Castle Valley Comments

It seems like our phone and internet woes have intensified during the past couple of weeks. Everyone in Castle Valley and the surrounding area serviced by Frontier Communications, which provides these services, has experienced an increase of numerous daily outages.

Several residents, including Castle Valley Mayor Jazmine Duncan have been in contact with the Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission in an effort to put pressure on the utility to rectify the situation.

Last week, Town Clerk Jocelyn Buck wrote a rather curt letter to the regional supervisor, Mike Giles stating, “the internet/phone situation is getting really bad down here. Personally, I have had four to five interruptions yesterday afternoon and more this morning. This has become a community safety hazard! I am getting constant complaints. I do not know what to tell them.” Her sentiments are being echoed all over the area with phone calls being constantly disconnected in mid-sentence.

In the meantime, Giles said that he too is getting pounded with phone calls and emails but he says that they are doing everything in their power to get this situation resolved. He is hopeful that new radio/path equipment that the teams are changing out this week will solve the problems. As of my deadline Tuesday, Giles said the teams had been working on the equipment on Bald Mesa all day and were scheduled to return Wednesday to continue working on the equipment.

The problems began Dec. 18 when the company installed new equipment and, with the installation of additional lines in Castle Valley, it was meant to increase service and efficiency to their customers. But the new equipment did not work as intended or was not compatible with the existing equipment and, for whatever the reason, caused more problems for the customers and the utility.

The date for the annual Castle Valley spring cleanup has been confirmed for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 6, a shorter period of time than previous years. As usual, the collection site will be behind the town building at 2 Castle Valley Drive. The first pick-up truckload will be free but additional loads from the same lot will be $25 each. They will not accept household garbage, brush, branches or weeds and no hazardous waste. And don’t think about bringing a horse trailer full of debris, as they are too hard to unload.

Acceptable items are non-commercial junk, furniture, most appliances, scrap metal and steel, and tires (four per customer). Refrigerators will be charged $40 and air conditioners will be charged $30 to drain the Freon in those appliances. It is not certain at this time whether they will provide a means to accept recyclable material as they have in previous years. The Grand County Solid Waste District and Monument Waste of Moab sponsor this event every year.

Clerk Buck recently sent a memo to the citizens of Castle Valley to ask for input on a proposed ordinance change. She writes: “The Castle Valley Town Council is considering changes to the CV hunting Ordinance (2007-7) and is seeking input from those who have had experiences, positive or negative, with hunters in the valley, in the past three years. We’d also like to hear from anyone who lives or recreates in the upper (Round Mountain area) part of the valley. Do you hunt? Archery or firearms? Do you have or bring animals with you (dogs, horses) when you come? What are your safety concerns? We are trying to write an ordinance that addresses the issues important to CV residents – please help us identify them. Thank you for your help, please respond to: Castle Valley Town Council at [email protected]

The original ordinance, which went into affect Jan. 1, 2008 and amended and superseded Ordinance 98-1, was an ordinance regarding hunting and discharge of firearms within the boundaries of the Town of Castle Valley. The ordinance contended that the residential area of Castle Valley is interspersed with and surrounded with land owned by the Bureau of Land Management and the State of Utah, without clear separations between the various ownerships. The ordinance further states that residents and visitors are at risk of injury from hunting activities, and property had been damaged from dangerous weapons, and hunters had been trespassing upon private property, which was why the town council amended the ordinance at that time.

Much of this requested input will address a situation outside the town boundaries on property managed by the BLM and Utah Open Lands.

That land is currently open to hunters who use shotguns, muzzleloaders and archery weapons and some is open to all legal weapons. At the request of landowners, the town council will attempt to persuade the State Division of Wildlife Resources to create an archery-only area around the town boundary.