Castle Valley Comments
September 19, 2013
by Ron Drake
Sep 19, 2013 | 672 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week’s storms that pelted the valley with rain every day for an entire week has finally moved off to the east for the most part. The rain in the valley did little damage to residents here except for washing out the road to the Upper 80 in several places where it crosses Placer Creek. That damage is a problem for those living in the Upper 80 who are marooned on the other side of the creek, but rather insignificant compared to the damage and loss of life for those living in others parts of Utah and especially Colorado. Some of those areas have gotten a year’s worth of rain during that period.

The little storm that dropped a small amount of water in Castle Valley Tuesday afternoon was much heavier in the mountains, which resulted in washing out the lower Placer Creek on Castle Valley Drive. Castle Valley Road Manager Greg Halliday said he had to close the road because it was completely washed out and couldn’t be repaired until the water stopped flowing down the creek. Halliday said it was matter of too much water for too long, and the water undermined all of the previous attempts to mitigate the flooding.

My neighborhood rain gauge registered measurable rain every day for a week and totaled 2.19 inches of rain all together. Frank Mendonca of Castleton has been recording snowfall for 30 years, but he says that his unfrozen precipitation records only goes back to 2006. Of that time, he says the last three months of July, August and September have each been the wettest months in that period. Those three months have registered anywhere from 1.64 inches in 2009 to 4.92 inches in 2007. But this year as of 10:30 am, September 14, he has received 7.34 inches of rain and the month is barely half over.

Even though our temperatures have cooled a little from the previous week and the weather promises to get warmer, it isn’t as bad as it was 30 years ago this week.

“Castle Valley Comments” stated: “The weather turned cold this week, with the nighttime temperature dropping to an even 40 degrees Tuesday. The high for that day was only 74. Wednesday morning saw the mercury dropping even further, to 35 degrees.”

There was also a rattlesnake infestation of sorts 30 years ago. According to the Castle Valley Comments column:

“Pete Plastow reported killing a snake last week and this week, Bill Kulisek said he killed a rattler on the campus at the Castle Valley Institute.”

Noise pollution was irritating other residents that week. Some residents of the lower part of the River Ranchos complained to the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies regarding helicopter traffic and blasting near their homes. They stated that a continual flow of airborne traffic started around 7:30 a.m., and continued throughout the day until dusk. I think that was when they were building a cave home at the upper end of Creek View Lane.

Twenty years ago this week, Rhondelle Drake and Kiri Wagstaff, both graduates of Grand County High School, accepted $500 scholarships from then-Castle Valley Mayor John Groo. The scholarship is awarded annually through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Kiri graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Utah and a doctorate in computer science from Cornell University. She has been with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for the past 10 years and also received an M.S. degree in geology from the University of Southern California while employed by NASA. Rhondelle attended Mesa State College in Grand Junction and Utah Valley University in Orem. She is married with two children, Alexa and Braxten, and is a preschool teacher in Moab.

Last week, I mentioned in this column the Moab LDS Stake’s opening social, which was held in Castle Valley. They did service projects in the valley, followed by games at the Castle Valley LDS Church. Twenty years ago the same thing happened when “over 100 youth traveled to the valley for an afternoon featuring a country theme. They played various games, including checkers, a wheel barrow race, three-legged race, frying pan throw, spittin’ contest, milking contest, horse shoes and country dancing,” according to “Castle Valley Comments.” The event concluded with a delicious meal and a hayride around the valley. As I remember, I towed an old wagon behind my old Ford Tractor loaded with a bunch of those kids that year.

A primary election was held 20 years ago, which narrowed a field of six candidates down to four for the two seats on the town council. Valli Smouse and Merrill Brady also faced off for the mayor’s position. The two council seats became available with the expired terms of Janie Tuft and myself, and the mayor’s position held by John Groo.


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