The Times-Independent

Castle Valley Comments
February 9, 2017


The month of February seemed a little colder than normal, but according to our official weather observer, Bob Russell, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. He said the daily average high temperature was 39.9 degrees and the average low was 23.0 degrees. Precipitation seemed to be above average, as we received 1.51 inches of rain and 8.2 inches of snow, mostly from a storm that dropped 4.2 inches of snow on Feb. 6. Russell indicated that it is not springtime just yet, stating that we received 5.8 inches of snow last year on Feb. 1, and I can remember a significant snowfall that ruined the annual Easter Jeep Safari one year.

Russell said Feb. 2 is our only weather related holiday — Groundhog Day. “If the groundhog in Pennsylvania sees his shadow we get six more weeks of winter,” Russell said. “If not, spring is on the way soon. Don’t get too excited either way — his track record is not great.

“The tradition dates back centuries to the old European Candlemas Day. Farmers got nervous about warm sunny days in February as the inevitable following cold snaps could pay havoc with early spring crops. Let’s not plant our spring crops yet unless we have a greenhouse,” Russell advises. Those with fruit trees in the valley also get nervous about warm, sunny days in February, which allow the buds on the fruit trees to begin blooming only to get destroyed by the inevitable late freeze.

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The next monthly community potluck dinner, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the LDS Church, also happens to fall on Valentine’s Day. Sometime during the history of the potluck dinners some thought it would be a good idea if the men prepared the food when Valentine’s Day fell on the same night of the potluck. That is apparently the case this year. It is not a mandatory decree, but the men are asked to fix the culinary offerings for the dinner, which will definitely be appreciated by the women. But as a result, some have volunteered to bring the Tums and I think we might also want to have the Castle Valley Emergency Medical Responders on stand-by just in case.

These monthly potluck dinners have been going on for nearly 30 years. Members of the LDS Church opened their building to the community as a means to get residents together to enjoy a good meal and be able to visit with each other. It is a casual affair and usually lasts an hour or so before people pack up and go home for the rest of the evening.

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Members of the Castle Valley Fire Department are continually training to be efficient first responders for a variety of emergencies that might arise. Recently, two of their membership attended the two-day Winter Fire School, which is held annually in St. George, Utah. This week, 12 members took a three-hour cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic life support (BLS) re-certification class.

BLS is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. The first responders learned the skills of high-quality CPR for victims of all ages and practiced the delivery of those skills both as a single rescuer and as a member of a multi-rescuer team. They also were re-certified in skills to recognize cardiac arrest, activate the emergency response system early and respond quickly and confidently.

Robert Anderson, Jordan Lister and Randy Ward, members of Grand County Emergency Medical Services, conducted the American Heart Association course last Tuesday, Feb. 7 at the Castle Valley Fire Department’s training facilities.

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Thirty-five years ago this week, this column reported on four students from the Castle Valley Institute (now DayStar Adventist Academy) who got lost while hiking in the area of Morning Glory Arch. They decided to not follow the trail but find a new way back to the car, which was parked at Negro Bill Canyon trailhead. Eight hours later, they ended up in the vicinity of the Grand Old Ranch House on U.S. 191 in good shape but tired from their ordeal.

I also reported on evangelist Ralph Miller who returned to the valley to hold Bible discussions and organize a fellowship here. The near completion of the new LDS Church was also a topic for the column, and 13 women gathered to honor Susie Plastow Gordon with a baby shower. Her son, Kenneth James, was born Jan. 20.

ByBy Ron Drake

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