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'Unfortunately, that's our story': Widow of fallen Provo police officer talks about tragedy

Ten days after her husband died from a gunshot wound while serving as an officer with the Provo Police Department, Kaylyn Shinners learned she was pregnant again.

“Wow, thinking back to looking at that positive sign...” She paused and smiled slowly. “I think at the time my reaction probably isn’t appropriate to share on TV.”

The couple had been trying to have another baby, Shinners explained, but after the shooting, she panicked at the thought of pregnancy while waiting at the hospital for news of her husband’s condition.

Her first son, Logan, was still a toddler, and she felt overwhelmed and numb without her husband at her side to help raise their two children.

“I just firmly live by the motto ‘fake it till you make it,’” Shinners said. “I pretend like I know what I’m doing but I have no idea.”

Almost one year after Master Officer Joseph Shinners was shot and killed trying to apprehend an armed fugitive in Orem, Kaylin Shinners shared her thoughts and feelings publicly for the first time at a press conference on Wednesday.

“It’s been a long year of missing him,” she said as she wiped away tears.

On Jan. 5, Joseph Shinners worked with a dozen other officers to apprehend a wanted man in Orem. While shielding another officer, he was reportedly shot by the fugitive and died soon after.

In September, Kaylin Shinners gave birth to their second son, Colton, the day before her husband’s birthday. He would’ve turned 30.

“I call him my little angel baby,” she said of the 2-month-old. “Colton has Joe’s nose, and Joe would be traumatized that anyone got his nose.”

When her husband wanted to join the police department, Kaylin Shinners said they talked about how the job would affect their family. But she never really thought the worst could happen to them.

“Unfortunately, that’s our story,” she said softly. “Healing is quite an interesting process, and I think it’s never-ending and it changes.”

Her hardest and most important challenge so far has been keeping her husband’s memory alive for her kids.

She tries to talk about him every day, telling her boys about his favorite foods and how much their father loved his job. Someday, she hopes her kids will be able to share favorite facts about their father as if he were still alive.

“He’s always a part of our lives and I always want him to feel close to us and feel like he’s there,” Kaylin Shinners said.

The Provo Police Department, or her “blue family” as Kaylin Shinners says, are also a huge support to her during difficult times.

Officers often tell her the department is with her for the long haul, a phrase which brings her comfort since her sons are so young and she expects will likely have many questions growing up.

“Logan and Colton are so little right now but they are going to get older and they are going to need that support,” she said.

A memorial concert is planned for Jan. 2-3 at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo featuring Billy Dean, an American country music singer and songwriter.

All proceeds from the event will fund a 2020 trip to Washington, D.C., for the Shinners family and Provo police officers to attend National Police Week.

Provo Sgt. Nisha King said the department plans to send around 40 officers, their spouses and Shinners’ family members to see Joseph Shinners’ name added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in D.C.

“Ultimately our goal is to earn about $85,000, which is a big task, but we’re confident we can do this,” she said.

The department is also selling T-shirts, as well as set up a Venmo and GoFundMe page to earn the money.

Kaylin Shinners added she’s excited to attend the annual event, as well as meet with other wives and families who have also lost family members and spouses serving with police departments.

“We get to share that experience and heal together a little bit,” she said. “It’s healing when you don’t always need words because they understand.”

The community has offered incredible and overwhelming support since the shooting death, Kaylin Shinners explained. At one point, she filled an entire spare room with gifts given to her and her family.

“It gives me that little boost I need to say people are kind and they believe in me and they care,” she said.

As for the future, Kaylin Shinners said she is eager to see what personality traits her sons will inherit from her husband. Her oldest son will also help turn on the Christmas lights in downtown Provo this Friday.

“I’m not really sure yet where my path is going to take me but it’s different from what I thought it was going to be and I’m still discovering that,” she said. “I still have my boys and I still have the life that we dreamed of that I’m going to keep going forward with.”

Spanish Fork Hospital to open in 2020

Spanish Fork is kicking off a fresh decade with its newest milestone.

Spanish Fork Hospital, currently under construction, plans to open fall 2020 in the growing region.

“It excites me to know we are coming into a community that needs a hospital,” Francis Gibson, the hospital’s administrator, said as he stood among the burgeoning construction site.

He estimates that construction on the hospital is 60% to 65% complete.

Crews are laying 1,500 bricks a day in order to be finished with brickwork by the end of the winter.

“It’s coming along quickly,” Gibson said.

The hospital currently has three employees. It plans to begin hiring for managers in February, with more hires coming in the summer.

Intermountain Healthcare broke ground on the hospital in 2018. Located at 765 E. Market Place Drive, it is being constructed on 45 acres east of Interstate 15 and north of U.S. Highway 6. It will be the second hospital in southern Utah County.

When complete, the $150 million structure will include about 30 beds and will have a focus on women’s and medical/surgical services. The facility will include labor and delivery services, caesarean section rooms, antepartum rooms, postpartum beds, an emergency department, operating rooms and gastroenterology suites. It will also provide imaging services, cardiopulmonary diagnostic testing and infusion therapy.

The grounds will also include an on-site medical office building, an InstaCare and an alongside birthing center for licensed midwives to deliver infants.

Gibson anticipates the hospital will perform 3,000 to 4,000 surgeries and deliver 1,500 babies a year. The hospital is expected to serve 80% to 85% of the community need. Patients who need more advanced care will be treated at larger facilities like Utah Valley Hospital in Provo.

But Gibson wants Spanish Fork Hospital to be more than a place people go to for episodes of care. He sees the community going there for classes to learn about preventative care, opioid abuse and how to stay healthy.

“Really, what I want to create is an atmosphere for people to learn,” he said.

Gibson sees that knowledge extending beyond the science of health. He said he wants the hospital to provide price transparency so a patient knows what the cost of services will be before they receive a bill.

Sub for Santa
Salem family seeking aid after losing job, welcoming newborn

A lot of questions ran through Noah’s mind after he lost his job. There was a new baby at home, the holidays were right around the corner, and with them, a flu season without insurance.

“That was my biggest two things, how are we going to do Christmas, and what if one of them gets hurt?” Noah said.

The Salem family of six have turned to Sub for Santa, a Christmas assistance program through the United Way of Utah County. This is their first year with the program, although they have been a part of giving tree programs before.

The family’s four children range in age from five years old to a newborn. Noah lost his job shortly after returning from paternity leave following the birth of their youngest this fall.

Noah started orientation for a new job, but times are still tough. He and his wife were supportive of seeking assistance through Sub for Santa.

“I knew in order for my kids to have a good Christmas, that we were going to need the help,” Noah said.

They’ve received hand-me-downs from a neighborhood family for some of their children, but need clothes for their 5-year-old son. Noah said the 5-year-old is hoping to get a Hot Wheels track, that their young daughter likes princesses and unicorns, and another son is interested in anything that involves a ball. They’re also hoping to receive diapers and wipes for their newborn.

All names of Sub for Santa participants have been changed. To help a family like this one, call the Sub for Santa hotline at (801) 356-6300 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or visit http://subforsanta.org.

LDS Church releases inside look at Salt Lake Temple renovation

No one quite knows who the last person out the doors of the Salt Lake Temple will be on Dec. 28, but on Monday, Dec. 30 the process of decommissioning the temple and preparing for a massive four-year renovation will begin.

Prior to that date, expect Temple Square to be a beehive of activity with the annual Christmas lights and concerts, overflow temple sessions and the steady stream of weddings.

The discussion and preparations for the four-year renovation of the temple has been in the works for as much as a decade. The current First Presidency gave the go-ahead that it’s time.

Officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared added details Wednesday of what will be accomplished with the temple’s renovation, several details about it will be different after the renovation is complete, as well as what people can expect during the four-year renovation. The church also released renderings showing what several rooms inside the temple will look like after renovations are completed.

“The last major renovation was in the 1960s,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovation.

That means items like the mechanical systems, water and fire suppressant systems and other infrastructure are about 60 years old.

“It’s time to replace them,” Kirby said.

According to Kirby the church has hired several off-duty firefighters throughout the Salt Lake Valley to be on-site fire watchers. No hot work like welding will be allowed in certain areas. The church does not want to experience what the Catholic Church in Paris went through with the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

“The Salt Lake Temple is an icon of strength to members all over the world. We have studied the potential of strengthening it more,” Kirby said.

What will the renovation bring?

Kirby oversees several of the legacy temples’ renovations currently in process including the Mesa Arizona Temple and the St. George and Salt Lake temples. He also works on the Provo City Center Temple. The Manti Utah Temple is being previewed and the Logan Utah Temple is waiting for its future renovation date.

Kirby shared more details Wednesday of what will be new in the Salt Lake Temple after the renovation is complete.

“Murals will be preserved and conserved,” Kirby said. “We’ve selected colors to match the pre-1960s.”

The wood, originally pine and fir, will be regrained and brought back to the darker wood looks. The Garden Room will feature drapes and furniture and vibrant green colors to bring back the pre-1960s feel.

The Daughters of Utah Pioneers also had a sample of the carpet that historically lined the floors of the temple, which, Kirby said, the church used as a pattern for new carpet that will be installed in the temple’s Great Hall.

While there are very few floor plan adjustments, Kirby did say that the added annex will be redone and two new sealing rooms will be added with others enlarged.

Even the Moroni on the top of the temple will be taken down and given a cleaning and update and then be placed back up again.

In the meantime, the church is opening its arms and inviting guests to experience the Christmas season with its annual Christmas Lights on Temple Square display.

After the Christmas lights are dimmed at the end of the month, the following 30 days will see quite a bit of demolition, according to Brent Roberts, Special Projects managing director.

The first thing to come down in January will be the South Visitor’s Center and then the excavation begins. The public will be able to watch the construction up close.

“We invite them to look through massive viewing areas,” Roberts said. “We are doing everything we can the first year with a lot of excavation.”

Roberts said he is privileged to be a part of such a delicate and wonderful process.

“We will take the temple and keep the old feel but modernize, make it more ADA friendly, and new lifts,” Roberts said.

Temple work during renovations

Those who have volunteered as temple workers will be released, but most likely will be called to help at other local temples that will see an increase in patrons.

Rich Sutton area director in the Temple Department said they have tried to do a lot of planning.

“I don’t know what the next three weeks will bring but temple workers will have to have patience as they try to accommodate everyone,” Sutton said.

There will still be a temple president, but the offices will be moved to another temple. Before the open house in four years, a new president will be called.

Sutton also said the decommissioning is taking the sacred things from the temple and moving the status of the temple from sacred to just a building.

Following that, Sutton and crew will begin preparing for operations in the new temple.

“A lot can happen in four years,” Sutton said.

The weekly Thursday meeting held by the First Presidency has been moved to a room in the Joseph Smith Building that has been dedicated for their use.

But officials are encouraging people to visit the temple before the renovation begins.

“I don’t want anyone to feel scared and not come because of crowds,” Sutton said. “Please come, there are busy sessions but there are still opportunities.”

Some of those opportunities even include temple sealing ceremonies, which if done on an off day and with small groups a couple could be accommodated.

Visiting during renovation

One of the biggest parts of the renovation is how to accommodate the 5 million guests that visit Temple Square every year.

“We are providing a wonderful experience at the Conference Center,” said Tanner Kay, Temple Square guest experience manager.

The conference center will feature a large 3-D cutaway of the temple, a Christus statue, pieces of the temple rock for guest to touch and furniture from the temple will be on display.

There will be places guests may go either by self-guided tour or with tour guides to the top of the building where there is a panoramic view of the construction, according to Kay.

“We have been working on this for over a year,” Kay said. “The tours will open Jan. 1.”

Kay has 1,200 missionaries and volunteers to help him through the next four years as they readjust to the new location.

Kay did say that the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall will still be open as will the Church History Museum, Church History Library, Joseph Smith Building, the Lion House and all church tourist destinations in the area.

For more information or to keep up with the renovation, visit the new website at http://templesquare.org.

Evan Cobb, Daily Herald 

An assortment of cookies from The Cookie Crave are pictured on Monday, July 2, 2018.