Castle Valley Comments

A lightning strike near the corner of Castle Valley Drive and Castle Creek Lane last Saturday evening, April 27, struck a poplar tree and caused a fire. Neighbors who were driving by at the time alerted the property owner, who in turn called the Grand County Sheriff’s dispatch office for help.

The neighbors used shovels to put out the small fire at the base of the tree before two members of the Castle Valley Fire Department arrived to make sure there was no chance of the fire spreading. The rain that fell that evening dampened the area and the pasture had been irrigated that day so there was little danger of the fire spreading out of control.

These recent spring rainstorms are allowing the cheat grass and other vegetation to grow very quickly, filling the valley with lush green fields. As of mid-day Tuesday, this last series of storms dropped over 0.80 inch of rain in my rain gauge and more was promised for the rest of the day.

If another lightning strike like the one last week happens next month when the lush green turns to dry brown, the outcome might be a lot different. Now might be a good time to take a good look around your yard and neighborhood. Determine where you might need to mow the grass and clear vegetation from around your house and buildings or keep the lawn green and mowed.

The Castle Valley Fire Department will give a presentation on creating an effective defensible space around homes and buildings during the monthly Castle Valley Women’s Workshop series. The presentation will be held at 10 a.m. May 6 at the Castle Valley Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These workshops are always open to all women of the Castle Valley area.

A good way to discard those tree limbs is to take advantage of the next chipper day, which is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, May 8. The State Division of Forest, Fire and State Lands in cooperation with the Castle Valley Fire Department will bring a large chipper machine out to individual homes and reduce those small trees and limbs to usable wood chips.

They ask that you stack the limbs next to the road or driveway with the butt end facing the road to make it easier for the crew to feed the trees into the machine. Everyone is invited to take advantage of this free service by calling Leta Vaughn at 435-259-2364 to get on the list.

An email from a neighbor stated that they received a rebate from Frontier Communications of $216.76 because of the poor service during the past several months. Others reported similar credits on their bill based on their extent of service from Frontier. The service has been much better since the company replaced the faulty equipment March 21 but there are still some reports of dropped calls.

Sorrel River Ranch, along State route 128, is currently involved in a hearing with the Public Service Commission against Frontier Communications. The resort’s owner say they “cannot calculate” the damage done to their business because of phone outages.

Forty years ago this week, this column reported on the birth of a son to Al and Marie Duncan. Oscar Carden Duncan was born at the old Allen Memorial Hospital April 26 and he weighed six pounds, 15 ounces and was 19 inches long.

Al was scheduled to be with his wife during the delivery but almost missed the event because little Oscar arrived so quickly. Nurses ordered Al to find a gown and get into it before going into the delivery room. He rummaged through some lockers and was able to come up with something suitable for the special event.

That same week back then, according to the column, an organizational 4-H meeting was held at one of the old buildings of the original Pace Ranch. Debra Pauley, home economist of the Cooperative Extension Service of the Utah State University was present to explain the many things boys and girls can learn and do in 4-H and she helped organize the chapter.

Joan Schmidt, Cindy Johnson, Nancy Hotz and Connie Pueblo volunteered to act as leaders of different activities. Bobby Drake was elected the first president with Jack Young as vice president and Kristin Johnson as secretary. The group was active for several years and learned many skills, went on hikes and horse rides and participated in the Canyonlands Rodeo Parade that first year.