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Park City assistant city attorney arrested on felony charges

Fox 13 in Salt Lake is reporting that Park City Assistant City Attorney Polly Samuels McLean was arrested on September 6. She allegedly damaged more than $1,500 in hunting equipment and caused more than $500 in additional damages according to the report. She is facing felony theft charges, as well a misdemeanor criminal mischief charges.

The story says that after multiple cases of hunting equipment, vehicles, and other property being damaged, hunters started getting fed up. In this case, Ms McLean was allegedly recorded on a trail camera. This picture was then circulated across a Facebook group with 10,000 members. The person was identified as Ms. McLean, along with husband Andrew McLean.

Fox 13 reached out to Park City Municipal who said that Ms McLean reported the arrest to them on Friday, that the city will continue to follow policy, and they have no further comment.

It’s strange Park City would hire someone for a top level position with an uncertain past

KPCW is reporting that Park City’s new Transit System’s Manager, Barbara Murdock, was let go from her last position for allegedly using company funds inappropriately. Ms. Murdoch has, in turn, sued her former employer (Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority) stating gender discrimination and they didn’t communicate reasons for her termination.

What we don’t understand is how Park City hired someone with an uncertain (and possibly checkered) past for this position. In my own line of work, software development, we do a background check on every employee we want to hire. Our shop wouldn’t touch someone with a potential issue like this. We’re not sure why a prized jewel like Park City would take the risk.

Perhaps Park City Municipal asked to see her utility bills to confirm she didn’t use a company credit card to pay bills. Perhaps they asked to see her checking account statement to ensure she didn’t receive expense reimbursement for moving to Birmingham (since she had been there for a few years). Better yet, maybe she is so fabulous that the risk is worth it.

It just seems like Park City is taking a huge chance.

What we do know is that if Ms. Murdoch is charged with a crime in Alabama, she needs to be let go. Possibly if Ms Murdoch loses her civil case against the BJCTA, she should be let go. Either way, if one of those things happens, it should cast doubt on the decision making process of Park City Municipal.

Please don’t take this as a personal attack on Ms. Murdoch. I don’t know her. She may be a great person. The charges against her may be contrived, as she claims.

However, please do take this as a BIG QUESTION for Park City. There have to be countless professionals, skilled in transit, who would love to come to a place where transit is so important that buses are free. It’s odd that the city would pick someone that has questions surrounding her. It’s odd that Park City would choose someone that sued their previous employer.

Weird stuff happens here and we are not quite sure why. This is another example of it.

We’re reaching out to the Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office to understand how we follow this case. We’ll report back as we find information.

Q&A on Kilby Road Construction and Changes

Tonight, Summit County held a public meeting to answer questions about Kilby Road changes. This includes the strange curves that run from the Pinebook Fresh Market to Ecker Hill Middle School.

About 15 people showed up to ask questions of Derrick Radke, Summit County Public Works Director. A few people were quite militant. We felt for Mr Radke as a few of the people berated him, the county, every decision a public works person has ever made, whether he had any education (to which he responded that he had worked for over 35 years in the profession). No matter how Mr Radke answered a question, those people would not be satisfied. It was sad that community members can’t be more human.

That said, there were legitimate questions. Here are the ones we found interesting:

Q: Why isn’t the Kilby Road Park and Ride accessible from I-80?

A: The Federal Highway Administration required that if they wanted to connect the Park and Ride with I-80 that there was a formal exit. This is different from a simple offramp. So, that was not possible.


Q: Will there be a bike lane along Kilby RD?

A: Yes. There will be a five foot wide bike lane on both sides of the street (north and south).


Q: Why is the road designed with all these weird curves?

A: When a Park and Ride was proposed, the public was worried about speed of traffic approaching Ecker Hill. So, the road was designed with typical traffic calming measures. Therefore, there are curves to slow down traffic and turn lanes to help ensure a proper flow of traffic.


Q: When will all asphalt be laid between the Fresh Market and Ecker Hill?

A: By Sunday


Q: Will there be construction delays on the first day of school?

A: The construction company is trying to limit that.

Note: we took that answer as a YES, there will be delays. So, please travel accordingly.


Q: How will snow be removed with all the curves on the road?

A: The same procedures will be used, but it will be a little slower for Summit County plow crews.


Q: Is there a designated place for school kids to be picked up or dropped off in the Park and Ride area?

A: No.

Note: a parent told us that the school is planning on sending something out on this.


Q: Who is going to use the Park and ride?

A: Vail paid over $5 million toward the Park and Ride. For this, they received a guaranteed 200+ spots. According to Mr Radke, the County can’t force people to use the Park and Ride but they are hopeful Vail and others will use the Park and Ride more over time.


Q: Will the Electric Express bus service the Park and ride.

A: No, probably not. It will likely be something like the Pink 7.

Note: This is an issue. The Sales Tax increase was predicated on the Electric 10 servicing this area at 10 minute intervals. If there is a change in that, it is concerning and that needs to formally be communicated to the community.

Have questions or concerns about Kilby Rd Construction? Come to the meeting.

Some people have called it the Crazy 8’s. Others are wondering how snow will ever be plowed. Still other are concerned that winter driving will be a nightmare. What are we talking about? The new road construction along Kilby Rd (in front of Ecker Hill down to Fresh Market).

We’ve heard a lot of grumbling about the changes via social media, but Summit County is giving people a chance to air those concerns and ask questions during a meeting.

That meeting will be held Wednesday, August 22nd from 6PM to 7PM at the Richins Building (the Library on Ute Blvd by the Transit Center).

We’d encourage you to attend if you have interest. You may even get to ask whether the asphalt will be dry in 12 hours when you have to take your kid to school on Thursday.

Deer Valley had better be better than ever

Come gather ’round people

Wherever you roam

And admit that the waters

Around you have grown

And accept it that soon

You’ll be drenched to the bone.

If your time to you

Is worth savin’

Then you better start swimmin’

Or you’ll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin’.

We are hopeful that Deer Valley will be the same as ever — GREAT.

Yet, GREAT organizations are made of GREAT people.

Over the past few months we’ve heard of long time employees leaving Deer Valley. Most recently we heard that Bob Wheaton is mozying on. Bob has been the man behind Deer Valley for decades. It’s not that he personally provides ski school to your kid or grooms your run, but he has been in charge. We believe the current version of Deer Valley is his vision and his way of being.

Now it is being run by a venture capital firm. Here are the things they currently and have owned:

Does that give you faith?

We will give them the benefit of the doubt this year. Deer Valley should continue to be a five star experience. Maybe it can be even better than ever. Maybe?

However, KSL Partners should be aware that if it’s not, their investment value will be a lot less next year. They hold the golden egg in their hands.

The question is… Do they know how to keep that egg shining?

Damn the school tests

We’re gearing up for another school year. If the off season was any indicator, we’re headed for a doozey.

The Park Record headline screams, “Under new school policy, high opt-out rates could sink Park City School District’s statewide grades.”

The first paragraph goes even more dire: “The Park City School District in 2017 was given its first ‘F’ school grade from the state. Thanks to a new decision from the federal government, more failing grades might not be far behind.”

It appears due to new federal laws, children who opt out of year-end standardized test will be counted as 0’s when scores are averaged for the district. Because Park City has a high opt-out rate on tests like SAGE, this would mean our district’s average scores would drop for standardized tests.

Do you care?

Do you need our high school to be ranked #1… or even #25?

Quick quiz…

Question 1: In 2016 what was Park City high School’s ranking of best high schools in Utah per US News and World Reports?

Question 2: in 2017 what was Park City High School’s ranking?

Question 3: In late 2018 what was Park City High Schools ranking?

 

Answer 1: Not in the top 25 

Answer 2: 1st in Utah

Answer 3: Not in the top 25

 

Wow, what a difference a year makes. One year the schools are crappy, the next year they are the best, and then they return to crap. Do you believe that?

No, we have good schools. Over 93% of kids graduate. 65% of kids take AP exams. 76% of exams are passed. As is typically the case in Park City, we are fine. Our kids have opportunities. They are surrounded by competent teachers. We have good leaders. It is likely your kids will get a better high school education that you did.

So, please don’t let a Park Record article shame you into forcing your kids to sit for a standardized test. You know more about your kids than anyone.

Maybe a year end test is good for your kid. GREAT. Maybe it’s not. GREAT. Only you and your kids know. 

Final quick quiz… 

Question: What’s the top school in Utah right now?

Answer: Why do you care?

 

Basin Rec should have made a safer choice on the new field

Would you let your kid play on a pile of tires?

Would you let your child go to birthday parties on a pile of tires?

Would you let your kid compete in soccer on a pile of tires?

No. No. AND probably No.

Yet, Basin Rec is preparing to install another turf field made from recycled tires. KPCW is reporting that Basin Rec will be replacing the field house turf on Wednesday, July 25th. It will be replacing it with the same substance it has previously used, an “infill of rubber.”

We first talked about the danger of these fields in 2014. If you’ve been to one of Basin Rec’s fields, you’ll often see the “rubber dots” that fly up. You’ll often see rubber stuck to your toddler’s socks. You’ll often find rubber pieces in your kid’s hair. You’ll often notice your kid’s hands and feet are stained in black.

That rubber is ground up tires. There are 27 chemicals of concern in crumb rubber (as they call it) and 11 of which are carcinogenic. Those tires contain mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and lead.

The question that many have is whether these tire “bits” are cancerous. The issue came to light when Amy Griffin, an assistant head coach of women’s soccer at the University of Washington, began to notice that some of her current and former players, especially goalkeepers, had been diagnosed with cancer. According to CNN, “when the list began drawing attention, the Washington State Department of Health and researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health reached out to conduct an investigation into whether the cancer rate seen in Griffin’s list was unusual. The study, published last week, concluded it was not, and recommended that ‘people who enjoy soccer continue to play irrespective of the type of field surface.'”

However, according to CNN “the study wasn’t designed to identify whether exposure to tire crumbs caused cancer among some of the players. Rather, the investigation was to determine whether the cancer diagnoses were higher than would be expected and then qualify as a cluster.”

So, on one side we have the Washington State Department of Health who says that the cancer rates were not higher than expected. On the other side, we have a soccer coach who noticed that a lot of goalies who played on artificial turf were getting blood cancers. Neither opinion is conclusive on whether paying on a field of ground up tires is safe.

Yet, we come back to the question of whether you’d want your kid playing on used tires? The alternative is using a product like “Nike Field Turf” which is made from ground up shoes. According to NBC, it costs about 2% more than turf-rubber made from tires and contains consumer-friendly ingredients.

Of course, The Synthetic Turf Council, a lobbying group for the turf industry says tire rubber is a non-issue.

The truth is that there are no official studies linking turf made from tires to negative effects. Yet, there are the soccer players … and if you haven’t’ watched the ESPN segment on them, you should.

In many ways it seems a lot like CTE (concussions) with football players. After a hundred years, we are finally acknowledging that blows to the brain have extremely negative consequences. Are fields made from ground up tires a good idea? Should our kids be exposed to this? Should our 3 year olds be running around barefoot at birthday parties on this?

Yes, it’s true we live in the mountains and real grass is hard to come by in March. However, for a few percent more in cost, it seems there are better materials that we should be investing in for our fields.

We think the Basin Rec made mistake on this. We’re building a field for the next 10 years… why not build something that seems more safe, for only a little more cost. Wy not protect our kids from ingesting potentially carcinogenic substances?

In a town that thrives on athletics, we hope this choice doesn’t turn out horribly for someone.

Frankly, we can’t believe Summit County took the chance.

If you have 10 minutes, and a child, we’d recommend watching the ESPN story on this.

 

 

Thank you Park City teachers for a great year

My oldest kid “graduated” Kindergarten today. Like many things in Park City, it was a little over the top. There was a scheduled performance with songs and many of the formalities you probably witnessed when you graduated high school.

That said, my Kindergartener was broken up. He didn’t want to leave Mrs. Martin’s class at Jeremy Ranch. He was crying during the songs. He was crying during an awesome video Mrs. Martin had made for the kids.

He loved Kindergarten… every minute of it.

That was due to his teacher, her aide, the Principal (who he seems to love but he swears he has never had to go to the office) and the volunteers in the classroom.

I’ve followed the school district closely since about 2015. I watched the Master Planning committee intimately as they decided whether we needed to bond for new schools. That effort all seemed artificial. It all seemed produced. It wasn’t real. It left a sour taste.

Today I saw real. As my kid cried, his teacher didn’t indulge him or give him some platitude. She said, “I’m sad too. You know, I had a dream last night about how much I was going to miss all of you kids and that made me sad… But next year you’ll be just down the hall and I expect you all to come visit.” It was real. It was just what he needed to hear.

It’s what I wish we heard during every discussion we have about schools. However, that’s a post for another day.

So, thank you Mrs. Martin and the rest of the teachers who took care of our kids for the last year. We appreciate you. We appreciate how much you care for someone who is not your own. You make a huge difference.

I hope you all get some time off this summer.

 

 

Want your very own e-bike to use around Park City?

There are few things I’ve purchased in the last few years I enjoy as much as my e-bike. I wouldn’t want to go without or take a step down to the ones rented by the City/County. In my opinion, it is the best way to beat the traffic and get around the Basin.

If you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge, my wife is selling her black Pedego Interceptor.

It’s been a great bike, but now that the kids are older, she has moved to a cargo bike.

It’s a 2015 Pedego Interceptor, 48V 10AH battery, has both pedal assist and a throttle, and a new rear tire and brake pads were put on last summer. It has 3,153 miles. She is asking $1,400. New they sell for around $3,000. We’ll even throw in a free year’s subscription to the Park Rag :-).

Pedego has a shop down by Sammy’s Bistro, which makes support and service simple.

Anyhow, if you are interested you can reach Janna at 801-558-7460.

Doing the work in Park City…

I’m from Kansas. One of the stories I always remember is that Bruce Springsteen would come through Kansas City and his 1970’s concerts would go until midnight at Memorial Hall. It was real. It was epic. It was four hours of great music, which is unheard of in today’s age

Springsteen put in the work necessary to make a great performance…. and obviously a memorable one.

When we started the Park Rag about 6 years ago (it was called Summit Counts back then), we were warned by a few folks that people in Park City will stand up beside you until it counts, becomes inconvenient, or is a lot of work. They cited the Discovery Core project and noted how the community stood up against a development near Weilenman until the rubber hit the road.

Yes, people are willing to provide money (sometimes). That’s fairly easy. Yes, people are willing to show up once a year to a fundraiser. That’s easy, Yes, people are willing to pledge to Live PC Give PC. That easy. 

For those people, it feels like good…They feel like they have contributed… but have they really?

Our collective experience tells us that time is what really matters. It’s similar to Springsteen. He could have just given money to Kansas City … but instead he gave time. He created something memorable.

Park City needs more of that. We need involvement. 

Thank you to those people who do provide minutes of their spare time to the community. It is more valuable than money. The experiences shared are really priceless.

Yeah, Running with ED buys a new computer for a school. That’s great. But are you creating something? Are you educating? Are you spending more time deciding on what costume to wear than how the school will use the money?

Actually dedicating your time and experience is fundamental. It makes all the difference. It makes our community better. 

We need time spent by the best and brightest.

Without YOU, we are stuck in some morass were we think money will solve all our issues.

Instead, we need your experience. That gives us the best chance of making sure that OUR KIDS’ hometown is a thriving community going forward.

The next generation of Park City won’t look like what you want it to without your help. We hope your help can include some of your time.