Taylorsville Journal | September 2021

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September 2021 | Vol. 8 Iss. 09





t’s a good thing Taylorsville residents are getting more than their fair share of political controversy at the national level, because back home election excitement is right up there with watching paint dry. While Washington D.C. doles out bickering soundbites like Old Faithful—only more frequently than every 90 minutes—local elected officials are simply not keeping pace. As a result, every incumbent seeking to hold their current elected position—two councilwomen and one mayor—need only one vote in order to do so. Facing no opponents, Mayor Kristie Overson, District 3 Councilmember Anna Barbieri and District 4 Councilmember Meredith Harker will all remain on the job. It’s a far cry from how each earned their current positions the first time around. As a member of the Taylorsville City Council four years ago, Kristie Overson chose to challenge incumbent Mayor Larry Johnson at the ballot box, defeating the oneterm mayor 57% to 43%. Now, four years later, Johnson is back on the ballot as a finalist in the District 5 city council race. That’s a post he held in 2013, prior to being elected mayor. Elementary school teacher Meredith Harker spent all of 2017 attending city council meetings, after deciding early in the year to try to succeed retiring Dama Barbour in the District 4 seat. Harker earned 62% of her district’s votes that November. As for District 3, Anna Barbieri has served on the council less than a year, after being unanimously elected by the other four council members last fall, to replace Brad Christopherson after he moved out of Taylorsville. She was to face voters for the first time this fall, and then be back on the ballot in two years to restore her position to its fouryear voting cycle. Prior to her move to the city council last October, Barbieri had been the longest-tenured member of the Taylorsville Planning Commission, serving 10 ½ years.

Mayor Kristie Overson and Councilmember Meredith Harker (L-R) defeated election opponents to earn their positions four years ago. This election season they are unopposed. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

“I loved the planning commission and never would have challenged Brad [Christopherson for his city council position]; he did so well,” Barbieri said. “But after he moved, I was happy to put my name in [for the special election]. I’ve enjoyed it so far.” With none of the three facing opponents, the question is obvious: are Taylorsville residents apathetic about local government or satisfied with their current leadership? Overson is confident it’s the latter. “Our recent public survey results have been very positive, and I think the good marks reflect what residents are thinking, that they are happy with what we are doing,” she said. “I was pleasantly surprised to be unopposed because, honestly, campaigning takes a lot of time. It was easier [four years ago] when I was not mayor. But this is more than a fulltime job. People will still see me door knock-

Local Postal Customer ECRWSS Scan Here: Interactive online edition with more photos.

ing and campaigning. But it will be easier than if I had an opponent.” Those public opinion surveys Overson mentioned have shown she and the city council members enjoying a near 90% approval rating among Taylorsville voters. “I was more relieved than surprised when I found out I was unopposed (for the District 4 council seat),” Harker said. “It would have been interesting to have an opponent. But I take [the lack of an opponent] as, people in my district think I am doing OK.” As a full-time working mother of four— holding a demanding position as a Calvin Smith Elementary School (2150 West 6200 South) third grade teacher—Harker admits, she was a bit apprehensive about tossing her hat into the ring four years ago. “I was nervous about school teaching and serving on the council,” she said. But it

has been amazing to do it all. I think the two jobs complement each other. Being involved with the community through school helps me understand family needs. It has been a good blend. And timewise it has worked out well. I love both so much, and they are so different.” Barbieri also juggles her part-time city council work with a full-time “real” job. More than 25 years ago, she and her sister launched White Elegance, a clothing manufacturer specializing primarily in dresses for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to wear while performing temple activities. “I was really happy [to hear I was unopposed], and I think that says a lot about the direction Taylorsville is heading; people seem pretty happy,” Barbieri said. “It says a lot about the great job Brad [Christopherson] Continued page 4

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Taylorsville District 4 Councilmember Meredith Harker and Mayor Kristie Overson (L-R) are unopposed this fall, as they each seek second, 4-year terms in their positions. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

Continued from front page was doing before me. He was also unopposed [two years ago].” Barbieri said the job has been more taxing than the decade she spent on the Taylorsville Planning Commission. “It’s quite a bit heavier workload,” she said. “But [serving on the] planning commission was the perfect job to prepare me. It’s really rewarding to answer constituent questions, about many different topics. It’s been harder but also more enjoyable than I expected.” None of the three unopposed incumbents find it relevant that they are women in their positions or believe that was a factor in no one running against them. But, at the same time, they all believe it is valuable to have both male and female points of view addressing

Journals T H E

Taylorsville issues together. As for accomplishments during their time in office, all three believe there have been several. “Getting Google Fiber into Taylorsville is wonderful—a much-needed amenity,” Overson said. “I’m also excited about the funding we have gotten from the legislature for our [bus rapid transit] line that’s coming in. And I am super excited we will now have a lovely, finished campus (Centennial Plaza) in front of city hall.” “I’m happy with the way we’ve grown the Parks & Recreation Committee, because beautifying our city is a very high priority,” Harker said. “Our Labrum Park project is going well. It’s a joy to work with that committee and the Historic Preservation Committee. I’m also pleased with the progress we make

Taylorsville City’s newest councilmember, Anna Barbieri, was sworn into office following her special election last fall. She’s expected to repeat that process in January, as she runs unopposed to remain in her District 3 seat. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

every day on economic development.” Meantime, Barbieri is proud of a recent council vote to improve housing in Taylorsville. Earlier this year, a zoning change opened the door for 647 apartment units to be constructed on 16.5 acres on the southwest corner of 5400 South and Bangerter Highway, in a residential and commercial development to be called “West Point.” “People will come to see how we do high-density [residential development] at Bangerter and 5400 [South],” she said. “[West Point] will also help development in the rest of that area and start a chain reaction into Kearns. That is exciting to me. The completion of the [Mid-Valley] Performing Arts Center is another [city council accomplishment I am proud of]. It is a wonderful place to house




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quality productions, and well-needed on the [Salt Lake Valley’s] west side.” All three women also mentioned the sense of accomplishment they feel about the successful launch of the new Taylorsville City police department two months ago. Of the three, only Barbieri will commit to planning to run for her position again. However, her next election is only two years away. Overson and Harker each have another four years to make that choice. Both say they have not ruled out seeking reelection in November 2025. But whether they would say it out loud or not, if Barbieri, Harker or Overson do run again, they are each silently hoping it will be as easy to do as it is this fall, with no other names on the ballot. l




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Daughters and Sons of Utah Pioneers presidents share history outside the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center


emembering is one of the most important things we can do. Remembering is part of our soul.” Those were among the closing remarks from International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers President Ellen Jeppson, after sharing stories of 19th-century bravery and hardship with about 50 onlookers outside the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center (1488 West 4800 South). Jeppson and her counterpart—Sons of Utah Pioneers National President, Brad Clayton—each told tales of yore, at the invitation of Taylorsville-Bennion SUP Chapter President Riley Draper. “We are interested in recruiting people to our chapter because, quite frankly, our chapter is dying; our members are getting older,” Draper said. “This is probably true across most of the Sons and Daughters of Utah Pioneers organizations. Recruitment is a big concern. So, I thought an event like this might stir some interest in our groups.” Draper, 82, traces his Utah pioneer heritage to Draper City, where his great-great-grandfather William Draper was one of the founders. In 1854, that community’s first post office was established with the name Draperville. In later years, the name was shortened. With California wildfire smoke filling the air on Aug. 9, the heritage center audience first heard SUP President Clayton talk about the Mormon Battalion and the unique flag the group reportedly carried with them from Iowa to San Diego, California. “Brigham Young called this special United States flag ‘his flag’ and it flew over Tucson, Los Angeles and San Diego,” Clayton said. “Now the flag is displayed in our SUP Headquarters (3301 East 2920 South, Millcreek). It’s 8 ½ feet by 5 ½ feet. It’s the only flag like it in the world.” Clayton’s Latter-Saint pioneer heritage traces back to three different great-great-grandparents, George Cannon, Daniel Wells and William Clayton. Wellknown Latter-Saint hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints” was written by William Clayton. He also beat Brigham Young into the Salt Lake Valley by one day, arriving with other advance team members on July 23, 1847. Following Clayton’s remarks, the remainder of the program belonged to DUP International President Jeppson, who has traced her pioneer heritage back to nearly four dozen ancestors. “Through my research, I have found 45 great-great- or great-great-great-grandparents who walked across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley,” she said. “The research I do has enriched my life. I encourage you to do it also.” Jeppson’s most riveting tale was of famous early Latter-day Saint printer W.W.

Page 6 | September 2021

By Carl Fauver | c.fauver@mycityjournals.com

An audience of about 50 enjoyed stories of pioneer strength and hardship, outside the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

Phelps, who printed the first edition of the church’s “Book of Commandments.” She explained how a mob of people who opposed the Latter-day Saints was planning an assault on Phelps’ Independence, Missouri, home where his wife and six children were. Jeppson said they might all have been murdered were it not for the actions of one wouldbe mob member who sneaked out ahead of the group to warn the family. “Phelps’ wife was an outstanding midwife who had assisted in the births of many children in the area,” Jeppson said. “Prior to that raid on the Phelps’ home, she had assisted this mob member’s wife in childbirth. That’s why he forewarned her and why the Phelps family survived. They were still within earshot when they heard the mob break into the home and begin destroying it.” Jeppson also recalled for the audience a time when, as a young girl, she was assisted in doing dishes by an elderly woman. She later learned that diminutive woman—who could not reach the highest cupboard shelves to put dishes away—was an actual, literal daughter of one of the original Utah pioneers. A Utah pioneer is defined by the DUP as anyone arriving in the Salt Lake Valley from July 1847 to May 10, 1869. The 1869 date marks the completion of the transcontinental railroad, meaning anyone arriving in Utah after that could have come by train. “We have as many as 15,000 active DUP members and get about a thousand new members each year,” Jeppson said. “Our focus in the DUP is to preserve history. We have about 20,000 photos and another 20,000 artifacts at our international headquarters at the Pioneer

This historic flag now hangs in the headquarters of the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. (Brad Clayton)

Memorial Museum (300 North Main Street, Salt Lake). We now do a lot of our research work online.” Following their successful Heritage Center gathering last month, local SUP Chapter President Draper said his group of about 30 active members will meet Sept. 13 at Jim’s Family Restaurant (7609 South Redwood Road). It will be their first meeting at that “regular” location in 18 months, since before the COVID-19 shutdown began across Utah and the United States. He’s excited about the guest speakers lined up for that meeting also. The International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers operates the Days of ‘47, Inc. scholarship competition and has arranged for

the three royalty members to appear at the Taylorsville-Bennion SUP meeting. They are Queen Sophia Lowry, a University of Utah student; Adelynn Eisenach, First Attendant; and Arianna Haner, Second Attendant. “Ellen [Jeppson] helped me line them up,” Draper explained. “She’s a great contact.” Those interested in attending that meeting or joining the Taylorsville-Bennion Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers should contact Draper at riandbe67@gmail.com or 801-266-5491. More information on the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers is available at isdup.org or 801-5326479. l

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Another National Driver of the Year honoree hails from among Taylorsville’s garbage and recycling collectors By Carl Fauver | c.fauver@mycityjournals.com


ike most industries across our country, garbage and recycling collection agencies have a nationwide organization that offers guidance and measures work quality. In their case, it’s the National Waste & Recycling Association. That association has branded the drivers who gather Taylorsville waste the safest throughout the United States. “Safety is our top priority, and we value our drivers for their attention, diligence and dedication to serving the public,” Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District General Manager Pam Roberts said. “We offer extensive driver training, carefully track accidents, prepare monthly reports and give safety awards to our top equipment operators.” Once WFWRD identifies its local Driver of the Year, those equipment operators are nominated for the National Driver of the Year award, sponsored by the NWRA. And, for the fifth time in 11 years, that national winner is someone who routinely drives a garbage or recycling truck in Taylorsville. No other waste collection agency across the country has been so frequently honored over the past decade. WFWRD Equipment Operator Ryan Jones is the 2021 NWRA Driver of the Year, after being nominated by his supervisors. The win means he and his wife will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas next February to collect his trophy during the NWRA annual convention. “I’m a little nervous but very excited to go receive my award; I just want to see it,” Jones said. “I’m at a loss for words. I feel so honored. I don’t know how many drivers are in the pool [from across the country], but I am thrilled. It makes me feel good that people appreciate me making safety a top priority. I am so grateful to [my supervisors] for nominating me.” “Ryan is one of the most dependable and caring people I have had the pleasure of working with in my career,” Roberts said. “He exemplifies commitment and is known for his attention to safety, customer service and devotion to our team’s success.” In his 13 years with WFWRD, Ryan has never had a driving accident. What’s even harder to believe is, that’s not the best record at the district. The local waste district’s most recent NWRA National Driver of the Year honoree prior to Jones was Rhonda Kitchen, who claimed her top prize in 2017. She’s been with WFWRD—and its prior iteration, as a Salt Lake County department—nearly a quarter-century, without

Page 8 | September 2021

Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District serves more than 86,000 Salt Lake Valley households, including 13,750 in Taylorsville. (WFWRD)

ever suffering a safety misstep. “I’ll be 25 years on the job in March,” Kitchen said. “Safety is always the top priority for all of us. I am pretty careful. My last speeding ticket was 30 to 35 years ago. But I had to slam on my [waste truck] brakes just a few days ago. You always have to be paying attention.” The year Kitchen won, the NRWA national convention was in New Orleans. “It was my first trip to Louisiana,” she said. “We rode a ferry back and forth and also took a boat tour to check out alligators.” In addition to Jones and Kitchen, the other three WFWRD equipment operators named NWRA National Drivers of the Year are: Gary Reay (2016), Saul Lopez (2012) and John Whittaker (2011). Reay retired two years ago, but all of the others still make weekly waste and recycling collections in Taylorsville. Roberts reports all of her drivers have strong safety records. Those who fall short don’t remain with the district long. She only wishes she had more of them. “Our entire district has 94 [full-time equivalent positions], 63 of them drivers,” she said. “But we currently have only 57 drivers. In fact, we’ve not been fully staffed with drivers since about 2016. There’s a nationwide shortage of drivers with [Commercial driver’s li-

Ryan Jones is the latest of several Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District equipment operators to earn a Driver of the Year honor from a national trade association. (WFWRD)

censes], so it’s a challenge.” WFWRD serves the cities of Cottonwood Heights, Herriman, Holladay, Millcreek, Taylorsville, portions of Murray and Sandy; the Town of Brighton; and the Metro Townships of Copperton, Emigration, Kearns, Magna and White City; along with the unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County. The district collects garbage and recyclables from 13,750 Taylorsville homes. Of those,

Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District Lead Greenwaste Driver Rhonda Kitchen is the only female equipment operator to ever be named “Driver of the Year” by the National Waste & Recycling Association. (WFWRD)

1,272 also contract for greenwaste pickup, while another 121 households have contracted for curbside glass recyclable collection. l

Taylorsville City Journal

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Girls soccer: SLCC and 6A high school preview By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com


he soccer teams across the state have begun another season. The high school and college teams in the area want to celebrate their past success, but improve this season. Soccer is the first official UHSAA sport to begin its season. Most local teams will have reconfigured regions and rosters. Roy joins Region 2 and should have an impact right away. They defeated Kearns in the first round of last year’s state playoffs 3-0 and will stand as immediate contenders for the region title. Kearns is the defending champion of the region and Hunter will need to retool to be competitive. Cyprus, Granger, Taylorsville and West will battle for who is next among the region’s competitors. Offensive production will be the key as the entire region proves its worth. In Region 3 the top teams have become valley powerhouses. Riverton has looked formidable in its preseason matches, going undefeated and scoring 21 goals in five games. Bingham, Herriman and Mountain Ridge should also contend for the regional title. West Jordan and Copper Hills have strong soccer tradition and will be teams to consider if one of the top teams falters.

Advancing past the second round of the state playoffs could be the mark of a good season. Corner Canyon was the only 6A team in Salt Lake County able to accomplish that feat last season. The UHSAA is scheduled to begin region competition the week of Aug. 17 (after press deadline.) They will use the ratings performance index again this season to set rankings for the state playoffs. Herriman was the county’s top rated 6A team last year at four. The Salt Lake Community College is coming off its most successful season ever. In an abbreviated and realigned season they advanced to the NJCAA women’s soccer national championship match last spring. They lost to Tyler Community College (Texas) 2-0. This was Tyler’s second consecutive championship. Bruins head coach Mark Davis called it a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for his players. The team had three players named to the all-tournament team: Carli Jager, Cassidy Adams and Hannah Lee. That ended a fabulous women’s season. They had an outstanding 15-2-1 record and a Scenic West championship. Davis stepped down as the team’s head

Kearns captured its first region soccer title in 20 years last season. (Photo courtesy of Kearns historian)

coach shortly after the season and they hired Cassie Ulrich. Davis will continue as the men’s team coach. Ulrich had been part of the team’s coaching staff making the

transition seamless. The success of the women’s community college team exemplifies the talent available at the high school level. l

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Hillcrest High students arrived early for the first day of the 2021-22 school year to find their classes in the newly rebuilt school, which is the first four-story school in Utah. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Summer’s over…it’s back to school


By Julie Slama | j.slama@cityjournals.com

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

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

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Guaranteed not to clog for as long as you own your home, or we will clean your gutters for free! September 2021 | Page 11

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Taylorsville City Journal

Last season, Kearns defeated Hunter to win its first region girls soccer title in 20 years. Center midfielder and striker Valeria Gomez could help the Cougars to a second-consecutive championship. (Photo courtesy of Kearns historian.)




2017 2018 2019

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TaylorsvilleJ ournal.com

defense and forwards and hold the structure of the team on the field.” Napoles scored seven goals last season, as did fellow senior Stephanie Chavez; Zamora netted five. “We need to clean up some of the mental aspects of the game,” Robison said. “We don’t want to tear ourselves down.” The Cougars have implemented a new formation for the season. Junior Jazmine Espinosa spent most of last season in goal. She compiled four shutouts, and Robison expects her to maintain that intensity. “She is a really good goalkeeper,” she said. “Lots of high school girls elect to play keeper. At the end of last season, she took a list of things to her goalie coach and club team, things to work on. She worked hard and made a few changes in the offseason.” Utah State High School Activities Association officials made changes to its regions that take effect this season. Region 2 is similar to last year with the exception of the addition of Roy High School. “Our region is still a tough place to play,” Robison said. “Some teams that were strong are not as strong, but teams that were weak are a little stronger. The addition of Roy to the region is not much different than in the past. We just need to get it out of our heads. We are just as good as they are. We need to see how it is out on the field. We cannot fall into ourselves when we make a mistake. We need to reset and go back out and fight hard again.” Even with the changes to its region.


earns High School’s girls soccer team is ready to defend its Region 2 title. “These girls are fighters,” Cougars’ head girls soccer coach Jennasee Robison said. “They have all been through a lot. They are not seen for what they are. People think that this is just Kearns, but they have fought through that. They have proved people wrong. They say, ‘You are right, we are Kearns, but we are just like the rest of you.’ We are strong and we work hard. Summer workouts went really well. We lost some key girls to graduation, and in our one game, so far the girls are trying to find that flow again.” The soccer season opened with a tough loss to Clearfield 5-0. Despite the first-game loss, the team is returning from a successful season last year. Kearns captured its first region soccer title in 20 years last year. Key wins over its crosstown rival Hunter helped secure the championship. “We are trying to find some girls to slide into those leadership positions,” Robison said. “It has been really nice to see the girls bond together. We just have not had the time—tryouts, two practices and then a game.” Senior forwards/midfielders Mia Dallof, Elizabeth Napoles and Myriam Zamora are expected to be a big part of the team this season. “These are girls we expect to control the center for us,” Robison said. “They know how to find the connection pieces and see the whole field. That is their job, to make sure they communicate with the

region we are in. We have close teams. The kids know each other, and we have played so many times.” l



Kearns will still play rivals such as Hunter, Taylorsville and Granger. “We love the local teams,” Robison said. “I think that is what is fun about the


By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com

Senior Myriam Zamora scored five goals last season and is expected to fortify the middle of the field this season for the Cougars. (Photo courtesy of Kearns historian.)


Kearns girls soccer team is who they think they are

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Taylorsville City Journal

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



September 2021

Take a Virtual Tour of the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center

Dear Friends and Neighbors, I want to commend our community — each of you — for all you have been doing over the past year and half to look out for each other and one another’s health as we have been combatting an unprecedented, global pandemic. I know it hasn’t been easy, and hope that you’ll hold on a little longer. When the vaccine was made Mayor Kristie S. Overson available earlier this year, I was hopeful that we would be able to move past these trials and return to normal life. But unfortunately, the virus has continued to spread and the COVID-19 Delta variant is presenting new challenges. So we must remain vigilant. Fortunately, with our experience from this same time last year, we know what to do. Masking and social distancing work. I urged such with mayors from across the valley at Real Stadium last summer, and undeniably, mask use and distancing of 6 feet slowed this deadly virus. Masks work because the virus spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. Wearing a mask over your mouth and nose can help contain those droplets. Likewise, distancing prevents the coronavirus from being inhaled between people in close proximity. This is why it is recommended that we still wear masks when we cannot move apart, particularly indoors and among large groups of people. We also now have a vaccine, a true godsend. I don’t mind sharing that I have been vaccinated and suffered no ill effects. With the vaccine, I feel more protected from the virus and that I am doing my part to ensure others are not inflicted. I am also mindful of our health care workers and stretched hospitals. I am beyond grateful for their efforts and want to ease their burden. Additionally, although the Delta variant is twice as infectious as the original strain, people who are fully vaccinated appear to be infected for a shorter period of time, and even if a vaccinated person experiences a breakthrough case, the associated symptoms and illnesses are highly reduced. The vast majority of all COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations and cases in Utah are happening to people who are not vaccinated. If you still have concerns, please talk to your doctor. You can also find trusted information about the vaccine, as well as locations to get it, on the state’s website: coronavirus.utah.gov I know we can beat this. In fact, I’m confident we will emerge even stronger, primarily because we care. We care about one another. We are all friends and neighbors; we are a community. We are Taylorsville. –Mayor Kristie S. Overson

WHAT’S INSIDE – SEPTEMBER 2021 Frequently Called Numbers, Page 2 Council Corner, Page 3 Public Safety, Pages 4 and 5 Heritage Remembrances, Page 7 Environment, Page 8

You can now take a virtual tour of the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center. The Taylorsville Historic Preservation Committee has put together 10 videos highlighting the museum. Learn more about the historic home, see the animals, or take a peek at the schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and more. You can even pay a virtual visit to the bathrooms! Watch one video, or all 10 at www.taylorsvilleut.gov/our-city/museum/virtual-tour, then visit the Heritage Center in person. It's located at 1488 W. 4800 South. “There are so many unique pieces in this historic home, that is now our Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center,” said Mayor Kristie Overson. “We are so lucky to have this treasure in our community and for the dedication and commitment of our Historic Preservation Committee to honor and preserve our past.” The Historic Preservation Committee is sending letters to Taylorsville teachers letting them know about the availability of the virtual tour so that they can view the videos of the museum with their students. The committee also has hosted in-person tours for school children for many years. The museum is open Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 p.m, and Saturdays, 2 to 6 p.m. This month is an especially good month to visit the museum, since Sept. 18 is national Museum Day. The annual celebration is sponsored by Smithsonian magazine in promotion of boundless curiosity and to raise public awareness of the role museums play in the development of society. You can also view a photo gallery highlighting the museum on Page 6 of this section.


| www.taylorsvilleut.gov

City of Taylorsville Newsletter Census Shows Taylorsville Population Up a Bit

Police Department


Dominion Energy

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Taylorsville Code Enforcement

EVENTS SEPTEMBER 2021 Sept. 6 – all day

New Census numbers indicate a slight increase in population for the City of Taylorsville. The city’s population in 2010 was 58,652 while 2020’s numbered 60,448 people. Taylorsville’s population for 2024 is estimated to approach 63,000. Overall population has not increased dramatically in the past, but with the increasing number of multi-family units being built in the city, population continues on the upswing. “Each new development will impact the population density of Taylorsville,” said Mayor Kristie Overson. “Since our community is landlocked and almost entirely built out, this type of growth will likely be the avenue for the greatest future increase in Taylorsville's population. Regardless of the type of housing, we recognize that each resident enhances the need for city services.” Also of note, ethnic minorities make up about 37% of the population, or nearly 23,000 people in Taylorsville. The Census Bureau released 2020 data this past month to help states create new political districts as required by the Constitution. Overall, Utah leads the nation as the fastest growing state, with an 18.4% in population from 2010 to 2020. Utah now has 3,271,616 million residents, as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake County’s population rose by 155,583 people to 1,185,238, a 15.1% jump. Utah County, the state’s second most populous county, added 142,835 residents, growing to 659,399, representing a 27.7% increase in 10 years. The U.S. population now stands at 331,449,281, up 7.4% from 2010 — its second lowest rise in 10 years since the 1930s.


Labor Day. City Offices are closed in observance.

Sept. 1 & 15 – 6:30 p.m. City Council Meeting @ City Hall and online. Watch a live-stream of the meeting on the city’s website, www.taylorsvilleut.gov

Sept. 11 – all day 9/11 20th Anniversary. Please consider extending an act of service or kindness to others in remembrance of those we lost.


Sept. 1

Don't miss our final movie night this summer!

Sept. 11 – 8 p.m. Movies in the Park @ City Hall, west lawn. Showing is ‘Trolls World Tour.’ Popcorn, cotton candy (or ‘troll hair’) and games at 8 p.m. Movie starts at dusk. See adjacent ad.

Sept. 14 – 7 p.m. & Sept. 28 – 6 p.m. Planning Commission Meeting @ City Hall.

Sept. 29 – 6 p.m.


ld Tou

Wor 'Trolls

Movie starts at dusk

@ City Hall West Lawn

Let’s Talk Taylorsville @ City Hall. Find our calendar of events every month on the city’s website, where you can also submit your own events for possible publication. Go to www.taylorsvilleut.gov

Sponsored by the Parks & Rec Committee

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COUNCIL CORNER Summer was Filled with Fun as Taylorsville Marked its 25th Birthday By Council Member Meredith Harker Summer 2021 has come and gone, and I think it was the fastest summer ever. As a school teacher, I look forward to summer every year as a chance to rejuvenate, relax, rest and be with my family. The problem is, it's just too short! There were so many fun things happening in Taylorsville these last few months, and you know what they say, “Time flies when you are having fun.” Of course, the biggest Taylorsville event this summer was Taylorsville Dayzz. This year was extra special because we were celebrating 25 years as a city. There were concerts, rides, booths, food, a parade and the most amazing fireworks show in the state to celebrate this silver anniversary. The 5K and Kids Fun Run, held in conjunction with Taylorsville Dayzz, also drew more than 200 participants. As part of the festivities, we even passed out 1,000 Nothing Bundt Cakes after thousands of people sang Happy Birthday. It was a celebration not to be missed, and I don’t think many people did. It was the most well attended Taylorsville Dayzz in history. Movies at City Hall was another fun-filled family event that brought out a lot of Taylorsville citizens to

enjoy a night outside. We had four movies (one each month of summer). The events included music, prizes, snow cones, popcorn, games and a great show. This is a tradition that the Parks and Recreation Committee is hoping to make even bigger and better next year with the opening of Centennial Plaza right in front of City Hall. Work progressed this summer on our “Loving Labrum Park” project where the Parks and Recreation Committee is helping to turn water-wasting grass into a waterwise educational landscape. Residents will be able to learn about ways they can improve their own yards. This project has been a labor of love from volunteers around the city who want to improve the park. The Green Committee also hosted the city’s annual clean-up event, with hundreds of residents disposing of unwanted and dangerous materials. It took many volunteers to make the Collection Day happen and once again, Taylorsville was able to get it done! Literally tons of items were collected for recycling and disposal. In addition, the Ar ts Council put on their production of Peter Pan Jr. this past month, their first performance in the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center. The council also held an Arts Show over the summer that asked artists to submit art reflective of Taylorsville, in commemorating our anniversary. It was

LEFT TO RIGHT: Dan Armstrong (District 5), Curt Cochran, Chair (District 2), Meredith Harker (District 4), Anna Barbieri, Vice Chair (District 3), and Ernest Burgess (District 1)

fun to see paintings of the Taylorsville Dayzz fireworks, the beautiful landscape in our city, drawings of City Hall and more. All summer, I saw lots of people biking, running, walking and playing in Taylorsville. The pool was full every day with people trying to beat the heat. There is always something fun to do in the city. I hope you take some time to get out and enjoy all Taylorsville has to offer, no matter the season.

Summit Vista Continues to Expand with New Services, Facility The Summit Vista retirement community in Taylorsville has added a key component to its services. It has opened a beautiful new assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitative care facility called Meadow Peak. The new center is 150,000 square feet and located at 3390 W. Signal Peak Drive. The skilled nursing section of the facility opened in April, and the memory care and assisted living sections open Sept. 16. “Meadow Peak is the crowning achievement at Summit Vista because it allows residents to receive all the healthcare services they need without having to leave their home,” said Marc Erickson, Summit Vista CEO and executive director. Mayor Kristie Overson thanked Summit Vista for all their contributions to the community. “This is a wonderful addition,” she said when the skilled nursing section was opened in the spring. “The architecture is beautiful and the attention to detail remarkable. We also know that the level of care will be outstanding.” The addition built by Gardner Company, has 54 assisted living apartments with 22 studios, which includes 20 one-bedrooms

and 12 two-bedrooms; 20 memory care suites; 63 skilled nursing with 75 beds; 51 private skilled nursing suites; and 12 semiprivate skilled nursing suites. Pricing, which varies depending on the suite, starts at $3,600 per month. All supportive personal- and health-related services are available 24 hours a day, with each service designed to assist residents with the various activities of daily living, while helping them maintain their personal lifestyle. “We’ve found a key to quality care is to provide each resident with an individualized care plan, which includes everything from nutritious eating to socializing and transportation activities,” Erickson said. Mission Health Services and CNS will provide higher levels of care and additional health services. Summit Vista is a 105-acre gated campus that provides an active senior living community and offers residents worry-free living, exceptional amenities, and an onsite continuum of care that includes independent living, assisted living, home care, nursing care, memory care and rehabilitation services. For more information, visit SummitVista.com online.

Letterto the Editor

I have been a para-educator at Murray School District for 10 years. On July 1, I was eating dinner at the Texas Roadhouse Restaurant in Taylorsville. While eating, a large piece of prime rib was stuck in my throat, and I could not cough or breath. Restaurant employees called 911, and firefighters and paramedics immediately responded to this emergency call. They saved my life, and I can’t thank them enough for this and all the other emergencies they respond to. I was very impressed and thank all first responders and paramedics for their dedication and service. —Dennis Kaplanis


City of Taylorsville Newsletter

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An Officer’s Perspective: Police Work is All About Service By TVPD Det. Daniel Christensen Chief Brady Cottam recently presented a message to Taylorsville Police personnel. He thought about sharing all the statistics, training hours, successes and details about work that still needs to be done as we continue forward with our own Taylorsville City Police Department. However, he stopped and instead emphasized what has been the overarching message most important to him and all our city leaders. That message provides the very foundation of TVPD’s values of transparency, respect, innovation, connection and collaboration (as outlined by Mayor Kristie Overson in last month’s Taylorsville Newsletter). It is a message, Chief Cottam said, that all boils down to serve “the people.” Police work can be very busy with mounds of paperwork, training and statistics gathering. While those all play a role, they don’t begin to scratch the surface of the true purpose of a police officer. The message of serving “the people” is refreshing as it is the reason why officers enter this profession in the first place. What statistics cannot gather and what often goes unnoticed, even at times by officers themselves, is the

connection between an officer and the people they serve. It is difficult to measure the positive impact an officer can have on an individual. Often happening but seldom told are those experiences where an officer has positively impacted or even changed a person’s life, an individual, for the better. An individual changed for the better can have an immeasurable rippling effect through the community.

6200 South at Bangerter Highway is Closed for Safety Crews have closed east-west access at 6200 South across Bangerter Highway due to a high number of accidents at the intersection. The closure will remain in place through mid-November. Utah Department of Transportation officials gave details about the closure at a press conference on Aug. 19 near the intersection. "We are seeing drivers run red lights to get through the intersection," said UDOT Public Information Officer John Gleason. "It is causing a significant number of crashes and an extremely dangerous situation." In fact, the intersection had been averaging a crash every other day. In all, there were 25 crashes since July 3, and 18 of them — or 72 percent — were caused by drivers running a red light. Four were rear-end crashes and one involved a DUI, Gleason said. As a result, UDOT officials decided the best course of action was to close the 6200 South intersection across Bangerter Highway.

Drivers, residents and businesses can expect: • East-west travel at 6200 South across Bangerter is closed • North-south travel on mainline Bangerter remains open; drivers will have free-flow travel with the permanent removal of the traffic signal • Right-hand turns on/off Bangerter at 6200 South are open Joining Gleason at the press conference was Taylorsville City Police Chief Brady Cottam. "We support the decision and trust UDOT's expertise," he said. Chief Cottam echoed the concern, noting that most of the accidents have resulted in significant property damage and some injuries. He also pointed out that clearing a crash and processing the scene takes time, which results in additional delays to traffic at the intersection. Gleason noted that the construction zone was designed to all safety standards and that the problems have stemmed from the way drivers are actually navigating the intersection. "We realize it’s hard to be patient when you’re stuck at a red light, sometimes for several cycles," he said. "But with a crash every other day, these are the very real consequences we are seeing." Construction of the freeway-style interchange began in spring 2020 and it is expected to be complete this fall.

Some of those immeasurable aspects of a police officer’s job include taking extra time to counsel with a troubled couple, helping a struggling parent with wayward child, removing an addict from temptation, helping a victim who cannot get away from a perpetrator, being a mediator in a very personal dispute, serving as a role model to someone who may not have one, or preventing a perpetrator from victimizing community members. Each of these require officers to listen, understand and present solutions to solve the situation at hand. Often the officer hopes but does not know they made a difference, and only sometimes are lucky enough to find out they did. Chief Cottam’s goal when it came to hiring officers to serve the Taylorsville community was simply to hire a diverse group of good people. When we were sworn in as officers with the Taylorsville City Police Department, we swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Utah. We swore an oath to “the people” and it’s “the people” whom we will continue to serve as we move forward as our own Taylorsville Police Department!

2600 West Taylorsville Boulevard • 801-963-5400 |


Parade Honors Taylorsville Teen’s Life More than 300 cars from various car clubs around the state traveled to Taylorsville in late June in support of 19-year-old Gabriel “Gabe” Groves and his journey fighting a rare brain tumor. A parade in his honor was held just a few weeks before his death. Taylorsville firefighters — who formed a long relationship with Gabe beginning more than 12 years ago — helped organize the parade, along with Miracle Mascots and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. An avid car enthusiast, Gabe made quite an impression within his community, said Capt. Richard Rich of the Unified Fire Authority and fire liaison to Taylorsville. “Gabriel’s Final Wish Parade” on June 28 started at Fire Station #118 and ended in front of his home in Taylorsville. “Everything from jalopies to high-end super cars” were part of the parade, which extended more than an hour and a half as cars circled the parking lot at City Hall to queue, Capt. Rich said. “It was a touching event.” Friends, family and many others within the community spent the afternoon together watching vintage cars go by and celebrating Gabe’s final days in style. Gabe passed away on July 20. His obituary describes him as “a perpetual, pure child at heart throughout his life.” He most enjoyed car washes, Christmas, mascots and movie villains, and calling people on the phone. “Gabe loved anyone and everyone, and had a unique gift of bringing people together to share in the things he loved,” his obituary states. “Gabe made everyone feel welcome, and showed his excitement and love for each person each time he would see them.” "We were so sorry to hear about Gabe's passing,” said Capt. Rich. “He was an amazing young man, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. We are glad that we were able to participate in the parade that he wanted and share in his special day. We will forever cherish those memories."


| www.taylorsvilleut.gov

City of Taylorsville Newsletter

Rediscover the Heritage Museum and its Treasure Trove of History The Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center’s mission is to tell the story of the first 100 years of the Taylorsville and Bennion communities. It aims to help the Taylorsville community keep a sense of identity, an affirmation of individuality and evidence of continuity. Did you know, for instance, that the museum was a home built in 1906 by the Frame brothers? Or that David and Clara Jones raised nine children there and operated a dairy farm next door? Originally, the home sat on 17 acres. In the kitchen, you can see all the steps it once took to make bread and in the parlor, you can hear the beautiful music of the historic pump organ and restored square, grand piano. Listen to the antique Sonora Victrola; see the original claw foot bathtub and pull-chain water closet. Take a peek at the old coal stove from the "Good Old Days" era, and listen to the docent tell of the Taylorsville-Bennion history since 1848. It’s all at the museum, located at 1488 W. 4800 South, or take the virtual tour online at www.taylorsvilleut. gov/our-city/museum/virtual-tour. You’ll be amazed at all that you will learn!

2600 West Taylorsville Boulevard • 801-963-5400 |

Taylorsville Bennion Heritage REMEMBRANCES



Grab Lunch, Visit with Friends at the Senior Center The Taylorsville Senior Center, 4743 S. Plymouth View Drive, offers lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Just get a ticket at the front desk, and view the menu, as well as a program schedule, online at www.slco.org/ taylorsville-senior-center Remember becoming a member is free and it allows you access to the Taylorsville Senior Center and all the other county Senior Centers. Come in and see Daisy to fill out an intake form to get an access card.

This month’s article features artifacts from the museum, rather than people. Pictured is a McCormick International Harvester Model 201 Windrower that was donated by the Samuel Swartz Smith estate. Housed under the old barn north of the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center, the swather was donated and driven to the museum by Hyrum Smith in 2014 and is available for the public to view. So what is a swather? It is a farm implement that cuts hay or small grain crops and forms them into a windrow, a long line laid out for drying. Swathing, or windrowing, is more common in the northern United States and Canada because the curing time for grain crops is reduced by cutting the plant stems. Combines are used in regions where grain crops are usually left standing in regions where there are longer growing seasons. Samuel Schwartz Smith, who lived at 2481 W. 5400 South and farmed in the Taylorsville-Bennion area, bought this swather as a used machine around 1970. The swather, with its 12-foot cutting blade, was like a dream come true for him. It would do three operations in one: first the cutting, then the raking, and finally the crimping of the hay. Years before, a team of horses pulled a 5-foot blade hay mower. Then one of the Smith boys would rake the hay with a dump rake and, with the use of hand pitchforks, put it in piles for loading on the horsedrawn wagons. Two of Smith’s sons used this swather from his death in 1983 until 2005 to cut their own hay. It was then stored in a shed for nine years until 2014. In the pictures, you can see Hyrum Smith driving the swather to the museum. It was donated on July 8, 2014. “As the last of the Taylorsville area farmland is being developed, we as his family believe Samuel would be very happy to donate this swather to the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center’s collection of artifacts,” his family said upon donating the equipment. “This machine will help tell the history of farming in the Taylorsville-Bennion area to those who visit the Center.”

Don’t Miss These Library Events The Taylorsville Library has planned several programs during the month of September. You’ll want to mark your calendar for these events: Virtual Adult Lecture: Making Reading Fun Again Monday, Sept. 13, 7 p.m. How can we convince children that reading actually matters? Dr. Paul H. Ricks will answer this and other questions and discuss what makes and breaks the reading experiences of young learners. Register for this event at https://tinyurl.com/5zpc5za3 Virtual Adult Lecture: How Star Trek Changed the World and Why It Still Matters Tuesday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m. Learn how Star Trek has remained relevant for more than 55 years. Dr. Amy H. Sturgis will discuss the ways Star Trek has changed science fiction and popular culture, and created global fan participation. Register for this event at https://tinyurl.com/ypv5m8k9 Digital Activities Do online activities at any time. Challenge yourself with digital escape rooms, STEM activities and arts and crafts tutorials for kids, teens and adults. Click on the kids tab at http:// thecountylibrary.org/events/digital-activities to see the library’s new animal activities: I Spy Animals and Tails and Tales. Spotify The County Library has Spotify. Follow their page for fun playlists: https://tinyurl.com/3j8vvcpk Goodreads Participate in the library’s monthly challenges on their Goodreads page. Visit this link to get to find the group page: https://tinyurl.com/bhaw7s74 And visit this link to go right to the Reading Challenges: https://tinyurl.com/5h9wx8yn

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SEPTEMBER UPDATES MATTRESS RECYCLING Spring Back Mattress, at 1929 S. 4130 West, will take your used mattresses, and will recycle 100% of its materials. The recycling fee for mattresses or box springs is $20 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 801-906-8146 or visit online at www.springbackutah.com.

Check out Localscapes and Consider Replacing Your Lawn After a long hot summer, you may ask: Is all that lawn really worth it? Consider the frustration of irrigation systems not working, weeds that grow no matter how hot it is, and weekends sacrificed to maintain an unappreciative lawn. There is a better way to have a beautiful yard while saving time and water! Localscapes to the rescue. The professional team of horticulturists, landscape designers, maintenance pros and irrigation experts are here to help. It is a free resource promoting a moderate approach to waterwise landscaping that is appropriate for Utah’s climate. Visit Localscapes.com for more information.

RECYCLING EDUCATION IN THE CLASSROOM Are you a teacher looking for a fun, interactive presentation for your students this fall? Or do you know someone who is? You’re in luck. The WFWRD Sustainability Team offers free recycling, composting and sustainability presentations for elementary school students, grades first through sixth. Presentation dates and times are catered to what best works for you and your classroom. The district even does assemblies and multiple classes at once. The presentations typically last 20 to 30 minutes and include a short video, a handful of educational slides and an interactive game at the end. If you are interested in setting up a class visit or would like more information, please contact WFWRD’s sustainability coordinator at emorris@wasatchfrontwaste.org or 385-468-6337. (It is not known yet if class visits will be in-person or virtual at this time.)

QUESTIONS? Please contact Taylorsville-Bennion Improvement District by calling 801-968-9081 or visiting www.tbid.org. You can also follow the district on Facebook and Twitter.

TRUCK SAFETY Many schools are gearing up for the new school year. Whenever your routine is altered, it is sometimes difficult to realign your schedule and remember everything that you need to accomplish. WFWRD drivers are aware of the influx of school children going to and coming from school and are always looking out for their safety. Families are encouraged to talk about safety practices with their kids around large vehicles, including garbage trucks and school buses. Big trucks are fun to watch, but it is important to remember to keep your distance to stay safe.

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4861 S State St, Murray, UT 84107 • 801-266-2600

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


SEPT. 10-25, 2021

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




TaylorsvilleJ ournal.com

September 2021 | Page 23

What’s your legacy?

Satellite image of where the new Grasmere Park will be located. (Screenshot)

New park coming to Grasmere Lane

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By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com

or years residents have voiced their desire for more green space, such as parks, to undeveloped areas as opposed to higher density housing being built on the land. Now one of those smaller, undeveloped pieces of land will be built into a park after the West Valley City Council unanimously approved a contract with Entelen Construction. The one-acre property located at 3876 South Grasmere Lane will see a park built with a playground, pavilion, picnic tables, benches, walking path, exercise equipment, trees, shrubs, drinking fountain and an open grass area. City officials used online surveys to collect residents opinions on the park’s name

and features. Jason Ereksen, assistant parks and recreation director, expected construction to begin as soon as possible and the park to be completed within 90 days, weather permitting. Construction of the park is expected to cost just over $535,000 with funds coming from the city’s CDBG (Community Development Block Grants), an annual federal program that provides grants to cities, counties and states. The city received five bids to build the park and chose Entelen as the lowest responsible bidder. Entelen has previously built the new parks and public works building, but this will be the company’s first park in the city. l

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www.LarkinCares.com Page 24 | September 2021

The location of the upcoming Grasmere Park. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

Taylorsville City Journal

Governor wants to incentivize lawn removal with a statewide buy-back program By Alison Brimley | a.brimley@mycityjournals.com


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

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

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

and Duchesne counties, though a Flip Your Strip program is also available to Layton residents. (Murray City and South Jordan City are not eligible for Flip Your Strip because these cities offer their own park strip programs.) Utahns in eligible areas can apply to begin the process at utahwatersavers.com. Not only will those who participate get to help the state save water, they’ll also see sav-

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ings on their own monthly water bill and get back a significant chunk of time they might have previously spent on lawn maintenance. “While the actual water savings will vary depending on the size of the park strip and the materials used, we estimate that an average 5,000-8,000 gallons of water will be saved each year for every park strip that is flipped,” Jenkins said. l

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September 2021 | Page 25

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Taylorsville City Journal

UWLP survey shows women in the workforce are struggling


By Peri Kinder | peri.k@davisjournal.com

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

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

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

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

Why didn’t anyone help? By Cassie Goff | c.goff@mycityjournals.com


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

TaylorsvilleJ ournal.com

certain propensity to be a bystander. Sometimes called upstander training, bystander trainings help individuals to “recognize potentially harmful or hurtful interactions and respond in way intended to positively influence the outcome.” Trainings may focus on verbal and nonverbal techniques to de-escalate situations. When I was learning about the bystander effect in my own psychology education, I remember one of my University of Utah professors providing the class with important suggestions. He told us if we ever find ourselves in an emergency situation where someone needs to be calling 911, solicit a specific individual explicitly. Look someone directly in the eye, point to them, and tell them “You call 911!” Any action helping to limit the diffusion of responsibility can negate the bystander effect. I might shift my professor’s suggestions based on actionable behavior to a more cognitive one. Now that you’re aware of the bystander effect, make a conscious effort to not be a bystander. Take initiative in a situation where something needs to be said or done. I often take my own advice here. For example, I was recently driving on a Salt Lake City highway at night. I had passed a handful of cars when I started to descend a hill. I noticed bright flames as soon as they came into view. I looked to my passenger and asked, “Do you think we need to call that

in?” I caught myself in that moment, didn’t allow my passenger time to answer, and started calling. I could have easily thought to myself the few cars that had passed surely called it in. Being aware of the bystander effect and implementing strategies to help counteract it can help in everyday situations as well. Have you ever had an instance in your workplace where a task didn’t get done because you thought your boss would handle it? And they thought you, or your coworker, were on it? Delegating personal responsibility can ensure all tasks are being completed. And it’s totally fine to do so together. In a meeting, my team and I can delegate

tasks needing to be accomplished that week by preference or schedule. These types of strategies can be helpful in personal relationships and social interactions as well. One of the most useful strategies to negate the bystander effect is to use names. If everyone knows very clearly that Rai is calling your friend to see where they are and Tyler is grabbing drinks, there’s limited room for miscommunication or dropping the ball. Research from: Carpenter, Cherry, Darley, Dimsdale, Fox-Glassman, Hortensius, Kassin, Keltner, Legg, Latane and Over. l

September 2021 | Page 27

Unsung Heroes

In Our Community sponsored by:

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The universal human experiences of love and loss led Brandon Palmer, GC-C, CT, into his role as the Bereavement Coordinator/Grief Counselor for Intermountain Homecare and Hospice.

He said, “Ultimately, everyone and everything that we love will eventually be taken away from us in this life, and instead of ignoring or denying this fact I wanted to embrace it and be a companion for others as they grieve.” Through his work in providing grief support to individuals and families on hospice care, Brandon has gained more compassion, empathy, understanding, and an appreciation for living in the present moment. His coworkers say the work is does is truly invaluable. There was a time where he literally saved the life of a grieving husband who was turning to substance abuse. “I can’t imagine myself doing a more meaningful work,” he explains. “Each person’s story of love and loss that I’m able to be a part of teaches me and touches me in so many profound ways- death can be so life-affirming.” If you would like information on the grief support that Brandon offers to the community, please call his direct line at 385-223-5665.


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www.jenkins-soffe.com Page 28 | September 2021

Lessons learned during pandemic ‘changed education forever’ in Granite School District By Heather Lawrence | h.lawrence@mycityjournals.com


hether or not you’re superstitious, there’s no question that Friday, March 13 was a big day. That’s the day the governor announced a “soft two-week closure” of schools. When that closure stretched on for months, we all found out that what goes on in schools impacts our society and economy. Granite School District is the third largest district in Utah, and their website reports they serve roughly 67,000 students and employ 7,500 people. Ben Horsley, communications director, said that because of Covid-19, “Education changed forever, for better or worse, and the impacts will be seen for decades.” Horsley said GSD has always had a distance learning option, but in 2020 it was kicked into high gear. That gave them a crash course in what works and what doesn’t. “At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, we had about one third of our students doing distance learning. By the end of the year, it was about 18%. We anticipate that 3-5% will still be utilizing distance learning this coming school year,” Horsley said. They started with a dual modality approach, where teachers were required to do in-person and online instruction. That stretched many teachers beyond their limits, forcing them to work unsustainably long days. Millions of dollars in rescue funding was recently approved by the federal government for Utah schools. With Granite’s portion of the funding, they will hire dedicated teachers for online instruction. It will be available for all students K-12. Horsley said that kindergarten enrollment for fall 2020 was the lowest it had been in decades, which he thinks was a direct response to the pandemic. “We learned that families’ needs vary widely. We do our best to offer flexible ways to meet those needs. We are concerned about transiency, child care and internet availability. We’re keeping the distance learning option for those families who need it,” Horsley said. The pandemic pushed Granite to rethink how they interact with parents. Parent teacher conferences went virtual this past year, which offered a lot of flexibility. “I think in the future you’re going to see ways where we can reach more parents using a distance option, like we did with parent teacher conference. “This will advance engagement with parents. I think schools will utilize online and Zoom resources. We’re looking at updating our systems to allow parents to connect with the teachers not just with Canvas, but in a variety of different ways,” Horsley said. These options also help students who are distance learning due to a long-term illness or home hospital situation. They can connect

Ben Horsley of GSD is pictured at a board meeting wearing a mask. Horsley said that the past year has “changed education forever.” (Granite School District)

with a dedicated online teacher, and they’ll be able to hear and watch a lesson online live as opposed to a recorded one. “We feel strongly that despite our best efforts, in-person instruction will always have a higher success rate for the majority of our students. But we will offer a distance ‘self-paced’ option. We’re expanding those offerings, and students can take as many classes as they want to and go as fast as they want to. This is good for the self-motivated student,” Horsley said. So what if the pandemic had never happened and the district hadn’t been forced to grapple with all of these issues? “We were always looking at expanding our offerings, but this forced us to bring it all up to date as soon as possible. The silver lining to the pandemic was us being able to increase the options and individualization for students. “Our teachers also became much more versed and fluent in how to use the different online platforms,” Horsley said. Granite will also use portions of their federal funding to create summer programs and address the mental and emotional issues brought on by the pandemic. “Education changed forever. That’s not just in terms of learning loss and trying to fill that gap, but also the emotional and mental health challenges as a result of isolation and lack of socialization. We have 40 million dollars in Covid aid that we’ll use to provide a variety of interventions for our students,” Horsley said. l

Whether in the classroom, at home or at activities like a Skyline baseball game, Granite School District students and staff learned a lot during the Covid-19 pandemic that will influence education for years to come. (Granite School District)

Taylorsville City Journal

Dan Armstrong decides ‘eight is enough’ years to serve on Taylorsville City Council By Carl Fauver | c.fauver@mycityjournals.com


fter working as a certified public accountant for more than 40 years— and serving on the Taylorsville City Council nearly eight years—District 5 Councilmember Dan Armstrong, 69, has decided it’s time to slow down a bit, and, as he put it, “Let my wife start calling more of the shots.” Armstrong is now working with a couple of buyers in the sale of his CPA firm, “Armstrong Duke & Associates, LLC.” And he’s also chosen not to seek a third, four-year term on the Taylorsville City Council. Instead, the next District 5 city council member will either be someone who served in that position before Armstrong—and also went on to be mayor—Larry Johnson or accountant and lifelong Taylorsville resident Robert (Bob) Knudsen. Those two finalists emerged from a field of three candidates in the city’s Aug. 10 primary election. “I understand there is life after elections, but it is really hard to see Dan go,” Mayor Kristie Overson said. “I really rely on his skills as an accountant. We all rely on his wisdom with all things related to the city budget. It is easy for him. Dan’s decision (not to seek re-election) does not surprise me. But we will really miss him.” Armstrong said if his children had enjoyed a safe walking route to school nearly 20 years ago, he might never have entered politics. “The first time I became interested in city government was when my kids were walking on 2700 West to Bennion Junior High School,” Armstrong said. “There were no sidewalks on the west side of 27th. So, I went to the city council meeting to speak as a citizen. That was shortly after the ‘new’ city hall opened (in May 2003). I’m not sure how much my comments mattered. But it was not long before a sidewalk was put in.” Several years after that successful pitch to the Taylorsville City Council, Armstrong’s good friend Larry Johnson told him he was going to run for mayor that fall (2013), and he encouraged Armstrong to run for his District 5 Council seat. He did, and both men won their races. “I had known Larry for years,” Armstrong said. “He and I had conducted church services together—for inmates at the Salt Lake County Jail—from 2009 up until then. After getting released from that calling, Larry ran for mayor, and I ran for his council seat. We both celebrated victories on election night (November 2013).” Armstrong defeated Kenneth Acker in that election and said he would have been satisfied with either of them winning. “The way I felt, [constituents] could have voted either of us in, and the city of Taylorsville was going to get a good guy,”

TaylorsvilleJ ournal.com

Armstrong said. “I really thought I was going to lose. I had hardly spent any money on the election—something like $800 on signs and door hangers. But I did have one advantage: I knew nearly everyone [in my District] from my years working as a Boy Scout leader.” Over his many years as a Scout leader, Armstrong said he had gotten to know many kids and parents. So, his win did not shock him as much as his wife, Lorene. “The next morning, she asked me, ‘Did you win?’” he said. “I told her, ‘Good morning my loyal subject, how are you today?” Did he really say that? “Yes, I did,” Armstrong said. “But I would not do it again.” “I have really enjoyed working with Dan because he has brought such good wisdom to the city council,” Councilmember Meredith Harker said. “He sees the minute details and asks really good questions. That’s been so important to have on the council. We will miss it.” Armstrong was raised in Idaho Falls and graduated high school there in 1970. Following a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand, Dan enrolled at Brigham Young University in April 1974. That’s where he met Lorene, marrying her three years later. “At first, I was going to get my degree in Animal Science because I wanted to be a veterinarian,” he said. “But getting into vet school was such an uphill battle, and I was starting a young family. I ended up with a major in accounting and a minor in chemistry.” Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Lorene Armstrong also earned a BYU degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude in secondary education. The couple’s four sons and three daughters were born from 1979 through 1994. Three of the kids now live in Kentucky, Idaho and South Carolina, while the other four remain in Utah. The Armstrongs’ 20 grandchildren are ages 1 to 16. Once his city council term runs out at the end of the year—and the sale of his CPA firm is completed, likely next year—Armstrong said Lorene will be calling more of the shots. “We could leave on a Church mission as early as next year,” he said. “It’s up to Lorene; it’s her turn. She’s been so supportive of me for so many years. I took her to New Zealand in 2018 and showed her where I served my mission. She loved it. So, who knows, we might serve a mission there. She’s not sure where she wants to go.” When the newest member of the Taylorsville City Council was asked what she

thought of Armstrong leaving, District 3 Councilmember Anna Barbieri was succinct. “That stinker,” she said. “It’s a great loss. He asks a lot of important questions. Dan’s not afraid to speak up. And he’s so well-versed in the budget. He’s a good man, solid. I will miss Dan.” Armstrong believes a couple of the Taylorsville City Council’s biggest accomplishments during his eight-year tenure have come this year, with the completion of the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center and the reestablishment of the city’s own, independent police department. “If you look [at the professional credentials of those hired into the new agency], we are probably one of the best-staffed police departments in the state,” he said. “We have a mayor and a council that support police. That is not true everywhere, statewide or countywide. Our officers are not perfect, but we have a very strong group, and we support them.” He is also confident he’s leaving the city council stronger than when he arrived in January 2014. “The eight years I was on the council, we never even had a vote to raise [residents’ property] taxes,” Armstrong said.

Dan Armstrong—a Taylorsville City Council member since 2014—has chosen not to seek reelection this fall. (Taylorsville City)

“The mayor and council work well together. We have seen a lot of new business come to Taylorsville in the time I’ve been on the council. Perhaps I could have done more. But most of the things I wanted to do, we got done.” l

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


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



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t’s a good thing Taylorsville residents are getting more than their fair share of political controversy at the national level, because back home election excitement is right up there with watching paint dry. While Washington D.C. doles out bickering soundbites like Old Faithful—only more frequently than every 90 minutes—local elected officials are simply not keeping pace. As a result, every incumbent seeking to hold their current elected position—two councilwomen and one mayor—need only one vote in order to do so. Facing no opponents, Mayor Kristie Overson, District 3 Councilmember Anna Barbieri and District 4 Councilmember Meredith Harker will all remain on the job. It’s a far cry from how each earned their current positions the first time around. As a member of the Taylorsville City Council four years ago, Kristie Overson chose to challenge incumbent Mayor Larry Johnson at the ballot box, defeating the oneterm mayor 57% to 43%. Now, four years later, Johnson is back on the ballot as a finalist in the District 5 city council race. That’s a post he held in 2013, prior to being elected mayor. Elementary school teacher Meredith Harker spent all of 2017 attending city council meetings, after deciding early in the year to try to succeed retiring Dama Barbour in the District 4 seat. Harker earned 62% of her district’s votes that November. As for District 3, Anna Barbieri has served on the council less than a year, after being unanimously elected by the other four council members last fall, to replace Brad Christopherson after he moved out of Taylorsville. She was to face voters for the first time this fall, and then be back on the ballot in two years to restore her position to its fouryear voting cycle. Prior to her move to the city council last October, Barbieri had been the longest-tenured member of the Taylorsville Planning Commission, serving 10 ½ years.

Mayor Kristie Overson and Councilmember Meredith Harker (L-R) defeated election opponents to earn their positions four years ago. This election season they are unopposed. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

“I loved the planning commission and never would have challenged Brad [Christopherson for his city council position]; he did so well,” Barbieri said. “But after he moved, I was happy to put my name in [for the special election]. I’ve enjoyed it so far.” With none of the three facing opponents, the question is obvious: are Taylorsville residents apathetic about local government or satisfied with their current leadership? Overson is confident it’s the latter. “Our recent public survey results have been very positive, and I think the good marks reflect what residents are thinking, that they are happy with what we are doing,” she said. “I was pleasantly surprised to be unopposed because, honestly, campaigning takes a lot of time. It was easier [four years ago] when I was not mayor. But this is more than a fulltime job. People will still see me door knock-

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ing and campaigning. But it will be easier than if I had an opponent.” Those public opinion surveys Overson mentioned have shown she and the city council members enjoying a near 90% approval rating among Taylorsville voters. “I was more relieved than surprised when I found out I was unopposed (for the District 4 council seat),” Harker said. “It would have been interesting to have an opponent. But I take [the lack of an opponent] as, people in my district think I am doing OK.” As a full-time working mother of four— holding a demanding position as a Calvin Smith Elementary School (2150 West 6200 South) third grade teacher—Harker admits, she was a bit apprehensive about tossing her hat into the ring four years ago. “I was nervous about school teaching and serving on the council,” she said. But it

has been amazing to do it all. I think the two jobs complement each other. Being involved with the community through school helps me understand family needs. It has been a good blend. And timewise it has worked out well. I love both so much, and they are so different.” Barbieri also juggles her part-time city council work with a full-time “real” job. More than 25 years ago, she and her sister launched White Elegance, a clothing manufacturer specializing primarily in dresses for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to wear while performing temple activities. “I was really happy [to hear I was unopposed], and I think that says a lot about the direction Taylorsville is heading; people seem pretty happy,” Barbieri said. “It says a lot about the great job Brad [Christopherson] Continued page 4

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