West Valley City Journal April 2019

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April 2019 | Vol. 5 Iss. 04

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ANIMAL LOVERS CRUSADE ENDS WITH NEW PET EXCEPTION PERMIT By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com West Valley City residents can now own up to four cats or four dogs if they qualify for a special “pet exception permit.” After months of discussions, the West Valley City Council unanimously approved the ordinance on March 5. Previously, residents could own up to four household pets, but no more than two cats, dogs or pot-bellied pigs. Someone

could have owned two cats and two dogs, but not any further combination. The exception, almost five months in the making, means residents can now own up to four dogs or cats, but not more than four household pets. ‘Like my family’ Jim Vesock loves cats. And that might be understated. He has them tattooed on his arms, they are included in his family trust and

he names them after another of his loves: the Oakland Raiders. He refers to Raidat (Raider cat) and Raidan (Raider fan) as his “furkids.” It was last October when Vesock was at the West Valley City Animal Shelter during a free adoption event. He was looking for a third cat to join the two black ones he already owned. After about two hours, he connected Continue on page 4...

Pet exception permit criteria: • Owners must complete the applications and fees • All dogs and cats are rendered sterile and microchipped • Adequate areas for confinement and shelter are provided • Owners have not violated this code within the past year

Animals allowed as household pets • Amphibians • Arachnids • Birds (such as cockatiel, parakeet, canary) • Cats • Female chickens • Dogs • Ducks • Ferrets • Fish • Hedgehogs • Insects • Pot-bellied pigs (must be less than 150 pounds, tusks must be trimmed) • Rabbits • Reptiles

Jim Vesock stands with his newly adopted cat, Raidas (named after his favorite football team, the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas). After months of exhorting the city council to add an special pet exception so he could adopt a third cat, Vesock finally got his wish. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

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WEST VALLEY CITY

C ITY OURNAL The West Valley City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout West Valley. For information about distribution please email circulation@mycityjournals. com or call our offices. Rack locations are also available on our website. For subscriptions please contact: circulation@mycityjournals.com The views and opinions expressed in display advertisements do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Loyal Perch Media or the City Journals. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the owner.

West Valley Team CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Bryan Scott bryan.s@thecityjournals.com EDITOR: Travis Barton travis.b@thecityjournals.com ADVERTISING: 801-254-5974 DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING: Ryan Casper ryan.c@thecityjournals.com 801-671-2034 SALES ASSOCIATES: Melissa Worthen melissa.w@thecityjournals.com 801-897-5231 Tracy Langer tracy.l@thecityjournals.com 385-557-1021 CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Brad Casper brad.c@thecityjournals.com EDITORIAL & AD DESIGN: Ty Gorton Amanda Luker

West Valley City Journal 9500 South 500 West Suite 205 Sandy, UT 84070 Phone: 801 254 5974

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...Continued from front page

with a feline going on a few months at the shelter. Went to the counter to begin the adoption process, telling employees that cat would fit perfectly with his cats at home. No it wouldn’t, he was told. City code didn’t allow residents to have more than two cats and two dogs. “Wait a minute, I can adopt two dogs right now, but I can’t adopt another cat?” Vesock asked. They said no. That started a months-long crusade urging the city council to change the ordinance, established by a previous administration, allowing for an exception. For Vesock, it wasn’t simply about getting a third pet, it was about simplifying the process for others. “That was the whole goal, to get more pets adopted out of the shelter and into their forever homes,” he told the West Valley Journal. “(The ordinance) was wrong is what it was and I wanted to fix an injustice to help animals.” Vesock felt it would be beneficial to the city as well, possibly lowering the number of animals in the shelter and providing further revenue through adoption fees. What started as a desire back in October became reality on March 20 when Vesock adopted his third cat, Raidas (Raider Vegas, in honor of the Raiders impending move to Las Vegas). While some might argue they are just animals, that idea doesn’t resonate with Vesock. “They’re not just pets to me,” he said. “They’re like my family.” ‘My dog saved my life’ Vinh Nguyen can empathize. Nguyen has four Labrador retrievers. But in November, after a complaint from a neighbor, he was cited by code enforcement who told him he would need to get rid of two of his dogs by the following week. After an emotional plea to the city council during its Nov. 20 meeting, Nguyen was later issued a variance until the future of the pet ordinance was decided. Vesock described Nguyen’s plea as “tearjerking.” Nguyen, a resident of almost 20 years in West Valley City, then joined Vesock in his campaign to change city code. “I’m completely ecstatic,” he told the West Valley Journal about the unanimous vote. “Not only are they going to help our (his and Vesock’s) respective families, but it’s also going to help out a lot of homeless pets.” Nguyen echoed Vesock’s sentiments.

West Valley City residents are now allowed an exception to city code to own up to four household pets—dogs and cats in this instance—in any combination. (Pixabay)

The dog owner doesn’t refer to his dogs as pets, he calls them his kids, dismayed when people call them property. Why is Nguyen so passionate about dogs? For him it’s easy. They probably saved his life. When he was 3 years old, Nguyen got lost in his native Vietnam when his dog (aptly named Lucky) found him, grabbed him by the back of his shirt and dragged him home. “My dog saved my life,” he said. “What else can you say?” ‘Special privilege’ For city officials, discussions generally revolved around whether it was necessary to change the ordinance. And if so, at what number do you limit the amount of dogs or cats? There was also concern by allowing four dogs to a home, it could lead to more neighbor complaints and create enforcement issues. City officials were concerned this would require more discretion and interpretation for code enforcement officers. Layne Morris is the community preservation director, the department which oversees the animal shelter. During the March 5 study meeting prior to the vote, Morris told the council he was nervous about where they draw the line for punishment on someone with the pet exception permit. Nguyen was cited after a neighbor complained, Morris said, but the complaint wasn’t that the dogs were running loose or barking all night, it was that they are “a problem for the neighborhood generally.” “How do we as a staff come up with

some sort of criteria to say this is something more than just a neighbor with thin skin? Or somebody who realizes, ‘if I complain three times, he’s going to lose those dogs,’” Morris said. “How do we define what is too much when it comes to four dogs that crosses some kind of threshold that we can take to court and win? Any more than we can do that with two dogs?” Though some councilmembers had their reservations about allowing four dogs, all voted unanimously 6-0 (Councilman Don Christensen was absent). “This is only going to work for responsible owners,” Vesock said. “I know that, I’m not delusional, you’re still going to have people out there that don’t know cats have to be licensed.” Nguyen felt those willing to go through the process for the new pet exception permit would be responsible owners who take care of them. “Just because you allow more doesn’t mean you’re all of a sudden going to have an influx of people going out and getting (pets),” he reasoned. Mayor Ron Bigelow told the West Valley Journal they were happy the situation is resolved and to help out these residents. Certain criteria must be met for any resident to apply for a pet exception permit (see sidebar). “In my mind, this is a special privilege, and it ought to be…more stringent to maintain that,” Buhler said.

West Valley City Journal


Mystical zookeeping: Engage with real-life dragons and beasties By Jennifer J. Johnson | j.johnson@mycityjournals.com

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ny Harry Potter fan knows about the importance of caring for magical creatures. In fact, it is a required class for any wizard attending Hogwarts. But what about the importance of caring for real-world animals, for us muggles? It is important, and all the more important to learn at a young age. Such is the belief of West Valley’s Scales and Tails Utah organization. Dubbing itself “a traveling reptile education show” featuring “edutainers” versus the more dowdy “instructors,” the conservation and education nonprofit hosts holiday and weekly summer classes for Salt Lake Valley children, on a variety of topics, among them “Zookeeper Camp: Care of Mystical Creatures.” When not out “edutaining,” the shop is open to the public six days a week, offering a unique, hands-on, educational experience. “Edutaining” is part educating, part entertaining. It is an unofficial job title, but one employees glom onto and say best describes their unique role within this unique organization. ‘Traveling to a time of witches and wizards to meet creatures from the days of Magic’ City Journals joined them on Presidents Day, with the promise of “Travel[ing] to a time of witches and wizards to meet creatures from the days of Magic.” Honestly, a reptile hot house does not smell too magical. But the 85-degree temperature inside the hot house? That felt magical on a crisp February day. With pad and paper in hand, the scene was a case of being surrounded by a room full of muggle zookeepers-in-training, wands often by their side, taking instruction from Scales and Tales edutainers, aided by a table full of mystical tools, ranging from skulls to spell books. The first animal to appear? A tarantula, or what those reading the Harry Potter series might see as an “acromantula.” Children were united in their lack of fear in being up close with the arachnid, as well as touching the beastie. The classes offering is for children as young as six and as old as 16. Truthfully, teenagers seem to hold themselves back from fully enjoying the experience. “You’re a teenager,” is an employee’s straightforward reaction to a workshop attendee not seizing the opportunity to pet one of the creatures. Perhaps the regret at missed opportunity will arrive later. Scales and Tales says ‘mystical,’ they say ‘magical’ “It is a trademark issue,” explained Sarah Stiles, about the “magical” vs. “mystical” naming of the course. Stiles is wearing a non-muggle-esque robe and is brandishing a wand. The glasses are all hers, whether teaching the course or not.

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Scales and Tails leverages the concepts of the Harry Potter series to delight and engage children, without entering copyright or trademark infringement. “Muggles may not have magic, but they are useful for something,” she quipped. Stiles has a rapt audience of a dozen children, watching, listening, learning, as she produces animal after animal. She introduces them to tarantulas, water dragons, bearded dragons and a crowd-pleasing assortment of snakes. Although Stiles is new with Scales and Tails Utah, she has worked with animals her whole life and has a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and range resources. “My main focus was mammals and birds, with an emphasis in wolf biology, but I have always loved and learned about all the animals and the natural habitats.” Her background in theater performance and education, makes the opportunity to work with Scales and Tails “a perfect fit.” They do ‘bend and snap,’ Scales and Tales does ‘bow and flourish’ As part of the Mystical Creatures Zookeeping experience, children learn how to greet a dragon. For anyone who has seen the classic comedy “Legally Blonde,” greeting a dragon is sort of like attracting someone. The movie’s “bend and snap” move is akin to the “bow and flourish” move used to greet a bearded dragon. Stiles demonstrates the move to the children, and to her most important audience, the Argentine bearded dragon, named “Drogo,” who indicates approval by licking her with his tongue. The crowd goes wild, and children zip into line to take their turn, bowing and flourishing, often squealing with delight when the bearded dragon greets them back. Wild at heart, with reluctant domestication Scales and Tales is an interesting orga-

We do not have to watch “Game of Thrones” reruns. Meet “Drogo,” the largest species of Tegu lizard, an Argentine black and white species. (Jennifer J. Johnson/City Journals)

nization. On the one hand, Stiles tells children, “I prefer to see my dragons in the wild – where they belong,” and yet, children are here at the reptile hot house, learning how to care for them as domesticated pets. “They have to learn how to properly take care of each animal’s particular needs,” Stiles said of her muggle students. Students attending this course as well as others benefit from connecting with the animals through touch, but also through the responsibility of learning about their dietary and other needs, and how to interact with them in domestic and wild situations. But perhaps the most important part is learning to clean their cages. “Whether creatures are mystical or not, they’re all disgusting!” Stiles joked with the muggle zookeepers.

And, as to the matter of wild or captive, Stiles explained that Scales and Tails is a refuge organization for animals who have either been mistreated or have been illegally imported into the country as part of the exotic pet trade. Crocodiles, Gila monsters, snapping turtles, and many snakes are not only illegal, but can be dangerous. But just like the onslaught of people charmed by chicks at Easter, then losing interest and ability to care for grown chickens, exotic pet owners become quickly overwhelmed. “People don’t realize how big and powerful animals can be,” she commented. The result can be illegal dumping of animals, which can then go on to terrorize others or even end up harming ecosystems not accustomed to new predators. Caring for animals informs children about their own humanity Courses about crocodiles, Caymans, birds, turtles, and tortoises, she said, teach children respect for animals, which also informs them about their own humanity. Scales and Tails hosts classes at their West Valley reptile hot house, brings animals to schools and other events, and even hosts themed birthday parties. The mystical creatures theme, a new concept for the group, is popular with audiences. When asked how what they do is different from programs like at Tracy Aviary, Hogle Zoo or the Living Planet Aquarium, Stiles is thoughtful. “We’re unique in that we are a fully immersible experience,” she said. “We go out, and they can come to the shop to have handsWe do not have to watch “Game of Thrones” reruns. Meet “Drogo,” the largest species of Tegu lizard, an on [experience]. You won’t get that experiArgentine black and white species. (Jennifer J. Johnson/City Journals) ence at the zoo.”

April 2019 | Page 5


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Salt Lake Valley’s epic pranksters show us ‘how to April Fools’ By Jennifer J. Johnson | j.johnson@mycityjournals.com

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rom placing a pair of live lobsters in the glove box of a paramour’s car to endorsing their boss as a disco-loving ninja on a global career website, to punking fans of the third-largest professional sports league in the world, Utahns know how to April Fools. The City Journals wanted to get up close and personal with some of the pranksters and the pranked in a sort of hall of fame. Look forward to hearing more of your stories, in the comments and for next-year’s piece. Food and fools: Lobsters, an imposter waiter, and under-the-table pranking Long-time radio and web celebs Todd Collard and Erin Fraser (“Todd and Erin”) involve one particular type of food, lobster, as an ongoing April Fools’ staple. One year, Todd, recalls, he actually placed the lobsters in the glove box of Erin’s car. There were no fatalities to report. Rather, the frenetic lobster game is part of the ongoing love affair of Salt Lake City area’s longest on-air-turned-over-web morning personalities. The imposter waiter… Dean Pierose is owner of Cucina wine bar, restaurant, and deli in The Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City. Pierose is long-term best friends with comedian Pat Mac. An April Fools’ prank provided the perfect opportunity for Pierose to meet his best friend’s wife.

But a simple meet-and-greet is not Pierose’s style. Instead, Pierose convinced a fellow restaurant owner to let him stand in and wait the table that Mac and his wife occupied the night of April 1, 2011. Prepped about the woman being a teacher and her having attended the University of Idaho, the imposter waiter set out to be as insulting as possible, first complaining that the table’s former customers, “who must have been teachers,” stiffed him for a tip. On another visit by the table, Pierose slammed the University of Idaho, the woman’s alma mater, making fun of the college’s “Joe the Vandal” mascot, and identifying himself as identifying with the rival “Broncos” of Boise State. “He hit every button he could, to set her off,” laughed Mac. “Dean is a master prankster.” A little Disney’ll do ya, on April Fools Disney Channel actor, writer, and voice talent Jerry Straley just celebrated 30 years with Disney. “My goal is to make 10 million people laugh,” he shared. Straley estimates his role on the “Good Luck, Charlie” sitcom got him about halfway there, with more than five million views of the sitcom’s four seasons. Holladay-dwelling Straley routinely pokes fun at the area’s wealthy, and says April Fools’ jokes include replacing upscale Grey Poupon whole-grain mustard with

When not loving on her husband and on-air/over-internet personality Todd Collard, Erin Fraser’s go-to food is lobster. Not surprisingly, Todd has turned it into an April Fools’ go-to that enhances the couple’s relationship. (Photo Credit: ToddandErinDailyStream.com)

plain-yellow mustard at hoity-toity Holladay restaurants and making early-morning prank calls, indicating peoples’ butlers are taking the day off. Getting paid ‘under the table’ Saralynn White, a Cottonwood Heights copywriter and creative director/chief storyteller/owner of Salty Dog Marketing, recalls hijinks from now-defunct, but ever epic ad agency Dahlin Smith White. “They taped a sandwich under his desk and it started to reek,” she recalled, “but he couldn’t find what was smelling up the place because of where it was.” Writing the April Fools’ playbook Writer White has not only been pranked, but has pranked upon. One year, colleagues posted “disco” and “ninja” expertise as some of her unique skills on the LinkedIn professional website, comprising 500 million members globally. Professional colleagues of White can still find these skills on her profile today. Another year, White could not get her computer to respond to her keystrokes. Absolutely frustrated at the technological stalemate, she dialed in corporate 911 – the IT or information technology department. Who she credits as “ingenious” colleagues had taken a screenshot of her computer desktop. Pranksters made it so that every keystroke the increasingly frustrated White entered did nothing more than ping a static image, doing absolutely nothing to engage the computer’s functionality. April Fools’ Day: A Team Sport For the Utah Jazz franchise, April Fools’ Day has been good to the Jazz, with the team winning 65 percent of the games played April 1 over the past 33 years, including last year’s 121-97 blowout over the Minnesota TimberJazz superstar Rudy Gobert (27) and veteran Derrick Favors (15) model the Utah Jazz’s most epic April Fools’ prank – an announcement to the NBA and beyond of their new “three-quarters-length pant” as an official wolves. This year, at 7 p.m. on April 1, the Jazz uniform option. Jazz emeritus John Stockton? Shaking in his shorty-shorts. (Photo Credit: Utah Jazz) square off against the Charlotte Hornets in

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hometown Vivint Arena. The team’s best prank came a few years ago, in 2015, when the Jazz punked fans, commentators, and even readers of the National Basketball Association by launching a new “look-and-feel” three-quarter-length pant. The news went official, with a mock press release and photo featuring Rudy Gobert (27) and Derrick Favors (15). April Fools’ DNA Brothers Jamison and Truman Carter grew up with their prank-playing family first in the Avenues and then Herriman. The two now reside in Salt Lake’s Marmalade neighborhood. The brothers recall stories of their mother’s receiving an April Fools’ Day bouquet of already-dead flowers from high-end florist Every Blooming Thing. Knowing that the bouquet likely cost her then-husband at least $50, their mother called in to complain. Right at that moment, while on the phone ripping the prank-engaging florists who were emphatically denying her description of the bouquet, an incredibly stunning, much bigger and more expensive arrangement arrived from Every Blooming Thing, with the same delivery person. Order restored. The Carter sons were pranked themselves, waking up one April Fools’ morning to a breakfast of meatloaf, gravy, and mashed potatoes. Luckily they tried the odd meal. Their mother, this time, was the prankster, having made Rice Krispie treat “meatloaf” with butterscotch “gravy” and ice-cream “potatoes.” And regarding our last set of pranks? Confession time: I am the mother of the Carters, recipient of dead bouquets, and chef of dreamy April Fools’ breakfasts. Even though it sounds like it could be, that is not a prank. Happy April Fools’ Day, Salt Lake County!

April 2019 | Page 7


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By Jennifer J. Johnson | J.Johnson@mycityjournals.com

arch 8, the official “International Women’s Day,” is ever-growing in international and social-media buzz, and prompted a flurry of local activity on par with the weather happening that day. City Journals presents a recap on several Salt Lake Valley-based activities and commemorations of Women’s Day. First-time celebrators — for the youngest of young — Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum Nearly 900 members and guests of the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum were treated to a celebration of women’s social, cultural and political achievements, through the lens of gender equality. On March 8, children up to age 11 learned “the amazing things women can do,” recounted marketing coordinator Anna Branson. Children used unique materials and media to create artistic renditions of historic and current women leaders, including the late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, anthropologist and conservationist Jane Goodall, and human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai. All received “Believe in Girls” stickers and had the chance to walk through a unique kaleidoscope, featuring all of the wonderful possibilities for girls and women. Rising up, lifting up at the U of U – for college students, staff, faculty and community At the University of Utah, the “day” has become a week-long celebration of women. The Women’s Leadership Summit, themed “Rise Up, Lift Up” was preceded by the “Empower U” Symposium, where president Ruth Watkins provided the keynote address. The Women’s Leadership Summit, now in its fifth year, offered a resources fair, with everything from women’s health information to voting engagement. The fair was presented in booths lining a wall of windows in the Ray Olpin Student Union building. The university assembled a roundup of nearly 20 breakout sessions, dealing with topics as edgy as navigating shame culture to as vanilla as financial-planning strategies for women. “It was truly a day of learning, engagement, and idea sharing,” shared Jessica Lynne Ashcraft, co-chair for the event and associate director for student leadership and involvement at the U. Ashcraft indicated 200-plus women attended the event, “due to the wonderful range of topics presented and the excitement to engage on topics that are so salient for women right now.” Women in international business as a theme… World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) leveraged one of its trademark strengths — partnering — to commemorate International Women’s Day, and, like the U of U, made the celebration into a full week of activities,

A University of Utah student created this mosaic of the beauty in women’s diversity. International Women’s Day was celebrated around the world and across Salt Lake Valley on March 8. The University of Utah turned it into a week-long celebration. (Photo Tina Dirmyer/University of Utah)

versus just a day. On March 8, WTC Utah co-hosted a sold-out luncheon, in collaboration with the Women’s Business Center of Utah and the Salt Lake Chamber. “WTC Utah would like to be a part of the solutions that address the challenges facing women as they pursue global economic opportunities,” said Suzette Alles, chief operating officer of WTC Utah. “Increasing international trade, and supporting women in their efforts to do so, helps companies grow, create wealth and become more resilient. This, in turn, bolsters economies on a local, national and global level.” … And as an honor and an inspiring thought of global contribution March 7, the day before the official day of commemoration, WTC participated in the 10th-annual Women in International Business Conference. This power-packed day included perspectives from 30 business, government, and education leaders representing various facets of Utah’s diverse economy. At the half-day conference, Dr. Mary Beckerle, CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, was named International Woman of the Year. In her role at Huntsman, Beckerle oversees a cancer research laboratory focused on

fundamental cell biology and Ewing sarcoma, a type of bone cancer that typically affects children and young adults. All that, an incredibly important role, and yet, Beckerle shared with City Journals deeper insight into the awesome responsibility and opportunity she and other women and men like her bear. “I believe that cancer researchers have a role in advancing global partnerships and understanding,” she observed. “In a sense, we serve as volunteer diplomats as we travel the world to share our results and work together to advance human health.” More than a day, or even a week… a month? Women Techmakers Salt Lake and Miss Nations of the World both identified March 23 as the day for their respective International Women’s Day Celebration event. The Women of the World held its ninth annual fashion show just a few days before the official date. Snowy weather on March 8 scrubbed or severely limited celebratory efforts from Sandy’s Miller Center to downtown Salt Lake’s Capitol demonstration. Regardless of the stormy weather, the message at all events was clear. Women — and girls — are to be encouraged, mentored, and celebrated all day, all week, all month, all year, whether officially or unofficially.

West Valley City Journal


FBI National Academy graduate Bill Merritt returns to WVCPD with fresh focus By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com Bill Merritt recently returned to the West Valley City Police Department after training at the FBI National Academy reinvigorated in body and mind and able to run 6.1 mudsoaked miles. Merritt, acting deputy chief with WVCPD, graduated from the Academy—a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers nominated because of demonstrated leadership qualities. Graduates often go on to serve in high ranking leadership positions. “It’s just an incredible overall experience,” Merritt told the West Valley Journal. Merritt, 43, finished the 11-week course in December, returning as only one of two current members of the WVCPD to have graduated the course. Police Chief Colleen Jacobs is the other. Less than one percent of all law enforcement gets to attend. Each class generally consists of about 250 people with four classes per year. Merritt was a part of the 274th class to graduate the academy. Those who attend typically wait 5-7 years after submitting their application prior to being accepted. Merritt applied in 2011 waiting seven years. At the academy he met someone who waited 13 years, while another he encountered waited six months. The Utah Regional FBI office only sends five every year, rotating among the different agencies with prospective attendees. “It’s a very exclusive membership coming from this area,” said Jacobs, a 2012 graduate. The 11-week course in Virginia works like a semester of college where law enforcement officials sign up for classes—living in dorms with shared bathrooms or doing presentations, scenarios, quizzes, midterms or finals. Merritt took courses on media relations, navigating internal crises, drugs and a counter terrorism class among others. All attendees did physical training, typically focusing on body weight rather than weights. The academy also featured guest speakers who spoke on PTSD, how to work with people on the autism spectrum, the Freddie Gray incident in Baltimore and the West Nickel Mines School shooting in Pennsylvania. He also toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Law Enforcement Memorial and the Capitol. The academy is both national and international. Twenty-three countries were represented, Merritt said, including Vietnam, Japan, Romania, Brazil, Argentina, Australia to name a few. He said it was fascinating to see the differences in law enforcement. In Romania, policies with firearms are different. Officers don’t carry a bullet in the chamber and warning shots are allowed. Also, not a single country had a recruit-

Wvc Journal .com

ing problem, Merritt said. If 50 spots are open, 3,000 apply. Agencies in other countries are turning people away. “(Whereas) that is a nationwide problem right now, for the most part,” he said. “In these other countries, law enforcement is looked at as very stable and can actually be a lucrative job.” For Merritt, the academy had some special moments. At the National Law Enforcement Memorial, they held a flag ceremony with bagpipes where officers could approach a microphone and say the name of an officer fallen in the line of duty. “I was able to do that for Officer Cody Brotherson, West Valley City Police Department, end of watch, Nov. 6, 2016,” Merritt recalled. Another moment was completing the final fitness challenge called the Yellow Brick Road—a 6.1-mile course through a hilly, wooded trail built by the marines. Two miles are an obstacle course with climbing walls, creeks, simulated windows and crawling under barbed wire in muddy water. As for how it helps West Valley City, Merritt said he’s matured as a leader, reinvigorated his passion for law enforcement and exposed his mind to different ideas. “It broadens your horizons and helps you be able to see better.” Jacobs said the experience was instrumental preparation for her current position as chief. “It was a truly amazing and one of a kind experiences,” Jacobs said. “It couldn’t be duplicated anywhere else, 250 execs from around the world to take classes and collaborate together. It’s an amazing experience.” Its greatest benefit may be the networking that takes place, giving exposure to 249 other agencies and leaders. To have any issue or strategy, Jacobs said, and bounce it off a similarly sized agency in another area of the country is “truly eye opening and valuable. You can read articles but until you have a conversation with someone, you don’t realize how different it can be.” Jacobs utilized her vast network of fellow academy graduates when WVC created its homeless task force, seeking advice from a law enforcement leader in Santa Monica, California. Most valuable for Jacobs, was the local networking it provided. Every local graduate becomes a member of the Utah Chapter of National Academy Association, exposing them to other leaders within the state. “It’s allowed me to get to know my peers before they were my peers,” said Jacobs, who was named WVC police chief in 2018. Though Jacobs and Merritt are currently the only two graduates in WVCPD, Deputy Chiefs Robert Hamilton and Scott Buchanan have both submitted applications. West Valley City has also seen at least a dozen others

Deputy Chief Bill Merritt (left) stands with his roommate at the FBI National Academy in Virginia. (Courtesy Bill Merritt)

from its department go through the academy that have gone on to leadership positions, according to Jacobs. That includes University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy, North Salt Lake Police Chief Craig Black, former chief Thayle “Buzz” Nielsen, and former chief Terry Keefe. For Merritt—who wanted to be police officer since he was 4 when he watched his

dad, an officer for the LAPD, show up to his sister’s school in uniform—graduating the academy was one of the highlights of his career. “This by far and away kind of takes the cake,” he said. “It’s an opportunity not many people get so you got to treat it as an honor and a privilege because it is.”

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WVC Fire unveils new search and rescue trailer By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com

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est Valley City Fire has a new beast. A 39-foot beast to be exact. The fire department unveiled its new urban search and rescue trailer in March. Stationed outside city hall for both city officials and the public, onlookers could check out its multiple compartments filled with everything the fire team might need in an emergency. “It’ll be really nice for us,” said West Valley City Fire Engineer Nick Herzog.

The new 39-foot trailer will enhance the fire department’s service to residents, Herzog said, by having all necessary equipment in one place. Their previous heavy rescue truck was much smaller, so tools were scattered to different vehicles. It required lots of logistics, taking lots of time. “It’s a lot more efficient to have everything right where we need it, when we need it,” Herzog said.

With everything in one location, response times decrease. Herzog remembered two occasions when they had to wait for a different trailer with lumber. “It’ll be a great benefit to our citizens just because everything is there,” he said. “Our response time is faster, it’s more organized, so when we need to get something, we don’t have to take 10 things out to get the one thing.” The trailer, which came from a Florida company called EVI (Emergency Vehicles Inc.), has equipment for different types of rescue including trench, ice, rope, confined space and structural collapse. The trailer cost about $500,000 and can be used as part of Utah Task Force 5, the group sent to emergencies like the wildfires in California. It will operate out of Station 74 (5545 W. 3100 South). On the same night the trailer was unveiled, city council considered an interlocal agreement with 25 other cities for its police department to offer mutual aid in a time of need. This trailer, Mayor Ron Bigelow noted, is another way for them provide assistance to neighboring jurisdictions, especially being one of the largest cities in the state. “We have a broad base, which allows us to help elsewhere as well,” he said, noting City officials check out the fire department’s new urban search and rescue trailer. (Travis Barton/City Journals) how the department’s firefighters have been

called to fight fires in California and Utah County. “It’s exciting to have it in our city,” Bigelow said.

Nick Herzog, West Valley City Fire Engineer, explains what’s in each compartment of the new search and rescue trailer to city officials, including Mayor Ron Bigelow (right). (Travis Barton/City Journals)

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West Valley City Journal


West Jordan joins West Valley’s business support organization, ChamberWest By Carl Fauver | carlf@mycityjournals.com

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big change for West Jordan City. A big coup for ChamberWest. And a big disappointment for the West Jordan Chamber of Commerce. All of those things occurred simultaneously, earlier this year, when the West Jordan City Council voted to break its age-old ties with their local chamber of commerce and contract for similar services with ChamberWest – something Taylorsville and West Valley City have been doing for decades. “We look forward to working with ChamberWest to promote West Jordan’s business culture and a positive business environment,” Mayor Jim Riding said in a news release. “ChamberWest is well respected and knows how to work effectively and develop productive partnerships with the business community and civic and political leaders.” Riding’s counterpart in Taylorsville could not be more thrilled. “Having West Jordan come in with us will strengthen what is already a strong and valuable organization in ChamberWest,” Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson said. “As they get to know everything ChamberWest has to offer, the West Jordan council and mayor will quickly learn what an asset ChamberWest is. We have been with them for years and it has been a great decision. Barbara Riddle is amazing.” Riddle – the president and CEO of ChamberWest – said her organization has been around more than 50 years, though under different names. She said they are anxious to provide the same professional service to West Jordan that they have been providing for years in Taylorsville, West Valley City and unincorporated Kearns. “(West Jordan voting to join ChamberWest) is a validation of the strength of our organization and the programs we offer,” Riddle said. “We are working to grow our organization now, and this is a major accomplishment getting West Jordan to join. It will improve all of ChamberWest and I am confident West Jordan leaders will be happy with

The West Jordan City Council recently voted to affiliate with ChamberWest to help boost its area businesses, just as Taylorsville City has done for years. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

their decision.” West Valley City Manager Wayne Pyle was glad West Jordan joined ChamberWest. “West Valley City has been a member of ChamberWest for years and it is always beneficial to our members when new members join and participate,” he said. “We look forward to having West Jordan contribute to the work of the Chamber.” ChamberWest has only three full-time employees – Riddle, a business development director and an office manager. They also rely on dozens of volunteers from the business community to be the chairs and vice chairs of countless service committees. “We have a board of directors, a board of governors and many committees addressing legislative affairs, education, economic development, air quality, health care and other issues,” Riddle said. “ChamberWest is also now rolling out a business sustainability program and developing a series of informational videos for social media.” West Jordan Public Information Officer Kim Wells says it was all too much for her city council to pass on. “ChamberWest is a regional chamber that serves 350,000 individuals and is available to serve approximately 9,000 businesses,” Wells said. “Back in August our city council decided to evaluate the services it was

receiving from the West Jordan Chamber of Commerce. This led to an RFP (request for proposals) process. ChamberWest was selected, with their $10,000 service agreement saving our city $38,000 per year, over the cost of membership in the West Jordan Chamber.” The West Jordan City Council’s decision now puts that community’s business owners on the spot. They must decide whether to jump ship to ChamberWest as well, or remain with the West Jordan Chamber, which has suddenly seen its annual income drop by $48,000 per year. Aisza Wilde, West Jordan Chamber President and CEO said the changing nature of their relationship with West Jordan City was affecting each organization. “[W]e had expressed some concern... about some changes [the City was] planning on making concerning utility rates and business license fees. [T]hey felt that our role should be to support them and to report to the business community why they were making these changes, rather than communicate to the city how those changes would impact the businesses.” “Understandably, that contract was a considerable amount of money and when you pay somebody a lot of money they should do what you want them to do,” Wilde said. According to Riddle, lots of West Jordan

businesses have contacted them since West Jordan’s announcement. “We offer so many programs – along with regional representation – I am confident many of those businesses will join us as well,” she said. Among the things Riddle said her organization provides are: a leadership institute, annual awards gala, fall business conference, annual golf tournament, emergency preparedness training, a women-in-business program and an ambassador committee that tends to new business ribbon cuttings, among other things. Even though the money West Jordan contributed was a significant portion to the West Jordan Chamber’s budget, Wilde said they continue to find support from their members. “We don’t see this change as something that will affect what we do, or how we operate moving forward. Just because the government decided to make a change, doesn’t mean our association will change what we’re doing.” “Since the decision has been made, there’s a misconception that the West Jordan Chamber is going away. We’re moving forward, we feel that it’s working very well and getting great support,” Wilde said. ChamberWest’s roots go back to 1961, when the organization began as the Granger-Hunter Chamber of Commerce. Later in that same decade the organization became the Granger-Hunter-Taylorsville Chamber of Commerce – nearly 30 years before Taylorsville actually incorporated. “(ChamberWest) has proven to be very valuable to our large and small businesses,” Taylorsville Mayor Overson concluded. “From a selfish standpoint, I am so excited to have West Jordan join us. That can’t help but make ChamberWest stronger, as it represents all of us in matters of regional interest.” About 300 businesses are currently members of ChamberWest, paying basic membership fees of $250 to $725. Erin Dixon also contributed to this story.

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A Look at the Cultural Revolution: Collection of surviving Chinese art open By Sarah Payne | s.payne@mycityjournals.com From the late 1960s to 1976, the Cultural Revolution raged in China. Led by Chinese dictator Mao Zedong, who called on China’s youth to restore China to its “purer” culture and society, the Chinese community found themselves in an oppressive, often violent situation as so-called “old” ideas were suppressed by the government. During this period, a group of artists were forced to create the propaganda displaying Mao’s ideologies in the best light. After being imprisoned, the artists were taken to the city of Yan’an, where they were put to work. These paintings were often used for a specific event and then thrown away. Many, however, were secretly rescued and hidden by the artists themselves. Years later, many of them have found a good home with collector Dodge Billingsley, a military journalist, creator of wartime documentaries, and enthusiast of the Cultural Revolution and the art produced during that time. Over the years, Billingsley has made many trips to China, spoken with the artists, purchased their artwork, heard their stories, and learned the bitter truths Communist leaders of China fought hard to suppress. Billingsley’s collection was on display at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center. Billingsley was raised in Arizona. After studying in New York City and in London, he received a degree in war studies. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Billingsley travelled the world to cover wars and conflicts as a military writer, including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. “I always go to the bad places,” he said jokingly.

Billingsley stated that he has “always had an interest in art.” “I had to take art history at Colombia University as an elective,” he explained. “... I realized that I really like art. I had lived in Italy for a while and Spain, and so I had sort of seen things, old European art, the masters, and I liked it.” Drawn to the Chinese art movement known as Socialist Realism, Billingsley commenced his trips to China. The intriguing themes of the artwork he has collected —worker struggles, militarism, etc. — make his an interesting collection with a deep historical significance. In the late 1990s, he began to purchase Soviet socialist art and went from there. Stumbling upon an artist selling art by the side of the road in Yan’an, Billingsley began his collection from the Cultural Revolution. The Chinese call this art form Revolutionary Romanticism. Many of these pieces are woodblock prints. This art is done by carving a picture into a piece of wood, painting over it, then going over it with a roller so that the picture appears on the paper. Seventy to 90 percent of all art was destroyed by the Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution, and what survives tells the real story to those who know how to read it. Billingsley has a passion for military documentaries and has written and produced many to date. One of these, produced in 1999, tells the story of Helen Foster Snow, a Utah native who became acquainted with Mao in China. Many of these documentaries feature the Cultural Revolution and the stories of those survivors who still retain the memories.

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West Valley City Journal


Asian-American high school students encouraged to tap ‘superhero’ potential Story and Photos By Jennifer J. Johnson | J.Johnson@mycityjournals.com

Motivated” was a common word AsianAmerican high school students across the state felt, after attending the 20th-annual Asian-American High School Conference Feb. 28 at the University of Utah. This year’s theme — “Shaping Superheroes; Creating Positive Change” — was a powerful one, providing context to the keynote and breakout sessions. The conference seeks to help Asian-Americans high school students be prepared for collegiate success, and, even more importantly, be prepared to embrace their everyday, figurative “superhero” potential as community leaders. “When a student is passionate about something, their drive is extraordinary,” informs the conference brochure. “As such, students will learn about issues facing the Asian and Asian American communities and how they can use their passions and educations to create critical, sustainable, and positive changes in their own communities.” Students treated to ‘Who’s Who’ of Asian, Asian-American scholars Students attending the conference received academic resources, including scholarship guidance, admissions counseling, and opportunities to meet and connect with university faculty, staff, and students. Graduate students, professors, and university administrators from not just the University of Utah, but also from Salt Lake Community College and Westminster College participated in the event. Distinguished academicians, including a Rhodes Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellowship winner, politicians, and successful entrepreneurs also participated in the event. Academic disciplines represented ranged from electrical engineering to ethnic studies; from history to humanities; from

medicine to music education; and from art history to Asian studies. Asians as Superheroes, through world history and mythology … “Our Asian identity is not something to be ashamed of,” advised Matt Wong, a self-described “Cantonese American” who attended Salt Lake Community College and now works at the university. In a breakout session, Wong recounted stories of historical and mythical Asian superheroes and challenged students to liberally share their own family history and stories, particularly “if your family is recent immigrants.” He cited Ishikawa Goemon, “A Japanese Robin Hood” from the 1800s and another figure from that century, the Hindu queen Lakshmibai who led troops to battle for independence against British colonization. He also shared his family’s reverence for the contributions of Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China and the forerunner of democratic revolution in the People’s Republic of China, which overthrew the last Chinese imperial dynasty. In more recent history, Wong cited what he considered heroism of the “No-No Boys” of World War II who protested America’s unconstitutional treatment of 110,000 Japanese Americans who were placed in internment camps, yet were, themselves, asked to serve in the military. … And, today, as comic book characters – and creators Following up on a subtheme of the conference — that Asians can be stereotyped and must move beyond those stereotypes — Dr. Paul Fisk shared with students a vibrant future outside of what people consider or even uniquely recommend as careers for Asians (e.g. careers limited to science or engineering). Marvel Studio’s upcoming “Shang-Chi” will be its first superhero movie featuring an Asian protagonist. The film has signed a Chinese-American writer and is considering a variety of Asian and Asian-American directors, with the goal being to “introduce a new hero who blends Asian and Asian American themes, crafted by Asian and Asian American filmmakers.” Those are jobs that students could look forward to in the future, Fisk indicated. Inspiration and challenges Students attending the conference looked forward to applying what they learned. A student from Taylorsville wants to take the inspiration and tools to help coach her younger sister through school. Other students shared challenges in negotiating their Asian history with being raised in “white communities” and, for biraStudents attending the conference and their university cial students, the everyday anguish of and not hosts were encouraged to dress in either semi-formal having “white relatives” honor or appreciate or cultural attire. their Asian roots. One young woman indicat-

High-school students from throughout Salt Lake Valley (and the entire state) received valuable information about scholarship opportunities and other tools for success after high school.

ed feeling like a literal alien. On the difficulty of being Asian in predominately white schools, a student from, arguably, the state’s most diverse high school, West High School in Salt Lake City, observed, “When your parent has an accent, they look down on you.” West’s studentbody represents students from homes where more than 120 different languages are spoken. Students attending the conference appreciated being able to bond with so many in similar circumstances. “I am really glad I came,” shared a student from Granger High School in West Valley City. “It feels like I need to do more,” said a

West High School student, who felt inspired to study Asian and Asian-American history and seek to serve as a role model. The Asian and Asian-American population at the U of U and in context with Salt Lake City metro Asian students comprise 5.82 percent of the university’s student population. Biracial students account for another 5.13 percent of the studentbody. According to the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, this is about twice as significant a population as within the Salt Lake City Metropolitan area, where Asians comprise 2.6 percent and those of two or more races are 2.5 percent of the overall population.

With a playful, larger-than-life-size blowup bottle of the popular Thai sriracha sauce in the background, members of the University of Utah’s Asian-American Student Association greet conference attendees.


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SL County wants return serve Taylorsville residents and their pets once again By Carl Fauver | carlf@mycityjournals.com

Salt Lake County Animal Services (511 West 3900 South, Millcreek) is making a pitch to replace West Valley City to provide their services in Taylorsville. (SLCo Animal Services)

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trio of high-ranking Salt Lake County Animal Services staff members — two of them Taylorsville residents — recently made a full-on, “pick me, pick me!” pitch to the city council. The county agency wants to resume providing its animal control services to the residents and pets of Taylorsville. The sticking point: Taylorsville already has a pair of contracts and joint ownership of an animal shelter, binding them to West Valley City Animal Control. In a nutshell, County Animal Services Director Talia Butler, Associate Director Michelle Blue and Clinic Supervisor Alicia Pocock told city leaders their service is much more robust than what West Valley City provides at “possibly a slightly higher cost.” “We are looking into the costs and services right now,” Mayor Kristie Overson said. “We need to see what (animal control) services we are receiving now and what the cost is. The city council has asked for a thorough cost analysis so they can make an apples-to-apples comparison.” As time has passed, the reasoning behind Taylorsville’s split from Salt Lake County Animal Services — and even the timing of that split — has become a bit foggy. What is clear is that the city would be required to give West Valley City several months’ notice before making a change. Also, it would likely involve paying a penalty or buy-out. “We are a nationally recognized department, providing much more service than you are currently receiving,” Butler told the council. “For one thing, we are a 24/7 agency. Under your current contract, Unified Police officers are called to handle some animal issues during off-hours. That

Wvc Journal .com

would not be necessary if we returned to provide the service.” County animal control officials report the cost to the city is expected to run just over a half-million dollars annually. What is not immediately clear — as the totals continue to be researched — is what Taylorsville taxpayers are paying for the similar but not identical service from West Valley City. “We estimate the entire annual cost for Taylorsville for both Animal Services and the Urban Wildlife Assistance program to be approximately $520,000 (annually),” said the agency’s Marketing & Development Manager Callista Pearson. “From Humane Education in schools, to Senior-to-Senior programs, we offer a variety of programming for people of all ages.” The cost estimate is based on a Taylorsville population estimate of just over 60,000. The county charges $8.50 per person to provide animal control service, each year. As one of the two Taylorsville residents making the County Animal Services pitch to the city council, Blue said, “If Taylorsville City were to contract with Salt Lake County for animal services, I would be personally involved in the service delivery. I know the service provided to our wonderful community would be far and away superior to the service we receive today.” A near 18-year employee of the department, Blue told the council she lives near Taylorsville High School and often sees dogs running off leash. She believes a change would be positive. Salt Lake County Animal Services currently provides coverage in Bluffdale, Herriman, Holladay, Midvale, Millcreek, Salt Lake City, and several other smaller

areas. Another feature the county is proud to provide is free microchipping of pets. “Our return-to-owner rate is very high thanks to the microchipping,” Butler added. “Many times, our staff is able to return animals to their owners without every transporting them to the shelter. They are equipped to scan microchips in the field and often return animals to their homes before the owners realize they are even missing.” While city council members await information on their current animal services costs, at least one of them wants to see what he would be paying for, if the switch is made. “I would like to tour your shelter,” Councilman Ernest Burgess said. “If the costs make sense, I would encourage the council to consider the change,” Overson said. “We need to look at our budget and determine whether the change would require a small tax increase. If so, we would have to analyze what we would be getting for that extra cost.” Back in 2007, it was Taylorsville that approached West Valley about providing animal services there, said Layne Morris, WVC community preservation director and acting animal services manager. “We were not looking to expand,” Morris said. “We are proud of the service we provide them. If Taylorsville chooses to leave, it won’t really impact what we do. We would work with them to make a smooth transition.” However, Morris also noted, as onethird owners of the relatively new West

Valley City animal shelter, Taylorsville would be expected to continue making its approximately $210,000 annual payment on the structure. Those payments began about a decade ago. Morris was not sure how many more years remain before the building is paid off.

Salt Lake County Animal Services Veterinarians Dr. Dawn Kelly (foreground) and Dr. Ryan Hill. (SLCo Animal Services)

Salt Lake County Animal Services reports, these are the services and benefits their agency would provide in Taylorsville: a. Extended hours of service including nights, weekends and holidays. b. Specialized animal handling staff (livestock, reptiles, avian, etc.). c. Multilingual staff. d. Emergency response capability (equipment, locations, etc.). e. Veterinary services. f. Online licensing. g. Online pictures of all lost and adoptable pets upon intake. h. Vaccination upon intake. i. Designated shelter hours. j. Shelter animal behavior training and enrichment. k. Adoption follow up program with resources for adopters. l. Dedicated switchboard and dispatch 24/7. m. Advisory board of participating cities to help guide agency services. n. Marketing and public relations. o. Events and outreach programs. p. School Humane Education programs. q. Development and grant programs. r. Free services including vaccines and microchips.

April 2019 | Page 15


‘WoW’ an appropriate acronym for Women of the World annual fashion show By Jennifer J. Johnson | J.Johnson@MyCityJournals.Com

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n March 6, guests driving to the ninth annual Women of the World fashion show were treated to a stunning rainbow sky. It was foreshadowing for the spectacularly colorful night ahead where more than 250 attendees packed a reception room at Salt Lake City’s The Falls Event Center at Trolley Square. Guests and donors learned about cultures around the world and enjoyed culture-specific fashions and foods. They were invited to open their pocketbooks, their hearts and their camera lenses to contribute to the evening and to the future. And, perhaps most important, they had the unique opportunity to learn perspective from 23 women, two women emcees, a woman keynote speaker, and the woman organization founder about how to help change the world. A key word there is “help” and that is essential to the mission of the Women of the World organization, whose nonprofit mission is to support the Salt lake area’s women refugees by giving them education and necessary tools to forge the lives they desire. Replenishing hope, fortifying determination “The fashion show is an expression – it expresses the culture, the art, the way for women to get together,” explained Samira Harnish, the founder and CEO of the Women of the World organization, which has received global recognition for its programs to help refugee women become self-reliant. “Working with different women results in a bond, a friendship, a relationship that lasts a lifetime.” Women of the World (WoW) recognizes that refugees to this country have “lost everything, except their hope and determination,” she added. WoW seeks to replenish the hope and fortify determination by providing skills

and tools necessary for self-reliance. WoW’s unique three-pronged strategy to help refugee women includes customized service to tend to unique issues in healthcare, housing, etc., community building and economic empowerment. Harnish herself understands the difficulties of being a refugee. According to KSL, Harnish left her native Iraq and came to Utah in 1979, where she received an education and went on to have a successful career in engineering. Proceeds from ticket sales will help fund WoW programs for refugee women. The evening also raised money with a unique auction mechanism, where the audience was given bidding paddles, like those at Christie’s auction house, then told to either flash their paddles or yell out donations to sponsor specific tools for refugee women. Donors were asked to contribute at least $200 to provide “legal advice for a day;” $100 to cover the cost of a business license for an entrepreneurially spirited refugee; $40 to fund a college application, and other specific requests for needy recipients. Women of the World declined to indicate how much money was raised by the event. However, the most recent annual report indicates the organization gains approximately $50,000 from fundraising events such as the fashion show. “Refuge? [It] means safety,” asserted keynote speaker for the event, Erika George. “My invitation is for fearless friendship, and that we stand as one.” George, a professor with the S.J. Quinney School of Law at the University of Utah, articulated WoW’s contribution as “education, inclusion, mentoring.” Talking the talk and then walking the walk – that night and every day In many ways, the runway walk of 23 women, representing countries around the world, who were there to be mentored, actually ended up mentoring the audience in inclusion. Representing her native Ethiopia, Jojo Beyene indicated she will change the world by returning to her home country and starting a boarding school for “street kids.” Desange Kuenihira from the Congo wants to also return to her home, seeking to economically empower villagers so they do not need to resort to marrying off young children for family survival. A young woman from North Sudan, Noon Taha, indicated that she is interested in studying medicine so that others are well cared for. The goal is to heal her loss of her own mother, due to inadequate medical care. Taha is set to attend Westminster College this Jojo Beyene, from Ethiopia, models a traditional, fall and then hopes to go on to medical school embroidered Ethiopian dress from hand-spun cotton. to study oncology. (Jennifer J. Johnson/City Journals) Runway of dreams Rashmi Raut from India wants to forge

Page 16 | April 2019

Women of the World emcees Nora Abu-Dan, of Palestinian ancestry, and Satin Tashnizi of Iranian descent, recognize five-time fashion show attendee Shilpi Chakravarty Blanchat from India, calling her up to the stage and inviting her to share her enthusiasm with the crowd. Pictured on the big screen is Women of the World founder, the internationally decorated Samira Harnish, who hails from Iraq and came to this country 40 years ago as a refugee. (Jennifer J. Johnson/City Journals)

a career in either automotive or aerospace industries. Her country cousin, Priyanka Singh, wants to become an entrepreneur “and employ thousands.” Other dreams seem informed by the refugees’ stay in the United States. Amara Munir from Pakistan who modeled the “shalwar kameez” traditional attire for Pakistani women, wants to be more “modern, educated and professional,” and Nour Bilal from Syria is interested in trying out for the police academy. A model only going by her first name, Faranak, surprised the audience by indicating that Salt Lake City’s weather is similar to that of her native Iran. Beyond the runway to a more important platform While incredibly beautiful, the young women, with just a few exceptions, were reluctant to linger on the runway, and perhaps more interested in their platforms to change the world than be praised for their beauty. Watching the show is a case of wanting more – wanting to see the beautiful clothes up close and wanting to able to learn more about hope and determination from these women. This is all part of the program design of WoW founder Harnish. “Network with the models,” she told the crowd. “Help them become more self-reliant.” Ridwan Ali, who modeled a cultural wedding dress from her native Somalia, had an incredibly powerful goal, one which all can emulate: “I can change the world, one positive word at a time.”

And a final thought, offered by a woman dressed as a living goddess worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists, with a single-word name, Anju, from Nepal: “I can change the world by loving its differences.” Individuals wanting to donate or volunteer for Women of the World or direct refugee women to such can contact Samira Harnish at (801) 953-0008 or access the “Get Involved” section of the nonprofit’s website via www. womenofworld.org/getinvolved.

Wamda Geiballah, from North Sudan, said people in Salt Lake remind her of people from her own country, in terms of working hard to achieve their dreams. (Jennifer J. Johnson/City Journals)

West Valley City Journal


SPOTLIGHT

Attorney Stephen J. Buhler 3540 S. 4000 West, West Valley

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

the Salt Lake City law firm where he had worked as an associate attorney to open his own office. “I live on the westside,” he said, “and I know people don’t always want to drive downtown.” Buhler also realized that the westside communities were underserved with respect to quality legal advice and representation. “Many lawyers offer a free consultation. But I want to be helpful whether you hire me or not. One thing I will never do is make your case sound better than it is just so I can get your money. I will tell you the truth about how I see your case, the good and the bad, and help you make the best decisions possible going forward,” Buhler said. Experience matters Over his 25 years practicing law Buhler has helped thousands of people understand their legal rights, the legal process, and how to obtain the best legal solutions available to them.

problem to solve, or are wanting to do some advance legal planning, call me. I will do my best to help you. I understand that every question, every case and every plan is important. I will listen to you, do my best to understand your issue, and give you valuable legal advice and representation,” he said. Buhler strives to educate and help. “I want everyone who comes and meets with me to leave a little happier and more confident, with a better understanding of the law than they had when they first came in,” Buhler said. Buhler focuses on estate planning (wills and trusts), probate (inheritance), and family law including divorce, paternity, adoption, name change, premarital agreements and guardianship. Since relocating his law practice to Stephen J. Buhler, attorney at law, helps westside West Valley City, Buhler has immersed himclients with a better understanding of the law, speself in community service including serving cifically in estate planning and family law. (Photo on the board of directors of the chamber of courtesy Stephen Buhler) Buhler sums up his business philoso- commerce (chamberwest.com), chairing In 1998, attorney Steve Buhler left phy, “If you have a legal question, a legal the nonprofit after-school program provider

Wvc Journal .com

Community Education Partnership of West

“Many lawyers offer a free consultation. But I want to be helpful whether you hire me or not.” Stephen J. Buhler

Valley City (cwp4kids.org), and serving in local government. His office is conveniently located one block west of Bangerter Highway in the Harmon Building, 3540 S. 4000 West, Suite 245. It is from that office that Buhler has proudly provided quality legal services for 21 years. More information about the practice and Steve Buhler’s awards and recognitions can be found on his website, www.4utahlaw. com. To schedule an appointment or to talk to Steve Buhler over the phone, call his of-

April 2019 | Page 17


Safe Driving Habits

S

pring is upon us, summer is on the way; and with warmer temperatures and (hopefully) blue skies on the horizon, drivers can’t blame slick roads or blinding flurries for their faulty driving anymore. Driving safely requires good driving habits. Habits. Not occasionally safe maneuvers. The following are some prudent practices to implement in your daily travels.

drove over a nail and didn’t realize it. We often don’t look at the tires on the passenger side since we don’t approach the car from that direction, checking regularly allows you to examine those opposite side wheels. It will keep your car’s handling in its best condition. Each vehicle can have different appropriate PSI (measurement for tire pressure), but when temperatures drop, so Blinkers and blind spots Driving 101. If you plan on changing does the pressure in your tires. lanes, let others in on your secret. Everyone Keep car maintained will appreciate it. Others want to know what Since you’ll be regularly checking the you are planning. tires, might as well keep regularly schedLikewise, if you see a blinker come uled maintenance on your car. This can range on indicating your lane is that car’s desired from oil changes to transmission flushes. destination, let it in. This isn’t the Daytona Simply checking windshield washer fluid or 500. We are not racing for $19 million. It is the antifreeze level in your car’s reservoir can common courtesy, if we want people to use prevent serious issues happening on the road. their blinkers, then we should reward them Wash your car especially after storms for doing so. or if you’ve parked under a pine tree where Remember the blinker doesn’t automat- birds can drop their white business on the ically assume safe passage to the next lane. hood or sap could drip onto the roof. Left And while your car’s sensors in the rearview untreated, these outdoor stains can ruin the mirrors are helpful, they are not omniscient. paint on your vehicle. Check your blind spot with your own eyes. Drive defensively There’s a reason it’s called a “blind” spot. This means keeping distance between

troubling and you probably shouldn’t be behind a steering wheel. Also you can’t always see what’s in front of the car before you. They may have to slam on their brakes due to an unexpected obstruction. If you rear end them, insurance rarely works out in your favor. This can also mean slowing down on wet roads or not weaving in and out of traffic. Distractions This is the No. 1 reason for accidents. This is not limited to using the cell phone, though texting, checking news alerts or making a phone call are all terrible decisions to make while driving.

It also extends to dozing off or checking the price at the gas station you just passed. Be alert, stay vigilant. Other drivers may suddenly stop, they may not see you as you yield or turn. By staying engaged and sharp, your reactions can be sharper and you may even anticipate what other drivers are looking to do. One way to stay engaged is to vary your daily commute. Changing your routine alerts your brain, breaking you from the monotonous snooze you may find yourself after traveling certain routes hundreds of times. These habits are important and it is not overdramatic to say that they could save a life.

Tire pressure you and the car in front of you. This one is almost as simple as the first. Touching their bumper does nothing for Check your tire pressure on a regular basis you. And if you need to get that close to read to know if there is a small leak. Maybe you their license plate or sticker, your eyesight is

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Page 18 | April 2019

West Valley City Journal


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April 2019 | Page 19


Newly-minted County Mayor Jenny Wilson talks about staff, strategies and her favorite words By Jennifer J. Johnson | J.Johnson@mycityjournls.com

W

e have all heard of the “Great American Dream.” But what about the “Great Salt Lake County Dream?” The Great Salt Lake County Dream is the vision of newly-minted Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. Democrat Wilson was sworn in as Mayor of Salt Lake County Jan. 29, after winning a four-candidate special-election runoff by central committee members of the Salt Lake County Democratic Party. The special election mechanism was invoked to fill the county mayoral spot vacated by Ben McAdams as he went to Washington, D.C., having defeated Republican Mia Love. Wilson is slated to complete the last two years of McAdams’ original term, and then plans to campaign to reclaim the seat in 2020. Most recently, she lost the U.S. Senate race to Republican Mitt Romney in the same election advancing McAdams. Unpacking ‘The Salt Lake County Dream’ The term “Great American Dream” was coined in 1931 by Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Truslow Adams. It is a dream “in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement… [It is] a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” The Great Salt Lake County Dream, à la Wilson, includes ensuring the public good in terms of air quality, housing access and affordability, and the delicate balance of growth management. Wilson strives for a diversified economy, and seeks to “preserve that with an expanding population.” “A lot of people have been left behind,” she observed. And, in her point of view, more Salt Lake County citizens are now being left behind, from Medicaid-expansion movement by first the Utah Legislature, and then Utah Governor Gary Herbert. Just days after she met with City Journals, the Mayor had one of her dream-like priorities firmly quashed – her support of Utah’s Medicaid expansion, a program she indicated as being the “best for our county” in “giving people the healthcare they deserve.” In the November 2018 election, 53 percent of Utahns voted to expand the state’s coverage of medical coverage for the poor via the citizen-initiated Proposition 3. Concerned with ensuring “compassion and frugality,” the Republican Legislature drafted a services-limiting bill to supersede the citizen initiative, which was signed into law early last month by Herbert, closed all hope of the people’s mandate.

Page 20 | April 2019

Fresh in her second week, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson had a sit-down with City Journals, following an event honoring Black History Month at the University of Utah.

Nonetheless, Wilson—a Harvard- and University of Utah-educated, second-generation of a Salt Lake County political dynasty (her father, Ted Wilson, was a three-termwinning mayor of Salt Lake City)—is firmly committed to helping realize the Salt Lake County version of the American Dream, and says she has a 30-, 60- and 90-day plan to make it happen for the nearly 1.5 million citizens of the county. Wilson’s first 30 days Wilson told City Journals that the first few months in office is, in great part, about building relationships with senior leadership and employees. It is also about stabilization. Wilson already has two senior policy advisors named to her staff. Immediately exhibiting centrism at the outset of her first term, Wilson has flanked herself with senior policy advisors Weston Clark and Ryan Perry. Clark lives in Salt Lake City’s Eastside Harvard-Yale neighborhood. He is an openly gay, decorated former Chair of the Salt Lake County Democrats. Clark previously advised Wilson in her capacity as Salt Lake County Councilwoman. Perry calls Southwest-valley’s Riverton home and has held statewide responsibilities in Utah’s Republican Party. Perry has deep experience in policy and administrative roles and a long-term role in the county. He received recent notoriety as part of an ancillary probe of the “BonusGate” controversy involving the Unified Fire Authority and then-chief Michael Jensen, who still serves as a member of the Salt Lake County Council. Having the bipartisan team of Perry and Clark seems to echo the tenor the previous mayor, McAdams, set. McAdams hired community outreach personnel who had previously staffed multiple Republican administrations, here in Utah and elsewhere. For the key role of communications di-

rector, Wilson has tapped out-of-area broadcast veteran Chloe Morroni who recently relocated to Salt Lake a few months ago. Communications is critical for the Wilson administration. During the run-off campaign for mayor, one of Wilson’s opponents touted her own unique communications skills in “telling Salt Lake County’s story.” Wilson seems to have taken that to heart, promoting the big-picture “dream” and hiring veteran Edwin R. Murrow and Emmy award-winning broadcaster Morroni. To tell and sell “Salt Lake County’s Story,” Morroni will look to leverage the Mayor’s deep knowledge of county programs, gained from Wilson’s having served 10 years as an “At-Large” member of the Salt Lake County Council. This experience has been further informed by what she tells City Journals are “hundreds of conversations” gleaned while going door-to-door on the campaign trail, prior to being elected mayor. Wilson’s 60-90 Days After putting a staff in place, Wilson wants to work swiftly to keep the county from being “a little scattered” with certain initiatives such as air quality policy. Wilson vows to explore creative solutions to help control the cost of housing in the county, real-world solutions to improving our air quality, and managing growth in a way that enhances economic development while maintaining a high quality of life. Growth, she feels, must balance with environmental justice and be driven by community-based economic development. Wilson feels the need to learn from the stalled Olympia Hills high-density housing project, which sailed through the county council 7-1, only to be vetoed by then-Mayor McAdams, amid profound citizen complaint. “We missed as a community,” she reflects. “We used a traditional process, but

missed by failing to communicate the overall, long-term picture.” That “picture?” What was missing was clear communication to residents of “a decades-long commitment to infrastructure.” Referred to as “another Daybreak,” the math was simple: 9,000 acres, 900 units. Approval was anything but simple, with the Salt Lake County Council (including then-Councilwoman Wilson) approving, but Southwest Valley mayors uniting to oppose, Herriman citizens being outraged, and then-Mayor McAdams ultimately vetoing. McAdams’ veto sent the project back to the drawing board in terms of zoning and any future projects. Projects, Wilson believes, need the tandem tools of “benchmarks” and “best practices.” A big believer in data capture and sharing, Wilson wants to “enrich Salt Lake County’s partnerships with each municipality and township in our boundaries to help ensure our respective services are coordinated and efficient.” With Brighton now incorporating as a city, thereby joining Salt Lake County, Wilson now oversees coordination matters of 18 different cities. Seeking to get “every local community and every mayor on board,” Wilson wants to establish “Best Practices Advisory Teams” and to “be that connector” between cities. Wilson also expressed the need to prioritize transportation solutions for access to the canyons. The Snowmaggeddon Hiccup Any 30-, 60-, or 90-day plan may not have anticipated the “Snowmaggedon” of Feb. 6, 2019. On that day, numerous school districts, city, and private businesses were closed due to persistent snowfall the evening before, the early morning, and throughout the day. This happening one week after assuming the role, gave Wilson an early insight into what it’s like to be the Salt Lake County Mayor, where, even to a veteran public servant like Wilson, the work can be daunting. “A lot of assignments, a lot of work, a lot of decisions on a daily basis,” she recounts of her freshman mayor experience. By 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 6, within 20 minutes of receiving briefings and having discussions, Wilson made the call to shut down most County operations. She indicated being proud of County-wide snow service running smoothly that day, as well as life-critical programs such as Meals on Wheels being executed without problem, amid sometimes ferocious storming. She says she is awed by the “power of the county and how critical our services are,” adding, “I had the chance to see this in action, very quickly.”

West Valley City Journal


Utah Housing Gap Coalition raises awareness about housing affordability By Justin Adams | justin.a@thecityjournals.com One of the hottest topics in Utah and this year’s legislative session is that of growth. Utah is expected to double its population by 2050 and the question is: where are all those people going to live? That’s the question that the Housing Gap Coalition is trying to answer. The coalition, which was formed last year by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, wants residents, government leaders and developers to start thinking now about how to handle Utah’s population growth. “We’re trying to get ahead of it,” said Abby Osborne, the vice president of public policy and government relations for the chamber of commerce. If Utah kicks the can down the road, she said, the state may be forced to take more radical approaches to accommodating rapid growth — something she sees happening across the country. Just last year, Minneapolis voted to abolish its single-family residential zone, which would “allow residential structures with up to three dwelling units — like duplexes and triplexes — in every neighborhood,” according to the New York Times. Or consider the case of California, where the state government is suing a city government for “failing to allow enough new homebuilding to accommodate a growing population,” according to the LA Times. Instead, the coalition is advocating for a more balanced approach to improving housing affordability. Local housing policies In Utah, municipal governments control what types of buildings are built and where. While some cities may be open to increasing the overall supply of homes by allowing “high-density” projects within their boundaries, many other cities are not. Last year, the coalition leadership visited the city council meetings of cities along the Wasatch Front, both educating and getting feedback about the issue. “It was fairly successful. We got pretty good reception from most of the cities,” said Osborne. Now with the Utah state legislative session underway, the coalition has moved its focus to Capitol Hill. On Feb. 8, a group of about 70 coalition members gathered at the capitol to lobby their senators to support a series of bills aimed at improving housing affordability. One such bill is SB 34, sponsored by Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi. The bill (whose fate wasn’t known at the time of deadline for this article) would require municipal governments to adopt certain policies designed to increase housing affordability in order to be eligible to receive money from the state’s Transportation Investment Fund. The bill would also appropriate $20 million to the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund. One of the coalition members that participated in the lobbying effort was Chris Sloan, a past-president of the Utah Association of Realtors and a former chairman of the Tooele County Chamber of Commerce. He said housing affordability is a “sizable problem that af-

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fects all of us.” Education campaign While getting elected officials on board with combatting the housing gap is important for the coalition, getting the public on board is perhaps even more important. Draper Mayor Troy Walker called density development a “four-letter word” when the coalition visited Draper City Council. There are cases up and down the Wasatch Front of mayors and city councilors facing the wrath of their constituents for having approved a “high-density” development. From the Olympia Hills development in the southwest portion of the valley that was halted by then-Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams because of fierce community backlash, to the Holladay Quarter project that fell apart after the Utah Supreme Court ruled in favor of community organizers that opposed it, the biggest obstacle to increasing the housing supply is most often residents themselves. To change public perception about the issue, the coalition has launched a public education campaign consisting of billboards, radio ads, social media posts and appearances on local network morning shows. Osborne said she’s already seen changes in certain communities’ perception of high-density development. “We’re getting people thinking a little differently than they were before. And that’s all we can really do,” she said. Construction labor force Another impediment to increasing the housing supply is that construction companies simply can’t keep up with the demand because of a lack of skilled workers in the construction industry. Sen. Daniel Thatcher, who represents parts of Salt Lake and Tooele County, said that encouraging more young people to enter trade professions out of high school is the most important thing that can be done to improve housing affordability. “The AFL-CIO is the answer to the construction and trades labor shortage,” he said. “Republicans are traditionally against unions, but they really have some great apprenticeship programs. You get pay and benefits from day one, and four years later you’ll have the skills you need to be a freelance electrician, make $80,000 a year and have no college debt.” The Utah AFL-CIO website lists a number of apprenticeship programs in trades such as roofing, plumbing, masonry and cement and electrical work. Part of the coalition’s education campaign includes letting soon-to-be high school graduates know that they can enroll in such apprenticeship programs as an alternative to college. After a recent event in the Ogden School District, Osborne said that about 500 students expressed interest in the idea. Through these efforts, the Housing Gap Coalition is hopeful that Utah can avoid the big drastic moves taken by the likes of California and Minneapolis. “There’s many things causing the problem, so there’s a lot of different approaches to it,” said Osborne.

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Fourth-graders gift emergency kits to local police By Jess Nielsen Beach | j.beach@mycityjournals.com

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The four officers accepted 90 emergency kits from the fourth-graders at Truman Elementary. (Jess Nielsen Beach/City Journals)

eeping the community safe and responding to emergencies is a 24/7 job. This ongoing and demanding work schedule keeps police officers busy often leaving them little time for personal breaks. “They do not get scheduled breaks,” said Jill Wilkins, wife of Detective Kyle Wilkins. “If the day is slow, they can take a break to type their reports and eat lunch. If there are a lot of calls or if they are short-handed, they have to work all the way through their shift with no breaks, no lunches.” Normally, the police officers are the ones serving and protecting, but the fourth-graders at Truman Elementary decided that it was time for a role reversal and soon hatched a plan to become the helpers themselves. The students spent hours putting together individual kits to ensure that police officers are ready to go in case of an emergency. If they can’t stop for lunch, there are granola bars and candy to tide them over; if they get into a sticky situation, there is also hand sanitizer and tissues. Over 90 kits were put together by the Truman fourth-graders to ensure that the police can be prepared no matter what kind of day they’re having. Lonee Tapia and Kirsten Anderson, whose classes were responsible for this act of service, added that no officer was left behind – including the six K9 officers. Theirs were

literal doggie bags filled with bones, toys, and more for a “ruff” day on the job. Four officers, including Police Chief Colleen Jacobs, were in attendance to greet the students with a smile and handshake and thank them for their emergency kits. After congratulating the children and their dedication to service, the officers had a small gift of gratitude of their own. “Pencils and high fives!” Bonnie Seastrand, a secretary at Truman, explained some of the work and volunteering that went into kits, including many parent and student donations. “Some parents donated up to 30 or 40 dollars,” she said.

Pencils and high fives were handed out as a token of the West Valley City Police Department’s appreciation. (Jess Nielsen Beach/City Journals)

West Valley City Journal


Granger students win U of U’s catapult competition By Jess Nielsen Beach | j.beach@mycityjournals.com

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lementary students across the valley worked tirelessly during February to achieve a goal set by the University of Utah—to build a catapult. Not just any catapult, however; one that could not only function properly, but be able to launch a marshmallow at a pie pan target from 12 feet away. “Students had five 45-minute classes to build, test, and revise their catapults,” said Tammie Hannah, the science specialist at Granger Elementary. “The challenge was issued before they went to the university.” The catapult challenge was how the University of Utah’s College of Engineering encouraged children to celebrate Engineering Day. The school hosted an Elementary Engineering Week Feb. 19-22, free for students, to help them apply practical knowledge to concepts and introduce the children to the field of engineering, encourage math and science interest, and bring together many people from different elementary schools. All four sixth-grade classes at Granger Elementary worked on the project. Each class was then divided into teams where a class competition was held. The winners from that event were the ones chosen to

move on to the competition at the university. Preparations for the students were buoyed up by the addition of the STEM lab, new to Granger Elementary this year. The lab was constructed to encourage children to grow in their knowledge of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and be challenged to broaden their minds on what have been classified as traditionally difficult subjects. Hannah, who also serves as Granger Elementary’s STEM teacher, added that the new lab was crucial for the competition, as the students were able to use the space for their engineering projects. Hard work paid off, and after an intense round of competition and several bags of marshmallows at the College of Engineering, two Granger students from Troy Gatherum’s class won the top spots. All sixth-grade students, 120 in total, were in attendance to show support and participate in the university’s activities. Sixth graders Korie Brooks and Jocelyn Maestas showed off their engineering skills by winning first place.

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Sixth-grade students, Korie and Jocelynn, pose together after winning the catapult competition at the U of U. (Photo courtesy Tammie Hannah)

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Valley Junior High principal kisses pig to reward students fundraising efforts By Carl Fauver | carlf@mycityjournals.com

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he Juliana potbelly pig “Moonie” — short for Moonlight, because every pig needs a name and a nickname — was simply minding his own business a few weeks ago, in the barn behind the Taylorsville Bennion Heritage Center, when he was kissed, smack on the snout, by a total stranger — Valley Junior High School Principal Trent Hendricks. The Heritage Center rents Chrissy and Holly Jones the barn pen space Moonie occupies. There’s no official word on whether Moonie the pig wanted to be kissed … or how much he may have liked or disliked it. But for Hendricks, a second-year principal, it was something new. “I grew up on a farm outside Rexburg, Idaho, but I have never kissed a pig — until now,” he said. “Our students were excited to humiliate me, and I was happy to do it. Even though he had gnarly teeth—and I know I got some snot on me—I’d do it again.” That’s right, Moonie may not be through with Hendricks. That all depends on how successful the Valley Junior High students are during next year’s annual winter fundraiser. “We raised $5,373 this year, which was one of Valley’s highest fundraising efforts,” Hendricks said. “We expect next year to even exceed this further.” Over a two-week period, the students sold pizza discount cards for $5. They sold well over a thousand cards, primarily motivated by the promise that Hendricks would pig pucker if they did. “At first, our PTSA board members asked if I wanted to volunteer to have my head shaved if we reached our fundraising goal,” Hendricks said. “But keeping hair on my head is already a challenge, so I passed on that idea. Next thing I knew, I was promising to kiss a pig. Our wonderful PTSA moms are incredible. They came into the school to help with the fundraiser and really kept our kids motivated.” Hendricks said it is that kind of student

Page 24 | April 2019

Valley Junior High School Principal Trent Hendricks (L) puckers up for “Moonie” the pig, after his fundraising students reached their goal. (Susan Yadeskie/Taylorsville Bennion Heritage Center)

and parent devotion to the school — or, let’s face it, their determination he swine smooch — that has the principal so excited about what’s coming May 4. “We are holding our 70th anniversary celebration that day, inviting Valley Junior High Alumni from all the way back to 1950 to join us,” Hendricks said. “The school just recently underwent a $3.5 million remodel; we want to show that off. We also want our current students to better understand the part they have in a long tradition.” Valley Junior High opened in 1949. Their mascot, the liger (half lion-half tiger), came from the first-ever such animal to be born in captivity the previous year at Salt Lake’s Hogle Zoo. “We teach our students a lesson about Shasta the Liger,” Hendricks said. “We connect it to our kids because they are diverse just like Shasta’s parents were, but they came

together to create something strong.” Hendricks noted, his school and the entire Granite School District is now “minority-majority,” because they have more Hispanic students and other minorities than they do white students. Shasta, by the way, lived at Hogle Zoo 24 years, and remained at the zoo — after taxidermists were done with her — another 25 years. She’s now on display at the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at Brigham Young University. Valley Junior High’s 70th anniversary celebration will run from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on that first Saturday in May. As a primary sponsor of the event, Comcast is helping to coordinate it and will provide T-shirts and meals. “I am going to try to get to the anniversary celebration,” said Taylorsville Historic Preservation Committee Chairwoman Susan

Yadeskie, who was a proud graduating Liger back in 1968. “I think it is great they are marking their 70th anniversary. We are also thrilled they thought of our museum when it came time to find a kissable pig.” The annual onslaught of youngsters visiting the Taylorsville Bennion Heritage Museum is also set to begin this month, as many Granite School District students take field trips to the site. “We usually host about 1,100 to 1,500 students each year on 10 to 12 field trips,” Historic Preservation Committee member Joan White said. “The county’s Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) Committee continues to allocate $3,500 to us each year to cover bus costs. So, it’s essentially a free field trip for the school district. It’s a fun tradition.” The Historic Preservation Committee has doubled in size over the past year, from six active members to a dozen. Yadeskie credits part of that growth to the added exposure the museum is now receiving, through former committee chairwoman Connie Taney’s work on its Facebook page, where historic photos are being gathered, cataloged and preserved. Among the new committee members is Wendy Cochran, wife of Taylorsville City Councilman Curt Cochran. “The museum is such an important part of our heritage and does so many good things for Granite District school kids through their annual field trip program,” Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson said. “Hundreds of kids visit every spring, and many of them bring their families back. It is incredible, invaluable exposure for our museum and city.” The museum’s newest fan is the pig-kissing Hendricks. “I was so glad to tour the museum and visit the dairy after kissing the pig,” he said. “While looking through the old farmhouse, they dug out a booklet for me to look at, all about Valley Junior High. It was a wonderful visit.”

West Valley City Journal


Pirates finish season in state playoffs By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

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he Cyprus High School boys basketball team finished second in their region and qualified for the state tournament. “I feel confident in our season,” Pirates head coach Tre Smith said. “We had some injuries early on, but we got through that and started playing really well. We had a tough holiday tournament to start out. When we had all of our pieces we did very well.” They started the season on a roll offensively and found themselves on the winning side of three straight and four of their first seven games. They averaged 53.1 points per game in those seven contests, but during the holiday tournament the teams scoring average dropped drastically to 47.2 points per game. The offensive decline led to five straight losses. Smith attributed the scoring decline to some injuries to key players. The Pirates finished one game ahead of Granger in second place in Region 2. It’s two victories over the Lancers and a sweep of Hunter were keys to its high region finish. On Feb. 1, in a pivotal contest against Hunter, the Pirates led at halftime by only four points. The first half had been a seesaw affair. Neither team led by more than six. As the second half began the Pirates applied pressure defensively and made key shots that propelled them to the victory.

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“We have been playing really strong,” Smith said. “Against a team like Hunter we knew they would come out and punch us in the mouth. I thought we handled their run very well then we came out in the second half and changed our game plan around. I thought we handled that very well.” Smith pointed out the game mimicked his team’s season. “We have the talent and need to play to our potential. Our talent, good athleticism and size should get us to where we need to be. We just need to play at another level on a consistent basis. We have flashes where we play very well and then we have instances where we do not play well at all. It is about consistency. All of the good teams in the state they are consistent,” Smith said. Senior Tayvon Aloi led the team in scoring averaging 14.9 points per game. He suffered an injury before Christmas. Without him the Pirates struggled. The 6-foot-4 guard also grabbed 4.4 rebounds and dished out 1.9 assists per game. “Aloi carries our team. He is our guy and we put our trust in him. He missed a few games with injuries and you can tell that we missed him during that time,” Smith said. He was hurt during the tough holiday tournament impacting the teams scoring average.

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The Pirates played undersized most of the season yet they continued to wreak havoc amongst their opponents. (Greg James/City Journals)

Juniors Noah Burbidge and Jordan Orozco Talamante became key supporters by averaging over eight points per game apiece. “Our entire starting five played lights out and have done a pretty good job,” Smith said. Junior sharpshooter Jackson Muramoto came off the bench to average seven points per game and had a season high 18 against Northridge in the holiday tournament. “He (Jackson) is a shooter. When I put him in the game I expect him to hit every three point shot he takes. His role is to come

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in the game and when he sees space to put it up,” Smith said. The Pirates lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Riverton 64-54. Aloi scored 18 in his final game. “I am proud of these kids. We talk about it is what you do when no one is watching that makes the difference. We have good students and good kids on this team,” Smith said. “We have kids that are solid in the classroom, but most of all I want these kids to be good people.”

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April 2019 | Page 25


Hunter cheer squad takes state and competes at nationals By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

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he Hunter High School cheerleaders competed at the USA nationals after having a successful competition season. “Our squad was super awesome this year,” Wolverines cheer coach Haley Huston said. “We had a couple of rough patches when we started this season. A lot of the team is brand new so we had a lot of hard work to learn all of the skills. When competition season rolled around we were ready.” The Wolverines are a coed cheer team. At the state cheerleading championship they took first place in 6A sideline/timeout dance division. “It was a brand new category that we had never done before, so to take first was a proud coach moment,” Huston said. Sideline cheer is designed for what a typical sports fan will see at a game. The cheers are designed to excite the crowd and elicit enthusiasm. The routines have less dancing and tumbling than a regular performance team. The Wolverines traveled to Anaheim, Calif. to compete at the USA nationals. They placed third in their category out of 17 teams. “Being on the podium at a national event is great. I am very proud of them,” Huston said. Cheer is more than just smiling faces on the sidelines. Their competition season

comes after countless hours of hard work. “We hold high expectations for our kids. We tell them they are an ambassador of the school. The competition is a big part, but it is kind of a reward for everything else,” Huston said. “They have to keep high academic standards and are required to be at almost everything. These kids are very dedicated. Cheer is definitely not for the faint hearted. Sometimes they are at the school late five or six days a week. They dedicate everything to the school.” Tryouts for next year’s team are scheduled to begin April 9-12. “We are trying to advertise to have more boys next year. It is harder to get boys. Some think it is too girly, but it is a big thing. There are scholarships available. It is very athletic, too. Guys can do it,” Huston said. There are no requirements to become a member of the team other than grades and attendance. Basic jumps and tumbling skills are helpful, but Huston said that most of all a good character is all that is required. This season’s head cheerleader is Jennie Williams and the co-captain is Mary Burke. Huston said both of these leaders take their schooling seriously. Jennie has carried a 3.78 cumulative grade point average and Mary’s is 3.5. This year started with a handful of par-

Hunter High School’s cheer squad traveled to Anaheim, Calif. to compete in the USA cheer championships. They placed third overall. (Photo courtesy of Richelle Rindlisbacher/Hunter Cheer)

ticipants who did not have much cheer experience, but Hutson said their dedication to practice and drive to improve was impressive. “We had to start from ground zero and teach them how to stunt and the basics of tumbling. From tryout time it has been a big progression,” Huston said. “I have been

really proud of them. All of the things they have accomplished shows the time and commitment they put in. I truly think these kids are amazing. They have so much drive and dedication to represent themselves and the school. They have learned a lot and are great people, too.”

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West Valley City Journal


USA wrestling holds fourth girls state championship By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

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irls wrestling is catching on around the state. The fourth annual girls state championship was held on Feb. 2 at Telos High School in Orem where Kearns went home with a state title. “It is awesome to do something that other girls don’t; it feels really cool,” Kearns sophomore Saibyn Newell said. “Most girls are scared of this, but I am just a wrestler. My coaches cheer for me just like any other wrestler. No special treatment or anything.” As a non-sanctioned sport, the Utah

High School Activities Association does not oversee girls wrestling. The athletes are forced to participate on coed teams throughout their high school seasons. This is the fourth season USA wrestling has sponsored the girls-only event. “It is cool to wrestle. I started in eighth grade,” Newell said. “My older brother wrestled and so did my brother-in-law. I just got interested. It has been a sport in our family so I thought I would try it.” Sage Mortimer from ALA High School in Spanish Fork made history by becoming the first girl to place at a men’s Greco-Ro-

man junior wrestling nationals. She placed seventh overall in the 100-pound division. At the girls wrestling state championship, 78 girls participated from 30 schools. Cyprus brought nine athletes, Granger two and Kearns four. Taylorsville, Riverton and Hunter had one. “I wish I could have done better,” Newell said. “I can see places that I can get better and better. I have seen what Sage has been able to do and I look up to that.” Newell has the encouragement of her family and coaches. “I have encouraged her to do the things she wants,” Newell’s mother Jamie said. “How many times in my life have I said, ‘when I was in high school.’ I want my kids to do it all, get the experience and like it. I don’t want her to regret her time.” Coed wrestling can be difficult for the girls. Boys of the same weight are generally stronger than the girls. “They are naturally stronger than me, but it is not weird for me to wrestle a guy. I have won a few matches against the guys,” Newell said. Her mother agreed the pressure is on the guys. “I think some guys are threatened,” JaAt a recent Granite School District junior high wrestling meet several girls, like Angie Magana, competed in mie said. “They think they had better win coed wrestling matches. (Greg James/City Journals) or they think they just lost to a girl, not

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another wrestler. Change is a constant in this world. We need to encourage them as wrestlers not just boys and girls. Wrestling is good to teach them to take care of their bodies and health, too.” Hunter High freshman Neida Valle just finished her first season on the mat. She was the only girl from her school at the state tournament. She did not place in the event. “I came in the first day and knew it was hard work. I liked it, but wrestling boys is hard,” Valle said. “They can always out-muscle girls. I just need to learn better technique. I think girls wrestling is growing and I would like to talk to the younger girls and tell them to keep it up. It teaches you about life and hard work.” High school coaches are learning how to be effective with their changing teams. “I don’t think it was different to coach the girls,” first year Kearns wrestling head coach Antonio Miekel said. “I tried to treat them the same as the rest of the team as much as I could. I think they got more support than the guys on our team. There are a lot of life lessons you can take away from the sport. I would not be where I am today without wrestling. Guy or girl, the kids should come give it a try.”

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No matter the language — happy birthday to what parents, educators say is a successful program

日快 — bon anniversaire, feliz cumpleaños — happy 10th birthday to the dual-immersion program at many Utah elementary schools. Eleven years ago this legislative session, former Gov. John Huntsman signed Utah’s International Education Initiative into law, funding dual-immersion programs in Chinese (Mandarin), French and Spanish beginning in the 2008–09 academic year at 15 elementary schools, including some within the Salt Lake Valley communities. Since then, German, Portuguese and Russian have been added as the number of Dual Language Immersion (DLI) schools soared to 224 programs from St. George to Logan, reaching 43,000 students, said Jordan School District Elementary Dual Language Immersion Content Administrator Michele Daly, who oversees her district’s nine elementary programs. Principal Scott Jameson, who recently was moved to a DLI Spanish elementary in Sandy — Alta View — said he immediately could see a benefit for students. “It gives kids a chance to be challenged,” said the principal in Canyons School District, which houses eight elementary DLI and 11 secondary programs. “They put in a great effort in school, especially with the opportunity to learn Spanish while studying math and science. They are learning to persevere, even if it’s difficult, and develop that skill and a language they can use their entire lives.” The start Elementary DLI programs in the area are 50/50 immersion programs where students spend half their school day learning in the English language and half the day learning math, science or social studies in the target language. There are two teachers, one who teaches in English, and one who only speaks the language to students after the initial months when first-graders are enrolled in the program. First-grade English teacher Michael Vierra at South Jordan’s Monte Vista Elementary said the popularity of the DLI program has grown and he is teaching 25 to 28 students per class. “I reinforce what students may not understand initially in Mandarin, but they quickly learn and have an awesome experience learning a language, usually from a native speaker and teacher,” he said. “They become independent very quickly and realize if they don’t know how to do something, they have to be able to learn and express it in the language.” Many of the DLI language teachers are on a visa to teach in Utah, meaning that there is a turnover; so English teachers help them learn the ins-and-outs of the program, Vierra said. “There always is some adjustment from

Page 28 | April 2019

By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com how they teach in China or Taiwan, and they have to learn to American style of living, but the benefits of having a native teacher outweigh any challenges,” he said. Eastlake Elementary, in South Jordan, like many schools, have host families help DLI teachers from China and Hong Kong set up their housing, transportation, banking, and get their social security cards and driver’s licenses when they arrive a couple weeks before school begins to attend state dual-immersion training. “They’re usually on a three-year contract so there is a constant learning curve,” second-grade teacher Teresa Wang said. “They learn to teach more interactive, bring in their culture, not just give lectures.” In her own classroom of second-graders, Wang focuses on childhood activities. “Kids are getting a broad vocabulary of daily words that help with conversation. They’re able to put those together in simple sentence structure so it’s easier for them to speak. By the time these students are in third and fourth grades, most surpass their peers academically in both languages and are able to converse in Chinese,” she said. Colleague Christina Ma said she’s been impressed at the level of her fifth-grade students. “They’re at the intermediate level where they can talk about places they want to travel or food they want to eat and even debate and express their opinions,” she said. While she may use easier vocabulary for students to understand science concepts — “science has harder vocabulary” — Ma said they are able to pick up math easily and understand their equations of multiplication, division and fractions. “Research has shown that these kids aren’t losing their math or English skills, but just learning another language alongside them,” she said. The State DLI website supports that claim, stating that “immersion students perform as well or better than non-immersion students on standardized tests of English and math administered in English.” It continues to say DLI students develop greater cognitive flexibility, are more attentive, and have better memory and problem-solving skills. Ma said her students are proactive learners. “The students practice talking, even if it is to a parent who doesn’t understand or a stuffed animal. If they have siblings who speak the language, they’re even going further,” she said. Mike Ward has his children in Chinese dual immersion at Ridgecrest Elementary in Cottonwood Heights. “Dual immersion is remarkable,” he said. “By the time they’re in third, fourth and

At Draper Elementary in 2017, second-graders performed the traditional fan dance as part of school’s annual Chinese New Year celebration. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

fifth grade, they understand and are speaking quite fluently. I can’t understand Chinese, but my third-grade daughter is understanding what her older brother is saying.” Monte Vista parent Carrie Newbold agrees to the benefits of siblings conversing in the language. “I love the opportunity my kids have to share with each other and talk outside of class,” she said. “It’s made the school schedule easier to have everyone on the same track and same schedule.” Newbold also said students have created a bond with their classmates. “These kids are together from first grade all the way through. They form a family because they’re in it together. We have friendships with parents, who band together to help welcome the Chinese teachers. Many parents can only help in the English classrooms since they don’t know the language, but we do what we can to help them settle in. It’s just a powerful experience for these kids to learn and have a better understanding of the culture,” she said. To every advantage, there can be a disadvantage. At Lone Peak Elementary, Kristy Bastian has her younger children in the program,

but her seventh-grader was not admitted because of not enough space, she said. “They take siblings first and since there is limited room, he didn’t get in,” she said. “He wanted to learn and needed the challenge. It’s an incredible program, but frustrating when there isn’t a benchmark test or anything to help students get in.” With many elementaries, parents need to apply in February before first grade for the program. Applying doesn’t mean guaranteed entrance as many schools have a wait list. While there is no test to enter, preference is given to siblings who have someone already enrolled in the language program. Entrance generally is limited to first grade, although if a student transfers from another DLI school or shows proficiency, Daly said there have been exceptions in Jordan District. Eastlake’s Wang agrees the fast-paced program isn’t for all students. “Some kids can’t pick it up and struggle tremendously. They need a strong base in their first language. It can be common for those with learning disabilities to not do as well, but it’s up to the parents to decide to apply to enroll them,” she said. Megan Morrison, who has a son at Lone Peak and feels lucky her third-grader has “an

Award winning program Canyons School District recently received the Melba D Woodruff Award for Exemplary Elementary Foreign Language Program from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The district was chosen to receive the national award to honor the program that aligns with the World-Readiness Standards for Language Learning curriculum, has proficiency targets set for each grade level, and has teachers that are highly qualified, lifelong learners.

West Valley City Journal


amazing opportunity,” said she may not enroll a younger sibling because she doesn’t see it as a good match for him. “He isn’t at the level of other kids and I can see with speech problems, he could be frustrated learning Chinese. I don’t want to take an opportunity away from another student,” she said. Secondary DLI As the first DLI students progress through school, dual immersion is added to that grade, meaning many of those first-graders in 2008–09 are now juniors in high school and have fast-tracked to take the AP Spanish exam to earn college credit. Murray School District Assistant Superintendent Scott Bushnell said that upon successful competition of the AP Spanish exam, students can begin the Bridge Program, a partnership with public and higher education, which was supported by SB152, that awarded $300,000 to the University of Utah to launch the program. At Murray High, sophomores, juniors and seniors enroll in a team-taught course, with both a University of Utah professor and a Murray High teacher instructing the coursework. “Students are able to complete upper-division language coursework and can finish their senior year of high school two courses shy of a minor in the language,” he said. Jordan’s Daly said their comprehensive abilities are “amazing.” “Their proficiency levels are so high, they are truly immersed and have that high level, they’re so lucky and don’t realize the gift we’re providing,” she said. Morrison has a student who has been in the program since first grade and currently is a sophomore at Alta High in Sandy. “It’s a unique opportunity for him to be learning from a University of Utah professor in his high school class. He’s had incredible experiences as the program has developed and I’m just amazed at what he’s accomplished in the 10 years,” she said. However, Midvale Middle School Chinese teacher Karma Lambert said students can still learn languages if they don’t enroll in DLI. “You don’t have to start in first grade,” she said. “Students who begin learning in sixth, seventh and eighth grades are still quick enough to learn languages and be able to carry on basic conversations in the language by the time they finish middle school. In general, they won’t be as far as long as their dual-immersion peers, but they can still learn the language and have those positive cultural benefits.” DLI benefits When Sarah Erwin’s family was looking to move into the Sandy area from St. George, she looked for a DLI Chinese school. They selected the Lone Peak neighborhood so her kids could learn Mandarin. “I speak Mandarin and at the time, St. George didn’t have dual immersion,” she said. “My kids needed more challenge and

Wvc Journal .com

there are tremendous benefits of learning a second language.” Ridgecrest Elementary parent Brooke Moench said she has seen great progress academically for her children. “They tend to learn at a higher pace, and so, they have kept on task,” she said. “The teachers are ensuring students are learning by reteaching and reinforcing in English what they learn in Chinese so the languages are supporting one another.” Many parents, teachers and principals point to cultural benefits as school programs may include celebrating Chinese New Year or Cinco de Mayo or even having a word of the day for the entire student body to learn, or rooms, such as the library or cafeteria, labeled in the target language. Canyons District’s Butler Elementary students who are studying French immersion not only sample macaroons and learn about impressionism and Claude Monet and other parts of French culture, but they also get a taste of other countries’ culture, art and music during its annual World Night. Last year, for example, students wrote their names in Arabic, made Native American replica pots, learned about typical life in the Fiji Islands and more. “It’s important that the community opens our eyes and celebrates our diversity,” Principal Jeff Nalwalker said. At nearby Midvale Elementary, students celbrate Mexican Independence Day, Dia de los Muertos, Cinco de Mayo, and Mother’s Day with cultural activities, food, dances and song for the entire student body. “As a whole school, it’s important that we are learning other cultures, and are inclusive,” Principal Chip Watts said. Murray District spokeswoman D Wright said she also has seen culture be introduced in the district’s Spanish DLI classrooms. “I have visited in the Horizon DLI classes many times and see ongoing examples of music, dance and art integration through fun and captivating activities,” she said. “I also see exposure to a variety of related ethnic foods and culturally related holidays incorporated into the awareness and curriculum in the grades.” Several Chinese schools celebrated the Year of the Pig during Chinese New Year festivities that included programs, activities, food, singing, dancing, acting and learning the history of the celebration. Some schools also celebrate the Moon Festival in the fall. Erwin said that through her school’s Chinese New Year program, it offers all students an opportunity to learn about culture. “It’s a fun time to explore another culture and for the whole school to come together,” she said. Monte Vista parent Corby Robins said the opportunities her second- and third-grader have had in DLI have been impressive. “The teachers are top notch,” she said. “They teach about the culture and pique students’ interest in China through food, games, stories and telling how they celebrate holiday

Last year, Midvale Elementary fifth-graders perform “Chinelos de Morelos” during the school’s third annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

with the family.” At Midvale Middle School, eighth-grader Eric Snauffer said, “it’s the best day of the year” as he learned to make Chinese dumplings with classmates afterschool. K-12 Chinese outreach coordinator Shin Chi Fame Kao, of the Confucius Institute at the University of Utah, said they support many cultural Chinese events at schools, and have even given grants to the first schools who had Chinese programs, including Canyons’ Lone Peak and Draper elementaries. “It’s important that children learn these customs of China as they learn the language,” she said. “It’s a time to understand families and communities celebrating together.” Lone Peak Principal Tracy Stacy said there is value in understanding other countries’ culture. “When children understand and value each other’s differences, it allows them to not only see differences and accept them, but also appreciate the way we are all similar,” she said. Eastlake Principal Suzie Williams agrees. “I love the culture piece dual immersion brings to our school,” she said. “It draws families together who are interested in their children becoming bilingual. Even if the parents aren’t versed in the language, they’re learning words and customs from their children. It isn’t a classroom where they sit and listen to the language. They’re learning the vocabulary and language while involved in enriching, engaging cultural activities.” The future of DLI Many programs continue to add a grade as DLI students progress, like in Murray District. However, there are no plans to expand to another language at another school at this time, Bushnell said. “In a district our size, a cohort of 60 students allows us to run two elementary classrooms of 30 DLI students in each class,” he said. However, at nearby Midvale Elementary, there are plans to expand the classes, Watts said.

Currently, about one-third of the school is enrolled in the Spanish DLI program and he said there are plans to increase that to twothirds. “Our data shows that students are achieving better in reading and math, and at the same time learning Spanish for those who are not already Spanish-speakers,” he said. “The language development as they learn a second language is helpful as they practice their native language. It’s a very engaging program for our students.” Alta View’s Jameson appreciates the DLI program in its entirety. “The DLI was created as a comprehensive pathway so students in elementary can continue in middle school and high school. It doesn’t just stop, but it prepares students for their future, for global careers,” he said. Jordan District’s Daly agrees. “We’re preparing them for the global market and job opportunities in the 20th century,” she said. “They’re learning language skills, as well as an awareness and appreciation of different cultures.”

During Butler Elementary’s World Night in 2018, students were read books to them at Monet’s Story Garden. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

April 2019 | Page 29


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he due date for taxes is quickly approaching. The Internal Revenue Service wants all taxes filed by April 15. As many are still trying to file their taxes, either with a consultant or at home with online services, the question bouncing around in frontal lobes is: how can I maximize my tax return? Hopefully, you should have already prepared for this. Sometime last year, you should have ensured your W-4 was correct, checking that it was set to withhold the right amount. A common mistake professionals in the tax industry see is not withholding enough during the year; making it so you’re paying money back to the IRS in spring, instead of receiving money in return. So, if you haven’t checked up on the withholding amount prescribed in your W-4 for a while, now would be a good time to do so. One of the most effective ways to maximize your tax return is to claim dependents. In other words, have some minis. For tax purposes, the more children the better. However, if you’re not the paternal type, you might be able to claim your spouse, parent, or friend as dependent, depending on the situation, and the necessary evidence. Those dependents will probably need some shelter. Another way to maximize your return is to buy a house. Mortgage insurance is deductible! In fact, there are many items that are deductible including: charitable donations, med-

ical costs, prepaid interest, and education expenses. Remember when that clerk asked you if you wanted to round up your total to the next whole dollar, so the change could be donated to charity? Find that receipt. Even those small donations can be deducted. (I’ll be dumping out my shoebox of receipts all over my house, anyone else?) Go back to school! Refundable education credits can deduct up to $4,000 from tax liability. Additionally, families can deduct up to $2,500 on student loan interest. (That may not make up for rising tuition prices, but right now we’re only focused on maximizing that return!) That “credit” word. Pay attention to those. Tax credits subtract directly from your tax bill, while tax deductions reduce your tax bill in proportion to your tax rate: they lower the amount of income the IRS can tax. In other words, tax credits are independent. While you (and your recommended tax professional or software) are weighing out the credits and deductions, you might weigh standard tax deduction and itemized tax deductions as well. It may be the case that itemizing your deductions can help you get a bigger refund. Keep banking on that retirement. If you’re contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k) or/and an IRA, that can help reduce your taxable income, maximizing your refund in return.

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Life and Laughter—Hang me out to dry

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fter happily drying our clothes for a decade, our dryer hit its tweenage years and started giving us the silent treatment. It would only work when we said magic words or used pliers to wrangle it into submission. I wasn’t ready to plop down several hundred bucks for a new dryer, so I suggested we string a clothesline in the backyard for fresh, sunny, natural drying. But with all the snow and the rain and the wind and the snow and the snow, I finally gave in. One weekend, the hubbie and I got in the car, girded our loins (I think that means we buckled our seat belts) and drove to the gargantuan furniture/appliance store where we were immediately attacked by suit-coated salespeople. They swarmed from everywhere. I thought, at first, they were zombies and impaled a couple of them with the leg of a kitchen chair before I realized my (understandable) mistake. One of them valiantly latched onto us, and the rest of them staggered back into the bowels of the store. Our salesperson/creature had mainlined 17 Dr. Peppers and hopped around us like a crazy ding-dong until we reached the appliance center. There were washers and dryers as far as the eye could see, which isn’t far because I’m pretty nearsighted. But trust me, there was a huge dryer selection. Mr. SalesCreature launched into his spiel. “I want you to have the dryer that your future washer will adore. Not the washer you have now, but the one you’ll want in two years.”

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ANIMAL LOVERS CRUSADE ENDS WITH NEW PET EXCEPTION PERMIT By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com West Valley City residents can now own up to four cats or four dogs if they qualify for a special “pet exception permit.” After months of discussions, the West Valley City Council unanimously approved the ordinance on March 5. Previously, residents could own up to four household pets, but no more than two cats, dogs or pot-bellied pigs. Someone

could have owned two cats and two dogs, but not any further combination. The exception, almost five months in the making, means residents can now own up to four dogs or cats, but not more than four household pets. ‘Like my family’ Jim Vesock loves cats. And that might be understated. He has them tattooed on his arms, they are included in his family trust and

he names them after another of his loves: the Oakland Raiders. He refers to Raidat (Raider cat) and Raidan (Raider fan) as his “furkids.” It was last October when Vesock was at the West Valley City Animal Shelter during a free adoption event. He was looking for a third cat to join the two black ones he already owned. After about two hours, he connected Continue on page 4...

Pet exception permit criteria: • Owners must complete the applications and fees • All dogs and cats are rendered sterile and microchipped • Adequate areas for confinement and shelter are provided • Owners have not violated this code within the past year

Animals allowed as household pets • Amphibians • Arachnids • Birds (such as cockatiel, parakeet, canary) • Cats • Female chickens • Dogs • Ducks • Ferrets • Fish • Hedgehogs • Insects • Pot-bellied pigs (must be less than 150 pounds, tusks must be trimmed) • Rabbits • Reptiles

Jim Vesock stands with his newly adopted cat, Raidas (named after his favorite football team, the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas). After months of exhorting the city council to add an special pet exception so he could adopt a third cat, Vesock finally got his wish. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

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• Rodents (such as hamster or mouse)

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