College for Debtors

By John Jones

Student loans have inflected a sense of unfairness to many college students. Yet, they are in many cases, unavoidable. Total student loan debt rose to over $800 billion in June 2010, the first time it took over credit card debt, according to Associated Press in 2011. But do students borrow too much money, and how much should a college student borrow? Is it safer to stay away from student loans completely?

The lending manager and chief executive of Zion’s Mortgage, James Sheets, speaking about student loans, explained, “Borrowing for anything, including school, should be avoided if possible.” Why is this the case? “Very often, students can work to supplement their education budget, there are grants often available, and families have saved towards the cost of an education. Student loans create a current obligation that can be a big burden to graduates as they are trying to build a household and family.” He continued, “There are however, cases when students have few choices other than getting student loan financing. When that is the case, they should always make sure to keep borrowing to an absolute minimum, and never finance non-educational costs e.g. automobile, living costs, travel, etc.” When asked ‘Who should look into student loans?’ He replied “Student loans provide educational opportunities to people who cannot otherwise afford it. If approached with care, educational financing with student loans can give access to education to those who otherwise could not afford it.”

Kamenetz in her book titled Generation Debt  stated that ‘a combination of wage declines in entry level jobs and increasing cost of colleges around the country have place many high school graduates in a no-win position, pressuring them into not a career, but debts that take a while to pay off.’ The earnings for a college degree relative to a high school degree have tripled in the last three decade, according to Kamenetz, so college is very important for those who eventually want higher paying jobs.

Student loans are prevalent for college students and their families. It affects marriage rates and influences job experiences according to a 2011 study conducted by Rothstein and his colleagues in the Journal of Public Economics. It also influences career choices, since it is becoming more and more expensive to go through additional years of college for a doctorate, law degree, and master’s degree.  A student loan is by definition “a type of loan designed to help students pay for post-secondary education and the associated fees, such as tuition, books, and supplies, and living expenses.” Do these loans actually “help” as they should, in the long run?

Average student debt- more than $22,000 Average annual fees- exceeds $17,000 per year for tuition room and board

-Associated Press 2011

One person I interviewed, Kathy Bently, was able to get through her bachelor’s degree without loans, but in the master’s program, for her P.A..(Physician’s assistant) school, she borrowed more than 150,000 dollars. When asked “Could you have gotten as far without student loans?” she replied “Definitely not. I couldn’t have afforded school any other way, especially medical school.” She also said“Student loans are sometimes unavoidable.” Student loans sound more and more like it’s unavoidable cousins, death and taxes.

Kathy and many other students are taking advantage of student loans to the best of their ability. In 2015, there were about 4.8 million borrowers participating in repayment plans that took directly from their paychecks. This is almost 50% higher than the previous year’s records, which signify that student loans are on the rise (Jesse Rothstein 16, U.S. department of Education) however there are students who feel lost with what to do with the demands of repayment programs.

For example, a Denisia Rodgers who found student loans to be very beneficial, because her tuition would total more than 2000 dollars a month, who went to the John Hopkins university. She said that student loans were essential. However there are many different ways to obtain the money for student loans. Denisia found that the income- based repayment plan a plan that draws directly from a student’s paycheck which is one of the many options for student loans, was available. She is one of the 12.5% of roughly 40 million federal loan borrowers to sign up for this type of plan, and she had found it to be a great benefit in her career.

One of the problems with student loans is how to repay them. There is still remarkably little information to why students have problems repaying their debts. One of the possible reasons is is that postponing repayment is simple. As simple as not doing anything. One student from Philadelphia sad that “Mine was $200 when I graduated, then I had it on deferment and then I had it on forbearance. Now I’m paying $462 a month.”

Another student said that “they tack on the interest, that’s how mine was. Mine was like $140… I did the forbearance, I did the deferment, and then it ballooned to like $288. it literally doubled.” One answer to the problems with student debts may be educational classes where students can learn to prioritize and plan how to pay a loan back. Students from around the globe could benefit from these type of educational classes. Sometimes paying student loans is like trying to balance the nation’s budget; a losing battle.

Daydree Hulick, New Student Orientation Administrator at Brigham Young University, says about student loans, “Don’t do it, unless you have no other options. I know that when they are doing their surveys, their priority and concerns about. How they are going to pay for school comes after having a friend and finding their classes.” What do you recommend? “Get a job first. It’s hard to pay for your own school completely. Schools have varying tuition fees and thus necessitate different fees.” Daydree knows how hard it is to stay out of debt. “I had to work 3 jobs through college to afford to not have student loans, along with Pell grants.”

In conclusion, there are many ways to safely take out student loans, and many ways to muck it up. Students are more and more finding themselves in need of these student loans and more education has to be out there, for example, avoiding forbearance, making a plan to pay it off, and finding a steady income that can work with you as you try to pay off student loans. It is never too late to become educated about the traps and pitfalls of student loans as you use them to pay for your college. There are many options for students who are debating whether to further their career, just know that there are safe, healthy ways to further your education through the benefit of student loans. For more information, visit

Life on the Rails

By: Anna Stump

Her tattered cardboard sign read, “Traveling and Homeless. Anything helps.” 23-year-old Kit had a far greater story to tell.

Kit was sitting on the street corner by Trader Joe’s on 400 South when I interrupted her from the book she was reading. Her backpack and ratty clothes made it evident that she called the street her home, but her grin revealed immense internal wealth and wisdom. Kit was a “train kid”, or so they call themselves. A community of dirt-bag travelers that jump trains and crave the thrill of the unknown. Kit is one of them, full of insight she was willing to share about the dangers of living life on the rails.

She traveled by train with her German Shepard/Chihuahua mix named Luna, a dog that she rescued from an abusive owner that is now her protective travelling companion. Born and raised in Chico California, she packed her bags and hopped the midline for Salt Lake City. She hopped the rails from California to Utah to be with a friend who was in critical condition, escaping death just by sheer luck. Kit travels by hitchhiking occasionally, but her favorite way to travel is by hopping trains- a method of transportation only suitable for the witty and badass.

Train kids have a world of their own, living life on the edge and always avoiding perpetual danger and potential arrest. They hide in the bathrooms of trains if they are lucky, but some are forced to stay hidden outside of the units on what she calls the “suicide deck.” She told me an urban legend about an old friend of hers who went inside of one of the units to rest for the night, sliding into the wheel-well like a meat grinder during his sleep. She laughed and said, “All that was left was a couple of dreads and a bunch of splattered blood.” I cringed.

Although traveling by train is a federal crime, most of the conductors are happy to let riders bum a ride if they stay hidden and cause no harm. Kit told me that the biggest concern for a rider is getting caught by the cops… or worse, by the FTRA Gang. The “Freight Train Riders of America” gang is a group of violent train pirates, in search of chaos and opportunities to kill or destroy for the thrill of it. In Burlington Northern, a retired railroad detective by the name of Bob White talks about debt collection as being one of the FTRA’s most frequent outlaw activities. ”’They come into a town and line up muscle work at taverns,’ said White, who is now a La Crosse County jailer. ‘They’ll break somebody’s leg to collect unpaid debts’”(Veldmar, 2007). These men have been linked to over hundreds of murders spread throughout the nation’s railroads. According to a newspaper published by the Columbian Publishing Company, “A famed member of the FTRA, Robert Silveria Jr., known as the Boxcar Killer, was arrested in California in 1996. He confessed to killing 28 fellow train riders and is currently serving a double life sentence in Wyoming.”

Kit told me that her fiancé had a gun pulled on him just last year by a member of the FTRA, and his only way to survive was to jump out of the moving train and hope for the best. These men often go without much risk of getting caught, and jump to the next train after committing a crime to escape arrest. Kit told me that these men wear black bandanas with a silver ring band and usually have “FTRA” or “Freedom” tattoos. She told me that you need to avoid the black bandanas at all costs, unless you want to be one more unsolved murder case.

The other train riders wear bandanas too, each color representing which rail line they travel on. She told me that the most experienced riders wear blue bandanas, which symbolize that the rider has been jumping on all three of the lines. These people typically have all train schedules memorized, and know where all the good hiding spots are. She exposed her neck to me, and said that she chooses not to wear a bandana because she has only been on 8 times.
Kit and her fiancé have plans to hitchhike to California when the snow starts to fall, trimming marijuana for ‘under the table’ pay while escaping the cold Utah winter. She will most likely continue to work up and down California’s coast until next summer, where her next train-hopping thrill awaits.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting an Earthquake

Story by Andrew Lake

You’re driving down State Street in the early afternoon. Your car starts to shake a little and you think you’ve just hit a rough patch of road. Then you notice that all of the light poles are swaying in sync. Suddenly, you feel your car lurch violently to the side, and you realize you’re in an earthquake. Or maybe the earthquake strikes while you’re sitting at a desk at school or work, or at two in the morning when you’re asleep. Do you know what you’d do in any of these situations? Do you have a plan for the aftermath?

“Bend over, grab your knees, and kiss your ass goodbye.” That’s Vincent Garcia’s plan. However, he has also wisely prepared for a major event with long distance walkie-talkies for himself and his family and a backyard shed with a month’s worth of food and water for himself and his partner.

If you’re not as prepared as him, you certainly aren’t alone. You might be like Leslie who knows about the Wasatch Fault, but hasn’t done anything to actively prepare. Or you might be like Ken and Socheata who recently moved here from California and weren’t previously aware of the existence of the Wasatch Fault.

The Wasatch Fault

The Wasatch Fault is really a system of five faults which are, from north to south, the Brigham City Fault, the Weber Fault, the Salt Lake City Fault, the Provo Fault, and the Nephi Fault.

The system is capable of producing a magnitude 7.0-7.5 earthquake around every 270 years, and each individual fault is responsible for that earthquake approximately every 1,300 years.


The average number of years between major earthquakes on the Wasatch Fault System


The number of years since the last major earthquake on the Wasatch Fault System


The number of years since a major earthquake on the Salt Lake City segment.


The number of years since a major earthquake on the Brigham City segment.

The most recent major earthquake was on the Nephi Fault, about 280 years ago, while the Brigham City Fault has gone about 2,420 years without causing a major earthquake. So it stands to reason that the Wasatch Fault System is somewhat overdue for its next large rupture, and the Brigham City Fault is the most likely location for it to occur.

It is worth noting that the Salt Lake City Fault has gone about 1,330 years without a major earthquake, so it is also overdue for a major event.

The Primary Danger

Mere ground shaking is not the only effect of an earthquake, nor is it the most dangerous. According to the University of Utah’s Professor David Dinter, who earned his PhD in Structural Geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the primary danger from a major earthquake on the Wasatch Fault will be liquefaction. This is when saturated soil behaves like a liquid while being shaken, allowing anything above it to sink into the ground.

According to Dinter, “From about 700 East all the way through downtown, out through the west valley and the encompassing airport, the entire I-15 corridor and much of the intersecting I-80 corridor… are underlaid by liquefiable deposits at depth.” This means the ground beneath these important structures will become unstable and likely cause catastrophic failure of their foundations and, therefore, the structures themselves. Even during smaller earthquakes, liquefaction can still pose a threat.

The Strength of Shaking

Liquefaction aside, just how strong is the shaking caused by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake like we can expect from the Wasatch Fault?

On November 25, 2016 there was a magnitude 3.2 earthquake near Bluffdale that, according to Fox13 News, caused no damage but that approximately 500 people reported feeling. Based on comments left on news articles about that earthquake, it seems many people are using it as a gauge of how dangerous even larger earthquakes might be.


How many times larger the shaking from a magnitude 7.5 earthquake is than a magnitude 3.2 earthquake.

2.8 million

How many times more energy is released by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake is than a magnitude 3.2 earthquake.

However, because the Richter Scale of earthquake intensity is logarithmic (meaning that a single point increase corresponds to a tenfold multiplication of strength), the shaking caused by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake is nearly 20,000 times larger and releases more than 2.8 million times the amount of energy a magnitude 3.2 does. So it is incorrect to assume that the two earthquakes are comparable in their danger. The recent, small earthquake is not representative of the impact a larger earthquake will have.

Before the Earthquake

One of the most important things Utah residents should do to prepare is to begin accumulating nonperishable food and water supplies. You should also attach your home’s water heater to the wall. Doing so will keep it from falling over and spilling during an earthquake which provides you and your family with an additional 50 gallons of valuable, potable water.

Before building up your long-term food and water supply, you should at least prepare a 72-hour kit for yourself and all those with whom you live. The kit should at the very least include food and water, a flashlight and extra batteries, and a first aid kit. Additional supplies you might want include a blanket and extra clothes, cash, prescription medicines, food for pets, and a battery powered radio. Your kit should be kept somewhere that you are sure to be able to access after a major event, such as in your car rather than in your basement.

During the Earthquake

During the earthquake itself, the website of The Great Utah Shakeout advises everyone to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!” Though it used to be taught that doorways are safe and sturdy, or that you are safest right next to an object in the so-called “Triangle of Life,” it has more recently been determined that it’s best to immediately drop to the ground before the shaking can throw you down, climb underneath a nearby, sturdy object such as a table, and hold onto that object with one arm while covering your head with your other.

After the Earthquake

Even once the earthquake has stopped, there will be smaller aftershocks in the hours and days following. It’s like “that closet where you stuff everything,” Dinter explains. “You open the door, you get the initial shock when everything falls out, and then things fall off the edge of the pile.” Because of this you should get outside if you’re in a building and get to an area away from trees, power lines, and anything else that might fall in the subsequent aftershock.

So what’s the single most important and simplest thing you can do today to begin preparing for a major earthquake? “Designate a meeting place [for your family immediately after the earthquake occurs] so that you can know who is present or who might be injured or buried in the minutes after an earthquake. And then second most important is to, for goodness’ sake, take first aid and CPR lessons,” Dinter advises.

Your meeting place should be outside, near your home where it will be easy to reach, but away from anything that might have become unstable and might fall even after the shaking has ended. It’s also a good idea to sleep with shoes and a flashlight next to your bed to help you navigate your home in case an earthquake occurs at night.

For more information about emergency preparedness, visit For information about getting involved in Utah’s statewide earthquake drills, visit

Puppy Love, Or Is It?

By: Jeffrey Fulton

In 2006, Henry, a young Dachshund-Chihuahua mix, was tortured by a leaf blower which led to the loss of his left eye. A month later, he was placed into an oven at 200 degrees for five minutes, scarring the puppy’s paws and chest.

Animal neglect is a frightening reality here in the state of Utah, and is an issue that seems to not garner much attention. Many of the stories about these neglected pets can be disturbing and hard to imagine. Through some of these stories, changes in laws have occurred here in the state thanks to the pro-activity of the Humane Society of Utah. A lot of these animals also go to various shelters for refuge, rehabilitation, and hopefully adoption. For the pets that many of us dearly love, this exploration provides a deeper perspective.

According to a report by KSL News, Marc Vincent was found guilty of animal cruelty and sentenced to six months in jail for abusing his wife’s dog, Henry. This conviction, which was the largest sentence ever given for animal cruelty in the state of Utah, started the ball rolling on legislation for what is now known as, Henry’s Law.

This law did not come easy. In fact, it was denied by the Utah Legislature when it was first presented in January of 2007. Rhonda Kamper, the former wife of Marc Vincent, was the one spearheading the legislation. Another group, the Humane Society of Utah, played a pivotal role in bringing about “Henry’s Law”. Since March of 2008, it is now a third-degree felony to torture a “domestic dog” or “domestic cat”. Deann Shepherd, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Humane Society of Utah, explained that smaller issues of animal neglect oftentimes never get the coverage like the larger events do. No matter how small, it does not make this type of behavior okay.

“How we treat our lesser creatures is a reflection on who we are as a society,” Shepherd said.

She also said that there is a strong correlation between serial killers and them abusing animals. Through awareness, and reporting, these cases of animal neglect can greatly lessen; and through adoption, these animals can have a new life.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the Humane Society of Utah had a large event where 130 animals were adopted and taken into new homes. HSU averages about 30 adoptions per day. It is usually bustling with dogs on leashes and smiling families. “We want this place to be a destination, not a dreary place,” Shepherd said. She explained how animal shelters usually have a stigma of being a “doom and gloom” place, because of things people see on TV or hear about it.

In the case of HSU, people have the opportunity to walk in and play with dogs and cats, and can even take them out on a leash and walk them. Shepherd said that when the animals stay at the humane society, it is like a brief hotel stay, with a later goal to get them into a loving home. According to the Humane Society website, their mission statement is to be, “dedicated to the elimination of pain, fear, and suffering in all animals.” This goal is a driving force for them as they fight for stronger animal cruelty laws in Utah.

According to the Animal Law Coalition, even with Henry’s Law making animal abuse a third- degree felony, it still leaves Utah as the state with some of the weakest animal cruelty laws in the country. Deann Shepherd stated that before Henry’s Law, lawmakers saw animals more as property than living creatures. Through the Humane Society’s constant push for stronger laws, it has put the ball in the court of the Utah Legislature. Other local animal shelters have yet to join with HSU in the battle against the “big dogs” on Capitol Hill.

One of the other issues that Shepherd and the Humane Society are taking on is that of euthanizing animals, commonly known as “putting to sleep.” Utah is one of only four states that still use gas chambers. The past two years, HSU has been trying to eliminate gas chambers in some of Utah’s shelters as a way to euthanize animals, and only use lethal injection. These gas chambers take several minutes to kill, while the injection puts them down in a matter of seconds.

In an article written by Rebecca Palmer for the Deseret News in 2009, she went into more detail about these chambers. Several animals get put into a chamber at a time, then it fills with carbon monoxide until it kills the animals. After waiting several moments for the gas to convert into carbon dioxide, they open the chamber up to release the gas. “The debate between gas chambers and poison injections centers partly on cost,” Palmer said. Since most shelters are tax funded, that becomes a big point of discussion. This battle of euthanizing methods is still ongoing. As for the non-profit Humane Society, they remain dedicated to improving animal welfare.

What can an individual do to improve animal welfare? Teresa, a local Utahan, shared her experience when she came across a neglected dog in Salt Lake County. She had been staying at a relative’s home and noticed at the neighbor’s house, that there was a dog covered in mud and looked pretty malnourished. She decided to feed the dog regularly and eventually explored the backyard where the animal was being kept.

Teresa explained, “One day, I opened the neighbor’s gate and went into the backyard to see if the dog was being fed.  I found a bowl overturned and covered in mud. There was no food or water. The dog was being kept in a wooden box with an opening of about three by four feet so it was impossible to keep warm or dry.”

Through Teresa’s awareness and action, this dog’s life was saved. So, what can you do in the fight against animal neglect? “Speak up when you see abuse or neglect.  If you can’t talk to the owner about it then call your local animal welfare agency for help,” Teresa suggested. Observe, then report. A pretty simple and easy way to put animal neglect in decline. Simply put, be smart with your own pets, and spread the news.

Deann Shepherd mentioned many things people can do to be more aware of their pets, and thus avoid neglect. Things like not leaving your dog chained up out in the cold, not keeping your cat locked in the car during the summer, and other similar actions. These actions may seem pretty obvious, but Shepherd said it’s a recurring thing that the HSU has to announce to Utahans because not a whole lot is changing.

Comfort. Happiness. Love. These things are the goal for these neglected animals. Whether it be through the efforts of a large non-profit organization like the Humane Society of Utah or an observant and concerned citizen, these creatures deserve a new life away from neglect.

PJ’s Forgotten Children: Giving Back for Christmas

By Ashley Meier

P.J.’s Forgotten Children is a local Utah organization that provides clothing and toys for children who suffer from mental illness. It helps outside of Salt Lake County, such as in Tooele, but gets the most of the referrals from inside Salt Lake County. They help children who have a parent or guardian that can’t provide for them due to their mental condition but is not limited to this. Some of the children are the actual patients themselves. P.J.’s Forgotten Children is partnered with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and this organization actually spreads awareness about mental illness while P.J.’s provides support. The organization reaches out to the community to receive help for these kids and one of their biggest times is during the holidays.

Many of the parents who suffer with mental illness also suffer from poverty. This can affect them heavily during the holidays. Research has shown that during the holidays depression rates are higher due to seasonal defective disorder. “Depression rates are always really high around the holidays, which is an increased risk factor for suicide. By helping parents provide Christmas [presents] for their kids [it] is a big relief [for them],” explained Teresa Galloway. Galloway is a student studying Social Work at the University of Utah who worked closely with children’s therapists in Tooele, Utah for many years. She helped by referring families who needed help to the organization.

The parents have a difficult time providing their children with gifts for Christmas. Through this organization, other families who are willing to help can contribute Christmas presents and clothing for these children. For each child, donating families will receive their child’s name and general information such as size and age. The organization asks the donator to provide 1-2 outfits, socks, underwear, a toy, a roll of gift-wrap, tape, any specified needs the child has asked for, and warm gloves. To give these parents a sense of providing for their children, P.J.’s delivers the presents unwrapped. This allows the parents to wrap the presents themselves and know what their children will be receiving Christmas morning.

As mentioned before, P.J.’s Forgotten Children finds families through referrals from therapists. These families need three things in order to be eligible for help: someone in the direct family suffers from mental illness, the family suffers from poverty, and the individual who is suffering must be receiving help through therapy. Once a family is identified as possibly needing aid during the holidays, the organization reaches out to them informing the family that there are resources available to them. They have to do this very carefully in case of offending anyone. But the families who do agree are very grateful for the help they receive. “Several times I was told P.J.’s was an answer to their prayers and the only way their kids would get anything that particular year,” Galloway explained.

A lot of the time the children are in custody of their grandparents. “I think there’s a lot of disruption in routine and family life,” Laura Pexton, a volunteer who works on the board for the organization explained.

Pexton has been volunteering for the organization for about eight years now and has been on the board for 5 years. The board consists of six people and is basically the core group of volunteers. They plan the fundraising for the organization, talk to the treasurer about expenses and are in charge of the amount of donations coming in.

Pexton explained that the company does many other things than just helping with Christmas presents. Throughout the year the therapists can refer families that need more help than just at Christmas time. This includes pregnant women who aren’t able to provide for their newborn. For these newborns they create a “Newborn Baby Basket”. These baskets include quilts, clothes, diapers and more. They delivered about 45 of these baskets last year.

They also put together backpacks for children returning to school. A lot of kids get discouraged when they do not have supplies they need in class. This isn’t restricted to just young children; it could be from elementary to high school ages. They put together 450 backpacks in 2015.

P.J.’s Forgotten Children is largely helped by groups of volunteers. The amount of volunteers varies each year and consists of church groups, people willing to sew, boy scouts, youth groups and more.

The volunteers have had plenty of experiences with all types of different families. Pexton told a story about a single mother who had suffered from mental illness. When she needed help P.J.’s was there for her to provide for her kids. Once she was in a better place, she decided to give back. She delivered a car full of clothes, toys, and other things to help the organization. She explained to them that she wanted to do what other families in the past had done for her. This just shows how grateful these families are for the help they receive through this organization.

Another story involved a family that Pexton has worked with recently. The family has no beds for their three kids to sleep in and the kids have to sleep on the floor. They asked for blankets and even asked for plates and cups. This isn’t the only case that families have asked for everyday items. Some kids ask for toothbrushes, shampoo or just clothing for their suggested Christmas gifts. In another extreme case the organization helped a family who’s house had burned down. They had quite literally nothing left and the organization came through to provide what they could for them.

Just hearing about what this organization does to help families can make one grateful for what they have. P.J.’s Forgotten Children wants to give back to the community to the people who really need it. If you would like to support a child this Christmas you can reach out to this organization by visiting their website at and clicking the “Sub for Santa” link on the right side.

Will Ski Resort Ridesharing Solve Traffic Challenges for Utah Skiers?

By: Abdifatah Gedi

ShareLift is a carpooling app for skiers and snowboarders in Utah to coordinate shared rides to nearby resorts in order to provide more transportation options, as well as reduce traffic and emissions. Garret Cross the CEO of Share Lift “Those who are driving to resorts can pick up passengers, and after the ride is completed, the passenger pays the driver to compensate for the gas spent getting to the resort. This app will benefit anyone who doesn’t have a reliable mode of transportation to get to ski resorts, as well as drivers who would like to get reimbursed for their gas that they use to get to resorts. Cross said, “We will be reducing a lot of single occupancy trips to resorts, which will reduce air pollution in the Wasatch valley.” This app will help skiers and snowboarders; it will also help create cleaner air for everyone in Utah.

ShareLift started a year and a half ago when traffic to ski resorts was backed up, it was difficult to find a parking spot, and the inversion in Utah was getting worse and worse. ShareLift interviewed a lot of skiers to see what people would use in order to reduce the number of cars driving up the canyons. Cross said, “It was important to not just build a solution that I personally think would work, but instead, build a solution that people would actually be used.” A majority of people he spoke with said that they would like to see a mobile carpool app to coordinate rides for skiers and snowboarders. After he found out what people wanted, he started to search for developers to create the mobile app. Cross “I came across an organization that was starting up a similar concept, and we decided to combine our efforts to launch the app this winter.”

Utah has a large ski industry, with around 200,000 skiers in the state. This app will appeal to skiers as a new option of transportation, and will also impact Utah’s air quality by reducing the number of cars on the road. Cross said, “We are taking the new sharing economy to the ski industry, and making it affordable for users. This app has the possibility to change the way that people travel to ski resorts, starting in Utah and then expanding to other states. The ski resorts will start using this app this coming winter, and a lot of skiers are pretty excited about it.

Skiers Mark, Charlie, and Forest were interested to hear about ShareLift ride sharing These three individuals all have the same passion for skiing, after asking some things they face when they go to skiing, they all said the biggest problem they had was driving up there with traffic and finding a parking spot. They also had similar opinion on the pros and cons of this app to them.

Mark said “Traffic is a huge problem when it comes to driving to the ski resorts jammed and busy in the winter.” I asked Forest if he will consider using this App to get to the ski resorts in the near future. “It’s hard to drive up there when it snows really hard the traffic is crazy, hard to find a parking spot.” “The roads are very hard to drive on. I wouldn’t consider using Share lift because I wouldn’t like to share a ride with a stranger. I would rather go with a group of friends than sharing a ride with a bunch of other skier’s that I don’t know.” The pros for this app for Mark is that he will only consider of using this app if he’s out of town just because he doesn’t know anyone there to go with skiing so he would use ShareLift to get to the ski resorts.

I next interviewed Charlie.  “Traffic is still challenging when it comes to skiing because the roads are slippery,” she said, “there is a lot of people driving to get up there different times, that makes the traffic hard to go through sometimes.” Charlie also thinks It’s difficult for her to drive up to the ski resorts because of the roads, “The roads are narrow and it makes it hard to drive up there,” She would only consider using this app because it will be more convenient and easier for her and her friends to go skiing, because they will be dropped off right in front of the ski resorts. Charlie said, “It also makes easy for me to go up there without paying for gas and for parking it will also be very useful for me to use this app because I will get to the ski resorts faster and easier without facing traffic challenges on the narrow roads.” The pros for her on this app is that it’s less money, more convenient and safer because she’s not driving. She’s also able to get there faster and save money. The cons  for her using   this app is  the waiting time and sharing ride with strangers.

Forest said, “One of the challenges I face when going up to the ski resorts is traffic. Traffic is always hard and the roads are very slippery and people are driving car’s that don’t have enough power to go up there.” Forest said, “ShareLift can have big impact on skiers with good market.” The pros for him on this app is that he can always use ShareLift when he wants to go skiing and doesn’t feel like driving so he doesn’t have to drive on the bad weather. The cons for him is the cost. “I would rather go with friends than paying for ShareLift which can be expensive sometimes.”

Two famous carpooling companies, that are growing really fast is Uber and Lyft. Lyft is a ridesharing company focused on longer carpool-like trips between cities that was founded in 2007. Uber was founded in 2009 as they use for carpool trips throughout the cities just like Lyft. Lyft’s growth has been moving, it still trails Uber by a landslide in every significant comparison category. In 2013, Lyft had 7,000 drivers and 488,000 rides per month. In 2014, Lyft increased those average monthly driver and ride figures to 51,000 and 2.2 million, respectively. At the beginning of 2015, Lyft was doing about 2.5 million rides per month, and it expects to do about 205 million rides in 2016 or about 17 million per month. (Miller,2015). On the other hand, ShareLift is only focused on skiers, to take skiers to the ski resorts from the valley’s. The graph below that shows average riders for Uber and Lyft.

Black Friday: No Rules?

Story and Photo by Hailey Kirkwood

There is a tense silence upon walking through the sliding doors of my local Walmart, just five minutes before 6 o’clock. There are people crowding the aisles, but in an orderly fashion only making casual conversation. After running into several barriers set up by Walmart employees, we found ourselves caught in the middle of a tight cluster of people when the OK is given to start. That orderly fashion and casual conversation is replaced by loud screams and shoving almost in the blink of an eye.

For being a town as little as the one I am from, I was surprised to see the amount of chaos that was going on. Holding onto the back of my fiancé’s jacket while walking through crowds of people was like Jack and Rose trying make their way through the people of the Titanic. A group of Walmart employees along with two police officers frantically run past us towards the line for the DVD’s, obviously giving off the impression that something was going down. Seeing all of this made me think to myself, “Why is Black Friday taken to such the extreme? Why are we doing this on the same day that we are also supposed to be thankful for the things we already have?”

In an article published on The Balance titled “Why is Black Friday called Black Friday” by Kimberly Amadeo, I wasn’t surprised to learn of past incidents at other Walmart’s. However, these accounts include much more violence than what I had experienced in my small town Walmart. Between fighting over parking spaces and shoplifters, one account that I could relate to from Amadeo’s article was when one woman pepper-sprayed a crowd at a Walmart in Los Angeles back in 2011. According to the article, she was wanting to buy a Wii console and then pepper-sprayed a crowd in the electronics department. It made me think of my experience standing in the DVD/videogame line, wondering why they “ruined the fun” by making us stand in line and letting people browse in groups of ten. After being there and reading this article, I finally understand the purpose of the line. Even if you have to wait 30 minutes.

Black Friday is obviously a day where the worst can come out in people. The name itself has a violent meaning behind it. Amadeo also gives the background history behind the name, explaining that the day after Thanksgiving is originally called “Black Friday” because “So many people went out to shop that it caused traffic accidents and sometimes even violence.”

It’s no secret that Black Friday can get out of hand, so what are some of the reasons that people actually participate? Is it for the insane sales, or is it more for the “fun” of it? I befriended a woman by the name of Angela while standing in line for the DVD’s, and like most people who are casually waiting in line started the conversation by saying something like “Can you believe this many people are here?” As our conversation continued, we discussed the reasons why we were here. I explained how even though I was in search of a vacuum, I was mainly here for the fun of it as a part of an annual event that my fiancé’s family does. She went on to explain how she was actually there for the sales, in particular to buy videogames for her son for Christmas. While we agreed that being here for the fun of it or for the sales is appealing, the magnitude of it now is rather ridiculous (as we try to maintain our place in the line because of multiple people try to get ahead).

Although the day has become to be rather ridiculous, that can also be part of the appeal to Black Friday. On what other day of the year can you act like kids on a playground fighting for the same swing? Being able to do acts such as running through a crowd or playing tug of war for that new set of pots and pans is something that on any other day society would consider to be deviant and unacceptable. I myself am one to follow the rules, so much that some might describe me as being a “party pooper”. But having a day where you’re allowed to go a little crazy even appeals to someone like me.

Another aspect of Black Friday that not many consumers think about are the perspective’s of the employee’s. Rachel Gillett, a writer for Business Insider goes into more depth about what it’s really like to work on Black Friday. Gillett interviews a former Best Buy employee that supports Gillett’s statement that, “To call it the most hectic day in retail is an understatement.”

Shoppers fill the aisles at a Walmart in Price, Utah.

Shoppers fill the aisles at a Walmart in Price, Utah.

On top of the madness of the day itself, retailers are now starting their sales on Thanksgiving Day. So what is the motive to work on such a chaotic day? The interviewee in Gillett’s article describes the motive as being the pay as a result of the extra hours. The excitement of Black Friday for employees was also there, but Gillett’s interviewee goes on to explain how the more Black Friday has shifted to Thursday the excitement started to dissipate. Gillett’s story also covers the preparation, handling, and aftermath of the day from this specific employee’s experience and how what used to be just a hectic work day turned into intervening with the Thanksgiving holiday.

We can all agree that Black Friday is a “holiday” that can be both beneficial for saving money, and fun as being a part of the excitement. However, it has been evident throughout recent years that Black Friday has turned places like Walmart into a battleground and how employees are wanting to be less a part of the war. So much that the image of running into the store like a pack of wild animals might soon fade, since long lines are becoming more prevalent for obvious safety reasons.

An Interview with Kim Kettle

By Allison Peterson

Kim Kettle is one of many Licensed Clinical Social Workers who has a passion for helping people create a life worth living. She helps others find better ways to deal with their mental health issues. She received her Bachelors in Social Work from Brigham Young University and then went on to get her Masters in Social Work at the University of Utah School of Social Work. When asked why she chose to go into the social work profession, she stated when she was in high school, she was participated in student government. Throughout her years in high school there were a number of completed suicides and an incident where due to a peer driving intoxicated killed three other peers that all attended Alta High School. Kettle along with other class officers, and high school administration, represented the school at funerals, visiting with the families of those who completed suicide and the survivor of the accident where three other youth were killed.  She said that ever since that she wanted to help people figure out better alternatives and help them realize that they have so much to live for. “I have a passion for what I do because I believe everyone can change to create a life worth living.” Her specific training is in dialectical behavior. This is an evidence based practice that treats individuals with severe self harming, sexual prostitution, running away, mood and stability, inability to make and maintain relationships and tolerate stressful situations.

Kettle was always one to put smiles on others faces, and she still is. She grew up in a home where her mother graduated with her Bachelors in Social Work and a father who received a Masters in Public Administration. Given this,  her father was the Chief Financial Officer for Valley Mental Health for 35 years , she was raised with compassion for individuals who struggle with various so while growing up their family often did Sub for Santa. Kettle also had an aunt and uncle who were handicapped (blind and unable to walk). They lived with her paternal grandma and grandpa where they were cared for until their death. Kettle often cared for them and tried to make them as comfortable as possible. She loved the feeling that she got when helping others. She was always volunteering for anything she could get her hands on. She has always been very involved with her community and everyone loves her. One of Kettle’s services included sitting on the board of human rights for a company called TKJ serving adults with intellectual disabilities and mental illness.

Kettle has twenty years of experience working with children, adolescents and their families with mental health issues. While finishing up her undergrad she accepted her first job as a social worker in a nursing home.  She also worked on call at Primary Children’s Hospital as a trauma social worker. She has practiced social work in various capacities and is currently working for the University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) where she is the program manager over a high mental health residential program for adolescent female residential program ages 12-17 with high mental health needs. She has taken over the division and is currently in the process of expanding the building. In this center they take girls of the state and help them understand that there is hope for them in their lives. They only take about 8 girls at a time and most of them stay a couple months. Kettle is changing these girls lives and helping them to create better ones. She states “There is hope and help for people who struggle with mental health disorders.”

Not only does Kettle run a division of UNI, she also has her own private practice. Kettle could possibly be the busiest person I know, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She has something going on every single day. She takes clients in for her private practice when they know their issues and they need help to execute them. She has been helping different clients privately for about five years now, and doesn’t plan on closing it anytime soon. She started seeing clients privately because of her expertise in working with people who are high risk of suicide, self harm and are difficult to treat. “It makes me sad to see an increase in completed suicides among youth and young adults because there is a different solution if people know where to go to get therapy and medication.”  She goes on to say “I believe in the kind of treatment I do and have seen it chance lives so I wanted to offer it to a private insurance population.”

A Climate Change Skeptic in Office Could Help the Environment

By: Anna Stump

In the midst of an election that gravely talta-closing-dayhreatens the environment, fear has sparked action.

“One of the advantages of having all of the branches of government run by Republicans is that change can happen, and there won’t be blocks within the different branches.” These words spoken by Citizens Climate Lobbyist, May Bartlett, brought hope to those who attended the “Before the Flood” screening and discussion on November 30th at the University of Utah. This event was free of charge, and had a large turnout necessitating the use of an overflow room as seats filled quickly. A panel of passionate activists spoke about this recent election, and voiced concerns as well as hopeful remarks. The Republican Party now has a majority rule over all branches of government, with GOP leaders against the switch to renewable energy sources and other ways of preserving and protecting our planet. With a climate change skeptic in office, now more than ever it is important for people to take action on a local level- And they are.

In response to this election, there has been a surge in donations to nonprofit environmental organizations. According to a statistic by the Financial Times, “The Sierra Club has nearly quadrupled its monthly donation record in the days following the election, adding 4,000 monthly donors, worth about an estimated $2 million over the course of their donations” (Bissell, 2016).  Democrats and environmentalists alike are using this loss as a chance to push for change on the local level to protect areas they love most. Colin Green, the director of the event, stresses the importance of taking direct action to fight for the environment. “What we can do is mobilize, because for big change to happen, ordinary people have to be on the streets and have to be defending the land and the water systems that they love.”

Speaking about the importance of peaceful protest and voting for local action, Colin pointed to a man named Gary who looked to be in his mid-twenties, recently arrested just weeks ago for protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline at a Wells Fargo branch in Salt Lake City. He stood in the lobby with other demonstrators, chanting, “Water is sacred, water is life.” Gary was chained to his fellow activists, peacefully refusing to leave until being escorted out by the police. The oil pipeline, if put into place, would run under the Missouri River, threatening the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s drinking water and consecrated burial grounds. Wells Fargo is now among many large corporations in support of this pipeline, investing nearly $467 Million. The pipeline is one of the numerous issues where support is gaining momentum after Trump’s victory.

Change can be effected if public uprisings generate enough traction and attract the attention of those who hold power, making this method an effective means of constructive social change. In response to the water defenders standing up against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Army Corp of Engineers was denied an easement on their environmental review process. This recent news means the Sioux tribe will be able to preserve their way of life, while the Army Corp is required to explore other routes for oil drilling. This victory is just one small step in the right direction, but it goes to show that direct action protest does in fact work to demand change from the ground up. We might not have as much of a say in the policy determined by leaders of this country, but our voices are heard if enough people stand up and demand change. Through grassroots activism and the unification of small voices, a roar was created that could not be ignored.

A woman approached the panel of activists following the discussion. She voiced her concern about this recent election, claiming that her power is limited as just one member of society. Almost immediately, Colin responded with a powerful message, “Our leaders are just followers of our collective voice.” A revolution to our political and environmental system is bound to happen if enough people demand it. The panel discussion sparked a conversation about how far we have come as a society, reminding listeners that change seemed nearly impossible in the times of slavery and women’s suffrage. Kate Savage, one of the panelists that spoke with those who stayed after the event, explained how radical change requires radical action. “We have moved an economy after slaves, women couldn’t vote less than 100 years ago, (and) people used to work 14-hour work days.” She shed a light on the history that has shaped the society we live in now, explaining that what seemed impossible only a few generations ago was turned into a reality by the demands of the people. Kate confidently expressed her hope for our future, “Just reminding yourself that radical change has happened, and if everyone in history was complacent, I wouldn’t be on this panel.”

How Pharmacists are Helping to Address Rising Prescription Costs

By: Bryan Crockett

Spending hundreds of dollars a month, just to keep yourself alive? The United States is ranked one of the highest countries in prices for prescription drug medications. According to the New York Times, there is little government regulation on the pricing of prescription drugs, manufacturers are controlling the price—and is it too high?

I work at Costco Pharmacy in Murray, Utah as a pharmacy technician. I see customers every day spending hundreds of dollars monthly for routine drugs that they need to help balance and stabilize a healthier life. Medications such insulin, seizure pills, HIV, anaphylactic injectors and many more ring in at $800 to $2,000 for a 30-day supply.

When I tell patients the price of their medication, they often respond with, “Oh insurance will cover that.” But a lot of the time that’s not the case. Insurance plays a big role in how much you pay for prescription drugs, but in some cases it’s not enough. A 2015 poll conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that there are 28.5 million Americans without medical insurance. Yet even for those who have prescription drug insurance, many are still forced to pay cash price, especially given the increase in “high deductible” plans. People don’t always realize that even though their insurance is accepting the claim that’s being billed by the pharmacy, there is a set amount of money the customer has to pay before the insurance actually applies and helps lower the cost.

Can customers shop around for the cheapest medication prices? Sometimes.

But this doesn’t always drive prices down by forcing drug companies to compete. I gave it a try, calling around to three competing pharmacies—Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Costco—on three common drugs that are high in price. I picked Xarelto (20mg), Symbicort (160/4.5) and Truvada (200mg), each a 30-day supply. For Xarelto, Walgreens came in at  $436.19, Wal-Mart at $408.16 and Costco at $406.16. Symbicort at Walgreens runs at $340.99, Wal-Mart at $337.50 and Costco at $315.29. For Truvada, Walgreens costs $1,740.09, Wal-Mart $1,682.01 and Costco $1,610.05. These are not set prices, they can fluctuate every day depending whether or not the manufacturer raises cost or lowers the cost.

A Closer Look at the Cost of Common Drugs

Some medications don’t have generics and the prices for those medications with or with out insurance can be pricy.  EpiPen currently is one of the medications that do not have a generic equivalence. Epi-Pen cost recently has surged. At Walgreens their price is 735.09, Wal-Mart $683.47, and Costco $698.21 EpiPen is a medication that is used in an emergency of an allergic reaction. Epinephrine has been used for decades treating allergic reactions, and for no reason should be over $600 dollars.

Other options are available for the EpiPen. Daphne Chen from the Deseret News reported, that the University of Utah, and Intermountain health care have created a cheaper alternative.  They have gone away with using EpiPens in their practice and have gone to Epi-Kits. Epi-Kits are only $10 and they come with a vile of Epinephrine two syringes, two needles, and alcohol pads. Good news is that the EpiPen patent should be up at the end of 2017 so a generic will be made and prices should go down on that particular drug.

How Pharmacists are Helping

In most cases drugs that are brand name are several hundred dollars. Though not all medications have generic equivalence, some do, and pharmacist are frequently asked what they would recommend for a cheaper alternative. They can take on the role of suggesting—with doctor approval—less expensive alternatives.

Pharmacists go through four years of graduate school learning about different medications and what they treat, interactions between drugs, efficacious alternatives to medications, and much more to receive their PharmD in order to practice as a pharmacist.

Katharine Sangroniz is a pharmacist that currently works at Costco in Bountiful, Utah. She is “outraged” with the way drug companies price medications. “You are seeing so many price increases because more and more big name drug companies like Novartis, and Pfizer buy out smaller drug companies so that they don’t have to compete against them” Sangroniz said.

Sangroniz is one of many pharmacists who are happy to recommend alternative medications to patients. “It makes me feel beneficial as a pharmacist that people can trust us to help them with life or death health problems,” she said. She explained that because she has four years of straight medications knowledge, she is more experienced with what specific medications do and treat over a doctor that is more experienced in diagnosing.

Songroniz expressed how difficult it can be communicating with some doctors. “Some doctors don’t feel like we should be ‘over stepping’ our boundaries and undermining what the they have prescribed.”

Songroniz told me that some states have now authorized pharmacist-prescribing authority. “I would be ecstatic if that happened in Utah,” she said. She feels that she has so much to offer that doctors don’t see. She feels that doctors over prescribe, and that so much more could be beneficial to patient’s health with over the counter items. Songroniz told me that she doesn’t want to give a “bad name” for all doctors, but more and more doctors are just “prescribing to fix a quick problem, and collet there money.” She explained that if pharmacist and doctors helped each other with prescribing, it would be beneficial for the patients and health community.

Phi Tran, a student pharmacist that attends Roseman University of Pharmacy, feels similarly to Songroniz. She feels that pharmacists do play a huge role in helping with medication prescribing, especially OTC (over the counter) items. She expressed to me that in school they are taught extensively about OTC items. She said that in her role as a pharmacist in the near future, she is going to try and encourage patients to use OTC regimens over medication treatment.

Tran told me that at Rosman University, they are now required to do a MTM rotation, which stands for medication therapy management. It’s a program that all pharmacies are now required to do. Pharmacists will have to call the patients and ask how there are tolerating the medications and help suggest the best medication for them. Tran said, “it’s now a pharmacist’s duty as well as the doctors, that the patient is being treated correctly and with the right medication.” Tran told me they go over medications and other alternatives daily in school. She expressed “if you truly knew what the chemistry is about a drug you would be sick for the prices they charge.” She hopes in the near future that government will place strict regulations on the pricing of medication, but for now she feels that it’s everyone’s part to communicate for cheaper alternative medications.

With little regulation on drug pricing, pharmaceutical manufacturers can charge anything they want. And when someone’s life depends on a medication, they don’t have much of a choice about whether to pay it. With the price of prescription drugs increasing from 4 to 10 percent each year, many people are looking for new ways or cheaper medications to take that will work for helping treat the issue.

Object[ed]: A Light in the Mist of Contemporary Art

Picture and Story by Forest Smith

Contemporary art is the art of now. Defined as art made in the last fifty years up to today, contemporary art has the ability to convey the problems and peculiarities of our present reality. The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art highlights some of the best pieces and collaborations from both local and widely recognized artists. Their brand new gallery “Object[ed]: shaping sculpture in contemporary art” tells a story of production and consumption, whilst blurring the lines between sculpture and painting. Six artists contributed to this piece and their combined efforts create both an intriguing and thought provoking arrangement. The UMOCA has done an amazing job at creating a gallery that guides viewers through a type of art that can be hard to understand, controversial, and at the cutting edge of new mediums.

The Gallery

As you walk into the gallery, you discover the work of Gill Tall from Israel. Her work comments on our everyday complacency within consumer capitalism. Her art features three pieces working together to convey her message, the first of which is three completely full blenders. They have been slowed down to the ticking of a clock, suggesting how congested and inefficient our process of production and transportation of commodities is. Complimenting this piece are two videos and two photos. The videos are looping scenes, one of the front of a supermarket and the other from a waiting area of a commercial printer. These go to further the idea that our society is ruled by capitalism and that it is a cycle. The photos are both of the same of a boy wearing sports clothing, a shirt from Miami and a hat from Los Angeles. It adds another piece to the story of how capitalistic society influences our life and choices.

From Tall’s work you are inevitably drawn to Olga Bolema’s, her work often relates to the body through human size scale. For Object[ed] she created a collection of feeding troughs collected from around the world, painted green, and with thoughtfully placed bright yellow stripes. This highlights how these objects are used both in the cultivation of our food and commercial purposes as decoration. It suggests how the process of cultivation and ingestion in our culture ultimately influences our society. She also does a great job of mixing sculpture and painting by creating a uniting color scheme for her found materials that purveys the theme.

Moving along the gallery you will find Lizze Maattala, Lizze likes to highlight the flexibility of unexpected materials. A constant digger of junkyards, beaches, and flea markets she uses these found objects to create sculptures and mixed media. Her series in Object[ed] is five different sewer grates all with different materials strung throughout. Her work requires you to take a second look, when you look closer you can see the intricacies of the interacting objects. This exhibition blurs the lines between sculpture and painting by using patterns and textures. What is especially interesting is her use of shadows to enhance her pieces. This piece abstractly shows the waste created by our consumer culture.

The most peculiar piece in the gallery belongs to Tove Storch. Storch likes to create visual conundrums with her work and often throws out the rule book when it comes to sculpture. Her piece layers two dimensional images between thin steel rails, effectively turning two-dimensional images into a three dimensional object. This creates a very interesting dynamic where you struggle to see the images within but are not able to and are forced to step back and admire the structure as a whole.

The biggest piece belongs to Leeza Meksin which covers a whole wall. Meksin explores interactions between buildings, bodies, and paintings. Her site specific installation in Object[ed] features the prominent structures in Salt Lake City’s Temple Square nearly life sized, dressed up with geometry and colors. She explores the potential of fabric to change viewers looking experience of a picture again blurring lines between painting and sculpture. The overlay not only makes you focus on the geometry within the architecture but casts a surreal appearance over the photo.

Mute City, Big Blue, Port Town 2014 by Caitlin Cherry

Finally the centerpiece of the room belongs to Caitlin Cherry. An absolute wizard at mixing mediums, she refuses to separate sculpture and painting. In perhaps the most interesting piece in the Object[ed] gallery, she created a small swimming pool with a submerged painting at the bottom. The pool is complete with a no diving glyph and beach towels, the sculpture invites viewers to peer into the image below. As you walk around the piece it challenges your perception as the image changes with angle.

Problems with Contemporary Art

However no art exhibit is without its problems and the UMOCA’s lies in the attendance rate. Contemporary art remains controversial and less recognized than your average piece of art. A 2008 article by Pat Villeneuve and Mary Erickson in the Art Education journal explored the problems behind the public perception of contemporary art. In their own words “Many people in the United States are not equipped to deal with it.”

People of all ages are used to and more comfortable with classical art forms. Unconventional materials, the installation style, and difficult or controversial topic matter can all lend to the initial distaste that many people feel when confronted with contemporary art. This situation is highlighted in the Journal of Ethnology’s article by Pamela Sheffield Rosi, it describes the difficulties faced by Papa New Guinea’s contemporary artists and their struggle to gain recognition. While government leaders label these new artists as, “national treasures whose work embodies a sense of national spirit,” many find themselves struggling to gain recognition and even find an opportunity to display their work. Traditional tribal and aboriginal style art remains popular in global markets, while professionally trained contemporary artists find themselves running out of funds and even homeless.

The situation is much less extreme in the United States and a slow societal shift to a more interpretive and informed judgement of art common amongst highly educated artists. However there is still a lot of work to be done to spread this viewpoint that is key in understanding the art of today. It is necessary to change how you are judging art when viewing and understanding contemporary art. Do not consider whether the artwork is good or not, but if it is interesting and thought provoking.

The UMOCA museum and specifically the Object[ed] gallery did a good job to give a sense and purpose to art that can sometimes feel directionless. Thoughtful choices of artists and pieces helped show both the state of consumerism today and the emerging tactic of combining sculpture and painting. Beyond that information provided on the walls about the artwork was extremely helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of the motivation and message behind it. A shining example of a well put together gallery that provides an engaging experience. Just remember to keep an open mind and that there is message and beauty within every piece.


Creative Learning

From left to right: Naomi (12), Regina (19), Joann (15)

From left to right: Naomi (12), Regina (19), Joann (15)

By: Victoria Workman

Imagine what it would be like to flee your home country and journey to a place you know nothing about. You don’t speak the language. You don’t know how the economic and social systems work. You don’t know the customs. All that you DO know is that in order for your family to survive, you must leave your country. This is the reality of refugees moving to Salt Lake from various areas around the globe.

Hartland apartment complex (just off of 1700s and Redwood) has been reported by Desert News as a home for more than 1,000 children and adults from various places across the globe, including areas like: Somalia, Peru, Sudan, Central and Eastern Europe and Mexico, as well as the United States. Over three quarters of the individuals living at this complex do not speak English. Two primary refugee agencies in Salt Lake have made Hartland a place of resettlement for these families.

Because many of the families coming over knew little of the English language and American culture, they were unable to productively assimilate in society. The University of Utah recognized the disadvantages of these families and formed a partnership to help teach a basic set of living skills that they were previously ignorant to. The classes include things such as: English speaking and lifestyle courses, homeowner education, health education, bill pay and much more.

Art is highly valued in Hartland’s culture.  Though the facility offers a variety of resources for its members, the main activities they participate in are art based and chiefly include dance. Kelby McIntyre is a theater professor at the University of Utah, and the main dance instructor at the Hartland center. Though she loves her job as a professor, she explains, “This is out there; different. Why be stuck in an office all day when you can be doing things like this!”

The center goes beyond anything like the Boys and Girls Club of America or a day care. It is a place for children to express and debunk misconceptions about their home culture. The entire system is based off a co-creation process between the instructor and members.

“We do a lot of fusion. We get moves from the African culture, from my culture, and just mix,” McIntyre says. “Reciprocal conversation allows genuine engagement. I want the youth to know that anything is possible. Their voice, talents and experiences are valued.”

The center isn’t like school, where the participants feel forced to go and perform. The children can be seen rushing to the facility after school, eager to find out what activities are in store for their day. The older children are even more dedicated to the center, some traveling long distances or taking public transportation in order to participate. The kids that participate in these activities vary in race and age, but all share a commonalty in the love of dance. McIntyre explains that she tries to offer different options for the kids, but the majority vote always comes back to dance. Dance is a very important form of expression for these children.

The dance is never random. Participants perform spoken pieces, monologues, duologues, original scripts and dances that are relevant/pertinent to them. The older students recently got the opportunity to perform three routines at a One World Utah event, a ‘community enrichment program that seeks to break down cultural barriers and stop further marginalization.’

For performing at these events and sharing their stories, the children are always rewarded. Some rewards are small, like getting to keep the costumes they performed in. Others are more exciting, like getting to visit the big water park across from the center. The children love being involved with the community, love their teacher, and love getting to share their culture.

Joann (age 15) explains that, “You don’t have to be experienced in dance. You come, learn, be a leader, and learn how to dance.”

The older children already have big plans for their future. Regina (age 19), is aspiring to be a dance instructor. I got the opportunity to attend one of these classes, where Regina and Joann taught me one of the routines they were learning. I was able to add my own ideas to what they were teaching, and learn new movements that were expressive of their culture.

Censuses of the past showed that Black, Hispanic, Polynesian and low income families were extremely underrepresented in college level attendance. These findings motivated University representatives to literally walk the streets and knock doors on the west side, in order to determine why there was a lack of presence from these areas.

The main response from this community was the difficulty in attending while having to work, as well as being home in time to care for dependent children. The University made quick arrangements to purchase the Hartland complex in order to keep rates at reasonable prices for tenants, and establish a center for children to stay while parents were in class.

The center started out as one room in an apartment where children would dance and play until their parents came home. Today, the center has expanded to its own facility next to the apartment complex, where many children of refugee and low income backgrounds come to hang out.

When asked if there was anything they would like the community to know, Naomi (age 12) was quick to exclaim, “tell the community they should come! It’s fun program to come after school to on Tuesday. And you can invite your friends! You guys can dance together.”

Few people know about the partnership with the University and Hartland community. This partnership was established to make college attainable for more people. Some may think that Hartland Community Center is only available for refugee families, when in actuality it is open to any family coming from a low-income background. So, if you or anyone you know loves to dance and is interested in learning more about different cultures, Hartland is a place for you.

From dime sacks to kilos: The life of a Salt Lake City drug dealer

By: Chris Oregon

From selling a couple ounces of marijuana to meeting up with Mexican cartels; this is the life of a local drug dealer.

When you think of Utah the first thing that most likely comes into mind is “Mormons.” People think of Mormons/Utah and they automatically assume that because of this Utah is a state with no crimes, drugs, etc. Which brings me to Zeta (pseudo name), a local drug dealer who started off selling small amounts of marijuana to his clients in middle school, to buying and selling kilos of cocaine and heroin from infamous Mexican drug cartels.

Zeta started smoking marijuana in middle school. “I used to buy, like, a 20 sack once every other month. After that I started buying once a month,” he says to me. “Then I started buying weekly.”

“I realized how much money I was spending and I started thinking about my dealer. I wondered how much money he was making,” he says. “I knew I wasn’t his only client and I was spending around $30-50 every week. I figured he had several other clients so I knew he had to be making good money.”

Zeta’s friend Compa talked to me about how he knew from the beginning that Zeta would get into the drug dealing market. “Zeta was always a smart guy growing up. That m*****f***** was the first to find out that there was ‘good’ and ‘bad’ weed when we were all just smoking for the hell of it,” Compa says.

Once Zeta found out about different strands of marijuana he started growing more curious. He quickly found out that some strands were worth more than others. Zeta then started talking to his dealer about getting into the business and soon enough he was out on the streets dealing. At first he would only sell to his close friends. After that he started selling to new customers and his clientele kept growing over the next few years.

“Sh*t, man, sophomore year of high school I’d like to say that I was kind of a big deal,” he says sarcastically. “Nah just playin’ but I for real was making a couple thousand dollars a month which was nice.”

“So when’d you start selling the ‘heavy’ drugs?” I asked.

“I wasn’t selling anything other than weed up until summer going into my junior year of high school. My dealer started getting me into the big leagues at that time,” says Zeta.

“What did you start selling that summer?” I asked eagerly.

“You name it, homie. I was selling weed, coke, molly, heroin, ecstasy, shrooms,” he says. “That’s when I started making REAL money!” he says while laughing.

“How much were you making?”

“However much I wanted, honestly bruh. On a sh*tty month I’d make around 3 racks,” he says in a cocky tone. “But that was only the beginning. After I was in the big leagues I became addicted,” he says, “addicted to the money, not the drugs!” he says while laughing.

“What exactly do you mean?” I asked.

“Pusha T said it best in his song ‘cause he says, ‘dope is like a two-way street, the addiction both you and me’ and that line right there is as real as it gets!” he says in excitement. “The reason that line is so real is because that’s what it’s like being in this business. You can give zero f*cks about your clients ‘cause all you care about is that cash you carry around in your pockets.”

Zeta tells me how he meets up with Mexican cartels like it’s no big deal. He talks to me about the meet-ups with the cartels. While explaining this he seems casual, almost as if these meetings were like getting lunch with a friend, kind of like it isn’t really a big deal.

“At first I was kind of scared to do these meet-ups but then I got over it. You kind of have to get over any fear quick in this business or else you won’t succeed,” he says. “I’ve met up with some infamous cartels; some have even hung out with El Chapo. It wasn’t really scary though, even though they all carried huge guns, they were just normal guys.”

“Do you care about the lives’ of your clients?” I asked.

“Nah bruh. It’s their choice to come to me for that sh*t,” he says with no expression. “I don’t go out of my way to contact them asking if they want my sh*t. That’s on them, they’re the ones coming to me for that… all I care about is the money.”

“So are drugs the only business you’re in?” I asked.

“Yeah, but this is just temporary. Did I tell you about how I also sold guns for a good minute?” he says to me in excitement.

“No, how’d you get into that?”

“When I got into the big leagues I got in touch with some big people in the black market for weapons. They told me how much money I could make selling guns so I gave it a run,” says Zeta.

He tells me how he was selling guns for a couple months but then decided to give it up. He gave it up because it was a lot more risky than selling drugs.

We then go back to talking about drug dealing.

“Do you ever plan on quitting?” I asked curiously.

“Yeah, but it’s hard to make this much money when you’re a high school drop-out and have zero intentions of going back to school,” he says in a somber tone.

“What are your plans then?”

“I just want to make as much money as possible right now, save up and then get out of this crazy lifestyle. You pretty much have to sleep with one eye open and you become overprotective of yourself and the ones you love,” he says.

“What’s your main goal in life?” I asked.

“I just want to have a wife and kids and be able to provide for them with ease. I want to send my kids to college, live in a nice house, drive a nice car,” he says with a big smile on his face.

Zeta goes on to tell me how that’s one thing people always forget when it comes to drug dealing. “Most people assume that drug dealers and gang members are just looking for trouble but we’re just trying to get paid like everyone else. Just ask them what their dreams are, what their goals are,” he says angrily. “A lot of them will tell you the same thing; they want a family, nice house and car, send their kids to college. Now you tell me, what’s so “gangster” about that? If you ask a middle-class white family they’ll most likely say the exact same thing.”

We Want You, Teachers!

Story by Kailen Stucki

With nearly 12,000 new students flooding into schools last year, The Utah State Board of Education found a stress in providing the proper education for these students. Utah turned to the idea of passing a new law that would encourage more teachers to teach the increasing number of students in schools. This new law allows individuals to retain a teaching license with lesser criteria to become a certified educator. The logic of this new strategy was to fill in the gap of the lack of teachers and feed the 12,000 students the education they need.

Some might agree that the future of education in Utah is on shaky grounds. Because of the shortage of teachers impacting the schools, there was a need for a quick solution. While most teachers quit after their first year, their decline does not suffice for the growth of students each year. Deseret News reported that the percentage of teachers leaving weighed in around 42%. In an attempt to fix this issue, the Utah State Board of Education voted for a new teaching license that allows individuals with a bachelor’s degree and other proper reviews to teach in schools. Education and teaching go beyond lecturing the basic education one must have an understanding of classroom management and valuable credentials. This new law is thought by many, including teachers Karli Gilette and Jane Smith*, to limit both the Utah education values and qualified educators.

The University of Utah education program is a four-year lecture and fifth-year student teaching sequence. These classes go into depth on beneficial ways to teach students, how to handle classrooms, what to do with students who are behind, how to teach ESL students, and many other beneficial topics. To better prepare education majors, the U has future teachers student teach in a class for a year for a better hands-on experience. It is a long program with a lot of work, but the U wants students to be ready. It seems almost ironic how multiple universities stress the importance of fully developing an understanding of how to teach, but the Utah State Board of Education is accepting anyone and whatever knowledge they have to teach our future of students. A fifth-year student teacher in the University of Utah Education Department, Karli Gilette shares her thoughts about the new law. She values her year of student teaching and has learned the best ways to help the students, but she finds the law creating tension and stress in the schools. Not only does this law set back the future of the students’ education, it sets other teachers behind as well. Gilette believes “This new law is backfiring every situation.” Although this law provides the amount of teachers needed in the schools, Gilette finds that these individuals could be missing out on five years of treasured knowledge. “It’s been my most valuable year, I’m happy to be student teaching. If you don’t complete the education program you miss out on opportunities to learn the best way to help the students.”

The less than ideal monetary factor of teaching is an influence to current and future teachers. Utah’s teacher salary is a low budget and educators are finding other ways and jobs to makes ends meet. Between their crunched school day hours and after school preparation and meetings, most teachers have little to no time for extra work. With the Utah State Board of Education’s starting pay being $34,000, there is no surprise why many teachers are financially frustrated with the unfair ratio of their previous years of schooling and over-working with a low salary. Now with the new law, teachers jump into the $34,000 without the required education degrees. While raising the compensation seems likes a rational idea, an increase in taxes fires back. Teachers are quitting, students are coming and Utah laws are still struggling.

Jane Smith, a fourth-grade teacher of three years shares how she has been affected by the teacher shortage. She speaks to me about the new coworkers that are specialized in special education and not certified for fourth-grade education. Because they graduated with a different degree, there is a difference in the ability to control a large classroom because their degree specialized with small classrooms. “Teaching is so much more than just learning the material and liking kids; it is managing 25+ students at one time, teaching students at their level (which takes training and lots of practice), it takes child development knowledge and so much more.” It is no surprise that this law has shaken up the schools and been an adjustment for all the teachers, and the promise of filling classrooms with new teachers is not as hopeful as it seemed and is not in the best interest of the students.

While the schools struggle with the lack of teachers and unqualified individuals, there is a hope for a long-term law passed soon to prevent these issue and find a permanent solution. A potential solution to this could be having the prospective teachers take specific classes to better prepare them for managing the students and classrooms. Promising enough, the law is being altered and tweaked at each meeting and discussed by teachers everywhere. Students deserve the finest education, and Utah is working to provide the necessary means. Until then, teachers like Jane Smith will continue to believe that, “Having teachers without an education degree teaching school is absolutely crazy.”

*Name change due to personal privacy

Entrepreneurship Elevated


By Jacob Sebert

“We are in the business of DOING”, says Taylor Randall, Dean of the David Eccles School of Business. There has been a lot of talk about Utah’s state of entrepreneurship in the last couple years. The New York Times and Washington Post have named Utah the next Silicon Valley. However, Utah has much more than just tech startups. Forbes ranked Utah the #1 state for business four out of the last five years. From energy to software and even medical devices, Utah has it all. What makes Utah such a fertile area for business and entrepreneurship? Is all the hype real?

As you walk through the brand new 20,000 square foot Lassonde Institute, you can feel the creative energy within the building. This is home to many young entrepreneurs and is not located in Silicon Valley, rather the Silicon Slopes. At the base of the Wasatch Mountains, the Lassonde Institute of Entrepreneurship, “provides people, mentors, information, and an avenue to take theoretical concepts and turn them into practice” says Dolly Holt a bioengineering post doctorate student and inventor.

Pierre Lassonde, founder and chair of the Franco Nevada Corporation and Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, believes that we can develop an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and in return create tens of thousands of jobs within the state. “You’ve got jobs, and well-paying jobs because they are in the high technology industry.” Pierre knows that not every student is going to become an entrepreneur but if one does create a company with jobs, it will positively affect this area.

Thad Kelling, the marketing manager at Lassonde institute, believes the institute will “help many students launch startup companies, which often stay in Utah and help grow jobs and revenue for the state. These startups employ local people, and they are utilizing services and business in the state.” He also shared why he believes Utah has been so successful in business. “Utah is a place where businesses of all sizes can start, grow and thrive. We see this now in our community with large companies choosing to relocate to Utah.”

University of Utah is not the only one with an entrepreneurship program. Brigham Young University has had an entrepreneurship and technology program since the late 1980’s. Utah State University also has the Jeffrey D. Clark center for entrepreneurship. All of these universities are designed to take students through the stages of new venture creation such as opportunity assessment, business model development, planning, funding, and marketing.

Taylor Randall, Dean of the David Eccles School of Business, believes that state of entrepreneurship in Utah has increased and developed. “I see more and more students starting companies, finding success, and then mentoring others. In this state, entrepreneurship is a team sport. Our students work with successful entrepreneurs to learn and grow their ideas.” Dean Randall sees the Lassonde Institute as being very helpful to the economy of Utah. “In the information age, economies are fueled by ideas and the Lassonde Institute propels student ideas into jobs and income for the Utah economy.”

One entrepreneur who was lured by Utah’s business appeal is Todd Pedersen, founder and CEO of Vivint. After he sold his first endeavor, a pest control company, Pedersen started providing smart home security based out of Provo. Now Vivint is a $527 million company with 7,000 employees. Theo Zourzouvillys, CTO at Jive Communications, originally working in England, moved to Utah because of its “serene setting and family-first ethos”. There are many reasons for Utah’s appeal to business. The 5% flat corporate tax rate and continued job growth rate are just a couple.

Utah has one of the nations highest job growth rates of approximately 3%.

Utah’s economy is ranked at number three with a 2.8 percent growth in GDP since last year. This is the third highest rate in the nation. Utah is one of the 10 states with AAA bond rating from all three agencies. The housing market is also one of the healthiest in the nation at the moment. For the fourth year in a row the state came first in the 2015 Pollina Corporate Real Estates ten pro-business states list. Utah businesses have attracted $732 million in venture capital last year, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Salt Lake City and Provo are amid the top three, dollar per deal averages for VC funding across the nation (Provo-Orem at $51.3 million, and Salt Lake City at $17.2 million).

A study done in 2015 by the Praxis Strategy Group for the U.S. Founder of Commerce Foundation ranked Utah first for innovation and entrepreneurship, second for high-tech performance, third for economic performance, fifth for transportation and trade, and seventh for business climate. It’s no wonder that Utah’s economy is thriving.

Utah has a diversified economy, which makes it so successful compared to other states. As Governor Gary Herbert would say “we don’t put all our eggs in one basket”. If one sector is down, the other sectors are up. For example North Dakota has a great economy but when oil prices drop the economy suffers. The same goes for Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Utah has had a drop in mining and natural resource development, however the state still has 3.5% unemployment and 3.3% job growth. Utah is a wonderful place to start a business because of its stable economy and business friendly environment. Come take a ride and experience the Silicon Slopes.

Shock Waves from Trump

Krista Mitchell

Trump. The effect that President-elect Trump has had upon our nation has been incredibly vast. There have been riots across the United States.

Looking at the generalized effect has ranged from dismal to frightening, as those who support Trump have ranged from secretive about their support, to extremely ostentatious and violent. . Trump and his supporters have heavily discriminated against one subgroup, the LGBTQ+ community.

This discrimination can be seen as he has made it clear that he does not support marriage equality, by comparing marriage to putters and essentially calling gay marriage unattractive. Trump has also supported bills like house bill 2 for North Carolina, which blocks transgender individuals from using the bathrooms of the gender that they identify with.

This seemingly hostile individual coming into power has the potential to cause major changes in the communities within the United States and it seemingly has. Looking at the community of the University of Utah, there are some that are attempting to hold onto the hope that Trump will still do great things for the community. Within the community of students at the University of Utah is the LGBT community at the U.

The LGBT community at the University of Utah has a longstanding history of being highly inclusive through accepting anyone into the community regardless of whether or not they identify as being LGBT or simply an ally.

I interviewed Gabriella Blanchard who works with the LGBT center.

Gabriella told me that there has been an influx of students “Processing it a lot in the center, and the topic has come up in many meetings with staff and faculty across campus,” and while the center does “Not endorse candidates as a center. We follow the lead of students. If they want to talk about “politics” (loosely defined), [they] are open to those conversations.”

Some students from the LGBT community were also concerned about what may happen in the four years following the election, where Clinton got trumped by Trump.

The first interview was with a transsexual student wishing to be known as Ingrid Third.

Ingrid stated that she was “Nervous. I fear for our community. Trump has taken every possible position concerning LGBT issues, and I worry about what could actually do. I am very concerned about the likely damage that will come from Republicans controlling the House, Senate, and Presidency”

Although being nervous about what Trump may have in store for the LGBT community, “doubtful that Trump will have any direct effect on our LGBT community” Ingrid is as, “Even if he rolled back the Obama Administration’s interpretation of Title IX (education) and Title VII (employment) to protect the LGBT community, the University’s well thought out nondiscrimination policies (as well as Salt Lake City’s nondiscrimination ordinance and Utah’s okayish nondiscrimination law). Indirectly, Trump’s election might inspire opponents of LGBT rights and acceptance to be more vocal.”

Ingrid directed me to another member of the LGBT community on campus, Shae.

Shae considers herself a member of the LGBT community as she says she is “Attracted to all genders but do not use a label for my sexuality”

In contrast to the nervousness that plagued Ingrid, Shae was outright upset and cried herself to sleep that night, and referred to Trump as an “Racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, rapist, misogynist, ableist man.”

Shae also doubts Trump not only because of his views on the LGBT community, but also because, “his economic plans, foreign policy, and internal politics are very unlikely to have success. He knows very little about politics and I do not think that he will have the necessary knowledge or experience to make the next four years successful.”

Another element of contrast that Shae had to Ingrid was that of the effect that Trump may have upon the campus. Her reasoning was “Trump’s hateful rhetoric was normalized by his election. Especially in Utah culture, the LGBT community tends to be frowned upon or even hated. With the normalization of such negativity, pre-existing opinions will be able to come out, with the potential for a rise in discrimination or violence against the LGBT community on campus.”

Both Shae and Ingrid have interacted with the LGBT Center on campus, and while Shae has only interacted with the center a few times here and there, Ingrid is much more involved, going to the Fabulous Friday event that the center puts on weekly from 3:00-5:00 p.m.

The Fabulous Friday event is just one of many that the LGBT center puts on where those who are either a part of the LGBT community or are simply allies can come together and support each other.

This support can be quite vital now, as can be seen through Ingrid and Shae, some of the LGBT community are feeling quite lost with the recent events from the election and the shock-waves that the election has caused, and will most likely continue to cause after trump is sworn into office.

Abuse in Utah: It’s More Common Than We Think

Story by: Kalyn Dewey

Seven children died in Utah last year due to abuse in the home. Every eight minutes, a call is made to the Division of Child and Family Services. Each call is a report of neglect or abuse in the state of Utah. The Division of Child and Family Services is one of the only organizations that works with many different abusive problems.

The Division of Child and Family Services has both a vision and a mission according to its website. Its vision is to keep children safe and strengthen families. Its mission is “to keep children safe from abuse and neglect and provide domestic violence services by working with communities and strengthening families.”

Abuse is an issue throughout Utah. It is more than just physical harming of a child; it also includes emotional and mental abuse. According to Healthy Place, they define emotional abuse as consisting of someone intimidating, isolating, verbal assault or anything that hurts a child’s dignity, self-worth or identity. Psychology Today defines mental abuse as doing something in which the person would be subject to obtaining depression, anxiety or any such mental issue as one puts blame on the victim.

Last year, the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) reported 9,993 children who had been abused. That equals to 27 children every single day. 27 children is equivalent to an entire elementary classroom that is abused every single day. In fact, 65 percent of the reported abuse were with children under the age of ten.

Tess Hortin, a former DCFS employee, started as a Child Protective Services Investigator. That means that she handled up-front assessments of child abuse and neglect that were reported by the community. She later became a Human Services Supervisor. After that, she supervised a team of Child Protection workers and In-Home Service Workers who worked longer term with families, which were usually under court order, to maintain the family unit. Hortin was also on the Utah County Sex Crimes Task Force and the Statewide Child Protection Services Steering Committee which created and reviewed policy and procedure.

When asked about Utah, Hortin exclaimed that Utah was just as bad and sometimes worse than other states. She stated that many new cases poured in daily. These cases related to meth, depression and internet addiction. As meth is a big issue in Utah, many of the cases were meth users. Internet addiction, meth abuse, and depression all led to severe neglect with children. On top of that, sexual abuse, domestic violence and physical abuse are major issues as well, but not as specific to Utah.

Hortin went further to describe what it was like working with children and families who were abused. “I was chased down the street and through houses.  I went to multiple middle of the night drug busts to remove children.  I was threatened and cursed at.” She continued on, “I’ve had things thrown at me.  It was an incredibly hard job where you were constantly told by the public that you were doing too much or not doing enough.  Not many people love DCFS workers.”

As DCFS is the only organization which deals with abuse in Utah, there are many people who dislike what they do. Being a DCFS worker is something that experiences the best and worst of times. These children lived in incredibly terrible environments too. Hortin talked about how heartbreaking it was to go into the houses and see the children. She went on to talk about more of her experiences as a DCFS worker. She’s walked right into a trailer where the husband was beating the wife and had to de-escalate things fast.  She’s seen a deceased 10-year-old.  She’s seen things that were extremely stressful and intense.

These children live in terrible situations, but not all are poor. Hortin wanted to make sure that people understood that abuse is not subject to the lower class and poor families. Abuse knows no boundaries. It could happen to anyone, whether they be rich or poor.

The DCFS offers multiple programs and services to help with these families. Not only do they intervene in abusive homes, but they provide parent education, budgeting help, crisis intervention, sex abuse treatment and mental health therapy.

In addition to these treatments, they offer in-home services to protect families. The DCFS puts the child into a relatives’ care or up for adoption only when absolutely necessary. They feel very strong about not disrupting children’s lives and those they have attachments to. In order to keep the child safe, there are three in-home services.

To begin, there is a voluntary service in which the parents choose to go to counseling. When approved, the parents and children join in going to counseling. If the situation is a little direr, they have court-ordered services which provide supervision from someone who works with the division. If the abuse and neglect are not manageable in the home, they offer intensive services that include teaching parenting skills, developing child safety plans, teaching conflict resolution and problem-solving skills and linking the family to broad-based community resources.

Hortin recalled her first day as a 21-year-old on the job. “There was standing sewage, a hole where a toilet should have been.  Cockroaches and mice scampered around.  The stench of urine and filth was strong,” she said. “Six children needed to be rounded up and put in cars.  Law enforcement met us at the home.  A young boy tried to hit me with a stretch of rubber hose to keep me away.  After we finished, I went home and showered and cried. Some days were like that.”

These people are all around us. They are our neighbors and friends. They are our coworkers and loved ones. Abuse isn’t lessened by the idea of ‘happy valley’ Utah. In fact, according to a KUTV report, Utah ranks eighth in child abuse and first in sex abuse rates of children. We need to step up and see the issue.

If you know of abuse or are involved in abuse, go get help by going to