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rowing up in Salt Lake City’s Rose Park, if Jose Lopez had a problem, his first call for help was rarely to a police officer. “Because I didn’t understand,” he said. “I didn’t know exactly what their function was or what they were doing in the community.” After high school, and bouncing around a few jobs, he went on a couple police ride-alongs and “fell in love with it,” Lopez said. “I saw what a difference you can make.” Lopez is now a detective with the nascent Herriman Police Department and is hoping to bridge gaps with the community’s youth. He led the department’s first-ever Youth Citizens Academy, where youth ages 14-18 gain firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to be a police officer. Its first set of graduates, 36 in total, celebrated its commencement ceremony on March 19. For Lopez, who ran this program when he worked with Unified Police Department, the program makes connections between law enforcement and Herriman youth. “This is a good eye-opener for them and us to kind of get to know each other,” he said. “And to realize they can come to us with any issues if they have problems or what they can do to better the community.” Multiple graduates said they enjoyed the eight-week program, disappointed its now over with. “I think they should do more things like this,” said 14-year-old Cadence Johansen, who plans to be a police officer. “This just made my Tuesdays and my weeks a lot better. I would go to school and be beyond happy and tell everybody what I did. It was just so much fun to do.” Teens visited the Salt Lake County Jail and attorney general’s office. They met with HPD personnel including investigators, K9 unit, SWAT and forensics. They also got hands on experience, going to the shooting range where they could shoot M16s and Glock handguns and went through virtual scenarios in VirTra—a simulator where they can fire co2 cartridges. They even participated in simulated day-in-the-life situations where they would pull over a cop acting like a driver under the influence who then might whip out a gun. Those real-life scenarios were the best moments for sister and brother, Michelle and Angel Albanez, both of whom want to enter law enforcement one day. “You got to be the cop; it was just really cool,” said Michelle Albanez, 17. It gave students a tangible experience of a true law enforcement situation. “It was in some ways realistic to what would actually happen but in a controlled environment,” said Angel Albanez, 16. “In that controlled environment, they made it even more realistic by making it flip out of nowhere.”
Thirty-six teenagers graduated from Herriman Police Department’s first youth academy. (Photo by Destiny Skinner/Herriman City)
Breaking down the barrier between youth and police was “They actually put their lives at risk every day, do all Lopez primary focus. After a few weeks of shyness, the kids these amazing things that we don’t even realize,” she said. started coming out of their shells he said. Lopez said they plan to start a cadets program at some “I knew that teaching them and the things we’d go point. Once they do, he can count on multiple academy gradthrough with them, that it was going to build confidence with uates to be the first ones to sign up. them,” he said. “I think a lot of them did, and that was cool “I’m just happy they were happy,” Lopez said. to see.” When they were at the shooting range, Lopez remembers Our #1 Priority is a 14 year old who chose not to go inside because of some isThe Health of Your Pets sues with firearms. After a conversation with the boy outside, the 14 year old requested they go back in and he ended up NEW CLIENTS: EXISTING CLIENTS: shooting a gun. “He conquered that fear, and he had that confidence,” for your first pet! any services! Lopez said. “To me, it’s kind of cheesy and dumb, but it was With coupon. Cannot be combined with With coupon. Cannot be combined with cool to see that.” other discounts. Expires 5/31/19 other discounts. Expires 5/31/19 For the teenagers, they found themselves making friends with the officers, appreciating them as humans to trust rather than a badge to fear. “It expands your vision on what a real cop is, what they deal with in daily life,” Michelle said. She also noted there are 1381 W. Stone Ridge Lane • Riverton aspects of the job that get taken for granted.
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South Valley City Journal
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Friday, June 7th Movie in the Park: Riverton City is showing “Ralph Breaks the Internet” at dusk on the west lawn of the Primary Children’s Outpatient Center (building 3). Please join us for this free event. Popcorn will be served! Bring chairs and blankets.
Saturday, June 8th Riverton Hospital Family 5K/10K & Diaper Derby Races start at 7:30 a.m. southwest of the hospital. There will be a light breakfast and awards ceremony following the Family 5K/10K race at 8:45 a.m. on the patio. Diaper Derby starts at 9 a.m. on the east lawn. Babies must be at least 6 months old and not be able to walk. Babies must have an adult with them at all times. Race is limited to 50 participants. Winner will receive a year’s supply of diapers!
Register at www.rivertonhospital.org
Family 5K/10K is $15 for single registration, $25 for two people, $60 for a family or group of 6. Diaper Derby is $10 per baby. Free Runner’s Clinic on Tuesday, May 14 from 6-7 p.m. in the Riverton Classroom. Participants will receive a discount code for $15 to go towards a Family 5K race entry.
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May 2019 | Page 3
‘Trust yourself as you know your child best’ Community panel talks solutions, awareness on issues facing teens
C ITY OURNAL The South Valley City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout South Valley. For information about distribution please email circulation@mycityjournals. com or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. For subscriptions please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org The views and opinions expressed in display advertisements do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Loyal Perch Media or the City Journals. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the owner.
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n a continued effort to bring awareness and education about suicide and mental illness, Herriman City, Jordan District Wellness Coalition and Healthy Herriman continue to team up and hold community meetings and panel discussions to show others how they can be a part of the solution. A three-person panel was held at Herriman High School on April 8 to explore cultural and social landscapes, how the pressure-filled lives of teens today can lead to anxiety, depression and suicide with a perspective from real experiences. The two-hour discussion with Catherine Voutaz, a suicide prevention advocate; Trey Edwards, QPR certified instructor; and psychologist Brian K. Chandler, Psy.D., went over teen suicide risks and protective factors, how to start a conversation with teens and exercising emotional fitness. Voutaz, who lost her son to suicide in 2017, said she developed an interest in providing information and resources to others she only found out about after her son’s suicide. Voutaz discussed risk and protective factors, including common teenage behaviors and how to trust in your parental instinct. “There can be countless circumstances surrounding someone with suicidal thoughts, but actions are driven from a set of a few universal human feelings such as loneliness, rejection, sadness, guilt, shame, fear, anger and depleted self-worth,” said Voutaz. “As parents, it’s important to trust yourself as you know your child best. Assume you are the only one who is going to reach out and be an advocate for your teen.” Voutaz said some teens may hide their Voutaz said some teens may hide their suicidal thoughts from their parents, not because they don’t trust them or don’t feel close to them, but because they don’t want to hurt them. And many teens know their thoughts
are frightening but would rather bear them alone then have to see their parents’ reactions. A protective factors checklist was created to help keep teens safer, including tips on locking up your firearms and knowing where your medications are at all times. Promoting healthy habits and encouraging a relationship with another adult besides a parent or guardian are essential too. Being involved and listening to teens is also incredibly important. Voutaz said they are increasing attendance to QPR sessions and continue to provide free trigger locks to anyone (at the Herriman Library). “At every event, we see parents interested in attending QPR sessions and wanting to get involved and downloading the UT Safe App,” said Voutaz. “Anyone in their community can join Healthy Herriman, Healthy Riverton or Healthy South Jordan in their communities.” Trey Edwards spent time discussing QPR training and the value it has on the community, and Brian K. Chandler, Psy.D., discussed the emotional signs, toll and effects of teen suicide. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, Refer. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, people can train in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis.
QPR trainings are held at the Herriman Library on the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. and Unified Fire Station 124 in Riverton on the third Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. Anyone who is interested in getting involved or wants to learn more can also check out these other trainings: SafeTALK: A training focusing on being alert to the warning signs of a person at risk of suicide. Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA): Training for adults who work with and/ or assist young people. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) teaches skills to help with a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis. Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST): An interactive workshop to help someone who is suicidal. The Jordan District Wellness Coalition holds meetings monthly throughout the school year, and you can become a volunteer with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. The Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition also has a meeting every other month on the second Monday. You can also take on online course at train.org on reducing access to lethal means such as firearms and medication, and to determine whether a person at risk for suicide lives or dies.
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Catherine Voutaz, a suicide prevention advocate, psychologist Brian K. Chandler, Psy.D and Trey Edwards, QPR certified instructor. (Jennifer Gardiner/City Journals)
South Valley City Journal
All that Jazz: Former beat writer releases book for Utah Jazz fans By Julie Slama | firstname.lastname@example.org
atching his sons’ lacrosse games and his daughter’s volleyball games, Deseret News writer Jody Genessy says he’s watching his favorite sporting events, a far cry from when he was a self-described “fanatic” Utah Jazz fan who painted his face before going to the NBA games with his dad or spending nine years as a beat writer covering his favorite basketball team. Even after calling it quits, like many greats before him — Jazz point guard John Stockton, power forward Karl Malone, one of the all-time winning most coaches Jerry Sloan, Genessy occasionally has returned to the arena, filling in on the beat, knowing the workload ahead of him. “I loved covering the Jazz,” he said. “As a kid, I tried to spin the ball like Adrian Dantley, and I grew up watching the Jazz. Covering the Jazz, I was there first hand to see them, but it was also madness. It was a crazy travel schedule. I saw a lot of airports, car rentals, hotels and arenas, but never the touristy sites. “ Genessy said his routine would include covering morning shoot-arounds to get quotes then return to the arena at 5 p.m. to interview coaches, transcribe notes, look at stats before covering the game. He was on the road 90 days per year. “I tried to show readers what it was like behind the scenes,” he said. “I had access to the guys in the locker room and I wanted to give Jazz fans a flavor, a feel of what it was like. By the end, I was mentally exhausted, it was a grind, and I knew it was time I needed to change my beat.” Just after he let go of covering the Jazz in 2017, he was approached about writing the book “100 Thing Jazz Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die,” which recently was released in time for the end of the season and playoffs. It has already been a steady seller on Amazon and will have a second printing. After thinking about writing the book for a week and being encouraged by everyone, especially his wife, he agreed. One week later he had an outline of the book’s 100 chapters. “As I sat down and typed up a list, Pete Maravich, the Jazz name, the team moving to Salt Lake City, Adrian Dantley, Stockton’s short shorts, ‘City of Utah,’ I became excited about the book,” he said. Carving out time from his family, fulltime job and working as a health coach, Genessy spent the next five months, “writing it a little bit everywhere” in the break room at the Deseret News, at his home office, even at McDonald’s in his hometown of Herriman where he had free Wi-Fi and drink refills. He spent hours “strolling through memory lane:” watching Jazz highlights from Pete Maravich (“I would have loved to see him play”) to Michael Jordan pushing off Bryon Russell in the NBA finals, and rereading his
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nine years of stories, including covering the Hall of Fame inductions. He read other accounts of the team, interviewed current and former players and coaches. Genessy even put out a poll on Twitter, which Mehmet Okur humorously responded, so it was included in “100 Things” book. “I did get some fresh interviews, but I also used a lot of research,” he said. “If there was a good quote or information from a game at the time, it was truer than recalling it three decades later, so I gave credit. It’s been neat, emotional, reliving memories and comebacks. I had forgotten or didn’t known some of the pranks I wrote about, like Adrian Dantley being fined 30 pieces of silver. It’s a funny story.” The book tells stories of “the shot,” which Stockton relived 20 years later (but “he only got off his tippy toes” this time around) to point guard Mo Williams posting on social media about Big Al Jefferson’s 10-foot-by12-foot bed, which “nobody wanted to move so it sold with the house” when Jefferson left. Other stories and chapters got cut, Genessy said as he wrote 110,000 words when the book editor requested only 60,000 to 70,000. Fortunately, his favorite chapter, “Stockton’s shorts,” remained. “I love how that was laid out in the book,” he said. “I wrote ‘In honor of John Stockton’s trunks, the chapter will be short. The end.’ And it ended the page. I also loved writing about the ‘City of Utah’; it cracked me up to relive it. I think the ‘Villains’ chapter was fun to write and entertaining to read.” Genessy said covering the Jazz, he had to “be fair, not a fan,” writing about “good performances and when they struggle.” He also had to learn to read the players and coaches. At one point in the book, he wrote he received a stern response by Sloan when he questioned Carlos Boozer’s struggling game. “Sloan defends his players, and if outsiders question and give too much grief, they can feel his reproach,” Genessy said. “One time I talked to him and asked, ‘Have you considered toying with the lineup?’ He said, ‘I don’t toy with anything.’ It was a poor choice of my words, and I got a stern look from Jerry. You don’t want to be on the end of it.” Genessy wrote about the Jazz at times he wasn’t on the beat, interviewing others to gain perspective. One such occasion was to address the 1992 playoffs that got delayed against the Los Angeles Clippers after the Rodney King trial verdict was announced and the team found itself escorted to practice facilities for their safety. Genessy also missed covering the Jazz during Frank Layden’s reign, but he asked him to write the forward to his book. “It was an honor to interview Frank
Deseret News writer Jody Genessy, who covered the Utah Jazz for nine seasons, now is the author of “100 Things Jazz Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.” (Photo courtesy of Jody Genessy)
Layden,” Genessy said. “He was the bridge from the early days until now. He’s the ambassador for the Jazz, being the funny guy and able to put everything into perspective. He’s still very much admired.” On the beat, he said he had to adjust to the players as he interviewed them. “Deron Williams always wore his emotions on his sleeve, so if he had a bad day, he didn’t want to talk,” he said. “Alec Burks always gave short answers. He didn’t want to be interviewed, so the interview would be done in one minute. Mehmet Okur always gave four responses (because of the Turkish to English language barrier), but over the years, his English got better.” On the upside, Genessy said many players were great to interview, and Earl Watson was especially fun and gregarious. Every interview he had with current coach Quin Snyder, Genessy felt he “got smarter about basketball. He is a good teacher, brilliant.” Genessy also appreciated Gordon Hayward’s dad driving him around Indianapolis one day, giving him insight about his son, which was revealed in the book addressing their “van talk.” “I could see how he tried to help and their relationship — the love and support of each other,” he said. “He opened the door into their lives and gave light to the up and coming player. It made a great story.” Genessy tried to put the chapters in pri-
ority order and consulted others before naming his first chapter, “Stockton to Malone.” “I talked to (Deseret News columnist) Lee Benson who said Larry H. Miller would be his No. 1 chapter,” he said about one of the sports writers he admires along with Deseret News writers Brad Rock and Doug Robinson. “Without Larry Miller, there probably would be no Utah Jazz. But for 20 years, the Jazz were ‘Stockton to Malone,’ and in a lot people’s minds, they still are. They’re the foundation; they have the statues, the streets on the map.” Decades later, Genessy now sees current teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, which he nicknamed the Stifle Tower, as what may become “the next generation of ‘Stockton to Malone.’” While writing the book may be Genessy’s “final chapter” in writing about the Jazz, it isn’t of his support for the team. Now Genessy, who has more flexibility in his current Deseret News assignment, may be watching the playoffs on the sidelines with his four children. “We invest our heart and soul in teams; we want the championship,” he said. “We follow the sport, fall in love with the people, fantasize our role on the team, yell, be supportive, wear the gear. This year, if Utah wins the first and second rounds (against the league’s toughest teams), it will be a breeze to win the NBA finals.”
May 2019 | Page 5
Kick Ash Festival seeks to put an end to ‘vape-havior’
By Jennifer J. Johnson | email@example.com
ocal students are hooked on a bad habit: the use of e-cigarettes and vapes has increased an astonishing 500 percent since 2011. The findings come from the annual Student Health and Risk Prevention Survey (SHARP), conducted by area school districts in conjunction with the state health department. While to young minds vaping may seem like a warm and fuzzy, innocuous version of cigars, cigarettes and tobacco, vaping is anything but un-dangerous. According to the American Lung Association, “evolving evidence” spells a collision course of vape usage with irreversible lung damage and lung Treating All Aspects of Medical, Surgical and disease. “People think vaping and e-cigarettes are different (from traditional tobacco prodCosmetic Dermatology ucts),” said Julia Glade, health educator with the SLCO Health Department. “They aren’t. They are the same thing.” ·Skin Cancer ·Botox Kicking Ash through the best communica·Mohs Surgery ·Juvederm tors — kids themselves SLCO is using an innovative approach ·Acne ·Kybella to discourage teen vaping. ·Moles ·Radiesse County officials are counting on kids to do much of the communicating and, in doing ·Belotero ·Bellafill so, create even more buzz, with the ultimate ·Eczema ·Microneedling outcome being to “Escape the Vape.” The 2019 Kick Ash Short Film Festi·Chemical Peels ·Laser Treatments val, held March 20 at West Jordan’s Viridian Event Center, gave students the chance to use creative and technical skills to make compelling 30–60-second anti-vape film “shorts” or public service announcements (PSAs) and then have them screened at a red carpet event. “Movies have always had great power in persuasion of ideas,” said Channing Lowe, associate professor of film for Salt Lake Community College. “Visuals can be more potent that words. Striking images stay engrained in the minds of the viewers for better Breton Yates Elena or worse. Lowe commended SLCO in leverDouglas M Woseth Angela Brimhall D.O. FAOCD M.D. FAAD Hadjicharalambous M.D. aging film to “influence those in a direction M.D. FAAD that can improve their lives.” In addition to the carrot of helping make a difference in the world, filmmakers were tantalized by significant booty. The school with the most Kick Ash film entrants was awarded $350 for its multimedia classrooms. Kick Ash first-prize filmmakers in the upper division (grades 10–12) received $400, but the lure of the Audience Choice award may have been even more tantalizing: The Audience Choice winner, determined by a Shane Farr Michael R Swinyer Alisa Seeberger Facebook voting poll, received a ChromeP.A. -C P.A. -C F.N.P. -C book with a 32-inch monitor, speakers and Bluetooth headphones. Lower grades were awarded $100 for placing. Main Office: 1548 East 4500 South, Suite 202, Salt Lake City The Kick Ash ‘aha’ moment Having studied health education promoSouth Jordan Office: 4040 West Daybreak Pkwy, Suite 200, South Jordan tion at the University of Utah, SLCO’s Glade is a certified health education specialist for Phone: 801-266-8841 SLCO. The Kick Ash Festival, now in its second year, is her idea. She says she got the inspiration for Kick Ash while attending the 2017 Utah Substance Abuse Conference in
We are excited to announce that our second clinic has opened in South Jordan.
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Southern Utah. Studiously listening as a speaker encouraged creative solutions for substance abuse, Glade suddenly had a profound “aha”: Salt Lake County youth, as members of Generation Z, the first generation of true “digital natives,” would respond to messages in a compelling, digital format. The concept for Kick Ash was formed. Glade’s idea got the go-ahead, and the first Kick Ash event took place last year with the theme “Stand Up, Speak Out Against Big Tobacco.” The winners — every Gen Z hearing the message and lucky high school, junior high filmmakers The night of the screening of the 28 entrant videos at the Viridian Event Center, none of the entrants knew ahead of time which entries had won, adding to the excitement of the event. Winning entries were presented with oversized checks and another opportunity to pose on the red carpet. What was the most important thing for the student-filmmakers entering Kick Ash 2019? “To know they can make a difference in educating their peers,” said Glade. Community members SLCO Library, RC Willey, Larry H. Miller Charities, University of Utah Health Plans, Primary Children’s Hospital and Intermountain Healthcare were the underwriters of the prizes. All videography teams received not only cherished memories from the red carpet screening but a commemorative Kick Ash T-shirt. The winning entry in the upper division — both the Judges’ and the Audience Choice award — was “Dreams” from Riverton High School. “Dreams” powerfully posited that “Teens are more likely to vape than use any other form of cigarettes,” making vape a “threatening gateway drug” for Gen Z. The payoff message? “Everyone has dreams. Don’t let vaping destroy yours.” The first-place entry, in the lower division, is a fact-filled vid called “Be Smart, Don’t Start.” The vid playfully depicts doing obviously un-smart activities, such as touching a boiling pot, and then compares those to the decisions by teens to vape. The school submitting the most entries, Draper Park Middle School (DPMS), also ended up being the school whose students swept the lower-division individual prizes, with first-, second- and third-place winners all coming from DPMS. The festival’s timing made it a perfect fit for the DPMS science curriculum. “In seventh grade, we learn about body systems,” said Amy Valdez, seventh grade teacher for DPMS. “We had just finished learning about respiratory systems, so they had a lot of good background knowledge.” Valdez paired the science and communications aspect of the project in students’ learning. “We talked about how a PSA needs to be informative,” she said. “It needs to be a quick message and pack a punch.”
South Valley City Journal
First responders, including neighbors and snow plow drivers, receive UFA award By Jennifer Gardiner | firstname.lastname@example.org
hen Travis Dinger and Gunner Kelsch took a CPR and AED (defibrillator) class through Herriman City, taught by Unified Fire Authority, they never imagined just how much that training would come to affect the life of a total stranger. Dinger and Kelsch, both just 19 years old, are snow plow drivers for Herriman. One month after taking a class held specifically for the city’s employees, the two encountered a situation on Feb. 6, where that training would help them to save a man’s life. “I was being trained by Gunner so I was driving and he pointed out that he thought some people were doing CPR on a guy,” said Dinger. “When we pulled over and got out to help as we could see the man’s face was purple and those helping him were performing mouth to mouth, but not chest compressions.” Dinger said both he and Kelsch jumped in to take over, and it felt more like instinct as they didn’t have time to think about the training they received. “I feel like it just kicked in, to know what to do,” said Kelsch. “I have my Eagle Scout, and I also learned CPR then, so I just knew what to do.” It would be several minutes before crews from Herriman City Police, Unified Fire Station 103 and EMS crews in ambulance 221 would arrive on scene. Matt McFarland with Unified Fire Authority taught that class at Herriman City. He said he had been working with Herriman City recently to teach employees life saving measures. “Anyone who works in their field offices had to be trained, so they decided to teach everyone who they employ,” said McFarland. McFarland said he teaches a technique they refer to as ‘compressions only to survive.’ “These guys had just gone through this,” said McFarland. “They were out driving, and this guy had been out shoveling driveways and helping neighbors when he collapsed in his driveway.”
Captain Anthony Widdison, engineer Curtis Clayton, paramedics Mike Bagely, Heathyr Best, Shaun Kinney, EMT Stephanie Stromsdorfer, Battalion Chief Riley Pilgrim, Herriman City Police officers Dustin Olzack and Kim Martin, Mr. and Mrs. Ryder and neighbors Wendy and Larry Wilson. (Photo Courtesy Unified Fire Authority)
McFarland said the men both took initiative to try to keep the man alive. “They jumped out and began doing CPR on the man,” said McFarland. “They were doing such highly efficient CPR that our crews who arrived about five minutes later could identify as they pulled up that it was best to have them continue what they were doing, while medical personnel set up and prepared advanced maneuvers.” McFarland said by doing compressions it made the difference between him surviving and losing his life. On March 13, Dinger and Kelsch, the man’ wife, Sherri Ryder and neighbors Wendy and Larry Wilson received the Unified Fire’s Civilian Lifesaving Award. Also awarded were crews from Unified Station 103 and ambulance 221 Captain Anthony
Widdison, engineer Curtis Clayton, paramedics Mike Bagely, Heathyr Best, Shaun Kinney, EMT Stephanie Stromsdorfer and Battalion Chief Riley Pilgrim. Herriman City police officers who responded and assisted with the incident, Dustin Olzack and Kim Martin, also received an award. According to The American Heart Association, some 350,000 cases occur each year outside of a hospital, and the survival rate is less than 12 percent. They say CPR can double or triple the chances of survival. “Seventy-percent of cardiac arrests happen in homes, but for those that happen in a workplace, a recent American Heart Association survey found that most U.S. employees are not prepared for a cardiac emergency,” said their website.
McFarland said very rarely is CPR not effective if it’s done right and that it is simple to learn and extremely effective. “If more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved,” said McFarland. “In that five to seven minutes before we get there, the compressions could help by keeping the blood pumping through the body and oxygen to their brains” You can find Community Emergency response Team training options by visiting the UFA website. If you cannot attend a class, McFarland recommends watching a short video, and learning CPR at home with your family. You can watch the video at this link https://youtu. be/YWBbEue4mJ4 For more information on compressions to survive, please visit pushtosurvive.org.
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May 2019 | Page 7
Ngata and Warriors play joke on rugby community By Greg James | email@example.com
Season Tickets: $49 Adult, $45 Senior, $29 Child Amphitheater Parking: 495 East 5300 South Ticket Info: 801-264-2614 or www.murray.utah.gov June 1 .............................................. Mamma Mia, Sing-Along June 8 ................... Murray Symphony Pops, “I’ve Got Rhythm” June 20-22, 24-26 ...Joseph & Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat June 29 ...................................................Murray Concert Band July 12-13 ..............................................Ballet Under the Stars July 25-27, 29-31 ................................... Beauty and the Beast Aug 9-10, 12, 15-17 ............................................Little Women September 2 ............................ Murray Acoustic Music Festival Tonata Lauti played rugby at the University of Utah before becoming an outside wing with the Warriors. (Photo courtesy of Warriors Rugby)
Every Tuesday at Noon in Murray Park Pavilion #5, FREE June 4 – Jim Fish & Mountain Country .........................Country June 11 – Flashback Brothers......................... Classic Rock Hits June 18 – Kate MacLeod ..........................................Folk/Celtic June 25 – Tony Summerhays.............................One Man Band July 9 – Chrome Street .................................................Quartet July 16 – Svengali Jazz ...................................................... Jazz July 23 – Time Cruisers................................................... Oldies July 30 – Buzzard Whiskey ...................................Acoustic Folk
Every Thursday at 2 p.m. in Murray Park Pavilion #5, FREE June 6 – Christopher Fair ......................................Magic Show June 13 – Acadamh Rince .......................................Irish Dance June 20 – Coralie Leue ...............................The Puppet Players June 27 – Harvest Home ...........................Musical Storytelling July 11 – The Calvin Smith Elementary Lion Dance Team July 18 – Happy Hula ...........................................Island Dance July 25 – Sounding Brass .................................................. Jazz Aug 1 – Alphorn Trio ............................................. Swiss Music
Bring the Whole Family Young and Old! The 2nd Monday of every month at 7 p.m., FREE Murray Senior Recreation Center (#10 E 6150 S – 1/2 block west of State) June 10 – In Cahoots..........................................Cowboy Music July 8 – Skyedance................................................ Celtic Music Aug 12 – Company B...................................................... Oldies Sept 9 – Great Basin Street Band .................... Dixieland Music
This program has received funding support from residents of Salt Lake County, SL County Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP), Utah Division of Arts and Museums, and Museums & National Endowment for the Arts.
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he Utah Warriors and former NFL superstar Haloti Ngata shared some fun moments as an April Fool’s Day prank. “Rugby was always my first love,” Ngata said in a press release. “It taught me how to be a better football player which proved out in my college and pro career. I am honored to sign with the Warriors and make an impact.” The prank was an effort to raise awareness of the Haloti Ngata Family Foundation which helps underprivileged high school students matriculate into higher education. The prank announced that he had signed a player contract with the Warriors for the 2019 season. The response went viral almost instantaneously. Inquiries and stories popped up from rugby publications nationally and worldwide. Later that evening Ngata released a statement via Instagram thanking the Warriors and giving more information on the nature of the contract. “We had a lot of fun today (April 1st), talking about me signing with the Warriors. While I love rugby, I’m not actually playing with the team, but they are making a donation to my foundation,” he said. The Warriors were overwhelmed with responses to the initial announcement. “The quantity of calls, emails, and texts we received was incredible,” Warriors General Manager Kimball Kjar said. “Hopefully, this transfers into something viable for the foundation to work with.” Proceeds from all tickets and merchandise sales will be donated to the foundation. Ngata retired from the NFL on March 18. He climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and displayed a banner that read “I am
retiring on top.” As a first round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2006, he later earned a Super Bowl ring in 2013 and also played with the Lions and Eagles. He was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl five times in his career and attended Highland High School where he was a three year starter. In 2001, he was named Utah Gatorade Player of the Year. He eventually signed a letter of intent and attended the University of Oregon. In high school he played rugby and helped Highland to a national championship. The Ngatas created the foundation in 2015. It is operated in partnership with the Salt Lake Education Foundation. It carries on the vision of Ngata’s late mother, Ofa, by providing college preparation resources to high school students in the Salt Lake School District. The fund has provided ACT preparation classes for 600 students since its inception. More information on the Ngata foundation can be found at www.ngatafoundation.com In 2017, Ngata was awarded the NFL’s Walter Payton award for his off the field work in the community. Major League Rugby (based in Salt Lake City) announced expansion. The league will add three teams to the schedule. The total number of teams in the MLR is now at 12. New teams will be introduced to New England, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. The Warriors returned to Zions Bank Stadium on April 27 to face the Austin Elite Rugby squad. They defeated them 17-9 in their first match of the season. For tickets and team information visit www.warriorsrugby. com
South Valley City Journal
Riverton sidesteps potential negative fallout from 2019 legislative session By Mariden Williams | firstname.lastname@example.org
tah’s 2019 legislative session drew to a close in Marh, and the bill that attracted the most attention from Riverton and other cities in the southwest valley might be Senate Bill 34. This bill focuses on affordable housing modifications—specifically on penalizing cities who don’t have what the state judges to be “enough” affordable housing, by dramatically docking their transportation funds. “Going into the session, the legislators had a feeling that the cities in this part of the valley weren’t doing enough to accommodate density and affordable housing,” said Rob Jolley, one of Riverton’s lobbyists. But penalizing road funds is exactly the wrong thing to do to encourage a higher population density, because the main reason cities don’t want higher density is that the existing roads can’t handle the traffic from the population already there. “We need to get the infrastructure first, because we already have plenty of density. More than the rest of the valley. Toward the end of the session, that really started to sink in with the legislators, and it really changed the dynamic,” said Jolley. Jolley credited that change of mindset to efforts led by Riverton’s Mayor Trent Staggs, as well as the mayors of West Jordan, South Jordan, Herriman, Copperton, and Bluffdale, but said this issue would require further monitoring. There will likely be more discussion next year. Another notable event in 2019’s legislative session was the complete reworking of Senate
City attorney Ryan Carter and city manager Konrad Hildebrandt (pictured left to right) noticed some fishy wording in Salt Lake County’s contracts, helping avert some potentially pricy consequences. (Mariden Williams/City Journals)
Bill 77, which adjusted tax increment rates and clarified Utah’s Community Reinvestment Agency Act. The original wording of the Community Reinvestment Agency Act caused a lot of confusion among cities, and many questioned who, if anyone, actually understood the thing. “The statute was very complicated, and Salt Lake County was the only one who could figure it out,” said Jolley. “We were able to fix that and make the formula a lot more streamlined, a lot easier to interpret, but also it made it so that community reinvestment agencies were going to continue to receive the type of increment that was envisioned as they grow.” That new relative clarity will help cities
make sure that there aren’t any wolves hiding in the fuzzy, impenetrable sheep’s clothing of the act’s dense legal jargon. That’s important, because five months ago, Riverton’s City Manager Konrad Hildebrandt and City Attorney Ryan Carter noticed Salt Lake County had slipped a clause into their contracts “agreeing to give increment to reinvestment areas that basically meant that the amount of increment that the county would participate with, would be reduced by the amount that the city would receive in county transportation dollars.” Transportation dollars are allocated to cities by the state legislature—or at least, they’re supposed to be.
“The state transportation dollars that we have received over the years, recently is being routed through Salt Lake County’s administrators, getting it out of the cities. When it lands in their accounts, it becomes their funding, legally speaking,” said Carter. “Then they (the county) can come back later and say, ‘We’ve given you transportation funding. It was earmarked by the legislature, but we’re the ones that gave it to you. It was ours when we gave it to you. So we’re now going to reduce your tax income.’” “That’s a big deal,” said Mayor Trent Staggs. “Not only would the county proportionally decrease the tax increment they would have given” to Riverton’s development area—it would also have some serious ramifications for the new CenterCal Mountain View Village shopping center. Riverton officials were counting on receiving that funding from the county. “If they interpreted that way, we could have been left having to pony up.” “They hadn’t tried to take funds away from the city yet, but we were concerned that they could,” said Jolley. Jolley worked with Sen. Wayne Harper to put an amendment in Senate Bill 98 that would force the county to consider the reinvestment increment and the transportation dollars independently from one another. “Interestingly, about the only thing that was left in Senator Harper’s bill at the very end was our amendment,” Jolley remarked. “So on the CenterCal project, we’re protected,” said Councilmember Sheldon Stewart.
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Fiber internet coming soon to Riverton? By Mariden Williams | firstname.lastname@example.org
or the past several months, Riverton officials have considered providing residents with access to fiber internet as a city service. City council members have consulted with fiber internet provider EntryPoint Networks about the possibility of a city-owned internet infrastructure in previous work sessions. On April 2, the council had EntryPoint representatives present their findings to the public at a city council meeting. Fiber internet, especially city-owned fiber internet that is provided to residents the same way essential utilities such as water and electricity are, represents a major disruption from the current status quo. “We’re going to see that disruption accelerate over the next five to 10 years, and so many options are going to come to cities that have fiber, that can take advantage of new applications of smart cities, of the internet of things—the benefits are manifold,” said Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs. “We found it very interesting to take a look at this right now and see if it is something that would benefit us and our residents.” There are a couple ways things with EntryPoint could go. It could provide fiber internet to only municipal buildings and possibly a couple of residential streets, or it could, as Staggs hopes, provide internet to the entire city. “If we go forward with the full project, I would say community engagement is the most important thing,” said Entry Point representative Jeff Christensen. “It’s really about understanding the community’s appetite for it and being able to communicate effectively what the broadband plan is.” Thus far, support from the public has been overwhelmingly positive. Casey Saxton, Riverton’s communications director, put out a survey on the matter that received nearly 2,000 responses. Support from internet service providers, too, has been remarkable. “The direction the city is pointed is toward an open-access network, which means the city owns infrastructure and then service providers come from the cloud,” Christensen said. “All four of those internet service providers (we have spoken with so far) said they will
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Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs sees internet as having become an essential utility. (Mariden Williams/City Journals)
participate. Not just, ‘we’re interested,’ but ‘we will participate.’ We think we’ll find that same kind of reception as we engage others.” Utah Department of Transportation officials, too, seems willing to help with this effort. They have already had several meetings with EntryPoint, and more are scheduled for the future. “Those meetings have centered around opportunities for UDOT to work with Riverton, pooling UDOT’s fiber resources with Riverton’s potential fiber resources,” Christensen said. “That could be very beneficial to the city, but the talks are still early.” Perhaps this positive reception shouldn’t be much of a surprise, given that internet service is becoming viewed more and more increasingly as an essential utility. “Frankly, I believe in our day and age it easily is construed as such,” Staggs said. Exact figures on expenses haven’t been anywhere near nailed down yet—EntryPoint will be constructing a more solid plan in the coming months—but currently, Christensen estimates $72,947 for one year, to 729,000 for 10 years, to nearly $1.5 million over a 20-year period. Over the next six to nine months, rather than pursuing proof of contract, EntryPoint will put out requests for proposal to find out exactly how much it will cost to replace contracted internet services with city-owned ones. At any rate, it’s going to be a significant investment. But it’s an investment that could have significant returns, especially for residents. EntryPoint calculates that nationally, people spend an average of $70 a month on their internet services. Entry Point expects their net monthly cost to be $50 or less. “The communications you’re getting right now are not robust in terms of speeds,” Christensen said. ”So, there’s a real opportunity to enhance what the city has. I think there’s an opportunity for 10-year, 20-year cost savings. And then it also creates a path for anything that the city does moving forward. Meaning that, whether we do a conduit or poles, it still creates a path for anything that happens in the future.”
South Valley City Journal
Tracy Aviary eyes additional locations along the Jordan River Parkway By Mariden Williams | email@example.com
any Utah residents think the Jordan River is for the birds, and the Riverton City Council seems to agree—as does the Tracy Aviary. Back in September, the city council met with Tracy Aviary representatives, took a tour of the aviary and talked about the possibility of adding another aviary campus along Riverton’s section of the Jordan River Parkway. “We’ve been working on the Jordan River Parkway for some years. Most of what we control is functioning, and it’s looking really great down there. But I think we’re ready for the next step,” said Councilmember Tish Buroker, who serves on the Jordan River Commission with Tim Brown, the director of Tracy Aviary. “The aviary’s mission is to inspire curiosity and caring for birds and nature through education and conservation,” said Brown. “A couple years ago, we realized that being restricted to only our campus in Liberty Park hampered our ability to reach into the community. About five years ago, we started floating the idea of doing a second campus somewhere.” Riverton isn’t the only location being scouted for a second aviary location. They’re also considering opening a campus in the South Salt Lake area, around 3300 South— intentionally close to the homeless resource center. “We want to bring something to the parkway that’s way more positive than the negative things that will come with the homeless resource center,” said Brown. “With all due respect to law enforcement, we feel like we can’t just be reacting to problems. We need to do things that are proactive and bring positive things to the river.” “The Jordan River Commission has really gathered steam. It was only implemented in 2010, and I think now it has a lot of support from a legislative point of view. There’s a lot of interest from all the communities that border it that are recognizing the need for open land. So, it would take some work, but I think it could be done,” Buroker said. Brown said they envision an educational hub. “What we foresee is a nature center that’s a home base for a lot of education programs—pre-K-type things,” Brown said. “Lots of school programs could happen there: Scout programs, adolescent education, adult education, senior education.” Brown would also like to see the location used as a base for service projects and conservation activities. Tree plantings, tree protections, weed control, planting butterfly gardens, tracking birds, counting dragonflies and creating birdfeeders were all suggested. Officials think they’ll keep things simple for now. They know they’d like to take
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Three of the very many birds at Tracy Aviary’s main location in Liberty Park. The aviary participates in many conservation and wildlife protection efforts. (Photo/Rob Williams)
advantage of the river to run some water through the campus and put in some trails. Brown said they’re considering installing a portable classroom such as one might find at any number of crowded Utah elementary schools but decked out with much more attractive sidings and furnishings, a butterfly garden, maybe an observation tower and a playground. Brown isn’t even sure whether they’ll fence in the location. “I’ve seen a lot of nature centers function without fences,” Brow said. “A benefit of fence is that it’s contained, from a parent standpoint. It’s a little easier to walk in there and let your kids run ahead of you on the trail knowing that there’s only one exit. You could also do overnight camping with Scout groups and stuff like that if it was fenced.” Brown is currently looking at a starting budget of about $2 million and estimates that after construction finishes, it would cost $200,000 to $250,000 annually if it was open seven days a week and fenced in. The city council would like to see a more definitive budget outlined but seemed interested in watching how things play out and keeping Riverton’s hat in the ring. “I think it’s really neat, and it could be a place that’s really distinctive in our community—a gathering place, if you will,” Staggs said. “If you’re looking for a nod here, I think you’ve got it. I think people are saying yes.”
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Dominoes falling as Herriman prepares to develop 100 acres along MVC By Travis Barton | firstname.lastname@example.org
n a potential boon to Herriman’s sales tax revenue, the city council continued rezoning large swaths of land along Mountain View Corridor for an auto mall special district and commercial zone. Located at approximately 4950 West and 12600 South, the estimated 100 acres of land is in the process of being rezoned to attract an auto mall, while a portion of land along 12600 South will be commercial. City officials have received several proposals for entertainment/recreational developments for the commercial area. If developed as planned, according to city documents, approximately 90 acres will be the auto mall with 10 acres along 12600 South will serve as commercial. The potential development, city officials said, will provide local sales and services, jobs and increased revenue for the city. Councilwoman Nicole Martin said during the March 13 council meeting that the council’s philosophy is balancing the community between sales tax revenue generators (like auto malls and businesses) and residential housing. “What you’ll see from this council moving forward is those types of projects that take the tracks of land and look for alternate uses to balance out the really heavy residential growth that we’ve had,” Martin said. In December, the council approved an adjustment to the city’s land code creating an auto mall special district. In March, almost 23 acres was rezoned to auto mall and commercial by the council, with a further 4.2 acres rezoned for the same purpose in April. No exclusively used car sales lots will be permitted, ac-
cording to city documents. Residents to the west of the proposed area expressed concerns at a neighborhood meeting in February about effects on property values, lighting, traffic and pollution. City Planner Michael Maloy explained during a March council meeting every project proposed for the property will go through additional site plan reviews. There will also be a 6-foot wall, 28 feet of landscaping, a four-lane road and an additional 28 feet of landscaping separating the auto mall from residents to the west. “This is very unusual to see 28 feet of landscaping on either side of the main street accessions,” he said. “So, there will be quite a bit of opportunity to buffer or mitigate potential impacts.” Councilman Clint Smith added that part of the street alignment would include future allowances for a TRAX line to be built there. “We’ve done a lot of forethought and planning, especially in this area, recognizing there is residential in this area, and we knew we wanted some type of retail along the front edge of Mountain View Corridor,” Smith said. “There’s been a lot of thought put into this, how to buffer that appropriately.”
The blue area represents the planned 90 acres of a special auto mall district while the area in red represents the planned 10 acres of commercial. The 100 acres is located west of Mountain View Corridor and north of 12600 South. (Courtesy Herriman City)
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Winning kindly: Providence Hall takes state debate By Jet Burnham | email@example.com
hen the dust had settled at the division 3 state speech and debate tournament, Providence Hall High School had beat the second-place team—Juab High School—by two points. As they filed out of the auditorium, both teams stopped to applaud one another. A few days later, PHHS received a letter of congratulations signed by every member of the Summit Academy High School speech and debate team, which had finished third. Not what you’d expect from debaters, right? “We’re not out to try to destroy people,” said PHHS speech and debate coach Steve Porter. “We’re out to destroy their arguments and come away with friends.” His team develops what he calls “friendly rivalries.” When his students lose a round, they genuinely compliment the winner. They exercise good sportsmanship when they win their round. “We win kindly,” said assistant coach Isabella Cauley. “The spirit of debate is more camaraderie than it is superiority.” Students learn to see their mistakes as a starting point for improvement, which helps them grow as people as well as debaters, said Cauley. The skills required to excel in speech and debate competitions benefit students in other areas of their lives.
Senior Brinleigh Cahoon said debate has taught her how to separate emotions from a discussion with someone with a differing opinion. “I find that a lot of people can’t disconnect a person from their argument,” she said. “It leads to a lot of conflict, not just between friends but between families.” Kyra Silcox said debate teaches general communication skills. She has learned to present her feelings and facts without discounting another’s opinion. “I feel like people don’t know how to communicate and argue—especially when they disagree with each other,” said Silcox. “In debate, you have to learn to argue both sides so it gives you a better understanding of what other people may be feeling and how you can present your own feelings.” Cauley, who loved competing in high school and college debate, encouraged her younger sister, Monique, to join the PHHS team. “It’s really about finding your voice and realizing how to communicate that to the world,” said Cauley. “And the younger you are, and the sooner you learn that skill, the more confident you’re going to be in who you are.” Monique’s experience on the debate team has revealed new interests and reshaped
her future plans. She has developed a passion for politics, which she hopes to study in college. She recommends debate for everyone. “Everything that the program stands for and encourages is something that every single person, no matter what age, no matter what grade, no matter what family, can benefit from,” she said. Joining the team was turning point in Tiffany Chen’s life. As a non-native English speaker, she joined to “further advance and deepen my English skills by arguing and by opening up new perspectives.” She has found opportunities to expand her knowledge from research topics into real-world applications such as contributing facts about pharmaceutical companies (a topic from a debate competition) to a discussion of drugs in her biology class. While some students are naturally eloquent or analytical, he believes hard work is what wins the round. “Debate’s not like basketball,” said Porter. “In basketball, you get one 7-footer, and you dominate everything. [Debate] is not so much based on talent as it is desire. It’s the kids who really, really want it—they are the ones who put the time in, who practice, who get all the information, and they end up winning.” Porter had a new baby born just one
week before state, and while the students put in extra practices that week without him, he was there to support them at the competition. “He went to state instead of staying with his family, which is something we really appreciate—all the time that he puts in for us and the sacrifices he makes to be with us,” said Monique Cauley. Silcox said Porter is the backbone of the team. He began as assistant coach just four years ago. In his three years as head coach, the team has won third place in region, third place in state twice, first place in region twice and now first in state. They plan to continue bringing home the trophies. “We’re hoping we’re building a tradition,” said Porter.
Division 3 state debate winners, Providence Hall High School. (Photo courtesy Steve Porter/PHHS)
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Battle of the Books breeds bibliophiles at Blackridge By Jet Burnham | firstname.lastname@example.org
hroughout the school year, Blackridge Elementary has been buzzing about B.O.B., the American Battle of the Books, which is a comprehensive comprehension competition. Students in third through sixth grade read books from a list of 20 and then, in teams of four to five, answer specific questions about them. “The idea is that they read four or five books and become an expert so that they know the answers to the questions on those books,” said Blackridge librarian Kristin Barkdull. The more a student reads, the more they can help their team answer questions. The school competition, held in early March, is a highlight of the year. An entire day is dedicated to determining which two teams will advance to the next level of competition. The top team from the third–fourth competition and from the fifth–sixth advance to the intra-school competition to compete against teams from nine other schools. This year, Blackridge’s Silver Scorpions advanced and took third place, and the Radioactive Pickles took seventh place in the multischool competition. “We always say if we have some criers at the end of the day, that’s good because they’re invested,” said Karman Schulz, PTA chairperson of B.O.B. “Our main goal is not today [competition day]. Our main goal is to have kids read books. If we have one student read one more book than they would have otherwise read, then that’s a success, and that
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is the end goal for our school.” The 456 participating students this year read a total of 3,900 books. The program has grown in the three years Blackridge has been participating. While it initially attracted students who already enjoyed reading, other students began to see how fun it was. We’ve seen it grow from about two teams per class to almost the whole class,” said librarian Lene Hartley, who promotes books from the reading list to students throughout the year. Librarians reward students with a colorful wristband and candy for each book they read. Those who read all 20 books on their own get their names on the Wall of Fame and a breakfast hosted by Chick-fil-A. “I think it’s a great opportunity for students who love to read to showcase their skills through friendly competition,” said Brittany Allen, a sixth-grade teacher. However, the competition isn’t just for avid readers. “B.O.B. gives every student the opportunity to participate,” said Allen. “Because it’s a group effort, students of all skill levels can work together to read and compete.” Students read the books independently and work together with volunteers and librarians to practice sample questions and memorize full titles and authors’ names, which earn them additional points in their answers. Teachers, librarians and parent volunteers all work together to run the program. “It takes an army to run this,” said Schulz. “But we strongly feel like that
amount of kids participating—and just their reading levels in general have increased substantially—and the benefit that our teachers and our students are receiving from the program itself far outweighs the amount of time put into running the program.” Schulz said Blackridge teachers reported improved reading and comprehension levels over the last three years among students who participated. Books on the reading list, determined by the national program, span a variety of genres, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction and even a few picture books. “It gave my students an opportunity to dive into new genres and expand their views and knowledge on new subjects,” said Morgan Sorenson, a third-grade teacher. “I feel like it really helps my students branch out and read books and genres that they normally wouldn’t choose,” said Allen of her sixth-graders. “It opens up a whole new world to them.” Members of the team Fabulous 5 said they enjoyed reading books such as “Shiloh,” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, “Midnight Rider,” by Kat Martin and “The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe,” by C.S. Lewis. Choosing creative team names is part of the fun of B.O.B. “We let the kids create their own names, and they are off the wall,” said Schulz. Teams such as Chicken Nuggets, Squishy Pandas, The Baked Potatoes, Goldfishes, Bucking Books, and Sushicorns, dress in matching costumes or team shirts and create a team poster and cheer to promote unity.
The American Battle of the Books was introduced in the area five years ago by Becky Holdorf, librarian at Butterfield Canyon Elementary. The program has grown to 10 local elementary schools (Blackridge, Bluffdale, Butterfield Canyon, Daybreak, Herriman, Midas Creek, Rosamond, Rose Creek, Silvercrest, Southland) participating in the intra-school competition this year. This year’s winning teams at the Intra-school level were: 3rd/4th: Book Buddies from Rose Creek 5th/6th: Pudgy Pugs from Butterfield Canyon
Readers collected colorful wristband for each book they read from the booklist. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)
May 2019 | Page 19
Scoring for Schools grants a boon to special needs preschool By Jet Burnham | email@example.com
ocal teachers, whose budgets are limited, were thrilled when Real Salt Lake owner, Dell Loy Hansen, announced he was funding $250 grants to every teacher in Jordan, Canyons and Alpine school districts who applied for his Scoring for Schools grant. “My teachers were so thankful to be able to get resources they needed for their classrooms without spending their own money, as they often do,” said Butterfield Canyon Principal Amanda Bollinger. “Every single one of our teachers applied for and received a supplies grant from RSL. Our school had over $11,000 in donations through the grants.” Teachers at Midas Creek Elementary purchased items such as books, games and wobble stools with their Scoring for Schools grant money, said Principal Megan Cox. The grant was a welcome boon for teachers with limited annual budgets. Heather Johnson, speech therapist for the special needs preschool at Bastian Elementary, has an annual budget of just $300. She depends on outside funding to supply her students with engaging activities. “I had written two grants at the beginning of the year, and they didn’t get funded,” said Johnson. She was thrilled to learn about the RSL grant because the process was easy, and it had guaranteed funds. Johnson used her $250 to purchase three
story-based STEM kits that she had yearned to buy for a few years. “There’s a wide range of things that I know I could do with these, but because all of them together was $200, it’s something I wouldn’t be able to have,” said Johnson. Bettina Espinosa, a preschool teacher at Bastian, has tried to request classroom funding through online fundraising programs, which take a lot of work to keep on top of. With an already huge workload of special education paperwork, she said she couldn’t keep up with promoting her requests on social media and with frequent emails. “I’ve tried to get funded for the past three years with no success,” said Espinosa. “The REAL one was so smooth, and it went really fast.” The RSL grant only required a one-page application and had a turn-around of just a few weeks. With the RSL grant and a perfectly timed sale, Espinosa was able to order a circle time carpet that her students use for motor movement games, learning shapes and colors, and practicing personal space boundaries and body control. “We were so excited to get it,” she said. “We use it a lot within our day.” For Stephanie Gesualdo, who just started teaching preschool at Bastian this school year, the RSL grant allowed her to build up
A new circle time carpet is used by special needs preschool students to practice personal space boundaries and body control. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)
her supplies of basic materials. She pur- chased provide a wider variety of ways her chased jumbo magnetic letters, dry erasable students can learn and explore. paper pockets, molding foam for sensory “It was nice to be able get more things exploration and manipulatives to use on her in my classroom that I don’t have,” she said. homemade light table. The materials she pur-
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$1,000 silver bullet for Silver Crest’s struggling music program By Jet Burnham | firstname.lastname@example.org
inda Clyde, Beverly Taylor Sorenson music specialist at Silver Crest Elementary in Herriman, had a brief encounter with Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen which ended in an additional $1,000 for her music program. “I’ve been trying to be very creative with the way that I use the funds that I get,” said Rinda Clyde, whose $250 grant from RSL’s Scoring for Schools grant purchased four ukuleles for her music program. When RSL visited Silver Crest to present the grants, Clyde was asked to coordinate fifth-graders for a last-minute ukulele performance for the assembly. At the conclusion, Hansen complimented Clyde’s efforts. In their short conversation, she thanked him for his grant that helped her get closer to her goal of having enough ukuleles for all the students in her class. “He was warm and generous and genuine—I mean he was very genuine,” said Clyde. “He was just so kind and very approachable.” She said Hansen told her that they were now close friends, so if she needed any more ukuleles, to let him know. She thought he was just saying that to be nice. However, the philanthropist, moved by their conversation, walked into Principal Ann Pessetto’s office to let her know he had enjoyed the musical performance and wanted to donate $1,000 to the music budget. “Before he left the building, he made sure they knew he was willing to help however he
Students enjoy music class despite the limited amount of instruments. (Rinda Clyde/Silver Crest Elementary)
could,” said Clyde. “That just lifts your spirits in so many ways to realize that there are people out there that are willing to do those kinds of things.” Hansen’s daughter, Lara Huff, was not surprised to hear what her dad had done for Clyde. He has similarly surprised other teachers in recent months after hearing about their unique situations. “He listens, and he cares,” said Huff. “He just hears and acts, period. He doesn’t want the praise or glory, he just wants to do what he’s passionate about.” Clyde was glad Hansen listened to her
and heard in their short interaction the difficulty she’s had starting a music program from scratch. “It can take a lot of time to build up the materials necessary for a music program, and that’s what makes this all so special,” said Clyde. “We have such a need.” Her students learn drum rhythms on buckets borrowed from the district with drumsticks purchased with previous grant money. She has a long wish list of what she wants to buy with her bonus $1,000: Boomwhacker xylophones and real drums for older students, and rhythm instruments and ribbons for the younger.
“It will do a lot of good for my classroom,” said Clyde. “It won’t buy everything, but it will certainly give us a leg-up for the coming year.” Clyde said it would have taken, at minimum, another year of applying for multiple grants to afford what Hansen’s gift will provide. “It was just very heartwarming, and I’m just so grateful,” she said. “It just made me think—this is an amazing thing. If we reached out to more businesses, we may find more people like this. They may just not know how to do it.” Clyde hopes others will be inspired by Hansen’s generosity. “We are taxed for education and don’t really get to decide where our money is spent,” she said. “This is one way you can know for certain how you are helping and what your money is being used for.” Jordan Education Fund, which partnered with RSL to purchase the items teachers requested with their grants, depends on support from local businesses and community members to honor and reward local teachers. JEF president Steven Hall said Market Street Grill employees recently pledged their tips for the month to present Jordan District’s Teachers of the Year with restaurant gift certificates. “Other businesses can think of things to do to help,” said Hall. “Even $5 helps. It all helps.” 12590 South 2200 West Riverton, Utah 84605
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2019 oustanding teachers of the year By Jet Burnham | email@example.com Chosen from 2,500 Jordan School District teachers, 18 were awarded the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award for 2019. District officials and members of the Jordan Education Foundation (JEF) surprised teachers in their classrooms with the announcement, inviting them to a banquet at Little America to each receive an award and $1,000 cash. Four of the teachers honored were from Herriman Schools and four were from Riverton Schools. Herriman: Silver Crest Elementary Carol Ramsay, fifth grade teacher One of her nominators said, “Carol Ramsay is the teacher that any parent or grandparent would want their child to have. She develops strong relationships with students and parents because it is apparent that she has tremendous skill and cares deeply for the success of every child. She makes sure that no student slips by without her best efforts.” Ramsey uses technological resources to individualize her instruction. “I am able to see immediately from their work on Google Classroom where I need to intervene right then to make sure my students are given the opportunity to be proficient in all standards of the curriculum,” she said. “I have seen my students grow in how they process and are able to respond on a higher level in their learning.” Ramsey advocates for technology in the classroom, holding professional development training twice a month to introduce and support her colleagues integrating technology into their classrooms. “Each year I have made a goal to learn more and become familiar with what the district is wanting the schools to have technology-wise in the schools,” said Ramsay. “I hope it is benefiting the teachers who may be hesitant to try new things in the technology world by being there for them whenever they have questions or need assistance in introducing technology in their classrooms.” Students also benefit. “I love seeing the excitement in my students when they get to learn new things on their computers such as how to code, create presentations, research and work on their instructional level,” she said. Ramsay said she appreciates the recognition from JEF. “Teachers work so hard each and every day to do what is best for our students without expecting any recognition so getting this award is touching and means so much,” she said. Fort Herriman Middle School Emma Cisneros, Utah and US History “I love my job, I love what I do, I love the people that I work with,” said Emma Cisneros. One of her history students said, “She
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makes learning so fun even though some people don’t like history a lot, she makes it so fun for everyone.” One of her nominators said of Cisneros, “Compassion should be her middle name. I can see why so many students tell me that she is their favorite teacher or that she is the only reason why they come to school.” Shannon Cisneros, who flew in from California to be at the surprise presentation, said her daughter cares about helping her students grow in the classroom and as individuals. “She takes a personal interest and wants them to shine and become the best they can be in all aspects of their lives—and I love that about her,” she said. Cisneros was recognized in part for her impact on the culture at FHMS. She heads the school-wide Choose Kind program, providing ways for kids to connect with and be kind to each other. Foothills Elementary Melissa Lowry, first grade teacher Dot Gaddis, whose son with autism is in Lowry’s class, said she is a teacher who thinks creatively to meet the needs of all her students. “She changed the entire behavior/reward chart based on him and it ended up working for everybody,” said Gaddis. “It’s made it very easy to integrate him into a classroom setting with typical children.” A colleague noted that Lowry collaborates well with parents and colleagues and applies successful instructional and behavioral strategies in the classroom. “Mrs. Lowry always finds a way to reach all students,” said one of her nominators. “She is one of those teachers that when you cross her path you know you have encountered something special.” Herriman Elementary Bego Rodriguez, sixth Grade Spanish DLI Bego Rodriquez loves teaching. “Just the faces of the kids when you walk in everyday and you tell them something new,” said Rodriguez. “They’re wowed and it’s just amazing. It tells you that you’re doing something good and you just continue and learn new things.” Her students volunteered what they like about their teacher: her experiments, science projects, patience, activities, and attitude. Her nominators praised her teaching skills and her efforts to mentor her colleagues. “Bego has mad skills in teaching,” said a colleague. “Her classroom is a well-oiled machine. Herriman teachers have learned copious amounts from Bego’s leadership and wisdom. Her powerful presence is constantly sought after by teachers of all grades. She has earned this respect, because she is continually giving of her time on their behalf. Her impact is monumental beyond description.”
Riverton Rose Creek Elementary Michelle Poteki, third grade teacher Students know they are safe with Michelle Poteki. “Mrs. Poteki talks to me and cares about what I have to say. She is very nice and really fun,” said a student. One nominator stated that Poteki respects her students: “Mrs. Poteki never talks down to her students and always addresses problems privately, so the students feel safe with her. [She] understands that school is a place where children should learn and grow. She exemplifies the practice ‘Know thy impact’ in her classroom. She has a deep understanding of what she is teaching and why she is teaching it. She knows what success looks like, and because of the way she communicates this, her students know what it looks like as well.” Kauri Sue Hamilton School Natalie Smith, teaches 3-5 grades Natalie Smith teaches 11 students in third, fourth and fifth grade who have significant multiple disabilities. With the help of three assistants, her classroom is well organized, said her nominator. “Her relationships are built on knowing her students well, establishing trust, and showing respect for the students and their families. Natalie’s demeanor, honesty and knowledge of each student allows for open dialogue with all staff and family that are involved with her students. I have seen her work miracles with difficult behaviors,” said a nominator. Southland Elementary Mary Garcia, Special Ed K-6 A colleague stated, “Mary is very friendly and kind. When asked about Mary Garcia, I immediately think about the fact that every school needs a Mary. She is the glue that holds us together. Mary can be counted on to be available at all times and is willing to do whatever is needed in any given situation. I have never had a time when Mary was unable or unwilling to help me or my students.” A parent of one of Garcia’s students expressed appreciation for her support. “As we traveled into unknown territory with our sweet little guy, Mary was always professional and a very knowledgeable resource. She was always there to answer questions, give us advice and honest opinions, careful to never push our decisions one way or the other. As parents, we appreciated her support. She always had our backs, going to bat for us and doing everything she could to help us fight for what was best for our son.” South Hills Middle School Eric Noyes, Music teacher Eric Noyes co-advises the Student Body Officers at South Hills Middle. Under his di-
rection, the student body raised over $15,000 for their December charity fundraiser. His nomination explains, “Mr. Noyes is a champion for all of our students, not just the ones in his classes. It is difficult to quantify the impact Mr. Noyes has had in the lives of those around him.” Riverton Elementary School Candice Pedersen, sixth grade Parents said Candice Pedersen makes their kids want to come to because she engages students in learning, frequently replacing outdated strategies with current research-based approaches. One colleague said Pedersen sets up every student for success. “Candice is extremely student-centered and strives for all students to have a positive and successful experience while at Riverton Elementary,” they wrote on her nomination application. One parent said, “She puts her whole heart and soul into teaching. She has such a passion for making sure her kids not only learn, but enjoy learning. Her kids know that they come first and that she wants them to succeed.” Pedersen’s relationship with her students strengthens their academic learning as well as their emotional development, said parents of students in her class. “This is a teacher I trust with my child’s heart,” said a parent.
The following teachers were recognized by JEF as 2018-19Teachers of the Year: •
Michelle Thorn, Butterfield Canyon Elementary
Ericka Gowans, Rosamond Elementary
Loreal Gaitan, Midas Creek Elementary
Ashley Moon, Bastian Elementary
Kelleen Leslie, Blackridge Elementary
Pamela Hansen, Bluffdale Elementary
Nicole Patty, Oquirrh Hills Middle
Julie Frix, Copper Mountain Middle
Alyssa Topham, Herriman HS
Brynn Perkins, Riverton HS
Krista Camp, JATC South
South Valley City Journal
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South Valley City Journal
Poetry Out Loud, Herriman High wins loud and clear By Jet Burnham | firstname.lastname@example.org
Harold’s Chicken Shack #86” by Nate Marshall is poem is about how names are often abbreviated, resulting in a loss of identity. Jaruwat P. Maendl, a senior at Herriman High School, can relate. He usually goes by J.P. “There is a bit of turmoil there,” he said. “There is stuff that is J.P., and I feel like there is stuff that is Jaruwat, and going by one or the other, I still lose something either way.” Maendl finds poetry he can relate to for performance outlets such as poetry slams and Poetry Out Loud. “I feel at home on a stage, sharing my story using someone else’s words and my own words—It just feels natural, which is something that I’ve been looking for, and I’m glad I found it,” he said. Maendl took first place in a recent poetry slam scholarship talent show and also placed in local Poetry Out Loud (POL) competitions. He won HHS’s POL competition as well as first in the region competition to advance to state. To compete in Poetry Out Loud, high school students chose two to three poems from POL’s anthology of nearly 600 classic and contemporary poems, memorized them and then performed them for judges who rated them on performance and accuracy. Maendl said he always looks for poems that are lighthearted and that he can relate to.
As a wrestler, Maendl follows a strict diet, giving up sweets and other foods to maintain weight. He chose to recite the poem “On Quitting” by Edgar Albert Guest, which tells of the grit and self-discipline necessary for quitting something. “People do talk like they can quit something, but it is actually insanely hard when you try and you have to be able to stick to it,” he said. “I felt like a had a little bit of authority to speak on the topic, but I also just appreciate it because that’s what it felt like when I was doing wrestling.” While he felt connected to Guest’s and Marshall’s poems, Maendl struggled to relate to a pre-20th century poet, which is a required poem in the POL competition. “I think that’s the point—to get you to look at something you wouldn’t otherwise have looked at,” he said. “It’s to get you to read and discover something you would have otherwise just looked over and written off.” Sally Wilde, HHS creative writing teacher, said while poetry is part of the curriculum in language arts classes and AP English, students don’t learn it for the love of poetry—they are too busy analyzing it. The goal of Poetry Out Loud is to spark students’ interest in poetry through exploring the works of great poets. It was created in response to a wealthy woman who left her money to The Poetry Foundation with in-
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Jaruwat P. Maendl, president of the Poetry Slam club and on staff of the literary magazine at HHS, prefers performing poetry out loud and on stage. (Sally Wilde/HHS)
structions to use it to get kids excited about poetry. Thirty-two high schools participated in Poetry Out Loud school and regional competitions around the state. Lucy Quinn of North Sanpete High School took first place at the state competition and will represent Utah at the national championship April 30–May 1 in Washington, D.C. Each school who had a student qualify for state Poetry Out Loud earned a visit from Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal. Rekdal teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Utah and has published nine
books. Her poems are part of the POL anthology and she is a judge for the competition. Part of her role as Poet Laureate is to help people have a more positive view of poetry. “Most people hate poems, and they get scared of poems—they think of it as a kind of upper-division math course or something and it’s not,” she said. “We go to poems for weddings, for funerals, for births for deaths—for some of the biggest moments in our lives. But we should also be able to go to poetry for the smallest moments of our lives because there’s a poem for pretty much every kind of emotion you could have, every kind of desire you can have.” In Rekdal’s workshop with two creative writing classes at HHS, she introduced them to erasure poems. They learned to borrow language from historical documents, playing with the words and phrases to say something they didn’t expect they could say. She said the same technique can be used with any text, even from words on a cereal box. “You can surprise yourself realizing there’s really interesting language out there that you never thought about using yourself,” she said. “Sometimes coming up with your own language is tough, but sometimes you do have something to say about what’s happening right now.”
New Eagle Scouts Seth & Davis Martin
Congratulations to Seth and Davis Martin, of Herriman Troop 1015, on obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout. They were honored and presented their award at a Court of Honor ceremony held November 18. Seth attends Herriman High School. His Eagle Project benefited the Red Cross, and many other people who will receive the blood donations that were a result of the blood drive Seth led and organized. Davis attends Fort Herriman Middle School. His Eagle Project benefited The Road Home organization, specifically homeless teens, by coordinating his troop to collect donations of blankets, coats, clothes, and other items.
Send to City Journals at 9500 South 500 West Suite 205 | Sandy, Utah | 84070 For security reasons, if you would rather contact City Journals directly, call (385)557-1010 or email email@example.com
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South Valley City Journal
pring is upon us, summer is on the way; and with warmer temperatures and (hopefully) blue skies on the horizon, drivers can’t blame slick roads or blinding flurries for their faulty driving anymore. Driving safely requires good driving habits. Habits. Not occasionally safe maneuvers. The following are some prudent practices to implement in your daily travels.
Safe Driving Habits
drove over a nail and didn’t realize it. We often don’t look at the tires on the passenger side since we don’t approach the car from that direction, checking regularly allows you to examine those opposite side wheels. It will keep your car’s handling in its best condition. Each vehicle can have different appropriate PSI (measurement for tire pressure), but when temperatures drop, so Blinkers and blind spots Driving 101. If you plan on changing does the pressure in your tires. lanes, let others in on your secret. Everyone Keep car maintained will appreciate it. Others want to know what Since you’ll be regularly checking the you are planning. tires, might as well keep regularly schedLikewise, if you see a blinker come uled maintenance on your car. This can range on indicating your lane is that car’s desired from oil changes to transmission flushes. destination, let it in. This isn’t the Daytona Simply checking windshield washer fluid or 500. We are not racing for $19 million. It is the antifreeze level in your car’s reservoir can common courtesy, if we want people to use prevent serious issues happening on the road. their blinkers, then we should reward them Wash your car especially after storms for doing so. or if you’ve parked under a pine tree where Remember the blinker doesn’t automat- birds can drop their white business on the ically assume safe passage to the next lane. hood or sap could drip onto the roof. Left And while your car’s sensors in the rearview untreated, these outdoor stains can ruin the mirrors are helpful, they are not omniscient. paint on your vehicle. Check your blind spot with your own eyes. Drive defensively There’s a reason it’s called a “blind” spot. This means keeping distance between
troubling and you probably shouldn’t be behind a steering wheel. Also you can’t always see what’s in front of the car before you. They may have to slam on their brakes due to an unexpected obstruction. If you rear end them, insurance rarely works out in your favor. This can also mean slowing down on wet roads or not weaving in and out of traffic. Distractions This is the No. 1 reason for accidents. This is not limited to using the cell phone, though texting, checking news alerts or making a phone call are all terrible decisions to make while driving.
It also extends to dozing off or checking the price at the gas station you just passed. Be alert, stay vigilant. Other drivers may suddenly stop, they may not see you as you yield or turn. By staying engaged and sharp, your reactions can be sharper and you may even anticipate what other drivers are looking to do. One way to stay engaged is to vary your daily commute. Changing your routine alerts your brain, breaking you from the monotonous snooze you may find yourself after traveling certain routes hundreds of times. These habits are important and it is not overdramatic to say that they could save a life.
Tire pressure you and the car in front of you. This one is almost as simple as the first. Touching their bumper does nothing for Check your tire pressure on a regular basis you. And if you need to get that close to read to know if there is a small leak. Maybe you their license plate or sticker, your eyesight is
Desert Star’s latest parody takes on the animated phenomenon that has everyone saying, “Just let it go already!” This zany parody opens March 28th and it’s a hilarious musical melodrama for the whole family you don’t want to miss!
“Freezin’: Let It Go Already!”
Plays March 28th - June 8th, 2019 Check website for show times: www.DesertStarPlayhouse.com Tickets: Adults: $26.95, Children: $15.95 (Children 11 and under) 4861 S. State Street, Murray, UT 84107 Call 801.266.2600 for reservations For additional information, visit our website at www.DesertStarPlayhouse.com
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This show, written by Bryan Dayley and directed by Scott Holman, follows the story of sisters Stella and Hannah, the orphaned rulers of Icydale, as they attempt to come to terms with Stella’s icy powers. When the kingdom holds a royal coronation to make Stella queen, who should show up but Stella’s lying, villainous ex-boyfriend, Chaunce. Recently kicked out of his parent’s basement and eager to cash in on some royal wealth, Chaunce tricks naive Hannah into believing he’s the love of her life, and the two make plans to wed. Quick to put their plans on ice, Stella kidnaps Chaunce and drags him off to a remote ice castle. Hannah enlists the help of snow cone salesman Gristoph, his trusty sidekick, Moose, and freshly sentient snowman, Olive. Together, can they save her sister from slipping off the deep end? Comedy, romance, and adventure are all on the docket for this delightful send up of the animated blockbuster, as well as topical humor torn from today’s headlines. “Freezin’” runs March 28th through June 8th, 2019. The evening also includes one of Desert Star’s side-splitting musical olios, following the show. The “Saved by the 90’s Olio” features hit songs and musical steps from 1990’s mixed with more of Desert Star’s signature comedy. Food is available from an á la carte menu and is served right at your table. There is also a full service bar. The menu includes gourmet pizza, fresh wraps, appetizers, and scrumptious desserts.
May 2019 | Page 27
Utah kart teams seek new track to race on By Greg James | firstname.lastname@example.org
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he Utah Kart Championship has had a home at Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele since the track opened in 2006. This season they are currently homeless. “At the end of last season, I started asking for contracts (to use the track and UMC),” UKC President Scott Clark said. “Because of the sale the track in December, it was delayed. The new ownership then lost several top-level staff positions. Then UMC announced they are not going to host any UKC events this year.” After several negotiation attempts by Clark and other UKC officials, the track’s offer nearly tripled what the racers had been paying, pushing entry fees near $300 per day for each racer. The karting championship chose to look for other locations to compete this season, two weeks before its season was set to begin. “Grass roots karting cannot support that,” Clark said. “By the time you add tires, a pit spot and fuel, it becomes a $500 to $600 weekend. All that to take your 10-year-old kid racing. They basically blew grassroots racing off their map. That is what is unfortunate because karting is what develops kids into racers on the big track.” The karting championship has more than 60 current participants ranging in age from 5 to 70 . Its membership has dropped in the last few years because of the uncertainty of the track ownership. “The numbers have fallen off the last few years, just like sports bikes has because we did not know what was going to happen at the track (UMC was being sold by Tooele County),” Clark said. “For three years, people have not wanted to invest in new equipment because they were not sure there was going to be a track anymore.” With no home at UMC, the karting community has been looking for places to race. “We have found potential locations,” Clark said. “I can’t disclose them because we are in the midst of negotiating contracts with them all.” Large parking lots could be used to design the course configurations the championship needs. Before using UMC the championship ran at Maverik Center in West Valley City, the old Rocky Mountain Raceway facility and Golden Spike Arena in Ogden.
“We will probably race at more than one venue,” Clark said. “I hope to have nine or 10 races in this season. We need to make sure the pavement is smooth enough. Our racers have been very supportive. We have sponsors come forth and offer help.” There has been active kart racing in Utah for approximately 70 years. This is the first time the championship has been trackless. UKC raced in Lehi and had its own track in Tooele called Blackrock Raceway. “The UMC track is truly the Taj Mahal of kart racing,” Clark said. “It is a beautiful facility. We have been very, very happy. It seems that many of the plans of hotels and manufacturing is not happening (at the track).Amateur racers in the area could all be affected.” The owners of the track (Mytime, a Chinese-based company) expect to operate a profitable facility. “We are still welcoming the professional karting community,” UMC Chief Financial Officer Jon Clegg said. “We are exploring the idea of creating UMC karting leagues. We will continue to utilize the kart track for concession rentals (public rentals) and corporate events. Our issue with the UKC was they required what we consider prime times for concession rentals. Our income potential is 80 percent less when they are on the track. We attempted to negotiate new rates, and they chose to take their business elsewhere.” Wasatch Front racers hope to find a place to race closer to home. “We are looking for a new permanent home, probably on the east side of the Oquirrh Mountains,” Clark said. “We have been exploring multiple opportunities.” UKC runs eight different classifications in its racing championship. Open-wheel karting has often been the stepping stone for racers to pursue racing careers. Michael Self and Madison Snow, professional car racers, began their racing careers in karts here in Utah. “You never know who that kid is going to be,” Clark said. “Michael (Self) has been fortunate enough to get a ride. There are kids that come out as pros, but most of us are just doing this for the fun of it. That is where 99.9 percent of us land. We do it for the love of the sport.”
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Thoughtful gifts for thoughtful students
pring is the time for new beginnings… after graduations. When attending those events, you’ll overhear stories about someone’s parents buying them a new car for graduation, or someone’s rich relative flying them and their three closest friends to an island for a few weeks. Depending on how many people you know who are graduating, and how high the expectations have been set for you, buying gifts for grads can be expensive. Instead of spending more money, try one of these do-it-yourself (DIY) gift ideas. One of the most common DIY graduation gifts are graduation leis, similar to those Polynesian garlands of flowers, but without the flowers. You’ll need a lot of plastic wrap for this one. Gather the things you wish to include in your lei. This may include snacksized candy bars, gift cards, rolled-up dollar bills, mints, etc. Be very careful as you lay out a long piece of plastic wrap. (Alternatively, you may choose to use smaller pieces of plastic wrap and tie all the pieces together at the end.) Place all your goodies out, side by side, leaving about 2 inches between each item, down one edge of the plastic wrap. Roll that plastic wrap over to trap the goodies in their new packaging. After you have wrapped all the items thoroughly, tie each of the spaces between goodies together. Alternatively, if you’re talented with origami, you can fold dollar bills and tie them together to create a
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with confetti and the aforementioned goodies. Lastly, you could stick a cap on the top of a money cake: a cake made out of rolled-up dollar bills placed in a circular shape. When you’re attending graduations, with your DIY gift proudly in hand, also remember to bring your fully-charged camera or smartphone for pictures afterward and lots of tissues for the proud moment when your graduate takes the stage. l
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beautiful flower-resembling lei. If you, or your graduating human, really likes being cheesy (like me, I usually go socheesy I approach Gouda territory), you can make small graduation caps to put on almost anything you may think of. You’ll need a circular base, something resembling a lid of a jar or a bottlecap, some parchment paper, a button, and some string. Wrap the parchment paper around the circular base and glue or tape it down. Then, glue or tape a squareshaped piece of parchment paper on top of the circular base to create the top of the cap. Glue or tape (hot glue might work best for this part) a button to the middle of the top of the square-shaped parchment paper. Lastly, wrap the string, (which needs to be tied to create a circle, with cut segments of the string draped through the middle, and tied together to create a tassel) over the button. As mentioned, almost anything can be capped. You might buy a small jar from your local Michael’s or Handy Dandy (my nickname for Hobby Lobby) and make the lid of the jar a graduation cap. Then you can fill the jar with candy, gift cards, anything your heart desires. You can do the same thing with a lightbulb and use a cheesy saying about how bright the graduate’s future is. You could put little graduation caps on a handful of different candies. You might even attach a cap to the lid of a drink tumbler and fill the tumbler
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It’s a jungle out there
itting in the petri dish of a playground at a nearby fast food chain, I watch my grandkids jump around like just-released-into-the-wild baboons. Like every other adult in the room, I hoped this stop would be a fun diversion, a place the kids could play while I read War and Peace. Kids on playgrounds are fascinating the same way the Spanish Inquisition was fascinating: lots of violence, torture, crazy zealots and tattletales. Sitting with the book I won’t be able to read, and eating cold French fries, I’m the Jane Goodall of the toddler kingdom, as I study their animal-like behavior. There’s a hierarchy to the madness, with the older kids sitting at the top of the pyramid. They push toddlers out of the way and block slides until little kids cry. The next level down are kids between the ages of 4 and 8. Not quite ready to be the bullies on the playground, they tail after the leaders hoping to be included in any dastardly plan. Toddlers make up the lowest level of the playground food chain. These cute little kids are a pain in the asset as they try to establish a presence without being trampled by oblivious 10-year-old boys. I’ve witnessed several toddler smack-downs, including my granddaughter who started a fistfight with a little boy over a pretend steering wheel. The fast food playground smells like a mildewed diaper pail. It also has a fine layer of mucous coating every possible sur-
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face. Everything is sticky. Bacteria gleefully thrives. There’s a logjam of kids at the bottom of the slide, backing up traffic and causing overall mayhem. Older siblings shepherd brothers and sisters through the throng of screaming and thrashing little bodies, in search of fun and excitement, while being screamed at by their mothers. I watch kids scramble through the maze of colorful gerbil tubes, listening for the sound of my granddaughter’s screech as she fights her way to the slide, where she refuses to go down, triggering an uproar in the playground ecosystem. Her brother finally convinces her the slide is fun and they both tumble to the bottom. They run back up and do it again. I hear snippets of conversations. “That boy is taking off his clothes.” “She put ketchup in my ear.” “Look! I can fly!” But when the Lord of the Flies Preschool bus pulls up in front of the building, that’s my signal to skedaddle. Easier said than done. As soon as I announce it’s time to leave, my granddaughter scurries up the tunnel, refusing to come down and throwing poo at anyone who approaches. I send her brother up to get her and hear his bloodcurdling scream as she kicks him in the head, and climbs higher into the hamster maze. He finally drags her down, both of them crying, before she steals someone’s shoes, and runs
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toward the rest room. Security tackles her and wrangles her back to the playground. She’s covered with either BBQ sauce or blood and tries to scuttle away as soon as I put her down. Chaos has erupted. We duck tranquilizer darts as we run serpentine to the exit. I finally wrestle them into the car, wearing the wrong jackets and without socks. I spray them down with Lysol and have them take a big swig of hand sanitizer. I just survived a primate attack. Jane Goodall would be so proud. l
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