Letters to the Editor, Sept. 27-29, 2017
Submissions from Park Record readers
September 26, 2017
Spirits revived at Glenwood on Miners Day weekend
On Miners Day weekend, the Glenwood Cemetery was alive with the stories of those buried there long ago. The community welcomed back the Historic Walking Tour, this year tied to our Park City history celebration and presented through the Park City Museum. Small groups walked the Cemetery, hearing tales of mine accidents, childhood illness, the Great Park City Fire, beloved band leaders, and home mishaps.
This is the stuff of our past, and it was brilliantly shared by volunteer actors who worked hard to put the personal touch on portrayals of local characters. We also thank the docents who shepherded the groups from grave to grave, and the brilliant staff of the Park City Museum. Mahala Ruddell, Research Coordinator, provided valuable background about life in our town in the early days. Diane Knispel, Director of Education, whose skills in event organization are unsurpassed, led us in presenting the sold-out tour. And we so appreciate Director Sandra Morrison's support for this event, which will help to fund the upkeep of the cemetery.
Thanks to folks who came that day, and left with a greater understanding of the hard and interesting lives the miners and their families lived. Watch for the tour next Miners' Day weekend, and get your tickets early!
Bruce Erickson, Chair, Sarah Klingenstein, Peggy Fletcher, Barb Martz, Ken Martz, John Phillips, Cheryl Thomson, Randy Thomson, Larry Warren
Members of the Glenwood Cemetery Committee
Beerman will preserve Park City's forward momentum
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The most important mayoral election facing Park City in its foreseeable future will occur Nov. 7. Andy Beerman is the most qualified candidate to lead the City. Many long-time locals long for "the good old days,” but those days are gone forever. Critical thinking and planning are more urgent now than ever because of the booming economy and the strain it’s putting on the quality of life. Passion and competence have the current City Council on the right path; not talk but action on transportation, housing, open space, environmental issues, and the foundation of a diverse and complete community.
Andy’s leadership in Mountain Accord, the Central Wasatch Commission, his role on the board of directors of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, his service on an Environmental Protection Agency board, and his connections with Salt Lake have created beneficial relationships with governmental leaders throughout the state and region. Andy’s zeal and progressive approach to all facets of government make him a natural leader and the best choice for Mayor to ensure City government does not lose momentum on its priorities and the quality of life for the citizens of Park City.
Fresh solutions for climate change
Nations that trade rarely wage war. Logically, either bomb North Korea or trade with them. Trade embargoes only hurt innocent populations and make nutty leaders look right.
Park City is contributing mightily to climate change by allowing sprawling auto dependent development, constructing traffic intersections dangerous for bikers/pedestrians, and by using electric vehicles that plug into coal-fired electric generation every night.
Here are a few solutions:
- Build wildlife road crossings every half mile to preserve local forests that sequester carbon;
- Revenue-share with Summit County on condition that Summit County stops approving new developments in undeveloped areas surrounding Park City; and allows owners having approved but undeveloped density surrounding Park City to sell/transfer development rights to within town limits;
- Require new developments to be walkable; i.e.: no cul-de-sacs; well-connected streets connecting neighborhoods along with multi-use, multi- and single-family dwellings
- Reconstruct stop light intersections like Denmark's. Place vehicle stop line and bike/pedestrian lane(s) at least one large car length back from the intersection so bikers do not have to mix with traffic to get through intersections and drivers can separately yield to bikers/pedestrians, then concentrate on traffic, and then yield again to bikers/pedestrians, giving drivers a visible approach to all bike/pedestrian lanes plus a full car length to stop out of intersection traffic when approaching a bike/pedestrian lane;
- Lobby the Utah Legislature to adopt the energy-efficient 2015 building standards without its plethora of exceptions; and promote wood burning stoves having new residential particulate removing technologies (available in Europe) for heating needs. Decomposing trees release their carbon back into the atmosphere. Burning mature trees for heat permits new trees to grow and continue to remove carbon. Burning coal, gas, and oil dig up buried carbon and add CO2 to the carbon cycle, heating up the planet.
Good Samaritans help ease dog owners' grief
Thank you to John Adams for his guest editorial last Saturday in tribute to our beloved seven-year old Australian Shepherd, Taz, who was hit by a car and killed Sept. 11 in Silver Springs subdivision. John's letter was also a heart-felt plea for people to slow down in the neighborhoods.
In the few weeks we had been staying in Silver Springs, we, too, noticed how fast people often drove the residential streets. As John said, sometimes 40 mph. We hope drivers will heed his words, perhaps to avoid what we are going through.
That said, we do not blame the driver. Only they know how fast they were going, but we know how fast Taz could go when she had her eyes on a squirrel. Thank you for coming back to check — we know it was hard. Thank you to John and Bonnie Adams for staying with Taz while my husband Ben ran for the truck, thinking he could get her to the vet and save her. I was in the house momentarily oblivious and Taz died before he got back to her, a terrible experience for everyone.
Thank you to Margie Hadden for taking care of us. to White Pine Veterinary Clinic for wrapping Taz so thoughtfully and storing her for us for a few days and to Michelle and her therapy dog, Scout, at Mountain Top Physical Therapy.
Taz was everyone's friend. She was joyful, curious, rambunctious, and sweet-tempered. Children smiled at her and asked to pet her. Adults complimented her beauty or her "paint job.” She was sometimes exasperating and strong-willed, but she was always a delight. She filled our life with laugher. Our hearts are broken.
Martha Goudey and Ben Francis
Praise for outgoing Fire District Captain Shawn Winder
I am a long-time resident of Park City and it is my understanding that Captain Shawn Winder of the Park City Fire District will be retiring in the next several weeks.
Her dedication to our community and 22 years of service should be highly commended. As the first woman to be hired in our district, I also believe she is a light to all the woman young and old who feel that gender bias would prevent them from seeking their dreams and working toward a career they wish to pursue. I can only imagine the challenges, and commend her determination and loyalty to our town.
She rose through the ranks and will retire as Captain. I just want to publicly acknowledge her years of service, and the courage it took to navigate a career that was “only for men.”
Not only is she intelligent and beautiful, but she is a woman of incredible strength both in her profession, and as a wife, mother, and friend. Her fingerprints are all over Park City service from her work with kids to the various non-profits she is passionate about.
Captain Shawn, I wish you a wonderful next chapter in your life and thank you with heartfelt gratitude for the road you have paved for the next generation of Park City fire fighters.
Microtransit proposal would have been the nation's first
It was disappointing to learn that after so much progress, Park City has decided to sideline its microtransit project. We were excited to work with Park City on what would have been the nation’s first fully electric transit network. By providing on demand connections to the Electric Xpress, riders would have been able to travel between almost any two locations in Park City utilizing 100 percent electric vehicles. The program would have promoted more utilization of all existing fixed bus routes and serviced many people that don’t currently have access to public transit.
Since being awarded the original bid at the beginning of summer, our team has been dedicated to working with Park City to address budget constraints, public feedback and operational concerns. We produced a program that would hit their transit goals and environmental initiatives, and give residents and visitors a user friendly and effective service.
The budget for the program that would have gone to council for approval this Thursday increased from the original program’s budget because it more than doubled the coverage area, fleet size and local employee driver hours. This increase in coverage area was at the direction of council to make the service more widely available. By increasing the coverage area, there would have been an opportunity to remove or optimize underutilized fixed bus routes and save taxpayer dollars. In short, less 40-foot buses on neighborhood streets, less carbon emissions and a more usable, more efficient service handling these passengers.
There were a lot of misconceptions about this program, its goals and microtransit in general, over the past few months and it’s unfortunate that sometimes the efforts to make real change have to stop at just an idea. However, we hope to have the opportunity in the future to help transform how people move around Park City, and promote a shift towards an increased use of public transit.
Travis Gleason, Downtowner
Discourse around care facility inflamed by semantics
In a society where too much of our communication and interaction goes from dialogue to dismissal and beyond in a nanosecond, I was reminded in a letter to the editor this week that words really matter.
In this case, in a letter from Paul T. Meyers, Ph.D. (Park Record Sept 20 – 22) regarding the proposed care facility, I was reminded just how true it is — how words matter. Please note I was unaware of the proposal and have neither researched it nor have an opinion on the proposal. My comment is only about the communication.
While Mr. Meyers was proffering a thoughtful expose on what may be inconsistencies of the communication of this project by the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission, he chose to elevate his rhetoric, perhaps to try to whip the neighborhood into a frenzy, when he used the word “asylum” to describe the facility. Does Mr. Meyers think that characterization was accurate? Necessary? Appropriate?
Words matter. The words we choose and use in our communication matter. And in an increasingly polarized society I think it is incumbent upon all of us to find a way to enter into civil discourse as opposed to that which is incendiary. On the flip side, by choosing the incendiary path, most rationale readers simply dismiss the communication altogether. Just a thought.
Parents grateful for students' inclusivity
Thank You! We would like to recognize and thank the entire PCHS student body for the kindness and inclusion that allowed Jack Stanley to be crowned Homecoming King. The pep rally last Friday was awe-inspiring. Witnessing the love and support brought tears. The cheers and chants confirmed that this generation gives promise and hope for a future of acceptance and inclusion in our community and in society. Park City High School students are leading by example and we are thrilled that they are all part of Jack's giant village.
We are proud to live in a town that recognizes and embraces individuals for who they are, regardless of their ability or capacity.
Our hearts are full.
Charles, Joy, Brian and Nate Stanley
Author of letter lacks compassion for autistic adults
I would like to clear up some misconceptions offered by Paul T. Meyers Ph.D. in his letter to the editor printed 9/20/2017 "Resident questions proposed care facility."
First, this group home is not an "asylum." It will be a group home for up to four high-functioning autistic adults. (This could later be expanded to a total of eight but the expansion would require Planning Commission approval.)
Second, the "commercial appearance" of the structure was addressed at the Planning Commission meeting. While the Planning Commission did not feel it was in their purview to require changes, the applicant did indicate they would attempt to make the front of the group home more residential in appearance while keeping the costs down. As for the structure being a commercial enterprise, it is a "non-profit" group home that is an attempt at providing housing for high-function adults with autism. While the location is adjacent to the Ranch and Elk Run condos it is also right across the street from several "commercial" enterprises that include two office buildings, one pre-school/day care and one school.
Finally, I was surprised by the lack of understanding and compassion about autistic adults. These adults will present no threat to the community. This is not a rehab facility. It simply is an attempt to provide housing for a certain segment of our population that needs some assistance with daily living. It is intended that there will be supervision 24/7 to insure that these adults get to their jobs, eat properly and assist with daily activities. Presumably this group home is an attempt to provide care for these young adults after their parents have left this world.
I applaud the group home as an attempt to provide for these individuals and help them integrate into our society.
David A. Vecchi
National Ability Center says inclusion builds stronger communities
I am compelled to respond to Paul T. Meyers, Ph.D's letter to the editor in The Park Record's Sept. 20-22 edition. I appreciate the community engaging and posing questions about the proposed adult independent living facility in Pinebrook and would love to offer some opportunities for education on the benefits of inclusive and welcoming communities.
While this is not our project, daily in my work I see the unique abilities in all of us and the ways they can shine when people focus on each other's strengths, not our weaknesses. Individuals on the autism spectrum, for instance, have great talent to lend to our local community, including Pinebrook residents. Did you know major corporations around the world are searching for their unique talent to help them build successful technology?
At the National Ability Center we are champions of the inclusion of all people of differing abilities, not just because we care, but because we know it works. Studies across nearly every sector show when we are diversified, inclusive and compassionate we all benefit. Thank you to the thousands of people in our local area as well as our visitors and part-time residents that already show their support for a community where everyone has a place and is valued. As Mr Meyers requested, for those still looking to ponder 'salient questions' he has posed, I invite you to join me at the National Ability Center for a simple tour where I can show you how focusing on our abilities strengthens our workforce, our team, our community and your neighborhood.
For the rest of you, please join the ability movement and support inclusion. Opportunities to volunteer or participate in our numerous programs in Park City, Salt Lake City and Moab abound along with other great community programs for all abilities across our state. Together we are possibilities.
Gail Barille, CEO
National Ability Center
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