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BUSINESS BLITZ TO BOOST LOCAL BUSINESSES DURING PANDEMIC By Stephanie Yrungaray | s.yrungaray@mycityjournals.com


iverton businesses suffering from the effects of the coronavirus and residents trying to save money are both getting a boost from the city government. City leaders are sponsoring a “Business Blitz” event where local commercial businesses that registered will have a sign designed, printed and displayed at Riverton City Park from May 1 to May 8. Each company has to offer some discount, coupon or another offer to participate in the event. The Business Blitz offers much-needed publicity to struggling local businesses and great deals for residents. “The idea came as a result of initially thinking what else can we do as a city to try and promote local business at this time,” said Mayor Trent Staggs. “I was thinking about a Christmas event where people drive around the park and see placards and lights, and I thought why not extend something like that to the business community? I talked about the concept with our parks director and communications team, and they helped refine it to this end result.” Local sign printing company TLC Signs is printing and donating 50 4-foot-by-8-foot signs for the event. “Ever since coronavirus hit the fan, we’ve been talking about how we can help other businesses,” said Brent Clawson, co-owner of TLC Signs. “We’ve been doing well over the past few years, and we want to give back to help other businesses who might be in a more difficult situation. This opportunity came up, and we wanted to give back to our community.” Sean Wilson, owner of the Riverton Jazzercise location, had to close her fitness studio as a result of the state health mandate. She was excited about the opportunity to promote her business with a free 30-day trial offer at the Business Blitz. “I think it is a phenomenal idea,” Wilson said of the blitz. “When Riverton city businesses do well the city does well, and then residents are happy to be here.’ Letters and emails were sent out to around 450 commercial businesses registered in Riverton, and 117 took advantage of this free event. In addition, Riverton city leaders added extra incentives for residents driving through the business blitz. “We wanted something fun for families, and we had lots of Easter eggs from our cancelled Easter egg hunt,” said Casey Saxton, Riverton director of communications. “We are elevating

a large container, and people driving through can guess how many eggs are in the container for a chance to win.” Staggs also offered up his unused travel allowance to purchase “thousands of dollars” in gift cards from participating businesses to give away during the business blitz. “Because of COVID-19, we weren’t able to use any of that travel budget, and I thought what better use than to try to support local businesses right now. We are paying for gift cards from that line item in the budget. We want our residents to be able to redeem and support those businesses and help them capture as much revenue now as they possibly can to help them through his period.” The Business Blitz will be available to drive through from May 1 through May 8 at Riverton City Park. Residents are invited to take pictures and support local businesses by taking advantage of their special deals. “It should be safe event,” Saxton said. “People will stay in their cars and drive through, so there will be no human-to-human contact.”l

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Olympia Hills referendum campaign comes to an end amid COVID-19 complications By Justin Adams | justin.a@thecityjournals.com


n March 4, the group Utah for Responsible Growth held a kickoff event for the signature-gathering campaign that aimed to put a referendum on the Salt Lake County Council’s approval of Olympia Hills on ballots in November. Exactly one week later, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus. There’s seemingly nothing that has not been impacted by the global pandemic, including the ability to gather signatures for referendums, campaigns and petitions. Referendums are particularly negatively impacted because they have a 45day window of time to gather signatures. So, group members don’t have the option of waiting until the world returns to normal. Utah for Responsible Growth had its application to begin gathering signatures approved (and their 45 days started) on March 30. The day before, Salt Lake County leaders had issued their stay-at-home order. However, organizers received some good news a few days later when Gov. Gary Herbert announced that Utahns gathering signatures for referendums would be able to do so electronically. “Citizen initiatives are an important part of our democratic process here in Utah,” said the memo released by Herbert’s office. “At this time, however, door-to-door signature gathering poses an unnecessary health risk, both to signature gatherers, and to the households they visit.” Optimism ran high following the governor’s announcement. Some might have even wondered if the possibility of gathering signatures electronically would be an advantage because of its convenience. Utah for Responsible Growth released a video, walking viewers through the process. They merely had to print out a signature sheet, sign it, either take a picture or scan of the document, then turn it back in through email or even text, all from the comfort of home. But it was not to be. On April 8, referendum organizers received a memo from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office clarifying some questions that still remained. Critically, it stated that each individual signature page still had to be accompanied by a printed-out copy of the law that is the subject of the referendum, even though Herbert’s initial executive order suspended that requirement. Because the Olympia Hills’ Master Development Agree-


It looks like the Olympia Hills development located to the northwest of Herriman will be happening after all. (City Journals file photo)

ment stands at 277 pages, organizers would have had to print all 277 pages for each signature page it received from the thousands of households needed. “Based on 277 pages from 60,000 homes, we would have been required to print nearly 16 million pieces of paper at a cost of over $1 million. For a volunteer resident group, this is an impossible amount to come up with,” said a press release sent out by Utah for Responsible Growth. This led URG to make the decision to suspend its referendum campaign, calling the situation “unfortunate” in its press release. The statement also questioned the appropriateness of the rules being allowed to change after the process had already




The RivertonJournal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout Riverton. For information about distribution please email brad.c@thecityjournals.com or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. The views and opinions expressed in display advertisements do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Loyal Perch Media or the City Journals. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the owner. © 2019 Loyal Perch Media, Inc.

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Bryan Scott | bryan.s@thecityjournals.com


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been started, and for not being more flexible for the current situation. “Our referendum laws in the state need to be updated to reflect the many ways available now to gather information and communicate with all voters,” group members said in the release. Now, URG is turning its attention to November’s elections as members “support candidates and policies that reflect our values,” including some local leaders who were engaged in the referendum process who are now seeking higher offices. l

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Riverton community comes together to celebrate graduating seniors By Justin Adams | justin.a@mycityjournals.com


ith the implementation of social distancing guidelines in response to COVID-19, it has been an anticlimactic last few months for Riverton High seniors. Classes cancelled. No prom. No sports. And no graduation. “My daughter was so bummed when school was cancelled. My son was happy because he gets to work and make money now,” said Sheridyn Cannon, whose twin children Treyson and Kenadi are seniors at Riverton High. “Both were very active in sports. All of that was taken from them. To not have a traditional graduation… it was a bummer. I wanted to do something nice for the kids.” That something ended up being an idea to make sure each graduating senior has a lawn sign commemorating their hard work and perseverance. Cannon and her husband, who own a real estate company, enlisted a few other Riverton-area businesses to donate funds to help produce the signs. Those businesses include City Creek Mortgage, TLC Signs, Sparkle in Pink and Pro Floors of Utah. When she reached out to the high school to try to find out just how many signs they’d have to be making, the Riverton administration loved the idea and offered to help as well. “It will hopefully help them feel some love and recognition,” said Assistant Princi-

pal Matt Tranter about the lawn signs. Tranter has been coordinating with Cannon on the design of the signs, as well as other efforts the school is making to ensure this year’s graduation is memorable, despite its limitations. For example, Riverton High is working with the surrounding cities of Riverton, Herriman and Bluffdale to create a special ornament that graduating seniors can decorate their caps with. Riverton teachers also put together a video of themselves holding positive and uplifting signs for their students. “It’s a hard time. It’s hard for students. It’s hard for teachers and administrators,” Tranter said. “We’re just feeling like all of us together can make it through it. We’re just trying to find a way to make this a unique and memorable experience.” It’s not yet clear exactly how or when the signs will be delivered to students’ homes. There is a possibility the signs will first all be displayed on Riverton High’s front lawn. If that happens, the signs could be up as early as the weekend of May 1-3. It may not be the same as a traditional graduation ceremony, but Cannon said she hopes it will be a little token that Riverton’s seniors will remember. “It’s more than anything else for the kids. It’s giving the kids a chance to say goodbye. It’s the end of a 12-year career.

Lawn signs were made for every Riverton senior. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

You live for your high school graduation. I think it’s important the kids have some kind of recognition. It’s important for people in the community.” “I love her determination—that she doesn’t let anything stop her from getting what she wants; she is a dreamer,” Otis said. Otis, a junior, also has dreams to be an actress.

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From left to right, Hailey Graham with dad, Jeremy, and sister Tessa looking stunning in their prom photos. (Photo courtesy of Randi Graham)

Riverton parents throw ‘quarantine prom’ for their daughters By Stephanie Yrungaray | s.yrungaray@mycityjournals.com


t might not have been the prom they dreamed of, but two Riverton girls had a quarantine prom night they won’t ever forget. Hailey Graham, a senior at Riverton High School, and her younger sister Tessa, a sophomore, were looking forward to their school’s March 27 prom. After prom was cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions, mom, Randi, and dad, Jeremy, came to the rescue. “The two of us had talked about doing something for them on their prom day,” said Jeremy Graham. “We woke up that morning and started preparing.” Before he left for work, Jeremy purchased Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the girls and wrote the message, “I know you donut have plans tonight, want to go to prom with

Page 6 | May 2020

me? Love, dad.” On his way to work, he stopped at the local Flower Patch and ordered two corsages. While he was working, Randi and her two younger daughters, 12-year-old Cassidy and 9-year-old Sophie, got to work decorating their house for the big dance. “I am not a party-planner person,” Randi said. “I texted my good friend, and she sent me cute ideas. We hung up streamers and made a banner that said #quarantineprom. We put up a bunch of lights and threw rose petals all over the floor. My younger daughters worked really hard at doing all of the decorating.” Hailey and Tessa dressed up in their prom dresses, and Jeremy knocked on the front door in his tuxedo ready for their date.

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Little sisters (from left to right) Sophie and Cassidy Graham decorate their house for their big sisters’ quarantine prom. (Photo courtesy of Randi Graham)

“I picked them up and took them out to dinner,” Jeremy said. “We went to the drive-thru because we can’t do anything else right now. We ordered Costa Vida and ate dinner in the car and laughed and had fun.” When Jeremy and his daughters returned home from dinner, the dancing started. “We turned on whatever music was streaming at the time, and it was a whole family thing,” said Jeremy. “All of our daughters and Randi danced and listened to

music in the living room.” “We had a lot of good laugh at the silly dancing,” Randi said. Jeremy posted a few pictures from the quarantine prom on Facebook, and his post had lots of shares and unexpected media attention. After Fox13 did a news segment on their quarantine prom, the girls were barraged with text messages from friends, classmates and teachers. Inside Edition asked to do a segment, but the family decided against it.

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“We were very surprised [by the media attention],” Randi said. “Our daughters were shocked that anyone thought it was that impressive.” For Randi and Jeremy, it was just a way to connect with their daughters and try to make a sad memory into a happy one. “We hope it cheered up our daughters on a night that they would have rather been hanging out with their friends,” Randi said. Now that Cassidy and Sophie saw the fun their big sisters had, will there be a future non-quarantine dad prom? “Hopefully they can go to their own proms,” Jeremy said. “But if they ever need a date, dad will always be there for them.” l

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Riverton Economic Recovery Plan aims to start repairing the pandemics destruction By Kirk Bradford | k.bradford@mycityjournals.com

R To the families we serve, The Larkin Mortuaries and Cemeteries are proud and honored to be assisting families and friends with their loss for the past 135 years. Given the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for you to know that we as funeral directors are taking precautions to limit exposure to the coronavirus. As we have always done, we are still operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week making certain that those entrusted to our care and the families we serve are receiving uninterrupted service and attention. In the last days and weeks, the Larkin management have been in regular contact with numerous state and federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control, National Funeral Directors Association and the Salt Lake County Health Department. Our continuing goal is ensuring the health and safety of the public and that the information we receive is as current and accurate as possible. These are just some of the changes we are implementing: • We are sanitizing our facilities several times daily • We are asking staff to stay home when possible • We are encouraging arrangements by phone and email • We are limiting the gathering size of our arrangement conferences, services and gravesides to meet the state and federal mandates That said, people will still be passing away and families will want to say goodbye. We still have a myriad of options. Your funeral director will explain ways that you can memorialize your loved one in a meaningful way. If you are experiencing a cough, fever, or shortness of breath, we encourage you to not attend funeral services. Reach out to the Larkin location handling services and we will be willing to share your sympathies with the family of the deceased and they may also offer some other options to let the bereaved know that you support and care for them during this difficult time. Notes of sympathy may also be left on our website for the family to see. Every obituary on our website allows for online condolences.

iverton Mayor Trent Staggs announced Riverton’s economic recovery plan last month. The initiative’s main goal is to focus on getting the city on stable footing and bring its economy back. It’s difficult for anyone to speculate if getting back to the way things were before is even possible. If local businesses can move just a small direction in a positive trajectory, it can allow the time for them to stay in business and turn the corner down the road. The initiative plans to start by helping local businesses address challenges stemming from COVID-19 and closures mandated by Salt Lake County leaders. Staggs said how concerned he was about the pandemic but also weighed in on his fears of the measures taken. “We must be able to find a balance between protecting public health and the need to get businesses opened back up and our residents working again,” he said. “These goals aren’t mutually exclusive.” The past week, individuals and groups voiced the opinion that the cure can’t end up being worse than the disease, and some feel it already is. Posts on social media, online news sources and the recent protest at the state capitol building are just a few examples of that frustration toward the current safety measures. Another illustration circulated the internet with the opinion this was to be expected and is a byproduct of flattening the curve. Overall, in comparison to other states, Utah

is viewed as handling the precautions well and has kept any hot spots from erupting so far. This has created some skeptics to any plans to slow the approach of opening the economy and the idea of continuing the safety guidelines has made others downright angry who feel the economy should be opened back up. To summarize the infection, COVID-19 has been categorized in the classes as an airborne respiratory illness that attacks the lungs. The fatigue, fever and breathing restrictions have been described as painful unless resting. Kevin Harris, a Warren, Ohio resident, is a survivor of the virus who recently explained his experience on Headline News. “This virus was not touch and go; it was all bad,” Harris said. “I am super healthy; I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I run on the elliptical an hour a day. When the virus hit, it turned my lungs to glass. It made it so the more I rested, the sicker I got. That’s why it’s really weird. The more I rested, the more I laid down, the better I would feel. I later found out it was turning my lungs to glass. When I’d get up to move, the pain, the headaches, vomiting would all come back, but the more I rested, the more of my lung capacity I was losing. Even weirder, when you lay down, it’s almost like a high. You feel better. In the hospital, they make you get up every couple of hours and move around, and it’s an intensive painful episode. But once I’d throw

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Viral illustration circulating social media this week regarding the dangers of opening the economy too quickly. (Kirk Bradford/City Journals)

Riverton City Journal

up and get through it, I could breathe a little better. I mean, you think you are going to die during those episodes, but once you get through it, you feel better. This virus makes you feel so good to just lay down until it’s too late, and you’ll die without a ventilator. If you do not force yourself to move and breath on your own, you will die without a ventilator.” Riverton’s initiative consists of a fivepoint plan to lay the groundwork for an economic recovery in Riverton. The first three points have already been executed, or are ongoing, and the last two points will be rolled out over May. The plan points according to the city include: • Business License Fee Elimination Extension – Riverton City will extend $0 business licensing fees through the 2020-2021 city budget and beyond. Riverton was the first city in Utah to eliminate licensing fees for businesses and did so back in 2018. • Temporary Signage Approval – Temporary signage restrictions have been temporarily lifted in Riverton to allow businesses opportunity to better advertise their products and services during the COVID-19 pandemic. • Eat Local Campaign – An “eat local” campaign continues in Riverton encouraging residents to support local restaurants who offer pick up, carry out or drive-thru options. Restaurants were the first businesses to be hit with operational restrictions in Salt Lake

County, and Riverton leaders said they acted quickly to roll out the campaign shortly after the announcement. A list of local restaurants currently open in Riverton is available at rivertonutah.gov/eatlocal. • Virtual Business Roundtable – Riverton City and the South Valley Chamber will host a virtual business roundtable for Riverton business owners and managers on April 21 at 10 a.m. The roundtable will be used to connect businesses with available state and federal resources, gather input, take questions and outline Riverton’s road to economic recovery. Local business owners and managers can register to participate at rivertonutah.gov/roundtable. • Business Blitz – Riverton City will host and promote a free drive-thru event, called the Riverton Business Blitz, where residents and neighbors can access special deals and discounts offered by local businesses. The event will be held from Friday, May 1 to Friday, May 8 at Riverton City Park. The city will design and print large format ads for local businesses who are interested in participating. Residents will then drive-thru the park, photographing or accessing great deals and Riverton’s Five Point Plan is the first series of steps to move toward opening the economy recently announced discounts they are interested in that are then Mayor Trent Staggs (Courtesy Riverton City) redeemed at local businesses. There is no cost for businesses to participate. All Riverton business are eligible to Staggs felt the Business Blitz was a that will connect customers to our local busigood balance of safety while balancing the nesses and help invigorate our local econo- participate. If you haven’t enrolled but my and commercial businesses in Riverton,” would like to be a part of the event, you can needs of the businesses in the area. still sign up at rivertonutah.gov/blitz. l “This is a safe, social distancing event he said. 

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Administrator of the Year takes on cell phones and tardies By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


hat does it take to be named Utah Middle Level Administrator of the Year? Being a great listener is key, said Oquirrh Hills Middle School Principal Donna Hunter, who recently won that title. “I was nominated because I work with great people,” she said. “I like to listen to teachers. They’re trained professionals, they’re smart people, they know the kids, they know their subjects, they know the school, they know the community. Why wouldn’t I listen to them?” Hunter transferred to OHMS mid-year last year and immediately addressed teachers’ two biggest concerns: cell phones and tardies. She worked with teachers, administrators, parents and students to create new policies that have had a big impact on classroom learning. “If they’re not in class, and they’re not paying attention, we can’t make them any smarter,” Hunter said. “Our job is to make them smarter, so that’s what we want them to do.” The cell phone policy is simple: No cell phones in any class, anytime, for any reason, period. Teachers are grateful to have unified policy at last. “I have been teaching for eight years at OHMS, and each and every day was a battle with phones, until this one,” said science teacher Christopher Nichols. Hunter said classrooms have become a better learning environment for all, and instances of cyber bullying have decreased. “We have a lot more student engagement because they’re not worried about what kind of messages are coming in on their phone because they don’t have them during class periods,” Hunter said. “My teachers have been so on top of it.” The stricter tardy policy encourages students to arrive to class on time and to value and respect their teachers’ time. Nichols said the administration’s new policies teach students to take responsibility for their learning. “Their efforts have created a cultural shift at OHMS where learning is emphasized, and clear expectations for the entire school

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Donna Hunter, with her Utah Middle Level Administrator of the Year Award. (Vicki Wartman/OHMS)

have been created to help all students succeed,” he said. “There is nothing more powerful than a student taking ownership of their education.” Former OHMS assistant principal Audrey Fish praised the way Hunter encourages her staff’s individual growth and supports them in whatever they need to be successful. “She gives teachers a lot of voice and choice, which I think is empowering,” said Fish, who was recently recognized as the Secondary School Assistant Principal of the Year for Utah and a top-three finalist for the national title. Vicki Wartman, OHMS hall monitor, said Hunter is a proactive problem-solver who invests in both teacher and student growth. “She is loyal to OHMS and wants students and teachers to grow and reach our goals,” Wartman said. “She is a champion for our middle school students. She clearly loves them and spends a large part of her day building relationships with them while maintaining structure within the building.” The school closure, due to the

COVID-19 outbreak, has been a heartbreaking adjustment for Hunter. “The hardest thing is not being able to high-five kids in the hall,” she said. “I have 1,300 favorite children, and they’re not around.” Hunter continues to support her staff long distance. “Our faculty meetings are on Zoom now,” she said. “We’re trying to keep each other afloat. It’s hard on everybody trying to find the right balance of how much work we should expect from kids.” Hunter said the OHMS faculty will continue to work together to make improvements in teacher and student growth. “We’ve got lots of other plans, and we are collectively committed to doing a fabulous job,” she said. “We are united as the faculty, and that’s what I’m most proud of.” Hunter feels honored to be nominated for her award because she loves her job. “I put my heart and soul into this,” she said. “It’s a great source of joy for me. To be recognized like that truly touched my heart.” l




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May 2020 | Page 11


SM KED MEATS Gratitude. A letter to our colleagues

It’s times like these that show what you’re made of. At Lone Peak Hospital, and across our HCA Healthcare network, what we’re made of is incredible people.

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We feel so fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most kind and compassionate humans on earth. Today, you’re being challenged like never before, yet you remain focused and positive, always working toward a healthier tomorrow. Your resilience is what keeps us all going. It’s what makes us. For each and every one of our colleagues, we are forever grateful. Thank you.

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Page 12 | May 2020

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Riverton City Journal 4/21/20 1:18 PM

MAY 2020

RIVERTON REVIEW Official Newsletter of the Riverton, Utah City Government MAYOR’S MESSAGE

Reflecting on Sacrifice; Remembering Our Heroes By Mayor Trent Staggs Americans do not live in fear – it is not in our DNA. From the days of Independence, to conquering the frontier, defeating Nazism and Imperialism and to winning the Cold War, Americans don’t cower to challenges but find a way to protect and advance liberty throughout the globe. Although we believe that all men are endowed by their Creator with the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, these rights I ask that we all honor their sacrificnonetheless require political protec- es by doing our part to remember tion. This month we have the oppor- that service, understand what that tunity to humbly service has proremember and revided for us, and flect on the heroes find opportunities who have selflessly to serve others “No matter the left the comfort of here at home. struggles we currently This can be done their homes, professions and famface, there is light at by making donailies to serve and to commuthe end of the tunnel. tions protect the freenity groups that Struggles make us doms we hold so provide for veterdear. Their patrians and seniors. stronger.” otism and service We can visit with towards their felour veterans, lislow man and their tening to their stocountry will forever ries, sharing their live on through all of us, but only if stories, ensuring that they live on. we take the time to reflect on that We can participate in Memorial Day service and the resulting liberty we services and visit the gravesites, with have so generously received. reverenced appreciation of those


| MAY 2020

We Are Doing Great - Just a Few More to Go! The 2020 U.S. Census is in full swing. Riverton is doing well at a nearly 70% completion rate but we still have a ways to go. Encourage your neighbors and friends to take the census because we all count! who gave that last full measure of devotion. And, we can continue to support and pray for the men and women currently risking their lives to protect our freedoms. This nation was created by dreamers. We dream of shelter and safety for our loved ones, financial success, opportunity, and the ability to live happy lives. More than ever before I believe we are destined to prosper. No matter the struggles we currently face, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Struggles make us stronger; they allow us to grow and appreciate the simple things in life. I ask that we all take stock of the good in our lives, as there is much to be thankful for. Remember our fallen heroes, be thankful and stay strong!

The Census is critical to: • Measure Riverton’s growth • Determine political representation • Plan for the city’s future • Ensure federal and state resources are appropriately allocated If you have not received, or misplaced your census mailer visit: rivertonutah.gov/census



Next Generation: Serving the Community as a First Responder

MAYOR Trent Staggs tstaggs@rivertonutah.gov 801-208-3129

CITY COUNCIL Sheldon Stewart - District 1 sstewart@rivertonutah.gov 801-953-5672 Troy McDougal - District 2 tmcdougal@rivertonutah.gov 801-931-9933 Tawnee McCay - District 3 tmccay@rivertonutah.gov 801-634-7692 Tish Buroker - District 4 tburoker@rivertonutah.gov 801-673-6103 Claude Wells - District 5 cwells@rivertonutah.gov 801-875-0116

CITY MANAGER Interim City Manager Ryan Carter rcarter@rivertonutah.gov 801-208-3171


City Hall............................... Cemetery............................ Animal Control.................... Building............................... Code Enforcement.............. Fire Dispatch (UFA)............. Justice Court....................... Parks & Recreation............. Planning & Zoning.............. Police.................................. Public Works....................... Recorder.............................. Utility Billing........................ Water...................................

801-254-0704 801-208-3128 801-208-3108 801-208-3127 801-208-3174 801-743-7200 801-208-3131 801-208-3101 801-208-3138 385-281-2455 801-208-3162 801-208-3128 801-208-3133 801-208-3164

FIND US ONLINE! @rivertonutahgov www.rivertonutah.gov PAGE 2

By Battalion Chief Wade Watkins Why do some people want to serve the community as a first responder? Presently the reality consists of challenging circumstances to say the least. The challenges professionally include pandemic, earthquake, fire and limitless hazards. The impacts on someone’s personal reality include sleep deprivation, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and lengthy time away from loved ones with minimal monetary gain. Nevertheless, we consistently have incredible people with the drive to pursue this endeavor. I am impressed with the intensity and desire of the next generation of first responders. The story below is the personal journey of one of Riverton’s own, Josh Gehrke. Raised by a firefighter, he has gained perspective on service, community and hard work. “Ever since I was a child, I looked up to my dad and the honorable work that he did as a firefighter. I cherished being able to visit him at the fire station; these visits sparked the desire for me to become a firefighter. These experiences inspired me to carry on the family legacy by be-

coming a third-generation firefighter. A specific experience I had when I was sixteen made this desire even stronger. I went on a youth trek with the members of my church and local community. During the trek, we had heavy rainfall that we were not prepared for. As a result, many of the youth were panicking and becoming restless. The decision was made that everyone should be evacuated to a nearby farm to take shelter. Because of what I was taught growing up, I was able to assist with the evacuation and organization of the youth. I also tried to help keep people calm and in good spirits. Afterwards, the leaders thanked me for my efforts, and that made me more motivated to follow my dad’s example. Growing up on the shoulders of heroes instilled in me a service-oriented mindset and a motivation to improve my community. I have always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself and make the world around me a better place. Being in a position to save lives and help people in crisis would be the ideal career for me. Going forward in my life, I want to be involved in work that I am proud of and that allows me to protect those I love as well as the people I serve. Being a firefighter or first responder would give me the skillset to assist with emergencies in which I would otherwise be helpless. Other benefits would be the ability to make a difference in life and death situations, career growth, and the

Riverton’s own Josh Gehrke, a part-time emergency responder with Unified Fire Authority

means to support my family and myself. With all the panic and fear in the world, especially right now, I want to know that my family will be taken care of, and that I will be someone capable of keeping them as safe as I can.” I find Josh’s personal journey motivating and refreshing. On a professional and personal level, I am so incredibly happy for the next generation of first responders and the community we serve. Having extraordinary people step up during these challenging times is awe-inspiring. We can all make a difference and remember staying prepared to keep your family and community safe and healthy is everyone’s responsibility.

Support Riverton Restaurants Riverton City encourages residents to support local restaurants. Many are struggling and need our support to remain in business. Order today and order often! Find a full list of local restaurants on our web site at

rivertonutah.gov/eatlocal RIVERTON REVIEW

| MAY 2020


Let’s Support Each Other During COVID-19 and Beyond By Councilman Sheldon Stewart As I write, we are in week 3 of work from home activities, and remote learning due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This has caused me to reflect on significant events that have occurred throughout my life and how we as a nation have come back from these events. As the Mayor and City Council have worked through this, I believe we all recognize the potential outcomes and the current impacts to our community. Our focus has been how we can best support our Riverton family. We recognize and understand the fear that arises and have acknowledge in ourselves these same fears. As a city we have been smart in our management of money and resources and have an amazing city with dedicated members of this family, we as residents, our police, fire, and all of our other city staff are being innovative in the way we support this community family. We will prevail and before long, this disease will be in the rear view mirror.

As a young child growing up in Riverton, I know one thing we are a tough community that works hard and strives for the betterment of our community. This is still true today! We are a city rooted deep in our values and believe the mission statement developed by the Mayor Staggs and the City Council sum these up well: Riverton City provides essential services that enhance the quality of life and sense of community for all citizens. We foster kind, open and responsive interactions, generating positive citizen involvement and innovative solutions. During this unique time, I want to focus on the final two points of this statement “positive citizen involvement” and “innovative solutions.” I call upon each of you to look at these statements and see what you can do to help our community. If you have an idea on: 1. How to better support one another 2. Assist the city or Riverton businesses


Share your ideas in the manner you are most comfortable or even take action right away. As you do tag Riverton in your posts or tweets and encourage others. I want to emphasize this is a request of all there is no age requirement or skill set, each resident has a unique set of talents that can help. We know it works, as seen with Mayor Staggs’ resident committees. These committees strengthen our community through low to no cost alternatives that have enhanced the services many of our residents are seeing throughout our city. One final request along these lines for all that can use a phone, reach out and call, not text, one member of your family and one member of your neighborhood or community: 1. Find out how they are doing and offer support to them through your words. 2. Encourage them to do the same call a family member and member of their neighborhood or community. Be Safe!


Secondary Water Is Flowing We encourage all Riverton residents to be responsible and water only when needed. Utah Water Resources has created a watering lawn guide that is updated weekly to show how many irrigations are needed each week. Use 20 minutes with pop-up spray heads and 40 minutes with impact/ rotor sprinklers per irrigation cycle. Utah could save more than 20 billion gallons of water every summer if everyone were to water according to the guide!


| MAY 2020

MAY 2020


• Shredding • Cardboard • Glass • Electronics * * Visit rivertonutah.gov/beautiful for details on electronics recycling

• Riverton residents only - must provide proof of residency • No businesses • No tires (We did that in March)

Tuesday, May 19 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Located at northwest parking lot at Riverton City Hall. Enter from Park Avenue. We ask that healthy attendees practice responsible social distancing at this outdoor event.

conservewater. utah.gov/guide.html

For more information, visit: rivertonutah.gov/beautiful


COVID-19 VISIT RIVERTONUTAH.GOV/COVID19 • COVID-19 Hotline & Symptoms Information • Vulnerable Populations & Service Opportunities • Price Gouging Reporting • City Issued Updates • Community Facility / Business Closures • Community Event & Meeting Updates

Stay Connected and Informed EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS

Get the latest city updates, e-newsletters, event information and other news delivered right to your inbox



Get emergency alerts and notifications on important city updates on your cell phone 3-4 times per month.



We Are at City Hall Working For You In order to accommodate “social distancing” we strongly encourage citizens to conduct all city hall business by phone or online.

Main Reception 801-254-0704 Attorney’s Office Animal Control Building Code Enforcement Finance/Accounting Human Resources

801-208-3140 801-208-3108 801-208-3127 801-208-3174 801-208-3107 801-208-3135

Justice Court Parks & Recreation Planning Purchasing Recorder/Cemetery Utility Billing

Connect with Riverton City to get quick updates, essential information, event details and more on the platforms you use.

@rivertonutahgov 801-208-3131 801-208-3145 801-208-3138 801-208-3175 801-208-3128 801-208-3133

conduct business online at rivertonutah.gov


Report a problem, see the city calendar, get directions to parks and city facilities, and find city information right from your mobile device


UPCOMING RIVERTON CITY EVENTS With the rapidly changing events due to the COVID-19 virus, we recommend you regularly visit rivertonutah.gov to find the most recent event and meeting information. PAGE 4


| MAY 2020

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May 2020 | Page 17

Seven months after tearing ACL, Riverton luger took home gold, silver medals By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com

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even months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, Orson Colby took home a gold and silver medal at the Norton USA Luge Youth National Championships on Feb. 29 to March 1 at Lake Placid, New York. He also won the luge youth nationals in Park City last year, posting the fastest time in his division by over a second. But last August, the 14-yearold Riverton resident tore his ACL. “He was non-weight-bearing for 12 weeks,” said his mother, Kelly Colby. “It was hard, but he never got discouraged; he worked hard to get back at it.” Part of the rehab process involved being able to stop the sled at the end of the race and carry a 50-pound sled. Colby wasn’t cleared to start doing runs until Dec. 20, a little over two months before nationals, but said he was ready to go for Lake Placid. “I was 100% [physically] but still kind of in nervous mode [mentally],” Colby said. There were two separate seeding races, but the combination of the two events (four heats) crowns the national champion. The first seeding race saw Colby claim gold finishing with the fastest times in both heats. A rough start to his third run in the second race dropped him down to 10th. He rebounded on the fourth run with the best time, which vaulted him up to fourth for the second seeding race. Between the two events, Colby claimed silver with a combined time of 3.13.458. In three of the four races, he had the fastest time. The Lake Placid track is different from the Park City track (the only two tracks in the United States). Park City’s track, where Colby practices regularly, is fast with giant turns and more G force. Colby can get up to 62 mph. In practice, he can only do five runs a day due to fatigue. “Lake Placid has more turns, and it’s a slower track; it’s more technical,” Kelly said. “There was a learning curve.” “There’s not much speed; the start feels like you’re going really slow,” added Colby. Colby said overall he felt good about the weekend (including staying at the Olympic Village), and was quick to congratulate his teammate Joey Heuser of Park City, who took home the overall gold.

Orson Colby sports his two medals from the USA Luge Youth National Championships in Lake Placid, New York. (Photo courtesy Kelly Colby)

“I was really proud of him that he did that,” Colby said. “For me, you just keep moving forward.” Colby now awaits the announcement of the national team (scheduled for May 1). Kelly said they hope to make the C (competitive) team, he’s been on the D (development) team. He’ll also move up to the youth A division this year for ages 15-18. It’s part of the next step in a sport Colby started as a “thing to get a merit badge.” But after being invited to try it on the ice, he’s been hooked ever since. “He’s played all the little league sports, but this has been the one thing he’s never complained about,” Kelly said. “Practices are 3.5-hour commitments with travel time. He never complains.” Colby remembers feeling panicked his first time down the ice, but he “surprisingly didn’t hit the wall” as much as he thought he would. “A lot of times when you overthink it, you hit the walls because you’re only

thinking about that,” he said. “But when you relax and just think about the track, you can go down nice and smooth.” “Luge is a relaxation sport,” Kelly said. “If they’re tense on the sled then you can’t steer it.” Luge has affected Colby’s life off the ice too. He said he thinks faster, has improved his reaction time and learned how to do hard things. Kelly noted his confidence, focus in school and leadership abilities have also improved. Also, the thermostat in his room was reset. He never gets cold. Orson, described as an adrenaline junkie by his mom, grew up on a motorcycle (it’s how he tore his ACL) racing on tracks and riding trails. It’s easy to forget he still doesn’t have a driver’s license. He once asked his mom, as they drove down the freeway doing 65 mph if it was scary to drive this fast with cars by you. “I think what he does is scarier,” Kelly said. l

Riverton City Journal

How yearbooks will look as schools rush to complete them By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com

CENSUS 2020 BEGINS ONLINE MARCH 12, 2020 Alta High School students Madi Bowles, Miken McGill, Hasti Kazemzadeh, Brandon Lups and Arianna Christensen reviewed proof pages from this year’s yearbook before Gov. Gary Herbert directed students to complete the year online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Alta High School yearbook staff)


illcrest High co-editor Maya Everett said the yearbook’s due date to the printer was April 6, weeks after March 13 when the soft closure of schools was announced. “Yearbook looks a lot different with all of us at home,” she said. “We’re struggling to include spring sports since many of those didn’t have home competitions. We also are incorporating COVID-19 in a positive way, showing how we’re staying connected to teachers and the school.” Hillcrest, like most schools, has to complete pages by a series of deadlines throughout the year. There were still some clubs that had yet to take a group photo. “Robotics had their regional qualifier, so we have lots of photos from that we can use. With theatre, we have a write-up from the main character in ‘Richard II,’ which was ready to take the stage when the school closed. With sports, it’s been harder. Soccer had photos from an away tournament. Track had one home meet, but our photographer was going to go to the meet the week after school got canceled. The theme of our school year and our yearbook is ‘moments,’ so we’re asking some seniors and team captains for their favorite moments and asking them to drive by and we’ll fill in the gaps with those,” said Everett, who shares the editor position with Emily Smiliach. Jordan High’s yearbook also was weeks from being completed when schools were closed. “We had about seven spreads – mostly spring sports – left and needed photos,” said senior Brooke Gooch, who is a yearbook writer. “We’ve asked kids for photos


at practices.” Jordan’s yearbook also will include a coronavirus spread. “We wrote about it, explaining what it was, and then tried to include some funny stories, how students are keeping from going stir-crazy and tried to keep it lighthearted,” she said. However, both girls don’t know what is to happen to spring yearbook sales, distribution and even, students signing one another’s yearbook. That was something Alta High yearbook adviser Denise Ferguson was planning to address, but in the meantime, was tracking the school’s yearbook as it traveled from California – where the printer closed since it was deemed a “non-essential business” to another printing facility in Tennessee. “We’ll get it from Tennessee when all of this subsides,” she said. “We’ll have to figure out how to get it to our students.” Alta’s book was in the final stages when the soft closure was announced and, like the other yearbooks, had a challenge with spring sports. “When Murray (School District) closed on the 12th, I said, ‘Let’s just get photos today, just in case,’” she said. “We got tennis, but they weren’t in uniform. Boys soccer dressed in their uniforms for the practice for us. We have what we got from lacrosse and girls golf, and a parent gave us some baseball action photos. With baseball, we also got permission to use the Lifetouch portraits and converted those to black-and-white to create a grid, like baseball cards. It looks fabulous, like we

planned it.” Memory books in middle school also had deadlines to meet after the soft closure. At Elk Ridge Middle, adviser Steve Pollock said that this was a special edition since it was the 25th anniversary of the school opening and for the first time, the 75-page memory book will be hard cover. “We missed so many things we would have liked to include like the last concerts of fine arts – orchestra, band, dance – and the student talent show, which we had a whole page devoted to,” he said about the last 40 pages they were turning in. “We had to scramble to figure out how to fill some of those.” Elk Ridge, like the high schools, reached out to students to learn how they were spending time at home with their families during the soft closure to include in the memory book. The staff also included more candid shots of students. Already included in the book is a spread of the anniversary of the school, including highlighting four teachers who are still teaching there, and photos, which included the first principal and assistant principal. As the students were home, Pollock and a parent volunteer, who worked with staff on writing and layouts throughout the year, ensured that the last pages were completed. “What was funny about photos missing with this yearbook was that we had ordered yearbook shirts and were waiting for them to come in,” Pollock said. “So, we didn’t even have our yearbook staff photo to include.” l

The U.S. Census helps fund our schools, health care, roads, and other important parts of our community. It’s quick, easy to fill out and confidential.






May 2020 | Page 19

State and city emergency managers cite key lessons from March earthquake By Joshua Wood | j.wood@mycityjournals.com


he Great Utah Shakeout came a month early this year with the real deal. The 5.7 magnitude earthquake that shook the Salt Lake Valley on March 18, and the many aftershocks in the weeks that followed, made all those past community earthquake drills startlingly relevant. The good news was that the March 18 quake was not “the big one” that Utahns have been taught to expect. On the other hand, officials learned that many residents still needed a lot more practice in preparedness. “It’s given us an opportunity to practice our emergency management process,” said Wade Mathews, Be Ready Utah manager with the Utah Division of Emergency Management. “We were already active for COVID-19, and it’s given us an opportunity. People didn’t quite remember what to do. We want to emphasize the importance of stay where you are, stop, drop and hold on.” Mathews cited the quake as a great learning opportunity for everyone. In the event of a much larger earthquake, the shaking would likely be too violent for people to run for cover. Even in large aftershocks, the best thing for people to do in the moment is to stay where they are, drop down, and hold on for cover. If an earthquake were to strike when people are in bed, for example,

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Gov. Gary Herbert and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson in the State Emergency Operations Center on March 18 during the first ever level 1 activation for the 5.7 magnitude earthquake in Magna. (Photo courtesy of Wade Mathews, Utah Division of Emergency Management)

Mathews said the best thing for them to do is to stay in bed and put a pillow over their heads for protective cover. The March earthquake provided real experience for local emergency personnel to put all their drills into practice. Cottonwood Heights canceled its annual Shakeout event due to social distancing measures for the COVID-19 pandemic, but officials tentatively plan to hold a drill this fall. Lessons learned from the recent earthquake will help inform their planning. “The biggest thing that we’ve seen is

that it has brought the realization that it could happen,” said Assistant Emergency Manager Julie Sutch of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department. “That’s probably the biggest takeaway. We’re seeing more people being geared toward preparedness.” Preparedness is the primary concern for Mathews. From the state level to community organizations to each household, knowing what to do is the top priority. “We’re going to emphasize protective action more with our outreach,” Mathews said. “If we don’t know how to survive the disaster, the rest of our

plans don’t matter. We want everyone to be able to survive. That’s why we emphasize protective action so much.” Protective action during an earthquake includes: • Drop to your hands and knees to protect yourself from being knocked down • Cover your head and neck with one arm • Crawl under a sturdy desk or table if one is nearby • If no table or desk is nearby, crawl to an interior wall • Stay on your hands and knees, bent over to protect vital organs • If you get under a desk or table for shelter, hold on to a leg until the shaking stops • If not under shelter, cover your head and neck with both arms For more tips on earthquake preparedness, visit shakeout.org/Utah. The lessons of the recent earthquake, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, have provided real reminders of the importance of emergency preparedness. “We want to create a culture of preparedness where we live,” Mathews said. “Knowing the risks of where we live helps us have emergency preparedness plans in place.” l

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Page 20 | May 2020

Riverton City Journal

Eat well to perform well By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com


hether doing squat jumps and mountain climbers in your basement or running (with social distancing in mind) at your local park, people are finding ways to train for their preferred sports. But one important aspect to remember is nutrition. The topic of sports nutrition is likely to spark constant change and intriguing research for a competitive or recreational athlete. “It can all depend on the type of activity you are doing as to what you should be eating,” Andrea Talbot, a registered dietitian nutritionist at the Bariatric Medicine Institute in Salt Lake City, said. What is sports nutrition? Nutrition is the foundation of athletic success. A well-designed nutrition plan allows active athletes to perform at their best. The right type of food will supply energy, nutrients and fluids to keep the body hydrated and functioning at peak levels. “Think about food as being fuel,” said personal trainer at Drive Personal Performance Center Kenyon James. “For a race car to perform at its best it needs clean fuel, the best it can get. If you go get unleaded fuel from the gas station before the race it will never go fast. The same is true for an athlete. If they eat junk food the body will not work well.” The energy our bodies need for the best

body function comes from three main food groups. Carbohydrates are either simple or complex. Simple carbs include sugars that occur naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables and milk. Breads and potatoes are examples of complex carbs. The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into glucose which feeds energy to the body’s cells. Proteins are made up of amino acids. It plays an important role in muscle recovery and growth. Fats provide energy to the body and protect our organs and cell membranes. A well-designed diet and plan will include sufficient calories and healthy nutrients. Depending on the activity the athlete may adjust his intake for his or her needs. “I used to eat like five to six thousand calories when I was riding my bike in training,” former competitive cyclist Kiley Cook said. “I eat a lot less now, but weigh about 15 pounds more. My dad bod is coming in nicely.” Cook said his failure to adjust diet could be affecting the way his body digests the food he is eating. Endurance event participants of one to two hours daily should eat three to five grams of carbs per pound of body weight to keep up with demand of energy on the body. A

200-pound man should eat approximately 600g of carbohydrates, but should use minimal amounts of fat and proteins the day of an event according to active.com. If activities last more than one hour it is important to replenish the electrolytes and glucose, sports drinks and fluids are a good idea for endurance athletes. Resistance training programs are designed to build strength. Protein intake is especially vital. According to werywellfit.com protein requirements can vary by body type and fitness level. We all lose body water throughout the day. Athletes lose additional body water through sweat. Fluid replacement is an essential part of a nutrition plan to maintain the body’s optimum performance. “If you feel thirsty you’re already becoming dehydrated,” Talbot said. “Drinking is a very personal thing during training. You do not necessarily need electrolytes replacement unless the activity takes more than 90 minutes.” Whether exercising as a competitive athlete or for health improvement, sport nutrition should play an important role in your success. It can help enhance performance, improve recovery and make reaching goals possible. l

A long distance runner should be concerned about the food they eat to maximize their performance. West Jordan junior Abigail Jackson uses the high school trainers and coaches to learn what is best for her performance. (Greg James/City Journals)

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Online school administrator offers tips on virtual education By Libby Allnatt | l.allnatt@mycityjournals.com

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ith Utah classrooms set to be closed for the remainder of the academic year, teachers, parents and students continue to adjust. Social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19 have altered the daily lives of Utahns in everything from grocery shopping to working from home. As schools closed their doors in March, students found themselves thrust into learning remotely as teachers had to move lessons online in lieu of face-to-face instruction. Erin Taylor, the principal of online school Utah Connections Academy and a school administrator of 15 years, said her advice to parents helping their children do school from home and teachers moving their lessons online is the same: keep things simple. “What is most important? What’s the objective? Then work backward,” she said. “We don’t have to be bringing the new flashy things in. Hit the basics, do what’s right in front of you. Having that be your daily objective would make less stress.” While communication is important, too much can be overwhelming. “I think everyone’s being bombarded on both sides with ideas. The best advice I can give is to simplify things,” she said. Scheduling your day with a basic outline of tasks to do can be helpful for students doing their schoolwork virtually (and adults adjusting to working from home). “It’s hard to put it away for an hour and come back to it,” Taylor said. “I think it’s

best to schedule it in, then check the box that you’re done with the day.” She also advises students to reach out to their teachers if they need help. “We’re all learning as we go. Ask questions, and check in with your teacher rather than get frustrated,” she said. “On the other side is a person that wants to help.” The current situation is here to stay a little while longer: Gov. Gary Herbert announced on April 14 that all public K-12 schools would continue to be closed through the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year. But despite the challenges that come with any changes in one’s learning environment, there can be positive sides to remote learning as well, said Taylor. “We see the advantage in that it allows people to focus on education and then be done with it for the day and move on to something else,” she said. “The flexibility is the best thing that virtual education brings.” Taylor emphasized that with so much uncertainty, putting in your best efforts each day is all you can do. “In this unprecedented time, we all need to cut ourselves a lot of slack,” she said. “If we’re doing the best we can, that’s good enough.” She compares the current situation to learning a foreign language: not something that can be completely mastered overnight. “If we could just be conversational… We don’t need a mastery of the language,” she said. l

Riverton City Journal

Celebrating poetry while staying in our hives By Katy Whittingham | k.whittingham@mycityjournals.com


ike many events, the second annual Utah Poetry Festival, scheduled for April 18 on the University of Utah campus was cancelled. But Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal has suggestions for celebrating poetry from home.

Poet Cynthia Atkin’s new collection “Still-Life With God.”

Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal. (Photo by Emily London)

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Joel Long and City Arts are hosting video poems by Utah poets on their Facebook pages, and there are many other poets uploading videos of themselves reading on Twitter. As for podcasts, Rekdal said, “Please check out ‘The Slowdown’ for a brief moment of poetry, hosted by former US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, or go to the Poetry Foundation, which has regular poetry discussions online and on their own podcasts.” Rekdal recognizes that, “it’s a tough time for artists now,” so poetry enthusiasts should check out who has a new book out and Rosebud Ben Oni has put together a comprehensive list on the Kenyon Review site. “It’s a great way to support writers and poets and see how vibrant the poetry publishing world still is,” Rekdal said. The list titled, “Open to All: A Crowd Sourced List of Over 300 Mid-2019 to 2020 Poetry Titles,” can be found at kenyonreview.org. One of the many standouts is the recently released St. Julien Press title, “Still-Life With God,” by Virginia-based poet and teacher Cynthia Atkins. Atkins admits that it’s a strange time to have a collection come out and rely so much on social media to connect to readers, but she remains hopeful about our connection through poetry nonetheless. “When we are tested to the brink, I’m hoping our best humanity

shows through,” she said. Another easy accessible resource is “Poets in Pajamas” a free, online reading series run through Facebook Live that connects readers and writers across the world. Readings take place twice per month on Sundays at 7 p.m. ET and can be found on their Facebook page. Massachusetts-based poet Tzynya Pinchback, featured in episode 62, discusses her celebration through writing about everyday happenings like “sun on my face” and “a good cup of coffee” since her battle with cancer, which is inspiring in these times when no big events are taking place. The Utah Poet Laureate represents communities, schools and libraries and is a governor appointed advocate for poetry, literature and the arts in the state. The position was established in 1997. Rekdal, an award-winning writer, has held the position since 2017 and teaches at the University of Utah, where she is the creator and editor of the community web project, “Mapping Salt Lake City.” To read more about Rekdal visit paisleyrekdal.com. The Utah State Poetry Society, “an organization dedicated to the creation and appreciation of poetry” and founded in 1950, also has links for events, contests, publications, resources and more at utahpoets.com l



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May 2020 | Page 23

Students ‘don’t stop believing’ despite show cancellation By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


o audience will ever see Riverton High School’s music, dance and theater class’s performance of the ’80s rock musical “Rock of Ages.” However, the show has had a lasting effect on the students who rehearsed for it together in February and then virtually in March before learning the play was cancelled due to community social distancing measures. “I learned from the character even though I didn’t get to present that character to people, and it will influence me in the future,” said senior Gage White. “Rock of Ages” is the story of two young people chasing their dreams of stardom. White was cast as Drew, the wannabe rock star who finds the road to success isn’t what he thought it would be. “The whole theme of the story is you may not leave with the same dreams that you came in with but they rock nonetheless— (pun intended),” White said. He said the message ties in nicely with what his experience has been for the last several weeks. He’s moving on from high school and from theater in an unexpected way but isn’t letting the abrupt change prevent him from moving forward on a new pathway. “You take it in your stride, and you learn from it, and it’s just going to make you a better person,” he said. White said he’s already developed new skills from this experience. While he wasn’t very computer savvy a month ago, he now uses the computer to complete his high school classes and to apply for colleges. He believes his future is wide open. “I’m not someone that has known since elementary school that I wanted to do a certain thing,” he said. “There’s ideals and places that I would love to be, but I never know for sure where my life is going. But I know

The cast rehearses for “Rock of Ages” before the show was cancelled when Utah schools closed for the year. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

that however it ends, it’ll be good. I just need to go with the flow but work toward my dreams, and it’ll all pay off.” White believes taking opportunities that come his way will lead him to where he needs to be. He is an actor, singer, violinist and cheerleader and is still searching for his one true passion. White’s would-be co-star Emma Otis

found her character very relatable. In the show, Sherrie leaves her small town for the glamorous big city with dreams of being an actress. “I love her determination—that she doesn’t let anything stop her from getting what she wants; she is a dreamer,” Otis said. Otis, a junior, also has dreams to be an actress.

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“I know what I want to do, and I’m doing everything I can to reach that point,” she said. She said the message of the show resonates with her and can be summed up in the lyrics of one the show’s ’80s rock songs: “‘Don’t stop believing’ and pursue what you love,” she said. l

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Riverton City Journal

Utah’s assistant principal of the year impacts 3 local middle schools By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


n the past 11 years, Assistant Principal Audrey Fish has impacted students and staff at West Jordan High (2009-10), Elk Ridge Middle (2010-16), Oquirrh Hills Middle (201620) and Fort Herriman Middle (present) with her innovative ideas and perceptive philosophies. Co-workers describe her as enthusiastic, energetic, creative, a go-getter, fun, generator of great ideas, loyal, nurturing, positive and insightful. Fish was recently named Utah’s Secondary School Assistant Principal of the Year and moved on to finish in the top three assistant principals nationally. “She’s very deserving to be in the top three,” said Oquirrh Middle School Principal Donna Hunter. “I’m so happy for her that she was able to be recognized for her hard work, good ideas and her follow-through.” Other former and current colleagues echo Hunter’s sentiments. “Even though Audrey no longer works at Elk Ridge Middle, her leadership and legacy she left behind continue to impact us in many positive ways,” said Elk Ridge teacher Patricia Bronson. “She truly loves the students and teachers at the school, and it shows in her actions,” said Fort Herriman Principal Eric Price. “She is always looking for new ways to help the students and teachers. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and she has been a great addition to our team. She has already made an impact even though she has only been here since February.” Fish said she has benefitted from supportive co-workers. “I would say every principal and vice principal I’ve worked with has helped with this award,” Fish said. “They’ve helped shape me and allowed me opportunities to grow. It’s been a wonderful journey.” Fish is a fanatic supporter of teachers. Celeste Butler said when Fish joined the staff at Fort Herriman Middle, she quickly learned staff members’ names and made an effort to personally connect with each one. “She is a very enthusiastic, positive leader,” Butler said. “She has been willing to help in any way she can.” “She isn’t someone who sits back and waits for others to do the work or someone who just oversees projects,” Bronson said. “She jumps in and contributes, always with a smile and positive direction.” What makes Fish an exceptional administrator is the social emotional lens that shapes her interactions with others.   “While at Elk Ridge Middle School, Audrey brought respect and compassion as she encouraged teachers, staff and students to see situations from other points of view rather than from our own limited perspective,” Bronson said. “She embraces difficult situations not as problems but rather as opportunities to grow and become better. She understands that when people make mistakes, they should be given chances to learn from those mistakes.” When students are sent to her for discipline issues, Fish applies restorative justice. She guides them through the process of examining the effects of their actions and problem solving to repair the wrong and restore damaged relationships. Butler said Fish’s influence helps her see struggling students in a different light. “I always see the situation a bit differently after Audrey has shared her insights and perspective,” she said. Fish shares her social emotional viewpoint with teachers by example and through group book studies in which


Audrey Fish is a super assistant principal. (Vicki Wartman/OHMS)

she encourages teachers to incorporate social emotional elements into their curriculum to benefit students as well as to diffuse their own stressors. “The goal is to respond versus react whenever situations arise in our lives,” Fish said. This philosophy has shaped the way administrators, teachers and students have adapted to the abrupt change to online school due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The FHMS administration regularly checks in with teachers to support them in managing this new way of teaching while balancing the time needed to help their own children with online learning. “We are helping our teachers as if they are our own students so that they can help their students,” Fish said. “We’re paying attention to their social and emotional health and well-being.” To support teachers in their professional growth, Fish was one of the first administrators to implement peer instructional coaching for teachers, which has become a standard in Jordan District schools. “If we want to improve student learning, we want to do that one teacher at a time,” Fish said. Her idea is that peer coaches help teachers to feel supported and to grow as professionals as they help each other fine-tune their teaching strategies. Fish continues to apply effective education practices she discovers in books and at professional conferences. As a national finalist, she has the opportunity to share her philosophies and successes on the blog of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. l

We’re Expecting! We are excited to announce the renovations of our Women’s Center! A child’s birth is a special experience. Our goal is to provide a comfortable, tranquil atmosphere for women and families to celebrate this joyous occasion. The project, completed in two phases, will transform and modernize our Women’s Center. The first phase involves our postpartum unit and started January 6, 2020. We are expected to complete the project Summer 2020.

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May 2020 | Page 25

PUBLIC NOTICE The annual report of the Foothold Foundation is available for inspection by written request by any citizen who so requests within 180 days after the publication of this notice, by writing to the principal administrator, Richard Beckstrand at: The Foothold Foundation P.O. Box 712320 Salt Lake City, Utah 84171-2320

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May 2020 | Page 27

Skyler Lyon’s journey to a state championship By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com


ditor’s note: with spring sports being shut down, the City Journals is looking back at athletes who achieved great accomplishments throughout the school year. In elementary school, when Skyler Lyon would enter swim races, she would give an age older than what she was. That way, she said, she could “race the faster kids.” Eventually she would just write to put her in the boys races so she could also “race faster kids.” Flash forward. It was the summer of 2016. Andrew Powers had finished his first year as the Riverton High School swim coach. During a summer workout, one of his captains, Trevor Maxfield, introduced him to a young Skyler Lyon, who was about to start her freshman year. “Watch out for this one,” Powers recalled being told by Maxfield. “She’s going to do great things.” Flash forward. It’s Feb. 15, 2020, at the Brigham Young University swimming pool in Provo for the 6A state championships. Lyon is a senior and after having taken 11th her freshman year, third her sophomore year and second her junior year in the 200-yard breaststroke, she takes state her senior year beating her closest competitor by nearly two seconds. “It was just such a rewarding feeling since that’s what I’ve been working toward for a while,” Lyon said. “Everything had paid off, and it just felt really good to be at the top.” If you asked her mom, Brenda Lyon, she could have told you how it would end. “It was a build up from her freshman year,” she said. “She went to state every year, got better and better each year, so senior year we just knew it was going to happen, and it did. Everything fell into place, and it was just awesome to see.” Lyon’s state title in the 200 breaststroke wasn’t her only accomplishments in Provo that day. In addition to taking bronze in the 200 individual medley, she broke the 6A state record in the 50 freestyle. Doing so as part of the 200 freestyle relay, Lyon swam the first leg at 24.90, beating the state record by .01 seconds. “I hit the wall … I looked at the time and was so happy it wasn’t a 24.92 or something,” Lyon said. “I was so stoked.” It was a time she’s wanted since freshman year. It’s also a time that would have won her the 50 free race, but she chose to do the 200 IM instead. “The 50 free and breaststroke are her best races, and that’s what shined at state this year for sure,” Powers said. After four years of setting goals and working to help her as a coach, Powers was happy to see Lyon’s dedication come to fruition.

Page 28 | May 2020

“It’s kind of like watching your little sister or family work so hard for these goals for four years and then finally watching them happen,” Powers said. Entering the pool Lyon’s laps in the pool started long before she attended Riverton High. She was swimming on her own at age 4, and she remembers taking the advanced swim lessons repeatedly. “I loved it so much, we didn’t know there was a swim team, so we just kept putting me in those same swim lessons,” she said. She joined her first swim team in kindergarten but attempted a different activity the next year. “I tried dancing in first grade, and I definitely knew Skyler Lyon would swim two or three hours every day, never missing a practice all throughout high school. (Photo courtesy Skyler that wasn’t for me,” she Lyon’s swim friends) said. “I got on stage and just stood there and kind of forbest attributes but also as something she’s It’s part of her competitive DNA. Her got everything.” practiced throughout her high school career. dedication makes her the kind of swimmer It was swimming from then on. Lyon said it took time to control that every coach wants a full team of, Powers When Lyon was a freshman, Powers remembers how shy and hesitant she was, not adrenaline and not overexert herself too soon. said. “Once I get into a groove of things, I can “She’s really good overall in a lot of difknowing anybody on the team. If not for her mom forcing her, she might have skipped the just feel it; I know what feels right,” she said. ferent things, and each time, each race she “I just feel a certain rhythm when I swim.” always asks, ‘What’s the record? What can first overnight invitational they went to. Breaststroke and legacy I go for? What should I shoot for?’ which is “I never tried talking to people; I was While she loves all strokes — it’s why always really cool to see as a coach,” Powers scared,” Lyon recalled. “But the swim team kids are so good at socializing and so good at she chose to race the IM this past season — said. breaststroke is perhaps her true calling in the For Lyon, her most memorable moment bringing new kids into their groups.” had nothing to do with records or an individAs she came out of her shell, people water. “It’s totally about technique,” Lyon said, ual race. It was seeing both teams win region gravitated to her, Powers said. noting it’s the worst stroke for most swim- her sophomore year. Racing “It was just so crazy, and we all worked Though Lyon enjoys the individual na- mers. She said everything counts down to ture of swimming, it was something else that the tiniest detail—where to place your hands, so hard for it,” she said. “It was just exciting how to place your feet—in order to pull the to be able to see everyone having the same drew her to the pool. emotion and all the coaches getting pushed “I love the adrenaline of racing,” she water perfectly. Powers said it’s her ability to hold the into the pool and everyone just celebrating said. “I just love having someone right next to me, and I’m really competitive, so I just “very fast rate” at which she swims in one of together. It was really fun.” the most tiring strokes. Lyon plans to major in exercise science love racing.” “But for some reason she’s able to pull at Southern Utah University. She will keep This might explain why she loves shorter races—much more than anything long dis- extremely fast and get back into her gliding swimming but not collegiately. position faster than other people and still hold Powers said with her work ethic and intance. (“I hate the 500 free,” she said.) “I love all the sprint races,” Lyon said. that throughout the whole race,” he said. “Her telligence, she would succeed in any career, “If I could do a 50 of each stroke in high pace that she goes is good for say a 50 or a 25. especially if she applies the same dedication She’s able to do it for 100, and that’s what set and drive that she showed in swimming. school, I would do it for sure.” “She’s just a fantastic girl that cares a For Lyon, sprints are her natural incli- her apart throughout the whole season.” Lyon leaves the program with her name lot about her friends, her team, her family, nation. “The adrenaline pumping and you give splattered across the record book. She holds school,” he said. “She’s just an overall team player that if you’re lucky to know her or be it all you got for that short amount,” she said. six of the 11 school records. “I always made it a goal to knock off all part of her life, you would know exactly what “I don’t like having to try and hold a pace for a long time because I’m a person that goes the records; II wanted my name up there as I’m talking about.” l much as possible,” she said. “I just wanted to out really fast.” The irony is that Powers described “pac- be remembered, I guess. It’s just satisfying to ing and being able to hold it” as one of Lyon’s look up there and see my name.”

Riverton City Journal

As soon as COVID-19 hovered in the air we breathe, I went into full-on “Gone With the Wind” Scarlett O’Hara mode, ripping up bed sheets to make toilet paper and stockpiling moonshine for antiseptic. Of course, Scarlett was useless in an emergency. For the majority of the Civil War, she whined and married rich men. I’m also pretty useless in emergencies. When I knew the shelter-in-place edict was coming, I didn’t stockpile food, I scurried to the library to check out all the books. After hoarding four months of library books, I told everyone in the house (my husband, my daughter and her two children, ages 3 and 8) to check their 72-hour kits. They responded, “What 72-hour kits?” Not a good start. In the shed, I located an emergency essentials bag that looked like it had housed a family of weasels. Along with 10 years of dust, it contained an expired can of roasted almonds, a box of matches, a pair of underwear and a spatula. We were doomed. Tossing my hair like Scarlett, I tied on my shopping bonnet and sang out “fiddledee-dee” as I headed to the grocery store for provisions. By the time I got there, options were limited, unless I was keen on making a casserole with canned asparagus, creamed squid and buckwheat flour. I figured we’d just be creative with dinner. (Lesson learned: 3-year-old granddaughters don’t like creative dinners.) Our meals usually consist of some type of egg for breakfast, leftover Easter candy


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Hopefully by the time this reaches your mail we are beginning to dip our big toe back into life again. Like many others, being thrust into solitary confinement, left me with some spare time to spend on social media, and thanks to my friends I learned so much about how to handle this disaster. With the vast array of opinions, I found putting it all together difficult though, but I gave it shot anyway. It’s all as clear as mud now, here’s what I learned. Working from Home: If you are able to work from home you are lucky, unless you are required to work from home, then it’s horrible and you wished you could go to work, because working from home is too much work. Keeping a Healthy Diet: In effort not to get sick we should eat well, but we should not go out to get healthy fresh food when we run out and eat whatever pre-packaged food we have on hand instead. However, we should order out at our local restaurants to help keep them in business. Then it’s okay to go out to pick up the food. Your food might be prepared by someone sick that doesn’t know they are sick, but it’s okay if you pay by credit card and take the food out of the container. However, you should avoid going to the grocery store at all costs because you might get sick. Getting Sick: Wearing a mask is not helpful, but if you get sick you should wear a mask. But, don’t go to the hospital if you’re sick, because you might get sick if you do. You might be sick and not know you’re sick,

so you should wear a mask even while driving alone in the car alone. The Press: Every article starts with a panic headline designed to shock us. But when we read the article, we find it’s not so shocking after all and perhaps even a little boring, except when our friends post these articles to social media. Then we never read the article, we just start divisive arguments based on the shocking headline instead. Politics: We are all be untied as American’s; we are proud, and this is the time we shine. But, if there’s a government action that we don’t approve of, then we are not united if we disagree with our friend. We might even be called names, because name calling on social media is okay. Huh??? Love: We love our partners so much we could not live without them, they are our everything, unless we have to live with them non-stop. Then we feel we’d rather live without them. Home Schooling: Teachers are the saints and I can no longer remember why I even had kids. Grandparents: You can’t see your grandkids, but if you’re a grandparent and work in a grocery store or pharmacy, then you can see someone else’s grandkids. You can avoid getting the virus and still see your grandkids virtually by using a computer program called Zoom but, watch out, your computer might get a virus instead.



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emergency drinking water

FRE E 10lb bag of ice

with any water fill, your bottle or ours.



Earthquakes: In the event of an earthquake get outside, but otherwise don’t go outside it’s not safe. Also, keep in mind that on the annual practice day called ShakeOut, there might really be an earthquake, then it’s no longer a practice day and you can go outside. In all seriousness, I hope what every person takes away from this crisis, is to be prepared financially for an emergency. At Coupons4Utah.com we have spent the last 12 years helping families save a buck. Hopefully we will all remember to put that buck in the bank for next time. For those families living without a loved one because of this virus, my deepest sympathies to you and yours. Be safe out there.l

Free shake will be the least expensive of the three. Not valid with other coupons or offers. Expires 5/31/20

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Page 30 | May 2020

Riverton City Journal

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The above businesses are participating in the Riverton City Business Blitz. Support these local businesses with these great offers .

May 2020 | Vol. 30 Iss. 05

Scan Here: Interactive online edition with more photos.



Local Postal Customer


Presort Std U.S. Postage PAID Ogden, UT Permit #190


Summer is around the corner and many homeowners ask “Should I Replace or Repair my central air conditioner?” The Pro’s at Comfort solutions can help. Are you deciding whether to replace or repair your air conditioner? There are a few important factors that can help you decide the best choice for your home and family. As we spend more time in our homes during these uncertain times your families comfort and safety should be considered first. Next consider efficiency, cost and equipment life expectancy. Finally, what works best for your budget? SHOULD I REPLACE MY AC? Here are some general guidelines when considering upgrading/replacing your central air conditioner. Most manufactures current life expectancy for your HVAC equipment is 18-20 years. If you have had small repairs during the 18-20 years of running your equipment and your central air all of a sudden stops working. It may be time to look at replacing your AC/ Furnace system. With that age of equipment repair cost can get expensive and those funds could be better used to replace vs repair. When you consider replacing your HVAC equipment you will likely gain higher efficiency equipment, reduced operating cost and more comfortable living environment. Ask for details on Variable speed, 18-20 Seer and smart phone controls. A new system will be reliable for years to come and keep your family comfortable year round.

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SHOULD I REPAIR MY AC? Here are some general guidelines when considering central air repairs. If your current equipment is less than 12-15 years old and has been properly maintained/serviced. Yes likely a repair will be a low cost solution. A very important factor to keeping good equipment in working order is annual service. In addition changing your filer every 3 months is highly recommended. Air flowing properly thru your furnace/AC and ductwork is essential to helping your equipment last. While having your central air service and/or repaired be sure to ask about products that may help in your home such as programable thermostats, humidifiers and air filters/ Cleaners. Lastly choosing the right HVAC provider should be simple and easy. Check out the on-line reviews of the company you are selecting. Google and BBB ratings are a very good indicator of what service you can expect from your HVAC professional. Never buy out of a van! Visit your local HVAC business/ showroom to see working displays and options. Be weary of those providers who work out of a garage or small shop. Finally stay away from gimmicks such as “Free Vacations” / “Free Furnaces” or “29.00 Tune ups”. These are all loss leaders or methods that are hidden in the final cost and/or repairs.

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Profile for The City Journals

Riverton City Journal | May 2020  

Riverton City Journal | May 2020