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April 2019 | Vol. 19 Iss. 04


DRILL WINS SEVENTH STRAIGHT TITLE By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

Its seventh title came down to its final performance of the season, the Azurettes kick routine elevated them to the championship. (Photo courtesy Carolyn Nope)


he grand finale capped off a championship career and season for the Copper Hills Azurettes. With her team celebrating around her, Azurettes’ head coach Shannon Mortensen announced it was over. “I am out. It is my last year, and I enjoyed it with all of my heart,” she said. The 2019 season finished with the teams seventh straight drill championship, a feat only equaled by Bountiful. This season’s championship seemed in peril early on. The Azurettes finished in second place behind the Bingham Minerettes in the Military category. The final tally showed the difference was miniscule. The Copper Hills routine military routine featured new, never-tried choreography. Military routines are judged on maneuvers, arm and leg movements, and athleticism. “Hard work, constantly thinking outside the box, and being willing to try new things and innovate made us the team we are,” Mortenson said. At one point in the military routine, several team mem-

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

bers formed a circle in the center of the floor, bent over at the waist and two dancers ran across their backs. The routine drew a boisterous response from the crowd. The judges’ sheet for the dance routines emphasize jumps, turns, athleticism and transitions. The more participants that complete the skills equal more points for its team. The Azurette dance routine came from the Bonnie Tyler hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” from the platinum album released in 1983. The routine featured an aerial section that elicited a huge roar from the fans in attendance. In succession every girl landed the stunt. When the dance results were announced, Bingham and Copper Hills swapped positions, a virtual tie existed in the standings. The final results rested completely on the team’s final event. As the kick routine scores were announced, each team stood anxiously waiting. Bingham placed third and Copper Hills first to earn them their seventh straight title. “This was so amazing,” team captain Regan Reeves said.

“We have worked so hard.” Its final number include excerpts from the fortnite floss and several styles of kick routines, including sidekicks and a boxing style kick from the performers’ knees. The kick routines are judged on the variety of kicks, formations and the athleticism of the performers. Bingham finished second, Layton third and Pleasant Grove fourth. Copper Hills captured the Region 3 title as well as the championships at the Salt Lake Valley Classic and Rocky Mountain Invitational. “It’s hard to put into words the impact Shannon has had on my daughter, Ashley,” Carolyn Nope said. “She has learned so many life lessons from her that have shaped her into the pperson she is today. She taught her to commit to what she wants, work hard for it, don’t quit and never apologize for success. We could not ask for a better role model for our daughter.”

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C ITY OURNAL 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: circulation@mycityjournals.com 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.



West Jordan Team CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Bryan Scott bryan.s@thecityjournals.com EDITOR: Travis Barton travis.b@thecityjournals.com ADVERTISING: 801-254-5974 DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING: Ryan Casper ryan.c@thecityjournals.com 801-671-2034 SALES ASSOCIATES: Melissa Worthen melissa.w@thecityjournals.com 801-897-5231

The Azurettes drill coach Shannon Mortenson celebrated with her team after its region title. This season will be her last at the helm of the team. (Photo courtesy Carolyn Nope)

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West Jordan City Journal

Family drama abounds in ‘Over the River and Through the Woods’ By Josh McFadden | josh@mycityjournals.com


f close family members got a job offer in a far-away city, would you try to prevent them from moving? Sugar Factory Playhouse tackles the situation in its production of “Over the River and Through the Woods,” which will run for eight nights beginning April 4. The show will be held at West Jordan’s Pioneer Hall, 1137 West 7800 South. Written by Joe DiPietro and directed by Kate Rufener, “Over the River” follows the story of Nick Cristano, a content single man living in New Jersey. Though Nick’s parents are no longer in the Garden State, both sets of his grandparents are close by—maybe too close for Nick’s comfort. Unlike his retired parents, who relocated to sunny Florida, the grandparents stayed put in Jersey and see Nick regularly. As in every week. Each Sunday, Nick visits his grandparents, enjoying talks and meals. The ethnic Italians have strong family bonds and traditions, which complicate things when Nick announces big news. Against the regular routine, Nick stops by during the week for a surprise visit. He informs his grandparents that he intends to accept a promotion as a marketing executive with his company and move to the other side of the country in Seattle, Washington. The grandparents don’t react with sup-

port or enthusiasm. Stunned, they oppose the idea and hatch schemes to make Nick stay in New Jersey where he can continue his weekly get-togethers. They’ll have no part of this betrayal, so they enlist the help of an attractive young woman named Caitlin. Grandma and Grandpa hope the two will fall in love, causing Nick to reject the job offer and stay home. The plan doesn’t go well and only leads to more problems for the family. So, how do things turn out for Nick, Caitlin and the grandparents? You’ll have to see for yourself. The play runs every evening from April 4 through April 12, except Sunday, April 7. The doors will open at 7 p.m., 30 minutes before the show begins. Be aware that seating is first-come, first-served. To secure your tickets, you can click on the Buy Tickets link on the Sugar Factory Playhouse website, sugarfactoryplayhouse. com. Children 12 and under, seniors 60 and over, and students with an ID can get in for $8. General admission tickets for other patrons are $12 each. The talented cast comprises Michael Dodge as Nick; Merrill Dodge as Frank Gianelli; Linda Garay as Aida Gianelli; Gary Pimentel as Nunzio Cristiano; Kaye Woodworth as Emma Cristano; and Liza Tomkinson as Caitlin O’Hare.

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April 2019 | Page 5

International Women’s Day events support, celebrate women By Jennifer J. Johnson | J.Johnson@mycityjournals.com

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arch 8, the official “International Women’s Day,” is ever-growing in international and social-media buzz, and prompted a flurry of local activity on par with the weather happening that day. City Journals presents a recap on several Salt Lake Valley-based activities and commemorations of Women’s Day. First-time celebrators — for the youngest of young — Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum. Nearly 900 members and guests of the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum were treated to a celebration of women’s social, cultural and political achievements, through the lens of gender equality. On March 8, children up to age 11 learned “the amazing things women can do,” recounted marketing coordinator Anna Branson. Children used unique materials and media to create artistic renditions of historic and current women leaders, including the late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, anthropologist and conservationist Jane Goodall, and human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai. All received “Believe in Girls” stickers and had the chance to walk through a unique kaleidoscope, featuring all of the wonderful possibilities for girls and women. Rising up, lifting up at the U of U – for college students, staff, faculty and community. At the University of Utah, the “day” has become a week-long celebration of women. The Women’s Leadership Summit, themed “Rise Up, Lift Up” was preceded by the “Empower U” Symposium, where president Ruth Watkins provided the keynote address. The Women’s Leadership Summit, now in its fifth year, offered a resources fair, with everything from women’s health information to voting engagement. The fair was presented in booths lining a wall of windows in the Ray Olpin Student Union building. The university assembled a roundup of nearly 20 breakout sessions, dealing with topics as edgy as navigating shame culture to as vanilla as financial-planning strategies for women. “It was truly a day of learning, engagement, and idea sharing,” shared Jessica Lynne Ashcraft, co-chair for the event and associate director for student leadership and involvement at the U. Ashcraft indicated 200-plus women attended the event, “due to the wonderful range of topics presented and the excitement to engage on topics that are so salient for women right now.” Women in international business as a theme… World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) leveraged one of its trademark strengths — partnering — to commemorate International

Women’s Day, and, like the U of U, made the celebration into a full week of activities, versus just a day. On March 8, WTC Utah co-hosted a sold-out luncheon, in collaboration with the Women’s Business Center of Utah and the Salt Lake Chamber. “WTC Utah would like to be a part of the solutions that address the challenges facing women as they pursue global economic opportunities,” said Suzette Alles, chief operating officer of WTC Utah. “Increasing international trade, and supporting women in their efforts to do so, helps companies grow, create wealth and become more resilient. This, in turn, bolsters economies on a local, national and global level.” … And as an honor and an inspiring thought of global contribution. March 7, the day before the official day of commemoration, WTC participated in the 10th-annual Women in International Business Conference. This power-packed day included perspectives from 30 business, government, and education leaders representing various facets of Utah’s diverse economy. At the half-day conference, Dr. Mary Beckerle, CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, was named International Woman of the Year. In her role at Huntsman, Beckerle oversees a cancer research laboratory focused on fundamental cell biology and Ewing sarcoma, a type of bone cancer that typically affects children and young adults. All that, an incredibly important role, and yet, Beckerle shared with City Journals deeper insight into the awesome responsibility and opportunity she and other women and men like her bear. “I believe that cancer researchers have a role in advancing global partnerships and understanding,” she observed. “In a sense, we serve as volunteer diplomats as we travel the world to share our results and work together to advance human health.” More than a day, or even a week… a month? Women Techmakers Salt Lake and Miss Nations of the World both identified March 23 as the day for their respective International Women’s Day Celebration event. The Women of the World held its ninth annual fashion show just a few days before the official date. Snowy weather on March 8 scrubbed or severely limited celebratory efforts from Sandy’s Miller Center to downtown Salt Lake’s Capitol demonstration. Regardless of the stormy weather, the message at all events was clear. Women — and girls — are to be encouraged, mentored, and celebrated all day, all week, all month, all year, whether officially or unofficially.

West Jordan City Journal

Salt Lake Valley’s epic pranksters show us ‘how to April Fools’ By Jennifer J. Johnson | j.johnson@mycityjournals.com


rom placing a pair of live lobsters in the glove box of a paramour’s car to endorsing their boss as a disco-loving ninja on a global career website, to punking fans of the third-largest professional sports league in the world, Utahns know how to April Fools. The City Journals wanted to get up close and personal with some of the pranksters and the pranked in a sort of hall of fame. Look forward to hearing more of your stories, in the comments and for next-year’s piece. Food and fools: Lobsters, an imposter waiter, and under-the-table pranking Long-time radio and web celebs Todd Collard and Erin Fraser (“Todd and Erin”) involve one particular type of food, lobster, as an ongoing April Fools’ staple. One year, Todd, recalls, he actually placed the lobsters in the glove box of Erin’s car. There were no fatalities to report. Rather, the frenetic lobster game is part of the ongoing love affair of Salt Lake City area’s longest on-air-turned-over-web morning personalities. The imposter waiter… Dean Pierose is owner of Cucina wine bar, restaurant, and deli in The Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City. Pierose is long-term best friends with comedian Pat Mac. An April Fools’ prank provided the perfect opportunity for Pierose to meet his best friend’s wife. But a simple meet-and-greet is not Pierose’s style. Instead, Pierose convinced a fellow restaurant owner to let him stand in and wait the table that Mac and his wife occupied the night of April 1, 2011. Prepped about the woman being a teacher and her having attended the University of Idaho, the imposter waiter set out to be as insulting as possible, first complaining that the table’s former customers, “who must have been teachers,” stiffed him for a tip. On another visit by the table, Pierose slammed the University of Idaho, the woman’s alma mater, making fun of the college’s “Joe the Vandal” mascot, and identifying himself as identifying with the rival “Broncos” of Boise State. “He hit every button he could, to set her off,” laughed Mac. “Dean is a master prankster.” A little Disney’ll do ya, on April Fools Disney Channel actor, writer, and voice talent Jerry Straley just celebrated 30 years with Disney. “My goal is to make 10 million people laugh,” he shared. Straley estimates his role on the “Good Luck, Charlie” sitcom got him about halfway there, with more than five million views of the sitcom’s four seasons. Holladay-dwelling Straley routinely pokes fun at the area’s wealthy, and says

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Local Brokers/Owners Our customers come to us to save money… THEY COME BACK FOR OUR SERVICE! When not loving on her husband and on-air/over-internet personality Todd Collard, Erin Fraser’s go-to food is lobster. Not surprisingly, Todd has turned it into an April Fools’ go-to that enhances the couple’s relationship. (Photo Credit: ToddandErinDailyStream.com)

April Fools’ jokes include replacing upscale Grey Poupon whole-grain mustard with plain-yellow mustard at hoity-toity Holladay restaurants and making early-morning prank calls, indicating peoples’ butlers are taking the day off. Getting paid ‘under the table’ Saralynn White, a Cottonwood Heights copywriter and creative director/chief storyteller/owner of Salty Dog Marketing, recalls hijinks from now-defunct, but ever epic ad agency Dahlin Smith White. “They taped a sandwich under his desk and it started to reek,” she recalled, “but he couldn’t find what was smelling up the place because of where it was.” Writing the April Fools’ playbook Writer White has not only been pranked, but has pranked upon. One year, colleagues posted “disco” and “ninja” expertise as some of her unique skills on the LinkedIn professional website, comprising 500 million members globally. Professional colleagues of White can still find these skills on her profile today. Another year, White could not get her computer to respond to her keystrokes. Absolutely frustrated at the technological stalemate, she dialed in corporate 911 – the IT or information technology department. Who she credits as “ingenious” colleagues had taken a screenshot of her computer desktop. Pranksters made it so that every keystroke the increasingly frustrated White entered did nothing more than ping a static image, doing absolutely nothing to engage the computer’s functionality. April Fools’ Day: A Team Sport For the Utah Jazz franchise, April Fools’ Day has been good to the Jazz, with the team winning 65 percent of the games played April 1 over the past 33 years, including last year’s 121-97 blowout over the Minnesota Timberwolves. This year, at 7 p.m. on April 1, the Jazz

square off against the Charlotte Hornets in hometown Vivint Arena. The team’s best prank came a few years ago, in 2015, when the Jazz punked fans, commentators, and even readers of the National Basketball Association by launching a new “look-and-feel” three-quarter-length pant. The news went official, with a mock press release and photo featuring Rudy Gobert (27) and Derrick Favors (15). April Fools’ DNA Brothers Jamison and Truman Carter grew up with their prank-playing family first in the Avenues and then Herriman. The two now reside in Salt Lake’s Marmalade neighborhood. The brothers recall stories of their mother’s receiving an April Fools’ Day bouquet of already-dead flowers from high-end florist Every Blooming Thing. Knowing that the bouquet likely cost her then-husband at least $50, their mother called in to complain. Right at that moment, while on the phone ripping the prank-engaging florists who were emphatically denying her description of the bouquet, an incredibly stunning, much bigger and more expensive arrangement arrived from Every Blooming Thing, with the same delivery person. Order restored. The Carter sons were pranked themselves, waking up one April Fools’ morning to a breakfast of meatloaf, gravy, and mashed potatoes. Luckily they tried the odd meal. Their mother, this time, was the prankster, having made Rice Krispie treat “meatloaf” with butterscotch “gravy” and ice-cream “potatoes.” And regarding our last set of pranks? Confession time: I am the mother of the Carters, recipient of dead bouquets, and chef of dreamy April Fools’ breakfasts. Even though it sounds like it could be, that is not a prank. Happy April Fools’ Day, Salt Lake County!


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Two West Jordan residents among recent grads of Women’s Leadership Institute By Jennifer J. Johnson | J.Johnson@MyCityJournals.com

Hey! It’s our next senator!” That is how Jeff Nelson, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Sotera Health’s Nelson Laboratories, often introduces and refers to Darbi Chavez. Chavez, one of 350-some employees of the West Jordan-based company, is one of two West Jordan residents to recently complete the political development training course offered through Salt Lake City’s Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI). Joining her in completing the course this year is two-time course graduate Melissa Worthen, who happens to work at City Journals. Why WLI? WLI just announced the class of 43 women across the state who have completed its political development training course. A nonprofit encouraging women to “make a difference in your community by stepping up and running for office,” the WLI provides women with a six-month, bipartisan “deep-dive” training, covering everything from signature-gathering to social media, from campaign finance to canvassing, from networking to negotiating. Such skills are not only useful for political candidates, but for those fulfilling volunteer roles as public servants or for those just looking to “kick fear” and become more action-oriented. Out of a class of 43 graduates, West Jor-

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West Jordan women are rising. This year, the Women’s Leadership Institute had 43 women across the state complete its political training series. Here, this year’s graduates Darbi Chavez (left) and Melissa Worthen (right) flank last year’s grad Jen Schwartz at West Jordan’s City Hall. (Jennifer J. Johnson/City Journals)

dan had two. City Journals talked with each about why she elected to participate in the training program, involving alternating travel to-and-from downtown’s Salt Lake Chamber offices and Lehi’s Silicon Slopes campus. Darbi Chavez – Embracing ‘different cultures, different people, different ideas’ Darbi Chavez is a thoughtful, collaborative woman. She possesses an enviable blend of scientific savvy and communication skills, but elegantly manages to be a person that one likes and not envies. She has leveraged her science background (a bachelor’s in biochemistry) with her innate and learned emotional intelligence to become a respected leader at Sotera’s Nelson Labs. Chavez manages a team of 43 employees, with three direct reports. This January she was named director of the company’s WISE initiative. WISE is a clever acronym for Women in STEM Education, with STEM being another increasingly recognizable acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. This added responsibility is a networking and mentoring opportunity with what she says is “a lot more visibility” in the company, the industry, and the community.

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Through the WLI experience, Chavez sees her unique role in the political process being to help others better understand and engage with government. “It will take a lot of work on my part,” she acknowledged. “As they taught us, I realized how much we don’t know. We understand only what we are permitted to see,” she observed. Chavez really enjoyed the WLI’s helping her appreciate “differences.” “Different cultures, different people, different ideas” were all a part of the training, she shared. Adding to the concept of the “power of difference” theme, Chavez’s boss weighed in. “It’s giving Darbi a different perspective,” said Zachary S. Anderson, director of laboratory operations for Sotera’s Nelson Labs. “She’s a learner, and a thinker, and a do-er. She’s one of our stars, and this [the WLI training] allows her to network with more people.” Melissa Worthen – ‘I know more than I realize’ There are many reasons Melissa Worthen is unique. Her decision and dedication to attend two sessions of WLI political training series in consecutive years are among them. “I’ve always been a political nerd. I enjoy how decisions are made,” she says, pausing to add “They stem from needs in neighborhoods.” Worthen, marketing specialist and community outreach coordinator for City Journals, echoed WLI colleague Chavez’s feeling that the political training course informs about the difficulty for citizens and political candidates to become knowledgeable about government and political processes. “Women tend to want to be experts,” she said. “[Through the WLI trainings], one realization I had is that you don’t know everything. You aren’t going to know everything. You just have to try!” That said, she acknowledges, “I know

more than I realize.” One thing she has come to realize through the WLI experience is a powerful aha: “Be who you are – you don’t have to be someone else.” For her, two terms with the WLI political training has helped her become a better, more genuine person with more awareness who appreciates differing points of view and is able incorporate those into her greater psyche. “If you go into a situation, be willing to learn something, you might actually change your mind,” she said, sharing some of the learnings from WLI. Worthen indicated she has an interest in running for office at some time in the future. How to ‘WLI’ There is already a waiting-list for WLI’s 2019 political training, which is scheduled to start September, 2019. Interested women can join the wait-list at www.wliut.com/pds. The 2018 cost was $179 for the six, threehour sessions, which all included lunch. Sessions were alternatingly held at the Salt Lake Chamber and at Silicon Slopes, with live streaming available for those not able to attend in person. In addition to the Women’s Leadership Institute, West Jordan women might consider the national She Should Run organization. Real Women Run is a local YWCA program tailored for women “more in the beginnings of political interests” which often collaborates with the “deep-dive” WLI.

This year, the Women’s Leadership Institute had 43 women across the state complete its political training series. Here, two of this year’s graduates Darbi Chavez (left) and Melissa Worthen (right) flank last year’s grad Jen Schwartz outside of West Jordan’s City Hall. All three women reside in West Jordan. (Jennifer J. Johnson/City Journals)

West Jordan City Journal

What West Jordan is doing for housing affordability By Erin Dixon | erin@mycityjournals.com


ising prices, rising demand, rising population: For many people, Utah’s intensely competitive housing market is a cause for concern. Justin Hamilton, co-owner and realtor of Xenial Homes that operates in Utah and Salt Lake County, expressed concern about the future for his clients. “[Buyers] are concerned that salaries have not increased to accommodate [rising house prices],” Hamilton said. “There’s a very high percentage of homeowners that if they were to purchase their home today, couldn’t afford it. [People] end up buying smaller homes/condos or going to more rural areas and commuting in.” However, West Jordan anticipated the housing need and has been preparing. Every city has a general plan that dictates where and what can be built. The West Jordan General Plan was laid out in 2012. While small changes have been made since then, officials have been working on wisely-placed density ever since. Scott Langford, West Jordan development services director, composed a resolution in early 2019 outlining the city’s current work and future intentions with new residential buildings. “The resolution outlines some of the goals and policies that exist in our general plan,” Langford said. “One of those housing goals states that we need to provide a range of housing types, styles, sizes and price in all areas of our city.” The Utah Housing Gap Coalition offered a suggested resolution mid-2018, but Langford thought the plan they had in place exceeded the Coalition’s requests. “I thought it would be better practice for us as staff to draft a resolution that addresses and officially declares what we have been doing as a community for a number of years and what we continue to do as we look to address some of these challenges,” Langford said. Utah State Legislature recently passed SB 34, Affordable Housing Modifications. This bill dictates to cities various requirements that may ease the rising tide of housing trouble. Under section 10-9a-403, General plan preparation, there is a list of more than 20 requirements, and cities must adopt three or more strategies to help provide affordable housing for diverse needs. Some of these suggested strategies that can choose include the following: preserve moderate income housing, allow for single occupant developments, implement mortgage assistance programs for employees of the municipality or encourage higher density housing near major vehicle corridors. (More information can be found on the State Legislature website. Langford pointed out that West Jordan is exceeding the number of required solutions suggested by the state.

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“West Jordan is already doing six or seven of those,” Langford said. “We agree. We need to be part of the solution. We’re already doing these things.” Dense residential does not simply appear after the sale of property. Utility lines must be in place, which is a cost for the city upfront. Langford outlined his departments plans to prevent the current community from swallowing those costs. “The planning staff here have always thought it really important to leverage that regional investment,” Langford said. “The best way is to increase density in those spots that can actually support higher numbers of people living…[W]hether it’s roads, water or sewer. All of that costs a lot of money.” An ordinance passed in December 2018 allows some high density in commercial districts, other locations that already have the needed infrastructure as well as supportive roads. “In commercial districts, we already have the roads; we already have the water and the sewer, and it’s not really going to im-

pact existing residents as much as you would if you just decided to throw a huge apartment complex in the middle of a low-density, single family neighborhood,” Langford said. “There definitely is a place for larger lots and lower density, and I think people will continue to like that and want to buy that type of product. Not everybody can and so it’s all about balance and giving people choice.” In addition, three plots next to existing TRAX stations are identified in the resolution as areas that are already under contract and construction. These are the Village at Gardner Station, Jordan Valley Station and City Center Transit Station. Will the whole of West Jordan dissolve into high density in the future? Langford assures the answer is ‘no’. “There definitely is a place for larger lots and lower density, and I think people will continue to like that and want to buy that type of product,” he said. “Not everybody can and so it’s all about balance and giving people choice.”

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By Erin Dixon | erin@mycityjournals.com


he West Jordan City government works on a fiscal year budget. This means that each yearly budget is approved in June each year and is active from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. The total budget amount for fiscal year 2018–2019 is $62,175,500. (This includes dollars available after the property tax increase that occurred in August 2018.) Late February 2019, the city council approved the use of $6,308,440.13 from the annual budget. That money was divided as follows. Each bullet is accompanied with a further explanation of the spending. ● To Bowen Collins & Associates for Electrical Engineering Services at the Airport Booster Station: $16,649.00. “The work is to design and specify electrical equipment for motor controls and switch panels for water pumps at 4031 West 7800 South.” Tim Heyrend, Senior Utilities Engineer ● To Horrocks Engineers for engineering services for the 8600 South Bridge over Mountain View Corridor Project: $26,606.21. “Horrocks Engineers has been hired to provide the environmental clearances. A portion of the money that will be used is from Federal grants. [A]pproximately one year from now, pending four more property acquisitions, the project will be under construction in 2020. The construction will take one year to 18 months, so it should be completed by Summer to Fall of 2021.” Dave Murphey, capital projects engineer ● To Kilgore Contracting for the 7800 South Widening and Realignment of New Bingham Highway Project: $4,929,100.90. “Kilgore Contracting being the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. They are expected to start work in March. There are three potential phases of varying traffic control, with the first being the closure of the one-way leg of 7800 South from Airport Road to the merge with New Bingham Highway for reconstruction and widening. When this section reopens after that closure, two-way traffic (east and west) will be available on 7800 South. The two other phases are for reconstruction and widening of other sections of New Bingham Highway. All of the work is scheduled to be completed within 300 days from the commencement of work.” Dave Murphey ● Purchase Ice Slicer/Redmond road salt from Staker Parson for the Street Department inventory: $100,000. “Independent lab tests have proven that it is more effective than “Type C” road salt at lower temperatures. Ice Slicer/Redmond road salt can be applied directly in extremely cold situations or mixed with “Type C” salt and applied at less extreme temperatures.” Brian Clegg, public works director ● Purchase Type C-Regular road salt from Morton Salt, Inc.: $75,000. “This salt works well in higher temperatures. With the snow removal operation, the two different salt

can be blended, which makes the salt more effective and last a bit longer.” Brian Clegg. ● Purchase water meters for the Water Operations inventory: $933,114.88. “The water utility replaces approximately 5,000 residential meters and registers annually and approximately 250 commercial meters and registers annually. It is our objective to maintain an adequate stock of meters and associated parts within the operations inventory to facilitate replacement of failed meters and installation of new meters throughout the city,” Brian Clegg ● Purchase of a new 2000A Switchboard from Codale Electric Supply $23,851.24. “In-house staff is currently upgrading one of the city’s water booster stations. We are upgrading one pump motor by 150-horespower and installing an additional motor of 300 horsepower with a pump. With the upgrades that are being completed the new power switchboard is required as we will need additional amperage.” Brian Clegg ● To Commercial Mechanical for maintenance of HVAC /Mechanical equipment for city-owned buildings: $42,040.00. “This includes an inspection checklist, checking fluid levels, seasonal start up and shutdown of furnaces and chillers, changing filters, etc. It is really simple routine care-taking of the City’s HVAC equipment.” Justin Stoker, Public Works Department deputy director ● To Rulon Harper Construction, INC. for the 7000 South Railroad Crossing Improvement project: $162,077.90. “The original contract with Rulon Harper Construction anticipated installing an 18-inch storm drain line using open cut trenching construction methods across existing railroad tracks. However, during the contractor permitting process, Union Pacific Railroad required that the proposed construction method changed to a jack and bore installation method.” Brian Clegg When the budget was published on the city’s website, City Manager David Brickey indicated that, “...more than half of [the total] amount (53 percent) [is] for emergency services alone (fire, EMS, police, etc.).” He also outlined other major avenues for the cities spending: “This budget authorizes funding to improve our roads ($14,604,551), our storm drain system ($4,357,754), our water system ($15,727,106), our sanitary sewer system ($7,423,510) and our fleet ($1,134,323),” Brickey said. The city revenue is primarily funded through taxes, property and sales. ● Taxes: $42,937,242 ● Licenses and Permits: $3,057,500 ● Intergovernmental $5,104,652 ● Contributions (use of reserves) $5,236,763 ● Charges for Services $3,617,570 ● Fines, Forfeitures, miscellaneous and events: $2,221,773 To see complete the budget, visit www. westjordan.utah.gov/city-budget

West Jordan City Journal


Safe Driving Habits

pring is upon us, summer is on the way; 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.

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April 2019 | Page 11

Free family fun at Jordan Hills Elementary By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

Families proudly display the artwork they created together. (Rachel Homer/Jordan Hills)


ordan Hills Elementary’s Family Week, held Feb 25–28, provided four nights of free, family fun with Bingo, roller skating, painting and dancing. “It’s just to bring the family together and create opportunities for them,” said Rachael Homer, who has five children— preschool through sixth grade—attending Jordan Hills. “I love my family, and I think anytime we have a chance to bond, especially in different ways or learning new

Page 12 | April 2019

things or doing things we don’t typically do, it helps those relationships.” Activities for the annual family-focused week vary each year, but Paint Night is a traditional event. Homer, who owns a painting business, provided step-by-step instructions, including every family member, so the final piece reflected their unique family. Many families have a collection of canvases they’ve created together over the years hanging in their homes.

“This is the fourth time we’ve come, and I absolutely love it,” said Tara Toler, who was painting with her sixth-grade son, Malachi Robinson. “Because with art, there’s no wrong or right, there’s no pressure—you can follow her but there’s no pressure to.” She and Malachi each painted one side of the canvas so that the final piece showcased both their personalities—a simple cactus and a colorful flower. “I’m kind of simple, and she’s really exuberant when she paints,” said Malachi. Jen Hunt said the activity was a good exercise in teamwork for her daughters Danni, a third-grader, and Skyler, an eighth-grader. “I helped [Danni] a bit; I did the outline and she filled it in,” Hunt said. “[Skyler] did the detail work.” The Hunts also attended the midweek Skate Night at Classic Skating where Danni got to try out her new skates. Homer was pleased with the turnout to all the activities throughout the week. About 200 people attended Bingo Night where books, donated by the school library and Bingham Creek Library (just next door), were given as prizes. The Caceres family attended the dance party and the Bingo night. “I think it’s a great idea because all of

the family participated,” said Hugo Caceres. His two second-graders were thrilled to win books for their bingos. “It’s always good when the kids have prizes—they don’t need to be fancy, but just participating is fun. It is exciting to see their face when they win.” Brad Olson said Family Week provided simple, fun and cheap ways for him to spend time with his daughter, Zoey, a second-grader. “I work all day, she’s at school—it’s good for us to get out and do something different,” said Olson. Principal Leilani Brecht said Family Week is one of the many ways the PTA strengthens the school and community. “The PTA sees the school as something more than just a place to educate the kids but also sees it as a focal point for establishing a strong community that cares about each other,” said Brecht. Brecht said the community welcomed her warmly when she replaced Michelle Lovell as principal in January. “My very first day coming into this school I could feel the love and the welcoming open arms that are in this community,” she said. “It’s actually tangible. You come into the school and you feel it. You just know that you’ve come home.”

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West Jordan Middle students dig deep into novel for water well By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


2010 novel, “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park, is the catalyst for a multifaceted project for students at West Jordan Middle School. The book tells the story of the water crisis in Sudan, from two perspectives. One is that of a girl who can’t go to school because she has to gather water for her family from a faraway well each day. The other part of the story is told by Salva Dut, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who established Water for South Sudan, a nonprofit that drills water wells in Sudanese villages. Ninth-graders will be reading the novel, researching the water crisis and exploring African culture and art in preparation for a fundraising auction for Dut’s organization. “Through putting action behind our learning, I want my students to catch the lifelong learning bug and get addicted to learning, understanding and contributing to the world at large,” said Paige Wightman, a language arts teacher. “I wanted students to feel empowered through community (or in our case, global) service. They are a powerful source for good but need the context and education to know how to utilize that good to cause change.” After reading the novel and researching its setting, students will create a sample website that summarizes the novel and educates others about the water crisis. “The book is written at a fifth-grade level, so I’m doing a lot of additional things for them to understand and research,” said Wightman. “They will understand why it’s a water crisis in Africa and that there is something we can do to help.” In art classes, students will create African-inspired artwork to be sold at an auction to raise money for Water for South Sudan. The cost to drill one well in Sudan is $15,000. “We’re not expecting to raise $15,000,

Page 14 | April 2019

Students in beginning painting class are learning about the climate and wildlife of the African Savanna to create a watercolor silhouette of the landscape. (Cara Bailey/ WJMS)

but we are definitely telling them that that’s our goal,” said Wightman. The public is invited to the auction, which will be held in the West Jordan Middle School library on April 10, 6–8 p.m. Artwork will be for sale and donations will be accepted. Business owners are invited to match donations. Wightman reminds community members that attending the auction is also a good opportunity to see the school one last time before it is torn down and replaced by the new building. Last year’s ninth-graders did the same project and fundraiser. Their auction was successful, thanks to parents and teachers who ensured all the art pieces were purchased. This year, students would like to have more community involvement. Additional fundraising efforts include

specific nights at local restaurants that will donate a percentage of the night’s earnings to the charity. For more information, follow West Jordan Middle School on Facebook. The artwork being auctioned will showcase a variety of styles and techniques inspired by African art. There will be silhouettes of the African Savanna done in watercolors and Ivory Coast Adinkra symbols featured in oil pastels. Also for auction will be note cards featuring traditional Kente cloth design from Ghana created by carved lino stamps, sold in sets of five with envelopes. WJMS art teacher Cara Bailey believes exploring the art of different cultures helps students feel a connection with others. “When students learn about cultures outside their own, they gain a greater perspective on people and places that may be

very distant,” she said. It also helps students connect with their peers who are immigrants and refugees from other countries. “When we learn about the cultures those kids are coming from, there is a greater sense of acceptance and understanding,” said Bailey. Ultimately, the project will provide perspective for students. “I hope that my students come away with a greater appreciation for the things in their lives they typically take for granted such as access to clean water, a free education and a generally safe living environment,” said Bailey. “I also hope that my students come away inspired to create change when and where they can. I hope that they learn that even very small contributions can make a difference for real people.”

West Jordan City Journal



APRiL 2019

Paid for by the City of West Jordan

Comcast Cares Day May 4 mAKE A LAstinG DiFFEREnCE in oUR CommUnitY Make a lasting difference in our community during Comcast Cares Day Saturday, May 4. Join us as we spend the morning planting trees, spreading bark mulch, pulling weeds, cleaning flower beds and sprucing up the city. Volunteers can preregister for one of five project locations online. Volunteers will check in at the location they preregistered for from 7-8 a.m. where they will be divided into project groups and enjoy donuts, juice and receive a t-shirt (first come/first served). Projects run 8 a.m. until noon when volunteers regroup for lunch where pizza will be served. All ages are welcome to participate. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Please register at WestJordan.Utah.Gov/ Comcast-Cares-Day by April 19 so that we can plan projects, t-shirts and food. Projects take place rain or shine. Visit WestJordan.Utah.Gov or email volunteer@ westjordan.utah.gov or call 801-569-5160.

m AY o R ’ s m E s s A G E

Spring Cleanup and Legislature 2019 sPRinG CLEAnUP For many, springtime means spring cleaning and spring projects. And it’s no different for the city. Crews are repairing roads damaged by winter weather; preparing parks and sports fields for the season; and moving forward on many projects that have been in the planning phases waiting for warmer weather. One project I look forward to each spring is our community-wide cleanup. We are excited to partner with Comcast as a project location for their nationwide Comcast Cares Day, Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m.-noon. Comcast provides breakfast, lunch, t-shirts and a cash donation on behalf of each volunteer. I invite you and your family to join me as we work to beautify our community with city-wide projects. 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 volunteer@westjordan.utah.gov and submit the details of your beautification project. Please mark your calendar, spread the word and register in advance at WestJordan.Utah.gov so Comcast can provide enough t-shirts and meals.

LEGisLAtURE 2019

Utah Census 2020 – You Matter; Be Counted! The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government count everyone living in the country every 10 years. Census data help shape the future of our community and determine our representation in all levels of government. Residents of Salt Lake County and Utah benefit from nearly $5.7 billion in federal funds distributed each year to our state and local governments using information from the U.S. Census. These funds support our services and infrastructure, including health care, jobs, schools, roads and businesses. For the first time, the Census will be conducted mostly online. This means we’ll need extra help educating our citizens to ensure all residents are counted in Census 2020. For more information, visit SLCO.org/Census.

After 45 days of whirlwind activity, the 2019 state legislative session is over. As I attended this session, I couldn’t help but be reminded that we, the people, can actually make a difference in our government. Your elected officials and staff rallied together, joined with neighboring cities to amplify our voice and ultimately did just that – “make a difference.” There were many instances of proposed legislation that had the potential to eliminate or restrict the authority of cities to determine how they grow and govern. Our participation helped preserve our local authority and we will continue to work to preserve our rights as a city and your right to be represented at the local level. I spent countless hours working side-by-side with our senators and representatives on these issues, and I extend my deepest gratitude to them for all their support. I also want to thank our lobbyists, staff, City Council and the mayors from our neighboring cities for all of their contributions. As always, you can stop by City Hall every city council Wednesday (usually second and fourth) from 3-5 p.m. to “Meet the Mayor” and share your thoughts and concerns. Or email me at mayorsoffice@westjordan.utah.gov. Sincerely,

Jim Riding, Mayor



7800 South and New Bingham Highway Construction Update Last month, crews began work on the first phase of the project by closing down 7800 South from 4150 West to Airport Road. The road will stay closed through late July. Detour routes include Airport Road, 4800 West, Grizzly Way, and 5600 West. West Jordan’s Capital Project team is widening 7800 South and realigning New Bingham Highway between Airport Road and 4000 West this spring. The project will eliminate the confusing road split with New Bingham Highway, improve the capacity of the 7800 South and 4000 West intersection heading into Jordan Landing, and open eastbound 7800 South for continuous eastward access beyond Airport Road. The project is scheduled for completion in January 2020. Because construction schedules change due to weather and equipment, we invite you to sign up for construction emails by emailing construction@WestJordan.Utah.Gov. More information at WestJordan.Utah.Gov/Construction.

Green Waste Collection Begins April 1 West Jordan’s popular green waste collection begins the first week of April on your regular collection day and runs through 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 matured and ready for sale. The landfill also sells a variety of screened woodchips perfect for landscaping and curb appeal. “Both our compost and woodchips are available for residential purchase at affordable rates,” said Jill Fletcher, Trans-Jordan’s Public Education Coordinator. “The green-waste-to-compost program diverts usable material away from the landfill, while providing a local resourced product back to the residents of West Jordan.”

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. For more information, visit WestJordan.Utah.gov/garbageandrecycling or email publicworks@wjordan.com.


Safe, Clean & Dependable Water

Easter Egg Hunt 2019

It’s critical the city’s water supply is safe, clean and dependable so you can have confidence in your drinking water every time you turn on your faucet. In light of recent events where a water system in a neighboring city was contaminated, we have reviewed our processes, and wanted to reassure you that our city’s water supply meets all federal and state requirements.

This year’s West Jordan Easter Egg Hunt will take place at the Utah Youth Soccer Complex, 7965 South 4000 West Saturday, April 20 at 9 a.m. sharp. The hunt is for children ages 2-15 and is broken down into smaller age groups. In addition to candy, children who find a shiny, gold egg can redeem them for a prize afterward. The Easter Bunny will be there for pictures as well.

OUR WATER SOURCES About 85 percent of the city’s water supply comes from the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District (water sources include mountain reservoirs, springs, wells and other sources). The remaining 15 percent comes from city-owned ground water wells, which are used only during summer months to help meet high water demand.

FLUORIDATION In accordance with the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, JVWCD has been adding fluoride to your drinking water since October 2003. The amount added combines with the naturally occurring fluoride in your water to provide a concentration level of about 0.7 mg/l at your tap. This regulation is the result of a majority vote of Salt Lake County residents. It is intended “to promote public health through the protection and maintenance of dental health” (SLVHD, Reg. #33). Chlorine is also added as required by the State of Utah.

WATER TESTING To make sure your water is safe, the Water Department takes more than 100 routine bacteriological samples and nine fluoride samples twice each month. They test to make sure the levels for chlorine and disinfectant byproducts are safe, they look for bacteria and viruses, and monitor natural contaminants like lead and copper. If a test indicates a potential problem, additional testing takes place to pinpoint or rule out the problem. We have a specific protocol in place, which includes notifying JVWCD, the State Division of Drinking Water and the Salt Lake County Health Department to ensure the public is protected. The Water Department also publishes an annual water quality report each year which includes sample results from the previous year. The report is mailed to all our water customers and also posted on our website.

EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION In the event our water system was contaminated, we would use every communication method we have to spread the word to those impacted, including the city website WestJordan.Utah.Gov, West Jordan City Hall Facebook page, email notifications, news media, door-to-door notification of affected residents, and the 911 Callback system. If you have not registered your cell phone for emergency phone notifications, please take a minute to do so. You can learn more by visiting WestJordan.Utah.gov/Emergency-Communications. The City of West Jordan is committed to delivering quality water and service. Questions? Please email Public.Works@WestJordan.Utah.Gov or call 801-569-5700.

FREE Certified Compost at the Trans-Jordan Landfill In recognition of Earth Day and Trans-Jordan’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, the Trans-Jordan Landfill is offering Certified Compost FREE of CHARGE to West Jordan residents on Saturday, April 20 and Monday, April 22 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. While supplies last! They will load your truck or trailer. Residents and businesses welcome. The Landfill is located at 10473 S. Bacchus HWY South Jordan. For more Information please visit www.transjordan.org

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: Seasonal Parks, Police Officer, Police Records Technician, and Utility Maintenance Technician View job descriptions and apply online at WestJordan.Utah.Gov.







CitY PARKs oPEn FoR tHE sEAson





mAYoR’s oPEn oFFiCE HoURs

CitY CoUnCiL mEEtinG

City Hall Mayor’s Office 8000 S Redwood Rd 3-5 p.m.

City Hall Council Chambers 8000 S. Redwood Rd. 5:30 p.m.





PLAnninG Commission




4-12 Pioneer Hall, 1137 W 7800 S Nightly except Sun., 7:30 p.m.


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




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




West Jordan Soccer Complex 7965 S 4000 West 9 a.m.

Pioneer Hall, 1137 W 7800 S April 18, 19, 22, 24, 25 & 26, 7 p.m.




mAYoR’s oPEn oFFiCE HoURs

CitY CoUnCiL mEEtinG

City Hall Mayor’s Office 8000 S Redwood Rd 3-5 p.m.

City Hall Council Chambers 8000 S. Redwood Rd. 5:30 p.m.

moUntAin WEst CHoRALE AnnUAL CHoiR inVitAtionAL




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

Herriman High School 8136 S 2700 West 7 p.m., Free admission

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

Recent legislation finally makes amends to fire and police retirement slash By Erin Dixon | erin@mycityjournals.com

Senate bill (SB) 189 finally bandages the open wound left in 2011 (bill was passed in 2010, implemented in 2011) when an overhaul to state employee retirement left first responders with a weak retirement plan. West Jordan Police Chief Ken Wallentine was not happy with the changes at the time and has struggled since then with recruitment and retention of good officers. Previously an officer was only required to work 20 years before being eligible for receiving a 50 percent pension. That was modified to 25 years in 2011 and the percentage decreased to just over 37 percent. “[U]nlike every other public employee our retirement was slashed. And I don’t know about firefighters, but I can tell you that around in the surrounding states, it is nearly twice the retirement for a 25 year officer when they leave,” Wallentine said. West Jordan Fire Chief Derek Maxfield further defined the changes and their impact. “The retirement system was changed from the pension plan before to a hybrid plan that allowed for defined contribution or defined benefit,” he explained. “And the defined benefit, if someone chose to go that route, the percentages for the years worked were much less than they were before….[I]f someone chose a defined contribution like a 401k... it became really easy to take that money and

transfer to somewhere else.” On March 14, 2019, state legislators finally amended the loss with SB 129. However, the effects will not be seen until 2020. “The legislation has a delayed implementation date of one year,” Wallentine said. “In one year, the retirement benefit changes from 37.5 percent at 25 years to 50 percent at 25 years. The delayed implementation was necessary to reach a deal. During that year, the Utah Retirement System will study the additional costs and benefits. “Sen. (Wayne) Harper’s SB 129 Sub 3 Tier II Retirement Enhancements bill passed in both the House and the Senate. At the end of the day, only two Representatives maintained their opposition to the final vote.” The debate on the legislature floor was heated. West Jordan City Attorney Rob Wall described the displeasure of lawmakers, not to the current bill but to the previous change in 2011 that was supposed to be beneficial, not detrimental. “During the debate on the floor….a representative said that the cities reneged on their commitment when the percentages of contributions were lowered to what they are now,” Wall said. “This is the allegation, that the cities would take that money ...and rais[e] salaries of police officers. And in fact that didn’t happen in most cities. There’s quite a bit of rancor to

the cities.” Wallentine confirmed the change in 2011 was upsetting for many. “There were promises made that were swept out the door right after the promises were made,” he said. “We intended to see significant increases in firefighter and police wages. The intent was that those firefighters and police officers would drive forward their retirement in private funds. They would manage and that someday we would have so much time to be financial wizards that we’d have a great retirement. It was fallacious then and it’s fallacious now.” For the years in between, the poor retirement made recruiting and retention of good officers and firefighters more difficult. Before 2011 there were long lines of applicants for police and fire positions. “If you were to look back historically when we put out opportunities to test and put out positions, we used to have hundreds of applicants,” Maxfield said. “Now in many cases we’re lucky to get 100 to apply. And of those applicants many are eliminated because they don’t meet the requirements or due to other factors like background checks. It’s become difficult.” Money can be a serious draw for qualified individuals. When trained officers and firefighters do not stay, the problems trickle

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down from the offices to the community. “We continue to have very astute young people that come to this profession, that aren’t staying,” Wallentine said. “They’ve developed the judgement skills, they’ve had their knuckles bruised, they’ve learned to quite bluntly use their hearts and their tongues instead of their commands and their fists, when they’ve become really valuable to this community, that’s when they say ‘Hey, I’ve built some skills, and I think I’ll go do real estate, or I’ll go do some other business, and I’m going to make a lot of money.. That’s when we lose them.” “As a guy who five years into my career was shot and had to call a paramedic, I was very grateful to have my hole plugged by a 20year paramedic that instantly knew what to do with a hole that was leaking blood and sucking in air. With all due respect, I hope you can send me the 20-year (paramedic) if I get shot again and not the two-year who figures out he can go and make money elsewhere.” The future is unclear, but Wallentine is grateful for a small step in the right direction for first responders. “Legislative leadership required that the various groups commit to not seek additional retirement legislation in the next year,” Wallentine said. “Frankly, it is time to pause and carefully consider the needs of other public employees.”


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WestJordanJournal .com

April 2019 | Page 19

Schools celebrate reading: Some with Seuss, some with juice, some with books and wacky looks By Jennifer J. Johnson | J.Johnson@mycityjournals.com

Westland Elementary families enjoy “Juice with Seuss” as student council members pass out juice and doughnuts. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

During the well-attended morning activity, Westland Elementary families enjoy video readings of Dr. Seuss classics. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

West Jordan Mayor Jim Riding reads Dr. Seuss stories to students at Heartland Elementary. (Krystine Edwards/Heartland Elementary)

Community readers visit Heartland Elementary to share their favorite Dr. Seuss books. (Krystine Edwards/ Heartland Elementary)

West Jordan Elementary Principal Jennifer Ludlow and instructional coaches Amy Allen and Angie Hamilton (otherwise known as Thing 1 and Thing 2) read to Jamie Atkins’ first-grade class. Students also dressed up for themed days throughout the week with crazy socks and hats, and even wore wacky clothes inside-out and backward for Wacky Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lundlow)

Families enjoy a hot dog dinner at Westvale Elementary’s Literacy Night. (April Gaydosh/Westvale Elementary)

Westvale students got into character and into reading at Literacy Night. (April Gaydosh/Westvale Elementary)

Books at Westvale’s book exchange piqued the interest of young readers. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

At Westvale Elementary’s Literacy Night, each student received three new books and a list of tips and activities to engage in the stories. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Westvale students brought books to exchange for new adventures in reading. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Students from Columbia Elementary practice scenes from “Seussical the Musical” for their performance March 26–28. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

WestJordanJournal .com

April 2019 | Page 21

Yo Ho, what a show! Jim Bridger Elementary students learn how to be a pirate (and an actor) By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


tudents from Jim Bridger Elementary put on their eye patches and a scallywag swagger to become pirates in the Feb. 28 performance of “How to Be a Pirate in Seven Easy Songs,” written by Greg Gilpin. The cast, comprised 38 fourth-, fifthand sixth-graders, was an enthusiastic crew, performing their dialogue in gruff voices, with plenty of fishy insults and exclamations of throaty “argh”s. The audience watched as a young landlubber learned how to be a pirate: how to loosen-up on diction and grammar and how to look the part with ragged pants, a hat and a well-placed scarf. Students sang songs such as “Raise the Jolly Roger,” expressing pride in being part of a crew and “Pirates All Are We” about the friendship of shipmates. The crew celebrated their treasure with “Lovely Loot” and ended its voyage with a dance party to “Party Me Hearty!” Jim Bridger Elementary students have been performing annual plays for more than 15 years. Jim Bridger Elementary’s cast of “How to Be a Pirate in Seven Easy Songs”. (Photo courtesy Kristie Giles) “I choose musicals to allow students

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West Jordan City Journal

the opportunity to shine in something that isn’t tested,” said Kristie Giles, director and fifth-grade teacher. “When we produce a musical, these kids have a moment to show what they can do without having a test hanging over them. They are able to use their creativity to help choreograph and design the sets. Not every life skill is something to be tested.” Giles gave her crew of actors simple advice to ensure a good performance. “I just told them, ‘Grandma’s at the back of the room, and her hearing aides are off, and you have to talk loud enough to get grandma to hear you,’” said Giles. She also encouraged the students to sing enthusiastically by pointing out that this would be the first time the audience would be hearing these songs. “You have to act as if it’s your favorite song and it’s the first time you’ve ever sung it,” Giles told them. In true swashbuckling style, the choreography was big and dynamic. There was a lot of movement on stage during the 35-minute production, but it was up to the actors to decide where and how to move. “You just went wherever—you just changed to a whole new spot,” said Bralynne Murphy, a fifth-grade pirate. Students learned to be spatially aware, making minor adjustments to avoid blocking another actor or clumping together. To learn how to stage this spontaneous

scene setup, the cast played games such as “Stand up, Sit down, Bend over” in which they had to quickly adjust their position to one different than the other two members of their group. This method of varying positions and postures created visually interesting scenes. Music, lights, curtains and set movement was also done exclusively by students. “When kids have the opportunity to take responsibility during the play, they own the show,” said Giles. “They are determined to do their best. They live up to the expectations that I as a director put upon them. They make the play better because they own the play.” Students were given autonomy for their costumes as well. Blade Mortenson, a fifth-grader, cut zig-zags in his pant legs and used accessories from old Halloween costumes. Blade said he enjoys acting, despite the many rehearsals. “You get to sing songs and make new friends,” he said. Blade said the teachers who helped with the play—Jennifer Johnson, Jenna Throop and Julie Evans, as well as Giles— helped students focus on being in character as jolly pirates. “The teachers really inspired us to be enthusiastic,” he said. Blade’s mom, Melissa Mortenson, has been impressed with the staff and the op-

The enthusiastic pirate crew teaches a young lad how to be a pirate. (Photo courtesy Kristie Giles)

portunities—such as the annual play—the school provides. “They have some pretty awesome teachers who give a lot of their time,” she said. Giles said she directs the school play because it is important for kids to have this kind of opportunity. “Isn’t it awesome to see kids excel and be excited about something they are doing in their lives that is positive?” she said. “It is for those moments, when the kids are bursting with excitement to show what they

have been working on, that I do this.” Evans, fifth-grade teacher and the rehearsal pianist, values her time with the students during the three months of rehearsals. “I loved seeing several of them really blossom,” she said. “There were a few students who struggle academically, behaviorally and/or socially, and the play gave them the opportunity to find success. I was surprised by their performance, not only on stage but off stage.”

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West Jordan Middle wins first in We the People competition By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com Civically active and knowledgeable West Jordan Middle School eighth-graders proved they are experts on the United States Constitution when they won First Place at the State “We the People” competition this February. “It’s not cliche when we say they know more [about the Constitution] than most of the general public,” said social studies teacher William Shields, who coached the 26 WJMS students who competed. Eighth-graders spent three months researching, learning, digesting and mastering material related to the Constitution, said Shields. Six teams were chosen to compete in state, each tackling a different topic. Each team member wrote, memorized and presented a part of their team’s four-minute speech. Then they had six minutes to answer seven questions asked by a panel of judges comprised of members from federal and state courts, corporate lawyers, law and history professors, and community leaders. Alyson McDougal’s team presented on rights and responsibilities of citizens. “When we researched our topic, it taught us that participating in government isn’t being a government official,” she said. “It’s voting; it’s giving your own opinion—even going and doing service in a park is participating in government.” Students recognized their topics—due

West Jordan Middle eighth-graders win the state We the People competition. (Photo courtesy William Shields)

process, judicial review, citizen responsibil- a lot about her topic of due process through going on right now in that very moment was ities, roles and responsibilities of govern- research, she gained a greater understanding just kind of something that definitely help me learn, and I just realized a lot more,” she said. by watching the daily news. ment—playing out in the news. Abigail Rose Hartle became an expert “Having something to relate it to that’s Kimberley Lopez said while she learned

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West Jordan City Journal

on the Fifth and 14th Amendments. She feels prepared to be able to defend and protect her rights now that she understands them. She enjoys discussions and debates with her teammates about current issues and even feels confident in her knowledge to be able to debate with her dad. Taylor Olson said his experience has given him something to contribute to feel a part of adult discussions of current events. “You feel a connection with adults, talking politically,” he said. James Hall said most adults don’t expect teens to be so knowledgeable about government topics. “Even though we’re not 18, we still have an opinion,” he said. Preparing for the competition required a huge amount of work and dedication from both students and teachers. The language arts and social studies departments collaborated to support students in their research, writing and public speaking. “It’s one of the best opportunities to civic education ingrained within the core that requires a high level of rigor but it also ends up being a high level of reward,” said Shields. Pam Su’a, social studies consultant at Jordan District, said very few schools can dedicate the time it takes to participate in the We the People program. WJMS is the only middle school that participates, and, though other high schools have participated in previous years, West Jordan High School is the only one participating this year. Su’a introduced the program at WJMS when she taught there in 2000. Now the We the People legacy is embedded within the school culture, Shields said. Ideally, Shields would like to see students exposed to more civic education than just an American History class every few years. Because WJMS students delve deeply into content and are passionate about it, Shields adapted a high school course curriculum to develop an American Problems/ American Studies class for ninth-graders at WJMS, the only middle school to offer it.

It is a 19 year tradition for West Jordan Middle School to participate in the We The People competition. (Photo courtesy William Shields)

Shields hopes his students use their experience to continue to be active citizens. “You don’t have to run for office or be a part of some gigantic thing that we sometimes make the government out to be, but connecting with individuals, talking with neighbors, knowing the issues, being informed of current events and ultimately being civil in your discussions,” he said. Taylor plans to continue discussing and debating the


issues. “I know over time, I won’t have my speech memorized, but I still have those bits and pieces,” he said. Abigail feels a responsibility to stay civically active. “We’re going to be the people in the adults’ positions sooner rather than later so we have to be educated about this kind of stuff,” she said.

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April 2019 | Page 25


Attorney Stephen J. Buhler 3540 S. 4000 West, West Valley

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the Salt Lake City law firm where he had worked as an associate attorney to open his own office. “I live on the westside,” he said, “and I know people don’t always want to drive downtown.” Buhler also realized that the westside communities were underserved with respect to quality legal advice and representation. “Many lawyers offer a free consultation. But I want to be helpful whether you hire me or not. One thing I will never do is make your case sound better than it is just so I can get your money. I will tell you the truth about how I see your case, the good and the bad, and help you make the best decisions possible going forward,” Buhler said. Experience matters Over his 25 years practicing law Buhler has helped thousands of people understand their legal rights, the legal process, and how Stephen J. Buhler, attorney at law, helps westside to obtain the best legal solutions available clients with a better understanding of the law, speto them. cifically in estate planning and family law. (Photo Buhler sums up his business philosocourtesy Stephen Buhler) phy, “If you have a legal question, a legal In 1998, attorney Steve Buhler left problem to solve, or are wanting to do some

advance legal planning, call me. I will do my best to help you. I understand that every question, every case and every plan is important. I will listen to you, do my best to understand your issue, and give you valuable legal advice and representation,” he said. Buhler strives to educate and help. “I want everyone who comes and meets with me to leave a little happier and more confident, with a better understanding of the law than they had when they first came in,” Buhler said. Buhler focuses on estate planning (wills and trusts), probate (inheritance), and family law including divorce, paternity, adoption, name change, premarital agreements and guardianship. Since relocating his law practice to West Valley City, Buhler has immersed himself in community service including serving on the board of directors of the chamber of commerce (chamberwest.com), chairing the nonprofit after-school program provider Community Education Partnership of West

“Many lawyers offer a free consultation. But I want to be helpful whether you hire me or not.” Stephen J. Buhler

Valley City (cwp4kids.org), and serving in local government. His office is conveniently located one block west of Bangerter Highway in the Harmon Building, 3540 S. 4000 West, Suite 245. It is from that office that Buhler has proudly provided quality legal services for 21 years. More information about the practice and Steve Buhler’s awards and recognitions can be found on his website, www.4utahlaw. com. To schedule an appointment or to talk to Steve Buhler over the phone, call his office at (801) 964-6901. l

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West Jordan City Journal

REAL Salt Lake’s goal to support Utah teachers By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com It was just like Christmas morning for teachers in Jordan District. A total of 978 elementary school teachers received a box full of items from their classroom supply wish list. REAL Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen donated $283,700 to fund the teachers’ wish lists through the Jordan Education Fund (JEF). Hansen has given over $30 million to education in the last 20 years and wanted a way to directly support teachers, said Mary Van Minde, RSL director of community relations and executive director of the RSL Foundation. “He knows with these young learners today, there’s so many distractions—bells and whistles—that teachers deserve the best tools to teach these kids,” said Van Minde. The funding was set up as a grant with little paperwork or red tape to navigate. Working with JEF, RSL was able to provide requested items with a quick turnaround time. “We decided to do this in January, and here we are with the supplies in the teachers’ hands in February,” said Van Minde. Every teacher received $250 to purchase items that may have taken years for them to acquire on their own. They purchased items such as puppets, ukuleles, butterflies, PE equipment, flat screen TVs and books. Teachers at Oquirrh Elementary opened the boxes containing their gifts in front of their students. Ariana Miskin’s second-graders shrieked with glee as she showed them the Chutes and Ladders, Candyland and Connect 4 board games that would be added to their classroom shelves.

Fifth-graders found bean bags in the two large boxes that arrived in Kristen Dutcher’s classroom. Ron Kelly used his grant to invest in magnetic tiles and building sets for his firstgrade classroom. “I wanted them to be able to allow the children to see an object and build it both in the two- and three-dimension form,” said Kelly. “We study three-dimensional shapes in class, and the kids have no way to explore and see it visually.” Kelly has been wanting to buy tiles and blocks like this for the past three years. “The biggest difficulty of purchasing them was the fact that they were not books or more curriculum-oriented,” he said. “Because the grant was so flexible, I was able to take advantage of this opportunity.” One classroom received an erosion table; another received materials to enrich the life of their class pet, a hermit crab. Every teacher at Oquirrh Elementary took advantage of the grant, which totaled $10,534 in supplies for 34 teachers. All schools in Alpine, Jordan and Canyons school districts were invited to apply for the grant, which would enrich the learning of 92,000 Utah students, said Van Minde. Students at Terra Linda Elementary are already huge soccer fans. They receive soccer skills clinics through a partnership with 7 Elite Soccer Academy. They enthusiastically welcomed RSL to their school twice. Kyle Schroeder, director of community relations for RSL, Utah Royals and Real Monarchs,

announced the grant at an assembly in January and came back again in March with professional soccer players who handed out team T-shirts, advice, and free tickets to an RSL game. Many teachers at Terra Linda used their grant money to replace and restock classroom supplies. Melanie Nixon’s $250 was spent to replace worn-out white boards which she had originally purchased with her own money at the beginning of her teaching career. She also invested in privacy offices, which she said are very expensive. She hopes these materials will improve the classroom environment for her fifth-graders. “I’m just trying to increase engagement and focus in my classroom,” she said. Kaylyn Mueske inherited broken and incomplete science supplies when she started teaching at Terra Linda. Her grant money purchased magnets, copper wiring and other items for conducting experiments. “We have some pretty awesome science units that we just didn’t have the materials to do the experiments and things we wanted to do,” she said. “It was a great opportunity to restock those supplies.” Terra Linda Principal Karen Gorringe said 100 percent of her teachers applied for the grant to bring $7,000 worth of new supplies into the school. “It’s made a huge difference,” she said. “I’ve seen tons of smiles this spring on teachers’ faces.”

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A season for the record books By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com


he final seconds clicked off the clock of the high school girls basketball championship game, and despite Copper Hills finishing on the losing side, they engineered a season better than any other Grizzly team. “I have nothing but pride in this group of girls and what they accomplished,” Grizzlies head coach Ben Morley said. “If you measure every team by whether or not they win a state championship, that makes for a lot of unsuccessful, sad teams. The girls wanted to win more than anything, but we as coaches will remind them of what they have accomplished.” The team achieved a third-straight semifinals visit and its first finals appearance in school history. Its 23-3 overall record tied the 2015–16 team for most wins a season. Bingham defeated the Grizzlies in the championship game 46-41. Copper Hills trailed from the beginning and remained scoreless until 3:45 remained in the first period. The Grizzlies trailed 11-3 at the end of the first period. “The beginning of the game and second half made the difference in this game,” Morley said. “We allowed them to start faster than we did. We battled back and were just a couple of shots from taking the lead. They made a run and forced us to play in catch-up mode and scramble. That was the key.” Copper Hills clawed to within three points with 23 seconds remaining, but the Miners sank game-ending free throws to secure the victory, “Today our defense was really good, but offensively we never really found our stride,” Morley said. Junior Elayana Tafisi paced the Grizzlies with 14 points, and senior Breaunna Gillen added 12 in the loss. Scoring was the strength of the team throughout the season. They netted 1,658 points this season to lead the Utah High School Activities Association 6A classification, nearly 300 points more than the second-highest team. “Throughout the season, it was our scoring that made us who we were,” Morley said. “As the season progressed, we got better and better defensively.” Gillen, a Dixie State University signee, averaged 18 points lead the team. Tafisi pitched in 14.8, and Lenisi Fineanganofo scored 10.6 per game. “We have several girls that will have opportunities to play after high school,” Morley

Senior Joey Lealaitafea showed her emotions during introductions to the state championship game. (Greg James/City Journals)


The level of talent is not the only reason Copper Hills players will have opportunities to continue their academic careers. Four Grizzlies were awarded the UHSAA Academic AllState award: Kaiya Barker, Emily Larsen, Joey Lealaitafea and Gillen. The award is given to high school seniors who play significant roles on their team and maintain high academic standards throughout their high school careers. “I wish people could see beyond the basketball identity of these girls,” Morley said. “Because when you have a chance to be with them and see what amazing young women they are, that is what makes this team special. I have been coaching long enough to know what a great group of players looks like. I most proud of the quality of these girls.” This was the Grizzlies’ fourth straight region championship. “It is an honor to be around this great group of girls,” Morley said. “I share in their successes, and my heart breaks when we fail. At the end of the day, it is about relationships. As a team, we will not ever be able to play a game together again. The end of the season is sad.”

Breaunna Gillen led the Grizzlies in scoring this season averaging nearly 18 points per game. (Greg James/City Journals)

Page 28 | April 2019

West Jordan City Journal

USA wrestling holds fourth girls state championship By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

At a recent Granite School District junior high wrestling meet several girls, like Angie Magana, competed in coed wrestling matches. (Greg James/City Journals)


irls wrestling is catching on around the state. The fourth annual girls state championship was held Feb. 2 at Telos High School in Orem where Kearns High School went home with a state title. “It is awesome to do something that other girls don’t; it feels really cool,” Kearns sophomore Saibyn Newell said. “Most girls are scared of this, but I am just a wrestler. My coaches cheer for me just like any other wrestler—no special treatment or anything.” As a non-sanctioned sport, the Utah

High School Activities Association does not oversee girls wrestling. The athletes participate on coed teams throughout their high school seasons. This is the fourth season USA wrestling has sponsored the girls-only event. “It is cool to wrestle,” Newell said. “I started in eighth grade. My older brother wrestled and so did my brother-in-law. I just got interested. It has been a sport in our family, so I thought I would try it.” Sage Mortimer, from ALA High School in Spanish Fork, made history by becoming

the first girl to place at a men’s Greco-Roman junior wrestling nationals. She placed seventh overall in the 100-pound division. At the girls wrestling state championship, 78 girls participated from 30 schools. Cyprus brought nine athletes, Granger two and Kearns four. Taylorsville, Riverton and Hunter had one. “I wish I could have done better,” Newell said. “I can see places that I can get better and better. I have seen what Sage has been able to do, and I look up to that.” Newell has the encouragement of her family and coaches. “I have encouraged her to do the things she wants,” Newell’s mother Jamie said. “How many times in my life have I said, ‘When I was in high school?’ I want my kids to do it all, get the experience and like it. I don’t want her to regret her time.” Newell said she’s had some success wrestling against boys, even though there is a difference in strength. “They are naturally stronger than me, but it is not weird for me to wrestle a guy,” Newell said. “I have won a few matches against the guys.” Her mother agreed the pressure is on the guys. “I think some guys are threatened,” Jamie Newell said. “They think they had better


win or they think they just lost to a girl, not another wrestler. Change is a constant in this world. We need to encourage them as wrestlers not just boys and girls. Wrestling is good to teach them to take care of their bodies and health, too.” Hunter freshman Neida Valle just finished her first season on the mat. She was the only girl from her school at the state tournament. She did not place in the event. “I came in the first day and knew it was hard work,” she said. “I liked it, but wrestling boys is hard. They can always out-muscle girls. I just need to learn better technique. I think girls wrestling is growing, and I would like to talk to the younger girls and tell them to keep it up. It teaches you about life and hard work.” High school coaches are learning how to be effective with their changing teams. “I don’t think it was different to coach the girls,” first-year Kearns wrestling head coach Antonio Miekel said. “I tried to treat them the same as the rest of the team as much as I could. I think they got more support than the guys on our team. There are a lot of life lessons you can take away from the sport. I would not be where I am today without wrestling. Guy or girl, the kids should come give it a try.”

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he due date for taxes is quickly approaching. The Internal Revenue Service wants all taxes filed by April 15. As many are still trying to file their taxes, either with a consultant or at home with online services, the question bouncing around in frontal lobes is: how can I maximize my tax return? Hopefully, you should have already prepared for this. Sometime last year, you should have ensured your W-4 was correct, checking that it was set to withhold the right amount. A common mistake professionals in the tax industry see is not withholding enough during the year; making it so you’re paying money back to the IRS in spring, instead of receiving money in return. So, if you haven’t checked up on the withholding amount prescribed in your W-4 for a while, now would be a good time to do so. One of the most effective ways to maximize your tax return is to claim dependents. In other words, have some minis. For tax purposes, the more children the better. However, if you’re not the paternal type, you might be able to claim your spouse, parent, or friend as dependent, depending on the situation, and the necessary evidence. Those dependents will probably need some shelter. Another way to maximize your return is to buy a house. Mortgage insurance is deductible! In fact, there are many items that are deductible including: charitable donations, med-

ical costs, prepaid interest, and education expenses. Remember when that clerk asked you if you wanted to round up your total to the next whole dollar, so the change could be donated to charity? Find that receipt. Even those small donations can be deducted. (I’ll be dumping out my shoebox of receipts all over my house, anyone else?) Go back to school! Refundable education credits can deduct up to $4,000 from tax liability. Additionally, families can deduct up to $2,500 on student loan interest. (That may not make up for rising tuition prices, but right now we’re only focused on maximizing that return!) That “credit” word. Pay attention to those. Tax credits subtract directly from your tax bill, while tax deductions reduce your tax bill in proportion to your tax rate: they lower the amount of income the IRS can tax. In other words, tax credits are independent. While you (and your recommended tax professional or software) are weighing out the credits and deductions, you might weigh standard tax deduction and itemized tax deductions as well. It may be the case that itemizing your deductions can help you get a bigger refund. Keep banking on that retirement. If you’re contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k) or/and an IRA, that can help reduce your taxable income, maximizing your refund in return.


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West Jordan City Journal

Life and Laughter—Hang me out to dry



Laughter AND




fter happily drying our clothes for a decade, our dryer hit its tweenage years and started giving us the silent treatment. It would only work when we said magic words or used pliers to wrangle it into submission. I wasn’t ready to plop down several hundred bucks for a new dryer, so I suggested we string a clothesline in the backyard for fresh, sunny, natural drying. But with all the snow and the rain and the wind and the snow and the snow, I finally gave in. One weekend, the hubbie and I got in the car, girded our loins (I think that means we buckled our seat belts) and drove to the gargantuan furniture/appliance store where we were immediately attacked by suit-coated salespeople. They swarmed from everywhere. I thought, at first, they were zombies and impaled a couple of them with the leg of a kitchen chair before I realized my (understandable) mistake. One of them valiantly latched onto us, and the rest of them staggered back into the bowels of the store. Our salesperson/creature had mainlined 17 Dr. Peppers and hopped around us like a crazy ding-dong until we reached the appliance center. There were washers and dryers as far as the eye could see, which isn’t far because I’m pretty nearsighted. But trust me, there was a huge dryer selection. Mr. SalesCreature launched into his spiel. “I want you to have the dryer that your future washer will adore. Not the washer you have now, but the one you’ll want in two years.”



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April 2019 | Vol. 19 Iss. 04


DRILL WINS SEVENTH STRAIGHT TITLE By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

Its seventh title came down to its final performance of the season, the Azurettes kick routine elevated them to the championship. (Photo courtesy Carolyn Nope)


he grand finale capped off a championship career and season for the Copper Hills Azurettes. With her team celebrating around her, Azurettes’ head coach Shannon Mortensen announced it was over. “I am out. It is my last year, and I enjoyed it with all of my heart,” she said. The 2019 season finished with the teams seventh straight drill championship, a feat only equaled by Bountiful. This season’s championship seemed in peril early on. The Azurettes finished in second place behind the Bingham Minerettes in the Military category. The final tally showed the difference was miniscule. The Copper Hills routine military routine featured new, never-tried choreography. Military routines are judged on maneuvers, arm and leg movements, and athleticism. “Hard work, constantly thinking outside the box, and being willing to try new things and innovate made us the team we are,” Mortenson said. At one point in the military routine, several team mem-

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bers formed a circle in the center of the floor, bent over at the waist and two dancers ran across their backs. The routine drew a boisterous response from the crowd. The judges’ sheet for the dance routines emphasize jumps, turns, athleticism and transitions. The more participants that complete the skills equal more points for its team. The Azurette dance routine came from the Bonnie Tyler hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” from the platinum album released in 1983. The routine featured an aerial section that elicited a huge roar from the fans in attendance. In succession every girl landed the stunt. When the dance results were announced, Bingham and Copper Hills swapped positions, a virtual tie existed in the standings. The final results rested completely on the team’s final event. As the kick routine scores were announced, each team stood anxiously waiting. Bingham placed third and Copper Hills first to earn them their seventh straight title. “This was so amazing,” team captain Regan Reeves said.

“We have worked so hard.” Its final number include excerpts from the fortnite floss and several styles of kick routines, including sidekicks and a boxing style kick from the performers’ knees. The kick routines are judged on the variety of kicks, formations and the athleticism of the performers. Bingham finished second, Layton third and Pleasant Grove fourth. Copper Hills captured the Region 3 title as well as the championships at the Salt Lake Valley Classic and Rocky Mountain Invitational. “It’s hard to put into words the impact Shannon has had on my daughter, Ashley,” Carolyn Nope said. “She has learned so many life lessons from her that have shaped her into the pperson she is today. She taught her to commit to what she wants, work hard for it, don’t quit and never apologize for success. We could not ask for a better role model for our daughter.”

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West Jordan Journal April 2019  

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