Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thought for Christmas Day

I said: “Let me walk in the fields.”
He said: “No, walk in the town.”
I said: “There are no flowers there.”
He said: “No flowers, but a crown.”

I said: “But the skies are black;
There is nothing but noise and din.”
And He wept as He sent me back –
“There is more,” He said; “there is sin.”

I said: “But the air is thick,
And fogs are veiling the sun.”
He answered: “Yet souls are sick,
And souls in the dark undone!”

I said: “I shall miss the light,
And friends will miss me, they say.”
He answered: “Choose tonight
If I am to miss you or they.”

I pleaded for time to be given.
He said: “Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem so hard in heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide.”

I cast one look at the fields,
Then set my face to the town;
He said, “My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?”

Then into His hand went mine;

And into my heart came He;
And I walk in a light divine,
The path I had feared to see.

George MacDonald

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Did You Know?

Today's post appears courtesy of City Planner Rod Despain and is taken from the December edition of the American Fork City employee newsletter.


The City frequently receives requests for the current population of American Fork. At present, the City's population is about 28,000 persons. Since the last census count in 2000, American Fork has grown by about 6,000 persons, an annual increase of about 900 new residents and 190 new dwellings each year. With each new dwelling:

1. The City's population is increased by an average of 3.7 persons.

2. Approximately 24,000 square feet of land is converted from agriculture to urban use.

3. Twelve additional vehicle trips per day are added to the City's street system.

4. The water system must be able to deliver an additional 325,000 gallons of water per year, have a well pumping capacity of an additional 1.5 gallons per minute, and a water tank storage capacity of about 800 additional gallons.

5. The sewage collection and treatment facilities must be able to accommodate about 400 more gallons per day.

6. An additional 1000 square feet of public park land is needed to maintain the current level of service.
With each new building permit that is issued, the City takes on additional responsibility for providing many of the services and facilities that are required to maintain a quality of life. While the impact from a single dwelling is not great, when combined with the approximately 190 other new residentces constructed during the year -- and the same number during preceding years -- the impacts become significant and require a good deal of advance planning and construction in anticipation of actual need.

To assist in meeting the future needs, the City has prepared the American Fork General Plan which provides recommendations for meeting the future needs. The current plan contains the following six primary elements, each addressing a separate area of responsibility.

1. The Land Use Element

2. The Major Street and Transportation Element

3. The Public Facilities Element (culinary water, secondary water and sewage collection system

4. An Affordable Housing Element

5. Parks and Open Space Element

6. A Storm Water Drainage Element.
These plans collectively provide the basis for the various development policies and regulations enforced by the City (zoning, subdivision, utility extension policies, etc.), for the assessment of impact fees upon new development, and for most of the capital facilities expenditures made by the City.


Note: The General Plan is posted online under the Planning Department at. You can also access it by clicking here.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Putting American Fork on the Map

The jacket to the Crescent Super Band's CD, East Coast Envy, describes American Fork as "the last place on earth one would expect to find good jazz."

Not for long, my friends.

If you enjoyed watching the American Fork Marching Band in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, then you'll be interested to learn about the stir another American Fork high school group has made in Manhattan. Recently named by Down Beat Magazine as the best high school jazz band in the world, the Crescent Super Band has brought national and international recognition to American Fork's Music School.

And you thought The Music School was just a place to get a free guitar with music lessons.

I'm excerpting below John Clayton's write-up at the New Hampshire-based Follow the link at the bottom to read the rest of the article.

Thanks to the unflagging leadership of Super Band director Caleb Chapman and AF Marching Band director John Miller, American Fork is taking its place on the musical map.


YOU CAN ARGUE with me if you wish, but I will state without equivocation that, throughout history, the most oxymoronic nickname in professional sports has been that of the Utah Jazz.

Until now, that is.

All of a sudden, the notion of linking improvisational, polyrhythmic, free-flowing jazz with a buttoned-down, tragically un-hip state like Utah -- I am not making this up; the official state snack food is Jell-O -- is not as incongruous as it used to be.

For that, we can thank Caleb Chapman.

Caleb is a 34-year-old Pinkerton Academy alumnus. Eight years ago -- even as he was completing his undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University -- he took out a loan for $6,000 and set about pursuing his dream.

That dream is called "The Music School."

Since it opened its doors in 1999, enrollment at The Music School (located in American Fork, Utah) has grown to more than 1,200 students, but 21 students in particular caught my ear.

Those 21 students comprise the musical troupe known as the Crescent Super Band, which was just named the best high school-aged jazz band in the world. That honor came from no less an authority than "Down Beat" magazine, which modestly bills itself as "the monthly 'bible' of jazz, blues, and roots music."

Utah Jazz, indeed.

. . .

The Music School encompasses every aspect of the art form. In addition to offering instruction on virtually every instrument -- including guitar, strings, woodwinds, brass, drums, percussion and voice -- there is a division devoted to classical ensembles, there is the Crescent Jazz Institute (that spawned the aforementioned Crescent Super Band) and then there is the Rock Academy.

"We probably have 20 different rock bands operating out of the school," Caleb explained, "everything from bluegrass, speed metal and Caribbean steel drums, from funk to reggae to punk. We have a recording studio and a performance venue and there are jam sessions every week, and what the kids get a kick out of is who they get to jam with."

Guest instructors are a vital part of life at The Music School.

"We have 70 faculty members of our own," he said, "but this year, we'll have more than 70 visiting artists -- Grammy winners from just about every style -- and they don't just lecture. The kids get to perform and record with them.

. . .

In two years, they maxed out the building with 400 students, so Caleb secured $3 million in venture capital and two years ago, The Music School had a brand new home and 1,200 kids.

And, as with the Crescent Super Band, they're kids of the highest caliber.

"All of these kids are being heavily recruited by the top music schools in the country -- in fact, we're the only community music school that's an affiliate of the Juilliard -- but when you ask how many are planning to major in music, it's only about half of them.

"Almost all of them have 4.0 grade averages. They range from the captain of the football team to student body president -- well-rounded kids -- and while they may not look at music as a viable career, they see it as a vital part of their lives, and will for the rest of their lives.

Follow this link to read the article in its entirety.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Thought for the Day

"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

November 2007

November was a banner month for me, if not for my blog.

Here are November's accomplishments:

>>The City Council, responding to a strong recommendation from the Beautification and Shade Tree committee, passed a tree ordinance.

>>Tree ordinance in hand, I submitted AF's application to become a Tree City USA. Since we have met all the requirements, I have every reason to hope that the application will be accepted.

>>The City broke ground on pressurized irrigation and hosted the first open house for the project. Said open house was a well planned event whose many attendees were richly rewarded with useful information.

>>Working closely with Mayor Thompson and Council Member Dale Gunther, I succeeded in recruiting an A-Plus All-Star line-up to serve as the first ever American Fork Arts Council Governing Board. I will not reveal names at this time; curious art lovers may attend the December 11 City Council meeting to witness the appointments.

>>The City Council approved the concept plan for the new lifestyle center to be called the Village at the Meadows.

Now, how to top this in December?