The Alpine School District Board of Education has passed an updated policy governing how electronic devices are used in school.
“It was one that was woefully out of date,” Sara Hacken, a member of the board, said prior to the vote Tuesday evening.
Policy No. 5250, Electronic Communication and Entertainment Devices, was approved after several weeks of public discussion. It was last revised in 2013.
The policy gives individual schools the power to create and enforce rules about electronic and entertainment devices such as cell phones, tablets, earbuds and smart watches. The policy allows for exemptions to be made by school administration for students with a physical or mental disability, family emergency or a medical necessity.
“I think this is a great policy,” said Amber Bonner, a member of the board.
The policy also states that electronic devices cannot be used to violate the district’s bullying policy and added a section stating that students cannot disseminate or access pornography on electronic devices.
The new policy was passed after a handful of amendments and substitute motions were made to it in order to correct grammar and handle different conflicts the board had with its draft.
One of the substitute motions would have included adding the words “at school” to the line about banning the access or distribution of pornography on electronic devices. Julie King, a member of the board, was against the addition. King said that students could download pornography off-campus and then bring it on their devices to school.
“I would just say ‘no porn,’ at any time can porn be disseminated or accessed, period,” she said.
The board discussed if the terms “at school” should be added, with members arguing both for and against it. Ada Wilson, a member of the board, spoke for adding the two words.
“I look at that as I am not in charge of what happens at home,” Wilson said. “Parents are in charge of what happens at home.”
Mark Clement, a member of the board, said that under that logic the words “at school” could be added to every item in the district’s policy.
The words “at school” were left out of the final policy.
A section of policy stating that students wouldn’t be digitally recorded without their consent was also removed from the policy and tabled — potentially temporarily. Clement questioned if, under the policy, a student could be punished if they take a selfie with a friend at school and then posted it to Facebook. Scott Carlson, the board’s president, also questioned if the section of policy would apply to school security cameras.
Utah brides are among thousands of couples across the nation looking for last-minute wedding venues after a judge ordered a local event venue company to cease operations last Thursday.
Noah’s Event Venues is a Utah-based company that oversaw 42 event centers across the country before closing dozens of locations after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last May. They had locations in Lehi and Lindon.
During a hearing in early February, Judge Joel Meeker told the company’s operators the remaining locations could not continue despite the administration’s optimistic projections for 2020, according to court documents.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee collects all of the debtor’s assets and sells any applicable assets. After the trustee sells the assets and pays the debtor, the exempted amount and a commission is taken by the trustee for overseeing the distribution, the net proceeds of the liquidation are distributed to creditors.
Due to the nature of the bankruptcy, as many as 7,500 people are forced to wait in line for a chance to get their money back.
The company reached out to clients via email on Monday letting couples know the company would no longer be able to host their events. However, customers could file an administrative claim. The statement also said that many of the building owners have expressed their willingness to continue to host events under different operators.
The company cited negative publicity and a court order for its inability to see through contracts with thousands of brides, and in the emailed statement, added that the company was working to reorganize in order to continue hosting events.
Noah’s is hoping to work with clients interested in hosting their events at the initially reserved locations and have asked affected customers to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the location, event date and event type in the subject line.
Maile Tuihalangingie is one of the brides affected by the latest developments. While she was in the process of moving from California to Utah, family and friends reached out to Tuihalangingie after seeing the news on social media. With her wedding less than two weeks away, Saturday was the first time she had heard about the company closure.
“When I found out the news through family and friends, I didn’t even know how to react,” she said.
Finding out about the venue’s closure was the beginning of a nightmare for Tuihalangingie. Her family and friends reached out to any nearby venues to see if there was any availability, and even then, available venues were unable or unwilling to allow third-party caterers, for which Tuihalangingie had also already paid.
Tuihalangingie found the South Jordan location online and visited in person before booking not only the ballroom but also the gym, game room and theater for her nieces and nephews to enjoy during the reception. The couple had also paid for linens, a photo backdrop, lighting and miscellaneous decorations. At the time of the initial announcement, Tuihalangingie had already paid all $5,600 of the total cost.
Tuihalangingie contacted Noah’s first thing Monday morning but was unable to reach anyone at the company. The bride-to-be had still not heard from the company on Monday afternoon. Tuihalangingie had, however, heard from a new company who reached out to South Jordan brides with the potential of honoring their reservations.
Kathren Jensen, Noah’s vice president of sales and operations, began reaching out to Utah couples who made reservations at the South Jordan location Monday afternoon. According to an email sent to clients, Jensen — the founder and owner of the SLC Event Venue — is taking over the contracts with brides who initially booked with Noah’s.
Jensen worked out of the South Jordan location for 12 years and assured clients in the email that she knows the venue as well as its policies, contracts and clients’ general needs very well.
“The thought of closing this successful location is heartbreaking to me, which is why I reached out to the Noah’s and the building owners to take over as an operator,” Jensen said in the email. “This location does extremely well, and I have every confidence we can take over your contract without any additional stress on you the client.”
In order for SLC Event Venue to take over as the new operator, Jensen said the company requires commitments from existing customers. Jensen assured previously booked clients that if the event was already paid in full, the new operator would honor the reservation. Likewise, if a client was already making payments on a schedule, couples would continue the payments to SLC Event Venue. Clients would not be required to repay anything that was previously paid to Noah’s.
Still, for a number of couples, this news isn’t necessarily reassuring.
“It still makes me nervous,” Tuihalangingie said. “The fact that we signed a contract and paid it off, I don’t know what assurance I could get. I’m nervous of taking that risk.”
Before Noah’s announced its closing, several brides reached out to representatives after the company initially filed for bankruptcy to voice their concerns. Each time, the company responded to the couples to confirm the dates and locations and put their worries at ease.
A representative for a Texas location told one bride in August that Noah’s had signed a 20-year lease with the location of her event and wrote “I can guarantee that the location will remain open” just months before the company announced the nation-wide closure.
As more information come to light, northern Utah businesses are continuing to step up to help couples affected by the decision.
Jill Streadbeck, director of the Alpine Art Center in Alpine, Utah, says dozens of Utah businesses are coming together to provide for brides in the community in need of venues.
While some venues have been able to offer discounts up to 50%, others are only asking couples to match the cost of operations on the day to try to save future newlyweds as much money as possible.
“A lot of the brides’ concerns have been: Are they going to get their money back?’” Streadbeck said. “I just want to be as helpful as I can. It’s not about the money or making a profit off of it, it’s ‘let’s help the people who need help,’ that’s all the venues are doing.”
Every little girl dreams of their wedding day, she said, and to have such a large part of the event change with short notice can be heartbreaking.
Online communities have also popped up to help brides across the nation find alternative accommodations. In these virtual groups, brides are posting what Noah’s promised them and venue directors in each area are reaching out to offer their services at discounted prices.
Tuihalangingie said the online communities have also helped affected couples get together and also helped her feel not as alone during such an unexpectedly turbulent time.
Construction on the new Provo city hall officially began Monday at 10 a.m. with demolition of the old Rocky Mountain Drive-in at 50 S. 500 West.
Mayor Michelle Kaufusi, after brief comments on a live Facebook feed, climbed into a large backhoe and dropped the first smashing claw on the drive-in’s southeast side.
“Today is a historic day for Provo City as we see the first visible signs of construction on our new Provo City Center,” Kaufusi said. “This day would not be possible were it not for our citizens seeing this need and trusting us.”
After more than two years of looking at options and warming residents to the needs and wants of the city, voters approved the Police, Fire & City Facilities Bond in November 2018.
That vote authorized the city to issue up to $69 million in general obligation bonds for the new city center, and for a remodel on Fire Station 2.
“Our goal for the new public safety building is focused on safety and security for our employees and guests, a facility that allows us to be more efficient in our work and large enough to handle future growth,” said Rich Ferguson, police chief in Provo.
The center is not just for the personnel and safety officers but for the residents as well, according to Kaufusi.
“Provo City Center will be the ‘Citizen’s City Center,’ and I want each citizen to be able to track the construction progress, know their money is being wisely spent and feel confident we are keeping the promises we made to them,” Kaufusi said.
“With that goal in mind, we are releasing our new construction website at ProvoCityCenter.org, complete with videos, renderings, a feedback form and a timeline,” said Kaufusi.
“Updates will be added regularly, with a time-lapse video capturing the entire process from Day One to Day Done,” said Kaufusi. “And, most importantly, we want continued feedback from you.”
The city center will be a 164,000 square foot building located at the corner of Center Street and 500 West and will anchor the downtown. One half of the city center will be devoted to public safety and include a new police and fire department headquarters.
Demolition of existing vacant buildings on the project site is being completed by the Provo Public Works staff with a cost savings to the project of $100,000.
Kaufusi and her administrative staff are closely monitoring the use of funds as the build-out begins. Having some of it done by city employees trained in those skills is one way those savings are being done.
The existing city center, built in 1972, is not seismically sound and is inadequate in meeting the needs of Provo citizens. It is more cost-effective to replace than rebuild, according to Kaufusi.
Provo City Center is being designed using the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) method. This method, used on both the Recreation Center and Energy Building, allows Provo City, the design team, the contractor and citizens to work together from design to final construction to create the most dynamic and cost-effective city center, according to Kaufusi.
In another cost-saving move, it was announced that Provo’s Channel 17 will move into where the Provo Dispatch is located when it moves into the new facilities. It is anticipated the savings will be $1 million.
The pre-work for any construction project is vital but the real fun begins when the public can start to see action on the site,” said Scott Henderson, project manager. “Demolition of the vacant buildings on 500 West and Center clears the way for the Provo City Center, designed and located to be an impressive gateway to our downtown.”
“From conception to design, the Provo City Center has been citizen-centered,” Henderson added. “Through analyzing current city operations, as well as incorporating public outreach, we have designed a functional space to meet the daily needs of our citizens. We want the citizen experience to be such that they find it convenient, rather than confusing, as has been the case.”
Wayne Parker, city administrator for Provo City, shared an update about the operators of the original Rocky Mountain Drive-in, that was demolished on Monday.
“Luckily, the owners opened a new and exciting restaurant just a block-and-a-half away in downtown Provo,” Parker said. “JJ Burger is located at 40 N. 400 West and they offer the famous Rocky Mountain fare of burgers, fries, scones, and their famous signature milkshakes. We were thrilled that the restaurant was able to relocate so close to home and to continue to be part of downtown Provo’s success.”
The Payson Police Department has made an arrest in connection with a racist attack on a black missionary with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, 19-year-old Payson local Sebastian Francis West was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal mischief Thursday morning.
The incident in question occurred on Jan. 28 near 285 North and 100 East in Payson when the victim, who identified his race as black Panamanian to police, was with his companion as they traveled to the home of a family they were going to teach.
The victim told officials that as he and his companion were nearing the home, six individuals wearing dark hoodies, some with red bandanas covering their faces, approached them. The victim also reported that the individuals started the altercation by yelling at him, using racially-charged language, according to the probable cause affidavit.
The suspects then took the missionary’s phone and threw it into the roadway, reportedly causing damage to the screen. As the victim went to retrieve the phone, the suspects followed him, continuing to yell racial slurs, mocking his religion and making threats to “slit his mother’s throat.”
The victim also told officers that one of the suspects had a pair of brass knuckles with sharp spikes on the ends of them, wearing one in each hand. This particular suspect, he alleged, made threatening gestures toward the victim.
That’s when each of the suspects allegedly attacked the victim, punching him in the head and face, kicking him in the torso and shoving him to the ground. While he was on the ground, the suspects held his waist and legs to keep him from fleeing, according to the probable cause statement. The victim was reportedly able to push the suspects away from him and free himself before the suspects fled the area.
Officers noted that the suspects did not target the victim’s Caucasian companion at any time during the altercation.
Alongside the victim’s phone, his prescription glasses, valued at around $1,000, were also broken in the assault.
Police noted in their affidavit that “the suspects ‘imitated’ and ‘terrorized’ the victim by surrounding him, calling him racial slurs and telling him to get out of their ‘hood’ and to go back to where he came from.”
The offenses are also being viewed as “gang enhanced” as the suspects’ actions were done so in concert with each other.
Provo City Police officers arrested a Saratoga Springs man for allegedly sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl on Wednesday.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, 24-year-old Samuel H. Butler met the victim’s mother on Facebook a few weeks prior. Wednesday evening, Butler and the victim had fallen asleep on separate couches in the living room of the residence as the mother had gone into her bedroom and fallen asleep.
Around 1 a.m. Thursday morning, arresting documents state that the victim had woken her mother up and told her that Butler had sexually assaulted her. When the mother confronted Butler about the accusations, he allegedly fled the residence in his vehicle before crashing his van into one of the cars parked in the neighborhood. Butler reportedly fled the scene of the accident.
While law enforcement attempted to locate him, a sexual assault examination was conducted with the victim by a sexual assault nurse at the Utah Valley Hospital’s Children’s Justice Center. The victim told the nurse that Butler had first kissed her before inappropriately touching her.
Officers located Butler just after 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, transporting him to the hospital to receive medical treatment before booking him on suspicion of object rape of a child, a first degree felony, and sexual abuse of a child, a second degree felony.
Provo police also booked Butler on suspicion of failure to remain at the scene of an accident and driving without proof of insurance.
Butler was previously charged with the rape of a Dixie State University student in 2017, but was acquitted by a jury on Jan. 31. However, he is currently listed as a suspect in two other sexual assault cases through the Orem Police Department and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office which are reported to have occurred in 2014 and 2016, according to the probable cause statement.
Bail is currently set at $75,000, although the arresting officer has requested that Butler be held on no bail or substantially high bail as he believes the suspect is a threat to himself and others.
Utahns want to see mixed-use urban centers, more public transportation options and growth in west county as Utah County’s population booms, according to results from an Envision Utah survey.
Envision Utah has worked with government officials, the Association of Utah County Chambers, the Utah County Chamber of Commerce, Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University and other groups to gauge public opinion on what growth in Utah County should look like as it prepares for rapid population increases.
According to the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, the county’s population is expected to double by 2050.
Last year, Envision Utah held workshops composed of various stakeholders to put together five “growth scenarios” for Utah County. The different scenarios included spread out growth versus high-density centers, south county growth versus west county growth or “urban infill” near Orem and Provo.
The group then put out a “Valley Visioning” survey asking the public which of these growth scenarios they would most prefer to see.
More than 11,000 Utahns took the survey, according to Envision Utah CEO Ari Bruening.
One of the biggest takeaways from the survey, Bruening said, is that “people are ready to do things a little bit differently than in the past” and are open to a wider variety of housing options “as opposed to just single-family homes.”
Of all respondents, more than 31% said they wanted to see more urban centers and “walkable communities that put people closer to daily services,” according to a report highlighting the survey results. At the same time, 21% said they wanted to see empty lots near Orem and Provo be filled in and only 10% said they wanted growth to follow past trends, which has been characterized by large office parks built along Interstate 15 that residents commute to.
Residents reported that they wanted to see a greater mix of housing, including town homes, apartments and condos, while still “preserving single-family neighborhoods.”
Just over 25% of respondents said west Utah County, near Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs, would be the best area to accommodate new development. Only 11.6% said growth would be best in south county near Benjamin and Salem.
“It seems pretty clear that there’s pretty strong agreement across the county that people would rather grow west than south,” Bruening said. “And I think that’s because to the south is where a lot of the best ag land is.”
Bruening added that this sentiment “wasn’t just a ‘don’t grow in my backyard’ response” and that “even the people in Eagle Mountain felt this way.”
In addition to wanting to preserve agricultural land, Bruening said these results likely show that residents want to avoid building on south county land prone to earthquake and liquefaction risk.
“The same conditions that create good soils for agriculture also create a liquefaction risk in an earthquake, which is where the soil basically turns to quicksand,” he said, adding that there is less risk of liquefaction in west county.
Another finding of the survey was that residents want more transportation options, including public transit and more infrastructure for biking and walking.
“People said … ‘We would rather have things closer to us and more transportation and the ability to walk, even if that means maybe a little bit more congestion,’” said Bruening.
One of the biggest concerns with Utah County’s population growth is how it will impact air quality, according to Bruening. A high number of survey respondents said they would support using less grass and transitioning from traditional landscaping in order to conserve water.
More than 32% of respondents said they would be open to “localscaping,” landscaping with “some grass with water-efficient plants,” to make their properties more sustainable, and 27.5% said they would consider xeriscaping with “primarily water-efficient plants (and) little grass.” Just over 18% said they preferred traditional landscaping.
Residents also expressed support for more electric cars in order to improve air quality, said Bruening.
“People want the cleanest air possible,” he said, “so they voted for more electric vehicles.”
Now that the survey results are in, the next step will be to share the results with city and business officials and “frame up a vision that’ll help the county get to where people said they want to go,” Bruening said, adding that this vision should be released in early April.
Piecing together the vision will involve creating models of land use, water use and transportation based on the survey results and input from city leaders and development experts, he said.
Bruening added that it would not be binding or mandate that county and city officials implement it.
“This is a voluntary vision,” he said. “Nobody’s required to do anything. This is just the people of the county speaking saying ‘this is the direction we want to go.’”
Maple Mountain junior quarterback Bryson McQuivey was put in some tough positions on the gridiron last fall as his first two varsity starts for the Golden Eagles came against Salem Hills and Bountiful at the end of the 2019 season.
But as challenging as those football moments were, they were inconsequential compared to what he is facing now.
McQuivey was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of sarcoma — a cancer that starts in tissues like bone or muscle — and is now undergoing treatment as he battles this disease.
“You never think about someone his age and being an athlete and healthy having to go through something like this,” Maple Mountain head football coach Brad Burtenshaw said in a phone interview on Monday. “The good thing is he has a lot of support from the school, from the football team and from members of the community. He’s got a lot of support, which is good. We’re just trying to take another day at a time and do best we can.”
Burtenshaw remembered when McQuivey came to school a few weeks ago but realized something was wrong.
“He came into class and just said he felt pressure in his chest and didn’t know why, so he was going to the doctor,” Burtenshaw said. “The doctor wasn’t sure what was going on so they looked and they found a tumor in his lungs that was building up fluid. That was what was causing the pressure. For about a week, we weren’t sure whether it was cancerous or benign. He finally got his results back about a week and a half ago and they said it was a sarcoma cancer.”
The first step was to remove the fluid from McQuivey’s lungs. Burtenshaw said the doctors ended up removing two liters of fluid.
“He started chemotherapy last Wednesday, and they were hoping to send him home like Wednesday night or Thursday but he ended up accumulating more fluid,” Burtenshaw said. “They’ve kept him in the hospital the whole time. He’s supposed to have treatments weekly. They said they didn’t really want to operate because some of the tumors are around his vital organs. They’re just going to try to treat it with chemo and radiation and see how the tumor reacts.”
Burtenshaw said that the extend of McQuivey’s cancer and the prognosis are still unknown, although the current plan is for the Maple Mountain junior to undergo treatment for at least a year and a half.
“I don’t know if anybody really knows what the outcome should be, so everybody has just tried to stay real positive,” Burtenshaw said. “They did a brain scan last week and that came back clean, so that was good news. There was nothing going on there.”
Other parts of his body, however, including his legs and hips might have cancerous tumors.
Burtenshaw described McQuivey as hard-working young man and said the cancer diagnosis hasn’t changed him at all.
“Bryson is a really humble, quiet kid,” Burtenshaw said. He works hard, both on academics and athletics. Through the years he’s played football, basketball and baseball, and then just in the last year or two he just kind of moved over to football as a quarterback. He is a really good teammate with lots of friends on the team. Even now when I talked to him, he just kind of has this quiet strength. He’s positive and and tries to be as strong as he can. He’s fantastic.”
Maple Mountain High School and the Spanish Fork/Mapleton community as a whole has come together to support McQuivey and his family.
“I know I don’t know everything that is being done but I know his teammates from the football team have gone to the hospital to visit him,’ Burtenshaw said. “They are making the wristbands that should be here this week and they’re going to try to sell those. All sorts of people trying to figure out something they can do to support him. There was a big community fast. That first weekend before they went in to do the biopsy his mom invited as many people that were willing to do a fast and participate in that. I think that even spread over into Spanish Fork High School. I just I know one of their administrators knew about it and they were announcing at the seminaries and I know it spread. There’s been a lot of community support for him. I think he feels he feels loved and like there are people who care.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to collect donations to support McQuivey and his family (see info box).
SALT LAKE CITY — Mothers in Utah are challenging a ban on children and breastfeeding at BYU’s annual Women’s Conference, and they are asking The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to change the rule.
School officials say kids and babies are not allowed at the event at the Marriott Center at BYU, an arena that doesn’t ban children under 16 for any other event, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The two-day conference in Provo begins April 30, and it is considered the largest gathering of Latter-day Saint women. Topics include sisterhood, marriage and the gospel around family.
“It’s just really bizarre that at a conference about family and womanhood that they wouldn’t allow nursing children to be there,” said Nataly Wixom-Burdick, a member of the church and mother of an 11-month-old. “You’d think that a women’s conference would be aware of the struggles that mothers, especially nursing mothers, go through.”
Sarai Lambert Pixton, a mother of a 4-month-old boy, said she wanted to go to the conference until she read the notice on the school’s website that says: “Nursing infants cannot be accommodated.”
“Saying that he’s not allowed also means that I’m not allowed,” she said.
It’s unclear when the policy was implemented.
BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said the decision was made “after considering the logical and safety constraints in place and considering the needs of all conference participants.”
In 2018, Utah was one of the last state’s to pass a law to clarify that it’s legal to nurse a child in public. However, that does not apply to the campus of BYU, which is a private university.
The BYU men’s and women’s basketball teams play in the arena, which seats nearly 19,000 people. But unlike basketball games and other events at the center, children would not be able to stand out and move around during conference sessions, Jenkins said
Jenkins said those who can’t attend because of the rules can watch a free delayed broadcast of the conference on the church’s website and the university’s television channel.
Wixton-Burdick said she wants the church to change the rule.
“It’s not like it’s something we don’t deal with all the time as church members,” Wixom-Burdick said. “There’s always crying babies in sacrament meetings and we roll with it. So why can’t we roll with it during this conference.”