Tuesday, August 4, 2020


Moab, UT

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    Castle Valley Comments

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    Men donned wooden masks and numerous layers of sweatshirts and ponchos then proceeded to hit each other with whips as they danced around the town square.
    Ron Drake
    Ron Drake
    Times-Independent Columnist

    It seemed like an orderly and steady flow of traffic into the unloading area during the annual spring cleanup last Saturday in Castle Valley. Mayor Jazmine Duncan, who was monitoring the traffic into the area, jokingly suggested rescheduling the event because it wasn’t a hot and windy day that usually accompanies the cleanup day. It was a relatively cool day with hardly any wind, and the use of the town’s water truck to wet down the area also helped to make it a more pleasant experience.

    Mayor Duncan said people from 75 parcels took advantage of the opportunity to rid their property of old construction material, appliances and other broken items. Town and road department employees and board members and others volunteered their time to help unload the trucks and trailers into the appropriate bins that were brought on site by Monument Waste of Moab. Grand County Solid Waste District sponsors the annual cleanup day.

    As the Castle Valley fire chief, I took advantage of the day to dispose of a few items that were cluttering the firehouse. Among those items were a few old and obsolete back frames and harness assemblies that hold SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) air cylinders and PASS (Personal Alert Safety System) devices, plus air gauges. The PASS devices are used by firefighters entering a burning building that sounds an obnoxiously loud (95 decibel) audible alert to notify others in the area that a firefighter is in distress.

    When I threw these harness assemblies into the trailer a couple of the PASS devices activated, which caused a loud piercing sound and alerted everyone around the dumpsite that I was arriving. I was able to deactivate one of the devices when I got to the dumpster, but I couldn’t get the other to stop the shrieking racket so I took a fire ax to it to stop the noise. The mayor apparently found the situation amusing, but it was either that or keep the neighborhood awake all weekend until the batteries died or the dumpsters were removed.

    Thirty years ago this week, this column reported on the upcoming spring cleanup day, which was April 29. The process was a little different back then as the Grand County Road Department furnished the equipment needed to load and remove the unwanted material. Residents were asked to bring their collection of junk to Castle Valley Drive if possible, but if not, arrangements were made to pick up at the home.

    During that year the Castle Valley River Ranchos Property Owners Association board of directors voted on a proposed amendment to deny voting privileges to those who were more than one year behind in their dues and to charge interest for past dues.

    Also 30 years ago this week, Castle Valley Mayor Marguerite Sweeney informed the community that the Grand County Commissioners asked that Castle Valley residents not use the dumpster located at Lions Park.

    The commissioners apparently received a complaint from the Lions Club, which manages the park. The community has been warned about illegal dumping several times over the years and at least one resident received a citation for the infraction.

    “The weather story for January, February, and March was precipitation, as everyone knows,” said our official weather observer Bob Russell this week. He said our temperatures in the valley were a little higher than average, both highs and lows, but not remarkable. However, he said, the precipitation was a different story.

    “I am not sure about records because the historic records in the valley are somewhat spotty, but I expect we broke some. I reported precipitation of 7.38-inches for the three months while our average is 2.58 (1978-2005). Same story with snow: I reported 31.1 inches versus an average of 8.1. We got a big jump in snowpack in the mountains.

    “I think spring has arrived with things budding at this end of the valley and I saw my first hummingbird looking for his feeder yesterday. Better get out there, he must be hungry,” he concluded. Orville Diggs reported that the fish are starting to bite and he thought the mayor should suspend all official town business until after the season.

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