Girl Scouts: We do more than sell cookies

TAYLORSVILLE — The Girl Scouts sorting fruit and other food items at a community food pantry Saturday had plenty to say about the recent announcement that the Boy Scouts of America will now admit girls.

"It kind of frustrates me a little bit," said Kylie Peasley, 15, who joined other Kearns Troop 778 members at the "Building a Better Utah" service project at the Taylorsville Food Pantry, 4775 Plymouth View Drive.

Kylie said some of her friends are interested in joining the Boy Scouts to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, even though the Girl Scouts offer a similar recognition.

"We have the Gold Award," she said. "I think it’s kind of been devalued a little bit because all the focus is on the Eagle award and stuff. No one really hears about the Gold Award, which is kind of like the equivalent to the Eagle award, but it’s for girls."

But another member of the troop, Ariana Veronica, 14, said the Boy Scouts might be a better option for some of her female classmates. A new Boy Scouts program for girls seeking to earn the Eagle Scout rank is expected within two years.

"A lot of girls are drama," Veronica said. "When you come into Girl Scouts, you want to be together, and you want to try to push all that away so you can have somewhere where you can just be friends and relax and have fun."

Some girls "think that Girl Scouts is just too girly for them or something like that," she said, "and may feel more comfortable in the Boy Scouts, in part because they don’t realize what Girl Scouts actually do besides sell cookies."

"You get to help people, which is a reward itself, so you get to know that you’re doing good and making a difference in the world — which is awesome," Veronica said. "It’s for older girls, too. We can get in there. We can help people."

Snugged into a patriotic-themed Girl Scouts of Utah hoodie on the cold morning, Amber McAuliffe said she hadn’t heard about the Boy Scouts’ plans, which also include starting separate girls Cub Scout dens next year.

"I think it’s kind of cool," she said, then paused.

"But honestly, Girl Scouts should be more announced to the world. I feel like not very many girls know about the opportunity that Girls Scouts give to the girls," Amber said. "Really, the only thing we’re known for is the Girl Scout Cookies."

For her, being a Girl Scout the past two years has made a big difference in her life.

"I’ve been more happier. I’ve been involved more. I want to do more things," Amber said, especially service projects.

A school counselor told her Girls Scouts is "an amazing thing" to put on a college application, she said.

"Every Girl Scouts shirt I get, I wear to school and I wear it proudly. Everyone asks me, ‘Hey, are you a Girl Scout?’ And I proudly say, ‘Yes.’ Because I feel like that is part of what defines me as an individual," Amber said.

In a statement posted to the blog the same day as the announcement by the Boy Scouts says Girl Scouts have been the "girl experts" for more than a century.

"The need for female leadership has never been clear or more urgent than it is today — and only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success," the statement read.

Like the official Girl Scouts statement, Clarice Garcia, leader of West Jordan Troop 262, didn’t comment directly on the decision by the Boy Scouts to allow girls to participate.

"But what I can tell you is that we have an amazing program," Garcia said, "and we believe firmly and passionately about girl-led programs that are specifically for girls."

The Taylorsville service project also involved younger Girl Scouts decorating boxes that will be used to distribute food items. It was one of more than two dozen across the state Saturday.

"We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing," Garcia said. "We have girls who go on to do amazing things through Girl Scouts, and if this makes people more aware of that, awesome."

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Want To Call Utah Home?

Are you wondering what it takes to move to Utah? You can find out more about moving to this area here. That way, you make the right choice when you make this a place that you would like to call home.

Before you can live in this area, you’re going to want to make sure you have employment there. If you’re moving from out of state or even to a different city in Utah, you need to make sure you can cover your bills. The best way to do that is to make sure you have a job lined up no matter what. If you’re not too sure about the opportunity, then put off the move. You can also save up enough to be able to live there while you search for work, but you may run out of cash before you find something.

You’re going to need to live somewhere that is comfortable for you and your family. If you have kids, for instance, then you may want to rent an apartment with enough rooms for everyone. It’s going to cost you more the larger the place is that you rent or buy, but it’s worth it to have some space for everyone. Look through listings in the city you’re moving to on a regular basis. If nothing jumps out at you the first few times you look, don’t give up hope because people post new listings online all the time.

Moving to Utah is not that hard to do if you have everything in place. Make sure you’re careful about where you move to and you should do fine. Follow the advice you were just given and when all is said and done you’ll have a nice place to stay that you’ll love living in.

As ‘Unicorns’ Emerge, Utah Makes a Case for Tech Entrepreneurs

Lance Winward, an engineer at Qualtrics, a data analytics company, working on the company’s patio in Provo, Utah.

When Josh James traveled to the Bay Area in 2000, seeking funding for a web analytics company he had founded, he spoke at length with a venture capitalist about his plans for growth. The conversation was going well, Mr. James recently recalled, until the investor asked where he was based. “As soon as I told him I was from Utah, he literally, without saying a word, turned around and walked away.”

Utah entrepreneurs no longer get that icy response.

The state has a thriving technology hub in the roughly 80-mile swath from Provo to Ogden, with Salt Lake City in between. The region has given rise to at least five companies valued at more than $1 billion. The concentration of these so-called unicorns is surpassed only by California, New York and Massachusetts, according to CB Insights, which tracks venture capital investment.

Mr. James has even helped coin the name “Silicon Slopes” to brand the region — a wink at the Bay Area and a nod to the renowned ski areas in the state, home to the 2002 Olympics.

Inside the offices of Domo, a data analytics company started by Josh James, in American Fork, Utah.

But the change in Utah’s stature has come gradually. Although Novell and WordPerfect began there in the 1970s, and and Omniture, a web analytics company founded by Mr. James, were among the successful companies born during the dot-com boom, outside investors had traditionally ignored Utah. As a result, start-ups largely grew by bootstrapping, the term commonly used for self-funding. And that in turn contributed to their success.

“Founders viewed their companies like they’re building the family business or a farm — they’re building them to keep,” said Ryan Smith, the founder of Qualtrics, a data analytics company that focuses on surveys and other research for corporate and academic clients. “With no outside funding, there’s no lifeline and you have to figure it out on your own.”

One reason for the growth, said Mark Gorenberg, a venture capitalist with Zetta Venture Partners in San Francisco, is the emphasis that some start-ups have placed on data analytics — a growing field that has helped put the state on the map. E-commerce companies, as well as those specializing in medical devices and cloud computing, have also flourished.

As the local tech community has grown, local venture capital firms have formed in the state, providing seed money as well as participating in later funding rounds. According to CB Insights, more than $2.6 billion has been invested in the 10 most well-funded companies in Utah.

“The region transformed from a recreation area with some tech companies to a full tech ecosystem,” said Mr. Gorenberg, whose firm has invested in three Utah-based companies.

In a state where 59 percent of residents describe themselves as active Mormons, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a presence in the start-up scene as well. Many company founders are members, and while the church does not directly invest in individual companies, said Doug Andersen, a spokesman for the church, the emphasis on family permeates many start-ups in the area.

Some say the Mormon culture fosters a collaborative spirt among the area’s tech community, and the founders of unicorns regularly get together. Last month, for example, several founders worked until 3 a.m. at Mr. Smith’s home, organizing a January conference meant to coincide with the Sundance Film Festival in Utah — an effort to create a tech and entertainment conference similar to the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex.

From left, the chief executives Dave Elkington of, Mr. James of Domo, Aaron Skonnard of Pluralsight and Ryan Smith of Qualtrics holding a strategy session at Mr. James’s house last month.

Mr. Smith’s father, Scott, started Qualtrics in 2002 to help businesses measure customer and client satisfaction; the younger Mr. Smith joined the nascent company while an undergraduate at Brigham Young University after doctors diagnosed cancer in his father (who has since recovered). His older brother Jared, an executive at Google, joined several years later.

The company, which has received funding from Accel Partners, Sequoia Capital and Insight Venture Partners, now has a valuation of $2.5 billion. Mr. Smith said it had annual revenue above $250 million, with corporate clients including Microsoft and Marriott International.

At Pluralsight, a company focusing on tech training, the trajectory was similar. Aaron Skonnard, its chief executive, founded the company with three others, each putting in $5,000 to initially develop in-person training programs.

The four traveled worldwide for their programs until Mr. Skonnard realized that it would be more efficient to train clients online; by 2011, the company had begun offering only virtual training, walking away from half of its $1.5 million in revenue. But the switch paid off. Pluralsight began receiving outside funding in 2012 from venture capital firms such as Insight Venture and Iconiq Capital. The company, now valued at more than $1 billion, estimated that revenues will reach $190 million this year.

Only Domo, which Mr. James founded in 2010, has had a more typical trajectory. His track record at Omniture, which went public in 2006 and was later purchased by Adobe for $1.8 billion, allowed him to secure outside financing more quickly. Domo, which provides a cloud-based platform for executives to gain access to a range of data, has received roughly $684 million in funding from investors including BlackRock, Greylock Partners and Benchmark Capital.

Now, the start-ups are dealing with the challenges to growth that others in tech face: recruiting new engineers and programmers, as well as seasoned executives.

It is one area where the companies outwardly compete, especially as they seek to improve their diversity. And the hiring needs can be significant. Pluralsight, for example, this month announced plans to add 2,400 new jobs over the next decade and move from Farmington to a new campus south of Salt Lake City, closer to the other tech companies.

The local universities have played an important role in fostering homegrown talent. Brigham Young, the private university affiliated with the Mormon Church, and the public University of Utah have programs intended to develop young entrepreneurs.

But as demand for talent has grown, it has also meant companies have needed to recruit outside Utah.

Workers inside the offices at Qualtrics. Mr. Smith was a student at Brigham Young University when he joined the company, which his father had started in 2002.
In Utah, Mr. Smith said, “founders viewed their companies like they’re building the family business or a farm — they’re building them to keep.”

Their pitch often involves promoting the accessibility of outdoor activities, including hiking and skiing. Jaunts to Park City, the ski town, are common, and many choose to settle in that area. Besides, the office spaces of many of these companies typify the start-up ethos: abundant food, table tennis and pool tables, and, at Qualtrics, even an indoor basketball court.

The companies emphasize their philanthropic efforts. Pluralsight, for example, recently pledged $10 million for computer science education. Qualtrics is spending at least $10 million over three years to sponsor the Utah Jazz basketball team’s jerseys, which, in lieu of its corporate brand, will display the logo for “5 for the Fight,” the company’s global effort to encourage cancer research donations.

The companies also talk up the growth of their competitors, to assure recruits that many opportunities exist within the state if an employee — at any level — wants to make a move. There are more than 4,000 tech companies in the state, according to figures from the governor’s office; Mr. James, who employs 810 people at Domo, sometimes suggests that those interviewing speak to others in the region.

“I want them to know that re-deployability isn’t an issue,” he said.

The efforts have paid off, Mr. Smith said. This year alone, his company has hired 150 people who moved from outside the state.

Joy Driscoll Durling, the chief information and digital enablement officer at Vivint Smart Home, was working at Adobe in California when she had the opportunity to move to Utah, where Adobe established offices after its acquisition of Omniture.

“No one in my family could believe I was even considering it,” she said, “but my family and I appreciate the outdoors.”

And while they briefly considered returning to the Bay Area, they have stayed because of both work-life balance and the career opportunities. In March, Ms. Durling left Adobe and joined Vivint, which provides home security and automation products.

Apart from lifestyle, the potential for an initial public offering helps with recruiting — and legitimacy. Farrah Kim, a spokeswoman for CB Insights, said the best “way to jump-start a start-up ecosystem is for a cluster of big exits to emerge,” whether through deals or I.P.O.s.

Four of the unicorns are considering I.P.O.s, according to the founders, although none would talk about specific plans. The choppy performance of the recent I.P.O.s of Snap and Blue Apron has not appeared to deter them. (Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Blackstone, which owns Vivint Home, plans to pursue either an I.P.O. or a merger for the company. Representatives of both Blackstone and Vivint declined to comment.)

The public markets afford companies more capital for growth, whether organic or through acquisitions, Mr. James said. And, he added, an I.P.O. enhances a company’s profile because it shows that the business has been vetted by bankers and lawyers.

“One day, people think you’re a cute entrepreneur,” he said. “But you’re treated dramatically different once you’re public.”

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Man suspected of DUI after crashing into Taylorsville Jr. High

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah (ABC4 News) – A man suspected of driving under the influence crashed into the side of a Taylorsville Junior High Saturday morning.

Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohrke said the incident happened just after 11 a.m. at Eisenhower Jr. High located at 4351 S. Redwood Rd.

Lohrke said there were several people at the fields nearby playing soccer, along with many spectators who were thankfully not hit.

The 26-year-old driver was arrested and taken to the police department for further testing of possible DUI. He was not injured.

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Utah Jazz take to the sky in scrimmage at Hill Air Force base

The most talent-rich basketball game ever played at Hill Air Force base finished 49-41, but the score was irrelevant.

For several hundred servicemen and women and their families who packed the fitness center bleachers and crowded the second-story rail above the court, it’s as close as they’ll ever get to the Utah Jazz.

The team played its first public scrimmage of the season Friday afternoon, to the applause and whistles of the Hill Air Force base faithful. It was a brisk visit — the Jazz were in and out within an hour and a half, during which they squeezed in a 32-minute scrimmage — but the team’s first scrimmage on the base was definitely relished.

The organization has partnered with the Davis County base (where some 26,000 Utahns work) several times in years past, but never played on its courts.

“I think it was really cool that they chose us to do their scrimmage,” spokesman Micah Garbarino said. “We’re rooting for them.”

The Jazz wished to express that they, too, were rooting for their audience. Coach Quin Snyder said the team talked pregame about the sacrifices of the people they were playing for.

“You can’t articulate the respect, admiration and appreciation we have for the service men and women and what they do on a daily basis for us,” Snyder said. “To be able to come here, play here, in the process of doing this, it gives you a chance to reflect.”

The most important game-related element of the scrimmage was the roll call: Twenty healthy Jazzmen arrived, and they all appeared to leave the same way. But the team did give some indicators of how they’ll look once the preseason begins Monday against the Sydney Kings.

One of the most noticeable factors was how Utah seemed to deliver on its promise to share the ball. Among the highlights were a court-length pass from Ricky Rubio to Joe Ingles; a behind-the-back dish from Raul Neto to Jonas Jerebko; a transition thread from Royce O’Neale to Neto; and many more.

One of the biggest recipients of the generosity was Rudy Gobert, who made the most of his 7-foot-9 wingspan by catching lobs around the rim. One of the early connections came on a no-look assist from Rubio, which seemed to bode well for their partnership this season.

It was also a promising afternoon for Derrick Favors, who finished a few tough buckets at the rim, and Alec Burks, who had a tomahawk dunk in the second half that drew audible “oohs” from the crowd. Both have been working their way back to health after missing chunks of last season.

Donovan Mitchell starred in Summer League, and in the rookie’s first public action with the full team, Snyder complimented his decision making, while acknowledging he’s still “figuring it out” on defense where he picked up fouls. Fellow rookie Tony Bradley also got kudos.

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Taylorsville, UTAH Bio-Hack Health Company Voted Top 10 Mineral Pill Dietary Supplement for Innovation

At Nimbus, we’ll stay focused on the roots. It’s science, not business.
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Taylorsville, UTAH Bio-Hack Health Company Voted Top 10 Mineral Pill Dietary Supplement for Innovation

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11-year-old boy injured in Taylorsville hit-and-run speaks

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — A father whose son was injured in a crash was among those who spoke up at a Taylorsville City Council meeting Wednesday.

“I don’t know if the city is putting it off and it’s going to take someone getting killed to make it happen or what to open their eyes and wake up,” said Ben Labrum of Taylorsville.

Ben addressed the Taylorsville City Council Wednesday, demanding they make the intersection at 6200 South and Margray Road safer for children after his son was hit by a truck and the driver fled the scene.

Residents say within 24 hours of that crash, three other accidents happened at the same intersection and for them that was the last straw.

“I’ve now gotten a little scared of being here,” said 11-year-old Brett Smith, who now has to use crutches to walk.

He doesn’t remember much of what happened in this crosswalk a couple of weeks ago while he was walking home from school, but his sister watched as he was hit by a truck and left in the road, while the driver sped away.

“I feel lucky I was able to survive,” Brett said.

Fortunately, Brett left the hospital with minor injuries. But it’s the what if’s that are haunting his family.

“My wife can’t even drive down the road, she can’t even look at this corner,” Labrum said.

Brett’s parents don’t want anyone else to go through this tragedy. So Ben went to the city council hoping for change.

“This area is a death trap,” Labrum told the council. “It’s not a matter of if our kids are going to get hurt: it’s when.”

Echoing a concern many residents in the area have had for years. The city council members say since Brett was hit they’ve been looking for solutions.

“We’ve already contacted UDOT and got some changes to the lights, we’re going to make sure that is done,” said Brad Christopherson, Taylorsville Council Chair.

The city is also conducting a safety assessment of the area to see what will be most effective to keep kids safe.

“It’s very unfortunate, we take public safety concerns very seriously and we are looking at that and there are a number of options we will take when we get the study back,” Christopherson said.

Residents say action needs to be taken now.

“I can’t even count how many accidents I’ve seen the four years that I’ve lived in this neighborhood, and it’s a matter of time before it happens again,” Labrum said.

The city says they’re going to have resource officers talk to the kids in nearby schools, urging them to use sky bridges where the crossing guards are.

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Battery explodes in student’s backpack at Taylorsville High

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – After a small explosion inside a Taylorsville High School classroom injured a handful of students, officials are trying to figure out how it happened.

According to the Granite School District, a small lithium battery caused the explosion. Witnesses reported seeing smoke coming out of a student’s backpack moments before the device shot out of the bag.

Officials say chemicals splattered on two students during the explosion. Both were treated at the scene, along with a third student, who they say inhaled smoke.

Tuesday, the school district is calling the incident ‘unintentional.’

"Students are carrying more and more electronic devices and other types of items and bringing them to school, and while they may not be utilizing them at school, they could be in their backpack, in their locker…" explained Granite School District spokesperson Ben Horsley. "We do not believe this was any sort of terroristic threat or that this was intentionally designed to harm people. This battery pack exploded," he explained.

Students say some of their classmates were speculating about what might have happened and would have appreciated more information from the school about why emergency crews were there.

"My friend posted something that said ‘RIP’ — rest in peace, and there was like two fire trucks… I don’t like the fact that I wasn’t informed. I mean, they should have told us — at least over the intercoms — that something was going on," said Ali Abbas, a student at Taylorsville High School.

For now, why the battery exploded remains a mystery.

This is a developing story. Updates will be posted as they become available.

A small electronic device exploded in class today at @TaylorsvilleHS A few students received minor injuries and were treated on scene. Cont.

— Granite School Dist. (@GraniteSchools) August 29, 2017

Students were not transported. Were released back to class. School is proceeding as normal. Media – please do not enter campus.

— Granite School Dist. (@GraniteSchools) August 29, 2017

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Utah vs North Dakota Preview

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Utah (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) opens the 2017 season by hosting a top 10 FCS squad in North Dakota (0-0, 0-0 Big Sky) out of the Big Sky Conference. This is the first time the two teams will play against each other. We have previewed the North Dakota offense and defense, we gave you three keys to the game, we made our picks, and told you how to watch, so let’s go to the 30,000 foot level and preview the game as a whole.

Strength versus strength

The North Dakota Fighting Hawks are a pro-style power running team, and they are facing a loaded Utah front seven. Utah returns all of their linebackers from 2016 and may have the deepest, most talented defensive line they have had in a long time. North Dakota features an All-American tailback in John Santiago, and he will be running behind an offensive line with four starters tipping the scale at 300 pounds or more. Can North Dakota get their rushing attack going against Utah’s front seven? Their offense is predicated on it, and the use the run to set up the pass with a lot of play action and some trick plays like flea flickers. If they cannot establish their running game, those types of plays in the passing game will not work as well.

Utah’s new offense against North Dakota’s defense

Utah will break in a new offense under new offensive coordinator Troy Taylor. Utah will likely throw the football more this year than any other year in the Pac-12. There will also be a new quarterback with true sophomore Tyler Huntley earning the starting job over senior Troy Williams, who was the starter last season. North Dakota likes to bring pressure, especially against inexperienced quarterbacks to try to pressure them into mistakes. The strength of the Fighting Hawks defense is their secondary with Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year Cole Reyes at strong safety. Sophomore cornerback Torrey Harris is another talented defensive back. He picked off three passes as a true freshman last season. The Utah offense is going to face a lot of blitzes and will be throwing at a secondary that tries to generate interceptions, which leads to the next point.

Watch the turnover battle

North Dakota led the Big Sky Conference last year in turnover margin. This is a team that takes the ball away from opponents on defense and is careful with the football on offense. Utah forced 31 turnovers last season, second in the Pac-12, and they were tied for second in the Pac-12 in turnover margin (+6), but they were died for last in turnovers with 25. With a new quarterback playing in a new offense, Utah could be at risk of turning over the football against this aggressive Fighting Hawks defense.

This is the first game of the year for both teams, so there is no game film for either team this season. This game should be a hard hitting, physical game. Both teams are cut from the same cloth so to speak. Utah historically has tried to establish the run on offense and stop the run on defense while winning the turnover battle. North Dakota plays football the same way. They may have different schemes to accomplish this with North Dakota running a pro-style offense and a 3-4 defense and Utah running a spread offense and a 4-3 or nickel defense, but they are trying to achieve similar results. Utah has a big talent advantage, so if they do not make too many mistakes, they should win comfortably.

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