West Valley Journal | February 2022

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February 2022 | Vol. 8 Iss. 14

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WEST VALLEY BLADESMITH FORGES SWORD FOR HISTORY CHANNEL COMPETITION By Darrell Kirby | d.kirby@mycityjournals.com

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hen Nate Anderson took an art class at the University of Utah, little did he know at the time that he would be cut out for an art form a bit different than what one typically thinks of as art. The West Valley City resident finished second on a recent episode of History Channel’s blade-making competition show “Forged in Fire,” which the cable network describes as a program where “world-class bladesmiths recreate historical edged weapons in a cutthroat competition.” Anderson and three other competing bladesmiths were required to make what he described as a “historically accurate, functioning” executioner’s sword. The weapon was judged on everything from its handle to blade design and construction, the precision of its measurements, and its functionality (no, that doesn’t mean it was actually tested on someone). Anderson finished second, still a big accomplishment and a testament to his bladesmithing skills on a national stage. It’s not even his full-time vocation— yet. He works it in around his day job at Thanksgiving Point but hopes to someday make a living at it. It all started when Anderson had to write a report for the U of U art class on a

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field of art that interested him. To do that, he tracked down a master bladesmith by the name of Jim Sigg, a long-time bladesmith who now plies his craft in Duchesne, Utah. Sigg has carved quite a reputation in the business by designing and selling custom knives to people all over the world. He made one for Angelina Jolie, who used it for a scene in the 2021 movie “Those Who Wish Me Dead.” Anderson also signed up for a one-onone class taught by Sigg to learn more about the trade. “He did exceptionally well,” Sigg said, citing Nate’s hand-eye coordination for such detailed work. The student volunteered to help the teacher when needed to sharpen his skills. “I can always use help,” Sigg said. “The older I get, the slower I get,” the 77-yearold added. Anderson’s appearance on “Forged in Fire” was sparked when a show producer saw his talents on display in a couple of knife-making groups on Facebook. “I started the application, which was really extensive, asking all sorts of questions,” Anderson said. Nate Anderson makes custom-made knives in his garage-turned-shop at his West Valley City home. His skills led to a That led to an interview by video call, spot on the bladesmithing competition show “Forged in Fire” on the History Channel. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals) Continued page 6

Scan Here: Interactive online edition with more photos.

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Historic championship

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West Valley City Journal


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Wellness Bus helps get residents on the road to better health By Darrell Kirby | d.kirby@mycityjournals.com

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f West Valley City residents have a goal in 2022 to improve their health, they need to get on the bus. It’s the Wellness Bus, the University of Utah Health’s mobile clinic where people can get free health screenings, nutrition counseling, and lifestyle coaching and education to help them live a healthier life. The Wellness Bus is parked each Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Redwood Recreation Center, 3060 S. Lester St. (3100 South just east of Redwood Road). Times and locations can change, so it is recommended people view their schedule on Facebook (Utahwellnessbus) or Twitter (@UtahWellnessBus). Step inside and community health workers will measure blood pressure, heart rate, glucose (blood sugar) level, cholesterol, and body mass index, a ratio of weight to height. The information gathered can also help determine if a person is more susceptible to (or already has) diabetes or other conditions, according to Nancy Ortiz, Mobile Health program manager at the University of Utah Health. “We’re just there to help them make lifestyle changes,” she added. Any additional health history offered by clients can help community health workers and registered dietitians on the bus determine if there are deeper issues that need to be addressed at traditional medical facilities. “We don’t have medical providers on the bus,” Ortiz said. “We like to say that we identify (potential problems).” Clients who don’t have adequate financial means can be referred to free and lowcost clinics for further diagnosis and treatment from doctors and other medical professionals, she added. Most people who visit the Wellness Bus don’t have insurance and it’s not required. Inside the bus on a Monday morning in January sat Maria Hernandez, a retired nurse from Venezuela. She has worked on the Wellness Bus since its inception. “I love to work with the community helping them in the area of prevention,” she said. “Diabetes is a big problem if people don’t take care of it. This is the reason that we are here.”

Journals T H E

Pacific Islanders are especially vulnerable to diabetes. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that Pacific Islanders are 2.5 times more likely to be diabetic than the non-Hispanic white population. More than 3% of West Valley City’s population is Pacific Islander, according to the 2020 Census. A world map inside the Wellness Bus is dotted with pins showing the native countries of the clients who have visited the clinic on wheels. “It’s really interesting to talk to people who came from different countries,” said Vika Havili, who has helped with health screenings on the bus since April 2021. The Wellness Bus began rolling in 2018 in part with a $5 million donation the previous year from the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation, which supports organizations and programs that provide health, wellness and other resources to improve the lives of individuals and families. Larry Miller died in 2009 of complications from diabetes. That’s one of the major conditions that the Wellness Bus helps people address through education and directing them to resources for treatment. In fact, the bus is a key part of an initiative called “Driving Out Diabetes.” Besides West Valley City, the Wellness Bus makes weekly visits to Kearns, South Salt Lake and Glendale. “We go there because they have high rates of diabetes,” Ortiz said. Hernandez encourages people in West Valley City to visit the Wellness Bus to get on the road toward a healthier life. “This is my passion,” the 75-year-old said. “Giving service, helping everybody.” For more information, visit wellnessbus. org. In addition to the Wellness Bus, the Redwood Recreation Center will host a free weekly nutrition education program, Journey to Health, starting in March. Text 385-226-5131 to register. l

The University of Utah Health’s Wellness Bus is at the Redwood Recreation Center in West Valley City every Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to offer free health screenings and information. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

Pins on a world map inside the University of Utah Health’s Wellness Bus indicate the native countries of people who have visited the mobile clinic. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

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West Valley City Journal


There’s much work to do in 2022 says city’s first female mayor By Darrell Kirby | d.kirby@mycityjournals.com

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n a historic occasion for West Valley City, Karen Lang was sworn in during a ceremony in January as the city’s first woman mayor. Lang took the oath of office in front of a gathering of city officials and employees, friends, family and other well-wishers in the lobby of City Hall. “I’m very honored and privileged that you have enough faith in me to elect me mayor,” Lang told the crowd as she held back tears. “We have much to do in 2022. We’re going to make this a great year for the city.”

Lang praised the camaraderie of the city council even when members have different opinions and votes. “We get along. Nobody holds grudges,” Lang said. Three other members of West Valley City government were also sworn in. Newcomer Scott Harmon took his seat on the city council to replace Steve Buhler who lost his bid for mayor after serving for 12 years on the council. “I love West Valley,” said Harmon, 46, a nearly lifelong resident of the city. “I’m excited to be part of (the communi-

ty) in this different way and to make good changes in West Valley and help us progress and become better.” He represents District 2 in the south-central part of the city. Incumbents Lars Nordfelt and Jake Fitisemanu officially began their third and second terms, respectively, on the city council. Nordfelt, who serves as one of the at-large representative, is the son of the late former mayor and police chief Dennis Nordfelt. “I hope…that we can all work

together to make a difference for our city as we move into the future and that I will be worthy of the trust that you’ve put in me.” Fitisemanu was reelected in District 4 covering the southwestern section of the city. “I am very grateful and proud of the dynamics of our council. We treat each other with respect in working to improve the city,” he said, echoing the new mayor. Also in January, the city council selected William Whetstone to fill the remaining two years of Lang’s former seat on the council. l

From left to right: Scott Harmon, Jake Fitisemanu, Karen Lang, and Lars Nordfelt were sworn into office on Jan. 4. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

Continued from front page a request from the show for videos and photos of Anderson’s work, and finally an invitation to be a contestant on the program. “Then I had to fill out a background check, which was really extensive, for obvious reasons. They don’t need crazy people going on (the show) making weapons,” he said with a laugh. That process and the filming of the show in Connecticut took almost a year and a half, delayed in part by the pandemic. Crews even came to Anderson’s West Valley City home to film a profile segment for the show on his bladesmithing skills. Similar to TV cooking competitions like Gordon Ramsay’s “MasterChef,” “Forged in Fire” contestants are given an assignment to demonstrate their skills, judges critique their work, and gradually whittle the participants down to two finalists and pick a winner. “They’re not gentle,” Anderson said. “When they’re testing it, they want to make sure that it’s an actual, real, tough, functioning weapon, historically accurate in measurements, dimensions, and everything like that.” Anderson’s sword admirably held up to the judge’s trial by fire, so to speak. “It didn’t sustain any damage, which I’m super pleased with. It was just a bit too heavy,” he explained. Anderson has no regrets about finishing runner-up. “In my world of knifemaking, even getting selected to be on the show is a huge thing,” he said. l

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Esports teams in Granite high schools compete for first time in 2021 By Heather Lawrence | h.lawrence@mycityjournals.com

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n a Wednesday in December, five Cottonwood High students and teacher Dwight Epperson hold a club meeting during lunch. They talk about upcoming events and tournaments. During the meeting, three more students who want to join turn in applications. Ellis Ames, a junior and club officer reminds them what’s at stake for the next tournament. “We’re competing against [students in] the entire country as well as others in our district,” Ellis said. The big prize is $500 and a PC. And all they have to do to win is play video games. The students are officers in one of Cottonwood’s newest district-sponsored clubs: Esports. “Esport (video game) competitions have sprung up in high schools and middle schools throughout Utah. In line with this growing popularity, GSD has developed an Esports organization to help connect students to competitions,” wrote Granite District in a press release in November. The five officers at the meeting today are Ethan Barnett, Miguel Garcia, Tyler Needham, Ellis Ames and Casen Johnson. Their team is 31 students and growing. In December alone they had three tournaments. The team has a great ally in their advisor. Epperson had a 30-year career as an attorney, and then started a second career teaching. He’s been at Cottonwood for three years, and his son teaches math at Granger High School. “It really is fun. I don’t recommend it for retirement—they’re keeping me busy. But it keeps things simpler than law,” Epperson said. He takes a minute to break down some of the team stats. “Apex Legends has eight players, but Halo only has four,” Epperson said as he hands out printed copies of the roster. He’s happy to give the kids a place to be and somewhere to belong.

The students like Epperson. With several tournaments a month, they rely on him to keep up the paperwork. All the competitions are done through Generation Esports. “Mr. Epperson is pretty great. He does a lot of the technical things: he signs people up, and there are weird and confusing paperwork things that can be difficult. There are hoops to jump through and he helps us all with that,” Ellis said. The world of video games is occupied mostly by males. But Cottonwood’s club wants female players to feel comfortable joining. There are three female students in the club and another comes in to apply during the meeting. “It’s about 10% females on the team, which is about how it plays out in other teams,” Casen said. They play as a team, not against each other. But they are playing against other district-sponsored teams at Granite District high schools. The nearest rival is Skyline High. Cottonwood and Skyline both competed in the 2021 Ken Garff Esports Fall Festival. It was a four-hour competition with students from 20 Utah school districts, including Granite. The games were Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and Rocket League. Team members are designated to certain games. “We have a lot of members, but they are spread across different games,” Ellis said. “We could play each other more and find out our strengths and weaknesses so we could compete individually instead of as a team, but we haven’t really done that yet. It’s hard to say, ‘You have to show up to practice today,’ and get people here to practice. This isn’t a football team, it’s a club,” Casen said. At this meeting, just before Christmas, they’re talking about the Triton Cup, where the prize is $500 and a gaming PC for the winner. The team thinks that after Christmas they

might get more members as students get gaming consoles or equipment as gifts. The games for this tournament are Halo, Apex Legends and Super Smash Brothers. Parents need to sign a permission slip because some of the games are violent and rated Mature. Casen understands why some parents might object. “Halo is literally a war simulator,” he said. “It’s a space war between aliens!” Ethan interjects, defending the fictional aspect of the game. At this point you might be wondering if it’s legitimate for a high school to encourage their students to play more video games. Epperson cites the cover story in the September 2021 issue of Utah Business Magazine in support of Esports. “This article lists some of the benefits of having a high school team. I think when you have an environment like we’ve had here [with the pandemic] where we just seem to not have a lot of control over what’s going on around you, these games give you a sense of control. And for these students that feels really good,” Epperson said. Tournaments are played from home but they can all see and communicate with each other. They are live-streamed and spectators can watch—if they’re up for four to six hours of watching other people play video games. And if they progress far enough in a tournament, they get to play together in a facility, face to face with their opponents and spectators in a crowd. Winning looks a little different depending on the game. “I’ve researched the rules for Halo in the tournament, and it’s the best of three. You’re playing a version called Slayer on two teams of four. You could tie, but it’s very uncommon,” Tyler said.

There is a social aspect to the club. All the officers say they’ve made friends here. Some are involved in other activities like football or wrestling. Like all clubs, students need to maintain a 2.0 GPA to participate. There are people who make a career in Esports, and in Utah it’s not out of the realm of reality. Competitors from Utah have found success at video game competitions. One of the first was Jeff Hansen. In 1990, a then 10-year-old Hansen from Murray played in the Power Fest competition in Salt Lake City sponsored by Nintendo. Hansen went on to win at several levels and earn prizes and trips until 1993. His story was profiled in episode two of the Netflix series “High Score.” More recently, in February 2020, a professional Esports team from Layton won $1,000,000 at a competition in Canada. The article in Utah Business Magazine focused on the Utah Jazz Esports team. Its six players live together in an apartment in Salt Lake City and play up to 10 hours a day. The Jazz gaming website says team members are “guaranteed, competitive salary and benefits as well as housing.” There are other benefits. Learning about video games can influence teens to seek out STEM careers and learn more about coding. Playing as a team means working together. The prize gives them a goal to work toward. Interactions with Epperson give them a supportive role model. And maybe the best part is that playing video games—which is fun—can count as a school activity. Casen said he feels fine telling his parents to give him some time to practice his video game skills. “I just say, ‘I’m gonna go do a school thing, and I need you to not talk to me for a while.’”l

Hunter-area resident chosen to fill District 3 seat on West Valley City Council By Darrell Kirby | d.kirby@mycityjournals.com

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he briefly vacant District 3 seat on the West Valley City Council has been filled. William Whetstone was approved by the city council on Jan. 18 to finish the two years left in the term of Karen Lang, who was elected as mayor in November after 10 years on the council serving the northwestern/north-central part of the city. “I’m just very excited to serve on the council,” Whetstone said.

Whetstone was selected from among seven applicants. The 30-year resident of West Valley City has been a member of the city’s Board of Adjustment since 2013. The panel hears and acts on appeals of decisions and actions by the planning commission and zoning administrator. Whetstone is Director of Community Reinvestment for American Express. “I look for investments that can stimulate the economy and investments that create or preserve affordable housing,” William Whetstone, West Valley City’s newest said Whetstone, hoping to bring that excouncilmember. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals) perience to the city. He would also like

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to see greater recognition and support for military veterans who live in West Valley City. Whetstone is a 17-year veteran himself, currently serving part-time in the Utah Air National Guard. Getting to an affirmative vote for Whetstone was not easy. Separate motions were made by various city council members for votes on five of the seven candidates, but none garnered enough support. A majority of council members finally gave the nod to Whetstone. Whetstone and his wife, Deborah, have four daughters, ages 14 to 23. “They’re pretty excited,” he said. l

West Valley City Journal


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Parents in Granite District urged to monitor students’ social media By Heather Lawrence | h.lawrence@mycityjournals.com

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your student’s smartphone device for any of the following social media platforms: Snapchat, Instagram or TikTok," the GSD letter to parents stated. The letter continued, “Tell your children that threatening posts should not be shared, but instead reported immediately to a trusted adult.” Thankfully, nothing came of the Dec. 17 threat. Horsley said it was vague and lacked credibility, but he reiterated that GSD takes any threat seriously. Threats can always be reported anonymously on the SafeUT app or by calling the Granite Police Department at 801-481-7122. Students who make threats “for fun” or “as a joke” can face serious consequences. Criminal charges include a felony charge of making a terrorist threat, and school and district level discipline also apply. Those consequences and the possibility of real violence are reminders that parents need to know what their kids are doing online. Technology can be hard to keep up with, but GSD said not knowing how to monitor a child’s account can’t be an excuse. Horsley said parents may have to restrict students’ access until they educate themselves. “The frustrating thing is parents who

hreats posted on social media disrupted schools across Utah and other states in December. A vague threat went viral about something planned at “GHS” on Dec. 17. In Granite District, a Matheson Jr. High student was taken into custody “in connection with a threat” on Dec. 16. “We’re seeing posts and reshares of content across the state. It’s inundating us this morning. The police have been all over it. These [online threats] are very difficult to track,” said GSD spokesperson Ben Horsley on Dec. 16. The threats were shared via TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram. They caused a “major disruption” to the school day. The district responded with a letter to parents and increased police presence on some campuses. Horsley said that parents, not schools, are responsible to monitor or restrict students’ social media accounts. “There are 62,000 students in our district. We have no way of monitoring social media accounts for all of them. That responsibility falls to the parents,” Horsley said. The letter from GSD urged parents to be proactive in learning what social media their kids use. "As soon as you are able, please check

don’t understand the technology, but are allowing their kids access to it, are calling on the school to monitor their kids’ social media accounts. If parents don’t have the ability to monitor a child’s social media, please remove or restrict their access,” Horsley said. Legally, minors must be at least 13 years old to create social media accounts. Snapchat’s Terms of Service state, “No one under 13 is allowed to create an account or use the Services. If you are under 18, you may only use the Services with the proper consent of your parent or legal guardian.” Other platforms have similar rules which are agreed to when you click “accept.” If your child has created a social media account without your consent, there are ways to delete it if you choose to. If your kids are on a family media or phone plan

with you, research how you can monitor their activity. Paid parental control software like Qustodio, Bark and Net Nanny are also available. In the case of December’s threat, Granger High principal David Dunn told parents to look for specific usernames. “We are looking for a user account on [Snapchat, TikTok or Instagram] that goes by evil eye, serenity or yelizaveta. If you identify any of those user handles, please contact Granite police at any time,” Dunn said. Even without specific usernames, parents and guardians should be generally aware. The tip sheet from GSD “Knowing What’s on Your Child’s Smartphone” will give parents an introduction on what to look for. Any threat, bullying, or inappropriate social media use should be reported. l With the widespread use of smartphones among teens and preteens, the district is finding a number of apps being used for cyberbullying, sexting and accessing pornography. While many of these apps can be used for wholesome purposes, we strongly recommend that all parents be proactive in monitoring smartphone use. New apps with questionable content or features are being developed all the time. Becoming familiar with the types of apps are on you child’s device will help build trust and keep unwanted content out of their hands.

A parent’s guide to apps

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There are several apps that act as free alternatives to text messages sent over regular phone and data plans. These apps are typically seen on iPods and tablets, but are also common on smartphones. A few of these messaging platforms are popular networks for sexting because users feel a greater sense of privacy than typical phone text messaging services.

Examples:

APPS FOR HIDING THINGS Many applications exist for the sole purpose of hiding things from plain view. In many cases these apps allow users to hide photos, messages, and even other apps the user may want to keep secret. Some of these apps have deceptive names or icons (Calculator%). Other apps provide platforms where users can post anonymously.

Examples:

SOCIAL APPS Social media and other interactive apps are commonplace among all smartphone users. However, many of these networks contain adult material not far removed from popular content. Others are notorious for cyberbullying, and many allow private messaging and photo sharing between strangers. It’s important to know how your child uses these apps

Examples:

PHOTO & LIVE STREAM APPS

DATING APPS

Apps for sharing photos and videos have always been popular among teens. Many of these apps do not have content filters, and privacy settings are sometimes nonexistent. Live streaming apps are also popular among teens. These platforms allow users to connect via live video feed. Oversharing and chatting with strangers are common issues.

Dating apps typically allow users to create profiles complete with personal information and photos and browse other user profiles. It is possible for users to create anonymous or misleading profiles. Private messaging features help users arrange to meet in person. Some applications have specifically been designed to match users for casual sexual encounters.

Examples:

Examples:

Viber

Secret

Twitter

HouseParty

Yubo

Telegram

Poof

Hot or Not

Instagram

Tinder

Kik

Calculator%

ASKfm

Snapchat

Skout

Jott

Vaulty

AfterSchool

Omegle

Down

WhatsApp

Secret

Whisper

Live.ly

Bumble

A tip sheet created by GSD after online threats in December will help parents monitor their students’ social media. (Granite School District)

West Valley City Journal


Council approves first development in new energy efficient zone

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By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com

he West Valley City Council unanimously approved a development that will see a 15-home subdivision built in the city’s residential sustainability zone, a first for the city. The zone, created by the city and approved by the council in February 2020, aims to encourage developers to build homes that generates power, conserves water and are energy efficient. The zone is not a requirement, but an option where developers would follow the standards in the zone in exchange for smaller lot sizes. “This is our first application and development in the RS zone so we are excited to see this project move forward,” said Steve Lehman, the city’s planning manager. The land in question (3734 S. 3200 West) was rezoned from agricultural to the residential sustainability zone in April 2021. Two existing homes on the property will be removed. Receiving final plat approval from the council means the Han subdivision, located on 4.4 acres, will have 15 lots with the average square footage of 8,700 per lot. The minimum lot size permitted in the zone is 8,000 square feet.

In order to meet the efficiency standards required for such a zone, the Han subdivision—to be developed by Eugene Han—requires a solar system capable of generating enough power for the entire home; a tankless water heater; a car charger located inside the garage; WaterSense fixtures for all water sources; and exterior to be 80% brick among others. Lehman said these are improvements that make “these homes more sustainable than what we typically see.” “This is real exciting,” Councilman Lars Nordfelt said during a January study meeting. “This is going to be a showcase for our city I hope. Something that we can be proud of.” Appliances in the home are ENERGY STAR rated, meaning they meet federally mandated guidelines regarding energy efficiency. Though the home itself, as Councilman Scott Harmon pointed out, is not. He suggested the council revisit the ordinance to consider requiring the home be ENERGY STAR rated which discussion was scheduled for a later date. Councilman Tom Huynh stated a conflict of interest he had. Huynh will be working with the developer. l

An aerial view of the land being redeveloped as an energy efficient neighborhood. (West Valley City)

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James Brown brings resources to older adults through new multimedia project By Bill Hardesty | b.hardesty@mycityjournals.com

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bout two years ago, James Brown, a Salt Lake Valley media personality for over 30 years, started a new venture. He and other board members formed the Living & Aging with Pride nonprofit organization. Like many older adults, Brown was hit with a rent increase two years ago. His rent went from $900 a month to $2,500 a month. He realized that he had to move. He reached out to his network and found a home at Sharon Gardens (3354 Sue Street). The Utah nonprofit Housing Corporation built the apartments. "I started thinking about my own discovery as I've gotten older. Things that I didn't quite understand. I got to go to Medicaid. I got to go to Medicare. I got to go there. I got to go. I've got to do all these things that I was not prepared to do," Brown said. "And I saw a lot of seniors disappointed and angry and upset, and I thought, you know, I want to talk about this since my background had been in television and radio." Brown began to make his vision come true. First, Living & Aging with Pride was created as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. This allows the organization to receive donations. Later a multimedia initiative was added titled "Living and Aging with Pride," which will enable advertising and sponsorships on media products. The vision “‘Living and Aging with Pride’ is a

unique multimedia infotainment program which addresses the inevitability of aging and highlights the financial burdens that impact the aging communities' quality of life," according to their website, Livingwithpride.org. "It's more than just a television show or a media show. It is truly being developed to be a resource for older adults that they can rely upon. And not only locally, but on a national perspective," Brown said. The website's goal is to be a one-stop destination for information and discussion of issues concerning older adults. Brown feels that many informational websites push a product or an agenda. "What I've witnessed, rather, is that when you go to many of these sites, it's more about the donation aspect of it, you get that upfront, you don't get the how do I deal with this problem upfront?" Brown said. "Well, we're going to give you the solution to the problem. You know, we're going to prepare you before you get the problem. We're going to educate your children because they're wondering what they're going to do when mommy and daddy get 70 and 80 years old, and we're going to help guide them through." The vision is bold, and Brown has spent two years preparing for the release. He built a podcast studio in a room at his apartment complex. He made partnerships with influencers.

James Brown sets up for his “Living and Aging with Pride” podcast. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

There is a four-person board of trustees and an 18-member advisory board. Brown even has a set designed for future video programming. "I'm about a month away from introducing to the world our first three episodes,"

Roundtable Talk with Representative Weight Priority: Community ElizabethWeight@le.utah.gov Much of my expression in this column is about neighborhoods – the homes, nearby schools, churches, grocery store; the retired folks and working parents, toddlers and teenagers; the teachers, mail deliverers, and store clerks who comprise what we each call “my neighborhood.” We derive a significant part of our self-awareness from our neighborhoods. We are inevitably shaped by the area where we live and environment that surrounds us … especially true, the longer we live in the same neighborhood. Additionally, what we do in our neighborhood makes a difference for us and every other person there, even though we may not always realize it. Each of us contributes to the awareness and understanding that build caring practices, pride, and safety in the area where our address is. Recent shooting deaths and injury of teens in West Valley City have highlighted both the caring and also the responsibility we have to all

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our families when we choose to live in a neighborhood. Each time an act of gun violence affects one of us, it becomes a neighborhood experience, a violation of the trust we give each other that guns will be responsibly managed. As neighbors, we are responsible to store guns securely when we aren’t carrying them. Our neighbors trust that those with firearms understand their lethal power and how to safely carry and use them. We rely gun owners to keep them and ammunition separately locked away from young children, from possible home invaders, from teens who are easily intrigued. We are re-orienting after the latest shootings among young people. Once again, we will re-set our expectation that gun owners will recognize and take responsible steps and restore some lost trust that firearms can be safe. We know there are more guns around, and we thank owners who are increasingly conscientious with them. Thank you for caring about your community.

Elizabeth Weight, Utah Representative

Page 10 | February 2022

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Brown said. "From there, we will hopefully attract the necessary funding that will enable us to produce 13 to 26 television shows. Now, I say television only because that's one of the mechanisms for putting the message out, and we do know that seniors watch television." The podcasts and other information are available on their website. The backstory The name James Brown might sound familiar for those living in Utah. For 13 years, he wrote, produced and hosted a show called "New Horizons" on Channel 14 and Channel 7. The focus of the show was to explore diversity in Utah. His open conversation style made the show an award winner. He was also a featured reporter for Channel 4 for nine years. Before going to TV, he was on KALL radio. A guest on his talk show suggested he move to TV and arranged for his hire at Channel 4. Brown made sure his ethnicity was not an issue when he was hired. "I told the producer I wasn’t going to be the minority guy. The guy who covers every event involving a Black or Hispanic individual," Brown said. "He asked me what kind of stories did I want to do. I told him I wanted to do good stories. Stories about people doing good things, and I got my wish." One notable Brown story is when he went undercover in the homeless community. For three days, he panhandled in front of a church. Brown said he made about $600 a day. "But it was such a humiliating experience. I thought, how do these people stand here and ask people for money. It's so demeaning, especially the looks you get," Brown said. Brown won a local Emmy for his story. l

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West Valley City Journal


Use smartwatch to monitor your heart during American Heart Month By Karmel Harper | k.harper@mycityjournals.com

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ebruary is American Heart Month, a time to focus on our cardiovascular health. While paper and chocolate hearts abound, February also raises awareness for the health of our beating hearts, the life-sustaining organ that pumps oxygen throughout our bodies. Herriman resident Paula Nielson-Williams is the recreation manager and 29-year veteran of Salt Lake Community College’s Exercise Science department. “Exercise is good for heart health,” Nielson-Williams said. “American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes a day of moderate-vigorous exercise or an hour a day of moderate exercise. So get out walking, lift some weights, or play with your kids.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and is responsible for 16% of the world’s total deaths. WHO said, “Since 2000, the largest increase in deaths has been from this disease, rising by more than 2 million to 8.9 million deaths in 2019.” (Source: www. who.int). While heart disease has typically afflicted older adults, heart attacks have increased in younger people under the age of 40, with a steady rise in patients between 20 - 30 years old. The Cardio Metabolic Institute said, “It was rare for anyone younger than 40 to have a heart attack. Now 1 in 5 heart attack patients are younger than 40 years of age. Here’s another troubling fact to highlight the problem: Having a heart attack in your 20s or early 30s is more common. Between the years 2000-2016, the heart attack rate increased by 2% every year in this young age group.” Reasons for this steady rise among younger people are increasing risk factors affecting this age group such as diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, smoking and vaping, and substance abuse. While lifestyle changes such as proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and avoiding substance abuse can significantly mitigate heart disease risk factors, regular exercise is a very effective method for combating heart disease. Johns Hopkins exercise physiologist Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D, said, “Aerobic exercise and resistance training are the most important for heart health. Although flexibility doesn’t contribute directly to heart health, it’s nevertheless important because it provides a good foundation for performing aerobic and strength exercises more effectively.” For aerobic or cardiovascular exercise, measuring one’s heart rate is standard to ensure one works out within the prescribed heart rate zones for optimal benefits. Heart rate training zones are a percentage of your maximum heart rate or heartbeats per minute. With the emergence of smartwatches and other devices, people can monitor their heart rate in real-time and

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67-year old Nancy Webster from Riverton uses her smartwatch to monitor her water aerobics workouts where she typically burns over 600 calories. (Karmel Harper/City Journals)

adjust their exercise intensity. These devices incorporate personal biometrics such as age, gender and weight and calculate individualized heart rate training zones. To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, a 25-year-old’s maximum heart rate is 195 heartbeats (bpm) per minute (220-25=195), and a 65-year-old’s maximum heart rate is 155 bpm. From this calculation, heart rate zones are established (see photo). The number of zones can vary based on the device’s monitoring system, but a popular standard is five zones: 1.The warm-up or Healthy Heart zone is 50% - 60% of your max heart rate (Mhr). 2.The fat burn or Weight Management zone is 50% - 70% of your Mhr. 3.The cardio or Aerobic zone is 70% 80% of your Mhr. 4.The intense or Anaerobic zone is 80% 90% of your Mhr. 5.The maximum or Red Line zone is 90% - 100% of your Mhr. However, this simple equation, which only uses the single metric of age, does not consider whether the individual is a seasoned triathlete or an unconditioned sedentary desk worker. Doctors typically advise those with heart conditions on their heart rate zone ceilings. As exercising in Zone 5 or higher puts significant strain on your heart, more fit individuals can reach this level for short bouts. Therefore, monitoring heart rate over time during exercise bouts to see improvement trends is practical. Even if you don’t exercise regularly, those with heart conditions can use a smartwatch to monitor their heart throughout the day. Kaysville’s Scot Vore said, “I use my smartwatch to monitor my steps and my heart for Afib.” l

February 2022 | Page 11


Learn about notable Utah African Americans for Black History Month By Karmel Harper | k.harper@mycityjournals.com

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ntil the November 2020 elections, slavery in Utah was still legal as punishment for a convicted crime. According to Article 1, Section 21, in Utah's state Constitution, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within this State." However, on Nov. 3, 2020, Amendment C, which bans slavery in all forms, passed with 81% of the vote. Utah House Rep. Sandra Collins, who sponsored Amendment C, said, “Our constitution serves as a basis for all of our laws and policies. We need to be clearer about what prison is for and what prison is not. The notion of ‘slavery or involuntary servitude’ should not be imposed on people merely because they are convicted of a crime. By passing this measure, we will assert that slavery is not a Utah value.” Although slavery in Utah was not widespread, some Utah pioneers held African-American slaves until 1862, when Congress abolished slavery in all of its territories. Brigham Young sent three African-American men as part of an advance party in 1847 to clear brush, trees, and rocks to make a road for pioneer wagons. These men were Green Flake, Hark Lay, and Oscar Crosby. Their names appear on a plaque on the Brigham Young Mon-

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ument in downtown Salt Lake City with the inscription: “Green Flake, Hark Lay, and Oscar Crosby, Colored Servants.” Kristine Murdock, a historian, and administrator for Our Kaysville Story Facebook page, said, “After Green Flake and his wife Martha Crosby (also a slave) were freed, they settled in the Salt Lake Valley. They were members of the LDS Church and very loved in the community. They are buried in the Union Cemetery Cottonwood Heights, Utah.” However, some Utah slaves’ stories were tragic. 1n 1858, when he was only 3 years old, Gobo Fango of the Xhosa tribe in South Africa was given to white property owners Henry and Ruth Talbot after famine afflicted the Xhosa. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Talbots set sail from South Africa to Boston in 1861, where they would join the gathering of saints in Salt Lake City. The Talbots smuggled Fango aboard in a wrapped carpet, but Fango was reported to have provided entertainment and helped take care of the sheep on-board once the ship set sail. After traveling west to Utah, the Talbots eventually settled in Kaysville. According to an article by the University of Utah’s Marriott Library, Fango’s feet froze one year

when the Talbots allegedly forced him to herd animals in bare feet. When someone suggested that one of his feet required amputation, he said he ‘would rather have part of a foot than none at all.’ It seems that part of his heel was removed, but that doctors did not amputate his foot at the ankle. Years later, a woman reported that Fango would place wool in his boot so that his foot would fit into it and he could walk. He left the Talbots and worked as a laborer for the Mary Ann Whitesides Hunter family, who lived in Grantsville, Utah, roughly between 1870 and 1880. He was listed as a “servant” (likely employed as such) in the 1880 U.S. Census living in Grantsville. Fango settled in the Goose Creek valley of Idaho territory by the 1880s and worked as a sheepherder. However, tensions between sheepherders and cattlemen in the area led to Fango’s murder by cattleman Frank Bedke, who was acquitted. Fango, who was described as generous with a cheerful disposition, dictated his final will and testament before succumbing to his gunshot wounds. He bequeathed half of his estate ($500) to the Salt Lake Temple Construction Fund. Nearly 45 years after his death, Talbot and Hunter’s family members could not find evidence of Fango’s membership in the church and thus performed his baptism by proxy in the Salt Lake Temple on Sept. 20, 1930. The U of U article said, “Because Fango was a Black African, he could not be ordained

to the priesthood posthumously, which would have made it possible for him to receive other LDS liturgies by proxy. As Louisa Hale wrote to a historian seeking information on Fango in 1934, ‘a Negro cannot hold the priesthood. So [performing his posthumous baptism] was all we could do for him. I, of course, feel that he is more worthy than many that do hold it.’” As February is Black History Month, we honor the stories of African Americans who have shaped this country and state. Notable African American Utahns include Mignon Barker Richmond (1897-1984), who was the first African American woman to graduate from a Utah college and was a human and civil rights activist, and Anna Belle Weakley-Mattson (1922-2008), an astute businesswoman who was a significant force to Ogden’s growing Black community in the 1900s. Daybreak’s Club for Diversity & Inclusion places staked signs around Oquirrh Lake in South Jordan to honor Black History Month, displaying photographs and the history of notable African Americans. Visitors can enjoy the sights and sounds of the lake while learning more about these exceptional individuals. Vanessa Janak said, “I think knowledge is power. And I think when we as a community can take even small opportunities to lean in and learn about people who aren’t just like us, it helps us become closer, appreciate others and their differences, and foster a greater sense of purpose and belonging. For everyone.” l

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A member of the Daybreak Diversity & Inclusion club places a sign at Oquirrh Lake for Black History Month. You can visit the lake in February to read about notable African Americans. (Photo courtesy Vanessa Janak)

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February 2022 | Page 13


Despite ‘unique character’ of 5450 West, new development to feature curb and gutter By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com

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450 West will look a little different going forward. The street, known for its agricultural feel with looping trees, recently had a development approved by the West Valley City Council that will see 12 homes built at about 3700 South. The council approved a zone change moving the 4.4 acres of land to Residential Estate where the 12 lots will average just over 15,000 square feet. Approval of the zone change and subsequent development agreement with the de-

veloper, Hamlet Homes, didn’t come without much discussion though as city officials weighed the need for curb, gutter and sidewalk against the unique feel of the neighborhood. Brent Beutler is a property owner along the street and grew up in the neighborhood. He encouraged the council to keep 5450 West devoid of as much curb, gutter and sidewalk as possible. “That street’s got a special ambiance with the big trees up there, it’d be horrible

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to see those go,” Beutler said. “I would encourage you if there’s some other way that it can be done without removing those big trees, let’s please do it because what a special place that is. I don’t think that exists anywhere else in West Valley and very few places in the whole valley.” In the original proposal, city staff didn’t require curb and gutter for the development along 5450 West (five homes will front the street). While some sections have it, much of the street doesn’t, including an eight-lot development, The Reserve—approved in 2018—on the other side of the street. Both in the 2018 case and this case, city staff didn’t require it due to the “unique character of the street,” Community and Economic Development Director Steve Pastorik told the council in December. Several members on the council noted curb and gutter is about safety to deal with stormwater. During the December council meeting and prior to the vote, Scott Harmon, speaking as a resident and incoming councilman at the time, said any new development should have curb, gutter and sidewalk. “We need to be not shortsighted and look at 15 or 20 years from now,” he said, noting areas that are redeveloped should also have curb and gutter. Former Mayor Ron Bigelow said at the time he felt curb, gutter and sidewalk was the inevitable outcome with agricultural properties being turned into subdivisions, despite his nostalgia. “In many respects I wish that street could maintain its agricultural feel and still have the horse pastures,” he said before later adding, “but homes are going in and we’re headed that direction.” Rhett Olsen, a resident, told the council neighbors prioritize the trees in that location

rather than curb, gutter and sidewalk being installed. “I don’t think there’s any one of us that want curb and gutter along 5450, it is a beautiful street,” Olsen said. He added the curb and gutter currently on the street removed “beautiful trees” when they were installed. While the council unanimously approved the zone change, the development agreement was amended as Karen Lang— then councilwoman, now mayor—motioned to add curb, gutter and sidewalk along 5450 West and the inlet of the subdivision if possible. Councilman Jake Fitisemanu added a provision that would encourage creative ways to preserve the existing trees. The development was approved 6-1 with Buhler dissenting. Lang said they “don’t want to have to do it later” noting transit will increase in that area with it adjoining 3500 South. Olsen also felt the development was a touch too dense since two of the lots needed a width reduction, noting the trees that surround the property line would be taken out. “It’s just sad to see us sacrificing trees that could have been saved if we had just been a little less dense,” he said. One other concern was the three flag lots as part of the development. Former Mayor Ron Bigelow and former Councilman Steve Buhler, who continuously voiced opposition to such lots during their tenures, did so one final time here. “I wish there was a better way to design that so it wouldn’t have those long, narrow driveways,” Bigelow said. Harmon also felt the incoming subdivision had too many flag lots. Due to the two existing homes on the property that will be kept was the reason for the flag lot design, Pastorik explained. l

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Trees and no curb, gutter or sidewalk line 5450 West. Trying to maintain the character of the street played a role in the council’s ultimately approving a development along the road. (Courtesy West Valley City)

West Valley City Journal


Matheson Tigers win a boys basketball title By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com

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he Matheson Tigers won the district championship for boys junior high basketball. “It was such a fun and intimidating championship game,” head coach Sage Harmsen said. “We went to Olympus Junior High to play in front of their fans. Walking into the gym they were all barking like dogs (Olympus’ mascot is the bulldogs). I will not lie it was tough and we knew they were for real.” The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 61-51. Late in the game, Matheson only led by five. A missed shot and timely rebound eventually put the game out of reach. “We increased the lead to 10 points by hitting our free throws,” Harmsen said. The team had some important game-time performances. Carlo Mulfod finished the game with 31 points. Beckham Bayles hit critical free throws near the end of the game to secure the victory. Stone Tia had 11 points, Chase Macceo grabbed several rebounds and Quincy Bradford hit a late-game three-pointer that proved to be the winning shot. “From the get-go, it was an intimidating game. We led most of the game. I had a spectator tell me it was as good as the triple-overtime game against Michael Jordan (1992 Jazz victory 126-123). It was so competitive and the sportsmanship was very good,” Harmsen said. Granite School District sponsors its junior

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The Tigers celebrate their junior high championship. (Photo courtesy of Sage Harmsen)

high sports programs as learning opportunities for its students. They offer basketball, soccer, volleyball, cross country, wrestling and track and field. “I think our program has been a success,” Granite School District Athletic Director Chris Shipman said. “They seem to enjoy it.” Each sporting season begins with an in-

tramural school competition. Every student that wishes to play can join the after-school program. As the two-week trial period ends the coaches select all-star teams to compete against other schools from the district. “We had about 100 students participate in basketball this year,” Harmsen said. “We selected 26 to be part of the team. They all partic-

ipated in practice and training and then 15 were allowed to be on the team for games.” The Tigers went undefeated in its seven games. They only allowed an average of 23 points per game, while scoring nearly 67 per contest. This was the first time they had defeated Olympus Junior High in a game. “It was tough to coach these kids. I never knew when to call off the dogs, so to speak,” Harmsen said. “In the end, it is about the kids and letting them grow.” One of the requirements for participation is a need to be in good standing with the school, with academics and with citizenship. “The extras are so important for the kids. We use recess privilege when they are younger and activities when they are older. Being able to express themselves outside of the classroom is important,” Harmsen said. Granite is the only school district to organize junior high sports programs. “I love the junior high program. It is an opportunity for students that are not part of a super league or AAU to be a member of a team,” Harmsen said. “Otherwise, they might not have that chance. It amazed me that we had players from all different walks of life. We played together and laughed together and that was one of our strengths.” l

February 2022 | Page 15


West Valley resident building her artistic cookie business one icing stroke at a time By Carl Fauver | c.fauver@mycityjournals.com

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aitlin Heckenliable loved to cook – and particularly bake cookies – with her mom, dad and two sisters. She also had a grandfather who was a professional chef. “Cooking was a whole family thing, especially baking cookies and eclairs,” Heckenliable said. “It was a lot of fun and a great way for us to be together. It’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.” More recently, the 2010 Taylorsville High School graduate and mother of two sons (Ian, 6, and Owen, 4) has turned that love for baking into a fledgling Taylorsville business: One Heck of a Treat (oneheckofatreat.com). “I specialize in custom-decorated sugar cookies,” Caitlin explained. “The first cookies I ever made professionally were for my sister’s baby shower in 2016. They were horrendous. But friends and family did start asking me to make more for them. I would say I ‘dabbled’ in it until 2019. Now I’m working to grow it into a successful home-based business.” One of Caitlin’s sisters came up with the business name, One Heck of a Treat. “It’s a play off my (Heckenliable) name,” she said. “Both my sisters have been a major help on the business side – helping me come up with finance plans and other things.” Caitlin, her husband Taylor and their boys live in West Valley City. Eventually that will be the location of their home-based business, after construction of a second, “work” kitchen is completed in their basement. But for now, Heckenliable bakes out of her mom’s larger Taylorsville kitchen. And she’s often booked out a month or two in advance. “I try to make six to eight dozen cookies per week,” Caitlin explained. “The most I have done is 13 dozen in a week. It gets more hectic closer to the holidays. And a dozen cookies can take me a week if the frosting artwork is particularly detailed.” Heckenliable also makes cakes, macaroons, cupcakes and other confections through her business. But 80% or more of her time is spent on cookies. “I took a generic art class in high school – and a watercolor class in college – but I would not call myself an artist,” Heckenliable said. “I have just always had a very creative side. I love the challenge of decorating cookies with people’s faces or silhouettes. I’ve also made cookies to look like wrestlers, recreated a (record) album cover and decorated cookies to look like my sister’s dog.” Caitlin’s high school sweetheart – now husband of eight years – Taylor, is the family’s primary breadwinner now, working as a diesel mechanic. But he’s confident his wife’s passion will continue growing into a valuable second income for the family. “I am absolutely proud of her,” Taylor said. “She has taken her business from nothing to something so fast. Her ultimate goal is to have a storefront. I think she is well on her way.” About a year ago, a casting agent for the Food Network program “Christmas Cookie Challenge” reached out to Caitlin about appearing on their show after viewing her artistic treats on social media. A couple of months later – after she made some “tryout” confections for them – Heckenliable was on a plane bound for Knoxville, Tennessee. “The studio paid for my flight and hotel room for four nights,” she said. “The other competitors from my show, three other women and one man, were from Arizona, New

Page 16 | February 2022

Caitlin Heckenliable appeared on the Food Network’s “Christmas Cookie Challenge” baking competition show last fall. (Courtesy of Caitlin Heckenliable)

Orleans, Grand Rapids, Michigan and Massachusetts. I had not met any of them before we all competed on the show. Most of us became fast friends, with so much in common, and have stayed in touch.” For the record, Caitlin did not win the show’s $10,000 grand prize. But, nonetheless, she describes the experience as “life-changing.” “I have had so many people visit my website and reach out to me since I was on the show,” Heckenliable added. “They’ve asked me to ship cookies across the country. My business is not set up to do that. But I know the exposure on the show was good.” Early next month (March 2-5), Caitlin will reunite with some of her fellow “Christmas Cookie Challenge” contestants to attend CookieCon (yes, it’s a thing) in Reno, Nevada. After that, depending on how her business grows, you might find a “One Heck of a Treat” booth at a Salt Lake Valley farmers’ market this summer. The Heckenliables are also considering registering a vehicle with the Food Truck League of Utah. “I wouldn’t cook or decorate cookies from the truck,” Caitlin explained. “But we would have pre-made cookies and other goodies for people to purchase as a dessert after eating dinner from one of the other trucks.” Heckenliable has no idea just how successful her cookie business will become. But for now – as a stay-at-home mom with two young sons – she considers “One Heck of a Treat” to be one heck of a good job. l

West Valley City Journal


Beyond love at first swipe By Karmel Harper | k.harper@gmail.com

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ince the emergence of the internet, dating has never been the same. Before 1995, when Match.com, the first online dating platform, was launched, singles met each other via mutual set-ups, at work or school, social events, or random meets at the local club, bar, grocery store, or other venues where two people were lucky enough to be at the same place, at the same time. As texting wasn’t mainstream until the late 1990s, early 2000s singles actually had to call each other to connect and plan dates. Waiting a few days between contact was typical and even expected. In 1997, Nokia introduced the first phone with a built-in keyboard. According to Paige Roosien, who wrote a June 2015 SignalVine article, text messaging took off at the start of the millennium once people could text friends on different networks. Roosien said, “By 2002, more than 250 billion SMS messages were sent worldwide. By 2007, the number of texts sent each month surpassed the number of phone calls. Eventually, text messaging was officially the preferred way of communicating with friends and family.” For busy professionals serious about finding their perfect partner, hiring a pro-

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fessional matchmaker can be effective. Though the term may evoke images of Yente from “Fiddler on the Roof” with its associated catchy tune, modern professional matchmakers are devoted to learning how and why relationships form, grow, and last. They work closely with their clients to discover their true qualities and build deep, working relationships to find them their most compatible matches. They also work as coaches to empower their clients with confidence and authenticity they can present on dates. Herriman resident Mia McKinney is a professional matchmaker who successfully coaches clients to master first dates and empowers them to approach a second date.“My job is to vet prospective matches for my clients, so they don’t have to waste their time doing that. My clients are primarily professionals and executives who don’t have the time to text all day or go on endless first dates,” McKinney said. McKinney said one of the biggest mistakes people make on first dates is looking too far ahead to see if their date will make a good spouse, parent, or long-term companion. “The primary goal of a first date,” McKinney said, “is to see if you would like

to meet for a second date.” The ease and instant communication of texting has propelled online dating as the No. 1 method for people to meet their significant others. According to Statista. com, the most popular dating apps as of April 2021 based on the monthly number of downloads are: 1) Tinder - 1.1 million 2) Bumble - 564,000 3) Hinge - 393,000 4) Badoo - 207,000 5) Match - 125,000 6) OkCupid - 109,000 7) eHarmony - 67,000 8) Coffee Meets Bagel - 39,000 9) happn - 34,000 A 2019 study conducted by theknot. com surveyed over 10,000 recently married or engaged couples and found that 22% of them met online, with 30% of the spouses meeting on Tinder. Another 14% found success on OkCupid, and 13% met their matches on Bumble. But if swiping right, sending “winks,” or texting a kissy-face emoji to get someone’s attention is not your thing, do not despair. The study revealed that 19% of couples met through mutual friends, 17% met at school, and 13% met at work. And

Online dating reigns as the No. 1 method singles use to find their significant other. (Photo courtesy of Canva.)

11% met at a social setting like a bar, concert, or party. While McKinney’s matchmaking services are offered through a firm that does not service Utah, she is available to locals as a professional Date Coach to assist with online profile creations or improvements and one-on-one date coaching. You can contact her at hello@miamckinneycoaching.com. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, ‘tis the season for Cupid’s arrow to fly. Whether it’s online, through mutual friends, at work or school, or with the help of a professional matchmaker, there are many ways for that arrow to strike. l

February 2022 | Page 17


Increased parking sees rebuffed townhome project approved By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com

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arking makes a difference. After an initial denial by the West Valley City Council with a 3-4 vote in November of a townhome project at 3200 W. 3554 South, the council unanimously approved the development in December. What changed? A commonly voiced topic in council meetings over the past several years: parking. The townhomes were originally proposed as a 37-unit project with 11.5 units per acre before dropping to 35 units with 10.9 units per acre after it was reviewed by the planning com-

mission. But members of the City Council still had issues with the parking, or lack thereof. Though the parking standards were met in the second proposal, Councilman Lars Nordfelt noted each situation is unique and dependent upon location. “People will want to have guests, that’s natural and there’s no place for them to park unless the resident doesn’t use their driveway and I just don’t see that as being feasible,” Nordfelt said. He said that could potentially work in another area with more available on-street park-

An overhead map of the vacant area that will be redeveloped into 33 townhomes. (Courtesy West Valley City)

ing and liked the quality of the townhomes saying it would be “a great addition to our city.” But overall he felt the lack of parking causes future problems that aren’t easily remedied. “Right now is the time to fix that,” he said before later adding, “I don’t want to put a burden on the residents there, the businesses. I think that’s too much.” Former Mayor Ron Bigelow pointed out during the November council meeting

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that parking wasn’t unique to West Valley City and felt more parking wouldn’t necessarily be the solution. “The issue won’t go away even if there’s some more parking there,” he said, noting he lives in a neighborhood of single family homes and parking issues exist there too. Councilmembers were worried the lack of parking could see cars pushed out onto 3200 West creating problems there. Residents and councilmembers suggested no parking signage be placed along 3200 West as well. After the rezone request was denied in November, the council continued the application to eventually mid-December where it was approved unanimously. The developers agreed to 33 units with 10.28 units per acre and an additional 16 parking spaces. Total parking for the project now has 148 spaces now reaching 4.48 spaces per unit. Resident Darrell Curtis commended the council for holding out to get more parking. “The more parking we can get in any of these areas where there’s multi-unit housing, it’s going to be better for the community as a whole,” he said. Parking is a regular topic of discussion in council meetings as elected officials requested city staff on various occasions to study and produce parking data on the city’s higher density projects. Whenever a project comes before the council, parking capacity and design is typically one of the first questions asked. In its application letter, Brad Reynolds Construction wrote their project would be “an attractive and valuable addition to West Valley City” providing “much needed housing in the area.” Brad Reynolds Construction also developed The Villages at 27th at 2700 W. 4500 South, a 147-unit townhome development. l

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Setting up chairs at the basketball game is only part of the responsibilities of the school’s AD. (Greg James/ City Journals)

State bill proposed to help athletic directors’ continued education By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com

T

wenty minutes before the West Jordan High School basketball game, Carlson Boudreaux is checking to make sure the referees are set in the locker room so the game can start on time. His team has the court set up with chairs, music and cheerleader entertainment. Over the past decade, the job of being the school’s athletic director has changed. They now oversee more than just game setup. Certification of athletic directors enhances administrators’ ability to better serve the school and community. “Twenty years ago being an AD (athletic director) was mainly game-day operations,” Copper Hills AD Ben Morley said. “Making sure officials show up, the scorer table is set up, ensuring the halftime performance and scheduling the busses. Now that is the easiest part of the job.” Current responsibilities of school athletic administrators include much more than pregame jobs. “The essential components of being an athletic director is managing the coaches, keeping them in compliance. Related to that is keeping the athletes in compliance also,” Morley said. All of these extra responsibilities have been added to their job description, but with no additional compensation or certification required by the school. The coaches they supervise need more certification than they do. Most athletic administrators, on their own, have achieved the extra certification with no extra compensation. State Bill 67, sponsored by Sen. Michael K. McKell, proposes a supplement for the school AD to encourage the training they can achieve. “I could not be more in favor of certification,” Morley said. “The recognition and validation of this job is supremely important. Becoming an athletic director encompasses several duties. Coaches and player eligibility are a big part of their jobs. “Coaches, assistants, and players take up

a lion’s share of my time,” Morley said. “There is a reason that colleges have compliance officers. That is all they handle.” At Copper Hills, the athletic department oversees more than 100 coaches and volunteers. “We have 26 varsity programs. Football alone has 12 assistant coaches. Each of those coaches needs to pass coaching fundamentals, CPR training, background checks, concussion training, and child abuse training. One of the difficulties is that many of our coaches are paraprofessionals (they do not work at the school). Many think they are just helping out the team, but they still need to pass these courses,” Morley said. In the last two years, high schools have added cheerleading, girls wrestling, and lacrosse to their varsity programs. In the near future boys volleyball could be added. In the US nearly 11 million students participate in after-school activities. “The CAA (certified athletic administrator) would be eligible for a salary supplement,” current Granite School District Athletic Director Chris Shipman said. “In our eight high schools, we have several that already qualify for the stipend.” Additional training can help the student-athletes stay safe from future sports problems. “Name, image, and likeness are coming. A famous athlete that wanted to make money can if they don’t use school resources,” Morley said. “The dark side is that it will make high school recruiting a bigger thing. One more carrot a good team can dangle in front of an athlete.” Jordan School District recently hired an athletic director to oversee its district programs. “I think districts are waking up to the importance of the job. I teach one class but am a full-time athletic director. Our athletic staff is dedicated to the program,” Morley said. “It is the world we live in and we should learn how to manage it.”l

West Valley City Journal


District’s new Mobile Gradebook app helps parents monitor student’s progress By Bill Hardesty | b.hardesty@mycityjournals.com

G

ranite School District (GSD) recently expanded its tools for parents to engage in their child’s educational progress by releasing the Mobile Gradebook app. The Mobile Gradebook is available for iOS or Android devices. “We want to make monitoring your student simple and easy. This mobile access gives student grades and other progress at the touch of a mobile phone anywhere you have data access,” Ben Horsley, chief of staff for GSD, said.

Features in Gradebook “The No. 1 factor in student success is parental involvement. Students whose parents have the ability to monitor and support their students have a better chance at success. This tool helps provide mobile access to critical information regarding a student’s educational progress,” Horsley said. The mobile-friendly Gradebook is an extension of the Gradebook available on the parent portal on the district’s website. “You can instantly see your children’s grades. You can see if that means missing assignments. You don’t have to wait until the end of the term to find out what the report card looks like,” Meredith Harker, a third-grade teacher at Calvin Smith Elementary said. “If there’s a problem, you can get it taken care of earlier rather than later. It lets you have conversations with your kids about their progress in school. It helps you be more involved as a parent in your child’s education.” Parents have access to crucial information on either platform. • Attendance: Parents can view their child’s attendance and tardy record in detail or summary form showing total numbers for each class. • Assignments: Parents can see non-Proficiency Based Learning (P.B.L.) course assignments. They can see when assignments are due and which assignments are missing. A current course grade is also displayed. • Course request: If available, students can request courses for the following year. • E-mail notification settings: Parents can manage daily or weekly notifications. The daily notification shows attendance for that day. The weekly notification supplies a weekly attendance/tardy summary and the current class grade. • Progress reports: While not a requirement at all schools, parents can see their student’s mid-quarter progress reports. • Report cards: Parents see all final grades for each quarter. Parents can also see the overall G.P.A. and C.P.A. for each quarter. This means no more making Fs into Bs like in the olden days. • Skills: This is for elementary students. Students are given a 1-4 citizenship type grade. • Standards (P.B.L. courses): Parents can see the current grade and the standards and assessments their child has completed, and the

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able at the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. It is only available as a download from the district website. Detailed download and installation instructions are available on the GSD website.

Parents can now watch their child’s educational progress with a tap of a mobile app. (Photo from Unsplash.com)

proficiency score. • Student schedule: Parents can see the upcoming schedule for the week or for the entire year. • Testing: Parents can see D.I.B.E.L.S.

and A.C.T scores. • Transcripts: For grades seven to12, parents can see all courses, grades, and credits earned in real time. The Mobile Gradebook app is not avail-

Other apps for parents The Gradebook is part of a suite of other portal apps for parents. • The Student Center app provides testing results on statewide standardized tests and historical student data. • The PayPAMS app is a secure online school payment system for such items as school meals. • The PickATime app allows parents to schedule parent-teacher conferences. • The Contact Card app allows parents to update phone numbers and email addresses. • The Add a Student app allows parents to link their children under their account. • The Back to School Online Registration allows parents to complete student registration online. • The Canvas app is a learning management system used by some teachers. If used, students complete assignments, quizzes, etc., online. In turn, parents can see their child’s Canvas account. l

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hree things could doom our country: domestic terrorism, Olivia Rodrigo and the rejection of science. The first two are obvious, but rejecting science? When did scientists become the bad guys? As more people deny mainstream science, I think about the good, old Russian pseudoscientist Trofim Lysenko. (You can call him Tro.) He and Joseph Stalin were BFFs after Tro convinced Stalin he could “educate” crops to grow using his “law of the life of species” theory which included planting seeds close together and soaking plants in freezing water. Stalin embraced this nonsense and seven million Russians died from starvation when the country ran out of food, because Tro (you can call him The Idiot) convinced Stalin that science-based agricultural practices were garbage. There’s lots of science I don’t understand, like quantum mechanics, curved spacetime and string theory, which proves kittens will play with a ball of yarn indefinitely. But I don’t have to understand science because, and here’s a key point, I am not a scientist. I’m saying this louder for those in the back: science shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But here we are. Anti-science is on the rise and people (i.e., non-scientists) are putting their own batty (often dangerous) theories

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