Castle Valley Comments
December 19, 2013
by Ron Drake
Dec 19, 2013 | 726 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DayStar Academy students perform during the school’s annual Community Christmas Concert. Courtesy photo
DayStar Academy students perform during the school’s annual Community Christmas Concert. Courtesy photo
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For over 40 years now, the DayStar Adventist Academy of Castle Valley have been providing the community with wonderful Christmas concerts to usher in the season with beautiful sacred music. The tradition continued last Wednesday when the music and bell choirs, under the direction of co-music directors Robert and Tricia Hicks, performed their annual concert to an appreciative crowd of Castle Valley residents. The concert also featured individual readings, solo and small group performances and a number by the elementary school students.

Pat and I first attended the concert in 1978, when the choir was under the direction of Dave Seibert of Moab. He said that one of the first programs was held in the basement of the chapel when the building was under construction. Straw was spread on the dirt floor to create a barrier against the cold weather.

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Thirteen people from Castle Valley gathered last Saturday, Dec. 14, to participate in the 114th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Under the direction of Alice Drogin, the troop of bird counters braved the beautiful but 27-degree weather to make the annual count in the Castle Valley and Castleton area.

David and Jan Smith were the hosts of the event and their place served as a base camp for the counters as they returned at various times during the day. Skip Ambrose spotted a golden eagle and a blue grouse in Castleton, which is unusual for this time of year but “there is no shortage of juncos in Castle Valley,” according to Drogin.

The annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the longest running citizen science survey in the world. Tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition. The count makes an enormous contribution to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations and to help guide conservation action. Drogin said she has seen changes in the bird population over the years.

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And speaking of the DayStar Academy choir, this column submitted a picture and a story about the choir while they performed the 14th annual Christmas program 30 years ago this week, which was held Sunday, Dec. 11, 1983. The Castle Valley Institute, as it was known at that time, had been making annual sweet music for a long time even then.

Also 30 years ago this week, this item appeared in “Castle Valley Comments:” “An A-frame roof may be built over the mail boxes, which are located near the entrance to the River Ranchos, if approval is obtained from the Postal Service and the Bureau of Land Management, who owns the property where the boxes are located.” Several people volunteered to draw up the plans and furnish some of the building material and construction labor on the project could offset the yearly association dues.

Some of the valley residents were concerned about the proposed scenic highway designation for state Route 128 back then. The board of directors of the Castle Valley River Ranchos Property Owners Association agreed to write a letter to the Utah Department of Transportation asking what research had been made regarding safety conditions for the commuters on the road. The letter would also suggest that a ban be placed on through-commercial truck traffic once the new bridge was built at Dewey.

A group of Castle Valley residents was studying the feasibility of a Castle Valley Town 30 years ago and committees were formed with specific responsibilities. At the time, the group was awaiting a letter from attorney Jerry Kinghorn, which would contain specifics for a petition and the advantages and disadvantages of forming a town.

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