The excitement of seeing live reindeer has been an event familiar to Eagle Mountain residents attending the City’s Christmas Village event held on the first Saturday in December.

Reindeer, also known as caribou, are not native to the area, but Utah does have a herd residing in Spanish Fork. There are currently seven in the herd – one male (bull) and six females (cows).

Five of those females are currently expecting young this coming spring.

Aurora Ventures, LLC is a family-owned business, owned by Matt and Elisha Shadle and their family.

“Having a live Christmas tree sales business, I wanted to add a new and interesting dimension by having live reindeer on the tree lot to bring in more business. That was back in 2001,” says Matt Shadle. “We rented some reindeer that year, but the following year we obtained one of the first USDA licenses for reindeer in the state of Utah and began obtaining the reindeer that now make up our very own herd.”

The Shadle family bring some of their reindeer herd to Eagle Mountain’s Christmas Village event each year.

Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) are members of the deer family. In Europe, they are called reindeer. In North America the animals are called caribou if they are wild and reindeer if they are domesticated.

Both male and female reindeer grow antlers, while in most other deer species, only the males have antlers.

Compared to their body size, reindeer have the largest and heaviest antlers of all living deer species. A male’s antlers can be up to 51 inches long, and a female’s antlers can reach 20 inches.

Unlike horns, antlers fall off and grow back larger each year. Male reindeer begin to grow antlers in February and female reindeer in May.

Both sexes finish growing their antlers at the same time but shed them at different times of the year. Males drop their antlers in November, leaving them without antlers until the following spring, while females keep their antlers through the winter until their calves are born in the spring.

Santa’s reindeer were first mentioned in 1821 when New York printer William Gilley published a 16-page booklet titled A New Year’s Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve, Part III by an anonymous author:

Old Santeclaus with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night.
O’er chimney tops, and tracks of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you.

Two years later, in 1823, the Troy Sentinel published the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The poem featured eight flying reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh, and for the first time, they are identified by name.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer began guiding Santa’s sleigh in 1939, when Robert L. May wrote the story of “the most famous reindeer of all” as a Christmas coloring book for his employer, the department store Montgomery Ward. The company gave away the coloring books as holiday gifts to children to entice their parents to visit and shop at the store.

In 1948, May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made the story into a song. It was featured in a cartoon shown in movie theaters but wasn’t released as a stand-alone recording until 1949 when “The Singing Cowboy” Gene Autry recorded the song and its popularity soared. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is one of the biggest-selling Christmas songs of all time.

Eagle Mountain City encourages residents to stop by the Shadle family’s live reindeer display at Christmas Village.

The event will be held at Cory Wride Memorial Park on Saturday, Dec. 3 from Noon – 4 p.m.

Most of northern Utah saw its first winter storm Monday night with snow flurries beginning in the late-afternoon-to-early-evening hours.

Motorists experienced severe traffic delays on Redwood Road and other major arterials beginning as early as 5 p.m. Dozens of Eagle Mountain residents reported commutes of two hours or longer from Salt Lake County to Eagle Mountain.

“I’m never getting home,” said one resident on the Eagle Mountain City Citizens Facebook page. “Almost 2 hours from 114th S to Lehi.”

“It took my husband 4 hours to get home… he left West Jordan at 5 pm,” said another Eagle Mountain resident.

While motorists experienced severe traffic delays and dozens of weather-related crashes across Salt Lake and Utah counties, only three minor accidents occurred within Eagle Mountain city limits between Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

Only one crash occurred during the storm on Monday night. At 5:40 p.m., a single-vehicle accident occurred on Eagle Mountain Blvd. No injuries were reported, and Sheriff’s deputies spent about an hour on scene. The vehicle involved in the accident was towed away by a towing company.

Two accidents occurred in Eagle Mountain during the early-morning hours of Tuesday, Nov. 29. At 6:57 a.m., a vehicle slid into a parked vehicle on Maple Dr. Deputies spent 30 minutes at the scene. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Also on Tuesday morning, two vehicles collided at 7:45 a.m. on Osprey Way and Raven Way. No injuries were reported, deputies only spent 30 minutes clearing the scene.

The lack of accidents reported in Eagle Mountain during Monday night’s storm can largely be attributed to the efforts of the Eagle Mountain City Streets department.

“My guys are awesome,” says Zac Hilton, City Streets department manager. “They just got it done.”

According to Hilton, snow removal crews worked on the roads from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Monday night and again from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Even with a productive snow removal crew, Hilton wants to remind residents that even small storms can make for dangerous driving conditions.

“We had very, very slick conditions,” says Hilton. “It wasn’t any more than half an inch, and a lot of times those have worse conditions.”

Hilton says smaller storms can often be more dangerous because motorists tend to underestimate them.

“Especially the first of the year, like this, people haven’t gotten used to slowing down for the conditions,” says Hilton. “They tend to drive like they have for the last nine months.”

Be prepared for winter driving conditions with UDOT’s comprehensive list of winter driving tips.

The Government Finance Officers Association has named Eagle Mountain City a Triple Crown Winner in several financial reporting categories for Fiscal Year 2020.

The City was recognized for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Popular Annual Financial Reporting and Distinguished Budget Presentation in a fiscal year.

“Over the years, we’ve worked hard to ensure that Eagle Mountain City is transparent financially and this shows we have taken great strides to maintain that.” says Eagle Mountain City Administrator Paul Jerome. “We’re grateful for the efforts of our staff and the work they do to help the City achieve this recognition.”

Eagle Mountain City is one of just 317 governments that received the Triple Crown for fiscal year 2020 in the United States and Canada.

Receiving recognition for a Triple Crown designation is considered a significant achievement, according to a press release from the GFOA.

“Eagle Mountain City has long been committed to going beyond the minimum reporting requirements of financial information,” says Eagle Mountain City Finance Director Kimberly Ruesch. “This achievement is evidence of the spirit of transparency and full disclosure that is at the heart of our elected officials and staff.”

The Eagle Mountain City government met the high standards of all three categories to receive the awards.

This is the second year in a row Eagle Mountain has received Triple Crown recognition. Eagle Mountain City has been receiving individual financial reporting awards since 2007.

According to the press release, these awards honor governments that produce reports communicating their financial stories in a transparent manner.

The Eagle Mountain City Council voted to adopt a new 10-year Strategic Plan for Eagle Mountain City via resolution in November.

The strategic plan, which drives the goals for the community over the next 10 years, was presented to councilmembers during their Nov. 15 meeting by City Economic Development Director Evan Berrett.

“Municipal governments across the nation use strategic planning to unify their organizations behind a vision they work to achieve,” says Barrett.

City staff began developing the 10-year strategic plan in 2021 and have worked to improve it based on feedback given by the City Council in through various Strategic Planning workshops in 2022.

The results of a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis conducted at a Council Visioning Conference were also taken into consideration while drafting the strategic plan.

“I really enjoyed the process by which we did this,” said Councilmember Brett Wright. “I was confused by it at first, but I really started to embrace it, and I loved the visioning meeting that we were able to have. To be able to hash that out in a public meeting with my fellow council members and with the mayor present, I felt like that was one of the better meetings we’ve had.”

The SWOT analysis identifies several factors working in Eagle Mountain’s favor, as well as several areas in which the City has room for improvement. After months of analysis, the 10-year Strategic Plan was completed this fall.

The Strategic Vision for the City is as follows:

“Eagle Mountain is a safe, growing city with a small town feel that serves families and individuals by creating reliable services and infrastructure, cultivating economic and recreational opportunities, and harmonizing protected space wit the flourishing of all life.”

Using the SWOT analysis from the City Council Visioning Conference and individual interviews with members of City Council, City staff tabulated the most common themes or interests, and categorized them into six distinct categories, each coinciding with one of six strategic goals.

The Strategic Goals for the City, as laid out in the plan, are:

Diverse Economic Growth
Eagle Mountain is home to businesses of all sizes spanning several industries resulting in an expanded tax base, convenient access for all residents to essential goods and services, and growth of employment opportunities for workers at any stage of their careers.

Robust infrastructure Networks

Eagle Mountain has expanded its infrastructure capacities to comfortably accommodate the demands of a larger population by improving transportation connections and infrastructure standards alongside state and regional partners, augmenting network capabilities, and implementing maintenance and replacement programs for all infrastructure.

Unique Reputational Evolution

Eagle Mountain is known and respected for its commitments toward, and achievements in, meeting the expectations of residents through efforts to embrace its family-centric and rural heritage, engaging in creative solutions to accomplish its goals, and its contributions to the prosperity of the state.

Proactive Generational Planning

Eagle Mountain is a balanced, intergenerational city that has proactively managed its growth, resulting in homeownership opportunities for residents; a redundant and reliable water supply; and the creation of gathering places and amenities that provide for the social, educational, recreational, and health care needs of its residents.

Interactive Environmental Stewardship

Eagle Mountain has interlaced the preservation of the natural environment; the protection of native wildlife; and the promotion of outdoor recreation through the expansion of permanent, convenient, and interconnected trail networks; conservation of open spaces, natural features, and wildlife; and protection of historic sites significant to our cultural heritage.

Dynamic Service Enhancement

Eagle Mountain is a full-service community that delivers extraordinary services and amenities to residents by attracting and retaining passionate employees, innovating throughout the organization to increase efficiency and remain fiscally conservative, and developing highly responsive communication channels to improve resident experiences.

City Council unanimously voted to approve the resolution of the Vision and Strategic Goals. Moving forward, City staff will pass all decisions and plans through the filter of the Strategic Plan to ensure the City maintains compliance with its visions and goals.

Read the full Staff Report about the 10-year Strategic Plan.

Woman viewing the new Eagle Mountain Economic Development site on a desktop computer

Eagle Mountain City has large-scale goals around economic development.

As part of these efforts, the City has recently implemented upgrades to the economic development resources available on www.eaglemountaincity.com.

“Commercial development in Eagle Mountain is thriving in all regards,” says City Economic Development Director Evan Berrett. “Eagle Mountain is a great place to open and operate a business of any kind, whether starting out in your home or opening a storefront. Several great businesses are on the way, and discussions are underway for many others to call Eagle Mountain home.”

Berrett took over as Eagle Mountain City’s economic development director this fall and has plans to incorporate the City’s broader goals for the community into a strong approach for business recruitment, retention and growth.

Changes to the City’s economic development website follow the recent adoption of the 10-year Strategic Plan by the Eagle Mountain City Council in November. The plan outlines top priorities and states concrete goals for the community over the next decade.

Part of the strategic plan’s focus is to cultivate diverse economic growth in the coming years. More than 80% of Eagle Mountain’s business community is currently home-based.

“Eagle Mountain is home to businesses of all sizes spanning several industries resulting in an expanded tax base, convenient access for all residents to essential goods and services, and growth of employment opportunities for workers at any stage of their careers,” the 10-year Strategic Plan says.

Recent efforts to improve economic development in Eagle Mountain have led to substantial changes in the business landscape.

Meta and Tyson have already located in the community. Google has also announced its acquisition of land in Eagle Mountain with tentative plans to construct a data center.

“Large companies like Meta and Tyson have significant positive impacts on our city,” says Berrett. “They contribute directly and indirectly to the vitality of our local economy and will have a long-term impact on helping us to attract other desirable commercial development of various types.”

Diverse economic growth helps residents with access to their day-to-day needs. It also enhances tax revenue generated by Eagle Mountain for the purposes of maintaining roads, building parks and enhancing services.

Developing a business environment in Eagle Mountain that is relatively stable through changing economic conditions is also a top priority. 

“Eagle Mountain City and the Eagle Mountain Chamber of Commerce are partnering closely to build out a slew of services and resources to support existing and future business owners in accomplishing their goals. We’re actively working on this now and welcome any input from business owners,” Berrett says.

Through improvements to the City’s economic development website, Eagle Mountain can inform prospective businesses about the advantages of doing business in the area. It can also work to assist home-based businesses with their unique needs.

Find more information and easy-to-use business guides on the economic development website. 

The Pony Express Rodeo in Eagle Mountain was recently awarded “Best Rodeo of the Year” in its state and category by the PRCA Wilderness Circuit.

Each rodeo in the circuit falls into one of three classes: small, medium, or large, based on payout amounts from each rodeo. The Eagle Mountain Rodeo won “Best Rodeo of the Year” for the Small category in Utah.

The rodeo, a staple hosted around the time of Eagle Mountain’s annual Pony Express Days, has been running for more than 10 years. This is the first award of its kind awarded to the Pony Express Events Board.

“It says, ‘hey, look, we put on the best rodeo in our circuit,’” says Jared Gray, member of the Eagle Mountain City Council and president of the Eagle Mountain Rodeo Committee.

The award for Best Rodeo is voted on by the cowboys who compete at each rodeo throughout the circuit.

“I think that it shows a lot of things,” says Gray. “Number one: the cowboys like to come here. It means that we’re going to get high-quality professionals.”

Gray has been the president of the Pony Express Events Board for nine years and says the 2022 season was the best year the rodeo has seen.

Though not entirely, this year was the closest the event has been to selling out the rodeo grounds.

“Even our first night, Thursday night, was almost full. That’s awesome,” says Gray.

Attendance at the rodeo continues to grow each year. Gray anticipates that growth will continue.

“When you’re on top, it’s easier to stay on top,” says Gray. “We’re going to be held to a higher standard, but we’re going to be able to keep that higher standard because we’re going to put on a better rodeo.”

The rodeo’s board of directors is made up of Eagle Mountain resident volunteers and surrounding community members.

“It’s nonstop,” says Gray of the work it takes to put on the rodeo each year.

Gray recognizes that the rodeo would not be successful without its board of directors, or without Bar-T, the rodeo’s stock contractor.

“Having a good stock plays a big part in winning the rodeo of the year. It helps that we have Bar-T Rodeo and great animal athletes as well to help us win,” says Gray.

The Pony Express Events Board is already looking forward to next year’s rodeo, which will be held the second weekend in June during Eagle Mountain’s Pony Express Days.

Gray says now is the “perfect time” for residents to get excited about next year’s rodeo, which will run June 8-10.

Power outages can happen unexpectedly and may impact not only the community, but the economy as well.

Loss of power may disrupt communications, water supplies and transportation.

Modern-day retail businesses rely on power to conduct business. If a gas station is affected by the outage, gas pumps will not operate, ATM’s will not work for banking and other services. Refrigerated and frozen foods may spoil. Medical devices that rely on electricity will not function.

How can the public prepare for such circumstances? How do we stay safe and protected during an outage? Here are some tips from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
  • Use a generator, but ONLY outdoors and away from windows.
  • Do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
  • Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
  • Check with local officials about heating and cooling locations open near you.

How to protect yourself during a power outage

Go to a community location with power if heat or cold is extreme.

Preparing for a power outage

Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.

Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs when the power goes out, such as a portable charger or power bank. Have flashlights for every household member. Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.

Know your medical needs

Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.

Using appliances during power outages

Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.

Avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Generators, camp stoves and charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home. Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary surges or spikes that can cause damage.

Food storage

Have enough nonperishable food and water in storage for use during a power outage. Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.

The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if left unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours if left unopened. Use coolers with ice if necessary. Monitor temperatures with a thermometer. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.

Generator safety

Generators can be helpful when the power goes out. However, it is important to know how to use them safely to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and other hazards.

  • Generators and fuel should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and attached garages.
  • Install working carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill you, your family and pets.
  • Keep the generator dry and protected from rain or flooding. Touching a wet generator or devices connected to it can cause electrical shock.
  • Use heavy-duty extension cords to connect the generator to appliances.
  • Let the generator cool before refueling. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts can ignite.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Returning after a power outage

When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture.

If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label states otherwise. Consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately for a new supply.

For more details the Department of Homeland Security has prepared this printable Power Outage Information Sheet.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 12, Eagle Mountain resident and Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Joel Baker was killed in a car accident on his way to work.

According to a press release from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Baker leaves behind his wife Valerie and their young son.

Baker is remembered by his colleagues at the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office as someone who was always looking for an opportunity to help. According to a fundraiser organized by his colleagues, Baker was always thoughtful of others.

“Joel would always ask, ‘Are you good, do you need anything?’” they wrote on the fundraising page.

Before working at the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy, Baker had also worked with the Utah Department of Corrections.

“On Saturday, Joel would always order his crew a pizza from Big Daddy’s and stock the breakroom freezer full of ice cream; he wanted to ensure everyone had something to eat no matter what,” said the fundraising site.

His co-workers weren’t the only ones looking to organize help for Baker’s family. Eagle Mountain resident Allie Bryant also offered her services to help support the Baker family as soon as she learned of Baker’s passing.

Bryant, who owns Desert Sky Photography in Eagle Mountain, decided she would host 15-minute, Christmas-themed “mini sessions” in her home. She then planned to donate the proceeds in their entirety to the Baker family.

“Please consider booking and supporting them during this unimaginably difficult time! Donations are of course welcome either way,” wrote Bryant in a Facebook post to the Eagle Mountain City Citizens Facebook Page.

Comments and messages started pouring in. Three days of photography time slots were booked within 48 hours.

Bryant, who has been a friend of Deputy Baker’s wife Valerie, says they met at a fitness class.

“She is one of the most genuine people I know with the best personality,” says Bryant. “You won’t meet a kinder soul.”

Though she did not know Deputy Joel Baker, Bryant says Valerie and Joel had a special bond.

Their one-year-old son was the light of their lives, according to Bryant.

Following news of his passing, many Eagle Mountain residents told of their relationship to Deputy Baker on the Eagle Mountain City Citizen’s Facebook Page.

“Joel was an awesome guy, We were friends while he worked at the prison. He will be missed,” said Nique Mower.

Funeral arrangements for Deputy Baker are pending.

Snowy Road

How does snow form?

In the play “The King & I,” Anna Leonowens, a British tutor hired by King Mongkut of Siam to be his children’s schoolteacher, participates in the following conversation as she is conducting class:

Crown Prince Chulalongkorn: “Snow? Snow? Spots of lace?”

Anna: “Yes, Your Highness.”

Crown Prince Chulalongkorn: “The water freezes on the way down from the sky? And the raindrops turn into little stars?”

Anna: “Yes, Your Highness. Some are shaped like stars, small and white.”

Crown Prince Chulalongkorn: “I do not believe such thing as snow!”

Here in Eagle Mountain, we believe in this phenomenon called snow. It is welcomed by children, winter sports enthusiasts and all who love the beauty of winter.

On the other hand, it can mean shoveling sidewalks and driveways, and often brings traffic problems.

Blizzards can bring life to an abrupt stop and cause loss of life and property. But do we know the how’s and why’s of this thing called snow?

Water Droplet Formation

Clouds form when water vapor turns back into liquid water through condensation. Think of dew forming on grass. For condensation to occur, a solid particle or surface is necessary. Water droplets in the cooling air mass condense around tiny particles in the atmosphere, such as soot, pollen, dust or dirt.

Basic conditions

Winter snowstorm conditions arise when a mass of warm, moist air rises from the Earth’s surface into colder layers of the atmosphere.

Several scenarios can take place: A warm, moist air mass can collide with a cold air mass, forcing the warm air above the cold air. Warm air can also cool by traveling up a mountain slope. A third process is called ‘lake-effect snow,’ and occurs when cold, dry air moves over a lake and pushes warmer water vapor upward. The rising warmer air that contains water vapor forms a cloud.

Snow crystal formation

As the cloud containing water droplets rises into higher, cooler layers of the atmosphere, or as cooler air moves in to lower the temperature, water droplets freeze into ice and snow crystals.

Snow formation has a lot in common with rain formation and starts with these water droplets. These freeze into different forms of snow crystals depending on the temperature and atmospheric conditions.

According to Sciencing, upper atmosphere temperatures where water droplets occur need to be cold for crystal formation. Ice crystals start to form once cloud temperatures reach about 14° Fahrenheit or lower.

Individual snow crystals grow by colliding with each other to form larger, symmetrical snow crystals, which fall when they become heavy. Air that is between 32° to 35° Fahrenheit usually brings the heaviest snowfalls.

Crystals change their shape as they fall depending on the temperatures they encounter, but they always keep a six-sided shape with identical arms because each arm encounters the same conditions. Ground temperature is also important to snow formation, with snow forming only when the ground is below 41° Fahrenheit.

Variations in snow crystals

Sciencing further explains the snow crystal shapes depend on temperatures. From 32° to 25° Fahrenheit, thin hexagonal plates form. Needles form from 25° to 21° Fahrenheit, and hollow columns form at 21° to 14° Fahrenheit.

Stellar plates resembling six-petaled flowers result when temperatures range from 14° to 10° Fahrenheit. Familiar six-armed dendrites occur from 10° to 3° Fahrenheit. Many snow crystals can group together to form one snowflake. Most snowflakes are 1.3 cm or less in diameter (0.5”), but some large flakes can be 5 cm (2”) wide.

Snowflake types and the conditions in which snowflakes form.

Snow and sound

People often notice how sound changes after a fresh snowfall. When the ground has a thick layer of fresh, fluffy snow, sound waves are readily absorbed into the snow surface, dampening sound.

Time and weather conditions may change the snow surface. If the surface melts and refreezes, the snow becomes smooth and hard. Then the surface will help reflect sound waves. Sounds may seem clearer and travel farther under these circumstances.

Snow may also crunch and squeak. A layer of snow is made up of many tiny ice grains surrounded by air, and when it is walked on, these grains are compressed.

As the snow compresses, the ice grains rub against each other. This creates friction or resistance, the lower the temperature, the greater the friction between the grains of ice. The sudden squashing of the snow at lower temperatures produces the familiar squeaking sound. The colder the snow, the louder the squeak.

Graupel

Graupel consists of snowflakes that become rounded, opaque pellets ranging from 2 to 5 millimeters (0.1 to 0.2”) in diameter. They form as ice crystals fall through supercooled cloud droplets, which are below freezing but remain a liquid.

The cloud droplets then freeze to the crystals, forming a lumpy mass. Graupel is sometimes mistaken for hail but tends to have a texture that is softer and more crumbly, similar to tiny Styrofoam pellets. Graupel is sometimes called snow pellets.

To learn more about the phenomenon of snow you may visit the National Snow and Ice Data Center.