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Riverton resident rallies arts community for benefit concert By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


David Martin (left) invited prominent Utah musicians to join in his efforts to raise money for the ALS Association through a benefit concert. (Richard Caldwell/Beat ALS Benefit Facebook)

the Cottonwood High School Madrigals and the Shout Beatles Choir that Martin formed for the occasion in conjunction with the Riverton Arts Council. “I don’t have to do the kid component in a concert like this, but I just think, let’s get them aware of making a positive impact on society at this age,” Martin said. “I think it is our obligation as adults who have been raised on good music to instill that in the rising generation, and it’s

Local Postal Customer ECRWSS Scan Here: Interactive online edition with more photos.

also the age to get kids aware of diseases and of causes and of their contributions to bringing about positive change.” Madi Hicks, 15, said being a member of the Shout Beatles choir was a new experience for her even though she’s been involved in other musical productions. “It just makes you feel good to do something for somebody else,” she said. “It’s fun to do whatever I can to help. Usually when I


hen a local choir teacher resigned from his position because of a vocal hemorrhage, he decided to continue his tradition of hosting a spring Beatlemania concert—but this time on a larger scale and for a charitable cause. “Honestly, I feel like, if nothing else, that Beatlemania concert that I did at the junior high was nothing more than to prep me for this,” David Martin said. The Taylorsville native’s close friend Chris Clark, chair of the Utah Valley University Theatre Department and the executive producer for Robert Redford’s Sundance Summer Theatre, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, in March 2016. Martin wanted to support Clark and others struggling with the progressive nervous system disease through a benefit concert. And that’s how the first—and Martin notes, hopefully not the last—“BeatALS concert” was born. While Martin is certainly not the first person to put on a Beatles benefit concert, he claims the “BeatALS” pun. With the name and date selected and vision for what such a concert could do for the ALS community, Martin, without a choir, began rallying well-known Utah performers—including cinematic pop trio GENTRI, Ryan Innes from “The Voice,” Defying Gravity Utah aerial acrobatics group and Terence Hansen, who is most well-known for performing with a guitar with two necks. Through social media campaigns and word of mouth, news of the concert spread. By the time the May 1 concert at Cottonwood High School rolled around, more than 40 performers had agreed to participate, including

am regularly performing, I am only doing it for fun, but this is for something more than that.” Overall, the benefit concert raised money for the ALS Association and helped spread a sense of community through the performing arts, Martin said. “It was kind of a dual mission with ALS and awareness and art,” he said. “I feel like art is always under attack—at the school level especially. People don’t value it, and I am like, as many times as we can reach out to the community and say, ‘This is important,’—that’s a big deal.” Because of the positive response from performers and community members, Martin said he’s hoping the BeatALS benefit will extend into future years, though he said it still may be too soon to tell. The Shout Choir Martin created for the benefit will last through the rest of the summer and is set to perform at Riverton City’s Town Days celebration and several other events. Martin is open to keeping the group alive yearround. “The Shout Choir’s purpose is to unify communities in good causes,” he said. “Maybe it’s not ALS every single time; maybe it’s other things, but I think we would like to make this a group that its main goal is just positive outreach to the community and a good environment for kids to be involved in service and blessing the lives of people through good music. We’ll see where it goes.” Although the benefit concert is over, community members can still donate to the cause by visiting beatalsbenefit.com. 

Be Bright, Recycle Right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Restore and finish Jordan River Parkway Trail South Valley’s teachers of the year . . . . . . . . Mustangs win Region 4 championship . . . .

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PAGE 2 | JUNE 2017


Herriman High graduate receives $25,000 scholarship from fast food chain The South Valley City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout South Valley. The South Valley Journal covers news for Herriman, Bluffdale, and Riverton. 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: circulation@mycityjournals.com 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.

The South Jordan Team CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Bryan Scott bryan@mycityjournals.com EDITOR: Tori La Rue tori@mycityjournals.com ADVERTISING: 801-254-5974 DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING: Ryan Casper ryan.casper@mycityjournals.com 801-671-2034 SALES ASSOCIATES: Melissa Worthen melissa@mycityjournals.com 801-897-5231 Steve Hession steve@mycityjournals.com 801-433-8051 Josh Ragsdale josh.r@mycityjournals.com 801-824-9854 CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Brad Casper circulation@mycityjournals.com EDITORIAL & AD DESIGN: Tina Falk Ty Gorton South Valley Journal 9500 South 500 West Suite 205 Sandy, UT 84070 Phone: 801 254 5974

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By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


n May 10, one Herriman High graduate was surprised to bring home a $25,000 check from the fast food chain he’d been working at for the past four years. Representatives from corporate Chick-fil-A and South Jordan store owner Becky Pickle surprised 20-year-old Ezra Pugliano with the giant scholarship check at the Chick-fil-A in The District shopping center. Out of 4,200 applicants, Pugliano was one of 12 student workers in the nation who was selected for the company’s True Inspiration service scholarship. Twenty-one other South Jordan Chick-fil-A employees were given $2,500 scholarships. “I didn’t believe it,” Pugliano said. “I thought it was fake. I was thinking ‘Where’s the April Fools?’ or something like that, but I was just shocked. I couldn’t believe it because there are so many people better than me, but just to be able to get it was like seeing that what I am doing is paying off.” The sophomore college student was selected because of his application, which detailed his service in Kansas as a religious missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, volunteer time at the Riverton Senior Center and connection with Chick-fil-A. Pugliano grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where Chick-fil-A is headquartered. As a child, he and his mom sold the company’s chicken biscuits at his elementary school, so by the time he was looking for a job as a 16-year-old in Herriman, Utah, he thought Chick-fil-A would do. Upon making good friends at the establishment—especially with Pickle—he stuck around. When Pugliano headed to Utah State University after high school, he transferred to the Logan store, but he missed Pickle and his friends at the District restaurant, so he said he’d make the nearly 100-mile commute to the South Jordan Chick-fil-A each weekend just to work there. Now Pugliano, a financial advising major, has transferred to UVU where he’ll be closer to home and to work. And while he plans to work full time at the South Jordan Chick-fil-A over the summer, he said he’s thrilled that he’s only need to work part time during the school year because of the scholarship. “I’m still going to work, but being able to focus more on my education will be really awesome,” Pugliano said. “Basically (the scholarship) is also going to give me the opportunity to not have student loans and to not, not finish college for financial reasons and not stress about finances and money.”

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Ezra Pugliano, a Chick-fil-A employee, and his boss Becky Pickle, owner of the South Jordan Chick-fil-A, pose for a picture with the giant $25,000 scholarship Chick-fil-A corporate members presented to Pugliano on May 10. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)

Pickle said Pugliano is a deserving recipient of the scholarship. She found out Pugliano was selected while she was boarding a plane. “I broke down crying because of the excitement I felt for him,” she said. “I think four different Delta employees asked me if I was alright, and I had to tell them they were happy tears. I was overjoyed.” Pickle has seen Pugliano age from 16 to 20, and she said it’s amazing to see how he’s learned not to be afraid of hard work. “He sees hard work as opportunity,” she said. “This scholarship was 100 percent earned.” Following Pickle’s example, Pugliano said he’s planning to make a career out of Chick-fil-A. His goal is to own a franchise by the time he graduates in three years. To prepare for that next step, he was recently certified as a grand opener and will be flown out to new Chick-fil-A locations in the nation to train employees. “That’s pretty much the goal for right now, so we’ll see where this all goes,” Pugliano said. 

JUNE 2017 | PAGE 3


“IN PAIN?... Tried Meds?... Injections?... Contemplated or Even Had Spinal Surgery?... AND STILL HAVE PAIN?” The Controversial Truth and How One Salt Lake Doctor’s Solution May be the Only Way Out of Pain for Some Dear friendFor the 15 years that I’ve been in practice, I’ve been somewhat known as “the guy that sends out those flyers with his kids on them”. However, that’s only a part of the story. You see, new information and technology has come forward that has helped so many people eliminate spinal pain without taking pills, shots, and surgery. Let Me First Point Out that in many cases, medicine, shots, and operations are necessary for proper health and recovery. I’m grateful that this stuff exists. However, in my 15 years of practice, I’ve seen thousands of patients who are regularly getting meds, injections, and even operations that they didn’t need, and who are still in ridiculous pain...it’s tragic...NO WONDER that person is frustrated and skeptical that anything will help. I WOULD BE TOO!!! The problem is that with many doctors, if health insurance doesn’t cover a procedure, it’s almost as if it doesn’t exist! The reality is that the “accepted” treatment for spinal conditions is as follows: medication, physical therapy, steroid injections (pain management) and then surgery. Period. No matter how effective anything else may be. BUT... The Real Truth is that other effective scientifically based solutions do exist. In fact, over the past couple years we have used an innovative approach of combining Deep Tissue Laser (a Class IV device) and spinal decompression. The Laser beam penetrates

about 3-5 inches into the human body. Injured cells respond with an increase in energy and blood supply to injured areas (like Spinal Stenosis and discs) And it stimulates healing in stagnant decaying areas (like arthritic joints). Also, the Deep Tissue Laser stimulates the production of new healthy cells. Spinal Disc Decompression Therapy is performed on a computerized table that allows separation of vertebral segments. The “pull” is very gentle and specifically directed to the compromised regions. Vertebral segments are separated approximately 3-5 millimeters creating a negative pressure between the vertebrae. Disc bulges or herniations can resorb back and dehydrated (narrowed) discs can be rehydrated or thickened. Typical treatment protocol is 20 to 25 office visits, but most patients start feeling better by visit 4. A study performed by Thomas A. Gionis, MD and Eric Groteke, DC. showed an amazing success rate of 86 to 94%! Most of the cases used in the study were disc herniations with or without spinal degeneration. These success rates are consistent with my personal treatment of thousands of similar cases.

juries, along with gentle Chiropractic care for cases that may need it. And finally, the treatment is pain-free.

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PAGE 4 | JUNE 2017


Old West Days, Fort Herriman Days and more: 14 Salt Lake County festivals to check out this summer



By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


Above: Children enjoy a carnival ride at Butlerville Days 2016. (Kelly Cannon/City Journals) Right: Fireworks peak over Sandy City Hall. (Sandy City)


t’s summertime, and that means Salt Lake County cities are gearing up for their biggest celebrations of the year. From Draper Days to West Valley’s WestFest, here’s a chronological list of festivals to help you get your sun days on. SoJo Summerfest | May 31–June 3 Last year, South Jordan’s summer festival came back with a new name, SoJo Summerfest, instead of its traditional Country Fest title. “It’s all part of trying to meet the need of the community,” Melinda Seager, South Jordan’s acting director of administrative services said about the change last year. “The community is everchanging, and the festival is too.” Featured events on June 3 include a traditional parade followed by an all-day outdoor market and a brand-new event—SoJo Summerfest Battle of the Bands—from 4 to 10 p.m. Two age groups will be performing, amateur (under 18) and professional (over 18), and the winners from each group will get a paid gig at South Jordan’s Tour of Utah Kickoff Party on Aug. 2. For a full list of events visit sjc.utah.gov/sojosummerfest/.


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Fort Herriman PRCA Rodeo | June 2–3 While most of Herriman’s summer activities will occur at the end of the month, its rodeo comes a little earlier this year. Visit herriman.org/ prca-rodeo/ for more information. WestFest | June 15–18 West Valley’s annual WestFest intends to celebrate the various cultural backgrounds of its residents through communal activities. Held at Centennial Park, 5415 West 3100 South, WestFest will offer multicultural entertainment, international cuisine and artisans, crafters and hobbyist booths from many demographics. A carnival, movie under the stars, West Valley Symphony concert, police K-9 demonstration and firework demonstration are also part of the schedule. Visit westfest.org for specific dates and times of each event. Taylorsville Dayzz | June 22–24 From tribute bands to camel rides, Taylorsville’s summer festival promises diverse activities. Carnival games and rides will run all three days, and each evening a free concert will be offered. IMAGINE, a Beatles tribute band, will perform with the Utah Symphony & Cannons on June 22; Lisa McClowry’s rock the ‘80s show will hit the stage on June 23,

and Celine Dion and Neil Diamond tribute singers Brigitte Valdez and Jay White will perform the final Taylorsville Dayzz 2017 concert on June 24. Taylorsville’s celebration is also one of the few that offers fireworks on two nights (June 23 and 24). For the most updated information, follow Taylorsville Dayzz on Facebook. Fort Herriman Days | June 22–24 Fort Herriman Days held at the W&M Butterfield Park, 6212 West 14200 South, may be shorter than some other town celebrations, but the city crams a lot of activities into those three days. June 22 will feature carnival rides, a children’s parade, food trucks, an animal show and a magician show. June 23 will feature a carnival, water games, food booths, a foam party, a hypnotist show and a movie in the park at dusk. The last night of the festival includes races, a parade, more carnival games, a car show, live entertainment from the band Groove Merchants and fireworks. Exact times of events can be found at https://www.herriman.org/ fort-herriman-days/. Riverton Town Days | June 29–July 4 A tradition since the early 1900s, Riverton’s Town Days is back again for 2017. The festival’s traditions include the Riverton Rodeo, July 3 parade, haystack dives and more, but there are several newer items coming to the celebration this year, too. Last year the city swapped out a traditional carnival with an inflatable “Fun Zone” that includes slides, zip lines, obstacle courses and boxing. This relatively new zone will find its place at the Riverton City Park, 1452 West 12800 South, again this year. The city’s recreation department is also offering mechanical bull rides, pony rides and a petting zoo before the rodeo on June 30 and July 1. Events pick up again on July 3 with the Town Days Parade that ends at the Riverton City Park where food and activity vendors will be on site prior to a movie showing in the park. On Independence Day, Riverton will be hopping with activities from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. From races to free swimming to sports competitions, the celebration will keep going until sundown when residents will gather in the park to watch the annual firework show. Visit rivertoncity.com for more information. Stampede Days | June 30–July 4 West Jordan’s festival is centered around its rodeo, the Western Stampede. The rodeo runs on July 1, 3 and 4 at the rodeo continued on next page…



JUNE 2017 | PAGE 5

…continued from previous page

arena located at 8035 South 2200 West. Other recurring events throughout the stampede include a carnival and photo scavenger hunt at Veterans Memorial Park, 8030 South 1825 West. The Independence Day celebration will also include a parade at 10:30 a.m., pie eating contest at 1 p.m., band concert at 1:30 p.m., movie in the park at dusk and a firework finale at 10 p.m. For a full and up-to-date list of activities, visit westernstampede.com. Fun Days | July 4 Murray City’s 58th annual Fun Days celebration at the Murray Park, 296 East Murray Park Ave. offers Salt Lake County residents with yet another set of Independence Day activity options. The day will start out with a sunrise service and will end with community members looking into the sky once again for a firework display. In the middle of those two bookends, the city will offer a breakfast, a 5k race, a children’s race, a parade, games and a talent show. Visit murray.utah.gov for more info. July 4th Parade and Festival | July 4 South Salt Lake residents and others will gather at Fitts Park, 3050 South 500 East, on Independence Day for a patriotic celebration. A fun run kicks off the day’s activities at 8 a.m., followed by a parade at 9:30 a.m. and a festival from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. Check southsaltlakecity.com for more information. Sandy City 4th of July | July 4 This one-day celebration consists of vendors and a parade. Details are still being worked out. Visit sandy.utah.gov mid-June when more information becomes available. Draper Days | July 6–8, 11–15 Traditions like the Draper Days Rodeo, Draper Idol, a children’s parade, the Heritage Banquet, movies at the amphitheater and the Draper Days Parade are almost here. The eight-day Draper Days festivities tout activities for people of all ages, and even dogs. A Splash Dogs Jumping competition will hit the Draper City Park (12450 South 1300 East) on July 14 and 15. Human competitions, like a strider bike race, three-on-three basketball tournament and 5k race, will also abound. Check out a full list of activities at draperdays.org. Butlerville Days | July 21–22 Cottonwood Heights’ website boast about its Butlerville Days, named after the Butler family who originally settled the area, saying it will have the “most mouth-watering fare you can imagine” and “the best firework show in the Salt Lake Valley.” Don’t believe it? Head over to the Butler Park to find out. The festival will also offer a carnival, chalk art festival, free bingo and the Mayor’s Cup Pickleball Tournament. More info can be found at cottonwoodheights.utah.gov. Old West Days RMPRA Rodeo | July 28–29 While the majority of Bluffdale’s Old West Days celebration will occur the second week of August, its rodeo kicks off Bluffdale’s celebration at the end of July. Visit bluffdaleoldwestdays.com for more information. Harvest Days | Aug. 1–6 Midvale’s Harvest Days provides resident an outlet to celebrate their

Last year South Jordan added a mermaid show and swim to its summer festival. Catch the mermaids again Saturday June 3 at 1 p.m. at the South Jordan Fitness and Aquatic Center. (Utah Mermaids)

city in small black party groups and larger communitywide events. For a list of block party activities, visit midvaleharvestdays.com. The communitywide events include an art show, a group breakfast, a parade, live band performances and fireworks—quite an expansion from the humble first Harvest Days celebration in 1938 that was based off the parade. Blue Moon Arts Festival | Aug. 5 Holladay doesn’t have a weeklong festival like some cities. Instead, the city hosts smaller celebrations all summer long with its concerts in the park series. Holladay Arts also hosts an evening music and artist festival called the Blue Moon Arts Festival. This year, the festival will feature the Joe Muscolino Band. The band performs a wide range of covers from Frank Sinatra to today’s pop hits. Other musicians and artists will be selected by June 30. In addition to live music, the event will feature culinary and traditional arts vendors. Visit holldayarts.org for more information. Old West Days | Aug. 7–12 Bluffdale’s weeklong festival is “like turning back the clock,” according to volunteer coordinator Connie Pavlakis. The Westernthemed celebration is highlighted by its ‘“Chuck Wagon” food cart and wooden facades that pay tribute to the city’s pioneer roots. The prices are also old-fashioned. With $10, a child can play every carnival game to win prizes, ride an inflatable water slide and buy lunch. The prices are possible because Bluffdale relies solely on volunteers to put the event together. Because it’s one of the later summer festivals, exact times and events have not yet been publicly announced, but the celebration has consisted of monster truck shows, concerts and car shows in the past. Check bluffdaleoldwestdays.com for updates. More to come Still not partied out? Don’t worry. Sandy’s Heritage Festival; Riverton’s Home, Hand and Harvest market; the South Jordan’s farmers’ market; and Herriman’s Pumpkin Festival are just around the corner. Keep reading your City Journal for updates. 

Catch this year’s Draper Days Parade on July 11. (Draper City)

Big O

PAGE 6 | JUNE 2017



Be Bright, Recycle Right: Trans-Jordan leads countywide recycling initiative By Mandy Ditto | m.ditto@mycityjournals.com


rans-Jordan Landfill launched a countywide recycling initiative in May, along with Salt Lake County, and most cities in the valley, to better educate residents about what should and shouldn’t be recycled. The slogan for the campaign is Be Bright, Recycle Right. Lesha Earl, the public education representative for TransJordan Landfill, started working on coordinating the initiative at the beginning of the year. Earl began coordination with the seven cities Trans-Jordan services—Draper, Sandy, Midvale, South Jordan, Murray, West Jordan and Riverton—and then moved on to work with other cities and the county. The inconsistencies and errors each city had in their recycling materials for their residents was reviewed in the first meeting in January and corrected, Earl said, so that every city knew what could and couldn’t be recycled. “We determined that the current contamination rate is about 19 percent, meaning that of everything that gets put in a recycling bin in the valley, almost 20 percent of it ends up in landfills, and that is something we are tackling head- on,” Earl said. “We established the goal of reducing the contamination rate to 15 percent by 2018. Our hope was to reevaluate the contamination rate 12 months after the launch date of this campaign.” Though it took time to get the campaign approved by all involved, after Salt Lake County adopted the material created for the launch by Trans-Jordan in April, educational information was ready to start sending to residents across the valley, she said. “It’s awesome to have our Trans-Jordan logo along with the county logo saying, ‘We are united, this is the correct way to do it,’” Earl said.

Not only did the recycling facilities get to share with cities what they do and don’t recycle through this campaign, they were also able to share what is harmful for their facilities, equipment and workers to process. Along with the dos of recycling that the group came up with, they also produced a list of the top 10 contaminants for residents to be aware of. The do-not-recycle items listed are the most important and most misunderstood: plastic bags, glass and Styrofoam, Earl said. “It keeps it simple; they can just focus on what to do, rather than memorizing do this, don’t do this,” she said. Every month, the group and all cities involved will release an article about one of the 10 contaminants and give other options for what residents can do with those materials, rather than recycle or even trash them. Draper City Draper City sent out a graphic in their bimonthly newsletter sharing the do’s and don’ts outlined by the recycling campaign, with the hopes of residents cutting it out and taping to the inside of their recycling can lid as a reminder. Along with the graphic is a schedule of when and where residents can get rid of hazardous wastes throughout the summer, which will be coordinated by the county, like the glass recycling location behind the Draper Public Works facility at 72 East Sigovah Ct. (14525 South). Hazardous materials can also be taken to Trans-Jordan. Draper City’s involvement came first from their TransJordan affiliation but also from the desire to share with residents recycling guidelines that they could trust because it is often unclear, said Maridene Alexander, the city’s public

information officer. “I think we all want to be very good stewards of our environment,” Alexander said. “Once we know what we can put in our container people will do that. We appreciate what TransJordan is doing and all the information they’ve put together, and we just want to add our information to it as well, and make sure we are all sending out the correct information.” Those at Trans-Jordan and cities across the valley don’t expect immediate change, but are hoping the contamination rate will decline in consistent ways as they work to continually educate residents, Earl said. “I believe that most people care about recycling, and if they are doing it wrong it’s an education issue and it’s one we are diligently addressing through this campaign,” she said. “What I hope this does is to remove the confusion… It’s going to be so nice to inform (residents) that if it’s not on this list, it doesn’t go in recycling. If we can get people to stop putting plastic bags in recycling, our sorters will be so happy… to give them the education that if they want to do more there are plenty of options: if you take your plastic bags to stores they will recycle them.” Salt Lake County Earl approached Ashlee Yoder, the sustainability manager for Salt Lake County, about the need for a common list to give residents in regards to recycling and contaminants, and a guide for those who don’t know where certain materials can be recycled in each city. “Being in this position for about eight years, I also see that there’s a need for a common list that residents can take from city continued on next page…


S OUTHV ALLEY JOURNAL.COM to city and still feel confident they are doing the right thing,” Yoder said. “The county as a whole and the mayor thinks that higher recycling rates are good for everyone regardless of the city.” Yoder and her team spend much of their time informing residents about recycling and waste, and recently commissioned a study to find out more about county recycling rates, which had never been done before. With that data, the county can give residents and city officials information on how they are doing at the county level, which “has been a great tool to give to cities and empower them to better communicate with their residents,” Yoder said. As the umbrella over all 17 cities in the county, it’s important to be there to help educate residents, since TransJordan only regularly communicates with seven of those cities, she said. Making sure that the businesses involved — material and recovery facilities—are succeeding, while residents are recycling right is important to the county and the main reason to be involved in this campaign. “We’re trying to empower residents to make these choices so that residents feel that they know what they need to do. If they have information from us, either at the county level or from Trans-Jordan, that says what is the right way to do things, they will be incentivized to recycle the right things and they will recycle more material because they know what they should and should not put in that system,” she said. Sandy City The city of Sandy has seen a contamination rate of 18 to 20 percent because of the confusion on what is acceptable to recycle, and Sandy City officials believe that the campaign to better educate will help bring the contamination down, said Paul Browning, assistant public works director for Sandy.

JUNE 2017 | PAGE 7

Piles of rejected waste from recycling bins can be seen at Trans-Jordan Landfill. (Trans-Jordan/Jason Turville)

“One of the frustrations I have is providing information to the residents giving them a clear, concise list of what’s acceptable,” Browning said. Since curbside recycling was implemented in 1999, the list that the city tried to pull together for residents on what could be recycled became long and tedious, and was always changing, he said. With the new campaign, the work put in by Earl and Mark Hoyer—Trans-Jordan’s director—allows people to find locations to recycle all kinds of materials, which will also help contamination and landfill rates, he said. Sandy City plans to put fliers in with utility bills during the summer, as well as work with their own waste management and others to do studies and see how the message is being received in the city. 

Sandy City: sandy.utah.gov/departments/public-works/recycling Draper City: www.draper.ut.us/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/1586 Salt Lake County: slco.org/recycle Trans-Jordan: transjordan.org/recycle

How to Afford Your Bucket List Travel




ave you noticed all the bucket list articles lately? I don’t know what it is, but all of a sudden, I’ve seen article after article about sky diving over Dubai, riding a camel in the Sahara Desert, or cycling though South African vineyards on a carbon negative tour. I was wondering, if perhaps, I missed a sale on buckets at my local bucket store or maybe it was “national buy a bucket day” last week and everyone but me stocked up on buckets. And now to get some use of them, they are stuffing them up with dreams and lofty visions of travel grandeur. Being a self-proclaimed master planner, this all should be well and good to me. Besides, who am I to tell folks how to use their buckets? But it seems to me that creating a fantasy travel dreamland could end up in a wide-awake letdown when you hit the road. So, in keeping in the spirit of adventurous travel, here are some ideas to keep your dream bucket a reality. Understand your Travel Fund: Part of making travel a reality is to make a budget. Figure out your travel style. Are you a higher maintenance traveler that needs pricier hotels and to be entertained or does camping at a beach or hiking through the mountains meet your needs? No matter which kind of traveler you are and what your financial situation is, you’ll want to make sure to allow extra money for spontaneity and little luxuries. A general rule for us has been to plan for the vacation to cost 15 to 25% more than we think.

Set up an automatic savings account: Have your bank put aside a small amount into a travel fund and use it ONLY for travel. It doesn’t have to be much, because as it begins to grow you’ll start to make plans for where you’ll go. Now your travel vision is becoming a reality and this will encourage you to save even more in your day-to-day spending in effect tricking yourself into making it grow faster. Utilize Long Weekends: There’s a lot that can be accomplished in a 3 or 4-day weekend. No, I don’t mean giving the dog a bath and cleaning out the garage. Hop in the car and go explore the gems close to home. I am always surprised how many people I’ve met who have not been to Capitol Reef, taken a ride on the Utah Valley Railroad train, or gone for a dip in the Crater. Yet these places are at the top of someone’s bucket list in other parts of the world. Keep your Expectations in Check: With all the resources we have at our fingertips it’s easy to, over plan, set yourself up for failure, or just expect too much. I recently stumbled on a travel article for a roadside attraction I’ve been to on more than one occasion. I first discovered it while traveling between states and randomly stopped to stretch my legs and let the kids’ blow off some steam. It’s since become a traditional resting stop that we enjoy every time we pass through. The article however, made this destination look AMAZING, like some kind of bucket list fairytale. It had stunning photos accompanied with an article of interest. A quick search landed me on several similar

accountings. In reality, this tiny attraction takes less than an hour to explore and by the articles standard would be a bit of a let- down. Had we gone with the expectations the media set we would have been disappointed. It’s much better to adopt an attitude of discovery, this way you aren’t disappointed. Don’t Over Plan: This is my personal stumbling block. I tend to research and attempt to plan every minute of my vacation. Thinking that it would set my mind at ease and we wouldn’t miss a thing. With many failed attempts, I’ve finally learned that no matter how well planned I was I still going to miss something and having to be accountable for every activity in everyday just made the getaway stressful and me super annoying to my fellow travelers. While researching your destination is imperative, especially if there are tickets you’ll need in advance, it’s important to break from your normal self and let your adventurous side loose to let things roll. Most of us will only be able to afford a very few dreamy bucket list travel destinations, but taking time off is crucial for our mental and physical wellbeing. Travel freely to affordable destinations and restrain yourself from dreaming of what a vacation should be. With the right attitude your affordable travel can become your bucket list…checkmark. Joani Taylor is the owner of Coupons4Utah. com a blog dedicated to helping people save money on their day-to-day living and 50Roads.com a lifestyle and travel blog for the empty nester. 


PAGE 8 | JUNE 2017


‘May the fourth be with you’—a Viridian tradition


By Natalie Conforto | natalie.c@mycityjournals.com

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Cosplayers took the stage for the costume contest at the Viridian Event Center’s Star Wars party. (Natalie Conforto/City Journals)

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he Salt Lake Comic Con FanX has come and gone until next fall. Now what? Millions of sci-fi fans and a convenient play on words agree that “Star Wars” deserves its own holiday, and the Viridian Event Center has answered the call. For the second year running, Salt Lake County’s library has hosted all manner of Jedi and Sith to celebrate America’s largest grossing sci-fi film franchise on May 4: “Star Wars” Day. “I think they did an amazing job of putting all the décor up,” Annicka Woodward said. “They really went all out.” “We were going for a cheesy cantina theme and creating a bar-cantina atmosphere,” said Tyler Curtis, the event center manager at the Viridian. Just like that scene in “Star Wars: A New Hope” (where Han Solo shot first at the bounty hunter Greedo), the Viridian was decked out in space-age metallics, star-like twinkle lights and aliens from all over the galaxy. While actors staged a barroom lightsaber duel, John Williams’ Imperial March (remixed with a techno beat) and music from a lip sync battle completed the cantina ambience. A photographer was available to take free pictures of fans with film poster standees and a giant AT-AT. “You wouldn’t think that library employees would go to so much effort; it was fun,” added Michael Woodward, who was also impressed with the turnout. A total of 450 people reserved tickets for the event. David Woodruff, the event emcee, wore an Imperial general costume as he spoke to the crowd about why they all came. “Those stories about good triumphing over evil really means something, and whether you’re dressing up as a storm trooper or an ewok, people want to embrace that feeling that they get the first time they see ‘Star Wars,’” he said. The main event of the evening was the costume contest. Of the 450 attendees, about 70 guests were fully clad from “a galaxy far, far away.” Wookiees, Jedi and Naboo queens were plentiful, but the grand prize went to West Jordan resident Gary Lizaso for his homemade Lando Calrissian costume. He also fashioned his

wife, Amanda’s, Poe Dameron costume, which took second place. Local cosplayers have started to include the Viridian’s event to their yearly docket, right between the March and September Comic Cons. Just like a Comic-Con, vendors were onsite with rare fan items for sale, like Rebel Alliance backpacks and Princess Leia accessories. Unlike a Comic-Con, the Viridian’s party was completely free. Cosplayers Gary and Amanda Lizaso attend Comic Cons as often as possible, and they appreciated the price of the May 4 party. Gary said, “Comic-con tickets are around a hundred bucks,” and Amanda added, “The free food was nice.” Light refreshments and “Star Wars”-themed snacks were provided, including “Vader Sabers” (red licorice), “Death Star Holes” (donut holes), “Princess Lays” (potato chips) and even mocktails (Alcohol-free). Unfortunately, not everyone got to enjoy the galactic fare. “The food and drink line was a little ridiculous We didn’t even make it to that because it was so long,” said Woodward, who decided with her group to wait until the line died down before getting some food. That never happened; there were still at least 20 people in line at the end of the party. Despite missing out on the food, Woodward still had a great time. “Everything they had going on stage was pretty good,” she said. “I liked the game shows, and the trivia seemed to be pretty popular.” The county library offers regular, free events for all ages throughout the year. This one was for adults only. “At the library, we love touching a number of different communities,” Curtis said. “Obviously, sci-fi and geek culture is really popular in Utah. This event provides a fun and engaging way for adults to be involved with the library.” This year’s “Star Wars” party almost doubled in attendance from last year’s event, which proves it was a success. Library staff hopes to make the party a tradition. 



Jordan River Commission to help restore, finish parkway in 2017 By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com

Jordan River Parkway Trail users will likely be able to travel from Lehi to North Salt Lake entirely by trail come Fall 2017. (Tori La Rue/ City Journals)


hen completed in Fall of 2017, a pedestrian and biking a bridge spanning from North Temple to 200 South in Salt Lake City will complete the Jordan River Parkway Trail, likely creating a national record for Utah. “We have done a bit of research, and we think that when this is completed the Jordan River Parkway trail plus the connecting trails on the north and south ends that go all the way from Ogden to Provo, will be the longest continuous paved trail system in the United States,” said Laura Hanson, the executive director for the Jordan River Commission. “We are pretty excited.” Because Riverton and Bluffdale are Jordan River Commission member cities, Hanson visited the city council to update city leaders about current and past projects along the riverfront. She said securing $1.23 million from the Utah State Legislature for the 1,200-foot bridge at North Temple was the commission’s “biggest win” of 2016. Currently, there are only two gaps in the 45mile Jordan River Parkway Trail: the one between North Temple and 200 South and another in the Bluffdale area from 14600 South to about 15000 South. The Bluffdale section, fully funded by Salt Lake County, will likely reach completion this June, according to the commission’s website, leaving the bridge as the final connector. The $6.64 million bridge, which has been funded through intergovernmental partnerships between Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, the Jordan River Commission and the state of Utah, will span three active freight rail lines. While $50,000 is still needed to close the gap, Salt Lake City anticipates internally allocating the funds necessary to finish the bridge and complete the trail, according to the website. Hanson said the commission is also working on another project to remove goat heads from the parkway and river bottoms. These pesky puncture vine contain spiky seed pods that break apart, harden and dry. They have had explosive growth among the Jordan River for some time. “If you have ever gotten a flat tire on the Jordan River Parkway trail, this guy is likely the

culprit,” Hanson said. “They will get stuck in the bottoms of your shoes in your dog’s paws.” For the past five years, the Jordan River Commission has used an insect called a puncture vine weevil to combat the spread of these plants. The weevil eats only puncture vine and burrows its eggs into the plant’s head and green teeth, reducing the amount of seeds the vines can spread. “Each one of these plants can produce between 500 and 2,000 seeds, so if you let just one seed go, you’ve got a big problem,” Hanson said, justifying the use of weevils. This year, the commission hopes to better manage a puncture hot spot along the trail in Midvale near 700 West, Hanson said. Last year, the commission cleared invasive species out from around the trail and river near 3300 South. Also, 3300 South is receiving other cosmetic and restorative updates this year. “It used to be a magnet for illegal dumping, homeless camps and was really quite covered in invasive vegetation, and it’s starting to look better every day,” Hanson said. Pioneer Crossing Park in West Valley City is similarly undergoing renovations. The commission secured $3 million for the park updates alone from the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation bond that passed in November. Other areas along the Jordan River will start to see new access points, trailhead kiosks and signage within the next two years as part of another development project, Hanson said. North Salt Lake received one of the newest trail kiosk signs. The city is working to create a boat access point into the river near Center Street. The commission helps to roll out a masterplanned vision of the Jordan River by assisting member cities implement projects along the trail and river. Out of the 17 municipalities through which the Jordan River runs or which it borders, 14 are members. Bluffdale and Midvale joined the commission in 2016, and Hanson said the commission will try to persuade Lehi, Murray and the newly incorporated Millcreek to join this year. 

JUNE 2017 | PAGE 9


PAGE 10 | JUNE 2017


Riverton City keeps small-town charm during annual festival By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


iverton City may have more than 41,000 residents, but its annual Town Days summer festival pays tribute to its humble beginnings and traditions. City employees said they weren’t sure when the tradition started, but their earliest picture of the summer festivities is from the early 1900s when Redwood Road had yet to be paved, and the town, with a population of less than 1,000, hadn’t grown to city status yet. Sheril Garn, a lifelong Riverton resident, remembers attending Town Days in the 1960s when she was a girl. Community member Roy Litson drove his “old, green van-looking thing” across the city and used a speaker system to invite families by name to the park, she said. “He’d say, ‘Get out of bed. It’s time to come to breakfast. They’re down there cooking at the park,’” Garn recounted. “We decorated our bikes, and we had our bikes in the parade, and that was a big deal. You just didn’t miss that. You just didn’t miss Town Days.” Fast-forward about 30 years and Garn became a member of Riverton City’s staff. At the time, Garn thought coordinating the city’s largest celebration sounded daunting. “I said, ‘I don’t care what they make me do in the city as long as I never have to help with Town Days,’” Garn said. “And then, the next year it was mine, and they were like, ‘You’re in charge.’” So Garn, now Riverton’s Parks and Public Services director, became the chief planner of the citywide party, much to her original dismay. It didn’t take long, however, for her to realize the impact Town Days had on the city and embrace the role. “I think once you see 2,300 people show up for (Town Days) breakfast, you realize people count on this. This is important to

them,” Garn, event planner of 17 years, said. After a few years planning Town Days, the festival had outgrown some of its previous characteristics. It was getting too large for Garn to depend solely on volunteer forces. The city hired additional staff members to help Garn collect bids from businesses and vendors. Gone are the days when it would be feasible for a character like Litson to personally invite each Riverton family to Town Days, but Garn’s staff strives to keep the small town feel alive through tradition. They look to utilize consistent vendors and events to create a community vibe like that in years past. From the Riverton Rodeo and the Chuck Wagon Breakfast to the Town Days Parade and fireworks in the park, Riverton residents look forward to classic Town Days treats, events and even people. For example, two community members, Norma Bench and Colleen Van Wagner, have been self-appointed festival information volunteers for years. They sit in the Riverton recreation trailer and answer questions for Town Days participants. People want and expect those ladies there, Garn said. Residents tell the recreation department via Facebook and phone that they are dissatisfied when planners steer away from typical Town Days activities. “Don’t mess with tradition,” Garn said with a laugh. “(Residents) like that haystack guy. They like the parade at night. They expect Bingo. They come every year for the ‘Texas Twister Drink’ or they say, ‘We always come and get our kettle corn. That’s our tradition.’” The Riverton City Council also helps to perpetuate the “hometown” feel of the event. When the recreation department 12590 South 2200 West Riverton, Utah 84605








presented a sleek, professional Town Days brochure to the council, its members voted against implementing the design and opted instead for the usual, casual printout. “They wanted that little brochure that goes to everybody’s house because it doesn’t look like an advertisement,” Garn said. “It just looks like ‘Hey, come over to the park. Here’s what we’ve got going.’” Hanging on to tradition while adapting the event to meet the needs of Riverton’s growing population is a delicate balancing act, according to Brittany Parker, community events coordinator. Last year’s “Fun Zone” inflatable slide, obstacle course and zip line arena was intended to replace the carnival that residents had come to expect since 2004. The city council voted against a carnival when residents voiced safety concerns in public meetings. In the past, carnival operators had shut down rides unexpectedly, and parents had argued that the carnival wasn’t promoting a familyfriendly environment. The city received mixed reviews from residents about the change from a carnival, but the city council opted for the inflatable Fun Zone again this year. “(Residents) are so used to that carnival, and to them that’s tradition, and I think it might just take a little bit for everyone to catch on to the inflatable-type deal right now,” Parker said. Parker likes the idea of a Fun Zone because it provides a way for families to be active instead of sedentary sitting on a ride, she said. This year the Fun Zone has several new components including mini golf, waterslides and boxing. continued on next page…



JUNE 2017 | PAGE 11

…continued from previous page

New activities will also be offered before the Riverton Rodeo, the Town Days kickoff event, on June 30 and July 1. Parker said the recreation department wanted to create a “pre-event feel” for the rodeo by offering mechanical bull rides, pony rides and a petting zoo. Ironically, adding more activities has helped maintain the “small-town feel” at Town Days, according to Garn. That’s why her department added activities in the park after the July 3 parade. Garn’s childhood memories of Town Days involve sitting at her aunt’s house to watch the parade before having a barbecue with her family, but she realized not everyone had a place to celebrate after the parade. “Not everybody has that family for a tradition, but now we have a city family,” she said. “Now you can go down to the park with your small family, and you watch the movie with your family, or you listen to the jazz band or participate with the food vendors.” In all her years coordinating the Town Days celebration, Garn said she’s learned that what happens during the parade isn’t nearly as important or memorable as what happens afterward. “After the parade, you are driving down and watching families gather on the front lawn, and we are watching little ones dressed in red, white and blue eating that taffy out of their sack, and that’s why you do it,” she said. “You do it to build relationships.” Riverton’s city celebration will begin on June 29 and 30 and July 1 with the three-man sorting competition and Riverton Rodeo at the Riverton City Park. The Town Days Parade and subsequent movie and concert will follow on July 3. The city is hosting a slew of events on Independence Day, including a flag-raising ceremony, the Chuck Wagon Breakfast, the Riverton Country Mile and Tour De Riverton races, free swimming, an ATV rodeo, the Fun Zone, bingo, a haystack dive, sports tournaments, fireworks and concerts. For a full list of times and locations, visit rivertoncity.com. 


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Riverton High School color guard students toss purple flags during the Town Days 2016 parade. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)

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Representatives from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office ride horses through Riverton City’s 2016 Town Days parade route. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)

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PAGE 12 | JUNE 2017



Meet South Valley’s Teachers of the Year By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


arol Hoffer calls herself a “nontraditional” teacher because she didn’t know she wanted to pursue a career in the classroom until she had grandchildren moving through the education system. “I saw their teachers and some of the ways teaching is done, and I just wanted to be a part of that,” she said. “I was just saying, ‘I think I can do this. I think I have something to give here.’” Hoffer, who started her degree in nursing some 30 years earlier, found herself back in the classroom—first as a student to finish her bachelor’s and licensing requirements, and then as a teacher at Blackridge Elementary in Herriman. The first-grade teacher “brings all of the mothering and nurturing of a grandmother to every single one of her students,” according to Principal Nick Hansen. That’s one of the reasons he selected Hoffer as Butterfield’s Teacher of the Year for 2016–17. The Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce invited Hoffer and the 22 other South Valley Teachers of the Year to its annual Teacher Appreciation Lunch at the Riverton Hospital. The chamber gave the teachers a plaque, flowers and gift bag, and school administrators took turns describing their honoree’s contributions to the school.

“(Carol) just goes above and beyond,” Hansen said during his remarks about Hoffer. “She does extracurricular activities for the kids, provides academic interventions during the school day, and then she has even done before school tutoring for kids who are struggling.” Rufine Einzinger, a chamber board member and also an assistant principal at Herriman High School, said she was honored to be in the presence of so many fine teachers. Their accomplishments ranged from helping students achieve success to implementing new programs. Rosamond Elementary’s Teacher of the Year Traci Rindlisbach obtained over $24,000 in grant money for her school. Shannon Mechling, the Jordan Academy of Technology and Careers South honoree, is creating a summer school program to allow aspiring nail technicians an additional 120 hours toward their certification, and Bluffdale Elementary’s award-winner Jennifer Romriell has helped 16 of her 18 Portuguese immersion second-graders reach proficiency in reading. “She has all of them on grade level besides our two little special ed kids, who are also ESL,” Bluffdale Principal Karen Egan said. Romriell cut in. “But the year’s not done,” she said, exposing her faith in the two struggling students. The luncheon audience




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Kelsey Jacobson chuckles during the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce’s packed Teacher Appreciation Luncheon at Riverton Hospital while Herriman Elementary Principal Kim Gibson describes why Jacobson was selected as Teacher of the Year. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)

members laughed and nodded in response to Romriell’s spunk. In her remarks, Herriman Elementary Principal Kim Gibson praised “master teacher” Kelsey Jacobsen for teaching rowdy youngsters. Gibson claims the toughest people “can either teach kindergarten or be in the Marines.” “When you peak in (Jacobson’s classroom), you will see students sitting, quietly raising their hands,” Gibson said. “They are intent, and they are listening. I have to step back and think ‘Is this kindergarten?’ because her management, her control of children, is just amazing.” The chamber accidentally misprinted Jacobson’s name on the program, calling her “Kelsey Gibson.” Gibson had a good laugh about this, claiming she’d always wanted to adopt the award-winning teacher. “Thanks for your support in this,” she said to chamber members jokingly. For Pace Gardner, the senior English specialist at Summit Academy High School, the best part of his Teacher of the Year designation wasn’t the acknowledgement from his principal but from the students he teaches. While teacher of the year is usually determined by


South Valley Teachers of the Year 2016–17 Herriman High: Jackie Burr Riverton High: Taletha Judy Providence Hall High: Jill Stark JATC South: Shannon Mechling Summit Academy High: Pace Gardner Copper Mountain Middle: Chris Bergum Fort Herriman Middle: Pamela Spitzer South Hills Middle: John Wunderli Oquirrh Hills Middle: Malina Oberg North Star Academy: Troy Fernley Kauri Sue Hamilton: Kyanne Matheson Blackridge Elementary: Michelle Lindsey Bluffdale Elementary: Jennifer Romriell Butterfield Canyon Elementary: Carol Hoffer

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administrators, Principal Ted Mecham threw names of the top nominees at senior students and asked them to select the Teacher of the Year. They chose Gardner. “That made me feel really validated and good that it wasn’t just a populous vote of administration,” Gardner said. “It was those guys who I worked the most with who tipped the scales in my direction, so that made me most proud.” Gardner’s background was first as a writer; then, after graduate school, as an adjunct university professor where he said he caught the “teaching bug.” As a lecturer at Utah Valley University, Gardner taught remedial writing students. “I got sick of seeing ill-prepared college students,” he said. “You get sick of that, so what do you do? You go teach at high school.” Gardner runs a no-nonsense class where students know what is expected and when, but that’s one thing students like about him, Mecham said. Gardner said he feels wellpositioned as the last English teacher ensure seniors are ready to leap into college-level work. 

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More than the SAGE test: Specialist brings hands-on learning to Herriman Elementary By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


rom the blue flowerpots that line the building’s entrance to the student-written news stories plastered on the wall next to the office, Terrie Kenner’s influence on Herriman Elementary School is detectable. The enrichment specialist who started as a teacher at Herriman Elementary when the building opened in 1999, has taken it upon herself to see that the school is properly decorated with flowers and student work. Noticing that the display cases remained empty throughout the year, she and Katie McEwen, her assistant, started filling them in with themed exhibits each month. Kenner also oversees the student committee responsible for maintaining the outside gardens.

Katie McEwen, enrichment assistant, and Terrie Kenner, enrichment specialist, pose for a picture by Herriman Elementary School’s planner boxes. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)

Yet, even with all these extrinsic evidences of her effect on the school community, it’s perhaps the non-visual ones that speak the most about her character. “If she wasn’t here, the school wouldn’t be the same,” said sixth-grader Caden Jones. Caden is one of 70 students on Herriman’s Hawk Leadership team, which Kenner oversees. Leadership members serve on various extracurricular committees. Caden is a member of the gardening committee that manages the park strip and triangular garden space in front of the school and planter boxes behind the school. “She taught me how to work,” Caden said about Kenner. “Gardening teaches you that you need to work hard to get things to grow.” And that’s what Kenner said she hopes all her students will learn from her exploratory teaching methods. “Life is hard, and you have to learn that,” Kenner said. “You have to work for things, and with the kids that I work with, they know that, and they are fine with that, and so are their

parents.” Kenner who calls herself a self-described “strict but not mean” teacher said she retired three years ago when she tired of report cards, paperwork and tests. But she wouldn’t let those “nuisances” keep her away from Herriman Elementary. She returned as a reading aide that fall. The reading aid gig lasted for two weeks before Kenner approached Principal Kim Gibson with the idea of creating an aide position that would allow her to create and run programs for gifted students. Gibson received approval from the district, and Kenner began implementing enrichment programs that would complement classroom learning. “This is my school, and now that I’m not teaching anymore, I have the ability to do those extra things,” she said. “I think students need more than the SAGE test to learn.” Kenner’s style of assessment is experiential, meaning it’s more hands-on and on-the-go. She models this type of learning in her own life. When a colleague suggested Herriman start a debate team, Kenner accepted the challenge even though she had never participated in debate. Last year’s debate team was required to answer the following: “Do the benefits of the NSA metadata collection outweigh the harm?” Kenner said she didn’t know what the question meant when she first read it, so she studied it out while she taught the students and led them to the state championship. “I had to learn about it enough to then be able to direct the kids,” she said. Kenner has led the debate team to the championship two out of its three years. Chelsah Thomas, a Herriman sixth-grader, scored first place in her division this year. She said she doesn’t think she would have achieved this award had Kenner not required practice every day as the competition drew near. “I rewrote my speech like five times, and I just reread it a lot and practiced,” she said. “Ms. Kenner encouraged me a lot and was in it to win it.” When Kenner is not working with the debate team or gardening committee, you may find her teaching geology or science as a guest presenter classrooms, coaching a team of fifth- and sixthgrade journalists, heading up schoolwide service projects or working with the school’s peer leadership team. When asked how many hours she spends at the school each week, Kenner gave a sly smile and said, “Well, I get paid for 17 hours,” but her colleague Candie Checketts said she usually doubles that. Kenner shrugged Checketts’ comment off. “It’s my ideal job,” she said. “I get to find my passion and find kids who want to be involved in those things.” 

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Mustang ballroom prevails despite injuries By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com

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n a year of concussions, broken bones, sprained ankles and ligament tears, “Coach, I’m injured,” became a common phrase among Herriman High ballroom team members. “It’s been an inside joke for us,” senior Sawyer Hutchings said, noting that the team added the line to its warm-up cheer. But the team doesn’t worry too much about injuries, according to Hutchings. With 28 members, there’s always somebody willing to step in, he said. Hutchings was that somebody when a fellow teammate got injured the night before a performance. He learned the choreography within a few hours and was ready to fill in. This was his opportunity for Hutchings to reciprocate the support his fellow dancers had given him during football season, he said. As a lineman and fullback on the Mustang’s football team, he broke his collarbone and was left unable to dance for a third of the year. “It was rough, but you just get through it together,” he said. Tim Wright, one of Hutching’s best friends and the co-president of the team, said the members became close through these tough circumstances. “You have to learn how to trust to be confident, and not let whatever it is slow you down,” he said. “You gain a lot of friends here, and it helps you enjoy all the time together more.” While Wright remained injury-free through the year, his teammates helped him through his own sets of challenges, he said. The 18-year-old has a prosthetic left leg and works with his dance partners to adjust his own balance and stability. “Everyone is going through something different with this team,” senior member Aubrey Garside said. “We all just learned to be more selfless when someone is having a hard time or a hard day.” Garside went through a physical challenge when she broke her knee on stage during the team’s performance at the closing assembly of 2015¬–16 school year. Although some people

guess she was in the middle of a crazy lift when they hear of her injury, Garside affirms that it was a simple lunge that caused the damage. “My leg twisted wrong, and it just blew out, so then I like fell over and grabbed my leg as I went down and screamed,” Garside said. “Everyone just kind of thought it was part of the dance until I didn’t get up.” Garside’s kneecap had gravitated to the side of her leg, and the teammates who were next to her gathered around to find out if she was all right. Other teammates finished the dance before the curtain closed. The assembly continued in front of the curtain and Garside waited for help. An ambulance came to assess the damage. Garside had broken her patella and torn a ligament. She couldn’t dance all summer and for the first part of the school year. Even now, she’s required to wear a knee brace when she dances. “My first performance back, I was so scared,” Garside said. “I was partnered with Sawyer, and it was his first performance back as well after his collarbone, and I was shaking so bad. I was so nervous.” But Garside and Hutchings managed to get through the routines without any complications, and they both said they started to gain confidence again. “I learned more technique while I was watching and couldn’t dance, and that was surprising,” Hutchings said. “It really turned into a positive for me being out for a little while because I was also able to improve my footwork.” Garside, Hutchings and Wright—and most of the other ballroom team members—are moving on from high school, but they each said they’ll never forget what they learned through their accident-prone team. “It’s a different aspect of things you learn in ballroom than in any other type of sport,” Hutchings said. “You get a lot closer than other teams because it has an emotional side. You learn a certain amount of personal respect and how to be understanding.” 

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JUNE 2017 | PAGE 15

Remembering West Jordan Middle School’s history By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


he community came together to celebrate the history and the future of West Jordan Middle School at the May 1 groundbreaking of its new school building. “We see this school as being a community center, and by that I mean memories are made in our schools,” said Principal Dixie Garrison. The school has been a key feature of the south valley for 59 years. It has educated students from West Jordan, South Jordan, Riverton, Bluffdale, Herriman, Copperton and Lark. It was formerly known as West Jordan Junior High and included grades six through eight. Its pool has provided thousands of children with swimming lessons. Its auditorium, the largest in the district, has hosted numerous community events. Built in 1958, WJMS is the oldest school building in Jordan District. When it is replaced by the new building in two years, it will not be forgotten. Tim Brooks, who taught for 12 years and was assistant principal for six years at the beloved school, has preserved the memories of generations of WJMS students. Brooks digitally catalogued the school’s history from scrapbooks, photos and artifacts (T-shirts, band uniforms, text books, school records, etc.) and posted them on Facebook. “The response was epic,” Brooks said. Former students and faculty saw the photos and reminisced through posted comments. More than 3,000 pictures are accessible to the community in photo albums on the school’s Facebook page. Current WJMS student body president Isaac Atwood said the historical collection has motivated the student body to think about their legacy. “We can look back on the past and use it as inspiration to do even better in the future,” he said. The photos document, school traditions, the transition of the school mascot from Shamrocks to Lions and activities, as well as a

proud history of sporting and staff and student achievement. “I can’t go anywhere without talking with people who have been touched by events throughout time that have happened here at WJMS,” Garrison said. “It seems to be family to most of us here.” And for her it is. Her father, Bruce Garrison, was also a principal at WJMS. Retired Custodian Scott Bateman’s father was a principal at the school, too. Before he was head custodian for 25 years, Bateman attended the school as a student. Bateman has seen a lot of changes to the building. He remembers when the auditorium seats were shipped to Texas to be reupholstered and when water was pumped for the sprinkling system from the school’s well and when there was a storage closet where the elevator is today. As much as the community has loved the old building, educators are eager to move forward with the new one. Garrison said she is grateful to the staff for creatively working with the limitations of an old building. “The teachers at this school deliver a quality education and a high level of effective instruction on duct tape and twine,” said Garrison. The new building, which will be completed for the 2019–2020 school year, will have much needed technology upgrades, a bigger cafeteria and shared learning spaces. “The whole layout is really designed around a learning community,” said MHTN architect Brian Parker. Faculty, students and community members were joined at the groundbreaking by various dignitaries including Superintendent Patrice Johnson, Utah School Board members; West Jordan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Aisza Wilde; Police Chief Doug Diamond; Fire Chief Marc McElreath; Utah State House of Representatives Susan Pulsipher and Kim Coleman; West Jordan City Councilman Dirk Burton; West Jordan Mayor Kim Rolfe; Community Council President Kim Underwood; WJMS PTA President Melissa Gardner; and Region Six PTA President Dawn Ramsey.

“The children deserve this building, and I couldn’t be happier for them,” Rolfe said. “It’s been a long time coming.” In addition to remarks by Garrison, Johnson, Rolfe and the SBO president, the school’s combined choir, advanced orchestra and symphonic band performed the school song. Then dignitaries and community members were invited to shovel dirt at the construction site in the field behind the existing school. Those who have been a part of WJMS’s history realize it is not just about the building but the community it creates. “The experiences you have and the memories you make are not a result of where you are but the people you are with,” said Atwood. “What really makes this school something special are the people in it.” 

The ceremony was held May 1, 2017, exactly 58 years after the school’s original dedication, held near the end of its first school year. (Tim Brooks/West Jordan Middle)

PAGE 16 | JUNE 2017



Daybreak Elementary’s math tournament challenges South Valley students By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com


t took Jordan Ridge sixth-grader Michael Pond less than one minute to solve the second tie-breaker to win first place in Daybreak Elementary’s seventh annual math tournament. “It was awesome, just amazing,” he said. “I never expected to do that well.” Even though Michael earned a perfect score on his individual test, he still had two tie-breakers before he beat Gavin Gann of Blackridge Elementary in Herriman, who edged him out last year to take the fifth-grade title. Six students tied for third place in this year’s tournament. With a sudden death playoff, Pond’s classmate Nethra Suresh took home the award. Students Ryker Anderson, of Ascent Academies in West Jordan; Caleb Weaver, of Eastlake Elementary; Tyler Martin, of Blackridge; Colby Wright, of Riverton Elementary; and Parker Strong, of Blackridge, received honorable mention awards. Daybreak’s 4.5-hour math tournament that involves solving about 25 challenging math problems on a variety of math topics was founded and organized by parent Katherine Harbaugh, who wanted to give students a chance to excel in math. “The tournament is an opportunity for higher-level math kids to be challenged,” she said. It’s a chance for them to put their mathematics to the test.” Harbaugh, who follows the Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools’ rules, invites public and charter schools within the south part of the Salt Lake Valley to send individuals and teams of five students to the tournament. “Several schools will send a fifth- and a sixth-grade team; others will pull their top 10 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders and create mixed teams,” she said.

About 325 students took part in Daybreak Elementary’s seventh annual math tournament, which gives students a chance to be challenged and excel in mathematics. (Daybreak Elementary)

Riverton Elementary’s team 1, with team members Derek Ball, Sarah Chen, Peyton Cole, Sterling Lund and Christopher Shevalier, won the first-place team trophy. Blackridge team 1, with Anne Castleton, Dawson Jepson, Tyler Martin, Eli Rush and Jaxon Smith finished second. Riverton’s team 2 with team members Max Austin, Elise Chiari, Gabi Fenn, Ethan Hall and Colby Wright was third. Harbaugh said usually the teams that have the most sixthgraders do better since they’ve learned more math skills. “We also honor the highest individual fourth- and fifth-grade competitors with medals,” she said. This year, Jack Beckstrom, of Eastlake Elementary; Jaren

Gordon, of Westland Elementary in West Jordan; and Reed Stewart, of North Star Academy in Bluffdale, were recognized as the highestscoring fifth-graders. Isaac Turley, of Jordan Ridge Elementary, was the highest-scoring fourth-grader. Harbaugh, who learned about hosting their own tournament through Math Olympiad eight years ago, said the first tournament featured 37 teams. This year, 325 students competed on 65 teams representing 26 schools. The tournament involves several volunteers from each school grading and regrading students’ tests for accuracy. In addition, through the years, Chris Merle, and this year, Daybreak sixth-grade teacher Wendy Babcock, have been emcees, keeping students in check. “There’s a lot to learn in the tournament-setting in an academic competition,” Harbaugh said. “It’s valuable to try your best and put yourself out there.” With Daybreak’s teams, Harbaugh met twice during the school year to go over techniques for the story problems. “We go over previous years’ problems so they can see the difficulty level and how it builds up from the first question to the last one,” she said. “There’s a lot of problem-solving and teamwork involved. While Daybreak didn’t win this year, it had success in its first three years of the tournament, with Harbaugh’s son even taking the top honors. “There’s not much for math contests compared to athletics competitions, so it’s worthwhile to see students have a chance to go after their academic pursuit and get the glory they deserve,” she said. 


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JUNE 2017 | PAGE 17

Students prepare for testing with ‘Star Wars’ competition By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


ome end-of-year reviews require students to fill out answer sheets in quiet classrooms, but Butterfield Canyon took a new approach this year. Dressed in theatrical garb, students, battled in a “Star Wars”-themed math competition. “I think kids learn better when kinesthetic learning and other active activities are part of review,” said fourth grade teacher, Jeff Draper, the producer of the school’s first annual “Math Wars.” “There’s scientific research that backs that up, but it’s easy to see the kids like it, too.” To announce the competition in April, Draper created a PowerPoint with scrolling yellow text, just like the introductions to each movie in the famous film series. Laden with “Star Wars” allusions, the introduction said the students, through the math competition, must defeat the Empire’s ultimate weapon, “the MATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy all the math homework in the universe.” Third- through sixth-grade teachers, or “Jedi masters” as they were referred to in the competition, gave their students study guides to help them prepare for the preliminary battle on April 19. When the battle day came, students came to school adorned with light sabers, robes and capes. class teams traveled between classrooms, or “planets,” to compete. Each classroom featured a different type of math for review—from fractions to geometry to measurements. Students were asked

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Butterfield Canyon Elementary School students pose for a picture while dressed in “Star Wars” attire. The school implemented a themed review competition to help students prepare for year-end testing. (Nick Hansen/Butterfield Canyon Elementary)

review questions and were eliminated based on a time and accuracy. The winning teams from the preliminary round went on to the “Math Wars” final round on May 4. The competition date wasn’t picked by accident. May 4 has long been a pseudo holiday among “Star Wars” fans because of the easy pun associated with the date. The iconic phrase “May the force be with you” can easily be substituted for

“May the fourth be with you.” May 4 assemblies were held of each grade who participated in the competition. Teams who placed in the preliminary rounds took their seats at tables on the gym stage. The other students sat on the floor and watched and were invited to check their own understanding by writing the answers to the competition questions on personal whiteboards. Anna Kelsch, a fifth-grader, made it into the


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final competition and was all smiles even when her team was defeated midway through the round. “It was pretty cool after all,” she said. “I like math, but you really have to practice a lot, so it’s nice to have teammates who can help you and be supportive of you when you practice for tests.” Administration members gave trophies to reward the winning students, but Principal Nick Hansen said each student who participated was really a winner. “We’re all just having a fun time while reviewing,” he said. “And it’s nice to have a way to look back at all the math concepts you’ve learned throughout the year.” While there’s no way to measure if Math Wars had an impact on students’ end-of-year testing scores, Draper said he feels like the program was worthwhile in engaging students in their learning. He’s already taking notes on how to elaborate the program in future years. Next year, Draper wants one student to dress up as Darth Vader and hand out the awards to the winners from a dinner platter. “He’ll be Darth Waiter,” Draper, said, smiling at the pun. Draper is moving to Daybreak Elementary school next year, and plans to initiate the program there, as well. Butterfield Canyon also plans to continue the newfound review method. 

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PAGE 18 | JUNE 2017

EDUCATION Three valley school districts increase teacher pay, benefits


By Mandy Ditto | m.ditto@mycityjournals.com


hree school districts—Granite, Canyons and Jordan—have increased teachers’ pay for the upcoming school year, in an effort to retain and hire enough teachers for growing classrooms in the valley. Granite School District Even if every graduate with a teaching degree from Utah colleges and universities chose to stay and teach in Utah, there still wouldn’t be enough to fill classrooms across the state, said Ben Horsley, communications director for Granite School District. “The reality is that we’ve been in a teacher shortage crisis for quite some time. Granite District has been fortunate that we’ve been able to almost 100 percent staff the last two years,” Horsley said. “Our board feels strongly that every kid deserves a great, instructional leader, a full-time teacher that is there and committed to that class for the full year.” However, as the district looked into hiring for the coming year, they found they had about half the applications they would typically receive, and would be short around 100 needed hires to fill positions across the district, he said. The board looked at their options, and seeing that Jordan and Canyons districts were looking to raise their pay as well, decided to make changes.

Those attending the Association Representative meeting for Granite School District in April wave the newly presented salary schedule that had to later be approved by the district board. (Cindy Formeller/Granite Education Association).

The increases include the starting salary going up to $41,000 annually, which includes a 3 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) across the board for all teachers and administrators. The board also added an 8.67 percent market adjustment to salary schedule across the board, making it the 11.67 percent increase for all in the district, Horsley said. He said the district does anticipate some sort of tax increase through the local levy to offset the costs. The board is looking at any other cuts they can make to pursue other funds, and

will use the 4 percent increase in the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) from the legislature to help with increase, as well as increase in levy. The legislature funds education through the WPU, which is money from the general PACs fund from the state, and that money is given to state districts to pay teachers, fund programs and other needs. Whatever increase the WPU goes up to each year—currently 4 percent—is what teachers can typically expect to negotiate as a raise amount each year. As for the increase in the local levy, “it

would be anywhere from $75 to $100 on a $250,000 home within Granite School District (boundaries),” Horsley said. It isn’t just about increasing pay because it’s fair, said Susen Zobel, Granite Education Association president and a seventh-grade history teacher at Bonneville Junior High. It’s about keeping teachers in the districts they work in, while continuing to hire. “What Granite did was honor the existing salary schedule and send it all the way across, so every single teacher will see an increase,” Zobel said. “This is a good start, we’ve got a really great salary schedule, if you look at the schedule and starting and where you could retire, it is more comparable to other professional salary schedules. I would hope they keep this momentum up.” Other states pay at higher rates, even with increases in these districts, meaning that districts in Utah need to be competitive, Zobel said. “If we are going to get teachers to come, we need to be competitive and Granite has made a great start. Our school board has done an amazing job to make this happen for us this year, but it’s not over,” Zobel said. “I think that this shows what a good working relationship between a teacher’s association continued on next page…

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…continued from previous page

and a school district can do to benefit teachers, that regardless this was a collaborative effort between the association and the school district and without that strength of membership in the association, it would not have happened.” Since the presentation and then official approval of the pay increase this spring, the loss of contracted teachers has slowed significantly, and many who opted out of contracts have come back to the district, Horsley said. Canyons School District Pay increases were approved for Canyons School District on April 25, with increases for beginning teacher’s salaries going to $40,500, said Jeff Haney, director of communications for Canyons School District. Every licensed educator in the district will receive at least a 4 percent increase, though the average increase is at 6.5 percent for teachers across the board, according to their teaching experience and education. “The Board of Education believes, and always has believed, it’s important to invest in the district’s people. The reason for that is that we believe the students will benefit, we want our classrooms to be led by the best and the brightest educators that we can attract and retain, especially in this era of a national teacher shortage,” Haney said. Along with these pay increases to create a competitive pay schedule, the Canyons District has been working to make sure that

other benefits are clear to potential educators since the district creation in 2009, he said. Since voters approved a $250 million bond to renovate and build new schools, the district has almost completed all 13 projects identified in 2010. A new middle school and elementary school will open this upcoming fall, Haney said. Achievement coaches and technology specialists are also at every school in the district to improve the teaching experience, he said. As for how the increases will be paid for by the district, taxes aren’t expected to go up as an increase in the local levy. “The law governing countywide equalization sunsets at the end of 2017. Under the parameters of this law, and because of increasing assessed valuations, Canyons District expects the certified tax rate to remain virtually unchanged in order to collect the funds necessary to operate the district at the same level of service while also providing a salary increase for teachers,” Haney said. Potential teachers from the valley and elsewhere were instantly interested in applying for Canyons District positions when they heard about the increases in the starting salary, he said. “The students will benefit from this. The vision of the Canyons School District is to make sure that every student graduates college and career ready, and the way to do that is to have amazing teachers in every classroom, in every grade level,” he said. “This new salary

schedule will help us attract the best and the brightest to our classrooms.” Jordan School District Jordan School District is no different from others in Utah looking to constantly fill teacher positions, and with their newly approved salary schedule they are hoping to continue to attract quality employees. Negotiations for a new salary schedule in the district began with a committee of five teachers from the Jordan Education Association, two administrators and three board members that met every other week through February. The new salary schedule has been officially approved by the Jordan Education Association and the district board, said Janice Voorhies, president of the Jordan School District Board of Education. The beginning salary has been raised to $40,000 a year, and every teacher on the scale has been moved up through the schedule from that, Voorhies said, effective for the upcoming fall. “We are working on a phase two for our experienced teachers with the Jordan Education Association, and our goal is to increase compensation for them through a menu of things they may already be doing or would like to opt into, like mentoring or teacher leadership or curriculum development,” she said, “and we’ll pay them more for that.” Another change the board approved was

to take away a cap in the salary schedule, so that experienced teachers can now continue to get increased compensation after 15 years of teaching. The district will also be paying for increases in benefits costs for teachers in the coming school year. To pay for the increases, the district has adjusted their budget and are “applying a portion of our unassigned resources to increasing teacher pay for the next several years,” Voorhies said. “Additionally, we appreciate the legislature’s generous WPU allotment this past session and we intend to use those taxpayer dollars very carefully in order to continue to support reasonable compensation for all employees.” 

William Pettit assists students during web design lesson. (Allie Nannini/City Journals).


PAGE 20 | JUNE 2017


Mustangs win Region 4 championship By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com


s a soccer program on the rise, Herriman finds itself in the state playoffs once again. The Mustangs have captured their-first ever region championship. They finished the season 12-1-3. “I think our season went really well,” Mustangs head coach Ryan Mitchell said. “We had one bad week with a loss and a tie that we learned a lot from. I knew we would be good. The kids worked really hard.” In that week, the Mustangs lost to American Fork 4-2 and tied West Lake 1-1 early in region play. Mitchell said the team learned from its mistakes. Last year, the team lacked experience, but this year it capitalized on what it learned. The team had eight seniors on the roster this spring. The Mustangs defeated their rival Riverton twice this season, 4-0 and 2-0. Junior Carter Johnson led the team with 11 goals. He was injured in a Thanksgiving tournament last fall, but as captain, he maintained desire and determination for his team. “He (Johnson) is a phenomenal athlete for one, but he has played at such a high level his entire life,” Mitchell said. “He has a high soccer IQ and understands the tactical aspect of the game. He is very good with the ball—an explosive athlete.”


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Herriman’s boys soccer team hoists the Region 4 first-place trophy. (Herriman Soccer)

Freshman Kolton Johnson (no relation to Carter) was second on the team in scoring. Mitchell said he is equally as important to the team’s success. “He (Kolton Johnson) is a phenomenal player as well,” Mitchell said. “For him to contribute the way he has as such a young player is incredible.”

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The four seniors on defense held opponents to only 11 goals. Devin King, Jaxson Ruff, Sam Marlor and Sam Angus anchored a backline in front of goalkeeper JD Meyers. “JD Meyers, I think, is the best goalkeeper in the state,” Mitchell said. “Our success came from our back four and our keeper. They all play high level club soccer.”

Myers is a junior and has 12 shutouts in his career to date, seven of which came this season. Mitchell said the team came together and supported each other through some tough times. They had several injuries and had players miss playing time. He said that is part of the team character. Angus received an Academic All-State Award from the Utah High School Activities Association. To be eligible for this award, a player must contribute to the varsity team and excel in the classroom. The UHSAA considers this to be its most prestigious award. The Mustangs began the state 5A soccer tournament May 16 against Jordan, which placed fourth in Region 3. Herriman routed Jordan 8-2 to move on to the quarterfinals where the Mustangs faced defending 5A champion Viewmont on May 19. “We have very good students,” Mitchell said. “We have several that tutor other students. Carter coaches an under-4 team on his own time. The entire team is full of quality kids. Our chances moving forward are real good. They work hard and approach each game the right way. They need to be mentally prepared. They are a great bunch of kids. In my 21 years, this might be my favorite group of kids.” 


SPORTS JL Sorenson hosts summer basketball

JUNE 2017 | PAGE 21

By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com


pring basketball camp was such a raging success that the JL Sorenson Recreation Center in Herriman has decided to hold its inaugural summer basketball camp along with its recreation and semi-comp leagues. Hourlong training sessions are scheduled to begin June 3 and continue every Saturday the entire month. Youth groups participate in age appropriate and skill level activities. “Summer camp is designed for beginnertype players,” JL Sorenson Recreation Center program coordinator Angie Smith said. “We will work on dribbling, passing, shooting and layups. It is also good for kids that can work on their skills. It will be great for any level. The kids should never stop learning to improve their skills,” The staff at the recreation center teaches the sessions. Youth in kindergarten through sixth grade can participate. The summer basketball camp is designed to send players into recreation and competition leagues to continue their skill development. “Our comp league is still so new, so for us to help them find teams is hard, but there are several teams looking for players,” Smith said. The second session of the recreation center’s semi-competitive basketball league is scheduled to begin June 6. This league is designed for recreational players that want to

South Valley basketball players such as Riverton’s Jeff Arens have refined their skills through hours of practice and tutelage. (Dave Sanderson/dsandersonpics.com)

take the next step to super league level of play. Full teams enroll in the program together. Its games are played on Tuesday and Thursday nights. The spring session had 25 teams. Interest

in this level of play came from coaches and parents. The recreation center hosted 297 teams in its winter leagues. The summer and spring seasons are drastically smaller, but interest in leagues still continues.

Teams in the spring season included teams with names like the High Flyers, Utah Steel, the Beasts and Fire Dragons. The games were competitive and teams even more creative. “We are fortunate to have good staff that runs the leagues,” Smith said. “Our officials are very good, and we have some staff helping to train. We have staff from Herriman, Riverton, Providence Hall and Bingham. These kids have played basketball at high levels, and I am very proud of their accomplishments and how they handle themselves.” Players without a team to play on or who are still learning to play the game may find a recreation league more suitable. The summer recreation league is scheduled to begin July 10. It is for boys and girls in first grade through sixth grade. Players can sign up individually, while full teams are encouraged to play in the semi-comp league. The summer leagues are designed to help children continue to develop basketball skills in an atmosphere of sportsmanship, fair play and fun. “The recreation center is creative and is good at filling the needs of the community,” Smith said. “We have been overwhelmed at the interest in these camps and leagues. We think this community wants more basketball. They seem to have a need for all of this.” 


PAGE 22 | JUNE 2017


Jazz dancers embrace emotion of playoffs By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

Contact: Susan Schilling 801-280-0595 | susan@swvchamber.org Mission Statement: To advance community, business, and civic-related interests to ensure continued improvement in the way of life. The Utah Jazz dancers are an integral part of the Jazz community, team and fan base. (Melissa Majchrzak/ NBAE via Getty Images)

Vision Statement: Through volunteerism and leadership, our members bridge community and business—together we are stronger. Benefits: Resources, Networking, Education and Advocacy Sustaining Partners: Riverton Hospital . Jordan Valley Medical Center . Wasatch Lawn Memorial South Valley Park . Riverton City . Herriman City . City Journals

CHAMBER NEWS The Southwest Valley Chamber is 20 years old this year. Look for us in the parades in Riverton, Herriman and Bluffdale. Check out our new logo and join us as we celebrate at a member appreciation luncheon in August. We welcomed Nance Orthodontics to the Chamber with a ribbon cutting. They are located at 5502 West 13400 South in Herriman; 801-997-5729. The City of Bluffdale was thrilled to celebrate their new City Hall on Friday, April 28th.

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WELCOME the following new members to the Chamber: Nance Orthodontics in Herriman, Laser Lipo of Utah in Riverton and Grade Power Learning in Riverton. Thanks to the following for renewing: Jordan Credit Union in Herriman, Mountain America Credit Union in Riverton and Cyprus Credit Union in Riverton.

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June 2nd




he biggest Utah Jazz fans may not be sitting in the stands. The Jazz Dancers were disappointed the team was swept from the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors but were excited to be a part of the team’s first playoff appearance in five years. “The playoffs have been super incredible,” Jazz dance team coordinator Ro Malaga said. “It is completely different than the regular season. The fans bring so much energy to the arena, and the dancers are more pumped up. As they are getting ready in the tunnel, they are rooting right along with the fans. It is madness. We feel the losses and want to celebrate the wins too.” The Utah Jazz Dance Team consists of 16 women. They are teachers, students and dance teachers or coaches, and consider themselves the team’s biggest fans. Being a member of the team is a second job and opportunity for each of the women. McKenna, a Herriman High drill team coach, finished her first season as a Jazz Dancer. She has been dancing since she was 4 and has turned a hobby into a career. “I love being a member of this team” McKenna said. “It is not just about dancing; it is about community and entertaining and mingling with kids and trying to be a role model. Looking up at all the fans is unreal. I have loved this opportunity.” The dance team makes in-game appearances and off-site appearances at charity events. They do get paid, although McKenna joked it is not as much as the players. The team is considered an important part of the entire Jazz experience. “I have been fortunate to be involved with the Jazz family for some time now,” Malaga said. “I was a judge for dancer tryouts and then produced a routine with The Bear. This year they had me come in as the dance coordinator. We revamped the entire system to a hip-hop-based theme. The alumni and previous directors have set such a high standard it has been great for us.” The NBA has embraced the hip-hop genre. Its commercials and timeout music have transformed into high-energy enthusiasm for

the teams. The Jazz have also followed suit. The dancers try to support the community and give the fans as much energy during the game as they can. Dancers from Spanish Fork, the Salt Lake Valley and farther north are all part of the team. Each team member practices twice a week and performs at every game. They have a catalog of routines with videos and music and choreography. The team captain, Alexia, schedules the performances beforehand but during each game routines can change depending on the game situation. “Being a professional dancer is similar to being an athlete,” Malaga said. “They need to take care of their bodies and watch what they eat and stay in shape. At this level, we have injuries like ankles and back problems. We are always monitoring them so they can stay healthy.” Kendal, a West Valley resident, just finished her second season with the team. She began dancing in eighth grade and was a member of Hunter High School’s drill team. She enjoyed her opportunity to perform in the NBA playoffs. “The playoffs have been more intense,” she said. “It has been amped up. As a dancer, we try to bring as much energy as we can. We make lots of appearances and try to represent the team well. Every year we go to Primary Children’s hospital, and it is fun to see the kids light up when we see them.” The dance team is sponsored by American First Credit Union. The dancers are different than other NBA dance teams, according to Gina Calvert, corporate communications manager. The music and costumes they use reflect the community they represent and high morals maintained by the Utah Jazz, she said. “We really keep our fan base in mind,” Malaga said. “I am so proud to be a part of this team.” Editor’s note: The last names of the dancers have been intentionally omitted to help them maintain privacy. Team security is important to Jazz management. 



JUNE 2017 | PAGE 23

Jordan Valley Children’s Center opens to keep kids close to home By Natalie Conforto | natalie.c@mycityjournals.com


ordan Valley Medical Center’s new unit, called the Jordan Valley Children’s Center, is now ready to receive children for inpatient care. When the ICU expanded into the newer part of the hospital, space became available to house children. For years, many west-side families have traveled across the valley for inpatient care, but now they will have another option, said CEO Steven Anderson at the March 23 ribboncutting for the new pediatric wing. Medical personnel, hospital board members and many EMS providers, including police officers and firefighters, were in attendance. Many brought their children to the event. “We’ve delivered 2,000 babies here a year, and when they leave we’ve told them to come back when they’re adults,” Anderson said. “Well now, we’ll tell them to come back anytime they need help.” The new unit includes several standout features: • Personal nine-bed unit • Pediatric accredited sleep lab bed • Pediatric Centered Emergency Department • Bronchiolitis Clinic (RSV) • CT Scanner with the lowest dose of radiation in the state • Complimentary transportation from the emergency room at Mountain Point Medical Center and Jordan Valley, West Valley Campus (IASIS hospitals) Nathanael Budge, hospital COO, has been involved in this project from the ground up. He said the pediatric unit was conceived about five years ago when administration began to analyze the number of emergency room patients coming through their doors.


Shannon Flitton, RN, and her nursing team had the honor of cutting the ribbon to open the Jordan Valley Children’s Center, the new pediatric wing at Jordan Valley Medical Center. (Jordan Valley Medical Center)

“We typically had between 20 and 30 pediatric ER patients in a month,” Budge said. “And they could receive at least that initial emergent care, but if they needed to have a prolonged stay in the hospital, we couldn’t take care of them.” With nine beds, the Jordan Valley Children’s Center should be able to comfortably accommodate the current needs of the west side. The hospital boasts four sleep lab rooms, which are designed to conduct diagnostic tests for sleep apnea and insomnia. One of these rooms is dedicated just for pediatrics. Budge said the bronchiolitis clinic has been available for some time at Jordan Valley Medical Center, but children

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who have needed further observation have historically been shipped up to Primary Children’s Medical Center. Now the bronchiolitis clinic is an integral part of the children’s center. “IASIS Healthcare has been generous in providing the latest equipment, including software that can detect patient size and deliver specific amounts of radiation,” Budge said. He explained that their new technology makes it possible for children to receive far less radiation than adults would during a scan. Sarah Morgan, RN, was recognized at the ribbon-cutting as the very first nurse hired onto Shannon Flitton’s pediatric team. Morgan is excited to help alleviate the burden on westside families—especially the sick children. “Now, instead of having to transfer them and take them out of their environment, they are able to stay here close to their homes,” Flitton said. The previous West Jordan mayor, Dave Newton, was at the event to represent the hospital board, where he has served for the past 15 years. He and his wife, Sandy, raised their family in West Jordan. “Our daughter had febrile seizures when she was tiny,” Newton said. “We would’ve been able to bring her here instead of going all the way to the east for her treatment. They are absolutely great in their desire to give the best medical care they can. It’s really a marvelous place.” He said has been impressed with the staff at the new children’s center. Before inviting the nursing staff to cut the ribbon, Anderson indicated the children who were present. =“We need to remember that this is why we built this unit—for these precious children,” he said. 


PAGE 24 | JUNE 2017


Face to face with poverty By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


tudents put a real face on poverty as they created personalized portraits of impoverished children living in Bolivia. They worked from snapshots of the children provided by the nonprofit organization, The Memory Project, which delivered the portraits along with donated money to the children. “We get to interpret what we think their futures could be and what they can become just from seeing one picture of them,” said Amelia Green, a junior, who volunteered for the project to give hope to the children despite their current circumstances. “The way we see ourselves is a lot different than how other people see us,” she said. “So a picture drawn of us really gives a different view on how we look and who we are.” Green hoped to inspire the boy she drew by adding a busy background made up of various tiny objects to suggest that there are a lot of possibilities in his future. West Jordan High School students were only told the name and favorite color of the child they were drawing. Many decided to add some of their own personality into the portrait. One student added a dragon on the shoulder of the child. Others included personal elements in the background. “When they get these, they kind of get to see us, too,” Green said. Students also wrote a personal letter to the child they had drawn, sharing their interests and encouraging them to dream of a better future. Dorilyn Loring, a senior, drew her subject with feathers in her hair and dream catchers in the background. “I used to have a hard time in my life,” Loring wrote to the girl. “But then I made a dream catcher, and it has given me hope for my life in the future. I hope the same for you. Don’t let your dreams

West Jordan High School students drew colorful portraits of poverty-stricken children from Bolivia, and then gifted those portraits to the children whom they tried to portray in the art pieces. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

fade away.” Portraits were an advanced skill for the Drawing II students who accepted the assignment. Instructors Robyn Briggs and Angelica Barney taught them the grid drawing method. Gridlines were drawn to transfer a 4-by-6 snapshot to a 9-by-12 portrait. “Instead of drawing everything at once, they break it down into smaller pieces so each little chunk is drawn separately,” Barney said. “Then they look at it as a whole and revise it and refine their work.” She was impressed with the quality of the students’ work and how they captured the faces and personalities of the children. Junior Landon Brown made a small change to the boy in his portrait; he drew him with a smile.

“I know sometimes it is hard to smile and be happy,” Brown wrote in an encouraging letter to the boy. “I think that the secret to happiness is finding reasons to smile.” A picture of the high school students was sent to Bolivia with the finished portraits and personal letters as gifts to the children, who have poor living conditions. The participation fee and additional donations will be used to improve the children’s lives, said Barney, who was the one who suggested the project to her students. Students were encouraged to explore different mediums and techniques for the voluntary project. Kirsten Barber used Prismacolors for the first time, and Abril Susunaga experimented with abstract style. Brown applied a photography method— an acetone transfer—to his piece. In addition to the 42 students who drew a portrait, instructors invited others in the community to be involved with the service project. Donations were encouraged during a public showcase of the portraits. Money was raised through Chalk the Walk, where West Jordan High students paid for a square of the school’s front walk to draw a chalk art piece. Students also earned money for the project by taking Polaroid pictures at school dances. “Everybody was able to participate in one way or another,” Barney said. She said service like this can help students forget about their daily problems and focus on others. “I feel the majority of them really did put their heart and soul into it,” she said. “They knew this was a gift for somebody.” Barber said knowing her portrait had a purpose inspired her to do her best. She was happy with the finished portrait. “The pieces I’ve done that have meaning behind them look so much better,” she said. 


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Honored to Chair the County Council

Salt Lake County Council



t the first meeting of the County Council this January, it was my honor to be elected by my peers as Chair. The leadership of the Council this year consists of myself as Chair, Richard Snelgrove as Vice Chair, Michael Jensen as Chair Pro Tempore, and Sam Granato as the Minority Leader. I appreciated that the vote was unanimous, both Democrats and Republicans joining together. In fact, I hope that spirit of cooperation and unity continues throughout the year. This is my second opportunity to serve as Chair of the Council. My style is one of communication and collaboration, making certain we find opportunities to enhance County efforts in important policy areas by sharing information and pooling resources to better serve the community. I also bring a strong belief in accountability, knowing that when performance is measured and people become accountable for results, improvement happens more quickly. As your County Councilman, I appreciate the responsibility that comes with serving our community. No subject is of greater concern to our state right now than opioid abuse and overdose deaths. The problem is pervasive, prevalent, and devastating. While deaths from firearms and vehicle

Salt Cunty Councilman DeBry MaxLake Burdick, County CouncilSteve District 6

accidents receive far more attention from our media, overdose deaths occur with more frequency. We rank 4th in the nation for prescription overdose deaths per 100,000 population. Most of those prescription overdose deaths come from Opioids, which are pain pills like Oxycodone (often called Oxycontin or Percocet), Fentanyl, and Hydrocodone (Vicodin). Overdoses from heroin also continue to rise. We cannot build enough prisons to jail our way out of this problem, and jailing those in need of treatment without sufficient recovery resources kicks the can down the road. We have to have a comprehensive set of solutions developed, and I am committed to developing those at the County Council. Councilmember Jenny Wilson and I cosponsored a roundtable at the County Council to coordinate efforts on this critical public health issue. We heard from healthcare providers, public health experts, insurance companies, state leaders, our District Attorney and Sheriff, and from people who recovered from substance use disorders. Let me share with you a few things the County Council learned from this roundtable: - Addiction to Opioids can take just 1 week. - Since 1999, the rate of deaths from drug

overdose in Utah doubled. - In Salt Lake County, that increase was 50%. - Utah averaged 1 opioid related death each day in 2015. - One of the most frequent areas for overdoses in the County is in the Southwest Valley. Our community is heavily impacted by this problem. - In the last 4 years, physicians have prescribed about half as many Opioid pills with each prescription. But it has not appreciably decreased Opioid related deaths. - While pills are less readily available on the street, heroin dealers have increased distribution. While Opioid abuse is never safe, heroin is far more dangerous, because it is produced with no quality control or regulation, and is often laced with other drugs in potentially deadly quantities and combinations. Our County Jail is full, and that largely stems from crimes associated with drug and alcohol abuse to help fuel habits of people with substance use disorders. As a police officer for 35 years, these trends have been noticeable and alarming. It’s in our neighborhoods. Addiction

can turn decent people into criminals, and rob families of their loved ones. If we can save individuals from the scourge of substance use disorders, we can strengthen families and our community. Eventually that translates to saving tax dollars. From our Opioid summit, some solutions have begun to take hold. Finding ways to purchase Naloxone for first responders seems wise. Naloxone is a non-addictive prescription medication that helps to block the effects of opiates on the body. It saves lives of overdose victims when administered quickly after an overdose. Naloxone has been in use by EMTs for more than four decades because it is safe and has no detrimental impact on people who have no opiates in their system. The County Council will be working with the District Attorney to equip police vehicles throughout the valley with this life-saving drug this year. We also hope to encourage families to keep Naloxone on hand if they have a family member dealing with a substance use disorder. To find more information on how to obtain Naloxone, visit http://www.utahnaloxone.org/ As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas. Email me at SLDeBry@slco.org, or call my office at (385) 468-7458. 

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Laughter AND




The Happiest Place on Earth


ordes of families will go to Disneyland this summer because parents continue to be stupid. Touted as “The Happiest Place on Earth,” its creators have obviously never been on the Tequila Tour in Cancun. Parents announce “We’re going to Disneyland!” and because kids have no sense of perspective they’ll ask hundreds of times when you’re leaving. You’ll consider canceling the trip to avoid spending any more time with your adorable screeching goblins. Whether you fly (unwise) or drive (equally unwise), the trip to California is never part of the fun. When we took our kids to Disneyland in a covered wagon, they didn’t have iPads to entertain them. Instead, it was 10 hours of whining until my kids finally told me to shut up. Once you find your motel (which is ten times as dumpy as it looked online) and gently scoot the homeless lady out of the doorway, your kids can run to the outdoor pool to contract cholera while you unpack the car. The night before your first day in Disneyland, no one sleeps. Not because everyone’s excited but because your 5-year-old is crying because she’s afraid of clowns. Even though there are no clowns in the area. And you haven’t discussed clowns. And you can’t convince her she won’t be chased by clowns. So you arrive at the Happiest Place on Earth with everyone scowling. If you forked out extra money to eat breakfast with fairies (suckers), you’ll discover everyone else in the universe has done the same thing. Your breakfast with fairies turns into breakfast with someone who might be a fairy but you’re too far away to tell. Turning on your we’re-going-to-have-fun-at-all-costs voice, you’ll exclaim, “Who’s ready for some rides?!” and wander into Disneyland (henceforth called the Park—like Madonna, Cher and God). Everyone wants to go in different directions which begins the first of several fistfights. You must have a plan to tackle the Park. Hopefully, this eliminates the identical rides where you sit in a little car that takes you through a colorful re-enactment of classic Disney cartoons. (Keep saying “Wow!” until you’re



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Profile for The City Journals

South Valley Journal June 2017  

South Valley Journal June 2017