West Valley December 2017

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December 2017 | Vol. 3 Iss. 12

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WEST VALLEY FIREFIGHTERS AMONG CREWS DEPLOYED TO HELP CALIFORNIA BATTLE FIRES By Jennifer Gardiner| j.gardiner@mycityjournals.com

Firefighters from across the state raced to California to help battle the state’s wildfires. (Photo/Brad Kurtz,Twin Peak T2IA Crew Member, Utah)

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ith the wildfires raging in California, several of Utah’s firefighters, including four from the West Valley City Fire Department, headed west to help battle some of the deadliest fires in California’s history. “For miles, as far as you could see, everything was just black,” said WVCFD Captain Chuck Cruz. Cruz, along with Tommy Lloyd, Ben Lloyd and Brett Rosenkrantz from WVCFD went to the mountains just north of Santa Cruz where they worked to protect the houses of those who had to evacuate the area. Cruz said one woman had left them a thank you note with food. Many of Utah’s fire agencies responded to the call for help and after a big rally at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on October 14, nine agencies, along with additional firefighting resources, deployed to California. Thirty-two engines and at least 130 personnel from South Jordan, Salt Lake City, Unified Fire Authority, Provo, West Valley, West Jordan, Draper, Pleasant Grove and Uintah City answered California’s request for additional resources to help relieve the burden on local firefighters who were exhausted from continuous operations. The fire outbreak in California has been one of the most destructive the Golden State has ever seen.

The Utah convoy that was originally expected to travel to Northern California was diverted to Chino first, to help with fire efforts in Southern California. Eric Holmes, Unified Fire Authority public information officer, said that every morning since then every crew that came to help would meet at the mobility center. As all fire crews operated under Cal Fire, they would then wait for their assignments from them. “During the briefings they receive assignments, an overview of the day, weather conditions, when they eat, etc.,” Holmes said. “Unified Fire is making sure they are ready to go. They are double checking their trucks and equipment. They need to make sure everything is ready so when they get the call to go fight a fire, they can be on the road in three minutes or less.” Holmes said fire crews that were not assigned continued to help with necessary training. Two days later the team split into two task forces. One team, comprised of a task force leader and units from UFA, West Valley Fire, Draper City Fire and Uintah Fire took off to help battle the Bear Fire near Santa Cruz, while the rest stayed in Chino. “That’s when we saw all the destruction,” said Cruz, who was on his 10th disaster deployment having previously been deployed to Hurricanes Harvey

Local Postal Customer ECRWSS Scan Here: Interactive online edition with more photos.

and Sandy. Several of Salt Lake City’s firefighters returned on Friday, Oct. 20 and the rest returned around noon the next day. It wasn’t just Utah and the surrounding states that came to California’s aid. Cruz said they met firefighters from Australia, Tonga, Samoa and a Hawaii team. Since the start of the fire siege on Sunday, Oct. 8, California firefighters, with additional crews from 19 other states, teams have responded to 250 wildfires. At the peak of the wildfires there were 21 major wildfires that burned over 245,000 acres. Some 11,000 firefighters battled the destructive fires that had at one time forced the evacuation of 100,000 people and destroyed an estimated 7,700 structures. The California wildfires have devastated communities, ripped through the heart of cities and towns, destroying everything in its path and, sadly, claiming the lives of 42 people with dozens of people still reported missing. Around 15,000 people were evacuated from their homes as the challenge of finding temporary housing continues for those who lost everything. Mother Nature finally started to help when a low pressure system came off the Gulf of Alaska and dropped into the Pacific Northwest. Northern California was able to finally see some cooler air

and rain, lowering the fire risk. But in Southern California, where many of Utah’s crews remained, the fire risk has increased. The National Weather Service continued to keep a fire watch for those areas due to gusty winds and low humidity. “This is traditionally the time of year when we see these strong Santa Ana winds,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of CAL FIRE. “And with an increased risk for wildfires, our firefighters are ready. Not only do we have state, federal and local fire resources, but we have additional military aircraft on the ready. Firefighters from other states, as well as Australia, are here and ready to help in case a new wildfire ignites.” The weather warnings stretch from Santa Barbara, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. The winds are expected to reach gusts of up to 50 mph, along with record-breaking heat, fire danger in these areas is high. As the fires in Northern California neared containment, the estimated damage assessments were also nearing completion. The latest estimates put the destruction totals over $3 billion, with estimates continuing to grow. The Tubbs Fire alone broke the record as the most destructive wildfire in California’s history. Travis Barton also contributed to this story. l

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West Valley city Journal

Bigelow wins re-election as city mayor By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com The West Valley City Journal is a monthly publication distributed directly to residents via the USPS as well as locations throughout West Valley City. 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.

The West Valley Team CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Bryan Scott bryan@mycityjournals.com EDITOR: Travis Barton travis@mycityjournals.com ADVERTISING: 801-254-5974 DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING: Ryan Casper ryan.casper@mycityjournals.com 801-671-2034 SALES ASSOCIATES: Melissa Worthen melissa@mycityjournals.com 801-897-5231 Tracy Langer Tracy.l@mycityjournals.com 385-557-1021 – CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Brad Casper circulation@mycityjournals.com EDITORIAL & AD DESIGN: Ty Gorton and John Guertler

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Mayor Ron Bigelow sports his Utah Grizzlies jersey at the ChamberWest’s sports themed gala in February. Bigelow was re-elected as mayor of West Valley City. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

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esidents will see a familiar face in the mayor’s chair over the next four years as incumbent Ron Bigelow won re-election in November.

Mayor Bigelow, 68, will enter his second term in January after defeating challenger Karen Lang, councilwoman for district three by nine points. It was the second time the two ran against one another for mayor with Bigelow also prevailing in 2013. Bigelow, a West Valley City resident since 1977, said he was excited on election day knowing, no matter what happened, it would serve as a “fine capstone” to his service. “But I was really excited because I knew there was a chance I might win,” Bigelow said.

“I was very excited for that opportunity to serve again and to actually bring to closure some of these things we’ve been working on in the city.” Seeing completion to some continuing projects was a primary decision behind Bigelow’s re-election bid. Projects such as the Veterans Memorial Hall, making a more sustainable budget and moving forward in art, culture and trails. The most important thing, Bigelow said after countless hours talking to people across the city, is to focus on the neighborhoods. “We need to make sure that the people in the city feel comfortable, whether it comes to public safety, whether it comes to city infrastructure such as sidewalks and roads,” he said. “They need to feel that they are continuing to live in a nice

place.” And after four years of serving as mayor, Bigelow felt he was even further prepared to do that. Bigelow, an Air Force veteran and retired CPA (certified public accountant), represented West Valley City in the Utah House of Representatives for 16 years prior to being elected mayor in 2013. During that time, he served for eight years as the house chair of the budget committee where he helped balance the state budget without increasing taxes and reduced spending by $1.3 billion. It’s why Bigelow works to prevent tax increases—he’s voted against property tax increases the last two years—and why he’s focused on removing debt and creating a sustainable budget. But even though he spent almost two decades in the House of Representatives, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a learning curve for Bigelow when he became mayor, especially in the first year. Bigelow highlighted the quantitative difference between a municipality and the capitol, 75 officials in the house compared to seven (a mayor and six councilmembers), and how the dynamics are very different. “There was a lot of, in every case, learning of relationships and how things function at the city,” he said. “Those things have been a great help and prepared me as well a lot for this second term. No question of that.” “It’s been a great learning experience, and I will be a lot more effective representing the people this second term.” While his first term certainly provided him with more knowledge for the job, he said all your previous experience—be it your career, public service or interactions with people—it all contributes to what you bring to your elected position. “And in the city, we have seven different people that each bring significant pluses to the table,” the Granger High alumni said, “and among the seven you end up getting better results because of the background and experiences of each that contribute to a whole.” As for a third term, Bigelow said he’s held discussions with his wife who holds absolute veto power on his running for office. “She said this is the last one,” he joked. “As we’re a team then we both have to be in agreement for me to serve, so that settled the question without even further debate.” l

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West Valley city Journal

Dinner and program honors veterans across West Valley

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By Keyra Kristoffersen | keyrak@mycityjournals.com

est Valley City put on a program celebrating local veterans and their families held at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center on Nov. 11. The program included a dinner and was meant to commemorate veterans across the United States, but especially those from Utah. Veterans like Keith Pippin were invited. Pippin, who is originally from Idaho but has spent most of his life in Utah, first joined the Marine Reserves in the 1960s, but later transferred to the Air Force where he served for nine years in Alaska as a radio intercept analyst before being given a disability discharge. He then operated a dry cleaning business. “I saw this one and said, ‘Why not?’” said Pippin, who doesn’t normally join in on the larger Veterans Day celebrations. “It’s pretty nice.” The program began with a tribute to fallen soldiers led by a reading by Layne Morris, a moment of silence, and Jesika Jensen playing “Taps” on the bugle. A table was set with symbolic items like the white tablecloth meant to represent the purity of intentions of joining the fight, a single candle as the light of hope, a red ribbon representing a love of country and salt for the tears of loved ones left behind. Members of the Utah Air National Guard Base Honor Guard performed a flag ceremony and everyone was led in the Pledge of Allegiance by Brandon Burnham, a boy scout from Troop #568. A patriotic medley of songs was also performed by the band Changing Lanes that included classics such as “America the Beautiful” before West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow talked about the sacrifices of those who had served in the armed forces. Bigelow is an Air Force veteran who spent time in the pay office in Las Vegas, Nev. and spoke of the lifelong changes that service in the armed forces creates for those who join and their families, even for those in the National Guard who serve during peace time. The desire to see freedom maintained for others as well as them-

selves, he said, is significant within each and every one of them, but that most do not consider themselves heroes. “Ordinary people in unusual circumstances, simply doing our duty, a job that needs to be done, to preserve freedom, not only for ourselves and our families but for others throughout our country and even throughout the world,” said Bigelow. “This is the role we play and it is such an essential one.” With those finals thoughts, Bigelow turned the time over to U.S. Congressman Chris Stewart, another veteran of the Air Force who served for 14 years as a pilot, setting three world speed records. Stewart wears his father’s wings from World War II as an acknowledgement of the importance of service and the family motto of “Duty, Honor, Service to God, Family and Country.” “We cannot talk about service without talking about family,” said Stewart. “When we think of the veterans who served, we have to think of their families.” Stewart spoke of the difficulties on the families that military service can create, with mothers and wives left behind to keep the family together and taken care of, sometimes alone or with very little experience as to how that it supposed to be accomplished. Along with the dinner, several displays were set up for attendees to peruse such as memorabilia and photos from various wars and conflicts. Veterans Services offered information on help and assistance that could be found along with colorful and informative books that had been published for the anniversaries of the Vietnam War and Kuwait for veterans to take home. Another group present was Canines with a Cause, a non-profit which adopts shelter dogs and pairs them with veterans for service training to help them with disabilities and PTSD. Mallory Geniusz, who is in charge of their events, said they look for the right fit between pairs and that this service is provided at no cost to the veteran and is meant to help with the healing process and improve the quality of life for both dog and human.

Bugler Jesika Jensen plays “Taps” at a ceremony for fallen soldiers. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)

For information on donating to Canines with a Cause, visit: https://canineswithacause.org. For information about available veterans services and help, visit: https://veterans.utah.gov/. l

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Everything you need to know about hunting ghosts

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ver wanted to know who was on the other side? David and Erika Woodruff have and they teach classes on finding ghosts and other paranormal activity. “There’s so much interest in ghosts and paranormal investigation,” said David. “I had some experiences growing up, and kinda wanted to know what’s going on around us.” The Woodruff’s are founding members of the Rocky Mountain Revenants, a Utah-based group of friends interested in both debunking claims of the paranormal and experience true encounters, trying to learn as much as they can about how the spirit world operates with the physical world. “We go out and we’re excitedly pessimistic,” said David. “We look at everything and try to disprove it and then once we’ve thrown everything out, maybe this has some merit to it.” David began investigating in 2007 and met Erika while exploring paranormal happenings at the John Hutchings Museum of Natural History in Lehi. She had been fascinated by the paranormal her entire life and had her first encounter when she was 21 while working at Disney World’s Tower of Terror. “When I was a little girl, I went to the library and checked out every single book on ghosts that I could,” said Erika. “Anything scary like that, I just loved.” The John Hutchings Museum was actually the first World War I memorial in the United States and was at one time used as a city jail and offices. Artifacts from different wars are still kept there.

By Keyra Kristoffersen | keyrak@mycityjournals.com Both David and Erika have history with the museum—her family founded it and his now runs it. “If you come at night, it’s quite haunted,” said David. “It’s actually quite an interesting place.” So interesting, in fact, that the couple held their wedding reception inside. Now they do investigations of hauntings with the Revenants and teach classes on paranormal investigating in classrooms, seminars and at the Viridian Center, where they’ve been invited several times and say they have gotten some amazing evidence. “It doesn’t have to be a pre-Victorian mansion,” said David. “So many people who come to these have different paranormal experiences; their grandma visited them, they’re hearing voices in their house.” David talks about some of these experiences and the history of human interest in the unseen world which has led to ghosts being a part of everyday pop culture in children’s cartoons. Anthropologically, David said, people began creating afterlife concepts and ideas around the time that humans began burying their dead and devising rituals and ceremonies around death that may even extend to the animal world. “It’s interesting to see the different rituals that we do in western cultures to make us feel better,” said David. “It really helps us think we’ve got an understanding and feel like we’re in control of death.” The desire to experience and share in an understanding of what happens to a person after death took off during the Victorian era with spiri-

The infrared camera picks up different heat signatures to find drops in temperature—the sign of a possible haunting. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)

tualism to the point that it was the common practice of social gatherings to drink tea and sit in a séance, use a Ouija board and contact the “other side.” Ghosts were so prevalent at the time that portraits could be taken and superimposed to make it seem as though one were posing with the ethereal dead. The Rocky Mountain Revenants are interested in separating truth from fiction and have rules by which they classify paranormal experiences with the main rule being that a haunting is a sim-

ilar or repeatable phenomena that can take place over a period of time and is witnessed by more than one person who had nothing to gain by sharing the account. David said that ghosts are big business and sometimes it’s easy to fall prey where you want to believe as with some of the impressive tourist spots around the world that boast near constant hauntings until probed a little bit deeper. “Some people are so excited to believe that they are terrible investigators,” said David. “Before you go, you need to know what you’re getting into.” David insists that ghost hunting can be taken up by anyone with a desire to learn and investigate the truth behind the phenomena. It also need not be expensive. The team uses simple flashlights, radios, digital thermometers, cameras and digital voice recorders along with EMF detectors, infrared cameras and laser grids. Even animal behavior can be a good indicator of a change in atmosphere caused by a potential haunting. The Woodruff’s said that part of the draw for people is that paranormal experiences tend to stand out in people’s minds because these experiences are so removed from regular life and investigating is the chance to dive into history, to find that no matter the era people have always tended to be people, with the same thoughts, feelings and desires. “I don’t know what happens when we die,” said David, “but I sure as heck think something does from my experience.” l

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West Valley city Journal

Police purchase new guns after defect found in old ones

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By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

ew guns were purchased by the West Valley City Police Department in October after discovering a serious defect in the firearms they had previously purchased. The defected guns—Sig Sauer P320 9mm pistols—were found to discharge or fire if dropped in a certain way or struck on the back of the firearm. The city council approved the emergency purchase unanimously, but not without frustration. “I’m not happy about this at all,” Councilman Steve Buhler said in the Oct. 17 study meeting. Buhler was unsatisfied that new firearms were bought only for the department to be forced to replace them a year later. “This was a major safety issue for us,” Assistant City Manager Paul Isaac said in the study meeting. “Thank goodness the (interim) chief (Colleen Nolen) made the decision she did to switch them.” WVCPD received the guns in May of this year before discovering the defect in August when a $6 million lawsuit was filed against Sig Sauer by a police officer in Connecticut. The lawsuit claims the officer, Vincent Shepheris, dropped the gun while in its holster and discharged without the trigger being pulled striking him below his left knee. The incident happened in January, four months before WVC received the defected guns.

Lieutenant Blair Barfuss told the city council in October they were unaware of any defects in the gun prior to the purchase and receiving of those firearms. Barfuss said the discharges not only happen when dropped. He, along with Rulon Crandall, the officer in charge of the police’s armory, conducted strike tests on the P320s where they found the Sig Sauer guns discharged four out of five times when hit on the rear with a lightweight armorer’s hammer made of wood and plastic. Barfuss said they told Interim Police Chief Coleen Nolen that as a training staff they could not recommend the use of the P320. “It’s a litigation nightmare, it’s a safety issue, not only for our officers but for every citizen out in West Valley and anybody we contact,” Barfuss said. Within a week, Barfuss said they ensured no officer was carrying the gun. Four days after the lawsuit was filed in Connecticut, Sig Sauer issued a “voluntary upgrade” of the P320 pistol where in a press release it said, “recent events indicate that dropping the P320 beyond U.S. standards for safety may cause an unintentional discharge.” Barfuss said the upgrade is essentially a gun recall. Multiple outlets in the gun community published videos demonstrating the issues found in the pistol. Crandall said it was surprising when the vid-

eos started surfacing and said the lawsuit is “very eye-opening on what the officer and that agency is alleging that Sig has done.” Barfuss said they’ve heard very little from Sig Sauer regarding their safety concerns. The city’s legal department are pursuing legal options against the gun manufacturer, Sig Sauer. Nolen said the Sig Sauer guns were acquired to ensure every officer was on the same platform of firearm. In an active shooter situation, she said, magazines could be interchanged without complication. Assistant City Manager Paul Isaac said former police chief Lee Russo felt the Sig Sauer was the best gun to get at the time. The newly purchased firearms are Glocks from Salt Lake Wholesale Sports. Though rather than going through a competitive bidding process, WVCPD requested an emergency exception to buy the firearms quickly to remedy the issue as soon as possible. “One single accidental discharge would cost us a lot more,” Nolen said. She said they have a good track record with Salt Lake Wholesale Sports on other projects. Glock firearms purchased are Gen5 Glocks, 192 of them along with 50 15-round magazines, which were created specifically for the FBI. Prior to the Sig Sauer guns, WVC police officers carried Gen4 Glocks. Police had been using Glocks for 37

years before the switch. Crandall said the Glock is the most carried law enforcement firearm in the country. Purchasing the new firearms cost $83,418 with the money coming out of the police department’s budget. Assistant City Manager Paul Isaac indicated in the city’s Oct. 17 study meeting that the purchase will mean delaying the hires of the police officers meant to cover the newly created business patrols. Those hires won’t be able to happen until January at the earliest. l

A screen shot of a Sig Sauer P320 being dropped and discharging. Tests done by WVC police found that the gun could discharge if struck on the back end of the barrel. (Courtesy West Valley City)

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Here there be fiddlin’ at city hall

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he Utah Old Time Fiddlers organization held their annual State Fiddle Contest at West Valley City Hall on Saturday, Nov. 11 that included musicians in child and adult categories. “It’s a nice little venue for a little competition. We have people of all skill levels,” said Lynn Brighton, president of the UOTF for the

By Keyra Kristoffersen | keyrak@mycityjournals.com last two years. Fifty-eight competitors from Utah and Idaho went head-to-head in 14 categories to test their skills in fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and harmonica playing for the chance to win a spot in the national competition in Weiser, Idaho in June 2018. Over $2,500 in prize money was also awarded.

Susan Horn competes in the adult fiddling division at the 2016 State Fiddle Contest. (City Journals)

The Utah Old Time Fiddlers, organized by Jim Shupe, has been around since 1976 and currently has chapters in West Valley, Kanab, Ogden, St. George, Delta, Utah County and Salt Lake City with around 275 members. “It’s been fun to get to know people from across the state,” said Brighton. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to the perpetuation of old-time fiddle and country music. They encourage all ages to compete and the contest provides that opportunity as well as a chance to improve through public performance. Each chapter has a different membership make-up but all perform in concerts, competitions, events and programs at care centers and other venues performing old-time fiddle and country music. Membership is voluntary, but they do pay membership dues and play at a large festival in the Panguitch area every year, although the autumn fiddle contest is the main certified competition in Utah for the year. “We’re not professional status but we enjoy playing, we enjoy each other’s company and we enjoy going out and entertaining,” Brighton said. The fiddle competition has been held in other cities, but in the past few years West Valley City Hall has hosted the 50 or more performers and 30 volunteers who help facilitate

and judge. The winner of the Jim Shupe Memorial Champion was Moriah Ozberkmen. In individual instrument categories, the winners were: Jan Doorbos on harmonica; Isaac Beck and Jordan Snow on banjo; Taylor Thurman and Austin Taylor on guitar; Lilliana Libecki and Moriah Ozberkmen on mandolin; and for fiddle Roxy Sparks, Eliza Beck, Miriam Wagstaff, Moriah Ozberkmen and JoAnne Hinkle. Hot Fiddle went to Brent Hales. “It’s a chance to perform, and it’s a pretty big deal,” said Brighton. “I really enjoy this organization.” Brighton and his wife joined nine years ago as an attempt to find a fun activity that they could enjoy together when they were newly married. She plays the guitar and he plays the banjo and guitar. Musicians are welcome to come and perform alongside other members and learn new skills. “We provide a non-threatening atmosphere for people and we try to be a safe, encouraging environment,” said Brighton. “There’s a lot of pretty good singers and players, and we have fun together and encourage one another.” For information about joining or scheduling a performance, visit: http://utaholdtimefiddlers.net/ l

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Hunter High School named best technical training school in country By Jennifer Gardiner | j.gardiner@mycityjournals.com

Hunter High School’s automotive students, teachers and administrators are awarded 2017 school of the year. (Photo/Granite School District)

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uring a surprise ceremony for students and faculty, WIX Filters, a global manufacturer of filtration products, along with representatives from Tomorrow’s Tech magazine, named Hunter High School as the 2017 School of the Year. Hunter High School is the 10th recipient of the annual program and was named the best technical training school in the country. “We felt Hunter High School did a great job on their entry video, showing us and telling us why they deserved the title this year,” said Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for WIX Filters. “The school runs a large and dynamic automotive program, all under just one instructor. Their passion is clear, and it’s obvious they love what they do. We’re proud to present the School of the Year award to these students; we know they will continue to accomplish great things.” As the 2017 School of the Year, Hunter High School received a $2,500 donation to the school’s automotive technology program from WIX Filters, merchandise from O’Reilly Auto

Parts and WIX Filters, travel for the school’s instructor and a guest to Las Vegas to attend Babcox Media’s recognition dinner at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX). “Receiving the award has been a great honor and accomplishment for our school, our students and myself,” said Tyler Perkins, the automotive technology teacher at Hunter High School. “Our students take pride in our shop and keep it clean, even after heavy use and understand the importance of shop safety, vehicle maintenance, diagnosis, and repair of vehicles today in our industry.” Perkins said Hunter received the award by being nominated for the school of the year online at TomorrowsTechnician.com. “Our school received enough nominations that we ended up getting on the list for top 20 schools in the nation for nominations,” Perkins said. “We were then asked to make a video highlighting our program and we sent it in. Later, we were then notified that we were selected as school of the year and a surprise presentation

was held for our students on the 18th of October in the shop…” Perkins said the school has an active SkillsUSA program which is an active club that participates in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge. “My students (a team of five) were able to qualify in May of this year for the nationals event in Las Vegas at the SEMA show on October 30th,” Perkins said. “Each student will be competing for scholarships up to $10,000 and will leave with no less than $5,000 each. Our students have worked hard to fundraise and we were also able to reach out into the industry and received financial support from shops like Lynn’s Auto Service, Bailey’s Auto Service, Larry H. Miller Dodge in Sandy, and ABRA Auto Body and Glass to help fund the trip for my students to compete in Vegas.” Perkins said his students accomplished a lot in the last few years and believes his focus on having his students engaged in the class-

room, in the shop, and in the clubs is the reason why they received the nominations. “My students are having fun, yet they are learning critical soft skills and technical skills that will make them successful in their career, ultimately helping to eliminate the skills gap our country is facing today,” Perkins said. The School of the Year program is open to all high schools and post-secondary schools with a subscription to Tomorrow’s Tech magazine. “This program is a great way to recognize the technical training talent across the nation,” said Dean Martin, publisher of Tomorrow’s Tech. “With each year, the competition continues to grow and Hunter High is an outstanding example of the type of program we’re looking to highlight.” Of the 370 entries for this year’s contest, 86 were from different high schools, technical schools and colleges in four regions of the United States. l

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“To Strengthen and Promote the Shared Interests of the Business Community” Representing Businesses in West Valley City, Taylorsville, Kearns and Millcreek Contact Information: Barbara S. Riddle, CMP

To invest in your organization and community, invest in ChamberWest!

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UPCOMING EVENTS PiNG (Professionals Networking Group) Meets weekly on Wednesdays Dec. 5 – Women in Business Holiday Event Dec. 7 – Legislative Affairs Dec. 13 – ChamberWest Luncheon Series Dec. 14 – Leadership Institute Session For more information or to register for an event, call 801-977-8755 or visit www.ChamberWest.com

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Renewing Members • Diamond Creations • El Pollo Loco • Wellness on Purpose • Dominion Energy • GRIFOLS Biomat USA • Stor’em Self Storage • XMission • Utah Community Magazines • Jordan Valley Medical Center – West Valley Campus

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ChamberWest Luncheon with Ryan Nelson, Utah President Employers Council

Women in Business Luncheon with Senator Karen Mayne

Thank You to our Community Investment Members

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West Valley city Journal

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High expectations for local high school basketball teams By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

River Winter Classic during the month of December. Cyprus could be the team to watch in West Valley City. They return last season’s second leading scorer Cody Meza. They had a relatively young team and hope their experience will help them progress. The Pirates opening home game is scheduled for Dec. 5 against Weber. They are also scheduled to play in the Riverton Holiday Tournament Dec. 27-30. The girls’ imaginary “West-Side” basketball title was captured last season by Cyprus. Hunter High School basketball hopes to recapture its magic from seasons past, stars The Cyprus girls like former Wolverine Mckay Medlinger from the 2015 team helped the team find defeated Granger 40success. (Kolbie James/Hunter yearbook) 32 and Hunter 34-21. he high school basketball of their season’s seven victoThe Pirates leading season is upon us. The ries. This season, the title will scorer, Ashley Flater, returns local teams have picked their mean more to the winner be- after averaging 10 points per lineups and the excitement of cause all the schools compete game. They are scheduled to the new season has settled on in the same Utah High School begin their season by hosting Activities Association region. Ben Lomond Nov. 28 (after their schools. The three high school An imaginary title could turn press deadline). boys’ teams hope to rebound into a real region title. Granger graduated sevThe Lancers, Wolverines eral of its top scorers from from disappointing seasons last year. Hunter, Granger and and Pirates join Kearns and last year. In the 2016 season, Cyprus managed 14 wins the Hillcrest in UHSAA’s Region the Lancers finished winless 2. entire season. and they hope to improve this “We have so many young year. They host Davis Nov. 28 “I go into every season with an open mind. I want players with potential. We all and West Jordan Dec. 8. Seckids that will be dedicated need to sacrifice time and ond year head coach Shawto the excellence in the pro- energy to attain our goals,” nee Smith was encouraged at gram,” Pirates head coach Tre Smith said last season. the team’s potential last year. The Lancers are schedSmith said. “We have a great The Wolverines leading group of kids with a common uled to host their opening scorer from last season was goal—to change the culture game Nov. 29 (after press Angel Lui. As a sophomore, of Cyprus basketball. We are deadline) against Cotton- she scored 147 points in 21 excited for the ups and downs wood. One player to watch games for the Wolverines. this season could be return- They are scheduled to host over the season.” The Granger boys will ing senior and leading scorer Westlake Dec. 5. Cameron defend their imaginary Anel Alagic. He has led the Gardner is in his second sea“West-Side Pride” (competi- team in scoring the last two son as head coach for Hunter. tion amongst the local teams) years. The Wolverines are The Hunter boys are scheduled to host Westlake title. Last season they defeated Hunter and Cyprus each scheduled to open their sea- Tuesday, Dec. 5 and Brighton twice, but those four wins son Nov. 21 at West Jordan. Thursday, Dec. 7 in their first amounted to more than half They participate in the Bear home games. l

T

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December 2017 | Page 11

WestValleyJ ournal.com

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Page 12 | December 2017

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Former Wolverine works hard for NFL dream By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

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Hunter High School graduate is chasing his dream of playing in the National Football League. The Wolverines class of 2012 included Trevon Johnson, an all-region running back and safety on the football team and basketball star. His senior season he had 98 rushing attempts for 633 yards and 11 touchdowns. He earned 5A Honorable Mention status and signed a letter of intent to play college football at Weber State University. “When Weber came along it was like a dream come true. I signed and away I went,” Johnson said as he prepared for the NFL draft earlier this year. “I told Coach Hill (the head coach at Weber State) that I wanted to play at the next level. He told me to move to linebacker and that is when it all changed for me.” As a freshman at Weber, Johnson saw action in all 12 games. He recorded 38 tackles and had a season high 10 tackles in the team’s season-ending victory over Idaho State. During his sophomore year for the Wildcats, he started 11 games and earned Big Sky Academic All-Conference honors in business. As a junior, Johnson was

selected as one of the team captains and continued his onslaught of opponents offenses. He finished sixth in the Big Sky with 6.5 sacks and was named to the second team AllBig Sky. His statistics accumulated, and in his four-year career at Weber State he recorded 258 tackles; was a two-time captain; and named to the All-Big Sky team twice. He was also selected to play in the 2017 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in preparation for the NFL draft. “Weber State has really gone after the good players in Utah and Coach Hill is not afraid to go after good players from out of state. Weber is a top-notch school. I am glad I got an opportunity,” Johnson told ESPN 700 in an interview before the draft. The Collegiate Bowl is a post-season, all-star game for draft-eligible college football players. The week-long experience provides players with the chance to showcase their game to NFL scouts and coaches. Johnson’s all-star team lost the bowl game 27-7, but he ended up with six tackles; one for a loss. His participation in the game garnered attention of many of the scouts in atten-

dance. He said 13 teams contacted him after that game. At his NFL pro-day (the NFL version of an audition or job interview) he ran a 4.5 second 40-yard-dash. Although he seemed to gather positive comments from NFL executives on draft day he never heard his name. He was signed as a free agent by the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson played in four of the five Cardinals pre-season games. He had 12 tackles, one for a loss. In the final pre-season game, he made a hard tackle and felt dazed. He continued to play but does not remember much of the rest of the game. Before the NFL opening weekend, the Cardinals released Johnson with an injury settlement. After a medical clearance, he was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. “Never give up, people will always doubt you, but you should always believe in yourself. Hard work is what will get you to your goals,” Johnson said. He continues his pursuit of an NFL career. As a practice squad player, he practices with the team and can pursue positions with other NFL teams. l

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December 2017 | Page 13

WestValleyJ ournal.com

Lancers capture first region volleyball championship By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

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Gain peace of mind knowing everything is taken care of your way.

A young team with little varsity experience captured Grangers first ever region title this season. (Lorenzo Gasper/Granger volleyball)

G

ranger High School began playing girls competitive volleyball in 1974. They shared a region title in 1987 and earned their first solo championship in 2017. “It feels really great. The girls worked really hard to get to this point,” Lancer head coach Lorenzo Gasper said. “The expectations were there for us to do well, but it was a surprise because we have a young team. We had three seniors and a lot of freshman. It was hard to get all the girls to believe that we could do it.” The Lancers clinched the Region 2 girls’ volleyball championship in their gym Oct. 26. The 3-0 match victory over their rival Hunter sealed the school’s first region title. The Lancers finished their region schedule undefeated. They captured all eight matches against their Region 2 opponents. In its eight victories the Lancers won 24 sets while only losing two. “It got easier as we went along, and they started to believe in what we have

been trying to teach them,” Gasper said. In his second season as the Lancer head coach Gasper relies on a nucleus of young players. Freshman Priscilla Moleni and Nikkia Seiuli were key contributors. “Priscilla was a key part of our team. Having her on the squad was important. She plays club volleyball. Her going through junior nationals and playing at the highest club level brought a boost to our program. If a player wants to go to the next level club will help you become better. Club gives you that extra time before we start our season,” Gasper said. Junior Julia Taula was team captain and was second on the team with 125 kills and led the team with 121 digs. “Julia really extended her skills and mental toughness as the season went along. Another freshman that played well is Nikkia. She was a factor in our team’s success and really supported our program,” Gasper said. Seiuli was second on the team with 106 digs and had 25 service aces.

The seniors led the team through quiet diligence to the team. Lily Yu had been a member of the Lancer volleyball team since she was a freshman at the school. “Their commitment and hard work really contributed. We started when school got out last spring Monday through Friday and played in some summer tournaments. I think that really helped them. Other coaches said that this team is a special bunch. We are excited to be together for more seasons to come,” Gasper said. The Lancers appeared in the state volleyball tournament Nov. 2-4 at Utah Valley University. In round one they lost to American Fork 3-0 and then lost to Layton 3-0 in round two. “The support we got from our school and fans was incredible. We had other teams supporting us. We lost in the state tournament. Being there was great and seeing the high level we played against. We were not sad. It was a building block for us to use next year,” Gasper said. l

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Page 14 | December 2017

West Valley City Journal

Salt Lake County Council’s

MESSAGE W

Attacking the Opioid Epidemic in Salt Lake County By Aimee Winder Newton | ANewton@slco.org

e are in the midst of a public health crisis that has now reached epidemic status. An increasing number of Americans are dying due to prescription opioid overdose. This pervasive drug addiction afflicts more and more Salt Lake County residents, and costs millions of dollars in treatment and community impact. Far too often, someone will be prescribed opioids to alleviate chronic pain after an injury or medical procedure. It’s possible to become addicted in as little as ten days. Once addiction has taken hold and prescriptions are not accessible, the victims sometimes switch to heroin, which is far cheaper and more accessible on the streets. First, some key stats… 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. That number totaled more than 33,000 in 2015, roughly half of which involved opioids prescribed by a doctor. Since the 1990s, we’ve seen a shocking increase in opioid deaths. In fact, the number has quadrupled since 1999. Utah is near the top for opioid-related deaths (ranking 4th highest in 2014, with six people dying per

week on average). For that same year, Utah also had the highest rate of opioid prescriptions, at 41.6 percent. Deaths caused by prescription pain medication in Utah increased roughly 600 percent between 1999 and 2017. I believe the number one role of county government is to provide for the public safety of our residents. That includes our county jail to incarcerate criminals, as well as drug treatment beds to empower people to break free of addictions that drive them to crime in the first place. The opioid epidemic has hit hard in the state Utah, and in Salt Lake County. Thankfully, two of my colleagues on the County Council are leading out on the issue to find solutions. Council Chair Steve Debry, and Councilmember Jenny Wilson, with the unanimous consent of the Council, created the Salt Lake County Opioid Task Force. This group pulls together behavioral health and criminal justice experts in Salt Lake County to find effective solutions to this crisis. In addition to potential reforms in drug treatment and resources, another option Salt Lake County is exploring is litigation against opioid manufacturers.

Winder Newton A number of counties and states Aimee County Council District 3 across the country have already moved forward with litigation. The central claim rests on the disparity between what drug companies said about their opioids, and what the real effect is. They have also neglected to report suspicious orders, which was a requirement by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Marketing messages that opioids were safe for chronic pain or for long-term use, and are generally not addictive, were clearly false. I’m anxious to see where this option goes, as we need every possible tactic to fight the impact of this epidemic. This is a massive challenge that has worsened dramatically in recent years. I’m grateful to my colleagues on the council for their leadership, as well as the hard work of behavioral health, law enforcement, and treatment providers throughout the county. Though daunting, as with any task I believe that an open, collaborative approach that brings together key partners will ultimately yield success. l

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December 2017 | Page 15

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Laughter AND

by

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WEST VALLEY

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very year on November 30, while my girls slept, I’d spend the evening putting up Christmas decorations. I’d place every Santa just so and every angel just right. My daughters would wake up to a magical Christmas wonderland with twinkling lights, cinnamon-scented pinecones and beautifully wrapped packages. That was my dream. Reality was much different. Oh, the house was decorated, and the girls were excited, but within five minutes the entire holiday-scape was destroyed. My daughters would walk into the idyllic wonderland I’d created, squeal with glee and run to their favorite Christmas decoration. One daughter immediately turned on the display that had Disney characters barking your favorite carols. If you haven’t heard “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” sung in “Woofs” by Pluto for 25 days in a row, you don’t know the real meaning of Christmas. Another daughter ran to the Nativity scene where she helped Mother Mary run off with Frosty the Snowman, leaving Baby Jesus in the care of a 6-foot polar bear wearing a holiday scarf. Yet another daughter took the ornamental French horn off the wall and marched through the house trumpeting Jingle Bells. Not to be outdone, her little sister used the tree skirt as a cloak and pretended to be the Queen of Christmas,

which caused several fistfights in front of the holy manger. When the girls went off to school each day, I’d put all the decorations back in their traditionally ordained locations. I found Ken and Barbie naked in a Christmas stocking. I discovered one of the Wise Men snuggled with an angel behind an advent calendar. I glued the shepherds’ crooks back on because the girls would have them fight ninja-style and kept breaking them off. I found the singing Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer shoved into a pile of laundry. Oh, wait. I’d put that there. Because it never shut up. The girls would come home from school and spend the rest of the evening rearranging the decorations while I radiated anger. “Leave the damn tree alone!” I’d repeat 40 times a day. “But someone moved my ornament from its special place.” (Insert the sound of Christmas decorations falling off the tree.) When I found the Christmas pillow I had painstakingly cross-stitched had been used to wipe up a Kool-Aid spill, I finally lost it. I was exhausted from trying to redecorate the house every day to keep everything looking perfect. I screeched, in a very unholiday voice, “Put the Baby Jesus back in the manger

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before I tell Santa to burn all your presents!” Everyone froze. The daughter who had wrapped Baby Jesus in layers of toilet paper to keep him warm looked at me, eyes brimming with tears. “I just wanted to hold him,” she said, as her lip quivered. That’s when it hit me. I was the Grinch. Why the hell was I ruining Christmas? Why was I trying to keep everything perfect? To my daughters, it was already perfect. They loved the decorations and wanted to play with them for the short time they were displayed. I took a few deep breaths. I apologized. I even agreed to sit through a Christmas play where the Wise Men kidnapped Jesus and held him for ransom, but a stuffed Santa Claus karate-kicked the Wise Men to rescue the holy babe who

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