Letters to the Editor, May 13-16, 2017 | ParkRecord.com

Letters to the Editor, May 13-16, 2017

Submissions from Park Record readers

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UDOT's proposed "wildlife overpass" doesn't qualify

Editor:

According to the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) definition, the Utah Department of Transportation's (UDOT) current proposed "wildlife"overpass at Parley's Summit does not qualify to be defined as a wildlife overpass. According to the FHWA's "Wildlife Crossing Structure Handbook" (FHWA-CFL/TD-11-003) UDOT's current design does not even qualify as a mixed wildlife-human use overpass for wildlife habitat connectivity in low conservation value habitats (FHWA) because it is not engineered to carry minimal soil and vegetation.

A wildlife overpass for use in areas of medium to high conservation value is at least 3 times wider, 130 feet, carrying a native soil depth of 5 to 8 feet to support 8 to 12 feet trees plus native grasses and shrubs with a 2 to 3 percent grade for drainage (FHWA). Most animals cross at night and avoid traffic noise, so some combination of earth berms, solid walls, and dense vegetation are needed on the sides of the structure. To minimally upgrade UDOT's plan to be a mixed human-wildlife use overpass for areas with low conservation value, would require vegetated strip with 1.6 to 3.2 feet of soil with grasses and shrubs. Deer and elk, but likely not moose, would use a multi-use overpass (FHWA).

UDOT could build a more suitable structure to reduce wildlife-vehicle accidents and reconnect wildlife habitat to preserve local biodiversity, watershed and climate using far less costly pre-fabricated cast-in-place concrete arches. UDOT's current design is just another bridge engineered for vehicular traffic, not a wildlife overpass. The excuses given are that the alleged wildlife overpass is "better than nothing" and "we want the structure to be open to the sky for drivers." However, there are beautiful wildlife overpasses constructed or under construction in Washington, New Jersey, Montana, Canada, Florida, and across Europe. Why not Utah too?

Kathy Dopp
Park City

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Latinos in Action leader is grateful for local support

Editor:

I'm in amazement and shock at the fact that my Park City High School years are coming to an end. Three years ago, I never thought it could be possible that I would be in the position that I am now. I am the Latinos in Action President, and I'm financially, academically, and socially prepared to commence my college journey at Utah State University in the fall. Growing up in Park City, while being an ELL (English Language Learner) has been difficult, but with the help of many, I've been able to overcome all trials. With that being said, I wouldn't have made it this far without the love and support from various teachers, and I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to them.

Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Moffat have been the biggest blessings in my life. Not only do they play an important role in bridging the social, economic, and linguistic gap between community and school, but they nurture, challenge, and support all students within the school.

Mr. Jobe has become quite the mentor to me for the past three years. Not only has Mr. Jobe helped me rekindle my love for literature, but he has taught me the meaning of advocacy.

Last, but not least, Mr. Mulick deserves a big thanks for all that he's done for me, and many other students as well. Mr. Mulick, not only promotes an inclusive, safe learning environment, but he ensures that all students are respected within his classroom. Mr. Mulick knows the true meaning of equity, giving extra hour of time to students who need it, and makes himself available to any student when in need.

Overall, the Park City High School staff is amazing, and to end my high school journey, I needed to express my gratitude and admiration for Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Moffat, Mr. Jobe, and Mr. Mulick, the most impactful and amazing teachers that any student would be lucky to have.

Ilany Nayely Velazquez
Park City High School

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PCHS student credits teacher for his success

Editor:

To my teacher Mrs. Williams: thank you for always being there for me. Ever since I was a sophomore, you knew what was best for my academic future. Even though I had just arrived in the United States, you helped me break down the social, economic, and physical barriers that played as a hindrance on my thirst for learning. With the help of Mrs. Moffat, both of you made me realize and recognize my own greatest potential, which is what and who I am now. I am a board member of Health Occupation Students of America, an active member of National Honors Society, a part of Teen Council, and an advocate of Latinos in Action.

Thank you for believing in me and encouraging me to strive further out of my comfort zone.

Justin Meneses
Park City High School

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PTA volunteers make teachers feel appreciated

Editor:

May 1-5 was Teacher Appreciation Week all over the country. The PTA members at Parley's Park Elementary went above and beyond, once again in making all of our teachers and staff feel extremely appreciated! Delicious meals were provided daily, all of our favorite treats and ice cold drinks were waiting for us in the teacher's lunchroom, and we even had a chance to sign up for a free massage! As busy and hectic as this time of the year can get, you would never know it with these ladies around to make things so nice for us.
A big shout out goes to Susan Vandenberg , Angie Brown, Sara Sergent, Kellie Hatcher, Erin Grady, Christa Graff, and all of the other generous parents who sent flowers, cards, and sweet gifts of appreciation this week! We have the best PTA in the world!

Jennifer Shane, 4th grade teacher
Parley's Park Elementary School

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Nuzzles says thanks to chefs who helped support the cause

Editor:

Nuzzles & Co. would like to thank all who participated in the 4th annual Chef Wars hosted by Seth Adams of the Riverhorse and directed by Claire Desilets. Over 150 people enjoyed a delicious buffet while watching three celebrity chefs create two dishes from secret ingredients judged by an expert foodie panel. The winner, Shawn Armstrong of the Montage Deer Valley had tough competition from Chef Tim of Deer Valley and Chef Michael of the Waldorf Astoria. Television personality, Jennifer Hardman, emceed the hotly contested auction for sous-chefs and 'kitchen helpers' as the crowd cheered. All proceeds went to Nuzzles & Co.'s continuing efforts to save animals and families in need.

Wendy Lavitt, Vice President Nuzzles & Co.
Park City

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Fate of Bears Ears should be decided by its rightful owner

Editor:

When it comes to Bears Ears, we talk about the wrong things. Folks on the right argue the monument designation is a 'land grab,' the Federal government stepping in and throwing their weight around. Folks on the left say the State government wants to sell and lease the land to the extraction industry, instead of leaving it pristine for Americans to enjoy.

Both sides are missing the point. We call it ‘Bears Ears’, but that is not what it is called. Bears Ears is a translation. The land is Hoon'Naqvut. It is Shash Jáa, Kwiyagatu Nukavachi, and Ansh An Lashokdiwe. There are precious resources in its soil and irreplaceable beauty in its spires and canyons, but they aren’t ours to exploit or to enjoy.

Bears Ears is Native American land. When we visit, it must be as guests. The arguments — from both sides — have served to silence Native American voices.

Whether or not I favor the preservation of Bear’s Ears is irrelevant. We must seek out the voices of those who have lived and worshipped there for generations, and recognize that white activism on this topic is entirely subservient to the will of those Nations.

Senator Hatch deserves criticism for claiming to know what is best for Native peoples. Secretary Zinke deserves criticism for not meeting with Native leaders. Those of us who fight for preservation of the land must be vigilant we do not make the same mistake, and must seek to be Bears Ears’ servants, not its masters.

Joseph Silverzweig, Esq.
President, Wasatch County Young Democrats

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Judge Hilder's judicious advice put resident on the right path

Editor:

When I read about Judge Hilder's passing, I was deeply touched. His judgment during my divorce saved me from what could have been a sad future. A very big part of my life has been based on my having my own business and I have been that person since 1976, when at 21 years of age and 1,500 hundred miles from my hometown in Pennsylvania, I started my first business in Wyoming — a car repair facility in Rock Springs on Interstate 80, just 150 miles east of Park City.

Wanting a change of scenery, I left Rock Springs for Grand Junction, Colorado in 1981 and started another repair facility. Not ready to call the Western slope of Colorado home, although it was fun and beautiful, I sold that business and eventually landed in Park City in 1990, buying a home, and once again starting another automotive repair shop from scratch.

Obviously, I succeeded in three separate states doing what I do best, fixing cars; all along starting those businesses from ground zero. But because I ended up in a very messy prime time divorce in which she was part owner of my business, (me making her 51 percent owner for the sake of minority ownership financing thru an SBA loan to buy an existing business to get a better interest rate), her with a hotel sales background, and me doing something my heart and soul was into for 25 years and with the possibility, and ultimately, of her getting the chance for a large payout with a forced business sale, Judge Hilder reinstated me to run my business again, ending the court order that kept me away from being at my business three days a week giving me the authority to govern what I thought should happen when on a daily basis, allowing me to earn a pay check again.

When I look to the sky, I think of something tangible, his insight. Judge Hilder, you were a great judge of character, R.I.P.

Richard Mercer, owner
Mercer Automotive, Park City

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