Friday, August 14, 2020


Moab, UT

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    Castle Valley Comments

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    Survey: Local parents want daily in-person teaching

    “I really don’t think that 40% of all people are not going to send their kid to school.”

    Tales of Trails: Savor spectacular views from thrilling Shafer Trail

    In the 1890s, Moab pioneer brothers Frank M. And John S. Shafer developed the route from what had been a Native American pathway connecting what is now Canyonlands National Park to the river below.

    At 99, Moab man is knighted by France

    “The French people will never forget his courage and devotion to the great cause of freedom,”

    Leaving Guatemala, Part 4: ‘A year in the land of eternal spring’

    Though I planned to return someday, whether as a Peace Corps volunteer or not, this experience proved that even the best-laid plans go awry.

    Leaving Guatemala, Part 3: Sudden departure came with painful goodbyes

    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.
    AJ Rogers
    AJ Rogers
    Times-Independent Columnist

    During an emergency meeting of the Castle Valley Town Council last Friday, May 3, members voted to hire a groundskeeper for the town hall. Eileen Muza of Cisco was hired during the meeting to maintain the grounds around the town hall that is currently overgrown with the recent explosion of weeds.

    She comes to the town with impressive credentials, having last worked for the Chicago Park District as a floriculturist, where she weeded, mulched, transplanted and regulated the greenhouse temperatures. She will work initially at the town hall to get caught up with the maintenance before settling in to a scheduled routine.

    The town council is still looking to fill a vacancy on the Grand County Solid Waste District board as a representative from Castle Valley. Pam Hackley is the current representative but her term expires at the end of June and she has elected to not continue after 12 years of service. The board oversees the recycling and the landfill operations and serving involves a commitment to monthly board meetings and some subcommittee work.

    Anyone interested in the position can contact Hackley at 435-259-1182 for information about the service opportunity. Letters of interest can be left with the town clerk at the town hall during business hours or email

    The town also seeks a Castle Valley representative to the Grand County Recreation Special Service District board. This position also has a commitment to monthly board meetings and the town clerk can be contacted for this position.

    The annual scholarship funds from the anonymous donor have been received by the town and they will solicit Castle Valley graduating seniors to apply for the $2,500 annual scholarship. The applicants must show proof of acceptance to a college, university or technical school to qualify for the funds. The official announcement from the town will be coming next month.

    The General Plan Survey has been completed and will be mailed out to Castle Valley residents next week. Municipalities are required to formulate and update a general plan every five years and the survey to enlist comments from the community will help to create a responsible general plan for the community.

    For those who travel the other half of Highway 128 from the Castle Valley turn-off to I-70 on a regular basis, changes are coming. According to the Utah Department of Transportation, the contractor began work on the roadway Monday, May 6, and will continue until the end of September.

    The work will be similar to what was experienced a couple of years ago when the first half was repaved. UDOT says the road will receive an asphalt overlay to fill in ruts and to widen shoulders. Some pullouts will also be paved for better access onto Highway 128 from the river. After the road leveling takes place the entire section will receive a new asphalt surface. The crews will also install cattle guards and guard rails in selected locations.

    The work days are expected to be Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and travelers can expect to encounter single lanes of traffic with up to 15-minute delays in either direction. A full closure of the road takes place at 7 a.m. May 20 to 7 a.m. May 24 around the area of mile marker 31.5. Traffic will not be able to pass through that area but traffic will be open on both sides of the affected closure zone. The road should be back open for the Memorial Day weekend.

    When the construction is completed, it will be a smooth surface like the first half of the River Road is now except for those four dings in the road caused by the falling boulders. And it will be nice to have those “speed bumps” covered where the new culverts were installed this past winter and spring.

    Fifteen years ago this week I featured Terry and Jan Dicken in this column. They moved into Castle Valley from Egnar, Colorado where Terry served the community as a first responder and fire chief of the local fire department and Jan was a certified Emergency Medical Technician.

    They were a lovely couple but they probably didn’t realize the amount of discussion their arrival would generate among local residents. They moved here to set up their new business, High Country Ultralights to offer scenic tours, sales and flying lessons. Much of the discussion was positive but some were vocally opposed to the noise the business generated, especially during takeoff from their airstrip on the DayStar Academy campus.

    They eventually moved to Paradox, Colorado and Terry tragically died during a training session with the ultralight aircraft.

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