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PM News Brief: Dealing with sexism, Mountain West depression & Virgin election results

Photo of a building in Virgin, Utah, that says Virgin, Utah, Elevation 3552.
Wikimedia Commons
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Preliminary election results for the town of Virgin show a shake up in top leadership. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Friday evening, Nov. 5, 2021

State

Utah women share experiences with sexism in the state 

A recent study from the Utah Women and Leadership Project looked at people’s experiences with sexism in the state. More than 800 women participated in the research. It found most respondents don’t think Utah men support putting them into leadership roles. A number of different views fell along religious lines. Compared to other faiths, Latter-day Saints were more likely to agree that Utah is making progress in gender equity. They also agreed more that women can find meaningful opportunities to thrive in Utah. The leadership project said it hopes this research will help equip folks with the tools to combat sexism. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Two men sentenced in Park City overdose death

A woman’s 2018 overdose death in Park City has now led to the imprisonment of two men. Zachary Westerman sold the woman –– identified as CC –– methamphetamine and heroin. Westerman was sentenced to three years in prison for his part in dealing the drugs and her death. Westerman told investigators his supply came from a man named Jimmy Astudillo. An undercover investigation led to Astudillo’s eventual arrest. He was recently sentenced to more than five years in prison. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

St. George bicyclists push for Complete Streets

St. George bicyclists packed the city council meeting Thursday night. They thanked leaders for new buffered lanes that recently opened downtown, but they still want more protections. Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance and other community members are asking the city council to pass a Complete Streets policy by the end of the year. It would require the city to think about all modes of transportation — like bikes and wheelchairs — when constructing new roads. Advocates say St. George’s climate and trails make it an ideal place for active transportation. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Results of the Virgin election

Preliminary election results for the town of Virgin show a shake up in top leadership. Write-in mayoral candidate Jean Krause is ahead of the incumbent Mayor, Matt Spendlove, by 13 votes. KUER reported on the importance of this election for the small town just outside of Zion National Park. Candidates were split on whether they should allow more tourism resort development and where it would go. Krause and one of the winning candidates have been involved in referendum efforts to stop tourism development. Two council seats were also up for grabs. Candidates from each side of the debate seem to have earned a spot. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Mountain West residents dealing with serious depression and anxiety

A recent poll asked if Mountain West residents had been having serious problems with depression, anxiety, stress or trouble sleeping over the past few months, and 51% of households said yes. The poll was conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. That mirrors the national rate. But experts said certain factors in our region do contribute to mental health struggles. Our rugged individualism can make it hard to ask for help. Plus, extractive and seasonal economies can cause folks to move around a lot and weaken their social bonds. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

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