Across the Beehive State, the Latino population is by far the largest minority.
Latinos make up 14.2% of the state’s population, according to 2018 U.S. Census Bureau data. That number is believed to be increasing in 2019.
The rest of the minority population only accounts for 8% in Utah, while minorities other than Latinos account for more than a fifth of the nation’s population, 21.3%, Census Bureau data shows.
In Utah County, Latinos make up 11.2% of the population, according to the 2018 Utah County Community Assessment.
Latino populations are not spread evenly across the state, or even Utah County. According to the Utah State Board of Education, 24% of students in Provo City School District are Latino while both Nebo School District and Alpine School District round out to about 12% Latino students.
And according to the 2018 Utah County Community Assessment, Orem and Provo both have the highest numbers of Latinos and the highest percentages of Latinos: Provo has 19,066, making up 16.5%, and Orem has 15,947, making up 17.1%.
The assessment also shows Latino Utah County citizens have a median household income of $45,308, while white citizens make an average of $62,884. The percentage of Utah County Latinos below the poverty line is almost double the amount of white citizens — 21.1% and 10.9%, respectively.
The reasons and factors behind where Latino populations are more densely located in Utah County, and why, are vast and connected to other factors regarding race, poverty, the housing market, resources and more.
More than a thousand patrons strolled by the booths and sampled goods at the third annual Kid’s Market on Saturday in Spanish Fork.
The Kid’s Market is designed to help youth learn about entrepreneurship, merchandising and everything else that goes with starting a business.
This year that includes reporting and paying sales tax revenue to the State Tax Commission. The idea of 10-year-olds having to pay sales tax for a four-hour event isn’t sitting well with Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute, which sponsored the event.
“They (Utah State Tax Commission) are putting a target on their (kids’ and parents’) backs,” Boyack said. “Even if they have no sales they are still demanding they send in sales tax forms.”
Boyack points to subsection 13 of the state sales tax statute that says if you’re not engaged in regular business you are not required to report or pay sales tax to the state.
“It is an exemption intended for these kinds of businesses,” Boyack said. He referred to things like lemonade stands or yard sales as an example.
Spanish Fork sees it differently.
“We’re pretty objective with the law,” said Scott Aylett, Spanish Fork spokesman. “We expect vendors to pay taxes to the state.”
Aylett said because the Kid’s Market is an organized event, it is different than the random lemonade stand. Sales made at the event are required to report sale taxes to the Tax Commission.
“At the end of the day it’s between them (the entrepreneurs) and the Tax Commission,” Aylett said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re 10 or 100 (years old).”
The tax forms were new to many parents at the event and were given a mixed review.
The kids already put money out by paying $10 or $15 for a booth.
Some parents are planning on bearing the tax burden this year, while others said it’s just part of the entrepreneur experience.
Boyack said he told participants to put zero on the form and send it in.
“Sen. (Jacob) Anderegg is opening a bill file so we can address this and shut it down,” Boyack said. “Tax Commission is being lazy and saying everyone in an event has to pay and fill out these forms. That’s not at all what’s in the law.”
Libertas Institute works with legislators to formulate and pass bills.
While the adults mull over what’s next with the Tax Commission, the kids had a great time.
“We work on this all summer,” said Danyelle Payne, mom to entrepreneurs Kena Ley Payne and Anderson Payne. “We sold out last year. It looks like mom’s taking the hit on the taxes this year.”
Kena Ley Payne said she learned a lot last year that she is incorporating this time around.
“I learned we needed to market a lot,” she said. “We learned we actually have to play with things so they (customers) can see the product.”
Paige Johnson, 12, and her sister Katie Johnson, 9, have been involved in all three years of the Kid’s Market and said they have learned a lot.
“We are doing this because our basement is being done and we want to fund our room décor,” Paige Johnson said. “Yes, we have to fund it.”
Katie Johnson added, “We switch up what we do every year. The most fun was making the (hair) scrunchies.”
If farm animals get your goat, then Ezra Callis, 9, had just the thing. A booth where you could pay a dollar and get your picture with two goats. For just 25 cents more you could purchase some food to feed the goats.
“I have no clue what I am going to do with my money,” Callis said. “I just like earning money.”
Lucie Wise, 12, is at her fourth Kid’s Market this year. The markets are held around the state, and according to Boyack, they have grown to 15 events including Christmas markets.
Wise started early by planting 500 flower seeds, then weeded and grew them for bouquets to sale at the event. She also spent the 48 hours prior to the Kid’s Market baking her homemade cinnamon rolls.
“I like it. I’ll do this again,” Wise said. While this is her fourth market, it is her first year selling.
Her mom, Julie Wise, was there to help and said of the four events, this was the first time they have had to pay taxes.
Working her second market of the year, Amalyssa Sudweeks, 15, makes decorative headbands and jewelry.
“I’m trying to start an Etsy store,” Sudweeks said.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, farmers in southern Utah County relied completely on the Spanish Fork River to water their crops — but the natural flow often dried up by the end of the season.
It wasn’t until an ambitious plan was made to drill a 4-mile tunnel through the mountains to funnel water from the Strawberry River that local farmers were able to have a more reliable source of irrigation that’s still in use today.
A historic tour Tuesday celebrated the Strawberry Valley Project, which has provided irrigation and secondary water to southern Utah County for about 100 years. Dozens of people representing organizations like the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, the Utah Farm Bureau and local city officials gathered to learn about the history of the project and visit historic sites from the project that are no longer in use today.
The Strawberry Water Project was one of the first projects completed after the Bureau of Reclamation was created in 1902, said Gary Aitken, the general manager of the Strawberry Water Users Association. The reservoir and canal system currently irrigates approximately 42,500 total acres including Spanish Fork, Salem, Payson, Mapleton and Springville.
The tour visited several historic sites of the project no longer in use, including an area that once included the Current Creek cabin and outbuildings where men would live for three months at a time to maintain the Current Creek canal, which was built to funnel more water into Strawberry Reservoir in the 1930s.
Third-generation Water Commissioner John Mendenhall had many fond memories at the site of the old cabin, which he shared with those on the tour, including how his father used to take care of workers’ beer debts at a store down the canyon when he would come up to the canyon to check on things, and how workers used to use coal dust to make the snow melt more rapidly into the canal.
It’s stories like that that make the project so special, Mendenhall said.
“There’s a lot of people who could tell you how long the canal is,” Mendenhall said. “Those things are all history you can read. The history of this project is people. Now you guys are part of that project and this history, and I think it behooves us all to continue to make things better as we move along.”
Mendenhall recently retired from his position as the water commissioner for the Spanish Fork District, where his job was to order the amount of water needed from the Central Utah Project.
Without the water from this project, southern Utah County would look similar to places south of it like Nephi or Fillmore, Aitken said, where there is limited, dry farming.
“In the 1800s, there just wasn’t enough water for farmers there,” Mendenhall said. “They had poor crops, because there just wasn’t enough water.”
For now, the project provides irrigation and secondary water, but Mendenhall said it’s likely to change as the county grows.
“As we grow people instead of hay, it’s only natural that will change,” Mendenhall said. “That’s what will allow more people to move in.”
Those on the tour also saw the output of the original tunnel, which now is only used for emergencies.
Mendenhall said he has no idea how people originally came up with the idea to drill a hole 4 and a half miles through a mountain in order to get the water from the Colorado River drainage basin to the Great Basin drainage area, but somehow, they did. The two ends of the tunnel met in the middle in 1912. Even without modern equipment, the workers were only inches off when the two sides of the tunnel met in the middle in the early 1900s.
A newer tunnel now carries most of the water, though the original is still able to carry water in emergencies or when necessary.
The tour was also a celebration of cooperation in the water industry, Aitken said.
The CUWCD and the SWUA work together pretty well, Aitken said, but water does tend to be something people have fought about historically.
Understanding where your water comes from is an important part of history, Aitken said.
“A lot of times, you just think the water comes out of your tap when you turn the faucet on,” Aitken said.