Weekly News Roundup: Friday, July 29

Miss the headlines this week? Catch up on the legal fight over Wyoming’s abortion ban, scrutiny of housing-related ads run in the Jackson Hole News&Guide, and a new town survey on equity and inclusion.
Abortion-rights advocates rally at the Jackson Town Square on June 24, 2022. A Teton County judge temporarily blocked enforcement of Wyoming’s new ban on most abortions Wednesday. (Emily Cohen/KHOL)

 

Teton County judge temporarily blocks Wyoming abortion ban

A Teton County judge issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday blocking Wyoming’s trigger ban on most abortions from going into effect. The ruling came the same day the law was set to start being enforced and two days after a group of abortion providers, individuals and the state’s largest abortion fund sued to block the new legislation

District Court Judge Melissa Owens determined that the plaintiffs showed the possibility of “irreparable harm” both to pregnant women and a Jackson doctor who joined in the suit because they faced potential health risks and criminal punishment, according to the Jackson Hole News&Guide

The lawsuit filed Monday alleges that the abortion ban violates the Wyoming Constitution’s guaranteed right to health care access, among other provisions. Both the Teton County Sheriff Matthew Carr and Jackson Police Chief Michelle Weber are named among the defendants as the county’s top law enforcement officials.

Wednesday’s ruling protects the legal right to abortion in Wyoming until the next court hearing on the preliminary injunction, which the News&Guide reported is currently scheduled for Aug. 9. 

Plaintiff Julie Burkhart, founder and president of Wellspring Health Access–which was planning to open a reproductive health clinic offering abortion services in Casper until the clinic was damaged by arson in May–described the order as a “temporary victory.”

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said last Friday when he certified the legislation that he believes the decision to regulate abortion is properly left to the states, and that his pro-life administration “will continue… doing all we can to support mothers, children and families.”

Legal fights over abortion bans are underway in at least a dozen states across the country, including neighboring Idaho and Utah, where judges have temporarily blocked similar trigger laws.

Recent housing-related ads run in local newspapers draw scrutiny

A series of housing-related advertisements that’s been running in the Jackson Hole News&Guide and Jackson Hole Daily this summer came up as a topic of discussion Wednesday at an informal “Chat With Town Council Members” event. Individual members of the Jackson Town Council described the ads run by Eyes on Teton County, LLC this summer as “half-truths,” while a representative for the company said “we stand 100% by every claim we’ve made.”

Read KHOL’s full coverage here.

New Town of Jackson survey on equity and inclusion

A new survey from the Town of Jackson is asking residents to weigh in on strengths and weaknesses related to equity and inclusion. Nancy Marquina is one of the town’s community engagement interns who’s been helping craft the survey this summer. She said part of the goal is to get a more representative picture of who makes up the Jackson community.

“We’re hoping to reach segments of the population that we typically don’t hear from. You know, one-third of our population is Latinx yet they’re usually not considered all the time, you know, as an important segment of our community,” Marquina said.

The survey asks residents about perceptions of how welcoming Jackson is for various communities, from people living with disabilities to LGBTQ or nonbinary-identifying residents. Marquina and fellow intern Laura Perez both identify as Latina, and Perez said this is important information to collect in order to counter discrimination.

“It is here [in Jackson], and sometimes we tend to ignore it as, for example, microaggressions tend to happen a lot,” Perez said. “We get stereotyped as being housekeepers, [or] as, you know, having that statistic of getting pregnant during high school, not going to college.”

Despite those challenges, Perez said perseverance and resilience are also widespread in the community. Links to take the survey in either English or Spanish by the Aug. 19 deadline are available on the town website.

Applications open for fall Conservation Leadership Institute

Applications are now open for the fall semester of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance’s Conservation Leadership Institute. The institute is a free, nine-week leadership development program that trains participants in the basics of grassroots organizing related to conservation and community advocacy. Grant Gallaher is the alliance’s civic engagement coordinator.

“I think there’s a lot of people [who] feel like something is wrong in the world today, but for a lot of reasons, people don’t feel like they’re not able to do something about it,” Gallaher said. “So, a core part of what we’ll be covering in CLI is how can we overcome those barriers.”

The institute will run from Sept. 21 to Nov. 16, with courses on Wednesday nights from 6-8 p.m. This will be the 13th class of the program, which has graduated a total of nearly 200 people, including local leaders like State Rep. Mike Yin and Shelter JH Coordinator Clare Stumpf. Applications are due by Aug. 26.

New report details socioeconomic impacts of proposed Grand Targhee expansion

A new report analyzing the socioeconomic impacts of proposed expansions to the ski terrain and base area of Grand Targhee Resort released earlier this month found that new revenue would not outweigh the costs to Teton County, Idaho.

Read KHOL’s full coverage of the report’s findings here.

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About Kyle Mackie

Kyle is a multimedia journalist who joined KHOL as news director in January 2021. Prior to moving West, she reported on education, immigration, racial justice and more for WBFO, the NPR affiliate in Buffalo, NY. With a background in international reporting, Kyle has also worked in Israel and the Palestinian territories and the Western Balkans. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and geography from The George Washington University and master’s degree in journalism from the City University of New York. When not out reporting, Kyle can usually be found trail running, climbing, skiing or grooving to live music.

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