Letters to the Editor. January 23-26, 2010
McPolin Elementary Student Council would like to help the earthquake victims of Haiti. We will be putting health kits together to send to the organization called UMCOR. The organization has been researched as a legitimate resource.
All items must be new. Each grade level is being asked to bring certain items to be included in each kit:
Kindergarten — bars of soap 3 ounces and up
First grade — toothbrushes in original wrapper
Second grade — bandages (Band-Aids) and gallon-sized baggies
Third grade — fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
Fourth grade — combs (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
Fifth grade — hand towels (15 x 25 inches) and wash cloths
We would like to let the community know what we are doing to help the earthquake victims. My phone number is 645-5630 ext. 4299 if there are any questions
Counselor, McPolin Elementary
Wolves’ return has benefited wildlife
I would like to assure all Utahns that the wildlife of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming has not disappeared since wolves returned, as Senator Christensen (R-N Ogden) asserts (in Patrick Parkinson’s 1/15 article "Senator wants wolves destroyed"). To the contrary, wildlife is flourishing here.
According to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, there are 150,000 elk in Montana, compared to 90,000 in the mid 1980s when wolves started to make their way back to the state. Wyoming’s elk population is up 35% since then to 95,000, while Idaho’s is up 5% to 115,000. Montana has become a top-10 state for deer-auto collisions, testifying to how well our deer are doing. And biologists have confirmed that wildlife from bears to beavers to birds have all benefited from the wolf’s return, because wolves cause elk and deer to behave more naturally, moving around the landscape rather than bunching up in river bottoms and destroying the vegetation, for example.
Wolves lived alongside elk and every other animal in this region for thousands of years. It makes no sense that the few hundred wolves living here today could suddenly wipe out hundreds of thousands of other animals.
Finally, it will be interesting to watch how Senator Christensen will ban native wildlife from Utah, since wildlife eradication went out of favor in the early 1900s and is now prohibited by both federal and state laws, and is generally against the public’s wishes. Utah has a long, proud history of wildlife recovery and conservation, including a wolf management plan. Let’s hope the Utah legislature doesn’t set it back a hundred years or more by banning a native animal from the state.
Rocky Mountain Region director
Defenders of Wildlife
Seeing Sundance in a new light
Sundance has evolved from the simple United States Film Festival of the ’80s, where you could easily walk into any movie you wanted and occasionally see a good one, to a major international production where writers, producers, directors, stars and wanna-be stars come to town to see and be seen. It is not just the B grade stars anymore, it’s Brangelina, Bono, and even Bob Redford. They dress in black leather from head to toe, habitually sip soy lattes and incessantly chatter on cell phones — a stereotype that makes them almost parodies of themselves. They bring their tawdry morals with their coastal psychosis and contaminate our quaint little ski town. Main Street becomes a place that locals shun for the week, avoid at all cost and clearly dread. It is good for the economy, the skiing is great and uncrowded, but it is a pain in the ass.
The night was young and the moon was full so I thought I would check it out, once and for all. I strolled down Main Street and by the time I reached the Brew Pub I was engulfed in a sea of humanity. There were people from LA, NYC, India, China, SLC and even Heber; people of all races and creeds, not just the homogenized family crowd, men’s ski trip, frat boys or local lackeys. Sure they were slipping around in silly shoes, triple parking in front of the Egyptian and speaking loudly and demonstrably to each other and their phones, but these people were alive, energetic and dramatic. The vibe and the verve was nothing like the Olympics, July 4th or the Arts Festival. It was international, cosmopolitan and sophisticated. It was like Paris’s Left Bank, Midtown Manhattan, and even downtown Los Angeles — if there is such a place. I got into it and I was blown away.
I had been running from this experience for years, avoiding the crowds and the mayhem, not realizing that despite some minor inconveniences, it was fun, different and a great opportunity for our little town. It is a "happening" that defines us now as a cultural capitol as much as an international destination ski resort. I went with the sidewalk flow for a while and then stood to the side and watched, smiling the entire time to myself and to every person I saw, who sometimes smiled back. I don’t know if I saw many celebrities but I was sure that they saw me. It was contagious and for a moment I was no longer an invisible middle-aged mountain man.
I spotted a long limousine with a sign on it that read, "Say something nice to the next person you see." As I walked up the street with the masses I was so overwhelmed that I could not pick out a single person or think of one thing to say to anyone. At the top of the street, the crowd thinned out and I spied a young 20-something woman floating down the sidewalk towards me, wearing only a gossamer smock over a light sweater, backlit by the moonlight. She smiled genuinely when she acknowledged me and as we passed I told her innocently that she "looked like an absolute angel." She turned, skipped backwards a few steps and beamed, "You just made my day." I was sincerely thankful for this evanescent vision of the night, lent to us like much of this film festival, from the City of Angels.
Voters are tired of the status quo
Tuesday’s Massachusetts election should serve as a wake-up to all politicians. The citizens of the U.S. are tired of politics as usual. We are tired of extremists on the right and left hijacking the political process to drive their own agenda. We are tired of infighting and backstabbing and insincerity. We are tired of the lack of focus on the people’s agenda, not that of the extremists on either side.
The U.S. is made of people of all walks of life. It is what makes us great. And those with extreme philosophy — be they right or left leaning — can have a voice. But the vast majority of the country is somewhere in the middle.
Yet our elected officials don’t seem to get it. The parties gravitate to the extreme message in order to amplify their voice. And then they act — virtually all of them — with what seems to be complete indifference to their real constituents, the average Joe — you and me who are somewhere in the middle.
Tuesday was really a repudiation of the process. If the Republicans had been in charge, they would have gotten their comeuppance, as they did in 2008. There are big problems for a focused electorate to deal with.
Instead we get rhetoric. We get party politics. Oh, and we get expanding earmarks. Not that I am against the study of pig odor in Iowa for $1.7 million. Or the promotion of astronomy in Hawaii for $2.0 million or even the genetic study of grapes in N.Y. for $2.1 million. OK, maybe I am against all of them.
Tuesday should serve as a wake up call to Washington. The people are getting tired of business as usual. We want change — not necessarily in the country’s direction, but in the business of politics.
Most of my friends know that when I retire — if I retire — I have a goal of starting a grassroots campaign to amend the constitution to impose term limits on Congress. This desire comes from the seemingly endless abuses of self-serving, political back-slapping and power mongering that seem to drive our Congress. Massachusetts voters made a statement against the status quo on Tuesday. We should all keep the pressure on. Then maybe — just maybe — change will come and I can do other more enjoyable things if I retire instead of having to go on that crusade.
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