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Month 2019 | Vol. 6 Iss. 08

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Taylorsville property tax increases may be necessary next year By Carl Fauver | carlf@mycityjournals.com

Reaching a consensus on a $65 million budget is difficult at best, and there was a lot of drama,” said Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson in assessing her recent work on the Unified Police Board of Directors. “[The approved budget increase] was a good step forward, but we need to follow through next year with another increase.” All of this means Taylorsville homeowners should likely begin preparing now for what is appearing more and more to be an inevitable property tax increase a year from now. In truth, many observers are surprised Taylorsville officials could support a UPD budget increase this year without a corresponding tax increase. “Each 1% budget increase for the Unified Police Department amounts to roughly $500,000,” Overson said. “So, the increase our board approved will require more than 4 million new dollars.” After much haggling over the numbers, the UPD board approved additional funding in three different forms: • 2% cost of living adjustment (COLA) • 4% market increase • 2.75% merit increase All sworn officers are expected to receive the cost of living and market adjustment pay hikes. However, many senior officers will not be eligible for the merit increases. “These pay increases are not inconsequential, and we are certainly pleased the board voted for them,” said Taylorsville UPD Precinct Chief Tracy Wyant. “But, honestly, it will still be a challenge to hire and retain quality new officers.” Wyant’s Taylorsville precinct has almost never been fully

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Taylorsville disbanded its stand-alone police department years ago, with elected officials still pleased by the service Unified Police provides. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

staffed in recent years. Despite available money and approvals for new officers, the agency has had a hard time hiring and retaining people because other departments are paying more. “We used to compete (for personnel) primarily against other law enforcement agencies here in the valley,” Wyant said. “But now, we have to compete against departments in other states that are actively trying to steal our officers. Ev-

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Playoff seedings

erett, Washington, for example, is offering $20,000 signing bonuses for officers to join them. Getting and keeping good officers is more competitive than I can ever remember.” “Next year, we will have to be serious about looking at a tax increase,” Overson said. “We need to remember, we have amazing officers who risk their lives for us every day. Tax increases are uncomfortable to discuss, but Continued Page 10

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Taylorsville City Journal

Planning for the future of the West Bench is like a puzzle Salt Lake County is estimated to add 600,000 new residents by 2065. Many of those people (our kids and our grandkids) will settle in what is now undeveloped and unincorporated Salt Lake County. To ensure quality of life for those residents (and ourselves) – we need to plan.





Where will people live and work? Will there be adequate water and open space? How will we get from place to place? Get involved by taking our short survey at oquirrhview.org. Tell us about your preferences for growth along the West Bench. Your input matters, help us plan for a bright future.






TaylorsvilleJ ournal.com




   Â Â?Â? Â?Â? August 2019 | Page 3

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


r. Steve Haslam, of Copper Hills High School; Sally Wilde, of Herriman High School; and Amanda Kurd, of Kearns High School, are passionate to put poetry slam clubs and classes into all Utah high schools. They formed the Utah High School Poetry Slam Initiative to campaign for poetry slam to become a sanctioned activity through the Utah High School Activities Association. “We said, ‘Let’s do something more; let’s do something bigger; let’s do everything we can to get it in every school that we can because we have watched poetry literally save lives, and so that is our goal,’” said Haslam. Poetry slam is a competition where students perform a three-minute, 10-second original poem for five judges. Teachers who coach poetry slam clubs claim it provides a forum for students to express their experiences and emotions to a responsive audience. While poetry slams are popular in coffee shops and on YouTube, only about six Utah schools participate in inter-school competitions, and only two offer poetry slam classes. The poetry initiative hosted a gala May 2 to educate teachers, administrators and district officials about the benefits of the activity in hopes of encouraging participation in more schools. Their goal is to get 30 schools to participate, which would meet the UHSAA requirements for gaining an Emerging Sport/ Activity status. The Emerging Sports Policy was recently introduced by the UHSAA for the 2019–2020 school year. Currently, only 10 girls’ sports and 10 boys’ sports and three activities—music, theater/drama and speech/ debate—are sanctioned by the UHSAA. In response to requests from many participants and coaches of a variety of school activities, such as poetry slam, the UHSAA has created a student participation survey.


Advisers of local poetry slam clubs answer questions at a gala to promote the high school activity. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

“We are trying to gauge what types of activities the students in Utah are participating in outside of those sports and activities that are already sanctioned by the UHSAA,” said UHSAA Assistant Director Jan Whittaker. “If enough schools meet the requirements spelled out in the policy [20% of the 150 member schools], they will be placed on the Emerging Sports and Activities list.” Once an activity or sport becomes fully sanctioned, UHSAA can offer a state championship event. Schools from Jordan, Alpine, Davis and Granite districts currently participate in locally sponsored poetry slam competitions and workshops. The small but passionate community has drawn the support of well-known slam poets who were invited to teach workshops and perform their poems in conjunction with the state poetry slam competition hosted by Copper Hills High School May 3. This year, high school students from American Fork, Bingham, Brighton, Copper Hills, Herriman, Kearns, Paradigm and Skyline high schools participated. Members of the poetry slam initiative insist that poetry slam needs its own activity

category and cannot be run under the umbrella of another activity, such as theater. Wilde said the judging criteria for individual theatrical performances doesn’t rate for original work, while slam poetry ratings put a greater emphasis on the poem rather than on the performance. RJ Walker, professional slam poet, teaches workshops in schools, recovery centers, detention centers and prisons. He has seen the benefits of slam poetry. “People need these spaces—especially youth,” said Walker. “People need healthy ways to express themselves and to listen and to feel what other people are saying.” Haslam said a misunderstanding of poetry slam has been a stumbling block to participation. Some educators and administrators fear what might come out of students’ mouths when they are turned loose to express feelings and “edgy” experiences in front of a live audience. There are rules restricting language and certain subject matter at the high school level. Administrators Todd Quarnberg, of Herriman High School, and Kim Searle, of




The Taylorsville City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout Taylorsville. For information about distribution please email circulation@mycityjournals.com or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. The views and opinions expressed in display advertisements do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Loyal Perch Media or the City Journals. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the owner. © 2019 Loyal Perch Media, Inc.

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Sunset Ridge Middle School, both spoke in support for poetry slam at the gala. They said their students have been able to tackle complex emotions and work through difficult experiences without abusing their trust. “Historically, we thought that if we talked about suicide then kids are going to kill themselves, and we know that’s not true,” said Searle. She believes poetry slam can help students deal with their feelings in a healthy way. “We start sharing in classrooms with the adults we feel safe with, who can train our kids to use their voices to develop those skills that give them the gift of speech and listening and language,” she said. “They increase their relationships and their support systems, which means they live healthier lives. Isn’t that what we want for our kids?” That is the mission of UHSAA—to help students to succeed in their lives. By introducing the new policy, UHSAA board members hope to be able to support more sports and activities, and benefit more students. “This policy is intended to find ways to increase female participation as well as look for ways to meet the interests and needs of all students in Utah,” said Whittaker. Professional slam poet Jose Soto said slam poetry appeals to a wider variety of students, as well. He said it exposes them to more culturally diverse poets than what they read in English class. As a Venezuelan immigrant, he doesn’t relate to Shakespeare and Poe. “The problem is, those words and those people don’t mirror my words, my experiences and just aren’t my people,” he said. “Poetry slam is a space where people like me have a voice, where students that have never been able to listen to people who look like them, get to.” l

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August 2019 | Page 5

Teens serve their community with 25 projects By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

Blowing bubbles was part of the fun at field day at Hartvigsen School. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)


hildren playing at Taylorsville City Park or Mill Race Park are enjoying a cleaner park this summer thanks to teens from Eisenhower Junior High School. Students spent the day before the last day of school serving the community. “They’re doing things that just sometimes get overlooked, like cleaning the gutters and picking up little pieces of trash throughout the park,” said Terry Molloy, of Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation, who oversaw the group of 35 teens working at Taylorsville City Park at 4700 South Redwood Road. Students also weeded around the playground equipment and cleared the sidewalks. Molloy said it was good to see the teens learning to take care of their community park, and she hoped they would feel good about picking up after themselves and realize that someone else will have to if they don’t. “It’s OK to bend over and pick something up that’s already there on the ground,”

Page 6 | August 2019

she said. Ryan Tommer, music teacher at Eisenhower, worked alongside the students at the park. He was grateful that the weather was good and that the students worked hard. “Overall, it’s been very positive, and I think the kids have enjoyed it,” he said. The park cleanup project was one of 25 service projects organized for the school’s second annual Day of Service in which 1,150 teachers and students participated.  Students were bused off-campus to volunteer at Golden Living Senior Center, the Jordan River Parkway, Mill Race Park, Salt Lake Community College and Gardner Village. A majority of the projects focused on the area around the school. Students walked various routes through the neighborhood to pick up trash. At the school, they made items to donate to Catholic Community Services, Gardner Village, the Humane Society and Utah Food Bank.

Students from Eisenhower Junior and Hartvigsen school enjoy field day together. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

“Students invested in Eisenhower by cleaning lockers, desks, classrooms, our stage and backstage areas, refurbishing our school garden, and picking up trash outside on our grounds,” said Amanda Johnson, Eisenhower teacher in charge of the event. “We got a lot done.” Many students signed up to help with end-of-year cleaning and running field day activities at Vista Elementary, Redwood Elementary, Hartvigsen School and at four Head Start preschools. Because of the 53 students from Eisenhower who walked to Hartvigsen School to staff their Field Day, the entire student body was able to participate in the fun. “We were able to serve the whole school,” said Rochelle Deeter, adaptive PE teacher. “Usually we have to keep them separate because of numbers.” She said students from Eisenhower provided more one on one support for her

students and the chance for them to interact with their typically developing peers. After playing with a parachute and balls, blowing bubbles, creating chalk art, and chasing each other for a game of Whack a Noodle, the students joined their new friends for a singalong and dance party. Eisenhower teacher Fern McLelland said because the junior high students chose the service project they wanted to help with, they were more interactive and involved this year than they were last year when they were assigned to a service project. Teachers said the service projects were a better way to count down the hours to the end of the school year. Students were out in the community, benefitting from project-based learning, said Tommer. “We’re hoping that they learn a little bit of the value of community service, giving back and working on putting someone else before themselves,” he said. l

Taylorsville City Journal

County official who championed locating the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center in Taylorsville retires By Carl Fauver | carlf@mycityjournals.com


s construction of the $40 million MidValley Performing Arts Center continues through these hot summer months — still on schedule and under budget — one of its key overseers has abandoned his post. “Salt Lake County is genuinely excited about all the different entertainment groups that will make use of this wonderful new facility,” said former county Center for the Arts Division Director Phil Jordan. In fact, that was one of the last official comments Jordan offered while still in his job, saying it on his retirement day, while visiting the Taylorsville construction site. The new building now under construction southeast of Taylorsville City Hall is not the fanciest and most elaborate arts facility Jordan has been involved in during his 14 years with the county. That distinction goes to the 2,468-seat, $119 million Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake. But he said the new Taylorsville site is also close to his heart also because it will serve so many people. “Through years of research we have discovered, when it comes to the performing arts, Utah residents are doers,” Jordan, 66, said. “Sure, we enjoy attending performances as well. But there are so many groups that want to perform; we identified the need for more performing arts facilities throughout the valley.” More than a decade ago, county leaders devised a long-range vision, calling for the construction of as many as five theaters throughout the valley, not counting the palatial Eccles Theater. The Taylorsville theater, still scheduled to open late next year, will be the second of those, behind Salt Lake’s Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. “Our 2008 cultural facilities master plan will be updated later this year, and we will be reviewing all of the recommendations that have been made since then,” said Cami Munk, the division’s communication manager. “At this point, we are not involved in property acquisition or taking any other specific steps toward the construction of addi-

to share. And he numbers the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center among his top career accomplishments. “I will be back to look at it a few more times during construction and certainly I will be here for the ribbon-cutting,” Jordan said. “I am honored to have worked with the team that will be operating this center. It will serve the residents of Taylorsville, and several other surrounding communities, very well.” l

On his retirement day, Salt Lake County Center for the Arts Division Director Phil Jordan sneaks a peek at the final major arts construction project in which he was involved: The Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, southeast of Taylorsville City Hall. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

tional facilities.” As for the Taylorsville project, Center for the Arts Associate Division Director Jeffrey Gwilliam said all is well, though he admits his team will miss Jordan. “Phil has been instrumental in developing all of the county arts facilities constructed over the past 15 years,” Gwilliam said. “It is a very large knowledge base that is leaving us.” Gwilliam was not sure when or if Jordan’s position will be filled by the county. As for the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, Gwilliam said Mother Nature caused some springtime headaches but not enough to impact the final completion date. “We were affected by the second-wettest spring in state history,” Gwilliam said. “Sure, it slowed our construction crews down, but we had weather delays built into the construction schedule, and we have still not utilized all of them.” The only significant “surprise” the construction crews have unearthed, literally, was a long-abandoned diesel fuel tank. “It was there from when the land was farm property,” Gwilliam said. “But it was relatively small and had no breaks or breeches in it. Construction crews were able to remove the tank without any problems.”

A crew of about 60 construction workers have been on the site each day this summer. The departing Jordan takes many fond professional memories into retirement, going back to shortly after his 1976 graduation from Boston’s Emerson College. “I studied to work in television and movies but soon learned I did not want to be in a dark room editing; I wanted to be interacting with people,” Jordan said. “At some point, someone asked me to load a truck full of equipment and drive it to the Boston Ballet Company. That led to me working there for 18 years, getting to know ballet from a mostly technical standpoint.” Subsequent career stops had Jordan directing a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, operating the Soldier Hollow cross-country ski venue for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics and managing another Olympic venue for the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece. Along the way, Jordan also became a certified scuba diver and a cross-country ski instructor, all the while dragging his wife Susan along for the ride. The couple celebrated their 40th anniversary in June, the same month he retired. Oh, and there were theater-related jobs in Canada, Mexico, London, Russia and elsewhere. Suffice to say, Phil has a few stories


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Call or text 385-258-3878 August 2019 | Page 7

Water rescues to take center stage at Lifeguard Games By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com


swimmer steps to the edge of the pool and jumps in. Seconds later, he realizes the water is deeper than he anticipated, and he cannot reach the bottom. Panic sets in, and a lifeguard jumps into action. “We have an incident a few times a day,” Kearns Oquirrh Park Aquatics Manager Brad Peercy said. “We are proud of those rescues. They can happen, and obviously we never want anything bad to happen, but our employees become better lifeguards after they have their first rescue. This stuff is totally precautionary, but it is good they are there doing their job.” Lifeguards will converge on Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center Saturday, Aug. 3 at 7 a.m. to practice and demonstrate their skills at the Utah Aquatics Lifeguard Games. The competition will be judged by the American Red Cross and is open to spectators. The event is run by the Utah Recreation and Parks Association and has been hosted by the fitness center for several years. Approximately 25 teams from all over the state and from Wyoming and Idaho are scheduled to participate, including a team from the West Valley Fitness Center and several teams representing Salt Lake Parks and Recreation pools. Each team consists of six lifeguards


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(four participants and two alternates). They will participate in several types of rescue events. Rescue races, relay swimming events and backboard rescues are all part of the competition. They will use CPR skills and other equipment to show their abilities. The winning team takes home a traveling trophy that has been shared for about 25 years. “The competition is great experience, and winning it doesn’t mean you have good guards or bad guards,” Peercy said. “It is a good opportunity for them to become better guards and not just at the event. They practice on their own to get ready, and that makes them better. They have people watching them, and they want to do well. It is also a chance to showcase what lifeguards do. This shows how hard they work, and even though the majority of them are 17 to 19 years old, they have a lot of responsibility.” Lifeguards supervise the safety of swimmers and other water sport participants. Each facility has different types of rescue skills necessary to be efficient at the job. Many pools offer diving platforms and slides, whereas others only have small pools. The guards must be proficient in the skills to best meet the needs of the facility they are employed at. Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center, JL

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Sorenson and West Valley Fitness Center offer indoor recreation pools, a water slide and 50-meter pools. The pools serve multiple purposes throughout the year, including yearround access to lap swimming, open plunges, water polo leagues and swim meets. “We employ about 125 lifeguards in the summer months,” Peercy said. “They range in age from 15 years old to about 22. They are all certified through the American Red Cross. We also have additional training for our employees from our facility.” Lifeguard certification involves a 30hour class. It includes water skills, a written test, rescue breathing, CPR and general first aid. Ongoing training is also recommended by the state. The Kearns center holds fourhour in-service trainings and individual audits on each lifeguard. “We use a silhouette to simulate a body on the bottom of the pool called a drop drill,” Peercy said. “We have someone sneak it in to the bottom of the pool. That can be part of our audit. We have them rescue the silhouette just as if it was a real rescue. Then we can sit down a discuss how each lifeguard is doing.” “Regardless of what pool you swim at, everyone wants you to be safe,” Peercy said. l

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5.8 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. Over 33,000 people in Utah alone. This disease kills more people each year than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined, and is the 4th leading cause of death in Utah. More than 155,000 people in Utah provide unpaid care for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease. The impact is widespread and can be devastating to families. For more information, to learn about support groups or other resources, or to get help immediately contact the Alzheimer’s Association’s free 24/7 Helpline at: 800-272-3900 or visit our website at: www.alz.org/utah Together we can work to find a cure and ultimately have our first survivor! Join the fight and lend your voice to this critical cause by attending the Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall. There are eight Walks throughout the state of Utah: August 24 Park City (Basin Recreation Center) September 14 Weber/Davis (Layton Community Park) St. George (Dixie State Stadium) September 21 Daybreak (SoDa Row) Logan (Merlin Olsen Park) September 28 Utah County (University Mall) Salt Lake City (Utah State Capitol) October 14 Cedar City (SUU Campus) Register today at: www.alz.org/Walk

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if it is for public safety, as this would be, I think most people will understand why it is necessary.” Taylorsville City Councilman Brad Christopherson certainly does. Several months ago, as various cities Unified Police serve were leaving the agency or considering it, Christopherson led the charge on the council to have the body pass a resolution endorsing the department. More recently, he again voiced strong support during a council meeting. “I cannot, in good conscience, not do anything for [UPD, financially] this year,” he said, prior to the organization’s board vote, increasing funding. “It would be unconscionable to tell them we have no additional money. If we need to do a tax increase, I would be supportive of that.” In addition to the little bit of unincorporated Salt Lake County that still remains, Unified Police now serves six communities: Holladay, Kearns, Magna, Midvale, Millcreek and Taylorsville. Department officials have said they will now review their IT, fleet and dispatch divisions to see if budget cuts are possible to create more funding for offiThis mobile command post is the kind of specialized equipment Unified Police is able to deploy in Taylorsville, cer pay.

“I know going in, Mayor Overson was advocating [to her fellow UPD Board of Directors members] a total pay increase of 10.75%, rather than the 8.75% that was approved,” Wyant said. “So, I don’t think this discussion is over. The truth is, although this increase is very important, our salary rates had fallen so far back, this still does not bring us to the middle of the pack.” Wyant said numerous times he does not want to appear ungrateful. But the reality, he claims, is that qualified police candidates will continue to choose other departments over Unified Police until the gap is closed even more. “I plan to bring this up with the UPD board again next year,” Overson said. “[Taylorsville residents] are well served by the department. We have no plans to change our police service or to start our own department [again]. Now, we just need to make the officers’ pay competitive.” All of this means just as homeowners in several other Salt Lake Valley cities have recently endured, a Taylorsville property tax increase is likely less than a year away. l

due primarily to being one of the state’s larger law enforcement agencies. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

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Accidents are inevitable. Or are they?

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

Page 12 | August 2019

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




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City of Taylorsville Newsletter 2600 West Taylorsville Boulevard • 801-963-5400



August 2019

2020 Summit Brings Stakeholders Together

Dear Friends and Neighbors, Usually summertime brings a slower, easier pace. It’s a ruminative, even lazier, time. But not this year. In fact, in my 19 years serving as a Planning Commissioner, City Council Member and now Mayor of TaylorsMayor Kristie S. Overson ville, I can’t think of a busier summer. There are many amazing projects happening in our city right now, and people are working so hard. It is an exciting time for Taylorsville. Among the happenings, this summer we planned and hosted our first 2020 Summit. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. The Summit brought key stakeholders together in a forum where we were able to share ideas and talk about the opportunities and possibilities available in Taylorsville. There was so much synergy and enthusiasm there. Everyone seemed happy to get together, visit with each other, share and collaborate. (See accompanying story, and a photo gallery of the event on Page 7). It was well worth the effort and I hope we can plan similar events in the future. We also marked our 23rd year of Taylorsville Dayzz. Can you believe that? 23 years. The three-day festival gets bigger and better every year, and this summer was no exception. Held at the end of June, there were carnival rides, food booths, concerts, the Parade and 5K, Car Show, and of course two nights of the best fireworks in the state! Thank you to Chair Jim Dunnigan and our Taylorsville Dayzz Committee for doing such a good job. Also, see some beautiful pictures of the event taken by photographer Keith Johnson on Page 5. This summer, too, the Taylorsville Arts Council kicked off its annual musical with a unique event. The Taylorsville cast of Mamma Mia! staged a “Crosswalk Musical” in advance of its performance that ran July 15-20. It was so much fun and a great way to promote the show. If you missed it, see the city’s website for pictures and video from the event. Speaking of www.taylorsvilleut.gov, we unveiled the city’s new website on June 28. The site, which is now live, puts all the information you need about the city in a format that is accessible and intuitive. Be sure to check it out and see more information about it from the City Council on Page 3. Yes, it was indeed a busy summer, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope you have been having a fun summer, too! –Mayor Kristie S. Overson

WHAT’S INSIDE – August 2019 Frequently Called Numbers, Page 2 Council Corner, Page 3 Taylorsville Dayzz, Pages 4-5 Heritage Remembrances, Page 6 Environment, Page 8

Taylorsville leaders planned and organized a 2020 Summit, where key stakeholders gathered to network, share ideas and learn more about plans for crucial areas of the city and its vision for the future. About 130 business and community representatives attended the 2020 Summit on June 20 at Regal Cinemas in Taylorsville. They mingled in the lobby and grabbed some concessions before hearing a presentation that was projected on one of the theater’s big movie screens. Regal Cinemas graciously donated the space for the Summit. “Our goal was to bring people together and let them see all the possibilities and opportunities that are available in Taylorsville,” said Mayor Kristie Overson. “We are excited about the future and were thrilled by the reception of our first 2020 Summit.” Economic Development Director Wayne Harper spoke at the Summit about several emerging areas of the city as well as those that define Taylorsville such as the 2700 West Employment Center, which will include the coming Bus Rapid Transit line; Sorenson Research Park, which has available parcels; Utah State University – Salt Lake Center at Taylorsville; the Redwood Road Mobility and Beautification Project from 4100 to 5400 South; the new Summit Vista Retirement Community, which opened last fall; and the new Mid-Valley Regional Performing Arts Center coming in fall 2020. “There is so much happening in our community,” Mayor Overson said. “Taylorsville is definite-

ly the place to be. We are in the perfect location, right in the heart of the Salt Lake Valley, for investment and new growth.” In addition, Harper spoke about new master-planning efforts the city has begun with architecture and design firm MHTN for the city’s retail centers, as well as commercial district envisioning and revitalization. (See more on Page 7, including a photo gallery of the event). Christian Gardner, president and CEO of The Gardner Company, also spoke at the Summit about how easy it is to work with Taylorsville City and the good experiences his company had in helping to coordinate the Summit Vista development. Gardner’s company specializes in the development of corporate office, retail, industrial and medical buildings. “The ideas at the Summit fit right in with our 2020 Vision for Taylorsville,” said Mayor Overson. “Our future is bright. We can’t wait to keep moving forward.”


| www.taylorsvilleut.gov

City of Taylorsville Newsletter Beloved Teddy Bear among Items Found at Taylorsville Dayzz

UPCOMING Taylorsville Events Aug. 7 & 21 – 6:30 p.m.

City Council Meeting @ City Hall

Aug. 10 – 5 p.m.

Movies in the Park and Food Trucks @ City Hall. Movie (Lego Movie 2) begins at dusk and is free.

Aug. 13 – 7 p.m.

Planning Commission Meeting @ City Hall

Aug. 13 – All day

Primary Election for District 1. Vote from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. @ City Hall (see Page 3)

Aug. 13 – 6 to 8 p.m.

Night Out Against Crime @ City Hall (See Page 3)

Aug. 20 – 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

CERT courses begin @ City Hall. (See Page 6)

Two-year-old Nora Ashinhurst was inconsolable. Somewhere in the vast 89-acre Valley Regional Park was her beloved teddy bear, dropped during this past month's three-day Taylorsville Dayzz. She cried herself to sleep. Her parents, A.J. and Hailey Ashinhurst, thought about buying her a new teddy bear but knew it wouldn't be the same. Nora had clung to her bear since receiving it as a baby. The family had just returned from Disneyland where the bear went everywhere with little Nora. So when friends invited the Herriman family to Taylorsville Dayzz, of course, the bear went too. But somewhere a long the way, the bear slipped from the toddler's grasp. The family realized it was missing after the Fireworks Extravaganza that Saturday night. They searched and searched the park but it was nowhere to be found. Desperate, Nora's mother called Taylorsville City Hall first thing Monday morning as soon as it opened. "Had they by chance found a worn, small brown teddy bear?" She knew it was a needle in a haystack. City Receptionist MarRae Boyer answered the call. "It was the first call of the day," she said. With 19 years working for Taylorsville, Boyer is accustomed to tackling the most difficult problems. She wanted to help Nora, too, but solving this call seemed an impossibility. She promised to do what she could. Then, about an hour later, volunteers brought over to the City Offices a cardboard box of items lost and found from Taylorsville Dayzz. There, among the sunglasses, shoes and blankets, Boyer spotted the bear. "When I saw the size and condition of it, I knew it was a well-loved teddy," Boyer said. The city recovers dozens of items each year from the festival — including phones, car keys, hats and other random items — and keeps them on hand for about a month afterward in an effort to reunite them with their owners. Wallets found with money are given to the Police Department, which logs them and holds the property for safe-keeping. "It is crazy what is collected," Boyer said. After finding the teddy bear, Boyer couldn't wait to share the good news, calling the family back immediately. They were overjoyed. Nora, her mother, grandparents and older sister all came to City Hall that afternoon to pick up the bear, which Nora sleeps with every night. Little Nora cried again when seeing her bear. "She was not going to let it go," Boyer said. "I'm so glad this story had a happy ending," Boyer added. "Nora was so sweet and her family delightful. I am pleased we could help." If you, too, lost something at Taylorsville Dayzz, the lost-and-found box will be kept until Aug. 16. City Hall is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, or call the city's main phone number, 801-963-5400.

See our sponsor lists and pictures from Taylorsville Dayzz and the Taylorsville Dayzz 5K on Pages 4 and 5.

August 2019

2600 West Taylorsville Boulevard • 801-963-5400 |


New Website Makes Accessing Information Easy

By Council Member Meredith Harker Have you checked out the new city website at www.taylorsvilleut.gov? You haven’t? Boy, are you missing out! In fact, why don’t you go check it out right now? Don’t worry. I’ll wait and we can talk when you get back … Isn’t it amazing? And beautiful? And informative? And easy to navigate? One of the goals of both the Mayor and City Council has been to get information about Taylorsville out to residents in a more clear, easy and informative way. We knew that our old city website was lacking in these characteristics and decided now would be a good time to invest in a change. For the past year, a team of city employees from each department, led by our city’s communications director, have been working with the website design company Granicus to update, organize and beautify our city website. The resulting product is one that will make it easier for residents to find the information they are looking for in a much faster and concise way.

Do you want to find the date of the next City Council meeting? It’s just one click away on the calendar page. Do you want to see what volunteer opportunities are available on our various committees? It's one click away on the Our City tab. Do you want to contact your elected representatives or see who is running for office? It's one click away on the Government tab. Do you have a question about our City Ordinances? It's one click away on the City tab. Do you want to know who to contact if your garbage didn’t get picked up? It’s just one click away on the Services page. We hope that you will take the time to explore our new city website (www.taylorsvilleut.gov just in case you forgot) and use it to help you become more aware of what is happening in our great city. You can also follow us on Facebook (Taylorsville City Hall), Twitter ( TvilleUT ) and Instragram (taylorsvillecity). As your elected officials, we want you to feel connected to the city and have all the information you need.

Aug. 13 is Primary Election Day for District 1 Registered voters residing in Council District 1 have now been mailed their ballots for Taylorsville’s Municipal Primary Election. A Primary Election is only necessary in Council District 1. Completed ballots may be returned by mail in the postage-paid envelope provided. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Aug. 12, the day before the Primary Election Day. Candidates in Council District 1 are: incumbent Ernest Glen Burgess, Don Quigley, and Lisa Gehrke. Voters may view candidate profiles on the State Voter Information website at: www.vote.utah.gov Those who prefer to vote in person on machines may still do so during the Early Voting period prior to the election or on Election Day at any Salt Lake County Vote Center. Taylorsville City Hall will NOT be an Early Voting location this year. For Early Voting locations/hours in Salt Lake County, visit: www.slco.org/clerk/elections Vote Centers are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Primary Election Day, Aug. 13. Taylorsville City Hall WILL be an Election Day Vote Center. Taylorsville voters may vote at any Vote Center in Salt Lake County on Election Day and receive their appropriate Taylorsville ballot. Valid voter ID is required to vote in person. Salt Lake County has provided a number of secure ballot drop-off locations, including Taylorsville City Hall, where sealed ballots may be deposited 24/7 until 8 p.m. on Election Night. Voters may also vote in person at the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office County Government Center, 2001 S. State Street - South Building, First Floor, from


July 30 to Aug. 13 (weekdays only) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information can be found on the city’s website, wwww.taylorsvilleut.gov

Left to right: Curt Cochran (District 2). Ernest Burgess (District 1). Dan Armstrong, Chair (District 5). Meredith Harker, Vice Chair (District 4). Brad Christopherson (District 3).

Night Out Against Crime Set for Aug. 13 You are invited to this year’s Night Out Against Crime event on Tuesday, Aug. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. at City Hall, 2600 Taylorsville Blvd. “Night Out” is a national crime prevention event. It is a great chance to learn about crime prevention, spend time with your neighbors and talk to Emergency Service providers about how we can keep our neighborhood safe. Plus, it will be a lot of fun! We hope you can come join us.


| www.taylorsvilleut.gov

At Age 95, John Cahill Completes Taylorsville Race John D. Cahill is 95 years old and still running. He has competed in hundreds of 5Ks and marathons since taking up running in his younger years — at age 62 — and entered the Taylorsville Dayzz 5K for the first time this year. Finishing with a time of 1:11:03.6, Cahill counts the Taylorsville Dayzz race as a success. "I had two goals: My first goal was to get to the start line on time and the second was to finish before dark. So I reached my goals in Taylorsville," he said with a laugh. Cahill has been running for the past 33 years, starting in an effort to lose a little weight. He was driving to Mexico to study Spanish with the University of Utah and brought a pair of running shoes. By the time he returned to Utah, he had dropped the 20 pounds and entered his first run, the Deseret News 5K on Pioneer Day, July 24, 1986. "I found out that for an old guy, I was good. Then my ego kicked in," he said. "I started running races after that and I kept going."

He ran his first marathon at age 65. It was the St. George Marathon and he finished in a time of 3:04, lowering his group's record by 40 minutes. Over the years, he was competing in 40 to 45 races a year. While he still runs several 5Ks a year, back problems forced him to scale back on his rigorous schedule. He competed in his last marathon at age 84, also the St. George Marathon, finishing in a time of 5:20. "(St. George) was my first and my last marathon," he said. Four years ago, Cahill lost the cartilage in his left knee. "Now, I walk and jog," he said. "I still like to participate." He continues to enter the races to stay in shape and because he enjoys them as social events. "Running has kept me alive," he said. "I truly owe my long life to running and to my mother who lived to be 101." Of the Taylorsville Dayzz race, Cahill said he enjoyed the course and plans to return next year. "You bet. The races in these small suburbs are really a lot of fun," and it started on time, which is always a plus, he said. "As long as I can keep moving, I'll come to those races." A few days after the Taylorsville Dayzz 5K on June 29, Cahill participated in the Murray 5K on the Fourth of July with his son, who is also a runner. Cahill has nine children, including seven sons and two daughters. Five of his sons and one daughter are runners. In other aspects of his life, Cahill practiced law for 26 years before he "decided to get an honest job and go into the hotel business." He lives in Salt Lake City, about two blocks from the U. He plans to continue to keep running for at least several more years. After all, he has a stock of race jerseys he purchased, each with a number on the back, representing his age for that year, and the words "and still movin." "I have them through (age) 99 so four more years to go!" he said. A total 323 runners participated in the 2019 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K. See the Taylorsville Dayzz 5K results and race pictures on the city’s website, www.taylorsvilleut.gov.

City of Taylorsville Newsletter Thank You to Our Sponsors and Volunteers On behalf of everyone with the Taylorsville Dayzz 5K Race and Kids Run, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for your generous donations to our event. We greatly appreciate it and are thankful to have you in our community!

August 2019

2600 West Taylorsville Boulevard • 801-963-5400 |

Taylorsville Dayzz Celebrates 23 Years Thank you, thank you to all our sponsors and volunteers for making Taylorsville Dayzz another success. We couldn’t do it without you. Let’s get together again next year!


Thank you to our sponsors!

August 2019

2600 West Taylorsville Boulevard • 801-963-5400 |

Taylorsville Dayzz Celebrates 23 Years Thank you, thank you to all our sponsors and volunteers for making Taylorsville Dayzz another success. We couldn’t do it without you. Let’s get together again next year!


Thank you to our sponsors!

August 2019

2600 West Taylorsville Boulevard • 801-963-5400 |

Your Input is Needed on the City’s Commercial Centers What kinds of places do you like to shop? Which restaurants do you frequent the most? What kinds of services or amenities do you wish were offered in Taylorsville? The City would like to hear from you about how it can improve its commercial centers. Stop by for an interactive opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions with city staff as part of the City's Commercial Centers Master Planning process. The goal of this planning process is to create a vision to reinvigorate the commercial centers in Taylorsville to better serve its residents, visitors, business and property owners. Come be part of the effort to transform your city! Time: Thursday, Aug. 8, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Place: Taylorsville Recreation Center (classroom), 4948 S. 2700 West, Taylorsville

Sign Up for Economic Development Planning Studies Do you like to improve things? Do you have fresh, wonderful ideas? We invite you to participate in two studies, with the purpose of creating a new vision for the future of Taylorsville City’s core commercial and employment areas. The first study focuses on the existing major commercial centers in the city. What are they now, what can they become and what does the community want, need and expect of those centers? The second study area focuses on the properties along the planned Midvalley Connector Bus Rapid Transit line, which runs from 4800 South north along Atherton Drive to Taylorsville Expressway (4700 South) then west to 2700 West and north to West Valley City. How can that area benefit from that in-process transit line? To either participate in a study or provide your recommendations or questions, please email the city at econ-dev@taylorsvilleut.gov. Please indicate if you would like to be involved in the Commercial Centers Master Planning Study, the Taylorsville Expressway Study or both.


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City of Taylorsville Newsletter Taylorsville Welcomes Three New Businesses


By now you have probably heard that recycling fees have increased and have been higher than landfilling. It’s also important to know that landfilling recyclable materials will not reduce costs.

City Officials and ChamberWest held celebratory Ribbon Cuttings to mark the openings of three new businesses in Taylorsville. They are:

Puerto Vallarta Mexican Grill celebrated its Grand Opening on July 12.

WFWRD continues with the commitment to provide residents the avenues to recycle. The current services of weekly collections will continue because it is still worth it for the environment and to avoid the future costs of not recycling. Here are a few tips to keep costs as low as possible: • Keep it clean: Make sure recycling items are free from food and fluids. You don’t need to wash your recycling, just a quick rinse if needed. • When in doubt, throw it out. • No plastic bags of any kind. Even bagging your recycling and placing the bag in the curbside recycle can drives up costs.

Mattress recycLing

Spring Back Mattress, 1929 S. 4130 West, will take your used mattresses, and will recycle 100 percent of its materials! The recycling fee for mattresses is $10 per piece. They will also come pick up your mattress for an additional $40. This is a much better option than sending it to the landfill for $15 per piece. For more information, please call them at 801906-8146 or visit www.springbackutah.com.

Puerto Vallarta Mexican Grill, located at 4631 S. Redwood Road. The restaurant offers a menu of authentic Mexican food with the flavors of Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta Mexican Grill is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. They are family owned and operated. www.puertovallartamexgrill.com

A Ribbon Cutting was held for Snap Shop Photo on June 4.

wfwrD services

WFWRD provides services to the community that no other waste/recycling organization provides. In addition to standard curbside waste and recycling collection, the district offers subscription curbside green waste and curbside glass. Bulk waste and green waste trailers also are available for rent on a first come-first served basis, and landfill vouchers, for truck or trailer loads, are available at City Hall. As residents within the WFWRD district, you have access to these and all other district services. Visit www.wasatchfrontwaste.org to find out more.

Get Paid to Conserve Water Taylorsville-Bennion Improvement District encourages customers to get paid to conserve water, and Utah Water Savers reminds us to conserve water. The result is a savings to you. Did you know there’s a website where Utahns are getting paid to save water at home? From rebates to free landscape consultations, utahwatersavers.com is helping Utahns save both money and water. Visit utahwatersavers.com today to create a free account and start saving. You will find information about smart controller rebates, toilet rebates, Localscapes University rewards, and landscape consultations. If you are ready to start saving water on your landscape or in your home, create a Utah Water Savers account — water conservation has never been more important. New programs will be added as they are made available, so be sure to check back frequently. If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact the Taylorsville-Bennion Improvement District: 801-968-9081 or visit their website page at www.tbid.org for additional information.

Snap Shop Photo, located at 5626 S. Redwood Road in Crossroads Plaza. Snap Shop owner Sasha Taylor, who started the company 25 years ago, fell in love with photography when she was just 12 years old. Her grandfather was a professional photographer for the Chicago Fire Department. www.snapshopphoto.com

Ogden’s Flooring & Design opened in Taylorsville on May 22.

Ogden's Flooring & Design, located 2983 W. 4700 South. Stop by or call them at 801-964-8320. They have the largest in-stock flooring selection in Utah and have been doing business in the state for more than 45 years, with several full-service design centers located across the Wasatch Front. www.ogdensflooring.com

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Ratings index will now determine high school playoff seedings By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com


he Utah High School Activities Association will determine seeds differently this year for its team sports. The impact of the change and its perception is still to be determined. “It will begin with team sports this fall,” UHSAA Assistant Director Jeff Cluff said. “The RPI will be revealed after the season begins and be open until one week prior to the postseason. As the tournament approaches, we will reveal the final RPI and tournament bracket together.” The RPI is a performance-based rating dependent upon the teams’ winning percentage, the opponents’ winning percentage and the opponents’-opponents’ winning percentage. A mathematical equation will be used to determine the teams’ seeds for its upcoming state tournament. The RPI will be used in team sports such as football, soccer, volleyball, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, softball and drill. It is a system successfully used in several neighboring states like Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. “Each sport will have its own reveal date and bracket release,” Cluff said. Every classification team will be part of the postseason tournament. Teams will be seeded into the bracket, with lower seeds playing higher seeds in the early rounds. Several teams that were left out of postseason

tournaments will now have the opportunity to win a state title. The official RPI rankings will be available on uhsaa.org. The MaxPreps power ranking and Deseret News rankings are different than the RPI used by the UHSAA. “Those are more of a power ranking rather than a rating percentage index,” Cluff said. “It is completely different; our RPI is based on this particular year only, whereas the max preps takes into account the history of the team.” In theory, a weak schedule could affect a team’s placement in the state tournament bracket. Also, region championships and standings will have no bearing on the state tournament pairings. “You will definitely need to look at the big picture,” Cyprus head boys basketball coach Tre Smith said. “You will need to climb up the rankings throughout the year. I am interested to see how much respect our region gets and if wining region games will matter as far as rankings go.” “We have a lot of inquiries,” Cluff said. “I think people are anxious to see how it is going to work and how it will affect scheduling. I think they are most anxious because of the disruption from the norm. It is completely different than what we have done before. Teams knew that if they won their region,

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they would compete here in the first round. A Region 1 school could be matched up with Region 4. It was all predetermined and now it is not the case anymore.” One example was the 6A football championship last season. The four and five seeds (Pleasant Grove and East) matched up in the first round. That should not have occurred in theory until later in the tournament. Region games will more geographical. “The new RPI system did give us reason to change a couple preseason games,” Riverton head basketball coach Skyler Wilson said. “We ended up changing four games against opponents that I think will be ranked higher. I’m excited for this change because our path to the tournament will depend on how we play our whole schedule.” Another aspect of the rating is the classification adjustment. A large school scheduling all small schools will be penalized slightly. A schedule overloaded with small school powerhouses is discouraged by the UHSAA, but teams are still encouraged to schedule rivals. “I think the classification adjustment is important,” Cluff said. “A lot of people do not understand that a bigger school playing a smaller school— it became necessary for us to throw in a classification adjustment. We do not think scheduling will be done any dif-

ferently. There is a misconception that if you only play the good teams your rating will be higher.” l

State high school playoffs will have a revamped seeding system this season. The change will give every team the opportunity to be part of its state tournament. (Greg James/City Journals)

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August 2019 | Page 23

Taylorsville City website makeover proving to be a hit By Carl Fauver | carlf@mycityjournals.com


constant theme among Taylorsville elected officials is their ongoing desire to improve communication between the city and its residents. At the end of June, that effort came to fruition in the form of a revamped city website. “It is very clean, user-friendly and easier to navigate,” said Mayor Kristie Overson. “We discovered a few glitches after it was launched (June 28), and we are working through those. But overall, I think it has a beautiful look, and residents will find it easier to locate the information they need. It is head and shoulders better than the old website.” City Chief Financial Officer Scott Harrington reports the company contracted to complete the overhaul, and to train local employees how to use it effectively (Granicus), was paid $40,000. With locations in greater Los Angeles; Denver; Washington, D.C.; greater Minneapolis; and the United Kingdom, Granicus specializes in modernizing governmental online services. “More than 4,200 government agencies have chosen Granicus to modernize their online services, web presence and communication strategy,” the company’s website claims. “Over 200 million citizens have chosen to receive vital, time-sensitive information from government through Granicus. Our mission

The Taylorsville City website has undergone an extensive makeover, as officials continue working to improve their communication channels with residents. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

is to help bring government and citizens clos- hired on full time,” said Taylorsville Comer together.” munications Director Kim Horiuchi, who “The city had chosen Granicus before I began working for the city in September and became full time last December. “We had a number of video conference meetings, leading up to a more intensive training. In April, Granicus had a representative here in Utah for four days to train me and about a dozen city employees who will be posting web content.” The overhaul follows a survey city leaders conducted, asking residents what improvements they would like to see made on the Taylorsville website. Horiuchi reports with the ls City Journa residents asked for easier access to event information, ordinances, meeting agendas and phone numbers, among other things. “Based on that feedback, the website was designed to provide better search features, more apparent department buttons, easy-to-find city information and updated links,” Horiuchi said. “The design (also) includes attractive graphic elements and beaurs wspape e n y it tiful photography.” n u rs 13 comm for over 27 yea s ie Changes to the website are just a part of it c s e 5 it 1 serving opportun digital ad what city officials are doing to improve comd n s a lt t u n s ri P ackable re munication with residents. Officials have also Real and tr completed a goal to begin live online streaming of Taylorsville City Council meetings. The first meeting streamed through the city’s Facebook page (“Taylorsville City Hall”), was on June 19. Live streams can now also be accessed through the overhauled city 4 7 9 webpage, at taylorsvilleut.gov/government/ 5 54 elected-officials/city-council-meetings-live801-2 ge 7 Pa stream. | 19 20 August “We tried this years ago, working

R U O Y s food onate d r e c cal gro mycityjournals.com

Lo Beat Writer | writer@ By local

Page 24 | August 2019








through a system with Salt Lake Community College,” Overson said. “But it did not work very well, so we got away from it. But many Utah cities are doing this, so we thought it was important to try it again.” Overson reports “a few of thousand dollars” were required to purchase new cameras and cables to make the broadcasts possible. Although Granicus was not involved in the project to stream council meetings, company officials say that is something more and more cities are doing to reach out to their constituents. “People want easy access to information,” said Evan Shrader, the Granicus project manager who coordinated work on the Taylorsville website overhaul.. “When we put the community survey on the Taylorsville home page for three weeks (August 2018), we received 104 responses. Seventy percent of responders said they access the Taylorsville webpage most frequently through a mobile device. So much of the overhaul had to do with making the site easier to navigate by phone.” Overson said so far, she’s pleased with the improvements. “It definitely needed a change,” she said. “The old website had broken links and other issues. Revamping an entire website is a big job. At times it was a little overwhelming. But we have just taken it step by step. It has been a good process. Everyone pitched in. We each tackled different pieces of it. I think the public will be pleased with the results.” l

Taylorsville City Journal

City Journals presents:

OUTdoor JOURNAL A publication covering outdoor recreational activities for men, women, and children in the Salt Lake Valley area.

What Mount Olympus means to Holladay residents By Sona Schmidt-Harris | s.schmidtharris@mycityjournals.com Curved snuggly around the base and slowly ascending the majestic slopes, Holladay claims Mount Olympus as her own.

Mount Olympus completes the Holladay skyline. (Sona Schmidt-Harris/City Journals)

TaylorsvilleJ ournal.com

Holladayites go about their daily business sometimes not cognizant of this regal giant that stands at 9,030 feet. Still, one can barely look up without seeing the mountain. Several former and current Holladay residents reflect on what Mount Olympus means to them. City Councilman Brett Graham said, “Mount Olympus has meaning to me on several levels. First and foremost, it is a dominant landmark which I look for each time I fly into the Salt Lake Valley. When it comes into view, I feel home. From the valley, my city, neighborhood and home lay below and the mountains I love on either side.” Graham said that while Mount Olympus is a constant, it also changes. He loves seeing it capped with snow or watching the leaves change in the fall. “It is impressive in all seasons,” he said.   It also brings back memories, specifically when he was in high school. “A few buddies and I thought it would be fun to climb it with a generator and string a big ‘O’ in the trees to light up during the Olympus versus Skyline game. Needless to say, it didn’t happen…generators from the 1980s were heavy.” He added, “We are lucky to live below a beautiful creation.” Ninety-one-year-old David Taylor has been a hiker since he was 4 years old. A long-time Holladay resident, Taylor recalled his times on Mount Olympus fondly. “At night, you could hold the moonlight in your hands,” he said. There are parts of the Mount Olympus trail that are very steep. Taylor said, “When somebody says, ‘Oh yeah, we climbed Mount Olympus,’ I ask, ‘Did you go all the way up?’” Instead of answering, he said,

Shanna McGrath stands at the peak of Mount Olympus, McGrath’s first hike when she moved here a year ago. (Photo courtesy Shanna McGrath)

they change the subject. He said that through the years the Mount Olympus trail has been made a little bit easier. “You can look around and see the valley. It’s wonderful to be able to see that,” Taylor said. In his long life, his enthusiasm for the mountain has not dimmed. He said he believes that everyone in his family has gone up Mount Olympus. “For us, and I would say for most of my children and their children, we have interest in Mount Olympus.” Former Olympus High School student Andrea Wilkinson said, “From the time I can remember, Mount Olympus has always been there providing the eastern backdrop to my view. Her beauty and majesty are unsurpassed, no matter the season. However, she is especially beautiful in winter—after a snowstorm—when the sparkling white snow contrasts sharply against the blue sky. She is also beautiful in the spring and summer after a rainfall when her greenery is bright and looks full of promise. Mount Olympus is a protector who looks over the vast valley onto those of us lucky enough to live beneath her magnificent peak— basking in her shadow and glory.” Some Holladay residents climb the mountain and some wax poetic about its grandeur. In either case, Holladay and Mount Olympus are intimately bound.

August 2019 | Page 25

It’s electric! How to hit the trails with integrated propulsion By Amy Green | a.green@mycityjournals.com

Bike experts like Mike Buckley, shop manager at 2nd Tracks Sports/Level 9 (Millcreek) are excited to talk about electric options. For any rider, beginning or advanced, motor propelled mountain bikes are a great emerging option for commuters and outdoor adventure seekers. (Amy Green/City Journals)

More mountain bikes with integrated electric motors are popping up around Utah-- in bike shops of course, on city streets and the diverse trails across the Wasatch. (Amy Green/City Journals)

You can’t see it… (it’s electric!). You gotta feel it… (it’s electric!). Ooh, it’s shakin’... (it’s electric!). Actually, you can see it. It’s a bike. It’s an electric bike. Boogie woogie, woogie!

More mountain bikes with integrated electric motors are popping up around Utah-- in bike shops of course, on city streets and the diverse trails across the Wasatch. Utah and its mountains are abundant with off road recreation opportunities. Those uphill places are even more accessible to ride now, thanks to electric mountain bikes or eMTB. For those who love getting to the further outskirts, dusty dirt avenues, rocky trails and Utah’s infamous desert washboard roads, longer distance rides are now more doable. Broadly speaking, there are two types of e-bikes: full-power or pedal-assist. The difference is in how they are powered by the motor. A full-power bike is meant for short distances with little to no pedaling over relatively short distances. Pedal-assist bikes are designed to be pedaled most of the time. But when you are tired and need a boost, these bikes can provide a bit of electric help. An eMTB falls into the category of pedal-assist. To read more about how they work check out www.explainthatstuff.com/electricbikes.

Page 26 | August 2019

Eddy Steele of SLC, is an avid rider. He has a Focus Jam Squared eMTB. “I love my particular bike. It affords me the ability to ride the trails that are by my house, or on my way home from work. I can ride quicker, whereas on a normal bike, I wouldn’t have the time to ride before it gets dark. A trail that would normally take two to three hours to ride, takes only about an hour on my eMTB with pedal assist,” Steele explained. Mountain bike hobbyists might wonder if one can get the same kind of challenging workout on an e-bike. “It’s not the same kind of workout, but you’re still getting a workout. I’m still breaking a sweat and I’ve still got an increased heart rate. But anytime you are working out two-three hours vs. one hour, you’re going to burn more calories,” Steele said. On an eMTB, one can ride longer. Steele explained the pedal assist advantage saying, “It helps out a lot on the hills and you can make it give you a little more assist on uphill’s. So if you’re using it aggressively, you can really cut down drastically on the amount of pedaling work. So it’s less of a workout to conquer hills than it would be if you had a normal bike. But it’s still a workout.” Steele recently met a guy in St George who has the same bike. After confirming

that the other guy didn’t steal his bike, the men got to talking. “The southern Utah guy was in his 50’s or 60’s, retired, a little overweight, and had bought his bike a few months ago. The guy hadn’t mountain biked before. He wanted something that would help him out a bit. In the short time that he had been mountain biking he lost around 30 pounds. I think without an electric mountain bike he probably wouldn’t have been out being so active,” Steele said. The fun thing about mountain biking is going outside and being on the varied terrain. An electric mountain bike can help one enjoy the sport more fully when one might not otherwise be physically capable. “The other nice thing I like about my bike is it’s a little heavier, so I feel a lot more stable. I feel like I can be a little bit more aggressive in my downhill mountain biking without getting so bounced around. I feel more secure. But it’s not too heavy. I still feel like I can control it really well,” Steele added. e-bikes are pretty amazing. One might wonder if anyone can just go out and take it anywhere? Mike Buckley, manager at 2nd Tracks/Level 9 Sports (Millcreek) where eMTB bikes are sold said, “Currently the people who maintain the trails make the decision (whether to allow e-bikes).” So check the rules before hitting the offroad trails. Where one is allowed to ride an eMTB can vary greatly on federal, state and local trails. As a general rule, any trail open to motorized and non-motorized use, is also available to eMTB riders. Because land rules can change frequently, don’t ride where rules aren’t clear.

For information regarding Utah e-bike laws, consider the following:

• LOCAL: Consult your local land management agency. • STATE: Utah State Parks do not have an eMTB policy. Contact the department for the most up to date information. • FEDERAL: On federal lands, e-bikes are considered motorized vehicles and have access to motorized trails. Contact the U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Regional Office or the BLM Utah State Office Bend National Park for more information.

A great place for more information on where to ride an eMTB is:

• A map of great eMTB rides at peopleforbikes.org/emtb • eMTB “Adventures” at peopleforbikes.org/e-bikes

There is little doubt that electric bikes are better for the environment than traditional gasoline engines. But they aren’t perfect. The development and disposal of batteries causes pollution. The electricity to power an eMTB might be coming from a source of significant pollution. However, e-bikes are a good start at improving air quality. As some say, “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” It’s a neat time to be in the market for a bike, to start thinking about a first one, or upgrading that vintage Schwinn. It’s also a great option for folks who need their bike to do some of the pedaling. See if you can spot these e-bikes wheeling around the Salt Lake scenery.

Taylorsville City Journal

New Draper trail conditions app improves outdoor experience By Stephanie Yrungaray | s.yrungaray@mycityjournals.com

Cell phone with trail app and trail in background. (Stephanie Yrungaray/City Journals)

Residents and visitors hoping to enjoy Draper’s 90+ miles of trails now have a way to check trail conditions before they head out the door. Draper City recently released a trail conditions app with the goal of keeping hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders informed as well as keeping trails in good condition.

beautiful outdoors,” said Draper City Councilwoman Tasha Lowery. “We have the most preserved and protected wild lands of any city in the state, over 5,000 acres. It really makes a difference to our residents and their ability to get outside and appreciate all Utah has to offer.” The app, which can be found online at Draper City’s map portal draper.maps.arc“Our hope is that the app will make gis.com/ shows all of the city’s trails with it easier for residents to engage with our each trail colored according to its current condition. Green for open, yellow for tread

lightly, red for closed and blue to indicate which trails are groomed during snowy weather. Clicking on the colored lines pulls up the name of the trail, its condition and the last date of inspection. Greg Hilbig, Draper’s Trails and Open Space Manager said either himself, his assistant or a park ranger are responsible for making sure the app conditions are accurate. “We are often out on the trails checking them,” Hilbig said. “Depending on the time of year and the recent weather it is pretty obvious to those of us familiar with the trails what their condition will be.” Hilbig said the app is an important tool for keeping trails healthy. “A lot of our soil is clay which holds the water longer. The problem with using [trails] when they get really wet and muddy is that it displaces soil off of the trail. On a muddy trail, hikers and horses cause potholes and bikers cause ruts. When the mud hardens it makes the trail lumpy and causes erosion.” Draper resident Chad Smith said his family uses the community trails for mountain biking, running and family hikes. He thinks the new app will make a real difference to trail users. “As Draper’s trail system becomes increasingly crowded and complex to ac-

commodate those on foot, bike and horse I see this app as a way to get in front of some problems that have been on the rise for awhile now,” Smith said. Smith said the number of mountain bikers can make it difficult for hikers, walkers and runners to use the trails, but recent improvements made by Draper City are helping. “They’ve added more foot traffic only trails, and they’ve minimized areas where foot traffic and bike trails intersect and overlap,” Smith said. “At this point, with so many recent changes and such a need for crowd management, I think education is the biggest issue remaining.” Hilbig said he hopes that word will spread about the trail conditions app. “The last time I checked we had 5,000 visits to [the app]. We are hoping to spread education because a lot of new users won’t understand why they shouldn’t be on muddy trails.” Overall, Hilbig said he hopes the app will improve everyone’s experience on trails in Draper. “People from all over use these trails,” Hilbig said. “We just want everyone to have a good time and be courteous to other users.”

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August 2019 | Page 27

Keep your bike tuned for the trails with Salt Lake’s Bicycle Collective By Jenniffer Wardell | j.wardell@mycityjournals.com

The Bicycle Collective restores, maintains and sells used bikes. (Jenniffer Wardell/City Journals)

You can’t conquer a mountain trail if your bike isn’t in good shape.

For those wanting an inexpensive way to keep their mountain bike in optimum condition, the Bicycle Collective is here to help. With locations in Salt Lake, Ogden, Provo and St. George, the Collective offers open benches, tools and expert help for anyone looking to maintain and repair all kinds of bicycles. They also offer classes for both kids and adults. “We have pretty much everything required to fix most bikes, even old ones,” said Amy Nguyen Wiscombe, the volunteer and program coordinator for the Collective. Just inside the front door of the Salt Lake location is the bike repair room, with rows of tools and equipment and racks to hang bikes while they’re being worked on. Rows of rims hang overhead, and a stack of tires rests along one wall. A separate room has even more tires and tubes. “We only have six benches, and

they’re usually full from beginning to end,” Wiscombe said. “There are also usually three people on the wait list.” If you’re on the wait list, it’s best not to go anywhere. “You have to hang out,” she added. “You don’t know when a bench is going to be done.” The benches are mostly open during what the shop refers to as DIY (Do It Yourself) hours. During that time, volunteers and paid experts are also on hand to help answer the questions of anyone working on their bikes. “The nice thing about repair here is that you’re repairing your bike, but they have guides here who are pros,” said Joe Zia, who was working on the trail bike he’d recently purchased from the Collective. “If you’re in over your head, they can guide you.” Zia’s son, Jeff, was there learning how to take care of the bike he would be using frequently. “I’m actually a great bike rider, and my dad is, too,” Jeff said. “We go on trails three times a day.” When questioned if they really did that much riding, Zia smiled. “We go quite a bit.” The only two things the Collective

won’t do is bleed hydraulic brakes and repair mountain bike forks (the part that holds the front wheel). “(Our experts) might not have that type of knowledge,” Wiscombe said. “It’s pretty specialized.” The Collective also has a Youth Open Shop, where children and teens get exclusive use of the benches. They also have a weekly WTF night (Women, Trans and Femme), designed exclusively for those female, transgender, genderqueer, transmasculine, transfeminine or femme. The nights, which are part of a national movement, are meant to give those individuals a safe space to work on bikes. “Cycling is typically pretty dominated by men, and a bike shop can typically be a pretty intimidating space,” Wiscombe said. “We try to be really welcoming and inclusive.” DIY time, Youth Open Shop, and WTF night are all $5 an hour for bench time. The complete schedule for all three sessions are available at the Collective’s web site, www.bicyclecollective.org “It’s a lot cheaper than getting it serviced at the bike shop, and you know the work that’s getting done on your bike,” Zia said. Lucas Ruiz was also in the shop,

working on his mountain bike. “I do at least 40 miles a day on my bike, so I have extra wear,” he said. Even if you don’t ride that far every day, you still have plenty of reason to tune up your bike. “All bikes require regular maintenance of some kind,” Wiscombe said. “Right before you ride, you should always check your air, brakes and chain. Once a month, you should give your bike a detailed cleaning, lube your chain and check to see if things are worn out.” The Collective’s next round of mountain bike classes for kids should be announced next April, with word going out on their social media accounts. Other classes will cover everything from flat repair to suspension systems to derailleurs. Just like the people who use the benches, the students come from all walks of life. “They range from college kids all the way to retired folks,” Wiscombe said. “All different socioeconomic levels.” It’s that variety, and the opportunity to help them, that help keep the Collective going. “There’s incredible diversity in Salt Lake,” she said. “We get to meet these people and experience their stories.”

Hiking opportunities abound in the area By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com The Salt Lake Valley and surround- like that sometimes,” Roberts said. “We ing mountains is considered a hiking have seen deer and all kinds of stuff in our own backyard hikes.” mecca. There are 171 registered hiking trails right here in this valley and surrounding foothills. According to alltrails.com they can all be accessed within a 20-minute drive from any point along the Wasatch Front. These hikes range in difficulty and skill levels. “I try to hike with my son once a week,” Herriman resident Travis Roberts said. “We like to get out and enjoy the time together. He loves the wildlife and all the things he can see while we are hiking. I want him to have a thorough fitness experience.” Hiking has great rewards, but care should be taken to ensure your simple day trip does not turn into a disaster. Be prepared for your adventure. According to alltrails.com here are some tips: Research the trail you are venturing on and notify someone of your plans; prepare yourself physically by stretching, having enough water and supplies; hike with a buddy; bring clothing for changing weather conditions, watch your step, and most importantly, know when to turn around. “Watch for wildlife, snakes and stuff

Page 28 | August 2019

Here are a few nearby hikes best suited for families.

Yellow Fork Canyon Trail, Herriman

A moderate hike consisting of a 6.8mile loop. It gains approximately 1,300 feet in elevation and ends on a ridgeline with great views of the valley. Many residents like its proximity. Parts of the trail are steep and rocky and there are many spurs off the main trail to explore. Bentley Roberts and his father Travis have explored several hikes close to their home. They have learned to

Temple Quarry and Little Cottonwood Creek Trail, Little Cottonwood Canyon

enjoy spending time together. (Photo courtesy of Travis Roberts)

A 7-mile out and back trail that fea- recreational users including bikes, runners tures a river and lots of shade. It gains and families. 1,350 feet in elevation to the top and ends Herriman Fire Memorial Flag, Herriman at an old mill. This hike contains history of A relatively short 1.7-mile steep and the Utah Pioneers and building of the Salt rocky hike. It ends with spectacular views Lake Temple. of the valley. It is considered a moderate to Mountain View Corridor difficult hike by alltrails.com users. This hike travels the entire length of Orson Smith Park to the Draper Suspension the corridor and can be accessed at severBridge Loop al points along its route. The trail is mostly A 2.3-mile loop rated as easy, alpaved and includes several benches along though there is a long uphill section. The the way. It is frequented by several types of trail is well maintained and has frequent

bicycles. A short hike past the suspension bridge is the old pine bridge and worth the extra effort.

Jungle Trail Hike, Corner Canyon

A new trail in the Corner Canyon trail system has been built for kids. In fact, the sign at the trailhead says it is for the young and adventurous. The hike begins at the Carolina Hills trailhead. The trail is shaded and has logs to climb over and forts to hide in; it is only .1 miles in length.

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Salt Lake County Council | Aimee Winder Newton | District 3


s many of you know, I’m a budget hawk who takes very seriously the charge to go through the budget and make sure every penny of your tax dollars is being spent wisely. When I was first elected to the County Council, I wondered how we funded the numerous recreational and cultural amenities our residents enjoy. From parks and trails, to museums and concert halls, there are many things we love to use, but where does the funding come from? Long before my time on the council, a tax was instituted on car rentals, hotels, and restaurants. This tax revenue makes up the TRCC fund (Tourism, Recreation, Culture, and Convention) where the funds are used to enhance the quality of life in Salt Lake County. So make sure to thank a tourist and a restaurant-goer next time you see them parading around Salt Lake!

“It’s also worth highlighting that the tax dollars funding the TRCC program don’t come from the county general fund.” – Aimee Winder







TaylorsvilleJ ournal.com

Forty percent of this tax revenue in the TRCC program goes to fund parks and recreation. If you or your family has enjoyed one of the programs run by our county parks department, visited a recreation center, or you’ve gone jogging on one of our many trails, you’ve seen the positive impact of the TRCC program firsthand. These funds help to run programs and pay for ongoing operations and upkeep of our county parks and recreation amenities. The rest of the money from the TRCC program helps to pay for fine arts and other cultural event programming throughout our community, including funds related to tourism.

In order to ensure these funds are thoroughly vetted and properly prioritized, we have the TRCC board that advises the County Council on where to spend these funds. This nine member board is made up of mayors and community members throughout our county, and they thoroughly review potential projects that are eligible for TRCC funds. They then make recommendations to the County Council that we review as part of our fall budget process each year, and we then put the final funding for these various projects into our county budget. Having a board comprised of truly local representation is an important step to ensure that tax dollars go to a wide variety of projects that benefit residents throughout our county. It’s also worth highlighting that the tax dollars funding the TRCC program don’t come from the county general fund. When we look at our county responsibilities and available funds, there are always many demands competing for general fund dollars. Chief among them is often a slew of criminal justice needs, including our county jail. We spend over 70% of our general fund budget on criminal justice. This fits well with the role of the county, as we recognize that public safety should always be a top priority. The benefit of having revenues for TRCC that are largely distinct from general fund dollars, is that we don’t see recreational and cultural needs competing directly with public safety needs. In fact, state law gives clear direction on what TRCC funds can be spent on. This is a valuable tool that we as policy makers use to ensure that the various needs of our community are funded in a responsible way, and through a thorough decision-making process with local buy-in and support. Now that we’re enjoying the summer months, I hope you’ll get out and enjoy the many recreational and cultural amenities our wonderful county has to offer. I’m looking forward to 2020 when the Midvalley Performing Arts Center opens its doors… funded by TRCC!

August 2019 | Page 29

Page 30 | August 2019

Taylorsville City Journal

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But I want to be helpful whether you hire me or not. One thing I will never do is make your case sound better than it is just so I can get your money. I will tell you the truth about how I see your case, the good and the bad, and help you make the best decisions possible going forward,” Buhler said.

Buhler said. Stephen J. Buhler, attorney at law, focuses on estate planning (wills and trusts), probate (inheritance), and family law including divorce, paternity, adoption, name change, premarital agreements and guardianship. Since relocating his law practice to West Valley City, Steve Buhler has immersed himExperience matters self in community service including serving Over his 25 years practicing law Buhler on the Board of Directors of the Chamber has helped thousands of people understand of Commerce (chamberwest.com), chairing their legal rights, the legal process, and how the non-profit after school program provider to obtain the best legal solutions available to Community Education Partnership of West Stephen Buhler’s office is conveniently located in them. Valley City (cep4kids.org), and serving in loWest Valley City at the Harmon Building, 3540 S. Steve sums up his business philosophy, cal government. 4000 West. (Photo courtesy Stephen Buhler) “If you have a legal question, a legal problem Stephen J. Buhler, attorney at law, is to solve, or are wanting to do some advance conveniently located one block west of Banlegal planning, call me. I will do my best to n 1998, attorney Steve Buhler left the Salt gerter Highway in the Harmon Building, help you. I understand that every question, Lake City law firm where he had worked as 3540 S. 4000 West, Suite 245. It is from that every case and every plan is important. I will an associate attorney to open his own office. office that Steve Buhler has helped thousands listen to you, do my best to understand your “I live on the west side,” Steve said, “and of people over the last 21 years. issue, and give you valuable legal advice and I know people don’t always want to drive More information about the practice representation,” Buhler said. downtown.” and Steve Buhler’s awards and recognitions Buhler strives to educate and help. “I Buhler also realized that the west side can be found on his website, www.4utahlaw. want everyone who comes and meets with communities were underserved with respect com. To schedule an appointment or to talk to medelivering to leave a little happier more but con- Kellogg The milkman might not be still after 50and years... Insurance is. to quality legal advice and representation. Steve Buhler over the phone, call his office fident, with a better understanding of the Do you “Many lawyers offerhave a free questions consultation.about your Medicare? Let us serve you. at 801.964.6901. law than they had when they first came in,”

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Outside adventures

ven though Utah is well-known for having the greatest snow on Earth, we have some pretty great weather in the summertime, too. (Let’s forget about the few weeks where we hit 100 degrees.) Utah’s fabulous landscape makes getting outside easy, fun, and best of all, free. One of the most common activities for residents of the greater Salt Lake region, and beyond, is hiking. The numerous canyons and national parks surrounding the bustling cities make taking a breath of fresh air just a quick car ride away. Some of Utahns favorite hikes include: Buffalo Point, Bloods Lake, Ensign Peak, Bridal Veil Falls, Golden Spike, Cecret Lake and Albion Basin, Willow Lake, Dooley Knob, Hidden Falls, Adams Waterfall, Patsy’s Mine, Grotto Falls, Donut Falls, Timpanogos, Brighton Lakes, Bell Canyon, Stewart Falls, Broads Fork Trail, Silver Lake, Battle Creek Falls, Diamond Fork Hot Springs, Mirror Lake, Fifth Water Hot Springs, Dripping Rock, Mount Olympus, Suicide Rock, Elephant Rock, White Pine Lake, Jordan River, and the Bonneville Shoreline, and Provo River Parkway. Before you leave for a hike, pack the 10 essentials of hiking with you (Google “10 essentials for hiking” for the list) and make sure to research the trail beforehand. Don’t try new trails out of your comfort range alone. Along the same note, tell someone where

you’re going; we don’t need another “127 Hours” situation on our hands. If you don’t want to get out of the car, (Don’t worry, I get that because driving through nature allows for air conditioning) scenic drives include: Little Cottonwood Canyon, Big Cottonwood Canyon, American Fork Canyon, Hobble Creek Canyon, Provo Canyon, Park City, Aspen Grove, Nebo Loop and the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. If you want to take hiking one step further, camping is a quick and dirty option. Check out www.utah.com/camping to find your perfect camping spot. Then, make a reservation. Good camp locations fill up fast. Most reservations require a small fee, ranging from $3 to $100 (for groups). Explorers may reserve their site through www.reserveamerica.com, the Utah State Parks’ website, www.stateparks.utah.gov or by checking the KOA’s campgrounds. Some of the best places to camp in Utah include: Spruces Campground in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Wasatch State Park near Midway, Rendezvous Beach along the southern shore of Bear Lake, Fruita in Capitol Reef National Park along the Fremont River, Little Sahara in Nephi, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park in Southern Utah, Fremont Indian State Park southwest of Richfield, Antelope Island State Park on the Great Salt Lake, the Devil’s Garden in Arches National Park and

Goblin Valley State Park. While I usually opt for a beautiful hike, my father is definitely a fisherman. For locations to cast away, check out www.UtahFishingInfo.com or www.UtahFishFinder. com. Some of the favorite fishing holes around the state include: Flaming Gorge near the Utah/Wyoming border (particularly the Mustang Ridge campground), Tibble Fork Reservoir in the American Fork Canyon (try the Granite Flats campground), Fish Lake in the Wasatch mountains (it’s in the name), Duck Creek Pond in Dixie National Forest, Mirror Lake in the Uintas and Sunset Pond in Draper. When you’re exploring the great outdoors, make sure to bring a book with you! (Am I required to say that as a writer?) Forty percent of friends from an unofficial Facebook poll report that their favorite thing to do is read a book under a tree or on the beach. The other suggested hobby to do under a tree is woodworking. Whittling can be very cathartic. Lastly, if you don’t want to go too far away from home, many local municipalities offer movies in the park throughout the summer. Check out your local city or county’s website for dates and further information.

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ingo the Dog came to live with us 10 years ago and I’ve mentioned his crazy antics often over the years, including, but not limited to: The night he ate our couch. The day he chewed the leg off the coffee table. His fear of vacuums. His love of snow. The times he’d snuggle in my lap, even as a 90-pound dog. How the word “walk” sent him into spasms of joy. The way he’d act like I was returning from a 90-day world cruise, although I’d just gone downstairs to get towels out of the dryer. When he couldn’t corral the grandkids, and it drove him bonkers. Five months ago, Ringo the Dog passed away. It was unexpected and heartbreaking. There was a sudden emptiness in our home that had been filled with Ringo begging for treats or running in and out of the doggie door. We were all dazed, unsure how to move through our dogless days. There was no furry distraction keeping us from sliding down the death spiral of today’s political chaos. I had to start talking to my husband. I had no good reason to go for walks every day. No one jumped on me when I got home from work. Well, my husband did, but it just wasn’t the same. Few things are as satisfying as a warm, happy dog snuggled next to you. So. For my birthday in July, we decided it was time to get a puppy. I yelped and jumped



on the Google machine like an 8-week-old Pomeranian to search for dogs. I was quickly overwhelmed with the sheer number of puppies and the high-level of cuteness available. Then I saw a German Shepherd/Lab puppy on the Community Animal Welfare Society website. I contacted the CAWS foster mom and was told he’d already been adopted – but his sister was available. I couldn’t drive fast enough to meet this little ball of furry energy. Even before I’d held her, I knew she was mine. When we discovered her birthday was Star Wars Day (May the Fourth), that clinched it. #StarWarsGeek We named her Jedi. After filling out the application, where I had to list everything from how often she’d go for walks (daily) to what Netflix shows I binged (all of them), CAWS finally approved her adoption and we brought Jedi home. I forgot what it’s like to have a puppy sleep between your feet as you get ready for work. I get overwhelmed with happiness every time she pounces on her squeaky toy. I find reasons to stop at PetSmart every day for treats and toys and accessories. My husband suspended my credit card. My two-year-old granddaughter can finally boss something smaller than her. My seven-year-old grandson spends time training her to sit and lie down. (The puppy, not his sister.) My husband’s adjusting to having Jedi knock the lamp over every single day. I’m floating on a puppy-shaped cloud.

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I tried to invoke the Family Medical Leave Act so I could spend all day with Jedi watching her explore and grow. My boss wasn’t buying it, so I dash home during lunch for some quick puppy love. I know we’re in the puppy honeymoon stage and soon our sweet little girl will turn into a velociraptor, only with more teeth. But I also know time with our pets is so short. That makes it all the sweeter. Jedi didn’t replace Ringo, she’s just a rambunctious extension of his joy. I’m sure every dog owner thinks they have the most wonderful dog in the world. The best thing is, they’re right.


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