Murray Journal | November 2021

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November 2021 | Vol. 31 Iss. 11




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urray Power General Manager Blaine Haacke warned city leaders at the Sept. 7 Committee of the Whole meeting that if the drought persists, Murray’s power supply could get expensive or even be jeopardized. Murray Power General Manager Blaine Haacke addressed the mayor and city council during his quarterly report, warning that some of the city’s hydroelectric sources are in danger. Part of Murray Power’s portfolio, the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP), provides the company with 30% of its supply. Extensive hydroelectric facilities along the Colorado River, such as the Glen Canyon Dam built in the 1960s, provide Murray with cheap renewable energy. However, with Lake Powell shrinking, the ability of dams along the river to produce energy is in doubt. “We’re getting to dire straits on the level of the production right now. The lake is at 3,525 feet, which is 35 feet above the critical point where the water goes into the intake. (That is) about 120 feet below full, and if we go (down) another 35 feet, we’re sucking air, and there’s no more hydro production,” Haacke said. Due to the waterlevel crisis, the cost of power is expected to increase 20-25% between Oct. 1 to Dec. 1. “We’ve reached the point where the federal government is getting a little worried about contractually giving us the power that we’ve had since 1964,” Haacke said. Murray Power’s other hydroelectric resources are also struggling due to a lack of water. As a result, an engineering firm, Bowen Collins, is conducting a study to determine if the company should invest in updating machinery.

Continued page 7

Students tour one of three natural gas turbines that Murray Power operates. (Photo courtesy Murray Power)

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November 2021 | Page 3

Viewmont teacher runs Boston Marathon with the support of students By Julie Slama |


here was a time fourth-teacher Kristen Snow didn’t think she would ever run faster than a four-hour marathon. “I was never a fast runner, and I didn’t know how to be a fast runner,” she said, recalling her five-hour Deseret News marathon. Fast forward a handful of years to this October when the entire Viewmont student body was cheering Snow on and running with her before she departed to run the prestigious Boston Marathon. “It was so awesome,” said Snow who also is one of the coaches with the school’s Girls on the Run program. “The whole school lined the field outside, cheering for me and had all made signs. It was just an amazing send-off. It was really special.” That feeling of support from 2,368 miles way carried with her through her 26.2-mile race. “I did really well,” she said. “I beat my goal. I wanted to finish in 3:45 and I ran it in 3:44.” Snow said that the start was a rolling start, so “as soon as I got there, I started to run. I felt great, and it was so cool because there are spectators the entire 26.2 miles. I’ve never seen so many people so excited to cheer random strangers on. People would cheer ‘you’ve got this’ and ‘you can do this.’ The atmosphere was phenomenal.” However, it wasn’t total strangers. Her husband and two boys traveled with her from Murray to Massachusetts to support her. Her brother and father, who recently was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, traveled from Virginia. The group cheered her on at 18 miles, then her brother met her at mile marker 25 to cheer again and her family celebrated with her at the end of the race. “It was amazing—the people, the spirit of it. Everybody is there to help each other. It’s hard to put into words, just the emotion of

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it,” Snow said. In fact, before she made it to the end, she stopped for a minute about one mile from the end of the race, tears streaming down her face. She wasn’t injured or exhausted, rather “I was just emotional knowing that I’ve come so far. There was a time when women couldn’t even run this marathon or any marathons and then knowing that we’re here doing it, it was super emotional. I cried just the whole rest of the way. I was so excited to be here; I was excited to be done. I was running this marathon and there was a time when I didn’t even think I could do it. Knowing that I qualified and worked so hard to get here was one of those surreal moments.” Snow, 38, began running in her 20s as a form of staying in shape, but soon she became a dedicated runner, getting up at 4:30 a.m. to run eight to 10 miles with friends before going to school. She keeps a pair of running shoes at her desk in case students want to run with her during the day. Snow ran her first half-marathon 11 years ago, then expanded to her first marathon. “I hired some running coaches after my first marathon, then I ran a 3:40. So, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this can happen. I can run faster,” she said. That was four years ago, when she ran the marathon in Las Vegas. Since then, she ran the St. George marathon twice, qualifying both in 2018 and 2019 for the Boston Marathon. However, to limit the number of runners, the Boston Athletic Association sets a cut-off time of those times submitted. It was after she submitted her first time of 3:33, that she learned she missed the cut-off by six seconds. “At that point, I thought I have to do it again because I have to qualify and actually have a big enough buffer to make it,” she said.

Kristen Snow, Viewmont’s fourth-grade teacher, thanks students for the send-off before she headed to Boston to run the marathon. (Photo courtesy of Andrea Martinez)

Her 2019 time of 3:26 made the cut-off, but then COVID-19 canceled the 2020 marathon. She had hoped to run it in April 2021, but it got pushed back to Oct. 11. “They were able to put it on, but they kept the field down and only had a limited number of entries. I was lucky enough to still meet that cut-off,” she said, saying her Boston Marathon medal will first be proudly displayed in her living room before it will be moved to join other medals on a shelf with her mantra, “She believes she could, so she did.” Snow said that she knew her first marathon is considered by many to be harder than many. “I like challenges. Now I do ultramarathons. I love being able to push my body to see what I’m capable of,” she said, adding she has raced two 50-milers and two 50-ki-




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lometers and a 100-miler is on her bucket list along with a half Iron Man triathlon. “I love running. I love that I don’t need anything except a pair of running shoes and I can walk out the door anywhere and just run. I feel like I can run my whole life. I plan to keep running marathons in my 70s and 80s.” During the race, she knew she wasn’t doing it alone. Back at Viewmont Elementary, students were tracking her progress. “They were all narrating what mile I was on, so they were all following the race instead of paying attention in class. I was told that when I crossed the finish line, they all cheered for me,” said Snow, who plans to take the medal to school so her students can be inspired by it. “I’ve told my students if you ever want to run a marathon, I’ll be there with you.” l

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Two Murrayites lives forever changed at Pearl Harbor By Shaun Delliskave |


he date that will live in infamy marks its 80th anniversary this year. Two Murrayites were witnesses at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and their lives were forever changed when the Japanese attacked their ships. Brent Erickson and Ernest Russell Gargaro, both born in Murray, joined the US Navy in January 1940 and April 1941 respectively. The idea that a sneak attack would happen to them in the Hawaiian Islands didn’t cross their minds when they enlisted. Gargaro was born in Murray on May 21, 1919, to Italian immigrants Mike and Marie Christina Gargaro. His parents tried to eke out a living by opening a confectionery and grocery store in downtown Salt Lake City. His ailing father needed him and his brother to help mind the store and later moved the entire family to the apartment above the business. Gargaro ended up attending West High School and took up boxing. However, his father died at age 49, leaving the 19-year-old Gargaro to search for ways to support his family. Ernest tried working for several photo studios around the western US but took the opportunity to enlist when his country called for volunteers in the armed services. Gargaro was among the first in Utah to muster under the Selective Service Act in 1940. Originally scheduled to be in the army, Gargaro’s enlistment was changed to the navy, and he was assigned duty aboard the USS Arizona. Seamen Second Class Gargaro was present when bombs tore into the Arizona. Listed as missing in action, his widowed mother didn’t know the status of her son until February 1942—killed in action. Gargaro’s remains are still aboard the USS Arizona, and his name is listed on the memorial above it. Also listed as missing in action on that day was Brent Erickson. Brent was a third-generation Murrayite, starting with his Swedish grandfather, who worked in the Murray smelters. “My Uncle Brent joined the US Navy on his 18th birthday in January of 1940. After basic training, [he was] assigned to serve in the Pacific on a minelayer, the USS Oglala,” his niece Laurie Erickson Densley said. The Oglala lay moored in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard opposite the Arizona. As Erickson ate breakfast, the attack commenced, and the order was given, “All hands on deck.” According to Densley, “Brent said he was really scared. He ran to his assigned place. He saw Japanese warplanes sweeping down toward them. He told me one pilot was so close that he knew if he saw him again, he would recognize him to this day.” A torpedo detonated through the ship’s port side, and the commander gave the order to abandon ship. To make matters worse, the crew had to scurry over the burning USS Helena to make it to safety on the pier. “Brent and a few other sailors were able to find refuge in a machine shop. He said it was at this time that he realized he still had scrambled egg in his mouth from breakfast. While they were hiding in there, roll call was taken for the Oglala sailors. Brent was listed as missing in action because he wasn’t there,” Densley said. On Christmas Day 1941, his worried parents finally received word that their son was safe. But, while not wounded physically, like many veterans, Brent had mental scars. “Brent was plagued by PTSD from that day on. Because of this, he was given an honorable discharge and was sent home. Though over time he improved, he was always nervous and spoke with a bit of a stutter,” Densley said.

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Murrayite Brent Erickson’s ship, the USS Oglala, capsized at Pearl Harbor. (Photo courtesy US Navy)

Two Murrayites, Ernest Gargaro (l) and Brent Erickson (r), were at Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. (Photo courtesy University of Utah, Laurie Densley)

He returned home and worked as a justice of the peace. He also led the Utah Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and was willing to talk to schoolchildren about his experience in his niece Laurie’s classrooms. He died in 1998; his widow, Maggie, still lives in Murray. l

Brent Erickson’s ship, the USS Oglala, was torpedoed at Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. (Photo courtesy Laurie Densley)

November 2021 | Page 5

Murray resident crowned Days of ’47 queen By Shaun Delliskave |


urray resident Sophie Lowry was crowned queen of the Days of ’47 for 2021 by the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers in March of this year. The honor included a $3,000 scholarship from the DUP. Lowry will represent the state of Utah, Days of ’47 and ISDUP. Throughout the year of her reign, she will promote the legacy of the Utah Pioneers and Utah’s collective heritage of community involvement. The royalty speaks at public gatherings about the early settlers of Utah. “I am a representative for the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and the Days of ’47 Inc. In this role, I attend all of the Days of ’47 events as well as represent the state by attending DUP and SUP events and speaking to various youth groups about the pioneers and how the pioneer spirit is alive today,” Lowry said. Some of the events she has already participated in include the Pioneer Day sunrise service at Temple Square and the acceptance of a donated historical artifact for the Pioneer Memorial Museum. Majoring in marketing, Lowry also serves as an Eccles School of Business ambassador and is the school’s Student

Organizations Liaison for student government this upcoming school year. “I have always had a desire to do a pageant,” Lowry said. “When I read about the Days of ’47, I thought it was very special that they allowed you to serve while also getting to learn more about my family history and the history of the Utah pioneers. I thought it was a great opportunity to serve many people in my state.” Idaho and Utah residents compete in the pageant. Contestents, between the ages of 18 and 25, must be a descendant of a Utah pioneer who came into or was born in Utah between July 24, 1847 and May 10, 1869. Lowry was chosen during a scholarship competition completed on March 26 at the Pioneer Memorial Museum (300 N. Main St.). She was evaluated by a panel of judges based on written responses and video submissions centered on this year’s theme, “Pioneer Spirit-Alive Today!” Judges evaluated her goals, accomplishments, poise and leadership. “My mom, Stacy Harrop Lowry, was Miss Murray in 1996 and always said it helped her become the woman she is today. I thought it would be wonderful

to have a similar experience, and she has been my biggest support, coming to all of my events and walking all of the parades. “My dad, Jeremy Lowry, has always been a huge support to me. He is one of a kind and has been able to get into whatever I was interested in, and this has been no exception. He was a great support to me in helping me practice for all of my events and cheering me on.” She also credits her siblings Sarie, David and Susie for their backing. “Sarie is my best friend and has been the biggest support to me. She has done so many things to help me during my reign and has been there every step of the way,” Lowry said. As queen, Lowry will have a yearlong commitment through April of next year. Once her reign is over, she will graduate from the University of Utah in the summer of 2022. She plans to continue there in the Master of Real Estate Development program. “I love meeting new people. Getting to make new friends and talking to so many kids has been my highlight. I love seeing their faces light up as I ask them about themselves and getting to know them,” Lowry said. l

Murray resident Sophie Lowry crowned Days of ’47 queen for 2021. (Photo courtesy of Sophie Lowry)

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Continued from front page With record heat this summer, Murray Power had to run all three of it natural gas turbines. Typically, they remain dormant until August. However, they kicked in on June 15. “We peaked at 100.5 megawatts, which is the highest peak we’ve ever had in June and July. We have three of them, about 30 megawatts total, 10 megawatts apiece. We ran them 22 of 31 days in July, and in August, we ran them 17 of 31 days,” Haacke said. Murray’s options moving forward include buying additional energy from the market. Or, as a member of UAMPS, strike a deal with other municipal power members with a surplus, such as Idaho Falls, or negotiate for missing kilowatt-hours allocated in 1964. The city could also run its natural gas turbines more frequently or call back energy from the Intermountain Power Plant in Delta, Utah, which is a comparatively more expensive cost option at $60 per megawatt-hour. “I don’t want to paint too dire of a situation right now; we’ve got enough to cover for at least the nine months or so. But if this drought continues for two or three years, we’ll be coming back and saying we need to do something, and our reserves might not be enough. We might have an emergency situation,” Haacke said. Murray will be adding five megawatts from the Red Mesa Solar Plant on the Navajo Nation to its portfolio. With groundbreaking expected soon, the project will be up and running by spring 2022. The plant will produce

Murray Power lineworkers work on a fallen power pole. (Photo courtesy Murray Power)

66 megawatts at an anticipated cost of $23 per megawatt but will increase to $30 per megawatt in 20 years when the contract expires. Also, Murray is considering energy from a massive carbon capture facility. Carbon cap-

ture is the process of capturing carbon dioxide formed during power generation and storing it so that it is not emitted into the atmosphere. Enchant Energy Corp. will take over the San Juan coal fire plant, which will close this spring due

to environmental legislation. As a result, Murray will lose 1.6 megawatts of energy; however, if the plant can be repurposed into a carbon capture facility, the city is interested in obtaining 4-5 megawatts. l

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November 2021 | Page 7

What’s your legacy?

The rate of property tax a city gets remains stable from year to year, unless there is a truth-in-taxation meeting. (Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels)

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How does your city know how much property tax to collect?


By Erin Dixon |

ach year, Salt Lake County sets a new property tax rate for each city. First, a city will receive the same dollar amount as the previous year. If they received $15 million from property taxes in 2020, the city will receive $15 million from those same property owners in 2021. The property tax rate then calculated is set based on the values of all the properties in that city. If values go up, the tax rate decreases. If values go down, the tax rate increases. If there has been any population growth, the city will receive extra. “New growth adds to the city revenue at the same property tax rate as the other properties and becomes part of the calculation the next year,” West Jordan Finance Director Danyce Steck said. If a city collects $15 million in 2020, they may collect $15 million and an additional $200,000 if there is new growth in 2021. Then 2022 would bring the city $15,200,000. Any time a city wants to do a different rate than set by Salt Lake County, a

truth-in-taxation meeting that involves the public is required. The rate change can only happen once a year. Because the property tax rate, the percentage, changes year to year, if the city “raises taxes,” the percentage owners will pay is not always higher for the residents than it was in the past. Councils usually consider adjusting the rate when the income of the previous year is not enough to pay for what is needed in the next year. For example, West Jordan performed the truth-in-taxation process this year. Last year their tax rate was 0.1899%. The county then set the new rate for this year at 0.1732%. The council raised this year’s rate by 3.2% and properties will now pay 0.1788%. Residents pay less than commercial property owners. “All property’s value is set by Salt Lake County, but residential properties receive a 45% discount. This discounted value becomes the taxable value and is used to calculate the property tax bill,” Steck said. l



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November 2021 | Page 9

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Local school districts join mass-action lawsuit against e-cigarette maker, Juul Labs By Julie Slama |



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ordan, Canyons and Murray are amongst the hundreds of school districts that have joined a mass-action lawsuit against e-cigarette maker, Juul Labs, Inc., claiming that they deceitfully and intentionally marketed their products to children. This has led to an increase in e-cigarette use amongst youths, statistics reveal, so in the mass-action lawsuit, they are wanting to hold the company responsible and seek damages for the “vaping epidemic” on school campuses around the country. Jordan Board of Education President Tracy Miller said, “vaping is a really big problem in our schools.” “We have a lot of kids who vape, a lot who don’t necessarily know how bad it is,” she said. “They are companies using different flavors and marketing, aimed at youth, and it caught on and became popular at a lot of schools. We (Jordan Board of Education) recognized that it’s a problem and need to hold Juul accountable. The problem is they weren’t forthright and transparent about what was going on. There’s high levels of nicotine in vape products, (which are) highly addictive and it was not marketed that way.” Canyons Board of Education member Mont Millerberg agrees. “We need to call a spade a spade,” he said. “Vaping is not a healthy habit and with them having Captain Crunch and sugary flavors, it’s targeting our most vulnerable population to lead them to believe ‘it’s a cool thing.’ If this puts a stop to marketing unhealthy products to children, I’m happy to support it.” Jordan District approved the legal service agreement on Aug. 24 as they joined the mass-action lawsuit. Canyons joined in Sept. 7, and Murray, Sept. 9. Granite’s school board has studied the litigation, said Ben Horsley, Granite School District spokesman. “The Granite School District has recognized the harmful effects of vaping on our youth,” he said on Sept. 17. “The Board of Education and district administration has studied the associated litigation and is inclined to participate.” Vaping products, known as e-cigarettes or mods, are battery-powered devices that heat up a liquid to create an aerosol vapor which typically contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. Since the user inhales and

Educators and officials are concerned about youth vaping in the mass-action lawsuit; seen here is a Juul starter kit. (Photo courtesy of Steve Hanson/Salt Lake County Health Department)

it doesn’t emit the strong odor associated with conventional combustion cigarettes, and they are designed to resemble USB flash drives, keychains or lipstick tubes, youth often have them in plain sight, even plugged into a laptop, officials say. According to 2020-21 statistics collected by Jordan School District, 90% of the tobacco violations in the district’s schools were infractions against vaping, with only 10% for regular cigarettes. “Vaping is just so prevalent these days,” said Sharon Jensen, Jordan District’s student support services consultant. Jensen said that youth see vaping in social media or have greater access to it, even getting it from family members as 56% say their parents or other close adults are nicotine users. Sometimes, even adults are unfamiliar with the harm and addiction from e-cigarette use, including that it can hamper long-term adolescent brain development, according to Utah Department of Health research. In a 2021 report, it states Utah’s youth vape at nearly twice the rate of Utah’s adults. Jordan’s statistics reveal that the majority are regular users. Last year,

of the students caught with tobacco, 98 were directed to attend an online first-offenders class for nicotine. Of those students, 18% used nicotine 26 days-plus in the last month—“basically daily,” she said. Another 11% used it between 13 and 25 days in that past month. Most students who vape are teens, she said. Of those 98 students assigned to the online class, 25% are age 13. Another 24% are 14 years old. Six percent are age 12 or younger, making the greatest amount, at 45%, in high school. “Often they vape on the job and their outside-of-school-life is much more colorful than their in-schoollife,” Jensen said. Those statistics are in line with the state, according to the Utah Prevention Needs Assessment that showed 12.4% of eighth graders tried vaping; 25.5% of high school sophomores; and 32.1% of high school seniors. In Canyons District in 2019, there were 219 school office referrals, firsttime and/or repeat referrals, for e-cigarette use or possession, up from 35 referrals in 2010. Justin Pitcher, who has served as

Murray City Journal

an administrator in Canyons District in the Midvale and Cottonwood Heights communities at both elementary and secondary levels, said vaping is “definitely a concern.” “If it’s happening in high schools, then it’s happening in elementary; the frequency is different,” he said, saying there are fewer younger students caught with devices although all age levels may have access to them despite administrators taking them away. Jensen said that Jordan District policy is to collect and lock up Juuls and other violating products; they can be returned to an adult in the family. She’s hoping their first-time user classes as well as well as the END—Ending Nicotine Dependence—course for regular users will help youth identify the harm it does to their bodies. “What we want our kids to do is to learn and to quit,” Jensen said. There is no fee for the classes as Jordan District has a state SAFE (Supporting America’s Families and Educators) grant which it dedicated to alcohol and drug abuse preven-


However, hundreds of school districts nationwide are wanting Juul to foot the bills for public resources being used to pay for the current and future costs. The lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of California Federal District Court by the Frantz Law group, is a mass tort lawsuit where damages for plaintiffs, or in this case, school districts, are calculated individually. Therefore, multiple plaintiffs can be awarded differing amounts of damages for the amount of its past and future damages. Those costs can range from providing information and resources to students regarding the negative impacts of vaping, student services or counseling, or installing vape detectors. “It’s not really about getting money as much as sending a message,” Miller said. Millerberg agrees: “I don’t expect a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s more of a moral stance than anything else.” l

A Juul device, plugged in like a USB flash drive, is seen charging in a computer, making it unrecognizable to many teachers or parents. (Photo courtesy of Steve Hanson/Salt Lake County Health Department)

MurrayJournal .com

November 2021 | Page 11

Students support one another through Cottonwood’s new club ‘The Stampede’


ottonwood High junior Ethan Gerhart related a story that happened at his school. Gerhart said when the school’s rookie robotics team qualified for the world competition in 2019, “everybody lined the halls and had a send-off for them, like everybody in the school gave them a round of applause and high-5s. I guess one of the students came up to the principal and said, ‘that’s the best thing anybody has ever done for the robotics club.’” That, he said, was the inspiration behind the club that was formed this year, The Stampede. “We want that to happen more,” Gerhart said. “We want to make everybody in the school feel included.” The Stampede is a group of students who want to support one another, breaking down the groups or cliques in high school. By building up one another, he said, it builds up the school. Gerhart said, for example, The Stampede club will be joining the Art Council in painting backdrops for the school’s upcoming musical, “Annie.” “We’re wanting to appreciate everyone and trying to get everybody as one school,” he said. “We’ll invite a bunch of students, have some pizza, paint the props and just show the art team that we appreciate them and we appreciate what they’re doing. At the same time, we’ll have a great time and support our drama students in the musical.” The Stampede also has delivered Gatorade with personalized notes to tennis and cross country members, Skor candybars to the girls’ soccer team, and made an archway

By Julie Slama | with golf clubs for the boys’ golf team as they headed to a tournament. “We did that in front of their classes and school so everybody knew about these athletes and gave them a big round of applause,” he said. “Our goal is to get every club and make every club in the school and specifically, every student in the school feel appreciated.” The buy-in also has several different clubs and teams who are supporting others whether it’s the girls’ soccer team supporting debate or the cross country team supporting the drama club. Gerhart relates the story of the volleyball team being down two sets in their match when the football team came in after their team dinner. “They went and cheered on the girls’ volleyball team because you know, high school, people really only go to the football games right, like most of the rest of sports are very underappreciated,” he said. “The football team, and some of The Stampede members, went to the volleyball game and we think, just by us being there and cheering them on and showing them appreciation, that helped.” While the team still lost, by only two points, he said, “that was kind of some of the inspiration for The Stampede club.” The club’s adviser, Joseph Brinton, said that he met with Principal Terri Roylance and student government adviser Tara Battista and some community members about wanting “a way of connecting our school with each other, with fellow students, also an opportunity of connecting the local community with the school.”

“We began to see that the school had divided segments within it and thought Cottonwood would be better served if we could find a way of helping them see the need to support each other in this larger community of being a Colt,” he said. “It’s been a really cool group that’s brought all these different segments of the school community together.” While Brinton sees the benefits of belonging of a group, such as the athletes, the Latinos in Action, the art students and sticking to those particular groups “that really have tight-knit communities and really help their students there,” he asked, “what if we could find a way of tying each other together, supporting each other. If we can find a larger cause than just your niche or corner, it will build a more positive community.” He said The Stampede bridges interaction between students with different interests and helps to build that community. “It has become their passion, their student experience to be involved in all facets of the school community,” Brinton said. “I really like a lot of the ideas come from the students and I’ve been blown away at the feedback students give about how they’ve felt giving recognition to their peers. The students have a sense of ‘I’m doing something to help the school.’ It’s really positive for our club members too.” Parents have contributed, such as making 16 yellow and black flags, that The Stampede takes to games and competitions “to build a positive culture and environment.” Students can sign up to take a bus to attend away games and at home games, the club also has helped organize tailgates at football

games to encourage students to attend, halftime competitions and other activities to increase student involvement. “One of the pillars of the club is for The Stampede member to realize, ‘I can’t control whether the players for my school win or lose, but I can control is their experience both as a fan and as an athlete. I can make the students in my school feel like their peers recognize and care and notice them. We appreciate the sacrifices they make not just individually, but for our community,’” he said. “If they know we care about them, then maybe they’re going to start showing care toward their peers in a different hallway or different interest.” Brinton said that any student is welcome to belong to The Stampede and in the early weeks of school, already 70 students joined in. Eight leaders have emerged from that group; Gerhart is one. Until this year, he hadn’t joined clubs or activities. “Honestly, school is really boring without clubs and extracurricular activities,” Gerhart said. “I’m not really an athletic person so I wasn’t really interested in any extracurricular sports. So, I figured, hey, this is a good way to get involved and to get everybody involved. It’s kind of just a club for the school, not a club for one particular event.” Already The Stampede is changing the atmosphere at Cottonwood, he said. “We feel it just brings everybody closer together,” Gerhart said, adding that it makes forming friendships easier. “We want to make sure everybody views each other as equals and we’re all one school.” l

At Cottonwood High, The Stampede fills the student section, like they did here Sept. 9 at the girls’ volleyball game, and supports each student club to unite the school. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Page 12 | November 2021

Murray City Journal


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November 2021 | Page 13



HOME EVALUATION Jeron & Heather DuPaix 801-897-1133

Murray Rotary Club Monthly Service Update

Please volunteer on to cleanup Murray’s freeway interchanges 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13!

“Last May, 74 volunteers collected 84 60-gallon bags of trash in two hours from the I-15 interchanges at 4500 South and 5300 South and the I-215 interchanges at State Street and 280 East,” says Murray Rotarian Jerry Summerhays. “Count us in!” responded Murray Sam’s Club manager Josh Brower when asked if he would provide volunteers again. Indeed, businesses as well as individuals and groups and families are asked to help. UDOT provides the vests and bags and will dispose of the bags. They require that volunteers be 14 or older. Look at the litter on either side of the ramps. Makes you want to volunteer, doesn’t it?

Go to

Join us at one of our bi-monthly meetings. Help us with a local or international service project.

“Fun with a purpose” is our motto. Page 14 | November 2021

Murray City Journal


Mayor’s Message

Grant Elementary . . . . . . 801-264-7416

Great Neighborhoods Make a Great City

Heritage Center (Senior Programming) . . 801-264-2635 Hillcrest Jr. High . . . . . . . 801-264-7442 Horizon Elementary . . . . 801-264-7420 Liberty Elementary . . . . . 801-264-7424 Longview Elementary. . . 801-264-7428 Ken Price Ball Park . . . . . 801-262-8282 Miss Murray Pageant (Leesa Lloyd) . . . . . . . . . . 801-446-9233 McMillan Elementary. . . 801-264-7430 Murray Area Chamber of Commerce.. . . . . . . . . . 801-263-2632 Murray Arts Advisory Board (Lori Edmunds) . . . . . . . . 801-264-2614 Murray Boys & Girls Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . 801-268-1335 Murray City Cemetery . . . 801-264-2637 Murray Community Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . 801-264-7414 Murray High School . . . . 801-264-7460 Murray Museum . . . . . . . 801-264-2589 Murray Parks and Recreation Office . . . . . . . 801-264-2614 Murray Parkway Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . . . 801-262-4653 Murray Park Aquatics Pool . . . . . . . . . 801 290-4190 Mick Riley Golf Course (SL County). . . . . . . . . . . . 801-266-8185 Parkside Elementary . . . . 801-264-7434 Riverview Jr. High . . . . . . 801-264-7446 Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation . . . . . . . . 801-468-2560 Salt Lake County Ice Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . 801-270-7280 The Park Center . . . . . . . . 801-284-4200 Viewmont Elementary . . 801-264-7438

It seems like just yesterday we were experiencing a summer of extreme heat, drought, and smoke-filled air. Now leaves have changed colors and are dropping off the trees, daylight hours are much shorter, and we are dealing with the chilly fall temperatures. November ushers in the “holiday season” with winter just around the corner. During this season, many of us will pause to reflect on the things that we are thankful for, whether it be family, friends, pets, or other prized possessions. It’s also a time when some of our neighbors may need a helping hand. Reaching out to individuals and families in our neighborhoods helps us maintain a sense of community. Assisting others in cleaning up their leaves or other yard waste, winterizing sprinkler systems and coolers, and clearing sidewalks and driveways after a snowstorm are examples of ways to network with neighbors and help build that sense of community. Occasionally we receive complaints from residents about their neighbors who haven’t maintained their yards well or haven’t shoveled their walks after a storm. I believe that in many of these cases, a helping hand from a neighbor or neighbors will resolve the matter more beneficially and compassionately than a visit from a zoning enforcement officer, while helping to develop relationships that strengthen neighborhoods. One issue that impacts our neighborhoods is crime. Over the past months and years, we have noted an increase in crime, especially property crime, not just in Murray but across the entire county. My office meets with the police chief every week to discuss crime trends and solutions. While there are differing opinions and perspectives on how to deal with these increases

MAYOR’S OFFICE D. Blair Camp, Mayor 801-264-2600 5025 S. State Street Murray, Utah 84107

in criminal activity, I believe that prevention is a key component in combating crime, and prevention begins in our neighborhoods. I applaud those who have been active in neighborhood watch programs, active on neighborhood social media platforms, and just good old-fashioned keeping an eye open for suspicious activity. I strongly encourage all residents of our city to be actively involved in watching out for each other and our properties. There are many online resources to find tips for making your home and neighborhood safer, such as the National Crime Prevention Council website ( or, or you can directly contact our community outreach officer, Sgt. Roy Halford at 801-264-2673 for information about starting a neighborhood watch program in your area. I have a friend (who lives in another city) whose home was burglarized while the neighbor across the street observed the crime in progress. The neighbor erroneously assumed that the burglars were contractors hired by the property owner. A simple phone call could have prevented the loss of property. We need to be involved in our neighborhoods and report suspicious activities if we have any hope of curtailing property crimes. The American actor Anthony Mackie is quoted as saying “If everyone invested in the neighborhood they lived in, the United States would be a magical place.” I agree! Whatever neighborhood you live in, you can do your part to make it a better place. I hope we can all be proud of our neighborhoods and take care of our neighbors who live there with us. I wish each of you an outstanding (and safe) Thanksgiving season, and hope you find joy and happiness in the things that are important to you.

NOVEMBER 2021 MURRAY SENIOR RECREATION CENTER 10 East 6150 South • Murray, Utah 84107 801-264-2635 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: Thursday, Nov. 11; Thursday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 26


Date: Tuesday through Friday Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Cost: Cost is $4; prior registration not required


Brunch Café Honoring Veterans If you are a 55+ Veteran, your meal is on us at our Brunch Café in November. Date: Monday, Nov. 8 Time: 10:15 a.m. – noon Cost: à la carte menu

SPECIAL EVENTS Winter Family Concert Series Date: Monday, Nov. 8 – The Lazlos (alt-country) Monday, Dec. 13 – Winterwood (bluegrass) Time: 7 – 8 p.m. Cost: Free; all ages; doors open 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Meal Date: Wednesday, Nov. 17 Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Cost: $10 Registration begins Wednesday, Oct. 20 and closes on Wednesday, Nov. 6 Entertainment provided by The Mixed Nuts Holiday Boutique Several vendors selling homemade items Date: Friday, Dec. 3 Time: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Cost: Boutique is free and open to the public Holiday Meal Date: Friday, Dec. 3 Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Cost: $10 and for those 55+ Registration begins Friday, Nov. 5 and closes on Wednesday, Nov. 24 Entertainment provided by Murray High School Choir

CLASSES Ceramics Date: Tuesday and Thursday Time: 9 a.m. – noon Cost: $1.50 each class, plus cost of supplies Fire Prevention Date: Friday, Nov. 19 Time: 10 – 11:30 a.m. Cost: Free, call to register Medicare Open Enrollment Options Date: Thursday, Dec. 2 Time: 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Cost: Free, call to register


Thursday Evening Social Dance Live Music provided by Tony Summerhays Dates: Nov. 4 and Nov. 18 Time: 7 – 9:30 p.m. Cost: $5

HEALTH SERVICES Health Screening by UVU Student Nurses Date: Wednesday, Nov. 3 Time: 9:30 a.m. – noon Cost: Free; no appointment necessary Haircuts Date: Fridays, Nov. 5, 12, and 19 Time: 9 a.m. – noon Cost: $9; advance appointment required Blood Testing by IHC Laboratories: Lipid Profile ($15) and Hemoglobin A1C ($7) Date: Friday, Nov. 12 Time: 9 – 11 a.m. Cost: Pay IHC on the day of the test; advance appointment required Blood Pressure Clinic by Harmony Home Health Date: Thursday, Nov. 18 Time: 10:30 – 11 a.m. Cost: Free; no appointment necessary

TRIPS Beyond Van Gogh Date: Thursday, Nov. 18 Time: 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Cost: $35; lunch is on your own at Crown Burger Registration begins Wednesday, Oct. 27 Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork Date: Thursdays, Dec. 2, 7, and 14 Time: 4 – 8 p.m. Cost: $25; includes dinner Registration begins Tuesday, Nov. 16

THE MURRAY SENIOR RECREATION CENTER 10 East 6150 South (West of State Street) • 801-264-2635

C ULTURAL A RTS Murray City Incorporation Following a riot and fire started by a rowdy group of smelter workers in a local saloon around 1901, the fight for incorporation of the city began. The initiative was spearheaded by a local newspaper editor who believed Murray should have control of its finances and implement a fire brigade. The incorporation committee drafted a petition in 1901 and the election took place on Nov. 18, 1902. Those in favor of incorporation won the day, and Chillion L. Miller was elected as mayor by three votes. Salt Lake County recognized the election results as official on Nov. 25, 1902, and Murray City was officially recognized as a Third Class Chillion L. Miller First Mayor of Murray City City by the State of Utah on Jan. 3, 1903.

@MurrayCityCulturalArts @Murraycitymuseum

Juried Art Show

The Annual Murray City Juried Art Show for artists 18 and older, will be held at the Murray City Library, October 27 - November 17 during library hours. We invite you to visit the art show and vote for your favorite for the People’s Choice Award.

Murray’s PTA uses Zoom to unite families in watercolor class; more engaging activities being planned By Julie Slama |


his fall, 10-year-old Solveig Larson watched painting techniques with her family on Zoom. Days later the Parkside Elementary student tried a watercolor technique using salt while making birthday cards for her uncle. Solveig’s dad tried another technique using plastic wrap with watercolors. “It was stuff we’ve never done before,” said her mother, Cheree. Teaching the techniques was part of Region 19 PTA’s Reflections arts program kick-off, said Cheree Larson, who is the region’s Reflections director. “Now that everyone knows how to use Zoom, we were thinking, maybe it would be just an opportunity to do some fun family activities that way,” she said. The PTA brought in Kara Aina, who teaches art at Mountain Heights Academy. She provided step-by-step instructions for the families, teaching watercolor techniques and terminology from gradient wash and lift off to blending and scumbling. “I chose the techniques that I did so parents and students would see the diverse ways watercolor can be used, hopefully showing them new techniques that they’ve never seen before and increasing their curiosity and excitement to explore watercolor either as an individual, as a family or maybe deciding to implement it as their medium of choice for this year’s art Reflection competition,” Aina said. “I was thrilled with the level of engagement and interaction that the families demonstrated. They were actively thinking about creative ways to use each technique as we explored them. I was also so impressed with the questions the families came up with; there was some apparent critical thinking occurring and as an art educator, that’s pretty thrilling to witness.” The idea for the family art night over Zoom came from the region director, Jeannette Bowen, who learned of a similar idea happening at a school during the COVID-19 pandemic. “They were doing it as a school, but I thought why not do it as a whole district?” Bowen said. “So, I said, ‘Let’s put it out there for everybody’ and we were pleased with how many participated. I had a couple parents comment that ‘It was really fun’ and ‘I really want to give that a try, too,’ which I think is great. I think anything that we can do that is creative and gives us a chance to try new things, is wonderful; it was a pleasant surprise from the evening that I didn’t

MurrayJournal .com

During Region 19 PTA’s family art night, students and families could learn watercolor techniques and terminology from gradient wash and lift off to blending and scumbling. (Screenshot)

expect.” The art night also was posted on the school district’s YouTube channel for a couple weeks to provide additional access for families who were unable to join that night. Bowen said there were several goals involved in the family art night. “One was to give families a chance to gather around the computer and have a free family activity to participate in and increase family engagement,” she said. “Another reason is by having it be districtwide, we’re hoping that families from different schools become unified. So often, our school events are all separate so when we do a districtwide event for families representing all schools, it can unify our district.” Bowen also said that it was a kickoff for Reflections, but also for PTA so families understand some of the activities they sponsor and will become involved. “We’re also hoping that maybe by providing a couple fun activities, then we can also provide some parent training on other topics like human trafficking or vaping. This way, they will be familiar with this type of format and maybe would be willing to get on and listen to experts and understand how these things are affecting our kids,” she said. The region PTA members already are talking about other ideas for activi-

Kara Aina, who teaches art at Mountain Heights Academy, choses diverse ways to use watercolors for Region 19 PTA’s family art night so families could learn new techniques. (Screenshot)

ties, such as a scientist or magician, to engage families over Zoom. As far as Reflections, Bowen said that Region 19 students typically do well. “We hope it will spark more interest in participating in Reflections. Normally

we get a lot of great Reflections’ entries, and our district does really well on the state level,” she said. “This is just another push to remind families that Reflections is open for all to participate in and to have fun with it.” l

November 2021 | Page 19




Utah’s newest senior living community, located in the heart of Murray, is excited to improve the lives of its residents by offering Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care. Call or email our Family Advisor, Kelsey Anderson, or visit our website for more information. We look forward to hearing from you. • Independent Lifestyle • Daily Assistance • Memory Care

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5377 S. State Street in Murray • (385) 289-3700 • email: Page 20 | November 2021

Murray City Journal

New Murray, Taylorsville, West Jordan mountain bikers finish strong By Shaun Delliskave |


ne of the newest sporting clubs in Utah, the Murray-Taylorsville-West Jordan Composite mountain biking team is making tracks in the National Interscholastic Cycling Association racing circuit. The recently formed team features teens in the highly competitive east region of the Utah league. The Utah League is the biggest in the nation and likely the most competitive, with more than 6,000 registered athletes. It has produced several professional athletes, including Park City’s Haley Batten who participated in the Summer Olympics this year. The league supports “cross country” mountain bike racing; a highly aerobic endurance discipline. “Our team is on the small side (36 student athletes). The bigger teams have over 200 kids, a waiting list, and a $100k budget. We rely on many parent-coaches who are certified by NICA to help during training rides,” parent-coach Kent Sutcliffe said. Kids train in small groups with other kids of similar skill/fitness level. Students from seventh through ninth grade race other students in the same grade and skill level. Students in 10th12th grade race in skill level only groups. Race lengths depend on skill/fitness levels and usually last between one to two hours. “Racing on our team requires a significant commitment, primarily due to the travel time involved,” Sutcliffe said. “We offer two official, structured practice rides per week, from June-September. Most of our kids do additional training rides to further their fitness. To be competitive in the Utah League, high school student-athletes need to ride two to four additional days per week to build up the required aerobic fitness. On the extreme end, competitive varsity racers ride five to seven days per week totaling over eight hours. That said, our team’s focus is more on fun than results.”

The team is evenly split between Murray and Taylorsville, with just a couple of riders from West Jordan. They have six female student-athletes. The sport is not part of the Utah High School Activities Association. According to Sutcliffe, “The team requires extensive input by parents and coaches. We are in a unique situation because we are not situated close to mountain biking trails, so all of our training involves driving somewhere, usually Park City, to train. Because of this, many parents also ride and participate as coaches.” For liability and safety reasons, parent-coaches have to be certified as “ride leaders” for each training group. The league has many guidelines to limit their liability and ensure a safe environment for the kids. Coach training occurs in winter/spring and is extensive (>40 hours, including wilderness first aid, coaching theories, and risk management) for Level 3 certification, which is required as head coach. “Most of the coaches are also parents of student-athletes. Some, me included, have raced regionally and/or nationally in the past, but most coaches are looking for fun exercise outside. The other family that runs the team with us, Justin and Renee Bath, ride several days per week as a family and just love mountain biking,” Sutcliffe said. The State Championship Race, on Oct. 23, brought high school-aged teams together from all over the state. Participation was limited to only those student-athletes who qualified. Nine of M-T-WJ riders qualified for State Championships. “It is a fun course near the new airport in St. George that has been designed for this use. The competition was fierce, with just the best of the four regions allowed to participate. It is the longest racecourse in the nation,” Sutcliffe said. One rider, Leena Bath, placed in the varsi-

Luke Bowers, Jack Noren, and Spencer Faull (l-r) preparing to stage the Snow Basin race. (Photo courtesy Angie Sutcliffe)

ty category, an elite level of racing in the league. Still the team takes all enthusiastic cyclists at any level, as long as they are aware of the time and cost commitments of the sport. “Outside of the time and fitness requirements, you do need a safe and functional mountain bike and helmet. Bikes suitable for compe-

tition start around $1,000 and get much more expensive from there,” Sutcliffe said. Final results for the State Competition (not available at press time) can be found online at l


• Rain Gutters • Siding • Windows Highly Qualified Professionals Calls us Today! CJ Sutcliffe, Carson Andrew, Evan Hult, and Alex Helm (l-r) strike a pre-race pose. (Photo courtesy Angie Sutcliffe)

MurrayJournal .com


November 2021 | Page 21

Comcast makes a $1 billion commitment to digital equity


omcast Corporation, the global media and technology company, connects people to moments that matter. In fact, over the last 10 years, Comcast has connected more than 160,000 people in Utah to low-cost, high-speed, in-home internet services. Now, the company is doubling-down on its commitment to help low-income families in the state gain access to the internet. “Utah is one of the most collaborative states we work with across the country when it comes to helping its citizens gain digital equity,” said J.D. Keller, senior vice president, Comcast Mountain West Region. “Leaders from the state, county and city are working together as we open more free WiFi Lift Zones, connect more families to the Internet at home, and increase speeds for businesses and families across the state.” Comcast has pledged $1 billion to establish WiFi-connected safe spaces, or Lift Zones, in 35 community centers in Utah, and more than 1,000 zones across the country. These centers help students participate in online learning and will connect more than 8 million low-income people to the internet. The COVID-19 crisis put low-income students at risk and Comcast’s Internet Essential Partnership Program is focused on creating digital equity, allowing students to continue their schooling, even when they can’t attend class. Just this year, Comcast estimates students across America will complete more than 25 million hours of remote learning lessons at the hundreds of Lift Zone locations that have already opened. “We are delighted to work with such outstanding corporate partners, such as Comcast, as we connect more Utahns to the Internet,” said Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox. “Utah is regularly lauded for its innovative vision in numerous categories, and increasing our digital access helps everyone, including families, students and businesses.”

The Comcast investment includes laptop and computer donations, more than $100,000 in digital equity grants for local Utah nonprofit community organizations, and continued investment in the company’s landmark Internet Essentials program. Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said Comcast is advancing the county’s effort in supporting economic prosperity throughout the Salt Lake Valley. The county is responsible for launching unique digital equity initiatives to connect its community. “We have one of the most forward-thinking counties in the country and having such a robust partnership with leaders in government and community organizations means we can connect the pivot points quicker and more securely for all involved,” Wilson said. “We’re committed to digital equity. Our Salt Lake County libraries have more than 300 hotspots and 150 Chromebooks in circulation to assist residents with digital needs in their homes.” As Salt Lake County collaborates with Comcast, the country’s largest internet provider, programs in the area will benefit from the partnership. Comcast recently gifted Neighborhood House with 300 computers and laptops to help clients in its programs, and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake was awarded a financial grant to support its mission to empower youth and guide them toward success. “We are very grateful for this timely grant from Comcast,” said Amanda Ree Hughes, president and CEO of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake. “Comcast is a 360-partner because they give more than just dollars for computers and programs. Their employees bring skills, experience and knowledge to create a whole solution in providing access and technology to help our kids succeed.”

Keller commends Utah for its “can-do attitude” and the willingness of state and county leaders to create long-lasting collaborations that will benefit students and impact Utah’s prosperity. “Together, we have been able to connect tens of thousands of Utahns to the power of the internet at home and to the endless opportunity, education, growth, and discovery it provides,” Keller said. “Today, we are rededicating ourselves to this mission to ensure the next generation of students in Utah has the tools, resources, and abilities to succeed in an increasingly digital world. “Whenever we can help our community neighbors connect to reliable, high-speed internet access, we work to do that. It helps keep us all moving forward one family, one organization, and one community at a time.” l

Westside Murray neighborhood pitches in to help firefighters


hen the pandemic prevented first responders from conducting their annual coat collection drive, one westside Murray neighborhood stepped up to help them. “Operation Cover-up” has been a 20-year annual tradition for the Murray Fire Department, where firefighters collect and take donations to The Road Home Shelters, the Christmas Box House, Shriners Hospitals, the YWCA and the Rape Recovery Center. But it was put on hold last year while first responders dealt with the COVID crisis. “With COVID-19 restrictions, our collections were severely limited, as we only had one drop off shed at a Murray Fire location. Collections for this calendar year have just begun. We are hoping that the generous citizens of the Wasatch Front will continue to be supportive of their neighbors who are in less fortunate circumstances by donating as freely as they have in the past,” retired Salt Lake City Fire Battalion Chief Tom Roberson said. Operation Cover-up was founded in 1997 by Roberson and Salt Lake County firefighter Fitz Petersen. They initiated the program for residents to take clean, new or used cold weather items to their local fire station. The items were then collected and redistributed to agencies that provide ser-

Page 22 | November 2021

By Shaun Delliskave | vices to at-risk individuals and those with specific needs. Upon Roberson’s retirement, his son Steve, who is a captain for Murray City Fire Department, took over and has expanded the charity drive to Utah, Davis and Weber Counties. Deanna Palma, Stake Primary president in the Murray Parkway LDS Stake, was looking for ways for youth to serve their community. Primary is the children’s organization within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Palma initially was hoping to send firefighters notes of thanks, but with Roberson as her neighbor, she decided to find out if they needed help with anything specific. “During that conversation, we learned of the firefighters’ annual service project titled Operation Cover-up. They have been performing this service for 20-plus years, funneling all donations to community organizations that serve at-risk populations, vulnerable to cold weather conditions. So, the project naturally evolved from simply recognizing the first responders to also inviting donations for the ongoing service project that is sponsored by the first responders,” Palma said. The activity became inclusive of not

just church members but all neighbors. Children and youth passed out activity fliers, inviting neighbors to leave their winter clothing donations on their front porches. The donations were picked up by the youth on the morning of the activity and delivered to the local stake center. Neighbors were also invited to donate nonperishable goods/treats for first responder care boxes. According to Palma, “The excitement was palpable. The generosity in donations is apparent—a genuine demonstration of love. The youth loaded a few large trucks with donations for Operation Cover-up, including new and gently used coats, clothing, boots, and blankets.” “Along with the cold weather clothing, donated items included numerous toys, games and puzzles. The tremendous outpouring of support in this recent event is evidence that their [the neighborhood’s] loving spirit has not diminished, but may well have grown,” Roberson said. At the stake center, firefighters parked a firetruck at the parking lot exit so the children could see who they were serving. The first responders knew that the activity was supporting Operation Cover-up; however, the care boxes for the first responders were presented as a surprise gift to them after

Donations to Operation Cover-up await delivery. (Photo courtesy Steve Roberson)

the activity. In all, the neighborhood donated nine care boxes, one for each platoon in Murray. The care boxes were filled with nonperishable treats, fruits and thank-you letters and pictures from the children. “I think that the firefighters enjoyed reading them and seeing that what they do is appreciated, and the sacrifices that they and their families make don’t go unnoticed,” Roberson said. If you are interested in donating items for Operation Cover-up, contact Murray Fire Department’s Steve Roberson at 801-2642780. l

Murray City Journal

New Riverview Jr. High teacher hopes to blend fun into food education By Victoria Wetzel |


egan Baker is a familiar face in the Murray School District, having previously attended Longview Elementary, Riverview Jr. High and Murray High School. She has returned to Riverview not as a student, but as a teacher. A foods teacher. “I decided to teach food because it is so applicable,” Baker said. “I love that I teach a subject that everyone will use almost every day of their life.” While this is Baker’s first year teaching at Riverview, this is not her first year of teaching experience. She’s been teaching for eight years, most of it spent at the Copper Mountain Middle School in Jordan School District. “I applied to another teaching position at Murray High and they sent my resume to [Principal] Kauffman for this position instead,” Baker said. “I love building relationships with my students and making learning fun.” Baker always knew that she wanted to be a teacher. Growing up, she would make her friends play school so she could pretend to be a teacher. However, her plan was not always to teach junior high. She wanted to teach elementary for the longest time but decided in high school that she wouldn’t enjoy teaching every subject to the same group of kids all day every day. As with every career, there are some frustrations. “I really try to find recipes that teenagers would enjoy so it is frustrating when I have done all the work and just get complaints,” said Baker. “And then there are complaints about not wanting to do the work to make the recipe or ‘it just sounds gross.’” She said she gets excited when she finds a fun recipe

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to make in class that she thinks would be more fun than a lecture or bookwork. While Baker has been teaching for almost eight years, she has been cooking for much longer. “The first real cooking memory I have was from when I was 10 or 11. I was making a box of mac and cheese and the water started boiling over. I was wearing a shirt that had really loose fitting long sleeves and when I grabbed the pot to move it, my sleeve caught on fire! Luckily it went out quickly and I wasn’t burned, but I definitely learned my lesson.” When Baker is not teaching foods at Riverview, her favorite thing to make at home is cupcakes. “I think the whole process is enjoyable and I love being creative with the flavors and decorations. My least favorite thing about cooking is all of the cleaning I have to do afterwards; dishes are my nemesis.” Baker teaches two foods classes which are available to eighth- and ninth-grade students. In Foods and Nutrition 1 [available only to ninth graders], they discuss kitchen management, safety and sanitation, and healthy lifestyle choices. She goes over the curriculum and then does a cooking lab that relates to what the class has learned. Baker will be teaching a new class for eighth graders called Exploring Foods and Nutrition which is an introductory course to Foods and Nutrition 1. “I love that as a teacher I am not only teaching something fun but that I am, hopefully, being a good role model for my students,” she said. l

Megan Baker has returned to Riverview Jr. High, this time as a foods teacher. (Photo courtesy Megan Baker)

November 2021 | Page 23

Murray Parkway’s Nature Center marks big year


t’s a hidden gem on Murray’s Jordan River Parkway, and this year, the Kennecott Nature Center (5044 Lucky Clover Lane) experienced some of its most momentous occasions since its opening. Judith Payne, its first director, retired in October, and international violinist impresario Hilary Hahn performed a free concert in its amphitheater. The Grammy Award-winning Hahn, who was in town to perform with the Utah Symphony, agreed to perform an intimate concert, Sept. 14, on the Jordan River’s banks, along with the El Sistema@Mariachi Ensemble. The

By Shaun Delliskave | show was part of the Jordan River Commission’s “Get to the River” celebrations. Cathy Singer will take over from Payne, who has served 20 years as coordinator. Payne taught thousands of students during her tenure. “Judith Payne developed programs that ranged from environmental science to creative writing and art. These programs are coordinated with enhanced grade-level learning objectives. She was the heart and soul of the nature center for over 20 years. At her retirement social, adults who had visited the Nature Center as children came to thank her. She made the

Nature Center the success it is today,” Singer said. Indeed, Payne coordinated buses, scheduled classes, and developed and taught the Nature Center programs. In addition, she integrated visits from the Natural History Museum of Utah, HawkWatch, and more into the Nature Center experience. Singer said, “She also made a ‘nature walk’ an integral part of the instruction here at the Nature Center. When kids walk through the door, the first thing they ask me is, ‘Are we going on a nature walk?’” While a popular field trip destination with Murray schoolchildren, the Nature Center remains out of sight from the casual Jordan River Parkway pedestrian. Designed to fit unobtrusively into the environment, the Kennecott Nature Center of Murray is used to give elementary students an integrated education about nature through time outdoors, art, writing and many other activities. “The center has been a Murray dream for many years,” Singer said. The Kennecott Nature Center of Murray opened in September 1999. The 1,600-squarefoot structure was a joint project of Kennecott Utah Copper, Murray City School District, and Murray City. A committee of Murray teachers developed lesson plans so that teachers and students could make the best use of their time at the center and learn as much as possible. “Because of an additional Kennecott grant, an almost full-time program coordinator was hired for the center in 2000,” Singer said. Trails lead outward from the center through poplar groves and wetlands. Nestled in the hillside, a classroom displays skeletons, pelts, skins and taxidermized animals that live along the Jordan River as well as some that don’t, such as the shed skin of a boa constrictor found at one of Murray’s fire stations. “On the site, there is a wonderful wet-

Grammy Award winner Hilary Hahn performs at Murray’s Kennecott Nature Center. (Photo courtesy Aly Lyddall)

land pond in addition to the bend in the Jordan River. Students study three ecosystems: wetlands, the dry land above, and the aquatic environment. There is a wide diversity of plants and animals, including migratory and resident birds plus terrestrial and aquatic animals,” former Murray School District Superintendent Richard Tranter said. Singer’s first task as coordinator is adapting existing lesson plans to match ever-changing school curriculums. “As for the future of the Nature Center, I am working now to further develop the programs taught here to complement changes made in the last few years to the approved science core,” Singer said. “Students come here to learn about everything from bats and ducks to how food webs work. Sixth graders have a special lesson on the unique history and habitat of the Jordan River. We continue to take nature walks and observe this treasure of a wetland habitat right in the middle of a major metropolitan area. Just this morning, students were able to observe a red-tailed hawk right as they got off the bus. What a treat.” l

Retiring Kennecott Nature Center coordinator Judith Payne (second from right) was presented an award for her 20 years of service by the Murray School District. (Photo courtesy of Murray School District)

Page 24 | November 2021

Murray City Journal

Murray considers implementing park impact fee


urray City’s parks are being loved to their detriment, and with the recent spate of proposals for more multi-family housing, there might not be enough space in the parks. To keep up with replacing facilities and creating parks, Murray is considering adopting a park impact fee. The Murray City Council considered the motion at the Oct. 19 council meeting. Park impact fees are not where someone pays admission to enter a park; it’s a one-time fee charged to developers to offset the capital costs of the public infrastructure associated with their new developments. Current Murray homeowners would not necessarily ever pay the fee unless they redeveloped their property for more housing units. “The reason that we brought it up,” Murray Parks and Recreation Director Kim Sorensen explained, “is that we had adopted our park master plan in April of 2020. Along with the master plan, we asked the company that did the master plan to look at funding sources. One of the suggestions from the master plan was to look at a park impact fee for funding…to fund capital improvement projects after the plan was put together.” Utah State Code requires a city or county to develop a formula by which the park impact fee will be based, such as cost per new housing unit. “Murray has never had a park impact

By Shaun Delliskave | fee. Most of the cities in Salt Lake County have a park impact fee. In fact, most of the cities in the state of Utah have a park impact fee,” Sorensen said. Currently, Midvale and Murray are the only cities without an impact fee. Murray retained Zions Public Finance to prepare the impact fee plan. Aaron Montgomery, representing Zions, said, “Essentially, you have parks that are serving a certain number of people right now, and as new growth comes in, there’s less park to go around per person. Because now there are more people, these fees are collected…with the idea and the direction that they will be used to expand the existing facilities to maintain a level of service to offset the new growth to make sure facilities grow.” In addition to parks, the fee takes into account recreation and aquatic facilities as well as trails. The current level of service for parks (land and improvements) is calculated by taking the total city investment in parks of $84,373,198 and dividing it by the existing population of 51,388, which results in a service level of $1,641.88 per person. Currently, the city’s recreation facilities, such as the Murray Park Center and Murray Amphitheater, are at capacity. Zions figures that the current level of service is $283.87 per person, calculated by dividing the current cost of the recreation facilities, $14,587,500, by the 2021 population of 51,388. Therefore, Murray plans to expand its recreation facilities to maintain the existing/proposed level of service. The level of service for trails is $83.51 per person, and for aquatic facilities it is $38.92 per person. “Impact fee money can’t be used for operation and maintenance, so we would need to get that from the general fund. But this money can be used to develop new parks and

Murray City would collect a park impact fee on new development to maintain current levels of service. (Photo courtesy Murray City)

more opportunities for recreation,” Sorensen said. Utah Code also regulates the fee’s application and the requirements on when the city must spend it. “The state legislature says we have to account or come up with how you’re going to come up scientifically with a fee; you

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can’t just pull it out of the air,” Murray City Finance Director Brenda Moore said. “If we have more growth, it’s by unit. So, if somebody puts in 100 units, they will pay 100 times this….We’d have all the money all at once, but the caveat on this money is we have six years to spend it. And it has to be new facilities.” l

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November 2021 | Page 25

Murray High unified soccer team gets silver at state, brings inclusion to school By Julie Slama |


urray High senior Emmie Brinton shot lots of goals at her first tournament of the unified sports season. “Soccer—I love it,” she said at the last practice before the state tournament. “I like to practice kicking hard and the feeling I get when I’m scoring goals.” Her teammate, senior Caden Stackhouse, who has played on the team four years, said he likes the footwork and friends. “I made friends with Ali (Abdulrahman); he’s nice,” he said. “I want 20 goals.” The two and the rest of Murray’s unified

team put their grit and resiliency to the test as most of the state tournament games were held in the pouring rain Oct. 8-9. Despite the inclement weather at the state finals, Murray High cheer squad cheered on the team. Unified soccer is a UHSAA-sanctioned sport supported by Special Olympics Utah that joins high school-age students with and without intellectual disabilities playing side-by-side on the same sports teams. In soccer, five players take to a smaller-sized field; this year, high school teams from across the state played in either competitive or player development divi-

Murray High’s unified soccer team plays the Skyline Eagles Oct. 8 to qualify for the state finals, which were held at Rio Tinto stadium. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

sions. Through playing unified sports, students build friendships and inclusiveness as well as to improve sports skills, said Unified Champion Schools manager Courtnie Worthen, who hopes all students are supported in their community to succeed and belong. “We hope this helps to create lasting friendships,” she said. “When you’re approximate to someone who’s different than you, you learn that they are people too. You learn why they are different, and you can appreciate their differences and you can understand your similarities.” This year’s state tournament consolation finals and finals in each of the four divisions were held at Rio Tinto for the first time, promoted by Utah First Lady Abby Cox’s statewide “Show Up” initiative. After a player and coach oath, an athlete, accompanied by her highway patrolman father and Gov. Spencer Cox, lit the torch. The First Lady and other community leaders had previously announced the desire to introduce the unified sports program to more schools—from 40 across the state to 100 by the 2022-23 school year—and expand it from soccer, basketball and track to more sports. Jordan Education Foundation, Salt Lake Bees, South Jordan and Mountain View Village (Riverton) Chick-fil-A franchises and the Joe and Renae Ingles family were the first to pledge their support. Worthen said the program isn’t just for high schools, some which also have unified sports PE classes. There also is a young athletes’ program in elementary schools and unified programs also are being introduced at the college level. Unified Champion School’s college-growth coordinator Boston Iacobazzi, who was a partner athlete for his high school and then continued to be instrumental in beginning and playing for the RSL unified program, now is reaching out to higher education “When partners and others get to know the athletes and become more involved in accepting them at their lunch tables and proms, it changes the climate and culture,” he said. “I gained friendships and

Page 26 | November 2021

never had so much fun on any sports team or as SBO (student body) president than I did with unified sports. It is so much fun, so high energy and we just cheer, sing and dance and want everyone to succeed. Having the tournament at Rio Tinto gives these teams the same opportunities as the boys and girls high school soccer teams being hosted there.” Junior Riannon Morrison is a peer tutor and was a partner on Murray’s 10-member team that finished second at state. “The best thing is that no one judges anyone,” she said. “Everyone cheers on everyone.” Sophomore Hannah Van Zutphen said it is very humbling to play on the team. “It’s all about them, not us,” she said. “We just help bring the ball up and set them up with a good pass.” Sophomore Jalynn Parker adds: “And we get so much back. They genuinely care. When I see Josh Davis, I say hi and he gives me a really big hug. It is so rewarding.” Van Zutphen said it’s not cheering when they make a score or have a good kick but “it’s cheering on all the teams and giving everyone high 5s.” That sportsmanship is something Jessie Agiriga and her co-coaches Drew Van Amen and Brady Smith emphasize. “We encourage and motivate them and talk to them about being aware of what people do,” Agiriga said. “We want them to start filling people’s buckets and be appreciative of what people do for them. It helps with the inclusion at our school.” Van Amen said that it also builds a sense of community, which is part of their goal for having unified sports. “We see sports as a way to not only help develop skills, but also to follow instructions, set goals, have peer interactions and build those relationships for our athletes,” she said. “Our partnerships are developing leadership skills and learning to collaborate with others. The biggest impact is inclusion; we want to include all students, support them and have them find success whether its sports or learning social and life skills and to have fun.” l

Murray City Journal

Lifesaving athletic trainer recognized by Murray FD By Shaun Delliskave |


Tragedy was averted on the Murray High football field last fall when an alert athletic trainer diagnosed an internal injury, saving the life of a football player. The Murray City Fire Department recognized Clint Edvalson at the Oct. 8 Murray football game’s halftime, with a ceremony to present him with a recognition challenge coin. “Had Mr. Edvalson not acted, the player may have returned to play. Those with delay in diagnosis of splenic trauma have a tenfold increase in mortality,” Murray City Fire Department Training Chief Matt Boulden said. At the Sept. 6, 2020, Murray High football game versus Olympus, Murray player Hunter Dela Cruz ran to make a tackle, and the opponent’s helmet smashed into his ribcage. Dela Cruz had to be helped to the sideline. “Nothing was really going on in my head besides me being out of the game. I just thought I got the wind knocked outta me; that’s about it,” Dela Cruz said. After taking a shot to the ribs in the upper left quadrant, he complained of rib pain and having his diaphragm jarred. Edvalson checked Hunter for broken ribs and found that he may have cracked his ribs but was not experiencing any symptoms of a flail chest, which would have put him at risk for a punctured lung. “After about five minutes, I looked for Hunter and noticed that he was on a knee. Not normal for a high-energy kid like him, someone who is trying to get back in the game. I spoke with him again, and he said that his ribs were really sore and that he was not feeling great,” Edvalson said. As part of Intermountain Healthcare’s Intermountain Sports Medicine Outreach Program, Edvalson, an athletic trainer, helps Murray High School by providing full-time athletic training coverage for all sports practices and games. After monitoring Dela Cruz, he noticed that his condition seemed to be getting worse. According to Edvalson, “I walked to

him and literally watched the color drain out of his face. I asked him if he was nauseated; he was. I then asked him if he was having pain in his left shoulder. He looked at me and said yes, he was having a weird pain in that shoulder. I immediately called for the onsite paramedics. “A hit in the upper left quadrant with nausea and left shoulder pain is a sign of a ruptured or injured spleen. When the paramedics arrived, I informed them of what I had observed. His blood pressure was down to 80/60, which was the final straw for needing to transport.” While waiting for paramedics, Edvalson also made sure that Hunter stayed still and didn’t cause his heart rate to increase, exacerbating the injury. Paramedics rushed Hunter to the hospital. Time was of the essence since his condition was expected to deteriorate. “I thought I was totally fine at first, until the doctor came in and told me I have a grade 3/5 spleen injury,” Dela Cruz said. “I was most impressed by Mr. Edvalson’s attention to detail, which in turn led to a high index of suspicion for a diagnosis when evaluating a patient with blunt force abdominal trauma,” Boulden said. At the hospital, they hooked Dela Cruz up to an IV and took X-rays. Due to Edvalson’s diagnosis, physicians quickly treated his injury, but Dela Cruz’s football playing days were over. “After the injury, I still think about football, but I’m healthy, and everything’s all healed up,” Dela Cruz said. Dela Cruz was on hand for the halftime ceremony, in which the fire department presented Edvalson the coin and a letter of recognition. “For them to see something that I did as worthy of an award was very humbling for me. Because of my respect for them, it really meant a lot for me to be recognized. I felt completely honored and grateful,” Edvalson said. l

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SUPPORT FOR THE HAYES TOUGH FOUNDATION Larkin Mortuary has donated $12,500 to the HayesTough Foundation from proceeds received from its annual golf tournament at the Eaglewood Golf Course in North Salt Lake, Utah on August 25, 2021. The contribution from the Larkin charity event will support the mission of the charity to provide financial support and hope to families affected by childhood cancer. The mission of The HayesTough Foundation is to fund research for childhood cancer and support families with a child experiencing a terminal cancer diagnosis. Every year nearly 100,000 kids die from childhood cancer, which is almost 300 kids per day. Despite these numbers, childhood cancer research is vastly underfunded. The HayesTough Foundation believes that every child deserves to have a better quality of life as they battle this disease.

“We are extremely grateful to our vendors and supporters who generously rallied to offer their support for the ToughHayes Foundation this year,” said Lance Larkin, President of Larkin Mortuary. “With this year’s donation, we look forward to stepping up our long-term commitments to benefitting children with terminal illnesses.” Founded in 1885, Larkin Mortuary is one of the most respected funeral homes in the Salt Lake Valley and offers six generations of experience in the funeral and cemetery services industries. The family-owned company offers four funeral homes in Salt Lake City, Sandy, and Riverton, as well as an on-site crematory and two fullservice cemeteries. Clint Edvalson (center) received recognition from the Murray City Fire Department for making a lifesaving diagnosis for Hunter Dela Cruz (second from left). (Photo courtesy Matt Boulden)

MurrayJournal .com

November 2021 | Page 27

Lady Spartan tennis team trains the next generation of players By Lenna Proctor |


n Sept. 20 the Murray High School girls tennis team, and its 34 girls, hosted a fundraiser clinic. The purpose was to help aspiring young tennis players learn about tennis, the rules, and how the game works. This clinic was also an opportunity for the team as a whole—it allows them to teach and mentor and to improve their individual ability and skills as a player. Coach Andrea Perschon works hard to promote the sport as a whole. That evening they had 20 elementary and junior highaged kids spread out between three courts. The kids rotated between different stations working on various skills from forehand and backhand, the importance of a strong serve and defending your court and lines. Several team players talked about what they enjoy most about hosting this camp. Senior Sadie Milne stated that she “feels that teaching younger players different skills helps me as a player focus on the technique, doing this helps me improve as a player and focus on the overall game.” Mira Martin believes that “this camp helps me think about where I started as a player. It also helps me reflect on how I play, how I can improve and, at times, when I should go back to the basics.” And Chichi Eke-Ukoh knows that

“when you play tennis a lot, you forget the basics, it’s easy to focus on winning the point, rather than the technique and skill involved. Working with new, inexperienced players, it helps me remember where I started, rebuild from there and grow and improve as a player.” Perschon enjoys hosting this camp. She feels it not only benefits the clinic attendees but she sees the benefits to her team. She wants her players to have fun, learn how to hit the ball. Teaching younger players gives them the opportunity to learn how to improve their technique, gain a better understanding of the rules and proper tennis etiquette. Dakota Riches, a sixth-grader at Horizon Elementary school, said he enjoys “attending tennis camp because it gives me the chance to meet lots of new people and laugh. I learn a lot about tennis techniques, like top spins and smashes. The coaches make learning fun.” Twelve-year-old Kloey Cottle has been attending the summer and fall clinics with Participants attend the Murray Spartan fall tennis clinic. (Lenna Proctor/City Journals) Perschon since she was six. She likes how Perschon teaches her to notice any mistakes, for the opposing player to hit.” Kloey enjoys “I have learned the skills necessary to learn to adjust and immediately fix them. that the clinics are full of games and drills win matches, as well as good technique at “Coach Perschon teaches us different that teach various aspects of the game, par- the Murray Tennis camps and clinics,” Cotways to work on our serve. I have learned ticularly AVO (approach shots, volleys and tle said. l how to place technical shots that are harder overheads, which focus on ball placement).

Some Holiday Prices May Not Be Merry, But Utah’s Economy Looks Bright By Robert Spendlove, Zions Bank Senior Economist


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Page 28 | November 2021

here are many reasons to be cheerful about Utah’s economy heading into the holiday season. While pandemic-related challenges – including supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and inflation – could make your holiday shopping a bit less merry this year, the overall economic picture looks bright. Utah’s economy now has 47,000 more jobs than it did at its pre-pandemic peak in February 2020. There’s only one other state – Idaho – that is above its employment in early 2020. And Utahns are ringing in the holidays with more economic optimism than the rest of the nation. The University of Utah’s Consumer Confidence survey was 83.0 in September, compared to 72.8 for the University of Michigan’s national Index of Consumer Sentiment. Both surveys use similar questions and methodology. Consumers stepped up their spending in the fall, which is good news for customer-facing businesses after a summer of weakening demand. The winter season should bring an additional lift to Utah’s retailers, with the average shopper spending nearly

$1,000 on holiday purchases like gifts, food and decorations, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s on par with 2020 holiday spending, though holiday budgets won’t stretch as far this year. Consumer prices are up 5.4% compared to one year ago – the highest we’ve seen in 20 years. Meanwhile, producer prices – selling prices received by domestic producers for their output – have jumped 8.6% on a year-over-year basis. That’s an indication that inflation may stick around for a while. In addition to higher prices, holiday shoppers may deal with longer-than-usual lines and wait times because of the labor shortage, and out-of-stock items because of ongoing supply chain problems. This “everything shortage” we are seeing right now presents real challenges and is causing real struggles for families in Utah and around the country. It is a continual reminder that we remain in a COVID economy. As the pandemic transitions into an endemic, these temporary effects should dissipate – but it will take some time. However, Utah remains an example of economic success and strength. The state’s economy was not immune to the impacts of the recession, but it has recovered well and is again the envy of the nation. This should

make everyone’s holiday season a little brighter. Robert Spendlove is senior economist for Zions Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A

Murray City Journal

Beloved custodian retired his snow shovel after 33 years at Woodstock Elementary By Julie Slama |


chance of snow was forecast mid-October on the Salt Lake Valley floor and Ron Ashby was not planning to show up to Woodstock Elementary to shovel the walks. It isn’t because he doesn’t care, but the custodian, who spent decades ensuring the safety for students, faculty and staff, retired Oct. 1—ironically, the day before National Custodian Day. “I won’t miss cleaning the sidewalks, plowing the snow and salting the walks,” he said at a good-bye luncheon thrown for him by the school. “It’s really physically demanding.” Even with a bad knee, that didn’t slow Ashby from doing his duties from clearing snow to climbing a ladder to clean windows of the two-story school—or posing down in front of one last faculty and staff photo. But it was more than that, faculty and staff shared at the luncheon. They said he could talk about current events such as the latest Supreme Court decision or be a willing listener with sound advice. Ashby also was known to pull a prank or two as he recalled teasing a principal that the 600 chairs weren’t set up yet for an endof-the-year assembly that was about to begin. “I looked at the principal and asked, ‘Is that today?’” he said. Ashby also was a hero to many students, including the one who hugged him after he got her stuck finger out of a hole in a park bench on the playground. “One time, there was a teacher who came up to me with a boy and had him tell me the story that his mom was pregnant and wanted to know what he would like to name his baby brother. He told me, ‘I told my mom let’s call him Mr. Ashby.’ It made me laugh,” the real Mr. Ashby said. The affection has been apparent as the school declared March 20, his birthday, as “Mr. Ashby Day,” and bestowed cards, signs and gift cards upon him. At the luncheon, photos showed him on that celebratory day as well as helping at the school for years. “It made me feel so special; I might just have to come back for that,” he added. “This has been a great place to work. I have great memories. I’ve loved the kids and hearing them sing at their concerts. I’ll miss the people, our friendships.” Ashby, who graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1978, began working at the original Woodstock Elementary in Jan. 22, 1988, after already working as a custodian at Bonneville Junior High and Kearns Junior High. At the time of his retirement, he served Granite School District students for more than 40 years. “I worked part time while I was in high school; it is not the most exciting job, but it helped me make money for my mission and school. Since then, it has given me a steady

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Although he said he isn’t as spry as when he started working at a custodian more than three decades ago at Woodstock Elementary, Ron Ashby was still able to jump down in front in one last staff and faculty photo. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

paycheck and good benefits for my three boys, two who were born special needs. I’ve been able to run home to help if I’ve been needed; I couldn’t do any of this without my wife,” Ashby said. Through seven Woodstock Elementary principals, Ashby said he has guided them while being the “calm” in the emergency, someone to talk to, the person who can take care of something that pops up, or even cleaning up a child’s vomit. “Ron is the epitome of kindness,” said current principal Brenda Byrnes. “He sees the best in everyone and does everything that is asked of him with a positive attitude. During the four years that we worked together, I got to know Ron and his sweet family and although we will miss him terribly, I know that his family is excited to be able to spend more time with him.” That includes a family trip to Disneyland this December where he plans to dote on his first grandchild. “The principals, faculty, staff, parents, kids, PTA, they’ve spoiled me, and it’s been fun being part of their lives, but cleaning bathrooms aren’t as much fun after so many years,” Ashby said. “And not getting up at 5:30 in the morning will be awesome.” As the faculty and staff, and even former colleagues, roasted him, including with an update of the Crystals’ song now called, “Da Do Ron Ron,” they also were sincere in saying he made a positive impact and difference in the school community. “The kids love him, and he always is joking, lowering the anxiety of everyone around,” said fifth-grade teacher Michelle Goeglein, who worked with him more than 20 years. “Every morning and night, he asks the sweetest things. He always thinks of others and has a smile on his face. He listens with empathy and understanding and is just

Woodstock Elementary’s beloved custodian Ron Ashby laughs with current and former staff and faculty at a retirement luncheon; the school even celebrates “Mr. Ashby Day” in his honor. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

so generous in every sense of the word. He’s just a hero in the classical sense.” Retired teacher Patti Atwood returned to tell Ashby how much he meant to her while she taught at Woodstock. “He has a heart of gold,” she said simply. Atwood also might have snitched a bite of his “famous” version of the English trifle he perfected after serving a church mission in England. Several faculty and staff lamented that it was not only the end of his working there, but the end of the era in having it at school potlucks. “If they ask, I might just come back and bring it,” he said, then added jokingly, “As long as I don’t have to clean up afterward.” l

November 2021 | Page 29

Utilizing your tax dollars in the best way possible Every fall, Salt Lake County goes through its annual budget process. As the government entity with the second largest government budget in Utah (coming behind only the state budget itself), there are a myriad of programs, services, and expen-

Aimee Winder Newton Salt Lake County Council | District 3

ditures that comprise the now roughly $1.5 billion budget. On October 21st, Mayor Wilson presented her proposed budget to the county council. In subsequent weeks council members have the opportunity to review all new budgetary requests, ongoing expenditures, and any reinstatement of funding previously cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year the County will also review budgetary requests for funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Salt Lake County is a direct recipient of these federal dollars provided to support COVID-19 response efforts, replace lost public sector revenue, support immediate economic stabilization, and address systemic public health and economic challenges. One of the most important parts of being an elected official is acting as a steward of taxpayer dollars. Residents entrust those who run the government to judiciously use their tax dollars to perform essential functions for the community, and as such residents expect that every dollar spent by the government will be carefully scrutinized. Here are some key principles I prioritize during the budget process, this year included. First and foremost, tax dollars don’t “belong” to the county. The funds are

yours. Taxpayers entrust the county, or any government for that matter, with a portion of their hard-earned money because they expect that entity to provide essential services for society to function. Second, I believe that all government functions should be viewed in two different categories: “need to have” and “nice to have.”

The “need to have” list includes things that are statutorily required of the county to perform, think constitutionally mandated services such as criminal justice and election administration. I also consider public safety to be in this category, since keeping our residents safe is a core function of government. However, just because they are essential does not mean they are above scrutiny. Efficiencies can still be found. The “nice to have” list includes quality of life services the county provides, as well as any other program or initiative that can easily be described as a benefit to county residents, but not necessarily considered essential. Libraries and open space are some of the things in this category. Lastly, I review each aspect of our budget and ask, “Is this the proper role of county government?” There are many programs or services that are better suited to other government entities, nonprofits, or the private sector. It is always important to review each program, service, or expenditure and ask that question again and again. I’m confident that these principles are the essence of good budgeting and fiscal discipline, and I will always advocate for this approach any time the government is entrusted with taxpayer dollars.

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Page 30 | November 2021

Murray City Journal

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One cool November morning, mom twisted my blonde hair into two braids and painted my face with orange and blue stripes. I put on a fringed vest made from a paper grocery bag (decorated with stick figures and animals), donned my construction paper headband with its fake feathers and walked uphill (both ways) in the snow to school. Along the way, I met up with friends dressed as Indians or outfitted in Pilgrim attire, with black, buckled hats or kitchen aprons. We were heading to our second-grade class party, unaware we were perpetuating a myth handed down for generations regarding the First Thanksgiving. We’d been taught the feast was a celebration of friendship, that the Indians didn’t want their BFFs to starve during the winter. We didn’t know Pilgrims were the guests that never leave, who end up stealing your bath towels and giving you smallpox. We also didn’t know ancestors of the Wampanoag Nation hadn’t been invited to the feast, but responded when they heard Pilgrims firing guns, and thought the settlers were under attack. But the Pilgrims were just shooting their rifles into the air, celebrating a successful harvest, like ya do. Have Americans always been gun lunatics? Our school Thanksgiving dinner consisted of turkey-shaped sugar cookies, banana bread, orange soda, candy corn and other



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forms of sugar, because that was one of the main food groups in the ’70s. Our meal was nothing like the first Thanksgiving where lobster or eel was probably the main course, not turkey. I don’t know how they stuffed an eel, but I’m sure it wasn’t pretty. The teacher told us to write down things we were grateful for. My list included my family, Nancy Drew mysteries and apple pie. We also brought offerings for a food drive where some lucky family in the neighborhood received 25 cans of cranberry sauce, four boxes of Stove Top stuffing and a case of olives. Maybe the Pilgrims also made gratitude lists, including finding a land so completely devoid of other humans that they could take whatever they wanted and build a country. Did they think the people native to this continent were just visiting? Lost? The official Thanksgiving holiday start-


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ed in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln was so tired of the Civil War, he just wanted a piece of pumpkin pie. Since then, in typical American style, the holiday evolved into a food orgy, consisting of overcooked turkey, mountains of mashed potatoes and nine different Jell-O salads. My food tracking app usually starts to smoke during dessert. Although it’s true Pilgrims celebrated days of thanksgiving, those observations usually involved fasting and prayer, not gluttony. These “thanksgivings” often occurred after a massacre of Native people. For instance, in 1637, Massachusetts Colony Governor John Winthrop called for a day of thanksgiving after hundreds of the Pequot tribe were massacred. Not really something you celebrate with grandma’s homemade rolls and jam. Along with your holiday celebration, maybe you can learn about the challenges still faced by Native Americans including poverty, domestic violence, healthcare and the continuation of harmful stereotypes. As a 7-year-old, I didn’t know cultural prejudice or appropriation was a thing. I didn’t realize the Disneyfied version of the first Thanksgiving wasn’t accurate, with its cartoonish Pilgrims, smiling Natives and bouncy soundtrack. But now I do. When you gain wisdom, you get to make better choices.






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November 2021 | Page 31

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urray Power General Manager Blaine Haacke warned city leaders at the Sept. 7 Committee of the Whole meeting that if the drought persists, Murray’s power supply could get expensive or even be jeopardized. Murray Power General Manager Blaine Haacke addressed the mayor and city council during his quarterly report, warning that some of the city’s hydroelectric sources are in danger. Part of Murray Power’s portfolio, the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP), provides the company with 30% of its supply. Extensive hydroelectric facilities along the Colorado River, such as the Glen Canyon Dam built in the 1960s, provide Murray with cheap renewable energy. However, with Lake Powell shrinking, the ability of dams along the river to produce energy is in doubt. “We’re getting to dire straits on the level of the production right now. The lake is at 3,525 feet, which is 35 feet above the critical point where the water goes into the intake. (That is) about 120 feet below full, and if we go (down) another 35 feet, we’re sucking air, and there’s no more hydro production,” Haacke said. Due to the waterlevel crisis, the cost of power is expected to increase 20-25% between Oct. 1 to Dec. 1. “We’ve reached the point where the federal government is getting a little worried about contractually giving us the power that we’ve had since 1964,” Haacke said. Murray Power’s other hydroelectric resources are also struggling due to a lack of water. As a result, an engineering firm, Bowen Collins, is conducting a study to determine if the company should invest in updating machinery.

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Students tour one of three natural gas turbines that Murray Power operates. (Photo courtesy Murray Power)

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