West Jordan Journal | October 2021

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October 2021 | Vol. 7 Iss. 10


WEST JORDAN CITY PLANS FOR ‘DOWNTOWN’ NEAR CITY HALL By Erin Dixon | e.dixon@mycityjournals.com


here have been at least six maps drawn to revive the property around City Hall on Redwood Road. Some of these ideas were conceived 15 years ago, before TRAX came through. Why have there been so many plans and no action? “It takes a tremendous amount of money, a tremendous amount of political will,” West Jordan Economic Development Director Chris Pengra said to the council in August. “This is by every account, a visionary project,” Pengra said. “It’s something you have to look way forward to, and we don’t have a road to get there. Everything has to be built from the ground up. There are no easy answers on how to get there.” Councilmember Chris McConnehey has been on the city council since 2012 and has seen several proposed projects come and go. “None of these plans have come to fruition, because the city doesn’t own the property,” McConnehey said. “And these plans haven’t been created in conjunction with Jordan School District, which owns the property. To make progress, we need to partner with the current property owner to make sure their needs are met by the project. They need to be included in every step of the process; otherwise, we’ll continue to see new (and expensive) designs meet the same end as the half dozen prior plans that have vanished as a dream.” The design currently on the table is a rough draft, with no specific businesses or number of houses set in stone. “I don’t have specific designs, but we’re talking about the types of designs: 40 to 60 residential units per acre,” Pengra said. “In order to get to a place where we can get wide streets and promenades and cafes, we’re going to need something that is producing more [tax base] than it is currently.” The space sits next to a TRAX station, which means the

Current 2021 concept drawing, facing south. This drawing is not what will be built but is the basic idea of the plan. (Image courtesy West Jordan)

area is more suited for high-density housing. “The TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) guidelines that the development needs great focus on connectivity,” Pengra said to the council. How the streets and walkways are built can either encourage or discourage walking in the area. “The grid layout was intentional,” Pengra said. “Shorter block lanes decrease [walking] speed. It moves everything down to a more human scale. When you can see between them is what encourages exploration. Connectivity has an impact

on economic development.” While there are often cries of protest against closely built living spaces, Pengra said, “Residential is what moves the needle.” Businesses are more likely to invest in the area if there are more people living there. “Are there enough people in the area to support more retail or office space? Absolutely,” Pengra said. “[However], like it or hate it, it is an investment. Will those retail and office establishments take the risk? Will [they] build vertically?” l


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West Jordan one of the fastest-growing cities in America Linda Steele | l.steele@mycityjournals.com


id you know that West Jordan City is the third-most populated city in Utah? The city’s growing business community is thriving, with diversity and a wide range of retailers and restaurants. With the city growing so rapidly, there is a big list of manufacturing and industrial companies. The city’s community contributes to Utah’s job force and consumer offerings. “West Jordan businesses are the heart of our city’s economy, contributing to our community by providing good jobs, services and amenities,” said Chris Pengra, West Jordan Economic Development director. “Economic development is vital to help enhance our community not just for today, but for future generations.” The top priority for the city’s economic development team is to redevelop older areas and vacant buildings. The buildings need attention and new investments. The reuse of vacant big-box retail buildings has made a big impact in West Jordan. A lot of renovation and redevelopment is happening in West Jordan. Some of the vacant buildings have been revitalized, becoming the new corporate headquarters for local companies worldwide. Some of the companies include Walker Edison (in the former Shopko building), Sportsman’s Warehouse (in the former Granite Furniture building) and The Grace Companies (in the former Target building on Redwood Road). Other old buildings are being revitalized. These include Smith & Edwards and Ace Hardware, which was in the former R.C. Willey building. Soon to be announced will be a national specialty grocer that will be in the former K-Mart building. “As retail trends ebb and flow with the influence of eCommerce and other new technologies, business growth in our city will

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flourish if we can provide attention and resources to help businesses adapt to new economic trends,” Pengra said. Other large corporations include, Cypress Credit Union, Granger Medical, SME Steel, Arctic Circle, American United Federal Credit Union, Sprinkler Supply, National Benefits Services, Sungz USA, Beddy’s and many other growing companies. It has been recently announced that University Credit Union plans to construct several new buildings and move its headquarters to West Jordan. These corporations provide quality jobs for the city’s residents. The economic development team on a regular basis contacts regional retailers to promote West Jordan community and invite national and regional retailers to locate in West Jordan. Many well-known retailers have opened up new stores along the city’s high-traffic corridors and intersections at retail hubs such as Jordan Landing Shopping Center and Gardner Village. By the end of the year, there will be many well-known retailers. There are grocery stores and convenience stores opening up or will be opening as well. Some residents are surprised to know there are more than 170 restaurants and places to eat out in West Jordan. There is a range of restaurants from fast food to elegant dining. There’s down-home American comfort food to exotic flavors from all around the world. In 2020, there were many restaurants struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most restaurants in West Jordan thrived because the city’s residents supported the restaurants taking advantage of the take-out and delivery services. Thirteen new restaurants opened in West Jordan in 2020, and more have opened up this year. With the diverse restaurants they contribute to the city’s culture and provide very good service to the residents.

Various vacant buildings are now revitalized with new business. (Photo courtesy Weston Blaney)

The Southwest Quadrant in the southwest corner of the City’s boundaries has drawn attention with its available land and growing industrial-business parks. Amazon has two buildings and has facilitated more than 1,000 new jobs in West Jordan. West Jordan is home to many large building-supplier companies that provide steel, lumber and building materials contractors all over the state and out of the state as well. With the huge economic growth happening in West Jordan, what does this mean for the residents? The future job growth in West Jordan over the next 10 years is predicted to be 42.2%. The median household income in West Jordan is $69,404 a year. The median home cost in West Jordan is $354.200. The




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median cost in Utah is $338,200. The economic outlook of West Jordan is rapidly booming, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Local businesses have reported banner fiscal years, and the development of new and existing business will continue at a fast pace, according to city officials. The city’s economic development team is eager for what’s to come and the team is working to provide resources to help businesses thrive in their ongoing operations and growth. “The economic growth in our city is exciting,” Mayor Dirk Burton said. “We are grateful that businesses are choosing to invest here, and their success doesn’t happen without the residents supporting our businesses in West Jordan.” l

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West Jordan to host blood drive Linda Steele | l.steele@mycityjournals.com


he blood drive is a way to help those in need and in emergencies. There is a severe blood shortage right now. The residents of West Jordan are giving back to the community by teaming up with the Utah Red Cross to donate to the Blood Drive. “We’ve had a great turnout the last two blood drives we’ve held, and we expect that trend to continue,” said Marie Titze, digital communication specialist. The blood drive is being held in the community room at West Jordan City Hall (8000 South Redwood Road) Dec. 6, noon to 6 p.m. An appointment is required; visit westjordan.utah.gov to make one. Masks will be required for participants. Many people need blood right now. It is a great way to give back to the community and help those in need. Titze said West Jordan residents are glad to do the blood drive because it gives them a sense of community and that it is a great feeling to know they are saving lives. It will take about an hour, maybe a little longer out of your day to donate and give someone another chance at life. West Jordan officials reached out to the Red Cross to partner in a blood drive late last year. “We knew the need for blood and wanted to make the donation process easy and accessible to residents who wanted to participate,” Titze said. Deciding to donate your blood can save

a life, or several lives. In fact, every two seconds of every day, someone needs blood. Your blood can be separated into its components such as red cells, platelets and plasma, which then can be used individually for patients with specific conditions. There are at least three reasons to donate blood. First, you could be prone to diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, cancer and heart attacks. By donating blood, you are able to get rid of 225–250 milligrams of iron, which helps to prevent your body from iron overload. Secondly, you can lower your cholesterol and get rid of lipids or fatty substances. This is important so fat deposits don’t accumulate in your arteries. This helps lower your cholesterol level and reduce your risk for heart disease. Lastly, donating blood can help your mental well-being. Knowing that you are helping a person in need can be gratifying and uplifting. These three reasons are good to know what donating blood does to help those in need and save lives. Certain conditions should prevent a person from temporarily donating blood. These include pregnancy, acute fever, recent alcoholic intake and ear- or body-piercing surgery. The national Voluntary Blood Services Program suggests a person shouldn’t donate blood in the following situations:

West Jordan will host a blood drive Dec. 6.

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Cancer Cardiac disease Severe lung disease Hepatitis B and C HIV, AIDS or STDs High-risk occupation (prostitution) Unexplained weight loss of 11 or more pounds in six months • Chronic alcoholism

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Celebrate Girls in Aviation Day at West Jordan airport By Alison Brimley | a.brimley@mycityjournals.com


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n many of the most aspirational career fields, women are steadily marching toward equal representation. Just under 40% of doctors are now women. The same is true for lawyers. About 42% of tenure-track college faculty are women. When it comes to aviation, though, the numbers are less encouraging. At the end of 2020, women made up just over 8% of pilots in the United States. This is a discrepancy Women in Aviation International, a nonprofit group “dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation career fields” is working to address. WAI has declared Sept. 25 “Girls in Aviation Day.” The group’s local chapter hosted this year’s seventh annual Girls in Aviation event, on Sept. 25 at the South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan. The event—which was open to the public but aimed at girls ages 8 to 17— featured (subject to weather) various aircraft on display, including a Black Hawk helicopter from the Army National Guard base. Local flight schools staffed booths and showcase their aircraft, while a raffle offered opportunities to take intro flights with different flight schools. Delta, Skywest, UVU and Cornerstone Aviation were all there, as well as others. A pancake breakfast was served, and free backpacks were offered to the first 100 attendees. Girl Scouts had an opportunity to earn an Aviation Day patch. Lisa Konkel is the president of the Great Salt Lake chapter of Women in Aviation. She’s also a commercial single-engine pilot and a current flight attendant for Delta. “I’ve been interested in planes since I was little,” Konkel said. But in middle school, someone told her that she couldn’t fly planes because she wore glasses. It was enough to derail her from the path of a pilot for many years. After college, Konkel worked as a flight attendant for a few years. It was as a Delta employee that she realized that she had been given incorrect information by her middle school classmate. While it used to be true that glasses wearers were barred from being pilots, this is no longer the case. So, she began her pilot training, which she’s currently completing while also working as a flight attendant. Her current level of training means she can now get paid to fly planes. When she’s finished, she hopes to return to Delta as a pilot. Now, as part of Women in Aviation, Konkel’s aim is to show young women the realities and the many possible pathways toward becoming a pilot. It’s something

Women in Aviation International—a worldwide organization with a local Salt Lake chapter—has declared Sept. 25 “Girls in Aviation day” in hopes of exposing girls to careers in aviation, a field where women remain dramatically outnumbered. (Photo by Jon Ly.)

girls still aren’t taught to consider as fully as their male counterparts might be. “It’s not presented to a lot of people when they’re younger,” she said. There may be confusion as to how enter the field, Konkel said. Many assume you “have to enter through the military. But you can go through a civilian path as well.” Throughout the year, Women in Aviation puts on events to show people that “there are so many paths to take.” Some local high schools offer private pilot ground school. You can go to college and get an aviation degree. “ Or you can be an air traffic controller, an engineer, a mechanic, a dispatcher, a parachute rigger—all are actively promoted and represented by WAI. “It can be very insular,” Konkel said. “People don’t realize all there is [in the field of aviation], even if you don’t want to fly planes.” She hopes Girls in Aviation day will offer girls an opportunity to meet female role models in the field. Anyone interested in promoting the aims of Women in Aviation is welcome to join—no pilot’s license required. l

West Jordan City Journal

Aviation students are blown away By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


viation students were blown away by the opportunity to watch a helicopter land just outside their classroom at the Jordan Academy of Technology and Careers north campus on Sept. 9. “It was cool watching it all happen in real-time and not just in a video,” said Lexis Zinger, a senior. The helicopter was piloted by instructors from the Southern Utah University aviation program. They spoke with students and demonstrated the startup and shut-down sequences and the various checklists involved. Students were allowed to explore the aircraft and ask the pilots their questions. JATC aviation instructor Aaron Organ said his program is designed to expose students with an interest in aviation to opportunities in the industry. He invites guest speakers to the class and arranges field trips so students are able to meet a variety of people working in a variety of careers in the industry. “Most of these students are here to explore—they have an interest in aviation,” Organ said. “Very few of them have a direct line to aviation—not many of their parents work in the industry. And so the main thing I want them to get out of this is just the ability to explore, talk to pilots, and spark that

greater interest and give them the resources they’ll need to explore what’s best for them in the industry.” High school junior Lainey Vander Linden is taking the aviation class to see if she wants to pursue a piloting career path. “It’s easier to check it out in high school than it is in college,” she said. Vander Linden said she has learned that there is more to an aviation career than just flying for airlines. In the class she has learned about a lot of the behind-the-scenes jobs. “I think it's cool how we’re exploring the different career paths,” she said. “Because I didn't think there were as many as there are. There’s more than just flying for the airlines, there's a lot more you can do. The helicopter today showed a completely different avenue that you can also go.” Organ uses a variety of activities to give students hands-on learning opportunities to explore flight. During the unit about the history of aviation, students learned about hot air balloons. Once they understood the basics, they made their own and then flew them. They also built model aircrafts as part of the course. But it’s not all playing with aircraft and meeting interesting people. Students earn SALT LAKE VALLEY JOURNALS 7.73x5.49.eps

Aviation students at the Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers get a detailed lesson on a helicopter’s start-up and landing sequences. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)


college credits and prepare to take the written test for a pilot’s license. “It's learning a lot of the basics of what it would be like to be a pilot,” Organ said. “So we get into a lot of math and physics, the aerodynamics of flight and understanding weather.” The aviation course is offered exclu10/6/2014

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sively in Jordan district at the JATC north campus. Students take core classes at their high school and then travel by car or bus to take a half day of classes at the JATC campus. “Think of us as a really big, expensive portable, that's kind of faraway,” JATC Principal Chris Titus said. l









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October 2021 | Page 7

Tiger Squad joins with community to prevent suicide By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


he South Hills Middle School Hope Squad participated in the Out of Darkness Community Walk for suicide prevention on Sept. 12 at West Jordan’s Veteran Memorial Park. The students raised $445 for the cause and invited friends, neighbors and family members to attend. SHMS school counselor Kathy Campbell said it was an opportunity for the 32 students in Hope Squad (also called Tiger Squad) to be a part of a community event with a wider scope. Usually, the focus of their suicide prevention and anti-bullying efforts is within their school. “It felt really cool to be able to be a part of something big that you know is making a difference,” ninth-grader Mirra Patterson said. “It’s so nice to see so many people supporting the cause, because it is such a big thing in our society today.” During the week leading up to the walk, Hope Squad members promoted the event every day during morning announcements along with messages of hope. They also hosted lunch time activities, inviting students to share what gives them hope and to participate in games. Students participated to earn Out of Darkness bracelets, pins and pens supplied by American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. Campbell said the bracelets were a popular item. Despite the thunderstorms on the morning of the walk, Campbell said there was a good turnout of students and their families as well as community members. The morning began with an honor guard ceremony featuring the West Jordan Fire Department as a tribute to first responders and members of the military in honor of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Walk participants were given different colored beads to repThe South Hills Middle School Tiger Squad had a great experience at the suicide prevention community walk despite the rain. (Photo courtesy resent their experience with suicide. Specific colors identified of Kathy Campbell.)

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them as someone who had lost a family member, who had lost a child, someone who struggles personally, or as someone who was there to support their friend or loved one. The students were touched by the personal stories shared by survivors and family members who have been affected by suicide. “It was a really great experience,” ninth grader McKenzie Goodwin said. “My family members and some of my friends have dealt with mental illness and suicide, so it was really awesome seeing a lot of the people there, all coming together so we can all support each other.” There was also a resource fair, and as students walked among the booths, they discovered various local resources and organizations promoting a variety of causes and events. Campbell said students were inspired and excited. Some for them are already planning to participate in upcoming community events and fundraisers. “It's kind of created a spirit of that outside community, that there are bigger things that we can do and we can participate in,” she said. The students wore their Hope Squad shirts which drew the attention from some organizations who approached Campbell. She had two people offer to provide a school assembly. The Hope Squad will hold Hope Week in the spring and they plan to participate in the Out of Darkness Walk again next year. “After our experience, we're definitely going to come back and make this an annual tradition,” Campbell said. “We've already got it on our calendar for next year.” l


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October 2021 | Page 9

What you didn’t know about school custodians

Nine years without a cold? By Priscilla Schnarr


Scientists have discovered a natural way to kill germs fast. Now thousands of people are using it against viruses and bacteria in the nose and on skin. Germs, such as viruses and bacteria, can multiply fast. When unwanted germs get in your nose they can spread and cause misery unless you stop them early. In the last 20 years, hundreds New device puts copper right where you need it. of studies by government and “What a wonderful thing!” exclaimed university scientists show the natural element copper kills germs just by touch. Physician’s Assistant Julie. “Is it supThe EPA officially declared copper to posed to work that fast?” Pat McAllister, 70, received one for be “antimicrobial”, which means it kills microbes, including viruses, bacteria, Christmas. “One of the best presents ever. This little jewel really works.” and fungus. Frequent flier Karen Gauci used to The National Institutes of Health says, “The antimicrobial activity of cop- suffer after crowded flights. Though skeptical, she tried copper on travel days per is now well established.” Ancient Greeks and Egyptians used for 2 months. “Sixteen flights and not a copper to purify water and heal wounds. sniffle!” she exclaimed. Businesswoman Rosaleen says when They didn’t know about microbes, but people around her show signs of unwantnow we do. Scientists say the high conductance ed germs, she uses copper morning and of copper disrupts the electrical balance night. “It saved me last holidays,” she in a microbe and destroys it in seconds. said. “The kids had the crud going round Some hospitals tried copper for touch and round, but not me.” Attorney Donna Blight tried copper surfaces like faucets and doorknobs. They say this cut the spread of MRSA, for her sinus. “I am shocked!” she said. “My head cleared, no more headache, no and other illnesses by over half. The strong scientific evidence gave more congestion.” A man with trouble breathing through inventor Doug Cornell an idea. He made a smooth copper probe with a tip to fit in his nose at night tried copper just before bed. “Best sleep I’ve had in years!” the bottom of his nose. In a lab test, technicians placed 25 The next time he felt a tickle in his nostril that warned of a cold about to million live flu viruses on a CopperZap. start, he rubbed the copper gently in his No viruses were found alive soon after. Some people press copper on a lip nose for 60 seconds. “The cold never got going,” he ex- right away if a warning tingle suggests claimed. “That was September 2012. I unwanted germs gathering there. The handle is curved and textured to use copper in the nose every time and I increase contact. Copper can kill germs have not had a single cold since then.” “We don’t make product health picked up on fingers and hands. The EPA claims so I can’t say cause and effect. says copper still works when tarnished. CopperZap is made in America of But we know copper is antimicrobial.” He asked relatives and friends to try pure copper. It has a 90-day full money it. They reported the same, so he patent- back guarantee. The price is $79.95. Get $10 off each CopperZap with ed CopperZap® and put it on the market. Soon hundreds of people had tried it. code UTCJ14 at www.CopperZap.com The feedback was 99% positive if they or 1-888-411-6114. Buy once, use forever. used the copper within 3 hours after the first sign of unwanted germs, like a tick- Statements are not intended as product health claims and have not been evaluatle in the nose or a scratchy throat. Early user Mary Pickrell said, “I ed by the FDA. Not claimed to diagnose, can’t believe how good my nose feels.” treat, cure, or prevent any disease. advertorial

Page 10 | October 2021

By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


ct. 1 is Custodian Appreciation Day. Think you know what a school custodian does? You may be surprised. Once you realize just what is involved, you may appreciate them even more.

Custodians are an important part of the school community

Ask any principal and they’ll tell you how important their custodian is to provide a good educational experience for the students. Mountain Ridge High School Principal Mike Kochevar said administrators, teachers and students all rely on their head custodian Kevan Sprague. “We’re there to serve our kids and he wants to put the best product out there,” Kochevar said. “Whether that’s through his interactions with the kids or just having a clean building or just doing a little extra here or there to make sure that a teacher is ready for the day, he’ll do it, and everybody knows it.” Foothills Elementary Principal Cherie Wilson said her school custodians care for the students, and they step in when they see a student who needs help, making them an important part of the education team. “With any position in school, even a custodian, it’s all about the kids,” she said.

The job is more than just cleaning

In addition to daily cleaning, school custodians are also responsible for deep cleaning and disinfecting, groundskeeping, preventive maintenance and repair, building security, energy management and setting up before (and cleaning up after) all school activities, sport events and meetings. “There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes prep to those kinds of things that most people wouldn’t wouldn’t even see,” said Steve Peart, head custodian for Jordan District. Some custodians deal with unique responsibilities based on their school. Kauri Sue Hamilton School has a swimming pool, which is maintained by head custodian Autumn Penney. She also handles the type of cleanups unique to a school full of students with special needs. KSHS Assistant Principal Karl McKenzie said Penney has a big job of groundskeeping. “We have more trees than any school in the district,” he said. “She takes care of all of those leaves!”

Cleaning methods are hi-tech

Utah’s Distinguished Educational Support Professional for 2022, Mountain Ridge High School Head Custodian Kevan Sprague. (Photo courtesy of Kevan Sprague.)

wiping bathroom surfaces by hand, custodians use a machine that sprays and disinfects the entire bathroom, floor to ceiling.

Custodians never stop working

High school events can run anywhere from 6 a.m. until midnight, six days a week, said Peart. Schools have a crew of up to nine full-time custodians, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Last year, when a custodian was out sick or quarantined, or when a school required a deep-cleaning and disinfecting due to an outbreak, extra custodians would show up to help out once they’d finished up at their own schools. Custodial crews don’t take the summer off, either. They use the three months to deep-clean the buildings. “By the time the end of the school year comes, a building tends to be kind of worn down,” Peart said. “And then you work all summer, and you get the floors nice and shiny, and the carpets clean, and you have it ready for school to start back.”

Custodians have input on new schools

Sprague worked with contractors and engineers for several months on the designs for both Mountain Ridge High and Copper Mountain Middle School, selecting equipment and furniture that would work best for a learning environment. He talked the architects out of installing glass barriers around the indoor track at MRHS, knowing they would be difficult to maintain. “He worked with the contractors to make sure that things were being done the way we needed it to be done,” Kochevar said. “He’s an advocate to make sure we put the best product out there.”

“It’s come a long way from mopping halls all the time with a mop bucket, and the way you clean bathrooms definitely has come a long way,” said Sprague, who has worked as a custodian for 29 years. Instead of mops, custodians use ride-on Custodial work is a great first job and an machines, which clean floors quickly and ef- investment in the future ficiently. Battery-powered vacuums are cordJordan District employs about 500 less and are more efficient and have better sweepers, part-time workers who take care of filters than their predecessors. And instead of

West Jordan City Journal

daily cleaning tasks. Because the district is one of the few employers that hires 14-yearolds, working as a sweeper is often a teenager’s first job experience. Peart said students learn valuable job skills working as a sweeper. Sprague worked as a sweeper as a high school student before becoming a full-time custodian. Peart worked his way through college as a school custodian. He said it is a great option for someone who plans to become an educator because the years they work as a custodian in the school district count toward their retirement.

Custodians like to feel appreciated

Custodians love it when students smile at them enthusiastically, greet them with personal nicknames and give them fist bumps. They like it when teachers thank them for the extra little things they do for them. And they like receiving awards. Sprague received a top custodial recognition this spring when he was selected as Utah State Employees Association’s Custodial Educational Support Professional of the Year. From there, he was chosen to represent all support professionals in the state as the Distinguished Educational Support Professional for 2022. He is now in the running for a national level award (and $10,000) as well as another state award.

School principals love their custodians

“One of many things I like about Mel Davis is that he’s dependable as a sunrise. He’s here every day keeping our campus clean, safe and comfortable so the rest of us

can get our work done--adults and students alike. Mr. Davis has a fun sense of humor and is always willing to assist teachers and students in any way he can. We love Mr. Davis!” — Principal Kenneth Westwood, Oakcrest Elementary “My custodians are the best. Dan Spring leads a wonderful team. He takes pride in the details of the school. Grant Wade works well with our sweepers. They are a happy bunch who do a wonderful job. The demands last year and into this year have been intense for our custodian team and they have never complained. They do their jobs superbly and positively. They are always assisting teachers and being proactive with solutions or problem solving. Thank you WHMS Custodial Team for making our environment a beautiful place to be.” — Principal Cynthia VanderMeiden, West Hills Middle School. “Our custodial team is constantly shorthanded, so they work twice as hard to make up for it. Nate Morgan is our new head custodian. You could eat off the floors and he never stops moving. The crew here at WJHS is wonderful to a person!” — Principal Jim Birch, West Jordan High School “Mr. and Mrs. Franco do everything with the students in mind. They take student safety seriously, but you will often find them doing their job with a smile. Our school and community is a brighter place because of their work.” — Principal Crystal Thomas, Ascent Academy l

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October 2021 | Page 11

Local school districts join mass-action lawsuit against e-cigarette maker, Juul Labs By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com


ordan, Canyons and Murray are amongst the hundreds of school districts that have joined a mass-action lawsuit against e-cigarette maker, Juul Labs, Inc., claiming that they deceitfully and intentionally marketed their products to children. This has led to an increase in e-cigarette use amongst youths, statistics reveal, so in the mass-action lawsuit, they are wanting to hold the company responsible and seek damages for the “vaping epidemic” on school campuses around the country. Jordan Board of Education President Tracy Miller said, “vaping is a really big problem in our schools.” “We have a lot of kids who vape, a lot who don’t necessarily know how bad it is,” she said. “They are companies using different flavors and marketing, aimed at youth, and it caught on and became popular at a lot of schools. We (Jordan Board of Education) recognized that it’s a problem and need to hold Juul accountable. The problem is they weren’t forthright and transparent about what was going on. There’s high levels of nicotine in vape products, (which are) highly addictive and it was not marketed that way.” Canyons Board of Education member Mont Millerberg agrees. “We need to call a spade a spade,” he said. “Vaping is not a healthy habit and with them having Captain Crunch and sugary flavors, it’s targeting our most vulnerable population to lead them to believe ‘it’s a cool thing.’ If this puts a stop to marketing unhealthy products to children, I’m happy to support it.” Jordan District approved the legal service agreement on Aug. 24 as they joined the mass-action lawsuit. Canyons joined in Sept. 7, and Murray, Sept. 9. Granite’s school board has studied the litigation, said Ben Horsley, Granite School District spokesman. “The Granite School District has recognized the harmful effects of vaping on our youth,” he said on Sept. 17. “The Board of Education and district administration has studied the associated litigation and is inclined to participate.” Vaping products, known as e-cigarettes or mods, are battery-powered devices that heat up a liquid to create an aerosol vapor which typically contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. Since the user inhales and it doesn’t emit the strong odor associated with conventional combustion cigarettes, and they are designed to resemble USB flash drives, keychains or lipstick tubes, youth often have them in plain sight, even plugged into a laptop, officials say. According to 2020-21 statistics collected by Jordan School District, 90% of the tobacco violations in the district’s schools were infractions against vaping, with only 10% for regular cigarettes.

Page 12 | October 2021

We need to call a spade a spade. Vaping is not a healthy habit and with them having Captain Crunch and sugary flavors, it’s targeting our most vulnerable population to lead them to believe it’s a cool thing. — Canyons Board of Education member Mont Millerberg

A Juul device, plugged in like a USB flash drive, is seen charging in a computer, making it unrecognizable to many teachers or parents. (Photo courtesy of Steve Hanson/Salt Lake County Health Department)

Educators and officials are concerned about youth vaping in the mass-action lawsuit; seen here is a Juul starter kit. (Photo courtesy of Steve Hanson/ Salt Lake County Health Department)

“Vaping is just so prevalent these days,” said Sharon Jensen, Jordan District’s student support services consultant. Jensen said that youth see vaping in social media or have greater access to it, even getting it from family members as 56% say their parents or other close adults are nicotine users. Sometimes, even adults are unfamiliar with the harm and addiction from e-cigarette use, including that it can hamper long-term adolescent brain development, according to Utah Department of Health research. In a 2021 report, it states Utah’s youth vape at nearly twice the rate of Utah’s adults. Jordan’s statistics reveal that the majority are regular users. Last year, of the students caught with tobacco, 98 were directed to attend an online first-offenders class for nicotine. Of those students, 18% used nicotine 26 days-plus in the last month—“basically daily,” she said. Another 11% used it between 13 and 25 days in that past month. Most students who vape are teens, she said. Of those 98 students assigned to the online class, 25% are age 13. Another 24%

are 14 years old. Six percent are age 12 or younger, making the greatest amount, at 45%, in high school. “Often they vape on the job and their outside-of-school-life is much more colorful than their in-school-life,” Jensen said. Those statistics are in line with the state, according to the Utah Prevention Needs Assessment that showed 12.4% of eighth graders tried vaping; 25.5% of high school sophomores; and 32.1% of high school seniors. In Canyons District in 2019, there were 219 school office referrals, first-time and/or repeat referrals, for e-cigarette use or possession, up from 35 referrals in 2010. Justin Pitcher, who has served as an administrator in Canyons District in the Midvale and Cottonwood Heights communities at both elementary and secondary levels, said vaping is “definitely a concern.” “If it’s happening in high schools, then it’s happening in elementary; the frequency is different,” he said, saying there are fewer younger students caught with devices although all age levels may have access to them despite administrators taking them away. Jensen said that Jordan District policy is to collect and lock up Juuls and other violating products; they can be returned to an adult in the family. She’s hoping their first-time user classes as well as well as the END—Ending Nic-

otine Dependence—course for regular users will help youth identify the harm it does to their bodies. “What we want our kids to do is to learn and to quit,” Jensen said. There is no fee for the classes as Jordan District has a state SAFE (Supporting America's Families and Educators) grant which it dedicated to alcohol and drug abuse prevention. However, hundreds of school districts nationwide are wanting Juul to foot the bills for public resources being used to pay for the current and future costs. The lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of California Federal District Court by the Frantz Law group, is a mass tort lawsuit where damages for plaintiffs, or in this case, school districts, are calculated individually. Therefore, multiple plaintiffs can be awarded differing amounts of damages for the amount of its past and future damages. Those costs can range from providing information and resources to students regarding the negative impacts of vaping, student services or counseling, or installing vape detectors. “It’s not really about getting money as much as sending a message,” Miller said. Millerberg agrees: “I don’t expect a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s more of a moral stance than anything else.” l

West Jordan City Journal

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FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY When the city recently proposed to transfer utility funds to use in the annual budget, I was one of only 3 council members to vote against it. I believe utility funds should only be used to pay for the needs of our water, sewer, wastewater, and street lights like they were appropriated for. I will continue to fight against these transfers in hopes that the transfers do not become a recurring theme each year to cover costs for the annual city budget.

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Economic development is an ongoing process in any city. Every city wants new business. West Jordan is growing, and we need more opportunities to bring new business to our city. My goal is to keep finding new ways to make West Jordan the destination on the Westside for businesses looking for a great place to move or re-locate.

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October 2021 | Page 13

20th anniversary of 9/11 provides lesson for future first responders By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com


tudents in the fire science, EMT and criminal justice classes at Jordan Academy of Technology and Careers South Campus were pushed physically and emotionally as they performed 440 repetitions of pushups, sit-ups and burpees and climbed 110 flights of stairs. The exercise was held Sept. 11, in remembrance and respect of the sacrifice of 440 first responders who lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy, and the 110 flights of stairs they climbed in the World Trade Center before the towers collapsed. “I want it to be a special event for them,” said fire science and EMT instructor Richard Clayton, who arranges the exercise for his students every year on the anniversary of the tragedy. “They don't have a recollection; they all were born post 9/11 and they've never lived in a world other than that. So, trying to get them to have an understanding relationship with it is what was one of our goals.” Clayton said the experience is a lesson in understanding and appreciating the service and the sacrifices required in first responder professions. To prepare students for the mental and

emotional demands of these types of jobs, Clayton believes the best lesson is failure, which he ensures that his students experience regularly. “The ones that pick themselves back up in the face of failure are usually the ones that will be there when the chips are down and the risks are high,” he said. “So, I try to see how far they can push themselves and then the ones that find it in themselves to push just a little bit further, then that's when you know you have somebody special.” Many students graduate from JATC programs and go straight into industry jobs. One of last year’s students spent this summer fighting wildland fires in Oregon and California. Three others are saving lives working in ambulances. Clayton graduated from the first EMT class offered at JATC 28 years ago. He was also in the first recruit camp of the Salt Lake County Fire Department post 9/11, when he said there were ten times the number of applicants to join the department in the wake of the tragedy. l

In remembrance of first responders who lost their lives when the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11, students climb 110 flights of stairs. (Photo courtesy of Jordan School District.)

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West Jordan City Journal

State champions crowned at Rad Canyon By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com


MX racing in Salt Lake is a family sport that has seen an increase in participants over the last year. Racers as young as 3 took to the track at a national event in July and at the state finals in September. “I started racing when I was 10,” 2017 world champion Todd Parry said. “I have seen three-generation riders on the track: grandpa, grandma, son, daughter, grandson and granddaughter. Tell me another sport that the entire family can compete on the same track the same weekend.” Rad Canyon BMX track in West Jordan has become a nationally renowned facility. The finals held Sept. 11 boasted 260 riders and 64 motos (races), the most since 2017 at the facility. The two-day event crowned champions over several age groups and skill levels. While not the last race of the year at the outdoor facility, it does indicate a transition point to the indoor season. “I have loved BMX racing,” Parry said. “It is not like a team sport where you have to be there on game night and practice night. You can race as much as you want. If you want to go on vacation with the family, you can. You also progress on your own. When I get in the gate, it doesn’t matter who my sponsor is or who my dad or brother is, no politics. Whoever gets to the stripe is the winner. The coach does not decide if you are going to play or not. You can take it as far as you want to.” Winners of the 2021 state finals included riders from across the state. Some of the season championships were decided by only a few points. “It was exciting to watch,” Rad Canyon officials said in unison. ”The competitiveness and camaraderie was just awe-inspring.” “We are spoiled to have Rad Canyon,” Parry said. “It is a top-notch track, and that is why we have national events here.” Rad Canyon opened in 1996 when it moved from its former location in Murray. The track has a large starting hill with an eight-position starting gate. Its three paved turns lead to long straightaways with a tabletop, roller and rhythm section. “The interest has grown [in BMX racing],” USA BMX Director of Nationals Race Operations Chris Luna said. “We have seen an increase in numbers in the last few years.” Knox Perkins of Sandy won the 9-yearold expert division. “I have traveled all over the country racing,” he said. “I think winning makes it fun.” Knox will spend approximately $20,000 this season on travel expenses, equipment and event fees. He raced in Belgium at the BMX world championships. “This is a great track, my home track,”

WestJordanJournal .com

Knox said. “I encourage my friends to try it out.” Rad Canyon races one night a week with multiple practice nights available. It will transition to indoor racing in October and begin outdoor racing again next April. The track is staffed by volunteers, including officials, snack bar, starting gate, staging and scoring. l


Kayleen Whitelock West Jordan City Council Fiscally Responsible: Voted against the latest tax increase. Dedicated: Attends many meetings to ensure West Jordan is represented. Experienced: Has working relationships with many in the greater community.

Now is The Time to Build Our Community The starting gate drops quickly into the first straightaway at Rad Canyon BMX track. (Greg James/ City Journals)

To learn more visit kayleenwhitelock.com Paid for by the elect Kayleen campaign

October 2021 | Page 15



FOR WEST JORDAN HOBBIES; BEE KEEPING, GARDENING, METAL ART, MOTORCYCLING & CAMPING MIKE WITHERS IS A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL LAND SURVEYOR. • Practicing for over 20 years and comes from a family of surveyors • Steeped in civil projects from a young age • Served on the West Jordan General Plan Committee & UCLS Legislative Committee • Organized Neighborhood Watches • Businessman & Professional First and foremost Mike is a Family man. Father of 3 girls. Mike has worked with State, Federal and Municipal government and knows what it takes. His expertise will undoubtedly help the City of West Jordan and its citizens.

withers4westjordan@gmail.com Page 16 | October 2021

West Jordan City Journal




Paid for by the City of West Jordan

M AYO R ’S M E S S AG E October is Fire Safety month. While fire safety may be something we often think about when this time of year comes around or when we see something on the news, fire safety is always top of mind for our West Jordan firefighters. The West Jordan Fire Department is a fantastic, top-rated department. Our wonderful firefighters are constantly receiving training, so they’re prepared to help in any emergency. Rope rescues, structural collapse rescues, and vehicle extrication rescues are all on the list of trainings our firefighters participate in. Several of our outstanding firefighters have worked hard to become heavy rescue technicians. To become such, they attend courses from the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy and pass an exam to receive their license. It is a highly sought-after certification and can be helpful providing a ‘heavy rescue call.’ While our top-notch firefighters work every day to keep our city and residents safe, they also lend a helping hand to neighboring cities, sometimes even neighboring states. This summer, our superb department sent a few firefighters and equipment to states battling massive wildfires. Even though the city is reimbursed for the expenses, we recognize it is a sacrifice for our firefighters who go away to help battle these out-ofstate fires that affect us here at home. It is not uncommon for fire departments to cross city lines; our department works hand-in-hand with other departments when a fire breaks out or an emergency event happens nearby. These men and women are local superheroes who love to share what they do to keep us safe! If you’d like to learn more about what our excellent firefighters do, visit westjordan.utah.gov/fire. Sincerely,

Register to Vote – What you need to know to make your vote count! The General Election is just a month away. Remember to vote on or before Tuesday, November 2nd. Here’s a quick guideline of everything you need to know to make sure your vote counts.

HOW CAN I VOTE? By mail: if you are an active registered voter, you will automatically receive a ballot in the mail. You must drop your ballot off at a drop box location before 8 PM on Election Day. To find a drop box location near you visit: vote.utah.gov. Vote via email or fax: Utah allows voters with disabilities to send and receive ballots via email or fax. To apply visit vote.utah.gov. Vote at an Election day voting location, drive-thru location: Polling locations have voting machines that offer accommodations for voters who have visual or hearing impairments. Find a list of all voting locations near you: vote.utah.gov.

WHEN WILL MAIL-IN BALLOTS ARRIVE? The Salt Lake County Clerk will mail ballots the week of October 11, 2021. If you do not receive a ballot shortly after that time, contact the county clerk’s office: Phone: 385-468-7400 Email: got-vote@slco.org Address: 2001 South State St., #S1200; Salt Lake City, UT 84190


Your voter registration must be received by the Salt Lake County Clerk before 5 PM on October 22, 2021. However, you may register to vote at an early voting location or at a polling location on Election Day, but you will need to bring two forms of identification with you.

WHAT ARE ACCEPTABLE FORMS OF VOTER IDENTIFICATION? • Utah driver license • ID card issued by the state of Utah or the US Government • Utah concealed carry permit • US passport • Tribal ID card You can also provide TWO forms of ID that, when combined, prove your name and current residence. Visit voteinfo.utah.gov/voter-id-requirements for a full list.


WestJordanJournal .com

Yes! By visiting votesearch.utah.gov, and entering your information. From there, you can find out if your ballot has been counted yet. For more information about candidates running in West Jordan, visit westjordan.utah.gov/election-overview. October 2021 | Page




Fall is a great time to trim trees Low hanging tree limbs can be dangerous for cars and pedestrians. When a low hanging tree limb hits a car, it can result in property damage to the car and significant damage to the tree. Common city tree code violations occur in four areas: 1. Sign visibility – Trees must be trimmed so their canopies don’t interfere with the visibility of stop signs, yield sign, street address signs and other regulatory signs. 2. Clear vision – trees or bushes must be trimmed so motorists or pedestrians can see oncoming traffic at intersections. 3. Sidewalk clearance – Trees or bushes must not obstruct pedestrian travel. Trees adjacent to pedestrian walkways need to have a minimum canopy clearance of 8 feet above the sidewalk. 4. Street side clearance – Tree canopies that extend over streets need to provide canopy clearance of at least 15 feet above the pavement. Low-hanging trees interfere with motorists and cause issues for snowplow operations, paving operations, garbage collection, street sweeping operations and more. It is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain their trees and planting material. Details about the city’s tree code are online at WestJordan.Utah.Gov. For more tree trimming tips, contact the city’s urban forester, Ty Nielsen at ty.nielsen@westjordan.utah.gov.

West Jordan Police Department Talks Halloween Safety Halloween is CREEPING up on us! The West Jordan Police Department wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween experience. Take a minute to read these 3 tips to make sure you and your family stay safe while trick-or-treating.

DID YOU KNOW? The City of West Jordan’s Recorder’s Office can notarize documents for you! IF you have a valid photo ID, they can notarize any legal document. Give them a call at 801-569-5115. Open 8 AM – 5 PM, Monday through Friday.

1. Trick-or-treat with trusted neighbors. 2. If you plan to be on the road during trick-or-treat hours, watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs. Be sure to enter and exit driveways carefully. Trick-orTreaters should also wear reflecting or colorful costumes. Dark costumes make it very difficult to see children after the sun goes down. 3. When in doubt, throw the candy out. Avoid candy that has loose wrappings, is completely unwrapped, has puncture holes, or is homemade and not factory wrapped. Small children should not be allowed hard candy, which could be a choking hazard. Have a spooktacular Halloween!

Page 18 | October 2021

West Jordan City Journal



E-Waste Recycling & Document Shredding

Did you know that the City of West Jordan holds quarterly e-waste recycling and document shredding events? The next one is Nov. 6 from 10 a.m.-noon in the City Hall parking lot, 8000 S. Redwood Road. West Jordan residents can bring up to two “bankers boxes” of paper for shredding and residential electronic waste each quarter. Documents will be shredded onsite. Hard drives can also be shredded if they have been removed from the computer. Unfortunately, televisions, CRT monitors, cracked LCDs and printers are not accepted. (Trans-Jordan Landfill allows some of those items to be deposited by our residents. Please contact Trans-Jordan at 801-5698994 for more information.) Bring proof of residency or city employment (driver’s license, utility bill or city ID badge). For more information, contact 801-569-5700 or email publicworks@westjordan.utah.gov.

COUNCIL CORNER The City Council truly appreciates the hard work of fire department personnel. During August they responded to more than 600 calls. The fire department sent one crew to Montana to help with many wildfires in the state, and recently assisted animal control with a horse who became stuck in the mud. Fire Safety Week is October 3 - 9, 2021, with the entire month dedicated to Fire Prevention. The goal of Fire Safety Week and Fire Prevention Month is to raise fire safety awareness and help ensure your home and your family is protected. Council Member Chris McConnehey stated, “Having previously served as a volunteer firefighter I appreciate the training, preparation, and skill that our full-time firefighters dedicate to protecting our city. I hope during Fire Safety Month we can show our appreciation of first responders by following their examples and preparing ourselves and our families. We can test smoke detectors and have a family fire drill, we can check our homes for fire hazards, we can take a first aid class. Preparation saves lives.” Council Member Chad Lamb said, “One of the most important services a city can provide its residents is police and fire protection. Not far behind is street maintenance, parks, streetlights, solid waste removal, and snow removal in the winter.”

Council meetings for October are the 13th and 27th. In November meetings switch to the first and third Wednesday to accommodate for the holidays. November meetings are the 3rd and 16th and November 16th the Council, acting as Board of Canvassers, will canvas the 2021 General Election. December meetings are the 1st and 15th.

Green Waste Collection ends on the last full week of November Green waste pick up is coming to an end for the 2021 season so plan now to complete your fall yard projects. The last collection will be on your regular collection day the week of Nov. 21st. Green waste collection will resume Monday, April 4, 2021. Remember to keep the green clean and place only loose yard clippings in the container. Green waste containers are collected once a week on a seasonal basis on your normal collection day.

KEEP IT CLEAN • DO NOT bag any items. • Please DO NOT put dirt, sod, cardboard, garbage, debris, concrete, rocks, or plastic bags in the container. • All materials should fall freely from the container when dumped. • Please do not overload. The lid of the container must close completely, and branches should not stick out of the container. • Place container curbside by 6:30 a.m. on your scheduled collection day during the green waste season.

WestJordanJournal .com

The program is run in partnership with Trans-Jordan Landfill. The green waste is turned into compost that is then sold to the public. The compost is made from yard clippings like grass, leaves, ground wood and organic material. (There is no dirt, manure or biosolids in the compost.) The mixture is then composted for several months until it is matured and ready for sale. The Landfill also sells a variety of screened wood chips perfect for landscaping and curb appeal. For further information, visit www.westjordan.utah.gov/garbageandrecycling October 2021 | Page 19












visit the City’s Social Pages for more Information

PLANNING COMMISSION West Jordan City Hall & online: bit.ly/WestJordan 6 p.m.









West Jordan City Hall & online: bit.ly/WestJordan 7 p.m.

11 &






West Jordan City Hall & online: bit.ly/WestJordan 6 p.m.

West Jordan City Hall & online: bit.ly/WestJordan 7 p.m.










Jordan Landing 4 p.m.

Page 20 | O

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 ctober


TIPS FROM THE WEST JORDAN FIRE DEPARTMENT It’s a question the West Jordan Fire Department gets asked all the time: Can I have a cooking fire in my backyard? The answer is yes! However, there are a few rules that need to be followed: • Make sure your open pit cooking fire is 25 feet from any building, fence, deck, or anything else that will burn. • The pit needs to be 18 inches deep, if dug in the ground, or contained by a fireproof material such as brick or metal. • Ensure an adequate water supply is nearby. A fire should never be left unattended. • Always remember you are responsible for the smoke produced by your fire, so please be considerate of your neighbors. • Keep in mind that it is unlawful to burn leaves, tree limbs or rubbish in your cooking pit.




Making a perfect — and safe — fire for S’mores in your backyard!



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

West Jordan City Journal

Rivalry games on tap in October By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com


ever underestimate the power of a rivalry game. It can impact players and coaches on both sidelines long after the whistle blows. The Jordan School District has designated Oct. 13–15 as its rivalry week.

West Jordan at Copper Hills

Copper Hills opened in 1995, and its boundaries claimed many West Jordan students. Fans claim that the teams treat each other as brothers and not bitter opponents. “My kids go to West Jordan, and I still wear proudly my Copper Hills hoody,” Jenni Lynn said. Its games are labeled as Dub-town rivals, the battle of the belt and crosstown rivals. Players have been opponents and friends since little league. West Jordan leads the overall series with 24 wins. It only lost to Copper Hills once in 2013 by the final score of 19-7. The last time the teams played was in 2018 when West Jordan won 42-8. In that game, Oakley Kopp threw for 174 yards and three touchdowns.

Ridge Sentinels. Surprisingly, they have never faced Herriman. The schools sit 4.7 miles apart. When the boundaries changed in 2019, many of the current students were still in middle school. They may have had older brothers and sisters attend their opposite school. In three years, the Sentinels are 10-18; Herriman has a 77-57 record in its 12-year existence. The Mustangs have played Bingham more often but only achieved a victory once. The UHSAA has realigned the schools into Region 3 this season, as Mountain Ridge made the jump to 6A this fall.

Bingham at Riverton

The Miners and Silverwolves have faced off 18 times. Bingham has 15 wins, but Riverton has the most recent victory. Riverton defeated Bingham last season 20-17 for the first time since 2003. Bingham fumbled early in the third quarter, and the Silverwolves capitalized with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Colby Barton. Bingham has won 11 football state chamMountain Ridge at Herriman pionships, including six since 2009. Riverton This is the third season for the Mountain has advanced to the semifinals once. l The Jordan School District hopes to have its own rivalry week Oct. 13–15. (Greg James/City Journals)

WestJordanJournal .com

October 2021 | Page 21


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West Jordan City Journal

From the sideline: Interest turned profession for this MaxPreps photographer By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com


n the sideline of any high school event, you are bound to see an oversize camera with someone kneeling down getting shots of the action. These are not high-paid newspaper photographers. In fact, most are there to enjoy a hobby they can share with others. South Jordan’s Dave Argyle has been taking photos at high school sporting events since 2007. His son was running track at Riverton High School, and he wanted some photos to add to the family album. He is now a professional photographer for MaxPreps. “I just do it for fun,” Argyle said. “The money I make helps pay for some of my equipment.” He takes photos of all schools in the valley but loves to focus on the schools close to his home. You can often see him at Riverton, Herriman, West Jordan or West Valley schools. MaxPreps is America’s online source for high school sports. The website aspires to cover every team, every game and every player in the country. Argyle is one of 11 vetted photographers in the state. His 786 photo galleries are the most of anyone else. He has become a voice of the program with others. “I have really been trying to talk others into trying it out,” he said. “The process of being accepted is difficult, but once you are in it

is fun.” The website asks the potential applicant to submit quality photographs to be evaluated. The site’s management like high-caliber sports action shots. After being accepted each photographer is able to send in high school sports shots to be viewed and purchased on the site. Argyle helped supply photos for the Valley Journals (now City Journals) when he started and now promotes his own site and skills. “I look down the list for teams that have not had submissions recently,” Argyle said. “Then I go to those games. As the season goes along, the list gets smaller and smaller. I like to shoot football and basketball mostly.” His interest in photography began nearly 50 years ago. He learned from his father and likes to pass the interest on to others. He has taught classes at the University of Utah and worked with several news agencies. Shooting sports action shots can be difficult, but being in the thick of the action and still getting a good picture is challenging. “I got tackled head-on once—had just enough time to curl up my camera and roll through it,” he said. “I did not get hurt or damage any of my stuff. This has been so much fun.” Traveling to games is a perk of the job too. “I made a trip to Richfield that was beautiful,”

Dave Argyle started taking photos at Riverton High School and can now be found traveling across the valley in search of the great shot. (Greg James/City Journals)

Argyle said, “and I got some good action shots.” In the Salt Lake Valley there are primarily six photographers approved by MaxPreps including Argyle. They include Steve Carnahan, Terry Cullop, Jay Downs, Tim Haslam and Kevin McInnis. The site charges you to download and print

your favorite photos. MaxPreps is also the website used by the Utah High School Activities Association to record statistics and team rankings. The RPI used to seed teams into its state playoffs is generated by the site. l

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October 2021 | Page 23

Cross country 5A, 6A divisional race date changes; new venue set for state meet By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com


hen 5A and 6A cross country runners line up on the start line at Lakeside Park for the divisional meets, they will have the opportunity to have their full varsity teams. In what is considered the qualifying meet for teams as well as individuals for the state competition, organizers had worked with coaches to determine a good meet date. For this year’s meet, it was voted on for Oct. 13—the same date as the statewide PSAT college entrance exam. The PSAT date likely wasn’t communicated to coaches or put on school calendars, so organizers were not aware of the conflict, said Randy Quarez, 5A representative for track and cross country with the Utah High School Track Coaches Association. “This has happened multiple times in my 24 years of coaching,” he said. “I used to have it happen with region cross country meets.” Quarez said that the conflict also could be that coaches discussed the date more than one year in advance, so it could have been the testing dates weren’t yet released at that time to high school counselors. Typically, high school sophomores and juniors take the PSAT standardized test administered by the College Board. The test measures readiness for college, serves as a practice test for college-entrance exams and is a determination for National Merit scholarships. Once learning about the conflict, Quarez quickly reached out to others in the Utah High School Track Coaches Association. After checking the park availability for the alternative date, Oct. 12, the meet date was changed so all student-athletes could participate.

“We were able to move it. If we can fix it, we’ll fix it. It would have been a struggle for kids to do that test,” he said. The qualifying runners then will have more than two weeks to prepare for the state meet, which will be held on a new course this year. The course, which many teams ran in the pre-state multi-day meet in mid-September, is at the Salt Lake Regional Athletic Complex, located off of Rose Park Lane. Utah High School Activities Association Assistant Director Jon Oglesby said there were multiple reasons for moving the meet site after more than 40 years of holding the state cross country race at Sugar House Park. Last year, it was held on the Soldier Hollow course in Midway. “Our state meet had outgrown Sugar House Park,” he said. Oglesby said the coaches’ association was contacted to determine the best place with a course that coaches like, meets the needs of the student-athletes and what was wanted and needed, such as ample parking. “The Regional Athletic Complex in Salt Lake City just east of the airport was the perfect spot,” Oglesby said. “It actually has a really nice setup.” He also said that “coaches more and more are wanting a flatter course that allows for fast times because that allows them to then compete and qualify into various postseason meets.” With the change of venue comes an admission charge. “That’s something that’s been talked about for quite a while. The expenses continue to rise every year and it’s hard for us to push forward with adding the other things that

At one of the pre-state races in mid-September, junior and senior girls try out the new state course, located at the Salt Lake Regional Athletic Complex off of Rose Park Lane. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

we want to add knowing that the expenses around even just hosting it are increasing,” he said. “Our coaches are really insistent on wanting chip timing where their splits are at the miles and on RunnerCard, it’s very easy to follow what’s going on. I think that’s a really wonderful thing for the kids, but there’s a cost associated with that.” Timing isn’t the only cost. The venue, officiating, athletic trainers, awards, dumpsters, portable restrooms and water are some other costs that contributed to the change in charging admission, he said. Oglesby said the coaches have supported the change to the new course. “Our coaches are ecstatic about it,” he said. “I am hopeful that it will be a long-term venue for us.” l

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World champion paraclimber shares story, empowers Girl Scouts to find their passion By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com


bout 100 registered Girl Scouts had the opportunity to not only listen to a world-class paraclimber share inspiring tales of mountain climbing, they also could choose to climb with her at the local Momentum indoor climbing facility. As part of the Girl Scouts of Utah’s Girls’ Empowered event, sixth- through 12th-grade girls listened as Maureen “Mo” Beck described competing at world championships and climbing the Lotus Flower Tower, a 2,200foot granite rock face in the Cirque of the Unclimbables in Canada’s Northwest Territories. That alone is challenging enough for many people; however, Beck did those one-handed as she was born without the lower part of her left arm. By coincidence, her love of mountain climbing came at about the same age as the girls in attendance while attending Girl Scout camp near Acadia National Park in Maine, where she grew up. “My counselor said that I may just want to sit this one out,” she remembered. “So, the little 12-year-old me just thought, ‘screw you, I’m going to do it just because you think I can’t.’ I’m sure I didn’t do that well and didn’t make it to the top of the rock, but I wasn’t going to not do it. I never used not having my hand as an excuse.” She also used that same attitude to show her middle school coaches she could play soccer as the goalkeeper, the position where a player can use their hands; play softball—throwing the ball and catching it without a mitt; and play basketball—although she didn’t make that team since she missed tryouts. “I just wanted to show I was an athlete and could play; don’t count me out because I only have one hand. My grandma used to say that I was just being a smart-ass,” she said. But being defiant at Girl Scout camp meant more to the girl who once thought the best thing in the outdoors was hiking. “I fell in love with mountain climbing. It’s just me and the rock. It doesn’t care if I’m a girl. It doesn’t care if I don’t have a hand. It’s just there to be climbed. I knew then I wanted to be a climber and a good climber. Period. I had never known anything more than hiking. My parents weren’t climbers, so I went to the bookstore to buy magazines about mountain climbing.” With the help of friends, Beck developed her own style of climbing to accommodate not having a second hand. Her efforts didn’t stop there; she even tried ice climbing by attaching an ice tool to her prosthetic and also duct-taped a paddle to her prosthetic so she could canoe. Since then, most days Beck has given up wearing her prosthetic. “I had to figure out I can’t really wear a prosthetic to rock climb. It doesn’t help. So, I’m just going to tape my arm so I can feel the rock and also, so I don’t leave a bloody trail behind,” she told the Scouts. However, if Beck wanted to become a better climber, she told the girls, she had to confront her ego. “I had to be honest that it’s hard for me to do some things physically or I was unable to—and that was hard to do,” she said. “I had to realize I didn’t have all the knowledge or all the strength. I finally got to the point where I said at least I have to try and ask questions. I had to admit I didn’t know if I wanted to learn.” Once she did that, Beck said climbing became even more enjoyable. She told the girls that her first climbing title, the first U.S. Nationals held in Atlanta in 2014, she

Page 26 | October 2021

won because she was the only one in her category. “I felt conflicted about that. Does it count? Can I brag about being first if I’m the only one? I settled on you can because often times, the battle is stepping out of your front door; the hardest part is showing up,” she said. Later, she acquired four more national titles. With only a couple competitive events for paraclimbers each year, Beck made each one count. In 2014, she won the gold at the Paraclimbing World Champions in Spain as one of 15 paraclimbing athletes representing the United States. Two years later in Paris when the next worlds were held, she repeated her title and was one of 50 U.S. athletes, showing that the sport is growing. One championship was a three-way tie because “the people who built the competition underestimated us because it was too easy,” Beck said. Recently Jim Ewing, a climber with a prosthetic leg whom she didn’t know, asked her to join him climbing the Lotus Flower Tower; she reflected back on her decision when she said yes. “Society tells us, our parents tell us ‘no, we should stay safe. Our risks should be small, we should aim for incremental changes in our lives,’ but I think that’s wrong,” Beck said. “I think the more scared you are, the bigger risks you take, the worst that can happen when you take a risk is nothing changes. Failure is where you grow from. Failure when you take a risk is one of the best things that can happen. We’re so afraid of failure that we use it as an excuse to not grow. Life is too short for that.” Beck and the others were gone one month, most of it waiting for the weather to clear so they could climb. For 10 days leading up to the climb, they camped at the base of the peak, heating freeze-dried food on their backpacking stoves. When there was a break in the weather, they climbed part way up the steep cliff to a bivy ledge where they spent the night. “We finally got on the mountain, and you can tell, I was a little less than stoked. The rock was still quite wet. I wasn’t ready for truly how loose and gross and mossy it was. Every single hitch that we did…was a full rope length; these were full 200-foot rope stretchers. So, when Jim would take off to lead, I would just be alone for so long during these belays. I was freezing wet and thinking fairly dark thoughts: ‘This was a horrible mistake. I’m not having fun. I’m 1,000 miles away from my family (she’s married, living in Colorado). It’s August. I should be in Colorado right now getting sunburned, sport climbing and having fun at the beach,” she told the girls. “But I knew anytime I was in a dark place, there is always something on the other side.” After witnessing the northern lights that night and waking the next morning, Beck was excited, but her climbing partner was sick. Knowing this was their only chance, they ascended the mountain, anyway. They reached the top—and rappelled down for nine hours arriving in the dark. “We wanted this to be the first all-adaptive ascent. We thought about it more and adaptation doesn’t mean you have one hand you learn how to climb. Adaptation is more about taking what is wrong and figuring out how to make it work. I realized the more that went wrong with this trip, the more I learned,” said the woman who was named the 2019 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. Now Beck is training for what she believes will be her last world championship before taking a break from competition. However, she isn’t ruling out the possibility

World champion paraclimber Mo Beck tells local Girl Scouts that she never used not having a hand as an excuse and went on to win five national titles, two world championships and recently climbed a 2,200-foot granite rock face in the Cirque of the Unclimbables in Canada’s Northwest Territories. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

of competing in paraclimbing if it is added to the Paralympic Games in 2028. Next, she wants to continue scaling peaks, maybe in Alaska. “Life isn’t over when you’re out of the spotlight and off of the podium, the world is still waiting,” she said, adding that now she teaches other adaptive climbers. “I want these girls to find their voice, their passion, what pumps them up. I’ve broken so many barriers now I want to empower them to push those farther,” she said. In addition to Beck, the Girl Scouts watched “The Empowerment Project,” a documentary made by women and featuring women across the country who were making a positive impact. Girl Scouts of Utah CEO Lisa Hardin-Reynolds said that Girl Scouting gives girls opportunities—not only in the outdoors, but from STEM to life skills. “We encourage Girl Scouts to try new things because it could open up a new passion that they can do for their whole lives, just like it has for Mo,” she said. “We want to give them the opportunity to face challenges, lift each other up and see other women role models so they can see that anything is possible.”l

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Ghosting ghosts By Cassie Goff | c.goff@mycityjournals.com


Live Life Vibrantly

s the Halloween season looms near, the fear of supernatural beings does too. Decorations remind us of the existence of ghosts, vampires, goblins, werewolves, and other non-human creatures. We may even become a bit more startled by that unexplained noise in the middle of the night. We might wonder if others from beyond share our space. There are many stories, myths, and folklores concerning ghosts throughout historical contexts. The common foundational plot for all these tales is a spirit has moved on from its original form and is now somewhere between our world and the afterlife. Some lore focuses on the ghosts of animals and objects, but let’s focus on the human ghosts for now. Ghosts may be noticed through electromagnetic interference, a drop in temperature, items moving seemingly on their own, unrecognizable whispers or other audio abnormalities, and/or environmental features like fire, water, electricity, and wind behaving rather strangely. “Ghost Adventures,” a 19-season television show, sends out a crew to investigate hauntings. The crew members commonly have a variety of tools to help them locate ghosts through the avenues mentioned above. They even created their own device called the Extra Investigator Box which detects magnetic, infrared, and other physical events. If you’re not a star on this Travel Channel show, there are a few household devices that can help detect a ghost. Thermometers, infrared cameras,

and motion detectors can be used to detect temperature changes and minimal motion changes. A tape recorder can be used to convert communication outside of our perceptual field into sensations humans can understand. Ghosts are often believed to be attached to a place, item or person. There are varying stories about why and or how ghosts stick around, but regardless, they often do. Some cultures around the world welcome these ghosts, as they are believed to be visiting family members or other loved ones. In America, we often do not welcome ghosts and try to rid them from our spaces. If you do suspect a ghost to be in your space and wish to remove them, perhaps helping it to move on, what can you do? There are a few different recommendations from varying sources for getting rid of a ghost. Before diving into a few, let me provide a word of caution. When dealing with the supernatural, always do your research, be respectful and cautious, and stay aware. If you’re convinced a ghost is in your space, you might figure out why it’s there in the first place. Some believe a ghost can become attached to an item, location, or person, continually haunting them. Another belief is that a ghost has unfinished business. If possible, determine why a ghost is still lingering and then the more effective course of action would be to help the ghost resolve their business. However, if it’s impossible to figure out why a ghost is hanging around,

there are some possible actions. A popular television series worldwide with 15 seasons in just as many years, “Supernatural,” shows audiences how “hunters” track monstrous creatures and rids them from this earthly plane. “Supernatural” shows perpetuate the idea that ghosts can be temporary eliminated with salt and iron. It is commonly believed that supernatural beings are aversive to salt. If known, hunters will try to salt or burn the bones or item the ghost is attached to. In addition, ghost-repelling spells are used in “Supernatural” when other avenues of riding a ghost fail to work, along with holy water. A common lore throughout contexts is that ghosts cannot enter or be on holy ground. Suggestions from entertainment and television should be taken with a grain of salt though (no pun intended). Outside of entertainment, momentary interaction may be recommended. If you suspect a ghost is frequently hanging around, it may not be malicious. In which case, it is possible to speak directly to them. When talking to a ghost, experts believe it is important to set boundaries, be assertive, respectfully ask them to stop bothering you and confidently let them know that they are not welcome in the space. After interacting, do not do it again. If a ghost still lingers, it may be best to seek out professional help for a ritual or ceremony. Or, alternatively, remove yourself from the space by moving out. l

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By Erin Dixon | e.dixon@mycityjournals.com

here have been at least six maps drawn to revive the property around City Hall on Redwood Road. Some of these ideas were conceived 15 years ago, before TRAX came through. Why have there been so many plans and no action? “It takes a tremendous amount of money, a tremendous amount of political will,” West Jordan Economic Development Director Chris Pengra said to the council in August. “This is by every account, a visionary project,” Pengra said. “It’s something you have to look way forward to, and we don’t have a road to get there. Everything has to be built from the ground up. There are no easy answers on how to get there.” Councilmember Chris McConnehey has been on the city council since 2012 and has seen several proposed projects come and go. “None of these plans have come to fruition, because the city doesn’t own the property,” McConnehey said. “And these plans haven’t been created in conjunction with Jordan School

District, which owns the property. To make progress, we need to partner with the current property owner to make sure their needs are met by the project. They need to be included in every step of the process; otherwise, we’ll continue to see new (and expensive) designs meet the same end as the half dozen prior plans that have vanished as a dream.” The design currently on the table is a rough draft, with no specific businesses or number of houses set in stone. “I don’t have specific designs, but we’re talking about the types of designs: 40 to 60 residential units per acre,” Pengra said. “In order to get to a place where we can get wide streets and promenades and cafes, we’re going to need something that is producing more [tax base] than it is currently.” The space sits next to a TRAX station, which means the area is more suited for high-density housing. “The TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) guidelines that the development needs great focus on connec-

tivity,” Pengra said to the council. How the streets and walkways are built can either encourage or discourage walking in the area. “The grid layout was intentional,” Pengra said. “Shorter block lanes decrease [walking] speed. It moves everything down to a more human scale. When you can see between them is what encourages exploration. Connectivity has an impact on economic development.” While there are often cries of protest against closely built living spaces, Pengra said, “Residential is what moves the needle.” Businesses are more likely to invest in the area if there are more people living there. “Are there enough people in the area to support more retail or office space? Absolutely,” Pengra said. “[However], like it or hate it, it is an investment. Will those retail and office establishments take the risk? Will [they] build vertically?” l

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Salt Lake County parks continue to be a well loved resource

Aimee Winder Newton Salt Lake County Council | District 3


his past month I had the opportunity to meet with a constituent to walk around Swensen Valley Regional Park and hear issues of concern. I brought our Parks and Rec team along and we were thrilled to have the Mayor also join

us. Our parks have been well loved the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic as people looked for opportunities to get out of the house. Community park spaces are a convenient, accessible place for residents to improve their quality of life. Proven benefits from time spent in parks include improved mental health, decreased blood pressure, and increased physical activity levels. Furthermore, parks improve air and water quality and can even increase property values. Many residents have said they enjoy the benefits of outdoor spaces in the company of their dogs. Dogs are allowed at all Salt Lake County parks provided they are on a leash which is controlled by the owner. In addition, there are other dog parks around the valley such as Millrace, Tanner, Sandy, Cottonwood and West Jordan Off-Leash Dog Park. The County also has an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service's Millcreek Canyon that allows dogs off-leash on the canyon trails on odd numbered days. Salt Lake County maintains more than 70 parks throughout the valley, ranging from small neighborhood parks to large regional parks, In 2020 Salt Lake County experienced a record number of people utilizing parks to recreate or as a respite from “home offices.” Currently, the number of people visiting Salt Lake County parks remains higher than pre-COVID numbers. County staff had the challenge of main-

taining the parks with high usage while also facing a reduction in our operation budget. Both the county general fund and the TRCC (tourism, recreation, culture, convention) fund were forced to take drastic cuts which impacted Parks and Recreation’s level of service. Revenue from the TRCC fund comes from tourism - restaurants, car rentals and hotels. You can imagine how much this fund suffered during COVID when convention centers were not operating. Park visitors may have noticed drier grass in the parks this summer. Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation implemented water conservation practices during the current drought conditions. Watering times in all parks, especially in passive areas that don’t get as much foot traffic, were reduced. The grass has been allowed to go dormant in order to reduce water consumption. Yellow is the new green, right? Additionally, irrigation systems have been upgraded to smart irrigation systems over the last few years. Smart irrigation systems monitor the weather and the moisture content in the ground to provide data on exactly how much water is needed in each park. As the seasons change, I hope you’ll take advantage of the many personal and community benefits that are offered by our County parks. For a complete list of park locations, services, and amenities, please visit slco.org/parks.

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Page 32 | October 2021

West Jordan City Journal

Utah’s economy remains strong despite speed bump in recovery By Robert Spendlove, Zions Bank Senior Economist


e’ve hit a speed bump on the road to economic recovery. After several months of robust growth, August marked a pronounced slowing of the economy that caught many experts by surprise. Companies tapped the brakes on hiring, consumer confidence fell, and consumer demand weakened, according to September reports. The culprit, of course, is both new and familiar. The delta variant of COVID-19 brought another wave of uncertainty that’s impacted everything from in-person dining to hotel occupancy. Even Utah’s economy, which continues to outperform the rest of the nation, is feeling some effects. The Utah Consumer Confidence Survey showed a sharp decline in sentiment among Utahns between July and August of 2021, as measured by the Kem Gardner Policy Institute. Meanwhile, Utah’s two-year employment growth rate slowed to 3.8% in August, down from 4.2% in July, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Despite these setbacks, there are still many bright spots in the state and national economies. Utah continues to lead all states in job growth. In fact, Utah and Idaho continue to be the only two states to have higher employment today compared to before the pandemic began. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% in August, while Utah’s already-low

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million job openings in America, but too many people remain on the sidelines and out of the labor force. That is causing wage pressure, with wages increasing 4.3% over the last year. Wage growth is usually a good thing, but right now it is adding to more inflationary pressure on the overall economy. While the labor shortage has been a dominant theme for months, an emerging trend is weakening consumer demand, driven by the delta variant. As the variant has spread, consumers have become more cautious. Customer-facing businesses are bearing the brunt of

this impact. In recent weeks, high-frequency economic indicators such as airline travel and restaurant bookings have dropped. The economy may have lost some momentum, but it’s still performing comparatively well in the midst a global pandemic. While we don’t know how long we’ll be dealing with the delta variant, there’s good reason to believe that economic recovery will pick up again as the current wave recedes. Robert Spendlove is senior economist for Zions Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A l

unemployment remained steady at 2.6%. Utah’s unemployment rate also continues to be among the lowest in the country, behind only Nebraska. In the Beehive State, six out of the 11 major industry sectors have posted job gains over the past 24 months. August’s job growth was robust by pre-pandemic standards, just not enough to close the gap of 5 million U.S. jobs that still need to be recovered to return to the previous peak. One of the main reasons the labor market continues to struggle is because employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find workers to fill job openings. There are now nearly 11

October 2021 | Page 33

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Laughter AND



Burn the witch


he husband and I spent 245 days driving to California last month to attend his high school reunion. As we drove through his old neighborhood, he pointed to a house and said, “That’s where the witch lived.” I had a witch that lived in my neighborhood, too. She didn’t wear a pointy hat and she never caused the crops to wither or danced naked in the moonlight (that I’m aware of) but we all knew she was a witch. She lived alone and she was female. That was all the proof we needed. Women have been labeled as witches since forever. One myth tells the story of Lilith, believed to be the first wife of Adam, who insisted they were equal. So, obviously she was a demon. She left Eden to live an independent lifestyle in Oregon, saying, “He’s all yours, Eve.” Things only went downhill from there. A witch could be any female who was smart, witty, courageous, quarrelsome, beautiful, self-sufficient or reserved. Women who were healers were probably witches. A woman who could read? Definitely a witch. A woman who disagreed with her husband? Get the matches. If there was too much rain, not enough rain, bugs, curdled milk, a windstorm, mice, or a solar eclipse, it must be a curse placed by the old lady living alone in the woods. If a woman hummed an unknown tune or



laughed too loud, she was a witch who wanted to eat your children. Witch hunting became a profession. Need to get rid of your son’s unsuitable match? Call the witch hunters and have her sentenced to death. Did your husband smile at an attractive young lady? Who you gonna call? Witch hunters! Here are some signs someone is a witch: She is a woman. She is 10-80 years old. She has a pet. She’s irritable. She weighs more than a stack of Bibles. She can or cannot float. She has a mole. She isn’t married. The bravely outspoken Joan of Arc was found guilty of heresy and witchcraft, and was burned alive, which seems a little unreasonable for someone expressing her own opinions. Over the span of about 300 years,

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tens of thousands of witches were killed in Europe. More than 80% were women. America is great at mass hysteria and enthusiastically bought into the witch trend. The most famous witch trials were held in Salem, Massachusetts, where 19 witches were executed by hanging. This was the first documented case of Mean Girls syndrome, with gossipy teenage girls starting the whole debacle. If you visit Salem, you’ll find a campy tourist attraction where you can watch a reenactment of the trials, purchase a crystal ball, eat broomstick-shaped cookies and laugh at how silly we were in the 17th century. We’d never turn against our friends and family now, right? Wrong. We don’t burn witches at the stake anymore, but we definitely burn women on the altar of social media and public opinion. If women in our country demonstrate too much power, too much influence or too many opinions, we ignite the fires of shame, disapproval and judgement. We roast Instagram influencers, scald TikTok performers, incinerate female politicians and torch women who act loud and proud. It leaves us all blistered and scorched. What if we become fire fighters instead of fire starters? And if that doesn’t work, I’ll eventually become the witch of the neighborhood; pointy hat included.


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WEST JORDAN CITY PLANS FOR ‘DOWNTOWN’ NEAR CITY HALL By Erin Dixon | e.dixon@mycityjournals.com


here have been at least six maps drawn to revive the property around City Hall on Redwood Road. Some of these ideas were conceived 15 years ago, before TRAX came through. Why have there been so many plans and no action? “It takes a tremendous amount of money, a tremendous amount of political will,” West Jordan Economic Development Director Chris Pengra said to the council in August. “This is by every account, a visionary project,” Pengra said. “It’s something you have to look way forward to, and we don’t have a road to get there. Everything has to be built from the ground up. There are no easy answers on how to get there.” Councilmember Chris McConnehey has been on the city council since 2012 and has seen several proposed projects come and go. “None of these plans have come to fruition, because the city doesn’t own the property,” McConnehey said. “And these plans haven’t been created in conjunction with Jordan School District, which owns the property. To make progress, we need to partner with the current property owner to make sure their needs are met by the project. They need to be included in every step of the process; otherwise, we’ll continue to see new (and expensive) designs meet the same end as the half dozen prior plans that have vanished as a dream.” The design currently on the table is a rough draft, with no specific businesses or number of houses set in stone. “I don’t have specific designs, but we’re talking about the types of designs: 40 to 60 residential units per acre,” Pengra said. “In order to get to a place where we can get wide streets and promenades and cafes, we’re going to need something that is producing more [tax base] than it is currently.” The space sits next to a TRAX station, which means the

Current 2021 concept drawing, facing south. This drawing is not what will be built but is the basic idea of the plan. (Image courtesy West Jordan)

area is more suited for high-density housing. “The TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) guidelines that the development needs great focus on connectivity,” Pengra said to the council. How the streets and walkways are built can either encourage or discourage walking in the area. “The grid layout was intentional,” Pengra said. “Shorter block lanes decrease [walking] speed. It moves everything down to a more human scale. When you can see between them is what encourages exploration. Connectivity has an impact

on economic development.” While there are often cries of protest against closely built living spaces, Pengra said, “Residential is what moves the needle.” Businesses are more likely to invest in the area if there are more people living there. “Are there enough people in the area to support more retail or office space? Absolutely,” Pengra said. “[However], like it or hate it, it is an investment. Will those retail and office establishments take the risk? Will [they] build vertically?” l


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