Kids do well with it in general so I can see using that experience and integrate more technology into the classroom or if we need to switch to teach online or hybrid again. Even elementary schools are using Canvas (learning platform) in their classrooms, so if a student is absent, they can log in to see what assignment they’re missing and if able to, be able to do it.” Jameson also said that all the “good hygiene” of hand-washing and hand-sanitizers will be encouraged in his school. In the spring, the district did establish a new online opportunity, updating its virtual high school offering. Canyons Board of Education approved the launch of Canyons Online, a technology-driven educational initiative for grades

three through 12 that will begin this fall. “This past year has taught us how important in-person instruction is because of relationships and connections students make with teachers and their schools,” Canyons School District Superintendent Rick Robins said on March 31. “What it also has taught us is how we can deliver education virtually. Some of our students have flourished online, while others have missed those relationships in our schools. We realize we can offer our students the flexibility of online learning while blending it with those connections.” That ability to make and maintain connections with their neighborhood schools is what makes Canyons Online unique among other online-learning programs, he said. Canyons Online elementary-age students will be able to participate in beforeand after-school music programs, science fair and debate. Middle-schoolers enrolled in Canyons Online can take electives at the local school, plus compete in science fairs and debate. Canyons Online high school students will be allowed to dual enroll so they can have full access to high school programs. “We’re re-establishing relationships with kids who have stayed online with their neighborhood schools to build that instruction and connection into Canyons Online,” Robins said. “The blended online format will have the academic component, whether it’s support and remediation or acceleration, plus the connection to their neighborhood school. This is really at the heart of what personalized learning can be.” l

August 2021 | Page 27

Unsung Heroes In Our Community Happy & Thriving Seniors Kelsey Meha loves her job. She feels she has a whole building full of loving grandparents that she gets to work with every day. Kelsey is the Wellness Assistant at Sagewood at Daybreak in South Jordan. Sagewood is an independent living, assisted living and memory care facility on a beautiful 6 acre site. She was excited to help seniors be balanced and at their best, no matter their age. “We want our residents to thrive,” she said. “We want them to be happy and stimulated in a way that they are challenged.” The Sagewood staff does this by encouraging the residents to help each other. “When they are focused on others, they really benefit!” One of Kelsey’s most satisfying days happened when one of the residents, who lost her leg after 13 failed surgeries, tried a new therapy encouraged by Kelsey. During her assessment, Kelsey urged her to try the swimming pool for therapy. She was hesitant as she hadn’t been in a pool for 8 years, but decided to trust Kelsey and give it a try. “After lowering me into the pool, Kelsey helped me around for the first little bit, then I went on my own. I felt like a whole different person! I was free, light, and wonderful. I was normal for a short time and it was amazing.” 4760 S. State Street Murray, UT 84107

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


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




larger. From the snow-capped mountains to the majestic red rocks, statistics show that not even a global pandemic can keep people away from all our state has to offer. Despite the pandemic, a record 10.6 million people visited Utah state parks in 2020 – a 33% increase from 2019. Similarly, Utah’s ski resorts saw a record-breaking 5.3 million skier days during the 202021 winter season, according to Ski Utah. The previous record was 5.1 million, set in 2018-2019. The business side of tourism continues to recover, although much more slowly than the leisure side of travel. It will take some time for business travel to fully recover from the effects of the pandemic, but the future is looking bright. More than a year after the economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic began, Utah’s economy has emerged as one of the strongest in the nation, with the second-highest job growth of any state. This busy season of travel is a great sign that our travel and tourism industry is making a strong comeback. A boost in summer travel will have far-reaching impacts on the economy, bringing back jobs

and stimulating additional growth. Robert Spendlove is senior economist for Zions Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A.

is looking for champions in your community!



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Page 28 | August 2021

Murray City Journal

Cottonwood football looks to build on last season with a bigger roster, tougher schedule By Brian Shaw |


ast year, the Cottonwood High football team finished with a 4-5 record, their best in more than a decade. As the Colts move into their third season under head coach Casey Miller, the plan is to improve upon last year in a number of areas. A weeklong summer camp that immersed players in football-related activities and team building exercises brought out 60-plus kids, the highest number of players attending this camp since Miller’s been the head coach. Several of these players are ninth graders and some have never played football, but Cottonwood returns at least 20 players from last year’s squad, including 10 seniors on a team laden with juniors who also played on the Colts JV/Sophomore squad that was successful in 2020. “We have three of our top four running backs coming back, and our quarterback Brock Simpson is back for his third year as a starter,” said Miller.. “We also have four of our top five wide receivers back, and a new WR that moved in who will start both ways for us.” So with all of this experience to go with a few new faces, including a move-in who will play both ways for Cottonwood, Miller went to Athletic Director Greg Southwick

and requested his team, that plays as an independent, can schedule better opposition than the two previous years. AD approved. “There are pros and cons with it, but we’re trying to rebuild the program and we’ve got to let the coach make those decisions,” said Southwick. “We’re going to support him in it knowing we’re getting more participation. Last year really generated some enthusiasm.” Cottonwood’s 2021 football schedule kicks off Friday Aug. 13 with a home game against powerhouse Summit Academy. A Class 3A state playoff quarterfinalist out of Draper, the Bears thumped Cottonwood in last year’s season opener. On Friday Aug. 20 the Colts will motor down Interstate 15 and Highway 6, stopping hundreds of miles away at Carbon High in Price, where amid a scenic, red-rocked backdrop, they’ll tackle the Dinos, a 3A team that Cottonwood narrowly defeated at home last year. The unofficial rematch tour continues Aug. 27 when the Colts travel to play a vastly improved Providence Hall, a team that has been an independent like Cottonwood and will now play in Class 2A for the first time in school history. By that point, the Colts should have an idea on where they stand.

“We have four of our five top linebackers coming back from last year,” said the Cottonwood head coach. “And five of the six defensive backs. But, we only have one returning offensive and defensive lineman though, that’s gonna be the test.” In September, the games will get tougher for a team that is breaking in a few new players in two critical position groups. Cottonwood will take to the road for the third straight week on Sept. 3 to tackle Northridge, a school in Class 5A from Northern Utah that, like the Colts, were a perennial power in the 1990s and 2000s but has fallen on tough times. For the fourth consecutive week, Cottonwood will have to jump on the yellow bus for a Sept. 10 tilt at Jordan where the foe will be quite familiar, the Colts having played the Beetdiggers every year when they were competing in the same region. This meeting will mark the first in four years between the two schools, and it’s one that Miller said will be a barometer for where Cottonwood’s football program stands in year three of this rebuild. Cottonwood will then play its final away game of the season, a Sept. 17 clash at rival Murray. It will be another opponent from the old region days for the Colts, who last played the Spartans in 2019 and lost 69-0 in Miller’s

first season at the helm. After taking a two-week break, the Colts will take on Jordan again on Oct. 1 at Cottonwood, the first time the Colts will have played at home in six weeks. On Friday, Oct. 8, the Colts will welcome Hurricane, a Class 4A school from Southern Utah and will close out their 2021 season with another home game, a rematch against 5A Northridge. In all, the Colts will play 10 games as an independent, one more than they had in 2020 as they continue to revamp the football program. l

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Making sense of your property tax statement Did you get your property tax statement and feel overwhelmed trying to understand it? Every year we get calls from residents who need help making sense of their tax statement, so here is some info that might be useful. The county treasurer is responsible to collect taxes for over 70 different entities, not just Salt Lake County. That means that your city/township, school district, water districts, and other entities show up on your property tax statement. Once we get the money, we distribute it to the different taxing entities. The Salt Lake County assessor oversees the assessment of your property value. Once your value is assessed, then the tax rate is applied to that amount. If you think your assessed value is incorrect, you can appeal it between August 1 – September 15. Just go to to see instructions. One great thing about our state is that Truth-in-Taxation is required. That means you will be notified if a government entity is trying to raise your taxes. My property tax notice, for instance, showed an increase with my school district and two of the water districts. It also shows when the public hearing will

Aimee Winder Newton Salt Lake County Council | District 3 be held so government officials can hear from you. Just because a tax rate stays the same, doesn’t mean your taxes won’t increase. After your property is assessed, the county adds in additional growth and

then divides all the property values by the proposed budget amount. That is how we get the tax rate. Government cannot collect more than what they did the previous year without a Truth-in-Taxation hearing. If property values and growth are going up, your tax rate would go down if there was no additional tax increase. When taxing entities tell you the rate hasn’t changed, that still could mean a tax increase from that entity. Don’t worry, though… it should be crystal clear on

your property tax statement if it’s an increase. If there is a public meeting, that entity is raising your taxes this year. If you find yourself falling on hard times and need some tax relief, you can apply to the Treasurer’s office for a few different programs designed to help. The programs are as follows: Circuit Breaker– 66 years old or surviving spouse with household income below $34,666. Indigent – 65 years old or disabled with household income plus adjusted assets below $34,666. Hardship – Extreme financial hardship at any age with adjusted household income plus assets that do not exceed $34,666. This limit is increased by $4,480 for each household member. There are also programs to help veterans. Visit for details. Although paying property taxes is not pleasant for anyone, keep in mind the many services that our cities, counties, school districts, water districts, and even the mosquito abatement district provides. And don’t hesitate to get involved in these government entities. The more that people get involved, the more taxes stay in check.

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es changed the world. We grew up on Saturday morning cartoons and I wanted to be “bionic” or a Charlie’s Angel. I also rocked a smallpox vaccine scar (because vaccines work, people). We were easily amused. One of our favorite toys, the Clacker, was two heavy plastic balls attached to a string that you knocked together – for hours. We also had pet rocks, Silly Putty and Weebles. Okay, yes, our toys were stupid – but we were not. We used our imagination and became innovators, dreamers, creators and visionaries, and don’t need to be talked down to. Patronize a Gen Xer and you’ll end up with a pet rock shoved in your ear. I celebrated my birthday in July and love every day that my heart is beating, my lungs are breathing, and my mind is learning. I’m resilient, hopeful and optimistic, and look forward to turning even older next year. I’ll continue to wear shorts, tank tops, mini-skirts or anything else I damn well please. The only thing I refuse to wear is a fake smile because I’m done playing small. But I’m not done playing golf. Even if it means getting carded to prove I’m not a senior (yet), age won’t stop me. I still have lots of golf balls to hit into lakes and shrubbery.



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August 2021 | Page 31

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August 2021 | Vol. 31 Iss. 08



little more than three years ago, the City Journals introduced readers to Cottonwood High School senior wheelchair basketball star Ali Ibanez. She was a 4.0 student facing the big decision of which college to attend. In that April 2018 article she commented, “My real goal is to make the 2020 Women’s Basketball Paralympic Games team.” Guess what? On Aug. 17, Ibanez and her 11 USA teammates will board a Tokyo-bound plane. And, eight days later, Ibanez, 21, will fulfill that dream, when she competes in her first Paralympic game, versus the Netherlands. Japan will be the seventh foreign country she has visited, playing her game and pursuing that dream. “So far I’ve been to the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Thailand, Australia and Peru for competitions as well as friendlies,” she said. “This will be my first time going to Japan—I’m pretty excited about it!” Born with a congenital disease called arthrogryposis, Ibanez has never walked. But unlike most people with the condition, it has not debilitated her upper body. That rare fortune has allowed her to play wheelchair basketball since she was 13 years old. “My older sister was babysitting for a family that lived across the street from Woodstock Elementary School (6015 S. 1300 East),” Ibanez said. “She called me from there to say, ‘You’ve got to hurry over here to see this.’ What she had seen was a wheelchair basketball team arriving and unloading for practice.” That group, the Utah Rush wheelchair basketball team, was coached by Marilyn Blakley. “Ali came right over to talk to us,” Blakley recalled. “And

Former Murray resident Ali Ibanez is known for her aggressive defensive play on the wheelchair basketball court. (

it wasn’t long before she was on our team. The U.S. Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team is the most prestigious team any of our Rush players have been on.” Back in 2018, Ibanez was named to the U.S. Women’s

National Wheelchair Basketball Team by head coach Trooper Johnson, himself a former wheelchair basketball star. Two years later, in March 2020—just days before COVID-19 shut down the sports world— Continued page 6

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