Can you hear the ring of the bell? Do you believe?

St. George City is bringing to life the Polar Express once again.

"Ho Ho Ho! Santa is coming to the Thunder Junction All Abilities Park! Tickets for our annual North Pole Express event will launch on Nov. 20 at 9 a.m.! Pricing, Dates, Times, Restrictions, Requirements ... all the information for this event is posted on the Thunder Junction webpage!

More information about the event:

  • Celebrate the holidays at Thunder Junction this December! The Park will be filled with amazing lights and the spirit of the holiday. This year special guests will have multiple evenings to pick from to enjoy this wonderful event.
  • Each ticket includes access to the park, a visit with Santa, cookie decorating, hot cocoa, a holiday craft, and a ride on the North Pole Express.
  • The park will be closed to the general public during the special event. All guests must present a North Pole Express ticket in order to be allowed into the Thunder Junction Park area.
  • The event will be hosted from 6-8 p.m. on each of the nine evenings in December.
  • The nights that the North Pole Express will be held in December are on the 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 11, 15, 16, and 18.
  • North Pole Express tickets will go on sale November 20th at 9 am. In order to make things more convenient for you, tickets can only be purchased online this year. A link to purchase tickets will become available the morning of Nov. 20. Please do not come to the City Commons building expecting to purchase a ticket, you will be directed to purchase them online.
  • There will be a 15 ticket limit this year. Do not plan on purchasing more than 15 tickets per account.
  • In order to be admitted into the park the day of your purchased ticket, you will need to print off your ticket, or have your phone out, ready to be scanned at the front gate. You will receive your physical "golden ticket" once the QR code either on your device or printed is scanned.
  • $10 per ticket (1 ticket per person)
  • Everyone 12 months and older must have a ticket to attend.
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Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures: The 'Nepo-homebuyer'

Coin money and house model on wooden background , Finance and banking concept.

Have you heard of the term "nepo-homebuyer"?

It's quickly becoming a thing in our modern world.

See, the issue many young people are running into is the fact that getting into a $380,000 starter home at eight percent interest has become pretty much impossible for someone making 15-20 bucks an hour

Even if that young couple has both partners working and they both make $20 an hour, the monthly household income is less than $7,000 a month. With no money down that means a starter home (maybe a manufactured home or a condo for that price) would have a payment of $3,000 a month.


That's where a "nepo-homebuyer" becomes necessary.

A 'Nepo-homebuyer' is someone who uses a significant loan or gift from family members (usually parents) to make a large down payment, thus making the house payment affordable.

According to, "An eye-popping 38% of recent homebuyers under age 30 used either a cash gift from a family member or an inheritance in order to afford their down payment.

"First-time homeownership has become increasingly expensive, which has shut the door to homeownership for young people without family money. As a result, a large share of young homeowners can be labeled “nepo-homebuyers,” meaning they received family money to purchase a home."

For instance, taking that same $380,000 home, but applying a $100,000 down payment would bring the house payment down from $3,000 a month to $2,164 a month for a 30 year fixed mortgage at the current 8.55 percent.

While that doesn't make the payment cheap, it often makes the difference between being able to get a home or having to stay in an overpriced rental.

If the couple makes $6,800 a month, the net difference between the two payments is monstrous -- $836 to buy diapers, groceries, clothes or other necessities.

There are a couple of issues with the "nepo-homebuyer" model.

First, the family member or parent has to have a lot of excess money -- and usually kids have no idea how much money their parents have.

Second, there are a bunch of complicated feelings that come with this kind of relationship. Was the money a gift? Do I have to repay it? Do the parents then have a say as to how I raise my kids? Do I have to give them a cut if I sell my house? Can they really afford it? ... and the list goes on.

But even with these potential issues, we've gotten to the point that the only way many young families will ever get a home of their own is with a little bit of help, a little bit of "nepo-homebuyer" help.

man hand giving 100 dollar bills isolated on white background
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Is Daylight Savings Time About To Get Canceled In Utah?

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When we fall back next month, will it be the final time New Yorkers have to change their clocks?

Daylight Saving Time ends on November 5 this year, with the majority of the United States moving their clocks back an hour.

But this may be one of the final times we have to do that thanks to rare bipartisan support to end the practice once and for all.

Last year, the Senate voted unanimously to end the bi-annual practice of changing the clocks. The legislation, called the Sunshine Protection Act, would have locked the clocks at daylight saving, which would mean brighter afternoons for all.

The bill failed in the House of Representatives.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Now the legislation is back - and is back in limbo.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio re-introduced a permanent daylight saving time bill, which was sponsored by a bipartisan group of 12 senators.

Of course, this is creating confusion for the average American. All we want to know if we have to keep changing our clocks.

Which begs the question: When will our lawmakers get their act together?


Well, it's a little bit complicated. Signed into law in 2020, Utah's move to permanent daylight saving time is contingent on two things:

  1. Congressional approval.
  2. At least four other western states must make the move -- meaning Utah doesn't want to go it alone. The good news is Arizona has already decided to ban the clock-changing, but right now stays on Mountain Standard Time. Three other states would also have to make the move out of these nine: California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington or Wyoming.

According to the website

At least 45 states have considered or passed legislation to shift to permanent daylight saving time or permanent standard time. In 2022, the Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which would move the US to permanent daylight saving time. But the bill has not received a vote in the House of Representatives.

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So Thirsty ... Will Southern Utah Have Enough Water To Survive?


Zach Renstrom does a lot of worrying --- so we don't have to.

Renstrom, the general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District, knows his job is perhaps the most critical job in this desert county and he and his staff have put together a plan so that Southern Utah will have water 20 years from now and beyond.

"I think about it constantly," said Renstrom on his monthly visit to the Andy Griffin Show. "I think about it when I'm out running, up on the trails. It's something I'm never not thinking about."

The "It" he thinks about is the unquenchable thirst Washington County has for water. The high desert has blossomed with trees, grass and humans, and the need for water is relentless.

So Renstrom and his staff recently presented a 20-year plan to officials of the county and local cities, including local mayors, county commissioners and city councils.

In the plan, Renstrom, lays out for the local leaders how Washington County can continue to be sated in this time of tremendous growth. He listed several key areas:

  1. Water conservation -- Amazingly, even with the extreme growth in recent times, conservation has made up for the new population so the net water usage has not gone up. In addition, the county is offering cash rebates for homeowners who swap out grass for more desert friendly landscaping, and new houses have strict grass requirements.
  2. Regional reuse system --  Through the construction of new treatment facilities, pipelines, and storage reservoirs (like the potential Warner valley Reservoir) to capture reuse water and put it to use for agricultural and irrigation purposes, freeing up water for drinking. Renstrom says the reuse systems will provide extremely clean water.
  3. Potable water development projects -- These projects include the new Toquer Reservoir, expansion of the Sullivan/Cottom Wells, Cove Reservoir in Kane County, redevelopment of the Ence Wells, and a well in Diamond Valley.
  4. Municipal groundwater optimization -- Renstrom said many cities aren't using all their water rights -- potential wells and aquifers that could lead to a bounty of new water.
  5. Agricultural conversion -- As farmers decide to sell their land for development, Renstrom said the County could buy the water rights from these farmers and ranchers.

Most of us don't spend much time thinking about water and where it comes from, but Renstrom knows that water is the lifeblood that keeps Dixie pumping.

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St. George City Council Candidates To Debate Nov. 1 At Utah Tech

Debate concept
Brad Calkins

In collaboration with community partners, Utah Tech University’s Institute of Politics is set to host a St. George City Council debate as well as a forum featuring the two major party candidates for the open seat in U.S. Congress in Utah's Second District.

Sponsored by the Washington County Debate Coalition, the St. George City Council debate will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 in the Mainstage Theatre of Eccles Fine Arts Center on the Utah Tech campus. A candidate meet and greet will precede the debate at 6 p.m.

The following week, the Institute of Politics will partner with the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce to host the congressional forum at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 in the M.K. Cox Performing Arts Center, also on the Utah Tech campus.

Both events, which are being held ahead of Washington County’s Nov. 21 Special and Municipal General Election, are open to the community and free to attend.

Three seats are open for the St. George City Council, and candidates for the positions include Brad Bennett, Jimmie B. Hughes, Steve Kemp, Dannielle Larkin and Paula Smith. The Washington County Debate Coalition, which is comprised of Utah Tech’s Institute of Politics, local media companies, the major political parties, interest groups and local academics, is sponsoring the debate to help inform local voters.

“When we first started the coalition, with help from all of our members, my desire was to bring spirited debate to Washington County,” said Vince Brown, chair of the Washington County Debate Coalition. “We want our voters to be as informed as possible when making their voting decisions. Several years later, it thrills me to see these debates as a staple of political life in Washington County.”

Across campus the following week, Celeste Maloy (R) and Kathleen Riebe (D), who are running for Utah's Second District congressional seat vacated by Congressman Chris Stewart, will participate in a forum.

“We are excited for a forum to be held in Southern Utah,” said Lesa Sandberg, Washington County Republican Party chairperson. “In Congressional District 2, Washington County represents nearly one-third of the voters eligible to vote in this special election. It is highly likely that we will be the deciding factor in the race. We are glad that the candidates recognize the importance of education and campaigning to voters in our area. We are pleased to welcome Republican Candidate Celeste Maloy back to St. George, where she resided prior to serving with Congressman Chris Stewart the last four years. Celeste has the experience, knowledge and service record to represent Southern Utah and CD2!”

Held in a discussion format, the forum will be moderated by Brown, who will have one-on-one conversations with each candidate about the issues that matter to the residents of Southern Utah. He also will solicit questions from the public.

“Get ready, Utah! We are extremely excited to attend an upcoming forum featuring Kathleen Riebe, candidate for Congressional District 2,” Chuck Goode, Washington County Democratic Party chairperson, said. “With a proven track record in the Utah State Senate and a relentless dedication to education and community growth, Kathleen Riebe is ready to take her passion and determination to the national stage.”

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Grown-up Trick-or-Treating? Yep, It's A Thing (You Should Try It)

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Every year, Santa Clara's Travis and Sandy put on Monster Mash or Werewolves of London, dress up in full costumes and head out for some grown-up Trick-or-Treating.

Sandy, who grew up in the 1980s, said it is fun, exciting and helps her feel young again. She said she remembers a time when going around the neighborhood was innocent, there were no worries about predators or drugged candy and everyone was happy to enjoy the harmless fun of Halloween.

That's why Sandy and her husband do it today, with a few little wrinkles.

  • Instead of asking for candy, the couple brings treat bags to their neighbors.
  • They're always ready to do a trick -- usually a song or dance or even a silly skit. Their neighbors have come to expect the "trick" and usually ask for it by name. Even with the trick, neighbors still get the treat. It's Trick-and-Treat.
  • Sandy usually wears something cute or funny, but Travis loves to go the scary route. He's dressed as the headless horseman, a zombie and a killer clown. Last year, Travis donned the Freddy Kreuger look.
  • One year, Sandy and Travis's neighborhood agreed to do an ice cream Trick-or-Treat  After the kids were back safe, all the adults walked around the neighborhood with waffle cones and collected scoops from their friends.
  • When it gets later in the evening, the couple changes their modus operandi, turning into Service Demons, opting to clean up people's yards, trim their hedges or sweep their sidewalks. The real thrill, says Sandy, is to not get caught.
  • At the end of the evening, they'll make sure to have as many neighbors as are interested over for chili dogs (homemade chili, of course), cheese plates and fairy cakes (fancy cupcakes).

"Who says you have to stop having fun just because you're all grown up," Sandy said.

Because Sandy is a breast cancer survivor and October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, she said she always gives out plenty of candy and each treat bag contains a pink ribbon.

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Hunters Everywhere? Not Anymore in Utah

Old gone hunting sign.

We're just about to start the deer hunt in the state of Utah, with the general hunt running from Oct. 21 through Oct. 29 (and early-season hunt already underway).

When I first moved to this great state back in 1980 (I know, I know, I'm old), I remember riding on a school bus (I was in the ninth grade), and being from Texas, I figured I knew a little bit about wildlife and hunting.

So I started to opine about hunting facts from Texas and about 20 seconds into the conversation, I realized I was in way over my head.

It seemed that everyone in the immediate area around the seat on my bus (male or female) was a hunter. They regaled me with stories about the deer hunt and spending time in the mountains with their dads and about 6-point, 8-point and even 12-point bucks.

Pretty much every one of these kids had shot a deer, cleaned its carcass and dragged it off of the mountain.

I had done none of these things.

After back-pedaling, I came to the realization that people in Utah were serious about the deer hunt.

Over the next few years, as I progressed through high school, I learned that it was a strong Utah tradition that involved the whole family and "deer camp" up in the mountains for a week or longer.

Heck, Utah even had a "holiday" every year. It wasn't Fall Break or UEA weekend, but rather "Deer Hunt."

But things have changed.

Sure, I still know plenty of hunters and some of my best friends leave for deer hunts every year. But now we have a lottery to even get a tag and the average hunter isn't so average anymore.

Back in the 1980s, nearly 25 percent of Utahns had hunting licenses and tags were handed out (with no lottery) to thousands of men and women statewide.

But according to statewide statistics, Utah has 249,765 active hunting licenses -- just 7.9 percent of the state's population. The state has issued 73,075 tags, and while the number of total tags is up, the percentage is way down from 40 years ago.

Utah, once a hotbed of hunting, is ranked 21st on the nation for number of hunters per capita.

Still, hunting will always be a part of Utah's DNA.

“We’re really fortunate because hunting has a big heritage in Utah,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesman Faith Jolley told

But there's no hiding the fact that with the tremendous growth we've experienced and the aging population of our hunting demographic (60 percent of all hunters are over the age of 45), hunting may eventually be a thing of the past in Utah.

Hunter With Open Shotgun On Shoulder
Hunter at sunset.

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

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