Letters to the Editor, Aug. 31- Sept. 3, 2013
Those who consider Park City their "home away from home" follow with great concern the ongoing dispute between PCMR and Talisker Corp.
It seems almost incomprehensible that the State of Utah would allow this cloud to hang over Park City for more than 2 years. If the parties aren’t forced into good faith negotiations soon, their lawyers will ultimately run PCMR, and by inter-dependence entire Park City community into the ground.
Phoenix, Maryland and Park City
Parent expresses support for Alexie book
I am both saddened and dismayed at the recent article entitled, Outrage over PCHS summer reading. Our book club was excited to support the author-in-residence program and we decided to read the book "The Absolutely True Story of a Part -Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie.
I wonder how many of the parents expressing their dissatisfaction actually read the book? It is a fabulous book that deals with some highly relevant issues that kids grapple with at some point during their middle- and high-school career. According to the student assignment sheet (I am the parent of a 10th grader) these issues include: Identity, Self-awareness, Conformity, Fear, Trust, Human Nature, Challenging Authority, Moral Courage, Acceptance and How we treat people who are different than us. Masturbation is mentioned maybe 2-3 times. If your 10th grader does not know what masturbation is, this is a good time to sit down and have a talk with your adolescent.
Also, to the student who described her experience with the book as "apparently white people hate Indians, and now I know what masturbation is" this is exactly why we have English classes — to dig deeper and help us better understand the complex themes and how we can learn from them.
In our fluffy white Park City microcosm, it is important for our children to understand that people are different, have diverse experiences and backgrounds, and most don’t have it as easy as many of us do in our mountain town Utopia. For some, reading may be their only exposure to this type of environment.
All epic novels involve heartache and controversial issues; that is what creates the human connection and allows these books to be read and loved across generations. Will we ban "The Scarlet Letter" next for the adultery theme? Or "To Kill a Mockingbird" because it makes a reference to rape? I am embarrassed that some members of our community feel the need to exercise this type of censorship.
And the quote about Dolly’s Bookstore was incredible. Obviously many are unaware that Dolly’s has been supporting the Park City Education Foundation for years (not to mention most other local non profits). When is the last time Amazon or Barnes and Noble wrote a check to support the Park City School District? Dolly’s has an amazing history in our small town and is one of the few locally owned bookstores still in operation. They also offer a 10 percent discount for students. Obviously, everyone has a choice to purchase books wherever their heart desires, but many would choose to support a local business over a large chain any day.
Open your mind and your hearts. Appreciate (and support) the fact that we are able to have an internationally acclaimed author visit Park City and discuss his award-winning book.
Butwinski has what it takes to be mayor
Park City has been blessed with superb leadership for many years. The last two fine Mayors have each served for 12 years.
As campaigns kick into high gear, it’s time to think what you want Park City to be in four years, eight years and maybe even 12 years. Back in the Spring, Torch and I were mulling that over and we were delighted to learn that Andy was considering running for Mayor. Because his vision is our vision, we promised to support him.
People: If Park City is to retain its historic caring nature and small-town feel, we’ll have to work together to make it happen. Andy is a very thoughtful guy who’s never too busy to ask how he can help. He leads by example with humility and good humor. No ego. He’s the "real deal."
Andy has already established critical contacts statewide and regionally, to give Park City a strong voice across many platforms. Park City is a different kind of place and sometimes it’s difficult for others to understand our peculiar viewpoint. Andy has already done that very effectively in many venues. I watched him at meetings with Mountain Transportation Group. He got the attention of a room filled with 75 professionals as he carefully guided them to an understanding of our needs. Summit County loves working with him and he wants to expand our relationship with Wasatch County.
Planet: In order to "Save our Snow" and "Keep Park City Cool" we’re going to have to reduce our carbon footprint and lead the rest of Utah by our example. At Treasure Mountain Inn, Andy and Thea developed the first hotel recycling program in town. Through wind credit purchases and installation of solar panels, water conservation, cutting edge heating/cooling systems, CFL and LED lighting and other improvements, they’ve turned Park City’s first condo project into a net carbon negative property.
Andy has served as either Board Member or liaison to Basin Open Space (BOSAC), City Open Space (COSAC), Mountain Trails Foundation, Olympic Exploratory Committee, PC Incubator Project, Planning Commission (alternate), Recycle Utah, Recreation Advisory (Park Rec), Regional Economic Task Force, Save Our Snow III, Swaner Nature Preserve and Utah League of Cities and Towns.
He has worked enthusiastically with the City, Summit County, Summit Land Conservancy, and Utah Open Lands and to maintain and upgrade our trails and treasured open spaces.
Profit: As President of Historic Park City Business Alliance, Andy was able to guide the improvements to Main Street and create tight bonds among business people. As a hotelier, he understands the importance of tourism to our economy. As a businessman, he also understands the importance of sustainable economic development through diversification.
New signs will make I-80 safer
I just wanted to thank UDOT and the safety professionals who are implementing installing variable speed limit signs on I-80. Parleys Canyon can be a dangerous commute for many during the winter months. I have loved ones who make the commute every day and I am glad that now there will be enforceable variable speed limits to slow drivers down when their common sense doesn’t. Now we can only hope that those who feel the need to drive down the canyon at 80 mph no matter what the conditions, will slow down so we can all be more safe. What an excellent idea!
Assigning Alexie book was a mistake
Bravo to Superintendent Conley and the Park City school board as they are trying to right the wrong of the required controversial summer reading assignment, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian." For those who believe their actions and the parents’ concerns are a Utah response, it’s not; it’s a concerned parents’ response regardless of ethnicity, political affiliation, or religion. Utah does not have a monopoly on concerned parents. It clearly stated in the well-written "Outrage over PCHS summer reading:" article that other states throughout the USA had experienced similar controversy related to this book.
I had a comparable experience growing up in North Carolina. I was required to read material that was grotesque, explicit, and vulgar. No one should be forced to read something contrary to their own conscience. Yes, the halls of high school are filled with vulgarity and immorality, but that doesn’t mean I have to read it on my own time and continue to fill my mind with filth. Continuing with my experience, I decided not half-way into the book that I’d rather take the "F" than persist in filling my mind with garbage. Lucky for me, there were concerned parents in North Carolina as well, that took a stand and had the required reading struck from our summer list.
Bravo to students and parents that stand up and don’t just accept the teachers or school district to choose how to educate. Bravo to the school district that will enforce the state law to make parents aware of controversial material given to their children. Bravo to the teachers who have reminded the parents to volunteer in the future on the novel selection committee. Bravo to people that realize if you put garbage in, you get garbage out – yes, it applies to our minds as well as our bodies.
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Ray Freer writes in a guest editorial that residents deserve more answers about the process that led to the controversial Black Lives Matter mural on Main Street in July.