The Orem City Council unanimously passed a resolution Oct. 29 requesting the recertification of the Orem Justice Court.
The Orem court and all Utah Justice Courts must complete recertification every four years according to Judge Reed Parkin. Parkin has been Orem’s Justice Court judge for nine years.
There are two types of Justice Courts — one at the county level, the other at the city level. In Orem, the Justice Court hears Class B misdemeanors and lower, traffic code violations, small claims of $11,000 or lower, and criminal charges. A Class B misdemeanor allows for up to 180 days in Jail and/or a fines and fees up to $1,300.
There are 105 Justice Courts in the state, according to Parkin.
The Judicial Council is the governing body of the state Judiciary, grants recertification and is unique to Utah. The council has 12 members made from a variety of Judges from district to appellate or Supreme Court. The council sets the recertification rules.
According to Parkin there are three components to being recertified. First, they must have an affidavit from the judge they are compliant. They then must receive a letter from the city attorney, from their perspective, if the court is in compliance. Finally, the city council must pass the resolution for recertification.
Jody Thenot, court administrator, said the Orem court has five full-time and three part-time employees to help run the court. That does not include the judge or prosecutors.
“The prosecutor represents the city in court every day, “Parkin said. “The city has a voice every day.”
Sometimes the need arises in court for language services, as the language of the court is English and requires court translators when needed. Parkin said he has had cases in Spanish, Arabic, Tai and many more.
When it comes to working with and serving the public, Thenot said it’s constant.
“Next to the 311 office, we are the busiest office in the city,” Thenot said.
Parkin added, “My clerks execute more orders, based on my standing orders, outside of the courts presence.”
The number of cases and filings that come through the court each year is indicative of the amount of work load Parkin and his staff are encountering.
In 2018, the court averaged 995.42 traffic cases a month. That included DUI/impaired charges, moving violations, non-moving violations, driver license violation charges and more.
The monthly average for criminal filings in 2018 was 126.58. Those filings include assault charges, theft, alcohol violations, controlled substance, domestic abuse, animal violation charges and zoning charges. Other charges include criminal mischief, trespassing, disorderly conduct, bad checks, etc.
The court has a monthly average of 41.25 small claims and had 282 small claims trials in 2018.
In the first 10 months of 2019, the monthly averages for traffic cases were down at 851.4. Criminal filings were down to 109.6 and small claims were up slightly to 42.3.
Thenot said the mission of Justice Courts in Utah is to, “improve the quality of life in our communities.”
For the past two weeks, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has been filling Deer Creek Reservoir with thousands of rainbow trout that have spent the year maturing at a Springville hatchery.
On Friday morning, DWR unloaded a tank filled with about 5,000 fish into the reservoir. Another tank with a similar number of trout was emptied later that afternoon.
Various hatcheries routinely stock Deer Creek Reservoir with adult rainbow trout for recreational fishing purposes, according to Ryan Arthur, a fish hatchery specialist at the DWR’s Springville hatching facility.
Biologists will survey the reservoir, as well as other bodies of water throughout the state, to assess the ecosystem’s health and determine how many fish can be stocked without throwing the environment off balance.
“They’re basically trying to find out what’s in here currently,” Arthur said. “What species (and) what numbers.”
Based on the biologist’s findings, the wildlife resource department will then “come up with those numbers and sizes” in order to balance a productive ecosystem and healthy fishery, said Arthur.
About a year prior to stocking, DWR hatcheries will buy eggs and hatch them in warmer water than is typical for the trout’s natural habitat, which leads to quicker growth. Arthur said the Springville hatchery can grow fish at a rate of 1-inch per month.
About 70% of fish survive the hatching stage, so between 35,000 and 40,000 eggs were used to stock the reservoir with the 22,000 trout, said Arthur.
The rainbow trout released into Deer Creek Reservoir this month averaged on 10 inches, or 25.4 centimeters in length, which means they are ready for catch, according to fishing information from Northern State University.
The fish get transported inside large water-filled tanks on the back of a service trucks. Oxygen is pumped through the water to eliminate stress during transportation.
The DWR also periodically stocks other fishing hot spots and community pond in the state. A 2019 fish stocking report shows that DWR has stocked rainbow trout in Wasatch, Davis and Uintah counties, among others.
Cutthroat trout, tiger trout and channel catfish are other species that get stocked throughout Utah.
The wildlife group will continue to stock rainbow trout in Deer Creek Reservoir next week.
While Jeff Packer remembers exactly where he was when he heard that the Berlin Wall had fallen, he knows that to his students, it may as well be ancient history.
“I’m dreading the time a student comes to my classroom and doesn’t know there used to be two Germanys,” he said.
It’s why Packer, an associate professor of German studies at Utah Valley University in Orem, decided to help the newest generation of students learn about the event that helped shape his own transition to adulthood.
More than 500 junior high and high school students were at UVU in Orem Friday morning to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, create their own graffiti on a replica and learn about life in East and West Germany. The event also included East German disco music, a replica of a Checkpoint Charlie crossing, bratwurst, a piece of the real wall and a Trabant, an East German car.
Students were encouraged to write what they’d want to tear down on one section of the replica wall, and decorated other pieces to mimic a section of the wall that is still standing.
Packer served an ecclesiastical mission in East Germany shortly after the wall fell.
“It was still very much East Germany,” he said.
He first put on the event 10 years ago for the 20th anniversary of when the wall fell. Packer said that students forget that walls are constantly being built to divide groups.
“They need to learn a little bit that walls are not necessarily a good thing,” he said.
Lily Watts, a 15-year-old student who attends Lone Peak High School in Highland, was unaware of the history.
“I didn’t know the story until I took German,” Watts said. “I had no clue.”
Even in Germany today, the wall isn’t discussed.
“People talked about the war, but not the wall itself,” said Tanner Klein, a UVU student taking German classes who did an ecclesiastical mission to Germany.
Daxton Rothwell, a UVU student who also went on a mission to Germany, said people talk about the freedom that came after the wall fell, but not about when it was standing.
The event, which drew students from as far as Delta and Ogden, was also about getting students involved in German language classes.
Rothwell said he continues to take German courses because the country is at the forefront of Europe.
“Everyone looks to Germany,” he said.
Packer said Germany has connections with many fields, from technology, to music, and can help students connect with their own cultures.
“No matter what you’re studying, German can make you better,” he said.