Letters to the Editor, March 1-4, 2014 | ParkRecord.com

Letters to the Editor, March 1-4, 2014

Submissions from Park Record readers

Motorists: please slow down on Old Ranch Road


I am one of the few that was blessed enough to grow up in Snyderville Basin. My parents purchased their home over 30 years ago on Old Ranch Road because that was all they could afford. Throughout my childhood I was able to ride my horse or my bicycle up and down Old Ranch Road without concern for my safety. The more that the community grows as does the traffic on Old Ranch Road, which I understand that is the way it goes. However, the safety of non-motorists on Old Ranch Road has become a major concern of mine. I am an avid horse rider and I ride down the road at least twice a week. I usually ride one horse and lead another horse and my dog goes with me as well.

Every time I ride down the road I feel that my life is in danger and so are the lives of my animals. I obey all traffic laws and stay on the side of the road as much as possible. Motorists are using Old Ranch Road as a way to avoid the traffic on S.R. 224. There are posted speed limits, but when you see anyone or anything on the side of the road you should slow down substantially. I have had to ride out in the middle of the road so they would slow down while passing me. I understand that it is a road, but I also know that it is a multi-use corridor.

When I drive down the road I slow down for all bicycles, joggers, horse riders and anyone else that is using the road. I wonder as I grow and have a family of my own, will I be able to allow my children to go down the road without fear for their safety?

The Snyderville Basin is for people to enjoy, regardless if you live around there or not, and for everyone to be safe. In conclusion to all of the motorists in a hurry to get home after work stay off Old Ranch Road.

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Melinda Ekker Owsley

Salt Lake City

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Robotics champs lend helping hand

Last Saturday, five teenagers and their robotics coach were at school at 6 a.m. preparing for what could be one of the greatest days of their lives. This is the day of the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a game that starts with a box of aluminum parts and Lego Mindstorm pieces, and ends in a heart-pounding three minutes in the arena of the year, hoping your robot will be able to score points.

This year, the name of the game was Block Party. In the first thirty seconds, or

autonomous period, everything is hands off. The autonomous period is characterized by

the fact that the robots are operating solely on code to do tasks like track an infrared

beacon and place blocks in a goal. Next, there is the two-minute teleop period, in which drivers pick up their controllers and try to score as many points as possible. The

last 30 seconds is the end game, in which teams can continue scoring blocks, or they

can try to get extra points by raising a flag or suspending their robot in the air from a


Let me tell you, it is way more complex than it seems. It knocked my potential team of 30 some-odd down to five individuals who were actually dedicated enough to push through the challenge, which meant spending two days of our winter break at school building, coding, and testing, and then spending a whole Saturday in Ogden for a competition that we knew we couldn’t win.

That was the beauty of it. We knew we wouldn’t be the best, but we still kept trying. What surprised me most was that the teams who knew they were the best of the best, who were confident enough that they could do great that they drove from Idaho to Utah for this, they were the kindest people there.

I was the driving coach for my team. We, the Robotic Mustangs of Park City’s own Treasure Mountain Junior High, were small, a little rough around the edges, and we had absolutely no chance. Our team had basically crashed and burned and none of us knew how to program the things that we needed. That, and we didn’t get a compatible computer until a week before the big day.

We got to the competition just hoping that we wouldn’t get dead last, and then, the miracle happened. This team, this dynamite-on-wheels, brilliant team, Tesla Lighting of Twin Falls, Idaho, basically gave us an autonomous program since we had no clue how to make one, and that gave us a chance to actually score in the game. That little act, that they didn’t even have to do, that we didn’t even ask for, that made all the difference. It just goes to show, just because you are competitors, doesn’t mean that you can’t be kind.

Bella Canada

Park City