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December 2016 | Vol. 16 Iss. 12



Volunteers replace vandalized trees By Tori La Rue | tori@cityjournals.com


About 200 West Jordan residents came to the city’s tree planting service project to replace trees that had been damaged by vandals. (Reed Scharman/West Jordan Fire Department)

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Rock fair brings multigenerational hobby to West Jordan By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com

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Left: Lynn Andreason looks for rocks at the Education Rock and Gem Show at the Viridian Event Center on Oct. 21. The three-day rock show brought about 1,000 attendees to the West Jordan center. (Tori La Rue/City Journals) Right: Vendors sold rocks of all shapes and sizes at the Education Rock and Gem Show at the Viridian Event Center on Oct. 21–23. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)


oing to a rock show at the Viridian may bring images of guitars and drums to mind, but the venue’s three-day event beginning on Oct. 21 was a completely different sight, with thousands of gems, minerals and fossils on display. The Education Rock and Gem Show put on by the Rockhounders Outreach for Community Knowledge, otherwise known as R.O.C.K., invited local community members to learn about and purchase rock specimens. Rockhounding is, in many instances, a family tradition, and the event offered geology enthusiasts an opportunity to engage in the multi-generational hobby. Show Chairman Angela Dieter has a family connection with her rockhounding hobby, attributing her rock fascination to a memory with her grandfather. “I was about 5 or 6 out in the desert with him, and he handed me a rock that we found,” she recounted. “He said, ‘You hold onto this young lady. You’ll appreciate it one day,’ and I still have that rock.” Since that time, Dieter said she came to “love the thrill of finding rocks” and has tried to share her passion with others in the community.

Thank You

Other attendees mentioned their own family connections to rockhounding at the West Jordan event. Jared Judd, a silversmith and stone cutter by profession, scoped out the rocks at one R.O.C.K. booth. “My dad was obsessed with rocks, and now here I am,” he said. “That’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes.” While Judd said he spends a fair amount of time at gem fairs, he said his favorite part about his job is getting outside and actually digging for a good find. His favorite finds were two azurite boulders several hundred feet underground that he uncovered earlier this year. His job and his passion are so intertwined that he says he finds himself cutting stones only so he can get out on more “adventures” to find more rocks. Lynn Andreason came to find new rocks at the Oct. 21--23 event, partially to make up for the rocks that his granddaughter keeps stealing from him, he said. While rockhounding is an activity that his children and grandchildren enjoy doing with him, he said sometimes they enjoy it too much.

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“I’ll find that my granddaughter has taken one of my favorite stones home to use as a curling iron holder,” he said, laughing. “I constantly remind her that I need it back.” All jokes aside, Andreason said he loves that rock collecting is a family hobby. Edna Clarkson, of Orem, said her husband’s interest in rocks intrigued her, so she started going to rock shows with him. Eventually, she found herself interested in all things rocks. Clarkson went to the Education Rock and Gem Show to get quotes on how much money it would cost to make pendants out of her grandmother’s old headstone for her close and extended family members. “I figured that’s a way that we could all cherish and remember her by,” she said. “It would be something meaningful.” While the R.O.C.K. annual event wrapped up on Oct. 23, Dieter said there’s plenty of ways that families can get involved in rock collecting. She suggested attending R.O.C.K.’s meetings at the Viridian on the first Tuesday of each month and checking for information about future activities on rockhoundersock.com. 



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Dogs jump, catch balls, socialize at Flyball events By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

Zuni, a border collie, jumps over a hurdle during a Thunder Paws practice. (Nikelle Perkins/Thunder Paws)


lyball is a dog sport, and Thunder Paws, a local club, is aiming to take it by storm. The sport sees teams of four dogs compete in a relay race. Dogs jump over four hurdles to a spring-loaded pad where the dog releases a tennis ball for them to catch and return over the hurdles to their handlers. “I just love working with the dogs,” said Jenny Woods, president of Thunder Paws. “You become close to the dogs; you feel their passion.” Thunder Paws holds practices every Sunday at various parks. The location generally rotates between Midvale City Park, Bluffdale Park in Riverton, Browns Meadow Park in West Jordan and at one of the member’s houses in Herriman. During winter, the club utilizes space in the Intermountain Therapy Animals building in Holladay for practice. The team also goes to competitions in places such as Hurricane or Las Vegas. Thunder Paws Vice President Dianne Roberg has been involved with flyball since 1998. She said the group discovered it at a national guard event before the club’s founder, Lori Thomson, eventually started Thunder Paws. “We just started it as something fun for us and our dogs,” said Geri Rich, who also began participating in 1998. The club was officially put together as a nonprofit about five years ago with Woods

Dogs practice running through the flyball course at Bluffdale park on Oct. 23. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

becoming the president. Woods initially got involved in the sport due to a rambunctious blue heeler named Ralph. “[Ralph] was a fruit cake, a nut job and drove us crazy. He wouldn’t settle in the house and I thought, ‘this dog needs a job,’” Woods said. Members said the sport is great for canines with a high drive and boundless energy. “It gives the dogs something to do,” said Rich, who’s had four different dogs participate. “You get these high-bred dogs where they have to have something to do or they get destructive. To them it’s like a job and they thrive doing it.” Woods said the sport can go against typical obedience training, but it is useful for herding breeds. “[Normally with obedience] you’re all about keeping them quiet and mellow and calm. Here we’re building up their energy, then they’re tired at the end of the day,” Woods said. Nicky Perkins is new to flyball with her Australian shepherd, Callie. She said Callie fell in love with the sport the first time she did it. “Running and balls is perfect for her; it’s everything her world revolves around,” Perkins said. A bond is forged through the sport between owner and dog. Woods said flyball helped her develop a stronger relationship with Ralph.

Bandit, a jack Russell terrier, leaps off the springboard during practice. Thunder Paws competes in competitions in Las Vegas and Hurricane. (Nikelle Perkins/Thunder Paws)

“It’s with dogs that will drive you crazy, but it unites you so you learn to really love your dog,” Woods said. “That’s how it was with Ralph, but by getting into this I learned to love him.”. It’s not only herding breeds or dogs with high energy that participate in the sport. One dog, Apache, is deaf and does the sport by seeing hand signals from his handler. Poodles, dachshunds and shar-peis have participated with the Thunder Paws. Perkins said it doesn’t matter if it’s a purebred, rescue, tiny or big dog. Any kind can do it, even breeds typically known as lap dogs. “If I can teach my little Chihuahua to do it, any dog can. It just depends on your dedication,” Woods said. Woods has four of her five dogs playing flyball. Woods said the experience can be a good way to bring rescue dogs out of their shells. It helps them build confidence and getting used to random people. Dogs are kept in kennels when not participating to avoid disruptions. “It’s a good way of getting dogs to socialize with each other without forcing them all to be together,” Woods said. She added that it doesn’t require dogs to be super obedient, but it does help if they have a good recall or if the dog comes when called. Originally invented in the early 1970s in

Southern California, flyball became official when the North American Flyball Association was established in 1984 with its first official rule book written in 1985. Thirty-one years later, there are more than 400 active clubs and 6,500 competing dogs. Thunder Paws has about 15 members with about 30 dogs. It’s that team spirit that Woods appreciates. “I like that it’s a team event rather than just you and your dog,” Woods said. “I like the team comradery with everyone.” Sunday afternoon practices can serve as a dog community with the animals and their owners. “It’s fun to do with my friends and make new friends and seeing all the dogs,” Perkins said. Woods said people are always welcome to come watch, and they’ll even work with anybody’s dog for three free sessions. In order to maintain equipment, which includes hurdles, gates, and springboards, the club has a yearly fee of $75. “Come out and watch, see what your dog loves to do,” Perkins said. “If they love balls or if they love to run or tug, you can come see if you like it.” To learn more, go to thunderpawsflyball. com. 

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Sculptor works to bring bronze memorial to Veterans Memorial Park By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com

Left: Sculptor Dan Snarr’s bronze memorial “Proud” stands at a park in Garden City, Utah. Snarr is fundraising to bring a second cast of the same statue to West Jordan. (Dan Snarr) Right: Dan Snarr stands by the model he made prior to creating “Proud,” a 12-foot bronze sculpture.


culptor Dan Snarr’s monuments can be found across the country, but he said he’s excited to be bringing one to West Jordan Veterans Memorial Park. Gaye Johnson commissioned Snarr to create a bronze monument of her, father Robert Calder, a World War II veteran, for a park in Garden City, Utah. After the 12-foot sculpture was placed, Johnson gave Snarr the rights to place a second casting at a location of his choice. “I wanted to place the piece in West Jordan because I was practically raised at the ball diamonds right by the Veterans (Memorial) Park,” he said. “We had 10 kids in our family, and all of us played little league at South Jordan Park and West Jordan Park, so putting a piece there would be like putting it right in my hometown.” Snarr sought no money from the city but asked for a letter of recommendation from the mayor to begin raising the $60,000 needed for the statue. When Snarr’s project idea came before the city council on June 22, it passed unanimously. “I have always been a fan of the bronze statues,” Mayor Kim Rolfe said. “I think they just speak legions for the community and bring us together, so I am excited to even help try to fundraise for that particular one. I think placing the statue is the smallest amount we can do for those who have given all, or those that continue to give all, for our entire nation.” Snarr began fundraising for the bronze sculpture around Veterans Day by talking to local businesses about the project. While he’s not sure how long it will take to gather donations, he said it will only take three months to complete the statue after the donations are gathered because the mold has already been created. He hopes the bronze infantryman will call the Veteran’s Memorial Park home by

Independence Day. The sculpture depicts a soldier holding a rifle and American Flag. The soldier reaches about 8 feet in height, and the flag extends another 4. With a pedestal that’s 7 feet tall, the display will tower at about 20 feet. Snarr came up with this design by hearing Johnson describe Calder’s experiences in the war. Calder was shot while fighting in France and later fell down an elevator shaft while clearing a building, breaking both of his legs and his back. Although he remembered the sacrifices he made for the country, he rarely spoke of them, according to Johnson. From Johnson’s stories about her father, Snarr said got the sense that Calder was proud to service his country yet humbled by his experiences. This is why Snarr named the sculpture “Proud” and depicted the man confidently looking forward. “During the project, I started to realize that Calder could be a representative of all World War II vets,” Snarr said. “That’s when I talked to Gaye about casting a second statue, and she was all for it.” While Snarr’s had several occupations during his career, he said nothing’s more satisfying than bringing a bronze memorial to a deserving community. “It’s just that feeling that what I am creating is meaningful,” he said. “It’s that feeling that one person can come see my creation and cry because they see their relative in it. I used to think it was sad, but now I see it as giving people a way to cope, a way to heal.” Snarr works out of a studio in Midvale where he houses the miniature model for “Proud.” To learn more about his artwork or the statue that will be placed in Veteran’s Memorial Park, visit dansnarr.com or send an email to dan@dansnarr.com. 





Firefighters develop classes for Scouts By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


group of 12-year-old boys checked the pulse of 15 dummies as the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” spread throughout the room in West Jordan Fire Station 54. “What do you do when you can’t feel a pulse?” Capt. Jared Price asked the Boy Scouts over the music. The Boy Scouts answered through their actions, overlapping their hands, placing them in the middle of the dummies’ chests and pushing down to the beat of the music, which helped them time roughly 100 compressions per minute. After about an hour and a half of instruction at the West Jordan Fire Department’s first aid merit badge class, the boys were applying the lifesaving techniques they’d learned from firefighters. “They’re getting hands-on experience that they wouldn’t necessarily be getting if we taught this merit badge,” Scout leader Scott Simmons said at the Nov. 8 class. “We don’t have the same resources or dummies.” The department started the free merit badge program in October and will be cycling through fire safety, first aid, emergency preparedness and safety instruction classes. They offer one to two Scout classes each month on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays. Chief Marc McElreath came up with the idea for the merit badge classes, hoping to build a greater connection between his department and the local community. Price and Capt. Darin Montgomery volunteered to teach the training sessions, but they said they had no idea how popular the program would be. They’re booked out until July, but said they’re still accepting reservations for the rest of 2017 and backup reservations for the

classes that are already reserved. While Price and Montgomery teach, other on-duty firefighters sit in on the classes, and add occasional insights. At the Nov. 8 first aid merit badge class, which focused on CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, there was a ratio of one firefighter for every two to three Scouts, so the firefighters gave personalized instruction when the class broke into hands-on activities, critiquing and encouraging the Scouts’ actions. “It was a really cool and fun meeting because I realized that I can help before someone was going to die,” said Collin Buchanan, one of the Scouts who attended the event. “If someone were choking or hurt, I’d know how to semi-help out.” Giving boys these lessons not only helps them complete the requirements for a merit badge, it helps the community, Montgomery said. “If we can educate at them at a young age, they can help someone in need at any time during their life,” he said. “They could be anywhere, and the training can come back to them.” During their classes, the firefighters point out how what they are teaching relates to their jobs. Fire safety, first aid, emergency preparedness and other elements of safety directly relate to their field. Price says he hopes the cooperation between the fire department and local troops will encourage some of the Scouts to pursue a career in public safety. During his teaching, Price teased two Scouts who had already participated in first aid training before the Nov. 8 class by telling them they almost knew enough to take his job. The two boys laughed and smiled.

West Jordan firefighters teach Scouts how to do CPR using dummies at one of their merit badge classes on Nov. 8. The department started offering merit badge classes as a service to the community in October. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)

Collin said the firefighters were both funny and “really, really cool,” and he hoped to participate in more of the department’s merit badge classes in the future. Montgomery said he’s happy to be making a difference in at least a few of the Scouts’ lives. “I was a Scout myself, and I learned a lot of good things in Scouting,” Montgomery said. “Besides skills, it taught about leadership and gave me good mentors in my life. That is one of the reasons for doing this to have just a couple of hours to mentor these kids.” Scout leaders can sign their troops up for the class at wjordan.com or by emailing meritbadges@wjordan.com. 

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City council passes second part of ethics ordinance By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


est Jordan leaders may now create their own ethics commission to investigate complaints against elected officials after the city council voted in favor of an ordinance during an Oct. 26 meeting. The vote was the second of a two-part ordinance created by the city attorney’s office to aid the city in dealing with ethical controversies involving elected persons. The first part, which set forth ethical standards and guidelines for elected officials, passed unanimously on Sept. 7, but the second part, with its 4–3 vote, wasn’t as widely accepted. Councilman Chad Nichols, the only council member to voice his reason for opposition in the open meeting, said he wasn’t completely against part two, which would enable the creation of a city-based ethics committee, but suggested a three to six-month wait time to decide whether it was necessary. “Since we began this conversation a couple months ago, I have had several constituents raise concerns over West Jordan’s institution of such a commission, and so this is just a pause,” he said. “Tonight I won’t be supportive.” Nichols voiced three concerns with the commission: budgetary implications, duplication and political involvement. The ordinance states that each member of the commission will receive $100 and mileage for each meeting, hearing or training session they are involved in, which Nichols compared to a “blank check.” “[The commission] may never be convened, which means there would be no expense, but it could be convened multiple times a year, and then there really is,” he said. The state already has an ethics commission, which West Jordan’s ethics complaints would be sent to. Nichols voiced his

thoughts that West Jordan may be unnecessarily duplicating these efforts. Lastly, Nichols said the commission may become “extremely political” ruining their ability to remain unbiased. Councilman Dirk Burton disagreed, saying he believes things could become more political at the state level. Mayor Kim Rolfe also disagreed with Nichols, saying he doesn’t feel like people at the state and county level pay attention to West Jordan and thinks people within a city system could be more aware of case details. Rolfe moved to approve the ordinance, which was seconded by Councilwoman Sophie Rice. Council members Chris McConnehey and Zach Jacob voted against the motion, but Burton and Councilman Jeff Haaga voted in favor, passing the ordinance. Both parts of the ethics ordinance were written and considered after the West Jordan Journal and other news outlets published stories about Haaga’s hit and run encounter at a local bar on July 19 in which he appeared to be intoxicated according to witnesses. Police bodycam footage from later that night shows Haaga claiming he was “protected” because he is a councilman. Residents, former mayors and Alliance for a Better Utah, called for Haaga’s resignation, but he did not respond. Also, there was no way to remove Haaga from office because the city did not have a written ordinance backing ethical standards for elected officials. While Rolfe claims the ethics ordinance was not created because of Haaga, part one of the ordinance could be used to investigate similar situations in the future upon formal complaint. Haaga is safe from having his incident reviewed by the committee, because no complaint can be reviewed that occurred before the

original part of the ethics ordinance was passed on Sept. 7. Part two of the ordinance outlines the body who would oversee complaints against elected officials. The commission will be made up of five members with one alternate member. Members of the ethics commission must be 18 years or older, have high ethical character and not be an official, officer or employee of West Jordan. The commission must be made up of one person who previously served as a judge, one person who is or was a prosecuting attorney or criminal defense attorney in Utah, one person who was previously a professional investigator, one person who previously served as a mayor or council member in Utah and one person who is residing and has resided in the city for at least one year. The alternate must have at least one year of residency in West Jordan as well. The city manager will appoint commission members with approval from the city council for two-year terms. The commission may review complaints from two or more members of the city council or three or more voters who reside within the city or who pay a fee or tax to the city. If the complaint is not dismissible, the commission can conduct a confidential, independent administrative investigation of the complaint, refer the matter to an independent non-criminal investigator for fact-finding, conduct a hearing or perform a combination of these options. After taking one of these steps, the commission reports to the city council and recommends appropriate action, including censure, additional ethics training or removal from office, according to the ordinance. “I’m hopeful this can be a resolution to any potential complaints that are filed,” City Attorney David Brickey said. 

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Volunteers replace vandalized trees By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com




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Anaelise, Sydney and Lance Fisher work together to plant a new tree in the West Jordan Veterans Memorial Park on Nov. 5. About 200 volunteers came to the city’s tree planting event to replace the trees that had been vandalized during the summer. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)


round 200 volunteers gathered at the West Jordan Veterans Memorial Park at 8 a.m. on Nov. 5 to plant 76 trees, replacing those that had been vandalized during the summer. The acts of vandalism began on July 24 and continued for more than a month until a suspect was arrested in connection with the acts on Aug. 28. In all, 80 trees were damaged in West Jordan and South Jordan. West Jordan’s Urban Forester Ty Nielson said “Heartbreaking” wasn’t a strong enough word to describe the feelings had about the vandalism. “Trees are alive to me, so I was very angry and hurt,” he said. “I couldn’t believe anybody could do that, but now we are moving on.” Nielsen had already planned on bringing a group of community volunteers together on Nov. 5 to plant 15 new trees along 4800 South, so he decided to expand the project to include replacing the vandalized trees. He applied and received the Community Partnership Grant from the Utah Community Forest Council to purchase more trees and set up the community tree-planting service project with the help of Scouts working towards their Eagle, Councilman Dirk Burton and the community. Volunteers spent their Saturday morning working in the “frostbitten weather,” and for many, anger about the vandalism was replaced with unity and camaraderie at the event, Nielsen said. West Jordan city officials served the volunteers a breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon before Nielsen demonstrated how to properly plant a tree. Then, the volunteers broke into four groups, each led by one of the Scouts, and planted trees in a designated area. Grayson Palesh, 17, led the group who was working at the park pavilion area near 1825 W. 8030 South. Palesh heard about the project from his father Mark Palesh, who works

as West Jordan’s City Manager. “It was not awesome that someone came here and ruined these trees,” he said. “Trees give us fresh air, so when I was looking for an Eagle Project, I knew this was a project I wanted to do and a way I could be a way for me to give back to the community.” Grayson Palesh rounded up volunteers from his high school, Hillcrest, to help with the event and commented on the good that teens can do in the world if they put their minds to it. Dean Smith, Ethan Patton, and Gavin Wissinger also led teams of volunteers at the event for their Eagle Scout Projects. Anaelise Fisher, 13, heard about the treeplanting in her health class at school and invited her family to join her for the Nov. 6 project. “It’s sad to see how just one person’s act of vandalism can change an environment, but we are all here today showing that evil can’t win,” Anaelise said. Her older sister, Sydney Fisher, 16, agreed, saying she was grateful to serve and encourage her friends to do so, too. “It’s important for teens to come to these things and get involved in the community and not just think they are the center of the world,” Sydney said. “It’s important to serve and see that there’s more to staying at home and watching movies if you give and get outside of just yourself.” Burton, who represents District 4 where much of the vandalism occurred, said he was grateful for the community support and good turn-out. “We didn’t expect this many people really, but I shouldn’t be surprised,” he said. “West Jordan has a history of volunteering.” While the trees may take a couple years to get a big as they were before they were vandalized, the unity the community felt from doing the project was immediate, Burton added. 




Parents and teachers team up for fun By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


ajestic Elementary School is approaching parent–teacher conferences with a new program called Academic Parent Teacher Team. “We hope to get parents to come and be involved and empowered and take an active role in their child’s education,” said Heather Reich, a teacher who received training from Maria Paredes, creator of the format. “Typically what happens at a parent– teacher conference is teachers are talking at parents,” said Yan’tu Barber, a fifthgrade teacher who helped organize the new program. “Parents want to feel empowered. Unfortunately, they don’t have the skills to help their students.” During the 75-minute APTT meeting, parents receive those skills. Parents meet in their child’s classroom with the teacher and discuss goals for their student. They look at scores from a pre-test the students have taken recently and determine how to help them improve. Teachers provide and demonstrate activities and games that parents can use at home to help their child progress. The focus of November’s meeting was math. The follow-up meetings to be held in February and May will focus on other core subjects. Third-grade teacher Jolene Twitchell had the parents of her students take the timed subtraction test that she had given to their children. “She set the timer, and I panicked,” said Amy Roberts, one of the parents. “I haven’t done this for a while.” She thought it was a helpful exercise. “It’s good to sit in your kids’ seat and see how they feel,” she said. She believes playing the games at home will improve her daughter’s confidence. “The game will help with fluency, and she won’t have to panic like I did,” said Roberts. “It was the best conference I’ve ever had.” Charles and Ciera Pridgen appreciated the opportunity to see how their daughter, Rylin, is doing compared to the rest of her class. “It’s nice to know what they’re expecting,” said Ciera Pridgen. “We do homework but don’t know exactly what goes on in the classroom.” Parents and teachers are now working as a team. “The focus was on setting goals,” Charles Pridgen said. “We need to work together to achieve common goals.” “You’re both my teachers now,” Rylin told her parents when she heard they would be playing the games with her at home. The games developed by the teachers are versatile. They can be adjusted to be more challenging or simple. They can even be adapted to other subjects—like spelling. “She’s already excited,” said her mother

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as Rylin explored the bag of games provided by her teacher. Rylin had spent the evening with the other kids in the cafeteria, eating pizza, coloring pictures and watching TV while the parents and teachers met. Ruth Hendricks was glad to get the tools to help her daughter with homework. “I have a hard time getting her to do structured time.,” Hendricks said. “This is more like playing than sitting down to do boring homework.” Roberts says she is glad there was a budget available to provide these materials to families. She also appreciated being able to meet with the other parents. “You got see the parents of the children your kids talk about,” she said. Reich, who teaches sixth grade, said the feedback she got from parents and teachers was positive. “Fifteen minutes was never enough time to really focus on students and learning,” she said. “I liked having a longer time to spend with parents and work together to help their children.” From a teacher’s perspective, she says the time invested in developing the games and working with the parents is an improvement. In comparison to traditional parent-teacher conferences that required six hours and two nights, this program takes just one night and 1 1/2 hours and is overall more beneficial to students, parents and teachers. Reich says teachers will still give a regular progress report to parents. “The report card is informative but doesn’t provide parents with the next steps to help their children,” she said. “The APTT process allows for that.” 

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Science to the rescue

By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

Golf balls are carefully placed into the foil raft. The most successful design held 36 balls. (Melinda Flint/Columbia Elementary)


cience Day at Columbia Elementary is a day for teamwork, creativity, problem-solving and sometimes getting wet. Science specialist Caroline Hagman enjoys creating challenges that allow students to experiment with science concepts. “I get to do hands-on activities that supplement what they are learning in class, so I get to play and explore all day,” said Hagman. Each Science Day is dedicated to one grade. Each class has a time slot to build their solution to a problem. Challenges have included Physics of the Caribbean, Stuck in the Rain and Lego Hotel. “The kids love learning about the world around them.,” said Hagman. “They also really enjoy anything that allows them to talk and make something.” In Physics of the Caribbean, fourth-graders were challenged to build a raft to rescue their crew stuck on an island. The materials they had to work with were: aluminum foil, paper clips, index cards and masking tape. They were given 20 minutes to discuss, sketch and build their rafts. Students then gathered around a plastic swimming pool to test how many golf balls (representing the crew) could be placed in their

Stephanie Chazares and Cheyenne North test their rain shelter. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

floating raft before it began to fill with water. “We thought a bowl holds more,” said Valeria Orozco as her team explained their raft design. They molded their aluminum foil sides deeper than those of the other teams. Some rafts only held a few balls, while the raft that Valeria and her team designed held 36. “When we put the boat in and it held 29 (balls), I was proud,” said Tyler Miller, another student who participated in the challenge. Tyler enjoys science more because of the games and activities they do with Hagman, he said. “I believe that continued participation in these activities will give our students skills they need to succeed in the workplace: communication, perseverance and teamwork,” Hagman said. Students follow the engineering process of ask, imagine, plan, create and improve. “How can you improve your design? What would you do differently next time?” Hagman asks when all designs have been tested. Students consider what factors made some rafts more successful and why. Melinda Flint, a fourth-grade teacher, knows Columbia is lucky to have a full-time

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science specialist and is excited to see how it will affect her students’ scores on SAGE testing this year. “We talk to her often about what we’re doing, so she extends it or refines it,” said Flint. When the third grade came to Hagman’s room on their Science Day, they found streamers hanging from paper rain clouds. Their Stuck in the Rain challenge was to build a shelter to protect themselves and electrical equipment from a rainstorm heading their way. Teams were provided a backpack with materials representing what they might have to work with in a real-life scenario: paper cups, tape, pipe cleaners, playing cards, cotton balls and paper. The teams of third-graders built a shelter and tested its ability to keep a square of tissue dry while water was poured through a colander over the top, simulating a rainstorm. Some groups started building before drawing a sketch. Others spent most of their allotted 15 minutes planning. Paige Jarrett’s group struggled with the time limit. “We had an idea ,but it kept falling, and it was down to five minutes left,” she said. Despite the last-minute rush, her team’s structure was a success.

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Gabriella Marty, Tayler Miller and Kaden Nicholas design a raft with limited materials. (Melinda Flint/Columbia Elementary)

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Kaily Aniya was very stressed about her project. Her team used up half their time just discussing ideas. Their final creation wasn’t able to keep the water out. Kaily had had some concerns because they rushed to complete their build. “I knew it was going to fall,” she said. Science is a very important part of the curriculum at Columbia. In addition to using the science specialist this year, teachers focus on science often. Ashley Ball, who teaches third grade, incorporates the science curriculum into other subjects. “We teach the science and they write about it and read stories about it,” Ball said. She believes Hagman’s practical activities help the kids build a good background. They can write with more confidence about subjects they’ve experienced for themselves. There have been four dedicated Science Days so far this year. The remaining grades are looking forward to seeing what challenge Hagman will give them. “I have noticed an added excitement about learning,” Hagman said. “I hope that implementing these days into our school will foster a love of learning and science.” 

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April 2016 December 2016

Paid for by the City of West Jordan

M AY O R ’ S M E S S A G E

The holiday season is a time to reflect on the many wonderful blessings we enjoy by living in this great nation and in this great city. During the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to see first-hand many acts of kindness and service that benefit our community. Here are just a few examples: Tree Planting – About 200 volunteers helped plant 76 trees to replace those that had been vandalized. I had a great time helping to make a pancake breakfast for the volunteers and appreciate the extra help. Because of the volunteer labor, we were able to get the replacement trees in the ground this fall rather than wait until spring. Veterans Day Survival Bracelets – Volunteers made over 1,700 survival bracelets for troops serving overseas. For two weeks before Veterans Day, volunteers of all ages made bracelets with paracord provided by the city events team. Then on Veterans Day volunteers joined at City Hall to make more bracelets, write ‘Thank You’ cards and bring stuffed animals to donate to Operation Gratitude. It’s important to remember our service men and women and the sacrifices that they and their families make to protect our way of life. Extra Mile Winners – At the Nov. 2 City Council meeting, we had the honor of recognizing this year’s Extra Mile Day recipients, including: Al Richards – Whether serving on a city committee like the Healthy West Jordan Committee or the Western Stampede Committee or raising money for the police department’s Peer Support Program, Al is willing to give his time and talents for a good cause. He also serves as the Chamber of Commerce’s member relations ambassador and is a great asset to our business community. Melissa Worthen – Melissa is the driving force behind the City Journal’s community foundation where she spearheads the annual Spelling Bee; serves as the liaison with Mascots

for Miracles; helps with a fundraiser for the Rape Recovery Center; helps coordinate the Pumpkinpalooza event; serves on the Chamber of Commerce’s Women In Business Council; and much more. Jen Campbell – Under Jen’s direction, the Exchange Club recently raised funds for the Children’s Justice Center and also partnered with Dannon to provide scholarships to local students who had excelled in the face of adversity. As the director of South Valley Services, she has helped open two community resource centers in West Jordan City Hall and Riverton and works continually to strengthen the relationship between South Valley Services and law enforcement. Bonnie Hutchings – Bonnie is one of the original members of the Volunteers in Police Service program. She joined the newly organized unit in July of 2008 and splits her volunteer time between the victim advocate unit and the police department. Craig Dearing – Craig has devoted more than 40 years to our community. He founded the Chamber of Commerce in 1986 and served as president until 2014. He formed the West Jordan Rotary Club in 1987 and was instrumental in starting the West Jordan Exchange Club in 2003 – and he is still an active member in both these organizations today. Craig has championed the ideal that no matter how large we grow we will always be the “Home of the Good Neighbor.” New Council Member – I’d like to welcome Alan Anderson as our newest member of the City Council. Alan was selected from a pool of very qualified candidates. In the end, the vote was split 3-3, and it came down to a coin toss to determine which of the two candidates would be the next District 4 councilmember. Alan is excited to serve and help the City Council look toward the future. I appreciate those who give back so generously to make West Jordan a great place to live! As we head into the holiday season, take a look around you and see if there is something you can do to brighten someone’s day. It’s the little things that make a difference – even if it’s as simple as sharing a smile and friendly greeting. Happy Holidays!

Over 1,100 volunteers make paracord ‘survival’ bracelets for Troops

What started out as a small project with a goal to make 300 paracord “survival” bracelets to give deployed troops, captured the interest of over 1,100 volunteers of all ages. In honor of Veterans Day, volunteers signed up to make survival bracelets and donate stuffed animals to send to troops. Volunteers, including Congresswoman Mia Love, joined the West Jordan events team to “Serve Those Who Serve.” “Thank you for being here,” Love said to the volunteers. “This may seem like a small thing, but it is very important.” The city partnered with Operation Gratitude to make bracelets, collect Beanie Babies and write ‘Thank You’ cards for our troops. Operation Gratitude sends packages to active military and these are some of the items they requested. “Our original goal was to make 300 paracord ‘survival’ bracelets for the troops,” Kevin Schmidt, West Jordan events manager, said. “Thanks to all the amazing volunteers in the community, we are up to

over 1,700 bracelets with more coming in.” In addition to the Veterans Day gathering, over 1,100 volunteers have been assembling the bracelets for the past couple of weeks with materials provided by the West Jordan events team. “We had youth groups, girl scouts, students from Sunset Ridge Middle School, businesses, individuals and families all take supplies and make bracelets,” Schmidt said. The bracelets are made of 7.5’ of paracord, which is exceptionally strong and can hold 550 pounds. This cord is used for emergency and survival situations. Just as important, the bracelet sends the message to service men and women that someone cares about them and they love to wear them. The nylon cords that make up the paracord can also be used as sewing thread, emergency sutures, fishing line and more. If you would like to get involved by volunteering with the West Jordan Events department, contact them at events@ wjordan.com or 801-569-5160.







No flocked trees No artificial trees Do not bag trees Remove all ornaments, lights and tinsel Do not block other garbage containers

Options Curbside Christmas Tree Pickup

January 2-13 West Jordan residents can place their Christmas trees at curbside for a two-week period, January 2-13. Simply place your tree at your curb for pickup on your normal trash collection day.

Volunteers plant 76 trees to replace those damaged by vandals About 200 volunteers helped plant 76 trees on Nov. 5 to replace those damaged by vandals. The planting project kicked off with a hot breakfast cooked up by Mayor Kim Rolfe, Councilmember Dirk Burton, City Manager Mark Palesh and members of the events staff. Trees were replanted along 2200 West (between 7800 South and 9000 South), in Veterans Memorial Park, and also along 4800 West (between 8620 South and 9270 South). The tree damage in Veterans Memorial Park and along 2200 West occurred beginning Pioneer Day weekend and continued until a suspect was arrested

Aug. 28. Tips from the public were crucial in identifying and locating the suspect who was wanted in connection with more than 80 tree vandalism cases in West Jordan and South Jordan. To help fund the replacement of the damaged trees, the Urban Forester applied for and received the Community Partnership Grant from the Utah Community Forest Council. Because of the grant money and an abundance of volunteer support, 76 trees were planted during the tree planting project. Four Eagle Scout projects also took place during the project.

Christmas Tree Drop-Off

January 2-13 For two weeks after Christmas, West Jordan residents can drop their Christmas trees for recycling at the following three locations: * West Jordan Soccer Complex, 7876 S. 4000 West * Constitution Park (west parking lot), 3200 W. 7000 South * West Jordan Swimming Pool, 8125 S. 2200 West

Questions? Please contact West Jordan Public Works Department at 801-569-5700 or e-mail info@wjordan.com

Please Help Us Save Animals By Donating This Holiday Season Saturday, December 10, 10am - 2pm Support the animals at the West Jordan Shelter with a Gift or Donation! Socialized and behaved pets welcome. Light refreshments available for pets and their humans! Thank you for your support.

WEST JORDAN Animal Shelter

West Jordan


5982 W. New Bingham Hwy 801.282.3951






CALENDAR OF EVENTS - 2016 (Note: Activities are tentative and may change)



Arts Council Holiday Celebration, Viridian Event Center, 6-8 p.m.



West Jordan Theatre Arts “It’s a Wonderful Life, a Live Radio Play,” Midvale Performing Arts Center, 695 W. Center Street, 7:30 p.m., Matinee on the 3rd at 2 p.m.



Planning Commission, City Hall, 8000 S. Redwood Road, 6 p.m.



City Council Meeting, City Hall, 8000 S. Redwood Road, 6 p.m.



Literary Arts Guest Speaker, “Network Security for Authors,” City Hall Community Room, 8000 S. Redwood Road, 7 p.m.



Interfaith Council “Messiah Singalong” 7 p.m.



Planning Commission, City Hall, 8000 S. Redwood Road, 6 p.m.



City Council Meeting, City Hall, 8000 S. Redwood Road, 6 p.m.



Christmas Holiday – City Offices Closed

The City of West Jordan 8000 S. Redwood Rd., West Jordan, UT 84088 (801) 569-5100 www.wjordan.com

Join the conversation! Follow West Jordan – City Hall.

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

Sign up now for the next session of the Citizen Police Academy Is your view of law enforcement something you learned from watching television programs or going to the movies? If you want to find out what really happens in law enforcement and get to know the people behind the West Jordan Police badges, sign up now for the next session of the West Jordan Police Citizen Academy. Applications are being accepted for the two sessions scheduled in 2017. There is no charge to enroll, but applicants must pass a police background check and commit to attend the 11-week course. The Academy is held on Thursday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Community Room at the Police Department, 8040 S. Redwood Road. Participants must be 18 years of age. Academy attendees spend part of their time in a classroom learning about law enforcement and the situations officers encounter. But the experience is not limited to the classroom. Participants also get to ride along with officers as they answer calls

Donations Sought for Sculpture Artist Dan Snarr is seeking sponsors to fund the installation of a bronze sculpture at Veterans Memorial Park. This beautiful piece, known as “Proud,” was originally commissioned by the family of World War II veteran Robert Calder and is placed in Robert Calder Memorial Veterans Park in Garden City. West Jordan is honored by the gracious offer of a second (and only duplicate) casting for our Veterans Memorial Park. The fundraising goal is $62,650 and will cover all production and transportation costs. Major donors will be recognized on a plaque placed on the sculpture pedestal and will receive a limited edition sculpture maquette. For more information, contact Dan Snarr at 435-8492619 or dan@dansnarr.com.

from the public. Other course highlights include firing weapons under police supervision, participating in a role-play SWAT scenario where they make split second decisions in a “shoot no shoot” interactive video training experience “I have been so impressed with the caliber of people I have met while attending the academy,” said Liz Halloran, a recent graduate. “I have learned there are many specialties within the police department.” The city’s gang detectives also opened her eyes to the problems drug traffic brings to the state. Julie Rowland enjoyed meeting the officers and “getting to know them as people.” Ankur Verma participated because he wanted to better understand the role of police and also educate his family. “I learned that police officers have to react in a split second and react within the law,” Verma said. “It’s a very tough job.” He spoke so highly of his experience that Verma’s wife is applying for the next session. The next session starts Jan. 12, 2017 and is limited to 24 participants. To sign up, contact Crime Prevention Specialist Barbara Tatangelo by calling 801-256-2033 or emailing barbarat@wjordan. com.







‘Extra Mile’ Winners Honored

WAY TO A BETTER LIFE CONTEST Join to improve your health and a chance to win great prizes

January 17 - April 25, 2017


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Volunteers needed to join the Healthy West Jordan Committee! Interested? Email HealthyWestJordan@gmail.com

Each year the City of West Jordan joins with other cities across the nation to recognize individuals who create positive change in their community through their extra mile efforts in volunteerism and service. As part of this year’s “Extra Mile Day,” the City Council honored several individuals who go the extra mile and give back to our community both personally and professionally including

Al Richards, Melissa Worthen, Jennifer Campbell, Bonnie Hutchings, and Craig Dearing. Pamela and Omani Gatoloai were also honored with a Meritorious Service award for helping a West Jordan Police Officer who was being assaulted. This is just a tiny sample of the many great people in our city who regularly go the extra mile to strengthen our community. Thank you for your service!

If you want to make a difference for women and men who are experiencing domestic violence and victims of violent crimes, West Jordan Victim Assistance Program (under the direction of the City Prosecutor’s Office) is just the place for you to get involved. Contact us about participating in our victim advocate volunteer training. On-call volunteers are trained to offer support, guidance and resources to victims and survivors of domestic violence. No experience necessary – just a clean record, empathy and willingness to learn and commit some time to our program. Training starts soon. Call 801-566-6511 or email ceciliab@wjordan.com for more information.




New poetry class slams the competition By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


oets at Copper Hills High School are enthusiastic about slam poetry. Their love of the art form and their high ratings at local competitions have earned them a poetry slam class, making them the only students in the state to earn English credit for performing slam. Slam poetry has been a growing trend for several years. It has had a presence at Copper Hills for four years. Steve Haslam, who is the advisor for the poetry slam club, teaches the poetry slam class in addition to classes in creative writing and the school newspaper. “Four years ago, it was an after-school club,” Haslam said. Popularity grew as the club kept winning competitions with other schools. Two years ago, club members formed an official team. Copper Hills got a lot of attention as it consistently earned high scores. “We usually win pretty dramatically,” said Haslam. But other teams are improving as slam becomes more popular. “We expect more competition as we go forward.” Through a supportive administration, including former Vice Principal Kim Searle, Copper Hills was able to offer the slam poetry class for the first time this school year. In this unique course, students analyze each other’s poetry as well as that of professionals, noting topic, use of language, tone, word choice and presentation. Presentation is what sets slam apart from traditional poetry. When poetry is in written form, the reader deciphers meaning on their own. With slam, poets can guide the listeners through the experience. “A lot of slam is in the delivery,” said junior Sariya Martinez.

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“Poetry can be perceived in different ways—by how you perform and how the audience perceives.” English teacher Joshua Brothers serves as the performance coach, helping students strengthen their presentations. “The piece is supposed to be memorized, so you can be looking at people and moving your hands,” said Breckly Conner, a senior in the class. Engaging the audience is part of the art of slam. They are the judges, after all. Judges are selected from the audience. The slam club’s PR officer, Gabriel Overbaugh, explains that judges are looking to “feel a connection.” If a piece creates imagery or emotionally moves them, judges give a higher score. Scores of 0–10 are awarded to each performer. “Ten is so good you want to tattoo it on your skin,” said Overbaugh. High and low scores are dropped, and the remaining scores are averaged for a final score. “You want to be relatable so people will hear you out,” said Conner. “Poetry is the art of the spoken word. You have to make someone relate to the point.” Slam audiences are very interactive. To show they agree with or like a line without being too loud and distracting, the audience snaps their fingers. If a student struggles with a line—whether they’ve become flustered or emotional—the audience will rub their hands together or call out “push!” to give encouragement. Slams get emotional because students are writing about what’s important to them. “Academic poetry typically captures a moment in time while slam poetry tells an entire story about someone and their

Gabriel Overbaugh performs his slam poetry in front of fellow poets and faculty judges. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

experience,” said Haslam. Personal experiences influence the students’ pieces, which range from angry and edgy, to dark and moving, to comical and playful. Martinez, who has always been a writer, joined the team last year. “I had an excess of emotions and stuff happening at home,” she said. “It’s a lot easier to write sad and angry pieces, but there are funny components to my poems.” “I do a lot of sad stuff because I’m a sad guy,” Overbaugh said. However, he is currently striving for more upbeat material as he is planning a charity slam event to benefit kids with cancer. The Copper Hills team holds two showcases a year and competes as often as once a month. Haslam also coaches and gives tips and support to other teams. Students at Lone Peak lost their adviser but stayed in touch with Haslam, who made sure they stayed involved in competitions. Haslam also encourages students to attend community slams, which take place at local bookstores and coffee shops. 


Salt Lake County Council’s

Forza soccer club seizes State Cup title By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

The U19 Forza West AB team is comprised of players from 10 different countries. (Alma Mendoza/ Forza Futbol Club)


he Forza West 98 Boys Team captured the U19 State Cup Championship with a heart stopping 14-round penalty kick affair. “I was impressed with these boys,” said head coach Ahmed Bakrim. “They set goals, and they showed me they were different boys. After a difficult group play I told them, ‘This is not what I expected.’ I wanted more from them. I told them I did not think we deserved to keep playing, that this was not who we are. When we stepped on the field against LaRoca, they were different boys. It was a big fight, and they played phenomenal soccer.” Forza faced LaRoca in the quarterfinals winning 1-0. LaRoca had been unbeaten in pool play “I was impressed with how much effort they gave me,” Bakrim said. “They really stepped up.” The quarterfinals match pitted Forza against Rangers Premier. In the regular season, the teams had traded victories. Forza came through with a 1-0 win. The Rangers had been undefeated in pool play. The State Cup final pitted Forza against the Fire from southern Utah. The Fire had knocked off the No.1 team in the state, USA Premier, 2-1. The Fire were trying to become the first-ever State Cup champion from southern Utah. “I told them to focus for the 90-plus minutes, and whoever put the concentration first would come out on top,” Bakrim said. “I could see the fatigue coming out in the players.” The game ended in regulation and overtime in a 1-1 tie and then went to penalty kicks. “I have coached for almost 15 years, and I have never seen anything like that,” Bakrim said. “The shootout was crazy. We would miss— they would miss. It went on and on. I packed up my stuff several times. I thought there was no

way. I thought this must be a dream. We made our final kick, and they missed. I could see the tears coming down. These boys never thought they would achieve this.” Riverton High School’s Micah Hammond made the final penalty kick. This Forza team is made up of players of 10 different nationalities—the only team in the state with that much diversity. The team will compete at Far West Regionals in Seattle, Washington, June 19–26. “I felt like I needed to prove to my teammates that I could play at this level,” Murray senior Drayden Ricks said. “If you looked at our stats for the season, no one would have expected us to make it, but I felt like we deserved it. The finals were very stressful. I could not picture the other team celebrating.” Ricks was the team’s leading scorer, putting seven goals in the net. “I love this team,” Forza’s CD Mendoza said. “We all get along so well. I knew we had a great team.” Bakrim said goalkeeper Jaxx Goodrich made a big difference this season. “I was overwhelmed with joy,” said West Jordan High School senior Jojea Kwizera. “I could not believe we had made it. No one expected us to make it to the finals. The PKs were crazy. I felt sick.” Bakrim played professionally in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Morocco and is a B-licensed coach. He also is the head soccer coach at Bingham High School. Forza recently opened a 20,000 square foot indoor practice facility east of Bangerter Highway in West Jordan. The club’s 65 teams and over 1,700 players, coaches and parents will have access to the facility year-round for training. 


WEST JORDAN JOURNAL Salt Lake County goes votebymail countywide Aimee Winder Newton, County Council District 3


ne of the hallmark traditions of our form of democracy is the peaceful transition of power. That holds true for the presidential election every four years, as well as local elections down to the smallest jurisdiction. The 2016 election was unique for a number of reasons. A thorough review of the process after the fact is always helpful for elected officials and citizens alike. For 2016, the County Council decided to orchestrate votebymail elections for both the primary election and general election. For the general election, Salt Lake County had 510,397 active voters. These voters were contacted by the County Clerk’s office ahead of time to inform them of their voting options. Once receiving a ballot, voters could fill it out and mail it back, fill it out and drop it off at early polling locations or on election day, or still vote in person. Some key numbers help show what happened during this election. Early voting took place between October 26 and November 4, and 14,661 voters (about 3.5 percent) voted early. By comparison, in 2012, 86,000 people (19 percent) voted early. The Friday before election day, the County Clerk had received only 13,000 mailin ballots, lower than what they were expecting. Knowing election day would be busy, they wanted to add more polling locations, but because of the bond on the ballot and noticing requirements, that was not an option. Instead the Clerk’s office added roughly

100 voting machines and deployed additional laptops and poll workers. On election day, 344,420 voters voted by mail and 55,425 voted in person at 38 different polling locations. There were reports of long lines at many of the locations some locations had waits as long as three hours or more! I applaud those of you who were so committed to exercise your right to vote that some of you even waited outside in the cold for long periods of time!! When all the voting was finished, the work continued for the County Clerk’s staff. They had to go through the security and screening protocols for each mailin ballot. On election night there were still people in line to vote, so the County Clerk didn’t want to release the early return counts until polling locations were closed. Initial results were released twice that evening and the Clerk’s office is still counting ballots. Luckily, because of a state law change, the Clerk’s office has been able to release election results every few days. For every election, there is a two week time period that ballots continue to be counted. On Tuesday, November 22 at 4 p.m. the Canvassers meeting will be held where the County Council will finalize the election numbers. I’m grateful for the patience of voters who faced delays on election day. I’m even more grateful to the people who made the time to research and understand the candidates and issues on the ballot, and cast their vote in whatever form they chose. 


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Youth basketball program contributes to school’s success By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com


he Copper Hills Grizzlies advanced to the state championship game last season. Their recent success is directly correlated to the team’s youth program and its progress.

Under the direction of Grizzlies head coach Andrew Blanchard and his assistant Brian Allfrey, Copper Hills enters its fifth season of the Grizzlies youth basketball program and the Salt Lake Bantam basketball league. “We really like doing our own thing and are not really looking for the spotlight,” Allfrey said. “Successful schools like Bingham, Davis and Lone Peak have been doing this sort of thing for years. It is more important than ever to work with the kids and keep them in the boundaries. This season we have a sixth-grade team and two eighth-grade teams.” The Grizzlies coaching staff works with the players, and parents are recruited to help organize the teams. This season Troy Taylor, a former West Jordan High School backcourt player with a history as a great youth baseball and basketball coach, is coaching the sixth-grade team. “Troy is a phenomenal coach,” Allfrey said. “In some situations, it is hard to find

130 Years

The Copper Hills youth basketball program has been existence for five years. (Copper Hills Youth Basketball)

good coaches that want to put in the time. We really work with the kids and they learn our system.” The players are taught the terminology and exposed to the defenses and offense that is used on the Copper Hills High School team. “I think this is a great program,” Taylor said. “I can see the depth in the age groups as they get to high school now.” The eighth-grade green team will be coached by Keenan Madsen, and Allfrey will coach the blue team. They begin playing games in December. The teams are part of the county superleague and play in the bantam league on Saturdays.

The youth program has extended into a year-long job for the Grizzlies coaching staff. The bantams will play a fall league, winter league and often join summer tournaments. “This is all about the kids,” Allfrey said. “We figure that if they learn the same sets every year then they can get better at playing in the system. Every year I see a player that has worked hard and moves into a better position. I have seen them progress and make the high school team. The group of seniors at Copper Hills are the first group to start in our program.” More information can be found at the program’s website www. grizzliesyouthbasketball.com. 



Cross country teams finish season By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com


opper Hills and West Jordan high schools were not left out at the state cross country meet. Both teams had a presence in the Utah High School Activities Association 5A state championships at Sugar House Park.

The Grizzlies boys and girls both placed 12th overall at the season’s final meet. The Grizzly girls scored 283 points, well behind the eventual state champion American Fork Cavemen score of 68. The boys scored 330 points; American Fork had 42. The Cavemen captured their eighth title in the last nine years—Davis stole the trophy last season. Runners are awarded points depending on their finishing position. The top five team runners’ scores add up to form the team score. As in golf, the lowest team score wins. The Grizzly boys finished just one point behind Layton High School. Senior Corban Allen paced his team finishing 59th overall. Juniors Jarod Evan, Garrett Crane and John Thompson finished off the scoring runners for the team. Allen finished the 3-mile course with a season record of 17 minutes, 7 seconds. Three of the other runners set personal records at the meet.

Senior Corban Allen runs the course at the Herriman Invitational. He finished 59th at state. (Copper Hills Cross Country)

The Grizzly girls had some more individual success. Sophomore Marlie Taylor placed 37th overall; senior Autumn Babcock placed 39th. The other scoring runners included Julia Falcon (53rd), Callie Barker (96th) and Brie Steele (97th). Copper Hills placed second in boys and girls at the Region 2 state qualifier held at the Cottonwood Softball complex. The West Jordan boys placed fifth overall in Region 3, and the girls were sixth. Jaguar junior Jennifer Farfan placed ninth overall at the region meet and qualified to compete at state. She finished 72nd. The boys team was paced by senior Jason Scott. He finished 15th overall at region with a person record time of 17:45. The other top finishers for the Jaguars at the region meet were Gentry Pierce, Lauren Brown, Camile Klundt, Logan Ward, Kevin Syphus and Drake DeHann. Sugar House Park hosts the largest cross country meets of the season. Its 3-mile course is known for its hills, flat spots and beautiful running vistas. Cross country running competitions may include grass or dirt trails with hills and obstacles to maneuver. Davis and American Fork high schools have consistently been the top teams in the state. American Fork has been ranked No. 1 nationally most of this season. Seniors Brett Ballard, Joseph Gregory, Tabitha Brady and Olivia Smith were awarded Academic All-State awards by the Utah High School Activities Association. The Copper Hills runners were nominated by their coaches and the school administrators. Senior students must be contributing members of the varsity team and maintain a 3.5 or higher cumulative grade point average throughout their high school careers. All four Grizzlies have a 4.0 GPA. The Grizzlies and Jaguars competed in several events this fall including the Highland Invitational and Grass Relays in August and the Nebo Invitational in September. Many of the top runners are scheduled to compete in the Footlocker Regionals in Anaheim, California Nov. 30– Dec. 4. Winners of the regional event advance to the Nationals one week later in San Diego, California. 

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Club opens indoor training facility in West Jordan By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com





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Above: The Forza West soccer club’s new building can be seen on the east side of Bangerter Highway between 9000 South and 7800 South. (Greg James/City Journals) Right: The 20,000 square foot Forza West soccer club facility has an indoor turf specially designed to withstand the rigors of soccer training. (Greg James/ City Journals)


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he competition soccer club Forza West has constructed its own indoor training facility in West Jordan. The facility will be the home to the club’s 65 teams and more than 1,700 players, coaches and parents. “One of the biggest problems in Utah is inclement weather five months of the year and lack of light,” said Forza Club President Christopher Roemer. “That leads to lack of training for the kids. Most clubs buy space at a warehouse or at a fitness center. Now we can do technical training year-round.” The 20,000-square-foot facility is designed with an indoor specialty turf and drop-down curtains to divide the surface into four separate training areas. It cost about $1.5 million to build. The club board members believe it is an investment in the community that will last for some time. The turf is just shy of 2 inches tall and costs about $4 a square foot. The location of the building is just east of Bangerter Highway off the Old Bingham Highway (3570 West Galaxy Park Place). Its central location will allow families from Sandy, Herriman or West Jordan to access the facility without driving more than 15 minutes. “Club teams hold an advantage over high school teams because of the amount of talent,” Roemer said. “We met with West Jordan City and tried to let them know what we are trying to do. It is important for us to show them this an investment in the city and our program. We run soccer programs in a few of the schools. It is about the love of the game.”

Forza West is a subsidiary of Forza Futbol, located in Farmington. It claims to be the largest soccer club in the state of Utah. The West branch of the club allows for players to be members but facilitates less travel and more localized play for the club members. The club began in 1979 and expanded to the western part of Salt Lake County two and a half years ago. Forza Club allows for competitive soccer for players beginning at 6 years old. The club’s coaches are licensed with the United States Soccer Coaches Association. Every team has two weekly hour-and-a-half trainings and competitive tournaments in Utah and across the Western United States. The 98 Forza AB 19U team won the State Cup, the most prestigious club tournament in Utah. Forza was originally the South Davis Soccer Association. Building a facility for the club has been the goal, so the teams did not need to try to squeeze into community fitness centers or Soccer City to train during the winter. “Competitive soccer has been wonderful for my kids,” said Forza marketing director Julia Howard. “I like to keep them busy to help keep them out of trouble. They have learned to listen to a coach and take instruction. I have had four kids that have played competitive soccer. I am glad we now have this club out here so I do not need to drive to get the best coaching and experience.” The club has partnerships with local

business such as Mountain America Credit Union and Sports Clips that help create fundraising opportunities and community networking opportunities. Forza also promotes its players with college coaches and provides training for success at the college level. They have reached an agreement with eKnowledge Corporation to provide access to the ACT & SAT PowerPrep Programs. These two programs will help players prepare for and increase their ACT and SAT scores. “I feel like the coaches in this club are great,” Forza parent Alma Mendoza said. “They do not put the kids down, and they really try to lift them up. They teach and believe in respect. I love this building, and it is beautiful.” Club officials realize that most players will not play soccer in college and some athletic scholarships do not pay entirely for the student, therefore, they help provide ways for students to excel and gain more opportunities. “We try to help the teams financially with fundraisers and stuff like that,” Roemer said. “Realistically, you could play without paying anything if you put the time in and fundraise all of your costs.” Forza has another similar facility in Farmington and has plans to build a third facility in the south end of the valley soon. The training facility will help the club to train to develop and play to win, which is the club’s motto. 



Burt Brothers Tire & Service


urt Brothers Tire & Service was founded by brothers Wendel & Ron Burt in 1991. The two believed that a combination of customer focus and excellent products at a wide variety of prices could be the basis of a new endeavor. Since then, they’ve become the leader in automotive services along the Wasatch Front. They have built their reputation on having the best, most knowledgeable and most skilled technicians and team members with most up-to-date tools and equipment. But it’s the loyalty of our outstanding customers that has really helped us build lasting success. Burt Brother’s tagline, “Burt Brothers does it better,” as a way of business has carried them forward for 25 years and helped to establish nine locations in Utah. At all nine of their locations, they offer complete, bumper-to-bumper service, free flat repairs, tire rotations and balancing, expert wheel alignments and an incredible selection of tires from the best-known brands in the industry, including Goodyear, Bridgestone, Firestone, Hankook, Dunlop, Pirelli, Michelin, BFGoodrich and Toyo. Each location also offers free Wi-Fi, water, snacks and immaculately clean restrooms.

“Two and a half decades ago we had a dream,” Wendel said. “Today we’re thankful that so many people have walked through our doors in response to a promise we made to do it better. Working together with us, our customers, sons and employees have helped us deliver, and deliver better.” There is something rather unexpectedly somber in a genuine promise to do it better from a tire and service shop. The tire and automobile service industry helps to ensure that the cars, and respective parts, function appropriately so we can safely and conveniently connect with family, friends, work and educational opportunities. Getting from point A to point B often involves going from quiet country lanes to highspeed freeways and everything in between. Every Burt Brothers location employs highly qualified mechanics and technicians with ASE-Certification, giving them equipment, knowledge and resources. “We made a promise to customers to match prices with anyone in our market or their new tires would be free,” Wendel said. “In 25 years, we’ve never had to give away a set of tires because another dealer offered better service or products at a better price. And in 25 years

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we haven’t lost touch with appreciation for the people who have helped us make that promise a reality – great vendors, customers and the Burt Brothers team members.” Their commitment to doing it better doesn’t stop at how they treat their customers or the guaranteed-unbeatable prices they offer—it extends into the communities and neighborhoods around them. Every year, Burt Brothers partners with KSL Radio and Zion’s Bank to help acknowledge special teachers for excellence in educating and serving children. Burt Brothers recognizes teachers “Who Do it

Better” by giving the winning teacher a new car. Additionally, the Burt Brothers Burn Out and Car Show is held in conjunction with the Bountiful Rotary Coats for Kid on Father’s Day Weekend. Elementary school principals, teachers and the PTA from the Davis County area identify children in need of winter clothing. Once a child is identified, the principal presents a voucher to the parents. With the voucher, the child and parents can pick out a new coat, hat, boots and mittens. Learn more about Burts Brothers at www. burtbrothers.com. 



Little Learners Academy


ittle Learners Academy was founded by Launa Christiansen in 2000. She started the school after 14 years of working in preschools and private schools and being the director for two private schools. Christiansen taught children of various ages but was an expert in early childhood education and decided to start a small preschool in her home. She called it Little Learners Academy and it started with one class of eight students. The second year it tripled to three classes; then doubled to six classes. LLA stayed in Christiansen’s home for six years with waiting lists each year. LLA moved into its current building in 2006 where they continue to grow and add more unique features to the school’s curriculum and programs. Christiansen says LLA is now one of the most highly regarded private preschools in Utah. LLA offers a unique curriculum. Christiansen developed this curriculum through years of experience designing different educational curriculum programs. “I have a gift for writing extremely fun yet highly educational lesson plans and curriculum,” Christiansen said.

The curriculum is taught through music. Because of this specialized curriculum, students experience higher academic and social development. Her students have better retention and more skills going into “a big school.” “Social skills are just as important as academic skills,” Christiansen said. “Kindness, cooperation and teamwork are basic fundamentals just as alphabet, phonemic awareness, reading, writing, sciences and math are.” LLA staff are partners with parents and appreciate input and involvement so much so that the building has one-way mirrored windows in every classroom for parents to observe their child’s experience at anytime. They also have an open door policy and “love parents who are involved.” Each teacher receives extensive training in early childhood education. Some have degrees in early childhood education while child development associate credentials are the staff’s most common certification. Additionally, teachers are trained to use music, instilling a love for learning and a strong foundation of confidence. Certified teachers teach Kidding Around Yoga, a fun, interactive way to use music and movement for learning. Christiansen believes a child who is engaged and having fun will be attentive and learn concepts more fully than just by being taught. LLA enrolls for fall classes and summer programs in January and February. Families can enroll anytime in the school



year as long as openings are available. “We welcome parents who are looking for a preschool or private kindergarten to come in and visit us at our school or on our website, take a tour, learn all about what we do, what we offer and become a part of our Little Learners Academy family,” Christiansen said. 

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Stars debut, bring professional basketball to the suburbs


By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com

he Salt Lake City Stars began their debut season mid-November, giving basketball players opportunities for growth and community members additional accessibility to professional ball. In April, the Utah Jazz announced they’d be moving their development league affiliate, formerly known as the Idaho Stampede, from Boise to the Salt Lake City area to tighten ties between the D-League team and the Jazz. The team’s new home is the Bruin Arena at the Salt Lake Community College Taylorsville Redwood Campus. “The No. 1 priority of purchasing the team and bringing it to Salt Lake is to help the development of the Utah Jazz basketball organization,” said Bart Sharp, the Stars’ general manager. “While we want to be competitive and we do have the goal to win games, make the playoffs and succeed there, the No. 1 priority is to develop our players and provide them an opportunity to understand the Jazz system, instruction and culture.” The D-League team brings together new players on the Jazz roster who could use more playing time, Jazz draft picks who have been assigned to the Stars and free agent players who could be called up to the Jazz or other National Basketball Association teams upon vacancy. Sharp said Rudy Gobert, a Jazz center who played with the Stampede during his rookie year, is a fantastic example of how the D-League can reinforce a player’s skills. “I bet quite a few people would attribute his rapid development to that ability to get on the court with the D-League, all while staying close to the parent organization—the Jazz,” Sharp said. Sharp noted that Joel Bolomboy, Jazz forward who formerly played at Weber State University, may have a similar experience. “He is obviously on the Jazz roster, and he is doing very well; however, there are opportunities while we are in town,” Sharp said. “They could send Joel down to a (Stars) game here on Tuesday night, and he could get some more playing time on it, and then on Wednesday he could be on the Jazz bench, building those relationships with those players and making sure that he understands what they are doing at that level, which hopefully expedites his experience as a player.” Because the Jazz already have four point guards contracted, two Jazz second-round draft picks are assigned to the Stars: Tyrone Wallace, a 6-foot-6-inch guard coming from University of California and Marcus Paige, a 6-foot-2-inch guard from University of North Carolina. “I think this is an opportunity to get better and work on my craft—you know, put in the hours here and put in the time,” Wallace said about playing for the Stars. “It is a chance for me to get on the floor every night in order to be in the NBA.” Wallace, who spent part of his senior season at Berkeley on the sidelines after he suffered a wrist fracture during a preseason practice, said he was ready to get back on the court full time. “I am ready for the fans to get here,” Wallace said. “I think it is going to be a good year for us.” The Stars went up against the Santa Cruz Warriors and the Reno Bighorns on Nov. 6 in their preseason tri-game at the Kaiser Permanente in Santa Cruz, Calif., falling short against the Warriors 52–38 and emerging victorious against the Bighorns 60–50.


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Eric Dawson pivots with the ball during the Salt Lake City Stars’ inaugural game against the defending NBA D-League Champions the Sioux Fall Skyforce. The Stars lost the away game 117–100 at the Sanford Pentagon. (Dave Eggen/NBAE/Getty Images)

Although three players scored in the doubledigits, the Stars lost their inaugural game against the defending NBA D-League Champions the Sioux Fall Skyforce on Nov. 12 (print deadline). The Stars were behind by up to 31 points in the third quarter, but narrowed the gap to 17 by the end of the game in a 117–100 loss. Season tickets for the Stars are still available and run as low as $78, with single game tickets as low as $5. Sharp said it’s an affordable way for families residing in the suburbs to watch professional basketball with less travel. “We feel like—especially being out here in the Taylorsville area so close to Kearns and West Valley, West Jordan and others—that there’s a lot of folks even in the Salt Lake County that don’t get an opportunity to go to the Jazz games as much as they’d like, so we’re bringing a part of the Jazz here,” Sharp said. The Stars have their own dancers, dunk team and fun zone that includes bounce houses and activities for kids, bringing a unique alternative to going to the movies for family nights out, he said. The Stars will also be more accessible than Jazz, Sharp added. After each game, spectators are invited onto the court for an autograph session with some of the players. In addition, the coaches, staff and team host basketball clinics to help aspiring child basketball players. Their first basketball clinic on Sept. 17 served 50 children at the Taylorsville Recreation Center. Giving back to the community will be a focus for the Stars. One of the team’s 24 home games will be a “themed jersey night,” where the Stars will design and sport a jersey featuring a local charitable organization. The jerseys will be auctioned at the end of the game, and the proceeds will go to the charitable organization. For more information about the Stars or to purchase tickets, visit saltlakecity.dleague.nba. com. 



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The Holidays: Time to Start Giving Back…. Or, is it?


ay it Forward, Serve, Give Back, Random Act of Kindness, no matter how you spell it, it’s that time of year where we are all thinking about giving. What a relief! After the troubled times of November, I for one am looking forward to the positivity the holidays bring. But, this leaves me pondering, what is all the excitement about. After all, December is just one month out of an entire calendar year. Studies show that people that help our fellow man are more successful in life, have improved health and happiness. Plus, children who volunteer are more likely to grow up to volunteer and serve as adults. Communities with more volunteers are typically more stable and better places to live (USA Today). So why are we saving all those positive benefits for only 1/12 of an entire year? Lets face it, in today’s world we need to make the effort to put a smile on the faces around us everyday. So, I’m proposing, in addition to the plans you already have to serve this holiday, you add just one more thing, a big cardboard box. For years I’ve had a box that’s plunked right next to my front door. It’s become a bit of joke for friends, as every time they stop by, I make some excuse for the tripping hazard. To the untrained it could look like a pile of unorganized junk waiting to be hauled out to the trash, but my charity box is actually a dropping ground for denotable food and clothing, household items or children’s niceties. I’ve found that having the box right where I enter and leave encourages me to add to it and reminds me to drop it of. To get you started here are a few things that have landed in this years box. January: Hot Cocoa Mix A little treat to enjoy with a neighbor after shoveling their sidewalk

February: Oatmeal Did you know February is National Hot Breakfast Month? What a great time to do a neighborhood Oatmeal Drive for the Food Bank. March: Books, Puzzles and Board Games It’s national reading month, so how bout encouraging a little reading? Volunteer at the Library; donate books to children in need. Senior homes also enjoy donations of books, puzzles and games. April: Pet Food Pet rescues, such as the Humane Society, Best Friends Animal Society and Rescue Rovers not only need pet food, they also need for paper towels, garbage bags, and old blankets. May: Pantry Staples Because of Memorial Day sales not only is May a great month to break out the coupons for grocery shopping. It’s also the month we see both the Boy Scouts Scouting for Food and the Letter Carriers Stamping out Hunger. I like to buy extra so I’m ready for them. June: Tomato Plants and Pots Plant patio tomatoes in flowerpots and deliver them to an elderly neighbor or retirement home. July: School Supplies Kids all over Utah need school supplies and teachers love getting them too. Donate to your local school or participate in Stuff the Bus and help fill backpacks for kids. (stuffthebus.uw.org) August: Personal Care Items Even the casual coupon user knows that personal care items like toothpaste; soap and hygiene products are easy pickings. Instead of

piling these products on shelves in the basement, I pile any extras in the box and drop them off at the Road Home or a Women’s Shelter. For more about how to get these items with just a little effort and out of pocket expense, make sure you are following the Grocery section of Coupons4Utah.com. September: Craft Supplies Sharing Place is a place where children that have lost a parent can go to learn coping skills, share stories and learn to deal with grief. They are in constant need of arts and craft supplies. (thesharingplace.org) October: Diapers Families all across Utah are need of diapers, diapers and more diapers. Visit utahdiaperbank.org to find a list of drop of locations. November: Holiday Wrapping Paper, Tape and Gift Cards Remember all of those donated gifts need to get wrapped. Most charities collecting gifts also have a need for wrapping supplies. One idea would be the Holiday Gift Box. They provide individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families who are in need gifts for Christmas. More info at uaidutah.org/holiday-giftbox While I may trip over my charity box every now and again, it helps me remember to make those important little donations the entire year. And as for my friends that stop by, well… I’ll just let them continue to think I’m a little unorganized. Wishing you the happiest of holidays, all year long. 

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ow that Facebook has become a year-round newsletter, packed with enough posts to make us feel miserable all year long, can we finally call it quits on those dreadful holiday letters? I understand a family newsletter can be a highlight of the season, recapping all your adventures with witty repartee and candy cane clip art, but to many people, this bragalicious tradition is lemon juice in the paper cuts of life. Reading about how you cured black lung disease or saved an endangered species makes others’ successes look like table scraps. My newsletter would go something like this, “Dear family and friends, I did not get arrested this year. Happy New Year! Love, Peri.” (Disclaimer: The year’s not over yet.) So, first of all, don’t write a Christmas letter. However, if you feel you must write an annual message or your life won’t be complete, here are tips to make it bearable for friends and family. Let your children do the writing. I would LOVE getting a Christmas message that read, “Mom cries in the bathroom and tells us to eat Froot Loops for dinner. Dad has a special ‘drinking mug’ in his garage. Aunt Ethel spent Thanksgiving in the county jail for walking streets. Happy Holidays!” Use your letter as a weapon. A Christmas newsletter can encourage friendly competition amongst your offspring. Announce who had the most As, the bestcleaned room or who peed the bed the least amount of times. Be sure to embarrass the *&%$ out of them so they’ll be on their best behavior next year. Create an acronym. For instance, NOEL can be Notice Our Exceptional Lives or No One Enjoys Letters. Quote Quiz. Choose the funniest quotes said by your family during the year and have your readers guess

O Tidings of Comfort Annoy who said it. January--”Who left the %&@* lights on?!” February—“Is there a reason there are a dozen shoes by the back door?” March—“Who left the %&@* lights on again?” Write from your pet’s perspective. “This is Peri’s dog, Ringo. I was taken to the vet three times this year and had to get shots. She forgot to give me a treat twice last week, even after I sat under her feet for three consecutive episodes of Westworld. She also didn’t pet me long enough after she got home from work, but she gave me a steak bone, so all’s forgiven.” Share a family recipe. If people ask for your sugar cookie recipe, put it in your Christmas newsletter. But don’t be like my neighbor who leaves out key ingredients so my cookies never taste quite the same as hers. Not cool. Don’t recount Family Disasters 2016. Your water heater broke, your car died in the desert, you have rats in the basement and bats in your belfry. You lost several jobs, were abducted by aliens and SWAT kicked in your door at 3 a.m. Newsletters are not catastrophe competitions. Next! Don’t brag. For every straight-A accomplishment, for every award-winning dance competition and for every higher-salary promotion you exclaim over, your letter will be read by a man with kids struggling in school, a daughter with no noticeable rhythm and a woman in a dead-end, mind-numbing job. Take it down a notch, will ya? Even better, since I never receive mail anymore (except for Hickory Farm catalogues and postcards from mortgage companies), maybe save all your glowing updates for Facebook and Instagram where you can gush all you’d like. You can even add clip art. 


Profile for The City Journals

West Jordan December 2016  

Vol. 16 Iss. 12

West Jordan December 2016  

Vol. 16 Iss. 12