West Valley December 2015

Page 1

December 2015 | Vol. 15 Iss. 01


Students Rally Money and Support for a Child in Need By Aimee L. Cook

page 7 The check for $4,500 is given to Carson and his family during a school assembly made possible by donations raised by the students at Hunter High School. Photo courtesy of Hunter High School





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Page 2 | December 2015


Hundreds of Nativities Displayed for Community By Rachel Hall


or many, the joy of the holiday season is a feeling worth lasting all year long. Joleen Wright, a West Valley City resident, happily kicked off the start of the Christmas season by displaying over 600 of her personal nativities from around the world for friends, neighbors and visitors to admire at the Granger East Stake South building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Nov. 13 and 14. “It starts the Christmas spirit. Christmas is already out in the stores,” Wright said about showcasing the unique pieces before Thanksgiving. The display itself took over 12 hours to set out with the help of many volunteers. “When you stop and think about getting all of the little pieces out of the boxes, for all

these nativities, we had to have lots of help to do that. But the people who did that were thrilled, because they didn’t know what they were unwrapping until they got it unwrapped. They said, ‘Wow! This is just like a Christmas present,’” she said. Wright has spent many years collecting the pieces from all over the world. Many of her friends and family look for nativities to gift to her on special occasions, even when they see something they think she will like. “I’ve been married 51 years, and I’ve been collecting since day one,” Wright said. “I have a lot from different countries, but I haven’t been to those countries.” As friends and family have helped add to her collection over the years, many have won-


The display of over 600 nativities represents countries from all over the world, including Israel, Vietnam, Poland and more.

dered if Wright has a favorite: she doesn’t. “I don’t have a favorite, because they are all my favorite,” she said. Admirers of the nativities also wonder how she stores such an amazing collection throughout the year. Wright keeps everything organized by numbering paper bags that the nativities are in, until they are returned to their original boxes in her basement. “It doesn’t take very much space once I get them back in their original boxes. It’s half a room in the basement. It’s not bad,” she said. The two-day event was organized with the help of Wright’s daughter, Christine Bowman, who flew in from Colorado to help with the design of the display. Creating multiple levels of nativities Joleen Wright has spent over 50 years collecting nativities, and put them on not only enhanced the ambi- display for the West Valley community to admire. ence of the setting, but made several nativities eye-level for children to see. nam and many more. Each nativity was made “They need to be viewed,” Wright said. out of unique materials like banana leaves, ceSheri Biesinger brought her children to dar wood, paper mache, olive wood, wool and see the display, and two of her sons willing- others. ly selected their favorites: a lego display and Horatio and Charlene Gregory, husband a crystal set. and wife, attended the event with cameras in “It is just amazing that she has collected hand. these things. Every one is beautiful. Every sin“The reason I am taking so many pictures gle one is extra special,” Biesinger said. “We is because I have taken pictures of other [disare going to go home and pull out our nativi- plays], and it will give me ideas for building ties. She has inspired us.” my own,” Horatio said. Another visitor, Pauline Allen, was “The normal ones are gorgeous, but I like amazed to see the nativities, and even wished a the unique ones so much,” Charlene said. few on display would have been for sale. A small treat of Christmas cookies and “I would buy a bunch,” Allen said. “I cashew brittle was available for visitors as like to come here and look, because my moth- they finished walking through the display. Siner used to have stuff in every room of her cere appreciation for Wright being willing to house.” share a little Christmas spirit was evident from Allen was not the only one who was in- thankful guests. However, the display will not spired by the collection from countries such as: return next year as an annual event. It will Poland, the Philippines, Israel, Mongolia, Viet- probably be back in two years. l

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Page 4 | December 2015


Scrooge and Second Chances


By Alisha Soeken


n the timeless tale of “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge, a callous miser, is given a second chance to live a better life. The Desert Star Playhouse in Murray City was also given a second chance at life when it was purchased and renovated instead of being torn down. Before that purchase the theater saw much of life and many second chances. The Desert Star Playhouse has enjoyed a long life. In it’s infancy it was called the Gem. It saw silent movies accompanied only by a piano, and remembers a world when radios, refrigerators and a woman’s right to vote were only a recent luxury. In the 1930s the Gem had it’s first second chance, as it was rebuilt and expanded into the Iris Theater. With its Art Deco style facelift, it was a building like no other in Murray. It showed blockbusters like “Gone With The Wind” and rare Swedish films for immigrants brought to Murray by the smelters. During the Great Depression, owner Tony Duvall would let children see movies for free or in exchange for scrap metal. After the Great Depression, the Desert Star continued to see change in its name and ownership. But in 2000 when Murray City recommended demolishing it, Mike and Alyce Todd gave it it’s most crucial second chance, by purchasing and saving it from demolition. The value of a second chance is immeasurable, if seized as Scrooge did to become a better person. Today the Desert Star is a dinner theater known for its parody plays and family -friendly comedy. The proof of its positive role is observed in the lives of those who work at the theater, both past and present. “The Desert Star has made a positive impact on my life in so many ways. It was my first job and where I had always hoped to perform. After auditioning many times, I was cast in ‘The Hungry Games,’ fulfilling my dream, almost 10 years after I started working there. I also gained experience in light and sound unmatchable to any theater, made lifelong friends and to this day love seeing the fun shows they put on,” actor Katie Terry said. The Desert Star’s current show is, “Ebenezer Scrooge: His Nightmare Before Christmas.” It’s about Ebenezer’s life after he

Dan Larrinaga, Ivin Conatser, Lee Daily, Ed Farnsworth, Jennifer Aguirre, and Kerstin Davis. Photo courtesy of Desert Star Playhouse

decides to reform. “I love the idea of a sequel to ‘A Christmas Carol,’ exploring the other side of being generous. The idea that just because you turn into Mr. Nice Guy on one Christmas morning doesn’t necessarily make up for years of being a compete jerk,” cast member Dan Larrinaga,who plays Bob Cratchit, said. The effort that goes into producing a show at the Desert Star is enormous. Cast member Tyrus Williams said, “We start working on all aspects of the show five weeks before we open, and have 15-20 rehearsals,” Larrinaga added. “Because we rehearse while the current show is still in production and the new show opens only four days after the old show closes, as you can imagine that’s not much time, so the work is fast and furious. It’s a challenge but like it or

not, it makes you a better performer.” As proven by Williams, cast members are not only great performers. “I wear a lot of hats at the Desert Star. I design scenery and props for the shows, I occasionally run lights, do sound, and manage the stage. I’m also in charge of the general store and all the holiday decorations and lobby displays,” Williams said. Unlike what Williams and Larrinaga will do in their show, Charles Dickens never told of the life that Ebenezer Scrooge lived after receiving his second chance. The Desert Star was given that chance more then once, and for more then 85 years has seized it, as Scrooge did, to give of itself remarkably to others. Visit that historic building, watch a show, laugh, and in the words of Larrinaga, “By the end of that show, I hope people will simply

have been entertained, feeling better than when they came in, and perhaps finding themselves more in the mood for the holidays. Catching a bit of the Christmas spirit that people felt way back when, and now, as they read Dickens’ ‘A l Christmas Carol’.” Ebenezer Scrooge: HIS NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS Plays November 12, 2015 through January 2, 2016 Tickets: Adults: $22.95-$24.95, Children: $12.95 4861 S. State Street, Murray, UT 84107 Call 801.266.2600 for reservations www.DesertStarPlayhouse.com

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Hale Centre Theatre Rejuvenates the Spirit of Christmas with ‘A Christmas Carol’


harles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” returns to Hale Centre Theatre for its 31st season in December. The iconic holiday story brings families together during the holiday season to rejuvenate the Christmas spirit in all who see it. Tickets are on sale now for the holiday musical, scheduled to run Dec. 5 – 24. “Everyone in the Hale Centre Theatre family looks forward to ‘A Christmas Car-

ol,’” Sally Dietlein, HCT vice president and executive producer, said. “This wondrous tale of forgiveness and redemption rings with the true spirit of the season. We’ve added several new cast members who provide strong musical performances that are only enhanced by the lush new costumes, make-up artistry and the intimate theatre-in-the-round seating. This is a Christmas present you’ve just got to give to your family.” “After 12 years of directing this production, it’s something I think about all year,” director John J. Sweeney said. “My goal is not to reinvent this holiday classic every year, but rather to evolve different parts of the story. This year we have ghosts that hover across the stage and others that fly over the audience. This show is something I never get tired of.” Hale Centre Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” is true to Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel. Former BYU professor, actor and Dickens scholar, Richard Wilkins adapted the story. Utahn Barlow Bradford, arranged and orchestrated the music, which features authentic-tothe-time carols such as “Silent Night,” “Deck the Halls” and “Away in a Manger.” HCT’s “A Christmas Carol” is double cast with talented Utah actors: David Weekes and Stephen Kerr as Ebenezer Scrooge; Adam Dietlein and Spencer Bean as Charles Dickens

and Scrooge’s nephew, Fred; Ryan Poole and Josh Richardson as Bob Cratchit; Matt Kohler and Anthony Lovato as Jacob Marley; DRU and David Stensrud as Ghost of Christmas Present and Anson Bagley and Aimee Johnson as Ghost of Christmas Past. Mark Dietlein is the producer of the play, and John J. Sweeney serves as the director. Anne Puzey is the music director, and Marilyn May Montgomery serves as the choreographer. Kacey Udy is the set designer for the production. Kristy Draper is the costume designer and Trisha Ison is the hair and make-up designer, Adam Flitton is the lighting designer, and Shane Steel is the sound designer. Michael Hadley is the properties designer, with production assistance by Jamie Sanduk. HCT will present nearly 40 consecutive performances of “A Christmas Carol.” Performance times are at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and matinees are on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. HCT will also have multiple 2 p.m. weekday performances. No children under the age of five are permitted in the theater. Ticket prices are $32 for adults for performances before Dec. 11, and $35 thereafter. Children ages five through 11 are just $16. For ticket information call 801-984-9000, go to www.hct.org, or visit the box office at 3333 S. Decker Lake Drive in West Valley City. For updates, contests and information on the current theater season, follow Hale Centre Theatre on Facebook. In conjunction with the production, the HCT Applauds honoree for “A Christmas Carol” is Playworks. Playworks’ vision is to create a place for every kid on the playground: a place where every kid belongs, has fun and is l part of the game.

December 2015 | Page 5


Page 6 | December 2015


Building Robots, Skills and Community Awareness


130 Years

he Hunter High School Robotics Club does a lot of cool stuff, but not all of it is focused on building robotics. They also give back to the community in unique ways. Recently the team, along with their dedicated advisor, Scott Wat-

By Aimee L. Cook In addition, they participate in robotic competitions, social robotics coding and skills challenges. The club’s goal is to help each member gain skills to be successful in college, careers and life. “I like being in the robotics club

people of all ages, races, backgrounds and, worst of all, kids, since we saw a lot of kids at the event.” Even when the team is working on robotics, they are doing so in way that may help the community. Currently the

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Tristan Palmer helping children assemble wooden birdhouse kits donated by Home Depot. Photo courtesy of Hunter High School

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son, participated in an event called “Out of the Darkness Walk.” This event is for families and focuses on suicide prevention. The team also received an anonymous donation of $1,000 that they donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the host of the event. The robotics club is a competition team of 39 members that meets several days after school, and requires a lot of dedication and involvement. Service to the community is a big part of what they do.

because it has opened up so many opportunities,” Tristan Palmer, junior, said. “Things like amazing scholarships, internships, service events like the ‘Out of the Darkness Walk,’ and a chance to learn valuable skills like coding or how to work with the several different types of robots we work on. I feel that the ‘Out of the Darkness Walk’ went well (even though it is not an event I would like a need to exist for.) We did our job well, which was helping kids build small wooden toys. I learned that suicide unfortunately affects

team is working on a program called Source America that is run by the United States Government, which sends out lists of different types of robotic parts needed for a disabled person to obtain a job. Only the people on the list are real. “The list has thousands of items on it, and we try and find ones we are capable of and work on them,” Watson said. “We are also working on a program called Social Robotics. These are things like the Siri on your iPhone, and they are l designed to socially interact.”

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December 2015 | Page 7

Students Rally Money and Support for a Child in Need


he student body officers from Hunter High School attended a leadership camp over the summer at Dixie State University, along with their advisor, Phaedra Johnson, and the

By Aimee L. Cook could attend was on service presented by the Make-A-Wish organization. Senior activities officer, Nesley Carbajal, took the opportunity to attend the workshop and immediately felt

“We committed to sponsoring a wish after Daniel Dudley [of Make-A-Wish] came and spoke to the student body officers and myself,” Johnson said. “He had us go to the Make-A-

They were given the wish of a 7-year-old boy named Carson who suffered from a brain tumor. His wish was to visit the Florida theme parks.

Students agreed to eat dried crickets for reaching a goal of raising money for Make-A-Wish. Photo courtesy of Hunter High School

7-year-old Carson, who suffers from a brain tumor, was gifted his wish of going to the Florida theme parks from the money raised by the Wolverines. Photo courtesy of Hunter High School

experience ended up being life-changing for many. One of the workshops that the students

Wish house and tour the facility, and we got to see all the other kids who had gotten wishes. My students were really fired up about it.”

a call to action that she discussed with her fellow student body officers and their advisor.

“We fell in love with Carson. We really wanted to help him out,” Nesley said. “We all came up with the ideas for the challenges, and wanted them to be gross and fun to watch. This experience made me realize that there are people out there that really do need money for a purpose, and we all felt good about making his wish come true.” The group came up with a list of activities and created a large thermometer to help them keep track of the money received. The officers would take donations every day at lunch, and when certain monetary goals were met, a challenge would be completed. Enough money was raised that all but one of the challenges were met. “At the final assembly, Carson and his family were there,“ Johnson said. “We did a miracle minute collection and asked the crowd to donate what they had in a minute, and we made over $1000 just from that. “ When Carson and his family were presented with his wish, there was silence in the room. “At that moment, everyone was just proud to be a part of Hunter High School,” Nesley said. “He only responded two words: ‘Thank you.’” The completed challenges made by the student body officers were: $250-Eat dog food $500-Boys waxed their legs $750- Eat mystery pies $1000-Drink raw eggs $2000-Eat dried crickets $4000-Football coach drenched with ice water l Total donation=$4500.


Page 8 | December 2015


Teachers Attend Concealed Weapons Class During UEA By Aimee L. Cook

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tah laws allow for teachers to carry concealed weapons. Over the recent UEA break, the Utah Shooting Sports Council offered a free concealed weapons class geared towards teachers and those working in schools. There are two schools of thought amongst teachers and administrators, as to whether or not teachers carrying concealed weapons is a good idea. “I look every day into the eyes of 25 precious children and only hope that I will never be faced with a disturbed individual who is willing and able to shoot at children,” Terri Samowitz, a fourth-grade teacher at Providence Hall, said. “Our school is very proactive with doing lockdown drills, and this will always be my first line of defense. I will lock my

do. Even though it’s not their job to protect the kids, it’s not written in any employee handbook, but we do expect them to do it.” In Utah, it is not against the law to carry a firearm in any place of work. You can be let go for doing so in some jobs, but you cannot be charged with a crime. As a school teacher in Utah, the districts cannot say, “No guns allowed.” They have to go by what the state law says. Laney Long is a guidance counselor at Granger High School. She has an opposing view of teachers carrying concealed weapons. “I do not believe teachers should carry concealed weapons. If a student saw it and grabbed it off the teacher when the student was angry with the teacher, or another student, who

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Teachers practice holding and pointing a gun during the free concealed weapons class offered by Utah Shooting Sports Council. Photo courtesy of Utah Shooting Sports Council

door, drop my window shield and hide my students quietly in the corners. The reason I have decided that it could be a good idea to have a weapon is for the possibility that the locked door will not stop them, if they are determined to get in and harm my students. I want to know that I have a second line of defense in that situation.” Clark Aposhian has been an instructor for over 10 years. Aposhian believes that teachers should carry a concealed weapon if they choose to. He thinks it is a bad idea to disarm teachers. The public expects teachers to teach children, but they also expect them to keep the students safe on some level. “We expect teachers to protect our kids, even though it’s never officially been said,” Aposhian said. “I look back on the Sandy Hooks incident and can imagine hearing those gun shots. If there had been a window the teacher would have climbed out of to save herself, we would have thought that would have been the most terrible thing they could

knows what kind of chaos would occur,” Long said. “I also believe just an afternoon class does not make one an expert on weapons. I had a co-worker years back who got his concealed weapons permit. This individual had never shot a gun before, and purchased a gun from a guy off the Internet. I would not trust him to shoot with accuracy if there ever was a violent intruder in my school. I believe he could easily add to the victims. I currently work in a school where there are on average two policemen in the building most of the time. They carry, and I say let them do what they are trained to do.” Katie O’Brien is a high school freshman at Juan Diego Catholic High School. She does not want her teachers carrying guns and thinks it would be a mistake because they could end up in the wrong hands. “I would not feel any safer if my teachers had a gun, because there are some kids who might overpower a teacher and use the weapon to hurt people,” Katie said. “Lockdown drills make me feel like my school is a safe environl ment.”


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December 2015 | Page 9

Granger High School Brings ‘Urinetown’ to the Stage

Cast List of the Leads

By Aimee L. Cook


“This is a tragically hilarious musical,” Anderson said. “They make fun of musicals within the musical, which is really fun.” “Urinetown,” the book, was written by Greg Kotis after traveling to Europe and being annoyed that he had to pay money to use a public bathroom. The musical takes place in a post apocalyptical city where water is scarce and corporate businesses decide to charge people to use public bathrooms. Gone are the days when even private bathrooms are allowed. Therefore, naturally, people without means or who won’t comply get shipped out to Urinetown, which does not really exist. Instead, you get pushed off a building. There are 85 cast members and 20 crew members in the show. All have put in long hours that began during the summer months. According to Anderson, this ensemble is the most prepared of any shows to date. “’Urinetown’ is one of my favorite musicals, and I feel so Cast members from Granger High School performing ‘Urinetown,’ the comedic production basically about public restrooms. Photo lucky to be able to be a part of it,” courtesy of Granger High School Aiza Higley, a senior who plays hat’s in a name, or in this case, a title? In the case of the musical “Urinetown,” it can turn skepticism into intrigue. Who doesn’t want to see how a musical with such a obscure

name can be classified as artistic? Granger High drama teacher, Kirsten Anderson, was elated when her students wanted to bring her favorite musical to life.

Dallin Aston................... Officer Lockstock Aubrie Bohman............. Penelope Pennywise David Tyler Young......... Bobby Strong Michele Souza.............. Little Sally Aiza Higley.................... Hope Cladwell Caleb Macfarlane.......... Caldwell B. Cladwell

Hope Cladwell, said. “Getting to be one of the leads is especially cool. This year I learned that I can do hard things. I never knew how much responsibility being a lead is. It is also a little scary, because you know a lot of the focus is on you, but it is also really awarding.” “Urinetown,” along with it being a satire, also has a plot twist. Audiences realize that the bureaucrats are actually putting a system in place to regulate the use of the sparse water supply and thus keeping everyone alive. Senior Dallin Aston plays Officer Lockstock. This is his seventh production, and “Urinetown” ranks in his top two favorites. “I really like the music in this production,” Aston said. “It is dramatic and very cool. This musical has gone very smooth. The cast has really been working hard to make this a great production.” Granger High School preformed “Urinel town” from Nov. 19-23.

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Rocky Mountain Power Lowers Rates for Customers By Rachel Hall


ocky Mountain Power provides electric service to customers in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. The company’s Utah customers can expect to see lower rates, which went into effect on Nov. 1, on their bills. The reduction will reduce bills by an overall average of 0.8 percent or $6.14 for customers using 698 kilowatt-hours per month. “This is done every year. It is part of the regulatory process,” Margaret Oler, a Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson, said. The Utah Division of Public Utilities and the Office of Consumer Services supported the reduction in rates, which was part of a settlement approved by the Public Service Commission of Utah in October. “Once a year, the customer bills are adjusted based on the actual cost of fuel and electricity purchases. In this instance, it was a reduction,” Oler said. The Public Service Commission of Utah approves electricity prices based partially on the expected costs of fuel and electricity purchases, which are tracked in a special balancing account. “These annual adjustments allow the company to more quickly adjust prices to reflect the actual costs of providing service to customers,” Bob Lively, Utah regulatory affairs manager for Rocky Mountain Power, said. “They help make sure our customers do not overpay or underpay for the energy they use.” There will not be any specific credits given to customers on their monthly bills. The reduction in rates is based on forecasts made by looking at historical data as well as at expected demand. “This means customers will be paying less in the coming year,” Oler said. For more information about Rocky Mountain Power, visit www.rockymountainpower.net l

By Jessica Thompson


t may be hard for families to feel the Christmas spirit while waiting in a long line at a busy mall before they get to sit on Santa’s lap for an expensive picture. For the past 12 years, the West Valley City Family Center has given families an opportunity to visit with Santa in an inexpensive and interactive way. “This event is great for the community and helps people get ready for the holidays. It’s a really fun event,” Valerie, program manager at the Family Center, said.

with, including Elsa from “Frozen” and Jack Frost, along with Santa’s Christmas puppy. They were just some of the characters that helped this breakfast feel magical. While families ate breakfast, Santa and Mrs. Claus walked around to each family and asked them questions and made the children laugh. Along with the extra interaction, children also got to sit on Santa’s lap and received a free picture. “I’ve always loved to go and sit with San-

Breakfast with Santa in West Valley gives families the opportunity to interact with Santa and avoid those long lines at the mall. Photo Credit: Jessica Thompson

At the Breakfast with Santa event, families get to eat a delicious meal of pancakes, eggs and sausage while Christmas characters walk around and interact with each family. “My favorite part of today has been the food,” Nathan Garcia, who came with his family, said. This year the event had many Christmas characters for the children to take pictures

ta,” Nellie Garcia, big sister to Nathan, said. Santa was very cheerful and great at making the children smile during the event. When he walked into the room, families could hear their children yelling, “It’s Santa!” Mr. and Mrs. Claus loved being able to bring smiles to the faces of children. “The miracle and joy I can see in their eyes is such a fulfillment to me and brings me such joy and love in my heart,” Santa said. While families were waiting in line for their picture with Santa, children could get their faces painted, received goody bags and colored Christmas coloring pages. “I’m grateful to West Valley and the Family Center for hosting this event, because it’s the easiest way for the kids to interact with Santa rather than standing in a line,” Heather, who has brought her son to this event for the past four years, said. “What I love about this event is that it’s affordable and very family friendly. It’s very fun and interactive, like when our Jack Frost goes around and sprinkles you with snow. It’s like having breakfast with an extended family. We do things very affordable to help the famil lies in our community,” Valerie said.


Page 12 | December 2015


Trees of Diversity Exhibit Helps Cultures Connect


est Valley City is one of the largest diverse cities in all of Utah. To celebrate that diversity, West Valley City and the Utah Cultural Celebration Center hosts a Trees of Diversity Exhibit every Christmas season. The city and center supply about 30 trees for cultural community groups to decorate in a way that best represents their culture. Groups such as the New Zealand American Society, the Utah Tibetan Society and Una Mano Amiga Society participated in this year’s tree exhibit. “This event is important to residents in West Valley City and their families because they can share and relate to the ethnic communities who display their rich culture in Trees of Diversity,” Anna Cutler, West Valley City’s executive assistant, said. There were many beautiful trees on display at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City. One of the first trees was created by Jenny Atkinson with the New Zealand American Society. The tree celebrated the great sacrifice of the Kiwi bird. The tree was interactive with chirping birds and a poster describing how the Kiwi bird sacrificed his wings and became the most well-known and loved bird of the people of New Zealand. Another Tree was created by Anna Cutler and Jennifer Christensen to show appreciation to all the Omas in their lives. This tree taught about how the Dutch celebrate Saint Nicholas Eve on Dec. 5 by leaving shoes outside their

By Jessica Thompson door, filled with carrots, in hopes that Saint Nicholas would switch the carrots for treats. The tree was beautifully decorated with the traditional wooden Dutch shoes. Jeanne Marse helped create a Japanese traditional fall wedding tree for the West Valley Arts Council. This tree was decorated with fall flowers and many gold origami cranes. The decorations symbolized a long life. Also included with this tree was a Japanese traditional white bridal gown and ceremonial sake set. “The Trees of Diversity event has become a way to celebrate the end of the year with all of the many community groups we work with. We get to present a visually stunning exhibition for the holidays, and groups get a chance to share their culture, cause, or business with the public in a celebratory format,” Michael Christensen, visual and performing arts manager at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, said. Along with the beautiful display of trees was a collection of gingerbread homes created by students at Neil Armstrong Academy, Freemont Elementary School and students in Mrs. Milligan’s kindergarten class. The homes were beautifully decorated with gum drops, pretzels and peppermint candies. Just outside of the Trees of Diversity Exhibit were nativity scenes from all around the world. Many nativities were created with recycled material from newspapers, corn husks and cardboard. Seeing how different cultures

depict this Christmas scene is beautiful. “Part of the exhibit includes crèches from around the world. They all have the same theme, of course, but are made of so many materials and are representative of so many different cultures and nationalities. I really enjoy that diversity,” Christensen said. On Dec. 5, winners were announced for the best tree display. Staff members from the Utah Cultural Celebration Center voted for which tree they thought should be awarded Best Ethnic Tree, Best of Show and the Fab Favorite. At the Winter Market, the African

Exhibit gives families a chance to be transported to places all around the world. For example, the tree created by the Christensen Family taught others about Canada. This tree included a log cabin and stove replica, with a stocking hanging on the fireplace. They taught about how pioneers from Utah, led by Charles Card, settled the town of Cardston, Alberta, Canada in the spring of 1887, and built snug log cabins. The replica was of the community’s Christmas in 1887, which was celebrated in the Card home with a beautiful tree and gifts of fabric balls and dolls

Every Christmas the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City hosts a Trees of Diversity Exhibit to celebrate cultures all around the world with beautifully decorated Christmas trees. Trees in this picture celebrated different state flowers, China and the little log cabins built by Pioneers in Alberta, Canada. Photo Credit: Jessica Thompson

tree created by Granite Education Foundation’s Brett Severe and staff won Best Ethnic Tree. The tree was beautifully decorated with zebras, authentic African masks and traditional instruments. The Native American Trading Post tree, created by Peg Smies, won the Best of Show award. This diversity tree really showed families a different take on a Christmas tree by creating their tree out of horizontal wreaths on a trading post, and dangling crystals instead of a typical pine tree. The “Frozen” tree, by Ribbon Floral and created by Karen Mitchel and Carly Stilts, won Fab Favorite. This tree stood tall with gorgeous snowflakes, blue ribbon and of course the beloved snowman, Olaf. Walking through the Trees of Diversity

for the children of the small village. “We hope all who come to view our exhibit come away with a better understanding of how unique and beautiful we are as a community, especially when we share our culture,” l Cutler said. Individuals and cultural community groups received prizes for their decorated Christmas trees. On Dec. 5, the African tree created by the Granite Education Foundation won Best Ethnic tree award. Best of Show was awarded to the Native American Trading Post tree, created by Peg Smies. The Fab Favorite tree was given to the “Frozen” tree by Ribbon Floral, created by Karen Mitchel and Carly Stilts.

December 2015 | Page 13

M yWestV alleyJournal .Com

By Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams

How Salt Lake County Expects to Drastically Reduce Homelessness


hen I’m asked about homelessness in the county, the question can be either, “Isn’t the situation better than it’s ever been?” or “Isn’t it worse than it’s ever been?” Both questions reflect truth. Over the past 10 years, Utah has nearly solved the problem of chronic homelessness—defined as people who have experienced homelessness longer than one year and also have a disabling condition. The

number of chronically homeless in Utah has dropped 91 percent, to fewer than 200 people. But the faces of homelessness are varied and are always changing. From the woman and her children who become homeless due to domestic violence, to the teenagers who “age out” of foster care, to the veterans who struggle with complex health needs, the causes differ. When you figure that out, it leads to a different conversation about what should be done about it. A year ago, that conversation began. It was started among two groups led by Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County. The city’s group was chaired by former Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis and community leader and philanthropist Gail Miller. They focused on the grow-

ing demand facing the Road Home shelter facility near Pioneer Park. I co-chaired a county effort which brought all the many excellent providers of homeless services together as one problem-solving group. In October, that group, which includes the YWCA, the Crossroads Urban Center, the Housing Authority, Volunteers of America, the 4th Street Health Clinic, Catholic Community Services, the LDS church, the United Way, and the Pioneer Park Coalition (31 partners in all), unanimously agreed on 14 shared outcomes to guide our work moving forward. It begins with our commitment to ensure that everyone in our community has a safe place to live. Today we recognize that even though we spend collectively $52 million a year on homelessness, we aren’t achieving these 14 outcomes. Everyone is trying hard. Everyone is doing good work. But until we agreed to come together and all pull in the same direction as a team, we can’t harness all that good work for the best results. We all want a system that makes sure people are safe, receive efficient service delivery and are able to focus on self-sufficiency so that they can live stable and rewarding lives. The week of Thanksgiving, both groups came together to make an important announce-

ment. Any facilities that serve the homeless populations going forward must be built and located where services needed can also be delivered. We start with the outcomes we want to achieve, select indicators that honestly measure how we’re doing and then put the money and the programs in place to accomplish those outcomes, such as diverting individuals and families from emergency shelters whenever possible and working to prevent homelessness from happening. The consequences of failing to measure the impact of our programs and continually improve the system’s effectiveness go well beyond wasting scarce tax dollars. Every time a homeless person participates in a program that doesn’t work—but could have participated in one that does—that represents a human cost. We’ve pledged to move forward in unison to minimize homelessness in our community. That’s what Utah is known for—a place where we come together to build a safe, healthy and l prosperous community for all.

Page 14 | December 2015


New Expectations for West Valley Teams


t’s the beginning of a new era in West Valley high school boys basketball. Gone is the experience and talent of difficult Region 6 opponents (Cyprus) and division one recruits like Noah Togiai (Hunter) and Makol Mawien (Granger), replaced instead by youth, potential and hope for a bright future. In their second year under head coach Tre Smith, the Cyprus Pirates continue retooling. The return of junior Brooks Marshall, last season’s leading scorer, will help the Pirates continue to rise. Marshall averaged 8.5 points per game last season for the Pirates. He started the 2015 season by scoring 20 points in a victory over Granger 60-56. The Pirates used an explosive fourth quarter to overtake the Lancers for their first win of the season. The Pirates’ only win last season came against Clearfield in its first region game. Region 6 has had a slight makeover; gone are schools like East, Highland, Bountiful and Woods Cross. Joining the Pirates for this season will be Kearns, Murray, Olympus, Hillcrest, Skyline and Judge. The season-opening win for the Pirates was followed by two narrow losses, 69-62 to Mountain View and 76-71 at the hands of Cottonwood. Josh Peck has led the Pirates, averaging 16.6 points per game. Sophomore Josh

Amasio has 15.0. The Pirates have averaged 64.3 points per game so far this season. In 2014 they only scored 60 points once. At Hunter, the Wolverines lost 22.3 points per game with the graduation of Noah Togiai. Replacing those points should be a top priority of second-year head coach Rob Collins. Togiai is now attending Oregon State as a two-sport athlete (football and basketball). The Wolverines have struggled so far this season, starting with two straight losses. Their opening game was a hard-fought comeback loss at West Jordan 55-54. The Wolverines trailed by as many as 13 points, but a second half surge gave them a chance to win or tie with just seconds remaining, but they fell just short. Senior Jaleel Holdford led them with 21 points. Hunter is the defending Region 2 champion. They finished last season undefeated (10-0) in their region. Their 53-46 victory over Weber in the first round of the state playoffs was their first playoff victory since the school’s championship in 2004.They lost in the quarter finals to Brighton 65-56. Hunter and Granger will face new teams in Region 2 this season. Davis, Layton, Syracuse, Viewmont and West join the Wolverines and Lancers. Granger is trying to make a repeat visit


By Greg James

Last season 6-foot-6 forward Dallas Garreaud provided senior leadership and averaged 7.5 points per game at Cyprus. The Pirates underclassmen have learned from that leadership and hope to have a successful season. Photo courtesy of dsandersonpics.com

to the state playoffs. Its first-round loss to Davis last season was the team’s first appearance since the 2010-11 season. They finished last season 9-14. This year some new faces have seen significant playing time. Sophomore forwards Anel Alagic and Jason Murillo lead the Lancers in scoring. Alagic has averaged 14.0 ppg and Murillo has 9. The Lancers will also rely on senior Kevin Lewis to help provide lead-

Hunter High graduate Noah Togiai has left his alma mater with a void on offense. The Wolverines hope to find someone to replace his 22 points per game he gave them last season. Photo courtesy of dsandersonpics.com

ership. In his third year as head coach, Jason Chandler has entered the Lancers in the annual Riverton Holiday Tournament scheduled to begin Monday, Dec. 28. This tournament provides local high school teams an opportunity to play four games in four days without the expensive travel costs. They are scheduled to face Taylorsville in the first game of the tourl nament.


Page 16 | December 2015


West Valley High School Girls Basketball Preview


he high school sports scene has turned its focus inside now for winter sports. The girls basketball teams at Hunter, Granger and Cyprus high schools have begun the trek towards possible playoff appearances and region championships. Last year, the Granger Lancers and Hunter Wolverines finished within one game of each other. The two West Valley schools split their regular season contests. Each team managed a victory on their home court; Hunter beat Granger 46-44 and Granger won 49-33. They are scheduled to play each other twice this season: Jan. 26 and Feb. 16. Those games could hold major implications into a Region 2 championship. A key to this season for the Lancers will be the return of senior Melisa Kadic. She averaged 15.4 points and 2 assists per game last season. She opened this year with 24 points in the Lancers’ 54-29 victory over Ogden. Senior Lizzy Peterson hit three 3-point shots in their first victory. She is averaging nine points per game for the Lancers. The Granger defense clamped down against Cyprus Dec. 1. They held the Pirates to two points in the third quarter. The Lancers were able to rebound from a 20-13 halftime deficit to pull out the victory 38-29. The Lancers are scheduled to begin region play Tuesday, Dec. 22 at Layton. Cyprus hopes to turn things around this season. They closed out last year with only

By Greg James two victories. Defense proved to be an issue. They allowed nearly 51 points per game, while they never scored more than 47 all season. The Pirates’ leading scorer this season has been junior Elyse Smith. She has averaged 7.6 points per game. Junior forward Akosita Tuitupou and senior Lomi Aiolupotea have both averaged over six points per game. The Pirates are scheduled to participate in the Tooele County Classic Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18 and 19. In the three-game tournament, the Pirates are scheduled to play Pine View, Desert Hills and Ben Lomond. Hunter lost only one region game last season en-route to their championship. In their second consecutive playoff appearance, they lost to Davis 44-36 in the first round. The Wolverines return their two leading scorers from last season: seniors Jennifer Burnham and Kimauri Toia. They averaged 25.5 points between them last season. Burnham scored 20 against Copper Hills Dec. 4 and 21 in their loss to Timpview. Toia recently signed a letter of intent to continue playing basketball at UNLV after she graduates. The Utah High School Activities Association realigned its regions this season. Granger and Hunter will face Davis, Layton, Syracuse, Viewmont and West. Cyprus will compete against Hillcrest, Kearns, Murray, Olympus Hunter High senior Kimauri Toia (#55) has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at UNLV after her graduation. l and Skyline. Photo courtesy of dsandersonpics.com

December 2015 | Page 17

M yWestV alleyJournal .Com



he Christmas season is fast approaching. For most of us, it is a bustle of shopping, cooking, wrapping, decorating, and excitement. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our to-do lists that we forget the main reason the Christmas season brings us so much joy. Family. The Dignity Memorial network has created an event that will help us to remember and celebrate the joy of family. They will be sponsoring an annual Christmas Luminary event that will take place on Saturday, Dec. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. Dignity Memorial has been doing this holiday tradition for over 10 years, and it has come to be known as an annual tradition for many families. Guests are invited to drive through any of the three different memorial parks and look at the luminary displays, while thinking of their loved ones who have passed away, or listening to Christmas music playing on the radio. A total of over 15,000 candles will be on display—10,000 at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary in Milcreek; 5,000 at Valley View Memorial Park and Fu-



neral Home in West Valley City; and 500 at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park South Valley in Riverton. Various activities will also be taking place inside the establishments during that time. At all locations, there will be festive refreshments for the guests and a Christmas Memory Tree on display. Guests are invited to either place an ornament on the tree in memory of a loved one, or make one from the supplies that will be provided. At Wasatch Lawn and Mortuary, there will be performances by William Penn and Rosecrest Elementary Schools. At Valley View Funeral Home, they will have performances from the St. Andrews Choir and Orchestra. Dignity Memorial has also partnered with The Christmas Box House to help local children to have a magical Christmas. A giving tree will be set up in the lobbies at both Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary and Valley View Funeral Home, where patrons can take an ornament off of the tree. The ornament coordinates to a gift that a

Dignity Memorial

child would want, being anything from toys to clothes. The patrons can then shop for the items and bring the gift back to either location. They leave knowing that they helped make Christmas a little more magical for that child. “We believe creating meaningful ways to pay tribute to a loved one begins with compassion and is shaped by the understanding that each life is truly unique,” says Addison Sharp, community relations representative for all of the Salt Lake City market of Dignity Memorial. Before the bustle begins, make sure to remember those who are in your life, who you would like to remember or pay tribute to. Mark your calendar for the annual Christmas Luminary, a meaningful way to pay tribute that will be taking place at three Dignity Memorial Network locations. Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary is located at 3401 South Highland Drive in Millcreek. Valley View Memorial Park and Funeral Home is located at 4335 West 4100 South in West Valley City.

Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park South Valley is located at 13001 South 3600 West in Riverl ton.

warranty, with extended warranties available. The store also has an Apple certified technician on duty at most times, offering upgrade and repair services on all Apple computer products. If you are in the market for a new,

high-quality Apple product, check out Mac Warehouse’s new retail location at 9235 S Village Shop Drive in Sandy, in front of Lowes and Walmart in the Quarry Bend Shopping Center, but leave your guilty conscience at home. This is something to get excited about. l

Mac Warehouse

ave you ever wanted something very much, but knew you couldn’t have it because of the price? Sometimes we don’t even have enough cash to spare. Other times, we have the money, but can’t justify spending so much on a single item. All of us have experienced that feeling at one time or another. Apple products come immediately to mind, when presented with this scenario. They are definitely worth the money they cost, but sometimes we just don’t have it. Mac Warehouse is a new store that is an answer to our budget-conscious, Apple-loving minds. Mac Warehouse is an Apple products re-furbisher and re-certifier. They bring in high quality, pre-owned Apple products into their facility in Sandy from all over the world. A highly-experienced team of Apple-certified technicians then puts each product through a meticulous recertification process to make sure they perform and function as intended. Once the products have passed this careful recertification, and are updated with the latest operating software from Apple, they go through a cosmetic restoration process to restore it to a condition that is as like-new as possible. Mac Warehouse calls the finished products Certified Preloved ®. “There are not many companies that do what we do, and I don’t believe anyone does it as well,” says Brett Kitson, CEO and president of Mac Warehouse. “We are constantly

refining our processes to give our customers the Apple product experience that they deserve at a price they can afford.” For years, Mac Warehouse has only sold this product to Apple resellers and other retailers all over the nation. Now, with a new retail store in Sandy, they are offering these products directly to consumers, at a huge savings—as much as 50% off normal Apple retail prices. Small businesses, schools, and other organizations can benefit greatly, being able to update their office equipment or computer labs a couple of computers at a time, or even all at once, without breaking the bank. Other related products, from Apple accessories to Beats audio products, are also available at amazing prices. This allows everyone, no matter their needs, to spread their budget further, getting more Apple for their money. “Apple is one of the most innovative, high quality, and popular computer and consumer electronics products companies in history,” explains Brett. “Our goal at Mac Warehouse is for everyone to be able to afford the Apple technology they want.” There are many reasons Mac Warehouse was recently ranked as the 55th Fastest Growing Company in the US, and the 4th Fastest Growing Company in Utah by Inc. Magazine. Obviously, a superior product is one reason. Another is their customer service. All products at Mac Warehouse come with a 90-day

Page 18 | December 2015


Are Bargain Hunters too Dang Cheap? By Joani Taylor


hile chatting the other day with a friend of mine who owns a popular downtown Salt Lake restaurant, we got into a conversation about deals and coupons they offered through various advertising mediums. This restaurateur friend of mine has promoted many times through these marketing avenues, and I was picking his brain for insight on what works and what doesn’t. I mentioned that I had been reading on Yelp.com (a popular customer review website) a plethora of negative comments about various restaurants (including his) and how MANY of the negative reviewers start their review with, “I had a coupon or deal voucher for this company and decided to give it a try.” Then the reviewer would launch into a rant of negativity, bashing the food or service provider. As my friend and I further discussed this, he stated that sometimes bargain hunters are terrible customers and that “it is not uncommon for them to complain, under tip and even attempt to mis-use their certificates or coupons.” I’m finding this trend sad and disturbing!

Most of these businesses are local to our economy. They employ our families, friends and neighbors. They support not only their families but the employees that count on it, too. When they discount their product, it’s in the hopes of getting new and loyal customers. Then, in addition to having to pay the advertiser, they watch as we, the consumers, berate them publicly for future customers to see. SAY WHAT?! I’m sad to say that many merchants I’ve spoken with view deal users as classless and cheap. I recently had the marketing director of a popular Utah location tell me they did not want coupon and deal users at their place of business, leaving their, and I quote, “McDonalds bags and dirty diapers all over their lawn.” OUCH! That hurt! After all, I rarely eat fast food and my kids are adults. Of course, one has nothing to do with the other. It was the stigma she attached to the bargain hunter that bothered me. When I use a deal voucher or coupon, I take a much different approach. The first thing I do is to thank the manager or owner (if possible) for providing me with this great chance to try their services or product. Or, I will imme-

diately let the waiter, cashier or other employee know that I have the deal voucher and then ask them to thank their boss on my behalf. I’m happy, kind and courteous and do my best to make the service employee have a better day. This small gesture of kindness will set the tone for your entire dining or shopping experience. It will make the merchant proud and glad they offered YOU this discount. This holiday season, I hope you’ll join me in saying thanks to the merchants from whom you have received special savings. Leave comments on their Facebook pages, tip extra, make a purchase without a coupon even if there is one, or simply smile and show gratitude to our small local Utah businesses for giving us a discount on their products and services that we might not have

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Have Yourself an Eco-friendly Christmas By Peri Kinder


t turns out that some scientists think we’re headed for a mass extinction. Merry Christmas! I guess our greedy attitude about the world’s resources is taking its toll on the oceans, rain forests, various ecosystems and the ability for celebrities to own a different fur coat for every day of the week. In order to reverse this Christmatasrophe, we need to change our wasteful habits. I’ve put together some new holiday rules that might just save the planet. (You can thank me later.) • Due to the inversion, chestnuts can no longer be roasted on an open fire. Chestnuts can instead be microwaved and then sprayed with a chemical-free Roasting Chestnut air freshener. • In accordance with PETA guidelines, reindeer will not be allowed to fly for 24 hours without a bathroom or smoke break. • Naughty children will no longer receive lumps of coal, but will instead be given a stocking full of organic Brussels sprouts. (Much worse than coal.) • Colorful Christmas packages can only be wrapped in old newspaper, making them neither colorful nor timely. • Thanks to global warming, dreaming of a white Christmas is no longer allowed. • No Christmas trees can be displayed unless they’re made from reclaimed barn wood. • With the rapid rise in STDs, mistletoe can no longer be hung at office parties. (All other unacceptable behavior has been canceled.)

• Christmas carolers can only go door-todoor with the proper permits and background checks. • The phrase, “Let your heart be light” only applies if your heart is powered by solar panels. • Because of the increasing number of people with diabetes, cookies for Santa are no longer allowed. • No family can send out Christmas newsletters. (Not to save the planet. I just don’t want to read them.) • Due to the melting of the polar ice caps, Santa’s workshop is being relocated to Canada. While these changes are great, it’s not just our harmful environmental attitudes that need a holiday makeover. Unregulated capitalism in America has created a society of materialistic little buggers (i.e. teenagers) who are never content. Cutting back on holiday extravagance could remind your family of the importance of the season. As Thoreau once said, “Simplify, simplify.” (Although you’d think he could have said it once.) You can tell your kids you’re trying to save money or you can tell your kids that Putin has “annexed” the North Pole and put a sanction on gifts made in Kris Kringle’s workshop. Whatever works. Decorate your home with nature. Pinecones, dried leaves, artfully arranged twigs and fresh pine boughs (cut from your neighbor’s tree) can add a beautiful touch to a mantel or centerpiece. I went in my backyard to



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