It was about mid-morning at Custom Printery, where I worked as a pressman, when Bill Glennie, the owner of the office supply store next door, bounded through the back door to make the announcement that the president had been shot. I was the first one he saw and he told me what he heard on the radio a few seconds earlier. I must have responded with a skeptical expression on my face to which he said, “no, really.”
It was my first time voting and I probably voted for Richard Nixon in 1961 but President Kennedy was a young, vibrant person who was very popular with many people in the country and his assassination was a dreadful shock to everyone regardless of political preferences. During lunch a few hours later at a little diner on Grand Avenue in Escondido, Calif., the mood of the nation was reflected in the face of the waitress who served my meal. She had red and swollen eyes and had obviously been crying.
Three days later, during the Kennedy state funeral, I was on a Greyhound bus bound for Los Angeles to fulfill a commitment with the U. S. Army. At every little bus stop along the 125-mile backcountry route to L. A., I got a glimpse of the state funeral procession on black and white televisions as the live event was broadcast to the mourning nation. I have a memory of the horse-drawn caisson that carried his body, and the riderless black horse as part of the procession in Washington D.C., before his interment at Arlington National Cemetery. In my lifetime that was the second of the three most major events to rock the country. The first was Dec. 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, and the third was Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City. And because of the strength and resiliency of the American people, we survived them all.
One of the problems of listing businesses and individuals to thank them for helping or donating their services for community events is the inevitability there is an inadvertent omission. Such was the case last week when Kevin of Grand Rental Center was not acknowledged in this column for providing the tables and chairs for the potluck lunch during the Castle Valley Gourd Festival.
The community should also be thankful to our faithful librarians who keep the Castle Valley Library operating smoothly. Librarian Faylene Roth announced the facility’s new winter hours, which include an additional day of operation. Newer valley resident Jenny Haraden continues to conduct the storytime program Tuesday mornings and she will be sharing the other hours as well.
The new hours are: Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the story time at 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Many people in Castle Valley were busy burning their yard waste last Friday, trying to take advantage of the last day of the open burn window and the favorable clearing index that also happened to occur the same day. As it turns out, the open burn window has been extended until June 1 instead of the traditional Nov. 15, as has been customary in the past.
The sheriff’s dispatch was taking a lot of calls from people wanting to burn yard waste as the end of the open burn window neared, but the clearing index did not allow them to issue burn permits. As a result, Grand County Sheriff Steve White, County Fire Warden Marc Marcum and Orion Rogers of the Southeast Utah District Health Department met and decided that they saw no reason to close the open burning window during the winter months. The change will allow residents to burn when it is safer to do so. People must still get a burn permit from the sheriff’s dispatch before they will be allowed to burn, which is based on a favorable clearing index.
The clearing index is an air quality/smoke dispersal index used to regulate open burning and as input for other air quality decisions throughout Utah. The clearing index is defined as the mixing depth (depth of the mixed layer in 100s of feet above ground level) multiplied by the transport wind (average wind in the mixed layer in knots), according to the NOAA website. Clearing index values below 500 are considered poor ventilation and open burning is restricted under these conditions. It is sometimes difficult to get a favorable clearing index during the winter months, so people will have to be patient.