West Jordan Journal | August 2021

Page 1

August 2021 | Vol. 7 Iss. 08


WEST JORDAN CITY CALLING FOR INFLATIONARY TAX By Erin Dixon | e.dixon@mycityjournals.com


n Aug. 24, West Jordan City will host a $277,000. “We [will] hold it in reserves for truth-in-taxation. This is a state mandated next year when we’re going to be purchasing meeting that city leaders must hold if they want quite a few police vehicle replacements, like to adjust their property tax income. 89,” Steck said. The potential adjustment in West Jordan has The police department would get been discussed in city council meetings since last $65,000 to recruit new officers. “They are December. paying for new recruits out of the SLCC and At that time, Councilmember Zach Jacob UVU program that are going through trainexplained that a small increase in a truth in taxaing,” Steck said. “This would pay for 10 of tion meeting equals maintenance for the city and those recruits.” residents, not a higher cost to property owners. Another $100,000 would provide mar“The state law is to lower your taxes every keting and public outreach. “The council is year by default,” Jacob said. “We have to low- Staff and officials in West Jordan would like to bring another $500,000 to the city. (Photo courtesy West interested in reaching out to our residents on er it every year unless we raise it. Every year Jordan) a more regular basis for reporting, transparthe property value goes up, the property tax rate ency, noticing, events and other things to let ogy management fund. “The first 130,000 of that will purgoes down. It’s putting the brakes on the car going down the them know what we are doing for them,” Steck said. “We’re chase the agenda management software and the rest will go to hill.” not doing a whole lot of that right now.” beef up reserves,” Steck said. “What we’re finding is IT costs State law says that a city will receive the same amount of The marketing money would be further divided for speare increasing pretty quickly. [W]e purchased so much stuff property taxes each year, even if property values go up, unless cific department communication. “A lot of that outreach has during the pandemic with CARES act money. In three years, the city holds a truth-in-taxation meeting. to do with utilities; 25% of outreach is allocated to utilities,” [that] is going to make a huge cost increase because we’re This year, West Jordan leaders are considering a 2.5% Steck said. “Seventy-five thousand dollars to the general fund going to need to replace it. inflationary property tax rate. Of that 2.5% change, residents for things like information on a landfill, a transfer station, inThe Risk Fund would get $100,000, and $10,000 would will only pay 45%. Commercial property owners pay the full formational.” go to recruit a new risk manager. amount. The last $50,000 would go to the events budget. “Our “Ninety-thousand dollars [would go] into reserves,” This change in tax rate would bring $585,000 more to event staff is stretched too thin but not thin enough to gain Steck said. “The stronger our reserves are, the more we are the city. another employee,” Steck said. The money would pay for outable to find discounts in insurance premiums. It takes money Finance Director Danyce Steck outlined where that monsourced help. to make money.” ey would go if the rate is approved. The Aug. 24 meeting is open to the public and will have The fleet fund that purchases police vehicles would get Of that, $250,000 would go to the information technoltime for resident comments. l


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CANYON CONGESTION – CAN WE SOLVE IT? Utah’s growth and popularity as a year-round recreation destination are

Carbon Gondola = dioxide reduced 56%

Weigh in now through September 3 and tell UDOT to support the gondola.

having profound impacts in our canyons. This is especially evident in Little Cottonwood Canyon, where traffic often snarls the highway and backs up into neighborhoods. After decades of discussions, UDOT is nearing the end of a study to address these transportation issues and has identified two preferred options: widen the road to accommodate more diesel bus service and add a half-mile of snow shed tunnels or install a high-capacity gondola system.

SUSTAINABILITY A gondola is the only sustainable option that provides a carbon-neutral system


without impacting water quality and wildlife habitat. Building a four-lane highway,

A gondola system would open up reliable secondary access for the

pavement and disrupt existing climbing access. Building a gondola would take

and the hillside stabilization required to do so, will add hundreds of feet of

canyon during emergencies and road closures. This is critical for a canyon

that’s home to the most avalanche-prone highway in North America. Cars and buses not equipped to travel the steep canyon often bring traffic to a standstill, and avalanche cleanup can leave visitors stranded. A gondola would rise above the road, withstanding wind and snow to move people safely and efficiently from the base station to the top of the canyon in 37 minutes.

1,400 cars off the road per hour, decreasing daily emissions by 56%.

Scan above to submit your comment.

For more gondola information or to see a video rendering, visit www.GondolaWorks.com

SOLUTIONS While road expansion and a gondola would cost about the same, the gondola costs less to operate and maintain and lasts three times longer than a bus. The gondola base station proposed at La Caille provides 1,800 parking stalls with tie ins to regional bus service. A gondola preserves Little Cottonwood Canyon for future generations because it solves the congestion that exists now and offers a way to control access in the future. During peak hours a 30-passenger cabin could arrive every 30 seconds and, in coordination with in-canyon vehicle tolling, can also be used to limit the number of daily visitors.

Page 2 | August 2021

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August 2021 | Page 3

This West Jordan restaurant looks to provide extra bit of magic Linda Steele | l.steele@mycityjournals.com


ystique is a vintage of old-world decor with a magical flair, combined with exquisite high-quality, world-class entertainment. There is an elegant mystical decor that brought forth the name Mystique Dining. Mystique is a historic venue of great dining and entertainment located in West Jordan. You can dine as a couple, have birthday or anniversary celebrations for a group, or a company team. You will experience fun, great entertainment, ambiance and gourmet food. History of Mystique Dining Mystique Dining started in 1990. Owner Terry Commons started performing close-up magic shows. He started with a haunted mansion for Halloween. Mystique became popular, and many new ideas developed. Mystique Chamber Mystery Theater opened at 4876 Yellowstone Avenue in Chubbuck, Idaho, on Oct. 24, 1997. The Chamber seated 16 guests with an elaborate atmosphere. A seven-course meal was served, and guests were greeted at the door by a maid and butler. The next facility was located at 158 East Chubbuck Road, and opened on May 14, 2001. This location was larger and seated 20 people. The entertainment was more interactive with the guests. Sharing the Mystique building was the Grand Hall Theater. This was the most elaborate state-of-the-art theater in the state. The sound and lighting allowed for competitive and professional performances. The theater seated 300 people and seated nearly 200 dinner guests. There was not a bad seat in the house. The theater was sold, and Mystique’s name was removed in January 2016. Mystique opened Dec. 14, 2016, in Folsom, California, by the famed Folsom Prison. The facility seated 18 people and provided world-class entertainment to people in the Sacramento area. The Folsom location was so popular that it led to a new location, which opened Sept. 3, 2018, in West Jordan at Gardner Village. This location seats up to 30 guests and provides a world-class magic show to Salt Lake City.

Journals T H E

Two venues: Prestige Parlour and The Chamber Experience The Prestige Parlour seats 50 guests. You make a reservation, and then when you arrive, you are seated at a private table. This parlor is vintage cabaret style and has a mystical magic show. Dinner is served in three courses. The menu offers comfort food to gourmet fare, with a la carte appetizers. There are specialty drinks, beer, wine and desserts. When you finish dinner, the magic show begins. The magic show can leave one in a different state of mind. The Chamber Experience. You will be greeted by a butler in front of two chamber doors. Then you are formally announced to the Manor’s hostess and butlers who will seat you; there are 30 seats available. Dinner is served in five courses. Guests select a main dish from several offerings and options. Dietary restrictions are accommodated. The food is exquisite and delicious. After dinner, the magic begins. Mystique has a nostalgic atmosphere of the 17th century. You feel like you are sitting at a king’s table. The music is Classical style with some songs having a Middle Eastern tone. The fireplace in the dining Chamber creates a warm relaxed ambiance at the dining table. There are decorative candles on the walls, with pictures of magicians. The mood of Mystique is relaxing and mystical. The food at Mystique is prepared on site by a fabulous culinary team and Mystique’s executive chef. The food is spectacular. You go away from Mystique feeling satisfied and not overly full. It is prepared with great expertise and talent. The executive chef at Mystique is Darwin Fishinghawk. His hard work and determination paid off, his desire of being a chef has led him down the path to his position at Mystique. Darwin was born a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribes, a hereditary chief. At a very young age Fishinghawk wanted to become a chef. He started his first restaurant job as a dishwasher at age 11. He continued working in kitchens during High School. Darwin

studied computer science at Central Washington University. A five-star restaurant opened up in the state where he was raised. The restaurant was only interested in culinary school graduates. After his rejections, he put his foot in the door and got hired in the kitchen below a dishwasher job just so he could start his dream on his way to fine dining. His determination and hard work paid off. Andrew Wilson, the resort chef who was hired by Bill Gates, took notice of Fishinghawk ‘s passion and desire to be a chef, and he offered him one-on-one training to become a chef. Fishinghawk took the opportunity and has traveled from Seattle, Phoenix, Salt Lake, then to Denver and back east. He helped to open 10 restaurants in Seattle and Denver. He earned reviews from New York Times, L.A. Times and Seattle Times. He’s been featured in “Food and Wine Magazine.” After a fantastic five-course meal, the magic begins. The magician leaves the guests wondering, how did he do that trick? Steve Owens is one of the magicians at Mystique. Owens is a 14-time award-winning magician. Owens has performed on national TV around the world. He has been featured on TV for more than 300 million people. Owens has performed with celebrities such as Patrick Stewart, Paul Riser and Arsenio Hall. There are many world-renowned magicians that perform at Mystique who have performed all over the world and national TV. Owens is from California. He performs magic shows in Folsom, California. “I really like the administration at Mystique; it is very unique,” he said. “It’s fun to do magic in a unique small audience at a unique restaurant like Mystique.” “What I love most about Mystique Dining is that our magicians are world renowned and extremely talented,” said Director of Marketing Whitney Foote. “We have a new magician every one to two weeks, so you can keep coming back to Mystique again and again for a new experience. Mystique boasts two separate venues with a unique and rich atmosphere




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 brad.c@thecityjournals.com or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. 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. © 2019 Loyal Perch Media, Inc.

Page 4 | August 2021




Bryan Scott | bryan.s@thecityjournals.com


Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com


Ryan Casper | ryan.c@thecityjournals.com 801-254-5974


Jen Deveraux | jen.d@thecityjournals.com Mieka Sawatzki | mieka.s@thecityjournals.com


where guests enjoy a gourmet dinner before participating in an evening of magic presented by the best magicians in the world.” What Guests like about Mystique The guests enjoy Mystique’s ambiance, mystical, magical relaxing and delicious food. The service is professional. After you are seated, music is playing, and the table is set up with a beautiful red tablecloth and placemats, beautiful gold plates, glasses, and red napkins that match the tablecloth and placemats. The hostesses are always right there, taking drink orders, filling water glasses, keeping plates picked up after each course and serving the five-course meal with professionalism and are very kind. The hostess announces what each portion is right before they serve it. The service is fantastic, and the magic show is amazing. Mystique is a great place to enjoy a night out. Children are welcome as long as their behavior doesn’t disturb other guests. The Grand Chamber shows are presented to an adult mentally and can be frightening and intense for small children. Discretion is advised for children under 13, and children under 8 are strongly discouraged. Dress casual. Guests who have expressed their experience about Mystique. “I like how the guests waited in the holding room, then the hostess called the guests by their name, and they were seated at the dining table,” said guest Mike Seth. “The service is professional. The guests are greeted at the table with an appetizer. It is a five-course meal. After each course, the hostess announces what is coming before each course and what it is. After each course, the plates are picked up. The food is great, the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxing with classical music, and a fireplace. The magician is fun and entertaining to watch his magic tricks.” “A highly exciting place to dine and be entertained and let your mind relax,” said guest Aja Combs l

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CHUGWATER CHILI DAY: Wyoming State Champion Chili

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Special Olympics-Wyoming Day at the Races


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Native American Heritage Day: Hosting Indian Relay Race: End of the Day


Wyoming Downs Car Show & Indian Relay Race: End of the Day


John Schiffer/Sue Wallis Day: Honoring Local & State Elected Officials. Also Awarding Race Meet’s Top Owner, Trainer, and Jockey

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August 2021 | Page 5

Summer fun in West Jordan Linda Steele | l.steele@mycityjournals.com


e all love food and fun, especially in the hot summer. This is what you get at the fun events in West Jordan. A popular event is the food trucks. Up your #Take Out Tuesday game with Food Truck League Night, Sierra Newbold playground, splash pads and a baseball complex—a fun place to enjoy summer with your whole family. Food Truck Takeout Tuesdays include South of the Border Tacos, Yoshi’s Enso Grill, Fiore Pizza, Comfort Bowl, Smoke a Billy BBQ, Hungry Hawaiian, Cluck Truck, Apollo Truck, Renee’s Cheesecake, Falafel Tree, Jamaica’s Kitchen and Haole T’s Beach Grill. There is a wide variety of food for you to choose from. The Food Truck League brings community and great food together for great summer fun with family and friends. There is a positive and fun atmosphere for all ages. The Food Truck was named after a Ron Wood, a police officer. In August 2003, residents of West Jordan dedicated a newly constructed five-field baseball complex as “The Ron Wood Baseball Park.” The Food Truck League had their first public event May 11, 2015, and have held Food Truck Nights in cities all along the Wasatch Front. Taylor Harris, general manager, is the founder of The Food Truck League.

Taylor and his partners wanted to create The Food Truck League,. They saw a need to create a platform for Utah’s best food trucks. Share with your friends about this event. There is plenty to keep you busy with creative food, splash in the water and play on the playground. Ron Wood has activities for all ages. Food trucks are at the park every Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. The Food Truck League welcomes live entertainment and catering. Find the schedule for the food trucks, live entertainment and catering form at thefoodtruckleague.com/findtrucks. Ron Wood Park is located at 8633 Ron Wood Park Road in West Jordan. “We are working hard to make ensure our events are safe and enjoyable for our community,” said Mayor Dirk Burton. “We look forward to seeing you soon.” The Farmers Market is teaming up with Jordan Landing to hold a farmers market, a great place for the whole family. This includes food from local farms, fresh produce and unique shops. Get out to the Farmers Market and have fun listening to music, splashing in the water, eating great food and finding out which crafts you want to make. The Farmers Market is every Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. The location is Jordan Landing, 7800 South Bangerter Highway in West Jordan. Visit westjordan.utah.gov/events for

Stephen J. Buhler

Food trucks and farmers markets are on the docket this summer where you can buy local products such as these jars of honey. (Photo contributed)

more information. Becky Burr and the Bluegrass Boys is one of the bands that played live music at a Farmers Market event. “We are a bluegrass band, and we enjoy playing for outdoor events,” said member Becky Burr. “We play for care centers and the homeless at St. Paul.”

The Bluegrass band played fun music, while children were playing on the splashpad, and guests were enjoying themselves at different booths and the good food. Get out to the summer fun festivities while summer is still here. l



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West Jordan City Journal

West Jordan firefighters band together to purchase 80-year-old fire engine By Erin Dixon | e.dixon@mycityjournals.com


s West Jordan firefighter Ben Lynch was searching KSL classifieds for old cars, he came across an old fire truck for sale. Though it was an 80-year-old engine, it looked familiar. A black and white photo of the same truck sat in Station 54 in West Jordan. “I recognized the panel from the black and white photo,” Lynch said. “I called the guy; it ended up being the exact same one that’s in that photo.” After its life of service, the truck was auctioned off and sat in a garage for 40 years. It was offered to West Jordan City, but there wasn’t enough interest or funding. West Jordan firefighters from the Professional Firefighters of Utah pooled together their own money to buy the truck back. Lynch and the others plan to restore the engine to its original glory. Right now, neither engine nor water pump work. The body has rust and peeling paint. Some of the features are made of wood and are deteriorating. But Lynch said with some help, he can save it. “A lot of it is surface rust, there’s not a lot of damage to it. This is still solid,” Lynch said. The work will be slow and most of the labor will be volunteer. “We will be able to save a lot of money by all the talented guys we have here,” Lynch


The truck is temporarily parked at Station 54 until a permanent home is found. (Erin Dixon/City Journals)

said. “We’ve got one guy already rebuilding the carburetor, one guy doing the brake system.” The group is hoping some people will donate to their cause to fix some of the high-ticket items. “Ideally, professional shops would probably do a better paint job,” Lynch said. “That’s where a lot of the monetary value will go toward parts and pieces that we may not be able to do ourselves.”

The truck has already been shown as is, pulled by a trailer, in some parades and events. As they fix it up, the plan is to keep showing it off at local events. “We do a lot of charity work—at the burn camp, a chili cook-off—to raise money,” Lynch said. “This is going to be one of those things that helps out with that. We’ll be taking it to all those events.” Visit: gofund.me/e4d51ec1 to donate to the fire truck project. l

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August 2021 | Page 9

The ABCs come to P.E.

L Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimmillion people are living er’s 6.2 or another dementia. Alzheimer’s is a brainwith disease that causes 6.2 million people are living with a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. There are Alzheimer’s diseaseEvery in the United 10 warning signs and symptoms. individual may experience Alzheimer’s disease in the United one States. or more ofOver these signs in a different degree. If you notice any 34,000 people in Utah of them in yourself or a34,000 loved one,people please see in a doctor. States. Over Utah

alone. This disease kills more people

10 SIGNS OF This disease kills more people alone. each year than breast cancer and ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

eachloss year 1. Memory that than disruptsbreast cancer and prostate cancer combined, and is the daily life prostate cancer combined, and is the 2. Challenges in planning or 4th leading cause of death in Utah. problem solving 4th leading cause of death in Utah. 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, More than 104,000 people in Utah More than 104,000 people in Utah work or at leisure 6.2for millionsomeone people are living with Alzheimer’s provide living 4. Confusion withunpaid time or care disease in the United States. Over provide unpaid carepeople for insomeone living34,000 place Utah alone. This disease kills withunderstanding Alzheimer’s disease. The impact is 5. Trouble more people each year than breast cancer with Alzheimer’s disease. The impact is visual images and special and prostate cancer combined, and is the widespread and can be devastating to 4th leading cause of death in Utah. relationships widespread and can be devastating to 6. New problems with words families. More than 104,000 people in Utah proin speaking or writing families. vide unpaid care for someone living with 7. Misplacing things and Alzheimer’s disease. The impact is widelosing ability to Forthemore information, aboutto families. spreadto and learn can be devastating For more information, to learn about retrace steps Together we can work to findor a cure support groups or other resources, 8. Decreased or poor and ultimately have our first survivor! support groups or other resources, or judgment Join the fight and lend your to to get from helpwork immediately contact thevoice 9. Withdrawal or this critical cause by attending the to get help immediately contact the social activities Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall. There Alzheimer’s Association’s free 24/7 are eight Walks throughout the state 10. Changes in mood Association’s Alzheimer’s free 24/7 of Utah: and personality Helpline at:

Helpline at:

AUGUST 28 Wasatch Back -Basin Recreation Center SEPTEMBER 18 Cache County- Merlin Olsen Park Cedar City- Cedar City Motor Co. SEPTEMBER 28 Utah County-The Shops at Riverwoods Salt Lake County- REAL Salt Lake Stadium OCTOBER 9 Weber/Davis- Ogden Amphitheater Tooele County- Skyline Park OCTOBER 23 St. George- Ovation Sienna Hills

800-272-3900 800-272-3900 or visit our website at: or visit our website at: www.alz.org/utah www.alz.org/utah For more information or to get help immediately contact the Alzheimer’s Association’s Togetherfree we24/7 can work Together we can work Helpline at:

to find a cure to find a cure and ultimately have our first survivor! 800-272-3900 and ultimately haveRegister our first survivor! at: orJoin visit our thewebsite fight at: and lend yourtoday voice to www.alz.org/Walk Join the fight and lend your voice to www.alz.org/utah this critical cause by attending the this critical cause by attending the Page 10 | August 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall. There Walk to End Alzheimer’s this fall. There are eight Walks throughout the state

By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

ori McCarty what’s huge,” she changed the way said. “Just getting she has been teachkids to come in on ing kindergarten for Friday, when not evthe last 22 years to erybody is there, can adapt to the challengbe challenging. But es brought on by the they want to come in pandemic—extendand do gym. So that ed student absenchas made a big difes, limited hands-on ference.” learning tools, reducThe academic tion of class aides. activities helped lev“It has just been el the playing field hurdle after hurdle for students. McCaafter hurdle, but I do rty said none of her feel like it sharpened students last year fell all of us,” McCarty behind in their skill said. “We realized we acquisition. need to start thinking Scott also went out of the box and to bat for first grade be creative to find teacher Shelley some new ways to Lloyd, providing do things. In the end, after-school tutorthese kids are counting twice a week ing on us. Those parwhen Lloyd was ents are counting on short-handed. us. We still have a job “She had so to do.” many kids that needMcCarty, who ed some extra help, teaches at Terra Linand it was so many da Elementary, came for just one teacher, up with a new game so I said I can help plan last year. She out,” Scott said. “So, created disposable I’m teaching reading activities instead and math as a P.E. of shared objects, teacher.” worked through her For her crelunch hour and asked ative efforts and colleagues to join her teamwork, Scott team. P.E. specialist Jaime Scott receives a Crystal Apple Award May 7, was nominated by Jaime Scott stepped 2021, for joining the kindergarten literacy team. (Jet her colleagues and up to the plate, will- Burnham/City Journals) received a Crystal ing to take one for Apple Award, sponthe team and play in a sored by Horrace position outside of her field and turn playtime Mann. Mario Pia, a representative of the into learning time. company, said they value the opportunity to On Fridays, when select students were reward and support exemplary teachers. invited to come to school, Scott worked with Scott is starting her third year at Terra kindergartners and first graders, inventing Linda Elementary, and she loves her job. games that gave them extra practice with “I love that I get to see the whole reading and math foundational skills. school—not very many teachers get to work “She thinks way outside the box to with all the kids all day,” she said. “I get to change the activity to hit their skill gaps,” see them when they are having fun and laughsaid Karen Gorringe, who was principal at ing and moving, while they’re not sitting in Terra Linda Elementary last year. desks, and they don’t have to be quiet.” Bowling became a game of letter identiScott said sports and games help her confication. A game of catch became a review of nect with students. She uses universal movephonics or sight words or numbers. ment and the international love of soccer to “I try to take what their teacher has al- connect with students with limited language ready taught them, or is trying to get them skills who immigrate from other countries. to review, and I just make it more of a P.E. Scott loves to see when students finalgame,” Scott said. “I think they really just ly master a skill or recognize their improvethink they’re coming to P.E. for the day. It’s ment. just a new game.” “I like seeing them get the lightbulb McCarty said that’s what makes the ac- when they finally get something and they’re tivities so successful. excited,” she said. “That’s what makes me “They’re so excited about it, and that’s love what I do.” l

West Jordan City Journal

3 new schools offer virtual learning


By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

indergarten teacher Lacy Abouo reluctantly took an online teaching position last year. Now, after an eye-opening and successful school year, she has requested a full-time position to teach virtually. Abouo will be teaching at the new Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary School, which, along with Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School and Kings Peak High School, comprise Jordan School District’s Virtual Learning Academy. “This online program is going to really blow a lot of people out of the water because it’s going to be incredible,” Abouo said. “The kids learn and grow—it’s truly inspiring.” The virtual schools, opening this fall, offer personalized, flexible learning with both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) options to meet students’ needs. Rocky Peak Elementary Principal Ross Menlove said the past 18 months of online education have been a learning experience for educators. “We’ve learned that with the right conditions, the right students, and people making the right choices, virtual learning works extremely well,” he said. “Teachers and students can work very well together online and they can build great relationships. We’ve learned that kids are learning and progressing. Kids are doing the work that they would do in a building and being able to do it just as well virtually.” Abouo said with good organization and parent support, she was able to provide a complete kindergarten experience for her virtual students last year, with plenty of fun and hands-on learning as well as social and emotional skill development. “My students who came to class every day, and did the activities with their parents, skyrocketed—almost all of them are above kindergarten level,” she said. Even her virtual students who had poor attendance were ahead of their in-person counterparts during summer school sessions. She said this is because virtual classes can cover more content with less time wasted during transitions, such as waiting for students to gather supplies or to settle into a new task. The virtual academies will rely heavily on technology but not just for the sake of using technology, said Menlove. “Each tool that we use is evaluated, it’s respected, it’s determined if it’s good for kids or not,” he said. “At the end of the day, there are teaching practices that take priority over the technology tool. We focus on learning and the student impact more than the tool.” Abouo uses virtual activities, tools and games to teach a variety of concepts. “It is such a rich learning environment that they don’t even realize they’re learning,” she said. Abouo likes that with virtual learning, she can personalize assignments and activities catered to each student’s specific needs and abilities. Her favorite part of online teaching is

WestJordanJournal .com

the unique ways she has been able to connect with her students. Through virtual one-onone “lunch dates,” she learned what was going on in her students’ lives. “Because they had their computer, they’d walk me around their house,” Abouo said. “So I’d get to meet grandma and she’d tell me her favorite food. Then they’d walk to their kitchen and show me all their favorite foods. So it was like I was a part of their family.” Abouo said private virtual break-out rooms allowed her to support struggling students in ways she couldn’t in an in-person classroom. “I don’t always have the time or the availability in a classroom setting because I have 35 students, all needing my attention,” she said. “But online, you have these little periods where you can pull kids and talk to them individually. It was magical.” Third grade teacher Ami Anderson also taught online last year and applied to teach at Rocky Peak Elementary this year. She loves the flexibility of a virtual classroom which allows her to meet students’ needs individually, whether they are on grade level, gifted, or have special needs. “It gives me the opportunity to help these kids learn the best way they know how to learn, and then to give them that social component that they really need,” Anderson said. Building strong relationships with students and creating a good classroom community are priorities for Anderson. “I’ve taught 25 years and one thing that is consistent every single year is students need to feel connected within the classroom, and they need to feel safe,” she said. “If they do that, then they flourish.” With virtual classes, she uses small group virtual breakout rooms before and after class time for informal interactions—chatting and playing games—to allow class members to get to know her and each other. The pandemic-driven online teaching of last year is different from the Jordan Virtual Academy curriculum, which was developed by Jordan District teachers, said district spokesperson Sandy Riesgraf. One aspect that was missing from past virtual formats was in-person, hands-on learning opportunities. Virtual Academy students have the option to participate in group projects, science labs, art, music, P.E. and other learning activities held twice a week at learning centers housed at Hidden Valley Middle and Majestic Elementary. Like traditional brick and mortar schools, the three virtual schools each have their own identity, principal and staff, community council, PTA and resources, such as a school psychologist. For more information, visit connect.jordandistrict.org l


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August 2021 | Page 11

JATC students bring home gold, silver, bronze medals By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


ayla Basic brought home the gold for Utah and for Jordan District with her performance in nail design at both the SkillsUSA state competition in the spring and again in the national competition this summer. Basic learned nail tech skills from classes she took at the Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers her senior year. She practiced her nail design for the competition for five months. “I think it was important to learn how much progress you can make by just working on something,” Basic said. “I think that’s why I did earn the gold, because I took so much time and effort, and, honestly, I was hard on myself when I was doing it, and I put my all into it.” Basic’s nail design stood out from the other competitors, many who created nail patterns, with her intricate images of the Santa Monica Pier, Golden Gate Bridge, beach, and lighthouse. Basic said the competition was challenging because of the time factor-- it normally took three hours to create her complex nail design—the competition gave her one. However, because it was a virtual competition this year, she said it wasn’t as stressful. She wasn’t surrounded by competitors in a foreign environment but in her JATC classroom, where she’d been practicing her design for months. She said placing at the top of the competition has given her confidence. Preparing for the competitions also gave her a much-needed boost this spring, when she was feeling low due to the pandemic and an unusual senior year.

“That was the one thing I did have motivation for so I really tried hard at it, and I’m glad I did because it got me out of that weird state,” she said. Basic’s nail instructor, Shannon Mechling, encourages her students to participate in competitions because they are a great opportunity for students to further their skills. “The competition arena is probably one of the best places to learn because competitors are not afraid of sharing tips, techniques, different things to do or try,” she said. Additionally, students get feedback from judges on ways they can improve. JATC web design instructor Melinda Mansouri requires her students to participate in competitions to help them develop work skills, as well as grit, determination and teamworking skills. “The students leave with better skills— they just walk out better web developers,” she said. “They just walk out with confidence that they didn’t walk in with. And anytime you are starting a skill set, that confidence, being able to really produce that in that amount of time, just changes everything about what’s next for them.” Mansouri noticed a difference in her students who weren’t able to participate in the SkillsUSA 2020 competition, which was canceled due to COVID-19. They were less confident heading into their spring internships. This was one of the few years any of Mansouri’s students have qualified for nationals, which only accepts one team from each state. And it was the first year she had students finish in the top 10.

Top: Layla Basic used the nail care skills she learned in her JATC classes to win state and national competitions. Right: Layla Basic’s nail design, inspired by the west coast, includes intricate images of the Santa Monica Pier, Golden Gate Bridge, beach, and lighthouse. (Photo courtesy of Shannon Mechling.)

Page 12 | August 2021

Tinh Nguyen and James Davies earned Silver in Web Design at the National SkillsUSA competition in June. (Melinda Mansouri/JATC)

James Davies and Tinh Nguyen earned Silver in Web Design. Together, they designed and coded a website from scratch in just 12 hours, a project Mansouri said would normally take 50 man hours. The two-member team also earned gold at the region and state competitions, where their final scores were well above the second and third place winners, said Mansouri.

“These are amazing kids,” Mansouri said. “They just have such skill and talent. It’s exciting for me to send them out and see what happens next. I’m always watching to see what they’re doing post graduation.” For more information about JATC classes available to add to high school schedules, visit jordanteach.org. l

Medalists for the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference: Layla Basic, Gold in Nail Care James Davies and Tinh Nguyen, Silver in Web Design Kaitlin Beck, Top 9 award in Customer Service

Medalists for the SkillsUSA Utah state competition: James Davies & Tinh Nguyen, Gold,Web Design Jesse Gavino & Daniel Gross, Silver, Web Design Eternity Draper, Bronze, Pin Design Ethan Stott, Bronze, T-Shirt Design Hayley Arnold, Gold, Criminal Justice Kaitlin Beck, Gold, Customer Service Brock Lauitzen, Gold, Fire Fighting Giovanni Mammano, Silver, Fire Fighting Bryton Orgill, Bronze, Fire Fighting Dannon Sumsion, Gold, Job Skill Demonstration O Kari Barclay, Silver, Job Skill Demonstration A

Kelsie Rowe, Bronze, Job Skill Demonstration A Katelyn Andrus, Bronze, Job Skill Demonstration O Lily Watterson, Bronze, Job Interview Ezekial Tatum, Gold, Barbering Sarah Eddwards, Silver, Cosmetology Layla Basic, Gold, Nail Care Jessica Hernandez Sandoval, Silver, Nail Care Brogen Astle, Gold, Welding Sculpture Forest Curtis, Silver, Welding Sculpture Taylor Wood, Zach Smith & Troy Dailey, Silver, Welding Fabrication

West Jordan City Journal

Pandemic may have slowed Viridian’s schedule, but not its staff Linda Steele | l.steele@mycityjournals.com


he Library’s Viridian Event Center is a vivacious space for the community to have activities and events. It was designed for the use of public events hosted by the library, private events and conferences for groups to rent the space. The Library Viridian Event Center hosts more than 300 events; 60% are library events, and 40% are hosted by Salt Lake County, the city of West Jordan or the general-public renting space. Viridian rents out to wedding, fundraising galas, school dances, festivals, business conferences or whatever clients have in mind. There are many fun events for the whole family at the Viridian Event Center. The center has its own events including, Halloween and Christmas movie series, education classes, concerts, teen anime convention, trivia nights, wizarding summer camp, adult galas such as the Mardi Gras Festival and the Pumpkinpalootza, and much more. Recently Viridian has begun offering monthly classes around rockhounding. There is a class for everyone, and a class just for children. Viridian is partnered with R.O.C.K. and soon will be offering monthly spinning and weaving classes with the Wasatch Woolpack. The monthly trivia night is currently held online; it will soon transition into an in-person or online event.

The Viridian is designed to host public events. (Photo courtesy Viridian Event Center)

This fall, Viridian plans on a return of programming with the annual chalk art competition, Chalk the Walk. This event is held on Labor Day weekend, Saturday, Sept. 5. The artists compete for prizes, and the public is invited to come and admire the talent of the artists and vote for their favorite piece of art. Starting on the return of the Halloween Movie Series will begin Mondays in October. Every Monday at 7 p.m. will be a different family-friendly Halloween movie. On Saturday, Oct. 30, will be the Pumpkinpalootza. There will be pumpkin decorating and costume contests. The children will have some

trick-or-treat options, and then there will be some pumpkin smashing and a big pumpkin drop. “Obviously, the pandemic impacted our normal schedule, but it didn’t slow down our staff,” said Tyler Curtis, Viridian Event Center manager. “A number of event staffers have recently been managing the County’s vaccine clinic efforts both at the Mountain America Expo Center and more recently the outreach clinics. While they were doing the important stuff, the rest of the event staff was slowly and safely ramping up public rentals and preparing for a return to in-person events

both large and small.” The Library’s Viridian Event Center will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary next summer. Viridian staff is excited to be able to bring a diverse range of quality programs to a wide audience. Salt Lake County Library System and West Jordan City officials had the vision of a great space for community gatherings. Libraries have expanded and offer experiences that enrich the community with live music, movie theater experiences, educational opportunities, festivals and “Star Wars”- or “Harry Potter”-themed events. Library Viridian Event Center staff is happy to be part of enriching the community and hosting the events. The lobby has a pre-event space and a large multipurpose room and can be divided into three sections, creating small spaces, or it can be left open for larger functions. Tours are available to check out the space by appointment. The maximum capacity of the space depends on the nature of the event and the setup. There is a minimum requirement of four hours for any event, to include setup and cleanup. The Viridian Event Center address is 8030 South 1825 West in West Jordan. The website is http://thecountylibrary.org/viridian l

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West Jordan City Journal




Paid for by the City of West Jordan

M AYO R ’S M E S S AG E Congress passed The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which designated COVID recovery funds to communities throughout the nation. Although funds afforded to West Jordan are less than those of many other metropolitan areas, they are still substantial. The money provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in our community and “get ahead.” Over the last couple months, I hosted a committee designed to help determine the most impactful ways to spend the City’s ARPA allocation. We focused our efforts on transformative projects, with broad-based benefit, that fit within federal guidelines. The City Council recently approved the allocation of project funds, as proposed, in their budget discussions. Just over 85% of the ARPA funds will be used to shore up infrastructure, including water storage and the expansion of wastewater capacity, to meet the demands of our growing community. This investment will accelerate our ability to respond to growth while easing the burden on residents. It will also provide a path for immediate economic development that couldn’t otherwise be accommodated. Economic development provides ongoing stable revenue to our city. About 15% will be spent on smaller projects designed to reach underserved populations within the community. I am pleased with the resilience our community has displayed throughout the pandemic. We’re on the road to recovery, but we’re not there quite yet. In West Jordan, vaccination rates are lower and COVID-19 cases are up. Let’s be part of the solution. To learn more about vaccinations or find a provider near you, call (385) 468-4100. Sincerely,

WJFD Restoring a piece of History The West Jordan Fire Department has been reunited with an engine that served the city back in the 1950’s. This was a genuine barn find with a bit of luck. The fire engine began its past life as part of the Salt Lake County Fire Department. During that time, local West Jordan citizens volunteered to run the fire engine and respond to calls. After serving the city of West Jordan for almost 20 years, the fire engine was sold and found its way to the hands of a local citizen who intended to keep the history of the engine alive. Fast-forward 50 years, the West Jordan Fire Department Union was able to purchase the historic piece of equipment with its own money. The fire department personnel have been volunteering their time and funds to start restoring the amazing timepiece in hopes this this history will not be forgotten. This project is and will be completely funded through Union monies or donations, as no city funds will be used.

City Shred Event West Jordan’s third shred event is August 7. Residents can bring up to two ‘Bankers Boxes’ of paper for shredding and residential electronic waste. Documents will be shredded onsite in the west parking lot behind City Hall, 8000 S. Redwood Road from 10 AM to 12 PM. Hard drives can also be shredded if they have been removed from the computer. Items need to be drop-off ready. Paper needs to be loose - no large binder clips, rubber bands, or binders. Any loose papers from plastic bags can be emptied into the containers provided, but the plastic bags will not be accepted in the containers. Unfortunately, televisions, CRT monitors, cracked LCDs, batteries, lightbulbs, and printers are not accepted. However, The Trans-Jordan Landfill or Salt Lake Valley Landfill may allow some of those items to be deposited by our residents. For more information contact Trans-Jordan Landfill: 801-569-8994. This is NOT a complete list, but some acceptable items include: • cell phones • computers and keyboards • hard drives • stereos • fax machines

Mayor Dirk Burton

• iPods • MP3 players • DVD players • laptops Bring proof of residency or city employment to participate. (Driver license, utility bill, or city ID badge.)



Art is Back in the Schorr Gallery You may only come to West Jordan City Hall to pay your water bill or catch a council meeting, but this public building is home to something else – a local art gallery. Located on the third floor, the Schorr Gallery can feature art pieces from paintings to pottery. Like many other things, the pandemic forced the doors of the gallery to close. After more than a year of its walls being empty, art has been posted again. Specifically, Robin O’Crowley’s work. O’Crowley is a watercolor artist who features paintings of flowers, and fungi to storefronts to sheep. “Painting has been part of my life on and off my whole life, but in the last three years watercolor has become my medium of choice and it is very challenging,” explained O’Crowley. “My love of flowers comes out by zeroing in on botanical art. There is such a beauty in nature. I paint more for fun, really.” You can visit the Schorr Gallery at City Hall (8000 S. Redwood Rd) 8 AM – 5 PM weekdays. If you’re interested in featuring your art in the gallery, contact keenan.price@westjordan.utah.gov or The Cultural Arts Society of West Jordan.

2021 Western Stampede – Sights & Sounds! The West Jordan Western Stampede was a huge success! Jam-packed with three nights of rodeos, carnival rides and good food. The event ended with a spectacular firework event! Thank you to all who joined us this year – we look forward to seeing you again in 2022!



West Jordan Municipal Primary Election West Jordan’s Municipal Primary Election is August 10, 2021. Primary Elections allow voters to choose candidates they want to run in the general election. Almost all registered voters will receive their ballots in the mail before Election Day.

HOW TO VOTE “It’s as easy as ever to participate in the voting process,” said Tangee Sloan, West Jordan City Recorder. “You have the option to vote by mail or in person.” If you are voting by mail, your ballot must be postmarked the day before Election Day. You can also drop it off at a Salt Lake County ballot drop box until 8 PM on election day. “West Jordan has a drop box placed just outside of City Hall,” said Sloan. “It is available for drop off up until election day and they are under surveillance 24/7. Voters should feel confident about using it.” The ballot box is located at 8000 South Redwood Road on the west side of City Hall.

WHERE TO VOTE If you would rather vote in person, voters can visit a polling location. Voters may drop off their vote-by-mail ballot at a Vote Center during polling hours. A local in-person voting location is being held at the West Jordan Library:

COUNCIL CORNER Generally, August is the hottest month of the year. With water becoming scarce, the City Council appreciates all the efforts residents have taken to conserve. The Council supports the Mayor’s efforts to reduce the City’s watering in parks and encouraging businesses to reduce their watering. The City Council recently adopted a water efficient landscape ordinance for all new construction and existing residents may choose to adjust their own landscaping to follow suggested changes. Key changes include: • No grass in park strips • Drip irrigation or bubblers used in areas other than lawn/grass • Each irrigation valve irrigates similar sites, slopes, soil conditions, and plant material with similar watering needs • Landscape areas using smart irrigation controllers which can adjust based on weather conditions • Recommendation for when the landscaping is at maturity, have plants (trees, perennials, and shrubs) cover 50% of the landscape

The City has seen a decrease of 2.7% water consumption City wide. This is a great accomplishment and the Council wishes to thank people who are making conservation measures. “Thank you to everyone doing their part by reducing their watering times and reducing areas that need large amounts of water. I would continue our businesses to follow suit by flipping their strips and reducing large grass areas that are not being used if they have not considered it. Every little bit makes a difference”, stated Council Member Melissa Worthen. Council Member David Pack said, “It is important for us to continue to conserve water, and the City is doing its part to save. Our current city-wide conservation of 2.7% is a big deal.” Please look forward to participating in landscape workshops with ideas on Localscapes at several places in West Jordan in early September. Localscapes are a landscaping approach that simplifies your landscaping in five easy steps to create beautiful waterefficient landscaping that works for you and thrives in Utah!

Viridian Event Center/Library 8030 South 1825 West West Jordan, UT 84088

HOW DO I KNOW WHO IS RUNNING? The city’s website has all the information about the candidates up for election. Visit westjordan.utah. gov/2021election for a full list, biographies, and candidate websites. You can also visit the election page for important dates and information for the general election in November. For more in-depth information about voting visit: https://slco.org/clerk/elections/

University Federal Credit Union Moving Headquarters to West Jordan Caught on camera – a groundbreaking event for University Federal Credit Union. The company is moving its headquarters to West Jordan, near Jordan Landing. West Jordan prides itself on attracting new businesses to grow within the city. It not only helps those businesses, but the residents as well.






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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

This is Your Shot! Free COVID-19 Vaccines in SLCo The Salt Lake County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 vaccines at several locations throughout the valley. To find out where you can get your free vaccine in Salt Lake County, visit SaltLakeHealth.org. Anyone can receive a vaccine – regardless of immigration status and you don’t need insurance. Utahns 12 and up are eligible and no appointment is required. If you prefer to make an appointment, call (385) 468-SHOT (7468) or visit SaltLakeHealth.org. If you need a free ride to get your vaccine, call 211.

Alleviating (at least some of) the post-pandemic social awkwardness By Cassie Goff | c.goff@mycityjournals.com


020 was an extroverted social butterfly’s nightmare. As we developed proper Zoom-tiquette while in varying degrees of quarantine, many of us lost touch with our in-person social skills. Many of the friends and colleagues I have seen in-person recently shared a laugh with me over not knowing how to social anymore: yes, as a verb. And man, if you thought a room full of writers was socially awkward before the pandemic, imagine us now. I wanted to share some quick tips and tricks to improve social interactions this month. Before I do, I’d like to emphasize if trying to remember suggestions for social interaction detracts from engagement, forget it. The most important thing for any social interaction is to be completely engaged in the moment. Authenticity is what we seek in social interactions. Think about it. We instinctively know when they’re not. We notice when someone stops listening, even if they tune back in. We can sense when another is either too bored or too amped to be fully present. Even some of our commonplace language is indicative of our societal value of authenticity. “Fake” and “basic” are insults. “True to your heart; you must be true to your heart” are lyrics in a very catchy Disney song. (Daa da-da da.) I digress. Take these suggestions only to store in the running background programs of your cognition. (I must add that these suggestions are highly Utah specific, socially and culturally. For 2021, the importance of facial expressions may be (re)discovered. We developed habits after realizing, even subconsciously, the majority of last year dragged on without others being able to fully perceive our faces. As the masks come off and the Zoom meetings become nostalgic, our faces are fully public again. Meaning, if you adapted to only smiling with your eyes, it’s time to retrain those smile muscles. Courtesy smiles are back. Speaking of faces, maintaining eye contact has become a new struggle for many. It’s natural for humans to look around when recalling a memory, formulating a lie, trying to find the right word, or simply taking in our environment. Instead of feeling pressured to maintain constant eye contact for the majori-

WestJordanJournal .com

ty of a social interaction, try maintaining eye contact for only what feels comfortable and appropriate for the social interaction. (Someone once told me that if you’re uncomfortable with eye contact, stare at the person’s nose directly in between their eyes, as to gives the same effect.) Most of our communication is nonverbal (60 to 95%, depending on who you ask). That means, pay attention to your body language, positioning, tone, and nonverbal cues. Maintain an open body language. (Is any part of your body slouched, crossed, or otherwise reserved?) Consider the positioning of your body in the specific environment. (Are you close to the door?) Feel the tone of your voice. (Are you speaking monotone?) Mind your gestures. (Are you speaking with your hands?) Lastly, show genuine interest in others. It’s likely we are interacting with humans who we want to spend time with, for differing reasons. Communicate valuing their time and relationship through both nonverbals and verbals. Ask questions that go beyond small talk, really listen to their answers, ask thoughtful follow-up questions about barely mentioned details or their own interpretations, make mental notes of any upcoming important events of dates, and allow for laughter. Okay, really lastly, be gracious with yourself. Any amount of social interaction after over a year of distancing and quarantining can feel draining. Our energy storage for socialing might deplete more rapidly. It’s okay to only want to go out one night per week, when we used to go out multiple nights per week; and to feel like going out to dinner was equivalent to running a marathon; and to accept a more introverted lifestyle. It’s okay to feel a little socially awkward. Because we all do. Research from: Aragon, Bandura, Bargh, Burgoon, Darics, Duffy, Cherry, Clark, Dunbar, Ekman, Friedman, Guerrero, Guyer, Hendriksen. Houpert, Navarro, Nguyen, Pease, Perry, Rosenthal, Skinner, Thompson, and Willard. Dang. I’m not the only one who wrote about this phenomenom: “It’s not just you…” by Bonos; “We’re all socially awkward now,” by Murphy. l

Never-Ending Network Evolution, Are All Broadband Providers Up for the Challenge? By Bryan Thomas, VP Engineering, Comcast Mountain West Region

Working and learning remotely for the past 15 months brought unique circumstances for all of us to navigate in several areas, and central to it all is having access to a reliable, secure internet connection. The pandemic posed the biggest technological test in the history of the internet. When offices and schools closed in March 2020, internet traffic across the U.S. surged by 20 – 35 percent, as millions of people transitioned to working, learning and consuming all of their entertainment at home. Now our communities are transitioning back to working from offices or making hybrid work arrangements, and schools are planning to reopen their doors beginning in August. A flexible, continuously evolving network staying ahead of customer demand is critical. The success of a network hinges on three factors: decades of strategic investment, continuous network innovation, and the best team in the business. Investment In the last three years alone, Comcast invested $389.6 million in technology and infrastructure in Utah, including upgrades to our network. Since 2017, Comcast devoted more than $15 billion nationwide to strengthening and expanding our network – including building more than 33,000 new route miles of fiber, which is like driving from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine more than 10 times. Every two and a half years, the company has added as much capacity to the network as it has in all the previous years combined. One of the greatest advantages of our massive network is we already pass 60 million homes and businesses with a powerful, fiber-dense network, and we have the ability to quickly, surgically, and efficiently add additional fiber and capacity when and where it’s needed. Because of our continuous investment in our network, we can often complete targeted upgrades in weeks rather than months and years. We have a proven track record of completing network upgrades and improvements ahead of schedule, and delivering the performance our customers need well before they need it. Innovation Continuous innovation throughout every part of a network is key. Comcast is a leader in the 10G initiative, which leverages new standards and technology to dramatically increase internet speeds. The technology lays the groundwork for network operators, like us, to deliver multigigabit download and upload speeds over connections already installed in hundreds of millions of homes worldwide. Meaning, we can deliver multigigabit speeds to homes without the need for massive digging and construction projects. With this technology, Comcast can continue to deliver ultra-fast service today, while simultaneously building capacity for future needs.mAnd with decades of experience, Comcast is advancing network virtualization and data access to cloud-based technologies for greater performance, increased reliability and easier upgrades. Simply put, we’re able to meet the needs of tomorrow – today, and continually improve the customer experience by delivering faster speeds, greater capacity, and more dynamic connected experiences. Team Support In addition to investing billions in building and evolving our network, Comcast engineers, artificial intelligence scientists, and cybersecurity experts across the country are continuously developing and deploying new technologies to protect our customers and ensure our network can meet emerging threats and challenges. We have a team of cybersecurity experts scanning the network for threats and actively defending our network and our communities. Our teams are made up of elite talent working at every level of the network from software and artificial intelligence at the core, to the best field teams laying new fiber and upgrading the network year-round in all conditions. New network entrants who don’t have a plan or resources to support never-ending network evolution, cybersecurity protection, and hardening may put customers who rely on them at unnecessary risk. As the country shifts yet again, home and business internet connections remain essential for video calls, education, healthcare access, workforce development, streaming entertainment, and more. At Comcast, we remain relentlessly focused on connectivity, to deliver the smartest, fastest, most reliable network to the communities we serve – keeping you connected to more of who and what you love.

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County softball is back By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com


he Salt Lake County Sports office has hosted its first softball tournaments in nearly 15 months. “It is like the sun is shining again,” Salt Lake County Parks Program Manager Josh Olmstead said. “These players, families and fans are so excited to be back out here.” The Valley Complex and Larry H Miller Cottonwood softball complexes held the Firecracker girls accelerated tournament July 15–17. A total of 53 teams competed in five age groups. “This is a great revenue generator for the county,” Olmstead said. “It brings teams from many different states here to compete.” Teams from Montana, Washington, Idaho and California participated in the tournament. Winners in the five age groups were the Grantsville Shock, Utah Bullets, Utah Crush, Force and Bad to the Bone. These teams will play 50–75 games a year including these tournaments. Girls accelerated softball is played by over four million athletes across the country. Teams in Utah play in several leagues and tournaments almost every weekend. The USSSA is considered the largest sanctioning body in the United States. To compete at the national championship, a team must earn a spot in a qualifier

tournament. A girls fastpitch team may compete in several tournaments to prepare for the opportunity to qualify. The county also hosted the USSSA softball state finals and will hold the Copper Classic in September. “Teams like to come here,” Olmstead said. “Our fields are nice to play on and the county has lots of opportunities for the teams to vacation.” The Larry H. Miller Cottonwood Complex has finished its recent renovation. The fans seating area is now covered with a system to keep cool. All the dugouts are covered and there is a picnic area at the top of the seating complex. “It is state-of-the-art now,” Olmstead said. “Everyone needs to go and check it out.” The Larry H. Miller charities donated $5 million to rebuild both the Cottonwood Complex and Valley Region Softball Complex in Taylorsville. The Cottonwood facility opened this season and construction at Valley will begin later this fall. “Larry was passionate about softball, and this complex will forever be a part of our family’s legacy,” Gail Miller said at the press conference announcing the donation in 2019. Salt Lake County also began its men’s, women’s and coed softball leagues this

The Utah Bullets won the 12 and under division of the Firecracker tournament held in July. (Greg James/ City Journals)

month. Its 15-month postponement has play- could feel this sigh of relief that it was time ers itching to get back on the field. to get outside and be with our friends again.” “I think it is even more popular,” Olm- l stead said. “People are ready to get out and play again. I came out to Taylorsville Days, and there were people everywhere, and I

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Jordan District opens a new chapter in literacy education


tudents in Jordan District schools will be learning to read in a whole new way this fall using a new curriculum based on the science of reading. With this more balanced literacy approach, students learn to recognize letter sounds and letter patterns and then decode them within words. “I feel like it’s the piece that we’ve been kind of missing for a while—how to teach them the basic skills in the most logical sequence,” second grade teacher Laurie Ferrini said. For the last several years, children have been taught to read more by guessing than by identifying. The focus was on comprehension and wasn’t effective for many kids. “We just created a lot of guessers,” said Mandy Thurman, a district Elementary Language Arts consultant. “Now we’re really trying to give them the phonics skills so that they can come across a word, and even if they don’t know what it is, they can use these skills, and now they’ll know [how to read it.]” In addition to a focus on phonics skills, the new curriculum also introduces direct assessments that reveal specific holes in a child’s skills and provides targeted interventions to fill them. The district has increased funding this year to provide additional aides (with in-

Page 22 | August 2021

By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

Heartland Elementary teachers have seen improved ready skills in students with targeted intervention reading groups, a part of the new literacy program. (Doug Flagler/Jordan School District)

creased hours) to work with students in daily targeted intervention groups, using curriculum-provided materials to address students’ specific needs. “I’m excited for kids to read,” said Mi-

chelle Lovell, a former kindergarten teacher who works for the district as a K-3 language arts consultant. “There’s nothing I want more than to know that all of our kids are leaving third grade with the reading skills that they really need, that we’re not letting any students by without giving them those skills.” The intervention time, which will be held for 30 minutes each day, will also benefit students who are proficient readers. “Often we’ll spend so much time focused on the kids that are struggling, that our kids that are really needing more challenge become unengaged and bored,” Thurman said. “And so we’ve been working with the Gifted and Talented department so that those kids get what they need as well in terms of extension and enrichment.” Educators at Heartland Elementary have been piloting the curriculum for two years and have seen measurable performance gains on reading assessments. “Last year for the first time ever, we saw kids maintain—or even go up—by the middle of the year,” Heartland Principal Buddy Alger said. “They were acquiring skills faster than they really ever had on the measures that are in [the state reading assessment.]” Ferrini credits the new phonics and targeted intervention programs for the gains her students have made. “Using the [curriculum] as a screener really is a good diagnostic of what they’re missing,” Ferrini said. “So it really takes the guesswork out of what they’re missing and where they need help. It’ll point you in the right direction, so you’re really saving a lot of time. This tells us right away and we can get started on that intervention quickly.” Reading aides at Heartland also reported

increased student confidence. “There’s power in knowledge and seeing kids being empowered by that knowledge,” Alger said. “It’s been really powerful and inspiring for our school.” “As a teacher it’s exciting to see kids want to read,” Ferrini said. “They’re excited to read and to go to their groups to read and to learn the new skill that they’re working on. They’re taking ownership of their own reading now.” Teachers said parents will notice a difference in how their students are reading at home. “What parents will see is that their students are able to do more problem solving in their reading,” Heartland first grade teacher Amy Harvey said. “They’re going to be able to use the patterns that they have learned in the classroom when they sit down to read at home. They can break words apart and sound it out and they will be able to do that on their own.” Parents will see less of a focus on guided reading levels, reading comprehension passages, memorizing sight words, and sounding out words one letter at a time. Rather, students will learn the different types of syllables, how to predict what sound a vowel will make, and hand gestures to help identify patterns within words. Parents are encouraged to continue to read to and with their children often. Equally important, said Lovell, is for parents to continually expose their children to new experiences and places to help them build vocabulary and background knowledge. “You do that by talking to kids, having great conversations, reading with kids and taking them to explore places,” she said.

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Thurman said kids can read words but can’t truly comprehend what they read without having a basic understanding of what things are. “If they have solid word recognition and decoding ability, and they fully understand the language, and they have lots and lots of background knowledge and a high vocabulary, that’s really what will make reading comprehension,” Thurman said. The new curriculum launches this fall. Every K-6 teacher in the district received

two full days of training over the summer to understand the science of reading and learn the curriculum tools. Thurman said it’s part of Superintendent Anthony Godfrey’s vision for the district to ‘be united, be intentional, be curious.’ “It’s the first time in my career of 19 years that I feel like we are united as a district, where every single teacher will have two days worth of training on all of these parts and pieces,” Thurman said. l

Students will become independent decoders through a new way of teaching reading skills in Jordan District classrooms. (Doug Flagler/Jordan School District)

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The stadium lights at Copper Hills aren’t doing their job, says neighbor By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com


eighbors of Copper Hills High School’s football stadium have been overrun by light pollution. “The lights at Copper Hills are old,” school neighbor Janet Blackmer said. “I believe the heads (lighting bulbs and structures) have been changed out, but the wiring has been defective, and they are pointed out toward the neighborhood.” Blackmer is not interested in sports. She lives near the stadium, but she supports making the stadium better for the athletes. “I want the kids to do what they do,” Blackmer said. “We are severely impacted by those lights. It comes in our yards and windows, and it can be dangerous to drive near the stadium because the light blares into our streets. I had the mayor come and see what we are dealing with. He was stunned.” The excessive or inappropriate use of light is called light pollution. The stand lights installed on most football fields in the Salt Lake Valley are flood lights. Those lights are inefficient and send light not only to the field but also to the surrounding neighborhood. “It does not give the proper amount of light to the students using the field,” Blackmer said. “They are using it more often now for football, lacrosse and other activities. I had a sports lighting company do an assessment, and they determined the lighting was

insufficient for it to be safe.” The cost of a new lighting system can be daunting. Jordan School District officials have listened to the proposal and have given the neighbors an opportunity to have it replaced. “I have been working with the school for about a year,” Blackmer said. “The school board would like to have new lights, but they have a budget and so I have started the process.” Replacing the field lights will cost an estimated $450,000. Blackmer has established a website (sucessfund.com/ledlights) where donations can be accepted and is planning an auction in November to raise money. She has also approached corporations to solicit the means needed to make the change. Musco Lighting specializes in the design and manufacture of sports lighting systems. Company representatives studied the current lights at Copper Hills and found them to be dangerous and less efficient than they could be. “LED lights can be downward facing and direct the light to the field,” Blackmer said. “The Musco representative told me the light is in the eyes of the spectators. He was not sure how they could even see the games.” Creating controlled light is the goal for

Copper Hills High School’s stadium lighting has come under scrutiny; it is unsafe and pollutes the nearby neighborhood. (Greg James/City Journals)

any new system. A new LED lighting system can direct the light to the field and control light spillage. It can also save money by having less energy consumption. The new system would replace the current 75-foot stands with four 100-foot stands. “I have been talking to the school for a long time,” Blackmer said. “They have had the patience of Job. I really want more

community support. At some point the bulbs will become obsolete. I think awareness will help.” Tooele High School, Park City and the new schools built around the valley all have the new LED lighting systems. Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City has recently installed an LED system. l


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he summer is almost over, and high school football season is set to begin. West Jordan and Copper Hills are prepared and ready to go. The Grizzlies and Jaguars now find themselves in the same region as rivals and competitors. The realignment takes effect this fall. Region 3 was reorganized to include West Jordan and Copper Hills, along with Herriman, Binghan, Riverton and Mountain Ridge. The Jordan School District teams will face off as neighboring schools. Head-to-head, West Jordan has beaten Copper Hills 24 times with only one loss (in 2013). The Grizzlies have a young team with several positions to fill. Last season, they split time at quarterback between senior Brady Wardle and now-graduated Tommy Peake. The summer battle for playing time could help them improve offensively, they only scored 11.5 points per game while allowing 24.6. Senior Rylan Reed returns this season with the most experience in the backfield. He ran for two touchdowns and over 220 yards last year. Copper Hills finished with a 4-6 overall season record. They did advance to the second round of the state tournament because of a COVID-19 outbreak at Fremont. West Jordan enters the season with a new head coach. Ron Halbert took over earlier this spring. He had been an assistant at the school for the past two seasons and had been a part of the staff beginning in 1989. This will be Halbert’s 34th season coaching high school football. The Jaguars finished last season with a 3-7 record and lost in the first round of the state tournament to Herriman 29-15. Senior Boston Farmer returns at quarterback for the Jaguars. As a two-year starter he has thrown for 23 career touchdowns and almost 3,000 yards. He also ran for another

nine scores. “[Farmer] will be an important part of this team,” new offensive coordinator Mike Simpkins said. “We have a lot of kids returning and are very fortunate to be in this situation. We want to build a dynasty.” Halbert pointed out the strength of the team even before summer workouts began. “We are going to be strong in the offensive and defensive line,” Halbert said. “Most of all, I want them to work hard in the classroom, prepare hard for the game and become good husbands, fathers, mothers and wives.” This will be the Jaguars 40th football season. They advanced to the state semifinals in 2005 and lost to Skyline 33-3. Their first game this season will be the school’s 400th. They have won 166 games. l

Senior Boston Farmer is returning for his third season and starting quarterback at West Jordan. (Greg James/City Journals)

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Soaring Summer Travel is Lifting Utah’s Economy Take the ElevateHERTM Challenge

By Robert Spendlove | Zions Bank Senior Economist


he Salt Lake City International Airport is bustling. Visitors are pouring into Utah’s state and national parks. And the iconic Temple Square is once again welcoming visitors from around the world to our capital city. After the coronavirus pandemic dramatically impacted travel and tourism – along with so many aspects of our lives and our economy – it’s exciting to see travel returning to our state. In July, the Salt Lake City International Airport reported that passenger volumes were at 105% of 2019 levels – one Are you a business leader? of the strongest rebounds nationally. And At no cost, the ElevateHERTM Challenge is easy a year after Covid-19 halted most interto accept and will benefit your company. national travel, our Zions Bank branches have seen an uptick in people coming in Join businesses across Utah in to get foreign currency for their summer our mission to elevate the stature travels, particularly the Mexican Peso, of women’s leadership. Take the the Euro and the British pound. ElevateHERTM Challenge and stand with This return to travel is important. other businesses as we pledge to elevate The travel and tourism sector generates women in senior leadership positions, in over a billion dollars in state and local tax boardrooms, on management teams and revenue each year, according to the Union politcal ballots. versity of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Tourism and visitor spending LEARN MORE: support more than one in 11 Utah jobs diwww.WLIUT.com/challenge rectly or indirectly. And in some parts of the state, the employment impact is much

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larger. From the snow-capped mountains to the majestic red rocks, statistics show that not even a global pandemic can keep people away from all our state has to offer. Despite the pandemic, a record 10.6 million people visited Utah state parks in 2020 – a 33% increase from 2019. Similarly, Utah’s ski resorts saw a record-breaking 5.3 million skier days during the 202021 winter season, according to Ski Utah. The previous record was 5.1 million, set in 2018-2019. The business side of tourism continues to recover, although much more slowly than the leisure side of travel. It will take some time for business travel to fully recover from the effects of the pandemic, but the future is looking bright. More than a year after the economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic began, Utah’s economy has emerged as one of the strongest in the nation, with the second-highest job growth of any state. This busy season of travel is a great sign that our travel and tourism industry is making a strong comeback. A boost in summer travel will have far-reaching impacts on the economy, bringing back jobs

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West Jordan City Journal

Making sense of your property tax statement Did you get your property tax statement and feel overwhelmed trying to understand it? Every year we get calls from residents who need help making sense of their tax statement, so here is some info that might be useful. The county treasurer is responsible to collect taxes for over 70 different entities, not just Salt Lake County. That means that your city/township, school district, water districts, and other entities show up on your property tax statement. Once we get the money, we distribute it to the different taxing entities. The Salt Lake County assessor oversees the assessment of your property value. Once your value is assessed, then the tax rate is applied to that amount. If you think your assessed value is incorrect, you can appeal it between August 1 – September 15. Just go to slco.org/tax-administration/how-to-file-an-appeal/ to see instructions. One great thing about our state is that Truth-in-Taxation is required. That means you will be notified if a government entity is trying to raise your taxes. My property tax notice, for instance, showed an increase with my school district and two of the water districts. It also shows when the public hearing will

Aimee Winder Newton Salt Lake County Council | District 3 be held so government officials can hear from you. Just because a tax rate stays the same, doesn’t mean your taxes won’t increase. After your property is assessed, the county adds in additional growth and

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then divides all the property values by the proposed budget amount. That is how we get the tax rate. Government cannot collect more than what they did the previous year without a Truth-in-Taxation hearing. If property values and growth are going up, your tax rate would go down if there was no additional tax increase. When taxing entities tell you the rate hasn’t changed, that still could mean a tax increase from that entity. Don’t worry, though… it should be crystal clear on

your property tax statement if it’s an increase. If there is a public meeting, that entity is raising your taxes this year. If you find yourself falling on hard times and need some tax relief, you can apply to the Treasurer’s office for a few different programs designed to help. The programs are as follows: Circuit Breaker– 66 years old or surviving spouse with household income below $34,666. Indigent – 65 years old or disabled with household income plus adjusted assets below $34,666. Hardship – Extreme financial hardship at any age with adjusted household income plus assets that do not exceed $34,666. This limit is increased by $4,480 for each household member. There are also programs to help veterans. Visit slco.org/treasurer for details. Although paying property taxes is not pleasant for anyone, keep in mind the many services that our cities, counties, school districts, water districts, and even the mosquito abatement district provides. And don’t hesitate to get involved in these government entities. The more that people get involved, the more taxes stay in check.



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August 2021 | Vol. 7 Iss. 08


WEST JORDAN CITY CALLING FOR INFLATIONARY TAX By Erin Dixon | e.dixon@mycityjournals.com


n Aug. 24, West Jordan City will host a $277,000. “We [will] hold it in reserves for truth-in-taxation. This is a state mandated next year when we’re going to be purchasing meeting that city leaders must hold if they want quite a few police vehicle replacements, like to adjust their property tax income. 89,” Steck said. The potential adjustment in West Jordan has The police department would get been discussed in city council meetings since last $65,000 to recruit new officers. “They are December. paying for new recruits out of the SLCC and At that time, Councilmember Zach Jacob UVU program that are going through trainexplained that a small increase in a truth in taxaing,” Steck said. “This would pay for 10 of tion meeting equals maintenance for the city and those recruits.” residents, not a higher cost to property owners. Another $100,000 would provide mar“The state law is to lower your taxes every keting and public outreach. “The council is year by default,” Jacob said. “We have to low- Staff and officials in West Jordan would like to bring another $500,000 to the city. (Photo courtesy West interested in reaching out to our residents on er it every year unless we raise it. Every year Jordan) a more regular basis for reporting, transparthe property value goes up, the property tax rate ency, noticing, events and other things to let ogy management fund. “The first 130,000 of that will purgoes down. It’s putting the brakes on the car going down the them know what we are doing for them,” Steck said. “We’re chase the agenda management software and the rest will go to hill.” not doing a whole lot of that right now.” beef up reserves,” Steck said. “What we’re finding is IT costs State law says that a city will receive the same amount of The marketing money would be further divided for speare increasing pretty quickly. [W]e purchased so much stuff property taxes each year, even if property values go up, unless cific department communication. “A lot of that outreach has during the pandemic with CARES act money. In three years, the city holds a truth-in-taxation meeting. to do with utilities; 25% of outreach is allocated to utilities,” [that] is going to make a huge cost increase because we’re This year, West Jordan leaders are considering a 2.5% Steck said. “Seventy-five thousand dollars to the general fund going to need to replace it. inflationary property tax rate. Of that 2.5% change, residents for things like information on a landfill, a transfer station, inThe Risk Fund would get $100,000, and $10,000 would will only pay 45%. Commercial property owners pay the full formational.” go to recruit a new risk manager. amount. The last $50,000 would go to the events budget. “Our “Ninety-thousand dollars [would go] into reserves,” This change in tax rate would bring $585,000 more to event staff is stretched too thin but not thin enough to gain Steck said. “The stronger our reserves are, the more we are the city. another employee,” Steck said. The money would pay for outable to find discounts in insurance premiums. It takes money Finance Director Danyce Steck outlined where that monsourced help. to make money.” ey would go if the rate is approved. The Aug. 24 meeting is open to the public and will have The fleet fund that purchases police vehicles would get Of that, $250,000 would go to the information technoltime for resident comments. l


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