Letters, Sept. 16-18: Empty mansions are replacing wildlife
Empty mansions replace wildlife
I am so disheartened. The golden goose hasn’t existed in decades. Can we please go back 30 years?
This town consists of 70% second, third, fourth home owners. Their 10,000-square-foot houses sit empty most of the year. Yet they have made a huge impact on Park City’s environment — leaving less and less room for our wildlife.
The moose, like every other form of wildlife were here long before humans. They are trying to survive basically in a city and they are paying the price. Just for being here. They were BORN here. They did not CHOOSE to move here. And yet they pay the price. They are being relocated (which usually kills them), hit by speeding cars, shot illegally, etc.
Watching moose in my yard was the last thing that reminded me of the old Park City.
My kids grew up here. Moose used to be everywhere and we loved them. And we used common sense. They were in our yard all the time. We gave them the respect they deserve.
Why are people hiking in the mountains during rutting season? I’m sorry, yes a mother in any species is protective of her young. It used to be the police would “escort” the moose back into the mountains. Now, they are just relocated — a death sentence.
So, gone is the mountain lion, the fox, the beavers, the grouse and so many others. We have made Park City into the city left behind. No wildlife, only empty mansions.
A helping hand
I would like to thank everyone who participated in Drive-in and Give a Helping Hand, the donation drive that was hosted during Park City Film’s drive-in movies at the Utah Olympic Park. We collected over 100 pounds of food, 11 gift cards and over $700 in direct donations from movie-goers. The Christian Center will use these donations to help with their mission to fight hunger and ease poverty. It was amazing to see the success of the collaborative effort for this project from Park City Ski and Snowboard, Utah Olympic Park, Christian Center of Park City, Park City Film, and the Girl Scouts of Utah.
Mask up on trails
As the summer weather dwindles down and the crisp mornings and leaves begin to indicate fall has arrived, I can’t help but wonder if the next COVID hotspot isn’t hiding in the schools but instead is lurking on the hiking/biking trails, in our own backyard. Yes, schools have an insurmountable number of hurdles as they navigate our new reality but we are ignoring the patches of dirt that surround our community.
We aren’t requiring hikers/bikers to wear a mask, but we should. Very few hikers/ bikers are being careful about social distancing and wearing a mask.
To make matters worse on the trail most hiker/bikers are breathing heavier than one typically does when you engage in a non-aerobic activity, causing more potential droplets to spew out into the air. Meanwhile, hikers/bikers are walking closer than ever to each other in order to stay on the trail.
To keep everyone safe and the trails open, I plead with everyone from the young, the old, the fitness fanatics, to the out-of-shape: Please wear a mask. Please move off the trail to let others pass, don’t blow your mucus out of your nose onto the trail, especially during a pandemic.
If we all want to stay healthy and enjoy a winter full of skiing and snowboarding, then I beg and plead for each one of you to wear a mask and move off the trail as others pass. If you are not a competent enough biker/hiker to pull up a mask while riding or hiking while around others, please stay off the trails. There will be a time in the future for you to perfect your sport.
Who represents our nation?
We’re almost exactly 50 days out from the election; do you know who you’re voting for?
I was a registered Republican for 10-plus years. I was president of my college Republicans club. I interned with former Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. I campaigned and voted for Romney for president in 2012. But, over the last four years, both my political beliefs and the Republican Party changed in significant ways. I moved left. The Republican Party moved (further) right. I campaigned and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. This year, I officially changed my party registration to “unaffiliated,” and am voting for Joe Biden. Why? Because at this point, I’ve stopped looking at whether there is an R or D in parentheses after the candidates’ names and focused more on who they are as people. There are three things I look for in a presidential candidate:
1) Is this person empathetic and compassionate? A president’s ability to not only listen, but to truly understand and care about voters’ lives and issues helps him or her successfully determine what action to take when faced with a decision that will affect Americans’ daily lives.
2) Will this person surround him/herself with thoughtful advisors? The selection of logical, pragmatic, caring advisors is vital in that the actions senior advisors recommend will significantly influence the policies that the Executive Branch enacts.
3) Most importantly, will this person act in the best interest of the U.S. and its citizens? This should be the easiest bar to pass, and yet, given recent events, it’s important to reiterate just how essential this attribute is. If there is ever any uncertainty with this one, we need to vote that president out of office. They don’t deserve to be there and we don’t deserve to have someone like that in the highest leadership position of our country.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris both meet all of the criteria listed above. To the roughly 10% of undecided voters out there, I ask that you forget party politics and ask yourself: “Who best represents the best aspects of our nation?”
Leadership change needed
My son is a white police officer in an industrial Chicago suburb that abuts the heavily traveled O’Hare International Airport corridor. He has lived and worked in his ethnic, working-class hometown for more than 30 years.
A highly decorated officer, my “street cop” son has been consistently recognized for his abilities to go far above requirements, literally pulling residents out of burning buildings alongside firefighters, partnering with the FBI on drug arrests, participating in hostage negotiations, and chasing three murder suspects on foot, cornering and holding them alone until unit backup arrived. Add all this to routine traffic stops, domestic disputes and drunken party-goers. This is his precarious life day after day, getting the job done and allowing the citizens in his community to sleep safely at night. His only mission has been to get the bad guys according to the laws on the books.
How many of us could eat, sleep and breathe this kind of job each and every day for 30 years? How many of us would want to? My son is not a racist and raised his sons in a large ethnic area. They all socialized, played sports and went to school together.
After the recent riots in Chicago and suburbs, he must now endure “in your face” taunts and challenges from the very people he has protected, being dared to go ahead and shoot them on the spot accompanied by the most demeaning language and slurs. He endures daily an unearned payback for a broken system and the unfortunate racism in our country.
My son had hoped to retire in five years, but has decided to leave law enforcement this year for good. Add his loss to a local community to the losses of too many ethnic lives in communities around this country.
There is only one answer to all these tragic losses. We need a total change in leadership in the United States of America.
Jeane Kruse Baron
Support write-in candidate
I am writing to support Thomas Cooke as a write-in candidate in the upcoming election for the Park City Board of Education representing District 2.
I know Thomas from our time together on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission. Time and again he has demonstrated his commitment to our community through this work by carefully researching the issues that have come before us, listening to feedback from community members and spending countless hours to ensure that decisions are made that will positively impact Snyderville Basin residents and the community at large. As a planning commissioner and a parent of a daughter who attended Trailside Elementary, Ecker Hill Middle School and Treasure Mountain Junior High, he is also attuned to the challenges faced by teachers and parents in the School District.
Thomas is a thoughtful leader, longtime community member and engaged parent, and I think he would be a valuable asset to the school board. As Thomas is running as a write-in candidate, if you live within the District 2 boundaries, you will need to write in Thomas Cooke in the space provided on your ballot. I think it will be well worth your time and effort to do so.
A special mountain town
My son graduated with the PCHS Class of 2020, thanks to the support and guidance of PCSD’s teachers, counselors, and staff. He’s now taking a gap year and I’ve moved to lower altitude.
When we moved to Park City in 2013, my son was introduced to Summit County’s recreational opportunities through the National Ability Center. Diagnosed on the autism spectrum as a young child, he was eligible for NAC’s adaptive programs and day camp. By the time he entered high school, he could ski black diamonds, fearlessly waterski and paddleboard, and expertly navigate a high ropes course. I won’t tell you how many times I watched in tears as he headed out with an NAC support crew or instructor on a new adventure. Almost all of which were made possible by NAC’s generous scholarship program.
After mastering the use of a mountain bike, NAC’s rec director tapped my son to be part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s ELEVATE program. This adaptive component of NICA allowed him to race with the Park City High School Mountain Bike Team for four years. The support of the PCHS MTB Team coaches, volunteers and fellow riders — and the whole NICA community — changed his life. Again, tears of gratitude for the big hearts and generous, kind individuals who made him feel welcome and included.
During high school, like many teens, he experienced mental health challenges. The prescribed therapy required six months of intensive outpatient treatment for four hours, five days a week. With the clinic almost 50 miles from Park City, I had to reduce my work hours to accommodate my son’s schedule. Thankfully, the Christian Center of Park City helped me — now a divorced mom with reduced income — keep food on the table and an affordable roof over our heads.
Much-needed emotional support was also available during that time. In addition to CCPC’s dedicated social worker and counselor, Connect Summit County was a godsend. The organization’s group meetings and events were invaluable as we learned to deal with our new normal. And Connect Summit County’s partnership with NAMI Utah and CCPC to launch a teen mental health class made my son’s transition back to regular life much less stressful.
No matter where our lives take us in the future, I will always remember Park City as the special mountain town that helped raise my son.
Valery Pine Behr
Salt Lake City
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Judy Horwitz writes in a guest editorial that Summit County voters must continue to support a vital source of funding for the area’s arts and culture institutions.