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Alpine School District creates winter weather policy before Utah sees another 'snowpocalypse'

The Alpine School District Board of Education approved a policy Tuesday allowing for schools to be closed, have delayed starts or an early release in the case of unsafe weather after a lack of a snow day several months ago caused outrage in the district.

“I want to thank the superintendent and members of the cabinet for dealing with this before another snowpocalypse like we had this year, so we have proper procedures to deal with that instead of Twitter pages and Instagrams being full of what they are doing in school,” Sarah Beeson, a member of the board, said during the meeting.

In February, parents and students took to social media after the district didn’t declare a snow day when the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory and educational entities to the north, such as the University of Utah, Canyons School District and the Jordan School District canceled school.

Weather can vary throughout the Alpine School District, including in the valleys and up in the benches. The new winter weather policy would allow for closures, early releases and delays at the district, cluster and school levels for weather or safety reasons.

Under the new policy number 1800, potentially unsafe weather conditions would be reported to the district’s superintendent in order for them to make a decision by 10 p.m. the night before a potential closure, release or delay. In the case of unexpected safety hazards, weather conditions will be assessed and reported to the superintendent by 5 a.m. the day of so they can make a decision by 5:30 a.m.

Under a two-hour delay, bus pick up times and the school day will be pushed back by two hours after a school’s normal start time. School would still end at the normal times. Breakfast would not be served and lunch would be provided on a delayed-start schedule. All kindergarten and preschool classes would be canceled.

An emergency two-hour day would never be declared on a Monday. Because Monday schedules are already abbreviated, schools would be closed, instead.

Employees would be expected to arrive at the schools as soon as safely possible.

For an early release, elementary and middle school students would be kept at schools until parents and guardians are notified and pick up the children. Students who are 15 years old or older can be released without parental notification if authorized by the school’s principal.

In the case of a school closure, the first day of spring break is designated as a makeup day.

Parents and guardians will be notified of delays, closures and early releases through the district’s communications systems. Announcement would also be made on the district’s social media accounts and through local media.

The policy has been in the works for about two months with the aim to get ahead of winter weather, Kimberly Bird, a spokeswoman for the district, told the board during the meeting.

Ada Wilson, a member of the board and the policy committee, said the policy creates more options.

“I wanted to point out that it does open up and give the superintendent a bigger window for making a judgement and I just really appreciate the flexibility that it gives him and he is still where the buck stops,” Wilson said during the meeting.

Wilson said the plan still allows for parents to decide to keep their children home if schools are open and they don’t think it’s safe for them to go to school.

Lehi's tallest building opens with fanfare at Traverse Ridge Center Business Park

Perry and Associates cut the ribbon on its newest development Tuesday morning, the Traverse Ridge Center Business Park. The building now also holds the title of the tallest in Lehi at nine stories.

Eric Smith, Senior Vice President at CBRE and the lead leasing agent for the new building, described the 220,000-square-foot building as a high rise. It’s part of a 22-acre property owned by Perry and Associates. Smith said the building took just 18 months to construct and is unique in several ways, namely its built out of concrete, allowing for higher ceilings and less support columns so floors have unrestricted panormaic views.

The building also features its own parking garage for future tenants to use, a gym, a bike share program so employees can utilize nearby bike trails, and it is also adjacent to a promised future UTA TRAX station.

“It really is just a testament to how Lehi has become a center for a lot of companies to be able to maximize the opportunity for employees,” Smith said, referring to how the location is able to pull from both Salt Lake and Utah County talent pools. “Companies have to be strategic about where they locate.”

With lots of natural light, car charging station and the other amenities offered on site, Smith said the building also will create an environment that helps employees enjoy coming to work.

Several leases have already been signed, bringing on big name tenants like Microsoft, Solar Winds, and Spaces, which provides coworking space. Smith said there are other leases that are ready to be signed by companies yet unnamed.

“Whenever you put a project like this together, there’s a lot of work and a lot of effort and a lot of sleepless nights at times, but it’s been well received,” Smith said. “Tenants have been excited.”

Lehi Mayor Mark Johnson said he’s pleased the building has already attracted good tenants, and also complimented the architectural design of the building.

“It’s a beautiful building,” Johnson said. “It fits in well with the landscape here and the other buildings that are here. So they’ve done good.”

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox spoke at the opening, focusing on the growth of Lehi and citing statistics about Utah County’s growth and growth in the state of Utah. He said he didn’t guess how exactly growth would happen, but “I had a vision that this place was going to grow.”

Bill Perry, Sr., founder of Perry and Associates, cut the ribbon after speeches by Cox and Matt Swain, vice president of commercial development and Perry and Associates.

“The state government ... they’ve been extremely cooperative and helpful. It’s easy to make business work in Utah,” Perry said. “The (residents) of the state don’t fight it, they encourage it. And the result (is) our growth has been outstanding and will continue to be so as long as the attitudes and the vision remains to be the same.”

Both Perry and Swain also acknowledge in their comments that not only the physical building, but Lehi’s growth is made possible by many groups of professionals, including contractors, subcontractors, tenants and so on.

“Building are built by individuals for individuals,” Swain said.

Isaac Hale Daily Herald 

Brigham Young University senior tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau poses for a portrait during the football program’s photo day Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, at BYU’s Indoor Practice Facility in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

More Utah women are serving on state government boards, UVU study finds

The number of women serving on Utah state boards and commissions has increased by 4.6% since 2016, a new study from Utah Valley University’s Utah Women and Leadership Project has found.

According to the study, 995 of 3,045 seats of 345 government boards are filled by women, meaning women hold 32.7% of the total seats. A 2016 study by the same organization found that 692 women, 28.1%, held seats on the 295 boards where member listings were available.

The biggest increases in women’s leadership occurred in the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, a jump from 8% to 21%; the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 33% to 44%; the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, 18% to 30%; and the Utah Insurance Department, 15% to 33%.

Some divisions experienced decreases in the percentage of seats held by women, including the Utah State Treasurer, dropping from 20% to 6%; the Utah Department of Commerce, 13% to 8% and the Department of Technology Services, 27% to 13%.

A number of boards and commissions lost all female members between 2016 and 2019. The Utah Department of Human Resource Management dropped from 50% of seats held by women to zero, the Utah Department of Financial Institutions from 19% and the Public Service Commission from 10%.

Overall, the percentage of exclusively male boards and commissions has decreased from 28% in 2016 to 22.6% this year.

More than 17% of boards and commissions have a female-member majority, up 4.4% from three years ago. And 5.5% have an equal number of seats held by men and women, which is a 2.5% increase.

The study’s authors, UVU organizational leadership professor and director of the women’s leadership project Dr. Susan Madsen and graduate research assistant Megan Roper, note that women continue to have a strong presence on what are stereotypically viewed as “female-focused” boards, such as the Utah State Board of Nursing and the Certified Nurse Midwifery board.

Women have an increased presence on boards that focus on children and youth, such as the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice and the Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers with Special Needs.

“Developments in the last few years are genuinely encouraging, yet many state agencies still have little gender diversity on their boards,” Madsen and Roper wrote about their findings. “Meaningful, lasting change will only come in Utah as we move from an unconscious bias to conscious inclusiveness. And we still have much more work to do.”

The report includes a number of recommendations on how Utah can continue to improve female representation in state agencies and divisions.

First, Madsen and Roper suggest that agencies actively reach out to diverse candidates and encourage involvement by widely advertising open positions. Agencies should, additionally, incorporate unconscious bias training for the committees overseeing board appointments.

Next, they recommend that state legislators encourage female appointments and for Utahns to nominate women for open seats.

Finally, state government agencies “can curb the negative effects of conscious and unconscious bias by collecting, analyzing, and publishing data on board diversity.”

Madsen said that she is happy that there has been movement towards equal representation since the 2016 study was conducted.

“I was actually pleased (to see) that we (are) going in the right direction and had made some progress,” said Madsen. “We still need to do some more, but overall I was glad that there had been some progress made.”

As for what has contributed to the change, Madsen said that it is a combination of “conscious discussion” by agencies to include women and efforts by women’s leadership groups to increase female representation in state government.

“There’s more awareness that there are benefits when you have men and women working together,” the UVU professor said.

Graduate research assistant Susan Perkins and undergraduate intern Karen Deardeuff collected data for the 2019 report.