Congratulations on the excellent article, "Red State Rising" (HCN, 10/29/12). It was great to see a positive story about Utah. The Air Force moved me here 36 years ago, and for many of those years the state received more than its share of negative stories, usually focused on the failure of business and government leadership to plan and develop resources for future growth. A comment frequently made to newcomers then was, "Welcome to Utah, turn your watch back 100 years."
As Thompson's article pointed out, state and city leaders over more recent years have made a concerted effort to bring Utah into the 21st century. The success of the 2002 Winter Olympics demonstrated the state's ability to serve tourists from around the world, and certainly went a long way towards creating a more positive impression than was held by a great many from outside the region. The strong emphasis on outdoor recreation and tourism in general has increased steadily since then, as the article discussed, despite the protests of some locals who would "keep our beautiful state as it was!" Incidentally, Mr. Thompson, you do not have to go to a state liquor store here "to buy beer for your river trip." It has been sold at nearly every grocery store, drugstore and 7-11, seven days a week since I arrived in 1976! And restaurants will serve you wine with your meal and a cocktail beforehand. Spread the word!
Note from editor: Only beer with 3.2 percent alcohol or less is sold outside state liquor stores in Utah, hence the reference in the story.