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August 2018 | Vol. 18 Iss. 08

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property rezone was back on the table after its denial 18 months ago. The first time it was presented to the city council, it came with a lot of resident distaste as well as a negative recommendation from the planning commission. In June 2018, the empty lot on 8157 South Mapleleaf Way was rezoned from very low residential that required a 20,000-square-foot minimum to medium residential that now only requires 10,000-square-foot minimum lots. The new zoning allows for approximately 80 new residences. Resident Sherry Burton has lived on an adjacent street to the rezoned plot for 25 years. “The planning committee staff report states that this rezone will not adversely affect adjacent properties and that no significant traffic impact is anticipated,” Burton said. “We challenge West Jordan has seen a great deal of new home construction in the past decade. (pixabay) that. On page 11 of their study, they cite daily trips in that area will be 838. Now how can you approved it in a vote 4-3. reasonably say that’s not going to affect us if we Changes in the rezone proposal have 800 now?” From the first proposal in October 2016, the Several residents that gave public comment developer made one major change because of in 2016 again attended city council to give the resident comment. Originally, the plan included same statement: “We don’t think this rezone is a road that would lead from the new developa good idea for safety or preserving of our way ment lots to very low-density, farm-like plots. of life.” This year, the planning commission was Current homeowners were concerned that benow in favor of the rezone, and the city council cause of this joining road, traffic would increase

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

to an unsafe level. The low-density streets do not have sidewalks, and, according to residents, cars already drive through well over the speed limit. This connecting road and bridge over the canal was removed from the June 2018 proposal, so the development will no longer connect to the low-density area but to the medium-density zones to the north and south of it. Community Development Director Scott Langford further explained what happened in the 18 months since the initial proposal. The developer also conducted a traffic study after hearing the concerns of the adjacent neighborhoods. “A traffic study is not normally part of a rezone application, but the developer knew that it was part of the issue, so they performed one as part of the application,” Langford said. It was repeatedly stated the decision was simply a rezone, not confirming the number of homes nor a solution for the traffic problem in the area. Future plans for the development City Manager David Brickey addressed the concern about a road being built in the future, even though it was removed from the current proposal. Residents spoke of little trust of developers and that they would Continued on page 5...



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

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By Amy Green |


hen the words “house concert” are mentioned, one might think of a party thrown by high school kids (without permission) while homeowners are gone for the weekend. A sketchy rockfest, with neighbors complaining, and the Five-0 showing up to lay down the what for, to the wild and noisy. There’s a calmer type of house concert happening locally, law-enforcement free, and not so risky—a storytelling party. These are lowkey and usually targeted to teens and adults. It’s not just for mean girls and hot guys—everyone is welcome and invited. The concerts are relaxed with refreshments after, organized by Story Crossroads, people who do events that have no awkward, exclusive or destructive end. Story Crossroads brings professional storytellers to Utah each year for performances and events. In addition to larger festivals, the group arranges a monthly house concert fundraising series to offer arts year round and to bolster funds to bring storytellers to the stage. This ongoing series helps keep the Story Crossroads Festival going strong, and it’s done at neighborhood homes all along the Wasatch Front. On June 30, Cherie Davis brought a patriotic style of storytelling to West Jordan for an evening of fundraising and entertaining. She recounted a true story of Deborah Sampson, a woman who enlisted to fight in the Revolutionary War, as a man. Davis has a talent for narrating and doing first-person dialogue. She performed in the backyard of host-couple Lorna and Danny Young, who offered up their outdoor terrace for two hours of relaxing entertainment. The Youngs’ backyard had chirping birds and evening sunlight through shade trees. The distant crack of fireworks heard around the neighborhood was perfect ambiance for Davis’s story of gunfire, pre-industry and duplicity. Bob Davis accompanied with guitar, and Teresa Winkler on flute, added a time-hopping melody to parts of the story. Audience member Julie Kemp complimented Davis saying, “She did an excellent job. It was also educational. I liked having the music added. That made a difference with the feeling of authenticity.” Signing up to host is an option for anyone

Cherie Davis brought a patriotic style of storytelling to West Jordan, for an evening of fundraising and entertaining. (Amy Green/City Journals)

interested in bringing storytelling to a space. The website has information on hosting guidelines, and a list of currently scheduled events. House concerts can stretch from North Ogden to Payson. Cherie Davis is proof that one doesn’t need a fancy costume or traditional theater to tell a captivating story. She came in modern clothing, yet transported her audience to a time when females had few opportunities—a place where war wounds were left to fester. She re-created an era that frowned on educating women, when yellow fever was not a dance but a death sentence. Davis got her start in 2000 saying, “At church, I told a Bible story. Someone told me to join the Storytelling Guild.” She’s been reciting stories ever since. Davis has a gentle yet persuading voice, fitting to retell another woman’s story of endurance and tenacity. She also co-authored a book (available on called “Spooks and Saints,” a compilation of legendary Utah ghost stories. This fundraising series helps maintain events with Utah’s treasure trough of storytellers like Davis. Bring whatever ticket price. “House concert donations help the artists with income to cover time and cost,” Organizer Rachel Hedman said. Money is appreciated at the door for a donation, but it’s not absolutely mandatory to see a house concert. There is no

cap or minimum on how much one can donate. Bring a pocket full of change or some serious art-supporter cash. Each house concert is a unique adventure out. Come alone even, or bring that dicey Tinder date. These events could be a great option to bring a parent or grandparent. The next story is Saturday, Aug. 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. featuring Paige Funk in West Jordan. Email to RSVP for a seat. There is a grassroots feel to the experience of hearing stories up close on a patio or portico. It’s a detail storytellers and their audiences seem to love. Part of the experience is to have an intimate setting—a teller standing at a fireplace mantle or by the clubhouse pool. It can be simple or elaborate, however a host chooses to set the atmosphere. Anyone can host without a “Pinterest” home. It’s all about the company, the stories, the art, the fun and keeping Story Crossroads Festival happening every pulchritudinous year in Utah. Cherie Davis’s stories easily move one to feel grateful for a modern independent America, where a man, or woman, can choose to host a house concert or try their hand at telling a far out gender rule-bending biography. When the story ends—the audience returns to 2018, with a renewed appreciation for freedom and maybe the urge to look up history, or a word like “pulchritudinous.”l

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West Jordan City Journal

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again add the joining road during construction. “There’d have to be an easement from the canal company,” Brickey said. “The city has the authority to determine what streets are accessed by any right of way. So they could build the bridge, but if you [the city council] didn’t want it to connect a city street, it wouldn’t.” Any policy, rezone or change made is based on a number of factors and can sometimes be difficult to make the smoothest choice for everyone involved. “It’s a blend of science and art,” Langford said. “Sometimes it works, and sometimes it’s less than desirable.” City Attorney Rob Wall said, “Sometimes there’s a disconnect between public understanding and actual activity.” Council members disagreed over the new rezone Though four council members approved this rezone, which constituted a majority, there were still three members who voted against. The disagreement came over the public’s distaste. Councilmember Chad Lamb was one who voted against the rezone. His own home was in a similar situation years before, and he felt helpless to prevent a development he disagreed with. “I struggle tonight because I was in the same situation where this will be a traffic issue,” he said. “I want to listen to the worry of the citizens. I want them to know that we are thinking of them when we make these decisions. It’s not just about the land owners; it’s about quality of life. I would love to see a compromise with the homebuilders.” Councilmember Alan Anderson also voted against the rezone. “Rezones are really hard to do,” he said. “I talked to a number of residents who were opposed to it. I voted no; it still passed. If you own property that you would like to develop, there are certain rights that you have to be able to sell to ‘highest and best use.’” Part of a larger land grab in the valley One of the larger issues with rezoning and development in

WestJordanJournal .com

the Salt Lake Valley is the increase of land value which works against some people’s desire to maintain a rural feel. “There is rapid growth in the Salt Lake Valley,” Langford said. “We can’t make more land; we have what we have. There’s significant development pressure. We’re happy to see new people and businesses move into West Jordan, but we need to do it in a careful and planned way to maintain a quality of life.” Councilmember Kayleen Whitelock, who voted in favor of the rezone, said increasing the number of homes in a single area is inevitable. Trying to delay the change may even bring a tighter fit in the future. “I would love to have it stay rural residential, but with what’s around it I don’t see that happening,” she said. “What we know about land in the valley is we know it’s disappearing. My concern for this area is that if we don’t do the zoning change to medium R-1-10, we could end up with apartments in the future.” Another piece to the puzzle is house prices. Building homes on large properties increases the home price which could potentially make them unaffordable for most people. “The bigger macroeconomics issue is the inflation on house prices in Utah,” Anderson said. “House prices are going up 9 or 10 percent a year. So, how do you make houses affordable? You make them smaller or you put them on smaller lots.” While there may be some dislike from some residents, there are other people who are looking for a different standard of living. “A lot of West Jordan residents want to maintain quarter or half acre lots, and I think there are places for those, but the whole city can’t be that way,” Anderson said. “People like different styles of houses.” Massive traffic issues The traffic problem in the area is something that residents and councilmembers agreed on. There’s a recognition from the council but no current plan for improvements. “It’s a traffic issue, not a zoning issue,” Whitelock said.

8157 South Mapleleaf Way, a property that was rezoned. The debate was divided between residents and city council, and there was even disagreement within the groups. (courtesy/google maps)

“Perhaps there’s a way that we can help.” “There’s likely going to be road-widening projects, but that costs money, but we have our list of projects,” Langford said. “There are no plans to currently widen 4000 West, but if city council decides that it’s a need, then they would do so.” Several weeks after the rezone, Anderson has been actively seeking to improve 4000 West making requests of public works. “I disagreed with the council that you treat land use and traffic separately because they go hand in hand in my mind,” he said. “However, now that it has passed, the recourse is … to know where 4000 West is on the timeline to maintain the quality of life these residents have come to expect.” l

August 2018 | Page 5

Steven Leitch finds art through the lens and with prose By Bob Bedore |


t’s true that art can be found in just about anything, but what about medical photography? We’ll get to that in a moment. For West Jordan resident Steven Leitch, art has always been a love. It started with poetry. “I learned at a very early age that girls like poetry,” Leitch said as he thought about where artistic endeavors started to work their way into his life. But he found a much deeper meaning once the words started to come to him. “There is something very fascinating about taking a blank sheet of paper and doing something on it that moves someone.” And move people he does. But don’t look for his poems to carry a lot of rhymes; he prefers to just hit with emotion. “There are two types of poets in my mind,” he said. “There are those that live poetry and those that are word crafters. I’m a word crafter.” And one of his favorite targets is life in the military. As a photographer in the Air Force, Steven could see a lot of things and talk to many who faced the hardships of service. He has worked that into his poetry and is nearly done with his first book of military poems, each of them very heart felt and meaningful. “I write poetry for people who normally don’t read poetry,” Leitch said. “It’s more conversational and easy to understand. I try to throw in metaphors and the like, but you know what I’m saying. I want it to be readable.” One poem, “Dear John,” tells the story of a soldier in Vietnam who gets dumped in a letter, and it actually makes war and killing easier for him because he can use that pain. It helps him stay alive, but in the end it remains very open as to whether coming home will be good or bad for him. His other artistic outlet is with his camera. After his photography work in the Air Force, he was able to turn that around and got a job

“Bryce Tree” is a great example of Steven Leitch’s eye for photography. (Steven Leitch)

with the University of Utah Medical Center as a medical photographer, a job he kept for 37 years before retiring. During that time, he captured images that are part of history, including the separation of the Hansen Siamese Twins and Barney Clark, the first recipient of a permanent artificial heart. Leitch began to grow as an artist with his camera. And just like his poetry, he wants it to be just what he sees. “A lot of people try to do too much with Photoshop and other things to get their pictures where they like them,” he said. “I just want to have people see what I saw. I shoot what I like.” Doing that has achieved some great results. Leitch has had exhibitions of his work and sold some of the images. One of his favorites being

“Bryce Tree,” an image that caught his eye on a walk. Today, Leitch volunteers on the West Jordan Arts Council and is a curator of the Schorr Gallery. Advice that he’d give for anyone looking to get into the arts? “Pursue it,” he said without hesitation. “Find a pursuit, a release and make it something you enjoy.” Art comes from the heart. And in a case like Steven Leitch, it can actually come from taking pictures of the heart. l

Panel 47E, The Wall By Steven Leitch

He stands among the chiseled dead and holds a battered sign. Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968. The roadmaps on his face, nicotine wrinkles and Jack Daniel’s eyes replace the stoic, trim look he once was as one of the few, the proud. Living each night in-country, he hears Charlie’s clattering AK 47s, the whistling of the rockets, sees the dead and dying around him, and wakes sweating in his shelter cot.

A simple blue door can provide wonderful art in the eye of a great photographer. (Steven Leitch)

Page 6 | August 2018

He spends his days at panel 47E. Each morning he touches their names, renders a sharp salute, whispers a soft Semper Fi, and waits for orders.

West Jordan City Journal

West Jordan has an art gallery? Schorr does By Bob Bedore |

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801-301-2863 - Patrick The William Schorr Gallery offers an intimate setting to enjoy the art of local artists. (Schorr Gallery)


ucked away on the third floor of West Jordan’s City Hall is a great little hidden treasure that’s well worth the hunt. In the little room next to the elevators you’ll find the Schorr Gallery and with it a mix of art in various styles (depending on the exhibits showing) from Utah artists. Curators Becky Klundt and Steven Leitch have taken on a mission to introduce the community to art in all forms—from traditional to contemporary to abstract. The gallery features paintings, photography, sculptures, mixed media and anything else Klundt and Leitch can find. “For me, as curator, I want the Schorr to be a place where people can come, relax and appreciate art and the fine artists that exhibit their craft in our gallery,” Leitch said. The gallery is open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but keep in mind that there might be a city meeting going on inside. The art helps create a great ambiance

Steven Leitch hangs art in anticipation of another great exhibit in the Schorr Gallery. (Schorr Gallery)

WestJordanJournal .com

for the meetings. If you would like to bring a group or a class field trip, contact someone at city hall and make sure the gallery is available. The gallery has also featured great works with some standouts, including “The Book of Revelations” exhibit from Rachel Coleman. This showing produced large paintings of her interpretations from verses found in the Old Testament. These huge works of art filled the gallery with color. The Schorr has also displayed the acrylic paintings and hand-crafted jewelry of Stephanie St. Thomas giving a unique look to the gallery. There was also the work of South Jordan metal sculptor Rick Prazen. Prazen’s work has been seen all around the country, and now locals get to enjoy it. Currently, the gallery is displaying paintings from many local artists. This will stay up until Sept. 6 when the Schorr will once again play host to the Intermountain Society of Artists annual art competition. The opening reception that night will start at 7 p.m., and the winners will then be announced. Make plans now to attend. Many of the artworks are for sale within the gallery, though, admittedly sales aren’t plentiful. The gallery takes a much smaller percentage of a sale, allowing artists to keep more money and bring their prices down. Sales are likely limited due to the location, but Leitch and Klundt have hopes that a new cultural arts center will give the gallery more exposure. The gallery opened in 1994 and gets its name from William “Bill” Schorr, a German native who moved to Utah in 1925 at the age of 20. He worked to make enough money to bring his entire family to Utah and eventually buy his own farm in West Jordan. He was active in the community and continued to donate to many organizations, always feeling as if he wanted to give back to a country that made so much possible to him. l

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August 2018 | Page 7

Police and fire stretched thin as population grows By Erin Dixon |


urrent fire and police forces are unable to keep up with the needs of West Jordan residents. Both fire and police departments are asking for more personnel: Nine new firefighters and 10 new police officers. On Aug. 14, there is a Truth in Taxation meeting that will discuss the possibility of raising West Jordan property taxes by 20 percent. This increase is meant solely to meet the needs of the West Jordan Fire and Police departments. The leaders of these forces are passionate about their great needs. Interim Fire Chief Clint Petersen said, “[We have] a desperate need to increase our staffing by nine personnel.” Interim Police Chief Richard Davis said, “[The officers are] experiencing burnout we don’t want them to experience, but they’re getting pushed that way.” West Jordan City population increased 37 percent between 2000 and 2017. Call volume to the fire department in that same time period increased by 75 percent. Growth is anticipated to continue in the coming years. Fire department West Jordan has four fire stations. Two of those fire stations have ambulances that in the past six months have been entirely idle. There are not enough firefighters at those stations to properly use the ambulances.

Page 8 | August 2018

Cost of proposed increased fire personnel and updates. (Courtesy/West Jordan Fire)

Petersen explained how the stations are operated and why it is crucial to have more firefighters on hand. With so few firefighters, when a station gets a call, all hands are needed and are unable to respond to any other calls until the current one is completed. “When we’re minimally staffed at 19, both ambulances are [unusable] out of [stations] 53 and 55. Now, a call goes in 53’s area. They go

on a transport engine. The [resident] want to be transported somewhere, the [firefighters are now] gone. Depending on where they go, our average out of service time is 58 minutes. Now, medical and fire protection is gone for that area of the city. Now [station] 55 gets a call, they transport. Now, half the city is without medical and fire protection.” “This happens every day,” Petersen said.

“We’ve had the whole city empty on several occasions.” Increasing staff by 10 will then allow the fire stations to have a minimum staff of 21 firefighters at a time. That will then allow stations 53 and 55 to operate their ambulances and, when a medical call comes in they will also be able to respond to other fire and medical needs. Police Needs Without sufficient police officers on duty, responding to calls for aid in a timely matter becomes impossible. “Sometimes the call screens are holding up to 25 or 30 calls,” Davis said. “We have to then start prioritizing, handling the priority calls first. Sometimes we hold on to the non-priority calls for two to three hours. We don’t feel that’s a very good way to service our community.” In 2016, each officer, on average, handled 1,317 calls. In 2017, each officer handled 1,450 calls. This is the highest call volume per officer in the Salt Lake Valley. “We’re hoping we can get 10 officers so they don’t have to go from call, to call, to call,” Davis said. So far in 2018, the overtime that was paid to keep the minimum number of firefighters active at one time amounts to $117,000. That’s potentially a year’s salary for a couple new officers. l

West Jordan City Journal

A Q&A with Councilmembers about potentially raising property taxes By Erin Dixon |


ouncil members give their ideas about raising or maintaining taxes for the current fiscal year 2018 to 2019. This past June, they adopted a tentative budget, but many members saw a need to raise taxes to fund public safety, which is fire and police. Councilmember Alan Anderson “The city council is proposing a 20 percent tax increase, primarily to fund police and fire: five new officers, nine new firefighters. I am supportive of it. The smaller crimes are decreasing, the traffic offenses are decreasing, and we’re getting into more drug offenses, more domestic violence; we’ve seen a number of shootings in the city. I see this as a necessary adjustment to continue to keep our West Jordan safe. “In Utah there isn’t any way a candidate could ever say ‘I will never raise your taxes’ because your benefits go up. People want raises so you can keep them. Electric bills go up, gas goes up, we have to pay electricity on all the buildings, we don’t get free electricity. “We generate about $11 million dollars in property tax, and we generate about $19 million dollars in sales tax. And that’s pretty much our expenses for police and fire.” “You could compare it to an HOA. With that tax or fee, I have access to 24/7 police, to fire; I have paved neighborhood roads with stop signs. I have inspectors that will inspect my house so it doesn’t catch fire when it is built. A resident is receiving benefit for paying taxes. There are people who don’t like paying taxes because you can’t get out of, but our taxes are still fairly low; we’re eighth out of 16 [in the valley], and with the tax increase we stay eight out of 16.” “West Jordan has to pay twice for what Salt Lake City did by closing down the Rio Grande. That crowd went out into the community. We’ve seen an uptick in crime over the Jordan River where some of them are living. This past session, the legislature passed HB 462. Now the state is taking some of our sales tax to give to West Valley and South Salt Lake because they are housing a homeless shelter and we are not. So we get the added crime, and we have to pay

Councilmembers will decide in an Aug. 14 public Truth in Taxation meeting whether there will be a property tax increase.

these cities with the homeless shelters with some of the money that we collect.” “We have to make adjustments because the legislature changes things, and they tell us what we have to do. I know people get upset at city councils because we appear to not listen or we appear to be greedy, but it’s the result of changes that are forced upon us by the state.” Anderson also said to hire a new officer and outfit them with weapons and car will cost nearly $100,000. City leaders want to hire five new officers, which would cost $500,000 in initial costs, not including future salaries. The nine new firefighters would cost less initially. Councilmember Kayleen Whitelock “When I look at our budget and what has been done in the past, I see a trend of using reserved funds, or funds that didn’t get spent the [previous] year for ongoing things. Using funds that aren’t ongoing funds for ongoing expenses is a little bit dangerous in my mind. We have some needs in public safety that I feel are truly needs that we need to figure out how to fund. The mechanism that the legislature has given us to fund is through a TNT [truth in taxation] and property tax. I feel like we need to increase


our fire and our police, both in manpower and equipment. It’s appropriate use of money, so I’m very hopeful that our staff will bring forward ideas and that we will have another council meeting to discuss ideas.” “I’m not in favor of just a blanket increase of property tax without the council having control over where the funds go.” Councilmember Dirk Burton “I don’t want to raise taxes at this day and time. I’m looking for ways to raise money and cut spending other ways. We’ve got a new economic development director who’s done a fantastic job, and good things are coming that will be providing some benefit for us that won’t cover all our expenses this year, but these things take time. If we can be patient and reduce our expenditures and get some additional money coming in, I think we will be in a lot better shape. “I think if we could just hold on for a couple more years and work together and concentrate on economic development and make our city more attractive to businesses that will help our tax base. There’s always places in the budget we can clean up. I haven’t given up yet; I

think we can clean some things up and still take care of our citizens.” Councilmember Zach Jacob “I’m not yet sure if a tax increase this year is necessary. I am open to looking at all revenue sources, that is other enterprise funds like utility rates as well. We’re also going to be looking at our fee schedule, like business license fees and other fees that are on there. That all plays into whether we need to raise property taxes or not. “That said, I know we’ve got some needs in our public safety and fire department, so we’re going to try to find ways to remain competitive in that labor market. We have a pending fire chief and pending police chief; they are both interim at this point. When those hires happen, we’ll have new leadership that will take a fresh look at their own internal budgets. I think there are some needs in the police and fire department in remaining competitive in the labor markets there. The police labor market and just the labor market in general are being very tight right now. And with unemployment being very low, hanging on to good people is important, and it’s costing more and more.” l


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August 2018 | Page 9

Major development postponed on WJ’s northwestern border By Travis Barton |


primary piece of undeveloped land, located along 5600 West and 6400 South, will face more discussion and modification after the West Valley City Council voted unanimously to continue a rezone request. The property, currently designated for commercial, would have changed to allow for an 89-unit senior housing development. But concerns from elected officials (planning commission unanimously approved the zone change) led to the postponement. West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow was concerned about the lack of exactness in the development agreement. He also expressed concern about limiting the amount of commercial space along 5600 West. While the rezone was being considered for just over 8 acres for senior housing, that was only part of the intended larger development of the area—43.91 acres. The almost 44-acre project includes commercial located along 5600 West, a senior living and assisted living facility would be placed behind the commercial buildings (directly west). Behind those facilities would be two townhome developments with approximately 150 units between the two of them. Other than the senior housing facility, all

other projects are allowed in the city’s general plan without needing a rezone. A development agreement for the entire project was also on tap for approval as well as the senior housing. It was this point that caused pause for the mayor. Bigelow said previous developments featured overall parking numbers and interior features, neither of which was included here. “Obviously, they [the developers] have to show they’re meeting all the requirements, but generally speaking, most of these projects have exceeded those requirements, which was a positive thing,” he said. Planning Director Steve Pastorik told the city council the townhomes will undergo further review through a conditional use process where parking and interior features can be addressed. “Without those assurances in there, I’m quite concerned and probably going to vote no,” Bigelow said. Though he did say he thought it was a “fairly decent project” and wouldn’t be opposed to further procedural review. The rest of the council agreed that some modifications were in order. Councilwoman Karen Lang was concerned about parking plans

A rendering of the proposed senior housing near 5600 West and 6400 South. (West Valley City Documents)

in the townhomes, while Councilman Tom Huynh was apprehensive without more security measures in place for the senior housing. Councilman Jake Fitisemanu Jr., who represents the district where the development is being proposed, said nearby residents were

uneasy about the amount of density. He wasn’t opposed to the project but agreed some modifications were in order. A date to revisit the development was yet to be determined. l

Top five ways to avoid an accident


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

Page 10 | August 2018

of speeding, according to Utah Department of someone else go first. Public Safety’s crash data. This also applies when driving in poor Slowing down isn’t going to kill you, but weather conditions. Heavy rainfall and snowflying past others just might. storms blot windshields and make roads slick, 3. Distraction adverse circumstances to traveling safely. BaStay focused. Keep your guard up. Though sics become even more vital like keeping your you may be a phenomenal driver, others aren’t. distance from the vehicle in front of you. Be aware of your surroundings by paying 5. Maintenance attention to what’s in front of you and checking The best way to avoid car malfunction is your mirrors. Knowing where everyone else is the maintenance of said car. helps avoid collisions. If you’re distracted by Ensure tires and brakes are operating withyour phone, music, or billboards with cows out issue. Keep fluids to their proper levels. writing on them, it limits your response time to Oil changes and car washes make a difference. what another driver may being doing in front These simple, but effective maintenance tips of you. ensure your car remains a well-oiled machine 4. Defense (pun intended). l This was one of the first concepts taught in driver education and one of the first we forget: drive defensively. Failing to yield caused 12 percent of deaths from 20122016 in the same data mentioned before. That comes to 154 people who died because they didn’t let Here are some ways to avoid a car accident, like this one. (Photo by David Shankbone)

West Jordan City Journal

Council does not support $30,000 employee party By Erin Dixon |


uring the same city council meeting where increases to residents’ fees for water, sewer and property tax were discussed, there was a request for the council to approve $30,000 for a city employee summer party at Boondocks. Most members of the council were uncomfortable with spending that amount of money for a party but would be open to other less costly ideas. Councilmember Chris McConnehey was opposed to the idea. “Thirty-thousand dollars would do a lot of good,” he said. “I’d be happy to allow an amount to be approved, but $30,000 just seems too high. I have a real hard time supporting that.” Mayor Jim Riding and Councilmember Alan Anderson were also very resistant to the amount. “It’s a big ask in light of all the things we have going on right now, with water and sewer and those kinds of things,” Anderson said. “It

is in no way a reflection of my feelings toward our staff. I hope they understand that it’s a hard ask.” “I too am struggling when we’re trying to do a truth in taxation; we’re trying to adjust our water fees, our sewer fees, our stormwater fees, all these things and then to spend this kind of money,” Riding said. “I would have to speak against the motion.” Ultimately, there was no motion to pass or deny the action, so it failed. There may still be funds approved for a get-together for the employees, but no specifics were given. McConnehey suggested that if there was frustration from the employees that they could host a water tank and invite employees to take a shot to dunk all the councilmembers. Councilmember Chad Lamb was the only member in support of the request. “This is a chance to give back to the employees,” he said. “They can dunk everybody but me.” l



ale Centre Theatre specializes in bringing true magic to the stage and is captivating parents and children yet again with the classic tale of Pinocchio in Disney’s My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto’s Musical Tale, set to run July 7 – Aug. 27 on the Sorensen Legacy Jewel Box Stage in the new Mountain America Performing Arts Centre in Sandy. For the presentation of this unforgettable show, Hale Center Theatre has lowered the minimum age for guests from five to three years old, with tickets on sale now. Guests will enjoy the story of Pinocchio from the unique perspective of the character Geppetto, told with the help of gifted child-actors, enchanting costumes, and famous music that has touched the world time and again!

With 18 children performing in the show between the two casts - ranging from ages eight to 12 years old - My Son Pinocchio is genuine children’s theater produced for children. These young actors have helped make the story even more real on stage with their retained belief in the magic of

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Office summer parties are common in most places of employment. But, when tax funds are used, the city council may choose how much can be spent for city employee celebrations.

Gifted Actors, Enchanting Costumes and Famous Music All Found in Hale Center Theatre’s My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto’s Musical Tale

the story, and passion for bringing audience members into their world of fantasy and wonder. Dave Tinney, producer of My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto’s Musical Tale has said that children, with their creative imaginations, are wonderful storytellers, no matter their age. Creativity is further found in the costumes for this show, with Hale Center Theatre hiring a sole designer for Pinocchio’s nose. Eric Clark, a hair and makeup artist from Cirque du Soleil and other productions, spent a great deal of time with the HCT team researching and determining how to meet the challenge of making the nose grow on stage. Other main characters, including the lovely Blue Fairy, have been adorned with intricate and detailed costumes designed by Joy Zhu, to help bring greater animation to each show. Enhanced by spectacular costumes and sets, the impressive group of performers bring further enchantment to the stage when performing the famous songs featured in My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto’s Musical Tale. I’ve Got No Strings, When You Wish Upon a Star and additional music from Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz, will delight children and send parents down memory lane. Music director Kelly DeHaan and choreographer Brittany Sanders, as well as all other aiding crew, have done a beautiful job bringing these masterful arrangements to the Sorensen Legacy Jewel Box Stage in a way that cannot be witnessed elsewhere. Because this production is so magical for children, HCT recently treated a group of students and family members of Guadalupe School in Salt Lake City to a performance, through its HCT Applauds program. For every new HCT production,

HCT Applauds provides free theater passes to a non-profit organization that contributes to the community’s quality of life. Guadalupe School is committed to transforming the lives of low-income children and adults through education. Performance times for My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto’s Musical Tale are 7:30 p.m., Monday, Friday, and Saturday, and matinees Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. throughout July. August performance times are 7:30 p.m., Monday,

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and matinees Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $40 for adults and $20 for youth, ages three to seventeen. For additional ticket information call 801-984-9000, go to, or visit the box office at 9900 S. Monroe Street in Sandy, UT. For updates, contests, and information on the current theater season, follow Hale Center Theatre on Facebook. l

August 2018 | Page 11

Trout released into natural habitat By Jet Burnham |


ourth-graders raised 200 rainbow trout in their classroom and then released them into their natural habitat. “Part of our core is Utah habitats and Utah animals and to observe the behavior of fish—so that was part of the whole experience,” said Jessica McKnight, fourth-grade teacher at Hayden Peak Elementary in West Jordan. In January, the classroom aquarium became home to 200 trout eggs donated by the Division of Utah Wildlife and Trout Unlimited. For five months, students tended to the water quality, the feeding and the caring of the fish. They studied and observed the stages of the trout’s life cycle first-hand. Brandon Eyre said he enjoyed this kind of classroom learning. “I’d rather see it, feel it and touch it than read about it,” he said. McKnight said between the direct instruction from the curriculum and the hands-on knowledge the students gained from sharing a classroom with an aquarium of fish, they learned and retained a lot of information. They also had fun. They even gave the fish names—Flash, Marshmallow, Voldemort, Italics, Zip, Bubbles, to name a few. The class didn’t know exactly how many fish they had until they counted them as they were transferred into a cooler prior to relocation. Sixty trout survived to be released into Millrace Pond in Taylorsville. Brandon said he hoped they hadn’t domesticated them too much so they would be able to survive with their natural instincts. After the fish were settled into their natural habitat, McKnight took the opportunity to catch some macro invertebrates for the students to observe. The class also walked along the Jordan River, noting characteristics of the wetland habitats they had discussed in class. “It’s really nice to see a teacher go above what she has to do to get the kids involved in the classroom” said Stephanie Davis, a parent helper for the field trip. “This is definitely more fun than the day to day.” The only disappointment of the project was that the other fourth-grade classes were unable to join the field trip. Because of budget limitations, the principal could only afford to pay for one bus to transport students to the pond. The other fourth-graders

Students scooped fish from the transporting cooler into the pond, a natural habitat for the trout. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

had helped raise the fish as well. McKnight plans to apply for an additional grant next year to bring the whole fourth grade to the release. “It’s nice to be able to have this culminating activity to be able to use everything that they’ve learned,” said McKnight. “The kids loved it, I loved it. I plan on doing it again next year. It was a great opportunity.” The project was made possible by a Jordan Education Foundation grant. McKnight applied for the grant to cover the costs of the classroom aquarium and supplies. In ten years of teaching, this was McKnight’s first time applying for a grant. She was inspired by Civics Academy, a professional development training arranged last summer by Pam Su’a, content administrator of Jordan School District’s social studies curriculum department. The district provides numerous opportunities for professional development training during the summer, when teachers have time to attend. Trainings are funded by grants from organizations such as the Utah Commission on Character and Civic

Education and the Library of Congress. Su’a said teachers want good quality instruction to increase their skills. The group trainings also create an opportunity for them to share their ideas, strategies, successes and failures with each other. McKnight said the professional development training she attended last year inspired her to combine civic engagement with the science curriculum. She was introduced to a variety of new resources and programs. “I got excited about trying new things, and about getting it out of the classroom,” said McKnight. She learned about collecting macro invertebrates from a class she took through Utah State University’s Master Naturalist Watershed Program. She plans to apply for future grants to support future projects and field trips. “With all these different professional developments, I’ve been able to combine different ideas and put them into place,” she said. l NEWS FROM OUR ADVERTISERS



t Comcast, we’re grateful to our Nation’s military for their dedicated service. That’s why we’ve hired more than 13,000 members of the military community since 2010, including Veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses – many who are graduates of our country’s military service academies. We work to hire members of the military community at all levels across our organization. Chris E., a payment services supervisor in Utah, is one of our military hires locally. After living through the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Chris wanted to join the military for its service and selflessness. Chris enlisted in 2004 and currently serves as a 35P Cryptologic Linguist and Signals Analyst/French Linguist in the Utah Army National Guard. A role crucial to our nation’s defense,

Page 12 | August 2018

Comcast NBCUniversal’s Military Commitment: Serving Our Country, Customers and Communities cryptologic linguists largely depend on information that comes in foreign languages. Like Comcast, Chris and his family appreciate the skills and values an individual acquires while serving in the military. Chris now incorporates much of what he learned into his career at Comcast, and he attributes his time in the military for teaching him that “Everything is done as a team. There are no individual contributions, everything comes down to how a team can work together and accomplish things together.” We know members of the military community gained skills that make them an ideal fit at Comcast NBCUniversal. And, we work to ensure they feel connected during the next phase in their life. That’s why we created VetNet, a veteran employee resource group serving as a base of support for members, includ-

ing onboarding, mentorship and sponsorship programs and events focused on growing the professional and personal development of veterans. In Utah, more than 45 employees are members of the local VetNet chapter. Everything Comcast NBCUniversal does to serve the military community is because of our belief that Service Matters – Service to Country, Service to Customers, Service to Communities. Our goal is to make seeking, hiring and developing, retaining and maintaining military talent natural part of our DNA here at Comcast NBCUniversal. We thank David Krook and all of our employees who serve our country and our customers. To learn more about our military commitment visit To view open positions visit http://corpo-, or follow on Twitter at @ComcastMilitary.l

West Jordan City Journal

To belt or not to belt? That is the question By Jet Burnham |


! ! ! E I MOV

Grandparents bring your grandchildren to see the new

Christopher Robin

Currently seatbelts on buses are only available for students with special needs. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)


ollowing a recent school bus tragedy in New Jersey, the issue of school bus safety is under renewed scrutiny. The Federal Transportation Safety Board released a statement in May urging school districts to install seat belts on buses. The issue is not new to Utah. Utah Rep. Craig Hall, of West Valley, proposed a bill in 2016 to require seat belts on Utah school buses. “We require, by law, for all children and all adults in our own personal vehicles to wear seat belts,” said Hall. “And we can be fined as parents if our kids don’t have their seat belts on. But for some reason, we deem it perfectly acceptable to put kids in buses with no seat belts at all.” Herb Jensen, Jordan School District director of transportation, thinks the idea of putting seat belts on school buses is an emotional issue. “A lot of people think that if it’s the right thing for their minivan, then it should be the right thing for a school bus, but that isn’t necessarily the case,” he said. Jensen is confident in the engineering and design of school buses to protect passengers without a restraint through compartmentalization, protecting students with closely spaced seats with tall, energy-absorbing seat backs. Hall said through his research, he found compartmentalization is ineffective in rollover or side impact crashes or when kids aren’t sitting appropriately. “Students are tossed about the interior of the bus like clothes in a dryer,” he said. In contrast, when a child is buckled in, he

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said they are far less likely to be injured and can evacuate easily with the click of a button. “An uninjured child can move more quickly than an injured or unconscious or dead child,” he said. One of Jensen’s concerns about seat belts is they would exacerbate the situation if children can’t get out of them independently or if they are stuck high in the air after a rollover. Jensen said fires on buses are more common. He believes restraints would impede a quick evacuation, especially for young children. In his experience, he also believes students would play around and misuse seat belts, causing needless injuries. Jensen said facts and data support that seat belts on buses is not the right answer. “School buses are extremely safe already,” he said. “It would be hard to justify the expense because it’s extremely unlikely that a child is going to lose their life if they’re on the inside of a school bus.” Jensen noted there hasn’t been a casualty inside a Jordan District bus for more than 80 years. “I would daresay there’s not a safer vehicle on the road than a school bus,” he said. “You don’t want to run into a school bus because you’ll lose.” Jensen cites statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reports out of 324,710 motor vehicle fatalities from 2006–2015, only five were passengers on a school bus. “We transport 15,000 kids twice a day and

drive millions of miles a year on our buses,” said Jensen. “Although we do have accidents, we don’t have casualties with the occupants of the bus. I think that data speaks for itself.” Jensen said if state or federal legislation passes, the district will comply. “You’re not going to statistically increase the safety of our buses by spending the enormous amount of money that it’s going to require to put seat belts on the buses,” said Jensen. “When we have our first casualty on a school bus, I might change my mind. Any fatality on a school bus is one too many.” Hall said he is monitoring the situation to see what happens on the federal level before he initiates another bill in the next Utah legislative session. “Eventually, this is going to happen,” said Hall. “And unfortunately, sometimes it takes a tragic accident for the seat belts to be put into the school buses.” According to FTSB, at least 29 states have introduced school bus seat belt legislation in the last year, but high costs have been a roadblock for many. Hall estimates only about six states have school bus seat belt regulations. To reduce costs, Hall said any bill he initiates will require seat belts on new buses only. The National Transportation Safety Board also recommended requiring collision-avoidance systems and automatic emergency brakes on new school buses, citing that most bus accidents are caused by human error. l

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August 2018 | Page 13

Decommissioned buses repurposed for rescue training By Jet Burnham |


mergency saws squealed and metal whined as rescuers tore through the yellow skin of a school bus. “It’s not an easy task to get these to come apart, which is a good thing because we want our kids to be safe,” said Herb Jensen, Jordan School District transportation director. District officials recently provided 11 decommissioned buses to be used for rescue training exercises. “This type of training is pretty rare on this type of vehicle,” said Dustin Dern, a battalion chief with the Unified Fire Heavy Rescue team. In addition to the heavy rescue team, members of local fire departments, swat teams and highway patrol were invited to participate in bus rescue training, as well. Wes Harwood, an engineer with the West Jordan Fire Department said it is important for them to see the buses up close and have hands-on experience of cutting into them so they will be more proficient in the case of a real situation. “Personally, I’ve never been on an actual school bus accident,” said Harwood. “That’s the interesting thing about our job—we need to be prepared for everything. I may never personally go on a school bus accident in my career, but I might go on one today.” While many aspects of a bus rescue are the same as with a passenger car, which they get a lot of practice on, Dern said buses are more challenging because of how they are built. They are bigger, heavier and harder to stabilize.

Page 14 | August 2018

Eleven decommissioned school buses were used for rescue training exercises. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Rescuers practiced cutting extra exits into the sides of the buses as well as removing seats and windows. Law requires buses to be reinforced on the top and bottom and on the sides with two iron bars. Utah law requires twice as many reinforcement bars. “There’s a lot of reinforcement under the skin, so it’s just difficult,” said Dern. “A lot of our typical tactics for regular motor vehicles don’t necessarily work on buses, so we have to adapt some of those techniques.” WJFD officials also used the opportuni-

ty to test new battery-powered equipment and were pleased with their performance. “We’re able to get into the buses quicker, more efficiently and safer now,” said Harwood. In most cases, the rescuers would not have to make as many cuts as they did during their practice scenarios. “Realistically, a bus is much easier to access than a passenger vehicle because there are so many safety features, there are so many emergency exits and they are so big,” Harwood said. “It’s not really an issue if we can get in-

side; it’s learning how to do it very efficiently.” Teams also practiced lifting the body of the bus with airbags. This technique is used when a car is lodged underneath a bus, which happened last February when a car hit a stationary school bus at estimated speeds of more than 50 mph and became wedged underneath. An accident involving a school bus is a “high-risk, low-occurrence” situation, said Harwood. It is less likely to occur, but if it did, there would potentially be a higher number of people to rescue. “Our first goal is to get in there without having to cut anything,” he said. “Those kids are going to be scared, and we don’t want to scare them any more than we have to. So, the safest, quietest, quickest, easiest way to get in there is going to be our first option. So realistically, cutting them is our very, very last case scenario.” Additional training with the remaining school buses is scheduled for August. They will practice with buses tipped on their sides and on top of other vehicles. Using simulated victims, rescuers will get hands-on training lifting buses off other vehicles to access passengers. Jensen said he hoped the rescue teams would never have a reason to apply what they learned through their training exercises. “They’re learning how sturdy school buses are and how well built they are, which is as it should be because they’re protecting our kids,” he said. l

West Jordan City Journal

Teachers to be paid for their extra efforts By Jet Burnham |


orlene Hamann spends most of her daylight hours at Mountain Shadows Elementary teaching fifth grade. Once class is over, she heads to the school gym where she is the choir director and director of the school play on alternating afternoons. Hamann and her co-director, Carollee Tautkus, volunteer their time to run these programs. “We haven’t been compensated for the last 12 years,” said Hamann. “It’s just something that we do; we do it for the kids.” But this year, as part of Jordan School District’s compensation package, teachers such as Hamann can receive payment for their extra efforts through funding from a $3 million grant. “It is one of our goals to help teachers know we recognize they are doing outstanding work, and we appreciate it,” said District Board of Education President Janice Voorhies. “We are going to say thank you in dollars.” The Jordan Teacher Grant is available for any extra work a teacher does that improves student achievement, school culture or emotional and behavioral health. This includes a teacher who holds an extra study session for her AP students, a teacher’s hours spent planning curriculum that results in outstanding student improvement on a state test, an educator who attends an out-of-state professional development conference or one who holds an afternoon yoga class for students. Teachers advising clubs related to academics or emotional health are also eligible. This is good news to the faculty members at West Jordan Middle School, who teach Latin dance, hip hop, chess, robotics classes and even coach soccer teams after school every day. They’ve even taken time out of their summer break to host classes, activities and counseling for neighborhood kids with a program they call Summer of Support. These educators, through a simple grant application process, will be able to receive compensation for doing what they are already doing. “We wanted teachers to be able to choose what work they wanted to do in their classrooms,” said Voorhies. “We wanted to provide money for that extra work that’s outside their normal school employment.” While there are many opportunities for teachers to apply for grants that pay for equipment or supplies for the classroom, this grant goes directly into teachers’ pockets. “This is actual payment for teachers who’ve done exceptional work outside their normal employment description,” said Voorhies. Voorhies said the Jordan Teacher Grant is unique. She’s not aware of any other district with this type of benefit. “The goal was to incentivize good teachers to stay with us and be able to earn more money,” she said. Teachers determine what they think the

WestJordanJournal .com

JOIN THE FIGHT FOR ALZHEIMER’S FIRST SURVIVOR This year’s production of “Madagascar” had 150 students on stage and an additional 60 behind the scenes. (Annette Huff/Mountain Shadows Elementary)

value of their work is and apply for up to $3,000 individually or $12,000 for a group application. Once they have completed their play, or training, or study group, they report back to the grant committee. “Even if it didn’t go well, if they did the work, we’ll pay for it,” said Voorhies. “Our goal is to be generous. We want to incentivize teachers to do the right work to help students be successful.” The grant program’s benefits extend to teachers who don’t receive a grant directly. Grant winners will be required to share their experience with the district through a video, written report or presentation. Applications for the new Jordan Teacher

Grant will be available this fall. Board of Education Secretary Jen Atwood said if there are any funds left after the initial application process, there will be a second round of grant allocations later in the year. For many teachers, such as Hamann, they love what they do and have done it without worrying about being paid. “Whether I get the grant or not, it doesn’t matter,” said Hamann. “I do it because I love it.” Hamann is currently looking for a new co-director. If she is awarded the grant, she admits it will be easier to find someone willing to put in the required hours when they know they will receive payment for their time. l

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August 2018 | Page 15

Race training is a way of life for many athletes By Greg James |

West Valley resident Cody Kluge raises his hand in victory as he climbs through a mud hole at a recent adventure run. (Photo courtesy of Cody Kluge)


orthern Mexico’s rugged Sierra Madre mountains are home to the indigenous Tarahumara people. During the 16th century, they retreated deep into the formidable canyons to escape slave raids by the Spanish. They have remained isolated from the outside, world and trail running is a major part of their lifestyle. Running became important to them for hunting purposes, notably chasing deer until the animal becomes too exhausted to flee. The book “Born to Run” explores their lifestyle and running habits. Today’s crossfit training, backcountry adventure races and Spartan events exhibit many of the physical challenges demonstrated by the Tarahumara. “A friend of mine got me involved,” West Valley resident and Spartan competitor Sam Jones said. “It is a race with a lot of physical tests. I have competed in 30 or more Spartans, and I enjoy it.” A Spartan event includes racing up and down mountainous terrain, carrying baskets of rocks, crawling under barbed wire and climbing ropes — all while competing in a distance race course. There are three main distances in an event: the sprint of 3–5 miles, middle distance of 8–10 miles and then the expert with a length of 12–15 miles. Many outdoor events have incorporated 5ks, family fun runs or marathons as part of the celebration, but training for each of these events can be a different experience. “I have incorporated trail running, and some say like a cross-fit training into my exercise routine to prepare,” Jones said. “I do carries with weights and training like that—just being able to elevate my heart rate without red-lining.” Spartan event coordinators have developed training programs to help its competitors prepare. Fitness experts warn competitors to train properly to avoid injury. “Doing 30 deadlifts fast can be harmful if

Page 16 | August 2018

proper technique is not followed,” said Kenyon James, a fitness trainer from The Drive. “So carrying a dead weight across the room wrong could cause injury. Like any training, if you do not maintain correct technique, it could be bad.” Training for a physical event like a Spartan, 5k or a marathon should include a check-up from a doctor and a good mixture of different types of exercise. The Stack training program suggests weightlifting day one, sprinting and short bursts of power day two, trail running day three and density training day three. Day four should include muscle use with the running. Then the process is repeated. “I have gotten to know a lot of people and made several friends by participating,” Jones said. “I suggest to start small and slowly get into it. It can be hard to go right into the big races. Not everyone is there to compete. Some just want to be physically fit and get together with friends.” Fitness training can be relatively inexpensive to begin with. The proper equipment can be as simple as a good pair of shoes, although many experts can invest thousands of dollars into training, gym memberships, personal assistants and specialized equipment. For many racers, the desire to do a marathon or Spartan is a personal challenge. They want to test their limits and see if they can go the distance or even lose weight. Whatever the reason, they hold tight to that desire. Months of preparation can be tough, so maintaining the motivation can be key. “It is a lot of fun and a good way to stay physically fit,” Jones said. “Be ready to get messy. I have gotten bruises and cuts.” Near the end of most Spartan races, the final obstacle can be a fire jump—stacks of wood with small fires that the competitors must jump over to get to the finish line. The fun and hard work leading to that final moment is much like the Tarahumara in Mexico coming home to a warm meal at their nightly resting place. l

West Jordan City Journal




Paid for by the City of West Jordan

West Jordan Neighborhoods Encouraged to Register for 2018 National Night Out Neighborhoods throughout West Jordan are invited to join communities across the country and participate in National Night Out from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 7. On the night of the event, residents throughout West Jordan are asked to turn on their porch lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors, police officers and elected officials. “It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors which is the best way to keep neighborhoods safe and free of crime,” said Mayor Jim Riding. Cookouts, block parties and neighborhood walks will occur simultaneously throughout the City as members of the West Jordan Police Department and City Council team up to visit registered neighborhoods. Contact WJPD Crime Prevention Coordinator Christie Jacobs at Christie.Jacobs@ or 801-256-2032 to register your neighborhood. National Night Out is an annual nationwide grassroots event designed to heighten crime awareness, generate support and participation in local anti-crime efforts and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police/community partnerships.

M AY O R ’ S M E S S A G E

A new era of cooperation and respectful dialogue Thank you to all of you who came out to participate in our City’s Western Stampede and Independence Day Celebration! We had record attendance at many of the events and a completely sold-out rodeo on the Fourth. Thank you to all of our city staff, volunteers and sponsors, without whom these events would not have been possible. I had a great time meeting so many of you and watching my grandchildren in the mutton bustin’ competition. The highlight of the entire celebration for me, however, was the fact that for the first time in a long time, all seven members of the West Jordan City Council attended all three nights of the rodeo together to welcome rodeo goers to our City’s largest event of the year. This may not seem very significant to some, but for those who are aware of our City Council’s history, this is remarkable. More importantly, it represents the great strides this Council has made and continues to make in establishing a new era of cooperation and respectful dialogue among its members.

As a council, it is fitting that we disagree on many issues as we represent a variety of ideas and opinions held by residents. It is even more fitting, however, that we discuss those issues with courtesy and seek consensus – or at least respect the process enough that we remain civil in the absence of consensus. I’m proud to be part of this council. If you do not know who your City Council member is, I encourage you to find out and reach out to him or her when you want to make your voice heard on an issue. The City website has a great interactive map feature at which will display the council district of your address. And you can always come by and visit with me. The open “Meet the Mayor” hours have changed and are now every second and fourth Wednesday from 3-5 p.m.


Construction Update Construction season continues as crews work to keep the different utilities and roadways in good condition. Please be patient and plan accordingly. You can find more information on the city’s website at WestJordan.Utah.Gov on the “Construction” page that can be accessed from the homepage. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the major projects scheduled for this summer:

CONSTITUTION PARK DETENTION BASIN IMPROVEMENTS Construction is underway to lower the Constitution Park detention basin. This project includes water, sewer, storm drain, and park construction, and road reconstruction on 7000 South from the canal through the intersection. The project will install a new storm drain pipeline and lower the detention pond which will add capacity to city systems to handle a 100-year rainfall. The trees which were removed will be replaced.

5600 WEST CONSTRUCTION 8200 South Intersection Crews are phasing reconstruction of the intersection to maintain traffic and pedestrian access. Anticipate changing pedestrian access and traffic patterns through mid-August while crews work to finish prior to school resuming.

Did you know that the City of West Jordan holds quarterly e-waste recycling events? The next one is Aug. 4 from 10 a.m.-noon in the City Hall parking lot, 8000 S. Redwood Road. West Jordan residents can bring up to two “bankers boxes” of paper for shredding and residential electronic waste each quarter. Documents will be shredded onsite. Hard drives can also be shredded if they have been removed from the computer. Unfortunately, televisions, CRT monitors, cracked LCDs and printers are not accepted. Bring proof of residency or city employment (driver’s license, utility bill or city ID badge).

8600 South to 8200 South Closure • Materials hauling and placement is planned between Annie Lane and 8200 South in late July for up to three weeks. Expect additional truck traffic, noise, dust and possible vibration near the work zone. • Utility installation is planned in this area through mid-August.. • Wall panel installation is expected to be complete in early August. • Wall staining, fence tie-ins and the remainder of landscaping work will be complete in August. Please stay up to date by signing up for email updates at 5600wconstruction@ or by calling the hotline at 888-966-6624. Additional information can be found by visiting

4000 WEST 9000 SOUTH INTERSECTION ROAD WIDENING PROJECT Construction is underway on the 4000 West 9000 South road widening project and is expected to last about two months to widen 4000 West (on the west side), install a new signal and construct new curb, gutter and sidewalk from 9000 South to 9150 South. The project will restrict traffic on 4000 West. This is a joint project between the city and UDOT.

BANGERTER INTERCHANGE @ 9000 SOUTH The new overpass at Bangerter Highway and 9000 South is open with two lanes of traffic in each direction, eliminating a signal for north and southbound traffic. • • • • • •

The following lane and turn movements are closed or restricted: Westbound 9000 South onto southbound Bangerter turn lanes Winthrop drive at 9000 South Northbound Bangerter Highway east and west turns onto 9000 South 9000 South onto northbound Bangerter Highway from both east and west Bangerter Highway is reduced to two lanes in each direction during daytime hours, and one lane from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. • Eastbound 9000 South traffic has shifted to the north Contact the project public information team by calling the hotline at 888-766ROAD (7623) or emailing or visit for the latest updates.

Nature Park and Wildlife Preserve Proposed in City of West Jordan Decades ago heavy metal waste from the Midvale Slag and Sharon Steel sites poured into the Jordan River, polluting the water, damaging native wildlife and their habitats, and actually altering the river’s course. Now a new restoration project, funded in part by a 1991 “Superfund” settlement is proposed in the City of West Jordan, The Big Bend Habitat Restoration Project is a collaborative effort among the City of West Jordan, State of Utah, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The proposed 70-acre nature park and a wildlife reserve is designed to restore the river’s natural resources and provide the community with cleaner water, improved wildlife habitat and new opportunities for outdoor recreation. “There aren’t many projects that inspire the support of so many organizations, positively impact the environment, provide access to unique recreation opportunities and require minimal taxpayer dollars. The Big Bend Habitat Restoration Project is a slam dunk,” said West Jordan Mayor Jim Riding. “I have watched it developing for many years – it will be a gem within our community, and I’m so excited to have it finally underway.” The nature park would feature a four-acre fishing pond, new nature trails with a parking area, wildlife viewing opportunities, and interpretive exhibits. One mile of newly constructed river channel would meander through the park, improving the Jordan River’s water quality, floodplain, and wildlife habitat. The wildlife reserve, featuring a diversity of native trees, would be a limited-access bird and wildlife reserve that would support foraging and nesting habitat for migratory birds and a variety of other wildlife. The new tree canopy would shade portions of the restored river segment, lowering water temperatures and improving conditions for native fish. The public is invited to email comment to


City piece of property tax pie pays for 24/7 Police & Fire Protection, Roads, Parks and more TRUTH IN TAXATION HEARING SCHEDULED FOR AUG. 14 Did you know that for every dollar you pay in property tax, the school district receives about 55 cents, the county receives 19 cents, the city receives 15 cents, the county library receives 5 cents, and assorted special districts like mosquito abatement receive 6 cents? This money helps pay for those services we as a community share that help make West Jordan a great place to live and raise a family. The average West Jordan resident, with a home valued at $295,500, currently receives roundthe-clock public safety protection, roads, parks and more for about 76 cents a day. With the proposed tax increase, this would increase to just 92 cents per day or just under $335 a year. To continue to keep pace with the needs of our growing community, the City Council is considering a property tax increase to fund the following: √ More public safety personnel to keep the community safe (9 Fire, 10 Police) √ Crossing guards to protect our children (increase wages to improve retention) √ Additional personnel in the prosecutor’s office to support police

WHERE DOES THE CITY GET MONEY TO PROVIDE SERVICES? Sales Tax Revenue is the city’s principal source of general fund revenue, providing 31.8%, or $19,099,320 of total projected revenue. Property Tax Revenue is West Jordan’s second largest revenue source of general fund revenue, providing 20.4%, or $12,216,036 of total projected revenue. Property taxes have not been raised by the City of West Jordan since August 7, 2012. (And before that, property taxes had not been increased since August 4, 1988.) Other entities have increased their portion of your property tax, but the city’s portion has only increased twice in the last 30 years. If the proposed property tax is approved, an additional $2,443,207 would be generated for the City’s General Fund. Questions or comments? More information is available online at or email










City Hall Council Chambers 8000 S Redwood Rd, 1 p.m.



Veterans Memorial Park 8020 S 1825 West 9 p.m.

City Hall West Parking Lot 8000 S Redwood Rd, 10 a.m. – noon





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

Neighborhoods throughout the City









City Hall Schorr Gallery 8000 S Redwood Rd, 7 p.m.

Veterans Memorial Park 8020 S 1825 West, 10 a.m.







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

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

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


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

Utahns of all ages are invited to document the wild plants and animals that live within our towns and cities, big and small. From colorful flowers that might bloom from a crack in the sidewalk, to deer or larger wildlife that might stray into a neighborhood—our close proximity to Utah’s wilderness makes these encounters quite common. Images can be submitted to the Natural History Museum of Utah’s website until Sept. 4 and will be showcased in an online gallery. Winners will be featured in a special exhibit opening at the museum in Salt Lake City in 2019. More information can be found at




Nature All Around Us Photo Contest



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

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

Movie in the Park Aug. 3 FREE “Wonder” lights up the big screen Friday, Aug. 3 at 9 p.m. Come enjoy the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy born with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending mainstream elementary school for the first time. Bring your friends and family for a night of great entertainment in Veterans Memorial Park, 8030 South 1825 West.

Jaguar team wins summer games gold By Greg James |

A group West Jordan ninth-graders won the Utah Summer Games basketball gold medal for the third straight year. (Calista Solari/Jags basketball)


any super league basketball teams are made of the best players no matter where they live. The eighth-grade boys team from West Jordan, rightfully named the WJ Jags, only has players who will attend West Jordan High School. “We are an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) super league team,” head coach Ryan Farmer said. “I started it when these kids were in the fourth grade. I tried to get West Jordan kids that were good players and form a team that these kids could come up together and eventually get to high school as a group and win some games.” Farmer organized the team with players he found at basketball camps and from his son’s football team. He scouted Jr. Jazz teams and other youth leagues in the area. He wanted the best, but he also only wanted players that lived in the Jaguar boundaries. “We had to adjust the team through the years,” Farmer said. “When I was growing up, we did the same thing. We played together, and then when we got to high school, we knew each other and had played together. As a senior, we were supposed to win it all, and then we fell apart at the state championship. We could grab lots of players that would make us better, but we wanted this team to be a West Jordan team only.” The Jags begin practicing three times week in November and play in leagues and tournaments through the end of June. They culminate their season in the Utah Summer Games in Cedar City. “We have nine kids,” Farmer said. “We played this year in Boise, Las Vegas, St George and a lot of local AAU tournaments. I have always wanted to do a big tournament in California or back east, but we do not have a big sponsor like Nike or Adidas. That puts a financial

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burden on our parents, so we fundraise to help pay the cost.” The team’s families and coaches help finance the season’s tournaments, leagues, uniforms and equipment. Unlike some super league teams, its coaches do not accept a salary. Some larger AAU teams pay their coaches, have expensive equipment and travel all over the country playing hundreds of games a year. “Our parents help a lot,” Farmer said. “They are really supportive for the team financially.” Many AAU basketball teams are sponsored by NBA players or equipment companies. Utah Jazz player Dante Exum supports a set of teams in this area. “We are out there having fun,” Farmer said. “We do other things together and have sleepovers. They have a strong bond. They attend West Jordan Middle and Joel P. Jensen, so they see each other all of the time.” This season, the team played nearly 60 games. It has participated in the summer games three years in a row and has never lost a game in the tournament. A gold medal was captured each of those years. “They played great,” Farmer said. “It is rough at the start, but by June they are rockn-rollin’. They are playing at a high level. In the championship game, we were ahead 45-6 at halftime. We had fun in the second half and had a good time. I feel there are a handful that could play past high school if they keep putting in the effort.” Farmer said. Ben Roberts, Jordan Johns, Brandon Christensen, Aleka Leausa and Justhin Hurtado are all standout players that could play at the next level. They all plan on trying out for the basketball team at West Jordan High School next season.l

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August 2018 | Page 21

Grizzlies build pipeline to high school program


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Helping Families Heal for Over 130 years Page 22 | August 2018

The Copper Hills Youth Football players were able to work with the high school teams on football skills at its annual summer camp. (Greg James/City Journals)


s the youth football camp finished up at Copper Hills High School, the participants realized they had learned the importance of their football community. “These young kids look up to our players,” Grizzlies head coach Corey Dodds said. “Having the high school kids around, it is almost like they are pros. They may even want their autograph when it is all done. The kids say they have their idols on the field teaching them some skills.” The Grizzly players combined with their coaches to run football drills at the youth camp July 10–12. The youth worked on receiver routes, ball handling, blocking and running skills. They even played some seven on seven. The no-contact camp was held on the high school field in conjunction with the beginning of the Grizzlies summer camp. “In a way, this is a way to recruit our own kids,” Dodds said. “If we don’t make these kids feel wanted then someone else will try to grab them away from us before they even come to us. It shows the importance of the next man up. We need to show we are part of the Copper Hills Community.” It has become Dodds’ goal to show

kids the benefit of staying at Copper Hills. “We are trying to be the billboard for our kids to the community,” he said. “Some learn to be leaders and others listen. This is all about relationships.” The Grizzlies were able to improve by working with the younger players in football-related drills. “They learn by teaching the younger kids,” Dodds said. “We teach the why of the sport—why it is practical to put your foot in the right place. People say I am trying to run a college setting. I like that. I want kids that want to move on to college. We have been lifting and training since January. They say only 5 percent of football players will come to summer lifting. That correlates to the 5 percent that get college scholarships. It seems to me that if the athlete wants to be D1 then they need to be here.” Dodds, his coaches and players attend youth football games on Saturday mornings to help develop the pipeline to Copper Hills. He said it builds on the relationship with the school. “I would hear kids say, ‘That is Coach Dodds.’ That is making a huge difference,” he said. “We have the same goal as the youth program. We want the kids to

have success at the youth and then we get more kids. It goes round and round.” Youth football conference president Elijah Kaio has worked directly with Dodds to improve the connection. “I love it,” Kaio said. “This is my first year as president, and we have joined with Coach Dodds in trying to bring the community. We have always had numbers in the top five for player involvement at the youth level. By bringing these two organizations together, we hope to make a tight-knit community and be proud of what they are doing.” Current registration for Copper Hills Youth Football has increased by 13 percent this season. The conference is for ages 7–14. They encourage 15-year-old players to play at the high school. “Teaching them at the youth level, helping them to have fun—that is important,” Kaio said. “Most will never play past this level, so for them to have fun and make friends is what is important. Plus, it gets them out of the house and getting ready for the season. We are trying to build this community. We want a family feeling. At the end of the day, it is about learning the game we love.” l

West Jordan City Journal

Classes help homeowners learn about water conservation By Lana Medina | times a week. But Moser said it’s even more important to cut back on the grass in your yard. The average sprinkler system isn’t designed to water any Utah lawn area smaller than 8 feet wide, such as park strips or sides of a home. The Jordan Valley Wato an innovative, ter Conservancy District offers monthly classes Landscape for where you live. practical landscape designed for Utah. to give residents examples on how to cut back on sod grass at Medium Tree “The style of landscaping that has been adopted here in Utah really doesn’t fit our climate. Part Shade Vegtable Garden Perennial Mix The English style of landscaping developed (Activity Zone) in an area that gets rain a lot of time,” Moser Children's Playset (Activity Zone) explained about landscapes filled with grass. Central Open Shape Large “Here in Utah we need irrigation systems to Ornamental Grass keep things alive.” Path Cynthia Bee, outreach coordinator for the Gazebo Large Tree (Gathering Space) Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, says Backyard Patio Focal Point Tree (Gathering Space) Local Scapes offers a small reward to residents who take their classes teaching water conservaColumnar Shrub tion and implement changes to their own landPath scape. Small Shrub “We’re not calling it an incentive, because Shade Shrub it’s not enough to cover costs for changing your landscape,” Bee explained. Small Tree The small bonus is up to $.25 per square Flowering Shrub footage in a landscape, but the real benefit is reducing water. Shade Perennial Mix To learn more about Local Scapes, the next Evergreen Shrub beginner class will be at 9 a.m. on Sept. 1 at Full Sun the Conservation Garden Park at 8275 S. 1300 Perennial Mix West in West Jordan. You can sign up for Local Local Scapes offers ideas to Utah residents to alter their landscape to conserve more water. (Courtesy Local Scapes) Scapes 101 on l Shed




iving in a desert state, some Salt Lake Valley residents are making it a mission to conserve water. Utah received limited snowpack in the mountains, and local water officials say they’ve had to dip into reservoir water early this year. But Shaun Moser, an instructor at the Conservation Water Garden in West Jordan, said even heavy snowpack years aren’t an excuse to waste water. “Conservation should be an ethic here in Utah. More often than not, we’re in some kind of drought here,” Moser explained. That’s why state officials have been pushing to implement a statewide water conservation campaign called Slow the Flo. It’s designed to educate residents and also to encourage changes in residents’ landscapes, including using less grass in their yards. Dani Workman, a West Jordan homeowner and mom, said she’s trying to make small changes to her landscape to reduce water use. “We water our lawn twice a week and watch the weather to decide what days will be best to do it,” Workman explained. “For our garden, we collect rainwater in barrels from our downspouts and use that to hand water our garden. Not only is it free, but it saves a little bit of water and money.” Moser said the average lawn only needs 20 minutes of water every other day during the hottest months. In the spring and fall, grass only needs 20 minutes of water approximately 1-2


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August 2018 | Page 23

One million wooden cars and counting for Alton Thacker and his merry band of toymakers By Carl Fauver |


erhaps the closest thing West Jordan has to a bonafide celebrity—toymaker Alton Thacker—served as grand marshal at the city’s annual children’s parade to kick off its Fourth of July celebration. And he accepted the honorary duty just a couple of weeks after he and his mostly-senior citizen volunteer toymakers—with Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids—reached a monumental milestone. “On June 14 we built our one-millionth toy car,” Thacker said, just before leading the parade out. “And this year we are on pace to build more than any previous year. We’ll go over 100,000 cars.” If he had sold the cars for just a dollar a piece, which would be a tremendous bargain, Thacker’s small, four-wheeled creations would have earned his shop $1 million since he began in 2002. But the 82-year-old has never sold a one, choosing instead to give them all away. It’s not a great business model, but Thacker doesn’t operate a business. He trades in the smiles kids give him—from across the globe—after receiving one of his toy cars. “We are so excited to have Alton as our (children’s parade) grand marshal,” West Jordan Mayor Jim Riding said. “This parade is all about kids, and so is he. We are proud Alton runs his toy making shop here in West Jordan. He brings a lot of joy to a lot of people.” As he neared the end of what would be a 47-year career as a barber, Thacker began making toy cars at his Sandy home in 2002. He soon outgrew that space, and also a West Jordan garage that was donated for his team to work in, by former West Jordan Mayor and Councilman Dave Newton. In 2010, Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids took up residency at its current, rented location (1423 West 8120 South). But paying the rent proved to be a challenge—at least until the media

Grand Marshal Alton Thacker pulled several kids in oversized replicas of his toy cars to lead the West Jordan Children’s Parade. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

finally caught up to what he was doing. “Over the years, we have received positive coverage from local media, which helped generate some donations to help pay the rent,” Thacker said. “But when Mike Rowe’s show came out, that was a real game changer.” Four months ago in these pages, we told you about Alton’s internet program debut on host Mike Rowe’s show “Returning the Favor.” The program highlights volunteers such as Thacker—from across the country—which serve their communities through volunteerism. After spotlighting Alton’s foundation, show producers also donated a four-wheeler for Thacker to use when pulling kids in parades. But Alton says that was not the best thing “Returning the Favor” did. “The publicity from that show has been incredible,” he said.

“It has helped us generate more donations to pay our rent and other bills. And it has also motivated other people—from around the world—to reach out to me, saying they now want to set up volunteer toy making shops like ours.” In just the few months since Thacker became a Facebook star, he said he has been approached by people in Maine, Costa Rica and even Malawi, Africa, seeking “How can we do it too?” information. So does that mean franchising opportunities for Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids? Maybe there’s still a million dollars to be made. But Thacker’s wife Cheryl jumps in to answer that question, before he can even draw a breath. “We don’t want all that extra work,” she said. “I know Alton is just excited to see these other people consider opening more toy making shops, because the kids will benefit.” After speaking briefly to the West Jordan children’s parade gathering, The Thackers jumped into their parade float and began pulling kids, including a couple of great-grandchildren. Foundation toy shop volunteers constructed 85,000 of the wooden cars in 2016, 98,000 last year. They are on pace to build more than 100,000 this year. Many of the toys are painted by a prison inmate work group in Gunnison, along with Boy Scouts and other volunteers. The toys are then distributed to area hospitals, service organizations and many other groups that serve children and measure success one smile at a time. “We are so proud of him,” Thacker’s granddaughter Erica Fish said, as she was securing two of her kids in one of the cars to be pulled in the parade by their great-grandpa. “He found a great cause and is so devoted to it.” l

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Barbara George, LMT June 26, 2018 was the Ribbon Cutting ceremony for Barbara George, LMT’s new office at 8954 S Mountain Vista Drive, West Jordan, Utah. Aisza of the West Jordan Chamber of Commerce welcomed Mayor Riding, Chamber members, family, friends and clients of Barbara George. Mayor Riding honored us by speaking on the city welcoming many Home based business such as Barbara George, LMT. Barbara spoke of her 20 years of experience which has enabled her to customize massages, 16 years of working with clients involved in car accidents and their insurances.

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Page 24 | August 2018

West Jordan City Journal


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August 2018 | Page 25

Got girl drama? Take a lap! By Jet Burnham | Third-grader Kennedi Gonzalez, like many girls her age, struggled to navigate friendships with other girls in her class. “Some of my friends weren’t treating me well,” she said. Kennedi joined the after-school program at Calvin S. Smith Elementary in Taylorsville, called Girls on the Run. There she found a group of new friends and the social-emotional training to empower her to express herself and have her needs met. Twice a week, from March to June, eight girls at CSSE met after school to run laps, learn lessons, work on group projects, eat healthy snacks, discuss problems and brainstorm solutions together. “We talk about all kinds of things like peer pressure and bullying,” said Jennifer Huntington, the school librarian, who is one of the coaches. “They’re really open about what they’re struggling with, and we try to give them tips and tools on how to deal with life.” The curriculum, developed by the national GOTR organization, empowers tween girls with lessons that develop self-esteem and conflict-resolution skills. “They give us examples of how to solve problems, and you can use them later when you need them,” said Zaidy Rojas, a sixth-grader. She had a situation where her feelings were hurt by a friend. Zaidy said her training in “I feel” statements allowed her to feel comfortable

More than 1,700 girls participated in the annual Girls on the Run 5k this year. (Photo courtesy Kristen Logan)

expressing her feelings to her friend. She felt better, and the friendship wasn’t harmed. “She didn’t get upset,” said Zaidy. The program teaches the young girls to recognize unhealthy patterns in their friendships. Destiny Florez, a fifth-grader, didn’t like the way one of her friends was treating her. She was able to be direct with her friend, avoiding unhelpful passive language, to resolve the issue. Fourth-grader Rachel Miller said because of her GOTR training, she was able to communicate effectively when a girl in her dance class was being mean to her. She resolved the issue confidently, without any unnecessary drama. Rachel said the program has helped her rely less on what others think of her. She also

feels more fit and strong. The program challenges the girls to prepare for a 5k. This year, 1,700 girls participated in the race held in Sugar House Park on June 2. Girls chose an adult friend or family member to run the course with them. “The program really helps with self-confidence,” said third-grade teacher Kristin Logan, another coach with CSSE’s program. “It really empowers them to see that they are capable of doing whatever they want. To run 3.1 miles is not a small distance.” Fourth-grader Sophie Scott said the program has encouraged her to work hard to set and achieve personal goals. “It’s not all about beating people; it’s just

to work on being yourself,” she said. Fourth-graders Lola Parker and Rachel Miller joined the program to learn healthy habits and be more fit. But they discovered numerous other benefits. Through their time together, the girls have created a support network. “We learn to encourage others, to keep running and to keep running forward,” said Destiny. She likes how they cheer each other on and give high 5s when someone achieves their goals. Huntington said the friendships the girls form are the biggest benefit of the program. The girls get to know each other well, something that probably wouldn’t normally happen with their age range of third to sixth grade. “It’s fun to be with all these girls,” said sixth-grader Reagan Vanderlinden. “We talk about how to make ourselves feel better if someone’s not being nice, and that’s been really great.” And she has learned things about herself. She has learned to identify what makes her happy—spending time with friends who are nice to her and doing things she enjoys. Last year, there were 130 schools in Utah hosting the GOTR program. Applications to host a program are available starting July 1 at The next 12-week program begins next March l


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West Jordan City Journal

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August 2018 | Page 27

Utah’s housing unaffordability crisis By Lana Medina |


espite an uptick in employment, Utah is becoming more unaffordable for low-income families. According to a recent report from the University of Utah Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, housing prices have been steadily rising since the 1990s, but Utah wages are not matching that growth, and low-income families are starting to suffer as a result. “Eighty six percent of people pay more than 50 percent of their income toward housing,” said Tara Rollins, executive director of the Utah Housing Coalition. “The issue has been happening for some time. Wages haven’t been keeping up with rent.” Rollins says it’s especially affecting Utah because population growth is outpacing the number of homes and apartments available, and construction isn’t meeting demand. Jennifer Gilchrist, a realtor in Salt Lake County, said she often sees homes in the $200,000 to $250,000 price range get offers within a matter of hours. “It’s really crazy right now. There are a lot of people who want to buy houses and not that many people who are selling,” she said. Since last year alone, the average single family home has gone up approximately 13 percent in price. For example, a $300,000 home for sale last year, would now be selling for about $340,000, according to the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. While other states are suffering from an increase in housing prices, Utah is ranked as the 4th highest in the nation for that growth, and experts believe it’s only going to get worse. For Jerusha Stucki and her husband, who were both born and raised in Utah, the rise in housing prices has made it difficult for them to search for a home for their growing family. They’ve tried looking at houses, but the rising cost makes it a daunting task.

“Our price range is for houses that are old, dirty and cheap, and we don’t want to be house poor,” Stucki explained. But waiting for a few years down the road could be even worse. Stucki says just three years ago, she and her husband nearly bought a townhouse but ultimately had to back out. Now, that townhouse is worth $35,000 more than the asking price from just a few years ago. “There’s a good chance, we may not see houses at the prices we saw even three years ago,” Stucki says. The housing unaffordability crisis isn’t just affecting families wanting to buy homes, but rentals are rising at an alarming rate. Rollins says many families are combining with other households in one home to manage rental costs, and some are putting up with substandard housing because there isn’t anything better available in their price range. “Last year the housing wage was $17.02 and it just went up to $17.77, that’s a 75 cent increase per hour,” Rollins said. But Rollins says for the average person to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Salt Lake County, their wage needs to match approximately $19.90 an hour. “That’s up 86 cents from last year,” Rollins explained. The University of Utah Gardner Policy Institute report suggested some municipal measures to help reduce housing unaffordability, including waive or reduce fees for affording housing, change building codes to encourage more affordable housing, and adopt zoning ordinances that provide a wide range of housing types and prices. But in the meantime, families like the Stuckis continue to follow the housing market and hope future changes will make housing more affordable in Utah. l

The Top 10 most expensive Wasatch Front areas in Q1 by median home price (courtesy Salt Lake Board of Realtors)



Emigration-84108 (up 19.5 percent)



The Avenues-84103 (up 20.4 percent)



Alpine-84004 (up 7.4 percent)



Holladay-84124 (up 14.7 percent)



Draper-84020 (up 3.5 percent)



Holladay-84117 (up 10.2 percent)



South Jordan-84095 (up 16.7 percent)



Sandy-84092 (down 7.4 percent)



East Central SLC-84102 (up 31.3 percent)



Eden-84310 (down 3.4 percent)



Canyon Rim-84109 (up 3.9 percent)

The limitations of the Wasatch Front geography means there’s not much more room for sprawl, so new Utah housing developments are going to have to get creative. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

Page 28 | August 2018

West Jordan City Journal

Salt Lake Chamber hopes to raise awareness about Utah’s housing situation By Justin Adams |

Top and bottom: A block party was held as the TGIF was demolished at the old Cottonwood Mall site in Holladay. The demolition makes way for the planned Holladay Quarter development which has seen varying amounts of opposition from residents. (Aspen Perry/City Journals)

Representatives from the Salt Lake Chamber will be visiting with the following cities at each municipality’s city hall in the coming weeks and months with more to be scheduled. North Ogden

August 14 @ 6 p.m.


August 21 @ 3 p.m.

West Jordan

August 22 @ 6 p.m.


August 28 @ 6 p.m.


September 4 @ 5:30 p.m.

Woods Cross

September 4 @ 6:30 p.m.


September 11 @ 6 p.m.

Pleasant Grove

September 18 @ 5 p.m.


September 18 @ 7 p.m.


September 20 @ 6 p.m.

South Jordan

October 2 @ 4:30 p.m.

West Bountiful

October 2 @ 7:30 p.m.


October 9 @ 5:30 p.m.


October 9 @ 6 p.m.

WestJordanJournal .com

“Anytime a developer comes in with a plan that involves high-density housing, it’s like a four-letter word,” said Draper Mayor Troy Walker during a meeting of Draper officials and representatives from the Salt Lake Chamber. The meeting was the second of many meetings the Salt Lake Chamber hopes to conduct with every city council along the Wasatch Front in order to discuss the topic of housing affordability. “Recently we’ve had a lot of business owners coming to us and saying, ‘Our employees are struggling to find housing,’” explained Abby Osborne, the chamber’s vice president of government relations. The Salt Lake Chamber, a business association that operates throughout the state, then partnered with the Kem C. Gardner Institute to produce a report on housing affordability, released earlier this year. “What we found in the report was quite alarming. For the first time we have more households than household units,” said Osborne. “That’s a big component of why you’re seeing these skyrocketing prices. It’s just supply and demand.” While there are factors that limit what state and local governments can do about housing prices — for example, the state can’t do anything about rising material costs or the fact that the opportunity for further “sprawl” is limited by the Wasatch corridor’s geography — the Salt Lake Chamber is on a mission to let governments and individuals know what they can do. “We’re just starting a dialogue with the city councils,” Osborne told the City Journals. “We’re asking them, ‘What do you think about

this issue? Would you consider smaller lot sizes? Why are you opposed to higher density housing?” Osborne pointed to the Daybreak community in South Jordan and Holladay’s still-in-theworks Holladay Quarter development as examples of cities using creative zoning policies to create more housing in a smart way. However, the opposition to new housing efforts is much more likely to come from residents, not local governments, according to Osborne. “We have a lot of NIMBYism in Utah,” she said, referring to an acronym that stands for “Not In My Backyard.” That can be seen with the case of the Holladay Quarter, where community groups formed to fight against the development. Part of the Salt Lake Chamber’s mission will include a “full-blown media campaign” this fall to educate people about the nuances of the housing affordability issue. Osborne said she hopes the campaign will start to remove the stigmas and misunderstandings that people have about new housing developments. For example, one misconception people have is that most of our growth is coming from out-of-state. “Not true,” said Osborne. “It is us, having children who want to stay here and live here because of our quality of life.” “I think the unknown is fearful for people,” she said. “They have this perception of how they want to raise their large families on big pieces of property. But when those kids grow up, where are they going to live? If these trends continue, there won’t be enough homes for the people that want to live here.” l

Plots of land around the valley are constantly being considered for new housing, like this piece in northeast West Valley City. A development proposal for townhomes was denied in June after nearby residents mobilized against the level of density. Residents want single-family homes built there. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

August 2018 | Page 29

Students access real-life scientific resources to build dinosaurs By Jet Burnham |


ike scientists in a scene from a popular dinosaur movie, students teamed up with the Natural History Museum of Utah to design the ultimate dinosaur species. Using Research Quest, a creative digital program developed by the museum, students determined the best combination of various heads, torsos, tails and legs from a digitized library of fossils scanned from the museum’s paleontology collection. “We are getting some of the expertise of our scientists out there to kids, and we’re getting objects out there—they’re looking at actual scanned fossils that we have at the museum,” said McKenna Lane, digital learning and curriculum specialist at NHMU. Research Quest brings the museum resources to the classroom through the internet and is easily accessed from computer labs or classroom Chromebooks. Using digitized fossils and scientific materials, video segments from leading scientists and printable resources, students work their way through activities called investigations. The teaching resource— available to all Utah teachers—was developed by the museum in partnership with the Utah Educational Network and the University of Utah’s departments of Educational Psychology and Entertainment Arts and Engineering. Kirsten Butcher, of the University of Utah’s Instructional Design & Educational Technology Program, said not all species of di-

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Students use museum resources and their imagination to create the ultimate dinosaur species. (Photo Alex Goodlett)

nosaurs have been discovered, so students are using the simulation to create a feasible design for a potential species using the same resources as actual scientists. Students designed dinosaurs that would most successfully perform in simulated tests of survivability, diet, reproduction and physical stability, based on the features of each fossil. Research Quest provides teachers with three different investigations that engage students in actual paleontology work as well as the development of critical thinking skills. “Critical thinking has been recognized as a huge concern for education for a long time,” said Butcher. “But it’s notoriously difficult to teach and to engage students in these processes.” Research Quest uses a digital interface and a gaming style to appeal to students, while providing practice in this important life skill. “We live in a very information-rich world,” said Butcher. “It takes really strong critical thinking skills to sift through information, to make sense of information, to know what to do with that information.” Another investigation, targeted to older grades, asks students to study a real-life quarry

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site where many dinosaur skeletons have been found. Students develop a theory of how the dinosaurs ended up there, based on available evidence. Then they debate with peers who interpreted the data differently and support an opposing theory. “This is a real scientific question—there’s no one correct answer,” said Butcher. Students use the same resources that are available to paleontologists to develop their theories and then compare it to leading scientific theories. “From the teachers, we hear a lot that it’s a really great tool for getting kids to construct evidence-based arguments, and that’s something they feel is really unique and valuable,” said Lane. “Students are gathering evidence to support an argument and communicating that argument—something they don’t usually get a chance to do.” Another investigation gives students access to 3-D digitized models of fossils found in the NHMU’s collection. Using observation and analysis, they determine what kind of dinosaur the bones are from. Research Quest has been available for classroom use since the beginning of this school year and has been well received by students of all ages, said Lane. The program was initially targeted to middle school students but is adaptable for younger grades as well. “I had to do a little preparation to scaffold the program since it’s a middle school-designed program,” said Kristine Jolley, a teacher at Midas Creek Elementary in Riverton. She said her students were excited to use the technology and were engaged in learning. She felt her fourth-graders benefitted from the challenge to think more critically in a fun way. “The best part is just the fact that it is a cool subject, and the kids enjoy it,” she said. More information can be found at www. l

West Jordan City Journal

Airport reconstruction project on schedule for 2020 By Lana Medina |


ust two years from now, Utahns will see a brand new Salt Lake International Airport opening. A construction project that has been decades in the making is underway at the airport, as crews are working to build a new parking garage, central terminal and a new north and south concourse. “One of the biggest milestones was in May,” said Nancy Volmer, the airport public relations director. “That’s when one of the final steel beams went up.” Why build a new airport? When the Salt Lake International Airport was first built in the 1960s, it was designed for 10 million passengers per year. But now, more than 60 years later, the airport serves more than 24 million passengers annually, and that number is increasing. Volmer says with the current design, only one plane can take off at a time, and the airport wasn’t built for a hub operation. “There’s congestion on the curb side, there’s congestion on the gate side,” Volmer explained. “There’s not enough seating for passengers waiting for their flights.” Who is paying for the new airport? “No local taxpayer dollars are being spent on the airport,” Volmer said. For the $3.6 billion reconstruction project, the airport is relying on several major areas of funding: 41.3 percent - Future bonds to pay for the remaining cost 23 percent - 2017 revenue bonds issued by the airport 14.8 percent - Airport savings 11.5 percent - Passenger facility charges 4.9 percent - Rental car facility charges 4.5 percent - Federal grants Volmer says one of the primary reasons why the Salt Lake International Airport is able to fund the reconstruction project without local taxpayer assistance is because the airport has been saving for this project since the 1990s. “People who use the airport are helping pay for this redevelopment. Passenger user fee, the airlines, the car rental user fees,” Volmer said. Future Changes One of the biggest changes that will push the Salt Lake International Airport into the spotlight is security. The new airport will have state of the art equipment for security screening to help cut down on wait times and limit the hassle as passengers try to make their flights. The entire design of the airport is focused on making it easier for passengers, Volmer explained. “You can check your bag, print your boarding pass, go through security, and you won’t have to go up and down levels. It (will be) convenient for passengers,” Volmer said. Some other major improvements include: • A larger parking garage able to fit up

WestJordanJournal .com

Airport officials say the new airport design will allow for easier access to passengers. (Photo courtesy Salt Lake International Airport)

to 3,600 vehicles, with separate areas for drop off and pick up. • Separate arrival and departure levels • On-site car rental pick-up and dropoff counters • Tech friendly with more locations to

plug in electronics • More shopping and dining What is Phase 2? Phase 1 is expected to be completed by Fall 2020, and then construction will begin on Phase 2, which includes building the north and south

concourses on the east side, the demolition of concourses B, C and D, and the demolition of the International Terminal. For more information about the Airport Reconstruction project, visit www.slcairport. com/thenewslc. l

August 2018 | Page 31

Dance to the beat of your own drum By Heather Sky |

A Drums Alive class where participants combine traditional fitness while working on music and rhythm. (Photo courtesy Yolanda Brown)

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ave you heard of the newest group fitness experience called Drums Alive? This innovative workout combines the benefits of a traditional physical fitness program for the body with the brain working on making music and rhythm. Carrie Ekins created the program out of necessity after a devastating dance-related hip injury. Ekins has a master’s degree in physical education, dance with emphasis in sports medicine from Brigham Young University. The required rehabilitation following her injury was a long process, and Ekins decided to have some fun while progressing along the recovery pathway. She began to research the reason she experienced feelings of euphoria while drumming on boxes. What she discovered is that the drum patterns helped the brain to generate enhanced alpha brain waves, synchronize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, as well as advance the healing of the body. Fellow enthusiastic Drums Alive instructors, Yolanda and Micheal, helped bring the experience to Midvale last month with a Master Workshop and Instructor Certificate Training (specifically designed for music therapists) at Body Logic Dance Studio. The duo had previously focused their efforts within the senior com-

munity by teaching at senior centers in Midvale and neighboring cities, but according to Yolanda Brown, “The demand has been so high that we cannot keep up with the request for classes.” In order to remedy the issue, she decided to bring the founder of Drums Alive to Midvale in order to train new instructors. The events were held on July 15 and 16, as participants experienced for themselves the healing experience of movement and rhythm through fun and creative expression. This powerful and unique workout joins the dynamic movements of aerobic dance with the pulsating rhythms of the drum, providing the body and mind with instant feedback through continuous movement and rhythmical flow. Drumming has been found to have numerous physiological and psychological benefits, contributing to an overall sense of well being. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creative expression through drumming. This fun and effective exercise program is appropriate for all ages and abilities. To find out more about Body Logic Dance offerings, visit their website at bodylogicdance. com. l

West Jordan City Journal

Briggs steps down as Jaguar head coach By Greg James |


he announcement that West Jordan High School’s head basketball coach, Scott Briggs, is leaving his alma mater to take over at Herriman High School still echoes through the Jaguar hallways. For 23 years as head coach and five more as an assistant, he has seen more games in the Jaguar gymnasium than anyone. Briggs has played a crucial role in Jaguar basketball history. He also played varsity basketball at the school. “I am so grateful for the players, friendships and memories I have from all my time at West Jordan High,” Briggs said from his Twitter account. While Briggs hasn’t changed much from his 1989 yearbook picture, his accomplishments have. He guided West Jordan to two state basketball titles and nearly missed on two others. He was a two-year starter under head coaches Grant Price and Dan Cowan at the school. He eventually took over coaching for Cowan and replaced him as athletic director at the school. “Every game he would write three things on the board,” West Jordan graduate and former University of Utah player Jordan Loveridge said. “ He would say play hard, play smart and have fun. West Jordan basketball is hard-nosed and blue collar because of him. Off the court,

West Jordan boys basketball coach Scott Briggs has taken the head coaching position at Herriman High. (Greg James/City Journals)

he teaches his players how to be men; how to do the right thing. He will be missed at West Jordan.” In his final season at the helm of the Jaguars, he led the team to 16-8 overall record and a first-round playoff loss to Pleasant Grove 6254 (the Vikings have ousted his teams from the playoffs the last two years). The Jaguars last missed the playoffs in 2014. He won state titles in 2001 and 2009.

“When I was a freshman I was on the varsity team, we had seven seniors that coach did a great job of motivating,” Loveridge said. “No one expected us to win the title (2009).” Briggs gives credit for his success to his current and former assistants, like Andrew Blanchard (currently head coach at Copper Hills), Kevin Damron (a current assistant at Herriman), Steve Tidwell (former Taylorsville head coach) and Kasey Walkenhurst. He attended Dixie State and the University of Utah before becoming a teacher at West Jordan. He is married and had three kids. Briggs has been recognized as one of the top coaches in the state. “West Jordan head coach Scott Briggs is amazing and does it with such class,” Pleasant Grove head coach Randy McAllister said after last season’s playoff game. He has helped organize the West Jordan Special Needs Clinic and Basketball Game. It was held in February for the 16th straight year. “Some of the best times for me is coming back home and watching coach and his teams,” Loveridge said. “I like to catch up and talk about old times with him.” The school administration announced former assistant and Jaguar alumni Mason Sawyer has been hired to replace Briggs. He graduated from West jordan in 2009 and was a member of one of the state championship teams. l

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August 2018 | Page 33

Making sense of cents




he importance of saving money has been emphasized ever since I was a child. I was bombarded with the sentiment from my parents, my teachers and from the media. “Save Big” marketing messages have been in my life ever since I have been able to make sense of my senses. Lately, I’ve been wondering why. Why do we need to save money? As soon as I was old enough to receive a paycheck, my parents told me to put at least 10 percent of it into a savings account, if not more (hopefully one that accrues interest). They always told me to keep a $100 comfort pillow in my primary checking account and to keep a significant safety net. When I would ask “Why?” their response was always, “In case of an emergency.” What if the car breaks down and you need to pay for a pretty hefty repair? What if you break a part of yourself and need to pay for medical expenses? Saving money was to keep myself out of debt when outstanding situations arose. In school, we were required to take financial planning classes. We received instruction on how to budget, how to buy a house, how to get the best agreements for car payments, and how to plan for retirement. The essentials

for our personal budgets, right? Buy a car. Buy a house. Save enough to retire on time. Saving money was to maintain a comfortable lifestyle to transport ourselves, shelter ourselves, and take care of ourselves in old age. As soon as we reproduce, we start saving money for our children. I’ve always heard that one child costs $20,000 per year, on average. Offspring are expensive. On top of that average support, parents tend to save for their children’s future (aka a college education). Parents also tend to want to leave their children something of merit when they pass. So, we save money for emergencies, for a comfortable lifestyle, and for our offspring. Besides those canons of saving money, what else do you

save money for? What do you put value on? What do you not mind spending full price on and what do you absolutely need a coupon for in order to buy? It may be food. Some people don’t mind paying money to go out to eat multiple times per week at real restaurants (not fast food joints). Other people will stock pile coupons and go to different grocery stores in order to get the best deals. It may be clothes. Some people don’t mind paying triple digits to have a specific name or logo on the fabric wrapped around their bodies. Other people buy their jeans from Wal-Mart for $10. It may be cars. Some people pay for fuel efficiency, or speed, or sporty-looking body styles. Other peo-

ple can’t even imagine paying more than four figures on something that just gets them from point A to point B. It may be family and friends. Some people will make agreements with family and friends to not exchange gifts. Other people don’t mind spending some cash on their people. Why are we so driven to save a few dollars here and a few cents there? Why are we so turned on by sales and big savings tactics? Is it so we can have money for emergency situations? Or to spend money on things we perceive to have value? Or is it some ideal the marketing industries have driven into us since before we can remember? Let me know so I don’t feel like I’m just rambling into the ether. l

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Life and Laughter—Uncommon Courtesy


Laughter AND





e’ve become an unpleasant people. All the commons, like courtesy, sense, knowledge and good, aren’t nearly as prevalent as they should be. But we’re Americans! We’re resilient! We survived New Coke and the Sony Betamax. We can definitely start using old-fashioned common courtesy. Making America Great Again should include some of the following: Be Thoughtful Being thoughtful doesn’t have to be inconvenient, like throwing your jacket on top of a mud puddle so I can cross without getting my dainty feet wet. (Disclaimer: I’ve never had dainty feet). Even small actions amp up your kindness cred. Open doors, smile, give up your seat, wipe down the machines at the gym (you know who you are!!) or offer to carry a bag of groceries. Maybe thoughtfulness means doing something you’d rather not do, like play Yahtzee with your grandson 327 times in a row, watch golf with your husband or help a friend move. Offer to buy a stranger’s coffee, remember important dates, use manners, write thank you cards and let someone go in front of you at Walmart. Watching their wary acceptance is pretty hilarious.

Shut up and Listen Have you ever talked to someone and realized their eyes were more glazed than a Krispy Kreme conveyer belt? That means you’ve monopolized the conversation and it’s someone else’s turn to talk. (“Conversation” means two or more people exchanging ideas.) We’re horrible listeners. We interrupt, interject with personal stories, refuse to make eye contact and try to keep that supercool thought in our brain so we can jump right in as soon as the speaker takes a breath. Calm yourself. Listen to learn. If we already know everything, there’s absolutely no reason to pay attention to someone who’s talking to us. If you agreed with that last sentence, your wife is slowly poisoning you. Put Down Your Damn Phone We are WAY too invested in our cell phones. I’m not excluding myself. My husband and I often have this conversation: Tom: Can you put down your phone and watch TV? Me: I’m watching. Tom: What just happened? Me: The guy did that one thing to that other guy. Tom: Hand me your phone. Me: [Eye roll] Gees, you don’t



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understand. Our discourteous cell phone behavior made headlines this spring after a cast member of Hamilton called out audience members in Salt Lake because they wouldn’t turn their phones off during the performance. Good grief! We’ve even irritated the Founding Fathers (again). Leave your phone in your car, on your shelf or in your fish tank if you’re in a situation that requires decent human behavior. Be Generous Utahns are notoriously cheap. I mean seriously-perhaps-we-should-be-in-therapy cheap. I’ve had two daughters who worked in food services. They’ve shared horror stories of impolite guests, demanding drunks and overall poorly behaved people. Come on, everyone. The wait staff survives off your chintzy tips. They usually make less than $3 an hour and when you tip $2.75 on a bill of $100, you are a villain. Don’t be afraid to pry open that creaky, dusty wallet and tip your restaurant servers, hair stylists, pizza guy, Uber driver or dog walker. Let Drivers Merge for Cryin’ Out Loud Nothing more needs to be said

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Profile for The City Journals

West Jordan City Journal August 2018  

West Jordan City Journal August 2018