May 2019 | Vol. 19 Iss. 05
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THE CHALLENGE OF EXCELLENCE
By Jet Burnham | firstname.lastname@example.org
he West Jordan Exchange Club awarded the A.C.E. (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) Award and a $500 scholarship to four inspiring high school students who have overcome difficult circumstances to make dramatic changes in their attitudes and academic performances throughout high school. “This special recognition serves as a powerful example to all students that hard work and perseverance are rewarded,” said club president Gwen Knight. “It recognizes those students who are often overlooked for their accomplishments.”
“For a young person to be able to have the maturity to look at their mistakes and some of their choices and to learn from them instead of being enabled by them—I’m really proud of him,” said Principal Renee Edwards. “He’s not given up, and he’s worked hard this year and is on track to graduate.” Goodrich’s father, Galen Goodrich, said receiving the award has been a boost to his son’s commitment to graduate. “Events like this are incredible for motivation and self-esteem of the students,” he said. “It just is huge and speaks volumes for the efforts of the students. I’m just really proud of my son for getting back on track and going the extra mile so Sam Goodrich, Itineris Early College High School “The event in my life that I am the most proud of was he can graduate and go on in life.” when I saved myself from dropping out of high school,” said Ryan Zwemke, Valley High School Sam Goodrich, a senior at Itineris Early College High School. The $500 scholarship from the Exchange Club has had a positive impact on Ryan Zwemke, who attends Valley High School. “It’s going to motivate me a lot more to go to [college],” he said. “I was still on the fence and not 100 percent sure, but now I’m fully 100 percent committed, and I’m wanting to go to [college] now just because I have more of a chance.” Jacinto Peterson was Zwemke’s school administrator during his middle school years and is now an assistant principal at Valley High School. “I’ve known him for seven years, and in that time, I’ve never seen him without a smile on his face,” Peterson said, acknowledging that Zwemke has had some struggles. “Sometimes when kids are smiling, they’re still going through hard times.” Depression, coupled with ADHD, made juggling school and family responsibilities difficult for Zwemke. During his sophomore year, his grades started plummeting as did his will to live. Peterson is proud of Zwemke for his willingness to hang on even when he felt hopeless. Zwemke pushed through his Sam Goodrich appreciates the support of school administrators and his parents as he worked to turn his life around. (Jet Burnham/City Journals) hard times and is proud of his accomplishments. “Now I’m on track to graduate with mostly all passing Following a junior year of skipping classes and other grades,” said Zwemke, who plans to study auto mechanics afpoor choices, Goodrich realized his future was at risk. He con- ter high school. “I couldn’t be happier in this point in my life.” sidered how much effort he had already spent on his education Peterson is also optimistic about Zwemke’s future. and his parents’ efforts to keep him in school. “His greatest qualities are his hard work and his wonder“It almost would have been a disservice or a letdown to ful demeanor about life,” he said. “We hope that Ryan continlet all of that go to waste,” he said. ues to do great things—make some super car or whatever he’s He spent the summer making up credits from failed class- going to do.” es.
The Exchange Club scholarship is a motivation for Ryan Zwemke to continue his education. (Reed Scharman/West Jordan Exchange Club)
Aspen Blumentrantz , West Jordan High School Despite a traumatic childhood and living with medical issues brought about by her mother’s drug addiction, Aspen Blumentrantz is committed to have a positive outcome from her experiences. “I would not be who I am today if it weren’t for that period in time,” said Blumentrantz of her childhood. “I am proud to say I didn’t let my upbringing destroy my potential as a successful person. I stayed away from drugs and did excellent in school throughout my whole life.” Things are even better for Blumentrantz since her openheart surgery last December. She hopes to earn a degree in environmental or wildlife studies and dedicate her life to “loving and caring for the planet and everything on it.” “When I set off on my own to get a degree and be a contributing citizen to society, I hope that by doing so I can truly change the way others view how they treat one another and their environment,” she said. WJHS assistant principal Mike Hutchings is impressed
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Page 2 | May 2019
West Jordan City Journal
Friday, June 7th Movie in the Park: Riverton City is showing “Ralph Breaks the Internet” at dusk on the west lawn of the Primary Children’s Outpatient Center (building 3). Please join us for this free event. Popcorn will be served! Bring chairs and blankets.
Saturday, June 8th Riverton Hospital Family 5K/10K & Diaper Derby Races start at 7:30 a.m. southwest of the hospital. There will be a light breakfast and awards ceremony following the Family 5K/10K race at 8:45 a.m. on the patio. Diaper Derby starts at 9 a.m. on the east lawn. Babies must be at least 6 months old and not be able to walk. Babies must have an adult with them at all times. Race is limited to 50 participants. Winner will receive a year’s supply of diapers!
Register at www.rivertonhospital.org
Family 5K/10K is $15 for single registration, $25 for two people, $60 for a family or group of 6. Diaper Derby is $10 per baby. Free Runner’s Clinic on Tuesday, May 14 from 6-7 p.m. in the Riverton Classroom. Participants will receive a discount code for $15 to go towards a Family 5K race entry.
May 2019 | Page 3
Fallen Soldiers event has created a family bond on and off the softball field
C ITY OURNAL The West Jordan City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout West Jordan. For information about distribution please email circulation@mycityjournals. com or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. For subscriptions please contact: email@example.com The views and opinions expressed in display advertisements do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Loyal Perch Media or the City Journals. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the owner.
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By Catherine Garrett | firstname.lastname@example.org
he call that would forever change the family of Gary and Christi Barton of West Jordan came at 2:22 a.m. the morning of Oct. 14, 2013. Staff Sergeant Zackary Skyler Barton, stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, was gone. With no warning to family or friends, he had taken his own life after serving the United States for five years. “It was devastating,” his mother Christi Barton said. “We were totally in shock and it was the middle of the night. We felt so helpless.” Christi said she and her husband Gary had just been on the phone with Zack that morning for nearly two hours and had been laughing together. “He was doing exactly what he had wanted to do since he was 5 years old and he absolutely loved serving,” she said. “I even thought that he sounded happier than he had ever been.” And just like that, the Bartons became part of a club they never dreamed would happen. They were now a Gold Star family — a distinction given to those who have lost a family member in active military service. The National Guard provides services for Gold Star families, and among the opportunities was the Fallen Heroes program that former Corner Canyon softball coach Garrett Hone and assistant Quinn Linde created in 2016 to pair up Chargers players and families of fallen soldiers, which culminated in a military appreciation game each season. It was then the Bartons, who had practically lived on baseball fields for the past 15 years themselves, again had a life-changing event: they met then-freshman softball player Josee Haycock. “Josee is an amazing girl. She excels at so many things and was actually so much like Zack with how smart she is and how accomplished she is,” Gary Barton said. “She was the perfect fit for our family.” Haycock said she first met the Bartons just prior to a game against Granger three years ago. “It made me play for a whole different reason — for Zack,” she said. “I remember hitting back-to-back doubles, stealing a few bags, and even making a couple of diving plays. It’s crazy how when you truly play for something greater than you, you play with more heart and soul.” The Bartons, along with their daughter Khaia, didn’t just come to a game or two to cheer on Haycock that first season; they have attended every high school and competitive softball game she has played, including trips to St. George each year for tournaments. “We follow her all over and pretty much just stalk her,” Gary Barton said, noting that they will continue the trend with Haycock’s move to the college ranks at Salt Lake Community College. Haycock said the Bartons’ support “has meant the world” to her. “It’s awesome to see
Staff Sergeant Zack Barton’s family is surrounded by the Corner Canyon High softball team at the Fallen Heroes game March 27. (Photo courtesy Josee Haycock)
them walking into the ballpark, or sitting behind the backstop wearing my jersey top that has SSGT Barton’s name across the back,” she said. “We have had some social anxiety since Zack’s passing and to be able to enjoy a nice spring day watching softball has been amazing for our healing,” Christi Barton said. “This has been so important to us in helping keep Zack’s memory alive because we could never let him go. For us, we weren’t able to have any new memories with Zack, but this has almost created new memories with Zack.” The first homerun Haycock hit in her high school career isn’t just a memory the Bartons can recall seeing from the stands; they have the souvenir from the game. “She gave us that first homerun ball and I told her, ‘No, this is your first. You need this.’ She said, ‘No, I want you guys to have this.’ It’s still on my desk at work.” The Bartons have also connected with Haycock’s parents and family, including her grandparents. “This has created a family between us,” Gary Barton said. “It’s been freakin’ awesome!” Haycock said she has an “amazing relationship” with the Bartons. “It’s like I have been adopted into their family in a way,” she said. Despite the close connection the Bartons have made with Haycock, they also support the rest of the Corner Canyon softball team and frequently present them with tokens like roses and even military guardian angel pins. “We want them to know how special they all are to us,” Christi Barton said. “We love all of them and what they are doing.” CCHS head coach Chris Opheikens appreciates the inspiration the Fallen Heroes program brings to his team. This year’s trib-
ute game was held March 27 against Skyridge and focused on the local Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) program. “This cause is so uplifting for both our team and the families of our soldiers,” Opheikens said. “Our girls have been reminded that there is more to life than just softball. They have been humbled to play for these men and women and their families — those who have fought and died for our freedoms. The feeling that we get when we put on a uniform with their initials on it is one of gratitude. We have built up a great appreciation for our soldiers and a lot of love for their families.” Corner Canyon player Lexi Parker said the military game is a highlight each season for her because of the “completely different vibe” on the field. Chargers pitcher Abbi Opheikens said, “The tribute game is something that is so much bigger than softball and I’m honored to be a part of it. Being able to play for a fallen soldier has changed not only my mentality in softball, but it’s changed me as a person.” Gary Barton said he has often asked himself how the Fallen Heroes program would have impacted his family if their player had not been Josee. “I know we still would have been amazed and grateful for the experience, but our relationship with her and the blessing she has been to us was simply meant to be.” Haycock, who presented her own jersey to the Bartons, said, “I have never met SSGT Barton but I love him with all my heart and am so grateful for him and his family because of the ultimate sacrifice they paid for our country. This has made my experience of playing for Zack much more meaningful and personal because I have been able to see him, his kindness and his love for others through his sweet family.” l
West Jordan City Journal
Continued from front page
at those obstacles and feel bad for herself. She’s thinking about other people, wants to better the world for them, not necessarily her.”
The future is bright for Aspen Blumentrantz, who loves caring for people and for the planet. (Jim Bernini/West Jordan High School)
with Blumentrantz’s attitude. “She’s had a lot of obstacles in her life,” said Hutchings. “The thing that sticks out to me most is she hasn’t used those obstacles as an excuse but has used those obstacles to become stronger. A person that has had the obstacles that she’s had could easily look
Makayla Infanzon, Copper Hills High School Makayla Infanzon, a senior at Copper Hills High School, has also worked to channel her challenges into a positive outcome. “I have made my trials motivation—I am this way because I’ve had my experiences,” said Infanzon, who, from enduring homelessness and abandonment, gained a strong work ethic and empathy for others. She hopes to attend Utah Valley University and major in social work or psychology. Norm Coughlan, her school counselor, said Infanzon is a strong and resilient young woman with a deep desire to help others. “She’s had a lot of experiences that other people haven’t had and been able to take that, internalize it and come up with something positive—which is her career,” said Coughlan. Infanzon said despite her negative experiences, she is determined to be positive and to treat others well. “It would make sense if she had an attitude and wasn’t as nice as she is,” said her boyfriend Joshua Anderson. “For her to be the kind and sweet person she is, even after everything she’s been through, I think that’s absolutely remarkable.” He’s also impressed with her tenacity.
that has been able to look at things differently and turn it around, just turn it completely around,” said Coughlan. “She’s done more in the short amount of time that I’ve known her than 99 percent of the kids I know.” The A.C.E. scholarships were funded by Dannon. In addition to the $500 scholarship, each student received a case of yogurt from the manufacturer. “Partnership with the community is a very important piece for us,” said Geoff Dziuda, plant director at Dannon. The Exchange Club chooses one of the four scholarship winners to move on to the state club, where they will be eligible for additional scholarship money. Craig Dearing, past president and club founder, said of the many applications they received this year, they were most impressed by Mikayla Infanzon’s. “There wasn’t a dry eye in our club reading through it,” he said. l Makayla Infanzon was grateful for the recognition and the scholarship. (Reed Scharman/West Jordan Exchange Club)
Infanzon has maintained passing grades in all of her classes—including concurrent college enrollment classes—while actively participating in service activities, babysitting her cousins and working part time to help support her family. “In 32 years, I’ve never met someone
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Salt Lake Valley celebrates Mexican culture May 3-5 By Jennifer J. Johnson | J.Johnson@mycityjournals.com
ust as St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland does not assume the rollicking persona it has here in the United States, the Cinco de Mayo holiday is more restrained in Mexico than it is in the parts of the United States which do celebrate it. According to the History Channel, Cinco de Mayo, or May 5, is a “relatively minor holiday in Mexico,” which celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France during the Franco-Mexican War. Here in the United States, the holiday has “evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.” The Salt Lake take Enter Salt Lake County, where both Salt Lake City (21.3 percent of its population is Hispanic or Latino) and South Salt Lake (21 percent of its population) are cited by Wikipedia on its “List of Mexican-American Communities” and where the county is situated in a state where Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing minority population, now comprising 14 percent of the state’s overall population, according to the US Census Bureau. “For the Mexicans, Mexican-Americans and Hispanics who live in Midvale, Salt Lake County and Utah, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo represents an opportunity to revive our heritage, proud of who we are and grateful for how we have been received in our communities,” explained Jose Vicente Borjon Lopez-Coterilla, Mexico’s consul in Utah. “It helps us showcase our culture, and our love for both countries and to share with younger generations the values that make us stronger,” the diplomat added. “We appreciate how cities like Midvale, Salt Lake County, and Utah have been welcoming to Mexicans and their interest in fostering our integration to the fabric of their communities and at the same time maintaining and supporting our expressions of our values and heritage.” With Lopez-Coterilla setting the tone here, The City Journals looks at what is going on in our neck of the woods – or en nuestro cuello de los bosques. Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 – Midvale’s 32nd UCDM Midvale City Park, Midvale, 50 W. 7500 South Midvale’s UCDM (Utah’s Cinco de Mayo) is literally the granddaddy of the valley’s celebrations. Longtime Midvale businessman and resident Fausto Rivas started the festival at the urging of the Midvale mayor 30-plus years ago. Today, at age 85, Rivas and his wife, Dolores, literally sit back and enjoy the festivities that West Jordan-based daughter Dolores Pahl and her husband execute, along with multiple generations of the family. “It brings me joy,” said daughter Pahl of the year-long preparations that culminate in
Mexican skirts have different names in different regions. In the Salt Lake Valley, the name is simply “wow.” Check out traditional dancing performances during this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations. (Photo Credit dbking/Wikipedia)
two days of celebrations – neither of which is actually on May 5, due to its falling on a Sunday, a day eschewed by many in Utah for partying. Midvale’s population, according to the 2017 Census, is 23.5 percent Hispanic or Latino, giving the spirit of the festival authenticity boost. Friday, May 3, from 6-10 p.m. 400-plus valley residents show up at a quirky building at the back of the Midvale City Park to play “Cinco Bingo.” Generous prizes from Costco and Sam’s Club, as well as local Top Golf sweeten the deal. No charge for admission or game-playing. Saturday, May 4, is the main event, also at Midvale City Park. Pahl says she is estimating as many as 8,000 attendees (it would be an exponential leap from the 1,000 she said have previously attended) for a 12hour festival, running from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. No charge for admission. Event highlights: Noon – The Mexican Consulate will, for the first time, address the festival, followed by the real crowd-pleaser: 20 charros (horsemen), wearing mariachi hats, riding in unison. 6:45 p.m. - Mariachi Águilas de la Esperanza – “Utah’s smallest mariachi band (in height) and its biggest (in numbers)” is how the Deseret News described this mariachi band from dual-immersion Esperanza Elementary. 8 p.m. – Headline band, Roberto Lopez y El Tiempo de Mexico Proceeds from the event go directly to the Midvale Boys & Girls Club. “Our main focus is to give back to the community,” said Pahl. Friday, May 3 - Granger de Mayo Granger High School (Outside by ball
field), WVC, 3580 S. 3600 West West Valley City’s Granger High School (GHS) is a Cinco de Mayo veteran, having produced its trademark “Cinco de Mayo Carnival” since 2016. As Utah’s second-most populous city, West Valley City (WVC) is even more diverse than Midvale, with 37.7 percent of the population being Hispanic or Latino. The high school is even more diverse than WVC, speaking to Utah’s growth in diversity coming from immigrants having families. GHS is 59.97 percent Hispanic or Latino, and is the only high school City Journals encountered offering up such an epic Cinco de Mayo celebration. The annual event garners an audience of 300-400 each year, and is planned and executed by the school’s Latinos in Action (LIA) class to share the Latino culture. Proceeds from the event support LIA classroom activities. On Friday, May 3, GHS presents the 2019 Cinco de Mayo Carnival, complete with dance, food, games, and, per the flyer, “So much more!” Attendance is free. All food items are $1. Most games cost $1, with special games like blow-up jousting and the dunk tank costing $2. Other games include soccer kick, a bungee run, knock the cans down, egg relay, balloon-darts, Foosball, cup pong, stack-the-cups, three-legged race, basketball shot, and sponge relay, according to Braydon Eden, Granger teacher and assistant coach of the high school’s soccer team. “We have speakers set up and will be playing music,” said Eden. “We will intermittently have dance contests.” Music will include a mix of Hispanic and popular American music. Bachata (from the Dominican Republic, with indigenous African and European musical elements), Cumbia (folkloric rhythm and dance consid-
ered “the backbone of Latin American music” by NPR), and Payaso del Rodeo (incredibly fast line dancing which one YouTuber depicted as “Not your typical electric slide, more like electrocuted slide”) are all on the musical menu. Younger children will enjoy the face painting and balloon animals offered. The event takes place at GHS and runs from 4:30-7:30 p.m., preceding the evening’s soccer game against cross-town rival Hunter High School. Saturday, May 4 -Taylorsville ties tree planting with Cinco de Mayo Millrace Park, Taylorsville, 1150 W. 5400 South Fresh off hosting last month’s highly engaging “First Latino Town Hall” featuring the state’s Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox and other representatives discussing politics — often in fluid, elegant Spanish — with citizens, the city of Taylorsville presents a Cinco de Mayo-themed tree-planting event where children can learn the benefits of ecological stewardship and cultural exchange. The first 40 children on site will receive pots and seeds to grow their own mini-gardens. All will help plant eight new trees in the park. The City asks that volunteers bring their own shovels and gloves to help plant the trees. Cinco de Mayo piñatas take center stage at 10:30 a.m. The event offers complimentary snacks and music entertainment. Taylorsville is 20.8 percent Hispanic, and this blended event is a great way to honor the city’s cultural diversity. Event organized and executed by the Taylorsville Parks and Recreation Committee and Cultural Diversity Committee.l
May 2019 | Page 7
Driving Positive Company Culture and Brand Awareness Through Community Impact
Deneiva Knight, External Affairs Director
Gone are the days when the concept of “corporate social responsibility” was at the periphery of a company’s operations. Today, businesses incorporate volunteerism and giving back at the core of their strategy — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because of the measurable benefits it brings to the business, the employees and the bottom line. For businesses small and large, it’s imperative to be a good corporate citizen, as consumers and employees favor companies
and brands with socially and environmentally responsible practices. Here are two ways you can incorporate community impact initiatives into your business strategy. Leveraging your employee base is a great way to create positive, public visibility for your organization. Volunteer efforts provide natural opportunities for you and your team to build relationships and network with influential individuals and organizations. Volunteer work increases goodwill toward your brand — both among local consumers and community influencers. For example, each year thousands of local Comcast NBCUniversal employees and our families, friends and community partners join together to make change happen as we volunteer at project sites in cities throughout Colorado as part of the annual Comcast Cares Day. The company’s long-standing tradition celebrates and exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism our employees bring to life each and every day of the year. Comcast Cares is quickly approaching
again this year, and on May 4, thousands of volunteers will be conducting service projects at schools and community centers across Colorado. Keep an eye out for volunteers in blue shirts at locations in Utah. • Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake – Midvale House is hosting Comcast Cares Day with 200 volunteers. To register, please click on the following link. • Volunteers are invited to participate in various projects across Ogden City. To register for this project click the following link. • Treeside Charter School invites 800 volunteers to make a lasting impression on the school by creating an environmentally sustainable space. To register, please click on the following link. There are 22 projects taking place throughout the state of Utah. To find the project nearest you, go to ComcastInTheCommunity.com. Defining clear focus areas will help ensure your efforts are aligned with business goals and objectives. There are multitudes of ways to give back to the community and make an impact. If you think through what resources – time, talent and treasure – you have to share, you will be better set up to address your community’s needs, while being authentic to your business. At Comcast, we focus our resources around: Digital Inclusion, Digital Explora-
tion and Digital Skills in the Workforce. As a media and technology company, we invest in programs that serve diverse individuals seeking equal access to the advantages of technology and digital skills to help propel their success in life. One example of how Comcast executes on our focus areas is through our partnership with local Boys and Girls Clubs across Colorado. In 2014, we partnered with Boys & Girls Club of America to launch My.Future, an interactive digital platform teaching critical digital and computer skills to Club members. We continue supporting these programs for kids at Boys & Girls Clubs across Colorado every year. Internet Essentials, our affordable home internet program for low-income individuals, is another example of how Comcast uses our expertise to address community needs. These are just two of many corporate social responsibility strategies you can implement in your business to build brand love, a positive company culture and further connect with your customers. Giving back is at the core of Comcast’s business. We work year-round to support and partner with our community organizations to connect people and our communities to what matters most. Learn more about our community impact efforts.
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After Bike Summit, Councilmember Burton hopes for improved bike lanes By Erin Dixon | email@example.com
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Councilmember Dirk Burton enjoys using his bike as transportation and is invested in changing the active transportation scene in West Jordan. (Photo courtesy Dirk Burton)
eamless bike lanes, active transportation and space for vehicles: sounds like a pipe dream? Perhaps not, as various councils in Utah work together to build integrated lanes that are safe and efficient. West Jordan Councilmember Dirk Burton attended the Bike Summit in Lehi, along with UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation), Bike Utah, and AASHTO (American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials), and other private individuals. “Bicycling is getting more and more popular in the state of Utah,” Burton said. “The landscape has been changing, more bike lanes and that sort of thing, being desired by more people.” Some changes are already being made on the state level. “UDOT has recently updated many of their traffic signals to now detect bikes,” Burton said. “You see the white square boxes on the poles, those are the new sensors. We don’t have to jump down and go push the walk button, or there were some people who would just go through the red light.” Sometimes the designated lane is no more than a line on the edge of the road. The AASHTO has layouts that are safer and more efficient. “[They have] a lot more options and variety of ways to do active transportation on our roads, more than just painting a line and putting a bike on it,” Burton said. What does this mean for West Jordan? “Since [the bike summit] I immediately held a meeting at West Jordan City Hall that included Wasatch Front Regional Council, UDOT, some people from Bike Utah and our traffic engineer,” Burton explained. “[We worked] on ways that we can coordinate our bike lanes. There is a county plan, there’s a Wasatch Front plan and we want to tie in to their plan so our bike lanes line up with our neighboring communities.” “West Jordan has good north/south routes but we need to work on our east/ west routes,” he continued. “We do have bike lanes on 9000 and 7800 but we would like to be able to connect Mountain View
trails with Jordan River trails.” The demand for bike and other modes of transportation (active lanes) is increasing. “More people are biking than ever before and so we’re trying to accommodate those,” Burton said. “They do it for environmental reasons and some do it for health reasons and some do it just because they enjoy bicycling.” However, putting more bikes on the road to ease the pollution from cars is a double-edged sword. “[T]hat’s good and bad at the same time, because we’re putting bicyclists out there breathing the air that’s put out from cars,” Burton said. “But the one bicyclist we put on the road plus cars on the road will help the environment.” Bikes and cars sharing the road can slow traffic and there is always a risk a biker takes when integrating into regular traffic. “The idea of active transportation is not to get in the way of regular traffic but to let regular traffic do its thing,” Burton said. State and local governments are increasing their efforts to make an integrated system that makes sense for everyone. Because UDOT is already working to improve the active transportation, there are current funds that cities can use in their own projects. Senate Bill 72 was passed during this legislative session. It allows money to be spent through the Transportation Investment Fund. “UDOT has a goal to include active transportation every time they do a project. However, that goal has been more of a guideline...in the past. There has been money the legislature has set aside to put into active transportation and so we need to put that in our goal because there is money there, so it won’t cost us extra,” Burton said. “The Governor wants to see 1,000 miles of bike trails in the state,” he continued. “That’s a goal he’s put out so people like me that are bicyclists like that idea and are willing to help the Governor reach his goal.”
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May 2019 | Page 9
West Jordan finance has a new director: Danyce Steck By Erin Dixon | firstname.lastname@example.org
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Page 10 | May 2019
est Jordan City finances are getting an overhaul. Danyce Steck has finagled budgets her entire career. Beginning in Maricopa, Arizona, as a senior budget analyst, she moved through the private sector, UTA and two city governments. In Murray and Draper, she was director of finance, the same position she now holds in West Jordan. She swore to serve West Jordan City in March, and has already made changes to the city budget. “Right now, [I’m] analyzing the budget overall,” she said. “It seems that there’s been a lot of philosophies in the city. I’m in a consolidation mode. The Fire [budget] had 12 divisions. I went to the Fire Chief, ‘Do you want 12 divisions?’ He said, ‘No I want one!’ [It’s] way easier for the public, council and fire to manage. They will have the exact same budget, but now it’s put into a more consolidated visual.” Fire Chief Derek Maxfield voiced his gratitude for the direction that Steck is moving. “I am extremely appreciative of Ms. Steck and her efforts,” he said. “I was really impressed with her grasp on the budget in such a short amount of time that she’s been here. That was a great hire.” Government expenditure is the one of the main concern residents have. During West Jordan Truth in Taxation in August 2018, many vocalized unease about how the city was using the public’s money. Resident Jamie Bevilhymer said to council during that meeting, “I wonder if in all your doings you can in your heart and soul say that you don’t waste, abuse or misspend.” Resident Steven Jones makes a frequent appearance at city council meetings and often comments on expenditures. “Everything that we do should have a revenue source,” he said. “The general fund is not a revenue source. We should be able to look at it and say, me as a constituent should pay tax for a certain thing and that’s what that money goes for.” One of his biggest concerns is clear communication about where every one of his dollars goes. “It’s so convoluted to know where things are, because they’re kind of somewhat hidden,” Jones said. Communication and transparency is another goal Steck has for the city. “One of the things I’ve been really good at is continuous improvement in communicating with the public, whether it’s truth in taxation, utility rate increases,” she said. “Making sure they’re involved in the budget process and those kinds of things. Sometimes when we give someone a 300-page budget book, the citizen is going ‘This means noth-
Danyce Steck has a love for public service and has worked as director of finance for two other cities. (Photo/Danyce Steck)
ing to me.’ Whereas, when we print a 10page pamphlet that’s a citizens budget guide, it makes them feel like there’s value in the service and that we’re responsible for their dollars.” Kim Wells, former public information officer for the city (who has since moved on), explained that spending government money is not simple. There are legal pathways that must be followed. “One misconception is that government accounting is like a personal checkbook,” she said. “There are rules and regulations that [are] governed by a state code. There can be money in budget for something, but it can be restricted; you can only use it for something specific.” Without education and clarification, sometimes residents can get the wrong idea about what the city is doing with the money. “Last year, they had an unrestricted fund balance in just the general fund of $11.2 million,” Steck said. “In our personal lives, that’s life changing. What they need to know is that’s 22 percent of the next years revenue. So that’s like three months of cash flow; that’s nothing to sustain a city. I think they see those millions of dollars sitting in a reserve fund and sometimes jump to an assumption that you’re collecting too much property tax.” Steck is excited for the future. She said she missed not working for local government. “It’s really my passion,” she said. “I love being able to make a difference. I love that accountability. I love not just chasing a dollar but looking for ways to increase and improve and to be responsible.” l
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West Jordan City Journal
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since it was founded in 1999 by brother and sister pediatric team Kevin Lash and Leslie Goodwin. “Our physicians treat the whole family. They think of how the patient fits into the whole family dynamic and how their issues could affect everyone else, even for something as routine as an ear infection,” said Jenna Robinson, the office manager at Wasatch Pediatrics Southpoint. One big difference between Wasatch Pediatrics Southpoint and other offices is the phone system. “There are no phone trees,” Robinson said. “We keep our front desk staffed to make sure that when patients call, their call is answered by a person the first time through.” The front desk can be reached at (801) 565–1162, and though the office number is a landline, it is set up to receive text messages. Pediatricians and brother and sister team Kevin There is also a medical assistant there who Lash and Leslie Goodwin started Wasatch Pediatrics can answer questions over the phone. at Southpoint in 1999. (Courtesy Jenna Robinson/ Extended hours help people get appointWasatch Pediatrics) ments quickly. “Our hours are one of the really great things here. We are open from 8 hen it comes to care for their chila.m. until 7:40 p.m. We are open on weekdren, parents need a pediatrician they ends. And, if by chance you call during our trust. Wasatch Pediatrics Southpoint in West off hours, there is always a doctor on call,” Jordan has been that place for many families
Robinson said. There are five physicians on staff, including Dr. Lash and Dr. Goodwin, the founders. In addition, there are four nurse practitioners and a full-time child psychologist. Care is provided for patients from newborns to age 21. Southpoint is set up as a Medical Home, which seeks to coordinate care for families who have kids with complicated diagnoses. “A Medical Home is an office that provides a community link. When families are juggling a lot of different specialists, educational interventions and community interventions, our office can coordinate the pediatrician and other services,” Robinson said. “The purpose of the Medical Home is to make your life easier. We are the link to life-changing services, community waivers and programs which can save families thousands of dollars,” said Robinson. A recent review of Dr. Lash illustrated the difference an engaged pediatrician can make for an entire family. Parent Chelsea was at her wits end trying to help her son who has ADD/ADHD. “My son was on the verge of school suspension and a parent had threatened a law-
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suit. We’d never met Dr. Lash, but when we called the office to see someone, he’d had a last-minute cancellation, so we saw him,” Chelsea said. “I was worried to talk with Dr. Lash about my son’s behavioral issues, but he was intelligent, wise, supportive and has excellent experience and advice. We felt like heaven interceded on our behalf the day we met Dr. Lash,” she said. Southpoint is currently accepting new patients and takes many insurances, including Medicaid. Practitioners are available who speak Spanish, Portuguese and German. They are located at 9071 S. 1300 West, Suite 301 (the entire 3rd floor). You can also follow them and find wellness advice on their Facebook and Instagram pages, and their blog and website, www. wasatchpeds.net.
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High Density Housing By Justin Adams | Justin.firstname.lastname@example.org
s your community newspaper, we at the City Journals want to give our readers more opportunities to have your voices heard through our platform. One way is through a new series we’re calling “Your City. Your Voice.” Each month, we’ll be choosing a topic that’s important to communities throughout the Salt Lake valley. Through-
out that month we’ll conduct a series of polls on our social media channels about that topic. Then we’ll publish those results and a selection of top comments in the next month’s paper. To start things off, we asked readers about what may be the hottest topic in the valley right now: high-density housing. This is an issue impacting every part of the valley, as city governments have to decide how to balance the needs of a growing population with concerns like infrastructure, crowded schools and traffic. Battles over specific housing developments across the valley have involved angry town hall meetings, the formation of community activist groups, petition campaigns, lawsuits and even a Utah Supreme Court case regarding the Cottonwood Mall site in Holladay.
What complicates the issue even more is that it isn’t just black and white. What we’ve found is that few people are either entirely for or against high-density housing. Most people recognize a general need for more types of housing, but also want new developments to be implemented strategically and responsibly so as to minimize negative impacts to the surrounding area. NOTE: The poll data included here is from social media and therefore should not be considered an official or scientific representation of general opinion. You can help us get better poll data by following The City Journals on Facebook, responding to the polls and sharing them with your friends. l
If I heard a new high density project was going in near me, my first concern would be…
Page 14 | May 2019
West Jordan City Journal
G O OD NE IG HBOR
Paid for by the City of West Jordan
Have you ever thought about running for office? FILING PERIOD FOR 2019 MUNICIPAL ELECTION JUNE 3-7 The 2019 municipal election will be the first West Jordan election where voters will have the opportunity to elect a “strong mayor” who will take office when West Jordan changes to the Council-Mayor form of government in January 2020. This form of government change was approved during the 2017 election when residents voted to change the form of government from the current Council-Manager form to a Council-Mayor with a seven-member Council. The change passed by 63 votes. If you are interested in running for office, the filing period to declare candidacy is Monday, June 3 through Friday, June 7 by 5 p.m. in the City Clerk’s Office, City Hall, 8000 South Redwood Road, 3rd floor. A primary election will be held Aug. 13, with the general election on Nov. 5. Because of the change in the form of government, this election cycle is different than in years past. Seats up for election this year include: • Mayor (4-year term) • At-Large Council (2-year term; newly created seat) • Council Districts 1, 2, 3, & 4 (4-year terms) For additional information visit WestJordan.Utah.Gov/election-overview or contact the City Clerk at 801-569-5117 or email Melanie.Briggs@WestJordan.Utah.Gov.
CANDIDATE REQUIREMENTS If you are interested in running for Mayor or City Council, you must meet the following requirements: 1. Be a United States citizen 2. Be at least 18 years old 3. Be a resident of the municipality or a resident of the recently annexed area for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the date of the election 4. Be a registered voter of the municipality [Utah Code 10-3-301; 20A-9-203]
M AY O R ’ S M E S S A G E
What’s happening with recycling? If you’ve been paying attention to what can and can’t be recycled, you’re probably more than a little confused. For decades, the bulk of American recyclables has been sent to China. But last year, China started to restrict the import of certain recyclables like mixed paper (magazines, junk mail and office paper) and most plastics. This has caused a major upheaval in the recycling industry that will likely continue to cause changes to recycling as we knew it. City leaders will continue to work with our solid waste provider to provide solutions that are cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Here is a list of those items that are still being recycled: • Aluminum and steel cans • Plastic bottles (like milk jugs and water bottles or plastics marked with a 1 or 2) • Cardboard (no junk mail) Remember all items must be free of food and liquids, and no plastic bags, please. Plastic bags jam up the machinery and literally grind things to a halt. We also have two locations where residents can drop off glass for recycling. These are located in the parking lot of the Gene Fullmer Rec Center and at 8200 South 7400 West. Glass recycling is a good way to extend the life of the landfill and turn recycled glass into a usable product like insulation. For more information on the city’s recycling options, visit WestJordan.Utah.Gov/garbageandrecycling. In addition to the curbside recycling program, the City also offers curbside green waste collection. This program helps divert usable material from the landfill and helps save valuable landfill space. Your green waste can is only for yard clippings like grass, leaves, branches, twigs and organic material. If you have a really big yard project, you can reserve a green waste dumpster at no charge. The city also offers regular dumpsters at no charge. Both can be reserved online at WestJordan.Utah.Gov/dumpsterreservation or call 801-569-5700. Please remember – no trash, recycling, or plastic lawn bags should be placed in your green waste container! I appreciate all those who help keep our community looking its best, whether it’s taking pride in their own yard or helping with a city-wide cleanup project like our upcoming Comcast Cares Day on May 4. If you have a question or concern, please stop by City Hall the second or fourth Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. to “Meet the Mayor” and share your thoughts and concerns. Or email me at email@example.com. Sincerely,
Jim Riding, Mayor
GOOD NEIGHBOR NEWS: WEST JORDAN NEWSLETTER
PAID FOR BY THE CITY OF WEST JORDAN
Public Works Open House May 25 In accordance with state and federal proclamations, the City of West Jordan is excited to celebrate National Public Works Week from May 19-25, culminating in an open house Saturday, May 25 at the new Public Works facility, 7960 South 4000 West. The open house will give residents the opportunity to come and meet members of the Public Works Department, learn about the services we provide and get your questions answered. Members of the Public Works Department will be there to listen and ready to receive suggestions and feedback on ways we can better serve the community.
The open house will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to informational displays and feedback opportunities, Public Works will be pulling out several of their heavy pieces of equipment as part of a “petting zoo” to allow kids to see backhoes, front end loaders, TV inspection vans, 10-wheel dump trucks, Vactor trucks and more and learn how these critical tools are used to help maintain the roads and utilities in the City. Some of the services provided by Public Works include: • Street Maintenance – pothole repair, crack sealing and neighborhood mill and overlays • Concrete Maintenance – fixing sidewalk, curbs and gutter issues • Water Operations – managing the water delivery of over 7 billion gallons of water to residents and businesses each year • Water Repair and Maintenance – repairing valves, hydrants and pipes • Wastewater Inspection and Cleaning – inspecting and cleaning all of the sewer pipes and manholes • Stormwater Inspection and Cleaning – taking care of storm detention basins, pipes and discharge points to the Jordan River • Capital Projects – engineers that plan and build the major road and utility projects in the City • Other services include, snow removal, streetlights, signs, traffic signals, garbage cans, facility maintenance, city vehicle maintenance and much more! Come help us celebrate on May 25 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Questions? Email publicworks@WestJordan.Utah.Gov or call 801-569-5070.
City’s Fleet Program Recognized for Excellence Government Fleet magazine along with the American Public Works Association recently released their list recognizing the top government fleet organizations across the United States. West Jordan and the State of Utah’s Fleet Division were both honored to be part of an award program that “recognizes operations that are performing at a high level, particularly in fleet leadership, competitiveness and efficiency, planning for the future, and overcoming challenges.” Leading Fleets highlights the top 50 government fleet organizations in the US, with Notable Fleets recognizing others that performed well during the evaluation process. The City of West
Jordan was listed as a Notable Fleet and will be recognized along with others on the list during the Honors Celebration at Government Fleet Expo. “This recognition speaks to the quality of the people and policies by our fleet division and the incredible support provided by our elected officials and administration in support of our fleet program,” said Deputy Public Works Director Justin Stoker. The State of Utah Division of Fleet Operations was the only other government fleet from Utah recognized by the evaluation team. Between Leading Fleets and Notable Fleets, the City of West Jordan is one of only 33 total organizations in the western states to be recognized.
West Jordan Ranks 5th in the Nation for Homeownership Home is where the heart is, and West Jordan ranks 5th in the nation for homeownership according to a home insurance comparison website. According to Insurify.com, their data scientists analyzed data from City-Data.com to identify and explore the top cities in each state with the highest percentage of residents living in homes they own. All cities in consideration had a population over 100,000 for an analysis that focused on cities that are mid-size or larger. The team also gathered
data on average household income for both city and state, as well as the share of married individuals who are 15 and older. West Jordan by the numbers: • Proportion of homeowners: 74.6% • Average household income: $71,517 • Statewide average household income: $65,977 • Percentage of married adults: 54.7%
GOOD NEIGHBOR NEWS: WEST JORDAN NEWSLETTER PAID FOR BY THE CITY OF WEST JORDAN
Veteransâ€™ Art at the Schorr
Wild West Jordan Playground Update At the March 13 City Council meeting, the Council approved a final design for the new Wild West Jordan Playground. The approved design includes additional playground equipment, which will make the all-abilities playground even better than originally proposed! Because the play equipment is custom, the playground completion has been delayed until fall. The wait will be worth it because the playground will now have even more toys for children of all abilities to enjoy! You can view the renderings online at WestJordan.Utah.Gov/playground.
On display in the City Hall Schorr Gallery is a variety of art from some of our local military Veterans. The exhibit includes watercolors, oil paintings, acrylics and photography and will be on display through the first several weeks of May. To be considered a Veteran, one must have served on active duty in the military. There they served our nation in times of peace and times of war. Through training and skills learned, they helped protect the freedoms we enjoy today. Along with the skills they acquired in the service, these artist Veterans have also expressed themselves through their art. The Schorr Gallery is open five days a week, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located on the third floor of West Jordan City Hall, 8000 S. Redwood Road. Please come and view some fine art from some of our honored Veterans.
GOOD NEIGHBOR NEWS: WEST JORDAN NEWSLETTER
PAID FOR BY THE CITY OF WEST JORDAN
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
COMCAST CARES DAY
DOCUMENT SHRED & E-WASTE RECYCLING
WESTERN STAMPEDE NATIONAL ANTHEM AUDITIONS
Various project sites or the West Jordan Cemetery, 7925 S 1300 West Registration 7-8 a.m.
City Hall West Parking Lot 8000 S 1825 West 10 a.m.-noon
City Parks Office 7925 S 1300 West, 10 a.m.
MAYOR’S OPEN OFFICE HOURS
CITY COUNCIL MEETING
City Hall 8000 S Redwood Rd. 6 p.m.
City Hall Mayor’s Office 8000 S Redwood Rd 3-5 p.m.
City Hall Council Chambers 8000 S Redwood Rd. 5:30 p.m.
MAYOR’S OPEN OFFICE HOURS
CITY COUNCIL MEETING
City Hall 8000 S Redwood Rd. 6 p.m.
City Hall Mayor’s Office 8000 S Redwood Rd 3-5 p.m.
City Hall Council Chambers 8000 S Redwood Rd. 5:30 p.m.
WEST JORDAN CITY SYMPHONY SPRING CONCERT
MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE
Viridian Event Center 8030 S 1825 West, 7 p.m.
CITY OFFICES CLOSED
Veterans Memorial Park 1985 W 7800 S 9 a.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 Police Dept. 8040 S. Redwood Rd. West Jordan, Utah 84088 801-256-2000 801-840-4000 Dispatch
Grizzlies have new baseball field By Greg James | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the inaugural Copper Hills alumni baseball game, the old-timers outlasted the young-timers with lots of smiles and only a few errors. (Photo courtesy of Tami Ostmark/ CH baseball boosters)
he parents, players and coaches with Copper Hills baseball invested nearly $175,000 into their field infrastructure. The celebration of their accomplishment commenced with the inaugural alumni game featuring past players, including the first-ever pitcher in school history, Wes McKnight (graduated in 1998). “The money came from the parents and a few community businesses,” Grizzly baseball booster co-President Tami Ostmark said. “We looked at the field and knew there was a need. I had a friend from an opposing team run down the baseline and got injured. We were not in the rotation with the district to get a new field, so we just decided to get it done.” The fundraising for the field reconstruction started in June 2018. The project began in September. The final sod was laid in November before the first significant snowfall. The entire infield was completely removed. Crews installed a new sprinkler system, backstop, home plate netting, outfield banners, dirt and sod. Head coach Joel Sundquist said its field is now up to par with the athletes that play on it. “It shows that we are invested in this baseball program,” Sundquist said. “It is hard to justify to have your kids come here unless we do things like this. We are going to keep this nice for a long time. We have plans for other things to keep it going. We want to improve this for the community.” The field improvements complement the combination press box and concession stand the district officials built two years ago. “My players love it,” Sundquist said. “They deserve a place like this to play. This was a 20-year-old field. We had sprinkler heads in play, the mound was not regulation, and I could not get the bases to stay in place. It was a sandpit. The kids could not even run.” The preseason alumni game marked the beginning of the team’s regular season. As they gathered for the national anthem, the graduates’ children joined them on the baselines. it was a moment that garnered a sigh from the parents in the stands. Current Grizzlies pitching coach Benji Wright, a 2012 graduate, collected the most
attention from his players. They heckled him from the sidelines to get a lead and get dirty when the pitcher attempted a pick off. The largest cheer came as Wright stole second base. “We had these guys send us a small note of what they are doing now,” Ostmark said. “This is something we want to keep doing.” This year’s Grizzly team is excelling in the classroom too. They had seven 4.0 grade point averages and cumulatively held a 3.75 GPA. Sundquist is excited about his current players. “We are a really good club,” he said. “We are as talented as we ever have been. We hit the crap out of the ball. We play aggressively. We have a goal for like 80 stolen bases. We want to put pressure on the other team.” The Grizzly talent has opportunities after high school. Senior Chase Taylor has signed at BYU for next fall. Junior Braden Taylor is committed to TCU, and Kyle Hoffman is still entertaining offers. “We have four or five division one talented players and several others that will have some interest,” Sundquist said. Chase Taylor is hitting .415 this season and leads the team with 20 runs batted in. Braden Taylor has stolen five bases. Tyler Wells has struck out 25 opponents. “We play in a tough region and need to give it our all every night,” Sundquist said. “These players are learning and working their butts off. I am glad we are building this with our families. Our booster club is incredible. To organize all of this, I just mentioned it, and they took over. It is good for me because I am just a coach. I put together lineups and teach kids to play the game.” Booster club co-President Missy Hoffman has had three sons play baseball at the school (Kyle, Trevor and Zach). The new playing surface will be a standing legacy for the future Grizzly teams. “The Hoffmans were incredible,” Ostmark said. “They donated a lot and really stepped in to make sure this got done. We really felt that this field did not live up to the caliber of players that are here.” l
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May 2019 | Page 19
West Jordan’s 2019 Outstanding Teachers of the Year By Jet Burnham | firstname.lastname@example.org
nly 18 out of 2,500 teachers in Jordan District were awarded the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award for 2019. Members of the Jordan Education Foundation surprised the winners with the announcement, inviting them to a banquet at Little America to receive their award and $1,000 cash. Five of the teachers honored were from West Jordan schools.
Copper Hills High School Joshua Brothers, AP Language and Composition Joshua Brothers was meant to be a teacher. “I teach because I have to—I’m a teacher down in my heart,” he said. Despite family members’ encouragement, he resisted before he finally taking a teaching position six years ago. “That first day in the classroom, I had to think to myself, ‘This is what I’m meant to do. I guess I’ve found my calling. I’m going to start working and throwing everything I’ve got into this,’” said Brothers. “It just turned out that this is what I was meant to do.” His wife, KC, said when he talks about his day, it is obvious that he loves his job. “He truly loves it,” she said. “He is invested in each and every one of his students.” Brothers believes the real teaching takes place when he is connected with his students. “If I don’t care about them, then they’re not going to care about what I have to offer, and so that’s where I really need to dig in,” he said. “If they’re telling me that they love me back, well, then, I guess I’m doing something right.” Brothers was touched when JEF board members and community leaders interrupted his class to announce the award. “Anything I can, I want to give back to the community, and so it’s a great honor to have them giving back to me,” said Brothers, who enjoys mentoring colleagues and community members. In the nomination application, one of his colleagues stated, “Your students perform because they want to. You do not practice classroom management — you practice classroom leadership. Students know that you are their first line of defense when they encounter difficult circumstances. Many say their anxiety lowers when they come to your class. You are a student advocate and committed to teaching which results in growth and success.” Brothers said he will be using the $1,000 cash award to prepare for the birth of his first child, due in this summer.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • Students congratulate their teacher, Joshua Brothers, for his Outstanding Teacher of the Year recognition. (Photo courtesy JEF)
her drama on’ and performs a silly song to help remember key concepts,” said one of her nominators. Clelland also enhances her students’ learning through her love of kayaking. She collects items she finds on her kayaking outings to show her students. “Seeing these kids learn things and seeing students that come into the class thinking ‘I don’t want to be here’ and half-way in, they’re really grasping topics and finding out this world we live in is so exciting, that just means so much to me,” she said. Clelland is the first teacher at SRMS to be honored with this award, which was announced during an assembly in front of her peers and students. “Every time one of us is recognized, it uplifts all of us,” said Clelland. “I’m just one of the many teachers who go beyond what the absolute necessary is at this school.” She loves teaching. “I will teach until the day I die—I don’t think I’m going to be able to retire—so for them to say thank you, it’s absolutely wonderful,” said Clelland. “But even if they didn’t, I’d keep doing this. I just love these kids.” Clelland said the $1,000 cash award was a welcome surprise. It will be used to save a life. Her dog got into a bag of lab coats she brought home to launder after a heart and lungs lab and ate a surprising amount of nonSunset Ridge Middle School food items. Erin Clelland, Biology and Earth Science “She was in surgery all day yesterday, so Erin Clelland is not your ordinary sci- that’s where it’s going—it’s spent,” she said. ence teacher. She incorporates music into the Terra Linda Elementary science curriculum. Anthony Martinez, Autistic Support K-6 “At the end of each standard she ’gets Anthony Martinez has a caseload of 60
Page 20 | May 2019
Additionally, one teacher from each school in JSD were recognized by JEF as Teacher of the Year with a goodie bag and $250. West Jordan school winners are:
behavior students, most of them with autism. One colleague said, “He not only keeps track of them but works alongside each classroom teacher to ensure each student’s success in and out of class. He talks calmly to students, never raising his voice when a student is dysregulated and then teaches the students skills to calm themselves. Many parents ask for Mr. Martinez to work with their child outside of school because they have seen the tremendous success he has with them because of the life changing example of care he demonstrates.”
• • • • •
Richard Hoonakker, West Jordan High Lisa Wadzeck, JATC North Victor Neves, West Hills Middle William Shields, West Jordan Middle Demi Dubach, Joel P. Jensen Middle Regan Stowell, Hayden Peak Elementary Cindy Birge, Oakcrest Elementary Laura Ferguson, Copper Canyon Elementary Caitlin Nguyen, Mountain Shadows Elementary Nikki Hurst, Falcon Ridge Elementary Jennifer Bentley, Fox Hollow Elementary Joelen Worner, Jordan Hills Elementary Ashley Moon, Bastian Elementary Sidnee Empey, West Jordan Elementary Dana Gruer, Heartland Elementary Kyla Asmar, Majestic Elementary Lori Huey, Riverside Elementary Catherine Sullivan, Westvale Elementary Kristen Leininger, Oquirrh Elementary
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West Jordan City Journal
Copper Hills speech and debate triumphs at state By Jet Burnham | email@example.com
aud Mumin is passionate about controversial topics, politics and activism. He found his niche when he joined the Copper Hills High School speech and debate team last year. “I’ve always been a fairly outspoken person,” said Mumin, who serves as team vice-president. “So, I decided I might as well rack up a few trophies while I’m being opinionated.” Mumin has done just that, contributing to the team’s first-place win in the 6A state debate tournament this March. Each team member earns points in their individual event to contribute to the final team total. The speech and debate program offers a variety of events that test skills in research, presentation, critical thinking, debate and thinking fast on your feet. “Ultimately, there’s so much to debate that almost anybody who wants to do the activity can find something that they enjoy,” said Walker. With support from Walker and an assigned peer mentor, each team member finds his or her niche. Walker said because he includes students who might not fit the debate “mold,” he has created one of the most diverse teams in the state. He credits the diversity as one of the reasons the team performs so well at competitions. There are all sorts of personalities on the team. Anastacia Tennant, an admitted introvert, said she joined debate “to get out of my shell and possibly gain a few smarts doing so.” She transformed from lonely middle-schooler to captain of the Lincoln-Douglas debate team. “Now I have a lot of amazing friends, and I’ve gained a lot of knowledge,” said Tennant. “I’m not a lonely Goth kid anymore.” Erin Howell, public forum captain, believes there’s something for everyone—all personalities and interests—in debate. Initially, she had no interest in politics but has since developed a desire to be politically active and use her debate skills to get people to listen to her. “Debate helps me to find my voice and find a way to effectively use it,” said Howell. “So when I hear things that I don’t like, I know ways that I can speak out against that that aren’t just like a bunch of angry teenagers yelling at each other.” Matthew Cuthbert grew up in a home with lively political discussions. He joined debate because of “a mixture of interest in political activism and arrogance.” What he found was a way to articulate his ideas and influence others. “Debate gives us a forum to be able to express our opinions in ways that people will actually understand,” he said.
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Copper Hills High School wins the division 6A Speech and Debate state championship. (Photo courtesy Mathew Walker/CHHS)
As an intern for Rep. Kim Coleman, he contributed to Coleman’s research for her legislative action calling for free speech on college campuses. Cuthbert was able to share his experiences of being at Berkeley College for a debate tournament just one week before a student was assaulted for publicly expressing opinions. Asia Rowell said through the large amounts of research required to prepare for debate topics, debate students know more than the average citizen about world events, politics and economics. She believes her generation should be more politically active now because it is their future that will be affected by decisions world leaders are making now. “This is when we have to step in and take ahold of our own future instead of letting the older generations, who’ve been through this, take ahold of something that they’re not even going to be involved in,” said Rowell. Students at CHHS took action March 14 of last year to participate in the national Walk Out for Gun Reform. “Kids in this building couldn’t vote, but we still chose to do that part of the work,” said Mumin. He believes debating a problem opens doors to solutions. Debate students learn to civilly engage in productive discussions to address an issue and to allow the other side to express their opinions without resorting to personal attacks or insults. In some events, debate students must be familiar with both sides of a topic because the flip of a coin determines if they are the affirmative or negative team for that round. Rowell said researching both sides helps her see
the whole issue and be more open-minded. “That’s what the challenge is about debate,” said Rowell. “We are forced to agree with things that we may not agree with personally.” CHHS has finished state in first place for the last three years. However, when its speech and debate program began in 2013, the team debuted in last place. Its performance improved when students took accountability for their team. “We are 110 percent a student-led program,” said Rowell, who serves as the team’s president. “[Coach] signs us up for tournaments; we win the tournaments.” Walker credits the program’s design to Scott Odekirk, his predecessor responsible for rocketing CHHS out of its last-place ranking several years ago. “He set up a system that works beautifully,” said Walker, who took over as team coach three years ago. “It’s that, pretty much, let the students run everything.” New team members are trained up by veteran members. Every new student in Walker’s Debate 1 class is paired with a Debate 2 student who helps them be successful—by introducing them to the speech and debate community, easing their adjustment into high school and even arranging academic tutors when necessary. “I think keeping that mentorship program, where the students are really in control, is what ultimately has made it so we won last year and this year as well,” said Walker. l
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May 2019 | Page 21
Utah kart teams seek new track to race on By Greg James | firstname.lastname@example.org
he Utah Kart Championship has had a home at Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele since the track opened in 2006. This season they are currently homeless. “At the end of last season, I started asking for contracts (to use the track and UMC),” UKC President Scott Clark said. “Because of the sale the track in December, it was delayed. The new ownership then lost several top-level staff positions. Then UMC announced they are not going to host any UKC events this year.” After several negotiation attempts by Clark and other UKC officials, the track’s offer nearly tripled what the racers had been paying, pushing entry fees near $300 per day for each racer. The karting championship chose to look for other locations to compete this season, two weeks before its season was set to begin. “Grass roots karting cannot support that,” Clark said. “By the time you add tires, a pit spot and fuel, it becomes a $500 to $600 weekend. All that to take your 10-year-old kid racing. They basically blew grassroots racing off their map. That is what is unfortunate because karting is what develops kids into racers on the big track.” The karting championship has more than 60 current participants ranging in age from 5 to 70 . Its membership has dropped in the last few years because of the uncertainty of the track ownership. “The numbers have fallen off the last
Local kart racers will not be holding their championship races at Utah Motorsports Campus this season. (Photo courtesy of Utah Karting Championship)
few years, just like sports bikes has because we did not know what was going to happen at the track (UMC was being sold by Tooele County),” Clark said. “For three years, people have not wanted to invest in new equipment because they were not sure there was going to be a track anymore.” With no home at UMC, the karting community has been looking for places to race. “We have found potential locations,” Clark said. “I can’t disclose them because we are in the midst of negotiating contracts with them all.” Large parking lots could be used to design the course configurations the championship needs. Before using UMC the championship ran at Maverik Center in West Valley City, the old Rocky Mountain Raceway facility and Golden Spike Arena in Ogden.
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“We will probably race at more than one venue,” Clark said. “I hope to have nine or 10 races in this season. We need to make sure the pavement is smooth enough. Our racers have been very supportive. We have sponsors come forth and offer help.” There has been active kart racing in Utah for approximately 70 years. This is the first time the championship has been trackless. UKC raced in Lehi and had its own track in Tooele called Blackrock Raceway. “The UMC track is truly the Taj Mahal of kart racing,” Clark said. “It is a beautiful facility. We have been very, very happy. It seems that many of the plans of hotels and manufacturing is not happening (at the track).Amateur racers in the area could all be affected.” The owners of the track (Mytime, a Chinese-based company) expect to operate a prof-
itable facility. “We are still welcoming the professional karting community,” UMC Chief Financial Officer Jon Clegg said. “We are exploring the idea of creating UMC karting leagues. We will continue to utilize the kart track for concession rentals (public rentals) and corporate events. Our issue with the UKC was they required what we consider prime times for concession rentals. Our income potential is 80 percent less when they are on the track. We attempted to negotiate new rates, and they chose to take their business elsewhere.” Wasatch Front racers hope to find a place to race closer to home. “We are looking for a new permanent home, probably on the east side of the Oquirrh Mountains,” Clark said. “We have been exploring multiple opportunities.” UKC runs eight different classifications in its racing championship. Open-wheel karting has often been the stepping stone for racers to pursue racing careers. Michael Self and Madison Snow, professional car racers, began their racing careers in karts here in Utah. “You never know who that kid is going to be,” Clark said. “Michael (Self) has been fortunate enough to get a ride. There are kids that come out as pros, but most of us are just doing this for the fun of it. That is where 99.9 percent of us land. We do it for the love of the sport.”
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West Jordan City Journal
Oakcrest families consume 900 doughnuts and 1,000 books By Jet Burnham | email@example.com
n the morning of Breakfast and Books at Oakcrest Elementary, Becky Evans and her second-grader Jon waited 15 minutes in line before they got their doughnuts and juice. They then pressed their way through the crowded cafeteria for Jon to select his free book. Jon was hoping to find a “Dog Man” book, a popular book series by best-selling “Captain Underpants” author Dav Pilkey, which Evans said the whole second grade is obsessed with. “It’s like the rave of second grade,” said Evans, who works part time as a computer aid at the school. Despite the long lines and crowds, Evans said Oakcrest families look forward to Breakfast and Books each spring and fall. “The kids get excited because they know they’re going to get a book—and they’re excited about the doughnuts, too,” she said. Her second-grader needed no prompting to be ready for school. “Usually he’s just sauntering out the door, but today he’s like, ‘Let’s go, Mom!’” she said. The activity began at 8 a.m., with the line forming 20 minutes early. The families at the end of the line got their breakfast at 8:35 a.m., with just a few dozen doughnuts to spare. Rebecca Sudweeks, chair for the event, was relieved the 900 doughnuts she purchased were enough. She said families love the event, and the PTA just never knows how many to plan for. “The community is growing,” said Sudweeks. “We have so much new development out here, there’s just more families every year.” The PTA purchased 1,000 books and let each student—and their siblings—take a book home. “I think that the goal for this event is to just share the love of books with the families in our school,” said Sudweeks. “Our book fairs are so successful, so we use the credit that we get from Scholastic to get these free books for the kids.” While Hunter Cooper, a kindergartener, loves to read, his older brother Braiden doesn’t. However, when the third-grader saw the variety of books available at Breakfast and Books, he was optimistic. “I might actually find some book that I like,” said Braiden. Stacy Haight, who has served on the PTA board for many years, said they try to buy books that kids will want to read while staying within the PTA budget. “Our book fairs are really successful so we’re able to be generous,” she said. Misti Abplanalp said the Breakfast and Books program instills in students how im-
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Season Tickets: $49 Adult, $45 Senior, $29 Child Amphitheater Parking: 495 East 5300 South Ticket Info: 801-264-2614 or www.murray.utah.gov Sean Pedigo helps his brother, Harrison, choose a book. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)
portant reading is. Her second-grade daughter, like many elementary-aged students, is required to read 500 minutes per month. She said it isn’t hard to fit in 10–20 minutes of reading a day because her daughter loves to read. Eighth-grader Sean Pedigo believes reading is important. “It helps your concentration and your ability to think about stuff and see other peoples’ points of view,” he said. Since his younger brother, Harrison, really wanted to pick out a book, and Sean’s middle school has a late start on Friday mornings, Sean brought him to the event. It took 20 PTA volunteers and help from the student council to hand out tickets for doughnuts, refill cups of orange juice and chocolate milk and keep the book tables Allison R. Barger enjoys working stocked. with clients of all ages to find the Lola Shepherd, a sixth-grader on the stubest solution for their planning dent council, helped students pick out their book. She thinks the Breakfast and Books needs. Allison makes every effort program is a great way to get kids excited to truly listen to and accommodate about reading. her client’s concerns. Allison is a “I think it’s good that they do doughnuts and chocolate milk or orange juice so it will member of the National Academy make them want to come,” she said. “They’ll of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) want to come, and then they can see all the and the Academy of Special Needs cool books to choose from, and they’ll want Planners (ASNP). to start reading.” Kristin Gonzales, PTA president-elect, said there are 988 students at Oakcrest this SERVICES: year, but they expect more than 1,100 next • Medicaid and Special Needs Planning year. • Wills • Trusts • Medical Directives “We’re going to keep the tradition going • Powers of Attorney • Estate with slight alterations,” she said. Haight has already volunteered to run Settlement • Caretaker Authority Forms the event next year because it is her favorite • Probate • Guardianship proceedings PTA activity of the year. “I just really like that it is putting books 801-984-2040 in kids’ hands,” said Haight. “I think firstname.lastname@example.org ing a book is important for kids—just to have something new to read, and they get to 10808 S. River Front Pkwy, Ste 344 choose it themselves.” l South Jordan, UT 84095
June 1 .............................................. Mamma Mia, Sing-Along June 8 ................... Murray Symphony Pops, “I’ve Got Rhythm” June 20-22, 24-26 ...Joseph & Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat June 29 ...................................................Murray Concert Band July 12-13 ..............................................Ballet Under the Stars July 25-27, 29-31 ................................... Beauty and the Beast Aug 9-10, 12, 15-17 ............................................Little Women September 2 ............................ Murray Acoustic Music Festival
Every Tuesday at Noon in Murray Park Pavilion #5, FREE June 4 – Jim Fish & Mountain Country .........................Country June 11 – Flashback Brothers......................... Classic Rock Hits June 18 – Kate MacLeod ..........................................Folk/Celtic June 25 – Tony Summerhays.............................One Man Band July 9 – Chrome Street .................................................Quartet July 16 – Svengali Jazz ...................................................... Jazz July 23 – Time Cruisers................................................... Oldies July 30 – Buzzard Whiskey ...................................Acoustic Folk
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Every Thursday at 2 p.m. in Murray Park Pavilion #5, FREE June 6 – Christopher Fair ......................................Magic Show June 13 – Acadamh Rince .......................................Irish Dance June 20 – Coralie Leue ...............................The Puppet Players June 27 – Harvest Home ...........................Musical Storytelling July 11 – The Calvin Smith Elementary Lion Dance Team July 18 – Happy Hula ...........................................Island Dance July 25 – Sounding Brass .................................................. Jazz Aug 1 – Alphorn Trio ............................................. Swiss Music
Bring the Whole Family Young and Old! The 2nd Monday of every month at 7 p.m., FREE Murray Senior Recreation Center (#10 E 6150 S – 1/2 block west of State) June 10 – In Cahoots..........................................Cowboy Music July 8 – Skyedance................................................ Celtic Music Aug 12 – Company B...................................................... Oldies Sept 9 – Great Basin Street Band .................... Dixieland Music
This program has received funding support from residents of Salt Lake County, SL County Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP), Utah Division of Arts and Museums, and Museums & National Endowment for the Arts.
May 2019 | Page 23
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said Mike Nitz, the current co-owner. The Cannons sold the company 10 years later to the current owners, Mike Nitz and Greg Bettinson. After purchasing the company in 2004, Mike and Greg gave it a new name – Replenish Landscape Garden Products – to better describe what the business was all about. They also moved the business from West Valley City to its current location in Murray, at 4660 S. 200 West. Over the past 15 years, they have grown the business by expanding the variety of landscape materials offered and expanding their customer base to cover the entire Wasatch Front. “There are a number of options when it comes to landscape materials, but they are not all created equal,” explained Greg. “We believe that in Replenish Compost we have the finest and most versatile compost available, period. To complement our signature Replenish Compost product, we have made it our focus to develop, or find, the very best soil blends, barks, mulches and materials available in the industry. Quality is what we sell.” Any of Replenish’s products can be picked up at their Murray yard, in either bulk or bag. They also deliver in bag, bulk, or in
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Joel P. students take on mental health education By Jet Burnham | firstname.lastname@example.org Mental health issues are a concern for many students at Joel P. Jensen Middle School. “I think middle schoolers, especially because they’re teenagers, they’re having all of these mixed emotions around, and they don’t understand it quite well,” said ninth-grader Fabiola Payan Aparcana. She has watched her two brothers struggle with severe depression and said it was the little things that would add up to overwhelm them. “A lot of people around our age are really sad nowadays,” she said. “They over-think a lot. Anxiety comes on to people really fast. Something little happens to somebody, and they think it’s the worst thing.” As president of Latinos In Action (LIA), Fabiola worked with the group to host a Mental Health Awareness Week at JPJMS. “This year, the kids in my class felt very strongly it was something they wanted to do,” said LIA adviser Amanda Spravzoff. “Most students’ lives have been affected by mental illness either for themselves dealing with some mental health issues or with a family member, so we’re just trying to talk about it more, normalize it and end any stigmas that are out there.” The 37 students in LIA were joined by 25 students of Team Prowl, the school’s anti-bullying group, to implement ideas to help end the stigma of mental health issues. The students decorated hallways with posters, sharing educational facts about mental illness as well as motivational quotes. They invited all students to sign a pledge to end the stigma of mental health. A highlight of the week was a lunch time activity where students wrote kind notes to others. Jaylee Martinez, a member of LIA, helped deliver them to students during class. “I realized that it made a lot of people happy,” she said. “People would post it on their social media. When I would hand them their card, they’d get a smile.” Student leaders felt the awareness week had an impact on the school’s culture. “It was explaining more about how you can be open with it and how you’re not alone because there’s a lot of kids in this school that have anxiety,” said Fabiola. Two of her friends confided to her their struggles with mental health during Mental Health Week, saying they felt more support to be open about it. Jaylee has been selective about telling others about her depression and anxiety because she has heard kids at school joking about suicide and depression. “When we did the Mental Health Week and actually talked about it, I realized that I haven’t heard that as much in the school,” said Jaylee. She feels more confident in telling others about her struggles because she
Page 26 | May 2019
feels like they will now understand. Even if they don’t have experience with anxiety themselves, she said they’re learning to be understanding when she explains that something makes her uncomfortable. She said having support from friends helps ease her symptoms. JPJMS Counselor Jill Smith said many kids don’t know if what they’re feeling is a normal teenage experience or if it is something more serious. “Students need to know resources available if they feel they are struggling more than average,” said Smith, who offers support groups for students with anxiety and depression and for students who identify or are allies to LGBTQ. She said the awareness week provided students with a better understanding of mental health and the available resources. She hoped it reached a student who needed the information. “If you affect one student, then it was effective,” she said. Team Prowl hoped promoting awareness of how teens with mental health struggles feel would reduce incidences of bullying. Julie Evans, President of Team Prowl, works with Latinos in Action students to post positive posters. (Jet “You might lash out at others because Burnham\City Journals) you are hurting,” said Team Prowl adviser Courtney Beesley. “But mental health problems can also be exacerbated when someone is being bullied or bothered by another person. Maybe something that doesn’t seem like a big deal to someone who is healthy will be devastating to someone who is dealing with a Maxwell Dance Studio (MDS) mental illness.” is celebrating one year in Team Prowl also presented an assembly on opioid addiction and its link to mental their commercial location! health. MDS is one of West Jordan’s only non-competitive, “It felt good to have it out there and that performance based dance studios. Their mission is everybody is informed,” said Julie Evans, to provide a fun and educational, family friendly, president of Team Prowl. dance education to children of all ages, without She believes awareness education prethe pressure of competition. Even adults can enjoy pares students to take control of their addicthe all-inclusive atmosphere of MDS with the 4th tions, anxieties and depression. “If you don’t know about it, how are you Friday Date Night Ballroom for only $10/couple, or going to cope with it?” she said. “If you don’t our exciting High Fitness Classes! know what’s going on with yourself, then it’s Check out maxwelldancestudio.com hard to open up about it, too.” for more information. Student leaders are pleased with how the week went and hope it will become a school tradition. “I hope that all students feel more comfortable discussing mental health and that we’ve helped remove a little bit of the stigma around it,” said Beesley. l
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West Jordan City Journal
pring is upon us, summer is on the way; and with warmer temperatures and (hopefully) blue skies on the horizon, drivers can’t blame slick roads or blinding flurries for their faulty driving anymore. Driving safely requires good driving habits. Habits. Not occasionally safe maneuvers. The following are some prudent practices to implement in your daily travels.
Safe Driving Habits
drove over a nail and didn’t realize it. We often don’t look at the tires on the passenger side since we don’t approach the car from that direction, checking regularly allows you to examine those opposite side wheels. It will keep your car’s handling in its best condition. Each vehicle can have different appropriate PSI (measurement for tire pressure), but when temperatures drop, so Blinkers and blind spots Driving 101. If you plan on changing does the pressure in your tires. lanes, let others in on your secret. Everyone Keep car maintained will appreciate it. Others want to know what Since you’ll be regularly checking the you are planning. tires, might as well keep regularly schedLikewise, if you see a blinker come uled maintenance on your car. This can range on indicating your lane is that car’s desired from oil changes to transmission flushes. destination, let it in. This isn’t the Daytona Simply checking windshield washer fluid or 500. We are not racing for $19 million. It is the antifreeze level in your car’s reservoir can common courtesy, if we want people to use prevent serious issues happening on the road. their blinkers, then we should reward them Wash your car especially after storms for doing so. or if you’ve parked under a pine tree where Remember the blinker doesn’t automat- birds can drop their white business on the ically assume safe passage to the next lane. hood or sap could drip onto the roof. Left And while your car’s sensors in the rearview untreated, these outdoor stains can ruin the mirrors are helpful, they are not omniscient. paint on your vehicle. Check your blind spot with your own eyes. Drive defensively There’s a reason it’s called a “blind” spot. This means keeping distance between
troubling and you probably shouldn’t be behind a steering wheel. Also you can’t always see what’s in front of the car before you. They may have to slam on their brakes due to an unexpected obstruction. If you rear end them, insurance rarely works out in your favor. This can also mean slowing down on wet roads or not weaving in and out of traffic. Distractions This is the No. 1 reason for accidents. This is not limited to using the cell phone, though texting, checking news alerts or making a phone call are all terrible decisions to make while driving.
It also extends to dozing off or checking the price at the gas station you just passed. Be alert, stay vigilant. Other drivers may suddenly stop, they may not see you as you yield or turn. By staying engaged and sharp, your reactions can be sharper and you may even anticipate what other drivers are looking to do. One way to stay engaged is to vary your daily commute. Changing your routine alerts your brain, breaking you from the monotonous snooze you may find yourself after traveling certain routes hundreds of times. These habits are important and it is not overdramatic to say that they could save a life.
Tire pressure you and the car in front of you. This one is almost as simple as the first. Touching their bumper does nothing for Check your tire pressure on a regular basis you. And if you need to get that close to read to know if there is a small leak. Maybe you their license plate or sticker, your eyesight is
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pring is the time for new beginnings… after graduations. When attending those events, you’ll overhear stories about someone’s parents buying them a new car for graduation, or someone’s rich relative flying them and their three closest friends to an island for a few weeks. Depending on how many people you know who are graduating, and how high the expectations have been set for you, buying gifts for grads can be expensive. Instead of spending more money, try one of these do-it-yourself (DIY) gift ideas. One of the most common DIY graduation gifts are graduation leis, similar to those Polynesian garlands of flowers, but without the flowers. You’ll need a lot of plastic wrap for this one. Gather the things you wish to include in your lei. This may include snacksized candy bars, gift cards, rolled-up dollar bills, mints, etc. Be very careful as you lay out a long piece of plastic wrap. (Alternatively, you may choose to use smaller pieces of plastic wrap and tie all the pieces together at the end.) Place all your goodies out, side by side, leaving about 2 inches between each item, down one edge of the plastic wrap. Roll that plastic wrap over to trap the goodies in their new packaging. After you have wrapped all the items thoroughly, tie each of the spaces between goodies together. Alternatively, if you’re talented with origami, you can fold dollar bills and tie them together to create a
beautiful flower-resembling lei. If you, or your graduating human, really likes being cheesy (like me, I usually go socheesy I approach Gouda territory), you can make small graduation caps to put on almost anything you may think of. You’ll need a circular base, something resembling a lid of a jar or a bottlecap, some parchment paper, a button, and some string. Wrap the parchment paper around the circular base and glue or tape it down. Then, glue or tape a squareshaped piece of parchment paper on top of the circular base to create the top of the cap. Glue or tape (hot glue might work best for this part) a button to the middle of the top of the square-shaped parchment paper. Lastly, wrap the string, (which needs to be tied to create a circle, with cut segments of the string draped through the middle, and tied together to create a tassel) over the button. As mentioned, almost anything can be capped. You might buy a small jar from your local Michael’s or Handy Dandy (my nickname for Hobby Lobby) and make the lid of the jar a graduation cap. Then you can fill the jar with candy, gift cards, anything your heart desires. You can do the same thing with a lightbulb and use a cheesy saying about how bright the graduate’s future is. You could put little graduation caps on a handful of different candies. You might even attach a cap to the lid of a drink tumbler and fill the tumbler
with confetti and the aforementioned goodies. Lastly, you could stick a cap on the top of a money cake: a cake made out of rolled-up dollar bills placed in a circular shape. When you’re attending graduations, with your DIY gift proudly in hand, also remember to bring your fully-charged camera or smartphone for pictures afterward and lots of tissues for the proud moment when your graduate takes the stage. l
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It’s a jungle out there
itting in the petri dish of a playground at a nearby fast food chain, I watch my grandkids jump around like just-releasedinto-the-wild baboons. Like every other adult in the room, I hoped this stop would be a fun diversion, a place the kids could play while I read War and Peace. Kids on playgrounds are fascinating the same way the Spanish Inquisition was fascinating: lots of violence, torture, crazy zealots and tattletales. Sitting with the book I won’t be able to read, and eating cold French fries, I’m the Jane Goodall of the toddler kingdom, as I study their animal-like behavior. There’s a hierarchy to the madness, with the older kids sitting at the top of the pyramid. They push toddlers out of the way and block slides until little kids cry. The next level down are kids between the ages of 4 and 8. Not quite ready to be the bullies on the playground, they tail after the leaders hoping to be included in any dastardly plan. Toddlers make up the lowest level of the playground food chain. These cute little kids are a pain in the asset as they try to establish a presence without being trampled by oblivious 10-year-old boys. I’ve witnessed several toddler smack-downs, including my granddaughter who started a fistfight with a little boy over a pretend steering wheel. The fast food playground smells like a
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mildewed diaper pail. It also has a fine layer of mucous coating every possible surface. Everything is sticky. Bacteria gleefully thrives. There’s a logjam of kids at the bottom of the slide, backing up traffic and causing overall mayhem. Older siblings shepherd brothers and sisters through the throng of screaming and thrashing little bodies, in search of fun and excitement, while being screamed at by their mothers. I watch kids scramble through the maze of colorful gerbil tubes, listening for the sound of my granddaughter’s screech as she fights her way to the slide, where she refuses to go down, triggering an uproar in the playground ecosystem. Her brother finally convinces her the slide is fun and they both tumble to the bottom. They run back up and do it again. I hear snippets of conversations. “That boy is taking off his clothes.” “She put ketchup in my ear.” “Look! I can fly!” But when the Lord of the Flies Preschool bus pulls up in front of the building, that’s my signal to skedaddle. Easier said than done. As soon as I announce it’s time to leave, my granddaughter scurries up the tunnel, refusing to come down and throwing poo at anyone who approaches. I send her brother up to get her and hear his bloodcurdling scream as she kicks him in the head, and climbs higher into the hamster
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West Jordan Journal May 2019