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AJ Jacobs

RootsTech reaches out to family history veterans and newbies alike

SALT LAKE CITY – RootsTech 2016 is in full swing and this year the plan is to bring in all generations, no matter the age, to participate in family history. The family history conference is the largest in the world, boasting 25,000 participants at the Salt Palace and over 125,000 worldwide who will be streaming the conference online throughout the world. The theme of the conference is “Celebrating Families Across Generations.” Steve Rockwood, the new Chief Executive Officer for FamilySearch, the sponsor of RootsTech and the family history arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told a group of news media, bloggers and RootsTech ambassadors that RootsTech is the “studio audience” for the world of family history for the coming year. “And you’re a pretty big studio audience,” he said. As the new CEO he wants to see the world of family history bring all the great new technologies and innovations to a place where everyone can access the knowledge and information out there without getting frustrated. “We do great work with the infrastructure but we need to modernize it for teens and millennials…we need to bring in the newbies,” Rockwood said. Rockwood also plans to make family history work more of a worldwide endeavor. RootsTech officials are hoping the variety at the conference will do just that. There are classes geared toward all levels of family history knowledge, classes geared toward LDS members, and labs with hands-on training for those who are seeking general genealogy knowledge, not just LDS members. This year the conference will have the largest expo in its history with 360 different booths offering varying family history subjects and solutions. This year the conference has a youth ambassador, Ruby Baird, who is just 14 years old. Both Rockwood and Paul Nauta, marketing director for RootsTech, said she has caught the family history bug. They can see she is not alone. On Saturday, Feb. 6, nearly 7,000 youth will descend on the Salt Palace for a Family Discovery Day to learn more about how to get involved in family history. Rockwood would like to see people who already know and love family history to invite their close family members to get involved. “We want you to ask your brother or your sister what they are doing, what they want to do,” he said. Some classes at the conference will focus on that idea to help grow beginners. “It’s about people,” Rockwood said. FamilySearch also plans to make an announcement of new databases that will now be available to aid in family research sometime during the conference. Two years ago, FamilySearch joined with Ancestry, Find my Past and My Heritage to give free access to LDS church members to use their databases. Now more will be added. David Lambert is the chief genealogist for American Ancestors and has been a presenter and ambassador for RootsTech for the past few years. He wouldn’t miss the event. “The networking is really key here,” Lambert said. “You can have people at all levels of knowledge and everyone wants to help everyone,” he said. He knows that online contact for family history work is vital, but nothing beats human contact. The conference kicked off Wednesday with a special “Innovator Summit,” where family history innovators faced off in a competition presenting new ideas about how do to family history on all levels. Most have created an app or some kind of computer technology to aid in family history work. Semi-finals were held Wednesday, and the final six will face off Friday morning to a panel of judges and a live audience who will vote on the winner. The winner will get $100,000 in combined cash and prizes to further develop the winning innovation. More information about the competitors can be found on their website. This year the summit was bigger and more streamlined than it has ever been with more entrants and more interest, said Matt Misbach, a solutions architect with FamilySearch. Misbach was also running a “hack-a-thon” event where people can bring basic ideas for apps or computer programs and present to a group of technical experts to see if their idea can be developed into something more. “The idea is to have an idea be developed enough to make it to the Innovator Summit next year. It’s very grassroots,” Misbach said. He is excited with the direction RootsTech is going – reaching out to all generations. To find out more about RootsTech or to attend on Friday or Saturday, go to their website.

Lead BZ 020116 Vince Font Publishing 01

Ogden man opens publishing company to help local writers

OGDEN — Vince Font says there’s a flourishing community of writers in the Ogden area, but confusing and expensive avenues to getting a book published have stifled many Junction City authors. But by starting a small, grassroots micropublishing company, Font hopes he can help tear down the typical roadblocks many emerging authors encounter when trying to get their work disseminated. In January, Font launched “Get My Story Published,” a micropublishing channel based in Ogden that aims to get local authors in print by offering a broad range of what Font describes as affordable writing and publishing services.  “This is basically something I’ve been wanting to do for a couple of years,” Font said. “I had self-published some books of my own and the learning curve is just so difficult. One of the things I’ve come across is that there are a lot of people with great stories out there, but they don’t know the best way to tell them.”  • RELATED: Banned books to be read along 25th Street Friday In 2013, Font published American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman, a book that takes a deep look into the lives of Christopher Boyce and Andrew Daulton Lee, both American spies who were convicted of selling secrets to the Soviet Union. Font said publishing the book left him with a pile of lessons learned. He said writers usually hire separate companies to edit their manuscripts, design their book covers and format it for publication. Font says Get My Story Published will fulfill all the traditional publishing needs, but do it in one place. “What people end up paying for all these different services, usually ends up being pretty high,” Font said. “It can also be difficult to know exactly which (companies) to go with.” Font’s company offers several levels of editing, from basic proofreading to manuscript and character development, as well as manuscript formatting services for e-book and paperback formats. According to a press release from the company, writers can sign up for services separately or choose from three different publishing packages, which start at $400. The packages include publication to Amazon via Kindle, paperback, or both. Books are published to either the Get My Story Published imprint, or the company’s other publication imprint, Glass Spider Publishing. Font said writers will be paid royalties from their book sales and will retain all rights to their publications. “As a writer, allowing the authors to maintain ownership of their work was hugely important to me,” he said. The company will also offer custom book cover design. Font’s wife, Jane Font, is an area artist and owns Pandemonium Art Gallery, 155 Historic 25th St. She and a collection of other artists, like Ogden’s Chris Bodily, will be commissioned to design the cover art. [gmap=41.220660, -111.977442] Jane Font said Ogden’s creative art scene, whether it’s writing, photography, music, dancing or other forms, is growing.  • RELATED: Emerging local artist to exhibit Ogden landscapes • RELATED: Ogden hopes art work creates pedestrian corridor “Grassroots movements, whether they’re art-based or not, seem to come along with communities that experience lulls and then are kind of coming back up,” she said. “I think that’s what we’re seeing now in Ogden. You had this community that was in a lull for a while and because people maybe saw it as undesirable, rents were low and a lot of entrepreneurial-minded people were able to come in and get a foothold.” Font said he hopes his new venture will continue to cultivate Ogden’s artistic scene, particularly in the realm of the printed word. “There are so many great writers in Ogden,” he said. “I’d love for this city to become some sort of central hub for writers. I think the talent is out there.” For more information, go to You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at or at 801-625-4233. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook.  

Staghead Designs

Wood and antler make great wedding rings — neckties, not so much

An Ogden company is making wedding rings -- and maybe neck ties in the future -- out of deer antlers.

National Business

Earns Amazon

National conservative groups write to oppose Utah's online tax bill

A coalition of national conservative groups is opposing Utah lawmakers' efforts to collect sales tax for online purchases.

Cheap Oil Hurting Economy

Where to find lowest gas prices near Ogden on Jan. 27

OGDEN — As gas prices are dropping throughout the country, the Ogden area might finally be close to catching up with the national average. The American Automobile Association reports gas prices are dropping at the fastest rate in two months. The national average Wednesday, Jan. 27 was $1.828 per gallon, according to AAA. Several area gas stations are now selling below $1.80 per gallon, according to Gas Buddy, which reported an Ogden-area average of $1.933 on Wednesday. Here are the lowest prices per gallon for regular-grade fuel in the Ogden area according to Gas Buddy, which crowdsources prices based on reports from consumers in the area. $1.75 per gallon Sinclair - 4678 W. 1150 South, West Weber $1.79 per gallon Pilot - 1670 W. 12th Street, Ogden 7-Eleven - 1181 W. 12th Street, Ogden Flying J - 1172 W. 2100 South, Ogden $1.85 per gallon Shell - 3971 S. 1900 West, Roy (cash price) Chevron - 2000 W. Pioneer Road, Marriott-Slaterville Clubs (membership required) $1.69 per gallon Costco, 573 W. 100 North, West Bountiful $1.79 per gallon Costco, 3656 Wall Ave., Ogden Sam’s Club, 4949 S. 900 West, Riverdale Sam’s Club, 1055 W. Hill Field Road, Layton

jobs weekly post

Looking for a job? Medical coder, police officer

This is a list of recent job openings made available near Ogden. For a full list of all available openings, search for jobs in the classifieds section.

China Stock Market Slide-1

Q&A: Understanding the stock market drop with WSU's dean of business, economics

Jeff Steagall, the dean of Weber State University’s Goddard School of Business and Economics, talked with the Standard-Examiner to help Utahns understand the drop and how they should react.