Letters to the Editor, December 23-27, 2011
December 23, 2011
It is up to us to preserve what we love. In 1990, Summit County was one of the top five fastest growing counties in the nation. Preserving the community character of Summit County amid an increasing sea of asphalt and concrete was a fundamental reason for the formation of Utah Open Lands Conservation Association.
In 1990 the top two factors driving visitation and residency in Utah were its scenic beauty and recreational opportunity. Preserving this fundamental quality of life remains the protection of those places that once lost are irreplaceable opportunities to explore nature, experience a hike along a mountain stream, or bike through a seemingly remote forest.
In comparison to our neighboring states, the amount of funding available for open space in Utah is paltry. Utah’s statewide fund was not funded last year.
In the Snyderville Basin, we are protecting priceless treasures in our community because of the Snyderville Basin Recreation District. Few communities in the state have the ability to bond for open space and recreation. Explaining why would take volumes. It is enough to understand that the Snyderville Basin Recreation District is the only way we can accomplish large-scale preservation and recreational opportunity in the Basin, creating well thought-out trail connections to enjoy these special places over time.
The protection of the canyon land behind Hi Ute Ranch was made possible, in part, because of the Snyderville Basin Recreation District and the residents who voted to save the places that will prevent the Basin from becoming Anytown, USA. As Utah Open Lands works to raise the final necessary dollars, we recognize this opportunity would have been lost if not for the vision of the landowner, Summit County leaders, private donors, the District and a vision for open space that began decades ago.
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Executive director, Utah Open Lands
Utah pharmacists oppose mega-merger
A group of Utah pharmacists recently went to Washington, D.C. to express concern to our elected representatives about an issue that affects most Utahns. We posed serious questions regarding the proposed mega-merger of two pharmacy benefit management companies, Express Scripts and Medco.
These two particular pharmacy benefit managers, and others, have paid over $370 million to settle allegations of fraud and deceptive practices. Their union would likely lead to reduced choice, diminished competition and higher drug costs, in some cases putting independent pharmacies out of business. That’s why consumer advocates and local pharmacists oppose the merger, and why the Federal Trade Commission, Congress and 28 state attorneys general are scrutinizing it closely.
We appreciate the concerns Senator Mike Lee expressed at the hearing on behalf of the more than 200 small-business independent community pharmacies that operate in Utah and for the patients they serve.
Snowmobiles don’t fit PCMR’s eco image
Our local ski resorts have received high grades once again for their environmental efforts. Why then, if you ski at PCMR, are you constantly subjected to pollution from the unending snowmobile traffic in the base area and on the runs. These machines have been banned from Yellowstone Park because they are so polluting. To have ski lessons full of young children and athletes breathing this foul smoke seems to me to be neglecting the very first priority of environmentalism.
The vast majority of the usage of these machines seems to be for transporting a single employee without equipment. Can’t the machines be replaced with four-strokes as the Canyons have done? Can’t we reroute them away from congested areas where the fumes collect and stagnate? Can’t the usage be reduced?
I applaud the ski areas trying to be good environmental citizens, but this Citizens’ Coalition needs to stand at the base area for ten minutes and breathe in a good dose of the ugly reality.
Governor wishes Utahns a joyful holiday
This is one of my favorite times of year. The music, the lights, the food all evoke sentimental feelings and treasured memories. Perhaps most of all, it is a wonderful season for perspective.
To paraphrase the sage and beloved Dr. Seuss, the holiday season is not ultimately about presents, ribbons, and tags; it is not about packages, boxes, or bags. The holiday season is about family and friends gathering together to celebrate the traditions that define us and strengthen the bonds that unite us. Most importantly, it is a time to extend ourselves to others, especially those who are in need, those who may be forgotten, or those who find themselves alone during this time of gathering.
Whatever one’s religious or cultural beliefs, my prayer for all Utahns and our nation is that we reach out to those who need our friendship and love, that we extend a kind hand and lift up one another. May we all reflect on those things which are truly important and be grateful for the abundance we enjoy. To again borrow from Dr. Seuss, may our hearts grow "three sizes."
On behalf my wife, Jeanette, and the entire Herbert family, I extend my warmest wishes to all Utahns for a Merry Christmas, a joyful holiday season and a prosperous new year.
Gary R. Herbert