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March 2020 | Vol. 20 Iss. 03

FREE ‘YOUR MAGNIFICENCE IS THE DIFFERENCE’ EDUCATOR, COACH AND VOLUNTEER TAKES ON ONE MORE TITLE:

‘MRS. JORDAN VALLEY’ By Alison Brimley | a.brimley@mycityjournals.com

P

eople sometimes ask Launa Christiansen whether she grew up competing in beauty pageants. It’s a fair question. Besides having the smile and energy of a beauty queen, Christiansen was just named Mrs. Jordan Valley. In March, she’ll compete in the Mrs. Utah pageant, and if she advances, she’ll be eligible for Mrs. America and Mrs. Universe competitions. But this is the first pageant for Christiansen, a local business owner and mother of six. And getting her to the stage took a bit of persuading. Though a friend repeatedly encouraged her to apply, she was not interested. Then she had a change of heart. “I decided to do it to stretch myself to become a better version of myself,” she said. After her application was accepted, Christiansen was allowed to choose the area of the state she wanted to represent. Because her business serves students from West Jordan, South Jordan and surrounding cities, Christiansen dubbed herself “Mrs. Jordan Valley.” “I’m honored to represent our city,” she said. “And I love our state. I think we are a state of people who really do live life with their hearts.” Christiansen is the owner of Little Learners Academy, a school she started more than 20 years ago in her home. Today, Little Learners has its own campus with more than 200 preschool and kindergarten students. The curriculum she writes is used all over the country, and her approach teaches concepts through music, which she said guarantees high levels

of retention. “Even though we’ve gotten big, every child is still educated like I’d like my own children to be educated,” she said. A second passion of hers is health. Years ago, Christiansen found herself 100 pounds overweight, with “severe health issues” that prevented her from doing the things she wanted to do. She found a program that allowed her to transform her health. “I felt released,” Christiansen said. People wanted to know her secret. She became a health coach and has helped hundreds make similar life changes. Christiansen also serves on the Board of Directors for Sheroes United, a volunteer organization that fights human trafficking and domestic violence and supports women in the military. Christiansen oversees the domestic violence efforts, supervising volunteers that help people leaving unsafe relationships get back on their feet. She’s also a member of the Mama Dragons, a group that supports mothers of LGBTQ children. “Everything I do, I do because of my heart,” she said. “If my heart doesn’t call me to it, I don’t do it.” At first, she saw the pageant as a way for her to stretch and challenge herself. During the application process, she learned that contestants must have a platform. She realized it Launa Christiansen will proudly represent West Jordan and surrounding was more than just an opportunity to change herself but to do cities at the Mrs. Utah pageant, to take place March 21 at Ogden High School. (Photo courtesy Launa Christiansen) good for others as well. Christiansen sees all of her professional and volunteer efforts united by a single idea: “Your magnificence is the difContinued page 9 ference.” That became her platform. Her strength is seeing

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March 2020 | Page 3


Elementary vice principal gets her hands dirty on life-changing trip By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

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ice principal Amy Adams helps students every day at Riverside Elementary, building relationships and improving behavior. In January, she helped build a school in Constanza, Dominican Republic, as part of a Lifetouch Memory Mission. “Lifetouch has a long legacy of giving back, and the Memory Missions exemplify that spirit of community, giving and shared experiences through photography and a commitment to education,” said Greg Hintz, president of Lifetouch. More than 500 volunteers have devoted 100,000 hours during 17 Lifetouch Memory Mission projects over the last 20 years. Adams was part of a group of 50 educators and Lifetouch and Shutterfly employees who volunteered a week of their time to build a second-floor expansion at Cecaini School, which volunteers built in 2011. Adams said volunteers worked together as a team to accomplish a lot in the week they were there. She said it was physical work. “I don’t do a whole lot of manual labor,” Adams said. “It was hard, but I came away

Fifty volunteers were invited on a Lifetouch Memory Mission to expand Cecaini School. (Photo Courtesy Lifetouch)

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with a much greater appreciation of what it means to make cement. We built walls upstairs, and we built rooms downstairs, and it was all done by hand.” Principal Ronna Hoffman said everyone at Riverside Elementary was excited for Adams to be a part of the trip. Through a Facebook Live event, Adams spoke with students at Riverside, gave them a tour of the village and showed them what work she was doing at the school. “The students were very excited to see Miss Adams on Facebook Live,” Hoffman said. “It was good for our students to see how truly fortunate we are here.” Since the trip, many students have talked with Adams about her experience. They’ve asked her about the school, the country and the children. They asked her why there was no grass around the school and why the playground was so small. Children in the village were just as inquisitive, gathering to watch the volunteers work each day. “The kids there were the same as the kids here,” Adams said. “They wanted to know what was going on on their playground.” When the volunteers walked through the village, the children would grab their hands and walk with them. Adams said while they didn’t speak the same language, they found ways to communicate through gestures and facial expressions. Volunteers were encouraged to bring toys for the village children. Adams played with the children and their new basketballs, jump ropes and coloring books. She said the most popular items were bottles of bubbles and cheap plastic sunglasses. The villagers were also excited about the portraits Lifetouch photographers took of the students and of their families. Adams

Amy Adams gets her hands dirty on a life-changing trip to the Dominican Republic. (Photo Courtesy Lifetouch)

participated in some community events and was impressed by the people’s kindness and humility. “The community was very grateful that we were there,” Adams said. “They recognize the importance of education.” The contrast between life for students in Constanza and West Jordan was extreme, said Adams. “We here in West Jordan are very, very blessed with all of the things that we have,”

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she said. “I think that we try to find happiness in stuff. The people in this little village don’t have much, and they had pure joy in everything.” Adams came home with just one mosquito bite and a whole new appreciation of simplicity inspired by the people she met. “It just made me realize that you don’t find joy in ‘stuff’,’” she said. “You find joy in relationships, and you find joy in working with people and hard work.” l

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Rogue Toys takes all grown-up kids on trip down memory lane By Jordan Hafford | j.hafford@mycityjournals.com

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or some, the best memories of childhood lie in playtime with toys. For others, hailing back to that lost time of simplicity and youthful bliss has become a lifestyle. And once these children of Gen-X, Millennials and Boomers alike grew up, they yearned for a community where they could still share in their enthusiasm for the iconic toys that made their childhoods. Enter the hero to answer that call: Rogue Toys. “I had taken a trip to Las Vegas with friends who are fellow toy collectors simply to visit all the stores that sold toys and catered to collectors,” said Rogue Toys store manager Luis A. Argueta. “One of those stores was Rogue Toys.” Rogue Toys began in 2012 when owners Steve and Krystal Johnston decided to create a nostalgic place for toy collectors and enthusiasts in downtown Las Vegas. Since then, they have opened two more locations in Vegas alone and a third in Portland, Oregon. West Jordan makes the fourth location to date, which just opened its doors last November. On his trip to Vegas, Argueta had spoken with owner Krystal Johnston about the possibility of opening a location in Utah and managing it. Being retired, and a vintage toy enthusiast and collector himself, he decided it was the perfect gig.

Store manager Luis A. Argueta with employee and expert curator Gabriel Slatten (Jordan Hafford/City Journals)

The owners, Steve and Krystal, were a featured booth at the recent FanX convention in Salt Lake to promote their newest Utah location. And the rest is toy history! From the beginning, the inventory of vintage toys in this chain has continued to grow, packing each location full of some of the rarest and oldest toys you could possibly find. They currently hold toys spanning the decades from the 1950s all the way up through today. The West Jordan location hosts monthly “Trade Nights” to facilitate the gathering of like-minded individuals who perhaps feel like they’re alone in this niche hobby. “Being an adult collector is sometimes

viewed negatively by others, and we are at times left feeling ashamed to share our interests with anyone,” Argueta said. “It is seen as nerdy, when in fact, it’s actually a healthy hobby which allows us to relive our childhood through purchasing the toys we always wanted as kids with our adult wallets.” A couple dozen individuals come to these nights every month to buy and swap toys of their own with other attending toy collectors. High positive energy abounds between enthusiasts as they eat pizza provided by Argueta, making trades and purchases. “I’m here for the first time,” said local resident Sean Allan. “But I can see myself coming here more regularly with all the awesome Ninja Turtles merch.” Along with the wide array of Ninja Turtles collectibles mentioned, the store also boasts collections from America’s greatest toy franchises, including Barbie, He-Man, Star Wars, GI Joe, Marvel, DC, Anime and many more. While some of the playthings are original creations in themselves, such as Barbie, others are based on pop-culture franchises, like the Simpsons line. Argueta loves supporting this hobby in the community and meeting new friends who are into the same “fandom” that he belongs to. He also said he learns a lot from the new fans that he meets since opening the store.

“I think this store is of great value to the community because we encourage a healthy hobby to a new generation,” Argueta said. “It gets these people into doing something cool and positive in a time when there are so many negative influences in the world.” As the iconic TV series “The Wonder Years” poignantly recalled, “There are things about your childhood you hold onto, because they were so much a part of you. The places you went, the people you knew.” And the toys you played with.

Vintage Dick Tracy figurines at Rogue Toys (Jordan Hafford/City Journals)

So, if the drudgery of petty adult problems has got you down, hop the train back to yesteryear at Rogue to take another look at the toys that played such a fleeting but impactful role in our lives. l

You were just in a car accident, now what? 1. Have an emergency kit in your car. While this step comes before the accident occurs, it’s essential to be prepared. Whatever you kit entails, make sure it has a first-aid kit, flashlight, reflective triangles and a small (and simple) camera in case there’s been damage to your phone. We’re typically frustrated or frazzled after an accident and not inclined to rational thinking. Being prepared limits the possibility of forgetfulness. 2. Take a deep breath. Accidents are traumatic experiences. Taking a breath will shift focus from what just happened to what needs to be done next. 3. Get a status check on everyone in the car. Check with each passenger to see if they are OK. Have someone call 911 immediately if someone is injured or unresponsive. 4. Move to a safe location. Most insurance companies recommend relocating the vehicle to the sidewalk or shoulder of the road as soon as possible after the accident. If the damage to the car is minor, this should be relatively easy. But if there are major injuries or questions about the safety of the car, leave it where it is, even if its blocking traffic. 5. Increase your visibility. Turn on your hazard lights and set out your attention items from the emergency kit—flares, orange cones, reflective triangles, etc. One accident should not lead to another. 6. Stay calm. It is very easy to lose your temper in this situation, it’s human nature. Keeping your cool will keep the situation

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nless you’re one of the few anomalies in the world, we’ve all been in an accident. We’ve experienced that sickening feeling when your car makes unwanted contact with another vehicle. We’re frustrated and disheartened. While we may want to crawl into a hole, we can’t. There are things to do and we’ve given you 10 to be aware of.

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from getting worse. If it wasn’t your fault, it’s easy to want to let your emotions loose on the other driver. This will cloud your judgment and may lead to something that does not help the situation. You still need to exchange information. 7. Exchange insurance information. This is imperative. If you are to file a claim on your car, you will need the other driver’s information. Most likely, after an accident you are feeling jumpy or stressed. It means when you try to write down their information your handwriting will look like ancient hieroglyphics and, unless you are a cryptographer, will be unable to read it later. We live in the 21st century, take a photo of their information and take photos of the damage done to both cars. 8. Don’t admit guilt. Every insurance company will tell you to do this. Even if you are at fault and it was you to blame. This could drive your premium up or even lead to you being sued. Let the police and insurance companies determine this. 9. Call the police. While some minor accidents don’t require a report to be filed, it’s up to the discretion of the drivers in the accident to call the police. Law enforcement can take statements, get information on injuries and property damage. Be sure to ask for a copy of the accident report. If there is a dispute, the officer will be an important testimony. 10. See a doctor. Depending on the injuries suffered or not, it is easy to skip this. A large financial situation has just happened with the car accident, you don’t want another one by seeing the doctor and jacking up your health costs. It’s important to consider it, or possibly speak with one. Adrenaline can be pumping after the accident and one might not notice the amount of whiplash to your neck. Symptoms can take 24 hours to appear. The warning signs include neck pain, stiffness, loss of motion in the neck, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and pain in the shoulders or upper back. It can be better to be safe than sorry.

March 2020 | Page 5


3 performances of ‘Aladdin Jr.’ will grant all your wishes By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

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ave you ever seen a play that was so good, you wish you could see it again? Your wish is granted. Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” will be performed at three local middle schools this spring: West Hills in West Jordan, South Hills in Riverton and Fort Herriman in Herriman. Each director has plans to grant the wishes of audience members hoping to see a great show. Want to see some magic? Wish granted! Kayla Martin, director at Fort Herriman Middle, promises some big magic in her production. “When I was young, seeing a musical was magical,” she said. “Now that I have 20 years of theater experience under my belt, I see it as my mission to bring that magic to my audiences and my students.” Want to see a carpet come to life? Wish granted! The magic carpet in the production at South Hills becomes a starring character thanks to a parent volunteer, an electric wheelchair motor and a creative dream. Audiences should also be prepared for the unexpected—girls will be playing the role of the Genie and Jafar. Want to be part of the show? Wish granted! West Hills director Judy Binns knows that audience members will get so caught up in the energy of the musical numbers, they’ll want to join in. Everyone will be invited to participate in two of the big musical numbers with colorful props. All three shows highlight student talent on and off the stage. At South Hills, Director Ryan Erwin depends on a core ensemble—those who didn’t fit the role of a lead but are talented and hardworking—for specialized choreography. Behind the scenes, Erwin also encourages students to apply their skills; sets were designed by ninth grader Hailey Fielding. “I feel like we do a great job of highlighting the talent that we have here,” Erwin said. Fort Herriman students have also taken a leading role in the technical aspects and design of their show, including hair and

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The cast of West Hills Middle School rehearses for the production of “Aladdin Jr”. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Curtis Lingwall rehearses the music for the role of Aladdin at Fort Herriman Middle. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

The South Hills production features females in lead roles such as Genie, Jafar and Iago. (Jet Burnham/ City Journals)

Aladdin, played by Brennan Buhler, practices his entrance for the West Hills Middle production. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

makeup, advertising and sets. High school students have returned to take on some directing responsibilities. “I give them a list of expectations and let them do it,” Martin said. Sierra Cowley, who plays the Genie at South Hills, said it is a little intimidating to be performing the same show as two other schools within two months of each other. “If everyone’s doing the same show, there’s not going to be a lot of demand to go see the show,” she said. “But I feel like it motivates us to put on the best show so that we can feel good about our production.” Sierra plans to see the other productions, especially at Fort Herriman where her

friend Lucas Morley is also playing the Genie. Lucas said it won’t be a strain on their friendship. “There’s not really a competition,” he said. “I think we’re both just doing our own thing.” Micaela Page, an eighth grader playing the Genie at West Hills, said the actors in each production will play their role in their own unique way. “It’s been really fun to put my own spin on all the different things that people would expect to see in the show,” said Micaela. Watching other casts perform your show is a learning experience, said Sterling

Lund, who plays Aladdin at South Hills. “It’s always great to take a step back and look at how other people are portraying the roles and to just reflect on our own performance,” he said. Directors don’t expect the differences of their shows will become a competition. Binns believes that middle school art should be collaborative, not competitive. “I don’t tell the kids to be better than any other schools,” Binns said. “I tell them to go support the other schools.” Erwin agrees. “Real art isn’t about the comparison,” he said. “It’s about the celebration of each other’s success.”

West Jordan City Journal


Erwin said middle school theater programs provide teens an opportunity to showcase their talents. “It’s all about making sure that when the lights go up, the kids are ready to go, they have everything that they need, that they feel confident and successful and they go out and have a fun time,” he said. Residents of all three communities are invited to attend one, two or all three of the shows. “Hundreds of hours go into these productions,” Martin said. “Come out and support all of us and see everyone’s unique interpretations of this magical show.” If cast members could have one wish granted, it would be to have an enthusiastic audience. “My favorite part of the play is at the very end,” said Stockton Taylor, who plays Iago at West Hills. “When you’re in the finishing pose and the crowd’s cheering—that’s just something I will remember for the rest of my life.” l

Student filmmakers say no to vaping, e-cigarettes By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com

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There are three chances to see Disney’s “Aladdin, Jr.” with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin. West Hills Middle School, 8270 Grizzly Way, West Jordan Feb. 27, 28, 29, March 2. Shows start at 6:30 p.m. Donations requested for admission (suggested $5). Judy Binns, director; Julie Weir, producer; Merilynne Michaelis and Anna Lisa Glad, music directors; Cindy Mecham and Chad McBride, costumes 84 in cast South Hills Middle School, 13508 South 4000 West, Riverton March 6 at 7 p.m., March 7 at 1 p.m. (with ASL interpreter), March 11 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $4. Ryan Erwin, director and choreographer; Staci Vittetoe, assistant director and co-choreographer; Eric Noyes, chorale director 120 in cast Fort Herriman Middle School, 14058 Mirabella Dr., Herriman April 29, 30, May 1. Shows start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $2 Kayla Martin, director; Brad Davis, music director; Tanner Sumens, choreographer; Stacy Thackeray, costumes 85 in cast

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Last year, Draper Park Middle School’s Ryan White received $400 as the middle school level Kick Ash Film Festival winner. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

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iddle-schoolers and high schoolers across Salt Lake County will have the opportunity to share their short films addressing the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes at the third annual Kick Ash Film Festival. After working on their 30- to 60-second films and submitting them into the film festival, the top films will be shown at 6:30 p.m., March 19 at the Leona Wagner Black Box at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City. The public is invited to attend the free event. “Vaping amongst Salt Lake County youth has increased 500% since 2011,” said Julia Glade, Salt Lake County health educator and film festival coordinator. “Yet, 56% of high school seniors say e-cigarettes are harmful. We want to change that perception.” Glade put together the film festival as a way for youth to share with their peers and community the means to communicate tobacco prevention and cessation. “Teens tend to use their phones and are very savvy using technology, so this way, they can create films about prevention and their peers are more apt to listen more,” she said. Teens also are involved in supporting the film festival. The Salt Lake County

Healthy Teen Advisory Board suggested this year’s theme: “Huff, Puff, Hooked” and some of the judges are students. Before the red carpet event, the judges will select their top middle school winners (seventh through ninth grades) and their top high school winners (10th through 12th grades). First place will receive $350; second place, $250; and third, $100. There also will be audience choice awards and the school which has the most entries will be awarded $100. Prizes and monetary awards were donated by sponsors, including University of Utah Health Plans, Primary Children’s Hospital, Intermountain Health Care and R.C. Willey, Glade said. In addition, this year’s winners as well as past film winners will have their films posted on the Salt Lake County YouTube channel. More than 50 entries were expected to be entered by the Feb. 27 deadline, Glade said. The first year, students submitted 29 entries. “Each year, there is more interest,” she said. “We already have sponsors wanting to be a part of it next year.” l

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March 2020 | Page 7


Water rates back on the table By Erin Dixon | e.dixon@mycityjournals.com

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Finance director Danyce Steck presents alternative rate organization for West Jordan water use to Council chair Chris McConnehey and city council members. (Erin Dixon/City Journals)

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emember your water bill last summer? Was it higher than you expected? City staff and elected officials are continuing the water rate discussion. In 2018, the West Jordan City Council approved two rate increases: 10% activated October 2018, and 33% in February 2019. If city officials had not raised the water rates, the city would have been in serious debt. “[The 10% rate increase] was in direct response to our obligations to hold the bond,” Finance Director Danyce Steck said. “In June 2018, it looks like that debt service coverage ratio went below the threshold, and the city responded by immediately increasing rates.” Council members and staff discussed in January in a pre-council meeting whether it was necessary to rearrange water fees after the many complaints they received from residents last summer. “Last year I didn’t hear any complaints until June when everybody started watering their lawns,” Councilmember Chad Lamb said. “I haven’t heard a complaint for probably six months.” Finance Director Danyce Steck presented alternative rate systems that would not necessarily be less but would change the base rate or the tiered rates depending on usage. Lowering the rates is out of the question. “I don’t want us to get where it’s not a solid fund,” Councilmember Kayleen Whitelock said. “Our weather is changing, we know that. But some years it seems to change differently than others. I don’t want us in a position where we’re at risk at not having enough money for the fund. I’m not comfortable putting the citizens in a risk.” There were 287 main and service line breakages and repairs in 2019. “In the short term, the city would have been able to make repairs,” Communications Officer Tauni Barker said. “However, with the number of repairs needed in the system, as well as the new volume required by growth, the water fund would have erod-

ed to the point that the city may have had some tough choices about what to repair and when.” Council Chair Chris McConnehey also said he was not worried about the price being too high but that one group might be paying for another group’s water use. “I’m not so concerned about the people who are complaining about the water rate being too high that are using large amounts,” he said. “My issue is this: Where the consumption, where 56% of that is on residential, but they’re paying for 71%. So residential is paying for more than they are using. Commercial is not paying for what they’re using.” Barker confirmed that city staff and officials are working to improve the division of water rates. “There was some imbalance to rate charges between residential, landscape and commercial rates,” Barker said. “The city council is in the process of approving a new rate structure that will be implemented in October 2020 or January 2021. The new rate structure will result in a decrease to the residential base rate and place greater emphasis on tiered rates, encouraging conservation.” Councilmember Zach Jacob was concerned that while city officials want to encourage water-wise use, residents need to be more informed about this need. “The education piece for the city going forward is, ‘Look, these rates are coming. Hot weather is coming. Plan now,’” Jacob said. “Let’s put notices in water bills or whatever we need to do as a communication plan going forward to make people aware that it’s coming.” There will be resident communication in the near future. “Beginning this spring, the city will be working to offer water-wise programming and conservation education to residents to help offset the challenges that come with purchasing water while living in the nation’s second-driest state,” Barker said. l

West Jordan City Journal


Continued from front page the best—the magnificence—in others. “You can call it rose-colored glasses, you can call it Pollyanna syndrome,” she said. “I would love for people to see themselves the way I see them, but not everybody does.” Her new role allows her to reach a much larger audience with her message. During the pageant, which takes place March 21 in Ogden, contestants compete in three categories: interview (comprising 50% of the final score), health and wellness (including a swimsuit competition, 25%) and

presentation (or “evening gown,” 25%). Though two of these categories do involve physical appearances, Christiansen feels the focus of these events truly is on confidence and “how you take care of yourself.” “It’s not about what you look like; it’s about what you’re doing,” she said. Is she nervous about the upcoming opportunities to compete? “I always tell my kids that nervous and excited are the same energy,” she said. She prefers to say she’s excited. l

Launa Christiansen with students at her school, Little Learners Academy. Christiansen has been teaching children her entire career. (Photo courtesy Launa Christiansen)

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More and more people are saying they just don’t get colds anymore. They are using a new device made of pure copper, which scientists say kills cold and flu viruses. Doug Cornell invented the device in 2012. “I haven’t had a single cold since then,” he says. People were skeptical but New research: Copper stops colds if used early. EPA and university studies Businesswoman Rosaleen says when demonstrate repeatedly that viruses and bacteria die almost instantly when people are sick around her she uses CopperZap morning and night. “It saved me touched by copper. That’s why ancient Greeks and Egyp- last holidays,” she said. “The kids had tians used copper to purify water and colds going around, but not me.” Some users say it also helps with heal wounds. They didn’t know about sinuses. Attorney Donna Blight had a viruses and bacteria, but now we do. Scientists say the high conductance 2-day sinus headache. When her Copperof copper disrupts the electrical balance Zap arrived, she tried it. “I am shocked!” in a microbe cell and destroys the cell in she said. “My head cleared, no more headache, no more congestion.” seconds. Some users say copper stops nightSo some hospitals tried copper touch surfaces like faucets and doorknobs. time stuffiness if used before bed. One This cut the spread of MRSA and other man said, “Best sleep I’ve had in years.” Copper can also stop flu if used earillnesses by over half, and saved lives. Colds start after cold viruses get in ly and for several days. Lab technicians your nose, so the vast body of research placed 25 million live flu viruses on a gave Cornell an idea. When he next CopperZap. No viruses were found alive felt a cold about to start, he fashioned a soon after. Dr. Bill Keevil led one of the teams smooth copper probe and rubbed it genconfirming the discovery. He placed miltly in his nose for 60 seconds. “It worked!” he exclaimed. “The cold lions of disease germs on copper. “They never got going.” It worked again every started to die literally as soon as they touched the surface,” he said. time. The handle is curved and finely texHe asked relatives and friends to try it. They said it worked for them, too, so tured to improve contact. It kills germs he patented CopperZap™ and put it on picked up on fingers and hands to protect you and your family. the market. Copper even kills deadly germs that Now tens of thousands of people have tried it. Nearly 100% of feedback have become resistant to antibiotics. If said the copper stops colds if used within you are near sick people, a moment of 3 hours after the first sign. Even up to 2 handling it may keep serious infection days, if they still get the cold it is milder away. The EPA says copper still works even than usual and they feel better. Pat McAllister, age 70, received one when tarnished. It kills hundreds of diffor Christmas and called it “one of the ferent disease germs so it can prevent sebest presents ever. This little jewel real- rious or even fatal illness. CopperZap is made in America of ly works.” Now thousands of users have pure copper. It has a 90-day full money simply stopped getting colds. People often use CopperZap preven- back guarantee. It is $69.95. Get $10 off each CopperZap with tively. Frequent flier Karen Gauci used to get colds after crowded flights. Though code UTCJ11. Go to www.CopperZap.com or call skeptical, she tried it several times a day on travel days for 2 months. “Sixteen toll-free 1-888-411-6114. Buy once, use forever. flights and not a sniffle!” she exclaimed. advertorial

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West Jordan senior Shelby Baker has committed to play soccer at Central Maine Community College. (photo courtesy of Shelby Baker)

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West Jordan High senior is making a trek to the far northeast to continue her soccer career. “I never thought it would be possible for me to play sports after high school,” Murray resident Shelby Baker said. “I always thought I wasn’t good enough or that it would be too hard or no coaches ever watched me. I learned that so many colleges want you on their team. Coaches will not see you unless you put yourself out there.” She began making opportunities for herself by creating a recruiting profile and sending to prospective teams. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” she said. “When I went to Maine, many of the players said the same thing. They thought they would have never had this chance.” After a recruiting trip and several weeks of deliberation, Baker chose Central Maine Community College in Auburn, Maine. The Mustangs are coming off a conference finals appearance and nearly qualified for the national tournament. “Shelby fit into our program immediately,” Mustangs head coach Rob Rodriguez said. “She came here for a visit, and you would have never known that she wasn’t already part of the team. She was outgoing and made friends with the other team members. On the field, she is experienced and packs a ton of energy into her game.” Baker was a forward for the Jaguars and scored three goals and had eight assists this season. “A few schools emailed me, but Central Maine called me and sent an email that was very personalized for me,” Baker said. “They seemed very interested in me as a player. I

Page 10 | March 2020

talked to my mom, and she got in touch with the coach, and we scheduled a visit.” “When I went there, I fell in love with the team and the chemistry they had,” she said.” Auburn is small, but it is beautiful, and it felt like home.” It was not easy for her to make the decision. Auburn is 2,494 miles away from home or six hours on an airplane. “It is really far, and that is a scary choice to make,” Baker said. “I decided it was the best option for me, and I could not be more excited to get started on my future.” Rodriguez is finishing his fifth year as head coach of the school and likes the progress his team has made. “We are coming off a successful season, as conference finalists,” he said. “We have raised the bar even higher. Adding Shelby to what we expect to be a dynamic offense will make us hard to defend. Our conference is very competitive. Attracting players such as Shelby from across the country is a big step forward for us in putting the best team possible on the field.” Baker is scheduled to study in the nursing program. CMCC offers 40 academic degrees and certificates and boasts the lowest admission fees in the New England states. “You never know where the perfect fit might be,” Rodriguez said. “ [Baker’s] personality really stuck out to me. She was good at marketing herself to us.” Baker is a three-sport athlete at West Jordan. She played club soccer with Murray Max until she reached high school. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because you are good enough you just need to trust yourself,” Baker said. l

West Jordan City Journal


BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Schwan’s “Everything we have is good”

Business Spotlights are a service offered to our advertisers to help them inform our readers about their businesses. For information on scheduling a Spotlight, please call us at 801-254-5974 or email us at ryan.c@thecityjournals.com

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ody Campbell is a busy area manager for Schwan’s Company, and he likes it that way. He has been involved with Schwan’s for three years and is now in charge of the Salt Lake City Depot, an operation that serves customers in their homes from Kamas to Park City to Wendover. With eight sales representatives, a fleet of trucks, and amazing food brought right to customers’ doors, there is a consistent theme in Campbell’s work: excellence. “Everything we have is so good,” Campbell said. “It is better than anything you will get in a grocery store.” Campbell is a recent link in a chain that makes up Schwan’s legacy. The company began in 1952 when Marvin Schwan established a delivery business for his family’s homemade ice cream. Patrons immediately noticed the high quality of the ice cream and wanted more. In the years that followed, Schwan slowly added more and more items until the company became the quality food empire that we know today. Schwan’s trucks in the Salt Lake Valley today carry 350 items at all times and are always fully stocked. Customers can place

orders online to ensure that their favorite items are on the truck and choose from the large variety available. Schwan’s employees will typically check in on their customers every two weeks to make sure all of their food needs are being met. Customers should be prepared for an amazing experience when they order from Schwan’s. “Everyone is pleasantly surprised about how good the food is,” Campbell said. “There is a huge variety that is pre-cooked, ready to go, convenient and easy to prepare.” Campbell also stressed that Schwan’s is a good fit for everyone. From one-person households to large families, there is something for everyone. In a world where a premium is placed on convenience, Schwan’s is impossible to beat. According to Campbell, when you compare Schwan’s to other delivery options available, Schwan’s has a very minimal delivery fee and the company’s rewards program is an added bonus. And, of course, the food is better than anywhere else. What items do customers especially love? “All of it,” Campbell said, “but the fire-braised pork is No. 1, followed closely by pot pies.” 

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Students will compete at the Northern Utah Spelling Bee from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 7 at Bingham High. (File photo Justin Adams/City Journals)

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he Northern Utah Spelling Bee on March 7 will showcase spelling skills and dedication. The competition is open to the public at Bingham High from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. “Even in this day and age, when we have spell check on everything, it’s still good to have strong spelling skills for many professions,” said Bryan Scott, creative director at the City Journals. “The work it takes and the process to be the best at something needs to be celebrated.” There are many jobs where being a good speller has its advantages, such as coders who can spell can usually code twice as fast as those who don’t spell well. Spelling also helps people improve at reading and writing, he said. One-hundred and twelve elementary and junior high students will compete.

Schools from Salt Lake City, Davis, Weber, and Utah counties. They send two champions from their Spelling Bees to compete at the Northern Utah Regional Spelling Bee. The students range from fourth to eighth grade. The City Journals sponsors the event to give students the chance to be the top speller in the region. The winners then attend the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. Bee Week is May 24 - 29, 2020, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is over 75 years old. It is administered on a not-forprofit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company from its headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information visit spellingbee. com/. l

West Jordan City Journal


Grizzlies place 10th at state wrestling tournament By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com

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he final standings are set, and wrestlers at Copper Hills High School placed 10th at the state finals. “We have done really well,” Grizzlies head wrestling coach Jeff Humphreys said. “We are a young team. We only have three seniors on the varsity squad, so to be region champs is pretty good.” A key point in the team’s success this season came during an early region contest. On Dec. 19, the Grizzlies defeated Bingham 46-33. “For us to go in and beat Bingham was big,” Humphreys said. “I was proud of them.” As the match neared completion, Bingham had gotten to within three points. Its final two matches would determine the winner. Senior Jaeden Fowers defeated Carson Neff with a major decision 13-2 at 132 pounds Following that, junior Ryan Bullough pinned Tyson Stidham to ensure the victory. The win helped propel the Grizzlies to their third straight region championship. Later in the season, they defeated Herriman 57-24, a duel that included four Grizzly pins. At the state meet, four wrestlers placed in their weight classes; Bullough finished third at 126 pounds, Fowers third at 132, senior Hyrum Ivie fourth at 195 and sophomore Issac Price sixth at 106. In all, eight

Copper Hills junior Kolbryn Kearl has a firm hold on his opponent in the divisional qualifier. He had 19 pins this season. (Greg James/City Journals)

grapplers advanced to the state tournament. Fowers finished first at the divisionals (qualifier for state). His 45-5 overall record was best on the team, and he tied Bullough with 23 pins this year. Bullough finished 4012, and Benjamin Bohne was 40-14. Both ended up with 22 pins.

“We had a beast heavyweight,” Humphreys said. “He is a beast.” At 285 pounds, Kaden Bybee is that beast Humphreys talked about. He compiled a 29-14 record this season. “I can’t believe our girls got beat out,” Humphreys said.

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Next season, the Utah High School Activities Association has sanctioned girls wrestling. Until now, they had participated right alongside the boys. “I treat them like everyone else; girls that come in our room know there is no special in,” Humphreys said. “The boys know they don’t do an easy. They come in and work hard. Those girls, they are tough. Allyssa Pace at 113 is a stud.” Pace completed the season with a 13-21 record and is scheduled to compete at girls state Feb. 17 (after press deadline) at Telos U in Lehi. “We are a family; I don’t tolerate swearing or bullying,” Humphreys said. “All of us come from different cultures, but in that room, we are a family. They look up to me, and I look up to them. I have to be a coach, but every kid is different, physically and emotionally. I try to become their friend. It is more me trying to get to know them as a person, then they will respect me more. The hard-nose coach can push them, but then they can come and talk to me any time. I feel that is why we get a lot of kids.” The Grizzlies finished with 45 student-athletes on their team. Humphreys boasts that several carry 4.0 grade point averages. l

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West Jordan City Journal


City Journals presents:

FOOD & LOCAL DINING A publication covering local Food and Dining

Enterprising foodies By Linnea Lundgren | l.charnholm@mycityjournals.com

Uncle Bob’s Butter Country pancake syrups

Saturday pancake breakfasts have been a staple in the Smith household for decades. But the crowning glory has always been dad Bob’s homemade buttermilk syrup. “One day we were out of buttermilk, but we had an old container of Log Cabin (syrup),” Bob recalled. When the pancakes were served without dad’s buttermilk syrup, his children boycotted the pancakes. His oldest son asked incredulously, “Do you really expect us to eat this syrup?” “Right then, I knew the buttermilk syrup was something special,” Bob recalled. Special might be right. There have been few innovations in pancake syrups. “It’s been basically maple forever, some artificial syrups and low sugar ones, which nobody likes, and some fruit syrups,” Bob said. So buttermilk syrup — a favorite of home cooks — was ready to sweeten up the market. The Smith family dove in. After obtaining a cottage food certificate (an approval by the State), things started slowly. In their Cottonwood Heights’ kitchen, the eight Smith children plus parents made 250 bottles of syrup. It was a tricky business managing three gallon-sized pots, temperamental frothing syrup, and bottling. They sold the final product, Uncle Bob’s Butter Country syrup, at local farmers markets. It wasn’t until a few years later when Bob’s son Jared returned from his church mission and began attending BYU that things got going. “I knew that if we didn’t make and market this, someone else would,” Jared said, adding that once people taste buttermilk syrup, there’s no going back to artificial maple syrup. Jared set about experimenting, making hundreds of bottles, and consulting

food scientists, including his brother-inlaw, Cameron Smith, a recent food science graduate at the time. It took about 18 months to verify that Uncle Bob’s syrup was shelf-stable, because it is made with real buttermilk and cream. Getting the product to market proved to be another challenge. Eventually Harmons took them on and later, Associated Foods. Butter Country is now in 170 stores. Jared described the syrups as on par with premium maple syrup, but with new flavors, a creamy texture, and no artificial additives. For traditionalists, they have a butter-infused maple flavor. The original buttermilk flavor makes a good base for fruit toppings. New flavors include harvest spice and coconut cream. Bob said he hopes these syrups bring people back to the simple delights of a pancake breakfast. “It’s about making memories,” he said. Jared agreed. “The syrup reminds me of big, hardy pancake breakfasts with my family.” www.buttercountry.com

black market trading company’s chili-Pepper infused free range fudge

One autumn day, Rick Black was pureeing his varieties of homegrown chili peppers to freeze, when he had a fiery vision. “I wondered what the essence of the chilis would be like in a good quality hot fudge,” he recalled. “That is, literally, how the idea came.” With his favorite Dutch processed cocoa, he experimented extensively until he invented a chili-infused hot fudge sauce that, he said, “amazed” people, including his brother in Texas, who became his first

The original Uncle Bob’s Butter Country Syrup is made with real buttermilk and cream. (Photo courtesy Jared Smith)

The chili-infused Peppermint Free Range Fudge, which tastes like a warm, spicy, ooey-gooey Junior Mint. (Photo courtesy Marli Black)

investor. Black’s goal was to make a premium product with a unique twist. He sought sensations that brought the palate to life — a smoothness and sweetness from chocolate combined with the “essence” of chilis to bring out notes of heat and flavor. Black, a scientist by profession, got seven tasting groups together in his Sandy neighborhood. He’d test different types of chocolate, cocoas and combinations of chili varieties, then asked participants to fill out questionnaires. “Even if people didn’t like spicy foods, they all said it’s the best hot fudge they’d ever had,” he said. After perfecting his “proprietary blend” of seven varieties of chili peppers and finding the best cocoa, he leased a commercial kitchen, and with a humorous poke at our label-conscious culture, named his spicy creation Free Range Fudge. Popular flavors include original, extra spicy, milk chocolate and peppermint fudge, which Black’s daughters say is “like a warm, spicy, ooey-gooey Junior Mint.” New flavors for holiday offerings are in the test kitchen now.

Donning chili-patterned pants and wearing an aspirator and goggles while pureeing the chilis, Black makes his fudge in small batches, selling them through his website, www.blackmarkettradingcompany.com and at local stores. His family, including wife Jill, help cook and bottle the fudge. They work quickly, the beneficial result of Black’s production-efficiency studies. Daughter Marli does the photography, while daughter Kalen manages social media. Soon, he hopes to have his own commercial kitchen in order to work on transitioning from small-batch to large-batch production for distribution to grocery stores. “This is a passion,” Black said, and one that’s challenging to do while working full-time. But he’s having fun zooming around town in his Honda hybrid with a bold graphic of the Free Range Fudge mascot — a cartoonish chili pepper wearing a cowboy hat. On the rear window is written his favorite quote, “We don’t pen up our peppers.” “Happy peppers make happy fudge,” he quipped.


SweetAffs Cakes and Cookies

mas for her creativity. Her work ethic and determination comes from her dad, who passed away three years ago. And her love of cake making? She credits that to the TV show, “Cake Boss” and the inspiration of star baker Buddy Valastro. So, 12 years ago, the West Jordan resident started educating herself through YouTube videos, cake blogs, and “a lot of trial and error.” Soon, she developed recipes and learned techniques that gave her confidence to make cakes and cookies for Swensen is more than just head baker friends and family. They, in turn, encouraged her to start and cake/cookie decorator for her busian Instagram account (@sweetaffs), which ness. She’s also the janitor, finance direc“just took off,” she said. Now, she books tor, photographer, videographer, teacher, researcher, social media whiz, and inven- three months in advance for orders and has expanded into teaching cake and cookie tory clerk. “You have to wear so many different classes, which often book out in a day. As a self-described social butterfly, hats,” she said, referring to food entrepreneurship. “You have so much that you end Swensen loves teaching others as much as she loves baking. “Sometimes we sell ourup learning along the way.” Swensen credits her mom and grand- selves short and think we can’t do something,” she said. When her students have

On the long counter of Afton Swensen’s commercial-grade kitchen sits flour, sugar, butter and M&M’s, ready to be made into Valentine’s Day cookies. Besides custom cookies, Swensen’s home-based company, SweetAffs, creates specialty cakes — her most requested flavor is Biscoff cookie batter and her most popular cake is a four-layer colorful unicorn creation.

that “I can do this” moment, she is joyful. Time restraints have honed her designs (think “simply elegant” or “colorfully fun”) and baking work. “Baking has created a whole new sleep schedule for me,” she said. With a 2-year-old, a part-time job, and a small farm she runs with her husband, she works late most nights. “It’s been a learning process of what I can handle and what I can take on,” she said. “I do things in stages.” She’s hoping to add more classes, including online classes for her out-of-state fan base. One day, she wants to operate SweetAffs full time. Until then, she’ll work late into the night baking and decorating the dozens of cookies and several cakes she makes each week. “I am grateful that I am in a place to make this a reality,” she said. “I try to be grateful for it and for everything I have.” The four-layer unicorn cake is most often requested www.sweetaffs.com and on Instagram for kids’ birthdays says SweetAffs’ owner Afton Sw@sweetaffs ensen. (Photo courtesy Afton Swensen)

Food competitions take the cake By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com Eight teams of students and teachers emerged from the dust of flour and sugar with creations such as panda-faced red velvet cupcakes and apple cinnamon cupcakes with apple cider buttercream and a last-minute caramel drizzle. The latter was named winner of Fort Herriman Middle School’s second annual Cupcake Wars held Jan. 22.

A passion for cooking, the thrill of competition and bragging rights, motivates many teens to enter cooking competitions. “It lets them be creative in a way that school doesn’t always let kids be creative,” said Madison Heist, teacher and judge at FHMS. All seventh graders learn basic cooking skills. Older students take Foods and Nutrition classes as electives. The most serious high school students take two years of ProStart classes to prepare for food service industry jobs. But—it’s the contests that really take the cake. Competitive cooking is a popular TV trend that has influenced many foods instructors to incorporate contests into their curriculum—who can create the best smoothie or ice cream sandwich? Others host afterschool competitions for any student who thinks they can craft the best pizza, burger or cupcake. For more intense competition, the Family Career and Consumers Leaders of America (FCCLA) offers student competitions in Baking and Pastry and Culinary Arts events. ProStart hosts region, state and national competitions requiring teams to create and execute a three-course meal. Jordan High foods instructor Shauna

Young said competitions provide learning opportunities students can’t get in a classroom. “In the classroom, they have a limited amount of time and oftentimes a limited amount of resources,” Young said. “Having students compete teaches them to try new things, expand their comfort zone, build confidence, and do hard things that they didn’t think they could do.” JHS junior Jordan Castaneda likes that competitions allow him to be more creative. For the ProStart competition later this month, his team will make shrimp nigiri, stir fry chicken in a noodle nest, and layered mocha Chantilly cake. They will have just one hour and two gas burners to execute their menu and will be judged on taste, presentation, technique, time management, knife safety, sanitation, food cost, menu planning and business plan. During competitions, students are expected to problem-solve on the fly. As a FCCLA event judge, Kristy Yeschick watches for how well students respond to problems under pressure. “In the classroom they have that safety net,” she said. “If they mess up, it’s OK, they can do it again. Whereas in the competition, you’ve got to be at your top game.” Copper Hills High School foods instructor Megan Maxfield said competitions teach teamwork, problem-solving, time management, and leadership skills. When CHHS teams competed in the FCCLA regional Baking and Pastry event, problem-solving began weeks before the competition. The recipes they were given recipes for chocolate chip cookies and

Fort Herriman Middle students put finishing details on their cupcakes. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

garlic bread knots had errors, said senior Brooklyn Gutierrez. Measurements and cooking times had to be adjusted through trial and error during several practice runs. At competition, the team had to adapt to even more complications: Their cookie dough got too cold, the kitchen equipment was unfamiliar, and humid weather affected their recipes. FHMS teacher Kayla Martin, whose team has won cupcake wars both years, said skills gained through competitions benefit everyone, not just those interested in highly competitive culinary careers. “Everybody works a fast food job at some point in their life,” she said. “So it’s good practice for working in a kitchen or a high stress job.” Many students love the thrill of the stressful environment of competition.

“I like the pressure,” JHS senior Mia Conham said. “I think it’s fun and I get really competitive.” JHS senior Holly Tang said when they are prepared, they can enjoy the competition. “We always have a ton of fun,” she said. “We’re always laughing and joking with each other.” Emma Powell, a competitor in FHMS’s Cupcake Wars, said it’s easy to forget about the pressure when doing something you enjoy. “It has a competitive aspect to it but you also have fun in the moment,” she said. “Then you realize there’s 10 minutes left. There are people you have to beat. So you put more effort than you think you can put into it.”


Not for vacation planning (she wishes), but rather to study Spain’s 17 autonomous wine regions and the dozens of unique appellations. There were thousands of wine facts to know, maps to memorize and soil conditions to understand. For 6 to 8 hours each day, Schowe sat at her desk studying for the Wine Scholar Guilds’ rigorous Spanish Wine Scholar certification program. “It’s the hardest test I’ve ever taken, and I have a master’s degree,” joked the Sandy resident. But such diligent study is all in a day’s work for Schowe, the first female wine educator in the state who started Utah’s first official wine school, Wasatch Academy of Wine, decades ago. Wine has always played a central role in Schowe’s life. She grew up near California’s wine country, where wine was appreciated and served with dinner and visits to wineries were regular events. So, when she moved to Utah in the ’70s, she said, “I anticipated a change in the wine culture.” But, when she found herself at a Provo restaurant and the waiter poured her “wine,” which turned out to be a disguised bottle of Welch’s grape juice, she thought, “What kind of bizarre place am I in?” Utah, she decided, was ripe for a proper wine school. But that would come a bit later. Instead, Schowe, who had just received a master’s in education administration, found herself developing Utah’s first community education program serving children and adults with disabilities. Granite School District told her if it was going to succeed, she’d have to fundraise for the participants’ enrollment fees. “I thought, ‘How incredible, I got a master’s degree just to do bake sales and car washes,’” she said. Then her thoughts turned from tedious cake baking to the joys of wine tasting. She enlisted Utah chefs to donate food for a tax write-off and then gathered every oenophile (connoisseurs of wines) she knew to make a donation, bring a bottle, and learn about it. “The [District] was impressed with my fundraising, but I never told them it started with wine,” she said. Enough money was raised to open several programs in the District that addressed the academic needs of adults with cerebral palsy, gave children access to wheelchair basketball, and created programs for developmentally disabled adults to learn independent living skills.

Several years later, in 1991, she started Wasatch Academy of Wine. For Schowe, the appreciation and study of wine is a gateway to many stimulating experiences in life. Besides new tastes, aromas and textures, an education in wine opens up new worlds — the geology of a grape-growing region, its society, art, history and culinary expressions. “You can become intellectually and experientially connected to the world through wine,” she said. While academic study is necessary, she values learning through experiences, especially through travel and meeting winemakers. “Last year I was in Europe for two months. The purpose was to meet with winemakers, to walk through their vineyards, to watch them make wine, to visit cellars, to taste wine with their families and experience their food traditions,” she said. “I bring those stories home and it greatly enhances the presentation in all my classes... it gives a deeper meaning.” Schowe focuses on European wines, while other teachers at the Academy cover New World wines. Her life’s goal is to taste every wine from every appellation in France, Italy and Spain and, while she’s tasted many, there are hundreds she hasn’t. “It is like a treasure hunt,” she said. Her students today have increasingly sophisticated palates, Schowe said, so the Academy has expanded to include Wine Scholar Guild classes, wine dinner clubs, and popular food and wine pairings. She’s delighted to now see local restaurants with well-researched wine lists and knowledgeable staff. And diner’s tastes have ventured beyond just wanting to know what the best Cabernet is, she said. People want to explore wines in detail, such as dry sherries from Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. That’s something she’s excited to teach now that she’s spent all winter studying Spanish wines. “I look forward to planning new and creative ways for wine enthusiasts of Utah to learn about wine, where and how it is made, and connecting them with the hard working and caring people who make it,” she said. Visit www.wasatchacademyofwine. com or on Instagram @utahwineschool.

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“And it all was originally started by All during this winter, Sheral Schowe’s mind was focused on sunny Spain. wine education,” she said.

ChAmBER OF COmmERCE

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C h A m B E RW E ST

It’s a life of learning for this wine educator

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G O OD NE IG HBOR

NEWS

MARCH 2020

Paid for by the City of West Jordan M AY O R ’ S M E S S A G E The month of March marks the official start of the Spring season, it’s the month where our clocks ‘spring’ forward for Daylight Saving Time. It’s also the month that gives us the opportunity to honor the work of women. International Women’s Day is March 8th many countries consider it a federal holiday. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements and encourages everyone to build support for women’s participation both politically and economically. Our great state of Utah made history when it elected the first female state senator in the United States in 1888. That woman was Martha Hughes-Cannon. Today, a statue of her stands in Washington D.C. to represent Utah in Statuary Hall. The City of West Jordan also has a long history of women who’ve worked to make a difference. Our first female Mayor was Kristin Lambert, appointed on June 28, 1988. Since then, West Jordan has had two more female Mayors serve: Donna Evans and Melissa Johnson. You might remember Mayor Johnson was an early champion of the city’s now well-known Wild West Jordan Playground, at Veteran’s Memorial Park. Historically women have been active on the City Council. You may recognize names like, Betty Naylor, Kristen Lambert, Penny Atkinson, Kathy Hilton, Margaret Grochocki, Natalie Argyle, Carolyn Nelson, Melissa Johnson, Judy Hansen, and Sophie Rice. The involvement of strong women involved in our city continues today. You’ve elected two female councilmembers, who I am proud to work alongside. Both council members Kayleen Whitelock and Melissa Worthen are strong advocates for community involvement and work everyday to make West Jordan better than the day before. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the hard work and support from my wife Janet, who walked hundreds of miles during my campaign. This month, I encourage ALL West Jordan residents to get involved. There are many opportunities for public service. If you’d like to learn more, visit westjordan.utah.gov/get-involved Sincerely,

Mayor Dirk Burton

City of West Jordan Police Officer receives NAACP First Responder Award Officer Kim Waelty, a 20-plus year law enforcement veteran, was presented the NAACP First Responder Award on Monday, January 20. After completing a successful 20-year career in the West Valley City police department, Officer Waelty started to work with the West Jordan police department as a part-time background investigator. She then decided to jump back into policing full-time. Officer Waelty is currently assigned as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (D.A.R.E.) officer where she continues to make outstanding contributions within the West Jordan community. “Officer Waelty was selected as a DARE Officer as she possesses a unique skill set. She is a highly trained, experienced investigator that shows great compassion and understanding for those she serves,” said West Jordan Police Lieutenant Rich Bell. “Kim possesses the innate ability to connect with people of different ages, backgrounds and walks of life.” Officer Waelty works side-by-side with students to help them succeed. “I thought this would be a wonderful experience,” said West Jordan officer, Kim Waelty. “I really enjoy working with kids, I get to help them when they need me, and I get to interact with them in a positive way.” Those who work with Officer Waelty said she is a great asset to the department. “The only way to effectively maintain order, safety, and effectively police a community is to have the trust and support of those we serve,” said Lt. Bell. “I am grateful to her for the time and effort she puts forth and feel she deserves to be recognized for the significant positive impact she is having within the West Jordan community.” West Jordan’s Police Chief, Ken Wallentine, was also honored during the ceremony for his decades-long involvement in public safety. He has served as the city’s police chief since 2018.


GOOD NEIGHBOR NEWS: WEST JORDAN NEWSLETTER

PAID FOR BY THE CITY OF WEST JORDAN

D.A.R.E. Back in West Jordan Classrooms

West Jordan Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment appoint new Members The City of West Jordan is welcoming new members to its Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment. The Planning Commission reviews, approves and/or recommends approval of land use applications within the City to ensure neighborhood livability and commercial vitality. The new members are as follows: Ammon Allen: A West Jordan resident for more than 10 years and a professional engineer. Allen says he’d like to be more involved and serve the community.

Spring may be the time for high school graduations, but the beginning of 2020 was a time for West Jordan D.A.R.E. students to receive their certificates of completion. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, also known as D.A.R.E., has been around since the early 1980’s. Back then, Police officers would visit classrooms around the country educating young students primarily about the dangers of illegal drugs and alcohol. Due to low staffing the D.A.R.E program was taken out of West Jordan schools and replaced with something else. Now, for the first time in eight years, D.A.R.E. is back on the syllabus and officers say it is a welcoming decision. “I thought this would be a wonderful experience,” said West Jordan officer, Kim Waelty. “I really enjoy working with kids, I get to help them when they need me, and I get to interact with them in a positive way.” Sergeant JC Holt, with the West Jordan Police Department, thinks having officers back in the classroom offers children another form of support. “These kids get to interact with us in a setting where they feel comfortable,” Sergeant Holt said. “Normally they meet us when there has been some sort of crisis or emergency, which isn’t the best platform to learn from an officer.” Over the past 30 years, the D.A.R.E. program has changed a lot, now offering basics about responsibility, decision making, and standing up for yourself in times of potential peer-pressure. “D.A.R.E. is about more than just drugs,” Mistie Bell-Renfro, Director of Project Development for D.A.R.E. America said. “It’s about bullying, social media, it’s about the situations and issues that children deal with today.” In order to teach D.A.R.E. curriculum, officers must go through an 80-hour intense training. They learn how to teach children about being confident, building a help network and understanding effective listening. “Teaching these kids to be confident is great,” Officer Waelty said. “So many times, they are taught that being confident means something negative. They need to know how great they are.” For more information on what the D.A.R.E curriculum looks like, visit: dare.org

Kent Shelton: A West Jordan resident for 22 years and Master of Photography. Shelton is also involved in school community groups. Planning Commission meetings are scheduled for the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6 PM. The Board of Adjustment is the land use appeal authority and responsible for considering whether variances to the zoning ordinance should be granted because of hardship conditions. The new members are as follows: Bill Heiner: A long-time resident of West Jordan and works in the field of real estate. Heiner has formerly served on the Board of Adjustment, Planning Commission, and volunteered on other committees. Dallen R. Anderson: Works as a senior manager in the banking industry. Anderson has a deep desire to make a difference in the community and has been serving on the Parks and Open Land Committee since 2018. Board of Adjustment meets as needed or quarterly on the second Tuesday of the month (Jan, Jun, Sep, Dec) at 6 PM.


GOOD NEIGHBOR NEWS: WEST JORDAN NEWSLETTER

PAID FOR BY THE CITY OF WEST JORDAN

Do You know why 7800 South, near Airport Rd., has such a curve to it?

West Jordan Crew Receives Award for Work on Wild West Jordan Playground

The City of West Jordan has dozens of flights come and go from South Valley Regional Airport each day. The airport impacts much more than what happens in the sky, however. There’s a reason why 7800 South has a curve to it near the airport. It’s because of safety restrictions put in place by the FAA. The road had to be built as far away from the taxiway as possible (962 feet to be exact), so incoming planes have plenty of leeway to land, without the worry of hitting cars. The same rule goes for streetlights. The FAA doesn’t allow any vertical obstructions close to the runway, fearing pilots could mistake the lights as the runway. Construction of 7800 S. isn’t complete yet. In the spring, crews will finalize construction on the intersection at 4000 West, lay an additional three inches of asphalt on the road and stripe the road with new reflective paint. For an update visit: bit.ly/7800construction

At first glance, you’d probably assume that the sign welcoming families to the Wild West Jordan Playground is made from wood. Maybe your next guess would be plastic or fiberglass, but that isn’t the answer either. This 7,000 lb. entrance sign is made from concrete. Designed by the same company that provides decorative infrastructure for Disney, crews knew installing this addition to the park was not going to be… well, a walk in the park. That’s why the employees who made it happen have gained state-wide recognition for getting it set up. The city’s concrete crew does not typically set signs, let alone a sign this heavy, but they made it work. Crews had to obtain equipment and straps for the load, always keeping safety a top priority. Along with installing the sign, crews also graded the baserock and placed the sidewalk around the new playground. The space officially opened to the public in October and today the all-abilities playground in Veterans Memorial park is a favorite among children, even on the coldest of days. In January, Lionel Smith, Zachary Rollins, Mick Christopherson, Travis George, and Mark Worthen were recognized for their work by the Utah Chapter of the American Concrete Paving Association. Despite the awards and recognition, all five men would probably tell you: “it’s just another day on the job.”

Salt Storage and Use in West Jordan

Spring Cleaning?

The City of West Jordan uses two types of salt for snow removal: Type “C” (white) road salt and Redmond (a reddish in color) high performance road salt. Both types of salt are on the State of Utah’s cooperative contract. The quantify of salt distributed with storms varies, as does the material the city uses. Storms warmer or closer to 32 degrees Fahrenheit and above, the city uses straight Type “C” road salt. For

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storms which are in the mid 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the city uses a mixture of Type “C” salt and Redmond salt. “I compare it to ‘hamburger helper’ as the Redmond activates faster and is more effective with the colder temperatures – yet we can mix it with the Type ‘C’ salt to make it go further,” Tim Peters, West Jordan Public Services Manager, said. When it comes to very cold temperatures, the city will need to use Redmond salt because the Type “C” salt becomes less effective. Redmond salt’s unique composition is designed to penetrate and dis-bond better than white salt. Pound for pound, Redmond is naturally equipped to melt more, melt faster and last longer on the road. Redmond salt doesn’t come from Utah’s Great Salt Lake, it comes from an ancient salt deposit near the small town of Redmond, Utah, which is more than 150 miles south of the Great Salt Lake. More than 60 trace materials and micro-nutrients give it a reddish color. That color provides several benefits when dropped on the road. Having a red hue enhances performance. Studies show it can absorb up to 50% more heat from the sun, allowing it work better than white salt. To learn more about snow removal in West Jordan visit: westjordan.utah.gov/snow-removal

The City of West Jordan partners with ACE Disposal to provide residents with a complementary Neighborhood Cleanup Dumpster Program. You can reserve a dumpster every 60 days (subject to availability) to get rid of large, bulky items or excess waste. As part of the agreement residents sign when reserving dumpster, residents agree not to overload the dumpster. That means the items in the dumpster should not extend above the top of the dumpster. Overloading the dumpsters can cause damage to the equipment used to safely transport the dumpster to the landfill. Spring through Fall is when the dumpsters are the most in demand, please plan ahead. You can request a dumpster by completing an online reservation form at westjordan.utah. gov/dumpsterreservation or you can stop by Public Works, 7960 South 4000 West to submit your reservation form.


GOOD NEIGHBOR NEWS: WEST JORDAN NEWSLETTER

PAID FOR BY THE CITY OF WEST JORDAN

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

M ARC H

M ARC H

PLANNING COMMISSION

WEST JORDAN CITY SYMPHONY SOLO & ENSEMBLE CONCERT

3

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

6

Viridian Event Center 8030 S 1825 West, 7 p.m.

M ARC H

M ARC H

M ARC H

CITY COUNCIL MEETING

PLANNING COMMISSION

CITY COUNCIL MEETING

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

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

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

APR I L

APR I L

APR I L

PLANNING COMMISSION

CITY COUNCIL MEETING

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

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

11

7

17

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CITY COUNCIL MEETING

PLANNING COMMISSION

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

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

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 Soccer Complex 7965 S 4000 West 9 a.m.

Small Business Spotlight: Riley’s

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Riley’s is a local spot best-known for its sandwiches, shakes, and secret-ingredient fry sauce. The restaurant also has a long history in West Jordan. The owners say when it came to choosing a location, West Jordan chose them. They also own and operate Ab’s DriveIn. Both carry the signature milkshakes and fries- the only difference is Ab’s offers hamburgers and Riley’s is where locals go to grab a sandwich. While many customers claim they’d gain 100 lbs if Riley’s were in walking distance of their home, the owners say the restaurant business is in their blood. The family has been serving people food for 70 years. With a wide variety of shake flavors and home-made and bottled fry sauce (which is now available for purchase), Riley’s is the place to go to subside your craving for classic American food. Visit their location at 7903 south Airport Road. Be sure to check out their website (rileyssandwiches.com) and Facebook page for announcements on changes and giveaways.


Let’s learn about UHSAA’s newest sport: Lacrosse By Catherine Garrett | c.garrett@mycityjournals.com

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tah high schools are welcoming boys and girls lacrosse to their sanctioned sports this spring season. This traditionally “East Coast” sport is not as familiar to sports fans here so we thought we’d ask some experts in the area to give us all a “Lacrosse for Dummies” lesson. The sport itself has plenty of differences between the boys and girls games so let’s look first at this individually.

Things you need to know about boys lacrosse

We asked Collin Madsen, boys program coordinator for Intermountain Lacrosse, to help explain the sport from the high school boys perspective. • There are 10 players on each side of the field – three attackers, three midfielders, three defenders and one goalie. • Among its midfielders, teams can use a faceoff specialist, who may come right to the sidelines after faceoffs, and a long stick midfielder, who plays with a longer stick. • Faceoffs, where one player from each team crouch down and fight for control of the ball, start all quarters and also happen after each goal is scored. • Lacrosse sticks are allowed to be deeper for the boys than the girls and the string can be mesh or traditional leather. • During play, the attackers need to stay on the offensive side of the field while the defenders stay on the defensive side. The midfielders can be mobile all over the field. • Players can body-check another player that has the ball with referees allowing body contact from the shoulders down to the waist. Boys are required to wear full protective gear, including helmets, shoulder pads, elbow pads, rib pads, gloves and mouth guards. • Fields measure 110 yards long by 60 yards wide – that is marked with a midfield line, two restraining boxes and two creases around the goal. • High school games are four 12-minute stopped time quarters. Madsen said approximately 5,500 boys play lacrosse in Utah with 2,000 of those of high school age. “I’d hope and expect both of those numbers to increase slightly this year with sanctioning and definitely see a sizeable amount of growth at both youth and high school over the next three to five years and beyond,” he said.

Things you need to know about girls lacrosse

Maddie Ferguson, the girls program director for Intermountain Lacrosse helped us understand the differences between the high school girls game and the boys. • There are 12 players on each side of the field – three attackers, five midfielders, three defenders and one goalie. • Games are started with a draw where

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Boys and girls lacrosse have now become the 18th and 19th sports sanctioned by the UHSAA with competition beginning this spring. (Photos courtesy Steve Crandall)

centers from each team stand facing each other with the ball being placed between the heads of both player’s sticks. At the whistle, both players try and push or pull the ball high enough in the air that it clears the shoulders of both players. After a “fair” start, they can either get the ball from the air or the ground. The other midfielders are waiting outside the center circle until the draw is clear or a penalty is assessed and possession is given to the other team. Draws are used after each goal as well as at the beginning of the second half. • Lacrosse sticks have a traditional pocket and the material of that pocket can be different. • During play, no more than seven players can be below the restraining line on their offensive side of the field. On the defensive side, eight are allowed including the goalkeeper. • The top of the ball must be above the sidewall when it’s in the pocket. • No body-to-body or stick-to-body contact is allowed. An immediate yellow card is assessed if a player’s stick hits another player above the shoulders and a two-minute non-replaceable penalty is given (like the hockey penalty box). Two yellow cards equal a red card and players are subject to automatic removal from the game. Players are only allowed to make contact with their stick when the ball carrier is holding their stick below their shoulder. Girls are required to wear a mouth guard and goggles. • Goalies remain in the goal circle, or defensive area. The three defenders are in their restraining area and typically use a square or diamond setup while the three attackers do the same in their restraining area. The five midfielders are the only players that can be in the center section of the field for the draw with the center midfielder designated to take the draw. • Typically, players use a tight cradle motion between the ear and the shoulder

when possessing the ball. • Fields measure 120 yards long by 70 yards wide and contain a midfield line, two creases, an arc at eight meters and an arc at 12 meters. • High school games are two 25-minute halves. “The growth here has been amazing,” Ferguson, a New Jersey native, said. “There are more girls high school teams than ever and it’s growing at a massive pace.” She noted that nearly 40 teams have been added since UHSAA’s announcement that the sport would be sanctioned. Also, Utah now has its own U17 national team where previously they had been combined with Idaho and Montana and with that increased presence, more All-American players are being recognized from the state and moving on to play collegiately.

Where the boys and girls games are the same

• When a team shoots and misses the goal, possession is awarded to the team that is closest to the ball when and where it exits the field of play. So the offense can take multiple shots in a possession that miss the goal, and still retain possession. • An offsides penalty is assessed when too many field players are over the restraining line. The maximum is seven. • Only goalies are allowed in the crease or goal circle unless the goalie is not in that area. In that case, a field player can run through to pick up the ball, but no defense can be made against shots on goal since they are not wearing the appropriate gear. • A rule of “shooting space” protects players to ensure safe play. When players are on the attack and typically around the goal area, defenders must come in from an angle – not head on – to align their bodies to defend safely. “Shooting space” penalties result in an 8-meter shot (think penalty kicks in soccer). The “dangerous propel” rule puts the respon-

sibility on an attacking player to refrain from shooting if a defender comes at them head on until the official makes the “shooting space” call. Otherwise, the penalties offset. “Those two rules are super, super complicated to observe as they are happening, to administrate as an official, and to put into action as a player,” Collins said. “So, I would say that shooting space is one of the most common penalties in the game and generally the least understood.” • Yellow and red cards typically are handed out for safety and sportsmanship violations and other penalties result in change of possessions or penalty shots, depending on where on the field the fouls occurred. • Whether it’s boys or girls lacrosse, the most basic movement on the field is a cradle which keeps the ball securely in a player’s net. The use of an effective cradle leads to the best possible scenarios for a shot attempt or a pass. • When the ball is scooped off the ground, it’s called a ground ball. In a battle for that ball, players cannot hit the other’s stick if they don’t have possession of the ball. That is called an empty check and is basically a turnover, handing possession to the other team. • Defensemen use “d-pole” long sticks which are six feet long and designed for players to try and check and dislodge the ball from attackers from a distance. (Teams are only allowed to use up to four long poles on the field at one time while the other six players have a standard lacrosse stick that is required to be between 40-42 inches in length. These sticks allow for easier movement and protection. • Goalies wear full protective gear and have sticks with a much larger head than the field sticks. “The inclusion of lacrosse as a UHSAA-sanctioned sport is huge for the sport,” Madsen said. “I think that overall it is going to have a massive impact on the sport here in the state. It is something that the Utah lacrosse community has been talking about and hoping would happen for many years, and it has finally come to fruition. I think it brings additional credibility, awareness and interest to the sport that will continue in growing the sport both in participation and performance.” “Lacrosse is an amazing sport and it’s also an extremely different sport than many others,” Ferguson said. “Oftentimes there is a quick love for the game because there is a spot on the field for every kind of athlete. It’s also an amazing off-season training sport for other sports, so anyone focused on basketball has the footwork to be an amazing defender, if you love to run, well, you’re a great midfielder and football players get the physical aspect of men’s lacrosse.” l

March 2020 | Page 23


Copper Canyon trains Jr. Hope Squad for early suicide prevention Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

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n encouraging note and a sucker greeted each student at Copper Canyon Elementary as they headed to their desks on a Thursday morning in February. “That might be the only thing that the kid has heard positive about themselves in a long time,” said Naomi Varuso, school psychologist at Copper Canyon Elementary. Notes such as “never give up,” “don’t let people change you,” “U rock!” and “you are the diamond in the rough” were written by members of the Junior Hope Squad, a suicide prevention club. The campaign was part of Hope Week, four days of school-wide activities promoting kindness and connection. Utah is one of the top states in the nation for youth suicide, and it is not just a problem among teens, said Varuso. She was shocked by the number of suicide risk assessments she did for elementary students last year. “It’s not that these kids are going to start having these thoughts,” Varuso said. “These kids have these thoughts and feelings, and they don’t know what to do about it. They don’t know how to ask for help.” Last year, Varuso implemented the Junior Hope Squad. She recruited 30 students who were identified by their peers as someone they felt they could talk to if they were having a problem. Peer support is critical for students with suicidal ideation. “Research shows that kids are more likely to talk to their friends before they go talk to an adult or a parent,” Varuso said. “A lot of those times, those friends don’t know what to do. They want to help their friend, but they don’t want to break that trust.” Hope Squad training gives students tools such as QPR (question, persuade, refer) trainBreton Yates Elena Douglas M Woseth Angela Brimhall ing to identify peers who are struggling and D.O. FAOCD M.D. FAAD Hadjicharalambous M.D. connect them with an adult who can help. M.D. FAAD Fifth grader Jace Christensen said the training has helped him realize how serious the issue of suicide prevention is and has motivated him to reach out to help others. Adelle Acasy, a sixth grader, enjoys talking to people and feels her role on the Junior Hope Squad is to cheer people up. She said the training has taught her to be a better listener. Hope Squad members regularly teach their peers how to deal with social and emoShane Farr Michael R Swinyer Alisa Seeberger tional problems using video skits and books. P.A. -C P.A. -C F.N.P. -C Each month, squad members visit classrooms to read a book that illustrates a probSalt Lake City Clinic: 1548 East 4500 South, Suite 202, Salt Lake City lem kids may face, such as how to deal with emotional bullying or the difference between South Jordan Clinic: 4040 West Daybreak Pkwy, Suite 200, South Jordan tattling and telling. “Books help connect those lessons with the students in real-life examples,” Varuso Phone: 801-266-8841 said. The Junior Hope Squad’s activities have had a positive impact at the school.

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Junior Hope Squad members encouraged students to write kind and uplifting messages on colorful papers to create a kindness tree. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

“I have seen it help specific kids make friends and make those connections,” Varuso said. “It’s also helped me find those kids who maybe would have fallen through the cracks.” Squad members have also benefited. “I just can’t express how happy I get when I can be there to protect somebody and that they know that there’s somebody that they can come talk to,” said sixth grader Gissele Rios. “I had parents come to me and say being a part of the Hope Squad has helped their kid talk about things that are bothering them and things that they’ve seen that they felt wasn’t OK but didn’t know they should say something,” Varuso said. Varuso said the number of requested suicide risk assessments this year has decreased. She believes because each elementary school in Jordan District has its own full-time psychologist, mental health supports can be individualized and effective. The district’s approach to mental health is the reason she moved from across the country to work here. Varuso encourages families to check out Jordan District’s Wellness website. It provides resources such as tips and crisis line information. Parents can also access a list of mental health providers with up-to-date information on their location, specialty and accepted insurances. l

Squad member Nevaeh Luceri helps place a positive note and a piece of candy on each desk before school starts. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

West Jordan City Journal


Bill to give West Jordan control of local airport has no support By Erin Dixon | e.dixon@mycityjournals.com

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outh Valley Regional Airport is in the middle of West Jordan City, yet Salt Lake City owns the land it sits on. State Rep. Kim Coleman of District 42 has been working on House Bill (HB) 310 that is supposed to make the transfer of land from Salt Lake City to West Jordan a simple process. “It says if Salt Lake is a willing seller and West Jordan is a willing buyer, then the transaction shall take place. If two political subdivisions transact property, it has to be at Fair Market Value (FMV) unless the legislature directs the transaction,” Coleman said. “It’s been my hope that we would do a straight across transfer, with no money. I think that’s fair representation, how it has a direct adverse effect on our city,” she continued. “However, Salt Lake has asked me to drop the bill. There is not a remote possibility that they would ever be a willing seller. We don’t know why.” One letter from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) addressed to Salt Lake City states the impossibility of a straight across transfer. “Since 1982, Salt Lake City has entered into agreements with the FAA for the acceptance of Federal funds for airport development projects under the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).” “Because the property in question is obligated airport

Airport in West Jordan is operated by Salt Lake City. West Jordan has no say in it’s future. (photo/Google Maps)

property, the gifting of land from Salt Lake City to West Jordan is contrary to Grant Assurance ....[T]he airport account must receive fair market value (FMV),” John P. Bauer, manager FAA Denver Airports district office, said. Salt Lake City Director of Communications Nancy Volmer further clarified that, “If West Jordan did not pay fair market value for the property, some other party (such as the city’s general fund) would be required to pay to the airport fund … The language in Rep. Coleman’s bill does not alter that FAA requirement.” Coleman said she has received different information. “I’ve spoken several times with Kevin Willis at FAA, who confirms there is no prohibition on this [bill] and that FAA does not get involved in legislation or litigation. That is left up to states.” “It is also inaccurate that it needs to be sold at FMV. If Salt Lake City were to sell it, that would be true. But, we were contemplating a political subdivision transfer by the state.” she said. Why would West Jordan want the land? The influx of growth in the Salt Lake valley makes space valuable. West Jordan is a bedroom community with many homes and few businesses. Inviting more business

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to the city is critical to supporting West Jordan because of the sales tax revenue it can bring to the city. The city collects more money from sales and business property tax than residential. Residents pay 40% of the property tax value, while businesses pay the full taxable amount. An underperforming airport does not attract business, and can even deter it. Coleman states that if West Jordan was steward of the airport, they would have a vested interest in improving it. Right now, the airport loses $1.5 million a year within the FAA system. An airport is self-sustaining. The government does not lose that money, the airport loses money to the FAA. Salt Lake City is simply in charge of its management, in which Coleman feels they have done poorly. “[West Jordan] really wants to work with Salt Lake City to do beneficial things for our city but in the past they haven’t shown a willingness to do it and when they do they kind of pull the rug out from under us.” “Investors would very likely come in and draw business to our city. The opportunity is there but it doesn’t benefit Salt Lake City if businesses come to West Jordan, so there’s not a natural incentive to make improvements there,” Coleman said. Salt Lake City was paying an outside management company, Leading Edge, to oversee the airport, but this company was unable to keep up with the desires of Salt Lake City. “I’ve spoken with that former management company and it absolutely is a profitable airport ... but Salt Lake’s terms were not reasonable,” Coleman said. The FAA can stand the loss of $1.5 million a year, Coleman said, because “These are amounts of money that a drops in the bucket in the whole national airport system, when there is so much money in the other airport.” Why does Salt Lake City want it? Coleman is concerned that Salt Lake City is simply unwilling to let go of the land. “They will oppose any efforts to try and acquire this airport … They don’t want us to have it,” Coleman said. Lindsey Nikola from Salt Lake City’s communications department indicated that, “[I]t’s just not necessary given that Salt Lake City and West Jordan have a memorandum of understanding regarding Salt Lake Valley Regional.” Leased land to West Jordan West Jordan has leased adjacent lands to use as soccer fields, and has invested money on the infrastructure and upkeep of this land. A $1 per year lease has been in place for 25 years, but expires in 2025. Coleman states that Salt Lake City has threatened West Jordan that if they supported HB310, Salt Lake City might not extend the lease agreement. “The outgoing mayor (Jim Riding) did sign an MOU to discuss the soccer fields. The new Mayor (Dirk) Burton expressed to me concern that my bill would endanger those discussions,” Coleman said. West Jordan Public Information Officer Tauni Barker said city officials, “don’t currently have any reason to believe that Salt Lake City will want to terminate the lease, but our current MOU provides a forum for us to discuss lease and/or purchase of the land the soccer field lies on.” l

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March 2020 | Page 25


Setting the record straight on CBD By Alison Brimley | a.brimley@mycityjournals.com

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CBD, a chemical found in hemp plants, is a popular ingredient in all kinds of products, but many take it in a simple water-soluble oil. (Photo by Enecta Cannabis Extracts)

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lan Peterson waits behind the counter at his cozy West Jordan shop. When a customer enters and he asks how can help her, she explains she suffers from foot pain— plantar fasciitis—that prevents her from running. “Running is my outlet,” she said. Like a doctor and a pharmacist rolled into one, Peterson both determines and dispenses the treatment. But unlike a pharmacist, all his prescriptions are all built around a single ingredient: CBD. Peterson, who owns and operates American Shaman in West Jordan, offers the customer a sample. It’s a topical cream containing CBD, which she applies to her foot. He said she’ll feel it working within five minutes. After a few minutes of chatting he checks in: “How’s that feeling?” “You know, so far I’m not—” she begins, but stops herself, wiggling her foot. “Hm. Maybe it is working.” CBD retailers and advertisements have popped up everywhere, promising pain relief and relaxation with almost no side effects. You can buy anything from acne treatment to dog treats to chocolate bars containing CBD. For people eager to give up dependence on pharmaceuticals, or are disillusioned with traditional medicine, CBD can feel like a miracle cure. But because it’s sometimes marketed as just that—a miracle—others are wary of its efficacy. CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical found in hemp. But unlike the other major component of hemp, THC (tetrahydrocan-

nabinol), it can’t get you high. CBD is said to have relaxing effects. Tannon Dowd, manager of Dave’s Health and Nutrition in West Jordan, said most of his customers use CBD to “chill out or help pain.” But for many, its association with marijuana gives CBD a bad name. Peterson has many repeat customers, but getting first-time customers is difficult. When they shop at his store, people tell him, “My friends won’t come in here.” Peterson can list off the ailments CBD has helped customers with: anxiety, autism, seizures, Tourette’s, neuropathy, arthritis, fibromyalgia. Customers purchase topical cream to apply to bug bites and bruises, water-soluble hemp oil to dissolve in smoothies, and tinctures to drop under the tongue. He carries probiotics, capsules, massage oils, face cream, bath bombs, soap and under-eye serum. Peterson is a CBD evangelist for good reason. For over 20 years he used antidepressants daily. Not long ago, he started using CBD for arthritis in his hands. He noticed the “water-sol” helped him focus, and as he started reading up on it, he learned others had “weaned themselves” off of antidepressants by taking CBD. Eventually he was able to quit antidepressants altogether. He hasn’t taken one since May 2019. He really noticed the difference when he went to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert with his wife. “I’ve been married to my wife for 17 years; she’s never seen me

cry,” Peterson said. But at that concert, he was moved to tears by the music. “My wife looked over, and she’s sitting there going ‘Who are you?’” Peterson’s brother, who has stage 4 prostate cancer, goes to work daily with the help of CBD. His grandson, who has ADHD and was frequently kicked out of school last year, hasn’t had such discipline issues since starting CBD. CBD has allowed Peterson to live more freely because he’s not dependent on “Big Pharma” or over-the-counter medications. “I’m not a zombie anymore,” he said. The 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the growth of hemp across the country, has played a major role in CBD’s popularity. It’s “opened the floodgates to a plant with hundreds of unique chemicals that have not been fully explored,” said Mitch Westmoreland, a Ph.D. candidate in Utah State University’s crop physiology program. Because CBD was tightly regulated before 2018, it hasn’t been easy for researchers to get their hands on it. So, while it’s sometimes presented as a cure-all, much of the evidence for its healing properties is still anecdotal. One thing CBD is clinically proven to treat is epilepsy. Outside of this, individuals report improvements in many areas of life, but scientifically, we still don’t understand much of what CBD does or how it does it. The hope that CBD can help “get people off opioids” motivates Peterson. In 2016,

West Jordan City Journal


his daughter died by suicide related to opioid addiction. Evidence suggests that CBD might not only relieve pain more safely but also treat existing opioid addictions. Aside from its medicinal purposes, hemp also has a long history of use in rope, clothing and more. Because of Farm Bill, Utah farmers are now growing hemp for the first time. But the market is still “very volatile,” Westmoreland said. The price of hemp at the beginning of the 2019 growing season was around $20 a pound. (By comparison, alfalfa went for $0.10 a pound.) But the market was soon flooded, as supply outpaced processing ability. The price today sits around $5 a pound. “I think a lot of people got excited and expected it to be a way to make a quick buck, but it hasn’t turned out that way so far,” Westmoreland said. The explosion in popularity comes with risks for consumers, too, since CBD producers often get away with cutting corners. Dowd warns that many use “crappy, cheap and easy” means of extracting CBD from the hemp plant, using solvents like butane rather than cleaner methods like CO2 extraction. These cheap products are “still CBD, but it’s also got a lot more than that.” Some add sugars to make the product taste different. Some manufacture synthetic CBD. American Shaman is part of the U.S. Hemp Authority, meaning it has a seal of approval from the government that took them four months and a third-party investigation

to earn. Dowd said Dave’s “sticks to the big players in the game.” These companies are transparent in their manufacturing and have rigorous quality assurance processes. Buyers of CBD, Dowd says, need to “ask a lot of questions” about where their product is coming from. “There is a lot of misinformation in the world of cannabis,” said Westmoreland. His hope is that with the legalization and increased usage of hemp, we can “phase out the bad information and replace it with evidence-based, rigorously tested information.” In his own unofficial way, Peterson is conducting research on his customers. He checks in with them often, tracking how they respond to his products. After 30 days of CBD, one diabetic customer’s blood sugar is going down. Another was on four shots a day of insulin, now down to one shot a day. But he’s hesitant to ascribe all these benefits to CBD itself. “Is it because CBD is working or is it because she’s getting out and doing more?” he wonders. “I don’t know.” When one customer asked if CBD could help him lose weight, Peterson said, “People take it, and they feel like they want to get up and go do something now instead of sitting on the couch. So yeah, it probably could help you lose weight.” For Westmoreland, his hope for the future of CBD is simple: “I hope science wins.” As for Peterson, he said, “It just makes me feel good to see people feel a difference.” l

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Wellness Center provides emotional oasis within Oquirrh Elementary

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rincipal Shauna Worthington was inspired to improve the mental health of her students at Oquirrh Elementary while hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. Last spring, Worthington had been touring social-emotional education programs in St. George schools and was impressed with their use of wellness centers, which provide students a place to calm their emotions and prepare to learn. “I knew that was something that we could really benefit from because I was spending a lot of time last year helping kids process their emotions and manage their stress,” Worthington said. She was thinking about the logistics of creating a wellness center at Oquirrh Elementary when she stopped at the national park on the way home from her trip. “I was actually sitting on top of Angel’s Landing for a long time just thinking about it,” Worthington said. “That’s when I decided that we’re going to make this happen.” By the time school began in the fall, she had created an oasis in the middle of the school with dimmed lights and cozy seating stocked with tools for self-calming puzzles, Rubik’s cubes, books, Legos, Play-Doh and art supplies. Students ask to go to the Wellness Center when their stress or emotions are getting in the way of learning.

By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com “The goal is to get them so that they can self-regulate their emotion before it gets too big,” she said. “Instead of having a kid escalate to the point where they’re so frustrated that they’re missing lots of class, we’re catching it early and letting them self regulate, and then getting them back to class.” Megan Daly, the social emotional learning coach who runs the center, is also available to help students process their feelings. Data is kept on use of the center. Daly looks for patterns in students using the center and works with teachers and parents to help identify stressors and anxieties that may be affecting their emotional well-being. While many students with anxiety use the center regularly, it is not solely for students with behavioral plans. “Every kid has the same access no matter what their needs are,” Daly said. Data shows the Wellness Center has been successful. • In the first 90 days of school, the center had 2,624 visits from 308 students (46% of the student body.) • 76% of those students have visited fewer than 10 times. • 25 students have visited 30 or more times. • There have been 40% fewer office referrals for significant behavioral concerns this year compared to last year.

While spending time in the inspirational Zion National Park, Principal Shauna Worthington developed an idea to help her students. (Photo courtesy Shauna Worthington)

“As a teacher, I wish this could have been something that my students had access to,” said Daly, who previously taught fourth grade. Worthington said teachers understand

that while students are missing 10 minutes of class to go to the Wellness Center, if they stayed in class in their condition, they wouldn’t be learning anyway.

to have a say in their communities and that one of the most effective ways to do that was to vote. They created the Woman Suffrage Association of Utah and organized local chapters throughout the territory. Utah women met together, and organized. They signed petitions, and they spoke up for what they believed in. When Utah held it’s Constitutional Convention in 1895, both parties supported voting rights for women in their platforms. The delegates included a clause in the Utah Constitution that read, “The rights of citizens of the State of Utah to vote and hold office shall not be denied on account of sex. Both male and female citizens of this State shall enjoy equally all civil, political and religious rights and privileges.” Once again the all-male electorate overwhelmingly approved sharing the franchise with their wives, sisters, and mothers.  The story didn’t end there. After winning the right to vote for themselves, Utah women went to work on behalf of their sisters across the United States. They testified before Congress, raised money, worked with the national suffrage organizations, and some of them

were even arrested and beaten as they tried to make sure that women across the nation enjoyed the same rights that they held. In August 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified granting suffrage to women across the United States. The cooperation and civic engagement continued after the 19th Amendment passed to ensure that minority groups could equally enjoy that privilege. Utah has a strong history of leadership and a legacy of influential women and men working together who understood that Utah, and the nation, prospers when each citizen has the opportunity to participate. How can we live up to that legacy? As we enter an election year I challenge you to make sure you are registered to vote and then exercise that right! Visit vote.utah.gov to register, or check your information. We stand on the shoulders of men and women who understood how much voting matters and that they could make a difference in their communities by participating. Let’s live up to this incredible legacy.  To learn more about Utah’s suffrage history or to see how your city can celebrate the suffrage anniversaries this year please visit UtahHERitage.org.

Utah Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of Women Voting

Salt Lake County Council Aimee Winder Newton | District 3

Page 28 | March 2020

Utah women were the first in the nation to vote 150 years ago. A young, 23-year-old school teacher, Seraph Young, cast her ballot on her way to work on the morning of February 14, 1870 and became the very first woman, under an equal suffrage law, to vote. This year we’re celebrating Utah’s leadership in the nation on this very important issue. Utah’s suffrage history is a story of cooperation and civic engagement. It’s the story of Utah men and women working together in a common cause for the benefit of all. On a cold January day in 1870, 5,000 women gathered in downtown Salt Lake City to ask for, among other things, the right to vote. Just a few weeks later the territorial Utah Legislature, made up entirely of men, unanimously extended that right. For the next 17 years they voted side by side trying to craft their territory into a place where they could live according to their ideals. But, in 1887, in an attempt to end polygamy, Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which took away from all Utah women the right to vote. Needless to say they were outraged and went to work immediately trying to win it back. They knew that it was important

West Jordan City Journal


“It’s really helping kids stay engaged in instructional time because they know that they have a place to go if they’re worried about something,” Worthingon said. “They’re able to focus better; they’re able to learn better because they’re not as worried and stressed.” Skills taught in the Wellness Center are also reinforced in classrooms through a video series. The focus on social-emotional ed-

ucation has affected school culture. “Even just the general sense of calm in our building has been amazing,” Worthington said. “It’s been a great change for all of us.” Many administrators have toured the Wellness Center at Oquirrh Elementary. Many schools don’t have a room to dedicate for a Wellness Center, but administrators there are looking for ways to adapt some

osher l if elong learning in st itu te

The calming atmosphere of the Wellness Center provides an oasis from stressors. (Photo courtesy Jordan School District)

WestJordanJournal .com

of the concepts. McKinley Withers, head of Jordan District’s Department of Health and Wellness, encourages all school administrators to implement social emotional learning curriculums and supports for their students. “We want all of our schools, over time, to be thinking of ways that they can meet students’ needs—their social and emotional needs just as much as they’re meeting their academic needs,” Withers said.

He said the department will not prescribe any districtwide programs but rather allow schools to find what works best for their students and circumstances. -Parents are also invited to use the wellness tips, tools and resources found at wellness.jordandistrict.org l

Grant money is used to provide a variety of self-calming tools for stressed kids. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

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West Jordan girl among 22 sent to NFL Pro Bowl By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com

West Jordan sophomore Laura Goetz (top row, third from left, no. 13) was invited along with 21 other girls from the UGTFL to play an exhibition at the NFL Pro Bowl. (Photo courtesy of Crystal Sacco)

N

early 56,000 frenzied football fans cheered on a group of girls from Utah during the NFL Pro Bowl the week before the Super Bowl this season. West Jordan sophomore Laura Goetz was among those girls representing the Utah

Girls Tackle Football League in Orlando, Florida, Jan. 26. “Running onto the field, I was concentrating on my plays and what I needed to do,” Goetz said. “I did not get very nervous. I just wanted to have fun.”

Members of the Utah Girls Tackle Football League made the trip to the NFL’s Pro Bowl. (Photo courtesy of Crystal Sacco)

Goetz is a quarterback and middle linebacker in the league. After faking a hand-off and sprinting to her right, she connected on a pass across the field for a touchdown. It was a play she will remember for the rest of her life.

“I was amazed that we all bonded so well and had so much fun,” she said. The NFL approached the UGTFL two weeks before the game and asked them to participate in the halftime presentation. Its “everyone can play the game” presentation

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West Jordan City Journal


League co-founder Brent Gordon gathered members of the two all-star teams headed to the Pro Bowl. (Photo courtesy of Crystal Sacco)

began the short on-field demonstration from the local girls. The NFL produced a clip emphasizing anyone can play football — boys and girls, tackle or flag. It is still a safe and fun game. The 22 girls and six coaches represented the league and 17 different high schools across the Wasatch Front. Last season, the league had 12 teams. This year, officials expect to field 16 girls teams. “The trip was amazing,” Utah Girls Tackle Football League Vice President Shawn Goetz said. “Picking the 22 girls was a hard thing. We just tried to have a good mixture and find girls that represented the entire league. It was an honor. I almost still can’t believe it.” They arrived in Orlando Friday afternoon and attended the AFC practice on Saturday. The entire trip was top of the line, and they felt like celebrities. “The girls signed autographs,” Shawn Goetz said. “After the game at dinner, a bunch of fans asked if they were the teams playing and asked to have their pictures taken with them. It was beyond what we could have imagined. It has made a huge impact on this league. We wanted it to showcase what we have done as a league but also the future of girls football in this area.” The girls bonded and made friendships in the short practice time and weekend trip. UGTFL signups are ongoing. The league practices begin March 6. Games are played at South Hills Middle School in West Jordan. Go to www.utahgirlstacklefootball.com for more information. “We got down there, and were one big happy family,” Laura Goetz said. “I think it was important to show that we can do anything. Football is a fun sport, and everyone can play it. I want girls to know no to give up on their dreams.” l

WestJordanJournal .com

March 2020 | Page 31


Now in a spacious new shop, Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids is producing more than toy cars By Carl Fauver | c.fauver@mycityjournals.com

A

new era is dawning for Alton Thacker and his charitable Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids, in a variety of ways. The operation is now in a new West Jordan location — three times the size of the old one — with more volunteers than ever before, making a wider variety of items than ever before. Oh, and due to recent health issues, Thacker, 84, is also grooming his son-in-law to take over management of the ever-growing enterprise, ensuring the operation that has already constructed and donated more than a million toy cars will continue on, for generations to come. “As I continue in this work, I am learning things about charity,” Thacker said. “It is a stewardship. We are obligated to take care of people. I’m trying now to do some things to ensure (the foundation) continues on, long after I am gone.” The most visible change Tiny Tim’s Foundation has undertaken in recent years was Thacker’s move last month into a spacious shop across the street from West Jordan’s Airport 2. His first day producing toy cars at the new site (6818 South Airport Road) was Feb. 13. “We were getting cramped in our new location, particularly as more and more volunteers began to join us,” Thacker said.

Toymaker Alton Thacker (R) and seven of his volunteers were on hand for the first day of work inside his new 5,000-square-foot shop. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

“Then our previous landlord raised our rent to $1,250 per month. Now we are in this 5,000-square-foot shop — three times the size of the old shop — with rent at $2000 per month, half its normal rate.” The new landlord, who essentially is making a monthly $2,000 donation to Tiny

Tim’s Foundation for Kids, is former West Jordan Mayor Dave Newton. “Alton is doing a marvelous thing in two different ways, and we are happy to make this donation,” Newton said. “First, he’s making toys for kids around the world. But that’s not even the most important thing

he is doing. He is also giving an opportunity to men and women in our community to make a meaningful contribution by donating their time. My wife and I are pleased to help.” This is the second time Newton has donated to Thacker’s cause. Two decades ago, when the toymaker was just getting started, Thacker moved his fledgling operation into the former mayor’s West Jordan garage for two years. “I still have dust in my garage from that,” Newton said. In the 46 years he and his wife have been in their West Jordan home, Newton says the city’s population has grown from 5,000 residents to 115,000. In addition to the 5,000-square-foot workshop, the foundation’s new space also includes 2,500 square feet of offices. And one big room in that area will allow Alton to expand another part of his growing charitable operation. “For about four years now, we have been donating clothing items to needy families in Zimbabwe,” Thacker said. “But we were limited by space. This new location will allow us to create a sewing room. And we are also arranging someone to teach volunteers how to sew.” Among the items being donated to the

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Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids founder Alton Thacker is expanding his donation efforts, with volunteers now making these “T-shirt dresses” and other clothing for impoverished families in Zimbabwe. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

Southeast African nation — 9,700 miles from West Jordan — are some things Thacker calls “T-shirt dresses.” “We sew fabric at the bottom of donated T-shirts to create the dresses,” Thacker said. “When we started this about four years ago, we made and shipped 5,000 T-shirt dresses. But now we make too many to count.” Other items being made for needy families in Zimbabwe include: baby wraps, shorts, receiving blankets and knitted caps. Ski caps in Africa? “It often gets to 114 degrees and hotter over there,” Thacker said. “And, believe it or not, the knit caps help keep heads cooler.” Thacker said the foundation is now hoping to receive a few donated sewing machines to expand this part of his charitable operation. Anyone with a machine to offer — or anything else to donate — can get more details at tinytimstoys.org. As for Thacker’s toy cars, he continues to take personal pride in producing more of them every year. In 2019, that total rose to 124,000 cars, more than 10,000 per month. In June 2018, his volunteers constructed the foundation’s 1 millionth toy car. “We lost a couple of (toymaking) weeks

during this move, but with the added space for more volunteers, I’m confident we’ll make it up and beat last year’s record — we always have,” Thacker said. “I now have 35 to 40 people — mostly men but women once in a while — volunteering their time.” At age 84, Thacker is about in the middle of his senior demographic. “I made a trip to Mexico with Alton to help him donate items years ago, and have been anxious to become involved ever since,” said volunteer Nile Thacker, 72, Alton’s cousin. “I take great pleasure in the comradery we have here,” volunteer Jim Turnbull, 73, said. “You won’t find a better group to work with anywhere.” Recent health issues for Alton Thacker have prompted him to begin preparing for future generations. “I thought about just quitting, but if I did, that’s 124,000 kids who would not receive a toy car this year,” he said. “So, instead, I decided to no longer be the decision maker. I just want to make toys and have fun. So, Mike is now making the decisions.” Mike Bradley, 67, is Alton Thacker’s son-in-law, who for now anyway, lives with his wife three hours away in Vernal. “I retired in 2016, and since August of 2018 I have been driving out from Vernal on Mondays and back again on Thursdays in order to make cars and help Alton run the foundation,” Bradley said. “But now my wife (Alton’s daughter Kim) has also retired. We will soon start looking for a home out here. If it was not for the foundation, we wouldn’t make the move. We’ll be leaving three kids and 10 grandkids in Vernal. But I love what Alton has been doing for all these years, and I want to help out.” So, this new decade of the 2020s promises to be one of change for Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids. But with more volunteers than ever before, a bigger workspace than ever before and next-generation leadership now in place, it appears youngsters around the world will continue to receive toy cars for a long time to come. And underprivileged residents of Zimbabwe are also expected to see even more of the clothing staples they have come to rely upon from Alton and his tireless band of volunteers. l

Toymaker Alton Thacker, his desk and the clutter surrounding it remain the same, but his volunteer shop is now in a much larger West Jordan location. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

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About the time the peasants started to revolt, I was done with Cinderella. Yes, I was tired and grumpy (it was Tuesday after all) but the musical had gone on way too long and it just. needed. to. end. I’ve read the book and watched the Disney cartoon a gajillion times – and I KNOW there are no rioting peasants in Cinderella. But this musical not only had an uprising, it had a side story about the stepsisters and an idiot king being duped by his advisor. #FacePalm Turning fairy tales and Disney cartoons into live musical extravaganzas has become a thing; a thing that’s trying my (depleted) patience. Broadway writers take a perfectly-fine 90-minute animated movie and transform it into a two-hour (or more) event with NEW SONGS that no one cares about. The audience is just thinking, shouldn’t this be over? I usually love musicals. I hum songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein productions, I adore Stephen Sondheim’s lyrical wordplay and Lin-Manuel Miranda redefined musical production. But lately, I’ve found myself irritated with songs that seem unnecessary, boring or just meh. Do cast members have to break into song when someone goes to the barber, or the grocery store, or the high school library? When a character walks out of the bathroom and violins soar as he sings about his love for toilet paper, I’m ready to throw my Jordan almonds to the floor and storm out of the theater. Songs should never stop the action. The lyrics should continue the story without tor-

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turing the audience with a nonsensical waste of time. If you can take a song out of a musical and it doesn’t affect the story, it isn’t necessary! In fact, I suggest limiting musicals to two or three really good tunes. You only remember a few songs, anyway. Love songs are the worst. We get it. The two main characters have a love/hate relationship. At this point in the musical, we love/hate them, too. I hear a piano chord and my shoulders tense, waiting to hear a song about how love is a disaster. (One hour later, they’ll sing a song about how love is glorious.) There are big production numbers, infinite costume changes and (inevitably) someone jumps on the coffee table and tap dances while singing about the weather. If I jumped on my coffee table, it would explode into thousands of toothpicks. There’s also a list of musicals that make you wonder if the idea didn’t come from a two-day drinking bender, followed by a concussion and a small bout of the flu. Carrie should never have been a musical, in fact, let’s take all Stephen King novels off the list for future productions. King Kong on Broadway?? Where do songs fit into that disaster? And NO ONE has given me any good reason why Mamma Mia hasn’t been banned worldwide. Don’t get me started with Cats. Sports musicals are always iffy because who’s the audience? Sports fans? Wife: But it’s a musical about the New York Yankees!

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Husband: Why don’t we just go to a Yankees game? Wife: Well, that’s just stupid. So what makes a good musical? Hamilton’s multicultural version of Founding Fathers’ history changed the game with its rap lyrics, imperfect hero and breeches. Wicked has a twisted backstory and amazing vocals. I’m just sayin’, let’s not make musicals just because the movie/cartoon/book or Geico ad was super popular. Otherwise, the peasants might revolt and storm out of the theater.

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West Jordan Journal | March 2020  

West Jordan Journal | March 2020