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December 2019 | Vol. 19 Iss. 12

FREE POVERTY HASN’T RETIRED. WHY SHOULD HE?

By Alison Brimley | a.brimley@mycityjournals.com

H

e was a Fulbright Scholar in Cairo. He’s studied 16 languages and can converse in six. He’s authored eight books and dozens of articles, traveled the equivalent of 38 times the circumference of the globe and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro at the age of 65. He’s the most interesting man trying to save the world. Dr. James Mayfield, who will turn 85 this month, is co-founder of CHOICE Humanitarian. CHOICE is a nonprofit located in West Jordan whose goal is to eliminate extreme poverty across the world. Extreme poverty, as defined by the World Bank, means that an individual lives on less than $1.90 per day. That sum doesn’t just cover food and shelter but everything--utilities, transportation, internet and more. To put it in perspective, consider that in the United States, “poverty” is defined as living on less than $34 per day. Chances are you live on much more per day than you realize. Eliminating extreme poverty is no small goal, considering that 736 million people across the world fall into that category. But CHOICE works one village at a time. And in many villages, they’ve achieved it.

REFINING THE EXPEDITION MODEL

CHOICE was preceded by another organization, the Andean Children’s Foundation, started by dentist Tim Evans with the goal of bringing clean water to Peruvian villages. Mayfield, then a University of Utah political science professor and expert on village development, joined forces with Evans in 1983. Though CHOICE started with a focus on giving families opportunities to take humanitarian expeditions, they’ve since moved away from that model. It doesn’t allow them to

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

Jim Mayfield with Bishnu Adhikari, former in-country director of CHOICE Nepal. (Courtesy of CHOICE Humanitarian)

be most effective. The term “voluntourism” has a bad rap. If you want to do some good for an overseas community living in poverty, many say, don’t take a humanitarian trip. Take the chunk of change you would have spent on a plane ticket and send it directly to

those who need it. In the early years of CHOICE’s operation, Mayfield saw another flaw in the expedition system: Many of the projects completed eventually failed because they were not sustainable. If a volunteer group built a pump or a school, eventually, “the pump wouldn’t Continued page 5

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December 2019 | Page 3


West Jordan High student are M.A.D. about making a difference By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

T

he West Jordan community looks forward to West Jordan High School’s season of M.A.D. Jags when students Make A Difference by raising money for a local charity. This year, Student Body President Emily LaBonty wants students to keep focused on the reason for this month of fundraising activities. “A lot of times, it can become super competitive with other schools, so we’re just trying to steer away from that this year,” she said. “I really want to make it less focused on the total that we’re earning and more on how the student body feels and how they connect with the charity, and on doing the most good for the charity.” Money raised at M.A.D. Jags activities will be donated to Hayes Tough, a small, local charity that helps families whose children have cancer. “We’re really excited because it will be substantial to them,” said SBO adviser Courtnee Meek. “And it’s nice to know the money’s going to kids in our community that need it and wouldn’t get it otherwise.” Savanna Tate, who started the Hayes Tough Foundation with her husband, Steve, in honor of their son Hayes, who died of cancer before the age of two, said the funds will help many local families who are battling childhood cancer. She is honored WJHS students have chosen to help. “I just feel grateful,” Tate said. “These kids are opening up their hearts and putting forth work that has nothing to do with them. They’re willing to go all out, put themselves in uncomfortable situations raising money. It’s just really telling that these are good kids.” Students and community members can look forward to all the traditional M.A.D. Jags activities—groups of students going

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door to door offering to do Odd Jobs for donations, restaurant nights, the drill team vs. cheer basketball game, Mr. M.A.D. Jags Pageant—as well as some new activities such as service nights. he first service night is scheduled for Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. to make comfort kits. The Hayes Tough Foundation provides comfort kits to patients and their families for their hospital stays. “We provide them with chargers, cables, hygiene kits, toys—we usually add a Kindle to each package—just things that will give them some relief when they’re in the hospital,” Tate said. Meek said service nights give students a way to be involved that doesn’t require donating any money. She said even though WJHS is in an area where many families don’t have a lot of extra money to donate, they are generous. Many students save their own money to be able to participate in all the M.A.D. Jags activities during lunch and in the evenings when money is collected. “The kids are so generous because it’s very much the tradition at the school,” Meek said. Students get excited to see how much money they can earn. “It’s very easy to get caught up in the numbers of it and to get lost in wanting to beat last year’s number or wanting to make more money than other high schools.” Senior class historian Hailey McCarthy said every year when the amount they’ve earned for the charity is revealed, the students go crazy. “We see what we can do if we all just work together and do something—just little pieces here and there—to make something bigger,” she said. Meek said students make a huge sacrifice for the charity drive—especially the 22 student government officers who give up four

High school students brave cold temperatures to do odd jobs for community members and to fill their jugs with donations. (Photo courtesy Jim Bernini/WJHS)

weeks of activities and time with friends and family during the Christmas season to participate in M.A.D. Jags. She said they learn a lot about time management. Principal Jim Birch said they also learn that they really can make a difference. “They spend endless hours organizing events, doing odd jobs—by the end of the effort they are beat,” he said. “But the look in the charities’ recipients’ eyes makes all that go away.” Odd Jobs will be offered from Nov. 21– Dec. 19.

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Restaurant spirit nights will be held Dec. 3, 5, 10, 19. Dec. 3 Service project making comfort kits at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 Princess/Superhero Day at 10 a.m.–noon Dec. 16 Drill Team v. Cheer basketball game @ 7 p.m. Dec. 18 Mr. M.A.D. Jag Pageant at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 Choir Concert Follow M.A.D. Jags activities on Instagram @WJ_pride for more information. l

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Mayfield at work on one of CHOICE Humanitarian’s projects. (Courtesy of CHOICE Humani- Mayfield with CHOICE co-founder Dr. Tim Evtarian) ans. (Courtesy of CHOICE Humanitarian)

Continued from front page work, or the teacher wouldn’t show up,” he said. It became essential to create projects that were spearheaded by the village itself and merely supported by outside volunteers. Participant-funded expeditions continue to play a role in CHOICE. Mayfield has come to realize two major benefits to conducting expeditions: First, someone who goes on an expedition is 10 times more likely to send money as a donor in the future. Second, because the villagers themselves appreciate seeing outsiders willing to work with them in their communities. “There’s something almost magical about villagers seeing that they’re not alone,” Mayfield said. Their model has been refined over the years, and everyone involved has learned through trial and error. Mayfield has years of experience in development, but “he’s constantly willing to change,” said development associate Marissa Bernards. He wants to make sure CHOICE is not “so stuck in our model that we’re not willing to try new things or push the boundary.”

WHAT’S HIS SECRET?

In 2010, when Mayfield was a sprightly 75, he had retired from teaching at the University of Utah and was ready to pass the baton at CHOICE as well. His wife, he jokes, was certainly ready for him to retire. But an experience he had in Nepal changed his mind. CHOICE had helped one village in Nepal to eradicate poverty. Mayfield traveled to Nepal when CHOICE’S in-country director, Bishnu Adhikari, was invited to receive an award. There, the president of Nepal announced that he wanted to support CHOICE, replicating the plan they had implemented in that village in 180 other villages. If successful, this would help bring 9,000 Nepalese out of extreme poverty. It was an opportunity Mayfield

WestJordanJournal .com

didn’t want to miss out on. So, he kept working, and now, almost 10 years later, he hasn’t stopped. In the last year, Mayfield traveled to Nepal multiple times, staying a month or two on each trip and sleeping on the floor. The goal of the pilot program in Nepal was to eliminate poverty in all of these villages in three years. And it did. Now, CHOICE members plan to implement that same program in Guatemala. But Mayfield plans to slow down: He’ll travel to Guatemala only a handful of times in 2020. Some might suspect Mayfield has discovered the fountain of youth during his globetrotting. His real secret is much less glamorous; it comes from being conscious of his diet and consistent in exercise. He describes himself as “anxious to be healthy,” and walks or runs two to three times per week. He said he’s “very blessed.” Today, Mayfield isn’t a paid employee of CHOICE, though he continues to come to its West Jordan offices weekly and Skype into meetings often. He remains involved.

A HAND UP, NOT A HAND OUT

Mayfield’s decades of expertise and commitment to effective solutions have been instrumental in creating the model CHOICE uses today. All of their projects are spearheaded by native in-country teams, employed by CHOICE in every country where they work. Those teams, Bernards said, begin their work by going into a village and interviewing every household, asking questions like, “Who do you trust the most?” This helps them find community leaders, because the elected leaders are not always natural leaders. From there, CHOICE’s teams train individuals to be leaders, emphasizing gender equity. Leaders will hold a town hall where they determine the pressing needs which, if met, would allow their community to rise out of pover-

ty. It might be clean water, a school or something else. Recently Bernards led an expedition that helped construct fish hatcheries, which would add extra protein to villagers’ diets and allow them to raise fish they could sell. Though outside volunteers travel to help with these projects, villagers themselves take the lead by coordinating the worksite and project schedule. All of it is done using “appropriate technology,” Bernards said. “We don’t send bricks from the United States. If we’re working in a community where they work with adobe, then we make adobe clay bricks with them because we want it to be sustainable.” It’s all part CHOICE’s model, which Mayfield describes as giving “a hand up, not a hand out.”

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Is it really possible to eliminate extreme poverty? “I’m optimistic,” Mayfield said. He’s not alone. the UN made a goal to end extreme poverty by 2030. Two-hundred years ago, more than 80% of the world lived in extreme poverty. Today, that number has dropped to 10%. “I would really like to see one country be free of extreme poverty, Mayfield said.” It’s something that to this day has never happened. Some of the countries CHOICE focuses on, including Nepal, Guatemala and Peru, are small enough that “it’s realistic.” But it doesn’t stop there. With the help of CHOICE or other organizations, a village may graduate from extreme poverty to poverty, but they keep going. “We’ve found that when we implement our model, and they get past that $1.90 benchmark, they continually move up,” Bernards says. “They’re continually climbing because they have the opportunities that they need, so a lot of them end up living on more than that as well, above the poverty benchmark.” l

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December 2019 | Page 5


Family hopes to provide cereal to 4,000 kids By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

Kids of all ages were excited to help with the project. (Photo courtesy of Shauna Worthington.)

HOW TO HELP: TheCerealProject.org website has information about how individuals, families and groups can help: Donate Money: Venmo a donation to @ thecerealproject.

Shauna Worthington (in black) with family members—a nephew, sisters Amy and Jenny, brother-in-law Michael, mother and two grocery store employees—shopping for cereal. (Photo courtesy of Shauna Worthington.)

L

ast Thanksgiving, Principal Shauna Worthington wondered aloud if it would possible to send each of her students home for the winter break with a box of cereal to ensure that they would have something to eat. Her family volunteered to help her try to collect the 650 boxes of cereal she would need to make that dream a reality. “My family really ran with that — they were really excited,” Worthington said. Word spread, and local and national news picked up the story. Within two weeks, more than 2,700 boxes of cereal had been donated, wrapped and delivered to Worthington’s students at Oquirrh Elementary and to two additional West Jordan elementary schools. Organized and run by Worthington and her family—her parents, her five siblings and their families—her simple idea has grown into The Cereal Project. “It was really cool to just see my family step up and provide really visible support to me — we care about you, we care about your kids, and we want to help,” Worthington said. Her sister, Amy Worthington, said that is just what their family does for each other. “Our parents have raised us with this mentality that we are built-in best friends

Page 6 | December 2019

for life,” she said. “I feel really lucky. We all are really good to help each other when we need it.” Besides, the planning meetings are a good excuse to meet for breakfast together. Worthington said her family has been a great support during her first years as a principal. “It’s been fun to watch her just jump in because it’s something she’s passionate about and cares about,” Amy said of her sister. “She wants to do well for the kids, so she’s just committed. It has taken a lot of courage and willingness to do the hard work to be as good as she is.” Worthington learned from some of the best principals in the district while working as an assistant principal at six different schools before she became principal at Oquirrh Elementary last year. She immediately looked for opportunities at her school to help students, just as her mentors had. “The cereal project kind of started as a visible way of helping and gave us some momentum,” she said. “This is the fun part of my job—to start new things and do old things better.” This year, The Cereal Project is aiming to reach even more kids. “We want to provide a box for every kid

at all seven Title 1 schools [in Jordan School District], so we’re hopeful it’ll be about 4,000 boxes,” Worthington said. A large portion of students at Title 1 schools depend on free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs. The Cereal Project provides them with cereal they can eat during the two weeks of winter break. Any surplus cereal will be donated to local Principal’s Pantries. Amy credits the growth and popularity of The Cereal Project to the fact that it is such an easy way for people to make a big difference in children’s lives. “You see all of the things that these kids are going through, and you think a box of cereal won’t make that big of a difference,” she said. “But for them to have something that is theirs, that meets a need that they have but also allows them to feel special and seen and cared for is just so fun.” Worthington loves that kids can easily help with the project by picking out a box of cereal they know another child will like. “It’s a great way to get kids involved and give them that opportunity,” she said. “[Last year], we had kids helping wrap and helping count boxes and label boxes—they were the most enthusiastic participants.” l

Host a Cereal Drive: Visit www.thecerealproject.org/ host-a-drive for details.

Donate Cereal: Donate 1020 ounce boxes of cereal, any flavor.

Drop-off hours: Ship cereal to Oquirrh Elementary, 7165 South Paddington Road West Jordan, UT 84084 or drop it off at the school on Friday, Dec. 13 between 4 and 7 p.m. or Saturday, Dec. 14 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Donate wrapping supplies: The Cereal Project 2019 wishlist of supplies can be found on amazon.com. Help wrap: A Wrapping Party will be held Dec. 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Oquirrh Elementary, 7165 South Paddington Road (3285 West).

West Jordan City Journal


Santa sightings, Christmas concerts and tree lightings: Inexpensive holiday fun for the family

Winter skies hold less pollution than 10 years ago By Erin Dixon | erin@mycityjournals.com

By Christy Jepson | Christy@mycityjournals.com

B

udgets can get tight around this time of year. Sometimes taking your family to certain holiday events can be pricey. But don’t despair. Take a peek at this list (but not Santa’s!) and enjoy inexpensive holiday fun for the whole family.

RIVERTON

Santa’s Arrival in Riverton: Monday, Dec. 2 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Riverton City Park (1452 W. 12600 South). Come greet Santa as he and Mrs. Claus arrive to the park on a fire truck. Enjoy making crafts, cookie decorating, visiting with vendors, writing letters to Santa, roasting marshmallows, and enjoying a free warm scone with honey butter and a cup of hot chocolate. ‘Twas the Lights before Christmas: Dec. 6-12, 14-18, 21-23 from 6-9 p.m. at the Riverton City Park. This new holiday event costs $10 per vehicle. While staying warm in your car, you can read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” on giant storyboards and see holiday lights. (Enter the park through 12800 South via 1300 West) Christmas Night of Music Concert: Monday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at Riverton High School, 12476 S. Silverwolf Way. Beautiful holiday music will be performed by a 100-member choir and orchestra from the area.

SANDY

Mad Holiday Science: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. at the Sandy Library, 10100 S. Petunia Way. Santa Eggbert will explore science with a holiday twist. Children will get to watch: The Northern Lights, foam the melts before their eyes, indoor fireworks and dry ice experiments. Christmas in the Wizarding World: Visit this unique retail experience now until Jan. 6. The hours at The Shops at South Town are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. This is the final year that this event will be in Utah. Visitors can browse for free or if there is a Harry Potter fan in your family there is a wide selection of Harry Potter merchandise. Santa’s Toy Bag presented by the Utah Puppet Theater: Monday, Dec. 23 at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at the Sandy Library.

SOUTH JORDAN

Light the Night Tree Lighting Celebration: Friday, Dec. 6 from 6-8:30 p.m. After the tree lighting ceremony, walk down Towne Center Drive and enjoy the festive holiday candy window displays, shop at the Winter Market, visit with Santa, enjoy hot cocoa, gingerbread house displays, live music, sleigh rides, drum line and a holiday movie. SoJo Choral Arts presents the 15th Annual Sounds of the Season Choir and Orchestra Holiday Concert: Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. at Bingham High School, 2160 S. Jor-

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A child explores the unique retail experience, Christmas in the Wizarding World at The Shops at South Town. (Photo courtesy The Shops at South Town)

dan Parkway. This is a free concert and will last a little over an hour.

WEST JORDAN

The Magic of the Christmas Season: Tuesday, Dec. 3 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the West Jordan Library, 8030 S. 1825 West. This festive night is presented by Mont “Magic” and children who attend will find out what happened to The Grinch and learn what other reindeer games Rudolph wasn’t allowed to play. Children will find the answers to these silly Christmas questions and learn some magic tricks. A Visit from St. Nicholas: Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. -2 p.m. Bring your kids for an afternoon of Christmas stories and take your picture with Santa. This is a free event at the Viridian Event Center (8030 S. 1825 West). West Jordan Arts Annual Holiday Concert: Saturday, Dec. 7 from 6-8 p.m. featuring several of West Jordan’s City’s musical groups including the West Jordan Symphony, Mountain West Chorale, West Jordan City Band and the West Jordan Jazz Band. This event will be held at the Viridian Event Center (8030 S. 1825 West). The West Jordan Symphony’s 26th annual Handel’s “Messiah” sing-along: Sunday, Dec. 15 from 7-9 p.m. at the Viridian Event Center, 8030 S. 1825 West. This program will feature local soloists and the West Jordan Symphony and Mountain West Chorale.

Vehicle emissions are one of the biggest contributors to airborne pollution. (Adobe stock photo)

W

inter is coming. With it comes trapped pollution. Air pollution in the Salt Lake valley is a problem: an obvious statement. The good news is, it’s become less of a problem than it was in 2010. In a presentation to the American Planners Association, Thom Carter, UCAIR (Utah Clean Air Partnership) executive director, stated that, “From 2002 to 2017, total emissions have dropped 38% despite the population increasing 34% during that same time period.” Why is the air better? Because we discovered the primary culprits for pollution. Us. Fifty-two percent of Utah residents are now aware their own vehicles are the biggest contributor, whereas six years ago 56% thought mines, refineries and other industries were at fault. Because residents see themselves as responsible, many are making efforts to change their habits. Taking public transit instead of driving alone is one of the biggest changes people are making. “With 50% of pollution coming from our tailpipes, not idling, reducing cold starts, taking transit, carpooling are most beneficial to reducing our impact on air quality,” Carter said. Another major contributor to pollution is old appliances. “Changing out a traditional water heater

to an ultra-low NOx water heater can make a big difference. Experts at the Department of Environmental Quality tell us that nitrous oxide or NOx is a precursor of PM2.5 (Particulate Matter 2.5 micrometers)…. When a homeowner switches to an ultra-low NOx water heater, it reduces NOx emissions by 75%,” Carter said.

The little things, like turning down the thermosat and replacing old appliances, can help lessen pollution. There’s even a way to save yourself cash and reduce pollution; turn your furnace down by two degrees. “Regarding thermostats, we know that people are turning down their thermostats to save money and help air quality…. This 2 degree difference can save 1 ton in CO2. The average family emits 25 tons of CO2 emissions per year,” Carter said. However, if any of these small efforts stopped, pollution would again skyrocket. l

December 2019 | Page 7


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West Jordan City Journal


Sugar Factory Playhouse to perform classic production of ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ By Jordan Hafford | j.hafford@mycityjournals.com

Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind … and that’s what’s been changing. That’s why I’m glad I’m here, maybe I can do something about it.” If you’re a fan of feel-good holiday films, you have no doubt heard this quote from the beloved Christmas classic “Miracle on 34th Street” from 1947. Kris Kringle, the magical embodiment of Christmas spirit, will once again enchant children and people of all ages this season, not only from 34th Street but from the stage of Sugar House Factory Playhouse. “I love bringing a paper script to life,” said the play’s artistic director, Pat Oliver. “And our cast has some beginner talent, as well as our leads which come from Hale Centre Theatre.” The annual Christmas special that Sugar Factory puts on since 2002 is one of four annual performances they put on per year, and this is only the second this play has been there, the last occasion being in 2009. A full list of their productions, past and present, can be found at sugarfactoryplayhouse.com/productions. The 33-person cast includes talented actors ranging from age 4 all the way to 72. Although it is not a musical, this production includes classic Christmas carols sung

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by the cast to add that extra dose of Christmas spirit to an already heartwarming story. The story that has been viewed and heard through many renditions is that of Kris Kringle, an old man in a retirement home that lands a gig working as Santa for Macy’s department store. Kris sends waves of goodwill to the store customers and the commercial world of New York City by referring parents to other stores to find the exact toy or object that the child most desires. He eventually befriends a young girl named Susan, daughter of a workaholic mother, who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. Kris ends up in a court competency hearing to prove not only that he is mentally competent, but that there is, indeed, a Santa Claus. Sugar Factory Playhouse, as well as the other arts organizations that comprise the Cultural Arts Society of West Jordan, are eagerly awaiting the construction of a West Jordan arts center. Ground was broken for the building in 2017, but construction was delayed and eventually the site was abandoned. A new site that lies between the rodeo grounds and outdoor swimming pool is now being considered, and the West Jordan City Council continues to discuss the space and specifics of

The cast of Sugar Factory Playhouse’s 2019 production of “Miracle on 34th Street” (Travis Green/Sugar Factory Playhouse)

the building. Until then, Sugar Factory Playhouse and the other organizations in the Society must continue to find storage space, rehearsal space and performance venues where they can, sometimes having to venture outside of West Jordan, which is what put the performance of “Miracle on 34th Street” in Midvale this year. “I love doing this on every level,” Ol-

iver said. “We’ve been through a lot of fun but also frustration with the theatre situation. We’re unsinkable Molly Browns, and we keep carrying on because our public really enjoys what we do.” Performances will be De. 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Midvale Performing Arts Center (695 West Center Street). Tickets may be purchased in advance online at BuyYourTix.com or at the door. l

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more than 2,200 traffic cameras or sensors which gives visuals and data on all major UDOT roads. Drivers can then adjust their routes or schedules according to the heaviness of traffic making for less congestion and less risk for accidents. The UDOT app means you can see all those cameras from your phone. 2-Prepare the car Make sure the car is prepared for the road conditions, first with good tires. Snow tires give greater tread for better traction. Snow and ice should be completely removed from the windows, headlights and taillights prior to driving to ensure visibility. If your car is parked outside overnight, place towels over the windows. This keeps the windows from icing over.

WestJordanJournal .com

3-Control the vehicle Keeping the car under control requires some safe driving tips. The most obvious: drive slow. Despite our impatience or urgency to get to the desired location, slow driving is the safest driving. Staying under the speed limit, which is meant for ideal conditions, becomes even more important when traveling over snow, ice, standing water or slush. In drivers education courses, prospective drivers learn about the rule for distance between your car and the one in front of you. Driving 60 mph? Stay six car lengths back. 70 mph? Seven car lengths back. This distance should be increased even more during wet conditions to allow the car time and space to stop without rear ending the vehicle in front.

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West Jordan City Journal


Renaissance resident Melanie P. Smith: from law enforcement to fiction writing By Jordan Hafford | j.hafford@mycityjournals.com Special Operations Division where I continued to engage in a different kind of adventure,” she said. “Now, I am able to use my experience, training and imagination to share those adventures with others through my stories.” Smith published “Dusk,” the first installment of her Warrior series, in July 2014. The series is a paranormal romance collection of seven novels and two novellas. After that, she published a string of adventure novels with plots that range from law enforcement (“The Thin Blue Line” series), all the way to psychological horror. In many of these, she has integrated her experience in law enforcement into exciting stories and created a successful writing career. “Melanie has always loved writing,” said her mother, Christine Jensen. “Her dad and I are very proud of her many accomplishments.” The most rewarding aspects of all her careers has been helping and inspiring people. She met with a 9-year-old fan and her mother for ice cream and found that to be one of the most satisfying interactions she has had as a writer. Smith not only discovered an extended family and friendships that will last a lifetime throughout her career in law enforcement but

also a rewarding service to her community helping those in need, even though she may have technically been “behind the scenes.” “As a writer, I suppose I’m still doing my part to serve others — through entertainment,” she said. “The world is a dangerous chaotic place filled with controversy and oftentimes hatred. It’s important to me to create stories that bring hope, entertainment and joy to my readers. I like knowing I can create something that helps others escape the chaos for just a little while. And, for me, there’s nothing more satisfying than hearing someone picked up one of my stories and loved it.” Melanie P. Smith is an avid motorcyclist and owns her own To see Smith’s full list of published Harley-Davidson. (Melanie Smith) works, see melaniepsmith.com. l

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ear the end of a long and successful career in law enforcement, West Jordan resident Melanie P. Smith decided to add a new skill to her already wide-ranging resume: writing fiction novels. Smith was born and raised in South Jordan and is one of seven children. “Growing up, I always enjoyed a good adventure,” she said. “If I wasn’t engaged in it, I was reading about it or writing about it.” Smith began her career in law enforcement as a secretary in the Juvenile Investigation Division. Shortly after, she transferred to internal affairs. In 1992, she accepted a position in the Special Operations Division as an office/volunteer coordinator where she worked closely with the department’s specialty units including K9, Motors, SWAT, Search and Rescue, and the Mounted Posse. She also coordinated communications and logistics for the SWAT Team and was a member of the Child Abduction Response Team’s logistical unit. As if 26 years serving the community in the law enforcement capacity wasn’t enough, she is also an amateur photographer and motorcyclist. Many of her own photos are used for her book covers. “My need for a challenge led me to the

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n industry parlance, there’s a term for starting a new church: “church planting.” The westernmost edge of West Jordan, where River Community Church is located, seems an apt place to plant. Off 5600 West, near the Dannon factory, it’s a place where new housing and commercial developments still stand out against open fields and bare mountains. It might strike passersby as a good place to “plant” something. Pastor Keith Radke and Angie Radke, his wife, are the planters behind River Community Church. Before starting River last year, Keith was pastoring with a large church in Utah, but he felt the call to do something different. Before that, the Radkes were in North Carolina, where they had planted their first church in 2005. River was founded in August 2018 and initially met in same building with Jordan Valley Church. Sharing the location required River to meet Sunday evenings. For months, they searched for a venue where they could meet in the morning. They even considered moving their services to a trampoline park before South Mountain Community Church, a Utah church with five locations around the state, reached out. They moved into SMCC’s building in August 2019. After starting their first Sunday service with more than 160 people, attendance has gone up and down. It can be hard for the Radkes to watch. But more important than a growing congregation, Keith Radke said, is that “God is growing people.” Keith Radke is eager to emphasize that River is God’s church, not his own. But as a founder and pastor, his own personality and interests are bound to influence the style of “worship”—a word he uses interchangeably with “music.” Besides being a pastor, Keith Radke is an avid musician and songwriter. He wants music to play a bigger role at River than it currently does. He’d like to see a program to develop new worship music and to become a resource for other churches. He cites Hillsong Church as an example.

“Music will play a greater role as we grow,” he said. Many people connect with God through music, “oftentimes before they ever connect with a Bible study or another Christian,” he said. Music was a gateway into religion for him, too. He started drum lessons at age 10 and guitar lessons at 12. “My mom raised me on music and the Bible,” he said. And to this day, those are his “go-to’s.” But in 2017, Keith Radke got the urge to use his talent for something other than leading worship. He wanted to record an album. He reached out to friends with industry experience, who helped him put together an album of Christmas songs, each in a slightly different style, from folk to Grand Ole Opry. The project was fully funded by Kickstarter contributions. “We didn’t make any money, but it was all paid for,” he said. “And his mom was very proud,” Angie Radke added. He explained, “I have spent a long time in my journey doing music for others. I put a lot of my own musical ambitions on hold. That was my ‘I need to do something because I want to do it.’” For his last album, Christmas songs were the obvious choice. He didn’t have to worry about copyright. Next time around, he’s ready to record songs he’s written himself. “I’m mulling around more storytelling songs,” he said. “There’s a little country, a little folk. But I want to tell stories. I want to rephrase my own stories in a way that if you listened to it, you’d go, ‘Oh, I experienced that.’” He has a collection of such songs in progress, and he plans to lay them down in 2020. This effort will require some heftier Kickstarter contributions, since he hopes to record in Ireland. Friends of his have a studio there and have invited him to record. Crowdfunding would need to help pay for studio time, engineering and, of course, plane tickets.

Pastor Keith Radke leads worship with other musicians at River Community Church. (courtesy of River Community Church)

The Radkes have seven children, all of whom share their father’s musical interest. Their oldest daughter sings alongside her father on Sundays. One son is a drummer and bass player. Another daughter sings and plays ukulele. Another son plays didgeridoo, harmonica, piano, guitar and drums. “We have all sorts of weird little instruments around the house, and he picks up all of them,” Angie Radke said. Angie herself claims to “play the radio.” Keith wants anyone in his congregation interested in performance to give it a shot. At the end of his Nov. 3 service, he invited anyone with an interest to contact him. About five people, he reported, took him up on that invitation—no small number considering the size of the congregation was about 60 people. From there, there’s an audition and rehearsal process. “Teachability is important,” Angie Radke said. This opportunity to collaborate in music-making is vital to River’s vision of worship. “My ideal church building would actually be round,” Keith Radke said. Everyone would sit in a circle with music in the middle, and instead of looking at the front, everybody would be looking at each other, singing together. “So, it wouldn’t matter if you have a full band, or one person on guitar, or no instruments. Everybody would know we’re in this together.” l

West Jordan City Journal


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ll new developments in West Jordan must be within four minutes access to the nearest fire station. The standard is not new, but in October, when Bella 6235 S Murray Estates sought to expand their residential development, they were required to add another access road. r St Wincheste “One of the requirements that I made for the proposed = V subdivision is that they are required to make an access point onto 5490 West,” Fire Marshal Paul Brockbank said. “[T] 7000 S Jordan River Blv d = V he proposed subdivision lies outside of our four-minute response time because we have to come into it through the existing subdivision to the south and east.” The four-minute limit is a national standard. Station #52 Center St 78 0 0 S “Those times were tied to NFPA1710, which was a stanMidvale dard that was put out by the fire service for response times,” Chief Derek Maxfield said. “They weren’t willy-nilly numbers they came up with 10 years ago. In any kind of emergency, the faster you can get there, the better.” = V A single minute can mean the difference between a small or large fire emergency. “The rule of thumb is that fire doubles in size every min= V 9000 S ute,” Maxfield said. “Now with some of the synthetic materials that we’re using in construction, it can go even faster Sandy than that.” However, some of the city may be just outside that four-minute standard if it was built prior to 10 years ago. “It’s not something that is retroactive, and we have to go back and fix roads,” Maxfield said. l = V 215

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11:45 AM West Jordan C11/15/19 ity J ournal


G O OD NE IG HBOR

NEWS

DECEMBER 2019

Paid for by the City of West Jordan M AY O R ’ S M E S S A G E This will be my last message to you as the Mayor. As I prepare to leave office, I want to convey my heartfelt appreciation. It has been an honor serving the people of West Jordan. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you, hearing your concerns, and working with you to make our city a better place. I have worked for the city for more than 15 years, largely as an employee. I’ve handled everything from the fleet team to cemeteries and solid waste during my employment. As the city’s construction manager, I helped build many projects around the city both large and small—my fingerprints are literally all over the City of West Jordan. As your Mayor, I worked hard to get businesses to move to our city—bringing new job opportunities and boosting our economy. In the last six months alone, we’ve landed four corporate headquarters. I’ve also spent the last two years working to elevate our city’s reputation. I focused efforts on strengthening our city’s relationship with both state and county elected officials, as well as building a closer relationship with surrounding cities. When I look back at all that has been accomplished during my tenure with the City of West Jordan, I am proud of the legacy I leave behind. I will always hold this city near and dear to my heart, not only as an employee, but as a resident. I’ve lived here for more than 26 years, raised a family here, and consider West Jordan my hometown. You can expect to see a smooth transition in January 2020, but it is you, the residents, who will have the biggest impact on what happens around the city. Get involved – attend City Council meetings, volunteer for one of the city’s many committees, communicate with your elected officials. We all play a part in keeping our city a great place to live, work and do business. It has been my pleasure to serve you. Sincerely,

West Jordan Election Results – Mayor Elect Named Dirk Burton West Jordan City Mayor Dirk Burton 52.13% 7,205 Votes Jim Riding 47.87% 6,616 Votes West Jordan City Council at Large Kelvin Green 46.77% 6,220 Votes Mikey Smith 32.54% 4,327 Votes David B. Newton 19.75% 2,626 Votes Write-In 0.94% 125 Votes (Continued Service at Large Members: Kayleen Whitelock and Chad Lamb) West Jordan City Council District 1 Christopher M McConnehey 50.68% 1,998 Votes Marilyn Richards 49.32% 1,944 Votes West Jordan City Council District 2 Melissa Worthen 81.92% 3,154 Votes John Price 18.08% 696 Votes West Jordan City Council District 3 Zach Jacob 57.47% 1,366 Votes Amy L Martz 42.53% 1,400 Votes

Mayor-Elect Dirk Burton

West Jordan City Council District 4 David Pack 57.19% 1,870 Votes Pamela Berry 42.81% 1,400 Votes

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS! THE FOLLOWING COMMITTEES HAVE OPENINGS: Airport Advisory Board Events Committee Healthy West Jordan Committee Parks & Open Lands Committee Sustainability Committee Western Stampede Committee For more information on each of the committees and to fill out a Committee Volunteer Interest Form, go to: WestJordan.Utah.gov/committees

Jim Riding, Mayor


GOOD NEIGHBOR NEWS: WEST JORDAN NEWSLETTER

PAID FOR BY THE CITY OF WEST JORDAN

Don’t Become a Target – Why You Shouldn’t Boast About What You Got for Christmas

Ahead of the Holidays, West Jordan Police want you to keep something in mind: don’t show off what you got under the tree, specifically in your garbage or recycling bin. “Criminals are often opportunists,” JC Holt, West Jordan Police Sergeant, said. “They look for things that we might overlook.” What Sergeant Holt is talking about is putting the box from your new pricey laptop out in the open next to your garbage or recycling bins. Don’t make it easy for criminals by leaving things out in plain view. “Someone with the intention of burglarizing a home could be walking by, see a box out in the open and think okay cool I know what I can find in that house,” Sergeant Holt explained. Think of it as advertising to thieves about what you have inside your home. There are steps you can take to avoid catching a criminal’s eye: 1. Break down boxes and put them in the appropriate bins. 2. Don’t leave small, expensive items out—even inside your home. 3. Close your blinds during the day 4. Buy a security system “Today, security systems are fairly inexpensive,” Holt said referring to systems such as ‘Ring’ or ‘Nest.’ He’s not wrong, many security systems are now available to the public that don’t include a monthly fee or professional installation. But if lower priced systems still don’t pique your interest—there is another option. “Even if you don’t have an alarm system, it’s okay to advertise that you do,” Sergeant Holt said. “You can get the stickers and you can get the placards from amazon and you can put them in your yard.”

Wait! Don’t Recycle That! With gifts come wrapping paper, but before you clean it up off your living room floor, it’s important to know what can and cannot be recycled. Earth911 estimates 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper is produced in the United States each year, about 2.3 million pounds end up in landfills. A common mistake people make during the holidays is throwing used wrapping paper in their recycling bins. Unfortunately, the glittery, laminated paper is NOT recyclable in most circumstances. Throwing it in your bin risks an entire load of recyclable materials to become contaminated. If your wrapping paper is metallic, has glitter on it, or has a texture to it, it isn’t recyclable. Unlaminated paper-based wrapping paper and pre-recycled wrapping paper are usually recyclable. A good way to test what kind of wrapping paper you’re dealing with is to crush it into a ball. If it stays bunched up, it is likely recyclable. Other decorative features of gifts that are NOT recyclable include: • Ribbons • Bows • Tissue paper • Glittery holiday cards Experts suggest using newspaper to wrap presents or re-using gift bags you received in years past. Recycle right for the holidays, the earth will thank you. Find out more about what you should and shouldn’t recycle at westjordan.utah.gov/ garbageandrecycling


GOOD NEIGHBOR NEWS: WEST JORDAN NEWSLETTER

PAID FOR BY THE CITY OF WEST JORDAN

What to Know for When it Starts to Snow We’ve all been there before, you wake up in the morning to prepare for another day of work, you look outside, and BAM Mother Nature brought a huge snowstorm. Your driveway is covered in snow, your mailbox is covered in snow and your car, which is parked on the street, is also covered in snow. The first thing you probably want to do is climb back in bed, but before you do that… do your neighbors and city a solid: move your car off the road. Here’s why: West Jordan City ordinance 7-3-10 prohibits parking a car, or semitrailer, on the street when it is snowing, or snow is already on the street. The ordinance is in effect from November 1st through April 30th of the following year. If you are parked on the street during the storm you could face a violation and pay a ticket. But aside from just potentially paying up, you may be the reason your street isn’t getting plowed. While some streets CAN still be plowed with cars parked along the side, many plow drivers will wait until the street is clear to avoid damaging any cars as well as their own equipment. There are more than 800 lane miles of streets in the city of West Jordan. The city’s plow drivers get to those streets by priority.

Another important thing to note; police won’t be able to ticket ALL cars parked on the street. If it’s a snowy commute they are likely responding to crashes or helping drivers who get stuck in the snow. It’s best not to bombard dispatch with a list of your neighbors’ license plate numbers, when they’re already receiving calls about potential crashes with injuries. Think two steps ahead: check the local weather, so you can move your car off the road if it’s likely going to snow.

CITY STREET PRIORITY CATEGORIES: Priority One: Arterial and major collector streets. Priority Two: Generally, subdivision collector streets. Priority Three: All other residential through streets, (excluding cul-de-sacs). Priority Four: Cul-de-sacs and other dead-end streets. The city incurs proportionally more time and costs clearing snow from cul-de-sacs than on typical “uninterrupted” stretches of streets. Because of the high cost-to-benefit ratio, and lower traffic volume, cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets have the lowest priority, and will be the last areas plowed. Something else to keep in mind; not all roads are the city’s responsibility. Some roads belong to the state which are maintained by the Utah Department of Transportation, including: • Redwood Road • Bangerter Highway • 7000 South from the Jordan River to Redwood Road • 9000 South from the Jordan River to 5600 West • U-111 from New Bingham Highway to the Northern City border • Mountain View Corridor • New Bingham Highway from 7800 South to west of U-111

An Update on the Updated 7800 S. Construction WHAT’S NEW? If you have visited Jordan Landing recently you may have noticed something different. 7800 South is now open with a brand-new traffic pattern. It’s all part of a major revamp of 7800 South and New Bingham Highway. As of December 2019, phase one and nearly all of phase two are complete.

WHAT’S NEXT? Phase two, which allows eastbound and westbound traffic to travel on 7800 South between 4000 West and Airport Road, is nearly complete. Starting in the spring of 2020, the final two-inch lift of asphalt and striping, along with manhole and valve raising will need to be done. That part of the project has to wait until next year due to weather constraints. The final work on phase two is expected to take one month. Phase three will also take place in the spring of 2020. This includes adding one

lane on Jordan Landing Boulevard and one lane on 4000 West. The project will include an upgrade to the signal poles, mast arms, signal heads, and controlle rs. This phase is expected to take two months. Project managers expect everything to be wrapped up by the end of June 2020. You can get construction updates right to your phone or computer by signing up for email updates, simply email Construction@WestJordan.Utah.Gov. You can also call the project hotline at 801-569-5101, for more information visit WestJordan.Utah.Gov.


GOOD NEIGHBOR NEWS: WEST JORDAN NEWSLETTER

PAID FOR BY THE CITY OF WEST JORDAN

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

DECEMBER

DECEMBER

4

10

MAYOR’S OPEN OFFICE HOURS

CITY COUNCIL MEETING

MAPLE HILLS PARK OPEN HOUSE

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

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

7960 S. 4000 W. 7 p.m.

DECEMBER

DECEMBER

11

24-25

MAYOR’S OPEN OFFICE HOURS

CITY COUNCIL MEETING

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

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

JA N UA RY

JA N UA RY

JA N UA RY

OATH OF OFFICE

PLANNING COMMISSION

1

CITY OFFICES CLOSED

7

6

CITY OFFICES CLOSED

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

JA N UA RY

JA N UA RY

JA N UA RY

CITY COUNCIL MEETING

CITY COUNCIL MEETING

WAY TO A BETTER LIFE

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

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

HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAM KICK-OFF

8

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

30

22

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

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


In-state gymnastics meet to be held at the Maverik Center By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

T

he Maverik Center in West Valley City will host the inaugural Rio Tinto Best of Utah gymnastics meet Jan 11. Teams from the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Southern Utah University and Utah State University are scheduled to compete. “We are honored to host the Rio Tinto Best of Utah NCAA Gymnastics Meet,” Maverik Center CEO Kevin Bruder said. “We look forward to continuing to host high-caliber gymnastics events that elevate the level of competition.” This will be the second time that the four schools will compete in the same event. The other was in 1993 at the Smith’s Challenge Cup. The event was held at the Huntsman Center on the campus of the University of Utah. The Utes came out on top, Utah State finished second, BYU third and SUU fourth. BYU, Utah State and SUU compete in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference, while Utah competes in the Pac-12. The Cougars boast 11 in-state athletes on their team. This season, they return all but two gymnasts from a team that advanced to the NCAA regionals for the 10TH straight season. They placed third in the MRGC last season behind Boise St. and SUU. “It is incredible that our state has four

Journals C I T Y

Y O U R C O M M U N I T Y N E W S PA P E R S

outstanding division one programs,” Utah head coach Tom Farden said. “It speaks volumes about the popularity of gymnastics in Utah. This meet will allow each school’s passionate fans to get a chance to see their team in a championship setting. The podium at the Maverik Center is simply one of the best, and we are looking forward to this event this upcoming season.” Farden is entering his fourth years as head coach of the Utes. Last season, they finished seventh at the NCAA championships. They return 10 of their 24 gymnasts, including two All-Americans, Missy Reinstadtler (All-Around) and Sydney Soloski (floor). The team also includes two USA National team members, Maile O’Keefe and Abby Paulson. “We are not just interested in qualifying into the National Championships,” he said. “We want to get Utah back on top of the podium.” Utah owns 10 national championships; its last title came in 1995, and they finished second in 2015. SUU head coach Scott Bauman’s Thunderbirds finished second in the MRGC last season. They beat Utah State all three times they faced each other last season. Karly McClain was named MRGC freshman of the

The University of Utah Red Rocks placed second in the Pac-12 last season and qualified for the NCAA National Championships. (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

year last season. Utah State closed out last season ranked 42nd overall and did not qualify for the National Championships. Leighton Varnandore earned second team MGRC all-around last season. The Maverik Center hosted the 2019 Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics Championships in March and is scheduled to be the host venue for the next three years. It seats

approximately 9,000 for gymnastics events. Tickets for these events can be purchased by contacting the Maverik Center and the schools. Utah gymnastics led the NCAA in attendance for women’s sports last season. South Carolina basketball was second and LSU gymnastics third. The Utes largest crowd for a meet was in 2015 when they hosted Michigan, 16,019 an NCAA record. l

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December 2019 | Page 21


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West Jordan City Journal


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December 2019 | Page 23


When a homecoming dance is just what the doctor ordered By Alison Brimley | a.brimley@mycityjournals.com

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Page 24 | December 2019

ailey Winn, a senior at Copper Hills High School, was eager to attend her homecoming dance this year. She picked out her shoes and hemmed her dress, getting it ready to go. But after she ended up in the emergency room the night before the dance, she was disappointed to have to call her date and explain that she wouldn’t be able to make it. Imagine her surprise when her date showed up at the hospital the next evening. Staff members at the Primary Children’s Hospital unit at Intermountain Riverton Hospital had gone above and beyond to throw a homecoming for two in Hailey’s hospital room, complete with decorations, flowers and ice chips in fancy glasses (the only thing Hailey could eat). Hailey has Crohn’s disease, and after being diagnosed recently, she spent much of the summer being sick. She was ready to return to life as usual. Then, on Sept. 13 — the night of the homecoming football game — she started running a fever. She had developed an infection related to her condition. Hailey had told her caregivers after arriving at the hospital about her foiled plans for the next day. The morning after Hailey’s ER visit, charge nurse Megan Jenkins showed up for duty and was told by the previous night’s nurses about their plan to do something for Hailey if she wasn’t well enough to go home by that evening. As the day went on, Jenkins reported, it looked unlikely that Hailey would be able to return home. Caregivers got to work, collaborating to pull it all off in a single day. One staff member found out from her child, also a Copper Hills student, that the theme of the dance was “Around the World.” Staff then printed off photographs of tourist attractions to match the theme. One went to Harmons to pick up a last-minute corsage and boutonniere. When Harmons’ employees learned who it was for, they donated the flowers at no cost. A room next door to Hailey’s had been vacated earlier that day, so nurses rearranged

Staff members helped put on a private homecoming dance at the Primary Children’s Hospital unit at Intermountain Riverton Hospital. (Photo courtesy Intermountain Healthcare)

the furniture and used that as the venue of the makeshift dance. They hung green and blue streamers to match Copper Hills’ colors. Then, Hailey’s date, Logan Christensen, arrived and together they watched the movie “Tangled.” “All day, we were excited,” Jenkins said. The nurses hurried to finish their regular work on time so that they could get everything ready for Hailey’s special night. In pediatric units, Jenkins said child life specialists are often employed to coordinate activities to help children have fun despite the challenges of being hospitalized. Games and toys help cheer up younger children, but for older teens, it’s a little bit harder. The efforts to bring a little fun to Hailey’s stay paid off. Hailey says it wasn’t awkward to have a date in the hospital; it was fun. “This meant the world to me,” she said. For Hailey, complications from Crohn’s have led to malnourishment, feeding tubes

JORDAN SCHOOL DISTRICT - Public Notices

SPECIAL EDUCATION CHILD FIND Every child is entitled to a public education regardless of disability. Children with disabilities may go without services because families are not fully aware of their options. If you know of a child, birth to age 22, who is not receiving any education services or feel that your child may be in need of special education services, please contact your local school or call the Special Education Department in Jordan School District at (801) 567-8176. SPECIAL EDUCATION RECORDS DESTRUCTION On January 31, 2020, Jordan School District will destroy special education records of students born prior to September, 1992. Former special education students who are 27 years old may request their records from the school last attended; otherwise, the records will be destroyed. CARSON SMITH SCHOLARSHIP Public school students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) may be eligible for a scholarship to attend a private school through the Carson Smith Scholarship program. Further information is available at http://www.schools.utah.gov/sars/Scholarships.aspx

and surgeries over the last few months. Now, Hailey said she’s steadily regaining use of her intestines, part of which were removed in surgery. “I’m starting to be able to eat real food,” she said. It hasn’t been easy for her. “Sometimes I want to scream and say it’s ruining my life,” she said. “But it’s teaching me patience; it’s teaching me to be more sympathetic and empathetic, and it’s teaching me more about myself. It’s teaching me how to love myself even with things that are different about me.” Hailey’s caregivers at the hospital have helped her make the best of an undesirable situation. “I always say if you have to get sick, this is the place to be,” Hailey said. “I love my nurses. These are people that have become my friends, that I trust, because they’ve taken such good care of me.” l

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Poinsettias not flourishing in greenhouse environment, but students are By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

T

his is the last year South Valley School students will be growing and selling poinsettia plants to the public. It’s become harder to grow healthy poinsettia plants in the 30-year-old greenhouse, which is in need of some repairs. Principal Rita Boullion said the current conditions limit how well the plants grow and how involved the students can be in the whole process. So, they are no longer a good fit for the program. “If we start them from cuttings, we get them in July,” said Jennifer Miller, who runs the greenhouse program at South Valley School. “But our greenhouse does not work properly, so we get them in October because otherwise they don’t grow properly.” Boullion began to address the needed repairs when she became principal at the school a few months ago. “We just need to consider what’s the cost of the repairs that need to be done, what’s the timing for that to be done and what’s the priority for that?” Boullion said. Fortunately, there’s more to the greenhouse program than growing and selling poinsettias. The program’s main purpose is to provide job training for ninth through 12th grade students with special needs. Currently, there are 51 students learning work skills in the greenhouse program.

WestJordanJournal .com

“This program is like a job,” Miller said. “We are teaching them skills that will make them employable.” Hunter Boggess, a ninth grader at West Jordan Middle School, said the program has taught him customer service skills. Students greet customers, answer their questions, prep orders and carry purchases to their cars. They also learn and practice social skills such as eye contact, phone skills, punctuality and following directions. Miller said one of the most important skills these special needs teens learn to make them good employees is how to self initiate. “In the greenhouse, they know that they come out, and they don’t just sit and wait for us,” she said. “They get a broom, they get a dustpan, and they start cleaning somewhere in the greenhouse until we’re ready to start with what we’re going to do for the day.” “I was surprised how much work goes into running a greenhouse,” said ninth grader Alaina Perkins, who rides a bus from Fort Herriman Middle School to attend the program. She’s not interesting in working in a greenhouse, but she said she is learning skills that will help her in any job. “Students come away with job skills that will make them employable anywhere,” Miller said. “We’re always looking for peo-

ple who have businesses that would be willing to come in and talk about their job and what they expect of employees.” The program is set up like a real job. Students apply for the position, are interviewed and are offered a spot in the class. Each day, they punch a time clock, and at the end of each month they earn a “paycheck,” which they learn to cash for South Valley Bucks that can be spent in the school store. South Valley School also provides job skills training in woodshop classes where students build furniture for the school district. Students can earn school credit for biology from As the poinsettia plants mature, students spread the pots out for better growth. (Jet Burnham/City Journals) the greenhouse class and math credit for the wood shop classes. l

South Valley School has 1,400 poinsettias for sale. The cost is $7 for 6-inch plants and $13 for 8-inch plants. Bedding plants, perennials, succulents and fairy gardens are also sold in the greenhouse at 8400 South Redwood Road throughout the winter and spring. Hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 801-565-7167.

December 2019 | Page 25


Grizzlies take second at state volleyball tournament By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

C

opper Hills High School’s volleyball team has seen vast improvement the last few years. It’s second-place finish at the state tournament is beyond what players and coaches expected this season. “I can look on the court and feel confident,” Grizzlies head coach Silver Fonua said. “Our girls look forward to playing high school volleyball. Many teams have players that want to play club, but our girls look forward to playing for their high school,” The Grizzlies entered the state tournament ranked first in the Utah High School Activities Association’s new ratings percentage index. They closed out the regular season with only two losses. They cruised through their first three matches in the state tournament, defeating West Lake, Corner Canyon and Lone Peak all in three straight sets. In the final, against Pleasant Grove, they opened with a 25-14 victory in the first set, but the Vikings rebounded to sweep the next three for the victory, 25-20, 25-15 and 25-22. “We didn’t start the season thinking we would have the record we have,” Fonua said. “I think we expected to do well, but most of our talent is younger. We have done a lot of good. We practice every day and play two games a week, but looking back each week it

Copper Hills advanced to the state playoff finals losing to Pleasant Grove but not before they reflected on a great season. (Photo courtesy of Silver Fonua/Grizzly volleyball.)

has added up and we said `wow.’ It has been a fun season.” Fonua knew his team would be talented “I never planned on being No. 1 headed into the tournament,” Fonua said. “I am not sure any team feels that way. I figured we would be one of the best.” Its second-place finish is the highest in school history. It tops last season’s thirdplace finish.

“We don’t have the history like other schools; that plays into the pressure they feel,” Fonua said. “Every year we are getting a little bit better. We always expect to come back and say can we do better.” Junior Teniyah Leuluai led the team in assists. As a setter, she has committed to continue her volleyball career at Portland State after she graduates. “We have girls that play in national tour-

naments at high levels,” Fonua said. “A few others have offers but have not made decisions yet.” Junior twins Aliyah and Asiah Sopoaga are among those with opportunities to continue playing after high school. Asiah led the team in kills, senior Paiton Langston averaged more than a block per set and junior libero Sydnee Steel led in digs. Langston was also given an Academic All-State award for excellence in the classroom and on the court. “I think we have gotten buy-in from the parents and the kids,” Fonua said. “In the past, kids were going to other schools. We created our junior high feeder program, and now they want to play with their friends.” The team’s success has helped them keep talented players. “Players can come here and play at a high level,” Fonua said. “Roni (Grizzly alumni) came here, and we look up to her. We certainly know a girl can come from West Jordan and dream big and be big.” Roni Jones graduated from Copper Hills and played volleyball at BYU. She now plays professionally in Italy. “It is a testament to our program,” Fonua said. “Our players play at a high level.” l

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Schools celebrate Veterans Day with new and old traditions By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com ed them to have their own little parade.” She organized a parade route through the school hallways for Veterans Day. Students invited family members and neighbors who are veterans to walk in the parade. Twenty-three veterans came, including West Jordan Mayor Jim Riding, who served in the Air Force. “The kids got to march with their family members that came for the celebration which was very, very sweet,” said Principal Lauren Goodsell. The rest of the students lined the hallways with flags and smiles, some singing patriotic songs as the veterans and their families passed by. “The fifth grade just had their patriotic program, so this coming on the heels of that,” Goodsell said. “It was very sweet that they just kind of spontaneously started singing.” Goodsell said it was a good experience for students—especially the fifth graders who have been learning about U.S. history and the armed forces this year. Led by members of Taylorsville High Dennis Knox taught Hawthorn Academy students about the reason we celebrate Veterans Day. (Jet Burnham/ School’s JROTC color guard, the parade circled the school and flowed into the gymnasiCity Journals) um. The students applauded as the veterans’ names were read aloud, and Steve Johnson estland Elementary PTA president a Veterans Day Parade. played the bagpipes. Hillary Moser knows most students ha“I love the Veterans Day Parade that Larry Maloy, who served in the Army ven’t had the moving experience of attending they do in Magna,” Moser said. “So, I want- during the Vietnam War, was invited to the

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parade by his three grandchildren, who attend Westland. “I’m always glad to do this for the grandkids, and I feel fortunate they think to invite me,” Maloy said. “These are wonderful. Vietnam veterans didn’t feel very welcome coming home, so these go a long way to make up for that gap.” Justin Smith, of the U.S. Marine Corp, feels the opposite. He said events such as this stir up too many memories. “I always have a hard time with them,” he said. “The only reason why I’m here is because my daughter asked me to be.” Smith said from his experiences serving in Afghanistan, he can teach his three children about respect for their country. “I can teach them about honoring those who fought and died for the freedoms that we enjoy, realizing that today’s world is a lot easier than it’s been and we have a military and our country to thank for that,” he said. Moser was pleased with the turnout for this new way to celebrate Veterans Day and hopes to make it a tradition at Westland. Hawthorn Academy has a traditional visitor every Veterans Day. For the past four years, Navy veteran Dennis Knox has been invited to speak to fourth graders about the reason for the holiday. “I hope the kids come away with a sense of patriotism and with an understanding that freedom isn’t free,” Knox said. “There’s a tremendous cost.” Knox explained the Oath of Enlistment he took when he joined the Navy and then discussed what responsibilities they as children have to their country: to be a good citizen and friend, to be honest and kind, to study history and listen to their teachers, and to encourage their parents to vote for good leaders. His presentation fit in what fourth grade teachers have been teaching this year. “We want to give the kids a more global sense of their role in the community,” said fourth grade teacher Heather White. Thirteen of the students and teachers in the fourth grade have a family member serving in the military. Knox asked about them and then shared his own stories about being responsible for the equipment aboard the admiral’s ship that identified if the plane flying toward them was friend or foe. Knox showed students a video clip about the heroic events that inspired Frances Scott Key to write the National Anthem. Another video featured Red Skelton breaking down the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance into basic concepts. Students asked the 67-year-old questions about the dangers he faced, the food he ate aboard his ship and the reason he enlisted. His answers were Agent Orange, spaghetti and hamburgers, and because his girlfriend thought it was a good idea. l

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Hyped over lights

F

by

CASSIE GOFF

or some reason unbeknownst to me, us Utahans get way too hyped over holiday lights. Perhaps, we really like them because of the creative designs. Or maybe it’s because it’s a cheap or completely priceless way to spend a magical night with friends and family. It might even be a way for many of us to fight the seasonal depression that comes along with the winter darkness. Whatever the reason may be, we love some holiday lights. If you haven’t checked out these locations yet, I recommend them for a usually-completely-free experience (unless you’re buying some hot chocolate). My favorite light events over the past few years have been the Trees of Life. While originally named the Tree of Light, many residents have nicknamed the trees “Trees of Life,” for various reasons. One of the most stunning trees grows in Draper City Park (1300 E. 12500 South). Every year, over 65,000 lights are carefully strung throughout the tree. When lit (which occurs the first Monday evening after Thanksgiving) all of the branches of the tree are illuminated; making it seem like a tree from a magical world. Throughout the valley, many more Trees of Life are being decorated. The closest one to me personally resides in a cemetery. That’s where I would check to see if there’s a Tree of Life near you. Temple Square arguably has the most famous lights within the valley. Located in

downtown Salt Lake City, Temple Square decorates their 10-acre complex with many different colors and styles of lights. This year, the lights will be on from Nov. 29 until Dec. 31. Check them out from 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. The Grand America Hotel in SLC (555 S. Main St.) is a building to sight-see all year round. When it’s lit up with Christmas lights though, it’s hard not to miss. City Creek (50 S. Main Street in Salt Lake City) will turn on their lights for the season on Nov. 21. Their event titled “Santa’s Magical Arrival” will kick off at 6 p.m., when the Candy Windows at Macy’s on Main Street are revealed. The Westminster College Dance Program will be performing “Eve” and will be followed by a fire fountain show. Light the Heights in Cottonwood Heights will occur on Dec. 2, beginning at 5 p.m. A holiday market will be open as City Hall, located at 2277 E. Bengal Blvd., turns on their lights for the first time this season. Other public spaces that are worth walking through to see the lights are This is the Place Heritage Park (2537 E. Sunnyside Ave., Salt Lake City), Gardner Village (1100 W. 7800 South, West Jordan), and Thanksgiving Points (3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi). Beginning on Dec. 6, Hogle Zoo (2600 E. Sunnyside Ave.) will host Zoo Lights! intermittently throughout the season until Jan. 5. This event does require an entrance fee of

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West Jordan City Journal


Life

Laughter AND

by

PERI KINDER

Son of a Nutcracker

I

t’s the time of year people pretend “The Nutcracker” ballet is a fun holiday activity. If you’re one of the lucky few who never sat through this weird production involving multi-headed vermin, living toys and one unsettling old man, here’s a recap. Picture a festive house in the late 1800s with dozens of dancing guests, skipping children and happy servants, basically it’s the “12 Days of Christmas” come to life. Young Clara and her obnoxious brother, Fritz, are the ballet version of little kids crazy-excited for Christmas. (The ballet version differs from real life because ballet dancers don’t speak, where real children don’t shut up from Thanksgiving to Christmas morning.) Dr. Drosselmeyer, Clara’s super-creepy godfather, appears at the party dressed like Count Chocula and presents her with a wooden nutcracker. Clara is over-the-top ecstatic, for reasons I’ll never understand. I guess children had a different relationship with nutcrackers in the 19th century. Clara’s brother is SO jealous of the gift (right??) that he flings the nutcracker across the room, because really, what else can you do with a nutcracker? Clara’s despondent. She wraps his broken wooden body in a sling (like ya do) and falls asleep on the couch, snuggled to her nutcracker. During the night, the Rat King and his minions sneak into Clara’s home, because why not? She wakes up and freaks out. The

nutcracker turns into a handsome soldier and wields his sword to defeat the rodent army. “Nutcracker! You’re my hero!” screams Clara, if people in a ballet could talk. “That’s Prince Nutcracker to you, peasant,” he sniffs in pantomime, before taking her to the magical Land of the Sweets ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy who has an unclear but definite sexual relationship with Prince Nutcracker. While in the Land of Sweets, Clara watches dancers from Russia, Spain, China and Arabia (?) as they perform in a culturally stereotypical fashion. Prince Nutcracker sits next to Clara cracking walnuts with his jaw like some football jock. Mother Ginger shows up in drag with a skirt full of tumbling children, then there’s a flower waltz and dancing pipes and tons more pirouetting before the Sugar Plum Fairy takes the stage to make everyone else look clumsy and insipid. It’s all performed to Tchaikovsky’s musical score that stays in your head through January. In the end, it turns out it was all a dream, as most stories involving young girls and adventure turn out to be. I told you that story to tell you this story. When I was a gangly 11 year old, still full of hope, I auditioned for Ballet West’s “The Nutcracker.” As the audition drew nearer, I practiced every spin and arabesque I’d ever learned. I played the music all day until my

Image from Adobe Stock

dad walked into my room, removed the album from the turn table and smashed it into pieces with his bare hands. I showed up at the audition with my hair pulled into a bun so tight it closed my eyes. An elegant dancer performed several steps that we practiced for a few minutes, then we performed for the judges. It was over so quickly. As dancers were given roles as soldiers, party goers and mice, I held my breath. But my number wasn’t called. I was heartbroken. Maybe decades later I’m insulted that the ballet judges couldn’t see my awkward talent. Or maybe I’ve endured enough versions of this tale to see it’s craziness. And if “The Nutcracker” is your family’s favorite holiday tradition, ignore my opinion. It’s all a dream anyway. l

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