Castle Valley Comments
November 28, 2013
by Ron Drake
Nov 28, 2013 | 548 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I am really thankful for electricity. In fact, I have a new appreciation for electricity after having to do without it for about 30 hours last weekend. Many residents in Castle Valley and Moab were without electrical power to some extent as a result of the wet and heavy snow from the storm that dropped 8 to 10 inches beginning last Friday afternoon.

The folks at the Castle Valley Inn were expecting 14 guests Saturday afternoon but they didn’t get power restored until about 12:15 a.m. Sunday morning. Some of their guests went to Moab to spend the night, while others went to the Red Cliff Lodge for their night’s lodging. A few others elected to stay and tough it out with extra blankets.

Some of us who live along one of the circuits in Castle Valley lost power during the early morning hours of Saturday. It was only restored for about an hour until around 8 a.m. Saturday and didn’t come back on until about 8 a.m. the following morning. Others had power restored around midnight while still others had electricity early Saturday afternoon. Freezers and refrigerators were starting to thaw during that time and in a couple of cases in the valley, oxygen generators didn’t work and the people who rely on them had to use their limited supply of bottled oxygen.

Officially, Margaret Oler, a spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Power, said the power went off at 2:36 a.m. Saturday morning and the last homes had power restored at 7:58 a.m. Sunday morning. She said the utility was aware of the approaching storm and had employees on standby when the calls began to come in Saturday morning. The crews worked day and night as the damaged lines were repaired, sometimes more than once.

Oler said most of the damage was a result of the heavy snow collecting on the lines, which caused the lines or trees to be weighted down and either break or snap back up, shorting against other lines as the snow fell off. Some residents also claim to have heard transformers exploding on the power poles, which would certainly cause power failure.

Oler suggests going to the Rocky Mountain Power website – www.rockymountainpower.net/outage – to get helpful hints on things to do during a power outage. Residents can also call the company’s toll-free number at 877-508-5088 to report an outage or get updates on outages involving over 500 customers. The more calls Rocky Mountain Power receives during a power failure, the easier it is for work crews to pinpoint the problem. Also, every home should have an old-fashioned cord-type phone. The cordless phones are great but they just don’t work without electricity. Like most of you, our family endured the ordeal just fine and stayed warm and cozy by using the wood stove for heat and cooking.

***

The Castle Valley Planning and Land Use Commission (PLUC) would like to invite the public to its next meeting, Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m.

“We will be finalizing a draft of an update to the General Plan and hope to get public input and participation,” according to the PLUC chairwoman Mary Beth Fitzburgh. “While a more formal public hearing will be held at our January 8th meeting, we welcome community participation at all stages of the process. The most recent draft of the General Plan can be viewed at the Town Website’s home page at www.castlevalleyutah.com.”

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Last week in this column I mentioned that the open burn window will remain open through the winter until June 1. Even though the burn window is open and residents will be able to burn their yard waste through the winter, a permit is still required from the Grand County sheriff’s dispatch before proceeding.

The permit is based on the clearing index value, which is an air quality/smoke dispersal index used to regulate open burning throughout Utah. Clearing index values below 500 are considered poor ventilation and open burning is restricted under these conditions. To check the clearing index you can go to www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc/projects/ifp/html/webSMF new.php and check for yourself. Our area is “airshed 12,” which covers an area comprised of several counties in southeastern Utah.

***

Since there were only two candidates to file for three vacant seats on the Castle Valley Town Council during the town election several weeks ago, there still remains a vacancy. Mayor Dave Erley said that if anyone is interested in filing for the position they need to file a letter of interest with the town clerk to be considered. All interested persons will be considered during a vote by the town council.

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