Sunday, April 17, 2022

2021 Highland Living Magazine Mayor’s Messages

Highland Living Masthead

The following are my mayor messages in the Highland Living magazine for 2021 plus one in 2022 as it was my last one. This magazine is delivered free to all single family residences in Highland and is published by Best Version Media.

January 2021 Highland Living Magazine

Happiness is the greatest paradox in nature. It can grow in any soil, live under any conditions.”—William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness, 1900

I suspect that many of us learned last year that Jordan’s comment on happiness is true. In spite of a very interesting year, life continued. The sun rose every day and the sources of happiness and joy did not disappear. We also learned the importance of family and connections with others.

In Highland, we have much to look forward to this year. The long-awaited connection between Alpine Hwy and North County Blvd will be completed, 6800 W south of 9600 North (the road to Costco) will be widened and resurfaced, we will begin a funded multi-year plan to repair sections of our trail system that requires more than a simple treatment and we will continue a new tradition of lighting Heritage Park for the Christmas season.

In 2020, our hearts were softened towards others as many experienced personal trials. I want to thank everyone who cared for their neighbors with countless acts of service that brightened our community. Highland residents last year donated thousands of pounds of food to Tabitha’s Way. Additionally, many lives were blessed through our generous contributions to other charitable organizations. Our ability to love and show compassion increased.

So, let us take the lessons we’ve learned and the new skills we’ve acquired and apply them as we move into the new year. Regardless of whether it brings a reprieve from the challenges of 2020 or we face additional obstacles, happiness and joy can still be part of our lives.

February 2021 Highland Living Magazine

hearts-for-valentines-day“There are more people in this world hungering for kindness, sympathy, comradeship and love, than are hungering for bread.”,—William George Jordan, 1902

When I was in elementary school as Valentine’s Day approached, my teachers would have each member of the class make a box that classmates could drop in Valentine’s cards. I still remember the thrill that came on Valentine’s Day when I opened the box and read kind notes containing expressions of friendship and love.

The warmth and joy that comes from being the recipient of actions that express love, such as receiving a kind note, has not diminished over the years. Little did I know, until recently, that love in reality is a medicine for fear. We live in a world awash in fear; fear regarding our health, our livelihoods, the environment … . Arthur Brooks, in an article entitled “Love is Medicine for Fear” said this:

One way of dealing with these fears is to strive to eliminate the threats that caused them. But while social and economic progress is important and possible, there will always be threats to face and things to fear. The way to combat fear within ourselves is with its opposite emotion—which is not calmness, or even courage. It’s love. ...

Fear is a primary emotion processed in the amygdala, a part of the brain that detects threats and signals to the body to produce the stress hormones that make us ready for fight or flight. …

However, we have a natural modulator of the hyperactive amygdala: the neuropeptide oxytocin, sometimes called the ‘love molecule’ Oxytocin is often produced in the brain in response to eye contact and touch, especially between loved ones. The feeling it creates is intensely pleasurable; indeed, life would be unbearable without it. …

If you have loving contact with others, the outside world will seem less scary and threatening to you. What Saint John asserted is literally true: Perfect love drives out fear. [1 John 4:18]

Who knew that Valentine’s Day was such an important holiday and that celebrating it by making an extra effort to express our love for others could reduce the level of fear in the lives of those with whom we associate.

March 2021 Highland Living Magazine

It is not the feeling, the friendship, the love, the appreciation or the kindness we have, that counts, but only what we express, what we reveal, what we radiate. Then do we tear down a wall and make an open road to the hearts of others.”, William George Jordan, 1921

I recently received a text from American Fork Mayor Brad Frost letting me know about an outstanding young man from Highland whom he gave a Hero Award in 2019. He uses this award to recognize people who demonstrate determination, selfless service, and heroic efforts. In this case, Ryan, an American Fork High School student saved up money to give a flower to every young woman in his school on Valentine’s Day and had been doing so for several years.. In 2019 this meant that about 1,200 girls at his high school received a long stemmed carnation with the following note: “There is something in you the world needs.”

Flowers for every girl

Ryan’s efforts to put kind thoughts into sustained selfless service are inspiring. There are many in our community who quietly serve neighbors, strangers, and friends. I want to thank all of them. They are part of what makes Highland a wonderful place to live regardless of the challenges that surround us.

If you’d like to read an article that tells the story of how Ryan got started you can go to:

April 2021 Highland Living Magazine

Too often we are involved in the thick of thin things.”—Author Unknown

When something we take for granted fails we are often reminded of what is really important. In Highland we have five culinary water wells. We normally use two of them to provide water for the city and can actually get by on one of them during the winter. Last year a problem was diagnosed with one of our two primary wells and we were planning on fixing it in January or February of this year. On December 31st of last year we noticed a vibration issue with the other primary well. A diagnosis was scheduled with a well expert and we were told that we had perhaps a few weeks left before the pump failed. There was a possibility that our two primary wells could fail at the same time.

As you might imagine, priorities shifted both in terms of time and use of funds. What was important one minute was less so the next. We were able to fix the first well before the second one failed. Whew!

The second well is 560 ft deep. The pump needed to be replaced, so the pipe it was connected to had to be pulled out a section at a time. As the pump neared the surface, our city engineer nervously instructed the workers to be extra careful when he noticed ten of the twelve bolts, which attached it to the pipe, had been sheared off. Here’s the bottom line. It was a matter of days before the pump would have failed. Had that happened before the first well was fixed, the city would have had to rush to start one or more of the other wells which produce cloudy, but safe water.

We avoided a significant problem by the barest of margins and both of our primary wells are now ready for another 10 plus years of service. What a blessing! As our city engineer said to me, “Someone has been living right.”

In life we occasionally experience unexpected problems in spite of careful planning. Sometimes, these can be addressed using financial reserves to cover the costs, in other circumstances we need resources that only friends, family and others can provide. I am so glad to live in a community that constantly builds non-financial reserves through acts of kindness and service to our neighbors so we can draw upon them when needed.

May 2021 Highland Living Magazine

Content makes the world more comfortable for the individual, but it is the death-knell of progress. Man should be content with each step of progress merely as a station, discontented with it as a destination; contented with it as a step; discontented with it as a finality. There are times when a man should be content with what he has, but never with what he is.”—William George Jordan, The  Majesty of Calmness, 1900

We are in the midst of spring. Flowers are blooming, the weather is warming, and yard work beckons. Blue skies and moderate temperatures lift everyone’s mood, as we begin to spend more time outside in parks and on trails.

Highland is a wonderful place to live and our residents are among the best people I know. We have done so much for others over the last year. We have every right to be happy with the progress we’ve made, but let us not forget that there are still those in our community that have needs we can help fill. Tabitha’s Way and other food banks still need donations, those affected by COVID or other illnesses may need assistance with yard work, shopping, or a check-up call.

For those who would like to help with the Highland Fling, our annual city celebration, please send an email to There will be plenty of opportunities this year to help with activities, service projects, the art show, and our parade. Our theme this year is “Reach.” In the case of service projects we will be reaching out to help others.

As COVID restrictions are lifted, rather than be content that life is returning to “normal,” let’s take the lessons we’ve learned over the last year and work to create a better tomorrow.

June 2021 Highland Living Magazine

Nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.”—Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #1

Sometimes, we believe that we live in the worst of times relative to civility. Here are a couple of quotes from a presidential campaign from years gone by (I’ve changed the names to give you a minute to guess which one):

Mr. Smith is unfit and incapable as President and is a man whose defects of character are guaranteed to bring certain ruin to the party.

The historian will search for those occult causes that induced her [America] to exalt an individual who has neither that innocence of sensibility which incites it to love, nor that omnipotence of intellect which commands us to admire. He will ask why the United States degrades themselves to the choice of a wretch that has neither the science of magistrate, the politeness of a courtier, nor the courage of a man?

The candidate referred to above was John Adams in his re-election campaign in 1800. His opponent was Thomas Jefferson. The first comment was made by Alexander Hamilton about Adams, a member of his own party. The second was written by James Callender, a propagandist, working with the encouragement and financial support of Jefferson against Adams. See "John Adams" by David McCullough, pages 537 and 545.

I have learned that civility does not mean compromising on principles, but does mean listening,  being willing to see things from another’s point of view, and looking for common ground.

This year the mayor and two council seats are up for election. Candidates may file to run from Tuesday, June 1st through Monday, June 7th. A primary election will be held August 10th if needed – when more than two candidates file for mayor or more than four file for city council.

I hope as the campaign season begins, that we as residents take the time to meet the candidates, ask them questions, and listen to their responses. While incivility seems to reign in national politics, that does not need to be true locally. We are after all, kind and caring Highlanders.

July 2021 Highland Living Magazine

Several years ago as we sang America the Beautiful at church my heart was pierced by the lyrics and tears began to roll down my cheeks. Singing “God shed His grace on thee” led me to think of all the times in history that His hand rested upon our nation from its founding until today.

As the words “And crown thy good with brotherhood” were sung I reflected on the countless acts of service I’ve witnessed in my lifetime contrasted with the sadness that surrounds the actions of those who have no regard for their brothers and sisters and seek only their self-interest. The tears continued to flow.

The lyrics “confirm thy soul in self-control” rang out and I was saddened by the instant gratification messages which pervade our society and yet my resolve to fight this, and focus my attention on others, was strengthened.

The teardrops kept falling as I considered the devastating effects on society when we ignore the law and basic principles such as the golden rule. “Thy liberty in law!”

O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, Who more than self their country loved.” My heart was stirred by Patrick Henry’s 1775 speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses:

Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs .. . . [W]e are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. …  [W]e shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; ... The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”

My soul rejoiced, as the last verse painted a vision for me that hope is not dead; that if we can but “see beyond the years” and exhibit brotherhood “from sea to shining sea” God will “shed His grace on” America.

I hope that we all take a moment this July 4th to consider our many blessings and look for ways we can actively contribute to our community and nation. It is not always easy or convenient to serve, but opportunities surround us.

There will be service projects associated with the upcoming Highland Fling. I encourage everyone to watch for them. There are also a number of residents who chose to serve by running for city council this year. Please take the time to talk with them and support those that best align with your values.

Thanks for all you do to make Highland a special part of America.

PS: See for an extended version of this article.

August 2021 Highland Living Magazine

“Different isn't always better, but better is always different.”—Author unknown.

Being different can be uncomfortable. Outliers are often criticized but on the other hand I believe the quote above is accurate; “better is always different.” Highland is different from its neighbors in a variety of ways.

  • Alpine and Cedar Hills don’t have a library. We do. Lehi and American Fork libraries are significantly larger than ours, yet our children’s library is awesome and our library programs are outstanding.
  • American Fork and Lehi have rec centers. We don’t, but we have over 22 miles of trails and over 600 acres of public open space.
  • American Fork and Lehi have much more retail and commercial businesses, yet our sales tax revenue was up by over 20% last year (triple our normal growth). Our taxes and fees are below average compared to other N. Utah County cities.
  • We have the lowest crime rate in Utah among cities with a population over 10,000 — adjacent communities rates are three to six times higher.

Our neighboring cities are wonderful towns and have their own unique characteristics. I am pleased that these differences allow people to choose a place to live that is best for them. I love and appreciate the attributes that make Highland a great place to live.

Please join us in celebrating our wonderful community during the Highland Fling week from Monday, August 2nd through Saturday, August 7th. During the week there will be a community block party and dinner; the Highland Games featuring events such as the caber toss, stone put, and hammer throw; an art show; baby celebration; frisbee golf tournament; service projects;  parade; and more. See our city website for more information (

Thanks to the many Highland volunteers who each year make the Fling possible and to those, who by their participation, help strengthen the bonds that make Highland a wonderful community.

September 2021 Highland Living Magazine

The American Constitution is remarkable for its simplicity; but it can only suffice a people habitually correct in their actions, and would be utterly inadequate to the wants of a different nation. Change the domestic habits of the Americans, their religious devotion, and their high respect for morality, and it will not be necessary to change a single letter in the Constitution in order to vary the whole form of government.” —Francis Joseph Grund, The Americans, in their Moral, Social, and Political Relations, Volume 1, 1837, p 171.

On September 17th we will celebrate the 234th anniversary of the US Constitution. 55 delegates met in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787 and drafted the US Constitution. There were many heated debates, but in the end they were able to compromise and formulate a system of government that has enabled our nation to overcome challenge after challenge, help and assist  others throughout the world, and reach unparalleled levels of prosperity.

According to Francis Grund in order for our government to function as intended, we as a people must be “habitually correct” in our actions. President George Washington said it this way in his farewell address in 1796, “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion, and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.”

Even at a city level, the ability for elected officials and residents to look at issues from multiple perspectives is a key element to having productive discussions and in making good decisions. Those who are “me” rather than “we” focused have a difficult time doing this on a consistent basis. Strong morals help us see others as individuals with their own perspectives on issues, from which we can benefit, rather than simply problems and obstacles to overcome.

Residents often impress me when they take the time to point out how others might see a situation differently from them. They demonstrate a “we” not “me” approach to problem solving. These are teaching moments for me and make me proud to be a Highlander.

I hope that this month you will take a few minutes to review the US Constitution and consider what steps you can take to help ensure that it continues to work for us. Daniel Webster in 1832 had this to say about its importance:

Other misfortunes may be borne, or their effects overcome. If disastrous war should sweep our commerce from the ocean, another generation may renew it; if it exhaust our treasury, future industry may replenish it; if it desolate and lay waste our fields, still, under a new cultivation, they will grow green again, and ripen to future harvests. It were but a trifle even if the walls of yonder capitol were to crumble, if its lofty pillars should fall, and it's gorgeous decorations be all covered by the dust of the valley. All these might be rebuilt. But who shall reconstruct the fabric of a demolished government? Who shall rear again the well proportioned columns of constitutional liberty? Who shall frame together the skillful architecture which unites national sovereignty with state rights, individual security, and public prosperity?”

October 2021 Highland Living Magazine

Patience Provides Perspective

Dieter Utchdorf, former Chief Pilot of Lufthansa Airline, asked the following question in a speech entitled Of Things that Matter Most:

What do you suppose pilots do when they encounter turbulence? A student pilot may think that increasing speed is a good strategy because it will get them through the turbulence faster. But that may be the wrong thing to do. Professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed. The same principle applies also to speed bumps on a road.

Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.”

All of us have and will again experience turbulence in our lives. The counsel to “slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials” is based on a wealth of experience. It applies not only to individuals, but also to organizations. I’ve participated in many decisions as a member of the city council and as mayor. I recognize that when we’ve pushed ahead during turbulence, many times the outcomes were less than desirable. The same can be said when I look back at decisions I’ve been a part of at work or within the family.

When I look at those I admire in Highland, without exception, they have experienced adverse conditions. These experiences have made them better people, ones who are able to share with us the lessons they’ve learned and bless our lives as a result. I want to thank those Highlanders who take the time to share the wisdom they’ve gained with family, friends, and neighbors. You make our community and the world a better place!

PS: Registered voters will receive ballots this month which are due on Nov 2. You will have the opportunity to select two city council members plus vote on two city propositions. I would encourage everyone to focus on the essentials as you evaluate the candidates and propositions.

November 2021 Highland Living Magazine

Reflect upon your present blessings—of which every man has many—not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”—Charles Dickens

As we approach Thanksgiving we frequently look at the past year and count our blessings. For many; family, friends and community quickly come to mind. My wife and I recently attended the funeral of a friend’s father and while it was apparent that there had been friction at times in the family, the primary focus of the remarks were the good times grandchildren had with grandpa when he took them fishing, attended their events, and just visited with them. I was touched by the funeral service and reminded of a recent video by Utah’s Highlander (Jon Hart) which while ostensibly was a 2-minute summary of a council meeting, was in reality a gentle reminder to spend time with family. The backstory on the video is that his mom, who was featured in the video, passed away just a few days after the council meeting.

The bottom line for me this Thanksgiving season is that I need to spend more time on the things that truly matter; creating memories and strengthening relationships with family and friends.  Take a moment to watch Jon’s video below. It is a great reminder of what is really important and will lift your spirits as the 2021 Holiday Season begins.

On behalf of the Highland City Council and staff I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

December 2021 Highland Living Magazine

It’s the Happiest Time of the Year!

Last month was the time of year we focus on gratitude for our many blessings. In Highland, we have much for which to be thankful. For example, I recently attended a Utah County Business Summit where I learned that Utah, as of August 2021, had recovered the jobs which were lost due to COVID and added an additional 3.8%. In Utah County we’ve added 7.2%. Utah leads the nation in this statistic and we lead the state.

For me, Christmas is the happiest time of the year. At the Summit I attended, Tony Child, a local motivational speaker and life coach, provided some insights as to why this might be the case. He shared research on the impact of gratitude on happiness.  He pointed out that if we want to be more happy the key is gratitude and shared the following specific things we can do and their impact on happiness:

  1. Spending a few minutes thinking about someone for whom we are grateful will increase our happiness by 2%
  2. Expressing this sentiment to the person will result in a 4% to 19% increase.
  3. Those that give generously, whether it be time, talents, or money, experience a 43% increase.

There are many individuals to whom we are indebted for the life we enjoy. The never ending list includes: farmers who produce the food we eat, truck drivers who deliver goods to our local stores, business owners who run the stores, those who operate and maintain our water, electrical, and gas infrastructure systems, public safety personnel who are there for us during emergencies, plus countless others. It would be impossible for us to express our appreciation to each person.

As William George Jordan said, “Let us realize that it is only by kindness to all that we can begin to repay the debt to one, begin to make gratitude the atmosphere of all our living, and a constant expression in outward acts, rather than in mere thoughts.”

Thanksgiving was the warm-up to “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  I hope this Christmas we can make it the happiest ever by giving generously to others. On behalf of the city council and staff I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and to thank you for the many acts of kindness performed this year which made our community such a great place to live!

February 2022 Highland Living Magazine

Progress through Persistence

Deiter F. Uchtdorf made this comment in a recent speech.  “Do you want to change the shape of your life? Change the shape of your day.”  Each new day whether it be January 1st or December 31st offers us a chance to alter the course of our life by simply making small changes to how we shape our day. This could be allocating time to write a thank-you note, taking the time to try a new approach to solving a long-standing problem, starting the day by reviewing the needs of family members,  … .

If we are persistent in our efforts to reshape each day, our lives will be filled with magical moments when “insurmountable” problems are resolved and seemingly impossible goals are achieved.

As mayor I have learned that many city problems take years of persistent efforts to be addressed. When they are resolved, most are unaware of the cost in terms of time and effort. This includes time spent on failed approaches that generated the knowledge required to ultimately solve a problem. Many of life’s issues are similar. We end up taking dead end roads to reach our final destination. We may not feel we have the talent or the skills to get where we want to be, but as President Calvin Coolidge noted:

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

We are beginning a new year which brings the promise of spring: A time when days lengthen, flowers begin to bloom, and warmth fills the air. If we begin reshaping our days, we will be prepared to take advantage of the new opportunities that present themselves in the coming year.

I leave you with my thanks for allowing me to serve as your mayor, along with my best wishes for much happiness and success in the coming year. Highland is and will continue to be a wonderful place to call home. Your kindness and patience as new leaders navigate uncertain waters will help Highland become an ever better place to live and grow.

Happy New Year!

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