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Meet Neva, the newest polar bear at Utah’s Hogle Zoo

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(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Neva, a 5-year-old female polar bear, explores her new home in the Rocky Shores exhibit at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.

About a year after Hogle Zoo’s two female polar bears moved away, a new one has arrived in Utah as part of a specialized breeding program.

Zookeepers hope 5-year-old Neva will bond with Nikita, a 15-year-old male bear who came to the zoo last spring from North Carolina.

Neva — whose name means “white snow” in Spanish, and matches the name of a river in Russia — comes from The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, where she lived with her half-sister, Amelia Gray. According to that zoo’s general curator, Mike McClure, the two bears had reached a point in their development where they needed new opportunities.

“Bears, just like us, continue to grow,” said McClure in a video posted by The Maryland Zoo on its Facebook page, which shows Neva and Amelia Gray swimming and snoozing together.

Since Neva grew up with a twin brother, Nuniq, and is accustomed to being around male bears as a result, there’s a good chance that she will get along with Nikita, according to a news release from Hogle Zoo.

Both bears are curious and playful. But it could still take several months for them to get to know each other, and they may never cohabitate, since polar bears are naturally solitary animals, the release states.

So far, Neva is doing well and has slowly been getting used to her new home in Hogle Zoo’s Rocky Shores exhibit, animal care supervisor Kaleigh Jablonski said. Rocky Shores is also home to sea lions, grizzly bears, river otters, fish and harbor seals.

Neva comes to the Salt Lake City zoo as part of the same Species Survival Plan that brought Nikita to Utah last year. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums program electronically matches animals from different zoos, most of which are endangered or threatened.

Polar bear populations are declining. Known by the Latin name Ursus maritimus, or “sea bear,” polar bears are normally found along the coasts and sea ice of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia and Norway but are under threat from climate change.

Changes Coming to Polar Bear Watch

Changes are coming to Polar Bear Watch this fall.nLearn more: https://bit.ly/3oxHQZe

Posted by The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on Tuesday, October 5, 2021

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Spencer Cox took over the top job in January 2021, he unveiled an ambitious blueprint for his first 500 days in office dubbed the “One Utah Roadmap.” It focuses on six priorities: economic advancement, education innovation and investment, rural matters, health security, equality and opportunity and streamlining state government. The plan was updated to version 2.0 in October."},{"_id":"WSR7F7SOU5GI5F3M7DENXRVKMQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640647080213,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Aspirational pursuits are always good politics but often give way to the cold reality of turning vision into concrete public policy. What has the Cox administration accomplished in its first year?"},{"_id":"D73NJK7QAJBILL6LRAZXUVH7JA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640647080218,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Using both public and internal documents, The Salt Lake Tribune dug into many of the promises in the One Utah Roadmap to see how Cox did in meeting his own goals during the first year, examining Cox’s efforts to increase diversity in the government, the state’s COVID-19 response, Utah’s economy, how Cox’s policies impacted rural Utah and public lands, tribal issues and public education."},{"_id":"XDSECOJAKNDNTBN4IL2AQTTX2E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640795115625,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The documents reveal an ambitious agenda, but so far Cox’s term has been defined largely by what legislators want to get done."},{"_id":"YJUR3IOO2VGMVNUHP2UCQW467U","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640795115626,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"This year, much like last, has been shaped by pandemic. Cox has largely avoided conflict with the Legislature and ceded much of his health emergency powers to them by signing the “pandemic endgame bill.” He has avoided the mask debate and focused on encouraging vaccinations. He stopped giving updates on the virus in August and he’s supported the Legislature’s attempt to derail President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate."},{"_id":"WLYVKS3J5JCCNPPPCU7MOWDLLQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640795115627,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Cox has succeeded in bringing more diversity into his administration, and embraced words like “equity” or “diversity,” but critics say he’s also been tepid on confronting racism directly, as when he didn’t mention racism in his response to the suicide of 10-year-old Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor, who was reportedly being bullied at her Utah school for being Black and autistic."},{"_id":"HUSB3URTBBB37PBAHL7RVOUHNY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640795115628,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"As drought bit the state hard, Cox encouraged conservation and allocated money to saving the Great Salt Lake in his budget proposal. But language mentioning climate change and air pollution is noticeably absent in the One Utah Roadmap. The documents show Cox wants to find ways of supporting Utah’s rural areas and that he wants to prioritize access and “multiple use” on public lands."},{"_id":"IP7ASPMPARCALGUVIFNR2GJK2U","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640795115629,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"From the outside, Cox’s biggest win is the economy, which is roaring despite the pandemic, and an area he is eager to celebrate."},{"_id":"BVOFEWOA3ZE25MK2RNT3JIBHYQ","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"_id":1640732502158,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Leaning into the economy and pushing vaccines"},{"_id":"7AZQYIMWYBDMBGNHXEWBZFFB6A","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640647080214,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Like his predecessor, Cox is leaning hard into the state’s economic successes, which have continued despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."},{"_id":"EJIQAJ2CSBGEVPXZBW76QIZHPE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640647080215,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“During the ongoing pandemic, Gov. Cox kept schools open and the economy growing. Utah’s economy is now ranked the best in the nation with the lowest unemployment rate in state history,” Jennifer Napier-Pearce, his spokesperson, said in a statement."},{"_id":"UZXG6A2LGBAIPBOZ2VAHP7BNE4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640728601143,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Utah’s rainy-day reserves have increased under the Cox administration primarily due to the large budget surplus that materialized during the pandemic."},{"_id":"YGLOTLPE2FGXZDZNGUDAJCVPPQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640728601144,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Not all of that is Cox’s doing. Under state law, a chunk of those surplus funds is required to be deposited into one of two reserve accounts at the end of each fiscal year. That includes 25% of excess funds in the state’s general fund and 25% of excess funds in the education fund. The state currently has about $1.07 billion in rainy day funds between its general, education, Medicaid and disaster recovery reserves. That’s up from $834.6 million in 2020."},{"_id":"QAPZ5SJPXREA7BS7RODUH447AU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640728601145,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We’re well-positioned with our budget this year. We’ve actually recommended setting aside additional funds to go into the rainy day balance again,” Sophia Dicaro, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget said. “We want to be prudent with the resources we have and, I think, luckily, the legislature has been on the same page of that.”"},{"_id":"WH7LD67FNFGNLPB37JRXN7PN54","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640728601146,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Legislative leaders voted to set aside an additional $57 million for the rainy day funds in next year’s base budget, which is mirrored in Cox’s 2023 budget proposal."},{"_id":"J57FWPSV6JAZLNAULG4YIPHY4U","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640647080216,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Napier-Pearce touted the state’s successes in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccines, noting 2.1 million Utahns had received at least one dose with 4.5 million total doses administered. She added Cox’s water conservation and fire prevention efforts had an impact on the drought, saving billions of gallons of water and decreasing the number of wildfires this year by half."},{"_id":"3UWMI2GOZRFWLAT4Q3Z74L5WRE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640647080217,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“As a believer in the power of proximity, Gov. Cox has visited rural towns monthly, performed quarterly hands-on service projects with cabinet and senior staff, and met with many members and leaders of Utah’s diverse multicultural communities. He’s also created a unifying, data-driven vision for state government,” Napier-Pearce added."},{"_id":"EGL72NP55ZA2NBFT4WR3QTKUIA","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"_id":1640732502167,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The Legislature sets the agenda"},{"_id":"OMLHZDUXBJA7BAU7KKFAAI2QJM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640647080219,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But any progress made in the last year mostly came because Cox was able to get lawmakers on board. As legislative leaders are fond of pointing out, the Legislature sets the policy for the state while the governor’s job is to carry it out."},{"_id":"FR5KAPFPMFAPJG6HL5LYZ723K4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640647080220,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"If you ask Gov. Spencer Cox and legislative leaders, his first year in office has been marked with great cooperation between the two branches of government. It indeed started that way."},{"_id":"UI6PVEGYJVBVNAZWXVC54SYNOE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640633711872,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Cox worked closely with leaders and lawmakers before last year’s general session. Cox and members of his incoming administration met with Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate several times following his election victory. One noteworthy meeting with House Republicans stretched nearly four hours."},{"_id":"6MOVP6IBMRHDRMBMJ4HS7HVLZM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640633711873,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“That’s the longest amount of time the executive branch has spent with our caucus in the last decade,” House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said following the Nov. meeting."},{"_id":"75VDKBAE3ZAGJBN573636W5GRU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640633711874,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Cox’s first budget proposal reflected that spirit of cooperation, mainly mirroring priorities laid out by lawmakers before he took office."},{"_id":"LIOQY2RZLBDUHHZL75EU3X2Y2A","type":"list","list_type":"unordered","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"items":[{"_id":"P5QR6NASIJBL5N6I5VQPGATBGI","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"block_properties":{},"content":"Cox proposed $112 million in one-time bonuses for teachers for their work during the pandemic, while the Executive Appropriations Committee prioritized $121 million for that purpose in December before Cox had been sworn in.","type":"text"},{"_id":"YEYXQGOXL5GZ7DBBYP76WLLTD4","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"block_properties":{},"content":"Cox asked for $350 million in funding to double-track the FrontRunner commuter rail, a proposal that was already on the Legislature’s list before the session started.","type":"text"},{"_id":"AC7VEOXHBZFAVJ7EG6T2LWEME4","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"block_properties":{},"content":"Cox proposed $80 million in tax cuts which wasn’t much of a risk as Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, proclaimed the 2021 session “the year of the tax cut” before it began. Lawmakers eventually settled on $100 million in tax relief.","type":"text"}]},{"_id":"LTJNBMFBQRGO7DBZRSVCTHCD3Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640633711876,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The two branches began to diverge over the state’s pandemic response. After a right-wing backlash to pandemic restrictions and lockdowns, lawmakers moved to rein in the governor’s emergency powers. There wasn’t much Cox could do as the GOP supermajority muscled through those changes by veto-proof margins. Those changes handcuffed state officials earlier this year as COVID-19 cases began to surge again."},{"_id":"IJ7DNMZ3FRAC3G3PBIDEB7QTOA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640633711877,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Cox also said he had “no choice” but to agree to the Legislature’s move to lift the state’s mask mandate on April 10, part of the so-called “pandemic endgame” bill. Cox wanted to keep the mask requirement in place until every adult in the state had a chance to get a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but lawmakers did not want to wait. Again, the bill passed with a veto-proof majority."},{"_id":"CEKLOD5R5BHPNPLZTCMYCBAQOM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640804253300,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"In May, Cox and lawmakers clashed over what to include on a special legislative session agenda. Lawmakers furiously lobbied Cox to include resolutions targeting the teaching of critical race theory in Utah’s schools and declaring the state a “2nd Amendment sanctuary.” The governor angered GOP legislators when he refused the request. Ultimately, they defied him by holding an “extraordinary session” to pass the resolutions."},{"_id":"P2QJOUTCJVHNNNILQH5KWJNWBE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640804253301,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Before the start of the current school year, Cox was toying with the idea of reinstating a mask mandate to slow the spread of the virus in classrooms, especially as cases were on the rise again. Cox pleaded with lawmakers to work with him to find a solution since any potential action he could take would likely be overturned by lawmakers in short order. Lawmakers promised to form a working group to collaborate with Cox, but there’s no indication that either side has followed through."},{"_id":"QUY7CMY5UZHEBJXCLXU5JIIL7U","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640633711880,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"It’s not all conflict between the executive and legislative branches. Cox and lawmakers are in accord over the Biden administration’s decision to reinstate the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. The state has mounted a legal challenge to that expansion."},{"_id":"NWQNPWHITRD5LFB4SU4PN6OYP4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640633711881,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The governor and Legislature are unified on pushing back against the government mandating vaccinations against COVID-19. The state has joined several multistate lawsuits against the Biden administration’s rules requiring the vaccine for government employees and testing or vaccinations for large private employers. They’ve also moved to weaken any vaccine requirements."},{"_id":"HVGBORINC5GZ5CMJNRER6KOXXM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640804253304,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But that comity only goes so far. Cox has promised to block any legislation to prevent private employers from requiring the vaccine for employers. There are already two proposals for the 2022 session to limit the ability of private companies to require vaccinations for employees and customers."},{"_id":"CQ7I6B5ALFCSFGGBQQL5FTRQXU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"— Tribune reporter Kim Bojórquez contributed to this article."}],"created_date":"2021-12-27T19:17:22.958Z","revision":{"revision_id":"IJAHENFPZZEEBLCXJDDUYKRRHE","parent_id":"AXTYI6N2VFGG5EQXNFH7MKZM2E","editions":["default"],"branch":"default","user_id":"jparrott@sltrib.com","published":true},"last_updated_date":"2022-01-03T21:57:19.273Z","headlines":{"basic":"How Gov. 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The game is developed by the Therapeutic Games and Apps Lab at the U. based on research by Dr. Sarah Shizuko Morimoto, an associate professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences."},{"_id":"VEE2FXTFVJBWNJUUR7M5IJY6GA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971715,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The $7.5 million grant will fund two clinical studies — one at the U. and one at the University of Connecticut. Researchers now face a critical testing period to further assess the efficacy of the game that will determine how it may be distributed in the future, including as a potential medical treatment."},{"_id":"E5VXMKVS6JDDTLHL3C5TSBI4QA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971716,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Morimoto and her team received the grant in April and began the clinical trials in August. She said receiving the grant marked “the crowning achievement” of her career."},{"_id":"KSPYE4VAHNEGPISTXNX5WYFY5E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640115500876,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We’re doing the work of medicine here,” said Roger Altizer, director of digital medicine at the Center for Medical Innovation. “And it just happens to be with software instead of with pills.”"},{"_id":"PRT5MCGWQJAVDK44TNP5FUIDBQ","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"_id":1640119140563,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"On the first try"},{"_id":"V3LSFMPLBFGQ3JXUMNSGLCQIQI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640115500851,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Morimoto has dedicated more than a decade to exploring how video games may revitalize damaged circuits in the frontal lobe that can block the effectiveness of antidepressant medication. She began working on the project in 2007 at the Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry, run by Dr. George Alexopoulos, a top researcher in the field of geriatric depression."},{"_id":"KPJOEAU3MRGJBKJ4X52FBIUNAY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971720,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Morimoto said that the recovery mechanism in the brain that helps people overcome depression can erode as they get older. Known as the “disuse atrophy hypothesis,” the degradation could be counteracted by targeting and rebuilding aging circuits."},{"_id":"OIPUN5W6MBG7FPWQ4FLBWWMRYE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971721,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Morimoto compared the circuits in the brain to a phone line. If the line is cut, it doesn’t matter how much signal boosting happens at either end of the phone call: The line needs to be repaired. Antidepressants can help to improve a patient’s mood, but without the proper cognitive infrastructure, the medication is ineffective."},{"_id":"ACJIOZORBJCCJD7ZYKMEGETCSU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971722,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We’re kind of artificially coming in from the outside and making you work out these parts of the brain,” Morimoto said."},{"_id":"SQ4NLUAP4RAVZNOFK4XDB2HLLI","additional_properties":{"fullSizeResizeUrl":"/resizer/dNrJhypEhhHKKFFlA195tPJJsbs=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-sltrib/public/SQ4NLUAP4RAVZNOFK4XDB2HLLI.jpg","galleries":[],"ingestionMethod":"manual","keywords":[""],"mime_type":"image/jpeg","originalName":"Neurogrow TwoFlowers.jpg","originalUrl":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/SQ4NLUAP4RAVZNOFK4XDB2HLLI.jpg","owner":"csamuels@sltrib.com","proxyUrl":"/resizer/dNrJhypEhhHKKFFlA195tPJJsbs=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-sltrib/public/SQ4NLUAP4RAVZNOFK4XDB2HLLI.jpg","published":true,"resizeUrl":"/resizer/dNrJhypEhhHKKFFlA195tPJJsbs=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-sltrib/public/SQ4NLUAP4RAVZNOFK4XDB2HLLI.jpg","restricted":false,"takenOn":"2020-08-11T16:00:22Z","thumbnailResizeUrl":"/resizer/MKBsQ5XRkrAT6U5zkv4ainIgYxE=/300x0/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-sltrib/public/SQ4NLUAP4RAVZNOFK4XDB2HLLI.jpg","version":0,"template_id":335,"_id":"DJXA66SQRNGLVAHZ7LJOK76V4M","comments":[]},"address":{},"caption":"(Image courtesy of Sarah Shizuko Morimoto) Dr. Sarah Shizuko Morimoto developed Neurogrow and a number of other games to help older adults battling depression.r","created_date":"2020-08-11T16:10:55Z","credits":{"affiliation":[]},"height":1246,"image_type":"photograph","last_updated_date":"2020-08-11T16:10:55Z","licensable":false,"owner":{"id":"sltrib"},"source":{"additional_properties":{"editor":"photo center"},"edit_url":"","system":"photo center"},"status":"","taxonomy":{},"type":"image","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/SQ4NLUAP4RAVZNOFK4XDB2HLLI.jpg","version":"0.10.3","width":1922,"syndication":{"external_distribution":"","search":""}},{"_id":"RD6DMUCPPZAWXNNA5FNXTFHY4Q","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971723,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"In an early clinical trial before Morimoto came to Utah, the game was tested against antidepressants with patients who hadn’t previously responded to medication. Between 60% to 70% of patients reported that the game provided at least some relief, Morimoto said. She ran another clinical trial, this time testing the game against a generally stimulating computer program, and found that 60% to 70% of patients reported a 50% reduction in their depression symptoms."},{"_id":"EWWTAOIA5VALZL4GESZSKJICBA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640889989181,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Morimoto approaches aging like a brain disease and takes a targeted approach to help people stay functional and enjoy the rest of their life."},{"_id":"AWYFTNUKGVDSLB5NEX5MEC2ZOQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640115500886,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“I hate it when people say. ‘Oh, I’m rejuvenating your brain,’ or, ‘We’re gonna make you young again’,” Morimoto said. “That isn’t what we’re doing at all. We are strengthening your ability to utilize these parts of your brain that have become less useful as you age.”"},{"_id":"HOVSQ4HFXVB7LF6CLD6VNMDZRQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971724,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Morimoto was running another clinical trial at the U. when COVID-19 shutdowns began in March 2020. She stopped the trial to protect her patients and applied for the National Mental Health Institute grant using data obtained in that trial."},{"_id":"EN4NREUWLZGCXJWDQJNKMZDJXM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971725,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Typically, a prescription molecule or a psychotherapy treatment will be tested against a placebo and will remain exactly the same throughout a clinical trial, but Morimoto knew that Neurogrow would have to be updated often to treat people effectively."},{"_id":"IVOG3UMUWFBN3IZWBHHZLPIQ3E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971726,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“Asking research reviewers to accept that we’re saying, ‘Hey, we want to test the efficacy of this, but we’re not going to tell you exactly what it’s going to look like at the end’ — that’s a hard concept to get behind,” Morimoto said."},{"_id":"KKDVZYQNSNEXTCV42JJL46SRPM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971727,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Morimoto wrote the request for the grant “from the heart,” against the advice of some researchers she knew. In medical research, it’s common for grant providers to ask researchers to update their methodology upon their first request for funding, Morimoto said. The National Mental Health Institute approved Morimoto’s request for the five-year grant on her first attempt."},{"_id":"UPAGV4U6CBAINBF6RZPH6IBSDY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640115500857,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We got it on the first try, which was extremely exciting, and also scary,” Morimoto said."},{"_id":"4OB6EHYQZZHIXH45VLTIJHTKBE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640889989188,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Morimoto received the news in October of 2020 and is working with the University of Connecticut to conduct the trial at two sites, which means she will not be able oversee day-to-day operations at one site — an important test for how effective Neurogrow can treat patients on its own."},{"_id":"M4LNP2CA55HZVBTBXPHFUK3U6I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640115500865,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“For me, it’s anxiety. Constant anxiety, because, you know, it’s my baby,” Morimoto said."},{"_id":"GBY5YBT64RCJXC2WCBBQLJV6DI","additional_properties":{"fullSizeResizeUrl":"/resizer/b3b_L2e3RhvdYzs4dqBfNEYZMBQ=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-sltrib/public/GBY5YBT64RCJXC2WCBBQLJV6DI.jpg","galleries":[],"ingestionMethod":"manual","iptc_job_identifier":"UTSAC","iptc_title":"STAFF","keywords":["neuro grow"],"mime_type":"image/jpeg","originalName":"Neuro Grow fk 1248.jpg","originalUrl":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/GBY5YBT64RCJXC2WCBBQLJV6DI.jpg","owner":"fkjolseth@sltrib.com","proxyUrl":"/resizer/b3b_L2e3RhvdYzs4dqBfNEYZMBQ=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-sltrib/public/GBY5YBT64RCJXC2WCBBQLJV6DI.jpg","published":true,"resizeUrl":"/resizer/b3b_L2e3RhvdYzs4dqBfNEYZMBQ=/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-sltrib/public/GBY5YBT64RCJXC2WCBBQLJV6DI.jpg","restricted":false,"takenOn":"2021-11-29T19:15:57Z","thumbnailResizeUrl":"/resizer/QXIkm55j1bGpqbo9YSvLftYVxGQ=/300x0/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-sltrib/public/GBY5YBT64RCJXC2WCBBQLJV6DI.jpg","usage_instructions":"j=rDeseret News OUT, KSL OUT, KUTV OUT, KTVX OUTr","version":0,"template_id":335,"_id":"CZPEOQIAO5A2RGQXYCLEEJL6ZY","comments":[]},"address":{},"caption":"(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) University of Utah Entertainment Arts and Engineering EAE student Ogulcan Buyuksandalyaci develops a game in the lab on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The Therapeutic Games and Apps Lab at the U. is working on a game that treats older adults who have depression. The game is called Neurogrow and the lab recently received a $7.5 million grant from the National Mental Health Institute.","copyright":"© Francisco Kjolseth 2021","created_date":"2021-12-02T23:28:47Z","credits":{"affiliation":[{"name":"Francisco Kjolseth","type":"author"}],"by":[{"byline":"Francisco Kjolseth","name":"Francisco Kjolseth","type":"author"}]},"height":1779,"image_type":"photograph","last_updated_date":"2021-12-02T23:28:47Z","licensable":false,"owner":{"id":"sltrib"},"source":{"additional_properties":{"editor":"photo center"},"edit_url":"","system":"photo center"},"status":"","taxonomy":{"associated_tasks":[]},"type":"image","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/GBY5YBT64RCJXC2WCBBQLJV6DI.jpg","version":"0.10.3","width":2800,"syndication":{"external_distribution":"","search":""},"subtitle":""},{"_id":"YIFXRHIZIBERPDIK2IUDZI5AM4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640889989192,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"One of the most difficult parts of implementing the program has been training workers to adequately explain how the game works to patients who have never touched a video game before."},{"_id":"X3U7BMITJJGWVBN5Z56ZRI3M2A","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640881971731,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The trial at the University of Connecticut is being conducted by Dr. David Steffens, the chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, who Morimoto called a world-renowned specialist in geriatric psychiatry. Morimoto met Steffens after receiving an American Academy of Geriatric Society award in 2008 during her time at Cornell, and he’s been a mentor for her over the years."},{"_id":"NZDJMOZMIFBT5GLSHXJONWYR2Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640889989194,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Morimoto hopes to one day administer the game at community clinics throughout the nation, but she said she wants to ensure that the game is empirically-proven to help patients before it is made available."},{"_id":"OZ74KOREKFCXPL6H6A2R3KOXCQ","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"_id":1640119140562,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"How the trial works"},{"_id":"LWX2OGMZHNED7CK73NLN3LOTEA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640115500862,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The trial in Utah is being conducted at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, though patients can also participate remotely."},{"_id":"FE2DADE37ZACBD7KEKBCYMAD2I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640889989197,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"It begins with an initial cognitive test. Patients then undergo a six-week clinical trial where they play Neurogrow and other included games for about 30 hours over the course of four weeks."},{"_id":"S76YID4QJFG4HO6MU7LJ6RPTHM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1641166841328,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"After, patients take another cognitive test to see what, if anything, has changed. Trial administrators then make follow up calls for the following two weeks to see how patients are doing, followed by voluntary three-month and one-year follow ups for patients that want to be evaluated again."},{"_id":"HF36FETPIBH6HCNNMRGZ4L7WDM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640115500892,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Patients who play the game at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute are treated to “nice comfy chairs and snacks,” Morimoto said. Those who prefer to play remotely are given a tablet with the game installed on it and can Zoom with administrators while they play in case they have questions."},{"_id":"24ZMLTL5FZBELFKRABKDG5LEZA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640889989198,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Morimoto hopes that at least 250 people will participate in the trial, but she noted that recruitment has been challenging. Any older adult who may be dealing with depression may call 801-746-9588 to be considered for the trial."},{"_id":"XACV27AAVRCNBEE5CIBM7HOW6U","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640889989199,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Previously, Morimoto only tested Neurogrow on patients who were taking medication to treat their depression, but this trial also will accommodate people who aren’t taking medication. Morimoto said her team will collaborate with a patient’s physician to track their progress and help them move forward after the trial ends."},{"_id":"6SB4RATJENGNRIH4WLPLHDBKGE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640115500894,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We really hope that we get as many people as possible to give this a shot,” Morimoto said. “And, you know, they really don’t have anything to lose. There’s really no side effects other than sometimes getting a little bit frustrated.”"},{"_id":"XCRCU3MTUBGYXIHHZGITKNGDA4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640889989203,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The treatment is free for patients. 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Pandemic response priorities like implementing an aggressive vaccine strategy and hiring and training additional community health care workers were check-marked done in October."},{"_id":"M53U57OUMNBUTFXLKWWQCVFXOE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098845,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"A Cox spokeswoman said the administration’s fight against COVID-19 isn’t over but argued the state has made progress since the governor’s inauguration."},{"_id":"5YKK4LJIZFATFCO45H677XZAKU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098846,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We now have a much broader set of tools to fight the pandemic — vaccinations, booster shots, monoclonal antibodies, antiviral pills and other treatments — that we didn’t have at the beginning of the year,” senior adviser Jennifer Napier-Pearce said."},{"_id":"HIQIGY5SJFCPLBE3YNBF4YNSY4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098847,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"And more than 2.1 million Utahns have received at least one dose of the vaccine, “which is a remarkable achievement to celebrate,” she added."},{"_id":"SZHEVW45RBCZ3ATFXUCX7YIGQQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098848,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But the pandemic isn’t over. Case counts in Utah increased rapidly during the final weeks of 2021 and the state’s intensive care units remain nearly full."},{"_id":"CP6CYLR4FBDGZIIMLM2NATBLT4","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098849,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Governing the pandemic away"},{"_id":"RR5CXPEMSFGDNH2WGFL5W6OVGM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098850,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"When Cox began his term a year ago, the new governor was hailed in national media as a rare, centrist Republican — one who looked to elevate civility and had consistently condemned former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election."},{"_id":"6U2A75XNFRHJ5NJZOAVKZIXPC4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098851,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"And during his first months as governor, Cox’s tone on COVID-19 was, accordingly, more moderate than much of the rhetoric coming from the right."},{"_id":"Y5BP4LGMFNE5HBIGQQOU2XAFUA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098852,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"In a party where other Republican governors mocked mask use, supported rollbacks of childhood immunization outreach and dismissed COVID-19 as a media ploy, Cox has admonished anti-vax sentiment as misleading and deadly propaganda, promoted mask-wearing and openly scolded unvaccinated Utahns."},{"_id":"MMU4I2GTI5DM5JC2IQHB6QOW2I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098853,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Cann notes that, unlike many other Republican governors, Cox has also raised concerns about access inequities to the COVID-19 vaccine and initially took a more aggressive policy stance on preventive measures."},{"_id":"ZYGB452KD5HV7M2FLDRBSJULX4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098854,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“Some Republican governors have just kind of taken an absolute do-nothing attitude from fairly early days in the pandemic,” Cann said. “That certainly hasn’t been the case with Gov. Cox.”"},{"_id":"LCTFF4WB6RGRTH3NTJNPA2F4EE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098855,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"When other red states were banning even private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, Cox pledged to support private businesses’ choices."},{"_id":"QN2JKQ4RB5CVPPPHFZG2ZQKIBA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098856,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The governor also distanced himself from legislation — bills he’d signed with veto-proof majorities — that restricted most public officials from enacting health restrictions like mask requirements."},{"_id":"BFSGWKO7WBCMBPGB4EVOHDE4OI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098857,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"And a week before his final weekly COVID-19 address, Cox was considering an executive order that would have allowed schools to require masks as cases spiked in the fall."},{"_id":"VMOBBKFKENGUNKFW3W2JBAVNHA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098858,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Then things changed."},{"_id":"KST7W65LTBAZXCWSCDQQRTDZGM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098859,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"In his last dedicated COVID-19 briefing on Aug. 31., Cox derided not only anti-maskers but also “extreme maskers,” telling them to “get over themselves.” He delivered the comments directly after a cancer-stricken health care executive at the event had begged Utahns to mask up to protect the immunocompromised."},{"_id":"IB3ZLC5SEBDKFHLZIQWZINWKFU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098860,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Since, Cox has made few public remarks about the ongoing pandemic. In the latter part of his first year, he has objected to federal vaccine mandates and publicly accepted a donation of sanitizing wipes from multilevel marketing firm dōTERRA — about 18 months after federal regulators cited the company for falsely advertising its essential oil products as coronavirus remedies."},{"_id":"5QX22ZDRR5D6VBJN2MB6FG3TG4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098861,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Gone were Cox’s frustrated reminders that it was the Legislature that had forbidden most paths to public prevention measures. And there was no more talk of executive workarounds to allow mask requirements in schools, even as the virus surged among children, contributing to delays in needed care for kids suffering from chronic illness."},{"_id":"UUPEZSEGRJDWTAMPMQR53E2T44","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098862,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"And his early statewide tributes to those who died from COVID-19 have not resumed, even as the virus’ death count has hit new milestones."},{"_id":"OHHLCESXNFDR3GH5LO2RPK2CKE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098863,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Napier-Pearce, who was editor of The Tribune prior to joining Cox’s team, said the governor has been an unwavering proponent of COVID-19 vaccination and continues to drive the point home in the news media and in conversations with state lawmakers."},{"_id":"YNBONLTNNFFCVM24GJZLCMVHVM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098864,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“Even though the need for the governor to host weekly news conferences has subsided, those working on the response continue to work day and night to ensure the health and safety of Utah residents,” she said."},{"_id":"BFZDZY44E5EDRP3D6Q5L4VO6DQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098865,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"April Mahon, a Taylorsville nurse who works in an intensive care unit, said she gets the sense that Cox is tired of talking about COVID-19 and wants to ignore it, despite the continued strain it puts on the state’s health system."},{"_id":"GXJKEKX5EZGVFM4FKBD3FT56DE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098866,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson met with health care workers and visited a hospital this fall, but Cox’s attention seems to have shifted, Mahon said. When Cox recently scheduled a media appearance with snowplow drivers and urged Utahns to respect them as they work, she said, it was hard not to feel pushed aside."},{"_id":"5DDD6UEVUBGF5K2DLUB2OIBNQQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098867,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“What about nurses? What about [respiratory therapists]? I’m glad you’re showing what snow-plowers have to do, but hello, this is still going on,” she said, adding that she had little hope of getting acknowledgment from the governor. “It is what it is. It’s not going to change.”"},{"_id":"3QJJIDJIJVGONIWPT5QR5SAD5M","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098868,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Cann points out that despite the tumultuous times, Cox’s approval ratings have held fairly even at around 60% over the first year of his term, perhaps a product of the governor’s affable presentation and emphasis on civility. Even if you disagree with Cox’s policies, his demeanor makes “it hard to be cranky” with him, the professor says."},{"_id":"LGNCP3BCQVEAXB22NRA6EUGSKA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098869,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But what Cann sees as civility, Mahon views as lack of leadership and unwillingness to stand up for public health measures."},{"_id":"5CO3LDBKQNEMXGDJ7RXJNZRMTY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098870,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We’ve got a very loud … minority in the state of people that are like, ‘I’m not going to do this,’ and essentially throwing adult tantrums because they don’t want to keep their community safe,” she said. “And you’re going to pander to that?”"},{"_id":"K5NXAZ3WJRCDBOJDT3UIP6EXJM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098871,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Rep. Suzanne Harrison, who works as a physician, says she’s worried the politicization of the pandemic will only continue. She’d like to see Cox push back more forcefully against the GOP-dominated Legislature."},{"_id":"G64PNX74CNEDVON3AJME7ZCQWI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098872,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We have seen increasingly extreme bills coming out of the Utah Legislature that are anti-science and anti-business,” the Draper Democrat said. “I hope the governor will lead out against such extreme policies and advocate for common-sense solutions that help us get back to work and back to normal.”"},{"_id":"ENDOFLV3NNFAXHUBPR7PNVFFJI","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098873,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Cox’s first year in the pandemic"},{"_id":"LFVHXNDU2NBAVCZWVX4KI4ZECU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098874,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Cox’s “One Utah Roadmap” initially promised: an “aggressive” vaccine strategy; more community health workers; the creation of an improved testing and messaging campaign to combat COVID-19 hot spots; a policy to guide health emergency planning and supplies; a council of public health and health care industry workers."},{"_id":"CO4KPA2ANJCOVH6FJIL4E4LL3Q","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098876,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"All of those agenda items were checked off as “completed” when the roadmap was updated in October."},{"_id":"S5G6NQGYU5BMZIOK7VHLMW5ROA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098877,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Napier-Pearce said the administration placed 129 health workers — who collectively reach 30 languages and 60 cultures — in local health departments and community-based organizations across the state."},{"_id":"OJMJ5M6WRJCB7GECHDVPQ4L2AQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098878,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"They’ve also started publishing information about school outbreaks on the state’s online COVID-19 dashboard to “help parents make the best choices for their child,” Cox’s spokeswoman said. And they have partnered with rural physicians and other trusted community leaders to combat vaccine hesitancy in communities with lower immunization rates."},{"_id":"52FVCQELTNFSZJTN2YVGBOGKVA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098879,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But the roadmap document itself doesn’t always explain what actions reflect the completion of its goals."},{"_id":"TMYNTWDE6VHATG5X3VRWVCHN4A","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098880,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"For example, the vaccine strategy was marked “done,” even though the vaccine hadn’t been released yet to children younger than 12, and Utah’s vaccine coverage of eligible residents — a bit below the national average — had increased less than 3% during the previous month."},{"_id":"GVMG3U5B3BFF7MM5DFZJU7ZAKU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098881,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"And Utah’s vaccination rate has fallen even further below the national average since October, according to CDC data."},{"_id":"ED6EEMGTTFBIDHU7N6Z2DXQGQM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098882,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Cox’s updated “Roadmap” kept testing and messaging improvements on its to-do list, along with the priority of being “judicious” stewards of federal relief funds and preparing for future public health emergencies."},{"_id":"JEXST7GKFFFYBK3NQI7K2PCT4M","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098883,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Early last year the state ramped up its free testing sites through TestUtah and the Utah National Guard, a priority of the new governor."},{"_id":"OJBIP57G4NHXRIXOALUMZMHEAY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098884,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But those sites became overwhelmed when the state transferred most of its locations to the private contractors who operate TestUtah, right as schools opened and cases surged in late August and early September — something health officials had been predicting for weeks."},{"_id":"UMIDV7KI3BET5GOJHWWLTGROXI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098885,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Tests eventually became more available as the sites ramped up staffing and locations — but state officials warned that wait times were rising again amid the winter holidays."},{"_id":"FMPK326V2JDQRIRDT34GUORBIE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098886,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"One goal that hasn’t yet been checked off the roadmap to-do list is to complete a full review of the state’s COVID-19 response."},{"_id":"VUXPRPCPGJCNHOIHV3SWDSPCWE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098887,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“The pandemic continues,” Napier-Pearce said, “We continue to update our response in real-time as new needs and challenges arise, so a full review isn’t possible at this time.”"},{"_id":"M5K42KS5BJFYBNI5IMP4RRBIFU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098888,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Brian Shiozawa, a physician and former state legislator, was part of the team that advised Cox in the lead-up to his inauguration — offering public health guidance that the governor would incorporate into his roadmap. So far, Shiozawa is impressed by Cox’s handling of COVID-19, praising the governor’s collaboration with health systems and his efforts to educate Utahns about immunization."},{"_id":"5AQELEC3NFHBRJYUITQAUBXNNU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098889,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"There is room for more communication from the governor about aspects of the pandemic, Shiozawa said. But when it comes to vaccination, Cox likely has limited power to sway resistant Utahns."},{"_id":"L4NDOFYR5RDQBNIEMD7YRR36SY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"_id":1640799098890,"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“There is so much fatigue out there in the public about COVID,” he said. “And the people who are going to get vaccinated probably have been vaccinated, and those who aren’t are pretty set in their opinion about why they shouldn’t be.”"}],"created_date":"2021-12-28T22:31:34.840Z","revision":{"revision_id":"XP4QSZX7YZFEDJPPRRI4Y3EPAM","parent_id":"IV5UNEFOKZBV7IRKDPRHVK3BJ4","editions":["default"],"branch":"default","user_id":"brodgers@sltrib.com","published":true},"last_updated_date":"2022-01-04T00:09:51.628Z","headlines":{"basic":"‘It feels like the pivot point’: Why some say Gov. 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The conspiracy theory has been floating around in several different iterations since September 2020.","type":"text"},{"content":"Bateman attributes the “former chief scientist at Pfizer” as someone who believes “genocide of our peoploe (sic) is underway.”","type":"text"},{"content":"Bateman is referring to Dr. Michael Yeadon, a retired British doctor who has opposed COVID-19 restrictions and believes vaccines are not needed to end the pandemic. Yeadon was a chief scientist of Pfizer’s allergy research unit. He has been spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation for more than a year.","type":"text"},{"content":"Bateman’s email included an antisemitic screed, blaming “the Jews” for the nefarious scheme, which involves secretly replacing the Pope with a member of the Jewish faith. He writes that happened in 2013 with the ascension of Pope Francis.","type":"text"},{"content":"“I believe the pandemic and systematic extermination of billions of people will lead to an effort to consolidate all the countries in the world under a single flag with totalitarian rule,” Bateman wrote.","type":"text"},{"content":"“I pray that I’m wrong on this. Utah has got to stop the vaccination drive. Warn your employees. Warn your friends. Prepare. Stay safe,” Bateman concluded ominously.","type":"text"},{"content":"Some of what Bateman says in his letter is not uncommon in far-right conspiracy communities according to Al Jones, founder of the Q Origins Project, which tracks conspiracy theories and extremism online. Jones is a pseudonym he uses online because of the threat posed by some of these groups.","type":"text"},{"content":"“It’s clear he (Bateman) is hanging out in some far-right communities online. The belief that the pandemic is actually a plan for mass genocide is extremely widespread in conspiracy communities. But, the belief that Pope Francis is a secret Jew is pretty rare,” Jones says.","type":"text"},{"content":"In 2019, Bateman made headlines when he extinguished the Utah Republican Party’s debt from numerous unsuccessful legal challenges to the state’s signature-gathering path for candidates. In 2018, Bateman accused Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, of offering a woman $1 million to file false sexual harassment claims against him. The Lehi police concluded there was no proof to Bateman’s allegations.","type":"text"},{"content":"Emails to Entrata seeking comment did not receive a response.","type":"text"},{"content":"In July of 2021, Entrata announced that it had raised $500 million through a private equity funding round, according to Pulse 2.0. Private investors included Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, DOMO CEO Josh James, CEO and founder of Vivint Smart Home Todd Pederson and others, Pulse 2.0 reported.","type":"text"},{"content":"Correction • Jan. 4, 2:20 p.m.: This story has been updated to correct Bateman’s title and role at Entrata.","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"_id":"bschott","image":{"url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/sltrib/d116c567-15c2-4250-914c-638eb5af4458.png"},"name":"Bryan Schott"}]},"display_date":"2022-01-04T20:37:01.676Z","headlines":{"basic":"Entrata chairman accuses ‘Jews’ of COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy in antisemitic email to Utah politicians"},"last_updated_date":"2022-01-04T21:19:14.157Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) trDave Bateman, Entrata, CEO speaks in the opening session to over 14,000 at the 2018 Silicon Slopes Tech Summit at the Salt Lake Convention Center Thursday Jan. 18.r","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/NKMX5LSP65B3VGVEWHZKDRVZII.jpg"}},"publish_date":"2022-01-04T21:19:13.806Z","subheadlines":{"basic":"Co-founder and chairman Dave Bateman claims coronavirus vaccines are part of a plot to depopulate the Earth."},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/news/politics","name":"Politics","parent_id":"/news","path":"/news/politics"},"sites":[{"name":"Politics","path":"/news/politics"}]},"website_url":"/news/politics/2022/01/04/entrata-ceo-accuses-jews"},{"_id":"MJA4Y7JAWVBSPP7ZILIUTZQIHE","canonical_url":"/news/2022/01/04/university-utah-hospital","content_elements":[{"content":"University of Utah Hospital is suspending many surgeries as COVID-19 outbreaks have infected hundreds of employees and their families while hospitalizations begin to rise.","type":"text"},{"content":"The hospital already had seen a 400% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since Christmas, said Dr. Russell Vinik, chief medical operations officer. “That has created some strain,” Vinik said.","type":"text"},{"content":"Now, he said, “a lot of our staff, despite being fully vaccinated and wearing appropriate precautions, have gotten sick as well.","type":"text"},{"content":"“We have lost hundreds of staff in the last few days due to illness,” Vinik said. “We’re having to reduce the number of beds available to our patients at least for the near future.”","type":"text"},{"content":"At least 500 employees were sick or isolating as of Tuesday, said Sarah Sherer, the hospital’s human resources chief. That includes kitchen and housekeeping staff as well as nurses and doctors, Vinik noted.","type":"text"},{"content":"New cases in Utah have reached near-record highs in recent days as the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus sweeps across the state.","type":"text"},{"content":"Intensive care units at Utah’s large “referral” hospitals were at 89% of capacity on Sunday, the most recent day for which data was available; ICUs are considered “full” at 85%, and Utah’s major hospitals have exceeded that since mid-August.","type":"text"},{"content":"The U. has been trying to empty about 50 beds while the hospital staff is stretched thin, but “we’re having to stretch because we’re so full that we haven’t been able to take the beds offline,” Vinik said. Instead, employees have been working extra shifts.","type":"text"},{"content":"Meanwhile, Vinik said, 12 patients were waiting in the emergency room for a bed to open up during the online news conference where hospital administrators announced the surgery delays.","type":"text"},{"content":"“That worries us, knowing the worst is ahead of us,” he said.","type":"text"},{"content":"More than 14,700 Utahns tested positive for COVID-19 during the long New Year’s weekend, with nearly 4,700 new cases reported on Dec. 30 alone. More than 2,000 of those were in Salt Lake County, by far the county’s biggest single-day case count since the pandemic began.","type":"text"},{"content":"[Read more: Will Utah see a surge of COVID-19 cases in schools?]","type":"text"},{"content":"— The Salt Lake Tribune will update this developing story.","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"_id":"ealberty","image":{"url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/sltrib/cf96815d-b8c9-4330-b9d3-fb7c188f5f9f.png"},"name":"Erin Alberty"}]},"display_date":"2022-01-04T20:36:16.631Z","headlines":{"basic":"University of Utah hospital suspends surgeries as COVID-19 outbreaks hit staff, patients"},"last_updated_date":"2022-01-04T21:11:25.378Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune file photo) University Hospital in Salt Lake City is suspending most surgeries as COVID-19 outbreaks hit staff and patients.","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/WD4QLHR5EBAPRBPO3AKZLGPFIY.JPG"}},"publish_date":"2022-01-04T21:11:25.008Z","subheadlines":{"basic":"Hospitalizations have risen sharply since Christmas, just as staff members have fallen ill."},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/news","name":"News","parent_id":"https://www.sltrib.com/","path":"/news"},"sites":[{"name":"News","path":"/news"}],"tags":[{"description":"Health","slug":"health","text":"Health"},{"description":"Coronavirus","slug":"coronavirus","text":"Coronavirus"}]},"website_url":"/news/2022/01/04/university-utah-hospital"},{"_id":"L7DENLHLTVG4NN44QQRGNNMKVE","canonical_url":"/news/2022/01/04/photos-meet-neva-new","content_elements":[{"type":"gallery"},{"content":"About a year after Hogle Zoo’s two female polar bears moved away, a new one has arrived in Utah as part of a specialized breeding program.","type":"text"},{"content":"Zookeepers hope 5-year-old Neva will bond with Nikita, a 15-year-old male bear who came to the zoo last spring from North Carolina.","type":"text"},{"content":"Neva — whose name means “white snow” in Spanish, and matches the name of a river in Russia — comes from The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, where she lived with her half-sister, Amelia Gray. According to that zoo’s general curator, Mike McClure, the two bears had reached a point in their development where they needed new opportunities.","type":"text"},{"content":"“Bears, just like us, continue to grow,” said McClure in a video posted by The Maryland Zoo on its Facebook page, which shows Neva and Amelia Gray swimming and snoozing together.","type":"text"},{"type":"oembed_response"},{"content":"Since Neva grew up with a twin brother, Nuniq, and is accustomed to being around male bears as a result, there’s a good chance that she will get along with Nikita, according to a news release from Hogle Zoo.","type":"text"},{"content":"Both bears are curious and playful. But it could still take several months for them to get to know each other, and they may never cohabitate, since polar bears are naturally solitary animals, the release states.","type":"text"},{"content":"So far, Neva is doing well and has slowly been getting used to her new home in Hogle Zoo’s Rocky Shores exhibit, animal care supervisor Kaleigh Jablonski said. Rocky Shores is also home to sea lions, grizzly bears, river otters, fish and harbor seals.","type":"text"},{"content":"Neva comes to the Salt Lake City zoo as part of the same Species Survival Plan that brought Nikita to Utah last year. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums program electronically matches animals from different zoos, most of which are endangered or threatened.","type":"text"},{"content":"Polar bear populations are declining. Known by the Latin name Ursus maritimus, or “sea bear,” polar bears are normally found along the coasts and sea ice of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia and Norway but are under threat from climate change.","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"_id":"kstonehocker","image":{"url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/sltrib/181e67cd-45be-4201-b94c-916fcd5585de.png"},"name":"Kolbie Peterson"}]},"display_date":"2022-01-04T20:33:52.634Z","headlines":{"basic":"Photos: Meet Neva, the newest polar bear at Utah’s Hogle Zoo"},"last_updated_date":"2022-01-04T20:52:55.152Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Neva, a 5-year-old female polar bear, explores her new home in the Rocky Shores exhibit at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/BXKDUKDJVZGYJKNHNHNANS2IWI.jpg"}},"publish_date":"2022-01-04T20:52:54.733Z","subheadlines":{"basic":"Zookeepers hope she will get along with Nikita, the zoo’s male polar bear."},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/news","name":"News","parent_id":"https://www.sltrib.com/","path":"/news"},"sites":[{"name":"News","path":"/news"}],"tags":[{"description":"Utah","slug":"utah","text":"Utah"}]},"website_url":"/news/2022/01/04/photos-meet-neva-new"},{"_id":"S74APP44QBEH5CFVIL5ZNGJAVI","canonical_url":"/news/politics/2022/01/04/utah-has-new-city-see-why","content_elements":[{"content":"Editor’s note This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.","type":"text"},{"content":"Erda, a rural holdout of about 3,000 residents in Tooele County, officially received its incorporation certificate Monday, making it Utah’s newest city.","type":"text"},{"content":"The lieutenant governor’s office signed off on creation of the city, the final step needed after voters approved Erda’s boundaries in November 2020 and elected their first City Council in 2021.","type":"text"},{"content":"“Another milestone’s been reached,” Erda City Council member Joshua Kael Martin said Tuesday. “[But] we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”","type":"text"},{"content":"

Erda Final Approval by The Salt Lake Tribune on Scribd

","type":"raw_html"},{"content":"The incorporation process has been full of skirmishes, including lawsuits, delays, annexation attempts and alleged actions from Tooele County officials to “intentionally harm Erda citizens” at the benefit of land developers, according to a 3rd District judge.","type":"text"},{"content":"“What’s next?” said City Council chair Jess Bird. “Hopefully bringing people together.”","type":"text"},{"content":"The new City Council members submitted a final plat map to County Recorder-Surveyor Jerry Houghton for approval Dec. 10. But by the time of the lieutenant governor’s Dec. 16 deadline to receive the approved map, Houghton had not yet signed off. The surveyor did not submit a decision until Christmas Eve, when he issued a letter rejecting the map based on a 2021 statute about split parcels, even though Erda’s sponsors began the incorporation process under a different 2018 law.","type":"text"},{"content":"Houghton also billed the City Council $116,250 to review the map, which some Erda residents called unreasonable, given other recently incorporated cities were not charged for their plat reviews.","type":"text"},{"content":"The Erda sponsors’ attorney, Janet Conway, issued a letter to the Tooele County Council explaining the situation and also sent a letter to Houghton in mid-December. Shortly after, a county attorney apparently threatened to file a bar complaint against Conway, according to a legal filing.","type":"text"},{"content":"In an interview, Conway said the threat was due to the fact she was representing different clients in separate cases against the county. And in this case, she said, a council member and Houghton had requested the information shared.","type":"text"},{"content":"“It was a completely baseless [threat] to try and be a bully,” Conway said.","type":"text"},{"content":"In court late last month, attorneys for Tooele County claimed to support Erda’s incorporation. Judge Dianna M. Gibson wrote in her Dec. 30 order that the county was, however, actively arguing and working against the approvals needed to make Erda a city.","type":"text"},{"content":"“Tooele County says it supports the incorporation, but then appears to support every effort to undermine it,” Gibson wrote. “It — through its Surveyor — facilitated the delay in approving the final plat, which is a purely administrative task at this point.”","type":"text"},{"content":"

Order Granting Extraordinary Relief by The Salt Lake Tribune on Scribd

","type":"raw_html"},{"content":"The judge further noted that the evidence presented in the case was “appalling.” She found Houghton’s failure to review the map helped facilitate a lawsuit filed by owners of the Skywalk business park development, who oppose their property’s inclusion into Erda. Because the plat map could not be included in the Dec. 16 submission to the lieutenant governor, both the developers and Tooele County’s attorneys argued the entire incorporation was moot.","type":"text"},{"content":"(Houghton and the Tooele County Attorney’s Office previously declined to comment on the case.)","type":"text"},{"content":"“It appears to this Court that the office of the Surveyor intentionally delayed communicating with [Erda officials] and dragged the process on beyond the deadlines,” Gibson wrote, “which coincidentally resulted in Skywalk filing a lawsuit asserting that because the deadlines were missed, there can be no incorporation.”","type":"text"},{"content":"Gibson also called Houghton’s fee “unreasonable” by $114,000 and called the county attorney’s threatened bar complaint “shocking.”","type":"text"},{"content":"“From the Court’s point of view, and for whatever reason,” the judge wrote, “it appears that Tooele County is taking acting intentionally to harm its Erda citizens in order to benefit two individual land developers.”","type":"text"},{"content":"The judge gave Houghton fewer than 24 hours to review Erda’s map and resolve any issues, allowing the city’s sponsors to meet their Jan. 3 deadline with the lieutenant governor.","type":"text"},{"content":"“This has been an incredible battle over three years to get to this point,” Conway said. “It’s almost too hard to believe that we finally reached the finish line.”","type":"text"},{"content":"In an interview, Tooele County Attorney Scott Broadhead said the county is “ready to move on.”","type":"text"},{"content":"“I do not disagree with Erda City being able to become a city,” Broadhead said. “That’s been resolved.”","type":"text"},{"content":"Conway and Martin, the City Council member, acknowledged plenty of other hurdles lie ahead. The Skywalk developers are still pursuing annexation into neighboring Grantsville, as is Six Mile Ranch, a large portion of land that was previously identified within the boundaries of a proposed Tooele County Inland Port.","type":"text"},{"content":"“The attack on our incorporation will continue for a while,” Martin said. “I see future litigation coming.”","type":"text"},{"content":"
","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"_id":"llarsen","image":{"url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/sltrib/f0ee1059-cbba-4c8f-a2d3-69d5fe9e9f77.png"},"name":"Leia Larsen"}]},"display_date":"2022-01-04T20:22:59.570Z","headlines":{"basic":"Utah has a new city. See why creating it wasn’t easy and why the path forward looks bumpy. "},"last_updated_date":"2022-01-04T20:55:41.390Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tooele County's Erda, shown here in 2020, is Utah's newest city.","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/37XQ3UJTLBD7HHPGHSYU255JS4.JPG"}},"publish_date":"2022-01-04T20:55:41.020Z","subheadlines":{"basic":"A state judge found that Tooele County had worked against Erda’s incorporation and ordered the surveyor to approve the city’s boundaries."},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/news/politics","name":"Politics","parent_id":"/news","path":"/news/politics"},"sites":[{"name":"Politics","path":"/news/politics"}],"tags":[{"description":"Put stories behind the paywall.","slug":"paywall","text":"Paywall"}]},"website_url":"/news/politics/2022/01/04/utah-has-new-city-see-why"},{"_id":"XHKMVGIJTBHIRIMSJUZWN32F24","canonical_url":"/news/2022/01/04/salt-lake-county","content_elements":[{"content":"Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing free access to critical stories about the coronavirus. Sign up for our Top Stories newsletter, sent to your inbox every morning. To support journalism like this, please donate or become a subscriber.","type":"text"},{"content":"Salt Lake County officials issued a public health advisory Tuesday, urging residents to take more stringent coronavirus precautions this month as local COVID-19 transmission rates spike to levels not seen since November 2020.","type":"text"},{"content":"The Utah Department of Health reported 4,661 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, just short of the state’s all-time high of 4,706 new cases reported on Dec. 30, 2020.","type":"text"},{"content":"The rolling seven-day average of new coronavirus cases also now stands at 3,754 — the highest that figure has ever been. The previous high was 3,392.7 on Nov. 22, 2020.","type":"text"},{"content":"“We are in the beginning stages of a new surge of infections and our unvaccinated friends and family are at risk of serious illness,” Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, said in a statement Tuesday.","type":"text"},{"content":"The public health advisory runs through Jan. 31. It urges residents to:","type":"text"},{"type":"list"},{"content":"The advisory states that while recent evidence suggests omicron infections may cause less severe illness, increased transmission is expected, which may still result in “negative health and social outcomes.”","type":"text"},{"content":"The state Health Department on Tuesday also confirmed seven more COVID-19 deaths.","type":"text"},{"content":"[Read more: 5 things you should know about COVID-19 in Utah right now]","type":"text"},{"content":"“Those who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised are at highest risk for severe COVID illness,” Dunn continued in a statement. “It will require our entire community following these proven recommendations to minimize hospitalizations and deaths due to Omicron.”","type":"text"},{"content":"The number of children getting vaccinated continues to climb: 97,868 children ages 5-11 have received at least one dose since they became eligible. That is 26.8% of kids that age in Utah, according to the Health Department. And 65,725 of those kids have been fully vaccinated — 18% of that age group.","type":"text"},{"content":"Intensive care units in the state remain near capacity. UDOH reported Tuesday that 88.1% of all ICU beds in Utah and 91.2% of ICU beds in larger medical centers throughout the state are occupied. (Hospitals consider any figure over 85% to be functionally full.) Of all ICU patients, 38.8% are being treated for COVID-19.","type":"text"},{"content":"Vaccine doses administered in the past four days/total doses administered • 12,319 / 4,576,939.","type":"text"},{"content":"Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,906,458 — 58.3% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 2,563 in the past day.","type":"text"},{"content":"Vaccination status • Health officials do not immediately have or release the vaccination status of individuals who test positive, who are hospitalized, or who die. They do calculate the overall risk ratios of these outcomes depending on vaccination status, which you can see below.","type":"text"},{"content":"Cases reported in the past day • 4,661.","type":"text"},{"content":"Cases among school-age children • Kids in grades K-12 accounted for 651 of the new cases announced Tuesday — 14% of the total. There were 249 cases reported in children aged 5-10; 126 cases in children 11-13; and 276 cases in children 14-18.","type":"text"},{"content":"[Read more: Will Utah see a surge of COVID-19 cases in schools?]","type":"text"},{"content":"Tests reported in the past day • 15,056 people were tested for the first time. A total of 30,442 people were tested.","type":"text"},{"content":"Deaths reported in the past day • Seven.","type":"text"},{"content":"There were three deaths in Salt Lake County — a man and a woman between the ages of 25-44, and a woman 85-plus. Washington County reported two deaths — a man 45-64, and a woman 65-84.","type":"text"},{"content":"A Box Elder County woman 65-84 and a Carbon County man 65-84 also died.","type":"text"},{"content":"Hospitalizations reported in the past day • 479. That is 13 more than reported on Monday. Of those currently hospitalized, 178 are in intensive care — one fewer than were reported on Monday.","type":"text"},{"content":"Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 31% in the past day. That is higher than the seven-day average of 21%.","type":"text"},{"content":"The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Tuesday’s rate was 15.3%, higher than the seven-day average of 14.2%.","type":"text"},{"content":"[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]","type":"text"},{"content":"Risk ratios • In the past four weeks, unvaccinated Utahns were 20.1 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to a Utah Department of Health analysis. The unvaccinated also were 9.6 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 2.8 times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus.","type":"text"},{"content":"Totals to date • 656,407 cases; 3,811 deaths; 27,825 hospitalizations; 4,313,416 people tested.","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"_id":"jordanmiller","image":{"url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/sltrib/62939a5c-3631-4353-840e-b78f7e2e068c.jpg"},"name":"Jordan Miller"},{"_id":"spierce","image":{"url":"https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/sltrib/80a1f33c-6786-4297-8540-865f170ba0e5.png"},"name":"Scott D. Pierce"}]},"display_date":"2022-01-04T19:56:03.928Z","headlines":{"basic":"Salt Lake County officials issue COVID-19 advisory as transmission rates spike"},"last_updated_date":"2022-01-04T20:48:36.943Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(Rick Bowmer | AP) A member of the Salt Lake County Health Department COVID-19 testing staff walks past a line outside the Salt Lake County Health Department, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Salt Lake City.","url":"https://cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/sltrib/G2F2CRFG7RCOXJRIXIWNJEPVLE.jpg"}},"publish_date":"2022-01-04T20:48:36.574Z","subheadlines":{"basic":"The rolling seven-day average for new cases in Utah is the highest it has ever been, UDOH reported."},"taxonomy":{"primary_section":{"_id":"/news","name":"News","parent_id":"https://www.sltrib.com/","path":"/news"},"sites":[{"name":"News","path":"/news"}],"tags":[{"description":"Coronavirus","slug":"coronavirus","text":"Coronavirus"},{"description":"Free","slug":"free","text":"Free"}]},"website_url":"/news/2022/01/04/salt-lake-county"},{"_id":"NNCCAWNY5VGNBKMSX7JLZ7BPEQ","canonical_url":"/religion/2022/01/04/jana-riess-i-hate-winter","content_elements":[{"content":"I absolutely loathe winter. There, I said it.","type":"text"},{"content":"It’s partly about the cold, I’m sure. I grew up in the frigid climate of northwestern Illinois back when a Midwestern winter could kill a person. Think Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter” and you’ll know what I mean.","type":"text"},{"content":"In the 1970s, when I was little, we had several of the worst winters on record in succession. It was epic. School was out for weeks, which can feel like a great boon when you’re 7. Even if you already hate winter by that time of your childhood — and I certainly did — strings of snow days are nothing to sneeze at.","type":"text"},{"content":"But even when you’re making the best of winter by building a fort or making a snow angel or downing your 300th cup of hot cocoa, there’s an underlying apprehension and isolation about wintertime. You calculate how close your closest neighbors are and whether they’d be willing to use their enviable steamroller of a snowplow to excavate your front door, should it come to that.","type":"text"},{"content":"Now I’m an adult, and two things have gotten better. The first is that I live farther south, almost in Kentucky, and winters are much milder here. The other is global warming, which I’m not supposed to be glad about because I do understand that it’s going to destroy us all. I get it, I do. But, in the meantime, I am going to look for silver linings wherever I can find them, people.","type":"text"},{"content":"I can usually stave off my existential dread of winter through the holidays. Heck, that’s why we even have the holidays when we do, with the Christian celebration of Christmas plopped right on top of the winter solstice celebrations pagans used for eons to mark the darkest, darkest night.","type":"text"},{"content":"I’m not alone in my antipathy for wintertide. One of my favorite Christmas carols was written as a poem by someone I suspect was also a winter hater:","type":"text"},{"content":"In the bleak midwinter","type":"text"},{"content":"Frosty wind made moan","type":"text"},{"content":"Earth stood hard as iron,","type":"text"},{"content":"Water like a stone.","type":"text"},{"content":"Snow was falling, snow on snow","type":"text"},{"content":"Snow on snow . . .","type":"text"},{"content":"The poem’s imagined scene is in no way relatable to the actual birth of Jesus it’s supposed to be describing, which may have happened in the spring, if shepherds were tending their flocks outside. The carol was written by an Englishwoman who was a lot more influenced by her own icy surroundings than she was concerned with pesky details like historical accuracy. But the spirit of the poem rings true to anyone who has lived through the unyielding and seemingly endless reality of an implacable earth that cares not whether the creatures that depend upon it live or die.","type":"text"},{"type":"image"},{"content":"Yeah, you can tell I succumb to some dark thoughts this time of year.","type":"text"},{"content":"Last winter, I discovered a book that helped to shift my perspective a bit, so as I sit here at the head of the new year and look ahead to many weeks of stubborn winter, I’m reading it again.","type":"text"},{"content":"In “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times,” memoirist Katherine May acknowledges experiencing some of the fear and loneliness many of us associate with winter. While the book is grounded in the physical experience of winter — there are chapters chronicling her experiences in December, January, February and so on — it’s more about winter as a metaphor.","type":"text"},{"content":"And it’s that metaphor that makes us afraid.","type":"text"},{"content":"“Everybody winters at one time or another,” May explains at the beginning of the book, and “some winter over and over again.” She defines winter as any “fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, (or) blocked from progress.” Life’s winters are never chosen, which is what makes them so hard. We’re moving along nicely and then, bam, the relationship ends, or the diagnosis is cancer. We founder, not knowing how to get our bearings when we have slipped and fallen so spectacularly on life’s metaphorical ice.","type":"text"},{"content":"For me, the genius of the book is the way May deftly explores these depressing and frightening psychological times by researching how the natural world deals with the physical realities of winter. Nature, she says, treats winter as an opportunity, a necessary fallow time. There’s a whole chapter on sleep in which she explores the hibernation habits of dormice, which are apparently a thing where she lives in the United Kingdom. She ventures to Tromsø, Norway, to glimpse the northern lights; dissects children’s literature for clues about winter as a harbinger of change (in books like “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and “The Dark Is Rising,” snowfall is “the trigger for tables to turn”); and meets people who conquer depression by swimming in frigid waters in January.","type":"text"},{"content":"But May’s book, while hopeful, isn’t naive or relentlessly cheerful. Life’s winters suck, she makes clear. They just do. She resists the tendency to “move on” prematurely from heartache, promulgated by people who seem at root deeply afraid of darkness:","type":"text"},{"content":"The subtext of these messages is clear: Misery is not an option. We must carry on looking jolly for the sake of the crowd. While we may no longer see depression as a failure, we expect you to spin it into something meaningful pretty quick. And if you can’t pull that off, you’d better disappear from view for a while.","type":"text"},{"content":"Winter, she writes, is a chance for us to breathe. To accept the reality that we can’t do everything we want to, and that this is OK. In winter we realize, to our chagrin, we are not in charge, that earth can be hard as iron, that the world is not necessarily on our side.","type":"text"},{"content":"We have a choice: We can kick against it, or we can learn what winter has to teach. May wisely chooses the latter. What she has learned to do is this:","type":"text"},{"content":"I recognized winter. I saw it coming (a mile off, since you ask), and I looked it in the eye. I greeted it and let it in. I had some tricks up my sleeve, you see. I’ve learned them the hard way. When I started feeling the drag of winter, I began to treat myself like a favored child: with kindness and love. I assumed my needs were reasonable and that my feelings were signals of something important. I kept myself well fed and made sure I was getting enough sleep. I took myself for walks in the fresh air and spent time doing things that soothed me. I asked myself: What is this winter all about? I asked myself: What change is coming?","type":"text"},{"content":"So that’s what I’m going to try to do differently this year, as the bleakness of winter sets in.","type":"text"},{"content":"The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.","type":"text"}],"credits":{"by":[{"name":"Jana Riess | Religion News Service"}]},"display_date":"2022-01-04T18:27:57.973Z","headlines":{"basic":"Jana Riess: The I Hate Winter Spirituality Club"},"last_updated_date":"2022-01-04T18:27:58.497Z","promo_items":{"basic":{"caption":"(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Mark Keeney tries to keep a steady pace as the sun and the mercury drop while grooming the winter cross country skiing trails at Mountain Dell Golf Course in late February 2021. 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https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/01/04/photos-meet-neva-new/ Meet Neva, the newest polar bear at Utah’s Hogle Zoo

Yasmin Harisha

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