Hopefully we all find a way to help those less fortunate than us this festive time of year.

As for our local police officers, they are embarking ion the "Shop With A Cop" campaign this weekend.

"Shop With A Cop" is a statewide program sponsored by the Utah Police Civilian Association.

Kids are paired with a police officer for breakfast and a morning of shopping for holiday gifts, clothing and other Christmas fare.

Participants are usually disadvantaged or at-risk children and many may have had past negative interactions with law enforcement.

One of the goals of the program is to provide positive interactions with the police and these young people and their families in order to foster better community relations.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department, St. George Police Department, Washington City PD, Hurricane PD and other local law enforcement agencies will participate in the event Saturday morning.

From the SGPD: "Hey St. George! This Saturday, December 9 is the annual Shop with a Cop event. So from Hurricane to St. George you may hear the sirens of Santa’s helpers. Don’t be alarmed! It’s just law enforcement officers spreading some Christmas cheer."

From the Utah Police Civilian Association website: "This program has proven to be positive and is well received in communities throughout the state. Generally, this event is held during the holidays. At this event an officer is paired with a child for breakfast and a morning of shopping for warm clothing and holiday gifts. The children who are chosen to participate are most often at-risk, disadvantaged, or have experienced a negative situation with law enforcement. The officers are able to interact, one on one, with the child and have the opportunity of taking a negative view of law enforcement and turning it into a positive one."

To donate and be a part of this great charity, click here.

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Tripadvisor Says These Are The Top 12 Things To Do In St. George -- Have You Done Them?

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Like most of you, I used to visit St. George every weekend before I went ahead and moved to this beautiful place.

Of course, that was 30 years ago and St. George has changed a lot since my days as just a Dixie tourist. However, being lucky enough to live here, I have tried to enjoy what St. George and Washington County have to offer.

Recently, travel site extraordinaire Tripadvisor.com came out with the definitive list must-do activities in our area. So, as residents, are we partaking of these cool activities? Here's how I did.

  1. Red Hills Garden -- I've been there a few times, and it's beautiful, especially this time of year with the Christmas lights in full holiday mode.
  2. St. George Temple and visitor's center -- Yep, been there. This is a piece of history and a special religious spot for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
  3. Pioneer Park -- Been there. Great park, especially if it's cooler outside. Although it's been years.
  4. Brigham Young Winter Home Historical Site -- Been there. More history. Remember, a lot of theses pioneers lived here before air conditioning was invented.
  5. Thunder Junction All Abilities Park -- Went there recently, a fun place for kids of all ages.
  6. St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm -- Been there a few times. Gotta love the respect for the history of our world.
  7. Jacob Hamlin Home -- One of the first places I ever visited down here. The Hamblin home has been restored and is a realistic glimpse into our ancestors here in the Southern Utah.
  8. Kayenta -- It's a planned community, but also features shops and a surprisingly impressive live theater. Catch a show here, although make sure to check the age recommendations first.
  9. St. George Tabernacle -- Great piece of history and a great place to start your walking tour of St. George.
  10. Red Cliffs National Conservation Area -- Dinosaur prints, Candy Cliffs, soaring views. Definitely worth the effort.
  11. Historic Town Square Park -- Downtown St. George used to be, well, kind of boring, especially for kids. But not anymore with flowing water, plenty of shops and even a carousel.
  12. Coyote Gulch Art Village -- I thought they had with this one, because I wasn't sure I'd been here. But after reading up on it, I believe they're just referring to the shops by Kayenta. Either way, it's fun to see.

So how did you do? Have you been to all 12?

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St. George Business Kicking It Up A Notch

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Farmstead Bakery is wildly popular in St. George, with offerings from traditional bakery fare (think pastries and donuts) to cafe-style sandwiches, hot drinks and even pizza.

And now owner Chris Connors wants people to know how grateful he is for their support. And that he is kicking it up a notch.

Check out this press release:

"Farmstead Bakery is thrilled to announce a significant milestone in its journey toward expansion. With the recent purchase of a 5,000-square-foot warehouse in Leeds, Farmstead Bakery is poised for a remarkable evolution in its operations and reach.

“For about two years now, we’ve had the incredible opportunity to expand, turning down numerous offers in pursuit of the right path forward,” said Li Hsun Sun, COO “Our aim has always been to grow smartly and sustainably, and this acquisition marks a pivotal step towards that goal.”

This strategic move represents a substantial upgrade from the current 1,000 square foot kitchen to a facility capable of supplying 4-5 Farmstead locations. Nestled in Leeds, known for its abundant natural spring water — a crucial element in baking — Farmstead Bakery is poised to harness this resource to create our signature delicious baked goods on a larger scale.

Moreover, this expansion positions Farmstead Bakery as a significant employer in Leeds, with plans to hire 25-30 dedicated individuals at this warehouse facility. Leeds’ strategic location between thriving areas like Washington and St. George, primes Farmstead Bakery for continued growth and future expansion opportunities.

The new baking home, slated for completion by March/April 2024, signifies a transformative phase in Farmstead’s journey. While the warehouse will not be open to the public, expect exciting “coming soon” signs hinting at the brand’s continued growth and presence.

In tandem with this expansion, Farmstead Bakery will introduce FS COFFEE CO., poised to become the premier coffee shop in St. George located on Tabernacle and Main in the heart of downtown. Not only will it offer exceptional roasted coffee for future Farmstead locations, but it will also boast an array of diverse pastries, breakfast items, sandwiches, and Mediterranean-inspired salads.

“We are actively seeking exceptional individuals to join us on this exciting journey,” noted Chris Connors, CEO. Offering competitive starting wages of $21 per hour, full-time roles, and comprehensive health, dental, and vision benefits, Farmstead Bakery values work ethic, coachability, and good character in its team members.

For employment opportunities and further inquiries, please visit www.farmsteadbakery.com  or info@farmsteadbakery.com"

Reading between the lines, that seems to imply that there are several future locations of Farmstead Bakery on the horizon.

That's good for everyone (except my waistline LOL).

Note -- Connors has converted Kairos, another one of his properties, into Winter Wonderland for the holidays.

Winter Wonderland sells hot drinks, pastries, cookies and Christmas souvenirs and is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. through New Year's. It is located in the old Kairos location just off the roundabout on Tabernacle in downtown St. George.

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Tech Giant Riverside Purchases St. George's busybusy, Inc.

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The Riverside Company (Riverside), a global private investor focused on the smaller end of the middle market, has invested in busybusy, Inc., developer of the popular time tracking software for construction and other remote industries.

This investment is the latest add-on to Riverside’s portfolio company, ToolWatch, a leading provider of construction operations solutions connecting the field, warehouse and back office.

The acquisition solidifies ToolWatch as the construction industry’s most comprehensive operations platform and will enable customers to drive lean initiatives by obtaining an accurate, timely snapshot of critical cost drivers like labor, equipment, tools and consumables. busybusy represents the second add-on for ToolWatch, following the acquisition of Safety Reports, a construction-focused safety and compliance management software platform, in February 2022.

As for the busybusy folks, Tech Ridge posted this up on its Facebook page today: "If you haven't already heard, there is big news from one of our original Tech Ridge companies! Congratulations to Isaac Barlow on busybusy being acquired by ToolWatch. Busybusy is an incredible organization/product that continues to thrive on Tech Ridge! We wish our friends all the success in the world as they move forward with this valuable tool!"

Founded in 2010, busybusy’s GPS time tracking and jobsite monitoring software has tracked nearly 58 million timecard hours at thousands of construction companies in more than 30 countries. The company’s technology empowers field employees to track labor, materials and heavy equipment from an easy-to-use mobile app that gives management real-time insights into field crew productivity plus accurate data for improved job costing and estimating, faster payroll processing and better decision making. Considered a job site essential for its reliability and ease of use, busybusy’s user-friendly app is simple to implement in the field and to integrate with leading accounting, estimating, payroll, and project management software including Procore, QuickBooks and Sage.

“This investment represents a compelling opportunity to combine the ToolWatch and busybusy technologies to create a platform that provides a single, integrated view of asset, safety and labor operations management across disparate job sites,” said Riverside Micro-Cap Fund (RMCF) Managing Partner Loren Schlachet. “busybusy furthers our strategy of making ToolWatch a more integral part of construction operations and workflow management.”

“busybusy is a transformative add-on for ToolWatch, and we are excited to work with the busybusy team to expand the company’s already successful product offering into a more fulsome solution that combines asset management and labor management,” said RMCF Senior Partner Joe Manning. “We plan to continue investing in new product features, as well as executing complementary add-ons that drive operational efficiencies for our customers.”

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Old Farmers' Almanac Says Cold, Wet Winter Ahead

Photo by Nick Dunlap on Unsplash
Photo by Nick Dunlap on Unsplash
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My Dad was a TV weatherman for a long time. I found out by watching him that forecasting the weather was not simply using a computer model and regurgitating numbers.

True weathermen use a combination of satellite imagery, computer models, historical trends and myriad other tools to make an educated guess about what the weather would be like.

One of these tools (or rather two of these tools) is the Farmers' Almanac. Or is it The Old Farmers' Almanac?

Well actually, both.

The two separate publications (see the comparison here) boast better than 80 percent accuracy when predicting the weather. Farmers swear by it. Others swear at it.

From Google: The Farmers' Almanac's Web site explains that its forecaster (Caleb Weatherbee) uses a "top secret mathematical and astronomical formula, that relies on sunspot activity, tidal action, planetary position and many other factors" to predict weather.

But for what it's worth, the two almanacs agree that our multi-year drought may be closer to being over.

"Winter will be colder than normal, with the coldest periods in early and late November, late December, and late January. Precipitation will be below normal in the north and above normal in the south. Snowfall will be above normal, with the snowiest periods in mid- to late November, early and late January, and mid-February. April and May will be warmer than normal, with near-normal precipitation. Summer will be hotter than normal, with the hottest periods in mid- to late July and late August. Rainfall will be above normal in the north and below normal in the south. September and October will be quite warm, with below-normal rainfall.

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Could You Handle It? Utah Officials Say Not Many Can

Photo by RDNE Stock project: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blue-and-yellow-ambulance-6520174/
Photo by RDNE Stock project: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blue-and-yellow-ambulance-6520174/
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Quick, what are the three most stressful jobs in America?

Chances are you said one of these: Air traffic controller, paramedic, prison guard, surgeon, or maybe policeman. (Here's a link to the most stressful jobs in America).

But there aren't too many jobs out there that handle the amount of stress that officials in Southern Utah are looking for. St. George Police Dispatch is looking for individuals with that extra special "something," that it takes to be a dispatcher.

Dispatchers for 911 must be able to:

  • Speak excellent and clear English and be able to write it as well (and the ability to speak Spanish is a plus!)
  • Be a proficient problem solver
  • Have knowledge of city, state, and federal laws, regulations, and legal codes
  • Have experience in transcription and word processing
  • Be familiar with the geographical service area, which includes the names of waterways, roads, and highways
  • Have excellent communication skills

The stress/reward factor is a good one in this job. It has a ton of stress, with every word you say maybe ending up as the difference between life and death. But that's what makes the reward so great. You could save someone's life almost every day.

The position starts at about $40K a year and includes a robust insurance, benefits and retirement package.
From the St. George City website, the 911 dispatcher would be expected to:
  1. Receives all Emergency 911 telephone calls from within Washington County, including medical, police, and fire emergencies.
  2. Prioritizes emergency telephone calls based upon severity of the information provided. Must be able to elicit the appropriate information from persons who are in a highly stressful and emotional state of mind and be able to calm and reassure upset adults and children to effectively determine the nature of the situation and bring it to a successful resolution.
  3. Provides correct lifesaving instructions to persons located at the scene where lives are at stake and until relieved by emergency medical personnel at the scene.
  4. Correctly dispatches by radio, telephone, or pages the appropriate agency. Communicates with police officers in the field, using discretion, to dispatch appropriate or requested services and handles field officer's requests for vehicle registration, driver license information, criminal histories, etc. using the state and national computer systems.
  5. Receives initial complaints from citizens reporting criminal activity, determines if activity is an in-progress call to ensure prompt response by field officers, and maintains communications with the complainant to provide up to date information to the responding units.
  6. Tracks officer activity in the field, updating in real time using the Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) Computer System, and monitors officer's activities to provide safety and assistance if needed.
  7. Enters, updates, maintains, and retrieves information on the Spillman records management system essential to provide effective and efficient public safety response to the community.
  8. Receives and dispenses information on City, state, and private property impounds, repossessions, stolen, and recovered vehicles using the NCIC computer system.
  9. Responds to citizen requests for information or refers it to the appropriate department or agency.
  10. Receives initial information requests from the news media and refers to the proper department personnel to ensure release of timely and correct information.
  11. Communicates effectively on the radio and/or telephone while entering data into the computer system.
  12. Monitors radios for various public safety agencies and receives business, medical, and fire alarms and dispatches accordingly.
  13. Maintains and updates various instruction books and manuals.
  14. Operates standard office equipment, including photocopy, fax and other office equipment.
  15. Maintains good working relations with the public and other public safety agencies.
  16. Responds to other agencies and organization soliciting information.
  17. Performs other related duties as required.

Let's be honest: This is not a job for everyone. There will be pressure. There will be self-doubt. There will be tragedy.

But there will also be triumph. There will be successes and lives saved. There will be times of boredom, spiked intermittently with moments of extreme adrenaline.

And somewhere out there, there's the prefect person for the job. To apply, click here.

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Deadly Roads, Deadly Stretches Of Road In Utah

Photo by Jimmy Liao: https://www.pexels.com/photo/turn-on-empty-road-on-hills-19212217/
Photo by Jimmy Liao: https://www.pexels.com/photo/turn-on-empty-road-on-hills-19212217/
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Listing the deadliest roads in Utah is easy: I-15, I-70, I-80, US Highway 6, and US Highway 89.

A simple Google search will root these roads out real quick. But what stretches of these roads are really the deadliest?

I-15 -- The high-speed/high volume stretches are by far the deadliest. While areas like the two passes in Central and Southern Utah get the most snow and can be challenging to navigate, the most deadly accidents come in that "Wasatch Front corridor" between Provo and Ogden. In 2022, 320 people died on Utah roads (we're getting close to that in 2023), and more than half of those came on that stretch of road.

I-80 -- This is a huge road that runs from coast-to-coast in America, but the area with the biggest problem in Utah is Parley's Canyon, which takes drivers from Salt Lake City up to Park City and eventually up into Wyoming. I-80 also has such "deadly" features as SLC's “spaghetti bowl,” dangerous winter road conditions, various animal migration areas and very high speed.

I-70 -- To quote Utahadvocates.com: "Due to its long stretches of nothingness and steep climbs up to mesmerizing canyon views, it’s no surprise that this highway has made it onto our list. All drivers should be prepared when traveling this route, especially for the 100 miles between Green River and Salina," where there are no services.

Highway 6 -- Another nationwide road, there is a 60-mile stretch of US-6 between Spanish Fork and Price has been called one of the deadliest roads in America. More than 200 people have died on this stretch. Though UDOT has done major improvements to try and mitigate the problem, locals are still concerned, as judging by this recent article on Fox13.com.

Highway 89 -- This familiar road goes from Flagstaff to the Canadian border, passing through the heart of Utah (it's State Street in man communities). The volume of traffic statewide on this road makes it a contender for deadliest. Cache County by the Logan River is the scariest, although the road does zip by several national Parks, including Zion.

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6 Deadly Mistakes Utahns Need to Avoid on The Road

Photo by Artyom Kulakov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-broken-windshield-of-a-car-2265634/
Photo by Artyom Kulakov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-broken-windshield-of-a-car-2265634/
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We're not learning from our mistakes. And that needs to change.

The St. George Police Department keeps seeing deadly mistakes that cost lives. As we head into the Christmas season, there are some things we should be mindful of.

Southern Utahns on average don't get into more accidents than any other regional location. But the frustrating thing, according to Tiffany Mitchell, the public information officer for the SGPD, is that we keep making the same mistakes again and again that leads to traffic accidents.

Mitchell listed the main traffic mistakes that lead to accidents recently on the Andy Griffin Show. Here they are:

  1. Right of way -- Failing to yield, quite often at a stoplight. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents involve cars turning in front of motorcyclists.
  2. Speed -- One-third of all crash fatalities involve excessive speed.
  3. Distracted driving -- Yep, phones are a big part of this, but it also includes passengers, food, radio and other distractions that pull our attention from the roadway.
  4. Drug/alcohol impairment -- Illegal drugs and drunkenness are quite illegal and the cause of many crashes, but also many prescription drugs have warnings and should not be taken when driving.
  5. Reckless/aggressive driving -- Young people and those in too big of a hurry may weave in and out of traffic, tailgate, take risks and run red lights, among other aggressive transgressions.
  6. Following too close -- Many people do this and then can't stop in time when there is a need. The rule is a two-second distance for every 35 miles per hour travelled.

Mitchell added that leaving early and taking our time would actually lessen the chance of your getting into an accident.

She also added that the above list is specific to drivers, but many of the same principles can be applied to electric bikes, scooters and other motorized vehicles.

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