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UDOT rejects Shared Solution alternative for West Davis Corridor
May 31, 2016 | 87 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Neighbors protest the proposal to put the corridor through Farmington.
Neighbors protest the proposal to put the corridor through Farmington.
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SALT LAKE CITY—Officials for the Utah Department of Transportation’s West Davis Corridor (WDC) study team announced last week that the Shared Solution alternative has been eliminated from consideration because it will not meet the transportation needs in the study area.

The Shared Solution alternative was suggested by a coalition of non-government organizations and citizen groups, according to a UDOT statement. Coalition members and UDOT have met some 50 times, including technical coordination meetings, workshops and city land use meetings in order to work together to develop, evaluate and refine the Shared Solution alternative.

“By working with the Shared Solution coalition, we’ve identified some key elements that will make the alternatives that much better,” said WDC Project Manager Randy Jefferies in the release. “This collaborative effort will result in a more effective transportation solution for Davis and Weber counties.” 

Jefferies said “several significant components” of the Shared Solution alternative will still be incorporated into whichever alternative is selected in the future.

Recommendations from the Shared Solution coalition that WDC plans to implement include:

• New trails

• Noise-reducing pavement

• Dark-sky lighting

• Lower elevations in certain locations

• Landscaping, berms and other aesthetic enhancements

According to Jefferies, UDOT already has plans to use the following ideas from the coalition in other projects within the WDC study area:

• A new local road crossing over I-15

• Trail connections to a Frontrunner station

• Managed motorways (a more efficient way of managing the flow of traffic onto the freeway)

“These are all excellent suggestions that will greatly enhance transportation plans in the future,” Jefferies continued in the statement. “Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians will have a better experience on the West Davis Corridor because of the work and ideas of the Shared Solution Coalition.”

UDOT has been using the same criteria to evaluate the Shared Solution as all 51 alternatives that have been considered during the WDC EIS process. 

“The initial screening of alternatives, or Level 1 screening, evaluated how well each alternative would reduce delay and congestion in the study area,” the statement reads. “Because the Shared Solution would not substantially reduce delay and congestion in the study area, the alternative would not meet the transportation need and so will not be carried forward in the EIS process.”

Jefferies said that doesn’t mean they can’t still use some of the good ideas from the Shared Solution to make future projects better.

Several groups and residents have been opposed to the Legacy Parkway extension suggesting it would cause damage to wetlands, birds and require homes in its path to be demolished. The Shared Solution coalition wanted to improve existing roads and make better use of mass transit as an alternative to extending the West Davis Corridor.

The WDC study is looking at a potential transportation corridor through western Davis and Weber counties, while considering transportation needs through 2040, according to the release. They are also taking into consideration environmental and community concerns to find a solution to benefit the area.

Although no final decision has been made on the construction or location of the WDC, analysis of alternatives is continuing. A Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration is expected later in 2017 and the final EIS is expected to be released in spring of that same year, according to the statement.

bginos@davisclipper.com 

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The great road trip returns this summer thanks to cheap gas
by SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
May 30, 2016 | 245 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print

NEW YORK (AP)—Grab your sunglasses, a giant cup of coffee and prepare to hit the highway: 2016 is shaping up to be the summer of the road trip.

Cheap fuel prices have left many American families flush with spare cash, which they now plan to spend on vacations. And with summertime gas prices predicted to be the lowest in 13 years, the travel industry is outright giddy over its chances for a blockbuster July and August.

“We’re pretty excited,” says Steve Joyce, CEO of Choice Hotels, which includes Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge. “Last year was a record summer for us. We’re going to be a lot stronger this year.”

The hotel chain is seeing an increase in bookings. And low gas prices throughout the winter means that Americans had cheaper commutes and more disposable income.

“That’s a raise in our guys’ pockets which means they are going to take another trip,” Joyce says.

The job market is also giving Americans a reason to take a vacation: The economy created about 2.4 million jobs between last Memorial Day and the end of April.

Initial data for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the start of the travel season, is already signaling a strong summer for the tourism industry.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is seeing a 44 percent spike in reservations for the holiday weekend compared to last year.

And, AAA, one of the nation’s largest travel agencies and a car lobbying group, is predicting 38 million people will travel for the holiday, the most since 2005. That’s 700,000 or 1.9 percent more travelers than last year.

The overwhelming majority of Memorial Day travelers—89 percent— plan to go by car. That’s the highest percent of drivers since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.

“The great American road trip is officially back thanks to low gas prices,” says Marshall Doney, CEO of AAA.

The average price for a gallon of gas is expected to be $2.24 by July and $2.20 in August, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Adjusted for inflation, that would be the lowest summer prices since 2003.

Those who choose to fly this summer should have plenty of company, too. The lobbying group for most U.S. carriers, Airlines for America, is predicting that 231.1 million passengers will fly in June, July and August. That's a 3.8-percent increase over last summer's record numbers.

Airlines have added more flights and are using larger planes, leading to the most number of seats in the sky since 2008. That, along with low fuel prices, has led to a 4-percent drop in domestic airfares so far this year, according to the airline lobbying group.

The airlines have a message for fliers: Get to the airport early. Long lines at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints have plagued thousands of travelers this spring, causing many of them to miss flights. The situation is expected to get worse in the summer with an average of 2.5 million passengers a day flying.

Last year, 19 of the 25 busiest days for the TSA occurred during the summer. The top five busiest were: Friday July 31, Thursday July 2, Friday June 26, Friday May 22 (right before Memorial Day) and Friday July 24.

San Francisco International Airport is already advising fliers that all parking lots are expected to be at or near capacity during peak summer days.

U.S. theme parks are predicting 376 million visitors this year, up 3 percent from last year. The National Park Service saw a record 307 million visitors last year and expects to match that high level of attendance this year. The bulk of visitors at the 411 parks, recreation areas and national memorials come during the summer months.

That's great news for Geoff Ballotti, CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group. Half of his company's Travelodge properties are within 25 miles of a national park.

"We believe it's going to be a hot summer for us,'' Ballotti says.

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Telethon donations aid children, their families
by LOUISE R. SHAW
May 30, 2016 | 251 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print

SALT LAKE CITY—When parents learn their child has a serious medical condition, the last thing they should have to worry about is the cost to treat it.

At Primary Children’s Hospital, “they don’t ask for your insurance card when you walk in,” said Linda Davies, public relations chair for the Intermountain Foundation for Primary Children’s. The discussion about how to handle payment comes later, after the child is stabilized, she said.

That is, in part, thanks to donors who participate in the annual telethon, which will take place this year on Friday, June 3.

Last year’s telethon brought in $4 million in donations, and “this year we hope to do more,” said Davies.

The hospital expended more than $11.6 million in 2015 to cover 13,520 hospital visits by children in need, according to information from the hospital.

“Every penny donated in the telethon goes to the child’s care,” said Davies, “not buildings and bricks, but to things that benefit the children like music therapy, pet therapy, and everything needed to make their stay there a positive experience.”

Primary’s is one of the top 15 hospitals in the United States that treat children, she said.

“It’s a remarkable facility to have in the state of Utah,” she said. “It’s one of the best hospitals in the U.S. for treating children.”

Doctors and nurses don’t know whether or not a child is receiving charity care, she said, and are “giving their very best” to every child.

The hospital staff works to ensure the whole family is taken care of as well, including siblings of the sick child, who also need support and understanding.

Primary Children’s is the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center serving children with acute and chronic medical needs in the Intermountain West, according to material provided. It specializes in cardiac care, pediatric cancer care, orthopedics and neurology care for children from birth to age 21. 

With the theme of “The Child First and Always,” hospital staff work to provide age-appropriate explanations of medical procedures and entertaining distractions from painful procedures for children.

Approximately 60 children are treated for cancer each day at Primary’s. The survival rate for cancers is 85 percent, with some types of cancers at 100 percent, according to a statement.

The KSL TV 5 telethon will run from 6 to 9 p.m. on June 3, and donations will be accepted throughout the day. Viewers can call in their support or make donations online at primarychildrens.org/donate.

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SAGE testing gets a closer look
by LOUISE R. SHAW
May 30, 2016 | 515 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The marquee outside Foxboro Elementary encourages students during the week of testing.
The marquee outside Foxboro Elementary encourages students during the week of testing.
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FARMINGTON—Student testing is necessary to measure understanding and effectiveness, but the current system might need some tweaking to be most effective.

That according to Logan Toone, director of assessment for Davis School District, who spoke with the Clipper about the SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) tests currently used by the state to measure student knowledge in areas of the state core standards.

Problem number one is class time taken up by the tests, he said.

The SAGE test is not a timed test and students can take as long as they need to answer the questions.

It might take 60 minutes or it might take more for the writing portion of the test, but add to that the language arts and the math portions if you’re in third grade. Each one takes another 60 to 90 minutes.

For fourth through 11th grades, a science test is also required – also 60 to 90 minutes – leaving it pretty clear why students are stressed. And teachers too.

“Any test is stressful for kids,” said Toone, “you can’t deny that. And they are stressful for teachers too, an interruption to their day. They want kids to be comfortable and happy and do well.”

SAGE tests usually take four or five hours for grades four to 11, and three to four hours for third graders.

“It’s an important test and a good test,” he said, “and it is indisputable that it really measures well academic outcomes. But it would be good if it was not quite so long.”

Students in kindergarten through third grade take a three-minute DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills). The district also administers a CRT (Criterion-Referenced Test) that takes one to two hours for first and second graders.

The information is critical, said Toone, to find out what kids know and what they don’t know. 

But that’s where the second problem related to SAGE comes in.

It is illegal to use the SAGE test for grades so in some cases, students lack motivation to do their best.

“We need to give kids a reason to care about the results,” said Toone. While most students “give it their best shot,” he said, when the test doesn’t impact their grades, some will decide it doesn’t matter and not try. 

Parents also have the option to opt their children out of the tests, and about 5 percent did last year, he said.

SAGE results cannot be used for teacher evaluations either. They are only used to measure the success of each individual school overall and if the scores do not show enough improvement, the state has a prescribed model for training and outside support to help the school improve.

Just one school in Davis School District qualified for that intervention this year.

Finally, Toone said the state needs to be careful about how it uses the data, to make sure it’s meaningful enough that it’s worth the effort in testing.

Toone doesn’t want the pendulum to swing too far as a result of the current controversy over SAGE testing. 

“We don’t want to eliminate testing – that would be too reactionary,” he said. “We still want to measure our outcomes, we still want to be able to report to the community that our kids can do math and language arts. We just need to fine tune it, to make a few adjustments.”

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Three teams play in state tourneys
by TOM HARALDSEN
May 29, 2016 | 260 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print

TAYLORSVILLE—As of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the Bountiful Braves remained the only local team still alive in the girls state softball tournaments, being played at the Valley Complex in Taylorsville.

Both Davis and Woods Cross lost on Tuesday, while Bountiful stayed alive and faced East in a late game after our press deadline. Tuesday’s opening games looked like this:

BOUNTIFUL 4 CYPRUS 1

McHayley Stone threw a masterful game against the Pirates, and the Braves salted this one away when Landi Hawker had a huge two-run double in the last of the sixth.Bountiful scored single runs in the first and fifth. Cyprus threatened in the sixth, but left a runner on third when Stone recorded the third out with a strike out. Hawker’s heroics came after McKenna Alley led off the sixth with a single and Maddie Nelson drew a walk. Stone then shut down Cyprus in the seventh for the win.

Weather permitting, the Braves were to face East later Tuesday afternoon.

EAST 4 WOODS CROSS 2

The Leopards stayed alive and ended the Wildcats’ season with a win, but it wasn’t decided until literally the final pitch. East’s Cheyenne “Bubble Gum” Sue Sue drilled a three-run homer in the first, which pushed the Leopards to a 4-1 lead. Woods Cross had scored first when Brooke Brown doubled and scored on a single by Haydn Flygare. Brown scored again in the third. She singled, and Noel Rogers knocked her in with a single to cut the lead to 4-2.

In the top of the seventh, Flygare came up with two outs and runners at the corner. She just missed a home run when she hit a long fly to the fence in right center, which East’s right fielder caught to end the game. 

T-VILLE 15 DAVIS 0 (4)

The Warriors scored early and often to end Davis’ season in a game called in the fourth due to the mercy rule. Taylorsville pitcher Asenaca Lesuma allowed just one hit. Jazywn Rollen hit a walk-off two-run homer in the fourth.

Recapping earlier tournament play:

BOUNTIFUL 9 C. CANYON 1

At Bountiful, the Braves used a seven-run second inning to pull away with the first-round victory. Brook Dickerson had two doubles in the win and McKenna Alley did the rest on the mound.

SP. FORK 11 BOUNTIFUL 1

In second round action, the Dons scored six times in the first inning and went on to run-rule the Braves in five innings. 

ALTA 12 WX11 (9)

In a wild matchup at Alta, the Hawks rallied three times to finally win as first-round game with two runs in the last of the 9th.The Wildcats took an 11-10 lead in the 9th, but Alta scored the winning run with two outs to advance in winners. Lindsi Quinton and Brooke Brown both had a home run and four RBIs each for the Wildcats.

WX 7 KEARNS 6

At Kearns, the Wildcats stayed alive by scoring twice in the fifth and four times in the sixth, then held off Kearns for the victory. The Cougars scored three times in the bottom of the seventh, but fell short of advancing.

RIVERTON 11 DAVIS 1

At Riverton, pitcher Jordan Lockhart allowed only one run over six innings to propel the Silverwolves forward. Riverton (18-2) was the Region 4 champion.  

DAVIS 8 COTTONWOOD 7

At Davis, the Darts trailed the Colts 7-4 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, but won in a walk off to move forward in the one-loss bracket. Abbie O’Brien, Mycol Burch and Mia Cullimore all homered for the Darts.

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