West Valley September 2016

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September 2016 | Vol. 2 Iss. 09


Community-Made Mural Beautifies West View Park Your Career Begins

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By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

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Local artist Roger Whiting, along with West Valley City interns and kids, painted a mural along a blank wall at West View Park. –Travis Barton

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Page 2 | September 2016


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

The West Valley Team CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Bryan Scott bryan@mycityjournals.com EDITOR: Travis Barton travis@mycityjournals.com ADVERTISING: 801-254-5974 DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING: Ryan Casper ryan.casper@mycityjournals.com 801-671-2034 SALES ASSOCIATES: Melissa Worthen melissa@mycityjournals.com 801-897-5231 Steve Hession steve@mycityjournals.com CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Brad Casper circulation@mycityjournals.com


ood vendors and Cultural Center staff buzzed all over the festival grounds of the Utah Cultural Celebration Center (UCCC) as they prepared for the two-day Wasatch International Food Festival. Held Aug. 19 and 20, the food festival featured 26 food and market vendors representing a spectrum of different nationalities and cultures, as well as culturally varied musical entertainment. Julie DeLong, deputy director of Utah Cultural Celebration Center Foundation and Cultural Arts Board Development, said the event is all about building a strong community by gathering people around a positive community event: food. “The UCCC and the community felt like its time had come,” DeLong said of the event. “It’s time to continue to come together in unity and to eat so delicious food… and get to know each other.” The event was an outgrowth of several factors. An ad hoc community group met July 2015 to talk about community events designed to strengthen the community and neighborhoods. “The idea really resonated with that community group we brought together,” DeLong said. West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow secured a grant from Zions Bank that helped to create the food festival as well as the inaugural West Valley Wild West Roundup, West Valley’s attempt at creating a marquee July cultural event. The food festival, in its first year, was a ticketed event that featured some popular local culinary and musical talent. Local chef and restaurateur Viet Pham attended the event Friday night and provided a cooking demonstration for attendees on Saturday. Pham was semifinalist on Food Network’s “Extreme Chef” and beat world-renowned

Chile Verde display example plates of their food during the Wasatch International Food Festival on Aug. 19. –Travis Barton

Bobby Flay in an episode of “Iron Chef America”. He also has been recognized by various media outlets such as the Salt Lake Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine Magazine and Reuters over the past several years. Musically, local favorites Tony Holiday and the Velvetones of Salt Lake and VanLadyLove of Provo headlined on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Roots High School students Gregory Schafer and Jake Clawson said the local Future Farmers of America Chapter was selling watering cans to raise funds for a trip to the National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Ind. Roots High is a “farmed-based” high school, according to Clawson, that prepares students to go into the agricultural industry.

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The National FFA Convention will be an educational trip, where they will hear from the current FFA President Larry Case. Schafer hopes to go to flight school after he graduates saying that the FFA is likely to help him pay for school if it is an agriculture related field. Clawson said he plans on going to Utah State University, but will participate in the college fair at the convention where schools will allow agriculture student hopefuls to apply for college. Clawson and Schafer are not the only ones at the festival hoping to make a good impression for of their organization. Anny Sooksri said she will be representing her three different businesses at the food festival. She is the owner of Chabaar Beyond Thai in Midvale, Tea Rose Diner in Murray and Siam Noodles in the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. “We are health conscious and use purified water in our food and drinks and many vegetables in all our dishes,” Sooksri said. Sooksri said she has the “spiciest food in town” at Chabaar Beyond. The spice for her dishes range from a scale of 1 to 10, with the low numbers being very hot. “If you have never been to the restaurant, number three is the hottest you will be able to take,” Sooksri said. This event is her first stab at street food in a street food setting. Luckily, she said that Siam Noodle’s food concept is based in selling Thai street noodles. But, it will be different, she said cooking from a booth. The cultural center opened in 2003 and is owned, operated and funded in part by West Valley City. The center has applied for and received several grants and other funding from organizations like Salt Lake County Zoos, Arts and Parks and the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. l

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West Valley National Night Out Holds Event for Seniors By Chris Larson | chris.larson@mycityjournals.com


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he West Valley Family Recreation Center hosted the West Valley City Night Out Against Crime initiative on Aug. 15 with its Senior Safety & Health Fair event. The Night Out Against Crime initiative, founded in 1984, is a national effort funded by the United States Department of Justice to build community togetherness and unity by getting out and doing things together. The other major objective of the Night Out Against crime is to help provide facetime with city police and city leaders and strengthen relations in a relaxed, one-on-one setting. Craig Thomas, West Valley City Neighborhood Services director, said the West Valley Night Out program, which spanned all of August, is a city-wide effort to enable citizens to protect each other from those who want to commit crimes against the community. Thomas said the Night Out campaign also helps to educate residents about safety programs provided to individuals and neighborhoods by the city and police department. The Senior Safety & Health Fair brought together both city, county and state administrators to talk about health and safety programs as well as business vendors to demonstrate senior-specific goods and services, such as hearing aids and health supplements. Charles Dunford of Connect Hearing offered free hearing assessments and hearing aid tune- ups to help people consider improving their hearing health. “Improved hearing helps people live a little better,” Dunford said noting it improves communication with loved ones and associates. He also said he provides preventative hearing loss products like custom ear plugs for airport employees and outdoor recreationists. “[Seniors] are an important part of our community because they have a lot of knowledge and insight most of us don’t have within our neighborhoods,” Thomas said. The city has been part of the National Night Out Against Crime since its inception 33 years ago. A few years ago, Thomas said, the city added the senior-focused event so there were additional resources and education opportunities for seniors, which make about 18 percent of West Valley’s population according to data on the city’s website. Thomas said the event also acts as a magnification of the services provided to the senior community at the Harman Senior Recreation Center. West Valley Police Detective Tony Tueller works with the community response unit. He said Senior Safety & Health Fair provided the police department to help grow the city’s Neighborhood Watch program. “As a police department, we can’t

Charles Dunford of Connect Hearing, left, conducts a hearing test on Vickie Banks, right, at the West Valley City Night Out Against Crime Senior Safety & Health Fair on Aug. 15, 2015. –Chris Larson

function without the community what Neighborhood Watch does puts you in contact with the department and we teach that they are our eyes on the streets,” Tueller said. People interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch group, contact the department and officers will help those volunteers get started with paperwork and statistical information about crime in the neighborhood. Thomas said about half of the neighborhood watches in the city are run by senior citizens. In conjunction with the Neighborhood Watch program, Tueller said the officers at the department’s booth taught event participants how to further protect themselves with the

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” Tueller said. “If there is ever a question let them know they will call you back and contact the police department to see if its legit or a scam.” Tueller alluded to the fact that seniors have a unique generational culture that places a premium on politeness and makes it hard for them to say ‘no.’ The FBI’s website states that con artists exploit this generational culture as well as use fronts that are particularly relevant to seniors like vitamins, health care products, pharmaceuticals and inexpensive vacations. “Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them

“Improved hearing helps people live a little better.”

“See Something, Say Something” and “Stow It, Don’t Show It” programs. “Don’t rely on someone else to make that call to the police department,” Tueller said of “See Something, Say Something.” “If you don’t then nothing is going to happen.” He also said that hiding valuables kept in the home or the car is the best way to prevent burglaries of either piece of property. But, “the biggest thing” Tueller said the police were educating the seniors at the event about was fraud prevention.

attractive to con artists,” states the website, FBI.gov. Seniors are less likely to report being a victim of fraud to authorities because they often don’t know they’re being scammed or are too ashamed to report. “Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs,” FBI.gov states. l


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September 2016 | Page 5

West Valley Seeks to Create Marquee Utah Heritage Event By Chris Larson | chris.larson@mycityjournals.com


he Utah Cultural Celebration Center hosted the inaugural West Valley Wild West Roundup on July 16 as a way to celebrate the history and culture of the area as the pioneers would have seen it. Visual and Performing Arts Manager Michael Christensen said West Valley City — the second largest city in the state — was trying to develop a marquee or “signature” summer event for the cultural center. At the same time, Christensen said Mayor Ron Bigelow received a grant from Zions Bank to help develop the city’s community arts program. “We thought, ‘How can we celebrate our western pioneer heritage, our Native American history and kind of the Hollywood and real cowboy versions of what happens in the interior west, historically and contemporarily?’” Christensen said. The five-hour, one-day event featured live music and events and demonstrations from several local artists and experts, culminating in a performance by The Legacy Folk Ensemble, all celebrating of the cultural heritage of the area. The grant money helped crystalize a spring/summer event that had gone through a few forms before becoming the Wild West Round Up. Originally, the cultural center developed the Festival Olmeca and that lead to another event called The Mix. “As we were talking with the mayor, we thought that West Valley would like to have its own contribution to the larger celebrations that take place in July on and around the 24th,” Christensen said. Christensen said the goal is to connect the Wild West Roundup with the Days of ‘47 events. The cultural center partnered with the non-profit Utah Pioneer

Kids learn how to make small figures at the Wild West Roundup on July 16. –Travis Barton

Heritage Arts to bring in both musical and demonstration talent which included a handcart, woodworking, blacksmithing, cornhusk doll making, cowboy poetry, storytelling and pioneer era games.

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“If we don’t ever understand our roots we won’t ever understand ourselves,” Executive Director for the UPHA Clive Romney said of the many reasons to know both the culture and skills of the pioneers. The Li’l Feathers Committee brought in students for a cultural demonstration. Li’l Feathers is a Title XI-funded program administered through the Office of Indian Education, a federal agency. The Native American Trading post hosted a booth at the event to advertise their unique products and further represent that facet of Utah’s history. The cultural center opened in 2003 and is owned, operated and funded in-part by West Valley City. The center applies for and receives several grants and other funding from organizations like Salt Lake County Zoos, Arts and Parks and the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. The cultural center has a dual purpose, according to Christensen. He said that the cultural center acts as an available event center for people to conduct relevant events and as an arts and culture venue. “The cultural center is a place for people to come celebrate their own heritage and culture and learn about the traditions of their neighbors,” Christensen said. Romney said that the pioneer games really help bring people together and have fun. “They had fun and we need to know about what they knew about having fun,” Romney said noting that many pioneer games require a lot of participation and physical exertion, promoting stronger health and community in many ways. l


Page 6 | September 2016


Community-Made Mural Beautifies West View Park By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com


o any artist, a blank space is a canvas waiting to be painted. For the new mural at West View Park, it was the city interns who first imagined a mural there. July 28 marked the unveiling of a mural along one of the West View Park walls at 4100 South 6000 West. West Valley City collaborated with local artist Roger Whiting and the Salt Lake County Youth Programs to create a work of art for the city. “I hope it brings a sense of pride to the community,” Whiting said. West Valley City hired three interns, masters of public administration students from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, to take on special projects that would be interesting to the city. Among those projects was a mural at West View Park. “[It started] just to make a fun, colorful thing to connect the neighborhood with that wall and the rest of West Valley,” Todd Andersen, management analyst intern, said. The mural starts from the left displaying the planets in space before gradually focusing in on where the park is located on a map. Andersen, a MPA student from University of Utah, said he was inspired by the mats that looked like cities he used to play on as a kid. “I thought that idea would associate it with West Valley— so basically like a fun cartoon map,” Andersen said. Andersen, along with the other interns Romauld Rambikarison and Moses Cissoko, approached Whiting in early June about the project. Whiting, founder of the nonprofit organization Community Arts of Utah, is known for his work with youth programs and Andersen said they wanted that type of community connection. “It was better to get the community involved so they had a stake in their own city and neighborhood,” Andersen said. Whiting said he loves that he made a career out of community work and was happy to participate. “It’s what I love doing…to be doing something that brings joy to kids, brings joy to me and makes communities look more beautiful,” Whiting said. About 15 kids from the Salt Lake County Youth Program helped with the design and painting of the mural which includes a “seek and find” activity where tiny painted objects are hidden throughout the mural. It was an idea the kids loved. “Most of the kids have never been involved in something

Todd Anderson and Romauld Rambikarison sign their names to the new mural they helped create at West View Park on Aug. 4. –Travis Barton

About 15 kids worked with artists and city officials on the summer-long project. –Travis Barton

“It’s what I love doing…to be doing something that brings joy to kids, brings joy to me and makes communities look more beautiful,” like this before so it was pretty fun for them,” Solo Tuiaki said. Tuiaki is the teen counselor from the Salt Lake County Housing Authority who supervised and painted with the kids. “[The kids] just had the best attitudes about the whole thing—always looking to do more—and they were really excited about the seek and find part,” Lyndzie Nielson, Whiting’s art assistant, said. Nielson moved back to Salt Lake County from St. George to help Whiting with some summerlong art projects. The interns’ other projects are scheduled to be completed Aug. 18. Rambikarison’s project will be nine panels of mosaic art along the TRAX green line on 2700 West, also done by Whiting and Nielson, while Cissoko’s project will see stenciled path markers laid out for students at four different elementary schools. The path markers will highlight the mascots of each school. Andersen said he hopes the $1,500 mural, paid for by the

city administration budget, can be something the community rallies around as its already started with city officials. The interns and their supervisor, Andrew Wallentine, were quick to credit the support they received from the city manager and the city council. “It’s awesome to have an administration that cares enough to do small projects like this to make the city a better place,” Wallentine said. Rambikarison, a native of Madagascar, said people have the idea that West Valley is a sketchy city and their projects were aimed to beautify the city. Whiting said it’s ideas like these that people remember. “When you think about where you grew up the things that stand out to you aren’t the supermarkets or the Home Depot…it’s the things that are completely unique to the community,” Whiting said. “And since this is one of kind, it belongs to [the community].” l

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September 2016 | Page 7

August Signals Community Blend Between Neighbors, Police By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com


ational Night Out may be a month-long, nationwide event, but its focus is on neighborhoods. West Valley City commemorated August as National Night Out Month starting with Neighborhood Block Parties on Aug. 2 and culminating with the Wrap-up Celebration on Aug. 31 at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center— all in an effort to promote safety and camaraderie in the community. “It’s very important for people to come out and experience that,” Craig Thomas, director of Neighborhood Service, said. West Valley City had about 40 block parties registered this year with city officials, police officers and firefighters making appearances at as many as they could. Thomas said when the number of parties increased they had to expand on the month’s events. “When they became so prolific—one year we had 40 events trying to take place on one night with limited resources—so we started to do a second emphasis night,” Thomas said. That second night was Aug. 25. The 40 block parties this year is down from 58 a year ago, their biggest year. Thomas said at least 20 percent of the city gets invited to a block party and he estimates about 10,000 people attend the various events held. Since block parties don’t reach everybody in the city, other events are held throughout the month to extend awareness including three safety and health fairs, CPR training and an interactive discussion with Police Chief Lee Russo. “We keep adding more opportunities for residents to participate…It’s pretty far reaching, we obviously want to keep bumping that up,” Thomas said. Thomas said the message of National Night Out is to increase awareness of the crime prevention programs the city and county offer along with safety programs such as the Utah Safety Council. Rachel Hiatt is a Home and Community Program Manager with the Utah Safety Council. She brought a booth to the events the city put on to help spread information about car seat and home safety topics. “Sometimes safety takes a back seat and it’s good to have reminders…like gun safety or home safety or car seat safety so it’s good to make everybody aware,” Hiatt said. The month also arrives at an appropriate time in the world as it serves an opportunity to foster community relations with the police department. “That is our main goal to strengthen those relationships,” Thomas said. “Kids need to know that those men and women in blue, those are their safety persons, who they can go to when they see something.” Sergeant Trudy Cropper said it’s great at those events for kids and adults to get to know

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Sergeant Trudy Cropper runs an information booth with other officers during the Police Safety Fair. The safety fair was one of many events run by the city promoting National Night Out during August. –Travis Barton

them in a friendly environment. “Gives kids a chance to have a positive interaction with us because some of them may only have an interaction if we show up at their house because of a problem,” Cropper said. “We’re real people and what we want is for people to be safe and taken care of.” Hiatt said she loved seeing the kids interacting with the police officers at the annual Police Department Safety Fair. “It’s good to get that relationship and let the community know that they’re not so intimidating. They’re not the bad guys, they’re the good guys,” Hiatt said. Cropper, part of the community response unit, said the month is great at not only promoting crime prevention but it gives them an opportunity to be proactive. “We’re so reactive most of the time—we get calls, we respond to those calls—that we don’t get a lot of chances to put out information so it’s really important,” Cropper said. Knowledge is power and Cropper said knowing as much as you can will help people take the proper safety measures. “There’s a lot you can do to protect yourself and take all the precautions you can so you don’t become a victim,” Cropper said. The most important thing with crime prevention, Thomas said, is neighbors knowing each other whether it’s through a neighborhood organization or not. “It’s neighbors knowing neighbors, reaching out to help one another,” Thomas said. “That’s our perfect scenario is families and the kids getting to that place where they know each other, talk and can trust each other and go to each other when they need help.” Focusing on the neighborhood inevitably brings camaraderie to the forefront and then hopefully, safety. “Get involved with your neighborhood watch so you know your neighbors and watch out for each other,” Cropper advised. l

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Page 8 | September 2016



Emotions Surface as City Council Adopts Budget By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

Jim Welch, finance director, gives a presentation of the city budget during the city council meeting on Aug. 8. The city council voted to adopt the 2016-2017 fiscal budget, which includes a nine percent property tax increase. —Travis Barton


motions bubbled to the surface during the West Valley City Council meeting on Aug. 9 as citizens opposed the property tax increase included in the city’s 2016-2017 fiscal budget. The city council voted 5-2 to adopt the new budget. With the budget approved, property taxes are set to increase nine percent since last year. Citizens voiced their disapproval to the mayor and the city council at not only raising the taxes, but the steep increase it produced. “I thought we were in charge, I thought you guys worked for us, but I guess that’s not the case,” resident Troy Council told the city council. It’s the first time in five years the property taxes have been increased. City councilmembers were quick to point out this wasn’t an easy decision for them, but they felt it was the right one. “It’s our pocketbooks that are just as affected as yours,” Councilwoman Karen Lang said during the meeting. “Year round we have people come tell us they want better policing, better ordinance enforcement, better roads…we’re just trying to collect some money and take care of these issues,” Councilman Steve Buhler said. Buhler said when the council votes to spend money on different items throughout the year to help the city, they are effectively voting to increase taxes. “It’s two sides of the same coin, we can’t approve these things year round and say we’re going to ‘approve this money’ and ‘appropriate these funds’ and then not have the funds to do so,” Buhler said. Citizens weren’t the only ones letting their emotions be heard as Mayor Ron Bigelow and Councilman Tom Huynh dissented in their vote. “My own integrity is at stake here,” Bigelow said shortly before the vote was taken. When Bigelow was in the Utah House of

Representatives, he served as the House Chair of the Budget Committee preparing budgets for all of the state government. Before the vote was taken, Bigelow let his frustration be known since—considering his background— he was not allowed to assist with the budget preparations. “I’ve been in elected office for over 18 years and I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve been angry, and this is one of them,” Bigelow said after he had been regarded as “disingenuous.” He said most of the city council told him not to participate in any discussion regarding the budget until “it was finalized and released to the public” because then the city council would have to look at it as well. “I will guarantee you that I can put together a budget that will balance and be fair because I’ve done it before,” Bigelow said. Budgets need long-term sustainability, Bigelow said a few days later, so long term plans need to be made. “You can’t solve problems with the budget unless do it consistently over time,” Bigelow said. Bigelow also said the city needs to be prepared in the case of an economic downturn, something City Manager Wayne Pyle spoke about during the meeting. Bigelow, known for his opposition to tax increases, said during the meeting he would vote the way he campaigned he would. “I said I will not raise taxes until—I leave it open—until I’m convinced personally that our government is spending all the money effectively and efficiently,” Bigelow said. Huynh said every city has problems, but raising property taxes shouldn’t always be the first resource to fix a city’s problems. “Why don’t we try out other ways, we have to exhaust every possible way to take care of this matter,” Huynh said during the

West Valley resident Troy Council speaks to the mayor and city council about the property tax increase on Aug. 8. The city council voted to adopt the 2016-2017 fiscal budget, which includes a nine percent property tax increase. —Travis Barton

meeting. Bigelow said the budget isn’t bad except for the property tax increase. “The only complaint I had was that we didn’t spend enough time exploring alternatives to raising taxes,” Bigelow said. “The things we’re funding, for the most part, are things that were critical and need to be addressed.” Multiple citizens shared concerns as retirees living on fixed incomes with the tax increase set to hit them harder than others. “Take into consideration us older citizens, I understand we need increases to cover costs, let’s make them reasonable,” resident Kathy Meyer told the city council. Ed Blanchard, whose tax notice went up 34 percent, said it’s easy to sit down, crunch numbers and decide what to do. “But for those of us on fixed incomes, everything’s going up for us as well and we don’t have the luxury to tax other folks,” Blanchard said. John Sanders, a Chesterfield resident, said the council must have money to help out those with fixed incomes. “Do the best you can do…help out the retirees,” Sanders told the city council. Councilman Donald Christensen said he is on a fixed income. He said with property values increased, which are set by the county, his taxes went up as well. Christensen suggested those on fixed incomes can apply for property tax circuit breakers which provide tax refunds for low income families and individuals. Through a series of questions to the city manager, Councilman Steve Buhler pointed out that the city council can’t make any changes to the sales tax nor can they target younger or richer families with the property tax increase. That increase is set to bring in an additional $2.8 million. Of which $1.8 million

will go to public safety for the police and fire departments. Pyle spoke during the meeting regarding the process behind the budget and the alternatives they look at to raising property taxes such as pulling money from the general fund or cutting personnel recommendations which would eliminate public safety positions. “We could still draw more from the fund balance…but we’ll have the same question next year. We’ll have the same needs— probably more needs—and it didn’t seem prudent to us to do that,” Pyle said during the city council meeting. Pyle pointed out that the fire, police and parks and recreation departments have been understaffed for years. By cutting personnel those staff recommended positions wouldn’t be filled and existing positions would be under threat. “Sixty-five percent goes to personnel costs, in order for services to be maintained, you need that personnel,” Jim Welch, finance director, said. Jeff White, a resident whose car has been stolen three times, said he understands the city offers necessary services but it isn’t everything. “I love services but a city is not services. A city is families and individuals, a city is people,” White said. White said he thought government cuts should be made rather than taxing the people. Resident Mike Markham said as a small business owner he could understand the reasoning behind the tax increase despite his property tax going up $44.58 a year. He said he’s happy to see public works resurfacing a road that needs fixing. “I can see what I’m getting from this city, I can see the street repairs,” Markham said to the city council. “I complain about a lot of things, but I support this.” l

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Opening Doors for Youth, YCC Receives Keys to the City By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

September 2016 | Page 9

Your Text isn’t Worth It!

The West Valley City Council and the Youth City Council take a photo together after the Youth City Council members were awarded keys to the city during a study meeting this summer. –Kevin Conde


een members of the West Valley Youth City Council (YCC) were recently honored with something special — the keys to the city. Members of the youth council received the keys during a West Valley City Council study meeting this summer in recognition of their efforts over the previous year. “It shows that the city council is supportive of us and that hopefully we can do more,” Nelson Lotz, last year’s YCC deputy mayor, said. Leslie Hudson, YCC Advisor, said she was ecstatic to see the kids receiving their keys to the city. “These kids are great and they deserve something really good, and they finally got it,” Hudson said. During the study meeting, each member of the YCC was called up to receive their key before taking a group photograph with the West Valley City Council. “They’ve been fairly outstanding in our minds as far as their work on e-cigarettes and being very proactive in the community,” Mayor Ron Bigelow said during the study meeting. “We congratulate you on a job well done.” Lotz said it was cool to receive the same honor in West Valley City that has been bestowed on famous individuals such as Hillary Clinton, Axl Rose and Her Majesty Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho, the queen of Tonga. But it’s the city council’s symbolic support through the keys that makes the difference to Lotz. “Not only is it a great personal honor for each one of us but it shows that the city council is ready to back up the youth city council,” Lotz said. This plays a role, Lotz said, when they find problems and solutions among

the youth in the city. “We’ll actually be able to do something about it because the city council is there to back us up,” Lotz said. While the benefits will be felt in the years to come, the keys marked a culmination of a busy year for the YCC, which included passing a resolution with the West Valley City Council supporting youth education of e-cigarettes. “Which we hope to carry over into this year while continuing to do service

“Not only is it a great personal honor for each one of us but it shows that the city council is ready to back up the youth city council.” projects,” Lotz said. Hudson said the service projects done by YCC are city oriented—Westfest, National Night Out, the Clean and Beautiful project—so it puts a spotlight on the teenagers. “It put the high school kids of West Valley in a super positive light,” Hudson said. Hudson, a former schoolteacher, said it’s been interesting seeing teenagers from different backgrounds—both culturally and ethnically—work towards a common goal. “It’s been neat to watch them develop methods of working together,” Hudson said.

“[It’s been fun] learning how to work with people you share the same goal with but you have different ways of reaching that goal,” Lotz said. “Eventually you find that one way that wasn’t anyone’s original way but ends up achieving that goal.” The YCC started two years ago and Hudson said she’s been very impressed with the high quality each of the members exude. “There isn’t one of them I wouldn’t be totally thrilled to have as my own my kid and not one that I wouldn’t trust with a high-level of responsibility,” Hudson said. With 14 members on the YCC this previous year, and most of them from Granger and Hunter High Schools, Hudson said there is no cap on the amount of members they can have and she would like to see kids from other similar-aged schools around the city. “We’d love more youth to join the youth city council,” said Lotz, who will be a senior at Granger High this fall. Generally, teenagers who join youth city councils are students more known for their academic dedication and achievement rather than those who are good students, but maybe don’t feel the urge to join something like the youth city council. “You don’t have to be the best at what you do to be on the council, you just have to care about something,” Lotz said. After receiving a key to the city and being involved in so many projects, Lotz—who’s also on the Salt Lake County Youth City Council as a West Valley representative—said he’s looking forward to the new year and continuing to improve the image of education in West Valley. “West Valley City, no matter what other people may say about it, has some of the best teachers and schools in the state,” Lotz said. l

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Page 10 | September 2016


Robotics Camp Engineers Education, Fun for Kids By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com


hey may not design robots, but kids at the Junk Drawer Robotics Camp built catapults and cars. The Salt Lake County Library system has been offering free STEM camps this summer where kids and teenagers learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. West Valley Library played host to a Junk Drawer Robotics Camp on Aug. 8. “It’s junk drawer robotics so it’s the basics of robotics,” said Melissa Ivie, a Utah State University student and volunteer counselor who helps run the STEM camps. From toddlers to teenagers, kids learned how to make stick bombs with Popsicle sticks; catapults with string, Popsicle sticks, plastic cups, bottle caps and clips; and little cars with small motors and batteries. Basically any items you might find in a junk drawer. Ivie said each camp has a different theme, this one is about _MG_3038.jpg _MG_3042.jpg engineering and it had four stages. In the beginning of the camp, kids learned about design and Corbin Carpenter reacts after watching his Popsicle stick “cobra” explode. Corbin removed a stick from the pressurized line of Popsicle sticks causing mechanical engineering by making a catapult. them to fly into the air. –Travis Barton “There was paper everywhere,” Ivie joked. Making the stick bombs, where Popsicle sticks are pressed together in a variety of designs before “exploding” all over, teaches the country but the Utah extension goes through Utah State kids about intricate designs and following instructions. University. The third stage sees them apply logic through a programming “It’s this whole community program to help promote stuff like game. One kid was identified as a “robot” and had to follow the this for kids,” Ivie said. instructions of the “engineers.” Ivie, a computer science major, said she jumped at the chance The camp ends with the kids building something robotic when she was asked to run the library camps for the summer. themselves, a small car, by using all the items that would be ideally “Part of it is just sharing my passion,” she said. found in a “junk drawer” plus small motors and batteries. Ivie said a lot of kids just don’t have the proper exposure to Though the library system provides the supplies, the volunteers STEM so kids think it’s a difficult thing to do. In one of Ivie’s camps come through 4-H, a community organization that runs throughout she helps kids make a space invaders type of game, which they _MG_3081.jpg


inevitably love. “I love to teach that one because there are so many kids afterward who walk away like, ‘Oh, I can do electrical engineering, I love programming, this is so cool,’ and it’s not something they would have thought of before,” Ivie said. “It makes me happy when they walk away saying stuff like that because it’s one of my passions.” For the kids, it offers them the opportunity to stimulate their minds during the summer. “It helps us get our minds ready for school starting up again,” Lucas Carpenter, 16, said. Lucas has attended a few STEM camps this summer with his brothers Avery, 13, and Corbin, 10. Avery said he learned a lot about problem solving during the robotics camp, something Ivie said is essential to the camp. “That’s basically what engineering is,” Ivie said. _MG_3076.jpg Becky Carpenter, the boys’ mother, said this camp was perfect for her boys, especially Avery. “[Avery’s] constantly making like a solar powered thing in the driveway, he’ll probably go into something like engineering,” Carpenter said. The camp, Carpenter said, is a good experience for Avery. “It gets him away from the video games in the summer and moves him in the direction of what he’s already inclined to do, it’s awesome,” she said. Lucas and Corbin both said they enjoyed the exploding Popsicle sticks. One iteration, called the “cobra,” saw them make a five-foot trail of sticks pressed together, which then exploded when one stick was removed. “I’ve never been able to do that right before,” Lucas said. l Style1.jpg

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M yWestV alleyJournal .Com

September 2016 | Page 11

Latino in Action Student Attends Special Summit in D.C. By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com


iana Mota, a recent graduate of Granger High School, was selected to participate in the Beating the Odds Summit on July 19 where 160 students nationwide were celebrated by Michelle Obama. Students were nominated by local educators for overcoming difficult circumstances. Mota was nominated by Latinos in Action (LIA) and one of two students to represent the organization at the Summit. The other was Jonathan D’Cruz from Hollywood Hills High School in Florida. “They are really good role models, they’ve overcome so much,” said Jose Enriquez, LIA Founder and executive director. “They know exactly what they want to be and what they want to do.” LIA is a secondary elective course targeted at Latino and minority students where they learn how to become successful professionals and leaders in their community. LIA was one of 63 nonprofit organizations chosen to nominate students for the Summit. Enriquez said the powerful part is that both of the students want to give back to their community, “That’s really what we want,” Enriquez said. With LIA headquarters based in Salt Lake City, Enriquez knew he wanted a local student.

“Granger does such a good job [with LIA classes] so we wanted to give them props for what they do,” Enriquez said. Granger has the most LIA classes with eight. “That was pretty cool that he offered us that opportunity,” said Braydon Eden, Granger High’s LIA teacher. Enriquez wanted a student who had overcome struggles both inside and out of the school arena impacting their community and peers. “Her name just jumped into my head,” Eden said of Mota. Eden taught Mota for three years at Granger witnessing her growth from a sophomore to college-bound graduate. Mota had attendance and academic struggles her sophomore and some of her junior year. She was also working while attending school and considered dropping out to go fulltime work. “She just had to fight to fix some of the mistakes she was doing,” Eden said. Eden said he saw improvement from Mota throughout the years, but especially during her senior year setting an example for her younger sister. “People had kind of written her off, but she didn’t care what people thought—she had a

Diana Mota and Jonathan D’Cruz were nominated by Latinos in Action to attend the Beating the Odds Summit in Washington, D.C. as students who overcame adversity to inspirer their community. Mota recently graduated from Granger High School. –Jose Enriquez

goal,” Eden said. “I was really impressed with that.” Mota took the hardest class available at Granger and received an A, participated on the track and field team and designed the LIA class banner. “She could’ve just gotten a full-time job and said, ‘You know what, high school’s not for me,’ but she kept coming,” Eden said. “I was able to see that growth over the three years and

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she was beating the odds.” Enriquez accompanied Mota and D’Cruz to Washington, D.C. for the Summit where they went on a tour of the White House and met first lady Michelle Obama. “It was a great experience just to be in the White House,” Enriquez, a native of El Salvador, said. The best opportunity of all fell to Mota when she was selected to ask the first lady a question. All attending students had the chance to write two questions and Obama would select 12 of them to answer. Due to time, only five were allowed to share their question, Mota’s was the fifth one. “You couldn’t script it any better…it was really cool,” Enriquez said. What was Mota’s question? “We all have role models that make a difference in our lives and create change within us, who was that person in your life?” Enriquez recited from memory. Mota will be attending Salt Lake Community College this fall and Eden said he hopes she continues her ambitious desire. “Right now she wants to be a nurse so I hope she sets that goal and doesn’t let it get away,” Eden said. l

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Page 12 | September 2016


Students, Officers to Benefit from Training Program

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

By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

Representing Businesses in West Valley City, Taylorsville, Kearns and Millcreek Contact Information: Barbara S. Riddle, CMP



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Upcoming Events PiNG (Professionals Networking Group) meets weekly on Wednesdays September 7-8 – Leadership Institute Kick-off

September 15 – Board of Governors Meeting September 22 – Monthly Chamber Luncheon Speaker: Jordan Larson, Varex Imaging Topic: Sustainability Programs for Business

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ADVANCE AUTO PARTS ribbon cutting, located at 4795 West 3500 South in West Valley City.

WALMART ribbon cutting, located at 3180 South 5600 West in West Valley City.

Thank You to our Community Investment Members & Civic Partners

Don Shomette of the Shomette Group speaks with school resource officers at Granger High School on Aug. 3. Officers were trained by Shomette to become mentors as much as enforcers within schools. –Travis Barton


school resource officer is the first line of law enforcement inside a school. Maybe those officers can be even more. Granite School District’s Police Department held a special training from Aug. 2 to 5 at Granger High School to teach officers how to best serve their school community and decrease stress levels. The training was taught by crime prevention specialist Don Shomette of the Shomette Group. “We need to have the highest standards when we enter those doors, just like everyone should,” Shomette said. The week-long training module aimed to ensure all officers understand their role in schools. Shomette’s training included classroom management, preventing a crisis, mentoring students, school and police partnerships and other subjects pertaining to law enforcement in schools. Almost 50 school resource officers from Morgan and Cache counties attended the training as well as the cities of Magna, Draper, Murray, Holladay, Riverton and West Valley. Granite School District said the goal is for each officer to serve more as a school administrator and less like a police officer walking a beat. Doug Larson, Granite’s director of policy and legal services, said they want resource officers to work and gain the trust of students while also maintaining security. Shomette said he loves the “resource” part

of the title. “Think of yourself as a resource in all ways. Then I think it’s going to open up more possibilities and give you more opportunities that you couldn’t otherwise pigeonhole your way into,” Shomette told the dozens of officers in attendance. Shomette stressed the need for resource officers and school officials to work together. “We work for nothing but the benefit of the people, they work for nothing but the benefit of their students,” Shomette, a former Marine, said. Shomette said he’s sometimes baffled when officers don’t get along with people in public schools. “Public schools are full people who are heroic, who sacrifice every day for the benefit of others,” Shomette said. “There are many men and women in the public schools who do exactly what police officers do. If there is two organizations that should be together, it should be us and the public schools.” Shomette has taught this training around the country in places such as Washington, D.C. and Birmingham, Ala. and is the father of eight kids. He said there is true value in connecting with kids. “The better [the connection] is, the deeper it is, the greater the chance the person is going to listen to you,” Shomette said. Larson said resource officers are a vital part of schools and with this new training they will hopefully be able to prevent problems before they arise. l

M yWestV alleyJournal .Com

September 2016 | Page 13


Page 14 | September 2016


Improving Westside Football

“Ghostblasters: We Ain’t Afraid of No Jokes!”

By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com


oaches at the three West Valley high schools have used their team’s past success as a way to motivate their players to want to participate for their west side schools and make them great again. The players at Granger, Cyprus and Hunter have embraced their team’s idea to help them succeed. Lancers have been asked to believe in themselves. The Pirtaes have “I am we are” everywhere the team looks. The Wolverines are taught to “Live the tradition.”


esert Star Playhouse, the theater that’s built a reputation for producing laugh out loud, family-friendly musical comedies, continues its 2016 season with a comedic take on the supernatural, “Ghostblasters: We Ain’t Afraid of No Jokes!” The show opens Thursday, August 25th. Dr. Stanley Bonkers is busy putting together a new exhibit of priceless artifacts at the city museum, but his colleague, Dr. Polly P. Pratt is busy trying to catch his eye! When Dr. Bonkers gets possessed by the evil sorcerer Drool, there’s only one group she can call on for help, Ghostblasters! Supervised by their inventive leader, code name A-1, the Ghostblasters have added the clairvoyant I-15 to their ranks; but will she be accepted by her fellows? On the other side of town, Ghostblaster 401K is sent to investigate strange disturbances in journalist Fanny Berrett’s apartment (aside from all his failed

attempts at getting her to go out with him!) And with the increase of supernatural activity, can the Ghostblasters save the day without divine intervention? Find out in our hilarious new show! Directed by Scott Holman, Ghostblasters runs from August 25 to November 5, 2016. The evening also includes another of Desert Star’s signature musical olios following the show. The Monster Rock ‘n Roll-io will feature some new and classic rock music favorites with a dash of Halloween fun, and always hilarious Desert Star twist! Desert Star audiences can enjoy gourmet pizza, fresh wraps, burgers, scrumptious desserts, and other finger foods as well as a full selection of soft drinks and smoothies while they watch the show. Food is available from an á la carte menu and is served right at your table.

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Granger The Lancers have missed the playoffs since 2012. Teaching the players to believe in themselves has become a focus of third year head coach Mike Morgan. The Lancers hope that Morgan will solidify its coaching carousel. He is the seventh coach since 2000 to pilot them. Despite the revolving door in leadership the Lancers continue to find themselves trying to prove to the outsiders they belong. The experience that the younger Lancer players gained last season is expected to help them this year. They have another year of experience in Morgan’s double wing offense and 4-3 defense. They return seven starters on both sides of the ball. Its experience could be a key to the team improving on last season. The Lancers have won 212 games since 1970. This includes last season’s 4-6 overall record. Their offense averaged 27.1 points per game. The problem came in stopping their opponents. They allowed 282 points and they did not win a game on their home field; both glaring points they hope to change going into 2016. They started their season Aug. 19 against Copper Hills. Their first Region 2 contest is scheduled for Sept. 16 against cross town rival Hunter. The Lancers are 5-18 all-time against the Wolverines. Key players to watch this season include tight end Sydney Alofipo, running back Ryno Tavai, running back/ defensive back Sione Houma and Hector Magallanges. As team captains they are expected to provide the leadership for the team. The City Journals sports staff picks the Lancers to finish sixth in Region 2. Hunter The Wolverines have not missed the state playoffs since the school’s inaugural season in 1990. Their only state championship came in 2003. The Wolverines finished in second place in Region 2 last season. Their overall record was 6-4, their defense only allowed one opponent (Herriman) to score more than 30 points. Its continued ability to stop their

opponents will be a key to the team’s success this season. The Wolverines have holes to fill on the offensive side of the ball, all of the team’s experienced running backs and the quarterback graduated. Gordon Nai and sophomore Tanner Lunceford are competing for the open quarterback position. The Wolverines offense always includes a power running game. Several players are vying for those key touches including Ty Carlson and Carson Pututau. The offense and defensive lines continue to be a team strength. They won the Ute shoot lineman challenge this summer. Lorenzo Fauatea is a leader on that line. He has received several division one scholarship offers. Hunter started its season Aug. 19 against American Fork. After facing Riverton they are scheduled to host Mountain View from Meridian, Idaho on Sept. 1. The highlight on the team’s schedule could be its Sept. 16 game against its rival Granger. The City Journals sports staff picks Hunter to finish second in Region 2. Cyprus A renewed enthusiasm has entered Magna. In his second year as head coach Jed Smith has embraced the importance of the team to its community. His renewed vigor has pumped life into the team. He has encouraged players to participate in off season academics programs to help more of them stay eligible. The Pirates went 2-8 last season. Despite its dire looking record the team did see a renewed success. They defeated Skyline in a region game and also topped Copper Hills 23-12 in a preseason contest. This year they toned down their schedule with teams more in their realm. They are scheduled to open the season at home against Grantsville Aug. 19. The excitement has poured over onto the student body. They packed the stadium for its annual preseason scrimmage. The cheerleaders and Spinakers performed and the team showcased its new talent. The Pirates are in the second year of Smith’s pro-style offense. They only return four starters from last years team. Its 4-3 defense returns five starters. The relative inexperience could affect them in the begining this season. The team is on the right track embracing its “I am we are” slogan. The City Journals sports staff picks the Pirates to finish fifth in Region 7. l


M yWestV alleyJournal .Com

September 2016 | Page 15

Sled Hockey Returns to Acord Ice Center By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com


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any sports are adapted to encourage everyone to play. In little league the bases are placed closer together; basketball leagues lower the hoop for the younger players. The Paralympic sport of sled hockey is an adaptation for those with lower body impairments. At West Valley’s Acord Ice Center everyone is encouraged to play the fast moving, high energy full contact sport. Sled hockey (referred to as sledge outside the United States) was invented in Sweden in the late 1960s. There is little difference in sled hockey and stand-up hockey. The goal is still to put the puck into the net. Sled hockey players use their arms to power themselves around the ice. Play is on a regulation sized ice rink with standard size pucks and goals. They use shortened hockey sticks with small ice picks on the end to give themselves the traction they need to move around the ice. “We set up the clinic in August and we will have more upcoming. All to introduce people to the sport. They can come see it, try it out and learn how to skate on the sleds. It is designed for people with lower body disabilities and friends and family are more

Sled hockey is set to return to county run ice centers. Salt Lake City once boasted a nationally ranked sled hockey team.— Salt Lake County Adaptive Sports

than welcome too. Anyone can play and it is superfun,” Salt Lake County Adaptive Sports Manager Susie Schroer said. The August clinic included instruction from Jhon Bryan, an experienced player and former member of the USA Sled Hockey Jr.

Development Team. At one time Salt Lake City boasted a nationally ranked team, The Salt Lake City Golden Eagles. Greg Shaw was forward on that team and also played on the USA National Sled Hockey Team. In the 2013 Sled World Championships he had two assists and the Americans won the silver medal. “We lost a few players and the team dynamic faded away. Our goal is to bring a team back to Utah. Recently there has been more requests for the sport. We are trying to build the numbers back up with clinics and more opportunities,” Schroer said. Sled hockey was introduced into the Paralympics in the 1994 Lillehammer Games. The United States won its first sled hockey gold medal in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. In those games Team USA swept through the preliminary round of games with a perfect 5-0 record. They outscored their opponents 22-3, never trailing at any point. The gold medal game was held in front of a record setting crowd of 8,315 fans. In a shootout Team USA defeated the Norwegians 4-3. For those who are interested in playing, contact the West Valley Acord Ice Center. l


Page 16 | September 2016


Teens from Northern Ireland, Utah Foster Friendships through Differences By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


welve catholic and protestant teens left their homes in Northern Ireland and travelled to Utah for a monthlong peace project aimed at unifying their nation. Northern Ireland’s conflict between its mainly protestant unionists and mainly catholic nationalists, referred to as “The Troubles,” officially came to an end through the Belfast Good Friday Agreement of 1998, but when the divide between the two sectarian groups continued, Reverend Kerry Waterstone founded the Ulster Project, a program designed to bring future catholic and protestant leaders together through association with religious teens in the United States. Utah’s been part of the project for 30 years. “You can definitely tell at the start of the month they are in the ‘impress phase,’” Adam Dahlberg, director for Ulster Project Utah, said of the 12 Irish and 12 American teens who are part of the project. “They are just getting together, so they want to be cool, but by the end of the month that has faded and they are able to be themselves which is really hard for teens to do. It’s fun to see that transition.” The Irish teens–six Protestant and six Catholic–roomed with an American teen of the same religion and similar background from June 27 to July 22. The 24 participants had their monthlong schedule filled with service, outdoor and faith-building activities each day.

Americans teens hold up posters to welcome teens from Northern Ireland into Utah for the Utah Ulster Project. The Ulster Project is a peace project designed to bring Protestant and Catholic teens together despite their differences. – Utah Ulster Project

Maddie Bossarte, of Taylorsville, and Emma Hagan, of Omagh, Northern Ireland, barely spoke to each other when they first met, but by the second day Emma was braiding Maddie’s hair and Emma was helping Maddie to put on her shoes, said Ann Charat, Maddie’s godmother. The two teens bonded as the group of 24 visited historical sites, rode roller coasters and slides at Lagoon and Seven Peaks, camped, went rafting, attended a REAL Salt Lake game, and volunteered at the Utah Food Bank, Humane Society and at Kauri Sue Hamilton School for students with disabilities, among other activities. “We’ve become best friends,” Maddie, 14, and Emma, 15, said simultaneously when asked how they’ve changed since the first day of the


Ulster Project. “It’s like everyone here became best friends,” Maddie added. “I’ve really learned to talk with other people and be confident in what I say and to accept the differences in others.” Emma, a Protestant, said she didn’t associate with Catholics very often before she came to Utah’s Ulster Project, but after a month of spending time with catholic and protestant teens from her own country and the United States, she said she’s ready to accept people no matter where they come from. “At home we have separate schools for protestants and Catholics, and they don’t really interact much, but now when I get home, I’ll try to make an effort with the Catholics,” Emma said. JP Murray, a 15-year-old Northern Ireland

resident, said he believes the prejudice between Catholics and protestants will die off as his generation ages. While older people are prone to think of the divide between the group, the teenagers are “more chill” and want to get to know each other, he said. JP’s American roommate for the duration of the project was PJ Mannebach from Salt Lake City. The directors must have had a sense of humor to pair them together, JP said. Despite the similarity in their names, the two 15-year-olds had many different interests that made their situation ironic, PJ said. “At first, it was just really awkward, and I was thinking about what I got myself into,” PJ said. “Then I started talking with all the people in our groups, and I realized that all of these guys were pure fun. I used to avoid talking to people in group settings, but now I enjoy it, and that’s something that I’ll always carry with me.” Aaron Smithson, a counselor from Ireland, said it was amazing to see JP and PJ’s selfconfidence increase through the project. “They used to be some of the quietest kids around here, but then they started being the loudest and most annoying, and that was a good thing to see,” Smithson said. “All of them have really opened up and have been able to see past religion and their cultural differences.” l

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M yWestV alleyJournal .Com

Council invests in Equestrian Park’s future


fter many months of meetings and ongoing communication between horse owners, county staff, and community members, the future of the Salt Lake County Equestrian Park is now set. We recently voted as the Salt Lake County council to keep the park in it’s current form but also to invest in a litany of deferred maintenance needs in the park. This park has been a long-standing fixture of our South Jordan community, and the county as a whole. Unfortunately, many maintenance needs of the park had not been adequately funded and addressed over the years. In addition, as a county we lacked good information about the actual use of the park among members of the community. In essence - the county was not investing in the park properly, and was not understanding the full value of the park sufficiently. I first posed questions about this park in the fall 2015 budget process, and then again in a blog post in January 2016. My position was clear - if we as a county are going to have an equestrian park, we need to be willing to invest in it, as well as measure the actual use and value to the community. For the past six months, a dedicated group of equestrian park advocates (known as the Equestrian Park Coalition) worked diligently to provide good information to me as well as other council members. They shared new information about the var-

ious events at the park, the level of use, and most importantly shed light on the many maintenance needs of the park. Thanks to their hard work in collaborating with our county parks department, we now have a clear vision for the future of the park. This group also recommended some fee increases to users of the park. Some of the deferred maintenance repairs include things like: new restrooms for park users, entry gates with controlled access points that will give us more precise data on park use, upgrading or renovating some of the barns for the horses, and upgrading footing (dirt) where applicable. These are just some of the many deferred maintenance needs that will be addressed through this investment. In addition, the fee structure adjustment will help enhance the park’s revenue stream to better fund its operations. The controlled access points will give us precise data on the number of users of the park, as well as let us better collect appropriate usage fees. We are also creating an ongoing Equestrian Park User Advisory and Oversight Committee, which will be an official mechanism through which users can provide valuable feedback to county staff as well as the park’s management. I’m excited about these improvements and the positive im-

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pact they will have on the equestrian park. This is an example of good civic engagement at its best. Members of the public effectively and respectfully educated the council, and we’ve incorporated their feedback into the plan moving forward. l



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Page 18 | September 2016


The Crunch, Crunch, Crunch Under My Feet


h, It’s here, fall. Here come the treasured foods of warmth, kids back in school, Halloween and that wonderful sound of crunching leaves under your feet when you head outside. There is nothing like the splendor of our amazing canyons with their fiery colors this time of year – anywhere else. Enjoying our canyons in the fall season is not only beauty to the eyes; it can be as cheap as a few gallons of gas and a picnic lunch too. Whether you’re leaf watching consists of a quick scenic drive on a Sunday afternoon or a weekend stay amid the trees, we can agree that, when the conditions are right, autumn time in Utah is worth celebrating. Here are a few ideas of where to see fall leaves that won’t disappoint. Lets start with The Grand Prix of Leaf Watching (Heber, Midway, and Sundance) By picking a central location; you can spend the weekend enjoying beautiful colors and a variety of fun activities in all directions. Midway If you are looking for a unique adventure amid the fall foliage, Homestead Resort in Midway welcomes you. The sprawling cottages provide the perfect setting and destination for the most devoted leaf watcher and a place we try to visit yearly. When the day is done, take a dip in the Crater where the temperature is always a balmy 90-96 degrees. You can find a discount for Crater swimming on Coupons4Utah.com/ Heber No matter where you are coming from, Heber always feels like home. Heber’s small town charm is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of big city life. When it comes to fall activities, Heber is the one of the best destinations for family fun. For many, the Heber Valley Railroad is a longtime family tradition for every season. Come ride the Pumpkin Train, but be sure to stay and celebrate the Annual Scarecrow Festival or brave through the spine-tingling Sleepy Hollow Haunted Wagon Ride. More adventurous visitors may choose to soar from above and take in the views on one of two different courses with

Zipline Utah. The Flight of the Condor course spans 4 zipline and a suspension bridge. The Screaming Falcon is the world’s longest zipline course over water! It consists of over 2 miles of 10 ziplines and 7 suspension bridges, while also showing you some of the most amazing views Utah has to offer Visit coupons4utah.com for news about available discounts on the train and/or the Zipline.

Silver Lake at Brighton Ski Resort The good news, the easy access for people of all ages doesn’t detract from the beauty. The lake is just large enough to provide amazing colors and scenic views and small enough for the littlest of fans to enjoy the stroll. Guardsman Pass This is a beautiful and quiet drive offers breathtaking views. The winding road takes you from Deer Valley over to Park City and Midway. Mirror Lake Highway Reaching north from Kamas, Utah, to Evanston, Wyoming, traverses nearly 80 miles through the Uinta Mountains. The highway has panoramic views of the alpine landscape from the road’s high point at Bald Mountain Pass. There are also numerous lakes that offer splendid view including its namesake Mirror Lake. Red Butte Gardens It may seem cliché to suggest visiting the gardens. But if you are stuck in the city and need a quick change in environment to recharge your spirit, Red Butte doesn’t disappoint no matter the season. Take a sack lunch with you; there are some wonderfully tranquil little hideaways for lunching at the gardens

Silver Lake at Bright Ski Resort

Sundance Nestled at the base of Mount Timpanogos, Sundance Ski Resort places you right in the middle of the fall splendor. After a day of enjoying the fall colors, you can savor wonderful cuisine made special from local and organic growers. For as low as $29.00 you can enjoy a fabulous adventure on the Bearclaw or Halloween Zipline Tour at Sundance or choose to ride the tram up for some amazing views from above. Details are on coupons4utah.com. Emigration Canyon Take Sunnyside east past the zoo where you’ll find dozens of trails full of fall color. Make a day of it and stop by the historic Ruth’s Diner for a lunch on their fantastic patio.

Wheeler Historic Farm Wheeler Farm is a kids favorite with its mature leafy trees, open grassy space, and rustic buildings, and don’t forget the super cute farm animals Wheeler Farm is a great place for the family to visit. Remember to take your camera for this one. Wheeler farm is a photographers dream. Last, I want to share with you a secret little stop in Draper. Beautiful Leaves can be as close as the next neighborhood over. Go east on Wasatch Blvd. until you reach Hidden Valley Park. Follow the Bonneville Shoreline Trail as it wraps around the east bench where you’ll find amazing views of the valley. These are just a few of the magnitude of places Utah offers for enjoy fall. Where is your favorite place to see the beauty of fall? l




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September 2016 | Page 19

M yWestV alleyJournal .Com

Survival of the Fittest


’ve always associated Yellowstone Park with abject terror. A childhood vacation to this national park guaranteed me a lifetime of nightmares. It was the first time we’d taken a family vacation out of Utah and we were ecstatic. Not only would we stay in a motel, but we’d see moose, bears and cowboys in their natural habitat. We prepared for a car ride that would take an entire day, so I packed several Nancy Drew mysteries, and some Judy Blume and Madeleine L’Engle novels just in case. Because my parents couldn’t hand us an iPad and tell us to watch movies for six hours, we brought our Travel Bingo cards with the transparent red squares that you slid over pictures of silos, motor homes and rest areas. For more car fun, there was the license plate game, the alphabet game, sing-alongs, ghost stories and slug bug. Even then, we got bored. Dad decided he’d prepare us for the Yellowstone Park adventure that lay ahead of us. That’s when the trouble started. He told us how beautiful the park was. Then he explained if we fell into a geyser, the heat would boil the flesh off our bones and bleach those bones bright white, and those bones would never be found. He told us when (not if) we encountered bears, we had to play dead or the bears would eat us. We even practiced drills in the car.


Dad would yell “Bear!” and we’d all collapse across the station wagon seats (we didn’t wear seat belts) until the danger had passed. (It usually took an hour or so.) He said if we wandered away, it would take just a few days until we died of starvation—unless the bears got us first. He warned us to stay away from every animal, describing in detail the series of rabies shots we’d need if a chipmunk bit us. We were cautioned to avoid high ledges (we’d fall to our deaths), moose (we’d be trampled), buffalo (again with the trampled) and the requisite stranger warning (we’d be kidnapped). By the time we reached Yellowstone, dad had thoroughly instilled us with horror. When we arrived at the motel, we frantically ran to our



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room, afraid there were bears, moose or chipmunks waiting to drag us off into the woods. That night, as we climbed into bed, Dad tucked us in and said, “Technically we’re sleeping on a huge volcano that could erupt at any time and blow up the entire state of Wyoming. See you in the morning. Probably.” The next day, he was perplexed when we didn’t want to get within 125 feet of a geyser, when we didn’t want to be photographed near a bison or when we refused to gaze into a boiling hot spot. My sister started crying, “I don’t want to fall in and have bleached bones.” Then there was Old Faithful. Dad had built up our expectations to the point that anything less than a geyser that spewed glitter, fairies and candy would be a disappointment. We were underwhelmed. But the souvenir shop redeemed our entire vacation. We were each given $5 to spend, which was a wealth of frivolity. I chose a doll in a green calico dress with beautiful red hair— because nothing says “Yellowstone National Park” like an Irish lassie. As we left the park (with my sister quietly weeping because she’d changed her mind about which souvenir she wanted), we were thrilled to be returning home in one piece. But then my dad said, “We should visit Timpanogos Cave. Have I told you about the bats?” l

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