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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Wait, Utah Puts What In Their Cheese Balls?

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If you've been active on social media in recent times, you've probably noticed that a lot of folks are getting pretty excited about cheese balls.

I'm not talking about the crispy cheese puffs you can buy at the store (trust me, there's a whole debate on whether they should be called cheese balls or cheese puffs).

No, I'm talking about the roughly ball-shaped globs of cheese food served at parties with crackers and (for some strange reason) seem to have slivered almonds stuck to the outside of them.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good cheese ball, especially if bacon is invited to the party.

But some of these recipes floating around Facebook, InstaGram and Pinterest are just, well, wrong.

Here's a sampling:

  • Walnut-pomegranate cheese ball -- Apparently this just seasoned cream cheese with chopped walnuts, with those nasty little pomegranate seeds stuck to the outside of it.
  • Pumpkin cheese ball -- Apparently this is a favorite in Utah. This doesn't actually have any pumpkin in it, but your supposed to mold it to look like a pumpkin. The ingredients include ranch seasoning and crushed Doritos, with a baby dill pickle as the "pumpkin's" stem.
  • Chocolate chip cheese ball -- OK, we crossed the line from savory to sweet on this one. Better swerve it with animal crackers, not Ritz.
  • Utah cricket cheese ball -- The author of this recipe swears the crickets are deep-fried and perfectly healthy, but that's a hard pass from me.
  • Beer pretzel cheese ball -- Beer in the recipe and pretzels stuck to the outside. It would take a lot of cheese to get buzzed off of this one.
  • Severed foot cheese ball -- Shaped to look like a severed foot (complete with black olives for toenails), who wouldn't want commemorate a severed limb and eat olive toenails. Am I right?
  • Maple-garlic cheese ball -- Mom always told to "Don't knock it until you've tried it," but those two flavors just don't go together.
  • Braunschweiger cheese ball -- Looks like a shot from a sci-fi/horror flick (see picture below), I just couldn't. Shouldn't. Wouldn't.
  • McDonald's cheeseburger cheese ball -- Apparently this is a thing: Grind up a McDonald's cheeseburger (bun and all) and mix it with cream cheese. Some adventurous types have McDonald's fries poking out of the finished product.

I didn't include recipes or links to them because none of these creations should ever see the light of day.

Please!

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