Castle Valley Comments

During the last monthly meeting of the Castle Valley Town Council it was announced that the town received a new John Deere backhoe. The equipment is on a three-year lease and will be put into service this week as the road department will begin repairing and grading the town’s roads.

The county weed control supervisor, Tim Higgs, attended the meeting to warn residents of a contamination of the dreaded jointed goat grass. It is an invasive plant that is difficult to eliminate short of digging the plant out by the roots. It has been spotted along our roads and other public places and he suspects it is also on private property. Pictures of the plant can be seen at the town hall for those of us who don’t know what it looks like.

Evan Tyrell, the new manager of the Grand County Solid Waste Special Service District introduced himself to the council. He confirmed the Saturday, April 6 date of the annual Castle Valley cleanup day and also said that the trailer will be in the valley that day to collect recyclable material.

Green Solutions recently sold their recycle business to Monument Waste and it was previously unclear if Monument Waste would continue the practice at our cleanup day. Tyrell also indicated that recyclable material might be collected in Castle Valley one day a month if there is sufficient interest in the service. Pam Hackley announced that she is stepping down after 12 years of service on the Grand County Solid Waste District board of directors. That vacancy will be open for a Castle Valley representative on the board for anyone interested. They can contact Castle Valley Town Clerk Jocelyn Buck.

It was a packed house at the Castle Valley Town Hall on Tuesday, March 26 when Emery Telcom hosted a town hall meeting to discuss the installation of fiber communication in the Castle Valley area. Emery Telcom Chief Executive Officer Brock Johansen, Jared Anderson, chief operations manager, and Marketing Manager Barbara Rasmussen were on hand to discuss their plans for Castle Valley.

Johansen stated in a brief history of Emery Telcom, a nonprofit cooperative, that the City of Castledale in Emery County was in a situation in 1950 where Bell Telephone wouldn’t come into their area, so all of the little towns in the county, through a federal rural communications act, got together with the county and pooled their money and formed a co-op. Each town had a seat on the board.

Since then they have expanded into Carbon, Grand and San Juan counties as requests for their services increased. They have submitted grant requests through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to come into Castle Valley several times over the years at the request of town officials, and they finally received an 80 percent grant to begin work.

Their plan is to run fiber lines into Castle Valley using the poles from Bald Mesa for about 65 percent of the installation, which will be more financially feasible going aerial. They will use power poles owned by Rocky Mountain Power while approximately 35 percent will be underground. Most drop-lines to homes will be underground with a full 1,000 megabytes to each home for phone and internet service.

Emery Telcom officials want the community to know what they are doing as they begin work in Castle Valley and simultaneously in other towns in San Juan County, eventually getting fiber optics to nearly the entire corner of the state. The Castle Valley portion of the project could take two years to complete.

Thirty-five years ago this week in Castle Valley Comments I wrote about a prefire plan, which was being initiated by the fire department: “The Castle Valley Fire Department has initiated a project to complete a prefire plan for every residence within the fire district. Pat Drake, who is in charge of the project, said many young women of the valley will help gather information from residents as a service project. The volunteers will be asking for a sketch of each residence showing the location of septic tanks, propane tanks, electrical breaker boxes and other information that would aid firemen in the event of a fire,” the story noted.

A plan like that today would still be a good idea but also would be a major undertaking. Twenty years ago or so another such project was underway to get the GPS coordinates of similar locations from every town lot in the valley, but many homeowners didn’t want us on the property, so the idea faded. Septic tanks are a special concern for fire personnel because the heavy fire equipment can end up inside a tank if equipment operators don’t know where they are located.

Years ago a propane truck ended up inside a tank when the operator drove over it on the way to fill a tank. People should at least make their tanks somehow inaccessible to vehicles to avoid a stinky situation.