Letters: After adapting to the pandemic, teachers deserve a raise
Raise is in order for teachers
It seems like the stable pillars of everyday life have started to fracture as the infamous COVID-19 has infiltrated our lives. It has changed routines that were once habitual to society and has somehow pressed pause on a world that never stops. As the son of two professionals in health care, I have grown up in a household that emphasizes the importance of science and learning. It is through these two avenues that this virus will end and society will thrive once more. We should all feel indebted to those on the front line who sacrifice so much to ensure our safety. They are the modern definition of a superhero fighting a war not with weapons and ammunition but rather medicine and ventilators. Yet in the midst of all this, it seems to me that there are forgotten heroes, those who give tirelessly to the youth of today in the form of knowledge. As I once learned from Sir Francis Bacon, “Knowledge is power,” and consequently the path to a better life. Teachers are front-line workers, and while they do not fight off pandemics, they do inspire, motivate and educate the next generation of this country. During these uncertain times, teachers have faced adversity without hesitation. They quickly switched to online learning, continued to excite students with material and reached out to ensure they were both safe and secure. During my years in high school, I have been fortunate enough to experience many life-changing classes. It is through these courses that my own thought process has been challenged and I have found subjects that I am passionate about. Teachers come in at early hours and leave far after everyone else, in order to provide support for those who need it the most. They are friends, advocates and counselors. With their dedication and professional demeanor throughout this pandemic, I feel teachers deserve a raise as a symbol of our sincere appreciation and gratitude. As the future of school in the fall is uncertain, we must ensure that teachers feel valued in this most noble profession.
Park City High School junior
Care for your mental health
Most of us now understand the general importance of mental health, but some of us still underestimate the impact it has on our daily individual lives. Even for those of us who have experienced anxiety, depression or other issues, it is easy to forget the impact of crisis when the clouds lift and the sun again shines through the darkness of our lives. We bask in the glow of the things we’ve learned and how far we’ve come until anxiety or depression again rears its ugly head, and we fall. During these moments we forget those habits that helped us to be well. Life is going well, so there’s no reason to focus on how we “used to be” because we’re never going to feel that way again. This remains true until the pain comes back, challenge again strikes, and we enter a downward spiral of hopelessness.
For many people, challenging circumstances precede the onset of this downward spiral. It can be difficult to hope for a brighter future when the present looks so bleak. I know numerous people in this community have struggled with feelings of anxiety and depression since the onset of the current pandemic. These feelings can be overwhelming and terrifying, so please know that you are not alone for feeling this way. You are not inadequate for talking about your fears, seeking professional counseling, participating in therapy groups or otherwise acknowledging and working through these feelings. Also, remember that overcoming struggle is often a team effort.
We have many nonprofits working to assist people through the mental and emotional impacts of this pandemic, including: Connect Summit County, Christian Center of Park City, Park City Community Foundation, Peace House, Jewish Family Services and Communities that Care to name a few. These organizations offer therapy, educational resources, group counseling and other services to support people as they traverse this challenging landscape. Many counselors and therapists are also ready and able to assist people experiencing mental health issues and crisis. As we recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s pay special attention to the impact mental health has on our lives. Let’s show each other — and ourselves — additional compassion during this time as we work through individual and collective challenges. Now is the time to de-stigmatize mental health issues and encourage everyone to care for themselves and their entire health. Stay safe and stay well.
Summit County Council candidate
Stevens brings the right focus
I am writing in support of Malena Stevens for Summit County Council Seat C. I have known Malena for many years and she is a person of great integrity. She works tirelessly for the most vulnerable in our society through her work with the Park City Police Department as the executive assistant to the chief of police and as a victim advocate coordinator providing crisis intervention for victims of violent crimes. Malena is presently on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission and has a master’s of public administration. She has the education and experience to easily fit into the County Council.
Malena is endorsed by Kim Carson, who is retiring from this council seat. Kim has been an advocate for education and social services on the council, and it is important that we continue to have a council person with that focus. My concern is that if we do not have a focus on social services on the council that we will not have the same perspective that Kim has continuously added to council. Malena is one who will immediately bring extensive experience and knowledge of our community to this seat through her leadership and volunteer experience in the community. I join Kim Carson in supporting Malena Stevens in her bid to become a member of the Summit County Council. She is the person perfect for taking over this seat.
Robin D. Davis
Harte brings a steady hand
In this tough time, I need to relax knowing there’s a firm, experienced and wise hand on the county rudder. I want Canice Harte to represent me because he has a very special kind of inclusive leadership. He understands the way Summit County operates. He understands the way local businesses operate. He understands the struggles of local nonprofits.
Because he has been a leader in so many organizations, he inspires confidence and he can articulate his vision for our future. I want to hear him on Thursday morning explaining county government and the actions of the Summit County Council.
Being an elected leader of county government is not a job for beginners. Canice can jump right in next January and be effective from the first minute. He speaks to my favorite issues and I know I can trust him to make the best decisions about:
1) Trails and open space
2) Senior citizen issues (because now I AM one!)
3) Public transit to ease traffic congestion
4) Wise land use planning
5) Economic diversification and development
6) Cautious oversight of the county budget
Please feel free to phone me at 435-640-3759 to schedule a Zoom meeting with Canice and some of your friends who would like to know him better.
We need Harte on the County Council
I am supporting Canice Harte for Summit County Council Seat C.
I first met Canice when I started trail running. I’m proud to say that last year I completed my first ultra marathon. I credit Canice with helping me reach this goal.
Prior to the pandemic, Canice led a free weekly trail run. All are welcome and many different people show up. This being Summit County, we get Olympians, young people, older folks and people of various ethnicities and ability levels including working moms like me. Regardless of who shows up on a particular day, Canice ensures that no one is left behind. I’m often last in the group and whenever there is a trail split, there he is waiting for me and high-fiving. He’s a very thoughtful and positive guy.
I believe this to be a good example of how he leads on a daily basis and how he will lead on the council. He values all perspectives and people and makes everyone feel welcome. We need that on the council, particularly now.
I will happily vote for Canice Harte and I hope that you will join me.
Park City is proud of its graduates
Dear friends and neighbors,
I hope you are enjoying this beautiful spring weather. Spring is a time of rebirth, which seems fitting as we begin our collective journey toward a “new normal.” Spring is also the time when young adults graduate and launch into their own “new normal.” Graduation is typically when we celebrate students’ hard work and great accomplishments. Unfortunately, most 2020 graduates will not be able to experience customary traditions, but as they blaze their way into the post-COVID world, they have a unique chance to create new traditions.
One of these memorable “new traditions” may be the nationally televised graduation speech, the first given by former President Obama and others. Politics aside, his message was so good it’s worth repeating (paraphrased and customized for Park City):
Don’t be afraid: Park City has gone through tough times before — we’ve burned down, mined out and survived depressions, recessions and reinvention. We are resilient, and have emerged stronger each time. We will do it again!
Do the right thing: which should not be confused with doing what is easy, or doing what you want. Doing the right thing is about personal responsibility, and building community through collaboration and shared sacrifice.
Nothing big gets done alone: together we are strong, apart we are vulnerable. The harder it gets, the more we must stick together. We treasure our community because it gives us comfort to be part of something bigger. Find ways to embrace and support this community, even when we’re asked to physically distance.
Park City is proud of our graduates and welcomes them into this new world. They will be the ones helping to create our “new normal,” and I look forward to a world under their leadership. Stay healthy, Park City — COVID-19 has created a long and dark winter, but spring is here.
Park City mayor
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Christopher Smart writes in a guest editorial that, until police reform happens in Utah, young men will continue to be ripped away from their families.