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Provo Airport lands Allegiant route to Orange County

For air travelers out of Provo and Utah County, Allegiant Air’s latest announcement Tuesday should make you want to dust off your Mickey Mouse ears.

Allegiant Air will begin non-stop flights on Fridays and Mondays to the Orange County/John Wayne Airport beginning Feb. 12.

John Wayne Airport is a gateway to many of the Southern California theme parks including Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and more.

“The second flight expansion notice confirms what we have known all along, Provo and Utah County have unmet flight needs and wants,” said Mayor Michelle Kaufusi. “With a recently added route to Denver and today’s announced route to John Wayne Airport, we are seeing an increasing vacation market, not to mention an untapped business travel market. Provo is clearly taking flight.”

Steve Gleason, Provo Airport manager agrees.

“The day is fast approaching when whatever your final destination, it can start in Provo,” Gleason said.

Allegiant already flies to the Los Angeles International Airport twice a week, as well as the nine flights a week to Phoenix/Mesa. Starting Thursday, flights to Denver will begin, according to Allegiant representatives.

Flights to Tucson have been going seasonally since 2018 and will resume Feb. 11.

With the added flights in Provo, Gleason is having to look at temporary ways to expand the current terminal while the new four-gate terminal is under construction.

Even with the current pandemic and face mask requirements, Gleason said the airport couldn’t be busier.

“Despite COVID, our market has remained solid,” Gleason said. “Flights are at about 90% full, and we are trying our best to keep the terminal clean and wearing face masks.”

When Gleason says 90% full, that means about 150 to 160 passengers a flight. He also noted that corporate, as well as the commercial, flights are keeping the airport busy.

Gleason recently hired two more employees, raising his staff to seven. As the new terminal is completed, more will be added.

The terminal has a completion date of the end of 2021 if all goes well. The worst-case scenario is it will open in spring of 2022, according to Gleason.

“We are on target for next year,” Gleason said.

Provo’s airport is either the second- or third-largest airport in the state depending on the time and how you count it. St. George shares the spot, according to Gleason.

The new flights to Orange County will include night flights and that means a little more work for Gleason’s staff, particularly during the winter storm months.

While Gleason is tight lipped about other potential airlines coming to Provo, he did say that he and the city are always talking to other airlines about the new terminal and possibilities.

To celebrate the new John Wayne Airport flight, Allegiant is offering one-way fares as low at $49. Flight days, times and the lowest fares can be found only at Allegiant.com.

Seats and dates are limited and fares are not available on all flights. Flights must be purchased by Nov. 18, for travel by May 24. Price displayed includes taxes, carrier charges and government fees. Fare rules, routes and schedules are subject to change without notice. Optional baggage charges and additional restrictions may apply. For more details, optional services and baggage fees, check Allegiant.com.

Teri McCabe, elected to Provo School Board by 171-vote margin, champions transparency

Teri McCabe’s family moved to Provo in 1984 where she went through the Provo School District on her way to graduation from Timpview High School. On Tuesday, it was officially announced that McCabe had been elected to the board of the same school district she graduated from.

In a razor thin race for the Provo School Board’s 5th District, McCabe was able to hang on and beat out incumbent Julie Rash to represent her district on the school board.

“I don’t know if it was very roller coaster,” McCabe said when asked about the close decision. “When I started knocking on doors and handing out lawn signs, I didn’t really know if I had a chance or not at all. Once I did start talking to people I realized I might actually have a chance at winning.”

Only 171 votes separated McCabe from Rash after the official canvass on Tuesday.

This was not McCabe’s first time running for office. In 2018, she represented the United Utah Party and went up against Tanner Ainge for the Utah County Commission Seat A.

That race proved to be an educational experience for her. She had to campaign across the entire county, and she went to numerous meetings to learn the ins and outs of the county government, which proved to be useful for her.

Then McCabe served as the Franklin neighborhood chair in Provo. In this role she learned how city government was run and continued to gain experience along her journey.

While she was the neighborhood chair, McCabe tried to contact former school board members about issues that were important to her community and schools in the area, but she never got a response.

Through all of her email attempts, she claims she never received an email back. This is what led McCabe to run for the school board seat.

The biggest item on her platform is transparency, and that is her biggest goal when she takes office as the representative for District 5 of the Provo School Board.

“Something simple that can be done right now is to put the link to the YouTube meetings on social media and the front page of the school district website,” McCabe said about the move toward more transparency. “Another reason I decided to run for school board was back in 2018 when I was trying to attend a school board meeting. I had to dig deep into their website to find the meeting schedule, the time, the place and all the basics you should know. I never could find out what the agenda was, but when I showed up to the meeting i found out that because i was late I missed my opportunity to speak in the meeting.”

She is looking to allow the public to speak on all matters on a school board meeting agenda while making meeting information and herself as accessible as possible.

The streaming of meetings was another big focus for McCabe, who would have trouble being able to attend. Through the streaming of meetings, parents can watch them whenever there is time available because they can’t always carve out time in their days during the scheduled times.

The pandemic sped this process up, but this is another step toward transparency, according to McCabe.

She also brought up the latest parent survey from the district, which showed that only 80 parents from Franklin Elementary School completed it. McCabe hopes to position herself as someone her constituents can go to with their concerns and questions.

“I live around the corner from Franklin Elementary School and only 80 parents filled that out,” McCabe said of the survey. “That’s a fraction. We’re hearing from 80 parents, but what are the other parents actually saying? I want them to feel comfortable enough to tell me what their opinion is and not feel like they’re going to be stifled.”

The campaigning process has been an interesting one for McCabe. She added that she had to put much more effort into getting her name out there than an incumbent would have, but through this she was able to meet many people in her district, discuss her running points and speak on her stance for certain topics.

“It was kind of interesting,” McCabe said of the support from voters. “I know that I had a little bit of name recognition but I would knock on complete strangers’ doors and ask if I could put a lawn sign in their yard. Then I’d talk to them about issues and they would agree with my campaign points. It’s been good seeing that I agree with the voters of District 5.”

SmartAsset, WalletHub proclaim Provo/Orem No. 1 in giving

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it appears that Provo/Orem, Ogden/Clearfield and Salt Lake City are the three most giving and charitable metro areas in the United States.

Utah overall is the top state for charitable giving in the country, while Provo/Orem ranks first overall. This is all according to SmartAsset.com and WalletHub.com.

“Utah County has always had a reputation for being a caring community, and it is nice to see the data backing that reputation,” said Bill Hulterstrom, president and CEO of United Way of Utah County. “At United Way, we are seeing an increased desire to make a difference as more people are looking to find meaningful ways to both volunteer and give. We are working hard to help people match their passions with the best ways to give, particularly during this time.”

SmartAsset and WalletHub are both online financial advisors and watchdogs that run data surveys on a number of issues that affect the country.

SmartAsset’s findings on giving and volunteerism include the following information:

“Not only does Utah rank first for the volunteering metrics (which are calculated at the state level), but the cities also all do well in the money-giving metrics, possibly because many people in the state are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and tithe a percentage of their salary each year (generally at least 10%),” SmartAsset reports.


The Provo-Orem area leads the list for the second year in a row, proving that residents in the home of Brigham Young University have serious charity bona fides, according to SmartAsset.

“The Provo metro area finishes first in terms of charitable contributions as a percentage of income, with residents donating 6.68% of their income to others,” the SmartAsset study said.

The volunteer rate in Utah is 51.0%, ranking first for that statewide metric as well. The 2017 average charitable contribution for folks in Provo-Orem was $13,346, ranking second-highest in this study.

“Provo’s city slogan is ‘Welcome Home,’ chosen specifically to reflect the caring and giving nature of our community,” said Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi. “I’m proud our welcoming spirit is being noticed throughout the nation.”

Kaufusi noted that during this financially trying time, she is gratified to know the community still values the importance of giving to those in need.

“We are honored to join with Orem in being named the most generous place nationwide — for two years running,” Kaufusi said. “However, this honor is a reflection of our community and, as such, the true gratitude goes to our citizens. Let’s go for three in a row!”


Charitable contributions make up 4.85% of income for residents of the Ogden-Clearfield metro area, the second-highest percentage in this study.

“A charitable donation appears on 33.02% of tax returns in the metro area, the eighth-highest percentage we observed,” SmartAsset reports. “The metro area also benefits from the fact that Utah takes first in the statewide volunteer rate category, as well as fifth in the average number of hours a volunteer spends helping each year (another state-level metric).”

Salt Lake City

The final Utah metro area, coming in at third on this list, is the state capital, Salt Lake City. As with the other two Beehive State metro areas above, Salt Lake City benefits from the fact that Utah ranks well on two state-level metrics — volunteer rate (first place) and average hours spent volunteering (fifth place).

“In terms of metro area-specific metrics, Salt Lake City sees residents donate 3.94% of their income to charity, the fifth-highest rate in the study. The average charitable contribution for Salt Lake City is $9,307, ranking 16th out of 171,” SmartAsset’s study said.

What is noticeable is the effect the pandemic is having on charitable giving.

About three in four American adults or 73% said they donated money to a charitable organization in the past year, according to an April 2020 Gallup poll.

“That’s a new record low, beneath even the charitable giving rate of the Great Recession era,” SmartAsset reports. “Though the coronavirus pandemic, with its elevated unemployment, may have made Americans less likely to steer their money toward altruistic causes, the generosity they do spread is something financial advisors strongly recommend to reduce their clients’ tax liabilities.”

Just how did Provo-Orem get the top spot? The SmartAsset methodology covers the following:

  • Charitable contributions as a percentage of income. Data comes from the IRS and is for 2017.
  • Percentage of tax returns with charitable donations. Data comes from the IRS and is for 2017.
  • Average charitable contribution amount. Data comes from the IRS and is for 2017.
  • Volunteer rate. Data is from NationalService.gov and is measured at the state level. It is for 2018, the most recent data available.
  • Hours spent per volunteer. Data is from NationalService.gov and is measured at the state level. It is for 2018, the most recent data available.

The full report, including the methodology and rankings, can be found here: http://smartasset.com/financial-advisor/places-where-americans-give-the-most-to-charity-2020 .


WalletHub reports that the latest World Giving Index shows that the United States has been the most generous country over the course of the last 10 years.

Utah ranked as the top charitable state in the U.S.

According to WalletHub’s methodology Utah was highest in volunteer rate, percentage of donated income, percentage of population that donates time and highest percentage of population that donated money.

U.S. donors in 2019 gave more than $449 billion to charity, with 69% of the funds coming directly from individuals, according to the National Philanthropic Trust.

“Americans do more than just reach in their pockets to help others, though. They also contribute their time — and plenty of it,” WalletHub said. “Over 77 million people volunteer in the U.S., serving a combined total of 6.9 billion hours per year, the equivalent of $167 billion of service.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted some volunteer opportunities in 2020, it hasn’t stopped people from giving. In fact, donor grant making was up 16% in the first four months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, according to WalletHub research.

WalletHub determined the most charitable of the 50 states by comparing them across 19 key indicators of charitable behavior. Their data set ranges from the volunteer rate to the share of income donated to the share of sheltered homeless.

For the full report visit:


Utah Valley Chamber, local officials release Valley Visioning plan for 2050

On Tuesday afternoon, the Utah Valley Chamber and local officials came together to release the Utah Valley Vision, a collective effort with residents and officials to plan for the growth expected in Utah County by 2050.

“It’s no secret, Utah County is a great place to live, so it makes sense that it’s growing fast,” said Governor Gary Herbert, an Orem resident. “Utah County is now adding more people each year than Salt lake County. In fact, in the next 30 years, Utah County’s population will double and by 2065 we will add 1 million people to our population, most of those being our children and grandchildren. It’s an exciting time, but it’s up to us to ensure that as we grow, we continue to enjoy our great quality of life so that the generations to come have good jobs, raise their families in great neighborhoods, live healthy lives and enjoy the unmatched beauty of our state.”

Through workshops, surveys and more community engagement, the plan came together to show where residents see the growth occurring, what they value in their community and what scenarios they prefer with regards to that growth.

Talking points included the addition of walkable mixed-use centers, a variety of market-based affordable housing, transportation infrastructure, a great education system and efficiency with water and natural resources.

If Utah County were to continue growth on its current path, by 2050 there would be almost 100,000 acres taken up. Through the implementation of the Valley Vision, an estimated 51,201 acres would be used to accommodate the same total population.

The plan is also expected to cut emissions in half, increase access to parks, schools and transit while saving residents money on utilities and driving costs.

“The Utah Valley Vision is an excellent example of what can happen when leaders and the community come together,” Herbert said. “This is not unprecedented, rather it is the result of innovation and a uniquely Utahn approach to growth-related issues in our state. I was Utah County Commissioner when Envision Utah started in 1997. We decided then and there that we didn’t want to just sit back and see where growth would be taking us, we wanted to be thoughtful about how we grew, and now look at what we’ve been able to accomplish because of it.”

Herbert then announced his support of the plan, adding that he is proud to come from a county with residents who have shown they care about the future of their communities.

Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi spoke about the importance of walkable centers, using Provo’s own Center Street as an example of a walkable center.

These areas make life easier for people who live and work nearby, and Kaufusi stressed that these kinds of centers are needed throughout the county, with local transit preferably nearby.

“The Utah Valley Vision focuses on developing walkable centers that bring things like shopping, dining, office space, entertainment, parks, even education and housing within close distance,” Kaufusi said.

Walkable centers are a part of the future of Utah County, according to Kaufusi.

Another important factor for Utah County residents was housing. This includes a variety of housing options that fit the needs of certain people while also being affordable.

Orem Mayor Richard Brunst then stressed the importance of transportation.

“Local residents were loud and clear about wanting convenient and affordable choices for how to get around,” Brunst said. “We need to make sure that we develop new amenities and services close to home so we can spend less time in our cars. Infrastructure needs to be well maintained and kept up for the needs that we have as we grow. Across Utah County, residents want a future with expanded public transportation, where owning a car might even be a choice in some areas, rather than a necessity.”

The plan also stresses how crucial a stellar education system is in the county.

UVU President Astrid Tuminez said she was thrilled to see that the vision saw education as a pillar of growth in the community.

“Education is so critical because it improves the earnings of an individual, it contributes to positive health, it strengthens families and it allows people to become more active civic participants in a democratic society,” Tuminez said. “It is important that we support our teachers whether they are in K-12 or at the university. It is important that we work together as institutions and as leaders to provide all of our citizens with a positive educational experience.”

As the event began to wind down, Val Hale from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development spoke about the importance of ensuring that the future of Utah Valley is as enjoyable for people’s grandchildren as it was for their fathers and grandfathers.

“This is just the beginning and we all will continue to work towards keeping Utah a great place to live as we implement the strategies set forth in Valley Visioning,” said Curtis Blair, Utah Valley Chamber president and CEO.

The challenge left for the Utah Valley Vision is implementation and work to make sure that Utah County grows in a way that is sustainable while keeping the concerns and wants of residents in mind.