Many people go about doing good deeds in their families, neighborhoods, organizations and church congregations. “Utah Valley’s Everyday Heroes” celebrates these unsung community members and brings to light their quiet contributions.
Lehi has been consistently named one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation over the last few years, its booming Silicon Slopes technology industry fueling rapid business and population growth.
With such rapid growth comes a host of issues, one of the big ones being how a growing city can promote sustainability among its growing population.
Lehi’s new Environmental Sustainability Committee is hoping to spread awareness and education in the community about how people can be better stewards of the environment.
“The challenge is depoliticizing it, and making it a stewardship issue for people out there,” said Steve Roll, Lehi citizen and chairman of the committee.
Many sustainability issues in the city aren’t necessarily on purpose, said Todd Munger with Lehi, but stem largely from ignorance.
The committee’s main goal is to spread awareness in the community about ways people in Lehi can live in a more sustainable way.
The five-person committee, made up of Lehi residents, has only met twice and is really just getting started, but it already has some ideas for what it hopes to accomplish, including hoping to tackle spreading awareness about one issue per month, starting with recycling.
Recycling is a huge issue, which many people just have misinformation about, Munger said.
“We discussed the overload of information, and how we can break it down, make sense of it and then get it out to the community,” Munger said. “We felt one way we could do that would be to take a month and address one aspect of sustainability.”
The outreach will also include information booths, school outreach, and use of the city website and social media channels, Munger said.
Each member of the committee will have one cause to champion, Munger said, such as recycling, air quality or energy usage. Then that committee member will research what they can about that issue and how community members can be more sustainable in that area.
Roll said the biggest challenge will be to make sustainability accessible to people. On a recent trip to Portugal, Roll noted that recycling bins were never far away.
“If we can find a way to work with Smith’s, Walmart (to place recycling bins) — wherever people go on a regular basis and make it easy — we’ll start to see the changes we’re hoping to see,” Roll said.
Encouraging issues like recycling is important, Munger said, because so many people recycle incorrectly. The more contaminants, or nonrecyclable materials are placed in bins, the more money it costs the recycling facilities to process.
For example, people may throw greasy pizza boxes or diapers in a recycling bin, both of which would be considered contaminants.
Munger said he’s also working on forming an internal sustainability he calls the “Green Team” including a person from each department to work on making city departments more sustainable as well. One issue he’d like to bring up at the city level is a “no-idling” policy to reduce emissions.
Awareness on those types of topics can also be spread to the general community, Munger said.
“Something as simple as turning your engine off when you’re in line to pick your kid up at school — these kids are coming out and smelling exhaust and it’s impacting them. Something as simple as turning your car off can make a big difference,” Munger said.
The committee doesn’t have a budget, but much of the work they want to start with doesn’t cost money, Munger said.
They’re also working on a scooter share contract for Thanksgiving Point in the hopes to reduce car trips in the area.
In the future, the committee may affect policy change at the city level, Roll said, but for now, it’s in its infant stage.
By 2050, projections have the world’s population growing to 9.2 billion people, which means an increase in consumption of energy and production of waste.
“How do we do that without depleting every resource and creating a void in our world?” Roll said. “It starts with us individually.”
Officials with the U.S. Forest Service are planning two prescribed fires in Utah County during the next two months that will burn more than 10,000 acres in an effort to reduce unexpected wildfires.
The prescribed burns will also curtail hazardous fuels, improve wildlife habitats and restore fire-adaptive ecosystems, according to two press releases issued on Friday.
Firefighters started the first controlled burn on Sunday approximately 10 miles east of Kamas and on the northeast side of the Mirror Lake Highway. The 6,007-acre area is between Norway Flats road on the east and the Upper Setting road on the west.
“For public and firefighter safety the burn area, and Forest Service roads and trails will be closed two days prior to the prescribed burn, during the prescribed burn and two days after completion of the prescribed burn,” the press release stated.
The second controlled burn will begin Wednesday nearly 30 miles east southeast of Spanish Fork and northwest of Soldier Summit from U.S. Highway 6. The area is almost 5,930 acres in size.
Both of the projects will continue until Nov. 30 whenever weather conditions allow.
Controlled burns allow fire officials to minimize the risk of large-scale wildfires threatening private land, structures and natural resources. The fires also help regenerate aspen communities and reduce conifer stands.
“Prescribed burns will be ignited when fuel moistures and weather forecasts allow for good smoke dispersal away from population centers,” according to the press release.
Officials will also monitor air temperature, humidity and wind speed and direction to check if conditions meet certain requirements before beginning to burn an area.
To start a controlled burn, firefighters use handheld drip torches, terra torches or plastic sphere dispenser devices and work away from the edges of a natural fire break, like a road.
Qualified fire personnel can also ignite a fire using a helicopter. Engine and hand crews then watch the fire area until the burn is completely extinguished.
Smoke may be visible or linger during the evening and early morning hours, officials stated.
Each controlled burn will last two or three days to try and minimize the amount of smoke. The burn area and all roads or trails leading to the area will be closed during the burn.
Noodles & Company is opening a new restaurant location in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday — but from 5 to 8 p.m., today and Tuesday, the restaurant is opening its doors so people can come and donate to the Jones family after they suffered a tragic accident in July.
According to fire officials and eyewitnesses, the Jones family was getting ready to leave the Pelican Bay Marina parking lot when a mechanical malfunction caused their van to catch fire.
While two older children were able to exit the vehicle with only minor injuries, the youngest child, 4-year-old Lilly Jones, was unable to get out of her car seat unassisted and sustained severe burns to the front of her body.
Derek and Emily Jones, Lilly’s parents, also sustained severe burns; Derek Jones on his hands as he struggled to free Lilly and Emily Jones on her left arm and torso.
Updates from Phyllis Jones, Derek’s mother, have been continually shared to a GoFundMe page created by Saratoga Springs residents to help pay for the family’s medical costs.
According to updates, Lilly has had several surgeries since the fire, including the amputation of all 10 of her toes. However, her fingers are healing and she should have full use of them again someday, Phyllis Jones wrote.
Lilly also is able to enjoy sitting in a wagon with pillows and blankets to support her while nurses or her older sisters pull her around in the halls of the University of Utah burn unit, as she cannot stand or walk yet because of her toe amputation and burn injuries.
Emily Jones continues to improve, Phyllis Jones wrote, although it is a “daily struggle” to get through two sessions of physical therapy and have her dressings changed — almost her entire left arm and hand had skin grafts from her left thigh applied. On Sept. 2, Phyllis Jones wrote Emily should be able to go home soon.
As of the end of August, Derek Jones was still unable to work because of the healing burns on his hands; however, Phyllis Jones wrote in September that his hands are healing very well as he continues to keep them moisturized and avoids exposure to sunlight as much as possible.
At the new Noodles & Company restaurant, located at 24 Pioneer Crossing, Suite 115 in Saratoga Springs, cash donations will be collected at the door, and all donations will go to help the Jones family in their recovery efforts, according to a press release. Those interested in attending the fundraiser for the Jones family are asked to RSVP at http://events.noodles.com/register/Jones. Donations will be exchanged for a free meal from the restaurant, which includes one entree and one fountain beverage.
The restaurant will officially open Wednesday, with a special ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. Hours of the new restaurant following its opening will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.