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April 2018 | Vol. 18 Iss. 04



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‘LIGHTS…CAMERA…ACTION’: FACEBOOK SHARES West Jordan toymaker’s story with global audience By Carl Fauver |


ou can add a new title to Alton Thacker’s name. In addition to being “beloved West Jordan toymaker” and “great-grandfather to 42 children,” Thacker, 82, is now also a “Facebook program star.” “When our Tiny Tim’s episode of the show debuted (March 6) on Facebook, West Jordan City hosted a viewing party for us,” Thacker said. “There were probably 75 to 100 people there. Chick-fil-A donated sandwiches, Arctic Circle gave us milkshakes, and it was a lot more comfortable than the day the program was filmed.” Alton is referring to the frigid day last December, when the producers of the program “Returning The Favor,” wrapped up its Utah visit by taping an impromptu parade to honor the toymaking volunteer. The show’s producers suggested the event after one of Alton’s relatives told them he loves parades. But much of the organizational work fell on West Jordan City Public Information Officer Kim Wells. “The show didn’t give us much time to pull everything together,” she said. “And we had to hold the parade at 3:00 in the afternoon so the show would have enough light to tape it. But when I began calling around telling people it was for Alton, they Continued on Page 8....



Alton Thacker drives his brand-new ATV, given to him by the producers of the Facebook program “Returning The Favor.” (Kim Wells/West Jordan City)

Toymaker Alton Thacker greets the crowd at the December parade held in his honor. The event can now be seen on the Facebook program “Returning The Favor.” (Kim Wells/West Jordan City)

Facebook program “Returning The Favor” host Mike Rowe shows off the special eagle-topped car he received at Alton Thacker’s West Jordan toy factory. (Facebook screenshot)

Page 2 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

West Jordan’s bringing healthy back By Amy Green | The West Jordan City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout West Jordan. For information about distribution please email circulation@mycityjournals. com or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. For subscriptions please contact: The views and opinions expressed in display advertisements do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Loyal Perch Media or the City Journals. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the owner.

The West Jordan Team CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Bryan Scott EDITOR: Travis Barton ADVERTISING: 801-254-5974 DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING: Ryan Casper 801-671-2034 SALES ASSOCIATES: Melissa Worthen 801-897-5231 Tracy Langer 385-557-1021 Corbett Carrel 385-557-1016 CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Brad Casper EDITORIAL & AD DESIGN: Ty Gorton

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ots of things happen at West Jordan City Hall during the week, even into the night. One can hear concert bands practicing or see efficient janitors spiffing up the hallways. On Thursday evenings, a quiet yet important event takes place: the “2018 Way to a Better Life Contest.” The contest is open for anyone 18 years and older (who registered by Jan. 18) to make permanent lifestyle changes. The challenge is not about getting six-pack abs or an insta-bikini bod. Weight loss is one aspect but only part of the big picture of health. Starvation dieting, pills and eliminating entire food groups are actually contest disqualifiers. Contestants might end up with rippling pectorals, Jillian Michaels glutei or on the cover of (insert favorite health magazine here). Who knows? Sculpted biceps are not the point. The challenge is about creating a better, balanced and healthier you. Entrants come to City Hall once a week for a quick weigh-in, over a 13-week span. They show up with commitment and determination. Cathy Clark said, “I had a hip replacement surgery last May and gained about 20 pounds, so now it’s time to take it off. I was hoping by weighing in, it would be the catalyst to start my weight loss.” Trying not to over-snack is one of her goals, as Cathy has lost 8 pounds already. All hopefuls receive a printed copy of the “Contest Participants Packet.” This is a booklet to keep track of nutrition, eating, exercise and drinking water. There are no extensive food logs to take and no measurements by a tailor’s tape. You don’t even need a smartphone or health app. A body composition analyzer is available at the weekly check-ins to determine fat percentage and other calculations, simply by standing on it. It seems the only thing the machine can’t do is detect a lie. Amy Stroup, a seasoned competitor, has done the challenge many times with her husband, Jeremy Stroup. “Every year, we look forward to it,” Amy Stroup said. “It’s something we do together. It keeps us going. My husband is competitive, and that competitive spirit jumps in.” Even though the Stroups have moved away from West Jordan, they continue to participate. Walking in, participants see Katie Prawitt and a committee of upbeat organizers there to assist. Linsey Miller, community health education coordinator, has a wealth of knowledge about the contest, and she is there to help track, encourage and monitor everyone’s progress. “The hardest part is finding time to exercise,” said elementary school teacher Rachelle Peterson. “I needed some motivation. I wasn’t drinking much water. I wasn’t eating lots of fruits and vegetables.” A switch to healthier beverages has now rubbed off on Peterson’s students choosing water too. Her husband, Darin Peterson, signed up with her and admitted, “The water has been the hard part. I got off soda.” He described his new daily habit saying, “Before I get up and do other things, I drink 32 ounces of water.”

Darin and Rachelle Peterson are participating in the “Way to a Better Life Contest.” (Amy Green/City Journals)

The challenge has a (fruits encouraged) cherry on top. There are gift cards and cash prizes to look forward to when winners are announced on April 26, a celebration of stick-to-itiveness. However, none of the contestants focused much on that just yet. They mostly talked of feeling better, motivating family members, having more energy and using a doable method. The scale, as most rude scales usually do, only shows steady incremental improvements. However, early and obvious results are showing up in attitudes. Contestants spoke in positive tones. Their optimism matched the cheerful pitch of brass ensemble heard beyond the lobby weigh-in. This is a program they can maintain. The overall goal of Way to a Better Life, is to help start permanent changes that will continue long after the contest ends. Go to or healthywestjordan. for more information. l

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Page 4 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

Celebrating 40 years of Irish-American heritage in Utah By Joshua Wood |


atching Salt Lake’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is fun for all, regardless if they have Irish blood in them or not. But this year, the March 17 parade is more than just a St. Patrick’s Day celebration for parade viewers. This year’s parade marks the 40th anniversary of the Hibernian (Irish) Society of Utah. The organization was founded in 1978 to promote Irish culture and the contributions that the Irish have made in Utah and the United States. “The name Hibernian comes from ancient Rome,” said outgoing Hibernian Society of Utah President Patrick A. Dougherty. “When the Romans invaded what is now England, they built Hadrian’s Wall to separate their territory from the crazy Celts. They decided not to invade the island to the west that was full of crazy Celts, and they called it Hibernia.” The name was influenced by the Latin word hibernus, essentially naming the island

‘land of winter.’ To preserve and celebrate all things Irish, the Hibernian Society of Utah meets monthly from September through June. They also hold regular informal classes in Irish history, literature, music and culture. Heroes of Irish history and culture are celebrated along with the contributions of everyday Irish-Americans. In a February letter to the Hibernian Society, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski stated, “As the oldest and largest Irish association in the State of Utah, the Hibernian Society continues to enrich the lives of residents and visitors.” Activities celebrating Irish culture can be found throughout the Salt Lake area with the culminating event being the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The Hibernian Society of Utah was founded in 1978 by John Brockert, Emmett Quinn, Michael Rodman, and John Welsh. The four gathered

regularly on 400 South in Salt Lake City for drinks, laughs, and Irish songs. Bemoaning the fact that Salt Lake had no St. Patrick’s Day parade, the four decided to remedy the issue by marching down the nearest street. With the help of two friendly police officers, the four survived the traffic and applied for a permit from the city for a more formal parade the following year. To plan the grand event and to organize fellow Irish-Americans in the community, the Hibernian Society was born. “We continue to build upon the shoulders of our Hibernian Society predecessors,” said Dougherty, West Jordan Resident. The Hibernian Society of Utah invites anyone interested in learning about and celebrating Irish heritage, whether Irish or not themselves, to find events on their website, l

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade marks the 40th anniversary of the Hibernian (Irish) Society of Utah. (Stock Photo)

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April 2018 | Page 5

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She’s proper and popular: say that three times fast By Amy Green |


ne way to get women (and two very supportive men) to fill up an entire conference room, is to invite a proper romance author to bring her newest release. There was no need to put on a corset or traveling gloves to attend—although that sounds downright dashing and proper. Fresh copies of “Ashes on the Moor,” by Sarah M. Eden, were stacked and ready for book-hungry fans at the Viridian Event Center on March 7. The award-winning author came in person to speak and lead a questionnaire. She gave away mint print copies to fans who could remember names and recite details from her stories. Eden is a USA Today Bestseller and a Utah local. Her books might be the ones you do choose by the cover. The wraparound pictures show women of Victorian era, in quiet pose and gem-tone dresses. With a soft matte finish, the books even feel good in your hands. The outside covers are elegant and immediately lead a reader into the story-unfolding experience. The books are available at your local library; in each book, one can find out what Eden’s characters are actually like, on the inside. What is a proper romance? Ilise Levine, of Shadow Mountain Publishing, explained “It’s clean content. It’s suitable for adults and young adults.” Many followers of this genre also refer to proper romance as Christian romance. These books are not necessarily religion focused but reflect Christian values. Eden described to fans her obsession with Greek mythology, stemming from childhood. Many of her novels include characters with legendary god and demigod names. As readers are often in awe of how writers create a smooth waltz of words, Eden helped simplify to the audience saying, “A story is taking something you enjoy and twisting it a little.” She started with her adoring heart

for mythology and made a successful spin of it. Kellie Dickes took a front row seat to hear Eden speak. “Sarah does a beautiful job at weaving the characters together from book to book so you feel a part of each of their lives, stories and family,” Dickes said. “I love seeing how the characters in one story progress into another, all the while seeing new love connections arise. Just as with our own families, you want to see every member find their happiness, especially after trials and struggles. With Sarah’s book, you get that and so much more; you get to continue following them and seeing them with each new book.” During the event, fans posed questions to the author. One asked, “How do you have an idea, then flesh out the story?” Eden gave a tip to aspiring writers with Attendees turn out to listen to author Sarah M. Eden at the Viridian Event Center. (Amy Green/ her answer. “I have a set of 200 questions I ask City Journals) (myself) about a main character, to find out who personality. they are,” she said. Then Eden broke it down further to explain “I am short, red-headed and hyper,” she said. Eden called how she asks 150 questions about supporting characters and 50 herself a “fast talker,” and she definitely was. She gave fans a lot questions about a mentioned character. Who knew numbers could of attention and information in a few hours; she’s a writer who is help create a story with depth and interest? Eden recommended passionate about the work she creates. a book, “The Plot Thickens – 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life,” Eden’s books are both proper and popular. If you asked Eden by Noah Lukeman. “I discovered it at my local library,” she said. to say that three times fast, she would figure out a way. She could “That is a great place to start.” waltz a phrase, twist it, weave it, throw it up to the gods and catch Eden gave out a few laughs, in addition to book prizes and it in a prim reticule—maybe even give it the classical name of a her new release. She revealed to fans some elements of her own nymph. Then, she might say it even faster. l

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Page 6 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

Council fee waiving trend continues—for now


By Travis Barton |

n two separate votes, the West Jordan City Council approved fee waivers for West Jordan Pony Baseball league and the Jordan Education Foundation’s year end event, both held in West Jordan. This continues a trend that saw the council approve (4-3 vote) a fee reduction in January for a historical dance group to use Pioneer Hall at a discounted rate. “This is a big concern to me,” said Councilwoman Kayleen Whitelock, who, less than three months into office, has seen three fee waiver requests come before the council. “It becomes at what point should the citizens at large pay for individual groups? That’s a real struggle for me.” While the margin was razor thin for Pioneer Hall, the two recent fee waivers were unanimous and 6-1 votes, respectively. West Jordan Pony Baseball, a non-profit baseball organization serving 300–400 youth, had its fees of $4,370 waived to use the fields at Veterans Memorial Park from April to June. That was the unanimous vote due its request for service in lieu of fees, where services are offered in place of paying fees. Pony baseball will help with Comcast Cares Day, field cleanup projects, park garbage cleanup and daily field cleanup. The valuation of those in-kind donated hours is $8,500, according to city documents. Councilman Chris McConnehey “wholeheartedly” supported this, saying financially it was a “win for the city.” He added it provides a sense of responsibility to the kids as well. “It teaches a feeling of ownership and pride in the community when they have responsibility to take care of the facilities they’re using,” he said. “I think people will be less

likely to litter when they know they’re going to be taking care of it.” The JEF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting children and their education. Since 2015, it holds a Challenge Obstacle Run at Veterans Memorial Park and the rodeo grounds to raise funds for kids in Jordan School District. More than 1,000 participants are expected at the 2018 event in May. All proceeds go to the foundation’s program that allows teachers to apply for classroom projects. Over $186,000 in grants were awarded to district teachers in 2017, according to city documents. The council approved the organization’s request to waive the fees of $3,338 by a 6-1 vote, but it carried a touch of reluctance. Some council members had concerns regarding the event’s use of city staff, estimated at $1,000, to create the obstacle course. Whitelock said she knows what great work the foundation does but feels they come to West Jordan because fees are waived. “We host because we don’t charge,” she said. While McConnehey preferred the event be sponsored by one of the city’s citizen committees, Councilman Dirk Burton said the event promotes the city giving them “fantastic The West Jordan City Council voted to waive fees for two upcoming uses of city advertisement.” “(The foundation) does a lot of good for our schools, and facilities. (City Journals) particularly they do a lot of work in West Jordan because we have our fair share of Title 1 schools,” Burton said, later adding, Parks and Recreation Director Brian Clegg told the city council “I would love to have it be here every year.” He also pointed out they generally receive 10–12 waiver requests each year for the city doesn’t charge people to attend the annual Easter Egg different events. Though continuously waiving fees may not last, as city leaders are drafting a policy to mitigate the amount hunt or Princess Ball. More requests for discounted fees can be expected in 2018. of fees they waive going forward. l

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WestJordanJournal .com

Understanding elected official compensation in the wake of pay raise controversy


By Justin Adams |

double the median household income of Sandy ($76,807) as well According to Dahle, his main role is acting as a spokesman for as the highest salary of any mayor in the valley, including Salt the city. “We’re a pretty small municipality and it allows for a citizen Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. The resolution passed by the Sandy City Council set a mayor where their primary function isn’t to be employed by the minimum mayoral salary of $119,000 and a maximum of city. It’s more of a service,” said Dahle. “These small cities don’t $144,000. Those figures were recommended to the council by really justify a full-time mayor so that allows any citizen to be Mike Applegarth, the council office’s director, who said that the able to throw their hat in the ring to run for mayor.” Dahle said that transparency is the key to avoiding mayor’s compensation should be based on “similarly situated cities” such as Provo or Ogden. In 2017, the mayors of those controversies similar to what happened in Sandy. “Whatever cities received salaries of $109,500 and $128,699 respectively, you do, you make sure it’s a public process. The mayor should according to information from the state of Utah’s public finance not have unilateral authority to set his own pay. That’s just bad policy,” he said. website, When it comes to the compensation of city council members, While the mayor’s new salary of $119,000 is more on par with some of the larger cities along the Wasatch Front, it is still there isn’t much of a difference between cities of different forms near the top of what a municipal mayor can make in the state of of government. Instead, the principle determinant seems to be population. The highest-paid city councils belong to the cities Utah. Of the 15 cities considered for this article (13 Salt Lake with the most people such as Salt Lake City, Sandy and Provo. County municipalities plus Ogden and Provo) there is a wide The average salary for a city councilor ranges from around range in the amount of money that a mayor is paid. In fact, Salt $10,000 on the low end (Herriman) to over $40,000 on the high Lake City Mayor Biskupski made almost 10 times as much end (Salt Lake City). Residents who want to know more about how government money in 2017 ($149,220) as the lowest-paid mayor last year, entities spend taxpayer money, including employee compensation, former Riverton Mayor William Applegarth ($15,521). Of course, Salt Lake City and Riverton are two completely can access that information through various online resources different cities in a variety of ways. First, Salt Lake City has more such as and As for Bradburn, he’s working to regain the trust of Sandy than four times the number of residents as Riverton. Secondly, one city’s budget is much larger than the others. Last year, the residents who felt betrayed by his actions, saying on a Facebook city of Riverton’s expenses totaled about $30 million, according post, “I always said when I was campaigning that I was going to to the city’s 2017 financial report. Salt Lake City meanwhile, had make mistakes, but I would always own up to them and fix them a budget of over a billion dollars. But the most critical difference when I did. Hope you can still support me as I try to do the best I between the two cities, at least when it comes to determining can while I have the privilege of serving you.” l mayoral compensation, is form of government. Utah state code specifies a few different forms of municipal government and the roles and responsibilities of the mayor vary greatly from one to another. The form of government in which the mayor has the most power and responsibilities is the council-mayor form of government. The cities of Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, Sandy, Murray, South Salt Lake, and Taylorsville fall under this category. Because this form of government places more responsibility on the mayor, the position is well-compensated. “In our form of government, the mayor position is a fulltime position,” said Cherie Wood, the mayor of South Salt Lake. “I’m charged with running the city and we have a multimillion dollar budget and we have 300 plus employees.” Without an above-average salary, Wood said that the position would not attract candidates who are qualified to manage such a large organization. Another problem, according to Mike Applegarth, is that an extremely low salary might exclude all but the “independently wealthy” from running for office. In contrast, there are the five-member and six-member council forms of government. Under these forms, the mayor’s principal responsibility is to be the chair of and preside over the city council. The responsibility for the daily administration of the city instead lies with a City Manager. With the decreased responsibility comes a smaller paycheck; in some cities, the mayor even makes less than the city councilors. Holladay, Draper, Midvale, South Jordan, Cottonwood Heights, Herriman, and Riverton fall under these forms of government. “You don’t do it for the money, that’s for sure,” said The salaries of most of the mayors within Salt Lake County. There is a clear distinction in pay between mayors in cities with a council-manager form of Rob Dahle who is currently the mayor of Holladay, one of the The average salaries of city council members in most cities within Salt Lake government and mayors in cities with a council-mayor form of government. municipalities with a council-manager form of government. County.

witch hunt.” “A failure on many levels.” “An unfortunate situation.” Those are the terms used to describe a controversy that came to a conclusion at a Sandy City Council meeting on Feb. 27. A few weeks prior, KUTV reported that Sandy’s recently-elected mayor, Kurt Bradburn, had given himself a $15,000 raise during his first month in office. The news resulted in a firestorm of social media backlash— KUTV’s post on Facebook garnered 72 (mostly) angry comments—resulting in an announcement by Bradburn that he would take a pay cut instead. The city of Sandy appeared ready to move past the controversy at the Feb. 27 council meeting. Most of the residents who spoke as well as the city council expressed continued trust in the mayor. The city council also passed a resolution that codified mayoral compensation, meaning that the Sandy mayor will no longer be responsible for setting his or her own salary. The resolution also included an increased commitment to transparency. As suggested by Councilman Zach Robinson, the city will begin disclosing both the mayor’s and the city councilors’ salaries in the city’s budget. “If we’re going to publish the mayoral ranges, I’d recommend that we publish the council ranges as well. I feel that would be an open and transparent communication from us to our citizens,” said Robinson. Part of the reason for the public outcry about the mayor’s self-appointed raise is a lack of public understanding about how local elected officials are compensated. In response to a query on social media concerning this subject, respondents who live along the Wasatch Front said by and large that they weren’t quite sure how much their mayor was paid, but guessed anywhere in a range from $10,000 to $50,000. While some mayors’ paychecks do fall within this range, there are many others who are paid two or three times that amount. According to the report by KUTV, Bradburn’s initial salary when he took office was $147,000, meaning the raise would have brought him up to $162,000. That would have been more than

Not Just News... Your Community News...

Page 8 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

Continued from front cover...

jumped on board pretty quickly. So many people have been touched by his gifts. They were excited to be a part of it.” The producers of “Returning The Favor” first learned of Thacker’s 17-year toy car-making effort from another West Jordan City employee. “My co-worker (West Jordan City Contracts Administrator) Maureen Casper had seen previous episodes of the show and thought Alton and his foundation would be perfect for it,” Wells said. On the “Returning The Favor” Facebook page, show producers ask viewers to “follow host Mike Rowe as he travels the country in search of remarkable people making a difference in their communities. Returning The Favor gives back to those who pay it forward with humor, heart and surprise. Because one good turn deserves another.” Wells said Casper contacted the show; the producers coordinated with Alton’s granddaughter, Emily; she told them about his love of ATVs and parades; and the program coordinators asked for city leaders’ help to pull the event together. “For only having a few days’ notice to put it together, I was happy with how the parade turned out,” Wells said. “We had representatives from West Jordan and Copper Hills high schools, Columbia and Terra Linda elementary schools. Miss Utah and the Jazz Bear were there. Our police led the parade, and one of our fire trucks was in it.”

As the guest of honor, Thacker sat in a wood-carved, “king-style” throne, provided by former West Jordan Councilman and Mayor Dave Newton. “That was appropriate,” Wells added. “Because, when Alton first moved to West Jordan (from Sandy) to make toys, he built the cars in Dave’s garage.” Thacker’s car-making numbers were humble those first few years after he began toymaking in 2002. But over the years, he has picked up more woodworking equipment and moved into a larger space. Now his numbers are staggering. “In 2016, we built 85,000 toy cars, and I wasn’t sure we’d ever be able to match it,” Thacker said. “Then when we finally added up all of the cars we made last year (2017); the number jumped to 98,000.” And still, Alton has never sold a single one. “We only give them away,” he said. That’s the giving spirit “Returning The Favor” wanted to share with its audience. In addition to telling Alton’s story, show producers also donated $10,000 to the “Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids.” And they gave Thacker his own toy, an all-terrain vehicle. “A few years ago, we built five oversized models of our toy cars, large enough for a kid to ride in it at parades,” Thacker said. “But we have always had to borrow an ATV to pull them. Now that I have my own ATV, I can’t wait for the next parade. And I know it will be much warmer than the one in December was.” After taping everything before Christmas,

West Jordan residents find lots of ways to show toymaker Alton Thacker their appreciation for the toy cars his foundation makes and gives away. (Kim Wells/West Jordan City)

the “Returning The Favor” crew needed a couple of months to edit the show. That’s why its Facebook debut wasn’t until March. You can watch the program at In the meantime, Thacker and his team of mostly senior citizen toymaking volunteers already have its next big goal. “When I counted up the 98,000 toy cars we made (in 2017), I also realized we were only

about 52,000 short of a million cars built since we first started,” Thacker said. “So, sometime this summer we’ll make that millionth one. I haven’t figured out yet what we might do to make it a special one.” The “Returning The Favor” team, along with Thacker’s thousands of Utah supporters and the hundreds of thousands of kids who now have one of his wooden cars might say Alton is actually the “special one.” l

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Page 10 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

Principal of the year: principles of success


ive years ago, Principal Dixie Garrison came to West Jordan Middle to find a struggling school. Now, she has been recognized as Utah Principal of the Year of a thriving school. To change the culture of the school, she has initiated a growth mindset, provided leadership opportunities, encouraged mindfulness, improved grading systems, partnered with the community and loved the students. Growth Mindset “We determined that it was limiting beliefs among teachers and students that had perpetuated a culture of failure that was previously accepted by the students, teachers and community,” said Garrison. Starting at the top with teachers, she implemented a growth mindset initiative, training teachers to look at their students in a new way. “Students will respond to your expectations, and they will perform to the mark you set for them,” said Garrison. “If you have a fixed mindset about them, that’s where they’ll stay.” Teachers began to believe in the students’ potential. Students started to believe they could do better and that their teachers truly cared about them. “Teachers catch the vision of what that could do for our students, and they all start giving more,” Garrison said. Vice Principal Eric Price said teachers and even aides volunteer their time after school, building relationships with their students. They teach dance classes, host chess club and STEM activities, and coach sports clubs. They are open to trying new programs. “If it’s going to help a kid, we’re going to try to do it,” said Price. Leadership The after-school clubs include leadership groups such as Latino in Action, Student Ambassadors (an anti-bullying group) and Poly Crew. “We have multiplied the opportunities for students to serve in leadership capacities and find their niche,” Garrison said. Teachers are also getting more opportunities to cultivate their leadership skills. Love Garrison supports her teachers 100 percent. She knows most chose to become teachers because they wanted to make a difference. “This is a school where they can fulfill that passion,” she said. “They’re not just punching a clock. It’s not just about the love of the subject. It’s about the love of the student, which is what really drives teachers to go into the profession in the first place.” Garrison said it’s not uncommon to hear a

By Jet Burnham |

teacher dismiss the class with an “I love you.” “We tell our kids every day on the announcements that we love them and care about them,” Price said. “That’s our mentality.” He said when a student is suspended, he and the student’s teachers will visit them in their home to help get them get ready to go back to school. Mindfulness It’s important for students to know their teachers care about them when they are experiencing difficult circumstances at home. Garrison said students dealing with stress or anxiety Dixie Garrison, Utah’s Principal of the Year. (Jet Burnham\City Journals) are not in a learning state. With the help of school the dime and get the students and teachers psychologist Olin Levitt, Garrison initiated a schoolwide mindfulness the resources they need.” program. Each day begins with a daily mindful- Great School Faculty members say WJMS is unique. ness exercise during morning announce“I’ve been in some great schools, but ments. Teachers have adopted mindful practices into the classroom with brain breaks, I’ve never seen any school like this school breathing exercises, stretching and reflec- in terms of the love and care and the effort and dedication to the kids,” Levitt said. He tive exercises. “We’re reprogramming the students to said this kind of culture can only be generathelp them get into a mindset where they can ed from the top down. “Dixie sets the standard as the leader,” learn,” said Garrison. he said. “She’s got the vision, she’s got the energy, she’s got the love.” Grading Levitt said he would not be the person To better measure student’s academic progress, Garrison has implemented a Grad- or the psychologist that he is today without ing Standards Reference Grading system at her amazing support. Like her father, who served as principal WJMS. Instead of a points system generating a letter grade, students receive a level of of WJMS in the 1980s, Garrison loves her job. proficiency for each topic within a subject. “Every time I turn around, there’s some“It shifts the focus over to learning raththing phenomenal happening; I can barely er than the grade,” Garrison said. The change has had a huge affect on re- keep up,” she said. Phenomenal things such luctant learners. Five years ago, 30 percent WJMS students winning state leadership of WJMS students were failing one or more awards, placing in 22 of the 24 spots of the classes. The first quarter of this school year, District Science Fair winners, its “We the People” team taking second place in State that number was down to 2 percent. and teacher Jorge Ibanez being recognized as a Jordan Credit Union Project 100 winBudget WJMS has partnerships with the Ron ner—and that’s just in one month. Garrison believes the Principal of the McBride Foundation and University of Utah Health & Nutrition Department. Gar- Year Award is not just about her. “It’s really a recognition for WJMS,” rison is always looking for programs, grants she said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I and partnerships to enrich student learning. She supports teachers or students who have do at most other schools in the district. This school is where you can truly make a difideas for improvement. “If there’s something that could make a ference.” She is proud to put her school up against difference and make an impact on learning, you’ve got to say yes to those big purchas- the 49 other schools now in the running for es,” she said. “I spend down my budgets to the National Principal of the Year Award. l

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Page 12 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

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By Jet Burnham |

ispanic students make up about 30 percent of the student body at both Joel P Jensen Middle and West Jordan Middle schools, 21 percent at Copper Hills High School and a similar percentage at West Jordan High School. The Third Annual Noche Latina brought students from these schools together with their families to celebrate their culture and to strengthen their relationships with their schools. “We have such a large Hispanic population at our school, so we want to reach out to them and reach out to their parents,” said WJMS Vice Principal Eric Price. Jorge Chauca, the WJMS teacher who organized the event, said the evening event was also a way to inform Hispanic and Latino parents about resources and programs available to them and their children. “There are plenty of resources for parents to help their families here in Utah,” said Chauca. “This can be used to ultimately build a great support system and build strong successful communities for our families and students.” The keynote speaker at the event was Mexican Consul Jose V. Borjon. Speaking to the theme “Education is the Key to Success,” he encouraged students to value their opportunities for learning. He advised them that they would be more successful if they were actively involved in their own education. He also encouraged them to be respectful to others and to be good citizens. Borjon informed the families about resources available at the consulate. Families can receive support with the immigration process, social issues and even attend parenting classes there. Mark Jones, a counselor at WJMS, highlighted additional resources available through Jordan District. Jordan District hosts many events for community members; 250 students received free eye exams and glasses at last month’s Sight Fest, and parents

Ballet Folklorico Las Americas entertained families at community cultural event (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

received training on how to protect their children during an internet safety night class. The next community event, on April 30, will be a resource fair where representatives from all the District programs will be available in one place, the Auxiliary Service Building at 7509 South Redwood Road. These resources include South Pointe adult school where adults can earn their GED, and the Jordan Family Education Center that provides free classes and counseling for individuals and families. Jones encouraged parents to attend the public hearings held by the district twice a year to discuss district policies. “As parents in the community, you can have your voice be heard about some of the issues here at the school and in Jordan District,” said Jones. Jones also promoted the school’s resources, such as their well-stocked Principal’s Pantry. “We have food here at the school that is available for students who may not have food at home for breakfast or may need extra food for the weekend,” said Jones. Parents were also reminded about the after school programs WJMS provides. Monday through Friday, students can participate in activities such as computer programming,

robotics, chess, soccer, basketball and dance. Students showcased some of the Latin-dancing they learned in their after-school class, as Latinos in Action groups from the four West Jordan schools performed dances for the audience. JPJMS’ LIA showcased a variety of music styles in their performance while the LIA from West Jordan choreographed their dance with a mix of bachata, cumbia and merengue. Professional dancers from Ballet Folklorico Las Americas also performed. Both the dancers and the audience were enthusiastic about the music and dance, representing various countries. “We need this kind of activity to celebrate diversity in our community,” said Jorge Ibanez, another event organizer from WJMS. Latino students and teachers also shared poetry they wrote . Poems expressed feelings about being bilingual, following dreams, cultural pride, food, the Border, playing sports, being an individual and nefarious cows who dominate the world. “It allowed our students to have a stage and use their voice and talents to share their culture at the school,” said Chauca. l

April 2018 | Page 13

WestJordanJournal .com

Mindful of mental health


ike an island in the middle of the school, the ”Green Room” provides students with calming music, dimmed lighting, a comfortable couch and sometimes a much-needed nap. “No other school has a green room—a room that is completely different than any other place in the building, where kids can completely get out of the stream—the noise, crowd and commotion, and enter a sanctuary,” said Olin Levitt. That’s because no other school has Levitt, who was recently recognized as Utah’s School Psychologist of the Year. Levitt helps students to develop better social and communication skills, how to work through problems and to be more resilient. He said kids are turning to technology to escape; they play video games or scroll through Instagram. “They’re not learning how to deal with reality very well,” he said. Levitt teaches the concept of mindfulness to help students. “One of the key elements of mindfulness is to be working with what’s real and what’s happening right now and right here,” said Levitt. Daily morning announcements at West Jordan Middle School include a “mindful moment” in which Levitt guides the whole school—students and faculty—through breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques. Principal Dixie Garrison believes this is helpful for students who may be coming from a stressful home environment where many deal with trauma. “We’re reprogramming the students to help them get into a mindset where they can learn,” said Garrison. Garrison is 100 percent supportive of Levitt’s programs. She invited Celebrity Wellness Expert Rebecca Kordecki to train students and teachers in effective breathwork for mindfulness. Levitt said the mindfulness movement is growing because of the benefits. “Studies show if you practice mindfulness regularly, it actually can change the structure and function of the brain,” Levitt said. Harvard studies show a daily meditation practice will increase neural capacity in the prefrontal cortex, which mediates compassion, thinking before you act, attention and concentration, said Levitt. The areas of the brain that mediate stress actually shrink. Levitt also believes in the benefits of yoga, which he has practiced for 50 years. He holds yoga sessions with students during PRIDE Time and with teachers after school. Levitt also invites students to participate in weekly support groups that address family

By Jet Burnham |

Olin Levitt, Utah School Psychologist of the Year. (Jet Burnham\City Journals)

issues, stress, anger, anxiety and depression. He believes it helps kids to know they are not alone in their struggles and that it’s OK to talk about them. He said research shows 10 percent of middle school students experience suicidal thoughts. “That means on any given day, I’ve got about 85 kids in the building that are having thoughts like that,” he said. That’s a big responsibility, but Levitt said WJMS administration and teachers are extremely supportive of his programs. They are included in the training before the techniques are introduced to the students. “Our teachers are not just looking at the kids academically,” said Levitt. “They’re looking at their mental health, physical health, social health—they’re looking to how they can help the kids in any way they can.” Levitt said teachers are accommodating of him pulling kids out of their classrooms for support groups. “If a kid’s depressed, suicidal, cutting, hanging by a thread, these teachers are not

going say no, not here at this school,” he said. Levitt said WJMS is a unique school where teachers and administration love the students. This culture reflects his belief about seeing the potential in all students. “My philosophy is that every kid here is already complete and whole, but they may not be able to access those parts of themselves,” said Levitt. He provides tools to students to access the love and the good choices that are already inside them. “Even the kids you think are the ‘bad kids,’ when you spend any time with them, you realize they are amazing,” said Levitt. “I think people just have good stuff in them; I think we’re designed that way. The work that I do helps them realize that a little better and helps them access that a little better.” Levitt has been working as a school psychologist for 27 years. In addition to the programs at WJMS, Levitt is also an instructor at Centered City Yoga studio and teaches classes at the Jordan Family Education Center. l

Not Just News... Your Community News...

Page 14 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

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APRIL 2018

Paid for by the City of West Jordan

Two West Jordan Firefighters earn ‘Managing Officer’ Designation Two West Jordan firefighters have joined a small group of professionals who have successfully completed the National Fire Academy’s Managing Officer program. Capt. Kris Maxfield and Firefighter/Paramedic Travis Ball were recognized during a City Council meeting for completing the Managing Officer program’s multiyear curriculum that builds on foundational management and technical competencies. “It also connects up-and-coming emergency services leaders to professional skills in management, risk reduction and adaptive leadership,” said Interim Chief Clint Petersen.

Interim Chief Clint Petersen recognizes Capt. Kris Maxfield (left) and Firefighter/ Paramedic Travis Ball (right) for successfully completing the National Fire Academy’s Managing Officer program.

Those selected to participate spend a total of four weeks attending classes at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland and are also required to find and attend prerequisite classes throughout Utah and surrounding states. In total, the program takes over two years to complete. “Both Travis and Kris were selected to participate in the charter presentation of this program. With the completion of their capstone projects last fall, they are now some of the first in the country to graduate to the level of Designated Managing Officers,” said Petersen. Currently six additional West Jordan firefighters are participating in the program. “We are very proud and excited to watch them learn and grow into even more effective servants of this community,” said Petersen. “Kris and Travis, congratulations on your hard work and dedication not only to improving yourselves but also improving the future of the West Jordan Fire Department.”

M AY O R ’ S M E S S A G E

Springtime projects, city-wide cleanup and a welcome addition I recently spent a great Saturday morning at the city’s Easter Egg Hunt. I was amazed to witness 25,000 eggs disappear in a matter of minutes as hundreds of children raced to fill their baskets. Spring is definitely here! For many, springtime means spring cleaning and spring projects. And it’s no different for the city. The Parks Department is busy gearing up for the busiest time of year with all the parks city-wide officially scheduled to open April 2. The annual I Love West Jordan Day will be known as Comcast Cares Day this year in honor of our sponsor. Comcast has pledged to donate money for every volunteer – young and old – who participates in the city cleanup and beautification day on April 21. We have tree planting and park cleanup projects you can participate in or you can organize your own project to beautify your neighborhood. The city has a limited supply of dumpsters and large trash bags they can provide if you email and provide the details of your beautification project. Green waste collection resumes April 2. Please help us extend the life of the landfill by recycling your yard clipping. Simply put green waste in the green can and put it curbside on your regular trash collection day. This program runs through the end of November. To help keep our community clean and green, the city has free dumpsters available to help with your spring cleaning. You can schedule a dumpster for regular trash every 60 days or green waste dumpster as often as needed. As you can imagine, these are very popular programs so plan ahead and find out more by visiting the city website at or email We also have some exciting news from our economic development team. We are excited to welcome Aligned Energy, a leading data center provider, to our city. Aligned purchased the Fairchild Semiconductor building located at 3333 West 9000 South on March 5. They are renovating the 300,000 square-foot facility and when complete this summer, the building will serve as a colocation data center supporting both cloud providers and enterprise customers. We hope to have more news to share soon on specific tenants that will be part of this center. As always, you can stop by City Hall every Thursday from 3-5 p.m. to “Meet the Mayor” and share your thoughts and concerns. Or email me at

Meet the Mayor Every Thursday* from 3 - 5 p.m. residents can stop by the Mayor’s office on the 3rd floor in City Hall and visit with the Mayor on any issue, question or concern. Please stop by and share your concerns and vision for our city. For those who are unable to visit during this time, appointments can be made by contacting our main administration office at 801-569-5100. *Occasionally Mayor Riding will have commitments that require him to be away from the office on Thursdays. On these days, a city council member or someone from the mayor’s staff will be available.


Construction Update Orange barrels are popping up, which means that construction season is upon us. These projects are necessary to keep the different utilities and roadways in good condition. Many of these projects are summarized on the city’s website at WestJordan.Utah.Gov on the “Construction” page that can be accessed from the homepage. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the major projects scheduled for 2018: 7000 SOUTH CONSTRUCTION – REDWOOD ROAD TO 1985 WEST Over the past two years, the City of West Jordan has been working to replace old water, sewer and storm drain pipes from the Jordan River to 3200 West. This project replaces some of the oldest pipes in the city and is one of the largest projects we’ve ever done. These utilities have reached the end of their life expectancy and it is safer to replace them rather than to wait for them to break and cause an accident or an unsafe sewer backup. Much of the project is complete, with construction on the final section from about Redwood Road to 1985 West starting this spring. During construction, portions of 7000 South will be reduced to one lane in each direction. Heavy delays and congestion can be expected. Drivers should use alternate routes including 7800 South, 9000 South, and 6200 South to detour around the construction zone. PUNCH LIST ITEMS Knife River Contractors spent much of last year working to replace utilities from 1985 West to just west of the Utah and Salt Lake Canal near 3100 West. Unfortunately, this work was not complete until December and the dip in temperatures did not allow them to finish punch list items such as raising manhole lids and water valves, milling the roadway surface to improve the ride quality, repairing broken concrete, and finishing landscaping repairs in the front yards of residents. The Contractor plans to return soon to complete these repairs. It will likely take up to a month to complete the punch list items. During this time, some lane and shoulder closures will occur. We encourage you to opt in for email updates so you can stay informed by emailing or calling the project hotline at 801-569-5101. 5600 WEST PROJECT UPDATE Construction is scheduled to begin in late April (weather permitting) and last about four months to widen 5600 West between 7800 South and 8200 South. A project open house is scheduled for Thursday, April 12, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Ascent Academy (5662 West 8200 South) where you can come learn more about the construction. We will also be streaming it on the West Jordan City Hall Facebook page and be taking questions via Facebook Live. The widening will include: • • • • • •

New signal at 8200 South Improvements to old pavement New sidewalk Improved drainage facilities Bicycle lanes New lighting and privacy wall where none exist

Sign up for project updates by mailing or calling the project hotline at 888-966-6624, ext 5.

BANGERTER INTERCHANGES 7000 SOUTH 7000 South at Bangerter Highway is closed through early May. (Schedule is weather-dependent and subject to change) • East and west through traffic and left turns are closed at 7000 South and Bangerter Highway. • Northbound and southbound Bangerter Highway and right turns at 7000 South and Bangerter Highway will remain open. Construction activities during the closure include: • Update storm drain, water and sewer lines • Connect utilities • Replace and relocate sidewalk, curb and gutter • Install new signalized intersection • Reconstruct the 7000 South roadway beneath Bangerter Highway Updated information, detour and alternate routes can be found on the project website at 9000 SOUTH Crews and equipment will work day and night (weather permitting) to complete the construction of the new overpass bridge deck. Construction of the overpass retaining walls, including foundations and concrete wall panels is nearly complete. Crews will continue to build the overpass bridge approaches, which includes transporting and compacting large volumes of soil and fill material. Paving operations will begin mid-April. Contact the project public information team by calling the hotline at 888-766ROAD (7623) or emailing or visit for the latest updates.

Online Bill Pay Did you know you can pay your city utility bill online? You can set up one-time payments from your checking account, credit or debit card. You can also set up auto pay to automatically notify you and deduct your payment each month. To enroll, have your utility bill handy and visit WestJordan.Utah. gov, click the e-services tab and follow the enrollment instructions.


Green Waste Collection GREEN WASTE COLLECTION BEGINS ON YOUR REGULAR PICK UP DAY THE WEEK OF APRIL 2 West Jordan’s popular green waste collection begins the week of April 2. Green waste containers are collected once a week on a seasonal basis on your normal collection day. The program begins the first Monday in April and ends with the last Friday in November. Place only yard clippings in the green waste can. The program is run in partnership with Trans-Jordan Landfill. The green waste is turned into compost that is then sold to the public. The compost is made from yard clippings like grass, leaves, ground wood and organic material. (There is no dirt, manure or bio solids in the compost.) The mixture is then composted for several months until it is ready for sale. The Landfill also sells a variety of screen woodchips perfect for landscaping and curb appeal.

KEEP IT CLEAN • DO NOT bag any items. • Please DO NOT put dirt, sod, cardboard, garbage, debris, concrete, rocks or plastic bags in the container. • All materials should fall freely from the container when dumped. • Please do not overload. Lid of the container must close completely and branches should not stick out of the container. • Place container curbside by 6:30 a.m. on your scheduled collection day during green waste season. • More information at or email

Join Our Team Are you or someone you know job hunting? Make sure to check out the employment opportunities here at the City of West Jordan. There are currently a variety of positions open, including community services manager, administrative service manager, police officer I, seasonal parks laborer, senior engineer, administrative assistant, real property administrator, development coordinator, crossing guard and more. View job descriptions, and submit an application and resume at WestJordan.Utah.Gov.















City Hall 8000 S. Redwood Rd. 6 p.m.

City Hall Council Chambers 8000 S. Redwood Rd. 6 p.m.








West Jordan Youth Theatre presents PETER PAN


City Hall 8000 S. Redwood Rd. 6 p.m.

Joel P. Jensen Middle School, 8105 South 3200 West Thurs-Sat & Mon 7 p.m. April 21 matinee 2 p.m.

West Jordan High School 8136 S 2700 West 6 p.m.







City Hall Council Chambers 8000 S. Redwood Rd. 6 p.m.

City Hall 8000 S. Redwood Rd. 6 p.m.



Ron Wood Baseball Complex 5900 W New Bingham Hwy. 8 a.m.


Pioneer Hall, 1137 W 7800 So Thurs-Sat & Mon 7:30 p.m., April 14 matinee 2 p.m.




The City of West Jordan 8000 S. Redwood Rd., West Jordan, UT 84088 Join the conversation! Follow (801) 569-5100 West Jordan – City Hall.

West Jordan Police Dept. 8040 S. Redwood Rd. West Jordan, Utah 84088 801-256-2000 801-840-4000 Dispatch

April 2018 | Page 19

WestJordanJournal .com

Changing lives one person at a time By Jet Burnham |


opper Hills High School Principal Todd Quarnberg said his No. 1 concern in education is suicide prevention and mental illness awareness. He knows many students are dealing with depression, loss and suicide in addition to worrying about grades and preparing for college. “It’s unending,” he said. “For a counselor to be able to manage all that’s going on, it takes an exceptional counselor to do that. Stacee is the definition of exemplary.” And for her exemplary work, Stacee Worthen has been nominated for a Life Changer of the Year Award. “You can see the breadth of what she does here—everything from suicide and mental illness to getting kids into college,” said Quarnberg. “She’s been able to think outside the box in the way she counsels.” One unique way Worthen reaches students is through vlogs. To compete for attention with the students’ phones, she decided to create video blogs that students can access anytime, anywhere. The series of vlogs addresses topics such as managing anxiety and stress, suicide

awareness and how to access counseling center resources. “When I can’t meet with student, they have the option to watch the vlog,” Worthen said. She also uses the vlog to promote pillar values such as being a good person and being aware, respectful and grateful. These ideas are from a book, “Red Shoe Living,” by Lonnie Mayne. Worthen invited the author to speak to the student body and has worked to incorporate these ideas and attitudes into the Copper Hills culture. Worthen believes it’s her job to help students to see how incredible they are. “It’s really an amazing journey to help guide them and advocate for them,” said Worthen. “Every person has an individuality that makes them unique and special.” She encourages teens to learn from their mistakes and take ownership in their lives. Worthen brought the HOPE Squad to CHHS this year so students could address the issue of suicide prevention. “HOPE Squad is a way to empower

Stacee Worthen is changing lives of students, colleagues and neighbors. (CHTV News)

students to create a community of teenagers who could provide support, friendship and leadership to their own peers,” Worthen said. “They are capable of creating something that is their own, that is unique, that is going to make a difference around them.” HOPE Squad members identify and reach out to students who need help, encouraging them to talk with a trained teacher or counselor. Worthen said the 60 Squad members can keep an eye on more kids than just eight counselors can. Quarnberg said students often will share their suicidal thoughts with a friend but ask them to not tell anyone. “We’re training students to be proactive,” he said. “I think we’re changing the culture with students where they will tell someone.” The HOPE Squad is inviting the community to participate in its Walk for Hope, which will start at 10 a.m. on April 28. “It will bring a better awareness of suicide prevention and community resources and allow our community to really come together to help these kids who are struggling,” said Worthen. “We want to create a community of businesses and partnerships and resources for parents to be able to draw on.” Worthen believes everyone benefits from a supportive community. She lives just five minutes away from the school, so her students and their families are her neighbors. “Her day is never done,” said Quarnberg. “She really can’t go home from her work; her work goes with her.” Worthen said she loves to talk with students when she sees them at the grocery store or in restaurants; she truly cares about them. Jennifer Ward, a teacher at CHHS, said Worthen cares enough to make time for everyone, whether it is a neighbor, a student or a co-worker. “Stacee has made a personal difference in my own children’s lives as well as the lives of other students here at the school,” she said. “She is sympathetic to their needs without making them feel different or making it seem like she is pitying them.” Ward, who lost her husband two years ago,


said Worthen regularly checks on her and her kids. “She will often just drop by my room with a treat and ask how my day is going,” said Ward. “Sometimes she notices I am tired, and she has a stash of diet coke, and she will send one down to my room. She does this for lots of teachers just to pick them up or make them feel special. She really is changing lives one at a time.” Finalists for the Life Changer of the Year will be chosen this spring. Community members can show their support for Worthen by adding their comments of praise to the many already found at l

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Page 20 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

West Jordan teen receives national 4-H award and scholarship By Jennifer Gardiner |


he National 4-H Council recently announced a Utah teen as the winner of the 2018 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Award for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Cassandra Ivie, 17, of West Jordan was recognized nationally for her work as youth advocate and organizer for STEM education. Ivie is a Utah 4-H State Ambassador and is the founder and creator of Incredible Machine, a curriculum that uses supplies to teach engineering, chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering to 4-H students in her community. “It has been a privilege to lead these activities with local students to show them that STEM is accessible for everyone and that it is also a lot of fun,” said Ivie. “4-H is family, a family filled with people who are passionate and determined to make a significant difference in society. STEM teaches critical thinking. I’m excited when I see girls in STEM because both genders in the field helps to produce more creativity.” Ivie will receive a $5,000 scholarship and will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for 4-H STEM programming. She was officially recognized as the 2018 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Winner for STEM, sponsored

by HughesNet, at the 4-H Legacy Awards in Washington, D.C. on March 20. Ivie joined 4-H in kindergarten as a Clover Bud. As the middle child of six children, Ivie joined with an interest in photography and soon developed a love for robotics. Her family saw the benefit of 4-H and started a club with nearly 15 students. Not only is Ivie a state ambassador, she also works as an after-school club leader and serves as a County Teen Council president. “Cassey has made a large impact on local and state 4-H programs,” said Vernon Parent, Utah 4-H agent. “She is an amazing youth leader that has learned how to balance creativity, hard work and leadership.” Ivie is joined by three other 2018 Youth in Action Pillar Winners, Serena Woodard of Oklahoma who was named the Agriculture Pillar Winner; Sophia Rodriguez of Georgia, named the Healthy Living Pillar Winner; and Kyra-Lee Harry of New York who received the Citizenship Pillar Award. “Cassandra’s creativity, innovative spirit and dedication to serving others have inspired an entire community and helped spark student’s interest in STEM,” said Peter Gulla, senior vice president at Hughes Network. “We look forward to seeing how she continues to inspire the next

Cassandra Ivie (center in blue) received a $5,000 scholarship and was recognized nationally by the 4-H Council for her work as a youth advocate and organizer for STEM education. (Photo Melanie Louviere)

generation of leaders across the country as this year’s STEM ambassador.” The 4-H Youth in Action Awards, sponsored in part by HughesNet, began in 2010 to recognize 4-H’ers who have overcome challenges and used the knowledge they


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April 2018 | Page 21

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Grizzlies win state hockey title By Greg James |

The celebration begins after the Grizzlies defeated Bingham for the division 2 state hockey championship. (Greg James/City Journals)


he pressure of an undefeated season weighed on the minds of the Copper Hills hockey team as they entered their state championship game, but they overcame their internal stress to capture the victory. “It feels pretty awesome to be a senior and go out on top,” forward Kyle Van Leeuwen said. “We felt confident going in (before the game.) We knew Bingham would give us a good fight. We battled really hard and came out with the win.” The Grizzlies faced Bingham in the finals contest. Their 9-6 victory was their second in the playoffs over Bingham. They finished the regular season 14-0-1. The championship game see-sawed back in forth the first two periods. Bingham scored the initial goal of the game, but Van Leeuwen chipped in a shot just 30 seconds later to tie it at one. The game continued with each team leading for short periods of time only to give up the tying goal seconds later. After two periods the Grizzlies held on to a narrow 6-5 lead. “They deserve it, this is a great bunch of kids and they worked

hard all season,” first year Grizzly head coach Dave Pitcher said. “I knew it would be a tough game. In the second intermission we talked about our systems and playing our game.” The Grizzlies Tanner Walker finished with three goals, Van Leeuwen had two and Donhnavon Jacobson scored two more. The Grizzlies finished the 2017-18 campaign undefeated. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect season was a 5-5 tie against Bingham Oct.11. “Bingham is a great team. I was nervous coming into this game. They are well coached and I knew we would have a tough game against them,” Pitcher said. “We started our season last May and played summer league and worked on skills and conditioning. We had a great season. They are a great bunch of kids.” Jacobson led the team in goals scored this season netting 29 and had 23 assists. Kasten Jones had 25 goals and Van Leeuwen 23. Mason Walsh captured 12 victories as the team’s leading goalie. Alexander Plett relieved him in the third period of the championship game to help the Grizzlies win the state championship game.

“When I entered the game,” Plett said. “I thought ‘I just don’t want to let down my team,’ now it feels great to be state champs.” Bingham pulled their goalie and earned a two-man advantage near the end of regulation, but the Grizzlies were able to maintain their lead. “I am glad we were able to gain control at the end and ice that puck at the end of the game to earn the win,” Pitcher said. “I would like to see high school hockey grow in popularity. I think for it to we need teams like the University of Utah and the Las Vegas Knights to keep growing. We had our ups and downs and the pressure to stay undefeated was difficult, but they weathered the storm and had a great season.” The Grizzlies won their state title just two days after the United States women’s team won the gold medal at the PyeongChang, South Korea Winter Olympics. Cierra Frandsen, Emily Hilman and Jordyn Baker were the only three girls on the Grizzlies team with 17 boys. l

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West Jordan City Journal

Jaguar wrestlers place at state By Greg James |

Copper Hills lines up for a face off in its 9-6 state title victory. (Greg James/City Journals)


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est Jordan High school’s wrestling team had two team members place in the recent state championships. At the UHSAA state championships, Feb. 7–8, held at Utah Valley University, Jeff Rogers placed fourth in the 113-pound weight class, and Zach Obray finished fifth in the 170-pound division. “Jeff is a very aggressive wrestler,” said head coach Zan Elder. “He has progressed each year and has been one of the top wrestlers on our team the last couple of seasons. He became a team player, and his attitude really helped us toward the end. Zach was a two-time team captain. He spent some time with an injury this season. I could tell when it (his injury) was affecting him.” Obray sat out part of last season and the beginning of this season because of injuries. He was faced with the possibility of missing the entire season but decided to participate this year with his injury. In the state consolation final match, Rogers was paired up with Brayden Warner from Hunter. Rogers fell behind 9-5 after the second period. He had a valiant comeback but fell short 10-8 to finish in fourth place. Rogers won 22 matches and had 16 pins this season. Obray defeated Lochlan Pearce from Weber 6-3. A key reversal point in the third period secured the victory for him.

“We had a great turnout this year,” Elder said. “We had some new wrestlers with the team. We had some guys that really improved. Each week was a learning process. We had guys that really stuck with it.” The Jaguars suffered with a few injuries this season. John Earl and Obray, both team captains, spent time this season unable to wrestle because of injury. The team still managed to defeat Taylorsville in a dual match 46-33. Jeff and his twin brother, Bryan, are juniors on the Jaguars wrestling team. Yvonne Rogers says supporting her sons is very important to her. “We tell our kids to go and have fun; give it your best shot; win or lose don’t give up,” she said. “I get excited to watch him, but I also get nervous. I feel like I am there to support him and his team.” Obray began wrestling as a sophomore. He won 14 matches this season and had nine pins. “It is exciting to see my son do well, and it is difficult to see him lose,” Obray’s mother, Tiffany, said. “I have to scream and yell; it is too intense to sit by. I have gotten to know all of the team and hope for the best for all of them. I knew nothing about wrestling when he started.” The team will have a new coach next season, as Elder stepped down at the end of the year. “It has been a great experience the last three years,” he said. The Jaguars won their only team state championship in 1987. l

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April 2018 | Page 23

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Page 24 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

Grizzly boys and girls reach state semifinals


By Greg James |

t was a semifinals party at Copper Hills. Riverton. The only other regular season game The Grizzlies’ boys and girls basketball they lost was to Viewmont, 61-55, in the fourth teams advanced to the semifinals of their game of the season. 6A state basketball tournaments. Copper The girls entered the state tournament as Hills is the only school in the state’s largest the No. 1 seed from Region 3 and defeated classification to place teams that far in both Pleasant Grove 66-25. Their second-round tournaments. contest matched them against Layton, which “Our season was very challenging, fun and they defeated 57-31. In the semifinals, they exciting,” boys head coach Andrew Blanchard lost to Bingham, 48-40. said in a note to his team. “We played well at “The season always ends with a tough loss times in the preseason, but overall we did not for every team but one,” Morley said. “It was play our best until region games.” disappointing to just fall short. We struggled The boys finished 7-1 in Region 3 and with our execution down the stretch, and our captured a share of the title with Riverton High shooting failed us, but I loved our effort.” School. The region championship came down Breaunna Gillen was the leading scorer, to the final contest, a 71-61 loss to Riverton. averaging 15.2 points, but Morley said his The boys participated in the Utah Elite team is what makes the difference. 8 Tournament at American Fork High School “We pride ourselves in saying that the star in December, defeating Bountiful (72-60) and of our team is the team,” he said. “Honestly, all Corner Canyon (84-75) and losing to American of our players made a difference in some way, Fork by one point. small or large. I could not be prouder of the They also traveled to Orlando, Florida, way they stuck together throughout the season. where they played teams from Florida, The winning is nice, but the lessons learned Maryland and Alabama. Their difficult non- and the relationships made are what makes it region schedule prepared them for their all worth it.” regular season. Both head coaches like the prospects “We entered the state tournament against of the future and said their teams have the our rival and defending state champion determination to continue improving. l (Bingham), and we had to play at the highest level possible,” Blanchard said. The boys advanced to the semifinals where they lost to Pleasant Grove and their star player, Matt Van Komen (7foot-4), 57-42. Junior Trevon Allfrey was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 18.8 points per game. He also picked up 6.2 rebounds per game. The girls team was not to be out done by their classmates, though. “We had a great season and achieved many of the individual and team goals we set at the beginning of the season,” girls head coach Ben Morley said. “I loved the effort and heart of our team.” The girls captured their third straight region championship. They lost only one region contest The Grizzlies 6-foot-6-inch junior forward Trevon Allfrey led the team in scoring by scorthis season, 60-50 to ing 18.8 points per game. (Dave Reeder)

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April 2018 | Page 25

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CycleAbility teaches special needs students to ride a bike


By Greg James |

lijah Palmer had a desire to ride his two-wheeled bike with his high school bicycling team. As a special needs student he had never had that opportunity. His parents, Draper residents Steven and Sally Palmer set out and organized the first week-long camp to help other special needs students enjoy the experience of riding a bike. In its fourth year, CycleAbility has again partnered with iCanShine, a nonprofit with specialized bikes, to host the annual Cyclpoolaza June 25–29 at Summit Academy High School in Bluffdale. “Elijah wanted to race in the high school league,” CycleAbility director Rachel Warner said. “He has autism and did not know how to ride a bike. With his family and the Utah High School Mountain Bike League (UHSCL) in 2015 they started the Elevate Program with an adapted course in conjunction with the high school races.” Learning to ride a bike is a lifeimproving experience, but helping someone can be even more life changing. Teaching a child without a disability can be difficult and working with children with disabilities is a challenge, but CycleAbility has found a way to bridge the gap to adaptive cycling. “We have kids with coordination challenges, anxiety, autism, Down syndrome and behavioral issues. It is our fourth year and we take 40 kids every year. We need several volunteers to help us,” Warner said. Each rider is allocated at least two spotters that walk and run alongside as well as offer moral support and help. The bikes are specialized roller bikes that teach balance gradually rather than a normal twowheeled bike. Other volunteer positions include registration help, photographers, CycleAbility riders are congratulated for their accomplishments with awards and smiles. (Rachel Warvideographers and people to help with setup ner/CycleAbility) and cleanup. “Each rider works with his spotters last race the announcers asked him how he had done and he said during 75-minute sessions each day. They start in the gym and graduate to a tandem bike with a staff member jubilantly, “I won.” “This program helps kids overcome challenges that they never and then hopefully graduate to their own personal two-wheel bike thought they would be able to. It is empowering them into the outside in the parking lot,” Warner said. The UHSCL was organized in 2011 and is an affiliate league normative world. We have about an 85 percent success rate,” Warner of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association for riders grades said. CycleAbility has several donors that help with costs of 7–12. CycleAbility accepts 40 riders ages 8–18 in their week-long equipment, sponsor riders and space rental including Coldwell camp and the cost is $150. “It is a seamless next step for our riders when they get old Banker, Bountiful Bicycle, DNA Cycling and the Autism Council enough to start racing with the league in the Elevate program,” of Utah. “Learning to ride a bike gives these kids a sense of freedom Warner said. “Elijah was team manager and the kids loved working with him. Many of the high school kids come and volunteer during and independence. One of our parents told me their son loves his bike so much, but every once in a while they find him riding to the our week camp. The families are very supportive.” Corner Canyon, Fremont, Summit Academy and Alta high grocery store down the street,” Warner said. “The kids ride away schools have been supporters of the program. They have had riders with big smiles on their faces and our volunteers come away with lasting memories as well.” included in the camp and have worked as volunteers. If you are interested in the program or would like more Elijah graduated from high school last June. He partipated in information about volunteering, visit l the mountain biking league riding a full course. As he finished his

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Page 26 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

Shot clock or no shot clock? That’s the ongoing question By Catherine Garrett |


he high school basketball seasons may have ended, but the discussion about whether or not to have a shot clock (a timer designed to increase the game’s pace and scoring) continues. Eight states – California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington – have employed the use of a 30- or 35-second shot clock while other states are moving towards the idea, including Wisconsin, which is slated to have a shot clock for the 2019-2020 season. Many coaches around Utah seem to be in favor of the shot clock, according to Joe Ogelsby, Utah High School Activities Association assistant director and director of Basketball Operations. One of those coaches is Corner Canyon High girls basketball coach Jeramy Acker who said, “We not only need it, we as coaches are wanting it. Every level of basketball has a shot clock. We are really doing a serious disservice to the student-athlete and really inhibiting the game by not having a shot clock.” Acker points out that there are more 20-point scorers in the state than ever before, indicative to him of the “different style of basketball that they are wanting.” “The game is about playing with pace and tempo which typically has you scoring within 15 to 20 seconds,” he said. “It seems that the teams that struggle offensively employ the stall tactics and try to control possessions.” The coach of the 5A Chargers program in Draper said he was “bitten by stalling” earlier in his coaching career. “What I’ve found since is that wins and losses comes and go, but what is more important to me is, ‘Am I helping my player to develop to the next level?’ Stalling doesn’t help me do that,” he said. Bryce Valley boys basketball coach Gary Syrett said that speaking for his 1A program, “We would like it,” he said. “It’s a fun type of basketball. Even though stalling can be effective at times – and we’ve taken some minutes off the clock at times – I still like basketball to be played up and down and most of the kids do too.” Syrett said his staff and school administrators have discussed the shot clock and recognize the cost, but are still in favor of moving that way. Bruce Bean, principal of 3A Carbon High in Price who was a basketball coach for 13 years, also said he would welcome a shot clock. “In my coaching style, we better get a good shot off before we turn the ball over. That lends itself to needing to move the ball quickly towards the basket,” he said. “If we are supposed to prepare our kids for the next level, they need to be familiar with what’s going on. I don’t think it’s going to bother the game.” “Change is inevitable,” Bean said. “I’m old enough to remember when the three-point line came in and we had to adjust to that. I remember when we went from two officials to three and

Cottonwood High basketball coach Lance Gummersall walks the sideline underneath the scoreboard. Is it time for Utah to institute a shot clock in high school basketball? (Travis Barton/City Journals)

at first everyone was asking, ‘Why do we need this?’ and now it seems like no one is arguing that point anymore.” Tom Sherwood, Brighton High’s principal, feels a shot clock would positively impact the game in the state. “We’ve discussed it several times and as basketball evolves, it’s worth revisiting the issue,” he said. When Brighton’s 5A boys basketball team played in the Under Armour Holiday Classic in California over the Christmas break this past season, they used a shot clock and defeated nationally-ranked teams from Torrey Pines (California) and Oak Christian (California). “The shot clock was good for us in the tournament and I think we thrived with it,” Sherwood said. “I think it encourages kids to be more aggressive offensively and be less hesitant to take open shots when you’re on a clock.” Former NBA coach Barry Hecker called the shot clock a “double-edged sword,” saying that it hurts struggling or average teams while

it favors better teams. He said that while he was coaching at Westminster, his squad, who was picked to finish last in the conference, ran “four corners” to spread the ball around offensively and found themselves at the top of the division much of the season. “If we would have had a shot clock, we would have got our butts spanked,” he said. Hecker also noted that a shot clock would appeal to spectators and would get those on the court ready for the use of the shot clock in college. So, where does the UHSAA sit on the issue of bringing a shot clock to the state? Oglesby from UHSAA said the shot clock topic has been brought up over the years and their organization has given – and continues to give – the subject extensive time, research, thought and discussion. “Our organization is completely membership-driven which drives a rules process and feasibility of things while being

risk adverse,” Oglesby said. “We have to do not just what is in the best interest of segments of student-athletes; we have to safeguard to ensure that decisions made are done with the best interest for everyone. We have to be concerned with equity.” Oglesby said that the UHSAA is “not negligent with knowing” about how coaches and administrators feel about the shot clock issue, but that there are “fundamental issues that we need to answer,” that have received the support of many coaches around the state, while not being able to “get a lot of support from athletic directors and principals,” according to Oglesby. The two main points, he said, are financing the acquisition and maintenance of shot clocks and staffing the running of the shot clocks during games. Estimations on shot clocks vary depending on the type of scoreboards schools already can range in the thousands of dollars. A shot clock operator is simply “one more position to pay for,” said Oglesby. “Several larger classifications want to just do it,” he said. “Things are always moving and we are not wanting to make any quick changes. It’s going to take a long time to get through the process.” The National Federation of State High School Associations does not allow for the use of a shot clock, so the states that do have them are not allowed representation on the Rules Committee within the organization. In an article, “Shot Clock in High School Basketball – the Debate Continues” by Mike Dyer from Feb. 5, 2015, the NFHS Director of Sports and Officials Education Theresia Wynns said that the NFHS stance on the shot clock is that the high school game does not need the shot clock. It is in good shape as it is. Their summary: 1) A shot clock takes away strategy from some coaches to slow the ball down to match up to the opponent. 2) Some committee members are opposed to “state adoption” because everyone should be playing the same game. 3) Education-based basketball does not warrant that student-athletes and coaches play to entertain the public. Carbon High’s Bean said that there are valid points of financing that he would have to consider being a school from a rural area and he understands the equity part of the shot clock discussion. Brighton High’s Sherwood also said he can see both sides of the shot clock issue and the costs associated with a change, but he suggested a pilot program within the 5A or 6A ranks to see the results. “The girls may not be ready for the shot clock, but the boys might be,” he said. “Who knows who’s ready if we don’t try it?” And so, the discussion continues… l

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INDUSTRY OakwoodLife is bringing to life a new development—and a new lifestyle concept— for those 55+. Located in the award-winning community of Daybreak, the new OakwoodLife neighborhood will include more than 400 homes with low-maintenance, main-level living and beautifully landscaped grounds; access to Daybreak Lake, its trails, shops and restaurants; plus, most importantly, built-in connections to an ongoing active lifestyle. “This is a ‘community within a community’ for those who want to scale down but not slow down,” said Jennifer Cooper, VP of Marketing for Oakwood Homes. “Homeowners can enjoy staying fit, being healthy, learning new skills and even volunteering, while making new friendships and taking advantage of their next ‘best’ chapter in life.” Known as SpringHouse Village at Daybreak, this is the inaugural 55+ community for OakwoodLife, with two additional developments planned later this year in Colorado. OakwoodLife is a division of Oakwood Homes, an award-winning private homebuilder in business for more than 26 years. The central lifeblood of SpringHouse Village will be The Spring House, an amenity-rich center complete with its own Lifestyle Director. Encouraging the desire to be lifelong learners, classes and activities will be offered to residents covering a myriad of interests, including fitness, nutrition, finances, travel, volunteerism, DIY experiences, and more. The 10,000-square-foot Spring House will include a state-of-the-art fitness center, movement studio, pickle ball and bocce ball courts, an outdoor pool and spa, entertaining spaces indoors and out, and more.

New Active Adult Community for 55+ Coming to Daybreak OakwoodLife homes are thoughtfully designed for open-concept living with spacious kitchens, large welcoming windows, main level master suites, indoor and outdoor entertaining areas, and “flex” spaces that can become guest rooms, a home office, a media room, or whatever fits a homeowner’s lifestyle. Floorplans range from 1,200 to 3,500 total square feet and all homes include energy-efficient features and smart-home technology. Landscaping and grounds maintenance is handled by an HOA. “This new style of community is a game changer,” noted Cooper. “With affordable low-maintenance homes, a central location along the Wasatch Front to still gather with loved ones, and planned activities and socializing, residents can choose to do as much or as little as they want. It’s peace-of-mind, freedom-filled living at its best.” Studies suggest that the 55+ population struggles with three key concerns: the fear of outliving their finances, struggling with poor health, and being isolated. OakwoodLife strives to ease each of these issues through its carefully designed homes and community amenities. SpringHouse Village offers an entirely new rendition of the affordable, carefree, active, lock-and-leave lifestyle many homeowners seek. Sales for homesites at SpringHouse Village will begin this spring. For more information, visit Prospective homeowners are encouraged to sign up on the rapidly growing VIP Interest list to receive advance information, invitations to events, promotions, and early access to homesite selection. l

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Our greatest role—whether as parents, educators, or elected officials—is to protect our children from harm as we help them grow into adults who live, work, and raise a family. Unfortunately, the child abuse stats in Utah are staggering. Nationally 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. Utah’s child sexual abuse rate is three times the national average. These numbers demonstrate the stark reality of child abuse, and reinforce why it is so important for the community to spread awareness and take steps to end it. In Utah we often want to bury our head in the sand and assume that it won’t happen to our kids. Child sexual abuse can happen to anyone and it’s important to be educated. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and each year it offers a new opportunity to further educate our county and state about this issue, and offer a call to action. We need to bring attention to the more 3,708 confirmed child victims of abuse in Salt Lake County alone in 2016. The bottom line is this: all children deserve to grow up in homes where they are safe and nurtured, and free from any form of abuse. The research is staggering about the negative long-term impacts of adverse childhood experiences, also known as “ACEs.” ACEs include any form of abuse, neglect, domestic abuse toward the mother, substance abuse in the home, and more. A child who experiences ACEs has a higher chance of learning or behavioral issues later in life. If we want our kids to have the best chance of leading productive, innovative, and health and happy lives as adults, we should seek ways to re-

West Jordan City Journal

Staggering Child Abuse rates prompt education duce ACEs as much as possible. Prevent Child Abuse Utah is one organization that seeks to do that by education children, parents, and teachers about the risks and impacts of child abuse, as well as ways to prevent it. Since child abuse can be a particularly debilitating form of adverse childhood experiences, it is important that we take prevention seriously. I’ve been particularly impressed with Prevent Child Abuse Utah as they’ve gone school to school throughout Utah educating teachers and kids about the issue. Part of this includes helping children understand what child abuse actually is, and to know what to do if they ever experience it. Em-

powering children with the knowledge Aimee Winder Newton they need to protect themselves is vital. County Council District 3 I’ve been so impressed with Prevent Child Abuse Utah that I’ve served on their board for the last couple years, trying to help advance their mission. I would encourage all of our residents to spend 30 minutes taking the free, online parent course. You can find it at I fully believe that we can end child abuse in Utah. It starts with education, continues with prevention, and ends with every child growing up in a safe, nurturing environment free from any form of abuse.

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April 2018 | Page 29

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Safe Driving Habits

Spring is upon us and with warmer temperatures and (hopefully) blue skies on the horizon, drivers can’t blame slick roads or blinding flurries for their faulty driving anymore. Driving safely requires good driving habits. Habits. Not occasionally safe maneuvers. The following are some prudent practices to implement in your daily travels. Blinkers and blind spots Driving 101. If you plan on changing lanes, let others in on your secret. Everyone will appreciate it. Others want to know what you are planning. Likewise, if you see a blinker come on indicating your lane is that car’s desired destination, let it in. This isn’t the Daytona 500. We are not racing for $19 million. It is common courtesy, if we want people to use their blinkers, then we should reward them for doing so. Remember the blinker doesn’t automatically assume safe passage to the next lane. And while your car’s sensors in the rearview mirrors are helpful, they are not omniscient. Check your blind spot with your own eyes. There’s a reason it’s called a “blind” spot. Tire, pressure This one is almost as simple as the first. Check your tire pressure on a regular basis to know if there is a small leak. Maybe you drove over a nail and didn’t realize it. We often don’t look at the tires on the passenger side since we don’t approach the car from that direction, checking regularly allows you to examine those opposite side wheels. It will keep your car’s handling in its best condition. Each vehicle can have different appropriate PSI (measurement for tire pressure), but when temperatures drop, so does the pressure in your tires. Keep car maintained Since you’ll be regularly checking the tires, might as well keep regularly scheduled maintenance on your car. This can range from


oil changes to transmission flushes. Simply checking windshield washer fluid or the antifreeze level in your car’s reservoir can prevent serious issues happening on the road. Wash your car especially after storms or if you’ve parked under a pine tree where birds can drop their white business on the hood or sap could drip onto the roof. Left untreated, these outdoor stains can ruin the paint on your vehicle. Drive defensively This means keeping distance between you and the car in front of you. Touching their bumper does nothing for you. And if you need to get that close to read their license plate or sticker, your eyesight is troubling and you probably shouldn’t be behind a steering wheel. Also you can’t always see what’s in front of the car before you. They may have to slam on their brakes due to an unexpected obstruction. If you rear end them, insurance rarely works out in your favor. This can also mean slowing down on wet roads or not weaving in and out of traffic. Distractions This is the No. 1 reason for accidents. This is not limited to using the cell phone, though texting, checking news alerts or making a phone call are all terrible decisions to make while driving. It also extends to dozing off or checking the price at the gas station you just passed. Be alert, stay vigilant. Other drivers may suddenly stop, they may not see you as you yield or turn. By staying engaged and sharp, your reactions can be sharper and you may even anticipate what other drivers are looking to do. One way to stay engaged is to vary your daily commute. Changing your routine alerts your brain, breaking you from the monotonous snooze you may find yourself after traveling certain routes hundreds of times. These habits are important and it is not overdramatic to say that they could save a life. l

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Page 30 | April 2018

West Jordan City Journal

The Value of Choices I recently watched a Netflix Original show called “Ozark,” starring Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner and Peter Mullan. The show opens over a lake, late into an evening sunset. Over the next three minutes, a dimly-lit montage of the main character doing some menial tasks makes the audience question the morality of the character. Bateman’s voice is tracked over this scene. “Money: that which separates the haves, from the have-nots. It’s everything if you don’t have it, right? Half of all American adults have more credit card debt than savings. Twenty-five percent have no savings at all. And only 15 percent of the population is on track to fund even one year of retirement. You see, I think most people just have a fundamentally flawed view of money. Is it simply an agreed upon unit of exchange for goods and services? Or is it intangible – security, happiness, or peace of mind? Let me propose a third option; money as a measuring device. You see the hard reality is how much money we accumulate in life is a function of….patience, frugality, and sacrifice. When you boil it down, what do those three things have in common? Those are choices. Money is not peace of mind. Money’s not happiness. Money is, at its essence, that measure of a man’s choices.”



For months, the above quote has stuck with me, challenging my perceptions of money, poorness, richness, currency, and value. As the season of new beginnings—spring—approaches, it is a time to challenge ourselves to think

more positively, meditate incrementally, comprehend the daily quotes from calendars. If you aim to change mentality, instead of physicality, as part of your new beginnings, I challenge you to begin questioning the perception of money. Most of us view money as an agreed upon unit of exchange for goods and services. You’re reading this newspaper segment with the word “coupon” in the title, hoping to find ways of protecting those units already possessed. Without such coupons, or mentality of frugality, those units diminish. In viewing money as units of exchange, statistics like the ones mentioned above are frightening. Half of all American adults need to earn units to replenish the units they’ve already exchanged, instead of inheriting them. Fifteen percent of the population has not obtained enough units to exchange for a oneyear lifestyle free from work and responsibility. However, if we perceive money as a measure of an individual’s choices, those statistics are less anxiety-ridden. Half of all American adults made choices to live outside of their means. Fifteen percent of the population chose to live a different lifestyle. As I’ve been challenging my perception of

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money, I’ve observed less stress about the number of units in my bank account and wallet. I’ve realized that the choices I make are my own. Some of my choices may not be acceptable, or even viable, for others within my community or country. I may not understand or support others’ choices as well. That’s why we make different choices, the ones that make sense to our individual selves. Our own currencies enrich our lives in different and meaningful ways. Choices are indefinite. We are provided the opportunity of choice with every moment we are alive. Our behaviors may be influenced; but we are the ultimate decision maker in what we wear, what we say, what we do, where we sleep, where we live, how we respond, who we fear, who we love, and who we are. Our money reflects those choices. And if we were to perceive money as a measure of human choice, I’d be pretty wealthy.

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April 2018 | Page 31

WestJordanJournal .com

Out in Left Field


Laughter AND




Baseball has been America’s favorite pastime for more than 150 years, followed closely by gun control debates, reality TV and overeating. There’s just something about sitting in a ballpark surrounded by drunk fans that screams ‘Merica! The hubbie and I spent a weekend in Phoenix for spring training where teams get together for pre-season games and fans hope for a glimpse of a mega baseball star like Mike Trout or one of the racing sausage mascots from Milwaukee. As San Francisco Giants fans, we sat in a sea of orange and black, surrounded by men who obviously missed their calling as ESPN baseball announcers. Their color commentary got slurrier and slushier with each beer they drank. It made me wish real ESPN announcers would drink on the job. Whenever we walk into a ballpark, my husband turns into a 14-yearold boy. The crack of the bat, the smell of a leather glove and the roar of the crowd makes him absolutely giddy. Hubbie: We’re at a ball game! Me: I know. Hubbie: Maybe I’ll catch a foul ball! Me: Maybe. Hubbie: Do you think they’ll run out of

players and call me up to play? Me: Me: You’ve been in the sun too long. But it’s not just my husband, nearly every man there is reliving childhood dreams of baseball stardom, talking about games they watched with their dads or reminiscing about baseball legends they revered as teens. I love baseball, but not in the way my husband does. A lot of my experience revolves around food (as most things do). At ball games, I eat food I’d never eat in real life. My 74-ounce Coke and foot-long Bratwurst was an appetizer for my shredded pork nachos, drenched in a fluorescent orange “cheese” stored in plastic buckets in the basement of the stadium. I ate French fries so salty, I actually pooped jerky. Baseball is about tradition: team loyalty, peanuts, Cracker Jack, not caring if you ever get back, and yelling at the umps after every bad call. The drunker the crowd, the more hilarious the insults. “Can I pet your Seeing-Eye dog after the game, Blue?” “That’s why umpires shouldn’t date players!” “You drop more calls than Verizon!” And so on.



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Then there’s the stats. Baseball statisticians use more abbreviations than texting teens. You have your standard 1B, HR, BB, SB, K, L and ERA. But occasionally, a stat will appear on the scoreboard that leaves everyone confused. “What the hell’s a UZR?” slurs a drunk ESPN announcer. We all scratch our heads until someone Googles it. (Ultimate Zone Rating, if you were wondering.) Each game holds the opportunity to witness an unassisted triple play, a grand slam, a no-hitter, a perfect game or a squirrel being chased off the field by an octogenarian ball boy. Ballparks


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are national treasures, each one unique and representative of their community. But my main reason for loving the game is this: baseball is a game of patience. There’s no time limit to a ballgame. It could last 3 hours or 5 hours; 9 innings or 13 innings. As our lives get busier, a ballgame is a reminder to sit in the sunshine, to talk to the person next to you and to order a hot dog without guilt as you root for your favorite team. All you have to do is sit, eat and cheer someone on. Shouldn’t that be America’s favorite pastime?

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Profile for The City Journals

West Jordan City Journal April 2018  

West Jordan City Journal April 2018 Vol 18 Issue 04

West Jordan City Journal April 2018  

West Jordan City Journal April 2018 Vol 18 Issue 04