Murray Journal | February 2022

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February 2022 | Vol. 32 Iss. 14




hen COVID strikes the performing arts, it delivers a dramatic blow, and the Murray Theater was no exception. Finally, however, after years of being shelved, the renovation of the Murray Theater received positive news as Salt Lake County approved funding to restart the project. In 2015, Murray City purchased the 83-year-old venue to function as an indoor performing arts facility. The city received Tourism, Recreation, Culture & Convention (TRCC) funding in 2018, and the city made conceptual designs to start construction in 2020. Cost estimates put the renovation at $7.5 million. Murray and Salt Lake County committed $3.7 million in grant funding, and the city was hoping to fund the remainder from its budget and community donations. Of course, in 2020, TRCC revenue evaporated overnight. TRCC funding comes from restaurants, car rentals and hotel room taxes. Due to the decrease in revenue projections, the county could not guarantee its obligation and withdrew from the agreement. With TRCC breathing life again into old projects, it will restore Murray Theater sup-

port in 2022. “We have not hired a firm to do another cost estimate, just because we’re to the point where we’re moving forward with the theater, but we estimate that the theater cost is gonna be right around $10 million,” Murray City Parks and Recreation Director Kim Sorenson told the Jan. 18 Committee of the Whole meeting. Murray City has contracted with Pathway Associates to help raise funds. Notably, that firm helped raise $38 million for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City. Costs to retain Pathways will be $5,000 a month or 10% of fundraising earnings. The city plans to sell naming rights, among all things, to generate money. “There’s quite a few naming opportunities for the theater, including the theater lobby, the auditorium, the north lounge, the ticket office, the green room (performer’s Continued page 5 Renovation work on the Murray Theater will restart this year. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

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February 2022 | Page 3

Murray legislators announce bills for 2022 general legislative session By Shaun Delliskave |


urray’s representative and state senators convened for the 2022 General Session of the State Legislature on Jan. 18. The following is a summation of Murray’s legislators 20 numbered bills on opening day, meaning they were ready to be considered before the legislative branch. Legislators can still add bills to the docket throughout the session. Rep. Karen Kwan H.C.R. 4 Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Protection of Archaeological Sites encourages law enforcement to enforce existing laws to protect Utah's archaeological sites and encourages the federal government to protect archaeologically significant sites within its jurisdiction. Rep. Gay Lynn Bennion H.B. 0 Driver License Test Amendments requires the Driver License Division to begin administering certain examinations in languages other than English. H.B. 1 Watershed Restoration Initiative creates the Watershed Restoration Initiative within the Department of Natural Resources. Rep. Carol Spackman Moss H.B. 17 State Small Business Credit Initiative Program Fund Amendments transfers the administration of the State Small Business Credit Initiative Program Fund from the Department of Workforce Services to the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity. H.B. 86 Parenting Plan Amendments prohibits a court from granting a petition to modify a parenting plan until the parties have attended an educational course. Rep. Andrew Stoddard H.B. 57 Government Records Access Amendments provides that an item that, if retained by a governmental entity, would be considered a record, does not lose its character as a record because it is located only on a personal electronic device of the governmental entity's official or employee and pro-

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hibits a governmental entity from searching a personal electronic device of an official or employee in responding to a record request. H.B. 73 Post Certification Amendment allows the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council to take certain action if a peace officer violates minimum use of force standards. H.C.R. 2 Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Discussion about Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse encourages discussion about the effects and prevalence of child sexual abuse; and encourages discussion about ways in which the government, communities, and citizens of Utah can prevent child sexual abuse and support those affected. Rep. Mark Wheatley H.B. 72 Noise Pollution Amendments requires an inspection of noise suppression equipment at the time of a vehicle emissions inspection as a prerequisite to registration of a motor vehicle. Sen. Gene Davis S.B. 14 Consumer Alcoholic Beverage Purchasing creates the Division of Consumer Purchasing within the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control; moves the wine subscription program under the administration of the division; requires the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to receive and review complaints regarding the division. S.B. 64 Identification for Vehicle Registration Amendment require the applicant provide valid government-issued identification before issuing any new registration on a vehicle. Sen. Jani Iwamoto S.B. 11 Local Election Amendment describes the circumstances under which a municipal legislative body may cancel a local election or a race in a local election. S.B. 28 Office of American Indian-Alaska Native Affairs creates the Office of Amer-

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss addresses the Murray City Oath of Office ceremony. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

ican Indian-Alaska Native Affairs within the Department of Health and Human Services. S.B. 53 Driver Speeding Amendments prohibits a person from being a spectator or making preparations for a speed contest on a highway; allows the seizure of a vehicle that is not street legal that is engaged with a speed race or exhibition of speed on a highway. S.B. 58 Day of Remembrance Observing the Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II designates an annual day of remembrance observing the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. S.B. 73 Flow Rates or Quantity for Plumbing Fixtures modifies the residential and plumbing code adopted by the state to address maximum flow rates or quantity for certain plumbing fixtures or fixture fittings. S.B. 81 Affordable Housing Tax Amend-




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ment describes a valuation method for determining the fair market value of real property subject to a low-income housing covenant. S.B. 87 Court Fee Waiver Amendments allows court fees, costs, or security to be waived for indigent individuals under certain circumstances. S.B. 96 Correctional Officer Eligibility Amendment removes the prohibition for 19-year-olds to work as correctional officers for the Department of Corrections. S.C.R. 6 Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Support for the Adoptee Citizenship Act Congress and the President to support the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021 to allow legally adopted internationally-born individuals from receiving automatic United States citizenship. Sen. Kathleen Riebe No numbered bills at press deadline. l


Murray City Journal

Riverview Jr. High’s cast of ‘Aladdin Jr.’ ready to take to the stage


fter having to cancel its musical two years ago, Riverview Jr. High School is ready to perform “Aladdin Jr.” “[Aladdin] is a fun story with great characters. Most of these roles can be played by anyone, so there were no limits as to what we could do,” said Alexie Baugh, the director of “Aladdin Jr.” This is not Baugh’s first time doing “Aladdin” since she costumed the show in a local production over the summer. “I love adding humor and watching the story come to life.” While putting together a school musical can be fun, and is a great way to make new friends, many people agree that it can also be hard. “The hardest thing about being in the musical is probably when the rehearsals are really long and tiring. But I get through them and it's usually pretty rewarding,” said Molly Bytheway, who plays Zaynab, one of Jasmine’s friends in the play. “Sometimes things get a little hectic on stage during our dance and it’s a lot to handle, especially when people don’t understand what’s going on,” said Maya Flores, a featured dancer and an ensemble member. For some cast members, this is their

By Victoria Wetzel | first time doing musical theater, for others, this is not their first taste of it. “I was a star-to-be in my school musical of ‘Annie Jr.’ and I was in the world premiere of ‘Behind the Bookstore’ at Murray High,” said Lucy Woodbury, who plays the role of The Genie. For Baugh, this is not her first time directing a school musical. Baugh graduated with a degree in theatre teaching in 2006 and has been costuming, directing and choreographing ever since. “Learning a new school and all the who, what, where logistics has been a little tricky,” she said. “But having support from the parents and administration has helped a ton.” Cast members all agree that there are some great aspects about doing a show. “[I love] the people and of course dancing and just like I love performing, it's so much fun,” said Maya. Lucy agrees that performing for people is fun. “I love working with everybody. That has to be my favorite part because I love working with everybody, it's like a cast family, you know?” Molly enjoys challenging herself with harder dances and more difficult singing parts. “I love harmonies, plus all the

The Riverview Junior High cast of “Aladdin Jr.” practices their choreography.

friends I’ve made so far. The dances are really fun, and the harmonies are so rewarding when we get them right.” “I am excited to get back to my role of director and really work with students on developing character and telling the story with their actions, facial expressions and voice,” Baugh said. “It's always fun to

watch the characters come alive and see how students find their own personal take on their parts.” Riverview is set to perform “Aladdin Jr.” March 2, 3, 7 and 8 in the Riverview auditorium at 7 p.m. The cast is crossing their fingers that this year’s opening night goes better than it did in March 2020. l

Continued from front page dressing room). And then we’re also putting together a package that’ll include selling seats. So, people will be able to put their names on the back of a seat,” Sorenson said. One thing that won’t likely be considered is changing the Murray Theater’s name. However, Sorenson said it was not entirely out of the picture. If a substantial amount were offered, he would approach the city council with the proposal for an additional name to the marquee. Additionally, the city plans to approach the legislature for funds to cover the remaining cost gap. Will those funds build additional parking for the theater? No. “Parking is not an issue. If you’ve gone to other theaters in Salt Lake City or the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, you will park a lot farther away than this parking lot (Murray City Hall),” Sorenson said. According to Sorenson, when the city vacates the current city hall, it can require the new tenant or builder to provide parking for theater patrons. As for programming, theater patrons can expect musicals and local school productions. “I would like to do three musicals over there—spring, Christmas, and fall. Then we do have some arts education pieces that we could use it for,” Murray City Cultural Arts Manager Lori Edmunds said. Murray City has been using Hillcrest Junior High’s recently built auditorium to host performances that fall outside its summer season, such as the Missoula Children’s Theater. Edmunds also hopes to screen films and partner with local film festivals. But Edmunds reminded the Committee of the Whole that the theater has some drawbacks to hosting concerts.

MurrayJournal .com

Conceptual drawing of the renovated Murray Theater lobby. (Photo courtesy of Murray City)

“We have to remember that the sound system for a movie theater is much different and not appropriate for what we need for bands like David Archuleta or Alex Boyé. We’d still need to bring in a sound system, and that’s costly,” Edmunds said. So when can Murrayites step into their refurbished the-

ater? “Construction is estimated to take about eight months. Now, this is a best-case scenario, and we all know that this building has not been a best-case scenario over the last couple of years. But it is possible that we would be opening the theater in the spring of 2023,” Sorenson said. l

February 2022 | Page 5

Murray School District’s nature center a treasure for all young learners By Julie Slama |


ourth-grader Jack Binggeli and his classmates walked along the Jordan River, checking out fresh animal tracks, downed trees gnawed by beavers, and listening to the calls of waterfowl. “If I got stuck in the city, I’d want to go to the woods, so I’d come here,” he said. “I’ve seen frogs and snakes, and I’ve learned about beavers.” His dad, James, returned to chaperone his son’s field trip after being on one earlier in the week. “It’s a nice sanctuary in the middle of the city that is well kept and provides the opportunity for them to experience nature without having to drive a long way,” he said. The oasis is in the heart of the city along the Jordan River trail in amongst the Cottonwood trees where birds nest. The Kennecott Nature Center offers Murray School District schoolchildren an outdoor education classroom offering hands-on science experiments, creative writing, art and photography opportunities based on the nearby wetlands and foliage. “It’s a pretty simple building, just one room with some restrooms, designed with the observation deck on top, which is kind of cool,” former Murray School District Superintendent Richard Tranter said. “We wanted it to provide environmental education to kids, especially at the elementary age, to have them experience life in a swamp-type area with the Jordan River there. All of the plants, all of the wildlife—it’s just a great outdoor vibe. So many kids don’t have the outdoor experiences that they should and we’re able to provide curriculum in a synthesized organized way is a real benefit.” The origins of the nature center started with Tranter’s predecessor, Ron Stephens. “Orin Black, he was a community member and so well respected—he liked to ride horses and he invited me to go for a ride along the path that went along the river and while we were on the ride, I remember being so impressed with the area,” Stephens said. “I remember thinking this has everything and it’s no more than 15 minutes away from every one of the schools in the district. I just remember the thought that this would be a special place for an environmental center right there on the river.” Then Stephens added with a laugh: “I also remember having the neatest secretary and I asked what she would say if someone called while I was out with Mr. Black riding a horse. She said, ‘I’ll tell them the truth, that you’re out horsing around.’” That land, where once Native Americans fished and early settlers trapped and later would be used for sugar beet and mink farms, would become the home of the nature center. Stephens previously had served at Weber School District before coming to Murray,

Page 6 | February 2022

In 2014, then nature center coordinator Judith Payne and Liberty Elementary students were filmed for a video Kennecott created that showed their then 15-year partnership with Murray School District and Murray City at the Kennecott Nature Center. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

where he and Weber’s school foundation— the first school district foundation in the western U.S.—established a nature center for that district. That district’s nature center requires a bus ride up through Ogden Valley. Stephens said after that horseback ride, he brought together individuals and established Murray’s first school district foundation. He introduced the concept of a nature center to them. “They were excited about it,” he said, adding that Kennecott came to the forefront as a possible partner. “They agreed to help us finance the center. I’m thinking it was around $50,000, but in return, we agreed to put their name on the facility.” The city owned the land, operating it as a park, Stephens said, and were willing to help with the project and Murray Rotary and others stepped up to make the nature center a reality. “We got a lot of support from the community, people donating labor and skills. People were excited about this, and it wasn’t a typical build of a school project with tax money. The idea just kind of caught on so people would spearhead parts, a contractor agreed to help and gave us a real break on the cost because it was such a new idea,” Stephens said. “Initially, the school district

In fall 2021, Judith Payne, left, passed the stewardship of the nature center to its new coordinator, Cathy Singer. (Photo courtesy of Doug Payne)

took the lead in helping maintain the property and paying for the ongoing expenses and the city took care of the land and trails.” It was during this time that Stephens retired, and Tranter came into office. “The land was vacant, and we began to

pull funds together to build the nature center,” Tranter said. “Kennecott and the city both put money into it, so it was a true partnership of the three entities.” Tranter said that local general contractor, Denzel Watts, whose kids attended Mur-

Murray City Journal

In fall 2021, new Kennecott Nature Center director Kathy Singer teaches fourth-graders about wetland animals. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

ray schools, donated labor. Kennecott Nature Center was completed in 1999. “When it first opened, we weren’t quite sure how to deliver the curriculum. We looked at certain grade level teachers developing the curriculum, but with the nature center’s mission with the study of ecology and wildlife, and teachers having so much to do, we realized we needed someone who has that background to develop the curriculum and be there to teach. So, we hired a coordinator to develop curriculum and would deliver it to classes that would sign up and visit the nature center,” he said. After a few weeks, that coordinator stepped down and the district hired Hillcrest Junior High teacher Judith Payne, who served as the nature center coordinator for 20 years until retiring this fall. She taught students up until the last year because field trips were eliminated at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Judith doesn’t live far from the nature center and her kids went to Murray, so it was a good find to have her take over and she did a great job for all those years,” Tranter said. “She would develop lesson plans, teach the curriculum and then, when they go on nature walks, they could explore and examine the area. The high school used to do biology class over there and would take water samples from the Jordan River.” Initially, Tranter said that Granite School District had some outdoor curriculum that they were willing to share so an agreement was made they would share that in trade for use of the center and that partnership continued throughout Payne’s tenure. Tranter said funds were allocated for additional curriculum and materials. Many of the mounted animals, animal pelts, shells, eggs, teeth, claws, porcupine quills and snake skins remain today. Payne also wrote grants to provide supplies. “I was fortunate that we really had most of our needs met,” Payne said. “I mean, when you have nature right outside your door, you don’t need a heck of a lot more in your classroom. It was if I had a new program so maybe it would be neat to have a cougar skull or a book or something. But it was just more of having students come and we’d have a good discussion on what they’re learning in science on their grade level, learn a few things and go outside and explore and have hands-on activities. It’s just really enhancing and supporting what they’re learning in a classroom in a different environment that makes it memorable. They hear it from a different voice and then are able to go outside and apply it whether we’re classifying leaves or learning about the lifecycle of rocks or studying erosion and then, literally we’re seeing it on the riverbank

MurrayJournal .com

Fourth-grader Charlotte Macconkey discovers different leaves along the Jordan River trail outside the Kennecott Nature Center. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

of the Jordan River.” Payne said sixth-grade students investigated Jordan River water samples under the microscope, first-graders learned parts of a tree and then, “they’d go out and look for their favorite tree and give it a big hug.” Fourth-graders walked quietly studying birds and used binoculars to observe them and learn about their characteristics. “I feel like these kids will get excited about seeing a bird when they’re on vacation or walking to school or camping and have a greater appreciation of the natural world around them. I think it’s naturally going to make them better citizens and stewards of the earth,” Payne said. Even after a couple fires burned around the nature center, Payne said they were able to use the regrowth as learning opportunity, and there was never down time until the pandemic hit. “The nature center was always pretty booked for elementary,” Payne said. “The high school and junior highs usually did their own thing and were always welcome to come. It really is a success story. It’s quite a unique learning place, like no other. It’s just grown over the years to become a part of the community and part of the school experience. You build real friendships and relationships, certainly with the teachers, but also with the students. The students feel a sense of stewardship; they know that the nature center and the area kind of belongs to them, and it feels like a second classroom.” She said she would typically see students three dozen times while in elementary school. Some visits were tied in with presenters from the Natural History Museum, Hawk Watch, the Nature Conservancy or others. Her lesson plans were passed along to Cathy Singer this fall, who has taken over coordinating and teaching outdoor education to Murray District students. Singer, who has a bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s in plant biology, has a love of nature and experience teaching community college students and teaching children outdoor education as she started a kids’ hiking

In 2013, a Horizon teacher examined a water sample from the Jordan River during a visit to the Kennecott Nature Center in Murray. (Judith Payne/Murray School District)

club and regularly leads local children on hikes in the Wasatch Front. “They learn that this canyon is cut by a river or this one is cut by a glacier and the kids learn the names of the wildflowers and about the animals’ habitat,” she said. Even on a nature walk with Murray District kids, Singer will point out a Cottonwood tree or help explore an animal track in the mud. “With the younger ones, I make it more like a scavenger hunt so they’re looking for things that are related to the lesson. The older ones, we may talk about the landforms and erosion we see on the Jordan River,” she said. “Fifth-graders are excited when they get to dissect owl pellets here.” Singer also is adapting many of Payne’s programs and developing some of her own to fit the new Utah science curriculum that was adopted during the pandemic. Recently, Singer hosted a sixth-grade class that wrote acrostic poetry as part of a winter writing workshop. This particular day, she was teaching fourth-grade students under the direction of substitute teacher and parent Mary Ann Gulden. “I like how students are always exploring and learning something they don’t usually get to experience in a classroom with a textbook,” Gulden said. “I like how everything is hands-on; they can touch, see, smell instead of seeing a picture or video, especially after so much has gone online.” Her son, Luke, had examined some animal tracks he found, saw birds scurrying in the cattails and admired the river’s current. Parent chaperone Liz Macconkey, who watched her daughter Charlotte and friends find different kinds of leaves, said the nature center is a hidden gem. “Some of these kids would never have this experience without the nature center,” she said. “It has stayed so pristine all these years. It’s such a treasure.” l

February 2022 | Page 7

Cotter sworn in; Murray City now governed by female-majority council


ith the election of Pam Cotter to the Murray City Council, Murray will be a female-majority-run city for the first time. Cotter joins current Councilors Diane Turner, Kat Martinez and Rosalba Dominguez, leaving Mayor Brett Hales as the only elected male out of six elected leaders. With the forthcoming appointment of a councilmember to fill Hales’ former council seat in February, there is also the potential for a super-female-majority council. Cotter, who hails from New York, has resided in Murray since 1985. She has worked for Murray School District for 30 years as a playground supervisor, teacher’s aide and substitute teacher. In 2017, she was tapped by the city council, out of four applicants, to serve as interim city councilor for District 2, finishing the last three months of Blair Camp’s term. Camp was installed as mayor to fill the remainder of Ted Eyre’s term. As an interim city councilor, Cotter did not run for election, and Dale Cox was elected. However, she decided to run four years later when Cox balked at re-election. “I was asked by several citizens,” Cotter said. “I also believe our democracy works best when people have multiple choices. I’m very service-oriented. I enjoy helping out when I see there is a need or when I am asked.

By Shaun Delliskave | I really enjoy being involved.” Although she will be joining a female majority, they all endorsed her challenger in the electoral race. Cotter doesn’t see this as a problem. “We have already had conversations about some issues facing Murray. I see us all working together for the betterment of Murray. If we disagree on certain things, then we might have to compromise. When we listen to each other’s opinions and thoughts, that is how we grow and learn. That is the main problem with our country right now; people don’t want to work together,” Cotter said. Councilor Martinez echoes that: “I am looking forward to working with Councilmember-elect Pam Cotter, continuing to work with Councilmember Diane Turner, and the process of filling Mayor-elect Brett Hales’ seat when he is sworn in as mayor.” One of the significant issues that Cotter will have to weigh in on is redevelopment projects. One of the most contentious projects, the Bullion Street project, happens to be the street she lives on. “I have been watching this area deteriorate as the years went by. It had to take someone that could handle the tailings and keep everyone safe that lives by this area. I agree that this person is Michael Brodsky. He has come

back with different plans that will work for that area. Will there be more traffic? Yes, but there has been more traffic on Bullion every time we built each subdivision, like Walden Hills, Walden Ridge, Walden Glen and other developments,” Cotter said. Zoning laws are some of the things Cotter hopes to change while in office. “We need to polish the zoning laws,” Cotter said. “I would like the zoning to allow new projects that will blend in with the surrounding neighborhoods. I would like our citizens to have the opportunity to work with our mayor and the city council in a workable relationship.” Specifically, Cotter wants to target two properties for redevelopment. According to Cotter, “One possibility that I would like to consider is that the old Shopko could be utilized as a Tech School. This would give our students a choice to help them further their education and learn job skills. I realize this would involve many organizations working together. “Another goal of mine is to get rid of the old 7-Eleven/dry cleaners and restaurant at 700 West and 5300 South. These have been eyesores for over 15 years.” She would also like to reinstate the power board rather than continue with the city

Pam Cotter makes a motion in her first city council meeting. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

council as managers of Murray City Power. However, Cotter feels that growth, particularly in downtown Murray, poses the most significant challenge for its future. Cotter said, “Any development in the downtown area should include the RDA, the city council, residents, and businesses that surround that area. We need to be open and transparent with these projects. “Making downtown thrive by bringing in more quality businesses and making sure our Murray Theater is renovated. Growth should be looked at case by case and use common sense in bringing in this growth to our city.” l

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Murray City Journal

City Councilor Turner sworn in for a third term By Shaun Delliskave |


ver the years, Diane Turner has seen many things change in her corner of Murray. The now-three-term city councilor (and twice a candidate for Salt Lake County Council) has had time to look back and reflect on those changes, and certain things stand out most notably to her: “The pressure from developers for density in the form of market-cost rental units,” Turner said. “We are finally building a new city hall and police headquarters. Hooray!” Turner was first elected to the city council in 2013. Before that, she made two attempts to unseat then-county councilmember David Wilde in 2006, coming within 4%, and in 2010. Prior to that, she spent 27 years working in the State of Utah’s criminal and juvenile justice systems. A University of Utah graduate with a bachelor’s in sociology, a certificate in criminology, and a master’s in public administration, Turner has stayed close to her roots. Four generations of her family have lived in Murray. Her tenure on the city council has been eventful. While claiming to have only missed

one council meeting, she was tapped to serve as Murray’s first female mayor. In 2017, Mayor Ted Eyre died in office; under Utah law, when a vacancy occurs in the mayor’s office, the city council chair serves as acting mayor. Turner retained her city council seat because the acting mayor position was temporary. The city council then appointed fellow city councilor and mayoral candidate Blair Camp to fill out the remainder of Eyre’s term as interim mayor. Turner, who did not apply to become interim mayor, returned to the council, and Camp went on to win the election. Turner told the Murray Journal, “I originally made an application because I wanted to ensure that we had a smooth transition from the acting mayor to the interim mayor and finally to mayor-elect, and that we had at least one applicant who would meet that standard. When we had three qualified applicants, I was able to pull out. I have no interest in having a full-time job at this time in my life, and the mayor’s job is a full-time plus.” Along with being the first female mayor, Turner has seen Murray City change from male-dominated leadership to nearly all fe-

male. Currently, Mayor Brett Hales is the only male elected leader. In her eight years on the council, she touts among her accomplishments the development of the Canal Trail. She also introduced and passed an idling ordinance and introduced an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags in Murray City. In order to work with retailers in crafting the code for this law, Turner has not yet forwarded this for a vote. “There are many challenges Murray is currently facing,” Turner said. “Developing the downtown in a thoughtful, sustainable way, working with the developer and citizen input. We need to be proactive regarding homeless issues and affordable housing. Better community involvement and communication.” Downtown Murray has seen progress with the new city hall, fire station and roads. However, the “48th & State project,” which entails an extensive mixed-use development that would transform State Street, has stalled. Turner is not a fan of the current project. “I did not support the development last proposed. I believe we can find a developer who cares about the aesthetic, considering Murray’s unique history and independence, which involves input from Murray citizens,” Turner said.

In addition to the downtown multi-use development, Turner will have to consider a whole slew of other mixed-use projects. With developers and property owners proposing to transform the former RC Willey, 49th Street Galleria, Pointe@53rd, and Sports Mall properties, the council had to place a moratorium on the projects last year to request changes to Murray’s zoning laws. While the council approved new zoning designations, Turner is still not satisfied with the planning types. “I think we need to be careful when considering mixed-use developments while considering infrastructure needs, environmental sustainability, traffic patterns, parking, green space, and citizen involvement. I believe we need to go back to the drawing board or perhaps eliminate the development all together,” Turner said. Turner does not plan to change her stance on promoting environmental responsibility, and she hopes some things improve in her next term. “I plan to work to promote a better working relationship with the mayor’s office and administrative branch of the city. I am very excited for the new administration,” Turner said. l

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City Councilor Diane Turner presents Murray’s Paralympic bronze medalist, Ali Ibanez, with a proclamation and flowers. (Photo courtesy Diane Turner)

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February 2022 | Page 9

Murray Boys & Girls Club youth chosen as prestigious Youth Afterschool Ambassador


oah Shaw, a student at the Miller Family Boys & Girls Club Afterschool Program and Hillcrest Junior High, will serve as a 2021/22 Afterschool Alliance Youth Ambassador. Shaw is one of just nine students from across the country selected for the honor. He was chosen based on his essay in a competition held earlier this year. “We are delighted that Noah is part of this year’s class of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors,” Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant said. “He has powerful personal experiences that speak to the importance of after-school programs in his life and the lives of other youth.” Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization that ensures that all children and youth have access to quality after-school programs. The alliance believes after-school programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and give working parents peace of mind. Their research shows that children in after-school programs attend school more often, get better grades, and are more likely to graduate. In addition, they are less likely to use drugs or alcohol. “I’m really excited to be a Youth Afterschool Ambassador,” Shaw said. “What I love most about the Miller Family Boys & Girls Club after-school program is the one-on-one

By Shaun Delliskave | time I get with staff and friends. I feel so safe at the program. It’s my second home. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.” During his one-year term, Shaw will promote the value of after-school programs by sharing his experiences in these programs and his views about the role after-school programs play in their communities. He will write for the Afterschool Snack, the Afterschool Alliance blog, about the importance of after-school programs. As a youth ambassador, he will also connect with members of Congress and their aides as part of the Afterschool for All Challenge next spring. “This program has given me the mentorship and community I need to try new things, succeed in my classes, and explore my interests. I’m thrilled to share my experiences and build support for after-school programs because I know how important these programs are for students like me,” Shaw said. In addition to being a youth ambassador, Shaw enjoys playing on the community football team. His national youth ambassador counterparts hail from California, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Virginia, and Washington. According to the Afterschool Alliance, the most recent America After 3PM household survey of more than 31,000 families found that

for every child in an after-school program in the United States, three more are waiting to get in. The families of 24.6 million children— more than ever before—cannot access a program; many report cost as a barrier. There are significant inequities, with Black and Latinx children unable to access the after-school programs their parents want for them. “As the pandemic continues disrupting the lives of so many young people, their schools, and communities, it is especially important that we continue to share the benefits these essential programs provide. After-school programs keep students safe, inspire them to learn, provide peace of mind to working parents, and also help children re-engage and recover during this difficult time. But too many young people don’t have a program available to them,” Grant said. Founded in 1967 as the Murray Club, Shaw’s program was the first Boys & Girls Club in Utah. The Club was expanded, renovated and reopened as the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Club in 2019. Every Club member has access to a full-size gym, computer lab, technology center, program curriculum developed by experts at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and daily meals and healthy snacks. “Noah will do a terrific job spreading the word about the need for more support for af-

Noah Shaw appointed Afterschool Alliance Youth Ambassador. (Photo courtesy Miller Boys & Girls Club)

ter-school programs,” Grant said. More information is available at www. and l

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Page 10 | February 2022

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Cottonwood boys basketball enjoys best preseason in several years By Brian Shaw |


he Cottonwood High School basketball team tore through preseason like a wild stallion galloping through the streets of Murray, trampling and tearing up lawns while frantic homeowners called their HOAs wondering how this Colt could be tamed. The short answer was that he and the other Colts couldn’t be. Not even a little bit, because Cottonwood was flying like a magical steed through the first 11 games, carrying on its backs an 8-3 record that nobody could deny. If the Colts were still playing in Region 6, they would currently be one of the top schools in that league considering that in this preseason alone they defeated three of the five. Cottonwood smacked Brighton by 10 and Murray by eight to open December. The Colts then tacked on three huge wins over 6A schools. First, a tough 54-52 victory over Herriman. Then they dragged 6A Granger to the back of the barn Dec. 17 and bucked off that school by 46 points, 100-54. Then right before the winter break the Class 5A Colts traveled to 6A West on Dec. 21 and tamed the Panthers by 23 points. Were it not for a narrow three-point

defeat to Northridge the Colts would have gone undefeated through their first seven games—an amazing turnaround considering they lost three of their first six preseason games a year ago. After the break at the Utah Autism Holiday Classic held from Dec. 28-30 the Colts took on three more former Region 6 foes. In order they narrowly lost to Skyline by one point, 52-53 before battling a tough Highland losing 57-59 one day later. Cottonwood made up for those two losses, however, by thumping East in the third and final game of the Holiday Classic by the score of 70-52 and in the process notched their third win of the season over a former Region 6 combatant. Leading the way through the first 11 games of the 2021-22 season are senior guard Robbie Yates, who tops the Colts in scoring at 14.7 points per game, senior forward Noah Widerburg averaging 14.3 an outing, and sophomore center Chris Cox, averaging 10 points per contest. The Colts have just started play in their new Region 7 classification and if an 11-point smacking of Uintah Jan. 4 is an indication of Cottonwood’s potential to win its new region going forward, then Colts fans could be in for an exciting year. l

Noah Widerburg looks to fire a pass to Aiden Oliphant. Widerburg is averaging 14 points and six assists per game. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

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February 2022 | Page 11

Cottonwood girls basketball enters new region with hope By Brian Shaw |


ff to the best start in several years, the Cottonwood Colts girls basketball team has big plans now that they’re in the new Region 7. This is a moment that Cottonwood athletic director Greg Southwick said two months ago that he’s been waiting for. “Our girls program has been taking a huge step forward,” he said this past summer. “We’re competing. That’s the ultimate goal.” According to Southwick, this is the time when the Colts get to showcase a squad laden with veteran leadership and a head coach in Tess Soracco who started at Cottonwood as an assistant several years ago and is now growing into the top position with the girls under her wing. Led by senior captain Ali Tripp whose 17 points-per-game not only leads the Colts in scoring, but is also one of the best scoring averages in all of Class 5A basketball. Tripp also helped the volleyball team to a state tournament play-in game. So far the Colts have already had as many wins [four] in 2021-22 as they have had over the past two years combined. The Colts started the season with a win over Taylorsville in late November.

Page 12 | February 2022

Following two tough losses to close out the month they picked up their second victory of the year, over Park City on Dec. 9. Two more preseason losses followed before the Colts got their third win of the season on Dec. 27 over Summit Academy. They then picked up win No. 4, equaling last season’s entire win total, on Jan. 5 in a 56-45 win at West to close out their preseason. As Cottonwood [4-7 overall] begins its slate of league games in the new Region 7, it has already been showing progress in its first two games. At Uintah the Colts were down by just two points going into the fourth quarter but ended up losing 48-54. At home to Stansbury the Colts galloped out to a 13-point halftime lead. But a 42-point second half by the visitors that included 24 in the fourth dealt the Colts a 51-58 defeat, their second region loss in as many tries. At press time the Colts have eight games left to play after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday break, but all accounts appear to back up the program has been making the necessary improvements that Southwick alluded to a few months ago. l

The bench celebrates a 3-pointer while head coach Tess Soracco shouts defensive instructions to her team. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

Murray City Journal

Performing for World War II veterans gave two Murray High cheerleaders something to cheer about By Julie Slama |


wo Murray High teens were among 800 cheerleaders from across the country to perform for World War II and other military veterans who gathered in Honolulu on the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. “We were in the opening ceremony, and it was streaming so people around the world could also watch it,” said high school senior Kylie Rosengreen, who has been on Murray High’s team for three years. “It was really neat to perform for all these veterans; they were so happy to see us. There were veterans who were there at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and one survivor, who is over 100, maybe he’s 103, actually talked about how he’s blessed to be alive today. He was very respectful and was dressed in full uniform. It was just very cool to see.” She said that being able to perform there was significant. “It wasn’t like a family vacation in Hawaii,” she said. “It was to go perform and honor the people that were in Pearl Harbor and that definitely had an impact and made meaningful for us.” Rosengreen’s Murray High teammate, senior Ella Morrell, who also has been on Murray’s team for three years, said the Pearl Harbor performance is one she’ll remember. “I think as a teenager, I thought it would be good to be there and make people happy performing, but once I was there and experienced everything, it meant more,” she said. “I could see in the men’s faces who served for us and hear what it was like and get a sense of how much it meant to them and just how happy they were to be there. And to be able to hear the veteran who spoke and he’s one of the last survivors of Pearl Harbor, just to experience that, and to be a part of that celebration for those who served for us, will always be memorable.” Later that day, they were one of 90 entries into the memorial parade. “People were excited to see the huge group of cheerleaders coming down the street. People were excited; they were videoing us and clapping and laughing and they loved it. It was awesome,” Rosengreen said. Morrell said in the parade there was one of the women who was known as a “Rosie the Riveter,” taking an industrial job on the home front when the men fought overseas. “She was sitting in a car, and everyone saw her and were freaking out a little,” Morrell said. “It was really cool to see. Just awesome.” Both girls were selected for the All-American cheer team last summer when Murray High’s squad attended a camp and were given the opportunity to audition. They performed a dance they learned at the camp and a cheer for the tryout where more than 300 area girls were vying for a spot on the

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Murray High School seniors Kylie Rosengreen and Ella Morrell were selected to be part of the All-American cheer team that performed at the Pearl Harbor memorial celebration and parade. (Photo courtesy of Shauna Rosengreen)

national team. “I think a lot of it, why we made it, was from our tumbling skills—because we had to show off those like our backhand springs, our back tucks, and just our cool little flips—and also our jumps. Flexibility was part of it,” Rosengreen said. Once on the team, the two teens committed to learning the routines on their own so they could be part of the Pearl Harbor memorial commemoration. They were given red, white and blue uniforms and assigned front row spots on the team even though they arrived late because they stayed to compete with their high school squad at the Dec. 4 regional tournament at Cottonwood High. “We came to Hawaii totally prepared and we only had one practice to figure out where we were going to stand and our spots and stuff. So, we all just learned the dance and performed it from a video that they sent us,” Rosengreen said. While they missed some activities, such as seeing the Pearl Harbor Memorial with the national team, they were able to still do some other activities, such as eating at a luau, learning dances at the Polynesian Cultural Center, seeing Manoa Falls, and then, snorkeling, cliff jumping from Jumping Rock in Waimea Bay and swimming alongside sea turtles on the one day it didn’t rain. “We were swimming and all these turtles kept coming up to us,” Morrell said. “We couldn’t touch them, of course, but we were able to be close to them so that was pretty cool. And then, we got to go cliff jumping and that was super, super cool. The sunset that night was so pretty.” Despite the torrential rainfall, Rosen-

Murray High School seniors Kylie Rosengreen and Ella Morrell perform with cheerleaders from all over the country at the Pearl Harbor memorial celebration. (Photo courtesy of Jami Morrell)

green said it was “like 14 inches of rain in 24 hours, which was the most rain and it almost flooded there,” she still had fun. “Everyone had a very positive attitude, and we were all just very excited to be there. We were making friends and focused on why we were there.” Now, the Murray cheerleaders’ focus is alongside the 33 Murray High cheer squad teammates who are competing first at region and then state. “I think our competition is going to be very close with a lot of teams that are in our division,” Rosengreen said. “We practice a lot and will be focused, but that’s great because we all get along very well and like each other. We all have a very good work ethic, working hard all the time.” After those competitions, they will compete at nationals, which the Spartans qualified at the Cottonwood High competition. The team plans to compete in United Spirit Association Nationals in the coed intermediate division Feb. 25-27 in Anaheim, California. More than 7,000 athletes are expected to showcase their talents at the national event. “The main reason we did that comp(eti-

tion at Cottonwood High) was to qualify for nationals and that’s what we did,” Morrell said. “I am super proud of my team for doing that. I like to see everyone’s faces and when we hit our routines and seeing how happy everyone is, it just makes me feel like, ‘this is the best.’ Even if we were to be last place on a routine, I wouldn’t be mad as long as the team feels confident with what we did and put it all out there on the mat. That’s all that matters to me.” Last year, nationals wasn’t held in person. Instead, performance videos were submitted. Murray High won the intermediate coed division. “We sat in a classroom and set up a livestream for the awards and waited to see if our name got called,” Morrell said. “Once we got first place, everyone started standing up, clapping and cheering and people were crying. It was a good feeling to get first place, but it was sad that we weren’t able to feel that feeling in California on the floor. So, I hope we can experience it there this time.” Her teammate agreed: “We want to win it again.” l

February 2022 | Page 13

UHSAA recognizes Murray High’s Saxton for distinguished service in theatre By Julie Slama |


hortly before 2021 ended, Murray High School theatre director Will Saxton was interrupted while teaching a class by Murray High Principal Scott Wihongi, who walked into his classroom in front of his students with a piece of paper in his hands. “He said, ‘Guess what? You won,’ and showed me a letter congratulating me,” Saxton said. Saxton learned he would be receiving the Utah High School Activities Association’s Theatre Educator of the Year. The award, which began in 1987 to honor individuals for their service and contributions to high school activities, was slated to be bestowed upon him Jan. 12 in Orem. “It’s a huge honor,” he said, comparing it to the Murray School District Pinnacle Award he received in 2017. His appreciation parallels those who give Academy Award acceptance speeches. “I would thank my administration, my family. I’m really lucky to have a wife, who is also a theater teacher and understands some of the crazy hours we have to keep, and she has always been very supportive of me. I would thank all my students that I’ve had throughout the years; they’ve all played a part in making me who I am and making me a better person

and better teacher; you can’t become a better teacher unless you have good students,” he said. “Sometimes they give advice in Academy Award speeches, so I would say, find something you love and make sure that you do it.” With Saxton’s journey as a teacher, there are people who have played a key role in his success in a profession that he is passionate about. Saxton was nominated for the award by principal Wihongi. “He wrote a glowing nomination letter, but just the recognition from my administration is really what I see as validation,” he said. “This feels good because they’re the ones who see me on a regular basis, they’re the ones who observe me and see the work I put out. You always want to be valued by the people you work with and people who you work for.” In the nomination letter, Wihongi outlined Saxton’s dedication and commitment to the program, adding that all students are welcome to participate. “He is an advocate to all of his students and expects them all to work hard supporting the program and each other,” Wihongi wrote. “Students who go through his program are fortunate to learn from his experience and have emerged better people because of it.”

The same administration stood by Saxton during spring 2020 and this year while he went through cancer treatments. Wihongi addressed that: “The treatments took a toll on his body, but he remained committed and available to his students through virtual technology so they wouldn’t fall behind…especially in the middle of the pandemic. He produced a wonderful musical despite the challenges, and we can’t recognize him enough for that.” Saxton said that administration worked with him so he could teach from home and coordinate having Amy Girard come in to teach in person and direct that fall’s musical. “I’ll never be able to thank her as much as she deserves to be thanked,” he said. Saxton also said he was grateful for the support of his family, including his wife, who suggested he switch careers from one in management to teaching theatre; he has taught for 19 years, the last 16 at Murray High. “I wasn’t happy at all (with his former career) and decided I wanted to get back into theater,” he said. “I just wanted to be doing something that I love. My wife had been telling

me for years I should go into education; I guess I finally decided to listen to her.” That journey included returning to school to add to his bachelor’s in theatre with a minor in communication from Southern Utah University. Saxton earned his master’s degree and teaching certification from the University of Utah, while teaching at Morgan High School and Morgan Junior High. After his certification, the State Board of Education endorsed him to teach theatre and speech communication and he began teaching at Murray High. “I love doing theater and that’s the advice I always give students when they say they’re thinking about going into education: make sure you teach something you love,” he said. “I enjoy teaching communication, especially public speaking—it’s another kind of performance class. I like the flexibility that teaching gives me in terms of spending time with my family, and I love helping students learn and see them improve. When you teach the classes I do, the growth is really clear and evident. I’ve been able to live out my dream of being a theater person and being in education.” l

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Page 14 | February 2022

Murray High theatre director Will Saxton gives a thumbs up after he learned in a letter that he was Utah High School Activities Association’s Theatre Educator of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Will Saxton/Murray High)

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


I Want to Give Back to the Citizens 801-264-2600 5025 S. State Street Murray, Utah 84107

Hello! I’m Brett Hales and I’m way excited to be here. Cindy and I have raised our five children here in Murray so this is truly an honor for us to serve the City. I was sworn into office on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. It has been non-stop action since then! Though I served 10-years on the Murray City Council, I have been amazed by the amount of activity (work) that is involved with running the City. I did promise Cindy that I would not pass judgment on the ‘job’ for two weeks. Honestly, after the two-week deadline, I can say that I love this job and I love Murray City more than ever before! I am so grateful for the hard-working and dedicated staff of this City. Though my head is still spinning a little from the barrage of nonstop meetings, it has been very good to do the deep digs into the departments and the operations of the City. To the residents of Murray, I have an open-door policy. Of course, you will need to schedule time with our administrative assistant, but I am truly interested in hearing your ideas and thoughts on how to improve Murray. I won’t promise that all your ideas will be implemented immediately, but I still want to know what’s on your mind. We are going to be watching the Utah State Legislature with guarded excitement. During a recent meeting with our elected state representatives and senators, we learned of some initiatives that could greatly impact our community. For instance, there has been some concern raised about short-term rentals in residential areas. There may

Brett A. Hales -Mayor

be an effort to repeal or change the 2018 legislation that allowed those rentals. There may be legislation to ensure that drivers license tests are offered in multiple languages which is viewed as support to help people who need to be able to drive to or for their employment. We are also hoping for support of a request for $2 million for the renovation of the Murray Theater. Other issues include watershed restoration, water conservation and mental health training efforts for our law enforcement officers. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I was invited to say a few words at the beginning of the program. It was the 30th Annual Human Rights Celebration, which must be one of the longest-running recognitions of Dr. King’s birthday in Utah. The program featured the Murray High School Madrigal and A Cappella Choirs, the Murray Jazz Band and the Murray Theater Department. Miss Murray, Morgan Workman also spoke to the crowd about her platform of helping underprivileged children afford after-school activities. The audience was also treated to a special musical guest, Brianny Christensen, from the MHS Class of 2016. As the following days have more sunlight, I hope you will take advantage of the many outdoor venues that provide opportunities for activities. I recently told The City Weekly about the trail that runs northeast from the southeast corner of Wheeler Farm to Van Winkle Expressway. It’s a hidden gem that Cindy and I love to walk. It’s only 1.6 miles one way. I hope you will venture out and explore the trail as the weather gets nicer.

2022 Street Trees Have you wanted to plant a park strip tree? Murray City Power will be selling park strip trees starting Tuesday, February 1st. We have a VERY limited number of trees for sale and anticipate they will sell out quickly. If you would like to order a tree, call our forestry division at 801-264-2703 starting February 1st from 7:00 am-3:30 pm. We will continue to sell trees until the inventory runs out. Trees are $125 each and include planting by a certified arborist, maintenance, and a watering bag to help them get established. Please decide which tree you want PRIOR to calling and have your credit card ready. This year we have the following trees for sale: • Emerald Avenue Hornbeam • Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry • Common Hackberry • Greenspire Linden For questions, contact Michelle at 801-264-2703.

Message from the Council When I drive through Murray I see a beautiful, thriving community full of families at the park, shoppers at Fashion Place Mall, and joggers on the parkway. But I also see long time Murray residents struggle to pay for housing in the neighborhoods they grew up in. I know we are all aware of the housing crisis, not only Kat Martinez in Murray, but across the state. Though this is District 1 not a problem specific to Murray, we must be a part of the solution. Unaffordable housing and shortages of housing lead to a rise in homelessness. A 2019 financial survey by Charles Schwab showed that 59% of Americans are one missed paycheck away from experiencing homelessness themselves. Homelessness impacts children at a higher rate than anyone else. Over one million children under six experience homelessness nationwide at any given time. What can we do to protect these children and their families? There are both things we can individually do, as well as things we can do collectively as a community. First, let’s talk about what we can do as individuals. There are many wonderful organizations right here in Murray that support residents in need. Some of my favorites include The Murray Children’s Pantry, The Utah Diaper Bank, which is located here in Murray, and Murray Park Church of Christ Food Pantry which is an extension of the Utah Food Bank. The closest shelter to Murray is The Road Home - Midvale Family Center. All of these organizations are regularly in need of in kind as well as monetary donations. If you

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are in a position to help, consider making community service a regular part of your new year. On a larger scale, cities need to follow best practices recommended in expanding housing affordability and accessibility. First, we must ensure zoning of residential areas includes allowing townhouses, stacked flats, and cottages. We must continue to support Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in all residential zones. ADUs accommodate mixed generational living and enable homebuyers to generate income to assist them in affording their home. I would also like to see the city require developers to include a set number of affordable units in all new high or moderate density developments in Murray. One strategy Murray needs to continue to utilize is mixed-use zoning. You may have heard discussion of mixed use zoning recently. Mixed-use means there are both commercial and residential spaces in a development. These types of areas are designed to provide more housing choices, create walkable neighborhoods, and are often considered more environmentally sustainable than single family neighborhoods. When new development, or higher density projects than have previously been in your area are proposed, remember - more housing means more children and adults with access to safe, warm homes. We can all do our part to individually support our neighbors in need, and let’s also ensure we welcome strategies in our city that provide more accessible housing here in Murray. Kat Martinez District 1

166 East 5300 South • Murray, UT 84107

Council District 1 Kat Martinez 385-743-8766 Council District 2 Pam Cotter 801-541-8364 Council District 3 Rosalba Dominguez 801-330-6232 Council District 4 Diane Turner 801-635-6382 Council District 5 Currently Vacant Phone #


Executive Director Jennifer Kennedy Office: 801-264-2622

New Hours The Murray Library is now open an hour earlier each day. Monday – Thursday: 9:00am – 7:00pm Friday & Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm Sundays: Closed

Telephone Agenda Information 801-264-2525

Join in for Winter Reading & Winter Watching! Winter is a great time to stay inside and enjoy a good story. Join in on Winter Reading and Winter Watching and win a prize. Come into the library to get a paper tracker, or join either program through the Beanstack app. Both challenges will run through January and February. Winter Reading is all ages. Winter Watching is for adults only. Visit to learn more.

Storytime Kits Come and pick up everything you need to do a storytime at home. Each week we will have a different theme with books to check out and a take home kit you get to keep. The kit contains songs, rhymes, and a craft all about the featured theme.


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Murray Library Calendar

FEBRUARY 2022 Murray Senior Recreation Center | Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Thursday 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday Holiday Closures: Monday, Feb. 21 Please check our website for more information and the latest changes in programs.

DAILY LUNCH by CHEF OMAR LIMON Date: Tuesday through Friday Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Cost: $4; prior registration not required

THE PARK CENTER HOURS Monday - Friday 5:30am - 9pm Saturday

7am - 5pm


9am - 2pm

SPECIAL EVENTS WINTER FAMILY CONCERT SERIES Date: Monday, Feb. 14 – Neo Vintage Monday, Mar. 14 – Surf Daddy Time: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. Cost: Free; no appointment needed open to all ages and doors open at 6 p.m. MARDI GRAS Date: Tuesday, Mar. 1 Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Cost: $10, reserved seats; registration begins Tuesday, Feb. 1

CLASSES CERAMICS Date: Tuesday and Thursday Time: 9 a.m. – noon Cost: $1.50 each class plus cost of supplies GRIEF SUPPORT Date: Friday, Feb. 4 Friday, Feb. 18 Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Cost: Free; Register now BASICS OF SLEEP Date: Friday, Feb. 11 Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Cost: Free; register now VITAL AGING: BRAIN HEALTH AFTER 50 Date: Tuesday, Feb. 15 Time: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Cost: Free; register now STORYTELLING WORKSHOP Date: Tues., Feb. 8 through Thurs., Mar. 17 Time: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Cost: Free; register now

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

Register online at


Saturday, March 26, 2022


6:45 AM Captains Meeting Play will begin immediately after mtg.


$270 per team / $300 after deadline


The Park Center in Murray


Monday, March 21, 2022

April 14—May 7


Thursday Evenings & Saturday


Pre-K—12th grades


$50 Resident (registration open 1/14) $60 Nonresident (registration open 2/14)

Deadline March 14, 2022 Recreation Director | Soni Hirasuna Recreation Coordinator | Janica Gubler Recreation Coordinator | Tasha LaRocco

April 12—May 20 (T,W & F)


5:00-6:30 pm


6—15 years old


$40 Resident / $50 Nonresident


Murray Park (By Pavilion #5)


March 22nd @ 11:59pm

Includes: 18 practices & shirt


Location Murray Parks and schools


Grades Dates Place Times Cost Deadline

4 th -6 th , 7 th -9 th March 7,9,14,16,21, 23 Monday & Wednesday Hillcrest Jr. High Grades 4 -6 (6:00 -7:45 PM) Grades 7 -9 (7:45 -9:30 PM) $40 Resident $50 Non -Resident Monday, February 14, 2022

The Park Center Director | Marci Williams Assistant Park Center Director | Joe Gourley Aquatics Manager | Sena Vick



Senior Center Continued EXERCISE DAILY EXERCISE CLASSES – check our current newsletter for the schedule UNIVERSITY OF UTAH STUDENTS – Overall Fitness and Personal Training Date: Tuesdays & Fridays (Overall Fitness) Time: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Cost: Free; register now NOTE: Personal Training appointments are available based on student schedules, call the Center for availability/appointments.


Date: Wednesday, Feb. 2 through Wednesday, Apr. 13 Time: 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Cost: Free; register now For: Those age 55+, middle to low income, no business or rental property

PROGRAMS THURSDAY EVENING SOCIAL DANCE Live Music provided by Tony Summerhays Date: Thursdays Time: 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Cost: $5 HAND AND FOOT Date: Mon., Feb. 7 | Mon., Mar. 7, 21 Time: 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. Cost: Free MEXICAN TRAIN DOMINOS GAME Date: Thursdays Time: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Cost: Free

Murray Arts Beat

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

Murray City will be presenting


June 16-18, 20, 23-24, 2022 at the Murray Prak Amphitheater stage. The production is being directed by Candy Tippetts, with choreography by Alan LaFluer, musical direction by Anthony Buck. All roles are open. Auditions will be held by video submission and are due March 14-18th. This information, together with links to baking tracks will be provided soon. Callbacks will be March 26th. Audition information will be posted on the Murray City Website – Cultural Arts, and various audition sites. Feel free to contact Candy Tippetts at

STORY WRITING/TELLING WORKSHOP “We think in story. It is hardwired in our brain. Story is the language of experience. We all have stories to tell. Don’t let your stories go forgotten or untold. Come learn how to mine your past for those meaningful moments. Once captured, we will show you how to save those images for your posterity with a well-written story.” This is a fun and supportive class taught by Cassie Ashton, author, and award-winning storyteller. Workshop starts February 8, 2022 and ends March 17, 2022. Will be held at the Murray City Senior Recreation Center (10 East 6150 South, Murray, UT, 84107). 10:00 am – 11:30 am, Tuesdays and Thursdays only. For more information, please call the Senior Recreation Center at (801) 264-2635, or email

HEALTH SERVICES HAIRCUTS Date: Friday, Feb. 4 | Friday, Feb. 18 Time: 9 a.m. – noon Cost: $9; advance appointment required BLOOD PRESSURE CLINIC by Harmony Home Health Date: Thursday, Feb. 10 Time: 10:30 a.m. – noon Cost: Free; no appointment necessary HEALTH SCREENING by UVU Student Nurses Date: Wednesday, Feb. 16 Time: 9:30 a.m. – noon Cost: Free; no appointment necessary TOENAIL CLIPPING Date: Tuesday, Feb. 15 Time: 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Cost: $11; advance appt required

TRIPS – WENDOVER Date: Thursday, Mar. 10 Time: 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Cost: $22; register now

Resident on Display Original artwork by Murray resident artists are displayed in the central display case at City Hall. Julie Jacobson will be showcasing her artwork throughout February and March.

Interested in showcasing your talent and becoming a Resident on Display? – please contact

Woodstock’s students choose kindness in memory of former teacher By Julie Slama |


elix Gallegos sat quietly on a bench near a tree at Woodstock Elementary’s playground in between recesses. When a new group of youngsters came out to play, they came up to him and each accepting a bracelet and thanking him—not just for the planting the trees, or installing the buddy bench, or for passing out the silicone bands during the school’s kindness and inclusion week—but for being part of their community. He was handed homemade thank-you cards, given hugs and asked lots of questions about his wife and former teacher Tracee Gallegos, who was a long-time teacher at Woodstock. “I think she would have liked what I’ve done,” he said with tears in his eyes. “She loved being here, being around the kids. They gave her energy and lots of hugs. She always said it was a job she loved and every day, somebody would say they loved her.” Tracee Gallegos died in January 2018 after battling colon cancer. Third-grader Alia Evans, who wasn’t a

student at the school when Tracee Gallegos taught there, asked him about his wife. She learned that the former teacher was a grandmother who loved cooking and reading. “She even had a special chair in her classroom for reading,” Alia said. That idea for a special chair is one Principal Brenda Byrnes adopted in Tracee’s memory and now has in her own office. Gallegos said that “reading and writing were what Tracee loved. She would write stories for them, and she wrote a Halloween play for them to put on. That gave the kids the ability to express themselves when they spoke. She’d have them write about their experience afterward and they told her it helped them gain confidence and gave them a voice.” Gallegos’ visit came with the installation of his donation of a buddy bench, which sits beneath Tracee’s former classroom window. “She wouldn’t have wanted any kid to be left out; kindness is important,” he said. Brynes said Gallegos’ kindness to the school has also extended to creating a schol-

arship, which awards a former Woodstock student who graduates from Cottonwood High to use to further education. He also contributes to other needs at the school. “We’re blessed for all the kindness he has shown to our school, and for Tracee, for the 20 years she has loved and taught our students,” Brynes said. During the kindness and inclusion week, Woodstock students also passed out notes to their peers when they noticed one another being kind saying they were caught being kind. They also worked with Sammy’s Buddy Program, a Colorado-based nonprofit which has the mission to build inclusiveness in schools through education, activities and providing resources, such as a set of books on inclusion which they donated to the school library. The program is involved in 11 schools in Utah, the majority in Granite School District. At Woodstock, there are buddy classes, where a fifth-grade class is partnered with students in a special education class, and they work together. However, the kindness and inclusion week extended to the entire student body. “With the wristbands that say, ‘choose kindness,’ students made a pledge to actively seek out those who would need a friend,

those who would need some connection, and needed to be included for whatever reason,” said the Utah Executive Director of Sammy’s Buddy Program Anne Kimble, who provided the wristbands Gallegos passed out. “So, students are not only actively trying to be kind themselves, but they are observing their peers who are demonstrating this kind of inclusive buddy behavior.” She said at the end of the campaign, students’ names were randomly drawn to receive a kindness kit. “It recognizes those students for being examples and leaders within their school community, which advocacy is a big thing we’ve promoted this year, whether it’s for students with disabilities or any friend. The idea is that each item in the kit is for the person to share, to keep that ripple effect of kindness going,” Kimball said of the items such as sensory balls, pop-it bracelets and fidget spinners. “We’re wanting to build relationships and understanding for inclusion and leadership for all abilities.” Gallegos said for him, it also comes to showing appreciation. “We all need to be grateful and show kindness,” he said. “That’s what Tracee would have wanted.” l

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MurrayJournal .com

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435-615-8822 • February 2022 | Page 19

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Axl Rose! Crazy air incidents above 1990’s Murray


hat wasn’t flying. That was falling with style,” says Woody, describing Buzz Lightyear’s aerial acrobatics in the 1996 movie “Toy Story.” That quote, equally apropos, defines the crazy but fortunately non-lethal air crash and emergency landing incidents in 1990’s Murray. While Murray has always had one of the most active helicopter pads in Utah—at then-Cottonwood Hospital and now IMC—it has no airport. Only an intense thunderstorm would send Salt Lake Airport’s air traffic over the city, so there was no need to worry about falling aircraft, until one crashed on a video store in 1990. An explanation for those born after the year 2000: video stores were popular places in the 1980s and ’90s where people had to physically go and check out movie cassettes or discs and take them home to watch. Friday nights were typically busy at the Goodtime Video store at 5470 S. 900 East, with people racing in to get the latest releases. A steep late fee was incurred if the video was not returned Sunday night, so people rushed over in their cars or, in this case, April 21, 1996, a Cessna 150. Customers walking out of the neighboring Albertsons grocery store were shocked to see a plane slowly and silently gliding over the parking lot that evening. The novice pilot, LeeAnn Olson, targeted a tall pine tree adjacent to the video shop. Witnesses recall the pilot pulling up so the tree would cushion the plane. Fortunately, the pilot, tree, and video store escaped with minor cuts. The pilot had flown to Fillmore, Utah, from Salt Lake Airport No.

By Shaun Delliskave | 2, and for her return trip, bought only four gallons of fuel. She hit empty above Murray. Murray FD used ladders to help the pilot exit the plane, which, swaying on top of the tree, attracted far more visitors to the video store than on a typical Sunday night. What was never revealed was the reason the pilot didn’t fully refuel, why she overflew the airport by several miles, and why she chose a tree in the parking lot versus all the fields, playgrounds, and vacant lots that she had to fly over to get to that tree. Murray Police Sgt. Terry Steed joked to the Salt Lake Tribune, “I don’t think she was trying to rent a video. She may have been dropping one off.” Murray’s weirdest air incident involved rock star Axl Rose and a lighter-than-air aircraft. The lead singer of Guns N’ Roses was having an awful visit to Utah in July 1991. Public safety officials were in no mood for the raucous crowd expected at their concert. Just weeks earlier, the Salt Palace saw several fans crushed to death at an AC/DC concert, and security was fearing the worst. GN’R had just played St. Louis, where a riot erupted after the concert; as a result, Delta Center (now Vivint Arena) officials hired a large security contingent and forced concertgoers to stay in their seats and not crowd the stage. The appreciative yet subdued audience saw the band walk off without performing an encore. Several weeks later, in Tacoma, Rose revealed that he’d hated the SLC concert. But perhaps his bitterness was due more to his hard landing in Murray the day after

A plane perched above the former Goodtime Video store in 1996. (Photo courtesy RaLynn Delliskave)

Page 20 | February 2022

Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose signs autographs in Murray after his emergency hot air balloon landing. (Photo courtesy Dallin Nelson)

the concert. While not a mode of transportation associated with a hard rocker, Rose was flying above the Salt Lake Valley in a hot air balloon. Dallin Nelson, who lived on Lupine Way at the time, recalls, “So my family was sitting on the back patio enjoying a summer evening dinner when they heard the noise of a hot air balloon trying to clear the houses. The balloon was settling over the lake, with the air being so hot it wasn’t rising too well.” Nelson’s video of Rose’s emergency landing can be found at www. Rose was indeed in danger of crashing into Turners Lake and possibly drowning. Luckily, the pilot got enough lift to ma-

neuver the balloon to the corner of Lupine Way and Lillie Circle. John Liston, who lived a few doors down from the landing site, recalls, “He was very nice and talked to all the neighbors who came outside to see what was going on. As he waited for a car that would come to pick him up, he posed for pictures and shook the hands of those around him. It was an evening I will never forget, as it was disbelief that Axl Rose crash-landed in our neighborhood.” A support team descended on the east Murray neighborhood, where residents helped Rose pack the errant balloon into a trailer. Guns N’ Roses returned to play Utah again in 2011. l

A backhoe supports a plane that crashed at the Goodtime Video store in 1996. (Photo courtesy RaLynn Delliskave)

Murray City Journal

Hales to the chief! Brett Hales sworn in as Murray mayor By Shaun Delliskave |


ayor Brett Hales says his wife chastises him for making his life such an open book. However, the new mayor says there are two things he wants Murray residents to understand: foremost, his book is always open, and residents will be heard. Hales was sworn in as the 25th elected mayor of Murray on Jan. 4. Hales engaged in more face-to-face interactions during his campaign versus pushing an issue or trumpeting slogans. According to him, he ran for mayor to give back to the community he has lived in for the last 33 years. “I just want to bring the city together,” Hales said. “It sounds so silly and unimportant, to be kind and create respect. I had a state senator come up to me and ask me what my platform was, and I said I just wanted to give back to Murray. And he said, ‘That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.’ So, I left that thinking I needed to come up with something. And I caught myself thinking that I needed to make something up. So, I met with some people, and they would say, ‘Why don’t you have this and why don’t you have that?’ and I said, ‘That is just the way I am.’” However, Hales has no intention of maintaining the status quo. Instead, he wants to make definite changes starting with the mayor’s office. “If I wanted to see anything change, it would be that the city council and the administration would be able to work together; before, we weren’t communicating with the administration. There was a division. I understand that we are separate, but in a city like Murray, we should be working together more. “There was no communication going on between the mayor’s office and the council. There were no weekly meetings like we used to do. I am not putting any blame on the administration or the council. It was both of us,” Hales said. Hales served on the city council, being first elected in 2012. Before that, he was Vice President of Cyprus Credit Union. He left that job to run for the council and because he was affected with multiple sclerosis. With MS, Hales suffers from nerve damage that disrupts communication between his brain and body. During his first years in office, Hales needed the assistance of a wheelchair to get around city hall. Later, to control the MS tremors, Hales would travel to Colorado to be treated with medical cannabis. As it markedly improved his condition, he was a vocal advocate for Utah to prescribe it. Still, Hales must manage the chronic disease daily. “By being careful. I will do what my

MurrayJournal .com

Mayor Brett Hales was previously elected to three terms on the Murray City Council. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

body says, as in taking a lunch, take a break here, calm down a little bit. If I do that, then I am fine. I am still using medicinal cannabis,” Hales said. As mayor, he will have plenty to try to keep calm about. The city’s major project, the “48th & State” development, would transform downtown Murray. The city is processing public feedback it received last year from an open house. Hales has concerns about the initial plans. “I don’t like the idea that it is high density,” Hales said. “I don’t think the residents felt that they were being heard, and that is important. The density is huge for these residents; they don’t want that, so I would like to do something quaint with eateries. It will be three or four stories, whatever, but not six or seven stories.” Not only is mixed-use development a concern in downtown Murray, but throughout the city. With so many proposals hitting the city last year, the city council instituted a moratorium to tweak city zoning. However, Hales is still not a fan of it. “I am not really for mixed-use. I hear mixed-use, where we have shops at the bottom and housing on top, and you will see them empty…That started 12 years ago, and it seems like I am hearing more interest in separating those. Where you have housing, and you have businesses (similar to Holladay Village or Murray Square being built on 900 East) rather than mixing them,” Hales said. In the meantime, he is most excited about the remodel of the Murray Theater. “We got the 3.6 million back from the county. We have about 2 million, and then

Mayor Brett Hales takes the oath of office from City Recorder Brooke Smith. (Photo courtesy Murray City)

possible legislature funding. I feel really good about it,” he said. “The biggest concern is its operations. It might take only a year (to complete).” Murray City will handle the programming for the theater, so what should Mur-

rayites expect? “I would like to see it be like the Egyptian Theatre up at Park City. I would love to see David Archuleta as our first concert, as he worked at the Murray Amphitheater, so that would be fun,” Hales said. l

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February 2022 | Page 21

Redistricting shuffles Murray leaders By Shaun Delliskave |


hat do Murray Park, the Salt Lake Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple, and the Maverik Center all have in common? Besides being in Utah, they all fit into Utah State School Board District 5, into which most of Murray has been redistricted. Census data required state legislators to redraw congressional, state legislative, and school board boundaries. Likewise, Murray City Council approved changes to its city council districts and Murray City School District precincts. Changes to Granite School District precincts, if any, were not announced. The governor signed off on the bills to update election boundaries in November. Elections in the fall may mean Murray voters will see new representation in the Utah State House and Senate races. Still split between two School Board boundaries, the majority of Murray falls in District 5. The southeast quadrant of Murray will vote on a member for State School Board District 7, which stretches from Alta in the east to the Point of the Mountain in the south. Congress State legislators split Murray be-

Page 22 | February 2022

tween two congressional districts. Formerly, Murray fell entirely within Utah’s Congressional District 3. Murrayites who live east of 900 East will vote in District 3, incumbent Republican John Curtis’ district based on his residence. Most of Murray will still lie in Congressional District 4, the seat held by incumbent Republican Rep. Burgess Owens, who resides in that district. State Senate Murray will see its state Senate leaders shift too. Murray will be divided between senate districts 13 and 14. Westside Murray will retain Democrat Gene Davis as its senator, who was re-elected in 2018. Murray could see Democrat Sen. Jani Iwamoto, who has a sliver of east Murray in her district, represent Murray on the east of State Street; her term ends in 2023. Murray will lose Sen. Kathleen Riebe; her district has shifted further south. State House As for the State House of Representatives, Murray may lose a representative since Democrat Rep. Karen Kwan’s district shifted southward. District 35, in which incumbent Democrat Rep. Mark Wheatley resides, will encompasses most

Not only does 900 East form the boundary between two congressional districts representing Murray, but four state house districts as well. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

of Murray. Democrat Rep. Andrew Stoddard, who resides in District 40, will represent south-central Murray. Also, 900 East now marks the boundary of Murray’s four districts. Democrat Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, who resides in District 34, will see her district shift further east. Democrat Gay Lynn Bennion, who resides in District 41, will see her district extend further west to 900 East. Residents in District 41 will vote with Cottonwood Heights and Alta residents. Murray City Council and School District City Recorder Brooke Smith presented plans for Murray City Councilors to consider for council districts and Murray City School Board. Northern Murray had the greatest influx of residents over the past 10 years. Smith was tasked with keeping each of Murray’s five districts and precincts within an average of 10,127 residents per district (five districts divided by a total population of 50,635). Council District 1, represented by Kat Martinez, had 12,450 residents living in it under the old boundaries drawn in 2012. By contrast, Council District 2, represented by Pam Cotter, previously had 8,984 residents, by far the least populated in the city. “Our goal with redistricting was to try to even out those areas and create a map that was a little bit more succinct, with equal boundaries, and make it look a little bit cleaner. Our first proposal that you saw on Dec. 7—because Council District 1 had

the most population—we had to remove some of the area in that district and then redistribute it into the other four areas,” Smith said. City Councilor Rosalba Dominguez requested a second draft to incorporate more of her district to State Street. To adjust for this, Smith moved District 1’s boundaries to border Cottonwood Street. A public hearing was held at the city council meeting on Jan. 4 to review and approve the new maps. “I just want to say… I thought the initial map was great, but I appreciated the change. I think it does make sense for District 1 to stay below State Street, demographic-wise, and I think the population makes sense distribution-wise,” Martinez said. As Murray has both Granite and Murray School Districts, Smith had to present a separate map for just Murray School District. Murray City does not change Granite’s boundaries. Granite precinct 3 covers all of the school district falling within Murray’s boundaries. “(Murray School District) precinct 1 did have the greatest population growth, so we did have to cut the area and then redistribute the population. But this area (Walden Hills subdivision) we did have to leave in because Glo Merrill, who is the current representative, does live in that neighborhood. So, we left that in there to move forward,” Smith said. The city council passed both maps unanimously. l

Murray City Journal



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SERVICE February 2022 | Page 23

Esports teams in Granite high schools compete for first time in 2021 By Heather Lawrence |


n a Wednesday in December, five Cottonwood High students and teacher Dwight Epperson hold a club meeting during lunch. They talk about upcoming events and tournaments. During the meeting, three more students who want to join turn in applications. Ellis Ames, a junior and club officer reminds them what’s at stake for the next tournament. “We’re competing against [students in] the entire country as well as others in our district,” Ellis said. The big prize is $500 and a PC. And all they have to do to win is play video games. The students are officers in one of Cottonwood’s newest district-sponsored clubs: Esports. “Esport (video game) competitions have sprung up in high schools and middle schools throughout Utah. In line with this growing popularity, GSD has developed an Esports organization to help connect students to competitions,” wrote Granite District in a press release in November. The five officers at the meeting today are Ethan Barnett, Miguel Garcia, Tyler Needham, Ellis Ames and Casen Johnson. Their team is 31 students and growing. In December alone they had three tournaments.

Esport competitions are all over the world now, including in Granite School District. (Wikimedia)

The team has a great ally in their advisor. Epperson had a 30-year career as an attorney, and then started a second career teaching. He’s been at Cottonwood for three

years, and his son teaches math at Granger High School. “It really is fun. I don’t recommend it for retirement—they’re keeping me busy.

But it keeps things simpler than law,” Epperson said. He takes a minute to break down some of the team stats. “Apex Legends has eight

Murray Rotary Club Monthly Update Join us at one one of our monthly service projects or one of our twice a month meetings. Crystal and Mahmood, (picture upper left), arrived with one of the first waves of Afghans leaving their homeland for resettlement. Crystal had been a well-known freelance writer and human rights activist, so her life was in danger. She recently spoke at our club, relating her harrowing escape and the challenges of starting life in SLC. We are deciding as a club how to help refugees. “When we Rotarians, family, and friends fed the homeless at Fill the Pot in November (picture upper right) we noticed that their warehouse shockingly needs help,” says Rotarian project supervisor Ryan Herath. “We have already replaced half of their florescent lights, and fixed some safety issues, and are working on desks and cubicles to install on Feb 12.”

Next service project: Saturday, Feb. 12, 8 a.m. to noon Fill the Pot Ministries warehouse downtown, 300 S. 500 West. Sort and organize piles of clothing on racks and shelves. Build and install 12 desks and cubicles in their Resource Center. Patch leaks in their flat tar roof.

Please email Jerry at about volunteering. We need 20 unskilled volunteers and 15 semi-skilled volunteers. Please bring used shelves and clothing racks. Please donate $ on to purchase shelves and clothing racks.

Go to and email one of our members.

“Fun with a purpose” is our motto. Page 24 | February 2022

Murray City Journal

players, but Halo only has four,” Epperson said as he hands out printed copies of the roster. He’s happy to give the kids a place to be and somewhere to belong. The students like Epperson. With several tournaments a month, they rely on him to keep up the paperwork. All the competitions are done through Generation Esports. “Mr. Epperson is pretty great. He does a lot of the technical things: he signs people up, and there are weird and confusing paperwork things that can be difficult. There are hoops to jump through and he helps us all with that,” Ellis said. The world of video games is occupied mostly by males. But Cottonwood’s club wants female players to feel comfortable joining. There are three female students in the club and another comes in to apply during the meeting. “It’s about 10% females on the team, which is about how it plays out in other teams,” Casen said. They play as a team, not against each other. But they are playing against other district-sponsored teams at Granite District high schools. The nearest rival is Skyline High. Cottonwood and Skyline both competed in the 2021 Ken Garff Esports Fall Festival. It was a four-hour competition with students from 20 Utah school districts, including Granite. The games were Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and Rocket League. Team members are designated to certain games. “We have a lot of members, but they are spread across different games,” Ellis said. “We could play each other more and find out our strengths and weaknesses so we could compete individually instead of as a team, but we haven’t really done that yet. It’s hard to say, ‘You have to show up to practice today,’ and get people here to practice. This isn’t a football team, it’s a club,” Casen said. At this meeting, just before Christmas, they’re talking about the Triton Cup, where the prize is $500 and a gaming PC for the winner. The team thinks that after Christmas they might get more members as stu-


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dents get gaming consoles or equipment as gifts. The games for this tournament are Halo, Apex Legends and Super Smash Brothers. Parents need to sign a permission slip because some of the games are violent and rated Mature. Casen understands why some parents might object. “Halo is literally a war simulator,” he said. “It’s a space war between aliens!” Ethan interjects, defending the fictional aspect of the game. At this point you might be wondering if it’s legitimate for a high school to encourage their students to play more video games. Epperson cites the cover story in the September 2021 issue of Utah Business Magazine in support of Esports. “This article lists some of the benefits of having a high school team. I think when you have an environment like we’ve had here [with the pandemic] where we just seem to not have a lot of control over what’s going on around you, these games give you a sense of control. And for these students that feels really good,” Epperson said. Tournaments are played from home but they can all see and communicate with each other. They are live-streamed and spectators can watch—if they’re up for four to six hours of watching other people play video games. And if they progress far enough in a tournament, they get to play together in a facility, face to face with their opponents and spectators in a crowd. Winning looks a little different depending on the game. “I’ve researched the rules for Halo in the tournament, and it’s the best of three. You’re playing a version called Slayer on two teams of four. You could tie, but it’s very uncommon,” Tyler said. There is a social aspect to the club. All the officers say they’ve made friends here. Some are involved in other activities like football or wrestling. Like all clubs, students need to maintain a 2.0 GPA to participate. There are people who make a career in Esports, and in Utah it’s not out of the realm of reality. Competitors from Utah have found success at video game competitions.

One of the first was Jeff Hansen. In 1990, a then 10-year-old Hansen from Murray played in the Power Fest competition in Salt Lake City sponsored by Nintendo. Hansen went on to win at several levels and earn prizes and trips until 1993. His story was profiled in episode two of the Netflix series “High Score.” More recently, in February 2020, a professional Esports team from Layton won $1,000,000 at a competition in Canada. The article in Utah Business Magazine focused on the Utah Jazz Esports team. Its six players live together in an apartment in Salt Lake City and play up to 10 hours a day. The Jazz gaming website says team members are “guaranteed, competitive sal-

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ary and benefits as well as housing.” There are other benefits. Learning about video games can influence teens to seek out STEM careers and learn more about coding. Playing as a team means working together. The prize gives them a goal to work toward. Interactions with Epperson give them a supportive role model. And maybe the best part is that playing video games—which is fun—can count as a school activity. Casen said he feels fine telling his parents to give him some time to practice his video game skills. “I just say, ‘I’m gonna go do a school thing, and I need you to not talk to me for a while.’” l

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Murray City Journal

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


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

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

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

with door prizes. At just $75 per person it’s quite a bargain as well— something Miller hopes will capture the interest of all the football coaches out there. To sign up visit coltswebstore. l

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February 2022 | Page 27

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


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

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

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

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

Page 28 | February 2022

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

Murray City Journal

Want cleaner air? Get rid of that old wood-burning stove


By Justin Adams |

lean air has become an increasingly important issue for Utahns. It impacts the state’s collective health, its environment, even its economy. There are many different methods by which Utah can work towards cleaner air—both on the individual and institution level—and one of those is by getting rid of old wood-burning stoves. Thom Carter, energy advisor to Gov. Spencer Cox wrote about the danger of these stoves in a guest post on the Department of Environmental Quality’s website. “Wood-burning stoves are a significant source of air pollution— pollution that negatively impacts individuals’ personal health and the environment,” he wrote. “Particles that make up the smoke and soot from wood-burning stoves can cause breathing difficulties and sometimes permanent lung damage for those who inhale the smoke. Especially during the cold winter months, smoke from wood-burning stoves gets trapped with other air pollutants resulting in health-threatening inversions. In fact, wood-burning stoves can cause a mini-inversion within neighborhoods.” To help people get rid of their old wood-burning stoves, the DEQ has created an assistance program that incentivizes homeowners to upgrade to cleaner heating devices. Applicants can receive anywhere from $500 to $3,800 to help pay for the cost of making the change. There are a few qualifications for homeowners wanting to take advantage of the program. For example, the stove must be actively used for a “significant amount of home heating” in order to qualify. (So you can’t use the program to get rid of that stove in the basement that’s only gathered dust for the last 20 years.) The program also can’t be used for remodeling work or on rental or commercial properties. To learn more about the program and see if your home qualifies, you can visit l

MurrayJournal .com

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

February 2022 | Page 29

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


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


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