Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Steel Days Parade


10. Step on the gas! This is a national emergency!
9. 40 people waving at me and I can't remember their names.
8. It's the Millers! Throw more candy!
7. American Fork's greatest strength lies in its people . . .
6. Go, AF Marching Band!
5. WHAT did I just promise that person?
4. I have a dream . . .
3. Put the camera away and nobody gets hurt.
2. Is that an SOB on Main Street?

1. What, me worry?

Picture courtesy Bret Dalton

Thought for the Day

"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."

Albus Dumbledore

Friday, July 13, 2007

Herald Stimulates Heart Rate

Two articles in the Daily Herald last week got my ticker going -- one for the better, one for the worse.

The first featured American Fork super-resident Lynnel Rhodes, winner of IHC's Heart Health Challenge. I knew Lynnel when she was a dedicated member of the Greenwood Neighbors Initiative, back when. Now she is setting us all an example of good heart health. (Full story here.)

In today's age of car-oriented community design, public health challenges such as this one become all the more important in teaching folks to look out for their health. Just try and walk to work, or to the corner store for a gallon of milk (What corner store, you ask?), or try and send your kids to play ball without getting in the car to drive them somewhere. You can't do it. It's getting harder and harder to exercise without trotting out the car and paying money to somebody.

This is exactly what I said in the June 21 work session when I talked about prioritizing funding for parks and recreation. Which is why my heart REALLY started pumping when I read this headline in Monday's Herald:

A.F. Council Rejects Rec Plan

Pardon me, but -- due process says that a City Council cannot reject without a vote, and there is no vote in a work session. Point one: The City Council DID NOT reject anything.

Then I read this:

"American Fork is scaling down its vision for the future of recreation."

By this time, I'm wondering whether I was even in the same meeting.

What happened in the meeting I went to is that Recreation Director Derric Reikert presented a study of the comprehensive long-term recreational needs of the City -- a study which included finishing our parks, adding more ballfields and swim lanes, and eventually adding a skating rink.

The Council's response was to caution him about the expenses involved. For my part, I told Mr. Reikert it was a ten- to twenty-year plan, rather than a five- to ten-year plan. I also made an impassioned speech -- much like the one you read above -- about how my kids can't go anywhere to play in this town unless I drive them there. There was a great moment when Councilmember Gunther threw up his hands and said, "I won't argue with a mother."

It's beyond me how the Herald could reduce that debate to this sentence:

"Councilwoman Heidi Rodeback said the plan was simply too expensive."

I'm blaming the Herald for this one, because the article as Barbara Christiansen originally wrote it for the Citizen was much more accurate.

Finding funding is difficult, and always will be. I know this from painful experience. Costs to upgrade our City parks were estimated and bonded for at $3.2 million, but by the time inflation took its toll, actual costs came in at $7.7 million. This left us $4.5 million short of finishing -- but this doesn't mean we're giving up. Finding a way to finish the parks is a top priority for my term -- even if it will take longer than my four years to do so. This is one of the major reasons I chose to run for office.

Lessons learned this week are simple.

If we want to improve public heart health, then healthy community design initiatives -- initatives such as walkable communities and public parks and recreation -- are key.

And if I am to keep my own heart beating, then I've either got to start exercising -- or keep reading the Herald.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Lessons Learned

Comparative Study of Hot Air Popcorn Popper and Hair Dryer

-- The hair dryer has the longer, more flexible cord.

-- The hot air popper has the higher temperature, but this is offset by its lighter air flow.

-- Positioned strategically on a kitchen stool, the hot air popper can dry hair while leaving hands free for brushing and styling.

-- A wall mount is a possible improvement worthy of further study.

These are among the lessons learned when one's hair dryer gives out at 9:37 a.m., immediately prior to one's 10:00 a.m. meeting.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Thought for the Day

"As a supporter of the arts, I recognize the cultural and economic value of arts and humanities programs in our community. Each year, the arts industry generates $134 billion in economic activity, and provides nearly 5 million full-time jobs. At the same time, it returns $10.5 billion to the federal government in income taxes and attracts new tourism dollars. Just as importantly, the NEA and NEH support life-long learning in the arts and humanities which is critical to the development of our children and to the cultural health of our society while art education has been shown to help close the education achievement gap, and benefit both children and adults. Studies have shown that kids have greater self-confidence, earn better grades, do better on exams, perform more community service, and watch fewer hours of television when they have arts education."

Congressman Jim Matheson
2nd District, Utah
in a June 15, 2007 letter to
Lori England
American Fork Arts Council Director

American Fork

Modern Development, Small-Town Charm

The image you see -- click image to enlarge -- is an information piece I produced for Economic Development director Debby Lauret to take with her to the International Council of Shopping Centers' annual convention in Las Vegas. We hope it has given many a retailer an honest and appealing look at American Fork.

Debby tells me she spent quite some time in Las Vegas with Woodbury Development and Westfield Real Estate -- the power team behind the Meadows. Now they are working on The Village at the Meadows -- a lifestyle center, which is the newest concept in upscale shopping.

Situated as we are at the conflagration of two I-15 interchanges at a good midpoint between Salt Lake and Provo -- and with the north Utah County area exploding in population -- American Fork has become the new hot spot for commercial growth.

But you didn't need me to tell you that. What you want me to tell you is, will there be a steak house at the Village?

I can't answer that, because no deals -- other than JC Penneys -- have inked yet. But Woodbury assures us they are actively seeking a steak house.

And I couldn't care less. I can get a steak at Albertsons any time I want. What I can't get is a book, if our library doesn't carry it.

Fortunately, Woodbury is also working on some of the major book retailers. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed. As is Woodbury. They do not want to face me again, if they haven't got us a book store.

American Fork.
Modern Development, Small-Town Charm.

Great Place to Find a Good Book.

That's the American Fork I want us to be.