It all started with Jade Viveiros’ little sister, a third grade class and a boy at lunch.
Viveiros thought it was bittersweet when her sister told her that her third grade class all pitched in parts of their lunch to create one for a boy who couldn’t pay for his own and had decided to go without. Then Viveiros started thinking.
“My little sister is only 8, so I can’t imagine if she didn’t get lunch that day, or if she didn’t eat,” Viveiros, a junior at Timpview High School in Provo, said. “It just touched something in me, I guess.”
Curious, Viveiros called the Provo City School District to ask what the outstanding lunch balance for the district was. Now, she’s trying to raise $17,000 to pay unpaid lunch fees in the district to make sure that no student feels embarrassed about getting a lunch.
About 38% of the 16,000 students in the Provo City School District are considered economically disadvantaged, according to information from the Utah State Board of Education.
At Timpview High School, where Viveiros is trying to raise $900 to clear lunch balances, 32% of students are considered economically disadvantaged.
That percentage varies per school. About 52% of students are considered economically disadvantaged and 2% are homeless at Dixon Middle School, while Franklin Elementary School has 84% of its student body who is considered economically disadvantaged and 4% who are homeless. About 44% of students at Provo High School are considered economically disadvantaged.
Efforts have been made in the county before to clear lunch balances. In 2018, a group of moms in Saratoga Springs contacted schools to pay delinquent lunch accounts around Christmas. After posting in various Facebook pages, an undisclosed company stepped forward to pay off $3,000 in lunch accounts at Vista Heights Middle School in Saratoga Springs and at Vineyard Elementary School.
Viveiros doesn’t expect to raise the full $17,000 but said she wants to do what she can to help others.
She’s received about $300 so far from friends and family members, many of it in $2 increments from high school students. Even if that’s all she raises, Viveiros said that will be 150 students who won’t have to worry about food. She’d like to see the community do more.
“You want to see how you can help, but that’s one day of lunch,” Viveiros said. “What happens tomorrow?”
Viveiros said students can get embarrassed if they know they have a balance and will not try to get a lunch, or will feel guilty for asking their parents for lunch money when they know their family is low income and has bills to pay.
She found that the amount of money owed in lunch accounts varies per school. Viveiros said it’s often less at low-income schools because many students are already on the free or reduced lunch program.
After raising $900 to clear the balance at Timpview, Viveiros plans to expand to other schools.
She shared her idea with Cassidy Baker, a student government teacher at Timpview High School.
“She is kind of one of those quiet powerhouses,” Baker said. “I think a lot of her peers don’t know the kind heart she has because she doesn’t brag about herself very often.”
Viveiros is highly involved at school, participating in student government and cheerleading.
Baker said Viveiros is using social media for good in order to spread the word about hunger in the district.
“There are kids like Jade that really need adults to believe in them and see that their ideas are good, and fuel those ideas,” Baker said.
The two have discussed reaching out to restaurants for help or creating a program where someone can sponsor a child’s lunch throughout a year.
If students don’t get lunch, Baker said she questions how they are able to focus on their academic or social lives.
Viveiros told Baker she’s afraid that she’s just putting a bandage on the issue. Baker points to the school’s annual Sub for Santa campaign, when students raise money for the Christmas assistance program. Students raised about $70,000 this year, which went to help 404 people and 100 families. Baker said that some of the families were inspired to do better in their lives after receiving help, and that Viveiros may never know what the ripple effect of her actions are.
“I think she is seeing the vision that it might not change all these kids’ lives but it might change a few to know that someone out there in the community cared enough about them and their stress,” Baker said.
Viveiros’s efforts, Baker said, will make an immediate difference.
“I think she is going to make some kid go to school and not worry for the first time what he is going to eat,” Baker said.
Officers arrested a Provo man on Sunday night after he reportedly argued with his girlfriend about attending a Super Bowl party and later refused to let her leave their apartment.
Alika Sierra, 22, was charged in 4th District Court on Tuesday with kidnapping, a second-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor.
On Sunday afternoon, police responded to a home in Provo on reports of Sierra fighting with a woman. He reportedly told officers he and his 17-year-old girlfriend were arguing because she wanted him to go to a Super Bowl party but he wanted to stay at home.
When the girlfriend returned to the apartment later that day, Sierra said he argued with her again and refused to let her leave the apartment. The teenager eventually left through the front door, Sierra told officers.
However, the girlfriend stated she never left the apartment in the first place because Sierra had closed a window on her foot when she tried to leave.
“(She) then ran through the bedroom to leave but the defendant stood in front of the door so she could not leave,” charges state.
Eventually, the teenager exited the apartment but Sierra reportedly took away her car keys. When she started walking away, he drove the vehicle to her and walked back to the apartment, police reported.
He told her to come back to the apartment and grab items for their infant child, according to a probable cause statement. But when the girlfriend returned, Sierra would not give her the items unless she went in the building.
“(Sierra) waited by the sliding door and would hold the baby’s belongings outside of the apartment door,” police reported. “When (she) would reach for the item, (Sierra) would bring the item back into the home.”
At one point, Sierra reportedly grabbed the teenager and tried to pull her into the apartment until a neighbor came outside.
The girlfriend finally left without the items, police reported. While interviewing Sierra, police found he had drug paraphernalia on his person.
He was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail on a $20,000 bail.
Utah County students had the first snow day in their lifetimes on Monday.
School was canceled for more than 100,000 students in the Alpine, Nebo and Provo school districts Monday morning, signaling the first snow-related school cancelation for Utah County schools in decades.
“Snow days are rare calls, especially in Alpine School District,” said Kimberly Bird, a spokeswoman for the district.
Bird said the district thinks Monday was its first snow day since 1993 or 1994.
Nebo School District last had a snow day closure in December 2010, and the Provo City School District believes it has been decades since it called one.
The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City issued a hazardous weather outlook for the western two-thirds of the state, along with a winter storm warning that would be in place until 10 p.m. Monday.
Monday’s storm was anticipated to bring two to five inches of snow, with more along the benches and winds gusting at 40 mph.
The storm was expected to bring gusty winds and significant snow accumulation through the night. Snow was expected to be confined to the mountains and along the Interstate 15 corridor.
Cold temperatures are expected to stay through the middle of the week, with another storm bringing snow to northern Utah on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Alpine School District adopted a weather-related school closure policy late last year after the district came under fire earlier in the year for not declaring a snow day. The new policy allows the district to cancel school, release it early or declare a two-hour delay either district-wide or by high school clusters.
The policy states that Mondays would only have the option of a school closure due to students getting out early that day.
Bird said the district decided to cancel school district-wide due to safety. While students are located by cluster, Bird said the district’s employees come from across the Utah Valley.
“Even though students are our number one priority, so are our employees,” Bird said.
Bird said although the storm wasn’t as bad as expected, the district had to consider if they wanted to take a gamble and have buses potentially slide off the road.
“We feel confident, though, in the call,” she said. “We hope everyone understands the process.”
The district has a makeup day calendared into its schedule for the first day of spring break. Bird said the district’s superintendent might petition the state for an exemption to making up the day.
Weather can vary across the county, especially in the mountain benches.
In the Nebo School District, buses drive to high bench areas and canyons to pick up students.
“We have high bench areas that make it very difficult for our buses to pick up students safely,” said Lana Hiskey, a spokeswoman for the Nebo School District.
Hiskey said Nebo School District Superintendent Rick Nielsen personally began driving to each of the district’s high schools starting at 3 a.m. to look at conditions.
At 3 a.m., Hiskey said conditions didn’t look bad enough for a snow day. But at 5:30 a.m., conditions worsened, ice started forming and harsh winds began blowing.
“It is a hard thing to call,” she said.
Hiskey said the decision also factored in employee safety. The snow day will be made up on March 20.
Conditions were mostly dry in Provo Monday morning.
“The snow isn’t as bad in Provo as it was in other places, but the roads were still dangerous,” said Caleb Price, a spokesman for the Provo City School District.
The district began meeting about the weather conditions on Friday. District staff also met on Sunday night and early Monday morning to discuss conditions.
Price said the district also checked in with the Alpine and Nebo school districts to see what decisions they were making.
Price said Provo is unique in that the citywide school district includes benches on its east side that can have vastly different weather than in the valley. Price said the district could not make the decision to only close school in half of the city.
The district did not know as of Monday morning when the make-up school day for Monday’s closure will be. Price said the district will announce the day once the decision is made.
Both Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University remained open Monday.
A former Orem rehabilitation center administrator pleaded guilty this week to embezzling nearly $170,000 to pay for family vacations, home remodeling ventures and other personal expenses.
Investigators arrested Timothy Claybaugh, 36, almost seven months ago. He was charged in 4th District Court with two counts of money laundering and three counts of theft, all second-degree felonies.
Charges state he stole $169,876 from Stonehenge of Orem, a short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing center that specializes in post-hospitalization care.
On Monday, Claybaugh accepted a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to a class A misdemeanor of theft and money laundering. All other charges were dismissed.
Instead of facing a possible prison sentence, he will face a maximum sentence of two years in jail, according to court documents.
Beginning November 2016, Claybaugh worked as an administrator at Stonehenge of Orem and voluntarily resigned to work for a competing company in May 2019.
As an administrator, Claybaugh was in charge of all facility operations and departments, including company finances and any money spent on facility operations.
Soon after his resignation, the company owner found bank statements that showed Claybaugh used the company credit card to purchase more than 400 gift cards for Visa, Delta, Hotels.com, Airbnb, Home Depot, Nordstrom, Fandango, Amazon, Target, Cold Stone, Verizon and Walmart.
“It was found that Timothy purchased vast amounts of unauthorized personal items including gift cards, groceries, appliances, flowers for his wife, construction tools and materials to finish his basement, toys, a bike, diapers, furniture, electronics, landscape materials, a barn door, fast food, candy and energy drinks,” police reported. “The amount Timothy has spent on his company card in a two-year time period is a staggering $148,794.”
Claybaugh also reportedly wrote company checks to himself totaling $62,708 and stole petty cash totaling $18,768 since he started working in 2016, the report stated.
He also reportedly used his personal credit card at local hospitals for $11,550 and reimbursed himself three times the amount using statements and invoices.
“It is suspected Timothy used gift cards to fund recent trips to Costa Rica, New York, and Disneyland,” police reported. “He has also funded his new home remodel using gift cards.”
Detectives discovered Claybaugh hid his purchases by laundering the money through gift cards instead of blatantly using the company credit card. He also reportedly recorded multiple reimbursements to employees at the time they left the company and then pocketed the money himself.
A Lehi man who worked at Provo Canyon Behavioral Hospital was charged on Thursday with sexually assaulting a young girl who had stayed at the Orem facility last year.
Gabriel Michael Lima, 25, was charged in 3rd District Court with sodomy on a child, a first-degree felony, and enticing a minor by text, a second-degree felony.
Provo Canyon Behavioral Hospital is a mental health facility at 1350 E. 750 North in Orem that provides behavioral health and addiction treatments, according to the company website.
A 12-year-old girl told investigators she had met Lima while she stayed at the hospital for almost two weeks in September, according to charges.
“Lima was a staff member at PCBH who befriended (the girl) during her time there,” court documents state.
A couple days after the girl left, Lima reportedly sent sexually explicit messages to her through two apps. He then arranged to meet with her and picked her up in a store parking lot in Sandy on Sept. 29, charges state.
Lima drove the girl to a park and sexually assaulted the girl in his vehicle, investigators stated.
He is not in custody and prosecutors requested a $500,000 arrest warrant the same day charges were filed.
Primary Children’s Hospital’s upcoming Lehi satellite campus will be located near 3300 West and 2100 North in Lehi, the hospital announced.
The hospital released several details about the new facility Friday morning, including the size of the site and which services it will provide.
The hospital will be contained on 38 acres of land. It will have five floors, 66 beds and a three-story medical office building.
The hospital will include pediatric specialty trauma and emergency services, pediatric and newborn intensive care units, a medical and surgical unit, operating rooms and surgical services, inpatient and outpatient behavioral and mental health services, Safe and Healthy Families clinic, sleep medicine services, infusion services, rehabilitation services, specialty outpatient clinics, laboratory services and imaging services.
There will also be food service and a gift shop.
The new campus was announced last month as part of the hospital’s $500 million plan to change the structure of how it provides health care to children in Utah.
“By investing in people and programs and initiatives and most importantly, facilities, we will be able to bring that dream to life,” said Katy Welkie, the CEO of Primary Children’s Hospital.
Intermountain Healthcare plans to break ground on the hospital later this year and open it in the fall of 2023.
With Utah County’s growth, Welkie said it was time to bring a second location to Lehi.
“In the simplest terms, it is where the kids are, and we want to be where the kids are,” Welkie said.
About 9.5% of Utah County’s population is under the age of 5 and 33.4% are under the age of 18, according to 2019 population estimates from the United States Census Bureau.
The Lehi campus, she said, will place care closer to Utah County families so they do not have to travel as far to receive services.
The hospital also announced that Lisa Paletta, who is currently the administrator of Alta View Hospital in Sandy will be the administrator of the Lehi campus. Welkie said Paletta was involved in the design, construction and opening of the new Alta View Hospital campus and is known for bringing leadership together.
“She is absolutely the ideal person for this role,” Welkie said.
The Lehi campus will allow space to build additional buildings to the site as the need arises. When finished, the pediatric intensive care unit at Utah Valley Hospital in Provo will move to the Lehi campus.
High-level services, such as cardiovascular services and organ transplants, will continue to be performed at the Salt Lake City campus.
Paletta said the time was right for a Lehi campus to meet Utah County’s needs. Consolidating intensive pediatric services, she said, will allow for additional services to move to the site and be available.
“We are extremely excited and have received positive feedback as we made this announcement a few weeks ago,” she said.
Feb. 18 will be the Provo City School District’s snow make-up day, the district announced Friday.
Prior to the district’s decision to make last Monday a snow day, the school district’s calendar showed both Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 as days off from school, for President’s Day and a Professional Development Day, respectively. Now, students will return to school Tuesday rather than Wednesday.
“Decisions to cancel school are never made lightly,” the announcement reads. “The early morning call for a cancellation of school was made after consultation between District Administration, Transportation Department personnel, Maintenance Department personnel, Provo City personnel and neighboring school districts.”
The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City issued a hazardous weather outlook for the western two-thirds of the state the day of the snow day.
District personnel drove Provo’s streets at 3 a.m. and reported icy roads and considered an upcoming forecast for heavy snow, according to the announcement. While not much snow ended up accumulating in some areas of the school district, with students that live up in the mountain benches and employees who live across the county, the district issued a closure, citing safety.
The decision to have Feb. 18, a Tuesday, as the make-up day was issued after the district spoke to the Provo Education Association, district administration, employees and parents, and looked at comments on social media.
The district will accept excused absences for any students whose families had already planned to be away that day, according to the announcement.
Public schools must have at least 990 instructional hours over at least 180 days each academic year and make up days that are missed due to lost weather. The Provo City School District petitioned the Utah State Board of Education for a waiver to not have to make up that day, the announcement reads, but the request was denied.
After years of work, the time has finally come to wrap up the 2020 recruiting class for the BYU football team.
The Cougars officially signed 13 athletes in December, so it’s unlikely there will be a huge number of signees on Wednesday’s National Letter of Intent Day but BYU added a few more players to the mix.
The first signee was defensive back Petey Tuipulotu, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound athlete from Fort Mills, South Carolina and the younger brother of BYU tight end Hank Tuipulotu and athlete Ben Tuipulotu.
The Cougars added to their secondary again with Ty Burke, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound defensive back from Syracuse, Utah, being the next to sign.
The third defensive back to sign was another BYU legacy athlete as Preston Rex, a 6-foot, 187-pound athlete from San Clemente, California, and the younger brother of Isaac Rex, joined the team.
The secondary parade continued as Dean Jones, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound defensive back from Phoenix, Arizona, was the next signee to be announced.
The first non-defensive back to sign was American Fork star linebacker Bodie Schoonover, a 6-foot-4, 214-pound athlete who was deciding between BYU and UCLA but ultimately chose to come to Provo.
The Cougars added a second local linebacker when Timpview’s Logan Pili, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound athlete, also signed his Letter of Intent. Both Pili and Schoonover were runners-up in their respective state tournaments this year.
The defensive focus continued with the signing of Salem Hills star John Nelson, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive lineman. He is the cousin of former USC star Porter Gustin.
The Cougars added another lineman but this one was on the offensive side of the ball as Jake Griffin, a 6-foot-6, 265-pound athlete from Mesa, Arizona, added his name to the list.
The second American Fork Caveman made it official as Devin Downing, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound wide receiver, signed his letter of intent. He tweeted in December that he was signing early, so this might have been more about timing of the announcement.
The next addition was another linebacker and another family guy as Tate Romney, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound athlete from Chandler, Arizona, joined his brothers Baylor and Gunner Romney as a Cougar.
Check back for complete details on all of the 2020 signees as they are announced on Wednesday as well as for reaction from the BYU coaching staff.