Frontier Communications notified members of the Castle Valley Fire Department and town officials last week that the phone service would be down May 30 at midnight. The outage was to last up to four hours and residents could still call within the valley and use 911 for emergencies.
Last December a radio that affected the leg between Moab and Bald Mesa was changed out to give better service, but after a week problems began to appear with the new equipment, which caused phone calls to be dropped in mid-sentence and internet service interrupted, much to the distress of customers.
In March a new radio was installed from a different vendor and that seemed to cure most of the major problems with the phone service. This last outage was to replace the second leg from Bald Mesa to Castle Valley using a radio from the new vendor, and so far the new equipment seems to be working. This work was intended to upgrade the equipment and offer better and more efficient service.
Several people and businesses filed complaints with the Federal Communications Commission and the state Public Utilities Commission after problems surfaced in December, and some of those complaints are still ongoing. Last month most if not all of the customers in Castle Valley and the surrounding area received a credit of various amounts on their monthly statement from Frontier Communications.
For many years there have been two Automated External Defibrillators located in Castle Valley. One is on one of the fire engines located at Station 2 and the other is on the Castle Valley ambulance. Now, as of last Monday, there is another one located in the town hall, which is mounted on the wall near the front door.
During a discussion at a town council meeting last April, the council voted to purchase one for the town hall building using funds that were set aside for emergency medical training but was not used. AEDs are found in more public places all of the time and are used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
It is a sophisticated yet easy-to-use medical device that can analyze the heart rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.
Members of the Castle Valley Fire Department are always current in their certification for CPR and AED and they just completed their biennial refresher course several months ago, which was also attended by the town clerk. As our population gets older the rapid availability of an AED becomes more important in an event of cardiac arrest.
On another subject, there have been no applicants for the positions on the Castle Valley Town Council as of this writing. The council seats currently held by Tory Hill and Alice Drogin are up for election this year and this is the week, June 3 through 7 at 5 p.m., that is the candidate declaration period. Castle Valley people can file their declaration with the town clerk during regular business hours. Since the office is closed during afternoons and Fridays, the clerk’s home phone number is posted on the front door of the town hall and she can be contacted to make an appointment to file a declaration.
There has been one applicant for the Annual Castle Valley Scholarship so far. Any eligible Castle Valley 2019 graduating student can file for the scholarship by showing proof of acceptance to a college or trade tech. An anonymous donor who is a former resident of Castle Valley provides this $2,500 grant every year.
During the May town council meeting, a lot of discussion centered around the potential for a hazardous fire season in Castle Valley this year. Some in that meeting also attended the monthly meeting of the Castle Valley Women’s Workshop where I gave a presentation about wildland fire safety and creating a defensible space around our homes. They suggested that the same presentation be available to everyone in the valley.
As a result, a fire preparedness open house has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 12 at the town hall. The plan is to have homemade ice cream afterward at the pavilion next to the town hall.