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September 2019 | Vol. 29 Iss. 09

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iverton High School theater students are marveling at their opportunity to help develop a Disney Marvel production. “Disney theatricals reached out to us in the spring, asking us if we would be interested in piloting what they called a secret project at the time,” said Clin Eaton, theater teacher at RHS. Disney Theatricals has been developing a series of one-act plays featuring teenaged characters from the Marvel Universe facing some of the everyday challenges of today’s youth. Riverton was chosen to debut “Squirrel Girl Goes to College,” a play about the challenges a superhero faces as she tries to fit in at college. “Squirrel Girl—she’s kind of lesser known, but she’s really fun and really positive,” said junior Alyssa Buckner, who plays the lead role. “The comedy is very, very fun,” Eaton said. “It’s very light-hearted and it’s going to be a lot of fun for the audience.” Rehearsals began before the beginning of the school year and had to be fit around preparations for the fall musical and annual Shakespearean Festival Competition. But Riverton theater students were eager as beavers—or rather squirrels—for the chance to be involved in piloting the play. “I have read probably over 200 comics,” said Marvel fan Anson Bagley. “It’s super-fun playing Modoc because I’ve already seen him in the animations and I’ve read the comics about him so I kind of understood the character going into the auditions.”

Fans of Marvel comics will recognize some characters in the show, but there are also many new characters that will be seen for the first time. “It’s fun to get to play around with this character that no one has really done before,” said senior Annabelle Durham. “You can really make it yours and really figure out what you are capable of without looking at other people’s examples.” Initially, Eaton was concerned with what directing a Marvel play would require. “My biggest fear was that we’d need to copy what’s done in the movies, which are billion-dollar properties with unlimited CGI,” said Eaton. But he found the play is written to be easily performed in a school auditorium or cafeteria. “There aren’t super big sets or big costumes or anything like that,” said Buckner. “It’s just us working together to create this piece of theatre.” “It definitely feels a lot more collaborative than a lot of plays,” said Bagley. “For most plays you have a huge cast and so you just really need to hammer through and get everyone standing in the right place. But this one—a lot of the squirrel chorus is making their own choices and seeing what works with the scene.” Eaton and the cast will be providing feedback to Disney about their experience with the play before it is finalized and released for licensing. “They’re going to be great properties for schools looking to have a big cast for a play,”

The small cast has fun during rehearsals, which began in early August. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

said Eaton. “You could choose a couple of these plays and put them on and be really successful because they have the Marvel name attached.” Riverton High School and Hillcrest High School are the only Utah schools that were selected to participate in the piloting process for the series of plays which have been created specifically for middle school and high school theater students. “Squirrel Girl Goes to College” and another Marvel one-act play will be performed at Riverton High School on Sept. 13 and 16 at 7 p.m. All tickets are $6.

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Flexible Friday schedule improves attendance By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


his Friday, Real Salt Lake Academy High School students will attend their classes from their hotel room, a couch or the bus. The public charter school, located in Herriman, is the first Utah school to implement a Flex Friday schedule in response to the high numbers of student-athletes missing class on Fridays. “With our soccer emphasis, many of these kids miss class when travelling for games,” said history teacher and soccer coach Pace Ford. “The flexibility of completing their classwork online helps avoid many of the pitfalls that occur when missing seat time in class.” On Flex Fridays, students access their lessons through Canvas, a learning management software system, which can be accessed on their computers from anywhere. Principal Grant Stock believes attendance will improve with the new schedule. Parents have been asked to schedule their child’s doctor and dental appointments on Fridays to minimize disruptions to instruction time. Academic counselors will use Flex Fridays to meet with students instead of pulling them out of class during the week. “I’ll be coordinating college tours on Fridays so the kids won’t miss any instruction time and still get out on college campuses,” said Lee Basquin, school counselor. Ultimately, the goal of the adapted schedule is to facilitate students to excel in school despite competing demands on their time. “I felt like we just got more bang for our buck [with Flex Fridays],” Stock said. “We aren’t just addressing attendance issues or addressing scholarship issues, we are addressing disruption issues.” The flex schedule also prepares students to transition into adult life. “Once they graduate, they’ll no longer


have eight hours of structured activity dictating their everyday life,” said Ford. “They’ll need to be able to build that structure themselves, and with our Flex Fridays, they’ll get a good introduction to this as they decide when and where they accomplish their classwork.” Business teacher Justin Perfili believes flexibility is a real-world skill students need to learn. “It’s an opportunity to provide students with some adult-level responsibility while balancing their life goals as well,” he said. “It will create in our students an additional sense of realization that flexibility in life is a needed essential element to thrive in today’s global economy.” Teachers also benefit from the flex schedule. Due to the school’s technology emphasis, teachers already use digital curriculum. Flex Fridays free up time for lesson prep, grading, curriculum development, and communication with students and parents. “Usually, these are done during the week mixed in with teaching, coaching and other administrative duties,” Ford said. “To have a day separate from everything else allows for better reflection and focus on future lessons and grading.” Stock said he doesn’t know of any other schools using a Flex Friday schedule. Because RSLAHS is a smaller, specialized school, they are often the first to try new ideas—such as an 8:30 a.m. start time—to meet students’ needs. “We won’t let the kids fall through the cracks on the system,” Stock said. “If by the end of the semester this is a disaster, next semester we won’t be doing it.” He said the system can be tweaked quickly and easily at a small school. The board originally considered a fourday school week as a solution, but Dale Rob-

Students access Friday classes from anywhere they have an internet connection. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

inson, school board member who recently earned a master’s degree in instructional technology and learning sciences, suggested a personalized learning adaptation to the schedule to meet the needs of student-athletes. “We have a lot of kids that fall out of the traditional school model today,” Robinson said. “So we’re starting off talking about 21st century, personalized learning. How do you develop school systems that can catch every kid if every kid is so different?” Stock emphasizes that Fridays are not a day off. The school is open during regular hours on Friday, buses run as normal and stu-




The South Valley 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. The views and opinions expressed in display advertisements do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Loyal Perch Media or the City Journals. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the owner. © 2019 Loyal Perch Media, Inc.

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dents can come to school to complete their work if they choose. If a student is behind, teachers can require them to come in on a Friday. With the Canvas system already in place, it will be used for days that would normally be cancelled as snow days. Stock said students will be notified to complete the day’s work from the safety of their homes instead of commuting in treacherous conditions or losing a day of instruction. Because there will be no Fridays off for holidays or end-of-term breaks, school will also be dismissed for the summer by May 20—18 days earlier than last year.

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Bluffdale photographers awarded prizes for photography By Stephanie Yrungaray | s.yrungaray@mycityjournals.com


hat started as a search for historical photos turned into a contest awarding Bluffdale residents for their excellent local pictures. When Kristan Jansen, assistant manager for The Bluffs Apartment, was looking for historical artwork for the newly remodeled leasing office she contacted Bluffdale city offices. I told her I could get some,” said Natalie Hall, emergency program manager for Bluffdale. “Then we started discussing the idea of getting photos from local areas around Bluffdale and came up with the idea of doing a photo contest.” Bluffdale city officials contributed to the contest by spreading word on their social media, and by the May 24 deadline there were more than 150 entries. “Each picture was so different,” said Jansen. “We had photographs of flowers, wildlife landscapes and families. There were so many, and they definitely exceeded our expectation.” Jansen, Hall and another employee of The Bluffs decided four winners from the entries. Each winner received a cash award. Konrad Clements, who is 15 years old, has been interested in photography for years but got more serious about it when he re-

ceived a camera last year as a gift. His mom, Ericka, heard about the photography contest and convinced him to enter a picture he had taken of a long-horn steer that lives down the street from them in Bluffdale. “We used to drive past them all the time, and I always wanted photograph them,” said Clements. Clements said he couldn’t believe it when he found out his photo was chosen as one of the four winners. “I didn’t think it was going to win,” said Clements, “It was pretty exciting to find out they chose it. Now that I know that some of my photos are pretty good and I have a chance, I think it would be fun to enter more contests.” The winning photographs are printed and hung in the The Bluffs Apartment leasing office. Jansen said they hope to add more local photography in the future. “We absolutely plan to make [the contest] a yearly thing,” Jansen said.

A long-horn bull stares down the camera in this award winning photo from Bluffdale (Photo courtesy of Konrad Clements)

Page 6 | September 2019

Konrad Clements’ award winning long-horn photo is on display with other photography contest winners at The Bluffs Apartment Leasing Office. (Photo courtesy of The Bluffs Apartment Complex)

The Bluffs Apartment Leasing office now displays winning photographs from their recent photography contest. (Photo courtesy of The Bluffs Apartment Complex)

South Valley City Journal

South Valley Rotary Club receives prestigous award By Stephanie Yrungaray | s.yrungaray@mycityjournals.com

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2018-2019 South Valley Rotary Club President Brinton Webb (left) recieves the Club of the Year award from District 5420 Governor Scott Leckman (Photo courtesy of Brinton Webb).


hen Brinton Webb was named South Valley Rotary Club President for 2018–19, his BHAG (“big, hairy, audacious goal”) was for their club to be named Rotary Club of the Year. On June 29, club members accomplished that goal and now proudly display their banner at each meeting. “It’s the first year our club has ever received [the award],” said Webb. “We are all absolutely pleased, and there was also that sigh of relief.” The South Valley Rotary Club, which includes Rotarians from Bluffdale, Draper, Herriman and Riverton, was established in 2002. It was chosen for the honor from among 44 different clubs in District 5420, which encompasses all of Utah. “The Rotary International President puts together a collection of goals called the Rotary Citation,” said immediate past district governor of Utah Rotary, Scott Leckman. “If you complete those goals, you achieve the rotary citation and can be considered for the rotary club of the year award.” The citation includes goals that “unite people, take action, connect leaders, connect families, connect professionally and connect community.” The South Valley Rotary club’s 28 members worked hard throughout the year to check off the citation criteria and completed humanitarian projects, fundraisers and cleanups. It involved two Interact Clubs (high

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school Rotary clubs) in community service, sent students to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, provided four Rotary Service Above Self Scholarships to seniors from Riverton and Herriman High Schools, and distributed 3,100 dictionaries to local third graders. Not only did they achieve the rotary citation, but they did so with highest platinum honors for completing three extra goals. “The South Valley Rotary Club was outstanding,” said Leckman. “They were really quite amazing in all of the projects that they did and supported.” The club, which meets every Thursday evening at Jim’s Family Restaurant in Riverton, is always looking for more civic-minded members. “It is a growing club, and they are all people who want to make the South Valley better,” said Leckman. Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs said the South Valley Rotary Club adds tremendous value to the community. “We appreciate their focus on helping youth develop leadership skills and understand the importance of humanitarian service,” he said. And although Webb is no longer president, he is working with his fellow Rotarians to achieve their goals and win the banner for another year. “We will do our darndest to get [club of the year] two years in a row,” he said.

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www.holytrinityut.org September 2019 | Page 7

Herriman’s newest barber apprentice in training is proving ‘a cut above the rest’ By Jennifer Gardiner | j.gardiner@mycityjournals.com


ost 12 year olds are busy riding bikes, playing video games or hanging out with friends but Fort Herriman Middle Schooler Jayden Francom spends his free time following a dream: to be a licensed barber, just like his dad. If you walk into The Hive in Herriman, you may just meet Jayden while he is working on his apprenticeship to becoming the youngest licensed barber in the state of Utah. The dream for Jayden really started in 2014 when his dad, Ray, was preparing to open a barbering and cosmetology school called American Beauty Academy. “I had created a curriculum to teach barbers and wanted to do a run-through, so I decided why not begin with Jayden, who was 7, and his older sister Amaiya, who was 10,” Ray Francom said. “Jayden picked up on what I was teaching him pretty well, so after doing over 20 haircuts on a mannequin, I began helping him cut some of his friends’ hair.” Ray Francom said his son did pretty well, and it got him wondering just how old you have to be in order to become a licensed barber. “I called the Department of Licensing to see, and they told me there was no age limit as long as they are capable of passing the state testing,” he said. “I knew the state written test would be difficult for a 7 year old. So, we just kept working on his practical skills, and over the years, he kept practicing by cutting some of his friends’ hair as they needed it.” Ray Francom said the process of teaching Jayden wasn’t much different than teaching an adult. “I would say if anything the fact he is young, he catches onto things fairly quickly,” he said. “But he has the same challenges of learning how to properly perform the techniques. It has taken him a little longer to understand the fashion or style side of the haircut and to be able to recognize the proper look to what someone is going for.” Jayden said it is all about being able to bring out the best look in someone that makes the whole thing satisfying and encourages him to do more and be a part of his community. “Many people will always think us kids are all about video games and YouTube and things like that,” he said. “But when people see a 12 year old in the barbershop working, they are surprised at how well I work. People always ask me why I decided to start barbering, and I tell them all about how many people in my family started barbering, and it makes me feel included in a family tradition.” Jayden is the fourth generation of his family to master the skill of barbering and has received a lot of support throughout his journey. However, Jayden said not everyone

Page 8 | September 2019

is down for a 12 year old cutting their hair. “There are some people that aren’t comfortable with me cutting their hair,” he said. “When my dad was trying to get my apprenticeship paperwork going the lady over the phone was very hesitant and even asked. ‘Is he even able to hold the clippers?’ Many people would rather wait to get a haircut by some of the other barbers in the shop, but a lot of the kids that are younger stop me in the lunchroom and ask me when they could get a haircut. Sure enough, they always show up.” Jayden said he is grateful for all the people that give him a chance to practice his skills and get apprenticeship hours. Jayden recently finished school at Foothills Elementary and has headed off to the seventh grade. His favorite things to do is play basketball and football, and he loves art and drawing. Jayden and his friends love Marvel and talk about it all the time, saying he could “go on and on about it.” Jayden’s mom is from the small “but famous island” of Jamaica. Jayden said he also loves visiting the island and showing his culture. “I grew out my hair into dreads, which are now just my trademark in my school and differs me from everyone else,” said Jayden. “I am glad to be able to be a barber, and I am grateful to be in such a supportive community.” l

Jayden working at The Hive in Herriman. (Photo courtesy Ray Francom)

Jayden working at The Hive in Herriman. (Photo courtesy Ray Francom)

A young Jayden working on mannequins to learn to cut hair. (Photo courtesy Ray Francom)

South Valley City Journal

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Accidents are inevitable. Or are they?

We’ve all met someone who says (more like “claims”) they have never experienced a car accident before. While we might doubt the veracity of such a statement, there are countless ways to avoid those nauseatingly time consuming situations — the ones where you wait for law enforcement on the side of the road (or middle of the intersection), deal with insurance companies and figure out finances for fixing the fender. There are countless ways to avoid an accident, here are the top four. 1| Attitude. You probably weren’t expecting this one first. As a driver, you control over 3,000 pounds (or more) of metal that can cause incalculable damage. Driving with maturity and the right mindset makes a world of difference. Speeding to beat another car to the exit or to get back at the person who cut you off a minute ago may give you a moment of satisfaction, but is it worth the risk and ramifications? If all drivers commit to having a responsible attitude, imagine how much less we’d find ourselves in bumper to bumper traffic waiting to pass the accident. 2| Speed. From 2012-2016, 40 percent of motor vehicle traffic crash deaths in Utah

were because of speeding, according to Utah Department of Public Safety’s crash data. Slowing down isn’t going to kill you, but flying past others just might. 3| Distraction. Stay focused. Keep your guard up. Though you may be a phenomenal driver, others aren’t. Be aware of your surroundings by paying attention to what’s in front of you and checking your mirrors. Knowing where everyone else is helps avoid collisions. If you’re distracted by your phone, music, or billboards with cows writing on them, it limits your response time to what another driver may being doing in front of you. 4| Defense. This was one of the first concepts taught in driver education and one of the first we forget: drive defensively. Failing to yield caused 12% of deaths from 2012-2016 in the same data mentioned before. That comes to 154 people who died because they didn’t let someone else go first. This also applies when driving in poor weather conditions. Heavy rainfall and snowstorms blot windshields and make roads slick, adverse circumstances to traveling safely. Basics become even more vital like keeping your distance from the vehicle in front of you.

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New South Valley Chamber combines three cities for more opportunities By Stephanie DeGraw | s.degraw@mycityjournals.com


he new South Valley Chamber is open for business. Formerly the Sandy Area Chamber, the South Valley Chamber will use the new name to reflect its regional presence and collaboration with Draper and Riverton. For the past several years the Sandy Chamber operated more as a regional hub with 40% of their membership located outside city limits. By teaming up with Sandy, Draper and Riverton, it will create more economic development opportunities to benefit the region according to Amy Nelson, director of communications for the new chamber. “The South Valley Chamber is actively working to create additional partnerships with surrounding cities,” she said. The changing business landscape is another reason the chamber of commerce is expanding. “We need to adapt. We believe that a vital role of a chamber of commerce is to provide resources to help companies grow, increase revenues, create jobs and get more customers,” said Greg Summerhays, president and CEO of the South Valley Chamber. The South Valley Chamber will be ofGreg Summerhays, president and CEO of the new fering The Business Institute to all members. South Valley Chamber, explains its new role in the Businesses across Salt Lake County and beyond can take advantage of the services and valley. (Photo by Jeremy Housekeeper)


the programs. The Institute launched in 2018. The Business Institute has several academies including a mini-MBA program, sales academy, digital marketing academy and a finance academy. The signature program — the KeyBank Business Accelerator Academy — takes business owners through a 13-session course. It builds a customized, three-year growth plan by taking a hard look at the company’s finances, marketing, sales and management style. “We utilize an award-winning curriculum that has proven tangible growth outcomes for small businesses,” Summerhays said. Sandy City Mayor Kurt Bradburn supports the new name and regional focus. “As the south end of the valley continues to grow, we need an institution that can help drive economic development for the region by strengthening our small- to medium-sized business community. We have valued our partnership with the chamber,” Bradburn said. Draper Mayor Troy Walker is also thrilled with the new partnership. “This will give more businesses in our city the opportunity to benefit from the programs already offered at the South Valley Chamber. We have a great relationship with our surrounding cities

and believe this partnership with the South Valley Chamber will help accelerate regional economic development,” Walker said. Riverton Mayor Trent Stagges said the arrangement with the new South Valley Chamber would help businesses continue to prosper. “This move aligns directly with Riverton City’s goal of promoting a thriving business climate that supports the needs of our residents. The regional economy in the south end of Salt Lake County will benefit from the support of a strong regional chamber of commerce,” Stagges said. The executive board of the former Sandy Chamber discussed how to align resources better and create a more significant impact on the business community. “We believe that a regional chamber that focuses on fostering small business growth, increasing networking opportunities and advocating for the unique needs of the region will accomplish these objectives,” said Nathan Anderson, the chamber executive committee chairman. The Chamber offices have relocated to the Mountain America Expo Center in the Cairns District in Sandy, 9575 S. State St. The new website is southvalleychamber.com

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Renee Darata has 15 years of experience as an insurance agent


risten V, a woman living in the Salt Lake area, was rear-ended while driving, the second time in just six months. In these stressful circumstances, and unsure of the damage to her vehicle or possibly her body, Kristen first called the police – then her insurance agent Renee Darata. “Renee was very concerned about me personally,” says Kristen. Renee immediately made herself available for Kristen, and continued to exchange texts with her throughout

Page 12 | September 2019

the stressful ordeal. To Kristen – and Renee’s other clients in the Salt Lake area – contacting Renee is a no-brainer in emergencies or unexpected circumstances. “I’ve stayed with Renee for several years now because we’ve built a relationship,” says Kristen, “I’m not just another customer or another number.” Renee, whose manner is gentle and sincere, prioritizes her relationships with her clients. “I actually know my clients; I make myself available to them, she says. Her client, Rick, states, “Renee has been very, very helpful and provides me excellent service. When I was purchasing my new home and exchanging cars, she facilitated communication between mortgages, banks, car dealers.” According to Missy, another long-time client, Renee is dedicated and proactive. When Missy’s teenage son was involved in a car accident, Renee quickly called her to explain policy details and to offer personal reassurance. Not content just to tick boxes and perform her duties, Renee demonstrates dedication to each client, looking after them personally. “She just helps with things that I

didn’t really even think were part of her job description,” says Missy. On another occasion, part of Missy’s home was damaged on a Sunday afternoon. She called Renee, who – despite the weekend hours – was available to help. Renee arranged for disaster cleanup professionals to come that same evening. With fifteen years of experience building personal and business insurance policies, Renee is well-equipped to insure assets that often fall into gaps under policies purchased online or from larger corporations. For example, Renee can help real estate agents and real estate investors by insuring homes in the process of being flipped. She can arrange coverage for those running shortterm rentals (such as Airbnb homes). Renee is also a gifted communicator. She is not satisfied with simply handling the complex details, but also educates clients, helping them understand issues for themselves: “I just want people to be prepared.” Her client, Shelley P, says she is the only insurance agent who has actually helped her understand the issues facing her family. Renee’s personal and dedicated ap-

“Renee has been very, very helpful and provides me excellent service. When I was purchasing my new home and exchanging cars, she facilitated communication between mortgages, banks, car dealers.” proach has shaped her career and reputation for over 15 years, and she isn’t going anywhere. To talk with Renee about your insurance needs or receive a quote for coverage, contact her directly at (801)748-0500, or visit agents. farmers.com/ut/south-jordan/renee-darata to receive a quote from Renee, Her office is located at 1206 W S Jordan Pkwy, Ste C, South Jordan, UT 84095

South Valley City Journal

Riverton police officers come with experience, accolades


he shiny new Riverton Police Department declared itself officially up and running with a public swearing-in ceremony at Riverton High School on June 25. Though most of the officers had been sworn in and patrolling for several weeks prior to the ceremony, they did it a second time before a beaming audience. The ceremony gave city officials a chance to brag about the police department they’ve worked for about a year to make reality, and it gave residents a chance to meet the new officers that will be patrolling their community. “Elected officials and city employees alike spent countless hours into the study and the evaluation of standing up its own police department,” said Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs. “Public debate, financial analysis, community input, all were taken into account.” Things are still panning out to be a little more expensive than anticipated, though. The new police department will cost Riverton $5.8 million this year, about half a million dollars more than the original speculated cost. In July 2018, city officials speculated that the department could be set up for $5.2 million—and about a quarter of a million dollars more than it would have cost to remain with the Unified Police Department for 2019. But with 35 police officers and three civilian support staff, the RPD does have nine more dedicated officers than the 26 officers UPD had allotted to the precinct, and Riverton officials are confident in the quality of their new officers. “This force is an enviable group, boasting on average decades of experience for commanding positions and with half the officers having more than 10 years of experience,” Staggs said. “Their specific experiences and specialty assignments allow us to more than adequately provide for our protection from day one. They bring the best practices from multiple agencies and areas of specialization that will provide our residents with a level of service that is unparalleled.” One thing that had naysayers most worried about the new police department was whether it would be able to offer the same breadth of services as the Unified Police Department. Since it’s a big department that covers much of the Salt Lake Valley, UPD offers things such as K-9 units, narcotics divisions, SWAT teams and child abduction response teams—things that are nice to have when you need them but hard to justify paying for full time in a small city with a relatively low crime rate. Riverton Police Chief Don Hutson, however, is confident that Riverton’s new law enforcement team members have varied enough backgrounds to handle anything that can be thrown at them. Of the 35 new

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By Mariden Williams | mariden.w@mycityjournals.com

City Recorder Virginia Loader lead all the new recruits in a ceremonial oath of office; all of the officers had actually been sworn in and performing their duties for a couple weeks before the ceremony took place. (Mariden Williams/City Journals)

officers, some have served as K-9 handlers, homicide detectives, special victims unit detectives, narcotics specialists, gang officers, field training officers, SWAT team snipers and even undercover officers. Many have won awards and medals. Officer Jason Cormani arrested an Amber Alert suspect, resulting in the safe return of a kidnapped child. Officer Tanner Grow came to the RPD soon after finishing a 2 ½-year stint as an undercover officer focused on disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations. Sgt. Trudy Cropper has served on the FBI Violent Crimes and Safe Streets task forces. Officer Troy Morgan is rated as one of the top 10 shooters on the Governor’s Honorary Shooting List. And those are just a few of the deeds and qualifications held by these officers. “There is not a specialty law enforcement job that I can think of—and I’ve been around for 31 years, so I’ve seen a lot of specialty law enforcement jobs—that is not presented amongst this group,” said Hutson, who has himself been a drug enforcement task force officer, narcotics unit detective, gang unit detective, S.W.A.T. Team member and patrol deputy prior to his selection as Riverton Police Chief.. “They’ve done it all. They’ve seen it all.” “I know how good they are,” Staggs said. “I know how competent they are. I know their level of professionalism is extremely high.”


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South Valley City Journal

Photo gallery: Nebo Road rocks out in Riverton Concert Series All photos by Jenny Jones

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September 2019 | Page 15

Checking in on Herriman Towne Center development as City Hall turns 2 years old By Justin Adams | justin.a@thecityjournals.com


ept. 22 will mark two years since the ribbon-cutting of Herriman City Hall, an iconic building designed to be the anchor the vision of a thriving community gathering place known as the Herriman Towne Center. Since that time, land surrounding the area has lain undisturbed, waiting for development of some kind. “We put a pause on it the last nine months to make sure that it will be conducive to what we’re trying to accomplish, so it has that look that enhances what we already have with city hall,” said Herriman City Manager Brett Wood. Wood said the city is being patient in its search to find the right businesses to come in to one of the 16 planned retail lots on the east and west sides of city hall. “It will be local businesses most likely—things that are tailored to the specifics of the community,” said Tami Moody, the city’s communications director. Whether that’s a unique coffee shop, sandwich shop or other boutique or eatery, city officials believe it will give Herriman residents another option besides the many national chains and fast food establishments that dominate Herriman. Wood said city leaders have been trying

to attract more sit-down restaurants into the city, but that the city’s demographics have caused concern for developers. Herriman has a lot of large, active families, he said. For them it’s not as affordable to take their large families to something like a Market Street Grill, and it’s much easier to grab some food at a fast-food restaurant when you’re rushing between piano lessons and soccer practices. For those reasons, Wood said, sit-down restaurants in Herriman would likely have to be patient as they struggle early on. Moody also noted that it’s not up to city leaders what kinds of restaurants get built. “It’s ultimately up to the landowner,” she said. “They decide who they sell the land to and what gets built there.” Whatever ends up being built in the Towne Center area will join a number of other city amenities and attractions that make up what Moody calls the “heart and hub of the city.” J. Lynn Crane Park, which sits in front of City Hall, features a splash pad in the summer, an ice skating ribbon in the winter, a playground and even a small stage for community events and performances. “There are some events where you

can’t even find a parking space here,” said Moody. Other public amenities in the area include the library and the rec center, located just north of City Hall. Additionally, there are plans to build a public safety building to the east of City Hall, and possibly either a justice court or a performing arts building to the west. The vision for the area is that residents living nearby can find most, if not all, of their daily needs just a short walk away. It’s what Wood describes as a live-work-play community. “If I was to close my eyes and imagine this place 20 years from now, you’d see some nice eateries where someone could go to have their morning coffee,” he said. “Same thing in the evening: They can go and have dinner while watching the activity in the park. I see a really unique bicycle shop. People can drop their kids off for ice skating and go get a cup of coffee. I see activity going on here all the time.” That idea of getting residents outside in walkable environments and at community events is a key part of the city’s overall goal of establishing a unique Herriman culture. “It’s been a very key component of our

vision,” Wood said. “We want to create a culture. We encourage people to co-mingle and cohabitate an area, to have conversations and know who people are, to work alongside each other. That allows our culture to grow.”

Sept. 22 will mark two years since the ribbon-cutting of Herriman City Hall. (Justin Adams/City Journals)


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South Valley City Journal




It was exciting to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 2 of Mountain View Village in August. It was just last year that we broke ground on Phase 1, which has already added great value to our community with excellent shopping and dining locations. Phase 2 of Mountain View Village will bring with it a luxury 14-screen Cinemark theater. It will also bring in many specialty retail and dining locations. A survey conducted last year among Riverton residents indicated that restaurant and entertainment options are the number one and number two commercial businesses residents desire. This phase will really make Mountain View Village a gathering place for our community, with excellent landscaping and places for outdoor leisure. It will also provide some office space, and hundreds of new jobs. Beyond fulfilling the desires of our community for more dining, entertainment and specialty retail options, this

phase will help the financial wellbeing of our city government. City governments receive a portion of the sales tax for all sales made in their cities. As the economy grows and as we attract high-quality developments such as Mountain View Village, Riverton City’s sales tax revenues go up.

What does this mean for the average resident of city? This means that Riverton can continue to keep fees and taxes low. We have it good in our city. We have a 0% city property tax rate. Our average annual utility fees are lower than our neighbors in Bluffdale, Draper, Herriman and South Jordan. It also means there will be more money that can be spent on essential government functions, such as street, sidewalk, and park maintenance. Riverton continues to have a strong economic trajectory, due to our improving business climate. Our sales tax revenues are up by 34% since 2015. Developments like Mountain View Village are essential to keep that trend going strong, so that as the cost for services invariably rises (inflation), the city can minimize or eliminate the financial burden that is passed on to residents for those services. As a city, we are committed to both a thriving business climate and maintain-

Councilmembers Tawnee McCay, Tricia Tingey, Sheldon Stewart and Mayor Trent Staggs particiapted in the Mountain View Village Phase 2 Groundbreaking.

ing safe and healthy neighborhoods that provide a strong sense of community. Both are two of the city’s top strategic priorities and as we continue to achieve both, our quality of life will continue to improve. At the end of the day, we all want a

community that allows us to live, work and play right here in Riverton.

What’s Up in Riverton Fair Coming September 14 Riverton City Newsletter - September / October 2019

Page 1


UPDATE ON CITY INITIATIVES By Councilman Sheldon Stewart

MAYOR Trent Staggs tstaggs@rivertoncity.com (801) 208-3129

CITY COUNCIL Sheldon Stewart - District 1 sstewart@rivertoncity.com (801) 953-5672 Tricia Tingey - District 2 ttingey@rivertoncity.com (801) 809-1227 Tawnee McCay - District 3 tmccay@rivertoncity.com (801) 634-7692 Tish Buroker - District 4 tburoker@rivertoncity.com (801) 673-6103 Brent Johnson - District 5 bjohnson@rivertoncity.com (385) 434-9253

CITY MANAGER Konrad Hildebrandt khildebrandt@rivertoncity.com (801) 208-3125

CITY OFFICES City Hall...............................(801) 254-0704 Cemetery.............................(801) 208-3128 Animal Control....................(801) 208-3108 Building...............................(801) 208-3127 Code Enforcement..............(801) 208-3104 Fire Dispatch (UFA).............(801) 743-7200 Justice Court.......................(801) 208-3131 Parks & Recreation.............(801) 208-3101 Planning & Zoning..............(801) 208-3138 Police..................................(385) 281-2455 Public Works.......................(801) 208-3162 Recorder..............................(801) 208-3126 Utility Billing........................(801) 208-3133 Water...................................(801) 208-3164

FIND US ONLINE! @rivertoncityutah @rivertoncity @rivertoncityutah rivertoncity.com

The last time I had the opportunity to write a council message was October of 2018. I want to update on the progress made in the three areas I focused on at that time: Promote safe and healthy neighborhoods that foster a strong sense of community, with balanced opportunities to live, work and play: On July 1, Chief Don Hutson and one of the finest assembled police departments began operations as Riverton Police Department. During the first 14 days of operation, 92-recorded events occurred tied to traffic and non-traffic moving violations and are just an example of the emphasis placed on safety by this department. This doesn’t account for warnings that were verbal which were almost double the reported number. Our cities officers have been engaged in proactive policing where they are out working with residents and businesses to prevent the crimes before they happen. Residents have complimented officers for taking the time to stop and talk with residents

during their regular patrols and really getting to know the residents.

Facilitate a thriving business climate: Last month, CenterCal celebrated the ground breaking of Phase 2 of Mountain View Village. Over the course of the next year and a half we will begin to see the creation of beautiful structures with entertainment, dining, and shopping that has not before been available in our part of the valley. We are excited for this development and the expansion of this site. The project will generate jobs in our community and will be a place that will attract people from throughout the valley to Riverton. Build a connected community with properly maintained utilities and infrastructure: During July the city council received a copy of a broadband plan that shows it is feasible to build a broadband network throughout the city. The next stage is for the city to identify the steps and strategy to implementation, leading up to a vote of the City Council on whether to move forward with the project. I view this project as extremely important due to the development of technology and residents’ dependency on data/internet. Also, because these essential services have become the

new water or roads for government, as noted in a recent article I read on govloop.com. I liken this analogy to recent events that impacted my area of the city where the secondary water was turned off just before July 24 and on July 3 when 13400 S at Bangerter was blocked. Residents called me as their representative and I was able to take action with the help of city and state staff. This versus a recent conversation when a carrier let a resident know that their data connection was severed and wanted me to help. I was unable to assist in any way, yet this person’s livelihood depended on this. The environment where connectivity is tied to both our physical (i.e., medical devices) needs and financial (i.e., employment) needs really highlights the fact that data connections are indeed the “new” water and roads that cities should address. Just as we ensure that water comes out of the tap and roads are there for you to get to and from the hospital or work; the digital age is now placing these same demands on cities to ensure the digital flow continues and there is a path for you to arrive safely at work. Please continue to reach out to me or any of my colleagues on the City Council with feedback or comments.

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Saturday, September 14 9 a.m. to Noon Come see what products and services are available right here in Riverton! There will be lots of booths and lots of free swag.

Riverton City Newsletter - September / October 2019

If you own or manage a Riverton City-based business or organization and would like to participate in What’s Up In Riverton, please fill out and return the application at the link below. Requirements include not selling anything at the event and providing some type of swag, coupon or giveaway. Over 2,000 people attended last year! Applications are due by September 4. Questions may be directed to Bradley Dance at bdance@rivertoncity.com.


Page 2

CITY ANNOUNCEMENTS Live in Real Life Event Coming September 30

Secondary Water Shut Off Reminder

The community is invited to Live in Real Life: Finding Real Happiness on Monday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Riverton High School. Steven Thomas, a powerful motivational speaker and champion athlete, will speak on anxiety, depression, and combatting negative screen time effects.

The anticipated shut off date for Riverton City’s secondary water system is October 15. The date is dependent on if canal companies end up shutting off canals sooner than that date. Sprinkler systems should be winterized to protect them from cold temperatures by the end of November.

Fall Classic Pickleball Tournament

Splash Pad Shut Off Reminder

The annual Fall Classic Pickleball Tournament will be held on September 20-21. The tournament will feature a pool bracket tournament. Cost is $25 per team.

Splashpads at Old Farm Park, Riverton City Park, and Western Springs Park will be shut off on Tuesday, September 3 for the fall and winter seasons.

Registration ends Thursday, September 19.

The splashpads will re-open in late May 2020 for the summer season.

Fall Classic Pickleball Tournament

Submit Quilts to Annual Riverton Quilt Show

Riverton City seeks nominations for the Outstanding Citizen Award. The award is presented to residents who have made significant contributions to or had a significant positive impact on the community. Nominations can be submitted at rivertoncity.com/awards.

Riverton City is seeking quilt submissions to our Quilt Show at the Old Dome Meeting Hall. Applications must be submitted by Sept. 25. The art show will run from October 7 to Nov. 13. Details are available online or by calling Bradley Dance at 385-237-3421 or emailing bdance@rivertoncity.com.

Follow Riverton City on Twitter at @RivertonCity Get to the River Festival Beatles Tribute Choir Concert Monday, September 16 6 p.m. | FREE Dr. O. Roi Hardy Park 12400 River Vista Drive Riverton, Utah 84065 DOWNLOAD THE NEW

BE IN THE KNOW! Subscribe to Riverton City’s e-newsletter and important email updates at:


✔ Report a Problem ✔ Community Info ✔ Contact Directory

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rivertoncity.com/subscribe Riverton City Newsletter - September / October 2019

Page 3

Halloween Bash & Scare Rodeo October 28 & 29 | 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Troll Stroll - 6:30-8 p.m. Kids Carnival - 6:30-8:15 p.m. Scare Rodeo - 6:30-8:15 p.m. ($2 Admission) Search for the Great Pumpkin - 8:15 p.m.

Riverton City Park | 1452 W 12600 S | Riverton, Utah 84065

Upcoming Riverton City Events September


September 2 - Labor Day - City Offices Closed September 3 - Splash Pad Shut Off September 3 - City Council Meeting - 7 p.m.- Riverton City Hall September 5 - Evening Tennis Lessons Begin - 5-8 p.m. - Riverton City Park September 6 - What’s Up in Riverton Booth Applications Due September 9 - Fall Flag Football Begins September 11 - Patriot Day September 12 - SW Valley Domestic Violence Coalition - 2 p.m. - Community Center September 12 - Planning Commission Meeting - 6:30 p.m. September 14 - What’s Up in Riverton - 9 a.m.-12 p.m. September 14 - Utah VW Car Classic Show - 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. - Riverton City Park September 16 - Get To the River Festival Beatles Tribute Concert - 6 p.m. - Roi Hardy Park September 17 - City Council Meeting - 7 p.m.- Riverton City Hall September 19 - Suicide Prevention QPR Training - 7 p.m. - Fire Station #124 September 19 - Fall Classic Pickleball Tourney Registration Ends September 20 - Fall Classic Pickleball Tournament September 21 - Fall Classic Pickleball Tournament September 25 - All State High School Art Show Ends - Old Dome Meeting Hall September 25 - Quilt Show Submissions Due September 26 - Planning Commission Meeting - 6:30 p.m. September 30 - Live in Real Life: Finding Real Happiness - 6:30 p.m. - Riverton High School

October 1 - Facility Reservations Accepted Until March 31, 2020 October 1 - City Council Meeting - 7 p.m.- Riverton City Hall October 7 - Quilt Show Begins October 10 - SW Valley Domestic Violence Coalition - 2 p.m. - Community Center October 10 - Planning Commission Meeting - 6:30 p.m. October 11 - Frozen Jr. Musical - 7 p.m. - Community Center October 12 - Frozen Jr. Musical - 7 p.m. - Community Center October 14 - Columbus Day October 14 - Frozen Jr. Musical - 7 p.m. - Community Center October 15 - City Council Meeting - 7 p.m.- Riverton City Hall October 17 - Suicide Prevention QPR Training - 7 p.m. - Fire Station #124 October 18 - Frozen Jr. Musical - 7 p.m. - Community Center October 19 - Frozen Jr. Musical - 7 p.m. - Community Center October 21 - Frozen Jr. Musical - 7 p.m. - Community Center October 23 - Classical Arts Guild Opera & Hor D’oeuvres - Time TBA - Old Dome October 24 - Planning Commission Meeting - 6:30 p.m. October 28 - Halloween Bash & Scare Rodeo - 6:30 p.m. - Riverton City Park October 29 - Halloween Bash & Scare Rodeo - 6:30 p.m. - Riverton City Park October 31 - Halloween

Find full event and registration details at rivertoncity.com/calendar! Riverton City Newsletter - September / October 2019

Page 4

Seating options keep students on the edge of their seats By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


one are the days of students learning quietly at their desks. Teachers are incorporating alternative or flexible seating options that get students out of their seats. “I don’t think there is any real-world job that requires you to sit in a desk and a chair for eight hours a day,” said Bluffdale Elementary teacher Cari Bergstrom. “Even an office job, you’d be able to stand up and walk around, so I don’t think a desk and chair is a life skill they need to learn.” Alternative seating options depend on a teacher’s personality and on their budgets. Common options are floor pillows, couches, wobble stools, yoga balls, bungee chairs and low rockers. Often, a bouncy band is attached around the legs of a traditional desk for students to bounce their feet on to work off excess energy. Bergstrom has been providing alternative seating options for her students for three years. She said when kids can move around more, their ability to focus improves. “Their attention increases, and they’re more engaged,” she said. She has seen a rise in test scores in every subject and said the classroom feels more comfortable. “It frees up a bunch of space because you don’t have to have 26 desks,” Bergstrom said. “I have floor options that they use clipboards with so you get more space and more kids can fit.”

“Students are learning differently. Students need different opportunities” – Amanda Dohmen

Amanda Dohmen, a fifth grade teacher, said alternative seating works well with her teaching techniques. She likes to use collaborative learning and group projects, but she found she was spending a lot of time reminding her students where they needed to be. “I felt like I was on my kids all the time, and that’s not my teaching style,” she said. She began incorporating flexible seating in her classroom at Athlos Academy during the

middle of her first year of teaching to allow students more autonomy. Instead of telling them exactly what they needed to do, she empowered students to take charge of their own learning and discover what seating option worked best for the task they had been given. “By giving them that freedom and that choice—it just changes the entire dynamic of my teaching, and it changes the dynamic of their learning,” she said. “I’ve seen their test scores rise, and I’ve seen behavior diminish.” Dohmen aims to create a homey and positive atmosphere in her room, with diffused scents and comfortable corners to help students feel comfortable and calm. “This isn’t just a classroom to them,” Dohmen said. “It’s also home—they spend eight hours a day in here.” When Dohmen took a new teaching position this year at Summit Academy Independence Campus in Bluffdale, she took her pillows and couch with her but was also stuck with traditional desks in her new classroom. With support from her new administration, she lowered some desks to the floor to be used with cushions and raised some to create standing desks. April Stevenson faces an even bigger challenge of transferring the successful flexible seating she has used for years with her fourth graders at Bennion Elementary in Tay- A variety of seating options are used to meet the variety of students’ needs. (Cari Bergstrom/Bluffdale Elelorsville to her new classroom at Eisenhower mentary) Junior High. She believes it will take a few months to challenge old-fashioned teaching methods and classroom organization to be able to adapt the alternative seating philosophy for older students. But she believes it is a needed change for today’s students. “There’s a lot of teachers that are still doing the exact same thing they did 20 years ago or even five years ago, and our population is different than five years ago,” she said. “Students are learning differently. Students need different opportunities.” Dohmen said variety is key with students these days, whether it is in teaching methods or classroom seating. “If you do the same thing every day, you just get bored and the kids get bored,” she said. “That’s when kids start messing around; that’s when they’re not learning anymore.” Stevenson believes alternative seating options are just one small part of the necessary changes needed to keep up with the needs of modern students. “If we want something different in education, we have got to do something different,” she said. “Education is taking little steps, but we’re getting little differences. I think if we really want education to take some leaps and bounds, we really have to think leaps and bounds in change.” l Teachers have discovered students focus better when they are free to work in comfortable spaces. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

S outh ValleyJournal .com

September 2019 | Page 21

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Herriman Boy Scout proposes rebuilding city’s disc-golf course in new location By Justin Adams | justin.a@thecityjournals.com

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Enoch Hopkinson presents his plan for a new city disc-golf course to the Herriman City Council. (Justin Adams/City Journals)


popular city amenity that closed in 2018 may see a return to a different location thanks to the hard work of a local Boy Scout. Last year, the Herriman City Council voted to close a popular disc-golf course that ran along the Rosecrest Park trail after it received complaints of people trespassing into neighboring backyards to retrieve ill-thrown discs. “I have my playground for my children, and I’ve come home many times to see our back gate left open,” said Councilman Clint Smith at the time. “I want to be able to send, like any neighbor, their kids into their backyard to play there without worrying about somebody intruding into their space, a stranger.” Enoch Hopkinson was one of the regular users of that course. “I was sad when they took it down,” said Hopkinson. While playing a disc-golf course in Highland, he learned that the course was designed and built as an Eagle Scout project. That gave him an idea to bring disc-golf back to Herriman as his own Eagle project. Hopkinson reached out to city leaders and started working with the Parks Department to come up with a solution. “I thought it was really incredible that we had this fine resident coming to us with a solution instead of asking us what we were going to do about it,” said city Parks Department Director Wendy Thomas. Hopkinson’s parents were surprised at how quickly the city responded to their son. “I think the city has been amazing,” his mother, Tiffany, said. “They’ve been so supportive of him. They responded to his emails

right away. They connected him to the right people right away. They really treated his idea as legitimate.” On Aug. 14, Hopkinson visited the Herriman City Council to present the plan that he had developed, with the help from a few city departments. The plan proposes installing the discgolf baskets (which the city still retains from the previous course) along the Diamondback Trail, located behind Blackridge Reservoir. “The benefits of this location is that there’s no private property issues, which was the problem with the previous course,” Hopkinson told the council. City Council members raised a few concerns, such as conflict with existing users of the trail and the mountainous topography of the area. Hopkinson pointed out that the course is designed in such a way that users would never throw their disc across the trail. As for the topography concerns, Hopkinson said that having some slope and altitude changes is no problem for disc-golf; in fact, it would attract avid players who enjoy more challenging courses. The consensus from the city council was general support for the idea, but they stressed the need to study the project’s feasibility and impacts before they proceed. Whether or not the new disc-golf course actually gets built, the process to make it this far has been a valuable one for Hopkinson. “It’s exciting to see him get involved,” said his dad, Aaron. “I’m proud of him that he’s willing to get up in front of that many people to share his thoughts and ideas. It’s a good experience for someone his age.”

South Valley City Journal


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September 11th & 12th, 2019 4:30-7:00pm Audition time will be assigned upon registration Dancers must be age 8 or older.

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September 2019 | Page 23

Checking in with Stone Ridge Veterinary, Riverton’s impromptu animal shelter By Mariden Williams | mariden.w@mycityjournals.com


t’s now been a little over two years since Riverton officials voted to split away from Salt Lake County Animal Services in the face of dramatically mounting cost increases in July 2017. Now it appears the saga of developing in-house animal control has settled into a comfortable happily-ever-after. Between new city employees trained in animal control and a partnership with a local veterinary clinic, things seem to be going very well. “It’s been really good. I mean, we just renewed the contract for another year, so both parties must be happy with it,” said Marnie Ann Cannon, owner of Stone Ridge Veterinary, which provides shelter space for animals impounded by the city. “We’ve been able to keep the shelter no-kill, meaning that the only pets euthanized are for medical reasons that aren’t treatable, or they’ve been euthanized for severe aggression. Everybody else has either managed to be adopted or sent to a rescue or has been reunited with their owners. We’re happy about that.” The animal control equation had two main factors: first, catching the animals, and second, housing them until they can be claimed. The Riverton City Council’s solution to animal apprehension was straightforward: hire two additional city code enforcement officers — who ordinarily handle such problems as inappropriately placed signs,

weeds, and other general community complaints — furnished them with a truck, and cross-trained them in animal control. Housing the impounded animals is where Stone Ridge comes in. Riverton does not have a dedicated animal shelter of its own, and rather than build an all-new shelter or ask another city for shelter space, Riverton officials decided to instead increase Stone Ridge’s animal boarding capacity and contract with them instead. “I think it’s been beneficial to everybody,” Cannon said. “I think the city has saved a bunch of money. I think the pets have benefited because they’re in a no kill environment. And they’re getting really good care.” On average, animal control brings Stone Ridge 15-20 animals each month, generally in batches of around three animals each. Pets with owners are normally claimed within a day or so. Those who need to be adopted out take a little longer. Stone Ridge has a fiveday wait period for owners to retrieve their animal friends before they are put up for adoption, and on average, rescue pets leave the shelter after about twelve days. Either because they get adopted, or sent to a rescue where they can stay safely indefinitely. There’s a fair amount of variation between species too; dogs get adopted a lot more quickly than cats, for example. But

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Stone Ridge Veterinary is a family-owned Riverton business, and does extensive work with animal rescues and rehab programs to keep their shelter no-kill. (Dylan Crider)

it’s not just cats and dogs. Over the last year and a half, animal control has brought Stone Ridge many other types of creatures. “We’ve had two iguanas, we just had a duck, we’ve had some pheasants, we’ve had some rare weird chickens, we had a ferret, and we’ve had quite a few rabbits. We had quite a few goats and some sheep, and then mainly dogs and cats. The two iguanas have to be the most exotic,” Cannon said. 

The first iguana came to Stone Ridge shortly after shelter duties began in 2018, and the second arrived just last month. Iguanas are often known for being grumpy and unfriendly, but both of these were apparently very well behaved and left the shelter quickly. The first returned to the arms of its relieved original keeper after receiving a microchip, and the second found a new home as a reptile rescue owner’s personal pet. l

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South Valley City Journal

Riverton, Herriman team up on new road to serve new schools By Justin Adam On Aug. 16, residents from Herriman and Riverton gathered to celebrate the opening of a brand new road connecting 13400 South and two brand new schools — Mountain Ridge High School and Ridge View Elementary.

A view of the road from Mountain Ridge High School. Half the road resides on Herriman city property and half on Riverton city property. The Herriman half will be known as Sentinel Ridge Boulevard and the Riverton half will be known as Eagles Landing Road, in reference to the city’s Mountain View Village project, located just north of the new road. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

The festivities were capped off with a community bike ride down the length of the new road. Children and their parents were led by a cohort of police officers on motorcycles. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

Mountain Ridge High’s cheerleading team and Madrigals choir performed as part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new school will be home to students from both Riverton and Herriman. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs speaks about how the new road will make it easier and safer for students to access the two new schools. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

S outh ValleyJournal .com

Attendees of the ribbon-cutting ceremony were treated with cookies bearing the logos of Herriman City, Riverton City and Jordan School District. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

The festivities were capped off with a community bike ride down the length of the new road. Children and their parents were led by a cohort of police officers on motorcycles. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

September 2019 | Page 25

Oquirrh Mountain Ballet presents

The Nutcracker



September 20th

held at Wasatch Arts Center

11968 S. Redwood Rd, Riverton, UT Friday, September 20th Audition Fee: $10 Boys & Girls Ages 6 -12 @ 4:30 to 6:00 pm Boys & Girls Age13 + & Adults @ 6:30 to 8:00 pm Callbacks: September 21st Performance Dates: December 11 to 14 Oquirrh Mountain Ballet is a non-profit Ballet Company providing performing opportunities for aspiring dancers and performers.


We’re looking for dancers and performers age 6 to Adult

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Co-workers challenge each other to fitness trifecta


By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

o-workers at a local auto collision repair facility challenged each other to lose weight and eat healthier. Before they realized what they had done, a pull-up bar was installed in the corner, a climbing rope hung from the rafters, and there were daily push-up challenges at lunch. “It is about challenging and encouraging each other to be healthy,” Herriman resident Travis Roberts said. He was with his kids at the library and came across the widely popular book “Spartan Up” by Joe De Sena and Jeff O’Connell. Roberts decided to attempt to run a Spartan Race and convinced Dom Mirabelli and Chic Evans, his co-workers, to also try. “I got the book on audio, and for me it was a game changer,” Roberts said. “I told these guys that they needed to listen to this book. We started to seek out extreme athletes, then we committed to doing the trifecta.” It wasn’t just one Spartan; they wanted to complete the trifecta, finishing a Sprint, Super and Beast in one calendar year. Completing all three meant training and traveling to other Spartan events in other states. To complete the goal and all three race distances in the same year, they made trips to Boise, Idaho, on June 29; Snowbasin on July 20; and Aspen, Colorado, on Aug. 3. “We trained together three times a week,” Mirabelli, a West Valley resident, said. “We did 13-mile trail runs after work and practiced burpees (a four-step squat thrust) every day.” A Spartan is a mountainous trail race broken up with physical obstacles. A Sprint is typically 3 miles and includes 20 obstacles. a Super is at least 8 miles with 25 or more obstacles. A Beast is 13 miles with more than 30 obstacles. The obstacles are different at each event. They are designed to test participant’s mental and physical fortitude. They can include an atlas ball carry, tire flip, monkey bars and wall climbs. Each event has different types of challenges and may place them on a hill or flat ground depending on the event coordinator. “Some obstacles were tough for me but easier for others,” Murray resident Evans said. “If you can’t do the obstacles then you have to do 30 burpees. Spartan races are all about camaraderie.” “We never would have gotten this far into it if we had not worked together,” Mirabelli said “It gives us something to talk about at work. We are constantly trying to find motivation with another book or race to sign up for. There are races outside the Spartan realm like triathlons or half-marathons or endurance races.” Roberts said training changed things in his life. “I cut out garbage candy—any pro-

S outh ValleyJournal .com

Three co-workers at a local body shop challenged each other to become healthier; it transformed them into Spartan athletes. (Photo courtesy of Travis Roberts)

cessed sugar,” he said. “Dom went vegan for a while then tried keto diet. We have learned how important diet is.” Taking care of their bodies became more of a priority as they trained. “The further we got into it, the healthier we became,” Mirabelli said. “We were motivated to drink water, and we have been pushing ourselves, all while learning what we need to do to become better.” The experience was not without its funny moments. During the Colorado race, they came across a bear about 30 feet off the trail. “Dom thought it was a wolf, but the bear was right there,” Evans said. “I yelled at Travis in front of us to come back. He had run right past it. We all laughed. It is not really a competition between us, but we have helped each other improve. We try to beat our time and improve.” They each thought about giving up. “This has been one of the hardest things physically and mentally I have ever done in my life,” Evans said. “A year of training, and at a point my legs were locked up, and I did not think I could finish. There is a nightand-day difference in me since we have done this.” Mirabelli has signed up for an Ironman; Roberts wants to complete a 100-mile endurance race, and Evans has signed up with his wife to try again next year. “Everyone has a weakness somewhere,” Roberts said. “I might excel here, and he might struggle here. I felt like I made people mad by trying to get my friends to do this. I felt like if everyone would try this it would change their lives. It gave me confidence and accomplishment. My neighbor tried it and had never done something like this.” l

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Olympia Hills Developer Doug Young’s political contributions called into question By Jennifer J. Johnson | j.johnson@mycityjournals.com

Developer Doug Young calls himself “a Republicrat” who supports candidates of both parties who share his values. One of Young’s corporate entities is the No. 1 donor to Democrat Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson’s failed United States Senate bid and the No. 15 donor to current Democratic U.S. Congressman Ben McAdams’s 2018 bid. “Douglas C. Young” is the third-largest donor for 2018 to Republican Salt Lake County Councilman Michael Jensen. Young says that, through family ties, he has provided cash and in-kind resources to Republicans Trent Staggs, the mayor of Riverton, and Jared Henderson, the mayor protempore/District 1 councilman for Herriman. (Image sourced from data provided by Federal Election Commission, Open Secrets, Salt Lake County Elections, and Open Secrets.)

It is my God-given right!” Doug Young is not referring to property owners’ rights to develop their land. The hot-button is developers’ — and, specifically, his — right to donate to political campaigns and to do so within legal limits.

information for the public to be aware of, but I would hope no one would start throwing out serious ‘quid pro quo’ accusations.” Wilson will not have a first-round vote on Young’s application. If Young’s development proposal advances through a slightly reconstituted counNo. 1 contributor on Wilson’s failed camty council, McAdams’s precedent-shattering paign spells concern in Southwest Quadveto ratchets up the eyes on Wilson for the rant ultimate call. “Hey, we live in America—not North The long arm of Doug C. Young’s dollars Korea.” Young also donated to Salt Lake County That’s Young’s message to those critiquing his being the No. 1 contributor to Councilman Michael Jensen, up for re-eleccurrent Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wil- tion in 2020. Young contributed $3,000 to Jensen — son’s failed 2018 United States Senate race against current Sen. Mitt Romney — and the less than three months before the summer notion that it may influence his success with 2018 first-round Olympia Hills proposal developing the high-density Olympia Hills vote. Young was the third-largest donor to Jensen’s 2018 campaign collections. The doplanned community. To perhaps emphasize what he sees as nation represents 10.8% of the councilman’s a divine right to contribute, in conversations overall contributions for that year. with the City Journals, Young altered his nor- Doug Young’s money in Riverton and Herrimal depiction of what he considers his “life’s man work” — the proposed high-density SouthYoung, through familial ties, said he has west Quadrant Olympia Hills community. facilitated campaign contributions to other Instead of just being a live-work-play players in the Olympia Hills saga, namely, community, the 931-acre community pro- two of the project’s loudest critics — Riverposed for the Valley’s Southwest Quadrant ton Mayor Trent Staggs and Herriman City community now has the vaunted “live-work- Councilman/Mayor Protempore Jared Henplay-worship” description. derson.

Utah for Responsible Growth lighting the fire, leadership quelling concerns about political contributions

The past few weeks, the Facebook page of the citizen group Utah for Responsible Growth has been afire about Young’s $27,000 contribution to Wilson. Young is the land developer who first filed for a zoning change for his proposed Southwest Quadrant development in 2018. Doused by a veto from then-Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Young re-applied for zoning changes in early July of this year. “Nothing that alarms me” is URG Spokesman Justin Swain’s comment about Young’s contributions to Wilson. “It is good

Page 28 | September 2019

Young said he paid for and instructed Banner Mania USA to fulfill campaign-marketing project materials for both candidates, which was confirmed by Steven Young, registered agent for Salt Lake-based Banner Mania Banners and Signs. The last name “Young” is not a coincidence: Steven Young confirmed to the City Journals that Doug Young is his brother. “Politicians always hit these guys up, and, fortunately, Doug has a brother in the signage industry,” said Steven Young. “They sent me their designs, and I printed them, and Doug paid the bill,” he said.

The candidates — now municipal servants

— speak their piece

In the instance of Staggs, the official campaign contributions report credits Banner Mania as donating $775 of “in-kind” or non-monetary contributions—about 3% of the total reported as having been spent for the campaign. While acknowledging the donation, Staggs shares a different take: “My records show that Banner Mania reached out to me and offered an in-kind donation.” Henderson also has a different take. While Banner Mania is credited with donating $500 in cash to his campaign, Henderson invoked the “categorical no” response to his having solicited a donation from Doug Young. “At no point, did I request a donation,” Henderson emphasized. “The notion that I was somehow reaching out to him for a donation is ridiculous.” Henderson is so concerned about even the appearance of influence, he said, that he did not even accept donations from family members or other organizations and associations, limiting donations only to friends and neighbors. Henderson’s campaign-finance records show his having spent $2,315.85 with Banner Mania. He “paid more than the average rate” because of Banner Mania’s “higher quality.” However, he said there was an error where his slogan was omitted from signage and stickers had to be manually added on more than 200 signs. When he said he re-approached Banner to order more signage, it was only then that Steve Young offered a $500 contribution— the second-largest of Henderson’s campaign—at the request of Doug Young, Henderson said, to compensate for the company’s errors. Up until that point, Henderson said he was unaware of any connection of Doug Young to Banner Mania. “At that point, I gratefully accepted,” Henderson said.

Doug Young’s influence reaching Washington?

Doug Young, who said he voted for Barak Obama, picked Wilson over Romney and endorsed McAdams over Mia Love, also supported two of the area’s most conservative municipal leaders. “I am a Republicrat,” he said, describing his pastiche of political patterns. Whereas Wilson failed with her attempt at federal political office, McAdams succeeded with his and did so with the support of Doug Young Land and Livestock. The $10,800 contribution was the 15th-largest donation to McAdams’ campaign, but is still somewhat miniscule to McAdams’ total 2018 campaign expenditure—just .03%. When asked why he contributed 2 1/2 times as much to Wilson as he did to McAdams, Doug Young shrugged and said, “She needed it.” Doug Young cites his contribution to McAdams, who vetoed Olympia Hills 1.0 in 2018, and to both Henderson and Staggs, who he said, “are now fighting against me” as evidence of his point of view on political contributions. And while Doug Young and Staggs disagree on not just the matter of who-approached-whom for the campaign-signage donation, and the larger matter of Olympia Hills, both seem to agree that honest, earnest public servants are not unduly swayed by political contributions. “This is a great example of my not being beholden to a donor/developer,” Staggs told the City Journals. “I have been—and continue to be—one of the strongest critics of a project that lacks critical infrastructure and could create such unnecessary, negative impacts to our community.” And then there’s Doug Young. “Can you buy a candidate?” he said. “No, I don’t believe you can. People think you can, but you really can’t.”

South Valley City Journal

Riverton’s Morgan among coaches using creative ways to expand teams


By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

The number of high school football players has decreased steadily recently; recruiting, multiple sporting opportunities and cost are contributing factors. (Photo courtesy of West Jordan football)


he problems facing high school football do not seem to be going away, according to new data released by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Neither is the downward trend in participation. “Where are my lineman?” Kearns High School’s line coach Shawn Teo asked. “We don’t have the same number of kids playing football as we have had.” In the past decade, according to NFHS data, football participation has dropped by nearly 6%. Many local coaches have experienced that trend. “We have had a handful of seniors come back for this season. I think our numbers are settling,” Hunter head coach Tarell Richards said. “We have tried to keep everyone involved year-round. They will want to stay if they build friendships with coaches and other players. Football is dying; our west side schools are battling the same things.” Transfers to other schools is one thing that has affected schools in the past. “We had kids in the past leave for football season and then transfer back for the spring so they can graduate with their friends,” Richards said. This is a problem many schools experience. “I want to develop only the talent here in Riverton and only those kids,” Riverton High head coach Jody Morgan said. “I don’t want other teams to steal my kids.” The Silverwolves coaches count 12 players that have left their program to attend other schools. “We have had other varsity coaches approach my athletes,” Morgan said. “I feel like some coaches treat it like the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’; they think these are guidelines and not rules. The UHSAA needs to stop going after individual kids and go after the programs that are doing it.” Cost, single-sport specialization and injuries are other concerns players and parents

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have with football. Some coaches believe it is important to creatively find opportunities for kids to play. Hunter High has tried to hire coaches that know the community or have been part of the Wolverines’ football team in the past. “We have coaches that believe in the community,” Richards said. “They are born and raised here. That builds trust with parents and players.” The coaches have also changed practice plans to prevent injury by training in helmets only one day a week. They also try to find more chances for the kids to play. “The kids that don’t play on Friday night always play on Thursday in the sub-varsity game,” Richards said.” We can’t play them two days in a row. It is not responsible because of the injury possibility.” Preparing the players mentally and physically is an important part of keeping kids on the field. “Kids nowadays have ADD (attention deficit disorder); they want to do what has success,” Richards said. “Whether that is another team, another sport or school program. We have to be creative.” Riverton High players are becoming more involved in the youth programs. “We attend little league games,” Morgan said. “We host a youth camp and are constantly trying to build a good relationship. We sell to the parents that we want to build good football players and great young men. Football is hard, and we try to relate it to everyday life.” Richards pointed out he thinks the UHSAA is trying to help. They have recently realigned regions encouraging more rivalries. “I think the new regions are good because we are now playing kids that have the same demographics,” he said. “I think the UHSAA has got it right with realignment. It makes it exciting.”


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South Valley City Journal

Passionate poets promote performance participation By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


r. Steve Haslam, of Copper Hills High School; Sally Wilde, of Herriman High School; and Amanda Kurd, of Kearns High School, are passionate to put poetry slam clubs and classes into all Utah high schools. They formed the Utah High School Poetry Slam Initiative to campaign for poetry slam to become a sanctioned activity through the Utah High School Activities Association. “We said, ‘Let’s do something more; let’s do something bigger; let’s do everything we can to get it in every school that we can because we have watched poetry literally save lives, and so that is our goal,’” said Haslam. Poetry slam is a competition where students perform a three-minute, 10-second original poem for five judges. Teachers who coach poetry slam clubs claim it provides a forum for students to express their experiences and emotions to a responsive audience. While poetry slams are popular in coffee shops and on YouTube, only about six Utah schools participate in inter-school competitions, and only two offer poetry slam classes. The poetry initiative hosted a gala May 2 to educate teachers, administrators and district officials about the benefits of the activity in hopes of encouraging participation in more schools. Their goal is to get 30 schools to participate, which would meet the UHSAA requirements for gaining an Emerging Sport/ Activity status. The Emerging Sports Policy was recently introduced by the UHSAA for the 2019–2020 school year. Currently, only 10 girls’ sports and 10 boys’ sports and three activities—music, theater/drama and speech/ debate—are sanctioned by the UHSAA. In response to requests from many participants and coaches of a variety of school activities, such as poetry slam, the UHSAA has created a student participation survey. “We are trying to gauge what types of activities the students in Utah are participating in outside of those sports and activities that are already sanctioned by the UHSAA,” said UHSAA Assistant Director Jan Whittaker. “If enough schools meet the requirements spelled out in the policy [20% of the 150 member schools], they will be placed on the Emerging Sports and Activities list.” Once an activity or sport becomes fully sanctioned, UHSAA can offer a state championship event. Schools from Jordan, Alpine, Davis and Granite districts currently participate in locally sponsored poetry slam competitions and workshops. The small but passionate community has drawn the support of well-known slam poets who were invited to teach workshops and perform their poems in conjunction with the state poetry slam competition hosted by Copper Hills High School May 3. This year, high school students from American Fork, Bingham, Brighton, Copper

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adults we feel safe with, who can train our kids to use their voices to develop those skills that give them the gift of speech and listening and language,” she said. “They increase their relationships and their support systems, which means they live healthier lives. Isn’t that what we want for our kids?” That is the mission of UHSAA—to help students to succeed in their lives. By introducing the new policy, UHSAA board members hope to be able to support more sports and activities, and benefit more students. “This policy is intended to find ways to increase female participation as well as look for ways to meet the interests and needs of all students in Utah,” said Whittaker. Professional slam poet Jose Soto said slam poetry appeals to a wider variety of students, as well. He said it exposes them to more culturally diverse poets than what they read in English class. As a Venezuelan immigrant, he doesn’t relate to Shakespeare and Poe. “The problem is, those words and those people don’t mirror my words, my experiencAdvisers of local poetry slam clubs answer questions at a gala to promote the high school activity. (Jet Burn- es and just aren’t my people,” he said. “Poetham/City Journals) ry slam is a space where people like me have a voice, where students that have never been Hills, Herriman, Kearns, Paradigm and Sky- said Searle. She believes poetry slam can able to listen to people who look like them, line high schools participated. help students deal with their feelings in a get to.” Members of the poetry slam initiative healthy way. insist that poetry slam needs its own activity “We start sharing in classrooms with the category and cannot be run under the umbrella of another activity, such as theater. Wilde Are you fatigued or sad more than you feel you should be? said the judging criteria for individual theatrical performances doesn’t rate for original work, while slam poetry ratings put a greater Does it feel overwhelming to deal with daily emotions? emphasis on the poem rather than on the performance. RJ Walker, professional slam poet, teaches workshops in schools, recovery cenAre you struggling with changes? ters, detention centers and prisons. He has seen the benefits of slam poetry. “People need these spaces—especially youth,” said Walker. “People need healthy ways to express themselves and to listen and to feel what other people are saying.” Haslam said a misunderstanding of poetry slam has been a stumbling block to participation. Some educators and administrators fear what might come out of students’ mouths when they are turned loose to express feelings and “edgy” experiences in front of a Julie Mathewson, LCSW live audience. There are rules restricting language and certain subject matter at the high school level. Administrators Todd Quarnberg, of Herriman High School, and Kim Searle, of Sunset Ridge Middle School, both spoke in support for poetry slam at the gala. They said their students have been able to tackle complex emotions and work through difficult experiences without abusing their trust. “Historically, we thought that if we talked about suicide then kids are going to kill themselves, and we know that’s not true,” 801-864-4027 | AClearViewCounseling.com

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To advance community, business, & civic-related interests to ensure continued improvement in the way of life. VISION STATEMENT:

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The 2019 Silver Pen writing contest theme is “A story I haven’t told you,” and contest organizers are seeking essay submissions under 500 words, and poems 36 lines and fewer. (Stock photo courtesy Pixabay)


he saying goes, “Everyone has a story to tell,” and Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services in conjunction with Salt Lake Community College want to read the untold stories of Salt Lake residents over the age of 60. The 2019 Silver Pen writing contest theme is “A story I haven’t told you.” Contest organizers are seeking essay submissions under 500 words and poems 36 lines and fewer. Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center hosted two essay writing workshops and two poetry workshops during the summer months to help seniors with their entries. “At the workshops, we typically have a mix of people,” said Melissa Helquist, director of the Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center. “The workshops are helpful because the writers are able to share strategies and get feedback on their stories.” “We always want to give an opportuni-

Become inspired, get ideas.

ty for reflection,” said Susie Cates, manager for Mt. Olympus Senior Center. “We try to choose a theme that will make it interesting enough that people can interpret it differently.” Last year, 65 entries were judged and three winners were chosen from each category. Entries are due Sept. 2 at 11:59 p.m. and must be submitted online at https://slco.org/ aging-adult-services/silver-pen/. “If anyone is having trouble submitting their entry, they can go to their nearest senior center, and we will help them,” Cates said. While the entry form asks which senior center entrants are affiliated with, Cates said you don’t have to be a member of a senior center to enter the contest. “The contest is open to all seniors over the age of 60 in Salt Lake county,” Cates said. “A lot of people have stories to share,” said Cates. “[The Silver Pen writing contest] gives them the opportunity to share their writing and learn from others.”

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t doesn’t matter where you are on your academic trajectory—middle school, high school or working toward a college degree— you have a student ID. What institutions tend to downplay on orientation or picture day, is how valuable that student ID is. You’re essentially getting handed a weird type of currency. I’m here to urge you not to shove that card in the back of your wallet, but to use that student ID whenever and wherever you can. Students IDs can save you all kinds of money, if you’re actively looking for those discounts. Perhaps the most important function of a college student’s ID is the access to public transportation. If you have a college ID from one of the participating state institutions, all you have to do is tap your ID to the reader when entering the bus or train, and you can ride for free. All day, every day. Don’t waste money on gas if you have a student ID. Students can save money on food. Local restaurants such as Red Robin, The Pie Pizzeria, Village Inn, Costa Vida, The Dodo, Great Harvest Bread Company, Tuscanos, Aubergine & Company, Freebirds World Burrito, IKEA and Even Stevens have student discounts or specials. Some vary by day so make sure to check for the available discount. If you don’t want to go out for food, some local grocery stores offer student discounts on an occasional basis. Check out


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South Valley City Journal

Take Your Best Shot


’m stating right up front I hate vaccinations. I’m not an anti-vaxxer, I’m just more afraid of getting a tetanus shot than dying a horribly painful death. My dad scarred me for life when he told me to avoid petting strange dogs. I didn’t know what made them strange, but he went on to explain how dogs have rabies and if you get bit, you get a great big shot in your stomach - or you die. #OldYeller That was enough to scare me away from dogs for at least 40 years. The neighbors got tired of me screaming every time their dog barked. And it made me terrified of shots. My mom did her part when it came to scaring the DiSeases out of me in regards to vaccinations. She showed up at school one day to give me a ride home, which should have been my first clue. Mom never drove us to or from school, even in the snow, even in the rain, even when we were late, even when stupid boys threw earthworms at us. But there she was, in the pick-up line with a big smile on her face (second clue). “Why are you here?” I asked, suspiciously. “We’re going to get a treat,” she said, all innocent and everything. “Super!” As soon as I was in the car, we drove to my doctor’s office where he proceeded to give me an MMR booster. There are no words.


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I understand this is a divisive topic. I’m just not sure why. Yes, there can be risks, but they are small compared to the overall health of the universe. That’s like saying, “My neighbor was in a car crash and the seat belt broke her ribs. I’m never wearing a seat belt again.” Some say immunizations go against their religious belief. Is it possible God inspired scientists to create vaccines as an answer to millions of prayers? He inspired someone to create fudge-dipped Oreos. That was a definite answer to a prayer. #AngelsAmongUs Thanks to social media and digital platforms, anti-vaxxers continue to wage war against science and common sense. In the meantime, disease is on the rise. As school starts, get your kids immunized, which is super hypocritical considering I’ll mostly likely die from rabies or tetanus.

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When my daughters needed shots, I dreaded it more than they did. Usually. There was that one time when teenage daughters #3 and #4 literally ran around the doctor’s office to avoid their immunizations. They only settled down when the cute male nurse came and stood in the doorway. Even when it pained me, my daughters got all their shots. Every. Single. One. Plus, I threw in a few more just to be safe. Back in the day, when people died from pretty much everything, the arrival of vaccines was celebrated. Some diseases were so deadly they were used as weapons. #NotCool When the polio vaccine was introduced, the public went wild. They were tired of watching their children die. Finally, scientists created ways to protect us from smallpox, rabies, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria and BTS. Each year, vaccines prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide. You know there’s a but. But for the first time ever, this year the World Health Organization (WHO?) added “vaccine hesitancy” to the list of top 10 health issues. Not because there’s a shortage or because vaccines are unavailable. Nope. Parents just don’t want to get their kids immunized. They worry vaccines aren’t safe, despite generations of success, millions of lives saved and numerous studies from important medical people like Bill Nye the Science Guy.

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