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Letters to the Editor

Bird flu 101

Editor: As the self-appointed president of B.I.R.D.S. (Bird Influenza Resource Dissemination of Silver Creek), I feel an obligation to keep our citizenry informed about avian flu. Especially in light of recent press, including Silvia Leavitt’s Park Record article, I wish to facilitate some of the information referenced in her article. So, unless you live in a cave (which might not be such a bad idea) or get your news from Sports Illustrated, you’ve undoubtedly heard of bird flu. Just for clarification, an epidemic is simply a disease occurrence whose incidence is higher than expected. For example, a devastating and difficult disease to treat called senioritis has been observed to be abnormally elevated this year at our local high schools — this is a senioritis epidemic; however, if senioritis unexpectedly spread throughout the world, only then do we have a pandemic. On a more serious note, in reference to avian flu (H5N1), in order for a pandemic to occur in humans, three conditions must be met: The current H5N1 virus mutates, spreading easily among humans; the virus must be new to humans, something our immune system has never previously been exposed to; and, finally, the virus must infect 100 people and result in 50 percent mortality among infected individuals. Here’s the bummer — all conditions have been met, other than the fact the virus has yet to be easily transmitted between humans, which will most likely happen soon. I think Scooby puts it best, "Rut Row, Shaggy!" The key is early identification of human-to-human transmission, prophylactic, anti-viral administration in an attempt to isolate the virus, quarantine outbreak areas, and international cooperation. the way, feel free to stop me to discuss matters of avian flu — I’ll be the guy clutching the bird poop-laden umbrella walking around Main Street on clear days wearing a surgical mask. Rest assured, I’ll have a permanent eye fixed on the skies, particularly since H5N1 has been found in migratory birds in British Columbia. So, in the words of Dirty Harry, "You’ve gotta ask yourself one question, do you feel lucky well, do ya, punk?" Mike Farrell Silver Creek High school parking Editor: Something needs to be done about the high school kids parking in the neighborhood across the street from the school. It has gotten to the point that during school hours, our neighborhood is overrun by high school kids using every open space on the road to park. These kids drive, in most cases, $20,000 to $40,000 cars. And a parking pass is, what, $25? I know that these are kids who, on their 16th birthday are given cars (heck, I was one of those kids) but these kids do not have a place to park at school so they feel it is their right to invade our neighborhood, which is not a right. What ever happened to taking the bus to school? Not cool, I gather. I’ve been told by the school district that it is not their problem, but they are their students. I’ve been told the city cannot do anything about it. There is something that the city can do and that is give residents parking passes like they do in Old Town. Granted we are not million-dollar homes built on million-dollar pieces of property but in light of the recent fire, it would be impossible to get into our neighborhood with a fire truck if this was to happen during the day. I have measured between cars and only 15 feet of space was left for the road with cars parked on both sides. During the winter, our roads do not get plowed properly. If the snow falls for any period of time like it has for the past four days, we are down to one lane only because the plows can only make one pass between the cars parked on both sides of the street. Today I had a Ford pickup parked in front of my house that just happened to knock over my garbage can before he drove away. I am sorry my can was behind your truck but it was Wednesday and it was garbage day. Sorry for the long winded whine but something needs to be done about this problem. Sincerely, R. Michael Taylor Park City Need for a Hospital Editor: You are never really aware of what you need until you really need it: Last Wednesday night I took out the garbage. I bent down to grab the garbage lid and slipped on the ice. My forehead crashed against the boulder wall behind the garbage can. I cut my head clear through the muscle and down to the scull. Blood was gushing from my forehead. I wasn’t sure if I also had a concussion. It was very late at night. I was terrified. If ever there was a time when the absence of a hospital was really noticed, this was it. We drove down to Salt Lake City. Every minute seemed longer than it really was. I was panicked, lying in the back of our car. Inner stitches to sew the muscle back together, as well as 10 stitches on my eyebrow were required. I hope I don’t need an emergency trauma center again but I’m so aware of how many people live here full-time, how many people come and visit, how popular Park City is, and that we have a responsibility up here to be able to serve people medically, and that a hospital in Park City will be something that we will really appreciate as soon as its doors are open. Tracy Salberg Park City Censorship in Utah Editor: It’s Tuesday evening and the Victoria Secret Fashion Show is to be televised nationally on CBS… but not in Utah! An individual cannot watch this program because the Utah censors have decided that it’s inappropriate for viewing during prime time. As a former East Coast television producer currently living in Park City, I find it abhorrent that "the powers that be" do not feel that adults living in this state are capable of making a decision as to what is appropriate TV viewing for their family without local networks making that decision for them. One cannot watch Saturday Night Live on the local NBC affiliate because the "powers that be" once again determine what can be broadcast on its station. This choice is not in tune with major markets within the U.S. I live here by choice as it truly is a wonderful place to live. Having been a part of film and television production, I find it difficult to comprehend that this state has to do my thinking for me. I cannot believe that this state doesn’t have the confidence in the intelligence of viewers to turn off what they feel inappropriate for their family. Why should the censors of local television stations determine what is appropriate for me to watch? I am a free-thinking, intelligent woman who can make these decisions for myself… I would appreciate the privilege of choice! I can’t believe that the state of Utah is so controlled by what "others" deem appropriate rather than realizing that there are a great many very intelligent human beings, a majority of them who are women, who are capable of thinking for themselves and making the right decisions for themselves. This is not a radical feminist statement, but one made by a woman who has adult children, grandchildren and who lives here by choice. Bottom line…one can live in this magnificent state and live an incredible life regardless of one’s surroundings and have a strong belief in free thinking and have a spiritual mindset that has existed for more years than one would care to count. Judith A. Harris Park City Aid and comfort for Pakistan Editor: The Park City Interfaith Council, comprised of faith leaders from Christian, Jewish and Baha’i communities in Park City and the Snyderville Basin, recently made a financial contribution to benefit people in Pakistan who are left without shelter from that country’s devastating earthquake in October of this year. This donation, channeled through The Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian organization, will assist in the provision of tents, clothing and blankets for hundreds of thousands of people left without shelter in a frigid, mountainous winter climate. Wintertime shelters are desperately needed to avert a feared "second wave of deaths" in a disaster that has already claimed a confirmed 87,000 lives, according to a Mercy Corps statement. So far, the agency’s relief workers have distributed more than 2,500 tents in remote valleys, home to about 200,000 people living in isolated villages. Daily distributions of blankets, sleeping bags, jerry cans and other supplies continue where the need remains extremely critical. To see how you can add your contributions to those made by the Park City Interfaith Council, go to http://www.mercycorps.org. Contributions to the earthquake survivors of Pakistan can also be made through other charitable organizations. Sedona Callahan Park City Personal attention Editor: With all the new fitness centers invading Summit County, it’s nice to see good old reliable Conscious Fitness take on a practically blind octogenarian client in a special class for seniors, "Introduction to Weights." And busy, reliable Amy Heyes finds time to give her the special attention she needs — at no extra cost! Sol Browdy Park City


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