South Valley Journal February 2019

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February 2019 | Vol. 29 Iss. 02


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By Travis Barton |

It was mid-October at Cove Pond when a teenage boy slowly slipped underwater. “He was under for about 20 seconds, and we realized he’s not coming up,” said Phil Stooksbury, a Scoutmaster with troop 656. The Scout troop was finishing up its fishing activity when the members noticed the boy floundering in the water. Another leader, Scott Gordon, along with the Scouts, were calling the boy, urging him back to the shore when he submerged himself. That’s when Stooksbury jumped in. Shooting his arms out, he went under looking through the dark waters. Stooksbury finally saw an arm, grabbed it and pulled toward the shore. Mud pulled at his feet, enhancing the difficulty. But he was able to get the teenager ashore. Putting the boy on his side, scout leaders hit him in the back, where he was “just vomiting out all this water and junk,” Stooksbury said. But the boy was alive. That night “went from a fishing merit badge to a lifesaving merit badge,” Stooksbury said. Because of their efforts, Scout troop 656 was presented with a Life Savers Award from Herriman Police Department Chief Troy Carr during the Jan. 9 city council meeting. “Actions taken that day by these courageous young men of troop 656 and their leaders without a doubt saved that young man’s life and prevented a great tragedy,” Carr said during the meeting. “We commend them for their quick actions and selfless response to a dangerous and dynamic situation.” Stooksbury said they were surprised to receive recognition. “We weren’t expecting anything,” Stooksbury said. “We’re just happy that we were prepared and able to help.” Stooksbury, the chief financial officer at Graystone Mortgage, said it’s unfortunate many young kids are going through tough times both emotionally and mentally, especially in a city still licking the wounds from its tragedies over the past 18 months. “We can’t be afraid to…,” he said pausing, looking for the right words. “We need to jump in, everybody. Those who

Boy Scout Troop 656 poses for a photo with city officials after being presented with a Life Saver Award for stepping in to save a teenage boy from drowning. (Herriman City)

are going through emotional trials or mental health or anything of that sort. We got to jump into those dark pools and try and save those friends out there and pull them back to the shore.” Carr received an email the day after the incident from Brad Bailey, the officer first on the scene the night. Carr said Bailey told him this was about to be another tragic teenage incident in the Herriman community. But these residents leapt into action. “And not only citizens, it’s our Boy Scout group,” Carr said. “One of the groups we train as youngsters to take action, to be prepared and be on the lookout. And they go, at their own personal risk, and pull this young man out; they literally saved his life.” It was the first Life Saver Award given out by HPD, but it won’t be the last. “From my perspective, it appropriately rewards those that risk some amount of their life or limb to go out and help somebody else that needs it,” Carr said. “That’s what we should be doing anyways, helping out.” This event happened mere weeks after the police de-

partment officially began. Carr said as his leadership team were putting policies together, they felt publicly recognizing good Samaritans was a good idea. “So, as we’re doing our policies, we say let’s do citizens awards where we can come in here and recognize these people in Herriman, or citizens of anywhere that are in our city doing courageous, outstanding feats—things that change our community for the better and so we did,” Carr said. After the Scout troop was presented with their award, Councilwoman Nicole Martin said she is continually impressed by what the police department is doing—from increased presence in the community, to initiating new programs to recognizing selfless acts by residents. “Seeing your improved presence in the community, not only makes you feel safer but really brings our community together,” she said. “I just echo the gratitude that we offer to anyone that’s willing to take time to watch out for somebody else,” said Mayor David Watts. “And it sounds like you were prepared like you were supposed to be.” l

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C ITY OURNAL The South Valley City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout South Valley. For information about distribution please email circulation@mycityjournals. com or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. For subscriptions please contact: 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.

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South Valley City Journal

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February 2019 | Page 5

New Year’s weight loss resolution? Slim-possible! By Mariden Williams |

Last year, the top four Mission Slim-Possible participants lost 113.7 pounds collectively. (Riverton City Communications)


an. 2 marked the beginning of Riverton City’s annual Mission “Slim”-Possible, an individual weight loss challenge. In the first week alone, the 85-or-so participants collectively lost 425 pounds, averaging 5 pounds lost per person, and there’s still a month and a half to go. “This was exciting news for us, and we’d like to encourage everyone out there, whether participating in the competition or not, to stick with those New Year’s resolutions!” Riverton officials said in a Facebook post. Mission Slim-Possible, which began in 2010, aims to bring people together to compete in a friendly way as they seek to live healthier lifestyles. Weekly prizes are given out for the largest percentage of body weight lost. Overall winners at the end of the program are given cash prizes, with the amount being determined by the number of participants in the program. Winners are selected from the categories of most overall weight lost, body fat percentage, best female and best male. “The program has been a great way for people to get committed to their health and fitness goals,” said Kevin Willett, recreation coordinator for Riverton City. “Everyone that has finished the program has lost weight. It’s great to see people feel better about themselves.” Each participant was weighed in the recreation office at Riverton City Hall on the first day of the contest. All participants will return for another weigh-in every Wednesday until the end of the competition, which runs through Feb. 28. These weigh-ins are the only direct city involvement in the competition — participants must structure their own fitness and nutrition regimens. According to Riverton officials, it’s common for couples or groups of friends to par-

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ticipate in fitness or diet programs together, even though those are not offered through the competition. Individuals 18 years and older are eligible to participate, as well as those 17 years or younger who provide a doctor’s note. Though it is up to participants to lose the weight, the competition does provide some convenient avenues for building healthy habits: the $30 entrance fee includes a free twoweek membership to both Anytime Fitness in Riverton and Riverton’s Fit Body Bootcamp, as well as entry into the Riverton Half Marathon and 4Life 5K in March. “We want anyone who is looking to improve their health in the new year to participate,” Willett said. “This is a great way to hold yourself accountable to any New Year’s resolutions you set in the areas of health and fitness.” The program has seen much success over the years. Last year, the top four participants lost 113.7 pounds collectively. At the end of the day, however, the goal is to get people to take active steps to improve their health, regardless of how much they weigh. Those who generally find the most success are the ones who succeed in changing daily habits. l

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Valentine’s Day ideas By Michelynne McGuire |

Here are some ideas and places around the valley for a Valentine’s date and some budget savvy ideas for Valentines. Romantic: Does your honey have to work on Valentine’s Day? That’s not romantic…but perhaps doing one sweet deed a day is the best way to make it up to your honey. Help them feel extra appreciated with one sweet gesture a day leading up to Feb. 14. Outdoorsy: Don’t let cold temperatures stop you from celebrating Valentine’s in the great outdoors. Dress warmly and try these ideas: Ice Skating: Gallivan Center, Ice Rink Hotline: (801) 535-6117. For more details check out their website: Skiing: Some ski resorts offer retreats, spa specials and romantic dinners for Valentine’s Day. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time. This website: www.skiutah. com helps you navigate different resort websites for information. Ice Castles: Journey to Midway and walk handin-hand around magnificent illuminated ice formations. Giving back: The hopeful animals at local animal shelters could use some love too. The Sandy Animal Services Department doesn’t need volunteers, but they do allow good willed people to visit and give the animals attention in their pet/play room during normal business hours. Sandy Animal Services Department is located at 8751 S. 700 West in Sandy. (801) 352-4450 Indoorsy: If you and your love opt out of crowds this year…perhaps make a fun recipe together, cookies, cupcakes, or whatever your fancy…and then paint or draw one another to the best of your artistic abilities. Check out Painting with a Twist and Color Me Mine for some indoor painting activities for a date. Singles/miscellaneous: Sumo Wrestling! Yes, you can rent a sumo suit with some friends from Canyon Party Rental, LLC (801) 836-7700. For more information their website is: For seniors: “Draper’s best kept secret.” That’s according to Draper Senior Center’s office specialist Lisa Campbell. The senior center offers an array of fun things for seniors to do and socialize. And it is free for seniors aged 60+ and free for spouses under 60 if they are married to a member who is at least 60. It’s open to seniors living in all areas. There is a workout facility, classes offered and even a café serving generous portions at good prices. Their Valentine’s Day event, a ballroom dance Valentine’s party, will take place on Feb. 13 at 10:30 a.m. Come join in the dance and fun and celebrate “love day” with good music provided by the ballroom dance class and enjoy light refreshments. And on Feb. 14 at 11:30 a.m. Valentine’s entertainment will be provided by the non-profit organization Heart and Soul. Fancy foodies and desserts:If you’re a foodie and you plan to splurge on your sweetie by deciding to indulge and tantalize your taste buds in ambiance, La

Caille, a French restaurant in Sandy, is having a Valentine’s seven-course dinner for $150 per person, reservations required. They are located at 9565 Wasatch Blvd. in Sandy. (801) 942-1751 And is a simplified way to find a Utah Valentine’s Day restaurant with open reservations. If you don’t want to deal with crowds, Dairy Queen is having Cupid’s Cake, made from their traditional ice cream cake, perfect for sharing and it comes in the shape of a heart, a sweet treat for your sweetie that you can take home. Family: If you’re not already in touch with your inner child, perhaps taking the family to bounce around on trampolines together will heighten your awareness. Airborne Trampoline Park is an amusement center in Draper. Their website states, “Wall-to-wall trampolines attract jumpers of all ages to this complex with air dodge ball and foam pits.” They are located at 12674 Pony Express Rd. in Draper. (801) 601-8125 And if you’re not in Draper there is another called Get Air Salt Lake in Murray at 5546 Van Winkle. Teens and adult, budget friendly: The Draper Library is offering on Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m. a tasting of chocolate and creating. You will get the chance to test your palate with chocolate sampling and create your own seasonal craft to go with. This is through the Draper Makers, they have a seasonal creation time to learn new techniques, the supplies are provided while quantities last. Registration preferred. The Draper Library is at 1136 E. Pioneer Rd. (12400 S.) Draper and is across from the TRAX station. (801) 943-4636 Developmentally Appropriate: “All Ability Activity Very Fun Valentines,” Friday, February 1 at 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Crafts and activities are designed for adults and teens with disabilities. “We have a great time, it’s the highlight of my month,” said Sarah Brinkerhoff, manager at the Draper Library. Registration is required. The Draper Library is located at 1136 E. Pioneer Rd. (12400 S.) in Draper and is across the street from the TRAX station. (801) 943-4636 Kid friendly, family/friends and free: Valentine crafting, bring the kiddies to make a sweet penguin magnet, on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 1-4 p.m. You may drop in between those hours to make a magnet for Valentine’s Day. The crafting will take place in the children’s area; everything will be available to put together a magnet, while supplies last. Feb. 11, 7- 8 p.m. Family Draper Makers, no registration required, supplies provided while quantities last. Make homemade Valentines and spend quality time with family while creating seasonal crafts. Draper Library is located at 1136 E. Pioneer Rd. (12400 S.) in Draper and is across the street from the TRAX station. (801) 943-4636 Whatever you plan to do, here’s one easy tip for fostering love and appreciation: During your time together, take a break from checking cell phones and focus on one another. Valentine’s Day is truly a day to be loving first and foremost to others and yourself. l S outh ValleyJournal .com

February 2019 | Page 7

You were just in a car accident, now what?


nless you’re one of the few anomalies in the world, we’ve all been in an accident. We’ve experienced that sickening feeling when your car makes unwanted contact with another vehicle. We’re frustrated and disheartened. While we may want to crawl into a hole, we can’t. There are things to do and we’ve given you 10 to be aware of (in no particular order). 1. Have an emergency kit in your car. While this step comes before the accident occurs, it’s essential to be prepared. Whatever you kit entails, make sure it has a first-aid kit, flashlight, reflective triangles and a small (and simple) camera in case there’s been damage to your phone. We’re typically frustrated or frazzled after an accident and not inclined to rational thinking. Being prepared limits the possibility of forgetfulness. 2. Take a deep breath. Accidents are traumatic experiences. Taking a breath will shift focus from what just happened to what needs to be done next. 3. Get a status check on everyone in the car. Check with each passenger to see if they are OK. Have someone call 911 immediately if someone is injured or unresponsive. 4. Move to a safe location. Most insurance companies recommend relocating the vehicle to the sidewalk or shoulder of the road as soon as possible after the accident. If

the damage to the car is minor, this should be relatively easy. But if there are major injuries or questions about the safety of the car, leave it where it is, even if its blocking traffic. 5. Increase your visibility. Turn on your hazard lights and set out your attention items from the emergency kit—flares, orange cones, reflective triangles, etc. One accident should not lead to another. Take precaution to ensure other drivers on the road remain safe. 6. Stay calm. It is very easy to lose your temper in this situation, it’s human nature. Keeping your cool will keep the situation from getting worse. If it wasn’t your fault, it’s easy to want to let your emotions loose on the other driver. This will cloud your judgment and may lead to something that does not help the situation. You still need to exchange information. 7. Exchange insurance information. This is imperative. If you are to file a claim on your car, you will need the other driver’s information. Most likely, after an accident you are feeling jumpy or stressed. It means when you try to write down their information your handwriting will look like ancient hieroglyphics and, unless you are a cryptographer, will be unable to read it later. We live in the 21st century, take a photo of their information and take photos of the damage done to both cars. 8. Don’t admit guilt. Every insurance

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company will tell you to do this. Even if you are at fault and it was you to blame. This could drive your premium up or even lead to you being sued. Let the police and insurance companies determine this. 9. Call the police. While some minor accidents don’t require a report to be filed, it’s up to the discretion of the drivers in the accident to call the police. Law enforcement can take statements, get information on injuries and property damage. Be sure to ask for a copy of the accident report. If there is a dispute, the officer will be an important testimony. 10. See a doctor. Depending on the in-

juries suffered or not, it is easy to skip this. A large financial situation has just happened with the car accident, you don’t want another one by seeing the doctor and jacking up your health costs. It’s important to consider it, or possibly speak with one. Adrenaline can be pumping after the accident and one might not notice the amount of whiplash to your neck. Symptoms can take 24 hours to appear. The warning signs include neck pain, stiffness, loss of motion in the neck, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and pain in the shoulders or upper back. It can be better to be safe than sorry. l


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Herriman earns award for financial reporting By Travis Barton |


or the fourth year running, Herriman City received an outstanding achievement award for its financial report. The Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) is prepared through the finance and communications department of the city. It takes an approximately 200-page report and boils it down 10–12 pages, making it easier for the public to consume. “These are not easy to do,” City Manager Brett Wood told the council during a January city council meeting. “I can’t remember how many cities get these, but it’s pretty rare. Your team here at Herriman City has been knocking it out of the ball park on a pretty regular basis.” Wood specifically recognized Finance Director Alan Rae and Communications Director Tami Moody for their work in making this happen. “I do the black and white stuff, and Tami and her group make it look good,” Rae said. The PAFR is examined by a panel of independent reviewers from the Government Finance Officers Association. Reading from a letter sent by the association, Wood said

their report “substantially met the requirements of the PAFR program.” “We didn’t just make it, we substantially exceeded,” Wood said. “We have a team here that is second to none.” Council members were complimentary of the city staff. Councilman Jared Henderson noted the work done by other department heads. These financial reports are crucial for the council. While a budget process takes months to finalize, the council sees the finished the product but maybe not all the work that goes into its creation. “What amazes me is it gets better every year,” Henderson said. Councilman Clint Smith said it’s one thing for the council to harp on transparency and another for the staff to take that direction and simplify a complicated financial process into something digestible. “We’ve all had experiences with multiple organizations and city budgets,” Smith said. “And there is none that hold a candle, in my opinion, to the way that the budget is done here.” l


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South Valley City Journal

A new police chief for a new police department By Mariden Williams |

Mayor Trent Staggs congratulates Don Hutson on his appointment as chief of police in Riverton. (Riverton City Communications)


new chief of police was selected to oversee the formation of the soon-to-be Riverton Police Department: Don Hutson, who has served as the chief of the Unified Police Department’s Holladay precinct for the last four years. Hutson was selected from a pool of nearly 60 candidates and began work as Riverton’s chief of police in January. “The opportunity of starting a police department from the ground up is something that I couldn’t pass up,” Hutson said. “I look

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forward to creating a department that proactively serves the Riverton community, places high value on our officers and provides the best law enforcement service for our citizens.” Riverton officials decided to hire a new police chief following their October 2018 decision to part ways with the UPD in favor of creating an in-house police department. The department split-up had been in the works since July 2018, when the Riverton City Council and UPD board members started having serious differences of opinion on the matter of taxpayer fund distribution. “The decision to form our own police department has been a difficult one for us,” said Councilman Sheldon Stewart. “Ultimately, the decision was made based on what direction could provide the best level of service in our city at the best cost. The move to create our own police department allows more Riverton taxpayer dollars to be invested in law enforcement service right here in our own community.” “We are thrilled to welcome Don Hutson as the new chief of police in Riverton,” said Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs. “He brings with him the experience, skill set and network needed to set up a thriving police department. I have no doubt he will serve the

citizens of our city exceptionally well in this role.” Hutson has been Holladay’s precinct chief since 2015, but he has also served in a variety of roles with UPD and the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, including being a professional standards division commander, investigations division commander, media services unit administrator and public information officer. Additionally, Hutson has been a drug enforcement task force officer, narcotics unit detective, gang unit detective, SWAT team member and patrol deputy. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in business administration and finance from Utah State University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. “Now that a chief has been selected, we look forward to getting very aggressive in putting our new department together,” Staggs said. “We invite the best and brightest police officers from around Utah to consider applying for service within the Riverton Police Department when positions become available over the next several months, including those who have provided exceptional service to our community in the past.” Riverton officials have lofty expectations for their in-the-works police department.

“I’m confident Chief Hutson will help us achieve our goal of becoming the best police department in the state, bar none,” said City Manager Konrad Hildebrandt. UPD offers many “pooled services” to its member cities: things such as K-9 units, narcotics divisions, SWAT teams and child abduction response teams that are very nice to have when you need them but hard to justify paying for full time for a small city with a relatively low crime rate. UPD, because it serves many cities, can justify paying for such things, and cities that contract with UPD have access to these pooled services on an as-needed basis. But these same pooled services are what drove the contract cost up so high that Riverton officials balked. “Everybody says, ‘Well, we don’t use all the services that Unified has; we don’t have the crime rate; we don’t have the problems,’” said UPD Officer Jason Allbrid at a town hall meeting back in August 2018. “Well, I don’t crash my car every day, but I still have insurance. I like the insurance that UPD has offered.” It is anticipated that the Riverton Police Department will take over full law enforcement service in Riverton from Unified Police Department in July 2019. l

February 2019 | Page 11

New high school A-list Faculty By Jet Burnham |

Award-winning choir director Kelly DeHaan is a big draw for the new high school. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)


ike Kochevar, principal at the new Mountain Ridge High School, opening this fall in Herriman, hopes students will be excited to enroll in the new school. “I think that we offer what a lot of other schools offer, but coming to a new school is exciting,” he said. “You’re starting traditions. I think that’s why a lot of people will come.” The faculty is also a draw for students. “I feel like I’ve done some great hiring here — I’ve hired some quality people,” Kochevar said. On Jan. 2, Herriman residents and prospective students had an opportunity at an open house to meet the coaches and heads of departments that have been hired so far. The community is singing the praises of the choir director, award-winning Kelly DeHaan, who currently is choir director at West Jordan High School, music director at Hale Centre Theatre as well as countless other roles in the music community. DeHaan has grown the WJHS program and is excited to do the same at Mountain Ridge. “I’m ready for a new chapter,” he said. “The buzz is good. People seem really happy about it.” All four choirs at MRHS will be filled by audition only. DeHaan realizes this could be intimidating for students. “They don’t really know me, and they don’t know my brand, so it’s a risk for them to come out and sing for me,” he said. “I’m glad for nights like tonight where they can come get to know me and see that I’m happy and nice.” DeHaan plans to get to know the community as he begins new traditions that fit their expectations for the new program. “It’s going to be fabulous; I can guarantee that,” he said. Drumroll please … MRHS’s band director is James Densley. “My goal is to continue the tradition of excellence that this school district has when

Page 12 | February 2019

it comes to performing arts—specifically band,” said Densley. “There are some really great band programs in Jordan District, and my plan is to be one of them, to fit in with them and not to be the afterthought band in the district.” Densley’s main focus will be creating an awesome experience for first-year students. “I want to set a precedence and build a foundation for everything that’s going to come after it — something that will last a long time,” he said. Densely plans to hit the ground running, or rather, marching. This summer, he will hold a weeklong marching band camp to prepare students for fall competitions as well as a Fourth of July parade performance. “We’re trying to start out as big as we can,” he said. “We’re trying to get as much going as we can the first year. The numbers will probably be small, but in terms of what we’re offering, it will be pretty much the same as most high schools.” Kochevar said MRHS will have the same sports teams and performing arts opportunities as high school students are used to. Athletic coaches who have been hired so far include football coach Mike Meifu, wrestling coach Mitch Stevens, boys basketball coach Scott Briggs, girls basketball coach Kenzie Newton, soccer coach Eric Arthur,

drill coach Blaikly Lever and cheer coach Kory Uyetake. Zoey White, dance company director, believes it is a great opportunity for students to be involved in building a new team at a new school. “I am excited for kids to be invested in this new school,” she said. “Dance Company is really going to cater to that. I really want us to have school pride as well as be invested in community.” Students will be able to take a variety of dance classes as well as audition for performing dance teams. White looks forward to helping students learn to do things they didn’t think they could. “I want kids to get comfortable with the uncomfortable,” she said, reflecting her hope that nontraditional students will give dance classes a try — they might just find that they love it. Students with a love for film and broadcasting should be ready for lights, camera, action this fall because Leslie Vawdrey, who currently runs the state award-winning broadcast news at Copper Hills High School, is bringing her skills and enthusiasm to MRHS. Students will have access to brand-new equipment to film with, a huge studio to film in and a giant video wall in the commons area to project their finished products. The school’s state-of-the-art broadcast

studio includes a production set with a professional news anchor desk (a hand-me-down from KSL’s set), a casual interview set, a full computer lab and a large green screen. Vawdrey has already asked woodshop instructor Richard Minor to build a new custom anchor desk and set for the program. Minor’s current students (at WJHS) regularly build such projects; this year, they built leaderboards for school teams and tables for the Family and Consumer Science’s restaurant. However, Minor worries if many seniors choose to stay at their current high schools instead of coming to MRHS, there may not be enough experienced students to handle these kinds of projects. “I know seniors don’t want to leave their high school, which will affect the talent pool for all classes and teams here,” he said. However, Minor felt good after the open house, where he was able to speak with students and parents about the new school. “I love that they got to see what we do here and meet our teachers,” he said. “I know we have the people in place to be one of the greatest high schools in the state.” Sydney Barney will be a sophomore this fall, starting her high school career at MRHS. After meeting the teachers and coaches at the open house, she said she was most excited about the choir, volleyball and theater programs. l

South Valley City Journal

Students arrange financial advice for teachers By Jet Burnham |


ifty percent of teachers at Herriman High School say their personal finances cause them stress. Half of them haven’t started any estate planning, while 20 percent still have large amounts of student debt. These statistics, collected by the school’s FBLA and DECA students, were the inspiration for the projects they have prepared for club competitions that challenge them to identify a problem in their community and creatively solve it. “When we were looking for a group of people for our project, we thought there wouldn’t be anyone better than teachers,” said Jacob Racker, a senior. Alexander Hill said students wanted to address the financial issues that lead to teacher shortages and teachers dropping out of the profession. “A lot of them want to teach; it’s just their finances are in the way,” he said. “We learned all these skills from business classes, but they don’t do anything if we don’t actually use them, so we’re actually using the skills that we learned in the classroom to help people.” The students’ solution was to arrange a financial wellness fair. Financial professionals were invited to the school to be available to talk to staff members about estate planning, retirement, general financial advice, investing, insurance and college savings plans. Elza Morgan, who teaches sewing and design classes at HHS, had been putting off estate planning, believing it would be stressful, complex and expensive. But she felt guilty when she thought of her two young children not being taken care of. “My husband being a police officer and this not being done has been a stressor for the last three years,” she said. The event took place at the school during school hours. Morgan was able to step out of her classroom, walk down the hall and meet with an estate planning representative. In less than an hour, she was able to get the help she needed. “It was pretty easy; that surprised me,” she said. And now that she has begun the process and had her questions answered, she isn’t stressed about it anymore. “I just feel so at peace,” Morgan said. The business students developed their project based on the information they collected by surveying the high school faculty and meeting with them in a focus group. “With teachers being so open about their finances and personal struggles, we were able to cater this event more toward their needs,” said senior Bailey Burgess. Students were glad to help their teachers. “It is turning the tables because teachers help us with almost everything,” said Burgess, who admits students can’t usually help teachers in return. “I’m just glad I could be

S outh ValleyJournal .com

part of this group to put on this event to finally give back to teachers that are well-deserved of this.” The ideas, arrangements and promotion of the event were completely student-driven, said business teacher Julianna Wing, who made sure all staff members were invited to participate. Students said the best part of the experience was when participants thanked them for the opportunity to improve their lives. Many told them they never would have gotten it done on their own. Topics related to planning for the future are intimidating for many people, said Robert Ulch, a representative from Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary, who was invited to assist faculty members with funeral planning. “A lot of people have questions, but they just don’t know who to ask,” Ulrich said. “They realize this is a safe place to ask quesBusiness students feel proud of the event they coordinated to help their teachers. (Milie Benker/HHS) tions.” Hill said, according to survey results, help with retirement planning was the most requested service. While teachers have retirement benefits through the state, Ben Smed52% of teachers feel their retirement plan is adequate ley, retirement planning adviser for Utah Retirement System said many young teachers 50% of teachers don’t have any estate planning documents put off retirement decisions. He advised all teachers, no matter their age, to be familiar 50% of teachers say their finances cause them stress with their options. Racker said the project utilized the skills 20% of teachers still have large amounts of student debt they’ve been learning in their classes, such as financial literacy, promotion, partnering with 10% of teachers have more than $37,000 in student debt businesses, professional communication, networking and marketing. 16% of teachers couldn’t pay for an emergency costing more “In school, you’re always learning stuff, than $400 but you never really get to apply that to the real world,” he said. “This is a great oppor50% of teachers couldn’t pay for 36 months worth of expenses in tunity to get some real-world experience that an emergency you wouldn’t get in a classroom.” Students broke the event planning into 35% of teachers have a college savings for their children a focused project for each team to submit for the FBLA and DECA competitions they will 14% of teachers always follow a monthly budget attend this spring. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this 70% of teachers don’t have life insurance big of a project if we only had one group, so we just spread everything out,” said Hill. l

Survey Results

General Stats

Half of adults with debt have mental health issues People in debt are twice as likely to have major depression Only one quarter of employees have attained financial wellness More than half of employees who are financially unwell have poor financial literacy People in debt are 3 times as likely to have mental health issues 61% of stress comes from poor financial wellness Representatives from Diversify Investments provided teachers with strategies to make their salaries stretch farther. (Milie Benker/HHS)

30% of poor overall health is from poor financial wellness 43% of disengagement and distractions comes from poor financial wellness

February 2019 | Page 13

Administrative changes cause domino effect


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With five new schools opening in the next year, the Jordan School District saw a slew of changes in school administration. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)


wenty-two Jordan District administrators were given one week’s notice that they were being reassigned to a new school. Sandy Riesgraf, director of communications at Jordan District, said it is unusual for so many changes to be made mid-year. “When you’re opening five new schools in the next year and two the following year, that’s when it becomes necessary,” Riesgraf said. The change was abrupt — announced at a Jordan District board meeting Jan. 8 and effective just one week later. The appointments caused a domino effect in the administrations of a majority of schools in the district. Carolyn Bona, principal of Midas Creek

Elementary, was appointed principal of the new elementary in Bluffdale, which will open this fall. Filling her spot is Megan Cox, who left Golden Fields and Rosecrest Elementary without an assistant principal. (These positions had not been filled as of publication time.) Cox said she felt comfortable with the sudden change and was confident to take on the role of principal. She has the support of several principals and district specialists she’s worked with over the years. “They’ve helped train me and teach me and coach me,” she said. “So, I still have a great support system.” Some schools were shocked and sad to

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lose their principals and assistant principals overnight. While the Fort Herriman Middle School faculty and community was excited for their principal, Rodney Shaw, to be given the opportunity to open the new middle school in Bluffdale in 2020, they were sad to see him leave after 14 years at their school. West Jordan Middle School lost an assistant principal in the shuffle — Eric Price replaced Shaw as principal at Fort Herriman. West Jordan High lost assistant principal Donna Hunter who was named principal at Oquirrh Hills Middle School when Michael Glenn was appointed principal for the new middle school in South Jordan. “I know I have big shoes to fill,” said Hunter, who has worked with Glenn before. “I know it will be an adjustment for them, but if the kids will let me like them, we are going to have a great year. I am happy to have landed in the Eagle’s Nest.” Changes affected district positions as well. Becky Gerber, previously a consultant for the teaching and learning department at the district, became the new area administrator for elementary schools in the district. With a total of 37 elementary schools (and more in the planning phase), district officials decided to create an additional elementary area administrator position. The workload will now be spread among six area administrators to alleviate the workload and better serve schools. “We want them to be able to focus-in and be there for those schools,” Riesgraf said. Gerber said the district has provided a lot of support during the transition. She said several departments have been readjusted to accommodate the growth and address the changes in the district. “With that realignment of responsibilities, they are making sure that we have enough people to do the work at a level of quality,” said Gerber. “They’re making sure all of those assignments are getting completed effectively.” Riesgraf explained selections for new appointments were made from administrators who had applied to the district’s “administrative pool.” Three more announced changes will be effective Feb. 11. An additional 17 will be effective July 1, including replacements for eight district employees and administrators who will be retiring at the end of the school year. For a complete list of changes, see l

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February 2019 | Page 15

South valley regions set up for next season By Greg James |

Herriman basketball will find themselves playing against familiar opponents next season after the UHSAA sets realignment. (Greg James/City Journals)


n December, the Utah High School Activities Association released its final determination for region alignments for the upcoming school year. “I personally would like regions to stay set for four years,” Herriman Athletic Director Brad Tingey said. “It gives us a chance to establish some rivalries, but I think we have

Page 16 | February 2019

been treated fairly. We have been hurt playing teams from Utah County as far as attendance. Being located so close develops better fan support. The new region puts us with more natural rivals.” The realignment committee consisted of 16 members, including an athletic director, a representative from each classification in the state, a private school, charter school and six board of trustee members. The committee received current enrollment numbers on Oct. 1 and arranged each school into six classifications. The committee delivered a first consideration in October for schools to evaluate. Mountain Ridge was considered a bubble school in the 6A classification. Bubble schools were allowed to argue which of two classifications they should join. After consideration they chose to move into 5A. “The new regions for 2019–20 are going to be a great challenge for our programs,” Copper Hills Athletic Director Darby Freeland said. “We have some good rivalries formed with Bingham and Herriman. Adding East and West presents a new element as, they have had good success.” The 2019 alignment for Region 3 will include Bingham, Copper Hills, East, Herriman, Riverton and West. Mountain Ridge High School will compete in Region 7

against Alta, Jordan, Lehi, Mountain View, Orem, Timpanogos and Timpview. Providence Hall and Summit Academy will continue to compete against each other in Region 13. RSL Academy competes in Region 15. “I think the rivalries are important,” Riverton Athletic Director Dan Henderson said. “That is when the students actually attend the games because they are important to them.” The UHSAA oversees 109 state championships over 10 boys and 10 girls sanctioned sports. Executive Director Rob Cuff emphasized the importance of balance in its regions at the board confirmation meeting. “We wanted more like schools in each region,” Cuff said in an open meeting about alignment. “It minimizes risk, especially in football. Some say it is watered down, but now we have similar schools playing each other. There is not a big difference in school size.” The committee uses two factors in its decisions: enrollment and free lunch applications. Cuff said the committee looks for things that can be measured to make alignment decisions. “There are 51 different high school associations around the country, and there are 51 different ways to work this out,” he said. “There are states that use the success factor

in determining regions. We have not felt that is the way we want to do it yet. Some want it that way; others don’t. I have heard mixed feelings on some of our regions like Region 2 (Cyprus, Granger, Hunter, Kearns, Taylorsville, West Jordan), but we feel this is a group of like schools, and it may not be the strongest, but it is competitive.” Some have argued that the qualifications for state tournaments should be changed to allow more competitive teams into the state playoffs. “I think it is unfair that some better teams sit at home during playoff time,” Herriman head boys basketball coach Scott Briggs said. “Maybe the region champions should get a bye into the tournament and then the lower place teams play-into the tournament. I am not sure how to do it, but we need to look at it.”There is a motion for the UHSAA to analyze its playoff formats. Currently, the top four teams in each region qualify for the state tournament. In 2019, Region 1 will have eight schools, while the other three regions in the 6A classification each have only six. The UHSAA is scheduled to analyze the enrollment and realign its members in 2021. l

South Valley City Journal

Mustangs finding balance under new coach By Greg James | vice-versa. We are going to count on everyone.”

Business students feel proud of the event they coordinated to help their teachers. (Milie Benker/HHS)


s the Herriman High boys basketball team prepared for a contest at The Autism Awareness tournament in December, a referee looked at the sideline and mentioned to its coach he was coaching the wrong team. “I had 20-plus years at West Jordan,” Mustangs head boys basketball coach Scott Briggs said. “Sometimes, the officials look at me and think I am wearing the wrong colors.” Briggs takes over for one season as Herriman’s head coach and will transition to Mountain Ridge High School next fall. For this season, his focus is on improving the Mustangs. They opened the season with an impressive 19-point win over the Provo Bulldogs. In the game, they jumped out to a 14-point lead; four players scored in double figures. “I feel good about [our season],” Briggs said. “We get frustrated with some defensive mistakes, and we have some things to clean up. At the end of our day, it is good to see our big guys establish themselves inside. We have had a lot of close games, and we are moving in the right direction.” A preseason 9-7 record has helped the Mustangs prepare for the regular season. Briggs expects them to be in the hunt for a region title. “We could be a team to beat when it comes down to it,” he said. “We are a well-rounded team. If the defense tries to shut down our inside guys, we turn the ball outside and feel confident with that and

Senior Blake Freeland has played a pivotal role under the basket. His strength has led to a team-leading 7.5 rebounds per game. He also averages 12.2 points. The 6-foot-6inch junior Kase Peterson has also been an anchor inside for the team. Outside shooters Jael Vaughn and LeGrand Burgess have balanced the offensive attack of the Mustangs. “They are playing hard,” Briggs said. “I think having a new coach coming in is hard. We have made mistakes with effort, and that is OK.” The biggest win of the season may have been against Bingham in its next-to-last preseason game. The Mustangs held a nine-point lead at halftime. Despite a furious comeback from the Miners, the Mustangs were able to hold on and send the game into overtime. After overtime, the game was still tied. In the second OT the Mustangs pulled away for the 64-59 victory. Freeland scored 23 points in the win. The Mustangs opened region contests Jan. 18 (at West Jordan) and Jan. 22 (against Riverton), both after press deadline. Both games could be a barometer of how the season will end up. Last season, they were swept by both opponents. Herriman competes in the Utah High School Activities Association Region 3 against Riverton, West Jordan, Copper Hills and Taylorsville. Last season Herriman finished fourth with a 2-6 record. Briggs is excited at the opportunity he has to work with the Mustangs. “Twenty-plus years at one school, but it has been a great transition,” he said. “The families and kids have been great. I think I will be uncomfortable to go back and compete (against West Jordan), but I love them and my new team, so at the end of the day, we need to compete.” l

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February 2019 | Page 17

Pools at a premium in Jordan School District By Greg James |

A large crowd watches on at the Region 2 swim finals last season, many successful swim programs have added access to pools making it easier to train their participants. (Greg James/City Journals)


here are five and soon to be six high schools in the Jordan School District. They have only two swimming pools (soon to be one) among them for practices and swim meets. The coaches and participants are losing the Marv Jenson facility in South Jordan and currently use JL Sorenson in Herriman. Some of the participants are becoming frustrated. “It is disappointing when the district spends millions on other sanctioned sports but not as much on swim,” Herriman head coach Michael Goldhardt said. Other coaches have seen their programs diminish also. “I think as we look around at our schools, we see a big decline in the swimming programs,” second-year West Jordan swim coach Tim Pollock said. “We are down to about 18 swimmers this season. I was on the West Jordan swim team in 2008. Ten years ago, we won the state championship and had at least 45 swimmers. There are times when half my kids can’t make it to practice because of transportation or other issues.” The Jaguar swim team, in conjunction with the school district, rents practice time at the Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center across the street from Kearns High School. Pollock said not having a local pool changes the makeup of his team. “It definitely affects us,” he said. “There are no youth programs in the area. Swimming needs kids that have experience from a young age. The local club teams have strong high school teams nearby. Of my 18 kids, only six have ever swam before. Only one did a youth program. We are lucky to use Kearns, and they have been fantastic to work with, but we share the pool space with Kearns and Copper Hills at the same time.” The Granite School District is rebuilding Skyline and Cyprus high schools pools, each at the cost of about $4 million. “I am not sure if Jordan District needs to be in the pool building business,” Pollock said. “I think the cities should look into building a useable facility, not just for recreation but for competitive swimmers. I think that would be a positive step forward.”

Page 18 | February 2019

Jordan School District board member Darrell Robinson has been championing the swim teams’ cause. He presented his ideas to the school board in late 2017. “This is a big need for our community,” he said. “It is something that we need to take care of. I posted it on Facebook and got 32,000 hits. By far, the swimming community feels under-served. My kids don’t swim very well because we don’t have access to pools close by.” Swimming pools can be longtime purchases. They can last 50-60 years. The school district is trying to decide if building the pool or searching for usable space is its most desirable solution, according to Robinson. Opposition to the idea claims the yearly operating costs could be expensive. “It is interesting, from what I have seen, the yearly budget is about $100,000,” Robinson said. “It’s not as bad as I expected. I think sharing the pool and raising money through rental fees and city contributions could be the way to offset some of that cost. This problem comes from decades of neglect, and we have learned we cannot put a pool by every school.” Swimming is a life skill that has a value that cannot be attached. Robinson hopes to help swim teams increase participation and skill level. “It would be tragic if we had a football team without a football field or a basketball team without a court,” Robinson said. “If we are going to build these comprehensive high schools, then we need to offer the facilities to match it. If we want to do away with that then we should not offer the programs. This has become a high priority to the board, and it is changing every day. We have lots of options. Some could be done sooner, but we want to make the right decision because it lasts for decades.” As for this season, the teams will continue to share space and work to become better. “My team is dropping times and getting better,” Pollock said. “We hope to get better and increase our numbers.” l




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Behind the Grind(er)




ver wonder what the best bang for your buck is at the coffee shop? Let’s take a journey through my years working as a barista at local and corporate coffee shops. As a customer, you have all sorts of options to get your caffeine fix: drip coffee, espresso drinks, teas, iced blended drinks, cold brews, etc. Let’s focus on drip coffee. Drip is a coffee shop’s equivalent to what you make at home in your coffee pot, just on an industrial scale. We’ll grind the beans, measure out the correct amount, throw that in a filter, make sure the brewer is set to pour the correct amount of water, and hit a “brew” button. If you’re looking for something simple, drip coffee is the best deal at any coffee shop. Depending on the size, and if you’re going to use your own cup, drip coffee is priced anywhere from $2 to $4. Or, if you plan to hang out, most shops will offer “to stay” refills for a reduced price. However, most of us don’t want to get plain drip coffee when we visit a coffee shop. Usually, we desire something fancier, something with espresso. The options for espresso drinks are vast: doppios, lattes, flavored lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos, cortados, macchiatos, mochas, flat whites, dirty chai lattes, blended drinks and signature drinks. Instead of detailing every one of those, I suggest focusing on the most important factor for making your important morning decision:

the ratio of the amount of espresso to the amount of product. Depending on your taste buds, some drinks might suit your wallet better than others. For example, the espresso quantity in a latte and a mocha are equivalent, but there can be as much as a $1 difference between the drinks. For chocolate lovers out there, it’s worth it to get the mocha. But for customers focused primarily on caffeine, a latte would be the way to go. For espresso drinks, one of the main considerations is size. If there are three size options for a single drink, it’s important to ask how many shots are going in each size. At a popular corporate coffee shop, there are three size options for espresso drinks — the equivalent of a small, medium and large. Here’s the big secret: there’s generally the same amount of espresso in a medium and a large. The difference comes down to the other products: milk, flavoring, water, concentrate, tea. Anytime I visit a coffee shop, I always order the equivalent of a medium, because there are more espresso shots than a small, but less product to dilute the espresso (and add more calories) than a large. Subbing is a secret trick. Many coffee shops will charge 50 to 75 cents for extra shots, additional flavorings, or a milk substitution. If you order something like a vanilla hazelnut latte with coconut milk and an extra shot, you’ve just added $2 to your

drink price. Instead, you might want to find a drink on the menu that already has coconut milk (check the specialty drinks) and sub out whatever flavor that drink has for your desired flavor. Sometimes, it’s worth pricing out where your favorite drink would be cheaper if you subbed products, and where it would be cheaper just to ask for the additional flavor. Last, but not least, please tip your baristas. I know that seems contradictory. You say, “Wait, we are going to save a few extra cents on a drink just to spend more money by tipping?” Yes, but hear me out. Even if the baristas won’t admit it, or even when they are trying hard to be objective toward customers, they’ll remember who tips well. If you tip your baristas, they’ll make sure to treat your drink with a little extra love.

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South Valley City Journal

Life and Laughter—Cold Snap


n the lovely, winter song, a family travels over the river and through the woods to visit grandma. It sounds idyllic, with everyone bundled in fur robes as a happy, prancing horse carries them through snow drifts. I call bull-shenanigans. Winter travel is never that picturesque. My winter driving dread usually starts around 5 a.m. when the snowplow drops its blade outside my bedroom window. First, I want to murder the snowplow driver. Second, I want to burrow in the blankets and not get out of bed until Easter weekend. I don’t know if there’s one inch of snow or three feet, but I know stupid drivers will hit the streets soon, causing mishaps and mayhem. Once I’m ready for work, I jump in my car where the faux leather seats have frozen over like a glacial lake and the steering wheel is now made of solid iceberg. I shiver uncontrollably as I crank the heater up and run through my wide vocabulary of cold-weather swear words. Jack Frost isn’t nipping at my nose; he’s chomping my entire face. Utah drivers are always encouraged to drive smart and read up on winter safety tips. Of course, no one does that, so freeways turn into demolition derbies on ice. Some advice includes: • Never mix radial tires with other tires (because those radial tires are anti-social as hell). • Keep the gas tank at least half full. (Hahahaha!) • Steer where you want to go. (This seems like a trick suggestion.)


Laughter AND






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weather. But first, you have to pass the TSA agent, who’s as smug as Vladimir Putin in a crocodile-wrestling competition. He insists I take off all my layers of clothing, including but not limited to, two cardigans, a vest, a parka, a couple of blankets, four scarves and a coat. Once past security, if a blizzard stops air traffic, you’ll be staying in the airport because no airline gives a small bag-o-peanuts about your comfort. You’ll end up sleeping across four chairs with armrests, trying hard not to kick the person snoring next to you. Even if it’s your husband. After boarding, I look at the snow through the tiny oval windows, watching workers deice the plane. That always inspires confidence. (As a side note: are there still air marshals on flights? I wish they’d identify themselves so I could have them arrest the parents of the child who kept throwing pretzels in my hair.) We’ve come a long way from hors-drawn sleighs, but it would still be very thoughtful of grandma if she lived somewhere warm. l

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February 2019 | Page 23