Castle Valley Comments
June 27, 2013
by Ron Drake
Jun 27, 2013 | 1099 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
During the monthly meeting of the Castle Valley Town Council, two of our local youths were awarded the annual Castle Valley Scholarship. The grant is given annually to local graduating seniors who can show evidence of acceptance to a college or trade school after submitting a request to the council. Rio Dunton and Dakotah MacFarlane applied for the scholarship and will split the $2,000, which is furnished annually by an anonymous donor and former Castle Valley resident.

Dunton, the daughter of Michael and Christine Williams Dunton, has lived in Castle Valley her whole life. She is planning to live in Moab and attend the Utah State University extension program in Moab for a year to gain her basic requirements while working and earning money for a college in northern Utah next year. She is leaning towards a degree in the arts or graphic design.

MacFarlane, also a longtime resident of Castle Valley, will be attending Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colo., where his father attended for a time. His current goal is a degree in adventure education with a business administration minor. He is also living and working in Moab for the summer. He is the son of Karen MacFarlane of Texas and Doug and Cari Caylor of Castle Valley.

Over the past 22 years, tens of thousands of dollars have gone to local youth to help them with their first year of college. Rio and Dakotah are the latest in a long list of delightful Castle Valley kids to move on to great things and become contributing citizens wherever they end up living.


During this month’s meeting, the Castle Valley Town Council approved a change in the hours for the Castle Valley Town Hall. Beginning immediately, the office hours will be 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Wednesday, 2 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays.

The only change to the office hours was on Thursday, when the office will be open for six straight hours instead of closing for a lunch break in the middle.

Also during the meeting, the council passed a resolution to adopt the final budget for the fiscal year 2014, following a public hearing on the matter. The council also announced that the Town Hall building was re-keyed and a policy will be developed on the distribution of the keys, as well as a policy to cover the security of sensitive files. The council also approved the certified tax rate and voted to approve a 2 percent pay increase each year to town employees instead of yearly merit pay and cost of living or other incentives. Council member Tory Hill said she preferred this method to keep the process simple.


A respectable crowd gathered at the pavilion on the town lot for the season’s first Castle Valley Farmer’s Market last Tuesday afternoon. The organizers said this week that it is finally time for summer produce and an excuse to gather at the Town Hall. “Come hang out, swat flies, tell lies and support whirled peas,” they say.

They have some new vendors this year and there is always room for more. They meet every Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. from now until the harvest moon. Stop by and see what they have to offer, or just spend a few minutes getting acquainted.


In a news release from the Utah Interagency Fire agencies, fire restrictions were announced for southeast Utah. The bulletin states that “current and forecasted weather conditions coupled with extremely dry conditions and heavy loading of vegetation throughout southeast Utah have created hazardous fire conditions. As a result, beginning 12:00 a.m. June 27, 2013, all State, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service lands and all unincorporated private lands in the following areas will be under the fire restrictions: State Lands and unincorporated private lands in Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties. BLM lands located in southeastern Utah in Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties. Forest Service lands on the Manti-La Sal National Forest, Moab and Monticello Ranger Districts.”

Each agency has specific restriction orders that may contain different stipulations, according to the bulletin, but all the orders have in common a prohibition of the same acts: 1. Setting, building, attending or using open fires of any kind, except campfires built within the facilities provided for them in improved campgrounds, picnic areas or residential structures. 2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area that is paved, barren or cleared to mineral soil. There are also prohibitions for metal cutting, welding and grinding activities in areas of dry vegetation as well as discharging, or using any kind of fireworks, firing steel tipped/core ammunition, tracer ammunition or other pyrotechnic devices.

These restrictions do not apply to lands within incorporated towns and cities, including Castle Valley, but many municipalities have similar or more restrictive ordinances. Castle Valley has Ordinance 2007-6, which prohibits open fires, the use of fireworks and other fire hazards during periods of high fire danger in the town. The ordinance states that at any time that the fire district sign posts a fire hazard at a “High,” “Very High” or “Extreme” level, the prohibited restrictions are strictly prohibited.

Under the ordinance, open fires, the burning of trash in any manner is prohibited; the use of all types of fireworks is prohibited including the use of any aerial fireworks such as “bottle” or “penny rockets;” smoking materials must be disposed of safely; and welding, metal grinding or other processes known to produce sparks. The full Castle Valley fire ordinance is available on the town’s website.

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