Letters to the Editor, Dec. 14-16, 2016 | ParkRecord.com

Letters to the Editor, Dec. 14-16, 2016

Submissions from Park Record Readers


Holiday help needed right here at home


As we get ready to celebrate the holidays, I ask you to take the time to read this request. We currently have a number of students that do not have the basic clothing for a Park City winter. A number of community groups (Park City Education Foundation, Park City Institute, Park City Rotary, Park City Community Foundation, Men4Ed and others) to gather contributions. Here is what is needed:

  • Jackets: 100+ in all sizes from K-12
  • Ski Pants: 50+ in sizes for K-5
  • Long Sleeve Shirts: 100+ in all sizes K-12
  • Jeans: 50+ in sizes for K-5
  • Winter Boots: 25+ in sizes 1-6
  • Gloves: 100+ all sizes
  • Hats (beanies): 100+ all sizes
  • Winter Thick Socks: 100+ all sizes
  • We have set a goal of raising $10,000 in either cash or donated items. We need this to happen in the next week as students are suffering as the snow is falling. If you can make a cash donation please go to:
    Enter “Snow Boots” in the comments.

    If you would like to donate clothing (new or used) contact Moe Hickey at mhickey@parkcity.institute and I will make arrangements to collect or dropped off.

    We have made arrangements with some volunteers who will go shopping for items, so your cash donations will be utilized immediately. Thank you all in advance for your generosity in this time of need.

    Moe Hickey
    Park City

    * * *

    U.S. is falling behind in school


    Every three years the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests hundreds of thousands of 15-year-old students in 72 countries on their proficiency in science, math and reading skills. The most recent results for 2015 were just released. The U.S. ranks 31st (from best) on the average of all three tests. Even worse is that our scores have decreased since 2009.

    Canada, the country closest culturally to the U.S. ranks 7th. It is often surmised (causation) that our scores are lower because of our large percentage of immigrants. In Canada, 20 percent of the population is foreign born compared to 13 percent in the U.S.

    The average student in Singapore by the age of 15 is 2 years ahead academically (in an average of all three subjects) compared to his/her U.S. counterpart. In Math, they are 3 years ahead.

    Why don’t we do better? What can we learn? Expenditure per student (up to a certain minimum) is important but only to the extent that it attracts the best quality teachers and keeps their class sizes small. Social respect for educators is also an important factor.

    In Utah, we spend less per pupil than any other state. In addition, our teacher salaries are among the lowest in the nation. As poorly as America scores on an international comparison, Utah, on a comparative demographic basis, doesn’t even match the U.S. average. In Utah, additional educational funding would make a difference.

    Whether we like it or not, we live in a global economy and need to compete globally. We can’t compete unless we have a better educated workforce. Contact your representative and senator and ask, no, demand, that we adequately fund our students.

    Rudi Kohler
    Heber City

    * * *

    One of Tom Clyde’s fans expresses her delight


    Today, just like every Saturday, I read the Sports, Scene, and Front section of the Park Record, in that order, and saved the best for last … Tom Clyde’s column. His column today about his gruff Uncle Arvin made me smile, laugh and even get a little teary. After years of reading and asking friends, “Did you read Tom Clyde’s column today?” I just want to give thanks to and Tom (I feel we are on a first name basis after all these years) for giving me a smile every Saturday. That doesn’t happen very often when reading the news. Thanks Tom.

    Lisa Fuller
    Park City

    * * *

    Food pantries need your help


    This time of year, many Utahns want to help those in need and choose to donate food. While these donations can be very beneficial to emergency food pantries, here are some things to keep in mind:

    1. Donate to your local food pantry: this ensures that your donation helps those in your community.
    2. Find out what the pantry needs: canned meats and peanut butter are usually in demand, but check; pantry needs often include low sodium foods, holiday food, vegetables, baby formula, or cash donations.
    3. Make sure food isn’t expired: this isn’t an opportunity to clean out your pantry-if you don’t want to eat it, neither does anyone else.
    4. Think beyond just food: some pantries also accept diapers, feminine hygiene products, blankets, or clothing.
    5. Do whatever is needed: Even if you didn’t plan on donating cash or diapers, give whatever will help the most.

    While donating is a great way to give back to the community, emergency food pantries are not enough to end hunger. Now is also the time to learn more about hunger in our communities, and to get involved as citizens to help protect vital programs like food stamps.

    Melissa Jensen
    West Jordan, Utah

    * * *

    Neighborhood and city government work together to reroute buses


    I want to express my appreciation to the Park City staff, Blake Fonnesbeck, Destry Pollard, Darren Davis, and Alfred Knotts and City officials and my neighbors in the Prospector neighborhood for an exceptional event regarding the importance of Park City’s public transportation and our neighborhood support to ensure it continues.

    We all gathered last Tuesday to discuss the Prospector Red Bus route through the Prospector neighborhoods that had been discontinued this winter due to safety concerns about the bus making a left hand turn from Wyatt Earp Way onto Kearns Blvd. during busy traffic which then, also resulted in delays in meeting schedules. About 40-50 Prospector residents attended to see if there were other solutions other than discontinuing this scheduled Red Bus. Many people (and friends of neighborhood people) use this bus to ride many places, but especially to PCMR rather than driving and adding to the traffic snarls and parking shortage at the Resort.

    Blake Fonnesbeck and his staff came prepared with some alternative suggestions, one of which included reinstating the Red Bus but on a reverse schedule to eliminate the need to turn across traffic and use the Comstock traffic light instead. Several people asked questions and offered different solutions and all of the ideas were met with positive replies and the assurance that the suggestions would be researched to see if they could be viable. The residents that were present agreed that it could be a more limited time schedule. The City officials present were enthused and positive that our group was committed to public transportation and viewed our buses as important service for Park City residents. They were there to find solutions.

    So, the very next day, the City staff was out checking other ideas, and by the following day, contacted us that the Red Bus would run again!!

    So, this was such a great example of people gathering together to engage in positive discussions that lead to positive outcomes. It is impressive. A great community!

    Francie McNally * * *

    Congressman should press for election investigation

    Dear Congressman Chaffetz:

    I am not within your district, but within Utah, and would like to express my opinion on the recent, and not so recent, revelations that Russia may have tried to distort our electoral process. I and many others have grave concerns about this question: Is President-elect Donald Trump a Russian agent? I know it sounds preposterous, however the thought remains especially with new revelations from our intelligent services.

    As background, I am a professional journalist, teach communication at the University of Utah, and am a former Summit County Commissioner.

    Now, since you are the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, I am now calling on you to investigate these allegations. I would think you have as much confidence in our intelligence services as I do, something not shared by Mr. Trump however.

    You seem to have had plenty of time, and money, to investigate Mrs. Clinton on what seemed, and were proven to be, spurious charges. But now we have confirmed intelligence that points to an existential threat to our Nation, I believe that your investigation should begin immediately, and would hope that you will put your nation above your party and personal ambitions at this grave moment in time.

    When Mr. Trump pledges to defend the Constitution in January, I am troubled that he may not do so. We are a nation of laws, not just of men and women. Please uphold your oath as well.

    Patrick Cone

    * * *


    I met a homeless woman walking the Rail Trail
    Her daughter strapped in a pack on her back
    All her possessions in a shopping cart
    Or in the rolling luggage she trailed behind her
    I have never seen someone so alive, so alert and so brave
    I asked her, can I help you?, do you have a place to stay?

    She said Mister, I don’t need your help but that’s nice to say
    I know who I am, just leave me alone, I’ll be OK
    Just don’t call the cops to come after us please
    Don’t let them hassle my daughter and me
    Just because I got no place to stay
    Tell the Police and your City Fathers
    There are folks like me on the road, harmless and not ashamed
    With no place to go, all we want is our freedom and not to be bothered

    Mister, if there is anything you can do for me it would be this:
    Make your city friendly to people like me
    We are people just like you, we’ve just fallen off the grid
    Make a place for us, show us just a little love
    Accept us as a part of your community, but let us stay free
    We may have fallen on hard times, but We are human and
    We are worthwhile
    Can you see?

    As I stood speechless in admiration of what she had to say
    With the dignity and bearing of a Queen or a Duchess she went on her way
    That proud woman set sail down the Rail Trail
    Her daughter strapped in a pack on her back
    All her possessions in a shopping cart
    Or in the rolling luggage she trailed behind her
    I have never seen someone so alive, so alert and so brave

    Michael Brian Witte
    Park City

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