Stephen Woody

Stephen Woody, columnist

Good afternoon, Montrose.

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Business, in the Time of Coronavirus……The Notebook was checking in recently with Steve Omernik, owner of the Great Outdoors Company on Selig Avenue. “It’s been a weird, bizarre year,” said Omernik, when asked “how’s business?” He said March and April were months lost to the Covid-19, but these days, a different story. “People aren’t getting on a plane to see Grandma, they’re going outdoors.” More than one local citizen has noted with wonderment the crowded local trails, lakes and campsites. RVs and campers on the South Townsend Tug-A-Long confirm as much. Montrose business owners have cited problems with resupply tied to the virus. While we were chatting, his store, always comfortable to shop in, was busy with customers. (Sort of like normal.)

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Not no way, not no how (The Gatekeeper to Dorothy, on being denied access to the Wizard of Oz)……The Montrose Economic Development Corp. put the Montrose County Commissioners on the spot last week about through-the-fence access at the Montrose Regional Airport. (MDP, July 22.) If there had been a vote, the score would have been 6-0, with the commissioners voting no twice. A number two at 1 Creative Place.

During the discussion, past sins were recalled with the same crowd arguing the same pros-and-cons about the same water that’s long under that same bridge. JetAway Aviation and its “fly-in casitas” and talk of 60 high-paying jobs touched down 15 years ago, eventually costing the county more than $5 million in litigation, resolving multiple complaints and lawsuits. Then along came EXTRA Aviation in 2010 and the promise of 200 jobs. This company, too, threatened litigation against the county regarding the exposure of county-financed due diligence reporting. (MDP, Oct. 6, 2010). As it turned out, the particular EXTRA aircraft had not been certified by the FAA and couldn’t get loans. Before that, STW Composites went bust with unpaid invoices and of course, calls to lawyers.

Repeated economic development failures via the MEDC at the county airport, either from lack of capital, failed certification, or just plain old-fashioned hornswoggling, have salted the real estate there. County commish Sue Hansen was apt: “Our job is to protect the airport……history informs the future.”

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Some Hither, Others Yon……Our Montrose Memorial Hospital has been named the number one small hospital in Colorado by the Lown Institute. Using more than 40 metrics to measure success, the ranking was the upshot of data from patient outcomes, safety, mortality and community health investments. Other ranked rural hospitals on the west slope included Community Hospital in Grand Junction and Grand River Medical Center in Rifle. MMH is the only hospital in Colorado to be named a top rural hospital for five straight years, according to U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services……Tip of the Hat!......Montrose City Manager Bill Bell was recognized by the International City Managers Association for the advocacy and mentorship of women in municipal government. The Career Development Award cited Bell as a “true champion of advancement of women in local government” and noted he had hired and advanced women into leadership positions at the City of Montrose. Bell is a past president of the Colorado City and County Managers’ Association and the Colorado Municipal League……Reopening……The Montrose Community Recreation Center is reopening many of its attractions and services Aug. 1. There’s a state mandate in place regarding face coverings and adjusted procedures for the prevention of community spread coronavirus. That said, MCRC staff is rolling out the welcome mat for swimming, cardio/weights, racquet sports. Info: montroserec.com; 970-249-7705……Voted Most Adorable……That young pinto, maybe 3 months old or so, is the main attraction in the field east of City Market south. While we tough it out with the coronavirus, the sight of the animal always brings a smile. Hikers and bikers stop their exercise to give the filly a stroke on the neck and ears; cars pull over and the occupants pile out and have a photo taken with it.

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Finally, Play Ball!……Major League Baseball started last week. (Elaine Moore has a chance to cheer on her Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies.)

There’s no “bubble” in the MLB and it’s anyone’s guess how long the season could last. Nonetheless, a baseball story. To wit:

The 1962 New York Mets were in the middle of a miserable inaugural season as an expansion team with a roster of has-beens and never-weres. The team would end the season with a 40-120 record, still the worst in MLB history.

Casey Stengel’s starting pitcher was struggling and the Mets were losing. Manager Stengel got on the bullpen phone and called. “Get Miller up,” ordered Stengel.

Red Ruffing, the Mets’ pitching coach, took the call and asked, “which Miller?”

“Bob Miller!” Stengel barked.

“Casey, we’ve got two Bob Millers,” Ruffing explained.

“Pick one!”

(Right-hander Bob Miller won 69 games in 17 years in the big leagues, but was 1-12 that year with the Mets. Left-hander Bob Miller was 2-2 with ’62 Mets and 6-8 over five MLB seasons.)

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Quotable: “The secret to managing people is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided.”--Casey Stengel, manager, NYYankees, NYMets; Hall of Famer, philosopher, 1890-1975

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