Castle Valley Comments
January 23, 2014
by Ron Drake
Jan 23, 2014 | 1057 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kiri Wagstaff, a former Castle Valley young woman, is one step closer to reaching her goal of being on the first team to travel to the Red Planet as part of the Mars One project in 2023.

There were over 200,000 applicants to take the one-way trip to Mars and Kiri has been selected to make the first cut and be on the short list with 1,058 other applicants. They come from 107 countries, including six from Utah. Male applicants slightly outnumber female applicants. There will be more cuts between now and 2015 and eventually cut the applicants down to about 24.

If selected, she will be part of the Mars One Foundation, an organization that will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Foundation officials say a reliable surface habitat will be set up before the first four-person crew lands, and more settlers and cargo will follow every two years when the distance between Mars and Earth is closest.

Kiri, the daughter of Lois Oliver of Phoenix and Dave Wagstaff of Castle Valley, is employed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., as a senior research technologist and a rover tactical activity planner. She attended local schools since elementary school and graduated from Grand County High School in the class of 1993.


There were a couple of fires in Castle Valley 30 years ago this week and they both seemed to have been started by wood burning stoves. On Jan. 22, 1983, the Castle Valley Fire Department was dispatched at 2:30 p.m. for a roof fire at the home of Rick Dalton on Bailey Lane. “The Daltons had extinguished the flames with a chemical fire extinguisher by the time firemen arrived,” the story stated. “The roof rafters around a stovepipe were charred, resulting in approximately $200 damage.

“An early morning fire summoned the Castle Valley Fire Department to the home of Dave and Bonnie Seibert at the Castle Valley Institute,” this column reported about another fire that week. That fire also started around a stovepipe, igniting studs and wood siding then spreading to an attached greenhouse. Castle Valley Fire Chief John McGann warned residents to check their chimneys for creosote buildup and clean them if necessary. “Improper installation of stovepipe is also an area of concern for home owners, especially during this current cold weather when wood stoves are used to the maximum,” he said.

And speaking of cold weather, January was turning out to be a cold month 30 years ago in the valley. This column reported that Jan. 19 was the coldest day of the month with a 12-degree reading on the thermometer. That night dropped to minus-7 degrees and four other nights where the temperature dropped to the sub-zero mark and 4 inches of snow fell that week, which added to the snow already on the ground.

The column continued: “Some residents, particularly at the upper end of the River Ranchos, unofficially reported a low of minus-15. A large number of families are plagued with frozen pipes and most children enjoyed a day home from school as both Castle Valley school buses refused to start. John McGann, Castle Valley Fire Chief, has issued a warning to use caution when attempting to thaw water pipes, especially under homes. A small fire was reported as a result to someone thawing frozen lines.”

I don’t think as many people in the valley have wood burning stoves as there used to be. We burned wood exclusively for many years, but about 15 years ago we were finally able to afford to install a propane furnace. We’ve enjoyed those years without cutting, splitting, stacking and carrying wood for heat. Even so, we left the wood stove in place and use it occasionally to supplement the furnace on especially cold nights or when the electricity goes down.

But this year, we woke up cold one morning and realized the previously reliable furnace stopped working, which was probably a good thing considering that the sewer smell wasn’t as pungent when the plumbing also backed up while we had a house full of family members. To top that off, the Dish satellite receiver went haywire, so we had no television. Pat grumbled a lot about not having a working heater and toilet, but to go without the TV was almost more than she could bear. At any rate, with the wood stove and ample supply of fire wood, we have been able to keep the house warm during the extended period of time waiting for the parts to fix the furnace.

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