Castle Valley Comments
July 25, 2013
by Ron Drake
Jul 25, 2013 | 559 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Many residents of Castle Valley are apparently experiencing less than desirable Internet service, according to reports received by the Castle Valley Town Council. Castle Valley Mayor Dave Erley said that Frontier Communications is not adding any new service to Castle Valley while their engineers investigate the situation.

Erley said that he has been in contact with Mike Giles, Frontier’s general manager for Utah, who said the bandwidth in the valley, according to their computers, is only being used at about 80 percent of capacity. Frontier Communications engineers are looking into the puzzling situation to determine where the problem might be.

Frontier Communications last updated the phone system in Oct. 12, 2010, when the bandwidth was 110 percent of capacity and nearly 30 people were on a waiting list for phone service. At that time, the utility underwent an expensive procedure to upgrade its facilities. It required an increase of the bandwidth by changing out the dishes and antennas both here in the valley and at Bald Mesa. Giles said at the time that it was “a hard sell to his superiors,” but added that rural Utah has more and better service than many areas in the Salt Lake Valley.

In 2010, Frontier and its contractors worked through the night to get the service up and running. Jim Garner, the local manager, said it was quite the chore, like finding a needle in a haystack, referring to the task of aligning the radio waves. Some of the technicians worked more than 24 hours before completing the job at 5:50 a.m.

A little survey around the valley this week found that five people who were contacted were happy with the Internet service, while three said the service was poor. One of them said his service was “OK but slow,” and another found he couldn’t use the Internet at all during certain times of the day. Mike Giles mentioned to Erley that those people who are streaming television programs are using a lot of the bandwidth.

* * *

During the Castle Valley Town Council meeting last week, Mayor Dave Erley said the town had an applicant for the Castle Valley Planning and Land Use Commission (PLUC) and he will be interviewing him this week. Bill Rau, a resident of Shafer Lane, applied for the PLUC vacant seat in a letter to the town council but will not serve until September because of the one-year residency requirement. Rau and his wife, Susan Roche, bought a home and moved to Castle Valley from Takoma Park, Md., last year.

Mayor Erley discussed with the council his objection concerning the possibility of the U. S. Forest Service introducing the Rocky Mountain goat to the La Sal Mountains. He said that there have been no new studies or new science brought forward by the forest service since the idea was presented and rejected in the 1990s. He continued that there is nothing for them to eat on the mountain and cited instances in Colorado where people are being harassed by the goats. Erley also stated that the big horn sheep are being removed from Mat Martin Point because they spread disease but the goats spread the same disease as the sheep and should not be on the mountain.

After the discussion, the mayor said he would write a letter expressing the council’s opposition to the proposal of introducing the Rocky Mountain goat to the La Sal Mountains. When completed, he will send it to the rest of the council for their approval and signature before submitting it to the U.S. Forest Service.

* * *

Thirty years ago this week, the Castle Valley River Ranchos Property Owners Association board of directors were grappling with a decision of what to do with the community’s road grader. “We’ve come to the point where we don’t want to spend anymore money on it,” stated Castle Valley Road Committee Chairman Don Tuft. He said the last malfunction on the grader was a part that operates the blade and will cost in the neighborhood of $2,000 to repair.

George Wiggins, who was the mechanic on the old Westinghouse grader, priced graders in Salt Lake City and reported that “they will sell you a grader anywhere from $15,000 to a half a million dollars.” Wiggins was impressed with a grader at Wheeler Machinery Company, which was selling for $21 thousand and he thought that deal was worth the money. Board Chairwoman Valli Smouse reminded the board of the by-laws regarding borrowing large sums of money over $1,000 that required a two-thirds majority vote of the property owners. That was like trying to get a bill passed in Congress today.

In the end, the board voted to give the grader to Eldon Ray, a contractor in Moab who owned a similar grader in exchange for $2,500 worth of grading of our roads. The board contracted for road work before they found another used grader some time later.

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