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AM News Brief: Pandemic Anxiety, Drought Conditions & 2024 March Madness In Utah

Photo of the Vivint SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City
Pablo via Flickr

Thursday morning, October 15, 2020

State

Getting Out Utah’s Latino Voters

Historically, white people have turned out to vote more than Black and Latino people nationwide. But a recent report from the Pew Research Center shows from 2010 to 2018, the number of eligible Latino voters in Utah grew by 65,000. Some activists in Utah say they’ve heard from Latino and Black voters that their votes don’t matter. So, community organizations are trying to push against that narrative and register people of color to vote. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Utah Remains In Drought Conditions

Warmer than normal temperatures permeated the western United States over the last week, mirroring the week prior, with temperatures ranging three to nine degrees higher than usual. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows parts of Utah still in “exceptional drought” — the most severe category. Much of the rest of the state is in “extreme drought.” Forecasters say much of the West likely will be dry through next Monday. After that, there is potential for cooler than normal conditions widespread from the Pacific Northwest to the western Great Lakes. — Diane Maggipinto

Northern Utah

Positive COVID-19 Cases Among Youth Put Many At Risk

Concerns over young people spreading COVID-19 to the older population are rising in tandem with Utah's daily case count. At a press conference Wednesday, Salt Lake County Health Department’s executive director Gary Edwards said children can be carriers of the virus without showing symptoms. He said officials are starting to see an increase in COVID-19 cases in parents of school children, and young people need to be vigilant about masks and social distancing in and out of school. Right now, four of the six school districts in Utah with the most active cases of the virus are in Salt Lake County. Among them, the Jordan School District has reported the most with just below 600. — Darienne DeBrule

University Of Utah To Host Two Future NCAA Events

The University of Utah has been awarded NCAA championship events in 2024 and 2025. In 2024, the U will host the first and second round of the March Madness basketball tournament. Games will be played in downtown Salt Lake City at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Then, in 2025, the NCAA women’s regional gymnastic tournament will also be held in Utah. That will take place at the Huntsman Center on the University Campus. — Ross Terrell

Region And Beyond

Navajo Heating Coal Program

A program that provides free coal to Navajos for home heating resumes this month. Many tribal members use coal as a heating source, but accessing it became harder after a mine in northeastern Arizona shut down last year. The Navajo Transitional Energy Company expanded its coal resource program to help fill the gaps. Coal tickets can be obtained through Navajo Nation chapters in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. One ticket equals one ton, and that coal must be picked up at the Navajo Mine near Farmington, New Mexico. — Associated Press

Pandemic Anxiety

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on our mental health. Several studies point out that symptoms of anxiety and depression are on the rise. One from the International Committee of the Red Cross found that the pandemic has negatively affected the mental health of one in two people worldwide. Marta Wosińska is with the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. She said as temperatures drop, the issue of mental health may be exacerbated even further as opportunities for socializing become more limited. Mental health experts say it will be important to find ways in the coming months to connect with loved ones while maintaining a safe distance. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau