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NUTHIN' UP MY SLEEVE!: A cow moose rests Tuesday in 3 feet of snow beside the Logan River just west of Tony Grove. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, March 10, 2006

Help Wanted: U.S. Defense Department Seeks Better PR Officers

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but . . . our country has not adapted. For the most part, the U.S. government still functions as a 'five and dime' store in an eBay world."

--U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on why al Qaeda is winning hearts and minds, in speech to U.S. Council on Foreign Relation (Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson) WORD Note: The WORD will take the next week off for Spring Break, sleeping in and seeking wisdom. Return: 3/20/06

Former River Heights mayor reflects on a life of active community service

By Ben Walker

February 6, 2006 | RIVER HEIGHTS -- Vic Jensen got his practice for being the mayor of 1,500-resident River Heights city by heading an 11-resident home, teaching and administrating in schools and refereeing for 38 years.

Jensen, who has lived in River Heights for more than 25 years, was recently replaced as mayor by Todd Weston.

Jensen said he was asked to do the job by outgoing mayor Ralph Degn. "He came to me and said 'we only have one candidate running and we'd like to have an election,'" Jensen said. "I thought, this is a good thing to do. I'd like to try that."

As mayor, Jensen worked with a council which started and passed a bond for a 1-million gallon reservoir and repaired a 500,000-gallon reservoir. The project, which included improving city water lines, cost roughly $830,000.

Jensen was born in Salt Lake City and grew up in Mt. Pleasant. His father was a politician and Jensen was the president of his student body at North Sanpete High School, but strayed from the political path, moving to Logan in 1947 to attend Utah State Agricultural College and study physical education.

He met his wife Elaine that same year and married her about a year later. Her grandfather, Bill Davidson, was a founder of River Heights and since 1980, the Jensens have lived across from the home where she lived as a girl.

"We used to come see grandpa and grandma in River Heights when our kids were little," Jensen said.

Jensen worked while attending the college and received a bachelor's degree in 1955. By that time the Jensens had six children. The Jensens ended up having nine children in just over a 10-year period.

Jensen said he would have liked to receive more education, but was busy taking care of a large family. "I had tough enough sledding trying to keep shoes on the kids' feet," he said.

Jensen moved his young family to Franklin, Idaho, to launch a career in education. He was a band and music teacher for seven years and also was the school's principal for five years and a coach for a year during those seven years.

Jensen again involved himself in politics while in Idaho as the chairman of the Democratic party in Franklin County when John F. Kennedy was elected president.

He returned to Cache Valley and continued his career in education and administration. Jensen had teaching stints at a couple of schools before joining the first teaching staff when Sky View High School opened. At Sky View, he spent about 12 years while coaching swimming, golf and cross country as well as helping with the football and track teams and serving as the athletic director.

"I always wanted to be a coach, but I fell into administration," Jensen said.

He did indeed fall into administration as he was also a vice-principal at Sky View before going to South Cache Middle School to be the principal for three years.

He did get ample opportunity to coach and oversee athletics as he served as the area athletic director for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1960 to 1988. Jensen was in charge of tournaments from Avon to Soda Springs.

"The church gave me an opportunity to fill my goals," Jensen said.

Jensen retired in 1987. Today, he fills his time in the service of others. "The neighbors will say I'm the best snow-shoveler in town," he said.

He remains active in the Lions Club. Jensen was the president of the club until last July. He is also a temple worker in the Logan LDS Temple.


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