Letters: Farm Bill is based on common myths about people who use food stamps

Tour was beneficial for students


Recently, approximately four hundred Ecker Hill Middle School seventh graders participated in an occupational tour of Park City businesses and organizations. The tour was an enrichment activity included in their class College and Career Awareness. Students had the unique opportunity to visit Deer Valley, the Summit County Justice Center, Utah Olympic Park, and the PCCAPS Program at Park City High School. Students learned about the justice system, emergency services, culinary arts, employability skills, marketing, and advanced classes that they will be able to take in high school.

We would like to personally thank each of the businesses and organizations who were willing to take time out of their work day to host us. Each stop offered valuable insight and education. The presenters and tour directors shared their enthusiasm for their work. We feel lucky to live in a community that is so willing to share their knowledge with a future generation.

Jennifer Hales, Brad Gannon and Trip Marshall

The CCA Team at Ecker Hill Middle School

Noxious weed must be considered


Summit Park residents are preparing for their 6th consecutive year of trying to control the expanding garlic mustard problem in the neighborhood under State/Salt Lake County grants aimed at stemming the spread of this aggressive noxious weed. It begs the question.

Why bother?

Summit County’s weed supervisor has apparently downplayed concerns about garlic mustard as a rapidly expanding invasive threat, even suggesting to Basin Rec that improved access from cutting a new destination bike trail through isolated infestations in the otherwise pristine Toll Canyon open space is a sound strategy for controlling the weed. Really.

Garlic mustard seeds are viable for 10 years and spread naturally by mechanical means, like muddy hooves of large animals. Recreational bike traffic offers a very efficient transport mechanism and is already spreading the weed along other local trails.

The new trail will repeatedly traverse areas treated for 5 years under the same grants, with very easy access, yet no sign of containment. It’s a tough weed to control.

Prediction: By slicing through known infestations and regardless of any “active management” efforts they claim will be applied, Basin Rec’s proposed destination bike trail will spread garlic mustard to existing trails above Summit Park (currently clean) and other trails around Summit and Salt Lake counties.

The trail hasn’t been cut yet and could still be easily realigned to avoid infested areas by adhering to the original conceptual alignment.

Meanwhile, Summit Park residents continue to try and act responsibly. At least someone cares about local ecological integrity.

Unfortunately, the local entity entrusted with managing our public wildlands can’t see beyond their concept of a perfect bike trail. Maybe they’ll name this one the Garlic Mustard Trail.

J Dewell, Dave Gardner, Bruce Glisson, Bob Roemer and Irene Terry

Summit Park

Food stamp program is vital


As a former preschool teacher, I can speak firsthand to the link between nutrition and learning. For a number of years I ran a preschool for The Road Home shelter downtown. On any given day we would have 20-60 children in the preschool. When I first started, I noticed that many of the children had behavioral issues such as hitting, selfishness, and tantrums. There was one girl in particular who exhibited those behaviors. One day, I was giving out cheese snacks and she started following me, like a baby bird, begging for more. I decided to give her as much food as she wanted, and something miraculous happened. She became well behaved. I tried it the next day with the same result. We brought in more donated food, fed all the children, and just as with the little girl, their behavior improved too. It turns out these children didn’t have behavioral issues. They were hungry.

After this experience I tried the “Food Stamp Challenge” where I attempted to live on $1.40 per meal for a week (the average benefit per person). It was haunting. I began to feel like the children from the shelter — fatigued, unhappy, short-tempered, and depressed.

After these experiences, I realized how critical nutrition is for learning and how vital it is that we protect and expand the Food Stamp Program (now called SNAP). 80 percent of Utahns receiving SNAP live in households with children. And studies show that if families are low on food, the parents will go without so their children can eat. No one should have to make that choice.

Feeding those in need is critically important. I urge our elected leaders to focus on strengthening and expanding SNAP to create opportunity, make sure all Americans can make ends meet, and provide all our children with a bright future.

Ashley Eddington

Hoopes Circles Salt Lake executive director

How can any country trust Trump?


How can a greedy, childish moron like Trump personally, without congressional discussion, vote or oversight, decide to abrogate an International Treaty? How can any country trust this lunatic to do anything but lie?

Nick Wright

Park City

Students’ bravery was inspiring


On May 2nd Connect Summit County, a local mental health awareness organization, presented a program, “Ask Me Anything”, that featured three videos in the Tedx Talk format by students at the Park City High School. The videos presented the personal stories of the students’ encounter with mental health, addiction and racial bias issues.

After the videos a panel of twelve students opened themselves to thoughtful questions from an audience deeply moved. This live portion of the program only amplified what was already an extraordinarily honest expression of problems challenging today’s youth and our society as a whole.

As an older person whose kids came of age in the Park City School system and now as a grandparent three times over I have worried about some of the recent changes that have swept over the American society and what that meant to their future. The changes that are most disappointing are those that indicate that the progress I thought we had made in regard to racial equality, destigmatization of mental health, addiction, gender identity, physical disability etc. was neither as deep nor as long lasting as I had hoped.

My hope was renewed by the twelve students who bravely, passionately, clearly, and strongly presented themselves that night.

Those who are facing these and other challenges have their hands full trying to find a way forward. They do not need to be stigmatized, bullied, ignored, shamed or ostracized. They are part of a community, our community, and must, therefore, be embraced as such and to the best of our ability be given the helping hand that they need and deserve.

I was deeply affected as were many others in the audience by the students’ presentations and we are grateful for the forthrightness of their outreach. You shoulda been there!

Ric Catoni

Park City

Youngster had help to achieve honor


On Wednesday, May 9, Tenneson Klein was given the Conservationist of the Year Award from Summit Land Conservancy! Tenneson has been fundraising and raising awareness to help save the Osguthorpe Farm. Ten is only 7 years old and was born here, and in that short amount of time he has been shaped by many wonderful people and places in and around Park City. I would like to thank Terri Spelman from Little Achievers Preschool for encouraging him on his path of loving the outdoors, Swaner Nature Preserve for their great summer camp programs and chocolate covered crickets, Summit Land Conservancy for their youth programs and helping Ten find all his treasures on their protected lands, our neighbors on Hackney Court and Countryside Circle who let Ten explore their yards and have endless conversations about scat, his sister Scarlett for her sweet nature and patience when helping catch one more lizard, and Graham Bam Bam Anthony for his loving support and traveling with us all over this country in search of bison and manatees and coyotes and bears and eclipses and geysers and rivers and oceans.

Sharyn Jones, his loving and proud mother Park City

Farm Bill is based on common myths


I grew up believing that people on food stamps were lazy, uneducated, and dependent.

These common myths about food stamps stigmatize and hurt families. Here in Utah, 86% of the families that receive SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) have at least one working family member, and the average duration families use SNAP benefits is actually less than a year. For most families, SNAP benefits provide help following a difficult event — a serious illness, job loss, or divorce. It’s a temporary help that frees up limited funds so families can eat and keep the roof over their head during a crisis.

Work requirements already exist for people who receive SNAP, but the new Farm Bill simply makes these onerous — extending the work requirements to mothers with children in elementary school and adults over 50 years old. The bill also requires families to document work every single month — increasing the implementation costs of the program and burdening families who are already struggling through a crisis.

In addition, the Farm Bill cuts SNAP by nearly 10 billion meals in the next decade. Please call and ask your representative to vote NO on this Farm Bill that is based on myth, not fact.

Debbie Baskin

Park City

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