Sugarhouse Journal | September 2021

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September 2021 | Vol. 7 Iss. 09




arcos Orozco is an ordinary man with a remarkable story. For over 40 years, he has worked for the Salt Lake City School District as a custodian where he has quietly impacted the lives of thousands of students. Orozco has an impeccable understanding of his work and is acutely aware of the influence custodians can have on children. “You know I could tell you who my elementary custodian was, both of them, Percy and George,” he said. A reminder that it’s sometimes the background or secondary characters in our lives who come to be the most memorable. For Orozco, he gladly embraces his position as a role model, acknowledging that for many of the students, “[I’m] the only positive male role model that [the kids] see, especially being Latino, too.” It’s that sense of steadfastness that has punctuated Marco’s four-decade career. When Orozco started working as a custodian, he made it about a year before leaving the position. “I knew right away I had made a mistake,” he recalled. From there he continued to ask for his job back, and, in the interim, looked for other custodial opportunities in schools until finally, he received news of an opening. Since then Orozco has never looked back and has subsequently built a remarkable career for himself in the hallways of Salt Lake City schools. On any given day you’ll see him in the halls of East High School, doling out high fives and handshakes to a legion of high schoolers. Orozco says it the relationships he’s made that are the Marcos Orozco poses in front of East High School where he currently holds the title of lead custodian. (Courtesy of Salt Lake City School primary reason he’s lasted so long in one position. “I didn’t have a good role Continued page 5 District)

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August 2021| Page 3

Salt Lake City’s Beer Fest returns for its 11th year By Lizzie Walje |


ot even a deluge of rain could dampen the spirits of the patrons at Salt Lake City’s 11th annual Beer Fest. During the two-day festival, that occurred Aug. 21 and 22, guests enjoyed an array of different beers from local vendors in addition to live music and food trucks galore. The festival took place downtown at The Gateway Mall. In recent years, the outdoor mall has become a hub for many local events and festivities. If you’re unfamiliar with Beer Fest, but consider yourself a fan of brew, you’d definitely find a selection that’s just your speed. For $25 patrons can enter the festival, although, the highly coveted VIP tickets ring in at $125. The benefits of VIP include six food and drink pairings, a complimentary festival tote bag, an official festival pint glass, restaurant certificates, giveaways, and plenty more to be revealed as the event unfolds. These tickets sell out quickly every year, ergo, if you’re considering a bid for a 2022 VIP ticket, it might be wise to mark your calendar. Following all the hardships of 2020, Beer Fest found itself committed to making the logistics of the event run as smoothly as possible. As a result, Beer Fest introduced its flagship passport, an easy and simple way for guests to navigate the festival and keep track of the vendors they sampled. Every sample of beer “costs” a certain number of passport punches, ranging from one to six punches. Thus, the passport easily allows for both attendees and vendors to track progress With an easily identifiable wristband, 21 and older patrons were free to roam around the grounds, trying a wide variety of different samples. Despite the stereotypes that often exist surrounding quality alcohol curation and rendering in Utah, the festival featured a lineup of formidable local favorites such as

Journals T H E

Beer Fest Welcome Patrons to its 11th annual festival. (Lizzie Walje/City Journals)

Squatters, Uinta, Wasatch, Toasted Barrel, and many others. Meanwhile, regional favorites from across the country were showcased featuring breweries from California, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Maine. Not to mention, heavy hitters such as Corona and White Claw were present, in addition to some international brands as well. All in all, the festival boasted something for everyone, whether you prefer something innovative and local or classic and smooth. For those who found their match in beer, purchase options were available. Beer Fest also included a lineup of impressive local musicians and no shortage of incredible food options via food truck. Patrons could pair their beer with a simple slice of pizza or an adventurous entrée of their choosing. Spirits were high, even when the rain was in full effect, signaling another successful year of Beer Fest. l

Left: Local musicians provided entertainment during the two-day festival. Right: Over 15 food trucks brought an eclectic mixture of dining options. (Lizzie Walje/City Journals)




The Sugar House City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout Sugar House. For information about distribution please email 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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Continued from front page model as a father. You know…not at all. And so it’s the relationships that we build. It’s not just myself, it’s my team, everyone who works in custodial.” To this day Orozco is recognized by students, even those who have long graduated and left the primary schooling system. It’s something he never tires of, and he feels proud to make such a lasting impression. “These kids remember me positively,” he said, “and for them to remember me after all this time…it makes me proud of what I do. I love my job.” Orozco is proof that every job has merit, even those often overlooked. “Some people might have their opinions of me. Oh, he’s just a janitor. But it’s more than that, we’re not just custodians, we’re the community.” The praise that Orozco has gotten over social media further substantiates this idea, with hundreds of students both past and present attesting to his exemplary character. Orozco sees his role as being able to provide consistency for children who may have very little of it in their day-to-day interactions. Particularly children who may fall through the cracks both systemically and emotionally. “I show them that I’m here,” he said. “If [they] need a job, if [they] need to talk to somebody, I’m here. Whether they’re athletes or regular students, we just talk to them. Whatever you do, take pride in it. I take pride in what I do. This is where I’m supposed to be.” l



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August 2021| Page 5

What’s your legacy?

The Salt Lake City School District has partnered with the Salt Lake County Health Department to bring vaccines to students and the community. (Photo courtesy of Salt Lake City School District)

Salt Lake City School District works to combat growing Covid-19 concerns


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By Lizzie Walje |

s the 2020-21 academic school year came to an end, many students, parents and educators believed that concerns regarding Covid-19 would begin to dissipate. However, with ongoing issues pertaining to the highly contagious Delta variant and nationwide vaccination refusals, the Salt Lake City School District is once again looking for ways to mitigate the risk of transmission all while keeping children in the classroom and away from virtual learning. Currently, roughly 45% of Utah’s population is fully vaccinated. In fact, just recently, the CDC authorized and encouraged those with autoimmune disorders and deficiencies to consider booster shots. While certain parts of the country are embracing the vaccine, on the contrary, multiple states are setting record highs for cases and hospitalizations, a poignant reminder that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over. How is the Salt Lake School District responding? With plenty of initiatives to help students receive vaccinations and safely usher them back into learning spaces. However, there are challenges that come with vaccinating those in the district. First and foremost, the district is now a minority-majority district, meaning that there are now more ethnic minority students than Caucasian students. For those who have followed vaccination efforts closely, minority communities are often hesitant to receive vaccinations as a result of previous misconduct as perpetrated and recognized by the United States government. The issue is further compounded by the fact that young people, in general, are more likely to bypass the vaccine. One way the District is trying to help is by incorporating vaccine efforts into typical back-to-school programming. For instance, the District’s back-to-school fair will connect students with district programs, resources, and the opportunity to meet the new superintendent, Timothy Gadson. Additionally,

vaccinations will be present for those interested at the event. Gadson has been particularly vocal about how mitigating the fallout of Covid-19 related issues will be one of the biggest challenges he will face in his first year as superintendent. Yet he is convinced striking the balance comes from not treating the district like a monolith, and rather, working to recognize each school in the district as its own unique entity. Recognizing autonomy, he believes, will help cultivate a stable sense of self-governance. “Each school has its own personality,” Gadson acknowledged at the Title VI meet and greet event held Aug. 13 at the Urban Indian Center. For those unable to attend the back-toschool fair, there are still plenty of opportunities to receive the vaccine. While the District is not requiring the vaccine in order for students to attend in-person classes, they strongly recommend students who are older than 12 and eligible, to consider receiving it. Despite their best efforts, the District does acknowledge the ongoing optics surrounding Covid-19 are complicated, and there’s no way to predict how things will unravel. For now, in-person learning will resume as expected, with regular and cautious tracking of the Delta variant and its trends. The district is currently partnered with the Salt Lake County Health Department to provide vaccination clinics for Salt Lake School District families and the community at large. Consider visiting one of the clinics for a free first dose (with a second free dose to follow). No appointments are necessary, and everyone is welcome. For more information regarding backto-school vaccines, the District regularly updates its offerings and clinic locations at or l

Sugar House City Journal

Nine years without a cold? By Priscilla Schnarr

Oktoberfest at Snowbird is running from Aug. 14 to Oct. 17. (Photo courtesy: Rob Aseltine/Snowbird)

Fall is in the air at Snowbird Oktoberfest


By Linda Steele |

ktoberfest is back after a long year in suspension due to COVID. Snowbird’s Oktoberfest is one of Utah’s largest festivals. It is family-friendly with food, activities, live music and brews. The free festival takes place on Saturdays and Sundays, running from Aug. 14 through Oct.17, from noon until 6 p.m. each day. . Oktoberfest features 18 fun activities to attract guests and keep them coming back. Activities include the Mountain Coaster, Woodward WreckTangle and Alpine Slide. The festival includes street performers, smoked meats from Traeger, face painting, traditional Bavarian bratwurst, and pretzels. The Utah Jazz and Snowbird Ski Resort have an apparel line that is available at the merchandise tent, along with Oktoberfest items. “We could not be more excited to welcome our Snowbird community back to the mountains to celebrate this favorite Utah tradition with us. Oktoberfest has been taking place at Snowbird since 1972, bringing our community together for fun and festivities for the last 49 years. We are glad to be able to offer the experience again in a welcoming, outdoor environment,” said Dave Fields, Snowbird President and General Manager. Military Appreciation Days are Aug. 14,15, 21 and 22 with tram rides free for active and retired military, and their immediate family with valid ID. Labor Day weekend is a tribute to the original Oktoberfest, the Grand Entry of the Breweries in Munich, Germany. Sept. 5. is the beard and mustache competition presented by the Salty Saints Social Club. Bring your own mustache and beard or

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wear a fake mustache and beard. Any style of facial hair and whiskers are accepted. Daily from noon to 6 p.m., enjoy polka dancing to live music inside the Oktoberfest Halle. On the Chickadee Stage, there are daily performances from 2 - 5 p.m. with music from local musicians, weather permitting. Harry Lee and the Back Alley Blues band performed on the Chickadee Stage Aug.15, 2020, the second day of Oktoberfest. The audience enjoyed listening and dancing on the lawn to this band with the beautiful mountains surrounding them. “It is great to play live music at Snowbird Oktoberfest with the surroundings of the Utah mountains. We enjoy playing in this event. Our band has enjoyed playing Oktoberfest off and on since the ‘90s,” said Michael Ricks, bass guitarist for Harry Lee and the Back Alley Blues Band. The history of Oktoberfest started in 1810 to celebrate the October marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese. Citizens were invited to join in the festivities which were held over five days in front of the city gates. The main event of the original Oktoberfest was a horse race. It has come a long way since only a horse race. In Utah 1972, Oktoberfest took place one year after Snowbird opened and has been a staple event for 49 years, with food, brews, live-music and fun activities for the whole family. For more information about Oktoberfest, reach out to Snowbird Communications Manager, Sarah Sherman at ssherman@snowbird. com. l

Scientists have discovered a natural way to kill germs fast. Now thousands of people are using it against viruses and bacteria in the nose and on skin. Germs, such as viruses and bacteria, can multiply fast. When unwanted germs get in your nose they can spread and cause misery unless you stop them early. In the last 20 years, hundreds New device puts copper right where you need it. of studies by government and Early user Mary Pickrell said, “I university scientists show the natural element copper kills germs just by touch. can’t believe how good my nose feels.” “What a wonderful thing!” exclaimed The EPA officially declared copper to be “antimicrobial”, which means it kills Physician’s Assistant Julie. “Is it supmicrobes, including viruses, bacteria, posed to work that fast?” Pat McAllister, 70, received one for and fungus. The National Institutes of Health Christmas. “One of the best presents says, “The antimicrobial activity of cop- ever. This little jewel really works.” Frequent flier Karen Gauci used to per is now well established.” Ancient Greeks and Egyptians used suffer after crowded flights. Though copper to purify water and heal wounds. skeptical, she tried copper on travel days They didn’t know about microbes, but for 2 months. “Sixteen flights and not a sniffle!” she exclaimed. now we do. Businesswoman Rosaleen says when Scientists say the high conductance of copper disrupts the electrical balance people around her show signs of unwantin a microbe and destroys it in seconds. ed germs, she uses copper morning and Some hospitals tried copper for touch night. “It saved me last holidays,” she surfaces like faucets and doorknobs. said. “The kids had the crud going round They say this cut the spread of MRSA, and round, but not me.” Attorney Donna Blight tried copper and other illnesses by over half and for her sinus. “I am shocked!” she said. saved lives. The strong scientific evidence gave “My head cleared, no more headache, no inventor Doug Cornell an idea. He made more congestion.” A man with trouble breathing through a smooth copper probe with a tip to fit in his nose at night tried copper just before the bottom of his nose. The next time he felt a tickle in his bed. “Best sleep I’ve had in years!” In a lab test, technicians placed 25 nostril that warned of a cold about to start, he rubbed the copper gently in his million live flu viruses on a CopperZap. No viruses were found alive soon after. nose for 60 seconds. The handle is curved and textured to “The cold never got going,” he exclaimed. “That was September 2012. I increase contact. Copper can kill germs use copper in the nose every time and I picked up on fingers and hands. The EPA says copper still works when tarnished. have not had a single cold since then.” CopperZap is made in America of “We don’t make product health claims so I can’t say cause and effect. pure copper. It has a 90-day full money back guarantee. The price is $79.95. But we know copper is antimicrobial.” Get $10 off each CopperZap with He asked relatives and friends to try it. They reported the same thing, so he code UTCJ12 at patented CopperZap® and put it on the or 1-888-411-6114. Buy Once, Use Forever. market. Soon hundreds of people had tried it. Statements herein are not intended and The feedback was 99% positive if they should not be interpreted as product used the copper within 3 hours after the health claims, and have not been evalfirst sign of unwanted germs, like a tick- uated by the FDA. Not claimed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. le in the nose or a scratchy throat. advertorial

August 2021| Page 7

A verdant sanctuary above the city, Millcreek Canyon entices Photos by Sona Schmidt-Harris |


illcreek Canyon is so close to Holladay, one can forget its virtues. A quick visit never disappoints.

Artistically fashioned steps lead toward the trail from Church Fork picnic area.

A brook flows down toward Mill Creek.

In the summer, trails are lined with all manner of green.

A little depressed by the drought? Up in Millcreek Canyon, there are micro-waterfalls.

Page 8 | August 2021

Artistry is not forgotten on Millcreek Canyon trails.

Sugar House City Journal

The Grandeur Peak trail starts out gently but grows increasingly difficult.

Exposed roots of a dead tree evoke its once desire to reach for life.

An untamed explosion of green hovers over Mill Creek.

A simple bridge helps hikers across a stream.

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Indigenous schooling concerns take center stage at SLCSD superintendent meet and greet


n Aug. 13, the SLCSD Title VI Program hosted a meet and greet featuring the newly appointed superintendent Timothy Gadson. The event was held at the Urban Indian Center in Salt Lake City. With just over 30 people in attendance, the event slowly shifted into a round table, where indigenous educators, parents, children, district board members, and allies, all gathered to discuss some of the challenges with educating Native American students in the district. Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives federal funds or other federal funding assistance. Public schools often get federal funding through certain initiatives and programs, Title VI being one of them. Part of the issue, as was reiterated by many people in attendance at the meeting, is that Native American families are not filling out the proper documentation to receive the funds and programming that they’re entitled to. A desire to not fill out basic paperwork might seem on the surface rather perplexing, but when looking at the optics of Native American relations with the government agencies in this country, it makes more sense. On the surface, the title itself appears to be a helpful initiative, however, many speakers at the event pointed toward the negative effects of modern-day discriminatory policies like redlining, that keep Native American children and parents from fully investing in education. Furthermore, the residual fallout from broken treaties, residential schools, and current reservation issues continue to expand the divide. Not to mention, many Native American parents still don’t fully trust the educational system, a side effect of residential schools where generational trauma was born out of ethnic cleansing. “My mother went to a residential school,” said a former parent now turned grandparent who wished to remain anonymous. “When she was there she was stripped of her cultural identity. Those experiences make it hard for us to trust the government. A lot of kids don’t.” Gadson and two members of the board of education Bryce Williams and Nate Salazar were present to hear the concerns of parents and educators alike. “[I believe] there are common misconceptions about [indigenous] students, well, stereotypes,” said Suzanne S., a teacher at one of Salt Lake City School District’s middle schools. “I’ve had students before where I thought they just didn’t care about showing up to school, putting in the work. But then, I’d see them at local [Native American] events surrounded by loved ones, family, totally engaged. It then occurred to me, it’s not that they don’t care, it’s just that their needs aren’t being met in the classroom for whatever reason.” Gadson spent a significant amount of the meeting actively listening and fielding concerns when necessary. He did acknowledge that “[This] has been an issue in every state I’ve been in.” Gadson has previously held school administrative positions in Washington State and Minnesota. “We struggle to get our parents to fill out forms. If we can get them [to do that] we can better understand what support their child needs,” he said. Gadson was adamant that the district wants to hear from its parents. However, the issue remains, how do we bridge the gap when distrust is rampant? Gadson believes it will take “stepping out as educators” to get the job done. “Growing up in the South,” Gadson said, “I was the only Black student in a predominantly white class. There

Page 10 | August 2021

By Lizzie Walje |

SLCSD Superintendent Timothy Gadson addresses a room of parents, educators and board members. (Lizzie Walje/City Journals)

were times I felt like an other. [The goal] is to figure out the why of the situation. Why they’re not showing up, why they’re not doing work. I am going to be asking the whys and ensuring my cabinet members do the same.” Gadson acknowledged it’s going to take time and accountability. Something that board members Williams and Salazar also acknowledged. “Last year was very difficult,” Salazar said to the group. “As a board we could have and should have done better. We need our adult problems to not take focus, and redirect that into what we can do for the kids.” How exactly will board members and educators create a more fluid exchange of information? “It’s going to take outreach,” Gadson said. “We’re not going to require teachers [to go out into the community]. Nor are we going to pay them more to do so. But we want to encourage them to, why? Because it’s the right thing to do.” Beyond the specified concerns of indigenous children that largely dominated the meeting, toward the end of the meeting Gadson did make some general comments regarding what he intends to do during his inaugural year for the district in general. “We want to aim for self-governance,” Gadson said. “While our schools will be able to get the help that they need from the district when they need it, the idea is to treat each school as if it were its own. True, we are one district. But every school has its own personality.” Gadson concluded by saying, “We are going to dig deep this year. Find out where our children are and meet them where they are.” l

The Urban Indian Center is a place where indigenous children and teenagers often gather for cultural fun and celebration. (Lizzie Walje/ City Journals)

Sugar House City Journal

Schools decide on regulations for masks and vaccines By Bridget Raymundo |


s with many other regular practices in the community, schools have had to re-evaluate the way they run to promote a safe and welcome environment for staff and students. The entire process is difficult enough as a school board, but add in the parental desires for involvement in these school decisions and the big picture can get chaotic quickly. A major controversy in schools during the pandemic are the face masks which students have been required to wear properly in the past and have become optional as of the current school year. Masks are still encouraged by the health officials and especially in public areas like schools which are a breeding ground for the spread of the coronavirus. The disease is confirmed by the Utah government and others to be spread through respiratory particles which means the use of masks (depending on the thickness and coverage) can help to prevent a wider range of contagion. The mask mandate in schools was lifted at the end of the 2020-21 school, therefore the majority of students and faculty have opted to not wear masks as of the start of fall 2021. What does this mean for the few that do choose to continue with their safety practices?

To ensure a face mask is doing its job check: ● Does the mask cover the mouth and nose? ● Are there no gaps in the mask? ● Can you breathe with the mask on? ● Is the mask secure on the face and will not slip? If every box above is affirmative, then the mask is a good choice to wear for the purpose of reducing the chances of spreading coronavirus. The Utah government has created a flyer to help the public with questions they may still have and present scientific backing for the need for masks: Additionally, many other resources in various formats are available on their webpage describing the face mask facts and with the #MaskUpUtah movement. Most sports teams have asked their players to get vaccinations because of the close quarters they are in both in the game and on transport. Schools need parental permissions in order to test students for coronavirus. Overall, most school functions are running as normal despite a rising number of cases as a result of the Delta variant which has adapted to be spread more easily.

Students mill through the hallways of Skyline High School. (Bridget Raymundo/City Journals)

All Utahns ages 12 and older are encouraged to take the vaccination available for free at local health departments. For the Salt Lake County visit COVID-19/vaccine/. Other organizations have taken part in encouraging these vacci-

nations like Dunkin Donuts offering a free donut for every vaccination card, Target with their monetary rewards program for taking their vaccine, and Spy Hop with their youthled Vax to the Max campaign active on Instagram @vax2themax. l

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Sugar House music studio seeking volunteers, partnerships By Cassie Goff |


hroughout the summer, the Cottonwood Height City Council heard from various community organizations throughout Salt Lake County. These organizations are primarily seeking exposure and looking for participants, as their membership bases have dwindled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 6, Salt Lake Academy of Music (SLAM) Executive Director Steve Auerbach presented an overview of their programs. SLAM offers musical education and instruments to community youth members on a sliding fee scale. “We’ve created this safe and fun space where music students, of any background or socioeconomic status, can find a community with like-minded peers and expert staff. Students have opportunities to develop a craft and build the confidence for leadership skills,” Auerbach said. SLAM and KRCL Community Radio partnered to being a musical instrument recycling program called SLAM-EX. Residents can drop off unwanted or unused musical instruments which are then recycled for SLAM students. Students receive instruction from internationally renowned DJs, producers, and musicians. “Our teachers really care. It’s hard to describe how much passion they have for the kids,” Auerbach said. SLAM students and graduates can perform live at many different venues throughout Salt Lake County. Previous SLAM students have performed at the Utah Blues Festival, Salt Lake Arts Festival and the Sugar House Park firework shows. Auerbach shared the success of some SLAM graduates. While a handful never left SLAM and continue to teach music to incoming students, others found careers in music. For example, Maddie Rice started in School or Rock, a precursor program to SLAM, and moved to play on the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Now, she sits on the guitar chair for “Saturday Night Live.” “We have a contingency of families in Cottonwood Heights,” Auerbach said as he introduced resident Cory Deagle. “Our two girls (nine and 11) joined SLAM earlier this year, since Butler Elementary does not have a music program. It’s exhilarating to see the confidence SLAM instills in the youth. It’s not completely about teaching them to play like Eddie Van Halen, which they do by the way,” Deagle said. SLAM opened a state-of-the-art studio in Sugar House early in 2020. Seventy-three days after opening, they had to close down for the COVID-19 pandemic. Since reopening, they have been successful in keeping the spread of the virus low by implementing numerous precautions.

Page 12 | August 2021

Resident Cory Deagle emphasized the importance of music for developing brains. (Photo courtesy of Steve Auerbach/ Salt Lake Academy of Music)

“If there’s an opportunity to increase the visibility and access for the kids in our community, I think it can only do us all well,” Deagle said. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, SLAM receives funding from both public and private entities including the Zoo, Arts, & Parks Program (ZAP) and Salt Lake County’s Arts Council. On July 20, Circles (Salt Lake County) Support Specialist Wes Long presented an overview of their program. Circles offers resources and social support to residents experiencing poverty. “Our program is designed to empower people to leave poverty situations and help facilitate systemic change to barriers that can block a person’s financial stability,” Long explained. Participants who choose to enter the Circles program are called Circle Leaders. Circle Leaders are provided training to discuss topics such as finances, trauma and healthy communication. They attend weekly meetings and monthly forums for which they set their own agenda. Circle Leaders set their own personal goals and receive assistance achieving those goals. “We are grounded in research that shows low-income families must have strong social capital and human connection across class lines in order to improve their economic situation,” Long said. Circle Leaders are paired with allies from middle-to-upper income levels. Allies work with Circle Leaders for 18 months on average to listen and support them while developing connections and friendships. “Those who graduate from the program achieve a roughly 71% increase to their income. They report being recognized and respected for who they are,” Long said. “They use their voice to teach the rest of us about the experience of poverty.” “The path out of poverty can be long and unpredictable. Whether such a path entails finding safer housing, more reliable transportation, or accessible pathways to

Students who participate in SLAM programs have the opportunity to perform live across Salt Lake County. (Photo courtesy of Steve Auerbach/ Salt Lake Academy of Music)

SLAM Executive Director Steve Auerbach hopes to collaborate with the Cottonwood Heights Arts Council in the future. (Cottonwood Heights City Council)

education or a career, it is worth the effort,” Long said. Long asked the city council and staff members for help reaching some of the city’s residents. “Roughly 5.3% of Cottonwood Heights’s population, around 1,800 people are living in poverty. We would like to help those individuals and involve those who are not in poverty situations.” Circles is searching for volunteers. Short-term volunteers are needed to help with weekly events and monthly forums. Long-term volunteers are needed to be allies and long-term friends for the Circle Leaders.

“I feel the people of Cottonwood Heights have much to offer in this regard, if only they could be reached.” Circles is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with 80 chapters around the United Sates and Canada. The Salt Lake City chapter launched recently so they will be continuously working with other chapters throughout the State of Utah. For more information on Circles (Salt Lake): call 801-364-0200, search Circles Salt Lake on social media platforms, or visit For more information on SLAM, visit: l

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August 2021| Page 13

Concrete spill cleanup in Mill Creek continues By Bridget Raymundo |


ecently, a concrete spill polluted Mill Creek and raised the pH to dangerous levels. Pets, people and even plants in contact with the water will be harmed. Thus far, the water used from the creek in gardens and lawns is not a concern as long as produce exposed to the water is washed. As expected, plants that source their water from the creek are likely to die from the high alkaline concentration. The foam on the surface of the water is an especially concerning sign and health officials urge those in contact with the contaminated water to wash exposed skin with clean water, then seek the guidance of a health care provider to prevent the possibility of further skin irritation issues. The cause of the spill was the UDOT’s joint I-215/1-80 project which was reported by a resident on July 19. Deejay Allen, an employee of Millcreek, found the source of the spill and gathered the appropriate help from UDOT. Since then, cleanup has continued up to the second week of August and may continue due to the consequences of the accident. Hand shovels are retrieving the concrete all the way down from below I-215 to 500 East. More than 100 fish were killed with many more to be expected in the count. With all this being said, the recovery team is making progress and are approaching the final stages of their cleanup. On the recovery team now are officials from Millcreek, South Salt Lake, Salt Lake County, Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality, UDOT, and Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction. Concerns are being directed to the hotline: 844-909-3278. To report concrete deposits remaining, call 801-214-2700. In the Millcreek City Council Meeting on Aug. 9, the issue of who would pay for the cleanup was raised. It was then established that emergency funds from the state would pay. Millcreek residents do not need to worry about the incident draining the city’s coffers. l Mill Creek, pictured here in April, recently had concrete spill into the water. (File photo Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

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Sugar House City Journal

Back-to-School Shopping Costs More this Year By Robert Spendlove, Zions Bank Senior Economist


arents with school-aged children have probably noticed that backto-school shopping is costing more this year. Spending on school supplies is expected to hit an all-time high of $850 for the average family in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s about $60 more than last year. And families of college students are paying even more, with an average spend of $1,200, up $140 from last year. Of course, inflation is affecting much more than just school supplies. Over the past year, we’ve seen price growth across nearly all spending categories, with higher sticker prices everywhere from the grocery store to the gas pump. This is the result of pent-up demand as well as supply chain delays. Fortunately, it looks like price gains may be moderating. In July, the Consumer Price Index had its smallest month-tomonth increase since February after reaching a 13-year high in June. Still, inflation is well above pre-pandemic levels, with consumer prices increasing 5.4% over the past year. When it comes to school expenses, your pocketbook may feel the sting in a few areas: • Clothing prices have jumped

4.2% over the past year, with girls’ apparel up 5% and boys’ apparel up 2.6%. • Replacing outgrown kids’ shoes with new ones will cost 3.6% more than last year, while footwear overall is up 4.6%. • Educational books and supplies have ticked up 2.6% since last year. • Prices on personal computers, including tablets, desktop computers and laptops, are 3.7% higher than last year, due in part to a global chip shortage pushing up prices. • Packing your child’s lunchbox is more expensive than last year, with food prices up 3.4%. • The school carpool has gotten much more expensive, with gas prices jumping 41.8% year over year. How long will price gains continue? That’s the big question economists are debating right now. Some are concerned that these inflationary increases could continue to build because of increased federal spending and low interest rates. Others say these price


increases are temporary and will slow down when the current supply chain disruptions start to recede. The surge in COVID cases tied to the delta variant could also slow price increases as consumers pull back on spending amid concerns about the virus, but no one wants that solution to inflationary pressures. Regardless of whether price increases slow in the future, we won’t see immediate relief on family budgets this back-to-school season. However, Utahns can take heart in the latest jobs report that shows our economy remains among the best in the nation. Beehive State employment increased 4.2% from July 2019 to July 2021, compared to a 2.8% decline nationally, according to Utah’s Department of Workforce Services. Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment rate of 2.6% is near historic lows, compared to 5.4% unemployment nationally. Despite the challenges of the past year and a half, our state’s economy has shown itself to be resilient and continues to perform well. Robert Spendlove is senior economist for Zions Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A

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Columbus Center renaming put on hold By Bill Hardesty |


9 to 5 – The Musical September 10th - 19th 2021

Thriller – Odyssey Dance Theatre September 24th - Oct 10th 2021


John Mayall October 14th - 17th 2021

The Legendary Iron Butterfly October 22nd - 24th 2021

Evil Dead Film Fest Hosted by Bruce Campbell October 29th - 31st 2021

Page 16 | August 2021


ince last October, South Salt Lake has been considering changing the name of the Columbus Center. However, formal opposition is starting to form. History In October 2020, during the mayor’s comments section of the South Salt Lake City Council meeting, Cherie Wood spoke about a request she received. Jevahjire France, a young resident of SSL, wrote asking the City to rename the Columbus Center. “As a young immigrant just like many in South Salt Lake, I have always wondered if the members of the Council of this City ever question how a young immigrant or refugee feels knowing that he is frequenting a library named after an oppressor not too different from the one(s) they or their parents were fleeing from back home?” France wrote. In the May 26 City Council meeting, the SSL Youth Council presented their research and proposal to change the name. They suggested three names: Amani Center, which is the Swahili word for “Peace;” Bridges Center, inspired by the idea that bridges are used to overcome obstacles and symbolize unity; or Promise Center, inspired by the Three Promises representing the City’s highest hopes for SSL residents. “I commend our Youth City Council for taking on the task the City Council requested of them. They completed six months of research and community outreach and presented their findings,” Wood said. While concluding the Youth Council presentation, France said, “Again, we don’t want to cause more division within the community. We truly believe after our research and work into this process that the new name will be beneficial and can unify us even more.” France’s hope might not be possible because formal opposition is forming. They shot their first salvo in the July 28 City Council meeting. Citizen comments Sean Marchant, who wears many hats in SSL, started the parade. “Tonight, I’m here with a different hat. As a resident and a father,” Marchant said, “For years, I noticed a pattern with all my children, that they would come home from school starting at Woodrow Wilson through junior high and high school, having been taught about Western historical figures with an attitude that was largely negative.” This situation made Marchant research more about Christopher Columbus. He went to original sources. After four years, Marchant wrote an essay about Columbus summarizing his findings. He also told of a conversation he had with his 6-year-old son last October. Marchant asked his son what he had learned that day. His son mentioned he learned about “the bad man who had killed lots of people and never made it here.” “This is a 6-year-old in first grade. It

took me a few seconds to realize it was Columbus Day,” Marchant said. Marchant continued the story explaining that the teacher used a worksheet outside of the approved curriculum. “Let me tell you that what the teacher brought to school that day, from outside the curriculum, was not only completely out of context, but it was intentionally misleading and mostly factually incorrect. For a first grader with his first exposure to Columbus, it was indoctrination, pure and simple. When I asked him what he thought about Columbus, he replied, ‘I hate him.’ I’ve never heard him use that word before,” Marchant said. Marchant continued by talking about Columbus from his research. Then, he moved on to speaking about the naming process. Marchant questioned the motivation of the initiative and those involved. He also voiced the opinion that this renaming issue is more severe than people might think and that for many residents, the decision who they will vote for in November will depend on this issue. After his remarks, many in the audience clapped. Seven additional residents spoke against changing the name. Even though the renaming was an agenda item, the City Council had already planned to move the item to sometime in the future. Council members voiced they want to hear more opinions. In a later interview, Marchant said, “The real question that no one has asked is why should we change the name. Everyone just assumes we should and made plans to do so.” In the same interview, he talked about how Columbus represents what the Columbus Center is all about. “In a world of social classes, Columbus beat the odds. He was self-taught. He embodies the principles of hard work. He achieved his dream.” Marchant mentioned there is no formal group yet. To get people to the meeting, “I just emailed people I know who are of similar thinking as me.” However, in the coming months, this will change. The plan is to create a website that will “give the facts and let people decide,” Marchant said. They also might be doing some community outreach, including newspaper ads. Portia Mila’s experience Councilmember Portia Mila was not able to attend the July 28 meeting. However, she later posted on her Facebook page her thoughts. “Since the last meeting we had, I am still at the same place. I have only had one of my district 4 constituents reach out to me to favor the change. The rest that have reached out are against it,” Mila wrote. “And of all the people who I have directly talked to or heard from, it is still not a good representation of our city’s 25,000 residents. So, I am in favor of looking for a way to hear from more of our residents, and where our attorney does not feel we can

Is the Columbus Center name changing? Formal opposition says no. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

do that on a ballot, I want to look at purchasing something that will help us to survey our residents. It will be great for this issue as well as others in the future.” The comments were a mixed bag. For every person who supported the name change, there was one who was against it. A couple suggested survey building apps. Mila mentioned why the City must use a third-party survey system. “Unfortunately, we have too many people that believe the City will somehow manipulate the numbers. We need an outside third party professional source to help us. Hopefully, that makes sense; otherwise, believe me, we would have already been down that road!” Mila wrote. August mayor statement “During my administration, I have set out to celebrate South Salt Lake and our local history,” Mayor Cherie Wood said, “This is evident in the naming of Historic Scott School, Promise Park in memory of Hser Ner Moo, and Bickley Park. The impacts each of these individuals has had on our City deserves to be commemorated. We have much to honor and remember in South Salt Lake.” “The Ordinance presented to the City Council on August 11 will formalize the process for naming facilities within our City. This will allow for a transparent process and dialogue in all future naming,” Wood said, “Just as many states now recognize Indigenous People’s Day, and we all become more aware of the reality of the colonization of the Americas, I agree with many in our community that it is time to rethink the name of this building and how it serves today’s residents.” l

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DON’T PUT OFF Hillcrest High students arrived early for the first day of the 2021-22 school year to find their classes in the newly rebuilt school, which is the first four-story school in Utah. (Julie Slama/City Journals)


Summer’s over…it’s back to school



By Julie Slama |

housands of school children sharpened their pencils and filled their backpacks in Granite, Murray and Canyons school districts for their first day of school on Aug. 16. In Jordan School District, high school students returned Aug. 16 and elementary and middle school students plan an Aug. 17 return. In Canyons, students at Brighton High and Hillcrest High arrived early to learn how to navigate through their new school buildings. Masks in schools are optional as the

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Salt Lake County Council in a 6-3 vote overturned the public health school mask order for children under age 12, those who are not yet old enough to be vaccinated, which was issued by county health director Dr. Angela Dunn. The free breakfast and lunch program continues this school year in many districts under an extended waiver from the USDA. All students are automatically eligible for the benefit, which will last through the 2021-22 school year or until federal funding runs out. l


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August 2021| Page 17

Why didn’t anyone help? By Cassie Goff |


certain propensity to be a bystander. Sometimes called upstander training, bystander trainings help individuals to “recognize potentially harmful or hurtful interactions and respond in way intended to positively influence the outcome.” Trainings may focus on verbal and nonverbal techniques to de-escalate situations. When I was learning about the bystander effect in my own psychology education, I remember one of my University of Utah professors providing the class with important sugges-




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2017 2018 2019





s I was perusing through my social media channels this month, I noticed a few different posts and threads related to the bystander effect. Security camera footage of an ex-boyfriend attempting to kidnap a young woman in July was circulating. The video showed individuals watching but not acting in any way to stop the crime, sparking discussions of surprise and outrage. Many comments attributed this nonaction to the bystander effect. The bystander effect is the theory people are less likely to offer help to a victim when others are present. It’s a social psychology theory with framework, research and scholarship dating back for decades. The most famous example of the bystander effect dates back to March 19, 1964. When Kitty Genovese returned to her apartment building after getting off of work one evening, she was stabbed 14 times. During the murder investigation, police were perplexed as to why no one had called about the crime. Interviews with 38 neighbors revealed they all had the same thought—surely someone had already called to report Genovese’s 30 minutes of pleas. Through these famous and current examples, we can see how the bystander effect can be life-threatening and dangerous. Many workplaces have now implemented Bystander Intervention Trainings in response. These trainings are framed around realizing most of us have a

3 2014 2


tions. He told us if we ever find ourselves in an emergency situation where someone needs to be calling 911, solicit a specific individual explicitly. Look someone directly in the eye, point to them, and tell them “You call 911!” Any action helping to limit the diffusion of responsibility can negate the bystander effect. I might shift my professor’s suggestions based on actionable behavior to a more cognitive one. Now that you’re aware of the bystander effect, make a conscious effort to not be a bystander. Take initiative in a situation where something needs to be said or done. I often take my own advice here. For example, I was recently driving on a Salt Lake City highway at night. I had passed a handful of cars when I started to descend a hill. I noticed bright flames as soon as they came into view. I looked to my passenger and asked, “Do you think we need to call that in?” I caught myself in that moment, didn’t allow my passenger time to answer, and started calling. I could have easily thought to myself the few cars that had passed surely called it in. Being aware of the bystander effect and implementing strategies to help counteract it can help in everyday situations as well. Have you ever had an instance in your workplace where a task didn’t get done because you thought your boss would handle it? And they thought you, or your coworker, were on it? Delegating personal responsibility can ensure all tasks are being completed. And it’s totally fine to do so together. In a meeting, my team and I can delegate tasks needing to be accomplished that week by preference or schedule. These types of strategies can be helpful in personal relationships and social interactions as well. One of the most useful strategies to negate the bystander effect is to use names. If everyone knows very clearly that Rai is calling your friend to see where they are and Tyler is grabbing drinks, there’s limited room for miscommunication or dropping the ball. Research from: Carpenter, Cherry, Darley, Dimsdale, Fox-Glassman, Hortensius, Kassin, Keltner, Legg, Latane and Over. l

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Increasing Use of Technology Strengthens Communities By Bryan Thomas, Vice President of Engineering, Comcast Mountain West Region The internet is a powerful resource for furthering education, assisting with job searches, tracking your benefits, engaging in telehealth and keeping up with life. There’s no doubt, having access to the internet is more important than ever. And teams of hi-tech experts are working nonstop to provide Americans with internet access. In fact, Comcast and others in the broadband industry have invested nearly $2 trillion since 1996 to build some of the world’s fastest, most resilient, and most widely deployed networks anywhere—a remarkable commitment by any standard. ACCESS vs. ADOPTION As we emerge from the impacts of the pandemic, we are seeing that access isn’t the only gap to bridge. What often stands in the way of connectivity are roadblocks to broadband adoption, be it language barriers, lack of knowledge of available options, privacy concerns and more. Across Denver, and in metropolitan areas around the country, most homes have multiple

choices of broadband providers. According to Broadband Now, there are nearly 48 internet providers covering 98 percent of Utahns having access to broadband speeds over 25 Mbps. Utah ranks high as the 8thmost connected state in the country. For more than a decade, Comcast has been committed to doing our part to close the digital divide and addressing both the access and the adoption gap. Our partnerships with community organizations, educational institutions and business leaders are critical in making progress. Since 2011, Comcast has offered our Internet Essentials program, which has connected nearly 160,000 low-income Utahns to low-cost, highspeed internet at home—over 90% of whom did not have a connection when they applied for the service. Internet Essentials offers heavily discounted residential broadband ($9.95 per month) to qualifying families, seniors, and veterans in need, and serves as a model for other providers nationwide. Impressively, the NAACP hailed Internet Essentials as “the largest experiment ever attempted to close the digital divide.” And Comcast, through its Internet Essentials program, invested almost $700 million nationally in


digital literacy training and awareness. With its new “Lift Zone” initiative, Comcast is equipping community centers across the state with free Wi-Fi to support distance learning. But it doesn’t stop here. Over the next 10 years, Comcast will invest $1 billion to further close the digital divide and give more people the needed tools and resources to succeed in an increasingly digital world. The combined work and partnerships with community, education and business leaders like you will be critical to ensuring people have access, the hardware, the skills and are willing and able to connect with a reliable, secure broadband network. You all know and work directly with your constituents, clients, neighbors – and you have the trust of the people you serve. The axiom, “It takes a village…” has never been more relevant. Achieving the goal of having all people connected to the power of the internet will take the kind of focus and commitment on the part of all of us to connect more people to what matters most. To learn more about Comcast’s digital equity initiatives, or to refer organizations or people who might benefit from these services, please visit https://

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Bringing you less misery than 2020, Desert Star presents its upcoming parody, LES MISERABLES. Join the laughtastic revolution as this knee-slapping spoof opens August 26th. It’s a merry-making musical melodrama for the whole family! Written by Tom Jordan, and directed by Scott Holman, this show follows Jean LeviJean who is on the run from the nefarious grime fighter Javert. LeviJean just wants to start a new life making a new kind of pants. But he and his adopted daughter Cassette get caught up in the French revolting. Now they must navigate the sewers of Paris, finding a way to get Cassette to the wedding on time before Javert flushes their plans. Colorful characters include Garlique and Camembert, LeviJean’s wacky factory workers, and the Thenardiers, the innkeepers who take you through this raucous adventure. Make your 2021 less miserable with Les Miserables. “Les Miserables” runs August 26 through November 6, 2021. The evening also includes one of Desert Star’s comical musical olios, following the show. The “Fang-tastic Olio” treats

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you to popular Halloween tunes. There are two options for enjoying our menu. You can order from your table, in the traditional way. Come 30 minutes prior and order from your server once you have found your seat. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask while you are in the theater, we will still be offering food service one hour beforehand in our banquet area. If you prefer this option, just text our main number, 801-266-2600, that you want a reservation. CALENDAR: “Les Miserables: Less Miserable Than 2020” Plays August 26 - November 6, 2021 Check our website for showtimes: Tickets: Adults: $26.95, Children: $15.95 (Children 12 and under) 4861 S. State Street, Murray, UT 84107 Text 801.266.2600 for dinner reservations For additional information, visit our website at www.DesertStarPlayhouse. com

August 2021| Page 19

UWLP survey shows women in the workforce are struggling By Peri Kinder |


f there’s one good thing about COVID-19, it might be that the pandemic illuminated the challenges that women face in the workforce, especially with childcare. As schools and daycare facilities closed at the beginning of the pandemic, women bore a disproportionate share of the burden as they tried to keep their heads above water by juggling job responsibilities, homeschooling kids and taking care of housework. Salt Lake County resident Heather Stewart felt the struggle firsthand when her office shut down, schools closed and she was stuck trying to homeschool two elementary school-aged children while keeping up with her full-time job. “It was hard to get done what I needed to for work and be present for my kids,” she said. “I felt stretched in every direction. My daughter got behind in math. I knew it was happening, I could see it happening but I didn’t have the energy to do anything about it. I was so burned out.” Dr. Susan Madsen, Founding Director of the Utah Women & Leadership Project, said she thinks it’s time to start a conversation about supporting women in their roles as business leaders and mothers. “Finally, the pandemic is opening the eyes of some legislators,” Madsen said. “Lt. Governor [Deidre] Henderson is on this and she knows we need to support our families.” More than 3,500 women responded to a survey sent out by the UWLP, asking them to share challenges they’ve faced during the pandemic in regard to caregiving, career advancement, homeschool experiences and burnout. The results showed 16% of women had some type of withdrawal from the workplace, whether it was a lay-off, the company closed, their hours were cut or they were furloughed. For

another 12%, women saw their workload increase by moving from part-time to full-time or by taking on more responsibility. “We had women who just couldn’t do it. They couldn’t watch their toddler and teach their 3-year-old and manage their departments,” Madsen said. “Teachers really took the brunt. They weren’t being appreciated and put in so much more.” Madsen shared an example of a teacher who was sick with COVID but was still teaching online. There was nobody to fill in for her and she couldn’t let her students down. Childcare workers were also heavily impacted by COVID. The ones who responded to the survey expressed frustration at being disrespected and unseen. They don’t want to do it anymore. “In every case, they felt they were trying to take care of essential workers’ kids while worrying about spreading the virus to other children who might take it home to a parent or grandparent,” Madsen said. While national and global reports show the majority of workers were adversely affected by the pandemic, women seemed to be affected disproportionately. When Stewart was asked to participate at an in-person meeting for her job, all the men could be there, but she couldn’t attend without finding childcare. “Why was I the only one who had to stay home with the kids?” she said. “It’s such an entrenched part of how our society operates. My workplace was actually great and very understanding. It’s just how things shake out. But it’s how things always shake out.” The survey found similar results for women trying to balance working from home with teaching children. Mothers did the lion’s share of the work to keep everything together.

A survey conducted by the Utah Women & Leadership Project shows women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“It was really the moms that took a beating,” Madsen said. “Only 24% of respondents said they had a supportive spouse or partner. The hard thing about work is it’s societal. You have to change society. We've been socialized from the time we’re born to believe that men should be leaders.” Madsen wants to start the discussion with legislators about improving the workplace for women by enhancing leave policies, creating flexible schedules and helping moms with childcare support. The UWLP will host a free, online fireside chat with Henderson on Friday, Oct. 1 at noon to tackle these topics. The event will be livestreamed to reach as many people as possible. Madsen hopes men will also listen to the conversation. Visit for more information about this discussion with the lieutenant governor who has secured the reputation for being an advocate for women. “I feel called to do this work,” Madsen said. “It’s not women versus men. What lifts women, lifts men, too. More people are listening but more people need to join the conversation.”l

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Governor wants to incentivize lawn removal with a statewide buy back program By Alison Brimley |


ov. Spencer J. Cox has a little bit of good news for Utahns. “Every water district has reported significant water savings this year as compared to previous years,” Cox told an audience at Conservation Garden Park in West Jordan on July 29. In response to Utah officials’ repeated pleas to conserve water in a record drought year, Utahns have stepped up. And thanks to Utahns’ compliance with fireworks bans, the state has also seen a significant reduction in wildfires, particularly in the weeks of July 4 and July 24. This is especially important in years like this one, when extra dry land increases the risk of fire and the state can’t afford to use precious water fighting flames. Still, Cox warned that we have “several months of dangerous wildfire season ahead of us,” and that people need to remain “vigilant.” Though some of the worst outcomes have been (so far) averted this year, Utah needs to step up its long-term plans for water conservation. As one of the fastest growing states in the nation, the systems put in place now to decrease water use will have huge impacts as the population increases. “Our administration is committed to advancing more aggressive water conservation measures,” Cox said. The governor spoke of four distinct areas in which Utah needs to act in order to lay the foundation for a more waterwise future. One of these areas involves individual home landscapes. Cox announced his intention to implement the Localscapes rewards and Flip Your Strip programs—initially developed in West Jordan and administered by Jordan Valley Water—across the whole state. “Turf buyback” programs like Localscapes Rewards and Flip Your Strip incentivize homeowners to replace “thirsty grass” in their yards with more waterwise plants. Flip Your Strip involves paying homeowners to

capes Rewards participants take a class about waterwise landscaping, then receive a cash incentive when they implement the landscape plans in their yards. Jordan Valley Water began offering Flip Your Strip and Localscapes Rewards in 2017. “With growing participation year over year and proven water savings, it became natural for other agencies to want to start offering similar programs,” said Megan Jenkins of Jordan Valley Water. “In fact, this was something Jordan Valley planned for.” While developing its rebate website,, Jordan Valley Water recognized they could expand the programs’ effectiveness by collaborating with other agencies across the state. “By allowing multiple agencies to offer conservation programs and rebates on the same website, many inefficiencies of past water conservation efforts could be eliminated,” Jenkins said. Jenkins says the two programs have already seen great demand in West Jordan this year. So far in 2021, 659 households have applied for Flip Your Strip, with 392 coming from within Jordan Valley Water’s service area. This represents a significant increase from 2020, when a total of 177 Flip Your Strip applications were submitted. This year, Cox announced his intention to make Utah the first state to offer a “statewide buyback program.” Going forward, Utah needs to be a state where grass is planted only “in areas where it actively is used, rather than using it as a default groundcover.” At the July 29 event, Rick Maloy of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, announced that beginning Aug. 1, these turf buyback programs pioneered in West Jordan would be available to all counties within the district. The district includes much of Salt Lake, Utah, Juab, Uintah, Sanpete, Wasatch and Duchesne counties, though a Flip Your

Through the expansion of Localscapes Rewards and Flip Your Strip programs, residents of Salt Lake, Utah, Juab, Uintah, Sanpete, Wasatch and Duchesne counties just became eligible to get money back for removing grass from their home landscapes. (Photo by Daniel Watson)

dents. (Murray City and South Jordan City are not eligible for Flip Your Strip because these cities offer their own park strip programs.) Utahns in eligible areas can apply to begin the process at Not only will those who participate get to help the state save water, they’ll also see savings on their own monthly water bill and get back a significant chunk of time they might

have previously spent on lawn maintenance. “While the actual water savings will vary depending on the size of the park strip and the materials used, we estimate that an average 5,000-8,000 gallons of water will be saved each year for every park strip that is flipped,” Jenkins said. l

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August 2021| Page 21

Government 101: Redevelopment Agency By Erin Dixon |


hat is an RDA, or Redevelopment Agency? Most Salt Lake County cities have one. Each agency has a single goal: Bring neglected parts of the city back to life. Why would a city invest time and money, rather than leave development up to the economy? Cody Hill, Midvale RDA manager, explained during a discussion about the Midvale Main Street project. “The basic philosophy is you have an area that is not growing for whatever reason. We can do nothing, and we’ll get the same tax dollars.” If the city puts in money and effort to rebuild the area, the tax income will increase. City assistance can also help reduce crime, attract new jobs, improve roads and utilities and in turn stimulate private investment in homes and surrounding areas. Council and staff find a “blighted” area they want to rebuild. They define the borders, and research costs and potential benefits a revival would have. Before a project is started, a public hearing is held, then the council votes to open the project and begins working. The RDA decision makers are the city council members, but meetings are held separately from city council meetings. Meetings are typically on the same day as a council

meeting. The council will adjourn the city council and reopen as RDA. The RDA has a separate budget and does not collect taxes like the city government. The RDA gets its money from nearby taxing entities (organizations that collect taxes) such as the city, school districts, water conservation districts, libraries, etc. Each entity collects taxes from residents and businesses in its area. A taxing entity will promise the RDA a portion of what they collect over a future period of time, for instance, 5, 10 or 20 years. All the taxing entities benefit from this agreement because as areas are improved, there is more tax money to collect from increased active businesses and residents. Overall, all groups benefit. The RDA is also able to issue bonds to bring in money. A bond is a term-specific loan to the city that is paid by investors that the RDA pays back in the future Canyons School District, Unified Fire Authority, Midvale City and South Salt Lake Valley Mosquito Abatement District all contributed some of their income to fund the reconstruction of the Midvale Main Street area. The property is currently worth $53 million. Each taxing entity that is diverting some of their future funds will get more money as the property values increase with

Example of RDA area in Holladay City. 2007 to 2019. (images/Google)

the development. “If [they] will funnel 60% of the increased value over $53 million, we can increase the total taxable cost in this area,” Hill said. “They’ll get 40% of the increased value, which is projected to cover growth. Once that cap is hit, the school district will get 100%.” Other areas currently have RDAs, such as Draper and South Salt Lake. Draper has a 69-acre project called Sand Hills near 1300 East and Draper Parkway. According to the Draper City website, ‘The original purpose of the Sand Hills Project Area was to stabilize and strengthen the

commercial business and economic base of the City.’ South Salt Lake is working on a project just north of I-80 and south of 2100 South. The new South city mixed-use project is in the zone, getting financing from the Zueller Apartments that were developed five to 10 years ago. South Salt Lake also has a project along 3900 South, east of State Street. Basically, they are using the power of the RDA to bring mixed-use projects. City Journals writer Bill Hardesty also contributed to this report. l

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A bit of everything


Laughter AND




This column could be a bit divisive. I expect 48% of readers will send me envelopes of cash and loving social media messages. Another 48% will steal my birdbath and mail me dead raccoons. The remaining percentage are too busy stocking their underground bunkers to frivolously read newspapers. Let’s start with COVID-19, shall we? What a &$%@ nightmare. Cases and tempers continue to rise as we’re asked to wear masks and get vaccinated. It seems like a small price to pay if it ends a global pandemic that has killed more than four million people worldwide. Four million. Instead, Utahns are shouting about “rights” and “freedoms” and shooting guns in the air and hugging flags and buying MyPillows and yelling at federal and local leaders like this is some type of sporting event, but instead of winners or losers, people die. I hate wearing a mask, but I do it. I am terrified of shots, but I got the vaccine— twice. There are some things you just do because you love the people around you and want them to be happy and alive. I understand it isn’t possible to “reason” someone into “reason” but here we are. Next up, let’s talk about racism. Remember in “Jane Eyre” when you find out Rochester had his wife locked up on

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the third floor because she was insane? Well, Rochester represents the people who turn a blind eye to our country’s racist history, and his nutty wife is racism. And what happened when she got loose? She burned the damn house down. Just because you don’t want to talk about racism or teach how our country was built on the backs of enslaved people, or admit that systemic racism exists, doesn’t mean it’s not there. The last few years have shown us how it’s beating on the locked door, hoping to run rampant and destructive. (Sorry if I ruined “Jane Eyre” for you but you’ve had almost 175 years to read it. That’s on you.) And finally, let’s throw women some childcare love. Women have been the main childcare providers since Homo sapiens appeared on Earth’s party scene 200,000 years ago. It’s been a long slog. I think we can all agree that women are in the workplace. Correct? Women are working full-time, right? It took 199,910 years for women to step into the spotlight of their own comedy special, thanks to people like Susan B. Anthony and RGB. We can now get a charge card! Vote! Own a home! But we’re still the main caregivers, even if we run a company, own a small business or fly to the moon twice a week.


Maybe it’s time for men to step up with us. Women often worry about taking time off to take kids to dentist appointments, doctor visits, piano lessons, lobotomies, etc. Do men do that? I’m genuinely asking because I’m willing to bet the majority of child Uber-services are performed by moms. If you’ve never been a single mom with a sick 12-year-old and you have to decide between using a vacation day or leaving your child home alone, then don’t tell me there isn’t a childcare problem in America. We’re a smart people. We are innovative and creative. Don’t you think we can use our brains to make society better instead of more divided? Maybe we’re not. Maybe our evolutionary progress ends with screaming and finger pointing. Just don’t mail me a dead raccoon.



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arcos Orozco is an ordinary man with a remarkable story. For over 40 years, he has worked for the Salt Lake City School District as a custodian where he has quietly impacted the lives of thousands of students. Orozco has an impeccable understanding of his work and is acutely aware of the influence custodians can have on children. “You know I could tell you who my elementary custodian was, both of them, Percy and George,” he said. A reminder that it’s sometimes the background or secondary characters in our lives who come to be the most memorable. For Orozco, he gladly embraces his position as a role model, acknowledging that for many of the students, “[I’m] the only positive male role model that [the kids] see, especially being Latino, too.” It’s that sense of steadfastness that has punctuated Marco’s four-decade career. When Orozco started working as a custodian, he made it about a year before leaving the position. “I knew right away I had made a mistake,” he recalled. From there he continued to ask for his job back, and, in the interim, looked for other custodial opportunities in schools until finally, he received news of an opening. Since then Orozco has never looked back and has subsequently built a remarkable career for himself in the hallways of Salt Lake City schools. On any given day you’ll see him in the halls of East High School, doling out high fives and handshakes to a legion of high schoolers. Orozco says it the relationships he’s made that are the Marcos Orozco poses in front of East High School where he currently holds the title of lead custodian. (Courtesy of Salt Lake City School primary reason he’s lasted so long in one position. “I didn’t have a good role Continued page 5 District)

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