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According to our official weather observer, Bob Russell, we have received over 2.5 inches of rain so far this month and it was still raining Monday as I wrote this column. And of course it came with a significant drop in temperatures. The welcomed rainy weather covered most of Utah and brought relief from the unusually late heat and prolonged dry weather conditions. As a result, the weather dropped the fire danger in the valley to moderate, which allowed the opening of the burn window in the Town of Castle Valley. The town ordinance only allows the burning of leaves, grass or limbs and other yard waste during the open burning window when the fire danger sign, which is located at the mailboxes at the beginning of the town, is posted at “low” or “moderate.” Many people and fire officials thought the fire ban was lifted way too soon, especially when the fire danger was still listed as “very high” over the entire state. Even though the open burning period is in effect until the middle of November, those wishing to burn must still call the Grand County Sheriff’s office at 259-8115 to get permission to burn, which is based on the environmental clearing index. Even so, there are some days that, even though you get permission to burn, high wind should dictate whether or not you decide to light off that pile of leaves. It would probably be best to burn early in the day when the wind is usually calm, or wait for a more favorable day.
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The Moab Retro picture that appeared in the Sept. 27 issue of The Times-Independent shows a picture of a woman partially mounted on a donkey, which was being tugged forward to first base. The humans shown in the picture were Pat Drake on the donkey and Keven McGann tugging on the donkey. Both are from Castle Valley and at the time were members of the Grand County Ambulance Association. They were involved in a fundraiser donkey softball game between the ambulance association and the Moab Fire Department, and the picture shows Keven trying to lead the donkey to first base with Pat astride.
There are not many around who remember those games, but according to Keven’s wife, Barbara, who was also a Castle Valley EMT, a man came through Moab two years in a row with a trailer load of donkeys and set up a fundraiser between the two volunteer groups to help them raise extra money for their coffers. They drew quite a crowd of Moab residents and they were fun to watch, especially when they tried to get a donkey to do something they didn’t especially want to do. The idea was to hit the pitched softball to the outfield and ride or pull the donkey to first base. Everything had to be done on the donkey.
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Thirty-five years ago this week the election of officers took place at the Castle Valley Fire Department. John McGann was re-elected to the position of fire chief, Dave Seibert to assistant fire chief, and Ron Drake as hose captain. Valli Smouse was chosen to fill the slot of engineering and safety captain. Bill Boulden opted to not be an officer after six years but continued to serve as a fire commissioner. The fire department was in the process of building a training room, as well as other improvements.