Letters to the Editor, June 3-5, 2015
June 2, 2015
A day to appreciate non-motorized transportation
Park City Trail Lovers,
Mountain Trails Foundation would like to thank all those members of the public and the 10 trails/open space-related entities in attendance at Mountain Madness. On May 21st, the Park City trails community gathered for the second annual "all-things-trails" open house, to which the public was invited to interface directly with trails crews, peruse maps and learn about summer projects. Many good ideas were garnered, myths were dispelled and trails-related information was disseminated.
Thank you also to Chris Waddell for the example he is in this community. After the free screening of his movie, 1 Revolution, Chris stayed to answer questions and inspire the crowd.
We owe a big thank you to Canyons and Vail’s Epic Promise for sponsoring this event. Their support of the trails community made this FREE public event possible – right down to the complimentary movie-themed buffet.
And last, but certainly not least, we owe a great big thank you to the volunteers who keep Mountain Trails rolling. Year after year, our volunteers show up to lend a hand. What a superb job the volunteers do with increasing awareness of Membership Today = Trails Tomorrow moto. Thank you for putting your best feet forward on behalf on non-motorized trails!
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See you out there,
Mountain Trails Foundation
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UBER is not the Evil Empire
It is doubtful that Uber would be a job killer for our community.
I ride in over 150 Taxis (and Ubers) a year, in many different cities. I often ask drivers how much they work, and how Uber is working out for them. Some are independent car service drivers who use Uber to fill in rides between hires by their regular clients. Many have other jobs or drive part time while putting themselves through school — these are not career drivers and seem to use Uber as a stepping stone.
Uber is remarkably consistent. You get an accurate arrival time and cost, and the drivers are well spoken and knowledgeable about services, restaurants and events in their area.
In contrast, I have been disappointed by our local taxi services on several occasions. Once (during Christmas week) my wife and I called for a taxi from lower Main Street to Kimball Junction, and when the minivan showed up, about six young girls hopped in to go to the Yarrow. The driver shut us out, deciding that he could make that short run and then come back for us, as we had no other option (even though we had actually called).
Many locals have stories of gouging by our taxi services (Try taking a cab from Main Street to Jeremy Ranch on New Year’s Eve and see if it isn’t more expensive than a ride to the airport). It’s obvious to me that, unlike the rest of our service industry (restaurants and bars), the taxi services don’t seem to care about locals, who have no recourse. I assume our market is too small to be regulated, as in most cities.
As long as our taxi services run this way, why not welcome Uber and let consumers have both options.
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Park City parents need to acknowledge local drug problems
The recent push to get unleashed dogs leashed and owners fined has me baffled, especially given the fact that the police are using precious, limited resources to assist animal control. Really? Is this where our priorities lie?
My stepson moved here from the central valley of California a year and a half ago and attends Park City High School. He was thrilled with the caliber of the teachers and classes and delighted that he got his own laptop to use during the school year. But he has been surprised by the drug use among the kids. As he said to us recently, "The kids here will snort anything!" And he’s not just referring to smoking some pot or underage drinking, he’s shocked by the use of harder drugs—meth, heroin, cocaine.
Wake up, Park City. We don’t live in a magical bubble. Drug use among kids doesn’t just happen "out there," it’s here too. I’m not afraid of an unleashed dog or the occasional wayward bear. I’m afraid of this elephant in the room many people in Park City don’t want to talk about: drug use among our kids. That’s the problem our police department should be using their resources for.
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P.C. School District needs to invest more in reading plan
Many PCSD teachers have master’s degrees as well as various other advanced education degrees, endorsements, and trainings. K-3 teachers teach phonics and phonemic awareness with fidelity daily. Most K-3 teachers are credible reading teachers, deliver effective instruction, and address the academic needs of a majority of their students.
However, statistics suggest that one in five people have dyslexia. If a child has a severe form of dyslexia, he requires specialized intervention. Having teachers obtain a general reading endorsement isn’t going to meet the needs of children with reading difficulties. Currently, each school has a reading specialist with level 1 and 2 reading endorsements. The district wants to eliminate this position and require all K-3 teachers to earn their reading endorsement. Having a reading specialist with multiple reading endorsements isn’t viewed as effective by the district, so why require the classroom teachers to obtain these very same endorsements?
Expecting every K-3 teacher to acquire various endorsements isn’t a realistic way to approach academic concerns. It’s comparable to expecting your pediatric doctor to treat and specialize in every childhood disease and illness. If your child has diabetes, you would take him to a specialist (not expect your doctor to go back to school and become an endocrinologist). Furthermore, you’d probably be willing to pay for the medicine and additional treatment the specialist recommended. Teachers are not specialists in every avenue of education, but rather the primary giver to a child’s education.
If the district wants to see academic gains in students with reading disabilities, they should keep the existing reading centers and hire additional specialists (sub-contracted or district employees) to work with these children. General-education teachers need professional development opportunities and support by people who specialize in reading disabilities, not to be expected to become the specialists themselves.
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Family supports county’s efforts to augment mental health services
As parents of a Summit County resident who lives with mental illness, we thank Angelique McNaughton for her article "More Social Services Needed" (May 20-22). We hope that it signals the realization that, as County Health Director Rich Bullough says, the county’s failure to "financially prioritize" mental health and substance abuse services wastes both taxpayers’ money and the potential for many in the county to live productive lives.
We were pleased that Mr. Bullough, Chief prosecutor Matt Bates, County Council member Roger Armstrong, and Judge Shauna Kerr recognized and so clearly articulated the service gaps they see in carrying out their official duties. Our son LIVES those gaps. We appreciate that discussions are beginning and want to participate fully in community forums and planning sessions. We are willing to share our first-hand knowledge of what the community needs, because we are part of the community in need.
These ARE urgent problems; they MUST be solved.
Mr. Bullough is correct. We need discussion, education, and innovative, comprehensive solutions because "this is expensive and no one wants to just throw money at the issues." However, Summit County residents who suffer from mental illness are desperate that these valuable conversations become action items as soon as possible. Lives are wasting while we talk about rather than act to strengthen — our county’s porous safety net of services.
Thanks for shining a spotlight on an issue of such pressing importance.
Lynne and Ed Rutan
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See the bicycles and the motorcycles
We are fast coming on the time of year where motorbikes are on the roads in force. I am prompted to write this due to the most recent tragedy on Browns Canyon, along with a distant memory of a fatality earlier this season near the Jeremy Ranch exit.
Most times you will hear the driver causing the tragedy saying "I did not see the biker". This exact thing happened to me on Rasmussen. I got lucky. Here is what’s wrong with this statement:
If you did not see, you are legally blind and should not drive. If you did not look you are negligent and should be punished by the max the law allows. Someone else’s life is not your to take!
I am a driver as well as a motor-biker and I am asking all drivers, please, you will get there three minutes later but you will not have a victim on your conscience. Look before you turn, see who might be on your blind side, drive aware.
In all my life, inclusive of Armed Forces service, I killed but one animal that ran into my rear wheel. It is not easy to live with believe me I suffered for that.