Stephen Woody

Good morning, Montrose!

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How ‘bout those Indians!......Coach Brett Mertens’ Montrose Indians are the No. 1 ranked team in Colorado 4A football. Undefeated, too, at eight and oh, recently demolishing Aurora’s Gateway Olympians 42-zip Friday night. Next up: Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colorado……It was also good to see the Sharing Ministries food truck and volunteers at the MHS stadium ticket window as well. The group’s president, Jeff Butterbaugh, greeted those who dropped off cans of non-perishable food. Sharing Ministries was founded in 1996 and is a faith-based, non-denominational, non-profit food bank serving five counties. It was founded in 1996.

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Nobody asked me, but……The football stadium (and the airwaves) sure seem emptier this season without Jim Kerschner. Jim was the longtime “voice” of Indian sports, taking over the microphone at KUBC when his former broadcasting partner, the Rev. Lloyd McMillan, died 20 years ago. Jim passed away late last year after a brave fight with cancer…… “Institutional memory,” particularly in community media, is special. The connectivity, the symmetry. Jim had it in spades. Knew everyone, Jim did, from his days at the Red Barn (nowadays, Jimmers) and then from local radio. He started buying into the restaurant in 1980, eventually buying out Ted Nelson in 1992. (I always had the stew pot and a wedge of pie.) Jim was masterful in telling stories. Like the time “Miami Vice” and movie star Don Johnson came by, covered in mud from hunting. Fans and staff picked up clumps of mud from his clothing, placed them in envelopes and had him autograph the envelopes. Bruce Grigsby, longtime educator and former bartender, recalls with a smile the “carrier landings” that attracted Red Barn customers to use the bar and tables in a unique, adroit way. Hall of Fame pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage was a frequent customer and friend of Jim’s, stopping by on his visits from Colorado Springs. Once, Gossage showed everyone how to execute a perfect hook slide right there in the middle of the restaurant. One more: the time when a bull came through the front door and took up residence by the bathrooms. So, why was there a bull inside the Red Barn? “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” he told me, grinning…….Although the MDP and KUBC were “competitors” in the local media biz, we shared statistics and stories sitting alongside in the press box and gym. Later, Jim helped start and nurture Operation Sweet Tooth, which brought food and a morale boost to troops overseas and also hosted a popular morning show……The “Friday Night Lights” at MHS just aren’t the same without him. He was a terrific broadcaster and One of Life’s Good Guys.

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Butter Side Up……Holly Von Helms was honored Oct. 13 at her alma mater during homecoming ceremonies. She was inducted into the Palmer High School (Colorado Springs) Hall of Fame for her initiation of, and dedication to, recreational therapy programs for disabled people. After she received her master’s degree in therapeutic recreation from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1979, she started recreation programs in Boulder County. She also authored a book which was nationally recognized about her disabled daughter, entitled simply, “Becky.” For many years, Holly was vice-president of the Special Olympics of Colorado and she’s been a director of rehabilitative therapy at a skilled nursing facility. Her fellow Palmer HOF inductees include Tuskegee Airmen, inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, top educators, and many more accomplished folks. What also made the evening special was the attendance of Becky…….She and Wally Von Helms relocated to Montrose in 2000. Between them, they have five children and 10 grandchildren. “I was honored and overwhelmed,” Holly told me. “I never thought that many people and alumni would notice.”

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The subject is curveballs……The ongoing World Serious ‘tween LA and Boston features one of the top pitchers of all time, Clayton Kershaw, whose best pitch is a curveball. Aka: Deuce, Yakker, Hook, or Uncle Charlie. (Nicknames for the curve.) Experts say Bert Blyleven and Nolan Ryan had the best combination of speed and rotation. Batters who faced Sandy Koufax in his heyday said his curveball “hissed” as it went by.

Ever since someone snapped off the first curveball – Candy Cummings, or Fred Goldsmith – there’s been debate whether it was physical or an illusion. Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean had a good curveball and a good line for those who doubted the ball moved at all. Said Diz: “Stand behind a tree 60 feet away and I’ll whomp you with an optical illusion.”

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Quotable:

“Wrinkles mean you laughed, gray hair means you cared, and scars mean you lived.” —Old Vaquero saying, True West magazine

Stephen Woody was the publisher of community daily newspapers for 38 years in four cities, including the Montrose Daily Press, 1997-2011.

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