This last Dec. 18, a command post was set up again at the town hall when it was realized that the phones and internet were down. At first local residents were able to call within Castle Valley and vicinity but out of the valley calls got a busy signal. Frontier Communications had just installed a new radio at the Castle Valley office to improve phone and Internet service when it suddenly went down. A repair was made several hours later but the service crashed again. Partial service was restored again at about 8:30 pm but servicemen and the radio manufacture engineers were still working on the system on the 24th of December, but some people are wondering if it is fixed as of this writing. In fact, there was no dial tone for a period of time on the 28th.
The fire department responded to seven other fire-related calls during the year. Probably the most potentially dangerous fire occurred in July just off of Castle Creek Lane that was started by sparks from a riding lawn mower. The fire department was on the scene within minutes of the page and was able to extinguish the flames quickly before it got out of control. Four lightning-caused fires were also controlled early. The fire department worked to reduce the community’s fire rating to an 8b from the Insurance Service Office in April and the department received a grant from the Permanent Community Impact Board to purchase 13 Chamisa Lane with a large agricultural well for a reliable water source. They also hosted a Fourth of July Breakfast and parade and sponsored two chipper days. In September the board of commissioners voted to raise their budget, which resulted in a tax increase, the first in 12 years.
The Castle Valley Emergency Medical Responders were called to 12 medical incidents during the year. Four of them were to the Red Cliffs Lodge, three to various locations along SR 128, and the remaining five were to locations within the Town of Castle Valley.
Jazmine Duncan took the oath of office in January to become the town’s seventh mayor. Harry Holland and Robert O’Brien were also elected to the Castle Valley Town Council. Soon after, the council sent a letter to town residents reminding them of ordinances against barking dogs, dogs running at large, illegal lighting, and speed limits on the town’s roads. Some of those problems still exist today, especially people traveling too fast on Castle Valley Drive. The Grand County Sheriff’s office furnished a flashing sign for a while which monitors speeds, but the town council still receives complaints. The town applied for and received a $5,000 grant from the Grand County Recreation Board, which was used to buy a “high-velocity” slide to be added to the playground at the town hall. The council voted to support the annual spring cleanup with a $2,000 donation, and in April, 76 properties brought material to the cleanup day. High school graduate Jared Smith was awarded the annual scholarship of $2,500 in June. Ken Drogin was awarded the contract to improve the irrigation system at the town hall. The water pressure was very low and non-existent in some places. The town council awarded a contract to WF Communications for three hand-held and one base radio to be used by the road department and for emergency communications. In September the council approved a resolution to withdraw from the Grand County Water Conservancy District. A public hearing on the resolution had to be held by both entities later in the year before it became official.
The road department staked the cul-de-sac boundaries at the end of each of the side roads after they were surveyed last year to identify where they were located. The road department purchased a used dump truck with a snow plow, which will be used to remove snow from the side roads as well as other uses. The road department also re-aligned the emergency road at the end of Shafer Lane that passes through BLM land in preparation to upgrade the road to all-weather status. A cattle guard was installed and more recently loads of gravel have been deposited to the surface of the road as far as the fire station. The town will not have use of the gravel pit at Ida Gulch after the end of the year.
JoAnna Dalton and Lee Stoddard were married in March during a short ceremony. Three members of our community died during the year. Jim Martin died in March, Bill Riggs passed away from cancer in July and Tom Fleming died unexpectedly in September. Former longtime resident Ruth Johnson Keller died in April in Brigham City at the age of 89.