A face mask remains in the parking lot of the VASA Fitness located just off University Parkway in Orem on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. VASA Fitness announced that it would be temporarily closing all 45 of its clubs, six of which are in Utah County, across six states on Tuesday until an undetermined date to encourage social distancing and prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.
I don't know that I'll live to see the world turn upside down quite as much as it did this March again in my lifetime.
If at the start of the month you had told me that by the end of March all schools, gyms, dine-in restaurants, movie theaters, and many other businesses would be closed, that sports seasons, concerts, conferences and any unessential gatherings of more than 10 people would be postponed indefinitely, that traveling by airplane would be heavily restricted and highly dangerous, and that "social distancing" and staying at home would become essential commonplace practices, and so, so much more, I would've called you a crazy person.
But, that's the reality we are all living in now that coronavirus has seemingly seeped into nearly every facet of our lives.
I feel that regardless of how much money you make, where you live, what you do for work, your age, your race, your stage in life, or any other characteristic, COVID-19 has likely touched your life in some way. Coronavirus is a terrible sickness that's caused so much pain, sadness, distress and death worldwide at a blistering speed, but through that negativity, some people have brought out the goodness in humanity.
Working in a smaller market, there are no coronavirus testing sites for me to photograph, bustling hospitals full of patients, or some of the other common things generally appearing in news photographs, so much of the Daily Herald's coverage has been more on the smaller-scale, community level. Which, I personally love. The latter half of my month was filled with vignettes of community members and local organizations aiding in their own ways to help out their communities in light of the coronavirus.
Experiencing this crazy time with the community I live in while simultaneously covering the community for the newspaper has been a therapeutic and fulfilling experience. It makes me feel like we are truly all in this together, and helps me, and hopefully through my coverage, the community at large get through troubling times. However, being out in the field just as often as I usually am despite a "work from home" order by our newspaper has left me a bit anxious about contracting or potentially spreading the virus (though I have not shown symptoms, yet) and the ethical implications of putting myself in a position where I could not only get myself and those in my life sick, but also get those I cover sick. I have taken precautions, both in how I approach assignments and my personal hygiene, to prevent catching or spreading the virus, but it seems that there is no sure-fire-bet to beat coronavirus.
Unlike any of my pervious blog posts, this one is primarily chronological (from this point down). It begins with the normalcy of how March began, and mid-way turns into what the majority of my focus has been the past several days: coronavirus-related coverage. It truly blows my mind how much everything has changed, not even day by day, but even hour by hour at times, this month, and it has made me so thankful for the supportive network of people I have in my life.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders takes the stage with his wife, Jane Sanders, during a rally held at the Utah State Fairpark on Monday, March 2, 2020, in Salt Lake City. The rally was held the day before Super Tuesday, where Sanders would eventually win Utah in the Democratic presidential primary with 79728 votes, totaling 36.14% of the popular vote. President Donald Trump won Utah in the Republican presidential primary with 302,751 votes, totaling 87.79% of the popular vote.
Springville point guard Paul Terry poses for a portrait Thursday, March 12, 2020, at Springville High School. A senior, Terry has been selected by the Daily Herald as the All-Valley Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Provo senior James Tomasi poses for a portrait Monday, March 9, 2020, at Provo High School. Tomasi wrestles in the 285-pound weight class, and plans on attending the United States Air Force Academy after graduating high school.
Utah Valley University pitcher Travis Parker (11) prepares to pitch during the BYU Cougars’ home opener against the UVU Wolverines held at Miller Park on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Provo.
Bruce McEwen, 65, poses for a portrait among his collection of ski gear and memorabilia at his home in Orem on Thursday, March 5, 2020. In February McEwen entered the Guinness Book of World Records after becoming the first recorded person to ski in all 50 U.S. states on natural snow.
Brigham Young University defensive back Javelle Brown (10) makes a catch while guarded by fellow defensive back Keenan Ellis (30) and also while offensive lineman Mo Unutoa (68) runs against weighted bands during the first day of BYU football’s spring camp held at the Indoor Practice Facility on Monday, March 2, 2020, in Provo.
Springville point guard Ahna Hullinger poses for a portrait Thursday, March 12, 2020, at Springville High School. A senior, Hullinger has been selected by the Daily Herald as the All-Valley Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Rachel Moises, of Orem, holds her 5-month-old daughter, Laura, as she and her son, Gabriel, 9, push carts of groceries at Costco in Orem on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Moises said she has eight children in her family.
Chad Pritchard prepares tomato sauce with the help of his daughter, Maddie, 16, at Fat Daddy's Pizzeria on Monday, March 16, 2020, in Provo, Utah. The pizzeria is making free meals available for school-age children that are in the free and reduced-price school lunch program in light of the statewide closures on schools until May 1 due to COVID-19.
Kelsey Weight, assistant manager of guest services, cleans doors to the Butterfly Biosphere at Thanksgiving Point on Friday, March 13, 2020, in Lehi. Three days later, Thanksgiving Point closed in light of the spread of COVID-19.
A motorist drives past a crack, which was reportedly caused by an earthquake according to a Lehi resident, along Morning Vista Road on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Lehi. According to the University of Utah Seismograph stations, the earthquake was 5.7 in magnitude and hit Magna at 7:10 a.m. on Wednesday, roughly 33 miles north of Lehi, through residents throughout much of the state reported feeling the quake.
Geovanni Guzman, principal of Suncrest Elementary School, hands out a bag of donated Chick-fil-A sandwiches to a construction worker at Mountain View High School on Thursday, March 26, 2020, in Orem. The fast food giant donated a total of 5,000 sandwiches to local schools this week, approximately 1,900 of which were passed out to Alpine School District employees on Thursday. The sandwiches were primarily given to school employees, but a few construction workers renovating the Orem Fitness Center beside the high school also drove through for a meal.
Julie Brooks, a first-year law student at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, poses for a portrait near the campus of BYU on Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Provo. Brooks started a petition calling for BYU-contracted landlords to allow students to immediately terminate their contracts under a clause in the housing contract. The petition has over 10,000 signatures.
Aubrey England searches for a colored pencil while her children, clockwise, Brielle, 6, Macie, 5, Ivy, 5, and Jay, 1, illustrate scenes as they create art books chronicling the lives of local seniors Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at the England family’s home in Highland. “My girls love to do art,” said Aubrey. “So, they called a few older ladies in our neighborhood and asked them to share stories from their lives.” They had the speakerphone on during the interviews and all of them took down notes and then they decided which life story they would each like to draw.
Provo Police Chief Richard Ferguson embraces his wife, Sally Ferguson, after he received the Utah State Fraternal Order of Police’s Chief of the Year award during a ceremony held at the Provo City Council Chambers on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Less than 10 people attended the private ceremony, which was held in lieu of an annual gala, in order to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Gabrielle Howlett, left and London Vickers, both of Pleasant Grove, direct moviegoers before a drive-in movie held at Water Gardens Cinema 6 on Friday, March 27, 2020, in Pleasant Grove. The traditional movie theater transformed into an impromptu drive-in theater in order to comply with health regulations concerning coronavirus and also help to stay in business.
Preston Merrill, 9, eats a snack as he and his brother, Asher, 10, both of Pleasant Grove, watch “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” during a drive-in movie held at Water Gardens Cinema 6 on Friday, March 27, 2020, in Pleasant Grove. The theater is currently showing double-features each night.
Skyridge head coach Jeff Gardner and his players celebrate after the Falcons’ 60-58 win over the Pleasant Grove Vikings on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at Pleasant Grove High School. The victory clinched Skyridge a tie for the Region 4 championship in their first year in what is generally considered the toughest region in Utah.
February has ended, and with it, so has the seasons of high school winter sports.
The shortest month of the year may have had an extra day this year, but the month felt many days longer. Days were packed with work, but, fulfilling many roles can also be satisfying. Much like the sports I covered throughout the month, as the month got nearer to the finish, the intensity ramped up. High school boys/girls wrestling, swimming and basketball state tournaments played out, and as always, Utah County teams were very much in the thick of the competition. I sat cross-legged on the floors of athletic facilities most days of the week, but despite being busier than ever this month, I found myself calmer and more able to stop and smell the roses than I've been in a good while.
Amidst a month of big changes in personnel at the newspaper, I have become more on the senior than the junior side of the spectrum in terms of how long I've worked at the Daily Herald. It's sad to see good people and hard-working journalists leaving the newspaper, but fortunately those that have on the newsroom side of the office have done so on their own terms and are moving on to new and exciting things. For me personally, February was a month where I felt I really invested in self-care. Doing so sincerely has made my personal and professional lives more positive, and has also made me more receptive to the never-ending flux in professional skills I'm learning and state of the photo industry in general.
Jakell Smith, 15, of Santaquin and a sophomore at Salem Hills High School, snowboards down a hill at the Peteetneet Museum and Cultural Arts Center on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Payson. The Alpine, Nebo and Provo school districts cancelled school on Monday due to a snowstorm.
Pete Buttigieg, Democratic presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, greets the crowd during a town hall meeting held at The Union Event Center on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Salt Lake City.
A vehicle drives past water pooling on the side of a degraded section of road in a Pleasant Grove residential neighborhood on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Cities in Utah County that charge residents a transportation utility fee to fund road maintenance and construction projects are contemplating the future of such fees after a judge ruled that Pleasant Grove’s fee is technically a tax and is therefore being collected illegally.
Maple Mountain’s Andrew Jensen celebrates his win over Mountain View’s Radi Stafford in the 170-pound weight class during the UHSAA 5A State Wrestling Championships held Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, at the UCCU Center in Orem.
Springville guard Austin Mortensen (2) gets pumped up with his teammates before the 5A boys basketball state championship game between the Timpview Thunderbirds and the Springville Red Devils held Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Lone Peak guard Corbin Zentner (10) passes the ball around Davis forward Jax Pearce (22) during a semifinal game in the 6A boys basketball state tournament between the Lone Peak Knights and the Davis Darts held Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Lily Brown, 13, poses for a portrait with the game she helped co-create, “Betcha Can’t,” on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, at her family’s home in Alpine. Brown, a seventh grader at Timberline Middle School, co-created the game with twelve-year-old Tait Hansen, who’s living in Evanston, Illinois, and the game is currently being sold at Target stores nationwide.
Architect and associate Ben Edwards, right, looks over plans, details and sections with project manager James Moore as they work on a project together at FFKR Architects on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Edwards, who is deaf, communicates with his co-workers primarily through written notes.
Jade Viveiros, a junior at Timpview High School, poses for a portrait in the school’s lunchroom Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Provo. Viveiros is hoping to raise $17,000 to pay off students’ unpaid lunch fees in the Provo City School District.
Timpview head coach Kevin Santiago calls out a play during the 5A boys basketball state championship game between the Timpview Thunderbirds and the Springville Red Devils held Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Sloane Preysz, 6, of Draper, passes a ball from one hand to the other without bending her elbows as she demonstrates an exercise with the help of her mother Kacie, founder and director of clinical services, during a mock occupational therapy session Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, at Strides Pediatric Therapy in Eagle Mountain.
Lone Peak guard Luke Sutton (13) reacts after the Knights fell to the Davis Darts in a semifinal game during the 6A boys basketball state tournament Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Attendees walk hand-in-hand past an advertisement during the 2020 RootsTech Conference held Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City.
Olive O’Mara, a veteran who served as an engineer on a naval ship as part of the U.S. Navy’s WAVES program during World War II, poses for a portrait Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, at River Meadows Senior Living in Alpine, Utah. O’Mara was born on Saturday, Feb. 21, 1920, and will celebrate her 100th birthday on Friday.
Brigham Young University guard TJ Haws (30) takes a shot while contested by Santa Clara University guard Jalen Williams (24) during a game between the BYU Cougars and the Santa Clara Broncos held Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Springville head coach Justin Snell reacts after a last-second bucket by the Red Devils to end the third quarter during a semifinal game in the 5A boys basketball state tournament between the Springville Red Devils and the Woods Cross Wildcats held Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Springville's Lauryn Deede (32) and her teammates react after they were defeated by the Highland Rams in the 5A girls basketball state championship game Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Abraham Roe, of Murray, creates bubbles outside the Utah State Capitol after the first day of the 2020 legislative session Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City.
In my past experience, January is typically a quiet,
uneventful month that seems to ease things out of the holiday lull and into the
new year. However this year, January was startlingly dense with assignments, and kept
me running from day one.
knees may be much stiffer than I think at 26-year old's knees should be from kneeling, sitting cross-legged, and getting up and down with a lot of gear, but I
am quite happy with how 2020 began. Things were often fast-paced and a bit
hectic, but January brought quantity as well as quality
in terms of assignments. The new legislative session began at the capitol, the
Sundance Film Festival brought the hustle, bustle, glitz, and glamor of Los
Angeles to Park City, new projects began within the newsroom, and prep and
college winter sports have hit their stride, with postseason tournaments to
follow soon in February. The variety of assignments was also prime in January,
with more news events sprinkled into my usual helpings of sports, features and
portraits. All in all, I estimate I took 30,000 photographs in the past month.
I often say I'd rather be struggling to find free time at work rather than
searching for something to do, but I had my work cut out for me last month, and
I think things will only bet busier as things accelerate from now through the
spring before mellowing out in the summer.
This is also my
first January doing things alone in the photo department. When there's half as
much help, things feel more than twice as intense, especially considering other
departments within the newspaper continue to slowly shrink and more duties add
up for everyone. However, I feel that some of my best strides have resulted
from this pressure, in that it has helped me to better manage my stress. There's certainly plenty of room for improvement, but I feel myself not
letting things get to me as often, and as a result, I am feeling happier as a
person little by little. My personal and professional lives feel much more
fulfilled when I can look past the shadows and see the sunshine beyond.
For now, I will try
and more earnestly make some time for myself. I'll need some extra stamina for
the sports bonanza that I suspect February will hold.
Utah guard Jaxon Brenchley (5) celebrates along with his teammates on the bench after he scored a three-pointer in the second half during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Salt Lake City.
Wasatch’s Brock Lloyd is held down by Bonneville’s Nicholas Goucher as they wrestle in the 182-pound weight class during the 5A Dual State Championships held Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, at Mountain View High School in Orem.
Festival-goers pass by the Egyptian Theatre during the second day of the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in downtown Park City.
Posters promoting films cover a kiosk along Main Street during the second day of the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in downtown Park City.
Yani Gellman, of Toronto, Canada, hands out fliers promoting the short film “Greetings, From The Planet Krog!” during the second day of the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in downtown Park City.
Dr. Michael Joner, director of the West Mountain Observatory and a research professor of physics and astronomy at Brigham Young University, poses for a portrait Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, at the planetarium in the Eyring Science Center on the campus of BYU in Provo. The observatory opened in 1981, when Payson and Spanish Fork were still small towns. Utah County has seen tremendous growth for the last few decades, with the U.S. Census recording 368,536 people in 2000 versus an estimated 622,213 people in 2019. Joner said he’s seen more interference at the observatory from random light from Payson than anywhere else in the county.
Members of the Riverton Character Drill Team perform during the UHSAA 6A and 5A State Drill Team Semifinals held at the UCCU Center on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Orem. Over the course of Tuesday, 32 schools competed between the 6A and 5A semifinals in three categories: drill, dance and character.
Paul Miller, of Orem, explains how to use an app to help individuals sign a petition during an organizational meeting concerning a citizen referendum to reject a property tax increase in Utah County held Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, at the former site of Last Course Dessert Studio in Orem.
Utah Valley University guard Jamison Overton (2) is consoled by guard Bradley Kitchen (20) as a timeout ends and the Wolverines trail by a few points with just a few seconds left in a game between the Utah Valley Wolverines and the California Baptist Lancers held at the UCCU Center on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, in Orem. The Lancers defeated the Wolverines 65-61.
Hudson Duckworth yawns as he’s held by his mother, Emilee, on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, at Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem. According to the hospital, He was born at approximately 1:40am on New Year’s Day, and was the first baby born in Utah County in 2020.
Kim M. Smith, leader of the Utah Deaf Hospital Rights movement and president of the Utah Association of the Deaf, poses for a portrait Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, at Alta View Hospital in Sandy. Hospitals nationwide have begun using video remote interpreting, or VRI technology, to fulfill the “reasonable accommodation” portion of the American with Disabilities Act. However with small screens, unreliable Wi-Fi connections and devices that are hard to move around beds, many deaf individuals say that technology has made trying to seek and communicate about medical help worse, not better.
Arson, the Pleasant Grove Fire Department’s fire dog, demonstrates how to use a pet oxygen mask with the help of firefighter Kash Montana on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, at the Pleasant Grove Fire Department. The masks were all donated by Invisible Fence, a company that designs pet fences for dogs and cats.
Annette Pulley, a labor and delivery nurse retiring after 49 years at American Fork Hospital, hugs former co-worker Tami McDaniel, of American Fork, during Pulley’s retirement party Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, at the hospital in American Fork.
Hendrix Llewellyn, 3, slides down a hill on a saucer sled Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, at The Oaks at Spanish Fork. According to the National Weather Service, the majority of Utah County had gotten a little more than approximately three inches of snow throughout the valley, with as much as five-and-a-half inches of snow in Alpine, as of Thursday morning. Snow continued to fall lightly and periodically in the valley throughout Thursday.
Site manager Al Larsen softens snow and ice using a skidsteer to create a walking path while the Ice Castles are created Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, at Homestead Resort in Midway.
Samy Adjei, 4, of Salt Lake City, begins creating a bracelet beside her mother, Nana Mensah, and the rest of her family as part of a service project led by Serving with Smiles held in light of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, at the Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. These bracelets will be a part of hygiene and school kits donated to those in need locally as well as in Guatemala, Haiti and Africa. Serving with Smiles, JustServe and Thanksgiving Point all teamed up Monday to hold service projects at the museum.
Utah Valley University guard TJ Washington (3) lays the ball up while guarded by California Baptist University forward De'jon Davis (35) during a game between the Utah Valley Wolverines and the California Baptist Lancers held at the UCCU Center on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, in Orem.
A member of the Riverton Military Drill Team performs during the UHSAA 6A and 5A State Drill Team Semifinals held at the UCCU Center on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Orem.
Lone Peak head coach Rob Ross reacts as he calls for a more serious foul on a Pleasant Grove player after one of his own players was fouled on a fast-break shot during a game between the Lone Peak Knights and the Pleasant Grove Vikings held Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, at Lone Peak High School in Highland.
Brigham Young University setter Brody Earnest (24) celebrates with his teammates after defeating the University of California Santa Barbara Gauchos in four sets at Smith Fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Provo.
Brigham Young University forward Dalton Nixon (33) steals the ball away from University of San Diego forward Alex Floresca (15) during a game between the BYU Cougars and the San Diego Toreros held Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Rep. Norman K. Thurston watches as votes come in on a bill during the first day of the 2020 legislative session held at the Utah State Capitol on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Salt Lake City.
Brigham Young University’s Abby Boden Stainton strikes a pose as she competes in the floor exercise event during BYU’s season-opening gymnastics meet against the University of Nebraska held Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, at the Marriott Center in Provo.
Jerry Hill, 75, director of mountain maintenance at Sundance Mountain Resort, unplugs a block heater, which keeps engines warm through cold weather, as he prepares to inspect the mountain in a snowcat before the resort opens on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Provo Canyon. Hill has been maintaining the mountain in this ski area for 61 years, since before Sundance Mountain Resort was founded in 1969 by famed actor Robert Redford. Previously, the area was known at Timp Haven, and Hill began work there at the age of 14.