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Opinion

By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate community editor

The day had come for me to make room reservations for a short trip I and my wife wanted to make to a car show in Colorado, so I picked up the phone and called the motel chain I have stayed at for years. What I was looking for was a nice room at a reasonable rate.

What I found was frustration.

"I would like to reserve a room at your Craig, Colorado motel," I told the young lady who had answered the phone. "I need it for the night of June 18."

"Before I do that for you would you be interested in our special bonus offer that we give to frequent stayers?" she said with enthusiasm.

"No I wouldn't," I said with mild irritation. "Besides I am not a frequent stayer anymore. I used to be when I had my own business because I traveled a lot. That is why I have one of your companies 'Special 12 Person Card' to reserve my room with."

"Sir I'm sorry but we don't use the "Special 12 Person Card' anymore," she stated. "That was discontinued a couple of months ago. But we now have a 'Special 12 Discount Card' that can get you frequent stayer points which are good for airplane tickets, car rentals, meals at fine restaurants, tolls for certain turnpikes in New York, 20 percent off your latest sewer bill, dog grooming at Superduper Pet, tires for your lawnmower at Jack's Fix It Shop which has locations around the west or half off a Flexpro toothbrush kit from Drugmart Stores that are found everywhere in the world. Would you like me to turn you over to the Special 12 Discount Card representative so you can apply it?"

I was more that mildly irritated.

"All I want is a room reservation," I retorted. "No discounts, except on my room, if that is possible."

"It isn't," she said. "The card is only good for the things I listed. We don't give discounts on rooms because we have ended the Special 12 program."

"Ok," I said in what I considered to be a patient way. "You are telling me that I can't use my card to get a reservation anymore, and even if I did get one of these new cards it wouldn't help me with a discount on rooms in your motel chain, but that I could get my one of my dogs a haircut with it."

"Well, not completely," she said. "It only gives you a discount on dog grooming, not a complete price break. However, I know that I was able to get some free special smelling perfume for my little Fluffy at Superduper Pet when I took her in."

Just what I needed for my kennel dogs. I kept my cool and said, this time a little more impatiently than my usual impatient tone, that all I wanted to do was to reserve a room.

"Well I can do that for you, but first would you like to hear about the special cable package we offer in rooms you occupy for only $14.95 more per night? It offers 275 more stations than the normal 40 we have in our standard rooms. It really is a great deal."

My hand started to twitch on the kitchen counter and my wife immediately pulled out my blood pressure cuff to see if I could set a record. She knew from my body language that this conversation was headed toward Strokesville.

"No," I said still somewhat patiently. "I am going to arrive about 9 p.m. in the evening and leave at 5 a.m. I doubt I would even have time to channel surf through that many stations if I stayed up all night. And if I were to stay up all night, why would need a room?"

She ignored that last comment but did pick up on the time we had planned to arrive.

"Sir we cannot reserve a room for late arrival with less than three credit cards," she stated. "I am sure you understand."

By this time, however, I was understanding much less than I did when I began the conversation.

"Look, when I had my own business I stayed at your motel chain just short of 20 days a month continually for seven years," I tried to explain. "I got this card for being such a good customer. I always used it for reserving rooms and besides it gave me 10 percent off any room with it. That is why I stayed at your chain. I didn't need a credit card or anything else whether I was showing up at 3 p.m. or 1 a.m. It also allowed me to cash checks up to $100 per day at any of your locations. I found that valuable. I don't find new tires for my X-Mart brand lawnmower valuable. Besides I don't even have a credit card to my name anymore. I got rid of them all. "

There was silence on the other end of the line, a lack of noise like the world had ended in that location. She finally did speak to me again, but her voice had changed like someone trying to communicate with Martian for the first time.

"I don't think I have ever talked to anyone who didn't have a credit card. In fact I don't see how anyone can survive without one. "

That was enough.

"Look all I want is to reserve a damned room," I told her more than emphatically.

"Well sir you don't have to get mad," she said to me. "We have policies in place that I must follow. I can reserve you a room with no credit card if you show up by 1 p.m."

I was perplexed by what she said.

"Isn't the earliest you can actually check in 3 p.m.?"

"Yes," she told me. "But without a credit card to hold it you must show up early."

"Let's say I did that," I questioned. "Does that mean I have to hang around the lobby until 3 p.m. to keep my room?"

"Oh yes," she told me. "But we have a fine in-house newspaper to read in the lobby of each facility and there is always a television on in that area to give you information about our special offers. You'd have plenty to keep you busy during that short two hours."

At that point I said "No thank you" and hung up.

I then looked on the internet and found a nice family owned motel and we stayed there that night. When I called the owner said he would hold the room for late arrival, no matter how late we would be. But he did ask one thing of us: To call him if we would be in after 11:30 p.m. because they needed to keep the office open if we were going to show up that late.

When I got there they didn't want to sell me anything but a room, and it turned out to be nicer than the one I would have stayed in at the chain. They offered free ice, 30 channel cable (which I watched for three minutes before I fell asleep) and a very good cup of coffee in the morning. The room also cost me $20 less than I would have paid at the other place.

That same morning I took the 'Special 12 Person Card' out of my wallet and tossed it in the garbage.


Celebrating the long Fourth of July weekend, recognizing Independence Day, has only been part of my life for the past 30 years since I grew up in Canada. Up north, we recognized the First of July as the Canadian Independence Day but I do not remember the parades, fireworks or celebrations that we have come to expect around the holiday in America.

Although I went through high school in the United States I would spend summers during school, including college, back on the ranch in Canada, so it wasn't until I was married and was out of college that I remember really observing the holiday. The first couple years I helped with at a local rodeo and fireworks display in northcentral Montana, but my first real memory of a huge fourth of July celebration was in 1974 when my wife and I accompanied five young students back to New Hampshire for the Jaycee national hunter safety association competition.

Although I hunted as a kid it was never my favorite sport, mostly because I was a terrible shot and secondly because my older brothers were good shooters and made fun of my inability to hit a target. But in the spring of 1974, while teaching fourth grade in Malta, Mont. I had just joined the Jaycee civic organization. It was formed as the Junior Chamber of Commerce back in the 1940s or 1950s and initially was only for men under 35 years of age. It has long since disappeared as a national civic organization.

My buddies at the school were teaching the hunter safety class to about 50 children and I helped out a couple weeks with the lessons. I remember we taught them four shooting positions including prone, standing, kneeling and sitting.

The day of the Montana state competition came and none of the leaders could attend so they roped me into accompanying these young people to the state finals. Unexpected to any of us, the kids won first place, which earned us a trip to Manchester, N.H. over the Fourth of July weekend.

Not only was I unfamiliar with the program, but I was also clueless as to how to train five kids to compete in a national gun program, about the Jaycee organization, or anything concerning fund-raising, I had one month to prepare for the trip.

We did it all and had an incredibly good time. It was the first time any of us, including my wife and myself, had ever been in a large airplane.

We arrived in Boston late on the afternoon of July 3 and all I can remember is the incredible fireworks shows along the freeway as we drove toward New Hampshire. I had never seen fireworks like that before and I remember the driver stopping at a couple cities from Boston to Manchester to allow us to see the bursts fill the skies.

Then the next day, in New Hampshire, I remember the parade and hundreds of children from every state in the nation attending their Fourth of July Celebration.

I was as wide-eyed as the children, because I had never seen a celebration of this magnitude and the true meaning of Independence Day had never really been a part of my life. That was until that day.

The past few years we have observed the world's struggles and seen countless pictures of other people around the globe who do not have the freedoms we all are familiar with. With these freedoms, this independence, and these feelings I want to always remember why we celebrate this special day.

Back in 1986, during the Fourth of July weekend, I became a citizen of the United States and I still have the flag I was given for the occassion. That was only 18 years ago and because I was already an adult and had seen first hand the crisises and problems in the world, I began seeing the flag differently. I see it as my freedom, the symbol of what our country stands for. I may not always agree with how things are run on a national level but I will never take my independence for granted.

Have a great Fourth of July and I challenge you to stop for a second, sometime during the day, whether its a flag waving, a burst of fireworks, or the smiling face of a child, to reflect on the day and what it really means to you.


Celebrating the long Fourth of July weekend, recognizing Independence Day, has only been part of my life for the past 30 years since I grew up in Canada. Up north, we recognized the First of July as the Canadian Independence Day but I do not remember the parades, fireworks or celebrations that we have come to expect around the holiday in America.

Although I went through high school in the United States I would spend summers during school, including college, back on the ranch in Canada, so it wasn't until I was married and was out of college that I remember really observing the holiday. The first couple years I helped with at a local rodeo and fireworks display in northcentral Montana, but my first real memory of a huge fourth of July celebration was in 1974 when my wife and I accompanied five young students back to New Hampshire for the Jaycee national hunter safety association competition.

Although I hunted as a kid it was never my favorite sport, mostly because I was a terrible shot and secondly because my older brothers were good shooters and made fun of my inability to hit a target. But in the spring of 1974, while teaching fourth grade in Malta, Mont. I had just joined the Jaycee civic organization. It was formed as the Junior Chamber of Commerce back in the 1940s or 1950s and initially was only for men under 35 years of age. It has long since disappeared as a national civic organization.

My buddies at the school were teaching the hunter safety class to about 50 children and I helped out a couple weeks with the lessons. I remember we taught them four shooting positions including prone, standing, kneeling and sitting.

The day of the Montana state competition came and none of the leaders could attend so they roped me into accompanying these young people to the state finals. Unexpected to any of us, the kids won first place, which earned us a trip to Manchester, N.H. over the Fourth of July weekend.

Not only was I unfamiliar with the program, but I was also clueless as to how to train five kids to compete in a national gun program, about the Jaycee organization, or anything concerning fund-raising, I had one month to prepare for the trip.

We did it all and had an incredibly good time. It was the first time any of us, including my wife and myself, had ever been in a large airplane.

We arrived in Boston late on the afternoon of July 3 and all I can remember is the incredible fireworks shows along the freeway as we drove toward New Hampshire. I had never seen fireworks like that before and I remember the driver stopping at a couple cities from Boston to Manchester to allow us to see the bursts fill the skies.

Then the next day, in New Hampshire, I remember the parade and hundreds of children from every state in the nation attending their Fourth of July Celebration.

I was as wide-eyed as the children, because I had never seen a celebration of this magnitude and the true meaning of Independence Day had never really been a part of my life. That was until that day.

The past few years we have observed the world's struggles and seen countless pictures of other people around the globe who do not have the freedoms we all are familiar with. With these freedoms, this independence, and these feelings I want to always remember why we celebrate this special day.

Back in 1986, during the Fourth of July weekend, I became a citizen of the United States and I still have the flag I was given for the occassion. That was only 18 years ago and because I was already an adult and had seen first hand the crisises and problems in the world, I began seeing the flag differently. I see it as my freedom, the symbol of what our country stands for. I may not always agree with how things are run on a national level but I will never take my independence for granted.

Have a great Fourth of July and I challenge you to stop for a second, sometime during the day, whether its a flag waving, a burst of fireworks, or the smiling face of a child, to reflect on the day and what it really means to you.



Ken Larson's recent editorial "Realize what is happening?" (Sun Advocate, June 22) does not accurately portray the efforts of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) to promote Bureau of Land Management Wilderness in Utah.

As an initial matter, Mr. Larson's statement that SUWA has had "representatives locally, in front of Wal-Mart and in Salt Lake City gathering signatures to oppose the development of natural resources in and near the Nine Mile Canyon area" is simply incorrect. SUWA has never sought signatures on a petition in front of Wal-Mart or anywhere else in Carbon County, period.

SUWA does canvas neighborhoods along the Wasatch Front and in other communities throughout the state seeking signatures on a general petition in support of SUWA's efforts to promote America's Redrock Wilderness Act. You can view a copy of this petition at SUWA's website: www.suwa.org.

Second, and as I recently stated in a Salt Lake Tribune editorial, SUWA firmly believes that resource exploration and preservation of public lands can co-exist. For example, between January 2000 and May 2004, nearly 3,500 oil and gas drill permits were approved in Utah; SUWA challenged five of these projects. Likewise, though SUWA has taken issue with the BLM's approval of the Stone Cabin seismic project, our position has always been that if done right and with the necessary safeguards to protect cultural sites and wilderness values, then the project could proceed.

Finally, as Mr. Larson states, it is a privilege for us as Utahns to recreate on public lands. The critical point here is that the Nine Mile Canyon area, among other spectacular places in central Utah, is largely made up of public land and publicly owned resources. Thus all of us, whether you live in Price, Salt Lake City, or Seattle have an interest in ensuring that these lands are managed properly.

Rather than frame the issue as whether so-called outsiders are having undue influence on "our canyon" and "our valued artifacts" clearly suggesting that the lands are "ours" and not "theirs" SUWA believes that the issue is whether "we" are doing what is right to ensure that special places like Nine Mile Canyon are around for future generations to marvel at and enjoy.

We encourage you to get involved and help public agencies like the BLM make these important decisions.

Stephen Bloch is a staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.



Editor:

With the passing of Memorial Day, we have reverence for our dead, holding dear their memories. The LDS Spring Glen Cemetery holds many of our relatives.

The cemetery ground was deeded to the LDS Spring Glen Ward in the 1890's by Mary Jane Babcock, who as a young bride came to Spring Glen in 1881 with her family. The cemetery holds the remains of many Spring Glen people, regardless of creed. Before Helper had an official cemetery, Helper residents along with miners, who worked for the Independent Coal & Coke Company, were also buried there.

About 1960, my first historical project began with the counting of all cemetery markers, visiting family members and obtaining family histories. At that time were many sunken and unmarked graves. Over the years, cleaning the cemetery has removed the evidence of them.

Since then, families have unofficially erected or enlarged fenced off areas, cemented boundaries, some of them over and encroaching on unmarked graves, staked off areas and claimed them as "theirs". Sometimes it was reported that as people were digging a grave site they came onto an old casket and pushed it aside.

It was early policies that families paid for lots, but no record now exists and it is very unlikely that any of us can prove a deed receipt for a grave site. It was also a policy that no one could be buried in the cemetery unless they were given permission under rules that only if their family was already buried there and if there was room.

Twice the LDS Spring Glen Ward asked the county to take over the cemetery, but this request was refused.

Now what is the legal and moral in the cemetery is in question.Why do some feel that they have can just go "mark off" and bury someone in this cemetery without permission?

Last reported the cemetery has been closed to further burials.


Editor:

I read the article in last Thursdays Sun Advocate about someone or several people removing flowers and mementos from graves.

We buried the love of our lives, three years ago this July at Cliffview Cemetery in Price. It seems to me that most everyone that is buried there has relatives or friends who take great pride in decorating their loved ones graves. You will find beautiful flowers and bushes, engraved benches, large roads and a feeling of peacefulness.

Every morning when I lived in Price I walked up to the grave to sit or just meditate. I have planted bulbs, bushes, plants, and other articles that only would have meaning to our family. After Memorial Day, they were all gone, shepherds hooks and all! These had been there for three years. My oldest daughter chose to cut some roses from the garden after Memorial Day and take them to her cousin's grave only to find them missing. Anyone who knows anything about roses will know they would have only lasted a day or two.

One can only assume that someone must have a vendetta. Whomever they are they should stop this foolishness. They are not hurting our loved one in the cemetery, but they are hurting hundreds of us that love and think of him daily.


Editor:

Once again the state environmentalists are trying to stop progress and industry.

The coal fired power plant in Delta, will not harm the air in the southern Utah parks for vacationers. The dust storms that go through the area, the millions of cars and trucks that fill the air with their smoke and emissions and also all the smoke from the forest fires in Utah, Arizona and California, all come over the parks too.

Also those that oppose it should remember every time an environmentalist presses a button on his or her computer, it works because they have electrical power from power plants built by the power companies who use coal.


As a follow-up to the opinion piece by Ken Larson (Sun Advocate, June 22) titled "Realize what is happening?"� I have also been involved in petition campaigns, and what Mr. Larson states is very true.

Petition gatherers are getting paid for each signature on the petition. They could care less what the petition says. They tell the public what they want to hear to get the maximum number of signatures on their forms. It is not so easy to get your name off, however, and once the petition is validated we will all have to live with the results.

This is what will happen to the citizens of Carbon County and our children on actions now under way in Nine Mile Canyon; if we don't let our views be known to government agencies and our elected officials and allow only agenda driven organizations to be heard.

We must all realize that these organizations are not interested in the betterment of our lands or making our communities a better place in which to live. They're only interested in fund raising and gleaning political power to pursue their own agendas.

For many years the Nine Mile Coalition has been very active in bringing to the attention of our commissioners the problems in Nine Mile Canyon concerning rock art and the condition of the road. The commission has been very responsive to their complaints. As a result, over the years a lot of labor and material have been put into the area by Carbon County. Last year the Carbon County Commission formed the Nine Mile Advisory Committee. The priority of this group has been the preservation of all resources as well as the rock art and private land rights in the area.

In February of this year Steven Hansen, the Chairman of the Nine Mile Coalition nominated Nine Mile Canyon to be added to the 2004 list of America's 11 most endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Without the knowledge or cooperation of the citizens or elected officials of Carbon County, and without the support of the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated Nine Mile Canyon as such.

Did the canyon really need this designation? What is there to be gained by this designation? Maybe a quote from the nomination form would help to enlighten us to what the purpose of this action was.

"It is our hope that inclusion of Nine Mile Canyon in America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places will bring increased public attention and resultant concern by our state congressional delegation and the national BLM office of the threats to the precious resources in Nine Mile Canyon. This awareness may possibly translate into federally mandated protection of Nine Mile Canyon as a unique cultural and historical treasure. It could also result in a choice by some entities to buy up mineral rights there to end the expansion of exploitation activities there."

The Carbon County Commission on April 7, 2004 granted $40,000.00 to the Nine Mile Advisory Committee to pursue the signage portion of the Nine Mile Interpretive Plan. The Commissioners are unanimous in their support to protect all of the resources in this area. The county through the Nine Mile Advisory Committee and county staff, are working with SITLA, BLM and the Bill Barrett Company to re-route the existing road in Cottonwood Canyon away from the Cottonwood Panel to reduce the chance of damage.

Recently the National Trust for Historic Preservation as well as SUWA have petitioned the BLM for a 106 consultation status on all drilling projects in the Nine Mile Canyon. This status will allow them to be at the table in drafting any environmental assessments or environmental impact statements.

Is the goal of these groups to protect the resources in the area or to prevent reasonable resource use and development? If their goal is indeed protection, what about our private land owners' rights, the rights of our citizens, and the protection of the other cultural and historic resources and uses also in the canyon and throughout our county? Will the actions that these groups initiate affect themselves or us? Who will most likely lose good paying jobs and additional tax base now and for future generations of residents? If the county loses tax-base and population, who will pay for the needed improvements of our roads and other resources or protections, not only in Nine Mile Canyon, but throughout the county? Do we as citizens of this country have the same rights as other citizens to control our lives and pursue the same standards of living as other Americans?

All public land users and residents of public land states should be aware of the many threats against our privilege to recreate on public lands, use renewable resources and to develop natural resources, which will improve our local economy. Please consider what Mr. Larson said in his piece. Become involved, make comments, contact your elected officials and let them know what your opinion is. Don't allow others to dictate the way that our citizens and their children will live.





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