West Valley City Journal November 2018

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November 2018 | Vol. 4 Iss. 11

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WEST VALLEY CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT showing pink pride for breast cancer awareness By Jenny Jones | editor@mycityjournals.com

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est Valley City Clerk Nicole Dunaway was only 42 years old when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of stage II breast cancer. In late June of this year, Dunaway was relaxing at home when she felt a lump on one of her breasts. “When I felt it [the lump], it was about the size of a racquet ball,” said Dunaway. “I knew immediately I needed to get it looked at.” Dunaway is the 15th member of her family to be diagnosed with breast cancer. After helping her mother and aunt overcome this disease 13 years ago, Dunaway tested positive for the breast cancer gene, but failed to go to her recommended mammogram appointments. She began aggressive chemotherapy treatment and is now confident she can beat this disease. It was after Dunaway’s diagnosis and initial treatment that the West Valley City Police Department decided to support Breast Cancer Awareness month by partaking in the “Pink Patch Project.” Throughout the month of October, officers are wearing an official pink patch on their uniforms to support breast cancer research organizations and help initiate conversation among the community. “This has been a great thing for both my personal and professional life,” said Deputy Chief Anita Schwemmer of the West Valley City Police Department. “It shows that we care about more than just keeping the community safe.” For Deputy Schwemmer, this hit close to home. She has two sisters whom were diagnosed with breast cancer roughly three years ago. Due to scheduled mammogram appointments and yearly check-ups, both of Schwemmer’s sisters caught the disease in its early stages and beat it. “It was that early detection that made all the difference,” said Schwemmer. “So, being able to support breast cancer research is very important to me.” Mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer during its early stages, and when it is most easily treated. They can locate the cancer before it can be seen or felt—before any symptoms. In Utah, the rate of finding early stage breast cancer is significantly lower than the rest of the U.S. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women, second in the state of Utah. This means, roughly one in eight women in the United States will get cancer in their lifetime. On average, every two minutes someone is diagnosed, and every 13 minutes someone dies from this disease.

Deputy Chief Anita Schwemmer has two sisters who were diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. (Photo/Jenny Jones)

“I also think this is great for police departments to take part in because as a mostly male-dominant profession, it’s good information for everyone,” said Schwemmer. “Breast cancer doesn’t just affect women.” Although it’s rare, men can also be victims of breast cancer. An estimated 2,470 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, claiming approximately 460 lives. The good news is, these death rates have been declining since 1990, in part due to better screening and early detection. Awareness campaigns like the “Pink Patch Project” are only helping researchers improve these treatment options. Dunaway said she could have caught the cancer sooner had

she been on top of her mammogram appointments. She has nine chemo treatments left before her double mastectomy in February of next year. “You know, I was so dumb not to go in—especially with my family history. But, I am really lucky that I caught it when I did,” Dunaway said. “Now I’m just fighting really hard to beat this.” West Valley City Police are raising funds by selling pink patches and T-shirts bearing the police department’s logo, and they are available to anyone who would like to support the project. Patches are $5 and T-shirts are $20. All proceeds will benefit the Huntsman Cancer Institute. l

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Recent action by West Valley City 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

Examples of why city officials decided to implement new code for residents to remove graffiti. (Photos courtesy West Valley City)

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ull-time mental health professional The West Valley City Council unanimously approved a two-year contract with the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) to allocate a licensed mental health professional to work with the West Valley City Police Department. The contracted individual from UNI “will complement the already ongoing efforts of the city to assist residents who are experiencing chronic and acute homelessness,” according to city documents. Those documents also state the professional will help police provide intervention, referral or placement for those with mental illness. “Simply arresting a person with mental health issues and incarcerating them does not always solve the problem,” said Mayor Ron Bigelow during a September city council meeting. “Nor is it necessarily the right issue.”

Thank You

The UNI professional will also help the police department in training its officers in crisis intervention and de-escalation training. West Valley City will pay $117,813.85 annually for the professional’s work. Vehicle purchases for police and public works The city council authorized the purchase of nine Ford Interceptor sedans for the patrol division of the police department. These will replace nine similar sized vehicles. Cost for all nine comes to $231,903, according to city documents. Elected officials also voted to approve the purchase of 12 Toyota Camry Hybrids for a total of $296,371.08. They are also replacement vehicles for the police department’s investigation division. Public works will get two 10-wheel trucks to be fitted with salters and dump beds. These

two replace two 2003 trucks that the fleet division refurbished in 2012. The two old trucks will be sold at auction. Graffiti removal City council unanimously approved an amendment to city code that requires graffiti removal be removed through “washing, sandblasting or chemical treatment or through painting in a manner that it is no longer apparent that graffiti was on the structure.” The change comes after noting that some owners have painted over graffiti not matching with rest of the building. The city employs a full-time graffiti specialist to remove tagging from public properties. For private property, due to liability the property owner is responsible for its removal. Free graffiti removal kits are available to all city residents at city hall and the city’s animal shelter. l

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To clean recycling stream, city adjusts its recycling fees By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

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fter extensive discussions over the course of several council meetings, the West Valley City Council voted unanimously to amend resident fees for recycling. Residents who choose to recycle will see their waste collection fee increase from $14.50 to $15.50 a month. While those who choose not to participate, or “opt out” of the recycling program, will pay $13 a month, a $1.50 decrease. Earlier this year, city officials hoped to clean the recycling stream by removing blue cans from repeat offenders who contaminate the recycling loads by placing non-recyclable materials in blue cans. Residents would still pay the same amount in waste services fees. Public Works Director Russ Willardson told the city council it’s reached a point where it’s more important to have a small load of clean recyclables than a larger contaminated load. Willardson said over 100 households have already voluntarily turned in their recycling containers rather than comply with new rules – which primarily regulates the types of materials accepted in recycling cans, such as paper, cardboard, aluminum, steel cans, plastic bottles and jugs. It does not accept items such as glass products, Styrofoam and other plastics, coated or soiled paper products and plastic bags. If contaminated items mix with recyclables, it ruins the entire load. Residents complained that charging them for a service they no longer receive would be unfair. Councilman Steve Buhler said he hoped

residents don’t see this “opt out” plan as an incentive to not recycle. “The point of this in my mind is: as I clean up my recyclables and put them in my blue can, there is nothing I can do about my neighbor just filling his can with garbage and then that whole (garbage) truck goes to the landfill instead of being recycled,” Buhler said. “We need to clean the recycling stream,” he continued. “And the way to do that is to get those who don’t participate to turn their can in…then I am willing to pay an extra $1.50 so I can participate in recycling.” Councilman Lars Nordfelt was initially opposed to the ordinance, worried it would send the wrong message to residents about city officials’ feelings towards recycling. “But I understand the need to improve our stream of recycling goods so I’m going to vote in favor of this,” he said prior to the vote. “But I hope our staff will make a concerted effort to shape that message and encourage our residents to not only recycle appropriately but also reduce their use of materials and do what we can for our environment.” Since China no longer accepts recycling due to the stream of contaminated materials, recycling fees around the country have continued to rise distorting the market. As a result, the cost for Ace Recycling and Disposal – the company contracted with West Valley City for waste services – to process re-

West Valley City Council adjusted their fees for recycling. (Stock photo)

cycling material increased from $25 to $55 per ton. That comes out to $180,000 in additional costs. The elected officials’ vote to amend the contract with Ace means the city will pay Ace for costs exceeding $25 per ton, up to $60 per ton. Mayor Ron Bigelow said during the Sept.

25 council meeting many companies are abandoning recycling altogether “because it is not financially feasible for them to do it.” “We, however, do want to continue the program and encourage our citizens to do it and make that service available,” he said. l

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Council approval greenlights Pac-12 championships at Maverik Center By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

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he final key for the Maverik Center to host the Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics Championships on a three-year deal passed in late September when the West Valley City Council unanimously approved the purchase of certain gymnastics equipment and a podium floor. “I’m excited to see these events come to West Valley City,” said Councilman Steve Buhler just before the council vote on Sept. 25. The day after city officials authorized the purchase, the Pac12 and Maverik Center officially announced its partnership to host the 2019, 2020 and 2021 conference gymnastics championships. “The Pac-12 is thrilled to bring one of our premiere events to the Salt Lake Valley,” said Pac-12 Senior Associate Commissioner, Sports Management Teresa Gould in a release. “With a rich tradition of excellence across the sport and a strong following among Utah’s community, we look forward to this showcase featuring some of the top gymnasts in the world competing at the Maverik Center.” Kevin Bruger, Maverik Center general manager, said the system of equipment they are purchasing, for just under $110,000, would be the third in the country—USA gymnastics and a company who produces the Southeastern Conference gymnastics championships are the other two. “This is the Pac-12 and the University of Utah wanting to keep up with the Joneses, if you will,” Bruger told the city council during study session in September. “The SEC has some perennial powers and are going to their conference meet on a

podium,” while the University of Utah had to go to Reno last year to practice on a podium being done for a youth event to get experience prior to the national meet. Hosting the event in West Valley City provides a neutral site for the championships while keeping the event in the Salt Lake Valley, where not only did the Red Rocks, University of Utah’s gymnastics team, averaged 15,139 fans per meet last season, but many gymnastics gyms currently reside. Having the equipment and podium floor in question, purchased from Bil-Jax, will also allow the Maverik Center to potentially host other large scale events in the future such as NCAA meets and national youth competitions. Bruger said the University of Utah could also move some of their meets to the Maverik Center for an “ESPN-style meet” and to utilize the “special equipment to prepare for the NCAA meet.” “It’s something we’re very excited about and very bullish on,” Bruger said. Mayor Ron Bigelow felt the old adage, “if you want to make money you have to spend money,” applied to this situation. “This is a situation where in order to draw in those additional revenues, this is the price tag up front,” he said. “In the long run it should pay off well…It’s more of an investment for the future.” The first Pac-12 gymnastics championships at the Maverik Center (3200 South Decker Lake Drive) will take place March 23, 2019. l

Georgia Dabritz performing her floor routine at the University of Utah during a 2013 meet. The University of Utah women’s gymnastics team will compete at the Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics Championships at the Maverik Center in West Valley City the next three years. (Photo by Bryan Byerly)

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West Valley City Fire celebrates new station with ‘hose cutting’ and open house By Heather Lawrence | heather.lawrence@mycityjournals.com

West Valley City officials and invited guests “cut the hose” for newly built Station 72 on October 16. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

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est Valley City officials were on hand Oct. 16 for an open house of the rebuilt Fire Station 72. Located at 4134 West and 4100 South, the state-ofthe-art building is built on the site of an older station. West Valley City officials proudly presented their newest station to the public with a short program, then with an official hose cutting, which is the firefighter equivalent of a ribbon cutting and more of a hose loosening. There was an open house for members of the community to walk through the new building. City Manager Wayne Pyle conducted the meeting and remarks were made by Mayor Ron Bigelow, Councilmember Steve Buhler, building contractor John Poulsen, architect Tom Brennan and Fire Chief John Evans. The well-attended open house gave insight into just what it takes to keep residents safe. “Station 72 is the backbone of the West Valley City Fire Department and the heaviest-used station in the city. For years, we’ve been looking for ways to update and remodel the existing building on this lot. After a lot of discussion, we just dropped all the plans to remodel and did a complete rebuild,” Pyle said. The station is twice as tall as the old one, which means that taller fire trucks can fit in the garage. It leaves room for new additions and new technologies so that it can stay relevant. “This station is of immediate benefit to the neighborhood and to the taxpayers of West Valley. If you want to know where

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your money goes, look around at this beautiful new facility,” Bigelow said. Representatives from the contracting company that built the facility and the architecture firm that designed it also spoke. John Poulsen of Poulsen Construction and Tom Brennan of EDA Architects both said this kind of project is a labor of love. An updated fire station for those who serve the community is an important job and they “leave a piece of themselves in the building.” In addition to the higher ceilings in the garage, two more aspects of the new station were highlighted. The first is accommodations for female firefighters. John Fox, battalion chief and firefighter since 1987 started at this station. “When this was first built, there were no separate facilities for women at all. It was a man’s station,” Fox said. The new station remedies that with women’s restrooms, changing facilities and separate sleeping quarters. A media release from West Valley stated, “The previous Fire Station 72… lacked many of the necessary accommodations [for women]. We are happy to say that more and more women are choosing firefighting as a career and we look forward to being able to provide suitable accommodations for both the men and women who serve in our community.” The second big change for the new station is that the new turnout gear laundry rooms are located inside the garage. Previous laundry rooms were located inside the building itself. But this posed a health

hazard due to the toxins and chemicals that permeate turnout gear when firefighters encounter fire, smoke or other circumstances. “There are toxins and poisonous chemicals in the environments in which the firefighters are responding to emergencies. When they return they bring that back to the [fire] house. We want to make sure that this facility is safe by keeping those toxins away from the living areas. Here they are able to clean up separately before they enter the living quarters,” Brennan said. The station is an “essential facility,” which means that it is fully prepared for whatever emergencies may arise. It has full backup generator power. It can withstand blizzards and power outages. It will be prepared to help the community in nearly every circumstance. Station 72 is one of six stations in West Valley City. It covers the biggest and busiest area, which runs east/west from 5400 West to Constitution Boulevard, and north/south from 4700 South to a taper at 3100 South. Though other stations respond to other emergencies, station 72 will respond to all fires. The new station started operations on October 17. The speakers stressed that the new building provides the best facilities for the community and the best facilities to help the firefighters come back and recharge. “This building is dedicated to the firefighters who serve in our community,” said Pyle. “Thank you.” l

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Behind school walls: Schools, districts address students’ concerns, needs and safety Schools and school districts provide more services than buses, textbooks By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com

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ast year, a female student in a Granite School District secondary school broke up with her boyfriend. However, before the breakup, she sent inappropriate photos of herself to him, which he then threatened to send them to others. District officials were able to seize the devices, collect images and be able to put a stop to the potential spread of child pornography and at the same time, provide comfort to the female student that those photos weren’t spread. “It was brought to our attention, so we were able to act quickly,” Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said. “We need our students to be able to feel safe to be able to learn and once someone violates that, such as with Internet safety, it impacts our school environment.” Internet safety is just one of many concerns school administrators and school district officials are managing these days: not having enough school bus drivers, increasing enrollment resulting in not having enough lockers, textbooks or seats for students in class, and being concerned about going over the student limit assigned to teachers. School districts need to be concerned with medical and food issues, content material, sexual harassment concerns and safety matters that aren’t seen by the general public. “We’re dealing with issues that didn’t even exist 10 or 20 years ago,” Horsley said. “But we’re wanting to create an environment and a community that is safe and all-encompassing and provides resources, skills and knowledge.” Internet Safety Horsley said about 80 to 85 percent of Granite schoolchildren carry a cell phone — even many from low socio-economic families. “It’s considered a must-have item, but with parents working, there are many students using it without supervision and that’s when cyberbullying, sexting, viewing pornography on school property comes about,” he said, adding that the district does provide a parents’ guide for smartphones. While Horsley said the district works with administrators and, when needed, law enforcement on a case-by-case basis, a positive with cell phones has come about with the use of the SafeUT app, which allows anyone to anonymously report tips of harassment, suicide, threats, family crisis, bullying and other issues. “Granite has a 24/7 police department that can follow up on tips that are threatening, drug abuse, cutting, suicide and welfare checks,” he said, adding that the district is receiving more tips — about 1,000 last year — than their anonymous text line that has been in place for years. “We’ve had three instances where classmates have tipped us off and saved lives.” At nearby Murray School District, spokeswoman D Wright said social media is a concern. “Messaging incorrectly is something everybody is concerned about,” she said. “Our

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principals have jurisdiction first, then if needed, the school district and others are brought in. We look at the individual and what the best outcome is for our student.” Elk Meadows Elementary’s Aaron Ichimura, who has been a principal for six years in Jordan School District, said he has occasionally had to deal with postings on social media. “Usually, it’s rude comments like so and so should have something bad happen because the student may be unhappy with something that happened at recess, but they could be back to being best friends the next day,” he said. “When it disrupts what’s going on at school, we bring in the students and parents and discuss respect, responsibility and safety. We’ve had a couple times where we can delete a post, but they also learn that once something is online, it can be there forever.” Alta High Principal Brian McGill, in Canyons District, said each grade level has a digital citizenship plan and policies are reviewed annually. The school hosts, as many do throughout the Salt Lake Valley, a Netsmartz assembly where students learn about the responsibilities of social media. While McGill said that sometimes the line is carefully walked with students’ First Amendment rights, there will be questions asked if there is a statement, for example to a teacher, that is defamatory or threatening. “We will ask questions on the intent and perception and note if this is a kind of message that people will take offense,” he said. Mental Health Murray School District Prevention Specialist Deb Ashton said mental health is becoming a big concern for their students as the district has instituted a national program to help with the social and emotional well-being of students. “A lot of decisions go into which evidence-base programs we use, and we research the issues being addressed and the need for bully and cyberbully prevention,” she said. Suicide prevention also has been part of Murray District’s push as suicide is the leading cause of death for secondary school students, Ashton said. “We work with students and parents getting referrals and the tools they need to get help,” she said. “This is our first year with schoolbased mental health clinicians in our schools. With the high rate of suicide, we see mental health issues intertwined with depression and our students are struggling with the issues, so we’re making it easier for them to get help. “The more we can help the students, the more they will succeed academically. We’re looking into helping the child in all areas. I don’t think everyone is aware of the goal to provide a safe education, in all aspects of the word, that prepares students for career, college and post high school training.”

In Jordan School District, spokeswoman Sandy Riesgraf said that there is a health and wellness task force looking at ways to improve the social, physical and mental well-being of schoolchildren. “If kids aren’t taken care of, they can’t learn,” she said. Jordan district added 36 psychologists this year so every elementary has a full-time health and mental professional to match those already in place at the secondary schools. “We’re learning that students may be feeling down, but they don’t know why, or they feel they can’t live up to an image, or deal with peer pressure. We want them to talk about it, work it out, so they feel safe and secure,” Riesgraf said. Teachers also are trained to be aware of mental health and suicide as well as emergency safety, she said. School Safety Riesgraf said that a $1 million training was approved by the Jordan Board of Education in an effort to best provide students a safe environment. “We work intensely with local law enforcement, meeting weekly with police and finding ways to enhance students’ safety and how best to respond to an emergency,” she said. “We also want our students to know if they ‘see something, say something.’ We don’t want them to be afraid, but to come forward for everyone’s safety.” Elk Meadows Principal Ichimura said the training was beneficial. “We know what steps to take and we conduct regular drills from fire to intruder to earthquake so we’re all more familiar with what we should be doing,” he said. Canyons School District sends postcards home, explaining drills so parents are aware of what is being done. And while a number of schools have increased safety in their schools from more surveillance cameras and installing security vestibules, Corner Canyon High in Draper invited police to help prepare teachers for an intruder drill. “We had police fire simulated rounds in different parts of the school, so they would know what it sounded like and practice how they should respond,” Corner Canyon High Principal Darrell Jensen said. “We also had all our faculty become first aid trained, so if there is an emergency, they can respond.” Responsiveness Besides cyberbullying, in-person bullying still occurs in most schools. Last year, teenagers drove by a Viewmont Elementary boy walking to his Murray home, calling him names with racial slurs and hateful remarks. Led by his mother and coach, a large outpouring of support came to his aid, walking him home days later. Former Viewmont Principal Matt Nelson responded, planning to make tolerance part of

the school curriculum. “Together, we can stand up and rally together to show our acceptance and support for our students,” Nelson said. “We talk about intolerance and racism and the need for inclusion. It’s our differences that make us stronger. We need to embrace them.” While that occurred outside of the school, Wright said that each incident is a concern that they review. Similarly, Alta principal McGill addressed alleged racial slurs yelled earlier this year from fans at the Sky View girls soccer team during a game against Alta. After identifying fans who were at the game from photographs, he launched a 40-hour to 50-hour inquiry. “We fully investigated the situation,” he said. “I interviewed 25 individuals, 12 parents, both teams and coaches, the referee and although not one person sustained the comments, we didn’t stop there.” McGill issued an apology to the other team, their coaches and their families. He also had the two teams meet to have lunch together and he has worked with his entire school to focus on sportsmanship. “Many of the girls play club soccer together, so they know one another,” he said. “We’ve watched a USHAA video of what competition should look like at schools and our class officers and SBOs are having open, candid discussions.” Granite’s Cottonwood High School, which has a high population of diversity including refugees, said that if a student says something derogatory, it is addressed immediately. “We have a conversation right on the spot,” said Principal Terri Roylance, who has been an administrator for 10 years. “If the kids don’t understand their remarks, we call the parents in, but 98 percent of them understand after we talk with them.” Although teachers are required to have many trainings and attend professional development workshops, occasionally something slips through the cracks. As was the case with Indian Hills Middle School in Sandy earlier this year when a teacher gave students a survey to get to know them better. Although students’ answers were anonymous, Principal Doug Graham said it made students and parents uncomfortable and several questions — such as religious beliefs, mental health concerns and sexual preferences — shouldn’t have been asked. “We were honest and open,” Graham said about his handling the situation. “Things happen, but we also need to look at how we handle them. The teacher was trying to get to know her students, but in the process, mistakes were made.” The mistakes — from asking the inappropriate questions to Graham telling her to delete all parts of the survey and its responses — were made public.

West Valley City Journal


Students at Silver Mesa Elementary participate in anti-bullying classes in 2016. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

“I was thinking about shredding the survey and answers when I learned it was all online. Then, I told her to delete it and all the data as well. So, when parents wanted to see the survey, I didn’t have it,” he said. “When put in context, it explains why we did what we did, but it doesn’t excuse it.” Graham said last year, when students were helping with a food drive, “students didn’t understand how these realities could affect classmates in their community.” Although the teacher was trying to make a connection with the survey and her heart was in the right place to help the students, Graham said better communication and training will be put in place. “We need to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said. “It’s best for our community, to admit to making a mistake, apologize, ask for their understanding and for them to have confidence in us.” Jordan’s Riesgraf said the first step for parents who may have a concern about their student is to contact the school. “Our parents and students are our custom-

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ers and we want to address their questions and answer their concerns,” she said. “If parents don’t like a particular book in class and don’t want their children reading it, the Book Review Committee has an approved list and they can work with teachers to find an alternative book. If there’s a fight, schools are best to handle it and if need be, the school resource officer, and can help provide intervention and counseling.” Assistance Roylance said that with the diverse Cottonwood High student body, there is a need to provide students with other assistance — food, personal hygiene, clothing and school supplies. “Two years ago, our studentbody president, Katie Metcalf, saw the need for our students,” she said. “Two parents, Robyn Ivins and Jane Metcalf, now oversee the pantry and if they put out the word that we need tuna, then an ocean of tuna floods our room in two days. Our community is responding to the need of our students.” Roylance said the pantry, fondly called the “cement room,” is open two days per week and an “army of students” get the supplies they

need. “We welcome anyone. I’ve had teachers bring their whole class down. I’ve opened up the door to a family on a special circumstance during spring break to load up with what they need. If someone forgets their lunch or they’re staying for a volleyball game, they can come in and grab food or if they need a notebook for class, it’s here for them,” she said. At Jordan District, distribution of pantry needs may be subtler, especially when the student is concerned about being identified. “We may take and fill a backpack full of food, personal hygiene, bus passes, clothing, whatever we can provide, and others are unaware of that student’s need,” Riesgraf said. “We want to provide the supplies they need. When students are hungry or worried about their next meal, it weighs heavily on them and it’s hard to study.” Pantries are becoming common place in many schools, mostly stocked with food or clothing — even at Ridgecrest Elementary in Cottonwood Heights, what is seen as a more affluent community than at Cottonwood.

“We deal with the homeless every year,” Ridgecrest Principal Julie Winfree said. “When I first came here, I didn’t realize it would be part of my job at Ridgecrest, but we work with other school’s supplies to provide our students in need with food and clothing. There are no boundaries for those in need. Everyone works together to make sure our students get what they need and share with our families in need.” Horsley said in Granite District, the need is present as is the need to provide workshops for students and families on several issues — mental health and suicide, substance abuse, bullying, internet safety, child abuse and college and career ready awareness. “Our goal is to help provide resources and information to our community,” he said. “The world has changed. We have 62 percent of our students in free or reduced lunch and, in reality, we have kids go hungry and often times, that translates into behavioral issues. If we can provide the resources, skills and knowledge, we can create a better environment for our students to learn and succeed.” l

November 2018 | Page 11


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Page 12 | November 2018

West Valley City Journal


20 safety tips for trick-or-treaters

Y

ou’re never too old to trick-or-treat (unless you are 35 and going by yourself, then yes, you are too old to trick-or-treat). But being safe knows no age limits, especially on a night when most people are wearing disguises. While it’s time to get your costume and candy bag ready, preparation of another kind is required for kid and adult alike. Here are some tips to stay safe this Halloween. 1. Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult. 2. Costume accessories such as swords and knives should be short, soft and flexible. 3. Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. And as difficult as it may be, limit the amount of treats you eat. 4. Beware the homemade treats made by strangers. Better to eat only factory-wrapped treats. 5. Walk from house to house, don’t run. Doing so with a flashlight will help you see and others to see you. 6. Test makeup in a small area before applying. Then remove it before sleeping to prevent possible skin or eye irritation. 7. Look both ways before crossing the street. Do we even need to say this one? 8. Only visit well-lit houses. 9. Do not enter a home without a trusted adult. 10. Never accept rides from strangers. Strang-

er danger is a real thing. 11. By not wearing decorative contact lenses, you lower the risk for serious eye injury. 12. Wear well-fitted costumes, masks and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, falls and relentless mockery from your peers. 13. Drive extra safely on Halloween. Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert during those hours. Slow down in residential neighborhoods. We all know how excited kids can be. Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully. 14. Remind children to watch for cars turning or backing up and to not dart into the street or between parked cars. 15. Put your electronic devices down as you walk around. 16. Keep costumes bright, or add reflective tape, to ensure kids are easier to spot. 17. Be careful next to candles or Jack-o’-lanterns. 18. Keep an eye for allergies. If someone has serious allergies or food sensitivities, read any unfamiliar labels before handing over the candy. 19. Brush your teeth. Candy is sticky and cavities will scare you. 20. You can maximize your candy intake by planning your route. Stick to places you are familiar with so you can also circle back around to Halloween headquarters. l

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November 2018 | Page 13


Shopping for a successful school year By Whitney Cox | w.cox@mycityjournals.com

I

t’s not often that an elementary-aged student leaves a department store most excited about a package of new socks, but that was the case on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Granite Education Foundation’s Kids Shop-A-Thon at Kohl’s in West Valley City. “Granite School District has 65 percent of its student population living at or below the poverty level, meaning many kids face incredible and overwhelming challenges before ever entering the classroom, including such basic needs as underwear, clothes, socks and shoes,” said Brooke Porter, communications director at Granite Education Foundation. Granite Education Foundation teamed up with Discover Financial Services in West Valley to give 200 of the neediest students in the Granite School District a two-hour shopping spree. Each selected child was given 150 dollars, a shopping buddy from Discover, and two hours in Kohl’s department store for their own back-to-school shopping spree. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. It was just about finding the right business partner that would share the same vision and wanted to make a difference in the lives of kids. When we pitched it to Discover and they called us back saying they were in we were elated, and it was bound for success after that,” said Brent Severe, CEO of Granite Education Foundation.

“The whole event was geared toward kids, making them feel special,” said Severe. Over 200 Discover employees volunteered to help kids feel special at the Kids Shop-AThon. “Discover has two main values that we believe in: one is volunteerism, the other one is doing the right thing, and I think this event covered both of those,” said Steve Peck, spokesperson for Discover Financial Services. Peck was the shopping buddy of the little girl who was most excited to get a package of socks. “I was just so proud, and almost cried. It really was a heartwarming event that I think touched the lives of at least 200 small children,” said Peck. “Not only physical needs were met, but emotional needs were met as well,” said Severe. Kerrie Owen, a Discover volunteer from North Salt Lake, experienced just this while volunteering in the dressing rooms. She met a young man who touched her heart. He was so excited to be there and told her it was the best day of his life. As she worked with him, he shared why he had had a lot of bad days: his dad was killed and his mom was in the hospital. He was unsure if she was going to recover. Kerrie gave him a hug to offer comfort and the boy kept returning for more hugs. After the shopping spree, he insisted on sharing his breakfast with her and giving her his Burger King crown. It was clear to her that he needed somebody

Volunteers from Discover Financial Services act as shopping buddies to the young students, helping them find clothes that fit at Granite Education Foundation’s Kids Shop-A-Thon. (Picture courtesy of Discover Financial Services)

to hear him and give him a hug as much as he needed clothes for school. “I just kind of thought, that was only one kid I actually spoke to properly, how many other stories are out there? He can’t be an isolated case,” said Owen. After finishing their shopping, the students met back in the parking lot where Burger King provided breakfast, Malouf from Cache Valley gave out pillows, Granite Education Foundation

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gave out backpacks with school supplies and volunteers painted faces and led fun activities. “The most rewarding part was seeing the kids’ faces as they came out of the store with clothing that they knew they needed that mom and dad couldn’t afford and to see the tears in the parents’ eyes knowing that their kids were having their needs met,” said Severe. “That was the rewarding part for us.” l

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Cultivating life skills at Roots Charter High School in WVC By Whitney Cox | w.cox@mycityjournals.com

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oots Charter High School in West Valley City is unique in that it is Utah’s first farmbased charter high school. The farm functions as a laboratory for real-world learning that coincides with the classroom lessons. Founder and Director Tyler Bastian was teaching character education when he first came up with the idea for a farm-based curriculum. “A farm naturally teaches character. It also teaches you what is in your control and what is out of your control,” said Bastian. The “Roots Way” focuses on this idea. Its mission is to instill in each student the understanding that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Students are taught about the things in their control: choices, actions and energy. They are encouraged to be responsible in their behavior and choices. Overall, they are taught that they will “reap what they sow” and coached to “sow goodness.” Roots HS values authentic learning that teaches life skills. They base their curriculum on the research that many students are motivated when they see how lessons can be applied to real life situations. “It’s the chance to get out and engage with real life experiences while getting a public education,” said Larissa Little, program director at Roots. Seventeen-year-old Melodie Childers is a junior at Roots High School and speaks highly of the curriculum, confirming that she is be-

ing taught responsibility. “It’s really hands on. I’m better at learning when I am working with things, so it is easier for me to pay attention and want to go to school,” said Childers. The staff and faculty at Roots believe the hard work involved in farming is an invaluable life skill. The curriculum is packed with opportunities for students to complete difficult tasks and reap the benefits. Jared Riley and Uzziel Corona, now seniors at Roots High, were a part of the first ninth grade class when the school was established four years ago. They spoke proudly of the planter boxes they built as ninth graders that are still overflowing with produce as well as the shed they built this year. “I like how they are teaching the agricultural way, so I can raise pigs or grow things to make money,” said Riley. Bastian confirmed that almost everything on the farm has been built by students. This is just one example of the life skills gained at Roots HS. Other examples are helping to birth baby piglets and learning to cope with the loss of animals. For example, in September, three alpacas, two sheep and a pig were all killed by a feral dog loose in West Valley. The students at Roots HS experienced the same difficulties associated with loss that adults in the community felt, as around 40 animals in the surrounding area were lost before the dog was killed by animal control in the first week of October.

Students sell their produce at the farm stand during the annual Harvest Festival at Roots Charter High School in West Valley City. (Whitney Cox/City Journals)

Each year, Roots HS holds a harvest festival, where they invite members of the community to buy the produce and animals the students have been working hard to raise. This year, the harvest was on Monday, Oct. 15 where the main

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Lancers close out football season By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

D

espite a lack luster finish to their football season Granger High School seniors can celebrate a third straight playoff appearance. The Lancers finished fourth in Region 2 and qualified for the state playoffs. They are scheduled to face Weber High School in the first round Oct. 26 (after press deadline). “We are who we are and we play the way we play,” Lancer head coach Mike Morgan said before the season. “Our kids worked hard this summer to get to where we are.” The Lancers won three of their first five games this year. Their 57-24 victory over Hillcrest proved to be an important region victory. In the game senior running back Mosesi Sonasi ran for 367 yards and five touchdowns. It included touchdown runs of 82, 50 and 52 yards. “He is one of the best backs in the state, so we really try to use him as much as we can,” Morgan said. Sonasi carried the ball 75 times for 1,015 yards and 13 touchdowns despite an injury that kept him out of the final contests for the team. The 5-foot-11 senior amassed over 3,500 yards rushing in his career and scored 37 touchdowns. “It has been a good season. We won three games,” said Bella Nogales, senior outside linebacker. Nogales and her family have been instrumental parts of the organization of the Utah

Girls Tackle Football League. The organization was founded in 2015 and in 2017 Herriman won the first girls state championship. The league began with 30 players and last season accounted for over 300 in three playing divisions. “I have a passion for football. I have played for three years. It has been fun. In my final home game I was a team captain and got to play on defense. It was sad because it was my final home game,” Nogales said. In the season’s opening game the Lancers lost to Skyline 47-40. Their second-half comeback fell just short. They continued to fall just short in their second game losing to Olympus 55-6, but their third game was a different story. They rebounded for their first victory 28-21 against Bountiful. The Lancers scored in the final 30 seconds to secure the win. Since 1970 the Lancers have accounted for 223 wins and made 28 playoff appearances. This season they competed in the Utah High School Activities Associations Region 2 and placed fourth overall behind Kearns, Hunter and Cyprus. The Lancers finished ahead of Hillcrest. Granger has lost 14 straight games to Hunter. Their last win came in 2001 when they defeated the Wolverines 44-13 (the two teams did not play each other 2005-2008). l

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Page 16 | November 2018

West Valley City Journal


SPOTLIGHT

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T

he Joint Chiropractic is not only locally owned and operated (found in Jordan Landing between Target and Best Buy), but it’s also a haven for a natural approach to pain relief and prevention. According to a seven-year study, patients whose primary physician was a chiropractor experienced 60 percent few hospital admissions, 62 percent fewer outpatient surgeries and 85 percent less in prescription costs. With chiropractors that are licensed and experienced in advanced medical training, The Joint offers an innovative and patient-centric model. The healthcare experience is simply different at The Joint. Appointments aren’t needed, come whenever is convenient for you. The clinic offers extended hours which includes evenings and Saturdays. What about insurance? No need. The Joint’s visitation plans and packages have a single visit cost that’s less than the average copay. You won’t need a referral or insurance to receive care immediately. The Joint’s West Jordan location, 7689 S. Jordan Landing Blvd., opened on June 28, with its grand opening event and ribbon cutting happening

WestValleyJ ournal.com

on July 28. A full-time doctor is available at the West Jordan location, David Bailey. A Casper, Wyoming native, Bailey graduated from Life Chiropractic College (California) in 1990 having also studied exercise science at Utah Valley Universitiy. He opened a chiropractic office with his brother, Chris, in Santa Rosa, California from 1992-2002 serving the Santa Rosa population with a high level of chiropractic care and fitness instruction. Bailey moved to Utah in 2003 opening a practice with Chris again, also a chiropractor, in Orem. An active participant in sports growing up, Bailey played football, basketball, baseball and wrestling being voted “best athlete” by his peers. He remains active in waterskiing, snow skiing, mountain biking and fitness. If someone has never been adjusted by a chiropractor before, Bailey can answer any questions and concerns or explain how joint dysfunctions occur and the benefits of the chiropractic approach. Chiropractic care is the largest, non-invasive, drugless and safest form of health care available.

Chiropractic adjustments are highly controlled procedures using minimal force and gentle pressure with the duration of a visit dependent upon the severity of the condition. First visits can last up to 30 minutes while follow-up visits can be

as little as 5-10 minutes. To find out more, visit The Joint in Jordan Landing, call 801-508-4853 or find them online at www.thejoint.com/utah/west-jordan. l

November 2018 | Page 17


Wolverines win first region soccer title in school history By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

The Hunter High School girls soccer team celebrated with their student body on the school’s first ever girls soccer title. (Photo courtesy of Brett Solberg)

H

unter girls soccer accomplished many of their team and individual goals this season. Hunter High School opened in 1990. Until now, the girls soccer team had never won a region title. This fall they did and advanced to the state playoffs. “It is the first time in our school history, something we had been trying to accomplish since last year when we came so close,” Wolverines girls head coach Brett Solberg said. “We were one shot away last season and it gave us the motivation to work at it and it paid off.” In 2017, they finished the season with one loss and a tie to Hillcrest. This landed them in second place. Hunter’s boys teams have won a handful of region titles but the girls had never reached that milestone. Solberg recognized the desire his team had to succeed. “We have had a lot of girls that are playing soccer year round. Before we have had girls that like soccer, but were not as committed to it. They are playing competitively. Playing year round bridges that gap from where we were,” Solberg said. Defining the team’s best attributes is a difficult task for Solberg. “We scored 41 goals in our region games and only allowed five. Our defense was solid and we had some great strikers and scorers,” Solberg said. Senior Britton Pike began the season in net as the goalie, but an injury forced her to miss several games during the season. Freshman Alondra Barba stepped in and netted two shutouts.

Page 18 | November 2018

The Wolverines offense counted 11 players that scored at least one varsity goal this season. While three had 10 or more. Senior Whitney Blanchard scored 12 goals. Sophomores Lucky Phonharath and Olivia Harding contributed 12 and 11 goals respectively. “I think that is a record for us with three girls scoring double figures in goals in one season. Whitney is very fast and has lots of endurance. She scores by pressuring or by using her speed. Liv is also fast but she has some clever distribution. She puts the ball in places to get assists. Lucky is a midfielder and is the engine of our offense. She had several goals from probably 25-30 yards out,” Solberg said. As the No. 2 seed from Region 2, Hunter hosted Davis in the first round of the state tournament. The end of the first half found the Wolverines trailing only 1-0 but the Darts scored three more to close out the season. “I felt like we gave it our all. They made a few changes and could not keep up with them, but I cannot feel disappointed. We gave it everything we had. We had a goal to make it past the first round of the playoffs and didn’t quite make that. We also wanted to be a team united. I feel like we accomplished that with several team dinners and an overnight trip at the beginning of the season,” Solberg said. Solberg just finished his seventh season as Hunter’s soccer coach. He leads both the boys and girls programs at the school. l

West Valley City Journal


WestValleyJ ournal.com

November 2018 | Page 19


Pirates win region golf championship

“To Strengthen and Promote the Shared Interests of the Business Community”

By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com

Representing the Business Voice in West Valley City, Taylorsville & Kearns Areas Contact Information: Barbara S. Riddle, CMP

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The Pirates golfers were able to hold off the region competition to bring home the region championship. (Cyprus High School)

T

he golf team at Cyprus High School won the Region 2 championship and represented the Pirates at the high school state tournament. They finished 12th overall. The Pirates joined 16 other schools Oct. 3-4 at Talons Cove Golf Course for the state ti-

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tle. Lone Peak pulled away from its competition to win the state title by 28 shots. Davis finished in second. The Pirates finished one shot behind Copper Hills and 11 shots ahead of West Jordan. Jackson Muramoto shot a team leading 75 and advanced to the second day to compete for the individual state title. He shot a 148 over the two-day tournament and placed 12th. Muramoto had a hole in one on the Copper Golf Club hole number eight in June. His play led the team into the season and helped them advance. Muramoto, Cade Nixon, Logan Henson, Harley Jensen, Kody Sower and Carson Primm represented Cyprus at the state tournament. Henson shot a 92, Sower and Primm shot 94s. In high school golf the top four individual scores make up the team score. Hillcrest finished second in Region 2, Hunter third and Granger fourth. Utah had 120 schools with boys golf teams this season and over 1,500 boys participated. The Utah PGA junior series has a program developed for youth golfers of all ages. The program begins with the Itty Bitty golfer as young as four years old with no experience and ends with competitive high school age tournaments. Part of the program is to teach golf etiquette, course management and rules. The UJGA hosts tournaments for golfers age 7-18 and has national qualifiers. The First Tee is a youth sports organization whose mission is to grow the game of golf by introducing youth to its rules and game play. Many local courses are familiar with the program that can offer discounted green fees and access to equipment. l

www.WLIUT.com/CDS

Page 20 | November 2018

West Valley City Journal


Professional carvers sculpt pumpkins into art By Amy Green | a.green@mycityjournals.com

P

rofessional pumpkin carvers have been busy at the Utah State Fairpark (155 N. 1000 West) during Pumpkin Nights, showing how pumpkin sculpting is done. Tickets to see these carvers in action are available for the event until Nov. 4. Just beyond the ticket entrance, one can walk by the current projects of an artist sculpting massive gourds. It’s a great beginning, before heading through a visually stimulating, pumpkin-themed park. Ashlen Clark is an artist who contributes to the sculpting and groundwork that goes into Pumpkin Nights. “We start planning everything in February—that’s when we start carving (synthetic) pumpkins. We do the event in four cities: Auburn (California), Denver, LA, and here in Salt Lake City. There are over Kids watch Adam Smith, a professional carver, create sculptures at Pumpkin Nights. (Amy Green/City 3,000 pumpkins in each city. In addition to Journals) that, is our bigger sculptures. We start with you add things to it whereas pumpkins, it’s as there is no intense scary stuff. Anyone the little stuff, then move into the bigger like wood or a marble carving, where you can look on, unafraid, while an artist peels sculptures like our giant squid and nine take it away,” Smith explained. More of away layers of pumpkin (that luckily don’t foot jack-o’-lantern,” Clark said. Smith’s art can be seen on the Facebook bleed or scream). She offered tips for anyone planning page, The Pumpkin Smith - Pumpkin It is an experience that might spark a to carve pumpkins, to help make things go Carver. “like a kid again” feeling for adults. One smoothly. “Have an idea of what you want Watching a pumpkin artist is a unique might crave to have a relaxing night at and draw it out first. A lot of it is just put- opportunity and an alternative to sus- home, sitting down and getting “artistic”... ting personality into it, and having lots of pense-laden haunted houses. It’s festive or just elbow deep in messy, slimy, stringy fun,” she encouraged. without the horror of a jumpy attraction. (yet wonderfully quiet) vegetable guts. Guests can come to Pumpkin Nights People seem to love watching an everyday For more information, go to pumpand see up close details of how a carv- pumpkin evolve into whimsical shapes. kinnights.com/salt-lake-city. l ing artist works. Upon inspection, people It is also a bonus for younger children, will notice that pumpkins are not sculpted using just a paring knife or a vegetable peeler. On real pumpkins, artists use special clay tools that, well, resemble a vegetable peeler. But the tools are different than regular kitchen gadgets, spectators are told. Pumpkin Nights is a good place to ask an artist about what tools An ExpEriEncEd EducAtor he or she uses and how to use them. Nine-year-old Rorey from 39 years parent, teacher, principal, Sandy visited Pumpkin Nights technology director, and bus driver. and was among many children who stopped to observe, ask • Father and step father of questions and react over the carv11 children, grandfather of 16 ing demo. “It’s very satisfying to watch,” Rorey said. • Deep roots in communities One of the artists giving a across the district live demonstration was Adam • Experience working with special Smith who patiently answered kids’ questions about creating the needs students and diverse intricate and massive pumpkin populations sculptures. “I’ve been sculpting pumpI will fight for: kins like this, the 3D stuff, for • Local control of educational about six years—carving professionally for 10. I got into pumpprograms kin carving, and that influenced • Adequate, equitable and me going into different mediums like clay and wood,” Smith said. equalized funding He described how pumpkin • Both urban and rural school sculpting is unique. district issues and solutions “With clay, you build up and Paid for by Thomas Nedreberg

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Voting like it’s Black Friday ’Tis the month for voting. Utah’s 2018 General Election will take place on Nov. 6. Make sure to get your mail-in ballot post-marked by then or visit a polling station. If you’re not registered yet, don’t worry! You can register day-of at specific polling stations. I’ve been thinking a lot about voting recently with all the hype around this election. What does voting really mean? What do you really do when you color within the lines of your chosen bubbles? The conclusion I have come to is — voting is how I show support. There are a handful of propositions and amendments on this general election ballot. If I have an affirmative vote on a proposition, I am showing support. It’s in the name at that point. I’m a supporter of that proposition. The same goes for the candidates I vote for during elections. If I vote for a certain person, I am showing support for them. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the value of a dollar recently. What does the value of a price tag mean? When I hand my dollar bills or plastic card to the clerk, there’s more to that transaction than just the physical transfer of material. I am showing my support for that product, and/or company. In many of the “shop local” campaigns, a common slogan is “support local businesses.” That’s been reinforcing my idea. By shopping local, I am supporting local. Since both voting and spending money are ways of showing support, I’m starting to view dollar bills as a vote. I’d like to use a syllogism here. Spending money is showing support. Voting is showing support. Therefore, spending money is voting. With every dollar I spend, it’s another vote for the company I’m buying that product from. I’m effectively telling

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that business, “Yes, I like your stuff, keep doing what you’re doing, I support you.” And that’s been really powerful for me. With the gift-giving season quickly approaching, I’ve been starting to exercise my vote a bit differently. There are only a few more weeks until shopping becomes a competitive sport. For Black Friday, I’ve usually scouted out stores like Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s. But this year, I’m starting to look for more local deals. Even though some local shops won’t be open as early or as late as some of the bigger corporations, I’m still going to make an effort to shop local for Black Friday. I’m especially considering where to show my support for Cyber Monday. Black Friday crowds are slowly becoming obsolete; because let’s be real, who

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would rather go battle crowds of rowdy shoppers when the moon’s out, instead of finding the same, or even better deals through a screen from the comfort of home? Not a lot. Usually, Amazon is the hot spot for Cyber Monday deals. With some of the concerning reports in the news recently, claiming bad work conditions and general disregard for employees, I’m seriously considering withdrawing my support and changing my vote. Instead, I’ll be on the lookout for small business deals through other websites. One of my favorite websites to shop for gifts is Etsy. There are so many small independent artists selling their work. There’s also really cool stuff that’s hard to find anywhere else. I’d much rather vote for the Independent than the Dictator, money down. l

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Life and Laughter—Table Talk

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West Valley

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hanksgiving is a day of stress, even in the best of times, but Thanksgiving 2018 could take the cake. . . er . . pie. Dinner conversations have become landmines. Relationships are as strained as my jeans after five helpings of mashed potatoes. Families haven’t been this divided since the great Toilet Paper Orientation debate of 1954. Here are just a few topics that could escalate your meal from a civil discussion to Grandpa throwing cranberry sauce into the ceiling fan: The national anthem--Kneeling v. standing; The Presidency--Trump v. a sane person; Women’s rights v. Rich White Men; Nazis v. Not Nazis; and the most contentious subject, Marvel v. DC. Things are ugly, folks. People are tense. There are marches and demonstrations covering every perceivable issue. Even asking someone their view on mayonnaise could spark a worldwide protest. So, what can we possibly talk about around the Thanksgiving table so we can still get presents on Christmas? I gathered a group of unsuspecting family members to practice possible discussion topics. It didn’t go well. Me to Grandson: Tell me about

Fortnite. Great Uncle Jack: What’s Fortnite? Grandson: It’s an awesome video game! Great Uncle Jack: That’s stupid, you namby-pamby! Do you know what my video game was? World War II! So, I tried again. Me: Elon Musk plans to take humans to the moon in 2023. Second Cousin: The moon landing never happened. It’s a conspiracy to keep us docile. Me: I don’t think it’s working. Another effort. Me: How about those sports? Hubbie: Agents have ruined professional sports! Back in the day, athletes played the damn game. Now, it’s, “Oh, I need an extra $20 million before I can throw a pitch.” Okay then. Next. Me: What fun things should we do for Christmas? Brother-in-law: We should stop pandering to the commercialism of a pagan holiday that has no foundation of truth. Might as well celebrate rocks. I tried a different tactic. Me: A delicious roast turkey sure sounds good. Daughter: Do you know how

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turkeys are raised? It’s disgusting and inhuman. Me: Turkeys aren’t human. Daughter: You are dead to me. I was almost out of ideas. Me: What do you think about sweater vests? Everyone: We hate them! Well, that’s a start. I’m worried most families will end up sitting quietly, heads down, creating volcanoes with the mashed potatoes and gravy, and making NO eye contact for the entirety of the meal. At least dessert shouldn’t be contentious. (Dessert: Hold my beer.) There was a time when conversation was an art, a civilized form of

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speech. Someone started talking, then others respectfully chimed in with their opinions. Sometimes, discussions got heated, but it rarely became a knife fight. Or maybe I’ve just read too many Jane Austen novels where you had to actually pay attention to realize you’d been insulted. Now everyone is insulted. All the time. So. On Thanksgiving, let’s practice not being insulted. Let’s try hearing other people’s views without writing them out of the will. We don’t have to agree, but can we be kind? And the correct answer is Marvel. It’s always Marvel. l

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