Miller: A much-needed mobile rescue vehicle |

Miller: A much-needed mobile rescue vehicle

by Alex Miller

No matter how much trouble locals and visitors can get in around Summit County, there’s one thing we all can count on: Someone will come rescue us – whether we made an innocent mistake and got lost on a trail or did something monumentally stupid. And whether it’s volunteers from Summit County Rescue Group plucking an injured climber off a cliff, the Sheriff’s Office responding to an incident on the reservoir or a pileup on Interstate 70 demanding multiple response, there’s one thing these folks all need: a place from which to base rescue operations.Currently, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office has an old and rusting Summit Stage bus used as a mobile command center. But it’s an inadequate and aging vehicle that needs to be replaced – and soon. There’s a push to raise funds for a new, high-tech vehicle that would do a lot more, but the price tag is steep: about half-a-million bucks. Fortunately, some folks have put together a fundraising effort to provide our local law enforcement and rescue agencies with the vehicle they need, and this week Freeport-McMoran – owner of the Climax and Henderson mines – kicked in a generous $125,000. That’s on top of about $10,000 the Summit County Mobile Command Fund has raised so far, so there’s still a good ways to go. Sheriff Minor says he’s not fond of the proposed federal “earmark” for the remainder channeled through Rep. Jared Polis’s office, but this is hardly a bridge to nowhere. Rescuers are often staging operations in the cold and dark, and it’s a clear public service to offer this kind of amenity for these folks.Anyone interested in donating to the fund can contact Tom Marmins – a Rotarian who’s leading the charge – at (970) 390-6393.***This week marked a first in Summit Daily history: a full page ad for a marijuana dispensary. With April 20 being some kind of national pot holiday, and the issues of dispensaries, decriminalization and outright legalization reverberating around the country, it seems we’re in the midst of some kind of lightweight revolution, with Summit County right in the thick of it. On the one hand, it’s absurd to prosecute folks for consuming or distributing an intoxicant that’s demonstrably safer than alcohol, while on the other it’s laughable that all these medical marijuana cardholders appear to be mostly younger folks devoid of the true, serious medical conditions the law was meant to address.Some questions:• Will too many pot shops hurt our ‘family atmosphere’? I doubt it – at least no more so than the Bud Girls on Drown Night.• We have nine of these dispensaries now – is that too much? I suppose it’s whatever the market will bear; how many liquor stores do we have?• Can pot help the economy? Yes, apparently. Frisco, for one, just reported a bit of a bump in sales tax revenue from its two dispensaries, while this and other media outlets certainly appreciate the ad revenue from the dispensaries. In California, it’s estimated legalization could pump billions into the beleaguered state’s coffers.• Will stoners be toking up in public before long? Hopefully not. Public consumption laws still apply, and are much more restrictive for pot than alcohol. Even so, it’s hard to imagine, as the penalties for smoking pot decrease or vanish, we won’t see more of this, and that’s not something I look forward to as a father and breather of air.I’ve been heard to say that, given a choice, I’d rather share the road with 10 stoned drivers than one drunk (although still I prefer stone-cold sober). But I do hope the push to legalize weed doesn’t mask the very real downsides to this drug. Recreational or medicinal use is one thing, but spending every waking moment baked is no way to live life. Elevating the smoking of pot to some kind of divine status – as the 4/20 events did – undermines the reality that, true medicinal use aside, marijuana is a drug for dumbing down and checking out. Smoke it if you will, and I think adults should be able to do so legally – but don’t try to tell me you’re Rosa Parks sitting in the front of the bus …Summit Daily editor Alex Miller can be reached at or (970) 668-4618.

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