Murray Journal | December 2021

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December 2021 | Vol. 31 Iss. 12




n old French proverb states that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and perhaps that best sums up Murray’s recent election. With the retirement of Mayor Blair Camp and City Councilor Dale Cox, the Nov. 2 election saw Brett Hales jump from the city council to the mayor’s office, and Pam Cotter returned to a city council seat that she temporarily held four years ago. In addition, Diane Turner returns for a third term on the city council. Hales, a three-term city councilor first elected to City Council District 5 in 2012, was formerly Vice President of Cyprus Credit Union. Hales emerged from the primary election as the top vote-getter, ahead of the three other candidates, Clark Bullen, Adam Fitzgerald and Alexander Teemsma. Hales’ general election opponent, Bullen, emerged with the primary’s second-highest vote tally. In the weeks leading up to the election, a common concern voiced in candidate forums was the increased application of turning former retail sites, such as the RC Willey property, into multi-use or high-density residential areas. Another oft vocalized concern was Murray’s downtown development. Both Hales and Bullen stated at the Sept. 29 Meet-the-Candidates Night that they opposed Murray’s State

Brett Hales moves to the mayor seat, Diane Turner retains her council seat, and Pamela Cotter takes over her former council seat. (Photo courtesy Murray City)

Street project proposal. However, Hales and Bullen’s approaches to campaigning were very different, with Bullen highly engaged on social media while Hales’ conducted a low-key, wordof-mouth campaign.

With 37% of Murray’s 28,387 registered voters casting ballots in the general election, Hales breezed to the mayor’s office with a commanding 58% of the vote to Bullen’s 42%. “I am looking forward to hearing from our

residents of Murray and welcome their input on ideas to make our city the best in the state. I am also so excited to work with our department

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Continued from front page heads and with all of our employees. Together we will continue to improve our city and make our residents happy to live here. Finally, I want to thank my opponent for running a clean campaign. I wish him the best,” Hales said. According to Utah State Code, when Hales is sworn in as the mayor on Jan. 4, 2022, his seat on the council will be considered vacant. According to City Council Executive Director Jennifer Kennedy, “The City Council must appoint an interim council member within 30 days after the day on which the vacancy occurs. Public notice of the vacancy will be given at that time, notifying residents that applications are being accepted to represent District 5 on the City Council. The notice will be posted at least two weeks before the council meets to fill the vacancy and will include information on where and how to apply to serve. “The candidates must be registered voters of the city, and in the case of filling this council seat, must be residents of Council District 5. The council must, in an open meeting (the date and time of that meeting have not been determined yet), interview all the candidates who have submitted their names for consideration, and then vote to select the interim council member. The interim council member would serve until Jan. 2, 2024, when the duly elected council member from the general election is sworn into office.” Electoral turnout was slightly higher in the westside Murray City Council District 2 showdown, with 40% of the voters showing up. Current City Councilor Dale Cox announced that he was not running for re-election. Candidates Pam Cotter, who temporarily filled Blair Camp’s council seat after he became mayor, and Joe Silverzweig, who formerly worked for the State of Utah’s Attorney General’s office, vied to take Cox’s spot. “I had several people approach me and ask me to run for council. I really enjoyed my time as an interim city council member four years ago and loved being able to speak up

Journals T H E

2021 candidates for Murray office (l-r) City Council District 2 candidate Joe Silverzweig, City Councilor-elect Pam Cotter, Mayor-elect Brett Hales, mayoral candidate Clark Bullen, City Council District 4 candidate Daren Rasmussen, City Councilor Diane Turner. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

Three-term City Councilor Brett Hales wins his fourth Murray election, becoming the new mayor. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

for the people in my district. I also believe our democracy works best when people have multiple choices and can pick someone who best represents their interests,” Cotter said. As there were only two candidates, both Cotter and Silverzweig advanced to the general election. Election night saw Cotter win with the narrowest of all city race margins, claiming 55% of the vote to Silverzweig’s 45%. “I really enjoyed having the chance to get to know the residents of Murray better. I heard

so many amazing stories and learned what the voters really wanted. And if you know anything about me, there’s nothing I like more than a chance to talk with people. There were also times that politics didn’t even come up, and we just had friendly neighborly chats that turned into picking vegetables together or fixing a garbage can for them,” Cotter said. East Murray’s City Council District 4 race started as a messy situation. Two candidates, Daren Rasmussen, who works for the State of




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Utah Department of Natural Resources, and Skylar Galt, who was booted as president of the Murray Chamber of Commerce, challenged incumbent Diane Turner. Galt dropped out of the race just days before the primary election, leaving Rasmussen to contest Turner in the general election. Turner served briefly as Murray’s first female mayor immediately following the death of Mayor Ted Eyre in 2017 and was seeking a third term. She was first elected in 2014. Turner sailed through the general election with 64% to Rasmussen’s 36%; only 34% of District 4’s registered voters submitted ballots. “I would like to thank those who voted; the re-election results are very affirming, and I sincerely appreciate the support. I will continue to work hard for the community I love and push for the sustainable, balanced development our citizens want and deserve,” Turner said. For the first time in Murray’s history, the balance of the city’s elected leaders will be women. With Cotter’s victory, the city council will include four women: Cotter, Turner, Kat Martinez, and Rosalba Dominguez. There is also the potential for another woman to be appointed to fill Hale’s vacant seat.l

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Murray Schools superintendent Covington honored as ‘Woman of Achievement’ By Shaun Delliskave |


urray School District’s first woman superintendent Jennifer Covington was honored as a “Woman of Achievement” by the Miss Murray Organization on Sept. 11. The former Hillcrest Junior High principal and business teacher has helmed MSD since 2017. “I am incredibly honored and humbled by this recognition from the Miss Murray pageant,” Covington said. “I appreciate the opportunity to be recognized by an organization that promotes women working to better their communities through service and scholarship. I have been fortunate to work for Murray City School District for the past 27 years and appreciate the opportunities I have been given to grow as an individual and as a leader.” Covington’s family has a long connection to Murray City schools and she credits her parents toward guiding her career toward education. “Both of them worked for the school district as classified employees, which allowed me to see how important all jobs are in the education system. They instilled in me a love of learning and of doing my best at anything I put my mind to,” Covington said. Not only did her parents influence her decision to consider education as a career, but she credits her teachers for uncovering skills she was not aware she had. “My career choice was shaped by influential teachers I had growing up and my parents. I was fortunate to have many incredible teachers who not only taught me subject material but helped me to recognize my strengths. A high school teacher, in particular, helped me to recognize a strength I had in working with computers, which were very new at the time, and gave me so much confidence. I knew that I wanted to be able to do for other students what she did for me,” Covington said. With a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business education from Utah State University, she went on to earn master’s degrees from USU and Southern Utah University in business information systems and administration. Covington began teaching business and information technology classes at Murray High School starting in 1994. Later, she would transfer to Hillcrest Junior High, where she was vice principal and then appointed principal in 2009. While she has noticed changes to MSD over the years, she says some things remain constant. “Over the years, Murray City has grown, our schools have welcomed more students, we have adopted a new curriculum and implemented new programs. And yet through it all, the consistency we see is we have incredible students, talented educators, supportive parents, and a community that cares about their Murray City Schools,” Covington said. Among the most notable projects, she

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Jennifer Covington addresses Murray High graduates. (Photo courtesy Murray City School District)

was involved with was the new construction of Hillcrest Junior High. “Having the opportunity to be a part of building the new Hillcrest Junior High School was a major highlight of my career. Being involved in that project from the beginning provided me with so many learning opportunities,” Covington said. However, Covington also credits what happens inside the school buildings as one of her favorite things. “I love being in classrooms and watching students master new skills. I love seeing skilled educators provide students with the tools and knowledge to learn and grow. I love seeing the communities that exist within our school buildings and how hard everyone is working to support our students,” Covington said. Like all educators and the students, the pandemic has put extra stress on her, on top of overseeing the district. To unwind, she enjoys spending as much time with her husband and two sons camping, boating and being outdoors. “I think the greatest challenge facing Murray City School District, as well as all of education, is making sure we are meeting the needs of each of our students and employees. The pandemic has been such a disruptor in so many areas of everyday life. This challenge is a great opportunity for our schools to recommit to making sure we are engaged with our students and employees by encouraging everyone to take care of themselves, take care of each other and take care of our schools,” Covington said. l

Jennifer Covington was honored as a “Woman of Achievement” by the Miss Murray Organization. (Photo courtesy Murray City School District)

December 2021 | Page 5

New Murray projects and guidelines move forward as moratorium ends By Shaun Delliskave |


nxiety and mixed-use development have come hand-in-hand to Murray. In February, so many mixed-use projects were being proposed for Murray’s retail sites that the city enacted a six-month moratorium. The city then studied the issue and proposed new regulations to guide the developers, avoid overwhelming city services, and maintain the character makeup of Murray’s neighborhoods. With the moratorium in the sunset and new guidelines set in place, developers have begun submitting proposals to transform the former RC Willey site and the current Pointe@53rd into mixed commercial retail and high-density residential projects. New guidelines or not, Murray residents living near the proposed developments have expressed concerns to Murray City’s Planning Commission regarding the potential impacts on their communities. Village Mixed-Use for Winchester Street Project At the Oct. 21 Planning Commission meeting, city planners considered a zoning map adjustment for the vacant RC Willey building at 861 E. Winchester St. The Boyer Company, which purchased the property, seeks to replace the current structure with a mixeduse redevelopment. Murray City designated a new Village Mixed-Use (VMU) zone for this proposal. The

acre, which is less than what the previous zoning map would have allowed. Currently, the property is zoned commercial and prohibits residential housing. The site, located at State Street and 5300 South, is identified in the 2017 General Plan as a “Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Station Village.” At this time, Utah has two operating BRT lines operating in Provo and West Valley. “We want to build. We want the citizens’ input. We want the city’s input. We want to build a beautiful project that becomes an icon for Murray City,” Howland Partner’s CEO Gary Howland said. “I think that this small commercial (zoning) is the wave of the future. I think we’re going to see a lot more requests for The Pointe@53rd will be the first to have the new CMU zoning designation. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals) this. If you look around, we’re probably behind the times when it comes to this type of amount of residential density is reduced under almost half,” Boyer Company partner Spencer development, and I think that, from my perspective, what a great one out of the gate,” a VMU to 25-35 units per acre, which is sub- Moffat said. Planning Commissioner Jeremy Lowry Neighbors from the surrounding commustantially less than the previous zoning map nity expressed opposition to the project, based said. categories. Howland has yet to announce the num“In a perfect world, would we select on safety and traffic concerns. Misinformation these? No, but I think we can live with these, also generated some comments on whether this ber of units he intends for the site, but the and I think you know it paints us into a cor- was going to be a low-income housing project; property’s size, under the CMU, would ner as far as what we can do on the side and however, Boyer Company has only requested allow for hundreds of units. The Planning makes us think long and hard about some of a zoning change and has not submitted formal Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval to the city council. these units. Just as an example, initially, we site plans. 4800 Lofts Project “I help students graduate who are behind were looking at 350-400 units; at this point, Submitted in 2019, before the morawe’re down in the 240 range. So, our density is on credits, and in all the meetings I’ve been to, they say that the reason my job was created torium but put off until October 2021 for was because of the rezoning. And the demo- review, is the 4800 Lofts project proposal. Murray Rotary Club graphics…are changing in Murray. So, I feel Due to the development’s submission date, Monthly Service Update like you guys have the responsibility of decid- the project was reviewed under the 2019 “I want to help build and install six Kids Read ing what kind of city you want and voting for Mixed-Use Zone regulation. Free Libraries!” The project will bring a proposed 371 that,” Jennifer Horne told the commission. multi-family dwellings and 18,571 feet of The Planning Commission voted five to “I want to help feed those experiencing commercial space to the vacant lot north of two to recommend the zoning map change to homelessness at Fill the Pot Ministries!” the former 49th Street Galleria, on Galleria the city council. “I want to help clean up litter at Murray freeway Centers Mixed-Use for The Drive. Developers will also incorporate a interchanges!” Different Murray Rotarians parcel on 447 W. 4800 South and connect Pointe@53rd wanted to do different things in November. Another major project that stalled due to the properties to become the “4800 Lofts.” Our service tradition each December is “Operation “4800 Lofts is as urban and cool as the moratorium is Howland Partner’s redevelSanta.” See the article on “Operation Santa” in this opment of The Pointe@53rd. City planners possible. It sets a new standard for other deMurray Journal. recommended rezoning this property as Cen- velopers and cities to emulate, becoming the ters Mixed-Use (CMU). CMU differs from pride of Murray City,” applicants John Thomas “On Nov. 13 we collected 72 60-gallon UDOT VMU, as these properties sit along major trans- and Kyle Denos said. bags and five piles of tires, mattresses, etc. from The Planning Commission unanimousportation corridors, in this case, State Street. four Murray freeway interchanges,” reported Jerry Summerhays, Murray Rotary Community Service Also, among all things, CMU differs in ly approved the Master Site Plan to allow the Chair. “Thanks to 16 Rotarians and 53 volunteers from residential density, allowing 35-45 units per construction of the new Mixed-Use project. l and Rotarian families and friends.”

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Above: The former RC Willey store property will be the first to have the new VMU zoning designation. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

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December 2021 | Page 7

Bake on! Murray gingerbread competition is back By Shaun Delliskave |


f you’re looking to show off your holiday baking and decorating skills, the Historic Murray First Foundation (HMFF) wants you to participate in the second annual Historic Murray in Gingerbread Show. “We are asking that each entry be modeled after an actual building—demolished, or still standing—built within Murray City’s current boundaries any time before 1970,” HMFF representative Kathleen Stanford said. Participants will build their edible gingerbread recreations to be on display at Bakers C&C Cake Decor and Bulk Chocolates (44 W. Vine St.) through the holiday season. The exhibit will open on Dec. 15 and remain on display through Jan. 1. Historic Murray First Foundation has a three-fold purpose: Advocate for Murray’s historic resources, fundraise for Murray’s historic resources and educate people about the importance of preserving these historic resources. “The purpose of this gingerbread show is to educate people,” Stanford said. “We hope that as people look around their city, they will begin to appreciate the legacy of historic buildings. As they look at photos and read and talk to people, they will learn about people in the past. As they put details into their gingerbread structures, they will appreciate architecture and architectural details.”

Zander Stanford, age 7, gingerbread homage to his Murray great-great-grandmother’s house. (Photo courtesy Kathleen Stanford)

Historic buildings can be classified into general eras. Pioneer structures were simple and built in the 1800s. By the late 1800s, many Victorian homes and buildings were built. In the 1910s and 1920s, Craftsman and Prairie-style homes were built. In the 1930s, the

Tudor style was popular. After World War II, post-war cottages were typical. In the 1950s and 1960s, the world entered the Space Age, and there were rapid advances in science. Along with that came mid-century modern homes, churches, and schools.

“We can gain insights about the ways people saw the world by studying what architects were designing,” Stanford said. Murray has notable buildings ranging from the pioneer cabin preserved at Vine Street and 5600 South to the Victorian Wheeler Farmhouse to the newly created Hillside Historic District (between 5300 South and 5600 South, and 235 East on the west side, and Kenwood Drive on the east). “Last year’s event was a great success. We had depictions of the historic Murray First Ward, which was demolished in March 2020, and a family home of a Murray resident. In the children’s division, the child’s great-great-grandparents’ home is still standing, now occupied by a great-grandson. This year will be even better as we are partnering with a local business, Bakers C&C Cake Decor and Bulk Chocolates, situated in our downtown area, to display the creations,” Stanford said. Judges for this year’s competition will review entries for homes, churches, and public/commercial buildings; children’s creations have their own category. “We are hoping people will find a building that means something to them—perhaps the home they live in, the church they attend, or the school a parent or grandparent attend-

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Murray City Journal

ed. Maybe it is a building they have noticed in downtown Murray that they are curious about,” Stanford said. Stanford notes that people can access photographic archives via the Murray Museum digital collection housed at the Marriott Library ( ) and the Murray Library. In addition, the historic Murray First Foundation has had an active year advocating for preserving Murray’s landmark buildings at city council meetings amid pressure to redevelop downtown Murray. According to Stanford, “We are educating citizens about the naturally occurring affordable housing we have in the Harker and Murray Mercantile buildings on State Street and such funds as the Utah Housing Preservation Fund. We have a Facebook page and a website. We are planning a lecture series for the spring. “We are currently writing a proposal for a grant administered through the National Park Service to highlight some of the buildings tied to Murray’s historically underrepresented communities, which included smelter immigrants and their descendants in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Some of the structures could include Japanese and Italian truck farms, smelter worker housing, immigrant entrepreneurs that supported the growing population, and descendants buying into the suburban dream in the 1950s. We would love to have anyone share immigrant stories (post-1869) with us at” l

The Historic Murray in Gingerbread Show returns this year. (Photo courtesy HMFF)

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Page 10 | December 2021

Santa teams up with Murray Rotarians, Fire, and Police Departments to deliver goodwill By Shaun Delliskave | s.delliskave@mycityjournals


aint Nicholas got an early start this year in Murray with the help of the local Rotary Club. Murray Rotarians and the Goodwill Store (6042 S. State St.) will come together in December to help low-income families have a good holiday season. Firefighters and police officers take part in Operation Santa by not only providing a lift to the store but by helping pick out gifts with the kids. “The best thing about Operation Santa is the smiles,” Murray Rotarian Clyde Daines said. “The kids, their families, the police, the firefighters, the school administrators and teachers, the Goodwill staff, and the Rotarians…everyone is wearing a smile.” Operation Santa is a yearly tradition of the Murray Rotary Club. Early on a Saturday in December, two school buses gather children and at least one of their parents and come to Murray High School. They are then escorted down State Street to the Murray Goodwill Store by a fire engine, ambulances, and police cars complete with flashing lights and sirens. Each family is paired with a police of-

ficer, a firefighter, or a Rotarian, who pushes a basket through the store while their family fills their basket. “Every child deserves to have joy at this time of year,” Murray School District Superintendent Jennifer Covington said. “We appreciate the community efforts made to help make this happen.” Horizon Elementary School Principal Whitney Anderson said, “I love when the children pick out items to give to a parent or siblings. We love Operation Santa!” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 7.5% of all Murrayites live in poverty. Census data indicates that in some neighborhoods that the percentage is higher. The poverty rate escalates when looking at children between the ages of five through 17, where it rises to 10.68%. Murray Fire Chief Jon Harris explained, “Operation Santa provides an opportunity for us to reach those families who need a little extra help during the holidays. This program allows Murray City’s firefighters and police to connect and help out these children

A Murray firefighter and Bumble, the Salt Lake Bees mascot, help out in Operation Santa. (Photo courtesy Jerry Summerhays)

Murray City Journal

Murray Goodwill Manager Phil Murray and his staff await children arriving during Operation Santa. (Photo courtesy Jerry Summerhays)

in a real and authentic way.” “It is a great opportunity for us to get to know some of the families in Murray. It is always a heartwarming experience to see them excited to shop for family members and themselves,” Murray Police Chief Craig Burnett said. The Murray Goodwill Store is part of Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain Inc., a nonprofit organization with employment and job training, day programs and housing for adults with intellectual disabilities, children’s therapy, and health-related services for adults and seniors. Goodwill manager Phil Murray and his staff love to dress up and play with the kids. Last year he dressed up in an outrageous holiday suit that would make the ug-

liest Christmas sweater seem stodgy. Children visiting the store also get a chance to get a photo with the jolly old elf himself. Rotarian Jerry Summerhays said, “Murray Rotarians have ‘fun with a purpose’ while working to make this event a success and hope that these children can personally experience how nice police officers and firefighters are. Each year one of the Rotarians becomes Santa. Santa says, ‘It is a joy to see the excitement in children’s eyes as they get a picture with me.’” Murray Rotary Club president Kyle Winther concurs, “It is an honor to be able to participate.” Murray Rotary Foundation asks for the communities help by contributing $40 to provide shopping for one child. Donations can be made online at l

Children line up as part of Operation Santa, where they will get a police and firefighter escort to the Goodwill Store. (Photo courtesy Jerry Summerhays)

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December 2021 | Page 11

Last year’s candy display by Raelyn Webster featured the Murray Theater, smokestacks and Murray Parks’ sledding hill. (Photo courtesy Murray City)

A sweet job behind Murray’s candy art display By Shaun Delliskave |


ow sweet it is that when you mess up at work, you get to eat it, and it tastes delicious. Raelyn Webster, a master artist of all things candy, will again take her palette to Murray City Hall’s canvas. Residents can view her handiwork through the end of

the year at the main display window by the city council chamber. “This year, we are focusing on the Cahoon Mansion (the Murray Mansion), along with a couple of other historic houses. I’ve used John Cahoon’s family as my

inspiration and hope to have the whole family in the display,” Webster said. This marks the third year of Murray’s candy window display, in which she was the inaugural and only candy artist. Previously, Webster spent seven years design-

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ing candy window displays in South Jordan and Provo. In addition, she attended school at Brigham Young University as a design major. “I used to go to see the ZCMI windows with my nieces and always dreamed

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Page 12 | December 2021

Murray City Journal

of being able to make displays like theirs. After they stopped doing them, I heard from a friend that Provo City was trying to revive the tradition, and I got the chance to do my first candy display in 2001, and the city kept them up for the Olympics,” Webster said. After moving to Riverton, Webster retired from the candy design business and started raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. A few years later, Murray City Cultural Arts Manager Lori Edmunds, then working for South Jordan, contacted her about starting up the tradition for the city. But after becoming a foster parent for refugee minors who came to the U.S. without parents, life got too complicated, so she retired again. But Edmunds, now at Murray City, came knocking again. “Lori switched to working for Murray City, and she approached me again about doing candy displays for Murray. Somehow, she talked me into it again, and this is my third year making candy displays for Murray City. I have a dream of using candy to illustrate some children’s books, and I haven’t accomplished that yet, so I think that is why I am still doing candy displays,” Webster said. Last year, Webster recreated the Murray Theater in a winter-like setting with the Murray Park sledding hill, complete with sledders. Towering in the background stood Murray’s iconic smokestacks. With licorice, jelly beans, and lots of sugar, she crafts almost anything. For Provo, she did a mountain scene with skiers and a train that went under the mountain. She has constructed elaborate sets such as a New York cityscape with an ice skater on the top of a building and a giant blimp that Santa used instead of reindeer. For South Jordan, she paid homage to popu-

lar characters such as Snoopy on his doghouse, Frosty the Snowman, Yoda reading a Christmas story to Ewoks, and a working Ferris wheel with Christmas characters. What was her favorite candy project? According to Webster, “I don’t know if I have a favorite, but my husband, Bill, who helps me with all the structures and mechanical things, loved the Ferris wheel the most. It was pretty amazing how it turned out. He worked very hard to make it work. It was donated to the Festival of Trees.” With each project, Webster starts with something as inspiration and then looks at the display space she must use and develops ideas on using the area effectively. Then she figures out how to build the support structure and configure any electrical components. Last, she picks colors and researches candy that might work well for the different parts of the display. Then in the spring, she starts construction and works all summer to get it finished. “The unknowns are probably the hardest,” Webster said. “Every display is different, and we have to figure out how to create a strong but light support structure because by the time it is all covered in candy, it gets really heavy. Scale is another challenge that we struggle with, and then I always want it to be perfect, and it never is. Projects are only perfect in my imagination. Once we start construction, imperfections always happen.” While working with candy as a medium might be one’s, well… icing on the cake, for Webster, the most appetizing part of the job is watching others take in her work. “My favorite part is when it is all done, and I get to see how kids enjoy seeing what I have created. I hope it will inspire them to make something out of candy too,” Webster said. l

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Raelyn Webster and her 2020 candy creation of the Murray Theater. (Photo courtesy Murray City)

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Governor honors Murrayite Lynda Brown with humanitarian leadership award By Shaun Delliskave |


hose who make service their life’s first calling sometimes go unheralded. However, Gov. Spencer Cox and the Utah Philanthropy Day officials finally caught up with Murrayite Lynda Brown, to award her the Governor’s Career Humanitarian Leadership Award. Utah Philanthropy, an organization consisting of the Utah Nonprofits Association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and UServeUtah, recognizes leaders who serve the community. As in Brown’s case, only one individual per year is recognized, not only for their service impact but also for the length of time they have served, over 20 years. “The Utah Philanthropic Day Awards are awesome. It is a chance for the many Utah charities to have their volunteers acknowledged and publicly thanked. For me, personally, to receive their highest award is very humbling,” Brown said. Brown founded the Kids Eat charity to address food insecurity for schoolchildren over the weekends. She started the charity after noticing a girl stealing food from the Murray Boys & Girls Club pantry. Over several years, the demand for her group’s service spread throughout the Salt Lake

Valley. After watching the charity’s growth explode, USANA Corp. volunteered a warehouse, trucks, and administration to run the program, not only locally but to expand it nationally. From 2017 through 2019, she led her team of 15 volunteers to reach over 200 businesses, 425 individuals, and 175 church groups that held packing events and food giftings or made donations to sustain the Kids Eat program. Her legacy now includes a 17,000-square-foot warehouse and packing facility at USANA headquarters that provides kids in Utah schools over 400,000 meals each year. Turning the keys over to USANA did not mean retirement for Brown; she started a second charity, Kids Read. “Kids Eat being turned over to USANA to take it to a national level left a hole in my life. I needed to fill it with something, and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children in Uganda came along,” Brown said. According to Bob Dunn, former director of the Murray Boys & Girls Club, “Lynda never does anything alone. She creates connections with people all over the world. She nurtures these relationships. You cannot

know Lynda for more than 10 minutes without her getting you personally involved with a good cause she supports. Once she knows you, you become involved with her as a volunteer, a donor, or both.” Kids Read, her latest initiative, involves placement of little libraries near Boys & Girls Clubs as well as in Title 1 school neighborhoods. Little libraries are free small-container libraries that offer several dozen books, particularly for children, that people can borrow. She recruited the Murray Rotary Club to help install up to 48 future libraries, the first one being installed at the Miller Family Club in Murray. However, Kids Read is not a just-Murray, or just-Utah, or even just-American affair, it has become international as well. Kids Read has been focusing on providing little libraries in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. After COVID hit that nation, Kids Read addressed the needs of the learners by providing food and medical PPE supplies. This second initiative spun off a separate Ugandan

charity called “Feed 2 Read.” “I have not slept well in years, as my brain just doesn’t quit thinking up things that I could do. I think I get that from my father. However, with the need so great, and knowing I can do something, even just a little something,” Brown said. Due to COVID, this year’s Utah Philanthropy Day award ceremony was broadcast on Nov. 15. Brown was presented a crystal trophy and video footage highlighted her work with Congressional Award for Youth, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Kids Eat, Kids Read and Feed 2 Read. “Everyone can do something. I find many people just get in their own way. It is so easy to just continue to do things as you have always done them. To break free and to help others is to feel good about yourself. Giving feels good. I think it is important for everyone to look inside to find love in their hearts to give toward others and move forward during this divisive time and to simply dwell in possibility always,” Brown said. l

Lynda Brown is interviewed by ABC4 after being awarded the Governor’s Career Humanitarian Leadership Award. (Photo courtesy Lynda Brown)

Page 14 | December 2021

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


It’s Been an Honor to Serve 801-264-2600 5025 S. State Street Murray, Utah 84107

It is hard to believe that it’s been four years since I took the oath of office to serve as your mayor. I was first sworn in on September 19, 2017 as interim mayor and then on January 2, 2018 as your elected mayor. The oath of office administered to elected officials in Utah includes the words “support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State, and perform the duties of my office… with fidelity.” The dictionary definition of “fidelity” includes “faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.” As my term ends and I prepare to leave office, I want you all to know that I have done my best to live up to that oath. Everything I have done, and every decision I made was in faithfulness, loyalty, and support of this great city. Not everyone has agreed with every decision, but I have always done what I thought was right, and best for the city and its residents. Nothing was ever done for personal gain. Nothing. Ever. Each mayor has challenges and difficulties while in office. My term as mayor included some exceptional challenges that I didn’t see coming. Navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated conditions was a real test. As an administrative team, we had to make decisions based on limited information on how to keep our workforce and the public safe while still providing essential city services. Tough decisions were made regarding which facilities to keep open and which to close, what programs and services to provide, and what programs and services to postpone. I’m proud of our city staff for the way they stepped up and worked as a team to make and implement tough decisions in a complex and changing environment. I fully expected to have our new city hall completed by the end of my term, but delays caused by complex cell tower negotiations, followed by supply chain and workforce shortages, have pushed the completion date out to early 2023. I am pleased that construction is back underway now, and we are now seeing progress on the site as masonry walls and steel

Murray Library

D. Blair Camp -Mayor

are being erected. This will be a beautiful facility for our police department and general government functions that will serve Murray City well for many decades to come. I have learned a lot during my time as mayor. At times I’ve been given too much credit for things that were going well and have taken blame for things that were beyond my control. That’s part of the job. I’m pleased with the many improvements that we have made over the course of my term. There have been some issues and matters that I would have liked to have completed, but they will be left to those who follow. I also express appreciation to the hard-working men and women, our city employees, who provide the city services that we all enjoy every day. It has been a pleasure working with you and I thank you for your dedication. Murray will have some challenging times ahead with the difficult issues of smart growth, redevelopment, rising costs of providing services, public safety, and so forth, but we are in a good position to deal with those issues and Murray will continue to be a great place to live and work. It has been my privilege to serve as your mayor, and I thank you for your support and encouragement. I have found the vast majority of Murray residents to be considerate and supportive. But now it’s time to move on and let others take the helm. After nearly 40 years of public service, including eight years in elected office, I am looking forward to being a private citizen and spending more time with family and friends. To those who have been elected to lead this city going forward, I wish you well, and urge you to lead “with fidelity.” Donald Rumsfeld once said, “Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life.” Thank you, Murray City, for the interesting and challenging times that I had the opportunity to enjoy while serving as your mayor.

166 East 5300 South • Murray, UT 84107

Kris Kringle Zoom Chats Presented By Murray City Library

Take Home Storytime Kits

Have you been naughty or nice? Let Santa know by scheduling a 5-minute Zoom visit with St. Nick for your whole family. All Zoom meetings will take place December 18. Please visit our website to register a visit for the entire family.

Come pick up everything you need to do your own story time at home. You can check out books and take a free bag containing songs, rhymes, and a craft, all about the same theme. These will be available Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. until noon.

Winter Reading & Watching in January Winter is the perfect time for reading books and watching movies. Join in on Winter Reading and the all-new Winter Watching program! Come to the library in January to pick up your tracker and learn about prizes. These programs are running from January 10 – February 26.

Message from the Council As we enter the final weeks of 2021, I find myself reflecting on the past ten years I have spent serving on the Murray City Council. After I was elected to represent District 5 on the City Council, I quickly realized that what I didn’t know outweighed what I did know. Knowing and loving my city and constituents had not prepared me for the new Brett Hales position I secured, however I quickly took District 5 advantage of a multitude of opportunities to advance my knowledge and understanding of municipal processes, procedures, issues, and decision making. Although the job of the City Council is to pass ordinances (laws) and resolutions for the city, we could not do this important job without the assistance of the city’s amazing employees. The City Council relies on the expertise, input, and advice of these employees to help us make the best decisions for the future of our city. I am so grateful

AllAll water water and and contaminants contaminants that that enter enter storm storm drains drains gogo directly directly into our environment. into our environment.

Storm Storm drain drain contamination contamination is one is one of the of the major causes of pollution in our rivers, lakes major causes of pollution in our rivers, lakes andand streams. Pollution of stormwater runoff streams. Pollution of stormwater runoff cancan negatively impact ourour environment andand negatively impact environment introduce unnecessary riskrisk to public health introduce unnecessary to public health andand safety, ultimately affecting thethe livability safety, ultimately affecting livability of Murray of Murray CityCity andand surrounding surrounding communities. communities. To control To control stormwater, stormwater, local local cities cities andand counties operate andand maintain a system of of counties operate maintain a system underground pipes andand catch basins to to underground pipes catch basins transport rainrain andand snow meltmelt intointo thethe transport snow ground, rivers andand streams. ThisThis water does ground, rivers streams. water does notnot get get treated so we need to keep treated so we need to keep contaminants outout of our storm storm drains. drains. contaminants of our StormStorm drains drains do do NOT NOT treat treat the the waterwater that flows that flows into them. into them. Disposal of RV,of RV, Disposal pet waste and and pet waste otherother pollutants pollutants into the intostorm the storm drains is illegal. drains is illegal.

StormStorm drains drains do NOT do NOT protect fish, fish, riversrivers protect and streams. and streams. ThereThere is is no difference no difference between between pouring pollutants pouring pollutants downdown a storm draindrain a storm and dumping themthem and dumping directly into into directly the river. the river.

StormStorm drains do do drains NOT NOT prevent prevent flooding whenwhen flooding clogged. Dirt, Dirt, clogged. grassgrass clippings, clippings, leaves leaves and other and other debris debris left inleft thein the road road contribute to to contribute flooding. flooding.

StormStorm drains are NOT drains are NOT designed to treat designed to treat polluted runoff. WhenWhen polluted runoff. you hose off off you hose sidewalks, overwater sidewalks, overwater your your yard yard or wash or wash your your vehicle vehicle in your in your driveway, all theall the driveway, water,water, soapsoap and debris and debris endsends up inup theinstorm the storm drains. All All drains. contaminants will will contaminants affectaffect the quality of of the quality our waterways. our waterways.

for the dedication of the city’s employees. They help provide a high quality of life for the city’s residents and business owners and we could not do the work we do without them. Another important aspect of the legislative process is involving the residents and businesses. I love to see residents at council meetings watching us in action. As residents and business owners your input is valuable and vital as the City Council makes decisions. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the city’s employees, residents, and business owners over the years. Being on the City Council isn’t always an easy job but knowing the respect our tight knit community affords everyone makes even the tough days bearable. Serving on the City Council has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this amazing city. Brett Hales Council District 5 Council District 3 Rosalba Dominguez 801-330-6232 Executive Director Jennifer Kennedy Office: 801-264-2622 Telephone Agenda Information 801-264-2525

• Preventing • Preventing flooding flooding of personal of personal property property

and/or damage to public infrastructure, and/or damage to public infrastructure, including roads. including roads.

• Minimizing • Minimizing foulfoul odors odors andand maintaining maintaining

aesthetically aesthetically pleasing pleasing neighborhoods. neighborhoods.

• Keeping • Keeping our our rivers, rivers, lakes lakes andand streams streams clean. clean.

TheThe Murray Murray CityCity facility ONLY accepts facility ONLY accepts antifreeze, antifreeze, batteries, batteries, oil oil andand paint. paint.

Council District 2 Dale M. Cox 801-971-5568

Council District 5 Brett A. Hales 801-882-7171

A clean A clean stormwater stormwater system system helps helps community ourour community by:by:

An antifreeze, An antifreeze, batteries, batteries, oil and oil and paint paint (ABOP) (ABOP) waste waste facility facility is located is located at Murray at Murray CityCity Public Public Works, 4646 South West. Business hours Works, 4646 South 500500 West. Business hours are are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3top.m. 801-270-2440 more information) (Call(Call 801-270-2440 for for more information)

Stormwater Stormwater systems systems can can be found be found throughout throughout Murray CityCity andand include ditches, catch basins, Murray include ditches, catch basins, curbs, underground pipes, ponds, swales andand dry dry curbs, underground pipes, ponds, swales wells. These structures carry stormwater to to wells. These structures carry stormwater outfalls on local rivers or allow the the stormwater to to outfalls on local rivers or allow stormwater drain intointo the the ground. Contaminants discharged drain ground. Contaminants discharged intointo stormwater systems can can pollute surface stormwater systems pollute surface waters as well as ground water. waters as well as ground water.

healthy recreational opportunities. healthy recreational opportunities.

Council District 1 Kat Martinez 385-743-8766

Council District 4 Diane Turner 801-635-6382

Keep Keep Murray Murray City City clean. clean. Keep Keep contaminants away from ALLALL storm contaminants away from storm drains. drains.

• Strengthening • Strengthening our our economy economy by offering by offering


WeWbeetbe yo tu y’ollub ’le l bseurspurrip se rid sed

DECEMBER 2021 Murray Senior Recreation Center Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm | Thursday 8:00 am – 9:30 pm | Closed Saturday and Sunday

DAILY LUNCH BY CHEF OMAR LIMON Date: Tuesday through Friday Time: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Cost: Cost is $4; prior registration not required

SPECIAL EVENTS WINTER FAMILY CONCERT SERIES Date: Monday, Dec. 13 – Winterwood Time: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. Cost: Free; no appointment needed open to all ages and doors open at 6 p.m. HOLIDAY BOUTIQUE Thirteen vendors selling homemade items Date: Friday, Dec. 3 Time: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Cost: Boutique is Free and Open to the Public

CLASSES CERAMICS Date: Tuesday and Thursday Time: 9 a.m. – noon Cost: $1.50 each class plus cost of supplies CHRISTMAS STORYTELLING Date: Friday, Dec. 10 Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Cost: Free; register now GRIEF SUPPORT Date: Friday, Dec. 10 Friday, Dec. 17 Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Cost: Free; Register now VITAL AGING: DEALING WITH STRESS

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 21 Time: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Cost: Free; register now

PROGRAMS THURSDAY EVENING SOCIAL DANCE Live Music provided by Tony Summerhays Date: Thursdays Time: 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Cost: $5 MEXICAN TRAIN DOMINOS GAME Date: Thursdays Time: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Cost: Free

HEALTH SERVICES HAIRCUTS Date: Friday, Dec. 3 Time: 9 a.m. – noon Date: Friday, Dec. 17 Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cost: $9; advance appointment required BLOOD PRESSURE CLINIC BY HARMONY HOME HEALTH Date: Thursday, Dec. 9 Time: 10:30 a.m. – noon Cost: Free; no appointment necessary

Murray Public Works As 2021 ends, Murray City Public Works thanks our residents for their patience as we completed projects to update and improve our infrastructure. A few of the project achievements this year include: • Road reconstruction with added sidewalk on Cedar Street from 6100 S. to Creek Drive • Road reconstruction on 6230 S., Shiloh Way, Woodshire Circle, and Vinecrest Drive from Vine to 6200 S. • Pavement overlays of Loreen Drive and Surrey Lane • Sidewalk repairs in the Jamestown/Lombardy, Woodstock Village, and Southwood neighborhoods • New water line on Century Drive, 4370 S., Shiloh Way, 6230 S., & College Drive from 5300 S. to Ascension Way Several projects are also in the works for 2022 and more information will be available on the Murray City Public Works Instagram and Facebook as information becomes available. Murray City Public Works, in partnership is StreetScan, has undertaken a review of the city’s nearly 300 miles of sidewalks for trip hazards and damages. This information will be utilized in the future to better target neighborhoods to address sidewalk safety and maintenance.

TRIPS WENDOVER Date: Thursday, Jan. 13 Time: 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Cost: $22; register now

#10 East 6150 South (1 block west of State Street) • For information call 801-264-2635

For additional information, contact Murray Public Works Department at 801-270-2440

The Park Center Keep your kids busy during the winter break @ The Park Center! RECREATION DEPARTMENT Recreation Director: Soni Hirasuna Recreation Coordinator: Janica Gubler Recreation Coordinator: Tasha LaRocco Park Center Director: Marci Williams Assistant Park Center Director: Joe Gourley Aquatics Manager: Sena Vick

The Park Center: 202 E Murray Park Ave. Parks & Re Office: 296 E Murray Park Ave.

Murray Arts Beat

2021 HAUNTED TALES Announcing Winners! 1st Place:

2nd Grade: Zoey S. “The Terrible Storm” 3rd Grade: Everett H. “The Weird Pumpkin” 4th Grade: Wesley B. 5th Grade: Rylie S. “Barely a Witch” 6th Grade: Noelle T. “The Legend of Abby Mansion” 7th Grade: Kai S. “A Scary Halloween Night” 8th Grade: Erika B. “Bench in the Graveyard” 12th Grade: Micah B. “Halloween Haunts in St. George”

2nd Place:

3rd Grade: Chase P. “Halloween Haiku” 4th Grade: Penelope E. “(Not So) Spine Chilling Tales” 5th Grade: Savannah S. “Un-Natural Disaster” 6th Grade: Lucy H. “Haunted Halloween” 7th Grade: Jelaire E. “My Thought on Halloween” 8th Grade: Kate G. “Halloween Competition of the Ages”

For additional information, please contact Lori Edmunds at 801-264-2620

Murray High culinary students cater, prepare for upcoming competition By Julie Slama |


very week this December, Murray High advanced culinary students will put their talents to the test as they prepare catered meals for their school community in the Spartan Cove. It may be for teachers, an athletic team or performing art group. They annually have served dinner for the Murray School District Pinnacles recipients. In late October, the student-chefs had a small catering opportunity as they prepared a homemade nacho bar for 30 people, in this case, a Hispanic heritage night. Small groups of students were preparing carnitas, carne asada, pollo, pico de gallo, horchata and more from scratch. While Murray High’s ProStart class has about 18 students, the competition will feature just a five-member team—four who cook and one who coaches. Murray High plans to participate in the Northern Regional competition in February. State is in March. ProStart is a national two-year program for high school students that develops talent for the restaurant and food service industry. Students learn culinary techniques, management skills, communication, customer service skills, math, nutrition, and workplace and food safety procedures. In Utah, there are about 70 ProStart programs. Students try out to make their school’s culinary team and then compete at one of the three regional competitions against 12 to 14 teams. The teams, which typically have about five members, can only use two burners to prepare a three-course meal consisting of an appetizer, entrée and dessert in 60 minutes. Student-chefs cannot use electricity. They are judged on techniques such as knife safety

to menu planning and from creating a business plan to taste of the prepared meal. Junior Brooke Bodily is Murray High’s team captain. “I missed not having the competitions last year during COVID,” she said. “Instead, we worked a lot on skills, especially knife skills.” While catering these weekly meals, Bodily is thinking about the upcoming competitions. She already has in mind to make maple-crusted salmon with a maple glaze as an appetizer, but she wants to work together as a team to come up with a theme and the rest of the menu. “We’ll practice and try out all sorts of recipes,” she said, adding that their menu also will be determined by the skills of each team member. “With competitions, we learn how to work as a team under pressure and prepare using the techniques we’ve learned in class.” It’s a love that Bodily has enjoyed since she was little. “I started cooking when I was old enough to hold a whisk. My mom would let me help cook and bake. Then every time I’d go to see my grandma, I’d make something; so it’s ended up I’m making something in the kitchen at home weekly.” Now, she wants to be a professional chef or maybe even a foods teacher, saying she may even take her teacher Chef KC Gray’s place. That’s what happened to him. “I told my teacher (Kay Morgan), ‘I’m going to be you one day’—and that’s what I did,” he said remembering that day when she retired seven years ago. During his Murray High School days,

Gray was a part of Morgan’s culinary program. He competed in ProStart as well as in the Iron Chef Competition. He also represented Murray High at the Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute Best Teen Chef Competition. He had to create his own recipe, send in a photo of his dish and write an essay. He attended and graduated from college with both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree, then went to work as a professional chef at several venues, including the now-defunct Denver’s Fuel Café, which was known

to have brought together American dishes with European influences using organic and non-GMO ingredients. “I learned a lot of my techniques there that I share with my students today,” he said. Popularity in the program has grown and he now teaches about 150 students per semester from Foods I through ProStart classes. “This is a life skill that everyone needs and will use the rest of their lives,” he said. “It’s lab-heavy, 85 to 90% we’re cooking and having a lot of fun while learning.” l

Chef KC Gray shows his students the proper technique to prepare chicken. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

MurrayJournal .com

December 2021 | Page 19

Cottonwood boys cross country team places sixth at 5A state championships By Brian Shaw |


ince the summer, the Cottonwood Colts boys cross country team has been practicing every day, early in the morning, and almost always along the rolling hills of the Cottonwood Complex. On Oct. 27, just as the weather was getting more chilly, the Colts showed why they are a team on the rise at the 5A state cross country championships. Paced by Timothy Thompson in 75th place who completed the course at the Regional Athletic Complex in Salt Lake City in 17 minutes and 11 seconds, the Colts as a team had their best showing at the 5A State cross country championships in several years. Thompson was the Colts top finisher in a time of 17 minutes and 52 seconds. Skyelar Limburg crossed the finish line in 124th place, while Seth Dunn was in 135th in a time of 17:58. Naaman Orbezua-Black was next for Cottonwood in 162nd in 18 minutes and 36 seconds, Colby Merryweather 173rd in 19 minutes and nine seconds, and Ethan Despain rounded out the Colts finishers at the 51 state tournament in 179th place in a time of 21 minutes and three seconds. The Colts boys had several good meets leading up to the big finish at state, includ-

The cross country state championships took place at the Regional Athletic Complex in Salt Lake City, seen here is a divisional race from earlier in the season. (File photo Julie Slama/City Journals)

ing the final divisional meet that determined which schools in Class 5A would qualify for state. Under head coach Jason Baker, the Colts boys were the last team to have qualified for the state championships at the divisional meet at Lakeside Park in Orem Oct. 13, finishing 12th overall in Division B out of 16 schools. For a boys team that finished fifth over-

all out of seven schools at its Region 7 meet at the Cottonwood Complex back on Sept. 30, having a culmination at the state championships of all of their hard work the past two years—the Colts boys didn’t qualify in 2020—was big for the program’s future. Thompson and Dunn had already finished in the top 15 at region on the friendly confines of the rolling hills that comprise the complex—a course these Colts have

been training on nearly every morning since the summer. In all, the Colts boys sent six runners to the state championships on the boys side, and all six completed the race. The girls cross country team, which finished in 16th place overall in Division B at the divisionals, and seventh at the Region 7 meet, did not qualify for the state championships. l

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Page 20 | December 2021

Murray City Journal

December 2021 downtown update By Shaun Delliskave |

Buying or selling a home? LET ME HELP YOU!

Sincere thanks

to past clients, present clients and fellow associates for making real estate a success for me. I deeply appreciate your support and referrals. A very warm Merry Christmas wish to one and all. May 2022 bless you with Healing, Comfort, Peace, Happiness & the very best of everything.

35+ Years of Experience “Real Estate Joe” Olschewski • 801-573-5056 Construction on the new Murray City Hall has restarted in earnest. Steel girders are now being connected to the concrete foundation. The city stated their analysts estimate the city saved millions on construction costs because steel was purchased before inflation went up.

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MurrayJournal .com

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Murray High’s QSA provides safe place, support to all students By Julie Slama |


urray High School junior Bobbie Seher remembers texting his mother at age 13. “I wrote, ‘I think I’m trans.’” His mother’s reply: “I’ll support you through this journey.” That made all the different as he officially came out at 16, six months ago. As a member of the school’s Queer Straight Alliance, formerly known as the Gay Straight Alliance, Seher has found a supportive group during the transition. “It’s great having a validating group,” he said. “I have people here as support and have friends who accept me. It’s a good vibe. There are a lot of queer people, who may not feel safe at home. My dad says lots of homophobic remarks and since my parents are divorced, I haven’t told him.” Seher said that through the club as well as with staff and faculty, he has found a warm, welcoming place. “At school, a lot of teachers are good with my pronouns, and my eighth-grade counselor helped me change the pronoun on my school records and told me she was there if I never needed to talk. This year, I was able to change my name to Bobbie from my dead name on Aspire (school records platform) with the help of Chef (KC) Gray (the club adviser),” he said. “I’m in a good spot now.” That is why it may be confusing as the

Page 22 | December 2021

“Administration is supporting us and talking to those involved,” said Reynolds, who prefers the pronoun they. “We’re here because a lot of people may be feeling alone and when they do, they can get depressed and turn to suicide. We want to be an option not to feel alone, to come and have that support.” QSA, with 70 members, meets twice per month and often tend to have art as an outlet. “We painted paper plates of ‘what gender means to you’ and were able to talk and suppor t each other at the same time,” they said. “Everybody seems to appreciate the time to chill, do art and express themselves.” In another meeting club members Murray High senior Gavin Reynolds, president of the school’s Queer Straight Alliance, stands by the flag learned about LGBTQ+ books and materials that got crumpled. (Julie Slama/City Journals) available in the school library. Club members had a virtual art tour of the Utah Muclub members’ paper identity flags and a seum of Fine Arts and, for future meetings, LGBTQ+ flag they made and posted in the may bring in speakers from Encircle, a support group for LGBTQ+ youth at risk. hall were recently torn down and crinkled. Reynolds became club president after “We put them up for art week,” said senior Gavin Reynolds, president of the QSA. his brother, who was president before him, “We got it approved, worked with our SBOs graduated. The club began in 2016. The brothers each told their parents (student body officers) and everything was done right, then it was torn down. It was sur- about being gay while in junior high. “We were the only ones who everyone prising.” Their artwork was displayed for about knew we were queer in junior high. There were more, but we both became the natural one-and-one-half days.

leader of queers. We had support of our parents, so when some friends stopped being my friends in seventh grade, I knew I wasn’t alone, but at times, I did feel alone at school. They called me slurs and I was essentially bullied; they were insensitive,” they said. In ninth grade, the younger Reynolds started the Rainbow Education Alliance of Diverse Youth at Hillcrest Junior High with three other friends as a support for all students. They said it was immediately approved as a club. “To have that validation, to have that support, it means a lot,” Reynolds said. That’s what is essential to Gray, the club adviser. “I give a voice to those who don’t or can’t speak up,” he said. “I’m a white, straight male and I’m wanting to make sure there is a safe spot where all students feel accepted in the Murray High community. That’s first and far most important. I feel Murray High students are mostly accepting, and our faculty and staff and our administration are being supportive, and we do have queer faculty and staff here, but there still is a transition. It is hard for those who still have some homophobic or transphobic ways and things can linger on. We want Murray High to be inclusive, a school for everyone.” l

Murray City Journal

CottonCrest mountain biking team improves at state, athletes recognized for more than riding By Julie Slama |


or CottonCrest mountain biking coach Anthony Stowe, it’s hard to pick just one season highlight, even amongst the 18 student-athletes who biked at state. For example, Cottonwood High senior Rachel Arlen had a crash at the start, got up and rode. On her second lap she dropped a chain, fixed it and rode on, even passing other riders before the finish. “She finished her race despite the odds being against her—amazing sportsmanship and perseverance, fantastic athlete,” he said. AMES sophomore Jacob Arens lined up 96th and finished 61st making up 35 spots. “He is excited to be moving up to JVA next year and varsity as a future goal,”

Stowe said. Another proud moment for the team was when Cottonwood senior Georgia Barry won a $1,000 board of directors’ scholarship based upon her personal battle with self-image. The senior rode in her last high school race at state. “She is a team captain. She is a captain because she really knows who she is and why she rides. For her, it’s not about the win. It’s about the love, the environment, getting outside, enjoying the beauty and sharing all of it with her friends and family. I have learned more about coaching, equity and equality from Georgia than anyone else, a great young woman,” Stowe said. Hillcrest riders also made great strides.

Junior Kenna Stowe passed 33 girls in her JVA race and junior Josie Paul in JVB made up 35. Junior Porter Bach moved up 78 positions bridging the five-minute gap between split 2 and 3. Sophomore Kolby Butler had “another amazing race,” knocking 26 of his competitors for a 114th place finish out of 203 riders in the boys JVA race. “We had some insane racing,” said Stowe, who placed fifth in the first-ever

head coach race, edging out 2020 Olympian Haley Batten. “Our freshman boys had a crazy battle and some changes in placement that were surprising.” That included Cottonwood freshman Joe Evans beating 22 athletes and nearly catching Hillcrest’s A.J. Call, who finished as the CottonCrest freshman boys’ leader in 37th place. Evans finished 10 seconds later in 38th place. l

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CottonCrest captain Georgia Barry smiles as she finishes the season’s first race at Solider Hollow. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

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December 2021 | Page 23

Schools celebrate diversity, learn meaning of Día de los Muertos By Julie Slama |


ight streams into the room near the entrance to Summit Academy’s middle school in Draper, capturing the colorful decorations placed upon a table as a makeshift ofrenda, or altar or offering, for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a multi-day holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and in parts of Latin America that honors loved ones who have died. Eighth-grade English-language arts teacher Kelly Jeppson coordinated Summit Academy’s commemoration. “We are always looking for ways to discuss diversity and inclusion in our classroom, as well as celebrate different cultures,” Jeppson said. She said that students tied into their language arts’ skills of reading and writing as they read an article, watched a short video and then designed an ofrenda to remember a family member, friend, pet, or even character from a book. “It was meaningful to many of the students, and a good opportunity to get to know each other in a different way,” Jeppson said. While many people may view death as a time filled with sadness and grief, Horizon Elementary teacher Miriam Luna said it’s a time for remembrance of deceased relatives. “It’s a way to remember them in a good way,” she said. “Día de los Muertos is a time to celebrate and to respect the culture. Ofrendas are an appropriate way for everyone to participate in the celebration.” Students in her Murray classroom had made a classroom ofrenda, bringing pictures of family members who had died. A second ofrenda was created in the faculty room. Both ofrendas have bright flowers, which are believed to attract souls to the ofrenda. Many ofrendas have marigolds, known as the “flowers of the dead,” which Luna said their scent reminds her of “good memories of those people.” The creation of the ofrendas have evolved over time and are intertwined between Aztec culture and Catholic traditions into two days, Nov. 1 being All Saints’ Day, which celebrates the children who have died, and Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day, which honors adults. On Día de los Muertos it is believed that the souls of those who have departed return to visit their loved ones and family. The holiday coincides with the Monarch butterflies’ migration to Mexico for the winter. Many locals believe that the butterflies are the souls of their loved ones. “While learning the language, it’s important to understand the culture and holidays. Students are more engaged when they have this understanding,” said Luna, who on the second day of the celebration planned to paint her face in the style of a calavera or skull. Luna, who’s family also has an ofren-

Page 24 | December 2021

Horizon Elementary students learn first-hand about the Día de los Muertos in their classroom. (Julie Slama/ City Journals)

da at home, was teaching Spanish dual immersion students about what the celebration means to the culture as they were to color skull drawings, symbolic of sugar skulls, which are made of granulated sugar, meringue powder and water and decorated with bright colors. Having skulls be made of sugar, known as the “sweetness of life,” further challenges the idea that death is frightening and somber. “They’re really sweet,” said Silver Mesa fifth-grader Alexis Sutherland, who’s heritage is part Mexican; she helps her family make them annually. The Spanish dual immersion student said she has helped to decorate at school for the celebration.

“The holiday has flowers, bright paper that we cut in patterns and designs, food, photographs and lots of colors. It’s a happy not sad occasion,” she said. The intricately cut paper is believed to allow ancestors to travel through the slots to connect with their relatives. The paper also is symbolic of the fragility of life. Her classmate Elizabeth Rigby liked learning about Día de los Muertos. “It’s a chance for us to learn about it, appreciate their culture, and have fun,” she said. Their principal, Julie Fielding, said students are learning that it’s a holiday when they can recall memories of good times they had with decreased relatives and show their

respect. At nearby Mt. Jordan Middle School, students also paid their reverence by decorating sugar skulls. They also offered a brightly colored display outside of a Spanish classroom. At Midvale Elementary, students could contribute to the ofrenda created by the dual immersion teachers and then, they walked to the nearby cemetery to clean up leaves and trash as a way to serve. Afterward, they sampled pan dulce or sweet bread. On the ofrenda at Sandy Elementary, there also is bread, albeit a plastic version. The bread is designed to mimic the shape of skull and crossbones and is placed to share with those who have died. Some of the more famous people whose photographs were on the altar included Helen Keller, Albert Einstein and Anne Frank, giving students a way they could commonly identify. Candles were placed among the photographs as a symbol of love for deceased relatives and as guiding lights for their spirits. Sandy Elementary’s ofrenda was created by adult students in their Family Learning Center, who gave a presentation to students, including listening to Jorge Eliecer Garcia play “La Llorona” folk song on his violin. “We do this so everyone can be part of it,” said student Maria Doriman Hernandez, who grew up with ofrendas and continues with them with her family today. “We all come from different countries, but we can bond together and get to know each other through this holiday. It’s a way we can become knowledgeable about each other’s countries and have that understanding.” Casssady Daynes, Family Learning Center director, said it provided her adult students, who also come from Iraq, Sudan, Spain, Colombia, Venezuela and other countries, a chance to practice their English and become involved in their children’s school while learning themselves about the holiday and sharing why it is special. “It brings us together and we can remember those we have loved in positive ways,” she said. At Midvalley Elementary, in Midvale, dual immersion first-grade teacher Eva Bonilla gave instructions to her students in Spanish, so they were learning vocabulary as well as why and where the celebrations take place. “We’re making connections with the students so they’re learning from their maestra (teacher) about the importance of the holiday and culture,” said Bonilla, who painted her face to look like a calavera. “The best thing is that the kids love and are willing to learn, see and are open to celebrate and understand why people honor those they loved.” l

Murray City Journal

New incentive program aims to attract GSD subs


By Bill Hardesty |

ranite School District (GSD) announced an incentive program to attract and keep substitute teachers in late October. “We are always exploring options to ensure we deliver on what students and staff need,” Richard Nye, district superintendent, said. “I implore anyone who has even considered the job of a substitute teacher to take a look at all Granite has to offer.”

The program

The program will pay a bonus to substitute teachers as they hit milestones: hourly subs who complete at least five jobs in one month will be given a $50 bonus on top of regular pay; hourly subs who complete at least 10 jobs in one month will be given a $100 bonus on top of regular pay; and hourly subs who complete at least 15 jobs or more in one month will be given a $150 bonus on top of regular pay. The first payout was Nov. 1 based on substitute teachers’ October jobs. The program is ongoing through the remaining school year. For example, a substitute teacher who works 15 jobs every month will get a $150 bonus each month. GSD decided to install the bonus program rather than raise base pay. “We have a set budget and don’t have the ability to increase wages long term. We

If the assignment is 40 to 89 days, the do have lots of one-time money that can help address this problem short term,” Ben rate is $20.93 ($146.51). If the job is 90 or more days, the rate tops out at $26.86 Horsley, chief of staff, said. ($188.02). The situation Substitute pay scales differ between Horsley describes the situation as school districts. “very serious.” “We find that most of our subs are also “While we have a larger amount of in other local district sub-pools, so they substitutes in our pool and are filling more will pick and choose opportunities based positions than ever on a daily basis, the de- on the distance to travel and grade level of mand and need for personal and sick leave the sub-job offered,” Horsley said. has gone up by over 50% even over last The opportunity year,” Horsley said. According to the GSD website: “SubOn average, GSD uses 300-350 substitutes each day. When a substitute teacher stitute teachers are an integral part of the can’t be found, some district-level employ- educational process in Granite School Disees can step in. In other cases, the school’s trict. They have the opportunity to support administration steps in. A final choice is to the student educational experience. Principay regular teaches a stipend who step in pals, district administrators, and classroom teachers greatly appreciate the valuable during their prep period. work substitute teachers provide.” The pay Horsley described the ideal candidate A substitute teacher’s pay is based on as “someone looking for a flexible job, the education obtained and the length of the that enjoys being around kids. You get to assignment. pick where and when you want to pick up For a person with a high school diplo- a shift/job and can filter for certain grade ma, the hourly pay is $14.14 ($98.98 per levels or locations to meet your needs.” seven hour day). For persons with an asHe added, “This is more than just a job sociate degree or two years of college, the but an opportunity to serve your commurate moves to $14.67 ($102.69/day). For nity and support our children in their eda licensed teacher or holder of a master’s ucation.” degree, the rate raises $15.52 ($108.64). A To apply, call the Human Resources retired teacher is paid $18.29 ($128.03). Department at 385-646-4511. l

Granite School District implements a bonus incentive program for substitute teachers. (Photo from Pixabay)

MurrayJournal .com

December 2021 | Page 25

Cottonwood Heights considering advisory board for police department By Cassie Goff |


he City of Cottonwood Heights is considering the implementation of a Citizen Advisory Board for public safety within the city. On Nov. 2, City Manager Tim Tingey and Police Chief Robby Russo outlined some of the guidelines for establishing boards/ committees set forth by the state legislature. In addition, they surveyed how other municipalities around the area have approached implementing advisory boards. H.B. 415: Local Law Enforcement Structure and Governance Amendments sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray and Sen. Don Ispon sets the guidelines for Advisory Committees for local municipalities. Primarily, the bill prohibits municipalities from establishing committees with any powers over the police chief. Advisory committees are prohibited from reviewing or approving a police department’s rules, regulations, policies, or procedures; vetoing any new policy or striking down an existing policy; reviewing a police department’s budget in order for the budget to take effect, approving a contract with a police union; or making decisions about hiring or appointments. “They do not have independent authority from the police chief,” Tingey said. However, advisory committees are al-

lowed to provide feedback and insight to a police department. They can give feedback on policies, assess complaints of misconduct, provide recommendations for rules and regulations, review instances of use of force and investigate internal affairs, help with trainings and projects, and advise various functions and activities. “Cities have enacted these groups in the hope of increasing trust between police officers and the community,” Tingey explained. Within the Greater Salt Lake area, eight local municipalities have taken one of three approaches for Citizen Advisory Boards so far. Boards with broad advisory roles can be found in UPD (Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake), Provo, West Jordan and South Jordan. The main purpose of this type of board is to increase communication. The police chief may ask for insights and reviews on issues such as emergency management, neighborhood watch, uniform and grooming standards, and surveys. Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, and West Valley all have boards with advisory review roles. The board’s primary role is to assess citizen complaints of police misconduct and provide citizen input on force issues. In addition, board members are re-

quired to have substantial training. Murray takes a general public safety approach for their advisory board; where members look at both police and fire issues to provide insights related to general public safety. Many of these advisory boards were created through ordinances written by city staff members and passed by city councils. Tingey suspects South Jordan to be one of the only municipalities whose committee flows through a more administrative side. The Cottonwood Heights City Council discussed implementing a committee with a role somewhere between a broad advisory role and general public safety focus. However, the council questioned if that would cause issue since Cottonwood Heights contracts with Unified Fire Authority (UFA) for fire services. They would not want to pass an ordinance impacting the larger footprint of UFA. “It’s a great opportunity to engage with the community and learn about what we aren’t doing well,” said UFA Chief Riley Pilgrim. The council asked city staff members and City Attorney Shane Topham to look into writing an ordinance to establish a Citizen Advisory Board. City staff will look

Under Utah State legislation, local municipalities have many restrictions on how they might go about implementing a citizen-led advisory board. (Peter Finn/National Institute of Justice)

further at the ordinance and language from Murray in conjunction with some of the Cottonwood Heights past ordinances that establish committees like the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Committee and Arts Council, as a model. l

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Murray City Journal

Beloved ballet returns to Capitol Theatre for the holidays


allet West’s most popular show and annual tradition, “The Nutcracker,” returns to the Capitol Theatre for live performances Dec. 4-26. It’s been two years since the holiday ballet was performed for a live audience, since COVID-19 shuttered entertainment venues in 2020. Audiences are eager to get back to live ballet as more than 13,000 tickets have already been sold and this year’s performance of “The Nutcracker” is expected to bring in

By Peri Kinder | the highest level of sales in 25 years. “Following the successful production of ‘Dracula,’ where many performances were sold out, demand for ‘The Nutcracker’ is expected to be high,” said Adam Sklute, Ballet West artistic director, in a media release. “We encourage all ‘Nutcracker’ fans to purchase tickets early so they have a seat and don’t miss out.” Made possible through support from The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles

Artists of Ballet West perform in “The Nutcracker” at Capitol Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Beau Pearson)

Foundation, the $3 million production is a classic ballet in two acts based on the fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann. The iconic score by Tchaikovsky will be performed live, featuring the Ballet West Orchestra. Choreographed by Ballet West founder Willam Christensen, “The Nutcracker” has evening performances at 7 p.m., matinees at 2 p.m., and a special holiday matinee on Christmas Eve at noon. Immediately following each matinee (except Dec. 24), Ballet West hosts a Sugar Plum Party where young audience members can join the Sugar Plum Fairy and other favorite characters from the ballet for a special treat. “Each year, hundreds of Utah children from across the Wasatch Front audition for the opportunity to perform in Ballet West’s ‘The Nutcracker,’ with just over 100 children being selected for the coveted roles,” Sklute said. “The story tells of a Christmas party at which little Clara, daughter of the house, receives the gift of a nutcracker from her mysterious uncle, Herr Drosselmeyer. After the party, she falls asleep and dreams of snow castles, sugarplums, and her nutcracker, which has turned into a handsome prince.” Ticket prices range from $25 to $104 and are available at or 801869-6900. l

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December 2021 | Page 27 10/20/2021 12:18:52 PM

Immerse yourself in art at new Leonardo exhibit By Justin Adams |


here’s a new way to experience classic works of art at the new IDEA space at the Leonardo museum in downtown Salt Lake City. The acronym stands for “Immersive Digital Exploratory Art.” Occupying a large chunk of the museum’s second floor, the new space may seem sparse when the lights are on—large blank walls, a few mirrors, some benches and cushions for visitors to sit on. But turn off the lights and fire up the dozens of projectors strewn across the ceiling, and suddenly you’re flying through Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or are nestled peacefully in Monet’s lush gardens. Each scene of artwork transforms seamlessly into the next with animations that bring each piece to life. Accompanying the artwork is an occasional voice-over that provides context for the artwork, but more often a piece of music; from classical music for the Romantic period to jazz music for the post-modern. The exhibit, Immersive Art Series, was created by Universal Exhibition Group and has previously been shown in Moscow, Dubai, Belgium and Switzerland. The Leonardo will be its first home in North America. The series consists of five shows, each centered around a different era or theme. The first show being played at the Leonardo is ti-

tled “Monet to Kandinsky” and features the work of “10 artists who revolutionized the art world.” The next show that will be added to the rotation focuses on the Italian Renaissance. “[The Leonardo] is the perfect space for this because it’s all about science, technology and art and that’s exactly what this is all about,” said Steve Boulay, COO of Magic Space Entertainment, a local company who partnered with the Leonardo to build the IDEA space and bring the Immersive Art Series to Utah. Although he’s surrounded by world class entertainment throughout his career of bringing Broadway productions to cities around the world, Boulay said there’s something “different” about this exhibit. In fact, he said he spent three hours just sitting in the space and enjoying the show all by himself. Although the IDEA space was built with the Immersive Art Series in mind, Boulay and the Leonardo envision many other uses for their investment. “If we have the space, we can also curate local content. We’re going to be able to do things like have shows based on Utah history or shows that highlight Utah artists,” he said. “I think you’re going to see shows here for a decade, which is fantastic.” The new space is also a perfect addition to the Leonardo as the country slowly

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” fills the walls (and even the floor) of the Leonardo’s new IDEA space. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

emerges from the pandemic, said Executive Director Alex Hesse. “This new space is very open, it’s ‘no touch,’ and we can also restrict how many people are inside. It’s a very COVID-friendly experience,” she said. “It

also feels joyful, inspiring and uplifting and that feels very important to all of us at this time.” Tickets for “Monet to Kandinsky” are now available through the Leonardo’s website, l

As Utah’s Unemployment Rate Hits Record Low, Lack of Labor Lingers By Robert Spendlove, Zions Bank Senior Economist Utah’s unemployment rate hit the lowest level ever recorded in October. The Utah Department of Workforce Services’ most recent jobs report, released in November, shows that only 2.2% of the state’s workers are unemployed and actively looking for work. This historic low comes only 18 months after the state’s unemployment rate reached a record high of 10.4% in April 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. Utah’s job recovery from such a massive disruption has been impressive. Our state’s two-year job growth leads the nation at 3.7%, compared to a 2.2% job decline Women: Your Voice Matters! nationally. The state has added 58,500 jobs We need more women in political added over the past two years, with the construction; financial activities; and trade, office. We need you! Join the Women’s Leadership Institute transportation and utilities sectors growing in its non-partisan, in-depth training the fastest. This job growth is limited, however, by for aspiring female political candidates. the lack of available labor. Utah, like the rest The seventh annual cohort has started, of the nation, is struggling to find workers but we have a couple spots still available! to fill job openings. A recent analysis from The Pew Charitable Trusts found that the LEARN MORE & REGISTER: ratio of jobs-to-jobless in Utah is more than

Page 28 | December 2021

Utah Unemployment Rate at Record Low 13.0% 12.0% 11.0% 10.0% 9.0% 8.0% 7.0% 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% October 2.0% 2021 1.0% 2.2% 0.0% 1/1/00 1/1/02 1/1/04 1/1/06 1/1/08 1/1/10 1/1/12 1/1/14 1/1/16 1/1/18 1/1/20 Source: Utah Department of Workforce Statistics

2 to 1. Many residents who dropped out of the workforce during the pandemic have not returned. Even so, the labor force participation rate – an estimate of what percent of the state’s population is working or looking for a job – is the fifth highest in the nation. Labor force participation remained steady from September to October at 67.9%, though still below the 68.6% of two years ago in October 2019. The very tight labor market continues to cause wage pressure. Nationally, average hourly earnings were 4.9% higher in

October, compared to one year ago. This wage inflation, which is a welcome trend for workers, is placing more strain on employers, who are facing both the labor shortage and continued supply chain struggles. Despite these challenges, Utah’s economy – and the U.S. economy – continue to improve and recover. More people are returning to work as the latest wave of the delta variant of the Coronavirus subsides, vaccination rates increase, and the impact of enhanced unemployment benefits ends. l

Murray City Journal

Will Robinson, a Mormon frontiersman, is tasked with the responsibility of rescuing certain individuals and families from attacks and kidnappings by mobs and other villains.

is looking for champions in your community!



are leaders who lift and inspire. They work to build a better community.

After her storm-battered ship filled with LDS converts from England arrives in New Orleans, Will falls in love with one of its passengers-Rachel Ramsey, the beautiful, talented singer/actress daughter of an English lord. Ultimately, Rachel must choose between someone of her own nobility class and the tall, ruggedly handsome Will Robinson.



The book’s main characters interact with historical persons including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Sam Brannon, and Lyman Wight. Other main characters include: Lord Ramsey, the Duke of Cornwall, the Duke of Devonshire, the Duke of Kent, a ruthless London prison warden, a cruel workhouse supervisor, “the Beast,” El Capitán, and arch villain, Victor Von Villerbrun.

Visit the City Journals website to nominate a community champion today! Each month we’ll spotlight a Community Champion!

Incidents include: a mountain-man rendezvous, the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The expulsion of the Saints from Missouri and Illinois. The treks of the Mormon pioneers across the plains to sanctuary in the Rocky Mountains. The march of the Mormon Battalion from Kansas to California, the longest march in U.S. military history.

Also included: The Nauvoo Legion. The Battle of Nauvoo. The Battle of the Bulls. The Donner Party tragedy. The California Gold Rush. A contingent of black members of the Church from Mississippi. Contacts with Native Americans.


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December 2021 | Page 29

Big eSports online tournament held for local students By Greg James |


he idea of gamers living in their parents’ basement and never seeing the light of day is no more. In the fall festival held in November, 695 Utah high school and middle school students gathered online in a friendly eSports competition. “The ability of eSports to be online at any time makes it possible for us to hold a large tournament,” co-owner and operator of The League Esports Danny Jacobson said. “We both got into eSports years ago for a local company, LDS Gamers,” co-owner and operator of TLE Shawn Fisher said. “We decided to open our community and host games. We were contacted by some high school organizations, and through networking it has become a nation and worldwide opportunity.” The Fall Festival, sponsored by Ken Garff eSports at Cottonwood High School, was the largest school event held in the state, as 221 middle school and high school teams gathered online Nov. 11–12. In the 5A and 6A division, 24 schools were represented. Teams played Smash Bros Ultimate and Rocket League. Each game can be played as teams and supports quick timed battles. RL (Rocket League) was played in teams of three. It is a vehicular-style soccer game. Both games are popular games with youth

competitors and could be adapted to a large online gathering. “My teacher brought it up in a class, and Rocket League is a game I like to play, so I signed up,” a middle school student that goes by the user name “Elimantor” said. “I like competing against my friends.” “A tournament this large had never been held in Utah,” Jacobson said. “Some schools had multiple teams, some schools had as many as 30 kids. The goal would be to hold it as an in-person event eventually, but lots of logistics would need to be figured out. Rocket League and Smash Bros are two of the most popular, and they are good family-friendly games.” League of Legends is also a popular game that will be introduced into a big tournament, but the speed of games in Rocket League and SuperSmash fit better into the large tournament. “The goal of this particular event was not to see who the very best was,” Jacobson said. “We wanted the most participation and the opportunity to get kids to play with others from all over the place.” Ken Garff eSports, iTeamUSA and Code to Success has pinpointed that gaming can develop potential workplace applicants. Jobs including coding and cyber security have many



silicon slopes companies seeing the opportunity to find possible future employees. “This is a great gateway to introduce these jobs by finding kids that like to play video games,” Jacobson said. “Kids can go on to college and pay for it through games,” Fisher said. “We also have high school quarterbacks, soccer stars and even band kids that like to play games when they get home. It is not an absolute that if you play games you live in your mom’s basement. Some of us are older, and we own our basements.” The online community has helped many students with mental health conditions. “Just like anything, there are negative

things if you look for them,” Jacobson said. “The community involvement can help with kids that can be introverted. Gaming is a big sense of community. That is a reason we started TLE was to make a safe place to play and make new friends—some of my best friends I have never met.” Like a local recreation center, TLE holds gathering points for gamers to gather and play competitive video games. “As we started ‘adulting,’ we wanted a place where we could play our games, just like rec leagues play basketball or softball,” Jacobson said. “Gamers can play competitively in college and earn scholarships or job offers. That is how we got started.” l

Rocket League is one of the most popular eSports games, West Jordan and Mountain Ridge high schools played an online match. (Photo courtesy of TLE)



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Laughter AND



I Saw Mommy Kicking Santa Claus

he holidays have arrived. Snow is falling, candles are aglow, the smell of cinnamon wafts through the air, and somewhere in Utah a middle-aged woman is screaming at a Walmart cashier because the store is out of the candied cherries she puts in her fruit cake. Blame the supply chain, but it’s not just dried fruit running low; it’s patience, compassion and the ability to be a nice human being. If you’re on TikTok, along with videos of flying reindeer and holiday proposals, you’ll see flight attendants being punched, teachers yelling at students, customers throwing coffee at baristas and whales capsizing kayaks. Even whales have had enough. You’d think being isolated last year would make us happier to interact with fellow humans this holiday season, but it seems to be the opposite. Social distancing and isolation has taken our stress levels to nuclear proportions. We’re reacting like the Tasmanian Devil, whirling ourselves off a cartoon cliff. News programs broadcast warnings about packages stolen from porches and backseats, felons posing as Salvation Army bell-ringers and spiteful elves spying on children and reporting back to Santa. Poor Kris Kringle will deliver a lot of coal this year . . . well, not coal because it’s

destroying the planet. Maybe since wind power is a sustainable coal alternative, Santa can bring naughty people a stiff, gusty breeze. We’re living in a heightened state of fear, and fear is the opposite of what we should feel this time of year. This season of love and light and joy has been co-opted by those who would divide us. The farther apart we get, the less we are able to see each other. Here’s an idea. What if we put all talk of politics on hold for December? That would be one month of no talking heads and finger-pointing and dire social media memes. What if we vowed to share only positive stories and heartwarming videos, and ban all holiday music featuring Alvin

and the Chipmunks? Let’s use this time to digest more than nine pounds of mashed potatoes and three types of pie. Let’s digest how we’ve treated each other during the last year, and try to do better. Even I, a freakin’ humor columnist, have received more angry emails and phone calls in 2021 than the previous 17 years combined. Whether it’s Democrats, Republicans, Big Bird, mask mandates, cancel culture or fruitcake, our division is growing. Any day, I’m expecting leaflets to be flung out of helicopters explaining how the COVID vaccine is turning us into carnivorous, zombie dinosaurs. Aren’t you tired of it all? Remember when Christmas meant acts of service and goodwill to all mankind? What can you do to return to love this holiday season? Maybe less judgement and more connection. Maybe less yelling and more listening. Maybe it’s taking a plate of homemade cookies to a neighbor. Maybe it’s building a bridge instead of a wall. Maybe it's apologizing and swallowing our inflated egos. This holiday season, it’s your job to love your neighbor, even the one you don’t agree with. Even the ones yelling at the Walmart cashier. They might need the most love of all.



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December 2021 | Page 31

December 2021 | Vol. 31 Iss. 12




n old French proverb states that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and perhaps that best sums up Murray’s recent election. With the retirement of Mayor Blair Camp and City Councilor Dale Cox, the Nov. 2 election saw Brett Hales jump from the city council to the mayor’s office, and Pam Cotter returned to a city council seat that she temporarily held four years ago. In addition, Diane Turner returns for a third term on the city council. Hales, a three-term city councilor first elected to City Council District 5 in 2012, was formerly Vice President of Cyprus Credit Union. Hales emerged from the primary election as the top vote-getter, ahead of the three other candidates, Clark Bullen, Adam Fitzgerald and Alexander Teemsma. Hales’ general election opponent, Bullen, emerged with the primary’s second-highest vote tally. In the weeks leading up to the election, a common concern voiced in candidate forums was the increased application of turning former retail sites, such as the RC Willey property, into multi-use or high-density residential areas. Another oft vocalized concern was Murray’s downtown development. Both Hales and Bullen stated at the Sept. 29 Meet-the-Candidates Night that they opposed Murray’s State

Brett Hales moves to the mayor seat, Diane Turner retains her council seat, and Pamela Cotter takes over her former council seat. (Photo courtesy Murray City)

Street project proposal. However, Hales and Bullen’s approaches to campaigning were very different, with Bullen highly engaged on social media while Hales’ conducted a low-key, wordof-mouth campaign.

With 37% of Murray’s 28,387 registered voters casting ballots in the general election, Hales breezed to the mayor’s office with a commanding 58% of the vote to Bullen’s 42%. “I am looking forward to hearing from our

residents of Murray and welcome their input on ideas to make our city the best in the state. I am also so excited to work with our department

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