West Valley Journal | September 2021

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September 2021 | Vol. 7 Iss. 09

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NATIONAL NIGHT OUT AIMS TO UNIFY WEST VALLEY CITY NEIGHBORHOODS By Darrell Kirby | d.kirby@mycityjournals.com

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quiet street lined with 1960s era homes in central West Valley City took on a festive air on a Friday night in August. Residents of 2855 West just north of 3100 South mingled in the middle of the blocked-off street for their local celebration of National Night Out. It was one of a series of gatherings sponsored by the city each year to help neighbors get to know each other to make their areas better, safer places to live. NNO block captain Mindi Holmgren has held parties before on her street but not of this scale and purpose. “I want to bring a greater sense of community,” she said while clad in a light blue t-shirt with the National Night Out logo. “I want our neighbors to know each other. I want us to be friends, wave when we get our mail and just help each other out when there are emergencies, problems, or issues.” Mandi Beauchaine, an 11-year resident of the neighborhood, helped Holmgren put the event together. “The purpose is to get out, have fun, meet everybody, and just kind of make those connections and try to make a stronger community together,” Beauchaine said. “The ultimate goal is to make sure that people are taken care of and watch out for things that are going on in the community.” Holmgren said the idea of having a local National Night Out stemmed from a program called “My Hometown.” Launched last year by West Valley City, the initiative brings together financial, material, and human resources from the city, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other organizations to help clean up and improve neighbor-

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Residents of 2855 West in West Valley City grab some food as part of their neighborhood’s National Night Out block party. Similar gatherings are held throughout the city each August to bring people together to create safer, more unified neighborhoods. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

hoods suffering from the effects of age, neglect, crime, and the transitory nature of its residents. It’s first revitalization project took place earlier this year in the Hillsdale neighborhood not far from Holmgren’s. West Valley City’s Neighborhood Services Office provided funds for Holmgren and her fellow NNO organizers

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Senior housing

to get hot dogs and supplies for the event, supplemented by additional goodies brought by neighbors. My Hometown also chipped in money to rent a bounce house, dunk tank, face painter, and balloon artist. “I wouldn’t have been able to do all this on my own,” Holmgren said. l

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Crossing guards help children safely cross the street at Valley Crest Elementary School in West Valley City on the first day of school in August. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

Guardians of the crosswalks help students everyday By Darrell Kirby | d.kirby@mycityjournals.com

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s students made their way back to school in West Valley City in August, so did dozens of crossing guards near many of those schools. About 60 men and women donned yellow vests and picked up their hand-held stop signs to help many of the thousands of children safely cross busy streets near their schools. “We are currently still hiring,” said detective Mike Millett of the West Valley City Police Department’s Traffic Division, which oversees crossing guards in the city, just days before the start of the new school year. He hoped to bolster that number to cover 82 crossings. Some guards are assigned more than one intersection because of varying start times for schools. Crossing guards span the spectrum of age and experience. “My most senior guard, this is her 29th year,” Millett said, listing others who have served 22, 16 and 15 years. “It makes it nice because they know what’s going on and they train the new guards.” Millett said all crossing guards go

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through a day-long training when hired “where we go over policies and procedures and show them how to do it” followed by a week of on-the-job training with experienced guards. They also undergo background checks and drug and physical tests. When possible, guards are assigned to crossings close to their homes for convenience and familiarity with the kids they usher across the street. Millett said that half of his crossing guards are stay-at-home parents who walk with their kids to school, do their guard duties, then return when school gets out in the afternoon to repeat the process. Many of the other guards are retirees. “They love doing the job. It gives them a purpose,” he said. “They get to know the kids in the neighborhood and the families.” Several guards work the crossings around parttime jobs at the schools themselves. Some crossing guards are assisted by students serving on the schools’ safety patrols. For Jodie Willomitzer, her eight years as a crossing guard is a labor of love. “I

love the kids. They’re just so happy. They give me high-fives,” the retiree said between shepherding groups of students and parents to Valley Crest Elementary School on opening day last month. “We’re really protective over the kids. They’re really good about following the rules that we have set out for them and for us, too.” The not-so-great part of the job? “Traffic,” Willomitzer said without hesitation. “Drivers don’t slow down. They go through the intersection before we’re off the road.” Detective Millett said decoys will sometimes enter crosswalks to test motorists’ observance of the 20 mile per hour speed limit and other laws within school zones. Drivers going too fast or who are otherwise unsafe are stopped, educated, and warned as a first option. Tickets are issued for extreme violations. Crossing guards are sometimes subjected to comments and gestures from rude and impatient drivers, but generally shrug it off while focusing on protecting their young pedestrians.

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Crossing guards have been around for about a century. The first crossing guards took to the streets in the early 1920s in St. Paul, Minnesota and Omaha, Nebraska to help slow the growing number of injuries and fatalities as more cars were on the road. Only in 2019 was the National Association of School Crossing Guards organized “due to the impact felt from the deaths of school crossing guards in the line of duty throughout…our nation,” according to the organization’s website. Its stated mission vision “is to create a supportive environment for school crossing guards through communication and the promotion of continued safety education regarding the important role we play in the lives of pedestrian children in crosswalks walking or bicycling to school.” Estimates vary, but sources generally put the number of crossing guards in the United States at 60,000 to 70,000. “We make sure we have good people to do the job,” Millett said.l

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New housing adds to transformation near busy West Valley City intersection By Darrell Kirby | d.kirby@mycityjournals.com

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he transformation continues in the area around 3500 South and 5600 West in West Valley City. In June, the latest section of Mountain View Corridor just west of the intersection opened to traffic after two years of construction. Now, the first phase of what will eventually be 130 townhomes is being built just southeast of 3500 South and 5600 West. Phase one of the development called Erin Hills consists of 40 three- and four-bedroom units with two-car garages and balconies or patios. Each home is already sold despite still being under construction. “We’ll sit tight for another two to three months and then we’ll open up our second phase and start selling that,” said Andy Gunther, an agent with real estate brokerage firm RE/MAX. Gunther said the homes are priced at $380,000 to $405,900, which in today’s market puts them within reach of younger buyers and those starting families. “For new product that’s well finished, it’s actually very affordable,” Gunther said. It is also near major thoroughfares and businesses. “Whatever direction you want to go—north, south, east or west—it’s a pretty convenient jaunt to get where you need to go,” he added. “And they’re surrounded by food (establishments) and entertainment. It’s kind of that whole revamp of West Valley they’re excited about.” The housing development will have some commercial neighbors as part of a separate project. Shiny Shell Car Wash along 3500 South and a “high-end” dental office off 5600 West are in the plans but have not yet broken ground.

The first of what will be 130 townhomes are being built near 3500 South and 5600 West in West Valley City (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

Shiny Shell is a brand of Salt Lake City-based Coldwater Car Wash Group, which currently runs car washes in Florida, Georgia and its first Utah location in Holladay and has 10 planned in Pennsylvania. The townhomes are being built by Alco Construction of North Salt Lake. The developer is Crew Construction LLC in Sandy. The development is expected to be complet-

ed in late 2022 or early 2023. Erin Hills is one of several large multi-family housing projects going up in West Valley City, including 430 apartments and 21 townhomes at 4100 South and Redwood Road and 100 three- and four-bedroom apartments at 3600 S. Redwood Road. l

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Senior development coming to Parkway, 7200 South By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com

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fter the West Valley City Council approved an ordinance earlier this year that allowed for more potential locations for senior housing developments, several have now come before the council in 2021. The most recent proposal came in July as the council voted 4-2 to approve a zone change that would allow a senior housing project at Parkway Boulevard and 7200 South. The property, about 6.7 acres, is currently a site of dirt and weeds that was once planned to be the location of a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The project will have a pavilion and gazebo, pickleball court, 11 visitor parking spaces, and would be maintained by a homeowner’s association. “It’ll be a quality development that any city would be happy to have,” said Randy Moore, the project developer and owner from Moore Homes. The proposal included a 43-unit, single-level condo development with 6.4 units per acre with each unit having a two-car garage. In both the council meeting where the project was approved, and the preceding planning commission where the project received a 5-2 vote recommending approval, not everyone was convinced. Residents of neighboring streets next to the property on Antelope Road and Mountain Goat Way, voiced concerns such as traffic, density

Houses along Antelope Drive facing land where an incoming senior housing development will be built. Residents along the street wanted single family homes. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

and an overall wish to see single-family homes built. “We want room to breathe,” said Robert Goodick, a resident of Antelope Road. “The last thing we want to see out of our front door is more high density.” Residents also pointed out existing senior housing developments nearby including Bingham Point at 3151 S. 7200 West and Hunter Villas at 3260 S. Hunter Villa Lane. “I feel on this side of West Valley we have enough of these types of developments,” Good-

ick told the council. “We don’t need them all concentrated on this side of West Valley.” Goodick also pointed out the council’s own desire to see more larger, single-family homes built in the city. Mayor Ron Bigelow acknowledged as much, as the council has voiced on various occasions over the past five years. Officials have often spoken of a need for a variety of housing in the city and to fill certain housing gaps. Bigelow identified two types of housing the city needs more of is senior housing and larger sin-

gle-family homes (known as the RE, or residential estate, zone that the city created several years ago). A few people spoke in favor of the senior housing option, with a member of the nearby Bingham Point senior housing, Pamela Lyon, saying there is a “strong need” for senior housing as “older people look to downsize their homes.” Steve Vincent, a former city councilmember who was on the council when the RE zone was created, noted senior housing is a “piece of the puzzle that still needs to be addressed by the council.” For two years, Vincent said he and his wife have looked for a place like this project to move to and would prefer to stay in the city. Moore addressed resident concerns noting senior housing tends to have less traffic due to the demographic living there. Bigelow and councilmembers requested further study of the 7200 West and Parkway Boulevard intersection due to resident concerns and the frequency of traffic accidents. While the project was ultimately approved 4-2 (Councilmembers Karen Lang and Jake Fitisemanu Jr. dissented), their request that no access be allowed from Antelope Drive was approved. l

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New park coming to Grasmere Lane By Travis Barton | travis.b@thecityjournals.com

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or years residents have voiced their desire for more green space, such as parks, to undeveloped areas as opposed to higher density housing being built on the land. Now one of those smaller, undeveloped pieces of land will be built into a park after the West Valley City Council unanimously approved a contract with Entelen Construction. The one-acre property located at 3876 S. Grasmere Lane will see a park featuring a playground, pavilion, picnic tables, benches, walking path, exercise equipment, trees, shrubs, drinking fountain and an open grass area. City officials used online surveys to collect residents opinions on the park’s name and features. Jason Ereksen, assistant parks and recreation director, expected construction to begin as soon as possible and the park to be completed within 90 days, weather permitting. Construction of the park is expected to cost just over $535,000 with funds coming from the city’s CDBG (Community Development Block Grants), an annual federal program that provides grants to cities, counties and states. The city received five bids to build the park and chose Entelen as the lowest respon-

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sible bidder. Entelen has previously built the new parks and public works building, but this will be the company’s first park in the city. l

Top: The location of the upcoming Grasmere Park. (Travis Barton/City Journals) Right: Satellite image of where the new Grasmere Park will be located. (Screenshot)

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Racers take over West Valley Fitness Center By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com

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he West Valley Family Fitness Center in cooperation with Salt Lake Mini-Z is now offering a weekend of remote control car racing. The 2021 Summer Sizzler was held Aug. 13-15. “I talked to the bosses and told them how cool this is and there is nothing like it around here,” fitness center employee Clayton Preston said. “We did this together and this is our third big race at the fitness center.” They hosted the Black Ice event in February and monthly club races are in the planning stages. The fitness center has invested in the track and timing system. It has become a developing program much like martial arts, pickleball or cornhole. The track is relatively maintenance free. It requires vacuuming and a water only mopping helps with traction before a big race. The racing is a community event. Residents are encouraged to participate. Clubs from as far away as Denver and Evanston have joined in the fun. “With COVID it affected the racing, but it is picking back up. We have had families come and watch the racing. It has been awesome,” Preston said. There are several classes of Kyosho Racing cars available including NASCAR, Formula 1 and Pan Style cars. The cars and track are

1/28th the size of regular race cars. The palmsized cars are powered by AAA batteries and have multiple interchangeable steering, suspension and motor options. A ready set car can be purchased for around $200. It comes with the car, body, controllers and tires. You would need to supply the batteries. “The awesome thing is all of the guys have so much experience that we all help each other. I was having an issue with my motor and a couple of the other guys asked me if I considered doing this and, wow, I found the problem,” Preston said. The track tiles are reconfigured several times over. Brain Stanley has developed several track arrangements for Salt Lake Mini-Z, a club that meets in West Jordan monthly for club races. Stanley has a website called How Fast Are You (HFAY). He designs tracks and other clubs use those designs and upload race results. The 2021 spring season has 31 contenders in clubs from as far away as Minnesota and Arizona. “When we first started 20 years ago we raced in a garage on two sheets of plywood with PVC pipe for sidewalls,” Stanley said. “Racing has evolved a lot since then. We did not have timing systems. We just counted our laps.” Stanley has become a Kyosho and PN

Mini-Z racers set up a modular track in a meeting room at the fitness center for the Summer Sizzler event. (Greg James/City Journals)

Racing supplier to have the necessary parts when a car breaks down. “My whole family gets involved. My wife, daughter and son all race. My son started when he was five. Everyone has different skill levels,” Stanley said. “Coming to the fitness center is good. I cannot set this size of track up in my

basement. It makes it fun.” Getting hooked on the sport is easy. “I had a roommate that introduced me to it,” Preston said. “I figured for $200 it was worth it. It is super easy to get into. I had no car knowledge, and I have learned how to adjust everything.” l

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Hunter grad swims length of Bear Lake and climbs tallest mountain in lower 48 By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com

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n the stealth of night former Hunter High School swimmer Mike Peters swam the length of Bear Lake. The swim followed his ascent of Mount Whitney in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. “It was a big relief,” Peters said. “I had been working towards this for about a year. It was cool to walk out of the water and know that my body was able to do something like that. At that moment to realize the work that goes into swimming, not only my work, but the others that supported me and helped me along the way.” The end of July was quite a check mark in his bucket list. On Tuesday, July 27, he and some family members hiked 22 miles round trip to the top of Mount Whitney in California, 14,500 feet in elevation. It is the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. Four days later he set out to swim the length of Bear Lake, nearly 19 miles. “It was something I have always wanted to do (the hike). My wife’s family got a permit and we did it,” Peters said. “Courtney (his wife) was not a huge fan of doing them both in the same week, but fortunately it worked out great.” As a high school swimmer Peters swam mostly short distance and relay rac-

es. Open water swimming was not something he ever tried. “I never even knew that this stuff existed,” Peters said. “Last year I was picking up swimming again in January. Then when COVID hit they closed all the pools. I wanted to continue to swim. I started swimming in a lake close to my home and after research, I realized how cool this stuff was.” The Bear Lake swim started at 9:16 p.m. off North Beach State Park in Idaho. It continued to Rendezvous Beach State Park on the south end of the lake. In total it took him 11 hours and 39 minutes. Salt Lake Open Water (SLOW) supported the marathon swim by providing a chase boat and pilot along with an observer. Courtney was able to observe from the boat and helped with feedings and water breaks. Bear Lake was a close and convenient place for him to swim. Swimming at night helps provide safety because the water is usually more calm and there are no recreation boaters on the lake. “Towards the end I said I did not want any water to drink, but they made sure I kept safe and made me eat and drink along the way. I am grateful for everyone’s sup-

port and help. It really is a team effort,” Peters said. The events of the week were not the easiest for his family. “We had the lowest of lows and the highest of highs,” Peter’s father Tim said. “We were beyond thrilled to see Mike and Courtney sitting in the boat as it approached the marina. I felt jubilation. It was an incredible goal he conquered. He was safe, and I was so happy for him. The sun was shining on our entire family as we celebrated his victory.” Peters is the ninth person to complete the swim of Bear Lake. It was documented and confirmed by SLOW. He did not encounter any wild animals or have a fish attack him. “I cannot confirm or deny the existence of the Bear Lake monster,” Peters said. He is working on setting a date to swim Lake Tahoe next summer and is scheduled to compete in some smaller Arizona swims. Eventually he might try to swim around Coronado Island, but has not established a timeline for that accomplishment. l

Mike Peters and his wife Courtney celebrate after his 19- mile swim of Bear Lake. (Photo courtesy of Mike Peters)

Back-to-School Shopping Costs More this Year By Robert Spendlove, Zions Bank Senior Economist

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arents with school-aged children have probably noticed that backto-school shopping is costing more this year. Spending on school supplies is expected to hit an all-time high of $850 for the average family in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s about $60 more than last year. And families of college students are paying even more, with an average spend of $1,200, up $140 from last year. Of course, inflation is affecting much more than just school supplies. Over the past year, we’ve seen price growth across nearly all spending categories, with higher sticker prices everywhere from the grocery store to the gas pump. This is the result of pent-up demand as well as supply chain delays. Fortunately, it looks like price gains may be moderating. In July, the Consumer Price Index had its smallest month-tomonth increase since February after reaching a 13-year high in June. Still, inflation is well above pre-pandemic levels, with consumer prices increasing 5.4% over the past year. When it comes to school expenses, your pocketbook may feel the sting in a few areas: • Clothing prices have jumped

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4.2% over the past year, with girls’ apparel up 5% and boys’ apparel up 2.6%. • Replacing outgrown kids’ shoes with new ones will cost 3.6% more than last year, while footwear overall is up 4.6%. • Educational books and supplies have ticked up 2.6% since last year. • Prices on personal computers, including tablets, desktop computers and laptops, are 3.7% higher than last year, due in part to a global chip shortage pushing up prices. • Packing your child’s lunchbox is more expensive than last year, with food prices up 3.4%. • The school carpool has gotten much more expensive, with gas prices jumping 41.8% year over year. How long will price gains continue? That’s the big question economists are debating right now. Some are concerned that these inflationary increases could continue to build because of increased federal spending and low interest rates. Others say these price

increases are temporary and will slow down when the current supply chain disruptions start to recede. The surge in COVID cases tied to the delta variant could also slow price increases as consumers pull back on spending amid concerns about the virus, but no one wants that solution to inflationary pressures. Regardless of whether price increases slow in the future, we won’t see immediate relief on family budgets this back-to-school season. However, Utahns can take heart in the latest jobs report that shows our economy remains among the best in the nation. Beehive State employment increased 4.2% from July 2019 to July 2021, compared to a 2.8% decline nationally, according to Utah’s Department of Workforce Services. Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment rate of 2.6% is near historic lows, compared to 5.4% unemployment nationally. Despite the challenges of the past year and a half, our state’s economy has shown itself to be resilient and continues to perform well. Robert Spendlove is senior economist for Zions Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A

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Candidates are set for West Valley City mayor, council races in November By Darrell Kirby | d.kirby@mycityjournals.com

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he field is set for the general election in West Valley City. The primary election in August saw two incumbent city council members advance to the Nov. 3 ballot in their bids to replace outgoing mayor Ron Bigelow. Karen Lang garnered 40% of the vote to move a step closer to being the first female mayor of West Valley City. Councilman Steve Buhler finished second with nearly 28% of the ballots cast. As the top two finishers, Lang and Buhler will square off for the opportunity to become the ninth mayor since the city was incorporated 41 years ago. City councilman Tom Huynh came in third and out of the running. In the District 2 city council race, newcomers Scott Harmon and Chris Bell finished one-two to move on to the general election for the right to replace Steve Buhler in serv-

ing the southcentral/southeastern section of the city. Incumbent Jake Fitisemanu and challenger Darrell Curtis automatically move on to the November election as the only two candidates for the city council in the southwestern West Valley’s District 4. For the at-large district, city councilman Lars Nordfelt and challenger Jim Vesock progressed to the general election without a vote after a third candidate, Max Weiss, withdrew before the primary vote. Lindie Sue Beaudoin will compete as a write-in candidate in November. Depending on the precinct, voter turnout ranged from 4.35% to nearly 32%. Summaries of each of the candidates will appear in the October issue of the West Valley City Journal. l

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Girls soccer SLCC and 6A high school preview By Greg James | g.james@mycityjournals.com

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he soccer teams across the state have begun another season. The high school and college teams in the area want to celebrate their past success, but improve this season. Soccer is the first official UHSAA sport to begin its season. Most local teams will have reconfigured regions and rosters. Roy joins Region 2 and should have an impact right away. They defeated Kearns in the first round of last year's state playoffs 3-0 and will stand as immediate contenders for the region title. Kearns is the defending champion of the region and Hunter will need to retool to be competitive. Cyprus, Granger, Taylorsville and West will battle for who is next among the region's competitors. Offensive production will be the key as the entire region proves its worth. In Region 3 the top teams have become valley powerhouses. Riverton has looked formidable in its preseason matches, going undefeated and scoring 21 goals in five games. Bingham, Herriman and Mountain Ridge should also contend for the regional title. West Jordan and Copper Hills have strong soccer tradition and will be teams to consider if one of the top teams falters. Advancing past the second round of the state playoffs could be the mark of a good

season. Corner Canyon was the only 6A team in Salt Lake County able to accomplish that feat last season. The UHSAA is scheduled to begin region competition the week of Aug. 17 (after press deadline.) They will use the ratings performance index again this season to set rankings for the state playoffs. Herriman was the county’s top rated 6A team last year at four. The Salt Lake Community College is coming off its most successful season ever. In an abbreviated and realigned season they advanced to the NJCAA women's soccer national championship match last spring. They lost to Tyler Community College (Texas) 2-0. This was Tyler's second consecutive championship. Bruins head coach Mark Davis called it a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for his players. The team had three players named to the all-tournament team: Carli Jager, Cassidy Adams and Hannah Lee. That ended a fabulous women’s season. They had an outstanding 15-2-1 record and a Scenic West championship. Davis stepped down as the team's head coach shortly after the season and they hired Cassie Ulrich. Davis will continue as the

Roy and Kearns faced off in the state playoffs last season. This year they are both Region 2 contenders. (Photo courtesy of Kearns historian)

men's team coach. Ulrich had been part of the team's coaching staff making the transition seamless.

The success of the women's community college team exemplifies the talent available at the high school level. l

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Bringing you less misery than 2020, Desert Star presents its upcoming parody, LES MISERABLES. Join the laughtastic revolution as this knee-slapping spoof opens August 26th. It’s a merry-making musical melodrama for the whole family! Written by Tom Jordan, and directed by Scott Holman, this show follows Jean LeviJean who is on the run from the nefarious grime fighter Javert. LeviJean just wants to start a new life making a new kind of pants. But he and his adopted daughter Cassette get caught up in the French revolting. Now they must navigate the sewers of Paris, finding a way to get Cassette to the wedding on time before Javert flushes their plans. Colorful characters include Garlique and Camembert, LeviJean’s wacky factory workers, and the Thenardiers, the innkeepers who take you through this raucous adventure. Make your 2021 less miserable with Les Miserables. “Les Miserables” runs August 26 through November 6, 2021. The evening also includes one of Desert Star’s comical musical olios, following the show. The “Fang-tastic Olio” treats

Page 14 | September 2021

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will evolve from governmental oversight and direction today. That does not mean the loudest, most demanding voices “win.” That does not mean and has never meant that all individuals will be satisfied by responses or votes made in the consideration of community welfare. That does not mean my elected colleagues and I will not be influenced by our own experiences and views. But it also does not mean that one political party view can dominate. Developing connections between “government” and “the governed” is a responsibility of both. However, we all understand that government holds institutional power, and we agree that responsibility of power requires extra steps – reliable information, genuine listening, and truthful accountability. Our government, including me and other representatives, owes the people policy decisions that uphold them and their communities.

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Increasing Use of Technology Strengthens Communities By Bryan Thomas, Vice President of Engineering, Comcast Mountain West Region choices of broadband providers. According to Broadband Now, there are nearly 48 internet providers covering 98 percent of Utahns having access to broadband speeds over 25 Mbps. Utah ranks high as the 8thmost connected state in the country. For more than a decade, Comcast has been committed to doing our part to close the digital divide and addressing both the access and the adoption gap. Our partnerships with community organizations, educational institutions and business leaders are critical in making progress. Since 2011, Comcast has offered our Internet Essentials program, which has connected nearly 160,000 low-income Utahns to low-cost, highspeed internet at home—over 90% of whom did not have a connection when they applied for the service. Internet Essentials offers heavily discounted residential broadband ($9.95 per month) to qualifying families, seniors, and veterans in need, and serves as a model for other providers nationwide. Impressively, the NAACP hailed Internet Essentials as “the largest experiment ever attempted to close the digital divide.” And Comcast, through its Internet Essentials program, invested almost $700 million nationally in

The internet is a powerful resource for furthering education, assisting with job searches, tracking your benefits, engaging in telehealth and keeping up with life. There’s no doubt, having access to the internet is more important than ever. And teams of hi-tech experts are working nonstop to provide Americans with internet access. In fact, Comcast and others in the broadband industry have invested nearly $2 trillion since 1996 to build some of the world’s fastest, most resilient, and most widely deployed networks anywhere—a remarkable commitment by any standard. ACCESS vs. ADOPTION As we emerge from the impacts of the pandemic, we are seeing that access isn’t the only gap to bridge. What often stands in the way of connectivity are roadblocks to broadband adoption, be it language barriers, lack of knowledge of available options, privacy concerns and more. Across Denver, and in metropolitan areas around the country, most homes have multiple

digital literacy training and awareness. With its new “Lift Zone” initiative, Comcast is equipping community centers across the state with free Wi-Fi to support distance learning. But it doesn’t stop here. Over the next 10 years, Comcast will invest $1 billion to further close the digital divide and give more people the needed tools and resources to succeed in an increasingly digital world. The combined work and partnerships with community, education and business leaders like you will be critical to ensuring people have access, the hardware, the skills and are willing and able to connect with a reliable, secure broadband network. You all know and work directly with your constituents, clients, neighbors – and you have the trust of the people you serve. The axiom, “It takes a village…” has never been more relevant. Achieving the goal of having all people connected to the power of the internet will take the kind of focus and commitment on the part of all of us to connect more people to what matters most. To learn more about Comcast’s digital equity initiatives, or to refer organizations or people who might benefit from these services, please visit https:// corporate.comcast.com/impact/digital-equity.

Lindie Sue Beaudoin For West Valley City Council - At - Large

I grew up in Salt Lake City, born and raised, and graduated from Westminster College earning a bachelor degree in nursing. I was a single parent at the time so I know what it is to struggle through many trials, hardship and poverty, I was determined to work hard, complete my education, and be an example so I could successfully raise my four children. I am a veteran, served in the United States Navy in the Nurse Corps. I met my husband a Naval Officer in Naples Italy while serving there. We have been married for 24 years together we have 5 children and 11 grandchildren. We have lived in West Valley for 18 years and we love the area.

Page 16 | September 2021

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I have decided to run for City Council at Large to use my gifts, leadership and work ethics to serve the West Valley community. I will work hard to protect the interests and quality of life for our residents, while working side by side with the mayor and other council members to bring our community together and find ways to develop and improve the city to benefit the people of West Valley. I am a WRITE-IN candidate and would appreciate your vote. Please remember my name Lindie Sue Beaudoin for City Council At Large, because I care, I understand and I will listen.

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From telescopes to 3D printers...things you didn’t know your library offered Growing up in Salt Lake County, I always took our libraries for granted. I assumed every county had the same great system where you can pick a book up from one location and drop it at another, and have access to so many items--over 2 million! I realized how much the library affected people’s lives after one of my friends moved out of Salt Lake County and told me how much she missed our library system. Over 15 million items are circulated per year in our library system. Besides books, the Salt Lake County Library System has audiobooks, magazines, CDs, and DVDs. The library also has eBooks and eAudiobooks available for download. But did you know the County Library also has a wide range of nontraditional items? The Library of Things Collection allows you to borrow useful things for your home, projects, and adventures with a collection of items you might not expect to find at a library. Here are six things that I bet you didn’t know the library offered: 1. Portable hotspots provide free, unlimited high-speed internet access from almost anywhere when using a

Aimee Winder Newton Salt Lake County Council | District 3 WiFi-enabled device such as a phone, tablet, or laptop. 2. Chromebooks are portable devices to help you easily access the web, use Gmail and YouTube, or create documents and spreadsheets using Google Docs. 3. Launchpad Tablets are

durable and portable tablets with pre-installed apps that support early learning through games and play, with no access to the internet required. 4. Storytime To Go Kits include books, activity sheets, and physical objects for learning and discovery. 5. Preserve the Memory Equipment helps you transfer your old film negatives, VHS tapes, slides, and more to new media formats. 6. Telescopes allow you to explore space from the comfort of your own backyard. This lending program is made possible through a partnership with the Salt Lake Astronomical Society. Currently, the Holladay, Kearns, Magna, and Sandy branches have a “Create Space” where County residents can use a variety of creativity and technology tools. Two more Create Spaces are planned in the future Daybreak and Granite branches. Not only can these help both children and adults with business ventures and educational opportunities, but here are five things that can be fun to use: 1. The Holladay, Kearns, and Magna branches have studios customized with equipment and software. Technology varies but can include podcast record-

ing tools, musical instruments, a green screen for video production, and more. 2. The Kearns branch has a specialized bicycle manual for bicycle maintenance and repair, along with an extensive library of tools and workspace. 3. Create your own three-dimensional object using free software from home or browse ready-made files. Create branches have 3D printers available, with larger maximum build volume printers at Sandy and Kearns. 4. Design, cut, and engrave your own Proofgrade materials with a 40 watt CO2 laser cutter or cut and engrave vinyl, paper, and fabrics with the Cricut Design Space. 5. A variety of machines for sewing, embroidery, and serging, plus dress forms and other accessories are available. The Salt Lake County Library branches are vibrant and energized spaces with over 4.5 million in-person visitors and tens of millions virtual visitors annually. Libraries have an enormous impact on our community through inspiring imagination and satisfying curiosity. For more information on all the great resources our library has to offer, visit our website at slcolibrary.org.

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Governor wants to incentivize lawn removal with a statewide buy back program By Alison Brimley | a.brimley@mycityjournals.com

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ov. Spencer J. Cox has a little bit of good news for Utahns. “Every water district has reported significant water savings this year as compared to previous years,” Cox told an audience at Conservation Garden Park in West Jordan on July 29. In response to Utah officials’ repeated pleas to conserve water in a record drought year, Utahns have stepped up. And thanks to Utahns’ compliance with fireworks bans, the state has also seen a significant reduction in wildfires, particularly in the weeks of July 4 and July 24. This is especially important in years like this one, when extra dry land increases the risk of fire and the state can’t afford to use precious water fighting flames. Still, Cox warned that we have “several months of dangerous wildfire season ahead of us,” and that people need to remain “vigilant.” Though some of the worst outcomes have been (so far) averted this year, Utah needs to step up its long-term plans for water conservation. As one of the fastest growing states in the nation, the systems put in place now to decrease water use will have huge impacts as the population increases. “Our administration is committed to advancing more aggressive water conservation measures,” Cox said. The governor spoke of four distinct areas in which Utah needs to act in order to lay the foundation for a more waterwise future. One of these areas involves individual home landscapes. Cox announced his intention to implement the Localscapes rewards and Flip Your Strip programs—initially developed in West Jordan and administered by Jordan Valley Water—across the whole state. “Turf buyback” programs like Localscapes Rewards and Flip Your Strip incentivize homeowners to replace “thirsty grass” in their yards with more waterwise plants. Flip Your Strip involves paying homeowners to

replace grass in park strips, while Localscapes Rewards participants take a class about waterwise landscaping, then receive a cash incentive when they implement the landscape plans in their yards. Jordan Valley Water began offering Flip Your Strip and Localscapes Rewards in 2017. “With growing participation year over year and proven water savings, it became natural for other agencies to want to start offering similar programs,” said Megan Jenkins of Jordan Valley Water. “In fact, this was something Jordan Valley planned for.” While developing its rebate website, utahwatersavers.com, Jordan Valley Water recognized they could expand the programs’ effectiveness by collaborating with other agencies across the state. “By allowing multiple agencies to offer conservation programs and rebates on the same website, many inefficiencies of past water conservation efforts could be eliminated,” Jenkins said. Jenkins says the two programs have already seen great demand in West Jordan this year. So far in 2021, 659 households have applied for Flip Your Strip, with 392 coming from within Jordan Valley Water’s service area. This represents a significant increase from 2020, when a total of 177 Flip Your Strip applications were submitted. This year, Cox announced his intention to make Utah the first state to offer a “statewide buyback program.” Going forward, Utah needs to be a state where grass is planted only “in areas where it actively is used, rather than using it as a default groundcover.” At the July 29 event, Rick Maloy of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, announced that beginning Aug. 1, these turf buyback programs pioneered in West Jordan would be available to all counties within the district. The district includes much of Salt Lake, Utah, Juab, Uintah, Sanpete, Wasatch

Through the expansion of Localscapes Rewards and Flip Your Strip programs, residents of Salt Lake, Utah, Juab, Uintah, Sanpete, Wasatch and Duchesne counties just became eligible to get money back for removing grass from their home landscapes. (Photo by Daniel Watson)

and Duchesne counties, though a Flip Your Strip program is also available to Layton residents. (Murray City and South Jordan City are not eligible for Flip Your Strip because these cities offer their own park strip programs.) Utahns in eligible areas can apply to begin the process at utahwatersavers.com. Not only will those who participate get to help the state save water, they’ll also see sav-

ings on their own monthly water bill and get back a significant chunk of time they might have previously spent on lawn maintenance. “While the actual water savings will vary depending on the size of the park strip and the materials used, we estimate that an average 5,000-8,000 gallons of water will be saved each year for every park strip that is flipped,” Jenkins said. l

Jim

Vote Vesock

For West Valley City

Council At Large Page 18 | September 2021

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Hillcrest High students arrived early for the first day of the 2021-22 school year to find their classes in the newly rebuilt school, which is the first four-story school in Utah. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Summer’s over…it’s back to school By Julie Slama | j.slama@cityjournals.com

T

housands of school children sharpened their pencils and filled their backpacks in Granite, Murray and Canyons school districts for their first day of school on Aug. 16. In Jordan School District, high school students returned Aug. 16 and elementary and middle school students plan an Aug. 17 return. In Canyons, students at Brighton High and Hillcrest High arrived early to learn how to navigate through their new school buildings. Masks in schools are optional as the

Salt Lake County Council in a 6-3 vote overturned the public health school mask order for children under age 12, those who are not yet old enough to be vaccinated, which was issued by county health director Dr. Angela Dunn. The free breakfast and lunch program continues this school year in many districts under an extended waiver from the USDA. All students are automatically eligible for the benefit, which will last through the 2021-22 school year or until federal funding runs out. l

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Nine years without a cold? By Priscilla Schnarr

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Page 20 | September 2021

Example of RDA area in Holladay City. 2007 to 2019. (images/Google) If you have time, will you do the same with these photos as you did another? The online version was scrollable, so one image turned into another so you could easily see the change

Government 101: Redevelopment Agency By Erin Dixon | e.dixon@mycityjournals.com

W

hat is an RDA, or Redevelopment Agency? Most Salt Lake County cities have one. Each agency has a single goal: Bring neglected parts of the city back to life. Why would a city invest time and money, rather than leave development up to the economy? Cody Hill, Midvale RDA manager, explained during a discussion about the Midvale Main Street project. “The basic philosophy is you have an area that is not growing for whatever reason. We can do nothing, and we’ll get the same tax dollars.” If the city puts in money and effort to rebuild the area, the tax income will increase. City assistance can also help reduce crime, attract new jobs, improve roads and utilities and in turn stimulate private investment in homes and surrounding areas. Council and staff find a “blighted” area they want to rebuild. They define the borders, and research costs and potential benefits a revival would have. Before a project is started, a public hearing is held, then the council votes to open the project and begins working. The RDA decision makers are the city council members, but meetings are held separately from city council meetings. Meetings are typically on the same day as a council meeting. The council will adjourn the city council and reopen as RDA. The RDA has a separate budget and does not collect taxes like the city government. The RDA gets its money from nearby taxing entities (organizations that collect taxes) such as the city, school districts, water conservation districts, libraries, etc. Each entity collects taxes from residents and businesses in its area. A taxing entity will promise the RDA a portion of what they collect over a future period of time, for instance, 5, 10 or 20 years. All the taxing entities benefit from this agreement because as areas are improved, there is more tax money to collect

from increased active businesses and residents. Overall, all groups benefit. The RDA is also able to issue bonds to bring in money. A bond is a term-specific loan to the city that is paid by investors that the RDA pays back in the future Canyons School District, Unified Fire Authority, Midvale City and South Salt Lake Valley Mosquito Abatement District all contributed some of their income to fund the reconstruction of the Midvale Main Street area. The property is currently worth $53 million. Each taxing entity that is diverting some of their future funds will get more money as the property values increase with the development. “If [they] will funnel 60% of the increased value over $53 million, we can increase the total taxable cost in this area,” Hill said. “They’ll get 40% of the increased value, which is projected to cover growth. Once that cap is hit, the school district will get 100%.” Other areas currently have RDAs, such as Draper and South Salt Lake. Draper has a 69-acre project called Sand Hills near 1300 East and Draper Parkway. According to the Draper City website, ‘The original purpose of the Sand Hills Project Area was to stabilize and strengthen the commercial business and economic base of the City.’ South Salt Lake is working on a project just north of I-80 and south of 2100 South. The new South city mixed-use project is in the zone, getting financing from the Zueller Apartments that were developed five to 10 years ago. South Salt Lake also has a project along 3900 South, east of State Street. Basically, they are using the power of the RDA to bring mixed-use projects. City Journals writer Bill Hardesty also contributed to this report. l

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UWLP survey shows women in the workforce are struggling By Peri Kinder | peri.k@davisjournal.com

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f there’s one good thing about COVID-19, it might be that the pandemic illuminated the challenges that women face in the workforce, especially with childcare. As schools and daycare facilities closed at the beginning of the pandemic, women bore a disproportionate share of the burden as they tried to keep their heads above water by juggling job responsibilities, homeschooling kids and taking care of housework. Salt Lake County resident Heather Stewart felt the struggle firsthand when her office shut down, schools closed and she was stuck trying to homeschool two elementary school-aged children while keeping up with her full-time job. “It was hard to get done what I needed to for work and be present for my kids,” she said. “I felt stretched in every direction. My daughter got behind in math. I knew it was happening, I could see it happening but I didn’t have the energy to do anything about it. I was so burned out.” Dr. Susan Madsen, Founding Director of the Utah Women & Leadership Project, said she thinks it’s time to start a conversation about supporting women in their roles as business leaders and mothers. “Finally, the pandemic is opening the eyes of some legislators,” Madsen said. “Lt. Governor [Deidre] Henderson is on this and she knows we need to support our families.” More than 3,500 women responded to a survey sent out by the UWLP, asking them to share challenges they’ve faced during the pandemic in regard to caregiving, career advancement, homeschool experiences and burnout. The results showed 16% of women had some type of withdrawal from the workplace, whether it was a lay-off, the company closed, their hours were cut or they were furloughed. For

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another 12%, women saw their workload increase by moving from part-time to full-time or by taking on more responsibility. “We had women who just couldn’t do it. They couldn’t watch their toddler and teach their 3-year-old and manage their departments,” Madsen said. “Teachers really took the brunt. They weren’t being appreciated and put in so much more.” Madsen shared an example of a teacher who was sick with COVID but was still teaching online. There was nobody to fill in for her and she couldn’t let her students down. Childcare workers were also heavily impacted by COVID. The ones who responded to the survey expressed frustration at being disrespected and unseen. They don’t want to do it anymore. “In every case, they felt they were trying to take care of essential workers’ kids while worrying about spreading the virus to other children who might take it home to a parent or grandparent,” Madsen said. While national and global reports show the majority of workers were adversely affected by the pandemic, women seemed to be affected disproportionately. When Stewart was asked to participate at an in-person meeting for her job, all the men could be there, but she couldn’t attend without finding childcare. “Why was I the only one who had to stay home with the kids?” she said. “It’s such an entrenched part of how our society operates. My workplace was actually great and very understanding. It’s just how things shake out. But it’s how things always shake out.” The survey found similar results for women trying to balance working from home with teaching children. Mothers did the lion’s share of the work to keep everything together.

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“It was really the moms that took a beating,” Madsen said. “Only 24% of respondents said they had a supportive spouse or partner. The hard thing about work is it’s societal. You have to change society. We've been socialized from the time we’re born to believe that men should be leaders.” Madsen wants to start the discussion with legislators about improving the workplace for women by enhancing leave policies, creating flexible schedules and helping moms with childcare support. The UWLP will host a free, online fireside chat with Henderson on Friday, Oct. 1 at noon to tackle these topics. The event will be livestreamed to reach as many people as possible. Madsen hopes men will also listen to the conversation. Visit UTWomen.org for more information about this discussion with the lieutenant governor who has secured the reputation for being an advocate for women. “I feel called to do this work,” Madsen said. “It’s not women versus men. What lifts women, lifts men, too. More people are listening but more people need to join the conversation.”l

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This column could be a bit divisive. I expect 48% of readers will send me envelopes of cash and loving social media messages. Another 48% will steal my birdbath and mail me dead raccoons. The remaining percentage are too busy stocking their underground bunkers to frivolously read newspapers. Let’s start with COVID-19, shall we? What a &$%@ nightmare. Cases and tempers continue to rise as we’re asked to wear masks and get vaccinated. It seems like a small price to pay if it ends a global pandemic that has killed more than four million people worldwide. Four million. Instead, Utahns are shouting about “rights” and “freedoms” and shooting guns in the air and hugging flags and buying MyPillows and yelling at federal and local leaders like this is some type of sporting event, but instead of winners or losers, people die. I hate wearing a mask, but I do it. I am terrified of shots, but I got the vaccine— twice. There are some things you just do because you love the people around you and want them to be happy and alive. I understand it isn’t possible to “reason” someone into “reason” but here we are. Next up, let’s talk about racism. Remember in “Jane Eyre” when you find out Rochester had his wife locked up on

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the third floor because she was insane? Well, Rochester represents the people who turn a blind eye to our country’s racist history, and his nutty wife is racism. And what happened when she got loose? She burned the damn house down. Just because you don’t want to talk about racism or teach how our country was built on the backs of enslaved people, or admit that systemic racism exists, doesn’t mean it’s not there. The last few years have shown us how it’s beating on the locked door, hoping to run rampant and destructive. (Sorry if I ruined “Jane Eyre” for you but you’ve had almost 175 years to read it. That’s on you.) And finally, let’s throw women some childcare love. Women have been the main childcare providers since Homo sapiens appeared on Earth’s party scene 200,000 years ago. It’s been a long slog. I think we can all agree that women are in the workplace. Correct? Women are working full-time, right? It took 199,910 years for women to step into the spotlight of their own comedy special, thanks to people like Susan B. Anthony and RGB. We can now get a charge card! Vote! Own a home! But we’re still the main caregivers, even if we run a company, own a small business or fly to the moon twice a week.

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Maybe it’s time for men to step up with us. Women often worry about taking time off to take kids to dentist appointments, doctor visits, piano lessons, lobotomies, etc. Do men do that? I’m genuinely asking because I’m willing to bet the majority of child Uber-services are performed by moms. If you’ve never been a single mom with a sick 12-year-old and you have to decide between using a vacation day or leaving your child home alone, then don’t tell me there isn’t a childcare problem in America. We’re a smart people. We are innovative and creative. Don’t you think we can use our brains to make society better instead of more divided? Maybe we’re not. Maybe our evolutionary progress ends with screaming and finger pointing. Just don’t mail me a dead raccoon.

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September 2021 | Vol. 7 Iss. 09

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NATIONAL NIGHT OUT AIMS TO UNIFY WEST VALLEY CITY NEIGHBORHOODS By Darrell Kirby | d.kirby@mycityjournals.com

A

quiet street lined with 1960s era homes in central West Valley City took on a festive air on a Friday night in August. Residents of 2855 West just north of 3100 South mingled in the middle of the blocked-off street for their local celebration of National Night Out. It was one of a series of gatherings sponsored by the city each year to help neighbors get to know each other to make their areas better, safer places to live. NNO block captain Mindi Holmgren has held parties before on her street but not of this scale and purpose. “I want to bring a greater sense of community,” she said while clad in a light blue t-shirt with the National Night Out logo. “I want our neighbors to know each other. I want us to be friends, wave when we get our mail and just help each other out when there are emergencies, problems, or issues.” Mandi Beauchaine, an 11-year resident of the neighborhood, helped Holmgren put the event together. “The purpose is to get out, have fun, meet everybody, and just kind of make those connections and try to make a stronger community together,” Beauchaine said. “The ultimate goal is to make sure that people are taken care of and watch out for things that are going on in the community.” Holmgren said the idea of having a local National Night Out stemmed from a program called “My Hometown.” Launched last year by West Valley City, the initiative brings together financial, material, and human resources from the city, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other organizations to help clean up and improve neighbor-

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Residents of 2855 West in West Valley City grab some food as part of their neighborhood’s National Night Out block party. Similar gatherings are held throughout the city each August to bring people together to create safer, more unified neighborhoods. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

hoods suffering from the effects of age, neglect, crime, and the transitory nature of its residents. It’s first revitalization project took place earlier this year in the Hillsdale neighborhood not far from Holmgren’s. West Valley City’s Neighborhood Services Office provided funds for Holmgren and her fellow NNO organizers

page 6

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to get hot dogs and supplies for the event, supplemented by additional goodies brought by neighbors. My Hometown also chipped in money to rent a bounce house, dunk tank, face painter, and balloon artist. “I wouldn’t have been able to do all this on my own,” Holmgren said. l

page 9

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