ICYMI: The Top Seven Stories from the Second Half of July 2023

ICYMI: The Top Seven Stories from the Second Half of July 2023

From the potentially cranky/helpful rant of a seasoned communications pro to a surprising $43 billion figure shared by BofA Securities, we deliver our perspectives on each of the top 7 money stories in Utah for second half of the month (July 16th through the 31st).

Welcome to August, the surest indicator that we've entered prime vacation time here in America.

That said, mid-summer also tends to be a slower time, at least news-wise, especially on the business news front.

And yet, that is not what we are experiencing here at Utah Money Watch. Perhaps that's because we're focused on one of the top business economies in the United States. Or perhaps, maybe it's simply because we're convinced there are always stories to tell "out there."

Regardless, as noted below, here are what we feel are the Top 7 Stories in Utah for the second half of July 2023, based upon their actual or possible financial impact.

In addition, we also throw-in tidbits on 13 additional News Nuggets in the latter half of this writeup that we feel you might find useful too.

Story No. 7:   Why Are SO Many Companies Bad at PR?

Perhaps a bit self-serving, granted. But in our "humble opinion," the #7 most important story/opinion piece at Utah Money Watch was "A Journalist's Rant: Why Do So Many Firms Suck at PR?" during the 2nd half of July 2023.

If you missed it the first time around, we hope you'll take a few minutes to check it out now - if for no other reason than to see the five (5) Get-Started PR Tips shared in this OpEd by our Founder/Editor/Publisher, David Politis.

Story No. 6:   The $8.3 Million Backstory Behind a Years-Old Effort to Fix a Road in the "Middle of Nowhere" Utah

After years of wrangling, maybe even decades, the money necessary has finally been allocated to repair a potholed and washboarded 35-mile stretch of two-lane blacktop in westernmost Tooele County that serves as the only link to "civilization" for a particular tribe of native Americans.

That's why we hope you'll read, or re-read, "Years On, the Goshutes Finally Get an $8.3 Million Answer" - the news we have tapped as the 6th Most Important Money Story in Utah for the 2nd half of July 2023.

Story No. 5:   Global Health - Has it Gotten Better or Worse over the Past 20, 30, or 40 Years?

News and new insights can come from virtually anywhere, a truth reaffirmed recently from (of all places) a BYU Devotional delivered the day after the statewide holiday: Pioneer Day.

If you missed it, we hope you'll take a few minutes to review "SPEECH: Yes, Health Challenges Persist Globally, But Serious Progress has Been Achieved." - our take on the 5th Most Important Money Story in Utah for the 2nd half of July 2023.

Story No. 4:   Who Knew? Utah has Three of the Top Eateries in America.

Credit to Nation's Restaurant News for arguably being the top media company reporting about the restaurant and foodservice industries in the United States. So when it publishes its annual The Top 500 report, we pay attention.

Which, after some digging, is what led us to publish our own take driven by that report, namely - "Three Utah-HQ'd Chains Named Among the Top in the U.S. by "Nation's Restaurant News" - an item we believe to be the 4th Most Important Money Story in Utah for the 2nd half of July 2023.

We hope you'll spend a few minutes to review our report, including the notes from our exclusive interview with Kimo and Kalani Mack, the co-founder brothers behind Mo'Bettahs Hawaiian Style Food.

P.S.  Those Top 3 Utah-based "Eateries" saw their combined revenue reach nearly $1.2 billion in systemwide U.S. sales. Those three firms? Crumbl Cookies, Café Zupas, and Mo'Bettahs.

Story No. 3:   EnergySolutions' $60 Million Effort to Accelerate Growth Via the Bankruptcy Court

For the second time in under two months, a major Utah-based firm initiated efforts to grow by acquisition via the Bankruptcy Court.

Hence, "EnergySolutions Enters a $60 Million 'Stalking Horse' Agreement to Acquire Certain Assets from Williams Industrial Services Group in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Proceedings" has been ranked by Utah Money Watch as the 3rd Most Important Money Story in Utah for the 2nd half of July 2023.

We invite you to learn more about the efforts of one of Utah's largest, yet most "quiet" firms, to grow via acquisition in our writeup.

Story No. 2:   Hollywood's Suprise Summer Hit of 2023 Isn't from Tinseltown; It's from Provo, Utah.

In this writeup - "'Sound of Freedom' Continues to Surprise as it Takes 3rd Place Over the Weekend and Has Hit Nearly $125 Million in U.S. Ticket Sales" - we provide a follow-up on Angel Studios' surprise movie hit of 2023, a flick that has become the Talk of Tinseltown.

This "makes me wanna smile" and still-unfolding saga of Sound of Freedom earned this writeup the title of the 2nd Most Important Money Story in Utah for the 2nd half of July 2023. We hope you'll give it a look.

AND ... the No. 1 Story of the 2nd Half of July 2023 ... Don't Believe the Naysayers - Financial Transactions in Utah are NOT in the Toilet. In Fact, they're Better than Ever.

As we reported last week, in spite of what some "Nervous Nellies" might have you believe, the truth of the matter is that the level of financial transactions in Utah during the first half of 2023 surpassed all expectations.

So ... courtesy of the data we uncovered in the BofA Securities Utah Newsletter 1H' 2023 ... we produced "Hand-Wringing over Financial Activities in Utah During the First Half of 2023 is Definitely Overblown, BofA Securities Report Says."

Specifically, this BofA Securities report provides details behind the reality that Utah-based financial transactions - from acquisitions to debt financings - totaled over $43 billion in the first six months of 2023 ... an amount over 3.5X more than the 2022 total for all such Utah-based transactions during ALL OF last year.

Which is why we have named this news as the Number One Most Important Money Story in Utah for the 2nd half of July 2023.

So, if you haven't done so yet, we invite you to click on the link above to get the full skinny about the financial transactions experienced by Utah-based firms during the first half of 2023. Thanks.

P.S.  And one more thing: A special thanks to Sam Orme for sharing a copy of the BofA Securities report with us.  DLP

AND ... 13 Other News Nuggets you Might have Missed from the Second Half of July 2023

Last of all, there were several additional Utah-centric News Nuggets from the 16th to 31st of July that we wanted to also make sure hit your personal radar.

So ... not in any particular order, we give you 13 News Nuggets that may not have hit your radar during 16-31 July 2023:

According to the news release distributed by the D.A.'s office,

"The company (Evig, dba Balance of Nature) made false advertising claims for its dietary supplements, including that the supplements could reduce the risk of cancer."

Among other things, "The complaint alleged that Balance of Nature claimed that its products could prevent, treat, or cure serious diseases including diabetes, fibromyalgia, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer."

In its settlment, Evig/Balance of Nature agreed to pay $1.1 million in the false advertising case,

  • $850,000 in civil penalties and investigative costs, and
  • $250,000 in customer restitution.

{AUTHOR'S NOTE:  Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a Warning Letter on 20 August 2019 to Douglas L. Howard, named by the FDA as CEO of Evig LLC dba Balance of Nature, regarding certain Balance of Nature products that the agency claimed were

  • {Unapproved New Drugs/Misbranded Drugs,
  • {Adulterated Dietary Supplements, and
  • {Misbranded Dietary Supplements.}

Wow! Be aware, people.

Then, last of all, there are also two significant executive changes made recently at Bonneville International that I believe bear special mention here.

  1. Effective yesterday (1 August 2023), Tanya Vea has taken over the President and COO positions at Bonneville International, a promotion from her role as EVP of Content and Media Operations with the firm. Vea has been with Bonneville International various executive management positions since 2010.
  2. Additionally, Bonneville International also announced recently that Ruth Todd has joined the firm its EVP and Chief Communications Officer. Todd's career includes 25 years as a television reporter and anchor before she left the journalism side of communications to serve for several years as a spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prior to working with Nu Skin for the past nine-plus years.

For any not familiar with Bonneville International, it is one of nine subsidiaries of Deseret Management Corporation, the for-profit arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And within its ecosystem, Bonneville International encompasses 20 radio stations, one TV station, and over 50 podcast shows with over 85 million downloads to date.

In my opinion, I believe the appointment of these two very experienced and savvy executives signals the prospect of significant change within Bonneville International, as well as the potential for expanding the reach and impact of this powerful media company.

{NOTE:  I wrote "significant change," not rapid.}

Regardless, the "proof" (they say), will be "in the pudding." So for my part, I shall be watching.


Thanks for taking a minute to review this summary of the Top Seven money-related stories from Utah during the second half of July 2023.

As always, if you have a tip or story idea about an organization, individual, product, service, program, or policy you think we should be looking into, please drop us a note at David.Politis@UtahMoneyWatch.com. Thanks.  DLP