Letters to the Editor, Feb. 8-11, 2014
February 8, 2014
Pipeline proposal is ‘ludicrous’
After a dismal record of environmental neglect by the fracking oil companies, I find support for construction of a new 2,000 mile pipeline across the middle of our country by these same companies unbelievable. This industry relies more on PR than actual technology and action when it comes to oil spill mitigation efforts. Just look around the world – has there ever been a problem? Has it ever taken decades of legal action to resolve? And here in Utah our lawmakers simply dismiss any probable environmental concerns as nonsense since the water for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) comes from "way, way beneath the earth’s surface". Not a very convincing argument, but, even so, where does all the dirty water and hydrocarbon solvent end up? Trusting the oil companies to do good by exempting them from the Safe Drinking Water Act is laughable. A huge new pipeline is just ludicrous. Is Obama really desperate enough for praise from anyone, even the frackers, to endorse this disastrous project? Just because a new report suggests that the pipeline will not ACCELERATE oil extraction efforts in northern Alberta doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, especially for America.
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PCHS Winter Formal volunteers deliver
Thanks to PCHS Administration and faculty, students were safe and had a great time at the Winter Formal last Saturday night. We have the greatest of supportive parents in Park City, but just in case you are one who didn’t know: Over 300 students were breathalyzed upon entering the dance to deter the underage use of alcohol and to ensure their safety. I would personally like to thank teachers Caleb Fine, Jackie Hunden, and Assistant Principal Lyndsay Anderson for choosing such a great venue in Park City at Legacy Lodge, and for their daily efforts in guiding the student council.
Our teachers are paid to teach from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at PCHS, and that doesn’t include all their preparation and grading time, plus many extracurricular assignments like keeping kids responsible at a formal dance. It would have been nice to have had a School Board member or two come to the dance to help or even see what happens.
Parents, as you know, drug and alcohol education begins in Park City in elementary schools, where counselors teach tirelessly, along with teachers. Our students are guided in making healthy lifestyle and relationship choices each year, long before your son or daughter gets dressed for that first dance. Few people enjoy working on a Saturday night (after teaching all week), taking tickets, checking coats, breathalyzing dressed up teens, and sometimes even standing in the bathroom hoping their presence and a smile may encourage an adolescent to make a better choice. When that one teen drives safely home, it’s worth it all to Administrators, Educators, and Counselors, and I want to be the first to thank them.
You can email me for a list of teachers, administrators, counselors, and coaches who give so much time and effort in keeping our students safe and happy during AND LONG AFTER school hours are over! I have personally watched their commitment from pre-school through 12th grade. It’s been an honor to stand beside them.
Laurie White, retired teacher and counselor
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Cars are the big issue in General Plan
I have been following the discussions on the new General Plan as well as the newly formed Wastach Summit group and I think it is time for us as a community to look very closely at regional planning.
Opinions differ widely regarding ideas such as light rail up the canyon, but traffic affects us all every day.
Our local officials and city staff have been very proactive on trying to solve the traffic problem in town. It is a major priority at the city and there are many creative solutions on the table, but it seems to me that our focus being primarily on the city boundaries in is a short sighted one. If, in an effort to keep our "small town" we turn our backs on viable and reasonable options because we fear it may not fit with our image of a sleepy little town, then we are going to end up continuing to be reactive instead of proactive. We want to keep our town small, but let’s not do it by ignoring the problems until people don’t want to come here anymore because they spend their vacation stuck in traffic.
Flying into Park City many of our visitors choose the option of renting a car. It is often the cheapest and most convenient way to get up the canyon and as many people have noted, 80 works well. Even during the Olympics, it wasn’t congested. The problem is when our visitors get in a car at the airport, they are far more likely to use it once they come to town. Why would you wait for the bus to go anywhere when you have that lovely warm car in the garage? I believe that to really make a difference in visitor traffic in our town, we need to get them out of their cars at the airport.
The Wasatch back is projected to have an increase of 44% just in residents in the next 10 years. Add visitor days to that, and you can see that the old solutions are only going to keep adding to the problem.
The number posted at the Mountain Accord meeting at the High School stated that Salt Lake City is the 6th most polluted city in the country. Though we aren’t breathing that air every day, their plight affects us as well, and it is creeping up the canyon.
Four thousand people rallied at the Capitol to protest the air quality. I applaud them for getting involved, but how many of those people drove their cars to rally? We can’t expect politicians to wave a magic wand and make pollution disappear. The only way politicians can fix pollution is through tough regulation and though nobody wants air pollution, I am curious how many of us would be willing to give up our SUVs and limit all those back and forth trips that are a part of a busy family’s life these days?
One thing is for certain; nothing is going to change unless we are willing to make serious lifestyle changes and hard choices. Our elected officials need both our input and our buy in to make it happen. I encourage everyone to get involved in the discussions – Both in the General Plan locally and the Mountain Accord regionally.