June 2020 | Vol. 20 Iss. 06
WEST JORDAN CITY GRAPPLES
WITH HOW TO COMBAT FINANCIAL STUGGLES By Erin Dixon | firstname.lastname@example.org
t the end of the fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019), $12.5 million was left in the general fund (also known as reserves or “rainy-day” fund). At the end of the current fiscal year 2020, $9.3 million will be in this fund. Some reserve funds have been used to make up for the loss in sales the city sustained when businesses were closed in mid-March for the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. The proposed budget that ends fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021), city leaders proposed to use another $3 million to make up for the additional loss they anticipate in the coming year. That means that by the end of fiscal year 2021, there will be $6.1 million left in the general fund. Mayor Dirk Burton, first strong mayor in West Jordan, is responsible for presenting the budget he put together with help from city staff. “COVID-19 has completely changed the way we live and work,” he said. “Social distancing has kept West Jordan safe, but it has crippled our economy. Our municipal budget—which was already stretched thin due to past budgeting practices, a decrease in fees and increasing benefits and retirement obligations to public safety staff— has been decimated.” Utah cities are required to have at least 5% of their expenditures in their general fund for emergency use, which means West Jordan needs just over $3 million at all times. Councilmember Kelvin Green is nervous about this practice of using general fund money to make up for holes in the budget. West Jordan is facing difficult times, and West Jordan officials are grappling with how to combat financial struggles. (Photo courtesy West Jordan City) “I’m trying to play chess here a year ahead of this budget Continued page 8
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Desperate times call for creative measures By Alison Brimley | email@example.com
t’s no surprise that along with medical scares and supply shortages, COVID-19 has brought a host of social and economic problems. Rebecca Klundt of West Jordan isn’t an epidemiologist or policymaker— she’s an artist. But in April, Klundt saw an opportunity to help tackle two COVIDcreated problems at once. Klundt ran a socially-distanced fundraiser right from her own driveway, aimed to help families entertain their stuck-at-home students while at the same time raising money for those struggling to put food on the table. The concept was explained in sidewalk chalk in front of Klundt’s house: for every lap around the neighborhood a neighbor completed (whether walked, run, or biked), he or she could make a tally mark in the Klundt driveway. At the end of the week, for every tally mark in the driveway, Klundt would donate one dollar to the Utah Food Bank. By the time the fundraiser had ended on April 23, the neighborhood (near 1300 W and 9000 S in West Jordan) had raised nearly 400 dollars. Rebecca Klundt didn’t mean for the activity to be primarily a competition, but she did offer a prize to the neighbor who added the most tallies to the roster: a pink bag of chocolate coins. The winner was ten-year-old Dee Ann Barrowes, who completed sixty laps. A lap around the neighborhood is about half a mile, meaning that Dee Ann, a fourth-grader at Riverside Elementary, biked thirty miles in just a few days. It wasn’t easy, Dee Ann says—”going down hills” was the biggest challenge. But it got easier as the week went on.
“We were all laughing because she was so motivated,” said Dee Ann’s mom, Norda Barrowes. Another family of boys competed for the most tally marks. An older couple in the neighborhood came close. But no one topped Deanne’s numbers. Norda and Dee Ann both loved Klundt’s idea. Now that she’s not in school, Dee Ann looks for opportunities to use her time constructively. In addition to biking the neighborhood to raise money for the food bank, she spends time practicing skills like art and ballet. “I don’t want to use screens. It rots my brain,” Dee Ann said. She loves her teacher at Riverside Elementary and misses her class. She was disappointed that school was canceled just as her class was about to begin an exciting project. She clearly embraces challenges, like the one Klundt’s fundraiser offered. And when she’s not sponsoring neighborhood activities, Rebecca Klundt is an artist who works from home. She’s a parent, too, though her children are grown and she now has grandchildren. Before the fundraiser, she had regularly organized other activities to entertain neighborhood kids. Normally, she says, kids are so busy and she wouldn’t want to add one more thing to their plates (or their parents’). But now, she says, the timing is right for these kinds of activities. “Parents are so happy to have something for their kids to do.” And along with the many challenges that accompany a pandemic, Klundt sees new opportunities. “The time we’re in calls for creativity,” she says. “If you’re a creative person, you’re loving this.” l
Ten-year-old Dee Ann Barrowes lapped her neighborhood sixty times in a week, raising money for the food bank through a fundraiser organized by her neighbor Rebecca Klundt.
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Following the path to passion By Jet Burnham | email@example.com
ictoria Nguyen is graduating from West Jordan High School a year early, with a high school diploma and 27 college credit hours. She has been accepted to the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah on a full-ride scholarship. She is a University of Utah Martin Luther King Junior Youth Leadership Award recipient as well as a Prudential Spirit Community Award recipient. As a first-generation Asian American and first-generation college student, Victoria has been encouraged by her family to push herself to do her best. “Victoria is someone who will accomplish whatever she sets her mind to,” said WJHS history teacher Alyse Almond. “She has so much to give this world that her passion for business and others will end up changing her life, her community and her world.” Almond and her passion for the subject of history has been an influence on Victoria’s decision to study business. “My end goal was to get into a career that I really love and would be passionate about,” Victoria said. Victoria explored her interests throughout her middle and high school years with involvement in school clubs, stage crew, student government, National Honors Society, art shows and community service. She has worked part time since the age of 14.
“I just always wanted to advance my education and try new things,” Victoria said. “So, I always experimented with different pathways.” WJHS teachers appreciate Victoria’s humor, kindness and intelligence. “Victoria can go from discussing complex topics in history to comforting a friend to solving a real-world problem,” Almond said. “Victoria was such a joy to have in my zoology class,” said Britnee Eng. “Not only was she a hard worker, I really enjoyed her thoughtful comments and contributions to our classroom discussions. She is always a student that I can plan on sparking some much-needed healthy controversy surrounding animal conservation, and I enjoyed seeing her grow as both a student and a global citizen.” Victoria has learned the importance of grit and self-care. “If you burn yourself out, you’re not helping yourself or anyone else,” she said. “It’s really easy to stretch yourself thin and burn yourself out. But once you do proper care to your mental health and your physical health, you’re able to do so much.” Creating art is one way Victoria keeps her calm and focus. WJHS art teacher Angelica Barney is certain that Victoria has a successful future ahead. “She has continued to impress me with her abilities in her organizational skills,
readiness to always try to do her best and her willingness to work with others,” Barney said. “She applies time and effort in all that she does, and she wants to reach her full potential. She is engaged in her learning and
growing and is passionate about her work. I believe that as she continues with her academic endeavors, she will improve the world around her.” l
Victoria Nguyen (Photo courtesy Victoria Nguyen)
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Continued from front page even though we’re $3 million in the hole,” he said. “If we don’t fix this now, we’re going to be in the hole next year. It’s obvious we’re spending more than we’re bringing in. How do we get to the point where we’re not spending more than we’re bringing in?” Danyce Steck, finance director for West Jordan city, suggested that previous planning was inefficient. The city did not receive its projected income. “[Last year] the budget for franchise tax was far over-budgeted,” Steck said. She began working for the city in spring 2019. The budget at that time was projected to have at least $9 million in revenue. “I was not familiar with the city last year; I had been with the city for about 60 days at that point,” Steck said. “It was budgeted at $9.1 million, but [the year before], it was budgeted at $8.6 million. Why would you budget $9.1 million when it was coming in at $8.6 million?” When Utah began efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus and shut down most businesses, West Jordan lost millions in expected sales tax revenue. “[W]e had a reduction in revenues from year to year of $2.4 million, and our response was to reduce our expenses by $2.4 million,” Steck said. “That dip in fund balance is really related directly to sales tax.” Green hesitates using general fund money if the economy continues to drop. “We’ve got to figure out a way to cut $3 million out of this budget because I’m not sure the residents really want to see a property tax increase,” Green said. If the city staff and officials are in favor of a property tax increase, a truth in taxation meeting is required, which would happen as a public hearing on Aug 14. Where did the reserve money come from in the first place? High city employee turnover before 2018 is the main source. “West Jordan had a history of not being able to keep employees for a long period of time,” Steck said. “When there’s vacancies, there tends to be considerable savings.” Councilmember Kayleen Whitelock suggested another source of savings for the city. “Oftentimes, there is money left over in
government, maybe there is less snow than you thought there was going to be, so you have a little bit of money left from your salt,” Whitelock said. Whitelock also said past council and staff created the imbalance. “The problem has been in the past we had council members that didn’t totally understand the budget and felt that [reserve] funds should be used,” she said. “We also had finance people that maybe didn’t totally understand how to give us great data.” “Then we had council members that feel like there is money in the budget and that we can cut things, and I’m still waiting for them to share that with me,” Whitelock continued. “One of them is now our mayor, and the only cut I’m seeing is in personnel, so I’m very concerned that we now have a budget that we know for sure we’re running a deficit on.” Because reserves were built from empty jobs at the city and front first responders, as well as some other surprise savings, the city does not have a way to immediately build the reserve fund as it is used. Councilmember Zach Jacob said the city could benefit in change of practice. “When all you have is a bedroom community, this is all you’ve got,” he said. “You’ve got to raise your property tax rate by a whole lot because you don’t have the sales tax coming in to make up for that and the property tax coming in from commercial businesses. We can’t afford to be a bedroom community or we’re going to be a bedroom community with no services.” One question that may be on your mind is, why doesn’t the city just cut all of the events? Tauni Barker, communications officer, said most of the events are actually self-funding. If the money isn’t earned, it also isn’t spent. The annual Western Stampede has been canceled, and the Demolition Derby in September may also be canceled. “We only have one full-time event staff, and without the self-funding events our budget for events in a year is about $35,000,” Barker said. Budget discussions will continue through June before any final decisions are made. For more information on what the city is doing during the COVID-19 crisis, check out westjordanjournal.com. l
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As a sign of the times, West Jordan City Council meetings are held online. (Erin Dixon/City Journals)
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signments with attentiveness to detail, often doing more than required. “Even though she wasn’t necessarily going into art, she really put in the effort as though my class were her only class,” he said. Despite the rigorous academics of high school and college courses, extracurricular demands and part-time work, Jaci thrived at Itineris, which was recently named a top school in Utah by “US World News.” “We work them pretty hard at Itineris, so I was just really proud of her and extremely impressed that her attitude was always positive,” McKay said. He also appreciates how kind-hearted Jaci is to those around her. “She was always willing to help me,” he said. “Even if I looked like I needed help or like I was under stress, she’d ask if I needed help.” Jaci liked the small-school feel at Itineris (enrollment is just under 400 students grades 10-12). She felt she was able to form good relationships with her peers and with faculty members. She is headed to Southern Utah University on a President’s Scholarship to study accounting. l
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How this Itineris academic all-star came to learn balance aci Peterson is ranked No. 1 in her graduating class at Itineris Early College High School. She is graduating with 4.0 GPA and an Associates of Science degree. Jaci served as president of Future Business Leaders of America and has placed well in the organization’s annual competitions. Jaci began her high school career at Itineris on full blast, taking high school advanced placement classes and 13 college credit hours during her first summer. She maintained the rigorous schedule her junior year while working two after-school jobs. Eventually, she became stretched thin and burned out by her enthusiastic pace. Jaci realized she needed to find a balance. She began to carve out time for relaxation and self-care, which she discovered enabled her to be more productive. “I realized how much better I felt,” she said. “I did my job better when I had enough time to sleep, eat well, hang out, read books—that kind of thing. Just finding something to relax, I found that I did a better job academically, socially—everything, basically.” Robert McKay, who taught Jaci in his Spanish and art classes, said she was an exemplary student with an upbeat attitude. He could always expect her to complete her as-
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Memorial Day is a time to remember
Aimee Winder Newton
Salt Lake County Council | District 3
Page 10 | June 2020
As we celebrate Memorial Day each year, I give my thanks to those who serve in the military and their families, as well as condolences to those who have lost loved ones in service. It’s a beautiful time to honor them and the ultimate sacrifice that they have made. I often think of my friend, Jennie Taylor, who is now a widow. Her husband, North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, was a major in the US Army National Guard. He answered the call to serve his country in Afghanistan where he was killed, leaving Jennie and their seven children behind. Brent was a friend of mine through our public service experiences. Just before he was killed, he posted on Facebook about the people in Afghanistan being able to vote. He showed a photo of a long line of people waiting to do so. What a profound reminder of the liberties and freedoms we have been given here in the United States and why we have amazing people like Brent to help protect us and those freedoms. For those of you who are grieving as you remember your loved ones. I have a small understanding of the loss and grief that comes from saying goodbye. In 2011, my husband and I were hustling our kids to bed when I heard a knock at my front door. I opened the door to see my brother, Mike, and his wife, Karyn, standing on my porch. They came in the house and Mike told me how mom and dad were
driving down to St George, there was a bad storm and they were in a car accident, “Mom is dead and dad is in the hospital,” he muttered. I cried out, “But I still need a mom.” After visiting each of our siblings to deliver the news, and making the terrible call to tell my mom’s mother that her oldest daughter had passed, Mike and I drove down to St George to be with our dad. Wow – it was like I was punched in the gut. My mom was 57 years old and in great health. She had 11 grandchildren. It was a difficult first few years and I still think of her and miss her all the time. Three years after losing mom, I lost my youngest brother, Isaac. We miss mom and Isaac desperately. But there are interesting blessings that come from hard situations. We now have a bonus mom (that’s what we call our stepmom) and her two wonderful sons and their families who have joined our Winder family. Several years after Isaac’s death, his wife Candalyn was able to earn her masters degree and found a wonderful man to marry, Jason, who we’ve also welcomed into our family. They even had a new baby a few weeks ago. Our family gets together for an adult date night and family dinner with all the kids once per month. We sometimes can’t explain how we are all related in simple terms, but we love each other and provide support for each other. We all know loss and we find
ways to help each other. Though some days are hard, and we desperately miss the loved ones who have passed, we find ways to see the rainbows and silver linings of life. As a Salt Lake County Council member, I often see people who have difficulties in their life – health challenges, poverty, childhood trauma, mental health, homelessness and heartache. It’s hard to see so much sadness. Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair. I also get a chance to see the wonderful people in this community who serve others. People reaching out, often to complete strangers, to lighten their load, people who give of themselves so unselfishly. It is heartwarming to know there are so many good people out there. Thank you for all of you who serve and help your fellowmen. As I’ve mourned the loss of loved ones, and some days have been buried with overwhelming grief, I’ve found reprieve by looking outside myself and finding ways to serve. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” As we celebrate Memorial Day, I am grateful for our military men and women who serve so that we have the incredible freedoms that we do. I’m also grateful for my family members— and miss those who have passed on. May you have sweet experiences as you remember your loved ones and cherish happy memories
West Jordan City Journal
Stuck at home? Play a game By Greg James | firstname.lastname@example.org
heckmate!” “Uno!” “Do not pass go!” Nowadays you are bound to hear those expressions around the tables of many a family cooped up in their homes during the quarantine. “Right before all of this Covid stuff we absolutely saw an uptick in sales,” said Game Night Games employee Tyler Lashlee. “We have been mostly curbside delivery recently and are not hosting events right now so lately it is hard to say.” Google trend searches for board games are typically at their peak from mid-November to late December. In 2020, March through April saw equal search numbers. Board games, best board games and online board games topped the charts in Google searches. Utah has a higher proportion of queries on the subject than any other state. “We do lots of puzzles and play lots of games in general,” West Valley resident Brittany Kluge said. “Since coronavirus I’ve been teaching more board games to my kids. Specifically strategy games.” What are the most popular games? “Two-player games and puzzles are the most popular right now,” Lashlee said. “Ironically, Pandemic is a popular game right now. Online Dungeons & Dragons has also happened a lot. Lots of people play on Zoom calls now.” Personal connection might be a major reason for gaming popularity. “I think people are looking for a friend group,” Lashlee said. In a City Journals’ poll, 40% of those asked said they play games at least twice a week and 70% enjoy strategy games. What did they say are the most popular games they are playing right now? Here are the top five:
Produced by Stonemaier Games, this game was released in March 2019. It’s a card game that you attempt to attract a diverse collection of birds to your preserve. The winner is the one that scores the most points in four rounds of play. It is designed for one to five players. “My kids learned a lot about birds from playing it,” Kluge said. “We simultaneously had a nest in our backyard that we watched birds hatch from the eggs. It (the game) is hard to find right now. I think it is sold out everywhere.”
A deck building game for two to four players, each player starts with the same deck and buys other cards as they can afford them. As players construct their deck they attempt to gain the most victory points before the game ends. It was awarded the best new family strategy game by Game Magazine in 2010.
Ticket to Ride
A simple game to play for two to five
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people. Players collect train cars and use them to claim railway routes. The longer the trains, the more points they can score. The game has a successful board version and online play is an option. “Trying to beat my friends online is becoming my hobby,” Jill James said. The game has expanded with several versions including domestic and foreign locations.
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Ravensburger, a game company, has designed a new concept combining two favorite gamer pastimes. The puzzle is only the first step to the game. After it is assembled you most solve the clues to help you solve the mystery. “The first one we did we had to figure out how to keep the vampire in his coffin,” Wendy Wood said. “They are not easy and once the puzzle is together you have to figure out the clues.”
Dungeons & Dragons
“As the DM (Dungeon Master) here at our store, I have slowed down playing quite a bit (in the last few weeks), but I have several friends playing through Zoom or (Google) Hangouts quite a bit,” Lashlee said. Made famous by “The Big Bang Theory,” role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons have seen exponential growth in recent years. Traveling exhibitions like Comic-Con have helped expand their popularity. The fantasy role-playing game was designed in 1974. Players embark on imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. Traditional games like Monopoly and Sorry were also mentioned in the survey. l
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June 2020 | Page 11
PASSING THE TORCH: MARK MILLER SUBARU NOW ENTERS THE FOURTH GENERATION OF THE MILLER FAMILY
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After more than 40 years in the automotive industry, Mark Miller announces his retirement and succession plan as he passes the Mark Miller Auto Group torch to his two sons, paving the way for a fourth generation to the family business. The vibrant light of this Miller Family Torch was passed from Harry Carleson to his son-in-law Laury Miller in 1953, then from Laury Miller to his son, Mark Miller, on July 1, 1975. It is with great excitement that Mark passes this same Family Torch to his sons, Jeff Miller and John Miller. Starting May 1, 2020, Jeff Miller will now be the sole proprietor of Mark Miller Subaru, which includes two retailer locations (the Midtown store in South Salt Lake and South Towne store in Sandy), a Subaru Certified Collision Center, and a Subaru Rental location. While nothing about Mark Miller Subaru will change, including the name which will continue to bare Mark’s name, this transition is a sign of strength and potential for the future of Mark Miller Subaru and for the future of the company’s employees, customers, and our community. “Jeff has been preparing his whole life to take over our family business, and I’m so proud of him,” said Mark Miller. “He’s ready, and I’m
ready for the next chapter of my life.” From earning nickels by inspecting cars around the age of 7, to working his way thru each department and position at Mark Miller Subaru, Jeff has been preparing to become the next Miller Family Torchbearer for over thirty years. Jeff’s journey hasn’t just been about learning the nuts and bolts of the automotive business though, Mark has long been committed to teaching Jeff about what the Miller’s Torchbearer’s flame represents: to care deeply for others and to leave the world better than you found it. For decades the Miller Family has left an undeniable ‘MARK’ on the lives of Mark Miller Subaru’s customers, employees and neighbors, supporting numerous community non-profits and providing over $2 million in philanthropic support over the past decade alone. It has been this philosophy of caring for others that Mark has instilled into the business, and into Jeff. “Even in the face of a global pandemic, I’m certain there is no better time to carry my family’s legacy forward,” said Jeff Miller. Amidst the uncertainty surrounding the Novel Coronavirus Global Pandemic, Jeff has shown a steady handed approach to leading and managing Mark Miller Subaru’s response. It has been his approach to implementing in-
creased safety precautions to keep Mark Miller Subaru’s employees, customers, and community safe that, in addition to developing a business plan to keep every Mark Miller Subaru team member employed, is evidence of his ability to lead with compassion during a crisis. If the Coronavirus Pandemic has proven anything, it’s that Jeff is ready and prepared to carry his Family’s Torch. While I’m sure our journey won’t always be easy, I know that our future is bright, as bright
as the flame in my family’s torch that I now am fortunate enough to carry. My heart is full of love and gratitude to my father for grooming, preparing, and trusting me to become the next Torchbearer of our family business. I do not take this gravity of this responsibility lighting; in fact, I am dedicated to our employees, our customers, and our community to be the kind of leader my dad would be proud of. – Jeff Miller, Mark Miller Subaru, General Manager and Chief Executive officer
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Page 12 | June 2020
West Jordan City Journal
Former Utah First Lady’s books address internet safety at a time when more students are online By Julie Slama | firstname.lastname@example.org
ight in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, former Utah First Lady Jackie Leavitt launched the sixth book in the Faux Paw series she has co-written — and said it’s a perfect time to do so. “Children are at home as we practice social distancing to avoid the coronavirus, but they also are likely spending more time being connected on the internet through technology,” Leavitt said. “But we want the children to be safe online and understand the importance of guidelines while using the internet.” Her series of adventures address internet safety with Faux Paw – a now 20-year-old orange polydactyl (six-toed) cat who used to reside in her husband’s office when Mike Leavitt was governor. “Faux Paw was the perfect way to talk about internet safety with school children,” she said. “People would come to the office to see the cat even more than the governor. There was so much interest in the cat, that it just fit he would be the mascot or the star of the books.” While the cat at one time had his own website, now the former First Lady said the books about Faux Paw the Techno Cat are available as a free online resource to parents on iKeepSafe.org under the family access tab. In addition, each elementary school throughout the state has two copies of each book in the series. “In each of the books, Faux Paw the Techno Cat addresses different issues and gets curious and into trouble, but he has good friends who help him understand how to be a good digital citizen. In this last book, “Faux Paw and the Unfortunate Upload-Digital Ethics for Kids,” he posts pictures of the band without permission and learns how important it is to treat others well to have their respect,” she said. The books begin with Faux Paw learning firsthand about privacy online. In another book, he learns what to do if someone says something untrue with the help of former U.S. First Lady Laura Bush. The other books address balancing screen time as Faux Paw gets distracted playing online games, illegal downloading when he wants to get a new song, and making healthy media choices. The series aren’t written on her own. After consulting with two child psychologists, Leavitt said she “wrote the nuts and bolts” of the stories. She credits co-author Sally S. Linford for making the stories “more fun and clever” as well as illustrator Adrian Ropp, who “was able to take a very difficult subject and add an element of fun and comfort to it.” The books also come with internet resources, discussion questions and the new-
est, with catchy informative tunes to familiar melodies. With precautions taken for COVID-19, this time with children at home can be a unique window that can be used for learning digital ethics and positive online skills, she said. “We know that many of our youth will have more access and be online during this time and with parents trying to teach and work at home, this is a free way to communicate how to be a good citizen online,” Leavitt said. Healthy living in a “connected world” does require these necessary skills and conversations, she said. Seeing the need for those conversations in her own family inspired Leavitt to write about the issues surrounding being online. She also heard the need to address these concerns from other parents – including the last one from her daughter. “In each of these books, there are different topics that can be looked at and talked with our children and youth and there are additional resources, such as ‘Be Internet Awesome,’ that can be accessed for free on the page,” Leavitt said. “It’s a fun way to get kids interested in talking about being safe online.
They know so many things, but as parents, we need to make sure our children and teens do it safely.” iKeepSafe originated in 2003 as an effort from the Leavitts, then grew as the First Spouses from other states joined. While Leavitt has written other books ranging on experiences such as hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics and the tornado that uprooted 90 trees on the capitol lawn, she is dedicated to the cat who gives schoolchildren practical internet lessons. “I enjoy writing,” said the former elementary school teacher. “It’s more compelling and necessary to write about online safety. It’s vital our parents and children know about it and are making healthy online choices.” Once schools resume, Leavitt plans to read about Faux Paw’s latest adventure to school children and share with them internet safety rules she’ll pass out on bookmarks — and she may even be asked what is Faux Paw the Techno Cat’s next adventure. “If there are new areas that we need to address, then I’ll write another,” Leavitt said. “There’s no set number, but we do the books as we need them to ensure the children’s, students’ safety online.” l
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This cartoon cat, the star of the Faux Paw the Techno Cat series, reminds school children how to be respectful and ask permission before safely uploading photos online in his free, new book launched at ikeepsafe. org. (Photo courtesy of Jackie Leavitt)
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June 2020 | Page 13
Utah graduates showered with love in special Adopt a Utah Senior project By Stephanie Yrungaray | email@example.com
igh school seniors across the Salt Lake valley are sharing a common experience they never anticipated…graduation during a pandemic. Although every school district is handling the end of the year differently, there is no doubt that the class of 2020 is not getting the graduation they dreamed of or deserve. One Utah mom is trying to soften the blow of unmet expectations through a project called Adopt a Utah Senior and teens across the valley and state are being recognized by strangers in a very special way. Monica Kennedy from Erda, Utah saw what her senior daughter Paige was experiencing and wanted to make a difference for all high school seniors. “I was really sad for my own senior,” Kennedy said. “I reached out to family and friends for ideas to get some excitement into this season because I can’t make up for the stuff she’s missed out on.” Modeling a Facebook group after a similar one in Alaska, Kennedy started the Adopt a Utah Senior project which has paired over 2,500 seniors with “adoptive” individuals and families. Parents or legal guardians share pictures and information about their high school graduates, and angel adopters offer to recognize the senior with cards and/or gifts. Once they are paired, the adopter is encouraged to send or deliver something to the grad within two weeks. Kimmy DelAndrae posted about her daughter Haley who is graduating from Bingham High School. After reading posts from other parents she decided she wanted to adopt another senior. “I wish I could adopt every one of these kids,” DelAndrae said. “They are missing so much. I want to let them know that one, they are not alone and two, everyone is rooting for them. The whole thing just made my heart so happy.” Haley helped her mom pick out another
senior and together they put together a gift basket for him. “It was a really fun experience to get one and to give one,” said Haley DelAndrae. Luke Vickery, a senior at Alta High School, was adopted by Shalysa Meier from West Valley City. Meier also adopted two other seniors. “Anytime I see a good thing it is a no-brainer to be a part of it,” Meier said. “Not only do I feel it impacted seniors on the receiving end, it brightened my spirits on my end. It gave me something to look forward to and a project I could do to spread kindness beyond my social circle.” “As seniors, it’s a bummer we don’t get to experience the traditions that most people do,” Vickery said. “Everyone is trying to make a difference and [the Adopt a Senior Project] is a really cool way that people are doing something for our class to brighten our days. It’s really cool.” Luke’s mom Kourtney, said she can’t believe how generous people have been. “I love reading the kids’ stories and seeing the things they are involved in,” Kourtney Vickery said. “[The project] is giving people a chance to forget about what’s going on, all of the negative stuff in the world, and focus on other people. It is a bright spot I think.” Kennedy said she was overwhelmed at how quickly the Facebook group grew. Along with a team of eight other volunteers, she is spending many hours a day trying to make sure each senior is accounted for and matched to an individual or family. “There is a lot of work involved,” Kennedy said. “We watch for posts that come in, make sure they have correct information including their high school and make sure they are posted by a parent or legal guardian. We tag them so it is easier for people to find who hasn’t been adopted and answer a lot of questions.”
Shalysa Meier gave a personalized gift basket to Alta senior Luke Vickery as part of the Adopt A Utah Senior project. (Photo courtesy of Kourtney Vickery)
Kennedy said the stories and pictures that come from the adoptions have been heartwarming. “I love it when they find a common interest,” Kennedy said. “We will get emails with people who want to find someone who plays a certain sport or went to the high school they went to. We have people adopting from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. It isn’t about getting stuff, it’s about cheering up the class of 2020.” Just like all good things, Adopt a Utah Senior must end. Kennedy said they will take their last senior on May 23 and allow 24 more hours for adoptions to be finalized. The
following week they plan to allow gratitude posts. Kennedy isn’t worried about any of the graduates not being adopted because of all of the generosity she has seen so far. “Anytime we’ve gone on and said we need angels to take a referred senior we’ve had so much support,” Kennedy said. She is sad to see the project come to an end. “There has been so much love and random kindness,” Kennedy said. “It’s been so awesome to see smiles on these kids’ faces that have had so much taken away.” l
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West Jordan City Journal
G O OD NE IG HBOR
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M AYO R ’S M E S S AG E TO 2 0 2 0 G R A D S Congratulations! I know your graduation day isn’t exactly what you anticipated, but it is a special moment, nonetheless. Enjoy it. You are a part of a special moment in history. You will remember this day for the rest of your life. I also want to congratulate the parents of our graduates. Your support of these students has been essential to what they’ve achieved, so it is your moment too. Enjoy it and remember how unique it truly is. Students, when you get your diploma, as impressive as it is, it will not contain and instruction manual to take you through the rest of your life. That’s good. There are no limits on what the future may hold for you. Some of you may become the scientists who irradiate pandemic disease, while others may enter the field of journalism to cover unbelievable events. I believe a fair number of you will become independent entrepreneurs, establishing your own business, as I have. Perhaps one or two of you may even serve as Mayor of our great city. Over the years, as I built up my own business, established my family and home in West Jordan and even now, as I serve as Mayor, I have worn many hats. During that same time, I’ve established a real-life collection of more than 400 hats. I have practical hats to block the sunshine and others that protect my head from rain. I have work hats for safety and hats that are downright ridiculous, like a flamingo that flaps its wings. I am going to share with you a little bit about a few of the most important hats I own. It’s my believe that relying on each of these six hats will truly help you live up to your infinite potential. I am going to start by telling you about my favorite hat. It was given to me by a friend for my birthday over 20 years ago. It’s a turtle. It has four legs and a head that sticks out. Some people think it’s silly when they see me wearing my favorite hat. That’s fine. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about this very special hat. I know what it means to me and I wear my favorite hat with pride. Graduates find strength in following your own inner compass. Do not let what others think, affect your infinite potential. While there are those who think my turtle hat is a little silly, it’s my funny hats, like this flamingo cap that cause people to giggle and guffaw. I love bringing a smile to those around me.
Graduates look for the opportunity to serve others and make their lives better. When you wear that traditional mortarboard hat, or graduation cap, remember that is the hat of a learner. One of the keys to my success as an entrepreneur has been continuous learning. In fact, after years of working as an independent electrician, my business grew even stronger as I helped others with continuing education courses to stay on top of changing technology. Graduates, one of the keys to your success will be to invest in a lifetime of education and never give up on learning. In my role as an electrician, and even now as Mayor, I have often donned a work hat. Depending on the role you choose to fill, you could wear a medical cap, a football helmet or a hard hat. However, finding success while in your respective hat will only come with hard work and dedication. Graduates, nothing will be beyond your grasp if you simply work hard every day. I really enjoy a good party hat, I have several. Graduates remember to celebrate the small wins, the big wins and the nearly wins in life. Celebrating the milestones in life will keep your spirits positive and your will to succeed engaged. Finally, I’d like to share with you my top hat. This is my fancy dress hat. My “better” hat. This is a hat I pull out only on special occasions. Graduates remember that each person you encounter is special. While there will be special occasions, like today that you might be asked to wear the better hat, never forget that we all have infinite potential. As you move forward in life, you will experience unexpected obstacles. You will encounter doubters. You will make mistakes. But, as you wear your favorite hat with pride, don your funny hat in the service of others, place the learning cap on your head, dive in with your work hat, celebrate in your party hat and occasionally rely on your better hat you will succeed. Hats off to you, the graduating class of 2020!
Mayor Dirk Burton
Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2020 West Jordan High could not be more proud of our graduates. Each graduate has worked hard and endured so much to get to this point. As we move forward, we will miss the energy, excitement, and experience that they brought to our school and its many programs. We appreciate that our Sr.’s have finished strong this year, despite the challenges of being away from their friends, teammates, clubs, performing arts programs, and teachers who looked forward to seeing them each day. We appreciate the support from our WJH school community. Each Senior that receives their diploma has had a team of supportive teachers, parents, family and friends supporting, pushing, and at times, pulling them to the finish line. Each graduate of WJH is an example of perseverance, hard work, a positive attitude, and commitment to the students who will follow in their footsteps. We love our Jaguar graduates and will miss each of them. The graduating class of 2020 will now take the lessons learned over the last several years and apply them to their college courses, career, and personal relationships and will add to the long history of excellence of both WJH and West Jordan City. It’s a great day to be a graduating Jaguar! The Administrative Team, Faculty and Staff
Copper Hills High School – Students Graduating with Honors VALEDICTORIAN Grace Kaye Bramlage SALUTATORIANS Logan Keith Christensen, Cory Michael Neilsen ALPHA URSA Isabelle Edith Smith MAGNA CUM LAUDE Cole Bassett Logan Christensen Nathan Colton Megan Elsasser Lyndi Greenhalgh Cade Hastings
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New Website Gives Resources to Families in Need, Families Who Want to Help
COVID-19 Forces Cancellation of ‘Western Stampede’ Events
The Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) has rolled out a new website allowing individuals to find an emergency food storage organization near them. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many families without a steady income, resulting in more households having to rely on emergency food services. To help the community know what resources are available to them SLCoHD, along with tech company AQUEHS Corp., launched FeedUT.org. Although the site was originally intended for people in need to locate foodservice sites, the health department now sees the site as a resource for people who want to help. In short; what was initially being used for families to find food, can now also be used for families to donate food. “We developed FeedUT.org to help families in our own neighborhoods access healthy, nutritious foods,” said Anni McKinnon, SLCoHD healthy living program manager. “But when the pandemic began directly affecting our community, we found we already had a resource available for people looking for an easy, efficient way to help.” SLCoHD is encouraging residents to donate or volunteer to foodservice organizations, while also following “Stay Smart, Stay Safe” public health order guidelines, such as wearing a cloth face covering and maintaining a minimum of 6 feet of distance from those outside their household. “We’re dedicated to continuing to be here as long as possible. We are facing increased demands with decreased resources,” said Jessica Roadman of Crossroads Urban Center. “Your generosity allows us to continue being there for those in need.” Visit FeedUT.org to locate a food service organization near you or to donate/volunteer to an organization in your community.
Like many other cities around the state, the City of West Jordan has made the difficult decision to cancel its long-standing and largest event of the year; the Western Stampede. “This was a difficult decision, the Western Stampede is not only an event that brings people within our city together, but brings in people from all over the state,” said West Jordan Mayor, Dirk Burton. “Because of its popularity, we recognize it will be difficult to comply with social distancing guidelines, put forth by the health department. Our residents’ health and safety are our top priority.” Mayor Burton held off on making the decision as long as possible, in hopes that State and County public health guidelines would be further relaxed. However, contractual agreements required a decision now. “In addition to concerns regarding social distancing at such a popular event, Salt Lake County is not currently accepting applications for mass gatherings,” Burton said. “We don’t know if or when those applications will be taken this summer. It’s important that the city not expend funds on an event that may not take place.” The city has seen success over the last couple of weeks with socially distant events, like a flag display in Veterans Memorial Park and Friday night family flix, viewed at home utilizing Netflix. Planning is underway for additional activities that will take place through the end of the year. “I’ve asked staff to start looking forward to next year’s Western Stampede. We’ve already made plans to ensure it will be more spectacular than ever before,” said Mayor Burton.
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Biking in West Jordan Among Mayor Dirk Burton’s many hobbies; which include collecting hats and cleaning up his neighborhood park, is something he’s been doing since he can remember. “I’ve enjoyed riding bikes ever since I was a little kid,” said Mayor Burton. “I had one little single-speed. We used to call them sting rays.” Riding a bike is a staple of most everyone’s childhood. Giving children a small sense of independence in form of transportation. What some of us left behind with childhood, Mayor Burton took with him. Just as he did then, Mayor Burton rides his bike any day the weather is good. “I still enjoy riding bikes,” Mayor Burton explained. “The bike I ride today is the same bike I bought in 1979.”
Save Water and Money! While his current bike does have some much-needed upgrades, due to decades of miles, the bike is still the same frame as it was when Jimmy Carter was in office. “A lot of the bike lanes we have in West Jordan are on the side of the road,” Mayor Burton said. “Quite often this time of year there is a lot of debris there. Our streetsweepers are out sweeping the streets to make riding bicycles in our city safer.” The City of West Jordan has more than a dozen existing bike trails. The city has recently released a map showing where you can already ride. If you’re anything like Mayor Burton, you will be out on these trails whenever the sun is shining. “I like the sounds, I like the smells, I like the outdoors, and being on a bicycle gives me that.”
DISCOUNTED RAIN BARRELS AVAILABLE TO SALT LAKE COUNTY RESIDENTS The Utah Rivers Council is partnering with Salt Lake County Watershed Planning & Restoration to offer rain barrels to save water and improve water quality. Salt Lake County residents can purchase the rain barrels for just $50, while supplies last, at a significant discount from the barrel’s $129 retail price. Residents can order the discounted rain barrels now at http://utahrivers.org/rainharvest/. With one of the lowest snowpacks in recorded history, conserving water is more important than ever. Urban Utah residents have the highest water use (per-person) in the U.S. and rain barrels are one of many tools Utahns can use to reduce our high water use. Over 3,300 barrels have been purchased through the Utah Rivers Council’s RainHarvest program, which means that 165,000 gallons of water are saved every time it rains enough to fill a 50-gallon barrel. Capturing rainwater also improves water quality by storing water on site and preventing urban runoff from flowing through streets and gutters and washing pollutants into streams and lakes. Rainwater harvesting is legal in Utah. After the barrels are purchased online, residents can pick them up at a designated date and location where volunteers will be on hand to teach participants about the importance of rainwater harvesting and other water conservation strategies.
West Jordan Animal Shelter in need of donations
2020 WATER QUALITY REPORT The latest Water Quality Report has just been released, and we are pleased to report that our drinking water meets all federal and state requirements. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires water providers to report to their customers on the quality of their drinking water each year. Most of the the city’s water supply comes from the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. The water supply is supplemented with well water from May through October. The latest report is available online at WestJordan.Utah.gov. For questions or concerns, please call 801-569-5700.
The West Jordan Animal Shelter needs your help. It has recently taken in several rabbits and could use some bunny food and hay. Shelter employees say the rabbits are also huge fans of bunny treats called “yogies.” The shelter employees say kitten season is fast approaching which means they will be in need of soft kitten food and soft cat food. If you would like to donate, check out the shelter’s wish list on Amazon by visiting http://a.co/4gR9S4h for dog supplies and http://a.co/9dRV0yF for cat supplies. West Jordan Animal Shelter: 5982 West, New Bingham Hwy, West Jordan 801-282-3951
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COPPER HILLS HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR PARADE
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Small Business Spotlight – Glover Nursery Glover Nursery deems itself “Utah’s First Family Nursery.” They have been serving people for more than a century. Rod Glover’s grandfather, Albert, first opened a nursery and got a Utah business license in 1895. “I am a fourth-generation nursery man,” Glover said. “I have two daughters, two sons, and then a grandson here at the nursery- so I have six generations of being in the nursery business.” The original Glover Nursery was actually ‘Jordan Garden Center’ in Midvale. That location still exists, but they don’t offer any plants for sale. Instead they sell equipment such as; mowers and blowers. Rod Glover was working in the nursery before many of us even start the first grade. “I started working when I was six-years-old,” Glover said. “I have a social security page that shows I had 25 dollars put in that year.” For Glover, the nursery is a way of life. Today his business is booming, with many people forced to stay home, they are now taking to home and garden projects. “It’s absolutely overwhelming,” Glover said. “Gardening is a therapy. Now with COVID-19, people are tending to their gardens, it’s something everyone now has time for.” Glover nursery is usually packed on weekends during the spring and summer. But now, Rod says he is overwhelmed with the amount of people coming into the nursery. Because his crews are so busy, he’s had to close Sundays and close earlier during the week. “Our sales are exceedingly strong,” Glover explained. “We’re surpassing every record we’ve ever had.” Among the green foliage and vibrant flowers, it’s easy to spot the efforts Glover Nursery is taking to keep its customers safe. Employees are directed to wear masks when in contact with other employees or customers, signs are posted everywhere reminding people to stay 6-feet apart from one another, and plastic shields are posted in front of cashiers to keep employees safe. “We’re doing the best we can,” Glover said. When it comes to what people are buying most, Glover says perennials are selling like hot cakes. Those are plants that bloom over the spring and summer, die during the autumn and winter, and then return back in the spring. Glover nursery could credit more than a century of experience as to why it’s succeeding during a pandemic, but Rod Glover said it best when he pointed out that gardening isn’t just a task on a weekend checklist, it’s a way to heal, when we all need it most. To learn more about Glover Nursery visit: Glovernursery.com
Follow the City of West Jordan on Twitter and Facebook Get up-to-date information on what’s going on in the city. Join us for virtual tours of our departments, giveaways, event information and much more! 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
TWITTER: @CityWestJordan FACEBOOK: @WestJordanCityHall Visit Westjordan.utah.gov for direct links.
Grizzlies end season on top, ready for next year By Greg James | firstname.lastname@example.org
COMFORT SOLUTIONS HVAC NEWSLETTER - ASK THE PROS!
Summer is around the corner and many homeowners ask “Should I Replace or Repair my central air conditioner?” The Pro’s at Comfort solutions can help. Are you deciding whether to replace or repair your air conditioner? There are a few important factors that can help you decide the best choice for your home and family. As we spend more time in our homes during these uncertain times your families comfort and safety should be considered first. Next consider efficiency, cost and equipment life expectancy. Finally, what works best for your budget?
Utah Grizzly forward Tim McGauley led the East Coast Hockey League with 42 assists. (Photo courtesy Utah Grizzlies Hockey)
he Utah Grizzlies Hockey season ended abruptly on March 14, as did most sporting events in this country. But before everything was canceled, it was an unforgettable year for the team. “Overall, I am extremely pleased with this season,” Grizzlies head coach and general manager Tim Branham said. “We had an amazing group of young men who did wonderful things on and off the ice. We had a real good chance of making a long playoff run, and it’s disappointing that the players don’t get that chance. They really believed in themselves.” At the time of the season suspension and eventual cancellation, the Grizzlies stood tied for second place in the Mountain Division of the East Coast Hockey League. Their .637 winning percentage was the best in franchise history. This was the second season of the team’s working agreement with the Colorado Avalanche. Under the agreement, the National Hockey League team supplements the Grizzly roster with their contracted players. Forward Ty Lewis led the team with 25 goals. He scored four goals in one game Dec. 17. The team scored 207 on the season highlighted by a 10-goal game against the Allen Americans in November, the most goals they had scored in a game since 1995 against the Chicago Wolves of the International Hockey League. That night, eight different players tallied a goal or an assist. Josh Dickson had a hat trick (three goals). Forward Tim McGauley led the league with 42 assists and was second in scoring with 62 points overall (assists plus goals). In December, the team posted nine wins, one loss and two ties. During the December run, the team went from last place to first. The players assigned to the Grizzlies play at this level to showcase their talent. The abrupt ending to the season could sidetrack many hopeful careers, but Branham is hope-
ful it doesn’t. “The end was extremely disappointing,” he said. “When you work as hard as the players did all year, giving so much blood, sweat and tears, it’s hard to see it end without any closure. I think it is too soon to tell how things will affect them. Time will tell. I loved this team and hope every one of them is back next season.” On Dec. 12, the Grizzlies acquired goaltender Martin Oueluette from the Atlanta Gladiators. He was awarded ECHL goaltender of the week in his first week with the club. He stopped 51 of 53 shots against the highest scoring team in the league. In 28 games with the club, he allowed only 2.16 goals per game and had a .921 save percentage. The Grizzlies would have qualified for the playoffs if the season had not been canceled. This would have made 12 of the past 13 seasons they have made the postseason. Branham has compiled 249 wins over seven seasons. He is the winningest coach in franchise history. This year, a total of 37 players logged time with the team, including five goaltenders. Hunter Miska began the year with the team and eventually spent time with the Avalanche in the NHL. As of press deadline, the future of the team and its players is up in the air. “I am in the dark just like everyone else,” Branham said about beginning the season on time. “I believe everyone is waiting on direction from the NHL, but we are extremely hopeful that we will have hockey in Utah next season, and it will start on time. The support that we get from our fans is tremendous. We could not do it without them. The passion that they bring each and every night really energizes the boys.” The 2020-21 season is scheduled to begin in October, but the league is waiting for direction from local authorities before a final decision is made. l
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Is Utah’s new high school playoff format working? By Justin Adams | email@example.com
his year, the Utah High School Activities Association changed the way it runs state tournaments. First, it began allowing all teams to participate in the state tournament. Second, it began seeding the tournament based on a formula, the Ratings Percentage Index, or RPI, rather than on how a team finished in its region. Why did UHSAA make these changes? Contrary to some Facebook commenters, it wasn’t for the purpose of giving every team a “participation trophy” in the form of a state tournament invite. The actual reason was to create a more competitive state tournament, as counterintuitive as that may seem. The question is, were they successful?
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Prior to these changes, a team had to finish in the top four of their six-school region to make the state tournament. This meant that in certain deeper regions, a talented team with the potential to go far in the tournament wouldn’t even get a chance. On the flip side, the runner-up or even the winner of a weaker region might be bounced in the first round. Seeding the tournament based on region rankings sometimes led to anticlimactic tournaments in which the best two teams happened to meet in the quarter or semifinals, rather than the finals. The idea is that separating tournament qualification and seeding from region finish should ensure that the best teams make it into the tournament and are also seeded by how good they are, rather than geography. A perfect example of this would be this year’s Lone Peak boys basketball team. The Knights finished fifth in the very competitive Region 4 standings (only two games separated the second place team from the fifth place team). In previous years, they would have been left out of the playoffs. However, the RPI formula (which considers a team’s record, its strength of schedule and its opponents strength of schedule) rated them the 12th best team in the 6A classification. They turned out to be even better than that, as they made it all the way to the semifinals where they lost by two to the No. 1 seed Davis. The difference between being left out of the tournament completely and being a basket away from the championship game was a change in tournament rules. Similarly in 5A, Provo High’s boys basketball team finished second-to-last in its eight-team region. However, they made it to the quarterfinals of the state tournament where they also lost by just one basket to Farmington (who themselves lost by one basket to the eventual champions). While Provo and Lone Peak show how the new format can work well, they were the exceptions this year. The vast majority of
teams who finished in the bottom of their region didn’t do much at their respective state tournaments. In 5A football, the eight teams who finished in the bottom two of their regions went a combined 0-7 and were outscored by a combined total of 78 to 305 in the first round of the playoffs. The eighth team, Cottonwood High, declined their invitation to the playoffs after an 0-10 season in which they were outscored by a combined total of 579-13. Similarly in 5A girls soccer, the bottom two teams from each region all failed to advance past the first round and were outscored by a total of 2 to 38. These examples might lead some to question why weaker teams are being subjected to humiliating blowout losses for their final game of the season. One side effect of this change is that it makes region realignment a little easier. Under the previous rules, you wouldn’t want the six best schools to be in a region together, even if that’s what made the most sense geographically, because it would mean two of those six teams would be punished each year just for being in a better region. Now, UHSAA can form regions that make more sense geographically without having to worry as much about competitive repercussions.
UHSAA Assistant Director Jon Oglesby told the Standard-Examiner before this year that “the goal of the RPI is to create a more competitive state tournament, which some coaches believe will be accomplished.” As previously noted, many of the lower-seeded teams experienced some pretty lopsided losses in the first rounds of state tournaments this year, but that’s bound to happen in any tournament that seeds the best teams against the worst teams in the first round. But does the different seeding strategy result in more competitive games later on in the tournament? To try to answer that question, the City Journals looked at the scores of all the games in the boys and girls state basketball tournaments for both the 5A and 6A classifications comparing the average margin of victory (both by round and throughout the tournament as a whole) to last year’s tournament to see if there was a noticeable difference. On the boys side, there was almost no change at all. In 5A, the average margin of victory throughout the 2019 tournament was 10.7 points. In 2020, the exact same. At the 6A level, the average margin of victory actually increased from 12.5 to 12.7 points. However, there may be some evidence that the seeding resulted in better matchups toward the end of the tournaments. In 6A, the average margin of victory during the semi-
West Jordan City Journal
final round dropped from 9.5 to 4 points, while in 5A, it dropped from 8 to 2 points. (Granted, this is a small sample size of just two games per classification. We will have to wait for future years to say whether or not the new system consistently produces more competitive games in the late stages of the state tournament.) On the girls side, there was a little more evidence of increased competitive balance throughout the competition. In 6A, the average margin of victory throughout the tournament dropped from 20.5 to 18.5 points, while 5A dropped from 15.1 to 12.2 points.
The new playoff format has introduced a few quirks that may or may not have been anticipated by UHSAA. Lone Peak sanctions – This fall the Lone Peak football team had five of its wins vacated due to a sanction. Under previous rules, that would have meant they would likely miss the state tournament. But because every team goes to the tournament now, Lone Peak still got to go and got seeded as the 20th best team, even though they were in fact much better than that. That was bad news for their first round opponent, No. 13th-seeded Riverton. Through no fault of their own, Riverton had to play a much better team in the first round than they should have and subsequently lost 37-8. Region races – Many coaches have bemoaned the fact that winning one’s region
The average margin of victory in the state basketball tournament from the first round through semifinals. (Graphic by Justin Adams/City Journals)
doesn’t matter as much anymore. It’s not a guarantee that a region winner will be seeded higher by the RPI system than the region’s runner-up, which is critical when considering that first-round byes are awarded to the three to five highest-rated teams.
Region rematches – The previous state tournament purposefully placed teams from the same region on opposite sides of the bracket. Now, with seeding being untied from region alignment, you get instances like the Timpanogos football team losing its reg-
ular season finale to region foe Timpview by a score of 52-23, only to then get matched up with them again in the first round of the state playoffs, losing by a similar score just one week later. l
June 2020 | Page 21
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alt Lake County’s trails have afforded residents a nearby escape from COVID-19 restrictions. While crowded routes have added waste and social distancing concerns, they have also helped grow community appreciation of local trails. Mitt Stewart and members of the Wasatch Trail Run Series still hold out hope for some form of in-person running events later in the summer. Meanwhile, they have taken their popular series online. Stewart has worked on developing an online feature that will enable people to find challenges and trail routes to run, log their times, and compete with others. “The whole reason for doing this is to offer people some connection while we’re not connected,” Stewart said. “We’ll be running virtual races.” To do that, people can look up the race route and take it on individually. They can then submit verification of their effort using their favorite fitness app. Stewart hopes to help people connect as a running and biking community while they maintain a safe distance. Keeping that distance has been a challenge with increased trail usage. “Any increase in trail or usage is anecdotal, but it is clear that our public spaces have been a place of refuge during this time,” said Clayton J. Scrivner of Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation. “Last month we launched our ‘Be Park Smart, Stay Apart’ campaign that is designed to educate users of
our public spaces on responsible use according to current health guidelines.” Stewart has noticed the increased traffic on the trails as well. While more people on the trails can create problems, it also gives people throughout the community a healthy outdoor activity. “A big reason to go out is to have solitude, so that’s been a bit of a buzzkill,” Stewart said. “On the flipside, it’s healthy and good for people.” Stewart likes the idea of people connecting by sharing their appreciation of local trails and their achievements on them. He also thinks measures could be taken to help vulnerable members of the community enjoy the trails. More signage at trailheads instructing people on trail etiquette and social distancing could help, he said. Stewart would also like to see special hours set aside for the elderly to enjoy trails without the crowds. Those crowds have plenty to enjoy, though. “Salt Lake County maintains over 100 miles of trails and pathways,” Scrivner said. “Jordan Parkway, Dimple Dell, Rose and Yellow Fork Canyons, Parley’s, and Utah and Salt Lake Canal trails are the most extensive.” While increased trail use has produced things like more garbage and animal waste bags left behind, it has also helped the community through unprecedented times. “People need to get out and exercise,” Stewart said. “It’s a great way to keep people motivated.” l
West Jordan City Journal
Virtual County Library available as reopening takes shape By Joshua Wood | email@example.com
esidents of Salt Lake County have gone without a lot of things over the past couple months. Some resources and services previously taken for granted have suddenly been dearly missed. One of those resources is the Salt Lake County Library system. Since midMarch, all 18 full-service physical branches
have been closed. However, many of the library system’s services have been available online, and its staff members have worked to expand virtual offerings while the community stays at home. “Everything is online right now,” said Sara Neal, marketing and communications
manager for Salt Lake County Library. “Limited staff is going into branches to do some prep work for opening the libraries.” In the meantime, and for the past several weeks, librarians have worked to make themselves more available online to the community. They started a daily online story time for kids on the library’s Facebook page each morning at 10:30. The library’s focus on children home from school has driven an expansion of online book offerings for kids of all ages. The County Library has developed programs like its Stay at Home Challenge encouraging people to do things like write a letter to a grandparent they can’t see in person. Kids were also challenged to read a short book in a half hour. “We wanted to help people fill some time and try to take their minds off things,” Neal said. Online offerings have expanded to include access to more books, magazines and movies. People can even get their library card by applying online. “Librarians are not at a desk right now, but they are still getting resources available Salt Lake County Library is offering many of its usual programs and events in a digital format during to the community,” Neal said. The virtuCOVID-19 shutdowns. (Photo courtesy of Salt Lake County Library) al Ask a Librarian service offers the kind
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istration competition, which was held in San Antonio. This summer, her plan has been to compete in business ethics with classmate Annika Torres after qualifying in the event at the state competition. “Nobody has committed at this point to nationals because everything is undetermined what will happen,” she said before the recent announcement that the competition and conference will be virtual. “We’re prepared. We have everything written, memorized. There’s nothing more we can do, except wait for the announcement of what is going to happen.” Zhang was referring to the March 12 statement that said the organization’s leadership was working in collaboration with the states to develop alternative plans to best support student members in their involvement with conferences and competitive events. Hillcrest, alone, had qualified about 35 students to compete at the national competitive which was to be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center, she said. “We all were just preparing for nationals and then, the coronavirus spread, and we just hit pause on everything,” Zhang said. l
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Lifesaving medication now becomes affordable, accessible By Cassie Goff | firstname.lastname@example.org
pharmacy bill of $800 covering a onemonth supply of medication. That’s what sparked T1International Utah #insulin4all chapter leader Mindie Hooley to take action in her local community and state government. Hooley’s son, diagnosed with diabetes, needs insulin to survive. After being met with that $800 bill, Hooley went home to do some research. She came upon other stories like hers, as well as stories where people had died from not being able to afford their insulin. “I couldn’t believe we live in a country that has unaffordable lifesaving medications where people must ration insulin and even die from a lack of being able to afford medication,” Hooley said. “There’s been times when we had to choose between buying his insulin or buying food and paying our bills. We have lost our home and cars trying to keep him alive.” Three months after receiving the first $800 bill, Hooley’s son admitted to rationing his insulin “because he saw the financial struggles we were going though buying his insulin and other diabetic supplies, and he was trying to help with the financial cost,” Hooley said. While Hooley was researching, she found T1International; a nonprofit run by people with type 1 diabetes for people with type 1 diabetes. T1International supports local communities around the world by giving them the tools they need to stand up for their rights. Their aim is to ensure access to insulin and diabetes supplies becomes a reality for all. On Feb. 19, 2019, Hooley started the T1International Utah #insulin4all chapter. “People all over Utah have emailed me telling me how they have lost a loved one due to them not being able to afford insulin,” Hooley said. In June 2019, Utah #insulin4all media lead Stephanie Arceneaux came across Hooley asking for members to join the fight for affordable insulin. “As someone that has had T1D for 35 years and seen greater and greater amounts of money go toward purchasing insulin, I decided that I wanted to join that fight. I also felt compelled to do something after I began reading stories of my fellow T1Ds that were dying because they could not afford their insulin.” Administrative lead Jennifer Draney joined the T1International Utah chapter when there were 36 members. Draney became an advocate after her son was diagnosed at 16 years old. “Two years after my son’s diagnosis, I was diagnosed type 1 diabetes as well. The immune system didn’t care how old you are and T1D happens at any age.” In August 2019, Hooley reached out to her local representative, Rep. Norman K. Thurston expressing that there was a need for change in Utah’s diabetic community. “We were able to meet with him multi-
Utah #insulin4all chapter rally for affordable insulin. (Photo courtesy of Mindie Hooley)
ple times and share our stories, our headaches and our concerns. Thurston listened, brainstormed ideas with us and worked incredibly hard. We met with Dr. (Joseph) Miner from the Utah Department of Health. That meeting was impactful because he was onboard for changing the current system,” Draney said. Soon, Thurston began drafting a bill to sponsor in the state legislature. He requested the Utah T1International chapter to be involved in drafting that bill. “As chapter leader, (Hooley) did all of the conversing with Rep. Thurston as to how a bill could be written and what should be included to help address the issues that had been discussed in that meeting,” Arceneaux said. “Rep. Thurston first sent me the draft before the bill even had a bill number,” Hooley said. “The bill was revised two times and each time I was able to see the bill changes before anyone else saw them. I was able to add my input and stress parts of the bill that I supported and also stressed to him that the uninsured needed to be covered as well.” That bill was introduced to the state legislature as H.B. (House Bill) 207 – Insulin Access Amendments. Throughout the session, members of the T1International Utah chapter were in attendance anytime there was discussion of the bill. “I went to the capitol several times with (Hooley) and other advocates in the chapter to lobby on behalf of H.B. 207,” Arceneaux said. “We met with several important members of the Utah House and then some of the Utah senators. Once, when I was leaving to go home, I even ran into U.S. Senator Mike
Lee and lobbied him.” “The next few weeks were full of us begging for support on our bill, writing everyone—I believe I wrote all 76 representatives plus the Governor. I know (Hooley) was working 12 hours a day on it,” Draney said. During the last week of the legislative session, “we learned that one of the senators was going to propose an amendment. A portion of the bill directed that pharmacists could prescribe insulin up to 90 days in an emergency situation. This amendment shortened that time frame to 30 days. We considered this an unfriendly amendment. That was a nerve-wracking day because we desperately wanted the bill to pass as it had been written in the final version by Rep. Thurston, yet we did not want to push any senators into opposing the bill altogether by demanding that they leave H.B. 207 as is. In the end, around 6 p.m., Rep. Thurston let us know that our lobbying had forced a compromise,” Arceneaux said. On March 10, the bill passed. “It still brings me to tears when I think back on the moment when the Utah senators voted unanimously to pass H.B. 207. It was an amazing feeling to know that, even if in just a small way, I was a part of helping those, like me and my husband, and now our son, in the future, that must have exogenous insulin in order to live,” Arceneaux said. “In the end it passed and now it’s effective seven months sooner than expected— June 1,” Draney said. H.B. 207 aims to create mechanisms to “increase Utahn’s access to affordable insulin.” The bill “creates an incentive for health
benefit plans to reduce the required copayments for insulin; directs the Insurance Department to conduct a study on insulin pricing; directs the Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program to purchase insulin at discounted prices and to create a program that allows Utahns to purchase the discounted insulin; increases the number of days for which an insulin prescription can be refilled; and authorizes a pharmacist to refill an expired insulin prescription. “H.B. 207 would not exist if it were not for Mindie Hooley and her starting the local T1International chapter, Utah #insulin4all. It is because of her and that chapter that I became involved in the bill at all,” Arceneaux said. “I believe this bill will save many lives and it sets the bar for other states to follow. Our fight is far from over but this step was an amazing one,” Draney said. “Many wonderful and kind people have reached out to me in the last three months from all over the world. These complete strangers asked us to make a GoFundMe account because they feel that no American should have to go without lifesaving medication or supplies. Because of these nice people, we were able to buy a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) for my son that will save his life. My heart is overwhelmed with the amount of love that has been shown to my son,” Hooley said. “The diabetic community deserves the best and no one should lose a loved one because they can’t afford a lifesaving medication that has been around for 100 years,” she said. l
June 2020 | Page 25
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Page 26 | June 2020
I was tested for COVID-19. It was a lot easier than I expected By Alison Brimley | email@example.com
or a week, just as I was drifting off to sleep, my body seemed to forget how to breathe and I’d jolt awake, gasping. My husband suggested maybe I was developing sleep apnea. A friend said it sounded like asthma. I didn’t rule either of them out, but I also knew shortness of breath is one of the indicators of COVID-19. I didn’t have any other symptoms. Still, I wanted to rule it out while I sought other treatment. I decided to get tested. The morning of April 27, after a bad night’s sleep, I downloaded the app Healthy Together, which I’d seen friends mention on social media. I gave it basic information (my age and gender), and it asked me to identify my symptoms. Yes, I was experiencing “new or increased shortness of breath,” and yes, I felt short of breath while sitting or resting. The app said I needed to be tested for COVID-19. Since I’d indicated that I preferred to be treated in the Intermountain Healthcare System, and Intermountain performs telephone screenings, I was given a number to call before being approved for a test. I prepared to explain over the phone specifically what I was experiencing and justify why I wanted a test even though I was pretty sure it wasn’t COVID — but the Intermountain employee didn’t ask me about any of that. Instead, we ran through the same list of symptoms the app had asked about. Yes, I did feel short of breath; no, I didn’t have fever, muscle aches, sore throat or diarrhea. After I gave my address, she told me the nearest testing facility was the Alta View InstaCare. She put my name on the list for testing that day, so I could have a drive-through test any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. My call ended at about 8:45 a.m., so I left for InstaCare right away. Signs in the parking lot pointed me in the direction of the drive-through testing site. I pulled into a numbered parking stall beneath a tent, where a posted sign gave me a number to call when I arrived. Over the phone, the employee confirmed my name, birth date, insurance information (though testing is free to all Utah residents, insured or not), and which stall I was in. Within minutes of hanging up, I saw a man in full protective gear at my window. This was the part I was nervous about: I’d heard the test was a nasal swab that went painfully deep. The tester asked me to look straight ahead with my head against my headrest. What followed was something like having my brain briefly dusted with a pipe cleaner; I forced myself not to sneeze or jerk away. It wasn’t terribly comfortable, but it was quick — just a few seconds in each nostril. Less than 10 minutes after I had pulled into the parking lot, I was on my way home, a tickle in my nose but no residual pain.
The state of Utah ranks fifth in the nation for percentage of the population tested for COVID-19, one sign that made officials comfortable loosening restrictions as long as people take precautions like wearing masks in public places. (Photo by Engin Akyurt)
Between the telephone screener, the tester, and the information packet I’d been given in the Instacare parking lot, I was told I would either receive my test results via phone call in three to five, five to seven or five to 10 days. I was tested on April 27 (a Monday); as of this writing (one week later), I still haven’t received a call. However, by Wednesday morning, I was able to see my lab results using Intermountain’s online MyHealth portal. As I expected, SARS-Cov-2 (more commonly known as the coronavirus) was “not detected.” My results had taken less than 48 hours. Happily, I have joined the ranks of the 95% of Utahns tested for COVID-19 whose
test was negative. Given the horror stories of inadequate testing across the country, I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and hassle-free the process was for me personally. No longer are tests being restricted to those who have recently traveled to China or Italy, who have come in contact with a known infected person, or who appear in the emergency room in severe respiratory distress. I was fortunate to receive a test simply because I asked for one. Given that widespread availability of testing will be a prerequisite for safely reopening our state and resuming normal life, this seems like a hopeful sign. l
West Jordan City Journal
Arches and ambivalence: My trip to Arches National Park on the brink of a pandemic By Zak Sonntag | firstname.lastname@example.org
n a cold night in early spring, I stood with my three younger brothers on the banks of the Colorado River in Grand County, just outside Arches National Park. The water coursed beside a towering sandstone wall. Starlight poked dimly through cloud cover overhead, and a cold wind funneled down the river. We lifted our hoods to the chill, then turned off our flashlights and embraced the darkness. It was a little spooky. But the real scare was that we didn’t have a spot to camp. We’d planned on getting down early with time to nab a campsite, but I dragged my feet over nervousness with new developments in the spread of the coronavirus. This was back in early March, before Plexiglass dividers, and before social distancing became the single most uttered phrase in the American lexicon. My brothers insisted I was being dramatic. After all, they said, there’s only one confirmed case in the state. Finally, I gave in and agreed to go. Yet a feeling of deep unease hung over the trip like a thundercloud, and by the time we returned I’d begun to think about personal risk and social responsibility in new ways. We pulled into five different campgrounds along the river that night, and every campsite was taken. On one hand, it was consoling to know that others did not feel obliged to stay home, because it lent the impression that it was just another weekend in spring. But on the other hand, that meant we had to shack up in a very spartan motel. Checking in, the desk attendant casually mentioned that he was “feeling kind of sick. I think it’s just the regular flu, and they make me work anyway.” I wondered to myself, “Why would you even say that?” Then he gave us the room key, and it felt like he was handing over a pin-less grenade. I did not sleep well that night. Fortunately, worries have a way of dissolving in a place like Arches National Park, where ancient waters have chiseled the Entrada Sandstone into whimsically surreal shapes. Juniper trees and bladed yucca plants sprawled across the landscape. Boulder stacks and balancing rocks stood arrayed on the horizon like Kendama sticks. The beauty is enough to distract your mind from anything unpleasant, including a pressing pandemic. Yet even in a place like Arches, the COVID-crisis never strays too far from the mind. As we pulled into the parking lot of the trailhead for the Delicate Arch, we noticed something conspicuously absent: the crowds. But let me qualify that. Arches National Park averages 1.5 million visitors a year, and National Parks website explains that “Parking lots frequently overflow with cars during
the busy season (March through October). Entrance station lines can stretch almost to the highway, causing long waits and testing visitors’ patience before they even cross the threshold.” Our patience was never tested. We pulled right into a spot. It was all very convenient, and yet it served as another reminder of the craziness unfolding across the globe. There were some jolly DSLR-toting tourists, but for a world-renowned destination, it was practically sparse. One of the distinct experiences of visiting any of Utah’s national parks is the sound of numerous foreign languages, an odd but enlivening polyphony that resounds through visitors centers. However, for the first time in many years of visiting Utah’s national parks, the music of foreign tongue was nil. It all felt a little too off. On my way up the trail, I couldn’t stop thinking that I’d made a mistake. It was irresponsible to come, I said, because I’d put myself and others at risk. But then Delicate Arch came into view, and it was suddenly quite difficult to feel regret. This arch is so iconic that you almost feel you know what to expect. After all, we’ve seen its image everywhere—especially in the six years since Utah launched the “Mighty 5” campaign. But I’m here to tell you that the pictures will never do it justice. High, soft clouds blew across the horizon. Shafts of sun pierced down and swept across the arch, and the subtle hues of red rock shimmied in the changing light. Standing beneath the arch, the magnificent formation seemed incredibly bold and yet incredibly fragile. I wondered about all the foreign travelers who’d planned on visiting before the pandemic struck, and who might otherwise have been standing here beside me. Will they eventually make their way here? We anticipated staying a few nights in Grand County, but after a day at the park, we decided to call it an early trip and head home. Two weeks afterward the National Parks closed. It was around that time I learned Moab Regional Hospital has only 17 hospital beds and less than a handful of respirators. It crossed my mind that had an accident befallen me during my trip, I might have had to draw on some of those scarce medical resources, crowding out others in need at a time when large segments of society have been rendered extremely vulnerable by the menace of COVID-19. My visit to the park was genuinely incredible, and still I feel ambivalent. Arches begins a “phased re-opening” this month. Although, I don’t see myself returning soon. l
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Schools scramble to refund students for classes, sports participation, tours By Julie Slama | email@example.com
s in-person schools were dismissed abruptly under Gov. Gary Herbert’s “soft closure” order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many school activities were canceled, from spring sports to academic tours. High school classes, which require fees such as woodworking and ceramics, now have classrooms of projects left in progress, uncertain when, if and how students will return to complete them. In the midst of all this, school districts and school administrators are in the process of refunding students’ fees. At Hillcrest High in Midvale, junior Abby Morrell had been looking forward to going to Washington, D.C. with the vocal ensemble, wind ensemble, and chamber orchestra for a festival. Her mother, Barbara Morrell, was asked last minute to be one of the 90-student group’s chaperones and just paid her tour fees two days before she got an email on March 12, saying that the trip scheduled for March 2630 was canceled and it was being looked into rescheduling or refunding. Twelve days later, Barbara emailed the school, inquiring about the $1,250 refund for both herself and her daughter. The next day, Principal Greg Leavitt emailed saying the school’s decision was to reschedule the trip next spring and so all the funds would roll over for that tour. No new tour dates were provided. The 21 seniors, chaperones of senior students, or those who weren’t planning to commit to the classes were to be refunded unless the fee was paid for out of fundraising. The latter would be donated to the music department. “The rest of us weren’t given the option of getting a full refund,” Barbara said. “I’d love to get the money back to pay something or be able to use it. Some people may want or need to free up those funds now.” Hillcrest vocal ensemble and chamber orchestra director RaNae Dalgleish said that the decision was made by administration after talking to parties involved, including WorldStrides that was hosting the festival where the groups would perform, be evaluated and participate in clinics given by notable musicians and professors. The tour also included vocal ensemble performing the national anthem at a flag-raising ceremony at Fort McHenry, giving a tribute at the Martin Luther King Memorial and singing at a local cathedral. The groups also would go sightseeing in the area. “It was unprecedented and ultimately, WorldStrides canceled the entire festival, which involved hundreds of tours or more,” Dalgleish said. “We had made the final tour payment days before. Our choices were to use the money on next spring’s tour at the same or a different location, but equivalent-priced tour, or get a refund and lose half the airfare,
Page 28 | June 2020
Seen here in 2018, Cottonwood High School students participated in their music tour in Los Angeles, however this year, the performing arts students weren’t able to travel to San Francisco after schools were put on “soft closure” during the COVID-19 pandemic and now students are awaiting refunds on tour fees. (Amber Tuckness/ Cottonwood High)
because the airline wasn’t given a full refund.” Dalgleish said that right now, the school will absorb the cost of the seniors, and hope to be reimbursed as new members in the groups pay to go on tour next year. She also said that while the tour is meant to celebrate and learn about music from other parts of the country, the absence of performing together also has had a powerful, bonding effect. “The kids are all in and they’ve learned not to take this for granted. They even got together, six feet apart, to sing in the lawn of one of the students as they were missing singing and performing together. I think when we come back, we’ll be stronger and ready to start again,” Dalgleish said. At Corner Canyon High in Draper, about 80 choir students were to participate in a festival in New York City. As of press deadline, negotiations were still being made with hotels to ensure students receive a full refund. The airlines reimbursed flights in vouchers and the two Broadway shows the group was to attend were reimbursed in full. The group also planned on seeing Little Italy, Chinatown, 9/11 Memorial and the Brooklyn Bridge. “Right now, we have $1,100 of the $1,250 or so back and we’re still negotiating the onenight deposit on the hotel,” Principal Darrell Jensen said. “We had a choice to roll over the funds, but we don’t know if we’ll travel next year or even what next year would be like, so we decided to make it a clean break.” Students who paid for the trip through fundraisers will have their funds be earmarked to the music department, he said. Jensen said that school officials are looking at all students’ accounts, including class fees, activity or participation fees, and fines, to determine the amount that may be refunded by early June. Canyons District Chief Financial Officer and Business Administrator Leon Wilcox said that he wasn’t aware of any of the five or six
trips approved for the remaining of the school year that were not in the process of reimbursement. He also said that Canyons School District does not take out travel insurance, but individuals or schools can do so. In an April 28 memo, Canyons School District outlined refunds to students, including that trips and tours should be worked with parents and teachers to determine the best method. The memo continued to state $15 of activity fees to high school seniors should be returned while other students would have their fees reduced the next school year by the same amount. Participation fees for all sports would be refunded, but spirit packs that students already received would not. Dances and banquets that weren’t held should have money returned, while classes, would be up to the discretion of the teacher on materials used to determine any refunds. And if driver’s ed was completed online, money would not be refunded, but rather a time to schedule driving instruction would be determined when restrictions have been lifted. At Brighton High, Principal Tom Sherwood said his performing arts groups planned to participate in the WorldStrides festival in Anaheim. Fortunately, the 150 students’ fees had been collected in the office, but not paid yet to the festival so he won’t have to be dealing with airlines, hotels and transportation to refund students’ money. Sherwood said that refund process as well as the collection of student checkedout items, such as textbooks, calculators, uniforms, musical instruments and Chromebooks, will take place in late May. Even Canyons School District’s community education classes were in the process of prorating refunds for students in various afterschool programs and community education courses for approximately 1,080 people, said Jose Rincon, head administrative assistant. Cottonwood High’s 130 members in choir, band, orchestra and jazz band were ex-
pecting full $750 refunds from their canceled San Francisco tour, that included a WorldStrides festival as well as “Hamilton” tickets and Alcatraz tour tickets that they had just purchased weeks prior to the tour cancellation. “San Francisco was an early hot spot for the coronavirus, so we were watching what was happening,” said band director Amber Tuckness. “If I canceled our trip, we wouldn’t receive refunds, but when Gov. Herbert made it official, then we could get the refunds.” However, students who fundraised, including seniors, will not be receiving refunds and instead, the money will be given to the music department, she said. Murray High Principal Scott Wihongi, who had just returned with the drill team in early March from New York City, said that the only trip that hadn’t happened at his school involved 15 students who were scheduled to go to San Francisco with the AP art history class in late April. “We’re getting a full refund from the hotel and tours, but we’re working with the airline and travel agency to see if we can get refunds for the flight instead of vouchers,” he said. “This was an opportunity for the students to see different art styles at museums, as a way to enhance what they’re learning.” He also was working with his staff in the process of refunding student-athletes’ fees, including the canceled tennis and baseball teams’ trip to St. George, and students’ partial class fees if materials weren’t used. School officials also were collecting textbooks, library books, some athletic uniforms, and seniors’ Chromebooks. “I think the programs and students will be fine heading into next year,” he said. “Right now, we prioritized and streamlined our teaching to get in the standards. The students got through three-fourths of the meat of everything and it’s how much time students focus on learning that will determine how much we’ll need to reteach and reinforce that material when we return.” l
West Jordan City Journal
Without an announcement about fall sports, cross country athletes being coached virtually
ith about 5,000 student-athletes and many supporters submitting a #LetUsPlay petition to hold spring sports, the Utah High School Activities Association on May 5 upheld their earlier decision in midApril not to hold a spring season in response to Utah’s social distancing mandate during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of press deadline, UHSAA has not made an announcement about fall high school activities and sports. Brighton High Principal Tom Sherwood, who serves on the UHSAA executive committee, said there is no timeline for a fall announcement. “We are hopeful, but we are in the ‘wait and see’ mode still,” he said on May 6. Once the spring sport decision was confirmed, and without direction about fall, many coaches who coach track in the spring can turn their focus to the upcoming fall cross country season — only virtually. “We can’t coach or even meet in-person right now, but we can communicate with our athletes,” said Jordan High cross country coach Greg Shaw. Shaw not only has a blog linked to the school website for his runners, but he emails them weekly and has the athletes report in their mileage so he can give them feedback. Some of the runners use the Strava app, where he and teammates can immediately see the runs and paces athletes are doing and support each other with comments and kudos. He also has reached out to area middle schools, asking for them to send out fliers to incoming freshmen about the team. On top of that, the second-year head coach is introducing a “Coach Challenge,” which includes a 40-day challenge including core, cardio, healthy eating and workouts. “My hope right now is to have a great start for the season, starting in June,” he said about his young team. “It’s hard not being together and without track, speed will be impacted, and we may need to do more this summer to be ready for the fall.” Riverton High cross country coach Chase Englestead said that if restrictions are lifted so training can be done in small groups, he likely will hold four practices per day for his 60- to 80-member team, meeting or running with all the individuals. In the meantime, he plans to post weekly workouts, track his runners with Strava, and hold Zoom meetings. “It’s important to communicate about what run they did, what time or pace it was, how they feel, so we can support these students in their goals and mindsets,” he said. “It’s hard to build the good relationships and culture of the team when we’re not practicing together. It’s invaluable for every single person. We want them to work hard, go through the process, be praised for that and carry over
By Julie Slama | firstname.lastname@example.org to not just be better runners, but better people.” Englestead said that building the team also is more difficult without being amongst students as the best recruiters are the student-athletes themselves, where they become a social group, interact, support one another and find their passion. “I’m hoping when they come back, they’ll want to work hard, be more focused and motivated since they’ve missed this competitive environment,” he said. Corner Canyon coach Devin Moody is hoping that he can hold a cross country camp in July, but if not, the training will be more individual and self-motivated like he plans for in June. His workouts will include running, strength workouts with body-weight exercises and conditioning. He plans to communicate with his team via Instagram Live as well as monitor and give them feedback through Strava. “It’s a good way for the team to hear from teammates, feel their energy, rally behind each other’s training to support one another,” he said. “I’m hoping to find my team returning from this unique resilience challenge and having reflected on why they do the sport to find more enjoyment in it.” While Corner Canyon lost five seniors on the boys team that was nationally ranked, he said the team has depth so it’s “not a rebuilding year, but a refocusing year” and the team “should be really good.” He also said that the girls should be stronger this year, even with two seniors graduating. However, many coaches are uncertain what the fall season will look like and if it will happen, as health officials have stated one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing. Some are hopeful for a full season, while others say, even if it’s reduced to a matter of weeks, it’s doable. UHSAA also was considering adding in a divisional race, which would fall between region and state, but that, too, has yet to be determined. Herriman coach Jonathan Haag said that if there is to be a shorter season, he’d rethink the schedule and likely make August a training month instead of the traditional start of the season. “That would give time to make sure all our athletes are in shape and we can provide even more individualized workouts,” he said. “We can make it work, but those kids who are training on their own, will benefit more.” Haag is keeping in touch with his team through GroupMe and he and an assistant coach are talking to every team member about how they are doing “running or not.” “We want to know where they’re at, what their family support is like, how their motivation is, where they want to be next season,” he said. “There’s a good chance we can’t run
together, but we can help them reach those goals if we’re able to communicate.” Haag is asking athletes to run a time trial in place of getting times from track meets. Then, he can use that as a baseline and build speed, strength training, endurance workouts from those. He even hopes to have intersquad meets this summer to help runners get their best times and build confidence, if allowed by the UHSAA. “The biggest thing that hurts from not having a track season, apart from the seniors, is the confidence it gives our athletes. I feel pretty confident though if our kids stay working hard and are motivated, they’ll be in good shape and we’ll contend to be a top team.” Hillcrest High coach Scott Stucki also is having his athletes run time trials and speed workouts, just to see how fast they are, and for seniors, to see if they could run their personal bests. He also is supporting student-athletes to run road races, if they’ll be held this summer. Stucki doesn’t see being able to coach them personally until maybe after the traditional moratorium week of July 4. He regularly posts workouts and tracks their distances; some runners he communicates with regularly and knows their mileage, some have focused on year-end testing and have taken a break from running. Stucki expects his boys team to be good, better than last year if they dedicate themselves. Hillcrest girls team should improve over last
year, too, with six juniors returning. Stucki already has named two seniors as captains in anticipation of a season, although he isn’t sure what the UHSAA will decide. “I don’t know about the season. I haven’t even put together a schedule as meets aren’t sanctioned yet,” he said. Copper Hills coach Garth Rushforth also is hoping for “some kind of program” this fall as he’s been providing his squad workouts, including drills, such as lunges and body squats, that can be done at home without a weight room, and tracks his runners’ mileage on a Google document. He said it’s important for student-athletes to get their training in all summer to prevent injuries. “There’s a greater risk of injuries if we have a shorter season. For some kids, who are self-motivated and are dedicated to their training, they’ll have a good season, others who aren’t, not so good. We’d like to be as ready as we can be if the season happens,” he said, adding he hopes that a decision will be reached before June. Rushforth expects his girls team to be solid this season. The boys graduated some “very good seniors, but I have a junior and sophomores who show promise.” He is in charge of his region’s meet so he already scheduling a park for the race. “It’s hard since the parks aren’t sure if they’ll be open and we’re not sure if the season will happen,” Rushforth said. “We’ll cry a lot if there’s not (a season).” l
Runners are packed in at the start of the 2016 high school cross country race, which brings uncertainty if fall sports will happen during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
June 2020 | Page 29
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West Jordan City Journal
Om is Where the Heart Is
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Soon, I can’t feel my toes and my knees are screaming for help. But that just proves to the Universe that I’m dedicated to my meditation practice. Sometimes I fall asleep and jerk awake before I hit the floor. I expect I’ll achieve enlightenment any day now since I’m so good at meditating. If there’s one thing I excel at it’s doing absolutely nothing. Fact.
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June 2020 | Page 31
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