Sugarhouse Journal | December 2021

Page 1

December 2021 | Vol. 7 Iss. 12



By Anagha Rao |

he Huntington’s Disease Society of America hosted a Team Hope Walk fundraising event in Sugar House Park Oct. 16. This event was held to raise awareness for Huntington’s disease and raise money for Huntington’s disease (HD) research. The HDSA’s Team Hope Walk is an event that has been going on for over 10 years. In 2011, the first chapter of the HDSA in Utah was started along with the Team Hope Walk. Since then, the event has become an annual tradition for the Huntington’s disease community. “Every year, they all see friends and family who only see each other once a year on the walk, making everyone a tight-knit family because they all know what everyone else is going through,” said Morgan Pratt, the head of the Utah HDSA chapter. During this event, the HDSA implemented strict COVID-19 precautions including requiring COVID-19

waivers to acknowledge that they will follow the required precautions. All the lines for this event included spots so each person was kept 6 feet apart. There were also frequent hand sanitizing stations available for participants and volunteers. In one day, the Utah Team Hope Walk raised over $15,000. Team Hope is HDSA’s largest national grassroots fundraising event, which takes place in over 100 cities across the U.S. and has raised more than $20 million for HD since its inception in 2007. “This community is one of the strongest, quirkiest, and most positive communities I have ever seen,” Pratt said. The HDSA spreads awareness about this disease to the general public by providing high-quality, evidence-based information about this disease. For caregivers of a loved one The Huntington’s Disease Society of America hosted a Team Hope Walk fundraising event in Sugar House Park. with HD, the website offers free ther- (Anagha Rao/City Journals) Continued page 8

DOn’T LET WinTEr Crush YOur hOLiDaYs Call Diamond Tree Experts today – Your local experts in tree trimming & removal • 24/7 Emergency Response • Power Trimming • Stump Grinding • Demolition Options • Organic Mulch Products

Mention this ad for

% 10 OFF Tree Services

Must present coupon at time of estimate. Expires 12/31/2021.

Contact us today at Local Postal Customer ECRWSS

Certified Arborist On Staff

Scan Here: Interactive online edition with more photos.


Now HiriNg!

From $35K

up to $80K!

Year Round • FULL Benefits • Bonuses Overtime • Paid Vacations • 401k Growth Opportunities


Call 801-262-1596 or email

Thank You to our Community Sponsors for supporting City Journals

Presort Std U.S. Postage PAID Ogden, UT Permit #190

Page 2 | December 2021

Sugar House City Journal

Fall Special





A New Division for Our Commercial Clients May not be combined with other offers. Expires 1/15/2022


Additional Savings for Military and First Responders |



CALL TODAY: 801-201-9360


We Have Specialty items you won’t find anywhere else! Utah’s Largest Selection of Snowboard Gear Hundreds of Boards, Boots, and Bindings We Sell Top Brands New and Used Trade In Your Old Gear!

SERVICES • • • • • •

Heat-mold boots Boa dials and lace replacement We fill avalanche airbag cannisters We rent high-end gear $40 for high-end board, boot and binding rental 2-days rental cost can go towards purchase of board/boots/bindings • We help educate beginners


Split-boards Skins Poles Bindings Accessories Avalanche Beacons & Airbags


Core shots Edge delamination Straighten metal edges We make boards go faster! Exclusive snowboard shop for Phantom waxless glide application

Shop online at

We are a Freedom of Choice Establishment. The U.S. Constitution is in full effect at Salty Peaks! MyS ugar HouseJournal .com

or visit our store at the heart of Shred Row 3055 East on 3300 South or call 801-467-8000

December 2021| Page 3

CEO works to improve lives of animals and people By Katy Whittingham |


est Friends Animal Society based out of Kanab where they run the country’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary has been named one of Utah’s Top Workplaces for 2021 by the Salt Lake Tribune with CEO Julie Castle receiving the Tribune’s only 2021 Leadership Award in their large business category. “Some days can be hard, especially with the work we do. Animal welfare work can be physically, intellectually and emotionally taxing, but I’ve never once regretted the work I’m doing or joining this incredible organization,” Castle said. “Our work is truly changing the country and making better lives not just for the animals but for people as well.” Best Friends Animal Society also has a location in Sugar House. Since starting work at Best Friends in the mid-90s, Castle worked her way up the ranks to become the organization’s first female CEO in March 2018 and has helped to build the organization into an 800-employee national leader in animal welfare. Following her graduation from Southern Utah University in 1994, Castle’s career aspirations were headed in quite a different direction when she happened upon Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab between a road trip to Mexico and law school in Virginia. “I’ve always loved animals, but I never thought I would be where I am now. Growing up, I had dreams of becoming a lawyer and working to promote justice and good in our society,” Castle said. However, struck by the beauty of the sanctuary and the compassion of their vision, Castle made a life-changing decision. “Back then, when everyone else thought that the only viable solution to

Journals T H E

Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, received the Salt Lake Tribune’s only 2021 Leadership Award in their large business category. (Best Friends Animal Society)

dealing with homeless pets in shelters was to kill them, Best Friends flipped that notion on its head, and looked for viable solutions through the lens of compassion and sparked the no-kill movement. And I wanted to be part of it. I made the decision to forgo law school and instead joined Best Friends as employee number 17,” she said. Fast forward to 2018 when Castle started her tenure as CEO, this motivation remained as she made the strong commitment “to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by the year 2025. “I knew we had to be bold and make a commitment to

hold ourselves accountable and finally put an end to the killing of cats and dogs in American shelters,” she said. In 2020, the number of cats and dogs being killed in shelters was down to 347,000 from 17 million when Best Friends started. “While these numbers are incredible to see, it’s still too many lives being lost,” Castle said. Through the creation of their comprehensive national dataset, they are able to see one of their biggest obstacles is that cats are being killed two to one compared to dogs. “Which tells us that we need to focus more programs to save cats, in particular commu-




The Sugar House City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout Sugar House.




Bryan Scott |

social media






Our mission is to inform and entertain our community while promoting a strong local economy via relevant content presented across a synergetic network of print and digital media.




Travis Barton | Ryan Casper | 801-254-5974

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.

Mieka Sawatzki | Jen Deveraux | Ileana Brown | Jason Corbridge | Andy Kimball |

Page 4 | December 2021


Brad Casper | 801-254-5974 Rack locations are also available on our website.

For information about distribution please email or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website.

© 2019 Loyal Perch Media, Inc.


nity cats,” Castle said. “We’re also starting to see adoption numbers decline from 2020, which is putting added stress on the shelters and more animals at risk. By increasing the number of people who foster and adopt pets from shelters, and implementing community cat programs, we will be able to see real progress towards our goal.” In addition to being the leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America through “Save Them All,” Best Friends credits their mission-driven work, emphasis on data and innovation, and a culture rooted in kindness and the Golden Rule as the keys to creating an energized work force. They also offer unique benefits to their animal-loving staff such as paid time off for adopting or fostering pets, and the ability to bring dogs, cats—and occasionally even a pig—to meetings. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, not just in Utah, and works collaboratively with a network of more than 3,300 animal and shelter partners, and community members nationwide. “In order to reach no-kill, however, we need the public’s help,” Castle said. “Even if you can’t adopt a pet right now, fostering a pet—even for just a week, can make a huge difference to the life of that animal. People can also help by getting pets spayed/neutered, volunteering, supporting our advocacy work by joining the 2025 Action Team, and of course, donating to Best Friends or your local shelter. There are many different ways for people to help us save them all.” For more information about Best Friends, including ways you can help visit l


Ty Gorton Amanda Luker Stacy Bronson Anna Pro

SUGARHOUSE CITY JOURNAL 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205 Sandy, UT 84070

PHONE: 801-254-5974

Designed, Published, & Distributed by


Sugar House City Journal

New coffee shop hosts market featuring local artists

By Anagha Rao |


offee Mama SLC, one of Sugar House’s newest coffee shops, wants to provide coffee and tea drinkers a place to enjoy their drinks and also enjoy artwork by local artists and small businesses through their Maker’s Markets. The first one was held Oct. 16 at their shop at 2121 S. McClelland St. Rachel Thiesfeld, the founder of Coffee Mama, said, “I wanted this coffee shop to be a place where people from all walks of life can come to feel supported and exchange positive ideas.” Coffee Mama’s specialty is dark roast pour-over coffees, which is a process that helps eliminate the distinct, burnt flavor of traditionally made coffee. Caffe Ibis supplies their roasters and their tea is from Tea Zaanti, both Utahbased businesses. In addition to coffee, this shop partners with V & R Bakery to carry fresh pastries daily. The October Maker’s Market featured Tragic Girls, Scents of Serenity, Trissie and Jane, and wreaths by Mindful Emory. Tragic Girls is a women-owned business started in 2017 in Salt Lake City. This business sells T-shirts, joggers, and comics that blend retro comic book art with dark humor or sarcasm. Katie, the creator and artist behind Tragic Girls, says, “With Tragic Girls, I wanted to create a community where people can relate to each other and realize that they are not alone in this crazy world. We all have a Tragic Girl inside of us, and it’s OK to let that out.” Scents of Serenity is another women-owned business that sells handmade beeswax candles that promote body positivity and encourage healthy self-care rituals. Trissie and Jame is a local business founded by 13-year-

This new coffee shop hosted its first Maker’s Markets. (Anagha Rao/City Journals)

old Macey that sells handmade accessories such as high-quality scrunchies and necklaces. Mindful Emory is a local business that provides access to mindfulness and meditation classes that increase concentration and promote physical and mental well-being. For this market, they made wreaths and did palm readings. “It’s important to support local businesses because most of the money ends up going back into the economy,” Thies-

feld said. Thiesfeld hopes to organize another Maker’s Market in the next couple of months. To learn more about Coffee Mama and upcoming events, visit l

Visual Art Institute announces art classes for kids, teens and adults


he Visual Art Institute is a premier art institute in Sugar House that strives to nurture creative expression and foster artistic development in people of all ages and artistic abilities. By doing so, they hope that students will discover their own artistic voices and improve their lives. The organization was founded by Stephanie Burn, a college professor at Utah State University, in 1978 when she realized that many of her college students lost their ability to think creatively. In 1998, Bruce Robertson took over as executive director. That same year, VAI began expanding its art programs into Title I schools and providing funding assistance for low-income students. The Visual Art Institute offers classes for artists of all ages. Art instruction is available for pre-k artists (2-5), kids (5-11), teens (13-18), and adults (18+). All classes are held in person at the VAI location at 2901 S. Highland Drive. Recently, they opened up a new location in Alpine where classes are taught by Shelly Young. She studied at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy and has several years of teaching experience. Adults who want to learn drawing can take foundations of drawing. Artists interested in painting can take watercolor. For adults willing to travel, the VAI offers landscape painting, in which participants travel as a group to areas of Utah to paint. The VAI also offers ceramic classes where adults can learn basic clay techniques for hand-building, wheel-throwing, and finishing.

MyS ugar HouseJournal .com

By Anagha Rao |

“Building with your hands and shaping clay is very therapeutic, and from COVID-19, people wanted to do something hands on and artistic,” said Megan Hindman, program assistant and instructor for the VAI. For kids ages 5-11, VAI offers intro to art, ceramics, superhero art, and mixed media classes. Each kids class starts off with an imagination drawing session where the kids get the chance to be creative and use their imagination to make art with no rules or boundaries. “The imagination drawing is one of my favorite parts of teaching the kids classes,” said Hindman. In August, the Visual Art Institute held their biggest event of the year—the Family Fun Fair, a carnival-style event with food, games, activities and prizes. This event raised money for furthering the Visual Art Institute’s mission to bring art to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. One of the newest classes that the VAI offers is a class on Procreate. “I like showing people how to use Procreate because it’s such a powerful drawing tool,” said Hindman. By November 2022, the VAI will be moving to a new building in the Sugar House area. “Currently, we are working on a plan to fundraise so we can build our own building,” said Hindman. In their new building, they plan to include a computer lab, a 3D printer, a larger ceramics area and much more. For class information, visit www.visualartinstitute. org. l

The Visual Art Institute offers classes for artists of all ages. (Photo courtesy Visual Art Institute)

December 2021| Page 5

Salt Lake City School District faces record low enrollment By Lizzie Walje |


ollowing a six-year decline in enrollment, Salt Lake City School District is facing new lows in registration turnout. It’s a problem that first-year superintendent Timothy Gadson is extremely concerned about. “As of right now, concerns regarding student enrollment have become a prominent issue with our board,” he said. “We are taking the matter very seriously.” Gadson did make a point to emphasize that enrollment has been on the decline for the better part of the decade. The sentiment was also shared by Salt Lake City School District Spokesperson Yandary Chatwin. When Gadson and Chatwin were asked to account for this latest drop, they both cited assorted reasons, however, they both provided slightly different accounts for what they believe to be the crux of the issue. In Chatwin’s perspective low enrollment is partially a result of “the housing crisis we are facing in Salt Lake. As home prices have gradually increased over the past several years, many families are looking to the suburbs instead.” On the contrary, Gadson’s reasons were a bit vaguer. “During the summer [of 2021] before my first official year as superintendent, I personally wrote a series of letters to thousands of families who had left the district [in the past six years]. There were slight variances in what was said as far as their reasoning but ultimately a lot of families just didn’t trust us anymore following the response taken last year during the pandemic.” Gadson wouldn’t necessarily elaborate on what those specific lapses in trust entailed, but he did say, “This is an area the board and I are working on consistently to improve. We hope to win back these families and show them that we are working to rebuild trust. I have an open-door policy and will always work with students and parents personally to find solutions.” Chatwin echoed Gadson’s sentiments. “We, as a district are in the midst of discovering how to proceed. Sometimes there are just certain technological challenges, like gaps in access to internet access that result in families being unable to register.” But it’s not just the Salt Lake City School District that’s having to make adjustments. On the national stage, school boards and their meetings have been garnering increased attention and scrutiny as viral clips have surfaced with impassioned speeches from parents discussing everything from concerns regarding the implementation of critical race theory curriculum to mask mandates. In a recent October 2021 news story, National Public Radio dubbed school board meetings as “the new frontline in culture wars.” According to Salt Lake City School District parents, these cultural issues are hit-

Page 6 | December 2021

After six years of consistent decline in enrollment, Salt Lake City School District reaches new lows. (Courtesy of Salt Lake City School District)

ting close to home. On Oct. 6, Gadson and his administration began a district-wide listening and learning tour that started at Clayton Middle School. Incidentally, during the question and answer segment, a concerned parent cited an October 2021 Salt Lake District board meeting as a particular point of concern. The meeting came to a climax when board members faced off about critical race theory curriculum and identity politics. These issues are a hot-button source of debate across the country and could be contributing to that “lack of trust” Gadson cited. Board member and President Melissa Ford was quick to acknowledge the budding tension but wants to put an emphasis on unifying parents on different sides of the ideological spectrum. “These are divisive times, and finding common ground is something we as a board are committed to. We’ve had our fair share of setbacks this year, some of which have directly impacted our families and students. However, what I’ve found is that when we remember the kids, when we focus on the kids, that’s when the outside noise goes away.” When asked directly about the issues regarding the safety of marginalized students, particularly those who identify as LGBTQ+ and Black, Indigenous and People of Color, Ford doubled down on her desire for unity. “Our concern is ensuring all students feel safe and welcomed in our district, that all students feel they can express who they are comfortably and without ridicule. We welcome dissenting opinions amongst our school members because, at the end of the day, we are all different people and have different opinions. As a board, we want to focus on what we do have in common, and where

we can build those bridges.” These varying accounts from power players in the district seem to reveal a sobering truth. There is no one singular problem causing the decline in enrollment. After all, enrollment numbers have been down in the district for the better part of a decade. With a new superintendent at the helm, the next couple of years will be telling, especially considering Gadson feels incentivized to bring back the families of lost students. “[The parents], most of them…they still pay taxes [in the district]. So even if their children are now attending different schools in different districts, they’re still directly financing our schools. It is, of course, a goal of ours to have that money go towards their own children’s education. And one of the only ways to do that is to find out first why they left the district and then discover how we can bring them back.” Trying to win back the affections of lost parents is a sizable undertaking to pursue during a normal school year, let alone a year where Covid-19 exists and remains intrinsically linked to daily life. While it’s evident the district wants to pull forces, in order to truly assess the waning enrollment, they’ll likely need to go back in time and start examining what events led to a consistent sixyear decline, ending in an alarming record low registration turnout. Whatever the case may be, the district has a lot to address and board president Ford knows this. “Right now, we’ve been operating with a scarcity mindset because we’ve been stretched thin with resources for lots of reasons,” Ford said. “The board recognizes this, and we’re here to do what we can for every student. No matter what, we want what’s best for the kids.” l

Sugar House City Journal

Salt Lake City School District encourages younger students to receive the Covid-19 vaccine By Lizzie Walje |


alt Lake City School District is urging its youngest students to get vaccinated. This encouragement should come as no surprise to parents, as the district has fully supported the administration of the vaccine in one way or another since in-person schooling returned in 2021. Whether that support looks like partnering with medical providers across the county, or helping students get vaccinated at back-to-school events, their stance has been overwhelmingly pro-vaccine. In the wake of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Covid-19 vaccine for children as young as 5, the district continues to advocate for its youngest pupils to get the jab. However, according to the district’s social media spokesperson, there are still no hard and fast requirements for students to get vaccinated. Despite the FDA’s approval, and the endorsement of the vaccine by reputable scientists and institutions, many parents are still reluctant to get their children vaccinated. A Nibley Park Middle School parent who wished to remain anonymous explained that the vaccine is a direct infringement on their family’s civil liberties. “As a public institution, one that we pay taxes to, there shouldn’t be a mandate. Schools should not hold the trump card over the wishes of us…the parents. We won’t be forced into anything.” These concerns were wildly echoed on social media when the district announced via Facebook that they would be continuing their community vaccine outreach in the wake of the new age approval guidelines. The feedback was mixed, and the main points of disdain remain largely unchanged for those not in support of the vaccine. The district doubled down on their message, and responded to the concerns by saying, “To date we have yet to make the vaccination mandatory. We view it as a personal decision for parents and students.” However, they did explain that they would be continuing to pair with the county to give students, families, and the community at large, the opportunity to get vaccinated for free in various pop-up clinics across the city. For various reasons, it makes sense for the district to support the vaccinations. Vaccinations have been proven effective for mitigating the symptoms of Covid-19 and keeping both adults and children safe. Vaccinations may also help alleviate the need for such strict cleaning protocol. Paul Shulte is Salt Lake City School District’s Executive Director of Auxiliary Services. He has worked tirelessly to implement the most cutting-edge methodology to ensure the safety of students in schools across the district. However, he also explained that these meticulous cleaning protocols are a massive financial burden on the district.

MyS ugar HouseJournal .com

“We are doing the best we can,” he said. “Even at the sacrifice of the district’s budget. We are overextended and a lot of that has to do with using cutting-edge solutions. Any time I get a call from manufacturers across the country asking what cleaning agents we’re using; they tend to relinquish trying to sell their product when they find out what we’re using.” Shulte is referring to hypochlorous acid, a safe and effective cleaning agent that all schools across the district have implemented into their routine. “On top of the hypochlorous acid mixture we’re spending a lot of time making the rounds at our schools. Really, just cleaning all the time multiple times a day. Restrooms are cleaned four times per day, sanitizers and masks are stationed across the buildings. Look, we’re stretched thin but we’re making it work.” Nevertheless, at a time where student enrollment in the district is at a record low, and taxpayer dollars are being shuffled into rigorous cleaning protocol, the vaccine is yet another free buffer that helps protect students. For some families, vaccines have always been a difficult sell. Especially those with young children as Covid-19 has historically proven more fatal in relation to adults. However, this attitude might be costing children undue sickness. During November 2021 several United States media outlets, including The Los Angeles Times, reported that recent Covid surges in the United Kingdom are attributed to unvaccinated adolescents contracting and spreading the Delta variant of the virus. The same cycle could easily repeat in the

United States. As for the Federal Drug Administration’s standpoint? On Oct. 29, they approved the authorization of the vaccine for children between the ages of 5 through 11, stating on their website: “The authorization was based on the FDA’s thorough and transparent evaluation of the data that included input from independent advisory committee experts who overwhelmingly voted in favor of making the vaccine available to children in this age group.” The district will continue to pair with Salt Lake County health officials to provide pop-up vaccination clinics to those in the community. Anyone ages 5 and up are eligible to receive vaccinations at these clinics whether they are students, parents, or members of the community with no direct ties to the school system. Vaccinations are for everyone, and they are always free. As for the school board’s position on vaccines, President Melissa Ford merely wants to continue putting out accurate information that can help parents make informed decisions. “We have not and will not make these vaccines mandatory. What we will do is provide safe opportunities for the vaccine to be administered. Personal beliefs aside, our goal has been to keep the children protected and operate in their best interests,” Ford said. For more information including pop-up clinic schedules, Covid-19 testing sites, reputable information about the vaccine and more, visit:

Children as young as 5 are now eligible to receive the vaccine in Salt Lake County pop-up clinics. (Photo courtesy Salt Lake City School District)

December 2021| Page 7

Highland boys basketball tips off

Continued from front page

Photos by Travis Barton

Abe Connolly was one of several tall bodies giving the Rams length and height against any team last season. The Rams opened their season Nov. 23 against Mountain Ridge and will have games at home in December against Hillcrest Dec. 3 and Farmington Dec. 16.

Nick Rich pump fakes a Skyline defender last season. Highland will play in the Utah Autism Holiday Classic this season Dec. 28-31 against Wasatch, Cottonwood, Uintah and Hillcrest.

apy sessions and connects people with support groups in their area. This organization even offers training and online courses for healthcare professionals to equip them with the tools necessary to handle the physical, social, and even legal issues when dealing with patients with HD. However, the most important mission of the HDSA is to find a cure for Huntington’s disease. About 30,000 people in the United States have Huntington’s disease and another 200,000 are at risk of developing the condition. For these people, finding a cure could be life-changing. But it’s not just about HD patients. “Even if you don’t know someone with HD, it’s still crucial that we find a cure. Once we find a cure for Huntington’s disease, we can use those principles to find a cure for diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease,” Pratt said. One of the best ways to support the HDSA is to donate. The HDSA allows onetime donations, monthly donations, vehicle donations, or donation of stocks and assets. In addition, the HDSA is always looking for new members to join its board of directors or as a volunteer in the area. To learn more about the Utah HDSA, visit l

Year-end deadlines are nearing for my529 tax benefits Did you know that a 529 educational savings plan can be an integral piece of your estate planning? my529, Utah’s official 529 educational savings plan, makes it easy for grandparents and/or retirees to support their beneficiary’s dreams of college, university or technical school.

The end of the year is approaching, and so are deadlines for contributions to apply to the 2021 tax year. Contributions to my529 accounts are due by Thursday, December 30, 5 p.m. MT, if mailed in and Friday, December 31, 11:59 p.m. MT, if submitted online. Learn more at

Earnings in a my529 account grow tax deferred and withdrawals are tax-free when used for qualified education expenses like tuition, books, fees, computers, and room and board. | 800.418.2551

Another advantage my529 offers is a tax credit for Utah resident taxpayers. Contributions to my529 accounts are eligible for the credit up to certain amounts per qualified beneficiary. Investing in my529 may also provide estate planning advantages.

­­ ­ .

Page 8 | December 2021 advertorial_102021_final.indd 1

­ ­ ­ ­

Sugar House City Journal 10/20/2021 12:18:52 PM

Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts returns to the stage with ‘The Wizard of Oz’ By Lizzie Walje |


ollowing a nearly two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students at Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts (SPA) finally returned to the stage. To celebrate their homecoming, the young thespians transported their audience, through song and dance, to the land of Oz. Based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 work, “The Wizard of Oz” is arguably one of the most widely recognized and revered texts in the American literary canon. Moreover, the text inspired one of the most culturally relevant films of all time, 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” which brought Baum’s characters to life and introduced a new component to the story through song. It’s now been over a century since the book’s first publication and audiences around the world are still swept away by the girl in the blue and white gingham dress and her band of merry misfits. Director Rose Kiernan curated the school’s version of Oz by drawing inspiration from the original text, the motion picture, and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage adaptation. Kiernan merged source materials and created a production that felt nostalgic yet innovative. SPA’s Oz also included original dialogue and the inclusion of a delightfully frenzied musical number called “The Jitterbug” which was cut from the 1939 film due to runtime concerns. “To be fully honest, I did not think directing a production of the [“The Wizard of Oz”] would bring me as much joy and laughter as it has,” Kiernan said. “Maybe it was the fact that many of the students were being introduced to [“The Wizard of Oz”] for the first time, and I saw it in a new way through our creative process and their eyes,” Kiernan said. “Maybe it was the fact that “The Jitterbug” was cut from the film and Jessica Pace’s choreography is exceptional. It may have been our music director Nate Wambolt’s ability to point out intricate choices composer Harold Arlen made in the score. Whatever the reason, I have fallen in love with Dorothy, her heroic friends and her little dog too.” The play was intimate and interactive, a testament to both SPA’s captivating student thespians, and the simple yet arresting experience that comes with witnessing a production that takes place in a black box theater, a space for smaller audiences and one that offers an almost collaborative nature between audience and cast. These contemporary theaters focus on minimal set designs and an acting-focused experience. When addressing the audience pre-performance Kiernan welcomed interaction from the crowd. “Often times in a black box theater the audience takes on a life of its own. The audience becomes a character in and of itself. Because of that, we encourage all of you to laugh when you find something funny, cheer when our heroes triumph, whatever reactions you

MyS ugar HouseJournal .com

may have, this is the place you can voice them freely,” Kiernan said. The play incorporated a series of captivating dance performances, student designed costumes, and a stage crew that worked in such effortless synchronicity that watching them fluidly transition background pieces between sets became a treat in and of itself. The energy was just what you’d expect from a group of performers who were back on the stage after a difficult and prolonged absence. Opening night was Nov. 17 and the final performance took place Nov. 20. Due to an interesting directive decision, two different versions of the cast performed, allowing for multiple students to star in leading roles. Virginia Grace, who played an engaging Wicked Witch is a senior at SPA. Eager to return to the stage, she expressed sincere gratitude for the experience at large. “I would like to thank my family and teachers, as well as [the audience]. Because there wouldn’t be a show without an audience,” Virginia said. Kiernan said she is continually inspired by how motivated the students are. “If you don’t know, many of these students come to SPA from all across the state. Some of them drive as much as an hour each way just to get here every day,” Kiernan said. Like many institutions, particularly those who rely on performance art, the pandemic posed unique challenges for the school. These challenges are still being worked through as students transition back to the stage. With plenty of shows on the horizon, an upcoming

The Silver Cast receives applause from the audience. (Lizzie Walje/City Journals)

fundraiser, and the reignited passion of both pupils and educators, SPA hopes to continue to bounce back stronger than ever before. Kiernan looks forward to leading the charge. “We are hoping to rebuild our program

in the midst of Covid by offering students the opportunity to work with accredited instructors at the collegiate level,” Kiernan said. “I am so honored to be a part of that journey.” l

Readers like you keep us printing!

Connecting communities along the wasatch front

Be a part of your community news by donating to City Journals today! Name: Phone: Address: City:


One time Donation: $

Monthly Donation: $

Credit Card Number:


Exp Date:

Mail to: City Journals at 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205, Sandy, UT 84070 For security reasons, if you would rather contact City Journals directly, call (385)557-1010 or email:

Thank you for your support

A silent auction was held prior to the show in an attempt to help fundraising efforts. (Lizzie Walje/ City Journals)



Journals C I T Y




December 2021| Page 9

What’s your legacy?

Highland’s powerful girls basketball program returns to the court Photos by Julie Slama Junior Sosefina Langi looks to attack the inside against Hillcrest in a game last season. Five of Highland’s six December games will be at home, starting with Orem on Dec. 7 before Viewmont Dec. 10, Salem Hills Dec. 14, West Dec. 17 and West Jordan Dec. 21. The Rams will also travel to Bountiful on Dec. 8.

Serving Local Families Since 1885 COMPASSIONATE FUNERAL PLANNERS During one of life’s most difficult moments, you deserve the utmost respect, kindness, care, and guidance. Six generations of Larkins have been devoted to serving Utah families in their time of need, and that unique experience enables us to guide you in preparing services for your loved one with consideration and respect.

Junior Cecilia Olevao posts up against Hillcrest last season. The Rams, off a state championship in 2020 and a quarterfinal finish a season ago, will look to build on that tradition with its strong core featuring juniors Sosefina Langi and Olevao.

4 LOCATIONS ACROSS THE WASATCH FRONT Larkin Mortuary 260 East South Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84111 (801) 363-5781

Larkin Sunset Lawn 2350 East 1300 South Salt Lake City, UT 84108 (801) 582-1582

Larkin Sunset Gardens 1950 East Dimple Dell Road (10600 S.) • Sandy, UT 84092 (801) 571-2771

Larkin Mortuary Riverton 3688 West 12600 South Riverton, UT 84065 (801) 254-4850

www. LarkinCares .com Page 10 | December 2021

Sugar House City Journal

Local ‘princess’ teaches friendship, inclusion and affirmation By Karmel Harper |


hen Cindy Chia, who is Malaysian Chinese, took her then 2-year-old daughter, Maya, to Disney On Ice last year, Maya was upset that the show did not include Mulan, the Chinese heroine who saves her country. “So I lodged a complaint to Disney and I was still not hopeful. But surprisingly this year there was a whole segment for Mulan! Maya was so thrilled! My mom and I were in tears because it’s very rare that we get represented in such a big production like that,” Chia said. Although heroines of color were rare in the early decades of Disney, recently more and more productions feature strong women of various ethnicities. As more of these princesses of color have become popular, the demand for character actors to play them has also increased, which is why Allegra-Bree Moreno stays quite busy appearing at various events and parties as Princess Jasmine, Raya, and Moana, among other characters. With an extensive background in musical theater, acting, and modeling, Moreno began her “princess” career in March of 2021 when she answered a casting call for the role of Jasmine. While Jasmine was rarely booked at the time, once Moreno took over the role, Jasmine bookings increased significantly, a testament not only to her talent of playing the role well, but also her gift for connecting with children. From there, her roles expanded to Moana, Elena of Avalor, and Raya. In addition to Disney characters, Moreno also plays villains, super heroes, and science fiction characters. Most of her bookings come from word-of-mouth recommendations. Chia, who recently moved from Herriman to Daybreak, celebrated her daughter Maya’s 3rd birthday by inviting Moreno to play Moana. Moreno, as Moana, paddle-boarded across Oquirrh Lake to greet an excited group of tots in front of Chia’s new home. Chia said Moreno “was patient, caring, and engaging to make sure my daughter had the best 3rd birthday.” “It makes me feel good that they had a great experience with how we have been trained, the costuming we use, the wig quality, how we handle ourselves at a party and how we interact with children. A lot of people think it’s just dress up and cosplay. But when you have to be fully immersed in the role, it’s an entirely different skill because you have to create magic for the kids,” Moreno said. As a person of mixed race including Cuban, West African/Haitian, Chinese, Portuguese, Ashkenazi Jewish, British, Scandinavian, and Filipino, Moreno and the three character companies she works for are passionate and proactive about representation and transcendent casting, the practice of casting people of color in traditionally white-cast roles. Moreno has had opportunities to play Belle and Cinderella, giving children the ex-

MyS ugar HouseJournal .com

Moreno’s Raya, the Southeast Asian warrior from “Raya and the Last Dragon,” appeals to her Filipino heritage.( Photo by Ashley’s Flashy Photos.)

perience of interacting with favorite princesses who look like them. “In this industry there are a lot of problems with colorism and racism and I have been fortunate to have found a community of people who do really care about these issues and strive to understand and become educated,” Moreno said. When Moreno first started playing Jasmine she experienced the previous “white-washing” of Jasmine at a birthday party when one of the little girls showed her a Jasmine doll. “She held her doll next to me and she said, ‘I didn’t know you really were brown. You are so pretty,’” Moreno said. Moreno’s personal experience as a minority and a child who was bullied growing up has given her the dedication to empower children who feel “othered” and seek belonging. When she first arrives at an event, she seeks the outliers and shy kids who feel like they don’t fit in. “I recognize them because that was me. I approach them first before I interact with the other kids and I try to talk to them, relate to them, and personally invite them to join in. The child thinks, ‘Wow, Jasmine thought I was cool enough to talk to and be her friend.’ When it’s a kid that talks to you, well cool, you have made a new friend. When it’s another adult, you think they have to do that. But when it’s your HERO right in front of you, it gives you confidence for the rest of your life. I want to give them at least one memory that builds them up to draw on - especially when they need it the most,” Moreno said. And indeed, there is power in that. In a time when the Department of Justice recent-

Moreno’s Princess Jasmine revives the classic 1990s character for a new generation. (Photo by Luminosity Photography.)

ly delivered a scathing report about racism in the Davis School District followed by a 10-year-old North Salt Lake child taking her own life due to bullying because of her autism and skin color, teaching simple kindness and acceptance is more important than ever before. Perhaps what we truly need are more princesses and more super heroes to literally save lives. “I always tell kids when they’re down on themselves...I’ll ask, ‘Are you royal too?’ Of course they will first answer ‘No.’ But then I ask, ‘Are you loyal to your friends and family? Are you kind? Are you brave?’ Are you a good friend? Do you stand up for those who need help?’ And when they can answer

‘yes,’ they realize, ‘I AM royal. I can make a difference,’” Moreno said, But Moreno said we don’t have to be dressed up in tiaras and capes to lift children up. We just need to accept and love them exactly as they are. If you would like to hire Moreno for your next party or event, visit,, or Moreno also volunteers as Wonder Woman with the Legacy Initiative Cosplay organization which sends super heroes to children’s hospitals and other events for hope and healing. l

December 2021| Page 11

Immerse yourself in art at new Leonardo exhibit By Justin Adams |


here’s a new way to experience classic works of art at the new IDEA space at the Leonardo museum in downtown Salt Lake City. The acronym stands for “Immersive Digital Exploratory Art.” Occupying a large chunk of the museum’s second floor, the new space may seem sparse when the lights are on—large blank walls, a few mirrors, some benches and cushions for visitors to sit on. But turn off the lights and fire up the dozens of projectors strewn across the ceiling, and suddenly you’re flying through Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or are nestled peacefully in Monet’s lush gardens. Each scene of artwork transforms seamlessly into the next with animations that bring each piece to life. Accompanying the artwork is an occasional voice-over that provides context for the artwork, but more often a piece of music; from classical music for the Romantic period to jazz music for the post-modern. The exhibit, Immersive Art Series, was created by Universal Exhibition Group and has previously been shown in Moscow, Dubai, Belgium and Switzerland. The Leonardo will be its first home in North America. The series consists of five shows, each centered around a different era or theme. The first show being played at the Leonardo is ti-

tled “Monet to Kandinsky” and features the work of “10 artists who revolutionized the art world.” The next show that will be added to the rotation focuses on the Italian Renaissance. “[The Leonardo] is the perfect space for this because it’s all about science, technology and art and that’s exactly what this is all about,” said Steve Boulay, COO of Magic Space Entertainment, a local company who partnered with the Leonardo to build the IDEA space and bring the Immersive Art Series to Utah. Although he’s surrounded by world class entertainment throughout his career of bringing Broadway productions to cities around the world, Boulay said there’s something “different” about this exhibit. In fact, he said he spent three hours just sitting in the space and enjoying the show all by himself. Although the IDEA space was built with the Immersive Art Series in mind, Boulay and the Leonardo envision many other uses for their investment. “If we have the space, we can also curate local content. We’re going to be able to do things like have shows based on Utah history or shows that highlight Utah artists,” he said. “I think you’re going to see shows here for a decade, which is fantastic.” The new space is also a perfect addition to the Leonardo as the country slowly emerg-

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” fills the walls (and even the floor) of the Leonardo’s new IDEA space. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

es from the pandemic, said Executive Director Alex Hesse. “This new space is very open, it’s ‘no touch,’ and we can also restrict how many people are inside. It’s a very COVID-friendly experience,” she said. “It also feels joyful, inspir-

ing and uplifting and that feels very important to all of us at this time.” Tickets for “Monet to Kandinsky” are now available through the Leonardo’s website, l

Making Oral Surgery Easy

Dr. Dustin Hopkin and Staff

• Dental Implants • All-On-4 • Wisdom Teeth Removal

$100 Off


(801) 277-3942


Page 12 | December 2021

To learn more about Paws With A Cause and to find out how you can help, just download this simple app and watch this story come to life:


Provided as a community service by this civic minded publication and the Association of Community Publishers

Sugar House City Journal

Beloved ballet returns to Capitol Theatre for the holidays By Peri Kinder |


allet West’s most popular show and annual tradition, “The Nutcracker,” returns to the Capitol Theatre for live performances Dec. 4-26. It’s been two years since the holiday ballet was performed for a live audience, since COVID-19 shuttered entertainment venues in 2020. Audiences are eager to get back to live ballet as more than 13,000 tickets have already been sold and this year’s performance of “The Nutcracker” is expected to bring in the highest level of sales in 25 years. “Following the successful production of ‘Dracula,’ where many performances were sold out, demand for ‘The Nutcracker’ is expected to be high,” said Adam Sklute, Ballet West artistic director, in a media release. “We encourage all ‘Nutcracker’ fans to purchase tickets early so they have a seat and don’t miss out.” Made possible through support from The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the $3 million production is a classic ballet in two acts based on the fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann. The iconic score by Tchaikovsky will be performed live, featuring the Ballet West Orchestra. Choreographed by Ballet West founder Willam Christensen, “The Nutcracker” has evening performances at 7 p.m., matinees at 2 p.m., and a special holiday matinee on Christmas Eve at noon. Immediately following each matinee (except Dec. 24), Ballet West hosts a Sugar Plum Party where young audience members can join the Sugar Plum Fairy and other favorite characters from the ballet for a special treat. “Each year, hundreds of Utah children from across the Wasatch Front audition for the opportunity to perform in

Artists of Ballet West perform in “The Nutcracker” at Capitol Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Beau Pearson)

Ballet West’s ‘The Nutcracker,’ with just over 100 children being selected for the coveted roles,” Sklute said. “The story tells of a Christmas party at which little Clara, daughter of the house, receives the gift of a nutcracker from her mysterious uncle, Herr Drosselmeyer. After the party, she falls

asleep and dreams of snow castles, sugarplums, and her nutcracker, which has turned into a handsome prince.” Ticket prices range from $25 to $104 and are available at or 801-869-6900.l

As Utah’s Unemployment Rate Hits Record Low, Lack of Labor Lingers By Robert Spendlove, Zions Bank Senior Economist Utah’s unemployment rate hit the lowest level ever recorded in October. The Utah Department of Workforce Services’ most recent jobs report, released in November, shows that only 2.2% of the state’s workers are unemployed and actively looking for work. This historic low comes only 18 months after the state’s unemployment rate reached a record high of 10.4% in April 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. Utah’s job recovery from such a massive disruption has been impressive. Our state’s two-year job growth leads the nation at 3.7%, compared to a 2.2% job decline nationally. The state has added 58,500 jobs added over the past two years, with the construction; financial activities; and trade, transportation and utilities sectors growing the fastest. This job growth is limited, however, by the lack of available labor. Utah, like the rest of the nation, is struggling to find workers to fill job openings. A recent analysis from The Pew Charitable Trusts found that the ratio of jobs-to-jobless in Utah is more than

MyS ugar HouseJournal .com

Utah Unemployment Rate at Record Low 13.0% 12.0% 11.0% 10.0% 9.0% 8.0% 7.0% 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% October 2.0% 2021 1.0% 2.2% 0.0% 1/1/00 1/1/02 1/1/04 1/1/06 1/1/08 1/1/10 1/1/12 1/1/14 1/1/16 1/1/18 1/1/20 Source: Utah Department of Workforce Statistics

2 to 1. Many residents who dropped out of the workforce during the pandemic have not returned. Even so, the labor force participation rate – an estimate of what percent of the state’s population is working or looking for a job – is the fifth highest in the nation. Labor force participation remained steady from September to October at 67.9%, though still below the 68.6% of two years ago in October 2019. The very tight labor market continues to cause wage pressure. Nationally, average hourly earnings were 4.9% higher in

October, compared to one year ago. This wage inflation, which is a welcome trend for workers, is placing more strain on employers, who are facing both the labor shortage and continued supply chain struggles. Despite these challenges, Utah’s economy – and the U.S. economy – continue to improve and recover. More people are returning to work as the latest wave of the delta variant of the Coronavirus subsides, vaccination rates increase, and the impact of enhanced unemployment benefits ends. l

Women: Your Voice Matters!

We need more women in political office. We need you! Join the Women’s Leadership Institute in its non-partisan, in-depth training for aspiring female political candidates. The seventh annual cohort has started, but we have a couple spots still available!


December 2021| Page 13

Are you looking at me?

So are 250,000 of your potential customers!

Your business can market to over 250,000 homes and support the local community—all at the same time—with the City Journals. Our newspapers are the most widely read publications on the Wasatch Front. A current survey shows over 70% of homeowners read their City Journal.

Ask us how you can receive a FREE AD.




Only $10 A Visit!


Medallus Medical Membership is a simple membership program to all of our 8 clinics. Members can receive discounted medical services at $10/visit flat fee in exchange for a monthly membership fee: • $50 / month (1 member) • $75 / month (party of 2) • $100 / month (family of 3) • $120 / month (family of 4 to 6) *$25 additional per person (family of 7 to 12)

$20 registration fee – 12-month contract

801-810-7058 Page 14 | December 2021

Women: Your Voice Matters!

We need more women in political office. We need you! Join the Women’s Leadership Institute in its non-partisan, in-depth training for aspiring female political candidates. The seventh annual cohort has started, but we have a couple spots still available!


Sugar House City Journal


OUR FULL-SERVICE ER IS HERE FOR YOU At Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, we encourage you to listen to your body, eliminate the guesswork, and avoid taking chances anywhere else. Our safe and ready facility is here 24/7 to promptly diagnose and treat every emergency. Learn more at

In Partnership with Physician Owners

MyS ugar HouseJournal .com

December 2021| Page 15

Page 16 | December 2021

Sugar House City Journal

SSL, AARP, FitLot create exercise park geared to healthy aging


n Oct. 21, South Salt Lake cut the ribbon on an extension of Bickley Park, north of the Columbus Center. The new extension is unique for two reasons. The first is its focus—a park designed to encourage healthy aging— and secondly, it's the only one in the state. "Our city is always finding new ways to invest in people. Mental and physical health is a big challenge for many community members, and the pandemic made this especially acute. We knew one solution would be to encourage more outdoor fitness, and to our great pleasure, AARP and FitLot made this happen at just the right time. I couldn't be more thrilled to open the first FitLot in Utah and create an active space to foster healthy aging," said South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood. FitLot’s focus "It's really been the goal of my administration and my team to invest in people," Wood said, "and so that means providing recreational opportunities for all ages. So today is a FitLot Park for adults. So, we're super excited about this." The focus of the FitLot Park is older adults, but any age group and ability can use the equipment. The Park is open anytime. "A healthy and active senior community is a top priority of South Salt Lake, but the high cost of gyms, the Coronavirus pandemic, and lack of transportation often limit opportunities for seniors," Julie Taylor, communications and outreach manager, said. “This outdoor and free amenity helps residents build strength, stamina, and balance; spend time outdoors improving mood and overall well-being; and stay connected to neighbors and friends." The Park has both moving and non-moving equipment. The non-moving equipment includes: pull-up bar, jump touch panel (measures vertical leap), vertical ladder (used to

By Bill Hardesty |

South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood checks out the outdoor exercise equipment at FitLot Park. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

work on leg muscles. It is also used for arm and core exercises), plyometrics sheet (a jump box), ab cruncher/leg lift bench, chin-up bar, and dip parallel bars. The moving items are: chest/back press, hand cycle, elliptical, and cardio stepper. There are step-by-step instructions on each piece of equipment. "This outdoor amenity is the perfect addition to our Bickley Park. We were so excited to design it as an all-ages, all-abilities playground and at last have a park next to our community center,'' said Sharen Hauri, South Salt Lake director of neighborhoods. "We sought to create a multigenerational playground, and the addition of a FitLot fully supports that vision. The center is a home base to a Promise SSL youth

The cut ribbon signals the opening of the FitLot Park, the only one in the state. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

MyS ugar HouseJournal .com

Residents start to check out the new outdoor equipment at FitLot Park. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

program, Head Start preschool and recreation leagues. It is another great way for parents, grandparents, and the whole community to stay active and spend time outdoors." The $125,000 park's price tag was paid with grant money. AARP was a significant donor. "When we first met with the City of South Salt Lake about nine months ago there was a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of energy around this, and everybody just said, ‘Yes, yes, yes. Let's get it done. Let's figure it out,’" Alan Ormsby, state director of AARP Utah, said. The AARP donation includes three years of programming which provides free fitness instruction classes at FitLot Park. AARP and FitLot "I'm so grateful that AARP has been thrilled over the last three years to build one of these FitLot in all 50 states and three territories. We do it because we love the community," Ormsby said.

AARP teamed up with FitLot in 2018. Their goal was to build an outdoor fitness park in each state and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With the opening of the South Salt Lake location, there are now at least one in each state. According to the website, "FitLot was founded out of frustration by a father and son who simply couldn't understand why every neighborhood in America didn't have their own outdoor fitness park." Dr. Vadim Mejerson and his son, Adam, founded FitLot. It is a community health solution. The Mejersons believed FitLot Parks have "the power to improve the health and quality of life in neighborhoods throughout the country." Landscape Structures became the exclusive supplier for FitLot in 2018. Each FitLot Park is approximately 1,400 square feet, like the size of a playground. They are shaded and have a safe surface. l

With help from Aaron Wiet, director of SSL Recreation, older adults check out new outdoor equipment at FitLot Park. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

December 2021| Page 17

Measuring the impact of ranked choice voting


his election cycle, multiple cities in the Salt Lake valley opted to take advantage of a pilot program for ranked choice voting, made possible by the state legislature. As opposed to a traditional election, where voters must select one candidate, RCV allows voters to rank any number of candidates according to their preference. Proponents of the method point to the benefits of making the switch, from encouraging more candidates to run and increasing voter turnout, to making elections more fair and less antagonistic. While some of these benefits aren’t easily measured, some of them can be. So, how did this round of RCV experimentation turn out? To get a sense of how much RCV impacted local elections this year, The City Journals took a look at the numbers for a few key metrics. First reporters compared the number of candidates and voter turnout to the same races held in 2017. Then reporters asked the question: did RCV actually change any of the election results? Number of Candidates There were eight cities which took part in the RCV pilot: Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, Millcreek, Cottonwood Heights, Sandy, Draper, Midvale and Bluffdale. Riverton would have but only had one candidate for each election. Within those cities, there were 17 races that utilized RCV. (A couple races would have used RCV, but it ended up not being necessary because there were only two candidates.) There were 73 combined candidates who ran in those 17 races, an increase from 63 candidates who ran for those same positions in the primary stage in 2017. However, that increase is almost completely accounted for by one city, Sandy, which saw an increase of three to eight candidates in its mayoral race and from two to six candidates in its race for an at-large seat on the city council. Cottonwood Heights was another city that saw an increase in candidates, with five candidates competing in both its mayoral race and one of its city council races (compared to three in each race from 2017). Salt Lake City saw the biggest decrease in its number of candidates, with two fewer candidates vying for its second district seat and three fewer candidates vying for its seventh district. Voter Turnout How about voter turnout? Does giving people the chance to rank multiple candidates encourage more people to participate? Not according to this year’s races. Of the 17 races we looked at, there was a total voter turnout of 115,851. That’s up just a little bit from 2017’s turnout of 115,008. Recognizing that there are a number of possible variables that can impact turnout for a given race, here are a few of the outliers in this category. Remember, this is comparing 2017 to 2021. A Bluffdale race for two seats on its council increased from 1,418 ballots counted to 3,344. Salt Lake City’s first district race saw an increase from 1,621 to 3,381. Despite having seven candidates vying for two at-large seats, Draper’s voter turnout dropped 20%, from 10,853 to 8,610. Even in Sandy City, which had a hotly contested and crowded mayoral race, turnout decreased from 23,007 to 21,246. Did it impact results? Under RCV, the ballot counting process takes place over several rounds. After the first round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and their ballots then revert to those voters’ second choices. This creates the possibility that whichever candidate receives the most first-place ballots, won’t actually win the election. You might have a candidate who receives the third-most votes in the first round end up winning the election

Page 18 | December 2021

By Justin Adams |

Election assistant Becky Overacker helps first-time voter Zyon Bruce in Draper where they held ranked choice voting for the first time. (Mimi Darley Dutton/City Journals)

because they built a broad base of support and was able to win the majority of the second place votes. So, did that happen in any of these elections? For the most part, no. In almost all the races, the candidate who received the most first-place votes went on to win the election. The one exception being Millcreek’s District 2 race, in which Jeremiah Clark held a narrow lead after the first round of votes, but ended up losing to Thom Desirant by nine percentage points. So what? Based on this initial look at some of these metrics, it might seem like RCV made a huge impact on this year’s elections. But Stan Lockhart, a spokesman for Utah Ranked Choice Voting, said that it’s too early to draw long-term conclusions about the effectiveness of RCV. “Twenty-three cities in Utah used ranked choice voting this year, and it was the first time for 21 of those 23 cities. We need to be careful in extrapolating too much,” he said. In regards to measurables like number of candidates and voter turnout, Lockhart said those have always been driven more by local issues. If there’s something controversial that’s taken place at the city level, like a tax increase or a land use decision, that’s more likely to drum up interest in an election than a change to RCV. A better measure of RCV’s success, according to Lockhart, is how voters felt about the process…a question that Utah RCV teamed up with Y2 Analytics to help answer. “I think the most important metric that we should focus on is voter satisfaction. How did the voter feel about the experience of ranking their vote. And the survey vote shows as high as 90% of the voters thought it was easy to use,” Lockhart said. Additionally, 62% of poll respondents said they liked voting with a ranked choice ballot. Learning curve

Lockhart acknowledged that there can be a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to RCV, both for candidates and voters. For candidates, the implementation of RCV opens up another component of campaign strategy that they normally wouldn’t think about: coordinating with other candidates and forming coalitions. For example, a group of two or more like-minded candidates can encourage their voters to rank them in the top three spots. Lockhart said he didn’t see a whole lot of such coordination in the races which used RCV. One exception was for one of the council races in Salt Lake City, where two candidates jointly paid for a postcard advertisement, where one candidate was featured on one side, and the other candidate on the flipside. There’s also a learning curve for voters, who might not realize the power they have by taking advantage of the ranked choice feature. If a voter only ranks one or two candidates and those candidates get eliminated, that voters’ ballot becomes “inactive.” In a close election, a large number of inactive ballots represents voters who could have potentially swung the election one way or another. That’s exactly what happened in Sandy, where the top two candidates for mayor were separated by just 21 votes. However, there were over 4,000 inactive ballots (voters who had chosen to not rank either of the two finalists). If voting is all about using one’s voice, Lockhart suggested that fully ranking every candidate on the ballot is voters’ best way to maximize that voice. “If those voters had ranked more candidates, they would have been more relevant in that round,” he said about that Sandy mayoral race. l

Sugar House City Journal



UV Purifier & Reme Halo Can Reduce Your Risk of Infection! Ask for Details*


Sinus Problems? Allergies? Asthma? Headaches? Excessive Dust? High Energy Bills? Bad Odors?

If it’s in your ducts, it’s in your lungs.

Air duct cleaning is one of the best ways to fight symptoms of asthma and allergies. WE CAN SANITIZE YOUR VENTS TO HELP STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

Helps Support a Healthy Immune System

MyS ugar HouseJournal .com


Expires 1/15/22


FREE system analysis/inspection. Call for details. Additional vents priced separately. We service all areas.

Offer expires 1/15/22.





Offer expires 1/15/22.


With purchase of complete ductwork cleaning. Offer expires 1/15/22.

We Will Beat Any Price With Superior Quality 100% Guarantee


SERVICE December 2021| Page 19

Former NBA coach hosts basketball camp By Catherine Garrett |


tah native Barry Hecker, who coached in the NBA for more than two decades, continues to teach the game of basketball to young players. During the winter holidays, he will host a camp Dec. 27-29 from 9-11 a.m. at the Sandy Recreation Center, located at 440 E. 8680 South for boys and girls in grades fourth through seventh. “These camps are all about the basic fundamentals of basketball,” Hecker said. “We focus on quality fundamental instruction, we work hard with a lot of discipline and structure and we have a lot of fun. When these kids walk out of there, they know they’ve been taught and improved.” The cost of the camp is $75. Registrations are open online by visiting www. and clicking on “Activity Registration.” The veteran coach, who lives in Murray, said the values he has learned from his basketball coaching journey—beginning at Oxon Hill High School in Maryland and spanning through Salt Lake Community College and stints with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies—are invaluable. Being able to share those prin-

ciples of hard work, teamwork, unselfishness and persistence, along with the physical skills of the game itself, with others thrills him. “I don’t care who I coach or when I coach,” Hecker, who has worked with current Jazz players Mike Conley and Rudy Gay, said. “I simply enjoy teaching the game. It’s great to see a smile on someone’s face as they experience success. If you help somebody, you’ll be somebody.” Hecker has conducted clinics all over the world for more than 40 years, including many since his retirement from coaching in the NBA. He said he particularly enjoys working with the youth. “If you teach skills, that leads to confidence and that confidence can allow anyone to do anything they want,” he said. “I have more fun with young kids than with the pros. In the NBA, you have guys who are making millions and they don’t listen. These kids are making nothing and they’ll listen to you.” l Former NBA coach Barry Hecker, who has worked with current Jazz player Rudy Gay, has been hosting basketball camps for more than 40 years. (Catherine Garrett/City Journals)

BEFORE HE FLASHES THAT MAGICAL SMILE, YOU’LL CHOOSE WHERE HE’LL BE DELIVERED. It’s a big decision. But when you choose an OB/GYN affiliated with Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, you’ll enjoy our advanced labor monitoring for you and your baby; labor Jacuzzi tubs; a customized birthing experience in a private, quiet room; plus a celebratory dinner for two. This is where healthy is delivered daily in all of its amazing beauty. To schedule a free private tour of our Women’s Center, please call 801-350-4078

In Partnership with Physician Owners.

Page 20 | December 2021

Sugar House City Journal

December holidays beyond Santa Claus and the nativity By Karmel Harper |

How can we have Christmas without a Christmas tree, Mom?” -Kevin McCallister, “Home Alone.” Kevin asked this question as his family was packing for their holiday trip to Paris, France. Taking a vacation during the holidays was unheard of for the 1990 movie audience, but introducing this concept added to the storyline, character development, and message of Home Alone. We all remember the rained-out trip, a mother’s determination to be with her son for Christmas, and the message of forgiveness between parent and child. But nowadays, more and more families are opting to follow the McCallister tradition to teach their children another message: that memories last longer than objects. Instead of clicking on Amazon links, families are clicking on hotel and cruise line websites to enjoy a vacation getaway during the Christmas holiday in lieu of physical presents. Herriman’s Cassidy O-Keef Ratliff’s family took cruises during Christmas in 2017 and 2018. “The memories last a lifetime and my kids talk about it all the time and long to do it again. Presents are forgotten mostly within a couple of weeks. It helps parents find calmness and enjoy the events leading up to the holidays,” Ratliff said. When Herriman’s Kim Capilli Carpenter was a child, their family visited Mexico during the holidays. “The vacation was the big family gift and it was amazing. My mom would pack our stockings and fill them with all of the essentials for the beach and set them under one of those little one-foot Christmas trees in our hotel room. Speaking from ex-

perience I can guarantee you and your kids would trade these kinds of trips for all of the presents in the world,” Carpenter said. Herriman’s Alison Taylor said, “My parents did this once. It’s been 49 years next month, and my sisters and I will talk about it!” Jozettte Barker-Loumis, a travel advisor in Herriman said, “I book clients for Christmas a lot! As a family we go as well.” Barker-Loumis said the most popular holiday destination is Mexico as it is easy on restrictions and close to Utah. However, not everyone is sold on the idea of a Christmas getaway. In a poll of Herriman residents on the Herriman Happenings Facebook page, of the 569 responses, 41 said they will never take a vacation away for the holidays as they believe that Christmas is to be celebrated at home. For families with young children, trips can be too daunting and the magic of Christmas is still alive and well with little ones. Santa Claus visiting children on a cruise ship or a hotel room just does not have the same magic as visiting your own home. “I don’t feel like Christmas at home is about remembering what gifts they got,” Herriman’s Nicole Dom Christoffersen said. “It’s about remembering the feelings and the excitement of being with cousins and family we don’t see as often. In fact, my daughter is saving up for something really expensive she wants to buy and I expressed to her that she might feel bummed asking for money when everyone else is getting something fun to play with that day. She said, ‘I’m not worried about it. Gifts are fun but I’m most excited to

The community candle lighting to celebrate Hanukkah at Sue Tice’s synagogue. (Photo courtesy of Sue Tice.)

hang out with Grandma and do puzzles and play with my cousins.’” Herriman’s Denise Fritz said, “My vote is home for the holidays, but a family gift would be a trip. The holiday season of putting up the tree, great smells of cookie baking, gingerbread house decorating, and relatives coming together. That’s what great memories are. Trips are fine but at another time.” Another option to have the best of both

worlds is to give a vacation as the major family gift for Christmas but take the trip after Christmas. This strategy avoids the rush of holiday travel. Herriman’s Tauni Smith Hawker said, “At times, the vacation is the day after Christmas. Other times, it’s a few months after Christmas. The ones later are awesome because we had Christmas and the excitement building up to the vacation.” l

Two Menorahs (or Hannukiahs). The one on the right says Shalom and the one on the left says Hanukkah. They’re accompanied by some dreidels and some Hanukkah gelt. (Photo courtesy of Sue Tice.)

MyS ugar HouseJournal .com

December 2021| Page 21

My name is Jonathan Campbell. I am a resident of Holladay, and my kids attend school in the Olympus High network. I’ve been practicing dentistry for 20 years, near St. Mark’s Hospital. If you need a dentist, or you’d like a second opinion, we can help.



Legacy DEN TAL

• Most Insurance Plans Accepted • In-Office Membership for Self-Pay • Flexible Financing Options Available • Complimentary Evaluations

1345 E. 3900 S. Suite #116 Salt Lake City, UT 84124


is looking for champions in your community!



are leaders who lift and inspire. They work to build a better community.



Visit the City Journals website to nominate a community champion today!


11901 South 700 East Draper 801-572-0956

We’ll Buy Your House Today!! Behind on Payments? Bad Tenants? Need Fast Cash? Divorce? House Vacant? Estate Sale? Foreclosure Looming? Inherited House? Mom/Dad moving to a Care Center? Here is Your QUICK and EASY Solution:

Each month we’ll spotlight a Community Champion!

Salty Peaks Snowboard Specialty Shop TRY SNOWBOARDING FOR FREE! $40 Rental Package

High end board, boot, binding We rent and sell gear that will make you a better snowboarder

up to 2 days rental cost applied towards purchase Expires 4/15/2022



Instant Debt Relief! Can Pay Cash!!! Freedom from Maintenance Hassles Written Offer Within 48 Hours

Call Greg at 801-577-2403 WE CAN HELP YOU

Page 22 | December 2021

Inactive Real Estate Agent

Sugar House City Journal



Laughter AND



I Saw Mommy Kicking Santa Claus

he holidays have arrived. Snow is falling, candles are aglow, the smell of cinnamon wafts through the air, and somewhere in Utah a middle-aged woman is screaming at a Walmart cashier because the store is out of the candied cherries she puts in her fruit cake. Blame the supply chain, but it’s not just dried fruit running low; it’s patience, compassion and the ability to be a nice human being. If you’re on TikTok, along with videos of flying reindeer and holiday proposals, you’ll see flight attendants being punched, teachers yelling at students, customers throwing coffee at baristas and whales capsizing kayaks. Even whales have had enough. You’d think being isolated last year would make us happier to interact with fellow humans this holiday season, but it seems to be the opposite. Social distancing and isolation has taken our stress levels to nuclear proportions. We’re reacting like the Tasmanian Devil, whirling ourselves off a cartoon cliff. News programs broadcast warnings about packages stolen from porches and backseats, felons posing as Salvation Army bell-ringers and spiteful elves spying on children and reporting back to Santa. Poor Kris Kringle will deliver a lot of coal this year . . . well, not coal because it’s

destroying the planet. Maybe since wind power is a sustainable coal alternative, Santa can bring naughty people a stiff, gusty breeze. We’re living in a heightened state of fear, and fear is the opposite of what we should feel this time of year. This season of love and light and joy has been co-opted by those who would divide us. The farther apart we get, the less we are able to see each other. Here’s an idea. What if we put all talk of politics on hold for December? That would be one month of no talking heads and finger-pointing and dire social media memes. What if we vowed to share only positive stories and heartwarming videos, and ban all holiday music featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks?

Let’s use this time to digest more than nine pounds of mashed potatoes and three types of pie. Let’s digest how we’ve treated each other during the last year, and try to do better. Even I, a freakin’ humor columnist, have received more angry emails and phone calls in 2021 than the previous 17 years combined. Whether it’s Democrats, Republicans, Big Bird, mask mandates, cancel culture or fruitcake, our division is growing. Any day, I’m expecting leaflets to be flung out of helicopters explaining how the COVID vaccine is turning us into carnivorous, zombie dinosaurs. Aren’t you tired of it all? Remember when Christmas meant acts of service and goodwill to all mankind? What can you do to return to love this holiday season? Maybe less judgement and more connection. Maybe less yelling and more listening. Maybe it’s taking a plate of homemade cookies to a neighbor. Maybe it’s building a bridge instead of a wall. Maybe it's apologizing and swallowing our inflated egos. This holiday season, it’s your job to love your neighbor, even the one you don’t agree with. Even the ones yelling at the Walmart cashier. They might need the most love of all.


HEATING & AIR&CONDITIONING Water Softener Air Purification

Glen’s Appliance Repair Major Appliance Repair & Installation REASONABLE RATES 38 Years Experience

Call Glen at 801-510-3513 REMODELING

Carlson Kitchen & Complete Remodeling


Call: 801-797-2956



Specializing in metal roofs, wall panels, and exterior window treatments.

Basement Finishing And Remodel Projects

Call for a FREE estimate today




All types of roofs

$650 OFF any reroof over 2,000 sq. ft. DECKS & HANDRAILS

Utahs Best Decks

801-882-2332 METAL ROOFING


801-509-9007 CONCRETE

T3 Concrete LLC

Building Utah’s BEST Decks for over Specializes in Driveways, Walkways, Patios, Foundations, Retaining Walls, 25 years with quality & integrity. Basement Entrances Stamp & Color Concrete Call John today for a FREE estimate. Call Mate’ for a FREE Estimate


MyS ugar HouseJournal .com



All types of electrical work. Residential and Commercial.

Siding – Soffit – Fascia – Raingutters

DOG PRODUCTS Use Seal N Heal® to seal wounds on dogs & cats with a bitter taste to prevent gnawing, allow healing.

Call and ask about Breaker Box Labeling!

(801) 253-2566

At Tractor Supply. (



HARVEY’S ELECTRIC 801-833-0998 Over 10 years in business Licensed and Insured.

Guaranteed not to clog for as long as you own your home. If it clogs, LeafGuard will come out and clean it for you.

One-Piece System, Professional Installation



Capitol Exteriors Call NOW For SPECIALS

FULL SERVICE PROFESSIONAL PAINTING Interior/Exterior Residential/Commercial Over 20 Years Experience


We’ll buy your running & non-running, wrecked or broken car, truck or van.


(801) 506-6098

Free Estimate - 385-300-0869


A Local Utah Company


24Hr Rooter Connectionz


For Immediate Service Call


Call Jeff at 801-347-1150

Drain, Sewer, Plumbing, Heating & Air Services. $49 OFF Any Service! Call Today

24 Hour Emergency: 801-484-0506

Residential and Light Commercial




• Steel Covered Carports, Patios & Porches • Steel Handrails • Quality Decks

Call John today for a FREE estimate.


Quality and Integrity for over 25 Years



Apex Clean Air

Installations & Repairs Call today for a free in home estimate.





WATER SOFTENER RELIABLE SOFT WATER without the typical water softener problems

• Zero maintenance • No breakdowns • 2/3 LESS salt

For free in-home estimate:

visit or call 801-890-5344

December 2021| Page 23

December 2021 | Vol. 7 Iss. 12



By Anagha Rao |

he Huntington’s Disease Society of America hosted a Team Hope Walk fundraising event in Sugar House Park Oct. 16. This event was held to raise awareness for Huntington’s disease and raise money for Huntington’s disease (HD) research. The HDSA’s Team Hope Walk is an event that has been going on for over 10 years. In 2011, the first chapter of the HDSA in Utah was started along with the Team Hope Walk. Since then, the event has become an annual tradition for the Huntington’s disease community. “Every year, they all see friends and family who only see each other once a year on the walk, making everyone a tight-knit family because they all know what everyone else is going through,” said Morgan Pratt, the head of the Utah HDSA chapter. During this event, the HDSA implemented strict COVID-19 precautions including requiring COVID-19

waivers to acknowledge that they will follow the required precautions. All the lines for this event included spots so each person was kept 6 feet apart. There were also frequent hand sanitizing stations available for participants and volunteers. In one day, the Utah Team Hope Walk raised over $15,000. Team Hope is HDSA’s largest national grassroots fundraising event, which takes place in over 100 cities across the U.S. and has raised more than $20 million for HD since its inception in 2007. “This community is one of the strongest, quirkiest, and most positive communities I have ever seen,” Pratt said. The HDSA spreads awareness about this disease to the general public by providing high-quality, evidence-based information about this disease. For caregivers of a loved one The Huntington’s Disease Society of America hosted a Team Hope Walk fundraising event in Sugar House Park. with HD, the website offers free ther (Anagha Rao/City Journals) Continued page 8

DOn’T LET WinTEr Crush YOur hOLiDaYs Call Diamond Tree Experts today – Your local experts in tree trimming & removal • 24/7 Emergency Response • Power Trimming • Stump Grinding • Demolition Options • Organic Mulch Products

Mention this ad for

% 10 OFF Tree Services

Must present coupon at time of estimate. Expires 12/31/2021.

Contact us today at Local Postal Customer ECRWSS

Certified Arborist On Staff

Scan Here: Interactive online edition with more photos.


Now HiriNg!

From $35K

up to $80K!

Year Round • FULL Benefits • Bonuses Overtime • Paid Vacations • 401k Growth Opportunities


Call 801-262-1596 or email

Thank You to our Community Sponsors for supporting City Journals

Presort Std U.S. Postage PAID Ogden, UT Permit #190