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December 2015 | Vol. 15 Iss. 12


Jordan Running Back Coach an Inspiration to All Around Him PAGE

By Ron Bevan


Coach Tra Vendela still proudly displays his Army awards on a backpack attached to his motorized wheelchair.



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Local Life

Page 2 |December 2015

Scrooge and Second Chances

Sandy Journal

By Alisha Soeken


n the timeless tale of “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge, a callous miser, is given a second chance to live a better life. The Desert Star Playhouse in Murray City was also given a second chance at life when it was purchased and renovated instead of being torn down. Before that purchase the theater saw much of life and many second chances. The Desert Star Playhouse has enjoyed a long life. In it’s infancy it was called the Gem. It saw silent movies accompanied only by a piano, and remembers a world when radios, refrigerators and a woman’s right to vote were only a recent luxury. In the 1930s the Gem had it’s first second chance, as it was rebuilt and expanded into the Iris Theater. With its Art Deco style facelift, it was a building like no other in Murray. It showed blockbusters like “Gone With The Wind” and rare Swedish films for immigrants brought to Murray by the smelters. During the Great Depression, owner Tony Duvall would let children see movies for free or in exchange for scrap metal. After the Great Depression, the Desert Star continued to see change in its name and ownership. But in 2000 when Murray City recommended demolishing it, Mike and Alyce Todd gave it it’s most crucial second chance, by purchasing and saving it from demolition. The value of a second chance is immeasurable, if seized as Scrooge did to become a better person. Today the Desert Star is a dinner theater known for its parody plays and family -friendly comedy. The proof of its positive roll is observed in the lives of those who work at the theater, both past and present. “The Desert Star has made a positive impact on my life in so many ways. It was my first job and where I had always hoped to perform. After auditioning many times, I was cast in “The Hungry Games,” fulfilling my dream, almost 10 years after I started working there. I also gained experience in light and sound unmatchable to any theater, made lifelong friends and to this day love seeing the fun shows they put on,” actor Katie Terry said. The Desert Star’s current show is, “Ebenezer Scrooge: His Nightmare Before Christmas.” It’s about Ebenezer’s life after he decides to reform. “I love the idea of a sequel to ‘A Christ-

Dan Larrinaga, Ivin Conatser, Lee Daily, Ed Farnsworth, Jennifer Aguirre, and Kerstin Davis. Photo courtesy of Desert Star Playhouse.

mas Carol,’ exploring the other side of being generous. The idea that just because you turn into Mr. Nice Guy on one Christmas morning doesn’t necessarily make up for years of being a compete jerk,” cast member Dan Larrinaga,who plays Bob Cratchit, said. The effort that goes into producing a show at the Desert Star is enormous. Cast member Tyrus Williams said, “We start working on all aspects of the show five weeks before we open, and have 15-20 rehearsals,” Larrinaga added,. Because we rehearse while the current show is still in production and the new show opens only four days after the old show closes, as you can imagine that’s not much time, so the work is fast and furious. It’s a challenge but like it or not, it makes you a better performer.”

As proven by Williams, cast members are not only great performers. “I wear a lot of hats at the Desert Star. I design scenery and props for the shows, I occasionally run lights, do sound, and manage the stage. I’m also in charge of the general store and all the holiday decorations and lobby displays,” Williams said. Unlike what Williams and Larrinaga will do in their show, Charles Dickens never told of the life that Ebenezer Scrooge lived after receiving his second chance. The Desert Star was given that chance more then once, and for more then 85 years has seized it, as Scrooge did, to give of itself remarkably to others. Visit that historic building, watch a show, laugh, and in the words of Larrinaga, “By the end of that show, I hope people will simply


Staff Writers: Julie Slama, Ron Bevan, Aimee L. Cook and Stacy Nielsen

The Sandy City Journal is distributed at the first of each month directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout Sandy.

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Ebenezer Scrooge: HIS NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS Plays November 12, 2015 through January 2, 2016 Tickets: Adults: $22.95-$24.95, Children: $12.95 4861 S. State Street, Murray, UT 84107 Call 801.266.2600 for reservations www.DesertStarPlayhouse.com

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have been entertained, feeling better than when they came in, and perhaps finding themselves more in the mood for the holidays. Catching a bit of the Christmas spirit that people felt way back when, and now, as they read Dickens’ ‘A l Christmas Carol’.”

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Page 4 | December 2015

Sandy Journal

The Sandy Club Breaks Ground on New Center


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fter being in the same place for the last 21 years, The Sandy Club, A Safe Place for Boys and Girls, broke ground for their new 12,400-square-foot center on Oct. 21. The new site is located at 440 East 8680 South and includes a new preschool focused primarily on teaching little children to read as early as the age of three. Dozens were in attendance including Mayor Dolan, Sandy City Council, the board of trustees and an estimated 120 kids for the ribbon-cutting ceremony with Stand Parish and the chamber of commerce. Also in attendance were special guests and beneficiaries of

learn to work by teaching office and additional skills, such as how to fill an out an application. The children can also get help with math or English, and also receive help in preparing for college; the club offers a scholarship fund to help older children get through college. Most of the staffers that work at the club now were raised in the club, and all but two are in college. “It’s great to see the staff give back the way they were helped,” Martinez Saville said. “We did hand out bubbles to all the children and told them to blow a bubble and make a wish, and they all did. Afterwards, I asked one

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Mayor Tom Dolan helps to cut the ribbon, celebrating the groundbreaking of The Sandy Club – A Safe Place for Boys and Girls. Photo Courtesy of Linda Martinez Saville

The Sandy Club, Clark and Barbara Stringham, Larry H. Miller Family Foundation, Kip and Ann Wadsworth, Ralph L. Wadsworth and George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles. “(We) would not be as successful as we are without the help and the love of the kids, the staff and our board of trustees, and especially the people in this community that support us,” newly re-elected councilwoman atlarge and director of The Sandy Club, Linda Martinez Saville, said. The Sandy Club currently serves 90-120 kids, and with this new expansion will be able to serve 150-160 children ranging in ages three to 18. The Club also features the F.L.I.P. program (Future Leaders in Progress) to help kids

little girl what she wished for. She is five years old and is so cute. She said she just wished that the new club will be as safe as the old club. So many of our kids feel this is the safest place they go to every day. We are so lucky to have such a safe haven.” The club anticipates being completed before the summer of 2016. “This club matters because it truly changes the trajectory of children’s lives. Without having a safe place to learn, grow and develop, many of these kids would not be able to truly succeed in life,” Mayor Tom Dolan said. For more information on how to join or support the club, visit www.thesandyclub.org l


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local life

December 2015 | Page 5

Private Social Network Connects Neighbors on Nextdoor By Aimee L. Cook


Miguel Anthony Rivera (Tony, with trophy), age 15 has been voted Sandy Club “Member of the Month” for November 2015. Tony has been a member of the Sandy Club since 2006 and is attending Jordan High School, where his favorite subject is mathematics. When Tony grows up, he would like to be an engineer. If he had one wish, he would wish to graduate from high school so that he can go to college and fulfill his dream of becoming an engineer. Tony’s favorite thing to do at the club is to play basketball and soccer. His favorite thing about himself is the fact that he is good at playing sports. Since he has joined the club, he has learned to be kind to others, respectful to adults and not be a bully. Tony says that he has been voted “Member of the Month” because he has been nice to others and respectful to the staff. Congratulations, Tony Rivera, for being “Member of the Month!” If you would like to volunteer or make a donation, please call 801-561-4854.   

andy City has gone hi-tech with their neighborhood watch program. Nextdoor is a private social networking site that connects neighbors to each other and is used as a tool for the Sandy Police Department to communicate crime reports and other information to the community. Much like other social media sites, registered users can post information like open houses or yard sales, but the site has mainly been used to communicate neighborhood concerns like theft or possible developments proposed in the area, which may or may not be what the neighborhood would welcome. “When neighbors start talking, good things happen,” Amy Bryant, Sandy City Police crime prevention specialist, said. “Nextdoor makes it easy for neighbors to communicate with each other on issues that are concerning to the neighborhood. They can remind their neighbors on ways to prevent crime or alert them to suspicious activity.” Nextdoor is neighborhood specific: it is free, password protected and private. You have the option of listing your complete address, or just your street address, though the

site does verify your information before it will allow you to be added to that neighborhood. “As a police department, we don’t see what the neighbors are saying,” Bryant said. “We can post timely tips, like not warming up your car unattended, and we can send out alerts to everyone on the site, but we are not Big Brother watching what they are talking about.” One of the other advantages to signing up on Nextdoor is you receive a monthly crime report from Sandy City. This report tells you the type of theft, where it occurred, whether it was a home, business or car, etc. It also gives a breakdown on high crime days of the week, as well as time of day, which is very useful information for homeowners in the area so they can be especially mindful as they watch the patterns. Nextdoor will send you an email when a new comment or police alert is added so you don’t miss any important conversations. The Sandy Police Department is looking to expand the service and has invited both the city government and the fire department to get on board. Visit Nextdoor.com to sign up. l

local life

Page 6 | December 2015

Sandy Museum Celebrates 28 Years


he Sandy Museum is housed in a historic building built in 1890 that showcases two floors of historic items unique to Sandy City. Located at 8744 South 150 East, the museum recently held an open house to celebrate its 28th anniversary and to honor one of the museum’s most dedicated volunteers, Dorothy P. Nelson, who was there when the doors first opened.

“We had about 100 people attend our open house this year,” director Sherry Worthen said. “We like to honor a special person who has been particularly important to the museum. We serve light foods and cake and have musicians play music that is appropriate for that person. We let them pick out one song that we know is their favorite song.”

Sandy Journal

By Aimee L. Cook

The museum building was originally a ZCMI co-op store and is one of only three left standing. Through the years the building has also been a men’s social club, a mortuary and a fire station before becoming a museum. Downstairs, there are large wooden display cases left over from the days of the co-op. In one case, there is an old telephone switchboard with a candlestick phone. Upstairs there is an old kitchen with the old coal stove, the ice box and butter churn. There is also a bedroom with a chamber pot and a school room with an old desk. “We have an old fire suit that looks like a space suit that the Boy Scouts really like,” Worthen said. “There is also a test bomb, mess kits, World War I military uniforms and a lot

of old toys.” The majority of the items in the museum were obtained through donations given by the public. Worthen said she only knows of one item that they have purchased for the museum, and those were four tokens that were used at ZCMI. “I believe the Sandy Museum is very important to preserving our heritage as a city,” Korban Lee, assistant CAO for Sandy City, said. “For 28 years, the museum has offered citizens and students a place to learn about our past, discover interesting artifacts, and begin to understand what has shaped Sandy into the city it is today. The city supports the Sandy Museum and considers it a key aspect of rounding l out our community.”

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P Dorothy was honored at the 28th anniversary celebration. She and her husband Ralph were dedicated volunteers from the first day the museum opened. Photo Courtesy of Sherry Worthen


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By Aimee L. Cook

ets are beloved members of the family, and they are also the most at-risk for getting lost. For anyone who has lost a pet, the stress of locating your four-legged friend can be unbearable. The odds of having a lost pet returned to you safely greatly improve if that pet has a microchip. In an effort to help families hold on to their precious pets, Subaru, the Humane Society of Utah and AVID Microchip offered free microchipping for one pet per family on Halloween. Five Subaru locations across the Wasatch front participated in the event, and Banfield Pet Hospital provided licensed veterinarians and technicians to insert the AVID Microchips in the dogs and cats. “We do these events because of Subaru of America and our retailers’ commitment to our ‘Love Promise’ program,” Barry Jellick, District 2 sales manager for Subaru, said. “We believe in being part of the community in setting an example. We want Erick Cook and his lab Shelby take advantage of the free microto build lifelong relationships and chipping provided by Subaru, The Humane Society of Utah and ensure the love is felt not just by our AVID Microchip on Halloween. customers, but by all. Not because it’s good for business, but because it’s gotten around to it,” Erick Cook said. “This the right thing to do in our communities. Our was a great opportunity for us to get it done. customers love their pets, and this is an event We are grateful to everyone who helped that we can give back to our customers and make this happen.” the community by offering free microchipParticipants have the option of only regping to their furry family members.” istering the microchip with the Humane SoOverall, 708 pets received a free mi- ciety, or paying a $20 fee to AVID to register crochip that day, providing peace of mind the microchip with them. The advantage of to those pet owners. Subaru purchased 1250 paying the fee allows for AVID to contact the AVID microchips for the event. The remain- pet owner directly if their pet is found; othing microchips were donated to the Humane erwise, calls have to be fielded through the Society of Utah and will be implanted in Humane Society and only take place during some shelter animals before they are adopt- business hours. ed. The Humane Society of Utah held an “We have been meaning to get our dog event like this in February and plans to hold microchipped for a while and just had not more in the future. l


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Sandy Amphitheater Enhances Available Seating Along with Other Improvements By Stacy Nielsen

The Sandy Amphitheater, located at 1245 East 9400 South, made plans to expand its number of chairs by trading current lawn seats for new chairs. This change will more than double the existing number of chairs, but it will not increase the overall capacity.

a quality of transition to get from the everyday outside world to that of the amphitheater,” Mearle Marsh said when addressing the council on the improvements. Landscaping improvements will be alongside the new designated pathways and the pro-

The plan also calls for improvements to landscaping, an outdoor dining area on the hillside to the east, a new VIP room that can be used for special events, a new entrance atop of the hill and a new ADA ramp. There are not any proposed changes to vehicle access or parking, however there will be improved pathways that lead up to the theater from the southern portion. This will provide better entry from the east parking lot and from the corner of 1300 East and 9400 South. “The path will be interesting to maintain

posed dining areas, as well as include the addition of retaining walls and a new water feature. In addition to the new components to enhance the amphitheater, there will be a new drainage system in place due to past problems with pooling water. The expansion is proposed to help spread the burden of paying for the shows, and the hope is to make the space more attractive for wedding rentals. Completion of the expansion is anticipatl ed for June 2016.

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he Sandy City Fire Department accepted a federal fire grant in the amount of $266,000 to help procure air packs and additional equipment that the fire department needs. Joe Spicer, a fireman out of Station 31, championed getting the grant for the city. “In order to qualify for the grant, you need to fill out an application with the demographics of the city. For example, what percent is urban, residential, commercial and how it is protected. Then you have to come up with a specific project,” he said. This year, the fire department is looking to replace their self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs) that are over 10 years old. “There is new technology and there are new standards, and we want to outfit the fire department with the most modern specifications and technology. It can be costly, and so we reached out to the federal government for help,” Spicer said. “Computers need to be replaced. Outdated turnout gear and medical equipment is always evolving, heart monitors are changing,

and essentially now we can use that money for the other equipment the fire department needs,” Spicer said. There are costs that are unique to the fire department, in addition to the cost of business they have to furnish a house, such as beds and dishes. Recruiting is also a priority for the department, which has recently filled available positions. There is always a need for potential recruits interested in becoming a firefighter. “There is never a problem with numbers, just trying to get the best. Skills can be learned; we are looking for personality, someone who can take constructive feedback, learn quickly and be a part of a team,” Captain Dan Christensen said about hiring new firemen. Those interested in serving the public as a firefighter are required to take exams making them eligible for recruitment. The Metro Fire Recruitment and Testing Consortium takes place once a year, and administers a written and physical ability test to establish a qualified list of applicants. The registration deadline for l this event was on Sept. 18.


Page 8 | December 2015

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Sandy PD Partners with Circle the Wagons, Providing Cans of Comfort


By Stacy Nielsen

he Sandy City Police Department joined the likes of six other police agencies by teaming up with Circle the Wagons Organization to provide ‘Cans of Comfort’ to innocent victims or survivors of violent crimes this past November. Circle the Wagons was founded by its executive director, Vickie Walker, after she tragically lost her husband and her son was critically injured in the Trolley Square Shooting in 2007. “That’s something that throws your life into a tailspin that you haven’t anticipated, experiencing things that you weren’t prepared

survived but experienced a traumatic brain injury and was in intensive recuperative therapy – she decided she needed to give back to the community as much as they gave to her. “Many times people have the support of neighbors or their church, but not everyone has that large support system,” Walker said. She didn’t know everything about victim’s survivor’s services, but that was the area that she was going to try to help. Walker started Circle the Wagons with the intention of helping people who found themselves in similar situations, and so that she could give back to the community. With the help of victim ser-


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for and you don’t know what to ask for. When something like this happens, you are just flying blind,” Walker said. “How do you ever plan for something like this? You need to familiarize yourself with the resources within your community if you ever find yourself in that unfortunate situation. We didn’t know there was an organization that would assist with funeral costs and therapy; we didn’t know what to ask for from the community.” A year and half after her husband Jeff was killed, they tried to go back and replicate their old life to find out it had been irrevocably changed. “I kept thinking how grateful I was for the community. We received service-oriented letters, notes, hugs: it was pretty amazing. There were a lot of resources that would have been helpful to our family, had I known about them,” Walker said. After determining there was no way to be able to go back to the life they previously had – as she had lost her job because her son, A.J.,

vices, she designed the Can of Comfort. “Children are given a teddy bear or bags that people prepare or blankets handed off to a child, but when an adult is victimized you are brought to your knees,” Walker said. “We wanted something that would be unusual enough and stand out for a family. A file folder might never be opened or might be lost in the craziness of your life, and it’s too much information when you are in shock and you don’t know what you need.” The can is meant to draw attention as a reminder there is some valuable information with it, and they fill the can with lemon drops. There is a tag on the side of the can that lists the resources available and includes a 96-hour survival guide checklist – information needed in the first 96 hours after something tragic happens. “We will meet with a victim or survivor and give them information to move through the legal system or the process,” Walker said. “They can be handed out to a victim of rape, or result of a murder, or a car accident. We are in


S andy Journal .Com

Can of Comfort. Photo courtesy of Vickie Walker

the process of developing a can that is specific to suicide, that is expected to launch the end of 2016,” Walker said, as the parameters and response is very different for suicide. The feedback from the community about Circle the Wagons has been positive. “I received a letter from a young woman who received our can of comfort, who felt alone because she had no family or friends here. She said it was the first thing that gave her hope in the whole process,” Walker said. Circle the Wagons has partnered with Salt Lake, South Salt Lake, West Valley, Tooele, Murray, Unified and now Sandy Police Departments, and they hand out anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 cans a year.

Salsa Leedos has also recently joined in and they are donating gift certificates for a meal for 4 to 6 people that someone can pick up and take to the family if they don’t have that support. Someone from the Victim’s Advocates can pick them up and hand them out with the can. The Cans of Comfort have received a lot of national press and recognition as people remember their name and their website. Circle the Wagons is currently in the process of gathering resources for their website, in order for each state in the United States to have links that will direct people to victim’s services. However, they are still in need of researchers to get the correct links on the website. They are also starting a scholarship

December 2015 | Page 9

fund for children who lost an innocent parent to homicide. “As the fund grows, maybe we can open it up to more situations, but right now it is pretty defined for that purpose for higher education or vocational training,” Walker said. This past November, the Sandy Police Department was presented with the Cans of Comfort that their officers will be able to have on hand to pass along at their discretion, either at the scene of the crime or immediately after. “The Cans of Comfort will fill a need that I think will prove very valuable to survivors and victims of these life-changing events. We’re very excited to take part in this program,” Sandy Police Chief Thacker said. l

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Sandy Journal

Local Schools Honor Veterans With Patriotic Programs


130 Years

OF TRUST Taking Care of



everal schools gave a salute to veterans and current military servicemen and servicewomen through songs, words and photographs — and a simple word of thanks. At Eastmont Middle School, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Eugene Hecker, of Sandy, came to the school’s second annual Veterans Day program when his neighbor, seventh grader Violeta Martinez, invited him to the Nov. 11 breakfast. He brought his World War II commemorative medals to show students and talked about the scrap metal still embedded in his wrist. “The best part of the service was coming home to my family on the Liberty ship,” said the World War II veteran. “We were coming home through such heavy water, we thought we had been torpedoed. We ran out of food except for spaghetti noodles, and for three days ate spaghetti once each day. Then, as we got closer to the Golden Gate Bridge, there was such heavy fog, we stayed put until a pilot ship guided us in. When we got off in Oakland, I kissed the ground.” Sixth grader Kayla Siebeneck, who brought her grandfather Don Coleman, who lives in Sandy, said she has heard some of her grandfather’s and extended relatives’ stories from serving. Coleman, who was drafted in 1969 and served two years as a private on

By Julie Slama

Four veterans, among the many who attended, stand to be recognized at Alta High’s Veterans’ Day program on Nov. 11. Photo courtesy of Alta High

diers had made and abandoned. “I was drafted with 100 other boys right out of high school, and 35 were selected for the Marines and the rest of us were in the Army.” The program, coordinated by the school’s National Junior Honor Society, featured members reading thank-you letters to veterans written by students, which also were bound and distributed

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Eastmont sixth grader Kayla Siebeneck invited her grandfather, Don Coleman, to her school’s second annual Veterans Day breakfast program on Nov. 11. Photo courtesy of Julie Slama

the front lines in Vietnam, remembered guarding a river that bordered North and South Vietnam, helping to ensure boats with food and water supplies could get through. “There was heavy artillery, but it usually went right over us. Still, the worst part was being shot at,” he said, remembering that he was on one side of a 20-inch concrete wall the French sol-

to attending veterans. The school choir sang “Danny Boy” and “Imagine,” and during the playing of each military branch’s song, veterans and currently serving military, including eighth-grade science teacher Ryan Miller who is serving in the Utah Air National Guard, were applauded as they stood for their appropriate branch. Thirteen Alta High teachers and

staff were amongst the honored veterans at Alta High’s Veterans Day program, Nov. 11. Student body president Brennan Hunt, who invited his grandfather, Heber Hunt who served in the Korean War, told students that this was the most important assembly they would have all year. “Without these veterans and their sacrifices, we wouldn’t have any other assemblies,” he said. The program included honoring World War II veterans, some who had grandchildren introduce them and present them with Alta baseball hats, before guest speaker Masami Hayashi spoke about his experience during World War II in military intelligence and about the most decorated Japanese-American unit from Topaz, Utah, who served even after being forced from their homes after the attack of Pearl Harbor. The program also included sophomore Addie Wray singing the national anthem and the acapella choir’s performance of “America the Beautiful” before Principal Brian McGill addressed the students and guests. “Veterans Day is a special and sacred time to recognize those who have gone before us and who have literally put their lives on the line to secure, defend and protect the freedoms that each of us take for granted each and every day here in America,” McGill said. “Each of us have family members, close and extended, who have served or are currently serving with dignity, fortitude, and pride, so we can each have the freedom and liberty to make the choices we make, such as voting, places of schooling, occupations or careers, or the way we choose to live our lives in pursuit of fulfilling our dreams as Americans.”


S andy Journal .Com

Sunrise Elementary began their second-annual Veterans Day program on Nov. 11 with a local Boy Scout troop leading the flag ceremony and students saying things that are free to them, before a student pointed out that they wouldn’t be free without the many people who serve in the military and made the ultimate sacrifice. Then, about 100 fifth graders sang, “Freedom Isn’t Free.” Photographs of students’ and teachers’ relatives who have served or are serving in the military, as well as stories of their service, stretching as far back as the Civil War, highlighted the program. The stories included positions from Army band to radio operator and eye doctor to combat engineer; places they traveled from the South Pacific to North Africa and Vietnam to Morocco; Purple Hearts and other awards they’ve received. Invited local veterans were asked to stand to be honored. “Our fifth grade is presenting a Veterans Day program to honor the veterans related to our student body,” fifth-grade teacher Shannon Broadhead said before the program. “With U.S. history as part of our fifth-grade curriculum, we learn about how America was founded and the importance of the liberty we enjoy. We think it’s important that our students understand and honor the sacrifices of veterans throughout history, as well as those currently serving in the military.” The fifth graders recited part of the Declaration of Independence and shared traits of good citizenship they learned, such as caring

for people, places and animals, volunteering in the community, voting, being a steward to the earth and obeying laws. Other songs, including “Thank-You Military,” “Fifty Nifty,” “This is America,” and “What’s More American?” rounded out the program before the fifth graders sang their ending number, with flashlights: “We Can Be a Light.” A highlight of Silver Mesa’s “ABC’s of America” program, slated for Nov. 24, is the annual presentation of carnations as a way of thanks to local veterans. “We want our students to understand the dedication and sacrifices these men and women made when they left their family and friends to uphold our freedoms,” fifth-grade Silver Mesa teacher April Humphries said. “We not only study our history and know why events happen, we want our students to feel the patriotism and be contributing citizens in America.” Another highlight planned for the patriotic program was a talent showcase performed by fifth graders, including a musical selection and a traditional Navajo dance. Amongst the songs Silver Mesa fifth graders planned to sing were “God Bless America,” “Star Spangled Banner,” “Pledge of a Song,” and the “Bill of Rights” rap song. Local Boy Scouts planned to present the colors. “The emotion when seeing the flag goes by — it inspires the feeling of pride, of love of country, of appreciation of veterans who fight for our country; this is why we have our program,” Humphries said. l

December 2015 | Page 11

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Education High School Students Compete in Art Contest Page 12 | December 2015

Sandy Journal By Julie Slama


bout 80 students could be found working intensely with clay, watercolors, ink, pencil, acrylics and other art mediums as they competed for individual and overall school trophies. Artstock originated nine years ago when Canyons School District was then part of Jordan School District. The tradition, started by former Jordan High art teacher Jared Ward, has grown to include both school districts with guest judges reviewing art categories of fantasy, contemporary, traditional and 3D. On Nov. 10, Corner Canyon High was named overall sweepstakes champion of the eight high schools that participated, including all five in Canyons School District. The school received a revolving trophy. Each high school could have up to 12 students compete. Student work is given points for the top three finishers in each category, plus best of show, people’s choice and 15 honorable mentions. Best of show award went to Ashley WalshHughes of Corner Canyon High in Draper, and people’s choice award went to Austin Simpkins of Alta High. Alexus Brazil, a senior at Hillcrest High in Midvale, participated in the competition for her second time. She picked a photo from her camping trip at Monument Valley to paint. “I did the contest last year and just loved it,” she said. “I’ve never painted desert rocks like this before so I thought I’d try a new tech-

nique to do it.” Alexus received a third-place trophy in traditional art. Cozette Baddley, Artstock coordinator and Jordan High art department chair, said this competition is a good chance for students to

expand their art knowledge and portfolio. “It gives students a chance to learn from others and to learn another process, another approach to art,” she said. “Their teacher may instruct them one way, but there’s more than one way to approach art. It also gives them the op-

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portunity to create a piece of work they want to create — not an assigned piece — from start to finish all at one time so they can add it to their art or AP (advanced placement) portfolio.” Jordan High senior Savannah Page was creating a hot air balloon scene for her portfolio. Junior Elizabeth Hatch, of Copper Hills in West Jordan, was painting pinecones because she loves them. Jordan High sophomore Zak Brant was creating an original piece of art. “I’ve never done it before, so I decided to be creative and wing it,” Zak said. Herriman High junior Spencer Williams was molding a horse out of clay. “I thought it would be fun and challenging at the same time,” he said. Riverton High senior Emily Lighten was creating her self-portrait with pencil and watercolor. “Art is my passion,” she said. “I just love it. This is such a cool chance to do my own project, put it in a contest where I get feedback from judges and walk away with a completed piece.” Top finishers in fantasy art include firstplace champion Jade Davis of Copper Hills, second-place winner Ruby Wilks of Corner Canyon and third-place finisher Brianna England of Copper Hills. In contemporary art, the first-place champion is Molly Drent of Copper Hills, second-place winner is Miles Koldewyn of Herriman and third-place finisher is Brooks Jones of Herriman. In traditional art, the first-place champion is Anya Houterak of Alta, second-place winner is Alana Liu of Hillcrest and third-place finisher is Alexus Brazil of Hillcrest. The top finishers in 3-D art is first-place champion Colby Stephenson of Herriman, second-place winner Tim Wilson of Herriman and third-place finisher Kandace Fulcher, of Herriman. l


S andy Journal .Com

December 2015 | Page 13

Silver Mesa Girl’s Petition Leads to Opening of American Girl Doll Store


undreds of young girls and their families who stood in line Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 have a Silver Mesa girl to thank for starting a petition when she was in second grade to bring an American Girl Doll store to the Salt Lake area. When Sara Bryner was a second grader two years ago, she took a classroom lesson to heart when she learned young citizens could make a difference. Her second-grade teacher, Lisa Latoni, said that reading “Carl the Complainer” was part of the social studies curriculum, and students learned that through speaking up, the youngsters in the story influenced the town council’s decision about having a park stay open later. After learning about petitions and the changes they can make, Sara Bryner took the initiative to write a petition to the American Girl Doll Company in hopes of getting a store opened in Salt Lake City. The closest stores are in Seattle, Denver and San Francisco. “We talked about making changes and learned that these changes aren’t always influenced by adults,” Latoni said about the lesson. “This class is very self-motivated, so it didn’t surprise me that Sara wrote a petition. It’s

the first time a student in my class has written one on her own.” In the petition, which had hundreds of signatures both on paper and online, Sara pointed out that Utah has several national parks that could employ people and the state has a large population of young girls who would like to shop for dolls. Sara, who owns three American Girl dolls, has read several of the books and seen some of the movies based on the doll characters. “I really like the American Girl dolls and think it would be great if we could have a store here,” she said shortly after writing the petition. “I had all but one of the boys in my (second-grade) class sign it. Even my (then) 14-year-old sister who doesn’t like dolls signed it.” The opening of an American Girl Doll store Oct. 24 in Murray showed how powerful the lesson was, her mother Missy said. “I don’t know how much Sara’s petition influenced their decision, but the employees sure made her feel as if it did,” Bryner said. “They thanked her for their jobs and were really cute and so sweet with Sara and her two younger sisters who toured the store on Friday,

before the grand opening.” The store in Fashion Place Mall is one of seven temporary stores that opened for the holiday season across the country; the Murray store plans to offer 18-inch dolls and their accessories through January while looking for a permanent location. According to the American Girl doll website, more than 27 million American Girl dolls and 151 million books have sold since 1986, when three dolls were introduced: Felicity, whose stories were set during the American Revolution, depression-era Kit and Molly, growing up on the homefront during World War II. Sara said that during the tour, the manager gave her sisters and herself mini-American Girl dolls and ornaments, as well as a Caroline book. The dolls they brought were treated to special hair-dos. At her school, an announcement was made saying that the store would be opening as a result of her petition. “I was really excited when I learned about the store coming,” Sara said. “I realized that something small can turn into something large, and that I can make a difference in the world.” l

By Julie Slama

Silver Mesa fourth grader Sara Bryner is joined by her sisters, seven-year-old Becca and four-year-old Emmy, after getting a personalized tour of the American Girl Doll store in Murray. Two years ago, Sara launched a petition that hundreds of people signed to bring the store to Utah. Photo courtesy of Missy Bryner

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Page 14 | December 2015

Sandy Journal



he Christmas season is fast approaching. For most of us, it is a bustle of shopping, cooking, wrapping, decorating, and excitement. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our to-do lists that we forget the main reason the Christmas season brings us so much joy. Family. The Dignity Memorial network has created an event that will help us to remember and celebrate the joy of family. They will be sponsoring an annual Christmas Luminary event that will take place on Saturday, December 19th, from 5 to 7 p.m. Dignity Memorial has been doing this holiday tradition for over 10 years, and it has come to be known as an annual tradition for many families. Guests are invited to drive through any of the three different memorial parks and look at the luminary displays, while thinking of their loved ones who have passed away, or listening to Christmas music playing on the radio. A total of over 15,000 candles will be on display—10,000 at



Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary in Milcreek; 5,000 at Valley View Memorial Park and Funeral Home in West Valley City; and 500 at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park South Valley in Riverton. Various activities will also be taking place inside the establishments during that time. At all locations, there will be festive refreshments for the guests and a Christmas Memory Tree on display. Guests are invited to either place an ornament on the tree in memory of a loved one, or make one from the supplies that will be provided. At Wasatch Lawn and Mortuary, there will be performances by William Penn and Rosecrest Elementary Schools. At Valley View Funeral Home, they will have performances from the St. Andrews Choir and Orchestra. Dignity Memorial has also partnered with The Christmas Box House to help local children to have a magical Christmas. A giving tree will be set up in the lobbies at both Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary

Dignity Memorial

and Valley View Funeral Home, where patrons can take an ornament off of the tree. The ornament coordinates to a gift that a child would want, being anything from toys to clothes. The patrons can then shop for the items, and bring the gift back to either location. They leave knowing that they helped make Christmas a little more magical for that child. “We believe creating meaningful ways to pay tribute to a loved one begins with compassion and is shaped by the understanding that each life is truly unique,” says Addison Sharp, community relations representative for all of the Salt Lake City Market of Dignity Memorial. Before the bustle begins, make sure to remember those who are in your life, who you would like to remember or pay tribute to. Mark your calendar for the annual Christmas Luminary, a meaningful way to pay tribute that will be taking place at three Dignity Memorial Network locations. Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary is located at 3401 South High-

land Drive in Millcreek, Utah. Valley View Memorial Park and Funeral Home is located at 4335 West 4100 South in West Valley City, Utah. Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park South Valley is located at 13001 South 3600 West in l Riverton, Utah.

Small businesses, schools, and other organizations can benefit greatly, being able to update their office equipment or computer labs a couple of computers at a time, or even all at once, without breaking the bank. Other related products, from Apple accessories to Beats Audio products, are also available at amazing prices. This allows everyone, no matter their needs, to spread their budget further, getting more Apple for their money. “Apple is one of the most innovative, high quality, and popular computer and consumer electronics products companies in history,” explains Brett. “Our goal at Mac Warehouse is for everyone to be able to afford the Apple technology they want.” There are many reasons Mac Warehouse

was recently ranked as the 55th Fastest Growing Company in the US, and the 4th Fastest Growing Company in Utah by Inc. Magazine. Obviously, a superior product is one reason. Another is their customer service. All products at Mac Warehouse come with a 90-day warranty, with extended warranties available. The store also has an Apple Certified Technician on duty at most times, offering upgrade and repair services on all Apple computer products. If you are in the market for a new, high-quality Apple product, check out Mac Warehouse’s new retail location at 9235 S Village Shop Drive in Sandy, in front of Lowes and Walmart in the Quarry Bend Shopping Center, but leave your guilty conscience at home. This is something to get excited about. l

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ave you ever wanted something very much, but knew you couldn’t have it because of the price? Sometimes we don’t even have enough cash to spare. Other times, we have the money, but can’t justify spending so much on a single item. All of us have experienced that feeling at one time or another. Ap-

ple products come immediately to mind, when presented with this scenario. They are definitely worth the money they cost, but sometimes we just don’t have it. Mac Warehouse is a new store that is an answer to our budget-conscience, Apple-loving minds. Mac Warehouse is an Apple products re-furbisher and re-certifier. They bring in

high quality, pre-owned Apple products into their facility in Sandy from all over the world. A highly-experienced team of Apple-Certified technicians then puts each product through a meticulous recertification process to make sure they perform and function as intended. Once the products have passed this careful recertification, and are updated with the latest operating software from Apple, they go through a cosmetic restoration process to restore it to a condition that is as like-new as possible. Mac Warehouse calls the finished products Certified Preloved ®. “There are not many companies that do what we do, and I don’t believe anyone does it as well,” says Brett Kitson, CEO and President of Mac Warehouse. “We are constantly refining our processes to give our customers the Apple product experience that they deserve at price they can afford.” For years, Mac Warehouse has only sold this product to Apple resellers and other retailers all over the nation. Now, with a new retail store in Sandy, they are offering these products directly to consumers, at a huge savings—as much as 50% off normal Apple retail prices.

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December 2015 | Page 15

Oakdale Students Run for Classroom Technology


By Julie Slama

akdale students ran around their multi-purpose room, each lap getting them closer to their end goal: raising funds for Chromebooks for each classroom. “We need about 17 classrooms sets of 20 to 25 Chromebooks,” said Kadie Nielsen, who is co-Parent-Teacher Association president with Ann Fisher. “We asked teachers what they

As of press deadline, with more donations still needing to be counted, Oakdale had about $8,000 of the $30,000 they hoped to raise to purchase for Chromebooks and use for other PTA activities, Principal Kierstin Draper said. Students were encouraged to ask family and friends for donations and either to bring the funds to school or to have them submit

We’re here when you need us – 24/7. Oakdale Elementary students warm up before participating in their Nov. 5 fun run. Photo courtesy of Kierstin Draper

needed and that’s what they told us. With each class having their own set of Chromebooks, they won’t have to schedule to use technology.” In addition to raising funds for Chromebooks, the Nov. 5 fun run contributions will be used for typical PTA activities such as Reflections, Red Ribbon Week, field trips, teacher appreciation, classroom supplies and other PTA events.

payment online. Local businesses also made donations and gave financial support, Nielsen said. Students, wearing their white T-shirts with a school logo, were encouraged by a deejay to steadily run laps. Afterward, the PTA recognized top runners and top fundraising by class. “It’s a fun way to raise funds and by doing it ourselves, it all stays with the school for the students,” Nielsen said. l

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Alta High, Jordan High to Present Holiday Concerts By Julie Slama


lta High and Jordan High students in the performing arts will present holiday concerts this December. Alta and Jordan High School choir students will kick off the season with the combined choir concert, featuring all the high school choirs of Canyons School District. The choir begins at 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 7 at Hillcrest High School, 7350 South 900 East in Midvale. Alta High’s jazz and percussion concert, under the direction of Caleb Shabestari, will perform at 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 14 in the high school auditorium, 11055 South 1000

East. On Wednesday, Dec. 16, Alta’s choirs, under the direction of Adam Griffiths, will take the auditorium stage at 7 p.m. for their holiday concert. At Jordan High School, 95 E. Beetdigger Blvd., the dance concert will be performed at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10 and Friday, Dec. 11 in the school auditorium. At 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 14, Jordan’s choir will perform its holiday concert in the auditorium, followed by the jazz and percussion concert at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 16 l and Thursday, Dec. 17.

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Education Alta High Principal Sets Example for Students Page 16 | December 2015


lta High School Principal Brian McGill spends his nights like many of his students — studying, writing papers and preparing for exams. While working on his doctorate in educational leadership and policy at the University of Utah, he learned last spring that a U faculty member nominated him for the Milton Bennion Scholarship from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. The scholarship is given each year to a promising graduate student who has a high interest in public schools. After a series of interviews, submitting his resume and having professors write letters of recommendation, McGill learned in late July that he was awarded the scholarship. “Knowing the world of Milton Bennion — his leadership, his service, his dedication to education — and being recognized on behalf of his name — wow, it really is an honor,” McGill said. Canyons School District recognized his achievement with a certificate at the Board of Education meeting on Oct. 21, which led to the Alta student body and faculty learning of the honor. “I can tell them that I can relate to what it means to be an Alta student. I was studying then and I still am. Last week, we had college presentation day and I could tell them, ‘I’m in college. I have to enroll, deal with financial

By Julie Slama

Alta Principal Brian McGill, seen here on Veterans Day, sets an example for his high school students by continuing his education as he earns his doctorate degree and receiving the Milton Bennion Scholarship from the University of Utah. Photo courtesy of Julie Slama.

aid, do homework.’ It has given them the message that even a principal can continue lifelong learning,” he said. The scholarship will pay for half of McGill’s tuition for one year, about $2,600, he said. It also allows him to attend statewide superintendent meetings where he can meet

superintendents and exchange ideas of what is working in other high school communities. “I really enjoy and have a passion for being in schools, especially Alta since it’s my alma mater. I love the community vibe and support in our academics, arts, athletics and all l the extra-curricular activities,” he said.

Sandy Journal

December 2015 | Page 17

S andy Journal .Com

By Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams

How Salt Lake County expects to drastically reduce homelessness


hen I’m asked about homelessness in the county, the question can be either, “Isn’t the situation better than it’s ever been?” or “Isn’t it worse than it’s ever been?” Both questions reflect truth. Over the past 10 years, Utah has nearly solved the problem of chronic homelessness—defined as people who have experienced homelessness longer than one year and also have a disabling condition. The

number of chronically homeless in Utah has dropped 91 percent, to fewer than 200 people. But the faces of homelessness are varied and are always changing. From the woman and her children who become homeless due to domestic violence, to the teenagers who “age out” of foster care, to the veterans who struggle with complex health needs, the causes differ. When you figure that out, it leads to a different conversation about what should be done about it. A year ago, that conversation began. It was started among two groups led by Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County. The city’s group was chaired by former Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis and community leader and philanthropist Gail Miller. They focused on the grow-

ing demand facing the Road Home shelter facility near Pioneer Park. I co-chaired a county effort which brought all the many excellent providers of homeless services together as one problem-solving group. In October, that group, which includes the YWCA, the Crossroads Urban Center, the Housing Authority, Volunteers of America, the 4th Street Health Clinic, Catholic Community Services, the LDS church, the United Way, and the Pioneer Park Coalition (31 partners in all), unanimously agreed on 14 shared outcomes to guide our work moving forward. It begins with our commitment to ensure that everyone in our community has a safe place to live. Today we recognize that even though we spend collectively $52 million a year on homelessness, we aren’t achieving these 14 outcomes. Everyone is trying hard. Everyone is doing good work. But until we agreed to come together and all pull in the same direction as a team, we can’t harness all that good work for the best results. We all want a system that makes sure people are safe, receive efficient service delivery and are able to focus on self-sufficiency so that they can live stable and rewarding lives. The week of Thanksgiving, both groups came together to make an important announce-

ment. Any facilities that serve the homeless populations going forward must be built and located where services needed can also be delivered. We start with the outcomes we want to achieve, select indicators that honestly measure how we’re doing and then put the money and the programs in place to accomplish those outcomes, such as diverting individuals and families from emergency shelters whenever possible and working to prevent homelessness from happening. The consequences of failing to measure the impact of our programs and continually improve the system’s effectiveness go well beyond wasting scarce tax dollars. Every time a homeless person participates in a program that doesn’t work—but could have participated in one that does—that represents a human cost. We’ve pledged to move forward in unison to minimize homelessness in our community. That’s what Utah is known for—a place where we come together to build a safe, healthy and l prosperous community for all.



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Page 18 | December 2015


Sandy Journal

Blessed Sacrament third graders pose with their dictionaries after receiving them Sept. 23 from Sandy Rotary Club past president Brent Thomson, seen in the background. Rotary Club’s goal is to provide every third grader in Sandy with a dictionary so they are equipped with a lifelong reference tool to help improve writing, reading and thinking skills. Big O Tires of Sandy was the sponsor. Photo courtesy of Sonia West

Teacher Glenda Stroh helps Jordan Valley student Maria Serano-Lopez select a pumpkin that was among those scattered on the ground. Student inmates at South Park Academy grew the pumpkins and had them delivered to the school Oct. 28 so students could take them home to decorate. Many of the Jordan Valley students have severe multiple disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, communication impairments, genetic disorders and syndromes, deaf–blindness and students who are extremely medically fragile. Photo courtesy of Gay Smullen

Jordan Valley School is holding a PTA craft festival/silent auction on Thursday, Dec. 10 from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. Vendors include Eagle Eyes, Snowy Barn, Stanley Home Products, Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Scentsy, Jafra and more. The school is still looking for vendors and donations for the silent auction. For more information, contact Lupe Santana at 801-826-7204. Jordan Valley School is located at 7501 South 1000 East in Midvale.

December 2015 | Page 19

S andy Journal .Com



Bryan J. Miller Silent Hero Essay Contest



he Bryan J. Miller Essay Contest was created to recognize members of our community who perform selfless acts for others with no thought or desire for personal gain. This essay contest aims to give any high school sophomore in the state of Utah the opportunity to recognize someone who has impacted their life and/or the lives of others in 250 to 500 words. This is not only a great way for these sophomores to honor someone who has affected them, but the five winners of this es-

say contest, chosen by an esteemed panel of judges, will receive a $1,500 college scholarship donated by the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation. The scholarship money is then deposited into a Mountain America Credit Union savings account, which will accrue 10 percent interest each year until the student graduates. The student can then use this scholarship to continue their education in any field of study. To nominate your hero, please submit your essay before February 7, 2016 at www.sandychamber.com/silent-heroes.

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Page 20 | December 2015


Sandy Journal

Jordan Running Back Coach an Inspiration to All Around Him


ust like any other assistant coach at any high school in Utah, Travis “Tra” Vendela prowls the sidelines during games, heavily invested in how his Jordan Beetdiggers are performing. He cheers the great plays, winces at mistakes, and calls his group, the running backs, around him to formulate additional game plans. But unlike most coaches, Vendela does it from a wheelchair, thanks to a decision he made years ago that perhaps saved several lives. Vendela sacrificed both of his legs to protect his troops while serving in Iraq. “He is probably the biggest example of resiliency for our players and coaches,” Eric Kjar, Jordan’s head football coach, said. “He has lots of reasons to not be out here on the field, but he shows up every day. He loves being out there with the kids and he enjoys the interaction with them. Obviously he is a great coach, too.” Vendela grew up loving the sport of football. Born into a military family in Sheridan Wyo., Vendela was on the road throughout his youth as his father received new assignments. He began playing high school football in Texas, and then moved to Utah where he played cornerback at both Bountiful and Davis high schools. “I loved the defensive side of the game,” Vendela said. “You can do more hitting on defense and I liked the physical aspect of it. I also liked that I could make the play that might take the glory away from the opposition.” He was good enough as a cornerback that he received an offer to play at Texas Tech. But things just didn’t seem right for him. “I had done some things in high school I shouldn’t have been doing,” Vendela said. “Something touched me on the head and told me to do something bigger and better. I was maturing.” Vendela struggled with the decision to either play football or go into military service. He sought his father’s advice. “My father asked if I was going to go in as an officer or enlisted,” Vendela said. “My father was both in his career and knew the officer route was a bit safer than enlisted, and the enlisted did the hard work.” The day before he was to sign his football offer in 1997, Vendela made up his mind: a ca-

reer in the Army. And, not one to be a pencil pusher, he would join as an enlisted soldier. “When I told my dad I was going the enlisted route, he smiled at me and said, ‘You made the right decision,’” Vendela said. Vendela served six deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. During a leave from his third

rides in the back portion of his unit’s patrol, Vendela elected to lead. “I knew I had more battle experience than the rest of my platoon,” he said. “I wanted to be able to anticipate and react to any threat we received. I knew that if something was to happen, I wanted it to happen to me.”

Coach Tra Vendela uses his football knowledge and life skills to help motivate and encourage members of the Jordan football team. Vendela lost both legs when he sacrificed himself to save others while serving our country in Iraq.

deployment, he went to visit a cousin at the University of Wyoming. It was there he met his future wife, Tiffany. Smitten, Vendela extended his leave to get to know her better and a few years later, prior to his final mission, he proposed. His last mission to Iraq would change his life forever. Vendela, by now was a seasoned war veteran, was platoon sergeant for a reconnaissance unit. It was his unit’s job to lead a convoy of tanks into an Al-Qaeda stronghold in Iraq on Feb. 7, 2007. Vendela knew the mission was going to be tough. Although a platoon sergeant usually

Vendela’s Humvee hit a small IED (improvised explosive device) while crossing a bridge over a river. The explosion partially damaged the Humvee, but its armor held and, being on the bridge, he knew there was no turning back. So they forged ahead. “All it did was take the paint off my Humvee and cracked a window,” Vendela joked. “But we were taking some of the worst gunfire I had ever seen. It seemed like there was someone shooting at us from every building on the other side of the bridge. We had to push through for the mission.” As they neared the crest of the bridge,

By Ron Bevan

Vendela saw what he knew was an IED buried ahead. And it wasn’t small: it was about the size of a refrigerator. His driver began to steer around it. But with all the vehicles coming up behind him, Vendela knew what he had to do. “I had seen in the past some of the vehicles in the back would hit the IED, even when we would warn them,” Vendela said. “In my head I thought one of my men could be hit and die. I wasn’t going to let that happen.” So Vendela instructed his driver to drive over the IED. “He knew what I meant and didn’t even hesitate,” Vendela said. “We all had the mindset that we would sacrifice for the others.” The IED turned out to be about 300 pounds of explosives and projectiles. The explosion raised the Humvee into the air like it was a toy. It ripped out the engine and tossed it even higher. The heat of the blast melted a copper projectile, which ripped a six-inch hole under where Vendela was seated. The molten copper took off one of Vendela’s legs. It broke his rifle and welded a portion of the rifle to the side of the Humvee, with part of it sticking through and pinning Vendela’s other leg to the interior of the vehicle. He also broke his jaw into about 400 pieces. His troops had to use any tool available to amputate his other leg and get him out of the vehicle. But amazingly, none of his troops were killed in the blast. Some were hurt, but the only one to die was Vendela himself. “I died three times that day,” Vendela said. “But thanks to the miracle of combat medicine, I returned all three times.” As he lay in various Army hospitals recuperating, thoughts went through his head. “‘Why was I alive through all that happened to me, when I had seen others die from much smaller injuries?” he wondered. “During the day there was a lot of activity at the hospitals, but at night you are left alone in the hospital. Alone with only your thoughts. Sometimes I would go to sleep hoping I wouldn’t wake up. I didn’t know what life had in store for me.” And what about his fiancé? Would the woman he fell in love with and proposed to still want him?

S andy Journal .Com “She came to my hospital and stayed with me,” Vendela said. “I could see in her eyes how much she cared about me and that she didn’t care if I had lost my legs. She is the reason I am still here. She would tell me that God has a plan for me. It took a while for me to accept that.” He finally left the hospital in July 2009 and began telling his story at high schools. “Kids would come up to me and say, through tears, how much they had made their lives better just by hearing my story,” Vandela said. “I was helping them, but at the same time they were helping me. My wife had told me that if I could just affect one kid per year, I would be changing the world. It helped me to push on. I realized I could be a tool to help others.” As he told his story, his own drive built up inside of him. He then decided he wanted to get back into football, this time as a coach. “I began coaching in Wyoming,” Vendela said. “At first I was afraid the kids would look down on me and wonder what I had to teach them about football. I found out it was totally opposite. There was instant respect.” He began to try to get on coaching staffs when he moved back to Utah. Although the first 20 schools accepted his application, none called him back. Then, in 2012 his luck changed. “I told my story to a guy at an American Legion function,” Vendela said. “He said he knew the coach of Jordan High because they were neighbors.”

sports Kjar found out about Vendela and called him. Kjar hired him on the spot. “He told me he didn’t have any defensive coaching positions, but needed a running back coach,” Vendela said. “I began to study the position more so I would be ready for the season.” It was Vendela’s first year on the team that Jordan won the state 5A championship. “He contributed heavily to our success that year and he has continued contributing since,” Kjar said. Throughout his four years at Jordan, Vendela has bonded with most of the players. “The kids talk to me about things they won’t tell others,” he said. “I give them the best advice I can and help them through things. But what I have found along the way is, while I may be helping them, they are helping me. Some have taught me life lessons that I can pass along to others.” Vendela also dismisses the notion that he hears a lot: that football players aren’t very smart. “I hear it all the time that people think football players are just dumb kids,” he said. “They are actually smarter and more respectful than many adults. I have nothing but respect for them because they give me nothing but respect. It doesn’t take them long to realize I am there to help them.” Vendela even gets respect from the opposition. “Last year after our game with Bingham, I had one of their players come all the way

December 2015 | Page 21

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across the field to me,” Vendela said. “He got down on one knee, shook my hand and told me thanks for everything I had done for our country and for him.” His favorite story revolved around Clay Moss, a former Jordan running back with all kinds of talent. But Moss had a chip on his shoulder and wasn’t very well liked on or off the field. He stayed away from others and wasn’t fulfilling all he could on the field. “He was in a hole and wasn’t liked by even the coaches,” Vendela said. “I began talking to him and he began listening to me. He would even come to ask me for help. Before long, his life was turning around and he was making friends with the entire team.”

Moss would run for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the 2012 championship game. Later somebody approached Vendela to tell him why Moss had become such a threat. “He told me Clay had said he worked so hard and ran so hard because of me,” Vendela recalled. “Clay had said that because I had lost my legs for him, he was going to run his legs into the ground for me. It was an emotional moment for me. That was his junior year and the next year he was a totally different person.” Vendela’s approach to life hasn’t changed much from his mission in the Army to his mission as a coach. He is still trying to clear obl stacles for safe passage for his charges.

Sandy Runner Competed in World Mountain Running Championships By Ron Bevan


he mountains around Sandy called out to Tayte Pollman. And he answered the call. Now his passion for running along the Wasatch has helped him earn a spot on the United States mountain running team and a trip to Wales to compete in an international event. Pollman is a member of the junior team that was sent to Wales to compete in the middle of September. A 2015 graduate of Brighton High School, Pullman is currently attending the University of Portland in Oregon as a redshirt member of the cross country team. “Mountain racing is a really big sport in Europe, and it is catching on here in the United States,” Paul Kirsch, team manager for the U.S. mountain running team, said. “It is different than other types of races because it is longer and consists of a wide variety of elevation changes.” Pollman began running in the eighth grade, while attending Albion Middle School. It grew to where he loved running and began wanting more than just what cross country and track teams could offer. “By ninth grade I was running in the mountains,” Pollman said. “We have such beautiful mountains and it was fun to run in them. I just kept progressing from there.” Because mountain running isn’t offered as a competitive sport in high school, Pollman continued to represent Brighton on the cross

country and track teams. His efforts there helped him land a position on the cross country team at the University of Portland. However, because of the number of members on this year’s Portland team, Pollman is sitting out this season and will compete next year. Although Pollman competed at Brighton in both track and cross country, he had a yearning for a more challenging style of racing. “Even though the high school cross country courses were more than three miles, they were too short for my tastes,” Pollman said. “Shorter distances just aren’t my thing.” So he continued training in the mountains around Sandy, finding a 10- to 13-mile run on a trail with its terrain changes was what he loved. “Trail running is so much better than running on a level track, running around in an oval pattern,” Pollman said. “There are obstacles to avoid and changes in elevation. Both tax not only your body and endurance, but also your mind. You have to stay sharp. You have to stay focused.” Pollman continued to look for ways to expand his love of terrain racing and found several different local mountain races to compete in. He won a 16-mile mountain race in Park City this summer, and then found out about the U.S. mountain running team. “For our junior racers we go select mem-

Sandy’s Tayte Pollman was selected to run at the Mountain Running World Championships in Wales. Pollman, a graduate of Brighton High School, also competes in cross country for the University of Portland. Photo courtesy of the US mountain running team.

bers off resumes sent in because it is too hard to get junior runners to travel to different races,” Kirsch said. “We were impressed with

Pollman’s resume and what he had already accomplished, so we invited him onto our team.” l

Page 22 | December 2015

Sandy Journal

Are Bargain Hunters too Dang Cheap? By Joani Taylor


hile chatting the other day with a friend of mine who owns a popular downtown Salt Lake restaurant, we got into a conversation about deals and coupons they offered through various advertising mediums. This restaurateur friend of mine has promoted many times through these marketing avenues, and I was picking his brain for insight on what works and what doesn’t. I mentioned that I had been reading on Yelp.com (a popular customer review website) a plethora of negative comments about various restaurants (including his) and how MANY of the negative reviewers start their review with “I had a coupon or deal voucher for this company and decided to give it a try.” Then the reviewer would launch into a rant of negativity bashing the food or service provider. As my friend and I further discussed this, he stated that sometimes bargain hunters are terrible customers and that “it is not uncommon for them to complain, under tip and even attempt to mis-use their certificates or coupons.” I’m finding this trend sad and disturbing! Most of these businesses are local to our

economy. They employ our families, friends and neighbors. They support not only their families but the employees that count on it, too. When they discount their product, it’s in the hopes of getting new and loyal customers. Then, in addition to having to pay the advertiser, they watch as we, the consumers, berate them publicly for future customers to see. SAY WHAT?! I’m sad to say that many merchants I’ve spoken with view deal users as classless and cheap. I recently had the marketing director of a popular Utah location tell me they did not want coupon and deal users at their place of business, leaving their, and I quote, “McDonalds bags and dirty diapers all over their lawn.” OUCH! That hurt! After all, I rarely eat fast food and my kids are adults. Of course, one has nothing to do with the other. It was the stigma she attached to the bargain hunter that bothered me. When I use a deal voucher or coupon, I take a much different approach. The first thing I do is to thank the manager or owner (if possible) for providing me with this great chance to try their services or product. Or, I will immediately let the waiter, cashier or other employ-

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ee know that I have the deal voucher and then ask them to thank their boss on my behalf. I’m happy, kind and courteous and do my best to make the service employee have a better day. This small gesture of kindness will set the tone for your entire dining or shopping experience. It will make the merchant proud and glad they offered YOU this discount. This holiday season, I hope you’ll join me in saying thanks to the merchants from whom you have received special savings. Leave comments on their Facebook pages, tip extra, make a purchase without a coupon even if there is one, or simply smile and show gratitude to our small local Utah businesses for giving us a discount on their products and

services that we might not have discovered otherwise. If you do go back to the business, let them know you found them through a coupon or deal, and you are so glad you l did.

December 2015 | Page 23

S andy Journal .Com

Have Yourself an Eco-Friendly Christmas By Peri Kinder


t turns out that some scientists think we’re headed for a mass extinction. Merry Christmas! I guess our greedy attitude about the world’s resources is taking its toll on the oceans, rain forests, various ecosystems and the ability for celebrities to own a different fur coat for every day of the week. In order to reverse this Christmatasrophe, we need to change our wasteful habits. I’ve put together some new holiday rules that might just save the planet. (You can thank me later.) • Due to the inversion, chestnuts can no longer be roasted on an open fire. Chestnuts can instead be microwaved and then sprayed with a chemical-free Roasting Chestnut air freshener. • In accordance with PETA guidelines, reindeer will not be allowed to fly for 24 hours without a bathroom or smoke break. • Naughty children will no longer receive lumps of coal, but will instead be given a

stocking full of organic Brussels sprouts. (Much worse than coal.) • Colorful Christmas packages can only be wrapped in old newspaper, making them neither colorful nor timely. • Thanks to global warming, dreaming of a white Christmas is no longer allowed. • No Christmas trees can be displayed unless they’re made from reclaimed barn wood. • With the rapid rise in STDs, mistletoe can no longer be hung at office parties. (All other unacceptable behavior has been canceled.) • Christmas carolers can only go door-to-door with the proper permits and background checks. • The phrase, “Let your heart be light” only applies if your heart is powered by solar panels. • Because of the increasing number of people with diabetes, cookies for Santa are no longer allowed. • No family can send out Christmas newslet-

ters. (Not to save the planet. I just don’t want to read them.) • Due to the melting of the polar ice caps, Santa’s workshop is being relocated to Canada. While these changes are great, it’s not just our harmful environmental attitudes that need a holiday makeover. Unregulated capitalism in America has created a society of materialistic little buggers (i.e. teenagers) who are never content. Cutting back on holiday extravagance could remind your family of the importance of the season. As Thoreau once said, “Simplify, simplify.” (Although you’d think he could have said it once.) You can tell your kids you’re trying to save money or you can tell your kids that Putin has “annexed” the North Pole and put a sanction on gifts made in Kris Kringle’s workshop. Whatever works. Decorate your home with nature. Pinecones, dried leaves, artfully arranged twigs and fresh



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pine boughs (cut from your neighbor’s tree) can add a beautiful touch to a mantel or centerpiece. I went in my backyard to find some nature but only discovered little piles of Christmas spirit left for me by my dog. For Christmas dinner, whip up a delicious batch of grass fed, locally-grown, free range sweet potatoes. Forgo the annual ham or turkey and try a fresh holiday green salad. (Don’t cook reindeer burgers, unless you want PETA to jump out from behind your couch and smack it out of your hand.) You could even give your guests a paper bag full of food scraps as a Start Your Own Compost Kit. Then, on Christmas morning, while you’re sitting with your family amidst piles of gifts made from recycled soda cans, old socks and discarded toilet paper rolls, you can bask in the warmth of an eco-friendly Christmas. Or, according to scientists, it might be the warmth of poisonous gases trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. Happy holidays. l

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Profile for The City Journals

Sandy December 2015  

Vol.15 iss. 12

Sandy December 2015  

Vol.15 iss. 12