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January 2016 | Vol. 26 Iss. 01


Peace, Progress and Tradition: Riverton City Looks Back on 2015 and Forward to 2016 By Briana Kelley

Riverton traditions include such events as the Holiday Heroes 5K and the 1-mile fundraiser run. Photo courtesy of ©Riverton City Communications 2015





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“Among the goals I have for 2016, I am eager to finish the Active Transportation Plan for Riverton City with new bike lanes and improvements to existing trail systems.” page 5

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Page 2 | January 2016


Meet the City Journals Team


he team at City Journals is excited to keep residents in Salt Lake County informed about the great things that are happening in local communities with each of our 12 publications. Our hyperlocal focus is designed to highlight news, city government, education, sports and businesses where it matters most – close to home. We encourage residents to reach out to us and let us know the great things they see happening in their neighborhoods. At the start of this new year, we extend our greetings and well-wishes to all of our readers.

Bryan Scott is the creative director of the City Journals. He is the decision maker that oversees all departments, including editorial, design, distribution, operations and sales. Bryan has made Salt Lake City home for the last two years. Rachel Hall joined the team in 2015 as the assistant editor. She has experience as an ESL teacher, GED instructor and librarian, as well as a local news reporter in Houston. She is a native Texan, but has enjoyed her time in Utah since relocating here in 2014. Brad Casper is the director of operations who also oversees distribution of all of the Journals. He was born and raised in Utah and graduated from BYU-I with a degree in business management and finance. He is married to Lauren and

together they have one daughter. Ryan Casper is the director of advertising. He has a sales and marketing background. He enjoys networking and building strong business partnerships. He is a diehard BYU fan and avid golfer. He graduated from BYU-I with a degree in communications. Ryan is a family man, mar-

ried eight years to his wife Rebecca, and together they have three sons. Melissa Worthen is an account executive and also directs community outreach. She is actively involved in her community, and enjoys supporting non-profit organizations and fundraises to benefit others. Her focus with marketing and

advertising is making connections with companies for long term growth that benefits local business and community. People are her primary focus. She is married with two children, two dogs and a rabbit. Elissa Wall is an account executive who joined the sales team in 2015. She actively participates in community outreach programs throughout the state. She is eager to help her Journals’ customers find the right fit for advertising that will help their companies grow. Steve Hession is an account executive who has worked for the Journals since 2009. He has many years in advertising sales and sales management Steve and his wife Julie live in Sugar House. Stacy Nielsen is the advertising coordinator. She has a background in sales and management and is a writer. Utah has been her home for seven years. Melody Bunker is a designer at the City Journals. She is originally from the Philippines, where she spent 10 years designing newspapers. She currently attends classes at ITT and is married to her husband Jordan. Trevor Roosa is a designer for the Journals. He attends The Art Institute of Salt Lake City and is studying graphic design. He is originally from Wyoming. l

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Creative Director: Bryan Scott: bryan@mycityjournals.com Assistant Editor: Rachel Hall: r.hall@mycityjournals.com Staff Writers: Greg James, Aimee L. Cook and Briana Kelley Ad Sales: 801-264-6649 Sales Associates: Ryan Casper: 801-671-2034 Melissa Worthen: 801-897-5231 Circulation Coordinator: Brad Casper: Circulation@mycityjournals.com Editorial & Ad Design: Trevor R, Ty G, Tina F, Melody B

The South Valley City Journal is distributed at the first of each month directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout South Valley. The South Valley Journal covers news for Herriman, Bluffdale, and Riverton

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.

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Page 4 | January 2016


Peace, Progress and Tradition: Riverton City Looks Back on 2015 and Forward to 2016 By Briana Kelley


iverton City recently concluded a significant year of tradition and change. In 2015, the city celebrated its early settlement in 1865 with a year-long celebration. The city also adopted ordinances that will affect future development. As the city’s historic sesquicentennial year draws to an end and 2016 begins, city council members and staff reflect on what happened in 2015 and what they hope to accomplish in the following year. “As Riverton City’s sesquicentennial celebration year comes to a close, we look back with gratitude and pride in our city and in the progress made over the last 150 years. At the top of our list of highlights are the partnerships we share with members of our community. Local businesses, Jordan School District and each of the Riverton schools, elected officials and staff, service organizations, resident volunteers and the citizens who joined with us in celebrating our history, events, people and milestones, all collectively make Riverton one of the finest cities in which to live,” public information officer Angela Trammell said. The city scheduled over 150 events throughout 2015, designed to highlight the city’s rich heritage and increase community pride among Riverton residents. “From our January kick-off ‘Light the Candle’ event in which 150 elementary school students relay-raced throughout the city, carrying birthday torches and lighting the candles on Riverton’s 150th birthday cake, to our newest-born and most-senior residents, Easter egg

The new Riverton City Park opening in June 2015 was one of the largest attended events last year. Photo courtesy of ©Riverton City Communications 2015

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Town Days, concerts in the park and Food Truck Frenzies, the re-election of two City Councilmembers, Veterans Day program, Santa’s Arrival, and much more… Riverton City enjoyed a fantastic year of peace, progress and tradition in 2015,” Trammell added. The opening of Riverton City Park on June 22 was one of the largest scheduled events and provided a gathering place for other community events held throughout the rest of the year. The newly renovated park includes three playgrounds, workout stations, a sand volleyball pit, a splash pad and two outdoor pavilions. It also has basketball, tennis and pickleball courts and five acres of open lawn. “In my estimation, the highlight of the city council for 2015 and the highlight for my district are one in the same thing. With no question it was the opening of the new main park. Everything surrounding the opening was much bigger than expected. From the grand opening of the park, to the rodeo, to the last firework of Town Days it was all worth it. I watched with joy the number of people that rekindled family traditions and many families starting traditions all surrounding the main park,” councilmember Brent Johnson said. The city also announced the development of a major commercial district on the northeast corner of 13400 South and Mountain View Corridor. “This is a great fit for our community and has the potential to almost double our sales tax revenue once it is completely built out,” councilmember Trent Staggs said. The 85-acre development, known as the western commercial development or “Mountain View Place at Riverton,” will be designed

and constructed by CenterCal Properties, LLC. The land is currently owned by Suburban Land Reserve, Inc. (SLR), a real estate investment subsidiary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mountain View Place will continue to be a major focus of the council in the upcoming year. The master development agreement and master commercial site plan were unanimously approved in the Dec. 1, 2015 council meeting and CenterCal plans to begin construction in 2016. “I believe a majority of our time will be to make sure Mountain View Place is properly constructed and will be an asset to our community. There will be many meetings with staff, SLR, CenterCal, and even the planning commission. We all want this to be something we will be proud of,” councilmember Tricia Tingey said. Other notable city accomplishments include increased transparency through live streaming of council meetings and a new city website set to launch in 2016, the change in Riverton’s culinary water source and a more streamlined development process for businesses in Riverton. 2016 District and City Goals Riverton City also has specific plans in the upcoming year. Each council member discussed their goals both for their respective districts and for the council as a whole in 2016. For District 1, Councilmember Sheldon Stewart outlined his three main goals. “First, groundbreaking for CenterCal with significant progress towards development and construction. Second, installation of a signal

on the cover

S outhV alley Journal.Com at 13400 South and Morning Cloak. Third, access for Western Springs development to the south,” Stewart stated. Councilmember Tingey plans to focus on the trail system in District 2. “I am currently working on the trail system in my district. The trails need to be cleaned up, repaired, and connected. All my budgeted district money will go toward these repairs. After the new budget is adopted, I plan to use district money for trees. There are trees that need to be removed and replanted. I wanted to wait until we hired our arborist to do this so those trees would get the expert attention they needed,” Tingey said. Councilmember Paul Wayman hopes to continue outreach and education on radon awareness for both District 3 and the city. Wayman was actively involved in a radon awareness open house at Riverton Hospital in November. “On average, every other house in our area has high radon levels that would need mediation according to the EPA. There is grant money available to residents that cannot afford to do the mediation. I am working to create a coalition of cities to reduce the deaths caused by radon. I welcome concerns - contact me by phone or by e-mail,” Wayman said. Councilmember Staggs wants to focus on safety and development in District 4. “As for my district, I would like to work on the area along 12600 South from 1300 West to Redwood Road, and out to about 2200 West. I’ve created a special subcommittee, along with councilmember Johnson, to address this.

I’m also looking at traffic calming throughout my entire area. I worked hard this past year to get digital speed boards along Lampton View Drive and Sirmingo Way, and also put in several traffic calming signs and painted street signs to help slow down traffic. There are a few more streets within my district that I’d like to also add similar techniques to, and will focus on that in 2016,” Staggs said. “Lastly, continue to work on preservation and trail opportunities along our section of the Jordan River. I sponsored a resolution that had our city join the Jordan River Commission in November of 2014, and there are several great grants and other opportunities that our city can pick up in working with this organization in helping restore our ponds and keeping the area clean along the trailway. There are a few very active residents along this area too that have been great to work with,” Staggs added. Councilmember Brent Johnson wants to make sure residents are aware of improvements in District 5. “In my own district I hope to see effort towards improvements on 1300 West and to make sure that the residences are completely aware of the developments on Redwood Road with the widening project moving forward,” Johnson said. Mayor Bill Applegarth communicated his goals for the new year as well. “Among the goals I have for 2016, I am eager to finish the Active Transportation Plan for Riverton City with new bike lanes and improvements to existing trail systems. In addition to enhancing the quality of life for

January 2016 | Page 5

As part of Riverton’s 150th birthday, the city hosted a “light-the-candle” event to kick off a year of celebration. Photo courtesy of ©Riverton City Communications 2015

Riverton residents, this effort helps us continue bridging the gaps that will connect people to a larger network of service and recreation through the entire south valley,” Applegarth stated. Council members also voiced plans to continue community input and involvement, actively budget to save residents and the city money, deliver services more efficiently, and

create more commercialization opportunities along 12600 South between Redwood Road and 1300 West. “I want us to get more aggressive on identifying areas of the budget where we can save money, allowing us to keep a lid on fees, if not drive them down. This is not just in reducing costs, but in identifying ways to deliver serl vices more efficiently,” Staggs said.

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Page 6 | January 2016


Herriman Year in Review T

130 Years

he new year means new opportunities for both the community as a whole and for the residents therein. This year, many exciting new developments and growth potential are beginning and it pays to be informed with what the mayor, administration and city council has

Mayor Carmen Freeman Mayor Freeman was elected Herriman mayor in 2014. “I think our highest priority is our city hall and city park. That won’t be completed next year, but we will certainly give emphasis to it as we begin

By Hope Zitting a work in progress in terms of becoming acquainted with them, seeing their strengths come to fruition and see where they’re going to best be an impact to the city and that takes a while. A highlight that we want to have is economic growth continued. That seems

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Groundbreaking of the new Herriman City Hall. Photo courtesy of Herriman City.

planned for the coming year. The South Valley Journal asked each individual to provide an update on the following issues: What were the most important highlights from 2015? What do you hope to accomplish in 2016? We received the following responses:

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construction in March of next year and there’ll be a lot of decisions and other input that will be required in the process of those unfolding. To me, right now, that’s going to be one of our highest priorities. I think, if I could just add to that, we’ll have two new council members and always there’s

to have been a driving force in much of this year and I think will carry over into 2016, and we’ll continue on that front of encouraging more economic growth. That is a vital component to our city. Developing economically within the city is going to be one of our highest priorities,” he said. City Manager Brett Wood Brett has been the city manager for Herriman since 2010. “We want to accomplish many things. I would think highway development and we also want to still continue to move forward on city hall and the plans for the park behind the city hall and the whole Towne Center area and get ready to make that happen and make sure that the finances are all secure because we’re paying for a good chunk of this in cash and wish a good statement to make to our residents and community that this project [costs] $25 million and we’re already bonding for $15 million. That’s a big statement to make to the community that we are going to pay cash for the park and the amenities and everything through. We always want to be secure in our financial plan and updating that. We always have a year, a five year, and a 10-year plan. Employee-based, we want to make sure we take care of the employees. First and foremost, our greatest asset is our employees and make sure we take care of them because they take care of our residents. There’s a lot, there’s a real lot when it comes to what are plans are for the administration next year. It’s off the chart.

S outhV alley Journal.Com We kind of forget what we’ve done. We’re always looking at what we need to do,” he said. District 1 Councilmember Jared Henderson Jared Henderson is the new city council member for District 1. Jared earned a degree in finance at the University of Utah and is also a certified financial planner. He actively promotes responsible growth, fiscal discipline and informing the public. He believes that residents of Herriman can accomplish many goals when they attain the information they may need and the ability to show their aspirations for the community around them. Jared’s goal is to protect the culture and feeling that living in the city of Herriman may bring. Jared Henderson enjoys spending time with his wife, Mindy, and their three children; as well as his Alaskan Malamutes. “My biggest hope is to see growth. There’s so much growth going on. I love living here,” he said. District 2 Councilmember Coralee Wessman-Moser Coralee has been a member of the Herriman City Council since January 2012. “One of the biggest things that we have coming up is that we need to work on our city hall and Towne Center development. We’ve accrued a general contractor and we had a ceremonial groundbreaking, but the real work begins in January. We also will be working on plans for the Blackridge Reservoir area. We have some— it’s a great problem to have—we’ve got a lot of use of that facility; but the imposition that

LOCAL LIFE its creating on the neighbors of that facility is causing problems in the neighborhood with traffic and patron behavior. So we’re working on some solutions to help make sure we can keep that a very pleasant place for the neighborhood as well as insure that the patrons are accommodated as well. One of the biggest things we do as the city council is we set the budget. So we’ll be beginning that process probably in February or March, going through all the department budgets and looking at what their previous use was of their budget and what their projected needs for this year and even into the future so we can do some strategic planning. I think we’ve spent a lot of time and effort in making the decision to move forward with our city hall. That, I believe, is the biggest highlight. It is something we have anticipated since 2006 but needed to make sure that the time was right with the budget and where we were so that there would be no increase in taxes for our residents and to make sure and that these plans accommodated our growth into the future,” she said. District 3 Councilmember Craig Tischner Craig was re-elected to the Herriman City Council in 2014. He graduated from Bingham High School and then went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in business administration from American Inter-Continental University. He is also employed by the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Craig moved to Herriman in 2005 with his wife, Alicia, and currently has three young boys. He is very family-oriented and agrees that Herriman is the best place to raise a family.

January 2016 | Page 7

Construction is underway for the new Herriman City Hall. Photo courtesy of Herriman City.

“[For 2016] really getting the Herriman Towne Center underway and also the development that’s on Mountain View Corridor with our commercial development in that area. In 2016, we’re building the new city hall. We’ve got two new council members.... As of right now, it’s really kind of just focusing on economic development and a sustainable city,” he said. District 4 Councilmember Nicole Martin Nicole is the new city council member from District 4. “I’ve had several years’ city government experience, and so I wanted to be able to take what I know about city government and really put it to work for the residents of Herriman. That includes an in-depth knowledge of city government, local government, and of course a strong network outside of the city that will enable me to do some good things and really help with the growth here in Herriman.

I think my background is very helpful in both communications and economic development, and again local government. My hope, moving forward as an elected official, would be to make sure that we are very proactive with our economic development effort; that we really try and establish a niche for Herriman in terms of economic development. We need to have services that enable us to be sustainable as a city so we can keep taxes low and also just have the convenience of having those services in the city. That’s going to be one of my primary focuses is with economic development. Secondarily, my background in communications. I want to make sure that we as a city and of course me as a city council member are communicating effectively with our residents; that we’re helping them to understand where we need to go as a city as we grow and that we are listening to their feedback. And, also, that we’re involving them more in the growth of the city,” she said. l


Page 8 | January 2016

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By Julie Slama

everal South Valley Girl Scouts recently earned the top awards at their level and were honored at the Girl Scouts of Utah awards recognition on Oct. 24. Girl Scouting’s highest award is the Gold Award and can be earned by a girl in ninth through 12th grade. Nineteen girls across the state earned their Gold Awards. The Silver Award is earned by middle school-age girls and 114 Scouts earned that distinction. The Bronze Award is designed for fourth- and fifthgrade students and 374 girls earned that honor. Each award is based upon leadership, volunteer hours and a project that is sustainable that will improve the girls’ community. “Girls have hopes, ideas and dreams that when put into action can make an impact on society,” Girl Scouts of Utah Chief Executive Officer Janet Frasier said. “Girl Scouting’s highest awards provide a platform for girls to make a difference.” Morgan Barron, of Riverton, earned the Gold Award. Her project addressed the need for sanitary water throughout the world. Morgan engineered a product entitled, “RainCloud” that is inexpensive and simple in design to allow hand washing in areas without water infrastructure. “RainCloud” is made from plastic and is machined to be press fitted into any recycled 2-liter bottle, reusing landfill waste and creating refillable water sources. Her project will be sustained by the American Red Cross. Morgan hopes to develop her device further with organizations like Power 2 Become and Engineers without Borders. “By completing my Gold Award, I was empowered by my ability to create simple, sustainable solutions to global issues through the

engineering process,” she said. “As graduating senior, I am using this passion to direct my future educational and career goals.” Ten area Girl Scouts earned their Silver Awards. Savannah Stewart and Sarah Young created hygiene kits for foster kids as well as created a cookbook with simple meal tutorials so they could learn to cook for themselves; Audri Dara and her troop made items for girls with eating disorders; Madison Feichter, Madison Richmond and their troop sought donations and made hygiene kits for a youth homeless shelter; Kayla Staley and Camilla Moore created pamphlets for elementary students entering middle school, “Your New Adventure Begins in a Place called ‘Middle School’” to address concerns; Kayla Madsen and her troop made cat toys to help homeless cats have a better life; and Hunter Hovatter and Daisy Schindler cared for injured animals and gathered blankets to provide bedding for them at animal shelters. Seventeen Girl Scouts from the area earned their Bronze Awards through projects such as helping at Ronald McDonald House, Utah Humane Society, Copper Ridge Senior Center, Primary Children’s Center, other animal shelters, providing shoes for people in Africa and other items for those in the community and making kits for an arts festival. The Bronze recipients are Isabelle Alamilla, Breeanna Goodman, Kristina Johnson, Ava Hansen, Esperanza Hauptman, Taylor Knott, Kennadee Law, Kimberly Martinez, Hailee Moore, Sierra Nielsen, Bella Peacock, Kassandra Ramirez, Kylie Sanderson, Liberty Scott, Saige Stuart, Lily Tatro and Ema Ward. l

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Through using plastic that is machined pressed to fit into a recycled 2-liter bottle, Morgan Barron was able to create a sustainable solution to allow hand washing in areas in the world that lack water infrastructure. Morgan received her Girl Scout Gold Award Oct. 24. Photo courtesy of Morgan Barron

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January 2016 | Page 9

Emergency Preparedness By Sherry Cowdell


isaster can strike without warning at anytime, anywhere or in any place. It can be as elusive as coming home to find your basement flooded from a broken water line or experiencing sudden unemployment and finding you do not have enough food storage on hand to feed your family through unexpected and uncertain times. Whatever the emergency is, being prepared is the key to survival. Make a Plan: Families can cope with disasters by preparing in advance and working together as a team. If something catastrophic were to happen, how would you contact one another, how would you get to a safe place, and what would you do in different emergency situations? Planning what to do before a disaster strikes provides the best protection for you and your family. Complete a contact card for each family member. Have them keep these cards handy in a wallet, purse, or backpack. Before Disaster Strikes: • Learn about your community’s warning signals. What do they sound like and what you should do when you hear them? • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.

• Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. For example, during an earthquake you would want to practice “drop, cover, and hold on” under a sturdy desk or table. During a tornado, you would want to seek shelter in a lower level room without windows. • Know how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches and when it is important to do so. • Know how to use the fire extinguisher, and place it in areas where sources of heat and flame co-exist. • Conduct fire and other emergency drills with your family. • Check your emergency supplies throughout the year to replace batteries, food, and water as needed. • Check if you have adequate insurance coverage to cover possible flooding or structural damage to your home and property. • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) and smoke detectors according to manufacturer’s instructions. • Install at least one battery-powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide alarm in your home, preferably near bedrooms.

Test the battery at least twice a year, when you change the time on your clocks. • Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.

• Emergency blanket • Soap, toothbrush, and other personal care items

If a disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, or electricity for some time. You should have emergency kits for your home, office, school, and car. Here are some steps you can take to help your family stay safer and healthier during and after a disaster. Pack an emergency supply kit:

You should also keep: • Family and emergency contact information • Multipurpose tool • Copies of important documents such as insurance cards, immunization records, etc. • Extra cash • Map(s) of the area • Extra set of car keys and house keys

Food and Water • Water-one gallon per person, per day • Food-easy-to-make and won’t spoil • Manual can opener Electronics • Flashlight • Battery powered, solar, or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) • Cell phone with chargers • Extra batteries Health and safety supplies • First aid kit • Medicine (7-day supply), other medical supplies, and paperwork about any serious or on-going medical condition

Please join us at the Riverton Senior Center Wed., Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. in partnership with the Division of Emergency Management, for a presentation on “Emergency Preparedness on a Budget”. Maralin Hoff, known as the “earthquake lady” will present on topics such as: planning ahead for specific disasters, how to make an emergency kit, planning on a budget, etc. Disasters happen when you least expect them. If you prepare now you will be better able to meet the challenges that lie ahead when the unexpected arises. For more information visit: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness l

Page 10 | January 2016

SOUTH VALLEY JOURNAL LOCAL LIFE Odorless, Colorless and Dangerous


By Hope Zitting

eing healthy is an accomplishment commonly sought-after. Many people strive to make simple little changes in their lives, from taking the stairs instead of the elevator to switching out a cookie for carrot sticks. Despite all these health-conscious decisions, there may be a hazardous gas lurking in your home causing all these good choices to be for naught. On Nov. 19, in the Building 1 South Lobby Entrance of the Intermountain Riverton Hospital, located on 3741 West and 12600 South, numerous residents of Riverton City gathered around to listen to seminars given on radon awareness in Utah. The first seminar, held from 6-7 p.m., was presented by Denitza Blagev, MD, who is a pulmonologist with Intermountain Health Care. The second seminar was taught by Eleanor Divver, Radon Project Coordinator Department of Environmental Quality, Utah Department of Health, from 7-8 p.m. Radon is an odorless, colorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas that is a natural byproduct of uranium. It is rated as a Group A carcinogen, along with tobacco products and tobacco smoke. Radon gas radiation is the number one cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, and the second most common cause of lung cancer in

smokers. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most common cancer within the United States. One-third of all Utah homes are high in radon levels. Many experts speculate that this is a result of Utah’s long mining history. Houses trap radon gas inside, where it has the ability to build up and move through the ground and into the air. The inhalation of radon decay products, such as alpha particles, stay inside the lungs and damage the lung tissue, and eventually damage the DNA in the cells. Radon testing is extremely important, especially in a beautiful state like Utah where one would never suspect an odorless and colorless danger to be hiding. Morgan Roberts, a representative for Radon Be Gone Inc., said, “Our motto is: test at home, fix at home, save a life.� There are numerous methods to check if your home is safe from radon. Radon testing kits can be purchased online, in hardware stores or retail outlets. These kits usually run under $10. Radon testing can be done both short-term and long-term. Short-term testing takes between two to 90 days, and long-term testing takes over 90 days. If the testing kit reads four picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher, your home and the ones living within may be in danger. Contact a radon gas mitigation expert immediately and act now to reduce the risk. Schools also have potential radon radiation exposure. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that one in five schools have a high radon level in Utah. Radon is more toxic for children than adults. The heightened exposure is a result of children breathing faster and deeper and being more active, generally. Advocate for the school grounds to be tested for radon if they have not been tested yet. For more information concerning radon and its effects, go to radon.utah.gov. l

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Meet Riverton City’s New Steward for the Trees


By Briana Kelley

atrick “Roman” Williams is Riverton City’s newest urban forester. He was hired late August following citizen and council member concerns over the growing plight of trees in the city. Williams was introduced to citizens during the Oct. 20 city council meeting. There he discussed his goals and duties as an urban forester In his presentation, Williams outlined aspiring goals, including creating a detailed city tree inventory of the thousands of trees in the city. He has already begun work in the Midas Creek area, where many trees pose a hazard to residents. “My goal is to ensure Riverton’s urban forest infrastructure for current and future generations,” Williams said. Williams also hopes to promote tree planting and care through community outreach and a long-term tree plan. “I am excited for the chance here to create an invento- Meet Patrick “Roman” Williams, Rivry and get the city and residents excited about this subject. erton City’s first urban forester. Photo Instead of being in the background, I want to answer ques- Courtesy of Patrick Williams. tions and get people excited about trees and especially the urban forest. I want to turn this into something where residents can look around in years to come and notice positive changes,” Williams said. According to data from the book “Growing Greener Cities” cited by Williams, a single tree provides $73 worth of air conditioning, $75 worth of erosion control, $50 worth of air pollution reduction and $75 worth of wildlife shelter annually. Williams stressed that an urban forest can help offset auto emissions and improve air quality. Trees filter air and water pollution naturally, provide shade, reduce energy bills and provide a lot of benefit to residents. Williams is a certified arborist from the International Society of Arboriculture. He has worked in the area for over 15 years, both in grounds crew and in a supervisory capacity. “He’s fantastic. I’m glad that we finally have someone that can really be the steward for our trees. Because we have a lot of stuff going on, now someone can just take care of those trees. As you saw in his presentation, the value of a tree and the value they bring to your community are important. No one was taking care of those for us so we are thrilled to have him,” Sheril Garn, Parks and Public Services director, said. l

January 2016 | Page 11

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SOUTH VALLEY JOURNAL NEWS Mayor Clarifies When, If Ever, TRAX will be Built in Riverton

Page 12 | January 2016

By Briana Kelley / Story originally ran in November 2015


iverton residents want to know if or when a new TRAX line will be built along 12600 South in Riverton. Others are concerned about how much money has been spent or will be spent for this project. Mayor Bill Applegarth addressed these concerns at the city’s recent event “What’s Up in Riverton” and at the Sept. 22 city council meeting.

“There are all kinds of misinformation on the transit study and I would like to correct that misinformation,” Applegarth said. “There is nothing, I repeat, nothing of construction for any TRAX line in the 2040 plan that is in the Riverton area. There is absolutely nothing. No construction. There is corridor preservation money but no construction money for a TRAX line.” The 2040 plan, published by Wasatch Front Regional Council, outlines all potential UTA projects between now and 2040 based on projected regional growth and available funds, among other factors. There is money available for corridor preservation in Riverton. This includes land from the Daybreak TRAX stop through undeveloped land east of Mountain View Corridor and over to 13400 South. “The idea is you get your corridor preserved for TRAX so that people don’t build buildings in the way and you have to buy

buildings. If you were here when Bangerter Highway was built, you know that they built brand new homes that were never lived in that UDOT then had to buy for the Bangerter Highway because they didn’t have the corridor preserved. This preservation is for a TRAX line, a future TRAX line,” Applegarth said. The process to construct a TRAX line involves specific studies and procedures. Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has already conducted studies for the best possible future TRAX line. The next step is an environmental study, which must be approved by Riverton’s city council. UTA is currently gathering public comments about the future TRAX line. Written comments may be left at the various open houses in October, January and February. Written comments may also be left on their website.  “The council will make a decision in February or March on whether to take this to an environmental study. The study is already funded and approved by the Feds and UTA,” Applegarth said. Riverton City has already invested $250,000. There are no funds listed in the current budget to contribute more to the transit study. “I think it was a good investment for Riverton City. It has worked out well for us in my opinion because it will save us money in the long run,” Applegarth said. l

Mayor Bill Applegarth updates residents on UTA plans for a future TRAX line during “What’s Up in Riverton” on Saturday, Sept. 19. Photo courtesy of ©Riverton City Communications 2015

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S outhV alley Journal.Com

January 2016 | Page 13

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SOUTH VALLEY JOURNAL LOCAL LIFE City Officials Pay Tribute to Retiring Police Chief Rod Norton

Page 14 | January 2016


amily members, friends, residents and officers gathered in a packed council room July 21 to honor retiring Riverton Chief of Police Rod Norton. City staff and council took time to remember Norton and thank him for his eight years of service to Riverton. Norton was praised for engaging the community, lowering crime and supporting officers. “Chief Norton was much more than a chief for the city,” Councilmember Tricia Tingey said. Norton retires after 33 years of service, including 28 years with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, now the Unified Police Department (UPD). “He was a community chief,” Mayor Bill Applegarth said. He was appointed Riverton Precinct Chief of Police Services when the city became a stand-alone precinct in 2007. When the sheriff’s office became UPD in 2010, Norton went through a new application process and was retained as Chief of Police Services. Norton brought a wealth of experience to the job. He previously served in UPD’s detective unit, child abuse services and the DARE unit. He also worked as a public information officer and in community relations. As he was promoted from a sergeant to a lieutenant he worked in the special operations division and was the executive lieutenant of the air unit. He also served as commander over internal affairs and served in watch command twice. Norton was a pioneer in his field. He was one of the very first planners for the 2002 Olympics. He also helped build a new precinct building for Riverton City. Before, buildings had been rented and the precinct did not own any structures or buildings. Norton and his staff did not have any references or guidelines for new building construction. Norton explained that the new building is a “purpose-built building.” They have a special room for children interviews, domestic violence coordinators and a state-of-the-art evidence room. They also put a lot of detail into small things like the camera systems and layout. When asked what his most memorable achievements were as chief of police, Norton said that building relationships of trust and developing a highly successful department has

By Briana Kelley / Story originally ran in August 2015

Retiring Riverton Chief of Police Rod Norton (pictured center in light blue shirt) was honored at Riverton’s city council meeting on July 21. He is pictured here with family, council members and officers. Photo courtesy of Angela Trammell

given him the most pleasure. “I’m proud of the style of law enforcement and the model we have developed. That model has been a community-based model. It has never, never been an ‘us versus them’ but a problem-solving attitude. If it’s important to them, it’s important to us,” Norton said. “For the past 27 months, our crime statistics have dropped every month.” He attributes this drop in crime in part to community relations and involvement. Norton said that the biggest challenges facing Riverton is educating citizens to help

them understand why the police force does what they do and what the rules and legal guidelines are. “That’s where the community partner model made a difference,” Norton said. “We held citizen academies to help citizen leaders understand what we do and that made a world of a difference. Trying to get the citizens to see through our eyes like we tried to see through theirs was the most difficult but the most rewarding. That takes a caring attitude.” During Norton’s service the precinct partnered with South Valley Services to deal with domestic violence issues. Norton also

created and strengthened the Citizen Advisory Group, a program that gives citizens a chance to explain problems and concerns from their perspective. Finally, Norton retained a DARE officer during 2009 budget cuts and strengthened communication with school officers and detectives to effect changes in the lives of children. Norton hopes that these programs and practices continue. Norton retired July 15. Lieutenant Rosa “Rosie” Rivera has been appointed as the new Unified Police Department Riverton Precinct Chief of Police. l

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Expanding Efforts to Build a Safe, Healthy Community in the Salt Lake Valley


his year, Salt Lake County government led the way on economic growth and jobs, low taxes, public safety and responsiveness to residents. As Utah continues to rebound from the Great Recession, we have an opportunity to take charge of our future and work together to show how we can make a bright future. We’ve launched the Global Cities Initiative, which helps business and civic leaders in the metro region grow their business through exports and international connections. Evidence shows that it was the metro areas who led this country out of the recession and that when businesses receive support in learning how reaching new customers and global markets, their employees benefit, earning 17 percent more in salaries. We opened new treatment options for individuals who end up in jail due to crimes related to mental illness or substance abuse. With funding help from the Utah legislature, we opened a new community facility for adult women leaving incarceration. The 16-bed residential home allows these women to transition away from jail, get treatment, reunite with children and families and start establishing a more stable and productive path for their lives. Salt Lake County brought more than 31

homeless service providers together around an exciting plan to minimize homelessness. For the first time, everyone is on the same page about we want to accomplish, beginning with recognizing and meeting the distinct needs of at-risk and homeless populations. As a coalition, we’re asking the Utah legislature to support our plan by providing money to build several new, smaller shelters that serve the needs of families with children, homeless individuals who are working and other specific groups. A one-size-fits-all approach to this problem hasn’t worked in the past and we need to channel all the care, compassion, effort and money in a new direction. With a sizeable grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, we’ve launched a community partnership in Kearns to improve child well-being throughout the township. Our framework—Evidence2Success—was developed by the foundation to collect data on the needs and the strengths of local youth. Granite School District will receive additional support to boost their educational programs and it will all be guided by the parents and community leaders who know their schools and neighborhoods best. Salt Lake County works every day to

serve the entire community, through programs such as Meals on Wheels for senior citizens in need, education for coaches and parents on how to recognize and prevent head injuries, expanding senior centers, such as the one in Midvale, to support healthy lifestyles for “baby-boomers” and building three new regional parks, so that every family has a place to get outdoors and enjoy recreational activities together. In 2016, we’ll rededicate our efforts to reform the criminal justice system and by achieving that, improve public safety. My 2016 budget, adopted by a bipartisan County Council vote, provides funding to meet the immediate needs of the sheriff, the jail, the district attorney and the behavioral health division in the short term, as well as money for innovative projects to prevent crime in the long term. I’m proud of the bipartisan collaboration that is uniting county leaders, state leaders, our human services department and the Criminal Justice Advisory Council – with the single goal of spending criminal justice and social justice dollars more effectively. How will we measure success? We’ll know we’ve succeeded when 1) we’ve put the criminals behind bars, 2) the homeless in hous-


ing, 3) substance abusers in treatment, and 4) children in school, through high school graduation. When we’ve done that we’ll have made a measurable and lasting difference in peoples’ lives. l

Page 16 | January 2016

local life Riverton Remembers Its Past In New Building


By Taylor Stevens / Story originally ran in February 2015


t’s an unusual sight: a structure with a dome atop rising out of the currently-under-reconstruction Riverton Park with the words ‘The Old Dome Meeting House’ emblazoned across its front. And it has many Riverton residents and motorists who drive by wondering just what it is and what it’s for. The Old Dome Meeting House, located at 126 00 South 1450 West, will be a gathering place for residents of Riverton and neighboring cities. Its unusual design is modeled around a historic building which was once where the Riverton Library is now located. Along with the rest of the park, the Old Dome building is scheduled to open to the public on June 22. It will be available to rent for a variety of ac- The Old Dome Meeting House which will open this June is a reflection of Riverton City’s history. tivities—everything from business meetings, museeducation classes and public and private cel- leased later this spring. um and art shows to community gatherings, ebrations. A rental fee structure will be reThe 11,321-square-foot Old Dome build-

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ing was included in the $15 million park budget. The basement has a multi-purpose room, which will be used for gatherings and trainings, as well as a second floor gallery area, which will house artifacts from the original Dome Church. When Riverton City’s park renovation plans were approved in the spring of 2013, the city council “really wanted everything to reflect a commitment to the city and to the community and to our rich and valued heritage,” Riverton City Communications Manager Angela Trammell said. “The architect came back with the Old Dome Church in mind as that project. When everyone saw it, they just felt that was the way to go, and the city council approved the building.” The Old Dome Church has a rich Riverton history. In 1899, a group of members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to construct a new meetinghouse. Richard Kletting—the same architect who designed the Utah State Capitol and the old Saltair Pavilion—designed the building. Although Riverton’s community worked together to complete the project, economic hardships meant the dome took 10 years to complete. In September 1908, church services were finally held in the facility, which seated about 1,000 people. In 1940, after only 32 years of use, the Old Dome Church was demolished due to difficulties heating and maintaining the building. As the park project developed, community members who wanted “to reflect the heritage” of Riverton City “generously stepped up” and donated various artifacts, Trammell said. So, in honor of the history behind the original Old Dome Church, its modern likeness will house original artifacts in its museum room, including an organ, two pieces of stained glass and a church pew. Riverton City officials are “excited” about the Old Dome Meeting Hall, Trammell said. “We know it will be an iconic presence reflecting Riverton’s heritage.” More information about the Old Dome Church and its history can be found in a book the city is releasing in conjunction with Riverton’s 150th birthday celebrations called “Riverton City, Utah: Looking Back 150 years.” The book is available for the public to purchase for $35 at the utility billing counter at City Hall while supplies last. l

Oquirrh Hills Vet


wo men grew up in different places, with different backgrounds, but fate doesn’t discriminate. Dr. Robert Myrick and Dr. David Vaas graduated from Colorado State Veterinary School of Medicine, one year apart from each other in the early 2000s, and the rest is history. Oquirrh Hills Veterinary Center was established in 2004 by both doctors, who have now been working together for over 10 years. The mission of Oquirrh Hills Veterinary Center is to provide the highest quality medical, surgical, boarding and grooming care possible, in an environment that is family-oriented, warm, comfortable and clean. They also strive to maintain a strong focus on client education and service. The modern facility occupies nearly 5,000 square feet with some of the most modern equipment and trained staff in the greater Salt Lake Valley. This allows the center to offer high quality sedation-free grooming, personal lodging for your pet, and the highest quality medicine and surgery available. Their medical and surgical services include: a comprehensive

preventative medicine plan, routine elective and advanced soft tissue or orthopedic surgery, ultrasound, endoscopy, blood chemistries, and even dental care. As a hospital, Oquirrh Hills Veterinary Center is one of only a handful of accredited veterinary hospitals in the state of Utah. To recieve this distinction, the clinic voluntarily went through an on-site evaluation by the American Animal Hospital Association, which evaluated many things including patient care, doctor performance, vaccine protocols and standards that define excellence amongst top veterinary hospitals across the nation. Also offered at the center is PennHip certification, of which less than ten veterinarians in the state of Utah offer. This certification is available to better diagnose hip dysplasia at an early age in your pet. “We want our clients to feel that our hospital is their hospital,” says Monica Walters, Practice Manager at Oquirrh Hills Veterinary Center. It’s easy to feel that way with the way the Doctors and staff treat those who come

through their doors, both two-legged and four-legged. To kick of the new year at the center, January will be senior wellness month, educating clients about the specific needs of their pets over the age of 7. This month will focus on promoting wellness screening tests including bloodwork, urinalyses, Heartworm and fecal screenings. Next month is Dental month, and the center is offering a $25 discount on the price of your pet’s Dental Cleaning. A pet is often times just like another member of the family. When that member gets sick or injured, it is important to us, as their family to seek out the best care possible. You can look no further; rest easy knowing that Oquirrh Hills Veterinary Center is the best in the business at taking care of your four-legged family members. Oquirrh Hills Veterinary Center is located at 5714 West 13400 South in Herriman. Call 801-446-5194 to make an appointment or to ask any questions, or visit oquirrhhillsvet.com to learn more. l



Page 18 | January 2016


School Staff Works to Turn Treats Into Smart Snacks


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By Aimee L. Cook / Story originally ran in October 2015

etting kids to eat healthy can be a challenge. In July of 2014, the ‘Smart Snacks’ initiative was introduced to the Jordan School Districts’ Nutrition Services staff. Since then, they have been finding ways to make the sweet treats kids crave like cakes, brownies and cookies, into a healthier version without compromising taste. “We make our bread, buns and rolls from scratch every morning in addition to all the desserts we sell a la carte, like the cookies and cakes,” Katie Bastian, registered dietician for Jordan School District, said. “We have slowly been moving toward making those items more healthy, like adding whole wheat flour.” To meet the federal nutrition guidelines and create a recipe kids will like can take a while. Adding applesauce to cakes and vanilla yogurt to cookies requires some fine-tuning to get not only the taste right but also the consistency. Such is the job of Nutrition Services Coordinator Peggy Christensen. The latest successful treat is the snickerdoodle cookie. This healthy version only costs the students 25 cents and meets the federal nutrition guidelines. It’s a win-win. “When we worked to create treats that qualify under the new Smart Snacks guidelines, we would try a recipe many different times,” Christensen said. “Each time we tried a recipe we would have our main office staff (of 8) and numerous employees in our building try the cookie, bar etc. If the recipe passed the taste test, it would then go to our dietician who would assure that the recipe doesn’t have too much sodium, fat, sugar or calories. If the recipe failed any category, it would be adjusted, maybe less sugar, less fat or more of a fat substitute like yogurt or applesauce etc., and then baked again. It was then tasted again and

The made-from-scratch snickerdoodle cookie, tried, tested and approved by students. Photo credit Jordan School District

ran through the ‘Smart Snack’ qualifications of salt, sugar, fat and calories again. Some recipes were baked, adjusted and baked again as many as 16 times.” The challenge of creating a snack that is whole-grain rich, which requires 51 percent whole wheat mixed in with white flour, less than 200 calories and has less than 35 percent of its total weight from sugar takes some doing, especially with a cookie. And then, in order for kids to like it, it can’t taste ‘healthy’ or low fat. “We know that all student tastes are not the same so we focus on quality and communication with our managers and menu team on needed product adjustments, frequency on menu cycles and removing or adding items,” Christensen said. So parents, no need to fret the next time your student reaches for that sugar cookie or snickerdoodle at school, the nutrition team has got your back. l

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Cyd Asay and Peggy Christensen, nutrition services coordinators for the Jordan School District, spend hours in the kitchen perfecting the healthy ‘smart snacks’ offered in the secondary schools.

local life

S outhV alley Journal.Com

January 2016 | Page 19

Family Farm Thrives in Community By Rachel Hall / Story originally ran in August 2015

The Petersens have grown their operation from five acres of crops in 2008 to 75 acres today.


family tradition rooted deep in the past keeps Luke and Hilarie Petersen growing crops for the community. “We like that people know where the farm is,” Hilarie said.

Luke and Hilarie Petersen operate the Petersen Family Farm in Riverton, including a fresh produce market open six days a week.

Luke, a fifth-generation farmer, and Hilarie both pursued graduate studies before taking over operations at the Petersen Family Farm. He intended to make a career out of international agriculture with his MBA, while she de-

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Young children enrolled at the Little Farmers Preschool have chores to do on the farm, such as feeding goats.

sired to use her master’s in linguistics to teach abroad. It wasn’t long before the Petersens felt their international ambitions weren’t the right path for their family, and so they returned to Utah with two small children and a fresh idea. A shift in focus from producing only hay to producing food for area residents started in 2008 with five acres. Today, the farm is harvesting on 75 acres due to the success and demand of buying local. “I didn’t anticipate how much work it was going to be,” Hilarie said. A typical day for Luke begins at 4:30 a.m. and doesn’t usually end until midnight. His hard work extends beyond the farm to include community outreach, especially in his role as president of the Salt Lake County Farm Bureau. Hilarie, who is a full-time mom to their three children, also works on the farm as much as possible helping with chores, errands, the market and the Little Farmers Preschool on site. “I just love education in all its forms,” Hilarie said about the decision to open up the farm to 4-year-olds who are eager to learn. It was the small details of farm life such as caring for goats, chickens and rabbits, as well as growing crops that made a lasting impression on the Petersen children. Hilarie found her children learning so much that connected them to agriculture and real world learning opportunities, that she felt many other children could also benefit. “I saw what a blessing it was for them, and I thought why don’t we open this to the community and let preschoolers come and have an experience on the farm,” she said. Little ones who are part of the program have a chance to do daily chores such as gathering eggs and feeding goats, as well as learn

foundational reading skills on an individualized level. Youth between the ages of 5 and 12 can get a feel for the farm life with weekly summer camps. “They love it. They want to be on the farm,” Hilarie said. Fresh produce such as sweet corn, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, greens, onions and potatoes keep many adults returning to the farm’s market that is open six days a week. Many of the customers participate in the CSA program [Community Supported Agriculture], which offers a weekly choice of fresh, seasonal produce. “We are not certified organic. We are working on that for specific crops. One thing that people don’t understand is that organic does not mean no pesticide. It just means organic pesticide,” Hilarie said. A national trend of consumers looking to find organic products is understandable to the Petersens who already use minimal pesticides on crops. Utah’s climate helps control some pest issues and that’s why a few crops aren’t sprayed at all. “We try to farm as responsibly as possible. We don’t want the pesticides ourselves. We eat everything that we grow. We don’t want our kids around that, so we try to keep it as low as possible,” Hilarie said. The Petersens also believe in helping other local food producers. Their market features locally produced food items from several small Utah businesses. Additionally, they also host several food trucks from 5-9 p.m. each Friday. “We’ve had nothing but wonderful support from the community and our customers in particular,” Hilarie said. The Petersen Family Farm is located near 11800 South 4000 West in Riverton. For more information, visit www.petersenfarm. com l

Page 20 | January 2016



Tricia Tingey Awarded Teacher Of The Year


By Aimee L. Cook / Story originally ran in June 2015

o be singled out from your peers and nominated for an award that classifies you “the best” at something is undoubtedly an honor. Such was the case for Blackridge Elementary teacher Tricia Tingey who was awarded the prestigious honor of being named Teacher of the Year. Nominated by Blackridge Elementary principal Steve Giles, the sixth-grade teacher was honored at a Teacher Appreciation luncheon along with other nominees in the district. The event was hosted by the South Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Tricia was nominated because she is such a wonderful teacher leader,” Giles said. “She is responsible for grants at our school that make it possible for computer-based supplemental math instruction for all students in grades four through sixth that is individualized according to level and need. She has provided leadership to our sixth-grade team as team leader and is currently heavily involved in implementing a STEM focus at Blackridge. Tricia has a great rapport with the students in her class and demonstrates a very good mix of nurture and rigor in her classroom. She is a stand out on a faculty made of the best.” Tingey decided to pursue teaching after studying political science in college and having a candid conversation with her father.

“I wanted to go into criminal law and my dad was a bit worried with that decision, but he would have supported me in anything I did,” Tingey recalled. “He asked me one question that changed my thinking about careers. He said, ‘Doesn’t it make more sense to teach them correctly when they are young instead of prosecuting them when they are older?’ I guess this made me think about where my influence could be best felt. The next semester I enrolled in classes to get a dual major in Elementary Ed and Special Ed. I haven’t regretted that decision.” In an ever-changing world of technology, Tingey feels that technology actually makes teaching easier. The only real challenge with all that progression is being able to keep up with it and learning as you go. Aside from keeping up with modern times, there are still other challenges of teaching that do not change, like meeting every child’s needs whether it be academic, social or emotional. But trying to meet these individual needs and connecting to her students are what Tingey loves the most about her job. “I’m pretty normal and I don’t feel as if I do anything extraordinary,” Tingey said. “In reality, there are hundreds of teachers that deserve this award and we all are just doing the l very best we can.”

Tricia Tingey, sixth-grade teacher at Blackridge Elementary, awarded Teacher of the Year.

S outhV alley Journal.Com

January 2016 | Page 21

I am Grateful for the Poor Man’s Casserole


t slapped me in the face, like an old Three Stooges movie. Last month my husband came home from work holding a large envelope. Handing it over, he simply stated, “Read this.” My heart sank. You see, every year in December, his company does their annual, “Merry Christmas layoff,” and I was certain it was his turn. I began to hyperventilate, sweat trickled down my forehead as my trembling hands opened the letter. How could they, after 26 years of company loyalty? They can’t! We are only four years from retirement! As I read and re-read the words on the letter, my mind began to compute: not a layoff letter, but a retirement letter. In two weeks, TWO weeks, my husband would be retired! Could we do it a full four years before we had planned? Yikes! Now, I have a confession to make. We have not always enjoyed a frugal lifestyle; in fact, in the early years of our marriage it was quite the opposite. We lived to the point of an extravagance that almost sent us bust. We lived right at the edge of our means, throwing caution to the wind, buying now


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#1 – Ditch the luxuries. Cutting cable TV, gym memberships, and eating out top my list of quick ways to save some serious cash. Brown bag it for lunch, discover Hulu for TV entertainment and take a walk instead of utilizing an expensive gym treadmill. #2 – Sell your stuff. Cleaning out the clutter not only can bring in some extra cash, but it clears the mind of clutter and helps you get organized. Utilize your local consignment store (check Yelp.com for a list of several), make use of online classifieds or give Ebay a try. #3 – Find alternative ways to travel. If you have two cars, sell one. Try taking TRAX or carpooling to work. #4 – Cut your grocery costs. Groceries can be a huge part of the family expenses. Instead of planning your shopping for the meals you want, plan your meals to what’s on sale. Clip or print coupons. You can check Coupons4Utah. com’s “grocery” section for a list of resources. Cut your meat portions in half. For years our mainstays were casseroles and Mexican and Italian dishes like lasagna and pizza. It’s easy to decrease the meat in those kinds of dishes.

and vowing to save later. Then it happened, our turning point: my husband lost his job. It was the 80s. Remember those days? With 14 percent home interest rates, no jobs and two kids, we quickly discovered our skinny bank account and high debt had put us at the brink of disaster. What could we do? We had officially hit what we call our “Poor Man’s Casserole” days. One only needs to Google “Getting out of debt” to find a plethora of advice from financial savvy experts: refinance the house, make budgeting lists and spreadsheets to track payoffs, start by paying off the highest interest loan rate, etc. All good practices, but what if you don’t qualify for said refinance, or your budget doesn’t cover your bills, let alone allow you to make extra payments? How will making a list help when what you really need is money today? The fact is, finding immediate money in a set budget takes sacrifice, creativity, work and commitment. Here are some practical tips for increasing your finances that I’ve learned and used along the way.

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One of our favorites was called Poor Man’s Casserole, a mixture of ground beef, green beans and mashed potatoes. #5 – Find contentment with what you have. This was a turning point for me, and one of the best pieces of financial advice I have. In my own personal experience, it took me years to feel contentment with what I have. Once I did, I found that the longing for things grew smaller, and I was able to learn to experience what life had to give. I am grateful for the Poor Man’s Casserole days and the contentment it brought me. oor Man’s Casserole: Brown 2/3 lb. of ground beef or turkey with ½ an onion. Salt and pepper to taste and place in the bottom of a three qt. round casserole dish. Drain two cans of green beans and layer on top of the beef. Layer one can cream of mushroom soup on top of beans and top with about three cups of smashed potatoes (about five potatoes boiled in salty water and smashed with a little milk and butter). Microwave on high until hot (about 10 to 15 minutes). Enjoy. l


Making a Clean Sweep


s long as everything stays the same, I’m super cool with change. So when January rolls around with all its high-pressure resolutions and soul-destroying goals, I choose to decline. After years of making unobtainable promises, I know I won’t learn a new language, acquire the ability to run marathons or stop eating candy by the pound. But this year I decided it was time to get rid of the clutter that had infiltrated my home when I wasn’t looking. On January 1, my house seemed as organized as the shelves at Dollar Tree the day after Christmas, so I thought maybe it was time to clean things up. (FYI: Because Americans have so much junk, there’s a store that sells only containers to store our stuff. There are even boxes to store our boxes. Crazy, I know.) I’ve heard when you’re organized, you can be lazy. That was incentive enough to get

to the bedroom to sort through my clothes. Cleaning the closet is difficult, because I’m pretty sure I wear all my clothes every day. But I found the dress I wore to my mom’s second wedding, ballet shoes from dance class 35 years ago, the sequined skirt I swore I’d wear once I lost 25 pounds and a ketchup-stained T-shirt from my first major league ballgame. Gone. Then I attacked the bathroom. I thought it might be easier to throw a grenade into the bathtub, shut the door and walk away action-hero style, in slow motion. I’m truly not a hoarder. I just figure at some point I will use the dozens of hotel shampoos and travel-sized body washes I’ve saved for emergencies. I dug into my drawers (so to speak) and purged almost-empty hair spray bottles, driedup face masks, greasy lotions and anti-aging

started. Once my mess was stashed away in designer bins, I’d have more time for napping, Pinteresting or sitting on the porch with a cold drink. (Well, not in January, but at some point this year.) My kitchen was the first place I tackled. I thought it would go quickly until I started throwing out cans of soup that had expired in 2009, quinoa I bought during my whole-grain phase and bags of organic kelp that were never opened. That’s when I realized this project could take longer than I anticipated. The freezer was next. I tossed out Ziplocs filled with frozen flesh from indeterminate sources (could be salmon, could be sausage) and Fudgesicles coated with ice crystals. Healthy Habit Tofu Extravaganza meals I couldn’t choke down were sent to the trash bin. After taking a breather to eat a bag of Almond Roca (Christmas clearance!), I headed




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creams that did not work. I tossed cold tablets from the 1980s, stretched-out hair elastics and a tube of … something unidentifiable. Then I turned to my desk where office products go to die. I found a roll of two-cent stamps, dried up pens that were too far from the garbage can to throw out, tons of cable connectors (although I’m not sure what they connect), enough Post-it notes to write a novel and several used gift cards with a total balance of $1.57. I finally collapsed on the couch, reveling in the afterglow of a job well done. My house felt lighter, like it had gone on a green juice cleanse, and I was pleased with my Zen-like non-attachment to material possessions. That’s when I realized I had room for new stuff! And there were New Year’s sales! Maybe next year I’ll add, “Don’t buy more junk” to my list of soul-crushing resolutions. l

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Profile for The City Journals

South Valley January 2016  

Vol. 26 Iss. 1

South Valley January 2016  

Vol. 26 Iss. 1