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How bars in your sliding windows/doors make your house harder to be robbed

After our last post on crime, we received a couple of emails asking about why and how we used bars in our windows. The thieves who broke into our home, tried a crow bar on 5 back windows and doors before they got in. Here was their unsuccessful attempt on our back sliding door:

The thief tries to exert enough force to break your latch. They eventually did on one of our sliding windows.

So now we have installed bars on the slides of all windows and doors. This is what one of our windows looks like without a bar:

So, if the thief breaks your latch, it slides right open.

Here is what it looks like with a bar in the slide:

Even if the latch is broken, the bar prevents the window from opening completely.

So, where do you get a bar? We are sure there are very fancy solutions. You could buy something custom made, forged from metal, and pay thousands of dollars. Your tastes and requirements may dictate that type of solution. However, I’m just not that fancy. So, we measured the various lengths of all our windows and then went to Home Depot. An easy solution is hand rail that you may use to go down steps. Home Depot will cut a handrail to any length. So, they did all the cutting. We got the hand rail home (the bars) and painted them to match our windows. It cost about $35 for 16 windows.

Now, is this full proof? Of course not. Your competent thief will bring a tool that he will use after he breaks the latch. He will then fish the tool in through the 1/4 inch spacing and attempt to flip up and remove your bar. However, that takes time, effort, and additional tools. All of those work in your favor in deterring the common thief from robbing you.

If you couple that with a security system, it is even better. The thief needs to break your latch, which will likely set off the alarm. They’ll then need to pop the bar, which could take a minute or two. That then leaves them about 3 minutes in your house versus the 5 minutes they may normally take (all the while your alarm is howling with the Sheriff on his way).

Or the dumb thief may just smash your window, making a lot of noise, and again setting off the alarm.

It’s a crap-shoot.

So, you can’t stop them all. But we believe most thieves are criminals of opportunity. If you make it harder than most, they’ll go somewhere else.

If you aren’t employing some solution like this, we’d recommend you consider it strongly.

Jeremy Ranch is Feeling Like it’s Crime-Ridden

We tend to think of Park City as an idyllic community from the 1950’s. To many, it’s Pleasantville. Then your house gets robbed, or your car window is broken, or your car tires are slashed. Then, it’s not so picturesque anymore. It’s just another suburb.

That’s just about where we are with Jeremy Ranch.

For weeks (maybe months) social media has been reporting a high number of cars and garages being robbed. Recently the robberies turned to vandalism as car tires were also slashed. Naturally, the community is up in arms. “Should we install gates? Can’t the ‘police’ patrol more? Should we have cameras? ” comes the cry from residents. It’s natural.

Do gates work to deter crime? Yes, but only marginally. Of course if you have a gated community, you have to pay for all road maintenance (and often garbage collection). It may be cheaper to be robbed every couple of years than that.

Would cameras help? No. If you don’t believe that, take your iPhone down to Sackett Drive, turn it at a 45 degree angle, and press record on the video. After 10 cars drive by, you can stop. Can you read any of the license tags? Most people probably can’t, but let’s say you can read 5 out of 10. Now, how are you going to prove that the person in that car was the person that stole your skis from your garage? Unless you get a picture of the person (using your own camera) inside your home holding your skis, and a picture of the same person in the car and also the license tag, you won’t have a case. That is really unlikely. Besides, anything of value will be sold within a few hours.

How do I come to that conclusion? Our family’s home was robbed in Jeremy Ranch a couple of years ago. The thieves left a clipboard with fingerprints all over it. In the end, those fingerprints matched a crime ring in Salt Lake that had committed hundreds of robberies (and were eventually jailed). However, our robbery wasn’t included because there was no evidence that showed the thieves were in our home and holding the clipboard. When the Sheriff’s Department interviewed the father of the “alleged” thieves (whose prints were also on the clipboard) he said he had lost the clipboard and that he didn’t know how it would have gotten into our house.

No absolute proof = no way to bring charges

It likely wouldn’t have mattered anyhow. The Summit County Sheriff’s investigator told us that most items were sold for meth within a couple of hours of being stolen.

Please don’t take these remarks as disparaging against our law enforcement. Today on social media the Summit County Sheriff”s office responded to Jeremy Ranch residents saying “We are taking any and every report seriously… Our promise to you was that we will send deputies to your residence and neighborhood as quickly as possible.” We believe they are. If you have a serious emergency, and you are in the Snyderville Basin, you should know that the Summit County Sheriff’s office will arrive within minutes. We imagine that Park City is the same. You look no further than the potential school shooter last year where the Police department was preparing at 3AM for almost every contingency. Both the Summit Sheriff’s Office and Park City Police know what they are doing. They are good and they are competent.

Yet, burglary seems harder. Nationwide only 12.7 percent of burglaries are solved. That’s the reality.

So, its more about prevention and deterrence than actually “stopping” robberies. For instance, the thief that attacked our family tried a crowbar on 5 back windows and doors before one of the latches broke and allowed them entrance. Now, we have bars in all the slides of all sliding doors and windows. We also have a few cameras outside that detect motion. The thief would now have to both break the latch and find a way to remove the bar to gain entrance. In addition, we now have a relatively inexpensive security system. The thief will likely also see the contact alarms in every door/window from the outside. That will tell him that he not only needs to break the latch and remove the bar but will have limited time in the house (once they break the latch and figure out how to remove the bar). Finally, we have motion detecting cameras that indicate when someone is near the outside of our house. So, the thief should be even less confident in his ability to rob the house. The hope is that the “rationale” thief (if there is one) will bypass our house.

Yet, robbery isn’t the only thing to be concerned with in Jeremy Ranch. You also have to contend with drug sales. Last summer our neighbor saw what was likely a number of drug sales going on near vacant lot in Jeremy Ranch. I contacted the Sheriff’s department and again they exceeded my expectations in what they did (I won’t go into the details); however, I don’t believe they were able to stop it.

It’s happening again this year. The difference is that a number of neighbors seem to know what house the sales are coming from. So, if you live on Cheyenne and you or your kids are dealing… STOP SELLING IN JEREMY RANCH. With the robberies, vandalism, and now drugs… we are about done.

We look at this as a three prong issue:

First, you have to protect yourself. Don’t leave your car or house vulnerable. We already live in a vulnerable area (along a major interstate) — don’t make yourself more vulnerable.

Second, we’d love some innovative ideas from the Sheriff’s office. Justin Martinez and his fellow deputies are smart. We’d love to wake up to an article in the Park Record about how they squashed this issue.

Third, we look to the real estate professionals to be a part of this solution. If you want to sell homes for less than a million dollars, then you need Jeremy Ranch. People don’t want to buy a $800,000 house in a crime ghetto. Articles like this one don’t help in the short-run, but we DO hope they will help in the long run. We need your assistance and help in mitigating this problem.

Can we guarantee you will never be robbed? No. However, you can take steps to reduce the chance of incident. We also hope our partners can step up and find ways to help squash this plague.

If you have any questions about what my family did to make us harder to rob, email me at . I’m always happy to chat.

 

 

 

A response on Teacher Turnover by the Park City School District

On Friday, Park City School District Superintendent Ember Conley sent an email to employees in regard to teacher turnover. It seems citizen, Meg Leaf, hit a nerve with her editorial in the Park Record regarding purported turnover of teachers in the district. Ms. Leaf noted turnover rates of over 50% of teachers, assistants, and aides during the last 3 years. Dr Conley’s email stated:


Dear PCSD Staff,

First, enjoy your upcoming spring break. I am wishing each of you a time to refresh and come back strong to finish out the rest of this school year.

You have likely been fielding many questions lately, ranging from the need for bond projects, why the projects are so expensive this time around, Park City teacher turnover rates, changes to start times, etc. I want you to have the most up-to-date and accurate information, so I will send a weekly note with a (quick!) look at items of interest. I will also be posting these on the website, so please feel free to share the content.

A recent editorial in the Park Record mentioned, “Change is appropriate when fully understood and vetted, thoughtfully planned with stakeholders, and well executed across a timeline that works.” I couldn’t agree more. This email is one step of many I’m taking to make sure you have access to provide input on the ground floor for all upcoming ideas and projects. I want to hear your voices to achieve full understanding, then move together toward planning and execution.

That said, I’d like to take a moment to talk about another item in the aforementioned editorial: our teacher turnover rate.

For the last three years, PCSD *teacher* turnover rate is as follows:

2014 – 9%,
2015 – 10%,
2016 – 13%

We provide the opportunity for exit interviews, and those who participate are encouraged to be candid about why they have made the decision to leave. Our district’s 3-year average is 10.67%. A quick point of comparison: Palo Alto School District (a more similar district to ours than those mentioned in the editorial) has a 3-year average of 20%. The state average for turnover is 12%. Our numbers are below-average, but we still – always! – want to improve.

Please also keep in mind; we have built-in turnover with DLI visas every two – three years. While this is a small impact, it is a factor. We believe strongly in the DLI program and the benefits it provides to our children, especially the incredible opportunity of our native speakers sharing the culture of the languages.

As always, I encourage you to call, email, or come see me anytime with questions or concerns, and I’d love to hear your ideas for topics I can cover in these weekly dispatches. I’d also encourage you to sign up for our new information initiative — PCSD Community Link. You can sign up here: http://tiny.cc/pcschools (Spanish: http://tiny.cc/pcespanol) or by texting your first & last name to 435-602-4444.

Warmly,
Ember


Ms Leaf’s editorial cited turnover rates above 50% over the last three years, which averages out to almost 17% turnover per year. Dr Conley’s numbers average out to about 10% per year. Having visited with both Ms. Leaf and Molly Miller, the school district’s communication expert, the source of the data is the same (the Assistant Superintendent). However, Ms. Leaf included licensed teachers, assistants, and aides in her turnover numbers. Dr Conley included only the traditional definition of “teacher” according to Ms Miller. That appears to be the difference.

So, it comes down to one of those 1990 Bill Clinton issues. What is the definition of the word teacher. Is a teacher anyone who has a part in instructing your children or is a teacher a licensed teacher (or similar). That is the further complicated by comparisons against other districts that may define teacher differently.

So we ask our community to be informed and nuanced. First, do you care about teacher turnover? If not, you can stop reading five paragraphs ago. If you do, do you care about turnover related to anyone who has a part in instructing our children or do you only care about licensed teachers?

If you care about all people that teach our children, then is 50% + turnover in three years OK?

If you care about only licensed teachers, is 30% turnover in 3 years OK?

Either way how to you factor in comparisons with other districts?

As with anything involving children, it’s complicated.

 

Are you a Park City teacher who has left (or is planning to leave)? Why did you make that decision?

We recently posted an article on teacher turnover. Using data provided by a local citizen, we looked at turnover rates of teachers in Park City. Rates seem high. We speculated on why teachers are leaving, but we’d rather hear directly from teachers.

If you are a teacher, assistant, or aide that has left Park City Schools (or is planning to leave) we’d love to learn why. Specifically we’d like to know:

  1. Have you left in the last 3 years (or was it earlier)?
  2. Why you left?
  3. Is there anything that would have made you stay?

You can post a comment below. You can . You can use our anonymous tip section.

Please keep comments civil. We aren’t looking for a witch hunt or libelous comments. We truly want to understand why teachers leave Park City — in order to better understand if there is a problem and what solutions are available.

As always, thanks for participating in the Park Rag!

Why do Park City teachers leave?

With ever-present issues surrounding the Park City School District during the last few years, one of the things we’ve fallen back upon is the notion that at least we have good teachers. The people our children are directly in contact with are typically teachers and that counts for a lot. Thank goodness we have good teachers.

The old adage is that Park City teachers are paid better than Utah average (which isn’t saying much). Therefore, that money attracts the best and brightest to our community.

However, a recent editorial by Meg Leaf in the Park Record has made us wonder if money is enough to keep the best and brightest. In the editorial Ms Leaf makes a number of points:

  • Park City has about 340 people who educate our children (teachers and assistants) .
  • During the past 3 years, 172 of those people were hired and then subsequently left.
  • That means 51% percent of our educators came and went in the last 3 years.

If the Park City School District were KFC, we would be doing great. Unfortunately, we probably expect a little more.

We visited with Ms Leaf about her data and she was happy to let us see it for ourselves. She kindly responded with data provided directly by the Park City School District.

There does appear to be about 340 teachers and assistants who teach children. Likewise, half of those people have turned over in three years. Ms Leaf cites a National Center for Education Statistics study (from 2011–2012) stating that 84 percent of public school teachers remained at the same school.

Our research shows that historically between 12% and 16% of teachers move schools or leave the profession every year, across the U.S.

Ms Leaf’s data shows that in Park City 16%-17% of Park City teachers leave every year (of of February 2017). So, our turnover is higher than the national average. Ms Leaf also compared Park City to other districts in Utah and one in California. This too showed higher turnover in Park City.

The difficulty with any of these comparisons is that knowing whether the comparison is apples to apples. We look at it a few ways. First, losing half the people who teach our kids in three year seems high. Second, looking at all industries, the average turnover is 15% per year. So, we aren’t doing as well as even the average of all industries. Finally, if we dig deeper into teacher turnover rates, those rates can be correlated with the number of children of free/reduced lunch programs. More students on these programs correlates with higher turnover.

District-wide, eighteen percent of Park City children participate in the free/reduce cost lunch program. Given the graph above, the national average turnover would be 12.8%. Again, we are above that with 16% turnover. So by a number of measures this seems to be an issue.

What’s going on? You don’t have to look much further than the teacher surveys from last year. In the Survey Feedback Overview, here are some of the comments highlighted:

  • Stop:“Making decisions without educator input (ie. eliminating reading specialists)”
  • “Take teacher input into consideration before adopting new “programs”
  • Start: “Asking for teacher input and using teacher input to make district decisions”
  • “Get teacher input BEFORE making decisions”
  • Start: “gathering more input from teachers before making major decisions that impact teaching”
  • “Listen to constituents “in the trenches” with respect to anything that the district is currently doing or considering changing”
  • Start:“Listening to teachers about what needs to happen with the schools. We are in the trenches every day and know what needs to happen and what won’t be effective use of time and money”
  • Start: “Really involving teachers of all disciplines and levels when making decisions about policy, programs, etc.”
  • Start:“Ask for teacher input about major decisions like the removal of the ELA/Reading specialists”
  • Start: “Listening to teachers. We have a lot to say, but no one really asks us what we think. If we are asked, OUR ideas are not really implemented”

That seems pretty clear.

Yet, almost a year after this survey was collected we were at a presentation by the school district pimping the need for adding on to the high school and the teachers’ opinions seemed to still be neglected. The presenter mentioned that the changes to high school may include “college like” offices for teachers who would rotate throughout the school without any fixed classroom of their own. The number of jaw-drops from teachers throughout the room was palpable.

So, our question is if we are one of the best school districts in the known universe, why do we have an attrition problem?

Can teachers make more money elsewhere? Park City has some of the highest paid teachers (per salary schedules) in Utah. However, maybe teachers are leaving Utah.

Are there better chances for teachers to “move up” elsewhere? Perhaps.

Do teachers just not like the feel of what’s going on here and money is not enough to keep them around? That seems very likely.

Without the best people, our district can’t be the best. We wonder what the impact of our attrition will ultimately be.

Perhaps most importantly, who (or what) is responsible for this attrition and how do we stop it?

Thanks to Meg Leaf for providing information

Is Park City Damned?

Did you know Park City is damned? At least that’s the claim of San Diego Free Press writer, Will Falk. Mr Falk recently penned an article called Park City is Damned: A Case Study in Civilization. It paints a bleak picture of Park City … and the world.

Mr Falk uses Park City as an example of how we are destroying the land that we love. While much of the article could apply to many places around the country, it rings true.

Mr Falk talks about the development currently going on. He also talks about potential development such as Treasure Hill. At one point he writes:

Park City is a damned town. Voices on the wind blowing in from the canyons whisper that this has always been true. Hollows groan with miners crushed in shafts long since collapsed, aspens still quake with memories of dynamite, and streams spit with tastes of mining waste. Mountains say nothing. They simply rise to the sky displaying their wounds. With shoulders flayed by roads and ski runs, their scars are reopened whenever forests threaten encroachment on skiers’ paths. First, these mountains had their guts ripped out by silver miners. Then, they had their skin peeled off by resorts. And, now they’re baking with climate change. 

Damn, he writes well. We’d recommend giving it a read.

So, what’s the Park Rag’s opinion? Is Park City damned? Yeah, probably, or maybe better said, eventually.

While Mr Falk speaks on a larger scale about how humans don’t respect the environment and that will lead to our species downfall, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Park City is an area on the brink of more immediate danger.

We know Park City and Summit County leaders try to put a positive spin on things… but it’s almost too late for that.

You don’t have to look any further than the Park City 4th of July Celebration. It’s a mess (and has been for a few years). They’ve tried to “solve it” but no solution could be agreed upon. One potential idea was just to cancel it. No one has the stomach for that.

Then you have traffic. Do you think buses and bikes are going to fix that? Count me as skeptical. If you haven’t got on a bus in the last year, I’ll count you as skeptical too.

Then we have growth. How many thousand units are going up between Silver Creek Village and Promentory? How many thousand units are going up just across the border in Wasatch County? How much vested development is there in Summit County?

Then you have the school district. It looks like their new bond will be for nearly identical things as 2015’s bond, for 50% more money. They create overcrowding in the elementary schools by offering all day kindergarten, and the scramble to try and fix the problem they partially created. They decide to move 9th grade back into the high school because there may be a few benefits, which then triggers a redesign of the Kearns Campus… and maybe the addition of another $100 million high school.

Main Street is becoming the Magnificent Mile with chain stores. Meanwhile, the city screws over the little guy during Sundance by shutting off lower Main.

Who knows how the Treasure Hill process goes forward. Will Woodward at Gorgoza be allowed to go forward with their huge indoor facility? Will the Discover project above Weilenman add another 100 homes that can be accessed via only a single, two lane road? Will Park City be connected to Big Cottonwood via a tunnel or some other means?

Will most of the above happen? Oh yeah, it’s just a matter of time.

That said, have we given up? No.

For me, I’m in it for the long-run. This is home. I’ve decided to fight the battles that I can fight. I live by the motto, “You can’t unbuild it.” So, the goal is simply extending the inevitable.

Can we keep the hill at the entrance to Jeremy Ranch as defacto open space for a while? Can we limit the development in the Boyer Tech Center to actual technology companies (or at least high paying jobs as intended)? Can we slow development along the Highway 40 corridor? Can we limit Vail’s influence on our town?

I believe we can.

Yes Mr Falk, we are damned in the long run; however I believe we can delay the inevitable — or maybe I HOPE we can delay the inevitable.

I’m not as eloquent as Mr Falk, so I’ll leave you with a quote from someone who is:

And I know that I’m damned if I never get out, And maybe I’m damned if I do, But with every other beat I’ve got left in my heart, You know I’d rather be damned with you.

Well, if I gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned…Dancing through the night with you.

Well, if I gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned— Gotta be damned, you know I wanna be damned— Gotta be damned, you know I wanna be damned…Dancing through the night— Dancing through the night— Dancing through the night with you.Jim Steinman

h/t to our friend on Twitter who first let us know about this article and then the person who tipped us off to the original article. As Always, we appreciate it.

What Faustian Bargain will be made on Bonanza Flat?

Park City Municipal has wagered $3 million dollars of public money that it will be able to find enough cash to buy the $38 million Bonanza Flat area. The purchase has to be completed by June 15.

So far the effort has stalled. Park City residents have agreed to pay $25 million in a bond. Summit County agreed to pitch in almost $6 million. Private persons have pledged 2 million. That left the city over $5 million shy of having funds to buy the property. Park City had hoped Wasatch County, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, and maybe even Sandy City would help foot the bill.

Wasatch County said no. Salt Lake County said no. Salt Lake City pledged $10,000.

So, Park City is still at a $5 million deficit to what it needs.

That leaves Sandy City or … someone else to help Park City out.

Government is about compromise. You have to give something to get something. So, what will Park City give to own this PRIME piece of land? They need someone to step up, and we are fairly confident someone will. The question to ask is, “What will we give up for someone to step up.”

People sometimes give up something for nothing… organizations usually do not.

Unless Michael Jordan is willing to donate, or some other benevolent benefactor is found, we guess there will be a quid pro quo.

So, we wonder where will the remaining money come from?

Will it be from a Wayne Niederhauser (Utah Congressman) or Sandy coalition? Will we need to dig a tunnel from Big Cottonwood to PCMR to get the money?

Will additional money come from Deer Valley? Will they want to ensure their gondola from Silver Lake Express to Main Street is accepted?

Will money come from Vail? Will we need to enable the Canyons to build a multi-level parking structure at the Cabriolet lift to get their money?

Will it be from a thousand small donors, who will make up the difference?

It seems that the likely, low impact, donors are no longer an option. How do we feel about the higher impact donors?

Is it worth it?

Maybe. Maybe not.

How MUCH do we want Bonanza Flat to be open space?

That is the root of the question.

 

 

 

Why Park City may not be in the top 20 in next year’s Ski Magazine rankings

Every year Ski Magazine ranks ski resorts. This year, Park City Mountain fell to #13. This was unexpected since Canyons and PCMR had been combined into THE LARGEST SKI RESORT in the known universe the U.S. This ranking is also important for our town, because we share our name with the ski resort. While locally, Vail markets the resort as Park City Mountain, the resort is marketed as Park City elsewhere. So, the ranking not only impacts our resort but our town.

This morning I had the chance to go to PCMR with my kid’s daycare. We were in line at the First Time lift and two of the kids had to use the bathroom. So, I took them to the bathroom at PCMR. This is what I saw at 9:20 AM:


Note… people said they would stop reading if we kept the Vail toilet pics on the home page. We don’t want to lose our only reader, so click below to see lots of shit.

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