A couple of Castle Valley Fire Department members responded to the Castle Valley Town Hall and Fire Station No. 2 to illuminate the parking lots and buildings that evening, and remained on standby for emergencies because 911 calls from the valley received only a busy signal. A Grand County deputy sheriff also responded from Moab to be on standby in the event of an emergency.
The phone service to the valley was restored at about 11 p.m. on Saturday, after a team from Frontier worked throughout the day to restore both the Internet and the phones. The problem only affected customers in the Castle Valley area and was somehow related to the Internet outage that occurred earlier in the day.
Mike Giles, an official with Frontier Communications, said there are normally three people on standby – two in Moab and one in Blanding – but because of the holiday weekend, the Blanding technician was on call. He went straight to Castle Valley to troubleshoot the high-speed Internet and phone problem but had to return to the Moab office to continue his work on the outage and then back to Castle Valley again.
On a normal day the repairman could communicate with technicians in Moab to remedy the situation more quickly. Ultimately, the issue with the phones was found to be a corrupted electronic card in the Moab office. Giles said that he realizes the importance of communication in Castle Valley and understands the need for landline service here.
The fact that residents were not able to report fires and medical emergencies by calling 911 was a concern to the fire department, and that prompted fire officials to set up a command post at the community center. In the past when the phone system was not functioning properly, that was the procedure for reporting emergencies, and it will continue to be so. An emergency can be reported to the command post and the emergency message can be forwarded to proper authorities by radio from the fire department. People should contact a fire department member if they are aware of a similar situation in the future.
This column mentioned a vacancy on the Castle Valley Town Council last week and invited all interested persons to send a letter of interest. Another vacancy developed this past week that might pique the interest of others who might want an opportunity to serve the community. In fact, there are other openings to consider as well.
As mentioned before, there is an opening for a two-year term on the town council that ends Dec. 31, 2015. There is also an opportunity to serve as the Castle Valley Solid Waste Board representative. It is a four-year term ending Dec.31, 2017. There are also three positions available on the Castle Valley Road Committee. They range from one- to three-year terms and the board meets once a month. The Castle Valley Board of Adjustment has two position openings with terms ending Oct. 1, 2016. The board meets only when needed and land use expertise would be ideal but not necessary for either position. You can contact the town clerk during business hours for more information at 435-259-9828, or submit a letter of interest to Town of Castle Valley, HC 64 Box 2705, Castle Valley Utah 84532 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The town of Castle Valley, under the direction of councilwoman Jazmine Duncan has taken a proactive position of developing an emergency hazard mitigation plan for our community. Communities with current mitigation plans will be better able to identify and articulate their needs to state and federal officials, giving them a competitive edge when grant funding becomes available.
Mitigation is the first phase of emergency management. Mitigation efforts are those that try to eliminate the impact of hazards that exist with our community and are a threat to life and property. A committee of Castle Valley residents have been meeting monthly to identify hazards within our community and to also identify assets we have to help mitigate those hazards.
The committee members are now holding a Castle Valley hazard mitigation public input meeting and ask everyone to join them with their concerns and resources to give input on how we, as a community, can mitigate these possible hazards. Duncan invites anyone who has been affected by flood, fire, rock fall, power outages or other hazards to come and tell the committee what you think and share ideas. The meeting will be next Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. at the community center. She stresses that this is not a town council meeting, but simply a gathering to share concerns and ideas.