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Utah keeps tabs on its missing Cyber Monday tax revenue

In Utah, the best estimates peg the state as losing $120 million to $160 million a year in sales tax from “tax-free” Internet purchases.

Snowbasin day 1

Friday named 'Snowbasin Day' to honor valley's oldest resort

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell made an official declaration and snow lovers can get discounts through the season for visiting often.

BH 112415 Rainbow Gardens 014-13

Shop Local Saturday offers community deals

OGDEN – In the mood for a deal but don’t want to fight the crowds on Black Friday? Shop Local Saturday might be the perfect fit. The idea of Shop Local Saturday was created in 2010 with the idea that local stores would get a lift to counteract all the big-box store deals on Black Friday shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Jenny King-Francl, owner of Rainbow Gardens in the mouth of Ogden Canyon, and Kim Bowsher with the Historic 25th Street Alliance, value the extra foot traffic they get in their stores on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. “It’s always been one of our best shopping days,” King-Francl said. “People hit the big box stores and love to come here on Saturdays for a relaxed and fun shopping atmosphere,” she said. She always plans on great sales that day. Bowsher said many of the stores on Historic 25th Street are looking forward to a busy day. “Historic 25th Street retailers are kicking off the holiday season with extended shopping hours, in-store treats and special offerings. Most stores open at 11 a.m.,” Bowsher said. The shopping will continue through the Santa Run, which starts at 4:30 p.m., and into the evening while other downtown festivities are going on. “It’s nice that it’s got that more family feel, rather than chaotic retail madness,” Bowsher said. Local restaurants are getting on Shop Local Saturday too. Rooster’s, Union Grill and Lucky Slice are offering discounts on gift cards. Those deals will also be available on Black Friday, Bowsher said. Tona will offer gift card discounts on Black Friday only. Debra Peterson, owner of Ailuilia on 25th Street, said she enjoys seeing all the shoppers on Shop Local Saturday. “What I have is a quick in and quick out the door,” Peterson said. People can find what they want and not worry about long lines or not finding just the right thing. Vendors have created a Facebook page, Shop Local, Shop Small, Shop Historic 25th Street, where they are posting deals for Shop Local Saturday and Black Friday. According to a 2014 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 88 million people nationwide participated in some sort of Shop Local Saturday event. Shoppers are also reminded to shop with small online business owners or those who sell out of their homes. Ogden resident Stephanie Howerton is one who sells her clothing, jewelry and children’s line, “Our Children’s Earth” out of her home and online at her Etsy Shop. “LOCALFIRST is the coupon code in our Etsy shop for 20 percent off your entire order for Buy Local Saturday,” Howerton said. Her etsy address is Visit #Shop small on small business Saturday on Facebook, for links to nationwide small business sales.

Retail Holiday-2

The best places to shop on Black Friday 2015

Start your engines, Black Friday shoppers! To make sure you get the most bang for your buck, know which stores are offering the biggest discounts.  RELATED: What's closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday in Northern Utah According to a WalletHub survey, these are the top ten best retailers for Black Friday deals, in order of average biggest discounts offered: JCPenney 68.0 percent Kohl's 66.7 percent Stage 63.9 percent Groupon 63.7 percent Belk 59.5 percent Macy's 56.0 percent Kmart 50.1 percent Panasonic 47.0 percent Fred Meyer 45.3 percent Office Depot and OfficeMax 42.8 percent Where’s the worst place for Black Friday shopping? WalletHub says it’s Costco, with a measly 19.5 percent discount. And surprisingly, some of the most popular places to shop at on Black Friday didn’t even make the top 10 — with Target only offering a 37.3 percent average discount, and Wal-Mart offering 30.1 percent.  RELATED: What's open and closed on Thanksgiving? Franchises, restaurants Whether you’ll shop at Kohl’s or Target, a National Retail Federation survey reports you’ll be part of an estimated 135.7 million shoppers over the weekend — which is a little bit higher than the 133.7 million who shopped last year.  And how much are you planning on spending? According to the NRF, people spent an average of $380.95 per person Black Friday weekend in 2014.  You should also look out for the items predicted to be the best deals of the weekend — 60- and 65-inch 1080p TVs. ConsumerReports predicts secondary brands will fall to around $500, with some major brands in the $600 to $700 range. Contact digital producer Sonja Carlson at 801-625-4229 or Follow her on Twitter @sonjacSE and like her on Facebook at

National Business

Valdez resigns as director of local Catholic Community Services

She was at the post for more than 6 years. She will begin a job as the Davis Applied Technology College in the near future. 

Starbucks War on Christmas

Legislative prospects for Starbucks and alcohol murky

Legislative sentiment has been not to take any action that helps liquor sales, which makes the Starbucks proposal a tough sell.


Plans for alcohol, wine at Utah Starbucks on hold

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah liquor bosses say they want state lawmakers to rule on whether Starbucks is considered a restaurant before they give the coffee company permission to serve beer and wine at Utah cafes. Starbucks has applied to serve alcohol at five Utah locations but commissioners with the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control declined to vote on the issue at their Tuesday meeting. • RELATED: Starbucks hopes to sell beer and wine in 5 Utah locations Chairman John T. Nielsen says the commission questioned whether Starbucks can be considered a restaurant because its food is heated and served rather than prepared on site. Starbucks already offers beer and wine at 75 stores in 10 states as part of their “Starbucks Evenings” menu. Two representatives for the company at the commission’s meeting declined to comment Tuesday. Messages left with the company’s corporate office were not returned.

Coke Health Group

Emails reveal Coke's role in anti-obesity group

NEW YORK — A nonprofit founded to combat obesity says the $1.5 million it received from Coke has no influence on its work. But emails obtained by The Associated Press show the world’s largest beverage maker was instrumental in shaping the Global Energy Balance Network, which is led by a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Coke helped pick the group’s leaders, edited its mission statement and suggested articles and videos for its website. In an email last November, the group’s president tells a top Coke executive: “I want to help your company avoid the image of being a problem in peoples’ lives and back to being a company that brings important and fun things to them.” Coke executives had similarly high hopes. A proposal circulated via email at the company laid out a vision for a group that would “quickly establish itself as the place the media goes to for comment on any obesity issue.” It said the group would use social media and run a political-style campaign to counter the “shrill rhetoric” of “public health extremists” who want to tax or limit foods they deem unhealthy. When contacted by the AP about the emails, Coca-Cola Co. CEO Muhtar Kent said in a statement that “it has become clear to us that there was not a sufficient level of transparency with regard to the company’s involvement with the Global Energy Balance Network.” “Clearly, we have more work to do to reflect the values of this great company in all that we do,” Kent said. The Atlanta-based company told the AP it has accepted the retirement of its chief health and science officer, Rhona Applebaum, who initially managed the relationship with the group. It said it will not fill the position as it overhauls how it goes about its health efforts. It also said it has stopped working with the Global Energy Balance Network. It’s just the latest example of Coke working with outside experts to promote messages that benefit the company. Coke has long maintained that the academics and other experts it works with espouse their own views. But the collaborations can be fraught and blur the lines between advertisements and genuine advice. In February, several health and fitness experts paid by the company wrote online posts with tips on healthy habits. Each suggested a mini-soda as a snack idea. One dietitian wrote five such posts in less than a year. The Global Energy Balance Network came under fire in August after The New York Times reported it was funded by Coke. On Nov. 6, the University of Colorado School of Medicine said it was returning $1 million from the company because of the distraction it was creating. The University of South Carolina said it plans to keep $500,000 it received from Coke because one of its professors is also among the group’s leaders. The school said there was no misuse of funds. On its website, the Global Energy Balance Network says it received an “unrestricted gift” from Coke, but that the company has “no input” into its activities. Behind the scenes, however, Coke executives and the group’s leaders held meetings and conference calls to hash out the group’s mission and activities, according to emails obtained through a public records request. Early on, Applebaum informed the group’s president, James Hill, that those involved would need to be open about collaboration with private industry. “That is non-negotiable,” she wrote. Relatively minor matters, such as the group’s logo, were also covered. “Color will not be an issue — except for blue. Hope you can understand why,” Applebaum. Coke’s cans are red, while Pepsi’s are blue. “It seems like another one of these classic cases of money coming from industry with no strings attached — that’s the official message. But it’s a very different kind of story taking place,” said Leigh Turner, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Bioethics who studies academic integrity and conflicts of interest. The exchanges weren’t strictly limited to discussions about the group, and included Applebaum expressing approval or disapproval of health articles, and talk of other work with Coke. In an email to another Coke executive, Hill proposes research on “energy balance” that would be “very specific to coke interests.” Coke has long stressed the idea of “energy balance,” or the need to offset calorie intake with physical activity. It’s a basic concept few would disagree with, but critics say the company uses it to downplay the effects of sugary drinks by shifting more attention to the need for exercise. In an introductory video, one of the Global Energy Balance Network’s leaders said the media focuses on “eating too much, eating too much, eating too much — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on.” The video has since been taken down, and the group said the idea that it only focuses on physical activity is inaccurate. Hill declined a request for a phone interview, but said in an email that the group’s strategy benefits “all who are concerned about obesity.” He said Coke provided input into the group’s “organizational structure,” but that it was understood the company would be “hands off.” The group wants to continue its work, he said. Since 2010, Coke said it gave $550,000 to Hill that was unrelated to the group. A big part of that was research he and others were involved with, but the figure also covers travel expenses and fees for speaking engagements and other work. It does not include money from Coke’s overseas divisions or industry groups such as the American Beverage Association.