Thomas Larsen makes banjos by hand

Craftsman Thomas Larsen, 28, started Blackberry Banjo Co. in 2009 and has made a dozen custom banjos in his basement workshop in American Fork.
“My favorite part is the hands-on experience,” he said. “I get to take pieces of wood and turn it into something that sounds good and makes somebody happy. It brings me joy to make it, and then it makes me happy when other people are playing them.”

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Ray Bird’s birdhouses

Ray Bird retired from driving trucks in 2000. Instead of “sitting in a chair, waiting to die,” he decided to make a birdhouse. He’s spent “about 60 hours a week” doing that since. One of his favorite stories relates to the “hotel” he built and placed on his fence. Within a few weeks, the birdhouse was filled with pine cones. After having to take it down for repairs once, the hotel was again filled up with more pine cones. For the video go to

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Micro Minute

Spring is here, and that means beautiful nature photography. Check out Steve Griffin’s slow-motion, up-close-and-personal video of Utah’s smallest natural wonders in this week’s entry of the “I Love” video series.

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Jan Whittaker Loves to Teach Dance

Bountiful High Maondonelles coach Jan Whittaker has been teaching at Bountiful High School for 33 years, teaching everything from physical education, dance and aerobics to yoga. She coached the Bountiful Mandonelles Drill team for 15 years, took a 10 year break, and has been back for 9 years, winning the Drill Team State Championship 17 times, including 7 titles in the past 8 years.

She is the current director and choreographer for the America First Credit Union Jazz dancers. She has been coaching the Jazz dancers for 21 seasons.

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